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« The subsidy cuts and the pea under the thimble | Main | Surfacestations: the punchline »
Friday
Dec182015

We forgot the geography!

The British Medical Journal recently held a Q&A on climate science with, among others, Brian Hoskins. The results are paywalled, but I was amused by the excerpt from the start of the session in response to a question about why Antarctic sea ice is growing:

The anomaly in the Antarctic is due to its geography. Unlike in the Arctic, where the extent of sea ice is constrained by the North American and Eurasian land masses, Antarctic sea ice forms in the open ocean with less land constraining its formation. Antarctic sea ice is also thinner and mostly melts each summer, whereas Arctic sea ice survives longer (although the amount of sea ice lasting more than two years has declined rapidly since 1979).

If the growth is "due to its geography" you have to wonder why the climate models predicted a decrease. Perhaps climate modellers forgot to put the geography in?

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Reader Comments (59)

It follows, therefore, that where the Arctic is not constrained by land (i.e. the straits between Alaska and Greenland) the sea ice should be growing.

But it isn't.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Line 7365453 of MostExcellentClimateModel.f

GEOG = 'True'

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

It's all part of the unfalsifiability. More sea ice or less sea ice at either polar are both the result of man-made global warming.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Ah, but it is the northern hemisphere, where most of the pesky humans are, that is really changing…"

How soon before that idea is put forward? Any bets?

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Whatever happens, they make it up as they go along.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

There is a response, by Ivan Hudecek, Retired Consultant Anaesthetist:


The explanation that the increase in the Antarctic sea ice is due to a lack of constraint is not credible unless the authors believe that Patagonia, New Zealand and Australia have recently moved northwards.

The authors may be right that some of the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking but according to NASA the total is increasing (http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-i...).

As to the statement that ice loss is “to be expected with rising temperatures” one should remember that one of the drivers of ice sheet formation is the amount of precipitation. The rising temperature above the seas surely increases evaporation and cloud formation unless proven otherwise.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Presumably the computer modellers did not do geography, so they left it out. Geography has nothing to do with climate science, as it can't be computer adjusted.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Its only a matter of time before: "The fall in global temperatures is cause by global warming".

I despair. The point you make is not subtle and the excuse they offer is somewhat implausible. Is the BMJ just another organisation that employs a bunch of simpletons who cannot think for themselves. On that theme, I watched Ted Cruz interview the President (I think) of the Sierra Club the other day. His only defence to every question was 'I agree with 97% of scientists'. But he lacked the basic wit to prepare for what was clearly a high profile grilling and find out, or ask an aid to find out, where the figure came from. What a numpty!

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Borodin

Here is the second question and the non-answer to it. Maraun's phrase "not especially honest" comes to mind:

Half the temperature increase is claimed to have happened before 1950 while most CO2 emissions have taken place since then. Doesn’t this suggest that CO2 emissions are not responsible for global warming?

This claim is incorrect. In the IPCC reports, linear trends for surface temperature (which are based on three datasets) show that global average surface temperatures increased by 0.85°C between 1880 and 2012, and by 0.72°C between 1951 and 2012. The evidence is strong that most of the warming since 1880 took place after 1950.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Radical Rodent, it is significant that in the Northern Hemisphere there are more people living in colder climates, who use energy to stay warm.

Climate scientists have now realised that people in warmer climates, don't use as much energy, simply to stay warm. This dramatic discovery by climate scientists opens up whole new grant funded research opportunities, that had never previously occurred to climate scientists in their air conditioned offices.

This also raises the difficult issue of why poor people in hot countries keep fleeing to cooler countries to live, whereas as wealthy people in cooler countries, keep travelling to hotter countries to relax.

Climate scientists dreaming of their own Nobel Prize for daft ideas, now have the Christmas break to come up with plans for massive fans blowing hot air to cooler areas, and cold air to hotter areas, and thus solve the climate crisis fabricated by their predecessors. The fans will all be wind powered, so zero emissions! Genius!

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Steve Borodin

It was also a pity that Cruz hadn't bothered to check the 97% cobblers either as his entourage must have known the 97%
getout 'fraud' was coming and should have supplied him with the 'stinger'.

