Monday, March 1, 2021

GWPF Newsletter - False Alarm: Atlantic’s ‘conveyer belt’ shows no sign of declining, scientists find


In this newsletter:

1) False Alarm: Atlantic’s ‘conveyer belt’ shows no sign of declining, scientists find
European Geosciences Union, 15 February 2021
2) New observations call AMOC-Climate disaster fears into question
Science News, 1 September 2019

3) NASA study finds Atlantic 'Conveyor Belt' not slowing
NASA, 25 March 2010
4) Polar Bear numbers rise again
Gaia Fawkes, 26 February 2021

5) Never trust climate alarmists: India expected to harvest record wheat, rice crops this year
Reuters, 24 February 2021
6) Andrew Montford: The farcical climate ‘fact-checkers’ who don’t check facts
The Conservative Woman, 25 February 2021
7) Net Zero flop: Why Boris Johnson is scrapping the Green Homes Grant
Open Access Government, 23 February 2021

8) And finally: Countries not on track for Paris Agreement
Yahoo News, 26 February 2021

Full details:

1) False Alarm: Atlantic’s ‘conveyer belt’ shows no sign of declining, scientists find
European Geosciences Union, 15 February 2021
A 30-year reconstruction of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation shows no decline

A decline in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) strength has been observed between 2004 and 2012 by the RAPID-MOCHA-WBTS (RAPID – Meridional Overturning Circulation and Heatflux Array – Western Boundary Time Series, hereafter RAPID array) with this weakened state of the AMOC persisting until 2017. Climate model and paleo-oceanographic research suggests that the AMOC may have been declining for decades or even centuries before this; however direct observations are sparse prior to 2004, giving only “snapshots” of the overturning circulation. Previous studies have used linear models based on upper-layer temperature anomalies to extend AMOC estimates back in time; however these ignore changes in the deep circulation that are beginning to emerge in the observations of AMOC decline. Here we develop a higher-fidelity empirical model of AMOC variability based on RAPID data and associated physically with changes in thickness of the persistent upper, intermediate, and deep water masses at 26∘ N and associated transports. We applied historical hydrographic data to the empirical model to create an AMOC time series extending from 1981 to 2016. Increasing the resolution of the observed AMOC to approximately annual shows multi-annual variability in agreement with RAPID observations and shows that the downturn between 2008 and 2012 was the weakest AMOC since the mid-1980s. However, the time series shows no overall AMOC decline as indicated by other proxies and high-resolution climate models. Our results reinforce that adequately capturing changes to the deep circulation is key to detecting any anthropogenic climate-change-related AMOC decline. […]

In conclusion, this study shows that the dynamics of the AMOC can be represented by an empirical linear regression model using boundary density anomalies as proxies for water mass layer transports. More than one layer, represented by boundary density anomalies, is required to capture lower-frequency changes to UMO transport. Deep density anomalies combined with Ekman transport are successful in reconstructing LNADW transport, the deepest limb of the AMOC in the subtropical North Atlantic.
Previous proxies for AMOC or UMO at 26∘ N that rely on single-layer dynamics (e.g. Frajka-Williams2015Longworth et al.2011) cannot capture this low-frequency variability. This is also the case for similar reconstructions at other latitudes, for example Willis (2010). Single-layer dynamics are also fundamental to estimates of the AMOC that use fixed levels of no motion such as the MOVE (Meridional Overturning Variability Experiment) array (Send et al.2011) or inverted echo sounders (see McCarthy et al. (2020) for details). We have shown the importance of the inclusion of deep density measurements in AMOC reconstructions and believe these to be key to identifying the fingerprint of anthropogenic AMOC change (e.g. Baehr et al.2008).

Our model, applied to historical hydrographic data, has increased the resolution of the observed AMOC between 1981 and 2004 from approximately decadal to approximately annual, and in doing so we have shown decadal and 4-yearly variability of the AMOC and its associated layer transports. The result is the creation of an AMOC time series extending over 3 decades, including for the first time deep density anomalies in an AMOC reconstruction.

