Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Andrew Glikson: BEYOND 2 DEGREES CELSIUS: Implications of NASA/GISS updates for the Earth energy balance, global temperatures, ice melt and sea level rise

BEYOND 2 DEGREES CELSIUS:  Implications of NASA/GISS updates for the Earth energy balance, global temperatures, ice melt and sea level rise 

Dr Andrew Glikson (Earth and Paleoclimate Science, Australian National University)

30 May 2011

The Earth energy balance—namely the difference between energy/heat absorbed by the Earth from solar radiation and the energy/heat emitted back to space—estimated at +3.1 Watt/m², equivalent to a +2.3 °C (based on climate sensitivity of 3 °C per doubling of CO2) (Hansen et al., 2011 [1]), is currently in
part mitigated by the cooling effect of albedo-enhancing sulphur aerosols (~ -1.6 Watt/m² = ~ -1.2 °C) emitted from fossil fuels and industry, which effectively act as a global geo-engineering process (Figure 1).
Had it not been for this short-lived (few years long) cooling effect, the internationally agreed maximum
temperature target of < 2 °C would be transcended.

According to the IPCC AR4 (2007) [2] mean global land/ocean temperature since 1880 has risen by about +0.8 °C, which translates to more than +4 °C rise in the polar region of northern Canada, Greenland and Siberia [3] (Figure 2), triggering feedback-amplified ice melting accelerating between 2002 and 2010 [4] (Figure 3) and related sea level rise at a rate of 3.0 ± 0.4 mm/year between 1993-2010 (Figure 4A). Melting of Arctic ice leading to increased evaporation can result in the advance of cold fronts into the north Atlantic (Figure 4B). The measured global warming of +0.8 °C is lagging behind the +1.1 °C rise required by the energy imbalance (Figure 1B), a lag attributable to the buffering effect of the oceans. The temperature rise lag period has been estimated as 35 years [5].

Prior to the Copenhagen conference in 2009 the European Union obtained the agreement of relevant partners—including China, India, Russia, and the United States—to commit to an upper 2 °C ceiling on further rise in mean global temperature in order to avoid the risk of dangerous climate change [6]. However,
a rise beyond 2 °C may lead to tipping points in the atmosphere/ocean system [10]. As stated by the NASA/GISS climate science group [11],  “Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, large scale glaciation occurring when CO2 fell to 425 ± 75 ppm, a level that will be exceeded within decades, barring prompt policy changes. If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm. The largest uncertainty in the target arises from possible changes of non-CO2 forcings. An initial 350 ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2 is captured and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon. If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”

With current CO2 levels rising to ~28,000 million tons by 2010 (Figure 5) at rates fluctuating around ~2 ppm/year, reaching a level of 393.18 ppm at Mauna Loa in April 2011 [7] (Figure 6), with a total CO2-e (which includes CO2 + the equivalent effect of methane) of  > 460 ppm [8], the NASA/GISS study [1] implies global warming committed to reach 2.3 °C once the aerosol effect dissipates [12] (Figure 1). This effective though unintended geoengineering measure, acting as a transient shield from a near-doubling of global warming, further lowers ocean pH on top of CO2 sequestration.

Had the proposed Australian reduction of 5% in the rate of carbon emissions by 2020 relative to 2000 [9] been a figure adopted world-side, global emissions would be reduced from ~24,000 million tons/year to 22,500 million tons/year, hardly causing a dent in the current trajectory above 393 ppm CO2 toward levels at which the polar ice sheets are further destabilized (Figure 3).

It is not clear whether deep reduction in carbon emissions will be sufficient to stem the amplifying feedbacks associated with greenhouse gas warming and ice/melt water interactions. Barring an indefinite maintenance of sulphur aerosol emissions, deep emission cuts need to be accompanied by atmospheric CO2 draw-down by means of fast-track tree planting, application of biochar methods and chemical CO2 sequestration. As shown by the intensifying spate of extreme weather events around the globe (Figure 7), the alternative bears no

Figures (well worth having a look|) and references here:

Sharon Begley, Newsweek: Are You Ready for More? In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Why we’re unprepared for the harrowing future.

