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New research from last week 3/2012

Posted on 24 January 2012 by Ari Jokimäki

Q: Are Parisian air-conditioners making things all nice and cool or warming up the place? A: Warming up the place. Q: What is it that was travestically missing but has been found now? A: Energy. Q: What is the hypothesis that is constantly debunked by numerous peer-reviewed studies and gets yet another blow this week? A: Cosmic ray-climate connection. Q: As just about anything seems to affect North-Atlantic/Europe weather, does Indian summer monsoon do it too? A: Yes. Q: What is slowly increasing tropical Pacific east-west temperature gradient? A: Global warming.  Q: What Alaskan treeline trees do when climate warms? A: Anything they feel like doing. Q: What lives longer if days get warmer but doesn't if only nights get warmer? A: Root.  Q: How do you explain carbon dioxide increase during last glacial termination? A: With salt, of course. Q: What keeps AMOC running? A: Mountains.

We also have studies on orbital control of carbon cycle, positive low-level cloud feedback, different kinds of cloud feedbacks, tropical glaciers, global sea level, electromagnetic imaging of permafrost, 1988 land uptake of carbon, temperature control over tropical tropopause water vapor and clouds, and Canadian lake plankton.


Past climate recording tropical glaciers are melting away

Tropical glaciers, recorders and indicators of climate change, are disappearing globally - Thompson et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "In this paper we review the interaction of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability and warming trends recorded in ice-core records from high-altitude tropical glaciers, discuss the implications of the warming trends for the glaciers and consider the societal implications of glacier retreat. ENSO has strong impacts on meteorological phenomena that directly or indirectly affect most regions on the planet and their populations. Many tropical ice fields have provided continuous annually resolved proxy records of climatic and environmental variability preserved in measurable parameters, especially oxygen and hydrogen isotopic ratios (δ18O, δD) and the net mass balance (accumulation). These records present an opportunity to examine the nature of tropical climate variability in greater detail and to extract new information on linkages between rising temperatures on tropical glaciers and equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures in critical ENSO indicator regions. The long-term climate records from a collection of high-altitude tropical ice cores provide the longer-term context essential for assessing the significance of the magnitude and rate of current climate changes that are in large measure driving glacier retreat. The well-documented ice loss on Quelccaya in the Peruvian Andes, Naimona'nyi in the Himalaya, Kilimanjaro in eastern Africa and the ice fields near Puncak Jaya in Papua, Indonesia, presents a grim future for low-latitude glaciers. The ongoing melting of these ice fields (response) is consistent with model predictions for a vertical amplification of temperature in the tropics (driver) and has serious implications for the people who live in these areas."

Citation: Thompson, Lonnie G.; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen; Davis, Mary E.; Brecher, Henry H., Annals of Glaciology, Volume 52, Number 59, December 2011 , pp. 23-34(12).


Global sea level budget since 1850

The historical global sea-level budget - Moore et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "We analyze the global sea-level budget since 1850. Good estimates of sea-level contributions from glaciers and small ice caps, the Greenland ice sheet and thermosteric sea level are available over this period, though considerable scope for controversy remains in all. Attempting to close the sea-level budget by adding the components results in a residual displaying a likely significant trend of 0.37 mm a-1 from 1955 to 2005, which can, however, be reasonably closed using estimated melting from unsurveyed high-latitude small glaciers and ice caps. The sea-level budget from 1850 is estimated using modeled thermosteric sea level and inferences from a small number of mountain glaciers. This longer-term budget has a residual component that displays a rising trend likely associated with the end of the Little Ice Age, with much decadal-scale variability that is probably associated with variability in the global water cycle, ENSO and long-term volcanic impacts."

Citation: Moore, J.C.; Jevrejeva, S.; Grinsted, A., Annals of Glaciology, Volume 52, Number 59, December 2011 , pp. 8-14(7).


