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Every week almost new research is published showing gaps in our
knowledge concerning the causes and consequences of climate change, gaps: limits in knowledge, flawed assumptions, new data contradicting old research, that climate models either fail to account for or simply get wrong. This week I want to highlight three bits of data, two concerning the causes of climate change, one involving model predicted consequences, that highlight persistent model failures.
First, coming straight from The National Academies Press is “Frontiers in Decadal Climate Variability: Proceedings of a Workshop.” The proceedings conclude scientists are still unable to determine the extent human activities or other natural factors dominate climate changes on decadal time scales. For instance, the Overview and Introduction states:
Many factors contribute to variability in Earth’s climate on a range of timescales, from seasons to decades. Natural climate variability arises from two different sources: (1) internal variability from interactions among components of the climate system, for example, between the ocean and the atmosphere, and (2) natural external forcings, such as variations in the amount of radiation from the Sun. External forcings on the climate system also arise from some human activities, such as the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols. The climate that we experience is a combination of all of these factors.
The workshop noted a number of areas where further research is needed including:
1. Discovering the specific mechanisms driving decadal variability, in the Pacific and all other the ocean basins, – these mechanisms are still unknown or only poorly understood;
2. Determining what the connection is between Arctic sea ice loss and mid-latitude weather, and the consequential regional effects;
3. Understanding how heat trapped in the ocean will be transported into the deeper layers and how that might affect global temperatures in the future.
Despite acknowledged large gaps in understanding of the drivers and impacts of decadal climate change, the authors express confidence Earth is steadily warming due to increasing human greenhouse gases emissions. In response, Judith Curry writes, “Until these [decadal] issues and knowledge gaps are sorted out, we don’t have the basis for making the above statement with high confidence.”
On top of these huge gaps in knowledge the models can’t account for comes new research showing the relative rates of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from inland waters is woefully undercalculated.
New research published in Environmental Research Letters indicates the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by inland waters could be significantly higher than previously believed or assumed in climate models.
Some recent studies estimate inland waters emit approximately one billion tons of carbon dioxide and methane every year. Those estimates have mostly involved researchers collecting daytime water samples for analysis, once or twice a month, missing any increases or decreases in emissions occurring between readings or at night.
The new study undertook a more accurate estimate by continuously monitoring the emission of carbon dioxide from a reservoir in Mississippi. The researchers discovered nighttime carbon dioxide emissions were 70 percent greater than during the day, and extratropical cyclones increase emissions by as much 16 percent. As a result of these two previously unaccounted-for emission rates, their research indicates inland bodies of water emit as much as 40 percent more carbon dioxide than previously estimated.
Just one more factor the models get wrong.
Finally some good climate news for people, though its bad news for those who persist in promoting climate alarmism based on model predictions instead of the evidence of our senses and measuring instruments. In a recent post on his blog, climate scientist Roy Spencer, Ph.D., points out (not wanting to jinx the good news by talking about it but…) in less than two months (October 6, 2016) it will be 4,000 days since the last time a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) made landfall in the United States, Wilma on October 24, 2005.
At nearly 11 years this represents the longest period between major hurricane strikes since hurricane records began in 1851. The previous record was a little more than nine years, set from August 11, 1860 to September 8, 1869.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports about two major hurricanes, on average, make landfall somewhere along the Gulf or Atlantic coast every three years. The year with the most is 2005, when four major hurricanes made landfalls in the United States (Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma), with Wilma setting records as the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. As Roy Spencer said, “… after the record-setting 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, with a whopping 27 named tropical storms, the bottom pretty much dropped out of hurricane activity since then.”
With a little goading by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists, in 2005 newspaper headlines linked the busy hurricane season and the strength of the hurricanes to human-caused climate change.
What I want to know is where are the headlines now?