Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Guesses for the New Doomsday Clock Setting?

The Doomsday Clock is currently set to 2.5 minutes before midnight. It's maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and will be reset this Thursday at 10 am ET, 7 am PT, 15:00 GMT. (No adjustment is also possible, as was done last year.) Watch online.

Any guesses on the new setting? I'm guessing 1.5 minutes before midnight, based solely on the fool now in the White House. (He'll probably consider this a positive sign of his worldwide fame.) A substantial jump forward, but still not too close to pure panic.

1.5 minutes before midnight would be the Clock's more dire setting ever. Here's its history:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Climate Models Are Doing Great

After 2017's annual temperatures came in, Gavin Schmidt posted this on Twitter:

Here, historical forcings are used prior to 2000 -- the actual GHG concentrations, volcanic eruptions, etc. After 2000 the comparison uses the old IPCC Scenario A1B -- "...very rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies." (Truth is, there isn't much of any difference in these old AR4 scenarios by this time.)

Looks equally good with the CMIP5 models.

The model/observation difference varies depending on the particular year (or couple of years), but over the long-term it's looking pretty good.

Certainly good enough to see that we have a big AGW problem on our hands.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Doomsday Clock

On January 25th at 10 am ET the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will reveal their annual decision about the hands of their Doomsday Clock: bit.ly/2Dp0wnS. It's currently set at 2:30 minutes before midnight.... I expect that will decrease to maybe 1:30 before midnight...simply because Trump is an ignorant, dangerous idiot.

It's stunning to me that we/Congressional representatives are letting such a clearly ignorant and unthinking man decide, minute by minute, the literal fate of the world.

The world must -- seriously -- I really mean, seriously -- outlaw all nuclear weapons for all time.

I'm not kidding at all. We're 7 billion strong...but never use it.

A Song About the Umpqua Shooting

By Patterson Hood and the Drive-by Truckers, my favorite band for the few years:

I used this song for an op-ed I wrote for the Salem Statesman Journal, published in November.

Michael Mann Has a New Blog

Michael Mann now has a personal blog. (Nothing there yet.) Here's the RSS feed.

Between Twitter, Facebook, RealClimate and now a blog, he must be the most socially connected scientist on the planet. And I see him quoted everywhere these days. And he still co-authors a lot of papers and articles.

Here was his recent rebuttal to an op-ed by Oregon's leading denier, Gordon Fulks.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Why Nikolov and Zeller's Pressure Claim Violates Basic Physics

Nikolov and Zeller claim that planetary surface temperatures are set by surface pressure. Published in a journal indicted for fraud.

They even go so far as to assert that there is no greenhouse effect. Or that it's 90 K, not the usual 33 K we have all seen. (Which, by the way, is a heuristic calculation only.) Hard to keep their claims straight.

This is obviously bull -- but why?

Because N&Z did no science -- they just fit 5 independent data points to a curve of 6 independent data points. Just curve-fitting.

I trust you understand why that's trivially easy to do, and why it's not science.

But they insist they have made a ground-breaking discovery, a la Galileo or Newton.

(That should set your bullshit detector off right there, ringing very, very loudly. See John Baez's Crackpot Index.)

But here's the thing -- their claim isn't even in accord with basic physics.

Their formula for surface temperature as a function of surface pressure, Ts(Ps), implies, for current Earthlike conditions

dTs/dPs > 0
where "s" stands for surface.

But this is wrong, for the simple reason that a higher surface pressure leads to a lower surface temperature. And it's not difficult to understand why.

It comes down simply to density and optical path. More pressure means more molecules in the path of incoming sunlight, which means less sunlight reaches the surface, because there is less shortwave (Rayleigh) scattering. From Poulsen et al, Science 2015:

Click to Enlarge

So lower pressure means less scattering of sunlight, so more of it reaches the surface. The surface is warmer at lower pressure. That's not surprising -- though N&Z choose to turn their back on this physics.

And a warmer surface means a higher temperature in the lower troposphere, which in turn means the air holds more water vapor. (See the Clausius-Claperyon equation.) That water vapor increases the greenhouse effect, leading to an even higher surface temperature.

So the idea that pressure somehow creates a higher surface temperature is clearly wrong. Atmospheric pressure does not increase incoming shortwave radiation -- radiation from the Sun. It decreases it.

Naturally (and unfortunately), Nikolov and Zeller have ignored all questions about this on Twitter, as if they think blatantly ignoring these question about the physics will get rid of these inconvenient questions, and their stolid, unenlightening, unphysical curve-fitting will shine through.

This is why they're properly classified as "deniers." Real scientists and real people do not ignore questions, if they're interested in getting at the truth.

If you don't want to be labeled a denier, don't act like one.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Scientists Link Hurricane Harvey’s Record Rainfall to Climate Change

NY Times: "Two studies of the storm that overwhelmed Houston last summer say global warming made the rain much worse."