New paper questions Paris Agreement’s dubious temperature limits

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 during the COP21 climate conference stipulates that the increase in the global average temperature is to be kept well below 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” and that efforts are pursued to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above “pre-industrial levels.”

Closer inspection of the treaty text, however, reveals that the term “pre-industrial levels” is nowhere defined in this epochal UN-document, that has meanwhile been ratified by 170 Parties.

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GOP Tax Plan Keeps Green Energy, Electric Car Subsidies

The House and Senate agreed Thursday to scrap a proposal eliminating a large tax credit the electric vehicle market and other green energy companies rely on to keep the fledgling industry afloat.

Lawmakers spared a $7,500 electric-vehicle tax credit and a wind production tax credit that Republicans nixed to balance out the hefty tax bill, according to a Bloomberg report Thursday. The Senate’s version of the bill does not include the provision.

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Five New Papers: Cooling, Not Warming, Leads To Weather and Climate Instability

1. Significant Decreasing Trend In Severe Weather Since 1961

Zhang et al., 2017

Based on continuous and coherent severe weather reports from over 500 manned stations, for the first time, this study shows a significant decreasing trend in severe weather occurrence across China during the past five decades. The total number of severe weather days that have either thunderstorm, hail and/or damaging wind decrease about 50% from 1961 to 2010. It is further shown that the reduction in severe weather occurrences correlates strongly with the weakening of East Asian summer monsoon which is the primary source of moisture and dynamic forcing conducive for warm-season severe weather over China.

2. Most Frequent Climate Instability During Global Cooling/Reduced CO2 Periods

Kawamura et al., 2017

Numerical experiments using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model with freshwater hosing in the northern North Atlantic showed that climate becomes most unstable in intermediate glacial conditions associated with large changes in sea ice and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Model sensitivity experiments suggest that the prerequisite for the most frequent climate instability with the bipolar seesaw pattern during the late Pleistocene era is associated with reduced atmospheric CO2 concentration via global cooling and sea ice formation in the North Atlantic, in addition to extended Northern Hemisphere ice sheets.

3. Hurricane Activity Is ‘Subdued’ During Warm Periods (1950-2000)

Heller, 2017

The hurricane analysis conducted by Burn and Palmer (2015) determined that hurricane activity was subdued during the [warm] Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) (~900-1350 CE) and became more produced during the [cold] Little Ice Age (LIA) (~1450-1850 CE), followed by a period of variability occurred between ~1850 and ~1900 before entering another subdued state during the industrial period (~1950-2000 CE). In general, the results of this study corroborate these findings … [W]hile hurricane activity was greater during the LIA, it also had more frequent periods of drought compared to the MCA (Burn and Palmer 2014), suggesting that climate fluctuations were more pronounced in the LIA compared to the MCA. The changes in the diatom distribution and fluctuations in chl-a recorded in this study starting around 1350 also indicate that variations in climate have become more distinct during the LIA and from ~1850-1900.

[C]limate variability has increased following the onset of the Little Ice Age (~1450-1850 CE), however, it is difficult to distinguish the impacts of recent anthropogenic climate warming on hurricane activity from those of natural Atlantic climate regimes, such as ENSO.

4. Surface Warming Weakens Cyclone Activity

Chen et al., 2017

Results indicate that the midlatitude summer cyclone activity over East Asia exhibits decadal changes in the period of 1979–2013 and is significantly weakened after the early 1990s. …  Moreover, there is a close linkage between the weakening of cyclonic activity after the early 1990s and the nonuniform surface warming of the Eurasian continent. Significant warming to the west of Mongolia tends to weaken the north-south temperature gradient and the atmospheric baroclinicity to its south and eventually can lead to a weakening of the mid-latitude cyclone activity over East Asia.

