Climate Scientist Sues Over Hurt Feelings

Article By Alex Berezow — November 2, 2017 at American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) entitled:
Climate Scientist Mark Jacobson Sues Journal For $10M Over Hurt Feelings  Excerpts below with my bolds.

ACSH has been around since 1978. We have never seen anything like this.

Climate scientist Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University has sued the National Academy of Sciences, which publishes the prestigious journal PNAS, for publishing an article that disagreed with him. The lawsuit claims that Dr. Jacobson was libeled and slandered. He is suing to get the journal to retract the article.  For his hurt feelings and bruised ego, he also wants a big bag of money, $10 million to be precise

Let’s set aside the scientific arguments in this debate, which revolve around the feasibility of 100% renewable energy. Smart people can disagree about whether that is a technologically and economically achievable goal. The way smart (and mature) people handle their disagreements is in the pages of a peer-reviewed scientific journal. But, apparently, that’s no longer how things operate in our litigious society.

Dr. Jacobson published a paper in PNAS that other scientists found faulty. So, they published a rebuttal, which concluded that Dr. Jacobson’s analysis “involves errors, inappropriate methods, and implausible assumptions.” While this is considered rather harsh language for the scientific literature, critiquing the work of others occurs as a matter of routine. Indeed, questioning another scientist’s conclusions is a healthy and integral part of the pursuit of knowledge.

The ACSH article goes into the details and statements that suggest Jacobson’s hurt feelings are driving his actions.  But I want to put this dispute in a larger context.  For this is a powerful example of the misuse of scientific models that goes on flagrantly in climate science, but also in other fields.  The only difference here is Jacobson’s extreme measure of going to the courts to defend his model.  For background, consider the notion of Chameleon Models, a term invented by Paul Pfleiderer  (also of Stanford), and see how it applies to this conflict.

Chameleon2

Paul Pfleiderer has done a public service in calling attention to
The Misuse of Theoretical Models in Finance and Economics (here)
h/t to William Briggs for noticing and linking

He coins the term “Chameleon” for the abuse of models, and explains in the abstract of his article:

In this essay I discuss how theoretical models in finance and economics are used in ways that make them “chameleons” and how chameleons devalue the intellectual currency and muddy policy debates. A model becomes a chameleon when it is built on assumptions with dubious connections to the real world but nevertheless has conclusions that are uncritically (or not critically enough) applied to understanding our economy. I discuss how chameleons are created and nurtured by the mistaken notion that one should not judge a model by its assumptions, by the unfounded argument that models should have equal standing until definitive empirical tests are conducted, and by misplaced appeals to “as-if” arguments, mathematical elegance, subtlety, references to assumptions that are “standard in the literature,” and the need for tractability.

Chameleon Climate Models

Pfleiderer is writing about his specialty, financial models, and even more particularly banking systems, and gives several examples of how dysfunctional is the problem. As we shall see below, climate models are an order of magnitude more complicated, and abused in the same way, only more flagrantly.

As the analogy suggests, a chameleon model changes color when it is moved to a different context. When politicians and activists refer to climate models, they assert the model outputs as “Predictions”. The media is rife with examples, but here is one from Climate Concern UK

Some predicted Future Effects of Climate Change

  • Increased average temperatures: the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) predict a global rise of between 1.1ºC and 6.4ºC by 2100 depending on some scientific uncertainties and the extent to which the world decreases or increases greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 50% less rainfall in the tropics. Severe water shortages within 25 years – potentially affecting 5 billion people. Widespread crop failures.
  • 50% more river volume by 2100 in northern countries.
  • Desertification and burning down of vast areas of agricultural land and forests.
  • Continuing spread of malaria and other diseases, including from a much increased insect population in UK. Respiratory illnesses due to poor air quality with higher temperatures.
  • Extinction of large numbers of animal and plant species.
  • Sea level rise: due to both warmer water (greater volume) and melting ice. The IPCC predicts between 28cm and 43cm by 2100, with consequent high storm wave heights, threatening to displace up to 200 million people. At worst, if emissions this century were to set in place future melting of both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps, sea level would eventually rise approx 12m.

Now that alarming list of predictions is a claim to forecast what will be the future of the actual world as we know it.

Now for the switcheroo. When climate models are referenced by scientists or agencies likely to be held legally accountable for making claims, the model output is transformed into “Projections.” The difference is more than semantics:
Prediction: What will actually happen in the future.
Projection: What will possibly happen in the future.

In other words, the climate model has gone from the bookshelf world (possibilities) to the world of actualities and of policy decision-making.  The step of applying reality filters to the climate models (verification) is skipped in order to score political and public relations points.

The ultimate proof of this is the existence of legal disclaimers exempting the modelers from accountability. One example is from ClimateData.US

Disclaimer NASA NEX-DCP30 Terms of Use

The maps are based on NASA’s NEX-DCP30 dataset that are provided to assist the science community in conducting studies of climate change impacts at local to regional scales, and to enhance public understanding of possible future climate patterns and climate impacts at the scale of individual neighborhoods and communities. The maps presented here are visual representations only and are not to be used for decision-making. The NEX-DCP30 dataset upon which these maps are derived is intended for use in scientific research only, and use of this dataset or visualizations for other purposes, such as commercial applications, and engineering or design studies is not recommended without consultation with a qualified expert. (my bold)

Conclusion:

Whereas some theoretical models can be immensely useful in developing intuitions, in essence a theoretical model is nothing more than an argument that a set of conclusions follows from a given set of assumptions. Being logically correct may earn a place for a theoretical model on the bookshelf, but when a theoretical model is taken off the shelf and applied to the real world, it is important to question whether the model’s assumptions are in accord with what we know about the world. Is the story behind the model one that captures what is important or is it a fiction that has little connection to what we see in practice? Have important factors been omitted? Are economic agents assumed to be doing things that we have serious doubts they are able to do? These questions and others like them allow us to filter out models that are ill suited to give us genuine insights. To be taken seriously models should pass through the real world filter.

