Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category


If the headline seems puzzling, try the article that follows it. We’re taken back to the imaginary world of atmospheric ‘blankets’, forgetting to mention that the methane content of our air is less than 2000 parts per *billion* (= 2 per million).
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Most climate models do not yet account for a new UC Riverside discovery: methane traps a great deal of heat in Earth’s atmosphere, but also creates cooling clouds that offset 30% of the heat, says

Greenhouse gases like methane create a kind of blanket in the atmosphere, trapping heat from Earth’s surface, called longwave energy, and preventing it from radiating out into space. This makes the planet hotter. [Talkshop comment – according to what empirical evidence?]

“A blanket doesn’t create heat, unless it’s electric. You feel warm because the blanket inhibits your body’s ability to send its heat into the air. This is the same concept,” explained Robert Allen, UCR assistant professor of Earth sciences.

In addition to absorbing longwave energy, it turns out methane also absorbs incoming energy from the sun, known as shortwave energy. “This should warm the planet,” said Allen, who led the research project. “But counterintuitively, the shortwave absorption encourages changes in clouds that have a slight cooling effect.”



Svensmark’s research at the Danish National Space Center suggests cosmic rays play a role in making clouds in our atmosphere. A reduction in cosmic rays in the last 100 years – due to the activity of our Sun – has meant fewer clouds and a warmer Earth.The following extract is from the book’s opening chapter.

The Chilling Stars is published by Icon Books

By Henrik Svensmark & Nigel Calder1 A lazy Sun launches iceberg armadas

Our ancestors endured shocking variations in climate – Events often matched changes in the Sun’s behaviour – Rare atoms made by cosmic rays signal those changes – When their production increased, the world was chilled – But are the cosmic rays the agent, or merely a symptom?

A less public-spirited finder might have put the oddity up for sale on eBay, so the archaeologists of Bern Canton were grateful when Ursula Leuenberger presented them with an archer’s quiver made of birch bark. They were amazed when radiocarbon dating showed the quiver to be 4,700 years old. Frau Leuenberger had picked it up while walking with her husband in the mountains above Thun. There, the perennial ice in the Schnidejoch had retreated in the unusually hot summer of 2003, revealing the relic hidden beneath it.

The hiking couple had unwittingly rediscovered a long forgotten short-cut for travellers and traders across the barrier of the Swiss Alps. To keep treasure-hunters away, the find remained a secret for two years while archaeologists scoured the area of the melt-back and analysed the finds. By the end of 2005 they had some 300 items – from the Neolithic Era, the Bronze Age, the Roman period and medieval times.

The various ages of the items clustered in intervals when the pass of Schnidejoch was open, offering a quick route to and from the Rhone valley south of the mountains. There were no substantial human remains to compare with the murdered Ötztal ‘ice man’, found with a similar quiver high in the Italian Tyrol in 1991 and dated to 3300 BC. But the emergent history of repeated openings and closures of Schnidejoch gave a far more interesting picture of climate change.The Ötztal man is a prize exhibit for those who assert that the climate at the start of the 21st century is alarmingly warm. The ice that preserved his mummified corpse lay unmelted, 3,250 metres above sea level, for more than 5,000 years – since the world was in its warmest phase following the most recent ice age. Then, so the story goes, the manmade global warming of the industrial era outstripped all natural variations and released the body as a warning to us all.Quite different is the impression given by the relics found in the pass of Schnidejoch, at an altitude 500 metres lower than the Ötztal man’s ice-tomb. They tell of repeated alternations between warm periods when the pass was useable and cold periods when it was shut by the ice. The discoveries also cleared up a long-standing mystery about a Roman lodging house found on the slopes above the present-day town of Thun, where there was a Roman temple and settlement. The head of the cantonal archaeological service, Peter Suter, explained his satisfaction at the outcome: ‘We always asked ourselves why the lodging house was there. Now we know that it was on the route leading across the Schnidejoch.’

The youngest item found by the archaeologists was part of a shoe dating from the 14th or 15th century AD. It corresponds with the end of an interval known as the Medieval Warm Period. Thereafter the Schnidejoch was blocked by the glaciers of the Little Ice Age, the most recent period of intense cold. Nominally the Little Ice Age ended around 1850, but the gradual retreat of the ice took a century and a half to clear the pass, until its rediscovery early in the 21st century.Here is a tale of natural variations in climate having a practical influence on the lives and travels of Europeans over 5,000 years. The climate was particularly cold in two periods around 800 BC and 1700 AD. Effects of the latter episode, the Little Ice Age, persisted in the Schnidejoch for so long that even the locals forgot that a useful pass was ever there.

