Greenland Temperatures Weaken Theory CO2 Drives Climate

By Ed Caryl

In my last article, we discussed the Greenland ice core temperature record. In this article we will discuss the Greenland thermometer record. All the long record thermometer readings are from villages and stations on the coast. Some of these records go back to the early 1800’s, though GISTemp only posts records going back to 1880.

Here is plot of seven stations. Annual averages were downloaded from GISTemp and converted to annual anomalies using the 1951 to 1965 average for each as the baseline, the only years all seven stations had in common.

Greenland Temperature

Figure 1 plots seven Greenland temperature records, their average (the thin black trace), and a five-year centered average of the average (wide bright blue trace).

This result agrees with other papers that were found, for example Box et al 2009. Considering that land surface station records warm an average 40% greater than the global land-ocean average, and that Northern Latitude stations warm an average 40% higher than the global land-ocean average, with Arctic stations averaging higher than that, it makes sense that this combination of surface stations in the northern latitudes will warm at twice the rate of the global average.

Box Fig 11

Figure 2 is from Box et al 2009, figure 11.

Jason Box’s paper shows that temperatures before 1880 were generally warmer than the decade after 1880, only about one to one and a half degrees colder than at present. The interesting thing is the step-change in temperature between 1920 and 1930. Greenland temperatures stepped upward by two degrees in this decade, the same step as in the 1990 to 2000 decade. But there was no rise in CO2 in those years. Both intervals are preceded by volcanic activity, as shown in Box’s figure 11. The volcanic activity is blamed for the cooling.

But there was cooling for four decades after 1930 without any major volcanoes. If the lack of volcanic activity is to be blamed for the steps upward in temperature, but temperature declined for four decades without volcanoes, what is left for CO2?

There are several logical twists and turns illustrated here. If volcanic eruptions are blamed for the cooling periods, especially in Greenland, with lack of eruptions blamed for warming, only some of the cooling dips are explained. The other cooling episodes are presumably because of ocean current/temperature cycles or the sun. This leaves only a single one decade warming period, from 1995 to 2005, that can possibly be blamed on CO2, though it still could be from those other reasons. That period is really a step at 1998 which we know was due to the El Niño of that year. This is pretty thin gruel on which to float climate calamity.

Spiegel Sees Potential Climatic Cooling From Iceland Volcanic As Its SO2 Emissions Reach “Historic Dimensions”

Volcanic activity in Iceland has risen dramatically over the past few weeks.

Yet, thankfully, the big eruption many feared never materialized and signs show that the pressure has been subsiding. Good news, many among us may think.

Bárðarbunga_Volcano,_September_4_2014_Peter Hartree

Bárðarbunga Volcano, September 4, 2014. Picture taken by Peter Hartree , CC BY-SA 2.0.

Yet science journalist and geologist Axel Bojanowski at Spiegel warns that there’s still enough to worry about. According to Bojanowski concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have “never been higher since measurements began in the 1970s“. The amount of SO2 emitted by the recent volcanic activity is surpassed only by the “largest of eruptions”.

What’s more, Bojanowski adds:

Seldom does so much sulfur gas get into the air. It could even cool the climate.”

Photo number 12 of Spiegel’s spectacular photo series here is a NASA computer model simulation depicting the spread of the sulfur dioxide cloud over Europe. The growing concentration of sulfur dioxide is a reason for “more concern”, Spiegel reports. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the air are corrosive and pose a threat to human health. Bojanowski writes:

Gradually it is posing an additional threat: to the climate. The emitted amounts of gas have already reached historic dimensions, reports the country’s environmental authority, the Icelandic Environmental Agency. Daily up to 60,000 tonnes of SO2 are released from the lava chasm.”

Bárdarbunga has already emitted approximately two million tonnes of SO2. Only the largest eruptions surpass this amount.”

Bojanowski adds that although the SO2 haze in the atmosphere is not visible to the naked eye, it is seen by NASA satellite, and it extends over parts of Europe. SO2 is an effective sunblock that acts to cool the atmosphere. Spiegel also describes the Laki eruption of 1783 and 1784, which led to a marked cooling and European crop failures.

According to Spiegel, Bárdarbunga eruption and gas emission is nowhere near on the same scale as Laki, which spewed 122 million tons of SO2 into the atmosphere. But Spiegel compares Bárdarbunga’s 2 million tons of SO2 to other major 20th century volcanic eruptions: El Chichon (7 million), which was enough to cause cooling globally. Pinatubo spewed 20 million tons and cooled the planet by 0.5°C for two years.

Though Bárdarbunga’s SO2 so far has not been shot up into the stratosphere, Spiegel warns that “two factors could make the volcano’s impact detectable: At high latitudes such as those of Iceland, the stratosphere is several kilometers lower than in the tropics, thus allowing the gas to reach it more quickly. Also chasm eruptions such as those at Bárdarbunga produce hot air upward currents over the volcano, which can carry the gases up to the stratosphere.”

Note that the SO2 gas has been carried in the air over to the European continent. Though Bárdarbunga’s SO2 may not have any real impact on cooling the planet, it certainly will not help to warm it either.

 

History Is Clear: Humans Prospered In Climates That Were Warmer Than Today’s…Died In Cooler Ones

A Short History of the Human Race
Part 1, The Late Pleistocene, A Story of Survival
By Ed Caryl

The story of the human race, Homo Sapiens, is really a story driven by climate, particularly temperatures, rainfall, and sea level. Most of that history has taken place in the last 20,000 years, since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). But there was also some pre-history. Before we could advance to civilization, we needed to survive the the last glacial period. This was not easily done. 100,000 years ago, there were several species of Homo. By 10,000 years ago there was just us, and that was just by the skin of our teeth. There is genetic evidence that in the period around 70,000 years ago, there may have been as few as 10,000 Homo Sapiens in the world.

Ed_1

Figure 1 is a plot of Deuterium in a Greenland ice core, GISP2, a proxy for temperature.

Several points are indicated in figure 1. Reading from oldest at the right to the present day at the left, the Toba super-volcano in Indonesia caused an abrupt severe cooling that dropped the global temperature by about four degrees in a very short time. Prior to that, the climate had already cycled by similar amounts several times, but this cooling was much more severe. At that time, our ancestors were mostly confined to tropical Africa, but the cooling was accompanied by severe drying, putting pressure on the savannas in Africa that were our preferred habitat. Fortunately for us, after about a thousand years of starving out, the temperature and rainfall swung the other way, the Sahara Desert became green for a time, and we were able to migrate out of Africa through the Middle East, filling the vacuum left by Homo Erectus and putting pressure on the Neanderthals. Before the Eemian interglacial, Homo Erectus had gone extinct in Asia, except for locally adapted populations like Homo floresiensis in Indonesia and the Denisovans in central Asia. The last non-Modern Human population to die out was the Red Deer Cave people in China. They disappeared about the time Jericho was first settled in the Jordan Valley, 11,500 years ago.

