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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our poster presentation on predicting the mineral composition of dust aerosols at the 2014 fall meeting of the AGU

I just have come back from this year's fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. The meeting was very interesting and productive (and exhausting) for me. The amount of exciting science from the whole range of geosciences, presented by many enthusiastic researchers at the AGU, is always overwhelming. I wish I would have been able to suck in more from all the information provided in the oral and poster sessions.

I, together with my collaborators Carlos Pérez García-Pando and Ron Miller, had following poster presentation on "Predicting the Mineral Composition of Dust Aerosols: Evaluation and Implications" in the session "Aerosol Comparisons between Observations and Models".


The abstract of the poster states:

"Soil dust aerosols in Earth system models are typically assumed to have globally uniform properties. However, important climate processes related to dust depend on the aerosol mineral and chemical composition, which varies regionally. Such processes include aerosol radiative forcing, transport of bioavailable iron that catalyzes marine photosynthesis, heterogeneous chemistry, ice nucleation, and cloud condensation.
We have implemented a new version of the soil dust aerosol scheme in the NASA GISS Earth System ModelE that takes into account the mineral composition of the dust particles. Dust aerosols are represented as an external mixture of minerals such as illite, kaolinite, smectite, carbonates, quartz, feldspar and gypsum, as well as iron oxides and accretions of iron oxides with each of these minerals.
We present a new publically available compilation of measurements of mineral fractions derived from ca. 50 references from the literature. This compilation is used to evaluate our new model of mineral and elemental composition within ModelE. We discuss the challenges of comparing simulated mineral fractions to measurements, which often come from field campaigns and ship cruises of limited duration. Despite uncertainties of the measurements, we show the importance of estimating the undisturbed size distribution of the parent soil prior to wet sieving, along with the modification of this size distribution during emission. 
In particular, our new model reproduces measurements showing greater amount of aerosols at silt sizes (whose diameters exceed 2 μm) including significant amounts of clay mineral aerosols (like illite) at silt sizes. Our model also reduces the systematic overestimation of quartz, while allowing iron to be transported farther from its source as impurities than in its pure, crystalline form."

The two papers where the details of the results from three years of research can be found have just been submitted to Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. Let's see how they are going to do in the review process.

Update 03/07/2015: Our two discussion papers have been published at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions now and can be found here:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tim Ball says Adolf Hitler was right in "Mein Kampf". How far will AGW-deniers go?

This is a slightly modified version of a comment that I wrote at the blog "... And Then There's Physics" where people discussed this matter in an open thread (here).

Equalizing climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis has not been an uncommon rhetoric by AGW deniers. Even Roy Spencer whose work to provide one of the satellite retrieved temperature data sets is very valuable for climate science did it not long ago in his blog, when he wrote a whole post (here) dedicated to calling the ones who accept that what has been found by mainstream climate science "global warming Nazis" and accused them of supporting policies of mass murder. And I got banned from Anthony Watts's junk science blog when I called a commenter out and announced the application of armed self-defense (rather as a rhetorical reply, not that I carry around any weapons), if the commenter takes action, after the commenter equalized climate scientists with Nazis and fake skeptics with the persecuted Jews in Nazi-Germany to justify his fantasies about lynching climate scientists. Well, at least that was what Anthony Watts used as pretext to finally ban me from WUWT, permanently.

However, I think the post by Tim Ball at WUWT (here) has its own quality. It seems to be perceived by a number of people, including by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts according to their reply at WUWT (here), that the core of Tim Balls article is again a comparison of climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis. I suppose this comes from superficial reading, which is understandable, since no one sane really likes to wade in a pool of s***. Then again, if one explicitly replies to such a garbage one should at least read it first carefully and see what it actually states.

