Erratic, extreme, press release puts Princeton climate science in a new light

Must be Durban season. From Princeton University here’s a highly charged press release lapped up by some MSM professional worriers today that uses words like “erratic and extreme” to describe that it’s getting rainier in some places, a whole third of the planet in total, except in South America, where it isn’t, and over Russia and the Indian Ocean, where the data was “…voided due to a lack of consistent data.”.

And despite the title of the press release, here’s this little speculative nugget from the lead author:

“We have not yet looked for direct ties between weather variability and increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way,” Medvigy said.

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Erratic, extreme day-to-day weather puts climate change in new light

Figure 3: Princeton researchers found for the first time that day-to-day weather conditions have become more erratic in the past generation. Days have increasingly fluctuated between sunny and dry, and cloudy and rainy with little in-between, which can have negative consequences for ecosystems, plants, solar-energy production and other factors that depend upon consistent weather. Green areas on this map indicate an increase in day-to-day solar radiation (sunshine) variability between 1984 and 2007; pink indicates a decrease. The portion over the Indian Ocean is voided due to a lack of consistent data. Credit: David Medvigy

The first climate study to focus on variations in daily weather conditions has found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall affecting more than a third of the planet.

Princeton University researchers recently reported in the Journal of Climate that extremely sunny or cloudy days are more common than in the early 1980s, and that swings from thunderstorms to dry days rose considerably since the late 1990s. These swings could have consequences for ecosystem stability and the control of pests and diseases, as well as for industries such as agriculture and solar-energy production, all of which are vulnerable to inconsistent and extreme weather, the researchers noted.

The day-to-day variations also could affect what scientists could expect to see as the Earth’s climate changes, according to the researchers and other scientists familiar with the work. Constant fluctuations in severe conditions could alter how the atmosphere distributes heat and rainfall, as well as inhibit the ability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, possibly leading to higher levels of the greenhouse gas than currently accounted for.

Existing climate-change models have historically been evaluated against the average weather per month, an approach that hides variability, explained lead author David Medvigy, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton. To conduct their analysis, he and co-author Claudie Beaulieu, a postdoctoral research fellow in Princeton’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, used a recently developed computer program that has allowed climatologists to examine weather data on a daily level for the first time, Medvigy said.

“Monthly averages reflect a misty world that is a little rainy and cloudy every day. That is very different from the weather of our actual world, where some days are very sunny and dry,” Medvigy said.

“Our work adds to what we know about climate change in the real world and places the whole problem of climate change in a new light,” he said. “Nobody has looked for these daily changes on a global scale. We usually think of climate change as an increase in mean global temperature and potentially more extreme conditions — there’s practically no discussion of day-to-day variability.”

Figure 5: From 1997 to 2007, rainfall became highly erratic for much of the globe, particularly in tropical areas. Green areas indicate that the day-to-day variability increased so that those areas experienced more days at one extreme or another, either dry or a downpour with little weather variation in-between. Credit: David Medvigy

The Princeton findings stress that analysis of erratic daily conditions such as frequent thunderstorms may in fact be crucial to truly understanding the factors shaping the climate and affecting the atmosphere, said William Rossow, a professor of earth system science and environmental engineering at the City College of New York.

“It’s important to know what the daily extremes might do because we might care about that sooner,” said Rossow, who also has studied weather variability. He had no role in the Princeton research but is familiar with it.

Rossow said existing climate-change models show light rain more frequently than they should and don’t show extreme precipitation. “If it rains a little bit every day, the atmosphere may respond differently than if there’s a really big rainstorm once every week. One of the things you find about rainstorms is that the really extreme ones are at a scale the atmosphere responds to,” he said.

Although climate-change models predict future changes in weather as the planet warms, those calculations are hindered by a lack of representation of day-to-day patterns, Rossow said.

“If you don’t know what role variability is playing now, you’re not in a very strong position for making remarks about how it might change in the future,” he said. “We’re at a stage where we had better take a look at what this research is pointing out.”

Medvigy and Beaulieu determined sunshine variation by analyzing fluctuations in solar radiation captured by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project from 1984 to 2007. To gauge precipitation, the researchers used daily rainfall data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project spanning 1997 to 2007.

