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Cold Weather in Denver: Climate Change and Arctic Oscillation (8)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:25 AM GMT on December 08, 2013

Cold Weather in Denver: Climate Change and Arctic Oscillation (8)

I’ve been living with this cold weather in Colorado this week. If you look around at the Wunderground personal weather station sites, we’ve seen a lot of about -10 F at nights. It’s been causing a lot of grief for homeless people, animals and pipes. There have been a few record lows set. The whole Arctic air mass is starting to move east, which means it will get a lot more press. According to Jeff Master’s blog 80% of the country will be below average.

I thought I had finished my series of blogs on the Arctic Oscillation a couple of weeks ago, but this cold air out break takes me back. It that series I wrote about cold air in the Arctic that is isolated because of barriers caused by streams of rapidly moving air that flows around polar latitudes. I described wobbles in the streams that caused cold air to move south and warm air to move north. Here is one of the figures that I used.

Figure 1: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). This represents a weak, wavy, wobbly vortex displaced from the pole. The vortex encloses cold air, represented as blue. The line surrounding the cold air is the jet stream or the edge of the vortex. (definition of vortex)

Figure 1 shows an idealized schematic of the North Pole as viewed from above. This is the weak vortex case, when there is a large wobble. In this case, the point X is cold and the point Y is warm. In a case of a stronger, more circular vortex, then the case would be reversed, with point X warm and point Y cold.

Here is a figure from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), that I have marked up a bit. The colors are the temperatures at the 850 hecto-Pascal surface, which is about 1.5 kilometers above the surface. The 850 hecto-Pascal temperatures are a good indicator of where it is hot and cold at the surface.

Figure 2: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). The contour lines on the figure are the height of the 500 hecto-Pascal surface, which is between 5 and 6 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. The colors are the temperatures at the 850 hecto-Pascal surface, which is about 1.5 kilometers above the surface. The 850 hecto-Pascal temperatures are a good indicator of where it is hot and cold at the surface. Figure from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

I drew a blue arrow showing that the cold air at the pole has wobbled off of the pole and it is pushed towards Colorado. To the west there is warm air, red arrow, pushing up towards Alaska. So while it has been cold in Colorado, it has been quite warm in much of Alaska. Though a less prominent signal, there has also been warm air moving up the East Coast of the U.S. The Alaska – Colorado contrast is a nice real-world example of what I showed in Figure 1. For completeness with my example, the big, black dashed line is the jet stream of air flowing around the pole.

There were several points in my series on the Arctic Oscillation. The first important point is that even in a world that is getting warmer, the polar latitudes become isolated as the Sun goes down for the winter and jet stream intensifies. In this isolation it gets cold, because there is no heating from the Sun and the polar latitudes have a barrier between themselves and the warmer lower latitudes. The second important point is this wobble, the pushing of air off of the pole in some direction. In this case the coldest air is over Greenland, Canada and the U.S. If there is sufficient wobble to push the air far to the south or if it gets pushed to some place it did not get pushed before, then it is even likely to have record cold. These points are all work together and are not correctly viewed as independent events. (I was recently annoyed by the parenthetical dismissal of global warming in this otherwise nice prediction of early strong lake effect snow in Michigan. The statement was essentially pockets of cold Arctic air should not exist.)

I will finish with the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation Index from the Climate Prediction Center is shown in Figure 3. The discussion in my Arctic Oscillation series focused on the positive and negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation Index. Much of the attention was on the eastern U.S. The negative phase was when it is likely to be very cold in the eastern U.S.

Figure 3: Arctic Oscillation Index for early August 2013 until December 7, 2013 from the Climate Prediction Center

In this measure of the Arctic Oscillation Index, the most recent times have been weakly positive, tending towards negative. (Perhaps suggesting movement of the cold air towards the U.S. east coast?) Perhaps more important Figures 2 and 3 together show that large undulations with warm air pushing far northward and cold air displaced off the pole can occur in other parts of the world when the index is weak. As pointed out many other times over the years of this blog, what goes on in the U.S. is not good instantaneous editorial content for climate change.