Explaining carbon dioxide increase during last glacial termination

Impact of oceanic processes on the carbon cycle during the last termination - Bouttes et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "During the last termination (from ~18 000 years ago to ~9000 years ago), the climate significantly warmed and the ice sheets melted. Simultaneously, atmospheric CO2 increased from ~190 ppm to ~260 ppm. Although this CO2 rise plays an important role in the deglacial warming, the reasons for its evolution are difficult to explain. Only box models have been used to run transient simulations of this carbon cycle transition, but by forcing the model with data constrained scenarios of the evolution of temperature, sea level, sea ice, NADW formation, Southern Ocean vertical mixing and biological carbon pump. More complex models (including GCMs) have investigated some of these mechanisms but they have only been used to try and explain LGM versus present day steady-state climates. In this study we use a coupled climate-carbon model of intermediate complexity to explore the role of three oceanic processes in transient simulations: the sinking of brines, stratification-dependent diffusion and iron fertilization. Carbonate compensation is accounted for in these simulations. We show that neither iron fertilization nor the sinking of brines alone can account for the evolution of CO2, and that only the combination of the sinking of brines and interactive diffusion can simultaneously simulate the increase in deep Southern Ocean δ13C. The scenario that agrees best with the data takes into account all mechanisms and favours a rapid cessation of the sinking of brines around 18 000 years ago, when the Antarctic ice sheet extent was at its maximum. In this scenario, we make the hypothesis that sea ice formation was then shifted to the open ocean where the salty water is quickly mixed with fresher water, which prevents deep sinking of salty water and therefore breaks down the deep stratification and releases carbon from the abyss. Based on this scenario, it is possible to simulate both the amplitude and timing of the long-term CO2increase during the last termination in agreement with ice core data. The atmospheric δ13C appears to be highly sensitive to changes in the terrestrial biosphere, underlining the need to better constrain the vegetation evolution during the termination."

Citation: Bouttes, N., Paillard, D., Roche, D. M., Waelbroeck, C., Kageyama, M., Lourantou, A., Michel, E., and Bopp, L.: Impact of oceanic processes on the carbon cycle during the last termination, Clim. Past, 8, 149-170, doi:10.5194/cp-8-149-2012, 2012.


Possible link between orbital forcing and carbon cycle also under mid-Cretaceous greenhouse conditions

Orbital control on carbon cycle and oceanography in the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse - Giorgioni et al. (2012)

Abstract: "We established a new high-resolution carbonate carbon isotope record of the Albian interval of the Marne a Fucoidi Formation (Central Apennines, Italy), which was deposited on the southern margin of the western Tethys Ocean. Bulk carbonate sampled with 10–15 cm spacing was used for the construction of a continuous carbon isotope curve through the Albian stage. Spectral analyses reveal prominent 400 kyr cyclicity in the δ13C curve, which correlates with Milankovitch long eccentricity changes. Cycles occurring in our record resemble those observed in several Cenozoic δ13C records, suggesting that a link between orbital forcing and carbon cycling existed also under mid-Cretaceous greenhouse conditions. Based on comparisons with Cenozoic eccentricity-carbon cycle links we hypothesize that 400 kyr cycles in the mid-Cretaceous were related to a fluctuating monsoonal regime, coupled with an unstable oceanic structure, which made the oceanic carbon reservoir sensitive to orbital variations. In the Tethys these oceanographic conditions lasted until the Late Albian, and then were replaced by a more stable circulation mode, less sensitive to orbital forcing."

Citation: Giorgioni, M., H. Weissert, S. M. Bernasconi, P. A. Hochuli, R. Coccioni, and C. E. Keller (2012), Orbital control on carbon cycle and oceanography in the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse, Paleoceanography, 27, PA1204, doi:10.1029/2011PA002163.