Medvigy and Beaulieu found that during those respective periods, extremes in sunshine and rainfall became more common on a day-to-day basis. In hypothetical terms, Medvigy said, these findings would mean that a region that experienced the greatest increase in sunshine variability might have had partly cloudy conditions every day in 1984, but by 2007 the days would have been either sunny or heavily cloudy with no in-between. For rainfall, the uptick in variation he and Beaulieu observed could be thought of as an area experiencing a light mist every day in 1997, but within ten years the days came to increasingly fluctuate between dryness and downpour.

The researchers observed at least some increase in variability for 35 percent of the world during the time periods analyzed. Regions such as equatorial Africa and Asia experienced the greatest increase in the frequency of extreme conditions, with erratic shifts in weather occurring throughout the year. In more temperate regions such as the United States, day-to-day variability increased to a lesser degree and typically only seasonally. In the northeastern United States, for instance, sudden jumps from sunny to bleak days became more common during the winter from 1984 to 2007.

In the 23 years that sunshine variability rose for tropical Africa and Asia, those areas also showed a greater occurrence of towering thunderstorm clouds known as convective clouds, Medvigy said. Tropical areas that experienced more and more unbalanced levels of sunshine and rainfall witnessed an in-kind jump in convective cloud cover. Although the relationship between these clouds and weather variations needs more study, Medvigy said, the findings could indicate that the sunnier days accelerate the rate at which water evaporates then condenses in the atmosphere to form rain, thus producing heavy rain more often.

Storms have lasting effect on daily weather patterns

Although the most extreme weather variations in the study were observed in the tropics, spurts of extreme weather are global in reach, Rossow said. The atmosphere, he said, is a fluid, and when severe weather such as a convective-cloud thunderstorm “punches” it, the disturbance spreads around the world. Weather that increasingly leaps from one extreme condition to another in short periods of time, as the Princeton research suggests, affects the equilibrium of heat and rain worldwide, he said.

“Storms are violent and significant events — while they are individually localized, their disturbance radiates,” Rossow said.

“Wherever it’s raining heavily, especially, or variably is where the atmosphere is being punched. As soon as it is punched somewhere in the tropics it starts waves that go all the way around the planet,” he said. “So we can see waves coming off the west Pacific convection activity and going all the way around the planet in the tropical band. The atmosphere also has the job of moving heat from the equator to the poles, and storms are the source of heat to the atmosphere, so if a storm’s location or its timing or its seasonality is altered, that’s going to change how the circulation responds.”

These sweeping atmospheric changes can interact with local conditions such as temperature and topography to skew regular weather patterns, Rossow said.

“Signals end up going over the whole globe, and whether they’re important in a particular place or not depends on what else is happening,” he said. “But you can think of storms as being the disturbances in an otherwise smooth flow. That’s why this is a climate issue even though we’re talking about daily variability in specific locations.”

The impact of these fluctuations on natural and manmade systems could be as substantial as the fallout predicted from rises in the Earth’s average temperature, Medvigy said. Inconsistent sunshine could impair the effectiveness of solar-energy production and — with fluctuating rainfall also included — harm agriculture, he said. Wetter, hotter conditions also breed disease and parasites such as mosquitoes, particularly in tropical areas, he said.

On a larger scale, wild shifts in day-to-day conditions would diminish the ability of trees and plants to remove carbon from the atmosphere, Medvigy said. In 2010, he and Harvard University researchers reported in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that erratic rain and sunlight impair photosynthesis. That study concluded that this effect upsets the structure of ecosystems, as certain plants and trees — particularly broad-leafed trees more than conifers — adapt better than others.

In the context of the current study, Medvigy said, the impact of variability on photosynthesis could mean that more carbon will remain in the atmosphere than climate models currently anticipate, considering that the models factor in normal plant-based carbon absorption. Moreover, if the meteorological tumult he and Beaulieu observed is caused by greenhouse gases, these fluctuations could become self-perpetuating by increasingly trapping the gases that agitated weather patterns in the first place.

“We have not yet looked for direct ties between weather variability and increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way,” Medvigy said.

“Increases in variability diminish the efficiency with which plants and trees remove carbon dioxide from the air,” he said. “All of a sudden, the land and the atmosphere are no longer in balance, and plants cannot absorb levels of carbon dioxide proportional to the concentrations in the environment. That will affect everybody.”

