By Paul Homewood
Now that NOAA data for September has been published, we can look at Californian precipitation for the last hydrologic year, which runs Oct to Sep.
Total precipitation in the last 12 months ended up slightly above average. Prior to this, there was a run of four particularly dry years.
Maybe one reason why the recent dry spell has appeared to bee so pronounced is that the state had a number of unusually wet years in the 1980s and 90s.
But looking at the longer term trends, there have been similarly dry spells, notably in the 1920s and early 30s.
Reservoir levels across most of the state are either at or close to average.
New Melones is the one which is significantly down. Yet, during the 1976/7 drought, it was effectively empty.
Statewide, reservoirs are 82% of the historical average, compared to 36% in 1977, based on September numbers.
California could certainly do with a couple of years of good rainfall, but things now appear to be manageable.…
by Jim Steele
Although some researchers have raised concerns about possible negative effects of rising CO2 on ocean surface pH, there are several lines of evidence demonstrating marine ecosystems are far more sensitive to fluxes of carbon dioxide from ocean depths and the biosphere’s response than from invasions of atmospheric CO2. There is also ample evidence that lower pH does not inhibit photosynthesis or lower ocean productivity (Mackey 2015). On the contrary, rising CO2 makes photosynthesis less costly.
Furthermore in contrast to researchers arguing rising atmospheric CO2 will inhibit calcification, increased photosynthesis not only increases calcification, paradoxically the process of calcification produces CO2 and drops pH to levels lower than predicted by climate change models. A combination of warmer tropical waters and coral reef biology results in out-gassing of CO2 from the ocean to the atmosphere, making coral reefs relatively insensitive to the effects of atmospheric CO2 on ocean pH.
Sixty million years ago proxy evidence indicates ocean surface pH hovered around 7.4. If surface pH was in equilibrium with the atmosphere, then CO2 concentrations would have hovered around 2000 ppm, but there is no consensus that CO2 reached those levels. However as will be discussed, there are biological processes that do lower surface pH to that extent, despite much lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations.…
Veteran Yale University research ecologist Dr. Dan Botkin has a new book coming out tomorrow (Saturday 15 October) that you might want to look at:
A number of chapters are relevant to polar bears, including these three:
“Myth 11: Without Human Interference, Earth’s Climate is Stable”
“Myth 13: Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Numbers of Extinctions”
“Myth 25: Compared to Climate Change, All Other Environmental Issues Are Minor”
I found the book clearly written in a readable style (Table of Contents here). It provides timely insight into critical issues related to conservation and species extinction, with many real-world examples that counter theoretical assumptions (polar bears are discussed in the Overview). I found the energy issues (Myths 23 and 24) an awkward distraction but others might find them of interest. It’s a good companion to Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist (an excellent reference from 2001 but much more detailed).
Pre-0rders now being taken:
Twenty-five Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong. Daniel B. Botkin 2017. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, MD 20706. $12.71 PAPERBACK; $7.51 KINDLE
Peak inside via Amazon, more about Dan Botkin and his publication record, and the book below.
Dan has done some important background work relevant to polar bears, walrus, and Arctic seals. He and colleagues reconstructed sea ice data for the period 1850-1910 in the Bering and Chukchi Seas from whaling records (as well as estimating bowhead whale and walrus pre-slaughter population sizes for the western Arctic)(see Bockstoce and Botkin 1982, 1983; Mahoney et al. 2011). Companion data to the Mahoney et al. paper on Bering/Chukchi sea ice is here (other related papers here).
In addition, Dan and a host of prominent specialists co-authored a critical ecology paper entitled “Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity” (Botkin et al. 2007).
The blurb about the new 25 Myths book is copied below:
Daniel B. Botkin is an ecologist who has been conducting and writing about ecological research for 45 years. After hearing so many false or flawed statements passed off as fact, he decided to write this book to give readers a more complete understanding of their environment.
For decades, environmental scientist and conservationist Daniel B. Botkin has studied the world around us. He has traveled the globe observing nature and the human impact on the environment, and now
A rainforest charity calls on the star to either denounce his connection to individuals involved in a Malaysian corruption scandal and return laundered money he allegedly received or give up his role.
In perhaps the biggest attack on Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental credibility, a rainforest charity on Friday called on the actor to give up his title as UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change.
