Supremes Look at Kids Lawsuit

An Oregon liberal judge is determined to put climate change on trial in Juliana vs US, scheduled to start on October 29, 2018.  But now another pitfall stands in the way.  The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the legitimacy of the scope of the kids’ claims they have a right to an unchanging favorable climate provided to them by the federal government.  Here is the update from Scotusblog by Amy Howe Government returns in climate change lawsuit  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In July, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in a lawsuit filed by a group of 21 children and teenagers who allege that they have a constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.” The justices rejected the federal government’s request to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s petition seeking to have the case dismissed or, at a minimum, to block discovery and the trial temporarily. Today the Trump administration returned to the Supreme Court, asking it once again to put discovery and the trial – now scheduled for the end of October – on hold.

The case was originally filed in 2015 against the Obama administration. The plaintiffs argue that the federal government’s actions are causing a “dangerous climate system,” and they have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order various federal agencies to prepare and implement a remedial plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions.

When the government asked the justices to step in over the summer, they rejected the request, which they described as “premature.” But the justices also seemed to express some skepticism about the “breadth” of the plaintiffs’ claims, calling them “striking” and observing that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all. The justices instructed the district court to “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on the” federal government’s other pending motions, which could result in dismissal of some or all of the plaintiffs’ claims.

The government is now back at the court, telling the justices that earlier this week the district court “declined to meaningfully narrow” the plaintiffs’ claims, instead rejecting various government motions that would have ended the case. The government is now asking the court to order the district court to “end this profoundly misguided suit” or, at the very least, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward; moreover, the government again urges, the Supreme Court should put discovery and the trial on hold while it considers these requests. There would be no real harm to the plaintiffs from doing so, the government stresses, because the plaintiffs are claiming that they have been harmed by the cumulative effects of carbon dioxide emissions over several decades.

The government’s request, signed by U.S. solicitor general Noel Francisco, goes to Chief Justice John Roberts, who currently serves as the circuit justice for the 9th Circuit. Roberts can act on the government’s application immediately or refer it to the full court.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes of climate change: “There is a point at which, once this harm occurs, it cannot be undone at any reasonable cost or in any reasonable period of time. Based on the best available science, our country is close to approaching that point.” Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

For an insight into the claims being made on behalf of the kids, here is a reprint of a previous post analyzing a brief filed by an IPCC insider.

Climatists Make Their Case by Omitting Facts

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change. (Source: Inside Climate News  here) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Stiglitz, a Columbia University economics professor and former World Bank chief economist, concludes that increasing global warming will have huge costs on society and that a fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children more generally.” He explains in a footnote that his analysis also examines impacts on “as-yet-unborn youth, the so-called future generations.”

But, he says, acting on climate change now—by imposing a carbon tax and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, among other steps—is still manageable and would have net-negative costs. He argues that if the government were to pursue clean energy sources and energy-smart technologies, “the net benefits of a policy change outweigh the net costs of such a policy change.”

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes. “This urgent action is not only feasible, the relief requested will benefit the economy.”

Stiglitz has been examining the economic impact of global warming for many years. He was a lead author of the 1995 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative assessment of climate science that won the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore.

The Stiglitz expert report submitted to the court is here.

An Example of Intentional Omissions

Since this is a legal proceeding, Stiglitz wrote a brief telling the plaintiffs’ side of the story. In a scientific investigation, parties would assert theories attempting to explain all of the evidence at hand. Legal theories have no such requirement to incorporate all the facts, but rather present conclusions informed by the evidence deemed strongest and most pertinent to one party’s interests.

While the Pope accuses us with the Sin of Emissions, we counter with the Sins of Omissions by him and his fellow activists.

Let’s consider the Stiglitz brief according to the three suppositions comprising the Climatist (Activists and Alarmists) position. Climate change is a bundle that depends on all three assertions to be true.

Supposition 1: Humans make the climate warmer.

As an economist, Stiglitz defers to the IPCC on this scientific point, with references to reports by those deeply involved and committed to Paris Accord and other UN climate programs. In the recent California District Court case (Cities suing Big Oil companies), both sides in a similar vein stipulated their acceptance of IPCC reports as authoritative regarding global warming/climate change.

Skeptical observers must attend to the nuances of what is referenced and what is hidden or omitted in these testimonies. For example, Chevron’s attorney noted that IPCC’s reports express various opinions over time as to human influence on the climate. They noted that even today, the expected temperature effect from doubling CO2 ranges widely from 1.5C to 4.5C. No mention is made that several more recent estimates from empirical data (rather than GCMs) are at the low end or lower.

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations. Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off. In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither Stiglitz nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, Stiglitz and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Supposition 2: The Warming is Dangerous

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus. Stiglitz links to a recent Climate Report that repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims.

Stiglitz: It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.
arctic-sept-2007-to-20181

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

In fact our climate is remarkably stable.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

Climate is Changing the Weather

Stiglitz:  Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

 

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

Supposition 3:  Government Can Stop it!

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

Stiglitz: Conclusion
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even
irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to
rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate
damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be
incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs,
and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a
low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational
calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate
speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel
projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil
fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

Footnote regarding mention of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

sf-ca-past-projected

dilbert-sins-of-omission-and-comission

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October Arctic Ice Catching Up

CA2018274to290.gif

October Days in Nunavut

Previous posts described how the Northwest Passage was treacherously laden with ice this year.  The image above shows how the freezing proceeded in this region over the last 16 days.  Oct. 1 the CAA ice extent (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) was 609k km2, then waffled back and forth until growing sharply the last four days to 786k km2.  On the right, Baffin Bay also doubled in that period up to 150k km2.  On the left and bottom, Beaufort Sea added 324k km2 up to 943k km2, nearly 90% of the maximum last March.

Arctic2018290

The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents totaling 5.96M km2 yesterday,  700k km2 below the 11 year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive).  Note how 2018 started on average, then went fairly flat the first week or so, and lately is adding extent at the same rate as the average.  Presently, 2018 is about five days behind the average, tracking closely the 2016 ice growth.  NOAA’s Sea Ice Index is matching MASIE,  while 2007 and 2012 are not far behind.

ims2018290_alaska

The current IMS Snow and Ice Chart shows how snow cover is spreading rapidly across both Canada and Siberia.  Dr. Judah Cohen comments on this aspect at his AER blog Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecasts  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

I present what is I believe is the latest European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) winter forecast in Figure i taken from climate.copernicus.eu. The ECMWF model is generally considered the best forecast model on the planet. The first thing that jumps out at me is the predicted classic or text book positive Pacific North American (PNA) pattern with a deep Aleutian Low, ridging or elevated heights across northwestern North America including Alaska and troughing or low heights in the Southeastern US. The ECMWF model is also predicting a quasi-negative NAO with the southern pole or center of action more classically represented than the northern pole. But in regards to the US winter this represents a suppressed storm track along the Eastern Seaboard. A positive PNA should yield an overall cold winter to the Eastern US. The ECMWF model is most confident in a relatively cold winter in the Southeastern US with greater uncertainty in the Northeastern US while the suppressed storm track will bring elevated risks of East Coast snowstorms. And El Niño does tend to focus the greatest snow threat, at least relative to normal, in the Mid-Atlantic. If you are a winter weather enthusiast especially a snow lover living in the Mid-Atlantic this ECMWF winter forecast should have you very excited.

The other feature that jumps out at me is high latitude blocking. I already mentioned the blocking near Alaska but there is a second center near Scandinavia that extends eastward into the Barents-Kara Seas. If the ECMWF was predicting a textbook negative NAO this block would be closer to Greenland. I believe that if the ECMWF forecast is correct and the block sets up near Scandinavia this is not as cold for Europe as the classic negative NAO but would instead focus the cold more in Asia. However I do think some of that cold would likely be drawn eastward underneath the blocking high and could result in a cold, possibly snowy winter for Central and/or Southeastern Europe. The other thing to watch is that a blocking high near Scandinavia and the Barents-Kara Seas coupled with a deep Aleutian Low is ideal for transferring energy from the troposphere into the stratosphere forcing a PV disruption. Now I don’t believe the ECMWF forecast is a consequence of a polar vortex disruption but is strongly suggestive of one. And if one does occur, then I would expect an increased probability of a more classic negative NAO to follow.

