Thursday, June 7, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Global Ocean Air Temps Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels

Wind Disappears In Britain Leaving Turbines At A Standstill

In this newsletter:

1) Global Ocean Air Temps Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 6 June 2018
2) Wind Disappears In Britain Leaving Turbines At A Standstill
Bloomberg, 5 June 2018 

3) David Whitehouse: How Warm Will 2018 Be?
GWPF Observatory, 6 June 2018
4) Steven Hayward: Climate Change Has Run Its Course
The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2018
5) Myron Ebell: Trump Prefers Energy Dominance To Paris
Standpoint, June 2018

Full details:

1) Global Ocean Air Temps Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 6 June 2018

Global ocean air temps are now the lowest since April 2015, and those in the Southern Hemisphere the lowest since May 2013.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The May update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for May. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015. As of May 2018, global ocean temps are slightly lower than April and below the average since 1995.  NH remains higher, but not enough to offset much lower temps in SH and Tropics (between 20N and 20S latitudes).  Global ocean air temps are now the lowest since April 2015, and SH the lowest since May 2013.

The details of UAH ocean temps are provided below.  The monthly data make for a noisy picture, but seasonal fluxes between January and July are important.

Click on image to enlarge.

The greater volatility of the Tropics is evident, leading the oceans through three major El Nino events during this period.  Note also the flat period between 7/1999 and 7/2009.  The 2010 El Nino was erased by La Nina in 2011 and 2012.  Then the record shows a fairly steady rise peaking in 2016, with strong support from warmer NH anomalies, before returning to the 22-year average.

Full post

2) Wind Disappears In Britain Leaving Turbines At A Standstill
Bloomberg, 5 June 2018 

Britain’s gone seven days with almost no wind generation and forecasts show the calm conditions persisting until the middle of the month.

The wind drought has pushed up day-ahead power prices to the highest levels for the time of year for at least a decade.

U.K. turbines can produce about as much power as 12 nuclear reactors when conditions are right. During the “Beast from the East” storm that hit Britain in March, they generated record levels of power and at times provided the biggest share of the nation’s electricity.

Low wind power isn’t a threat to supplies in June when demand is low, but on a dull, dark day in winter, this could be a different story.

Full story

3) David Whitehouse: How Warm Will 2018 Be?
GWPF Observatory, 6 June 2018

The start of 2018 has been warm because of unusual weather which has already subsided.

As far as global temperature goes it’s been a warmish start to the year, though not exceptional. This has led Carbon Brief in its three-monthly “state of the climate” report to predict that this year “is likely” to be as warm as the fourth warmest year since records began about 150 years ago. They say it could be as high as the second or as low as the 12th warmest.

Carbon Brief says, “The first three months of 2018 can give some sense of what to expect for the entire year.” But being based on a quarter of this year’s monthly measurements it could be described as either bold or foolish. Because the prediction is made without a good understanding of what has been happening to the global temperature in the past months it is probably more of the latter.

Nowhere is the Carbon Brief prediction is there any analysis of why 2018 got off to a warm start. Look towards the  Tasman Sea that has been adding to global temperatures since late 2017.

The water temperature in the Tasman Sea is well above normal –  6° C more than average for the start of December. New Zealand’s summer was the hottest on record, Tasmania had its hottest November-January on record. It was exceptionally warm on both sides of the Tasman, more than two degrees above average in December and part of January.

The increase is not due to climate change but to a La Nina climate system. Globally La Nina events are associated with cooling but that is not true in some regions which, because of blocking high pressure regions and sometimes a lack of storms, allows sea temperature to increase. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research  meteorologist Ben Noll told newshub nz that the “very impressive marine heatwave” has led to the largest deviation from normal temperatures in the world. “The sea surface temperatures in the Australia-New Zealand region are presently the most anomalous on the globe…typical La Nina signature, but intensity turned up many notches.” He added that there were other factors driving the temperature higher, “La Nina sits in the background as big driver of the change, but it’s at the top of a pyramid of other factors”.

