Is this year what we can expect?

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:38 PM GMT on August 03, 2011

Is this year what we can expect?

In recent weeks a question I have been asked often, “is this year, the last couple of years, like what we can expect in the future?” The question is often asked quietly, perhaps by a planner, say, someone worried about water in their city. The question follows from not only a perception that the weather is getting “weird,”, but also some small aspect of experience in their job. For example, a water manager recently said they were seeing their local river showing a distinct change to sporadically high flow in the winter, smaller spring flows, and extremely small flow late in the summer. Is this what I should expect in the future? The short answer is yes.

This question of expectation has rolled around in my head for years. I am a gardener with aspirations for small farmer. Over the last 30 years, I have definitely pushed my planting earlier in the year. When I was in Maryland, I felt wet, cool Mays were becoming the “norm,” with my tomatoes sitting in sodden soil. At the same time I would recall plots I had seen in some recent presentation that showed modeled shifts in the warm-cold patterns suggesting springtime cooling in northeastern North America. These are the sorts of casual correlations that lead people to think are we seeing a new “normal.”

In 2008 I wrote a blog about the changes in the hardiness zones that are reported on the back of seed packages. These are the maps that tell us the last frost date, and there were big changes between 1990 and 2006. These changes in the seed packets caught the attention of a lot of people. Recently, NOAA published the “new normal.” This normal relies on the definition of climate as a 30 year average. (AMS Glossary) What was done - at the completion of the decade NOAA recalculated a 30 year average. That is, 1981-2010 rather than 1971-2000. This average changed a lot, with notable warming of nighttime minima. There was some regional reduction of summertime maxima; that is, cooling. All in all, the average temperature went up, with most of the increase in nighttime minimum, a fact that is consistent with both model simulations and fundamental physics. This also came with another update of those hardiness zones.

When trying to interpret climate information and determining how has climate changed and how will it change, the combination of observations, fundamental physics, and models provide three sources of information. The combination of this information and the determination of the quality of that information is subject to interpretation. In the case of determining whether or not we are already experiencing the climate of warming world and how that change will be realized in the next decades it depends on how we use the models.

In my previous entry on heat waves, I implied how to use these pieces of information together. There are fundamental physics in the relationship between temperature and moisture in the air; hot air holds more water; warm water evaporates more quickly. The question of the model is - how well does the model represent the movement of that moisture? For the heat wave example, it is important how well do the models represent persistent high pressure systems over North America in the summer? Are these high pressure systems represented well by the models for the right reasons? The answer to the model question has a range of answers. The model does represent these systems, but if you are an expert in summertime persistent high pressure systems, then you can provide a long list of inadequacies. How can we glean information about the quality of the model? If we look at weather models, then we were able to predict the heat wave – even with the inadequacies that the expert or skeptic can list. Returning to the climate model, do we see like events in the current climate, and do these events change as the planet warms? The answer is yes. Then can we use this to guide our development of plans to adapt to climate change? The answer is yes, if we can connect the model back to data and the fundamental physics. This does become a matter of interpretation – how strong or weak is that connection?

The more I work with planners the more I hear the need for interpretive information, expert guidance, advisories about climate and climate change. People start with the notion that they want digital data from climate models that looks like current weather data. Once presented with 1) the logistical challenges of using that data, 2) the complex nature of the uncertainties associated with that data, and 3) the relative importance of climate to other parts of their decision package – once presented with these facts, they move to the need for advice. This makes sense - most of us want a narrative weather forecast, rather than model output. And the models play the same role in the use of weather forecasts as they do in climate projection. The models guide our thinking, with the ultimate forecast based on that guidance refined by observations and fundamental physics.