Mountain ranges have strong role in maintaining Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Mountain ranges favour vigorous Atlantic meridional overturning - Sinha et al. (2012)

Abstract: "We use a global Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Model (OAGCM) to show that the major mountain ranges of the world have a significant role in maintenance of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). A simulation with mountains has a maximum AMOC of 18 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s-1) compared with ∼0 Sv for a simulation without mountains. Atlantic heat transport at 25°N is 1.1 PW with mountains compared to 0.2 PW without. The difference in AMOC is due to major changes in surface heat and freshwater (FW) fluxes over the Atlantic. In the Pacific changed surface fluxes lead to a meridional overturning circulation of 10 Sv. Our results suggest that the effects of mountains on the large-scale atmospheric circulation is to force the ocean towards a state with a vigorous AMOC and with no overturning in the Pacific."

Citation: Sinha, B., A. T. Blaker, J. J.-M. Hirschi, S. Bonham, M. Brand, S. Josey, R. S. Smith, and J. Marotzke (2012), Mountain ranges favour vigorous Atlantic meridional overturning, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02705, doi:10.1029/2011GL050485.


Why is there positive feedback from low level clouds in climate models?

Interpretation of the positive low-cloud feedback predicted by a climate model under global warming - Brient & Bony (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "The response of low-level clouds to climate change has been identified as a major contributor to the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates among climate models. By analyzing the behaviour of low-level clouds in a hierarchy of models (coupled ocean-atmosphere model, atmospheric general circulation model, aqua-planet model, single-column model) using the same physical parameterizations, this study proposes an interpretation of the strong positive low-cloud feedback predicted by the IPSL-CM5A climate model under climate change. In a warmer climate, the model predicts an enhanced clear-sky radiative cooling, stronger surface turbulent fluxes, a deepening and a drying of the planetary boundary layer, and a decrease of tropical low-clouds in regimes of weak subsidence. We show that the decrease of low-level clouds critically depends on the change in the vertical advection of moist static energy from the free troposphere to the boundary-layer. This change is dominated by variations in the vertical gradient of moist static energy between the surface and the free troposphere just above the boundary-layer. In a warmer climate, the thermodynamical relationship of Clausius-Clapeyron increases this vertical gradient, and then the import by large-scale subsidence of low moist static energy and dry air into the boundary layer. This results in a decrease of the low-level cloudiness and in a weakening of the radiative cooling of the boundary layer by low-level clouds. The energetic framework proposed in this study might help to interpret inter-model differences in low-cloud feedbacks under climate change."

Citation: Florent Brient and Sandrine Bony, Climate Dynamics, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1279-7.


No link between cosmic rays/sun and MODIS cloud anomalies

A decade of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer: is a solar – cloud link detectable? - Laken et al. (2012)

Abstract: "Based on the results of decadal correlation studies between International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project detected cloud anomalies and the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux it has been suggested that a relationship exists between solar activity and cloud cover. If valid, such a relationship could have important implications for our understanding of recent climate change. In this work, we present an analysis of the first decade of MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) detected cloud anomalies, and compare the data at global and local geographical resolutions to Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), GCR variations and the Multivariate El Niño Southern Oscillation Index. We identify no statistically significant correlations between cloud anomalies and TSI/GCR variations, and conclude that solar related variability is not a primary driver of monthly to annual MODIS cloud variability. We observe a net increase in cloud detected by MODIS over the past decade of ~0.58 %, arising from a combination of a reduction in high – middle level cloud (−0.31 %) and an increase in low level cloud (of 0.89%); these long term changes may be largely attributed to ENSO induced cloud variability."

Citation: Benjamin Laken, Enric Pallé, and Hiroko Miyahara, Journal of Climate 2012, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00306.1.


Electromagnetic imaging of permafrost down to 100m depths

Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost - Minsley et al. (2012)

