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Friday, August 1, 2014

A memorial to "The Notch" - RIP

Sou | 4:49 PM 12 Comments - leave a comment

In the comments earlier, Don Brooks asked:
Is the "Force X" stuff really RIP? Nova and Evans don't seem like the types to give up easily, even when it's shown beyond doubt that they're talking tosh. 
And I couldn't believe they came up with that self-parodying term for it.

The Notch is RIP, dead but not quite buried. It was a muted announcement by Jo Nova and David Evans back on 21st July 2014. No "Big News" fanfare about it's passing, in contrast to its birth. I believe it died quietly, surrounded by family and close friends and is mourned greatly and will be treasured in denier memories.

In order for Force X to rise from the ashes, the rocket scientist from Luna Park is relying on David "funny sunny" Archibald and similar nutters to come up with a plausible explanation of their predicted rapid cooling over the next six years. Joanne wrote:
...the notch doesn’t guarantee a delay as we had previously thought. But there is independent evidence suggesting temperatures on Earth follow solar activity with a one cycle delay — the lag seen in studies like Archibald, Friis-Christainsen and Usoskin is still a lag.

David Evans wrote (archived here) that he's going to come up with some new parameters to replace The Notch (RIP) and forecast imminent global cooling:
So what does this mean for the notch-delay model? Possibly not much, but there will be a delay (ahem) while I recompute things and update the model and graphs.
The causality of a notch doesn’t support the mandatory nature of the delay that I thought I had established, but there is plenty of other evidence to suggest a delay is needed. There are half a dozen independent findings of a delay around about 11 years in the literature, and a solar influence fits better with a delay (e.g. Lockwood and Froehlich 2007 — they show that solar influence doesn’t fit without a delay). Either the sun has little effect beyond the small TSI variations, and we’re left with CO2-driven climate models that don’t work and a mystery about all the warming before 1900, or there is some solar effect that appears to be delayed from TSI changes. While the notch does not *necessarily* mean a delay, certainly the *possibility* of a delay is strong. So there is sufficient reason to include a delay in the solar model — so the model remains as before, with no change. (Clarification: the form stays the same, the parameters will vary).

David Evans is quite determined to throw good money after bad (donations from denier suckers are paying for it so what the heck).  He is also determined to reject climate science that explains changes in climate over the years. He is a greenhouse effect denier stuck on "it's the sun".

Click here and here for previous articles about Force X and The Notch.

Next surfing hotspot - the Arctic Ocean, plus record drought in California

Sou | 4:02 PM 4 Comments - leave a comment

A couple of items to whet your appetite for the end of week fare.

Big waves in the Arctic

Off to surf the Arctic
There have been record high waves in the Arctic, which will probably make the ice disappear more quickly in coming years. Back in September 2012, scientists measured waves of five metres or 16 feet. Maybe that's not quite enough to attract surfers from Bell's Beach, yet it's a lot more wave action than there used to be.

With the ice retreating further and further from the shores, the waves are able to grow bigger and bigger. It's suggested that these bigger waves will churn up ice and hasten its demise. Less ice means more waves - a feedback loop. While bigger waves might be great news for surfers, it will make it harder for shipping and will also exacerbate shoreline erosion. From
Arctic ice used to retreat less than 100 miles from the shore. In 2012, it retreated more than 1,000 miles. Wind blowing across an expanse of water for a long time creates whitecaps, then small waves, which then slowly consolidate into big swells that carry huge amounts of energy in a single punch.
The size of the waves increases with the fetch, or travel distance over open water. So more open water means bigger waves. As waves grow bigger they also catch more wind, driving them faster and with more energy.
Shipping and oil companies have been eyeing the opportunity of an ice-free season in the Arctic Ocean. The emergence of big waves in the Arctic could be bad news for operating in newly ice-free Northern waters.
"Almost all of the casualties and losses at sea are because of stormy conditions, and breaking waves are often the culprit," Thomson said.
It also could be a new feedback loop leading to more open water as bigger waves break up the remaining summer ice floes.
"The melting has been going on for decades. What we're talking about with the waves is potentially a new process, a mechanical process, in which the waves can push and pull and crash to break up the ice," Thomson said.
Waves breaking on the shore could also affect the coastlines, where melting permafrost is already making shores more vulnerable to erosion.
The observations were made as part of a bigger project by a sensor anchored to the seafloor and sitting 50 meters (more than 150 feet) below the surface in the middle of the Beaufort Sea, about 350 miles off Alaska's north slope and at the middle of the ice-free summer water. It measured wave height from mid-August until late October 2012.

