Monthly Archives: February 2011

Fossil Water And Depleted Natural Lakes As Climate Forcings – A Review By Wondmagegn Yigzaw and Faisal Hossain

In response to the post

The Role Of Fossil Water On Climate – An Important Climate Forcing Whose Influence Has Not Yet Been Properly Assessed

 and discussion on this subject with Professor Faisal Hossain of Tennessee Technological University, he assigned a student, Wondmagegn Yigzaw, to explore this subject. Below, with permission, is a report of what was found

Summary of readings from materials on the web by Wondmagegn Yigzaw and Fasial Hossain 

1.       Lake Chad

Lake Chad is a shallow lake found in the Sahara Region of Africa. It borders four countries; Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. It is a source of water for a population of about 20 million.

a.       History

The lake is believed to have been a result of an inland sea which has shrunk to a lake form due to climate effect over a very long time. It was one of the largest lakes in the world in the early 1900’s. The shrinkage of the lake has begun in 1960’s due to the use of water by the surrounding population. By this time the size of the Lake was 26,000 Km2. According to the United Nations its size has shrunk by 95% between 1963 and 1998.

b.      Use

The lake is a vital source of water for human, livestock and wildlife community in the surrounding area (Eric, Campbell Other activities near the lake include Soda-mining, fishing, and farming (Campbell The Nigerian Southern Chad Irrigation Project (SCIP) is the largest irrigation scheme that was constructed depending on the Lake water. The project was fully commissioned in the year 1979, but it failed to function up to its design after 6 years due to level variation of the river. During this period the contribution of overall irrigation practice was only 5 out of the 30% shrinkage (Coe

c.       Shrinkage

50% of the shrinkage is due to natural climate effects while the remaining 50% is as a result of human interference in the form of irrigation and deforestations (Coe Between the periods 1953-1979, the contribution of overall irrigation practice was only 5 out of the 30% shrinkage (Coe

d.      Climate Effects

The deforestation and overgrazing have impacted the lake severely. The evaporation from the lake is greater than four times the rainfall rate (Eric Rainfall in the area has decreased considerably which led to a warmer climate and in turn high water extraction.

e.      Socio-economic Effects

The decrease in level of the lake has impacted largely the farmers, fishermen, and herders living in the region. Crop failure, dying of livestock, and collapsed fisheries have resulted. Conflicts have emerged between nations and dwellers of the lake area. Two big projects; the South Chad Irrigation Project (SCIP) in Nigeria and the MAMDI Polder Project in Chad have been abandoned due to the shrinkage of the lake.

f.        Hydrological Effects

The main tributary of the lake (90%) is the Chari River (Chad) which is fed by the Logone (Chad/Cameroon border) River. The remaining 10% is from the Yobe River (Niger/Nigeria). The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has proposed an interbasin water transfer scheme from the  Ubangi River. The shrinkage of the lake has affected the flows in the major rivers by decreasing it and the lowering of the groundwater table. Ground water is a major source of water in the area. As this source is also a challenge to harness,  groundwater management is necessary (Mallam , 1999).


                                             i.            Campbell, Robert Wellman, ed. 2008. “Lake Chad, West Africa: 1963, 1973, 1987, 1997, 2007.” Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change. U.S. Geological Survey.

                                           ii.            Coe, M., and J. Foley (2001), Human and natural impacts on the water resources of the Lake Chad basin, J. Geophys. Res., 106(D4), 3349-3356.

                                          iii.            Eric O. Odada, Lekan Oyebande, Johnson A. Oguntola, Lake Chad, Experience and lessons Learned Brief

                                         iv.            Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources, National Geographic News by Hillary Mayell, April 26, 2001

                                           v.            Lake Chad Evaporation 1963 to 1997, NASA,

                                         vi.            A Shadow of a Lake: Africa’s Disappearing Lake, NASA

                                        vii.            Lake Chad,

                                      viii.            Lake Chad to be fully protected as international wetlands, National Geographic Blog, February 02, 2010.

                                         ix.            NASA websites

                                           x.            Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources, National Geographic News, By Hillary Mayell, April 06, 2006.

                                         xi.            Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

                                        xii.            Groundwater Management Perspective for Borno and Yobe States, Nigeria, Journal of Environmental Hydrology, Mallam Zaji Bunu, Hohai University Nanjing, China, 1999

 2.       Aral Sea

a.       History

The Aral Sea is a saline basin in Central Asia lying between the countries of  Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  It had an area of 68,000km2 before it was shrunk to 10% by 2007. In 1960 it was the fourth largest sea in the world. The shrinkage of the Sea has resulted in the formation of four lakes; North Aral Sea, Eastern Basin (South Aral Sea), Western Basin (South Aral Sea), and a smaller lake between the North and South Aral Sea. Of these four lakes, the Eastern Basin has already disappeared in 2009 and the Western Basin has decreased to a thin strip. The main reason for the shrinkage is attributed to the diversion of the river that fed the Sea by the former Soviet Union for the purpose of cotton irrigation since the 1960s. Two major rivers flow into the Sea, the Syr Darya (from Kazakhstan) and the Amu Darya (from Uzbekistan). The Sea has a catchment area of 1,549,000 km2. The Sea basin lies in five countries; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

b.      Use

Fishing was the major activity. It was responsible for the jobs of about 40,000 people. The rivers flowing into the Sea were used for cotton irrigation. Both rivers have been diverted signiifcantly in order to increase cotton production.

c.       Shrinkage

The main reason for the shrinkage is attributed to the diversion of the river that fed the Sea by the former Soviet Union for the purpose of cotton irrigation since the 1960s. In addition to the abstraction of water irrigation, canals are not properly lines. This inefficiency will cause the loss of huge volume of water which otherwise would have in flowed to the Sea.  The Kazakhstan government has built a restoring project for the North Aral Sea by constructing the Kokaral Dike in 2005. The construction of this dike has increased the level of water in the North Aral Sea by 24m in the year 2007.

d.      Climate Effects

The local climate has changed, the summer becoming hotter and drier while the winter has become colder and longer.

e.      Socio-economic Effects

The fishing industry that has been a job opportunity for over 40,000 people is already closed due to the shrinkage. The Sea area has a serious health problem. The Sea is highly polluted with toxic chemicals from weapon testing, fertilizers and pesticides. The dry land that resulted from the shrinkage of the South Aral Sea has given an opportunity for oil and gas exploration since 2006. The restoration of the North Aral Sea by the construction of  theKokaral Dike has increased the number of fishes which increased the fishing activity. Accumulation of salt has also led to the loss of cultivable land.

f.        Hydrological Effects

The South Aral Sea is disappearing even though  ground water recharges it. The construction of the Kokaral Dike has brought changes such as the recovery of sea level in the North Aral Sea, a rain cloud presence and micro climate change in the area. On the contrary, South Aral Sea is decreasing.  The eastern part of the South Aral Sea is hit by intermittent flooding which makes it difficult for vegetation. Natural effects have been slower on the Sea while human factors are rapid.