Abstract: "The evolution of permafrost in cold regions is inextricably connected to hydrogeologic processes, climate, and ecosystems. Permafrost thawing has been linked to changes in wetland and lake areas, alteration of the groundwater contribution to streamflow, carbon release, and increased fire frequency. But detailed knowledge about the dynamic state of permafrost in relation to surface and groundwater systems remains an enigma. Here, we present the results of a pioneering ∼1,800 line-kilometer airborne electromagnetic survey that shows sediments deposited over the past ∼4 million years and the configuration of permafrost to depths of ∼100 meters in the Yukon Flats area near Fort Yukon, Alaska. The Yukon Flats is near the boundary between continuous permafrost to the north and discontinuous permafrost to the south, making it an important location for examining permafrost dynamics. Our results not only provide a detailed snapshot of the present-day configuration of permafrost, but they also expose previously unseen details about potential surface – groundwater connections and the thermal legacy of surface water features that has been recorded in the permafrost over the past ∼1,000 years. This work will be a critical baseline for future permafrost studies aimed at exploring the connections between hydrogeologic, climatic, and ecological processes, and has significant implications for the stewardship of Arctic environments."

Citation: Minsley, B. J., et al. (2012), Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02503, doi:10.1029/2011GL050079.


New analysis of different kinds of cloud feedbacks

Computing and Partitioning Cloud Feedbacks using Cloud Property Histograms. Part I: Cloud Radiative Kernels - Zelinka et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT, PRESENTATION MATERIAL]

Abstract: "We propose a novel technique for computing cloud feedbacks using histograms of cloud fraction as a joint function of cloud top pressure (CTP) and optical depth (τ). These histograms were generated by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) simulator that was incorporated into doubled CO2 simulations from eleven global climate models in the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project. We use a radiative transfer model to compute top of atmosphere flux sensitivities to cloud fraction perturbations in each bin of the histogram for each month and latitude. Multiplying these cloud radiative kernels with histograms of modeled cloud fraction changes at each grid point per unit of global warming produces an estimate of cloud feedback. Spatial structures and globally integrated cloud feedbacks computed in this manner agree remarkably well with the adjusted change in cloud radiative forcing. The global and annual mean model-simulated cloud feedback is dominated by contributions from medium thickness (3.6 ≤ τ < 23) cloud changes, but thick (τ ≥ 23) cloud changes cause the rapid transition of cloud feedback values from positive in midlatitudes to negative poleward of 50°S and 70°N. High (CTP < 440 hPa) cloud changes are the dominant contributor to LW cloud feedback, but because their LW and SW impacts are in opposition, they contribute less to the net cloud feedback than do the positive contributions from low (CTP ≥ 680 hPa) cloud changes. Mid-level (440 ≤ CTP < 680 hPa) cloud changes cause positive SW cloud feedbacks that are 80% as large as those due to low clouds. Finally, high cloud changes induce wider ranges of LW and SW cloud feedbacks across models than do low clouds."

Part 2 of this paper was published earlier.

Citation: Mark D. Zelinka, Stephen A. Klein, Dennis L. Hartmann, Journal of Climate 2012, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00248.1.


Missing energy was not missing after all

Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty - Loeb et al. (2012)

Abstract: "Global climate change results from a small yet persistent imbalance between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth and the thermal radiation emitted back to space. An apparent inconsistency has been diagnosed between interannual variations in the net radiation imbalance inferred from satellite measurements and upper-ocean heating rate from in situ measurements, and this inconsistency has been interpreted as ‘missing energy’ in the system. Here we present a revised analysis of net radiation at the top of the atmosphere from satellite data, and we estimate ocean heat content, based on three independent sources. We find that the difference between the heat balance at the top of the atmosphere and upper-ocean heat content change is not statistically significant when accounting for observational uncertainties in ocean measurements, given transitions in instrumentation and sampling. Furthermore, variability in Earth’s energy imbalance relating to El Niño-Southern Oscillation is found to be consistent within observational uncertainties among the satellite measurements, a reanalysis model simulation and one of the ocean heat content records. We combine satellite data with ocean measurements to depths of 1,800 m, and show that between January 2001 and December 2010, Earth has been steadily accumulating energy at a rate of 0.50±0.43 Wm−2 (uncertainties at the 90% confidence level). We conclude that energy storage is continuing to increase in the sub-surface ocean."

Citation: Norman G. Loeb, John M. Lyman, Gregory C. Johnson, Richard P. Allan, David R. Doelling, Takmeng Wong, Brian J. Soden & Graeme L. Stephens, Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo1375.


