Archive for the ‘Oceans’ Category

Little Ice Age was due to low solar irradiance

March 10, 2014

The Sun is the only real source of energy available at the surface of the earth (and any heat from nuclear reactions at the earth’s core is extremely small if not completely negligible). That the oceans have a much higher heat capacity than the atmosphere at the surface of the earth is obvious. It seems also fairly clear to me that it is the dynamics of ocean – atmosphere interactions which control climate and weather. And it is the oceans and long time scales which dominate climate while it is the atmospheric variations and short time scales which determine weather.

But the driver is always the Sun.

A new paper in Nature GeoScience “used seafloor sediments taken from south of Iceland to study changes in the warm surface ocean current. This was done by analysing the chemical composition of fossilised microorganisms that had once lived in the surface of the ocean. These measurements were then used to reconstruct the seawater temperature and the salinity of this key ocean current over the past 1000 years.”

The researchers found that ” low solar irradiance promotes the development of frequent and persistent atmospheric blocking events, in which a quasi-stationary high-pressure system in the eastern North Atlantic modifies the flow of the westerly winds. We conclude that this process could have contributed to the consecutive cold winters documented in Europe during the Little Ice Age.”

Paola Moffa-Sánchez, Andreas Born, Ian R. Hall, David J. R. Thornalley, Stephen Barker. Solar forcing of North Atlantic surface temperature and salinity over the past millenniumNature Geoscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2094

AbstractThere were several centennial-scale fluctuations in the climate and oceanography of the North Atlantic region over the past 1,000 years, including a period of relative cooling from about AD 1450 to 1850 known as the Little Ice Age. These variations may be linked to changes in solar irradiance, amplified through feedbacks including the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Changes in the return limb of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation are reflected in water properties at the base of the mixed layer south of Iceland. Here we reconstruct thermocline temperature and salinity in this region from AD 818 to 1780 using paired δ18O and Mg/Ca ratio measurements of foraminifer shells from a subdecadally resolved marine sediment core. The reconstructed centennial-scale variations in hydrography correlate with variability in total solar irradiance. We find a similar correlation in a simulation of climate over the past 1,000 years. We infer that the hydrographic changes probably reflect variability in the strength of the subpolar gyre associated with changes in atmospheric circulation. Specifically, in the simulation, low solar irradiance promotes the development of frequent and persistent atmospheric blocking events, in which a quasi-stationary high-pressure system in the eastern North Atlantic modifies the flow of the westerly winds. We conclude that this process could have contributed to the consecutive cold winters documented in Europe during the Little Ice Age.

Cardiff University Press Release:

Changes in the sun’s energy output may have led to marked natural climate change in Europe over the last 1000 years, according to researchers at Cardiff University. The study found that changes in the Sun’s activity can have a considerable impact on the ocean-atmospheric dynamics in the North Atlantic, with potential effects on regional climate.

Scientists studied seafloor sediments to determine how the temperature of the North Atlantic and its localised atmospheric circulation had altered. Warm surface waters flowing across the North Atlantic, an extension of the Gulf Stream, and warm westerly winds are responsible for the relatively mild climate of Europe, especially in winter. Slight changes in the transport of heat associated with these systems can lead to regional climate variability, and the study findings matched historic accounts of climate change, including the notoriously severe winters of the 16th and 18th centuries which pre-date global industrialisation.

The study found that changes in the Sun’s activity can have a considerable impact on the ocean-atmospheric dynamics in the North Atlantic, with potential effects on regional climate.

Predictions suggest a prolonged period of low sun activity over the next few decades ……..

Though their study has nothing whatever to do with global warming and any man-made effects they still feel it necessary to add this caveat (presumably because the reviewers, and the Journal, or both, insisted).

Predictions suggest a prolonged period of low sun activity over the next few decades, but any associated natural temperature changes will be much smaller than those created by human carbon dioxide emissions, say researchers.

