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Consequences / August 2013 to be a warm month on the satellite data sets?
« on: September 07, 2013, 10:12:16 PM »
I'm expecting a very warm August on the UAH Satellite temperature dataset. I posted this to WUWT under a pseudonym too. I call it the Roy factor. If Dr. Roy Spencer reports the data early, the month is more likely to be cooler. If reported later in the month, the month is more likely to be warmer.

Over the last twelve months, it has become apparent that the cutoff between warm and cool is the fifth of the month. Over that period, 6 months were reported on or before the 4th of the following months. The mean of those months was 0.153C above the 1981-2010 mean. 6 months were reported on or after the 5th of the month. The mean of those six months was 0.350C above the 1981-2010 mean. This is nearly 0.20C difference, which seems to be too large of a difference to be mere chance. I believe this pattern can be detected more than just over the past 12 months, but I don't have the time or desire to check.

It is currently September 7 and the figures for August have not yet been released by Dr. Spencer. Given this and the intense oceanic warming observed particularly in the Pacific Ocean, I believe August 2013 will be a very warm month. I suspect it will be between 0.20C and 0.50C above the 1981-2010 mean, with a most likely value around 0.35C above that mean.


Grass fires breaking out, as epic heat wave rages on in England. I read that the death toll is up to 900 now. A lot of the articles are describing the heat wave as unexpected and surprising, I wonder if the deniers don't bear some of the blame for these deaths. They have been harassing the Met Office for years over its BBQ summer forecasts when climate-change caused unexpected heavy downpours and flooding in each of the past few summers. Now England is getting another true BBQ summer, like 2003 and 2006, and people are once again dieing!

These deniers don't seem to understand that rain and flooding does not equal cold. Call me when a summer is in the bottom 10% of the CET temperature, and then we'll start talking about AGW being false.

Wunderground shows no relief in sight, with temperatures between 27 and 32C for the next ten days in London!

There's talk of Death Valley in Southern California breaking 55C.  *That* hasn't happened in almost a century, and that particular record is considered questionable.

FWIW, I worked hand-in-hand with the WMO committee that investigated and eventually overturned the previous recordholder for the all-time hottest temperature ever (El Azizia Libya in September, 1922). As part of that investigation, we looked intensely at the Death Valley 1913 record of 134F--after all, everyone wanted to make sure the record taking the top spot would be beyond doubt--and it was determined that that record was both accurate and valid. Some may have a few questions about it, but those questions are nothing like the ones that swirled around the Azizia "record", which was, as many suspected and we verified, thoroughly bogus.

The current Southwest US heat wave is historical, profound, and widespread. But I don't know that we'll see the 134 record beaten this weekend. Maybe next month... :)

Color me skeptical. The temperature between Death Valley and Las Vegas varies in a predictable manner, usually the former is about 11 to 14 degrees warmer than the latter. On July 10, 1913, a cooperative observer in Las Vegas recorded 112, which while quite hot should not equate to 134 in Death Valley. And the other days of the hot stretch had similar differences. Based on the Las Vegas reading, I doubt the current Furnace Creek station would have been more than 124 to 127F. The only thing I could come up with is the old Greenland Ranch station was susceptible to isolated "Foehn" or "Chinook" like winds under perfect atmospheric conditions, and the same conditions have never been observed at an official station since 1913.

It's worth noting also that July 1913 was not unusually hot overall, in fact the monthly mean was fairly mild for both Death Valley and Las Vegas (actually quite cool for the latter, although UHI may play a role in that one).


It would be great to have some context, a source, a link or a date in parallel. Google finds nothing.

That was from the Area Forecast Discussion for NWS Fairbanks from yesterday. I noticed the low in Fairbanks, AK this morning was just 70. That's pretty incredible.

I wonder what effect all of this heat in the high-latitude land masses will have on the Arctic. I figure this extreme heat will cause river temperatures leading into the Arctic to reach all-time record highs. Will these warm river discharges lead to enhanced ice melting?

