Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Another Idiotic Global Warming Post on Townhall Authored by Matt Vespa

Here is a news flash: the impacts of climate change are not linear on an annual basis. New records are not being set for every impact of climate change every year. While the impacts of climate change are close to being linear on a decade long time frame, they are variable on an annual basis.

Yet it is easily predictable that any time there is a slight bounce back in results, some statistically illiterate climate science denier will claim that this shows that climate scientists predictions are "straight trash". As a specific example, Matt Vespa uses the fact that there was a slight bounce back in Arctic sea ice last month as support for his climate science denial claims. Somehow, he managed to meld the fact that Arctic sea ice area was up versus the previous year, the Jakobshavn is growing, and 2013 was a calm hurricane year into a case for denying climate science. And as incredibly thin as this support for his denialism is, it becomes completely ludicrous when taking into account that since the post was published, Arctic sea ice has declined so rapidly that it is now in record low territory for this time of year.

Arctic sea Ice extent and global sea level both provide results that are variable on an annual basis. But, as the charts below show, the downward trend in Arctic sea Ice and the upward trend in global sea level are in long term patterns. 

Arctic sea Ice has declined every decade during the satellite era. It is currently the lowest in recorded history for this time of year.(the red line)

Arctic Sea Ice Extent By Decade

The rise in global sea level has been erratic, but over time frames of multiple years has been consistently moving upward by a rate of 3.3 mm per year. The 2011 decline in sea level certainly did not indicate that "global warming has been cancelled" (the absurd title of Mr. Vespa's post). And as sea level rises, sunny day flooding is becoming an increasingly severe problem.

Global Sea Level Rise

Climate science deniers post frequently to their echo chamber of like minded folks. With the need to come up with new content, the authors grasp at any piece of evidence that provides support for their case,  They make their case by cherry picking dates, using the variability of climate change effects, and endlessly repeating false claims. Mr. Vespa trots out the hoary claim that "In the 1970s, the Earth was supposed to be undergoing a cooling period that could see periods of glaciation breakout across the Northern Hemisphere." This claim has been as thoroughly debunked as the claims made promoting the health benefits of menthol filtered cigarettes.

With all the clear cut evidence of the impacts of climate change, including 500 year floods on every inhabited continent, drought/flood whiplash, coral bleaching, disappearing arctic sea ice, and a wavy jet stream due to a warming arctic, it makes one wonder how much longer it will take before climate science deniers finally lose all vestiges of credibility. Sadly, the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was established in 1939. However, the turning point in the recognition of health harms from smoking did not occur until 1964, 25 years later. It's taking even longer for climate science to be widely accepted by the public 

Friday, June 22, 2018

More Global Warming Propaganda in a WSJ Opinion Article

The Wall Street Journal has an established track record of publishing global warming denying propaganda articles in their "Opinion" section. And today's opinion piece "Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up?" carries on in this pattern of providing "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view." 

The WSJ opinion piece falsely claims, "James Hansen issued dire warnings in the summer of 1988. Today earth is only modestly warmer."

As shown in the chart below, the increase in global surface temperature has not only been much more than "modest", it has also accelerated since James Hansen issued his 1988 warning.


A particularly misleading claim in the "opinion" is the following statement in which the authors manipulate data to support their conclusion, "Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El NiƱo of 2015-16". As the authors have done in this case, it is possible to make most multi year data sets fit preconceived conclusions by excluding the years with the highest or lowest results. The Mark Twain quote "figures don't lie, but liars figure" seems appropriate when considering the authors' conclusion.

The authors also cherry pick data by focusing on the UAH Global Average Tropospheric Temperatures report to make their case. The problem with using this data source is that there are six major sources of global temperature data which are most often referred to, and of the six, only the UAH satellite data suggests that the increase in global temperature has been only "modest".

Four of the global temperature data reports are estimates of surface temperature, from NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies), HadCRU (Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K.), NCDC (National Climate Data Center), and Japan Meteorological Agency. The other two are estimates of lower-troposphere temperature, from RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and UAH (Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville).

The Washington Post explained that the satellite data in question are derived from polar orbiting satellites that carry microwave sounding units that can measure the microwave emissions given off by oxygen molecules in the atmosphere.

“Satellites are not a thermometer in space, they’re not making direct measurements of atmospheric temperature, they’re measuring the microwave emissions from oxygen molecules,” according to Benjamin Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He cites numerous types of uncertainty associated with satellite temperature data and numerous corrections to it required — such as due to satellites’ orbital drifts

“There’s over a dozen satellites that you need to string together and each of them have calibration and drift issues that need to be dealt with,” added Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA. “If there’s an issue with any particular satellite or any particular calibration it affects all the temperatures, so it’s much easier to have systematic issues that affect the whole record.”

