Bering Sea Reduces Arctic Maximum


Last month came breathless headlines from Inside Climate News:  Alaska’s Bering Sea Lost a Third of Its Ice in Just 8 Days

The good news was that the ice was found just next door in Okhotsk Sea.  As the image above showed, Bering did reduce its coverage, but Okhotsk was gaining at the same time. Over those 12 days, Bearing lost 173k km2 of ice extent while Okhotsk gained 185k km2.

Now we have perhaps already passed the annual maximum, which on average was 15.1M km2 on day 62.

NH arctic ice day 066r

2018 has reduced ice extent the last three days since peaking on day 63.  It came near to 2007 and 2016 before retreating.  And as in the past, SII is tracking about 200k km2 lower.  The regional extents are shown in the table below.

Region 2018066 Day 066 
2018-Ave. 2017066 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14380231 15084354 -704123 14706492 -326261
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1070178 267 1070445 0
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 965161 966001 -840 966006 -845
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087120 1087134 -14 1087137 -18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 934934 926489 8445 912664 22270
 (6) Barents_Sea 624841 647307 -22466 597521 27320
 (7) Greenland_Sea 537737 641220 -103484 615726 -77989
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1557754 1560371 -2617 1545548 12206
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 852753 356 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260838 1259900 938 1260903 -66
 (11) Central_Arctic 3152831 3219866 -67035 3223471 -70640
 (12) Bering_Sea 232461 757199 -524738 628542 -396081
 (13) Baltic_Sea 138089 94664 43425 69380 68708
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1041074 1070088 -29014 953551 87522

The 2018 deficit to average is almost entirely due to Bering Sea lack of refreezing, now 525k km2 below recent normal.  On the European side, Barents and Kara are nearly average, with Greenland Sea down about 20%.  It remains to be seen if this year’s maximum is past or if more extent is gained in the coming week.

Drift ice in Okhotsk Sea at sunrise.

The graph below shows 2018 NH ice extents since day 1, with and without the Pacific basins Bering and Okhotsk, compared to 11 year averages (2007 to 2017 inclusive).  Clearly 2018 is an average year except for the Pacific basins, especially Bering Sea.


Backlash Building Against Progressives

A previous post (Feel Good Climatism) pointed to the controlling power of progressive PC institutions in today’s societies.

Short version: The right attempts political persuasion. The left, on the other hand, attempts social persuasion — basically seizing the commanding heights of culture-making institutions and then deciding that espousing some political claims (being pro-gay-marriage) increase social status and that espousing other political claims (being against gay marriage) decrease social status and, indeed, make one a social pariah, fit for ostracism, mass mockery, and internal exile.

The left’s method works much better than the right’s. It always has and it always will. Because most people don’t care about politics all that much — but nearly everyone (except for the crankiest of contrarians, including some of the current assembled company) cares about their social status.

Contemporary socio-political orientations no longer fit traditional liberal/conservative definitions. The left is now committed to “post-modern” philosophy and “progressive” political action, deriving from identity politics and cultural warfare. Traditionalists are now on the far right sideline and “conservatives” are tarred with that same brush. People in the middle are a mix of classical liberals and conservatives who still embrace the western rational, free enterprising democracy frame. Progressives want to overturn that heritage with tactics from social class conflict, supercharged in the age of Internet, social media and 24/7 buzz. The middle alternative on the right is more properly termed “libertarian” since the focus is on individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government. The same concerns motivated those drafting the US Constitution.

The Masses Push Back

Recent events suggest a rise of libertarian views among the masses, portending a growing backlash against the progressive, post-modern views of ruling elites around the world. From Brexit to Trump to Germany, and now Italian voters are trashing the establishment.

Italy’s voters choose populists, deliver stinging rebuke to Europe (CNN)

Italy was plunged into political uncertainty Monday after parliamentary elections delivered victories for populist, euroskeptic parties but left no clear path forward for a new government.

No party or coalition received enough votes to rule alone, and Italy now faces a hung parliament, in what European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker described last month as the “worst-case scenario” for Europe.

Cultural Exploitation Unmasked

Apart from electoral results, there are more voices ready, willing and able to speak out against the PC narrative and the bullying behavior that goes with it. For weeks, Parkland school survivors were adored as celebrities, but now some realism and analysis shows the political and social exploitation that has occurred.

Dear Annoying Parkland Kids: We Gave You A Pretty Awesome World, Try Not To Mess It Up By Robert Tracinski in the Federalist MARCH 6, 2018.  Excerpts below with my bolds

All the reasons for refusing to allow ourselves to be led by children were summed up in the latest coronation of the Parkland kids, this time by ancient leftist Bill Maher. He invited David Hogg and Cameron Kasky on his show so Hogg could boast about hanging up on the President of the United States, and so Kasky could give us this sanctimonious little lecture: “I mean this sincerely, I really do, to all the generations before us, we sincerely accept your apology. We appreciate that you are willing to let us rebuild the world that you f—ed up.”

This sums up everything that’s wrong with these kids’ astroturfed ride to fame. They get flown around the country, they get invited on TV, they get puffball interviewers like Bill Maher, all because they are willing to repeat in a cloyingly self-righteous manner the message favored by their adult handlers. But not because they actually know what they’re talking about.

Let’s look at their arrogant presumption that previous generations messed up the world, so that today’s kids, in their superior wisdom, have to “rebuild” it.

Start with the issues most directly at hand here. School shootings are actually down over the last 20 years. Northeastern University Professor James Alan Fox analyzed the data and concluded that mass school shootings are “extremely rare events” and that “there is not an epidemic of school shootings.”

