Climate Adaptation Economics

The Dutch solution to floods: live with water, don’t fight it. The same thing applies to climate change.

This post returns to the theme: Adapt, Don’t Fight Climate Change.  Matthew Kahn is Professor of Economics at USC and one of the more interesting thinkers with this POV. While IPCC scientists foresee climate change coming, Kahn and other economists foresee how societies will react to such forecasts by reallocating capital and shifting priorities.

More than once he has warned against listening to climatists when they make economic forecasts because they misunderstand how economic systems work. He is also critical of economists who forecast climate impacts while assuming societies and individuals are static victims, lacking any freedom to shift priorities, investments and locations, in other words to adapt as humans have always done.

Kahn resists any temptation to address the consensus understanding of the climate system, but rather sticks to his forte: The competition for resources under conditions of changing climate expectations. The result is much more hopeful and optimistic than the gloom and doom dished out by climatologists.

His blog is usually worth a visit to read posts like this recent one Austrian Empirical Economics? even when the title seems obscure. Excerpts below with my bolds.

Sherwin Rosen was one of the greatest University of Chicago economists. While he did not win a Nobel Prize (he died at age 62 during the year when he was the President of the American Economic Association), his student Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize and his student Kevin Murphy has won multiple major economics honors. I was not his best student but he continues to teach me new lessons about economics. I just read his 1997 paper on Austrian Economics. I now see that my Climatopolis work is a type of Austrian Economics.

My 2010 book (see link below) argues that the combination of rising urbanization, human capital and innovation together will allow us to adapt to climate change. Cities compete for the skilled and those cities that successfully adapt to the challenge of climate change will gain in human capital. Home prices (and thus income effects) will fall in areas that fail to adapt. This competition and the potential for migration creates a more overall resilient economy. While I cannot tell you today which cities will win this competition, I am very confident in this “Austrian” vision.

From Kahn’s synopsis of Climatopolis: How will climate change impact urbanites and their cities?

In my new book, Climatopolis: How Our Cities will Thrive in Our Hotter Future (Basic Books 2010), I study how urbanites around the world will cope and adapt as climate change unfolds. The UN predicts that by the year 2030 over 60% of the world’s population will live in cities. While I do not have a crystal ball for predicting exactly how hot Moscow will be in 2012 or how much rainfall Los Angeles will receive in 2030, the basic tools of microeconomics prove to be quite useful for understanding and predicting how diverse households, firms, and governments will respond to the scary and uncertain challenges posed by climate change.

Due to differences in geography, historical circumstances, and national institutions, different cities will face different challenges. At the same time, there are some basic commonalities across cities with regards to common adaptation challenges. Basic incentive theory offers many insights into how adaptation will unfold and the role that capitalism will play in facilitating adaptation.

In the case of climate change, increased risk to a specific city such as San Diego is likely to be a permanent shock. The owners of land in such cities will suffer an income loss but mobile urbanites can protect themselves by moving to another city. This optimistic logic hinges on the assumption that climate change’s impacts on different cities are not perfectly correlated.  A city such as Detroit could enjoy an amenity improvements (warmer winter) at the same time that Phoenix is suffering.

If more of the US population seeks to move to more northern cities such as Seattle then these cities will face increased demand. The recent housing supply literature has highlighted that housing supply regulation and topography determine housing supply (Saiz 2010). In those increasingly desirable cities where housing supply is inelastic, land owners will gain because of climate change induced migration. Within the EU, similar dynamics are likely to play out. Of course, this claim merits further empirical investigation.

My optimism about the role that migration can play in protecting the populace hinges on the assumption that climate change will be gradual. Cities are long-lived durable capital and it takes “time to build” the infrastructure necessary for a city ranging from housing, commercial buildings, transportation infrastructure, sewer systems, electricity generation. We can’t move whole cities over night.

The billions of people who will be affected by climate change create a large market opportunity for entrepreneurs who can serve this market. Acemoglu and Linn (2004) demonstrated that the extent of the market for new drugs triggers endogenous innovation. In the presence of fixed costs to developing new products, the scale of the market is a key determinant. Their logic holds in the case of climate change. If billions of people seek an energy efficient air conditioner to offset hot summers, then there will be sharp incentives to invest in developing such products. Some of these producers will succeed and in a globalised world market, the pay-off to the successful entrepreneur will be huge.

The anticipation that cities will be at risk from climate change encourages innovation. My UCLA colleague Thom Mayne is working with Brad Pitt in New Orleans to design floatable homes that could be sold for less than $200,000. These homes are intended to allow residents to literally float in the midst of the next Hurricane Katrina. Such innovative new products are just the tip of the iceberg. Climate change will create numerous such opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Rotterdam old port protected by dikes for over a century.

In my own past research, I have documented that richer nations suffer fewer deaths from similar natural disasters (Kahn 2005). If climate change increases the frequency and intensity of floods and hurricanes, then poor nations will suffer more deaths from these disasters. Economic development is likely to play a causal role in shielding the population from such risks by providing households and governments with the resources to build higher quality infrastructure, to enforce zoning laws and to provide better ex-post medical care.