The WSJ's global warming denialist propaganda has been exposed in previously written articles. Two of the best examples of take downs of this "fake news" camoflauged as "opinions" are:

The Wall Street Journal Still Treats Climate Change as "Opinion", And This Practice Needs to Stop
Reviews of articles from: The Wall Street Journal

It's long past time for the WSJ to stop allowing their "Opinion" section to be filled with misleading editorials featuring manipulated data and cherry picked data sources.  As the Associated Press points out 30 years after warning, global warming "is in our living room"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Are Caribbean Islands Uninhabitable Due to Global Warming Fueled Hurricanes?

There is no way to know whether the series of hurricanes that barreled across the Atlantic in 2017 toward the islands of the Caribbean: a) foreshadow a trend, or b) were due to favorable conditions unique to the 2017 hurricane season. But it is indisputable that these storms have intensified unusually quickly and dropped huge amounts of rain. Global warming has contributed to Harvey, Irma, and Maria being particularly ferocious. Irma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever, and Hurricane Maria is the second fastest to reach Category 5. And in addition to Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria in 2017, last year, Hurricane Matthew underwent a remarkable rapid intensification of 80 mph in 24 hours, intensifying from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane.

The 2017 season has reversed the "so-called" hurricane drought of the past decade. But 2017 could very well turn out to be an outlier, and the next few years could return to the relative tranquility of the past decade. However, the ongoing warming of the waters of the Atlantic may have led to a tipping point being reached. Major hurricanes may hit the Caribbean islands with increasing frequency in the future. And if this year becomes the new normal, then many of the Caribbean islands are uninhabitable. Barbuda has already been evacuated, and unfortunately it may not be the last island that has to be evacuated. Time will tell whether Barbuda will be fully rebuilt.

More Information
Number of cat 5 hurricane landfalls on an island in the Lesser Antilles:
1851-2016 : Hurricane David in 1979 
2017: 2 #Irma, #Maria 

3 reasons why America’s ‘major hurricane drought’ is misleading - PBS
Hellish Intensification — Maria’s Winds Jump 50 mph to CAT 5 Strength in Just 12 Hours - RobertScribbler.com
Storms are Getting Stronger - NASA
Rapid Intensification - Hurricane Wiki

Friday, August 25, 2017

Probability Only 0.7 Percent of Record Global Temperatures In 3 Consecutive Years

The slow pace of climate change is masked by the huge variability of weather. Thus, climate change is not readily perceptible as it has so little impact from year to year compared to the variability of weather. As an extreme example, Chicago experienced an 83-degree temperature span between the 1982 December 21st 62-degree high and the low of minus 21 on the same date in 1983. This variability of weather on an annual basis is certainly one of the factors behind the failure of many Americans to recognize that global warming is changing the global climate.

Another factor that contributes to the apathy regarding the consequences is that so many of the articles about climate change focus on the cataclysmic effects that can be expected in 2100 (83 years in the future).  While these cataclysmic predictions support attention grabbing headlines, for those that are skeptical about climate science/global warming, the conjectures about impacts that may occur long after their deaths is likely little more than white noise.

However, a recently published study contained a metric that is challenging to ignore. During 2014, 2015, and 2016, each year set a new record for hottest year in recorded history. The likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 is no more than 0.7 percent. This remarkable string of record breaking hot years refutes the claims that "the climate is always changing". The fingerprints of human-caused climate change are all over the string of record hot years.

A greater focus on the 0.7 percent chance of 3 consecutive record breaking hot years is one of the most compelling metrics available to combat the apathy and skepticism of climate science doubters. Amplifying the communication of this metric is a quick and easy way to get across an important and straight forward to understand aspect of the climate change message. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Has Global Sea Level Rise Increased to 5 mm Per Year?

There has not been a great deal of media coverage about the past 3 years of increase in the rate of sea level rise. Global sea levels have risen by an average of about 5 mm (0.2 inches) in each of the past 3 years. This is a significant increase versus in 3.3 mm (0.13 inches) increase per year during the satellite era (1993 to present). As shown below, the rate of sea level rise jumped up above the trend line in late 2014 and continued to rise in 2015. Sea level rise has remained above the trend, with another big jump in the most recently posted result (the period ending November 30, 2016)

Is sea level rise accelerating? There are a couple of valid reasons to question whether the past 3 years signals an increase in the rate of sea level rise. Time will tell whether an increase in the rate of sea level rise began in 2015 or not.
  1. The increase in sea level rise during the last three years may be due to El Nino. The warm global temperature and other weather impacts of El Nino may have produced the increase in the annual sea level rise. Sea level rise may revert back to 3.3 mm per year in non-El Nino years. 
  2. Three years of higher sea levels is probably not a long enough period to confirm a change in the trend of sea level rise. Although the increase in sea level rise during the satellite era is on a fairly linear trend, the annual results are rather noisey. However, if the past three years does indicate that sea level rise is now increasing at a faster pace, the consequences for coastal areas are dramatic. 
Whether or not an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise has begun has enormous implication for the future of coastal areas. Thirty years of 0.13 inches of sea level rise would result in a 4 inch increase. However, thirty years of 0.2 increases would lead to a 6 inch increase. Tidal flooding is already a serious problem. An additional 2 inches of sea level rise (6 instead of 4) would lead to billions of dollars in damage.

