Friday, January 17, 2020

The 2015-2019 global temp average warming is .934C, and the final details on the climate bet

December 2019 GISS data came out recently, and hot: 1.1C over baseline. 2019 is the second hottest year on record after 2016, and if temps from 2019's final quarter carry over in 2020, then this year will once again be a new record.

While David Evans already conceded and paid our bet earlier this month, we can now do the final calculations. To win both parts of our bet, I needed temps to go up on decadal basis of .18C. The 2005-2009 temps averaged .636C over baseline, so I needed 2015-2019 to go up to .816C. The actual rise was to .934C, nearly .12C above what I needed to win. As I wrote before, I was somewhat lucky with how El Ninos played out, but I doubt it made that much of a difference.

Another way to look at it would be what temps I would've needed to avoid losing. We had a voiding outcome range where if the temps fell somewhere in the middle of our bet postions then neither of us would win. Any increase over .13C meant I wouldn't lose, translating into an expectation of 2015-2019 reaching only .736C over baseline. That's nearly .2C lower than actual, and even harder to imagine being affected by El Nino. So in sum, very bad yet unsurprising news for the climate that I've won this first bet.

And now we begin the second bet, comparing 2020-2024 to 2005-2009. A per-decade rate of .18C over a 15-year period is .27C, so I'm winning my bet for any temps of .91 or higher between now and 2024. The last five-year period already exceeded that mark, and it's only getting warmer.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

RayP Explains It All

Obi-Wan described the Mos Eisley Spaceport as a place to be cautious, that a Bunny could never find a more wretched den of scum and villainy.  In Eli's humble opinion and that of many others, Obi-Wan never visited USENET.  But even at USENET, one can encounter a passing Jedi, in this case RayP who provides the most economical explanation of the greenhouse effect that the Rabett has seen

For an optically thick atmosphere, it is the Top of the Atmosphere budget plus the lapse rate that dominantly control the surface temperature.  The surface budget is relatively unimportant.  Another way of looking at it is that the atmosphere is so opaque to IR that the radiation to space is determined by just the first one optical depth from the top, which, loosely speaking, reaches into the mid trop.
Perhaps too terse, so let's go to the pictures,

Thursday, January 09, 2020

I've won my climate bet for $1500. What do I do with it?

Fresh and early in January, I received a very sportsmanlike and courteous email from climate skeptic David Evans, congratulating me for winning the ten-year climate bet we have and asking for arrangements to pay the $1500. Quite a contrast to the Russian climate denialists betting James Annan who now either refuse to pay or deny their own existence (James is annoyingly unsnarky about this, so I provide the snark here). December data isn't in yet for the GISS dataset we use, but David saw no reason to wait.

To recap, the bet compares 2005-2009 average to the 2015-2019 average. The bet had two parts, one part betting on temps exceeding or not meeting the .15C/decade that IPCC had previously forecasted for the medium term, and the other part on temps exceeding or not meeting a .1C/decade level that David thought it was possible wouldn't happen. At the time he anticipated some limited amount of warming, leading to the bet design. Details here, and there are additional bets we have for the future.

David and I agree that I've had luck in the bet - the El Nino/La Nina combinations for 2005-2009 were less-warming that the same combos in 2015-2019. Still, given how easily I've won both bets (final data in a week or two), I doubt it matters much relative to neutral temps.

David is Australian, and Australia is burning. What should I do with the money?

I have no special aversion to keeping the money - it wasn't a bet for charity. Our later bets are for larger amounts, so I may keep them or part of them. This one though seems appropriate to give away.

If anyone knows a good Australian charity that does climate advocacy, please LMK (in the comments or schmidtb98atyahoodotcom). I'd especially like it if the donation could make a bit of public splash. I won't rule out an America donation either at this point.

A last note - while we don't have civility controls for comments posted at Rabett Run, I'll just note once again how civil and courteous David has been thoughout the twelve years I've been in contact with him.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The problem is less about Suleimani and more about how we act in Iraq

Some of the Lawyers Guns and Money blog authors are very good,* and all of them AFAICT range from very liberal to socialist. It says something that Robert Farley, LGM's national security expert, isn't quite ready to call taking out Suleimani a mistake, viewed from the narrow frame of whether to let him go about killing people:

In short, nothing about the “Suleimani was bad and it’s good he’s dead” takes is quite wrong, but it is dependent on “what I told you was true, from a certain point of view” thinking.

