Sorry NYT, Climate Change Won’t Savage Big Oil

 

energy-dominanceLast week New York Times published Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Doctrine Is Undermined by Climate Change.  (H/T Matthew Kahn) Excerpts below in italics with my bolds

“Climate change disrupts everything, including Trump’s agenda,” said Alice Hill, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution think tank who served as senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama.

When it comes to fossil fuel production, the disruptions are particularly serious. And there’s a fundamental irony at play. Even as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are warming the planet, the consequences of that warming will make it harder to drill for oil, mine for coal and deliver fuel through pipelines.

Energy systems in the Southeast are particularly vulnerable, the report said, with some 200 power plants and oil refineries exposed to flooding from hurricanes and fiercer storm surges. Scientists estimate, if sea levels rise nationally 3.3 feet (a figure it describes as on the “high end of the very likely range” for what the country could see by 2100), it could expose dozens of power plants currently considered to be in safe zones to risks of 100-year floods. That would jeopardize about 25 gigawatts of operating power capacity, or power for about 18 million homes.

Along the Gulf Coast — home to a significant proportion of the United States oil production and refining industry — energy infrastructure faces a similar and more immediate risk. A sea level rise of less than 1.6 feet could double the number of refineries in Texas and Louisiana vulnerable to flooding by the end of the century.

Yet energy analysts cautioned against expectations that the effects of climate change will cause irreparable harm to the fossil fuel industry or make oil, gas and coal production fundamentally unattractive to investors. Sarah Ladislaw, an energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that the oil and gas sector has a long history of managing risks, including figuring out how to operate in politically unstable countries and prodding governments to loosen regulations they find too burdensome.

Climate change will add “headwinds” to fossil fuel companies, make production more costly in some areas and less competitive in others, Ms. Ladislaw said. But, she added, “If you’re waiting for climate impacts to be the end of the oil and gas industry, that’s not going to happen.”

Despite the US now leading the world in fossil fuel production, warmists dream of  bringing down the oil majors.  The scenario is expressed in all its glory in the legal documents produced  in recent years, in support of shareholder proposals meant to financially weaken Exxon, Shell, BP, etc.  But Ms. Ladislaw is correct,  too many unlikely things have to happen for this dream to come true.

Now let’s unbundle the chain of suppositions that comprise this scenario.

  • Supposition 1: A 2C global warming target is internationally agreed.
  • Supposition 2: Carbon Restrictions are enacted by governments to comply with the target.
  • Supposition 3: Demand for oil and gas products is reduced due to restrictions
  • Supposition 4: Oil and gas assets become uneconomic for lack of demand.
  • Supposition 5: Company net worth declines by depressed assets and investors lose value.

1.Suppose an International Agreement to limit global warming to 2C.

From the supporting statement to the Exxon shareholder proposal, attorney Sanford Lewis provides these assertions:

Recognizing the severe and pervasive economic and societal risks associated with a warming climate, global governments have agreed that increases in global temperature should be held below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels (Cancun Agreement).

Failing to meet the 2 degree goal means, according to scientists, that the world will face massive coastal flooding, increasingly severe weather events, and deepening climate disruption. It will impose billions of dollars in damage on the global economy, and generate an increasing number of climate refugees worldwide.

Climate change and the risks it is generating for companies have become major concerns for investors. These concerns have been magnified by the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, where 195 global governments agreed to restrict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to no more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and submitted plans to begin achieving the necessary GHG emission reductions. In the agreement, signatories also acknowledged the need to strive to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, recognizing current and projected harms to low lying islands.

Yet a careful reading of UN agreements shows commitment is exaggerated:
David Campbell (here):

Neither 2°C nor any other specific target has ever been agreed at the UN climate change negotiations.

Article 2 of the Paris Agreement in fact provides only that it ‘aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change … including by the holding the increase to well below 2°C’. This is an expression, not of setting a concrete limit, but merely of an aspiration to set such a limit. It is true that Article 2 is expressed in a deplorably equivocatory and convoluted language which fails to convey this vital point, indeed it obscures it. But nevertheless that is what Article 2 means.

Dieter Helm (here):

Nothing of substance has been achieved in the last quarter of a century despite all the efforts and political capital that has been applied. The Paris Agreement follows on from Kyoto. The pledges – in the unlikely event they are met – will not meet the 2C target, shipping and aviation are excluded, and the key developing countries (China and India) are not committed to capping their emission for at least another decade and a half (or longer in India’s case)

None of the pledges is, in any event, legally binding. For this reason, the Paris Agreement can be regarded as the point at which the UN negotiating approach turned effectively away from a top down approach, and instead started to rely on a more country driven and hence bottom up one.

Paul Spedding:

The international community is unlikely to agree any time soon on a global mechanism for putting a price on carbon emissions.

2: Suppose Governments enact restrictions that limit use of fossil fuels.

Despite the wishful thinking in the first supposition, the activists proceed on the basis of aspirations and reporting accountability. Sanford Lewis:

Although the reduction goals are not set forth in an enforceable agreement, the parties put mechanisms in place for transparent reporting by countries and a ratcheting mechanism every five years to create accountability for achieving these goals. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summarized the Paris Agreement as follows: “The once Unthinkable [global action on climate change] has become the Unstoppable.”

Now we come to an interesting bait and switch. Since Cancun, IPCC is asserting that global warming is capped at 2C by keeping CO2 concentration below 450 ppm. From Summary for Policymakers (SPM) AR5

Emissions scenarios leading to CO2-equivalent concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. These scenarios are characterized by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010, and emissions levels near zero or below in 2100.

Thus is born the “450 Scenario” by which governments can be focused upon reducing emissions without any reference to temperature measurements, which are troublesome and inconvenient.

Sanford Lewis:

Within the international expert community, “2 degree” is generally used as shorthand for a low carbon scenario under which CO2 concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere are stabilized at a level of 450 parts per million (ppm) or lower, representing approximately an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from current levels, which according to certain computer simulations would be likely to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and is considered by some to reduce the likelihood of significant adverse impacts based on analyses of historical climate variability. Company Letter, page 4.

Clever as it is to substitute a 450 ppm target for 2C, the mathematics are daunting. Joe Romm:

We’re at 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year — rising 3.3% per year — and we have to average below 18 billion tons a year for the entire century if we’re going to stabilize at 450 ppm. We need to peak around 2015 to 2020 at the latest, then drop at least 60% by 2050 to 15 billion tons (4 billion tons of carbon), and then go to near zero net carbon emissions by 2100.

Note:  In  the run up to COP24 in Katowice, IPCC stalwarts increased the ambition to 1.5C of additional warming, which translates to 430 ppm.  Presently Mauna Loa reports 407 and rising.

And the presumed climate sensitivity to CO2 is hypothetical and unsupported by observations:

3.Suppose that demand for oil and gas products is reduced by the high costs imposed on such fuels.

Sanford Lewis:

ExxonMobil recognized in its 2014 10-K that “a number of countries have adopted, or are considering adoption of, regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” and that such policies, regulations, and actions could make its “products more expensive, lengthen project implementation timelines and reduce demand for hydrocarbons,” but ExxonMobil has not presented any analysis of how its portfolio performs under a 2 degree scenario.

Moreover, the Company’s current use of a carbon proxy price, which it asserts as its means of calculating climate policy impacts, merely amplifies and reflects its optimistic assessments of national and global climate policies. The Company Letter notes that ExxonMobil is setting an internal price as high as $80 per ton; in contrast, the 2014 Report notes a carbon price of $1000 per ton to achieve the 450 ppm (2 degree scenario) and the Company reportedly stated during the recent Paris climate talks that a 1.5 degree scenario would require a carbon price as high as $2000 per ton within the next hundred years.

Peter Trelenberg, manager of environmental policy and planning at Exxon Mobil reportedly told the Houston Chronicle editorial board: Trimming carbon emissions to the point that average temperatures would rise roughly 1.6 degrees Celsius – enabling the planet to avoid dangerous symptoms of carbon pollution – would bring costs up to $2,000 a ton of CO2. That translates to a $20 a gallon boost to pump prices by the end of this century… .

Even those who think emissions should be capped somehow see through the wishful thinking in these numbers. Dieter Helm:

The combination of the shale revolution and the ending of the commodity super cycle probably point to a period of low prices for sometime to come. This is unfortunate timing for current decarbonisation policies, many of which are predicated on precisely the opposite happening – high and rising prices, rendering current renewables economic. Low oil prices, cheap coal, and falling gas prices, and their impacts on driving down wholesale electricity prices, are the new baseline against which to consider policy interventions.

With existing technologies, it is a matter of political will, and the ability to bring the main polluters on board, as to whether the envelope will be breached. There are good reasons to doubt that any top down agreement will work sufficiently well to achieve it.

The end of fossil fuels is not about to happen anytime soon, and will not be caused by running out of any of them. There is more than enough to fry the planet several times over, and technological progress in the extraction of fossil fuels has recently been at least as fast as for renewables. We live in an age of fossil fuel abundance.

