There might possibly could be a chance of danger! Thunderstorms!

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Thunderstorms are one of my main interests, so I read up on a study by some Harvard researchers that has been receiving all kinds of attention in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, it’s another “could, might, possibly, chance of” study. The YaleGlobal Online blog of the venerable Yale University quotes the Christian Science Monitor as saying:

Summer Thunderstorms Could Be Punching New Holes in Ozone Layer

Harvard study looking at conditions in the lower stratosphere, where the ozone layer resides, suggests a link between climate change and amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth’s surface

“Could be” punching new holes in the ozone layer? “Suggests a link”??

The paper is called “UV Dosage Levels in Summer: Increased Risk of Ozone Loss from Convectively Injected Water Vapor”, by James G. Anderson et al. (Paywalled here, hereinafter Anderson 2012). Here’s their money graph, showing the how high the water vapor reaches into the atmosphere over the US.

Figure 1, from Anderson2012. Original caption says:  Fig. 1(B) Observations of water vapor in the summertime over the US show numerous occurrences in the range of 10 to 18 ppmv reaching pressure altitudes deep into the stratosphere.

So why is there a possibility that it might happen that there could be a chance of a risk of danger from thunderstorms injecting water into the stratosphere as they’ve been doing since forever? Or as they trumpet it in the title of their study, why are they sure that there is an “Increased Risk of Ozone Loss”?

Well, here’s their claim:

Were the intensity and frequency of convective injection to increase as a result of climate forcing by the continued addition of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere, increased risk of ozone loss and associated increases in UV dosage would follow.

Yes, and were I to win the lottery as a result of increasing good luck caused by the continued addition of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere, increased risk of money wastage and associated increases in hangovers would follow …

I can’t tell you just how much I despise this kind of fear-mongering. At one time, this kind of scientific investigation of the atmosphere would have been presented honestly, but these days, any finding is justification for alarmism.

But wait, hold it. In this case, the alarmism may be justified by the large increase in the dampness of the stratosphere due to warming. After all, their calculations say that when water hits the stratosphere, all kinds of terrible things happen And they say that the stratosphere will get wetter as the world warms. And since the world has been warming over the last century or two, there must be evidence of the increase in dangerous stratospheric water vapor due to the warming … and in fact, their paper says:

There are a number of important considerations associated with the issue of convective injection of water vapor inducing chlorine activation and catalytic removal of ozone over mid-latitudes of the NH in summer. First is the fact that a remarkably dry stratosphere characterizes the current climate state.

Wait … what?

The world has been warming for centuries, and yet the stratosphere is “remarkably dry”?

Go figure, the climate is a mysterious beast. But it’s not nearly as mysterious as the logic of AGW alarmists. Despite a couple of centuries of warming having left the stratosphere “remarkably dry”, they claim warming might could possibly suddenly reverse course and cause the stratosphere to get wetter instead, and in turn that has the opportunity of maybe increasing the chances of making ozone holes, and thus it just might/could/conceivably/chance of/possibly cause an increase in skin cancer. And the best part is that, like a Hollywood movie, their contestant for the Booker Prize is “based on a true story”!

Yeah, I’m terrified. I think I’ll go out and invest in sunscreen futures right now … can’t be too careful, you know.

w.

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Well ever since thunderstorms began in the 1960’s, I’m sure they might have punched a few holes in the possible ozone layer………….sarc

Kiwisceptic

Brilliant! As usual Willis Eschenbach delivers another devastating smack down to CAGW alarmist ‘logic’! What is it with these people? Thank you Willis, that serves as my ‘Friday Funny’!

Babsy

Boomers are beautiful and awe inspiring. Just don’t get too close…

Alexander K

As another Kiwi sceptic, ditto, ditto, ditto!

Pamela Gray

Where in the hell are they getting the money to do this research and whose pockets are being sucked dry? If it’s our money and is being handed out by elected politicians any and all should be promptly removed from office via vote. If Al Gore is funding this, bleed him dry. The entertainment value is supreme!

