Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Weblog Is Retiring

After writing this weblog since July 2005, I have decided to retire it.  It has been a very effective venue to present a wider range of viewpoints than were typically available elsewhere during the earlier period of my posts. In recent years, of course, a range of excellent weblogs that serve this purpose have appeared [e.g. see the long list of weblogs (cataloged by their different perspectives) at the right hand side of  Watts Up with That.  Most of them also permit Comments, which I stopped doing several years ago.

I want to spend more of my time on research papers.  The time I have been using to prepare the weblog posts can now be used effectively on peer-reviewed research papers. I also am completing the third edition of my modeling book, which will require significant time.

The past weblog posts will remain on-line for the indefinite future.  I very much appreciate all of the excellent input from the readers of my weblog! I plan to continue to publish and will be using that venue to present my views.

With Best Wishes to All of You!

Roger

Comments Off

Filed under On The Weblog Scheduling

Publication Of “Reply to “Comment On ‘Ocean Heat Content And Earth’s Radiation Imbalance. II. Relation To Climate Shifts’ ” by Nuccitelli Et Al. By Douglass and Knox 2012

David Douglass alerted me to his reply to

Dana Nuccitelli, Robert Way, Rob Painting, John Church, John Cook: 2012: Comment on “Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance. II. Relation to climate shifts” . Physics Letters A

in

D.H. Douglass, R.S. Knox, 2012: Reply to “Comment on ‘Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance. II. Relation to climate shifts’ ” by Nuccitelli et al. Physics Letters A

The first and last paragraphs of his Reply summarize with

Nuccitelli, Way, Painting, Church and Cook [1] comment on our Letter “Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance. II. Relation to climate shifts” [2]. Their criticism is unwarranted on at least three essential grounds. (1) It is based on a misunderstanding of the climate shift concept, which is central to our Letter; (2) in making its claim of incompleteness because of neglect of the deeper ocean heat content, it ignores our statement of possible error and introduces incompatible data; (3) it over-interprets our comments about CO2 forcing. We expand on these points.

In sum, we show that the criticism of our results (change of slope in the implied FTOA at the climate shift of 2001–2002) by Nuccitelli et al. is unwarranted because they used different data of less temporal resolution. A more careful analysis of this data shows, in fact, consistency and not conflict with our results.

I recommend reading the Douglass and Knox original article, and both the Comment and Reply. The original article is

D.H. Douglass, R.S. Knox, 2012: Ocean heat content and Earthʼs radiation imbalance. II. Relation to climate shifts. Physics Letters A, Volume 376, Issue 14, 5 March 2012, Pages 1226-1229

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Metrics, Research Papers

Q&A From A Group Of Retired NASA Personnel And Associates

I received a request from John Nielsen-Gammon to answer several questions that he passed on from retired NASA Personnal and Associates. I have reproduced the relevant parts below, as these may be of general interest.  The website of the NASA group can be found here [http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/]

On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM, John Nielsen-Gammon wrote:

Roger -

Hi!

I’m working with a group of retired NASA folks and associates who are taking an independent look at climate change.  They recently came across your climate blog manifesto, and I offered to pass a couple of questions along to you.  To wit:

1. When you say “humans are significantly altering the global climate”, what do you mean by significant?  More than nature?  Just enough to be detectable?  etc.

My Reply

Significant, as I intend it, means a clear detectable signal. For example, the increase of the atmospheric concentration CO2 at Mauna Loa resulting from fossil fuel activity is significant. Similarly, land use change has resulted in a clear signal of a change in the partitioning of the surface fluxes of heat and and moisture. Human input of aerosols have a well documented signal in the atmosphere and though surface deposition.
These are examples of a significant alteration of the global (and regional and local) climate by humans. There, are of course, many other examples.

2. Do you consider cloud and moisture feedbacks to fall into the human category or the natural category?

My Reply

To the extent that feedbacks are different due to human climate forcings, this part of the feedback is, of course, human caused. However, I do not know how to separate feedbacks from observations, although, of course, you can in models.

3. What are the other important human-associated climate forcings besides CO2?

For a short summary see my oral summary [http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/pielke_oral_testimony.pdf] to a House Subcommittee.