Jim Thomson and Erick Rogers have written a paper about this (open access). You can read it here, or read about it at

Extreme drought in California

The other bit of news this week was that while drought conditions are improving in some parts of the USA, they are getting much worse in California. 58.4% of California is now in extreme drought.

Source: The National Drought Mitigation Centre

Funnily enough Anthony Watts, who hails from California, hasn't written about it on his blog. In fact for all his moaning about manners, he is scorning the suffering that the drought is bringing to farmers and others in his home state. He tweeted "and that's nothing that the state has not experienced before".

By some measures the state may not have experienced a drought like this one before, at least not as part of the USA. The megadroughts happened well before there ever was a US state of California. It only formally became part of the United States in 1850.

Back in Australia, Queensland isn't faring too well at the moment, either. This is the latest map I could find, from May this year:

Source: The Long Paddock, Qld Government

Meanwhile south of the Queensland border, fires have been busting out early in NSW.

Jim Thomson, W. Erick Rogers. "Swell and sea in the emerging Arctic Ocean". Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; 41 (9): 3136 DOI: 10.1002/2014GL059983

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chance of El Niño drops to 50%

Sou | 4:51 AM 44 Comments - leave a comment
From the Bureau of Meteorology (the pdf report for the record):

Despite the tropical Pacific Ocean being primed for an El Niño during much of the first half of 2014, the atmosphere above has largely failed to respond, and hence the ocean and atmosphere have not reinforced each other. As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values.

While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific, and the (slight) majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for spring. Hence the establishment of El Niño before year's end cannot be ruled out. If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.

Given the current observations and the climate model outlooks, the Bureau’s ENSO Tracker has shifted to El Niño WATCH status. This means the chance of El Niño developing in 2014 is approximately 50%, which remains significant at double the normal likelihood of an event.

Read the latest full report here.

Australia's wine industry is moving south to escape the heat

Sou | 4:18 AM 29 Comments - leave a comment
Update - I've added a footnote showing how much hotter it's been getting over summer in south eastern Australia.

Climate change is already happening as you know. So do wine growers in Australia. Tasmania produces some rather nice boutique wines. It's going to produce a lot more.

Some of the big wine growers are setting up more vineyards in Tasmania, replacing the ones on the mainland where it's getting a tad too hot for wine grapes. From the ABC yesterday:
Climate change is helping to drive a boom in Tasmania's wine industry with interstate investors seeking cooler growing conditions, the state's peak body has said.
The industry is expected to benefit from the long-term effects of climate change, attracting interstate investors and boosting production.
Warmer weather conditions are already causing major mainland wine producers to invest in the state after seeing potential in Tasmania's cooler climate.
Wine Tasmania, the state's peak wine body, said there had been growing interest from major winemakers who were finding mainland conditions challenging.
The trend looks set to continue with figures from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office showing wine production in the state was growing by about 10 per cent a year.

I ventured a bit further and found some other articles on the subject. This one is from three years ago at, quoting Ross Brown of Brown Bros, one of Australia's more noted wineries from my region:
Brown Brothers Wineries CEO Ross Brown said he was sufficiently alarmed by climate change to have started relocating production of cooler varieties to Tasmania’s Tamar Ridge winery.
"Basically we are in the coolest part of Victoria (for wine) and that won't be cool enough to produce some of our main wines - for sparkling and pinot noir," Mr Brown said. 
"As the vineyards warm up a few degrees some of the varieties we are currently growing won't be viable in those vineyards in 10 to 15 years time."
Mr Brown said warming also presented a major challenge for wines that are suited to warm climates - like shiraz and cabernet - which would lose quality.
"In a warmer climate that heat and earlier ripening period creates richer and fuller bodied wines," he said. "But we are seeing a consumer demand for finer wines, more elegant wines and that does not augur well for people who are already making those rich fuller bodied wines." 

Other parts of the grape-growing world are also feeling the heat. In a few years, regions now covered in grape vines will look quite different and new regions will emerge. Think what that will do to the character of places like Tuscany and Bordeaux. From in February this year:
According to these projections, by midcentury Bordeaux could reach the upper temperature limits for growing red varieties, and will fall outside the ideal climate for its white grapes. Other areas are threatened too. Last year an international team of scientists showed that by 2050, some of the world’s most famous wine-making regions, including Tuscany in Italy, will shrink by nearly 70 percent.
That doesn’t mean the end of sauvignon blanc or merlot. But in the not-so-distant future, these well-recognized French wines may not come from France. Some wine producers in Champagne or Bordeaux already are moving north and setting up vineyards in southern England. There the soil is similar to the chalky substrate of Champagne, offering a hospitable environment for growing quality grapes. In other parts of the world, growers are expanding into areas previously not known for wine, setting up vineyards in India, Brazil and China.