Previous entries:

Climate Change and the Arctic Oscillation 2

Climate Change and the Arctic Oscillation 1

Wobbles in the Barriers

Barriers in the Atmosphere


Definitions and Some Background

August Arctic Oscillation presentation

CPC Climate Glossary “The Arctic Oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases.”

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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House of Representatives holds 'factual' climate hearing and decides half of scientists are global warming deniers

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday held a so-called 'factual' hearing about climate change and used the testimony of skeptical witnesses to conclude that about half of scientists suspected global warming was a hoax.

At a Subcommittee on Environment hearing titled "A Factual Look at the Relationship Between Climate and Weather," Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) asked University of Alabama in Huntsville Professor John Christy - a well-known global warming skeptic - if it was really true that "percent of climate scientist think that climate change is real."

"No, not at all, - Christie replied. "The American Meteorological Society, by the way, did do a survey of its professional members and found only 52 percent said that climate change of the past 50 years was due mostly to human kind. So, 52 percent amount is quite small, I think, in terms of confidence. "52 percent said that climate change of the past 50 years was due mostly to human kind. So, 52 percent amount is quite small, I think, in terms of confidence."

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Two thoughts keep coming to mind.

1. This pattern of very warm Alaska and very cold in most of the lower 48 is fairly common. This degree of cold is notable and generates discussion but is absolutely not unprecedented. The U.S. gets arctic air masses frequently most winters. The warmth in Alaska is more remarkable and the combination of an extreme pattern producing extreme warmth on one side and only precedented and not too uncommon cold on the other is interesting and itself notable.

To put it more pithily, with the atmosphere in an extreme configuration to deliver cold to the U.S. we are not getting truly remarkable, widespread record breaking unprecedented cold. It is cold for the season in the Plains (and I do smugly sit in the DC area which has only had a very glancing blow of much modified Arctic air). But it has been colder in the midwest and plains other years in early to mid December.
(most notably 1989 and 1983; also December 2010 was colder to date in the east and in particular Florida)

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Quoting 140. yoboi:
My filter is set to real science.....Not some half baked predictions or failed computer models......
I think your filter is seriously compromised. A good cleaning, or better yet, replacement with a filter that actually works, would be the best course of action.
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Rural N.Y. Communities Use Fracking Waste to De-Ice Roads

Several rural communities and counties in New York have received permission from state regulators—despite a state fracking moratorium and a warning from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—to spread fracking waste brine on roads as a de-icer.

Environmental group Riverkeeper, which focuses on the health of the Hudson River, warns that the liquid can move into watersheds, a concern that led nine other counties in the state to ban the practice. And remember, this is mystery juice. The natural gas industry, the frackheads who inject the fluid into subterranean shale formations to force out natural gas, has kept the chemical makeup of the fluid a closely held industrial secret.


Stupid is as stupid does - Forrest Gump
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Quoting 122. JohnLonergan:
From The AGU:

Knowing the unknowns


The Earth's atmosphere is not the only source of radiative forcing and anthropogenic climate change. As surely as people and civilizations have carbon footprints, they have albedo footprints as well. By altering the reflectivity of roughly half the land surface of the Earth in the past, mankind has made inadvertent geoengineering a part of the landscape of history. This worldwide alteration of reflectivity raises questions about the future of climate change, for albedo is a first-order determinant of the Earth's radiative equilibrium. As surfaces absorb roughly 100 times more solar energy than the CO2 in the atmosphere, future anthropogenic changes in both land and water albedo may figure significantly in climate policy outcomes.

Read more ...

This brings me back to when people would claim that the heat island effect was skewing the temperature data and I would have to remind them that the heat island effect is also of an anthropogenic origin. That makes it rather difficult for them to escape the anthropogenic nature of climate change.
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Quoting 121. nymore:

Those profit margins are certainly high. Lets see how much say First Solar cares about its customers.Gross profit margins for FSLR

Data for this Date Range
Sept. 30, 2013 28.76%
June 30, 2013 26.95%
March 31, 2013 22.42%
Dec. 31, 2012 27.31%
Sept. 30, 2012 28.45%
June 30, 2012 25.46%
March 31, 2012 15.44%
Dec. 31, 2011 20.92%

I grabbed FSLR because it is the one I thought of first. I am sure you can find many more examples on either side. (green or fossil)

I agree age and health are certainly the main issue here but why not throw in some propaganda about fossil fuels to fire up the troops.