###

The study was published online Oct. 14 by the Journal of Climate, and was funded by grants from the Princeton Carbon Mitigation Initiative and the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies.

Contact: Morgan Kelly

mgnkelly@princeton.edu

609-258-5729

Princeton University

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But to read the abstract at AMS JoC, it seems like an entirely different paper than the press release headline:

Trends in daily solar radiation and precipitation coefficients of variation since 1984

David Medvigya,b and Claudie Beaulieub a Department of Geosciences

b Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Abstract

This study investigates the possibility of changes in daily-scale solar radiation and precipitation variability. Coefficients of variation (CV) were computed for the daily downward surface solar radiation product from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and the daily precipitation product from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. Regression analysis was used to identify trends in CV. Statistically significant changes in solar radiation variability were found for 35% of the globe, and particularly large increases were found for tropical Africa and the Maritime Continent. These increases in solar radiation variability were correlated with increases in precipitation variability and increases in deep convective cloud amount. The changes in high-frequency climate variability identified here have consequences for any process depending nonlinearly on climate, including solar energy production and terrestrial ecosystem photosynthesis. In order to assess these consequences, additional work is needed to understand how high-frequency climate variability will change in the coming decades.

Keywords:Climate change,climate variability,ISCCP,solar radiation,coefficient of variation

Journal of Climate 2011 ; e-View
doi: 10.1175/2011JCLI4115.1
Corresponding author: David Medvigy, Princeton University, Department of Geosciences, 418B – Guyot Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA, Phone: 1-609-258-9017, Email: dmedvigy@princeton.edu

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And when you read the conclusion of the paper below, all that hype about weather variability in the press release seems to melt away. It also seems South America isn’t being cooperative:

Unlike other tropical land areas, tropical South America generally experienced decreases in deep convective cloud fraction (Fig. 8a). We found that these decreases were linked to a sudden change in deep convective cloud amount that occurred in the Amazon around 1995 (Fig. 8b). We do not know of any artifacts in the ISCCP dataset that could have led to this persistent change.

Figure 8B Time series of annual-average deep convective cloud amount for the Amazon region.

Conclusions

We conclude that there have been detectable changes in high-frequency solar radiation and precipitation variability over the past few decades. Changes in solar radiation CV were large and positive for tropical Africa and the Maritime Continent (Fig. 3). Interestingly, correspondingly large changes in tropical South America mainly occurred only during December-January-February (Fig. 4). These continental locations where we detected changes do not overlap with the mainly oceanic regions where trend detection is sensitive to long-term changes in satellite geometry (Evan et al. 2007). Although we also detected negative trends in solar radiation CV at high latitudes (Fig. 3), these high latitude trends should be regarded with caution because sampling errors and cloud detection errors are much larger there than at lower latitudes.

Solar radiation CV was correlated with precipitation CV and deep convective cloud amount throughout much of the tropics. In particular, the Maritime Continent and tropical Africa had significant increases in all three quantities. Links between convective activity over continents and temperature have already been suggested (Del Genio et al. 2007). It is notable that changes in deep convective cloud amount (and solar radiation CV) were much lower over tropical oceans than tropical land. Because marine tropical lapse rates are expected to be nearly moist adiabatic under climate change (Held and Soden 2006), we would not necessarily expect surface warming to cause increases in deep convective cloud amount. The possibility of a causal relationship between deep convective cloud amount and solar radiation CV and precipitation CV requires further study.

We expect that increases solar radiation CV will decrease the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems (Medvigy et al. 2010). Photosynthesis increases with insolation, up to a critical point, and then the response saturates. An increase in the number of low insolation days will therefore reduce photosynthesis, while an increase in the number of high insolation days will have little effect. Quantifying the future capacity of the terrestrial biosphere to sequester carbon should take into account changes in high-frequency variability. Furthermore, increases in solar radiation CV can make solar energy conversion systems less efficient (Ianetz et al. 2000) and impact the thermal properties of buildings (Matiasovsky 1996). Finally, increases deep convective cloud amount may result in increases in diffuse radiation. While this can have a positive effect on terrestrial ecosystems (Gu et al. 2003), it can also make it more difficult to effectively orient solar cells. There are several key aspects of high-frequency variability that require further investigation. First, the physical mechanisms that ultimately control the degree of high-frequency variability require further investigation. Climate models can also be used to understand current and potential future changes, but this is challenging because high-frequency variances are seldom reported in model output, and thus are rarely validated.