This entry started with the question I hear more and more – is this year what we can expect more of in the future? I have a mantra which is that on average the surface of the Earth will warm, ice will melt, sea level will rise, and the weather will change. What we are seeing here is weather changing in a warming, more energy laden, environment. The extraordinary extremes that we have seen in the last year and are seeing this year are quite solidly connected to both fundamental physics and the guidance from climate and weather models. Hence, my answer, as I walk around my garden, thinking how to get better tomatoes next year, thinking about my irrigation system in my doddering retirement, is yes, what we are seeing this year tells me about what to expect in a future that is relevant to me - not something far off.

r

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Funny but true!LOL
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1368. Ossqss


I hope this works, its done via phone :-)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
Quoting Xandra:

The oceans are still warming as predicted! Link
Temperature wise or total heat content?
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1365. Xandra
Quoting overwash12:
Link What the heck is a going on around here ya'll!

The oceans are still warming as predicted! Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Take me out to the climate blog,

Take me out to the show.

Sell me some theories and unproven facts..I don't care if the scientists are hacks.

So its root,root,root for the green team,

Call names and say its denialist fog,

'Cause its one..two..three decades of info..

Debated at the old climate blog
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Link What the heck is a going on around here ya'll!
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Quoting Xandra:

Nice picture! Yes the water vapor in the global atmosphere has increased by about 5% over the 20th century, and 4% since 1970 due to a warming world. This extra moisture in the air will tend to produce heavier snowstorms. ;)

An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years! Link
I knew that,I was trying to get a cool image to take the heat off the mind!
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1361. Xandra
Quoting overwash12:
I needed a little help last year with the driveway,good neighbors I have!LOL

Nice picture! Yes the water vapor in the global atmosphere has increased by about 5% over the 20th century, and 4% since 1970 due to a warming world. This extra moisture in the air will tend to produce heavier snowstorms. ;)

An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years! Link
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I needed a little help last year with the driveway,good neighbors I have!LOL
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Yes, let's. Such extrapolations are called "trendlines" by statisticians. That's because they indicate, you know, trends. Follow the trends, and voila! Simple, no?
Yes, simple. Like weather and climate. Extrapolation always works perfectly as a prediction in those subjects...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
Oh, yes, let's extrapolate!

Yes, let's. Such extrapolations are called "trendlines" by statisticians. That's because they indicate, you know, trends. Follow the trends, and voila! Simple, no?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting JBastardi:
Global temps from Jan-Jul 2011 were second coldest this century. This global warming is going to freeze us to death eventually:

Link

From the blog's tagline: "THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN OUR AND YOUR SUPERSTRINGY UNIVERSE AS SEEN FROM A CONSERVATIVE PHYSICIST'S VIEWPOINT"
So, "conservative" first, "physicist" second. Yeah, I'd definitely trust his take on things. (And the "Pray for Japan" anime kittens only enhance his credibility.) ;-)

The fact is, as even he points out, while 2011 won't be the warmest ever, it'll be warmer than all but eight or nine of the past 130 or so.--and those others have all come in the last decade.

Silly denialist...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting Neapolitan:

You tell us:

Uh-oh
Oh, yes, let's extrapolate!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1355. Xandra
Can Bastardi Learn? Link
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Quoting Ossqss:
Here is some reading for you. It's weather and weather never stays the same for long :)

That's very true. But when that weather clearly trends one way overall for years and decades, chalking it up to just "weather" is disingenuous at best, IMO.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
1350. Ossqss
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


What is your best guess as to why the patterns are changing?


Here is some reading for you. It's weather and weather never stays the same for long :)


From 2007

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/q uikscat-20071001.html

New

http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/755/2011/ tcd-5-755-2011.pdf

and

http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/1311/2011 /tcd-5-1311-2011.pdf

Back to work ~ L8R
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
Quoting Ossqss:


Perhaps he will admit the weather pattern, not temperature, is responsible for the majority of the ice loss. That pattern has been in place for nearly a decade and is changing. Once the ice stops blowing out of the straits and melting in warm water, it will build rapidly. That just does not get much visibility for it does not pay the same dividends of attribution.


What is your best guess as to why the patterns are changing?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
1348. Ossqss
Quoting overwash12:
"Arctic Sea ice will be gone entirely by as early as September of 2016, and no later than 2020.
" That is a pretty bold prediction there Nea, The winters can get pretty brutal above the arctic circle,I hear they have 6 mos. of darkness with sub-zero temps the norm.


