Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category


Instead of promoting meaningless climate thresholds, targets etc., alarmists might want to take a closer look at the neglected topic of natural factors.
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A new study demonstrates how a prolonged warming pause or even global cooling may happen in coming years despite increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases — caused by natural climatic variability, says The GWPF.

Natural climatic variability has always been a topic that contains a lot of unknowns, but it has been rarely explicitly stated just how little we know about it.

Such variability has been habitually underplayed as it was “obvious” that the major driver of global temperature was the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, with natural variability a weaker effect.

But the global temperature data of this century demonstrate that natural variability has dominated in the form of El Ninos.

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Are climate models getting any better, or even getting worse? Their ‘projections’ almost invariably expect more warming than is observed, often a lot more. Now the uncertainty is increasing.
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As scientists work to determine why some of the latest climate models suggest the future could be warmer than previously thought, a new study indicates the reason is likely related to challenges simulating the formation and evolution of clouds, says ScienceDaily.

The new research, published in Science Advances, gives an overview of 39 updated models that are part of a major international climate endeavor, the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). The models will also be analyzed for the upcoming sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Compared with older models, a subset of these updated models has shown a higher sensitivity to carbon dioxide — that is, more warming for a given concentration of the greenhouse gas — though a few showed lower sensitivity as well.

The end result is a greater range of model responses than any preceding generation of models, dating back to the early 1990s.

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Credit: NASA


This BBC link includes a video which shows the weakening of the magnetic field over the last 400 years (under ‘Magnetic flip’ sub-heading).
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In an area stretching from Africa to South America, Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening, says Phys.org.

This strange behaviour has geophysicists puzzled and is causing technical disturbances in satellites orbiting Earth.

Scientists are using data from ESA’s Swarm constellation to improve our understanding of this area known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly.’

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Loch Vaa, Scotland


Despite an unusually dry April in the notoriously rainy Scottish Highlands, an unpredictable local loch is now way above normal levels, baffling experts and locals.
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The level at a loch that mysteriously lost millions of gallons of water a year ago has risen to one of its highest in years, reports BBC News.

Loch Vaa, near Aviemore in the Cairngorms, is fed by a spring.

In May last year, its lease-holders reported the water level had dropped by 1.4m (4.5ft) for unexplained reasons.

However, after returning to normal levels later in 2019, it has now risen by an extra 2.5m (8ft), the highest level in decades.

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Mixed messages ahead. Can anyone explain the apparent discrepancies?

The UK Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has issued a warning: large areas of England will face significant risk of drought due to climate change, and water companies need to find billions of extra liters per day by 2050 to keep up, reports New Atlas.

But days earlier we had this from the Met Office Press Office:
Climate change to bring heavier rainfall events.

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‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Intermittency, meaning unreliability, is of course guaranteed with wind and solar power. The problem being that some governments now proceed as though that doesn’t matter any more, preferring to trumpet absurd claims about ‘saving the climate’. If they persist, eventual power shortages look inevitable.
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Germany now generates over 35% of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources, says the Asia Times.

Over 30,000 wind turbines have been built, with a total installed capacity of nearly 60 GW.

Germany now has approximately 1.7 million solar power (photovoltaic) installations, with an installed capacity of 46 GW. This looks very impressive.

Unfortunately, most of the time the actual amount of electricity produced is only a fraction of the installed capacity. Worse, on “bad days” it can fall to nearly zero.

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This GWPF report paints an uncomfortable picture of increasing instability in the UK electricity supply system, as ever more renewables are injected into it while older but more predictable thermal power plants are retired. The author says bluntly that until recently customers ‘could rely on the system. That is not the case today.’ Come the power cut, you’re on your own.

It has been widely claimed that Distributed (or embedded) Generation, such as solar and wind connected to the low voltage distribution network, reinforces electricity system stability.

The final reports into the widespread blackout of the 9th of August last year by the UK electricity regulator, Ofgem, and the British government’s Energy Emergency Executive Committee, E3C show that this is not the case.

Distributed Generation is now under the spotlight as a leading cause of the severity of the 9 August blackout, and as a hazard increasing future risks to security of supply.

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This extract from an article at Historic Mysteries looks at the demise of the city, linked to major climatic changes that happened centuries before the arrival of the modern industrial world. Cahokia Mounds is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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In Southern Illinois, situated along the Mississippi River in Collinsville, an ancient settlement that we call Cahokia rose to great power between 800-1200 CE.

Nicknamed America’s Forgotten City or The City of the Sun, the massive complex once contained as many as 40,000 people and spread across nearly 4,000 acres.

The most notable features of the site are hand-made earthen mounds which held temples, political buildings, and burial pits.

Cahokia Mounds are a testament to the highly organized culture of the early Mississippian people who built the largest city in pre-Columbian North America.

