Dust study suggests only 30% of Atlantic temp increase due to warming climate

dust_plays_larger_role

A dust storm off the coast of Morocco was imaged by NASA’s MODIS Aqua meteorological satellite on March 12, 2009. Photo: courtesy Amato Evan

(From PhysOrg.com h/t to Leif Svalgaard) — The recent warming trend in the Atlantic Ocean is largely due to reductions in airborne dust and volcanic emissions during the past 30 years, according to a new study.

A new study by UW-Madison researcher Amato Evan shows that variability of African dust storms and tropical volcanic eruptions can account for 70 percent of the warming North Atlantic Ocean temperatures observed during the past three decades. Since warmer water is a key ingredient in hurricane formation and intensity, dust and other airborne particles will play a critical role in developing a better understanding of these storms in a changing climate.

Since 1980, the tropical North Atlantic has been warming by an average of a quarter-degree Celsius (a half-degree Fahrenheit) per decade. Though this number sounds small, it can translate to big impacts on hurricanes, which thrive on warmer water, says Amato Evan, a researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies and lead author of the new study. For example, the difference between 1994, a quiet hurricane year, and 2005’s record-breaking year of storms, was just one degree Fahrenheit.

More than two-thirds of this upward trend in recent decades can be attributed to changes in African storm and tropical during that time, report Evan and his colleagues at UW-Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a new paper. Their findings will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Science and publish online March 26.

Evan and his colleagues have previously shown that African dust and other airborne particles can suppress hurricane activity by reducing how much sunlight reaches the ocean and keeping the sea surface cool. Dusty years predict mild hurricane seasons, while years with low dust activity — including 2004 and 2005 — have been linked to stronger and more frequent storms.

In the new study, they combined satellite data of dust and other particles with existing to evaluate the effect on ocean temperature. They calculated how much of the Atlantic warming observed during the last 26 years can be accounted for by concurrent changes in African and tropical volcanic activity, primarily the eruptions of El Chichón in Mexico in 1982 and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991.

In fact, it is a surprisingly large amount, Evan says. “A lot of this upward trend in the long-term pattern can be explained just by dust storms and volcanoes,” he says. “About 70 percent of it is just being forced by the combination of dust and volcanoes, and about a quarter of it is just from the dust storms themselves.”

The result suggests that only about 30 percent of the observed Atlantic temperature increases are due to other factors, such as a warming climate. While not discounting the importance of , Evan says this adjustment brings the estimate of global warming impact on Atlantic more into line with the smaller degree of ocean warming seen elsewhere, such as the Pacific.

“This makes sense, because we don’t really expect global warming to make the ocean [temperature] increase that fast,” he says.

Volcanoes are naturally unpredictable and thus difficult to include in climate models, Evan says, but newer climate models will need to include dust storms as a factor to accurately predict how ocean temperatures will change.

“We don’t really understand how dust is going to change in these climate projections, and changes in dust could have a really good effect or a really bad effect,” he says.

Satellite research of dust-storm activity is relatively young, and no one yet understands what drives dust variability from year to year. However, the fundamental role of the temperature of the tropical North Atlantic in hurricane formation and intensity means that this element will be critical to developing a better understanding of how the climate and storm patterns may change.

“Volcanoes and dust storms are really important if you want to understand changes over long periods of time,” Evan says. “If they have a huge effect on ocean temperature, they’re likely going to have a huge effect on hurricane variability as well.”

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison (news : web)

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95 thoughts on “Dust study suggests only 30% of Atlantic temp increase due to warming climate

  1. Wasn’t there another study done that concluded that the wind shear over warmer water prevented hurricanes from forming as often?

  2. With this protracted minimum shrinking the crust and popping off more volcanoes, the dust should return.
    Rock holds back the magma, and if it cools only a bit, it’s brittleness increases.

  3. Wow !!!! This is great !!!!

    “…A new study by UW-Madison researcher Amato Evan shows that variability of African dust storms and tropical volcanic eruptions can account for 70 percent of the warming North Atlantic Ocean temperatures observed during the past three decades. ..”. Given that IPCC data goes back to about 1975, how do Gore and Hanson handle this ??? Is there a way to buy/sell “dust cap and trade” credits ?

    What are some of the theorized and known forces which can cause increased volcanic activity ?

  4. I can’t agree that the 2005 Hurricane season derived from the thermal energy of a 1F SST increase.
    My guess is that 2005 arises from the relationship between Gulf loop current/ Eastern Gulf upwelling/perturbation and subsequent TC intensities. My list of Loop Current crossers (hurricanes only): 1998-Earl (minimal Hurricane) Georges-(the unheeded warning to NO-75 miles east of being Katrina) 1999-Brett (not really a loop storm but I am in a generous mood); 2000 Gordon (lame-o storm); 2001-None; 2002-Lilli (long tracker-western edge of loop); 2003-Claudette (even further west-See Brett); 2004-Charley (freak meso-more of a blowup in the hot shallows of FL Gulf Coast), Ivan-tips off the loop current barrage in 2005 with Katrina, Rita, Wilma (I stayed up all night in disbelief watching this pinhole). If you really want to get picky, you go from 1998 to 2004, Ivan, before an intense cyclone taps the really hot water of the Eastern Gulf. When the steering currents finally started dumping closed circulations into the eastern gulf at the end of 2004, the SST was way hot and probably deeply saturated. The 2004-2005 blowup was focused regionally in the eastern Gulf which probably not coincidently was an unplowed, overheated, fertile breeding ground for some high energy events.

  5. Sorry to be a little off topic, but I just couldn’t hold back. Our commander in chief is already laying the BS (bad science) on thick.