In addition, the higher-order statistics of solar radiation and precipitation are likely to be sensitive to some of the most uncertain model parameterizations, including those for clouds.

Another area requiring further investigation is the analysis of CV trends in other climate variables, including temperature (Vinnikov et al. 2002). Finally, at least in the case of precipitation, variances can be sensitive to extreme event frequency and intensity (Goswami et al. 2006). Analysis of this connection would be greatly aided by additional weather station data from tropical land areas. Given the large number of processes that are nonlinearly sensitive to climate, improving our understanding of current and future high-frequency variability should be a high-priority area of research.

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The last part looks like a plea for more money, and according to the web page of the lead author, Medvigy, high frequency climate variability is his pet interest:

Medvigy is particularly interested in high-frequency climate variability and its implications for terrestrial ecosystems. Strategies for adaptation to climate change hinge on the expected changes in the distribution functions of climate variables.

Scientist John Ray in my mailing list summed it up pretty well with this comment:

The first thing to note here is that we are NOT dealing with a global phenomenon. Changes in cloud cover were observed for only one third of the globe. We are looking at local effects. And what did changes in cloud cover affect? Hold on to your hat for the amazing news: RAIN!

Maybe Princeton and the University of Maryland people should get together and compare notes over lunch:

Linked: aerosol pollutants and rainfall patterns

Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, says a new study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers.

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How much did we pay for this plea for more funding, only to discover that clouds bring rain?

Louis

“The researchers observed at least some increase in variability for 35 percent of the world during the time periods analyzed.”
So when a third of the world shows some increase in variability, that’s a big deal. But when a third of the world shows some cooling in the BEST data, that’s just noise and should be ignored.

Theo Goodwin

They give us something like a hypothesis that might be testable, except for the mushiness of the whole “daily variability” concept. In principle, we could pool our knowledge of local weather and test the hypothesis that “daily variability” is increasing. But then they present figure 3. which shows that all the good daily variability is found in central Africa, Southeast Asia, and the islands stretching to Australia but excluding Australia. So, about 95% of us are not in the right places to test this hypothesis? Hmmm? I wonder if all this is big news in New Guinea?

From Post Scripts:
Exposing Rhetoric That Tries to Pass for Fact
By Post Scripts on November 15, 2011 3:10 PM | 3 Comments
by Jack Lee
If Chico State’s Executive Director for Sustainable Development, Scott McNall, didn’t tell the truth or at the very least, stated something that was not in evidence anywhere on the planet, do you think we should call him on it? Yeah, I think we should. Here goes:
An article in the News and Review (10 Nov. 2011, page 9) titled, “Watts New With Climate Change”, the author went out of his way to make Anthony Watts look biased, if not foolish. That part was unfortunate since Anthony Watts is neither biased or foolish. He is a very intelligent man of science who believes in following the rules required for scientific evidence. When the subject of global warming comes up Watts wants to keep it real. He has a plethora of evidence that shows many of the temperature recording machines were flawed, either by being placed in areas where the readings could be influenced to read warmer than the actual ambient air temperature or they were improperly maintained. Watts simply wants the data that goes into global warming models to be reliable and for that he has been excoriated by the far left.
Scott McNall aided the articles author in this unjust mischaracterization by making statements that were either plainly wrong or totally lacking in proof. For instance, McNall opened with an attack on the oil and gas industry, “If you’re selling oil or gas, you’re not really interested in trying to conserve energy. There’s a financial interest in denying climate change is real, but we’ve known that for a long time.”
Not really interested? Wow, now that’s some news- what a revelation! (Where’s the proof?)
Mr. McNall somehow missed the fact energy companies spend billions on green R & D. BP devoted an entire division to developing alternative green energy. BP has spent millions on bio-fuels, solar energy, wind energy, hydrogen power, and carbon capture-and-sequestration. The company’s sustainability report from 2008 pledges to invest $8 billion over a period of 10 years in alternative and renewable energy technologies. This is $800 million annually and it equals 7.1% of their gross profits. Chevron spends about 5.2% of their gross on renewable energy R & D. Hundreds of millions more were similarly spent by Exxon, Shell, Conoco-Phillips and Chevron.
These companies represent only the largest producers of oil and gas, but there are many more energy companies who also devote substantial amounts into green energy technology. Why? Because, this is the future trend of the energy business. We know some day our supplies of oil will run low and given enough time and consumption, our vast supply of natural gas will run low too. So, why not cash in on the green energy trend and be prepared to be a sustainable energy company far into the future? This is smart business and it’s good for the people who wish to live on earth in coming generations. Business aside, I wonder if McNall thinks that all energy people don’t care about their families future or where they live or what they eat, drink or breath?
McNall says he knows that the wealthy (and conservative) Koch Bros. donated $150k to help with funding a global warming research project ONLY because they wanted to have a world class scientist produce results that said there was no global warming. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense and besides how would Mr. McNall know that? Was he witness to the Koch brothers saying something that stupid? Did he read a credible news story that cited this, as a fact? No, at least not that the readers of this article were privileged to know anyway. So, where does McNall get this fantastic insider’s scoop on the Koch brothers? The author doesn’t bother to ask and we’re left to conclude no source was required because this empty rhetoric fits so neatly into the story on Anthony Watts and it goes with their own extreme bias.
When you’re that incredibly biased and you come up short on facts, the ol’ lefty playbook says just make stuff up, who’s going to question it? Maybe your mesmerized friends on the far left won’t, but we here at Post Scripts sure will!