Are You Ready for More?

In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Why we’re unprepared for the harrowing future.

weather-fe03-hsmallPhoto: Valentina Abinanti/Polaris.  Joplin, Missouri, after the tornado that hit on May 22, 2011.
Joplin, Mo., was prepared. The tornado warning system gave residents 24 minutes’ notice that a twister was bearing down on them. Doctors and nurses at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, who had practiced tornado drills for years, moved fast, getting patients away from windows, closing blinds, and activating emergency generators. And yet more than 130 people died in Joplin, including four people at St. John’s, where the tornado sucked up the roof and left the building in ruins, like much of the shattered city.
Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather’s extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began.
From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven’t seen anything yet. And we are not prepared.

Picture California a few decades from now, a place so hot and arid the state’s trademark orange and lemon trees have been replaced with olive trees that can handle the new climate. Alternating floods and droughts have made it impossible for the reservoirs to capture enough drinking water. The picturesque Highway 1, sections of which are already periodically being washed out by storm surges and mudslides, will have to be rerouted inland, possibly through a mountain. These aren’t scenes from another deadly-weather thriller like The Day After Tomorrow. They’re all changes that California officials believe they need to brace for within the next decade or two. And they aren’t alone. Across the U.S., it’s just beginning to dawn on civic leaders that they’ll need to help their communities brave coming dangers brought by climate change, from disappearing islands in Chesapeake Bay to dust bowls in the Plains and horrific hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet only 14 states are even planning, let alone implementing, climate-change adaptation plans, says Terri Cruce, a climate consultant in California. The other 36 apparently are hoping for a miracle.
The game of catch-up will have to happen quickly because so much time was lost to inaction. “The Bush administration was a disaster, but the Obama administration has accomplished next to nothing either, in part because a significant part of the Democratic Party is inclined to balk on this issue as well,” says economist Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “We [are] past the tipping point.” The idea of adapting to climate change was once a taboo subject. Scientists and activists feared that focusing on coping would diminish efforts to reduce carbon emissions. On the opposite side of the divide, climate-change deniers argued that since global warming is a “hoax,” there was no need to figure out how to adapt. “Climate-change adaptation was a nonstarter,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “If you wanted to talk about that, you would have had to talk about climate change itself, which the Bush administration didn’t want to do.” In fact, President Bush killed what author Mark Hertsgaard in his 2011 book, Hot, calls “a key adaptation tool,” the National Climate Assessment, an analysis of the vulnerabilities in regions of the U.S. and ideas for coping with them. The legacy of that: state efforts are spotty and local action is practically nonexistent. “There are no true adaptation experts in the federal government, let alone states or cities,” says Arroyo. “They’ve just been commandeered from other departments.”
weather-fe03-secondaryPhotos: Tom Pennington / Getty Images (left); Sean Gardner /Reuters-Landov. Left: A wildfire rages in Strawn, Texas, on April 19.; Right: Rescuers pass a partially submerged building in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 11, 2011.
The rookies will struggle to comprehend the complex impacts of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels has raised atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide by 40% above what they were before the Industrial Revolution. The added heat in the atmosphere retains more moisture, ratchets up the energy in the system, and incites more violent and extreme weather. Scientists disagree about whether climate change will bring more intense or frequent tornadoes, but there is wide consensus that the 2 °F of global warming of the last century is behind the rise in sea levels, more intense hurricanes, more heat waves, and more droughts and deluges. Even if the world went carbon-neutral tomorrow, we’d be in for more: because of the CO2 that has already been emitted, we’re on track for another 5 degrees of warming. Batten down the hatches. “You can no longer say that the climate of the future is going to be like the climate of today, let alone yesterday,” says Judi Greenwald, vice president of innovative solutions at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “In all of the plausible climate scenarios, we are going to have to change the way we do things in ways we can’t even predict.”
Changing temperatures will have a profound effect on the plants and animals among us. Crops that flourished in the old climate regime will have to adapt to the new one, as some pests are already doing. Tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever are reaching temperate regions, and ragweed and poison ivy thrive in the hothouse world. Yet most of us are naive about what climate-change adaptation will entail. At the benign extreme, “adapting” sounds as easy as home gardeners adjusting to their new climate zones—those colorful bands on the back of the package of zinnia seeds. It sounds as pleasant as cities planting more trees, as Chicago, New York, Boston and scores of others are doing (with species native to the warmer climes: Chicago is subbing heat-loving sweet gum and swamp oak for the traditional white oak). And it sounds as architecturally interesting as changing roofs: New York, which is looking at an average temperature increase of up to 3 °F by 2020, is planning to paint 3 million square feet of roofs white, to reflect sunlight and thus reduce urban heat-island effects.