AJB
RoHa

A chance of danger?
We’re doomed!

Rud Istvan

There is another devastating technical response to this speculation from my almamater. Tstorms create precipitation. That reduces UTH, reducing the positive water vapor response, which is much more powerful than ozone. Plus this precipitation’s latent heat left behind in the upper troposphere has a much better shot at radiating out as cooling OLR. Bottom line is that Tstorms cool. We know that down here in Florida in summer. Fancy theorizing about secondary possible ozone effects may win PhDs, but cannot change basic physics. Harvard needs to get outdoors more often.

Well, someone had to come up with a new explanation for why the ozone holes haven’t gone away yet since the Montreal Protocol.

Reminds me of the widely trumpeted warning earlier this year that here in the US it was in fact essentially unavoidable that we would face a global warming period better known as summer.

JJ

Thx for the heads up on this, Willis.
So, the official ‘global warming’ facts we have to date include:
1) ‘Global warming’ causes strasospheric cooling – So says the IPCC. Emphasizing the importance of this aspect of ‘global warming’ theory, CAGW nut and WikiBully William Connolley says: “One of the strongest predictions of global warming is that the stratosphere will *cool* …”
2) Stratospheric cooling causes stratospheric drying – so says Bill Randel, who heads the atmospheric chemistry division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. “Colder temperatures freeze out water vapour that might otherwise have entered the stratosphere.”
3) Stratospheric drying is also caused by fewer towering thunderstorms injecting less water vapor into the stratosphere – So says Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That tidbit was part of the explanation for her 2010 paper which found that:
4) The extreme drying of the stratosphere caused by ‘global warming’ causes ‘global cooling’ – This is the fig leaf that Susie’s 2010 paper threw over the fact that ‘global warming’ has been AWOL for more than a decade. It was the excuse du jour prior to Chinese aerosols.
And now from the CAGW Dept at Harvard University, we have James Anderson telling us that:
5) Global warming causes more towering thunderstorms that inject more water into the stratosphere, causing it to become wetter, which destroys the ozone layer.
Summing this all up, we get the following:
The ‘global warming’ that isn’t happening because of the ‘global cooling’ that is caused by the stratospheric drying that is caused by the stratospheric cooling that is caused by the ‘global warming’ that isn’t happening causes fewer towering thunderstorms which causes stratospheric drying which causes ‘global cooling’ which explains the missing ‘global warming’ that (even though it isn’t happening) causes more towering thunderstorms which causes stratospheric wetting which is punching holes in the ozone layer so we are all going to die.
And these morons wonder why we are sceptical of their claims …

Ally E.

I think this is part of their scheme to demonize water vapour. Hydrogen cars work. They’re a million times better than electric “toy” cars and the Universe will never run out of fuel. But we weren’t supposed to find an answer that looks good, works well and isn’t going to collapse from underneath us – you know, like wind power and solar power are already collapsing – so now they have to stop us from succeeding. Hydrogen cars emit air and water and that’s it, so one of those has to be banned. They’re prepping for the future.
And I totally agree with you, Willis, this stupid fear-mongering is totally disgusting. This SHOULD be against the law.

frozenohio

Yeah, and I could possibly chit a gold brick first thing in the morning – talk about desperate. Cripes.

Justthinkin

O..M..G.. We just went through TWO t’storms in the last 45 minutes. It is night here now,but will it be safe to go out at 6AM????? How will I sleep? Could we get one of these “esteemed scientists” to come up here to Northern Canada to explain how what little ozone we have left is only melting some of the hail stones,and not all?(BTW…what is that refreshing smell in the air?) And I want the exact date that t’storms started going above 35,000ft into the stratosphere? I know along the eastern Rockies back to at least 1985,we used to fly around them,as a CC-130(Herc) can’t outclimb them above 42,000ft AGL.

petermue

So warming is cooling and now wet is dry?
What a crazy world.