My Reply

In that summary, in addition to the human radiative forcing of CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases, there are:

  • The influence of human-caused aerosols on regional (and global) radiative heating
  • The effect of aerosols on clouds and precipitation
  • The influence of aerosol deposition (e.g. soot; nitrogen) on climate
  • The effect of land cover/ land use on climate
  • The biogeochemical effect of added atmospheric CO2

I summarize this in more detail in several publications and public testimony. These include:

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., A. Pitman, D. Niyogi, R. Mahmood, C. McAlpine, F. Hossain, K. Goldewijk, U. Nair, R. Betts, S. Fall, M. Reichstein, P. Kabat, and N. de Noblet-Ducoudré, 2011: Land use/land cover changes and climate: Modeling analysis and observational evidence. WIREs Clim Change 2011, 2:828–850. doi: 10.1002/wcc.144.

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/testimony-written.pdf

See also the assessments

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp. http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309095069/html/

Kabat, P., Claussen, M., Dirmeyer, P.A., J.H.C. Gash, L. Bravo de Guenni, M. Meybeck, R.A. Pielke Sr., C.J. Vorosmarty, R.W.A. Hutjes, and S. Lutkemeier, Editors, 2004: Vegetation, water, humans and the climate: A new perspective on an interactive system. Springer, Berlin, Global Change – The IGBP Series, 566 pp. http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences/meteorology/book/978-3-540-42400-0

In the EOS article, we (a group of AGU Fellows) wrote

“In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first-order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of Earth’s climate. These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008], the infl uence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005]. As with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are estimated to be on multidecadal time scales and longer.”

I also recommend these articles

Pielke Sr., R.A., and R.L. Wilby, 2012: Regional climate downscaling – what’s the point? Eos Forum, 93, No. 5, 52-53, doi:10.1029/2012EO050008.  http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/r-361.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086 http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf

Let me know if you would like more. :-)

Let me know if they would like further feedback. They can review other papers of mine, besides what are listed below, on my research weblog – http://cires.colorado.edu/science/groups/pielke/pubs/

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Q & A on Climate Science

The Importance of Land Use/Land Practices On Climate – A Perspective From Jon Foley

In 2007, I posted

Presentation On Global Change and Climate Change By Jon Foley At The April 4-6, 2007 NASA Land-Cover and Land-Use Change Meeting

From his website

Jonathan Foley is the director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, where he is a professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. He also leads the IonE’s Global Landscapes Initiative.

The title of Jon’s talk was

Planet Against the Grain

As a result of a committee I am on [which I will have more to say about at a later date], there remains the misunderstanding with respect to the role of human land management on the climate system. Jon Foley’s powerpoint presentation is among the very best at documenting the role of human land management as a first order climate system (and environmental) forcing.

Examples of his view (which I agree with) are summarized in his talk. These include

  • massive changes to Earth’s land ~40% of land converted to agriculture [from slide 7]
  • massive increases in water use – water use tripled in 50 years – mostly due to agriculture – 70% irrigation, 20% industry, 10% domestic [from slide 8]
  • massive release of excess nutrients doubling natural nitrogen, phosphorus flows polluted lakes and rivers coastal “dead zones” [from slide 9]

Jon introduces a key finding that

land use practices are changing quickly; much more than changing land cover [from slide 30]

With respect to greenhouse emissions, he states that

wow! global land use & agriculture, taken together, contribute more greenhouse gases than any single societal activity; altogether, agriculture and deforestation appear to contribute at least 1/3 of all GHG forcing

In regards to using a global average metric to characterize changes in the climate system, he wrote that land use

often get “washed out” in outdated climate metrics of radiative forcing and global mean temperature [from slide 44]

He writes the overarching theme of his talk includes that

Bottom Line Global Change is Much More Than CO2 and Global Warming [from slide 46]

and that

Current Focus on CO2 / Climate Connection is Very Short Sighted [from slide 54]

Jon’s perspective can be read in his papers, such as

Foley et al 2005: Global Consequences of Land Use. Science. Science 22 July 2005: 570-574. [DOI:10.1126/science.1111772]

and

Foley et al, 2011: Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature478, 337-342 doi:10.1038/nature10452

In his 2011 article he wrote

Agriculture is now a dominant force behind many environmental threats, including climate change, biodiversity loss and degradation of land and freshwater…. In fact, agriculture is a major force driving the environment beyond the ‘‘planetary boundaries’’ ….