Chameleons are models that are offered up as saying something significant about the real world even though they do not pass through the filter. When the assumptions of a chameleon are challenged, various defenses are made (e.g., one shouldn’t judge a model by its assumptions, any model has equal standing with all other models until the proper empirical tests have been run, etc.). In many cases the chameleon will change colors as necessary, taking on the colors of a bookshelf model when challenged, but reverting back to the colors of a model that claims to apply the real world when not challenged.

A model becomes a chameleon when it is built on assumptions with dubious connections to the real world but nevertheless has conclusions that are uncritically (or not critically enough) applied to understanding our economy. Chameleons are not just mischievous they can be harmful − especially when used to inform policy and other decision making − and they devalue the intellectual currency.

Thank you Dr. Pfleiderer for showing us how the sleight-of-hand occurs in economic considerations. The same abuse prevails in the world of climate science.


Paul Pfleiderer, Stanford University Faculty
C.O.G. Miller Distinguished Professor of Finance
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law (by courtesy), School of Law

Postscript:  Now we have a scientist whose model has been reality tested and found wanting by others. His response is filing a lawsuit to make the criticism go away, and to levy a penalty so heavy that no model would ever again be challenged. Onward into the post-modern abyss.

Footnote:

There are a series of posts here which apply reality filters to attest climate models.  The first was Temperatures According to Climate Models where both hindcasting and forecasting were seen to be flawed.

Others in the Series are:

Sea Level Rise: Just the Facts

Data vs. Models #1: Arctic Warming

Data vs. Models #2: Droughts and Floods

Data vs. Models #3: Disasters

Data vs. Models #4: Climates Changing

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Old Arctic Ice Recovers

Click on image to enlarge.

Update November 5 at end of post

These charts come from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia. I downloaded the images from 2008 through 2017 without collusion from their publicly accessible website (here).

The brown blob in the middle is older ice surviving at least one summer’s melt, with the colors for first year and young ice shown in the enlarged legend above.

The 2007 chart is in a different format so appears separately.  The 2007 coverage is limited on the North American side, but it does show how much of the Central Arctic multi-year ice was gone in 2007. The subsequent charts show recovery with a decline in 2012 (Great Arctic Cyclone year), followed by increases, especially this year.

As discussed in previous posts, the technology for remotely sensing ice thickness is immature, so multi-year ice serves as a proxy.

Update: Background in response to Caleb’s query

Caleb asked about Russian satellite data sources possibly substituting for US ones going out of service.

I found a 2009 presentation in English which answers most of this. Russian Space Infrastructure applied in the Arctic: sea ice application within Roshydromet  by Vasily Smolyanitsky, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI). Excerpts and images below.  Read the full report to appreciate the scale of their efforts.

Data acquisition
Coastal weather polar stations of Roshydromet make daily visual and instrumental ice observations on sea ice concentration and stages of ice development, ice thickness, forms of ice, ice drift and other phenomena. Icebreakers and icebreaking vessels on the NSR routes routinely (commonly once a day) report the main ice parameters describing ice navigation. Before 1994 aircraft ice reconnaissance flights were conducted in the Arctic usually on a monthly basis from November to April and on a 10-day internal during the summer navigation period.

Since 1995 aircraft (mostly helicopter) ice reconnaissance flights are conducted only occasionally during tailored hydrometeorological support of applied and scientific activities in the Eurasian Arctic. The scope of ice information collected during air ice reconnaissance includes visual observations on a full scope of sea ice parameters essential for navigation and marine safety (egg-code, icebergs, openings, dynamics, surface features). Though being nowadays not the prime sources, the stated information (coastal, aircraft) is continuously used for validation of the sea ice analysis and prognostic products at the ice centers.

The AARI and Planet satellite reception stations provide operational optical imagery for the Arctic Ocean and North Pacific from a series of satellites (NOAA, EOS TERRA, Aqua, Suomi NPP, FY3, Meteor, Ocean). Information for other regions (e.g. Antarctic), from other satellites and ranges (Sentinel-1,2,3, Radarsat-2, TerraSar-X, etc.) is received via Internet from corresponding data portals directly or from commercial satellite data providers. All data are further processed within ice information systems and utilized for regional, pan-Arctic or pan-Antarctic sea-ice analysis. Sample satellite products are available via the AARI and Planet web pages.

Most of the mentioned satellites are accessed by others with the exception of Meteor, operated by Russia.  Yes, they have numerous meteorological satellites as shown in this image:

According to the presentation, their plans called for additional Electro and Meteor platforms, as well as a new satellite type called Arctica.   It is not clear to what extent the sensors on these birds replicate the microwave data.

Suppressing Climate

The above video is how I first heard of PragerU.  Now the nonprofit organization is suing Google and Youtube for their ideological bias in suppressing Prager’s videos.

PragerU Sues YouTube For Discriminating Against Conservative Videos
is an article by Ben Weingarten at The Federalist.  Excerpts below with my bolds.

Those blackballed from social media platforms for sharing views dissenting from prevailing progressive Silicon Valley orthodoxy have to date had little recourse against the tech speech police. That is why PragerU’s newly filed suit against Google and Google-owned YouTube alleging unlawful censorship and free speech discrimination based on the educational video purveyor’s conservative political viewpoint has the potential to be groundbreaking.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, details upwards of 50 PragerU educational videos that YouTube has, in PragerU’s view, unjustifiably slapped with “restricted mode” or “demonetization” filters, violating its First Amendment right to free speech. These filters limit or otherwise prevent viewers, based on characteristics like age, from consuming content deemed “inappropriate.”