Moreover, Fox adds that “over the past 35 years, there have been only five cases in which someone ages 18 to 20 used an assault rifle in a mass shooting,” meaning that the most common proposed new gun control measure would have little effect.

Speaking of guns, you might think that without gun control, we’re living in a lawless post-apocalyptic hellscape. In fact, crime is down. Murders are down. Violent crimes committed with guns are way down.

But cite these statistics and you will be told that you cannot contradict the Parkland kids because being present at the scene of a mass shooting makes them unquestionable experts on the topic. No, really. Kasky tells us, “We’ve seen our friends text their parents goodbye. We are the experts.” I can hear Tom Nichols grinding his teeth from here. Obviously, being an expert on guns, crime, and mass shootings requires actual knowledge and research, including the ability to read and understand crime statistics.

This presumption that we adults have ruined the world has wider roots. Today’s young people are bombarded with a lot of doom and gloom that tells them everything is getting worse, pushed onto them by people who have an interest in recruiting them as activists.

They may be surprised to learn, for example, that in addition to crime being down, war has decreased across the globe. The number of wars and the number of deaths in wars decreased dramatically after World War II, of course, but it decreased dramatically again when the Soviet Union collapsed, almost as if Communism was an engine of global conflict.

And so on. The world we older generations have given today’s kids is actually pretty awesome. We can’t protect them from every danger and every risk, and we can’t stop every tragedy like the Parkland shooting. But by historical standards, our kids will be safer, healthier, and wealthier, and they can expect to live longer and more untroubled lives than we did, or than our parents did, or than our grandparents did.

I can see, though, why they wouldn’t realize any of this, because there are some who have a political interest in making things look worse. If you want young people to think capitalism is the cause of war — a view they hear often — you don’t want them to find out that the triumph of the capitalist countries in the Cold War led to a decrease in war. If you want them to rail against “global capitalism” — I can’t decide if this is a cause of the left or of the right these days — you can’t have them realizing that capitalism and trade are wiping out global poverty. If you want them to think free markets are inferior to socialism, you don’t want them to understand the massive increases in prosperity in free market societies, or to question the latest environmentalist panic. And if you want them to become televised activists for gun control, you have to create the impression that there is an epidemic of gun crimes and mass shootings.

The Parkland kids have swallowed all of this, and hence their ignorant ranting to us about how the older generations have messed everything up.

To be sure, the kids we’re seeing on TV are not representative of their peers. We don’t hear much about the Parkland students who don’t fit the left’s narrative. Instead, we’re mostly getting a couple of the high-school debate club types. Once I found out that detail, it all fell into place, because we all remember the guys from high-school debate club. They weren’t the smartest kids, just the most preening and self-important.

The important point is that too many of today’s young people are not being taught to see and appreciate what has made the world as good a place as it really is for them. They have no idea who designed the large and complex systems that produce the peace and prosperity they enjoy, no idea how those systems work, and no idea how much they can foul them up by knocking out pins and levers and constitutional amendments just because they’re angry.

So the lesson from this is to show a little humility, kids. You’re still learning, and you would be well served not to be content to repeat what you learn at school, but to go do your own reading and research and listen to people who disagree with you. It’s not as traumatic an experience as you have been led to believe. When you can show that you understand what’s good about the world we are giving you, and you have some idea of how it got to be that way — then we’ll listen to your ideas for changing it.

Waking Up to Social Thought Control

At a deeper and more personal level, people are waking up to the oppressive cultural regime attempting to control individual thoughts and behavior.

The Backlash Is Building By Rod Dreher • March 5, 2018.

This post by Dreher contains thoughtful emails from people realizing how mobbing done by PC twitter gangs threatens the roots of liberal social democracies. Just a few paragraphs to show why you should read the whole thing (my bolds).

In the near future, a lot of us are going to be James Damore.

A reader writes:

I read what you said about having spoken with four people recently who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 but are considering it now because of the left’s recent behavior. I’m not quite in that camp, but am close to it; I suspect my progress on the issue largely resembles those of your friends and (I suspect) a substantial minority of other Americans as well.

The firing of James Damore back in August was what really made me start hesitating about my previous view that “political correctness” was, as Vox, the New Yorker, and all the other right-thinking people say, a Fox News attempt to discredit politeness. Here was a guy who was making a calm, carefully reasoned argument that some of Google’s diversity initiatives might not be the best way to achieve diversity, and that Googlers should be free to criticize such policies. In response, not only was he fired (and with a publicity that basically guarantees he’ll never work for a Silicon Valley firm again), but he was subjected to a regularly scheduled bout of Two Minutes’ Hate every day for weeks.

That got me paying more attention to the way the Left handles speech, and it made me realize that “political correctness” was most definitely alive and well, and hardly restricted to trivialities like whether the Washington Redskins should be named something else. In Europe, as Douglas Murray has documented, people who raised concerns prior to 2015 about the influx of immigration were silenced with accusations of racism, until things finally reached a boiling point and spilled out with the growth in populist fascist movements. 20 years ago, Theodore Dalrymple was already writing about how the police in the UK were already growing hesitant to investigate Muslim immigrants’ tendency to keep their daughters out of school for fear of being called racist, and more recent data indicate that such social problems (and the continued fear of being labeled racist for trying to address them) are hardly going away. Things that ought to be the subject of legitimate debate in the United States are being categorically ruled out in the same way: could innate biological differences affect, even if only in a small way, the pay gap between men and women? Sexist. Is it really a good idea to let in a large influx of Muslim immigrants in light of the problems Europe has had in that regard? Islamaphobe. Does IQ vary, on average, by race, and does this create the risk of widening the inequality gap because society increasingly rewards high IQ? Racist. Is Obamacare actually as successful as is claimed? You want poor people to die. Is letting in lots of low-skilled immigrants good for the economy? Racist, nationalist, white supremacist.