                General summary:

  • The Sea shrunk to 2/5 of its original size
  • Water level dropped by 16m
  • Its volume decreased by 75%
  • All the fish species are extinct
  • It is estimated that 75M tons of toxic dust and salt are spread across central Asia each year

g.       Researches undertaken

Different research has been completed  on the Aral Sea. The major areas of focus are, optimization of water use, chemical and biological characteristics of the Sea, and rehabilitation of the Sea. Different optimization models have been developed. Multi objective model analysis framework has been considered as part of negotiations  by taking the case of the Syr Darya River (Ximing Cai and Daene C. McKinney).

h.      Institutions formed

There are number of institutions formed to alleviate the problem of the Sea shrinkage.

  • Interstate Commission for Water Coordination of Central Asia (ICWC)

This institution is formed between Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

  • International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS)

This is the result of the ICWC member countries which is formed to raise fund for any Aral Sea based program.


                                                         i.             A Multiobjective Analysis Model for Negotiations in Regional Water Resources  Allocation, Ximing Cai and Daene C. McKinney,




                                                       v.            Results of Aral Sea studies, Nick Aladin, Philip Micklin, Dietmar Keyser, Igor Plotnikov, Rene Letolle, Alexey Smurov and Jean-Francois Cretaux, 2006

                                                     vi.            Sustainable Water Management in The Aral Sea Basin, Daene C. McKinney, Department of Civil Engineering The University of Texas at Austin, 1997

                                                    vii.            The rehabilitation of the ecosystem and bioproductivity of the Aral Sea under conditions of water scarcity, INTAS Project – 0511 REBASOWS, Summary Report, December 2006/revised August 2007

                                                  viii.             Water security and ecosystem services: The critical connection, Ecosystem Management Case Studies,  United Nations Environment Program, Nairobi, Kenya May, 2009

 3.       Fossil Water

Fossil water is a non-renewable resource which is also called paleowater.

a.       Reserves

  • The most notable fossil water reserve is in the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) (covering the northeastern part of Africa). This aquifer system borders four countries; Chad, Egypt, Libya, and Sudan. Its area covers a little above 2 million square kilometers. The geology of the aquifer is generalized as hard ferrugios sandstone with great shale and clay interaction
  • Lake Vostok (in Antarctica). It is the largest sub glacial lake. It is confined by an ice cape which has a depth greater than 3km. This overburden pressure keeps the water liquid even at a temperature below freezing point. The lake is thought to be the most unspoiled lake on earth. Life is thought to be supported in the lake.
  • Great Artesian Basin (in Australia)
  • Sahara and Kalahari Deserts.

b.      Exploration

  • The fossil water in the NSAS was largely explored in Libya while drilling for oil purpose in the 1950s.
  • The existence of Lake Vostok was first noted by the scientists from Scott polar Research Institute (SPRI) in 1973. It was delineated in 1996 by Russian and British scientists. A joint Russian, French, and U.S. drilled a core to analyze the lake water characteristics. In this drilling,  the age of the lake was estimated to be between 500, 000 and one million years while it was also suggested that the lake supports life. Recently the Russian Antarctic Expedition is drilling using new equipment to the lake body (as the previous drills were abandoned 100m before reaching the lake to avoid any contamination of the lake.
  • In addition to the above specific studies, NASA has taken images of aquifers which are the major tools for any study to follow and which are still going on.

c.       Use

Of all the fossil water reserves that have been identified, the following countries use it for different purposes like:

  • Libya-Water supply, Irrigation
  • Egypt-Irrigation
  • Israel-Irrigation
  • Jordan-Water Supply ( in the future, not at present)
  • Australia-Irrigation, Horticulture, Mining, Water Supply 

d.      Projects

Different projects are ongoing and some are proposed for the future. The followings are some examples;

  • Libya

The Great Man-Made River Project (GMMR) has been in place since 1984.  The project costs US$20 Billion which consists of a network of pipes (4,000km in length and 4m diameter) and reservoirs. The water will be drawn from 1, 300wells. The daily discharge conveyed is 6.5Mm3.

  • Egypt

The Dakhleh Oasis Project (DOP) is underway in the Dakhleh Oasis since 1978. It studies the interaction between environmental change and human activities. This project doesn’t have a direct use/abstraction objective.

  • Chad, Egypt, Libya, and Sudan

An international project is underway which involves the NSAS Countries, IAEA, UNDP/GEF (Global Environment Facility), and UNESCO.

  • Jordan

Jordan has proposed to transport water from its Disi Desert to Amman with a project named Disi Water Conveyance Project. The project will convey 100Mm3 of water annually to the capital. But, the water quality from this source has a  high level of radiation (20 times higher than the normal level).

  • Israel

The use of fossil water in Negev Desert is ongoing as an alternative to using sewage water.


                                             i.            “Fossil Water” in Libya, NASA,

                                           ii.  ;

                                          iii.            The Role Of Fossil Water On Climate – An Important Climate Forcing Whose Influence Has Not Yet Been Properly Assessed, a blog on Climate Science by Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., , October 2010.

                                         iv.            Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out, National Geographic News, , by Brian Handwerk, May 6, 2010

                                           v.            The Water Resources of Israel, Past, Present, and, Future,  A review prepared for The Palestinian Center for Regional Studies (PCRS), A comprehensive outline, By Arie S. Issar, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, April 2000.