Perhaps he will admit the weather pattern, not temperature, is responsible for the majority of the ice loss. That pattern has been in place for nearly a decade and is changing. Once the ice stops blowing out of the straits and melting in warm water, it will build rapidly. That just does not get much visibility for it does not pay the same dividends of attribution.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
Quoting overwash12:
"Arctic Sea ice will be gone entirely by as early as September of 2016, and no later than 2020." That is a pretty bold prediction there Nea, The winters can get pretty brutal above the arctic circle,I hear they have 6 mos. of darkness with sub-zero temps the norm.

Correct. But note that I didn't say it was going away for good by then; I said it would be gone in September, the annual low point for Arctic Sea ice extent. In fact, I've heard no one--not even the most over-reaching forecaster--predict that Arctic Sea ice will disappear for the entire year. That would simply require far more heat than GW alone would be able to produce.


But they also have many months of daylight in summer, and various positive feedbacks being observed, so I feel safe in making that statement, which, after all, isn't that bold.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
"Arctic Sea ice will be gone entirely by as early as September of 2016, and no later than 2020." That is a pretty bold prediction there Nea, The winters can get pretty brutal above the arctic circle,I hear they have 6 mos. of darkness with sub-zero temps the norm.
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1345. rod2635
If Arctic Sea Ice indeed may be gone as early as 2016, as per one prediction, there may oddly enough be a market for collectors who would wish to preserve a portion in a freezer of something that may not reappear for decades if the worst trend predictions come true. Will need to establish various grades of ice, much like diamonds, based on either age, purity, or other factors. Nothing else seems to be selling in this economy.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 628
Looks like Dimaggio's streak of 56 will stand again this summer. hooray!
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An update to #1335:

--Wichita Falls did officially make it to 100 degrees today, so the 100-or-hotter streak is extended to 51 days (previous record: 42). Just two to go to reach the record of 79 total in one year.

--Dallas officially made it to "only" 97, so the 100-or-hotter streak is indeed ended at 40.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting JBastardi:
Looks like the Arctic ice "death spiral" is "temporarily" on hold. Of course, according to the "experts," it will continue again sometime in the not-to-distant future. My guess is that they don't want to look like fools for another failed prediction and they possibly see impending cooling:

Link

I thought I remembered something like this before, so I went searching through my archives, and look what I found:

"Dr. Brinkhuis and many other veteran Arctic researchers caution that there is something of a paradox in Arctic trends: while the long-term fate of the region may be mostly sealed, no one should presume that the recent sharp warming and seasonal ice retreats that have caught the world's attention will continue smoothly into the future.

"The same Arctic feedbacks that are amplifying human-induced climate changes are amplifying natural variability," explained Asgeir Sorteberg, a climate modeler at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway.

"Indeed, experts say, there could easily be periods in the next few decades when the region cools and ice grows."


That was from October 25, 2005.

So, yes, Arctic Sea ice may temporarily stabilize or even increase--but it hasn't happened yet, and there's no guarantee at all that it will.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
1340. Xandra
Quoting Neapolitan:

Congratulations! You have managed to take a WUWT headline and article--itself already distorting the NCAR issue--and distorting it even further. That's quite a trick indeed! Now, let's see if we can follow your line of, er, "logic":

1) NCAR says their computer models show that, under certain unknown climate conditions, Arctic sea ice could stabilize or even increase in extent (though not thickness). The report also goes on to note that, regardless of any temporary stabilization or increase, ice will be gone entirely in summer not so many years down the road. NOTE: such a stabilization or increase has not happened; it is merely theoretically possible according to the models they used. (And, in fact, an MIT study to be published next month says that Arctic Sea ice is melting four times faster than predicted.)

2) WUWT ("We Use Wishful Thinking") picks up the story, but rather than state the obvious--that is, that the ice is disappearing sooner or later--it instead trumpets the possibility that the ice could stabilize or increase in extent.

3) WU's own "JB" takes that, and states unequivocally, "Looks like the Arctic ice 'death spiral' is 'temporarily' on hold".