Peeved

Is there any sign of more seriousness and discipline in the academic literature on this topic? Now and then I read a good, objective paper, but most often it’s this alarmist crap, building on the false assumptions of one hundred others.

Peeved

This is a little off topic, but speaking of storms and water vapor… Does anyone know of a paper that addresses the effects of all the H2O that is spewed into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion? 1 to 2 water molecules are released for every CO2 molecule when fuels are burned. Is this significant enough to affect precipitation, partially accounting for the increased precipitation over the last century?

Mike McMillan

They shot down the Boeing SST way back when because it would be injecting water vapor into the stratosphere and destroying the ozone layer, though I doubt a zillion years of SST flights could do as much destroying as one big thunderbumper.
I also doubt a zillion years of destroyed ozone layer could irradiate me with as much UV as the circular CFL that lights up my computer lab. My brother has a $2 white plastic thermometer in his basement sitting about 5 ft from a curly bulb, and the plastic facing the light has turned yellow after a couple years. The sides away from the light are still white (pristine, sustainable, etc).

Ally E.

From my earlier comment: “Hydrogen cars emit air and water and that’s it, so one of those has to be banned.” To be precise, they emit oxygen and water (not air and water). Point is, it might be a little early for them to try and ban oxygen.
Let’s face it, they’re pushing it trying to make water look bad, but that’s all they’ve got to work with to stop a future of hydro-cars and possibly even a working civilization. Wot a shocker!

timetochooseagain

Presumably if a warming troposphere is supposed to moisten, a cooling stratosphere should get drier-right?
BTW their hypothesis seems a moot point given they have not shown evidence there’s been any increase in thunderstorm activity. Probably because such evidence does not exist.

Ally E.

Peeved says:
August 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm
This is a little off topic, but speaking of storms and water vapor… Does anyone know of a paper that addresses the effects of all the H2O that is spewed into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion? 1 to 2 water molecules are released for every CO2 molecule when fuels are burned. Is this significant enough to affect precipitation, partially accounting for the increased precipitation over the last century?
*
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 97% (there’s that figure again) of ALL CO2 is produced by NATURE. Nature wins hands down on CO2 production and therefore any related precipitation. Our meagre 3% is doing diddly-squat.
Given that it’s so abundantly produced naturally kind of makes one realize it ought to be there.

James Mayo

How soon we forget the extraordinary pioneering documentary that laid the foundation for this brave new paper, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.
All the way back in 1978 they were aware of the devastating potential effects of extreme weather events and how meatballs and marinara were linked to vast holes in the ozone layer. Of course the acidification of the stratosphere from the marinara also led to acid rain and dramatically decreased the pH of the ocean leading to coral bleaching and species eradication.
If not for the CFC ban implemented by the Montreal treaty these meatballs might have grown to epic proportions with disastrous consequences. If a single meatball were to fall on Guam the entire island might suddenly capsize sending off mega ultra modoki tsunamis ™ throughout the Pacific Ocean which we all know would reverse the poles and we would be left with human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria.
/sarc
The graph posted above really bugs me. How does making a scatter plot cherry picking 2001, 2005, and 2007 provide evidence of anything? Also the graph ranges from an altitude of ~48,500 feet to ~59,000 feet while the stratosphere lies from 31,000 feet to 158,400 feet. So they’ve narrowed the range, expanded the units, and deliberately selected a color and spot size to obscure the earlier years overlap. If that is their “money” graph I’d hate to see the rest of it.
I’d like to include my own graph of what this looks like in the real world:
|
|
|
| ,
|
|
|
——————————————-
See that tiny comma on the 4th row? You may have missed it thinking it was a speck of dust on the screen, clean your monitor and look again. That is all this hyperventilating is about, a mote in the eye.
Any chance someone can look up exactly how many readings and how much coverage they actually had in the raw data? Maybe even find a graph with some error bars on how accurate that ppm measurement is and what adjustments they had to make to calibrate the sensor over the pressure and temperature differences. I can’t wait for the post-post-normal science era to begin so we can finally dismiss these hyperventilating loons and strip away all their grants for publishing something so useless.
JM

