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Citizen Scientist Willis Eschenbach is a prolific poster on climate issues at Watts Up With That. In a New Years post of reflection on where we are in climate science and where we need to go, Willis has posted a number questions; what we do not know now, or know in the future, with a list of his most important questions. For those of you who are not regular WUWT reader I am posting Willis questions for you thoughts and comments
With that as a prologue, let me give at least a partial list of what we don’t know about the climate. Now, bear in mind that I’m not saying we don’t have theories about any number of these questions. Everyone has theories about some or all of these unanswered puzzles, including myself. But there is no agreement, no so-called “consensus”, about the following matters:
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE PAST AND PRESENT
• Why the earth has been generally cooling since we came out of the last ice age.
• Why the earth generally cooled from earlier in the millennium to the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600-1700s
• Why the earth generally warmed from the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600-1700s to the present.
• Why the warming of 1910-1940 was as large and as fast as the warming of 1975-1998.
• Why the warming that started in 1975 plateaued in the last couple decades.
• What the current generation of climate models are missing that made them all wrong about the current plateau.
• Why there has been no increase in extreme weather events despite a couple of centuries of warming.
• Why the albedo of the northern hemisphere is the same as the albedo of the southern hemisphere, year after year, despite radically different amounts of ocean and land in the two hemispheres.
• Why there has been no acceleration of sea level rise despite numerous predictions that it would occur.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE FUTURE
• Whether the earth will warm over the next decade.
• Whether the earth will warm over the next century.
• What the climate of 2050 or 2100 will be like. Wetter? More windy? More droughts? Calmer? More hurricanes? Fewer tornadoes? We don’t have a clue.
• Whether a couple of degrees of warming would be a net bonus, a net loss, or a catastrophic Thermageddon.
• Whether predicting future climate is a “boundary problem”.
• If predicting future climate is a boundary problem, what the boundaries might be and what their future values might be.
• Whether the evolution of the climate is predictable even in theory over anything but the short term.
THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
• Why the system is so stable in the very short term (decadal), e.g. the net top-of-atmosphere (TOA) imbalance hasn’t varied by much more than half a watt per square metre over the last 14 years of the CERES records.
• Why the system is so stable in the short term (centuries), e.g. a variation in surface temperature of only ± 0.1% over the 20th century.
• Why the system is so stable in the longer term (millennia), e.g. a variation in surface temperature of only ± 0.5% over the Holocene.
• Why the system is so stable in the even longer term (a million years), e.g. a variation in surface temperature over the period of the ice ages of only ± 1% over the last million years.
• Why the system is so stable in the longest term (a half billion years), e.g. the sun has increased in strength by 5% over that period, an increase of about 13 W/m2. According to the accepted theory such an increase in forcing should have led to a surface temperature increase of 13°C over that period … why didn’t that increase happen.
• Why we are no closer to getting a value for the so-called “climate sensitivity” than we were thirty years ago. After uncountable hours of human labor, after huge increases in the size and complexity of our models, after unprecedented increases in computer power, after millions and millions of dollars spent on the problem, the error bounds on the answer have not narrowed at all … why not?
Your thoughts on the these questions by Citizen Scientist Willis Eschenbach are most welcome, here or at WUWT.
Photo by Ellen Steele
In the mid-1970s I was stationed at an Air Force radar site in Holbrook, Arizona. With a family of three young girls, Ellen and I explored the National Parks, Monuments and Reservations in the region. One of the issues that always pricked my intellectual curiosity was why did the Pueblo People leave their cliff houses and where did they go? We often heard of the Chaco Canyon People, but did not have time to visit the canyon before we left the area.
When we lived in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 1970s we visited the Mesa Verdi ruins, often camping in the National Park gave us lots of time to explore the cliff houses and visitor center, seeking answers to our questions. After I retired from the Air Force, on our way home to California, we stopped once more to camp at Mesa Verdi, this time with a fourth daughter, almost three years old. Climbing pole ladders to the higher reaches of the cliff houses with a three year old under one arm was a challenge.
Our oldest daughter, a sophomore in high school, was so impressed with the Pueblo Culture she decided to study Anthropology when she graduated from high school. Years later she graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Anthropology, after spending a year in England studying Archaeology.
We often discussed the plight of the Pueblo People of the Southwest and concluded that the climate may have played a role in the migration of the Anasazi from Chaco Canyon, and eventually from the cliff house communities through out southwest.