But those steps don’t even hint at how disruptive and expensive climate-change adaptation will be. “Ten years ago, when we thought climate change would be slow and linear, you could get away with thinking that ‘adaptation’ meant putting in permeable pavement” so that storm water would be absorbed rather than cause floods, says Bill McKibben, author of the 2010 book Eaarth. “Now it’s clear that’s not going to be at all sufficient, as we see already with disruptions in our ability to grow food, an increase in storms, and the accelerated melting of Greenland that could raise sea levels six feet. Adaptation is going to have to be a lot more than changing which trees cities plant.”
As tomorrow’s climate wreaks havoc on agriculture—this spring’s deluges have already kept farmers from getting tractors into fields to plant corn—McKibben foresees tens of thousands more Americans having to work on farms, since human hands can do what machines cannot, like planting seeds in flooded fields. Until now, maximizing yield has been the agricultural imperative, but in the future, stability and resilience will be more important. In much of the Northeast, farmers will be unable to grow popular varieties of apples, blueberries, and cranberries, for instance; in Vermont, maple sugaring will likely go the way of ox-drawn plows.
States and cities will have to make huge investments in infrastructure to handle the encroaching sea and raging rivers. Keene, N.H., for instance, has been a pioneer in climate-change adaptation, says Missy Stults, climate director of Local Governments for Sustainability. The city recently enlarged culverts along its highways so storm runoff would be less likely to wash out roads. In the San Francisco Bay area, planners are considering increasing the height of the seawall on the city’s waterfront and the levees at the San Francisco and Oakland airports. In Ventura, Calif., construction crews moved Surfer’s Point 65 feet inland, the state’s first experiment in “managed retreat.” Because warmer air provides less lift, airport runways the world over will have to be lengthened in order for planes to take off.
In Norfolk, Va., where the combination of global sea-level rise and local-land subsidence has brought water levels 13.5 inches higher since 1930, the city has fought a battle to stay ahead of the tide by elevating one often-flooded roadway by 18 inches. But the neighborhood may have to be abandoned—and residents may not be much happier in neighboring parts of Maryland. An expected sea-level rise there of twice the global average means that 371 miles of highway are at risk of looking more like canals, while 2,500 historic and archeological sites could become real-life versions of Atlantis. Thousands of septic systems—5,200 in a single county near Chesapeake Bay—are in flood zones, says Zoe Johnson, who directs the climate-change adaptation program at the Department of Natural Resources.
Already, 13 islands in the bay are submerged, 400,000 acres on the eastern shore are on the way to joining them, and 580 acres of shoreline are lost every year as intense storms erode beaches and wetlands. Homeowners can no longer automatically get a permit to “harden” their beaches by erecting bulkheads and sea walls; they must instead plant vegetation, which may not do the trick. “It’s inevitable that some of our low-lying communities will need to be relocated or abandoned,” says Johnson.
Maryland is not the only place that will have to decide which communities it can afford to protect and which will have to be sacrificed. Environmental scientist Thomas Wilbanks of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who chaired a 2011 panel of the National Research Council on adapting to climate change, says: “We’ll identify places with iconic value and protect them whatever the cost, even if that means Miami and New Orleans become islands” as surrounding communities are sacrificed. Given that Manhattan is already an island, architects asked to imagine its future have gone a step further: designing Venice-like canals for the southern tip.
In Alaska, six indigenous villages on the coast, including Newtok and Shishmaref, are likely to get swamped as seas rise and storm surges intensify, says Gary Kofinas of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They also sit on permafrost, which isn’t “perma” anymore. As the ground melts beneath the villages, the state is figuring out how and where to relocate them. Around the world, nearly 1 billion people live in low-lying river deltas, from Guangzhou to New Orleans, that will be reclaimed by the sea, forcing tens of millions of people to migrate. It threatens to be a trail of human misery that will make the exodus after Hurricane Katrina look like a weekend getaway.
The U.S. could take some advice from other countries like the Netherlands, which has more than a little experience keeping the ocean at bay. The Dutch seem to understand just how radically different life will be. As part of a 200-year plan, the country has launched a €1.5 billion project to broaden river channels so they aren’t overwhelmed as a result of the higher flows, says Pier Vellinga, professor of climate change at Wageningen University. Rotterdam raised by two feet a storm gate at the port that holds back the (rising) North Sea, and elevated the ground the new 1,700-acre port sits on by a foot and a half to keep it from being submerged, all at a cost of some €50 million. The country is also adding millions of cubic yards of sand to dunes that hold back the North Sea. All told, it will soon be spending some €4 billion a year to cope with what’s coming down the pike. Britain, too, is taking adaptation seriously, planning to raise the height of the floodgates protecting central London from the Thames by 12 inches.
So what lies behind America’s resistance to action? Economist Sachs points to the lobbying power of industries that resist acknowledgment of climate change’s impact. “The country is two decades behind in taking action because both parties are in thrall to Big Oil and Big Coal,” says Sachs. “The airwaves are filled with corporate-financed climate misinformation.” But the vanguard of action isn’t waiting any longer. This week, representatives from an estimated 100 cities are meeting in Bonn, Germany, for the 2nd World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change. The theme is “Resilient Cities.” As Joplin, Mo., learned in the most tragic way possible, against some impacts of climate change, man’s puny efforts are futile. But time is getting short, and the stakes are high. Says Daniel Sarewitz, a professor of science and society at Arizona State University: “Not to adapt is to consign millions of people to death and disruption.”

