Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Climate Research News

Climate Realist was a temporary blog while Climate Research News was being set up.

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Saturday, 4 October 2008

Global CO2 Emissions Rise to Record Levels, but Global Cooling Since 2002

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement manufacturing are rising faster than the worst-case scenario drawn up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the latest worldwide carbon budget, released by the Global Carbon Project, CO2 levels rose by 3.5% a year between 2000 and 2007, compared with 2.7% as calculated by the IPCC. During the 1990s, emissions rose at 0.9% a year. "For a decade we've been using the [IPCC] middle-ground scenario, while we're actually in a different realm of emissions," says Pep Canadell, the project's executive director. China is now the biggest emitter of CO2 and responsible for 21% of the world's emissions — up from 14% in 2002. This knocks the United States into second place, contributing 19% of global emissions. India is fourth, but looks set to take third place from Russia this year. Currently, more than half of the global emissions come from less developed countries.

Link for image above showing global cooling since 2002:


Monday, 15 September 2008

EU's New Car CO2 Rules "are illegal"

A regulation forcing car makers to cut average CO2 emissions to 130g/km for their model ranges, or face hefty fines, has been declared illegal.

That was the decision of the EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee which met on 9 September, prompting fears that negotiations on targets, fines and start-dates may have to start from scratch next year.

Consumer web site www.cleangreencars.co.uk has also learned that committee members expressed "utmost misgivings" about methods for collecting fines from car makers and with plans to use these as revenue for European Union budgets.

"This decision is extremely serious," said Jay Nagley, Clean Green Cars publisher. "The committee said that the proper legal basis for the regulation is Article 175 of the EC Treaty which deals with environmental laws. But it has been drafted under Article 95, which prevents market distortions. This isn't just a technicality; the whole legal basis of the regulation could be challenged."

The new car CO2 regulation is self-evidently an environmental measure, so it is hardly surprising that this question has been raised. It appears that the EU wanted a single pan-European regulation, so has tried to squeeze it through under single market rules in Article 95.
However, this looks like putting the cart before the horse as the regulation is primarily an environmental measure. What the EU is trying to avoid is a rule which would allow far more flexibility. If proposals were to be re-drafted under Article 175, one country could set tougher CO2 limits than those in a neighbouring state.

The decision comes shortly after discussions in Parliament's Industry Committee. Its members infuriated socialist MEPs by tabling amendments to water-down CO2 targets, extend deadlines for compliance, and cut fines for car makers.

The Parliament's Environment Committee, which is leading the process, must now consider these views. It should have voted last week. However, amid rumours of heated rows and political tensions, the vote has been postponed until 25 September.

A plenary vote in parliament has been scheduled for 20 October. This is the date when elected representatives should have the opportunity to vote on final proposals, either paving the way for adoption of the rules by the end of the year, or dragging the issue on into 2009. The latter now seems most likely.

Press Release from www.cleangreencars.co.uk 15th September 2008

Estimated Sea Level Rise by 2100: 0.8 Metres 'More Plausible'

A paper published in Science magazine on 5th September 2008 set a limit of 2 metres for sea level rise from ice melt in Greenland and western Antarctica. The paper by W. T. Pfeffer, J. T. Harper, and S. O'Neel is entitled: 'Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise.'

The Abstract states:

On the basis of climate modeling and analogies with past conditions, the potential for multimeter increases in sea level by the end of the 21st century has been proposed. We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea-level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude that increases in excess of 2 meters are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter. These roughly constrained scenarios provide a "most likely" starting point for refinements in sea-level forecasts that include ice flow dynamics.

Contrast this with Al Gore's claim in his 2006 documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' that sea levels would rise by 20 feet (6 metres) and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projection of a rise of no more than 0.6 metres by 2099 in its 2007 report.

A mathematical analysis of the divergence problem in dendroclimatology

Craig Loehle has a new paper in the journal Climatic Change, which examines the divergence problem in paleoclimate reconstructions using tree rings.

The Abstract states:

Tree rings provide a primary data source for reconstructing past climates, particularly over the past 1,000 years. However, divergence has been observed in twentieth century reconstructions. Divergence occurs when trees show a positive response to warming in the calibration period but a lesser or even negative response in recent decades. The mathematical implications of divergence for reconstructing climate are explored in this study. Divergence results either because of some unique environmental factor in recent decades, because trees reach an asymptotic maximum growth rate at some temperature, or because higher temperatures reduce tree growth. If trees show a nonlinear growth response, the result is to potentially truncate any historical temperatures higher than those in the calibration period, as well as to reduce the mean and range of reconstructed values compared to actual. This produces the divergence effect. This creates a cold bias in the reconstructed record and makes it impossible to make any statements about how warm recent decades are compared to historical periods. Some suggestions are made to overcome these problems.

In conclusion:

the nonlinear response of trees to temperature explains the divergence problem, including cases where divergence was not found. The analysis here also shows why non-tree ring proxies often show the Medieval Warm Period but tree ring-based reconstructions more often do not. While Fritts (1976) notes the parabolic tree growth response to temperature, recent discussions of the divergence problem have not focused on this mechanism and climate reconstructions continue to be done using a linear response model. When the divergence problem clearly indicates that the linearity assumption is questionable, it is not good practice to carry on as if linearity is an established fact.

Friday, 12 September 2008

New Paper: US Hurricane Counts are Significantly Related to Solar Activity

There is a new GRL paper in press by Elsner and Jagger entitled: 'United States and Caribbean tropical cyclone activity related to the solar cycle.'

The Abstract states:

The authors report on a finding that annual U.S hurricane counts are significantly related to solar activity. The relationship results from fewer intense tropical cyclones over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico when sunspot numbers are high. The finding is in accord with the heat-engine theory of hurricanes that predicts a reduction in the maximum potential intensity with
a warming in the layer near the top of the hurricane. An active sun warms the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere through ozone absorption of additional ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Since the dissipation of the hurricane’s energy occurs through ocean mixing and atmospheric transport, tropical cyclones can act to amplify the effect of relatively small changes in the sun’s output thereby appreciably altering the climate. Results have implications for life and property throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of the United States.