The fact is, I don’t want to live in a country where the only views permitted in public debates (if they can be termed “debates” at all) are the ones deemed acceptable by enraged Twitter mobs, and where expressing a perfectly reasonable, measured claim (“America should prioritize its own working class over that of illegal immigrants, while still doing what we can to help the Dreamers”) publicly can put you at quite reasonable fear of getting doxxed and subsequently losing your job and health insurance. It’s bad enough that people like Zack Ford are on social media. The last thing I want is for candidates people like him favor to get political power on top of the formidable socio-cultural power the Left already possesses.


What a strange twist. Marx gave us the notion of ideology, which he understood to be the system of beliefs and values that the ruling class used to control the working class and ensure continued power and privileges. Today’s Marxist wannabes who are mostly in the entitled class are employing the ideology of environmentalism to mount an anti-capitalist crusade under the banner of Climate Change, advocating policies which will further the misery of the downtrodden.

For more on how we got here

Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

Disturbing: Legal Social Justice Warriors

Coercive PC Discourse Redux

Disturbing: Legal Social Justice Warriors

News comes of law schools endorsing social justice warfare for their students and graduates.  Bruce Pardy writes in the National Post The social justice revolution has taken the law schools. This won’t end well  Excerpts below with my bolds.

What is a law school for? According to the University of Windsor, revolution. Earlier this month, Windsor’s law school released a statement on the jury verdict that acquitted Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley of the second-degree murder of Coulton Boushie. According to the statement, the Canadian legal system is oppressive. “Canada has used law to perpetuate violence against Indigenous Peoples,” it states, “a reinvention of our legal system is necessary.”

The statement reveals how legal education has lost its way. One could be forgiven for thinking that the purpose of law schools was to train lawyers to understand legal principles and to think logically and critically. Instead, some law schools portray themselves as political actors working for a cause. At Windsor’s law school, “we strive toward social justice. We take that commitment seriously.” Indeed they do. So do other law schools in Canada, some more explicitly than others. Social justice means defeating oppression and righting historical wrongsby favouring or blaming people as members of groups, and by undermining Western legal principles such as the rule of law, equal application of the law, presumption of innocence, and freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion.

There is an old saying that at any trial there are four versions of the truth: what the prosecution says, what the accused says, what the jury finds, and what actually happened. I have no idea what transpired at that farm in Saskatchewan. But Windsor’s law professors seem to know — an impressive feat, since they were neither at the scene nor in the courtroom to hear the evidence. Due process exists, in part, to protect us all from the self-righteousness of mobs.

One might expect Justin Trudeau and his ministers to jump on ideological bandwagons, but it is telling when law schools want to ride along too. Windsor’s says that “the law’s response to Coulton Boushie’s death is tragic, unnecessary and unacceptable.” Boushie’s death was indeed tragic and unnecessary, but the law’s response was not. Even the lawyer for Boushie’s family, Chris Murphy, said that “based on the evidence, the submissions made and the charges that the judge gave to the jury, a route of acquittal was a possibility.”

Human history is rife with oppression. Women were oppressed when only men could own property, slaves when they had no right to liberty, Indigenous people when they were forced to attend residential schools. Oppression results when some people do not have the same legal rights as others. But today’s law schools resist the idea of equal application of the law and openly advocate progressive policies. For instance, when Trinity Western University, an independent religious institution that receives no government funding beyond its charitable status, proposed to open a law school, the established schools urged provincial law societies to ban TWU’s graduates on the grounds that its community covenant did not reflect progressive values. The law societies in Ontario and B.C. obliged. The Supreme Court’s decision on TWU’s challenge of those decisions is pending.

Law schools may not need to preach revolution much longer. If you haven’t noticed, the tipping point is near. Courts and academics are transforming the Charter of Rights and Freedoms from a roster of fundamental liberties into a social-justice charter that justifies curbing individual freedoms instead of protecting them. The words of section 15(1) of the Charter, which guarantee that “every individual is equal before and under the law,” suggest that the same rules should apply to everyone. However, the Supreme Court has held that the law can nevertheless treat people differently if doing so produces equal outcomes, and that treating people the same — for instance, requiring the same qualifications from a minority job applicant as from others — might even violate section 15(1) if it produces unequal results.

The Law Society of Ontario has begun to compel its members to expressly acknowledge an obligation to promote progressive values. Individual liberties are no longer fundamental. Everyone is not subject to the same rules. The legal ground is shifting.

Not all law professors endorse the path that we are on, and fortunately they can still choose what to teach in their own courses. Not all lawyers or judges agree either. Many have kept their heads. Give them credit for thinking for themselves. After all, they probably went to a Canadian law school.

Bruce Pardy is professor of law at Queen’s University and a member of the Law Society of Ontario.

Weird Liberal Science

Now this one I take personally having earned a degree in Organic Chemistry. Alex Beresow exposes a liberal journalist who disparages all chemicals with no comprehension of the science. In this case Nicholas Kristof demonstrates how his employer, the New York Times, misleads and spreads irrational fears in its mission to sell copies to its clientèle on the upper west side of NYC.  He seems to be channeling Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) who wrote about carcinogens everywhere as she was dying of the disease.

The article is NYT’s Nicholas Kristof Would Flunk An 8th Grade Science Test Excerpts below with my bolds.

It’s often helpful for journalists who do not have specialized knowledge of complex scientific topics to write about them anyway, because if they can understand them and figure out how to communicate them, they can perform a tremendous public service. However, if journalists don’t take the time to understand complex topics and get the very basics wrong, they do the public a massive disservice and end up looking like buffoons.

