Climate Case Study: California Drought (1)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 10:58 PM GMT on August 22, 2014

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Climate Case Study: California Drought (1)

or

Avoiding Beardogs

Thank you for the responses about online courses from the last blog. In addition to the blog comments, I got some emails. I welcome more comments and emails.

Some years ago I went to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Western Nebraska. There are amazing fossil sites all over the Great Plains, from dinosaurs to mammoths. Though we never see the two together. Wonder why?

Sticking to the subject, as in many of the National Park Service’s (NPS) facilities, there is educational material. Large mammals dominate the fossils at Agate Fossil Beds. There is a stunning heap of bones collected in a steep-sided pit that was once water, then mud and then large bones. I am personally a fan of the beardog. The evidence is that persistent drought led to drying of the surface sources of water. Eventually, all that was left were the deeper pools of water. The migrating animals collected at the pools. The large carnivores found easy hunting and were, surely, in carnivore euphoria for a while. All kept chasing the water, getting stuck in the mud, falling and piling on top of each other. This all happened about 20 million years ago. (Some NPS links: One, Two)

In July of 2012, I wrote one of my more widely distributed blogs, Belief and Knowledge and Humans and Nature. In that blog, I argued that humans were part of nature; however, because of our ability to remember, to reason, to develop and to accumulate knowledge, we have the ability to make decisions that influence the future of our environment. Therefore, our role in nature, in the natural world, is unique. That uniqueness is not in our ability to change the environment, but in our ability to understand the consequences of those changes and the ability to anticipate and influence the future.

So California. There are millions of people and highly productive farms. California has a large enough economy that is often heralded as important on national and world stages. The precipitation in California occurs mostly in different parts of the state than where the people live. The rain and snow that occurs in the Sierra Nevada are of special importance. This water feeds the rivers and fills the reservoir. The seasonal melting of the water stored in snowpack and small glaciers provides water for the rivers and reservoirs during summer, when the normal amount of rainfall is very small. California is especially fortunate that the water in the Sierra Nevada is mostly in the state, which eliminates the need to negotiate with other states over water.

In addition to the water that falls in the state, California has claim to a large fraction of the water in the Colorado River watershed. The Colorado River starts in north central Colorado, runs through several states, and as far as geography goes, it is the eastern border of California in its most southern part. All of the other states in the Colorado River Basin rely on their fractions of the Colorado River water. (Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study)

There are two points that I want to make here. First, water in California is strongly influenced by agreements that are codified in policy, law and regulations. Second, water availability is dependent on water management, which relies on engineered systems of dams, ditches, canals and aqueducts. For the people and the farms in California, the weather and climate that matter are at a distance.

I, also, want to make a little summary here, California has it all. There is high population; there is economic success; there is need for energy. These are three elements of our existence that are entangled with climate, and therefore, climate change. Then, on a more concrete level, California’s relationship with climate relies on human agreements and human engineering.

As all readers of this blog know, the entire state of California is in the midst of some measure of dryness. The majority of the area and vast majority of the people are in exceptional drought. Exceptional drought is the most extreme category of drought in the classification used by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Exceptional drought is defined as, “Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells creating water emergencies.”



Figure 1: Screen shot of U.S. Drought Monitor, California. This is the August 19, 2014 release.

There are many news stories about the ongoing drought in California and the impacts on farms, cities and forests. One that caught my eye was in the LA Times, entitled Drought Yields Only Desperation. The article is by Diana Marcum, and she has many articles reported from the ground in the Central Valley. This well-written article is a narrative about field workers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. From a climate perspective, the narrative shows the vulnerability of people at many economic levels, through many businesses and professions. This part of the Central Valley, which includes Fresno and Stockton, was badly hit by the recession in the past five years. This demonstrates the connection between climate and economy, with climate stress and economic stress becoming amplifiers of each other. The human cost increases.

There is another place from which California gets water in significant amounts – under the ground. The number of reports on ground water pumping is growing. In the News section of National Geographic.com there have been ongoing articles. If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained, posted on August 19, 2014, maintains that many aquifers are being depleted in an unsustainable way. The drought in California and the West, more generally, has accelerated the pumping. From a Californian point of view, the aquifers in California and in the Colorado River Basin are both being depleted. The numbers being reported are that, in the drought, 60% of California’s water comes from the ground, which is up from about 30% during less stressed times. This is more or less a doubling of pumping of water, depending on whether or not total water use is increasing or decreasing. Many of the cities in the Central Valley rely completely on ground water. Water levels in the aquifers are dropping 100s of feet. There is a queue waiting to drill new wells.