Ed_2

Figure 2 is a detail from figure 1 of the period from 60,000 to 75,000 years ago.

This period is a perfect example of what happens in a cold period (we die) versus what happens in a warm period (we thrive). In a span of 4000 years, mankind went from a severe population bottle-neck, to spreading across three continents.

15,000 years later, about 50,000 years ago, another warm spell triggered a further migration to what is now New Guinea and Australia. All through this period, and for much of the last glaciated phase, sea levels were much lower than today, as much as 120 meters lower, joining islands and continents with dry land. Except for the migration to Australia, this meant that ships and rafts were not necessary for these migrations. Walking sufficed.

About 40,000 years ago, another super volcano erupted, Archiflegreo on the Italian coast. This triggered another 1000-year cold spell, putting more pressure on our neighbors in Europe and Western Asia, Homo Neanderthalensis. After many cycles of warm and cold, even though they were cold-adapted, their population finally collapsed 30,000 years ago.

15,000 years ago, the last great migration, that of the ancestors of the Amerindians to the New World, took place during a period nearly as warm as at present, but before the great ice sheets had melted sufficiently for Beringia to be flooded. Beringia is the continental shelf in the Bering Sea joining Asia and North America, now under 50 to 100 meters of cold sea water.

Ed_3

Figure 3 is a map of Beringia 21,000 years ago. Source here.

The great migrations, out of Africa, the crossing into New Guinea/Australia, the migration into the New World, were all made possible by warm, wet, periods during an ice age. When it is cold and arid, we huddle in our caves, starve and freeze. When it is warm, we multiply, innovate, and go on the move. When possible, we move to warmer and more hospitable climes, or at least empty areas. From Beringia, we populated North America and expanded to South America in about a thousand years. Just like today, when we move to Arizona or Florida, southern France or Spain.

 

A Climate Changer? Indonesian Volcano Erupts! “Huge Plume Of Ash 17 Km Into The Air.”

I don’t have any solid information on the Kelud volcano’s explosivity index, but preliminary indications show it may have a VEI of 3, possibly 4. The plume has reached 17 km.

This would have very little impact on climate.

But still, look for desperate warmists to seize upon it and to blame it for cooling over the next year or two, thus buying a few more months of precious little time for which to sustain their climate fraud.

From Reuters

More than 100,000 people fled their homes and flights were grounded across most of Indonesia’s densely populated island of Java on Friday after a volcanic eruption sent a huge plume of ash and sand 17 km (10 miles) into the air.

The ash cloud from Thursday night’s eruption of Mount Kelud in the province of East Java moved west over the island, forcing the closure of seven airports and stranding thousands of passengers. The only major airports still operating on Java were two in the capital, Jakarta. […]

Continue reading: reuters.com/0140214.

 

German Public Television Stuns Its Readers, Concedes Medieval Warm Period May Have Been 0.5°C Warmer Than Today!

In Germany climate science used to be considered completely settled.

Global temperatures had been pretty much steady for a thousand years before skyrocketing upwards as soon as man really started industrializing about 150 years ago, Germans were told again and again.

But today Germany’s major media are beginning to realize that this view is perhaps quite naïve after all. Though most major media outlets here do think man is responsible for global warming, many seem to be having second thoughts and coming out to say: Gee, looks like natural factors may be important after all.

Source: www2.tu-berlin.de/

Germany’s version of the BBC is ARD television and at the ARD website we find an unusually semi-sober report on the history of the earth’s climate.

First off the ARD presents its version of the above chart, thus acknowledging that climate has been changing naturally throughout the Holocene and that there have been warmer periods than today.

Old towns bear names related to wine-making

The ARD piece even goes on to say that the Medieval Warm Period from the years 800 to 1300 was similarly as warm as the “last climate normal period of 1961 to 1990, whose mean temperature is used as the reference value.” The ARD writes further:

 Using alternative reconstructions that period was even about 0.5°C warmer than today.”

As evidence that this was probably the case, the ARD writes that many towns and villages that were founded during the Medieval Warm Period actually bear names related to wine-making: “places that are too cool for this today“.

The ARD then describes the ensuing Little Ice Age as a time of harsh winters, crop failures, starvation and witch hunts. All this, the ARD claims, was caused by “fluctuations in solar radiation and a series of especially powerful volcanic eruptions,” citing Tambora in 1815 as an example.

Of course anyone with a half knowledge of climate science knows that solar radiation is not the real culprit for climate change over the last 1000 years, but some other solar mechanism involving solar magnetic fields, cosmic radiation and cloud seeding. We’re just going to remain patient and wait for the ARD to get up to speed on this. In the meantime we can take heart that progress is being made.

Finally, I find that little tail they’ve added to the Modern Warm Period on their chart to be very amusing (see figure below, circle). That’s the warming all the panic and hysteria has been about?

ARD chart

 Circle around little tail indicates recent warming that has caused worldwide panic and mass hysteria.

Disappearing Excuses…Aerosols Likely Not Behind The Warming Pause

Why The Hiatus?

By Ed Caryl

One of the climatologist’s explanations for the 17-year hiatus in global warming is the effect of aerosols. This explanation seems weak for the simple reason that we don’t see aerosols in this time period.

We do see the impact of aerosols from volcanic activity in previous periods, however. Here is the satellite view of monthly global temperature since 1979, along with the El Niño index and atmospheric transmission from the Mauna Loa atmospheric observatory.

Caryl_1

Figure 1 is RSS Global TLT, El Niño 3.4 index, and atmospheric transmission.

Atmospheric transmission is the ratio of direct solar radiation from the near UV to infrared wavelengths (0.3 microns to 2.8 microns) that makes it through the atmosphere. www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/mloapt.html.

Two volcanic eruptions CAUSED significant stratospheric haze from sulpher dioxide (SO2) injected into the stratosphere,
El Chichon in 1982 and Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Both caused significant solar energy obstruction for four years or more. Here are pictures of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 on the left, and of the resulting stratospheric haze in August 1991 on the right, taken from the Space Shuttle.

Caryl_2

Figure 2 is (on the left) Mt Pinatubo in eruption, and (on the right) the earth’s limb showing the stratospheric haze, the purple line across the middle, above the cumulonimbus clouds. Source here.

The 34-year satellite observation era can be split into two halves, the 17 years before the El Niño of 1998, and the 17 years since, including the El Niño. During the first 17 years there were 2 significant volcanic eruptions and three El Niños. Two of those El Niños occurred after eruptions, but during the periods where SO2 haze was present. The SO2 hazes prevented any temperature increase, and in fact produced cooling for nearly four years in each case. Despite that, during the 17 years, temperatures increased by 0.12°C, 0.072°C/decade.

Look closely at the temperature pattern associated with El Niños. Each El Niño produces a global temperature spike a few months later, followed by a cooling rebound that is as about as negative as the El Niño is positive, and lasts as long. But there is one exception. There was a small El Niño in 1995 for which there was no negative rebound as it was followed by the super-El Niño of  1998. These produced a step in temperature of about a quarter of a degree.

