Friday, July 03, 2015

The Amazon is Cool


Well, it's summer in the North, and the birds are singing, the bunnies, well, you know what, and people all over are sweating.  It has been particularly bad in Europe, the Western US, and disastrous in South Asia, both India and Pakistan.

As Eli could have told you the search is on for excuses, especially in light of new papers which attribute and increase in heat waves to climate change.  Some, not Eli to be sure, recommend very large air conditioners to handle the problem.   ARPA-E has been working on that, well along the line of solar and thermal driven units, not extra jumbos, and there is progress.

Others, actually the same some playing the others card, are going the ostrich route, nothing happening here, move on.  This has lead to a cheerful back and forth between La Curry and El Tamino.  Curry posted some slides from a talk by NOAA's Prashant Sardeshmukh describing shifts in mean temperature and the standard deviation of the temperature distribution and coming to the conclusion that there has been no increase in heat waves.

Now to be honest there are some issues with this.  First, the slides only deal with changes in December-January-February, which is the northern hemisphere winter (Yes, Eli knows about Australia and the newly popular concern of some of those who block the Bunny's tweets with Africa) but most land and most people find themselves in the northern hemisphere, which, also is where they get hit by heat waves during the summer.  Oh yeah, it's real TLT out there, the temperatures are from the 850 mbar level where no one is hot because of the lapse rate, and from reanalyses, not measurements.  Of course Eli expects that such manipulation would not be allowed in the blogs of denial.  Eli is often disappointed

Curry shows a slide of temperature distributions by Sardeshmukh defining a heat wave as when the temperature exceeds a fixed limit.  Curry then shows a slide by Sardeshmukh showing the global distribution of temperature changes,



and the global distribution of the change in the width of the temperature distributions



and, then what Sardeshmukh purports to be the probability of a heat wave


Red is increase, blue decrease.  Apologies to the color blind and Doug McNeall will be here in a moment.  Somewhat seriously, Uncle Rabett was so color blind that you could not let him out of the house without checking his dress, which often followed an early Rowan and Martin theme if not examined by Aunt Rabett.  There has to be a color shifting app to handle that.

Eli will let Tamino, who noticed this explain in detail, why this is sausage.  If you look at the little box on the right, it is an area where both the temperature and the width of the distribution go up, but the probability of a heat wave, according to Sardeshnukh go down.

How is this done, well, according to Curry, lots of air conditioners are installed as the world warms and this means that for a "real" heat wave the temperature at which one is declared, goes up too.

Go read the tweets and especially Tamino's two posts (one, two)  Sardeshnukh has weighed in at Curry's claiming that he did define heat waves as being past the post at a fixed temperature, and Tamino is asking (politely, as Mozart would) for the data.

Curry, however, was at least this morning, of Tamino's opinion about what Sardeshnukh had done
Tamino’s argument is essentially a quibble about how heat waves are defined, there are various definitions

For the heat wave forecasts that my company provides to the energy sector, so they can anticipate high energy demand, we define heat wave in terms of the standard deviation above the climatological mean for that location (we use 1.5 standard deviations for the energy demand applications, whereas Sardeshmukh used 2 standard deviations). For our heat wave forecasts in Ahmedabad India, we use specified temperature thresholds. Other definitions are tied to a specific temperature increment, e.g. 5C above daily average.

Sardeshmukh’s analysis uses two different baseline temps: one prior to 1950 and the other post 1950, and then calculates deviations from those means. His whole point is that the standard deviation and skewness changes can dominate, resulting in fewer large excursions from the mean.
As Tamino said in his first post
Which makes me wonder, what the hell is going on? If he was trying to emphasize that we can’t use the change in mean and standard deviation to understand the 2-sigma exceedance, well duh. When the mean goes up and the standard deviation goes up and you change the limit to define “extreme” temperature, you should expect nothing less.
All this will play out relatively quickly, but it did inspire Eli to play a bit with the temperature and standard deviation figures above using (shudder Powerpoint, which has some interesting features.  By sharpening up the colors and overlaying the two figures One can make out areas where both temperature and standard deviations changed in the same directions and in opposite directions


If they both increase, the color is red, if one increases and the other decreases purple.  There is ONLY one spot where both the temperature and the standard deviation decreased, right about at the mouth of the Amazon.

25 comments:

Russell Seitz said...

With California almond trees wilting and wine beginning to flow from Scotland, why not establish a colony of retired TV weathermen at the mouth of the Amazon ?

http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2015/06/mark-steyn-and-grapes-of-wrath.html

Fernando Leanme said...