In this sense, economic development offers the best strategy for poor cities to cope. A salient example of the role of economic development in protecting the population from public health threats exacerbated by climate change is offered by Thomas Schelling (1997). He contrasts malaria rates in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore, the richer “geographical twin”, has a much lower malaria rate than Malaysia.

Summary

Researchers seek out “credible research” designs to estimate “b” (impact from climate change). This slope represents the current marginal effect of climate on an economic outcome. This research ignores cross-elasticities. If the climate is bad in Kansas but great in Oklahoma and expected to remain so, the negative shock to Kansas will actually create a boom in Oklahoma. This is a migration (zero sum game) effect. Yes, a migration cost must be paid but this is a 2nd order effect.

Given my read of Sherwin Rosen’s paper, I now see that Austrian Economics focuses on the evolution of the economic system. Entrepreneurs intuit that there is emerging demand for this product (think of Uber) and begin the experimentation to develop it. Some succeed and some fail. The system evolves to economize on scarce resources (signaled by prices) that may becoming increasingly scarce.

My book stresses a fundamental irony. Urban economic growth has caused climate change (think of the billions of people who are achieving the “American Dream”) but it will also help us to adapt to climate change. My optimism about urbanites’ ability to continue to thrive in the face of climate change is based on our ability to migrate and innovate. Free markets play a central role here in determining new investment patterns that will help us to adapt.

More on Climate Adaptation rather than Mitigation:

Adapt, Don’t Fight Climate Change

Adapting Works, Mitigating Fails

Crunching Climate $$$

Climate Policies Gouge the Masses

 

 

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School Choice Antidote to Indoctrination

This article School Choice Can Protect Kids From Classroom Indoctrination at RealClearEducation caught my attention since climate change dogma has been embedded throughout curricula, not limited to science instruction.

Interestingly, parents are now pushing back against progressive sex education content. Coincidently in the US these days, sexual behavior has become the determining (sole?) qualification for public service. Any misstep decades ago recalled by a woman as insulting is grounds for dismissal without evidence.  Watch out WSWM (Well-off Straight White Males), you are in the cross-hairs:
Some excerpts with my bolds describing this development in the school system.

Progressive educators are launching new offensives in the nation’s culture wars.

Washington State, for example, has put a sex-education curriculum, developed in part by Planned Parenthood, on its approved list, which has caused controversy in places like Spokane. Nevada’s Washoe County School District is currently debating a sex education curriculum that would introduce topics like anal and oral sex starting in 6th grade. In San Diego, the city’s school district adopted a graphic sex-education curriculum, which elicited a 2000-signature petition by parents opposed to the new materials.

The trend underscores the need for school choice policies. If teachers and curricula developers want to impose certain values on students, parents who disagree with those values should be free to educate their children elsewhere.

In 2014, California’s Fremont school district, with the unanimous support of the district’s health teachers, adopted a college-level health education textbook for use by its ninth-grade students, which discussed sex toys and extreme sexual practices.

Even in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area where Fremont is located, parents were incensed by the decision. As Fremont parent Asfia Ahmed told the New York Daily News, “The main problem is that this book treats the kids as adults and the content is adult.” Many parents complained that the textbook failed to reflect their family and cultural values.

The district ultimately abandoned the textbook, but only after a grassroots revolt of district parents who circulated petitions and packed school board meetings.

Transgender policies are yet another example of public schools imposing certain ideologies on students, despite objections from families who affirm traditional values.

In Pennsylvania, four male Boyertown High School students sued the school district in federal court over the district’s policy that allowed biological females who identify as transgendered to undress in the boys locker room. A federal judge ruled against the male students in August, but the students are appealing that decision.

Public school administrators and state curricula developers are growing increasingly intolerant of traditional values held by many parents and their children. Discussing her state’s approved sex-education curricula, Washington state education official Laurie Dils acknowledged that the system is rigged: “People were suggesting that an abstinence-based program would be more in line with the community values. Well, an abstinence-based curriculum is not really legal anymore.” In the face of such government disregard for the public and its values, it’s important to create alternative education options for families who hold such values.

An increasing number of states are implementing programs such as education savings accounts, tuition tax credits and vouchers that allow parents to choose non-public schooling options for their children. These programs need to be expanded in the states that have them and initiated in those that don’t so that all parents and their children can access education alternatives that meet their needs and preferences.

Summary

No child should be forced to go to an indoctrination center masquerading as a public school. School choice policies could ensure that “back to school” season no longer entails an assault on the values of millions of impressionable children.

Make no mistake.  Climate change is an integral part of progressive value-laden education.  Let’s also take action to encourage teaching of science as a mode of inquiry based in rational skepticism, rather than a catechism of eternal truths like global warming doctrine.

Cold and Snowy Winter forecast Northern US

Figure i. The 2017-18 winter forecast shows below normal temperatures for the northern and eastern U.S., with above normal temperatures in the southwestern and southcentral U.S. The winter precipitation forecast shows above normal precipitation across the northern U.S. and below normal precipitation across the southern U.S.