Most of the warming in the years from 1979 to 1997 are in that two-year period from the El Niño of 1995 to 1997. We are now in a slow cooling from that step, thus the hiatus in temperature. There is very little temperature trend since the end of the Pinatubo eruption haze in 1995 as the result of aerosols. With the exception of two very short volcanic events, atmospheric transmission as measured at Mauna Loa was almost flat at around 93% for that whole period.

Caryl_3

Figure 3 is a magnified view of atmospheric transmission pre- and post-1997 with trend lines.

The two minor volcanic events were Shishaldin volcano in the Aleutian island arc of Alaska, producing an ash cloud to at least 45,000 feet in the stratosphere on April 19, 1999, and on March 22, 2009, Mount Redoubt volcano, 106 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, began a series of eruptions with the ash plume reaching 60,000 feet in the stratosphere during two of the six significant eruptions. Neither of these eruptions produced very much SO2, and the ash fell out of the stratosphere in less than a month, the resolution of the above plot.

If the very significant solar obscuration due to El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo pre-1995 resulted in warming, there is no way that the dearth of activity in the post-1995 period could have produced the observed lack of warming. But, the 0.25°C step in warming in the period from 1995 to after 1998 can be explained by the lack of volcanic activity in the later period. The average atmospheric transmission in the first period is about 1.5% less than in the second period. Allowing for average albedo, that is about 2.5 Watts/m2 difference in average solar radiation at the earth’s surface. This, plus the two El Niños in 1995 and 1998, explains the step in warming. This also means that the climate sensitivity, Lambda is very low.

Delta T = lambda * delta F, T is temperature in degrees C, F is the forcing in Watts/m2.

Lambda = delta T/delta F = 0.25°C/2.5 Watts/m2 = 0.1°C/Watt/m2.

This figure has some caveats, the temperature measurement is from the global satellite (RSS) temperature data, and the atmospheric transmission data is from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, which was on the edge of the SO2 plumes from Pinatubo, so it should be viewed as an approximation.

But it agrees with what Willis Eschenbach found yesterday for tropical regions, here. The Pinatubo eruption was the larger of the two eruptions and had the largest impact, but it was limited to tropical latitudes where lambda is low or negative.

Caryl_4

Figure 4 is an optical depth plot of the Pinatubo SO2 plume three weeks after the eruption. Source here.

The lack of warming for the last 17 years cannot be due to an increase in aerosols, as there was no significant increase.

The hiatus in warming, with little volcanic activity to provide cooling, with the peak reached in the AMO, solar activity declining, increasing sea ice, sea temperatures hitting the limit, and the very low climate sensitivity measured above, all indicate that we have reached the peak global temperature in this cycle. It will get no warmer. It may never get warmer. The thermostat is open.

 

Leading European Geologist, Scientist Peter A. Ziegler Passes Away…

Hans Labohm sent an e-mail with sad news: Swiss scientist Peter A Ziegler has passed away.

Ziegler-Ziegler family archive
Professor Dr Dr Peter A. Ziegler, 1928 – 2013. Photo credit: Ziegler family archive, GNU Free Documentation License.

Prof. Ziegler made a tremendous contribution to the fields of geology, energy, climate and our understanding of how the planet evolved.

Arthur Rörsch of the Netherlands has written the following notice:

Dear all,

In memoriam Prof. (em.) Dr Dr (hc.) Peter A. Ziegler

We were very sad to learn that the eminent scientist and amiable colleague Peter Ziegler passed away at his home in Switzerland on July 19th, 2013. He was recently the guest editor of the special E&E issue on “The AGW concept; a critical review”; E&E  24 (3,4) 2013. Until his last hour he continued to work on the follow-up he hoped that this publication would receive in the scientific community. He spent almost all day during a whole year on the preparation for this volume. He criticised all manuscripts very thoroughly but never lost his patience in the discussions with the authors.

His career consists of 33 years as exploration geologist with the petroleum industry, 30 of which with Shell, and 20 years of university teaching and research. He published widely in international journals and thematic volumes on processes controlling extensional and compressional intraplate tectonics and on the evolution of the lithosphere.

In 1992 he was appointed as Honorary Lecturer at the University of Basel and in 1996 as Titular Professor for Global Geology. He was awarded Honorary Doctor Degrees by the Moscow State University (1997) and the Technical University Delft (2001).

He was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and the Academia Europaea

He was a life member of the Bureau of the International Lithosphere Program and an honorary member of the Geological Society of London, the European Union of Geoscientists, the Geological Society of Poland and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

He received medal distinctions from the Belgian Geological Society, the Royal Geological and Mining Society of the Netherlands, the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of Glasgow, the Geosciences Union, the German Geological Society and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

He will be remembered by all his colleagues as a very gifted and critical scientist, with a broad interest in the natural sciences. He was continuously helpful to others without self-interest.”

There’s absolutely no doubt that Prof. Ziegler’s lifetime work has made a extremely positive impact on human living conditions and that this will be felt by future generations for years to come.

Also read here: notrickszone.com/sun-is-driving-climate-not-co2/.

 

New PNAS Paper Shows Light Causes Atmospheric Aerosols To Grow – Impact Our Climate

Scientists keep finding major knowledge gaps in their “science-is-settled” field of climatology.

The latest gap is revealed by an experiment by an international team of scientists that shows evidence of a new mechanism where light causes atmospheric aerosols to increase in size.

Aerosol pollution over India and Bangladesh, 2001. (Photo source: NASA)

The results of the research by a team led by Maria Eugenia Monge et al have been published by the PNAS. Title: Alternative pathway for atmospheric particles growth.

“The new and up to now unknown processes may be the reason why the atmospheric chemistry and physics of aerosol concentrations are often underestimated in models. This photo-induced processes first will be characterized experimentally and then introduced to tropospheric models,“ recommends Hartmut Herrmann of the German Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (IfT) in Leipzig, a member of the team.

The paper’s abstract underscores that major gaps exist in the understanding of the physicochemical pathways that lead to aerosol growth in the atmosphere and that these pathways need to be considered by models.

So once again it’s back to the drawing board for our habitually lost climate modellers.

According to a Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research press release, light causes the aerosols to grow in size and have an impact on clouds and climate. Photocatalytic reactions can lead to a rapid formation of non-condensing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on the surface of particles. They found that light can trigger chemical reactions between gaseous bonds and chemicals on the surface of organic particles, which ultimately allows them to increase in size says Dr. Maria-Eugenia Monge of IRCELYON and the University of Lyon.

Experiments showed that the particles under the influence of light can grow about 50 to 65 nanometers, which corresponds to about a doubling of their weight. The intensity of the light was of lesser importance. Already very weak UV radiation is enough to break the chemical bonds of dissolved organic material (DOM) and form free radicals.