We also live in a world where fossil fuel prices have fallen, and where the common assumption that prices will bounce back, and that the cycle of fossil fuel prices will not only reassert itself but also continue on a rising trend, may be seriously misguided. It is plausible to at least argue that the oil price may never regain its peaks in 1979 and 2008 again.

A world with stable or falling fossil fuel prices turns the policy assumptions of the last decade or so on their heads. Instead of assuming that rising prices would ease the transition to low carbon alternatives, many of the existing technologies will probably need permanent subsidies. Once the full system costs are incorporated, current generation wind (especially offshore) and current generation solar may be out of the market except in special locations for the foreseeable future. In any event, neither can do much to address the sheer scale of global emissions.

Primary Energy Demand Projection

4.Suppose oil and gas reserves are stranded for lack of demand.

Sanford Lewis:

Achievement of even a 2 degree goal requires net zero global emissions to be attained by 2100. Achieving net zero emissions this century means that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned. As noted by Mark Carney, the President of the Bank of England, the carbon budget associated with meeting the 2 degree goal will “render the vast majority of reserves ‘stranded’ – oil, gas, and coal that will be literally unburnable without expensive carbon capture technology, which itself alters fossil fuel economics.”

A concern expressed by some of our stakeholders is whether such a “low carbon scenario” could impact ExxonMobil’s reserves and operations – i.e., whether this would result in unburnable proved reserves of oil and natural gas.

Decisions to abandon reserves are not as simple or have the effects as desired by activists.

Financial Post (here):

The 450 Scenario is not the IEA’s central scenario. At this point, government policies to limit GHG emissions are not stringent enough to stimulate this level of change. However, for discussion purposes let’s use the IEA’s 450 Scenario to examine the question of stranded assets in crude oil investing. Would some oil reserves be “stranded” under the IEA’s scenario of demand reversal?

A considerable amount of new oil projects must be developed to offset the almost 80 per cent loss in legacy production by 2040. This continued need for new oil projects for the next few decades and beyond means that the majority of the value of oil reserves on the books of public companies must be realized, and will not be “stranded”.

While most of these reserves will be developed, could any portion be stranded in this scenario? The answer is surely “yes.” In any industry a subset of the inventory that is comprised of inferior products will be susceptible to being marginalized when there is declining demand for goods. In a 450 ppm world, inferior products in the oil business will be defined by higher cost and higher carbon intensity.

5.Suppose shareholders fear declining company net worth.

Now we come to the underlying rationale for this initiative.

Paul Spedding:

Commodity markets have repeatedly proved vulnerable to expectations that prices will fall. Given the political pressure to mitigate the impact of climate change, smart investors will be watching closely for indications of policies that will lead to a drop in demand and the possibility that their assets will become financially stranded.

Equity markets are famously irrational, and if energy company shareholders can be spooked into selling off, a death spiral can be instigated. So far though, investors are smarter than they are given credit.

Bloomberg:

Fossil-fuel divestment has been a popular issue in recent years among college students, who have protested at campuses around the country. Yet even with the movement spreading to more than 1,000 campuses, only a few dozen schools have placed some restrictions on their commitments to the energy sector. Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are among the largest endowments to reject demands to divest.

Stanford Board of Trustees even said:

As trustees, we are convinced that the global community must develop effective alternatives to fossil fuels at sufficient scale, so that fossil fuels will not continue to be extracted and used at the present rate. Stanford is deeply engaged in finding alternatives through its research. However, despite the progress being made, at the present moment oil and gas remain integral components of the global economy, essential to the daily lives of billions of people in both developed and emerging economies. Moreover, some oil and gas companies are themselves working to advance alternative energy sources and develop other solutions to climate change. The complexity of this picture does not allow us to conclude that the conditions for divestment outlined in the Statement on Investment Responsibility have been met.

Update:  Universities are not the exception in finding the alarmist case unconvincing, according to a survey:

Almost half of the world’s top 500 investors are failing to act on climate change — an increase of 6 percent from 236 in 2014, according to a report Monday by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, which surveys global companies on their climate change risk and management.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Japan Post Insurance Co Ltd., Kuwait Investment Authority and China’s SAFE Investment Company, are the four biggest funds that scored zero in the survey. The 246 “laggards” identified as not acting hold $14 trillion in assets, the report said.

Summary

Alarmists have failed to achieve their goals through political persuasion and elections. So they are turning to legal and financial tactics. Their wishful thinking appears as an improbable chain of events built upon a Paris agreement without substance.

Last word to David Campbell:

International policy has so far been based on the premise that mitigation is the wisest course, but it is time for those committed to environmental intervention to abandon the idea of mitigation in favour of adaptation to climate change’s effects.

For more on adapting vs. mitigating, see Adapting Works, Mitigating Fails

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Balancing on a set of suppositions.

 

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November Cooling by Land, or Cooling by Sea?

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With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for November.   Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. This month I will add a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The November update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for November. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

UAH Oceans 201811

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

The anomalies over the entire ocean dropped to the same value, 0.12C  in August (Tropics were 0.13C).  Warming in previous months was erased, and September added very little warming back. In October and November, NH and the Tropics rose, joined by SH last month, resulting in a warming bump.

As of November 2018, NH ocean air temps are matching all Novembers since 2013.  Global and SH this year are the lowest November since 2015.  OTOH ocean air temps in the Tropics are the highest November since 2015.

Land Air Temperatures Plunged in September, Rose in October, Then Plunged Again

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations record air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for November is below.UAH Land 201811

The greater volatility of the Land temperatures is evident, and also the dominance of NH, which has twice as much land area as SH.  Note how global peaks mirror NH peaks.  In November air over SH and the Tropical land surfaces rose, while NH fell sharply pulling the global anomaly down.  For the moment, UAH shows ocean and land temps moving in opposite directions, though still well below the peaks in 2015 and 2016.

Postscript:  NH Continents Drive  Variability in Temperature Anomalies

Clive Best provides this animation of recent monthly temperature anomalies which demonstrates how most variability in anomalies occur over northern continents.

Summary

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  It is striking to now see NH and Global land temps dropping in a mixed fashion.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

Washing Methane Away: Atmospheric Chemistry

The good news comes from NASA published at Science Daily Greenhouse gas ‘detergent’ recycles itself in atmosphere.  The study explains how the atmosphere functions as a methane sink, and why the process is resilient and handles whatever CH4 is emitted.  Scientists had worried that the atmospheric capacity to wash away methane might decay over time, but that fear turns out to be unfounded. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Summary:
A simple molecule in the atmosphere that acts as a ‘detergent’ to break down methane and other greenhouse gases has been found to recycle itself to maintain a steady global presence in the face of rising emissions, according to new research. Understanding its role in the atmosphere is critical for determining the lifetime of methane, a powerful contributor to climate change.

The hydroxyl (OH) radical, a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom, one oxygen atom with a free (or unpaired) electron is one of the most reactive gases in the atmosphere and regularly breaks down other gases, effectively ending their lifetimes. In this way OH is the main check on the concentration of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in contributing to increasing global temperatures.

With the rise of methane emissions into the atmosphere, scientists historically thought that might cause the amount of hydroxyl radicals to be used up on the global scale and, as a result, extend methane’s lifetime, currently estimated to be nine years. However, in addition to looking globally at primary sources of OH and the amount of methane and other gases it breaks down, this new research takes into account secondary OH sources, recycling that happens after OH breaks down methane and reforms in the presence of other gases, which has been observed on regional scales before.

“OH concentrations are pretty stable over time,” said atmospheric chemist and lead author Julie Nicely at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “When OH reacts with methane it doesn’t necessarily go away in the presence of other gases, especially nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2). The break down products of its reaction with methane react with NO or NO2 to reform OH. So OH can recycle back into the atmosphere.”

OH in the atmosphere also forms when ultraviolet sunlight reaches the lower atmosphere and reacts with water vapor (H2O) and ozone (O3) to form two OH molecules. Over the tropics, water vapor and ultraviolet sunlight are plentiful. The tropics, which span the region of Earth to either side of the equator, have shown some evidence of widening farther north and south of their current range, possibly due to rising temperatures affecting air circulation patterns. This means that the tropical region primed for creating OH will potentially increase over time, leading to a higher amount of OH in the atmosphere. This tropical widening process is slow, however, expanding only 0.5 to 1 degree in latitude every 10 years. But the small effect may still be important, according to Nicely.

She and her team found that, individually, the tropical widening effect and OH recycling through reactions with other gases each comprise a relatively small source of OH, but together they essentially replace the OH used up in the breaking down of methane.

“The absence of a trend in global OH is surprising,” said atmospheric chemist Tom Hanisco at Goddard who was not involved in the research. “Most models predict a ‘feedback effect’ between OH and methane. In the reaction of OH with methane, OH is also removed. The increase in NO2 and other sources of OH, such as ozone, cancel out this expected effect.” But since this study looks at the past thirty-five years, it’s not guaranteed that as the atmosphere continues to evolve with global climate change that OH levels will continue to recycle in the same way into the future, he said.

Ultimately, Nicely views the results as a way to fine-tune and update the assumptions that are made by researchers and climate modelers who describe and predict how OH and methane interact throughout the atmosphere. “This could add clarification on the question of will methane concentrations continue rising in the future? Or will they level off, or perhaps even decrease? This is a major question regarding future climate that we really don’t know the answer to,” she said.