Day warming increases root lifespan, night warming doesn't

Day and night warming have different effect on root lifespan - Bai et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "Roots are key components of C cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and play an important role in the regulation of response of terrestrial ecosystems to global climate warming, which is predicted to occur with greater warming magnitudes at night than during daytime across different regions on the Earth. However, there has been no detailed study to investigate the effect of asymmetrical warming on root dynamics at the level of terrestrial ecosystems. To understand the effects of day and night warming on root lifespan in the semiarid temperate steppe in northern China, a field study with a full factorial design including control, day warming, night warming and continuous warming was conducted using modified rhizotron technique during three growing seasons in 2007–2009. Our results show that day, night and continuous warming had different effects on longevity of roots born in spring, summer and autumn, and that day warming significantly prolonged overall lifespan for the roots born in the three growing seasons, while night warning had no effect on overall lifespan. Day and night warming had different effects on root non-structural carbohydrate content, suggesting that allocation of photoassimilate may account for the differential responses of root lifespan to day and night warming. These results differ from other processes associated with ecosystems C cycle such as total ecosystem productivity, net ecosystem productivity and soil respiration. Our findings highlight that it is essential to incorporate the differential effects of day and night warming on root dynamics into simulating and predicting the responses and feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems C cycling to global warming."

Citation: Bai, W. M., Xia, J. Y., Wan, S. Q., Zhang, W. H., and Li, L. H.: Day and night warming have different effect on root lifespan, Biogeosciences, 9, 375-384, doi:10.5194/bg-9-375-2012, 2012.


Abrupt increase in the land uptake of carbon in 1988

Identification and characterization of abrupt changes in the land uptake of carbon - Beaulieu et al. (2012)

Abstract: "A recent study of the net land carbon sink estimated using the Mauna Loa, Hawaii atmospheric CO2 record, fossil fuel estimates, and a suite of ocean models suggests that the mean of the net land carbon uptake remained approximately constant for three decades and increased after 1988/1989. Due to the large variability in the net land uptake, it is not possible to determine the exact timing and nature of the increase robustly by visual inspection. Here, we develop a general methodology to objectively determine the nature and timing of the shift in the net land uptake based on the Schwarz Information Criterion. We confirm that it is likely that an abrupt shift in the mean net land carbon uptake occurred in 1988. After taking into account the variability in the net land uptake due to the influence of volcanic aerosols and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, we find that it is most likely that there is a remaining step increase at the same time (p-values of 0.01 and 0.04 for Mauna Loa and South Pole, respectively) of about 1 Pg C/yr. Thus, we conclude that neither the effect of volcanic eruptions nor the El Niño Southern Oscillation are the causes of the sudden increase of the land carbon sink. By also applying our methodology to the atmospheric growth rate of CO2, we demonstrate that it is likely that the atmospheric growth rate of CO2 exhibits a step decrease between two fitted lines in 1988–1989, which is most likely due to the shift in the net land uptake of carbon."

Citation: Beaulieu, C., J. L. Sarmiento, S. E. Mikaloff Fletcher, J. Chen, and D. Medvigy (2012), Identification and characterization of abrupt changes in the land uptake of carbon, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 26, GB1007, doi:10.1029/2010GB004024.


