Week in Review 12/16/11

by Judith Curry

Here are a few things that caught my eye this past week.

IPCC AR5 and the extended peer community

The Air Vent reports on the leaking of draft IPCC AR5 WG1 chapters.  They are not easily accessible, but I did read the draft of Ch 4 on the Cryosphere.  It is not known who leaked these chapters.  Personally I think that the formal drafts of the chapters that are distributed to an audience that is at least as large as the Chapter’s contributing authors should be publicly archived as part of the documentation of the proceedings (in the interests of transparency and traceability).

An extremely interesting development is reported upon at WUWT, whereby Anthony Watts had encouraged people to sign up to be IPCC reviewers.  He reports that his application has been accepted.  In the comments, the following individuals report that they also have been accepted as reviewers:  Duke C., Ecotretas, Terry Oldberg.  Others?  Note, I was invited to apply to be a reviewer, but I decided not to, I figure it is best for me to remain outside the process.

When Politicians Distort Science

The Union for Concerned Scientists posts a very interesting dialogue between Robert Socolow, Randy Olson, and Roger Pielke Jr, on When politicians distort science.  Well worth reading, but be aware of the expand/collapse function on the right hand side of the post.

Is the IPCC still relevant to the UNFCCC?

Hilary Ostrov picks up on my question asked at the end of the Durban thread.  She provides a very interesting and well documented analysis.  Here conclusion:

Could it be that the UNFCCC has decided that its dependency on the “science” produced by this, well, Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert is no longer appropriate – or required?!

Perhaps the UNFCCC is in the process of throwing the IPCC under the proverbial bus – in the hopes of saving its own skin? And don’t forget that the IPCC’s younger sibling, the IPBES, is still waiting in the wings.

This might be why, in the US, NASA appears to have jumped onto the biodiversity bandwagon, already [h/t Peter Walsh via Bishop Hill]

This might also be why Joseph Alcamo, the UNEP’s Chief Scientist, and former climate consensus coordinator par excellence was heard on CBC radio’s The Current giving us the Next chorus, next verse … a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

New paper by Hegerl et al. on attribution

Hegerl et al. have a new paper on attribution entitled “Patterns of change: whose fingerprints are seen in global warming?”  Text of the abstract:

Attributing observed climate change to causes is challenging. This letter communicates the physical arguments used in attribution, and the statistical methods applied to explore to what extent different possible causes can be used to explain the recent climate records. The methods use fingerprints of climate change that are identified on the basis of the physics governing our climate system, and through the use of climate model experiments. These fingerprints characterize the geographical and vertical pattern of the expected changes caused by external influences, for example, greenhouse gas increases and changes in solar radiation, taking also into account how these forcings and their effects vary over time. These time–space fingerprints can be used to discriminate between observed climate changes caused by different external factors. Attribution assessments necessarily take the natural variability of the climate system into account as well, evaluating whether an observed change can be explained in terms of this internal variability alone, and estimating the contribution of this source of variability to the observed change. Hence the assessment that a large part of the observed recent warming is anthropogenic is based on a rigorous quantitative analysis of these joint drivers and their effects, and proceeds through a much more comprehensive and layered analysis than a comparison at face value of model simulations with observations.

This paper may be the clearest explanation that I have seen of what kind of reasoning is used by the IPCC in its attribution assessments.  However, I still don’t find their argument convincing, for reasons that I have stated in numerous previous posts on the topic.

Climategate 2.0

These emails from Phil Jones are being investigated:

“Work on the land station data has been funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this [agreement] in 2007,” Jones wrote in a May 13, 2009, email to British officials, before listing reasons he did not want them to release data.

Two months later, Jones reiterated that sentiment to colleagues, saying that the data “has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

A third email from Jones written in 2007 echoes the idea: “They are happy with me not passing on the station data,” he wrote.

Fox News has an extensive article on this, entitled “Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. gov’t help hide climate data?”.  Some excerpts:

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wants that key. He recently filed Freedom of Information acts with the DoE, requesting the emails they exchanged with Jones.

“So far no administration department has bothered to respond, indicating they … believe the time bought with stonewalling might just get them off the hook for disclosure,” Horner told FoxNews.com.

“Not with us, it won’t,” he said.

The Department of Energy has until December 29 before it must legally respond to Horner’s request.

Raid on Tallbloke Towers

Tallbloke reports:

An Englishman’s home is his castle they say. Not when six detectives from the Metropolitan Police, the Norfolk Constabulary and the Computer Crime division arrive on your doorstep with a warrant to search it though.

WUWT summarizes:

The first blogger to break the Climategate2 story has had a visit from the police and has had his computers seized. Tallbloke’s Talkshop first reported on CG2 due to the timing of the release being overnight in the USA. Today he was raided by six UK police (Norfolk Constabulary and Metropolitan police) and several of his computers were seized as evidence. He writes:

After surveying my ancient stack of Sun Sparcstations and PII 400 pc’s, they ended up settling for two laptops and an adsl broadband router. I’m blogging this post via my mobile.

BishopHill, writes:

My view of yesterday’s raid on Tallbloke Towers is that it is a storm in a teacup. Aware of the new disclosures, it was necessary for the police in the UK to see if they could get any new leads from RC’s electronic trail. They were preposterously heavy-handed of course, but it seems clear that Tallbloke is not a suspect.

Dude, where’s my climate movement?

Randy Olson provides a link to his talk “Dude, where’s my climate movement?”  No surprise, it’s about climate communication (24 minutes.  V. cool title, and a provocative talk.

555 responses to “Week in Review 12/16/11

  1. On the Tallbloke search warrant I note the combination of Norfolk & Met Force’s finest did their best, they obtained a search warrant to enter the home of a UK citizen, confiscate two of his 20+ computers and his ADSL router!!!, confirm that he is not a suspect in any crime and then leave without confiscating his smartphone which he then uses to add a post to his blog, email his co-conspirators, initiate western civilisation meltdown and call his mum!

    • How would the smartphone help them correlate the ip and other activity information for FOIA, to help find his/her identity?

      The police acted admirably and did things all the right way. Now, if ordering a search of Tallbloke’s computers was useful or a foolish thing to do, that onus is on whoever is above the police and told them to do this. But the police themselves sound like they were pure gentlemen.

      • Ged
        If you can’t see the stupidity of leaving a device in the hands of a suspect from which absolutely anything that can be done with an ADSL router and laptop, can be done with that phone including using the phone as a router, you must be a UK police force computer crime expert!
        Leo Hickman’s byeline appeared on a Guardian article which ‘outed’ Tallbloke, giving his name, location and university employer. As a result he is facing a misconduct inquiry which may cost him his job.
        All because the leaker/hacker left a comment on Tallbloke’s blog, hosted in the USA on WordPress servers!
        The probability of there being any information on the laptops and router which would identify the leaker/hacker approaches zero and is certainly no higher than for his smartphone.
        As usual, the UK police have acted with the finesse and intelligence of an amoeba in rut.
        I’ll give you they were polite and are probably ‘nice chaps’, mind

      • [..] a device in the hands of a suspect [..]

        Roger is not a suspect.

      • Despite all the fears and turmoil on Earth today, there is a scientific message of Cheer for the Holiday Season posted on Phys Org.com:


        Today all is well,
        Oliver K. Manuel

      • So wait, let me get this straight. You think police should deprive people, who aren’t suspects, of all their personal communication belongings because someone posted a link on a blog they run, which is hosted in the “cloud” on WordPress?

        A smartphone isn’t going to have more records than a laptop… And why would you take someone’s -phone- away? The operating systems on a smartphone are nothing like a laptop. Records aren’t kept the same way. And if there’s evidence of a connection between Tallblock and FOIA in say e-mails, those records would be on e-mail servers not his computer.

        And furthermore, a computer like a laptop has FAR MORE storage room for storing files than a smartphone.

        I mean really, saying they should take his phone is extraordinarily outlandish. There’s nothing they can gain from his computers, and definitely not anything from his phone. If they want his call records, they can go to his carrier.

    • Sometimes bad fortune is good fortune, and good fortune is bad.

      That second batch of Climategate emails has raised new concerns that may help us all get to the bottom of this scandal:

      “Did U.S. Gov’t Help Hide Climate Data?”

      • I do not understand world politics, but my most immediate concern is that frightened leaders of formerly “Free West” nations may act foolishly to preserve their false illusion of control if the public learns a pulsar actually gave birth to the Solar System and its elements and still controls our fate today.


        1981: “Heterogeneity of isotopic and elemental compositions in meteorites: Evidence of local synthesis of the elements “, Geokhimiya (12) 1776-1801 (1981) [In Russian]

        2005: “”The Sun Is A Magnetic Plasma Diffuser That Sorts Atoms By Mass”, paper to be presented at the V INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NON-ACCELERATOR NEW PHYSICS in Dubna, Russia, 20-25 June 2005 [In English] http://www.omatumr.com/Overheads/Overheads.htm

      • Oliver,

        Diffused energy is energy that will spread in any direction when exploded.
        In the case of rotational bodies, the energy dispersion is far different due to how the energy is stored.

    • English police is severely undermanned. There was another more important crime to attend on the very same day.

  2. “it’s about climate communication”

    It’s about improving AGW and green propaganda.

  3. There’s a bit more to the Tallbloke saga; the USDoJ sent a letter to WordPress requesting that they freeze all files for 90 days regarding his blog, Air Vent, and Climateaudit. They also “requested” that WordPress not notify the blog authors, but never got the court authorization needed to enforce that. WordPress notified Jeff, anyway.

    So expect more shoes to drop.

  4. Your readers might be interested in Chip Knappenberger’s post today at MasterResource, “Scientific Communication: Preach or Engage? (Judith Curry vs. AGU climate bias): http://www.masterresource.org/2011/12/scientific-communication-curry/

  5. vukcevic went to the ‘RC’ created a bit of chaos, calmed down, and surprisingly still tolerated.

  6. Can I observe that it must be a quiet period in the climate ‘debate’?
    I don’t know which is more ridiculous – alarmists cheering that the world’s most heinous criminal is one step closer to being caught (and strung up), or paranoid sceptics shouting that individual liberties are finally being lost and brutal state oppression is finally upon us.

    Roger is having a bit of a laugh (plus attention and £ in the tip jar), the Yorkshire police are getting a brief break from pursuing local scallys who’ve nicked yet more cars, and every member of a tribe is behaving……wait for it….. tribally!!!

    Please – get some perspective. Have you any idea how many quatloos I lost yesterday at the Blackboard?

  7. Is the IPCC still relevant to the UNFCCC?

    As the IPCC TAR & AR4 reports are the science foundations for the US EPA to declare that CO2 is a pollutant, does this mean that relegating the IPCC to immaterialism make CO2 emissions now no longer relevant? A whole lot of Government people will be disappointed. One quick way for President Obama to make amends to certain Capital Hill politicians is to replace Lisa Jackson with someone familiar with air, water and ground pollution.

  8. – Has anyone reported any official statements regarding the role of the US Justice Dept in the warrants? Has anyone asked any questions? The US role raises the most interesting questions.

    – It is simply a matter of time before the IPCC has a stampede of people jumping off its bandwagon. The brand is damaged and it isn’t essential to the mission. Expect to see some other entity or process to be formed to take over its function, even if it is simply a a group of scientists or national associations forming into something claiming to speak for consensus.

  9. John Carpenter

    The ‘Dude where’s my climate movement’ video was insightful. The four points Randy Olson suggests the climate change movement should consider I find quite accurate. The order he presented them was the inverse of how they are presented in his book, but for good reason considering how the members of ‘the team’ generally operate.

    4) Don’t be unlikeable
    3) Don’t be a poor story teller
    2) Don’t be so literal minded
    1) Don’t be so cerebral

    It is worth watching and the examples he gives to illustrate his points are good. It is interesting to hear a perspective on how to communicate with the public from someone who actually does it well.

    • He does do a good job. Ya still need a message to communicate that doesn’t change though. He pointed out that the 2006 documentary on hurricanes and global warming would have worked a lot better it there were five US landfall hurricanes per year after.

      • John Carpenter

        I think he understands that being an alarmist or taking an alarmist approach to communicating is not a good approach when talking about CC. The house is not burning…. the public does not see a house burning… Not being so literal, I thought, was a very good way of putting it.

      • But Cap’n still has a point: don’t go out on a limb if you don’t want the branch to break. The real problem is that they were supremely confident that the future would support their fantasies. Maybe not counting their poultry prior to their incubation might be a smart idea?

      • Not being so literal? Possibly. Properly expressing uncertainty was more my take away. To me, the greatest sins committed in this debate and science in general are poor treatment of uncertainty and data.

        I was a little surprised to see an excellent post by Tamino, http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/the-value-of-data/#more-4558

        I remember freezing my butt off on a job in Georgia listening to the pre-launch thinking, ” WTF are they thinking.” Another example of politics and science at its worst.

      • Also correct. Is “West Side Highway under water” literal or hyperbole? If it’s literal, the guy belongs in an asylum.

      • John Carpenter

        Captain and P.E., we are all in agreement here. The literal idea of ‘climate change is already here!’ and pointing to recent extreme weather events does not appear to convince many people, that was the take I got from this point. The general public has figured out the same types of extreme weather seen in the past are what can be expected sometime again in the future. This does not alarm most people and it does not appear to convince the public at large despite its frequent use. Crying wolf only works a couple times, then most people ignore it.

      • For me the profound message I got from this video/lecture is that the delivery of the message is more important than the message itself.

        In the end, it was all about ‘how to change peoples perceptions’. This I find disturbing.
        How differently would we have viewed this if it was a video of a lecture to a room full of uniforms?

    • When the political tide is turning , it does not matter who is speaking.

    • Cerebral? He thinks Mann and Hansen and the rest of the Team are too cerebral? Yikes. They come across to me like 13 year-old televangelists.

    • 4) Don’t be unlikeable

      A point well articulated I thought by Edward Hadas of Reuters this week:

      Something has gone wrong with global warming. It’s not that the world has stopped heating up. It’s that the anti-warming political movement, which seemed almost unstoppable when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, has stalled.

      Last week’s United Nations climate change conference in Durban ended with little more than an agreement to talk some more about what to do next. Even that was too much for Canada, which has just said no to emission-reduction targets. The activists blame recalcitrant governments and many commentators blame economic distractions. They are probably both right, but I think the activists’ own approach bears much of the responsibility.

      While only experts can judge the strength of the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, no technical knowledge is required to be troubled by the way the activists present their case. The willingness to describe knowledgeable opponents as “deniers,” a word previously used only for fantasists about Nazi atrocities, suggests a very unscientific attitude.

      Hadas goes on to point cleverly to The Hockey Stick Illusion, via Matt Ridley’s excellent review of March 2010 and finishes up with a thought-provoking analogy with the sorcerer’s apprentice, courtesy of Goethe and Walt Disney. Talking of excellent communication, this and the Fox News article about the Department of Energy’s apparent desire to suppress temperature data get my vote this week.

      • I like the Hadas article, and love the sorcerer apprentice analogy. Indeed, i considered using this one instead of the hydra monster to illustrate the problems with uncertainty monster exorcism.

      • The apprentices are working from a computer simulation of the Great Wizard’s volume. They haven’t dared peek into the real book.

  10. Hilary Ostrov picks up on my question asked at the end of the Durban thread. She provides a very interesting and well documented analysis. Here conclusion:

    Thanks, Dr. Curry :-) Minor typo alert …. I think you meant to say “Her conclusion:”

  11. The attribution paper seems one dimensional and somewhat facile. The type of “fingerprinting” I see being done I’ve only used BEFORE looking at actual data, as opposed to before it has been analysed and incorporated into a full fit model. It’s a useful theoretical exercise to postulate which possible mechanisms would be identifiable, and how to identify them. Once you have the data, fingerprinting is done in reverse order – identify a pattern, postulate mechanisms which would give that pattern, scratch your head trying to figure out how to identify which of the multiple mechanisms is at work. Patterns which don’t fit any of your apriori fingerprints are given special attention – they’re trying to tell you something you don’t already suspect.

    I’m not a fan of smoothing when fingerprinting – you automatically lose information, and you don’t know if it is important information or not.

  12. Figuring out who leaked the chapters would be pretty easy with some changes to the IPCC websites. Since logins are by user, all they have to do is produce a slightly different document for each user. If it includes diagrams, then it’s even easier.

  13. Willis Eschenbach

    Week in Review 12/16/11
    Posted on December 16, 2011 | 23 Comments

    … Personally I think that the formal drafts of the chapters that are distributed to an audience that is at least as large as the Chapter’s contributing authors should be publicly archived as part of the documentation of the proceedings (in the interests of transparency and traceability).

    This is the IPCC we’re discussing? The organization that don’t gotta show you no steenkin’ transparency? The ones who just decided that national laws like FOIA don’t apply to folks in their position? The same IPCC that doesn’t require our authors to sign no-disclosure agreements because it wouldn’t be fair to them?

    Personally, I think you are 100% correct, Judith. The chapter drafts should be publicly archived.

    But given its history … do you truly think it can be reformed? In your heart of hearts do you think the IPCC could ever be as enthusiastically transparent as you or Steve McIntyre are? Or that they could even be dragged kicking and screaming to a barely adequate level of transparency? Really?

    The people in power there have already been condemned by their own words. The release of the second tranche of emails confirmed that, once again in their own words. They showed themselves willing to break rules and flout laws and get editors fired and even tried to get a PhD revoked, all in order to force their ideas into the IPCC reports and to keep others ideas out.

    And despite that, Tom Wigley is now a lead author for AR5 … and you truly think that den of thieves can be reformed?

    Kill it. Put it out of its misery, along with its congenital step-idiot, the UNFCCC. Neither organization has ever brought us anything but higher energy prices, one of the most regressive taxes known because of its harsh effects on the poor.

    The UNFCCC was set up to find a way to control carbon dioxide, a trace gas essential to life. That has failed miserably because carbon = fuel energy, and fuel energy = development, and countries are not willing to give up development.

    I say defund them both. I think that should be the overarching goal of climate scientists, to rid their field of these parasites. They are the source of endless strife and power plays and infighting, not to mention throwing grandiose, 15,000 person parties at the taxpayers expense.