More arguably provocative videos touch on topics such as Islamic terrorism, campus rape, and gender identity. According the suit, “The videos do not contain any profanity, nudity, or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content. The censored videos fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.” Moreover, PragerU illustrates that comparable videos from non-conservative sources like BuzzFeedVideo, CNN, and “Real Time with Bill Maher” have not been subjected to such filters.

Leaving aside the inherent subjectivity for a moment, if PragerU’s content is “appropriate,” and other publishers are able to upload similar content without being penalized, then what better explanation is there for YouTube’s censorship than viewpoint discrimination? PragerU’s dealings with YouTube over its content restrictions only strengthen the validity of this question.

As PragerU summarizes it:

Google/YouTube seek to justify…[its] animus and bias [towards PragerU’s political identity and viewpoint] not by claiming that PragerU has violated YouTube’s restricted content guidelines or criteria, but by arguing that they retain unfettered discretion to censor any video content that they deem “inappropriate,” no matter how subjective, baseless, or arbitrary that decision is…For over one year, PragerU has worked patiently and cooperatively to try to resolve the censorship issues that comprise this Lawsuit. In response, Google/YouTube have provided vague, misleading, confusing, and often contradictory information that not only has prevented resolution of the issues, but constitutes further evidence and indicia that their restricted mode filtering applied to PragerU is based on Defendants’ [Google/YouTube’s] intentional discrimination and animus

That as unimpeachable a source as the video-producing nonprofit PragerU is challenging YouTube should serve as a powerful signal that conservatives and others whose views social media companies deem unworthy will no longer permit their rights to be trampled upon. This is significant regardless of the case’s outcome.

PragerU’s efforts are essential, and may serve as the vanguard of a successful lawfare effort. But while legal action is necessary, it is by no means a sufficient and sure safeguard of our rights. As we have seen time and time again, judges routinely permit our liberties to erode, and sometimes actively assist. Preserving free speech, like all of our cherished freedoms, requires constant vigilance and persistent defense.

More on biased public and social media:

Media Duping Scandal

Ideological Fault Lines

Yellow Climate Journalism

 

October Arctic Ice is Back

Given the fluctuations in daily sea ice measurements, climatology typically relies on monthly averages. October daily extents are now fully reported and the 2017 October monthly results can be compared with years of the previous decade.  MASIE showed 2017 reached 6.8M km2, exceeding the 6.6M October 10 year average.  SII was close behind at 6.7M for the month.  The 11 year linear trend is more upward for MASIE, mainly due to early years, especially 2007 and 2008 reported higher in SII.  In either case, one can easily see the Arctic ice extents have not declined; MASIE shows 2017  higher than 2016 by 800k km2, and more than 2007 by 1M km2.

Sea Ice Index statistics are from newly released SIIv.3.0,  as reported in Sea Ice Index Updates to v.3.0.

The graph below shows October comparisons through day 304 (Oct. 31).

Note that 2017 in both MASIE and SII tracked the 10 year average, higher most of the month, and slipping behind toward the end.  SII is now about 200k km2 less than MASIE. 2012 recovered strongly, doubling in extent after being decimated by the August Great Arctic Cyclone. 2007 shows a inexplicable one-day jump, taking it close to average.  The lackluster 2016 recovery is also evident.

The narrative from activist ice watchers is along these lines:  2017 minimum was not especially low, but it is very thin.  “The Arctic is on thin ice.”  They are basing that notion on PIOMAS, a model-based estimate of ice volumes, combining extents with estimated thickness.  That technology is not mature, with only a decade or so of remote sensing.

The formation of ice this year does not appear thin, since it is concentrated in the central Arctic.  Watch the October refreezing of the Arctic from the center outward.

Click on image to enlarge.

The table shows ice extents in the regions for 2017, 10 year averages and 2016 for day 304. Decadal averages refer to 2007 through 2016 inclusive.

Region 2017304 Day 304
Average
2017-Ave. 2016304 2017-2016
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8428497 8573788 -145291 7185945 1242552
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 887831 951687 -63856 783272 104559
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 417848 482569 -64721 302185 115663
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 983865 951426 32439 594464 389401
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897755 895915 1840 897039 717
 (5) Kara_Sea 444222 480151 -35929 129998 314224
 (6) Barents_Sea 70256 87612 -17355 13373 56883
 (7) Greenland_Sea 311020 418465 -107445 317193 -6173
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 359489 254836 104653 195003 164486
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 777359 782350 -4990 728887 48473
 (10) Hudson_Bay 94614 76344 18270 71839 22775
 (11) Central_Arctic 3166490 3180626 -14136 3143363 23127

NH extent is slightly below average due to deficits in Beaufort and Chukchi.  East Siberian is growing while Laptev is maxed out. Other seas are around average except for Greenland Sea down, offset by Baffin Bay being up.

Summary

Earlier observations showed that Arctic ice extents were low in the 1940s, grew thereafter up to a peak in 1977, before declining.  That decline was gentle until 1994 which started a decade of multi-year ice loss through the Fram Strait.  There was also a major earthquake under the north pole in that period.  In any case, the effects and the decline ceased in 2007, 30 years after the previous peak.  Now we have a plateau in ice extents, which could be the precursor of a growing phase of the quasi-60 year Arctic ice oscillation.