This sounds ominous! A ridge over Alaska expected to produce record-shattering heat next week. The ridge extends all the way into the CONUS! And H85 temps are off the charts!



It looks to me like this ridge must be pumping some major heat into the Arctic. I'm seeing temperatures around 70 not far from the Arctic coast, and in the low 80s not more than 50 miles inland. Interior parts of Alaska have been baking in the upper 80s to mid 90s the last few days.

Looks like that Alaska Arctic heat wave is still on tap. At Fairbanks, the high was 86 yesterday and 82 Friday. The low this morning there was just 61. According to Wunderground, the next ten days are forecast to be anomalously hot for there:

6/16 90/64
6/17 88/63
6/18 91/63
6/19 90/61
6/20 90/64
6/21 86/63
6/22 84/61
6/23 84/63
6/24 86/61
6/25 84/61

I imagine if this forecast verifies, it would have to be one of the hottest months on record up there.

Looks like a big Arctic Alaska heatwave. Thunder was observed in Barrow yesterday... thunderstorms, although still rare, have become much more common in recent years due to global warming. From 1978 through 1999, thunder was observed twice. Since 2000, thunder has been observed six times, including the rare 2000 event in which a thunderstorm moved right over the town. Parts of Alaska also had record heat yesterday and again today, with more in the forecast.


... Thunderstorm occurred at Barrow...

High temperature of 66 degrees helped fuel
a thunderstorm at 1105 PM akdt until 1132 PM
akdt on June 13.

The last thunderstorm in Barrow was July 15 2012
with a high temperature for the day of 65 degrees.

Over the last ten years most thunderstorms occurred
during July. The year 2003 was the big year for
storms with one occurring in each month of June...
July... and August.


Wunderground Best Forecast algorithm shows intense heat for the foreseeable future.

For Fairbanks, temperatures are supposed to be in the 80s to around 90 for the next week to ten days.

Similar conditions are expected to the north in Fort Yukon, although Friday, the 21st, is expected to be very hot there. Wunderground Best Forecast is showing a high of 99F that day, just one degree shy of the all-time state record also recorded in Fort Yukon.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: June 03, 2013, 07:48:36 AM »
These claims about famine associated with a warmer Earth are nonsense. Overall the world will become more productive in agriculture with it warming, but people don't live in the whole world, so even if it's totally better, there will be some big time losers in certain locations.

I've looked at maps for food production and the common theme is it's too cold north to make more food than we presently do. I can post the maps for you, but they are easy to get in wiki just by researching the staples. I've looked at corn, rice, wheat, millet, soybean and potato and they have world production maps showing the area producing the products. It's only logical and common sense that northern areas are more cold stressed to reduce yields than southern areas have been warmed and since trees existed next to the Arctic Ocean in the past, there is plenty of room to expand agricultural production northward. The logic behind this massive famine caused by global warming rests on the assumption that mankind is at it's food production limit and that is a bogus claim. The majority of food production is done to accommodate established markets, because a farmer will go broke mindlessly producing without a means to sell their product. It doesn't take much land to produce more food than people want, so try it sometime and see if you can even give away the food! It's not that hard to produce food and I don't see people giving up mowing their lawns to create food.

I am a little unsure how to respond to the above.  In one respect you are seeming to support my contention that the collapse of industrial agriculture is quite a ways in the future still.  However, almost all of the reasons above you give to support your position are incorrect based upon my knowledge of agriculture and climate science.

To wit:  You are confusing Thermal Maximum conditions in the high latitudes with what the conditions are going to be like in 30-40 years.  you cannot do this.  In the northern hemisphere the fertility of the soils as one moves north towards the poles becomes less favorable to  agriculture production.  Growing seasons are shorter.  The weather conditions, while generally warmer, are going to remain volatile and there will still be frequent cold snaps and frosts/freezes.  Soils will not warm as quickly in the spring as they do farther south and this will retard planting and seed germination.  Fall frost will still be earlier.  Available sunlight is always going to be less optimal than further south. Your argument that a warmer world is wetter is correct, but the real issue is that rainfall patterns are quickly changing and what we should expect are longer and hotter dry spells,  more intense rainfall and less even rains.  Lastly, as someone else mentioned we can expect significant pest and plant disease problems as time goes on.  Agriculture is not going to be more productive going forward in any significant amount (unless we have big breakthroughs in GMO crops, and chemistry - not my favorite idea by the way) and there are very good arguments out there that ag productivity has already plateaued and what we should expect to happen in the next 20 years or so is the setting in of a  long decline in productivity.