Although Tim Ball also mentions that Hitler's "lies and deceptions caused global disaster, including the death of millions of people" (Ball actually downplays what the German Nazis and their helpers did, since it wasn't global disaster caused by Hitler's lies and deception due to which millions of people died. Instead, the Nazis committed deliberate, state organized genocide and mass murder of 12 to 18 million people, including 6 million Jewish people, mostly within about 6 years, not even counting the additional tens of millions who got killed in the global war started by Germany), the core of the article is something else. The core is that Ball cites a passage from Hitler's "Mein Kampf", because he thinks that Hitler gave a valid explanation in the quote why "the big lie" works. Ball thinks Hitler was right. Hitler didn't write about his own lies in the quote, he wrote about "The Jews". Ball believes that there was a global conspiracy behind the IPCC and climate science, which worked in the same way as the alleged global conspiracy that was attributed to "The Jews" by Hitler in his anti-Semitic paranoia. At the end of his article, Ball emphasizes ones more that understanding what Hitler was saying was a key for understanding the workings of the conspiracy behind AGW. Now, I don't know whether Ball also personally thinks Hitler was right about "The Jews", or whether he thinks Hitler was wrong about this specifically targeted group, but Hitler's "explanation" was correct regarding the alleged conspiracy behind IPCC and AGW. This can't be deduced from Ball's text alone. One can deduce, though, that Ball subscribes to the same structure of deluded and paranoid explanations as Hitler did, how the world was supposedly controlled by an omnipotent evil cabal. One could call this structural anti-Semitism to which Ball subscribes. If one reads the comments below the article, some of the commenters take the cue, though, and it becomes clear that for some of the lunatics it's one and the same conspiracy that was also hallucinated by Hitler and the Nazis.

Ball's article, and even more the strong endorsement of this vile text by the crowd at WUWT is evidence for me that the accusations against climate scientists to support "evil" policies and even policies of the kind that would lead to mass murder and similar, shouldn't be simply considered just as rhetoric by some desperate cranks and science haters. They are rather projection of own desires and wishes of these people onto those who are prospective targets. This raises the question for me, how far would they go, if they got the opportunity?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Al Jazeera Censors Comments That Expose and Document Hamas' Ideology and Goals

Another experience with, this time not climate related, how facts are not being liked, when the topic is highly ideologically charged: The war between Israel and Hamas. Apparently, comments that expose Hamas' ideology of death, genocidal intentions against Jewish people, and paranoid anti-Semitic world view are not being liked at Al Jazeera, even if the comments are backed up with Hamas' statements from their own Charter (or because they can be backed up?).

My first attempt:

My second attempt, after suspecting they just may not allow links (at the end it was supposed to say "stood behind"):

Not really another attempt:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cold Winter 2013/14 in United States - "Global warming? What global warming?" (Monckton)

The topic probably seems to be out of place a bit for the ones who live in the Northern Hemisphere, considering the current summer weather outside in many places of it. However, I still have seen it popping up as talking point presented by AGW-"skeptics" at various places. The following quote is exemplary:

"The last U.S. winter colder than this one was in 1911/12, before the First World War.
Thank you, America! Most of Britain has had an unusually mild and wet winter, for you have had more than your fair share of the Northern Hemisphere’s cold weather this season.
Global warming? What global warming?"

(Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, March 26, 2014,

What global warming? Apparently, it is being suggested that the surface temperatures of the winter 2013/14 were about the same as about 100 years ago, and this would refute global warming. Leaving aside for the moment that it already is scientifically not justified to take the weather pattern of a single season to draw conclusions about the longer-term climate trend, here is the global temperature anomaly and its geographical distribution for the winter (December, January, February) 2013/14 relative to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980, based on the NASA GISS surface temperature analysis:

Some people may have felt cold in United States during the winter 2013/14. However, the global picture reveals something else. The larger part of the globe had a positive temperature anomaly during this winter compared to the reference period 1951-1980, and the globally averaged temperature anomaly amounted to plus 0.56 deg. C. The temperature anomaly in North America during the high winter season did not even deviate substantially from the average winter temperature of the reference period in a large part of the continent, except for Alaska where it was more than 2 deg. C above the reference period.

Many people in US perceived the winter 2013/14 as cold, because they have not been used any more to an average 20th century winter, due to the warming trend of the recent decades. The following figure shows the geographical distribution of the temperature anomaly for the average winter of the last 20 years compared to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980:

Now, how does the winter of the year 1911/1912, which was mentioned by Monckton as pretext to deny global warming, looks like in comparison? Here is the geographical distribution of the surface temperature anomaly, again relative to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980:

It looks very different to the winter 2013/2014. Whereas the winter surface temperatures 2013/2014 in United States were a regional cold anomaly within a generally warmer planet, the surface temperatures of winter 1911/1912 in United States do not stand out compared to the rest of the world. The anomaly is small relative to the reference period again, but large parts of the globe were colder during that winter than the average winter of the reference period. Thus it rather was relatively warmer in the United States than in many other parts of the planet, with respect to the magnitude of the anomaly. The globally averaged temperature anomaly relative to the average winter of 1951-1980 amounts to -0.45 deg. C.