Background on MASIE Data Sources

MASIE reports are generated by National Ice Center from the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:

Platform(s) AQUA, DMSP, DMSP 5D-3/F17, GOES-10, GOES-11, GOES-13, GOES-9, METEOSAT, MSG, MTSAT-1R, MTSAT-2, NOAA-14, NOAA-15, NOAA-16, NOAA-17, NOAA-18, NOAA-N, RADARSAT-2, SUOMI-NPP, TERRA

Sensor(s): AMSU-A, ATMS, AVHRR, GOES I-M IMAGER, MODIS, MTSAT 1R Imager, MTSAT 2 Imager, MVIRI, SAR, SEVIRI, SSM/I, SSMIS, VIIRS

Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts. Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995). The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice. With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November, 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February, 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology was preserved during the migration. Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on horizon.

http://www.natice.noaa.gov/ims/ims_1.html

Footnote

Some people unhappy with the higher amounts of ice extent shown by MASIE continue to claim that Sea Ice Index is the only dataset that can be used. This is false in fact and in logic. Why should anyone accept that the highest quality picture of ice day to day has no shelf life, that one year’s charts can not be compared with another year? Researchers do this, including Walt Meier in charge of Sea Ice Index. That said, I understand his interest in directing people to use his product rather than one he does not control. As I have said before:

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and continues the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting using modern technologies. More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset

 

Climate Medicine Bonn Update

Climate Quakery

With Bonn COP23 set to start next week, the media is awash with claims that climate change is an international public health crisis.  For example, in just one day from Google news:

Climate change isn’t just hurting the planet – it’s a public health emergency–The Guardian

Climate change’s impact on human health is already here — and is ‘potentially irreversible,’ report says –USA TODAY

Climate Change Is Bad for Your Health–New York Times

From heat stress to malnutr­ition, climate change is already making us sick–The Verge

As Richard Lindzen predicted, everyone wants on the climate bandwagon, because that is where the money is.  Medical scientists are pushing for their share of the pie, as evidenced by the Met office gathering on Assessing the Global Impacts of Climate and Extreme Weather on Health and Well-Being (following Paris COP).  Not coincidentally, the 2nd Global Conference on Health and Climate was held July 7-8, 2016 in Paris.  Now we have the American Public Health Association declaring:

2017 is the Year of Climate Change and Health

“We’re committed to making sure the nation knows about the effects of climate change on health. If anyone doesn’t think this is a severe problem, they are fooling themselves.” — APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, in The Washington Post

The new field of Climate Medicine is evidenced by a slew of new organizations and studies.  In addition to numerous agencies set up within WHO and the UN, and governmental entities (such as the Met Office), there are many NGOs, such as:

Health Care Without Harm
Health and Environment Alliance
Health and Climate Foundation
Climate and Health Council
United States National Association of County and City Health Officials
Care International
Global Gender and Climate Alliance / Women’s Environment and   Development Organization
International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations
Climate Change and Human Health Programme, Columbia U.
Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard
National Center for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANC Canberra
Centre for Sustainability and the Global Environment, U of Wisconsin
Environmental Change Institute, Oxford
London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, UK
International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change, US National Academies of Science
US Climate and Health Alliance
Etc, etc., etc.

Of course, they are encouraged and abetted by the IPCC.

From the Fifth Assessment Report:

Until mid-century, projected climate change will impact human health mainly by exacerbating health problems that already exist (very high confidence). Throughout the 21st century, climate change is expected to lead to increases in ill-health in many regions and especially in developing countries with low income, as compared to a baseline without climate change (high confidence). By 2100 for RCP8.5, the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year is expected to compromise common human activities, including growing food and working outdoors (high confidence). {2.3.2}

In urban areas climate change is projected to increase risks for people, assets, economies and ecosystems, including risks from heat stress, storms and extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, landslides, air pollution, drought, water scarcity, sea level rise and storm surges (very high confidence). These risks are amplified for those lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in exposed areas. {2.3.2}

Feared Climate Health Impacts Are Unsupported by Scientific Research

NIPCC has a compendium of peer-reviewed studies on this issue and provides these findings (here)

Key Findings: Human Health
• Warmer temperatures lead to a decrease in temperature-related mortality, including deaths associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and strokes. The evidence of this benefit comes from research conducted in every major country of the world.

• In the United States the average person who died because of cold temperature exposure lost in excess of 10 years of potential life, whereas the average person who died because of hot temperature exposure likely lost no more than a few days or weeks of life.

• In the U.S., some 4,600 deaths are delayed each year as people move from cold northeastern states to warm southwestern states. Between 3 and 7% of the gains in longevity experienced over the past three decades was due simply to people moving to warmer states.

• Cold-related deaths are far more numerous than heat-related deaths in the United States, Europe, and almost all countries outside the tropics. Coronary and cerebral thrombosis account for about half of all cold-related mortality.

• Global warming is reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases related to low temperatures and wintry weather by a much greater degree than it increases the incidence of cardiovascular diseases associated with high temperatures and summer heat waves.

• A large body of scientific examination and research contradict the claim that malaria will expand across the globe and intensify as a result of CO2 -induced warming.

• Concerns over large increases in vector-borne diseases such as dengue as a result of rising temperatures are unfounded and unsupported by the scientific literature, as climatic indices are poor predictors for dengue disease.

• While temperature and climate largely determine the geographical distribution of ticks, they are not among the significant factors determining the incidence of tick-borne diseases.

• The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is not only raising the productivity of Earth’s common food plants but also significantly increasing the quantity and potency of the many healthpromoting substances found in their tissues, which are the ultimate sources of sustenance for essentially all animals and humans.

• Atmospheric CO2 enrichment positively impacts the production of numerous health-promoting substances found in medicinal or “health food” plants, and this phenomenon may have contributed to the increase in human life span that has occurred over the past century or so.

• There is little reason to expect any significant CO2 -induced increases in human-health-harming substances produced by plants as atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise.

Source: Chapter 7. “Human Health,” Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts (Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute, 2014).
Full text of Chapter 7 and references on Human health begins pg. 955 of the full report here

Summary

Advances in medical science and public health have  benefited billions of people with longer and higher quality lives.  Yet this crucial social asset has joined the list of those fields corrupted by the dash for climate cash. Increasingly, medical talent and resources are diverted into inventing bogeymen and studying imaginary public health crises.

Economists Francesco Boselloa, Roberto Roson and Richard Tol conducted an exhaustive study called Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health

After reviewing all the research and crunching the numbers, they concluded that achieving one degree of global warming by 2050 will, on balance, save more than 800,000 lives annually.

