Eruptions and Ocean Heat Content

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I was out trolling for science the other day at the AGW Observer site. It’s a great place, they list lots and lots of science including the good, the bad, and the ugly, like for example all the references from the UN IPCC AR5. The beauty part is that the ones which are publicly available are marked “FULL TEXT”, so you can just search for that and step from study to study knowing that they’re not paywalled. So as I said, I was trolling through the full text links and I ran across an interesting study entitled Global Decadal Upper-Ocean Heat Content as Viewed in Nine Analyses by Carton and Santorelli, hereinafter C&S2008. Here’s their money graph, Figure 1:

c&s figure 1Figure 1. Nine different estimates of the change on oceanic heat content, including one model and eight observational estimates. When comparing to other analyses, note that this analysis has oceanic heat content (OHC) expressed in units of 10^8 joules per square metre, and not the more usual global total OHC which typically is measured in units of 10^22 joules. The conversion is described in the last sentence of the caption. (Actually, I think that the caption to Figure 1 in their paper was from another context and wasn’t updated … but the meaning is clear).

I was hooked when I read the abstract, with its mention of the volcanic analysis, viz:

ABSTRACT

This paper examines nine analyses of global ocean 0-/700-m temperature and heat content during the 43-yr period of warming, 1960–2002. Among the analyses are two that are independent of any numerical model, six that rely on sequential data assimilation, including an ocean general circulation model, and one that uses four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR), including an ocean general circulation model and its adjoint. Most analyses show gradual warming of the global ocean with an ensemble trend of 0.77 x 10^8 J m-2 (10 yr)-1 (=0.24 W m-2) as the result of rapid warming in the early 1970s and again beginning around 1990. One proposed explanation for these variations is the effect of volcanic eruptions in 1963 and 1982. Examination of this hypothesis suggests that while there is an oceanic signal, it is insufficient to explain the observed heat content variations.

So what did I learn from this paper? To start with, I was totally unaware that there were nine different estimates of the changes in ocean heat content, so I learned that. And quite a bit more … including being reminded that this kind of “spaghetti  graph” without error estimates is useless.

So the first thing that I did was to go get the error estimates on the Levitus data shown in Figure 1 (dashed purple line) and add it to the graph so I could see what was going on:

bg c&s figure 1 plus levitus errorFigure 2. Same as Figure 1, but I have highlighted the Levitus data and added the vertical red lines showing the error of the Levitus data.

Now, I have long held that the error estimates in Levitus were underestimated … I would say that this graph agrees.

I also have to note in passing that I was unable to replicate their Figure 1 regarding the Levitus results. Using the data downloaded from the above link, here is what the Levitus analysis currently shows:

ocean heat content anomaly overlaid with levitusFigure 3. Figure 1 from C&S2008, overlaid with current Levitus results shown in red.

As you can see, there is good overall agreement with their data with the exception of the period from 1969 to 1984 … I have no explanation for this.

However, that’s not what I was interested in. I wanted to know about the volcanoes. For some time, I have argued in a variety of posts that the effects of volcanoes on the planet’s temperature were overestimated, and sometimes greatly so. So I was surprised to see their results for the eruption of El Chichón in Mexico. They took an interesting tack in their analysis. For each area of the ocean, they compared the average ocean heat content during the four years before the eruption, with the average heat content in the four years following the eruption. That seemed like a reasonable metric to me, and a good way to go about it. Figure 4 shows their results of the 9 analyses regarding the eruption of the El Chichón volcano in 1982:

el chichon carton 9 sea levelsFigure 4. Ocean heat content (OHC) net change from the four years before the eruption of El Chichón, Mexico, to the four years after the eruption. Upper 8 panels show the 8 observational datasets, and bottom panel shows the model. Note the different scales … presumably used because the changes in the model results are only about 2/3 the size of the observations. ORIGINAL CAPTION: FIG. 3. Change in 4-yr average heat content spanning the eruption of Mount Agung (1963). Prior to computing the heat content change a regression analysis is used to remove the effects of ENSO and a linear warming trend (see Fig. 2). … Changes exceeding ± 5 x 10^8 J m-2 are shaded. Lowest panels show the change in heat content from a five-member ensemble of the GFDL coupled simulation CM2.1 with complete aerosol forcing. Changes exceeding ± 3 x 10^8 J m-32 are shaded.

Now at first sight, all of that looks like confirmation that the volcano caused actual cooling and that my hypothesis of minimal volcanic cooling was wrong.

However, if the cooling is from the eruption, then why are there areas of warming? Why is the cooling localized in the region just below the equator in the Pacific, when the volcanic aerosols are initially from above the equator and then spread widely around the planet? And why is there not increased cooling in the region around the eruption site in Mexico?

The answer, as usual, lies in more observations. Figure 5 shows the corresponding 4-year averages for Pinatubo …

pinatubo carton 9 sea levelsFigure 5. As in Figure 4, but for the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.

As the paper itself says …

For Mount Pinatubo most analyses show general warming except in the western equatorial [South] Pacific.

General warming of the ocean after the largest volcanic eruption in modern times? Sure seems like that supports my claims … to me, the only conclusion that we can draw from these observations of the two volcanic eruptions is that we’re looking at normal variations in OHC, and that whatever the effects are, they are pretty dang small.

Close inspection reveals a final and very strong indication that the changes shown in Figures 4 and 5 are NOT from the two eruptions, but are natural variations of unknown origin.

The indication is that the shape of the cooling does not have the form that the modelers predicted. As the models show, if forcing ruled temperature the largest effect would be expected to be immediately downwind of the eruption site.  Note in Figure 5 that of all of the nine results (8 from observations, 1 from the model), the only one showing North Pacific cooling downwind from Pinatubo was the model. You can see it in the model results, the blue area like an arrow pointing at the northern Philippines, with the tail streaming straight downwind in the north Pacific … but none of the observational datasets show that pattern of cooling downwind from Pinatubo.

Not only that, but look back at Figure 4. Care to guess which of the nine analyses claimed that there would be cooling downwind from the eruption in Mexico, in the area of the Caribbean and across the top of South America? Yeah … the model was the only one … and it didn’t happen. So even in the areas right downwind from the eruptions, we don’t find the expected heat content changes from the change in solar forcing.

The volcanoes pose a huge problem for the commonly held view that the changes in global average temperature are a linear function of the changes in forcing. The climate models are nothing but a mechanistic implementation of that circumscribed and simplistic hypothesis.

Now, we know for a fact that the solar forcing after Pinatubo underwent a large and fairly lengthy drop … but we don’t find either the amount or the pattern of cooling predicted by the models. Heck, not only that, but the predominate pattern after Pinatubo was warming, not cooling … once again, the only tenable conclusions are:

1) Whatever the volcanoes might be doing, they’re not doing what the model says or what conventional climate theory predicts, and

2) Whatever the volcanoes might be doing, they are not doing enough of it to even rise above the noise.

To me, this is simply more evidence that the underlying climate paradigm, the idea that changes in temperatures are a linear function of changes in forcing, is simply not correct. If it were correct, the eruptions would show it … but they simply don’t.

That’s why I describe myself as a climate heretic rather than a skeptic—I think that the most fundamental paradigm of how the climate works is wrong. The temperature changes are NOT a linear function of forcing changes as conventional climate theory holds.

As usual, my best wishes to you all,

w.

PS—Also as usual, please quote whatever you disagree with when you comment on it. That way we can all be clear just what you are referring to.

DATA:  Global Decadal Upper-Ocean Heat Content as Viewed in Nine Analyses, James Carton and Anthony Santorelli 

 

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94 thoughts on “Eruptions and Ocean Heat Content

  1. Volcanic eruptions produce lots of dust.

    That dust is a fertilizer.

    If you drop fertilizer in the ocean you will get blooms

  2. I agree completely that current ‘models’ show no useful understanding of how the climate works. If CO2 caused warming and also warming caused CO2 to boil out of the oceans (as one can show), then millions of years ago, there would have been a catastrophic temperature rise problem. There wasn’t, as we know and thus this model is wrong. The real mechanism is some sort of complex interconnected labyrinth of causes, counter-causes, emergent phenomena and feedbacks. There is plenty of work yet to be done on this, more than enough than that which is required to re-employ unemployed CAGW scientists

  3. Willis

    Having looked at the historic record now back to 1000AD there is no doubt that the very large eruptions CAN have an impact on humanity, but the effect is generally much shorter than is claimed, and the scale of the impact is highly dependent on the volcanos location.