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Fish biomass 10 times greater than thought (and fish “fix” carbon dioxide from sea water)

February 8, 2014

A new paper suggests that the biomass of mesopelagic fish which dominate the total biomass of fish in the ocean is 10 times higher than previously assumed. Instead of being about 1,000 million tens the researchers suggest it could be 10,000 million tons or even more.

Fish are a critical link in the Carbon cycle and especially the removal – by “fixing” as carbonates – of the carbon dioxide in sea water. They act to neutralise acidity and increase alkilinity. The level of carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water itself affects the capacity of the ocean surface waters to absorb more carbon dioxide. A change – by a factor of 10 – in the fish biomass is a not insignificant change to the carbon fluxes through the ocean and to the carbon cycle.

Xabier Irigoien et al, Large mesopelagic fishes biomass and trophic efficiency in the open oceanNature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI:10.1038/ncomms4271

EurekAlert: With a stock estimated at 1,000 million tons so far, mesopelagic fish dominate the total biomass of fish in the ocean. However a team of researchers ….. has found that their abundance could be at least 10 times higher. The results, published in Nature Communications journal, are based on the acoustic observations conducted during the circumnavigation of the Malaspina Expedition. … Mesopelagic fishes, such as lantern fishes (Myctophidae) and cyclothonids (Gonostomatidae), live in the twilight zone of the ocean, between 200 and 1,000 meters deep. They are the most numerous vertebrates of the biosphere, but also the great unknowns of the open ocean, since there are gaps in the knowledge of their biology, ecology, adaptation and global biomass. 

… Xabier Irigoien, researcher from AZTI-Tecnalia and KAUST (Saudi Arabia) and head of this research, states: “The fact that the biomass of mesopelagic fish (and therefore also the total biomass of fishes) is at least 10 times higher than previously thought, has significant implications in the understanding of carbon fluxes in the ocean and the operation of which, so far, we considered ocean deserts”.

Mesopelagic fish come up at night to the upper layers of the ocean to feed, whereas they go back down during the day in order to avoid being detected by their predators. This behaviour speeds up the transport of organic matter into the ocean, the engine of the biological pump that removes CO2 from the atmosphere, because instead of slowly sinking from the surface, it is rapidly transported to 500 and 700 meters deep and released in the form of feces.

Irigoien adds: “Mesopelagic fish accelerate the flux for actively transporting organic matter from the upper layers of the water column, where most of the organic carbon coming from the flow of sedimentary particles is lost. Their role in the biogeochemical cycles of ocean ecosystems and global ocean has to be reconsidered, as it is likely that they are breathing between 1% and 10% of the primary production in deep waters”.

According to researchers, the excretion of material from the surface could partly explain the unexpected microbial respiration registered in these deep layers of the ocean. Mesopelagic fishes would act therefore as a link between plankton and top predators, and they would have a key role in reducing the oxygen from the depths of the open ocean.

The mechanisms by which fish create carbonates and contribute to the “fixing” of carbon dioxide is through feces.

Fish feces reduce ocean CO2 levels

 .. when fish drink seawater they excrete calcium as calcium carbonate — a chalky substance that can make seawater more alkaline and diminish the carbon dioxide in the water. ….. the bulk of the world’s fish species, excluding sharks and rays, produced the carbonate to counter the salt they ingested in seawater. The carbonate binds to the salt and is expelled as pellets, which dissolve in the ocean. … (We) knew before that something in the water was producing carbonate, but believed it came from other sources, such as microscopic marine plankton near the bottom of the food chain. But (we) didn’t understand why they were seeing so much of the carbonate at shallower depths. ……. most conservative estimates suggest three to 15 per cent of the oceans’ carbonates come from fish, but this range could be up to three times higher.

File:Oceanic divisions.svg

Oceanic divisions (Wikipedia)

China to industrialise desalination of sea-ice

January 16, 2014

During an ice age as water gets trapped in expanding ice, the entire water cycle stabilises at much lower rates of flux than during an inter-glacial period. Evaporation (due to absorption of solar energy) is the primary force which drives the water cycle. During an ice age, rates of evaporation will decrease sharply, precipitation will reduce and the flow of fresh water through rivers and streams back into the seas will reduce as a consequence. Sea levels would drop by up to 150 m from current levels and while currently submerged land will be exposed, desertification of many regions will also take place.