Climate change is a change in the statistical properties of climate variables between different time periods, i.e., a change in the average of a variable (e.g., of temperature, precipitation, sea level, sea ice extend, etc.) or a change in other statistical moments (e.g., variance) of the variable over a time period, which should be sufficiently long. Data from only single years do not allow any conclusions whether climate has changed. This would be just weather, which can be quite variable from one year to the next. Therefore, I am going to show next how the average winter changed from the 29-year period 1881-1910 (it starts with winter 1881/1882 and ends with winter 1909/1910) to the 29-year period 1985-2014:

Here we have the global warming, denied by Monckton. The globally averaged increase in the winter surface temperature is 0.78 deg. C between the two 29-year periods. There has been a general surface temperature increase which is nearly global over the last century, with some regional exceptions. The magnitude of the temperature increase is not globally uniform. The Northern Hemisphere has warmed more than the Southern Hemisphere on average. There is an Arctic amplification, with the surface warming amounting to more than 4 deg. C in some Arctic regions. Land areas have warmed more than ocean areas on average. I have to mention a caveat here. The graphic presentation does not show, where the temperature change between the two time periods is statistically significant. There are likely some regions where it is not.

In short, any claims that the colder winter 2013/2014 in United States refuted global warming taken place over the last century are absolutely baseless.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rossiter, Delingpole, "Climate McCarthyism", and Conservative Hypocrisy

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) is a Washington, DC, based progressive political think tank. According to its self-description:

"IPS is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power."

Thus, they are not an academic research institution. They are an advocacy group with a political mission. Like the conservative Heartland Institute or the Heritage Foundation, but from another side of the political spectrum.

Experts from various fields, relevant for the political mission of IPS support the IPS as "Associate Fellows":

"Associate Fellows are scholars who share their expertise with IPS through one of the institute's projects or program areas. IPS Associate Fellows represent some of the country's leading progressive leaders in a variety of areas from inequality, climate justice, foreign policy, and many others. Most work on a volunteer basis unless dedicated funds are raised for their work. Associate Fellows are invited or sponsored by an IPS project director to collaborate with the institute for one-year, renewable terms."

Thus, the relationships between Associate Fellows and the IPS are not relationships of employment. Instead, they are relationships of collaboration on a volunteer basis, usually without any financial compensation. The Associate Fellows are employed somewhere else, if they are employed.

Caleb S. Rossiter, Adjunct Professor with the School of International Service of American University, teaches "courses on African history and politics, U.S. foreign policy and research methods (with a focus on the use and misuse of statistics and models in the climate change debate)" according to his self-description. Obviously he does not work in climate research, he is not an academic expert on climate science. He is a layman in this field. Caleb Rossiter was one of the IPS's Associate Fellows. Until about a month ago.

Caleb S. Rossiter published an article in the Wall Street Journal on May 5, 2014, where he publicly expressed views on economical and political strategies, which apparently do not agree with the ones of IPS, combined with some ignorant claims about climate science, climate modeling, and climate change. Two days later, IPS decided to cut its ties with Caleb Rossiter. They do not want him as Associate Fellow anymore, because his and their views were not compatible anymore (Screen shot of email as published at Climate Depot):

The article in the Wall Street Journal may have been the point where IPS drew the line. However, when I saw Rossiter's rhetoric at his "Climate Change" blog, e.g., against the scientific knowledge presented in the reports of the IPCC, which are written by leading international experts on climate science who work and publish in the field (not by governments, contrary to what Rossiter claims), his conspiracy ideation about the IPCC, or his baseless attack against renowned climate scientist James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he likely had it coming for a little bit longer already. I also wonder why Rossiter, with his contrary views, would even want to work with a think tank like the IPS.

Considering the facts above, one could think not much has really happened. A collaborative relationship between a political advocacy group and an individual has been dissolved due to political incompatibility. It happens. Like divorce of a marriage because of sexual incompatibility. Something that is not really worth it on which to spend much time in the news.

