The CO2 Kink; Firn to Ice Transition

Guest Post by Renee Hannon

Introduction

This post examines CO2 data collected in Antarctic firn and its journey as firn transitions to ice where CO2 is eventually trapped in bubbles. Atmospheric gases within the firn and trapped in bubbles are smoothed due to gas mixing processes with depth and time. The bubble trapping zone, also known as the Lock-in-Zone (LIZ), is a mysterious thin interval where CO2 concentrations decrease significantly with depth creating a kink in CO2 concentrations.

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Michael Mann’s 2008 Reconstruction

By Andy May

In my last post, it was suggested that Michael Mann’s 2008 reconstruction (Mann, et al., 2008) was similar to Moberg’s 2005 (Moberg, Sonechkin, Holmgren, Datsenko, & Karlen, 2005) and Christiansen’s 2011/2012 reconstructions. The claim was made by a commenter who calls himself “nyolci.” He presents a quote, in this comment, from Christiansen’s co-author: Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist:

“Our temperature reconstruction agrees well with the reconstructions by Moberg et al. (2005) and Mann et al. (2008) with regard to the amplitude of the variability as well as the timing of warm and cold periods, except for the period c. AD 300–800, despite significant differences in both data coverage and methodology.” (Ljungqvist, 2010).

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Sea-Surface Temperature Anomalies

By Andy May

My previous post on sea-surface temperature (SST) differences between HadSST and ERSST generated a lively discussion. Some, this author included, asserted that the Hadley Centre HadSST record and NOAA’s ERSST (the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature) record could be used as is, and did not need to be turned into anomalies from the mean. Anomalies are constructed by taking a mean value over a specified reference period, for a specific location, and then subtracting this mean from each measurement at that location. For the HadSST dataset, the reference period is 1961-1990. For the ERSST dataset, the reference period is 1971-2000.

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Sea-Surface Temperatures: Hadley Centre v. NOAA

By Andy May

My last post compared actual sea-surface temperature (SST) estimates to one another to see how well they agreed. It was not a pretty sight; the various estimates covered a range of global average SSTs from ~14°C to almost 20°C. In addition, some SSTs were declining with time and others were increasing. While I did check the latitude range of each of the grids I averaged, John Kennedy (HadSST climate scientist in the UK MET Hadley Centre) pointed out that I did not check the cell-by-cell areal coverage of the HadSST grid, relative to the NOAA ERSST grid. He suspected that the results I presented were mostly due to null grid cells in HadSST that were populated by interpolation and extrapolation in the ERSST dataset. The original results were presented in Figure 6 of my previous post which is Figure 1 here.

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The Ocean Mixed Layer, SST, and Climate Change

By Andy May

As described in my previous post, the ocean “mixed layer” is sandwiched between the very thin “skin” layer at the ocean surface and the deep ocean. The skin layer loses thermal energy (“heat”) to the atmosphere primarily through evaporation, gains thermal energy from the Sun during the day, and constantly attempts to come to thermal equilibrium with the atmosphere above it. During the day, with the Sun beating down on the ocean and calm clear conditions, the skin layer might be as thick as ten meters. At night, especially under windy conditions, it can be less than a millimeter thick.

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Sea surface skin temperature

By Andy May

In previous posts, see here and here, I’ve tried to show that because the oceans cover 71% of Earth and they contain 99% of the thermal energy stored on the Earth’s surface, they dominate the speed and magnitude of climate changes. In all my posts the Earth’s surface is defined as everything from the ocean floor to the top of the atmosphere. The details of the calculation of ocean and atmospheric heat content is detailed in this spreadsheet. The ocean’s huge heat capacity prevents large temperature swings and dampens and delays those that do occur.

Attempting to show the direction, speed, and magnitude of climate change by measuring and averaging atmospheric surface temperatures is pointless, in my opinion. The record we have of atmospheric and ocean surface temperatures is too short and far too inaccurate to provide us with useful trends on a climatic (30 years +) time scale. Further, these records are sporadic measurements in a chaotic surface zone that has large temperature swings. In Montana, United States, for example, recent minimum/maximum temperatures have been as low as -70°F (-57°C) and as high as 117°F (47°C). These enormous swings make measuring year-to-year global average differences of 0.1°C exceedingly difficult. Yet, this is the precision demanded if we are to properly characterize a climate that is only warming at a rate of roughly 1.4°C/century, which is 0.014°C per year and 0.14°C/decade.

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The Government Corruption of Science

Opinion by Andy May

I wrote my latest book, Politics and Climate Change: A History, because I recognized that government funding of scientific research was corrupting science. We were warned this might happen by President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the public, where he said:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.” (Eisenhower, 1961)

How right he was.

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#government-corruption

The Paper that Blew it Up

By Andy May

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with Bull…” W. C. Fields

In late February 2015, Willie Soon was accused in a front-page New York Times article by Kert Davies (Gillis & Schwartz, 2015) of failing to disclose conflicts of interest in his academic journal articles. It isn’t mentioned in the Gillis and Schwartz article, but the timing suggests that a Science Bulletin article, “Why Models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model” (Monckton, Soon, Legates, & Briggs, 2015) was Davies’ concern. We will abbreviate this paper as MSLB15. Besides Soon, the other authors of the paper are Christopher Monckton (senior author, Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley), David Legates (Professor of Geography and Climatology, University of Delaware), and William Briggs (Mathematician and statistician, former professor of statistics at Cornell Medical School). In the January 2015 article, the authors “declare that they have no conflict of interest.”

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Modern Climate Change Science

By Andy May

The first modern theoretical estimates of ECS, the equilibrium climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, were reported in 1979 in the so-called “Charney Report” (Charney, et al., 1979). They reported, on page 2, a theoretical ECS of 1.5°C to 4.5°C per doubling of the CO2 atmospheric concentration. This estimate included an estimate of water vapor feedbacks, the effect of ice and their assumed uncertainties. Absent any water vapor feedback their computed value was 1°C per doubling of CO2. They also supply a likely value of 2.4°C on page 9, although on page 2 they offer a value “near 3.0.” The page 9 value is not far off from the empirical estimate of 2°C made by Guy Callendar in 1938, but significantly higher than the 1.2°C to 1.95°C (17% to 83% range, best estimate 1.5°C) given by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry (Lewis & Curry, 2018).

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Facts and Theories, Updated

By Andy May

In 2016, I published a post entitled “Facts and Theories.” It has been one of my most popular posts and often reblogged. I updated the post extensively for my new book, Politics and Climate Change: A History. This post is a condensed version of what is in the book.

Sometimes people ask climate skeptics if they believe in evolution or gravity. They want to ridicule our skepticism by equating human-caused, aka anthropogenic, climate change to evolution or gravity. Evolution and gravity are facts and anthropogenic climate change is a hypothesis. Equating “climate change” to gravity or evolution is valid, as all three are facts. Climate changes, gravity holds us to Earth’s surface and species evolve.

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