The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were an embarrassment for those who, in recent years, wished to play down the natural variations in climate that occurred before the Industrial Revolution. A widely publicised but now discredited graph of temperatures, produced in 1998 by Michael Mann of the University of Massachusetts and his colleagues, tried to iron out the variations. Lampooned as the hockey stick, Mann’s graph showed the world remaining almost uniformly cool through most of the past 1,000 years until 1800. Then temperatures began to climb towards unprecedented highs in the late 20th century – so making the toe of the hockey stick and the supposed onset of an unprecedented episode of man-made global warming.

The relics from the Schnidejoch mock this Orwellian effort to make real-life events that were not politically correct disappear from climate history. They show that warming spells very like that of the past 100 years occurred repeatedly, long before the large-scale use of fossil fuels and the associated emissions of carbon dioxide gas were a possible factor. Attempts to argue that such events were not global are contradicted by abundant evidence for the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from East Asia, Australasia, South America and South Africa, as well as from North America and Europe. Probing the errors that generated the hockey stick can be safely left to the statistical pathologists, while we explore the character and rhythms of climate change over centuries and millennia.

Sunspots missing in the Little Ice Age
Atomic bullets raining down from exploded stars, the cosmic rays, leave behind them business cards that record their split-second visits to the Earth’s atmosphere. They take the form of unusual atoms created by nuclear reactions in the upper air. Especially valued by archaeologists as an aid to dating objects is radiocarbon, or carbon-14, made from nitrogen in the air.Taken up into carbon dioxide, the gas of life by which plants grow, the carbon-14 finds its way via the plants and animals into wood, charcoal, bones, leather and other relics. The initial carbon-14 content corresponds to the amount prevailing in the air at the time of death. Then, over thousands of years, the atoms gradually decay back into nitrogen. If you see how much carbon-14 is left in an old piece of wood or fibre or bone, you can tell how many centuries or millennia have elapsed since the plant or animal was alive.

There’s a snag about this gift from the stars, as archaeologists soon discovered. Some of their early radiocarbon dates seemed nonsensical, even contradictory – for example, a pharaoh of Egypt dated as being younger than his known successors. Hessel de Vries of Gronigen found the explanation in 1958. The rate of production of carbon-14 varies. Measurements in well-dated annual rings of growth in ancient trees sorted out the problem, and the archaeologists had more reliable, though often ambiguous dates. And physicists could see changes over thousands of years in the performance of the Sun, as the chief gatekeeper of the cosmic rays. Its magnetic field protects us by repelling many of the cosmic rays coming from the Galaxy, before they can reach the Earth’s vicinity.

The variations that confused the archaeologists followed changes in the Sun’s mood. Low production rates of carbon-14 meant that the Sun was very active, magnetically speaking. When it was lazy, more cosmic rays reached the Earth and the production of carbon-14 shot up.The discovery opened the way to modern interpretations of the link between the Sun and the Earth’s everchanging climate, beginning in the 1960s. Roger Bray of New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research traced the variations in the Sun’s activity since 527 BC. He was able to connect increased production of radio carbon by cosmic rays to other symptoms of feeble solar magnetic activity.

A scarcity of dark spots on the face of the Sun, which are made by pools of intense magnetism, was one such sign. Reports of auroras, which light the northern skies when the Sun is restless, were also scanty when the cosmic rays were making lots of radiocarbon. And most significantly, Bray linked solar laziness and high cosmic rays with historically recorded advances of glaciers, pushing their cold snouts down many valleys. The advances were most numerous in the 17th and 18th centuries, which straddled the coldest period of the Little Ice Age.

Click to access newsnight-_-the-chilling-stars.pdf


[image credit:]

Say hello to an umbrella term for outlandish climate intervention schemes, or maybe scams: SRM (solar radiation management).
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Radical climate interventions — like blocking the sun’s rays — could alter the world’s weather patterns, potentially benefiting some regions of the world and harming others, says E&E News.

That possibility, climate scientists say, means any research on such methods must consider those risks and involve the countries that already bear the greatest impacts from a warming planet.