I also highly recommend Jon’s talk

“The Other Inconvenient Truth” – Jon Foley, TECxTC presentation. Watch the video on YouTube

Clearly,  climate assessments that focus primarily on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases are inappropriately too narrow.

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Science Presentations

Interview With James Wynn In The English Department At Carnegie Mellon University


I was invited to answer a set of questions motivated by Anthony Watt’s excellent surface temperature project [see www.surfacestations.org] project by James Wynn of the English Department at Carnegie Mellon University.  The website at the University includes the brief bio]

James Wynn has published articles on rhetoric, mathematics, and science in Rhetorica, Written Communication, and 19th Century Prose. His recent interests have been in rhetoric, science, mathematics and public policy with a focus on nuclear power. He is a founder and current director of the Pittsburgh Consortium for Rhetoric and Discourse Studies.

With his permission, I have reproduced the relevant part of our e-mail exchange below [my replies are in italics]

On Fri, 2 Nov 2012, James I Wynnwrote:

Professor Pielke,

I am an Associate Professor in the English Department at Carnegie Mellon University working on a book about citizen science. In my book I intend to include a chapter on the Surface Stations project. In the process of researching, I have been trying to get a sense about the development of the project and the peril and promise involved in citizen/scientist collaborations. I was wondering whether it might be possible for me to have a brief phone interview with you about your role in the project .

I really appreciate your taking the time to read and consider my request.

Sincerely,

James Wynn

James’s questions and my answers are below

Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 16:43:22 -0400
From: James I Wynn <jwynn@andrew.cmu.edu>
To: ‘Roger A Pielke Sr’ <pielkesr@ciresmail.colorado.edu>
Subject: RE: Interview Request for Citizen Science Book
Roger,
Here are my questions. I appreciate your taking the time to answer them.

All the Best,
James

1. To what extent and in what ways were you involved in developing the Surface Stations project? What persuaded you to get involved? Please provide some detail about your involvement and motivations.

The first part of this is question, of course, is more appropriate for Anthony Watts to answer.  With respect to my involvement, I have been 100% in support of what Anthony has successfully completed. My interest in this subject was reported, for example, in our papers

Hanamean, J.R. Jr., R.A. Pielke Sr., C.L. Castro, D.S. Ojima, B.C. Reed, and Z. Gao, 2003: Vegetation impacts on maximum and minimum temperatures in northeast Colorado. Meteorological Applications, 10, 203-215. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-254.pdf

Davey, C.A., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2005: Microclimate exposures of surface-based weather stations – implications for the assessment of long-term temperature trends. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Vol. 86, No. 4, 497–504. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-274.pdf

It took several years for this later paper to get through the review process since there was resistance to publish such a critique in the quality of station siting.

The resistance of NCDC, under Tom Karl, to questioning of siting quality is clearly illustrated in the attempt by Tom Karl, as Lead on the CCSP 1.1 report, to prevent the assessment of this siting issue as well as other issues on the spatial representativeness and accuracy of those data. This issue is summarized in my Public Comment

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/nr-143.pdf

Other papers followed which built on examining the issue of the value of land surface temperatures in diagnosing multi-decadal surace temperature changes. These include

Pielke Sr., R.A., T. Stohlgren, W. Parton, J. Moeny, N. Doesken, L. Schell, and K. Redmond, 2000: Spatial representativeness of temperature measurements from a single site. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81, 826-830. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-221.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., T. Stohlgren, L. Schell, W. Parton, N. Doesken, K. Redmond, J. Moeny, T. McKee, and T.G.F. Kittel, 2002: Problems in evaluating regional and local trends in temperature: An example from eastern Colorado, USA. Int. J. Climatol., 22, 421-434. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-234.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A. J. Nielsen-Gammon, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, N. Doesken, M. Cai., S. Fall, D. Niyogi, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, X. Lin, H. Li, and S. Raman, 2007: Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88:6, 913-928. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-318.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2009: Reply to comment by David E. Parker, Phil Jones, Thomas C. Peterson, and John Kennedy on “Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05105, doi:10.1029/2008JD010938. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321a.pdf