    If those two organizations were put out of their misery, can you imagine the beneficial effects on the planet? Can you concieve of the silence, a time when scientists could actually discuss things instead of fighting all the time.

    Kill them both, I say … but here’s something odd. My grandmother worked for the UN at its inception, and was one of the first UN employees.

    Both my father and mother also worked for the UN. All three of them noted something odd about the organization … nothing ever died. That’s what they said.

    Oh, things changed names, seats would get reshuffled, but for a UN Agency to die? Unthinkable. No way that the UN bureaucracy would allow that to happen.

    Which is why I say defund them. Cut off their lifeline. Stop paying the ransom that these rent-seekers are using to live the high life in Durban.

    I think it has to happen on an individual governmental level, though. And I think to do it, it will be necessary for the country in question to leave the UNFCCC. Canada is well along the road to that, and I was overjoyed by the threats issued by some UNocrat or other that Canada could withdraw from Kyoto but still had to pay. They said Canada couldn’t get out of that.

    I was happy to see that for a couple reasons. First, it underscored what’s important to the UN … the rent. They didn’t get on Canada’s case for not being carbon-conscious. They simply said they still had to pay.

    Second, I was happy they brought it up because it’s true. Canada still does have to pay. The UNFCCC is funded by the members.

    Third, that emphasizes the only path for Canada or any other reasonable nation to take—withdrawal from the UNFCCC. Whether you believe that carbon dioxide is a danger or not, the UNFCCC is dangerous to climate science. It has converted a scientific field into a battlefield. It has ignored the rules and precepts of science by deciding on a solution before there had been shown to be a problem. It has been staffed with people with an anti-scientific agenda. Canada, here’s your chance to show the way.


  14. Solheim et al. have given the pot a big stir with a specific prediction of

    “annual mean temperature decrease for Svalbard of 3.5 +/-2 deg C from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 (2009–‐20) and a decrease in the winter temperature of ≈6 deg C.

    This is a paradigm change from IPCC’s 2 deg/century warming predictions.

    Solar activity and Svalbard temperatures Jan–‐Erik Solheim, Kjell Stordahl, Ole Humlum, Special Issue on Svalbard Meteorology March 15 2012

    The long temperature series at Svalbard (Longyearbyen) show large variations, and a positive trend since its start in 1912. During this period solar activity has increased, as indicated by shorter solar cycles. The temperature at Svalbard is negatively correlated with the length of the solar cycle. The strongest negative correlation is found with lags 10–‐12 years. The relations between the length of a solar cycle and the mean temperature in the following cycle, is used to model Svalbard annual mean temperature, and seasonal temperature variations. Residuals from the annual and winter models show no autocorrelations on the 5 per cent level, which indicates that no additional parameters are needed to explain the temperature variations with 95 per cent significance. These models show that 60 per cent of the annual and winter temperature variations are explained by solar activity. For the spring, summer and fall temperatures autocorrelations in the residuals exists, and additional variables may contribute to the variations. These models can be applied as forecasting models. We predict an annual mean temperature decrease for Svalbard of 3.5 +/-2 deg C from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 (2009–‐20) and a decrease in the winter temperature of ≈6 deg C.


    Some discussion at: Polar amplification works both ways December 16, 2011 WUWT David Archibald

  15. From the abstract by Hegerl et al:

    “The methods use fingerprints of climate change that are identified on the basis of the physics governing our climate system, and through the use of climate model experiments.”

    Must we be forever abused by this abject ignorance? No model of any kind can be an experiment. You can do something with a model that might seem like an experiment to someone who is rather ignorant of these matters. You can assign new values (constants) to various variables in the model. This is what some modelers call “re-parameterization.” After new constants or ranges of constants are assigned, the model can be solved and the new output can be compared to existing outputs of computer runs. How does this differ from an actual experiment?

    In an actual experiment in the physical sciences, the experimenter might choose some constant values that will be assigned to variables in physical hypotheses but the combination of physical hypotheses and “initial conditions” imply some statements that describe observable phenomena in the real world. See, the newly generated statements are not compared to older statements generated from one’s scientific system of factual hypotheses but to the real world which exists totally apart from physical hypotheses or computer code and all results of computer runs.

    Some modelers foolishly believe that a model can gain empirical credibility if it can hindcast the historical numbers that define a line on a graph. No, that does not work. All that is proved by the accurate hindcast is that the computer model can now generate a known series of numbers. The fact that the numbers are taken from a line on a graph is quite irrelevant to the achievement.

    On the other matter of “the physics governing our climate system,” I take it that the authors mean what mainstream climate science claims to be the physics governing our climate system. (If they have a new physics that departs from mainstream climate science they would have announced it.) The physics of mainstream climate science amounts to Arrhenius’ well-confirmed hypotheses about the behavior of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, Arrhenius’ hypotheses have never been rigorously formulated as hypotheses about the actual atmosphere, as opposed to laboratory atmosphere, and found to be well confirmed. Mainstream climate science has not given a reasonably complete account of the “forcings” and “feedbacks” that are caused by changes in cloud behavior or changes in various other climate phenomena. Those changes must be known before anyone can scientifically predict the effects of changing CO2 concentration on temperature or heat content in various parts of Earth’s inclusive climate system. There is no set of well-confirmed physical hypotheses that can be called “the physics governing our climate system.” It simply does not exist and scientists should not be suggesting that it does.

    • Theo,

      You really set them up with that quote. It’s prima facie evidence of scientific malpractice. And then you nailed them. A prosecutorial tour de force. Very nice.

      • Thanks for your kind words. I did not intend to sound like a prosecutor but I am fine with sounding like one.

    • Theo

      You have pinpointed the primary basis for rational skepticism of the IPCC “consensus” findings.

      They are not based on empirical scientific evidence gleaned from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation according to the scientific method, but rather from model simulations based on questionable input assumptions.

      The fact that a few of these input assumptions were backed by subjective interpretations of dicey paleo-climate data from carefully selected periods of our distant geological past changes nothing.

      To say a model simulation has been “validated” by comparing it with another model simulation is deluding one’s self,

      To call a model run an “experiment” in the scientific sense is absurd – it is no such thing.

      But I doubt if IPCC will change its approach to a sounder scientific basis for AR5 – we already see how Hegerl et al. have balked against C+W critique in this regard (other thread).


      • Thanks for your kind words. They cannot get away with this “validated model” nonsense forever.

      • The analogy I like is that the simple lab behaviour of CO2 gas has been sucked up into a chaotic social system of policy, finance, and guilt, such as to completely dwarf the climate system’s nearly unapproachable physical complexity.

    • The thing that amazes me, is that this sort of thing needs to be written in December 2011. What you have written, Theo, has been clear to me ever since I got interested in CAGW about 10 years or so ago. Though I have never been able to enunciate it as clearly as you have done. I have watched people like our hostess simply ignore these obvious truths. I would dearly like to see her comment on what you have written, but I am not holding my breath. There simply is no proper physics to support the hypothesis of CAGW; and there never has been.

      The only hope that I can see for science, is that the world is going to go on producing as much CO2 as is nesessary to keep the world economy going at a rate that will bring as high a standard of living as is possible, So we have time for the observed data to consign this hoax of CAGW to complete oblivion.

      • “What you have written, Theo, has been clear to me ever since I got interested in CAGW about 10 years or so ago.”

        Yes, me too, and it is disheartening that so few understand the matter. I have been modeling since 1976 and it has been clear to me since at least 1977 that models cannot do what some climate scientists want them to do. It is easy to delude yourself with models. You get to change the inputs and watch the new outputs respond – or not. So, it seems like you are making progress. But to put the matter in its simplest terms, models are not about the world and can be used only as analytic tools to give us a better understanding of the limitations in the crude snapshots of our theories that we took in the past.

      • Theo, you seem to be under the impression that general circulation models can’t represent the main features energy and water cycles of the earth’s weather and climate system at all, when actually they do it very well, producing realistic weather systems and temperature gradients and seasonal changes, not only at the surface but up to the stratosphere.

      • Jim D | December 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm | writes:

        “Theo, you seem to be under the impression that general circulation models can’t represent the main features energy and water cycles of the earth’s weather and climate system at all, when actually they do it very well, producing realistic weather systems and temperature gradients and seasonal changes, not only at the surface but up to the stratosphere.”

        It all depends on what you mean by “represent.” If you mean that models can be tuned to present something that looks like real weather systems and such then I do not disagree with you. My point is that taking those representations as scientific hypotheses or scientific predictions is delusional.

        You cannot make predictions from a model. All that a model run produces is a simulation of all or part of Earth’s climate or weather. That simulation is nothing but a series of numbers, uninterpreted numbers. Those numbers have to be interpreted by the scientists who use the models and the result of their interpretations of a particular model run is what you call the representation of a climate system or weather system, depending on the model.

        By contrast, genuine physical hypotheses can be combined with sets of known “initial conditions” and the two combined imply some set of observation statements. Those observations statements describe observable phenomena and can be determined to be true or false by direct comparison to the environment. (Notice that there is no middle man who has to interpret a series of numbers; rather, in genuine phyiscal theory the hypotheses and the factual statements wear their meanings on their sleeves and those meanings point directly to the world. Genuine physical hypotheses have their own cognitive content as do observation sentences.) The observation statements implied by the combination of physical hypotheses and initial conditions are scientific predictions.

        I sense that this is going to be hard for you, so I recommend that you start with the very basics. If you believe that climate models (or any computer model) can be used to make predictions then please tell me how it is done. What in the model implies some statements that describe observable phenomena and are scientific predictions. Examples would be helpful. (Hint: because model runs generate only uninterpreted numbers, there are no such statements.)

      • Theo Goodwin, of course you can make predictions from models such as these. Weather forecasts rely on very similar equations to those used in climate models and satisfy what you define as a hypothesis by predicting future observations. In climate, you can’t predict point values, but you can predict changes in mean values given a hypothetical change such as adding an amount of CO2. It is too early to say whether those predictions for the later part of the century are true yet, but they are panning out better than the predictions of those who thought the climate sensitivity was low. Climate models fit your idea of a hypothesis by making a scientific prediction that hasn’t been verified yet, but could well be verified later, so it is wrong to say you can’t make predictions with them because they are being used that way. The nature of the current climate change is that you have to wait until the change happens to verify hypotheses about it because it hasn’t happened before in the observed record.

      • Models can be very helpful, unless they have some bugs in them…


        Models can hurt us too.

      • Jim D | December 18, 2011 at 1:28 am |
        “Theo Goodwin, of course you can make predictions from models such as these. Weather forecasts rely on very similar equations to those used in climate models and satisfy what you define as a hypothesis by predicting future observations.”

        I knew that this would be hard for you but you have to at least try. You need to overcome your addiction to circularity. Notice that in your definition of ‘prediction’ above there appears the word ‘prediction’.

        You have to break the concept of prediction into its parts. Google Kepler’s Three Laws and see how the author defines a prediction as following from one or more of Kepler’s Laws plus initial conditions.

        Finally, let me emphasize the Big Picture which you seem to have overlooked when reading my posts. Physical Hypotheses that are reasonably well-confirmed Describe Regularities in Nature. Making a prediction is saying that an event will occur in accordance with one or more natural regularities. Models do not attempt to describe nature and for that reason cannot be used to make predictions. The purpose of Models is to Reproduce Nature in the sense of Recreating it in a computer simulation. See the difference. The best that can be expected from a model is to yield a perfect simulation of the past. However, modelers have no hope of creating a perfect simulation of the future because the future has not yet occurred and it is not possible to reproduce what does not yet exist.

        The actual use of models is for analytic purposes only. If you have a rather complete physical theory and you can construct a computer model for it then you can use the computer model for quick calculation and, more important, to quickly discover unforeseen assumptions in your physical hypotheses. But that is analysis and not science.

      • Theo, it looks like we are agreeing finally that you can’t prove a prediction is good until it has happened, which is especially difficult when the prediction is about the future. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t say any prediction is more likely than another. This is what the uncertainty measures are all about. If someone was to predict a flat temperature for a forcing increase, you don’t need a model to see that they have to justify that with a plausible mechanism to absorb or reflect the heat.

      • Theo,

        He can’t stop going in circles:

        “However, that doesn’t mean you can’t say any prediction is more likely than another.”

        Now he is talking about making predictions, on predictions. But he says that you are finally agreeing. Most amusing.

      • Yes, let’s just all stop making predictions and let what happens surprise us instead. Good plan.

      • Because all those people who saw the housing crackup coming did us so much good, huh?

      • You can make all the predictions you want jimmy. You can even pretend they will very likely match the future reality. But it ain’t getting you any closer to your goal of screwing up the world’s economy.

      • “I have watched people like our hostess simply ignore these obvious truths.”

        She chooses to work from within mainstream climate science as much as possible. I cannot fault her for that. From that perspective, she raises criticisms against some important claims made by modelers.

      • Judith, how about a guest post from Theo? He has got at the heart of the matter. Would make for an interesting discussion. How would the hijackers handle this one? Note their lack of interest in poo-pooing Theo’s illuminating comment.

      • Let me put out another thought from my early days looking at CAGW. When I first came across the term “radiative forcing”, I had absolutely no idea what it was or what it meant. So I looked up it’s history. It is a long time ago, and I have forgotten the details, but I seem to remember the term was first “invented” over 100 years ago. The idea was quickly abandoned because, first, it can never be measured, and second, any attempt to estimate a value, entails making so many simplifying assumptions about how the atmopshere works, that such estimates are completely worthless.

        So far as I can see, the first objection has simply been ignored. In my simplistic way of thinking, if something can never be measured, it has no place in physics; cf string theory. I know people like to look at all sorts of other parts of physics where things cannot be measured, but IMHO radiative forcing is in a class be itself. But the advent of high speed digital computers has persuaded the gullible, that accurate estimates of radiative forcing can, indeed, be made. The fact of the matter is that they cannot. One still has to make so many simplifying assumptions as to how the atmosphere works; (eg that the estimates can be done by only looking at the radiaiton effects), that the estimates are completely worthless.

        And that is just the beginning. When we come to such ideas as no feedback climate sensitivity, the whole thing has simply nothing to do with physics. It is just a farce.

      • Radiative forcing is also known as energy-in minus energy-out. This is a fundamental concept in physics and engineering.

      • Jim D says “Radiative forcing is also known as energy-in minus energy-out.”

        Surely this is false.

      • It really is that simple. For example doubling CO2 is said to have a radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2. This is because if you suddenly doubled CO2, starting from a balanced state, that would be the imbalance created by having less radiation going out. This would be a temporary state until the balance could be restored, probably mostly by warming.

      • Jim, but CO2 levels have not suddenly doubled, nor are they ever going to.
        So what kind of imbalance are we actually seeing given the gradual (1-2ppm/yr) increase?

      • In nature, the imbalance remains small because the warming keeps up. This is how sensitivity studies can use forcing and temperature to determine sensitivity without needing to know the exact imbalance at any given time.

      • Jim D, you are equating two very different concepts, which may or may not be causally connected. Whether they are or not in the actual climate system is what the debate is all about. You cannot resolve the debate by defining terms your way.

      • I described radiative forcing due to an effect as the earth’s energy imbalance created by that effect in isolation. I think the latter description is easier to understand because most people have a concept of energy budgets. It is important to have a clear concept, otherwise you might end up dismissing it like Jim Cripwell, so I think this has helped him.

      • Jim D:

        In nature, the imbalance remains small because the warming keeps up
        That’s fine, except some of you guys seem to believe that the radiative imbalance is a good deal greater. For example, at http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/13/slaying-the-greenhouse-dragon-part-iv/#comment-150787 :
        … the radiative imbalance (which is estimated to be less than half a percent of the total radiation absorbed from the sun)

      • Oops, I seem to have messed up the tags above :-(

    • Theo,

      What an exceptionally precise and insightful post. Kudos.

      ["Must we be forever abused by this abject ignorance?"]

      Hopefully not ‘forever’, but certainly until the MSM stop following pro-cAGW dogma and start reporting based on observed data, reasoned thought and logic, instead of model-based ‘consensus science’. That may take some time.

      At some point, the pro-cAGW ‘Team’ are going to have to debate (and re-visit) the basic ‘theory of CO2 induced radiative global warming’ with reference to observed data.

      Congratulations on a superb post.


    • “No model of any kind can be an experiment.”

      Why not?

      Scientific method

      examine something

      model it

      make prediction based on model

      examine again to see if prediction is valid

      • The model is the hypothesis. Experiments test hypotheses against reality. The model is not reality (an inconvenient fact the modelers seem to ignore).

      • And that comment brings the whole scientific establishment to its knees.

      • bob droege

        It’s not David Wojick’s “comment” that is bringing the IPCC “consensus establishment” to its knees, Bob, it is the loss of public trust, which was triggered by the Climategate revelations, and has now gone much further, as this blog site demonstrates.

        A key factor has been the fact that the whole CAGW scare is based on model simulations, rather than “reality” (as David Wojick puts it), namely “em>empirical scientific evidence based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, following the scientific method”.

        Model validation against other models or what is erroneously referred to as model “experiments” do not count as “reality”, of course, as has been pointed out by several posters here and elsewhere.


      • Manacker,

        I was responding to David Wojick’s statement that models are not reality and he thinks he can read the modelers minds in that he thinks they (the modelers) are ignoring that fact. Which is ridiculous.

        As is your statement that the climategate emails matter.

        Also, we don’t have the luxury of performing repeatable experiments in this case, in that we only have one atmosphere to perform experiments.
        If we get it wrong people will die, maybe all people.

        Also, I was pointing out that almost all scientific experiments compare the results of experiments with models with the results in the real world.

        All that is pointed out on this website about models is intuitively obvious and doesn’t affect the reality that continued experimentation with increasing CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere is likely to lead to significant adverse effects.

      • Bob said, “All that is pointed out on this website about models is intuitively obvious and doesn’t affect the reality that continued experimentation with increasing CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere is likely to lead to significant adverse effects.”

        That is a bit circular. If you stand back and look at the data, there is evidence that Anthropogenic involvement has had some impact on climate. The data we have, does not show an obvious correlation to CO2. Robert’s Bolivian glacier, the only ski slope in Bolivia, receded while local temperature dropped but skiing popularity grew.