“If you’re actually talking about actively deploying technologies to alter the climate, then you need to engage all of us in the discussion,” said Andrea Hinwood, chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. “And that means those who are the most vulnerable to these effects need to be able to have a say.”


Has the mystery been solved?
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When looking at the Earth from space, its hemispheres – northern and southern – appear equally bright, says EurekAlert.

This is particularly unexpected because the Southern Hemisphere is mostly covered with dark oceans, whereas the Northern Hemisphere has a vast land area that is much brighter than these oceans.

For years, the brightness symmetry between hemispheres remained a mystery.


Natural aerosols, not ‘human pollution’. Another climate assumption gets blown out of the water.
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In addition to oxygen, nitrogen or carbon dioxide, the air we breathe contains small amounts of organic gases, such as benzene and toluene, says

These oxidize into small particles or aerosols that contribute to the condensation of water in the droplets that form clouds.

Now, a study by the Institut de Cièncias del Mar (ICM-CSIC), the Instituto de Química Física Rocasolano (IQFR-CSIC) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) stresses the importance of clouds, which filter solar radiation, for understanding past and future climate changes.

“If we don’t get the clouds right, we won’t get the climate right,” says Charel Wohl, ICM-CSIC researcher and lead author of the study. “We are just beginning to unveil the multiple ingredients that form cloud seeds,” he adds.


Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy

Introducing the term: Astronomical Harmonic Resonances (AHR). To see the figures cited below, go to the original article (here). A familiar topic to long-time Talkshop visitors, e.g. here.
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The mechanism and even the existence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have remained under debate among climate researchers, and the same applies to general temperature oscillations of a 60- to 90-year period, writes Antero Oilia, Ph.D. @ Climate Change Dispatch.

The recently published study of Ollila and Timonen has found that these oscillations are real and they are related to 60- and 88-year periodicities originating from the planetary and solar activity oscillations.

These oscillations can be observed in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO), and actually in the global surface temperature (GST). The similarities between the GST, AMO, PMO, and AHR (Astronomical Harmonic Resonances) are obvious in Fig. 1.

The oscillations are not limited only to temperatures.


Jupiter [image credit: NASA]

Unexpected patterns and teleconnections. Some new light is shed on the workings of the solar system’s largest planetary atmosphere.
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Scientists have completed the longest-ever study tracking temperatures in Jupiter’s upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where the giant planet’s weather occurs and where its signature colorful striped clouds form, says Subaru Telescope.

The work, conducted over four decades by stitching together data from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescope observations, found unexpected patterns in how temperatures of Jupiter’s belts and zones change over time.

The study is a major step toward a better understanding of what drives weather at our solar system’s largest planet and eventually being able to forecast it.

Jupiter’s troposphere has a lot in common with Earth’s: It’s where clouds form and storms churn. To understand this weather activity, scientists need to study certain properties, including wind, pressure, humidity, and temperature.


Cumulus clouds from above [image credit: Jakec @ Wikipedia]

From airborne observations, these researchers find ‘trade-wind clouds are far less sensitive to global warming than has long been assumed’. Their study says: ‘Our observational analyses render models with large positive feedbacks implausible’. Consequently, they believe, extreme rise in Earth’s temperatures is less likely than previously thought.
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In a major field campaign in 2020, Dr. Raphaela Vogel who is now at Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) and an international team from the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique in Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg analyzed observational data they and others collected in fields of cumulus clouds near the Atlantic island of Barbados.

Their analysis revealed that these clouds’ contribution to climate warming has to be reassessed, says Eurekalert.

“Trade-wind clouds influence the climate system around the globe, but the data demonstrate behavior differently than previously assumed. Consequently, an extreme rise in Earth’s temperatures is less likely than previously thought,” says Vogel, an atmospheric scientist.


Cumulus clouds over the Atlantic Ocean [image credit: Tiago Fioreze @ Wikipedia]

The article says iodine’s ‘catalytic role in particle formation enhances its effects in the atmosphere wherever it goes, whether that role is eliminating protective ozone molecules or increasing cloud cover.’ But it’s not clear why this claim would be correct: ‘As sea ice melts in the Arctic, more iodine can enter the atmosphere, increase cloud cover and enhance warming effects on the region.’ Effects of cloud cover differ between high and low cloud, for example.
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An international team led by CU Boulder researchers has cracked the chemical code driving the formation of iodine particles in the atmosphere, revealing how the element contributes to increased cloud cover and depletes molecules in the Earth’s protective ozone layer, says

The research, conducted at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), was published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

It’s the first time that any experiment in the world has demonstrated the mechanism for how the gas-phase form of iodine—known as iodic acid—forms, and suggests it has an significant role in atmospheric particle formation.


