Archive for September, 2011


Photo credit Wikipedia

Spanish National Geological Institute in Spanish showing the extreme activity, been thousands.

Article in Wired magazine science

“Evacuation of smallest Canary Island begins after earthquake ‘swarm’ sparks fears of volcanic eruption” — Daily Mail, UK newspaper

I expect this item will interest those working on a CME or planetary alignment linkage with earthquakes, or in this case volcanic activity.

h/t to malagaview who posted to Suggestions.

Sun has a flare for X rated movies

Posted: September 27, 2011 by tchannon in Solar physics

Figure 1

Image credit Catania sunspot group


Figure 2

Stanford WSO daily magnetic. Latest is here

As I expect sunwatchers are well aware the sun is going through a highly active phase, throwing out CME and X-class flares.


Roger Andrews has computed an annual sea level time series which is mentioned in the previous thread. I’ve plotted the data so that it can be shown.


Figure 1

“Last year I constructed a relative global sea level rise series between 1900 and 2010 from scratch using 328 unadjusted tide gauge records from the PSMSL data base. When I compared it with the unadjusted global ICOADS SST series I got a remarkably close match (R^2 = 0.92 for annual means, with a 1C rise in SST corresponding to a 100mm rise in relative SLR).”


Temperature leading sea level

Posted: September 23, 2011 by tchannon in climate, Ocean dynamics

Figure 1

Recent Internet talk about lead/lag, ocean and so on tripped me into doing a quick rework of the temperature vs. sea level finding. This is of course all conjecture.

I’ve extracted what some might call a principle wave component from both datasets and these are very similar. As models I can time shift trivially. All the data shown has been normalised to the sea level data so they plot as one.

In hindsight I could have shown some earlier data. This is quite interesting and can involve Geosat and Church & White, all pretty much in agreement. Sea level did wobble during the 1980/90 but longer term the whole thing is what I call iffy.

If there is a temperature lead this is nice because it means we have a clue on what comes next with sea level.


I think lead time is very vague. Previously I put this at about 4 years but that was based on a slightly different temperature dataset. Here is is a little over 1.5 years. None is a surprise for slow changes on short data.

Not detailing, all r2 > 0.9

The result is worse than previously, perhaps why is explained below.


High confidence in faster than light?

Posted: September 22, 2011 by tchannon in Astrophysics, Solar physics

News is emerging from CERN / Grand Sasso of the results from a three year experiment where neutronos are sent from CERN to Grand Sasso, Italy, 730 km southeast. They think the neutrinos arrive 60ns too early.

Reuters article

Opera experiment page at Gran Sasso (in English, follow current and Opera)

EDIT: news item from Gran Sasso Â


Located east of Rome in an Appenine mountain.

Faster than light seems to come into the same category as news about creating a quieter vacuum by avoiding anti-matter intruding, a matter of phase.

Think I’ll go back to tending the roses.

[UPDATE 7th Oct 2011]

Letter at, PDF available here

Preamble writes…

“The OPERA neutrino velocity result and the synchronisation of clocks
Carlo R. Contaldi
Theoretical Physics, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, SW7 2BZ, London, United Kingdom
(Dated: September 30, 2011)
The CERN-OPERA experiment [1] claims to have measured a one-way speed of neutrinos that is apparently faster than the speed of light c. One-way speed measurements such as these inevitably require a convention for the synchronisation of clocks in non-inertial frames since the Earth is rotating. We argue that the effect of the synchronisation convention is not properly taken into account in the analysis of [1] and may well invalidate their interpretation of superluminal neutrino velocity.”
h/t to The Register


Cloud albedo: what does it respond to?

Posted: September 17, 2011 by tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Energy, Ocean dynamics

There has been much discussion recently about clouds and feedback. The Spencer and Dessler debate, and the blog hosted science being done around the issue has captured a lot of attention.

