Friday, June 24, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: The Return Of The Global Warming Pause?

New Climate Science Survey Reveals Uncertainties

In this newsletter:

1) The Return Of The Global Warming Pause?
Roy Spencer, 22 June 2016
2) Global Sea Surface Temperature Responses to the 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niño Events
Watts Up With That, 23 June 2016
3) Alarmists Wrong Again: ‘Grolar’ Bear Hybrid Was Actually Just A Blonde Grizzly Bear
The Daily Caller, 22 June 2016
4) GWPF Climate Briefing: New Climate Science Survey 
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 22 June 2016
5) Climate Change Claims Its First Species – Or Does It?
Energy Matters, 20 June 2016
6) Sunshine Fear Halts Jersey Beach Trip
BBC News, 21 June 2016
7) And Finally: Elon Musk’s Subsidy Aggregation
The Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2016

Full details:

1) The Return Of The Global Warming Pause?
Roy Spencer, 22 June 2016

2016 will likely see record global warmth in satellite data … but the approaching La Nina might extend the global warming pause to 20 years.

Even though global average tropospheric temperatures are rapidly falling now as La Nina approaches, it is usually the second calendar year of an El Nino event that is the warmest, especially in the satellite record of tropospheric temperatures.
This is because it takes a couple of months for all of the unusually warm Pacific surface water to transfer its extra heat to the atmosphere, pushing peak atmospheric temperatures into the second calendar year of an El Nino event.

While 2015 was only the 3rd warmest year in the satellite record (since 1979), 2016 might well beat out 1998 as the record warmest.

I computed just how fast average cooling must be for the remainder of this year for that to happen (or not happen), at least in our UAH dataset; the RSS satellite dataset would give somewhat different results. The following graph shows that if steady, linear cooling occurred from the May 2016 value of +0.55 deg. C to reach +0.20 deg C in December, then 2016 would edge out 1998 for a new record warm year (ignoring measurement uncertainty).

If linear cooling ended up resulting in +0.19 deg. C in December, then we would avoid a new record warm year.

How likely is it that cooling will progress at such a fast rate? Examination of previous El Nino-La Nina transitions suggest it would be unusual, but not out of the question. The latest La Nina forecast suggests fairly rapid onset of La Nina conditions, possibly by next month.

Nevertheless, if I had to make a prediction one way or the other, I would bet that 2016 will not experience that rapid of a rate of cooling, and will edge out 1998 for record warmth. I’d be happy to be wrong, though.

And, of course, if we go into prolonged La Nina conditions for the next 2-3 years, we might well be debating the meaning and significance of a 20-year pause in global warming in another year or two.

Full post

2) Global Sea Surface Temperature Responses to the 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niño Events
Watts Up With That, 23 June 2016
Bob Tisdale

Alternate Title: Just in Case You Thought Sea Surface Temperatures around the Globe Responded Similarly to Strong El Niños

This is an update of the post here published back in March.  It will illustrate quite clearly that the responses of ocean surface temperatures differ noticeably with strong El Niño events—those in 1997/98 and 2015/16. […] Because the 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niños were of comparable strength according to the NINO3.4 data, we might expect the responses of the sea surface temperatures around the globe to be similar. But as you’ll see, there can be great differences. […]


Every El Niño is different. We’ve shown that fact in many of the posts presented in the 2014/15 El Niño series and those about the 2015/16 El Niño. Weather around the globe is chaotic, so the background state globally in which each El Niño forms will be different. As a result, the responses of ocean basin surface temperatures to El Niños will vary from event to event, even strong El Niños.

The sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region are a commonly used indicator of the strength, frequency and duration of ENSO events. But they only reflect the impacts of an El Niño on that small portion of the globe. They cannot tell us if the El Niño was an East Pacific event or a Central Pacific El Niño (a.k.a. El Niño Modoki). The sea surface temperatures of the NINO3.4 region also do not tell us the background state of the weather in the tropical Pacific or around the globe or how regional weather will impact the responses. As noted in the most recent ENSO update, many other indices show the 2015/16 El Niño to be weaker than the event in 1997/98. And, of course, the sea surface temperatures of the NINO3.4 region cannot tell us what happened to the warm water after the El Niño.