Abstract from AGU publication Changes in Global Tropospheric OH Expected as a Result of Climate Change Over the Last Several Decades  Julie M. Nicely
The oxidizing capacity of the troposphere is controlled primarily by the abundance of hydroxyl radical (OH). The global mean concentration of tropospheric OH, [OH]TROP (the burden of OH in the global troposphere appropriate for calculating the lifetime of methane) inferred from measurements of methyl chloroform has remained relatively constant during the past several decades despite rising levels of methane that should have led to a decline.

Here we examine other factors that may have affected [OH]TROP such as the changing values of stratospheric ozone, rising tropospheric H2O, varying burden of NOx (=NO+NO2), rising temperatures, and widening of the climatological tropics due to expansion of the Hadley cell. Our analysis suggests the positive trends in [OH]TROP due to H2O, NOx, and overhead O3, and tropical expansion are large enough (Δ [OH]TROP = +0.95 ± 0.18%/decade) to counter almost all of the expected decrease in [OH]TROP due to rising methane (Δ [OH]TROP = −1.01 ± 0.05%/decade) over the period 1980 to 2015, while variations in temperature contribute almost no trend (Δ [OH]TROP = −0.02 ± 0.02%/decade) in [OH]TROP. The approximated impact of Hadley cell expansion on [OH]TROP is also a small but not insignificant factor partially responsible for the steadiness of tropospheric oxidizing capacity over the past several decades, which free‐running models likely do not capture.

Slowing expanding tropical regions seems like a good thing all around.

 

Whoa! I’ve been Bot-censored.

Today someone linked to one of my posts on a thread at reddit:

slinkydink2 14 hours ago
·
More grammatical errors and an emoji face. Am I talking to a 9 year old? Consensus is not science. It’s an opinion. The scientific theory has not been and cannot be applied to your global warning bullshit.

Spez: Even though I know you won’t read it (or understand it if you do) here’s an article from last month saying the models are bullshit and that Solar activity is the largest factor.

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/2018-update-best-climate-model-inmcm5/

That was followed by:

13 hours ago
Your comment was automatically removed because you linked to an anti-Trump domain. Please use archive.is or a google cache for this domain so we do not give them any undeserved clicks.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

The censorship statement was presented this way:

Wow! So much for free speech on the internet.  And the irony for being censored as an anti-Trump domain, which itself seems like a spoof.  The content referring to climate sources does ring true as climatist suppression of alternate information and views.  Apparently, you are an idiot if you know too much and see through the alarmist house of cards.

Kid’s Climate Lawsuit Update Nov. 24

 

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Updated Nov 23, 2018

As of Friday, Oregon District Court Judge Aiken has given into the Supreme Court suggestion and defendant’s request that a stay for interlocutory appeal be accepted by the lower court.  The Order by Judge Aiken is here The key excerpt is in italics with my bolds.

This Court stands by its prior rulings on jurisdictional and merits issues, as well as its belief that this case would be better served by further factual development at trial. The Court has, however, reviewed the record and takes particular note of the recent orders issued by the United States Supreme Court on July 30, 2018, and November 2, 2018, as well as the extraordinary Order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. USDC-ORE, Case No. 18-73014 issued on November 8, 2018. At this time, the Court finds sufficient cause to revisit the question of interlocutory appeal as to its previous orders, and upon reconsideration, the Court finds that each of the factors outlined in § 1292(b) have been met regarding the previously mentioned orders. Thus, this Court now exercises its discretion and immediately certifies this case for interlocutory appeal. The Court does not make this decision lightly. Accordingly, this case is STAYED pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This means activity in preparation for an estimated 50 day trial is suspended while the higher Court of Appeals considers whether the lawsuit is out of bounds.  See Background below.

Background from Previous Post on Nov. 5

As predicted in an earlier post (reprinted at the end), US lawyers are following the Supreme’s lead by again asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case.  At the same time, one motion filed at the Oregon District Court asks for a stay of proceedings there pending a ruling by the Appeals Court.  Another motion asks the Oregon court to again consider narrowing the scope of the lawsuit.  The documents can be accessed at Columbia’s climate litigation website for Juliana vs. United States  Some excerpts in italics with my bolds, followed by the Nov. 2 post.

From Petition to Court of Appeals:

If the district court grants certification and stays all proceedings, as the Supreme Court has signaled that it should, it will obviate the need for this Court’s intervention by way of mandamus. If, however, the district court declines to grant certification (despite the Supreme Court’s clear guidance to the contrary), this Court would need to intervene to provide the pretrial appellate review contemplated by the Supreme Court. 

To be clear, the government hopes that this Court’s intervention through extraordinary relief will not be necessary. The government is doing everything in its power to persuade the district court to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance and to certify its decisions for interlocutory appeal. But if the district court declines to do so, this Court should intervene to provide the relief that the Supreme Court has expressly stated “may be available in” this Court — and that is plainly warranted given the fundamental defects in Plaintiffs’ action. ECF No. 416, at 2.

Previous Post Nov. 2, 2018:  Supremes Kick Kids Lawsuit Down the Road

Last night the US Supreme justices refused the federal government’s petition to end the Oregon district court case. The media headlines will say this action allows the case to start, but that is not what happened. The real story concerns procedural hurdles and comes from Scotusblog, not from the green industry PR department (when did yellow journalism change colors?).

Everyone knows this issue will eventually come to the Supreme Court for a ruling. Some judges in black robes will take the heat for telling the truth about the case’s fatal legal flaws. So the Supremes will allow (not prevent) the lower courts to do their job to declare the suit out of bounds. All the while they know any lower ruling will be appealed by the losing side to the top later on.

As you will see, there are probably two more procedural maneuvers before the case can proceed to address the merits, or lack thereof. Yesterday, the Supremes noted that the Ninth District Court of Appeals twice refused the fed’s petition on grounds that no longer pertain. Thus, they suggest that the Ninth take a third kick at this can, perhaps this time actually engaging the issues.

If, as everyone expects, the Ninth follows their San Francisco-based leftist leanings and summarily grants no relief, then the feds can come back to the Supremes having no longer any recourse at lower levels. BTW, two Supreme Justices said they were ready now to grant the federal petition as it stands.

Amy Howe writes truthfully Justices refuse to block climate-change trial. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Tonight the Supreme Court declined to intervene to block the trial in a lawsuit filed by a group of children and teenagers who have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order the federal government to prepare and put in place a plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions. Although the justices’ ruling formally cleared the way for a trial in the case to go forward, the court stressed that the government may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and it did not foreclose the possibility that the government could return to the Supreme Court yet again.

Text of Supreme Court Order ORDER IN PENDING CASE

This afternoon’s order was the latest chapter in the climate-change lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2015, during the Obama administration. The plaintiffs contend that the federal government’s conduct has led to a “dangerous climate system,” in conflict with their constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

The federal government first came to the Supreme Court in the case last summer, asking the justices to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s request to have the case dismissed or, at the very least, put on hold. But the justices declined to step in, describing the government’s request as “premature.” At the same time, the justices acknowledged that the plaintiffs’ claims are “striking” and that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all; they also emphasized that the district court should “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on” other motions that the government had filed seeking dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims.

With a trial looming, the government returned to the Supreme Court again last week, complaining that the district court had declined to “meaningfully narrow” the scope of the case. It asked the justices to either end the lawsuit altogether or, at a minimum, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward. Chief Justice John Roberts, who at the time handled emergency requests from the geographic area that includes Oregon, agreed to put discovery and the trial on hold temporarily to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to respond to the government’s application.

In their response, the plaintiffs urged the justices to allow the trial to go forward. They noted that most pretrial fact-finding had already been completed, with the only remaining discovery “extremely limited.” The only harm that the government has cited to justify putting the trial on hold, the plaintiffs argued, is that it would otherwise be required to “participate in the normal process of trial and await appellate consideration until after final judgment” – which, in the plaintiffs’ view, is an “ordinary” burden rather than the kind of irreparable harm necessitating emergency relief. By contrast, they suggested, stopping the trial now “will disrupt the integrity of the judiciary’s role as a check on the political branches and will irreparably harm these children.” Indeed, the plaintiffs asserted, discovery and a trial are essential because the district court can’t decide the questions presented by their lawsuit, involving the plaintiffs’ legal right to bring the lawsuit and the allocation of power between the different branches of government, until the facts have been better developed.

In a reply brief, the federal government pushed back, telling the justices that it had made every possible effort in the lower courts to avoid reaching this point, but had been unsuccessful. The government emphasized that what the plaintiffs are asking the federal courts to do is extraordinary, “nothing less than a complete transformation of the American energy system – including the abandonment of fossil fuels.” Such a request, the government continued, “has no place in federal court,” so that granting the government a reprieve from the upcoming trial would “preserve the judiciary’s essential role under the Constitution.”

The government added that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ assurances, the prospect winning on appeal after an “extensive” trial had already taken place would provide little comfort to the government, because of the enormous amount of resources that would have to be devoted to pretrial preparations and the trial itself.