One of the technologies that will be necessary at such a time will be for the extraction of fresh water from sea ice.

Bohai Bay China

Bohai Bay China

The Bohai Rim is one of the water-scarce regions in China. But every winter, more than 1 billion m3 of sea ice formed in the sea, about 40% of which distributes within 10 km offshore and is expected to be exploited and utilized as source of freshwater.

They may not be expecting a return to full glacial conditions anytime soon, but perhaps the Chinese are already preparing for another Little Ice Age and the fresh water availability reduction that will undoubtedly cause.

Xinhua reports:

China will soon begin production of large amounts of fresh water through the desalination of sea ice, according university research team and a Chinese company on Tuesday. A research team from Beijing Normal University signed a sea ice desalination technology transfer agreement with Beijing Huahaideyuan Technology Co. Ltd on Tuesday.

The company is expected to be able to produce at least 1 billion cubic meters of fresh water annually by 2023, said Yu Jian, executive president of the company. The salinity of sea ice is between 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent, much lower than that of sea water, which stands at about 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent, said Professor Gu Wei, head of the research team.

The research team has mastered the basic principles and technology of sea ice desalination and developed the equipment to be used in the process, including an ice-breaking platform and an ice-gatherer, he said. The salinity of sea ice water after desalination is 0.1 percent, which meets the national standard. The water can be used in agriculture, by industry and for drinking, he said.

The cost of desalination is expected to fall to 4 yuan per tonne, he said.

China’s sea ice desalination program started in 1996 when Shi Peijun, a professor from Beijing Normal University, realized that low saline ice could ease the water shortage around the Pan-Bohai Bay area in north China, after desalination. The program has received a total of 29.72 million yuan (4.88 million U.S. dollars) from various government departments in the past 18 years.

In winter in high-latitude oceans, there is a great amount of sea ice, which is being recognized as a new resource of fresh water by scientists.

Solar and ocean cycles – without any CO2 influence – are sufficient to explain climate changes

December 7, 2013
  1. The de Vries solar cycle together with the AMO/PDO are sufficient to explain the main climate variations of the last 1000 years
  2. It is unnecessary to invoke carbon dioxide and its effects to explain the climate cycles
  3. The 21st century will see an underlying cooling due to the de Vries cycle and then modulated by the AMO/PDO. 

The 200-210 year de Vries solar cycle (also known as the Suess cycle)  has been postulated for some time (here and here for example)  as being one of the main natural cycles governing our climate.  The effect of the de Vries cycle can be traced back through the glacial record through many millenia and even through geologic ages. Many solar effects work on climate through ocean cycles. The Atlantic/Pacific Oscillations are well known as  drivers of climate and can be traced back through at least about 1500 years. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has a period of about 66 years while the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has a slightly shorter cycle of 60 years.

The entire hypothesis that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and therefore human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for “global warming” is based on the argument that nothing else can explain the warming witnessed during the 20th century. Yet this is not just conjecture it is a fantasy based on ignoring the effect of the natural cycles that are known to exist. In fact there is no need to invoke carbon dioxide concentration to explain the ups and down of climate. German researchers have now shown that just the de Vries Cycle together with the AMO and the PDO are quite sufficient. The period in the 1970’s and 1980’s often used as the foundation for “global warming” theory can be quite sufficiently explained by the AMO/PDO.

Just as we had about 100 years of an underlying warming due to the de Vries cycle in the 20th century, we are in for an underlying cooling through the 21st century in response to the de Vries solar cycle. This underlying trend will be modulated by the ups and downs of the AMO and the PDO. Carbon dioxide concentrations are largely irrelevant. 

The following is from an article at NoTricksZone:

German Scientists Show Climate Driven By Natural Cycles – Global Temperature To Drop To 1870 Levels By 2100!

by Prof. H. Luedecke and C.O. Weiss (Original German version here).