All he could say was that it had been debunked - true - but incomplete. It was like setting up a joke and then forgetting the punchline.

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

As a medic, I regard the BMJ as a comic. It is way down the list of impact scores (rating of importance) and frankly it is the last port of call for a serious researcher.

This has been cooked up by Fiona Godlee who has made all sorts of fatuous AGW comments in the past.

I expect that most medics have more pressing tasks than to read this tripe.

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRCS

You do realise that Antarctica is a continent, while the Arctic is not?


The insinuation that this paper (Lewis and Curry) is an outlier is of course grossly misleading, while the use of 5-95% ranges to hide the huge differences between the GCMs and the observational estimates is straight out the Myles Allen "dirty tricks" book.

This is one of the most confused comments I've seen here for a long time (which is saying something). Either there is a vast difference between the observationally-based estimates and others (in which case "outlier" is fine) or it's not. You seem to be complaining about it being called an outlier, while at the same time complaining that they made it look much more comparable with other estimates than it actually is. Which one is it?

Also, Andrew, I've probably said before, you're probably lucky than most climate scientists are too polite to describe you in the same manner in which you seem comfortable describing them, This doesn't mean that you wouldn't deserve it if they did, simply that they are, by and large, much more decent that you are (and me, to be quite honest).

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Jazznick, Cruz gave ample opportunity for the Sierra Club President to 'say something the Sierra Club may later rely on'. He didn't, just reiterated that his first line of defence was the 97%.

The Sierra Club have now backed themselves into a corner. Someone, or something, is going to end up being thrown under a bus. As it will be in an American political arena when it happens, it will be messy.

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

aTTP, your post is one of the more snarky seen here for a while, but coming from you, hardly surprising.

You are happy to support Hockey Stick derived physics based on no data, but object to criticism of it based on, no data.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"These factors cannot account for the long term global warming observed since industrialisation because there has not been a long term increase in solar output or a decline in volcanic activity of the necessary magnitude."
So, Sammy Solanki et al from the Max Plank Institute, were making it up about their research around 5 years ago or so, thjat the Sun was burning hotter & brighter now than at any time in the last 11,000 years?

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

'the study’s findings still mean that it would only increase the time taken to reach a given level of warming by a few years.'
That is simply untrue.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

The smell of intellectual rot
Does not bother the BMJ
Nor any other 'Climate Trot'
Going on their dismal way

What matters most is saving face
When wishing to be prescient
Admitting error is such disgrace
When you claim to be omniscient

So any guff is good enough
To get through an anxious moment
After all who reads this stuff
That isn't in the movement?

A troublesome cleric, I hear you cry,
A man to truth beholden!
Oh who will help us cope with someone quite so pesky
For his un-Godleeness is well-known?

But I fear there's no one there
Who can match him with his logic
Oh how unfair that our cause is bare
Of anyone not a dipstick!

So let us skulk, and steer away
From public confrontation
For if that public heard him say
Some words of condemnation
We'd have a somewhat reduced chance of generous grants and/or virtue-signalling sessions.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Golf,


aTTP, your post is one of the more snarky seen here for a while, but coming from you, hardly surprising.

Indeed. It was intentional. I assume that those who throw around accusations of dishonesty and playing "dirty tricks" can take as well as they give. Typically, they can't.


You are happy to support Hockey Stick derived physics based on no data, but object to criticism of it based on, no data.

No to both.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

The BMJ now rate "global warming" as more of a health threat than air pollution, as they mention it first in this extract:

"The misguided nature of favourable tax regimes for diesel vehicles was demonstrated by a comprehensive review that concluded: “global warming has been negatively affected, and air pollution has become alarming in many European locations.”[1] Policymakers failed to take account of the serious health effects of PM2.5 air pollution,(known since 1993 when the Six Cities study was published[2]), and the additional global warming from increased NOx, O3 and black carbon emissions.[1]

We continue to make equally misguided mistakes. Emissions from domestic wood burning are increasing in the UK. They accounted for 17% of PM2.5 emissions in 2013, only marginally less than the 18% from all road transport.[3] "

but at least they don't hide the air pollution from those uber-green wood-burners, subsidised by the masses via the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Choking to save the planet, from here:

http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2757/rr-0

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

At least the BMJ had the good fortune or good sense to keep their opinions paywalled. The Pope wasn't so lucky.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Did you have a go at the info-graphic ? You click on it to activate it. And as you click over each heading a box lights up telling you the Climate change health impacts.
It's pointless cos basically it says Climate Changes : causes everything , and makes everything worse.