 

algore_ice_gone_by_2013

 

 

Ocean SSTs Slightly Cooler

globpop_countriesThe best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.  More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through September 2018

Hadsst092018

A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH cycling downward since 2016.  2018 started with slow warming after the low point of December 2017, led by steadily rising NH. Since 4/2018 SH and Tropics cooled slightly in the Spring and NH dipped in July 2018.

In August all ocean regions bumped upward, and in September the Global average dipped slightly. Note that NH rose, unlike dips in the last two years, but is still 0.2C lower than 9/2015. The rise in the Tropics is likely due to the weak El Nino, since the SH dropped almost 0.1C, nearly matching the SH low for this period in 9/2017.  That SH cooling is offsetting the NH rise.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back below its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added three bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year.  Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

A longer view of SSTs

The graph below  is noisy, but the density is needed to see the seasonal patterns in the oceanic fluctuations.  Previous posts focused on the rise and fall of the last El Nino starting in 2015.  This post adds a longer view, encompassing the significant 1998 El Nino and since.  The color schemes are retained for Global, Tropics, NH and SH anomalies.  Despite the longer time frame, I have kept the monthly data (rather than yearly averages) because of interesting shifts between January and July.

Hadsst95to092018

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

1995 is a reasonable starting point prior to the first El Nino.  The sharp Tropical rise peaking in 1998 is dominant in the record, starting Jan. ’97 to pull up SSTs uniformly before returning to the same level Jan. ’99.  For the next 2 years, the Tropics stayed down, and the world’s oceans held steady around 0.2C above 1961 to 1990 average.

Then comes a steady rise over two years to a lesser peak Jan. 2003, but again uniformly pulling all oceans up around 0.4C.  Something changes at this point, with more hemispheric divergence than before. Over the 4 years until Jan 2007, the Tropics go through ups and downs, NH a series of ups and SH mostly downs.  As a result the Global average fluctuates around that same 0.4C, which also turns out to be the average for the entire record since 1995.

2007 stands out with a sharp drop in temperatures so that Jan.08 matches the low in Jan. ’99, but starting from a lower high. The oceans all decline as well, until temps build peaking in 2010.

Now again a different pattern appears.  The Tropics cool sharply to Jan 11, then rise steadily for 4 years to Jan 15, at which point the most recent major El Nino takes off.  But this time in contrast to ’97-’99, the Northern Hemisphere produces peaks every summer pulling up the Global average.  In fact, these NH peaks appear every July starting in 2003, growing stronger to produce 3 massive highs in 2014, 15 and 16, with July 2017 only slightly lower.  Note also that starting in 2014 SH plays a moderating role, offsetting the NH warming pulses. (Note: these are high anomalies on top of the highest absolute temps in the NH.)

What to make of all this? The patterns suggest that in addition to El Ninos in the Pacific driving the Tropic SSTs, something else is going on in the NH.  The obvious culprit is the North Atlantic, since I have seen this sort of pulsing before.  After reading some papers by David Dilley, I confirmed his observation of Atlantic pulses into the Arctic every 8 to 10 years.

But the peaks coming nearly every summer in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.
AMO August 2018

The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and untrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N. The graph shows warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since. Because the N. Atlantic has partnered with the Pacific ENSO recently, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 092018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks. Most recently September 2018 is 0.29C lower than September 2016, and is the coolest September since 2011.

Summary

The oceans are driving the warming this century.  SSTs took a step up with the 1998 El Nino and have stayed there with help from the North Atlantic, and more recently the Pacific northern “Blob.”  The ocean surfaces are releasing a lot of energy, warming the air, but eventually will have a cooling effect.  The decline after 1937 was rapid by comparison, so one wonders: How long can the oceans keep this up? If the pattern of recent years continues, NH SST anomalies will likely cool in coming months.  Once again, ENSO will probably determine the outcome.

Postscript:

In the most recent GWPF 2017 State of the Climate report, Dr. Humlum made this observation:

“It is instructive to consider the variation of the annual change rate of atmospheric CO2 together with the annual change rates for the global air temperature and global sea surface temperature (Figure 16). All three change rates clearly vary in concert, but with sea surface temperature rates leading the global temperature rates by a few months and atmospheric CO2 rates lagging 11–12 months behind the sea surface temperature rates.”

Footnote: Why Rely on HadSST3

HadSST3 is distinguished from other SST products because HadCRU (Hadley Climatic Research Unit) does not engage in SST interpolation, i.e. infilling estimated anomalies into grid cells lacking sufficient sampling in a given month. From reading the documentation and from queries to Met Office, this is their procedure.

HadSST3 imports data from gridcells containing ocean, excluding land cells. From past records, they have calculated daily and monthly average readings for each grid cell for the period 1961 to 1990. Those temperatures form the baseline from which anomalies are calculated.

In a given month, each gridcell with sufficient sampling is averaged for the month and then the baseline value for that cell and that month is subtracted, resulting in the monthly anomaly for that cell. All cells with monthly anomalies are averaged to produce global, hemispheric and tropical anomalies for the month, based on the cells in those locations. For example, Tropics averages include ocean grid cells lying between latitudes 20N and 20S.

Gridcells lacking sufficient sampling that month are left out of the averaging, and the uncertainty from such missing data is estimated. IMO that is more reasonable than inventing data to infill. And it seems that the Global Drifter Array displayed in the top image is providing more uniform coverage of the oceans than in the past.

uss-pearl-harbor-deploys-global-drifter-buoys-in-pacific-ocean

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean

 

Control Population, Control the Climate. Not.

Far from being a catastrophe, population growth and carbon fuel-based development are the best means to lift people out of poverty, the authors write.NASA

A recent book explains what’s mistaken about climate alarmists/activists thinking human numbers must be reduced in order to save the planet from us (H/T Master Resource). The Title is Population Bombed! by Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak who provide an introduction to their assessment in an article at Financial Post For 200 years pessimists have predicted we’d ruin the planet. They’re still wrong.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In Avengers: Infinity War, the villain Thanos said: “If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist.” Johns Hopkins University philosopher Travis N. Rieder apparently agrees, as he views each new child as an environmental externality putting “irreparable stress on the planet” in a way that “exacerbates … the threat of catastrophic climate change.” Similar ideas have been expressed by the likes of Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem put it best: “What causes climate deprivation is population. If we had not been systematically forcing women to have children … for over the 500 years of patriarchy, we wouldn’t have the climate problems that we have.”

Population-growth catastrophism has been around for centuries. In the English-speaking world it is generally associated with economist Thomas Robert Malthus’ 1798 edition of his Essay on the Problem of Population and U.S. biologist Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb. Ehrlich and his co-author and wife Anne predicted imminent environmental collapse followed by mass starvation. What they didn’t see coming was that, to the contrary, hundreds of millions of people would soon be lifted out of grinding poverty while parts of the planet became greener and cleaner in the process.

In our new book Population Bombed! Exploding the Link between Overpopulation and Climate Change we mark the 50th anniversary of the Ehrlichs’ book by explaining that their predictions bombed because their basic assumptions are flawed.

First, the Ehrlichs assume that human numbers cannot exceed the limits set by a finite system. Bacteria in a test tube of food are used to model such a system: Since the levels of food and waste limit bacterial growth, human population growth, by analogy, ultimately cannot exceed the carrying capacity of test tube Earth.

Second, they assume that wealth and development unavoidably come with larger environmental damage. This assumption is still at the core of pessimistic frameworks, which maintain that physical resource throughputs, not outcomes, matter. So, countries such as Haiti where deforestation and wildlife extermination are rampant are inherently more “sustainable” than richer and cleaner countries like Sweden and Switzerland.