Not only is the warming not happening, we would be more healthy if it did.

Oh, Dr. Frankenmann, what have you wrought?

Footnote:  More proof against Climate Medicine

From: Gasparrini et al: Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study. The Lancet, May 2015

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

“It’s often assumed that extreme weather causes the majority of deaths, with most previous research focusing on the effects of extreme heat waves,” says lead author Dr Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK. “Our findings, from an analysis of the largest dataset of temperature-related deaths ever collected, show that the majority of these deaths actually happen on moderately hot and cold days, with most deaths caused by moderately cold temperatures.”

Now in 2017, Lancet sets the facts aside in order to prostrate itself before the global warming altar:

Christiana Figueres, chair of the Lancet Countdown’s high-level advisory board and former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “The report lays bare the impact that climate change is having on our health today. It also shows that tackling climate change directly, unequivocally and immediately improves global health. It’s as simple as that.’’

 

 

 

Climate Law Alaska Update

 

The Alaska Supreme Court hears arguments in the Boney Courthouse in Anchorage .

Our Children’s Trust is at it again. The activist legal organization with deep pockets recruits idealistic teenagers to front for lawsuits so that the courts will order governments to reduce CO2 emissions. The arena is again the Supreme Court of Alaska, a soft target since it is predisposed to hear cases from disgruntled citizens. More on the latest case later on.

And who are the adults involved in  Our Children’s Trust?

Supporting Experts (the usual suspects)

Dr. James Hansen
Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
Dr. Sivan Kartha
Dr. Pushker Kharecha
Dr. David Lobell
Dr. Arjun Makhijani
Dr. Jonathan Overpeck
Dr. Camille Parmeson
Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf
Dr. Steven Running
Dr. James Gustave Speth
Dr. Kevin Trenberth
Dr. Lise Van Susteren
Dr. Paul Epstein (1943-2011)
Etc

Campaign Partners (Allies whose funding depends on CO2 Hysteria)

Climate Reality Project,
Western Environmental Law Center,
Crag Law Center,
Texas Environmental Law Center,
Cottonwood Environmental Law Center,
WildEarth Guardians,
Clean Air Council,
Global Campaign for Climate Action,
Chasing Ice,
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide,
TERRA,
Sierra Club,
350.org,
Climate Solutions,
Greenwatch,
Center for International Environmental Law..
Greenpeace
etc.

The Current Legal Skirmish

The October 27 news story is Young Alaskans sue the state, demanding action on climate change

Sixteen young Alaskans are suing the state, demanding Gov. Bill Walker’s administration take action on climate change.

It’s the second such legal action in the last six years. In 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court dismissed a similar lawsuit, Kanuk v Alaska, from six young people asking the state to reduce carbon emissions, among other recommendations. The justices ruled then that it’s not for the courts to set climate policy and that those decisions must be made through the political process, by the Legislature and the governor.

The new lawsuit says, essentially, the state has made its choice, and by encouraging oil development and permitting projects that emit greenhouse gases, Alaska is actively making climate change worse. The plaintiffs argue that violates their constitutional rights to, among other things, “a stable climate system that sustains human life and liberty.”

Alaska Court Not a Pushover

In 2014 the Alaska Supremes expressed respect for the youth while holding firmly to the law. Their reasoning is sound and adds to precedent against these attempts to legislate through the courts. From Alaska Supreme Court Opinion No sp-6953, Kanuk v Alaska (2014). Excerpts below with my bolds.

First Issue:  Do Plaintiffs have Legal Standing?

We recognize two types of standing: interest-injury standing and citizen taxpayer standing. The plaintiffs here claim interest-injury standing, which means they must show a “sufficient personal stake in the outcome of the controversy to ensure the requisite adversity.

Accepting these allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs’ favor, as courts are required to do on a motion to dismiss, we conclude that the complaint shows direct injury to a range of recognizable interests. Especially in light of our broad interpretation of standing and our policy of promoting citizen access to the courts, the plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to establish standing.

Second Issue: Are the Claims “Justiciable”?

Deciding whether a claim is justiciable depends on the answers to several questions. These include;
(1) whether deciding the claim would require us to answer questions that are better directed to the legislative or executive branches of government (the “political question” doctrine), and; 
(2) whether there are other reasons — such as ripeness, mootness, or standing — that persuade us that, though the case is one we are institutionally capable of deciding, prudence counsels that we not do so.

Among the plaintiffs’ claims in this case are requests that the superior court
(1) declare that the State’s obligation to protect the atmosphere be “dictated by best available science and that said science requires carbon dioxide emissions to peak in 2012 and be reduced by at least 6% each year until 2050”;
(2) order the State to reduce  emissions “by at least 6% per year from 2013 through at least 2050”; and
(3) order the State “to prepare a full and accurate accounting of Alaska’s current carbon dioxide emissions and to do so annually thereafter.”

We conclude that these three claims are non-justiciable under several of the Baker factors, most obviously the third: “the impossibility of deciding [them] without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion.”

While the science of anthropogenic climate change is compelling, government reaction to the problem implicates realms of public policy besides the objectively scientific. The legislature — or an executive agency entrusted with rule-making authority in this area — may decide that employment, resource development, power generation, health, culture, or other economic and social interests militate against implementing what the plaintiffs term the “best available science” in order to combat climate change.

We cannot say that an executive or legislative body that weighs the benefits and detriments to the public and then opts for an approach that differs from the plaintiffs’ proposed “best available science” would be wrong as a matter of law, nor can we hasten the regulatory process by imposing our own judicially created scientific standards. The underlying policy choices are not ours to make in the first instance.

This court, too, “lack[s] the scientific, economic, and technological resources an agency can utilize”; we too “are confined by [the] record” and “may not commission scientific studies or convene groups of experts for advice, or issue rules under notice-and-comment procedures.” The limited institutional role of the judiciary supports a conclusion that the science- and policy-based inquiry here is better reserved for executive branch agencies or the legislature, just as in AEP the inquiry was better reserved for the EPA.