Caleb S. Rossiter seems to display himself in this affair as a victim of evil censorship, though, according to Climate Depot:

"If people ever say that fears of censorship for ‘climate change’ views are overblown, have them take a look at this: Just two days after I published a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling for Africa to be allowed the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy we have in the U.S., the Institute for Policy Studies terminated my 23-year relationship with them…because my analysis and theirs ‘diverge.’"

This is just ridiculous. Is he prevented from speaking out freely anywhere, because IPS does not want to work with him anymore? Certainly not. It is like a guy is complaining about censorship, because his girlfriend dumped him. One thing does not have anything to do with the other one.

Equally ridiculous is the spin in the AGW denier blogosphere. There, the affair is displayed as a case of "Climate McCarthyism", like in an article by James Delingpole on the right wing Internet news outlet Breitbart, followed by more than 2400 comments, still counting, largely filled with whining and ranting by the conservative audience about "oppression of free speech", "liberal tyranny", and other absurdities, which may be a good basis for some psychological case studies about the mindset of many conservatives, e.g., to what degree this mindset is governed by absurd conspiracy fantasies or psychological mechanisms like projection.

Now, pretending to take all these crocodile tears seriously for a moment, which are displayed at Breitbart, regarding the allegedly oppressed free speech and the alleged lack of tolerance, one would have to conclude it would be logical then to welcome a climate scientist who has some knowledge on climate topics, even if his informed views counter the views of most of the audience at Breitbart News Network. Reality, as one really should expect, looks quite differently, though:

And finally:

What Irony. As much for free speech and tolerance on the side of conservatives and AGW deniers, once more, regarding views that are not in agreement with their party line, even if these views are coming from someone who is informed. It is the same pattern again and again. Many conservatives, including their opinion outlets, seem to be afraid of informed dissent, facts, and science.

Friday, January 31, 2014

No "hiatus" (pause/stop) in global ocean warming up to year 2013

Although much of the public focus regarding global warming is on the temperature increase near Earth's surface, the Arctic sea ice decrease, global glacier retreat or other phenomena at the surface, which are more visible to the human eye, from a point of view of physics, the heating up of the oceans is the most important factor regarding the changes in the energy balance of the Earth system. About 90% of the energy accumulation due to the perturbation in the radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere, caused by the increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is taking place in the oceans[1]. The importance of the oceans arises from their capability to store an enormous amount of heat due to the high specific heat capacity of water combined with the large mass of water in the oceans. To put things in perspective, the heat increase related to warming up only the upper most 3.5 meters of the global ocean body by x degrees is sufficient to warm up the whole mass of the atmosphere by about the same amount of x degrees.

Monitoring the oceans gives crucial information about the ongoing climate change in the Earth system. Following figure shows the global average of the annually averaged temperature anomaly in the oceans between the surface and three different depths, 0-100 meters, 0-700 meters, and 0-2000 meters over time, based on data provided by Ocean Climate Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figure includes the year 2013 as the most recent data point. The colored shadings show the standard error of the data times two. The black lines display local regression (Loess) fits with the 95% confidence intervals of the fits as grey shadings. The graphic was created using the package ggplot2[2] of the statistical computing and graphics environment R.
(Data source: NOAA/NESDIS/NODC Ocean Climate Laboratory,

A few things can be see in the figure:

1. The temperature increase, which is visible in the oceans for the average over 100, 700, and 2000 meters depth since the mid 1970s is largest in the upper most 100 meters and becomes smaller with adding deeper layers to the averaging. The perturbation of the energy balance comes from the top and takes decades to penetrate into deeper layers of the oceans.

2. The temperature increase has been nearly linear for the average over the upper most 100 meters depth for the last decades, amounting to about 0.07 Kelvin per decade. To put things in perspective again, the same amount of heat related to this average temperature increase in those 100 meters would increase the average temperature of the whole atmospheric mass by about 2 Kelvin per decade. Luckily for humankind, most of this accumulated heat will not warm up the atmosphere, but penetrate into the deeper layers of the oceans. The exact amount of atmospheric warming in the next decades and centuries will depend on how efficiently heat accumulated in the upper layers of the oceans is being sequestered into the deeper layers of the oceans.