Our model has not revealed an AMOC decline indicative of anthropogenic climate change (Stocker et al.2013) nor the long-term decline reported in sea-surface-temperature-based reconstructions of the AMOC (Caesar et al.2018). It has accurately reproduced the variability observed in the RAPID data, showing that the downturn between 2008 and 2012 (McCarthy et al.2012) marked not only the weakest AMOC of the RAPID era but the weakest AMOC since the mid-1980s. Since this minimum, the strength of the AMOC has recovered in line with observations from the RAPID array (Moat et al.2020). In fact, according to our model, southward flowing LNADW has regained a vigour not seen since the 1980s. Recent cold and fresh anomalies in the surface of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre seemed to indicate a return to a cool Atlantic phase associated with a weak AMOC (Frajka-Williams et al.2017). However, a weakened AMOC was not the primary cause of these anomalies (Josey et al.2018Holliday et al.2020). Whether a restrengthened AMOC will ultimately have a strong impact on Atlantic climate such as was believed to have occurred in the 1990s (Robson et al.2012) remains to be seen.

Full paper
2) Observations call AMOC-Climate disaster fears into question
Science News, 1 September 2019

New findings from an international ocean observing network are calling into question the longstanding idea that global warming might slow down a big chunk of the ocean’s “conveyor belt.”
The first 21 months of data from sensors moored across much of the North Atlantic are giving new insight into what controls the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a system of currents that redistributes heat around much of the Western Hemisphere.
Researchers had thought the strength of that circulation, known by the acronym AMOC, was largely influenced by the sinking of cold, fresh water in the Labrador Sea, between Greenland and Canada. And climate simulations suggest that the sea’s deepwater formation might slow as the world continues to warm — which also could slow down the entire Atlantic current system and possibly make temperatures on land in the northeastern United States and the United Kingdom plunge. That concept inspired the (otherwise unrealistic) 2004 climate apocalypse film The Day After Tomorrow.

But, the data collected over those 21 months show that the Labrador Sea’s influence on the AMOC paled in comparison with that of another North Atlantic ocean region, just east of Greenland. How the intensity of deepwater formation in that area changed with time accounted for 88 percent of the observed variability in the entire AMOC, physical oceanographer Susan Lozier of Duke University and colleagues report in the Feb. 1 Science.

The results provide “an unprecedented insight into how the modern North Atlantic operates,” says paleoceaonographer David Thornalley of University College London, who was not involved in the study.

Atlantic Ocean circulation is driven by differences in water density related to freshness and temperature: Warm, salty water (including the Gulf Stream) flows north at the ocean surface, delivering heat to the northeastern United States and the British Isles.
Near Greenland, the current splits, with one arm heading for the Labrador Sea west of Greenland and the other toward the Nordic Sea to the east. There, the waters become both colder and fresher, thanks to meltwater from land. The colder water then sinks and travels south again along the ocean floor.

Many studies have suggested that the Labrador Sea regulates AMOC’s strength, but those are largely based on climate simulations, Lozier says. “We need to ground-truth the simulations,” she says. “This is where we really need observations.”

Full story

see also AMOC-Climate scare running amok 
3) NASA Study Finds Atlantic 'Conveyor Belt' Not Slowing
NASA, 25 March 2010
PASADENA, Calif. – New NASA measurements of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, part of the global ocean conveyor belt that helps regulate climate around the North Atlantic, show no significant slowing over the past 15 years. The data suggest the circulation may have even sped up slightly in the recent past.

The findings are the result of a new monitoring technique, developed by oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using measurements from ocean-observing satellites and profiling floats. The findings are reported in the March 25 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

The Atlantic overturning circulation is a system of currents, including the Gulf Stream, that bring warm surface waters from the tropics northward into the North Atlantic. There, in the seas surrounding Greenland, the water cools, sinks to great depths and changes direction. What was once warm surface water heading north turns into cold deep water going south. This overturning is one part of the vast conveyor belt of ocean currents that move heat around the globe.

Without the heat carried by this circulation system, the climate around the North Atlantic -- in Europe, North America and North Africa -- would likely be much colder. Scientists hypothesize that rapid cooling 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age was triggered when freshwater from melting glaciers altered the ocean's salinity and slowed the overturning rate. That reduced the amount of heat carried northward as a result.

Until recently, the only direct measurements of the circulation's strength have been from ship-based surveys and a set of moorings anchored to the ocean floor in the mid-latitudes. Willis' new technique is based on data from NASA satellite altimeters, which measure changes in the height of the sea surface, as well as data from Argo profiling floats. The international Argo array, supported in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, includes approximately 3,000 robotic floats that measure temperature, salinity and velocity across the world's ocean.
Full story
4) Polar Bear numbers rise again
Gaia Fawkes, 26 February 2021

Ahead of International Polar Bear Day tomorrow, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has published its annual report on polar bear numbers over the last twelve months.