In an unsigned three-page order issued tonight, the Supreme Court explained that it would block the proceedings in the district court only if the government were likely to prevail on its request for an order of the Supreme Court, in particular, requiring the district court to dismiss the case. But the government cannot meet that standard, the justices continued, because it may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the 9th Circuit. The court acknowledged that the 9th Circuit has twice turned down requests from the government to order the district court to dismiss the case, but it reasoned that the 9th Circuit did so because of the prospect that the plaintiffs’ claims against the government might eventually be dismissed through more conventional avenues. The justices concluded that those “reasons are, to a large extent, no longer pertinent” with a 50-day trial – which had been scheduled for October 29 – looming.

The court therefore denied the federal government’s request to keep the trial on hold “without prejudice” – that is, leaving open the possibility that the dispute could return to the Supreme Court again. The justices’ earlier order putting the trial on hold temporarily, to give them time to consider the government’s request, is terminated. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch indicated that they would have granted the government’s request.

Background from previous post Supreme Justice Grants Stay of Kids Lawsuit

On Friday, Chief Justice Roberts stayed the discovery and trial of Juliana vs. US, pending responses from the plaintiffs to issues raised by the defense.  Report from The News Review in italics with my bolds.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay in the climate trial, Juliana v. United States, pending a response from the plaintiffs.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss the case brought by 21 young plaintiffs Thursday.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Meg Ward with Our Children’s Trust said the plaintiff’s legal team is working on its response, which it will file Monday.

The Supreme Court order states a response is due by Oct. 24.

Julia Olson, one of the lawyers representing the young plaintiffs, said the prosecution is confident that once the court receives the response the trial will proceed.

“As the Supreme Court has recognized in innumerable cases, review of constitutional questions is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed by the trier of fact,” Olson said in a news release.

The lawsuit alleges the federal government has violated young people’s constitutional rights through policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

They have said their generation bears the brunt of climate change and that the government has an obligation to protect natural resources for present and future generations.

The young people say government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive them of life, liberty and property. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.

The lawsuit wants a court to order the government to stop permitting and authorizing fossil fuels, quickly phase out carbon dioxide emissions to a certain level by 2100 and develop a national climate recovery plan.

The Trump administration got a temporary reprieve on the case after also asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the request in July.

“The latest attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the trial does not appear to be based on any new evidence or arguments. The only new element is an additional Supreme Court justice,” said Melissa Scanlan, a professor at Vermont Law School, who is not involved in the case.

Kavanaugh replaced the more moderate Anthony Kennedy.

Scanlan said the Trump administration is trying to avoid “what they’re expecting to be a 50-day trial focused on climate disruption.” The trial in Eugene was expected to wrap up in January.

CNN added this:

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the justice to stop any further discovery and the pending trial while the government appeals the lower court opinion.

In his filing, Francisco lambasted the suit, calling it “an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions.”

Francisco’s language echoes some of the remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions made before the conservative Heritage Foundation on Monday. “Judicial activism is therefore a threat to our representative government and the liberty it secures,” Sessions said. “In effect, activist advocates want judges who will do for them what they have been unable to achieve at the ballot box. It is fundamentally undemocratic.”

The filings may be welcomed by some of the justices but they also put others in an uncomfortable position, and there’s a risk of going to the well too often.

“The Supreme Court unquestionably has the authority to provide the extraordinary relief the government is seeking in these cases,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“That said, it tends to exercise that authority sparingly,” he added,” and there’s reason to wonder if the government, by repeatedly asking for such unusual relief, might be perceived by at least some of the justices as the boy who cried wolf.”

The text of the  US filing is PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS Contents:

Reasons for granting the petition

A. The government has a clear and indisputable
right to relief from the district court’s refusal to
dismiss this fundamentally misguided suit

1. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by exercising jurisdiction over the suit
2. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed
outside the binding framework of the APA
3. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed on the
merits

B. The government has no other adequate means to
attain relief from a fundamentally misguided and
improper trial

C. Mandamus relief is appropriate under the
circumstances

Excerpt from page 26:

Remarkably, the district court rooted its recognition of a fundamental due process right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life,” App., infra, 141a, in this Court’s recognition of a fundamental right to samesex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015). There is no relationship, however, between a distinctly personal and circumscribed right to same-sex marriage and the alleged right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life that apparently would run indiscriminately to every individual in the United States. The right recognized by the district court has no relationship to any right as “fundamental as a matter of history and tradition” as the right to marry recognized in Obergefell. Id. at 2602.

Background from previous post Supremes Looking at Kids Lawsuit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climatists Make Their Case by Omitting Facts

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

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

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

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

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

The Stiglitz expert report submitted to the court is here.

An Example of Intentional Omissions

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

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

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

Supposition 1: Humans make the climate warmer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supposition 2: The Warming is Dangerous

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

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

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

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

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

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

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

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

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

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

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

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

We’re seeing more intense storms.

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

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

In fact our climate is remarkably stable.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

Climate is Changing the Weather

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

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

 

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

Supposition 3:  Government Can Stop it!

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

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

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

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

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

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

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

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

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

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

sf-ca-past-projected

dilbert-sins-of-omission-and-comission

Latest Results from First-Class Climate Model INMCM5

Updated with October 25, 2018 Report

A previous analysis Temperatures According to Climate Models showed that only one of 42 CMIP5 models was close to hindcasting past temperature fluctuations. That model was INMCM4, which also projected an unalarming 1.4C warming to the end of the century, in contrast to the other models programmed for future warming five times the past.

In a recent comment thread, someone asked what has been done recently with that model, given that it appears to be “best of breed.” So I went looking and this post summarizes further work to produce a new, hopefully improved version by the modelers at the Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Institute of Numerical Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

A previous post a year ago went into the details of improvements made in producing the latest iteration INMCM5 for entry into the CMIP6 project.  That text is reprinted below.

Now a detailed description of the model’s global temperature outputs has been published October 25, 2018 in Earth System Dynamics Simulation of observed climate changes in 1850–2014 with climate model INM-CM5   (Title is link to pdf) Excerpts below with my bolds.

Figure 1. The 5-year mean GMST (K) anomaly with respect to 1850–1899 for HadCRUTv4 (thick solid black); model mean (thick solid red). Dashed thin lines represent data from individual model runs: 1 – purple, 2 – dark blue, 3 – blue, 4 – green, 5 – yellow, 6 – orange, 7 – magenta. In this and the next figures numbers on the time axis indicate the first year of the 5-year mean.

Abstract

Climate changes observed in 1850-2014 are modeled and studied on the basis of seven historical runs with the climate model INM-CM5 under the scenario proposed for Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 6 (CMIP6). In all runs global mean surface temperature rises by 0.8 K at the end of the experiment (2014) in agreement with the observations. Periods of fast warming in 1920-1940 and 1980-2000 as well as its slowdown in 1950-1975 and 2000-2014 are correctly reproduced by the ensemble mean. The notable change here with respect to the CMIP5 results is correct reproduction of the slowdown of global warming in 2000-2014 that we attribute to more accurate description of the Solar constant in CMIP6 protocol. The model is able to reproduce correct behavior of global mean temperature in 1980-2014 despite incorrect phases of  the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation indices in the majority of experiments. The Arctic sea ice loss in recent decades is reasonably close to the observations just in one model run; the model underestimates Arctic sea ice loss by the factor 2.5. Spatial pattern of model mean surface temperature trend during the last 30 years looks close the one for the ERA Interim reanalysis. Model correctly estimates the magnitude of stratospheric cooling.

Additional Commentary

Observational data of GMST for 1850-2014 used for verification of model results were produced by HadCRUT4 (Morice et al 2012). Monthly mean sea surface temperature (SST) data ERSSTv4 (Huang et al 2015) are used for comparison of the AMO and PDO indices with that of the model. Data of Arctic sea ice extent for 1979-2014 derived from satellite observations are taken from Comiso and Nishio (2008). Stratospheric temperature trend and geographical distribution of near surface air temperature trend for 1979-2014 are calculated from ERA Interim reanalysis data (Dee et al 2011).

Keeping in mind the arguments that the GMST slowdown in the beginning of 21st 6 century could be due to the internal variability of the climate system let us look at the behavior of the AMO and PDO climate indices. Here we calculated the AMO index in the usual way, as the SST anomaly in Atlantic at latitudinal band 0N-60N minus anomaly of the GMST. Model and observed 5 year mean AMO index time series are presented in Fig.3. The well known oscillation with a period of 60-70 years can be clearly seen in the observations. Among the model runs, only one (dashed purple line) shows oscillation with a period of about 70 years, but without significant maximum near year 2000. In other model runs there is no distinct oscillation with a period of 60-70 years but period of 20-40 years prevails. As a result none of seven model trajectories reproduces behavior of observed AMO index after year 1950 (including its warm phase at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries). One can conclude that anthropogenic forcing is unable to produce any significant impact on the AMO dynamics as its index averaged over 7 realization stays around zero within one sigma interval (0.08). Consequently, the AMO dynamics is controlled by internal variability of the climate system and cannot be predicted in historic experiments. On the other hand the model can correctly predict GMST changes in 1980-2014 having wrong phase of the AMO (blue, yellow, orange lines on Fig.1 and 3).