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks

New Paper “Seasonal And Interannual Variability In Surface Energy Partitioning And Vegetation Cover With Grazing At Shortgrass Steppe” By Jamiyansharav Et Al 2011

We have a new paper that has appeared. It is

Jamiyansharav, K., D. Ojima, R.A. Pielke Sr., W. Parton, J. Morgan, A. Beltrán-Przekurat, D. LeCain, and D. Smith, 2011: Seasonal and interannual variability in surface energy partitioning and vegetation cover with grazing at shortgrass steppe. J. Arid Environments, 75, 360-370, doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.11.008.

The abstract reads

“We evaluated shortgrass steppe energy budgets based on the Bowen Ratio Energy Balance method for three different grazing intensity treatments at the Central Plains Experimental Range Long-Term Ecological Research (CPER-LTER) site. We tested the correlations between above ground biomass and surface energy fluxes for three different precipitation years based on continuously measured 20 min interval data.

Grazing has a potential impact on energy partitioning under conditions of higher water availability, but not during dry conditions. Our study confirms that precipitation, not grazing treatment, explains the majority of variation in above ground biomass at the CPER-LTER site. In addition, we are suggesting effective temperature, not air temperature, as a superior metric to evaluate surface heat change. Effective temperature takes into account humidity as well as air temperature.”

The conclusion reads

“We clearly observed a pattern of higher latent heat flux with higher biomass during wet periods. This suggests a potential
impact of grazing on energy budgets if grazing treatments had led to a measurable difference on green biomass. We recommend further testing of the assumption that grazing treatments should have an impact on the surface energy budget when green biomass is significantly impacted. Similar studies could be performed in long-term heavily grazed sites to better assess differences on the measured variables.

Measurements of albedo are necessary to investigate the amount of absorbed incoming radiation for different grazing treatments. In addition, it would be useful to have separate estimates of water loss via evaporation and transpiration to be able to distinguish water loss from the soil surface versus the vegetation. Metrics of leaf area index, vegetation greenness, and albedo using remote sensing technology would help in the study of surface energy budgets because of more continuous data availability.

Our results can help to further thorough investigation of compound effects of grazing and precipitation to better understand the semi-arid zones’  land-atmosphere interactions under current climate change conditions. Grasslands, including semi-arid and arid SGS exist in every continent, covering almost half of the earth’s terrestrial surface (Suttie et al., 2005). The sensitivity of global change is expected to be high at these arid lands. Therefore our study will also help to gain understanding through modeling how grazing management and precipitation would impact the energy budget partitioning on these semi-arid and arid lands in the context of global climate change.”

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Research Papers

How Does Extreme Weather Relate To Climatology?

There is a lack of clarity as to what commonly is considered  “weather” and what is referred to as “climatology”, particularly when extreme weather events occur.  “Climatology”  “is commonly defined as “long-term weather statistics”.  It is NOT the same as “climate”.  Climatology is actually a subset of climate. For an overview of what is climate, see the post

The Terms “Global Warming” And “Climate Change” – What Do They Mean?

In this post, I provide an example that illustrates that there is no clear distinction between weather and climatology when extreme weather occurs. The article show also that evasive species (in this case pythons) can be less affected than natural animal and plant life to weather extremes. 

 In the informative article by the Associated Press titled

Cold’s effect on pythons was less than expected

they report that long-term effects on the environment (and thus on the climate) can occur due to just a short-term weather event [in this case, extreme cold in Florida]. Such extreme weather is a weather statistic; i.e. part of climatology.

The news article from February 9 2011 is reproduced below with highlighting added

MIAMI — Scientists say last year’s prolonged cold snap reduced the number of pythons, which threaten native life, in the Florida Everglades – but not as much as they hoped it would.

A total of 322 pythons were captured in the park last year, but that was just a 10 percent drop from 2009, said David Hallac, Everglades National Park’s biological resources chief.

“That actually shocked me,” Hallac said. “We couldn’t believe how many snakes were coming in. At a minimum, I was thinking maybe a 50 percent drop.”

The January 2010 cold snap was the coldest 12-day stretch since the 1940s, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in the Everglades never rose above 50 degrees during that time.

At least 244 manatees were killed by cold, leading to a one-year record for total deaths, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service.

A plunge in ocean temperatures killed off corals in shallow waters from Biscayne Bay through much of the Florida Keys and left hundreds of sea turtles dead or stunned and sick. The 100-plus carcasses of rare North American crocodiles represented about 10 percent of the coastal population.

Peter Frezza, Everglades research manager for Audubon of Florida in the Keys, counted roughly 90,000 dead snook over the course of about a dozen trips across Florida Bay and into the Everglades. Snook fishing remains restricted on the Gulf Coast, in Monroe County and in Everglades National Park.

Scientists had hoped the cold weather would help control the spread of Burmese pythons and other exotic species that pose ecological threats to South Florida’s native plants and wildlife.

Exotic fish such as Mayan cichlids and spotted tilapia experienced die-offs during the cold snap, but canals and other warmer refuges have sheltered enough of the fish in past freezes to maintain the population, said Kelly Gestring, director of the FWC’s Non-Native Fish Research Laboratory in Boca Raton.

“It’s probably going to be a temporary reduction,” Gestring said.

Pythons are continuing to show up in the Everglades, scientists said.

“Right now, the numbers aren’t all that different,” said Everglades National Park biologist Skip Snow. “We’re finding them in the same places we’ve been finding them.”

A 15-foot-long female was found in the park in March, weeks after the freeze. Water managers bagged a 13 1/2-foot-long male Burmese python in a west Miami-Dade County canal last week.

Long term effects on the Florida environment and, thus, the climate system, occur from individual weather events.