We reported recently about our spectral analysis work of European temperatures [1] which shows that during the last centuries all climate changes were caused by periodic (i.e. natural) processes. Non-periodic processes like a warming through the monotonic increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause at most 0.1° to 0.2° warming for a doubling of the CO2 content, as it is expected for 2100.

Fig. 1 (Fig. 6 of [1] ) shows the measured temperatures (blue) and the temperatures reconstructed using the 6 strongest frequency components (red) of the Fourier spectrum, indicating that the temperature history is determined by periodic processes only.

On sees from Fig. 1 that two cycles of periods 200+ years and ~65 years dominate the climate changes, the 200+ year cycle causing the largest part of the temperature increase since 1870.

EIKE_2

Fig. 1: Construction of temperatures using the 6 strongest Fourier components (red), European temperatures from instrumental measurements (blue). It is apparent that only a 200+ year cycle and a ~65 year cycle play a significant role.

The ~65 year cycle is the well-known, much studied, and well understood “Atlantic/Pacific oscillation” (AMO/PDO).  It can be traced back for 1400 years. The AMO/PDO has no external forcing it is “intrinsic dynamics”, an “oscillator”.

Although the spectral analysis of the historical instrumental temperature measurements [1] show a strong 200+ year period, it cannot be inferred with certainty from these measurements, since only 240 years of measurement data are available. However, the temperatures obtained from the Spannagel stalagmite show this periodicity as the strongest climate variation by far since about 1100 AD.

……….

Summary

The analysis of solar activity proves the existence and the strength of the 200+ year periodicity which we found from historical temperature measurements, as well as from the Spannagel stalagmite data. This 200+ year cycle is apparently the one known as “de Vries cycle”.

This solar “de Vries cycle together with the AMO/PDO determine practically completely the global climate of the past  (Fig. 1) and the coming time. A significant influence of CO2 on the climate thus has to be excluded. This latter is not surprising in view of the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and its weak infrared absorption cross section (also in view of the various proves of NEGATIVE water feedback).

The present “stagnation” of global temperature (Fig. 5) is essentially due to the AMO/PDO: the solar de Vries cycle is presently at its maximum. Around this maximum it changes negligibly. The AMO/PDO is presently beyond its maximum, corresponding to the small decrease of global temperature. Its next minimum will be 2035. The temperature can expected to be then similar to the last AMO/PDO minimum of 1940. Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the “little ice age” of 1870.

It accounts for the long temperature rise since 1870. One may note, that the stronger temperature increase from the 1970s to the 1990s, which is “officially” argued to prove warming by CO2, is essentially due to the AMO/PDO cycle.

[1] H.Luedecke, A. Hempelmann, C.O. Weiss; Clim. Past.  9  (2013) p 447

[2] F. Steinhilber, J. Beer; Journ. Geophys. Res.: Space Physics  118  (2013) p 1861

“Black hole” vortices in the oceans

September 24, 2013

Intriguing.

This could help explain how bodies of water and other matter are transported around the oceans. But I expect there are as yet unknown mechanisms (probably connected with tectonics and vulcanism) for the exchange of water between the oceans and the earth’s mantle.

Ocean eddies

Mathematically speaking, ocean eddies are counterparts to the black holes in space. (Illustration: G. Haller / ETH Zurich)

ETH LifeAccording to researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Miami, some of the largest ocean eddies on Earth are mathematically equivalent to the mysterious black holes of space. These eddies are so tightly shielded by circular water paths that nothing caught up in them escapes. 

The mild winters experienced in Northern Europe are thanks to the Gulf Stream, which makes up part of those ocean currents spanning the globe that impact on the climate. However, our climate is also influenced by huge eddies of over 150 kilometres in diameter that rotate and drift across the ocean. Their number is reportedly on the rise in the Southern Ocean, increasing the northward transport of warm and salty water. Intriguingly, this could moderate the negative impact of melting sea ice in a warming climate.

