Anthony Watts posted an article about a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmosphere.
Anthony had a headline: In the Arctic, nearby soot may be a larger forcing than CO2. However there was nothing in his article to support his headline so one can only conclude that he made it up out of thin air in keeping with his latest disinformation push.
Sand, M., T. K. Berntsen, Ø. Seland, and J. E. Kristjánsson (2013), Arctic surface temperature change to emissions of black carbon within Arctic or midlatitudes, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50613.
It depends on from where the black carbon comes
The researchers set out to quantify the impact of black carbon emissions from different sources - comparing that emanating from within the Arctic with that coming from the midlatitudes. They found that if the black carbon was emitted from within the Arctic, it had "an almost five times larger Arctic surface temperature response (per unit of emitted mass) compared to emissions at midlatitudes". The AGU report states (my bold italics):
Black carbon emitted within the Arctic is more likely to stay at low altitudes and thus to be deposited on the snow and ice there, whereas black carbon transported into the Arctic from mid-latitudes is more likely to remain at higher altitudes. Because of this, the Arctic surface temperature is almost 5 times more sensitive to black carbon emitted from within the Arctic than to emissions from mid-latitudes, the authors find.
How many WUWT readers understood what was written?
The first thing that struck me in the comments was that I don't think either Anthony or his readers understood the study or what it found. Going by the headline, Anthony was just aiming for more disinformation and didn't bother to read what he copied and pasted. His readers were no better. So far, I only counted three responses (out of 26) that demonstrates that any reader has understood the research or the findings.
The second thing that struck me in the comments, was the inability of some people to hold two complementary ideas in their brain at the same time. It is as if there is only room for one. This disability is interesting in the context of Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians. (See here for a summary in the context of climate science denial). Altemayer talks of the RWA's as being recognised for their ability to hold two conflicting ideas in their brain at the same time. For example, they can swear black and blue that earth is warming because of the sun and in the next breath they'll swear black and blue that the earth isn't warming and then say that it's cooling and then say it's warming but it's caused by ENSO or the PDO.
Maybe the head of the RWA is so full of conflicting notions that it has no room for complementary notions.
Here is an example from Bob who says (extract):
August 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm CO2 doesn’t seem to be working all that well as the cause, so we need to switch to carbon, I suppose....
Here are more comments from the WUWT crowd, but this time to demonstrate how WUWT readers don't bother to read or understand before jumping in feet first:
August 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm I don’t see why they didn’t expect to see this. Ice has an almost perfect reflection surface, put something that is almost a perfect black body on top of it and absorbed energy changes as far as is possible. I would have to run a series of experiments to put actual numbers on it, but the common sense factor of this seems evident. Occasionally the universe throws a curve ball at ya, but usually only on really large or really small scales.
August 13, 2013 at 6:29 pm The problem here though is they do all their “experiments” in a computer rather than in the universe. Would have to see the methodology to see if they used any actual observations such as solar intensity, shine angle, carbon absorption rate/conversion of effective solar to temperature and length of day. Such a simple model could tell you alot about what effect black carbon “might” have, but until you instrument the heck out of a patch with alot of black carbon and a control patch with little to no black carbon and measure the actual on the ground effect you have not done a real experiment.
August 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm I don’t know why this article bugs me so much. I read them all, but only comment occasionally when something either grabs my funny bone or sticks in the craw.
August 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm “Black carbon ….. is one of the major causes of global warming, after carbon dioxide emissions.” When I read that, I quit reading. The author(s) lost all credibility in my eyes.
Impact of cutting soot and methane - not as much benefit as previously thought
There are a couple of more interesting comments, though. This time about a PNNL study on the impact of cutting soot and methane emissions, which has recently been published in PNAS and is discussed here in Scientific American. You can read the press release from PNLL here. An excerpt:
Cutting the amount of short-lived, climate-warming emissions such as soot and methane in our skies won't limit global warming as much as previous studies have suggested, a new analysis shows. The study also found a comprehensive climate policy (including methane) would produce more climate benefits by 2050 than if soot and methane were reduced alone.Steven J. Smith1 and Andrew Mizrahi (2013) Near-term climate mitigation by short-lived forcers, PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308470110