Which brings us to veteran New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who studied law and fancies himself an expert in chemistry and toxicology. Chemists and toxicologists disagree.

His latest diatribe — which was easily and thoroughly debunked by my colleagues Dr. Chuck Dinerstein and Ana Dolaskie — begins with the single most shameless act of fearmongering I have ever seen from a major media outlet. He shows a bunch of common household products, all of which are perfectly safe, and asks, “What poisons are in your body?”

Look at all these lethal things: toothpaste, soap, shower curtains. It’s amazing we all aren’t dead yet. Mr. Kristof’s “research” — if you can even call it that — relied heavily on well-known anti-science activists, such as the Environmental Working Group.

When we criticized his scientific ignorance, Mr. Kristof doubled down, as the scientifically ignorant always do.

It’s interesting that his immediate defense is to lie about his writings. He isn’t only afraid of endocrine disruptors; he’s afraid he’ll get cancer from popcorn, and he’s worried that some enigmatic chemicals somewhere out there are causing diabetes, obesity, and autism. This level of paranoia is what we would expect from a chemtrail conspiracy theorist, not a public intellectual.

Mr. Kristof’s reference to DES is typical chemophobic scaremongering. He points out a chemical that really is bad (DES), which in his mind justifies his demonization of every other chemical of which he is afraid. That’s the chemistry equivalent of saying that all Muslims are suspicious because 9/11 happened.

Mr. Kristof has demonstrated time and again that he is entirely ignorant of the basic principles of chemistry and toxicology. And given that he has been widely criticized from all sorts of science writers, he’s also completely impervious to being educated by actual experts.

Consider what Deborah Blum, a chemistry writer, wrote about him:

“Whenever Nicholas Kristof writes a piece about the evil, awful world of chemicals out there, I feel a twitchy need to kick something. Or someone. Possibly right there in The New York Times newsroom.”

In perhaps the biggest indication that Mr. Kristof is fundamentally anti-science, he ignores evidence that he dislikes. That’s utterly taboo for scientists, but par-for-the-course for NYT op-ed columnists. Writing in Forbes, Trevor Butterworth says:

“[Kristof] applies no statistical or experimental criticism to these studies: they always “really” find what they claim to have found; and he seems unaware of the many non-industry funded studies or regulatory agency assessments that contradict them. There is no mention, for instance, of the 15-page point-by-point rebuttal written by the Food and Drug Administration to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA, a rebuttal which relies, primarily, on non-industry funded research.

Chemjobber, a blog that promotes jobs in chemistry, had this to say of Mr. Kristof:

“I am a little at wit’s end to understand how to help intelligent people like Mr. Kristof see past their clear fear of chemicals, the distrust they have of chemical companies and their seeming dismissal of regulatory agencies. It seems to me that he is all too credulous to the claims of organizations like the Silent Spring Institute that are incentivized to generate as much fear and doubt around chemicals as possible. “

The New York Times Has Only One Editorial Standard

The real problem is that the New York Times has only one editorial standard: To publish whatever sells more copies to their Upper West Side clientele. That means throwing biotechnology and chemistry under the bus while embracing organic food, acupuncture, and other forms of witchcraft.


Updated: Fears and Facts about Reservoirs and GHGs


A previous post explained how methane has been hyped in support of climate alarmism/activism. Now we have an additional campaign to disparage hydropower because of methane emissions from dam reservoirs. File this under “They have no shame.” Excerpts below with my bolds.

On March 5, 2018 a study was published in Environmental Research Letters Greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin can exceed those of fossil fuel energy sources

“The hydropower related emissions started in the Mekong in mid-1960’s when the first large reservoir was built in Thailand, and the emissions increased considerably in early 2000’s when hydropower development became more intensive. Currently the emissions are estimated to be around 15 million tonnes of CO2e per year, which is more than total emissions of all sectors in Lao PDR in year 2013,” says Dr Timo Räsänen who led the study. The GHG emissions are expected to increase when more hydropower is built. However, if construction of new reservoirs is halted, the emissions will decline slowly in time.

Another recent example of the claim is from Asia Times Global hydropower boom will add to climate change

The study, published in BioScience, looked at the carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emitted from 267 reservoirs across six continents. In total, the reservoirs studied have a surface area of more than 77,287 square kilometers (29,841 square miles). That’s equivalent to about a quarter of the surface area of all reservoirs in the world, which together cover 305,723 sq km – roughly the combined size of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“The new study confirms that reservoirs are major emitters of methane, a particularly aggressive greenhouse gas,” said Kate Horner, Executive Director of International Rivers, adding that hydropower dams “can no longer be considered a clean and green source of electricity.”

In fact, methane’s effect is 86 times greater than that of CO2 when considered on this two-decade timescale. Importantly, the study found that methane is responsible for 90% of the global warming impact of reservoir emissions over 20 years.

Alarmists are Wrong about Hydropower

Now CH4 is proclaimed the primary culprit held against hydropower. As usual, there is a kernel of truth buried beneath this obsessive campaign: Flooding of biomass does result in decomposition accompanied by some release of CH4 and CO2. From HydroQuebec:  Greenhouse gas emissions and reservoirs

Impoundment of hydroelectric reservoirs induces decomposition of a small fraction of the flooded biomass (forests, peatlands and other soil types) and an increase in the aquatic wildlife and vegetation in the reservoir.

The result is higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after impoundment, mainly CO2 (carbon dioxide) and a small amount of CH4 (methane).

However, these emissions are temporary and peak two to four years after the reservoir is filled.

During the ensuing decade, CO2 emissions gradually diminish and return to the levels given off by neighboring lakes and rivers.