Have a good day everyone

Gross profit margins. How nice that you use such a metric to indicate how profitable a company is. So, what exactly is a gross profit margin?

"...suppose that ABC Corp. earned $20 million in revenue from producing widgets and incurred $10 million in COGS-related expense. ABC's gross profit margin would be 50%. This means that for every dollar that ABC earns on widgets, it really has only $0.50 at the end of the day." The link is the source for this information.

So the data that you provided is really only a representation of a how much money the company took in with relationship to how much money it spent to produce its product. While this is a good metric to see how a company is performing compared to its competitors, it is not a true metric to be used to indicate how financially healthy a company actually is. Exxon/Mobil's gross profit margin is considerably less than is your example used. Yet Exxon/Mobil has a huge cash reserve, as one metric, that would dwarf anything that FSLR is likely to have now or ever will in the future. How can this be if Exxon/Mobil's gross profit margin is less than FSLR's gross profit margin? Simple. Quantity sold. Why do you think companies will offer price breaks to buyers that will buy in large quantities? Simple, again. These companies do not have to make a larger gross profit in order to be profitable on these large orders. After all, when you are selling billions of your widgets each year you do not need to make $1.00 profit off of each one in order to build a cash reserve. You could make $0.10 profit off of each widget and still make $100,000,000.00 at the end of the year. Percentage wise, it may not be much of a return on investment, but how much money can you make on this as compared to if you only had $1,000,000.00 at the end of the year from your return on investment that is more likely for FSLR.
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They will come till they see the water rising at their heels the contrarians.

Never will they give up the WATTS up wit Dat crusade of distortion, lies and downright sleazy ways to obfuscate and obscure the realities we all see.

They really matter not.

The warming continues, in the Oceans, on Land..into the Water Vapor itself.

Nature will strike back.

She has begun in earnest.

Buckle up.

The ride is on.

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Here's a Jeopardy question for you.

"This fossil fuel-funded (and tobacco company-funded) group has made quite the name for itself in the climate change denial game, from trumpeting the false controversy over Climategate to comparing climate scientists to mass murders to misrepresenting the actions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (which was so egregious the CAS issued a statement against [them] that used the word false four times)."

Quoted from the Phil Plait blog Nea linked to above. To play the game, read Phil Plait after you buzz in with your answer!
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Antarctica’s ice loss on the rise
11 December 2013

Three years of observations by ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing over 150 cubic kilometres of ice each year – considerably more than when last surveyed.

Full Article:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_E arth/CryoSat/Antarctica_s_ice_loss_on_the_rise

Just doing a quick drive by, hope all is well with everyone. Be back in touch after the holidays.
I lurk the wunderground---sometimes:)
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Quoting 166. Cochise111:
Science is about evidence, fair skepticism, and honest investigation into claims based on them. If climate science really is in such disarray as the deniers claims, then why do so many resort to misleading tactics so often? Why post misleading graphs, why cherry-pick data, why engage in egregious ad hominems, why send out emails about papers that say the opposite of what the paper actually concludes? If their claims are correct, then why even risk the perception of impropriety?

Source: Phil Plait
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Good Morning All..
Ran across these 2 policy statements and found them enlightening..
They speak for themselves..
Worth the read..

Climate statements from two renown bodies of scientific study..

American Physical Society
American Geophysical Union

APS Climate policy Statement..2007
APS Climate policy Statement addendum..2010

AGU-Climate-Change-Position-Statement_August-2013 .pdf

More current AGU links and data..

Main source research from Discovery of Global Warming..
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Quoting 159. Cochise111:
Hmmm. Do you have any credible, peer-reviewed, unrefuted evidence to show that bias, and to indicate that any biases are not being accounted for? Because I'm pretty sure Little Anthony had to run back to California with his tail tucked between his legs last time he tried to "prove" otherwise.
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Quoting 147. JohnLonergan:
Anthony Watts shows up at AGU Conference,writes porkies, David Appell reports:

Anthony Watts, Lying Again

Anthony Watts can't even tell the truth about the little things.