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Filed under Q & A on Climate Science

New Paper “Random Walk Lengths Of About 30 Years In Global Climate” By Bye Et Al 2011

There is a new paper [h/t to Ryan Maue and Anthony Watts] titled

Bye, J., K. Fraedrich, E. Kirk, S. Schubert, and X. Zhu (2011), Random walk lengths of about 30 years in global climate, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2010GL046333, in press. (accepted 7 February 2011)

The abstract reads [highlight added]

“We have applied the relation for the mean of the expected values of the maximum excursion in a bounded random walk to estimate the random walk length from time series of eight independent global mean quantities (temperature maximum, summer lag, temperature minimum and winter lag over the land and in the ocean) derived from the NCEP twentieth century reanalysis (V2) (1871-2008) and the ECHAM5 IPCC AR4 twentieth century run for 1860-2100, and also the Millenium 3100 yr control run mil01, which was segmented into records of specified period. The results for NCEP, ECHAM5 and mil01 (mean of thirty 100 yr segments) are very similar and indicate a random walk length on land of 24 yr and over the ocean of 20 yr. Using three 1000 yr segments from mil01, the random walk lengths increased to 37 yr on land and 33 yr over the ocean. This result indicates that the shorter records may not totally capture the random variability of climate relevant on the time scale of civilizations, for which the random walk length is likely to be about 30 years. For this random walk length, the observed standard deviations of maximum temperature and minimum temperature yield respective expected maximum excursions on land of 1.4 and 0.5 C and over the ocean of 2.3 and 0.7 C, which are substantial fractions of the global warming signal.”

The text starts with

The annual cycle is the largest climate signal, however its variability has often been overlooked as a climate diagnostic, even though global climate has received intensive study in recent times, e.g. IPCC (2007), with a primary aim of accurate prediction under global warming.”

We agree with the authors of the paper on this statement. This is one of the reasons we completed the paper

Herman, B.M. M.A. Brunke, R.A. Pielke Sr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2010: Global and hemispheric lower tropospheric temperature trends. Remote Sensing, 2, 2561-2570; doi:10.3390/rs2112561

where our abstract reads

“Previous analyses of the Earth’s annual cycle and its trends have utilized surface temperature data sets. Here we introduce a new analysis of the global and hemispheric annual cycle using a satellite remote sensing derived data set during the period 1979–2009, as determined from the lower tropospheric (LT) channel of the MSU satellite. While the surface annual cycle is tied directly to the heating and cooling of the land areas, the tropospheric annual cycle involves additionally the gain or loss of heat between the surface and atmosphere. The peak in the global tropospheric temperature in the 30 year period occurs on 10 July and the minimum on 9 February in response to the larger land mass in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual dates of the hemispheric maxima and minima are a complex function of many variables which can change from year to year thereby altering these dates.

Here we examine the time of occurrence of the global and hemispheric maxima and minima lower tropospheric temperatures, the values of the annual maxima and minima, and the slopes and significance of the changes in these metrics. The statistically significant trends are all relatively small. The values of the global annual maximum and minimum showed a small, but significant trend. Northern and Southern Hemisphere maxima and minima show a slight trend toward occurring later in the year. Most recent analyses of trends in the global annual cycle using observed surface data have indicated a trend toward earlier maxima and minima.”

The 2011 Bye et al GRL paper conclusion reads

“In 1935, the International Meteorological Organisation confirmed that ‘climate is the average weather’ and adopted the years 1901-1930 as the ‘climate normal period’. Subsequently a period of thirty years has been retained as the classical period of averaging (IPCC 2007). Our analysis suggests that this administrative decision was an inspired guess. Random walks of length about 30 years within natural variability are an ‘inconvenient truth’ which must be taken into account in the global warming debate. This is particularly true when the causes of trends in the temperature record are under consideration.”

This paper is yet another significant contribution that raises further issues on the use of multi-decadal linear surface temperature trends to diagnose climate change.

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Filed under Climate Change Metrics, Research Papers

Update Of Preliminary Upper Ocean Heat Data Analysis By Josh Willis – “An Unpublished Update”

Josh Willis has sent me the update below on the post

Preliminary Upper Ocean Heat Data Analysis By Josh Willis – “An Unpublished Update”

On Sun, 13 Feb 2011, Josh Willis wrote:

Hi Roger,

Just a quick heads up.  My colleague Greg Johnson pointed out to me that I slightly misquoted he and Sarah Purkey’s deep warming numbers in my email to you that went up on the blog.  The number I sent did not include the warming below 4000 m.  Sorry about that.

The correct number for the deep warming that we are likely missing from Argo-type analyses is 0.095 W/m^2 +/- 0.062 W/m^2, where the error bar is a 95% confidence limit.  So really it should be about 0.1 W/m^2, not 0.07 W/m^2 in the deep ocean.

Also note that this rate probably best represents the rate between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s.  The rate of deep warming during the late 2000s could very well be different.


With this update, point three in my original post becomes

3. IF the diagnosed radiative forcing of +0.16 Watts per meter squared in the upper ocean plus the 0.07  0.095 Watts per meter squared below that level (assuming the rates did not change in the later part of the cuurent decade) are robust in the final analysis, the total of 0.23  0.255 Watts per meter squared is significantly below the 0.6 Watts per meter squared predicted by Jim Hansen from the GISS model for the time period 1993 to 2003 (see).

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Interesting Paper “The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project” By Compo Et Al 2011

I was alerted to a new paper

Compo GP,Whitaker JS, Sardeshmukh PD, Matsui N, Allan RJ, Yin X, Gleason Jr BE, Vose RS, Rutledge G, Bessemoulin P, Br¨onnimann S, Brunet M, Crouthamel RI, Grant AN, Groisman PY, Jones PD, Kruk MC, Kruger AC, Marshall GJ, Maugeri M, Mok HY, Nordli Ø, Ross TF, Trigo RM, Wang XL, Woodruff SD,Worley SJ. 2011. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 137: 1–28. DOI:10.1002/qj.776

The abstract reads [highlight added]

The Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) project is an international effort to produce a comprehensive global atmospheric circulation dataset spanning the twentieth century, assimilating only surface pressure reports and using observed monthly sea-surface temperature and sea-ice distributions as boundary conditions. It is chiefly motivated by a need to provide an observational dataset with quantified uncertainties for validations of climate model simulations of the twentieth century on all time-scales,with emphasis on the statistics of daily weather. It uses an Ensemble Kalman Filter data assimilation method with background ‘first guess’ fields supplied by an ensemble of forecasts from a global numerical weather prediction model. This directly yields a global analysis every 6 hours as the most likely state of the atmosphere, and also an uncertainty estimate of that analysis.