        The solar explanation for the first half of the 20th is highly suspect. Solar doesn’t just rise, causing warming, the stabilize without having some in the pipeline warming. If Volcanic aerosols caused the decrease after 1950, while solar TSI remained at the higher average value, then the warming would return to the pre-volcanic value. You can’t have things both ways.

        The majority of the warming is measured in the NH. The majority of human impact is in the NH. Land use, black carbon, water shed changes, water use changes, erosion due to habitation, deforestation and general airborne pollutants in the lower atmosphere, are all as likely as CO2 to have impacts.

        If you are faced with uncertainty, you make the modifications most easily implemented that have the greatest upside potential. Killing the world economy because CO2 might be the main cause, when other possible causes provide more immediate impact and added benefits is a bit foolish.

        Convincing believers that their beliefs might be foolish though, ain’t easy.

      • Captain Dallas (nofishtoday)

        The logic is not circular, in that there is sound scientific evidence for the greenhouse effect and that CO2 has the necessary properties to affect the atmosphere. I am not a believer.

        And I think you are confused about the post 1950 warming in that the aerosols responsible are thought to be anthropogenic rather than volcanic.
        And the lack of volcanic activity early last century was more responsible than the sun with the sun still important.

        The southern hemisphere is not slacking that much with respect to the warming trend, look at these graphs.


        What other causes of the warming trend do you see, that we could do something about. Not interested in wrecking the global economy, but we could double our energy expenditures and eliminate all sources of CO2.
        Now that is typically 5% of GDP for the US, less for other nations, and way less for the developing countries. Or just go after the low hanging fruit represented by burning coal and natural gas for electricity. Replace those first.

        And uncertainty is a double edged sword, we can just as easily be underestimating the future effects as overestimating them, right?
        It is a 50-50 chance one way or the other.

        50% chance we are too alarmist and 50% chance we are not alarmist enough.

      • bob droege -

        “Or just go after the low hanging fruit represented by burning coal and natural gas for electricity.”

        As those two sources are responsible over 60% of world electricity production, I don’t think that they could be called ‘low hanging fruit’. How long do you think this would take? What would countries with expanding economies do while waiting for the ‘low hanging fruit’ to be replaced in developed economies?

        The enormous costs and economic dislocation involved in replacing those sources (and with what?) might not wreck the global economy, but I would think it would cause severe damage.

        This might be a nice talking point but doesn’t really describe any kind of realistic solution…

      • randomengineer

        bob droege Or just go after the low hanging fruit represented by burning coal and natural gas for electricity. Replace those first.

        With what? Windmills and PV (i.e. part of a set we call Crap That Doesn’t Really Work) don’t qualify.

      • If you are bound and determined that the only consideration in choosing a supply of electricity is price, then nothing will convince you.

        I am of the build as many nuclear power plants as possible party, as well as mandatory conservation, so the adaptation costs are lower. As well as preserving thousands of historical sites near sea level.

        I post the link to the Pagani paper again, maybe some will read it. Although it is as alarmist as the best Hansen comes up with.

        It is true that it is a big train to stop, but it is going over a cliff so we better get on the brakes now.

      • bob droege -

        I agree that the expansion of nuclear power is the way to go, I just don’t see that it is going to happen anytime soon. You’d have to construct, what, 2000+ plants just to replace current electricity generation from combustible fuels? Can you see this happening within the next thirty years without a massive economic fallout?

        It’s a good idea for the long term, but characterizing this kind of change as ‘low hanging fruit’ detracts from the argument

      • Bob and David,

        Models are models. They are only good in regimes where their theory and numerics are ‘good enough’. The problem is that for complex systems, how to define ‘good enough’ is very complicated and often impossible. The problem is that when the problem is ill-posed in a specific mathematical sense, there are some things that are impossible to predict. Just running models and tweaking parameters is not science. That’s reverse engineering or some such thing. Science is advanced by theory that explains things at a higher level and enables better models to be built.

        The recent paper on Antarctic glaciation is interesting, but probably not the last word. One might say that CO2 causing the start of Antarctic glaciation is not inconsistent with a new set of proxies. It is of course inconsistent with older sets of proxies. We know from the last 400,000 years that temperature changes preceeded CO2 changes and that there is a well known physical mechanism to explain this, namely, CO2 is more soluble in cold water than in warm water. So, CO2 does not cause all temperature changes but may be a positive feedback just as albedo is a positive feedback. More work is needed here.

        If we could get it past the green movement, nuclear is a good solution. But it won’t solve all our energy problems. 5% of GDP is a big number. It is huge in terms of economic competetiveness. Such an effective CO2 tax would have to be imposed uniformly and that’s perhaps impossible. Nuclear is viable because its also relatively cheap.

      • Bob,

        You had me with your build nuclear plants line. Didn’t matter what else you said, I had you done as a good guy.

        Then you say Robert and Joshua are your heroes.

      • Bob Droege, You may need to review your talking points. Gavin Schmidt on realclimate was very adamant about not being able to compare 1910-1940 to 1980-2000 because of solar and “Volcanic” aerosols. It seem the clean air act might be one of the reasons. Realclimate has a wealth of information. They tend to shy away from unforced variability though like the 1976-7 “Great Pacific Shift” though.

        For probability, think Monte Hall, a little statistical puzzler. Alarmist Hansen is door #1, Charney is door #2, Manabe is door #3. The IPCC picked door number #2. The stable temperature in the Antarctic, lack of troposphere hot spot and current lull in warming following a new Great Pacific Shift, indicates Hansen’s door has goats. Do you stick with your door of go for door #3?

        Kinda ain’t 50/50 anymore is it?

      • Bob, it is the loss of public trust, which was triggered by the Climategate revelations, and has now gone much further, as this blog site demonstrates.

        Ho hum. Yet another statement from a “skeptic” who reaches conclusions without evidence.

        What data do you have to quantify the “loss of public trust?”

        And while admittedly, Judith seems to have had her opinion significantly affected by climategate, this blog is predominantly inhabited by “denizens” who doubted AGW theory well prior to the “Climategate revelations.” I believe TT had a nice excerpt from you that made your claim of a relatively recent conversion to the “skeptical” cause highly dubious.

      • Captain Dallas,
        I meant the post 1950 cooling being due to anthropogenic aerosols rather than volcanic.

        Check either of the recent papers on Antarctica, they both show warming on the peninsula, RC has a post “once more into the fray” dealing with whether or not there is a tropospheric hot spot or not.
        Current lull in warming being indicated by 2011 again coming in as one of the 10 hottest years like the last 26 according to GISS as well as being the warmest La Nina year.

        And you miss the concept of the 50/50.

      • Bob said, “I meant the post 1950 cooling being due to anthropogenic aerosols rather than volcanic.”

        That is what I fine hard to accept, that post 1950 aerosols would cause the cooling until circa 1979. The buildup to WWII was probably the most massively pollutant intensive time in history. The dip in temperature from 1940 to 1950 I could easily see as industrial aerosols and war related. From 1950 to 1980 man must have struck an amazing balance with nature.

        The once more into the fray appears to be arm waving considering the more recent discussions on the difference between projection and observation. They seem to be spending more time questioning the accuracy of the satellites and ARGO than their models.

        I don’t have a problem with models. I do have a problem with the group modeling where the same poor estimate can be transferred to others and reliance on the same types of models and ensembles when there are others, like energy models, being neglected. Models provide estimates and where the observations vary from estimates that is the information. They seem to be getting bigger hammers instead of questioning the anomalies objectively.

      • Bob,

        That is a scream! You are joking, right? The second step in your scientific method assumes an answer to the question under discussion, namely, whether models can be used in accordance with scientific method. You created a perfect circle. By the way, the answer is that models cannot be used for prediction or in accordance with scientific method. For the modeling crowd, that is a good thing because no model has been able to predict diddly.

      • Theo,
        You are exactly right that the second step in my scientific method assumes an answer to the question under discussion.
        You assume an answer and then you test it, using a model, and comparing the model response to the real world response.
        Works for other than climate models as well.

      • Bob –
        That’s NOT scientific method. That’s “tuning the model” – doesn’t class as an “experiment”.

      • I’m gonna keep showing it until someone admires my display, but I told Andy Revkin almost 4 years ago, @DotKim(’08) that the climate modelers were trying to keep their toys on circular tracks on the ceiling.

        I’ll bet I was first with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, too. I heard that from my crib.

      • bob droege | December 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm | writes:

        “You are exactly right that the second step in my scientific method assumes an answer to the question under discussion.
        You assume an answer and then you test it, using a model, and comparing the model response to the real world response.
        Works for other than climate models as well.”

        Models are not physical hypotheses and cannot substitute for physical hypotheses in scientific method. I explained this in my post above:

        Theo Goodwin | December 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply

        Please read it.

      • lets say my hypothesis is “an object in motion will stay in motion unless a force acts on it”

        My experiment is to roll a ball across a smooth floor and take pictures using a strobe light, to measure the positon of the ball with respect to time.

        My model is that the position of the ball will be determined by the equation d=vt
        (distance, velocity, time)

        I perform the experiment.

        Now tell me how I am tuning my model, or how this is not a proper experiment in accordance with the scientific method.

      • F=MA is a model.

      • Not so. It has the same flaw as hindcasting – it does not prove that the model is correct, only that the model is producing the answer that you want or expect. Indeed, the model might be more accurate if it doesn’t produce the answer you want or expect, because your ‘examination’ may be fundamentally flawed.

        A model is not, and can never be, an experiment, just as a piece of scientific apparatus, or a calculator, or a computer, is not an experiment. It is just a tool.

      • Tell me then, how to do an experiment wihtout a model.

        Experiments compare modeled data with real world data, so how can you do an experiment without a model?

      • bob droege | December 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
        “Tell me then, how to do an experiment wihtout a model.

        Experiments compare modeled data with real world data, so how can you do an experiment without a model?”

        No. You have confused theory with model. The two are not the same. A theory is a set of well confirmed physical hypotheses that can be combined with initial conditions and imply observation statements that can be tested against the real world. A model is some set of objects that renders true all the statements in a theory. Our solar system is a model of Kepler’s Three Laws of Planetary Motion.

        Theories and the hypotheses that make them up describe reality but models attempt to reproduce reality; that is, it attempts to reproduce the salient features of reality.

        What does a computer model produce when it runs? It produces a simulation. What is a simulation? It is a reproduction. For example, there is a company on the internet that sells hardware and software to simulate the night time sky as seen from Earth. That is a simulation of the night time sky. It is projected on a hemispherical ceiling. Note that it does not describe the night time sky. It just is what it is. Simulations generated by computer models of climate work in exactly the same way and are not science.

        You are not doing the very minimal amount of work to overcome your ignorance. I will not reply to you any longer.

      • Theo, atmospheric models are based on the equations of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and radiative physics. How is that different from a model of planetary motion based on Kepler’s Laws?

      • Let’s take Newton’s law of gravitation. The hypothesis is that the gravitational force between two objects is proportional to each of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them and is modeled by the equation

        F= G * m1 * m2 / r * r

        A model is a mathematical representation of a theory.

        They are the same, the theory and the model.

        As to the solar system, reread what you wrote.

        The solar system is a model for Keplers Laws of Planetary Motion?

        What was the solar system before Kepler was born?

        Not to venture into psychoanalysis, but you are so hung up on the term model as they are used to support AGW, that you can’t see basic science for what it is.

        If you don’t want to respond to my posts anymore, Yeah, that means I won!

        Continue to post, though, and I’ll be around to point out your mistakes.

        Robert and Joshua are my idols you know.

    • Theo,

      A brilliant post – “nail on the head” stuff. Thank you!

      When the subject of climate models comes up in conversations with other regular folk I always bring up space flight. The physics of space flight are very well understood, very accurately modeled, and quite simple really when compared to the physics of our climate system. Nevertheless, constant attention and corrections to a spacecraft’s flightpath are still needed.

      I finish with: “Why is that?” The simple answer is that at some times during its flight the spacecraft is not where the models “predicted” it would be, and the more time that passes without a correction the more it diverges from the prediction….

      Thanks again,


  16. I was just looking at the N.A. SST temperature …

    Surely the cyclical pattern isn’t due to to oil leaked by shipping? … Peaks round about WW1 and WW2. [Need to match against shipping and spillage]

  17. Olson is very good. Excellent to see anybody in the climate debate who actually can communicate clearly with an audience.

    I note that all his points could refer to us sceptics as much as to the alarmists. Required watching.

  18. I also volunteered to help review a couple of the AR5 draft chapters, and was accepted. They do request a brief statement of relevant expertise and a spot to fill in relevant publications, but really, I think almost anyone can do it, which is good for transparency, but I suspect the AR5 authors are going to have to do a good job of dealing with the wingnut criticisms. If Anthony Watts can review, I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t be able to.

    And if people do want to be a reviewer, they have agreed to not cite or distribute material, so it would be unfortunate if stuff got “leaked” before publication.

    I’ve skimmed over a couple chapters very briefly, mostly related to topics dealing with paleoclimate, along with radiation and feedbacks, and I probably will only bother to provide suggestions on those chapters. Without giving stuff away, so far, I’ve found a couple of nitpicky points, but I think they have done an excellent job of communicating the science (based just on preliminary reading of a few sections), and summing up the current state of knowledge on some key issues. I was surprised at the extent to which they went into detail on some particular topics which were not explored in the AR4.

    • It’s an empty gesture, window dressing. They will just ignore what doesn’t support the dogma, as they have done in the past. Don’t pretend that they have discovered transparency. You people will never learn.

      • Well, I feel confident you are reviewing the chapters and citing the information they are ignoring.

      • No, I am speculating, based on their past behavior. And their recent claim to a non-existent freedom from FOIA privilege indicates that the skunk has not changed it’s stripes. Do you have another career in mind, in case the climate science thing goes bust?

    • Chris, if you like it then I know it is worthless. A bunch of us skeptics jumped in as reviewers for the TAR. We were very active, and universally ignored. AR5 is basically already written, right? You have it before you. Only minor changes will occur from now on. The IPCC can no more recognize skepticism than it can fly.

      Still I encourage skeptics to jump in, because the more we are ignored the stronger our case will be for IPCC termination. Just don’t expect to be heard.

      • If you skeptics have any scientific evidence, I would like to see it.

      • Scientific evidence of what, Bob? That the IPCC assessments are biased? What are you asking for?

      • We were very active, and universally ignored.

        Active is not the same as correct.

        Your ideas fail to find purchase with scientists because they are ill-thought-out, distorted by strong ideological bias, and not informed by the realities of the physical world.

        I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the patient, welcoming attitude IPCC authors have exhibited dealing with ignorant and belligerent amateurs. That need not extend into incorporating your bad ideas into a summary of the science.

      • You do know that many of the commentors here have PhD’s in the sciences and engineering fields, right?

      • Robert, your words reinforce my point. It is pointless for skeptics to review IPCC drafts, a green delaying tactic. Defunding the IPCC is the only reasonable course. You exemplify the problem well. There is no compromise.

      • You do know that Robert doesn’t.

    • There is no evidence provided that this review process will be any less compromised and its results pre-ordained than the prior efforts.
      As to your gratuitous digs, all they do is show you in a petty light.

    • The ”pretend Skeptics” beating themselves in the chest that; they can review better, is suitable to the alarmist. I.e. if it comes from the opponents / horse’s mouth > must have credibility. WRONG!!! Anybody putting the phony GLOBAL warming with the constant climatic changes in the same category / anybody that puts the localized warmings / coolings as GLOBAL; is guillotining the truth. Mr. All Gore’s / IPCC’s success can only be attributed to the active ”pretend Skeptics”

      CLIMATIC CHANGES ARE A NATURAL PHENOMENA, GLOBAL WARMING IS A PHENOMENAL LIE! Warmist and ”pretend Skeptics” are barking up the same wrong tree. Using IPCC’s data, to prove the Believers wrong; is a smokescreen, to confuse more sceptical people. The most solid proofs: http:://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com

  19. Could it be that the UNFCCC has decided that its dependency on the “science” produced by this, well, Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert is no longer appropriate – or required?!

    Or maybe if the late 20th century warming was natural variability like the late 19th and early 20th century periods of warming were, it might be inconvenient to have those climate experts around at all. If temperatures start a protracted fall, they aren’t going to want climate scientists anywhere near “the process”.

    • 1985 was the last year that wasn’t one of the ten warmest years by global GISS, so I don’t expect any inconvienient protracted fall in temperatures.

      And wait for the news as 2011 will “very likely” be the warmest La Nina year in the instrumental record.

      And a new paper with implications for the east river highway.


      Details available from SKS if you don’t like the paywall.


      • 1985 was the last year that wasn’t one of the ten warmest years by global GISS

        So the last 26 years have all been one of the ten warmest years????

      • As each year entered the data stream, yes.

        Look at the data yourself, if you are so incredulous.

      • My guess is that he meant that it was the last year that wasn’t one of the 10 warmest on record prior to that particular year.

      • No, they’ve all ranked, at the time, as one of the ten warmest years in the instrument record to their year. At the end of 2008, 2008 was apparently top 10. Now it’s 12th on Hadcrut, and 11th on NOAA and GisTemp.

      • Looks like 2011 is going to break the streak.

        Mathematically of course, it’s perfectly possible for a string of years to rank in the top ten, and the rate of temperature rise to still be leveling off.

        I wonder what a similar look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average would show.

        Ready to go all in yet?

      • I know that – merely making light of you trying to make something profound out of a statistical curiosity.
        You could say the same thing if the global average had remained completely static for the last 26 years, or even if temperatures had dropped slightly over the last 10 years.
        But bear in mind that with margins of in the order of tenths of a degree, that statistical curiosity could easily turn around to say the opposite.

      • The GISS global has two numbers for the year, Jan to Dec and Dec to Nov.

        For Dec to Nov 2011 to not make it as one of the top ten, the anomaly for Dec needs to be -.08, I would say odds are against.

        For the calender year, Dec and Nov have to have and average anomaly of 0.23, again I would say odds are against.