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you spent a lot of time playing that children's game called "telephone" when you were younger. ;-)

Anyway, my bet still stands: barring some cataclysmic event such as a mega-volcano eruption, Arctic Sea ice will be gone entirely by as early as September of 2016, and no later than 2020.

4) Anthony Watts forgot this: ”an anthropogenic influence on the most extreme observed 1979-2010 negative trends is now evident for all trend lengths examined (2-54 years)”

Inter-annual to multi-decadal Arctic sea ice extent trends in a warming world Link
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Quoting JBastardi:
Is there really any danger of an ice-free Arctic?

You tell us:

Uh-oh
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting JupiterKen:
And from this information you draw what conclusion?

I'm not sure what others would read into that, but the conclusion I'd draw would be that several near-record, record-setting, or record-tying consecutive day heat streaks are over.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting Neapolitan:

Yeah, it looks like the end of the line for several consecutive-day hot streaks:

--Wichita Falls' 100-or-hotter streak will end at 50 (the previous record was 42). The 90-or-hotter streak will continue, however; today was #77. The city needs just three more 100-or-hotter days to tie the annual record of 79. (AFTER-EDIT: Wichita Falls shot up to 97 as of 4PM CDT, so it still has a chance of continuing the 100-or-hotter streak after all.)

--Oklahoma Cty's 90-or-hotter streak will end at 71, tying the old record. The city needs just four more 100-or-hotter days to tie the annual record of 50.

--Amarillo's 90-or-higher record will end at 50. The town has seen 39 100-or-hotter days this year, completely obliterating the previous annual total of 26.

--Ft. Smith, Arkansas' 100-or-hotter streak ended a few days ago at 35.

(Note: some heat over the next few hours could change some of what I just wrote, but I doubt it'll happen.)


And from this information you draw what conclusion?

edit: fixed typpoo
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Quoting sullivanweather:
11 13:53 E 7 10.00 Mostly Cloudy FEW050 SCT200 BKN250 96 69 29.88 1010.7
11 12:53 SE 12 G 17 10.00 Mostly Cloudy FEW040 SCT200 BKN300 95 72 95 83 29.88 1010.7
11 11:53 SE 10 G 18 10.00 Mostly Cloudy FEW040 SCT200 BKN300 92 73 29.89 1010.9
11 10:53 S 14 10.00 Mostly Cloudy FEW150 BKN250 90 73 29.88 1010.6
11 09:53 S 12 10.00 Fair CLR 87 73 29.87 1010.3

Looks like the streak will end today for DFW at 40. Outflow boundary currently passing through and should drop temps into the 80's.


Addendum: I mention this because I had been paying attention to this record in particular (family in Dallas, so I keep an eye on their weather).

Yeah, it looks like the end of the line for several consecutive-day hot streaks:

--Wichita Falls' 100-or-hotter streak will end at 50 (the previous record was 42). The 90-or-hotter streak will continue, however; today was #77. The city needs just three more 100-or-hotter days to tie the annual record of 79. (AFTER-EDIT: Wichita Falls shot up to 97 as of 4PM CDT, so it still has a chance of continuing the 100-or-hotter streak after all.)

--Oklahoma Cty's 90-or-hotter streak will end at 71, tying the old record. The city needs just four more 100-or-hotter days to tie the annual record of 50.

--Amarillo's 90-or-higher record will end at 50. The town has seen 39 100-or-hotter days this year, completely obliterating the previous annual total of 26.

--Ft. Smith, Arkansas' 100-or-hotter streak ended a few days ago at 35.

(Note: some heat over the next few hours could change some of what I just wrote, but I doubt it'll happen.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
1334. Ossqss
Great googly moogly!

And I thought there was something new and exciting going on to load up so many posts.