The 20CR dataset provides the first estimates of global tropospheric variability, and of the dataset’s time-varying quality, from 1871 to the present at 6-hourly temporal and 2◦ spatial resolutions. Intercomparisons with independent radiosonde data indicate that the reanalyses are generally of high quality. The quality in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere throughout the century is similar to that of current three-day operational NWP forecasts. Intercomparisons over the second half-century of these surface-based reanalyses with other reanalyses that also make use of upper-air and satellite data are equally encouraging.

It is anticipated that the 20CR dataset will be a valuable resource to the climate research community for both model validations and diagnostic studies. Some surprising results are already evident. For instance, the long-term trends of indices representing the North Atlantic Oscillation, the tropical Pacific Walker Circulation, and the Pacific–North American pattern are weak or non-existent over the full period of record. The long-term trends of zonally averaged precipitation minus evaporation also differ in character from those in climate model simulations of the twentieth century.”

Excerpts from the paper include

“The results in Figures 12–16 demonstrate that the 20CRv2 reanalysis has successfully incorporated the information in synoptic surface pressure observations and its beneficial impact on estimates of the global tropospheric circulation, not only on the synoptic but also much longer time-scales. We end this section with a tantalizing look at perhaps the hardest test for such a surface-pressure-based reanalysis system: its ability to represent the mean hydroclimate and its variability. Figure 17(a) compares the 1980 to 2000 mean of zonally averaged precipitation P in the 20CRv2 and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP, Adler et al., 2003) v.2 datasets. The comparison is generally favourable, and within the uncertainties estimated from intercomparisons among other observational precipitation datasets (e.g. Adler et al., 2003). Figure 17(b) shows the 1980–2000 mean of zonally averaged precipitation minus evaporation, P–E, in the 20CRv2, and also its change (P–E) from that during the first 20-year period (1871–1891) of the reanalysis. The surprise here is that the meridional structure of (P–E) does not resemble that of P–E itself. Such a resemblance might have been anticipated from simple arguments and climate model simulations (Held and Soden, 2006) as a ‘robust’ feature of the global hydrological response to global warming. Indeed at 10◦N the sign of (P–E) is opposite to that of P–E. Assessing the realism of such aspects of the 20CRv2 and other historical reanalysis datasets will clearly continue to be of interest.”

“The overall quality of the 20CRv2 dataset may surprise some readers. While the relevance for weather studies appears to be consistent with that anticipated from advanced data assimilation algorithms applied in observing system experiments using only surface observations (Whitaker et al., 2004, 2009; Anderson et al., 2005; Thepaut, 2006; Compo et al., 2006), the relevance for climate studies, e.g. as suggested by the high correlations of monthly-mean anomalies in Figure 15 and climate indices in Figure 16, could not have been anticipated from those short feasibility experiments. The ability to generate skilful 24-hour forecasts of surface pressure (relative to persistence forecasts) even in years as data-poor as 1871 was another pleasant surprise.”

 The temporal inhomogeneity of the input fields that Compo et al used [the surface pressure sea surface temperatures and sea ice] raise questions on the robustness of their results.  Nevertheless, this is an interesting study and the results so far are quite provocative, as they raise further questions on the skill of the IPCC models to replicate (i.e. hindcast) the evolution of the climate system in the last century.

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Filed under Climate Change Metrics, Climate Models

A Guest Post “Some Back Of The Envelope Calculations About Energy” by Balázs M. Fekete

Today we have a guest post by Balázs M. Fekete.

“Some Back Of The Envelope Calculations About Energy” by Balázs M. Fekete

High energy use is often considered the most important sign of an unsustainable consumer economy. Increasing energy efficiency is viewed as the most important step in lowering carbon emission and mitigating climate change followed by the necessity to ensure that the remaining energy demand is satisfied in a sustainable manner using renewable resources. Perhaps a somewhat strict definition of renewable energy is to consider only energy that is driven by solar radiation.

What makes the following discussion about energy difficult is the plethora of units used in the literature. Some express energy in TOE (tons of oil equivalent), some use Wh or J (which often have an implicit annual dimension Wh/yr) just to list a few. In this blog, I will consistently use W, which seems to be the appropriate unit for discussing energy use.

People in developed world are often told that their addiction to energy has to be stopped, so as a first step it is worthwhile to see what energy addiction means and establish some sort of energy use baseline that  could be consider as the minimum for modern life. We often hear statements about the necessity to change our lifestyle. A good approach is to look at different countries and decide what would be a reasonable compromise. Table 1 shows the per capita energy use for a couple of countries from the CIA’s The World Factbook[1]. Contrasted with the ~100 W energy equivalent of a 2000 kCal/day diet, one can translate this table to the number of “servant” individuals need to make life more comfortable. People in Bangladesh rely on two servants as additional energy, while the residents of Qatar have almost 285 servants. Since these servants are fully dedicated to support their “master” and don’t take energy to maintain their own metabolism it is no surprise that the comfort of living far exceeds in many countries what kings used to enjoy centuries ago. In Table 1. Chile, Lebanon, and Romania are colored green, because the per capita energy consumption in these countries is around the 2200 W which is the global average.

Table 1. shows the per capita energy use for a couple of countries from the CIA’s The World Factbook[1].

Country W/capita
Bangladesh 214
Eritrea 265
Senegal 310
Brazil 1422
China 1516
Chile 2200
Lebanon 2264
Romania 2376
Cyprus 4370
Kazakhstan 4474
United States 10381
Luxemburg 12531
Iceland 15606



Figure 1: Energy use distribution as a function of population (black curve, left axis) and cumulative total (red curve, right axis)

Figure 1. shows the energy distribution by population and the cumulative total consumption. A striking characteristic is the non-even distribution of the global energy use. In a more just world, where everybody had access to 2200 W average energy (which is less than one fourth of the energy use in the United States) the red line would be a straight line from 0 to ~15 TW (which is the global energy use today, Figure 2.).