So far, the responses of global sea surface temperatures to the 2015/16 El Niño have fallen short of those experienced during the 1997/98 El Niño. See Figure 2.

The decay in many basins is also occurring sooner in 2016 than in 1998. However, the 2015/16 El Niño released a tremendous about of warm water from below the surface of the western tropical Pacific, and all of that warm water is going to end up somewhere. Time will tell.

For this El Nino, the most unusual response, or lack thereof, has occurred in the South Atlantic. The South Atlantic covers about 11% of the surface of the global oceans, according to the NOAA/NCEI webpage here.  The surfaces of the South Atlantic warmed noticeably in response to the 1997/98 El Niño, but show no warming in 2015/16. Why?  Dunno. Compared to the rest of the ocean basins, there is very little scientific literature about the causes of the variations in the surface temperatures of the South Atlantic. In fact, I have yet to find a paper that provides an explanation for the temporary 2+ year uptick in the surface temperatures of the South Atlantic starting in 2009 after decades of no warming.


At the close of the earlier post, I promised a comparison using land surface air temperature anomalies. I have yet to finish the graphs. Figure 15 is a preview. That’s quite a drop from April to May 2016 in the GISS and NCEI data. Will the decline continue, or will land surface air temperature anomalies rebound next month?

Figure 15 Global Land Surface Temperature Anomalies

3) Alarmists Wrong Again: ‘Grolar’ Bear Hybrid Was Actually Just A Blonde Grizzly Bear
The Daily Caller, 22 June 2016
Michael Bastasch

For weeks, environmentalists claimed a supposed polar bear-grizzly bear hybrid that was harvested in the Canadian Arctic was proof global warming was pushing polar bears far enough south to mate with grizzlies. As it turns out, that narrative is totally false. The results of a DNA test done on the bear revealed it was just a blonde grizzly bear, not a polar-grizzly hybrid.

“The DNA lab concludes that the animal was a blonde grizzly bear and it does not have a polar bear parent,” a spokesperson for the territory of Nunavut’ environment department told Nunatsiaq News Tuesday.

It’s a sobering moment for environmentalists and even some polar bear experts who seized on the May 15th news that a “grolar” bear had been killed by a Nanavut hunter. Environmentalists said this proved global warming would force more bears to breed with grizzlies.

“All the hubris last month about polar bear x grizzly hybrids, based on an unusual-looking bear killed near Arviat, has turned out to be wishful thinking by those who’d like to blame everything to do with polar bears on climate change,” veteran zoologist and polar bear expert Susan Crockford wrote on her blog.

“An awful lot of ‘experts’ now have egg on their faces,” Crockford wrote.

News of the “grolar” bear went international, and even outlets, like The Washington Post, featured experts warning polar bears could be bred out of existence if they continue to mate with grizzlies.

“As climate change continues, terrestrial habitat is going to increase, and the likelihood is the habitat for grizzlies, a terrestrial bear, is going to get better,” Andrew Derocher, a biologist at the University of Alberta, told The Post. “That means a longer warming period and greater food potential.”

“I hate to say it, but from a genetic perspective, it’s quite likely grizzly bears will eat polar bears up, genetically,” he said.

But hype over the “grolar” bear was misplaced.

“Some otherwise pretty renown bear biologists jumped on the hybrid bear story without even knowing what they were talking about,” Mathieu Dumond, a regional wildlife manager in Nanavut, told Nunatsiaq News. “I think it was something blown out of proportion, with the wrong information to start.”