        And looking at the standard deviation of the annual temperature in 10 year groups shows the last decade has the second least variability in the GISS temperature record, the decade of the 1880s being the least variable decade, leads me to predict that low anomalies for the rest of this year will not occur and 2011 will be one of the 10 warmest years in the record and the streak will continue.

        Gentlemen, place your bets.

      • I looked at the GISS monthly numbers and came to same same conclusion about Nov/Dec 2011 needing to have an anomaly less than or equal to 0.23 degrees. This last happened in the deep La Nina in Jan/Feb 2008. It is already clear by now that this La Nina is not at that level, so 2011 will be in the top ten again.

      • OK, sorry, missed that the string was based on GISS.

        I based my comment on HadCRUT3.

        Good think all the temperature databases are self consistent.

      • Solar activity is picking up, as we would expect at this point in the cycle.

        The dip back into La Nina conditions, which looks likely to end up being a rare double La Nina, was a bit of a surprise. Over the last month, you can see it weakening a bit, anomalies slowly getting a little warmer.

        If I had to guess, I’d say 2011 makes the top ten, and 2012 beats 2011 easily due to greater solar forcing, greater AGW forcing, and less La Nina. Sometime between 2012-2014, we’ll probably get a serious El Nino episode, which will coincide with the upper portion of the solar cycle. Barring a major volcanic eruption, that will be our new hottest year.

      • As I recall 1985 was a cold year, at least it was in the US. So explain why I should be bothered if the last years were not as cold as that.

      • It means there has been a consistant warming trend since then with no let up. Meaning the so called current lack of warming is non existant, since 2011 will continue the trend of each year being at least one of the ten warmest years on record, as well as likely being the warmest La Nina year.

        Why we should be worried is addressed in the Pagani paper, which I posted a link to upthread.

      • … ten warmest years… This is such a lame argument. The instrumental temperature record goes back about 300 years, three centuries of gradual, but uneven warming. How many of those warming decades have the 7 or 9 or 10 warmest years up to that time? Many of them. That’s what you expect with a 300 year warming trend- many decades, each with many of the warmest years on record- duhh.
        Most of those decades of warming were before 1945 when the IPCC claims CO2 became the principal forcing agent. Can we put this lame argument to bed, please?

      • Except you are not argueing against the arguement I am making. I am not saying there are 7 or 9 of the warmest years in each decade up to that time. You are using a straw man arguement.

        The argument that we should be putting to bed is the one saying that the warming trend is over, or that it is currently cooling. That is the lame argurment.

      • We could equally be putting to bed the argument that the warming trend is accelerating.

      • John M,
        You could try and make that argument.

        Why don’t you try, how about it?

        If you post an argument that says the warming trend is not accelerating, I will post one that says the warming trend is accelerating and we will see which one is best.

        Any takers?

      • I suppose if you use James and his Amazing Technicolor Dreambloat, you might be able to do some sort of statistical gymnastics to show it’s accelerating.

        Hadcrut3 and a simple ten year trailing average will do it for me.

        In any event, even GISS can’t manufacture enough lipstick to make this pig look good.


      • your graph only demonstrates that fast climate sensitivity is less than the sensitivity of Hansens model.

      • Give that man a Kewpie Doll!

      • looks like about 3C per doubling of CO2 then

      • So what’s a 30% overshoot or so among friends.

        Of course, this guy was “prescient” with a 2.4 deg/doubling sensitivity.


        Maybe with climate sensitivity estimates, as the data come in, we should shout “look out below!”

    • crosspatch, you have just proven my case above: all the extra heat accumulated for the last 5000y in the atmosphere – if you collect it – you wouldn’t have enough heat, to boil one chicken egg! The GLOBAL ”warmings” you are referring were localised warmings; simultaneously other parts of the planet get colder, to equalise. Extra heat in the troposphere is not accumulative. Because IPCC says that was warmer – it doesn’t mean that was warmer. That is only fodder for the sceptical B/S .addicts; to do the Warmist’ dirty job.

      Until sceptical people realise that: past lots and lots of phony GLOBAL warmings cannot prove that is not going to be warming in 100y, leading Warmist know that they don’t have mature opponents. Please go to my website and arm yourself with real proofs. Dozens of past PHONY GLOBAL warmings doesn’t prove anything about the phony global warming in 100y; it only proves to IPCC, that they can manipulate the ignorant Skeptics, if they distribute more B/S for confusion.

      NOBODY KNOWS WHAT WAS THE TEMPERATURE OVERALL FOR THE LAST YEAR, to save his / her life. Talking about past GLOBAL warmings is not knowledge, but giving oxygen to the misleading propaganda.,

  20. …and now for some news that really matters….

    You can have my incandescent light bulb when you pry it from my cold, dead…light socket…


  21. I ♥ t r a n s p a r e n c y


  22. I read chapter 2 which is the only chapter I feel qualified to comment on. It was a great improvement over Ar4 which I thought was far too brief in covering an important topic. There were of course some nits here and there and a couple of head scratchers, but I thought the Ar5 ZOD was already head and shoulders above Ar4 final draft. I hope to god they dont page count the thing into a cartoon version of a summary of the science.

    • Have you seen the “game changer” they were talking about a WUWT ?

      • Max,

        Just out of curiosity–do you know you’ve been commenting on a year-old post? Nothing inherently wrong with that, of course.

        Also, Max_OK, where are all the other crushers? What’s up with you guys?

      • mike said on December 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm


        Just out of curiosity–do you know you’ve been commenting on a year-old post? Nothing inherently wrong with that, of course.
        OMG, no, I didn’t know. I would be embarrassed if I didn’t think it was so funny.

        If my daddy were alive he would be in stitches. He used to say to momma, “sometimes I think that boy don’t know which way is up.”

      • Hey Max!

        Us ol’ geezers tend to have our little “moments”, I know. And I hope when you catch me out in one of mine, I’ll be as good-humored and as good a sport about it, as you. A good-fun and great reply, your last, Max_OK.

      • Big TNX Max, occ OK; I got to read all my year old comments. I shoulda quit when I wuz ahead.

  23. The raiding of Tallbloke and the coming raids of other skeptical bloggers is a huge strategic mistake on the part of the “Team”. Based on the emails we already have we know how the ringleaders likely coordinated this (“can anyone reach friends there who are on our side…”). An easy jump from well-placed DOE climb-o-crats to sympathetic DOJ counterparts, particularly if the plea is cleverly packaged in the terminology of the embarrassing Wikileaks fiasco.

    They got what they wanted and are no doubt now high-fiving each other via their non-governmental email accounts. Yet, even the team knows that the chances of a leaker who is smart enough to use sophisticated encryption getting traced via an IP address on a blog is exactly nil. The leaker would have used multiple anonymizing proxies making him/her untraceable via IP address. This has nothing to do with catching the leaker and everything to do with putting a chilling effect on “evil” bloggers. I think there’s also an element of Machiavellian payback from Mike our favorite Machiavelli. Of course, the vast difference between private citizens exercising free speech and a government employee on government computers doing government work are lost on him.

    However, one thing I don’t think the team contemplated is once they’ve invoked the genii of criminal investigation, it is unpredictable and impossible to put back in the bottle. If charges are actually brought against the leaker or any blogger, I would feel terrible for them (and be donating very generously to their defense fund) and I would also be jumping for joy. Why? Well because this sorry ass affair will finally end up where it’s needed to be all along – in a courtroom. A place where “The Team” has no friends and the playing field is completely level. The combination of discovery and perjury is the one-two punch that will bring the bright light of truth shining on all this. This is the one place where unsupported assertions and backroom dealings don’t work. Your friends in the press will find it much harder to spin and ignore inconvenient evidence. It’s not like responding with academic papers. You can’t get by with selectively answering only those questions you want and conveniently misunderstanding the point won’t be tolerated. You get cross-examined under oath and it’s not over until you’ve fully answered ALL the questions.

    • Mr

      You are absolutely correct when you write

      I don’t think the team contemplated is once they’ve invoked the genii of criminal investigation, it is unpredictable and impossible to put back in the bottle.

      There will, of course, be much wailing, lamenting and gnashing of teeth about how “science” is being pilloried by subjecting the “Team” to the criminal justice system, but I would agree with you that this will be the ultimate self-inflicted outcome.

      Another case of: “Resdy, Fire, Aim…Ouch my foot hurts!”


    • Dorothy Sayers
      Crafting a whodunnit tale
      Couldna do better.

    • You seriously think “The Team” arranged for Tallbloke to be arrested?

      • Sorry, typed first and thought afterwards. He wasn’t actually arrested of course. But my question still stands.

      • Your question seems similar to:

        “You seriously think that “The Team” conspired to have a scientific journal editor fired?”


        “You seriously think that “The Team” colluded on ways to avoid FOIA requests?”


        “You seriously think that “The Team” discussed getting Steven McIntyre “investigated””.

        Before the first ClimateGate email release, I suppose all those statements (and more) might have seemed dubious. However, they’ve now been proven to be true. I think my speculation is well-grounded in the past behavior of these characters.

        Also, unless the police see a crime or evidence of a crime they can readily understand, they begin an investigation when someone files a complaint alleging that a crime has been committed. Generally, the police expect the person filing this complaint to have some standing in the situation (such as being a victim or first-hand witness). So, it is VERY likely that someone, with some claim to being a ‘victim’, recently filed a complaint with a law enforcement agency alleging a crime related to the CG2 release. Fortunately, if the investigation actually goes anywhere, the original complaint will eventually be revealed. If that complainant is a member of the self-described team or the organizations they are part of (which seems very likely as they would have the best claim to ‘standing’ in the case), shall I drop by to remind you how apparently impossible you thought it was? Far from impossible, it’s actually highly likely based a) on the known past behavior of the “The Team” and, b) the way that police procedures work.

      • You seriously think “The Team” arranged for Tallbloke to be arrested?

        What’s funniest about this is that “these people” call themselves “skeptics.”

    • Indeed. This conspiracy runs deep. They’ve gotten to the UK police, the DOJ – they have so many tentacles!

      Stock up the bunkers. Make sure to keep tabs on the children. We may have to head for the hills sooner than we thought!

      • Rookie mistake. Heading for the hills is just what “The Team” want you to do, leaving the lowlands available for occupation. Oldest trick in the book.

      • Here in Rocky Top, Rocky Top, can you see?

      • Dang. I thought I could get away with convincing you to fall into my trap!

        You “skeptics” are just to smart for me. Maybe our Machiavellian conspiracy will prove harder to pull off than I thought.

      • Sorry I missed your comment about conspiracies.

        I was out depositing the checks I just received from Exxon and the Koch brothers.

      • Jus like BigOil, huh? Those Kochs really get around, donay?

      • Note to self: scroll down before dropping comment.

  24. Judith,

    The downfall of consensus science is that if one scientist is incorrect, then ALL are incorrect.

  25. All the pieces cited seem of considerable interest but, although it’s not all to do with climate, I would also point to David Colquhoun’s blog post yesterday, Open access, peer review, grants and other academic conundrums, David’s reaction to the debate on open science organized by Index on Censorship in London last week, which Josh and I attended.

    Colquhoun is a pharmacologist at University College London and a fellow of the Royal Society, who wrote an article in The Guardian in March 2010 entitled Climate scientists must be ruthlessly honest about data, which I have to confess I either missed or forgot about. His contribution to the debate was brilliant, as Josh and I said in our joint write-up for Bishop Hill, and the UCL scientist clearly appreciated that and Josh’s cartooning very much.

    There is an ongoing Royal Society working group on openness in science led by Professor Geoffrey Boulton of Edinburgh, whose key role in the Muir Russell Inquiry did not for many sceptics suggest him as the ideal role model in this vital area. Two of the other members of Boulton’s working group also took part in the debate – so it was good to see a fellow FRS take them to task publicly about various things as he emphasized a real scientist would “give them everything,” including of course all the software source code by which data is transformed in the preparation of a scientific paper.

    It would good for Colquhoun to receive some intelligent and constructive feedback on his blog from those concerned about the lack of openness of climate science, up to and including the IPCC. But bear in mind if you do that Andrew Montford and I have the impression that UCL man is left of centre politically. Stick to the integrity and reputation of science, though, and you may make a new friend.

    • Richard, thanks for these links.

    • An article titled “Climate scientists must be ruthlessly honest about data” has to rank up there with “Alcoholics must stop drinking vodka”.

    • Good example of how taboo is AGW skepticism, even amongst otherwise open minded and skeptical people:

      Mr. Colquhoun says:

      “I’m afraid that your comment is suffused with the sort of conspiratorial tone that makes all climate arguments so unpleasant. I simply don’t believe that there is any conspiracy to deceive the world about climate. What would anyone gain from that? As i said already, the way to make your mark is not to agree with everyone else, but to show that the consensus is wrong. Every scientist has an enormous incentive not to be part of a conspiracy. If you produce hard data, and write it up in a good journal, you’ll be believed.”

      Now, that’s a fine example of denial. Or naivety?

    • I’m afraid to go to your blog; you’re gonna be next, as soon as the cartoon mirror on your wall is prettier than the other one.

  26. There was a lot of interesting news about the actual climate this week.

    * The World Glacier Monitoring Service confirmed the disappearance of the 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya glacier. (SkS has details.)

    * The Independent reported on an expedition to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf that, per report, found greatly accelerated methane emissions with plumes that have expanded from tens of meters to a kilometer in diameter. Revkin reviewed the modelling studies that suggest the Shelf is OK for many years to come, but there were some problems with his analysis (http://bit.ly/s9HK9d).

    * The NYTimes just put up a great article on permafrost melting:

    For now, scientists have many more questions than answers. Preliminary computer analyses, made only recently, suggest that the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions could eventually become an annual source of carbon equal to 15 percent or so of today’s yearly emissions from human activities.

    But those calculations were deliberately cautious. A recent survey drew on the expertise of 41 permafrost scientists to offer more informal projections. They estimated that if human fossil-fuel burning remained high and the planet warmed sharply, the gases from permafrost could eventually equal 35 percent of today’s annual human emissions.


    • This article on permafrost shows one of the natural positive feedbacks in action. Those that think we can’t reach 1000 ppm are only considering human carbon sources. This is the kind of thing that could make that level possible.

      • Jim D

        The NYT article by Justin Gillis, which you cited, looks like a prime example of climate change fear mongering to me.

        The cited NSIDC study states that the Arctic is currently a net carbon sink, but it speculates that it could become a “net source of carbon, possibly within a decade or two”.

        The emissions from permafrost could conceivably be as high as 5% to 35% of the human CO2 emissions today, according to the article.

        This equals an imagined 1.7 to 10 GtCO2 per year possibly added some day in the far distant future to the 34 Gt/year currently being emitted.

        This estimate is based on postulated CO2/CH4 emissions from decaying plants from 30,000 years ago that are currently buried in the permafrost.

        This raises the question: What were the temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels when these trees were growing there, i.e. where did the carbon come from 30,000 years ago?

        I’m not going to lose too much sleep about that one, Jim, and I suggest you don’t, either.


      • manacker, I could say that this response is a prime example of skeptics just dismissing science when it doesn’t fit their world view, rather than trying to come up with a scientific response to say why they think these scientists are wrong. In this case it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘how much’ and ‘when’. Some scientists are interested in this question, as you see, and they should be encouraged to do the measurements to answer these questions. Since they say 2.5 times the atmospheric carbon is frozen into these areas, it needs attention because that is also a substantial fraction of fossil fuel reserves.

      • Jim D


        You “could say that this response is a prime example of skeptics just dismissing science when it doesn’t fit their world view, rather than trying to come up with a scientific response to say why they think these scientists are wrong”.

        But that would be a silly thing to say.

        The NYT article you cited is not “science” to start off with. It is an op-ed, quoting a few scientists from NSIDC and elsewhere.

        It tells us that 30,000 years ago there were trees growing where there is now permafrost, and it is fretting about what would happen if these old trees would get thawed out (like broccoli from the freezer, as one of the scientists stated) and revert back to CO2, thereby causing major greenhouse gas warming of our planet.

        My questions were simply:

        - What was the atmospheric CO2 level 30,000 years ago, when all these trees were growing by converting CO2 to tree mass?

        - What was the temperature at that time, when there were trees growing where there is now permafrost?

        Since the “scientists” did not even address these questions, I really cannot get too excited about all that carbon being released back into the atmosphere, where it came from 30,000 years ago – can you?

        Use your head and don’t make such silly statements about me “dismissing science”, Jim.


      • manacker, OK, see my reply to Buckaroo Banzai about a foot down on this thread. See what you think. 30000 years ago was deep in the last ice age, but there was still life in these regions according to the article.

      • Buckaroo Banzai

        Jim, are you really saying that the trees and grasses that are now permafrost grew during the last ice age?


      • Mr Banzai and manacker, the article said this was in the last ice age and there were no glaciers in these regions, but there was life. The CO2 level would have been about 190 ppm. This area was a better carbon sink because decay was restricted by the soil freezing as it became buried deeper. Now the decay can go ahead because the ice is melting. This is not hard to understand.

    • Thanks for that link to the Times article, Robert.

      A question for our beloved “skeptics.”

      If you have the time to read the Times article Robert linked (thanks for the link, Robert), would you mind letting me know if you think the article is evidence of the “MSM’s” propaganda campaign to push concern about AGW past what is justified by the underlying science.

      • Hmmm….

        “could”, “might”, “preliminary”, “but”, “we don’t really know”….

        And yet, the closing quote

        “To me, it’s a spine-tingling feeling, if it’s really old carbon that hasn’t been in the air for a long time, and now it’s entering the air,” Dr. Schuur said. “That’s the fingerprint of a major disruption, and we aren’t going to be able to turn it off someday.”

        Interesting that an article you consider “balanced” is loaded with emotive prose from scientific “experts”, who admit they don’t know much.

        Of course, the “balanced” journalist eats it all up.

      • John -

        Thanks for the response:

        This is one of those “skeptical” memes that never fails to confuse me.

        On the one hand, “skeptics” decry a lack of “uncertainty” among scientists WRT the trends, impact, potential threats of AGW. Yet, on the other hand, they see qualified language from scientists WRT those phenomena, they feel that it is evidence of a conspiratorial intent.

        It reminds me of “skeptics” who doubt every type of data that show warming and yet say that they don’t doubt that the Earth is warming (as far as I’ve seen, I believe that to date David W. is the lone “skeptic” that presents an internally consistent perspective in that regard)

        Or when “skeptics” use completely unqualified language to describe the social and/or political variables related to the climate debate even as they object to insufficiently qualified analysis on the part of climate scientists.

        And how would you expect a scientist to react to signs of a potential (which he qualified) for a major irreversible disruption of the Earth’s climate, and a phenomenon whereby he is observing, in real time, changes that are founded in processes that took place over millions of years.

        As I see it, the article does a good job of presenting multiple perspectives on the potential impact and relative significance of the observed phenomena.

      • Gosh Joshua,

        If you had requested skeptics to critique “the world according to Joshua”, I might not have bothered.

        But since your request was for a critque “of the “MSM’s” propaganda campaign to push concern about AGW past what is justified by the underlying science”, that’s what I gave you.

      • What underlying science?

      • Yes, Joshua, this is a standard propaganda set piece. We have been seeing this same story for well over a decade. It is, if you like, standard CAGW speculation, presented every time as new and urgent.

        It starts here: “Temperatures are warming across much of that region, primarily, scientists believe, because of the rapid human release of greenhouse gases.” This of course is AGW.

        Then it gets worse, with the threat of catastrophe, becoming CAGW. I will bet that 100 separate articles like this have been published in the last 20 years, always with the same speculative threat.

      • “Yes, Joshua, this is a standard propaganda set piece.”

        That is rich, coming from the propagandist who boasts of having written “hundreds” of articles denouncing “the great green menace.”

        David, you are in a circle of denial. The article describes the science. You don’t like the science, so you dismiss it as propaganda. Because the science emerges out of the observed facts of the physical world, naturally it doesn’t disappear and you read about it over and over again. Instead of examining your own denial, you opine that you’ve heard it all before. No doubt you have, and you’ll hear it again, because like evolution and relativity, it’s a reality of the physical world and it’s not going away.

      • Josh, honest science and AGW don’t mix, same as water and oil; they are not comparable. Saying that is GLOBAL warming, it doesn’t mean that there is one. I have a question for you:

        If one proves to you ”beyond any reasonable doubt” that is no such a thing as GLOBAL warming; will you rejoice, or will you be disappointed that we are not going to boil… and second flood?!?!?! it’s time to activate your honesty gene, look into your junk genes.

      • Congratulations on your discovery of the O4 molecule.

      • stefan –

        That is a good and important question, and it is one that I have given quite a bit of though to.

        In all honesty, I can’t deny that at some partisan level, I will feel vindicated if AGW is definitively proven (I don’t feel it has been just yet).

        When my better self thinks about the implications of that, I realize just how easy it is to let partisan interest, motivated reasoning, socio-centric bias, etc., distort my more rational thinking processes.

        And not viewing myself as particularly better or worse then your average Joe or Jane climate combatant, that is why I am astounded that so many combatants, on both sides of the debate, seem so oblivious to influences that bias their thinking as well.

      • “… I realize just how easy it is to let partisan interest, motivated reasoning, socio-centric bias, etc., distort my more rational thinking processes.”

        Joshua, you do understand that this type of thinking means that you can kiss that AGW historian gig, good-bye?

    • Robert


      This was the perfectly reasonable sk science article you made reference to.

      It was a very tiny glacier -only 0.22km2 even in 1940- that is ‘thought’ to be 18000 years old, but there seems to be a question mark over it.

      It was mentioned in AR4


      Glaciers have been generally melting for several hundred years with the occasional advance, such as during the mid 1800’s. Small glaciers are especially vulnerable due to their limited mass. This was an extremely small glacier that has responded to the very long established warming trend


      • tonyb -

        Do you have a Reader’s Digest type link to describe what is known about rates of change in glaciation over mid-range and long-term time scales as compared to what is known about recent rates of change?

      • Joshua

        My article had a fair few references from ref 26 onwards http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/
        of which this is the simplest



      • tonyb

        Actually, what I was looking for was data on rates of change in glaciation. If you have some or have a link, I’d appreciate it.

      • Small glaciers are especially vulnerable due to their limited mass.

        OK. But this one had survived for 18,000 years, only to disappear in 2009. Much like the prehistoric artifacts found recently in Finland were buried for thousands of years, only to emerge this year. Much like carbon that can be dated to 30,000 years ago is emerging from the permafrost.

        Look, this is not an earth-shattering loss, but it is another chance to use your common sense to understand global warming. Mainstream scientists say it is now warmer than it has been in the last thousand years, and probably the last several thousand. There are some “skeptics” who say no way, there’s all this variability that you are not capturing; temperature swings like this happened all the time before we had good measurements.

        An 18,000-year-old-glacier vanishing is another little data point, among many, many other pieces of evidence, that it is the mainstream scientists who are correct; the warming we are experiencing as a result of AGW is unprecedented in recent history and causing rapid and effectively permanent changes to our planet.

      • randomengineer

        So when was the glacier scheduled to melt, and why?

      • Robert

        The point I was making is that glaciers have been receding for hundreds of years, with some advances in between such as in the mid 1800′s. It is not a new phenomenen (see Glacier melt in Roman Times for broader context) and once small glaciers have lost substantial mass it is difficult for them to recover. The second point I was making is that the age of the glacier seems to be vague ‘up to’ and ‘probably’ seem to be generally appended to the claim.

      • Tonyyyyy! most of you are overlooking the only important factor about glaciers melting: all glaciers melt; part from the thermal heat – others expand to melt… REPLENISHING what melts is overlooked. Depends on the amount of the availability of raw material for replenishing. If the glacier is there = proof that most of the time the temperature is below zero centigrade. Which means: if the winds bring enough raw material for renewing the ice – by freeze-drying the air > replenishes the deficit. If no raw material… WHY IS LESS RAW MATERIAL?

        Tony, in permafrost is -60C below zero, but no ice… why? all the answers are on my website. Instead of them squandering money on sick propaganda – new dams for saving extra storm-water on the land = more raw material for rain, snow, ice, less bushfires. Less water storages on land = creates more dry heat that goes over the sea and destroys that raw material. Do you know what is that raw material, Tony? Water vapour is presented as bad for the climate by your camp. Is that why Sahara has better climate than Brazil? I don’t change text on my website every day, every text is related to others. No need anything extra, to see the end of the con

      • Stefan the deniere

        What do you believe ‘my camp’ is? Please see my post at 12.55 citing some research on the glacier- that it responded to forces other than warming- and confirming I intend to follow it up.

    • Buckaroo Banzai

      Lets see if I have this correct Robert:

      1. Used to be grasses on which animal fed.
      2. Climate got colder and grassed turned to permafrost.
      3. Now climate returning to warmer and permafrost is melting.

      What do we think the grasses were before step 1.? If the answer is “always grasses”, then this means the climate is now just returning to “normal”. If the answer is permafrost, the this means the world survived the first time the permafrost melted.

      So what exactly is the problem?


      • My understanding is as follows (it is new to me too, so I am guessing). Remember there is life even where there is permafrost. Apparently permafrost is a better sink because decay processes are restricted by freezing. However, now we are releasing all that decay that should have happened in the last 30000 years as we warm the permafrost away.

      • Buckaroo Banzai

        That’s an answer to the question: “what do we think the grasses were before step 1.?”


      • Jim D

        Stop “guessing” things that don’t make sense.

        Just admit that the carbon in all those 30,000 year old tree remains that are frozen in the permafrost came from the atmosphere 30,000 years ago.

        And then address these questions:

        What was the CO2 level 30,000 years ago before all that carbon was trapped in the permafrost? (Clue: IPCC tells us it has been a steady ~280 ppmv)

        So how much carbon is going to be released back into the atmosphere if all these 30,000 year old tree remains thaw out and revert back to CO2 – and, more importantly by how much will this increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration?

        What was the temperature up there 30,000 years ago, when there were trees where there is now permafrost? (Clue: IPCC tells us “the last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period of time [was] about 125,000 years ago”

        Admit it, Jim, the whole story smells. Sure there may be some old trees buried in the permafrost, and sure, some of these may get exposed if it warms up and thus revert back to atmospheric CO2 that was removed from the atmosphere 30,000 years ago.

        But this is no big deal, regardless what the NYT tells us.


      • The problem is constrained by a number of facts ie the tectological problem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tectology

        General systems defintion is similar eg there are a number of constraints

        1) Prediction and determinism are incompatible: we cannot predict long-term behaviour of complex systems, even if know their precise mathematical description.
        2) Reducing does not simplify, interaction is important and interaction means inseparability.
        3) Simple linear causality does not apply to Chaos and Complexity.
        4) Complex dynamics give birth to forces of self-organisation.

        As a binary problem we can see that the tundra permafrost and siberian bogs are part of an interentwined climax complex .

        One group of observers is saying that there is a catastrophic potential in the artcic tundra ie release of CH4 etc,this introduces bias into their assumptions and model accordingly.

        In the real world the siberian bogs and large portions of the tundra are a negative feedback on atmospheric co2 .The potential of permafrost melt and decreasing water ph in the bogs due to microbial interaction increases the negative feedback potential.The concomitant cooperative processes in moss is a nice example of atmospheric ch4 constraint
        eg Parmentier et al.


      • Excellent logic, Buckaroo.

        I’ve asked Jim D essentially the same questions.

        The NYT blurb says the vegetation included old tree remains from 30,000 years ago.

        The carbon in these trees came from atmospheric CO2 at that time, a time when it was apparently warm enough for trees to grow where there is now permafrost.

        Sort of like “Back to the Future”, right?


      • Buckaroo Banzai

        Thanks Max. With all the huffing and puffing I have still to see one observation from the AGW crowd that shows some phenomenon that is the first time in history.

        When a glacier melts revealing tools at the opening to a cave the AGWers lament how the glacier has melted but miss the obvious that the glacier wasn’t always there. When the permafrost melts they lament the decay while ignoring the obvious that it had to be even warmer than today for the trees and grasses to grow in the first place.

        The ability of the AGWers to miss the obvious is second to none!

      • Carbon 14 dating of organic matter in permafrost around Barrow Alaska dates back to 6000 to 10000 years ago. I haven’t seen C14 dating of various permafrost areas. It might be interesting.

      • BB -

        What do we think the grasses were before step 1.? If the answer is “always grasses”, then this means the climate is now just returning to “normal”. If the answer is permafrost, the this means the world survived the first time the permafrost melted.

        Are you suggesting that the notion that the Earth was once as warm or warmer than it is today, or that the climate has changed in the past, is somehow incompatible with the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions might be causing anomalous rates of warming?

      • Josh -
        the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions might be causing anomalous rates of warming?

        What anomalous rates of warming?

        Is someone lying to you again?

      • Three times in the last century and a half the rate of warming has been identical, and only with the last of them was CO2 also rising. How do I know this? Why Phil Jones heself told me in an interview with Roger Harrabin, not two years ago when they were both still young and innocent.

        That CO2 rose in the last quarter of the last century along with the temperature is the grandest example yet of the Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. This one is epic.

      • “Lets see if I have this correct Robert”

        You don’t. Your reasoning is false. I think it’s your total ignorance of climate science that’s leading you astray.

        Remember, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Your ignorance is not a superpower.

      • Robert

        Further to my post at 12.45

        I found this

        I make no claim to its source or accuracy but I intend to f0llow up the references at the very end of the article

      • Some days ago Robert quoted this perfectly reasonable article from Sceptical Science;

        regarding the disappearance due to ‘global warming’ of the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia.

        I pointed out that glaciers had been melting for hundreds of years-generally from around 1750-with some further advances in the early 1800’s.
        In 1940 this glacier was already only .22km squared and I asked for evidence that it was the 18000 years old that has been quoted.


        Professor Anderson wrote this article and I said I would follow the references up, which I have now done


        The glacier has only been monitored since the 1990’s although there is a well respected observatory on top of the mountain, established in the 1940’s

        I have examined a number of articles;
        this is a small extract from it (pay wall)


        This about Andes glaciers in general’

        and this very detailed account


        My surmise is that Chacaltaya was a fragmentary glacier that advanced during the LIA and has now reverted to being one of the fluctuating smaller ice packs that have occurred since the MWP.

        This fluctuation is thought to be due to lack of precipitation not high temperatures.
        Professor Anderson, who works in La Paz as an economist writing and advising on various topics including deforestation, has given me permission to quote our email exchange-my email first

        “Good evening Professor Andersen
        I was interested to read your article here concerning the Chacaltaya glacier

        I am a climate change historian in the UK who lives very close geographically to the Hadley Centre who you cite in this article. Indeed I spent several days at their archives recently researching my latest article where I reconstruct Central England temperatures to 1538


        In it I cite the decline and advance of a number of glaciers around the world to support my hypothesis that temperatures have been generally rising since the start of the Instrumental record in 1659.

        I was interested in your article as it sounds to be a similar situation to Mount Kilimanjaro whereby AGW is blamed when the cause of the melting seems to lie elsewhere.

        My question to you is if you had been able to authenticate that the glacier was 18000 years old as claimed? Many glaciers seem to come and go over the years especially when they are relatively small and I wondered if this one fell into this category?”

        This is her reply;
        Dear Tony,

        Thank you for your e-mail. I can see you have become as fascinated by the topic as I have.

        To answer your question: No, there is no way to verify that the Chacaltaya was 18000 years old. I certainly haven’t claimed it to be, and I am pretty sure you are right that it falls into the category of small glaciers coming and going depending on natural variations in temperatures, precipitation and cloud cover. This is especially so because it is a tropical glacier in an area where all precipitation falls in summer, while the sun is blazing from a clear blue sky all winter. This makes the glacier inherently unstable. Unlike Nordic glaciers, for example, which can accumulate mass in winter and lose it in summer, thus theoretically maintaining some kind of long run equilibrium, these tropical glaciers cannot accumulate mass in winter, as there is no precipitation. Rather, they are bound to lose mass during winter due to the lack of protective cloud cover. Thus, they can only gain mass if there are many consecutive summers of unusually cold, wet and cloudy weather. This evidently happens from time to time, but I think Chacaltaya is a prime example of the category you mention.
        Best regards,
        Lykke E. Andersen, PhD
        Scientific Manager
        Conservación Internacional Bolivia
        Calacoto, calle 13, nº 8008
        La Paz, Bolivia”

        As an aside it seems that the observatory appears to be seeking a new role as can be seen by this from their web site. I thought the reference to cosmic rays especially interesting bearing in mind the interest in Svensmark’s work.


        This from the research station at the top of the Chacaltaya glacier

        “1952: The Cosmic Ray Laboratory is officially created, as a branch of La Paz University
        • 1950- today: Several joint experiments (USA, Italy, Japan, Brazil,UK, …) are carried out at MCL with important contributions to
        Cosmic Ray Physics
        • Health research at high altitude was performed by international teams
        • The “competition” of particle accelerators (since 60’s) and satellite born instruments decreased the relevance of MCL in elementary
        particles research.
        • At present, some old experiments continue in operation and an important new one is being carried out, linked to the Auger project
        (LAGO = Large Aperture Grb Observation

        later on in the article;
        We propose the MCL as a new international center
        for climate change observations, with the aim of:
        • hosting and operating instruments for atmospheric
        • developing agreements for carrying out joint
        projects at MCL in the area of climate research.
        • integrating international networks for climate
        change research, like SHARE and GAW
        We suggest for the new commitment the “explosive”
        name of C-4: Chacaltaya Climate Change Center


      • Pure class Tony. I notice Robert has skulked off without replying. What a coward.

      • Buckaroo, permafrost is not permafrost because is cold; but because is dry!!! Permafrost is a desert in a cold country. If moisture increases > snow – snow is full of air as perfect insulator – will trap the thermal heat, soil will defrost – by freeze-drying the air; will accumulate lots of ice, same as east on same parallel, on Greenland.

        In the Siberian permafrost that will not happen, it’s only used for fear-mongering. Reason will not happen is not obvious to .Warmist science; because they are interested to keep the fear alive, not in science. Take my word: as long as south Aral sea is dry > produces dry heat, instead of raw material for snow / ice… it’s too complicated to say it in 2 paragraphs; but I pointed how those things really function; use it as guidance.

        On that latitude talking about warming is only fodder for the ignorant, ignore their fodder. Have in mind that: Russians still find woolly mammoths frozen 15 000y ago; the flash is still good enough the dogs to eat it.

      • Last time I checked, permafrost wasn’t warm blooded.

      • Buckaroo, you are a person with common sense, unlike most. Permafrost is a desert in a cold country. Desert, because is far from the sea – cannot get moisture in the air – by freeze drying and snow, to build some ice on the surface. If there was white ice on the surface to insulate the soil; soil would defrost from the thermal heat – wouldn’t be permafrost. Buckaroo, do you think that permafrost will move closer to the sea, because of the misleading propaganda; or, what they say is only their wishful thinking?!

      • P.E. Last time I checked, permafrost wasn’t warm blooded.

        I hope you are warm-blooded. Now listen: IF IT WAS ENOUGH MOISTURE IN THE AIR COMING, PERMAFROST HAS ENOUGH COLDNESS, by freeze-drying, TO BUILD 3KM THICK ICE, wouldn’t be permafrost. I hope that will help you; if you want more, it’s on my website

    • Revkin says:

      I’m not a professional middleman. What I try to do is 1) question findings by seeking views from others publishing on important questions 2) put new observations (particularly ones that are unpublished and/or dramatic) in the context of what is established in the existing literature.

      Semiletov is finally in touch with me (he’d gone on vacation right after AGU) and you’ll hear more on his work soon. He’s very critical of Dmitrenko. This kind of back-and-forthing is the process of science in action. I try to avoid whiplash on the part of the public. Some news mediap are happy to press the “front page thought” however tentative a result.(Relevant book chapter: On Balance, Hype, Climate and the Media: http://nyti.ms/uYeZPX )

      You’re wrong about the AGU /JGR links being to separate papers. Colin Schultz’s piece is the journal’s summary of the Dmitrenko paper. Schultz works for the AGU. It says that right in the text.