Only 26 % of the global population enjoys the luxury of access to >2200 W/capita energy, and the vast majority use much less. The majority of the world’s population lives in conditions not much different than Europe was in Medieval times. For instance, 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity (400 million in India alone). Anybody who thinks that is the living standards everybody should adopt is welcome to move to Bangladesh, Eritrea, or Senegal.

Figure 2: Total energy use in a more just world

Figure 2. shows the cumulative energy use in a more just world, where everybody has access to the current average (scenario 1). If people in the developed world did not reduce their energy use, while the 76 % living under the global average is allowed to 2200 W/capita (scenario 2) the global energy use would only grow by 40 %. A more generous allowance of doubled per capita energy use (4400 W/capita, scenario 3) would obviously mean that the global energy use would double. In Table 1. Cyprus and Kazakhstan are colored blue as examples of countries living at the level of twice the global per capita energy use level. Before rushing to the conclusion that the standard of living in Cyprus is probably a reasonable compromise, one has to realize that Cyprus is not known for much industry so their energy use is probably more driven by the energy use of individuals. At doubled per capita energy use level, the significance of the developed countries improving energy efficiency diminishes further making only a 10 % difference whether they reduce their energy use to the 4400 W/capita level or not (scenario 4). The little wedge between scenario 3 and 4 (since talking in wedges was popularized by Pacala and Socolow [2]) is where the developed world can make a difference by banning incandescent light bulbs.

Clearly, the driving force in growing energy use has to be the developing world catching up. Unless, over 5 billion people are denied the modern comfortable life which is far from the consumer economy of the Western world, energy use has to double regardless of changing our diet from beef to tofu or the number of Prius’ driven by academics. I overheard a dialog at the annual AGU conference in San Francisco a few years ago, when one participant expressed that driving a Toyota Prius was the excuse for not carpooling. If this is representative to the average thinking of academics, there is plenty of room for educating the level of energy efficiency needed for mitigating climate change.

Adding population growth will result in 9-12 billion people by 2050 (Figure 3 from Wikipedia[2]) therefore  the global energy use will have to triple or quadruple regardless of the energy efficiency improvement in the developed world.

Figure 3: Population projections

One might argue at this point that the core problem is overpopulation and introducing population control is the solution. Besides, the obvious conflict between population control and civil liberty, such an approach would likely lead to the conclusion that excessive population growth is the problem of the developing world and the population that needs to be controlled is the 76 % poor. Most of them are poorly educated illiterate, who do not participate in the global economy since the job they would qualify for are rapidly taken up by robots.

The developed world is actually already on the path of declining population. For instance, the fertility rate in Germany or Italy is 1.4 and 1.3 respectively, which is well below the 2.1 reproduction rate to maintain steady population. The only reason that the United States still has growing population is the continuous immigration. A quick note to those, who are proud of not having children and view themselves as savers of humanity, declining population also means less active people by the time they retire. The retirement systems are falling apart in many countries, which maintained generous retirement system for decades, when generations after generations paid less into the system than what the retirement system paid later. Such a system is only sustainable if the population grows steadily. Regardless of how savings of the retirees are managed (by the government or individuals investing in stocks or real estate), it is the next generation which ultimately pays retirement benefits (either caring for their parents, or through taxes or buying stocks and real estate from the elders).

Actually, climate change mitigation indirectly is leading to limiting the population growth of the poor. Denying people from accessing electricity leads to continued indoor air pollution, which is the primary source of many respiratory diseases in the developing world. Similarly, burning biomass as an energy source has already lead to growing food prices, which in turn already changed the previous trend of the steady decline of hunger and malnutrition as a result of the green revolution. The primary reason for the apparent collapse of the climate negotiation has nothing to do with conspiracy of the energy lobby, but clearly the developing countries (lead by Brazil, India, and China often referred as BRIC countries) realizing that the carbon emission targets on the table will severely limit their ability to catch up anywhere near to the living standard of the developed world. Hopefully, this discussion clearly illustrates that anybody who thinks climate change mitigation can be achieved primarily by improving energy efficiency either ignores 76 % of the global population who are extremely poor by any standard or did not do their homework. One would hope that those prominent climate scientists, who make these claims did a better job in their own science.

After establishing that tripling or quadrupling the global energy use is inevitable (which is not an energy demand forecast but a hopelessly idealistic assumption that the world is heading to a more just distribution of wealth) one needs to look at if this energy use can be satisfied from renewable resources. Strictly speaking, one needs to compare the amount of energy that the reaches the Earth’s surface (~89 PW) to the tripled energy consumption (45 TW). Since, 70 % of the Earth is covered by ocean, the available solar energy is only ~27 PW, assuming that solar panels or biomasses will be utilized dominantly on the continental land mass. This is still a comfortable 0.17 % energy consumption solar radiation ratio,  if 100 % of the solar insolation can be captured. Unfortunately, neither biofuels nor solar panels come close to that level of efficiency.

Interestingly, not much data is available on the land efficiency of producing biofuel. In a recent talk by Jose Marengo[3] at the Global Water Systems Project’s symposium in Bonn Germany, provided some interesting clues based on ethanol production from sugar cane. Brazil is planning to expand the amount of lands dedicated to grow sugar cane to 10-12 million ha to produce 48 billion l ethanol. Considering the energy content of the produced ethanol and the annual solar insolation of the sugar cane producing land, one can calculate a 0.3% efficiency without factoring in the energy investment needed to grow the plants and produce ethanol. Since, sugar cane ethanol so far is the most efficient form of producing biofuel, one has to realize satisfying the 45 TW energy demand would require dedicating all the land to energy production, which is obviously impossible.

A similar calculation can be carried out for solar panels. The most efficient photovoltaic solar panels have 10 % efficiency. Higher efficiency is achieved by concentrating solar insolation via a series of mirrors. It is unclear if the overall land use efficiency of such a configuration is improved. The solar panels are typically black, so wall-to-wall deployment would lower albedo and cause warming. To offset that, the panels need to have spaces in between them possibly with higher albedo surfaces, therefore a 5 % land efficiency is probably more realistic.  At that land efficiency, the land requirement would increase from 0.17 % (energy demand vs. solar energy ratio) to ~3 %, which is the equivalent of a current urban area. Putting solar panels on roof tops is clearly not enough, since roofs are the smaller portion of the urban area beside the competition for roof space. John Holden (President Obama’s science advisor) wants to paint them white (as a means to increase their albedo and combat global warming) others want to put grass as thermal insulation and to withhold precipitation for controlling storm runoff. If solar panels are installed in remote areas (preferably desert areas), additional energy transportation losses would mean that more land will be needed.