Conclusions

Seven historical runs for 1850-2014 with the climate model INM-CM5 were analyzed. It is shown that magnitude of the GMST rise in model runs agrees with the estimate based on the observations. All model runs reproduce stabilization of GMST in 1950-1970, fast warming in 1980-2000 and a second GMST stabilization in 2000-2014 suggesting that the major factor for predicting GMST evolution is the external forcing rather than system internal variability. Numerical experiments with the previous model version (INMCM4) for CMIP5 showed unrealistic gradual warming in 1950-2014. The difference between the two model results could be explained by more accurate modeling of stratospheric volcanic and tropospheric anthropogenic aerosol radiation effect (stabilization in 1950-1970) due to the new aerosol block in INM-CM5 and more accurate prescription of Solar constant scenario (stabilization in 2000-2014) in CMIP6 protocol. Four of seven INM-CM5 model runs simulate acceleration of warming in 1920-1940 in a correct way, other three produce it earlier or later than in reality. This indicates that for the year warming of 1920-1940 the climate system natural variability plays significant role. No model trajectory reproduces correct time behavior of AMO and PDO indices. Taking into account our results on the GMST modeling one can conclude that anthropogenic forcing does not produce any significant impact on the dynamics of AMO and PDO indices, at least for the INM-CM5 model. In turns, correct prediction of the GMST changes in the 1980-2014 does not require correct phases of the AMO and PDO as all model runs have correct values of the GMST while in at least three model experiments the phases of the AMO and PDO are opposite to the observed ones in that time. The North Atlantic SST time series produced by the model correlates better with the observations in 1980-2014. Three out of seven trajectories have strongly positive North Atlantic SST anomaly as the observations (in the other four cases we see near-to-zero changes for this quantity). The INMCM5 has the same skill for prediction of the Arctic sea ice extent in 2000-2014 as CMIP5 models including INMCM4. It underestimates the rate of sea ice loss by a factor between the two and three. In one extreme case the magnitude of this decrease is as large as in the observations while in the other the sea ice extent does not change compared to the preindustrial ages. In part this could be explained by the strong internal variability of the Arctic sea ice but obviously the new version of INMCM model and new CMIP6 forcing protocol does not improve prediction of the Arctic sea ice extent response to anthropogenic forcing.

Previous Post:  Climate Model Upgraded: INMCM5 Under the Hood

Earlier in 2017 came this publication Simulation of the present-day climate with the climate model INMCM5 by E.M. Volodin et al. Excerpts below with my bolds.

In this paper we present the fifth generation of the INMCM climate model that is being developed at the Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INMCM5). The most important changes with respect to the previous version (INMCM4) were made in the atmospheric component of the model. Its vertical resolution was increased to resolve the upper stratosphere and the lower mesosphere. A more sophisticated parameterization of condensation and cloudiness formation was introduced as well. An aerosol module was incorporated into the model. The upgraded oceanic component has a modified dynamical core optimized for better implementation on parallel computers and has two times higher resolution in both horizontal directions.

Analysis of the present-day climatology of the INMCM5 (based on the data of historical run for 1979–2005) shows moderate improvements in reproduction of basic circulation characteristics with respect to the previous version. Biases in the near-surface temperature and precipitation are slightly reduced compared with INMCM4 as  well as biases in oceanic temperature, salinity and sea surface height. The most notable improvement over INMCM4 is the capability of the new model to reproduce the equatorial stratospheric quasi-biannual oscillation and statistics of sudden stratospheric warmings.

The family of INMCM climate models, as most climate system models, consists of two main blocks: the atmosphere general circulation model, and the ocean general circulation model. The atmospheric part is based on the standard set of hydrothermodynamic equations with hydrostatic approximation written in advective form. The model prognostic variables are wind horizontal components, temperature, specific humidity and surface pressure.

Atmosphere Module

The INMCM5 borrows most of the atmospheric parameterizations from its previous version. One of the few notable changes is the new parameterization of clouds and large-scale condensation. In the INMCM5 cloud area and cloud water are computed prognostically according to Tiedtke (1993). That includes the formation of large-scale cloudiness as well as the formation of clouds in the atmospheric boundary layer and clouds of deep convection. Decrease of cloudiness due to mixing with unsaturated environment and precipitation formation are also taken into account. Evaporation of precipitation is implemented according to Kessler (1969).

In the INMCM5 the atmospheric model is complemented by the interactive aerosol block, which is absent in the INMCM4. Concentrations of coarse and fine sea salt, coarse and fine mineral dust, SO2, sulfate aerosol, hydrophilic and hydrophobic black and organic carbon are all calculated prognostically.

Ocean Module

The oceanic module of the INMCM5 uses generalized spherical coordinates. The model “South Pole” coincides with the geographical one, while the model “North Pole” is located in Siberia beyond the ocean area to avoid numerical problems near the pole. Vertical sigma-coordinate is used. The finite-difference equations are written using the Arakawa C-grid. The differential and finite-difference equations, as well as methods of solving them can be found in Zalesny etal. (2010).

The INMCM5 uses explicit schemes for advection, while the INMCM4 used schemes based on splitting upon coordinates. Also, the iterative method for solving linear shallow water equation systems is used in the INMCM5 rather than direct method used in the INMCM4. The two previous changes were made to improve model parallel scalability. The horizontal resolution of the ocean part of the INMCM5 is 0.5 × 0.25° in longitude and latitude (compared to the INMCM4’s 1 × 0.5°).

Both the INMCM4 and the INMCM5 have 40 levels in vertical. The parallel implementation of the ocean model can be found in (Terekhov etal. 2011). The oceanic block includes vertical mixing and isopycnal diffusion parameterizations (Zalesny et al. 2010). Sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics are parameterized according to Iakovlev (2009). Assumptions of elastic-viscous-plastic rheology and single ice thickness gradation are used. The time step in the oceanic block of the INMCM5 is 15 min.

Note the size of the human emissions next to the red arrow.

Carbon Cycle Module

The climate model INMCM5 has а carbon cycle module (Volodin 2007), where atmospheric CO2 concentration, carbon in vegetation, soil and ocean are calculated. In soil, а single carbon pool is considered. In the ocean, the only prognostic variable in the carbon cycle is total inorganic carbon. Biological pump is prescribed. The model calculates methane emission from wetlands and has a simplified methane cycle (Volodin 2008). Parameterizations of some electrical phenomena, including calculation of ionospheric potential and flash intensity (Mareev and Volodin 2014), are also included in the model.

Surface Temperatures

When compared to the INMCM4 surface temperature climatology, the INMCM5 shows several improvements. Negative bias over continents is reduced mainly because of the increase in daily minimum temperature over land, which is achieved by tuning the surface flux parameterization. In addition, positive bias over southern Europe and eastern USA in summer typical for many climate models (Mueller and Seneviratne 2014) is almost absent in the INMCM5. A possible reason for this bias in many models is the shortage of soil water and suppressed evaporation leading to overestimation of the surface temperature. In the INMCM5 this problem was addressed by the increase of the minimum leaf resistance for some vegetation types.

Nevertheless, some problems migrate from one model version to the other: negative bias over most of the subtropical and tropical oceans, and positive bias over the Atlantic to the east of the USA and Canada. Root mean square (RMS) error of annual mean near surface temperature was reduced from 2.48 K in the INMCM4 to 1.85 K in the INMCM5.

Precipitation

In mid-latitudes, the positive precipitation bias over the ocean prevails in winter while negative bias occurs in summer. Compared to the INMCM4, the biases over the western Indian Ocean, Indonesia, the eastern tropical Pacific and the tropical Atlantic are reduced. A possible reason for this is the better reproduction of the tropical sea surface temperature (SST) in the INMCM5 due to the increase of the spatial resolution in the oceanic block, as well as the new condensation scheme. RMS annual mean model bias for precipitation is 1.35mm day−1 for the INMCM5 compared to 1.60mm day−1 for the INMCM4.

Cloud Radiation Forcing

Cloud radiation forcing (CRF) at the top of the atmosphere is one of the most important climate model characteristics, as errors in CRF frequently lead to an incorrect surface temperature.

In the high latitudes model errors in shortwave CRF are small. The model underestimates longwave CRF in the subtropics but overestimates it in the high latitudes. Errors in longwave CRF in the tropics tend to partially compensate errors in shortwave CRF. Both errors have positive sign near 60S leading to warm bias in the surface temperature here. As a result, we have some underestimation of the net CRF absolute value at almost all latitudes except the tropics. Additional experiments with tuned conversion of cloud water (ice) to precipitation (for upper cloudiness) showed that model bias in the net CRF could be reduced, but that the RMS bias for the surface temperature will increase in this case.

A table from another paper provides the climate parameters described by INMCM5.