The report comes bearing good news, as it finds that Gaia’s favourite cuddly carnivorous super-predators have enjoyed yet another year of population growth:

“M’Clintock Channel numbers more than doubled, from 284 in 2000 to 716 in 2016, due to reduced hunting and improved habitat quality. Gulf of Boothia numbers were found to be stable, with an estimate of 1525 bears in 2017; body condition improved between study periods and thus showed ‘good potential for growth’. At present, the official IUCN Red List global population estimate, completed in 2015, is 22,000–31,000 (average about 26,000) but surveys conducted since then, including those made public in 2020, would raise that average to almost 30,000. There has been no sustained statistically significant decline in any subpopulation.”

Whilst the polar bears will no doubt celebrate their good news this weekend, Gaia notes that it once again leaves a few experts with some explaining to do. Over and over, the media pushes a fiction that polar bear populations are in serious decline, and every year they’re proven wrong. Certainly a paw reflection of the state of our media.
Gaia also hopes Facebook will be quick to rectify its dodgy fact-checker, perhaps that’s asking too much…
5) Never trust climate alarmists: India expected to harvest record wheat, rice crops this year
Reuters, 24 February 2021

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is likely to harvest a record 109.24 million tonnes of wheat this year, the farm ministry said, further boosting stocks at government granaries that are fast running out of storage space due to more than a decade of bumper production.

A worker carries boiled rice in a wheelbarrow to spread it for drying at a rice mill on the outskirts of Kolkata, India, January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files
Wheat output in India, the world’s second biggest producer, is expected to go up by 1.3% in the crop year to June 2021, the Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Ministry said in its second crop forecast for 2020/21.
Rice output is estimated to rise by 1.2% to 120.32 million tonnes. India is the world’s biggest rice exporter and second biggest producer.
The Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Ministry forecast this year’s total grains output at a record 303.34 million tonnes against 297.5 million tonnes produced in the previous year.
Full story
6) Andrew Montford: The farcical climate ‘fact-checkers’ who don’t check facts
The Conservative Woman, 25 February 2021
This car crash of a ‘fact-check’ allows us to see that misrepresentation and deception have become the tool-in-trade of the internet fact-checker. 