At a press conference in London, the Bruno Manser Funds offered DiCaprio an ultimatum: either he renounce his connections to the “politically exposed persons” at the center of the multi-billion dollar 1MDB Malaysian corruption scandal now being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and return corrupt money he allegedly received or resign from the position he was given by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon in 2014.
“If DiCaprio is unwilling to come clean, we ask him to step down as UN Messenger for Peace for climate change, because he simply lacks the credibility for such an important role,” said Lukas Straumann, director of the Switzerland-based charity, which has a particular focus on deforestation in Malaysia.
DiCaprio is alleged to have received millions of dollars diverted from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund for his role as star and producer of The Wolf of Wall Street, alleged by the DOJ to have been funded by stolen Malaysian money and produced by Red Granite, co-founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of the Malaysian prime minister and a major figure in a DOJ filing. He is also alleged to have received laundered 1MDB money for his charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, from his former close associate Jho Low, the controversial Malaysian businessman at the heart of the scandal.
At the press conference, entitled “Recovery of Stolen Malaysian Assets,” a direct link was made between the 1MDB corruption scandal and major environmental issues in Malaysia, such as deforestation, one of the main concerns of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.…
October 14th, 2016 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
For many years we have been warned that climate change is creating a “climate crisis”, with heat and drought reducing agricultural yields to the point that humanity will suffer. Every time there’s a drought, we are told that this is just one more example of human-caused climate change.
But droughts have always occurred. The question is: Are they getting worse? And, has modest warming had any effects on grain yields?
We have yet to experience anything like the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, or the mega-droughts the western U.S. tree ring record suggests occurred in centuries past.
And even if they do occur, how do we know they were not caused by the same natural factors that cause those previous droughts? While “global warming” must cause more precipitation overall (because there is more evaporation), whether this means increased drought conditions anywhere is pretty difficult to predict because it would require predicting an average change in weatherpatterns, which climate models so far have essentially no skill at.
So, here we are with yet another year (2016) experiencing either record or near-record yields in corn, soybeans, and wheat. Even La Nina, which was widely feared would cause reduced crop yields this year, did not materialize.
How can this be?
How has Climate Changed in the U.S. Corn Belt?
Let’s start with precipitation for the main growing months of June-July-August over the 12-state Corn Belt (IL, IN, IA, NE, ND, SD, MO, WI, MN, MI, MO, OH). All data come from official NOAA sources. Since 1900, if anything, there has been a slight long-term increase in growing season precipitation:
In fact, the last three years (2014-16) has seen the highest 3-yr average precip amount in the entire record.
If we examine temperature, there has been some warming in recent decades, but nothing like that predicted for the same region from the CMIP5 climate models:
That plot alone should tell you that something is wrong with the climate models. It’s not even obvious a statistically significant warming has occurred, let alone attribute it to a cause, given all of the adjustments (or lack of proper adjustments) that have been made to the surface thermometer data over the years. Note the models also cannot explain the Dust Bowl warmth of the 1930s, because the models do not
Yesterday, #Government analysts at the Department of Energy said to expect higher heating bills this winter, even if it’s natural gas, heating oil, propane, or electricity. That’s based on a likely colder winter and higher costs for fossil fuel power. The winter of 2015- 2016 was notable as having above-normal temperatures arising from a strong, naturally occurring El Nino. An El Nino occurs when the tropical Pacific Ocean shows higher-than-normal temps for at least three consecutive months.
The DOE notes the demand for heating fuels last winter was the lowest level in 25 years. That translated into the United States emitting far less carbon dioxide emissions, the greenhouse gas blamed for any perceived increases in temperatures. NOAA says that this winter will be cold due to a La Nina developing, where the tropical Pacific Ocean has lower-than-normal temps. This means colder winters for the Northern Hemisphere. Yesterday, NOAA wrote there was a “70 percent chance a La Nina will develop this fall.”
La Nina’s role
NOAA doesn’t expect the La Nina to be as strong as in previous years and is only 55 percent confident a La Nina event will persist long enough to be classified as a full-blown event. NOAA admits the “greater cooling in the tropical Pacific forecasted in the spring and summer by computer models didn’t occur.” If the computer models for a weaker La Nina are wrong, heating bills could likely soar. If the La Nina forecasts turn out to be overly robust, expect U.S. weather and overall climate to be impacted more heavily.
More snow and colder temperatures would be good #News for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts. Last year saw cold temperatures, but very little precipitation due to the lack of excessive water vapor in the