Climate Parameters Observations INMCM3 INMCM4 INMCM5
Incoming solar radiation at TOA 341.3 [26] 341.7 341.8 341.4
Outgoing solar radiation at TOA   96–100 [26] 97.5 ± 0.1 96.2 ± 0.1 98.5 ± 0.2
Outgoing longwave radiation at TOA 236–242 [26] 240.8 ± 0.1 244.6 ± 0.1 241.6 ± 0.2
Solar radiation absorbed by surface 154–166 [26] 166.7 ± 0.2 166.7 ± 0.2 169.0 ± 0.3
Solar radiation reflected by surface     22–26 [26] 29.4 ± 0.1 30.6 ± 0.1 30.8 ± 0.1
Longwave radiation balance at surface –54 to 58 [26] –52.1 ± 0.1 –49.5 ± 0.1 –63.0 ± 0.2
Solar radiation reflected by atmosphere      74–78 [26] 68.1 ± 0.1 66.7 ± 0.1 67.8 ± 0.1
Solar radiation absorbed by atmosphere     74–91 [26] 77.4 ± 0.1 78.9 ± 0.1 81.9 ± 0.1
Direct hear flux from surface     15–25 [26] 27.6 ± 0.2 28.2 ± 0.2 18.8 ± 0.1
Latent heat flux from surface     70–85 [26] 86.3 ± 0.3 90.5 ± 0.3 86.1 ± 0.3
Cloud amount, %     64–75 [27] 64.2 ± 0.1 63.3 ± 0.1 69 ± 0.2
Solar radiation-cloud forcing at TOA         –47 [26] –42.3 ± 0.1 –40.3 ± 0.1 –40.4 ± 0.1
Longwave radiation-cloud forcing at TOA          26 [26] 22.3 ± 0.1 21.2 ± 0.1 24.6 ± 0.1
Near-surface air temperature, °С 14.0 ± 0.2 [26] 13.0 ± 0.1 13.7 ± 0.1 13.8 ± 0.1
Precipitation, mm/day 2.5–2.8 [23] 2.97 ± 0.01 3.13 ± 0.01 2.97 ± 0.01
River water inflow to the World Ocean,10^3 km^3/year 29–40 [28] 21.6 ± 0.1 31.8 ± 0.1 40.0 ± 0.3
Snow coverage in Feb., mil. Km^2 46 ± 2 [29] 37.6 ± 1.8 39.9 ± 1.5 39.4 ± 1.5
Permafrost area, mil. Km^2 10.7–22.8 [30] 8.2 ± 0.6 16.1 ± 0.4 5.0 ± 0.5
Land area prone to seasonal freezing in NH, mil. Km^2 54.4 ± 0.7 [31] 46.1 ± 1.1 48.3 ± 1.1 51.6 ± 1.0
Sea ice area in NH in March, mil. Km^2 13.9 ± 0.4 [32] 12.9 ± 0.3 14.4 ± 0.3 14.5 ± 0.3
Sea ice area in NH in Sept., mil. Km^2 5.3 ± 0.6 [32] 4.5 ± 0.5 4.5 ± 0.5 6.1 ± 0.5

Heat flux units are given in W/m^2; the other units are given with the title of corresponding parameter. Where possible, ± shows standard deviation for annual mean value.  Source: Simulation of Modern Climate with the New Version Of the INM RAS Climate Model (Bracketed numbers refer to sources for observations)

Ocean Temperature and Salinity

The model biases in potential temperature and salinity averaged over longitude with respect to WOA09 (Antonov et al. 2010) are shown in Fig.12. Positive bias in the Southern Ocean penetrates from the surface downward for up to 300 m, while negative bias in the tropics can be seen even in the 100–1000 m layer.

Nevertheless, zonal mean temperature error at any level from the surface to the bottom is small. This was not the case for the INMCM4, where one could see negative temperature bias up to 2–3 K from 1.5 km to the bottom nearly al all latitudes, and 2–3 K positive bias at levels of 700–1000 m. The reason for this improvement is the introduction of a higher background coefficient for vertical diffusion at high depth (3000 m and higher) than at intermediate depth (300–500m). Positive temperature bias at 45–65 N at all depths could probably be explained by shortcomings in the representation of deep convection [similar errors can be seen for most of the CMIP5 models (Flato etal. 2013, their Fig.9.13)].

Another feature common for many present day climate models (and for the INMCM5 as well) is negative bias in southern tropical ocean salinity from the surface to 500 m. It can be explained by overestimation of precipitation at the southern branch of the Inter Tropical Convergence zone. Meridional heat flux in the ocean (Fig.13) is not far from available estimates (Trenberth and Caron 2001). It looks similar to the one for the INMCM4, but maximum of northward transport in the Atlantic in the INMCM5 is about 0.1–0.2 × 1015 W higher than the one in the INMCM4, probably, because of the increased horizontal resolution in the oceanic block.

Sea Ice

In the Arctic, the model sea ice area is just slightly overestimated. Overestimation of the Arctic sea ice area is connected with negative bias in the surface temperature. In the same time, connection of the sea ice area error with the positive salinity bias is not evident because ice formation is almost compensated by ice melting, and the total salinity source for these pair of processes is not large. The amplitude and phase of the sea ice annual cycle are reproduced correctly by the model. In the Antarctic, sea ice area is underestimated by a factor of 1.5 in all seasons, apparently due to the positive temperature bias. Note that the correct simulation of sea ice area dynamics in both hemispheres simultaneously is a difficult task for climate modeling.

The analysis of the model time series of the SST anomalies shows that the El Niño event frequency is approximately the same in the model and data, but the model El Niños happen too regularly. Atmospheric response to the El Niño vents is also underestimated in the model by a factor of 1.5 with respect to the reanalysis data.

Conclusion

Based on the CMIP5 model INMCM4 the next version of the Institute of Numerical Mathematics RAS climate model was developed (INMCM5). The most important changes include new parameterizations of large scale condensation (cloud fraction and cloud water are now the prognostic variables), and increased vertical resolution in the atmosphere (73 vertical levels instead of 21, top model level raised from 30 to 60 km). In the oceanic block, horizontal resolution was increased by a factor of 2 in both directions.

The climate model was supplemented by the aerosol block. The model got a new parallel code with improved computational efficiency and scalability. With the new version of climate model we performed a test model run (80 years) to simulate the present-day Earth climate. The model mean state was compared with the available datasets. The structures of the surface temperature and precipitation biases in the INMCM5 are typical for the present climate models. Nevertheless, the RMS error in surface temperature, precipitation as well as zonal mean temperature and zonal wind are reduced in the INMCM5 with respect to its previous version, the INMCM4.

The model is capable of reproducing equatorial stratospheric QBO and SSWs.The model biases for the sea surface height and surface salinity are reduced in the new version as well, probably due to increasing spatial resolution in the oceanic block. Bias in ocean potential temperature at depths below 700 m in the INMCM5 is also reduced with respect to the one in the INMCM4. This is likely because of the tuning background vertical diffusion coefficient.

Model sea ice area is reproduced well enough in the Arctic, but is underestimated in the Antarctic (as a result of the overestimated surface temperature). RMS error in the surface salinity is reduced almost everywhere compared to the previous model except the Arctic (where the positive bias becomes larger). As a final remark one can conclude that the INMCM5 is substantially better in almost all aspects than its previous version and we plan to use this model as a core component for the coming CMIP6 experiment.
climatesystem_web

Summary

One the one hand, this model example shows that the intent is simple: To represent dynamically the energy balance of our planetary climate system.  On the other hand, the model description shows how many parameters are involved, and the complexity of processes interacting.  The attempt to simulate operations of the climate system is a monumental task with many outstanding challenges, and this latest version is another step in an iterative development.

Note:  Regarding the influence of rising CO2 on the energy balance.  Global warming advocates estimate a CO2 perturbation of 4 W/m^2.  In the climate parameters table above, observations of the radiation fluxes have a 2 W/m^2 error range at best, and in several cases are observed in ranges of 10 to 15 W/m^2.

We do not yet have access to the time series temperature outputs from INMCM5 to compare with observations or with other CMIP6 models.  Presumably that will happen in the future.

Early Schematic: Flows and Feedbacks for Climate Models

Atmospheric Observations Contradict Global Warming Theory

Update Nov. 13, 2018  H/T Yonason for linking to Blair Macdonald’s discussion of CO2 behavior in the atmosphere.  At the end is a video and link to his paper and website.

This paper just published Has global warming already arrived? by C.A.Varotsos and M.N.Efstathiou (H/T Dennis Bird) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Highlights
•  The global warming during 1978–2018 was not more enhanced at high latitudes near the surface.

•  The intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those in the troposphere.

•  The results obtained do not reveal the global warming occurrence.

Abstract

The enhancement of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases is often considered as responsible for global warming (known as greenhouse hypothesis of global warming). In this context, the temperature field of global troposphere and lower stratosphere over the period 12/1978–07/2018 is explored using the recent Version 6 of the UAH MSU/AMSU global satellite temperature dataset.

Our analysis did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase from low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory. In addition, in the lower stratosphere the temperature cooling over both poles is lower than that over tropics and extratropics. To study further the thermal field variability we investigated the long-range correlations throughout the global lower troposphere-lower stratosphere region. The results show that the temperature field displays power-law behaviour that becomes stronger by going from the lower troposphere to the tropopause.