Don Shelby: Why climate experts are using tougher language

Why climate experts are using tougher language

by Don Shelby, MinnPost, May 31, 2011
Glaciers that crown the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico could disappear by 2015 with scientists pointing to global warming as a chief cause of their demise.
REUTERS/Jose Manuel Alvarez NievesGlaciers that crown the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico could disappear by 2015 with scientists pointing to global warming as a chief cause of their demise.

A thermal scientist, a professor of meteorology, a certified genius on the planet's water and a journalist walk into a bar. The set up cries for a punch line. The reporter should end up the butt of the joke — unless the reporter keeps his mouth shut. Which I did.

It was a bar at 15th and U Street in Washington, D.C. The four of us had gathered after each of us, variously, had attended sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the World Bank. Three of the four at the table were among the leading thinkers in America on global warming. There was Professor Scott Mandia, of SUNY's Suffolk College, Professor John Abraham at the University of St. Thomas, Peter Gleick, the founder of the Pacific Institute and a MacArthur "genius grant" recipient. And, the guy with his mouth agape was me. I kept thinking, "I should have paid more attention in class."

The three represented a small portion of the global-warming science community which had gathered to talk about why the message of human-induced global warming and its consequences was being overwhelmed by politics, and what scientists could do to make their findings clearer to the general public.

That would explain why I was at the table. I knew Professors Mandia and Abraham. I had been in San Francisco with them at the American Geophysical Union meeting. It was my first meeting with Dr. Gleick and I wanted someone to snap a picture of us so I could tell folks back home that I was hanging with a genius.