We can and will push the industrial ag system hard from here on in until we can't any longer.  As you say, and as I have shown with the numbers above, there is slack in the system and if we improve in the areas possible and eliminate policies which burn food in vehicles we can handle significant declines in yields.  For a limited period of time. Just when that time is is, of course, the question.    I have seen no reasoning that supports a timeframe beyond about 2050 for major shortfalls in food production.

I'm not confusing Thermal Maximum conditions in high latitudes with our present Earth, because causing warming sets the motion for the Earth to go to another thermal maximum, but such changes take time. The facts point to major changes in climate patterns during our Holocene interglacial as evidence with changes in the Sahara. The Sahara is big enough to affect climate, whether it's a desert or not. Since we know for a fact that the Sahara was green and the monsoon patterns were changed, it doesn't surprise me that major climate pattern changes are necessary for that to occur. It doesn't surprise me that there will be more precipitation as the world warms, but it must surprise people using computer models to claim worldwide drought in 2060.

What the Thermal Maximums should tell a scientist is here is a real life Earth showing the consequences of warming. Our 400 ppm CO2 Earth is not going to behave like the 400 ppm CO2 Pliocene Earth that had different thermohaline circulation, it's going to behave like it did during the Holocene Thermal Maximum and the Eemian. Every area of the Earth doesn't have a fossil record of the HTM and Eemian, but there is usually a record not that far away to give details about that past climate for that area which is the best guess of what the future climate will be. It only makes sense that future warming will imitate past warming, so what present warming trend runs contrary to thermal maximum data?

Here is an interesting thing I came across and used against Denialistas who tend to talk about the expense of making changes for global warming. The first part of the video is interesting too, but around 8:30 a gentlemen giving a representation as a reinsurer (insurers that insure insurance companies) makes a point that they were assessing risk from climate change since 1973. I found the chart he used to show that a person in 2010 was around 2.5 times more likely to be a victim of a natural catastrophy than a person 30 years earlier in 1980 and the increase is climate related. Reinsurers aren't in business to lose money so any risk they believe they are taking is reflected in their rates and rates the insurance companies they insure charge consumers. That means someone having insurance since 1973 has been paying for global warming, whether they know it or not and that date is fascinating because there wasn't much concern about climate change in academic cycles at that time. There should be some good data on crop loses that adjust for price and look at incidents. Someone in crop insurance should have data that can properly assess risks.

Here are some maps for world food production.

It isn't poor soil preventing food production in the north, it's a shortened growing season caused by the cold. Notice the difference in corn and wheat production in the Great Plains and compare it to Manchuria! As the Earth warms the growing season in the north becomes longer and that allows food production to expand in the north. Notice also that food production tends to follow population trends. The fact that there are the Great Plains and places like it on Earth indicates grasses are preferred over trees in those locations, so it's only natural that wheat would grow well there. Notice also that the areas for producing wheat and potatos are very similar in Eurasia!

I remember seeing a short documentary as a child at the movies showing hugh vegetables being grown in Alaska and that was long before global warming concerns. The food looked like it was made for giants, things like carrots longer than your arm. That was a case of someone knowing what they were doing. In Chemistry we call it cooking when we follow the process to get the desired results and sometimes the whole process can be very complicated. The same kind of discipline is required in the kitchen, garden or lab. If you do it right, you will get the desired results. The failures in commercial agriculture involve being subject to variables, like rain. That's why irrigated marginal land that is well drained can become very productive because it removes the important variable of water from being a concern. It isn't that hard to test and add nutrients and the cost of adding the nutrients can be reduced by maintaining proper humus levels. Without some buried organics to bind the nutrients, they will drain away from the soil adding expense to replace them. That said, what percentage of the world's crops are grown with conditions to optimize yield? When farmers get 20 cents of the dollar spent on food, someone is looking out for their interests in that remaining 80 cents and the commodity has to already exist at that point.