It was so warm that the Australian Government Bureau of and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research teamed up to release a “special climate statement”. Though why this abnormal weather merits a climate statement seems strange. The hot spot off the Tasman Sea has not been the only one in the past few months.

Recently scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation produced a framework for marine heatwaves. The new classification system ranks them by intensity using four levels. A Category 1 heatwave is the lowest intensity. Under the new system, a heatwave that hit the Mediterranean Sea in 1999 would be considered a Category 1 heatwave. The NE Pacific event of 2013 – 2015 the so-called Blob is a Category 3. A marine heatwave in Western Australia in 2011 would be a Category 4.

The study of marine heatwaves is in its infancy. It is possible they are increasing in frequency and they may be linked to rising sea temperatures. Much more work is needed.

2018 has been warm because of unusual weather which has already subsided. It is not representative of the global temperature for the remainder of the year. There is evidence the oceans are cooling. 


4) Steven Hayward: Climate Change Has Run Its Course
The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2018

Its descent into social-justice identity politics is the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality.

Climate change is over. No, I’m not saying the climate will not change in the future, or that human influence on the climate is negligible. I mean simply that climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue. All that remains is boilerplate rhetoric from the political class, frivolous nuisance lawsuits, and bureaucratic mandates on behalf of special-interest renewable-energy rent seekers.

Judged by deeds rather than words, most national governments are backing away from forced-marched decarbonization. You can date the arc of climate change as a policy priority from 1988, when highly publicized congressional hearings first elevated the issue, to 2018. President Trump’s ostentatious withdrawal from the Paris Agreement merely ratified a trend long becoming evident.

A good indicator of why climate change as an issue is over can be found early in the text of the Paris Agreement. The “nonbinding” pact declares that climate action must include concern for “gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity” as well as “the importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice.’ ” Another is Sarah Myhre’s address at the most recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in which she proclaimed that climate change cannot fully be addressed without also grappling with the misogyny and social injustice that have perpetuated the problem for decades.

The descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics represents the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality. Climate alarm is like a car alarm—a blaring noise people are tuning out.

This outcome was predictable. Political scientist Anthony Downs described the downward trajectory of many political movements in an article for the Public Interest, “Up and Down With Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention Cycle,’ ” published in 1972, long before the climate-change campaign began. Observing the movements that had arisen to address issues like crime, poverty and even the U.S.-Soviet space race, Mr. Downs discerned a five-stage cycle through which political issues pass regularly.

The first stage involves groups of experts and activists calling attention to a public problem, which leads quickly to the second stage, wherein the alarmed media and political class discover the issue. The second stage typically includes a large amount of euphoric enthusiasm—you might call it the “dopamine” stage—as activists conceive the issue in terms of global peril and salvation.

This tendency explains the fanaticism with which divinity-school dropouts Al Gore and Jerry Brown have warned of climate change.

Then comes the third stage: the hinge. As Mr. Downs explains, there soon comes “a gradually spreading realization that the cost of ‘solving’ the problem is very high indeed.” That’s where we’ve been since the United Nations’ traveling climate circus committed itself to the fanatical mission of massive near-term reductions in fossil fuel consumption, codified in unrealistic proposals like the Kyoto Protocol. This third stage, Mr. Downs continues, “becomes almost imperceptibly transformed into the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem.”

While opinion surveys find that roughly half of Americans regard climate change as a problem, the issue has never achieved high salience among the public, despite the drumbeat of alarm from the climate campaign. Americans have consistently ranked climate change the 19th or 20th of 20 leading issues on the annual Pew Research Center poll, while Gallup’s yearly survey of environmental issues typically ranks climate change far behind air and water pollution.

“In the final stage,” Mr. Downs concludes, “an issue that has been replaced at the center of public concern moves into a prolonged limbo—a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.” Mr. Downs predicted correctly that environmental issues would suffer this decline, because solving such issues involves painful trade-offs that committed climate activists would rather not make.