Third Issue: Is a Declaratory Judgment Appropriate?

The remaining issue for us to address, therefore, is whether the plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory judgment — absent the prospect of any concrete relief — still present an “actual controversy” that is appropriate for our determination. We conclude they do not.

Applying these criteria here militates against granting the declaratory relief that the plaintiffs request. First, their request for a judgment that the State “has failed to uphold its fiduciary obligations” with regard to the atmosphere cannot be granted once the court has declined, on political question grounds, to determine precisely what those obligations entail.

As for the remaining claims — that the atmosphere is an asset of the public trust, with the State as trustee and the public as beneficiaries— the plaintiffs do make a good case. The Alaska Legislature has already intimated that the State acts as  trustee with regard to the air just as it does with regard to other natural resources. We note, however, that our past application of public trust principles has been as a restraint on the State’s ability to restrict public access to public resources, not as a theory for compelling regulation of those resources, as the plaintiffs seek to use it here.

Although declaring the atmosphere to be subject to the public trust doctrine could serve to clarify the legal relations at issue, it would certainly not “settle” them. It would have no immediate impact on greenhouse gas emissions in Alaska, it would not compel the State to take any particular action, nor would it protect the plaintiffs from the injuries they allege in their complaint. Declaratory relief would not tell the State what it needs to do in order to satisfy its trust duties and thus avoid future litigation; conversely it would not provide the plaintiffs any certain basis on which to determine in the future whether the State has breached its duties as trustee. In short, the declaratory judgment sought by the plaintiffs would not significantly advance the goals of “terminat[ing] and afford[ing] relief from the uncertainty, insecurity, and controversy giving rise to the proceeding” and would thus fail to serve the principal prudential goals of declaratory relief.

Scales of justice Alaska Commons

Conclusion

The Alaska Supreme Justices seem to be on their game, using their heads rather than succumbing to green threats, fears and prophecies.  But the whole charade is disgusting.

This is as obscene as brainwashing young Muslims to be suicide bombers. Or terrorists hiding among families to deter the drone strikes. The fact that the kids are willing is no excuse.

Think of the children! How will they feel a decade from now when they realize they have been duped and exploited by activists who figured judges would be more sympathetic to young believers?

Footnote for those not aware of Aliases for the Usual Suspects:

James “Death Trains” Hansen
Ove “Reefer Mad” Hoegh-Guldberg
Jonathan “Water Torture” Overpeck
Camille “The Extincter” Parmeson
Stefan “No Tommorow” Rahmstorf
Kevin “Hidden Heat” Trenberth

Arctic Seas Filling with Ice

click on image to enlarge.

Extents expanded rapidly during the last 12 days of October through yesterday, especially on the Eurasian side.   At the top center Laptev Sea fills in completely, and to the left East Siberian Sea is also growing solid ice toward East Asia. Kara sea on the right is growing fast ice from the shore outward, while Barents Sea fills in from the central Arctic.

The graph compares extents over the 28 days of October.
2017 has surpassed 8.1M km2, close to the 10 year average, and 700k km2 more than 2012.  2007 lags 925k km2 lower than 2017, while 2016 is 1M km2 behind.  At this point MASIE and SII are showing similar ice gains in October, tracking the 10-year average.

The Table below shows where ice is located on day 301 in regions of the Arctic ocean. 10 year average comes from 2007 through 2016 inclusive.

Region 2017301 Day 301
Average
2017-Ave. 2007301 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8144166 8170174 -26008 7217625 926541
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 866727 897500 -30773 933022 -66295
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 374051 451466 -77415 202567 171484
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 915679 872509 43170 327344 588336
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897755 876350 21406 885761 11995
 (5) Kara_Sea 444927 384807 60120 243253 201674
 (6) Barents_Sea 99229 59612 39617 27244 71985
 (7) Greenland_Sea 280222 416824 -136602 433620 -153398
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 284534 221179 63355 179395 105139
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 763764 754817 8947 739551 24213
 (10) Hudson_Bay 36124 66028 -29904 54271 -18147
 (11) Central_Arctic 3169661 3160785 8876 3190324 -20663

The deficits to average are mainly in Chukchi and Greenland Seas, while surpluses are large on Eurasian side from East Siberian, through Laptev, Kara and Barents.  Baffin Bay is also ahead of average.

Halloween is Coming!

Footnote

Some people unhappy with the higher amounts of ice extent shown by MASIE continue to claim that Sea Ice Index is the only dataset that can be used. This is false in fact and in logic. Why should anyone accept that the highest quality picture of ice day to day has no shelf life, that one year’s charts can not be compared with another year? Researchers do this analysis, including Walt Meier in charge of Sea Ice Index. That said, I understand his interest in directing people to use his product rather than one he does not control. As I have said before:

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and uses modern technologies to continue the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting.  More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset

Note:  Sea Ice Index (SII) is reporting extents according to version 3.0 as of October 20, 2017. Details at:
Sea Ice Index Updates to v.3.0

Footnote on MASIE Data Sources: 

National Ice Center (NIC) produces ice charts using the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:

Platform(s) AQUA, DMSP, DMSP 5D-3/F17, GOES-10, GOES-11, GOES-13, GOES-9, METEOSAT, MSG, MTSAT-1R, MTSAT-2, NOAA-14, NOAA-15, NOAA-16, NOAA-17, NOAA-18, NOAA-N, RADARSAT-2, SUOMI-NPP, TERRA

Sensor(s): AMSU-A, ATMS, AVHRR, GOES I-M IMAGER, MODIS, MTSAT 1R Imager, MTSAT 2 Imager, MVIRI, SAR, SEVIRI, SSM/I, SSMIS, VIIRS

Historical Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts. Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995). The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice. With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November, 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February, 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology was preserved during the migration. Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on horizon.

http://www.natice.noaa.gov/ims/ims_1.html

 

 

Global Ocean Cooling in September

September Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we see downward spikes in ocean temps everywhere, led by sharp decreases in the Tropics and SH, reversing the bump upward last month. The Tropical cooling in particular factors into forecasters favoring an unusually late La Nina appearance in coming months.