The whole story on the corn/ethanol deal also involves our government purchasing corn to maintain prices and paying to store it as it rotted away. I recall visiting a farm of a friend back then who raised Appaloosa horses and his father and he were in the corn business, growing some on their property and using their corn equipment on additional fields to justify it's cost, which wasn't cheap. Even with a full time well paying job off the farm, the corn business then was very risky and farmers were struggling. If that equipment broke down in the field, some machinist skills were usually required to get it operational.

Another part of the ethanol story involves it replacing the carcinogen MTBE, which replaced the neurotoxin tetraethyl lead. Methanol would also work and ethanol can be made with crops like sugar beets or cane, so less corn is required. Corn is only food if something gets to eat it and paying for storage so it can rot away with starving people in the world doesn't make good sense.

The problem with this is we're going to be going WAY past 400 ppm. That's just where we are now. The current oil, gas, coal system in place almost guarantees 450-500 ppm. And likely higher unless drastic action is taken now. I think we're already near record-breaking Holocene levels and we're not seeing a Green Sahara now, so this suggests there may be other factors at play -- or else the natural processes simply cannot keep pace with the rate at which we're causing warming (perhaps because there's still ice caps, in the absence of human intervention like we've seen here where the 400 ppm was reached in such a sudden spike, a 400 ppm earth would have much reduced ice cap coverage and presumably this influx of additional water may help to supercharge the water cycle I'd imagine). In any case, I've wondered about that whole Panama isthmus thing too. I think an interesting thought is whether the closing of the Isthmus would always result in cooling, or if only led to cooling in the standard, low-CO2 atmosphere. I could see in a future globally-wamed hothouse, high-CO2 atmosphere, the closure of the Isthmus actually promoting additional warming. Without the venting to the much larger Pacific basin, the hothouse climate may superheat the relatively small and shallow (and largely tropical) Caribbean and Gulf to astronomical levels, and this heat would in turn be circulated throughout the Atlantic basin leading to a superheated ocean, causing enhanced warming for much of North America and Eurasia. There's really no good analog to what we're going to be experienced.

Also, I agree that a warmer world will be a wetter world and not a drier world. And for a while I was confused as to the projections of increased drought (see Aiguo Dao's research). But the Palmer Drought Index (the standard drought index) is highly sensitive to temperature -- hot temperatures lead to increased evaporation and plant stress thereby promoting drought, even in the absence of subnormal rainfall. The PDI models suggest large parts of the world will dip to -10 in a high-CO2, globally-warmed atmosphere (much of Europe and the Mediterranean, much of North America (except for Alaska, central and northern Canada). This suggests drought may be a permanent feature even in a somewhat wetter world, or it suggests the PDSI is not a useful tool for analyzing drought in a warming world. I'm thinking it may be the latter. Last year, for instance, which was by far the hottest on record in the U.S. featured a major drought. Nonetheless, it was by no means a drought of unprecedented ferocity (the 30s, 50s, maybe 88 probably saw more severe droughts). However, the PDSI repeatedly showed week after week that last year's drought was unprecedented (meaning the country as a whole achieved record low PDSI readings even below those of the worst years of the Dust Bowl). This was due to the temperature sensitivity of the PDSI and the fact that last year was so ridiculously hot in the U.S. that it overwhelmed the index and caused the index to malfunction in a sense. I believe this is what Dao's papers are really picking up on, so I don't think it will be as bad as one might believe from a cursory glance at his work. It still will be very bad for the U.S. Great Plains which look to turn much hotter (and also drier) probably leading to a semi-arid steppe climate largely unsuitable for widespread agriculture except for irrigated lands. It's kind of ironic that the U.S. stands to lose a lot from global warming (at least agriculturally) especially compared to Russia and Canada, and yet that's where the heaviest concentration of deniers are found. If only these people realized...