Jamiyansharav, K., D. Ojima, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2006: Exposure characteristics of the Mongolian weather stations. Atmospheric Science Paper No. 779, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, 75 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/nr-145.pdf

McNider, R.T., G.J. Steeneveld, B. Holtslag, R. Pielke Sr, S. Mackaro, A. Pour Biazar, J.T. Walters, U.S. Nair, and J.R. Christy, 2012: Response and sensitivity of the nocturnal boundary layer over land to added longwave radiative forcing. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD017578 http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/r-371.pdf

Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/r-367.pdf

This last paper is the first formal  peer-reviewed paper resulting from the effective research collaboration with Anthony.

2.      Were you involved in the writing or editing of Watts’s report Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? (2009)? If you were, please provide some detail about your contributions to the document.

I did not directly work with Anthony on his excellent report

3.      To what degree, in your estimation, did Watt’s report offer an appropriate (fair/balanced) treatment of Surface Stations findings? What sorts of criticisms did it provoke in the scientific community? Please include only ones that might be considered reasonable.

Anthony’s work has had a major impact on NCDC. Not only was he invited to present a lecture at NCDC, but his work has been used by NCDC both in at least one of their published papers, and in removing poorly sited locations from their sata set. Anthony involved expertise in the climate community, including John Neilson-Gammon at Texas A&M who is Texas State Climatologist. I recommend you ask Anthony about this, including how NCDC inappropriately, in our view, used Anthony’s data.

In the BEST project, Richard Muller used Anthony’s siting data in this analysis. While I disagree with the conclusions claimed by Muller (he has grossly misinterpreted and overstated the BEST findings as I have documented in my weblog), the BEST use of Anthony’s data illustrates that the surface station project led by Anthony is a robust scientific endeavor.

4.      What challenges/resistance did you face personally/professionally because of your collaboration with Watts? What has motivated you to work with skeptical members of the public despite these challenges?

I disagree with the term “skeptics” as used in the climate discussion as I view it as pejorative.

I work with colleagues of all perspectives. Anthony Watts clearly has established himself as a respect scientific colleague.

There has been push back, however, because I have worked with those who do not accept the IPCC conclusions as scientifically complete. This has affected my funding, for example. However, it has not altered my ability to publish in the peer reviewed literature as many of my colleagues share my disagreements with significant aspects of the CCSP and IPCC reports. This shared view can be seen in the multi-authorship list of my publications on this subject. Another example directly related to the surface temperature siting issue is the paper

Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, D. Niyogi, G. Bonan, P. Lawrence, B. Baker, R. McNider, C. McAlpine, A. Etter, S. Gameda, B. Qian, A. Carleton, A. Beltran-Przekurat, T. Chase, A.I. Quintanar, J.O. Adegoke, S. Vezhapparambu, G. Conner, S. Asefi, E. Sertel, D.R. Legates, Y. Wu, R. Hale, O.W. Frauenfeld, A. Watts, M. Shepherd, C. Mitra, V.G. Anantharaj, S. Fall,R. Lund, A. Nordfelt, P. Blanken, J. Du, H.-I. Chang, R. Leeper, U.S. Nair, S. Dobler, R. Deo, and J. Syktus, 2010: Impacts of land use land cover change on climate and future research priorities. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 37–46, DOI: 10.1175/2009BAMS2769.1 http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/r-323.pdf

I also recommend these weblog posts to provide examples of the difficulties and biases that are introduced when one deviates from the IPCC perspective

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/my-comments-on-questionnaire-on-ipcc-processes-and-procedures/

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/e-mail-documentation-of-the-successful-attempt-by-thomas-karl-director-of-the-u-s-national-climate-data-center-to-suppress-biases-and-uncertainties-in-the-assessment-surface-temperature-trends/

5.      What role, in your opinion, should scientist play in engaging the public on issues of public controversy? To what extent do you believe your opinion is shared by other members/organizations in your field?