I'm going to straddle the fence on this one. My logic is as follows: if the mean is shifting slowly (say 1 degree in 50 years) then one has time to adapt by changing things to handle a heat wave or high daily temperatures. I've lived and worked in extremely warm and humid, extra hot, and miserable places, and we changed the way things were done to adapt to the problem.

For example, right now I'm in Spain, and we are having a long term heat wave. The temperature is unusually warm for early July, but it's similar to what we experience in August, but humidity is lower. We have an AC, but the building code forbids showing the AC heat exchangers, so they are located in the laundry room, which makes it impossible to use the table we set up to make printed circuits (we have an ongoing project with local teenagers to build a small robot car, I'm using it ypto train them in energy management as well as the practical aspects of solar power, batteries, and programming).

So right now we are using fans to circulate fresh air, the awnings are set up to shade windows from the sun, and we put ice water in jugs on the table so it's easy to grab water. Right now the temperature outside is 30 degrees, but inside its 28, and as the maximum reaches 34 we shouldn't see more than 30. And that's quite acceptable.

But let's say we have a work place where workers have to wear coveralls and there's no way to use AC. I've worked in those conditions, and I set up a work schedule to have the work day start at 6 am to 7 am, stop around 11, and restart after nightfall. This avoids the typical 3 to 4 degree temperature excursion we see peaking at 3 to 4 pm.

From what I saw in Moscow when I lived there the urban heat island problem is huge. So as population increases and moves to cities the heat island effect may be causing more problems than the global warming process. And I don't see a way to stop urbanization. I hope somebody we can work more actively on family planning in Africa and places like that, but right now there's a lot of religious fundamentalism and stupid opposition to discussing the subject.

So the answer in a place like say Kinshasa is to improve housing quality and reduce crime. I know this sounds weird, but in many places people can't sleep outside because there are too many thieves.

John said...

After being manufactured, transported and installed, entirely resource & energy free, as a magical tribute to Prof Curry's "common sense," said air conditioners will be powered by harnessing the gravitation energy released from the falling bodies dying from the excess heat.

John Puma

caerbannog said...

Pump enough CO2 into the atmosphere, and heat/humidity could soar beyond the levels that any human could adapt to.

From http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/42/9/739.full:


After accounting for changes in seawater chemistry and pH, we estimate from the foraminifer δ18O that tropical SSTs rose by >3 °C during the PETM and may have exceeded 40 °C


SST's exceeding 40 °C means that you could easily have wet-bulb temps in the neighborhood of 40 °C. Everyone subjected to those conditions will be dead of heatstroke in a matter of hours. **Everyone**.

Of course, humans will cease to function in any productive way long before that happens.

Hank Roberts said...

> PNNL is designing adsorbent
> materials at the molecular level
> that have at least 3 times higher
> refrigerant capacity and up to
> 20 times faster kinetics than
> adsorbents used in current chillers.

Ooh. Design at the molecular level of new complicated molecules.
I'm sure this is but one of a great many such endeavors, designing and building new molecules.

What could possibly go wrong?

Let's see, they should be really stable, so they don't break down ... what else?

Bernard J. said...

"if the mean is shifting slowly (say 1 degree in 50 years) then one has time to adapt by changing things to handle a heat wave or high daily temperatures. I've lived and worked in extremely warm and humid, extra hot, and miserable places, and we changed the way things were done to adapt to the problem. "

Putting aside for the moment that adaptation without mitigation is simply painting over the rust, and probably not even that, you are ignoring the fact that most of the planet's life isn't human. Are plants supposed to have air conditionaers installed too? Birds? Mammals?

What of reptiles? Some reptilian taxa have temperature-dependent sex determination, and others have chromosome-selected sex determination that is over-ridden by high temperatures.

What of insects? Worms? Fish?

Are you going to have the entire biosphere adapt to an increase of 2-4+ C over a century or two?

How does that work?

Bernard J. said...

"My logic is as follows: if the mean is shifting slowly (say 1 degree in 50 years)..."

See, right there is a red flag to anyone with any understanding that your "logic" that follows is going to be flawed.

Why? Because 1 2 C/century warming is in no way "slow": in geological/evolutionary terms it's practically light speed.

Any premise based on you outrageous misunderstanding will be completely screwed.

Bernard J. said...

...Why? Because a 2 C/century warming is in no way "slow"...

BBHY said...

I am having some difficulty understanding this. If I am following it correctly, then they are claiming that climate change does not create more heatwaves because there has indeed been a "climate change" with the result that what were heatwaves in the old climate are not heatwaves in the new, "changed" climate because of the increase in average temperature due to climate change.