After I retired, Ellen and I put a visit to Chaco Culture National Historical Park on our bucket list. In the spring of 2013 we made the long trek to the Canyon, only to be disappointed by the lack of artifacts and information at the visitors center. We were told the artifacts were in the Maxwell Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We did, however, take the opportunity to explore the great houses and the ruins at the Park. Again, we came away with more questions then answers.
I recently finished John Casey’s Cold Sun and Dark Winter and was impressed by the number of references in his books. One voice can be easily discounted, but multiple voices should get more attention. Well, that is if someone is listening. The lame stream media is focused in global warming resulting from human CO2 emissions. David DuByne has created a short video listing these references, a who’s of solar research that does not often see digital or video light because of the AGW political agenda.
David DuByne writes:
The Earth is about to begin a steep drop in global temperatures off its present global temperature plateau. This plateau has been caused by the absence of growth in global temperatures for 18 years, the start of global cooling in the atmosphere and the oceans, and the end of a short period of moderate solar heating from an unusually active secondary peak in solar cycle #24.
Average global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures will drop significantly beginning between 2015 and 2016 and will continue with only temporary reversals until they stabilize during a long cold temperature base lasting most of the 2030’s and 2040’s.
The bottom of the next global cold climate caused by a “solar hibernation” (a pronounced reduction in warming energy coming from the Sun) is expected to be reached by the year 2031.
The predicted temperature decline will continue for the next fifteen years and will likely be the steepest ever recorded in human history, discounting past short-duration volcanic events.
Global average temperatures during the 2030’s will reach a level of at least 1.5° C lower than today.
H/T to Ice Age Now for the video link
Below are links to an HTML listings of the references in the video:
- Scientist List 1-8 http://spaceandscience.net/id4.html
- Scientist List 9-15 http://spaceandscience.net/id66.html
Fall snow cover in Northern Hemisphere was most extensive on record, even with temperatures at high mark, if only by a smidgen of a degree.
In 46 years of records, more snow covered the Northern Hemisphere this fall than any other time. It is a very surprising result, especially when you consider temperatures have tracked warmest on record over the same period.
Data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show the fall Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent exceeded 22 million square kilometers, exceeding the previous greatest fall extent recorded in 1976.
A team of UK researchers has shed new light on the climate of the Little Ice Age, and rekindled debate over the role of the sun in climate change. The new study, which involved detailed scientific examination of a peat bog in southern South America, indicates that the most extreme climate episodes of the Little Ice Age were felt not just in Europe and North America, which is well known, but apparently globally. These extreme times coincide with periods when it is known that the sun was unusually quiet. In the late 17th to mid-18th centuries it had very few sunspots—fewer even than during the run of recent cold winters in Europe, which other UK scientists have linked to a relatively quiet sun.
More from the University of Gloucestershire, HERE.
H/T to Benny Peiser at GWPF
by Staff Writers, TerraDaily Bonn, Germany (SPX) Nov 18, 2014
“Fluctuations in climate were due in large part to periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit parameters.”
If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. An international consortium of researchers under the auspices of the University of Bonn has drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past.
In the sediments of Lake Van, the lighter-colored, lime-containing summer layers are clearly distinguishable from the darker, clay-rich winter layers — also called varves. In 2010, from a floating platform an international consortium of researchers drilled a 220 m deep sediment profile from the lake floor at a water depth of 360 m and analyzed the varves. The samples they recovered are a unique scientific treasure because the climate conditions, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of the past 600,000 years can be read in outstanding quality from the cores.
The team of scientists under the auspices of the University of Bonn has analyzed some 5,000 samples in total. “The results show that the climate over the past hundred thousand years has been a roller coaster. Within just a few decades, the climate could tip from an ice age into a warm period,” says Doctor Thomas Litt of the University of Bonn’s Steinmann Institute and spokesman for the PALEOVAN international consortium of researchers.
Unbroken continental climate archives from the ice age which encompass several hundred thousand years are extremely rare on a global scale. “There has never before in all of the Middle East and Central Asia been a continental drilling operation going so far back into the past,” says Doctor Litt. In the northern hemisphere, climate data from ice-cores drilled in Greenland encompass the last 120,000 years. The Lake Van project closes a gap in the scientific climate record.
The sediments reveal six cycles of cold and warm periods
Scientists found evidence for a total of six cycles of warm and cold periods in the sediments of Lake Van. The University of Bonn paleoecologist and his colleagues analyzed the pollen preserved in the sediments.
These analyses enable the team of researchers to read the varves of Lake Van like thousands of pages of an archive. With these data, the team was able to demonstrate that fluctuations in climate were due in large part to periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit parameters and the commensurate changes in solar insolation levels.
Read the rest HERE.