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.

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through September 2017.

The August bump upward was overcome with the Global average matching the lowest level in the chart at February 2015.  September NH temps almost erased a three-month climb; even so 9/2017 is well below the previous two years.  Meanwhile SH and the Tropics are setting new lows for this period.  With current reports from the El Nino 3.4 grid sector, it seems likely October will go even lower, with downward moves across all oceans.

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 to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two 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.

Note:  Last month someone asked about HadSST calculations, especially as the Global appeared to be a simple average of NH and SH, which would be misleading.  My queries to Met Office received these clarifying responses:

My colleague in the Climate Monitoring and Research team has advised the following:

For HadSST3, we take an area-weighted average of all the grid boxes with data in to calculate the global average. We don’t calculate the two hemispheric series and then average them. In the case of SST, this wouldn’t work because the southern hemisphere ocean area is larger than the northern hemisphere.

The uncertainty that arises from incomplete sampling is estimated and incorporated into the global average SST files. Coverage varies throughout the record with the northern hemisphere being generally better observed, but at other times, coverage is concentrated other places, dictated by where shipping happened to be at those times. Since the mid 2000s drifting buoys have provided a more uniform sampling of the world’s oceans. When we compare to other data sets, we typically compare where both data sets have data which minimizes the coverage problems.

Kind regards,  Misha,  Weather Desk Climate Advisor

Summary

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Yet HadSST3 data for the last two years show how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean

The best context for understanding these two years 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 these years.

Solar energy accumulates massively in the ocean and is variably released during circulation events.

 

Bonn COP23 Briefing for Realists

 

STEPHANE KIEHL POUR “LE MONDE”

French Mathematicians spoke out prior to COP21 in Paris, and their words provide a rational briefing for COP23 beginning in Bonn next month.  In a nutshell:

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.  Here are extracts from the opening statements of the first three chapters of the SCM White Paper with my bolds and images.

Sisyphus at work.

Chapter 1: The crusade is absurd
There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude that the world‘s climate is in any way ‘disturbed.’ It is variable, as it has always been, but rather less so now than during certain periods or geological eras. Modern methods are far from being able to accurately measure the planet‘s global temperature even today, so measurements made 50 or 100 years ago are even less reliable. Concentrations of CO2 vary, as they always have done; the figures that are being released are biased and dishonest. Rising sea levels are a normal phenomenon linked to upthrust buoyancy; they are nothing to do with so-called global warming. As for extreme weather events — they are no more frequent now than they have been in the past. We ourselves have processed the raw data on hurricanes….

Chapter 2: The crusade is costly
Direct aid for industries that are completely unviable (such as photovoltaics and wind turbines) but presented as ‘virtuous’ runs into billions of euros, according to recent reports published by the Cour des Comptes (French Audit Office) in 2013. But the highest cost lies in the principle of ‘energy saving,’ which is presented as especially virtuous. Since no civilization can develop when it is saving energy, ours has stopped developing: France now has more than three million people unemployed — it is the price we have to pay for our virtue….

Chapter 3: The crusade is pointless
Human beings cannot, in any event, change the climate. If we in France were to stop all industrial activity (let’s not talk about our intellectual activity, which ceased long ago), if we were to eradicate all trace of animal life, the composition of the atmosphere would not alter in any measurable, perceptible way. To explain this, let us make a comparison with the rotation of the planet: it is slowing down. To address that, we might be tempted to ask the entire population of China to run in an easterly direction. But, no matter how big China and its population are, this would have no measurable impact on the Earth‘s rotation.

Full text in pdf format is available in English at link below:

The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade
White Paper drawn up by the Société de Calcul Mathématique SA
(Mathematical Modelling Company, Corp.)

A Second report was published in 2016 entitled: Global Warming and Employment, which analyzes in depth the economic destruction from ill-advised climate change policies.

The two principal themes are that jobs are disappearing and that the destructive forces are embedded in our societies.

Jobs are Disappearing discusses issues such as:

The State is incapable of devising and implementing an industrial policy.

The fundamental absurdity of the concept of sustainable development

Biofuels an especially absurd policy leading to ridiculous taxes and job losses.

EU policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% drives jobs elsewhere while being pointless: the planet has never asked for it, is completely unaware of it, and will never notice it!

The War against the Car and Road Maintenance undercuts economic mobility while destroying transportation sector jobs.

Solar and wind energy are weak, diffuse, and inconsistent, inadequate to power modern civilization.

Food production activities are attacked as being “bad for the planet.”

So-called Green jobs are entirely financed by subsidies.

The Brutalizing Whip discusses the damages to public finances and to social wealth and well-being, including these topics:

Taxes have never been so high

The Government is borrowing more and more

Dilapidated infrastructure

Instead of job creation, Relocations and Losses

The wastefulness associated with the new forms of energy

Return to the economy of an underdeveloped country

What is our predicament?
Four Horsemen are bringing down our societies:

  • The Ministry of Ecology (climate and environment);
  • Journalists;
  • Scientists;
  • Corporation Environmentalist Departments.

Steps required to recover from this demise:

  • Go back to the basic rules of research.
  • Go back to the basic rules of law
  • Do not trust international organizations
  • Leave the planet alone
  • Beware of any premature optimism

Conclusion

Climate lemmings

The real question is this: how have policymakers managed to make such absurd decisions, to blinker themselves to such a degree, when so many means of scientific investigation are available? The answer is simple: as soon as something is seen as being green, as being good for the planet, all discussion comes to an end and any scientific analysis becomes pointless or counterproductive. The policymakers will not listen to anyone or anything; they take all sorts of hasty, contradictory, damaging and absurd decisions. When will they finally be held to account?