      As for the timeliness of the paper, I circle back to the initial point. Semiletov’s latest observations are just that, observations. It’ll be quite awhile before models have to be adjusted to account for one summer’s bubbling.

      RealClimate.org has more on the basics: http://j.mp/cP9Jed

      • Sorry, methane has too much energy in it, so it’s reactive with oxygen(whoda thunkit?) and forms the much weaker greenhouse gas, CO2 and the much stronger greenhouse gas, H2O.

      • Kim


        An’ guess what?

        Each li’l ol’ methane molecule makes TWO of them super-powerful H2O molecules for each not so powerful CO2 molecule.

        Ain’t nature wonderful? (Keep them ruminants ruminatin’…)


      • Kim


        An’ guess what?

        Each li’l ol’ methane molecule makes TWO of them super-powerful H2O molecules for each not so powerful CO2 molecule.

        Ain’t nature wonderful? (Keep them ruminants ruminatin’…)


        Which means that for every methane molecule burned, 10 (ten) oxygen molecules are taken from the atmosphere.
        In contrast, for every carbon atom burned, only 2 (two) oxygen molecules are taken.

        In the context of ‘clean air’ for humans, which would you rather burn; methane gas or oil and coal?

      • Kim, methane is NOT a greenhouse gas. Putting methane and CO2 together is ignorance, or, targeting the ignorant. Methane is the most volatile gas, CO2 is fire retardant gas. Methane is heavier than oxygen / nitrogen on sea-level – methane stays in the ground. .If water pushes some out of the ground – will have another Tanguska explosion, so what? Russians intend to pump gas from deep down in Arctic ocean, if is suffusion methane in the permafrost to make some euro, don’t you think that they will be there first? Methane is the most misrepresented gas by the propaganda machine. On my website is a page on methane, read it; the truth will knock your socks off.

        P.s. when they were into GLOBAL warming, they declared water vapour / CO2 as bad gases… Then they changed from GLOBAL warming into climate change, as a ”fig leaf” to cover their shame for lying about GLOBAL warming – they were stuck to use H2O as bad molecule for climate also – you obviously have fallen for their trick. Q: is it better climate in Sahara, where is no water vapour, or in Brazil?! Ask the trees for advice, not the climatologist. Trees tell less lies, because they don’t use Fujitsu air-conditioners as the ”climatologist”.

      • Kim, methane is NOT a greenhouse gas. Putting methane and CO2 together is ignorance, or, targeting the ignorant. Methane is the most volatile gas, CO2 is fire retardant gas. Methane is heavier than oxygen / nitrogen on sea-level – methane stays in the ground.

        ‘fraid you’re going to have to explain that one to me.

      • Holy Jimeny Crimeny. Is it amateur hour?

      • Hi Steven
        Since you mention the RC, does the
        post by JG makes sense to you ? Thanks.

      • Yes, that was a nice note from Revkin. I reply here:


      • Of course it is. I also did a little background research into Semiletov (whose recent trip to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf prompted him to warn that methane releases are accelerating) and Dmitrenko (whose model Revkin touted as showing that accelerated methane release is unlikely to cause a problem):


  27. Judith Curry

    Thanks for this up-date post.

    Haven’t gotten to the last four topics of the week, but the very interesting Olson/Pielke/Socolow round table discussion revealed a (for me) astonishing “victim mentality” among a group of scientists representing the “consensus” view on AGW. This was apparently linked to the gentle shift of the mainstream media away from eager “a priori” acceptance of this view following Climategate, etc.

    Hillary Ostroy’s provocative essay about the relevance of IPCC to the UNFCCC is excellent. For UNFCCC (like for Al Gore) “the science is settled”, so who needs AR5?

    Hillary’s question could be expanded to cover IPCC’s relevance in general.

    In my opinion, IPCC AR5 will have significantly less significance than AR4 did, back in the heady days of Nobel Peace Prizes and general acclaim from the mainstream media.

    Both papers reveal that “the times they are a’changin’” and there will be some that will be adversely affected by this change.


    • [Hilary Ostrov’s] provocative essay about the relevance of IPCC to the UNFCCC is excellent. For UNFCCC (like for Al Gore) “the science is settled”, so who needs AR5?

      Thanks, for your kind words, Max !

      [Hilary]’s question could be expanded to cover IPCC’s relevance in general.

      Oh, I just love it when readers get my implicit message(s) ;-)

      “the times they are a’changin’” [...]

      Truer words were never said! My prediction is that 2012 is going to be a very good year for those of the climate realist persuasion!


  28. Regarding Randy Olson: Olson does us a favor – and tells you all you need to know – when he refers to the ‘climate movement.’ It is the very definition of a movement that it must keep moving – or die. This is why panic sets in when they fail in Copenhagen, or in their cap and trade effort in Washington. They know that if a movement doesn’t keep getting bigger, it must get smaller. Their movement stalled a few years ago, and now they are at such a loss to explain it that they are down to the ‘communication’ level. It’s like when you tell a child they can’t have cake, and they return with ‘but can I PLEASE have cake?’ and expect a different answer.

  29. “An extremely interesting development …Anthony Watts had encouraged people to sign up to be IPCC reviewers. He reports that his application [to be an 'expert reviewer' of the WG1 First Order Draft] has been accepted.”

    I wonder if Judith and Anthony know just how talented they are at spinning. I think they do, because there is absolutely no question that they are both fully aware that self-nominated WG1 First Order Draft expert reviewers are folks who request a copy, sign an agreement that they will not publicly discuss content, and send in comments. That’s it. And it wasn’t extremely mindblowing or shocking when e.g. Vincent Gray or Steve McIntyre, did it, either. ;-)

    • Martha, your last few messages here indicate that you seem to have lost the plot

      • Thanks.

        I was having difficulty figuring out what she was trying to convey …

        … other than perhaps bitterness.

    • The IPCC proudly proclaims the consensus is backed up by “2500 expert reviewers”, which has been grasped by politicians to claim 2500 scientists say “the debate is over”. If you are correct in your assertion that virtually anyone can be a reviewer, is this yet another error perpetuated by the IPCC?

      • They count the 2500 as all those reviewers, yes, even when those reviewers vehemently object to something in the report (an objection they ignore). I was an official reviewer for AR2 for DOE, and they took some of my objections and ignored some, but I was still counted as supporting them. It would be like saying 100 million people support the president because they voted, even the ones who voted against.

      • Indeed Craig. Many skeptics, including me, reviewed the TAR and objected vehemently. We were ignored, but we still share the Nobel prize, don’t we? We are among the 2500 expert reviewers. It is a huge joke.

      • This IS the UN, after all.

    • Try not to be so unlikeable

  30. Fox news has picked up on the alleged US DOE role in Jones’s stonewalling. CEI bulldog Chris Horner has a FOIA against DOE, with time running out. Lots of fun to come.

  31. “And it wasn’t extremely mindblowing or shocking when e.g. Vincent Gray or Steve McIntyre, did it, either”

    LOL, I love these posts! Leave to Martha to put a smile on my face.

  32. On the fingerprint paper: these fingerprints are like an inkblot test. There is supposed to be some pattern in space and time produced by CO2 forcing and a comparison “reveals it” but when I look at their evidence it isn’t so obvious. It is telling that there is never an a priori statement of how strong the agreement would need to be to accept or reject the fingerprint comparison. This makes it a sharpshooter fallacy. This is especially true when you announce after looking at the clouds–oooh look, snoopy! rather than having a statistical test for cloud shape up front.

  33. Jim D writes “It is important to have a clear concept, otherwise you might end up dismissing it like Jim Cripwell, so I think this has helped him.”

    It has not helped in the slightest. I take the definition of radiative forcing from the IPCC TAR to WG1, Chapter 6. If this is not the official definition, then what is the official definition?

    What you need to realise, Jim, is the the number 3.7 Wm-2 has never been measured. Not only that, but it is never going to be measured. So we can never know whether the number has any meaning at all. This is also true of no feedback climate sensitivity. The whole house of cards supposedly showing that CAGW is real, to mix metaphors, is built on quicksand.

    The only number that can, in theory, be measured, is total climate sensitivity. But here we come back to the original piece by Theo Goodwin. The way the atmosphere works, we have no idea what is causing what effect. There is no way of isolating the effect of adding CO2 from the effect of clouds, or anything else. So there is no hope of measuring total climate sensitivity either, unless and until we understand precisley how the atmosphere works.

    We cannot measure anything useful to do with what happens when we add CO2 to the atmosphere. That is the fundamental truth that the proponents of CAGW refuse to acknowledge, which has been so eloquently stated by Theo. And I am extremely grateful to him for putting it so clearly.

    • What is the difference between Jim D’s definition and the IPCC’s.

      The chapter6 definition says, among other things: is the change in net (down minus up) irradiance…

    • 3.7 W/m2 only comes from radiative physics and knowledge of the global atmospheric GHG, cloud and temperature properties. This can be disputed in detail, and there are many independent estimates, but there is not much leeway with this number.

  34. Jum Cripwell: “We cannot measure anything useful to do with what happens when we add CO2 to the atmosphere.”

    I know you’ve seen this, but others might use it to draw rather different conclusions than yours.

    • Sorry for the typo: “Jim”, not “Jum”.

    • Yes I have seen trhis. The headline says it all. It uses the word “inferred”. Note, we infer things about CAGW. We dont measure them.

      I thought about this last night. I dont know if anyone is prepared to consider this question, but here goes.

      When it comes for a requirement to have actual meausrements, why is the Higgs bosun different from radiative forcing and no-feedback climate sensitivity?

      • infer: to deduce or conclude from evidence
        evidence: obtained, for instance, by measurement (as in the cited article).

        I am sure, Jim, that you yourself have inferred from evidence obtained by measurements.

      • Pedantic point: all measurements are inferences. Want to measure temperature? You can measure the thermal expansion of a liquid, or you can measure the voltage from a thermocouple, but even those are inferences. This is what Heisenberg realized.

  35. I can’t even read the NYT’s climate coverage any longer. For anyone who doubts the deck is stacked, ask yourself when the last time you read something in the MSM that speculated as to the possible beneficial effects of warming. Fine, go ahead and argue that on balance it’s a bad thing, but any reasonable person has to admit that warmer can’t be a complete and unqualified catastrophe for everyone. Surely, somebody somewhere has to be better off, even in some of the more extreme eventualities. And yet as to that, nary a peep. As far as I’m concerned, that’s prima facie evidence that something’s seriously amiss.

    • Yep, warmer is better, but we’re getting colder. Someone will eventually notice, maybe after the lights go out.

      • Correction: the planet is getting warmer and colder; to make both camps happy. Reality: unless one place gets colder, other area cannot get warmer LAWS OF PHYSICS SAY SO!!! when one area gets warmer – the air expands – if there is no other area gone colder, to accommodate the extra volume of air; that extra volume goes up – up where the temperature is minus -90C, intercepts extra coldness and equalizes in a jiffy. The more one hemisphere gets colder > the more the other goes warmer; both hemispheres cannot get warmer, or colder than normal, simultaneously. those two factors cancel each other. The truth will win, I have all the proofs. Only needs somebody to invent antidote for ”truth phobia”

    • There is a huge literature showing that warmer and more CO2 is better for crops, trees, grasslands. If you read the papers, the data and graphs (and even conclusions) are clear. There is often a genuflect to bad stuff someday if trends continue blah blah, but not always. The IPCC has to bend over backwards to ignore this literature, but they specialize in that. In the IUFRO (int’l Union of Forest Research Organizations) 2009 report, they echoed AR4 conclusions that as of yet there is no discernible negative impact of climate change on forests (nor likely to be one).

      • Craig -

        As I understand it, some “skeptics” doubt the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are likely to be causing more than 50% of recent anomalous warming because no one can conduct experiments on the earth’s atmosphere to capture empirical evidence.

        Given that you also can’t accumulate empirical evidence to evaluate the impact of increased CO2, what explains your confidence that more CO2 will be “better” for crops, trees, grasslands, etc.?

        Do you disagree with your fellow “skeptic” who think that a lack of empirical data undermines the validity of AGW theory?

      • Joshua –
        Still asking inane questions, eh?

        Do you disagree with your fellow “skeptic” who think that a lack of empirical data undermines the validity of AGW theory?

        Read Craig’s comment again. Maybe you’ll understand it this time?

      • please stick to being the ‘mommy mommy cop “. when you try to deconstruct arguments you mess up badly and that hurt the credibility of those of us who believe in AGW

        you do understand that craig is kinda an expert in this stuff

        for grins


      • Steve,

        If no have no answer to Joshua, why are you running your mouth?

        Nice fallacy of appeal to authority, but it doesn’t address the point.

      • steven -

        I’m aware of Craig’s credentials, and as I often read from “skeptics,” scientific credentials do not justify the formation of conclusions from data that are not conclusive. I’ll leave you and your “skeptical” brethren to appeal to authority as the answer to uncertainties – because “skeptics” often whine about appeals to authority when it is pointed out that there is such an imbalance in expert opinion WRT AGW. The hypocrisy exposed when “skeptics” appeal to authority even as they seek to denigrate expert opinion serves to undermine my argument about the lack of skepticism among some “skeptics.” :

        Speaking of which, from 8 years on WRT to the experiment you cited:

        Over the course of 7 years, CO2 fumigation has led to significantly higher rates of soil respiration. However, the magnitude of the treatment effect appears to be declining through time (Figure 3). Our modeling analyses of soil respiration trends suggest that N mineralization rates (probably as a proxy for soil fertility) help explain between plot differences in soil respiration responses to elevated CO2, and further supports the hypothesis of progressive nutrient limitation limiting ecosystem responses to rising CO2 (Oren et al. 2001; Luo et al. 2004; Finzi et al. in review). While the effect of experimentally elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on soil respiration rates appears to be dampening, soil CO2 concentrations and the isotopic signature of soil CO2 from gas wells indicate persistently higher rates of respiration at depth in the fumigated plots. These trends may suggest that the continued stimulation of above ground biomass under elevated CO2 requires exploitation of deep soil resources.

        But I’m glad that Craig agrees with me: definitive conclusions with certainty one way or the other WRT the global impact of increased CO2 on plant life are not well supported by sound science. So then the questions becomes one of risk and cost/benefit analyses.

        Too bad so many tribalists are mucking up that process.

      • Joshua
        I am not a skeptic
        As a pragmatist I endorse appeals to authority
        The simple case is that there are lab experiments that show the benefits
        of C02 and feild experiments, so your attempt fails.

        the question is do the benefits of c02 outweigh the harms
        they do not in my mind.
        I base that on modelling.
        yes, I believe in modelling

        You see Joshua. I believe in the science. I believe in the authority of experts ( when I cannot check the work myself) and C02 has benefits and harms.

        What I dont believe in is your approach to winning hearts and minds.
        Frankly, its been tried. its failed

      • Robert.

        There is no fallacy of appealing to authority.

        1. I asked if Joshua was aware of Craig’s credentials
        2. I pointed to an outdoor experiment of the benefits of c02.

        Finally, the fallacy of appealing to authority, would be something like
        “believe it because Craig is an Authority”
        That is not what I am saying.

      • steven -

        What I dont believe in is your approach to winning hearts and minds.

        Given the obviously false conclusions you post on a regular basis on this blog, I have to wonder why you repeatedly pass judgement on the analytical ability of others.

        I am not engaged in trying to win hearts and minds, and even if I were, why would I waste time posting on a blog whose readers are predominantly libertarian extremists and/or Tea Party loyalists, and even among those who aren’t, the vast, vast, majority have very entrenched convictions WRT climate change?

        If you want to know something about my motivations or interests, it’s relatively simple to ask me, steven. Each and every time you have speculated, you have turned out to be completely wrong.

      • John Carpenter

        “…whose readers are predominantly libertarian extremists and/or Tea Party loyalists,…..”

        Joshua… How do you know who the predominate readers are? A lot of readers includes you, Robert, Jim D, JCH, temptarrian, sharper00, Martha, bob droege, andrew adams, Bart V, Fred Moolten, pihlstro,… many others who don’t comment. I’m not sure it’s as lopsided as you think.

      • I’m not sure it’s as lopsided as you think.

        That’s fair, John. I may have overstated the case. A fair number of “denizens” fit my description – but perhaps it is an overstatement to say that the libertarian extremists and Tea Party loyalists predominate.

        My larger point stands, however – the notion that I post here to win hearts and minds is ludicrous, and unfortunately all too characteristic of the quality of analysis displayed by many of steven’s comments.

      • Joshua: As I understand it, some “skeptics” doubt the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are likely to be causing more than 50% of recent anomalous warming because no one can conduct experiments on the earth’s atmosphere to capture empirical evidence.

        Joshua, this is the ”most loaded comment” above ”ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING IS ZERO, not 50%!!!! All the extra heat accumulated in the atmosphere for the last 150 years; wouldn’t be enough to boil one chicken egg!!! What was the temp in my backyard last year on 11/11, at 9AM? If you compare one unknown with another unknown, what does that makes you?! Planet is not warmer, because Swindlers say that is warmer. Nobody can con all of the people, all of the time. Nobody can ever con the laws of physics! Think about it.

      • stefan -

        All the extra heat accumulated in the atmosphere for the last 150 years; wouldn’t be enough to boil one chicken egg!!!….Planet is not warmer, because Swindlers say that is warmer.

        Thanks for your comment.

        For future reference, I will note that you are not one of those “skeptics” that only doubts the extent to which recent warming can be attributed to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

        You know what’s funny about that?

        I have had many “skeptics” tell me that not very many, in fact very few, “skeptics” share your perspective, but in reality I find perspectives consistent with yours to be quite commonly posted at “skeptical” websites.

        I wonder what explains why some “skeptics” seem to deny the very existence of, let alone the validity of, people with a perspective such as yours?

        Any ideas?

      • Joshua,

        It is possible to run experiments – of the traditional sort, not the model kind – with plants and differing CO2 concentrations. The sort that does provide emperical evidence.

        I haven’t taken the time to research all of the papers, but my understanding is that some species do better and some do worse, with maybe the former outnumbering the latter. And if you want to point to those species that suffer, at least those when are food crops, it still does not automatically infer problems with world food production – for the simple fact that farmers are used to dealing with considerably greater variability on vastly shorter time lines than anything represented by climate modeling. Adaptation is hard wired into their genes.