The point of the National Geographic News article and the more complete Understanding California’s Groundwater from Stanford’s Water in the West Project is that ground water is out of sight and out of mind. Even worse, ground water is unregulated and quantitative information about drilling is private. This brings a problem that is related to climate and climate change back to policy, law and regulation- human agreements that are in conflict with coping with weather and climate stress.

I will conclude this entry by connecting some points I introduced at the beginning. First, the distribution of people and precipitation assures that for many in California the surface water from rivers and lakes is, like the ground water, out of sight and out of mind. When we commoditize a resource or anonymize people, we lose contact and context. This is perilous, and increases the barriers to taking substantive actions.

Second, the price of water in California is, presently, high. Those who have functioning wells are motivated by price to pump more. I can’t help but think of the carnivores finding the easy pickings of the herds collected around the drying water holes at what would become the Agate Fossil Beds. Then, from that, we humans are unique because of our ability to remember, to reason, to develop and to accumulate knowledge; we have the ability to make decisions that influence the future of our environment. We don’t have to be beardogs.

In the next entry, I will synthesize some of the recent scientific papers that have gotten a lot of attention.

r



Figure 2: Beardog from Prehistoric Animals Blogspot

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197. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:23 PM GMT on September 02, 2014
RickyRood has created a new entry.
196. Naga5000
2:27 AM GMT on September 02, 2014
Quoting 195. JohnLonergan:

Sea Surface Warmer than Peak of 1997-98 Super El Niño

Sea-surface temperatures as determined by NOAA (Reynolds OIv2) are currently higher than even the peak of the 1997-98 super El Niño:



Source


I am following this kind of thing with intense interest. We are seeing the problem arise with baseline attributions for indices like El Nino/La Nina as we move forward and make changes to the base periods used. The El Nino example is a big one as we experience greater warming and move the baseline to accurately represent the current average the actual temperature of the water needs to be warmer and warmer. Another area this is problematic for is weight percentiles used by the WHO and CDC for weight. As the population gets heavier we skew the baseline thereby changing the definition of what average weight means. We are seeing this now as average is beginning to look like obese 25 years ago.

This problem is extremely fascinating from a theoretical perspective. It may mean our way of looking at things by way of baseline and adjusting that baseline for newer and more data is incorrect as in the end it isn't as much a representation of a true average but of a new average influenced by non natural causes. By definition that would not really make it a good baseline for comparison anymore.

"...we will never know more about the present global warming trend since our action modifies the baseline so much, year after year, that we will no longer have any baseline to calculate the deviation from the mean… What a perversity: to witness the human race erasing its deeds by deviating so much that its further deviations can no longer be traced" - Bruno LaTour
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
195. JohnLonergan
1:33 AM GMT on September 02, 2014
Sea Surface Warmer than Peak of 1997-98 Super El Niño

Sea-surface temperatures as determined by NOAA (Reynolds OIv2) are currently higher than even the peak of the 1997-98 super El Niño:



Source
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3596
194. JohnLonergan
1:18 AM GMT on September 02, 2014
HotWhopper takes on WTFUWT's take on the McItrick paper:

The ultimate cherry pick - or how not to interpret a temperature chart, courtesy WUWT

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Is this the ultimate cherry pick?



19 years of pause and 17 years of rapid warming.

Data source: Wood for Trees Charts: WUWT and HotWhopper


More ...
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193. ColoradoBob1
11:15 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
The missing heat ?

As so many have said before the heat isn't missing. Heat does work , and the clearest example of this, is water cycle running at a new tempo. Take the new 3 month record from Sioux City, IA . Heat, not cold drove that water vapor off the oceans to set that amazing new record.

30.38 inches of rain at the airport. This breaks the previous Summer seasonal record of 20.13 inches set back in 2010.

A 4 year old record was broken by a 33 percent increase. Over a 3 month period. That is heat working in the oceans driving ever more water vapor into the atmosphere.

The same heat engine was work this weekend in other places besides Lake Charles. -

Heavy rain has poured across parts of Scandinavia over the past few days.