Footnote:

The above cartoon image of climate talks includes water rising over politicians’ feet.  But actual observations made in Fiji (presiding over these talks in Bonn) show sea levels are stable (link below).

Fear Not For Fiji

Snowing and Freezing in the Arctic

The image from IMS shows snow and ice on day 296 (yesterday) 2007 to 2017, with focus on Eurasia but also showing Canada and Alaska.  You can see that low Arctic ice years, like 2007, 2012 and 2016 have a smaller snow extent on both sides of the Arctic.  Conversely, higher Arctic ice years like 2013, 2014 and 2015 show snow spreading into northern Europe, as well as Alaska.  The pattern appears as gaining snow and ice 2008 to 10, losing 2011 and 2012, then regaining 2013 to 15, before retreating in 2016.  So far 2017 is looking more like 2013 to 15.

From Post Natural Climate Factors: Snow 

Previously I posted an explanation by Dr. Judah Cohen regarding a correlation between autumn Siberian snow cover and the following winter conditions, not only in the Arctic but extending across the Northern Hemisphere. More recently, in looking into Climate Model Upgraded: INMCM5, I noticed some of the scientists were also involved in confirming the importance of snow cover for climate forecasting. Since the poles function as the primary vents for global cooling, what happens in the Arctic in no way stays in the Arctic. This post explores data suggesting changes in snow cover drive some climate changes.

The Snow Cover Climate Factor

The diagram represents how Dr. judah Cohen pictures the Northern Hemisphere wintertime climate system.  He leads research regarding Arctic and NH weather patterns for AER.

cohen-schematic2

Dr. Cohen explains the mechanism in this diagram.

Conceptual model for how fall snow cover modifies winter circulation in both the stratosphere and the troposphere–The case for low snow cover on left; the case for extensive snow cover on right.

1. Snow cover increases rapidly in the fall across Siberia, when snow cover is above normal diabatic cooling helps to;
2. Strengthen the Siberian high and leads to below normal temperatures.
3. Snow forced diabatic cooling in proximity to high topography of Asia increases upward flux of energy in the troposphere, which is absorbed in the stratosphere.
4. Strong convergence of WAF (Wave Activity Flux) indicates higher geopotential heights.
5. A weakened polar vortex and warmer down from the stratosphere into the troposphere all the way to the surface.
6. Dynamic pathway culminates with strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation at the surface.

From Eurasian Snow Cover Variability and Links with Stratosphere-Troposphere
Coupling and Their Potential Use in Seasonal to Decadal Climate Predictions by Judah Cohen.

Variations in Siberian snow cover October (day 304) 2004 to 2016. Eurasian snow charts from IMS.

Observations of the Snow Climate Factor

For several decades the IMS snow cover images have been digitized to produce a numerical database for NH snow cover, including area extents for Eurasia. The NOAA climate data record of Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent, Version 1, is archived and distributed by NCDC’s satellite Climate Data Record Program. The CDR is forward processed operationally every month, along with figures and tables made available at Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.

This first graph shows the snow extents of interest in Dr. Cohen’s paradigm. The Autumn snow area in Siberia is represented by the annual Eurasian averages of the months of October and November (ON). The following NH Winter is shown as the average snow area for December, January and February (DJF). Thus the year designates the December of that year plus the first two months of the next year.

Notes: NH snow cover minimum was 1981, trending upward since.  Siberian autumn snow cover was lowest in 1989, increasing since then.  Autumn Eurasian snow cover is about 1/3 of Winter NH snow area. Note also that fluctuations are sizable and correlated.

The second graph presents annual anomalies for the two series, each calculated as the deviation from the mean of its entire time series. Strikingly, the Eurasian Autumn flux is on the same scale as total NH flux, and closely aligned. While NH snow cover declined a few years prior to 2016, Eurasian snow is trending upward strongly.  If Dr. Cohen is correct, NH snowfall will follow. The linear trend is slightly positive, suggesting that fears of children never seeing snowfall have been exaggerated. The Eurasian trend line (not shown) is almost the same.

What About Winter 2017-2018?

These data confirm that Dr. Cohen and colleagues are onto something. Here are excerpts from his October 2 outlook for the upcoming season AER. (my bolds)

The main block/high pressure feature influencing Eurasian weather is currently centered over the Barents-Kara Seas and is predicted to first weaken and then strengthen over the next two weeks.

Blocking in the Barents-Kara Seas favors troughing/negative geopotential height anomalies and cool temperatures downstream over Eurasia but especially Central and East Asia. The forecast for the next two weeks across Central Asia is for continuation of overall below normal temperatures and new snowfall.

Currently the largest negative anomalies in sea ice extent are in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas but that will change over the next month or so during the critical months of November-February. In my opinion low Arctic sea ice favors a more severe winter but not necessarily hemisphere-wide and depends on the regions of the strongest anomalies. Strong negative departures in the Barents-Kara Seas favors cold temperatures in Asia while strong negative departures near Greenland and/or the Beaufort Sea favor cold temperatures in eastern North America.

Siberian snow cover is advancing quickly relative to climatology and is on a pace similar to last year at this time. My, along with my colleagues and others, research has shown that extensive Siberian snow cover in the fall favors a trough across East Asia with a ridge to the west near the Urals. The atmospheric circulation pattern favors more active poleward heat flux, a weaker PV and cold temperatures across the NH. It is very early in the snow season but recent falls have been snowy across Siberia and therefore I do expect another upcoming snowy fall across Siberia.

Summary

In summary the three main predictors that I follow in the fall months most closely, the presence or absence of high latitude blocking, Arctic sea ice extent and Siberian snow cover extent all point towards a more severe winter across the continents of the NH.

Uh oh.  Now where did I put away my long johns?