    For example Dr Mann bemoans the fact that the 1257/8 super volcano does not show up in tree rings.

    This eruption had a devastating impact in Britain, but the impact lasted around a season or two. The following year was a good one with no trace of the claimed effect lasting 5 or 6 years. Similarly we see this with Laki, whereby the church records show relief given to the poor because of the dire weather and thereafter things quickly reverted to ‘normal’ (whatever that means )

    Things are further complicated that some studies seem to show that eruptions/emissions cause winter warming. They also do not show context, in as much for example the 1257/8 volcano impact was the culmination of a number of increasingly bad years that preceded it, so whether the volcano tipped things over briefly or the weather in that year was the culmination of some other natural process is difficult to determine.

    Whatever the ins and outs, according to the volcano location, if the eruption is large enough it may have a short term impact, but as for the optical density of continual emissions from smaller volcanoes being a major cause of the slide into the LIA around 1250-1280 (as both Mann and Miller maintain) and this effect continued until around 1850…well this doesn’t show up in the historic record at all.

    So, my take is that supervolcanos- according to location-CAN have a short term impact , but that their long lasting effect is exaggerated.

    tonyb

  4. I remember flying over the Pacific not long after the eruption of Pinatubo. We were flying from Taiwan to San Francisco in a 747 and the pilot came on the speaker and said that he was going to take the plane up to maximum altitude (41,000 feet at that time) in order to get above the ash cloud.

    I was in a window seat and the cloud was clearly visible as a dispersed yellowish tinge to the atmosphere that we were barely above. We flew like that for hours.

    What interests me, in light of your post is this. Whenever you look at the output of solar panels, anything that blocks the sun, be it high clouds, low clouds, dust, or whatever, the result is a decrease in the output of the panels, inferring a decrease in solar radiation reaching the surface. However, for clouds, which are very white, the result is a diffuse upward radiation, but not absorption from the clouds (you can easily see this in infrared satellite images where cloud tops equal the temperature at their altitude).

    For volcanic gasses, diffuse dust, this is more than likely different with a lot of absorption. If there is a lot of absorption, there is a lot of emission, resulting in a temperature rise due to the increased thermal velocity of the dust particles in between absorption and emission time.

    Willis this would give you your temperature rise. You should be able to see this in even modest volcanic eruptions in high resolution infrared satellite data. This could then be extrapolated as desired for larger eruptions.

    Your milage may vary but it is easily testable from high resolution IR satellite data. There should be a clear difference in the temperature between the volcanic plumes and adjacent clouds.

  5. There is good historical evidence that the immediate effect in downwind areas of the great Laki eruption in 1783 was an unusually hot and dry summer. Now Laki was exceptional since it was the only major fissure eruption to occur in historical times. Such eruptions are characterized by large “fountains” of lava along the fissures that discharge very large volumes both of lava, gases and particulates in a short time and close to the ground. These caused a widespread “volcanic fog” that apparently absorbed sunlight strongly and caused an unusual warming of the lower troposphere. In Iceland this haze was dense enough to stunt grass growth and cause widespread fluorine poisoning of livestock, which caused an extreme famine which is still remembered as “modhuhardhindin” (the haze famine). The haze was apparently still dense enough when it reached mainland Europe to cause significant mortality due to respiratory problems.
    The subsequent cold winter of 1783-84 was presumably due to the relatively small proportion of SO2 that reached the stratosphere.
    One can’t help wondering what the effects might have been from the really big fissure eruptions of the past, particularly the vast “Siberian Trap” eruptions at the end of the Permian which released at least a million times as much lava as Laki over a geologically very brief interval.

  6. Willis: With respect to the Levitus data, I suspect Carton and Santorelli (2008) were using the older version (2005) of the Levitus (NODC) data, the version with the inconvenient 1970s to 1980s hump. And you’re using the recent version, which excludes the inconvenient hump.

    With respect to the impacts of volcanic aerosols on OHC, the vast majority of sunlight is absorbed in the top 10 meters or so of the oceans, so it makes little sense that volcanic aerosols would have a noticeable impact on OHC for the top 700 meters. I suspect the volcanos show up in the models and reanalyses (like ORA-S4, used by Balmaseda and Trenberth) because they’ve had to tweak the ocean heat uptake in the models to get them to warm. But now the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans are the only oceans showing any warming…even to depths of 2000 meters.

    Regards

  7. volcanic gases when released into the atmosphere are just one more pertrubation into a robustly compensated (I.e. neg feedback) system. That system has a tremendous amount of thermal inertia stored in the oceans. No one minor event, like 92 Pinatubo, is going to cause a long term new equlibrium set point once the transient signal decays.

  8. ” The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    I think the IPCC said that somewhere. Once upon a time.

  9. As soon as I became interested in climate science I looked at the models needed with their hundreds of inter-dependent variables and hundreds of possible tipping point mechanisms and chaotic behaviour on all scales and I said to myself, “I reckon I will look for a linear model…”
    ;)

  10. What I find really amazing about these climastrologists is the way they treat error bars.

    For example, as BobT points out above it seems likely that the two graphs show different versions of the Levitus data, and hence the disagreement.

    But isn’t it glaringly obvious to Levitus et al. that if they have two versions with non-overlapping error bars that they have almost certianly got it wrong? Narrowing an error bar with subsequent data and/or refinement is fine – but producing new non-overlapping results implies very strongly that both sets are wrong!

  11. The ocean heat data is only for 0-700m depth so if there is some kind of deep water exchange or deep ocean overturning ? the Levitus data might still be in the ballpark but with little net warming of the oceans. I’m not sure how the PDO works, whether its an oscillation that involves oceanic stratification /deep current overturning or something else.

    Volcanoes wouldn’t have much effect down to 700m, only near surface, its too short term.

  12. “Prior to computing the heat content change a regression analysis is used to remove the effects of ENSO and a linear warming trend ”

    So having removed a linear increase they find some cooling. An amazing result. Like all good climatology, they start with the ASSUMPTION that any long term rise is totally attributable to AGW and then look at what remains.

    Here’s plot I just did inspired by Bob’s last thread. It looks at the W.Pacific bit

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=912

    It agrees with Willis’ observation that whatever volcanoes do seems hidden in the noise. A lot of what gets attributed to volcanism is spurious correlation with other non volcanic variability. This has been the main IPCC gig since mid 1990s. Spurious correlation to 2 or 3 bumps in late 20th c.

  13. My volcano stack analysis also used the 4 years prior to eruption as the reference period. It shows tropics are almost totally immune to changes in radiative forcing and ex-tropics take a hit total energy regain previous SST after about 4 years ( in these accumulative plots a flat sections indicates SST is the same as the reference period).

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=285

    The implication would be some loss in OHC in extra-tropical regions after 4 years, non in tropics.

  14. One important thing to note in OHC and SST is that the drops begin in 1980 well before the March 1982 eruption. More spurious correlation if that is attributed to El Chichon.

    The way climate sensitivity is assessed by IPCC is by which models best reproduce the arbitrarily chose test period 1960-1990. They fiddle with params, do lots of runs of lots of models and rate the results by how well they reproduce the test period.

    This could not be cruder and provided absolutely no checks for spurious correlation.

  15. Anybody ever find a study dealing with UV radiation at the Earth’s surface in the years after these large eruptions.

    We know that Ozone is depleted by meaningful amounts and the stratosphere temperatures exhibit a downward step change after the eruptions. This means that less solar radiation is then intercepted in this layer after an eruption than before.

    In my mind, after the initial (far less than expected) downdip in temperatures after an eruption, there could actually be warming in the medium-term because more solar radiation is reaching the surface.

  16. How about volcanic eruptions underwater. Is there enough heat to cause a change in the ocean temp? Also…..The lava that is produced….does it displace enough water to cause any rise in the ocean? I’m just curious.

  17. Looking at the literature on volcanic forcing I found Lacis et al 1992, of which Hansen was co-author. They estimate the radiative effect of volcanic aerosols from direct physics ( scatter properties as function of droplet size etc. ) and from observations. They suggest 30 W/m^2 times the optical density. Then, in attempts to make GCM model output fit the data, instead of changing the model to make it work, the changes the INPUT DATA by lowering the correctly calculated value of 30 to 21.