Complex response of Alaskan trees to warming

Do limiting factors at Alaskan treelines shift with climatic regimes? - Ohse et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "Trees at Alaskan treelines are assumed to be limited by temperature and to expand upslope and/or to higher latitudes with global warming. However, recent studies describe negative temperature responses and drought stress of Alaskan treeline trees in recent decades. In this study, we have analyzed the responses of treeline white spruce to temperature and precipitation according to different climatic regimes in Alaska, described as negative (cool) and positive (warm) phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). We found that in three consecutive phases (positive from 1925–46, negative from 1947–76, and positive again from 1977–98), the growth responses to temperature and precipitation differed markedly. Before 1947, in a phase of warm winters and with summer temperatures being close to the century mean, the trees at most sites responded positively to summer temperature, as one would expect from treeline trees at northern high latitudes. Between 1947 and 1976, a phase of cold winters and average summers, the trees showed similar responses, but a new pattern of negative responses to the summer temperature of the year prior to growth coupled with positive responses to the precipitation in the same year emerged at some sites. As the precipitation was relatively low at those sites, we assume that drought stress might have played a role. However, the climate responses were not uniform but were modified by regional gradients (trees at northern sites responded more often to temperature than trees at southern sites) and local site conditions (forest trees responded more often to precipitation than treeline trees), possibly reflecting differences in energy and water balance across regions and sites, respectively. However, since the shift in the PDO in 1976 from a negative to a positive phase, the trees' climate–growth responses are much less pronounced and climate seems to have lost its importance as a limiting factor for the growth of treeline white spruce. If predictions of continued warming and precipitation increase at northern high latitudes hold true, the growth of Alaskan treeline trees will likely depend on the ratio of temperature and precipitation increase more than on their absolute values, as well as on the interaction of periodic regime shifts with the global warming trend. Once a climatic limitation is lifted, other factors, such as insect outbreaks or interspecific competition, might become limiting to tree growth."

Citation: B Ohse et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 015505 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/015505.


Indian summer monsoon might have an effect to North Atlantic-Europe climate

Indian summer monsoon influence on the climate in the North Atlantic–European region - Lin & Wu (2012)

Abstract: "Previous studies have shown that climate anomalies over the North Atlantic–Europe (NAE) can influence the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) variability. It is, however, still an outstanding question whether the latter has a significant impact on the former. In this study, observational evidences indicate that the interannual variability of ISM is closely linked to the climate anomalies over NAE. A strong ISM is often associated with significant above normal precipitation over most of western Europe. Meanwhile, positive surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies are usually observed over the Mediterranean, accompanied by below normal SAT in Western Europe during a strong ISM summer. The situation is just opposite during a weak ISM summer. A global primitive equation model is utilized to assess the mechanism of the above observed connection."

Citation: Hai Lin and Zhiwei Wu, Climate Dynamics, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1286-8.


Possible regional detection of global warming in tropical Pacific

Is a global warming signature emerging in the tropical Pacific? - Ashok et al. (2012)

Abstract: "The tropical pacific experienced a hitherto-unseen anomalous basinwide warming from May 2009 through April 2010 with the maximum warming to the east of the dateline, but for a weak anomalous cooling west of 140°E after early boreal fall. Our observed analysis and model experiments isolate the potential teleconnections from TP during the summer of 2009. Further, we show through an empirical orthogonal function analysis of the tropical Pacific SSTA that the anomalous conditions in TP during this period could have manifested as a canonical El Niño, but for a slowly intensifying background west–east gradient. This zonal SST gradient is subject to an increasing trend associated with global warming. A possible implication is that any further increase in global warming may result in more basinwide warm events in place of canonical El Niños, along with the occurrence of more intense La Niñas and El Niño Modokis."

Citation: Ashok, K., T. P. Sabin, P. Swapna, and R. G. Murtugudde (2012), Is a global warming signature emerging in the tropical Pacific?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02701, doi:10.1029/2011GL050232.


Quantification of the effect of air-conditioning on Paris temperatures

How much can air conditioning increase air temperatures for a city like Paris, France? - de Munck et al. (2012)