In answer to your second question, as one example, I solicited colleagues within the AGU who are Fellows to write an article that provides a more scientifically robust view than presented by the IPCC. This is just one example that illustrates that my views are shared by quite a few climate scientists. This article is

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

Other examples of the wider acceptance of my views are in the papers

McAlpine, C.A., W.F. Laurance, J.G. Ryan, L. Seabrook, J.I. Syktus, A.E. Etter, P.M. Fearnside, P. Dargusch, and R.A. Pielke Sr. 2010: More than CO2: A broader picture for managing climate change and variability to avoid ecosystem collapse. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2:334-336, DOI10.1016/j.cosust.2010.10.001. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/r-355.pdf

Pielke Sr., R.A., A. Pitman, D. Niyogi, R. Mahmood, C. McAlpine, F. Hossain, K. Goldewijk, U. Nair, R. Betts, S. Fall, M. Reichstein, P. Kabat, and N. de Noblet-Ducoudré, 2011: Land use/land cover changes and climate: Modeling analysis and observational evidence. WIREs Clim Change 2011, 2:828–850. doi: 10.1002/wcc.144. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/r-369.pdf

In terms of how to involve scientists in working with policymakers, I recommend my son’s books

The Honest Broker

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/publications/special/honest_broker/index.html

and

The Climate Fix

http://theclimatefix.com/

6.      If there are challenges/barriers to scientists’ engagement with the public, what sort of solutions, in your opinion, would improve current practices?

I recommend my son’s books which I have listed above.

I also have urged a reframing of the issue. This is summarized in our paper\

Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086  http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf

where we concluded that

We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including those from climate but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies. This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change, than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A contextual vulnerability assessment using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policy makers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.

This summary below is also how I have been framing the climate science issue

The natural Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear in which forcings and response are not necessarily proportional; thus change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual.  Climate has always changed over time.  As Earth’s population has grown, however, human climate forcings have become significant on the local, regional and global scales. These human forcings include greenhouse gas emissions, aerosol emissions and deposition [e.g., black carbon (soot) and reactive nitrogen], and changes in land use and land cover.  A number of these forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system.  The greenhouse emissions and aerosol emissions, in particular, have resulted in changes to the global average radiative forcings. Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades. Changes in the global radiative forcings (global warming or cooling) are a subset of climate change

I followed up with

Hi James

Thanks!  I will plan to post later this week.  See below for my follow up.

Best Regards
Roger

James had a follow up request for clarification [again my replies are in italics]

On Sun, Nov 4, 2012 at 8:43 AM, James I Wynn <jwynn@andrew.cmu.edu> wrote:

Roger,

You have my permission to publish my questions and your answers. The book will take some time to finish so you needn’t worry about interfering with that.

I would also appreciate it if you could elaborate a bit on some of your answers to my questions.

  • In question three I asked about the appropriateness of the Surface Stations findings in the report Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? (2009). I wanted to get your perspective on whether the fact that in this report Watts jumps from the data about the stations to conclusions about their effect on temperature bias (p.16) to policy recommendations (p. 17) was something you were comfortable/uncomfortable with and/or something that opened the report up to critique from other members of the climate science community.

Anthony recommended the following

These findings lead me to make the following suggestions to NOAA/NCDC:

• An independently managed and comprehensive quality-control program should be implemented by NOAA/NWS to determine the best stations in the network.

• A pristine dataset should be produced from the best stations and then compared to the remainder of the USHCN network to quantify the total magnitude of bias.
• Users of the current USHCN data should be advised of the quality-control issues so that they may reexamine results derived from such data.

• NOAA should undertake a comprehensive effort to improve the siting of the stations and correct the temperature record for contamination that has been observed to occur during the past two decades.”

I agree with each. NCDC has done a poor job of quality controlling their network (and this is also true for many countries around the world whose data is used to create the GHCN). If it was not for Anthony, we would not have had any movement on this issue from NCDC.

Indeed, while I was State Climatologist for Colorado, we had a small contract to photograph USHCN sites in Colorado. We provided the photographs to NCDC (and, unfortunately did not retain copies). Later when we sought to obtain them we were refused. Anthony’s outstanding project leapfrogged over this bureaucratic roadblock.