* Oh hangon they don't tell you that Climate Change causes pregnancy.
And I see in the nutrition section Children and Women are vulnerable.. it's that cartoon simple ? Like isn't an poor old man more vulnerable than a Rich young woman.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"most climate scientists are too polite to describe you in the same manner in which you seem comfortable describing them"

Yes, that noble (but anonymous) group, Most Climate Scientists. AndThenTheyPooted seems to hold them in high regard. Can physics tell us who these people are, specifically?

Or is this group a fiction?

Andrew

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"The Little Ice Age was particularly apparent in the European region but didn’t represent a major decline in temperatures globally. It was probably caused by a decline in solar output in the second half of the 17th century (known as the Maunder minimum) and a higher level of volcanic activity."

So apparently we have a decline in solar output that affected only part of the northern hemisphere combined with a rise in volcanic activity that only affected part of the northern hemisphere.
I thought that the earth rotated daily on its own axis and yearly round the sun, hence solar activity would be evenly distributed over a year.
I also thought that ash, smoke, gasses from volcano's would either settle to earth in a year, or be distributed round the world by the wind, hence their effect would be worldwide, or at least hemisphere wide, after a year.
Yet the little ice age lasted for more than one year.
If indeed it was limited to Europe then a far better explanation of the mechanism would be desirable and potentially very useful.
If it was not then clearly the sentences come from grossly inadequate research, which must make us doubt all other opinions expressed by this author.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat

aTTP, good to see that double measures of hypocrisy are freely dispensed with seasonal greetings.

The Met Office announced that 2016 is set to be even hotter than 2015. Whilst Pacific currents up the West coast of South America may suggest that is possible, don't you think that the Met Office may be premature in creating science stories before 2016 has even started? They are only the taxpayer funded funded Met Office, broadcast all over the taxpayer funded BBC after all. With your expertise, could you express your concern?

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Odd on the BMJ went to some 'expert ' how is hard core green and unquestioning CAGW support , and just took everything they told them on face value.

But it does show you can be expert in one area and , to be frank , idiotic in others.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

These people have no understanding of the real physics which shows ice caps cool the oceans, allowing life to continue within them, and biofeedback creates clouds to cool the atmosphere, allowing life on the land. Entropy Dear Boys!

This CO2 obsession would be laughable were it not so serious: proof of the potential end of the Scientific Enlightenment.

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

A Comic, and hilarious raving just about describes it.

The anomaly in the Antarctic is due to its geography. Unlike in the Arctic, where the extent of sea ice is constrained by the North American and Eurasian land masses, Antarctic sea ice forms in the open ocean with less land constraining its formation. Antarctic sea ice is also thinner and mostly melts each summer, whereas Arctic sea ice survives longer (although the amount of sea ice lasting more than two years has declined rapidly since 1979).

That sort of guff ]above] would make many a past Geography master weep long.

Then we had this from one of the other clowns:

It follows, therefore, that where the Arctic is not constrained by land (i.e. the straits between Alaska and Greenland) the sea ice should be growing.

But it isn't.

Which was insult to injury.

And then............................. there was that other prat, I can't even begin to even go there. I'll have to have a lie down, too much stupidity does fatigue my mind and greatly at that.

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


aTTP, good to see that double measures of hypocrisy are freely dispensed with seasonal greetings.

I'm not quite sure why being a little snarky qualifies as hypocrisy. My generaly impression is that some people's definition of "hypocrisy" and "dishonesty" is somewhat non-standard, or applied rather selectively.