elktracks

Either they had more money then they needed or they had less money then they needed.

bubbagyro

Every natural sinusoidal phenomenon has an increase in variability on the upslope and the downslope, and less variance on the plateaus as it seeks the balance point at different rates. This is in accordance with nature doing math for us. Why don’t they teach physics, statistics and math to “climate scientists”? Maybe they are unteachable?

Carl Chapman

“increase in variability for 35 percent”. Assuming random variation, if a third shows more variability, a third shows about the same, and a third shows less, then that means no change just statistical noise. Why did they only mention the 1/3 that showed more variability?

Willis Eschenbach

Did they really just prove that sometimes the rain is more steady, and that other times the amount of daily rain varies more widely?
Climate actually changes?
Who knew?
Maybe it’s because I don’t have the paper … what am I missing here?
w.

John F. Hultquist

We usually think of climate change as an increase in mean global temperature and potentially more extreme conditions . . .
As Tonto said to the masked man: “What do you mean we . . .”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6ppen_climate_classification

pat

I don’t know where to begin.
I thought that is why there were weathermen.

Mark

Typo? Article headline says “Erractic”…

REPLY:
Congratulations on being the first to notice, that’s my pet word for error prone science activism, but the slip was unintentional, so fixed now. -Anthony

davidmhoffer

Wait, wait, wait!
I’m OK with this paper. Really. What does it say?
It says that:
An increase in solar radiation causes an increase in cloud formation, precipitation, and daily variability.
So… doesn’t matter if they’ve quantified it properly or not (daily variability I mean). The fact is they are blaming the sun. Not human activity, not CO2, not changes in land use, not ANYTHING to do with the planet earth infestation of humans.
Then the goofball Medvigey throws in the money quote that he wouldn’t be surprised if there was a correlation to CO2.
Wow. Having just published a paper showing conclusively the the correlation is directly with increases in solar radiation, he then concludes that CO2 must be involved?
OH.
MY
***********
G_D!
I’ve been watching the sunrise every day, and I can show that it is correlated to the rotation of the earth. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection to CO2.
I’ve been watching my bank account every day, and I notice that when the total of the deposits is less than the total of the withdrawls, my account balance declines. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection to CO2.
I’ve notice that when I turn the headlight switch to the on position in my truck, the lights come on. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection to CO2.
I noticed that when I lend my truck to my kids, it always comes back with less gas in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection to CO2.
There’s been an increase in papers from researchers who apparently are brain dead due to oxygen deprivation. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection to…interest rates.