However, scientists have been unable to quantify this impact so far, because the exact boundaries of these swirling water bodies have remained undetectable. George Haller, Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at ETH Zurich, and Francisco Beron-Vera, Research Professor of Oceanography at the University of Miami, have now come up with a solution to this problem. In a paper just published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, they develop a new mathematical technique to find water-transporting eddies with coherent boundaries. …… Haller and Beron-Vera were able to restore order in this chaos by isolating coherent water islands from a sequence of satellite observations. To their surprise, such coherent eddies turned out to be mathematically equivalent to black holes. …

Haller and Beron-Vera discovered similar closed barriers around select ocean eddies. In these barriers, fluid particles move around in closed loops – similar to the path of light in a photon sphere. And as in a black hole, nothing can escape from the inside of these loops, not even water.

It is precisely these barriers that help to identify coherent ocean eddies in the vast amount of observational data available. According to Haller, the very fact that such coherent water orbits exist amidst complex ocean currents is surprising. …. 

Because black-hole-type ocean eddies are stable, they function in the same way as a transportation vehicle – not only for micro-organisms such as plankton or foreign bodies like plastic waste or oil, but also for water with a heat and salt content that can differ from the surrounding water. Haller and Beron-Vera have verified this observation for the Agulhas Rings, a group of ocean eddies that emerge regularly in the Southern Ocean off the southern tip of Africa and transport warm, salty water northwest. The researchers identified seven Agulhas Rings of the black-hole type, which transported the same body of water without leaking for almost a year.

Haller points out that similar coherent vortices exist in other complex flows outside of the ocean. In this sense, many whirlwinds are likely to be similar to black holes as well. Even the Great Red Spot – a stationary storm – on the planet Jupiter could just be the most spectacular example of a black-hole type vortex . ”Mathematicians have been trying to understand such peculiarly coherent vortices in turbulent flows for a very long time“, explains Haller.

Just after the publication of Haller’s and Beron-Vera’s results, Josefina Olascoaga, also a Professor of Oceanography in Miami, tested their new mathematical method. She unexpectedly found a large, black-hole type eddy in the Gulf of Mexico. (VIDEO) Olascoaga now uses her finding to assess the coherent transport of contamination from a possible future oil spill.

Haller G, Beron-Vera F: Coherent Lagrangian Vortices: The Black Holes of Turbulence. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 731 (2013) R4: doi:10.1017/jfm.2013.391

Animation of the Agulhas Rings, ocean eddies of the black hole type.

Arctic sea ice reaches minimum for 2013 – about a week early

September 6, 2013

A late spring and a short summer has led to Arctic ice melting much slower than for many years: IS ARCTIC SEA ICE REBOUNDING? 

It would seem that the minimum ice extent in the Arctic which usually happens around the middle of September has already been reached – about a week early.

From DMI – Centre for Ocean and Ice (coastal zones masked)

Arctic Sea Ice Extent 2013 minimum

Arctic Sea Ice Extent 2013 minimum

A real rebound in the ice extent and almost back to the level of 2005.

And of course the Antarctic which is reaching its maximum ice extent seems to be at a level significantly higher than the average for 1981 -2010. (NSIDC, Boulder).

Antarctic sea ice extent 20130904

Antarctic sea ice extent 20130904

These levels of ice extent correspond to the lack of significant increase in sea levels.

There does not seem to be very much to be alarmed about.

 

Nature Editorial – All change but no change (because the heat is hidden)

August 29, 2013

A very peculiar Nature Editorial.

First they confirm that there has been a hiatus in global temperature.Then they report on recent papers trying to invoke ocean cycles and their impact on global temperatures. This is followed by a claim that this does not explain the “missing heat” but fail to say that there may be no “missing heat” at all if global warming has slowed-down or ceased. By assuming that there must be “missing heat” they then claim that the underlying science has not changed. The key point of course is that if ocean cycles can cause global cooling they can also cause global warming. Natural processes can then well explain all the temperature observations of the last 150 years. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and the 5% of global emission that is man-made emissions of carbon dioxide become irrelevant and unnecessary to the explanations for changes to climate.