LAST week, an organisation called Climate Feedback attempted what it claimed was a factcheck of an article James Delingpole had written about a report we at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) had published a few days earlier.  
The report was about the impacts of climate change and had been put together by Indur Goklany, an American scientist whose involvement in climate goes back to 1990, when he was on the US delegation to the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 
The Climate Feedback article didn’t garner much attention, but it’s interesting to look at it because it is reveals the tactics that are used to try to discredit anyone who criticises the official ‘narrative of doom’. These tactics are now widely used in other fields too, so the story has relevance beyond the world of climate and energy. 
Climate Feedback invites climate scientists to comment on newspaper articles. For Delingpole’s piece, ‘a majority of reviewers tagged the article as ‘Cherry-pickingInaccurateMisleading.’ Let’s see what they said to justify that claim … 
‘It is repeating a series of claims made in a blog post from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) …’
That’s from the first paragraph, and already alarm bells should be ringing. Firstly, note that there is no link to Delingpole’s article.  
This is highly unprofessional in the first place, but it’s actually worse than that:
Contrary to what Climate Feedback says, there was no GWPF blog post about Goklany’s report. There was only the report itself. Naturally, it was the report to which Delingpole linked.  
And in case anyone should think this was an inadvertent error by Climate Feedback, the organisation repeats later on the claim that Delingpole was citing a blog post, but then goes on to claim that it was ‘not peer-reviewed’.  
This appears to show that Climate Feedback knew full well there was a formal report behind the Delingpole article, but it didn’t want to mention it. It just got tangled up in the web of its own mispresentations.  
Moreover, the claim about the review of Goklany’s paper is clearly a figment of the writer’s imagination, since Climate Feedback is not party to the internal processes at the GWPF.  
In fact, we have a board of academic advisers who review all our reports. In view of the many attempts to pick holes in them, we’d be foolish not to. 
So we can see from the start that Climate Feedback set out to deliver a poisonous narrative to its readers. 
Goklany’s report and Delingpole’s article were both carefully pitched, and the Climate Feedback team were therefore forced to resort to contradicting official sources, such as the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, in order to come up with some ammunition.  
For example, Delingpole’s claim that ‘most extreme weather phenomena have not become more extreme, more deadly or more destructive’ reflects perfectly the IPCC’s position that it has ‘low confidence’ that there have been increases in drought or hurricanes.  
The best it can say of extreme rainfall is that there have been more areas with increases than decreases. Only on heatwaves does its confidence in the existence of an increase rise to the giddy heights of ‘medium’.  
So when Climate Feedback’s authors claim that the IPCC reports say otherwise, I have to tell them that this is not what appears in the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers. 
Another example of blatant misrepresentation of Delingpole’s article is where it says that he ‘presents an assumption that climate change will increase drought globally and then refutes this non-existent expectation of climate science’.  
It’s hard to know where to begin with this. Firstly, Goklany’s report and Delingpole’s article are entirely backwards-looking. Neither says anything about the future of drought, or of any other weather phenomenon.  
As to it being a ‘non-existent expectation of climate science’, I refer readers again to the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment, which said that it was ‘likely’ that we would see increases in the intensity and duration of drought ‘on a regional to global scale’ by the end of the 21st century.  
The Fourth Assessment said much the same thing. This news also needs to be relayed to Climate Feedback reviewer Dr Daniel Swain, who claims that ‘it doesn’t really make sense to make blanket statements regarding overall global drought trends’. The IPCC does, Dr Swain. 
And on and on it goes. Climate Feedback says that Delingpole ‘deliberately ignores multiple factors that affect some phenomena to argue against the influence of climate on them. For instance, while fatality (sic) due to weather events has either remained constant or declined over time for some types of weather events, this is primarily due to improvements in warning and evacuation systems and has little to do with climate change …’  
This is profoundly misleading. Delingpole is simply discussing claims that climate change would lead to a decline in human welfare. Listing the 99 per cent fall in mortality from extreme weather shows simply that human welfare has not become worse, contradicting the official narrative of doom.  
It says nothing about climate change. Delingpole doesn’t say it does; he doesn’t insinuate it does; nor does he even hint obliquely that it does. Nor does Goklany. This is simple misrepresentation by Climate Feedback. 
Some of the Climate Feedback critique is embarrassingly wrong. For example, when it discusses wildfires, it says ‘the area burned by wildfires in the western US has also increased significantly due to climate change (see figure below)’.  

Quite why a graph relating to wildfires in the Western US should trump the observation of Delingpole (and Goklany) that global wildfires have decreased is beyond me.  

But worse, the Climate Feedback author appears not to actually have understood the graph – because it doesn’t show an increase in wildfires in the Western US. It’s a cumulative graph, which means it will always increase. That’s what ‘cumulative’ means. 