“….we might care about that sooner,” What on earth does he mean?? That the other worn out sources of alarm are having no effect, and that it’s time for a new hype? And that rather large Mead Goblet-shaped hole in the data? Come now.

Philip Bradley

Anthony points the cause, changes (decreases) in aerosols.
I’d add that 1997/98 was the year of the great smoke haze in SE Asia.
It happens that I lived there at the time, and week after week, there was a Dickensian gloom with visibility reduced to a few hundred meters. Interspersed with violent thunderstorms and torrential rain, extreme even for tropical SE Asia.
Any study that starts in 1997, as this one does, is guaranteed to find a trend in sunshine and rain variability in SE Asia.

Ursus Augustus

Maybe weather does get a bit more variable when the temperature increases – irrespective of whether CO2 or the Sun causes the warming. Summer rain and all that. So what?
Variability compared to what? An historical datum from a Hockey Schtick?
Streaker’s Science it seems to me. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

JPeden

There are several key aspects of high-frequency variability that require further investigation.
Well, they’ve really got their work cut out for themselves now. The clouds are all even starting to look different to everyone, then suddenly the same! So there’s no telling where to run to, or not, before it’s too late! But then, we don’t even know what “late” is due to “high-frequency variability”!
So it seems that the only real question is, will there ever be enough money available for the Climate Scientists to be able to find a way out of their maze? At least rats do it for free and probably have a more scientific method to boot.

More special pleading. AFTER they discover some change in the big wide world, they tell us that the change is bad.
Question: Had they discovered that the weather was more unchanging, would they have proclaimed it good? Dream on. Instead of being told the weather has been “punched”, we would have been told “Think about the tides, how the shores are cleaned by changes in sea level each day – the weather needs changes to properly clean the land and atmosphere, etc etc.” You think not? In any case, the entire thing is worthless as a scientific reason to be worried, because we should have been told before they did the research which kind of change would be deemed bad. Any plodder can find something somewhere that has altered over a few decades. Only fools get in a tizzy about it.

Levi

Unlike other tropical land areas, tropical South America generally experienced decreases in deep convective cloud fraction (Fig. 8a). We found that these decreases were linked to a sudden change in deep convective cloud amount that occurred in the Amazon around 1995 (Fig. 8b). We do not know of any artifacts in the ISCCP dataset that could have led to this persistent change.
It looks like there is an immediate and obvious candidate for what may have caused the decrease in convective activity – the AMO flip in 1995. The warmer Atlantic is known to contribute to a drier Amazon basin, as oceanic convection suppresses the continental convective cell.

In other news, clouds bring rains… pictures at 11 pm.

Me

You know that old saying, If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes!

Al Gored

“We have not yet looked for direct ties between weather variability and increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way,” Medvigy said.
I have not looked for direct ties between this research and the AGW Crisis Industry but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Went looking for the paper, found this list of “early online releases” that I guess functions as the Table of Contents (TOC) for the next print issue of AMS’ Journal of Climate:
http://journals.ametsoc.org/toc/clim/0/0
I found 2 interesting entries, both dated Nov 2:

Comment on “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?” by Schwartz et al. 2010
Reto Knutti, Gian-Kasper Plattner
Reply To Comment on “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?” by R. Knutti and G.-K. Plattner
Stephen E. Schwartz, Robert J. Charlson, Ralph A. Kahn, John A. Ogren, Henning Rodhe

What I found surprising:
1. There appears to be a considerable amount of debate about this global warming “pause” that the models failed to predict, and the debate appears rather public.
2. There are two people doing climate research with the first name of “Reto”, and their last names rhyme? Amazing.

chuck nolan

“It’s important to know what the daily extremes might do because we might care about that sooner,” said Rossow, who also has studied weather variability. He had no role in the Princeton research but is familiar with it.
—————————————
Huh?