    The reason they need to do that is they will not use “parameters” aka fudge-factors, that result in negative feedback. Now if you won’t accept that climate compensates, you have to reduce the input. Which is what they did.

    In fact there may be ground to go the other side of the Lacis et al value which IIRC was stated as +/-25%. Even with a value of 30 the net TOA reacts BEFORE the volcanic aerosol data rises.

    If the volcanic forcing is set to AOD*40, then two do rise quite well together, however, this implies a very strong negative tropical feedback, and that is NOT open for discussion.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=913

    I’m not sure how strong the case is for 40 , this initial months reaction may not be best be tackled by such a trival model but the current value is certainly a gross underestimation of the true forcing that has been rigged to make the models work (roughly) without the need for a strong negative feedback.

  18. Bill Illis says: “In my mind, after the initial (far less than expected) downdip in temperatures after an eruption, there could actually be warming in the medium-term because more solar radiation is reaching the surface.”

    I seem to recall making the very same point here in the last day or two, glad you found it convincing. ;)

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=902

  19. Now if volcanoes end up producing a durable warming effect, that’s really going to throw a amongst the pidgeons.

  20. I seem to recall Bill Illis linking to the troposphere and stratosphere temperatures a few weeks ago. http://s22.postimg.org/d2tpesoo1/Daily_UAH_LT_LS_Volcs_Feb14.png
    From Bill Illis march 11 2014 at 7:47am
    In his recent post Bob Tisdale showed about two thirds of this troposphere temperature change in the SST. http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/figure-4.png
    Obviously by including the top 700m of ocean (cf the top 10 metres) it is easy to make the signal disappear below the noise.

  21. I have a question about underseas eruptions and geysers, do they not add heat to the ocean?

  22. That’s why I describe myself as a climate heretic rather than a skeptic

    I like this one. I see the main “climate tribes” as:

    – Orthodox and alarmists. (Climate alarmists)
    – Orthodox and rational. (Climate lukewarmers, or sceptics)
    – Hetherodox. (Or climate heretic, as you say)

    The last ones are the only ones trying to advance the science theoretically.

  23. What they try to do with 21 scaling is to fit the aerosol forcing directly to SST but this is not appropriate since whatever effect there is on SST will not settle within a month or two. It also very obviously fails to match either the magnitude of the initial response or the later rebound. The TOA distruption has returned to zero about a year later when the volcanic forcing is still at 50% of it’s peak, as Roy Spencer pointed out in his “Pinatubo revisited” article,

    Now if you read Lacis et al 1992 , these guys are not clowns, they are well capable of doing a proper physical account of volcanic aerosol effect in excruciating detail.

    That means when they do this kind of fudge and go back on solid, physics-based results that they, themselves have published, they know exactly what they are doing and why.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1992/1992_Lacis_etal_1.pdf

  24. Willis shows:
    “… the idea that changes in temperatures are a linear function of changes in forcing, is simply not correct…”
    ______________________
    Bears repeating…

  25. I’m still in the process of writing this up , but since it is up for discussion, here is what you get if you give the system time to react to the forcing. (eg time for mixed layer to warm and provoke a climate feedback. )

    The volcanic forcing is convolved with an exponential kernel which calculates a relaxation to equilibrium response. Here I used a 19mo time constant which matches pretty well the TOA net flux anomaly.

    This also ensures that the area under the flux graph ( ie the total energy ) is the same as the direct TOA forcing. The fitted line bisects the remaining sub-annual variability very well right the way through. It rises correctly though 1992 , peak about right and falls off right down the middle.

    The flat portion in 1993 is a break in the ERBE data that I filled with the annual cycle mean. The fitted line falls almost exactly on the mean.

    That was done with the Lacis value of AOD * 30 W/m^2

  26. The relaxation thing is like the way a hot object cools quicker, the further it is from equilibrium with its surroundings. This can be calculated as a weighted average, where the weightings are a decaying exponential.

  27. Rather than simply cooling, the volcano could have muted the climate response to the el Chichon el nino. If there was less decrease in cloud cover because of el aerosals and wind pattern changes, there’d be less evaptions (less transfer of from the ocean) as well as less transformation of SW to latent heat. So there’d be both less transfer of heat and less of a forcing.

    Correcting for the el Nino ingores the fact that el Nino response is likely affected by the volcano and is inappropriate.

  28. Greg Goodman says:
    April 7, 2014 at 4:08 am
    One important thing to note in OHC and SST is that the drops begin in 1980 well before the March 1982 eruption. More spurious correlation if that is attributed to El Chichon.
    ===============
    If memory serves there was a post (by Willis?) a while back that showed that cooling was anticipating volcanic eruptions by a couple of months. First it cooled, then the volcanoes erupted.

    Which strongly suggests that volcanoes do not cause cooling. Which would mean the climate models have it backwards. Which likely helps explain why the climate models have gone off the rails and are running hot.

  29. I guess the take home message is that big volcanos cool the atmosphere, but that when the sulfates from the volcano get to 90,000 feet or so (as with Pinatubo), their effects are global, because they are spread out so widely and for so long. Seems like the shorter lived ash particles, which might be more local in their influence, may not last long enough to have much of a local impact? Willis, is this your view?

  30. Typo:

    “they’re not doing what the model says or what convention climate theory predicts”

    Unless we’re talking about climate theory taking place only at conventions ;)

    [Thanks, Jeff. Fixed -w.]

  31. fred said: “If memory serves there was a post (by Willis?) a while back that showed that cooling was anticipating volcanic eruptions by a couple of months. First it cooled, then the volcanoes erupted.

    Which strongly suggests that volcanoes do not cause cooling. Which would mean the climate models have it backwards. Which likely helps explain why the climate models have gone off the rails and are running hot.”

    Yes, Willis’ early thread on this subject “Spot the volcano” pointed out that the effect is far from obvious in a blind test. Any volcanic effect there is, is smaller than the natural variability in SST (possibly more detectable in TLT, but by no means clear).

    This is particularly true of El Chichon, but also Mt P. The IPCC methods are simply wiggle matching the 3 three major events without any check as to whether the resulting match is spurious correlation.

    When Willis first brought this up and I started looking, I thought the modellers were exaggerating both the volcanic and CO2 forcings. but a more thorough examination of data surrounding Mt P, suggests the actual volcanic forcing is _under-estimated_ , it’s the net result that they are over-estimating, meaning there’s even stronger neg. feedbacks that it previously appeared.

    As they say: it’s worse than we thought.

    Results from just one period could still be misleading, but I’m finding similarities with Spencer and Boswell 2011 and Dessler 2011 plots taken from post-2000 CERES TOA. . More on that later.

  32. How could a famously sea-faring man possibly describe “trawling” as “trolling”? That would be to dredge up unnecessary unpleasantness… :)

  33. “So the first thing that I did was to go get the error estimates on the Levitus data shown in Figure 1 (dashed purple line) and add it to the graph so I could see what was going on:”

    there are two observational datasets and the rest are models.

    You cant conclude the error bars in Levitus are wrong by comparing the observational error bars with model reconstructions.

  34. “Now at first sight, all of that looks like confirmation that the volcano caused actual cooling and that my hypothesis of minimal volcanic cooling was wrong.”

    its long been known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound.

  35. Super-colossal eruptions
    There has been only one other magnitude 7 “super-colossal” eruption in the past 1500 years–the massive eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815. The sulfur pumped by this eruption into the stratosphere dimmed sunlight so extensively that global temperatures fell by about 2°F (1°C) for 1 – 2 years afterward. This triggered the famed Year Without a Summer in 1816. Killing frosts and snow storms in May and June 1816 in Eastern Canada and New England caused widespread crop failures, and lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania in July and August. The Tambora eruption was about 40% smaller than the 535 – 536 A.D. event, as measured by the number of sulfur aerosol particles deposited in Greenland ice cores.

    In an article published in 2008 in the American Geophysical Union journal EOS, Dr. Ken Verosub of the University of California, Davis Department of Geology estimated that future eruptions capable of causing “Volcanic Winter” effects severe enough to depress global temperatures by 2°F (1°C) and trigger widespread crop failures for 1 – 2 years afterwards should occur about once every 200 – 300 years. Even a magnitude 6 eruption, such as the 1600 eruption of the Peruvian volcano Huaynaputina, can cause climatic change capable of killing millions of people. The Huaynaputina eruption is blamed for the Russian famine of 1601-1603, which killed over half a million people and led to the overthrow of Tsar Boris Godunov. Thankfully, the climatic impacts of all of these historic magnitude 6 and 7 eruptions have been relatively short-lived. After about two years, the sulfuric acid aerosol particles have settled out of the stratosphere, returning the climate to its former state.

