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Monday, July 11, 2016

Unintended consequences

No good deed goes unpunished.  That is one of those ironic truisms I have heard from time to time.  There are plenty of examples.  The biofuel mandates and initiatives have impacted food prices, increased deforestation and reduced conservation lands all of which are punishment for the grand plans to save the world as we know it.  In addition, the carbon credit/taxes have a larger impact on the poorer population even though there is a wonderful "revenue neutral" promise for someone some where.  Overstating the urgency of the problem, if it has been overstated, has fueled the spiritual fires of the end of times crowd and belittling their fanciful beliefs isn't exactly going to chill things out. Focusing on the "greatest problem ever to confront mankind" also tends to hurt the sensitive feelings of all the other people trying to deal with their more pressing problems. 

Right now Black Lives Matter and the band wagon jumping on of seriously warped fringe groups seems to be gaining some traction.  They are demanding the problem be "fixed" and quick.  This might be a bit more of a problem than some might suspect.

First problem is about 248 people that identify as black were killed by police in 2015.  More people that identify with white were killed, but those don't appear to be a problem and the percentage based on population distribution is higher for the black population.  Some percentage of those deaths would be "justifiable", but there isn't any way to resolve justified versus negligent to anyone's satisfaction.  In order to "fix" the problem might require zero per year which is most likely impossible.  Kind of like zero emissions by 2025.

Prior to 9/11 and the 2009 economic turn down, there was a trend toward less violence, but even with the trend change, there is less now violence compared to 1993.  While some point to the economy as a main cause, the seat belt ticketing campaign adds in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 police citizen contacts per year and since the majority of those contacts are percentage of population wise black Americans, it is likely that click it or ticket is used as a legal profiling tool.  In 2011, there was over 26,000,000 traffic stops and in 2012 over 12 million arrests in the US.  For comparison, there were 1.3 million arrests in the UK.  The population of the UK is about 1/5th the US but arrests were 1/10th the US.  Even though most of the UK police force is unarmed, still an average of close to 40 people per year die after police contact.  So if the US had an unarmed police force just as gentle as the UK, we could expect 400 people per year to die with roughly 25% of those being black citizens or 100 black deaths per year under "ideal" conditions.  If there was like data on all police stops it would be nice, but using traffic stops the result of an unarmed police force would be close to 200 black civilian deaths per year. There are other deaths by other means but death after contact is the best UK data for a rough estimate.

It is pretty much impossible to have much of any reduction given the likelihood of inebriation, mental issues and just plain pissed individuals encountering law enforcement as often as they do in the US.  The simplest "solution" is being a bit more selective on what laws really need to be enforced.  Unfortunately, the US has an official/unofficial quota system.  Arrests, catching the bad guy, is the law enforcement grading scale a lot like publishing and citations are the rule for science.  Quality of arrests and publication aren't enough of a factor.  In any case, reducing police/civilian contact by about 10,000,000 times per year by losing click it or ticket, random drug and alcohol stops and forgetting about tickets for things like tail lights would save more lives in the minority populations and improve general citizen - law enforcement relations.

Plenty of laws in the US tend to be noble cause related and used for other than the intended purpose, advancement instead of public service for example.  Enforcement of any law impacts the lower economic class more that upper classes that have the time and money to navigate the judicial system.  A poor guy trying to make ends meet that gets a $116 dollar ticket for careless disregard of his personal safety in a 25 mph zone might start feeling somewhat put upon since that could be a day and a half of wages.  Likewise, that same poor guy might not feel quite the same when paying an extra $60 per month in energy costs to save the planet from global warming.

Of course it could be just the economy.  Personally, I think we have an elitist issue not a racial issue. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Climate change "science" is so funny

Richardson et al. 2016 is a new and improved paper on the issues of modeling a "global" surface air temperature when you cannot actually measure a "global" surface air temperature.  "Surface" air temperature is somewhat measurable for about 30% of the globe provided you don't mind considerable interpolation in the modern era and a crap load of interpolation prior to 1950.  So what Richards et al. recognize is that land plus ocean temperatures are really apples and oranges.

The funny part is that Richardson et al. propose "scaling" the interpolated data to fit modeled data in order to imply an extra 28% of warming that cannot be actually measured.  However, NASA an other organizations spent a fairly substantial amount of money designing and deploying "platforms" to measure exactly what isn't "measurable".  Nope, this isn't a Monty Python rerun, this is climate change science.

The Reynolds Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature (Roiv2SST) product is a space based data set that once did part of this job but was dropped from the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) product because using Roiv2 SST appeared to indicate less warming "than expected".  The Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and advanced MSU data products for the lower troposphere also are unreliable because they indicate "less warming than expected".

This new tool to find "expected warming" tends to cherry pick data related to the definition of Climate Sensitivity which is an increase in Global Mean "Surface" Air Temperature (GMSAT) due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 where the "surface" isn't something tangible, but a phantom of Climate Science's imagination.  Personally, I don't have a problem with an idealized metric or reference as long as the metric doesn't get adjusted constantly because of expectations.  Since global policy is based on this idealized metric, a minor adjustment of a tenth of a degree can be worth about a trillion dollars of hastily implemented policy.  Before long, we might be talking about real money.