“Hidden heat” that cannot be found is just a convenient excuse to avoid having to scrap most of the existing climate models. And what Nature fails to mention is that if there is no “missing heat” then the entire edifice that is the man-made global warming hypothesis comes crashing down.

Nature: Hidden heat

Nature 500, 501 (29 August 2013), doi:10.1038/500501a

This week, Nature publishes a study online suggesting that a recent cooling trend in the tropical Pacific Ocean can explain the current hiatus in global warming. Authored by a pair of scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, the paper does not say why the Pacific seems to have entered a prolonged ‘La Niña’ phase, in which cooler surface waters gather in the eastern equatorial Pacific. It is also silent on where the missing heat is going. But it does suggest that this phenomenon — affecting as little as 8% of Earth’s surface — could temporarily counteract the temperature increase expected from rising greenhouse-gas emissions

(Y. Kosaka and S.-P. Xie  Nature, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12534; 2013).

Previous modelling studies have linked the pause to La-Niña-like conditions that have prevailed since 1999, suggesting that heat that would otherwise go into the atmosphere is getting buried deeper in the ocean. And scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, have a study in the press indicating that decades in which global air temperature rises rapidly — including the 1980s and 1990s — are associated with warmer temperatures in the tropical Pacific, as exemplified by La Niña’s opposite effect, El Niño (G. A. Meehl et al. J. Climate http://doi.org/nkw; 2013). The Scripps researchers also confirmed that El-Niño-like conditions can boost global temperatures.

Scientists seem to be homing in on an important lever in the climate system. And none too soon. Although a prolonged hiatus in warming does not necessarily contradict prevailing theory, this one came as a surprise and has been used to discredit the climate-science community. The story will probably not end there. Scientists know that the Sun has been in a prolonged solar minimum for several years, which means less incoming energy, and there may yet be a role for sunlight-blocking aerosols — human pollution and volcanic ash — and other factors in the hiatus. But at least a better explanation of the climate system is beginning to take shape.

All of this comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release the first instalment of its fifth assessment report. The hiatus in warming is at the centre of an ongoing debate about ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, which is the amount of warming that would be expected over the long term owing to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Several papers have assessed the most recent data and conclude that the climate may not be as sensitive to greenhouse gases as was previously thought. The latest draft of the IPCC summary for policy-makers accounts for this — just. It suggests a likely climate sensitivity of 1.5–4.5 °C, compared with a range of 2–4.5 °C in the IPCC’s last assessment report.

Some argue that recent temperature trends show that the climate problem is less urgent. One can only hope that this is so, and scientists will continue to probe the matter. But policy-makers would be foolhardy to think that the danger has receded. Although scientists understand the basic physics, nobody can know how the numbers will turn out, as shown by the various temperature projections. Plenty of other lines of evidence, including palaeoclimate data and modern modelling experiments, support the higher end of these.

Ultimately, the decision over how to characterize climate sensitivity will fall to government officials who will approve — under the watchful eye of scientists — the latest IPCC documents in Stockholm next month. Whatever their decision, the underlying science has not changed.

This 2007 ClimateGate quote seems timely:

“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

[Via Barry Woods; Tommy Wills, Swansea University to the mailing list for tree-ring data forum ITRDB, 28 Mar 2007]

Global warming hiatus confirmed – now the Pacific is to “blame”

August 28, 2013

Speculation is rife as to why there has been no global warming for the last 17 or 18 years. Some of this speculation is by those who believe the science is settled and is merely to try and “save” the discredited climate models used by the IPCC. Others – the real scientists – actually use it as an opportunity to investigate something that is not very well understood at all.

The lack of warming has been “blamed” on a variety of reasons. Some have blamed mysterious heat storage in the deep ocean where the heat has actually been transported from and through colder temperatures to higher temperatures! Others say that aerosols and soot in the atmosphere – due to pollution – have distorted the warming trend by hiding the sun. Some few point out that the models really don’t know how to treat clouds and moisture in the atmosphere and what actually drives cloud formation is still an unknown unknown. And there are those – like me – who put it down to natural variation which in turn is ultimately driven – via many still unknown mechanisms – by the Sun.