Hydropower generation, on average, emits 50 times less GHGs than a natural gas generating station and about 70 times less than a coal-fired generating station.

The Facts about Tropical Reservoirs

Activists estimate Methane emissions from dams and reservoirs across the planet, including hydropower, are estimated to be significantly larger than previously thought, approximately equal to 1 gigaton per year.

Activists also claim that dams in boreal regions like Quebec are not the problem, but tropical reservoirs are a big threat to the climate. Contradicting that is an intensive study of Brazilian dams and reservoirsGreenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs: Studying the Issue in Brazil

The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The name “Itaipu” was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guarani language, Itaipu means “the sound of a stone”. The American composer Philip Glass has also written a symphonic cantata named Itaipu, in honour of the structure.

Five Conclusions from Studying Brazilian Reservoirs

1) The budget approach is essential for a proper grasp of the processes going on in reservoirs. This approach involves taking into account the ways in which the system exchanged GHGs with the atmosphere before the reservoir was flooded. Older studies measured only the emissions of GHG from the reservoir surface or, more recently, from downstream de-gassing. But without the measurement of the inputs of carbon to the system, no conclusions can be drawn from surface measurements alone.

2) When you consider the total budgets, most reservoirs acted as sinks of carbon in the short run (our measurements covered one year in each reservoir). In other words, they received more carbon than they exported to the atmosphere and to downstream.

3) Smaller reservoirs are more efficient as carbon traps than the larger ones.

4) As for the GHG impact, in order to determine it, we should add the methane (CH4) emissions to the fraction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which comes from the flooded biomass and organic carbon in the flooded (terrestrial) soil. The other CO2 emissions, arising from the respiration of aquatic organisms or from the decomposition of terrestrial detritus that flows into the reservoir (including domestic sewage), are not impacts of the reservoir. From this sum, we should deduct the amount of carbon that is stored in the sediment and which will be kept there for at least the life of the reservoir (usually more than 80 years). This “stored carbon” ranges from as little as 2 percent of the total carbon output to more than 25 percent, depending on the reservoirs.

5) When we assess the GHG impacts following the guidelines just described, all of FURNAS’s reservoirs have lower emissions than the cleanest European oil plant. The worst case – Manso, which was sampled only three years after the impoundment, and therefore in a time in which the contribution from the flooded biomass was still very significant – emitted about half as much carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq) as the average oil plant from the United States (CO2 eq is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential, GWP. CO2 eq for a gas is derived by multiplying the tons of the gas by the associated GWP.) We also observed a very good correlation between GHG emissions and the age of the reservoirs. The reservoirs older than 30 years had negligible emissions, and some of them had a net absorption of CO2eq.

Keeping Methane in Perspective

Over the last 30 years, CH4 in the atmosphere increased from 1.6 ppm to 1.8 ppm, compared to CO2, presently at 400 ppm. So all the dam building over 3 decades, along with all other land use was part of a miniscule increase of a microscopic gas, 200 times smaller than the trace gas, CO2.


Background Facts on Methane and Climate Change

The US Senate is considering an act to repeal with prejudice an Obama anti-methane regulation. The story from activist source Climate Central is
Senate Mulls ‘Kill Switch’ for Obama Methane Rule

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on whether to use the Congressional Review Act to kill an Obama administration climate regulation that cuts methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federal land. The rule was designed to reduce oil and gas wells’ contribution to climate change and to stop energy companies from wasting natural gas.

The Congressional Review Act is rarely invoked. It was used this month to reverse a regulation for the first time in 16 years and it’s a particularly lethal way to kill a regulation as it would take an act of Congress to approve a similar regulation. Federal agencies cannot propose similar regulations on their own.

The Claim Against Methane

Now some Republican senators are hesitant to take this step because of claims like this one in the article:

Methane is 86 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a period of 20 years and is a significant contributor to climate change. It warms the climate much more than other greenhouse gases over a period of decades before eventually losing its potency. Atmospheric carbon dioxide remains a potent greenhouse gas for thousands of years.

Essentially the journalist is saying: As afraid as you are about CO2, you should be 86 times more afraid of methane. Which also means, if CO2 is not a warming problem, your fear of methane is 86 times zero. The thousands of years claim is also bogus, but that is beside the point of this post, which is Methane.

IPCC Methane Scare

The article helpfully provides a link referring to Chapter 8 of IPCC AR5 report by Working Group 1 Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing.

The document is full of sophistry and creative accounting in order to produce as scary a number as possible. Table 8.7 provides the number for CH4 potency of 86 times that of CO2.  They note they were able to increase the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 by 20% over the estimate in AR4. The increase comes from adding in more indirect effects and feedbacks, as well as from increased concentration in the atmosphere.

In the details are some qualifying notes like these:

Uncertainties related to the climate–carbon feedback are large, comparable in magnitude to the strength of the feedback for a single gas.

For CH4 GWP we estimate an uncertainty of ±30% and ±40% for 20- and 100-year time horizons, respectively (for 5 to 95% uncertainty range).

Methane Facts from the Real World
From Sea Friends (here):

Methane is natural gas CH4 which burns cleanly to carbon dioxide and water. Methane is eagerly sought after as fuel for electric power plants because of its ease of transport and because it produces the least carbon dioxide for the most power. Also cars can be powered with compressed natural gas (CNG) for short distances.

In many countries CNG has been widely distributed as the main home heating fuel. As a consequence, methane has leaked to the atmosphere in large quantities, now firmly controlled. Grazing animals also produce methane in their complicated stomachs and methane escapes from rice paddies and peat bogs like the Siberian permafrost.