The city of Malmo in southern Sweden reported 102mm of rain in the 24 hours up until midnight on Monday, 20mm of which fell in under an hour.

In Copenhagen, 120mm was reported to have fallen in about three hours.


Link

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192. ColoradoBob1
10:51 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
I find these Lake Charles, Louisiana, stats interesting. This 3 month record ( 36.90 inches ) , was set without a tropical system to juice the numbers. And the 9.48 inches for the same period last year surely was the lowest number on record.

If I was David Rose, I could use this to say nature is in balance. But I'm not, and it looks like to me, nature is drunken sailor on the interstate.
Member Since: August 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2997
191. ColoradoBob1
10:36 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
"As a system nears a tipping point it moves to the extremes there it tends to get stuck, before wildly swinging back to the other extreme."

Tallahassee set their driest summer (defined as June, July and August) on record, shattering their previous record of 10.89 inches set in 2011. Only 8.99 inches was measured over the three-month period in Florida's capital city.

However, if you head to south Florida, Miami is within reach of having its wettest summer, with rainfall of around 14 inches above average from June through August. ........................................... A holiday weekend soaking pushed Lake Charles, Louisiana, to its record wettest June-August (36.90 inches), crushing the previous record by over three inches (33.31 inches in 1989). Incredibly, Lake Charles only picked up 9.48 inches during that same period in 2013.


Link

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190. schistkicker
10:21 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
It's interesting how some find that the scientists (who I guess are somehow unanimously 'libs') are ridiculous alarmists despite all the data and observations they make.

Yet an economist with no relevant scientific expertise whatsoever goes on a curve-fitting exercise, and they've magically erased all the other ecologic, biologic, cryologic, etc. datasets and shown those scientists what's what!

It's an interesting study in confirmation bias, to be sure.
Member Since: June 13, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 305
189. JohnLonergan
9:33 PM GMT on September 01, 2014

Quoting 185. Xulonn:

Ignorant people keep talking about "missing heat." Sorry, no heat is missing. The energy balance of the earth system and current net inflow of heat are are known, as your graphic shows.

BTW, the paper at the link in the Cochise comment at prompted this set of responses is a math heavy statistical analysis some surface temperature datasets by an economist from the University of Guelph. No climate science involved. it was published by the open access, pay-to-publish organization named SCIRP, a shady publisher about whom a Guardian blogger had this to say in 2012:




Some might say a low impact journal:

Open Journal of Statistics (OJS )

Publisher: Scientific Research Publishing

DESCRIPTION


Impact factor 0.00

5-year impact 0.00


Can't get much lower than that.
Quoting 188. Naga5000:



I read through the paper. They essentially use a model to determine if the trend at any given year has a 0 trend possibility in the confidence interval and the cases where this happens consecutively.

It's a bland exercise in math with no real applied function.


Thanks, I don't have the stats chops to understand it. I just considered the sources.
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188. Naga5000
9:22 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 184. JohnLonergan:


Actually, there's quite a bit wrong with the paper in paper in #178

1. It's from Ross McItrick, a notorious mendacious mathurbater.

2. It's published in The Open Journal of Statistics by Scientific Research Publishing, which ranks #206 in the Beals list of predatory publishers:

3. The slowdown in the rate of surface warming is attributable to transients: low solar activity, increased stratospheric aerosol loading and increased ocean heat uptake. OHC continues to rise apace.

4. The troposphere is not the climate system only a small part of it.

5. What hiatus?


Quoting 185. Xulonn:

Ignorant people keep talking about "missing heat." Sorry, no heat is missing. The energy balance of the earth system and current net inflow of heat are are known, as your graphic shows.

BTW, the paper at the link in the Cochise comment at prompted this set of responses is a math heavy statistical analysis some surface temperature datasets by an economist from the University of Guelph. No climate science involved. it was published by the open access, pay-to-publish organization named SCIRP, a shady publisher about whom a Guardian blogger had this to say in 2012:




I read through the paper. They essentially use a model to determine if the trend at any given year has a 0 trend possibility in the confidence interval and the cases where this happens consecutively.

It's a bland exercise in math with no real applied function.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
187. ColoradoBob1
9:04 PM GMT on September 01, 2014

Heavy rain fell in southern Louisiana on Saturday morning, creating widespread flooding conditions.