Third, Ehrlich does not acknowledge that, unique among this planet’s species, modern humans: transmit information and knowledge between individuals and through time; innovate by combining existing things in new ways; become efficient through specialization; and engage in long-distance trade, thus achieving, to a degree, a decoupling from local limits called the “release from proximity.” And the more brains there are, the more solutions. This is why, over time, people in market economies produce more things while using fewer resources per unit of output. Corn growers now produce five or six times more output on the same plot of land as a century ago while using less fertilizer and pesticide than a few decades ago.

Fourth, the Ehrlichs and other pessimists also fail to understand the uniquely beneficial roles played by prices, profits, and losses in the spontaneous and systematic generation of more sustainable — or less problematic — outcomes. When the supply of key resources fails to meet actual demand, their prices increase. This encourages people to use such resources more efficiently, look for more of them, and develop substitutes. Meanwhile, far from rewarding pollution of the environment, the profit motive encourages people to create useful by-products out of waste (our modern synthetic world is largely made out of former petroleum-refining waste products). True, in some cases dealing with pollution came at a cost — building sewage-treatment plants, for example — but these are the types of solutions only a developed society can afford.

Fifth, pessimists are also oblivious to the benefits of unlocking wealth from underground materials such as coal, petroleum, natural gas and mineral resources. Using these spares vast quantities of land. It should go without saying that even a small population will have a much greater impact on its environment if it must rely on agriculture for food, energy and fibres, raise animals for food and locomotion, and harvest wild animals for everything from meat to whale oil. By replacing resources previously extracted from the biosphere with resources extracted from below the ground, people have reduced their overall environmental impact while increasing their standard of living.

Why is it then that after two centuries of evidence to the contrary, the pessimistic narrative still dominates academic and popular debates? Why are so many authors and academics still focusing on the Malthusian collapse scenario — now bound to come from carbon dioxide emissions and the teeming populations that produce them?

The prevalence of apocalyptic rhetoric may be, arguably, due to factors ranging from financial incentives among academics and activists to behavioural heuristics that dictate why worrying is a motivator, and why even well-meaning people rarely change their mind given new evidence. Short-termism may also take some of the blame: Population control and climate activists take for granted the non-scalable benefits of a carbon-fuel economy in which large numbers of people collaborate and innovate. The cognitive biases at the root of our thinking may shape, and in the end distort, the impulse to question “consensus,” particularly in an intellectual climate lacking the motivation to achieve what social psychologist Jonathan Haidt called “institutional disconfirmation.”

Far from being the catastrophe that Thanos, the Ehrlichs and other pessimists would have us believe, population growth and carbon fuel-based development in the context of human creativity and free enterprise are the best means to lift people out of poverty, to build resilience against any climate damage that increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions might have, and to make possible a sustained reduction of humanity’s impact on the biosphere.

Pierre Desrochers, a geography professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and Joanna Szurmak, a doctoral candidate at York University, are the authors of Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change. The book was launched at an event on Oct. 15th in Toronto.

More at their website: Population Bombed!

Update October 17,2018

Master Resource just posted an interview with Desrochers (here)

What we need in order to fight environmental degradation is to make sure that people in less advanced parts of the world can also be the beneficiaries of these processes. There is no doubt in my mind that these beneficial substitutions will happen more quickly the cheaper carbon fuels are. Of course, the argument is even more powerful when you think of the social consequences of less affordable energy.

Now, as with everything else, bad political institutions in some parts of the world will result in greater pollution as more carbon fuels are burned. The solution, however, is not to ban or tax everything from coal to plastic bags, but rather to improve standards of living and public governance. In my opinion, our guiding principle as far as carbon fuels are concerned should be the creation of lesser problems than those that existed before.

Putting Down Climate Virtue Signaling

This exchange occurred yesterday in the debate between Arizona Senatorial candidates:

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema: “I do believe that climate change is real.”

Republican Martha McSally: “I can’t believe this is the last question.”

MARIA POLLETTA: Congresswoman Sinema, this comes from one of our readers, viewers. With climate change, number one: Do you believe it is a manmade problem, caused by humans? Number two: What are your plans in terms of combating climate change, particularly with regard to water and possible water shortages?

KYRSTEN SINEMA: Why, I do believe that climate change is real. And I think it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to spend time debating how we got to the place that we are today. What does make sense is for individuals who have the ability to make a difference moving forward to work together to make that difference. And here in Arizona, water is of grave concern to our state. As a United States senator, I’ll hope to work with Sen. Jon Kyl, who’s been a leader on the issue of water during his time in the United States Senate. It’s our duty to not only preserve our own water supply for the next 100 years, but to partner with states in the region — Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and California — to ensure that we have a regional strategy to move forward and protect our state in future years. It’s working together — Republicans and Democrats from these states across the region — that’s how we’ll find the solution to these challenges.

But I firmly believe that as Arizonans, as Americans, we have the resources, we have the tools, we have the skills, and we have the knowledge. We can address issues of climate change together, and do so without harming our business prospects and without harming what makes Arizona so amazing. You know, folks know this about me, but I’m an outdoor enthusiast. So, every morning, I get up and I go outside to either run, hike, bike, swim, every day. And I want to make sure that we can protect that beauty, why we all love Arizona so much, for our future generations.

MARTHA McSALLY (R): Ted and Maria, I can’t believe this is the last question. I mean, we do have to address the issues of climate, and water is so important for Arizona; it’s our lifeline. But I worked for Sen. Jon Kyl when I was a legislative fellow as a major, and it’s so important that we follow his lead — and he is my mentor — to be able to move forward to address these really important issues. But we have to talk about the military. We have to talk about our veterans.

TED SIMONS (MODERATOR): Quickly, please.

McSALLY: We haven’t had any opportunity.

SIMONS: You have it right now.

McSALLY: That’s what brought me to Arizona, like 500,000 of our veterans, for our national security treasures that are here. I fought for to make sure that the A-10 was preserved, that we fight for Luke Air Force Base. My opponent advocated to shut down Luke Air Force Base. While we were in harm’s way, she was protesting our troops in a pink tutu. And I’ll tell you what, if these are not disqualifying enough, Kyrsten, what came out last week, CNN reported that in 2003, when she was on the radio, you said it was OK for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us. You said you had no problem with that. Kyrsten, I want to ask right now whether you’re going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it’s OK to commit treason, Kyrsten?

Alarmists: Global Warming Destroys Good Bugs and Multiplies Bad Bugs

Alarmists are now bugging us with a new dire threat of bug populations declining in Puerto Rican rain forests.

‘One of Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read’ Scientist Says of Study Detailing Climate-Driven ‘Bugpocalypse’  from Common Dreams

A truly scary new study finds that insect populations in protected Puerto Rican rainforests have fallen as much as 60-fold. Bill McKibben tweet

But just a few months ago they were warning that global warming would increase bugs and eat our lunch.  As usual they claim both things at the same time, unwilling to notice the contradiction.  This rise of the bad bugs is described in a previous August post reprinted below.

Global Warming Bugastrophe

This week yet another unimaginable calamity if Paris Accord is not fulfilled. That’s right the coordinated reports in the media raise the alarm: The Insects Are Coming For Us (unless we mend our ways!)

Global warming will help insects, hurt crops NBC News

Climate change may boost pests, stress food supplies Axios

Climate Change Will Lead To More Crop-Destroying Insects IFLScience

Global Warming Means More Insects Threatening Food Crops — A Lot More, Study Warns InsideClimate News

Global warming will likely help bugs devour more crops CBC.ca

Global warming could spur more and hungrier crop-eating bugs ABC News

Global warming could spur more crop-eating bugs CTV.ca

Global warming will make insects hungrier, eating up key crops: study AFP

Crop losses due to insects could nearly double in Europe’s bread basket due to climate EurekAlert!

Climate change projected to boost insect activity and crop loss, researchers say EurekAlert!