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation, has a major impact on global climate and is usually acknowledged but a new paper in Nature now suggests that the lack of warming is due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that lasts for a much longer period of time (15 – 30 years).  There may well be some influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and no doubt it should be investigated further. But it does first need an acknowledgement that there is something to be investigated. As the authors begin “Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming”.

Yu Kosaka & Shang-Ping Xie, Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling, Nature Letter (2013),

doi:10.1038/nature12534

Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this hiatus in global warming, but their relative importance has not been quantified, hampering observational estimates of climate sensitivity. Here we show that accounting for recent cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific reconciles climate simulations and observations. We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA. Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase.

Sea level dropped in 2010/11 but only because it rained in Australia!

August 19, 2013

Wonders will never cease! If we just make sure that more moisture is trapped in clouds and that it rains more over land we can prevent sea level rise and even cause sea level to fall

Sea level is rising to catastrophic levels because of global warming and that, of course, is due the our using fossil fuels – or so the global warming theology would have us believe. But sea levels dropped by 0.7mm in 2010/2011. But not to worry. The catastrophe theory remains intact. This was just due to it raining too much over land in Australia and the tropics that year.

A new paper but an old tired song:

John T. Fasullo, Carmen Boening, Felix W. Landerer and R. Steven Nerem, Australia’s unique influence on global sea level in 2010–2011, Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/grl.50834

AbstractIn 2011, a significant drop in global sea level occurred that was unprecedented in the altimeter era and concurrent with an exceptionally strong La Niña. This analysis examines multiple datasets in exploring the physical basis for the drop’s exceptional intensity and persistence. Australia’s hydrologic surface mass anomaly is shown to have been a dominant contributor to the 2011 global total and associated precipitation anomalies were among the highest on record. The persistence of Australia’s mass anomaly is attributed to the continent’s unique surface hydrology, which includes expansive arheic and endorheic basins that impede runoff to ocean. Based on Australia’s key role, attribution of sea level variability is addressed. The modulating influences of the Indian Ocean Dipole and Southern Annular Mode on La Niña teleconnections are found to be key drivers of anomalous precipitation in the continent’s interior and the associated surface mass, and sea level responses.

PhysOrg recites the dogma:

When enough raindrops fall over land instead of the ocean, they begin to add up. New research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) shows that when three atmospheric patterns came together over the Indian and Pacific oceans, they drove so much precipitation over Australia in 2010 and 2011 that the world’s ocean levels dropped measurably. Unlike other continents, the soils and topography of Australia prevent almost all of its precipitation from running off into the ocean. 

The 2010-11 event temporarily halted a long-term trend of rising sea levels caused by higher temperatures and melting ice sheets. 

Now that the atmospheric patterns have snapped back and more rain is falling over tropical oceans, the seas are rising again. In fact, with Australia in a major drought, they are rising faster than before.

“It’s a beautiful illustration of how complicated our climate system is,” says NCAR scientist John Fasullo, the lead author of the study. “The smallest continent in the world can affect sea level worldwide. Its influence is so strong that it can temporarily overcome the background trend of rising sea levels that we see with climate change.”

….. As the climate warms, the world’s oceans have been rising in recent decades by just more than 3 millimeters (0.1 inches) annually. This is partly because the heat causes water to expand, and partly because runoff from retreating glaciers and ice sheets is making its way into the oceans.

But for an 18-month period beginning in 2010, the oceans mysteriously dropped by about 7 millimeters (about 0.3 inches), more than offsetting the annual rise.

Fasullo and his co-authors published research last year demonstrating that the reason had to do with the increased rainfall over tropical continents. They also showed that the drop coincided with the atmospheric oscillation known as La Niña, which cooled tropical surface waters in the eastern Pacific and suppressed rainfall there while enhancing it over portions of the tropical Pacific, Africa, South America, and Australia.

But an analysis of the historical record showed that past La Niña events only rarely accompanied such a pronounced drop in sea level. ….