This would appear to be a solid confirmation of climate change from the folks who adamantly deny the existence of climate change. They may find themselves kicked out of their tribe for not faithfully maintaining their shibboleth, just like Muller.

Russell Seitz said...

Will some great and powerful oceanographer weigh in on why the waters are cooler where the Amazon debouches into the sea?

How do the dilutional cooling of the salt water and the high silt albedo figure in it?

Oale said...

more moisture in atmosphere->more rain that's been cooled higher in troposphere-> oops, erm.. wasn't Amazon projected to get droughts ?

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Oale,

In 2005, the Amazon suffered its worst drought in 100 years.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Not directly apropos, but...

My drought paper has been accepted.

"Accuracy Check on Predictions of Near-Term Collapse" will appear in the British Journal of Science.

This will be my third article in a peer-reviewed science journal, and the first dealing directly with climate science.

Mal Adapted said...

Russell: "Will some great and powerful oceanographer weigh in on why the waters are cooler where the Amazon debouches into the sea?"

Good question, if it's true. How do you know it is? My quick search didn't turn up a reference.

Russell Seitz said...

Mal, I'm asking because it is what the last line of this post says :

" There is ONLY one spot where both the temperature and the standard deviation decreased, right about at the mouth of the Amazon."

My bad if Eli is referring to 850mb elevation , but most river mouths are in the boundary layer.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

BJS turns out to be a scam journal, and I am the biggest putz I know right now. Disregard earlier post.

Doug McNeall said...

Thanks for your concern - Red Vs Blue is just fine, just don't let Green in on the action ;)

cRR Kampen said...

"From what I saw in Moscow when I lived there the urban heat island problem is huge."

Nonsens. Extremely cold January (2010) still possible there.
And in the summer of 2010 Moscow was not at all in a 'heat island', but on the very edge of almost a continent of exceptional positive anomalies centered over northern Ukraine (which lost order $15 G on agriculture and helped bring the country into the deep sh*t is in now).

Mal Adapted said...

Heh. Once in a while you fool us by asking a serious question, Russell. You got me again!

EliRabett said...

BPL: You ain;t the first, you won't be the last. Be easy

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Here's a link to my article, under the incredibly appropriate title of "Development of Broncho-Pulmonary Segments in Albino Rat:"

http://www.ajournal.co.uk/pdfs/BSvolume13%281%29/BSVol.13%20%281%29%20Article%202.pdf

Russell Seitz said...

"Blogger caerbannog said...

SST's exceeding 40 °C means that you could easily have wet-bulb temps in the neighborhood of 40 °C. Everyone subjected to those conditions will be dead of heatstroke in a matter of hours. **Everyone**.

Of course, humans will cease to function in any productive way long before that happens."

And so, as SST reached 40 in Dubai's inner harbor, the Emirati's entered the paroxysmic terminal stages of hyperthermia , and started erecting 2,700 foot skyscrapers

Hank Roberts said...

> waters are cooler where the Amazon debouches into the sea?

Purely a guess, but presumably there's deep water near shore and some mixing that would dilute warm fresh water coming out of the Amazon Basin as some of it mixes with colder sea water. Look for "turbidity current" mixing?

Well, I'm philosophically against "reverse citation" because you can find anything on the Internet, so making a wild-ass guess then 'oogling your own speculation can always find a superficially convincing citation.

So let's try that, 'oogled: "sea surface temperature" "Amazon delta"

finds:

"... Lenses of low-salinity surface water resulting from dilution of the Amazon plume occasionally become detached and can move seaward .... During lowstands of sea level, the river would have discharged directly into relatively deep water, and mixing of the river plume into the coastal water might have occurred more slowly than at present, allowing more extensive freshwater lenses to form....
.... "The circulation of the western tropical Atlantic water masses that overlie the Amazon Fan (Fig. 2) has an important effect on world ocean dynamics and interocean heat transfer. This is because the North Brazil Coastal Current (NBCC) is the only known cross-equatorial heat transport in the global circulation pattern ...."

http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/155_SR/CHAP_41.PDF

Steve Bloom said...

Russell, to paraphrase Danny Kaye by way of Tom Lehrer, that I know from nothing, but what I do have is a vague understanding that there are some very large and strong currents running off that coast, noting also that the Amazon outflow is a small fraction of a Sv, the unit invented to measure ocean current flow. IOW my first guess would be upwelling. See here.

Steve Bloom said...

Congrats, Russell, you have discovered the DIHST, a new key metric, by way of missing the point.