    Obama: Red River flooding is wakeup call to fight global warming

    President Obama used the flooding in the Red River Valley to insist that society needs to take global warming seriously.

    In a White House interview with a handful of reporters, including Janell Cole of the Forum of Fargo, the president said the current flooding cannot necessarily be blamed on global warming, but he said it should be a signal to act.

    “If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of 2 degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’ ” the president told the reporters. “That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously.”

    Obama began by saying that “the science around climate change is real; it is potentially devastating.”

    To hear Obama’s comments, visit http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/235048.

    Just complete and utter BS!

    2 degrees would make NO difference what so ever! This is so utterly pathetic! It just makes me ill.

  6. Sorry, the science is settled. Please stop with this disinformation campaign. Play no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  7. Ohioholic (19:52:20) :

    Wasn’t there another study done that concluded that the wind shear over warmer water prevented hurricanes from forming as often?

    Wind shear shreds hurricanes apart. El Ninos increase shear over the Atlantic
    and have nearly stopped activity mid-season.

    Dust acts two ways. First is the solar dimming mentioned above that leads to lower SSTs. Second is the sunlight blocked by dust warms the atomosphere reducing convection of surface level air. Dust has the biggest impact on the Cape Vered hurricanes that form of the African coast and have the longest fetch where they can intensify.

  8. So the solution to this great threat of Arctic melting would be to nuke Africa. I’m sure that will be a great relief to many people.

  9. Ignoring the foregoing distasteful posts on here (I won’t mention any names AnonyMoose)…we move on….and back to topic:

    “Ric Werme wrote: Dust acts two ways. First is the solar dimming mentioned above that leads to lower SSTs. Second is the sunlight blocked by dust warms the atomosphere reducing convection of surface level air. Dust has the biggest impact on the Cape Verde hurricanes that form of the African coast and have the longest fetch where they can intensify.”

    And so, without hurricanes to transport heat to the upper latitudes to balance out the Earth, some regions become a desert.

    If people would realize that the real enemy here is cooling and not warming, where the temperatures turn more windy, drier, and more dusty, all of the AGW concerns would evaporate into thin stratospheric air like ozone in the arctic winter/night.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  10. Obama’s comments from Squidly’s post:

    “If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of 2 degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’ ” the president told the reporters. “That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously.”

    Today in Fargo the high/low temp was 23/15F with snow, according to MSN weather. March averages are reported to be 37/19F. Not seeing that much of an increase there, Pres “based on the facts” Obama.

  11. “What are some of the theorized and known forces which can cause increased volcanic activity ?”

    Styrofoam. The earth is increasingly becoming covered in a layer of polystyrene dust. This acts as an insulation layer and allows the underlying rock to heat up and eventually erupt as a volcano. All the Styrofoam is accumulating in the environment and changing the heat transfer from Earth’s core to the surface.

    So effective immediately many places are going to institute a 600% tax on Styrofoam and house to house searches for the stuff. All homes, businesses, safe deposit boxes, vehicles, and anyplace else they can think of will be subject to a national search and all Styrofoam products found will be confiscated. Computers will also be searched to determine if a citizen is in possession of any material on how to make the dreaded substance. Of course, any other contraband found in the course of the search may also be confiscated at the same time. Some might consider this a slight inconvenience, it is a small price to pay to rid our nation of that killer Styrofoam. Think of the children!

  12. Dust increases when SST’s turn cold, setting up the negative oscillation pattern that brings colder, dryer air onto land surfaces. The trade wind starts this negative oscillation, eventually leading to dust bowl conditions over land. The dust, blown over oceans, is a key component of plankton bloom and replenished marine food sources during the negative oscillation.

    The past 30 years (not counting the last few years) of positive oceanic oscillations and low trade wind strength brought growing conditions to land surfaces but resulted in a decrease in marine life. The opposite should soon happen. The land loses growing capacity due to cold and drought but the increased trade winds and dust fertilizes the oceans in their rebirth. It appears we are the true environmentalists who have been calling this warm period nature’s natural swings and we shouldn’t be foolin around with it! Yes, decrease soot, mercury and other dangerous pollutions, but leave CO2 alone!

  13. climate variations should no be easily explainable with enso, solar and volcanic activity, leaving the contribution of greenhouse gases around zero.

    though greenhouse gases are not completely unimportant, as they helped to increase food production all around the globe.

    finally, some people in oslo should consider this, and offer their peace price to suv drivers or other individuals with unprecedented carbon footprints (like al gore), who generously helped to feed the world population. i have seen worse nominations.

  14. Squidly:

    As long as I can remember, the Red River has been flooding. I myself took several pictures of Winnipeg from the air showing what an incredible river it is, and how insane it is to build around it.

    It is, or should be, a no-brainer that this river will flood. Just take a look at the incredible number of twists and turns, and even following it via the current pictures on Google Earth you can see flooding adjacent to it. It’s a LOT of water twisting through a very flat area.

    A few years ago Manitoba experienced some devastating flooding, and did a lot of river management. I wish ND had spent more time and $$$ on the same.

    And I agree: whenever I hear someone point the accusing finger of “global warming” or “climate change” at something that is just horribly mismanaged, it makes me ill. Why didn’t they FIX the problems, like would have been done a few generations ago? Same as water management everywhere: when you build big cities you need dams for water. But no, “we” don’t build many dams anymore. Then when things go wrong we can blame everything EXCEPT the root cause of the problem… failure to act.

  15. Yea verily, saith the voodoo scientists: “Everything affects global climate! Burning stuff! Blowing stuff! Volcanic stuff! Flowing stuff! Growing stuff! Frozen stuff! Spots! Clouds! Cosmic rays! Wobbling orbits! Stuff from aerosol cans! White roofs! Black roofs! Floating Styrofoam cups! Cow farts!”

    Does the expression “Chasing your own tail” ring a bell with anyone? Somewhere among the possibilities for what appears to be a self-limiting, chaotic system are a few dominant choices and I seriously doubt that either “manmade CO2″ or “blowing dust” is among them.

  16. So if you green Africa by encouraging reforestation efforts, you’re likely to see an increase in hurricane activity. But if you encourage continued desertification, it will result in fewer/weaker hurricanes hitting North America?

  17. If this is true then it has to be yet another nail in the coffin of AGW. The more complex and numerous the factors governing climate are, the more spurious and inadequate it makes the warmists arguments seem.

    I don’t have a problem with that. :D

  18. ……but the Argo’s are trending down, Josh Willis is prob in an uncomefortable place right now, and will have to admit ocean cooling over the last few years? See Pielke Sr website
    ?????

  19. hi,
    this article seems to fit with some recent articles i have read ( one or two as leads from this site) that when the ( angular) velocity of the earth increases ( and the length of day shortens) due to increased solar actvity then there is a corresponding increase in temperature. the other factors involved are the corresponding increases in atmospheric pressures and wind speeds ( from a faster rtotating earth), both of these necessary i presume to carry large amounts of dust particles.
    The authors themselves were suggesting feedback mechanisms that could do this, the above -dust particles warming the oceans -seems to be an example of what they had’nt mentioned in their papers.
    lastly they also suggested the increased spin and friction of the atmosphere against the earth could lead to increased volcanic activity.

    one recent paper that mentions the above phenomenon is ( it has been mentioned recently but it also contains a lot of references to other papers )The Sun’s Role in Regulating the Earth’s Climate Dynamics
    Author: Mackey, Richard

    Source: Energy & Environment, Volume 20, Numbers 1-2, January 2009 , pp. 25-73(49)
    about a quarterof the way through is the stuff mentioned above

  20. Thanks for the find, Leif.

    Another BIG part of the variability should be the tropical North Atlantic’s response to ENSO. Give me a few minutes to plot it. I’ll be back.

    The full title of the paper is “The Role of Aerosols in the Evolution of Tropical North Atlantic Ocean Temperature Anomalies.”

    Link to abstract:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1167404

    It reads: “Observations and models demonstrate that northern tropical Atlantic surface temperatures are sensitive to regional changes in stratospheric volcanic and tropospheric mineral aerosols. However, it is unknown if the temporal variability of these aerosols is a key factor in the evolution of ocean temperature anomalies. Here, we elucidate this question by using 26 years of satellite data to drive a simple physical model for estimating the temperature response of the ocean mixed layer to changes in aerosol loadings. Our results suggest that 69% of the recent upward trend, and 67% of the detrended and 5-year low pass filtered variance, in northern tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures is the mixed layer’s response to regional variability in aerosols.”

    Supplemental Material Link:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/1167404/DC1/1

  21. Squidly (20:28:16) :

    Sorry to be a little off topic, but I just couldn’t hold back. Our commander in chief is already laying the BS (bad science) on thick.

    Obama: Red River flooding is wakeup call to fight global warming

    President Obama used the flooding in the Red River Valley to insist that society needs to take global warming seriously.

    Are we talking about the same Dakota which recently had record low temps and huge winter snowfall?

    Just checking.

  22. Re: data supporting AGW theory

    “And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust
    Hey, Im gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust…”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

  23. Re: Ohioholic (19:52:20) :

    “Wasn’t there another study done that concluded that the wind shear over warmer water prevented hurricanes from forming as often?”

    There are actually many studies in this area – well established physics.

    Think of a Hurricane as a rotating cylinder that extends from the ocean surface to the top of the Troposphere. If the winds aloft are blowing with a different speed and/or direction to the winds near the surface, the cylinder (Hurricane) gets sheared apart. It is tough for a Hurricane to form or survive under high shear.

    However, dust is another critical factor – quite often during Hurricane Season you will see areas of strong convection (thunderstorm activity) – prime candidates for genesis into a Tropical Cyclone – get quashed by these big plumes of dust blowing off the Sahara. This is known as the “Saharan Air Layer or SAL” – you can monitor SAL conditions here http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/salmain.php?&prod=splitEW&time

  24. A growing understanding of the complexity of this planet’s climate erodes the simplistic view of CO2 warmists. It is simply not possible to model climate to forecast change in the future, be it short or long term. Humanity can only monitor change, not control it.

  25. Well, we can all rest easier now…

    ArtsBeat is reporting that former vice president, and Oscar winner, Al Gore is set to release his second book on climate change this fall. This follows his critically acclaimed 2006 book and documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which came very close to stopping global warming, but fell a little bit short. The new book Our Choice, will attempt to finish the job by proposing environmental policies that reduce Carbon Dioxide while also improving our economy. All of the proceeds from the book will go to The Alliance for Climate Protection and the book will be printed on 100% recycled paper, so get down from those redwood trees, hippies.

  26. mikef: You wrote, “but the Argo’s are trending down, Josh Willis is prob in an uncomefortable place right now, and will have to admit ocean cooling over the last few years?”

    In the most recent paper on OHC, Levitus et al state, “Figure S11 shows time series of OHC700 for individual ocean basins as well as the world ocean. Both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans show decreases after 2005-06 whereas the Indian Ocean does not. The linear trend accounts for 89 and 85% of the variance in the Atlantic and world ocean respectively and 68 and 52% in the Pacific and Indian oceans respectively for the 1969-2008 period.”

    A link to the paper:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

    Note that the trends in the illustrations are for the period of 1968 to 2008, not the entire dataset, which starts in 1955.