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Rinks Glacier, West Greenland
[image credit: NSIDC]


Estimates are always uncertain to some degree – that’s why they’re called estimates. So an uncertain estimate can’t be all that useful. They admit ‘there are still key deficiencies in the models’ — but these are usually ignored when alarmist climate predictions are headlined. As ever, ice-related sea level claims should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Estimates used by climate scientists to predict the rate at which the world’s ice sheets will melt are still uncertain despite advancements in technology, new research shows.

These ice sheet estimates feed directly into projections of sea-level rise resulting from climate change, says Phys.org.

They are made by measuring how much material ice sheets are gaining or losing over time, known as mass balance, to assess their long-term health.

Snowfall increases the mass of an ice sheet, while ice melting or breaking off causes it to lose mass, and the overall balance between these is crucial.

Although scientists now have a much better understanding of the melting behaviour of ice sheets than they did in previous decades, there are still significant uncertainties about their future melt rates, researchers found.

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Magnetic North on the move [credit: ESA]


Few will notice anything, but some airport runways will have to change their markings.

The team of researchers that maintain the World Magnetic Model (WMM) has updated it and released it a year ahead of schedule due to the speed with which the pole is moving, reports Phys.org.

The newly updated model shows the magnetic north pole moving away from Canada and toward Siberia.

The magnetic north pole is the point on the Earth that compasses designate as true north. It is the result of geological processes deep within the planet—molten iron flow creates a magnetic field with poles near the geographic North and South Poles.

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The full GWPF paper is here. Needless to say, it offers little comfort to ‘man-made warming’ climate dogmatists. The author concludes that what is happening to the oceans today is not unusual, in historical terms.

Executive summary

• The study of ocean heat content (OHC) is a subject struggling with inadequate data, but exposed in a public forum.

• Only since the introduction of data from the Argo array have there been convincing estimates of errors. The inhomogeneity of different data sets is a major problem.

• There is no real understanding of the difference between random and systematic errors in OHC data.

• Changes in OHC are at the limits of our ability to measure, and made with much uncertainty and many unknowns.

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Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica


Is there an element of circular reasoning here? Carbon dioxide levels have historically followed temperature changes, bringing any supposed causation into question.

Upside-down “rivers” of warm ocean water may be one of the causes of Antarctica’s ice shelves breaking up, leading to a rise in sea levels.

But a new study suggests an increase in sea ice may lead to a much more devastating change in the Earth’s climate — another ice age, reports Fox News.

Using computer simulations, the research suggests that an increase in sea ice could significantly alter the circulation of the ocean, ultimately leading to a reverse greenhouse effect as carbon dioxide levels in the ocean increase and levels in the air decrease.

“One key question in the field is still what caused the Earth to periodically cycle in and out of ice ages,” University of Chicago professor and the study’s co-author, Malte Jansen, said in a statement. “We are pretty confident that the carbon balance between the atmosphere and ocean must have changed, but we don’t quite know how or why.”

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The rotation of Venus

Posted: October 25, 2019 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, research, Uncertainty
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Credit: infobarrel.com


Not mentioned in the report (or anywhere else we know of) is that 19 Venus rotations very closely match the period of 13 lunar tropical years of 13 orbits/rotations each: (169 * 27.321582 days) / 19 = 243.01827 days. This matches the 1991 Magellan observation of the Venusian rotation period 243.0185 days and is very close to the current estimate, which is that it averages 243.0212 +- .00006 days but seems to have a small degree of variability, for reasons yet to be confirmed.

Venus is covered in a thick layer of clouds, one reason that it appears so bright in the sky, says Phys.org.

Ancient astronomers had a good idea of what (since Copernicus) we know as its orbital period; the modern measurement is that Venus takes 224.65 days to complete one revolution around the Sun, a Venusian year.

Because of the clouds, however, it has been difficult to measure the length of the Venusian day since the nominal method of watching a visible surface feature rotate around 360 degrees is not possible.

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What if anything can ‘uncertain predictions’ about the climate tell us that might be worth taking seriously? Excitable headline-chasing fearmongers do nothing to help, especially when proved wrong.

The ways climate scientists explain their predictions about the impact of global warming can either promote or limit their persuasiveness, reports ScienceDaily.
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The more specific climate scientists are about the uncertainties of global warming, the more the American public trusts their predictions, according to new research by Stanford scholars.

But scientists may want to tread carefully when talking about their predictions, the researchers say, because that trust falters when scientists acknowledge that other unknown factors could come into play.

In a new study published in Nature Climate Change, researchers examined how Americans respond to climate scientists’ predictions about sea level rise.

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The Mysterious Movements of GOES-13

Posted: September 14, 2019 by oldbrew in Astronomy, satellites, Uncertainty

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Conspiracy theorists will probably like this one…

Spaceweather.com

Sept. 11, 2019: Scott Tilley has an unusual hobby. He scans the skies for satellites where they shouldn’t be. Using an S-band receiver, the amateur radio operator has tracked many classified spacecraft orbiting Earth and famously found NASA’s IMAGE satellite when it woke up from the dead last year. This past weekend he bagged another one: GOES-13.