By early Saturday afternoon, Lake Charles, Louisiana has seen over 7.5" of rain since midnight! In fact, 2.16" of rain fell in the 4 a.m. hour and then another 2.64" of rain fell in the 8 a.m. hour. This broke the daily rainfall record and today's date ranks in seventh place for daily rainfall amounts.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles said that this rainfall is a 20 to 25 year event, meaning that this amount of rain can be expected every 20 to 25 years.


Link
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186. ColoradoBob1
8:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Sioux City, IA (ABC9 News) - The final August monthly rainfall total at the Sioux Gateway Airport was 10.12 inches. This breaks the previous record of 9.07 inches set back in 2007.

The Summer rainfall - including the months of June, July, and August - totals to 30.38 inches of rain at the airport. This breaks the previous Summer seasonal record of 20.13 inches set back in 2010. This summer included 2 of the 4 wettest months ever recorded since data started to be collected back in 1889. June 2014 qualifies as the wettest month ever while August 2014 is the 4th wettest of all time.


Link
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185. Xulonn
8:46 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 181. Naga5000:


Yawn, it's really too bad that you guys still don't understand that surface temperature is a poor measurement of the total energy imbalance in the system. It's really like you haven't learned anything about climate change...

Are you seriously this ignorant of the science?
Ignorant people keep talking about "missing heat." Sorry, no heat is missing. The energy balance of the earth system and current net inflow of heat are are known, as your graphic shows.

BTW, the paper at the link in the Cochise comment that prompted this set of responses is a math heavy statistical analysis of some surface temperature datasets by an economist from the University of Guelph. No climate science involved. it was published by the open access, pay-to-publish organization named SCIRP, a shady publisher about whom a Guardian blogger had this to say in 2012:

Last week, some parts of the internet were full of tittering after an open access journal accepted a paper that had been generated randomly and was full of jibberish. This is the logical extreme approach to open access: accept everything, so you can pull in more money. Open access is sometimes criticised for this, and this is used as an argument for why open access is bad for science.

But I don't think this argument is valid, because it ignores the effect of reputation. The journal that accepted the randomly-generated paper is published by SCIRP, and is on Jeffrey Beall's List of Predatory, Open-Access Publishers. In other words, we know from their behaviour that they essentially act as vanity publishers for scientists. Based on the number of spam emails I receive from them, I suspect they've managed to become quite well known for this. Which means that nobody will think highly of a paper published in one of their journals, so very few scientists will want to submit a paper to them: you simply don't get any credit from your peers for publishing there -- indeed, they may even laugh at you behind your back.

So if an open access publisher wants to be successful in the long term, predatory publishing is probably not a good model: it's better to build a reputation for not publishing rubbish
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184. JohnLonergan
8:39 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 181. Naga5000:



Yawn, it's really too bad that you guys still don't understand that surface temperature is a poor measurement of the total energy imbalance in the system. It's really like you haven't learned anything about climate change...







Are you seriously this ignorant of the science?

Actually, there's quite a bit wrong with the paper in paper in #178

1. It's from Ross McItrick, a notorious mendacious mathurbater.

2. It's published in The Open Journal of Statistics by Scientific Research Publishing, which ranks #206 in the Beals list of predatory publishers:

3. The slowdown in the rate of surface warming is attributable to transients: low solar activity, increased stratospheric aerosol loading and increased ocean heat uptake. OHC continues to rise apace.

4. The troposphere is not the climate system only a small part of it.

5. What hiatus?

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183. ColoradoBob1
8:25 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
No more pause: Warming will be non-stop from now on

Enjoy the pause in global warming while it lasts, because it's probably the last one we will get this century. Once temperatures start rising again, it looks like they will keep going up without a break for the rest of the century, unless we cut our greenhouse gas emissions.

The slowdown in global warming since 1997 seems to be driven by unusually powerful winds over the Pacific Ocean, which are burying heat in the water. But even if that happens again, or a volcanic eruption spews cooling particles into the air, we are unlikely to see a similar hiatus, according to two independent studies.

Masahiro Watanabe of the University of Tokyo in Japan and his colleagues have found that, over the past three decades, the natural ups and downs in temperature have had less influence on the planet's overall warmth. In the 1980s, natural variability accounted for almost half of the temperature changes seen. That fell to 38 per cent in the 1990s and just 27 per cent in the 2000s.


