Cold Waves in the Eastern USA Are Down

Cold waves in Eastern USA are down according to Dr Roy Spencer.

As can be seen in the plot below, there is no evidence in the data supporting the claim that decreasing Arctic sea ice in recent decades is causing more frequent displacement of cold winter air masses into the eastern U.S., at least through the winter of 2017-18:

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The trend is markedly downward in the most recent 40 years (since 1979) which is the earliest we have reliable measurements of Arctic sea ice from satellite microwave radiometers (my specialty).

Now, I suppose that Arctic sea ice decline could have some influence. But weather is immensely complex. Cause and effect is often difficult to ascertain.

At a minimum we should demand good observational support for any specific claim. In this case I would say that the connection between Eastern U.S. cold waves and Arctic sea ice is speculative, at best.

Just like most theories of climate change.

 

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Wildfires USA – 80% Less Than The 1930s

Bjorn Lomborg has been trying to quell the hysteria about forest fires in the USA.

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As Lomborg writes on Facebook:

Some people have pointed out that the National Interagency Fire Center writes that “Prior to 1983, sources of these figures are not known, or cannot be confirmed, and were not derived from the current situation reporting process. As a result the figures prior to 1983 should not be compared to later data.”

This is convenient, since the NIFC for the longest time didn’t even want to acknowledge that there were data before 1960 (https://web.archive.org/web/20171206160413/https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html). I’ve consistently pointed out that we had early data and where the data starting in 1926 comes from; it is the Wildfire Statistics from USDA, summarized in the official Historical Statistics of the United States – Colonial Times to 1970, p537: http://bit.ly/2hGp7XF.

So, we all know, very well, where this data is from.

Interestingly, what the NIFC forgets to tell us is that the earlier data was based on reporting from *much* less land – about 200m ha of 700m ha burnable land (http://www.publish.csiro.au/WF/WF14190). So, if anything, it is reasonable to argue that the early estimates should multiplied by 3.5 (divided by 2/7th), which indeed is what this article did (https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1890/07-1183.1): “Littel et al. (2009) recognised the reporting bias and, as part of their analyses of fire–climate relationships in the western US, multiplied the USFS-reported WFAB estimates ‘by the ratio of the total area protected in 2003 to the area protected in a given year’.”

There are other, legitimate concerns, such as the inclusion of intentional burning in the early years, which may have added millions of acres to the numbers in the early part of the century (4-10% too much). But still, this does not in any way jeopardize the general trend of the data. This is of course why this data has been used by many academic publications, including Houghton, R. A. (03.2000). “Changes in terrestrial carbon storage in the United States. 2: The role of fire and fire management”. Global ecology and biogeography (1466-822X), 9 (2), p. 145.

If anything, the graph that I’m showing is likely *underestimating* the amount of burning in the early part of last century.

One way to see this is comparing the graph to the US estimate from forest fires in the global carbon budget from “Fire history and the global carbon budget” (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00920.x). They estimate the burnt area in Eastern and Western US (here added together) in decades from 1900-2000. It is very clear that not only is the graph broadly right, but early fire, from where we have no or very spotty data, is likely to have been even greater, compared to the present.

The likely 2018 burnt area will be about 9% of the burnt area each year in the decade 1900-1910.

Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Nope.

Burning wood makes more CO2 than coal.

The conclusions high points:

  • biomass used to displace fossil fuels injects CO2 into the atmosphere at the point of combustion and during harvest, processing and transport.
  • the first impact of displacing coal with wood is an increase in atmospheric CO2relative to continued coal use
  •  before breakeven, atmospheric CO2 is higher than it would have been without the use of bioenergy, increasing radiative forcing and global average temperatures, worsening climate change, including potentially irreversible impacts that may arise before the long-run benefits are realized.
  • biofuels are only beneficial in the long run if the harvested land is allowed to regrow to its pre-harvest biomass and maintained there.
  • The carbon debt incurred when wood displaces coal may never be repaid if development, unplanned logging, erosion or increases in extreme temperatures, fire, and disease (all worsened by global warming) limit regrowth or accelerate the flux of carbon from soils to the atmosphere.
  • harvesting existing forests and replanting with fast-growing species in managed plantations can worsen the climate impact of wood biofuel.
  • growth in wood harvest for bioenergy causes a steady increase in atmospheric CO2 because the initial carbon debt incurred each year exceeds what is repaid.
  • using wood in electricity generation worsens climate change for decades or more even though many of our assumptions favor wood

Image result for wood pellets

 

U.S. Ends Reliance On Foreign Oil For First Time In 75 Years

What an amazing turnaround. From 14 million bpd net imports to -211,000 bpd in 13 years.

For the first time in 75 years, the United States exported more oil than it imported, carrying out a pledge from President Trump that America can achieve “energy independence.”

While the U.S. has been a net oil importer since 1949, over the final week of November, U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products fell to minus 211,000 barrels per day (bpd) — which means America exported more than it imported, according to data from U.S. Energy Information and Administration.

Oil production has been booming in the U.S. as the shale revolution swept the nation. America is now the world’s largest producer of petroleum, passing Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the U.S. oil boom spread, the power of OPEC was reduced and gas prices in the U.S. have dropped from the $4+ highs under former president Barack Obama.

Net imports peaked in 2005, topping 14 million bpd …

The U.S. may not ‘believe’ in climate change. But the USA is the only one doing something about it

The USA is doing something about climate change. Other countries just talk.

Nineteen nations “believe” in climate change. How are they backing up their statement of faith?

China was praised for signing on to the Paris Climate Agreement and in Argentina reaffirmed its commitment to controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, however, China increased those emissions by 1.7 percent.

India, the fourth largest source for CO2, saw their emissions grow by 4.6 percent in 2017. Luckily for them, they too were praised for signing that “nonbinding communiqué.”

Overall, the European Union raised their CO2 output by 1.5 percent.

France, home of the Paris Agreement, is leading the diplomatic effort to save the planet. They increased their greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 percent.

Pollution in France will likely rise further this year from the burning cars alone. French President Emmanuel Macron announced a sharp increase in gas and diesel taxes last month. This sparked the largest riots seen in Paris in nearly 50 years as yellow-vested citizens blockaded roadways, burned vehicles and damaged artwork and infrastructure.

President Donald Trump continues to dismantle Obama administration efforts to combat coal, gas and oil emissions even as world leaders are set to gather in Poland to fine tune the 2015 landmark global climate deal reached in Paris. (Nov. 29) AP

If the nations paying lip service to climate change aren’t meeting their goals, imagine how poorly the oil-drilling, coal-mining Americans must be doing. President Donald Trump was pilloried for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and for being only G20 leader who refused to sign the climate change statement in Argentina.

From 2016 to 2017, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2.7 percent. Emissions from large power plants declined 4.5 percent since 2016, and nearly 20 percent since 2011. All without signing a piece of paper in Paris or Buenos Aires.