    I did a quick post on it the Levitus OHC paper, but only looked at the global data. Here’s a link:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/latest-revisions-to-ocean-heat-content.html

  27. although it won’t get much play, the entire Caribbean and most of the hurricane MDR (main development region) are showing below normal SST anomalies this year. it will be interesting to see how these change in the next couple of months, but I don’t recall this being the case the last 4-5 years.

  28. Ric Werme (20:50:49) :
    “…Dust acts two ways. First is the solar dimming mentioned above that leads to lower SSTs. Second is the sunlight blocked by dust warms the atomosphere reducing convection of surface level air. Dust has the biggest impact on the Cape Vered hurricanes that form of the African coast and have the longest fetch where they can intensify.”

    Well…OK but there is a third, much larger issue. The dusty air blowing off Africa into the Atlantic is very *DRY* and warm. For tropical waves-hurricanes to form, they need deep moisture and convective instability. Both are missing in the dry continental air.

    I think this whole paper is bogus. Didn’t Dr. William Grey attribute the warming in the Atlantic to the AMO (Atlantic Multi-decidal Oscillation)? Yes, it has been warming for the past 20-30 years & now it is starting to cool. I have a real hard time believeing the warming over the past 20 years has been because of dust off of a desert which has been there for a *whole* lot longer than that!

    Just my $.02

    Jeff

  29. Re: Squidly (20:28:16) :

    Most of the top 80 ft or so of the eastern half of North Dakota is either 1) Lake Sediment (from a paleo lake known as “Lake Agassiz”) or 2) River and beach sediment from the paleo Red River, the next 100 ft down and you pass through mostly Glacial deposits from the Pleistocene, then you hit bedrock.

    See http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/nd_geology/nd_maps/nd_map4.jpg

    and

    http://www.ndsu.edu/instruct/schwert/fargo/xsection.htm

    I don’t think cavemen were driving SUVs back in the late Pleistocene (they most certainly did not have coal-fired power stations)…

  30. Well, I was going to mention the false comparisons, illogical assumptions, etc. But from now on I will jsut post this standard response:

    In his Fiscal Year 2010 budget, Obama said he planned to raise $646 billion from 2012 to 2019 in climate revenues by auctioning off emission credits in a system that capped greenhouse gas levels and created a market to buy and sell emission allowances. Treasury officials say the actual revenues could actually double or triple that amount.

    I think we can safely say the science is settled. Move on.

  31. ” CodeTech (23:05:53) :

    Squidly:

    As long as I can remember, the Red River has been flooding. I myself took several pictures of Winnipeg from the air showing what an incredible river it is, and how insane it is to build around it.”

    You never hear one word about building codes and building permits when houses are flooded.
    Bureaucrats, politicians and their propagandists always find something else to blame.

  32. Volcanoes are naturally unpredictable and thus difficult to include in climate models, Evan says

    Yet another thing climate models don’t take in to account correctly. Yet more evidence that you cannot model a chaotic system.

  33. to barry l.
    there are articles that suggest the changing frictions of the earths atmosphere moving against the earth due to changing speed of the earths rotation cause changes in volcanic activity by causing extrat riction or causing fault lines to move etc.
    ( earths rortation varies according to tilt, and solar intensity plus other solar factors).
    i think this is what r bateman means above. if i find the article i will post it….. ( there is more than one and it is in the article i mentioned above i think).

  34. This ocean warming explains the rapid raise in central england temperatures (CET) in the last 30 years, which is about the same order of magnitude. Do dust records exist for the past? The last big run-up the CET temperatures was from 1700 to 1730.

  35. Fascinating how a paper on a Tropical North Atlantic phenomenon becomes first North Atlantic, and then just Atlantic temperatures, no?

  36. Maybe the ND floods should have a thread of it’s own, but as far as I know a warming climate in the area would actually reduce the liklihood of flooding due to more snow melting over the winter months instead of all at once during a late winter thaw.

  37. “Since 1980, the tropical North Atlantic has been warming by an average of a quarter-degree Celsius (a half-degree Fahrenheit) per decade. Though this number sounds small, it can translate to big impacts on hurricanes, which thrive on warmer water, says Amato Evan, a researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies and lead author of the new study. For example, the ocean temperature difference between 1994, a quiet hurricane year, and 2005’s record-breaking year of storms, was just one degree Fahrenheit.”

    How simplistically wrong.

    The post by hswiseman (20:19:24) is correct.

    The best example of cherry picking data I have ever seen : “the ocean temperature difference between 1994, a quiet hurricane year, and 2005’s record-breaking year of storms, was just one degree Fahrenheit.”

    Perhaps we could have annual “Cherry Pickin’ Data Awards”. The nominations alone would be interesting.

  38. “Robert Bateman (20:07:52) :

    …Rock holds back the magma, and if it cools only a bit, it’s brittleness increases”

    Rock, magma, scissors?

    Couldn’t resist.

    JimB

  39. Once more climate models?, they put everything in them except the drivers all know, beginning with the old and faithful sun.
    “God doesn´t play dice” (Albert Einstein)

  40. “AnonyMoose (21:19:31) :

    So the solution to this great threat of Arctic melting would be to nuke Africa. I’m sure that will be a great relief to many people.”

    Might as well…we’re doing everything possible to keep them in stone-age conditions anyway in the name of saving the planet. One might ask exactly who’s planet we’re saving…certainly not Africa’s.

    “Silver (22:51:20) :

    Off topic (or maybe not):

    “Hungry shrimp eat climate change experiment”

    I thought my shrimp last night had a slightly metallic flavor.