The experiments were conducted at the IRCELYON in Lyon under the supervision of Dr. Christian George. Also participating were scientists of the French CNRS research association, the Israeli Weizmann Institute with Prof. Yinon Rudich, and Prof. Hartmut Herrmann of the German Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (IfT) in Leipzig.

The Leibniz press release adds that aerosol particles in the atmosphere influence global climate because they reflect sunlight. They are also a factor in the global water circulation, which effects cloud formation and precipitation. They also impact human health as well. Despite their impacts, the processes that are responsible for the creation and growth of these particles are among the least understood fields of atmospheric science. At the IfT in Leipzig, the development chain of atmospheric particles from fine particulates to the formation of clouds and precipitation in natural areas as well as areas burdened by humans, i.e. large cities, are being researched.

So much for the new study on light and aerosols, which we know have a cooling effect on the planet. But with the last sentence in italics by the IfT, why do I get the feeling they are gearing up (again!) for man-made global cooling? Human activity is throwing up lots of aerosols (industry, agriculture, transportation, etc.) into the atmosphere and so are contributing to blocked sunlight. Time to start curtailing human aerosols!

And one more question: if low intensity light can cause major aerosol growth, wouldn’t it be very plausible that high energy cosmic rays could do the same?

 

Radiation Balance Variables Put CO2 In The Back Seat As A Driver

By Ed Caryl

The sun supplies about 1360 watts per square meter to the Earth as seen by satellites at the top of the atmosphere. This power varies by about 1.3 watts over the 11-year solar cycle. Energy is reflected back to space by clouds and the earth’s surface. Some energy is radiated to space as infrared. Energy is radiated from the atmosphere to the surface, the so-called greenhouse effect. There is variation in all the factors that make up the radiation balance. None of the factors are fixed. CO2 may be increasing, but other factors are also changing. The albedo of the Earth varies with the amount of cloud cover, seasonal vegetation, ice, and snow. Of course the heat seen by any part of the Earth depends on the sun angle; the maximum is when the sun is directly overhead, almost none when the sun is on the horizon, none at all when the sun is below the horizon. The Earth loses heat to space by radiation, but this also varies with time of day, cloud cover, temperature, and humidity.

Water vapor accounts for 60 to 95% of the greenhouse effect. The remainder is due to CO2 and other trace gases. According to the IPCC the theoretical extra absorption by CO2 in the atmosphere if it doubled from the current amount is 4 watts per square meter. This extra absorption will be modified by clouds, cloud height, humidity, and other factors. According to the same source, the extra absorption at current levels of CO2 above the historical level is about 1 Watt. This additional energy is offset and balanced by the other outgoing factors. For an excellent explanation of the greenhouse effect see: http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_3_1.htm.

Figure 1 shows how solar energy input is balanced by the radiated and reflected output. The 342W per square meter solar input figure is an average over the Earth’s surface that supposedly takes into account sun angle and the night and day cycle. This graphic is from Wikipedia and is seen in many publications in two versions with slightly different numbers. It originates with Kevin Trenberth et al.

One of the criticisms of this graphic is that the 342 W/m2 Back Radiation is assumed to be completely absorbed by the surface with no reflection. This would require that the surface be a perfect black-body at all wavelengths. This is obviously not the case. Another criticism is that it inadequately describes the difference in radiation conditions between night and day, and the variable influence of clouds.


Figure 1: Earth’s radiation balance according to Kevin Trenberth et al.

A third criticism is that it does not take into account the Earth’s albedo changes over time. Albedo is the percent of solar radiation that is reflected back to space by the Earth’s surface and clouds. The Earth’s albedo is measured by satellite or by looking at earthshine on the moon, the light from Earth reflected back from the lunar dark side. Here are Earth’s albedo changes from 1984 to 2004.

Figure 2, Earth’s albedo:  The red vertical bar represents the total forcing of all the greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere in the last 100 years. Using the IPCC figures, they add up to about 2.8 W/m2, about the same as the albedo variation. Clearly the albedo variability is the same as the greenhouse gas forcing, especially over any short term. The albedo change is primarily due to cloud and ice changes. Data source: Pallè et al here.

Albedo isn’t the only variable in the radiation balance graphic. The opposite of albedo (reflectance) is transmittance, the percentage of solar radiation that reaches the surface. This is also a variable, changing with the amount and kind of aerosols in the atmosphere. Since 1958 this has been measured at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the same place that CO2 is measured. Their data is stated in percentage and is taken under the following conditions.

The ‘apparent’ transmission, or transmission ratio (Ellis & Pueschel, Science, 1971), is derived from broadband (0.3 to 2.8um) direct solar irradiance observations at the Mauna Loa Observatory (19.533 ° N, 155.578 ° W, elev. 3.4 km) in Hawaii. Data are for clear-sky mornings between solar elevations of 11.3 and 30 degrees.”

In the chart below the data has been converted to energy anomaly, based on the solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere, 342 W/m2, in Figure 1 above.

Figure 3: Atmospheric transmission anomaly in terms of energy in Watts/m2.

You can see that the transmittance anomaly is quite large, even disregarding very large perturbations such as the Agung, El Chichón, and Pinatubo volcanoes. Pinatubo is also visible in the albedo data. All traces are annual averages.

Figure 4: Annual albedo and transmittance in W/m2, and global annual satellite temperature anomaly plotted together.

Because transmittance and albedo are inversely related, in the chart above, albedo (the red trace) has been inverted so that transmittance, albedo, and temperature can be related. The temperature anomaly is scaled on the right axis. The two volcanic eruptions and the last two El Niño’s can be clearly seen in the temperature. The dip in transmittance in 1963 is the Agung volcano. All three volcanic eruptions were sulfur-rich and pushed gasses and dust into the stratosphere.

What about greenhouse gases?

Figure 5: Greenhouse gas forcing since 1978.The scale is also in W/m2. Source.

Figure 5 uses the IPCC figures for greenhouse gas forcing, 4°C for CO2 doubling, which may overstate the numbers. CO2 and methane (CH4) dominate the total. But let us plot the total greenhouse gas forcing (the top trace in Figure 5) on the Figure 4 graph.

Figure 6: Albedo, greenhouse gases, transmittance, and TSI anomalies plotted together with the Global Satellite Temperature anomaly. The transmittance linear trend line is also included. The vertical scale has been changed, truncating the large negative transmittance spikes, so that the smaller forcings can be seen.

The TSI anomaly has been added to Figure 6 along with the greenhouse gas trace. Note that the transmittance trend is in the opposite direction of the greenhouse gases, and is of similar magnitude.

It is clear that aerosols, albedo, and ocean cycles are very largely what drive global temperature in the short term. Carbon dioxide is a minor player. TSI (total solar irradiance) plays very little direct role on this time scale. If the sun has an effect it must be via some other mechanisms.