Dr. Judah Cohen of AER, Nov. 20,2017:

In our model we have four predictors, October Eurasian snow cover extent, September sea ice concentration, El Niño/Southern Oscillation and a metric of high latitude blocking in the Eurasian sector. October Eurasian snow cover extent was above normal, Arctic sea ice extent is below normal, and there has been active blocking at high latitudes this fall. All three indicators favor a cold winter in the Eastern U.S. A La Niña is predicted for this winter, which favors a cold winter in the Northwestern U.S and a mild winter in parts of the Southern US. All four predictors together provide the forecast of cold in the Northern and Eastern US with warm in the Southwestern and Southcentral US.

Finally there seems to be the thinking (among many but certainly not all) including from the National Weather Service that La Niña favors a warm winter in the Eastern US. I am skeptical of this reasoning. I note that since 1990 there have been four warm La Niña winters and five cold Niña winters in the Eastern US. If you are familiar with my research you might understand why I am not considering winters before 1990 but I doubt that the statistics change much if previous winters are included. Therefore I remain skeptical that La Niña is a reason to confidently predict a mild winter in the Eastern US especially if La Niña remains weak.

Full Report is at Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecasts

Dr. Cohen’s forecasting paradigm is explained at Snowing and Freezing in the Arctic

 

Suicidal Climatist Narrative

Micheal Walsh published The Suicidal Narrative of the Modern Environmental Left, November 16, 2017.

Walsh presents two recent experiences showing how environmental concerns are embedded everywhere including plane trips and merchandising, then gets into the implications. His text with my bolds and images.

It’s all just advertising, of course, and thus harmless enough. It also goes to reinforcing the narrative: that selfish man is the cause of species endangerment, that primitive societies are superior to developed ones (but then who would buy the locally sourced cocoa beans and moringa leaves?), and that traditional medicine—which is to say, no medicine at all—is somehow superior to what those pill-pushing quacks foist on you before they climb in their BMWs and head out to the links for a round or two of golf. Were that true, the ancient Greeks and Romans might all have lived into their 80s, instead of dying in their 20s and 30s, as unsustainable folks tended to do back then.

Which brings us, ineluctably, to “climate change” and this piece in the Times: “The More Education Republicans Have, the Less They Tend to Believe in Climate Change.” Yes, you read that right:

“Climate change divides Americans, but in an unlikely way: The more education that Democrats and Republicans have, the more their beliefs in climate change diverge.  About one in four Republicans with only a high school education said they worried about climate change a great deal. But among college-educated Republicans, that figure decreases, sharply, to 8 percent.”

The author’s underlying assumption is that the more you know about “man-made climate change,” the more eager you should be to chow down on Endangered Species Chocolate or shovel some women’s-collective moringa into your smoothie before you leave your ant-farm apartment to hop on the mass-transit system on your way to a day job that somehow involves you, personally, saving the planet—not so much by what you do, but by what you don’t do.

But that’s not a future we on the Right want to embrace. I take this poll as a heartening sign that the more you educate yourself about the transparent fraud of “man-made climate change,” the less you’re likely to believe in their genteel fictions of peaceful, happy villages in Liberia or their apocalyptic notions of the End of the World as We Know It, just about any day now. As we’ve learned time and again, mountebanks and charlatans are always promising that the end of days is just around the corner, if only we will repent; find Jesus; join their cult; give away all our possessions; or at least sign up for a lifetime supply of snake oil, delivered by Amazon drones right to our doorsteps.

We’ve seen this movie before, of course. In April, Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute detailed 18 different instances when “[t]he prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong.”

Never mind that the Earth’s climate is always changing; we wouldn’t be here at all if it hadn’t. Never mind that there’s little humans can do to interfere with planetary processes, most of which are beyond our ken. Never mind that we flatter ourselves if we think so. Never mind that to characterize carbon dioxide—which we exhale so that the Amazon rain forest and those West African moringa plants might inhale—as a dangerous “greenhouse gas” is profoundly anti-human.

It’s what you’d expect from a political philosophy that denies God and sees itself as its own worst enemy: a narrative that must end in suicide, and all in the name of the greater good. All we ask our friends on the Left is not to take us with you.

Climate lemmings on the move.

Arctic Ice Movember Update

Click on image to enlarge

Arctic Ice Extents have roughly doubled since the Sept. minimum and are now up to 10M km2.  The last 1/3 of maximum will take until March, principally because several basins are frozen over and cannot add coverage.  To date, Beaufort and CAA (Canadian Archipelago) are full, as are Laptev and East Siberian on the Russian side.  Kara is 3/4 covered and the Central Arctic wil add only 3% from here.

During the first half of November we can see at the bottom Beaufort  and East Siberian filling in, leaving only Chukchi with open water.  On the right, Both Baffin and Hudson bays are now growing more strongly.   At the top Kara ice extent has reached 75% of its March maximum.