Another metric involved in climate sensitivity is change in heat capacity, but this metric tends to get a back seat to the more popular and volatile GMAST metric.  Since the majority of heat capacity change is related to Ocean Heat Content (OHC) and that target doesn't move as much, it is a much better candidate for "scaling" than GMSAT.  Less volatility i.e. variablity, means less uncertainty.

A few years ago I did scale Land temperatures, SST, OHC, global mean sea level to a thermodynamic-ally important region of the oceans, the tropics, to create a scaled reconstruction of 2000 years of climate.

This has every bit as many warts and blemishes as any longer term reconstruction has, with one tiny advantage, it includes OHC and Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) which is tightly linked to OHC, meaning it relates to the complete definition of "sensitivity", change in surface temperature and change in heat capacity.  Around the same time, Rosenthal et al. 2013 produced a similar reconstruction of ocean heat capacity using that same Oppo et al. 2009 Indo-Pacific Warm Pool reconstruction including a comparison and contrast with previous "global" temperature reconstructions that neglected that pesky OHC issue.

Real science based on discovery instead of fulfilling expectations is stealthily creeping into the debate it seems.  Now that the in-crowd seems to be approving "scaling", things might get interesting.

Update: In addition to correcting Richardson et al. spelling, this link goes to the paper's "background".   Marvel et al. 2015 is another of the "ifs" in the paper since there were a number of issues with the efficacy estimates in that paper.    I am not going to pay to read this paper and I suspect there will be considerable post publication review which will be interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Planetary Boundary Layer, Moist Air Envelope, Ocean Asymmetry

Planetary Boundary Layer, Moist Air Envelope, Ocean Asymmetry - all things I have mentioned a few times here.

As far as heat capacity goes, you have the oceans then the moist air envelope then ice and land.  The greenhouse effect and global warming start with dry air which isn't on my list, then assumes that an increase/decrease in dry air temperature will have wondrous amplifying feedback on carbon forcing.  Originally, this was carbon dioxide forcing, but shifted to more carbon generic forcing most likely because things were not going quite as planned.  In thermodynamics it is all about the heat which depends on the energy and energy storage capacity which really drive the bus.

The last post I had on the planetary boundary layer emphasizes the difference between being in and out of the moist air envelope.  With moist air you have a thicker, deeper and higher heat capacity planetary boundary layer which decreases the temperature response to any forcing.  You can heat up a potato chip or crisp a lot faster than you can a whole fresh potato.  Since this particular planet has more whole potatoes in the southern hemisphere and more crisps in the northern hemisphere, they aren't going to cook uniformly.

To add to that, the thermal equator and the physical equator are different and that damn thermal equator can move.  Right now the thermal equator or Inter-Tropical convergence Zone (ITCZ) is about 6 degrees north of the real equator.  Climate models often indicate there should be twin ITCZs which is obviously wrong and that warming should be more uniform.

To someone with a basic knowledge of thermodynamics, the models are friggin' wrong because they don't realistically consider heat capacity.  When you have an entire field of science starting with screwed up assumptions which should be obvious, you would be surprised how hard it is to get the giants in that field to listen.  These asshats, er giants, want a completely new theory most likely because their collective butts are on the line.

This completely new theory should "project" all of the things they think are relevant to a superior degree of precision, because they have over simplified a problem with poor assumptions and actually believe their model.  Since their model is obviously screwed up, they should have no reason to be so confident, but since they are humans you should expect flawed logic.

The sad thing about this situation is that in a multi-disciplinary approach, you have an exponential increase in the number of Prima Donnas.  Prima Donna are great at pointing out the flaws in others but not so great at introspection.  The normal thing to do is let these Pima Donna fade, but a false sense of urgency screws up the whole scientific process of advancing one funeral at a time.

The moist air envelope and moist air model were my attempts to get people to focus on the more significant part of the atmospheric portion of the problem.  There is no ideal way to set the problem up, so you have to consider the more significant parts.  If it turns out that what you consider to be more significant has issues, then you have to consider other parts that appear to be significant.  Basically, quit recycling your same failing set of assumptions.

The minions of the great and powerful carbon always revert to the basic playbook the way the choir reverts to their favorite hymns.  A dynamic open system with a planetary scale will likely require thinking outside of the box.  A large number of simplified models designed to avoid assumption inbreeding could be considered outside of the box.  Regional sensitivity and how that sensitivity changes with time, outside the box.  Subsurface reference instead of lower troposphere reference, outside the box.  If you keep your head inside the box, you may never realize that the box is up some idiot's butt, possibly your own.

Take clouds.  Clouds are a regulating mechanism.  If you focus on heat capacity instead one single likely flawed metric, Global Mean Surface Temperature, it is pretty obvious.  You can convert all those individual temperatures that make up GMST into equivalent energy and you have a simple weighting method.  Is that energy equivalent absolutely, perfectly accurate?  No, but it is useful, especially since it is assumed that effective surface energy is directly related to effective radiant energy.  You cannot convince the choir of that though.

Kimoto's equation, is that absolutely, perfectly accurate?  No, but energy is fungible and if you can figure out the solution to a wicked set of partial differential equations it could be.

Energy balance estimates of sensitivity, are they perfect?  No, but if you can figure out the right combination of regional energy balance estimates they could be.

As all Rednecks know there is more than one way to skin a catfish.  The best way is letting someone else do the work, it is the bones you need to worry about anyway.

End of rant