Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion of global surface temperatures, as 2016 broke the previous 2015 record in all surface temperature series. Here I will place 2016 in context, highlighting the role of rapid Arctic warming in recent surface temperature evolution as seen in a comparison of four operational data sets. The 2016 increase over 2015 was much larger in the analyses that account for missing areas, especially the Arctic, providing additional impetus to address coverage bias among research groups that still have not done so. I’ll also take a quick look at the growing effect of residual biases from ship-buoy measurement adjustments in sea surface temperature (SST) analyses in recent years, which has led to some additional divergence between the two major operational SST series underlying these four global series.
There has been a big change at WIREs Computation Stats.
In a stunning (but welcome) development, James Gentle of GMU and Karen Kafadar of IndianaUniversity have been named editors-in-chief, joining remaining original editor David Scott.
I last discussed WIREs Comp Stat back in July, when Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said were quietly dropped as editors. I outlined the problems that apparently led to their summary dismissal.
Yes, the Deep Climate blog is finally returning after a hiatus of several months. Over the next few months, look for at least two or three posts per month, as I gradually return to former activity levels. Thanks to everyone for their patience.
Here are some topics that could be discussed on this open thread.
1) Margaret Munro of Post Media has reported on the latest initiative to fight muzzling of Canadian scientists by the Harper government.
Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is being asked to formally investigate the way the Harper government has been “muzzling” and restricting access to federal scientists.
The request, accompanied with a report [7Mb PDF] on the government’s “systematic efforts” to obstruct access to researchers, was made jointly on Wednesday by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and Democracy Watch, a national non-profit group.
2) The IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 report has just been issued, together with a detailed online presentation. In my opinion, this is “must read” for anyone interested in climate policy, and realistic pathways to avoiding the worst effects of climate change. There is, of course, still a yawning gap between current government policies and policies required to limit global warming to about 2 deg C above pre-industrial levels.
3) Russell Seitz has started a very entertaining blog entitled VVattsUpWithThat (yes, that’s a double V!). A recent post discusses the conviction of Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr for defrauding the EPA in the early 1980s.
The eleventh domino has fallen.
The extraordinary 2012 Arctic sea ice melt has resulted in a September average sea ice extent of 3.61 million sq km, according to the latest monthly data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), smashing the previous record of 4.30 million sq km set in 2007.
Today, I’ll quickly review the last month’s progression. I’ll then examine the plausible future course of the Arctic sea ice “death spiral” that is likely to see the Arctic virtually free of sea ice by the 2030s if not sooner, culminating with a new graphic representation of the Arctic sea ice death spiral.
A recent Canadian radio appearance by Berkeley Earth founder Richard Muller has shed additional light on the role of Charles Koch, a major funder of the Berkeley Earth effort (and arguably the top funder of climate contrarians over the last several years). In the interview on CBC’s Sunday Edition, Muller mounted his most spirited and detailed defence of Koch yet, describing the oil billionaire as “very thoughtful” and “properly skeptical” of climate science. And the Berkeley Earth website goes even further, linking to an official Koch statement that makes the preposterous claim that the Charles Koch Foundation supports “sound, nonpartisan, scientific research”. That rings especially hollow this election season, given the current massive pro-Republican and anti-regulation push by fossil fuel interests, led as usual by Koch Industries. Continue reading
Climate change got its first mention of the U.S. political season with Mitt Romney’s “heal the planet” crack, and Obama’s memorable retort:
And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.
For a Canadian perspective that somehow managed to miss the point of Romney’s ill-advised, small-minded joke, check out Andrew Coyne in the National Post.
Meanwhile, Canadian environment minister Peter Kent announced regulations for coal-fired electricty that are weaker than the original proposal of a year ago, while the government met renewed accusations of creative carbon accounting.
Interest in 2012’s record Arctic sea ice melt has reached the mainstream press both here in Canada (CBC, PostMedia) and abroad (New York Times, Associated Press and the Guardian), now that the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has declared a record low in Arctic sea ice extent.
In my previous discussion of the extraordinary 2012 melt, I noted the eclipse of the old daily record on August 24, three weeks ahead of the 2007 pace. But I also gave a series of short-term projections for the September extent average, which is the metric typically used to track the decline in Arctic sea ice. The 2012 September projection now stands at 3.56 million sq km, slightly down from my previous projection of 3.67 million sq km. That’s more than 700,000 sq km less than the previous 2007 record of 4.30 million sq km.