When sea level rises it is due to global warming. But when it falls it is due to too much rain over Australia. Nothing to do with the standstill in global temperatures for the last 17 years of course!

As I posted a month or so ago

Sea levels in the past have been 10 m higher than today and 150 m lower than today.

Alarmism will have us believe that +5 cm ±15 cm in sea level that may actually happen by 2100 will threaten the very existence of humanity!

new paper from Nils-Axel Mörner.

SEA LEVEL CHANGES PAST RECORDS AND FUTURE EXPECTATIONS

……. The Earth’s rate of rotation records a mean acceleration from 1972 to 2012, contradicting all claims of a rapid global sea level rise, and instead suggests stable, to slightly falling, sea levels.Best estimates for future sea level changes up to the year 2100 are in the range of +5 cm ±15 cm

Young coral reefs will be unaffected by any ocean acidification due to increased carbon dioxide

August 14, 2013

Well now!

File:PH Scale.svg

pH scale : Wikipedia

While I have no belief in the fanciful theory that man-made carbon dioxide emissions will have any significant effect on global warming, I have no doubt that an increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere will lower the pH of the ocean (and they will only be more acidic in the sense of reducing alkanity though with a pH remaining well over 7.0). In fact it is likely that oceans will maintain a pH over 8.0 even in the worst scenarios. (Liquid solutions are usually described as acidic with a pH of less than 7.0 and as alkaline with a pH over 7.0 though on the continuous pH scale any reduction of alkanity is per force an increase of acidity and vice versa).

A new paper shows that the hypothesised catastrophic scenarios about ocean “acidification” (more correctly – a reduction of alkanity) and the consequent effects on coral reefs are little more than fantasy because they find that “there will be no direct ecological effects of ocean acidification on the early life-history stages of reef corals, at least in the near future”.

CM Chua, W Leggat, A Moya, AH Baird. Near-future reductions in pH will have no consistent ecological effects on the early life-history stages of reef coralsMarine Ecology Progress Series, 2013; 486: 143 DOI:10.3354/meps10318

Abstract: Until recently, research into the consequences of oceanic uptake of CO2 for corals focused on its effect on physiological processes, in particular, calcification. However, events early in the life history of corals are also likely to be vulnerable to changes in ocean chemistry caused by increases in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (ocean acidification). We tested the effect of reduced pH on embryonic development, larval survivorship and metamorphosis of 3 common scleractinian corals from the Great Barrier Reef. We used 4 treatment levels of pH, corresponding to the current level of ocean pH and 3 values projected to occur later this century. None of the early life-history stages we studied were consistently affected by reduced pH. Our results suggest that there will be no direct ecological effects of ocean acidification on the early life-history stages of reef corals, at least in the near future.

ScienceDaily:

Corals can survive the early stages of their development even under the tough conditions that rising carbon emissions will impose on them says a new study from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. …. 

Dr Andrew Baird, Principal Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, was part of the research team and explains their findings.

“The prevailing view is that ocean acidification will act like a toxin to corals, but we were unconvinced by results from previous work on young corals and ocean acidification so we tested critical early stages of development in several coral species at several different acid (or ‘pH’) concentrations of seawater.

“Our results showed no clear response to increasing ocean acidification in any of the stages, or for any of the coral species,” says Dr Baird. “In fact, in only one of nine experiments did we get the response expected if CO2 was acting like a toxin. More often than not we found no effect.”

By bubbling CO2 through seawater the research team was able to simulate future levels of ocean acidification expected to result from rising human carbon emissions. They tested the success of embryo development, the survival of coral larvae and finally their success in settling on coral reefs.

The rest of the reporting by ScienceDaily is almost embarassing as they try to pay lip-service to the orthodoxy of the “the carbon dioxide is evil” fantasy. They waste space in trying to emphasise that even if young corals are not affected this “study does not discount the possibility that coral larvae may suffer other ill-effects from increasing ocean acidification, for example, their swimming speeds may slow down, but because coral larvae typically settle on the reef two or three weeks after birth it is unlikely that these effects will have a major impact on the survival or settlement of coral larvae”.


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