The Met Office announced that 2016 is set to be even hotter than 2015. Whilst Pacific currents up the West coast of South America may suggest that is possible, don't you think that the Met Office may be premature in creating science stories before 2016 has even started? They are only the taxpayer funded funded Met Office, broadcast all over the taxpayer funded BBC after all. With your expertise, could you express your concern?

I don't think that what the Met Office says should be influenced by who funds them. That you may not like what they say doesn't really matter.

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

"I don't think that what the Met Office says should be influenced by who funds them."

And Then There's Simple Stupidity.

Andrew

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Athelstan,
Please detail why I am clownish for suggesting that the Arctic is not growing in sea ice as the Antarctic is?

Dec 18, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

@paul matthews
A gentle correction. See AR4 FAQ 3.1. 0.74C is last hundred years from 1906. They break out roughly 0.35C to 1950 and roughly 0.55C to 2006. And Lindzen made the point that the warming from ~1920- 1945 is statistically indistinguishable from that of 1975-2000. The point you dismiss based on wrong numbers is actually quite trenchant.

Dec 18, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

aTTP

"most climate scientists are too polite"

Yeah, right. You've not been to RealClimate ('climate science from climate scientists') lately* then..?

*In the last eleven years.

Or Climate Progress.

Or SkS.

(Not that dissent is tolerated, so the absence of contrary opinions doesn't actually mean they don't exist.)

Dec 18, 2015 at 5:04 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"broadcast all over the taxpayer funded BBC"

Not for long.

Dec 18, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The New Paradigm of Science

1) IPCC releases FAR: The science is settled, and we don't think the sun is very important to climate
2) Skeptics: well, its a little bit important, isn't it?
3) IPCC Support Squad: Skeptics are ill-informed, bought and sold, and shouldn't speak up to their betters!!!
4) IPCC releases SAR: Although the science is settled, we've done some sciency stuff the sun is somewhat important.
5) Skeptics: glad you though of that all yourself. Now about clouds?
6) IPCC Support Squad: Skeptics are ill-informed, bought and sold, and shouldn't speak up to their betters!!!
7) IPCC releases TAR: Although the science is settled, we've done some sciency stuff clouds are somewhat important.
8) Skeptics: glad you though of that all yourself. Now about the Urban Heat Island?
9) IPCC Support Squad: Skeptics are ill-informed, bought and sold, and shouldn't speak up to their betters!!!

Rinse and repeat, etc., ad nauseam.

Dec 18, 2015 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

"there has not been a long term increase in solar output ... of the necessary magnitude."

Yeah it's just a complete coincidence that peaks in the solar proxy 10Be match the Roman, Medieval and modern warm periods, and the troughs match the Dark ages and the Little Ice Age.

Our simple numerical model matches solar variation over 4000 years. The IPCC can't keep their co2 model on track for 50 without fudging aerosol and volcanic forcing to keep it on track.

https://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/salvador-4k-annotated.png

The model output for the next 85 years is here
http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/1/117/2013/prp-1-117-2013.pdf

The talk I gave in Paris explaining the solar-planetary theory is here.
https://t.co/6Bf8AgHCB2

Thanks for your indulgence your grace.

Dec 18, 2015 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

Just to clarify, 1.05-1.8 C is the 17-83% range for TCR in Lewis and Curry 2014, not a 5-95% range like wider one Myles Allen quoted from earlier work of mine. But, although the range concerned is narrower in this case, since the distribution is skewed it still gives a biased impression unless the best (median) estimate, here 1.33 C, is also given.

For the record, I have a high regard for Brian Hoskins (who is a top rank climate scientist) notwithstanding that I disagree with him about how sensitive the climate system is to greenhouse gases, and I don't think he would set out to deliberately mislead anyone.

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic Lewis

Anybody who has taken the time to read HH Lamb and others will know that the MWP began to decline as early as the 12thC.

While temperatures probably hit rock bottom in the late 17thC (and some would argue again in the 19thC), it is a fallacy to suppose that the LIA was just a short term event.