    Mega-colossal eruptions
    Even more extreme eruptions have occurred in Earth’s past–eruptions ten times more powerful than the Tambora eruption, earning a ranking of 8 out of 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). These “mega-colossal” eruptions occur only about once every 10,000 years, but have much longer-lasting climatic effects and thus are a more significant threat to human civilization. According to the Toba Catastrophe Theory, a mega-colossal eruption at Toba Caldera, Sumatra, about 74,000 years ago, was 3500 times greater than the Tambora eruption. According to model simulations, an eruption this large can pump so much sulfur dioxide gas into the stratosphere that the atmosphere does not have the capacity to oxidize all the SO2 to sulfuric acid aerosol. The atmosphere oxidizes as much SO2 as it can, leaving a huge reservoir of SO2 in the stratosphere. This SO2 gradually reacts to form sulfuric acid as the OH radicals needed for this reaction are gradually produced. The result is a much longer-lasting climate effect than the 1 – 2 years that the magnitude 6 and 7 events of 535, 1600, 1815, and 1991 lasted. A magnitude 8 eruption like the Toba event can cool the globe for 6 – 10 years (Figure 3), which may be long enough to trigger an ice age–if the climate is already on the verge of tipping into an ice age. Rampino and Self (1992) argued that the sulfur aerosol veil from Toba was thick and long-lasting enough to cool the globe by 3 – 5°C (5 – 9°F), pushing the climate–which was already cooling and perhaps headed towards an ice age–into a full-scale ice age. They suggested that the response of Canada to the volcano played a particularly important role, with their model predicting a 12°C (22°F) reduction in summer temperatures in Canada. This would have favored the growth of the Laurentide ice sheet, increasing the reflectivity (albedo) of the Earth, reflecting more sunlight and reducing temperatures further. The controversial Toba Catastrophe Theory asserts that the resulting sudden climate change reduced the Earth’s population of humans to 1,000 – 10,000 breeding pairs. More recent research has shed considerable doubt on the idea that the Toba eruption pushed the climate into an ice age, though. Oppenheimer (2002) found evidence supporting only a 2°F (1.1°C) cooling of the globe, for the 1000 years after the Toba eruption. Zielinski et al. (1996) argued that the Toba eruption did not trigger a major ice age–the eruption merely pushed the globe into a cool period that lasted 200 years. Timmereck et al. (2010) used a model to show that the sulfate particles inthe stratosphere would have clumped together after the eruption, limiting the colling effect to four years, with a maximum global reduction in temperature of 3.5°C. Interestingly, a previous super-eruption of Toba, 788,000 years ago, coincided with a transition from an ice age to a warm period.

  36. justsayin999 says:
    April 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

    How could a famously sea-faring man possibly describe “trawling” as “trolling”? That would be to dredge up unnecessary unpleasantness… :)
    _____________________
    Well, if you actually knew anything at all about fishing, then you would know that “trolling” is a valid technique, widely employed. Over the course of my fishing life, I have spent weeks if not months, trolling with a great deal of success. Yumm.

  37. Steven Mosher says:
    its long been known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound.

    What do you mean by “rebound”? Are you saying they recover too quickly or go too high afterwards ( or both ). Could you say more clearly what this acknowledged defect is ?
    Thanks.

  38. Steven Mosher says:
    April 7, 2014 at 8:16 am

    “So the first thing that I did was to go get the error estimates on the Levitus data shown in Figure 1 (dashed purple line) and add it to the graph so I could see what was going on:”

    there are two observational datasets and the rest are models.

    You cant conclude the error bars in Levitus are wrong by comparing the observational error bars with model reconstructions.

    Steven, the errors in the Levitus data don’t even agree with the Levitus data itself … see Figures 2 & 3.

    Steven Mosher says:
    April 7, 2014 at 8:18 am

    “Now at first sight, all of that looks like confirmation that the volcano caused actual cooling and that my hypothesis of minimal volcanic cooling was wrong.”

    its long been known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound.

    No, that hasn’t “long been known”. In fact, the exact opposite has been argued over and over by the alarmists. They have consistently claimed for a couple decades that the volcanoes were the very test that showed the models to be correct.

    For example, Susan Solomon claimed that volcanoes were the cause of the pause, as I discussed here. Then we have the recent claim that volcanoes caused the Little Ice Age, discussed here. Hansen claimed the models were confirmed by the Pinatubo results as discussed here. And Dr. Andrew Lacis claimed in response to a question about evidence the models were right that

    Of note is the paper by Hansen, J., A. Lacis, R. Ruedy, and Mki. Sato, 1992: Potential climate impact of Mount Pinatubo eruption. Geophys. Res. Lett., 19, 215-218, which is downloadable from the GISS webpage.

    as discussed here. Then we have the recent claim that volcanoes caused the Little Ice Age, discussed here.

    Finally, Richard Muller and the BEST group that you work with made the same bogus claims, as discussed here.

    Now … if, as you fatuously claim without a citation or a single scap of evidence, it has “long known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound”, how come I’m one of the few people that has been saying that, and all the modelers and alarmists, including the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group of … charming folks that you work with, say that the volcanoes are the very test that shows the models are correct?

    A half dozen citations would be sufficient to back up your claim that it has “long been known” that the models are wrong in this regard … the citations need to be from over a decade ago, though, last year doesn’t count in a claim that something has “long been known”.

    I suspect that you will never return to this thread to either provide those citations, or to admit that you were wrong … but heck, you’re welcome to prove that I’m incorrect.

    w.

  39. Steven Mosher says:
    April 7, 2014 at 8:18 am

    “Now at first sight, all of that looks like confirmation that the volcano caused actual cooling and that my hypothesis of minimal volcanic cooling was wrong.”

    its long been known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound.

    Everyone knows that Sagan was utterly wrong, yes.

  40. Ted Vaughn says:
    April 7, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Super-colossal eruptions
    There has been only one other magnitude 7 “super-colossal” eruption in the past 1500 years–the massive eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815. The sulfur pumped by this eruption into the stratosphere dimmed sunlight so extensively that global temperatures fell by about 2°F (1°C) for 1 – 2 years afterward. This triggered the famed Year Without a Summer in 1816.

    Another guy with a host of claims and not a single citation … Ted, the claims about Tambora are as much urban legend as fact, just like the claims about the rest of the volcanoes. See my post called “Missing the Missing Summer” for a more nuanced view of the question. Short answer? The global temperatures didn’t do what you claim, even Tambora only had local effects …

    w.

  41. Tis a little known fact in this internet era that trolling is a fishing technique; that of trailing a baited, hooked line or two behind a slowly moving boat.

    It is often presumed in internet land that the troll we speak of has something to do with bridges, however the meme of throwing out a baited comment and waiting for the ‘fish’ to bite is no doubt the original derivation.

    Having said that, the usage of the word has deteriorated to the point that it is now used as a lable for anyone who disagrees with one online. ie, rather meaningless.

    Interestingly, in his trolling for science, I note Willis states HE was the one who got hooked. That indeed sometimes happens when fishing from a moving boat.

  42. Kenny says:

    How about volcanic eruptions underwater. Is there enough heat to cause a change in the ocean temp?

    No, except very locally. The heat capacity of the ocean is enormous.

    CarolinaCowboy says:

    I have a question about underseas eruptions and geysers, do they not add heat to the ocean?

    Yes, they do, but the effect is very slight due to the huge heat capacity of the ocean. Though it is conceivable that the addition of heat to the very cold bottom layer of the ocean may help driving the thermohaline circulation

    Kenny says:

    Also…..The lava that is produced….does it displace enough water to cause any rise in the ocean? I’m just curious.

    It does, but the effect is only significant over very long time periods (tens of million years). Over such timespans the varying activity of the ocean ridges can change sea-levels by tens or even hundreds of meters. During periods of high ocean ridge activity (e. g. the mid-Cretaceous) the rock in the ridges is hotter on averag and less dense and takes up greater volumes.

  43. It’s so nice to know that we can depend on Mosh doing a meaningless “drive by” any time serious discussions of papers occur. Such deeply considered comments bring new meaning to “shooting oneself in the foot.” That’s Mosh, one gun, six bullets, two feet.

  44. First sentence of the article should be “trawling for science”, not “trolling for science”. The difference is huge. Do you really want to be seen to be “trolling”, by your own account?

  45. Here fig2 excerpt from Dessler 2011 ( reproducing Spencer and Boswell 2011 ).

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=915

    now here he is regressing dRad vs dTemp , two variables stuffed with error, random noise and non -linear climat reactions that leaves the whole thing likely to present fairly massive regression dilution.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/on-inappropriate-use-of-ols/

    Here we see the models under-estimating the ration of rad to temp, compared to observations, in flawed data processing that is itself under-estimating the slope by probably 50%-100%.

    Since climate sensitivity is dT/dRad, under-estimating the slope means over-estimating climate sensitivity.

    We also see that the models seriously under-estimate the lag of the reaction in the negative quadrant ( this is the rad forcing temp section ). The only two models that even come close to producing a peak in the negative quadrant get the peak response at around 6mo whereas the data is 12-13mo.

    Now maybe that is what Mosh’ is referring to by ‘over-estimating the rebound’. It would be good to have some clarification of precisely what he meant and where it is ‘recognised’.

    Dessler claims this is evidence of the models getting things right.

    Looks to me like all but two get things hopelessly wrong. The remaining two are about the right shape (which is not bad) but seriously off in timing, which implies a lot about the feedbacks and forcings being wrong.

  46. Here’s the Spencer & Braswell 2011 graph Dessler reckoned to be “reproducing”.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=916

    Again models way too late in the +ve quadrant ( temp drives rad ) and far too short in the -ve quadrant ( rad drives temp ).

    Not sure how Dessler thought he reproduced this work by S&B. Looks like he tried to do the same thing and got nowhere near reproducing it.

    Either way it looks like the models have serious problems with both magnitude and phase of the most basic climate response : the ones that are relevant to the key question of sensitivity.

  47. Greg Goodman says:”http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/tropical-pacific-ssta-mata-tlta.png
    What long/lat box was that from Bob?”

    If memory serves, 24S-24N, 120E-80W.

    When you cross the equator, the input in the right-hand longitude field has to be a greater number than the one input on the left, so 80W is input as 280, not -80.

  48. Both the global warmists and ‘earth is cooler’ people make the same mistake: anything that doesn’t drive forwards their storyline is eliminated.

    This discussion about volcanoes is a fine example. Volcanic eruptions during the first year create weather havoc. It has various elements. A sure sign things are changing is the ‘blood red’ sunsets.

    One then gets early frosts in Fall and late winter storms in Spring.

    The volcanic dust causes various climatic effects while the gases do other things. Farmers know that life is hellishly harder after major eruptions. Generally, it is wetter.

    The Northern latitudes are particularly prone to being affected by volcanic activity because of this simple fact: the sun, for half a year, has to shine through a lot of dust and chemicals which cuts down on solar intensity due to the angle of the sun relative to the hemisphere.

    That is, the solar energy has to pass through a lot more atmosphere to reach the planetary surface.

    This is why there is ‘no summer’ in northern regions but not say, on the equator which sees very little effect.

    El Nino is basically equatorial in nature therefore, only a very severe volcanic event would create enough density of debris and chemicals to alter the climate. See?

    Elaine Meinel Supkis, whose father, Dr. Aden Meinel, wrote a book about all this half a century ago.

  49. Mosher writes “its long been known that models over estimate the cooling and overestimate the rebound.

    Willis misquotes “Now … if, as you fatuously claim without a citation or a single scap of evidence, it has “long known that models over estimate the cooling and underestimate the rebound

    Complete with quotation marks, even.

    [Fixed, thanks. -w.]

  50. Just from being a regular reader of this blog and others, I suspected that the difference with the levitus data was that noaa had added their typical alarmist-aiding adjustments, and bob tisdale has kindly confirmed that above. What is even more hilarious is that the adjustments exceed the error bars. For people to even use the adjusted (false) data is playing into the hands of the hockey team, although I wish to be clear that I don’t fault Willis Eschenbach for producing these illuminating posts. I just wish that the respectable scientists restricted themselves to the real data somehow and not the falsified data.

  51. (QUOTE)
    Joel O’Bryan says:
    April 7, 2014 at 1:10 am

    volcanic gases when released into the atmosphere are just one more pertrubation into a robustly compensated (I.e. neg feedback) system. That system has a tremendous amount of thermal inertia stored in the oceans. No one minor event, like 92 Pinatubo, is going to cause a long term new equlibrium set point once the transient signal decays.
    (END QUOTE)

    My sentiments exactly Joel and here is why,note the correlation to CO2 graph

    http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=166024

  52. @timthetoolman: your comment has no bearing at all on what Willis Eschenbach said. His typo did not change the meaning of what he said at all, since he was pointing out that for a long time many climate scientists claimed that the models were in agreement with volcanic activity while Mosher was claiming that the models have never been in agreement with volcanic activity and that this has been widely known and accepted.

  53. emsnews says:
    April 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Both the global warmists and ‘earth is cooler’ people make the same mistake: anything that doesn’t drive forwards their storyline is eliminated.

    This discussion about volcanoes is a fine example. Volcanic eruptions during the first year create weather havoc. It has various elements. A sure sign things are changing is the ‘blood red’ sunsets.

    One then gets early frosts in Fall and late winter storms in Spring.

    The volcanic dust causes various climatic effects while the gases do other things. Farmers know that life is hellishly harder after major eruptions. Generally, it is wetter.

    The Northern latitudes are particularly prone to being affected by volcanic activity because of this simple fact: the sun, for half a year, has to shine through a lot of dust and chemicals which cuts down on solar intensity due to the angle of the sun relative to the hemisphere.

    That is, the solar energy has to pass through a lot more atmosphere to reach the planetary surface.

    This is why there is ‘no summer’ in northern regions but not say, on the equator which sees very little effect.

    El Nino is basically equatorial in nature therefore, only a very severe volcanic event would create enough density of debris and chemicals to alter the climate. See?

    Elaine Meinel Supkis, whose father, Dr. Aden Meinel, wrote a book about all this half a century ago.

    Thanks, Elaine … but I fear that without a single citation or reference, all of it is simply an anecdote.

    The problem with an anecdote like “Farmers know that life is hellishly harder after major eruptions. Generally, it is wetter” is that there is absolutely nothing for anyone to grab on to. We can’t check, verify, or otherwise investigate your claims.

    SO … if you have actual evidence to back up your anecdotes, this is the time to bring them forwards.

    Please do not perceive this as any kind of slight on the work of your father. It’s just that this is a scientific site, and if you want to get traction here, you need to bring your A game along with your citations, sources, math, logic, computer code, or other support for your claims.

    Best regards,

    w.

  54. NZ Willy says:
    April 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    First sentence of the article should be “trawling for science”, not “trolling for science”. The difference is huge. Do you really want to be seen to be “trolling”, by your own account?
    ___________________
    Hey. You want to make lutefisk? You go trawling. Swordfish steaks? You’re trolling. How you gonna be?

  55. emsnews says:
    April 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I don’t know about rain, but farmers have fingered Pinatubo as cooling northern North America:

    “June 21st Summer Solstice Frost of 1992

    “This date is a memorable one in Minnesota history as the only summer solstice that brought damage frost to the state’s corn and soybean crops. The Mt Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines during 1991 was later attributed to be one of the causes of this event which turned out to a singularity in Minnesota’s climate history. Temperatures as cold as 25 degrees F (Brimson) were reported in the north, but even as far south as Preston, Theilman and Zumbrota reported 33 degrees F with frost in low spots. Some corn fields were severely damaged and later only harvested for silage. Soybeans leaves mostly burned by the frost recovered and produced even pods and beans for harvest, but the yields were not very good.”

    The climatic effects of volcanoes depend heavily on where they are. The impact of tropical eruptions is greater than at higher latitudes.

  56. Alan Robertson says:
    April 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    My dad owned a couple of trawlers, but with them we could troll for salmon.

  57. I spent my entire life watching volcanic eruptions and their effects due to my father’s work in this field.

    I still remember when Mt. Agung erupted in 1963. We were driving back from Mc Donald Observatory in Texas heading west and it was late afternoon. Suddenly, a series of white waves moved across the high stratosphere and these went from horizon to horizon and there was no real wind.