Writing about a session I attended this morning, he wrote, after the presenter (Judith Lean) displayed a slide with a blog post of his on it,
Heard David Appell and Richard Somerville who were near me both grunt when WUWT was displayed.

which is an outright lie, concerning my reaction. Frankly, I couldn't care less -- and, let's note, the presenter, presented his site as an explicit example of bad science, as no Maunder Minimum-like changes in the Sun are going to cancel this century's global warming.

And if Watts can't tell the truth about the little things.... I'm more skeeved out that Watts is secretly monitoring my reactions to the talk, instead of paying attention to the speaker.

By the way, Lean's talk was really fantastic, showing the data for all the relevant climate factors, and stressing that surface temperature is a function of more than CO2.

Looks like I'm missing some interesting stuff at AGU this year. Wish I could have spared the time to go and meet up with some old colleagues.
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From at Bad Astronomy:

Phil Plait discusses the Heartland Institute's misrepresentation of a recent study by the American Meteorological Society called “Meteorologists’ Views About Global Warming: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members.”

Plait concludes with:

..."As AMS executive director Seitter put it,

A difference between the AMS and some organizations is the transparency and scientific integrity with which we operate. This survey was conducted to satisfy scientific curiosity on an important topic and the results are published for all to see. This is the way science is meant to work.
It is. And it does"

The entire post at Bad Astronomy:
The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological Society
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Cool! I'm adding that to the links in my blog John.
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The AGU has a new free online journal, “Earth’s Future”, with papers from the likes of Kevin Trenberth, here:

Below is the abstract from one of the papers in the first edition of “Earth’s Future”:

A geological perspective on sea-level rise and its impacts along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast

We evaluate paleo-, historical, and future sea-level rise along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. The rate of relative sea-level rise in New Jersey decreased from 3.5 ± 1.0 mm/yr at 7.5–6.5 ka, to 2.2 ± 0.8 mm/yr at 5.5–4.5 ka to a minimum of 0.9 ± 0.4 mm/yr at 3.3–2.3 ka. Relative sea level rose at a rate of 1.6 ± 0.1 mm/yr from 2.2 to 1.2 ka (750 Common Era [CE]) and 1.4 ± 0.1 mm/yr from 800 to 1800 CE. Geological and tide-gauge data show that sea-level rise was more rapid throughout the region since the Industrial Revolution (19th century = 2.7 ± 0.4 mm/yr; 20th century = 3.8 ± 0.2 mm/yr). There is a 95% probability that the 20th century rate of sea-level rise was faster than it was in any century in the last 4.3 kyr. These records reflect global rise (∼1.7 ± 0.2 mm/yr since 1880 CE) and subsidence from glacio-isostatic adjustment (∼1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr) at bedrock locations (e.g., New York City). At coastal plain locations, the rate of rise is 0.3–1.3 mm/yr higher due to groundwater withdrawal and compaction. We construct 21st century relative sea-level rise scenarios including global, regional, and local processes. We project a 22 cm rise at bedrock locations by 2030 (central scenario; low- and high-end scenarios range of 16–38 cm), 40 cm by 2050 (range 28–65 cm), and 96 cm by 2100 (range 66–168 cm), with coastal plain locations having higher rises (3, 5–6, and 10–12 cm higher, respectively). By 2050 CE in the central scenario, a storm with a 10 year recurrence interval will exceed all historic storms at Atlantic City.

(Emphasis added)

Access to the entire paper is free, link at the end of the abstract.

I think that free access is a great idea, paywalls are really frustrating to me.
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Published on Dec 10, 2013

When NASA's Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter.

One of Juno's sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.

The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft's three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno's Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system's four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away -- about three times the Earth-moon separation.

During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn't make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format.

The music accompaniment is an original score by Vangelis.

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When we have record heat it's global warming,when we have record cold it's just weather!
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From The Price of Oil:

Scientists Warn Arctic Oil is “Unburnable Carbon”

This is the scientific paper that should stop all Arctic drilling now. It should also stop the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

It is yet another warning that business as usual for the oil industry is just not acceptable.

And it once again reiterates a simple truth so, so unpalatable to the Canadians: that exploiting the tar sands is incompatible with preventing climate change.

The paper should make deeply uncomfortable reading for any financial institution or oil company thinking of investing in the Arctic or the tar sands, or the heads of OPEC. In short, it affects everyone involved in the oil industry.

It should be essential reading for the CEOs of Gazprom and Shell, for one. And it should force them to change their unsustainable business strategies.

The paper, entitled, “Un-burnable oil: An examination of oil resource utilisation in a decarbonised energy system”, will be published by the journal Energy Policy in January. You can view a copy here. And then you should spread it far and wide.

The scientists warn of a large “disconnect” between developing new areas of exploration such as the Arctic and “pledges to restrict temperature rises to 2 °C. The continued licensing of new areas for oil exploration is only consistent with declared intentions to limit CO2 emissions and climate change if the majority of fields that are discovered remain undeveloped, which fatally undermines the economic rationale for their discovery in the first place.”

The scientists argue that “large volumes of oil currently considered to be reserves cannot be produced before 2035 if there is to be an evens chance of limiting the global average temperature rise to 2 °C.”

Globally, they argue, that nearly 600 billion barrels of oil reserves must remain unused by 2035, if widespread Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) is unavailable.

This is just under 50 per cent of current available reserves.

Even in a future scenario where there is widespread and rapid adoption of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in both the electricity and industry sectors, nearly 500 billion barrels must never be burnt.

In a scenario with no CCS, the scientists argue that no region can fully exploit their reserves although some regions must leave greater proportions of their reserves in situ than others: the Middle East must not use 55% or around 390 billion tonnes of its current reserves before 2035.

The warning over Arctic oil is clear: “These results suggest that the development of Arctic regions is largely inconsistent with an evens chance of limiting average global temperature change to 2 °C and that it may be reasonable to classify Arctic resources as ‘un-burnable’; this therefore calls into question the rationale for ongoing exploration efforts in Arctic regions, if stated commitments to emission reduction are to be taken seriously.”

Another way to look at this, if Shell or Gazprom are serious about pushing ahead Arctic drilling then they are not serious about addressing climate change.

If the Canadians are thinking that not drilling Arctic oil makes it more likely that the tar sands should be exploited, they should think again. “If the declared ‘proved’ reserves of these countries were to be believed, then 80% Canadian reserves and 92% Venezuelan reserves must remain in the ground,” argue the scientists.

It is worth repeating that figure: 80 per cent of tar sands reserves need to stay in the ground. And if that is the case, there is no need for the Keystone XL pipeline.
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Quoting 140. yoboi:
My filter is set to real science.....Not some half baked predictions or failed computer models......

yoboi....April Fools isn't here yet. Try again please.
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Anthony Watts shows up at AGU Conference,writes porkies, David Appell reports:

Anthony Watts, Lying Again

Anthony Watts can't even tell the truth about the little things.

Writing about a session I attended this morning, he wrote, after the presenter (Judith Lean) displayed a slide with a blog post of his on it,
Heard David Appell and Richard Somerville who were near me both grunt when WUWT was displayed.

which is an outright lie, concerning my reaction. Frankly, I couldn't care less -- and, let's note, the presenter, presented his site as an explicit example of bad science, as no Maunder Minimum-like changes in the Sun are going to cancel this century's global warming.

And if Watts can't tell the truth about the little things.... I'm more skeeved out that Watts is secretly monitoring my reactions to the talk, instead of paying attention to the speaker.

By the way, Lean's talk was really fantastic, showing the data for all the relevant climate factors, and stressing that surface temperature is a function of more than CO2.
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Quoting 140. yoboi:
My filter is set to real science.....Not some half baked predictions or failed computer models......

Sorry (wipes laugh tears from eyes) - that's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.
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From Nick Stokes:

TempLS global temp up 0.16°C in November

After months of nothing much, TempLS showed a rise in November, from 0.494°C (Oct) to 0.658°C. By contrast, satellite indices went down.