A case in point is climate campaigners’ push for clean energy, whereas they write off nuclear power because it doesn’t fit their green utopian vision. A new study of climate-related philanthropy by Matthew Nisbet found that of the $556.7 million green-leaning foundations spent from 2011-15, “not a single grant supported work on promoting or reducing the cost of nuclear energy.” The major emphasis of green giving was “devoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry.”

Scientists who are genuinely worried about the potential for catastrophic climate change ought to be the most outraged at how the left politicized the issue and how the international policy community narrowed the range of acceptable responses. Treating climate change as a planet-scale problem that could be solved only by an international regulatory scheme transformed the issue into a political creed for committed believers. Causes that live by politics, die by politics.

Full post & comments

5) Myron Ebell: Trump Prefers Energy Dominance To Paris
Standpoint, June 2018 

Staying in the Paris agreement would threaten to stymie President Trump’s ambitious plan to revive the American economy through deregulation and on the foundation of immense energy resources.

Donald J. Trump has made many decisions since becoming President of the United States that have offended the permanent political establishment in Washington; and in foreign policy, he has also shocked political elites in Britain and Europe by doing things that are simply not done.  To take a recent notable example, in May Trump stopped pretending that payoffs to Iran would slow the ayatollahs from developing nuclear weapons.  Before that, he angered pro-Arabists everywhere by moving the American embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. But perhaps the foreign policy decision most upsetting to politically correct sensibilities everywhere occurred on June 1, 2017 when the President announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate treaty.

In the months leading up to the announcement, intense pressure was put on Trump to stay in Paris from every direction — environmental pressure groups, Democrats in Congress, mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, countless CEOs of international corporations, and several members of his own administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The push by world leaders peaked at the G7 summit meeting in May 2017 in Sicily, but in the end all the cajoling and coaxing from Prime Minister May, Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, and EU Commission President Juncker did not convince Trump to break his campaign promise.

Although Trump made clear in his Rose Garden speech why undertaking international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is not in America’s national interest, he created confusion when he added: “I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers . . . And we’ll make it good, and we won’t be closing up our factories, and we won’t be losing our jobs.” He added to the confusion in January when, as the BBC reported, he said, “we could conceivably get back in”.

Perhaps these comments were made to show, not least to his daughter and son-in-law Ivanka and Jared Kushner, that he was not unreasonable. Or perhaps Trump is deliberately creating confusion because he thinks it is in his political interest.

Whatever the motive, his comments have led many political leaders and informed observers in London and other European capitals to a serious misunderstanding. Here is just one example: the French President Emmanuel Macron said in his address to Congress in April, “I’m sure, one day, the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement.”

It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen in the first Trump administration or in a possible second Trump administration. And it will be very difficult for a future president — Democrat or Republican — to get the US back into Paris or any other UN agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas.

To understand why the US is not going to be lured or dragged back into Paris, it’s necessary to take seriously President Trump’s energy agenda and the critical role it plays in his programme to revive economic growth to its historic rate of 3 per cent per year — a level never approached during President Obama’s eight years in office.

There are two parts to the administration’s energy agenda: increasing energy production; and using America’s energy price advantage to unleash a manufacturing renaissance.

First, Trump is focused on establishing American global “energy dominance”. Progress toward this goal has been under way for the past decade and has nothing to do with government policy. In fact, it has been happening at an increasing pace despite efforts by the Obama administration to put on the brakes. It has happened because of the shale oil and gas revolution.

US oil production peaked in 1970 (as M. King Hubbert had predicted in 1956) at just over 10 million barrels per day and declined to a low of under 4 million barrels per day in 2008. That’s when exploiting unconventional resources in shale rock formations by combining hydraulic fracturing, used over a million times in conventional oil drilling since 1949, and more recent advances in horizontal drilling became commercially viable.

The results of technological innovation by people working in a free market have been as dramatic as they were unpredicted or undirected by government. In November 2017, US oil production surpassed 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970. America has passed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the top oil producer and has now passed Russia as the top gas producer.

The US still uses more oil than it produces, but within a decade is likely to become a net oil exporter.

Full post

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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