Farley goes on to discuss how Trump had no strategy beyond maximum pressure on Iran and stumbled into killing Suleimani because nothing was working.

True as far as it goes, but I think the deeper problem is both our military involvement in Iraq and how we treat the country as something less than sovereign, nearly 17 years after we invaded. Iraq is a semi-democracy where the majority kind-of runs the country. That majority isn't doing a great job of how it treats the minority Sunni and has kind-of wanted our military help to keep the Sunnis from murderous rebellion again.

Our help, for the most part, isn't helpful. We should be in Syria where there's no democratic government to go through a learning curve, and we shouldn't be in Iraq. At least, our involvement in Iraq should have been as limited as possible after ISIS had been mostly defeated, focusing on counter-insurgency tactics that don't involve repression and improving policing through capacity-building rather than beating up suspects.

And to the extent we're in Iraq, we should treat the government there as sovereign, rather than launch our own military activities on their soil without their support or approval, against the terms of our involvement. If Iraq can't or won't protect our troops or embassy or allow us to protect them, then we should leave.

This all comes back to Suleimani because it's our exposure in Iraq that puts us in such a difficult position that killing him isn't obviously a mistake (although it is a probable mistake). We have no good options in Iraq, when we probably shouldn't be there and we're inhibiting the country functioning as a sovereign democracy. Not being there lowers the exposure to the risk Suleimani, and more importantly Iran, has created.**

Iran's imperialism within Iraq has cost it a lot in the form of broad public opposition, including in the Shiite majority. The lesson from that is to not be somewhat-less imperialist, it's to not be imperialist.

Iraq's parliament has passed a non-binding resolution telling our troops to leave. Best case outcome is that this happens and Iran accepts it as the primary retaliation, and we de-escalate the situation. We'll see.

The best critique of my argument AFAICT is that the Kurds and some Sunnis see our forces in Iraq as moderating influences. I'm not sure that's actually the case, and regardless not a good way to handle a country.

*I'm not a fan of LGM bloggers supporting gratuitous violence.

**And we shouldn't ignore Trump's abrogation of Obama's nuclear deal, weakening moderates within Iran's power structure. That led to the escalation we saw with the Saudi oil facility strike and more recently attacks within Iraq.

UPDATE: a contrary opinion from some experts about withdrawing US troops. I'll agree that retaining/moving US troops to Kurdistan would be better than withdrawal. As to that and as to everything else the experts said, the Iraqi government has a veto on whether our troops are there. I also think continuing Iranian imperialism in Iraq will blow back against them in the medium term and long term, so I'm not that worried about balancing Iran's presence with our own troops, except possibly in Kurdistan.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Eli's Back

Yes, Eli has been away.  Apologies to Brian and the bunnies.

Pollution, pollution

Somc bunny not to be named later sucked Eli into Twittering with another RWNJ TV meteorologist type but something interesting came out of it.  While berating China and India for not being the biggest polluters on the planet, this map was posted

There are some interesting things about the map.

First, the big blob in Saudi Arabia and the smaller one in southeast Nigeria mark out oil patches.  Second the blobs in northeast China and the Ganges River Valley in India are IEHO markers of coal burning and ICE transportation.  (Look at SE Asia, not wonderful but the traffic is really bad there too.  Third, it would be interesting to know what is going on in northern Nigeria, Niger and Chad as well as the Sahara in general and Mongolia. Is that simply blown sand? The World Health Organization has detailed and up to date maps

FWIW Brazil and southern Africa show the effects of seasonal biomass burning.

That's EHO, but it lead to a paper by Papiya Mandal, R. Sarkar, A. Mandal and T. Saud, "Seasonal variation and sources of aerosol pollution in Delhi, India" who analyzed the sources of carbon in Dehli over a year. OC1 below traces biomass burning, EC2 and EC3 diesel engines and OC2, OC3, OC4, OP and EC1 gasoline vehicle exhaust or coal combustion.

Conclusion: Biomass burning is bad, but fossil fuels kill and oh yes, the situation has really gotten evil in Australia.