    My father yelled and stopped the car and jumped out and took out his spectrometer equipment and cameras and said, ‘A major volcanic eruption! Just what I wanted! Finally.’ And we spent some hours sitting right next to the highway working on the eruption.

    Arizona was very hot and dry back then. Immediately after the eruption the climate changed to much, much wetter and so cool it even snowed. My father was delighted with this proof of volcanic interaction.

    Most volcanoes don’t eject enough stuff to have a long or major effect. Mt. St. Helen’s for example, (my father flew into the crater just days before it erupted via helicopter) shot out sideways and lasted only a short time and had near zero effect on the climate.

    But when Pinatubo erupted, he was overjoyed. It was big and sustained and definitely interfered with solar penetration of the northern hemisphere. I remember that year quite vividly because I foolishly was building my house on a mountain in NY and was living in a tent!

    For 10 years! That year, 1991, was hot and fairly dry in summer and I thought I would have an easy winter.

    Then the eruption happened. I have a video I made of the aftermath. In it, and it was the solar solstice, my son and I were wearing winter coats and talking about the frost and how chill the sun was even when it was shining.

    That winter was pure hell. I remember it greatly since I was in a tent and when it went to -40F in late March, 1992, I thought we were all going to die. The snow was so deep, it insulated the tent and my son sledded off the tent roof for fun.

    And this is all ‘stories’ but I will, on my blog, explain the dynamics of volcanic eruptions and why this has a much, much greater effect on the upper northern hemisphere and even Arizona if the eruption is big enough.

  58. Depends on the type of volcanic eruption. A lava flow, is slightly better as far as the impact on the atmosphere is concerned and cooling climate. One Chinese old writings, suggest that in around 1300 BC at around the same time as Thera erupted (Santorino) their crops failed, sun was obliterated and frost in summer, etc., for 7 years. That volcanic eruption was four times bigger than Krackatoa in the 19th Century. Also under sea volcanoes, can cause havoc too. But the dust etc., emitted circles the earth for a long time sometimes. However, the Chinese are almost within the ring of fire, and eruptions are going on all the time there, including the Antarctic.

  59. It has been mentioned above but to visually clear up fishing methods,
    do image searches with:
    fish trolling
    fish trawling
    fish noodling —(this comes closest to what W. was doing)

  60. Well it does not look like Mosh’ is going pop in to explain what he meant of give any citations to back it up so we’ll have to guess about this “acknowledged’ effect.

    He says models are acknowledged to rebound too strongly. What I’m guessing this refers to is the fact that the effect does not just subside with the measurements optical thickness but actually goes positive and compensates. This is what I found in my volcano stack analysis that I linked above. It is also what I’m finding looking at ERBE data after Mt Pinatubo.

    This may be unexpected to certain climatologists who expect immediate linear response to every “forcing” and do not understand even the basics of systems analysis. In fact an overshoot should be expect simply because of the thermal inertia of ocean mixed layer. It takes a while for it to cool and provoke a feedback reaction, it also takes some time _after_ the volcanic forcing has subsided to return to the undisturbed state, So the climate reaction will still be there and compensating well after AOD has fallen almost to zero.

    To a naive interpretation this may appear to be a rebound that is too strong, or may spuriously be attributed the CO2 forcing compensating for the effect of the volcano. Both would be wrong.

    From the lag regression plots done by both Spencer and Dessler, that I linked above, it is clear that the “rebound” is not strong enough even in the good models and has about half the duration that it should.

    This is still work in progress and there may be a reason (accounting for prior trends just before the eruption) that will shorted that estimation to about 14mo lag. That would be close to S&B11 and D11.


    There is considerable ‘rebound’ due to the relaxation to equilibrium and it is driven by a volcanic forcing at least 50% stronger than currently used as model inputs. That means current estimations of climate sensitivity produced by studying model output will be 33%-50% under the correct value.

    They’re matching an artificially subdues volcanic forcing to the record and thus concluding an increased sensitivity. When the rebound is “too strong” it gets diagnosed as the longer term effect of CO2 forcing. Of course the form of that interpretation does not match properly, the bumps are not really in the right place or the right shape. But model output is so far from reality that all they are happy if the can get three dips somewhere near the major events and a long term rise.

  61. “Now if volcanoes end up producing a durable warming effect, that’s really going to throw a amongst the pidgeons.”

    Why? they will just claim it is the CO2 when really it is the water vapor.

  62. John F. Hultquist says:
    April 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    It has been mentioned above but to visually clear up fishing methods,
    do image searches with:
    fish trolling
    fish trawling
    fish noodling —(this comes closest to what W. was doing)

    I’ve spent many a happy hour trolling for salmon in the ocean off the coast of California, and in the rivers of Alaska. From memory “noodling” means catching fish barehanded, hang on … yeah, Google agrees. That looks dangerous, though. Maybe what I’m doing is more like jigging …

    Trawling is a different story. Midwater trawling is generally a good fishing method. Bottom trawling, on the other hand, is like if you were to drag a giant net through a forest, uprooting all the trees, in order to catch the deer … not the most sustainable of plans.

    w.

  63. Willis, in UK and Australia, we call catching trout by hand (we have no salmon only in tins) is tickling. Mind you our trout mainly rainbow are far too smart, and it is by fly or natural bait, like earthworms. Enjoy your fishing. Don’t bears catch fish too, when they are migrating over rapids? We get a program in Oz called River Monsters, and the expert fisherman was in America trying to catch salmon, and he had competition from a young bear, who came and pinched his catch. They didn’t argue either.

  64. emsnews says:
    April 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I remember that year quite vividly because I foolishly was building my house on a mountain in NY and was living in a tent!

    … That year, 1991, was hot and fairly dry in summer and I thought I would have an easy winter.

    Then the eruption happened. I have a video I made of the aftermath. In it, and it was the solar solstice, my son and I were wearing winter coats and talking about the frost and how chill the sun was even when it was shining.

    That winter was pure hell. I remember it greatly since I was in a tent and when it went to -40F in late March, 1992, I thought we were all going to die. The snow was so deep, it insulated the tent and my son sledded off the tent roof for fun.

    Thanks for that, Elaine. I had said before that anecdotes were not all that valuable. Let me use this as an example of why that is true.

    You say above that as a result of the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991, the winter of 1991-92 was extremely harsh in New York State. Below, on the other hand, are what the actual measurements say:

    SOURCE

    I’ve highlighted the winter of 1991-1992 in red … I’m sure you see the problem. Please be clear that I’m NOT saying you were mistaken or exaggerating or deceptive, absolutely nothing of that sort at all.

    I’m just saying that one individual’s experience may not be representative of a state, a region, or the planet …

    Moving forwards, look what it is that I have done. I have put forward not my own experiences but observational data. I have graphed it and showed the historical trend and variations. I have highlighted the year we are interested in.

    And most importantly, I have provided a link to the source of the data that I used. That allows you or anyone else to check my work.

    I’m sorry to say that your personal experiences, while quite interesting to read about, don’t carry scientific weight regarding volcanoes and their effects.

    w.

  65. Willis
    I quote below the measurements of the cooling effect of Pinatubo eruption.

    “Temperatures have already started to drop, both at ground level and in the lower atmosphere, says James K. Angell of NOAA in Silver Spring, Md. Angell told Science News his analyses of weather balloon data show that the first half of 1992 was 0.4 [degrees] C cooler, overall, than the first half of 1991. He notes that the volcano’s effect may be greater than suggested by these observed temperature shifts, since this year’s El Nino warming would normally raise average temperatures by 0.2 [degrees] C (SN: 1/18/92, p.37).”

    “Weather satellites confirm cooling in the lower atmosphere, recording a global drop of more than 0.5 [degrees[ C since last June, with this June being 0.2 [degrees] C cooler than average, according to John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville and Roy Spencer of NASA’s Earth Science Lab at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstsville. Christy says their data indicate that the greatest cooling, 1.0 [degrees] C, occurred in the northern midlatitudes — an area that includes the continental United States — while temperatures in the southern hemisphere have dropped by only 0.3 [degrees] C.”

  66. gymnosperm says:
    Greg: “Now if volcanoes end up producing a durable warming effect, that’s really going to throw a [cat]amongst the pigeons.”

    Why? they will just claim it is the CO2 when really it is the water vapor.
    ===

    They are ready claim it’s CO2.