Enjoy your favourite wine while you still can. The next bottle will be different.


A visitor here is in denial, so I've added a chart showing the temperature increase in south eastern Australia over the past few decades. The previous decade was around 0.9°C hotter than it was in the 1960s. These past three summers have been much hotter still, around 1.3°C hotter. This is the average summer temperature over the whole region.  I leave it to you to imagine how hot some days and week have been and how that can affect the grape harvest.

Data Source: BoM

It's not just summer, other seasons are changing too.

400ppm CO2 and Oh Dear! Another humungous blunderous blunder by Anthony Watts

Sou | 1:30 AM 18 Comments - leave a comment

Update: see below for how Anthony shifts the blame!

A short while ago Wondering Willis Eschenbach wrote about Anthony Watts at WUWT:
So it is not Anthony’s job to determine whether or not the work of the guest authors will stand the harsh light of public exposure. That’s the job of the peer reviewers, who are you and I and everyone making defensible supported scientific comments. Even if Anthony had a year to analyze and dissect each piece, he couldn’t do that job.

Anthony Watts seems to agree that it's not his job to see if articles have any merit or not. And Willis is on the ball when he says that Anthony couldn't tell anyway.

Anthony Watts - big, huge, spectacular fail in climate 101

There's another example of that today (archived here). Anthony copied and pasted an article from another blog, which was itself taken from yet a third blog. (Deniers are into recycling in a big way.)  His claim this time is encapsulated in his headline:

EPA document supports ~3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is attributable to human sources

Three per cent? 3%? WRONG - it's 30%!

Remember, Anthony Watts has been blogging about climate science or weather for more than seven years now. To not know that human activity has added more than 40% to atmospheric CO2 is amazing, even for someone as blockheaded as Anthony Watts. It makes you realise that Willis Eschenbach has hit the nail on the head. Anthony Watts doesn't know the first thing about climate. [Corrected phrasing/arithmetic, thanks Robert.]

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strange bedfellows at WUWT - the tin foil hat brigade and the pseudo-religious cult

Sou | 6:22 AM 12 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts keeps very strange company. Remember last year when he boasted of giving one of his rare, wrong and excruciatingly boring lectures to the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness? Wondering Willis got to go this year and he loved it (archived here). Who'd have thought that they would boast of such a strange alliance.

The denialist doctors are a very weird mob. They are tied in with this mob. They are pro-DDT and are anti-vaxxers. They seem to be a survivalist group. I have images of them hoarding lentils and rice in their garages, checking their ammunition and stoking their back up generators while they wait for the apocalypse.

Then there's the Cornwall Alliance. That's that wacky cult who thinks that their god will protect them from all natural disasters and they have sworn to deny climate science. Today Anthony's hosted one of their mob, Paul Driessen (archived here), complaining that deniers are being scorned and vilified by, well, Greenpeace from what I gather. Not sure when or where. But Pat Michaels (of Pat'n Chip fame, who's not a member of the Cornwall cult AFAIK but often cited by them) and David Legates (who is a member of the Cornwall cult and coauthors papers with the potty peer, Christopher Monckton) are feeling a mite depressed and must've asked Paul to stand up for their right to reject science. You might remember David. He's the one who told a US Senate committee that CO2 is animal food!

Survivalists and a religious cult. What better company could Anthony Watts ask for?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Food and climate change and hypersensitive deniers at WUWT

Sou | 2:34 PM 24 Comments - leave a comment

In my experience, prolonged exposure to severe sharp pain can make a person hypersensitive to pain, at least temporarily.  Well I'm seeing the same effect with Anthony Watts at WUWT when it comes to fear.

Studies have suggested that some people process information via the amygdala more and they are hypersensitive to fear. That goes a long way to explaining the following. In fact it explains a lot about deniers. Deniers (ie the plebs as opposed to the disinformers) do appear to react strongly against anything that causes them to be scared. Their brain gets overloaded so they claim "it can't be true". I see it time and time again at WUWT. The words "scare" and "fear" come up a lot whenever climate science is discussed, with claims like "they are just trying to scare us".

Christopher Monckton knows very well that the threshold of fear among the denialati is much lower than average. He drafted an email which traded heavily on the scaredy cat tendency, you may recall (email here, which I discussed here). Any normal person would laugh or groan or tsk upon getting an email like that. I don't know how most deniers reacted. What I do know is that he managed to attract people to his events, so it's likely there were some people who didn't consign his email to the spam or trash folder.

Two days in a row Anthony's picked on perfectly normal headlines and claimed they are "hype".

Now hype happens all the time. Editors want to attract readers so they pick a headline that will scream for attention. Yet that wasn't the case in these two situations.  Here are the two cases (click read more if you are on the home page).