Philip Bradley

An increase in solar radiation causes an increase in cloud formation, precipitation, and daily variability.
‘Solar radiation’ is a misleading term. What they are referring to is solar radiation that reaches the ground or at least lower troposphere. Solar insolation is a better term.
The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project is measuring stuff at top of atmosphere so surface solar radiation is obviously derived.
What they are saying is clouds, solar insolation and precipitation are correlated. Hardly surprising.
I’m willing to bet that surface temperatures are also correlated, but that would throw into doubt GHGs cause warming. So I’m not surprised they left temperature out.

chuck nolan

“We have not yet looked for direct ties between weather variability and increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way,” Medvigy said.
——————————
Put me down for $10 toward “I bet they find a connection”

davidmhoffer

Me says:
November 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm
You know that old saying, If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes!>>>
No, no, no! The old saying is if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.
Oh, wait, I see. You updated the saying to reflect current variability.

StuartMcL

Theo Goodwin says:
November 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm
So, about 95% of us are not in the right places to test this hypothesis? Hmmm? I wonder if all this is big news in New Guinea?
====================================================
Not in Port Moresby, Weather here is just like it was when I first arrived 25 years ago.

kwik

davidmhoffer says:
November 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm
Every fall there is budget times in large organisations. Therefore there will be press-releases saying there is a terrible danger 40 years ahead.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection between budgets and CO2.

Neil Jones

I got only two things out of this – clouds make rain & a cooler sun may/might/possibly be making less cloud.
As my German colleagues would say Ja und?

Please don’t mention such papers ever again, or at least put a health warning at the top, there’s only so much rubbish I would like to deal with, each day!

davidmhoffer

In a stunning follow up study to his seminal work on daily variability, Medvigey has now completed an in depth analysis of the 65% of the earth surface that did not exhibit increased variability, and there are dire warnings for the human race based on his new results.
“Decreased variability over 2/3 of the earth surface could be a disaster,” explained Medvigey. “The biosphere is predicated upon a certain amount of variability. For example, if it was dark out 24 hours per day, that lack of variability would have a pronounced effect on photosynthesis.”
Asked if there were other factors that might be at play, Medvigey pointed out that while the matter hadn’t been studied in depth, he wouldn’t be surprised if there was a link to CO2. “As an oderless, colorless gas, CO2 can really sneak up on you,” said Medvigey. “One part of the day its light out, and then a few hours later it is dark. This CO2 stuff is really hazardous.”
In other news, researchers at the Federal Institute for Research into Children’s Health concluded that obesity in children is directly related to their caloric intake and inversely proportional to the amount of exercise they get. It is not yet known how CO2 causes this, but with additional funding, researchers hope to discover that connection in years to come.

wayne

Seems if these climatologists would just stop observing
these unnoticed, erratic, extreme events would not exist.

Larry Huldén

This paper will be the basis for the next Climate Change report’s Working Group II where they try to claim that malaria and dengue fever will increase in the world. In previous reports it was said that these diseases are “likely” to increase because of increasing mean temperatures. When temperatures are not behaving as expected they need to circumvent ‘increasing mean temperatures’ by means of a new paradigm to explain that diseases still will increase, but now because of increased human induced variability in daily temperatures. It is the new favourite subject in PNU.

dp

Where did all the scientists go?

davidmhoffer

wayne says:
November 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm
Seems if these climatologists would just stop observing
these unnoticed, erratic, extreme events would not exist.>>>
You’ve hit the nail on the head wayne. If they can’t find anything new to observe, their jobs cease to exist. Thars the problem! The’re just doing their jobs! LOL.

“Increases in variability diminish the efficiency with which plants and trees remove carbon dioxide from the air,” he said. “All of a sudden, the land and the atmosphere are no longer in balance, and plants cannot absorb levels of carbon dioxide proportional to the concentrations in the environment….”. It is simply not true if the speaker meant to say that “plants cannot absorb levels of CO2 proportional to the anthropogenic emissions thereof”, because both Knorr (2009) and myself (2009) have shown remarkable consistency over the ENSO cycle in that proportion whereby on average only 44% of annual emissions remains airborne. If the author stands by what he is quoted as saying then it shows he has no knowledge of the carbon cycle and the data thereon (see TAR, Houghton et al. 2001).

davidmhoffer

kwik;
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection between budgets and CO2.>>>
There is. Start talking about cutting their budgets and watch how many studies of CO2 requiring more studies of CO2 pop up to justify the budget to study CO2.