And of course, many climate researches are predicting that the rate of sea level rise is going to go parabolic, and that 6 inches of sea level rise in the next 30 years is an unrealistically optimistic scenario. As shown below, the NOAA intermediate prediction (green line) is for about 1 1/2 feet of sea level rise within the next 30 years.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Does Record Low Antarctic Sea Ice Foreshadow Collapsing Glaciers?

The media and climate science deniers have been remarkably quiet about rapidly disappearing Antarctic sea ice. The sea ice extent in Antarctica is the lowest in satellite record history for
this date in the year. As shown below, Antarctic sea ice extent has fallen below the previous record low extent for November 11, set in 1986. The Antarctic Sea Ice extent of 15.3 million km is 600,000 million km lower that the old 1986 record (yellow trend line). This is a larger area than is covered by Spain. It is also 2.4 million km below the 2013 level for this date (dotted green line)

For a clearer, interactive version of the above graph, follow link and click on the "Antarctic" button  http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/ 

According to National Snow and Ice Data Center "the rapid early reduction in sea ice cover in this region may create favorable conditions for the break up of the eastern Peninsula ice shelves at the end of austral summer. Similar sea ice trends and weather conditions were present during the spring seasons preceding past ice shelf retreats (e.g., 2001 to 2002)."

Sudden melts can lead to hydrofracturing that can devour an ice shelf nearly the size of Rhode Island in hours or days. While catastrophic sea level rise from the collapse of Antarctic glaciers is probably unlikely to occur for decades, it would not be surprising if there is a spectacular collapse of either an ice shelf or glacier at some point during this year's Antarctic melt season. This year's Antarctic melt season may not lead to a significant rise in sea level, but in future years as Antarctica melts, it's not a question of if Miami will be underwater, but whether or not it will occur before 2100.

Related Articles

Friday, October 9, 2015

Why Hasn't Ted Cruz Been Called Out For Using UAH Data To Deny Global Warming

Ted Cruz is passionate in his denial of global warming. And if you listen to him, he has his message down pat. But an aspect of his denialism that he doesn't seem to get called out on is his use of temperature records from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Cruz is ignoring NASA, the UK Met Office, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and numerous other highly respected sources to cherry pick as his source of temperature records the data set produced by global warming deniers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

According to the Open Mind blog
There are 5 major sources of global temperature data which are most often referred to. Three of them are estimates of surface temperature, from NASA GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies), HadCRU (Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K.), and NCDC (National Climate Data Center). The other two are estimates of lower-troposphere temperature, from RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and UAH (Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville).
And there are numerous institutions that analyze the data and provide measurements of the global temperature using both satellite generated data and land/sea based temperature stations, as detailed in the Why So Many Global Temperature Records

Maybe it's just me, but I have more trust in NASA, NOAA, the UK Met Office, and the Japan Meteorological Agency than I do in a source that is denying global warming based on estimating the lower troposphere temperature from satellite microwave sounder data, as the University of Alabama Huntsville team is doing. In fact, The Journal of Climate published a study that showed why the University of Alabama at Huntsville team was underestimating global warming. Additionally, Skeptical Science posted on why this was a flawed data source.

One of the reasons the UAH data is flawed is due to orbital decay in the paths of satellites. Hmmm, who do you think is better at adjusting satellite data for orbital decay -- a small group of researchers at UAH or the team at NASA? Also, it strains credibility to assume that satellite microwave sounder measurements of the troposphere are a better source of global surface temperature estimates than land and sea based temperature gauges.

Cruz also uses the other source satellite microwave sounder temperature reports, Remote Sensing Systems, to support his global warming denialism. However, Carl Mears the senior scientist at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) "criticizes Cruz's approach and conclusions". Mears also indicates that it is likely that there are more errors in the RSS reports than in the temperature estimates from  surface measurements.

In addition to Cruz cherry picking his data source, he also cherry picks his time frame. His "zero warming" claim is based on using an abnormally warm outlier year, 1998, as the starting point for his claim that there has been no warming in the past 17 years. There is significant variability in temperature from year to year, and it's hard to take seriously a trend analysis based on cherry picking an outlier year as the staring point. The upward trend in global surface temperatures is obvious to the naked eye if any of the other nine years in the 1990's is utilized as the starting point.

Ted Cruz's climate denailism sort of falls apart once you realize that it is based on his cherry picking a flawed source of temperature records. Legitimate analysis is not based on cherry picking data.

Additional Reading

Rate of Sea Level Rise Has Doubled Since 2014. Trend or Outlier?

Sea Ice - Another Climate Science Denier Claim Melts Away