Tropical scene

The researchers say ‘climate models often differ on the precise degree of future warming, largely due to their representation of clouds.’ For decades we’ve been told to believe variations in carbon dioxide are the key to any future warming, but climate model forecasts have been unable to deliver the hoped-for precision. Predicting future cloud variations looks like a tall order.
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Quick Summary

— Study adds a missing piece to the climate science puzzle of simulating clouds.
— Lightness of water vapor influences the amount of low clouds.
— Some leading climate models don’t include this effect.
— Including vapor buoyancy into climate models helps improve climate forecasting.

Clouds are notoriously hard to pin down, especially in climate science, says UC Davis.

A study from the University of California, Davis, and published in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that air temperature and cloud cover are strongly influenced by the buoyancy effect of water vapor, an effect currently neglected in some leading global climate models.


These researchers seem to have forgotten about the dominant role of water vapour when referring to so-called greenhouse gases – which is odd considering the topic of their study. Are they still promoting an excuse for 1970s cooling?
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Small sulfate particles of diameters 0.4 µm or less from anthropogenic sources could have had a cooling effect on the climate in the 1970s, by triggering cloud formation and reflection radiation, says Hokkaido University (via

Global warming and climate change are one of the most pressing issues of this century.

It is well known that carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas [Talkshop comment – no it isn’t, that’s water vapour by far], but what is less known is that a few anthropogenic aerosols retard the effects of greenhouse gases.

One such chemical is sulfate, which is more infamous for its role in acid rain.


Anvil of a thundercloud over Columbia [image credit: Eulenjäger @ Wikipedia]

Researchers hope ‘to ease comparisons between climate and weather models with observations from weather instruments’, broadly speaking. In terms of modelling this is a known area of difficulty.
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The Earth Model Column Collaboratory is an open-source research platform that pairs complex data with weather observations to create highly accurate climate models and forecast predictions.

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes, says

While we might imagine puppies or whales or breaking waves, climatologists look at them as massive bundles of water in various forms that contribute to the daily weather, and ultimately, climate.

The numbers, shapes and sizes of the liquid drops and ice crystals contained in a cloud, for example, will determine how it will scatter light or emit and absorb heat.


Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica [image credit:]

Another hole in ‘settled’ climate science? Over-sensitivity to changing conditions may sound familiar. Researchers find “The major implication is that, even though the latest CMIP models improve the simulation of their mean states, such as radiation fluxes at the top of the atmosphere, the detailed cloud processes are still of large uncertainty.” Southern Ocean clouds seem to have been ‘improperly simulated’ when compared to data.
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Clouds can cool or warm the planet’s surface, a radiative effect that contributes significantly to the global energy budget and can be altered by human activities, claims Eurekalert.

The world’s southernmost ocean, aptly named the Southern Ocean and far from human pollution but subject to abundant marine gases and aerosols, is about 80% covered by clouds.

How does this body of water and relationship with clouds contribute to the world’s changing climate?


Netherlands beach [image credit:]

Dutch meteorologists expect ‘we will have more cloudy summer weather again’ sometime in the future. For now: more sun = more heat. Who knew?
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The Netherlands this summer has had the highest amount of solar radiation recorded since 1976, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI) reported.

The “sunny summer fits in with the trend of increasing solar radiation in the Netherlands since the 1990s,” the KMNI added.

The Dutch west coast currently receives 9% more sunshine than the country’s east though solar radiation has increased 3% in summer and 5% in spring, KMNI reported.