I know the focus of this board is on the Arctic, but I wish more people would take note of the dramatic changes that are occurring right here in America. Yet it's a common misbelief that climate change is on hiatus or not having the impact here that it is in the Arctic. The models play into this misbelief because they don't match up with what the real trends show. Part of the problem is everybody alive today was born into a globally-warmed world, so our perception of normal is already skewed.  If we could invent a time machine to transport people back to 1810 (or even 1860 for that matter) when the earth's atmospheric concentration of CO2 was only very slightly elevated by humanity, this would eradicate a lot of the denialism or confusion about global warming. Because the records that survive from this era disclose that the climate from that era would be so starkly different from the one today.

Here in northeast Ohio, for instance, it no longer gets cold in the winter. In fact, since the 1960s, the annual extreme wintertime minimum temperature has been increasing on average 2 to 3 degrees every ten years! And this is not an urban heat island effect, these trends are also documented at rural and suburban sites. This winter, widely regarded as a cold winter in the popular opinion, media, etc. never even reached zero. Historically, temperatures below zero would occur on 5 to 10 days a winter, now they occur less than one time per winter and rapidly they are disappearing from existence.

What this suggests to me is that global warming is progressing much faster than is being realized when one looks solely at the global temperature data sets. It also suggests that there are other factors at work here. The scientific research often focuses on how the Great Lakes will be affected by climate change. There should be more focus on how the Great Lakes will affect global warming trends. Like in the Arctic, I suspect that the eventual loss of wintertime ice cover on the lakes will greatly increase global warming and that's what we're seeing in the loss of extreme cold in the region. By contrast, weather models erroneously suggest that summer temperatures will increase more than winter in this part of the world. The Lakes are rapidly warming -- faster than nearby land air temperatures, in fact, due to the change in ice behavior. Lake Erie is icing out several weeks earlier than it used to, and in recent years this has led to unprecedented spring and summer water temperatures. Eventually I think it will reach a tipping point where the water temperature gets extremely hot (90+) during the summer and stays warm (40+) all winter long. This will cause a dramatic change in the climate of the surrounding areas.

It's worth noting that if current trends persist (i.e. a 2-3 degree increase in extreme winter time minima ever ten years), the coldest temperature recorded wouldn't be much below 30 by the early 22nd century. Unfortunately, global warming is expected to increase in speed and intensity during that period due to increased emissions, so it may start to warm even more rapidly. I suspect the climate of Cleveland may resemble that of present-day Miami by 2100 or so (assuming an 800 ppm+ CO2 atmosphere). A more appropriate comparison would be the Eocene era climate of Wyoming, when fossil evidence shows crocodiles and palm trees dwelled in that state. The only reason even the hothouse Eocene era could support that was due to the presence of a large, prehistoric body of water which modified the continental climate of the region -- just like we'll see with the Great Lakes in the future!

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather
« on: June 03, 2013, 04:50:31 AM »
As Chicago continues to have cold damp weather (most of the last 6 weeks), here is some weird weather for you.

Your perception has been skewed due to global warming. It may be very wet, but it certainly hasn't been cold in Chicago. It's been mild. May was 1.9 degrees above the "1981-2010 globally-warmed normal" (which is the warmest thirty year period in recorded weather history). April was 2.0 degrees below the "1981-2010 globally-warmed normal" (so a little cool based on the most recent 30 globally warmed years but nothing crazy). Since May has one more day than April, this would mean temperatures in Chicago have essentially average right around the "1981-2010 globally-warmed normal" since April 1st. March was colder than the "1981-2010 globally warmed normal," but nothing extreme compared to the historical record. There have been many Marches that were much colder. In the absence of global warming, this March likely would have been much colder too.

Note I refer to it as the "1981-2010 globally-warmed normal" because it's a misnomer to call the temperatures experienced over that period "normal" since they are by definition abnormal in the context of the longer temperature history, having been artificially inflated due to anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.

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