Because we know so little with certainty about water vapor, it has been left out of this analysis. Water vapor is a very important greenhouse gas, by some accounts resulting in 60 to 95% of the greenhouse effect. The problem is that because water exists in all three phases in the atmosphere, and convection, evaporation, condensation, and precipitation produces wildly variable amounts at different altitudes, times, and locations, calculating the resulting forcing is very problematic. In general, water vapor tracks temperature. In the lower troposphere, this has meant that water vapor is increasing along with temperature. Some have stated that this results in positive feedback further increasing temperature. But in the stratosphere, the temperature has been decreasing, and so has the water vapor content. (See discussions here and here.) This allows increased radiation to space. As a result, others have argued that this results in negative feedback. It may well be that the two variabilities cancel.

Among the variables that control climate change, atmospheric transmission is by far the largest factor. Even in the absence of volcanic activity, upper atmosphere aerosols vary on a scale that dwarfs the other factors. Ocean cycles are next in importance. Third in importance is albedo. The reflection of clouds, ice, smoke, land and sea surfaces are continuously changing. Fourth on the list are the greenhouse gases excluding water vapor. The big unknown variable is water vapor. We know it is varying. To some extent we even know how much. What we don’t know is what forcing water vapor provides. We don’t even know where water vapor ranks on this list.

 

Japan Threatened By 113-Foot Tsunami, Says Japanese Government Expert Report

This is no April Fool’s story. It’s a real story at Spiegel. 

Everyone knows that some climate scientists like to use sea level rise as a way to scare the public when it comes to the dangers of global warming. A one-meter rise could wreak havoc and displace tens of millions of people overnight over 100 years they fret.

 Most experts, however, agree that the current rate of sea level rise is more of a nuisance than a catastrophe, and something that we can do little to prevent. But now there are some experts who say that there is another risk looming out there that needs to be taken far more seriously, especially in Japan – monster tsunamis.

Der Spiegel has a new article on how Japan could be a hit by a 34 meter (113-foot) tsunami from earthquake activity in the Pacific. Spiegel writes:

New research results show that the danger is greater than assumed up to now. […] An earthquake in the ocean with a magnitude of 9.0 in the Nankai Gorge off the east coast of Japan could trigger a wave of more than 20 meters and flood a large part of the coastal region, the Japanese media quoted a research report today from a government-appointed expert commission. […] Wave heights with peaks of up to 34 meters are possible in the future, the report now says.”

That is something we definitely need to worry about, much more than the improbable one meter sea level rise over 100 years due to global warming in a dubious climate model. The Japanese report goes on to say that even earthquakes of 7.0 under certain conditions would be enough wreak havoc for Tokyo, an area that is home to 33 million people.

So what should the government do? Should coastal areas be closed and everyone moved to higher ground? The answer is of course no. The benefits of residing along the coast are immense. People should be made aware of the risks and plans need to be drawn up that allow for an effective response in the event of such a disaster. The best we can hope for is to find effective ways to minimize the damage.

Is this all just irresponsible fear-mongering? Der Spiegel writes:

A powerful earthquake in the area is long overdue. In the event of a catastrophe, a power outage of more than one week has to be expected and the water supply could be knocked out for a mionth.

The report states that most people are not stocked up with enough supplies to carry them over for these periods.

Coral Reef Growth Found To Be In Snyc With The Sun – Yet IPCC Ignores Sun Even More!

The warmists keep insisting that it’s CO2 and that the sun is not playing a role in our climate today. According to them, the sun has been on strike and stopped playing a role since mankind started its sinful use of CO2.

Yet another study is out and shows that the warmists are off in Cuckooland with their CO2 science.

Die kalte Sonne website brings our attention to a paper by Nozomu Hamanakaa, Hironobu Kana, Yusuke Yokoyamad, Takehiro Okamotoc, Yosuke Nakashimag and Toshio Kawanah of Okayama University titled:
Disturbances with hiatuses in high-latitude coral reef growth during the Holocene: Correlation with millennial-scale global climate change, where an ancient coral reef was studied.

The study was published in the journal Global and Planetary Change in January 2012.

A 6000-year old coral reef on the Japanese island of Kodakara, which was exposed during street construction works, was studied in great detail and reporesents a valuable climate archive of the last several thousand years. The reef was lifted over the surface of the water by tectonic action two and half thousand years ago.

Field observations and coral radiocarbon dating of excavated trench walls of the uplifted middle-to-late Holocene coral reef on Kodakara Island show evidence of the existence of disturbances with hiatuses in coral reef growth and coral composition differences before and after the disturbances. The scientists found three disconformities in the reef occurred at approximately 5.9 to 5.8, 4.4 to 4.0, and 3.3 to 3.2 cal yr B.P.

The abstract also writes (emphasis added):

The coral composition clearly changed before and after the disturbances, with gradually reduced diversity resulting in a reef dominated by acroporiid coral. These data led to the hypothesis that coral reef growth was interrupted by suborbital millennial-scale global climate change induced by persistent solar activity during the Holocene in high-latitude coral reefs, such as those in the Northwest Pacific, leading to low diversity in the reefs that experienced each disturbance. Our results may provide new insights into theories of past and future coral reef formation worldwide.

As recent studies have shown, the new study shows that climate changes occurred globally and cyclicly – in sync with the 1000-year solar cycles. Die kalte Sonne writes:

The scientists found by comparison with other studies that the coral die-off events occurred in times when the current weakened and the ocean apparently cooled off because of the cold Asian winter monsoons, and did so to the point that the corals could no longer live. Interesting is the fact that the cooling phases were synchronous with solar activity minima, the solar quiet periods of the combined Hallstatt and Eddy cycles (see Chapter 3 in “Die kalte Sonne“).”

Once again the claims made in the skeptic book “Die kalte Sonne” are reinforced. Critics are left standing there without an explanation. The results of the Japanese study also add yet more evidence that cooling periods are global, and not just isolated local events. Die kalte Sonne summarizes:

One has to be permitted to ask in what magical way the sun was able to have this enormous impact on the climate. When one believes the claims made by the last IPCC report, then this in fact has to be a miracle. According to the IPCC, the climatic impact of the known solar cycles is ‘negligible’ and is only a couple of tenths of a degree, which is in stark contradiction to the real geological findings from various regions all over the globe. Now that the IPCC is just working on its latest report, don’t you think they would correct this obvious error? You guessed wrong! As we have learned, the IPCC has reduced the sun’s impact on climate even more.

They can try of course. But as the science mounts with every passing study, the dogmatic warmists are going to look more and more like the lone fool at the town square that everyone ignores.

 

Northeast African Continent Begins Death Spiral As French Scientists Identify Wrong Volcano!

The media reported that because of ash from the 1625m Dubbi volcano in Eritrea in northeastern Africa being blown 15 km up into the atmosphere, Hillary Clinton had to change her travel plans. So did dozens of other flights have to be cancelled.

Satellite photos now show huge clouds of ash blotting out the sky, see left, centre.

The volcano began erupting on Saturday evening – the first time since 1861, the German daily Bild reported here.