    JimB

  41. Squidly (20:28:16) :
    Glenn (22:19:55) :
    CodeTech (23:05:53) :

    Re Obama and the Red River:

    The weather guy on Fox News Channel between 11 AM and noon (EDT) yesterday pointed out that (a) the temperatures were very cold, and (b) that there were ice dams in Manitoba that were impeding drainage from the flooded areas further south, so that it was likely that the river would remain at flood stage for up to two weeks.

    President Obama clearly has no idea what he is saying; he is just reiterating (and garbling) talking points that others have fed him. But it is dismaying. My wife keeps saying, “We have to educate him!” But how can anyone get through the thick wall of willful ignorance (read dogma) this President has surrounded himself with?

    This is why I keep saying we must find a prominent spokesman for the Realist side, who can take the lead in educating the public, the media, and the politicians. I wonder if Mitt Romney might be willing to take on that duty. . .

    /Mr Lynn

  42. @ Squidly (20:28:16) :

    The worst flood in the Fargo area was 1897. How does that fit into the AGW story?

  43. Ohioholic (20:31:58) :

    Interestingly enough, although warmer weather destroys hurricanes by cutting them to pieces, colder weather does too?

    I’m not sure if you’re referring to colder weather globally or colder weather reaching a tropical storm. In the latter case, that’s generally a cold front and tropical storm coming together and hastens the transition from tropical storm (driven by convection) to extratropical storm (driven by horizontal temperature difference and upper atmosphere effects).

    Another thing that impacts storm once they’ve formed is dry air entrainment. Watch the water vapor images next hurricane season, when a storm swallows a big chunk of dry air it cause major disruption to convection and can greatly weaken the storm within hours. Much more impressive than running into shear, which just blows off the storm tops, dry air hacks away at the knees.

  44. Re: cobra (03:56:20) :

    “Isn’t the red river flooding because of record snowfall?”

    Exactly

  45. “Since 1980, the tropical North Atlantic has been warming by an average of a quarter-degree Celsius (a half-degree Fahrenheit) per decade. Though this number sounds small, it can translate to big impacts on hurricanes, which thrive on warmer water, says Amato Evan, a researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies and lead author of the new study. For example, the ocean temperature difference between 1994, a quiet hurricane year, and 2005’s record-breaking year of storms, was just one degree Fahrenheit.”

    First: confession: I know nothing scientific about this.

    Having said that, it seems incredible that the difference between normal and disaster is one degree F. No other natural phenomenon or event that I know of is that sensitive to small changes. It seems unnatural, if I might use that word, that this one issue hinges on such a small change. It leads me to think that maybe, just maybe, the science of hurricanes is more complex with other, perhaps more significant dependencies than a small rise in temperature. Was perhaps the rise in temperature in the hurricane zone much greater, and the 1 degree increase global? Like, you know, a lot hotter in the hurricane zone. If not, well…..

  46. A lack of dust may indeed eventually allow more of the Sun’s heat to do its thing along the equator. The dust has to be cleared out, which may take a while for the trade winds to use up the energy from rising hot air and the land has been scrubbed of the dander that had built up over the last 30 to 60 years of the warm, wet growing cycle. Eventually, the influx of north and south cold air gets all used up as the cycle’s energy dies down. Now cleared of reflective dust, the Sun begins to once again beam all of its heat down on the equator, building warmth into the sea surface and moisture in the air, causing the greening of the planet, but eventually restarting the next cold, dry, windy period when the heated surface finally breaks away from terra firma and begins to rise with increasing force. The land, once green and lush, begins to dry and whither from the cold dry wind, turning decades of vegetation and rain eroded dirt and silt into dry dust. The lands and the oceans, locked in a school yard game of seesaw.

  47. Paul Schnurr (05:57:44),

    Astonishing article. If an enemy nation tried to do what’s in that report, it would be an act of war. The fact that the West actually pays the UN for those suicidal proposals is inexplicable. The best possible course of action would be to completely cut off the UN’s income and evict them from civilized countries.

  48. I can imagine, that locally, this decadal osillation of dust can be interruped by dry season irrigation, keeping the land always green, which prevents the wind from picking up the dry bare-ground soil and carrying it out to sea to feed the marine life. Growing populations should eventually use up what was once irrigation water, leading us back to the natural oscillation.

  49. I wonder how much of the remaining 30% is due to the Clean Air Act that was passed in the 70’s and cut down on the aerosols that were causing the acid rain in the eastern U.S. before they drifted out over the North Atlantic.

  50. In a White House interview with a handful of reporters, including Janell Cole of the Forum of Fargo, the president said the current flooding cannot necessarily be blamed on global warming, but he said it should be a signal to act.

    Dear Mr. Obama,

    My cat just took a crap in her litterbox. Please let me know if this is a signal to act on global warming.

  51. Squidly (20:28:16) :

    “Sorry to be a little off topic, but I just couldn’t hold back. Our commander in chief is already laying the BS (bad science) on thick. Obama: Red River flooding is wakeup call to fight global warming. President Obama used the flooding in the Red River Valley to insist that society needs to take global warming seriously.”

    CodeTech (23:05:53) :

    “Squidly: As long as I can remember, the Red River has been flooding. I myself took several pictures of Winnipeg from the air showing what an incredible river it is, and how insane it is to build around it.”

    I have the solution. Offered it before when a record(?) amount of snow was reported for No Dakota. Transport the “excess” to California and the dryer parts of the West/Southwest. This is an intelligent solution that a natural-born-American President might consider. As I understand it, the Red River Valley drains into Hudson Bay. Ice melts later in the north, in Manitoba, Canada; therefore, there is nowhere for the water to go except to fill up the basin/flood plain. Build pipes, canals, send it along the railways. I think Roger Sowell had a plan. Do something sensible, along with ending U.S. dependence on Middle East Oil by developing domestic fossil fuel resources (Janet Levy, American Thinker).

    The “Dust Study” should put another knife in the vampiric heart of cap-and-trade.

  52. Al Gore is set to release his second book on climate change … All of the proceeds from the book will go to The Alliance for Climate Protection …

    * Al Gore, Chairman of the Board, Alliance for Climate Protection

    So the solution to this great threat of Arctic melting would be to nuke Africa. I’m sure that will be a great relief to many people.”

    Might as well…we’re doing everything possible to keep them in stone-age conditions anyway in the name of saving the planet. One might ask exactly who’s planet we’re saving…certainly not Africa’s.

    * Nuke the land, not the people. People don’t produce nearly enough dust.

    “Hungry shrimp eat climate change experiment”

    * That article completely ignored that the experiment was a success by increasing the growth of ocean life, which did indeed remove more carbon from the atmosphere. And additional carbon will be sequestered in the form of fish feces and shrimp shells.

  53. John Silver (22:51:20) :

    Off topic (or maybe not):

    “Hungry shrimp eat climate change experiment”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16842-hungry-shrimp-eat-climate-change-experiment.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

    Hey, at least these scientists tried a real experiment instead of the completely dry-labbed video game “experiments” characteristic of “Climate Scientists”. Kudos.

    [The very first time I visited RealClimate I witnessed such a Model "experiment", which resulted only in an "arghhhhh" response, at least in this particular "y" variable - me. Then the "scientist" apparently even wilfully misinterpreted his own "results".]

  54. Isn’t the red river flooding because of record snowfall?

    Snowfall, the recent rain on the floodwaters, and the northerly flow of the river. Even if global warming warms the poles a little, the river will still freeze in the winter and the southern part will still thaw before the north mouth of the river. We could fix that with enough excavation to reverse the direction of flow of the river and make all that water flow into the Mississippi, but that would create new problems.

  55. Reading over this study it appears to be yet another case of an observed correlation taken to mean causality.

    SAHEL and volcanic dust is important to climate (and weather in the form of Hurricanes) for sure, but I doubt it is the main factor in the Atlantic. There is good physics behind the idea that Tropical Atlantic (and entire Atlantic for that matter) SST variability is driven largely by the AMO and other internal modes of oceanic variability.

  56. This study study again proved the effect of particulate pollution has been under estimated. It is far more powerful than GHGs.

    I think high altitude particulate pollution cools the atmosphere and low altitude particulate pollution warms the atmosphere. Both high and low altitude particulate pollution cool the ocean surface due to the dimming effect. The atmosphere cooled from the 40s until the 70s. During this period world war II and above ground testing of nuclear weapons increased high high level particulate pollution. When above ground testing of nuclear weapons was banned in the 70s global warming began.

  57. Seems like UW-Madison is on the semi-skeptic side of things…

    …while UW-Seattle is on the believer side.

    Hmm.

  58. “If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of 2 degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’ ”

    Agreed, BS as in boeotian science. Our Popinjay Prez knows his climate science, his macroeconomics, his labor relations, his multinational diplomacy, his vetting subordinates, his constitutional law, etc., all equally well. Not worth spit.

    Doesn’t seem to be eroding Presidential powers though, like FISA. Small comfort.

  59. “Seems like UW-Madison is on the semi-skeptic side of things”

    Mad City sanity, how oxymoronic. Always been a good grad school though- activist bomb target of merit.

  60. “Since 1980, the tropical North Atlantic has been warming by an average of a quarter-degree Celsius (a half-degree Fahrenheit) per decade.”

    “the ocean temperature difference between 1994, a quiet hurricane year, and 2005’s record-breaking year of storms, was just one degree Fahrenheit.”

    Therefore, between 1980 and 1994, the Atlantic bearly warmed at all?
    ——————————————————-
    AnonyMoose (07:07:13) :

    Al Gore is set to release his second book on climate change … All of the proceeds from the book will go to The Alliance for Climate Protection …

    * Al Gore, Chairman of the Board, Alliance for Climate Protection

    Excellent find Moose.

  61. Ric Werme (05:44:42) :

    I’m not sure if you’re referring to colder weather globally or colder weather reaching a tropical storm.

    I meant colder weather in general over the ocean, which is what this dust study suggests. I linked originally to the fact that warmer weather causes more wind shear destruction of hurricanes, and then this is out, which says that hurricanes are toasted by cooling. Seems like there is a whole lot unknown about hurricanes.

  62. Perhaps we have a link between CO2 and Atlantic hurricanes. If increassed hurricane activities come from warmer ocean temperatures, and if warmer ocean temperatures are due to less dust, and less dust is due to a greener Sahara, and a greener Sahara is due to increased levels of CO2, we now have a link between CO2 and Atlantic hurricanes.

  63. When I was a young catholic girl, fresh from first communion, I wanted to do everything right in confession and then receive communion. So to do that, I had to make up lies to tell in confession because how much mischief can a girl of 7 get into? To wit, I killed my brother, my grandmother, robbed a bank, and said dirty words, all confessed to a very patient family friend who knew where I was and what I was doing 24-7. He patiently forgave me and for my penance told me to say 3 hail mary’s and one our father. Then with a poker face that must have killed him to keep steady, he gave me communion.

    So for those of us who lie like a drunken sailor about whatever on this blog, you are forgiven. Say 3 hail mary’s and one our father.