It is hard to judge the area requirement of wind power. Some might argue that it is minimal considering the actual footprint of a wind tower. Those unfortunate to live next to the hissing wind turbines might think otherwise. What is more informative is the ratio of the estimated potential wind power (370 TW[4]) and its commercially available portion (72 TW[5]), which is actually not much more than the 45 TW energy demand. Although, it is unclear how the total wind power was calculated particularly in the light of hydropower calculation bellow, but the high ratio of energy demand vs. available capacity is concerning since it would be hard to believe that the 45 TW level of utilization would not affect global circulation patterns.

The hydropower capacity reported in literature (6-10 TW) appears to be off by a factor of two to three. The computation is actually rather simple. The area integral of the elevation (in m above sea level) × runoff  (in kg/m2) product is the potential energy of the excess water on the land surface.  A simple way to make that calculation is to multiply the mean annual discharge to oceans (~40,000 km3/yr times density of water) by the runoff weighted elevation (275 m) which leads to 3.5 TW [1]. The discrepancy can come from two sources. The first is the runoff weighted elevation is obviously not identical to the global mean elevation (600 m). The second source is the misunderstanding of the reported built-in hydropower capacity 0.8 TW. The built-in capacity reported by IEA or other sources is not meant for 24/7 operation. Hydropower is often used to generate peak energy, since hydropower plants are the quickest to turn on (other power plants needs considerable amount of time to crank up). As a consequence, hydropower plants have a low utilization factor. IEA clams 40%, but it can be lower so the turbines sit idle most of the time. The 0.8 TW appears to be quite high even if the utilization factor is taken into account indicating the potential to increase that capacity further is rather limited. A growing number of hydropower plants are used to store energy. They might pump water during off peak hours to a reservoir at some higher elevation and release the water and generate electricity during peak hours. Unless, a better form of storing a massive amount of energy is found, the significance of hydropower is likely to remain for load balancing than its absolute contribution to the global energy source mix.

While satisfying energy needs from the Sun appears to be doable, such a transition will need substantial land dedicated to produce energy, when the available land is becoming increasingly a limiting factor for human development. A recent paper by Rockstörm et al. [3] introduces a series of planetary boundaries to express that our planet is finite. Perhaps, a more intuitive mean to realize the Earth’s limits is to consider population density.

Current population density over 133 million km2 continental land mass is 52 people/km2 or 1.96 ha/capita. Since half the global population lives in urban areas which is 3 % of the continental land mass the density in cities is 942 people/km2. One can argue that the total land that humans already appropriated is the sum of agricultural lands 10-17 % plus urban areas (a total 20 %), which would lead to 250 people/km2 over the human controlled lands. The “scientific narrative” is often to blame humans for destroying the Earth’s ecosystems, but it is hard to find any other species that can reach similar density beside the desert locust. The number of locusts in a swarm could be as high as 40-80 million, which is highly destructive and needs to keep moving. Factoring in the 2 g average weight of the locust, the human equivalent (at 75 kg/person) would be 1100 people/km2 (by the way, at this density, the locusts become cannibals, which is undeniably just a primitive form of waging wars). This density is similar to the population density of Bangladesh (1083 people/km2). Mankind’s only guilt is being populous and probably any other species at our density would be similarly destructive. At 250 people/km2 density, which is well below the destructive locust swarm level, there is still room for ecosystems to thrive, but satisfying our 22-44 energy “servants” for a growing population is clearly a challenge.

Sustainability can be ultimately posed as a land utilization question. The per capita land allowance is 1.96 ha (that will shrink as population grows). Three percent of that land is needed for cities that will double in the next 50 years as urban population is expected to double by 2050. Another 10-15 % is needed to grow food. Relying on ecosystem services (e.g., wetlands instead of sewage treatment plant) will also need more lands. Evidently not all lands are equal and the lands suitable to serve humans’ needs are likely in competition with natural ecosystems.

When discussing energy, one has to realize that the real challenge in utilizing renewable energies is not the energy source, but the energy storage and transportation. It is well known that the most efficient battery technology still has one quarter of the energy density by weight of the regular gasoline. It is telling that the putting a traditional combustion engine plus a gas tank into plugin hybrids like the GM Volt to extend the driving distance by 200 miles is more viable than adding more batteries to increase the 50 miles that the car can go on batteries. What is less realized is the efficiency of refueling. Jeremy Clarkson the arrogant host of BBC’s TopGear show demonstrated this when he introduced the fully electric Tesla supercar a few years ago that is popular amongst environmentally conscious celebrities like  George Clooney. The car uses the same lithium batteries that are common in laptop computers. While the car is significantly heavier than comparable cars with combustion engines, the batteries could last for 250 miles, which is significant compared to electric cars. The only drawback is that recharging on a regular 15 Amp outlet takes 16 hours, which is not surprising. One could come to the same conclusion by considering the energy content of a medium size 40 l gasoline tank (1368 MJ). To transfer that amount of energy in the usual 5 minute stop at the gas station is the equivalent of hooking up a car to a 4.5 MW powerline. Alternatively, refueling stations would need to replace the whole battery pack and charge them in warehouses. Electric vehicles may start to populate cities soon, but the good old combustion engine will have a bright future on the highways for a considerable time, which leads back to biofuels. Unless, engineers find efficient ways of producing synthetically, biofuels will be needed for transportation.

In summary, the technologies to transform our economy to renewables are far from ready and burning more fossil fuels will be inevitable for the 76 % of the Earth’s population, which is extremely poor. Elevating their living standard is a must not only in the spirit of equity, but as a means to control population growth humanly. Wealth and education (particularly women’s education) appears to be the best form of contraception. Putting the developing world on a rapid path to economic growth is the best means of ensuring that global population peaks around 9-10 billion instead of 12-15 billion (Figure 3). Denying them cheap energy (which are various forms of fossils fuels today) is not only immoral (and a crime against humanity) but will keep developing countries at the current level of population growth, which will lead to higher population size by the time they catch up. Someday, mankind will need to move to renewable energy sources (unless nuclear is widely endorsed), but that transition needs to be well planned. Acting in panic mode will probably do more damage than good.