    By ignoring the rebound effect (or concluding that the model is over-estimating the rebound recovery, which is what Mosh’ seems to have hinted at) they have a decade long warming that gets attributed to CO2 since they assume, incorrectly, that the volcanic effect must end when AOD disturbance ends.

    This is also the problem with Forster and Ramsdorfs multivariate regression wiggle matching, they take no account of the dynamic nature of the system and expect a forcing’s effect on surface temperature to be a linear multiple of the forcing time series.

    If the true system response is an exponentially lagged rebound simple linear regression or even a fixed lag regression is not going to get the right values (without even talking about regression dilution).

    S&B2001 shows that some models may be getting about the right shape of response but the parameters are wrong.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=916

    When Dessler does us the service of adding in the one’s S&B left out we can see why they did leave them out, they are no where near getting a credible response.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=915

  67. Dr. Strangelove says:
    April 8, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Willis
    I quote below the measurements of the cooling effect of Pinatubo eruption.

    “Temperatures have already started to drop, both at ground level and in the lower atmosphere, says James K. Angell of NOAA in Silver Spring, Md. Angell told Science News his analyses of weather balloon data show that the first half of 1992 was 0.4 [degrees] C cooler, overall, than the first half of 1991. He notes that the volcano’s effect may be greater than suggested by these observed temperature shifts, since this year’s El Nino warming would normally raise average temperatures by 0.2 [degrees] C (SN: 1/18/92, p.37).”

    “Weather satellites confirm cooling in the lower atmosphere, recording a global drop of more than 0.5 [degrees[ C since last June, with this June being 0.2 [degrees] C cooler than average, according to John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville and Roy Spencer of NASA’s Earth Science Lab at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstsville. Christy says their data indicate that the greatest cooling, 1.0 [degrees] C, occurred in the northern midlatitudes — an area that includes the continental United States — while temperatures in the southern hemisphere have dropped by only 0.3 [degrees] C.”

    Thanks, Doc. First, let me say that obviously volcanoes have some effect. This effect is most pronounced in the stratosphere, where the eruptions of El Chichon and Pinatubo are clearly visible.

    There is much less of a signal in the lower troposphere, although as Christy points out it appears to be still visible.

    However, the other big eruption of our times, El Chichon, which is quite visible in the stratosphere, appeared to make no visible difference in the lower troposphere … increasing the odds that what we see after Pinatubo may be from some other cause.

    What there isn’t much of, for either of the volcanoes, is any consistent significant global signal at the surface. What is there is transient, localized, and not that large. I say that the reason that is true is because of the strength of the thermoregulatory mechanisms … and that is assuredly borne out by the analysis done by the scientists in the head post.

    w.

  68. Re Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm
    ======================================
    Is that chart of winter T an average of the highs and lows, and, if so, does a high / day time only chart show a similar average ranking?

  69. David A says:
    April 8, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Re Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm
    ======================================
    Is that chart of winter T an average of the highs and lows, and, if so, does a high / day time only chart show a similar average ranking?

    Good question, David. The volcanoes are said to reduce the average temperature, so that’s what I used. To answer your question, the best thing to do would have been to click on the “SOURCE” link under the chart above.

    Elaine, in her story above, talked about cold temperatures. So here are the anomalies for the minimum temperature …

    Since the mean is the average of min and max, as you’d expect both the min and the max will be well correlated with the mean.

    w.

  70. It does depend on the volcano and the type of eruption. Lava flow one can move away from.
    But huge gas and dust explosions that go up 30 km in the atmosphere and followed by pyroclastic flows often accompanied by poisonous gases are deadly, and the dust will cut out the sun for sometimes years. There is an ancient Chinese chronicle thought to have been written around 1300 BC, that describes 7 years when the sun wasn’t shining that the crops were covered with dust, and frost came in summer. It’s timing is around the time Thera and Mt.Vesuvius both erupted and possible some SE Asian volcanoes erupted too. It was around the time there were famines and earthquake storms in the middle east and Egypt as well. Civilizations that had survived for centuries collapsed. They didn’t have any Red Cross or Red Crescent then to help them out?

  71. bushbunny says:
    April 9, 2014 at 12:07 am

    It does depend on the volcano and the type of eruption. Lava flow one can move away from.
    But huge gas and dust explosions that go up 30 km in the atmosphere and followed by pyroclastic flows often accompanied by poisonous gases are deadly, and the dust will cut out the sun for sometimes years. There is an ancient Chinese chronicle thought to have been written around 1300 BC, that describes 7 years when the sun wasn’t shining that the crops were covered with dust, and frost came in summer. It’s timing is around the time Thera and Mt.Vesuvius both erupted and possible some SE Asian volcanoes erupted too. It was around the time there were famines and earthquake storms in the middle east and Egypt as well. Civilizations that had survived for centuries collapsed.

    What is it with volcanoes and anecdotes? Thanks for more anecdotes, bushbunny, but without support in the way of citations, evidence, links, or observations, I fear that what you’ve given us is useless. It’s just another nice story told by a nice man which unfortunately means nothing.

    Which Chinese chronicle? Which year? Who wrote it? Is it reliable? Heck, we don’t even know when Thera erupted to anything more accurate than to the nearest hundred years …

    bushbunny, there are a ton of anecdotes out there about volcanoes causing years without summers and the like. The problem is that every time I actually look at the actual temperature records, I find that the effects were minimal, limited in time and space, and had very little global effect. For example, we have personal testimony from Elaine above, which is totally contradicted by the actual records.

    As a result, I am extremely skeptical about any and all volcano anecdotes, including personal anecdotes, and you should be as well.

    Having said that, certainly, the bigger the eruption, the bigger the effect, and Thera was big … but even the largest volcanoes in the last few millennia have only affected things for a small amount over a short period of time and only in certain areas.

    The reality is that the planetary temperature regulating mechanisms are very effective, such that even the largest disturbance causes little change in the average global temperature.

    w.

  72. CarolinaCowboy says:
    April 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Is this an anecdotes too?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

    Unfortunately, yes, much of what is reported on that page is purely anecdotal … I know it’s a shock because wikipedia is always perfectly correct and 100% factual …

    I deal with all these issues in a post called Missing The Missing Summer. If you have objections to what I posted there, let me know.

    And yes, the graphic on the Wikipedia page shows cooling in western Europe from the eruption … but at the same time they don’t mention that the very same graphic shows warming in eastern Europe. This is typical of the effect of volcanoes—it tends to be limited in both time and space, and minimal in effect. Not zero, to be clear … but not what people claim.

    Here’s an example. The “Year Without A Summer” was claimed to be bad in New England. Since I had the New York data from my investigations above, I decided to investigate the “Missing Summer” in New York

    This shows the summer temperatures in New York over some undetermined period. Now, the two largest eruptions of the last two centuries are shown on that plot, including the “Year Without A Summer” … perhaps you could point out which summer that is, and which “missing summer” occurred the year after the other eruption.

    Because I sure can’t tell the years following the eruptions from the non-volcanic years … which is why I titled my post “Missing the Missing Summer”.

    w.

    [So the missing date information across the bottom axis is deliberate? Mod]

  73. Hi Willis, I sat two units post graduate in ancient history. The collapse of the Minoan civilization and Pompeii as well as a unit on Ortzi the ice man for forensic archaeology. Thera or Thira was an island in the Aegean sea and it is partly still there, now named Santorini. It was originally a hub for ships to exchange various trade goods because of its central position for the countries surrounding it and even from Egypt. An important place for the Minoans to operate from. It’s only 70 miles away by sea from Crete. It still has an active crater, but it was a tsunami that was believed to have wiped out the Minoan civilization in or around BC 1320 as most of the then island disappeared as the crater collapsed into the seas. This date is actually challenged by archaeologists too. As very little ash has been found to have affected crops, depending on what time of year it was, and they are not sure. The Chinese chronicle was part of the reading list, but written by anonymous? Some volcano must have affected the climate, but it may not of been Thera, but another in the SE Asian ring of fire. Well Pompeii and Herculaneum were affected by the Mt.Vesuvius 79 AD and they are still finding evidence of how terrible that was, but again archaeologists do argue about this too. At least there are some records written by Romans still alive then and who witnessed the eruption. It couldn’t have been the Toba eruption, 70,000 years ago, that some say wiped out all parts of ASIA and S.E. Asia living organisms. That would have been during the ice age. I am glad that I don’t live in Naples or near Mt.Vesuvius, as it is expected to erupt again, and is usually preceded by bad earthquakes.