The graph compares extents over the first 17 days of November.
NHday321

2017 has reached 9.9M km2, 2007 nearly the same, and both are close to the 10 year average of 10M km2.  2012 lags 300k km2 lower than 2017, while 2016 is 877k km2 behind.  At this point MASIE and SII are tracking the 10-year average, with SII about 200k km2 lower.

The Table below shows where ice is located on day 321 in regions of the Arctic ocean. 10 year average comes from 2007 through 2016 inclusive.

Region 2017321 Day 321
Average
2017-Ave. 2016304 2017-2016
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 9904268 10013895 -109626 9026577 877691
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1052982 1067181 -14199 1056304 -3322
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 449182 702958 -253776 616755 -167573
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1076201 1077799 -1598 1087137 -10936
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897517 328 896732 1113
 (5) Kara_Sea 696550 649727 46822 254492 442058
 (6) Barents_Sea 68869 174077 -105208 25907 42962
 (7) Greenland_Sea 394494 499069 -104575 390593 3901
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 761453 552922 208531 524708 236745
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 852865 851728 1137 853180 -315
 (10) Hudson_Bay 460631 273706 186925 185679 274952
 (11) Central_Arctic 3158068 3183076 -25008 3077808 80260

The deficits to average are primarily in Chukchi, also Barents and Greenland Seas. Surpluses are large in Hudson and Baffin Bays, along with Kara Sea.

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

Movember Foundation encourages growing mustaches in support of men’s health and fitness.

 

CO2 Fluxes, Sources and Sinks

A recent post Obsessed with Human CO2 pointed out how small is the amount of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels compared to natural sources. Human emissions fall within the error ranges around the estimates from land, oceans and biosphere. This post looks deeper into the issue and our current state of knowledge about attributing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Note the size of the human emissions next to the red arrow. (Units are in GT)

Alarming Claims by IPCC Followers

From Chapter 6 Working Group 1 AR5 with my bolds.

With a very high level of confidence, the increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning and those arising from land use change are the dominant cause of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. About half of the emissions remained in the atmosphere (240 ± 10 PgC) since 1750. The rest was removed from the atmosphere by sinks and stored in the natural carbon cycle reservoirs. The ocean reservoir stored 155 ± 30 PgC. Vegetation biomass and soils not affected by land use change stored 160 ± 90 PgC. {6.1, 6.3, 6.3.2.3, Table 6.1, Figure 6.8}

Since the beginning of the Industrial Era (1750), the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 40%, from 278 ± 5 ppm to 390.5 ± 0.1 ppm in 2011 (Figure 6.11; updated from Ballantyne et al. (2012), corresponding to an increase in CO2 of 240 ± 10 PgC in the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 grew at a rate of 3.4 ± 0.2 PgC yr–1 in the 1980s, 3.1 ± 0.2 PgC yr–1 in the 1990s and 4.0 ± 0.2 PgC yr–1 in the 2000s (Conway and Tans, 2011) (Table 6.1).

Coupled carbon-cycle climate models indicate that less carbon is taken up by the ocean and land as the climate warms constituting a positive climate feedback. Many different factors contribute to this effect: warmer seawater, for instance, has a lower CO2 solubility, so altered chemical carbon reactions result in less oceanic uptake of excess atmospheric CO2. On land, higher temperatures foster longer seasonal growth periods in temperate and higher latitudes, but also faster respiration of soil carbon.

The removal of human-emitted CO2 from the atmosphere by natural processes will take a few hundred thousand years (high confidence). Depending on the RCP scenario considered, about 15 to 40% of emitted CO2 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1,000 years. This very long time required by sinks to remove anthropogenic CO2 makes climate change caused by elevated CO2 irreversible on human time scale. {Box 6.1}

Alarmist Summary: All of the rise in atmospheric CO2 is caused by humans, is increasing and will last for 1000 years.

Sobering Facts from Scientific Observations

Fact 1. The Carbon Cycle System is estimated with uncertainties greater than human emissions.

Carbon fluxes describe the rate of exchange of carbon between the various carbon sinks / reservoirs.

There are four main carbon sinks – lithosphere (earth crust), hydrosphere (oceans), atmosphere (air), biosphere (organisms).

The rate at which carbon is exchanged between these reservoirs depends on the conversion processes involved:

Photosynthesis – removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and fixes it in producers as organic compounds
Respiration – releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when organic compounds are digested in living organisms
Decomposition – releases carbon products into the air or sediment when organic matter is recycled after death of an organism
Gaseous dissolution – the exchange of carbon gases between the ocean and atmosphere
Lithification – the compaction of carbon-containing sediments into fossils and rocks within the Earth’s crust (e.g. limestone)
Combustion – releases carbon gases when organic hydrocarbons (coal, oil and gas) are burned as a fuel source

It is not possible to directly measure the size of the carbon sinks or the fluxes between them – instead estimates are made.

Global carbon fluxes are very large and are therefore measured in gigatonnes (1 gigatonne of carbon = 1 billion metric tonnes).