Figure 1: Cumulative forest area burned by wildfires in the western US from 1984-2015. From Fourth National Climate Assessment (2018)[8].
And that’s just the introduction. There are pages and pages of this kind of thing, representing the detailed comments of the ‘reviewers’. It would be boring to go through everything, but let me use a couple of them to give you a flavour. 
Hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel takes Delingpole to task for saying that hurricane frequency is not increasing. His objection is not that what Delingpole says is not true, but that he ‘neglects to mention that there was never a consensus prediction that the frequency of all hurricanes would increase’.  
Really? Because when I refer back to the Summary for Policymakers from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, I find it stated that it is ‘likely’ that there will in an increase in hurricane activity. The Fifth Assessment says it’s ‘more likely than not in some basins’. 
Emanuel also takes issue with Delingpole’s claim that damage from extreme weather is decreasing, saying: 
"Since the early 1970s there has been a 380 per cent increase in global weather-related damage normalised each year by world domestic product. Some of this is demographic; for example, there has been a 200 per cent increase in coastal population, but much of the rest is owing to worse weather disasters, as measured by damage."
I had thought that claims of increasing hurricane damage had well and truly been quashed by now, but it appears not. I was not familiar with this counter-claim of a 380 per cent increase since the 1970s, and Emanuel gave no citation, so I emailed him to ask where it came from.  
It turns out that he had worked out the figures himself, although he was a little vague about the details. The figures were derived from the EM-DAT database of global disasters, he said, and that he had extracted data covering meteorological disasters and drought.  
Later, he corrected this to say that the data covered only tropical cyclones. Moreover, he said he ‘believed’ that he had adjusted the values with world Gross Domestic Product  figures from the World Bank. He didn’t think he had used the consumer price index figures maintained by EM-DAT. 
It’s not very impressive, is it? But what makes it worse is that EM-DAT long ago made it clear that its database is not reliable for damage estimation prior to around 2000. 
Insurance claims are the main source of damage data, and more and more people around the world have cover, so there is an underlying increase in the value of damage recorded that is due simply to more and better reporting.  
This is the increase that Professor Emanuel has found. To be fair, the good professor is an atmospheric physicist, so a lack of familiarity with the data is perhaps unsurprising. 
We see the same thing in Professor Jennifer Francis’s comments on sea level rise. She appears taken aback when Delingpole quotes Goklany as follows: 
‘A recent study showed that the Earth has actually gained more land in coastal areas in the last 30 years than it has lost through sea-level rise.’
Dr Francis is also an atmospheric scientist too, specialising in the Arctic, so you can understand why she might not be too familiar with the sea-level literature (but not why Climate Feedback would have chosen her to comment in this area).  
Either way, she splutters: 
‘Please provide this peer-reviewed study by a legitimate practising environmental scientist to support this counterintuitive statement.’ 
Given that the relevant paper, by Donchyts et al, published in Nature Climate Change, was cited in Goklany’s report, it does seem that Professor Francis either couldn’t be bothered to check the details, or that she had not even been made aware of the GWPF report’s existence. 

Full post
7) Net Zero flop: Why Boris Johnson is scrapping the Green Homes Grant
Open Access Government, 23 February 2021

How much more of the government’s net zero 2050 strategy is just flashy public relations masking poorly thought out policies, making the goals simply impossible to achieve?


Homes account for just under 30% of energy use and around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – what does this mean for the UK’s Green Homes Grant Scheme?
It is one of the few sectors where emissions reductions have stalled so the government introduced a Green Homes Grant Scheme and allocated a budget of £1.5 billion for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The scheme opened for applications on 30th September 2020, allowing homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers to pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation. […]
6.3% of the £1.5 billion budget has been spent
However, according to recent government data, just 6.3% of the £1.5 billion budget for the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020/21 has been spent and 86% of homeowners reported having a ‘poor experience’ with the application process.
The Environmental Audit Select Committee admitted that the scheme needed to be “urgently overhauled” at the same time as admitting that any money not spent on the scheme will not be rolled over to next year, with a budget of just £320 million allocated for the fiscal year 20121-22.
In response to written parliamentary questions, Energy Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan revealed that: “As of 8th February, 71,953 applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with 22,165 vouchers having been issued to customers. The value of these vouchers is currently £94.1 million.”
However, a quick calculation reveals that at the current rate it would take 10 years to fulfil the government’s promise of the grants helping 600,000 householders implement the carbon reduction measures envisaged when the scheme was approved….
Are these climate goals impossible to achieve?
It has also been revealed that Ministers awarded the contract to run the programme to ICF, a large American consulting corporation based in Virginia, but details of the value of the government contract have not yet been published, leading to widespread criticism and anger that a key plank of the plan was to create work and jobs for the UK, not US economy.

The government has been somewhat quiet on the reasons for this failure, with muted claims of the lack of qualified installers being available to carry out the work. This only fuels further criticism of the scheme and the government, because it seems they have entered into this scheme without the means to deliver it.
It also begs the question – how much more of the government’s net zero 2050 strategy is just flashy public relations masking poorly thought out policies, making the goals simply impossible to achieve?

Full post
8) And finally: Countries not on track for Paris Agreement
Yahoo News, 26 February 2021

The world is falling short of its emissions reduction goals and stronger climate action is urgently needed, the United Nations' climate arm has warned.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has reviewed emissions reduction plans from 75 members.
Combined, they are on a path to reduce emissions by one per cent on 2010 levels by 2030.
UN executive secretary of climate change Patricia Espinosa is calling on all nations to set higher targets.
"This report shows that current levels of climate ambition are very far from putting us on a pathway that will meet our Paris Agreement goals," she said.
"At the moment it is like we are walking into a minefield blindfolded."
Full story

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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