Full post

4) GWPF Climate Briefing: New Climate Science Survey 
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 22 June 2016

A new survey of 651 climate scientists' opinions has been carried out by Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch. Whereas other surveys have asked scientists very simple and binary questions about their belief in climate change, this survey offers deeper and more nuanced insight into scientific opinion. The results show that many climate scientists acknowledge significant knowledge gaps and scientific uncertainties that are habitually ignored by the media and politicians.

click on image to view video

5) Climate Change Claims Its First Species – Or Does It?
Energy Matters, 20 June 2016
Roger Andrews

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but in this case the evidence is rather flimsy.

This post briefly reviews the demise of the Bramble Cay melomys, a rat-like mammal that is no longer to be found on Bramble Cay, a tiny coral atoll between Australia and Papua-New Guinea and the animal’s only known habitat. The acknowledged cause of the extinction – which appears in this case to be real – was a series of storm surges that inundated Bramble Cay and killed off the vegetation.

There is, however, no evidence linking these storm surges to human-induced climate change. The University of Queensland’s claim that the Bramble Cay melomys ….. is the first mammal to go extinct due to human-induced climate change must therefore be considered invalid as well as grossly misleading.

For years now CAGW proponents have been relentlessly searching for an example of a species that has incontrovertibly been driven extinct by man-made climate change, but so far without success. Discredited examples have included the Harlequin Frog and the Golden Toad in Costa Rica, the European Land Leech in Europe, the White Possum in Queensland and the Aldabra banded snail (discussed earlier in this post), which after being declared extinct in a Royal Society paper was later found alive and well in a different part of Aldabra Atoll. (The RS nevertheless refused to withdraw the paper). Now, however, we have a new candidate – the Bramble Cay melomys, and this one really has the AGW people stirred up (a Google search for “Bramble Cay melomys extinct” generated 176,000 hits). There’s no shortage of hand-wringing either.

As the Guardian puts it:

Farewell, Bramble Cay melomys. We killed you and you will be remembered as the first mammalian extinction caused directly by climate change: wiped off the planet by rising seas ….. It is the beginning of a new wave of loss and we need to start to prepare ourselves for the grief that will inevitably follow.

Here we will look into the question of whether “we” really did kill the unfortunate animal.

Figure 1 shows the location of Bramble Cay off the northeast tip of Queensland and the south coast of Papua-New Guinea along with the locations of four tide gauge stations discussed later:

Figure 1: Location map

And the following photos indeed make one wonder how a mammalian population could continue to survive on a postage stamp-sized (about 4 hectares), barren atoll like Bramble Cay:

Figure 2: Recent photographs of Bramble Cay. The structure in the first photo is a disused lighthouse. The second shows a trap set next to one of the last remaining patches of vegetation.

So is the melomys really extinct? No one knows for sure because there’s a possibility that it may still be present in the Papua-New Guinea rain forest. But a detailed study conducted by the University of Queensland entitled Confirmation of the extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys leaves little doubt that it is no longer present on Bramble Cay. […]

So there you have it. The demise of Melomys rubicola had nothing to do with temperature, rainfall or sea level rise. The animal was a victim of storm surges that progressively destroyed its habitat. No evidence – not even a climate model – is presented to support the claim that these storm surges had anything to do with increasing atmospheric CO2. It’s also questionable whether storm surges at a remote atoll even qualify as “climate change” – note that they are described in the above quotes as “weather events”. Yet in its press release the University of Queensland has no compunction in confirming that the extinction was a result of man-made climate change:

University of Queensland and Queensland Government researchers have confirmed that the Bramble Cay melomys – the only mammal species endemic to the Great Barrier Reef – is the first mammal to go extinct due to human-induced climate change.

Usually I like to conclude a post with a pithy comment, but in this case words fail me.

Full post

6) Sunshine Fear Halts Jersey Beach Trip
BBC News, 21 June 2016

A school’s annual beach day has been scrapped over concerns about the dangers of midday sunshine.

heliophobia by josephineas
More than 200 pupils at St George’s Preparatory School in Jersey were due to have a day at the beach in July.