Whether the Maunder or volcanoes were responsible for the 17thC dip or not, there were clearly much longer running factors involved for the centuries long changes

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Hmmm if their anatomy is anywhere near their geography.....

arse and elbow

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Registered Commentertomo

It must be true what they say about the sun shining only on the righteous. How else could a change in the sun affect only the "European Region"?

The other point about the geography of the Antarctic is that it quite far south. I am not a scientist but I think that has something to do with why it is so blinking cold there.

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Dec 18, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterNigel S

The British Medical Journal diagnosis is that the planet is suffering from ague caused by a plethora of bad humours (CO2), the prescribed treatment is massive bloodletting (incidentally bloodletting often killed patients who would have otherwise survived).

Dec 18, 2015 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

Also the bloodletting was often done by leeches, but I wouldn’t like to take the metaphor too far.

Dec 18, 2015 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

Paul Matthews @ 12.49 - Could I take issue with this comment?

In the IPCC reports, linear trends for surface temperature (which are based on three datasets) show that global average surface temperatures increased by 0.85°C between 1880 and 2012, and by 0.72°C between 1951 and 2012. The evidence is strong that most of the warming since 1880 took place after 1950.

The two linear trends are correct, but to say most of the warming took place after 1950 ignores other data.
From 1880 to 1910 there was slightly cooling; then warming from 1910 to the early 1940s; then a drop to 1950; then flat to the mid 1970s; then sharp warming to around the turn of the century. Since then average temperatures have been flat. So 1880 to 1950 has two cooling periods on either side of the warming, whilst 1950 to 2012 has flat periods on either side of the warming.

Dec 18, 2015 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

I was a bit shocked actually, to learn that the Antarctic had a lot of geography while the Arctic had so little. I am not sure if it's due to the cuts, or austerity
but in any event, cant we get a petition going, to end this ?


what do we want
Arctic geographic equality
when do we want it
Now!!

Dec 18, 2015 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

The thing about this post is a "medical" group (or someone named Fiona Godlee?) is giving advice on climate science. Often a global warming type will say if you had a serious illness would you take advice from individual XYZ, or would you go to a doctor?
Hello BMJ doctors – don't expect a call anytime soon. Actually, I think the pain in my side is from laughing.

Dec 18, 2015 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Hultquist

Fiona Godlee is a 'media doctor' - ( and that is according the BMA), she has not practiced medicine for at least 15 years.

Dec 19, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Pat echoes my thoughts. Here's another on the global question of the Little Ice Age:


"The Little Ice Age was particularly apparent in the European region but didn’t represent a major decline in temperatures globally."

So, those some 180 paleoclimate studies posted up at co2science.org aren't "global" in some sense? Or how about Huang and Pollack's 6,000+ plus (1997) borehole sites aren't global?

Gosh - could this be a Clintonian case of "depends on what the definition of is, is?" Or "global," in this case?

Dec 19, 2015 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

What correct physics is telling us is explained here where you are invited to make a submission for a reward of several thousand dollars if you can prove the thermodynamics wrong and produce a study showing opposite results to mine which showed that more moist regions have both lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitude and altitude.

Q.1: What is the sensitivity for each 1% of water vapor in the atmosphere?

Q.2: Based on your answer to Q.1, how much warming does a mean of 1.25% of water vapor produce?

Q.3: Also based on the above, how much hotter should be a rain forest with 4% WV compared with a dry region with 1% WV?

Q.4: Taking into account the fact that solar radiation reaching Earth's surface ranges between zero and about 1,000W/m^2 with a mean between 160 and 170W/m^2 and that radiation from the colder atmosphere is known not to penetrate water more than a few nanometers (thus unable to "warm" it) explain, using the Stefan Boltzmann equation and a typical range of flux between 0 and 1,000W/m^2 how the ocean surface reaches observed temperatures.

For answers, study the new 21st century paradigm shift in climate change science which will be widely publicized in 2017 and common knowledge by 2025 whilst the current hiatus continues until about 2028 to 2030. Long-term (500 year) natural cooling will start before 2100 and mean temperatures will not rise more than about 0.4 to 0.6 degree before the cooling starts, as shown here.

Who's next to take me on?

Dec 19, 2015 at 2:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterLukesAreWrongToo

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