It is thought that methane is a very potent greenhouse gas because it absorbs some infrared wavelengths 7 times more effectively than CO2, molecule for molecule, and by weight even 20 times. As we have seen previously, this also means that within a distance of metres, its effect has saturated, and further transmission of heat occurs by convection and conduction rather than by radiation.

Note that when H20 is present in the lower troposphere, there are few photons left for CH4 to absorb:

Even if the IPCC radiative greenhouse theory were true, methane occurs only in minute quantities in air, 1.8ppm versus CO2 of 390ppm. By weight, CH4 is only 5.24Gt versus CO2 3140Gt (on this assumption). If it truly were twenty times more potent, it would amount to an equivalent of 105Gt CO2 or one thirtieth that of CO2. A doubling in methane would thus have no noticeable effect on world temperature.

However, the factor of 20 is entirely misleading because absorption is proportional to the number of molecules (=volume), so the factor of 7 (7.3) is correct and 20 is wrong. With this in mind, the perceived threat from methane becomes even less.

Further still, methane has been rising from 1.6ppm to 1.8ppm in 30 years (1980-2010), assuming that it has not stopped rising, this amounts to a doubling in 2-3 centuries. In other words, methane can never have any measurable effect on temperature, even if the IPCC radiative cooling theory were right.

Because only a small fraction in the rise of methane in air can be attributed to farm animals, it is ludicrous to worry about this aspect or to try to farm with smaller emissions of methane, or to tax it or to trade credits.

The fact that methane in air has been leveling off in the past two decades, even though we do not know why, implies that it plays absolutely no role as a greenhouse gas.

More information at THE METHANE MISCONCEPTIONS by Dr Wilson Flood (UK) here


Natural Gas (75% methane) burns the cleanest with the least CO2 for the energy produced.

Leakage of methane is already addressed by efficiency improvements for its economic recovery, and will apparently be subject to even more regulations.

The atmosphere is a methane sink where the compound is oxidized through a series of reactions producing 1 CO2 and 2H20 after a few years.

GWP (Global Warming Potential) is CO2 equivalent heat trapping based on laboratory, not real world effects.

Any IR absorption by methane is limited by H2O absorbing in the same low energy LW bands.

There is no danger this century from natural or man-made methane emissions.


Senators and the public are being bamboozled by opaque scientific bafflegab. The plain truth is much different. The atmosphere is a methane sink in which CH4 is oxidized in the first few meters. The amount of CH4 available in the air is miniscule, even compared to the trace gas CO2, and it is not accelerating. Methane is the obvious choice to signal virtue on the climate issue since governmental actions will not make a bit of difference anyway, except perhaps to do some economic harm.

Give a daisy a break (h/t Derek here)

Daisy methane


For a more thorough and realistic description of atmospheric warming see:

Fearless Physics from Dr. Salby

Food, Conflict and Climate

From data versus models department, a recent study contradicts claims linking human conflict to climate change by means of food shortages. From Dartmouth College March 1, 2018 comes Food Abundance and Violent Conflict in Africa.  by Ore Koren.  American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2018; Synopsis is from Science Daily (here) with my bolds.

Food abundance driving conflict in Africa, not food scarcity

The study refutes the notion that climate change will increase the frequency of civil war in Africa as a result of food scarcity triggered by rising temperatures and drought. Most troops in Africa are unable to sustain themselves due to limited access to logistics and state support, and must live off locally sourced food. The findings reveal that the actors are often drawn to areas with abundant food resources, whereby, they aim to exert control over such resources.

To examine how the availability of food may have affected armed conflict in Africa, the study relies on PRIO-Grid data from over 10,600 grid cells in Africa from 1998 to 2008, new agricultural yields data from EarthStat and Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset, which documents incidents of political violence, including those with and without casualties. The data was used to estimate how annual local wheat and maize yields (two staple crops) at a local village/town level may have affected the frequency of conflict. To capture only the effects of agricultural productivity on conflict rather than the opposite, the analysis incorporates the role of droughts using the Standardized Precipitation Index, which aggregates monthly precipitation by cell year.

The study identifies four categories in which conflicts may arise over food resources in Africa, which reflect the interests and motivations of the respective group:

  1. State and military forces that do not receive regular support from the state are likely to gravitate towards areas, where food resources are abundant in order to feed themselves.
  2. Rebel groups and non-state actors opposing the government may be drawn to food rich areas, where they can exploit the resources for profit.
  3. Self-defense militias and civil defense forces representing agricultural communities in rural regions, may protect their communities against raiders and expand their control into other areas with arable land and food resources.
  4. Militias representing pastoralists communities live in mainly arid regions and are highly mobile, following their cattle or other livestock, rather than relying on crops. To replenish herds or obtain food crops, they may raid other agriculturalist communities.

These actors may resort to violence to seek access to food, as the communities that they represent may not have enough food resources or the economic means to purchase livestock or drought-resistant seeds. Although droughts can lead to violence, such as in urban areas; this was found not to be the case for rural areas, where the majority of armed conflicts occurred where food crops were abundant.

Food scarcity can actually have a pacifying effect.“Examining food availability and the competition over such resources, especially where food is abundant, is essential to understanding the frequency of civil war in Africa,” says Ore Koren, a U.S. foreign policy and international security fellow at Dartmouth College and Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Minnesota. “Understanding how climate change will affect food productivity and access is vital; yet, predictions of how drought may affect conflict may be overstated in Africa and do not get to the root of the problem. Instead, we should focus on reducing inequality and improving local infrastructure, alongside traditional conflict resolution and peace building initiatives,” explains Koren.


In Africa, food abundance may be driving violent conflict rather than food scarcity, according to a new study. The study refutes the notion that climate change will increase the frequency of civil war in Africa as a result of food scarcity triggered by rising temperatures and drought.