In a nutshell, Mandia knows about weather and climate, Abraham knows about the physics of heat and Gleick knows water. I know when I should keep my mouth shut. I strained a muscle in my neck fighting the urge to put in my two cents, but uncharacteristically, I managed silence and simply listened to the smart guys talk.

Noted scientists 
Since that evening, I've kept in close contact with the fellas, and with about a hundred other noted scientists working on global warming-climate change research. In that short period there has been a slight, but important, message shift. Instead of merely defending themselves against heavily fossil-fuel funded libertarian and conservative think tank scientists for hire, they are starting to counterpunch. It is not in a scientist's nature to throw punches, but sometimes that is the only way to get the bullies to get the message.

Scientists are often compelled by their education to tell you more about what isn't known than what is known. That intellectual and academic honesty allows critics to use the scientists' own honesty as a brickbat to pummel their work. As an example, for the past 20 years when reporters would call and ask whether this flood, or hurricane or that tornado was due to global warming, the entire scientific community studying the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere would say, "No single event can be attributed to global warming." That is the truth, and climate change skeptics will use that honesty to say, "See, there's no detectible change." Now, the climate folks have toughened up that language.

It is an important linguistic shift, and it comes at a time more and more reporters are asking the question, because more and more record-breaking weather events are happening all over the world. In our country, Texas is drying up with one of the worst droughts in its history, massive tornado outbreaks in the South, in Missouri and Minneapolis, and the Mississippi is flooding again.

Peter Gleick says of the Mississippi: "There were multiple one-in-500 year or one-in-100 year flood events within a few years of each other. 1993, 2000, then again in 2008 and now in 2011."

Stronger language 
So now the scientists are making their language stronger. They explain, first, that the heating of the planet causes more evaporation, and more evaporation puts more moisture into the atmosphere, and that moisture has to come back somewhere. And, the crazy thing is, it isn't evenly dispersed as rain and snow. Sometimes it all comes down in one place, so to speak. Sometimes it snows in Atlanta, and sometimes there is no rain in Texas, and what should have fallen on that state gets moved to the Mississippi. Sometimes the moisture builds and combines with temperature shifts and gangs of tornados appear. More of them, and stronger than one would expect.

So, the National Academy of Sciences starts talking tougher, saying "increases of this magnitude cannot be explained by climate noise alone," meaning this isn't natural, and suggests what we are seeing is only going to get worse.

Some people are calling it the "new normal." We, of course, are locked in on the tornado destruction in our neck of the woods, but this is a global problem. A 2004 study showed that "very dry land areas across the globe have more than doubled in extent since the 1970s." (Dai et al., 2004)

Another scientist I talk to from time to time is Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His scientific observations find that drought has increased throughout the 20th century while at the same time other studies show that extreme flooding, elsewhere, has increased over the same period. Weird.

So, scientists are changing the message. It is a subtle change, but important. When reporters like me ask the question, "Was the flood, or the drought or the tornadoes caused by global warming?" The scientists now respond, "No single event can be attributed to global warming, but we told you this was going to happen."

Every serious climate scientist can point to computer models put together years ago that predicted what has been coined as "weather weirding."

My friend Paul Douglas is fond of saying that "weather is like watching CNN, and climate is like watching the history channel." He means that you can't look out your window in Minneapolis and make a judgment on global warming. But, if you look out the window long enough and the weirdness continues, you just might see the evidence of climate change.

Some folks in Joplin and El Paso and Minneapolis are starting to believe what the scientists have been predicting for years. They see it out of their windows, if they have any left.

I grab a cab back to my hotel. When I get there I can't sleep. Two competing thoughts are keeping me awake. One thought is, "We are facing the fight of our lives!"The other thought is one I haven't had since I was a soldier. It is: "If there is going to be a fight, thank God I'm in uniform with these guys on point."
[And thank God you are, Don!]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Peter Sinclair: "Washington Post: On the Harassment of Climate Researchers"

Washington Post: On the Harassment of Climate Researchers

by Peter Sinclair, Climate Denial Crock of the Week, May 30, 2011

FREEDOM OF information laws are critical tools that allow Americans to see what their leaders do on their behalf. But some global warming skeptics in Virginia are showing that even the best tools can be misused.
So writes the Washington Post in an editorial over the weekend.