Rise in insect pests under climate change to hit crop yields, study says Carbon Brief

Swarms of insects will destroy crops across Europe and America by 2050 due to global warming Daily Mail

Global warming: More insects, eating more crops Phys.org

Climate change to accelerate crop losses from insects Cornell Alliance for Science

Climate Change Means Insects Are Coming for Our Food The Atlantic

Well, at least we know who is keen to reprint press releases from Alarmist Central. I am not an entomologist, nor are the journalists who are piling on this story. So let’s hear from some insect experts.

First, a tutorial on Temperature, Effects on Development and Growth (Insects)

Adult insects generally are of smaller body size when larvae are reared at higher temperatures. For example, females of Bicyclus butterflies reared at 20°C were larger than those reared at 27°C. Moreover, females laid larger eggs when they were reared or acclimatized for 10 days at the lower temperature compared to the higher temperature.

LDT: actual lower developmental threshold; T0: predicted lower developmental threshold; UDT: upper developmental threshold; TO: thermal optimum (maximum) for developmental rate. Total optimum for population growth is usually at moderate temperatures, not at such high extremes.

Development time (dt) is the time required to complete specified stage or instar and can be described as dt = SET/(T-T0). SET is the sum of effective temperatures or “thermal constant,” expressed as the number of degree days. T0 is the lower developmental threshold (LDT, or base temperature Tb), the hypothetical temperature at which developmental time would be infinite or developmental rate would be zero. The product of developmental time and the amount to which ambient temperature is above the threshold was found to be constant (= SET), that is, development will take a fixed number of degree days essentially independent of the temperature at which the animal is reared. The thermal parameters are determined in defined conditions (set of constant temperatures, suitable nutrition).

The LDT and SET values are population-specific characteristics. The LDT values are similar for all developmental stages of a given population, even when they develop in diverse seasons and experience disparate temperature fluctuations. The stability of LDT is manifested as developmental rate isometry, that is, the percentage of time spent in a particular stage at any constant physiological temperature is a stable fraction of the entire developmental time.

Tropical species have higher values of LDT than temperate ones. SET decreases as LDT increases. Insects that have spread to temperature zones from the tropical regions often maintain a high LDT and can reproduce and develop only in the hot season, spending most of the year in a state of dormancy.

A general response of insects to temperatures just below their LDT or above their UDT is the cessation of development and reproduction while the insects remain active and feed. The larvae may slowly grow and the adults accumulate reserves. These processes are terminated at more extreme temperatures.

During cooling, motility gradually decreases. At certain temperature, the neural and muscular activities are impaired and the insect lapses into cold stupor (chill coma). The stupor point is as high as 12°C in tropical insects including stored product pests, and in honey bees, around 5°C in many temperate species, near 0°C in most overwintering insects, and even below the freezing point in species living in very cold areas.

Gradual warming above UDT, which is for many species around 35°C but is never sharply delimited, increases the metabolic rate, loss of water, and motility. Around 40°C, the water loss increases sharply: the spiracles are wide open and the melting of cuticular lipids permits evaporation through the body surface. Exhaustion of water and nutrients leads to rapid decrease of motility and a drop of transpiration. At a certain temperature, heat stupor occurs. Survival at temperatures above the threshold is a function of temperature and length of exposure. Warming to the absolute upper lethal temperature, which is usually around 50-55°C, causes fast, irreversible tissue damage and death.

And then from Australia Responses to Climate Change Upper thermal limits in terrestrial ectotherms: how constrained are they?

The data for terrestrial ectotherms discussed previously point to species from mid-latitudes in particular being closest to their thermal maxima. Moreover, although data are still quite scanty, species may have only a limited capacity to deal with changes in upper thermal limits. Under an expected 2–4 °C warming scenario (IPCC 2007), mid-latitude populations near limits are likely to face the threat of extinction because they cannot adapt to new environmental conditions.

There is almost no information on how thermal limits are influenced by combinations of stressors. Changes in the conditions that organisms experience during thermal stress could lead to quite unpredictable upper thermal limits (Terblanche et al. 2011; Overgaard, Kristensen & Sørensen 2012). Moreover, thermal stress can influence susceptibility to other selective agents; tropical Bicyclus anynana butterflies lose immune function as measured by phenoloxidase (PO) activity and haemocyte numbers when exposed to warm conditions, and the effects are particularly marked when adults have a limited food supply.

Summary

These scares always sound plausible, but on closer inspection are simplistic and unrealistic. The above shows that each type of insect has a range of temperatures they can tolerate and allow them to develop. They are stressed and populations decrease when colder than the lower limit and also when hotter than the upper limit. Every species will adapt to changing conditions as they always have. Those at their upper limit will decline, not increase, and their place will be taken by others. Of course, if it gets colder, the opposite occurs. Don’t let them scare you that insects are taking over.

UN’s Broken Climate Policy Machine

The recent UN IPCC climate report is another reminder that the UN, like a broken record,  keeps trumpeting a failed climate policy.  Richard Epstein explains in an essay at the Stanford Hoover Institution Our Latest Global Warming Scare  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The new alarmist UN report features bad science and worse economics.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a special report last week predicting apocalyptic environmental consequences if the nations of the world are unable to reduce the amount of warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels in the next 12 years. The IPCC report insists that meeting this target requires “rapid and far-reaching” changes—all unspecified—in a wide range of areas including land, energy, industry, buildings, transportation, and cities. These changes, the report insists, must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to about 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 and to a neutral level of no new carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Much press coverage has embraced the report’s conclusions. The New Yorker stresses the dire warningls of the IPCC report. The Guardian speaks of the “urgent changes” needed to contain climate change underneath its headline picture of a raging California wildfire. Yet it is here that the story starts to unravel from both a scientific and economic perspective. The unstated narrative behind the picture is that temperature increases due to global warming will cause environmental catastrophes. But in the case of forest fires, this claim is simply untrue: in the United States, the number of forest fires has been down by about 86 percent since 1930, and the current year ranks as the 40th highest on record. To be sure, the risks of fire today remain great but for reasons that are unrelated climate change. Higher levels of CO2 make plants more drought resistant, which increases the amount of burnable material. What matters most, however, is not temperature change, but finding the proper techniques for forest management. Yet one weakness of the IPCC report is that in its discussion of forest fires, it does not mention alternate causes.

The same gap exists with respect to the frequency and severity of hurricanes. From all the recent publicity, one might think that they are rapidly on the rise. But the evidence cuts very much in the opposite direction. It is easy to find reports of major hurricanes that occurred before 1950, as with the record flooding in North Carolina in 1945. But anecdotes never tell the full story. Cato Institute scholars Patrick Michaels and Ryan Maue have demonstrated that hurricane frequency rises and falls in a cyclical manner:

There are a number of clear inferences that can be drawn from just this data set. First, there has been a steady increase in overall levels of CO2 since at least 1950. But whatever its cause, that single variable cannot explain the cyclical pattern of hurricanes. Similar cyclical patterns have been observed in measuring the extent of Arctic ice since at least 1900, including changes during the last 12 years. The same is true of sea levels, which have risen consistently over thousands of years, but not at constant rates; the rates have fluctuated several times in the past 120 years, making it difficult to find a trend. No one is quite sure why there is variability, but the overall levels of sea rise are far lower than feared ranging somewhere between 5 and 8 inches per century. The great vice of the IPCC report is that it attributes all negative environmental phenomena to climate change. It does not acknowledge the data that presents a serious challenge to the dominant orthodoxy that increases in CO2 since the onset of industrialization are the cause of temperature change and the supposed global dislocations.

