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Friday, May 10, 2013

Meteoric Research at Lake E and The DuKEs™** Feeble Battle

Sou | 6:01 PM 6 Comments - leave a comment

Meteoric Research at Lake El'gygytgyn: the most continuous archive of information about past climate change from the entire Arctic borderlands


There has been some "meteoric research" done at Lake El'gygytgyn (bit of a tongue-twister), which is in the Arctic in Russia.  Looks to be a wealth of information and I can't wait to read this second paper on the sediment core from Lake E in Science next Friday (?).  (The first one is here.) For those of you who can access it, it's pre-released in Science Express.  Otherwise, you can read about it in the Guardian and ScienceDaily and probably elsewhere.

The paper is called: Pliocene Warmth, Polar Amplification, and Stepped Pleistocene Cooling Recorded in NE Arctic Russia.

There were 16 authors of the paper, led by Julie Brigham-Grette, Professor of Quaternary/ Glacial Geology and Arctic Paleoenvironments in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Like reading a detective novel: the most continuous archive of information about past climate change from the entire Arctic borderlands - from ScienceDaily:
"While existing geologic records from the Arctic contain important hints about this time period, what we are presenting is the most continuous archive of information about past climate change from the entire Arctic borderlands. As if reading a detective novel, we can go back in time and reconstruct how the Arctic evolved with only a few pages missing here and there," says
Brigham-Grette.

A huge meteorite, perhaps a kilometer in diameter! Telling a story going back more than 3 million years...
"Lake E" (that's easier) was formed 3.6 million years ago when a meteorite, perhaps a kilometer in diameter, hit the Earth and blasted out an 11-mile (18 km) wide crater. It has been collecting sediment layers ever since. Luckily for geoscientists, it lies in one of the few Arctic areas not eroded by continental ice sheets during ice ages, so a thick, continuous sediment record was left remarkably undisturbed. Cores from Lake E reach back in geologic time nearly 25 times farther than Greenland ice cores that span only the past 140,000 years.
The Arctic was very warm way back in time, when CO2 was not much higher than those of today...a sign of things to come:
"One of our major findings is that the Arctic was very warm in the middle Pliocene and Early Pleistocene [~ 3.6 to 2.2 million years ago] when others have suggested atmospheric CO2 was not much higher than levels we see today. This could tell us where we are going in the near future. In other words, the Earth system response to small changes in carbon dioxide is bigger than suggested by earlier climate models," the authors state.
The research doesn't just provide answers it raises some intriguing new questions, the answers to which will add to knowledge about past climatic events:
The sediment core also reveals that even during the first major "cold snap" to show up in the record 3.3 Million years ago, temperatures in the western Arctic were similar to recent averages of the past 12,000 years. "Most importantly, conditions were not 'glacial,' raising new questions as to the timing of the first appearance of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere," the authors add.

An Incredible Achievement, Phenomenal and Difficult

The Guardian article gives a glimpse into the difficulties faced by the scientists (my bold):
"It's a phenomenal record," said Prof Peter Sammonds, at University College London. "It is also an incredible achievement [the study's work], given the remoteness of the lake." Sixteen shipping containers of equipment had to be hauled 90km over snow by bulldozers from the nearest ice road, used by gold miners.

But this incredible achievement, this phenomenal, difficult and dangerous work was all for nothing if you follow the deniosaurs.  They could have just asked Tony!


DuKE™ 1: Anthony Watts Dimly DuKEs** it Out

Anthony draws on his years of anti-science blogging and solid paleo research (not!) and decides that the "researcher" (he doesn't say which of the 16 researchers) forgot about the Isthmus of Panama. (Read together with Lunt et al (2008) here.)  This researcher, according to Anthony "simply skipped over this important detail is pushing the idea that CO2 was the only issue."  

Scientists "don't know nuffin'" - if only they'd asked Tony

I expect Anthony's trying to say that not only all the specialists conducting this research, but the editors of Science and the paper's reviewers "don't know nuffin'".  Oh my! If only they'd remembered (or just asked Tony). It would have saved them years of work.

Warning: The Auditor is on the warpath

Anthony goes on to issue this dire warning that The Auditor is On the Warpath, which will no doubt leave all the scientists quaking in their boots and wishing they'd never embarked on such a foolish venture:
I’m sure Steve McIntyre will be interested in getting a look at the sediments and the dating methods to see if there are errors there.
 He finishes by telling his rabble that scientists should do what he does, ignore all prior knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology and instead make up stuff out of thin (but CO2-enriched) air (my bold).
Lately, it seems that paleo research has made some very broad assumptions, and almost always in the favor of the theory.
Duh!