      • Dr Mosher,

        I don’t think Josh comments to convince anyone of a point of view. My guess it is just a game and that points can be racked up playing it.

        Whether they are redeemable for anything is another question.

        As for Robert, I believe he is redeemable for a day old dirty diaper. The sort with that runny, green poo leaking out, which not even the strongest constitution can keep you from gagging.

      • Furthermore, warmer is better for species diversity, it improves the efficiency of evolution by changing biological niches, there is more than enough energy available to sustain us for longer than we can imagine, anthropogenic CO2 will be processed in the same manner as bursts of CO2 were in the past, and the natural condition of man is not serfdom. That’s the whole ball of wax; the whole shebang

        She bop
        She bop
        She bop a loo la.

      • What I appreciate is that we’re being taunted with a warmer world by modelers who’ve no idea what they are doing, who’ve zilch for self-consciousness, and who won’t even bother to check the temperature outside, and we are going to have to adapt locally and terrifyingly to a cooling globe. A dismal prospect. Please, anthropoCO2, I beg you to stave off the chill. Think of the children.

      • Craig, there is even huger literature about Santa, but when children talk about Rudolf, daddy ignores them. That’s why IPCC ignores that literature, because they invented the phony GLOBAL warming. Talking about the phony GLOBAL warming as real; gives IPCC oxygen + proofs that they don’t have mature opponents. Nobody knows what was the temperature for the last year – to save his / her life; because nobody is monitoring. Temperature on the planet is not two-dimensional as on the moon. Temperature on the planet is not as in human body also; if is one degree warmer under the armpit = the whole body is warmer by one degree… When some part gets warmer – other part instantly gets colder. Releasing a balloon ones a month, to check the temperature…?

        Instead of waiting to tell you that, was warmer year; ask them: what WAS the temperature? They don’t know, they only monitor on 6000 places as fodder for the Urban Sheep. Needs to monitor minimum on 9999999999999999999999999999999999999 places, FOR EVERY 10 MINUTES, before can start ”guessing” what is the temperature. As long as the sceptical people are on standby, to collect IPCC’s B/S with buckets and wheelbarrows, they don’t have time to think for themselves…

        Instead of temperature: if you get the job to monitor the amount of water in the creeks in your area, and create charts of the amount of water; then you declare: when is 25% less water in those 6 creeks = there is less 25% water on the planet – you would have being doing, what they do with the temperature. Go to my website, read from the beginning to the end; is not much. After, you will instantly know when they say anything, what is correct, what is not and why not. Learn to use the laws of physics as your guide, not IPCC. Marry Christmas Craig, But stop relying on Santa and IPCC, they are there to take, not to give.

    • pokerguy -

      For anyone who doubts the deck is stacked, ask yourself when the last time you read something in the MSM that speculated as to the possible beneficial effects of warming.

      Uh….earlier today, when I read the NYTimes article?

      The essential question scientists need to answer is whether the many factors they do not yet understand could speed the release of carbon from permafrost — or, possibly, slow it more than they expect.

      For instance, nutrients released from thawing permafrost could spur denser plant growth in the Arctic, and the plants would take up some carbon dioxide.

      • randomengineer

        Uh….earlier today, when I read the NYTimes article?

        That’s not a positive in the spirit of Dr Loehle’s suppositions. Rather, it is simple spin. There’s probably a name for this commonly used rhetorical device but I think of it as the “sheer blind luck” argument. The purpose of this device is to underscrore how pathetic/bad/etc something is by highlighting any unlikely silver lining and usually in a way that makes sure that a mentally retarded marmoset (or Joshua) twigs on the notion of luck.

        Enviromental stories will often use this device. In this article we see that despite concern and warning by knowledgeable respected comrade scientists, evil man alone is (right wing captialists,more than likely) warming the planet uncontrollably, and only through the sheer blind luck of nature is there a temporary relief valve in the form of a carbon sink. The point is to underscore the “unheeded warnings from heroic comrades” by highlighting *sheer dumb luck* with the reader expected to fill in the blanks with (the obviously expected) “oh. We may not be so lucky next time. We need to listen to these heroes.”

        Any time I see the *sheer blind luck* argument, the article hits the bit bucket.

        Have we raised a nation that can no longer detect the obvious?

    • Pokerguy,

      That’s actually a really good observation. I’d never thought of that. Obviously, no matter how one feels about CAGW, warming has some proven factual beneficial aspects mixed in with the ‘catastrophic’. Any even remotely honest discussion of the topic would portray the downsides against these inarguable upsides, regardless of what one believes the net outcome to be. The fact that there is never any mention whatsoever of any possible positives from warming is clear evidence that the vast majority of self-proclaimed “neutral” MSM journalists actually have an agenda that is driving their reporting. This was already apparent to me from what they do write about but this approach of calling out the obvious facts which they self-censor from their reporting is a very direct and simple way to demonstrate the spin. Nicely done!

      • Mr,

        well said, and may I add that Marshall McLuhan made the astute observation that all “news” is bad news. Most journalists act in accordance with this unexamined prejudice. McLuhan also suggested that if you want good news, pay attention to the commercials. (Bad news, hemorrhoids, good news, Preparation H.). MM noted that it takes a lot of bad news to attract audiences for the good news.

        Just as the Peter Principle or Parkinsons Laws can go a long way in helping to understand how things (e.g. the UN and the IPCC) really work, this insight by McLuhan —along with his general theory of media and their preferred contents–can add a useful frame of reference. Consider, for example, how the visuals of Al Gore’s gerimiade grab and terrify, whereas a purely print version would probably bore most people to death—except of course for the outrage induced in any serious, reasonably educated persons who might read it. Climate changeaphobia could never have plagued a pre-TV world.
        Cheers, Ron

      • Sorry that’s ” jerimiad”—my only possible excuse is that “j” and “g” are on the same line—but what else can be expected from a “hunt’n peck” typer.

      • simon abingdon


    • Good news is not news.

      Except maybe on a slow news day.

  36. Jim D

    Back to your original premise that we “could reach 1,000 ppmv CO2″ some time in the future.

    The “catastrophic CO2 from 30,000 year old vegetation in the permafrost conjecture” of the NYT is a red herring, as we have demonstrated., so let’s not discuss this hare-brained hypothesis any further.

    But is there enough carbon in the remaining fossil fuels on our planet to reach 1,000 ppmv in the atmosphere?

    If the figures from the WEC and CDIAC are correct the answer is: “yes barely” (there is enough to reach an estimated 1,065 ppmv when it is ALL burned up).

    Is this likely to happen in the next 100 years? NO.

    It could happen in 150-200 years if we continue to use increasing amounts for combustion (300+ years is we stay at current consumption levels).

    As these resources become scarcer and more difficult plus costlier to extract., we will undoubtedly switch to other sources for basic energy and use the fossil fuels for higher added-value end uses.

    The normal industrial development of our planet based on market economics will take care of most of this, with an occasional “shot in the arm” for related, especially worthwhile basic research projects coming from taxpayer funding.

    IPCC estimates that the exponential compounded annual growth rate of atmospheric CO2 levels we have seen in the past (around 0.4 to 0.5% per year) will remain the same in the future (model-based scenario and storyline B1) and will even increase to a higher exponential rate (other scenarios), despite a dramatic slowdown in population growth from 1.7% to 0.2% CAGR.

    And with these estimates of CO2 growth, IPCC projects year 2100 levels between 580 and 850 ppmv.

    The lower estimate is probably realistic, assuming there are new developments on the energy sector over the next 90 years – but that is an extremely dicey assumption.

    The higher estimates should be discarded as highly unlikely.

    But to think we could reach 1,000 ppmv by 2100 requires a major leap of faith into “never-never land”, Jim.

    And to worry about it is useless.


    • Correction:

      Should read: The lower estimate is probably realistic, assuming there are NO new developments on the energy sector.

    • “as we have demonstrated”

      You have demonstrated no such thing… but I agree you should discuss it no further because what you do demonstrate is cluelessness.

      Permafrost covers 25 percent of the ground in the Northern Hemisphere and contains twice the carbon currently in the atmosphere. Do you read science or do you just pretend you do? Did you, for example, actually look at the data from Schaefer et al? Using a computer model that combines temperature trends and other data, this and other research is producing estimates of the amount and timing of (irreversible thaw) and significant additional atmospheric warming. Anyone who understands the overall picture is rightly alarmed.
      To be clear, if you don’t like the scientific assumptions of specific papers examining this problem, or you find the model and analysis makes a series of unjustified assumptions, that is interesting. However, saying that the conclusions of studies in this area of science are not supportable without the ability or desire to actually address the technical science, demonstrates nothing.

      And one more thing: try an attitude of being informed by people living in the North who are already experiencing impacts, before you make announcements about what you imagine you and others on this ridiculous forum have ‘demonstrated’. Rapidly melting permafrost is not just about ice roads for mining companies: it determines the ecosystem in the North and Inuit communities are built on it.

    • manacker, apart from natural sources like in the Arctic, there is evidence that the uptake of carbon by the biosphere and ocean is less efficient in warmer years meaning that the increase in CO2 per Gt fossil fuel burned will increase as the earth gets warmer. Additionally as the population levels off due to growing development, it also uses more fossil fuels per capita, so that is not a sign of improvement either. We don’t know that enormous new reserves will be developed, as Canada is starting to, for example. 1000 ppm is quite possible as early as 2100 if these trends continue.

    • If the figures from the WEC and CDIAC are correct the answer is: “yes barely” (there is enough to reach an estimated 1,065 ppmv when it is ALL burned up).

      That’s certainly an underestimate, Max. If the WEC/CDIAC figures are correct, CO2 could reach 1200-1500 ppm. If “CO2 equivalents” are added in (e.g., methane increases), the value would be higher. I agree that those levels are unlikely by 2100, but would not be unreasonable during the next century if emissions are not curtailed, and levels at 800 or above would be possible by the end of the current century.

      • Fred Moolten

        You are wrong.

        WEC estimates enough “inferred possible total recoverable fossil fuel resources” (over 3x today’s known “proven reserves”) to add 675 ppmv CO2 to the atmosphere (at the past 50% rate “remaining” in the atmosphere, of course).

        This means 390 + 675 = 1,065 ppmv as the absolute maximum ever possible CO2 level from human fossil fuel combustion

        That’s it, Fred.

        Ain’t no mo’

        As for year 2100 estimated levels, I think IPCC’s “scenario and storyline” B1 probably represents an upper limit. This estimates that CO2 will continue to grow at the same exponential rate as in the past, reaching 585 ppmv by 2100, despite the fact that human population growth rate is expected by the UN to decrease from 1.7% CAGR to 0.2% CAGR and new non-fossil fuel technologies are sure to be developed over the next 90 years..

        Other IPCC “storylines” have the exponential growth rate miraculously doubling to reach 868 ppmv by 2100 (“scenario and storyline” A1F1), but this is obviously absurd.

        Fossil fuels will become more costly to extract and other technologies will be developed. Remember the mid-19th century warnings that London and New York (even Manchester) would be covered by two meters of horse manure by 1920, resulting from the rapidly growing number of horse carriages. Your estimates remind me of these studies.

        BTW, the WEC estimates of remaining fossil fuels may well be overly optimistic, but I have taken them as an “upper limit” basis, as they estimate that 88% of all recoverable fossil fuels that were ever on our planet are still there (i.e. we have only depleted 12% of the total to date).

        Other estimates (Rutledge/Hubbert) of remaining reserves are much lower and hence the maximum ever possible CO2 level also much lower..

        Your numbers are imagined, but not supported by WEC estimates.

        Don’t just toss out numbers that have no basis, Fred – makes you look silly. (Or, if you do have a basis, please cite the link.)


      • Max – If you reread your own very long argument, I think you’ll discover a statement in it that will tell you why your argument is wrong. My estimates of 1200 to 1500 ppm CO2 are approximate, of course, but they are reasonable approximations. Your limit of 1065 ppm, on the other hand, can’t be correct.

        Your statement is one you’ve made previously, and I believe I already corrected it previously, along with references, although I’m not absolutely sure of that. There is so much literature on the airborne fraction that you will have no trouble finding relevant data, but if you want to look at some of the recent work by Corinne Le Quere, that would be one place to visit. Whether the airborne fraction is currently increasing enough to be discernible is still unsettled, but there is much less disagreement concerning the principle that it will increase with a larger future burden of anthropogenic CO2 emissions of the magnitude you refer to.

      • At the current growth rate we will be at 500 ppm by ~2043.

        If you want to believe the energy industry will be unable to meet projected demand for fossil fuels for the next 31 years, fine.

      • The continuation of the current exponential rate leads to 1000 ppm. This is a doubling of the input every 33 years, which is also a doubling of the accumulation every 33 years. By 2000 it was 90 ppm added (to 280), by 2033 it will be 180, by 2066 it will be 360, by 2099 it will be 720 (+280=1000). Mathematically this is where the current exponential growth rate leads. One of the CMIP5 scenarios (RCP8.5) exceeds this in CO2 equivalent.

      • Oy. There’s one ironclad rule, and that is that unbounded exponential increases never last. See: housing bubble. :roll:

      • Every year the human race starts with 0 ppm in the bucket, and then they get to work. By nature they will try to work harder than the year before.

      • Fred Moolten

        You write:

        My estimates of 1200 to 1500 ppm CO2 are approximate, of course, but they are reasonable approximations. Your limit of 1065 ppm, on the other hand, can’t be correct.

        “Can’t be correct?”

        As usual, you do not back up your words with any data, while I have cited a report by the WEC on optimistically estimated remaining “total inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” on our plant (88% of the total that was ever there), which would constrain the “maximum ever possible CO2 concentration from human emissions” to around 1.065 ppmv

        I have pointed out that this estimate is much higher than others (Rutledge/Hubbert, for example), which would constrain the “maximum ever possible CO2 concentration from human emissions” to around 600 ppmv.

        If you have data that specifically show that there are still more fossil fuels on our planet than WEC has estimated, please show it.

        Otherwise I will have to conclude that you are simply arm waving.


      • I’m not sure you understood what I wrote, Max. My comment was that using your data for fossil fuels, citing a maximum possible (“ain’t no mo’”) limit of 1065 ppm is an incorrect deduction from those data, because it fails to account for rises in the airborne fraction that are projected for large additions to atmospheric CO2 from human activities. The magnitude of the rises is subject to some uncertainty, but a number of studies estimate significant rises, whose magnitude depends on both the quantity and rate of future emissions, and none that I know of implies that for such large increases in emitted CO2, there would be no rise in the airborne fraction.

        I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, here, Max, in assuming it was a true misunderstanding on your part and not a deliberate attempt to deceive in order for you to avoid admitting error.

        Once you admit you were wrong, however, we can also look at the validity of various sources of information on underground fossil fuels. I’ve seen figures much larger than the WEC figures, as well as smaller, but I’m not really willing to get into that if you’re unable to admit a mistake.

        The same applies to the mechanisms underlying increases in the airborne fraction, which are more complex than often assumed. It’s an interesting topic, and if you admit you made a mistake in citing 1065 ppm as a hard limit fbased on the WEC figures, it might be worth discussing.

        I would also add that if others are still reading these exchanges and state they would like to discuss the airborne data evidence, I’ll be glad to link to some sources of further information on it.

      • Fred,
        The ideas of CO2 getting to those levels are science fiction story plots.
        For apocalyptic SF, I prefer the aliens invading or an asteroid, but if you want to be obsessed with CO2 doing, so be it.

      • Manacker believes in numbers from World Energy Council which is like depending on the IPCC. Quite the cherry-picking hypocrite.

      • WHT

        “Cherry-picking hypocrite?”

        Do I smell the fetid stench of “ad hominem” attacks here?

        For shame, WTD!

        But let’s get back to the data.

        The WEC numbers are the first I have seen that really go way beyond simply listing the conventional “proven resources”. These data indicate that there are roughly 3-4 times as much “total inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” than the official reserves data would indicate.

        I have not seen any data from you that would contradict this.

        The total carbon contained in these resources constrain the maximum ever possible atmospheric CO2 level to an estimated 1,065 ppmv, as I pointed out to Fred Moolten..

        Using CDIAC data on past fossil fuel consumption, one can calculate that the WEC figures tell us that we have consumed around 12% of all the fossil fuel resources that were ever on our planet, leaving 88% still in place..

        Most other estimates I have seen are much lower, constraining CO2 to around 600 ppmv. Some even warn of imminent “peak oil” or “peak fossil fuel” problems.

        In order to justify carbon taxes, we have people warning us of imminent CAGW tipping points on one hand and of imminently running out of fossil fuels on the other.

        These two imagined hobgoblins are mutually exclusive, WHT.

        So forget the name calling and come with some data instead, if you can.


  37. “Is income inequality becoming the new global warming? In other words, is this another case where the facts of an existential threat lose traction among a weary American public as deniers attempt to reduce them to partisan opinions?”


    Tribal group think at its finest. Just more evidence that the CAGW debate is, and always has been, the latest in a long series of progressive propaganda campaigns. Notice how easily the terminology is transferred from one topic to another. We now have “income disparity deniers,” proved beyond doubt by opinion polls.

    The poverty statistics, for those who don’t know, go through the same rigorous Steigian (or should that be stygian) statistical massaging that surface temperature records suffer at the hands of some climate scientists.

    To answer the op-ed’s question, “income disparity” was global warming before there was “global warming.” Just another prop in the progressive propaganda war on free markets (ie. freedom).

  38. Craig Loehle:
    There is a huge literature showing that warmer and more CO2 is better for crops, trees, grasslands…

    OK. Let’s gather these happy CO2-fed trees together to make a

    In fact, let’s look at the three largest global forests tracts right now:
    - Canada; negative stocking trend due to massive insect damage
    - Siberia, static sink for now. Forest fires, warmer winters, increasing
    soil respiration – real experts would hesitate to pronounce optimistic
    - Amazone; oh,oh drought problems …

    So, as usual. In Sceptlandia you have your complacent St.Claus
    figure as opposed to hundreds of mainstream scientists actually
    working things out.