This power-law behaviour suggests that the fluctuations in global tropospheric temperature at short intervals are positively correlated with those at longer intervals in a power-law manner. The latter, however, does not apply to global temperature in the lower stratosphere. This suggests that the investigated intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those of the troposphere, as is expected by the global warming theory.

Conclusions

From the analysis presented above the following conclusions could be drawn:

•  The temperature trend shows a decreasing warming from the lower troposphere up to the tropopause level and then reverses to cooling in the lower stratosphere. This trend at the tropopause can be considered almost zero. The latter can not support the increase in the height of tropopause, a fingerprint of global warming.

•  At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend which is lower over both poles (compared to tropics and extra-tropics) with the lowest value over the North Pole.

•  In the lower and mid-troposphere the temperature trend decreases with height and latitude

The above-mentioned three results do not agree with the global warming theory, namely, the gradual increase of tropospheric warming with latitude.

The DFA and MDFA analyses conducted on the possible association of warming in the global troposphere with cooling in the global lower stratosphere showed the following:

•  The temperature fluctuations in the global troposphere exhibit power-law behaviour with an exponent gradually increasing with altitude reaching the unity at the tropopause.

•  The global lower stratospheric temperature anomalies do not exhibit long-range correlation behaviour. In particular, the lower stratospheric temperature anomalies over tropics obey power-law behaviour, while it is not the case for the low stratospheric temperature anomalies over both poles. This may be attributed to the ozone dynamics in this region.

The two above-mentioned results lead to the main conclusion that the intrinsic properties of the thermal regime in the lower stratosphere are not associated with the thermal regime in the troposphere.In summary, the tropospheric temperature has not increased over the last four decades, in both hemispheres, in a way that is more amplified at high latitudes near the surface. In addition, the lower stratospheric temperature did not decline as a function of latitude. Finally,the intrinsic properties of the tropospheric temperature are different from those of the lower stratosphere.

Based on these results and bearing in mind that the climate system is complicated and complex with the existing uncertainties in the climate predictions, it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities.

Update Nov. 13, 2018

MacDonald’s paper is Reinterpreting and Augmenting John Tyndall’s 1859 Greenhouse Gas Experiment with Thermoelectric Theory and Raman Spectroscopy 

Climate science’s fundamental premise – assumed by all parties in the great climate debate – says the greenhouse gases – constituting less than 2% of Earth’s atmosphere, first derived by John Tyndall‘s in his 1859 thermopile experiment, and demonstrated graphically today by infrared spectroscopy – are special because of their IR (heat) absorbing property. From this, it is – paradoxically – assumed the (remaining 98%) non-greenhouse gases N2 nitrogen and O2 oxygen are non-heat absorbent.

This paper reveals, by elementary physics, the (deceptive) role thermopiles play in this paradox. It was found: for a special group substances – all sharing (at least one) electric dipole moment – i.e. CO2, and the other greenhouse gases – thermopiles – via the thermoelectric (Seebeck) effect – generate electricity from their radiated IR. Devices using the thermopile as a detector (e.g. IR spectrographs) discriminate, and have misinterpreted IR absorption for anomalies of electricity production – between the sample gases and a control heat source.

N2 and O2 were found to have (as all substances) predicted vibrational modes (derived by the Schrodinger quantum equation) at 1556cm-1 and 2330cm-1 respectively – well within the IR range of the EM spectrum and are clearly observed – as expected – with Raman Spectroscopy – IR spectroscopy’s complement instrument. The non-greenhouse gases N2 and O2 are relegated to greenhouse gases, and Earth’s atmospheric thermoelectric spectrum was produced (formally IR spectrum), and was augmented with the Raman observations.

It was concluded the said greenhouses gases are not special, but typical; and all substances have thermal absorption properties, as measured by their respective heat capacities.

No, CO2 Doesn’t Drive the Polar Vortex

Simulation of jet stream pattern July 22. (VentuSky.com)

We are heading into winter this year at the bottom of a solar cycle, and ocean oscillations due for cooling phases. The folks at Climate Alarm Central (CAC) are well aware of this, and are working hard so people won’t realize that global cooling contradicts global warming. No indeed, contortionist papers and headlines are warning us all that CO2 not only causes hothouse earth, overrun with rats and other vermin. CO2 also causes ice ages when it feels like it.

For example, a recent article by alarmist Jason Samenow at Washington Post is Study: Freak summer weather and wild jet-stream patterns are on the rise because of global warming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds

In many ways, the summer of 2018 marked a turning point, when the effects of climate change — perhaps previously on the periphery of public consciousness — suddenly took center stage. Record high temperatures spread all over the Northern Hemisphere. Wildfires raged out of control. And devastating floods were frequent.

Michael Mann, climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, along with colleagues, has published a new study that connects these disruptive weather extremes with a fundamental change in how the jet stream is behaving during the summer. Linked to the warming climate, the study suggests this change in the atmosphere’s steering current is making these extremes occur more frequently, with greater intensity, and for longer periods of time.

The study projects this erratic jet-stream behavior will increase in the future, leading to more severe heat waves, droughts, fires and floods.

The jet stream is changing not only because the planet is warming up but also because the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, the study says. The jet stream is driven by temperature contrasts, and these contrasts are shrinking. The result is a slower jet stream with more wavy peaks and troughs that Mann and his study co-authors ascribe to a process known as “quasi-resonant amplification.”

The altered jet-stream behavior is important because when it takes deep excursions to the south in the summer, it sets up a collision between cool air from the north and the summer’s torrid heat, often spurring excessive rain. But when the jet stream retreats to the north, bulging heat domes form underneath it, leading to record heat and dry spells.

The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, finds that these quasi-resonant amplification events — in which the jet stream exhibits this extreme behavior during the summer — are predicted to increase by 50 percent this century if emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue unchecked.

Whereas previous work conducted by Mann and others had identified a signal for an increase in these events, this study for the first time examined how they may change in the future using climate model simulations.

“Looking at a large number of different computer models, we found interesting differences,” said Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a co-author of the study, in a news release. “Distinct climate models provide quite diverging forecasts for future climate resonance events. However, on average they show a clear increase in such events.”

Although model projections suggest these extreme jet-stream patterns will increase as the climate warms, the study concluded that their increase can be slowed if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced along with particulate pollution in developing countries. “[T]he future is still very much in our hands when it comes to dangerous and damaging summer weather extremes,” Mann said. “It’s simply a matter of our willpower to transition quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Mann has been leading the charge to blame anticipated cooling on fossil fuels, his previous attempt claiming CO2 is causing a slowdown of AMOC (part of it being the Gulf Stream), resulting in global cooling, even an ice age. The same idea underlay the scary 2004 movie Day After Tomorrow.

Other scientists are more interested in the truth than in hype. An example is this AGU publication by D.A Smeed et al. The North Atlantic Ocean Is in a State of Reduced Overturning Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Figure 3
Indices of subsurface temperature, sea surface height (SSH), latent heat flux (LHF), and sea surface temperature (SST). SST (purple) is plotted using the same scale as subsurface temperature (blue) in the upper panel. The upper panel shows 24 month filtered values of de‐seasonalized anomalies along with the non‐Ekman part of the AMOC. In the lower panel, we show three‐year running means of the indices going back to 1985 (1993 for the SSH index).

Changes in ocean heat transport and SST are expected to modify the net air‐sea heat flux. The changes in the total air‐sea flux (Figure S4, data obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction‐National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis; Kalnay et al., 1996) are almost all due to the change in LHF. The third panel of Figure 3 shows the changes in LHF between the two periods. There is a strong signal with increased heat loss from the ocean over the Gulf Stream. That the area of increased heat loss coincides with the location of warming SST indicates that the changes in air‐sea fluxes are driven by the ocean.

Whilst the AMOC has only been continuously measured since 2004, the indices of SSH, heat content, SST, and LHF can be calculated farther back in time (Figure 3, bottom). Over this longer time period, all four indices are strongly correlated with one another (Table S5; correlations were calculated using the nonparametric method described in McCarthy et al., 2015). These data suggest that measurement of the AMOC at 26°N started close to a maximum in the overturning. Prior to 2007 the indices show variability on a time scale of 8 to 10 years and no trend is evident, but since 2014 all indices have had values lower than any other year since 1985.

Previous studies have shown that seasonal and interannual changes in the subtropical AMOC are forced primarily by changing wind stress mediated by Rossby waves (Zhao & Johns, 2014a, 2014b). There is growing evidence (Delworth et al., 2016; Jackson et al., 2016) that the longer‐term changes of the AMOC over the last decade are also associated with thermohaline forcing and that the changed circulation alters the pattern of ocean‐atmosphere heat exchange (Gulev et al., 2013). The role of ocean circulation in decadal climate variability has been challenged in recent years with authors suggesting that external, atmospheric‐driven changes could produce the observed variability in Atlantic SSTs (Clement et al., 2015). However, the direct observation of a weakened AMOC supports a role for ocean circulation in decadal Atlantic climate variability.