DuKE™ 2: The Australian Raises the White Flag


On another front, Graham Readfearn has devoted some space to pointing out how Graham Lloyd of/and The Australian are so far into science denial that they are now "too fringe for Monckton".  Earlier this week Lloyd wrote a piece regurgitating some idiocy promoted five years ago by the Dragon Slayers (who don't 'believe in' greenhouse gases).  He reckons we might be "heading for an ice age". Wow!

Can they fall any lower?

Tim Lambert kept up with The Australian's War on Science for many years.  Seems to me The Australian has raised the white flag and signalled it has lost its war.  Now they are reduced to pushing fantasies that are even too much for the potty peer.

Time for Barry Bickmore to come up with the First and Second Laws of Graham Lloyd and The Australian.


**DuKE™ - Collective noun for science deniers suffering from the Dunning Kruger Effect.

6 comments:

  1. Anthony says:

    Lately, it seems that paleo research has made some very broad assumptions, and almost always in the favor of the theory.

    Anthony and friends are in a hard place because paleoclimate behaviour simply does not make sense unless:

    - The climate system is moderately sensitive to radiative perturbation.

    - The efficacy of CO2 forcing is approximately as estimated (including feedbacks, eg water vapour).

    - The combined effect results in a fast-feedbacks ECS/2xCO2 not lower than ~2C and more likely in the range ~2.5C - ~3C.

    IIRC Roy Spencer has big problems with paleoclimate because it makes his unfeasibly low sensitivity estimate look, well, unfeasibly low. Same goes for Lindzen and all the rest of the more ambitious misunderestimates (sic) of ECS.

    It's how we know they are wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thinking further about this...

    If Anthony's hypothesis is that the formation of the Panamanian Isthmus was responsible for the very warm Arctic during the mid-Pliocene, he has several problems.

    - The Panamanian Isthmus formed ~4Ma

    - Arctic glaciation began ~2.2Ma

    - How do we explain the generalised cooling trend going all the way back to the Eocene Optimum ~50Ma and continuing almost until the present? The formation of the Panamanian Isthmus ~4Ma it clearly ain't.

    - A mechanism is required that cooled both poles over ~50Ma and discontinuous ocean gateway openings and closures* seems very unlikely to be able to cause a sustained, generalised cooling trend lasting ~50Ma

    - The logical mechanism is the slow diminution of CO2 from an Eocene peak of >1000ppmv to a glacial minimum of ~180ppmv, representing a reduction in forcing of about 10W/m^2 (Hansen & Sato 2012).

    * Tasmanian Gateway; Drake Passage; Indonesian Gateway; Fram Strait; Panamanian Isthmus (Central American Isthmus)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BBD, I think he's got a few more problems than that. From what little reading I've done, the creation of the Gulf Stream after the Isthmus of Panama meant that northern Europe (and maybe the world as a whole) got warmer initially. Then orbital forcing brought on glaciation - apparently aided and abetted by the extra moisture from the change in the ocean currents.

      One thing is that Lake E is in north east Siberia, far from the direct influence of the Gulf Stream.

      Another thing is if the gulf stream was all it took, why was it so much hotter back then? Why isn't the arctic that hot now? The Gulf Stream is still there. (I'd ask the expert Anthony Watts, but he's not talking to me at the moment:D)

      Obviously there are other things at work, including changes in earth's orbit and of course, the major player, CO2 (feedback then, forcing now).

      It's just that now, despite CO2 having got to the same level today, the long term effects of the big jump in CO2 recently haven't had the same hundreds of thousands of years that it takes for all the effects to play out. That's why they are suggesting that climate sensitivity is higher than many people think.

      There's still some uncertainty about the short term effects - there are few if any precedents for the rate of change in CO2. Maybe this study and others like it will help nail the long term effects, and might help with figuring out the short term (centuries, maybe even decades) impacts too.

      Delete
  3. "One of our major findings is that the Arctic was very warm in the middle Pliocene and Early Pleistocene [~ 3.6 to 2.2 million years ago] when others have suggested atmospheric CO2 was not much higher than levels we see today. This could tell us where we are going in the near future. In other words, the Earth system response to small changes in carbon dioxide is bigger than suggested by earlier climate models,"

    That's' not what that suggests to me, the finding suggest that CO2 concentrations are irrelevant to warming. This evidence supports the skeptic view in my opinion.

    klem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. klem

      This evidence supports the skeptic view in my opinion.

      None of the evidence supports the sceptic view that CO2 concentrations are irrelevant to warming. Quite the reverse.

      Here is a brief overview of the scientific understanding of Mid-Pliocene climate. Numerous published scientific studies are referenced at the bottom.

      So what do we take seriously? The scientific literature detailing the expert understanding of the topic or a scientifically weightless contrarian opinion?

      Delete

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AGU Fall Meeting 2014



Click here for instructions on how to view the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting sessions, how to navigate the program, plus more. (This notice will remain as a sticky until after AGU14 finishes.)