It’s more evidence of the twisted and perverse nature of America’s right wing know-nothing brigade, that legislation dedicated to greater openness in politics could be used as an instrument of repression.  Lately we’ve seen a number of instances where far right-wing organizations and individuals are attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act as a tool to intimidate, silence and punish their perceived adversaries.  In Michigan, educators have been put on notice that their emails may be subject to seizure if they contain key words such as “Madison,” “Scott Walker,”  ”Wisconsin” or even “Maddow.”  The obvious take-away for would-be thinkers in academia is that if you are discussing current events with students or colleagues, you are a person of interest.

In Virginia, the State’s Climate denialist Attorney General, Ken Cuchinelli, along with the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a right-wing think tank, have been demanding to see emails from climate researcher, Michael Mann, formerly of the University of Virginia, now at Penn State.

Kuchinelli’s primary claim to fame has been his crusade to change the Virginia State Seal so as to cover an all-too-arousing nipple on the figure of the Roman goddess Virtus.

A judge recently denied Kuchinelli’s request, but is granting ATI’s.

The Post continues:
ATI’s motives are clear enough. The group’s Web site boasts about its challenges to environmental regulations across the country. Christopher Horner, its director of litigation, wrote a book called “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.” (We wonder whether the “alarmists” who wrote the National Research Council’s latest report on climate change are threatening, fraudulent or merely deceptive.) And ATI declares that Mr. Mann’s U-Va. e-mails contain material similar to that which inspired the trumped-up “Climategate” scandal, in which warming skeptics misrepresented lines from e-mails stored at a British climate science center. 
Going after Mr. Mann only discourages the sort of scientific inquiry that, over time, sorts out fact from speculation, good science from bad. Academics must feel comfortable sharing research, disagreeing with colleagues and proposing conclusions — not all of which will be correct — without fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them. That give-and-take should be unhindered by how popular a professor’s ideas are or whose ideological convictions might be hurt.
For the fossil fuel interests that fund right wing think-tanks and politicians, the goal is merely to keep the US, and the world, wedded to the technologies of the 19th century. But for climate deniers, often that’s not far enough. In their minds, the 14th century knew best how to deal with those who preferred reason to dogma.

Stockholm Memorandum: Nobel Laureates Speak Out On Climate Change

Nobel Laureates Speak Out

by Stefan, Real Climate, May 21, 2011

On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 17 Nobel laureates who gathered in Stockholm have published a remarkable memorandum, asking for “fundamental transformation and innovation in all spheres and at all scales in order to stop and reverse global environmental change.” The Stockholm Memorandum concludes that we have entered a new geological era: the Anthropocene, where humanity has become the main driver of global change. The document states:
Science makes clear that we are transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years. [...] 
We can no longer exclude the possibility that our collective actions will trigger tipping points, risking abrupt and irreversible consequences for human communities and ecological systems. 
We cannot continue on our current path. The time for procrastination is over. We cannot afford the luxury of denial.
Mario Molina
Mario Molina (Nobel prize in chemistry 1995) signs the Stockholm Memorandum.