Here is the spherical harmonics plot of the temperature distribution:
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Global warming is unpaused and stuck on fast forward, new research shows

A new paper shows that global warming has continued over the past decade, and been manifested in different ways

Global warming is unpaused and stuck on fast forward, new research shows

Posted on 10 December 2013 by dana1981
New research by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research investigates how the warming of the Earth's climate has behaved over the past 15 years compared with the previous few decades. They conclude that while the rate of increase of average global surface temperatures has slowed since 1998, melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, and warming oceans have continued apace.

The widespread mainstream media focus on the slowed global surface warming has led some climate scientists like Trenberth and Fasullo to investigate its causes and how much various factors have contributed to the so-called 'pause' or 'hiatus.' However, the authors note that while the increase in global temperatures has slowed, the oceans have taken up heat at a faster rate since the turn of the century. Over 90 percent of the overall extra heat goes into the oceans, with only about 2 percent heating the Earth's atmosphere. The myth of the 'pause' is based on ignoring 98 percent of global warming and focusing exclusively on the one bit that's slowed.

Nevertheless, the causes of the slowed global surface temperature increase present an interesting scientific question. In examining changes in the activity of the sun and volcanoes, Trenberth and Fasullo estimated that they can account for no more than a 20 percent reduction in the Earth's energy imbalance, which is what causes global warming. Thus the cause of the slowed surface warming must primarily lie elsewhere, and ocean cycles are the most likely culprit.

Trenberth and Fasullo found that after the massive El Niño event in 1998, the Pacific Ocean appears to have shifted into a new mode of operation. Since that time, Trenberth's research has shown that the deep oceans have absorbed more heat than at any other time in the past 50 years.

Read the rest at The Guardian ...
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Climate Science

The Battle Over Global Warming Is All in Your Head

Despite the fact that more people now acknowledge that climate change represents a significant threat to human well-being, this has yet to translate into any meaningful action. Psychologists may have an answer as to why this is

Today the scientific community is in almost total agreement that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, and that this represents a huge threat to the planet and to us. According to a Pew survey conducted in March, however, public opinion lags behind the scientific conclusion, with only 69% of those surveyed accepting the view that the earth is warming — and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. Still, 69% is a solid majority, which begs the question, Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

This political inertia in the face of unprecedented threat is the most fundamental challenge to tackling climate change. Climate scientists and campaigners have long debated how to better communicate the message to nonexperts so that climate science can be translated into action. According to Christopher Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London, the usual tactic of climate experts to provide the public with information isn’t enough because “it does not address key underlying causes.” We are all bombarded with the evidence of climate change on an almost a daily basis, from new studies and data to direct experiences of freakish weather events like last year’s epic drought in the U.S. The information is almost unavoidable.

If it’s not a data deficit that’s preventing people from doing more on global warming, what is it? Blame our brains. Renee Lertzman, an applied researcher who focuses on the psychological dimensions of sustainability, explains that the kind of systemic threat that climate change poses to humans is “unique both psychologically and socially.” We face a minefield of mental barriers and issues that prevent us from confronting the threat.

(MORE: As Temperatures Rise, Empires Fall: Heat and Human Behavior)

For some, the answer lies in cognitive science. Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, has written about why our inability to deal with climate change is due in part to the way our mind is wired. Gilbert describes four key reasons ranging from the fact that global warming doesn’t take a human form — making it difficult for us to think of it as an enemy — to our brains’ failure to accurately perceive gradual change as opposed to rapid shifts. Climate change has occurred slowly enough for our minds to normalize it, which is precisely what makes it a deadly threat, as Gilbert writes, “because it fails to trip the brain’s alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed.”

Robert Gifford, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria in Canada, also picks up on the point about our brains’ difficulty in grasping climate change as a threat. Gifford refers to this and other psychological barriers to mitigating climate change as “dragons of inaction.” Since authoring a paper on the subject in 2011 in which he outlined seven main barriers, or dragons, he has found many more. “We’re up to around 30,” he notes. “Now it’s time to think about how we can slay these dragons.” Gifford lists factors such as limited cognition or ignorance of the problem, ideologies or worldviews that may prevent action, social comparisons with other people and perceived inequity (the “Why should we change if X corporation or Y country won’t?”) and the perceived risks of changing our behavior.