intrepid_wanders

Peeved, you might be new here, but here is one of Willis’s seminals:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/07/further-evidence-for-my-thunderstorm-thermostat-hypothesis/
Yeah, don’t send you kids to Harvard…

intrepid_wanders

James Mayo,
Ah, but Princeton on the other hand have some useful papers:
https://athens.indymedia.org/local/webcast/uploads/frankfurt__harry_-_on_bullshit.pdf

jorgekafkazar

Lightning and thunder and hail! Oh, my! More evidence of the scientific, moral, and intellectual bankruptcy of modern academia, desperate for grant money, scraping the bottom of the barrel for feeble pretexts for maintaining the global warming fairy story.

And I was taught that the Ozone is created by lightning… go figure.

Warmists might eventually guess right
Repeatedly debunked by measurements, yet the climate change threat still persists: global warming is causing more frequent and more intensive extreme weather events! The frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. has actually decreased during the 1975-2005 period – but now, after global temperatures have started to decline and global warming became climate change, this is likely to happen.
The frequency and intensity of many extreme weather events roughly follows the changes in temperature gradient between the cold polar and the warm equatorial air: the lager the difference over a shorter distance, the more frequent and violent will become tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
Polar air is relatively dry and therefore has a relatively low thermal capacity. On the other hand, equatorial air is wet and has a high thermal capacity. So, when the climate warms – for whatever reasons – the polar air warms faster than the equatorial layers, the gradient decreases and therefore the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events decreases. Which is exactly what has been happening during the 1975-2005 warming period.
However, now we may be entering a cooling period. When climate cools – for whatever reasons – polar air cools faster than equatorial air, the gradient increases and extreme weather events become more frequent and intensive.
I have recently seen some AGW propagandist on CNN regurgitating the “climate change – extreme weather” con. And we might actually experience more intensive extreme weather events in the near future. You can bet that IPCC et al. will use every opportunity to point out how right they were.
miso

Surely this is good news. Ozone is a greenhouse gas a thousand times stronger than CO2.

Urederra

Climate scientists are like ostriches, they believe that if they report something for first time it is because it never happened before.

Eyal Porat says:
August 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm
And I was taught that the Ozone is created by lightning… go figure.

That’s the Bad Ozone — Good Ozone is formed above the tropopause.
When the flying rainbow unicorn ponies fart gold dust into the stratosphere, the Ozone Fairy waves her magic wand and turns all the dust into ozone. She misses some, though, and that errant gold dust why noctilucent clouds sparkle.

son of mulder

This article suggests that there increase in UV stabilized in the mid 90’s and increase occurred in mid to high latitudes, so doesn’t track CO2 increase (and AGW by its definition) and seems impervious to tropical thunderstorm activity.
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/uv-exposure.html
It also says southern hemisphere has been getting cloudier, why is that?

Peeved: Here is something that may allay your fears. In the Ivar Giaever video he says that 800 million autos on the planet increase the CO2 concentration by the same amount as burning, in a large hermetically sealed room, wait for it…ONE match. If you calculate the volume of a sphere (4/3 pi r3) with a diameter of 12,750 km, and subtract that from the volume of a sphere about 40 km more in diameter, then adjust for the change in density at altitude, you will find that the 5 Gt of CO2 supposedly produced has the same result as one match in a year in a room of 10,000 m3. So I suspect that with you in the same situation only a partial exhale would result in the same magnitude of water vapour. (in a year). INSIGNIFICANT, don’t ya reckon?