  74. Willis
    “There is much less of a signal in the lower troposphere”

    Global cooling of 0.5 C is a pretty strong signal.

    “the other big eruption of our times, El Chichon, which is quite visible in the stratosphere, appeared to make no visible difference in the lower troposphere”

    El Chichon emitted about one-third the SO2 emitted by Pinatubo. To quote (Volcanic Eruption, El Chichon, Alan Robock, 2002)

    “The eruption took place just as the largest El Nino of the century so far was beginning. In fact the volcanic cloud in the stratosphere fooled the satellite sensors which monitor ocean temperatures into thinking ocean temperatures were normal, whereas they had warmed substantially.”

  75. bushbunny says:
    April 9, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Willis, I sat two units post graduate in ancient history. The collapse of the Minoan civilization and Pompeii as well as a unit on Ortzi the ice man for forensic archaeology. Thera or Thira was an island in the Aegean sea and it is partly …

    I assume that huge pile of words was to avoid answering my question … which was, where are the two biggest eruptions in centuries in the plot above? I’ll repeat it here for you …

    And yes, the lack of years is deliberate. There are two giant eruptions in that data. Their effects were claimed to have been felt in New England, with one of them causing the “Year without a summer” … so where is that year? And where is the other volcano?

    Again, my point is that the thermal effects of even the largest eruptions in the last quarter-millennium don’t rise above the background noise …

    w.

  76. Dr. Strangelove says:
    April 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Willis

    “There is much less of a signal in the lower troposphere”

    Global cooling of 0.5 C is a pretty strong signal.

    What I said was that it was weaker than in the stratosphere. Which was true and was the point.

    “the other big eruption of our times, El Chichon, which is quite visible in the stratosphere, appeared to make no visible difference in the lower troposphere”

    El Chichon emitted about one-third the SO2 emitted by Pinatubo. To quote (Volcanic Eruption, El Chichon, Alan Robock, 2002)

    “The eruption took place just as the largest El Nino of the century so far was beginning. In fact the volcanic cloud in the stratosphere fooled the satellite sensors which monitor ocean temperatures into thinking ocean temperatures were normal, whereas they had warmed substantially.”

    To quote actual data, here’s the loss of sun at Mauna Loa.

    I note that peak cooling from El Chichon was larger, but the peak fell faster than for Pinatubo. As a result, the total forcing loss was about the same for both of them.

    In addition, I note in the head post that El Chichon showed cooling afterwards and Pinatubo showed warming.

    So you can’t just wave your hand and declare El Chichon immaterial as you are attempting.

    Finally, as to the question of El Nino, here’s the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) for the time period.

    This is a fascinating plot. The three vertical lines show the eruption dates of Mt. Agung, El Chichon, and Pinatubo volcanoes from left to right. The first oddity is that all three of them happened immediately prior to an El Nino peak.

    The next oddity is that although the El Chichon peak was high, it dropped immediately and precipitously. As a result, the two-year average of the El Nino following El Chichon was the same as the two-year average after Pinatubo.

    So even if for the sake of argument we accept the proposition that El Nino is the cause of some part of the temperature change, it doesn’t support your claim. Both of them occurred immediately before an El Nino peak, and the average el nino index after Pinatubo was the same as it was after El Chichon, so that can’t be the difference.

    Thanks,

    w.

  77. Willis, unless ancient records record the affects of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, I can’t answer your question. But they would be concerned with lack of food, water and live stock. Remember the people of Pompeii particularly did not even know that Vesuvius was a volcano. One university thought to cool the planet we should seed clouds with sulphur dioxide, as it was known that volcanoes can cool the temps down when they spew this out. We have a cyclone boring down on Northern Australia, cyclone Ita, category 4. Does that herald an El Nino or la Nina.

  78. Willis anecdote possibly can not be used, it mean repeating a story that might be partly true or just personal experience. But general knowledge, academic essays on historical data and archaeological data, does do the reference bit. If you didn’t recall the Thera eruption there is plenty of info on the net, written by scholars. And Pliny the younger whose Uncle Pliny the elder died in the Vesuvius eruption, he and his mother were present and had to run for their lives. The only eye witness account plus a few more.

  79. bushbunny says:
    April 9, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Willis, unless ancient records record the affects of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, I can’t answer your question.

    Huh? The question is here as is all the data needed.

    w.

  80. Don’t think they kept graphs of temps in BC 1320 or in 79 AD that coincided with volcanic eruptions. And it would only be regional anyway. What happened when St.Helens’ erupted in Washing State.

  81. bushbunny says:
    April 9, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Willis anecdote possibly can not be used, it mean repeating a story that might be partly true or just personal experience. But general knowledge, academic essays on historical data and archaeological data, does do the reference bit. If you didn’t recall the Thera eruption there is plenty of info on the net, written by scholars. And Pliny the younger whose Uncle Pliny the elder died in the Vesuvius eruption, he and his mother were present and had to run for their lives. The only eye witness account plus a few more.

    But that’s all you’ve given us, bushbunny—you’ve just repeated stories that might be partly true or just personal anecdote. You said, for example, that there is a chinese writing somewhere that said something about weather … here’s the exact quote:

    One Chinese old writings, suggest that in around 1300 BC at around the same time as Thera erupted (Santorino) their crops failed, sun was obliterated and frost in summer, etc., for 7 years.

    How is that not “a story that might be partly true”, and thus (by your own definition) an anecdote? We’re not even sure if it’s from the right century. Heck, there’s not even enough information there to determine if it’s partly true …

    In science, however, anecdote is a “term of art”, that is to say, a word with a special meaning within the field. In science, it means a claim that rests only on the word of the teller, with no actual supporting data. For example, Elaine’s story of the really cold New York winter after Pinatubo is an anecdote … and as with many anecdotes, in the event it turned out not to represent the larger picture of the average New York temperatures.

    Now, as to the Thera eruption. I agree that there was a huge eruption back about three and a half millennia ago, although we’re not sure of the exact date, different methods give different values. I agree that as with any mega-eruption, there was some level of effect on the weather.

    However, these stories of any kind of catastrophe grow with the telling, as stories always do. The first year of the telling it’s a slightly cold year … next year the story becomes a hard frost in July … and after a decade, it’s become the year without a summer, with dogs freezing to death in August. It’s human nature, tales and stories never get any smaller, only larger.

    And as a result, what I’ve learned is that you have to treat stories about weather catastrophes the way we treat say army numbers in ancient manuscripts. Ever notice in the ancient texts how the numbers in the armies are always greatly exaggerated? You read the number and you say “No way!”. And at the bottom of the page there is often a footnote saying something like “The army of Hittites, reported as 300,000 men by the renowned historian Exageropolos, is thought by modern historians to have consisted of no more than 4-5,000 men.”

    The same is true of years without summers and the like … which is why I call them “anecdotes”.

    w.

  82. bushbunny says:
    April 10, 2014 at 12:09 am

    What happened when St.Helens’ erupted in Washing State.

    To distinguish between anecdote and science, the following is science …

    Data from Berkeley Earth

    As you can see, the answer to your question “What happened [to the temperatures] when St. Helens erupted in Washing[ton] State?” is … well … not a dang thing. Nothing at all. Nor is there even the slightest sign of any of the other eruptions of the period, including Pinatubo.

    w.

  83. Willis
    “So you can’t just wave your hand and declare El Chichon immaterial as you are attempting.”

    You totally missed my point because my point is exactly the opposite. El Chichon has significant effect but partially offset by El Nino. The same is true with Pinatubo.

    “So even if for the sake of argument we accept the proposition that El Nino is the cause of some part of the temperature change, it doesn’t support your claim.”

    I don’t know what you are accusing me of claiming. But I think both El Nino and volcanic eruptions have significant effect on climate.

  84. Willis when I get time, I will look through my old essays, and find the references. But quite honestly most very ancient records were written in ancient alphabets, we depend on experts to tie these in with archaeology. Somewhat anecdotal or history. What I find interesting is during a full eclipse of the sun, temps drop for a short time, like in night time.

  85. Dr Stranglove, the dust circles high up and there are claims this can promote a climate change.
    But honestly, weather it does or not, proof of the pudding is with the eating, etc. We have a Cyclone heading for Northern Queensland, Cyclone Ita.

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