“This was quite a surprise,” says Tilley. “I thought GOES-13 was in a graveyard orbit–yet I found it quite active and wandering on Sept. 8th.”

GOES-13 is a NOAA weather satellite. It was retired in January 2018 after a storied 12-year career during which it monitored some of the most notorious weather events in recent U.S. history – including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the triple disaster of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2018. The satellite also experienced significant space weather: In December 2006, GOES-13 observed a solar flare so intense it…

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Image credit: NASA


But why so? ‘No theories so far’ seems to be the real meaning behind the quote ‘for reasons that are not yet fully understood’. One of the few clues is that such strikes tend to be over water, and mainly in specific areas e.g. the Mediterranean.

The lightning season in the Southeastern U.S. is almost finished for this year, but the peak season for the most powerful strokes of lightning won’t begin until November, according to a newly published global survey of these rare events.

A University of Washington study maps the location and timing of “superbolts”—bolts that release electrical energy of more than 1 million Joules, or a thousand times more energy than the average lightning bolt, in the very low frequency range in which lightning is most active, reports Phys.org.

Results show that superbolts tend to hit the Earth in a fundamentally different pattern from regular lightning, for reasons that are not yet fully understood.

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Credit: weather.com (31 Aug. 2019)


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UPDATE 1st Sept.: Dorian is now reported to be a Category 5 storm as it strikes the Bahamas.
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After an unusually quiet start to the Atlantic hurricane season, things have suddenly become serious. Uncertainty abounds but this could become ugly for south-eastern USA, Florida in particular. This report says ‘there were fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida’s east coast in nearly 30 years.’ Or it might not hit at all – at this stage, nobody knows.

Hurricane Dorian powered toward Florida with increasing fury Friday, becoming an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm but leaving forecasters uncertain whether it would make a direct hit on the state’s east coast or inflict a glancing blow, reports Phys.org.

The storm’s winds rose to 130 mph (215 kph) and then, hours later, to a howling 140 mph (225 kph) as Dorian gained strength while crossing warm Atlantic waters.

The hurricane could wallop the state with even higher winds and torrential rains late Monday or early Tuesday, with millions of people in the crosshairs, along with Walt Disney World and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

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An Acoustic Anomaly

Posted: July 31, 2019 by oldbrew in Uncertainty

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Mysterious happenings here – something to do with fracking perhaps?

OK Geological Survey Field Blog

by Andrew Thiel, OGS Research Scientist

“What is that?” asked Dr. Walter, pointing to the seismograms displayed on a flat screen TV hanging on the wall of the OGS seismic lab. There were a series of red marks that indicate automatic picks by the computer as potential earthquakes. However, these marks were spaced very regularly, so regularly that at first glance they looked like some sort of mechanical noise. The problem with that assumption was that they were showing up on stations all across the state, all at the same time. Anything that widespread is usually associated with a correspondingly large scale event, like an earthquake. This pattern we were seeing looked nothing like an earthquake, or even a series of earthquakes. Other potential causes we guessed at were military aircraft, meteor shower, or something related to gas pipelines. We dubbed this acoustic pattern ‘The Anomaly.’ 

This .gif is a…

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[click on image to enlarge]


NOAA’s latest offering on this topic is here. Of course we’re pitched into the world of ‘greenhouse gas’ theory. But it seems to be a world of considerable uncertainty, if the phrases highlighted (by the Talkshop) are anything to go by. Most attention is given to CO2 in the media, but it’s only a very minor player in the atmosphere (0.04%). There’s no accepted figure for ‘water vapor’ (NOAA uses US spelling) as exact data doesn’t exist, although ballpark estimates from various readings can be found. Why do greenhouse gas believers obsess about CO2 when they don’t know a lot about what’s going on with water vapor, which is on the face of it far more important to their theory?

Water Vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, which is why it is addressed here first. However, changes in its concentration is also considered to be a result of climate feedbacks related to the warming of the atmosphere rather than a direct result of industrialization.

The feedback loop in which water is involved is critically important to projecting future climate change, but as yet is still fairly poorly measured and understood.

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More on the mysteries behind noctilucent clouds. Lots of extra water vapour has turned up this season that can’t easily be explained.

Spaceweather.com

June 19, 2019: The 2019 season for noctilucent clouds (NLCs) has been remarkable, maybe the best ever, with NLCs appearing as far south as Los Angeles CA and Albuquerque NM. What’s going on? Researchers aren’t sure, but Lynn Harvey of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics has just found an important clue.

“The mesosphere is quite wet,” she says. “Water vapor concentrations are at their highest levels for the past 12 years.”

electricblueNoctilucent clouds over Piwnice, Poland, on June 18th. Credit: Piotr Majewski

Noctilucent clouds form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise to the top of the atmosphere. Water molecules stick to specks of meteor smoke, gathering into icy clouds that glow electric blue when they are hit by high altitude sunlight.

When noctilucent clouds began appearing at unusually low latitudes in early June, Harvey took a look at data from NASA’s Microwave…

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