Gifford is reluctant to pick out one barrier as being more powerful or limiting than another. “If I had to name one, I would nominate the lack of perceived behavioral control; ‘I’m only one person, what can I do?’ is certainly a big one.” For many, the first challenge will be in recognizing which dragons they have to deal with before they can overcome them. “If you don’t know what your problem is, you don’t know what the solution is,” says Gifford.

Yet this approach can only work if people are prepared to acknowledge that they have a problem. But for those of us who understand that climate change is a problem yet make little effort to cut the number of overseas trips we make or the amount of meat we consume, neither apathy nor denial really explains the dissonance between our actions and beliefs. Lertzman has come to the conclusion that this is not because of apathy — a lack of feeling — but because of the simple fact that we care an overwhelming amount about both the planet and our way of life, and we find that conflict too painful to bear. Our apparent apathy is just a defense mechanism in the face of this psychic pain.

(MORE: The Evil Brain: What Lurks Inside a Killer’s Mind)

“We’re reluctant to come to terms with the fact that what we love and enjoy and what gives us a sense of who we are is also now bound up with the most unimaginable devastation,” says Lertzman. “When we don’t process the pain of that, that’s when we get stuck and can’t move forward.” Lertzman refers to this inability to mourn as “environmental melancholia,” and points to South Africa’s postapartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an example of how to effectively deal with this collective pain. “I’m not saying there should be one for climate or carbon, but there’s a lot to be said for providing a means for people to talk together about climate change, to make it socially acceptable to talk about it.”

Rosemary Randall, a trained psychotherapist, has organized something close to this. She runs the U.K.-based Carbon Conversations, a program that brings people together to talk in a group setting about ways of halving their personal carbon footprint. Writing in Aeon, an online magazine, Randall suggests that climate change is such a disturbing subject, that “like death, it can raise fears and anxieties that people feel have no place in polite conversation.” Randall acknowledges that while psychology and psychoanalysis aren’t the sole solutions to tackling climate change, “they do offer an important way of thinking about the problem.”

Lertzman says the mainstream climate-change community has been slow to register the value of psychology and social analysis in addressing global warming. “I think there’s a spark of some interest, but also a wariness of what this means, what it might look like,” she notes. Gifford says otherwise, however, explaining that he has never collaborated with other disciplines as much as he does now. “I may be a little biased because I’m invested in working in it, but in my view, climate change, and not mental health, is the biggest psychological problem we face today because it affects 100% of the global population.”

Despite the pain, shame, difficulty and minefield of other psychological barriers that we face in fully addressing climate change, both Lertzman and Gifford are still upbeat about our ability to face up to the challenge. “It’s patronizing to say that climate change is too big or abstract an issue for people to deal with,” says Lertzman. “There can’t be something about the human mind that stops us grappling with these issues given that so many people already are — maybe that’s what we should be focusing on instead.”

MORE: The Psychology of Environmentalism: How the Mind Can Save the Planet

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Emerging Technology From the arXiv

November 29, 2013

How to Burst the "Filter Bubble" that Protects Us from Opposing Views

Computer scientists have discovered a way to number-crunch an individuals own preferences to recommend content from others with opposing views. The goal? To burst the filter bubble that surrounds us with people we like and content that we agree with.

The term filter bubble entered the public domain back in 2011 when the internet activist Eli Pariser coined it to refer to the way recommendation engines shield people from certain aspects of the real world.

Pariser used the example of two people who googled the term BP. One received links to investment news about BP while the other received links to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, presumably as a result of some recommendation algorithm.

This is an insidious problem. Much social research shows that people prefer to receive information that they agree with instead of information that challenges their beliefs. This problem is compounded when social networks recommend content based on what users already like and on what people similar to them also like.

This is the filter bubble being surrounded only by people you like and content that you agree with.

And the danger is that it can polarise populations creating potentially harmful divisions in society.