Sea ice optional? [image credit: BBC]

Sir David King’s plan from last year, now revived: Send in the clouds. The general idea: ‘creating white cloud cover that will come over the Arctic Sea during the three months of the polar summer. They hope this would reflect sunlight away so that the growth of ice over the Arctic sea during the previous winter is retained through the summer.’ Sir David: “And if we could just repeat that every year for the coming 20 or 30 years, then we might manage to create the ice cover that is needed to protect the Arctic Sea.” And then he woke up?
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The heatwaves will kick in even if countries stick to their current climate targets, but refreezing the Arctic could curb dangerous changes, former chief scientific advisor Sir David King says.
. . .
The record-breaking heatwave that scorched swathes of Europe in recent months will become an “average” summer as soon as 2035, even if countries stick to their current climate targets, new research suggests.

The Met Office’s Hadley Centre has forecast an average summer in central Europe will be more than 4°C hotter by 2100 than it was before humans started burning fossil fuels at scale, reports Sky News.

Researchers said they are confident in their analysis because they found a “very satisfactory” alignment between recorded average temperatures since 1850 and the figures that were predicted by computer models.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG), which commissioned the research, called the data an “urgent reminder” of the need for countries to go “well beyond” their climate plans, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which together aim to limit global warming to ideally 1.5°C.

The analysis shows that “even if countries meet their commitments to reduce emissions they have made so far, the situation is still set to get worse, with weather in Europe predicted to become even more extreme than seen this summer,” said former government chief scientific advisor and CCAG chair Sir David King.

Almost two-thirds of Europe and much of England is currently enduring a drought that is hitting food and power production, driven in part by hot weather. The extreme heat in July broke records in England, Scotland and France.

“This data doesn’t fully account for the instability of the Arctic, which we now know is a global tipping point that could have major cascading consequences for the entire planet,” Sir David warned.

He said it was “abundantly clear” that countries need to not only meet their NDCs, but consider increasing them.
. . .
The CCAG argues mitigative action must include three things: reducing emissions, removing existing emissions in vast quantities and repairing “broken parts of the climate system, starting with the Arctic”.

It reiterated its calls from last year to refreeze the Arctic, which is warming much faster than the rest of the world, exacerbating other extreme weather events around the globe.

“It is only through the mitigative measures of Reduce, Remove and Repair, pursued with equal vigour and urgency, that we can hope to move away from the path to disaster we’re currently set on and achieve a manageable future for humanity,” Sir David added.

Full report here.

Cosmic Rays are Decreasing

Posted: July 29, 2022 by oldbrew in Clouds, cosmic rays, Cycles

The article notes: ‘Climate scientists are engaged in a lively debate about whether or not cosmic rays affect cloud cover.’

July 26, 2022: Cosmic rays in the atmosphere are rapidly subsiding. In the past year alone, radiation levels in the air high above California have plummeted more than 15%, according to regular launches of cosmic ray balloons by and Earth to Sky Calculus. The latest measurement on July 23, 2022, registered a 6 year low:

This development, while sudden, is not unexpected. Cosmic rays from deep space are repelled by solar activity; when one goes up, the other goes down. Since 2021, Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The onset of the new solar cycle has naturally led to a decrease in cosmic radiation reaching Earth.

To many readers this may sound counterintuitive. After all, don’t solar flares produce radiation? Yes, but most high-energy radiation doesn’t come from the sun; it comes from deep space.Every day galactic cosmic rays from distant supernova explosions…

View original post 180 more words

Once again it’s my pleasure to publish a new paper by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller at the Talkshop. In this study, we see the presentation of a climate conundrum, and recent surface solar radiation data which helps shed new light on the questions surrounding the ongoing adjustment of global temperature datasets. This new study applies theory developed in Ned and Karl’s previous paper to enable quantification of the global temperature drop during the “1970s ice-age scare”. This won’t be the last word on the topic, but it offers a solid grounding for further research.

A PDF version of this article can be downloaded here.

Implications of a New Gridded Dataset of Surface Solar Radiation
for the Evolution of Earth’s Global Surface Temperature Since 1960