Gail Combs

Peeved says:
August 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm
This is a little off topic, but speaking of storms and water vapor… Does anyone know of a paper that addresses the effects of all the H2O that is spewed into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion? …..
_____________________________
Yeah the Relative Humidity has fallen at all levels measured http://i38.tinypic.com/30bedtg.jpg
Oh and do not forget the paper showing cloud levels are FALLING goes along with the cool is warm and wet is dry.

Global Warming May Be Held Back By Falling Cloud Levels
The heavens are literally falling, scientists have claimed. Researchers have discovered that Earth’s cloud cover has been gradually dropping for the past 10 years, lowering the height between the sky and the ground.
Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand analysed heights of the Earth’s clouds from 2000-10 and discovered that cloud levels over the Earth are falling. For their analysis, they used the multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) instrument on Nasa’s Terra spacecraft.
Researchers discovered that the height of the clouds had declined by close to 1 percent over the decade by between 100ft and 130ft (30-40 metres). They believe that reduction in cloud height would allow the earth to cool more efficiently. This reduction in height reduces the surface temperature of the planet and potentially slows the effects of global warming…..

So there you have it folks, Scientists have just proved Chicken Little is correct, the sky is falling….

Jahl

This might be the next money spinning project after climate change wears out. After all that boat is already getting a bit leaky.

DirkH

Ally E. says:
August 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm
“I think this is part of their scheme to demonize water vapour. Hydrogen cars work. They’re a million times better than electric “toy” cars and the Universe will never run out of fuel. But we weren’t supposed to find an answer that looks good, works well and isn’t going to collapse from underneath us – you know, like wind power and solar power are already collapsing – so now they have to stop us from succeeding. Hydrogen cars emit air and water and that’s it, so one of those has to be banned. They’re prepping for the future.”
A few years back BMW lent some of their hydrogen ignition engine prototypes to Hollywood celebrities, with a sticker saying “Don’t park in enclosed parking spaces if you don’t want an explosion” as the tanks, like all H2 tanks, leaked a few molecules all the time.
They have since given up on H2 ignition engines. Fuel cells are as usual, very fickle, just around the corner, and as usual, just a tiny bit too expensive. And you have the problem of not being able to ramp up power quickly, so no fun drive… maybe if you install a heavy ultracap bank as a buffer.
If you want to use hydrogen, throw a few carbon atoms into the mix and synthesize Methane a.k.a. NatGas. No leakage, and all your cars exhaust contains is healthy H20 and healthy CO2.

Willis Eschenbach

My thanks for all the comments. I note the following:

Atmospheric ozone recovering in mid-latitudes, report shows
August 30, 2006
Concentrations of atmospheric ozone — which protects Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation — are showing signs of recovery in the most important regions of the stratosphere above the mid-latitudes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a new study shows.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news76167284.html#jCp

Recovering. Not falling prey to thunderstorm-caused holes. Recovering.
Eyal Porat says:
August 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm

And I was taught that the Ozone is created by lightning… go figure.

You were taught correctly, which is why there is excess ozone in the tropics.

w.

Stephen Richards

Eyal Porat says:
August 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm
And I was taught that the Ozone is created by lightning… go figure.
That’s the Bad Ozone — Good Ozone is formed above the tropopause
Yes, Ozone is an unstable O3 molecule which when it encounters an elemental atom (C, Z, Na etc) splits to form CO² etc, leaving one radical O. In the stratophere there tends not to be a lot of elemental atoms but in the troposphere there are. O radicals can be very dangerous for us useless humans and so the UN may later choose to inject lots of radicals into the troposphere to reduce this pollution/contamination. /sarc off

Stephen Richards

Willis
wish I could get to Anthony’s BBQ to meet you. The nostalga would flow along with the beer.
Great review, criminally crude and useless piece of ‘science’ by these Yale cretins.