Link
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182. JohnLonergan
8:06 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
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181. Naga5000
7:59 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 180. tramp96:


There hasn't been any yet they keep looking for it and yes scientists admit to no warming.
I can't wait for the dog ate it excuse you know it's coming soon.
Seriously libs are so much fun.

Link



Yawn, it's really too bad that you guys still don't understand that surface temperature is a poor measurement of the total energy imbalance in the system. It's really like you haven't learned anything about climate change...







Are you seriously this ignorant of the science?
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
179. JohnLonergan
5:45 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
How the IPCC is sharpening its language on climate change

...We've drawn together a collection of side-by-side statements so you can see for yourself how the conclusions have changed. Some of the shifts in language are subtle - but they are significant all the same.



Larger image here
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177. JohnLonergan
5:29 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
A look at the recovery from Bad Astronomy:




...The black line is the average for 1981 – 2010. The gray region shows the ±2 standard deviation temperatures for that average; statistically speaking it’s an expected range of temperatures (it’s actually more subtle than that, but that’s enough to understand what’s going on here). The dashed line shows the 2012 ice extent, and is clearly very low, well outside the expected range. The brown line is 2013, and the light green line is this year, 2014, up to late August. Notice 2014 follows the year before pretty closely.

Note also they are well below average, near the bottom of the expected range. If you look at any recent year’s ice it’s below average; you have to go back to 2001 to find an ice extent near the average.

So the claim that the ice is “recovering” is made based on the wrong comparison. Comparing the past two years to the overall trend and they fit in pretty well with overall decline.

Also, that “recovery” claim cannot be made with only two data points. Two years is not a trend. There have been many times ice has gone up over a year or two in the Arctic, only to drop once again over the long run.


Link to larger image
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176. Xulonn
5:03 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 173. Danali:

I think it is interesting to note that people are questioning the waterways that carry the water to the ocean (created to prevent another large scale flood). But, because they are cement channels, they offer no chance for the water to replenish the water table. This definitely exacerbates the issue.
The Los Angeles region has a number of dammed artificial basins designed to hold runoff water and let it perc back into the water table.

However, I would imagine that that this does not adequately make up for the thousands of square miles that have been paved or built over.

Plus, it would seem that fine clay particles in such basins would slowly plug up the soil matrix and reduce the efficiency of inhibit infiltration and percolation. (As compared to natural systems where surface scouring can take place.)

Yet another factor is the increased number of extreme precipitation events associated with AGW/CC. These big rains over short time periods drastically increase runoff rates and flash flooding. Compared to long, moderate rainfall events, these intense rainstorms don't do much good for recharging water tables.
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175. ColoradoBob1
1:14 PM GMT on September 01, 2014
Fires and drought have transformed New Mexico forests

EMORY PASS, GILA NATIONAL FOREST >> The sun illuminates patches of green on brown and black hillsides around Highway 152 near Emory Pass in the Gila National Forest.

Gambel oak and other shrubs whose roots survived a lightning-sparked wildfire in 2013 sprout on many slopes once dominated by ponderosa pines. Black, mangled masses of wood and dead barley plants loom over the new growth, which also includes aspens, grass and wildflowers. The barley grew last fall from seeds the U.S. Forest Service dropped to minimize erosion after the Silver Fire.

Pines survived in many areas within the 139,000-acre burn scar. But in other places, the trees were incinerated — and in the most heavily torched areas, new pines aren't sprouting.


Link
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174. Neapolitan
11:55 AM GMT on September 01, 2014
Speaking of Arctic sea ice\, there's this from Neven's ASIF:

"[Cryosphere Today sea ice area] dropped a total of 718k km2 over the last 12 days. That is by a substantial amount the most area ever lost over the period. Only five previous years in the record fell by as much as half-a-million km2 over the [last 12 days of August], and the 1979-2013 average has been about -277k. [Predictions suggest] that stretch of late drops is going to extend at least a few more days."

Recovery! :\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13729
173. Danali
4:51 AM GMT on September 01, 2014
I think it is interesting to note that people are questioning the waterways that carry the water to the ocean (created to prevent another large scale flood). But, because they are cement channels, they offer no chance for the water to replenish the water table. This definitely exacerbates the issue.
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172. Naga5000
3:15 AM GMT on September 01, 2014
Quoting 168. JohnLonergan:

Food for thought:

"Libertarian ideology is the natural enemy of science" Always?