But as Der Spiegel reports, French scientists had misidentified the volcano. It wasn’t Dubbi after all. Der Spiegel writes:

The VAAC volcano monitoring center in south-France Toulouse, which monitors the air space over North Africa, made the volcano Dubbi responsible. But a closer assessment of the satellite photos now show: Not Dubbi, but the Nabro volcano exploded – for geologists that is sensational.

The 2200-meter high Nabro has not erupted since man can remember, it’s been asleep since at least 10,000 years.”

The instability of the magma in the region and the eruption are now so great that the eruption was associated with an earthquake that measured 5.7 on the Richter scale. Der Spiegel writes that VAAC experts were stunned that Nabro had erupted because they thought the volcano was inactive. The huge amounts of ash first obscured the real source (Nabro).

The region is collapsing rapidly

Geologists say that the Eritrea region of Africa is now crumbling rapidly, and soon will be taken over by the Red Sea. We wrote about this back in Jaunary here.

The area between the dotted lines could be submerged – soon! (Photo source: Wikipedia.

The reason for the East African collapse is explained here in a Nature report titled: The protracted development of the continent–ocean transition in Afar

Nabro’s eruption coincides with the South American Puyehue eruption. The Caulle chain of volcanoes in the Chilean Andes 1600 kilometers southwest of Buenos Aires has been spewing a huge amount of ash up to 10 kilometers into the atmosphere since Saturday.

Although none of these volcanoes is large enough to impact the climate on its own, yet together and considering how much tectonic instability now seems to be at play, climatic changes due to these tectonic forces of nature seem to be more in the works. Expect more eruptions soon.

The ash spewed out thus far certainly will not help those betting on more warming, especially in combination with the sleepy sun and the multidecadal ocean cycles.

“Gateway To Hell” Under Extreme Pressure – Eruption Expected Soon, Writes Der Spiegel

The eruption of Grímsvötn on May 20, 2011 has produced a cloud of volcanic ash that shot up over 50,000 ft and has drifted over parts of Europe closing a number of major airports and creating air traffic havoc.

Now the online Der Spiegel reports today that another volcano, Hekla, is on the verge of exploding as well. Satellite altimetry measurements show that the mountain has swollen – more than it did right before it exploded the last time in 2000. Der Spiegel writes what scientists have found:

On the Hekla volcano they have discovered a 20 km wide swelling. Magma has risen up under the ground and is pushing the ground up, reports a group around Benedikt Ofeigsson of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik in the magazine ‘Journal of Geophysical Research. An eruption soon is ‘very likely,’ confirms vulcanologist Birger-Gottfried Lühr of the PotsdamGeosciences Research Centre.”

Hekla is right now under extreme pressure.

Is Hekla next? ‘If it keeps its rhythm of the last decades, then it is now due,’ says Lühr.

Instruments on the mountain show that Hekla has swollen up more than it’s last eruptions in 2000 and 1991.”

According to Wikipedia, during the Middle Ages, Icelanders called the volcano the “Gateway to Hell.” In January 2010 there were reports of patches near to the summit not covered with snow. Hekla had massive eruptions in 5050 BC, 3900 BC, 2310 BC and 950 BC, which threw about 7.3 km of volcanic rock into the atmosphere, placing its Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) at 5. This would have cooled temperatures in the northern parts of the globe for a few years afterwards.

After being dormant for 250 years, Hekla erupted again in 1104 AD with os VEI of 5. Hekla has also erupted every 10 years since 1970. Some eruptions had a VEI of 3, which sent ash 15 km into the atmosphere. If the scientists today are right, it could be a disruptive year for European air travellers.

Carbon Capture Sequestration Could Contaminate Berlin’s Water Supply

The warmist German klimaretter.info site has a piece about sequestraton of carbon dioxide, which reports that Swedish power company Vattenfalls plans have a CCS plant near Berlin ready by 2015.

The plant would remove CO2 from Vattenfall’s brown coal power plant and pump it into the earth for high-pressure underground storage. But an expert geological assessment shows that could lead to problems. According to klimaretter.info:

Storing carbon dioxide underground could however have negative impacts beyond Brandenburg. A geological expert assessment for the community of Barnim-Oderbruch made available to klimaretter.info states that because of the overpressure in the bedrock strata, a salinisation of groundwater has to be expected within a radius of 100 km from the injection borehole. That would affect Mecklenburg Western Pommerania and Poland.

That means the entire Berlin metropolitan area would be impacted. Geology expert Ralf Krupp studied the underground geology in the area and concludes that the ground structure may not be able to securely store the CO2 because the 20-meter salt layer is not thick enough, and so fears that the high pressure could lead salt water carrying strata to mix in with drinking water – causing it to become saline. Kilmaretter also writes:

Especially problematic for Krupp is that saltwater probably is laden with heavy metals. ‘This could be an acute hazard for many water utilities,’ the geologist descríbes.”

In the meantime Vattenfalls calls such scenarios “purely speculative” and that there a number of technical factors that have to be considered. Water utility companies, however, find the scenarios plausible and not without risk.

In the meantime, the uncertainty is already having a powerful impact on public opinion. Activist and cititens groups are already mobilising to stop the CCS technology from being employed not only near Berlin, but at a number of locations throughout Germany. So add another technology that is too risky to be used – along with nuclear power, GMO’s, high speed trains, coal power plants, shale gas, oil, internal combustion engines, bottled water, fireplaces, toilets…

Reading up on CCS technology, I find that it involves a lot work (consumption of energy) and will provide no benefit. Seems to be yet another superstition-driven folly. Watch this Alberta video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0i6dhEPSwU.

Earthquake Caused A Displacement Of Up To 27 Meters

The animated graphic below was created by geophysicist Joachim Saul from the Helmholtz Association GFZ Research Centre for Geosciences, read here and shows the sequence of quakes since March 9. The animated image is available at www.gfz-potsdam.de. Click the image to activate.

The GFZ press release writes:

It shows the earthquake activity in the region of Honshu, Japan, measured at the GFZ since 8 March 2011. After a seismically quiet 8th March, the morning (coordinated universal time UTC) of the March 9 began with an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 off the Japanese east coast, followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.

The morning of March 11 sees the earthquake disaster that triggered the devastating tsunami. This earthquake is followed by many almost severe aftershocks, two of which almost reach the magnitude 8. In the following time period the activity slowly subsides, and is dominated today (March 16) by relatively small magnitude 5 quakes, though several earthquakes of magnitude 6 are being registered on a daily basis.

By analysing over 500 GPS stations, the GFZ scientists Rongjiang Wang and Thomas Walter have found that horizontal displacements of up to five meters in an eastern direction occurred at the east coast of Japan. The cause lies in the earthquake zone, i.e. at the contact interface of the Pacific plate with Japan. Computer simulations of this surface show that an offset of up to 25 meters occurred during the earthquake.

Calculations of the GFZ modeling group headed by Stephan Sobolev even yielded a displacement of up to 27 meters and a vertical movement of seven meters. This caused an abrupt elevation in the deep sea, and thus triggered the tsunami. The images of the GPS displacement vectors and the computer simulations can also be found among the online material provided by the GFZ.

Already shortly after the quake Andrey Babeyko and Stephan Sobolev of the GFZ modeled the propagation and wave heights of the tsunami in the Pacific over the first 16 hours. The tremendous force of the earthquake is highlighted here, too: in the open Pacific, relatively large wave heights of over one meter were calculated, which agrees very well with the observations. How high the tsunami is piled up on the coast is largely determined by water depth and the shape of the coastline. The GFZ material also contains an image and an animation regarding this work.”

600 Million Hiroshima Bombs – 80 Years of Global Energy Usage In Just Minutes

Der Spiegel here gives us a good idea of the scale and magnitude of Japan’s massive Sendai earthquake, which weighed in at 9.0 on the Richter scale. It ought to remind some of us of nature’s fury and that we are powerless to steer it.

The earthquake occurred in the western Pacific Ocean, 130 km (81 mi) east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. Its epicenter was 373 km (232 mi) from Tokyo, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Massive energy

The earthquake opened up a 400 km long gash in the ocean floor, releasing a surface energy of 1.9×1017  joules (according to the USGS). The total energy released underground was about 205,000 times that on the surface.

This energy is equivalent to about 9.32 teratons of TNT, or approximately 600 million Hiroshima bombs, or about 80 years of global energy usage, estimated to be 4.74×1020 joules for the year of 2008 [Wikipedia]. That’s arguably more energy than what all of mankind has ever used so far.

Earth gets a facelift

All that energy gave the surface of the globe a facelift, literally. Wikipedia writes:

According to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the earthquake’s enormous strength shifted the Earth’s axis by 25 centimeters (9.8 in). This deviation led a number of small changes, including those to the length of a day and the tilt of the Earth. The speed of the Earth’s rotation increased, shortening the day by 1.6 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth’s mass.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey said that Honshu, the main island of Japan, was shifted 2.4 m (7.9 ft) toward the east. Researcher Lucy Jones said of the precise data, “The Japanese have the best seismic information in the world… This is overwhelmingly the best-recorded great earthquake ever.”

Der Spiegel lists the top 11 earthquakes measured since 1900; location, year and strength:

1. Valdivia, Chile – 1960 – 9.5
2. Prince William Sound, Alaska – 1964 – 9.2
3. West Sumatra – 2004 – 9.1
4. Japan -2011 – 9.0
5. Kamtschatka – 1952 – 9.0
6. Chile – 2010 – 8.8
7. Ecuador – 1906 – 8.8
8. Rat Islands, Alaska – 1965 – 8.7
9. North Sumatra – 2005 – 8.6
10. Assam – 1950 – 8.6
11. South Sumatra – 1957 – 8.6

Strangely these events are bunched in the 1950s – 60s and the 2000s.

The Sendai earthquake has also unleashed of tsunami of hysteria here in Germany, where many media outlets are busy quoting organizations like Greenpeace on the risks of atomic power. The earthquake obviously has driven another nail into nuclear energy’s coffin in Germany, having galvanised opposition even more. So forget nuclear energy in Germany in the future. The results of the upcoming state elections will show this.

Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_2011_earthquake

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UPDATE: Some of the earthquake energy data I mentioned above came from Wikipedia, and has mysteriously disappeared from their site.

Planet Earth Facing Real Major Threats: Apophis And Yellowstone

The chances are real, and both are threatening the planet Earth. Apophis and Yellowstone have been appearing in the media lately. The chances of a catastrophic event occurring in your lifetime are higher than you may think.

Illustration of an asteroid impacting the earth. (Source Wikipedia)

Apophis

Russian astronomers are predicting that the asteroid Apophis could collide with the planet earth on April 13, 2036, writes the online Voice of Russia.

Apophis’s length was earlier estimated to be 450 metres, but a better estimate based on spectroscopic observations at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii puts it at 350 metres. That’s still a big rock to be hit by.

‘Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000 – 38,000 kilometers on April 13, 2029. Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036,’ Professor Leonid Sokolov of the St. Petersburg State University said.”

According to Wikipedia, NASA has estimated the energy that Apophis would release if it struck Earth as the equivalent of 510 megatons on TNT. By comparison the impacts of the Tunguska event is estimated to be in the 3–10 megaton range. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was the equivalent of roughly 200 megatons, and the Chicxulub impact, believed by many to be a significant factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs, has been estimated to have released about as much energy as 100 million megatons. 

The bad news is that an impact by Apophis would destroy an area of thousands of square kilometres, and seriously disrupt the climate for a few years. The good news is that it would be unlikely to have long-lasting global effects. Also the chances of Apophis actually striking the earth are still remote.

Yellowstone

The other potential natural catastrophe is the Yellowstone super-volcano, reports National Geographic here. Yellowstone’s caldera covers a 40 by 60 kilometer swath of Wyoming, is an ancient crater formed after the last big blast, some 640,000 years ago. The magnitude of an eruption estimated by scientists would be 1000 times more powerful than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980, and would lead to dire consequences for the globe.

See: When Yellowstone Explodes in National Geographic magazine. Here’s how the last one looked:

Scientists calculate that the pillar of ash from the Yellowstone explosion rose some 100,000 feet, leaving a layer of debris across the West all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Pyroclastic flows—dense, lethal fogs of ash, rocks, and gas, superheated to 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit—rolled across the landscape in towering gray clouds. The clouds filled entire valleys with hundreds of feet of material so hot and heavy that it welded itself like asphalt across the once verdant landscape.”

The Yellowstone crater today is rising at a record speed, forced up by a huge magma reservoir that is thought to be about 10 km below the surface, see below. It has risen 25 centimeters since 2004. NatGeo writes that roughly 3,000 earthquakes occur in Yellowstone each year.

But between December 26, 2008, and January 8, 2009, there were about 900 earthquakes, and the rate of rise then slowed for a time. Scientists believe the earthquakes may help to release pressure on the magma reservoir below the surface by allowing fluids to escape, and thus relieve some pressure.

Yellowstone super volcano. (Source: Wikipedia)

Yellowstone erupted 3 times in the last 2 .1 million years. The last eruption was about 640,000 years ago. German online FOCUS magazine writes:

 The Yellowstone volcano is considered to be dangerous because on a geological timescale, it is due to erupt.”

Worrisome odds

Yellowstone is not the only super-volcano threatening the planet. A FOCUS map shows 6 others. Although the chances are small that any one in particular will erupt soon – maybe 1 in a 1000, the odds increase to worrisome levels when all the catastrophe possibilities get factored in. If one identifies 10 potential catastrophic events, each with the odds of occurrence being 1 in 1000, then it means the odds of one happening reduce to 1 in a 100. That starts to get worrisome. It means there’s a pretty good chance one catastrophe will occur in the next 100 years.

People who were born just recently have a pretty good chance of witnessing such an event in their lifetime. And the longer the planet goes without a catastrophe occurring, the greater the chances become.

Red Sea About To Flood Into Africa As Continent Shatters

No. This event is not caused by rising sea levels set off by man at the end of a long climate dynamics chain. But warmists are are welcome to blame that on man too, as desperate as they may be.

Hat tip: DirkH

Geological events often take their time, where a few millimeters per year is fast. But in this case, Mother Nature appears to have hit the super fast-forward button, demonstrating her awesome power.

Erte Ale volcano awakes from it's slumber. Photo source: filippo_jean (Wikipedia)

Volcano Erta Ale (above) in northeastern Ethiopia has begun to gurgle and widespread seismic activity threatens to redefine the map (see below) of the African east near the Red Sea – and to do so very quickly. Der Spiegel (in English) reports on dramatic geological events now unfolding.

The area between the dotted lines could be submerged. (Photo source: Wikipedia.

Der Spiegel headlines and writes:

Violent Seismic Activity Tearing Africa in Two

Researchers say that lava in the region is consistent with magma normally seen on the sea floor — and that water will ultimately cover the desert.

The earth is in upheaval in northeastern Africa, and the region is changing quickly. The desert floor is quaking and splitting open, volcanoes are boiling over, and seawaters are encroaching upon the land. Africa, researchers are certain, is splitting apart at a rate rarely seen in geology.”

Click here for an outstanding photo gallery.

For now, the only thing holding back the Red Sea water from the Danakil Depression (see following graphic) are hills, and they appear to be sinking quickly, writes Der Spiegel.

Afar Drape. The Danakil Depression is located in the upper center. Graphic source: Wikipedia).

And now that the Erta Ale volcano nearby is erupting – something no one anticipated, it could disrupt that last barrier that keeps the Red Sea at bay. Der Spiegel:

The magma coming out of Erta Ale has the same chemical composition as the kind that emerges from deep-sea volcanoes. The entire region increasingly resembles an ocean floor — one without water.”

Magma typically seen under the Red Sea is flowing underneath the continent, and eventually something has to give. Fissures are appearing at many locations in the region. According to geologist Tim Wright, fellow at the University of Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment:

The hills could sink in a matter of days”

Tectonic activity has increased recently not only in that African region, but has also spread into Saudi Arabia. De Spiegel quotes Oxford University’s David Ferguson on his predictions for volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the region over the next decade, saying they will…:

  …become of increasingly large magnitude.”

Study Shows Half Of Warming Since 1980 Due To Clear Skies

Hat-tip M White.Spaceweather.com has an excellent report today called: ALL-CLEAR IN THE STRATOSPHERE about volcanic aerosols and their impact on the earth’s climate and cooling. Turns out that they have a far greater impact than expected.

Today the earth’s stratosphere is as clean as it’s been in more than 50 years. What does that mean? It means more solar radiation can reach the earth, and is thus contributing to warming. The stratosphere is too clean – because of the lack of volcanic activity over the last 18 years. According to climate scientist Richard Keen of the University of Colorado:

Since 1996, lunar eclipses have been bright, which means the stratosphere is relatively clear of volcanic aerosols. This is the longest period with a clear stratosphere since before 1960.”

Keen examines lunar eclipses and the brightness of the umbra to assess the stratosphere. Here’s how it works:

When the stratosphere is clear, the umbra (and therefore, the eclipsed Moon) is relatively bright. On the other hand, if the atmospheric lens that illuminates the Moon becomes dirty enough, light will be blocked and the eclipse will appear dark.”

A very clean stratosphere leads to warming

Looking at eclipses of the moon allows you to assess the cleanliness of the stratosphere, or its dirtiness, which plays a major role in global temperatures. If the stratosphere is dirty, like after a massive volcanic eruption, then sunlight gets blocked out, and cooling ensues.

But if the stratosphere is too clean, as is often the case after a long period without a major eruption, then the stratosphere becomes clear and thus more sunlight reaches the earth. This results in warming. Well, Keen says there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1992 and so the stratosphere is very clear today, the cleanest it’s been since 1960. That means more radiation – and more warming.

The comparison of images of the 1992 eclipse to 2003 shows that the stratosphere was very dirty in 1992 after the eruption of Pinatubo. In 2003 it was quite clear.

Dr Keen’s presentation

Dr Keen has an excellent presentation up: Volcanoes and Climate Change since 1980. According to the presentation, the earth has warmed about 0.25°C since 1980. The question is why? Keen suggests it’s in large part due to the lack of volcanic eruptions. To find out more, he conducted the lunar aerosol climate experiment (LUNACE).

A lunar eclipse occurs about once a year. By looking at the umbra, scientists can check volcanic impact on the stratosphere every year. Keen provides a historical background on this in Part 3, how it works (Part 4), and calculations (Part 5) in his presentation.

Interesting is that a major eruption that dirties the stratosphere has occurred about every 10 years during the 20th century. The last one was Pinatubo about 18 years ago. So we are a bit overdue now. The stratosphere is much too clean. Too much light is reaching the earth, and so it’s getting warmer.

Keen writes in his presentation:

Since 1997, when Pinatubo’s aerosol settled out, the stratosphere has been exceptionally clear.

In Part 6, Climate) Dr Keen sums it up.

Half or more of the warming since 1995 may due to the lack of large volcanic eruptions.

That’s about 0.13°C. Keen writes:

The remaining climate change is presumably caused by other forces, such as solar variability, El Nino, Atlantic AMO warming in 1995, lower Albedo and maybe even a little greenhouse gas.

So many factors out there that get ignored. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the climate modellers. A little advice: You’ll never get the models right unless you weight the factors correctly. Start by cutting CO2 by 90% or so. And don’t forget the clouds this time!

Merapi Mega-Eruption Warnings Continue, AP Reports. Experts Are Uneasy

An AP video report here in German reports on the biggest Merapi eruption in 100 years, and what potentially lurks.

More than 122 people have been killed thus far as the volcano continues to blast clouds of ash into the atmosphere. Over 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area so far. Experts are uneasy. At the 3o sec. mark, the AP video reports:

In the meantime, speculation of a possible gigantic eruption is making the rounds. Although Merapi does not show it, there’s a risk of a mega-eruption at any time. A collapse of the mountain could cause movement of the huge magma reserve underneath. If the heavy rock mass above it were to disintegrate, the magma would be freed and could be blown out. But no expert wanted to make an exact prognosis.

As reported earlier here at this blog, experts estimate that a reservoir of magma three times the size of what was ejected by the mighty Tambora eruption of 1815 remains trapped under immense pressure underneath Merapi. Tambora had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 7 and led to global cooling, the year without a summer.

For now, it’s wait and see with Merapi.

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The following video shows what kind of ticking “time bombs with hidden timers” that lurk beneath us.