  • You mention that you disagree with the term “skeptics” to refer to Watts or other people who challenge climate change. What term would you prefer to use instead?

I am not aware who disagrees that changes in climate occur. The term “climate change” is itself redundant. Climate is always changing; e.g. see my post

Excellent New Paper “The Climate Is Not What You Expect” By Lovejoy and Schertzer 2012

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/new-paper-the-climate-is-not-what-you-expect-by-lovejoy-and-schertzer-2012/

Anthony Watts is as much a part of the climate science community as are those who wrote the IPCC reports. It is just that those who wrote those reports consciously decided to exclude viewpoints such as Anthony’s. You can see my letter as to why I resigned from participation in the IPCC process in 1995 (and was never asked again).

My 1995 Resignation Letter From The IPCC
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/my-1995-resignation-letter-from-the-ipcc/

  • In answer to my fifth and sixth questions, your response seems to be that scientists can engage with the public by working with them at the local-level to assess the socio-economic effects of climate forcing. In the context of your work with Watts, however, there seems to be a broader national scope and the issue being addressed is the credibility of the science at the base of an important socio-political issue. This is not to suggest that your mission was to challenge the credibility of the institutions doing the science but to bring awareness and fill in holes in the scientific knowledge about temperature biases. So what I want to know is whether there are a broader set of roles for scientists. Also, when you answer about the challenges to working with the public your answer seems to explain the challenge of solving the problem of climate change rather than the challenges generally of working with the public. I am very much interested in the latter.

I endorse the policy approach recommended in my son’s book The Climate Fix.

Anthony’s work on the surface temperature data is an excellent example of applying the scientific method to a particular climate metric which is being used for policy applications.

His website Watts Up With That provides an effective venue for individuals from all perspectives to constructively discuss climate science more broadly and policy actions that are needed to deal with threats from climate and other environmental risks. This risks involve local, regional and global issues.

  • Finally, I wanted you to know that I have conducted a phone interview with Anthony about the project.

Thank you for confirming that.

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Q & A on Climate Science

University Of Alabama At Huntsville October 2012 Lower Tropospheric Temperature Analysis

Phillip Gentry has provided us with the University of Alabama at Huntsville global lower  tropospheric temperature analysis. Their figures are posted at the top of this post, and their text below [click on the figures for a clearer version]

Global Temperature Report: October 2012

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

October temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.33 C (about 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.30 C (about 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.36 C (about 0.65 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.

Tropics: +0.11 C (about 0.20 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.

September temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.34 C above 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.35 C above 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.33 C above 30-year average

Tropics: +0.15 C above 30-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Notes on data released Nov. 6, 2012:

The pause in the anticipated El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event — seen in the sea surface temperatures in the Pacific during the past two months — is now appearing in the tropical upper air, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The absent El Niño shows up in the relative temperatures of the world’s parts: While October 2012 was the second warmest October in the satellite record for the Southern Hemisphere and fourth warmest for the north, the tropics were scarcely warmer than normal for the month — only the 13th “warmest” October in the 34-year satellite record.

Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest area on the globe in October was south central Saskatchewan to the east of Saskatoon, which was 2.28 C (about 4.1 Fahrenheit) cooler than normal for the month. The warmest area was in the central Bering Sea, where temperatures averaged 3.95 C (about 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for October.

Archived color maps of local temperature anomalies are available on-line at:

http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

The processed temperature data is available on-line at:

vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Metrics

USA Election Day 2012

Note: Update electoral map to 2012 [h/t Robert Pollock]

I do not usually post a political message on my weblog. However, I read a BBC article that was so divergent with my viewpoint on governance, that I am writing this post. The BBC news article is

A Point Of View: Is China more legitimate than the West?

The article is by Martin Jacques. In the article he is described as

Martin Jacques is an economist and author of When China Rules the World

The book listed in this short bio has the full title

When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

The news article includes the following statements by Martin Jacques [and I recommend you read the entire article] - highlight added

Now let me shock you: the Chinese state enjoys greater legitimacy than any  Western state.