The larger scientific issue is to develop an expanded theory of climate change that incorporates variables other than carbon dioxide in the equation. Globally, these include the effects of water vapor, also a greenhouse gas, and of aerosols, which tend to lower temperatures. Locally, these include recently discovered volcanic activity under the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the falling of land from the draining of aquifers. MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen recently discussed these issues in his lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation—“Global Warming for the Two Cultures”—which calls attention to the deep gap between scientific knowledge and popular culture. Lindzen put the role of CO2 emissions into proper perspective in order to negate the claim that changes in the level of CO2 can drive major climate changes. He pointed out that the total energy flows over the surface of the earth amount to about 200 watts per square meter. The key conclusion is: “Doubling CO2 involves a perturbation of 2% percent to this budget.” The obvious question is how that small change in an energy budget can drive the major changes to the earth’s climate that so many claim. Clearly, other factors have to be at work, including water vapor, whose effects are exceedingly difficult to model. Its distribution is uneven and uncertain over the surface of the earth, and it can take the form of different kinds of clouds with different absorption rates for heat. Water vapor both keeps radiation from the sun from coming in just as it prevents the leakage of radiation out from the system. The wide variation in temperature patterns, sea levels, and plant growth long before modern post-industrial history indicate that these forces are powerful.

At this point, CO2 seems to have a reduced role. But again, matters get more complicated. If the effect of CO2 on temperature is relatively weak, its effect on plant growth is powerful, given that CO2 and water are basic resources that plants require to live. Here the unambiguous effect is that the increase in CO2 has made plant life stronger, and has led to a major amount of global greening over the last 30 years. That increase in CO2 levels tends, moreover, to reduce temperature extremes by making land cooler in the day and warmer at night.

So why is there so much fear about the consequences of climate change? As reported by Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute total fossil fuel consumption is up 55% since 1950. Total energy-related CO2 emissions is up 500 percent. Total CO2 concentration is up by about one-third. The total temperature increase during that time has been 0.65°C. But in the meantime, global life expectancy has increased from 48 years to 71.4 years. Global malaria infections are down about 37 percent, and global malaria deaths are down by 62 percent. Corn yields per acre are up 25 percent since 2000, 44 percent since 1990, and 88 percent since 1980. Global GDP is sharply up and global poverty is sharply down. And other numbers only reinforce the same trend: as Johan Norberg shows in his book Progress, all major indicators—life expectancy, income, health—are up. As basic levels of technology continue to improve, we will have cheaper production of energy and its more efficient utilization.

Things seem pretty good, so why does the IPCC think that the future is bleak? And why does it think that major transformations are needed to deal with the risks of CO2 emissions? There is no reason to think that all nations can be coaxed into a single coherent central plan to manage emissions, assuming that one even exists. At the very least, China, now the largest emitter of CO2 and India, the third largest, will both sit this one out. Yet at the same time, the United States, which has rightly ditched the Paris Accord, posted in 2017 the largest reduction in CO2 emissions of any nation by relying increasingly on natural gas as a source of energy, even as overall global CO2 levels have moved upward. As Bjorn Lomborg, the head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, has written, it is not easy to introduce wholesale changes into any economy, and the IPCC presents no evidence that the enormous cuts in fossil fuel consumption it requires to reach its targets can realistically be made.

The first and most simple point is that fossil fuels are here to stay because over the long-haul they are more efficient than either wind or solar energy, especially now that improvements through fracking have reduced the costs of fossil fuel extraction while other improvements in technology have increased the amount of energy extracted per unit of fossil fuels. Even with massive subsidies, the efforts to produce major shifts to wind and solar have proved prohibitively expensive, given their intrinsic unreliability when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, and the persistent difficulty of storing such energy in a cost-effective manner. Pull out the subsidies, and these markets may survive in certain niche locations, but they will not displace fossil fuels. The far better path, therefore, is to concentrate on improving yields and reducing externalities from our best energy sources, instead of overlooking the serious externalities that wind and solar themselves can create. The simple path of steady and predictable technological improvement promises far greater returns than the measures suggested by the IPCC report.

Summary

When someone asks me, why don’t you support the fight against climate change, I give the three reasons expressed so well by french mathematicians.

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper that presents a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis is blunt and extremely well documented.

Details and links at Bonn COP23 Briefing for Realists

Footnote:

Epstein’s article refers to a favorite IPCC tactic of omitting information that contradicts their alarmist narrative.  An extensive example of this sin of omission is a legal brief submitted in support of the kids suing the US government for not ensuring them a favorable climate (Juliana vs. US) to be heard later this month.  The document is deconstructed in the post Facts Omitted by Climatists

Climate Tipping Points Quiz

This post is a reblog of the Manhattan Contrarian Quiz — Climate Tipping Points Edition
October 11, 2018/ by Francis Menton. Text in italics with my bolds.

On Monday the UN IPCC came out with its latest Special Report, this one supposedly addressed specifically to the allegedly dire consequences of allowing world temperatures to increase by more than an arbitrarily-selected threshold. Here is a copy of the “Summary for Policymakers,” and here is a copy of the accompanying press release. But I urge you not to peek at those until you have taken today’s very important Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz.

Many have noted that this latest Report seems to step up the level of hysteria and shrieking about the threat of climate change to a whole new level. The gist is, we are doomed, doomed, doomed unless mankind takes immediate drastic action to reduce and then eliminate carbon emissions, because otherwise we will shortly cross the dreaded climate “tipping point.” Crossing the tipping point means that climate change will thereafter accelerate out of control, there will be no further chance of saving the planet, and all hope must be abandoned. You can see that this is very serious, at least if you give any credence to this stuff. And yet, despite the hyperbole, this report seems to be getting much less attention than prior similar predictions of the impending climate apocalypse, even if no one in the mainstream press will apply the slightest amount of critical thinking as to whether any of this makes any sense at all. As an example, the big New York Times article on the Report did not appear until Tuesday, and in the print edition ran on page A8. I guess there were plenty of things more important than the approaching end of the world to fill up the front page.

So it’s time to take the Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz. The quiz consists of nine predictions of the impending climate “tipping point,” made at various points over the past few decades. For each prediction, I have deleted the name of the predictor, the year made and the year or years that were identified as the dreaded tipping point, but have included in brackets the number of years in the future that the tipping point was said to be at the time of the prediction in question. Your task is to identify which of the predictions is the one found in the current UN materials. For extra credit, see if you can identify any of the other predictions as to the person or organization uttering the prediction, the year made, and the year said to be the date of the tipping point.

Answers below the fold.

Prediction Number 1:

[Predictor] said that without “coherent financial incentives and disincentives” we have just 96 months to avert “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.” . . . He confided last night: “We face the dual challenges of a world view and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis – including that of climate change – which threatens to engulf us all.”

Prediction Number 2:

[U]nless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, [predictor] said. He sees the situation as “a true planetary emergency.” “If you accept the truth of that, then nothing else really matters that much,” [predictor] said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have to organize quickly to come up with a coherent and really strong response, and that’s what I’m devoting myself to.”

Prediction Number 3:

[Predictor] . . . told author Bob Reiss in [year of prediction] that New York City would be underwater in 20 years. “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” [predictor] said. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.”

Prediction Number 4:

The year: [46 years after prediction]. Massive dikes around New Orleans, Miami, and New York are holding back rising sea water. Phoenix is baking in its third straight week of temperatures above 115 degrees. Decades of drought have laid waste to the once-fertile Midwestern farm belt. Hurricanes batter the Gulf Coast, and forest fires continue to black thousands of acres across the country. Science fiction? Hardly. These are the sobering global warming or “greenhouse effect” scenarios that many scientists believe may happen if we continue to pollute our environment. . . . [N]othing short of an immediate worldwide effort by governments, corporations and especially individual citizens will be needed to reverse the environmental crisis that now threatens the entire planet.

Prediction Number 5:

In [year of prediction], [predictor] told [publication] that [4 years after prediction] was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. [Predictor] said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching [numeric] degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Prediction Number 6:

[W]arming of [numeric] deg C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said [predictor]. . . . [L]imiting global warming to [numeric]°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from [year] levels by [12 years from prediction], reaching ‘net zero’ around [32 years from prediction].

Prediction Number 7:

[Predictor] said in [year of prediction] that if “there’s no action before [5 years after prediction], that’s too late.” “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.

Prediction Number 8:

[Predictor] wrote in [publication] that within “as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”

Prediction Number 9:

[Publication] reported in [year] that [predictor] says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the [year].”