Let’s take a look at the primary cause of the change in temperature over the last few decades. This graph is put together from two graphs which appeared on Skeptical Science, with a correction to the Y axis, which John Cook has two orders of magnitude too small. It’s been that way for over a year, despite two separate efforts on my part to get him to correct it. The data comes from two sources; the ISCCP international cloud project which uses weather satellites and integrates the data to produce a global series, plus data from the Earthshine project, which measures the amount of light being reflected from the Earth and bouncing back off the new Moon.


Al Gore: 24 hours of consenseless nonscience

Posted: September 14, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, flames, Politics

Al Gore went to war

All on an autumn day

He gave us his facts

And turned on his acts

To scare the denialists away

Comical Al


I’m not sufficiently up on stats to really understand this, but I’m collating the relevant comments from Climate Audit and Roy Spencers site here, because it looks important, and moderation at CA seems to be impeding the flow of the conversation so it has become disjointed.

Is there anyone with a voice in these matters who could just do a cross spectral estimation of the two series and read off the phase relationship directly?

You cannot diagnose feedback by performing a linear regression on a phase plane plot when the driving input is all over the place and the phase response is nonlinear. As I explained on the last thread, and have written up here.

What I have found is significantly greater evidence that the feedback relationship is, indeed, negative, contrary to Dessler. The phase shift at low frequencies, which determines the sign of the feedback, is very clearly near 180 degrees. Saying an input is 180 degrees from the output is a long winded way of saying that the one is the negative of the other…I’m sitting back and watching people argue about techniques which are entirely unsuited to the problem in the first place. It’s insane.

 I need other knowledgeable people to become aware of the result and determine what the effect of a -9.5 W/m^2/degC feedback would be. I think, though, that the IPCC models require the overall feedback to be positive to get any significant warming, so it appears to me that this result could, potentially, kill CAGW.

There could be a valid criticism that the span of data is too short to have high confidence in the result. But, I would argue that the onus is on them to prove that the overall feedback is positive, because I think this establishes that the running assumption should be that it is likely negative.



Over on the Spencer Good, Bad and Ugly response to Dessler 2011 thread on WUWT, Bill Illis quietly drops this little bombshell:

Bill Illis says:

While we are having no luck finding a good correlation between clouds and temperatures in a feedback sense (the scatters are providing r^2 of 0.02) which indicates there is probably NO cloud feedback either way (and the IPCC calculates that positive cloud feedback might be half of the total feedbacks so that is very clearly in question now) …

There is a very interesting relationship between the Net Cloud Radiation levels and the Total Global Net Radiation as measured by the CERES satellite (which I don’t think anyone has looked yet being busy trying to find the temperature feedbacks).

I’m getting Cloud variability being a very large part of the variability in the total Global Net Radiation Budget – anywhere from 65% to 100% (with R^2 between 0.29 and 0.77).

First the (not really convincing but better) scatter using the CERES data (that Steve McIntyre and Roy Spencer made available).

And then the (much, much better) relationship over time.


Strange discrepancies in co2 measurement

Posted: September 9, 2011 by tallbloke in atmosphere, climate

The Japanese GHG measuring satellite GOSAT has been measuring GHG’s in the atmosphere since 2009

The website is here:

The levels they are measuring for co2 seem to be a bit lower than results at Mauna Loa:

Here’s the Mauna loa reading:

and here’s GOSAT’s animated data over the last couple of years:


The sheer force of Hurricane Katia may hit western Ireland and north-west Scotland next Monday and Tuesday, US forecasters predict.

Winds of up to 90mph could cause a risk to shipping off the west coast of Ireland on Monday.

Katia will then reach Scotland and the Orkney Islands by Tuesday, according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Forecasters expect little change in its strength as the Gulf Stream propels the storm across the Atlantic.

The hurricane was tracking off the west coast of Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean.


Over on Dr Roy Spencer’s site, Roy has updated his thread on his response to Desslers rebuttal paper in press at GRL.