Take the findings of Tony Saich at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In  a series of surveys he found that between 80 and 95% of Chinese people were  either relatively or extremely satisfied with central government.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese have a quite different attitude towards government to that universal in the West.

True, our attitude depends in part on where we stand on the political spectrum. If you are on the right, you are likely to believe in less government and more market. If you are on the left, you are likely to be more favourably disposed to the state.

But both left and right share certain basic assumptions. The role of the state should be codified in law, there should be clear limits to its powers, and there are many areas in which the state should not be involved. We believe the state is necessary – but only up to a point.

The Chinese idea of the state could hardly be more different.

They do not view it from a narrowly utilitarian standpoint, in terms of what it  can deliver, let alone as the devil incarnate in the manner of the American Tea  Party.

They see the state as an intimate, or, to be more precise, as a member of the family – the head of the family, in fact. The Chinese regard the family as the template for the state. What’s more, they perceive the state not as external to themselves but as an extension or representation of themselves.

The fact that the Chinese state enjoys such an exalted position in society lends it enormous authority, a remarkable ubiquity and great competence.

Even though China is still a poor developing country, its state, I would argue,  is the most competent in the world.

And the state’s ubiquity – a large majority of China’s most competitive  companies, to this day, are state-owned. Or consider the one-child policy, which  still commands great support amongst the population.

As Americans go to the polls today, they are reenforcing our over 200 years of history that the government is not the “head of a family” but serves only at the pleasure of the citizens.

The politics have always be rough, often much more so than in today’s election, as discussed, for example, in excellent books I have read such as

Washington:  A Life by Ron  Chernow (Oct 5, 2010)

Alexander  Hamilton by Ron  Chernow (Mar 29, 2005)

John Adams by David  McCullough (Jan 29, 2008)

Abraham  Lincoln by James  M. McPherson (Feb 1, 2009)

Flawed  Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 by Robert  Dallek ((Oct 21, 1999)

The rancorous election process in the USA, including the added layer of the Electoral College, is part of the checks and balances which limits the power of the political leaders. The federal system with states adds to the diversity of power.

This certainly is not true of China, as is so effectively presented in detail with respect to Mao Tse-Tung and his associates in the well-written and documented book

Mao:  The Unknown Story by Jung  Chang and Jon  Halliday (Nov 14, 2006)

In Russia, a similar history of concentrated power has existed, as clearly described in the books

Young  Stalin (Vintage) by Simon  Sebag Montefiore (Oct 14, 2008)

Stalin:  The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon  Sebag Montefiore (Sep 13, 2005)

Thus, today, in the USA we celebrate a political process that has been a beacon for the world in how the people of a country can rule themselves.

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under US Political Process

New Paper “Climatic Variability Over Time Scales Spanning Nine Orders of Magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch Cycles With Hurst–Kolmogorov Dynamics” By Markonis And Koutsoyiannis

There is another excellent paper that documents a larger magnitude of natural climate variation than has been assumed by the IPCC climate community [see also “The Climate Is Not What You Expect” By S. Lovejoy and D. Schertzer 2012 which I discussed in my post

Excellent New Paper “The Climate Is Not What You Expect” By Lovejoy and Schertzer 2012

This paper is

Yannis Markonis • Demetris Koutsoyiannis, 2012: Climatic Variability Over Time Scales Spanning Nine Orders of Magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch Cycles with Hurst–Kolmogorov Dynamics. Surv Geophy DOI 10.1007/s10712-012-9208-

The abstract reads [highlight added]

We overview studies of the natural variability of past climate, as seen from available proxy information, and its attribution to deterministic or stochastic controls. Furthermore, we characterize this variability over the widest possible range of scales that the available information allows, and we try to connect the deterministic Milankovitch cycles with the Hurst–Kolmogorov (HK) stochastic dynamics. To this aim, we analyse two instrumental series of global temperature and eight proxy series with varying lengths from 2 thousand to 500 million years. In our analysis, we use a simple tool, the climacogram, which is the logarithmic plot of standard deviation versus time scale, and its slope can be used to identify the presence of HK dynamics. By superimposing the climacograms of the different series, we obtain an impressive overview of the variability for time scales spanning almost nine orders of magnitude—from 1 month to 50 million years. An overall climacogram slope of -0.08 supports the presence of HK dynamics with Hurst coefficient of at least 0.92. The orbital forcing (Milankovitch cycles) is also evident in the combined climacogram at time scales between 10 and 100 thousand years. While orbital forcing favours predictability at the scales it acts, the overview of climate variability at all scales suggests a big picture of irregular change and uncertainty of Earth’s climate.