What, then, is the relationship between scientific evidence and political attitudes? Is libertarian ideology the natural enemy of science?

...The answer has three parts: First, conservative and libertarian ideology is undoubtedly at odds with much scientific evidence. Large bodies of solid scientific evidence are being rejected or denied on the basis of ideology, arguably with considerable detriment to society. Second, there is little doubt that liberals and progressives are equally capable of rejecting scientific evidence that challenges their worldviews, using the same well-understood processes of motivated cognition as their conservative brethren. Third, one of the most wicked problems ever to have confronted humanity, climate change, is not being addressed at present because the solutions involve challenges to conservative and libertarian worldviews. Those worldviews are not natural enemies of science; they are enemies of science because of the particular historical context in which conservative cultural cognition expresses itself at the moment.



I have a few Libertarian friends, for sake of argument I will say about half of them support science and AGW and are angry that mainstream libertarians are science deniers. One thing I have found in regards to all of my libertarian friends is that their economic ideology and adherence to a strict lack of human empathy leads to a lot of arguments where I just want to slap them. :)
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170. JohnLonergan
11:33 PM GMT on August 31, 2014



Picturing Schrodinger's cat: Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method
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169. ColoradoBob1
9:22 PM GMT on August 31, 2014


Sea levels around Antarctica have been rising a third faster than the global average, a clear sign of high meltwater runoff from the continent’s icesheet, scientists said on Sunday.

Satellite data from 1992 to 2011 found the sea surface around Antarctica’s coast rose by around eight centimetres (3.2 inches) in total compared to a rise of six cm for the average of the world’s oceans, they said.

The local increase is accompanied by a fall in salinity at the sea surface, as detected by research ships.

These dramatic changes can only be explained by an influx of freshwater from melting ice, warned the study.

Read more at: Link
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168. JohnLonergan
8:39 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Food for thought:

"Libertarian ideology is the natural enemy of science" Always?

What, then, is the relationship between scientific evidence and political attitudes? Is libertarian ideology the natural enemy of science?

...The answer has three parts: First, conservative and libertarian ideology is undoubtedly at odds with much scientific evidence. Large bodies of solid scientific evidence are being rejected or denied on the basis of ideology, arguably with considerable detriment to society. Second, there is little doubt that liberals and progressives are equally capable of rejecting scientific evidence that challenges their worldviews, using the same well-understood processes of motivated cognition as their conservative brethren. Third, one of the most wicked problems ever to have confronted humanity, climate change, is not being addressed at present because the solutions involve challenges to conservative and libertarian worldviews. Those worldviews are not natural enemies of science; they are enemies of science because of the particular historical context in which conservative cultural cognition expresses itself at the moment.
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167. JohnLonergan
8:24 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
THE IMPACT OF THE PERMAFROST CARBON FEEDBACK ON GLOBAL CLIMATE

Kevin Schaefer, Hugues Lantuit, Vladimir E Romanovsky, Edward A G Schuur and Ronald Witt

Abstract

Degrading permafrost can alter ecosystems, damage infrastructure, and release enough carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to influence global climate. The permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) is the amplification of surface warming due to CO2 and CH4 emissions from thawing permafrost. An analysis of available estimates PCF strength and timing indicate 120 ± 85 Gt of carbon emissions from thawing permafrost by 2100. This is equivalent to 5.7 ± 4.0% of total anthropogenic emissions for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario and would increase global temperatures by 0.29 ± 0.21 °C or 7.8 ± 5.7%. For RCP4.5, the scenario closest to the 2 °C warming target for the climate change treaty, the range of cumulative emissions in 2100 from thawing permafrost decreases to between 27 and 100 Gt C with temperature increases between 0.05 and 0.15 °C, but the relative fraction of permafrost to total emissions increases to between 3% and 11%. Any substantial warming results in a committed, long-term carbon release from thawing permafrost with 60% of emissions occurring after 2100, indicating that not accounting for permafrost emissions risks overshooting the 2 °C warming target. Climate projections in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and any emissions targets based on those projections, do not adequately account for emissions from thawing permafrost and the effects of the PCF on global climate. We recommend the IPCC commission a special assessment focusing on the PCF and its impact on global climate to supplement the AR5 in support of treaty negotiation.
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166. JohnLonergan
7:06 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Quoting 165. Xyrus2000:



There have been some incredibly ludicrous and downright stupid things posted on this forum by deniers. But to have the idiocy and hypocrisy wrapped up into a single image so succinctly, now that takes something really special.