UPDATE: I have been contacted by Andy Dessler, who is now examining my calculations, and we are working to resolve a remaining difference there. Also, apparently his paper has not been officially published, and so he says he will change the galley proofs as a result of my blog post; here is his message:

“I’m happy to change the introductory paragraph of my paper when I get the galley proofs to better represent your views. My apologies for any misunderstanding. Also, I’ll be changing the sentence “over the decades or centuries relevant for long-term climate change, on the other hand, clouds can indeed cause significant warming” to make it clear that I’m talking about cloud feedbacks doing the action here, not cloud forcing.”

Update #2 (Sept. 8, 2011): I have made several updates as a result of correspondence with Dessler, which will appear underlined, below. I will leave it to the reader to decide whether it was our Remote Sensing paper that should not have passed peer review (as Trenberth has alleged), or Dessler’s paper meant to refute our paper.

Reactions to this development in comments on that thread and the WUWT counterpart are interesting. They range from anger to joy. Two examples:


This is a placeholder for a thread on Length of Day (LOD), awaiting some input from Paul Vaughan to help shape it.

We have had some discussion on the Spencer and Braswell thread, which deserves it’s own place. See there for links to Paul’s WUWT thread, and some useful papers.

Earth directed M class flare on it’s way!




While the blogosphere has been erupting over the Wagner – Trenberth – Spencer debacle, the most dangerous volcano in iceland has been starting to rumble again, with many earthquakes in its vicinity fuelling speculation that a big eruption is on the cards.

According to website the Icelandic Government has approved a series of risk assessment exercises after scientists warned of major volcanic eruptions occurring every two to seven years.

The news comes as observers report strengthening earthquakes and harmonic tremors around Katla, which signify an increasing risk of an imminent eruption.

Tonight, experts have confirmed the start of pulses of harmonic tremors, which follows 48 hours of intensifying earthquakes and tremors. says:

Although earthquakes around Katla are common, an increase in cluster earthquakes is not.

“It’s one of the most feared volcanos, so we’re closely monitoring it,” said Pall Einarsson of the University of Iceland. “That said, it’s normal for earthquakes to be detected around Katla. What’s a bit unusual is that we’re seeing swarms of small earthquakes, some occurring every 10 minutes or so.”


Click for movie clip

It seems Andy Dessler is so confident of his ability to see off those pesky contrarians Lindzen and Choi and Spencer and Braswell that he takes them all on in his rebuttal paper now in press with GRL:

Cloud variations and the Earth’s energy budget
A.E. Dessler
Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

I’ve had a quick look through the paper and it’s rubbish.

It opens with this:

““Abstract: The question of whether clouds are the cause of surface temperature changes, rather than acting as a feedback in response to those temperature changes, is explored… ”

Bzzzzzzt. Logical fallacy of the excluded middle (false dichotomy). these are not the only two possibilities. Spencer is saying it’s the mixture of the two which confounds diagnosis of feedback amplitude (and sign in the warmist case). – FAIL


The hoo-ha surrounding the publication of the Spencer and Braswell 2011 paper rumbles on. With the Ad-Homs and libels starting to fly from the lips of prominent alarmists it’s time to calm the troubled waters with some talkshop common sense.

Why all the fuss?

All Spencer is demonstrating is that the amount of the temperature change due to unforced changes in cloud albedo in relation to the amount of cloud change being caused by temperature is not able to be determined by regression of the satellite data on surface temperature against measures of outgoing longwave radiation. This is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a minute. The ocean overturns on a 1500 year timescale, and has a heat capacity 4000 times bigger than the atmosphere. It tends to thermally stratify, but ‘folds’ and mixings of those layers occur due to changes in Earth rotation speed etc. As a consequence, the energy of past warmings can pop out of the ocean back into the atmosphere on various timescales and in quantities which don’t directly relate to current forcings and feedbacks within the climate system. These energy releases affect cloud amount, which then affects current amounts of insolation. Because we can’t model the ocean’s history and overturning activity or predict/quantify ENSO well enough, we can’t model cloud behaviour solely as an outcome of algorithms based on parameters underlying current climate states.