The conclusion includes the text

The available instrumental data of the last 160 years allow us to see that there occurred climatic fluctuations with a prevailing warming trend in the most recent past. However, when this period is examined in the light of the evidence provided by palaeoclimate reconstructions, it appears to be a part of more systematic fluctuations; specifically, it is a warming period after the 200-year ‘Little Ice Age’ cold period, during a 12,000-year interglacial, which is located in the third major icehouse period of the Phanerozoic Eon. The variability implied by these multi-scale fluctuations, typical for Earth’s climate, can be investigated by combining the empirical climacograms of different palaeoclimatic reconstructions of temperature. By superimposing the different climacograms, we obtain an impressive overview of the variability for time scales spanning almost nine orders of magnitude—from 1 month to 50 million years.

Two prominent features of this overview are (a) an overall climacogram slope of -0.08, supporting the presence of HK dynamics with Hurst coefficient of at least 0.92 and (b) strong evidence of the presence of orbital forcing (Milankovitch cycles) at time scales between 10 and 100 thousand years. While orbital forcing favours predictability at the scales it acts, the overview of climate variability at all scales clearly suggests a big picture of enhanced change and enhanced unpredictability of Earth’s climate, which could be also the cause of our difficulties to formulate a purely deterministic, solid orbital theory (either obliquity or precession dominated). Endeavours to describe the climatic variability in deterministic terms are equally misleading as those to describe it using classical statistics. Connecting deterministic controls, such as the Milankovitch cycles, with the Hurst–Kolmogorov stochastic dynamics seems to provide a promising path for understanding and modelling climate.

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Research Papers

New Paper “Indian Ocean Warming Modulates Pacific Climate Change” By Luo Et Al 2012

Jing-Jia Luoa,Wataru Sasaki, and Yukio Masumoto, 2012: Indian Ocean warming modulates Pacific climate change. Published online before print October 29, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1210239109 PNAS October 29, 2012

The abstract reads [highlight added]

It has been widely believed that the tropical Pacific trade winds weakened in the last century and would further decrease under a warmer climate in the 21st century. Recent high-quality observations, however, suggest that the tropical Pacific winds have actually strengthened in the past two decades. Precise causes of the recent Pacific climate shift are uncertain. Here we explore how the enhanced tropical Indian Ocean warming in recent decades favors stronger trade winds in the western Pacific via the atmosphere and hence is likely to have contributed to the La Niña-like state (with enhanced east–west Walker circulation) through the Pacific ocean–atmosphere interactions. Further analysis, based on 163 climate model simulations with centennial historical and projected external radiative forcing, suggests that the Indian Ocean warming relative to the Pacific’s could play an important role in modulating the Pacific climate changes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The conclusions include the text

“It is suggested that the multidecadal variability could be modulated or partly forced by anthropogenic radiative forcing, particularl the offset effects between GHGs and aerosol (31, 32). However, the signal-to-noise ratio (i.e., the ratio of the variance of multimodel ensemble mean to the variance of intermodel spreads) is small; this indicates uncertainties in attributing the multidecadal changes to external forcing. Besides, understanding exact mechanisms responsible for the multidecadal fluctuations and how global warming might modulate the multidecadal changes remains a challenge…..our results suggest that differences in the response to anthropogenic forcing over individual ocean basins, together with the interinfluence between the tropical IO and the Pacific, may affect not only the centennial trends but also multidecadal changes of the Pacific climate.”

This is yet another paper that highlights the complexity of the climate system and the difficulty skillful multi-decadal climate predictions and in seeking to attribute regional climate to particular climate forcings.

source of image

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Models, Research Papers