Answers to Quiz:

Answer for Prediction Number 1: This famous prediction was made by the great climate scientist Prince Charles in July 2009. The 96 month (8 year) period of the prediction expired in July 2017. Does that mean that for a year plus we have already been in the state of “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse”?

Answer for Prediction Number 2: Again, this is a quite famous prediction, made by Al Gore at the January 2006 premier of his climate apocalypse movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” as reported at the time by CBS News. Thus, the period of the prediction expired in January 2016. I guess then that we have already reached the “point of no return” and the “true planetary emergency.” How does it feel?

Answer for Prediction Number 3: Another famous prediction, this one made in 1988 by James Hansen, then head of the branch of NASA known as GISS that collects (and fraudulently alters) world temperature data. This time the 20 year prediction period expired in 2008. Meanwhile, I went down the West Side Highway just a few days ago, and the water didn’t appear any closer to swamping it than it was back in 1988.

Answer for Prediction Number 4: This one comes from self-described all-around genius Jeremy Rifkin (“author of 20 bestselling books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.” and “advisor to the leadership of the European Union since 2000” — really, does that tell you all you need to know about what idiots the Europeans are?), and is found in an article in none other than the Poughkeepsie Journal (my hometown newspaper!) in 1989. OK, the date for the prediction (2035) hasn’t arrived yet. But, if we were going to need “massive dikes” to protect New York City by 2035, shouldn’t there be by now some evidence of the sea level going up?

Answer for Prediction Number 5: The predictor was then-head of the United Nations Foundation Timothy Wirth, and the year of prediction was 2012. That means that the date for the prediction was 2016 — or actually, in the phrasing of the prediction, the end of President Obama’s second term. The prediction appeared in ClimateWire. I guess we missed our “last chance” to save the world. Wirth is the same guy who, as a Congressman back in 1988, promoted the hearings featuring Hansen that many credit as the official launch of the global warming scare.

Answer for Prediction Number 6: Yes, this quote comes from the just-issued press release announcing the new UN Report. There were enough extraneous clues in there that probably many of you readers got it right. The number of degrees C that is said in this Report to be the brink of disaster is 1.5.

Answer for Prediction Number 7: The predictor is former UN IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri, and the year of prediction was 2007. That means that after 2012 it was “too late” to stop armageddon. Oh, well. Somehow we struggle on.

Answer for Prediction Number 8: This one comes from noted UK environmental writer George Monbiot, and appeared in the Guardian in 2002. So once again the year for the prediction was 2012. Do you recall the world making the choice somewhere 6 or so years ago between “feeding the world’s animals” and “feeding the world’s people.” I’m struggling to remember that. Perhaps I should go home and have a hamburger for dinner while I think it over.

Answer for Prediction Number 9: The prediction comes from 1989, and the year for the prediction (“entire nations . . . wiped off the face of the earth”) was 2000 — 18 years ago. The publication was the San Jose Mercury News, which attributed the prediction to UN “senior environmental official” Noel Brown. Somehow, even the Maldives seem to be doing fine here in 2018.

Here’s the incredible thing: Wouldn’t you think that making apocalyptic predictions like these that failed so completely would undermine the predictors’ reputations somehow — like maybe, they’d be considered laughingstocks? Not at all! All of these guys are still out there and going strong. OK, Pachauri was forced out of the IPCC, but over sexual harassment allegations, not failed climate predictions. He left the IPCC in 2015, which means that three years after his prediction above bombed, he was still there. Meanwhile, the IPCC had won the Nobel Peace Prize! Monbiot still writes climate doom articles for the Guardian. And you haven’t heard of Noel Brown? He retired from the UNDP, but has gone on to be President of the Friends of the United Nations.

Yes, ridiculous failed climate apocalypse predictions are the route to assured career success. The world is a funny place.

Update October 13, 2018

An interesting essay by Sean Gabb (H/T Greenie Watch) provides some additional predictions justifying our skepticism about environmentalists’ doomsday narrative.  The Environmental Scam: One Quick and Easy Response Excerpt in italics:  The entire article is informative.

Sean Gabb writes:

I now turn to the claims about global warming. I will not discuss the intricacies of how much carbon dioxide we are releasing, or what effect this may have on temperatures. I leave aside the persistent claims of scientific fraud and other corruption. As said, I am not qualified to comment on these or other matters. What I do note is that, in 2006, Al Gore

[p]atiently, and surely for the 10,000th time, [explained to The Guardian] what’s going wrong. The atmosphere is like a coat of varnish around the globe, he says. When it’s thin, as it should be, heat naturally escapes. But when it gets thicker, thanks to carbon dioxide emitted by us, it traps in the heat and the world gets warmer. “It’s cooking and wilting the most vulnerable parts of the eco-system, melting all the mountain glaciers, the north polar ice cap, parts of Antarctica, parts of Greenland.” That molten ice-water will raise sea-levels, flooding food-producing areas that all of us rely on. Eventually it will submerge whole cities, from San Francisco to Shanghai. The site of the Twin Towers will not be a memorial garden: it will be underwater.

… He agrees with the scientists who say we have 10 years to act, before we cross a point of no return.

In 2009, the Prince of Wales – advised by the “leading environmentalists Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper” – said we had 96 months to change our ways. After that, we faced “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.”

In 2005, George Monbiot wrote in The Guardian:

Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are – unless the Gulf Stream stops – unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.

Ten years took us to 2016. Assuming my arithmetic is correct, 96 months take us to about now. If we have really reached the “point of no return,” why have these people not yet switched to telling us “I warned you: now it’s too late”? Instead, the apocalyptic warnings continue at top volume. Oh – and English weather remains as unpredictable today as it was in 2005. In March this year, there was an inch of snow in Deal.

The point of repeating these claims is that they were not random assertions, but appear to have been made on scientific advice – scientific advice that turned out to be wrong. Whether the scientists in question were lying, or whether they advised in good faith, is less important than that they were wrong. You do not need a degree in the natural sciences to notice when predictions are falsified. It is with this in mind that I take the present claims of plastic waste in the sea, and reject them out of hand. It may be that, this time, the claims are true. But the whole burden of proof is on those making them. The burden of proof comes with the barely-rebuttable presumption that we are being fed yet another diet of alarmist falsehoods.

 

 

Dr. Indrani Roy on Natural Climate Factors

fig1_s

Figure 1. Total solar irradiance over the past three solar cycles, since 1975, varying between 1365 and 1367 W/m2. Source: NASA

A new paper by Dr. Indrani Roy is Abrupt Global Warming, Warming Trend Slowdown and Related Features in Recent Decades. The thrust of her conclusions is reported in this Science Daily article Role of ‘natural factors’ on recent climate change underestimated, research shows  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Pioneering new research has given a new perspective on the crucial role that ‘natural factors’ play in global warming.

The study, by Dr Indrani Roy at the University of Exeter, suggests that the natural phenomena such as solar eleven-year cycles and strong volcanic explosions play important roles in recent climate change which has been ‘underestimated’.

All existing studies focus on the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere as being the main driver of global temperature rises.

However, Dr Roy suggests that the role natural factors plays in climate change should be given more prominence. This study explores various possible areas where models miss important contributions due to these natural drivers.

The research is published in leading journal Frontiers.

Although CO2 has risen significantly since 1998, global temperature did not show any significant increase. Models however suggested a significant rise.

Dr Roy said: “So what factors are missing? It is a puzzle of recent slowdown of global warming trend or Hiatus and this study addresses that issue.”

For the study, Dr Roy looked specifically at data between 1976-96, which not only covered two full strong solar cycles and two explosive volcanic eruptions during active phases of those cycles, but which also matched a period of abrupt global warming. These data were compared with other periods.

The research highlighted the important role that a dominant Central Pacific (CP) El Nino, and its associated water vapour feedback, played in global warming within the chosen period.

volcano

Plinian column of the eruption of Sarychev (Russia) on 12 June 2009. Credit: NASA

Dr Roy suggests that the explosive volcanoes seen during this phase, which changed the sea level pressure around the North Atlantic, kick-started a ‘chain mechanism’ that played a crucial role.