Reading the study itself shows considerable rigor in sorting out dependent and independent variables.  It is certain that armed conflicts destroy food resources, while it is claimed that food shortages from climate events like drought cause the conflicts in the first place.  From Koren:

Moreover, in addition to illustrating the validity of this mechanism by the process of elimination—that is, by empirically accounting for a variety of alternative mechanisms— figure 2 further highlights the interactions between economic inequality, food resources, and conflict. Here, nonparametric regression plots—which do not enforce a modeling structure on the data and hence provide a more flexible method of visualizing relationships between different factors—show the correlations of local yields and conflict with respect to economic development as approximated using nighttime light levels. As shown, conflict occurs more frequently in cells with more crop productivity, but relatively low levels of economic development, where—based on anecdotal evidence at least—limitations on food access are more likely (Roncoli, Ingram, and Kirshen 2001).

Background Resource

Climates Don’t Start Wars, People Do

Cal Court to Hear Climate Tutorial

Recent events in the legal claims against oil companies for climate damages feature both a setback for anti fossil fuel activists, and also scheduling for the court to hear both sides regarding the linkage between fossil fuels and climate effects like glaciers melting. First the ruling against the cities’ attempt to take the case out of federal court into state jurisdiction. (with my bolds)

People of State of California v. BP p.l.c. (Oakland) Notice 02/27/2018

The federal district court for the Northern District of California denied Oakland’s and San Francisco’s motions to remand their climate change public nuisance lawsuits against five major fossil fuel producers to state court.

The court held that federal common law necessarily governed the nuisance claims because “[a] patchwork of fifty different answers to the same fundamental global issue would be unworkable” and “the extent of any judicial relief should be uniform across our nation.” The court stated: “Plaintiffs’ claims for public nuisance, though pled as state-law claims, depend on a global complex of geophysical cause and effect involving all nations of the planet (and the oceans and atmosphere). It necessarily involves the relationships between the United States and all other nations. It demands to be governed by as universal a rule of apportioning responsibility as is available.” The court dispensed with the cities’ three primary arguments for remanding the cases.

First, the court said the cities’ novel theories of liability based on the defendants’ sales of their product did not differentiate their claims from earlier transboundary pollution suits in which the Supreme Court (American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut) and Ninth Circuit (Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.) applied federal common law.

Second, the court said the Clean Air Act did not displace the plaintiffs’ federal common law claims, allowing state law to govern; the court said that while the Clean Air Act spoke directly to the “domestic emissions” issues presented in American Electric Power and Kivalina, “[h]ere, the Clean Air Act does not provide a sufficient legislative solution to the nuisance alleged to warrant a conclusion that this legislation has occupied the field to the exclusion of federal common law.”

Third, the court said the well-pleaded complaint rule did not bar removal. The court also indicated in dicta that “the very instrumentality of plaintiffs’ alleged injury — the flooding of coastal lands — is, by definition, the navigable waters of the United States. Plaintiffs’ claims therefore necessarily implicate an area quintessentially within the province of the federal courts.” The court said defendants had not waived this issue.

The court certified the decision for interlocutory appeal, finding that the issue of whether the nuisance claims were removable because such claims are governed by federal common law was a controlling question as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that resolution by the court of appeals would materially advance the litigation. The court’s order also noted that six similar actions brought by other California municipalities were pending before another judge in the district and those actions asserted additional non-nuisance claims.

Federal Court Requested “Tutorial” on Climate Change.

Then we have an intriguing ruling by the court mandating a climate tutorial to educate the court on these matters. On the same day that it denied Oakland’s and San Francisco’s motions to remand their climate change lawsuits against fossil fuel producers, the court issued a “Notice re Tutorial” that invited counsel for the parties to conduct a two-part tutorial on global warming and climate change on March 21. The court gave each side an hour to “trace the history of scientific study of climate change” and an hour to “set forth the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise, and coastal flooding.” The court indicated that counsel could either use experts to conduct the tutorial or conduct the tutorial themselves.

The Court invites counsel to conduct a two-part tutorial on the subject of global
warming and climate change:

(1) The first part will trace the history of scientific study of
climate change, beginning with scientific inquiry into the
formation and melting of the ice ages, periods of historical cooling
and warming, smog, ozone, nuclear winter, volcanoes, and global
warming. Each side will have sixty minutes. A horizontal
timeline of major advances (and setbacks) would be welcomed.

(2) The second part will set forth the best science now
available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise, and coastal
flooding. Each side will again have another sixty minutes.

The tutorial will be on MARCH 21, 2018, AT 8:00 A.M. AND RUN UNTIL ABOUT 1:00 P.M.
Experts may be used to present but counsel will also be welcome to conduct the tutorial.
Dated: February 27, 2018. WILLIAM ALSUP


Many of us have wanted to see a red and blue team confrontation, but did not see it coming in this way. As you see from the text of the ruling, it is two hours for each side, first on climate history and then on current global warming science. It has been a long time since climatists and skeptics faced off in a neutral venue. Hopefully people in the bay area will witness the proceedings.


Brian Potts writing in Forbes totally misinterprets the ruling, stating as a result the very thing the court prevented.

A California Court Might Have Just Opened The Floodgates For Climate Litigation

Background Resources:

On Coastal Climate Risk

Climate Hail Mary by Inept Cities

Is Global Warming A Public Nuisance?

2018 Oceans Remain Cool

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

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

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

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through January 2018.
Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back below its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added three bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

A global cooling pattern has persisted, seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH dropping since last August. An upward bump occurred in October, and now again in January 2018.  As will be shown in the analysis below, 0.410C has been the average global anomaly since 1995 and last month remains lower at 0.376C.  SH rose along with the Tropics, while NH held steady.  Global and NH SSTs are the lowest since 3/2014, while Tropics SSTs are the lowest since 3/2012. SH is the lowest January since 2014.