Because carbon fluxes are large and based on measurements from many different sources, estimates have large uncertainties.

A good summary description of carbon fluxes and reservoirs is at University of New Hampshire (here). This figure from IPCC AR4 shows how estimates have been developed. Explanation below with my bolds.

IPCC AR4WG1 Figure 7.3. The global carbon cycle for the 1990s, showing the main annual fluxes in GtC yr–1: pre-industrial ‘natural’ fluxes in black and ‘anthropogenic’ fluxes in red (modified from Sarmiento and Gruber, 2006, with changes in pool sizes from Sabine et al., 2004). The net terrestrial loss of –39 GtC is inferred from cumulative fossil fuel emissions minus atmospheric increase minus ocean storage. The loss of –140 GtC from the ‘vegetation, soil and detritus’ compartment represents the cumulative emissions from land use change (Houghton, 2003), and requires a terrestrial biosphere sink of 101 GtC (in Sabine et al., given only as ranges of –140 to –80 GtC and 61 to 141 GtC, respectively; other uncertainties given in their Table 1). Net anthropogenic exchanges with the atmosphere are from Column 5 ‘AR4’ in Table 7.1. Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20% but fractional amounts have been retained to achieve overall balance when including estimates in fractions of GtC yr–1 for riverine transport, weathering, deep ocean burial, etc. ‘GPP’ is annual gross (terrestrial) primary production. Atmospheric carbon content and all cumulative fluxes since 1750 are as of end 1994.

The diagram shows that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 from burning of fossil fuels cannot be the reason for the increase in atmospheric CO2.

Fact 2. Land-based Carbon Pools Behave Diversely, Defying Global Averaging.

It should be clear from the observational data that Earth’s biosphere is exerting a powerful brake on the rate of rise of the air’s CO2 content, such that the large increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions of the past two decades have not resulted in any increase in the rate of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. The IPCC has yet to acknowledge the existence and sign of this negative feedback, choosing to rely on projections from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models. Those models “consistently estimate a positive carbon cycle feedback, i.e. reduced natural sinks or increased natural CO2 sources in response to future climate change.” The models further find “in particular, carbon sinks in tropical land ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change” (p. 21 of the Technical Summary, Second Order Draft of AR5, dated October 5, 2012).

Fluxnet Observation Sites around the world.

Soils are the largest carbon reservoir of the terrestrial carbon cycle. Worldwide they contain three or four times more organic carbon (1500 Gt to 1 m depth, 2500 Gt to 2 m) than vegetation (610 Gt) and twice or three times as much carbon as the atmosphere (750 Gt, see Figure 1) [71]. Carbon storage in soils is the balance between the input of dead plant material (leaf, root litter, and decaying wood) and losses from decomposition and mineralization of organic matter (‘heterotrophic respiration’). Under aerobic conditions, most of the carbon entering the soil returns to the atmosphere by autotrophic root respiration and heterotrophic respiration (together called ‘soil respiration’ or ‘soil CO2 efflux’). The mineralization rate is a function of temperature and moisture levels and chemical environment with factors such as pH, Eh, nitrogen level and the cation exchange capacity of the minerals in the soil affecting the mineralization rate of soil organic carbon (SOC) [72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78]. Under anaerobic conditions, resulting from constantly high water levels, part of the carbon entering the soil is not fully mineralized and accumulates as peat.

Today, eddy covariance measurements of carbon dioxide and water vapor exchange are being made routinely on all continents.  The flux measurement sites are linked across a confederation of regional networks in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, in a global network, called FLUXNET.  This global network includes more than eight hundred active and historic flux measurement sites, dispersed across most of the world’s climate space and representative biomes (Figure 1, 2). Fluxnet portal is here Excerpts with my bolds.

The flux network has also been pivotal in refining the functional response of net and gross carbon dioxide exchange with climatic drivers. One notable observation relates to the sensitivity of ecosystem respiration to temperature. That is, respiration is constant across climate and ecological space and increases by a factor of 1.4 with a ten degree increase in temperature. Another emergent property is the plasticity of the timing of the initiation of the growing season, and how it is triggered by when soil temperature matches mean annual air temperature.

Lessons learned from FLUXNET

One of the first and overarching things we have learned is “what is the net and gross annual carbon fluxes, at sites across the globe?” A collation of data has enabled the community to produce a probability distribution of net carbon exchange that is occurring across the network. We see that the central tendency of net carbon exchange is: −157±285 g C m−2 y−1 (Figure 1), representing a sink of carbon to the terrestrial biosphere from the atmosphere. We are also able to document the range of carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems. We find that the most negative tail of the histogram is about -1000 g C m−2 y−1. The most positive tail of the histogram, representing sites acting as carbon sources can be as large as +1000 g C m−2 y−1. Of course these values do not consider net biome exchange that would release pulses of carbon from fires or anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels.

Fact 3. Fluxes are Dynamic and Difficult to Estimate Reliably.