But after hearing a health department warning about skin cancer on the island, headmaster Colin Moore said the school would be organising “a less exposed alternative event”.

Mr Moore said “the children’s health must take priority”.

He said the decision was made with “considerable regret”.

“I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t go to the beach… but I think there is a big difference between taking your family to the beach and 210 or 220 children.”

He said the school may “resurrect” its visit to the beach in future years if adequate shading is available.

The average Jersey temperature in July is 14C to 20C, compared with 11C to 19C in the UK, according to the Met Office.

Full story

7) And Finally: Elon Musk’s Subsidy Aggregation
The Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2016

Elon Musk didn’t become a billionaire without brass, and this week he floated one of his most outrageous bets: an offer by his taxpayer-subsidized Tesla Motors to buy his taxpayer-subsidized SolarCity. Tesla shareholders and Wall Street analysts are howling, but didn’t they always know they were buying a business model that depended on the kindness of politicians?


The electric-car maker offered to acquire the solar panel company at a more than 20% premium over SolarCity’s previous share price in an all-stock transaction. “Tesla customers can drive clean cars and they can use our battery packs to help consume energy more efficiently,” the company said in a blog post, “but they still need access to the most sustainable energy source that’s available: the sun.”

The ostensible plan is to set up a one-stop shop so folks buying $85,000 Teslas don’t have to walk across the street to buy solar panels, among other “synergies.” Mr. Musk predicted, with his typically modest ambition, that the merger will lead to a Tesla valuation of $1 trillion, or about 34 times what it was Wednesday.

He may need one of his SpaceX rockets to get there. Tesla shares fell 10% Wednesday, or more than the $2.8 billion value of SolarCity, as investors asked why one money-losing company would be better off buying another money-losing company. SolarCity was once a darling of the green energy set, but its shares have fallen more than 50% in the past year as its political advantage ebbs.

The company’s solar-panel leasing business grew rapidly thanks to federal tax credits and state “net metering” programs that underwrite installation and let companies hawk renewable power back to the grid at high prices. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote a taxpayer check for $750 million for a SolarCity plant in 2014.

But net metering has been exposed as a crony-capitalist scheme that forces nonsolar customers to subsidize their solar-using and often wealthier neighbors. Nevada recently capped its solar-metering handout. Hawaii has also changed its repayment structure, and others of the 40 or so states with programs may follow.

SolarCity is bleeding cash, and the suspicion is that Mr. Musk is engineering what amounts to a bailout by Tesla. The problem is that Tesla is also spending its available cash to develop its Model 3, which is billed as an electric car even the masses can afford. Tesla has an unusually high debt-to-equity ratio, and it isn’t obvious how adding another cash-needy company will increase value. Caveat shareholder.

Tesla’s cars have a devoted following, and its stock has had a brilliant run. But it isn’t clear how competitive it would be without taxpayer support: The car maker rakes in money—$168 million in 2015, up from $3 million in 2011—thanks to the racket known as state zero-emission vehicle credits. Tesla only produces electric cars, so it can sell its extra state-supplied credits to auto makers that don’t reach government fuel-efficiency standards.

Tesla’s $5 billion Nevada battery plant received more than $1 billion in breaks on property and sales taxes, along with discounts on electricity, and even a 30% federal credit for solar generation. Don’t forget President Obama’s $7,500 federal tax credit for every electric-car buyer. That’s right, Uncle Sam pays the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio so they can flaunt their green virtue on the highway.

If Mr. Musk can make a market success of electric cars and lithium-ion batteries, he’ll have served customers and earned his billions. But so far Tesla looks more like a classic of the reverse income redistribution of green crony capitalism, in which middle-class taxpayers subsidize billionaires who make products to satisfy the anti-fossil-fuel indulgences of the upper classes. That Mr. Musk is reshuffling his Tesla balance sheet to subsidize his own solar venture is a sign that this may not be a sustainable business model. 

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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