Nope, just a computer glitch and the same old same :)



Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
Quoting JBastardi:
Looks like the Arctic ice "death spiral" is "temporarily" on hold. Of course, according to the "experts," it will continue again sometime in the not-to-distant future. My guess is that they don't want to look like fools for another failed prediction and they possibly see impending cooling:

Link

Congratulations! You have managed to take a WUWT headline and article--itself already distorting the NCAR issue--and distorting it even further. That's quite a trick indeed! Now, let's see if we can follow your line of, er, "logic":

1) NCAR says their computer models show that, under certain unknown climate conditions, Arctic sea ice could stabilize or even increase in extent (though not thickness). The report also goes on to note that, regardless of any temporary stabilization or increase, ice will be gone entirely in summer not so many years down the road. NOTE: such a stabilization or increase has not happened; it is merely theoretically possible according to the models they used. (And, in fact, an MIT study to be published next month says that Arctic Sea ice is melting four times faster than predicted.)

2) WUWT ("We Use Wishful Thinking") picks up the story, but rather than state the obvious--that is, that the ice is disappearing sooner or later--it instead trumpets the possibility that the ice could stabilize or increase in extent.

3) WU's own "JB" takes that, and states unequivocally, "Looks like the Arctic ice 'death spiral' is 'temporarily' on hold".

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you spent a lot of time playing that children's game called "telephone" when you were younger. ;-)

Anyway, my bet still stands: barring some cataclysmic event such as a mega-volcano eruption, Arctic Sea ice will be gone entirely by as early as September of 2016, and no later than 2020.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
Quoting Neapolitan:

On the plus side, he's only been a member since yesterday and has nearly 1,000 comments. Don't tell Taz... ;-)


LMAO!
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
Quoting petewxwatcher:
Purple that would be confidential business info I think. I don't know how aqua would know but if aquak9 found out I bet they wouldn't like that info being released and aquak9 would have the handle yanked.

Even if the spammer isn't telling others how to do this other trolls know it can be done now. This will be bad.

Are you serious? Advertising rates aren't confidential and proprietary; if they were, no one would buy time or space. "Sorry, Mr. Advertiser. We can't tell you how much it will cost your for us to run your commercials; that's classified information. Just send us a signed, blank check." ;-)

Speaking of membership: I re-upped today.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15125
no problemo, aqua. thank you for the input
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1328. aquak9
no you did not come off as mean, you came off as sarcastic. Sorry if I mis-interpreted.
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1327. aquak9
its not important anyway. I just wanted a ballpark number.

They don't make public thier advertising costs, and I probably should not, either. They deal with businesses, one on one.

My POINT IS, we bloggers and our silly membership fees MEAN NOTHING.
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wow. you people need to get a grip. did I come across as a mean guy? sorry I asked, aqua.

sheesh
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Quoting petewxwatcher:
Purple that would be confidential business info I think. I don't know how aqua would know but if aquak9 found out I bet they wouldn't like that info being released and aquak9 would have the handle yanked.

Even if the spammer isn't telling others how to do this other trolls know it can be done now. This will be bad.


what? I'm just asking how much it costs to advertise. I'm not asking for a copy of their balance sheet.

its not important anyway. I just wanted a ballpark number.

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1324. aquak9
Are you taking me to task, Drank? (geez I see folks using two different log-ons to talk to themselves these days)

Here's the link to the beginning of contacting advertising for WU. Link
Wanna talk postage stamp size, a few hours a day, for a month? Do you own a small business? Know someone who does? Have them check it out.

Go do your own investigating, Drank. I don't ask anyone to do mine.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Purple that would be confidential business info I think. I don't know how aqua would know but if aquak9 found out I bet they wouldn't like that info being released and aquak9 would have the handle yanked.

Even if the spammer isn't telling others how to do this other trolls know it can be done now. This will be bad.
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Quoting aquak9:
900 comments in 6 minutes? If someone can spam like this, it will ruin all the blogs. It looks like a test for a DNS to see if it will work.

And this is EXACTLY why Admin needs to have a real live human monitoring the blog. But in all honesty? WU makes only a fraction of a fraction of it's profits from any of us on the blogs. Membership fees mean nothing when hundreds of thousands of dollars are being brought in from advertising, every month.

Don't believe me? Check into the cost of advertising on WU. I already have.


tell us how much it costs to advertise on wu please
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Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change Blog

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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