The memorandum results from a 3-day symposium (attended also by the King of Sweden) on the intertwined problems of poverty, development, ecosystem deterioration and the climate crisis. In the memorandum, the Nobel laureates call for immediate emergency measures, as well as long-term structural solutions, and they give specific recommendations in 8 key priority areas. For example, in climate policy, they recommend to:
Keep global warming below 2 ºC, implying a peak in global CO2 emissions no later than 2015 and recognise that even a warming of 2 ºC carries a very high risk of serious impacts and the need for major adaptation efforts.
The memorandum was handed over to the members of the UN high-level panel on global sustainability, who traveled to Stockholm in order to discuss it with the Nobel laureates and experts at the symposium.

p.s. As a little reminder of the ongoing work of the merchants of doubt, a small band of five or six “climate sceptic” protesters were gathered outside the symposium, some of whom were flown in from Berlin. Their pamphlet identified them as part of the longstanding anti-climate-science campaign of US billionaire Lyndon Larouche and claimed that climate change is “a hoax” and an “insane theory,” the global temperature measurements are “mere lies,” the Nobel laureates meeting “a conspiracy,” and the Stockholm Memorandum a “Fascist Manifesto.” I approached one of the protesters who carried a banner “against Green fascism” and asked him whether he seriously believes what his pamphlet says, namely that our meeting is a “symposium for global genocide.” He nodded emphatically and replied: “Yes, of course!”

Tamino's Tisdale Takedown: "Favorite Denier Tricks, or How to Hide the Incline"

Favorite Denier Tricks, or How to Hide the Incline

WUWT has a post by Bob Tisdale, based on one of Tisdale’s own posts. The theme is that ocean heat content (OHC) hasn’t risen as fast as GISS model projections. Watts even says “we have a GISS miss by a country mile.” But Tisdale can only support his claim by using tricks to hide the incline. In fact he uses two of the favorite tricks of deniers. One is a clever, but hardly new, trick called “cherry picking.” The other is ridiculously simple: misrepresentation.
Here’s Tisdale’s “money graph”:
If you want an honest comparison of these observations with prediction, you can find it at RealClimate, which does so using this graph:
Notice that from 2003 to 2010, the observations are higher than prediction, then lower than prediction — but overall OHC (actually OHCA, ocean heat content anomaly) has been pretty close to its predicted values. But then, that’s the honest way to compare them, which of course is not acceptable in some quarters.
Why does Tisdale give such a different impression? First let’s expose the cherry-picking part. To make it look as though observation is out of whack with prediction, Tisdale starts with 2003. His justification is to call this the “Argo-era,” which he claims he chose because
According to it, ARGO floats have been in use since the early 1990s, but they had very limited use until the late 1990s. ARGO use began to rise then, and in 2003, ARGO-based temperature readings at depth became dominant. Based on that, I’ll use January 2003 as the start month for the “ARGO-era” in this post.
I don’t believe him.
Here’s the ocean heat content data from NODC (which he uses):
It’s annual averages of the quarterly data you can find here. The trend line in the RealClimate graph starts about 1993, so let’s take the data from 1993 to the present, fit a trend line, then plot the residuals to see how observations differ from that trend:
If you want to start at the highest residual, the cherriest cherry-pick, the one which gives the most dishonest impression of the trend, start with the point circled in red. My opinion: that’s why Tisdale chose 2003.
Now let’s look at the misrepresentation — specifically a blatant falsification of what the GISS prediction is. I don’t know exactly what the GISS model prediction for OHCA is, neither does Tisdale, he just “eyeballed” it from the RealClimate graph. But let’s look at what the prediction would be for a simple linear extrapolation. The RealClimate trend line starts about 1993, so let’s take the data from 1993 through 2002 and fit a straight line, then extend that line as a prediction through 2010. We’ll call it “prediction by extrapolation.” It guarantees that our prediction line will have the correct slope and intercept to match a true continuation of the trend. And it gives this:
But Tisdale didn’t do that. He chose a slope to match his “eyeball” estimate of the trend line in the RealClimate graph, but chose the intercept to match 2003. He even states “Note that I’ve shifted the data down so that it starts at zero in 2003.” Let’s call that the “Tisdale method” and compare it to the honest method when extrapolating the trend line:
Sorry, Bob. When you try to match a line’s slope, but then shift that line upward, choosing the intercept deliberately to make the prediction look as bad as possible, that’s dishonest.
It’s also one of the most common tricks that many denialists have used to “hide the incline.” That, and cherry-picking, just might be their favorites.