Abstract: "A consequence of urban heat islands in summer is an increase in the use of air conditioning in urbanized areas, which while cooling the insides of buildings, releases waste heat to the atmosphere. A coupled model consisting of a meso-scale meteorological model (MESO-NH) and an urban energy balance model (TEB) has been used to simulate and quantify the potential impacts on street temperature of four air conditioning scenarios at the scale of Paris. The first case consists of simulating the current types of systems in the city and was based on inventories of dry and evaporative cooling towers and free cooling systems with the river Seine. The other three scenarios were chosen to test the impacts of likely trends in air conditioning equipment in the city: one for which all evaporative and free cooling systems were replaced by dry systems, and the other two designed on a future doubling of the overall air conditioning power but with different technologies. The comparison between the scenarios with heat releases in the street and the baseline case without air conditioning showed a systematic increase in the street air temperature, and this increase was greater at nighttime than day time. It is counter-intuitive because the heat releases are higher during the day. This is due to the shallower atmospheric boundary layer during the night. The increase in temperature was 0.5 °C in the situation with current heat releases, 1 °C with current releases converted to only sensible heat, and 2 °C for the future doubling of air conditioning waste heat released to air. These results demonstrated to what extent the use of air conditioning could enhance street air temperatures at the scale of a city like Paris, and the importance of a spatialized approach for a reasoned planning for future deployment of air conditioning in the city."

Citation: Cécile de Munck, Grégoire Pigeon, Valéry Masson, Francis Meunier, Pierre Bousquet, Brice Tréméac, Michèle Merchat, Pierre Poeuf, Colette Marchadier, International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.3415.


Measurements of temperature controlling water and cirrus clouds at tropical tropopause

Correlation among cirrus ice content, water vapor and temperature in the TTL as observed by CALIPSO and Aura/MLS - Flury et al. (2012) [FULL TEXT]

Abstract: "Water vapor in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) has a local radiative cooling effect. As a source for ice in cirrus clouds, however, it can also indirectly produce infrared heating. Using NASA A-Train satellite measurements of CALIPSO and Aura/MLS we calculated the correlation of water vapor, ice water content and temperature in the TTL. We find that temperature strongly controls water vapor (correlation r=0.94) and cirrus clouds at 100 hPa (r=−0.9). Moreover we observe that the cirrus seasonal cycle is highly (r=−0.9) anticorrelated with the water vapor variation in the TTL, showing higher cloud occurrence during December-January-February. We further investigate the anticorrelation on a regional scale and find that the strong anticorrelation occurs generally in the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone). The seasonal cycle of the cirrus ice water content is also highly anticorrelated to water vapor (r=−0.91) and our results support the hypothesis that the total water at 100 hPa is roughly constant. Temperature acts as a main regulator for balancing the partition between water vapor and cirrus clouds. Thus, to a large extent, the depleting water vapor in the TTL during DJF is a manifestation of cirrus formation."

Citation: Flury, T., Wu, D. L., and Read, W. G.: Correlation among cirrus ice content, water vapor and temperature in the TTL as observed by CALIPSO and Aura/MLS, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 683-691, doi:10.5194/acp-12-683-2012, 2012.


Last century lake sediments in Canada show planktonic shift that is unique during Holocene

Using paleolimnology to track Holocene climate fluctuations and aquatic ontogeny in poorly buffered High Arctic lakes - Rouillard et al. (2012)

Abstract: "Fossil diatom assemblages, and spectrally-inferred dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and sedimentary chlorophyll-a (SedChla) were analysed on lake sediment cores from two poorly buffered lakes on Pim Island (High Arctic Canada) to assess their responses to Holocene climate changes and to document lake ontogeny. Following deglaciation, diatom assemblages were dominated by small benthic Fragilaria sensu lato taxa. During the mid-Holocene there was an abrupt shift to more circumneutral and slightly acidophilous taxa dominated by Achnanthes and Navicula taxa. The most recent sediments, we recorded an increase in the planktonic taxon Cyclotella radiosa. This shift of the last century is the most ecologically unique in the Holocene record and is indicative of longer ice-free summers consistent with modern climate warming. Inferred DOC and SedChla track some of the main Holocene climatic trends documented in the region, including the Holocene Thermal Maximum and Neoglacial period; however, changes in lakewater in DOC did not likely drive any of the recorded shifts in diatom assemblages. Compared to nearby well buffered sites, our poorly buffered lakes recorded a more dynamic diatom response to Holocene environmental change. The decreasing trend in diatom inferred pH is likely due to changes in the acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) driven by the release of alkalinizing base cations from the easily weathered glacial deposits in the early Holocene and later by climate-driven pH dynamics and within-lake dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) dynamics. The diatom community composition in our study lakes is different and undergoes greater changes than in nearby well buffered lakes suggesting that softwater lakes in the high Arctic may respond most sensitively to climate and other environmental stressors."