Actually, such variability can be easily tested on daily station data. KNMI Climate Explorer even directly calculates monthly or annual standard deviation of daily data.
Here is SD for daily precipitation, Hurbanovo station, Slovakia.
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/bpeca227_sd1.png
The same for daily temperatures
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/bteca227_sd1a.png
The closing statement “We have not yet looked for direct ties between weather variability and increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, but I would not be surprised if they are connected in some way” is a brain killer. How can one evil CO2 molecule, added to another three supposedly good and natural molecules of CO2 during 200 years have any effect on weather variability, when there are another ten thousand of other molecules around? This is a pseudoalchemy at its worst!

davidmhoffer

I’m sorry, I just can’t help myself on this one.
The currency crises in Europe got worse today. The Italian and Greek leadership held a joint news conference where the solemnly advised their citizens that the fiscal emergency was worse than they thought.
“We forgot to correct for increased CO2.” moaned one bank official. “It will throw all of our interest rate calculations out of whack. We’re going to have to cut back. From now on, we’re only going to breath out every second breath.”
Oddly, Turkey was very upset about the hole thing. “They claim they will only breath out every second breath,” said a Turkish spokesman, but frankly, I ‘m not holding my breath that any good will come of it.”

Climate quackery…perfect for Durban.

jorgekafkazar

Landfill in the making.

Stephen Wilde

Well at least they are starting to notice that variability in clouds and rainfall , indeed the speed or size of the entire water cycle, can operate as a regulatory process to prevent destabilisation of the climate system.
They just need to take two more logical steps:
i) Such changes occur equally during a cooling process and during a warming process because the water cycle is driven primarily by temperature differentials within the Earth system.
ii) Shifting the permanent climate zones latitudinally is the main regulator of the rate of energy flow from surface to stratosphere. Such shifting produces all the regional climate changes ever observed with no need for any change in system energy content.

Stephen Brown

Just an observation …
The biggest green blob on the map labelled Figure 5 covers most of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I’d like to know how many functioning, reliable weather stations Medvigy found in those two countries and where they are located.
From my own personal knowledge of the Congo I’d say that there are no functioning, reliable weather stations anywhere in that country.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

In Figure 5, showing the 1997-2007 rainfall variability, green means more variability, thus I presume the magenta-ish color represents decreased variability.
In the Pacific around the equator, there is a large swath of greatly decreased variability, where the El Nino & La Nina events are noted by the sea surface temperatures.
So is what is being shown is that after the 1997-98 Super El Nino, with the relatively cooler temps afterwards, the precipitation patterns quieted down considerably? Sounds like more fodder for Willis Eschenbach’s Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis.

lol 🙂

Peter Miller

This sort of stuff gives ‘climate scientists’ a bad name.
So, nothing unusual here – just a typical example of ‘climate science’ BS, the direct result of grant addiction which generates the need to covert something dull into something scary.

David Falkner

Ok, I am a bit confused. Does the missing data conveniently look like the hourglass cursor or is that clever snark? If it is the latter, well done. Very enjoyable. If it is the former, oh the irony! Excellent vintage.

Me

davidmhoffer, I don’t know what your talking about, as for them to study and claim erratic, extreme events on day-to-day variability as something that is new or alarming or they are ringing the alarm now, well guess what, I’ve heard that saying before disktop computers were invented let alone the internet that Al Gore claimed he invented. 😆 That saying wasn’t going around back then just because it was funny when we were kids and wanted to go outside to play a game of stick ball. It just goes to show, like when they said that snow will be a thing of the past, how far they have their heads burried up there where the sun doesn’t shine. I guess they have to keep the fear and scare machine going in some way to keep their gravy train on the tracks.

Interstellar Bill

Having spent years measuring global and beam sunlight, I had to laugh at their amateurish phrase ‘extremely sunny’.
Is that the same as the cloudless and non-hazy condition known as ‘a clear day’?
The highest beam irradiance I ever measured was 1060 Watts/m^2, in January (perihelion), and the ‘extreme’ clarity of the day is best expressed by the normal global irradiance being 1100, only 50 W further of diffuse. It doesn’t get much clearer than that, only 1500′ elevation too.
Medvigy could always try Tibet on a clear day in January, probably pushing 1200 W: now that’s extremely sunny. Perhaps he could stay there the next ten years and actually measure ‘extreme sunlight’. And the UV would be totally extreme.