Our results show that the previously reported decline of the AMOC (Smeed et al., 2014) has been arrested, but the length of the observational record of the AMOC is still short relative to the time scales of important decadal variations that exist in the Atlantic. Understanding is therefore constantly evolving. What we identify as a changed state of the AMOC in this study may well prove to be part of a decadal oscillation superposed on a multidecadal cycle. Overlaying these oscillations is the impact of anthropogenic change that is predicted to weaken the AMOC over the next century. The continuation of measurements from the RAPID 26°N array and similar observations elsewhere in the Atlantic (Lozier et al., 2017; Meinen et al., 2013) will enable us to unravel and reveal the role of ocean circulation in the changing Atlantic climate in the coming decades.

Regarding the more recent attempt to link CO2 with jet stream meanderings, we have this paper providing a more reasonable assessment.  Arctic amplification: does it impact the polar jet stream?  by Valentin P. Meleshko et al.  Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Analysis of observation and model simulations has revealed that northward temperature gradient decreases and jet flow weakens in the polar troposphere due to global climate warming. These interdependent phenomena are regarded as robust features of the climate system. An increase of planetary wave oscillation that is attributed to Arctic amplification (Francis and Vavrus, 2012; Francis and Vavrus, 2015) has not been confirmed from analysis of observation (Barnes, 2013; Screen and Simmonds, 2013) or in our analysis of model simulations of projected climate. However, we found that GPH variability associated with planetary wave oscillation increases in the background of weakening of zonal flow during the sea-ice-free summer. Enhancement of northward heat transport in the troposphere was shown to be the main factor responsible for decrease of northward temperature gradient and weakening of the jet stream in autumn and winter. Arctic amplification provides only minor contribution to the evolution of zonal flow and planetary wave oscillation.

It has been shown that northward heat transport is the major factor in decreasing the northward temperature gradient in the polar atmosphere and increasing the planetary-scale wave oscillation in the troposphere of the mid-latitudes. Arctic amplification does not show any essential impact on planetary-scale oscillation in the mid and upper troposphere, although it does cause a decrease of northward heat transport in the lower troposphere. These results confound the interpretation of the short observational record that has suggested a causal link between recent Arctic melting and extreme weather in the mid-latitudes.

There are two additional explanations of factors causing the wavy jet stream, AKA Polar Vortex.  Dr Judah Cohen of AER has written extensively on the link between Autumn Siberian snow cover and the Arctic oscillation.  See Snowing and Freezing in the Arctic  for a more complete description of the mechanism.

Finally, a discussion with Piers Corbyn regarding the solar flux effect upon the jet stream at Is This Cold the New Normal?

Video transcript available at linked post.

October Cooling by Land, or Cooling by Sea?

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for October.   Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. This month I will add a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The October update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for October. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

UAH Oceans 201810

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

The anomalies over the entire ocean dropped to the same value, 0.12C  in August (Tropics were 0.13C).  Warming in previous months was erased, and September added very little warming back. In October, NH and the Tropics rose, while SH cooled, resulting in slight warming.

Taking a longer view, we can look at the record since 1995, that year being an ENSO neutral year and thus a reasonable starting point for considering the past two decades.  On that basis we can see the plateau in ocean temps is persisting. Since last October all oceans have cooled, with offsetting bumps up and down.

UAHv6 TLT 
Monthly Ocean
Anomalies
Average Since 1995 Ocean 10/2018
Global 0.13 0.17
NH 0.16 0.30
SH 0.11 0.08
Tropics 0.12 0.32

As of October 2018, NH ocean air temps as well as the Tropics are twice the long term average, SH is slightly cooler, and the Global anomaly slightly warmer.   In the Tropics and SH, 2018 is the coolest October since 2014. The Global and NH ocean air temps are the coolest October since 2013.

Land Air Temperatures Plunged in September, then Rose in October

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations record air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for October is below.UAH Land 201810

The greater volatility of the Land temperatures is evident, and also the dominance of NH, which has twice as much land area as SH.  Note how global peaks mirror NH peaks.  In October air over NH and the Tropical land surfaces rose, and SH followed suit.  A table for Land temperatures is below, comparable to the one for Oceans.

UAHv6 TLT 
Monthly Land
Anomalies
Average Since 1995 Land 10/2018
Global 0.21 0.33
NH 0.23 0.33
SH 0.19 0.33
Tropics 0.18 0.39

In September land air temps were below the average since 1995.  As the table shows, in October the land air anomalies jumped up well above average, demonstrating the higher volatility of these measures.  Still last month was much cooler than October 2017 in all regions.

Summary

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  It is striking to now see NH and Global land temps dropping rapidly.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

Global Warming Favors Rats over Cute Animals

John Robson writes at Nation Post Why will global warming kill only the cute animals?
Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Only loathsome species will flourish, according to certain studies. Why? Because ‘rat explosion’ is more alarming than ‘two degrees’

Rats! It’s global warming again. Can’t we get a break?

No, literally. Not from the warming part. It’s actually quite chilly outside and there hasn’t been any measurable planetary warming since 1999. From the rats. Big ugly swarms of them spreading disease and biting your kids.

Monday’s Post headline actually said “Explosion of rats feared as climate warms.” So the good news is rats aren’t increasing any more than temperature. The bad news is a further increase in passive-voice predictions of doom.

Before the rats reach your face I’d like to note that this “news” story is remarkable for having the plumbing on the outside. It starts “Scientists have shown that the likely 2 degrees of global warming to come this century will be extremely dangerous, but, you know, ‘2 degrees’ is hardly a phrase from horror films. How about ‘rat explosion?’ ”

Exactly. It’s openly a story about hype not science. “The physics of climate change doesn’t have the same fear factor as the biology.” So cue the Fu Manchu-style mandibles, mould and plague because “it’s the creatures multiplying in outbreaks and infestations that generate horror.”

Beach invaded by red crabs.

It’s also old news. I’ve collected quite the file of creepy-crawly global-warming scare stories over the years including “super-sized, extra-itchy poison ivy” (Ottawa Citizen 2006), “tropical and potentially lethal fungus” (Globe and Mail 2007), venomous jellyfish the size of refrigerators (MSNBC 2009), mass starvation and the extinction of humanity (Globe and Mail 2009), bigger and more frequent kidney stones (Ottawa Citizen 2008), soggy pork chops (Globe and Mail 2009), asthma, allergies and runny noses (NBC 2015) and the conflict in Darfur (Ottawa Citizen 2007). Not to mention drought and flooding and the migration of France’s fabled wine industry to … um… Scotland (all Ottawa Citizen 2007), where they’ll be pairing a fine ruby Loch Ness with rat haggis I suppose. Och aye mon.

I could go on and on. But they already did. And don’t go reading these stories and thinking they offer evidence, or rather speculation, that warmth benefits life generally.

Far from it. Virtually none of these stories has anything cute or cuddly flourishing. Unless you count stray cats in Toronto (National Post 2007). Instead it’s a strangely un-PC combination of lookism and speciesism.

If you want to be a climate alarmist without all that tedious mucking about with facts, here’s how. Make a collage of many living things. Circle everything you’d like to see, up close or from a distance, like coral reefs or polar bears. Now predict their catastrophic decline if it gets two degrees warmer. (Don’t worry about them having somehow staggered through the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Pretend it never happened and hope it’s gone in the morning.)

Now circle all the really hideous stuff. Eyes on stalks, pointy noses, smelly, slimy. Predict a huge increase. Chocolate? Gone. (Globe and Mail 2012.) Diarrhea-inducing vibrio bacteria? Coming soon to an intestine near you. (MSNBC 2011.) Zika, or crabs swarming beaches? Oh yeah. (NBC 2016.) Insomnia, insanity and suicide? You bet. (Washington Post 2017, National Post 2018, Globe and Mail 2018.) Beer? Going going … (Guardian 2018.)

Friends, scientists, countrypersons, lend me your ears before some warmth-surfing pest chews them off. Even if a rapidly warming Earth were bad for man and beast, and our fault, the initial phases, with temperatures well within the range since the last glaciation ended 12,000 years back, can’t bring only bad consequences. No wind is that ill.

Nor is it plausible that every single new study says it’s worse than scientists thought. (Especially if “the science is settled”). If it were real science somebody would occasionally discover there’s a bit more time, climate somewhere will improve in the short run, some species that doesn’t have you fumbling for the Raid will flourish briefly. But no.

Even if climate change is going to have wiped out “sea spiders as large as a dinner plate” (Ottawa Citizen 2002) it’s the tragic loss of a unique species. But mostly it’s bumble bees (NBC 2015) or the coelacanth (Ottawa Citizen 2001), which cruised through the Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinctions but now dangles by a rhetorical thread. Oh, and the emperor penguin gets it too (NBC 2014). Plus plankton (Globe and Mail 2000). And walruses (NBC 2014).

As for the rats, one pregnant female will send 15,000 loathsome offspring a year straight to your suburb. None of their natural enemies will flourish. And “Rats are just the beginning … populations of dangerous crop-eating insects are likely to explode … Similar horrors lurk offshore … a population explosion of purple sea urchins — ‘cockroaches of the ocean’ — is choking out other denizens of Pacific kelp forests … we’re all sharing this warming planet, and at the very least surely we can unite against a future filled with rats.”

Or one filled with imaginary horrors? No? Rats.

See also:Alarmists: Global Warming Destroys Good Bugs and Multiplies Bad Bugs