This summary comes from Helge Hellevanga and Per Aagaard in Making Constraints on natural global atmospheric CO2 fluxes from 1860 to 2010 using a simplified explicit forward model (2015) Excerpt with my bolds.

The relative contribution of the emissions and the efficiency of the biosphere and the ocean to mitigate the increase in atmospheric CO2-concentrations, remain highly uncertain. This is demonstrated in chapter six of the latest IPCC report5, where we can read that the net land-atmosphere carbon flux in the 1980s was estimated to −0.1 ± 0.8 Gt C/a (negative numbers denote net uptake). These numbers were partly based on estimates of net CO2 releases caused by land use changes (+1.4 ± 0.8 Gt C/a), and a residual terrestrial sink estimated to −1.5 ± 1.1 Gt C/a.

There are globally much data supporting increased uptake of carbon by the ocean mixed layer (shallow surface water), but the global gross ocean-atmosphere fluxes, partly influenced by annual and inter-annual processes, such as El Niño/La Niña events, are nevertheless not easy to estimate. Obtaining global values of the carbon fluxes are further complicated by large local and regional variations in carbon releases and uptake by the terrestrial biosphere.

Because of the close coupling between oxygen and carbon fluxes during photosynthesis and respiration, the tracer APO (Atmospheric Potential Oxygen), in combination with atmospheric CO2 data, is used to obtain the net amount of CO2 being taken up by the oceanic sink. The net amount of carbon being taken up by the terrestrial biosphere can then be found from the residual (difference between carbon accumulated in the atmosphere and amount taken up by the global oceans).

APO values are however not straightforward to estimate, and a recent study suggests that the strength of the terrestrial sink may be significantly lower than found earlier. Moreover, current measurements of the atmospheric O2/N2 ratio and CO2 concentrations may suggest that the amount of oxygen is dropping at a faster rate than calculated from the APO tracer values.

Fact 4. The Carbon Cycle is driven by Temperature more than Human Emissions.

Global warming, human-induced carbon emissions,and their uncertainties
FANG JingYun, ZHU JiangLing, WANG ShaoPeng, YUE Chao & SHEN HaiHua. Excerpts with my bolds.

However, the current global carbon balance is disturbed by two factors: one is anthropogenic carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change, which are 9–10 Pg C per year [74], i.e. equal to 1/22–1/26 of the natural emissions from terrestrial and oceanic biospheres; and the other is that increasing temperature can result in a positive feedback of carbon emissions caused from a greater soil heterotrophic respiration and from oceanic ecosystems [77, 78]. This increased emission will be reserved in atmosphere and contribute to the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration if it cannot be absorbed by ecosystems. In this sense, in addition to the anthropogenic carbon emissions, the positive feedback of terrestrial and marine ecosystems to global warming may be another important source of the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. The estimation of global carbon budget indicates that a total of the natural and anthropogenic emissions are 250 Pg C per year, whereas the total of absorption by the natural ecosystems and the atmosphere is estimated as 230 Pg C per year (Table 2). This generates a gap of 20 Pg C between the global emissions and absorptions, which is twice the current total anthropogenic emissions (9–10 Pg C/yr). Therefore, there is a great uncertainty in the sources of the increased atmospheric CO2, and we may not reach to the conclusion that elevating atmospheric CO2 concentration is mainly from human activities.

Fact 5. CO2 Residence Times are Far Shorter than IPCC Imagines.

Tom Segalstad describes how alarmist dogma evolved in order to explain away contradictory facts. His paper is Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 : on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma. Excerpts with my bolds.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO 2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%. Any CO level rise beyond this can only come from a much larger, but natural, carbon reservoir with much higher 13-C/12-C isotope ratio than that of the fossil fuel pool, namely from the ocean, and/or the lithosphere, and/or the Earth’s interior.

The apparent annual atmospheric CO level increase, postulated to be anthropogenic, would constitute only some 0.2% of the total annual amount of CO exchanged naturally between the atmosphere and the ocean plus other natural sources and sinks. It is more probable that such a small ripple in the annual natural flow of CO would be caused by natural fluctuations of geophysical processes.

13-C/12-C isotope mass balance calculations show that IPCC’s atmospheric CO2 residence time of 50-200 years make the atmosphere too light (50% of its current CO2 mass) to fit its measured 13-C/12-C isotope ratio. This proves why IPCC’s wrong model creates its artificial 50% “missing sink”. IPCC’s 50% inexplicable “missing sink” of about 3 giga-tonnes carbon annually should have led all governments to reject IPCC’s model.

Tom V. Segalstad has conducted university research, publishing, and teaching in geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, volcanology, structural geology, ore geology, and geophysics at the University of Oslo, Norway, and the Pennsylvania State University, USA.  Some images here are from Tom Segalstad’s presentation Carbon isotope mass balance modelling of atmospheric vs. oceanic CO2

Segalstad was a reviewer for IPCC assessment reports in the early days before observational facts were set aside in favor of the agenda and climate models tuned to suit the narrative. His whimsical comment on the experience:

Footnote:

For more on CO2 interchange between ocean and air, see Fear Not CO2: The Real Chemistry

For more on atmospheric CO2 processes, see Fearless Physics from Dr. Salby

For more on temperature impacting terrestrial CO2 sources, see Not Worried About CO2

 

October SSTs Warm Slightly

October Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we see a slight upward response after a steep drop in September.  The rise was led by anomaly increases of about 0.06 in both the Tropics and SH, compared to drops of about 0.2 the previous month. NH was virtually the same as September. Global average anomaly changed as much as the Tropics and SH, but remains lower than the three previous Octobers.