3. Because of this quasi linearity of the temperature increase in the upper most 100 meters, one can conclude that the increase has been accelerating between a depth of 100 and 700 meters. It is not possible to conclude whether an acceleration is present between 700 and 2000 meters depth, since the acceleration seen for the average over 2000 meters depth could come from the acceleration in the layer between 100 and 700 meters.

4. The globally averaged ocean temperature anomaly in the upper most 100 meters shows large interannual variability. The temperature swings can amount to about 0.2 Kelvin within a few years, for example between the years 1998 and 2004.

5. No "hiatus" of the ocean warming is visible in the new century for any of the temperature averages over the various depths. The confidence interval for the upper most 100 meters allows for some lowering of the temperature increase after the year 2005 with a low probability (but equally for some acceleration of the temperature anomaly).

In recent years, the talk has been a lot about the fraction of the energy sequestered into the deep and abyssal layers of the oceans (the so called "missing heat"). In my opinion, there has been some misdirection in the talk about the consequences of this regarding global warming at the surface. The argument has been put forward that concerns about global warming were exaggerated, since the deep oceans interacted with the atmosphere only on long time scales and the heat sequestered into the deep oceans was not coming back to the surface. However, it should be clear from the above that the heat accumulated in the deep oceans is not needed for continuing global warming at the surface and of the lower atmosphere. There is plenty of accumulated heat around in the upper layers of the oceans, which interact with the atmosphere on much shorter time scales, particularly the layers of the oceans which are above the thermocline in the oceans. The amount of heat accumulated in the upper layers of the oceans is more than sufficient for global warming at the surface and in the troposphere to continue for the decades ahead. This heat accumulation has not stopped and it will not stop as long as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing unabated due to human activities.

[1] Trenberth, K. E. and Fasullo, J. T. (2013), An apparent hiatus in global warming? Earth's Future. doi: 10.1002/2013EF000165.
[2] Wickham, H. (2009). ggplot2: Elegant graphics for data analysis. Springer New York,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The story of my visit at Bob Tisdale's blog "Climate Observations"

Bob Tisdale is a little bit a strange fellow. He has a very odd belief that global warming, including the one of the oceans is caused by the El Nino-La Nina (or ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation) cycle. El Nino is characterized by a strong ocean heat and sea surface temperature anomaly in the Central and Eastern equatorial Pacific ocean. La Nina is the counterpart, characterized by a negative heat and sea surface temperature anomaly. The equatorial Pacific produces El Ninos and La Ninas every few years, with global reach through the atmospheric circulation, leading to temperature and precipitation anomalies even in remote regions of the planet, mediated through so called teleconnections. Sometimes warm or cold phases occurs in a row only interrupted by neutral conditions. It is a major mode of internal chaotic variability in the ocean-atmosphere system. Bob Tisdale understands as much. However, he does not seem to understand that El Nino-La Nina cannot generate by itself a global ocean warming trend, because the ocean does not heat itself. A net influx of energy into the oceans is needed to cause a secular warming trend of the whole body of ocean water. The energy must come from somewhere. Bob Tisdale cannot explain where it comes from. The axiom here is, like for all the AGW-"skeptics", global (ocean) warming cannot, never ever, be caused by the radiation effect of increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gases. All the arguments are built around this axiom.

This figure (added to the post after original posting) shows the increase in the ocean heat content since 1955, for which needs to be explained what the energy source for all the heating of the   oceans is:

I paid a visit at Bob Tisdale's blog, because I accidentally had seen that he had written and published on his blog an open letter to Daily Show host Jon Stewart who had made fun of AGW-denialism (here and here). After introducing himself, what an important personality he was, in the AGW-denial blogosphere, who even publishes at such an important blog as wattsupwiththat, Bob Tisdale explained to Jon Stewart how utterly wrong established climate science was regarding anthropogenic global warming.

Well, I had had the impression before that Bob Tisdale was someone among the AGW-"skeptics" with whom one at least could talk and who is able to maintain civility, damn was I wrong. What a bully and jerk, filled with delusions of grandeur, and at the same time with the need of getting reassured from his comrades. He very quickly started to show the usual reaction of fake skeptics, when they are losing the argument. He resorted to ad hominem attacks and other evasion tactics. Apparently, when he felt that the lack of physical soundness in his "theory" was pointed out too much and confronted with the inconvenient reality of empirical data, it turned out he is just another one who can't take it when he is being contradicted: