By Lynley Hargreaves 21/04/2016

Professor James Renwick
Professor James Renwick

With sixteen percent of New Zealanders living in the coastal zone, and two thirds in areas prone to flooding, most of us are likely to feel the watery effects of climate change. A new Royal Society of New Zealand report, Climate Change Implications for New Zealand, says your local council should be thinking about this. And they are, according to panel chair Professor James Renwick. He says that his is the easy job – telling councils what the science is. Councils have the hard job of figuring out what to do about it.

The report seems to have mainly considered water impacts from climate change – sea level rise, flooding. Why is that?

We spent quite a bit of time talking about what we were going to cover in the report – things that are important for New Zealanders, and water is important for us in so many ways. Some areas have been quite well covered elsewhere, e.g. there has been quite a lot written about agriculture and climate change already. So when we came up with our list of risk factors for New Zealand, part of the aim was to shine a light on areas that haven’t had so much public coverage. Sea level rise is pretty well known, but what’s going on in the ocean and with ecosystems hasn’t had so much press.

Issues around water will be the major stressor for societies everywhere. Just about everything we do is reliant on water – drinking supplies, irrigation for agriculture, marine fisheries, etc. Water pervades everything. A few commentators have said that wars in the 21st century will be fought over water. I’m not sure we’ve seen that yet but there’s pretty good evidence that the recent drought in Syria helped precipitate the war there.

Ministry for the Environment guidance tells Councils to consider the consequences of 80 centimetres of sea level rise by 2100, though it’s obvious from your report it actually depends on how emissions evolve. Is it really realistic to expect Regional Councils to look that far into the future?

Definitely. Long term plans go out only 10 years, but infrastructure lasts for many decades, perhaps a century or more. District and Regional Councils are thinking pretty hard about these issues. I’ve recently been speaking about climate change and sea level rise to the Waimakariri District Council, as part of their hazard planning process. I know that Kāpiti Coast District and Greater Wellington are also thinking about these things. The level of planning does vary around the country though. There really isn’t coordination from central government at the moment, which I think is not helpful.

One of the questions I was asked by the people in the Waimakariri District was that they’ve been told to expect one metre of sea level rise and how realistic is that? I told them that one metre is absolutely realistic – it may not be there on 1 January 2100, but if it isn’t, just give it a few years. Sea levels will continue to rise for a long time even if we scale back emissions, it’s just a question of the rate of rise.

If we don’t scale back the emissions sea level rise could be pretty open ended, if the big ice sheets really start to melt. But mainstream thinking is still for up to one metre or so this century, plus more after 2100. Even if we do commit to losing the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, it would still take several hundred years to melt. If that happens, then dealing with the idea of 5-10 m or more of sea level rise – something that hasn’t been seen in the whole of human history – is going to be a huge issue for the global community, obviously not something a regional council can face by itself.

What is going to cause more trouble first – sea level rise or flooding? Or will it be a combination of both, for particular areas?

Professor James Renwick
Photo credit: Victoria University of Wellington

This is an area of active research. For instance, in the MBIE-funded Climate Change Impacts and Implications programme, there has been quite a lot of work on some of these questions, for instance with a focus on the Hutt River. Some detailed modelling has been done for a few locations at least. There are also plans to develop a set of new regional sea level rise projections for New Zealand, using improved digital elevation models. That proposal builds in part on the recent report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on sea level rise.

Whether river flooding or sea level rise is more important varies around the country, but one or both will affect a large majority of the New Zealand population into the future.

Will warmer temperatures change patterns like the Southern Annular Mode? And how would that affect New Zealand?

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has been trending towards its positive phase, where storms and the strongest westerly winds contract towards the pole. For New Zealand that means more settled and drier weather like we had this past summer, with storms tending to stay south of the country.

The SAM is driven by the difference in temperature between the equator and the pole, and in the Southern Hemisphere that’s been increasing. That’s partly because while the tropics to the north of us have been warming, the oceans to the south, and most of Antarctica, haven’t been warming much. The southern oceans are very turbulent and good at absorbing heat and transporting it to depth, so the deeper ocean around Antarctica has been heating up but the surface hasn’t. The net result is an increase in the north-south temperature difference felt by the atmosphere. But the main driver behind the trend towards the positive SAM is actually the ozone hole. Taking ozone away from the stratosphere over the pole cools the atmosphere there, so that increases the north-south temperature difference too. The ozone effect has been stronger than the greenhouse gas effect over the last 40 years or so.

The complicating factor is that the ozone hole is now recovering – it is expected to recover completely in about 50 years or so. As that happens, the polar air in the stratosphere warms, which would decrease the temperature difference between the tropics and the South Pole. Nobody is sure just how that’s going to play out, compared to greenhouse warming. This was discussed in the latest IPCC report; the conclusion is that the effect of the recovering ozone hole will probably cancel out the effect on the SAM of greenhouse gas increases for the next 50 years or so. If greenhouse gas concentrations are still increasing in another 50 years (and I really hope they aren’t) we’d start to see the upward trend in the SAM resuming. If the SAM continues its positive trend, the effect on New Zealand would be towards less rainfall and calmer conditions – but the SAM is just one component of our weather and there will always be lots of variability from day to day and week to week.

Thinking about the SAM, ozone depletion and greenhouse gas increase and how it all plays out over New Zealand illustrates why we can’t be so certain about regional climate change. The global-scale temperature increases and broad patterns of rainfall change are fairly well understood. At smaller regional scales many local factors come into play and the range of possible future outcomes is a lot broader. For example, although we can say that a warmer atmosphere has more moisture in it, generally making rain events heavier, we can’t say exactly how this will affect regional rainfall variations around New Zealand, as the patterns of wind changes across the country play a huge role.

You also work on Antarctic sea ice?

Yes, I’ve been drawn to thinking about it as there’s been a curious upward trend in sea ice around Antarctica in the last few decades. It’s odd to have more ice in a warming world! Being able to model the trend properly has been a big challenge, and my recent Marsden grant is trying to address that. As the oceans and atmosphere warm you’d expect that the ice would have more trouble forming. But melting ice sheets also means more fresh water, which freezes more easily than salt water. So that’s definitely part of the reason there is more sea ice. But how much of a part of it, nobody knows right now. Changes in wind patterns over the past few decades have obviously also played a role. James Hansen led a paper recently saying fresh water input from Antarctica is the main reason for the sea ice increase. He and his co-authors argue that the rate of melting is going to increase rapidly so we’ll see even more sea ice around the Antarctic. I’m not entirely persuaded that melt rates will increase so quickly, or that the input of fresh water is such a dominant reason for the sea ice trend.

Around the Antarctic Coast there are significant impacts from El Niño and Southern Annular Mode changes. The question I’d like to answer is when we’ll see a turnaround in sea ice extent in Antarctica – when will it stop increasing? Obviously it can’t just go on expanding forever. In fact in 2015 the sea ice didn’t expand so much in the winter, and that appears to be the result of the big El Niño event we’ve had the past year.

The question of what effect Antarctic sea ice has on us is another interesting one – it seems to help define the strength of the westerlies. I have a Master’s student looking at the extent of Antarctic sea ice and the location and strength of storms and how that affects rainfall over New Zealand. A colleague at the Greater Wellington Regional Council told me of a farmer he knows who keeps track of Antarctic sea ice extent because it affects how much rain he gets. We were excited to hear about this and must arrange to meet up!

These interviews are supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand, which promotes, invests in and celebrates excellence in people and ideas, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

0 Responses to “Floods for you; sea level rise for me”

  • Why does the Royal society quote the satellite data for sea level, but not for temperature? If you are talking about how it affects New Zealand coastlines, wouldn’t the gold standard be to actually use data from the tide gauges that are at all the ports and have records for over 100 years?

  • In reply to Chris Morris I would like to quote my letter to the Otago Daily Times 5th Dec. 2015.

    “Readers must have noticed the deniers are claiming Otago harbour tide records show a rise of only 12.8cm in 100 years. One wonders how they would (independently) know this given the paper published in 2010 by John Hannah titled “The Difficulties in Using Tide Gauges to monitor Long-Term Sea Level Change.” This paper was peer reviewed, is frequently cited, and was selected by the International Federation of Surveyors (F.I.G) as article of the month and demonstrates conclusively the unreliability of New Zealand historic tide gauge readings, particularly Dunedin’s.
    Australian tide gauge records (80 of them) and much more reliable reveal an accelerated rise of 3.2 mm per year and expected to double by 2100. On top of this we have our own everyday visible evidence of accelerated coastal erosion in and around our own harbour. Who would you believe?”

  • Stuart
    It would help your case if you actually bothered to read the paper you quoted. It says this
    “Conversely, at Dunedin, it has only become clear recently that certain local bench marks are subsiding while the wharf structures remain stable. The 2004 analysis of long-term sea level change, which assumed both were subsiding, gave a result of a sea level rise of 0.94 mm/yr (Hannah, 2004). The most recent analysis (with this erroneous assumption corrected), now shows a sea level rise of 1.3 mm/yr – a very significant difference. ”
    Now where did you get your 3.2mm for Dunedin from?

    • if you had bothered to read remarks properly you would have realised the 3.2 is extrapolated from Australian readings. There are no reliable long term readings for Dunedin that I know of but
      A) this is a world wide phenomenon
      with regional variations due to currents and prevailing winds and
      B) the slow but inexorable increases in peak and king tides in relation to existing old structures such as roading, boat sheds and even cottages make for a clear case for change.

  • Stuart
    You seem oblivious to the facts. When confronted with the actual data that you referenced (peer reviewed remember), you drop that and talk about an extrapolated model. Well go to NOAA and check the tidal data for long term benchmarks in Australia. You only have 10 years of satellite records that has many issues with its accuracy and correction factors. Unfortunately for you, in the real world, data trumps models.
    And where is your evidence for tidal range increasing – don’t tell me, its a model.

    • Unfortunately for you Chris I am referring to actual physical tide Guages In Australia and elsewhere which in fact go back to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. I didn’t mentioned models but the scientific enterprise requires models all the time. It is not possible to make useful predictions including novel predictions without them and that is surely the ultimate test of scientific explanations. Yours is the usual strategy used by deniers who focus on minutiae that can be construed as uncertain or flawed. We’ve seen this strategy many times Chris by the usual online cabal of deniers. I doubt if many uninformed people would be reading this blog and so were are forced to conclude your vexatious disputation is an exercise in narcissism, a not uncommon motivation in the broad category of contrarianism.

  • Now I know you are talking shit, Stuart, because here are the Australian tide gauges records
    And note they say the average annual seal level rise is 1.7 to 1.8mm a year, with graphs showing flat lines for 150 years.
    You can find more complete records if you actually bothered to look.
    And with regards to models, here is what AR5 said on them:
    “Many semi-empirical models projections of global mean sea level rise are higher than process-based model projections, but there is low agreement in semi-empirical model projections, and no consensus about their reliability. ”
    So basically you can’t make predictions from them because they are wrong.
    I can take it from your bout of name calling that the actual evidence doesn’t support your case.

  • Stuart says (to Chris): “Yours is the usual strategy used by deniers who focus on minutiae that can be construed as uncertain or flawed”

    My reply (on behaldf of Chris): Yours is the usual strategy of people with an agenda who focus on vague big assertions with no grounding in actual evidence (which is typically dismissed as “mere minutiae”).

  • Ive changed my mind. With the appearance of islands in the South China seas it is obvious sea levels are dropping!

  • No Stuart, you haven’t changed your mind, but your humour is appreciated.
    My logic for my comments in condensed form is thus:
    The graph that the Royal Society shows that seal level rising is from AR5 TFE2 Fig 2. If you look at TFE 2 Fig 1, (a) you see the actual sea level data from Church and White (2011) against the models. They use a mean of the models to disguise the fact that some of them are up to 50mm out in the period 1960:2010. The fit of even the mean is not good; in fact the naïve model of linear rise for the period 1900 to 2010 is better. They do a massive adjustment (no Antarctic PGs) to try and get a better fit. In (b) they show the rate of rise of the models against the observational data. There is no fit in the period 1910 to 1980. In c) they also truncate the graph starting at 1960, so they hide the big rise in the period 1920 to 1960 – if it isn’t there, you don’t have to explain it. From then on, in their comparison graphs they truncate the period even further to 1993 start and only use the satellite data, despite that not fitting the observed data. They then claim a model fit. The satellite data is shown here:
    The data goes up to current. If you look at the graph on the bottom right, you will see that the sea level rise has been very uneven but there is a big rise centred on the Solomon Islands . The rise has been in the order of 20cm from the graph scale.
    However, if you look at the sea level data for Honiara here , you can see that the mean sea level has fluctuated up to 40cm over the same period, but it is now back to where it was in 1993. There is no attempt to explain the difference. In these circumstances, one has to call into question the veracity of the satellites information, as the sea levels for Nauru and other places in the hot spots show the same trend as Honiara.
    If inconvenient data that contradicts the case is disregarded or just ignored by the report, why should people listen to the rest of the message?
    To give a personal example of the real world which most of us inhabit, even if I want to get just $100k of capital spending, my report is picked over by a “red” team. If they can find a fault or discrepancy that can’t be explained, it gets rejected. The Royal Society paper wants changes made that will cost NZ billions of dollars, yet who is checking the logic or data behind their argument? Peer review in the academic world is a joke. I am both an author and reviewer for peer reviewed journals so I know what gets through and how poor the review process can really be. If you want robust policy papers, you need all the data and assumptions, Waving your hands and saying “trust me” doesn’t cut it.

  • Author and Peer reviewer are we. Well I’ve found a number of Chris Morris’. One of them was the recently deceased leader of the Headhunters!
    You show me your credentials. Your claims look very similar to postings by WUWT and I know how much credibility he and his contributors are. Even established academics like Bob Carter have been found with ink in their fingers. There are all sorts of apparent anomalies in satellite measurements. I’m no expert but it is a relatively new science and sea level rise is disproportionately distributed around the planet and subjected even to seasonal variations. It’s an easy matter for obsessive number crunchers to selectively misrepresent long term trends. Politics is behind it of course and in that game anything goes. The long term trends, sea level rise, glacial recession, temperature trends, polar ice, greenhouse gas properties, increasing CO2 levels and isotopic identification with fossil fuels, acidification of the oceans, the Laws of Thermodynamics and changes to biota around the planet. All these things explain the mechanics of climate change and the anthropogenic contribution this year round. Moreover when it comes to intellectual integrity and the lack of it, a consistent stream of whistleblowers and historic records unearthed, not to mention the track record of consultants and certain Think (spin) tanks and the source of their funding tells me everything I need to know. Just the outright misrepresentation and lies that certain media such as the Daily Mirror and Telegraph among established media with their misquotations and selective misrepresentation of scientific reports amounts to the smoking gun that points to the sociopathic denial fraternity. Our own country had anthropogenic climate change written all over it from the brainless over harvesting of forest and the gormless extraction of coal when the smarties were hurriedly exiting the industry world wide (Cargills). The present state of dairy farming in this country shows the stupidity of the moleskin- Act party clowns you are in league with.

    RealClimate » Blog Archive » A sea level Golden Horseshoe nominee*

  • I hope one of your little accolytes on campus does a screen save before the moderator erases me. But that’s ok. Saves me the time and trouble of corresponding with you personally. Events will soon overtake you and your mates.

  • Addressing no one in particular I can understand young and not so young morally motivated idealists approaching their particular specialty that might have a bearing on the larger issue of climate change with some excessive zeal (“The seas will boil”) because we know AGCC is like a vast oil tanker (doubly appropriate metaphor) that will take a considerable time to alter its speed and direction. Vast numbers of humanity and the liveable spaces on this planet are threatened with extinction. One has to ask, what kind of moral and intellectual turpitude would resort to clever clogs machinations to sow confusion and doubt wherever possible particularly among those who have no easy access to the scientific literature and do not even possess a capacity to think in scientific terms, thanks to an insidious relativism that has crept into the academic and educational world mainly from misguided political agendas from the arts and humanities circa March 68.
    The potential catastrophe that faces us is on such a vast scale might well constitute a new genetic bottle neck for our species. It will certainly constitute a major extinction episode in the history of this planet. That has already started. So I can understand the impulse to iron out uncertainties and doubts on the small scale. That is the cusp of the problem. Scientists and intellectuals with undoubted integrity have to sometimes abandon fine grained myopic precision and political correctness and as quickly and reliably as possible identify and represent the long term trends. This can easily give rise to something resembling confirmation bias. But you are damned if you do and doubly damned if you don’t. This creates material for the unscrupulous to play their little doubt games. All strategies I remind you that have been found in archived material in a number of so-called “think tanks” who have a proven history of this kind of modus operandi and in fact recommend it to their astro-turfed offspring. The mainstream media and many young people I meet constitute a tidal surge that mounts ever higher (another potent metaphor I hope) that will turn the political tide. But I remind you, responsible writers are increasingly linking contemporary violence and unrest, not just in the Middle East and not just to emperial shenanigans by the great powers, but to climate change. Do the Laws of Thermodynamics extend to the bio- and noo-spheres? To the extent human culture and practice is shaped by environment, I would say yes!

  • Stuart
    So far I have presented data from NOAA & BoM, Comments and graph info from AR5 and the paragraph from the peer reviewed paper the letter to the editor you posted without even bothering to check. Real bunch of right wing thinktanks there. In response, it has been nothing but arm waving and ad-homs from you. Now, it is all loony conspiracy theory stuff. If they are paying me, please tell them the cheques must have got lost in the post.
    From all your postings, it is obvious that you are nothing but a XXX [words removed by moderator] who has little or no real scientific understanding, and who can only spout vacuous teeshirt slogans and pop psychology. When confronted by inconvenient facts ( seal level at Dunedin still rising by more than 3mm is it?) it is all name calling and bluster. Despite your stupid accusation, you can’t even show where I have misquoted anyone. I will give you a hint – I didn’t. It was verbatim from the original reports. Unlike you, I don’t need to make things up.
    Oh, by the way, my expertise is in applied thermodynamics.

  • That being the case there’s no point in continuing this pointless debate.

  • technical Support Engineer, Huston Texas. Oil!
    Well there you are. And what do you know about climate science and more importantly, where do your loyalties lie.

  • Wrong again Stuart. The spelling should have shown that I’m a NZer, but then working in facts was never your strong point was it.

  • Chris Morris says: 21/04/2016 at 5:23 pm
    Why does the Royal society quote the satellite data for sea level, but not for temperature? If you are talking about how it affects New Zealand coastlines, wouldn’t the gold standard be to actually use data from the tide gauges that are at all the ports and have records for over 100 years?

    The simple answer is the satellites do not measure temperature, thermometers do; tide gauges do not measure sea level, satellites do.

    Oceans are connected and the level anywhere depends on where the water moves with the forces acting on it. Even measuring the tides accurately, which old gauges did not, it takes years to extract a mean sea level.

  • No Dennis
    Tide gauges actually measure the seal level in the coastal regions where it actually affects people. There is so much regional variance that the average is meaning less in working out local responses. For areas like the Mississippi delta, the localized subsidence means there is rapid sea encroachment that would be best dealt with by abandonment. For areas like the Baltic, they have to dredge to keep shipping channels open. ChCh had a sea level rise because land dropped in the earthquakes. However, Napier and Wellington both gained substantial land in their last big earthquakes. That is why places have to deal with a location by location response. One size does not fit all.
    With regards the satellite data, there are serious issues which everyone glosses over. For instance, why did the average sea level show about an 8mm drop between about 2010 and 2012? With tide gauges, the drops can often be explained by trade winds and AMO. It can’t for averages. With specific locations as I describe above, the satellite data doesn’t match the tide gauges. For those sites, which one is wrong?

  • Tide gauges measure tides; old instruments very poorly.
    Peter U. Clark, John A. Church, Jonathan M. Gregory, Anthony J. Payne
    Recent Progress in Understanding and Projecting Regional and Global Mean Sea Level Change

    Current annual loss ice Greenland 300 Gt. Arctic is warming rapidly.

    Present CO2 is high. When CO2 was high in the past sea levels were high. So the question is not how but when.

    We are in trouble.

    Build on low land. As with leaky homes, others will bail out the foolish. Literally!

  • Believe it or not Dennis, sea level is just the average of tides and the tidal gauges do both measure accurately and have a very long history – over 200 years in some places.
    So what if Greenland is losing 300Gtpa (which was only the top of the range of the GRACE data and has now stabilized out at a much lower number ) – how much is East Antarctica gaining? And how much does Greenland contribute to sea level rise?
    With regards to the paper you referenced, most of their data comes from models. If you read Church & White they showed that the tidal data plus GIA matched the satellite in the 1990 to 2008 data and they state.
    “The interannual variability is mostly less than the one standard deviation uncertainty estimates, which range from ~25 mm in 1880 to a minimum of ~6 mm in 1988 (as shown in Fig. 5, where the yearly GMSL time series is plotted over the envelope of smoothed (±3 year boxcar) 1 standard deviation limits). However, there are a number of features which are comparable to/larger than the uncertainty estimates. Firstly, there is a clear increase in the trend from the first to the second half of the record; the linear trend from 1880 to 1935 is 1.1 ± 0.7 mm year−1 and from 1936 to the end of the record the trend is 1.8 ± 0.3 mm year−1. The period of relatively rapid sea-level rise commencing in the 1930s ceases abruptly in about 1962 after which there is a fall in sea level of over 10 mm over 5 years. Starting in the late 1960s, sea level rises at a rate of almost 2.4 mm year−1 for 15 years from 1967 and at a rate of 2.8 ± 0.8 mm year−1 from 1993 to the end of the record. There are brief interruptions in the rise in the mid 1980s and the early 1990s.”
    If one takes GIA out of the tidal data, as the risk of sea level rise is relative to the land it would flood, not an absolute datum, then it is all about 2mm a year. The effects of earthquakes and volcanism are a lot more of a real concern to NZ not some GIGO model.
    Rather than just throw more modelling papers at me – try explaining why the satellite data shows PNG and the Solomons have had a large sea level rise but the tidal data doesn’t.

  • Chris (and others) like to hark on about models and their inherent or supposed unreliability. I’ve bumped into uninformed sceptics forever spouting “well it’s just a model after all”. The fact of the matter is if we want to plan for our long term welfare extrapolations from past and present information (such as it is) is unavoidable. There are many differences between Arctic and Antarctic conditions. Disputing the AGW thesis by raving on about partial increases in surface ice in the Antarctic gives the game away really. Selective evidence is indicative of selection bias which indicates either cognitive limitations or another agenda entirely. Talking of Cambridge “experts” I have noted a number of them have received prizes from Templeton. The one thing they seem to have in common is an uncanny ability to factor in theological considerations when prize money is at stake, often at the end of their academic careers. Well you would wouldn’t you? Climate Conversation dot org may be running out of believers. Even a casual acquaintance with weather and the seasons suggests something is going on. Rightly or wrongly busy people getting on with their lives do notice the status and reputations of the affirmative team. They do notice the almost daily reporting of record temperatures and extreme weather events. I’ve noticed the denial camp don’t dwell on local observable glacial recession.

  • Stuart I see you have returned to your ranting and namecalling sessions again despite saying six months ago it was a pointless debate – displaying projection perhaps or like last time, still living in a fact free world?.

    • You should get a real job Chris. You must spend half your day checking out your favourite blogging sites.

  • You are back in projection again Stuart – unlike you, I have a real job but then name calling is your stock in trade.
    Going back to your 8:58 post, time based models need a calibration and a validation period before they can be used for projections. Most of the GCM models used have a so- so fit to the data in the calibration and a poor fit in the validation, a lot of which overlaps the calibration period. The models can’t even get the absolute temperatures of the earth correct.
    Yet we are supposed to believe their projections?
    And who are the Cambridge experts or Templeton?
    With regards your comments about weather, remember the saying attributed to Mark Twain but probably really Herbertson – climate is what people expect, weather is what they get. And what extremes in weather has NZ had in the last say 5 years? With regards to glaciers, When Captain Cook came to NZ, The Fox and Franz were down by the State Highways. In the 30s, people stepped straight onto the Tasman ice from Ball Hut. By the 70s, it was about 150m drop. Glacial recession predates AGW. After all, we are in an Interglacial

  • Chris Morris says: 18/10/2016 at 7:16 pm. Believe it or not Dennis, sea level is just the average of tides and the tidal gauges do both measure accurately and have a very long history – over 200 years in some places.

    Tidal gauge waving!

    Chris Morris says: 19/10/2016. The models can’t even get the absolute temperatures of the earth correct.

    Temperatures are measured by thermometers, the global mean is a construct, the trend shows rapid warming. Again:

    Glacial recession predates AGW. After all, we are in an Interglacial

    Temperatures were dropping 0.2C per 1000 years* until industrialisation.
    New Zealand’s Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice

    Greenland losing ice faster than thought

    Here is a comprehensive overview for interested readers:

    * Discussion here:
    The last word goes to Richard Alley, who points out that however interesting the study of past climate may be, it doesn’t help us where we’re heading:
    “Whether temperatures have been warmer or colder in the past is largely irrelevant to the impacts of the ongoing warming. If you don’t care about humans and the other species here, global warming may not be all that important; nature has caused warmer and colder times in the past, and life survived. But, those warmer and colder times did not come when there were almost seven billion people living as we do. The best science says that if our warming becomes large, its influences on us will be primarily negative, and the temperature of the Holocene or the Cretaceous has no bearing on that. Furthermore, the existence of warmer and colder times in the past does not remove our fingerprints from the current warming, any more than the existence of natural fires would remove an arsonist’s fingerprints from a can of flammable liquid. If anything, nature has been pushing to cool the climate over the last few decades, but warming has occurred.

  • Dennis
    I note you still are giving blog posts rather than data or peer reviewed papers and even then you don’t bother to read what you link to.
    What I said was the models that are used for predictions got the absolute temperature wrong. There is about a 3° spread. That is why they only show anomalies and often then only the mean of the models to hide the future spread. Read the AR5 chapter on modelling and look at their graphs.
    It is a laugh you use GISTEMP to support your claim. That is the most revisionist data set around – would do the 50s Russia proud. If you go back to the 2009 version, 2000 was under 0.2°C warmer than 1942. Now it is over 0.4°. Even the Iceland Met Office officially complained about the data fiddling that warmed their sea ice years.. Try HADCRU if you want a credible thermometer set
    With regards the glacier recession, you don’t even read your own links which you posted the press release, not the paper showing you haven’t even mastered Google yet. Here is the Salinger Chinn paper
    Note the paper is over 10 year old data. Nothing more recent than 2010 on file.
    And as the your stable climate before industrialization which I note you don’t provide a link for – you most be the only hockey stick believer left. Even IPCC have filed that away in the bad memories closet.
    With regards the Greenland ice loss, explain the GRACE data which was proof of the vast ice melt just five years ago. And if you actually looked at the temperature data for Greenland, other than 2010, it was warmer in the 40s than now. The reasons for the ice loss has been put down to change in albedo, mainly from Chinese coal smuts
    And finally linking to Mr Foster, who in one of his more modest moments compared himself favourably to TH Huxley. If he is your support, you must be desperate.
    If you really want to know where this is leading, read WG3 of AR5. That report lead with “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement). Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change.”
    Does sound like they think it is a massive issue.

  • Here is the graph from AR5 I discussed above showing the models predictions and historic fit to the observed data
    The current tail end of the el Nino has just put the graph back inside the 5% line where as up to 2015, it was outside it.
    If you actually look at the graph, they show the bottom end of the likely range for 2035 as effectively no change from 2008 and outside the range of the models. That is how much confidence IPCC has in the models.

  • @Chris Morris

    The Royal Society, US National Academy of Sciences. American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Society and every other scientific society and institution on the planet are wrong … and you are right …


  • Couldn’t resist that snide appeal to authority could you Dennis? I can remind you that until about 15 years ago, all the medical authorities and organisations had the consensus view that ulcers were caused by stress and you needed antacids to deal with them. How did that turn out?
    However, I have no problem with the IPCC AR5 WG1 view on sea level rise. As you won’t have read it, it says:
    ” Global mean sea level rise for 2081–2100 (relative to 1986–2005) for the RCPs will likely be in the 5–95% ranges derived from CMIP5 climate projections in combination with process-based models (medium confidence), i.e., 0.26–0.54 m (RCP2.6), 0.32–0.62 m (RCP4.5), 0.33–0.62 m (RCP6.0), 0.45–0.81 (RCP8.5) m (see Table TS.1 and Figure TS.15 for RCP forcing). For RCP8.5 the range at 2100 is 0.53–0.97 m.”
    The current future projections emissions scenario is somewhere between 2.6 & 4.5.
    It is only people like Dr Renwick and you (and Stuart who is still lurking out there) that have gleefully prophesised the extravagant scenarios, just like the New York West Side Highway going under water by 2010  , or Arctic sea ice disappearing by 2013, or British children not knowing what snow was. And you wonder why CAGW has credibility  issues?

    • Dennis (10.01) is right. If anything the non anthropogenic forcings look negative. We would be cooling down or at least stable. Which raises an interesting point. Could humanity, (once there is general agreement by Federated Farmers on GHGs), construct a climate control regime on a global scale? We could stabilise the planets climate by manipulating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Couple of ethical issues here of course. While the mid latitude countries were frying, others would be thriving. And we don’t really understand the contribution seasonality and longer term variability has had on the biology of the planet. Perhaps best left to nature if our other dabbling in environmental processes are anything to go by.
      The other mistake Mr Morris (along with many others) makes, is confusing the conclusions (Sime) scientists have expressed with the reportage thereof by journalists who don’t really know what they are talking about. The “news” of impending Ice Ages for example.
      I’m accused by some deniers of being a “Greenie” as if that explains everything. I don’t mind admitting a political agenda. How else do we change direction in a democracy?
      It’s the people who conceal their politics we should be worried about.

  • @Chris Morris. Leaving aside the fact a scientific consensus is a consensus of the majority of informed scientists and based on evidence, not an appeal to an authority chosen for a convenient opinion, and is our best view of reality, I made a simple statement of fact and the question I asked was: “Are you happy?”

    Surely that is the purpose of denial?

    It’s a psychological defence mechanism:
    Prof J Kroth: The Coming Disaster – November 17, 2015

    Chris Morris, you are not a climate scientist and show no understanding of climate science. You are a nitpicker who ignores the clear if incomplete picture as the pieces of the jigsaw have come together, preferring to scramble around looking for the missing pieces to try to make a different picture.

    It seems you have fallen under the influence of de niers de Freitas and de Lange.

    To paraphrase Max Planck: Science advances one funeral at a time. We await their contribution.

    Data shows September was the warmest in modern temperature monitoring following months of record-breaking anomalies this year. Nasa has all but declared this year to be the hottest yet recorded, after September narrowly turned out the warmest in modern temperature monitoring.

    Last month was 0.91C above the average temperature for that time of year from 1951 to 1980, the benchmark used for measuring rises. The new findings follow record-breaking monthly anomalies throughout this year, leading the agency to believe that because of the highs reported so far, 2016 will take the crown as warmest in the 136 years of modern data-keeping.

  • I haven’t gleefully prophesied anything except that AGW is happening. It’s not a prophesy it’s already a recorded fact. The amount and rate vary enormously among commentators that’s why you won’t find me speculating but it looks the IPCC err on the conservative. Not surprising.
    I wonder what Mr. Morris means by. “Real” job? Being 71 and still self employed doesn’t amount to being gainfully employed? Chris, you sounding s bit like Donald Trump. Spraying epithets and bigotry all over the place.

  • Dennis
    I do not claim to be a climate scientist. That is why I quoted from IPCC AR5. Or are they a “denialist” organization? I am one of those boring nerds who actually have read their report which you obviously haven’t – it is Chapter 13 of WG1 AR5. I also followed back through some of the references to the original data sources – what peer reviewers are supposed to do but very few do. The report is a lot more circumspect and nuanced that people try to make out. One of the points of interest (to me anyway) is they show the spread of models, both from matching the historic data and their future projections under the same scenario. They are not good fits by any standard statistical analysis like R2.
    Professor Renwick does not represent mainstream IPCC opinion as I showed by the quotes. It isn’t journalist mis-reporting as he has made the same statements in consent submissions.
    With regards temperatures which you try to expand to – why do you keep referencing newspaper articles or the like rather than the actual data. Here is a good source that shows all the temperature indexes which isn’t as scary as the newspaper article makes out. By the way, I found in my files an old presentation by Dr Renwick when he worked for NIWA showing a 7° cycling variation in the temperature of NZ over the last 15000 years and temperatures now about 1° less than they were 10k years ago.
    As Stephen Thorpe noted up post, you and Stuart are big on assertions but light on facts.
    Stuart -With regards to your comments -you are a rather precious petal. Namecalling (which you started), then getting upset at blowback. Diddums. A cement pill would do wonders.

  • @Chris Morris. Name calling? What did I call you?

    You challenge the global community of scientists but show no understanding of climate science or science. Or reality, for that matter. The old red herring – duodenal ulcers! Physicians didn’t know what caused ulcers and put it down to stress – which is not unreasonable. Probably is stress related. Eventually scientists investigated the cause of debilitating gastric ulcers and found the answer. Science advances. In the end science gets there.

    Climate science has certainly had plenty of time to “get there” – since Fourier in 1824. There is no comparison between the global warming and the ulcer story, either in the number of scientists involved or the depth, width and history of the consensus.

    Even the climate scientists who strive with alternative explanations, like Lindzen, Curry, Christy and Spencer are ignored now. The evidence is clear and the science incontrovertible.

    So where does that leave you? A common or garden-variety denier? Using the same old tired and well documented methods?

  • As usual Dennis, you are big on noise and light on evidence. The hollow drum strategy.
    With regards ulcers – you better tell the Nobel committee that they got it wrong
    At least they got real Nobel prices, unlike the fake one Professor Renwick awarded himself.

    Even the popular press don’t follow your story

    And the APS statement on climate isn’t what you think it is:
    Now how many other things did you get wrong?

  • Chris Morris says: And the APS statement on climate isn’t what you think it is.

    How do you know what I think it is? As it happens one of the members of the APS who forced the APS to drop the word “incontrovertible” also complained to the Royal Society. Professor Michael Kelly FRS, who is behind the scenes in the complaint to the RSNZ about public lectures on global warming and climate change.

    Two fellows and others state: “Many scientist believe that the satellite records are the most accurate … records show that show that (sic), over the last 18 years, the temperature rise has not been statistically significant…”

    No, scientists don’t believe satellite records are the most accurate. Carl Mears, RSS, is on record saying the thermometers are better. And no, there has been statistically significant warming. (Even the satellites show it.) And let’s not forget 90% of the ‘extra’ energy retained is going into the oceans.

    No matter how clever one is, no matter how much one knows, in the end it comes down to judgement.

    You don’t have any. Like Kelly and his GRUNTS, you argue from ignorance and incredulity. Believe it or not, a lot of people know an awful lot more than you do. Like Professor Kelly, you can’t accept that.

    But others do. That’s why the Royal Society told Kelly where to go. And why I’m doing the same to you…

  • I see you are true to form Dennis, resorting to name calling and bluster when confronted by informaton that disturbs your safe space. That is what cultists do.
    I don’t know what Carl Mears has written as you didn’t provide a link (which is par for the course for you) but he still has this up on his website: and he hasn’t withdrawn these peer reviewed papers:
    With regards to the Kelly comments, I don’t know what you are talking about. There is nothing on either the NZ or UK RS websites. The only thing I did find was this:
    which looks like a win to Professor Kelly to me.
    However, going back to the headline post, it is also wrong about the ozone hole
    but I suppose this is just another one of those nitpicking trivialities

  • Chris Morris … about Royal Society and Kelly, I don’t know what you are talking about. And … so one doesn’t know what [Carl Mears] believes.

    You don’t know anything because you don’t listen to people who know what they’re talking about. You are dependent on denier sites to reinforce your warped view of reality.

    The denier tactics are well documented. So stick ’em, sonny.