Probably more than you want to know about UV, ozone, aerosols and clouds at the link below,
This caught my attention.
The
impact of aerosols on midlatitude ozone was
greatest in the early 1990s after the eruption
of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 (Figure 3.3). The
observed decrease in Northern Hemisphere
column ozone in 1993 agrees with chemical
dynamical models that include these effects
(WMO, 2003, 2007). The same models predict
that the aerosols from Mt. Pinatubo should
have produced a significant decrease in ozone
over midlatitudes of the Southern Hemisphere,
but no effect has been seen in either satellite
measurements or ground measurements at
stations such as Lauder, New Zealand.

Like sea ice, when I see a difference between northern and southern hemispheres in some effect that is supposed to be global. It makes me think the real cause is some regional anthropogenic (or perhaps natural) effect.
http://downloads.climatescience.gov/sap/sap2-4/sap2-4-final-ch3.pdf

Eric H.

A little off comment but the ozone hole scare related to CFCs has always confused me. Usually just a south pole phenom., this last year we saw a hole open up over the Arctic which if I remember correctly can be explained by unusually low temps causing ozone to interact with chlorine and destroy the ozone. The chlorine, per the reports that I read, was left over CFCs which are still present in the atmosphere. My questions: 1) Were the ozone holes ever observed prior to the introduction of CFCs in the atmosphere? 2) Can we determine the source of the chlorine that causes ozone destruction and holes? (man made or naturally occurring)
From where I sit, the ozone hole scare of the 70’s and 80’s and the resulting ban of CFCs was the catalyst for the current call to regulate CO2.

rogerknights

There was a thread on this paper here a week ago at:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/26/climate-change-off-in-the-ozone/

mfo

This is the article in the Harvard Gazette-
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/07/concerns-about-climate-change-health/
“In my mind, this is not just a broad public health issue,” Anderson said. “This is about actually being able to step out into the sunlight………”
Mann better start wearing a hat like Hansen. Can’t be too careful :o)

Bob Layson

Instead of possible, potential, mayhap future danger why do they not consider the present reality. Is the level of ultra-violet light reaching the Earth’s surface increasing?

Alan the Brit

Nice piece Willis. You sure you’re not British as your sarcasm is wonderful!!! 🙂
There is still that old chessnut about how they don’t know that the hole in the ozone layer, which isn’t a hole, wasn’t there all the time? As said many moons ago, as a structural engineer, people see cracks in their houses that they’ve only just observed or noticed, when the cracks have often been there for donkey’s years!
Any risk of skin cancer, (well at least in the UK) increasing stems less from more UV penetrating the atmosphere due to wicked man’s CFCs destroying the ozone layer, & more to do with fashion! Everytime the Sun comes out here the yoof take their clothes off & expose themselves to the Sun without adequate protection, coupled with the fact that foreign holidays have increased exponentially since the 1960s when the ordinary man & or woman in the street discovered Spain & got access to travel & cheaper flights, & the medical profession became more knowledgeable at the same time!!!! First rule of Toxicology, the poison is in the dosage, the very essence of modern medicine & innoculation! 🙂

tadchem

Lightning + oxygen = ozone.
Red sprites and blue jets are lightning – in the stratosphere – above thunderstorms.

PaddikJ

Whether or not (and it def. appears not) summer thunderstorms are injecting water into the stratosphere, to whatever end, Willis does an admirable job of punching holes in this latest bit of sloppy, speculative, warmer pseudo-science. That and JJ’s

JJ says:
August 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

hilarious summation of warmer confusion & contradictions makes this one one for the scrapbook.
I do have one semi-technical question: Their “money graph” seems to show no change in stratospheric hole-punching from 2001-2007 (although some colors obscure others and it’s hard to be sure). If that is indeed the case, how would they know those conditions are/are not normal?

Kaboom

This again confirms that global weirding is mostly caused by global weirdos and happens largely on paper.

DavidA

But increased UV means more output from solar energy panels – a negative feedback!

Tony

As a pilot I have never seen a thunderstorm higher than the tropopause so I doubt there is any significant effect on the Stratosphere.

Jim D

“warming for centuries”… compared to the warming we would have in the next century? Think about the relative amounts before dismissing that.