Today, Eduardo Graells-Garrido at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona as well as Mounia Lalmas and Daniel Quercia, both at Yahoo Labs, say they've hit on a way to burst the filter bubble. Their idea that although people may have opposing views on sensitive topics, they may also share interests in other areas. And they've built a recommendation engine that points these kinds of people towards each other based on their own preferences.

The result is that individuals are exposed to a much wider range of opinions, ideas and people than they would otherwise experience. And because this is done using their own interests, they end up being equally satisfied with the results (although not without a period of acclimitisation). We nudge users to read content from people who may have opposite views, or high view gaps, in those issues, while still being relevant according to their preferences, say Graells-Garrido and co.

These guys have tested this approach by focusing on the topic of abortion as discussed by people in Chile in August and September this year. Chile has some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws on the planet it was legalised here in 1931 and then made illegal again in 1989. With presidential elections in November, a highly polarised debate was raging in the country at that time.

They found over 40,000 Twitter users who had expressed an opinion using the hashtags such as #pro-life and #pro-choice. They trimmed this group by choosing only those who gave their location as Chile and by excluding those who tweeted rarely. That left over 3000 Twitter users.

The team then computed the difference in the views of these users on this and other topics using the regularity with which they used certain other keywords. This allowed them to create a kind of wordcloud for each user that acted like a kind of data portrait.

They then recommended tweets to each person based on similarities between their word clouds and especially when they differed in their views on the topic of abortion.

The results show that people can be more open than expected to ideas that oppose their own. It turns out that users who openly speak about sensitive issues are more open to receive recommendations authored by people with opposing views, say Graells-Garrido and co.

They also say that challenging people with new ideas makes them generally more receptive to change. That has important implications for social media sites. There is good evidence that users can sometimes become so resistant to change than any form of redesign dramatically reduces the popularity of the service. Giving them a greater range of content could change that.

We conclude that an indirect approach to connecting people with opposing views has great potential, say Graells-Garrido and co.

It's certainly a start. But whether it can prevent the herding behaviour in which users sometimes desert social media sites overnight, is debatable. But the overall approach is admirable. Connecting people is important when they share similar interests but arguably even more so when their views clash.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1311.4658 : Data Portraits: Connecting People of Opposing Views
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
No shortage of idiocy this afternoon here.


Steve Goddard is a myth..

You should see his FB page folks.

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Santa Warns In Greenpeace Video Christmas Will Be Canceled Due To Global Warming
December 10, 2013 12:27 PM

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Greenpeace is warning children the world over Santa Claus might not be bringing gifts to them because of global warming.

A “Save the Arctic” video released by the environmental group shows a sullen and dirty Santa – played by Jim Carter of “Downton Abbey” — in a dark, concrete room with water dripping from the ceiling.

“Dear children, I regrettably bring bad tidings. For some time now, melting ice here in the North Pole has made our operations and our day-to-day life intolerable and impossible and there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas,” Santa warned in the Greenpeace video.

Santa claims he has written world leaders, including Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, but to no avail.

Sadly my letters have been met with indifference,” Santa says, as lights begin to flicker in the room like a horror movie. “Needless to say these individuals are now at the top of my naughty list.”

In the end, Santa urges those watching to sign a petition to “Save Santa’s Home.”

“My home in the Arctic is fast disappearing and unless we all act urgently then I have to warn you of the possibility of an empty stocking forevermore. Please help me.”

The petition claims global warming is causing the North Pole to melt away faster and faster. The petition also warns of oil companies trying to drill in the Arctic.

“World leaders are ignoring the reindeer’s cries for help as they sink in the melting ice,” the petition states. “Even the threat of being on Santa’s naughty list hasn’t prompted a rescue operation.”

If Santa was living in the South Pole along with Mrs. Claus and his reindeers, though, they would need to bundle up.

NASA satellite data showed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded when in August 2010, East Antarctica was 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/12/10/santa-w arns-in-greenpeace-video-christmas-will-be-cancele d-due-to-global-warming/

Just like Santa Claus, Global Warming is a myth for controlling children.
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Sea ice Extent


Hmmm, below long term average


Below the 2000's average
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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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