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.

Open image in new tab for sharper detail.

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

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

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

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

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


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?

Footnote: Why Rely on HadSST3

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

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

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

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


USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean


Arctic Ice Swirls End of Feb.

Click on image to enlarge.

Under the influence of a split vortex in February, Arctic ice is also a bit bi-polar.  Above image shows the Atlantic side the last two weeks.  Barents on the right has grown back to reach the 11 year average, while on the upper left Baffin Bay is above average reaching down to Newfoundland and filling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Click on image to enlarge.

Meanwhile, the ridge of high pressure over Alaska resulted in Bering on the right losing ice while Okhotsk on the left gained up to last year’s maximum.

Ice extents for February appear in the graph below; 11 year average is 2007 to 2017 inclusive.
Note that ice growth slows down in February since the Arctic core is frozen and extent can only be added at the margins.  MASIE shows 2018 is drawing close to 2007 and 2017, while SII is running about 200k km2 less.  The 11 year average reached 15M km2 while this year is ~500k km2 lower at day 57.

Below is the analysis of regions on day 057.  Average is for 2007 to 2017 inclusive.

Region 2018057 Day 057 
2018-Ave. 2017057 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 14471633 14982823 -511189 14624988 -153354
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1070178 267 1070445 0
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 962774 965725 -2951 966006 -3232
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087120 1087134 -14 1087137 -18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 928561 922491 6070 933003 -4442
 (6) Barents_Sea 599940 618000 -18061 535489 64451
 (7) Greenland_Sea 405456 639713 -234257 621708 -216252
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1823426 1492225 331201 1490888 332538
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 852670 439 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260838 1260663 175 1260903 -66
 (11) Central_Arctic 3076082 3222907 -146825 3217927 -141845
 (12) Bering_Sea 283579 737222 -453642 577660 -294081
 (13) Baltic_Sea 130666 116020 14646 64843 65822
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1063381 1049659 13722 991862 71519

The 2018 deficit to average is almost entirely due to the shortfall in Bering Sea.  Barents, Chukchi and Okhotsk are all about average.  A large surplus in Baffin Bay/Gulf of St. Lawrence offsets smaller deficits in Central Arctic and Greenland Sea.

The annual maximum usually occurs mid March.  2018 is now 2% below last year’s max and needs 3.5% more extent to reach 15M km2.

Here’s your Valentine’s Day Greeting:

And here’s your PC candy for Valentine’s Day.






Climate Kills Wildflower! (False Alarm)

This is Androsace septentrionalis (Northern rock jasmine). Credit: Anne Marie Panetta

Breathless news out of Colorado Climate warming causes local extinction of Rocky Mountain wildflower species  Excerpts below with my bolds.

New University of Colorado Boulder-led research has established a causal link between climate warming and the localized extinction of a common Rocky Mountain flowering plant, a result that could serve as a herald of future population declines.

The new study, which was published today in the journal Science Advances, found that warmer, drier conditions in line with future climate predictions decimated experimental populations of Androsace septentrionalis (Northern rock jasmine), a mountain wildflower found at elevations ranging from around 6,000 feet in Colorado’s foothills to over 14,000 feet at the top of Mt. Elbert.

The findings paint a bleak picture for the persistence of native flowering plants in the face of climate change and could serve as a herald for future species losses in mountain ecosystems over the next century.

Always the curious one, I went looking for context to interpret this report.  Thank goodness for the Internet; it didn’t take long to find information left out of the alarming news release.  From the US Wildflower Database (here) we can see the bigger picture.

Androsace Septentrionalis, Rock Jasmine

Androsace septentrionalis is a small-flowered and rather inconspicuous plant, and is the most common member of this genus in the West, out of six in the US. Plants are very variable in size, reflecting the wide range of habitats and elevations – from near sea level to over 11,000 feet. Stalkless leaves grow at the base, in a flat rosette, and often have a few teeth along the margins, and ciliate hairs. Leaf surfaces may be hairless or sparsely short hairy.

Common names: Rock jasmine, pygmyflower
Family: Primrose (Primulaceae)
Scientific name: Androsace septentrionalis
Main flower color: White
Range: The Rocky Mountain states, westwards to the Great Basin, and small areas of neighboring states
Height: Between 1 and 8 inches
Habitat: Grassland, forest, tundra; generally open areas, from sea level to 11,500 feet
Leaves: Basal, oblanceolate, up to 1.2 inches long and 0.4 inches across; entire or coarsely toothed edges
Season: March to September

Look at the range and habitat and ask yourself if this plant is adaptive, as well as the fact this species is the most common out of six in the genus.

And in Minnesota (here), on the eastern edge of the range, it is rare compared to the Western Rock Jasmine (Androsace occidentalis).

If American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is noted as Minnesota’s largest native wildflower, Western Rock Jasmine  certainly vies for its smallest. It can have very dense populations but it takes a discerning and determined eye to pick it out of the landscape, and is only of interest to those who celebrate the diversity of nature. It is easily distinguished from its rare cousin, Northern Androsace (Androsace septentrionalis) which is larger in stature and has rather narrower bracts at the base of the flower cluster.

The preferred habitat features sun; dry sandy soil, grassy meadows, open fields, disturbed soil, which along with “rock” in the name suggests that these plants tolerate arid conditions.


Far from going extinct, these flowers abound and like humans adapt readily to their surroundings. As has been stated previously, when alarmists project large numbers of extinctions due to future climate change, always ask for the names and the dead bodies.  What the headlines claim is refuted by the facts on the ground.