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 October 2017.

HadSST102017

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.

Click on image 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.  IMO the 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 as shown by this graph:
The data is annual averages of absolute SSTs measured in the North Atlantic.  The significance of the pulses for weather forecasting is discussed in AMO: Atlantic Climate Pulse

But the peaks coming nearly every July in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.Now the regime shift appears clearly. Starting with 2003, seven times the August average has exceeded 23.6C, a level that prior to ’98 registered only once before, in 1937.  And other recent years were all greater than 23.4C.

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?

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

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean

 

COP23 Warning to Humanity

15000 scientists issue warning to humanity: “Time is running out!.”

Remember:  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.

Explained in COP23 Briefing for Realists

Update:  Media reporting frustration at COP23 over lack of progress on funding for developing countries.  Thus, the warning above indicates the ritual has progressed to stage 3, and now with early indications for stage 5.

Climate Talks Ritual

Update: Drama in Snowflake Academy

 

Snowflakes: Overly sensitive persons, incapable of dealing with any opinions differing from their own. Snowflakes are light-weight and suffer meltdown when exposed to the light or heat of complex ideas in conflict. They can often be seen congregating in “safe zones” on college campuses.

Professor Jordan Peterson is pushing back against embedded social justice warfare in the faculty offerings at University of Toronto.  He is starting a website that will inform students of the words and concepts that will be used in various classes, using the actual language on display.  This is deemed unsuitable and invading of safe spaces by those exposed.

Article is Faculty requests action against Peterson from a campus newspaper, The Medium.  Excerpts with my bolds.

Faculty members from the University of Toronto’s Women and Gender Studies Institute (WGSI) have requested a meeting with the university’s vice-provost to demand that action be taken against professor Jordan Peterson, who has stated his intent to create a website ranking university courses and instructors based on “postmodern neo-Marxian” ideologies included in course content.

“We are writing to express our deep concern about a proposed website being built under the direction of Prof. Jordan Peterson for the purpose of identifying and ranking courses and professors that he advocates should be removed from the university,” read the letter, “This website, if launched, presents a serious case of harassment, fostering unsafe work and study conditions for students, faculty, and staff.”

Peterson has spoken about this digital tool since summer of 2017, recently saying that he hopes to have the site ready by January.

“In public online remarks more broadly, Prof. Peterson regularly describes women and gender studies and what he refers to as ‘racial and ethnic group studies’ as pathological, a cancer, and in other strongly denigrating terms,” the letter also reads, “The launch of this website must be put in this context in order to fully understand it as a platform that will generate harassment.”

Peterson stated his goal to establish the website as a way of “moderating the behavior of the universities.”

“It will tell you the degree to which the description is postmodern and then you can decide for yourself whether you want to take that and become a social justice warrior, if that is what you think your education should be about, or if you should avoid that like the plague that it truly is,” Peterson stated in an interview with Julie Patreon, uploaded on July 3rd of this year, “I would like to knock enrolment in the postmodern disciplines down by 75 per cent over the next five years.”

“I think that what needs to happen is that freshman and second-year university students, and students coming into university from high school, need to be educated about the postmodern cult and they need to be encouraged to not take the courses, to just drop the courses, to just stay the hell away from them,” Peterson stated in a video uploaded on July 9th.

In the same video, Peterson expressed an interest in seeing enrolment in the humanities decline at an increased rate.

The university faculty also expressed concern over the “violence-tinged language to describe the courses he hopes to prevent people from taking” in Peterson’s videos.

On November 10th, the U of T Faculty Association released a statement stating that a meeting with the provost office has been requested.

“Instructors of the potentially targeted courses believe that their autonomy as educators may be under threat. The proposed website has created a climate of fear and intimidation,” the statement reads, “The UTFA Executive has taken the unprecedented step of asking that the entire Executive meet with the Provost’s office to express our deep concern about this threat to our members and to the academic mission of the University.”

As of press time, the provost has not released a statement regarding its intent to meet with faculty from WGSI regarding Peterson, or stated any possible plan to address Peterson’s site.

Peterson has frequently spoken out regarding freedom of speech on the university campuses, has voiced his dislike towards censoring lectures for students, and the current feminism movement.

Peterson has also gained national attention last September after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns in his lectures. Since then, he has taken to uploading videos through YouTube to discuss his views on current social issues and doing guest speeches at public events.

Background is from previous post Inside the Snowflake Academy

A previous post (Retreat from Reason) provided a look into the mentality of today’s college professors teaching humanities and social sciences. The dominant mindset is termed “postmodern” to distinguish this perspective from the “modern” viewpoint born of the age of reason or enlightenment.