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
July, 2022


A new data set of measured Surface Solar Radiation (SSR) covering six continents (Yuan et al. 2021) reveals that the Earth surface received annually 6.6 W m-2 less shortwave energy in 2019 than it did in the early 1960s, and that the average solar flux incident on land decreased by 8.2 W m-2 between 1962 and 1985. Since the Sun is the primary source of energy to the climate system, this pattern of SSR change over the past 60 years (oftentimes referred to as global dimming) suggests that the early 1960s were much warmer than the present. However, all modern records of global surface air temperature show a net warming of about 1.0 K between 1962 and 2019. We investigate this conundrum with the help of an independently derived model (previously verified against CERES observations) that accurately converts observed SSR anomalies into changes of global surface temperature. Results from the SSR-based temperature reconstruction are compared to observed global surface temperatures provided by UAH 6.0 and HadCRUT5 datasets. We find that the SSR-based global temperature estimates match quite well the UAH satellite record from 1982 to the present in terms of overall trend and interannual variability suggesting that the observed warming of the past 40 years was the result of a decreased cloud albedo and an increased SSR rather than rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The HadCRUT5 record also shows a satisfactory agreement with the SSR-based temperatures over the same time period. However, between 1962 and 1983, the SSR-based temperature reconstruction depicts a steep global cooling reaching a rate of -1.3 K/decade during the 1970s. This is drastically different from the mild warming claimed by HadCRUT5 over this time period. The cooling episode indicated by the SSR data is corroborated by more than 115 magazine and newspaper articles published throughout the 1970s as well as a classified CIA Report from 1974 all quoting eminent climatologists of the day, who warned the public that the observed worldwide drop of temperatures threatened the global food supply and economic security. Based on this, we conclude that researchers in charge of the HadCRUT dataset have likely removed the 1962 – 1983 cooling episode from the records before the publication of HadCRUT1 in 1994 in an effort to hide evidence contradicting the UN Resolution 43/53 from 1988, which proclaimed a global warming caused by greenhouse gases as a major societal concern, and urged Governments to treat it as a priority issue in climate research and environmental protection initiatives.

  1. Introduction

It is a matter of conventional wisdom now that the Earth was significantly cooler during 1960s compared to the 21st Century. Similarly, no one disputes that the planet’s surface temperature was 1.2oC lower in the beginning of the 20th Century compared to the present. This paradigm of climate change is based on surface temperature records maintained by several research teams that show remarkable consistency with one another. Figure 1 portrays global temperature anomalies based on 6 datasets supposedly constructed using different approaches summarized by Morice et al. (2021). All global records depict a nearly continuous warming since 1920 with a brief pause of the temperature rise between 1940 and 1980. No record shows a drop of global temperature between 1960 and 1980, which is at odds with a well-documented, decade-long discussion in the media about an ongoing rapid cooling during the 1970s currently known as the “1970s ice-age scare”.

Figure 1. Global surface temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2021 according to 6 official data sets. Note the remarkable consistency among various time series (borrowed from Fig. 8 of Morice et al. 2021).


Welcome to another round of evidence-free alarmist climate assertions and propaganda, such as these gems: ‘climate-fueled weather events’ and ‘greenhouse gas pollution’. The summary says ‘Projects will give better understanding of Earth’s atmosphere’. But wasn’t it all supposed to be settled a long time ago?
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for 22 projects aimed at improving climate change predictions, says Eurekalert.

As extreme weather events and impacts of climate change continue to escalate, the research projects will advance fundamental scientific understanding of atmospheric processes, ranging from cloud formation to Arctic weather.

Expanding the scientific understanding of extreme weather and climate patterns is key to tackling the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s climate goals like slashing greenhouse-gas emissions.


Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek, Australia
[image credit: Wikipedia]

Looking into the past and future of climatic conditions on computer models can give somewhat cloudy results, at least partly because “there’s considerable uncertainty about the simulation of clouds in global climate models”.
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Were Earth’s oceans completely covered by ice during the Cryogenian period, about 700 million years ago, or was there an ice-free belt of open water around the equator where sponges and other forms of life could survive?

Using global climate models, a team of researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Vienna has shown that a climate allowing a waterbelt is unlikely and thus cannot reliably explain the survival of life during the Cryogenian, says

The reason is the uncertain impact of clouds on the epoch’s climate.


Cloud guesswork is hindering climate models, therefore relying heavily on their outputs to decide policies must be risky. A professor commented that we may “need a Manhattan Project level of new federal funding and interagency coordination to actually solve this problem.” This can’t be brushed aside as a minor issue.
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We hear a lot about how climate change will change the land, sea, and ice says Eurekalert.

But how will it affect clouds?

“Low clouds could dry up and shrink like the ice sheets,” says Michael Pritchard, professor of Earth System science at UC Irvine. “Or they could thicken and become more reflective.”

These two scenarios would result in very different future climates. And that, Pritchard says, is part of the problem.