Dr Roy added that the change in Indian Summer Monsoons and El Nino connection during that abrupt warming period, and a subsequent recovery thereafter, can also be explained by this ‘chain mechanism’.

Discussion of Chain Mechanism from Frontiers paper

The puzzle of global warming hiatus is discussed in many recent studies, though the underlying cause is still unexplained. Many climate features, in atmosphere and ocean including global temperature trend, suffered deviations during later two decades of the last century, so as some known teleconnection patterns. This study addresses those areas segregating the role of natural factors (the sun and volcano) to that from CO2 led linear anthropogenic influences. To analyse the combined influence of the sun and volcano (including the phasing), it separated out a period 1976–1996 that captured two full solar cycles, (number 21 and 22), where two explosive volcanos erupted (1991 and 1982) during active periods of strong solar cycles.

The possible mechanism could be initiated via a preferential alignment of NAO phase, generated by explosive volcanos. During that particular period, it identified certain deviations on various climate features, those include temperature around Niño 3.4 region (warming), North Atlantic region (cooling), AL (warming) and Eurasian snow cover (warming). The robustness of detected signal is established by analyzing different observational and reanalyses datasets. Consistent with temperature, a dominance of atmospheric water vapor content is also noticed. Interestingly, CMIP5 model ensemble (and also arbitrarily chosen individual models) fails to comply with such findings. It is also true for other models. This study indicates that water vapor being the most important GHG has major contributions for an observed abrupt rise in global temperature during that period. Overall the analysis suggests a change in CP ENSO and associated water vapor feedback plays a very important role in regulating global temperature behavior since 1976 that also includes ‘Hiatus’ period. It identified the signal of natural origin is different to that from CO2 led anthropogenic linear influence. Interestingly, models suggest a failure to detect such signals, which provides explanations for the long-standing puzzle of global warming hiatus.

My Summary:  Warmists are picking on the wrong molecule.  CO2 is plant food, H2O makes the climate.

Background from Previous post: On Solar and Climate Variability

The last solar eclipse was in 2017. The totality in the picture lasted a little more than 2 minutes, while the process lasted about 2.5 hours.

One of the great disputes in climate research is between those (IPCC) who dismiss solar cycles as a factor in climate change and those who see correlations in the past and keep seeking to understand the mechanisms. To be clear, there is considerable agreement that earth’s atmosphere can and does reduce or increase the amount of incoming solar energy (albedo effect), thereby contributing to surface warming or cooling. The science and research into the “global dimming and brightening” is discussed in the post Nature’s Sunscreen.

The above image of the eclipse is intended to remind us that humans down through history have been terrified of the sun going dark because they knew intuitively that no sun means no life. A more modern and sophisticated concern is that even slightly falling energy from the sun brings cooling, ice and death.  Quite apart from the sunscreen, this post is focused a different matter, namely that changes in the sun’s output radiation cause changes in earth climate parameters. One theory of such a mechanism is espoused by Henrik Svensmark and concerns solar particles effect upon albedo. That line of research is discussed in the post The Cosmoclimatology theory

A different investigation has been advanced by Dr.Indrani Roy, her most recent publication this month being a book Climate Variability and Sunspot Activity Analysis of the Solar Influence on Climate (H/T NoTricksZone).

The book is behind a paywall, but the abstract and chapter headings indicate a comprehensive approach.

Overview Climate Variability and Sunspot Activity (2018)

This book promotes a better understanding of the role of the sun on natural climate variability. It is a comprehensive reference book that appeals to an academic audience at the graduate, post-graduate and PhD level and can be used for lectures in climatology, environmental studies and geography.

This work is the collection of lecture notes as well as synthesized analyses of published papers on the described subjects. It comprises 18 chapters and is divided into three parts: Part I discusses general circulation, climate variability, stratosphere-troposphere coupling and various teleconnections. Part II mainly explores the area of different solar influences on climate. It also discusses various oceanic features and describes ocean-atmosphere coupling. But, without prior knowledge of other important influences on the earth’s climate, the understanding of the actual role of the sun remains incomplete. Hence, Part III covers burning issues such as greenhouse gas warming, volcanic influences, ozone depletion in the stratosphere, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, etc. At the end of the book, there are few questions and exercises for students. This book is based on the lecture series that was delivered at the University of Oulu, Finland as part of M.Sc./ PhD module.

Chapter Titles

  • Climatology and General Circulation
  • Major Modes of Variability
  • Stratosphere-Troposphere Coupling
  • Teleconnection Among Various Modes
  • Solar Influence Around Various Places: Robust Solar Signal on Climate
  • Total Solar Irradiance (TSI): Measurements and Reconstructions
  • Atmosphere-Ocean Coupling and Solar Variability
  • Ocean Coupling
  • The Sun and ENSO Connection–Contradictions and Reconciliations
  • A Debate: The Sun and the QBO
  • Solar Influence: ‘Top Down’ vs. ‘Bottom Up’
  • An Overview of Solar Influence on Climate
  • Other Major Influences on Climate
  • Sun: Atmosphere-Ocean Coupling – Possible Limitations
  • The Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice
  • CMIP5 Project and Some Results
  • Green House Gas Warming
  • Volcanic Influences
  • Ozone Depletion in the Stratosphere
  • Influence of Various Other Solar Outputs

To better appreciate Roy’s viewpoint, two of her previous publications provide the evidence and analytical thought behind her conclusions.  Published in 2010 with J.D. Haigh was Solar cycle signals in sea level pressure and sea surface temperature  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Summary of SLP and SST signals

We identify solar cycle signals in the North Pacific in 155 years of sea level pressure and sea surface temperature data. In SLP we find in the North Pacific a weakening of the Aleutian Low and a northward shift of the Hawaiian High in response to higher solar activity, confirming the results of previous authors using different techniques. We also find a broad reduction in pressure across the equatorial region but not the negative anomaly in the sub-tropics detected by vL07. In SST we identify the warmer and cooler regions in the North Pacific found by vL07 but instead of the strong Cold Event-like signal in tropical SSTs we detect a weak WE-like pattern in the 155 year dataset.

We find that the peak SSN years of the solar cycles have often coincided with the negative phase of ENSO so that analyses, such as that of vL07, based on composites of peak SSN years find a La Nina response. As the date of peak annual SSN generally falls a year or more in advance of the broader maximum of the 11-year solar cycle it follows that the peak of the DSO is likely to be associated with an El Nino-like pattern, as seen by White et al. (1997). An El Nino pattern is clearly portrayed in our regression analysis using only data from second half of the last century, but inclusion of ENSO as an independent regression index results in a significant diminution of the solar signal in tropical SST, showing further how an ENSO signal might be interpreted as due to the Sun.

Any mechanisms proposed to explain a solar influence should be consistent with the full length of the dataset, unless there are reasons to think otherwise, and analyses which incorporate data from all years, rather than selecting only those of peak SSN, represent more coherently the difference between periods of high and low solar activity on these timescales.

The SLP signal in mid-latitudes varies in phase with solar activity, and does not show the same modulation by ENSO phase as tropical SST, suggesting that the solar influence here is not driven by coupled-atmosphere-ocean effects but possibly by the impact of changes in the stratosphere resulting in expansion of the Hadley cell and poleward shift of the subtropical jets (Haigh et al., 2005). Given that climate model results in terms of tropical Pacific SST can be dependent on different ENSO variability within the models, our analysis indicates that the robustness of any proposed mechanism of the response to variations in solar irradiance needs to be analyzed in the context of ENSO variability where timing plays a crucial role.

Comment on Dr. Roy’s Methodology

It is challenging to grasp this approach and results because she respects the complexity of solar and climate dynamics.  For starters, she is not mining climate data in search of 11 year periodicities as others have done.  Dr. Roy takes the dates of observed SSN maxima and minima and compares with repeated effects in climate measurements.  Many readers will know that solar cycles are only quasi-11 years long; there is considerable irregularity.