  1. More Hydroclimatic Variability During Cold PeriodsModels Say Warming Causes More Instability, So The 21st Century Will Be Like The Little Ice Age, With More Instability/Megadrought

Loisel et al., 2017

Image Source: Loisel et al., 2017

Our tree-ring-based analysis of past drought indicates that the Little Ice Age (LIA) experienced high interannual hydroclimatic variability, similar to projections for the 21st century. This is contrary to the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), which had reduced variability and therefore may be misleading as an analog for 21st-century warming, notwithstanding its warm (and arid) conditions. Given past non-stationarity and particularly erratic LIA, a ‘warm LIA’ climate scenario for the coming century that combines high precipitation variability (similar to LIA conditions) with warm and dry conditions (similar to MCA conditions) represents a plausible situation that is supported by recent climate simulations. … Our comparison of tree-ring-based drought analysis and records from the tropical Pacific Ocean suggests that changing variability in El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) explains much of the contrasting variances between the MCA and LIA conditions across the American Southwest. The Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA, ~950–1400 CE) is often used as an analog for 21stcentury hydroclimate because it represents a warm (and arid) period. The MCA appears related to general surface warming in the Northern Hemisphere, prolonged La Niña conditions, and a persistent positive North Atlantic Oscillation mode. It has been referred to as a stable time interval with ‘quiet’ conditions in regards to low perturbation by external radiative forcing. In this study, we demonstrate that the Little Ice Age (LIA, ~1400–1850 CE) might be more representative of future hydroclimatic variability than the conditions during the MCA megadroughts for the American Southwest, and thus provide a useful scenario for the development of future water-resource management and drought and flood hazard mitigation strategies.

Read more at No Tricks Zone

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Talks on future of ethanol mandate end with ultimatum

Ethanol refinery

The second round of White House-brokered talks on the future of the nation’s renewable fuel program ended Wednesday with a warning from the corn ethanol camp who said no solution can be reached if it means undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The meeting took place at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House between the pro-ethanol team led by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s staff and the pro-oil team led by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s staff.

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Green group sends ‘endangered species condoms’ to Trump officials

One of the nation’s top environmental groups on Wednesday sent boxes of “endangered species condoms” to six top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s holiday mailing is meant to draw attention to human population growth, which the group says is hurting wildlife and ecosystems across the country.

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Daily Telegraph Falls For Lord Deben’s Extreme Weather Scare

To the long list of naive young Telegraph journalists, we can add the name of Ashley Kirk. (see Linked In profile here).

Last week he penned an article called “What is Britain doing to tackle flooding in the face of extreme weather? “ (Unfortunately behind the paywall).

Apparently primed by Lord Deben, he goes on to make apocalyptic predictions that the UK will be hit by a vicious combination of extreme storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels as it faces the next century. This is all apparently predicated on a couple of wet winters in recent years.

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Alabamans are Sending an Anti-Fossil Fuel, Climate Activist to the Senate

Democrat Doug Jones who defeated Republican Roy Moore during Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama campaigned on a decidedly anti-fossil fuel message that included support for the Paris climate accord.

Allegations of child molestation against Moore drove most of the dialogue during the campaign, which overshadowed Doug Jones positions on energy. Jones published his environmental positions on his website but did little to publicize them in Republican-leaning Alabama.

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Dems Accused A Trump EPA Nominee Of Plagiarism, But Are They Right?

Senate Democrats claim President Donald Trump’s nominee for top environmental policy adviser “plagiarized” some of her written responses to lawmakers’ questions as part of the confirmation process.

Democrats on Committee on Environment and Public Works claim to have found 18 instances where Kathleen Hartnett-White “cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees,” lawmakers wrote to White on Tuesday.

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No, Global Warming Isn’t Killing Off The Polar Bears

It’s a heart-rending video: The National Geographic tape shows a plainly starving, shockingly thin polar bear rummaging for food. It’s near death. The tragic scene went viral on the internet.

“When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like,” said SeaLegacy photographer Paul Nicklen, whose video of the bear was later shared online by National Geographic.

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