  64. Been to Gran Canaria for the last three years running ( one of the islands on the NASA shot). The year it was clear the temps were 3 to 4 c higher easily maybe more, When sand storms driffted over it was much cooler— but this is only the same as on a bright sunny summers day to a cloudy one

  65. Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and take a longer look at weather patterns, and just see where climate begins. In order to get a reasonable long term perspective on temperature, we went to the longest continual data recordings, put out by the Hadley Center, and available at Climate4You, http://www.climate4you.com, where they also have some very good plots.

    Go to the Global Temp tab, download the data into a spreadsheet, EXCEL. The data includes year, monthly averages and yearly average. Next two columns were added, one for a linear function T_est = b + m (yr_x – 1659), and yearly error [ER]. Tried to use the least square linear function supplied with EXCEL, but it “choked up”, so I computed the linear estimation column using to “fixed” parameters b & m. The error was summed to aid in adjusting b and m. A plot was then made of year vs. temperature error. After a few minutes, manually adjusting b and m, to minimize the summed error, a close match was found with the following equation: T_est = 8.85 + 0.002 * ( YEAR – 1659), with a summed error of ~5 deg. A second “smoothed curve” was added, using a 1st order recursive filter x = x_1 + 0.25*(ER) highlighted the short term trends. With a slope of about 2 deg. per century, doesn’t look like much has changed.

    Now while this is one sample point on the globe. If I were a gambling man, I don’t think I’d bet the farm on global warming.

  66. “(From PhysOrg.com h/t to Leif Svalgaard) — The recent warming trend in the Atlantic Ocean is largely due to reductions in airborne dust and volcanic emissions during the past 30 years, according to a new study.”

    If you take a look at the satellite photo that heads this piece,the wind dust blowing in a NW direction looks like a button mushroom in cross section.
    This would suggest that the wind (made visible by the dust) is hitting an equal but opposite wall of wind that is limiting its penetration into the Atlantic.
    Could this be a mechanism for African particulate reduction ?

    Just to add my voice of support to a previous commentator to try to limit comments in this site to topics relevant to the thread and to science and to limit political comments to comic relief .
    These comments apply to me as well as I have been guilty of drifting.

  67. Bob Tisdale…
    Thanks for your comment Bob. Have had a look at the graphs you provided. The thing is, I was thinking primarily of Pielke Srs comment on his weblog of 24th March, where he discusses the recent Loehle paper, comparing it to findings of his own posted on Feb 9.
    On the Feb 9 posting, Pielke Sr compares Hansons own heat content change prediction to the actual data now in from Josh Willis (the revised “not quite so cold” data – heh!). The Willis figures basically show no change in ocean heat content since the experiment started (I think I read that correctley) which Peilke then compares to Hansons prediction of cumulative ‘heat’ per year they expected to find. Over the short term of the Argo data, Pielke notes that Hanson is now so far behind, cumulatively, that it would now take something massive to get him back on track.
    Surely the Argo heat content change/trend has got to become the premier data set for tracking ocean heat content, and so GW, without the constant arguements about the deficiencies of the surface station data or satalites, which seems to have become a ‘choose your witness’ debate?
    If the Argo’s are saying ‘no change’ then GW has definately stopped, and worse for the AGW camp, there is no ‘pipeline’ effect either.
    I appeciate I’m seeing the ‘ocean’ as one temp and take your point that its diff depending where you look, but as an overall measure surely the Argo’s are indeed going to give us that elusive ‘average global temp’ that the other data sets are argued over?
    Would appreciate your views on the Argo’s in general and Pielke Sr comments on thier data. Sorry if I’m being too simplistic, I’m no scientist at all. Just seems to me that the whole Argo experiment was designed to ‘prove’ GW via sea temps…….and its actually saying something different?

  68. I for one find it interesting that this topic, “Dust study suggests only 30% of Atlantic temp increase due to warming climate”, is adjoined to “Ocean iron fertilization CO2 sequestration experiment a blooming failure”.  It is the dust, and the iron oxides contained in that dust, blowing off of North Africa that provides the iron that fertilizes the Mid-Atlantic ocean.  Upwelling at the poles is the other major source.

    –Mike Ramsey

  69. 1/ Quoting the article above: Evan says this adjustment brings the estimate of global warming impact on (the) Atlantic more into line with the smaller degree of ocean warming seen elsewhere, such as the Pacific. “This makes sense, because we don’t really expect global warming to make the ocean (temperature) increase that fast,” he says. In other words, this paper provides some more support for man-made global warming. 2/ What goes up must come down. Warmer temperatures mean more evaporation. So there will be more precipitation, somewhere else. And increased stream flows. 3/ I t takes 30 years of weather to establish climate. Yet it seems appropriate to point out that these conditions may become the norm, in the expected future climate.

  70. @Francis

    It really doesn’t matter what happens, the AGW hypothesis is unfalsifiable as everything is claimed to be man caused.

  71. wouldn’t the reduces volcanic activity also have increased temepratures of the other oceans ?

  72. @DR AGW is very falsifiable. Just demonstrate that there is something else more primary than CO2, in forcing the increasing temperatures over the past 30 years. Think hockey stick, and be careful about cyclical explanations.It suggests that, regardless of what was forcing then; there is something new, now.

  73. I keep looking at that picture. Notice the green edge in the water around the landform? Could that be a plankton bloom lining the shoreline? If this kind of bloom feeds the ocean, I would imagine that toxic blooms occur as well. In the past, efforts have been made to eradicate toxic blooms. The kind of plankton that are toxic are a very small percentage of all the plankton species. However, under the right conditions, even nontoxic plankton can kill marine life by starving it of oxygen. But even when that happens, the dead marine life may be a necessary part of the cycle. Why are we so opposed to dead and decaying matter? My grandma searched high and low for the stuff to put in her corn hills. Her motto: a dead fish in every hill of corn.