Even more importantly, SSN do not peak midway in the cycle, but can appear early on and show additional peak(s) afterward. She defines minima and maxima in terms of SSN significantly lower or higher than the mean.  So Roy’s analysis is not simplistic, but correlates all years in the datasets comparing SSN with climate measures.

Dr. Roy also diligently analyzes confounding factors such as oceanic circulations and the influence of previous years upon succeeding years (system momentum).  For example, the above study discussed solar influence on Pacific SST and SLP.  This is presented in the following image:

Tropical Pacific SST composites using NOAA Extended V4 (ERSST) data for solar Max (Top) and Min years (Bottom) during DJF. Levels usually significant up to 95% level are overlaid by opposite coloured contour. Plots are generated using IDL software, version 8 with the data from NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their website at (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/).

Importantly, the analysis shows little to no solar influence upon the ENSO 3.4 ocean sector, but as the graph above shows the effect is much broader. Roy concludes that ENSO operates mostly independently of solar influence. Even more striking is the result for NH winter, showing solar minima associated with generally warmer SST and maxima generally cooler. Dr. Roy explains the solar influence in terms of two separate processes.  Bottom up is fluctuations in SSTs while top-down is UV effects upon the stratosphere extending downward expressed in SLP differentials.

For a discussion of the solar/climate mechanism there is  Solar cyclic variability can modulate winter Arctic climate by Indrani Roy  Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 4864 (2018). Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Abstract

This study investigates the role of the eleven-year solar cycle on the Arctic climate during 1979–2016. It reveals that during those years, when the winter solar sunspot number (SSN) falls below 1.35 standard deviations (or mean value), the Arctic warming extends from the lower troposphere to high up in the upper stratosphere and vice versa when SSN is above. The warming in the atmospheric column reflects an easterly zonal wind anomaly consistent with warm air and positive geopotential height anomalies for years with minimum SSN and vice versa for the maximum. Despite the inherent limitations of statistical techniques, three different methods – Compositing, Multiple Linear Regression and Correlation – all point to a similar modulating influence of the sun on winter Arctic climate via the pathway of Arctic Oscillation. Presenting schematics, it discusses the mechanisms of how solar cycle variability influences the Arctic climate involving the stratospheric route. Compositing also detects an opposite solar signature on Eurasian snow-cover, which is a cooling during Minimum years, while warming in maximum. It is hypothesized that the reduction of ice in the Arctic and a growth in Eurasia, in recent winters, may in part, be a result of the current weaker solar cycle.

Results

In summary, for solar Min years, the warm air column is associated with positive geopotential height anomalies and an easterly wind, which reverses during Max years. Such NAM feature is clearly evident supporting the hypothesis of communicating a solar signal to Arctic via winter NAM (North Annular Mode).

Above: Mechanism to describe the stratospheric pathway for solar cycle variability to influence the Arctic climate. Mechanisms for (a) discuss a route where perturbation in the upper stratospheric polar vortex is transported downwards and impacts the Arctic on a seasonal scale via the winter NAM (flowchart is presented on the right). Mechanisms for (b) discusses the route that involves upper stratospheric polar vortex, tropical lower stratosphere, Brewer-Dobson circulation and Ferrel cell (flowchart is presented to the left). It is created using images or clip art available from Powerpoint.

During DJF, Arctic sea ice extent suggests a strong correlation with SSN (99% significant) and even with AOD (95% significant) (Table 3a). SSN is also found to be strongly correlated with AO (95% significant). Figure 8a shows that significant correlation between Arctic sea ice extent and SSN is still present in other seasons as well. However, the correlation between SSN and AO is only significant in DJF, confirming that the possible route of solar influence on winter Arctic sea ice is via the AO. On the other hand, the influence of AO on Arctic sea ice extent is not present during winter. It is strongest during JJA, though fails to exceed a significant threshold of 95% level.

Results of Correlation Coefficient (c.c) between Sea Ice Extent and various other parameters. (a) Seasonal c.c. for four different seasons are presented using other parameters as SSN and AO, and (b) c.c. for the winter season in different regions using other parameters as AO and AMO. Significant levels of 95% and 99% using a students ‘t-test’ are marked by dashed line and dotted line respectively. Plots are prepared using IDL software, version 8.

In terms of oceanic longer-term variability, here we particularly focus on the AMO and find a strong connection between sea ice and AMO in winter, agreeing with previous studies45,46. Earlier discussions suggested that there are few differences in region A and B relating to trend (Figs S6 and S7), but correlation technique indicated a very strong anti-correlation between the winter AMO index and sea ice in all regions of our considerations (Fig. 8b)). Even using two different data sources (HadSST and ERSST) we arrive at similar results, and it is also true for overall sea ice extent. It could also be possible that, in region B, due to a strong presence of AO influence of the sun, it may mask some of the influence of the longer-term trend (seen in Fig. 2) to suggest a lesser trend, as also noted in Figs S6 and S7.

This Matters As We Reach Solar Minimum for Cycle 24

The latest observations show this solar cycle is over, perhaps the next one beginning.  With no sunspots seen since June, this is unusually quiet.

The solar surface at the moment is “Spotless” and has been for a month.

Summary

The sun is the primary source of energy in the earth/atmosphere system, but the actual role of the sun and related mechanisms to support varied regional climate responses and its seasonality around the world, are still poorly understood. Solar energy output varies in cycles, of which the 11-year cyclic variability is one of the most crucial ones. It causes differences in the amount of solar energy absorbed in the UV part of the spectrum within the upper stratosphere, varying from 6 to 8%. Such variation is believed to be one of the most important solar energy outputs to influence the climate of the earth and that knowledge of cyclic behaviour can also be used for future prediction purposes. Apart from solar UV related effects on earth’s climate, studies also identified effects related to solar particle precipitation.

Various studies have also detected an influence of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)22 and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) on Arctic sea ice. An association between the sun and ENSO are discussed in various research. Because of related complexities along with various linear and nonlinear couplings among major modes of variability, the role of the sun on Arctic air temperatures and sea ice extent and related mechanisms remains poorly understood/explored.

While many studies point to anthropogenic influences on the long-term sea ice decline, this study is motivated by the potential links between the sun and the surface climate through stratospheric processes. Alongside warming in the Arctic, a cooling is noticed around Eurasian sector despite continuing rise of greenhouse gas concentrations. Various modelling groups, however, made unsuccessful efforts to detect an association between Eurasian cooling and Arctic sea-ice decline. In this work, we evaluate the impact of the solar 11-year cycle, measured in terms of solar sunspot number (SSN), as a driving factor to modulate Arctic and surrounding climate. The influences of SSN on various surface parameters, such as Sea Level Pressure (SLP), Sea Surface Temperature (SST), and the polar stratosphere are well recognised. If there is indeed a link between the solar cycle and Arctic climate, it is possible that the 11-year solar cycle can be used to improve seasonal and decadal predictions of sea ice.  In the present study, we use a combination of observational and reanalysis datasets to uncover relationships between the sun’s variability and Arctic surface climate, via the modulation of NAM and downward propagation of anomaly from upper stratospheric winter polar vortex.

Our result suggests the latest rapid decline of sea ice around the Arctic in the recent winter decade/season could also have contributions from the current weaker solar cycle. The last 14 years are dominated by solar Min years and have only one Max. This is unlike other previous years, where the number of Max and Min years were evenly distributed (five each). The cumulative effect from the past 13 solar Min years could have played a role in the current record decline of the last winter, 2017. The current weaker solar cycle may also have contributions on increase in winter snow cover around the Eurasian sector.

Presenting schematics and flowcharts, we discussed mechanisms of how solar cycle variability influences Arctic climate. In the first route, perturbation in the upper stratospheric polar vortex is transported downwards and modulates the Arctic in a seasonal scale via the winter NAM. Another route was shown, which could involve upper stratospheric polar vortex, tropical lower stratosphere, Brewer-Dobson circulation and Ferrel cell. It could also reinforce the findings of the ‘Solar Max (Min) – cold (warm) Arctic’ scenario.