And to post it on a "news" site so publicly, wow....just wow.

I'd expect this from "Graphs are Pretty" Watts, or "Can't Do Math" McIntyre, or even Jo "Stock Market Climate Model" Nova. But I would think an organization like the Daily Mail would want to have at least a tiny shred of credibility and integrity.

*slow clap* We'll done.




Actually, The Mail has very little credibility in England; many Brits refer to it as The Daily Fail. Many American deniers seem to be taken in by British frauds like the Fail, The Telegraph and the Fraud Lord.
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165. Xyrus2000
6:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Quoting 153. MisterPerfect:




There have been some incredibly ludicrous and downright stupid things posted on this forum by deniers. But to have the idiocy and hypocrisy wrapped up into a single image so succinctly, now that takes something really special.

And to post it on a "news" site so publicly, wow....just wow.

I'd expect this from "Graphs are Pretty" Watts, or "Can't Do Math" McIntyre, or even Jo "Stock Market Climate Model" Nova. But I would think an organization like the Daily Mail would want to have at least a tiny shred of credibility and integrity.

*slow clap* We'll done.

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164. riverat544
6:21 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Quoting 159. yoboi:

# 153.....Thanks for posting facts....But I am sure some will try and spin the facts.......

The fact is that the Arctic sea ice minimum extent this year will probably end up nearly the same as it was in 2013 which is still lower than any year in the satellite era record before 2007. Get back to us in 5 years or so and we'll see if your "recovery" trend continues.
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163. Naga5000
4:00 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Look at that "Arctic Sea Ice Recovery™"!

Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
162. JohnLonergan
3:42 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
How deniers look at trends:



In the comments section someone asks "I'm not a scientist. could you explain why the chart is tilted at an angle? Also, does the blue line show that median(?) ice extent has declined by 2 million sq km since 1978?"

I have just done what the alarmists do and defined a base-line (the grey horizontal line). Alarmists always choose flat base-lines, but they never reference a paper from a statistics journal to justify this choice ("climate science" is sloppy like this).

I decided to use a sloped base-line instead, in which case the graph must be tilted at an angle to align it correctly. The blue line is heading upwards relative to the baseline so this data cannot possibly be interpretted as a "decline" in sea ice.

Remember to apply your blog science skills and question everything. Question, for example, the conventional "wisdom" that says y-axes must go vertically and x-axes horizonally.Why should time go horizontally and extent go vertically? Remember that actual ice extent is a measure of the horizontal spread of sea ice, so in many respects by making the Y-axis more horizontal I have displayed the data in a more correct manner than so-called "phd scientists" do.


Dr. Inferno

This happens to be sea ice extent, but it can also be used for temperatures, sea level rise or anything else.
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161. JohnLonergan
3:28 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Quoting 160. Naga5000:

Referring to the Daily Mail's tabloidesque collage of contextless nonsense as "facts" is cute. Once again it is easy to see why there is a disconnect with reality.


The Mail still in credibility death spiral? The turbulent froth in The Mail has been credibility-free year round for a long while...
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160. Naga5000
2:57 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Referring to the Daily Mail's tabloidesque collage of contextless nonsense as "facts" is cute. Once again it is easy to see why there is a disconnect with reality.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
158. JohnLonergan
2:02 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Quoting 156. Naga5000:

Also, can we just say how dishonest it is only comparing years to the record melt year. When did that become the way we analyze sea ice? All this time I thought the accepted method was baseline comparison. Funny how denialists don't follow the scientifically accepted methods and then wonder why we think their arguments are absolute jokes. Oh and the Al Gore thing.





OK, let's look at all years in satellite era:

Arctic Sea Ice Extent (JAXA), 1-year moving average, in standard deviations from the mean



Source
Quoting 156. Naga5000:


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156. Naga5000
1:53 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Also, can we just say how dishonest it is only comparing years to the record melt year. When did that become the way we analyze sea ice? All this time I thought the accepted method was baseline comparison. Funny how denialists don't follow the scientifically accepted methods and then wonder why we think their arguments are absolute jokes. Oh and the Al Gore thing.

Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
155. FLwolverine
1:50 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
Swapping Farmland For Coal Trains: Union Pacific’s Texas Land Grab - Link

Railroad giant Union Pacific has some big plans for a tiny Texas community. According to locals in the Brazos River Valley, the railroad company is hoping to turn some of the most fertile farmland in Texas into a massive, 72-line rail yard.

Union Pacific’s plan would consume as much as 1,800 acres of farmland in the region, effectively putting numerous family-owned farming operations out of business. The toxic loads that Union Pacific’s trains would be hauling in and out of the area on a daily basis would then threaten the remaining farms in the region.

The Brazos River Valley, named after the Brazos River, is considered some of the richest farmland in the state, thanks to the city’s namesake river feeding fresh water and nutrients to the area. Taking this land out of the hands of farmers — many of whom are the descendants of early generation of farm settlers in the area — would not only have devastating effects on the local economy, but they could also put a huge hole in the nation’s food supply.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2421
154. FLwolverine
1:37 PM GMT on August 31, 2014
HotWhopper has this to say:

By the way, Al Gore didn't "predict" any such thing. David Rose claimed that in his Nobel speech Al Gore said:
The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

That can at best be described as journalistic licence. What Al Gore actually said was reporting what others had said, mentioning 22 years as well as 7 years. From his Nobel Prize speech:

Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years..

Seven years from now.
-----------------------

Some people are really hung up on Al Gore, aren't they?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2421
152. Naga5000
3:15 AM GMT on August 31, 2014
The Daily Mail is a tabloid,

Let's look at the what the scientists say:

"Sea ice declined at slightly slower than average rates through the first part of August. By mid-August, extent was similar to this time last year, which makes it unlikely that this year%u2019s minimum extent will approach the record low level observed in September 2012. On August 17, sea ice extent was 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average and 1.42 million square kilometers (548,000 square miles) above that observed in 2012 on the same date. Ice extent remains below average everywhere, except near Franz Joseph Land and in the northern part of the Barents Sea. Extent is particularly low in the Laptev Sea where open water now extends to about 85 degrees latitude, less than 560 kilometers (350 miles) from the North Pole. This is the one region of the Arctic where ice loss has been exceptional in 2014 compared to recent summers. Ice extent is also very low in the East Greenland Sea, possibly as a result of reduced ice transport through Fram Strait."

Link

Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3888
150. ColoradoBob1
1:23 AM GMT on August 31, 2014
Al Gore bought off the Russians -


However, it is not just the United Nations that has been warning against the burning of fossil fuels due to the related high climate risks. In 2005, Russia’s own meteorology service Roshydromet issued its prognosis of climate change and the consequences for Russia, stating that the rate of climate change in Russia is two times faster than the world’s average.

Roshydromet predicted a rapid increase in both the frequency and strength of extreme climate events – including floods, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires. The number of such events has almost doubled during the last 15 years, and represent not only an economic threat but also a real threat to humans’ lives and their well-being,


Link
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149. ColoradoBob1
1:20 AM GMT on August 31, 2014
For a long time, however, economists have been keen on separating the economic and social impacts of fossil fuel dependency from the environmental and climate-related problems. But now, these problems are closely interconnected, and Russia might be the first to feel the strength of their combination in the near future.

Medvedev may not have read much about the “resource curse” but he should at least be familiar with the official position of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), whose Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres has said that three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground in order to avoid the worst possible climate scenario.

One should at least expect this amount of knowledge from Russia as a member of the UN Security Council and it will be interesting to note whether the Russian delegation attending the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23 will be ready to explain why, instead of limiting fossil fuel extraction, the whole country’s economic and tax policy is now aimed at encouraging as much drilling as possible.


Link
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148. ColoradoBob1
1:17 AM GMT on August 31, 2014
Back to the facts -

In fact, the line of thinking adopted by Russian officials responsible for tax policy is very simple. Faced with the predicament of an economy dependent on oil and gas (half of the state budget comes from oil and gas revenue, while two-thirds of exports come from the fossil fuel industry), they decided to act as usual – by stimulating more drilling and charging the rest of the economy with the additional tax burden.

There have been many warnings from well-known economists about the “resource curse” [the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources] – and its potential consequences for the countries affected: from having weak industries and agriculture to being prone to dictatorships and corruption.


Link
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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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