That text came from Professor Jordan Peterson who recommended reading a book by Stephen Hicks called Explaining Postmodernism. This post provides some descriptions (lightly edited) from Hicks regarding the education of today’s students and the liberal arts attitude toward science.

Hicks presents two hypotheses regarding the world-view embraced by postmoderns, which they pass on to their students.

Hypothesis 1: Postmodernism is the first ruthlessly consistent statement of the consequences of rejecting reason, those consequences being necessary given the study of knowledge since Kant.

Thomas Kuhn published in 1962 his landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, signifying the result of four decades of analytic philosophy and the dead end it had reached. If science’s tools are perception, logic, and language, then science, one of the Enlightenment’s prized children, is merely an evolving, socially objective enterprise with no more claim to objectivity than any other belief system. The idea that science speaks of reality or truth is an illusion. There is no Truth; there are only truths, and truths change.

Consequently, by the 1960s, the pro-objectivity, pro-science spirit had collapsed in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition.

Hypothesis 2: Postmodernism is the academic far Left’s stance in response to the crisis caused by the failures of socialism in theory and practice.

Postmodern thinkers inherit an intellectual tradition that has seen the defeat of all of its major hopes.

While the neo-Enlightenment thinkers have come to terms with the modern world, from the postmodern perspective the universe has been intellectually shattered. We can not turn to God or to nature, and we cannot trust reason or mankind.

The failure of Left politics to achieve the vision of a beautiful collectivist society was merely the last straw. To the postmodern mind, the cruel lessons of the modern world are that reality is inaccessible, that nothing can be known, that human potential is nothing, and that ethical and political ideals have come to nothing. The psychological response to the loss of everything is anger and despair.

But the postmodern thinkers also find themselves surrounded by an Enlightenment world that does not understand. Postmoderns confront a world dominated by liberalism and capitalism, by science and technology, by people who still believe in reality, in reason, and in the greatness of human potential. The world that they said was impossible and destructive has both come to be and is flourishing. The heirs of the Enlightenment are running the world, and they have marginalized the post-modernists to the academy. Resentment is then added on top of anger and despair.

The Enlightenment world is proud, confident, and knows it is the wave of the future. This is unbearable to someone invested totally in an opposed and failed outlook. That pride is what such a person wants to destroy. The best target to attack is the Enlightenment’s sense of its own moral worth. Attack it as sexist and racist, intolerantly dogmatic, and cruelly exploitative. Undermine its confidence in its reason, its science and technology. The words do not even have to be true or consistent to do the necessary damage.

The College as Snowflake Academy

In education, postmodernism rejects the notion that the purpose of education is primarily to train a child’s cognitive capacity for reason in order to produce an adult capable of functioning independently in the world. That view of education is replaced with the view that education is to take an essentially indeterminate being and give it social identity. Education’s method of molding is linguistic, and so the language to be used is that which will create a human being sensitive to its racial, sexual, and class identity.

Our current social context, however, is characterized by oppression that benefits whites, males, and the rich at the expense of everyone else. That oppression in turn leads to an educational system that reflects only or primarily the interests of those in positions of power. To counteract that bias, educational practice must be recast totally. Postmodern education should emphasize works not in the canon; it should focus on the achievements of non-whites, females, and the poor; it should highlight the historical crimes of whites, males, and the rich; and it should teach students that science’s method has no better claim to yielding truth than any other method and, accordingly, that students should be equally receptive to alternative ways of knowing.

Moderns thought science and technology are good for all, extending our knowledge of the universe and making the world healthier, cleaner, and more productive. Postmoderns say science betrays its elitism, sexism and destructiveness by making the speed of light the fastest phenomenon, thereby unfairly privileging it over other speeds–by having chosen the phallic symbol i to represent the square root of negative one–by asserting its desire to “conquer” nature and “penetrate” her secrets–and, having done so, by having its technology consummate the rape by building bigger and longer missiles to blow things up.

And previously it had been generally thought liberalism, free markets, technology, and cosmopolitanism are social achievements that can be enjoyed by all cultures. On the contrary, Postmoderns think non-Western cultures are superior, since they live simply and in harmony with nature. They find the West is arrogantly blind, elitist and imperialistic, and imposes its capitalism, its science and technology, and its ideology upon other cultures and an increasingly fragile ecosystem.

Conclusion

And thus graduates are fully equipped and predetermined to believe in climate change.

 

 

 

Global Cooling Celebration


Be sure to turn on the sound to appreciate the video.

So the Al Gore Global Cooling effect is muted at the COP23 site in Bonn Germany with temperatures only slightly below normal, but with rain every day.  Elsewhere in North America winter is making an early appearance.  For example in Montreal we woke up this morning with -8C and some snow in the street.

Here is the snow cover map from yesterday showing Siberia fully covered along with Alaska and northern Canada.  As seen in the video above climate realists are dancing over the demise of the warmist fantasy.