1    Fekete, B. M.; D. Wisser, C. Kroeze, E. Mayorga, L. Bouwman, W. M. Wollheim and C. J. Vörösmarty: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scenario drivers (1970-2050): climate and hydrological alterations, Global Biochemical Cycles, 24(GB0A12), 2010

2    Pacala, S. and R. Socolow: Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies, Science, 305(13 August), 2004

3    Rockström, J.; W. Steffen, K. Noone, F. S. Chapin III, T. M. Lenton, M. Sheffer, C. Folke, H. J. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. de Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlber, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen and A. Foley: A safe operating space for humanity, Nature, 461, 2009 

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New Paper “The Influence Of Large Dams On Surrounding Climate And Precipitation Patterns” By Degu Et Al 2011

We have a new paper that provides additional evidence on the role of landscape change in altering the climate. The paper is

Degu, A. M., F. Hossain, D. Niyogi, R. Pielke Sr., J. M. Shepherd, N. Voisin, and T. Chronis, 2011: The influence of large dams on surrounding climate and precipitation patterns. Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, doi:10.1029/2010GL046482, in press.

The abstract reads

“Understanding the forcings exerted by large dams on local climate is key to establishing if artificial reservoirs inadvertently modify precipitation patterns in impounded river basins. Using a 30 year record of reanalysis data, the spatial gradients of atmospheric variables related to precipitation formation are identified around the reservoir shoreline for 92 large dams of North America. Our study reports that large dams influence local climate most in Mediterranean, and semi‐arid climates, while for humid climates the influence is least apparent. Clear spatial gradients of convective available potential energy, specific humidity and surface evaporation are also observed around the fringes between the reservoir shoreline and farther from these dams. Because of the increasing correlation observed between CAPE and extreme precipitation percentiles, our findings point to the possibility of storm intensification in impounded basins of the Mediterranean and arid climates of the United States.”

The news release on this paper from Tennessee Technological University is 

Large Dams Can Affect Local Climates, Alter Rainfall

and starts with the text

“Researchers investigating how large dams can affect local climates say dams have the clear potential to drastically alter local rainfall in some regions.”

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Research Papers

Another Paper On The Important Role Of Aerosols On Cloud And Precipitation Processes By Solomos Et Al 2011 “An Integrated Modeling Study On The Effects Of Mineral Dust And Sea”

There is a new paper that further improves our understanding the role of aerosols on clouds and precipitation. The paper is

S. Solomos, G. Kallos, J. Kushta, M. Astitha, C. Tremback, A. Nenes, and Z. Levin: 2011 – An integrated modeling study on the effects of mineral dust and sea salt particles on clouds and precipitation. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 873–892, 2011.

The abstract reads [highlight added]

This report addresses the effects of pollution on the development of precipitation in clean (“pristine”) and polluted (“hazy”) environments in the Eastern Mediterranean by using the Integrated Community Limited Area Modeling System (ICLAMS) (an extended version of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System, RAMS). The use of this model allows one to investigate the interactions of the aerosols with cloud development. The simulations show that the onset of precipitation in hazy clouds is delayed compared to pristine conditions. Adding small concentrations of GCCN to polluted clouds promotes early-stage rain. The addition of GCCN to pristine clouds has no effect on precipitation amounts. Topography was found to be more important for the distribution of precipitation than aerosol properties. Increasing by 15% the concentration of hygroscopic dust particles for a case study over the Eastern Mediterranean resulted in more vigorous convection and more intense updrafts. The clouds that were formed extended about three kilometers higher, delaying the initiation of precipitation by one hour. Prognostic treatment of the aerosol concentrations in the explicit cloud droplet nucleation scheme of the model, improved the model performance for the twenty-four hour accumulated precipitation. The spatial distribution and the amounts of precipitation were found to vary greatly between the different aerosol scenarios. These results indicate the large uncertainty that remains and the need for more accurate description of aerosol feedbacks in atmospheric models and climate change predictions.”

The conclusion includes the text

These results illustrate the highly non-linear response of precipitation to aerosol properties and indicate that a large portion of uncertainty remains unresolved. This study focuses mostly on investigating the mechanisms that are associated with the aerosol cloud interactions for a specific event. Therefore it is not possible to extract generic results. Nevertheless, this work represents one of the first limited area modelling studies for aerosol-cloud-radiation effects at the area of Eastern Mediterranean and could be used as a basis for future improvements and longer term studies. More intense combined modeling and observational surveys on the interactions between airborne particles and cloud processes at regional and local scale are necessary in order to improve our knowledge on the interactions between atmospheric chemistry and meteorology.”

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Recommended Book “My Life: From Riches To Rags and (Almost) Back! – A Memoire” By S. Ichtiaque Rasool

I have had the pleasure to meet and work with S. Ichtiaque Rasool as part of the work with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.  He is an outstanding , internationally well-respected colleague and climate scientist.  His professional writings are broad and seminal contributions, and involve other planets as well as Earth (e.g. see).

I was privileged to published with Ichtiaque in the papers

Chase, T.N., K. Wolter, R.A. Pielke Sr., and Ichtiaque Rasool, 2006: Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L23709, doi:10.1029/2006GL027470

Chase, T.N., K. Wolter, R.A. Pielke Sr., and Ichtiaque Rasool, 2008: Reply to comment by W.M. Connolley on ‘‘Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context?’’Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L02704, doi:10.1029/2007GL031574.

He recently has published an autobiography

 My Life: From Riches To Rags and (Almost) Back! – A Memoire”

which I highly recommend. It is a story, worthy of a novel!  He has lived in India, Pakistan,  France and the United States, and has spent time in a wide range of other countries. His life is a motivation to all of us, including young students as they chose their career path.  Ichtiaque’s honest and candid presentation of both his positive and negative experiences with buerauracy are invaluable.  

I highly recommend reading this book.

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