Citation: Alexandra Rouillard, Neal Michelutti, Peter Rosén, Marianne S.V. Douglas, John P. Smol, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.01.011.


CLASSIC OF THE WEEK: Chamberlin (1906)

On a Possible Reversal of Deep-Sea Circulation and Its Influence on Geologic Climates - Chamberlin (1906) [FULL TEXT AVAILABLE IN ABSTRACT PAGE]

Abstract: No abstract.

Citation: T. C. Chamberlin, The Journal of Geology, Vol. 14, No. 5, Jul. - Aug.

This is a cross-post from AGW Observer. When each paper is published, it is notified in AGW Observer Facebook page and Twitter page. At least some of these are also retweeted in Skeptical Science Twitter page. Here's the archive for the research papers of previous weeks. If this sort of thing interests you, be sure to check out A Few Things Illconsidered. They also have a weekly posting containing lots of links to new research and other climate related news.

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Comments 1 to 15:

  1. Ari, this weekly review is a fantastic resource. I love it! Keep up the good work.
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  2. Let me add my "Amen" to #1. Well done, Ari.
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  3. Thank you, I'm glad you like it. :)
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  4. This is a tremendous tool! Thanks a lot
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  5. Most excellent! Great info.
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  6. I'm continually amazed that so many studies are being released each week.

    It is good to see work on nailing down cloud impacts and the sea level and radiation budgets. The uncertainties on those factors have become the 'last refuge of scoundrels' in the climate change 'debate'.
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  7. Absolutely fantastic, Ari.
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  8. Wow. This is fantastic. I look forward to this being a weekly feature. It'll be interesting to see how many papers get posted each week.
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  9. Another possible explanation for the sharp upsurge in atmospheric Carbon dioxide is the release of clathrates accumulated under the ice sheet over the 100,000 year life of the glacial. Once an ice sheet is a few hundred meters thick, conditions are right for any methane and Carbon dioxide from shales (fracked by the ice pressure), coal deposits, petroleum deposits and methanogenesis of organic material
    http://mtkass.blogspot.com/2011/09/continental-glacier-meltdown.html
    http://mtkass.blogspot.com/2011/08/end-of-ice-ages.html
    http://mtkass.blogspot.com/2008/07/arctic-melting-no-problem.html
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  10. Thank you Ari.
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  11. Another big thumbs up here. Also I like the teaser questions at the start - maybe the answers could be given seprately, or we could be left to puzzle them out.

    A parallel lifetime would help to give a chance of reading and digesting it all though - any chance of arranging that?
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  12. Thank you all for compliments. I have to note that these posts are not a good reflection of the number of studies each week. I only include those that I have found especially interesting. Hundreds of climate related papers are published each week. I only point out a few of them. Most of them would deserve to be included here.

    Sorry OPatrick, I don't understand what parallel lifetime means in this context (I do understand the words separately).
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  13. Sorry Ari, just a flippant comment. I cut into my sleep enough as it is trying to maintain a busy work and family life whilst keeping up to date enough with the lastest issues to be able to argue on the side of sanity. What I really need is a spare 24 hours a day to read and digest the huge volume of material you've pointed us to here, which as you say is still just the tip of the iceberg - i.e. I need a parallel lifetime.
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  14. OPatrick:

    Although Sks does not currently have the resources needed to create a parallel universe, it is actively pursuing the purchase of a state-of-the-art cloning device. The residents of Deniersville will go bonkers once we successfully replicate Dana.
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  15. Ahh, sorry. Perfectly good joke wasted just because of my limited English skills. Well, actually I think the mainstream cosmology is already considering parallel universes existing, so if that's true, then there already are several copies of you reading the abstracts right now. I don't know if my copies selected the same abstracts, though.
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