    The other thing that seems to get people’s attention is when a species dies back. We do that all the time to plants. It invigorates new growth. And we think nothing of it. But if an animal species goes through this possibly natural cycle, humans are put on the chopping block without much further serious conversation about the cause. And God forbid someone says it is natural. We humans don’t like things dying.

  74. Pamela you might want to look at my most recent posts on the Iron Fertilization thread.

    “But if an animal species goes through this possibly natural cycle, humans are put on the chopping block without much further serious conversation about the cause.”

    Address the causes of those….and in this case….homo sapiens are defintiely on the chopping block.

    This is coming from a republican, bush-voting (please do not hold that against me) HAWK.

    :~)

    CHRIS
    Norfolk, VA

  75. “But if an animal species goes through this possibly natural cycle, humans are put on the chopping block without much further serious conversation about the cause.”

    A serious conversation about the cause of 99% decline of large predatory sharks in the busy north-west Atlantic? Any Chinese-Tiawanese connection here?

    How are these number part of the possibly “natural” cycle?

  76. Many sharks clean up dead and dying marine life. That’s why chumming works so well. If the natural cycle is for marine life to slowly die down during the waning moments of the warm phase of oceanic oscillations, to spring back to life when upwelling starts the cycle again, it would make sense that the top of the food chain would be the last to see a decline themselves. Your correlation is statistically weak but that does not mean that you could be right. I think it would be wise to look at all possible reasons for shark decline. If other fish counts do not follow fish catch and instead mirror oceanic oscillation, wouldn’t it be worth while to see if this is true for shark as well?

  77. Statistically WEAK…..in WHAT universe, Pamela???

    99% decline in the northwest Atlantic. Functionally EXTINCT in the Mediterranean.

    How is that statistically “weak”….in any way shape or form…in ANY known or unkown universe??

    Give me one SHRED of evidence to the contrary.

    In the meantime….you would do yourself a big favor to watch the movie Sharkwater.

    An award-winning masterpiece just from its sheer beauty…its content sends it over the edge.

    I DARE you to try to force the ivory tower theories after you have watched.

    I dare you.

    How can you possibly even attempt to refute.?

    You and I have JOKED about the AGW blah blah ad infinitum.

    But, in light of the egregious overfishing in the past few hundred years by homo sapiens…our overfishing in the past few hundred DOES NOT QUALIFY US AS BEING PART OF THE NATURAL CYCLE THAT HAS OCCURRED FOR THE PAST FEW HUNDRED MILLION….

  78. And I would challenge you to respond, point-by-point to my posts on the iron fertilization thread.

    Pamela…you would appreciate the deadpan approach….

    Thanks.

    Chris

  79. “But if an animal species goes through this possibly natural cycle, humans are put on the chopping block without much further serious conversation about the cause. And God forbid someone says it is natural. We humans don’t like things dying.”

    Natural cycles are one thing. Those natural cycles have been around in the oceans, like some of its native habitat, for a few hundred million years’ time.

    How just a few hundred years of anthropogenic “forcing” of valuable marine species could be included in the equation as part of the “natural” cycle, is beyond me.

    As I said in previous posts and will say again. This is not an either/or situation.

    I will say it again: This is not an either/or situation. It is very, very, complex problem, as complex as the very food web that graces the ocean.

    Now….we can not really do anything about the natural oscillations. We can just study them and learn to adapt to them. It would be silly to think science will ever be good enough change the the pressure values of the NAO to suit ones liking….or adjust the ENSO events so that more rain falls on California.

    But we CAN at least TRY to reverse some of the problems we HAVE created (or at least exacerbated), whichever the case may be.

    As you can tell, I chose my screen name for a reason, as species destruction may be one of those reversible problems.

    Please take time to watch the whole film. But the clip is here http://www.sharkwater.com

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  80. I assign your position statistically weak because two things occurred at the same time, once, leading you to assign causation (shark population decline and tonnage taken). The Sun’s sleepy stage has been tagged by some as the cause agent for cooling because cooling occurred during some sleepy stages in the past. The statistical correlation is weak but that doesn’t stop some from assigning causation anyway. Fish counts have notoriously been attached to tonnage take from the oceans. Why? Because of a now and then coupling. But when statistical analysis was done, fish counts correlated much higher to oceanic oscillations than to tonnage taken from the sea. You have not provided links to journaled studies of shark counts. I prefer those over movies. Do you want links to studies of fish counts?

  81. How a 90% to 99% decline of some species could be called “statistically weak” is as perplexing as the declines themselves!

    As far as some links and quotes, here you go for starters.

    And on a side note, you (and your students), would benefit from seeing Sharkwater. Besides being a beautiful work, it is loaded with good information. There is a reason it received numerous international film awards. http://www.sharkwater.com

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/315/5820/1846?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=myers+shark&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    and this quote:

    “Impacts of chronic overfishing are evident in population depletions worldwide, yet indirect ecosystem effects induced by predator removal from oceanic food webs remain unpredictable. As abundances of all 11 great sharks that consume other elasmobranchs (rays, skates, and small sharks) fell over the past 35 years, 12 of 14 of these prey species increased in coastal northwest Atlantic ecosystems. Effects of this community restructuring have cascaded downward from the cownose ray, whose enhanced predation on its bay scallop prey was sufficient to terminate a century-long scallop fishery. Analogous top-down effects may be a predictable consequence of eliminating entire functional groups of predators.”

    And also….

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118811165/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

  82. And I would invite you to head over to the Iron Fertilization thread and see my posts starting at 11:58:33 and following.

    Please read carefully what is said there….and take a few minutes to read the links as well.

    Thanks.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

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