    • pihlstro

      Contrary to the previously assumed postulation (and IPCC computer model assumption) that old forests are “carbon neutral” this 2008 analysis has found that old forests sequester on average 2.4 ± 0.8 tCha-1yr-1, stated to be “equivalent to one-third of current annual fossil fuel emissions”

      Consistent with earlier studies, biomass continues to increase for centuries irrespective of whether forests are boreal or temperate.

      This 2011 study has calculated the net forest carbon sink.

      The study estimates the global forest sink at 2.4 GtC per year globally for 1990-2007. The net carbon emission resulting from tropical deforestation is 1.3 GtC per year, resulting in a net forest carbon sink of 1.1 GtC per year globally.

      This forest sink is equivalent in magnitude to the terrestrial sink deduced from fossil fuel emissions and constraints of ocean and atmospheric sinks.

      The Global Carbon Project has given a summary of the latest findings here:

      This points out that forests have apparently responded to the higher levels of atmospheric CO2 (as would have been expected from small scale experiments).

      To what extent this increase in CO2 sequestering plus reforestation efforts in temperate and boreal regions, combined with a slowdown in tropical deforestation plus regrowth there, will partially balance out human CO2 emissions from fossil fuels is unknown, but there is no question that forests are acting as a powerful net carbon sink.


    • randomengineer

      real experts would hesitate to pronounce optimistic scenarios

      Given that Dr Loehle is an expert, I’m gathering that you must reckon “real” experts to be any that don’t agree with him. Do you have anything to add here or did you blow your wad trying for a cheap shot at Dr Loehle?

  39. Idle thought sof an idle fella, and I dont think I want to know the answer. But it is interesting to speculate whether our hostess will end up as a contributer to Tallbloke’s libel fund. After all, she had lunch with him. I am contemplating giving 50 GBP, and I have never met the guy.


    • Jim

      I suppose any contribition from our hostess might depend on who paid for the lunch in the first place :)

      Seriously, I think a contribution might place Judith in an awkward position


    • Jim and Tony

      If JC (or anyone else who is in this biz) contributes to Tallbloke’s defense fund, it should (and will) be on an anonymous basis.

      No public taxpayer funds involved = no need for FOIA here.


      • Correction: should have written Tallbloke’s legal fund.

      • “No public taxpayer funds involved = no need for FOIA here.”

        Yes, your ilk works best with no disclosure and no accountability. Shame the UK police want to drag one of you into the light, eh?

        As amusing as it would be to see someone sue over a legally executed search warrant, it’s not worth subsidizing.

      • Robert -

        I believe that he is suing over what appears to be a clear case of libel on the part of Greg Laden, as well as looking into the legality of the search warrant and seizure of his computers. In either case, it doesn’t seem to be too amusing for Tallbloke.

        Try reading his blog – it won’t burn out your retinas, and your comments on this subject might actually increase in accuracy.

      • 1. There are irregularities and unanswered questions WRT the warrent.
        namely, the warrant did not follow procedures for ‘special purpose’
        material, as it should have. special purpose material would be
        journalistic material,
        2. The legal fund is to cover that plus a libel case against a blogger
        who called him a criminal and a thief and against Mann for
        republishing that libel–

      • The case for libel would require them to prove Greg Laden expressed a view that a reasonable person could not have. It seems his view was that Tallbloke, by knowingly allowing his site to distribute the illegally obtained Climategate e-mails, was purposely harmful to the scientists involved, making it criminal. Maybe that preface to Laden’s statement should be known. Is it a reasonable opinion to express or is it a knowingly false statement?

      • “ilk”?
        Do you not understand private people vs. public employees?
        You should be careful about the ‘drag into the light’ mis-statement. Your implication is Tallbloke is a criminal. That is, like most of what you write, untrue. He was specifically declared not a target of the investigation.
        As others have pointed out, there are reasonable questions as to whether or not the search warrant was in fact proper.
        Once again, you strike out.
        You are playing the role of Wile E. Coyote in this.

      • The case for libel would require them to prove Greg Laden expressed a view that a reasonable person could not have.

        That sure is mangled beyond recognition. Don’t quit your day job.

      • Jim D,

        Pull your head out. Laden called him a thief. Accused him of breaking into computers. Maybe you have not bothered to read it:

        “So, apparently it is OK for Tattersall and this band of thieves to unilaterally play vigilante and break into your computer or mine, but when authorities investigating a crime, with proper search warrant, show up to investigate his misdeeds, suddenly he’s an “Englishman” in his “Castle.” I don’t know whether to laugh of to go medieval on him.”

        Laden is a dumb punk. Yet you reflexively jump to his defense. Tells us something about you.

      • Ask yourself whether Tallbloke knowingly distributed stolen property given this was Climategate 2, and the first time around nobody knew whether the Climategate 1 package was genuinely stolen or fake. That was Laden’s view. It is not mine, because I don’t think he intended any harm to reputations from the release, but it is a possible view for someone to have.

      • Buckaroo Banzai

        “Ask yourself whether Tallbloke knowingly distributed stolen property given this was Climategate 2, and the first time around nobody knew whether the Climategate 1 package was genuinely stolen or fake.”

        I asked myself and the answer is no. Didnt even have to consider whose property the emails were either. (Hint: they don’t belong to those who wrote them.)

        The Pentagon Papers come to mind as a strong legal precedent that no matter how material is uncovered once it is in the public domain there is no crime in distributing them.

      • Robert, me boy, you have a definite understanding disorder. Let me try to help you clear the muddle in your head.

        “My ilk” simply states that taxpayer funded material, including on-the-job correspondence concerning this taxpayer funded material in e-mails, etc. belongs to the taxpaying public, unless there are national security reasons to keep it secret.

        This means full disclosure, especially to any FOIA requests.

        The “leaker” of this info has done the taxpayers a favor, by giving them an inside glimpse of what is being done with their money.

        “Wikileaks” may have done something similar, especially when it involved taxpayer paid (i.e.government) employees.

        Whether or not this “leaker” is covered by “whistle blower protection” laws is something a court will have to decide if and when the party involved is ever identified.

        Got it now? (It’s really not that awfully complicated.)


      • Robert

        Now to the second part (separated to keep you from getting confused).

        If Tallbloke gets small donations from private individuals for his legal fund, this is between him and the contributor. If they decide to publicize the fact, that is their prerogative. But there is no reason that this must be disclosed to others, who are not involved in any way.

        If the court later makes a legally justified request to Tallbloke to provide a list of his donors, that is a different case (but this has not occurred).

        Got the difference now?

        Hope I’ve helped you clear your obvious confusion.


      • “Ask yourself whether Tallbloke knowingly…balh…blah…blah” I hope that punk Laden gets you as his attorney. Why don’t you read what Laden actually said, jimmy dee. I don’t have to ask myself anything. I already know what defamation looks like.

      • Don, I have seen what Laden actually said, and it was that if he got stolen e-mails sent to his blog, he would have taken them down and reported it to the police. Instead Tallbloke left them on the internet. This is what Laden thought was morally wrong, and he went on to make some ill-tempered comments that I would agree were unfounded, and he later removed.

      • Robert, me boy, . . .

        Sorry, I have no time for your meaningless whining.

        Your cowardly determination to hide the money trail and conceal what you are doing are noted.

        Your hysterical excuses amuse.

      • Buckaroo Banzai

        “Don, I have seen what Laden actually said, and it was that if he got stolen e-mails sent to his blog, he would have taken them down and reported it to the police.”

        Yep, and I’m sure Laden is on record as abhorring and opposing Wikileaks as well. Have the link to the blog where he protests that?

        Oh, an your (and Laden’s) proof that the emails are “stolen” is what?

      • Buckaroo Banzai

        “Your cowardly determination to hide the money trail and conceal what you are doing are noted”

        Tell you what Robert, you post all the donations you’ve made first and we will follow your lead.

      • I believe that he is suing over what appears to be a clear case of libel on the part of Greg Laden

        You can fund his fantasy of harassing his critics through the legal system if you want to. What you should bear in mind, though, is that the essential character of the man, like all deniers, is cowardice. He will never face his critics in the light. If you give money, it will be diverted into some denier slush fund, as his lawyer admits.

        , as well as looking into the legality of the search warrant and seizure of his computers.

        There’s nothing to look into. They had a warrant, they executed it. If you think you can strike back at the police for doing that, good luck. A search warrant is humiliating, but perfectly legal. The only real protection is not to have a warrant issued — that is, don’t receive stolen property from criminals, don’t circulate stolen property, don’t associate with thieves at all.

      • It would be ironic if Tallbloke sued Laden for defamation when he himself took part in a release of carefully selected e-mails that were used for defamation against a couple of scientists. I wonder if that twist would come up in court.

      • What I find ironic is that Tallbloke would be so upset about someone posting insults on a log post. He regularly posts insults and I recall when he rationalized Monckton analogizing people to Nazis.

        To be clear, Tallbloke’s frequent insulting of others is no justification for insulting him – but the sense of entitled victimization among some “skeptics” is truly stunning.

      • max

        “My ilk” simply states that taxpayer funded material, including on-the-job correspondence concerning this taxpayer funded material in e-mails, etc. belongs to the taxpaying public, unless there are national security reasons to keep it secret.

        The public may have a right to such material, depending on its nature and any exemptions which might apply. It doesn’t “belong” to the public in any legal sense.

        This means full disclosure, especially to any FOIA requests.

        Assuming that such material is within the scope of the FOIA then yes. But there is a mechanism laid down in law for the public to obtain such material – they don’t have the right to decide what information should be released and just help themselves.

        The “leaker” of this info has done the taxpayers a favor, by giving them an inside glimpse of what is being done with their money.
         You may think so. There are some circumstances where I might support such action myself. But that doesn’t mean they are above the law.
        Whether or not this “leaker” is covered by “whistle blower protection” laws is something a court will have to decide if and when the party involved is ever identified.

        In the UK whistleblower legislation is there to protect employees from retribution by their employer where they try to raise concerns through the proper channels. It does not protect them against criminal charges. And of course that is assuming in any case that it was a “leak”, for which there is no particular evidence.

      • randomengineer

        Andrew Adams –The public may have a right to such material, depending on its nature and any exemptions which might apply. It doesn’t “belong” to the public in any legal sense.

        You are writing this from a european perspective, not an american one. The US is not a democracy; it is a republic. In the US this data is paid for by the public and thus belongs to the public. Despite efforts by the US left to mischaracterise Cucinelli in VA as engaging in a witch hunt, he is in fact doing the job correctly in keeping with the concept of republic. The US left and the european posters on this site all seem to argue from a certain perspective and your post is fairly typical in that regard. You don’t live in a republic. You live in a democracy. You don’t think in terms of republic.

        By and large posters arguing that data belongs to the public are americans and are thinking in terms of a republic. What you say probably has merit in the UK or in european countries in general. But it isn’t true in the US.

        Assume for a moment that AGW became the dominant issue of our time. In the US the public would vote by and large for the forces against alarmism to the point that you cheese the people enough and congress would be loaded with anti-alarmist representatives who would then vote to simply remove alarmist law attempts and defund the EPA and/or any other federal level regulatory agency that was overstepping boundries (largely via back door infiltration by the greens.)

        From this gedankenexperiment it should be clear that the US public DOES own the data and that what is lacking at present is the momentum to get the public attention, not legal authority.

      • RE,

        I am indeed arguing from a UK perspective. But given that we are talking about material held by a UK institution and subject to UK FoI laws surely it is the UK perspective which is pertinent in this case?

        I can’t comment on the legal position in the US, but I;m not sure how meaningful the distinction between a “democracy” and a “republic” is. Can’t a country be both?

      • randomengineer

        Andrew Adams — Two items in reply.

        1. CRU etc is paid for in part by US taxpayers. CRU is therefore obligated to release data via FOIA in the least. Same thing applies to the UN.

        2. Difference between democracy and republic is vast. One wag has put this in simplified and stark terms — democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner; a republic has a well armed sheep. In other words a republic doesn’t acquiesce to mob rule inherent to a democracy. Without getting into a long winded political theory discussion here, the point is that americans and europeans don’t have the same perspective on the role of government, how FOIA is supposed to work, and who ultimately owns the proceeds of work that is funded by the public.

      • Payment for the time involved on processing these FOI requests (even a nominal charge) would probably be a good idea.

        It would sort out those with legitimate enquiries from those conducting political/ideological fishing-expeditions.

      • manacker said on December 18, 2011 at 11:09 am

        “If JC (or anyone else who is in this biz) contributes to Tallbloke’s defense fund, it should (and will) be on an anonymous basis.”

        Then how you gonna know who to poke fun at?

        And remember, Tallbloke isn’t the only one needing money for a lawyer. National Review is asking for money to defend itself against a libel law suit filed by Professor Michael Mann for defaming him by accusing him of academic fraud.


        How this case will turn out is anyone’s guess. However, before sending your check to National Review, you may want to consider the possibility your money will end up in Professor Mann’s pocket. If it does, I will have a good laugh.

      • Mann will need to provide evidence of his work to the court in order to prove defamation as any defence of such litigation would obviously hinge on whether or not the statements were in fact true.

  40. Manacker,

    Good points, but if you look at the latest global synthesis
    (the Science article you linked) there is no positive trend
    in carbon sequestration in the huge forest areas I mentioned,
    Comparing 1990-1999 to 2000-2007 the flux has decreased
    in both Canada and Amazonia, is static in Siberia.
    The naive perception (C Loehle) of warmth and CO2 translating
    into more growth in an uncomplicated manner is thus not
    supported at all, for reasons I tentatively cited in my comment

    • Tell that to the dinosaurs. They thought warmth and CO2 were good for the environment. Tell that to the coal that we pull from the ground. It ain’t supposed to be there. Too much warmth and CO2 around for all that plant material to have accumlated. Must have come from freaking outer space. So says the new fanatical science of CO2 boogeymannism.

    • pihlstro

      Whether or not there is a “positive trend in carbon sequestration in the huge forest areas you mentioned” or not is less important than the global TOTAL, which is what I was discussing, based on the latest Global Carbon Project studies, which show that this is a significant carbon sink, much greater than previously assumed..

      There is no doubt that higher CO2 concentrations have resulted in some increase in sequestration by forests, as several studies have shown.

      Whether of not the tiny increase in temperature has had much influence, I cannot say. If boreal and temperate temperatures were to increase a bit, this might accelerate growth a bit, and since most GH warming is supposed to take place at higher latitudes, this could well be the case.

      But the data show that higher CO2 levels play the greater role.


  41. Update on the Tallbloke story at WUWT; letter from Tallbloke’s lawyer

    • “Any funds not eventually used for necessary legal expenses will be donated to a selection of climate sceptic organisations.”

      Stephen P R Wilde. LLB (Hons.), Solicitor.

      Wilde & Co. Cheshire England

      Who determines what are necessary legal expenses?

  42. That carbon accumulates over geological time scales is
    connected to the discussion … exactly how? I will tell you
    a secret, the dinosaurs are not around anymore!
    They went extinct, in one of the five mass extinctions.,
    which occur when external events overpower the slow
    movement of evolution. The sixth extinction is likely happening
    right now and the cause is human activity, directly on habitats and
    in the near future indirectly through climate change .

    • So that you may have a chance at understanding what this is all about, I will put it in perspective for you pilsy:

      No hockey sticks here:

      It’s pretty damn cold right now:

      And unlike the big fat dinos, we are CO2 impoverished:

      “The naive perception (C Loehle) of warmth and CO2 translating
      into more growth in an uncomplicated manner is thus not
      supported at all, for reasons I tentatively cited in my comment”

      That is really stupid. The reasons tentatively cited in your comment are naive and inadequate. The data that you imagine proves your point are from less than two decades, and are not indicative of worldwide growth. Warmth and CO2 elevated on a global scale do translate into more growth. Google it! Just like more CO2 in the atmosphere will cause warming. It’s in the physics, you clown. Look at the geologic record. And Loehle didn’t say anything about it happening in an uncomplicated manner. You made that up. The dinosaurs were not wiped out by warmth and CO2. They loved that stuff, more food. Why do you fanatics feel the need to dispute anything and everything that might put even a small dent in your scary scenario? Never give and inch. Just makes you look dumb and dishonest. You people were not raised right.

      • Don

        We here it all the time on the radio now: “Baby, it’s cold outside….”


      • Typo: Should be “we hear it all the time…”

      • Donnie, you only embarrass yourself when you cite material you don’t understand.

        Learn some basic science, including how to read a graph, and you’ll realize how all the data you just cited shows you’re completely wrong.

      • Very powerful assertions , bobbie. Shows why you are a failure. Had any visitors to you blog yet this month, bobbie?

      • Don,
        I confess- IO went there for the humor of watching robert track himself.

      • lurker,

        Came away feeling very dirty, didn’t you. I have to admit though that I took another look at those charts I posted links to and I see what bobbie is talking about. My perspective was wrong. You have to view them upside down to gain the proper understanding. I think in the climate science they call that a nature trick.

      • Robert, if we take the time to learn all about your science we will never be able to help our democracy.


        You are already there though…

      • Donnie,

        Learn a little science, is my friendly advice to you.

        Nice attempt to change the subject — but your efforts to project your fears of being a failure outward only amuse.

        Your hysteria and personal attacks, funny as they are, don’t warrant a lengthy response.

        Learn some science, so you can understand the work you’re citing.

      • try not to be unlikeable

      • Take away the unlikable, and what’s left?

      • That Judith removed my reply to your latest foolishness, bobbie. Why she protects your type from the public’s righteous scorn and ridicule, we may never know : )

      • Don,

        Try saying something positive about Robert. I manage to from time to time. I commended him for sticking to what he is good at – i.e. being unlikeable.

        We should smother him in kindness. And if it doesn’t work, well, he’ll still be smothered.

  43. Max,

    Spring is perennial alarming climate change/disruption/whatever, from the silly warmistas warped perspective.

  44. steven mosher | December 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    “”There is no fallacy of appealing to authority.””

    Aristotle thought differently.
    The appeal to authority may take several forms. As a statistical syllogism, it will have the following basic structure:[1]
    Most of what authority a has to say on subject matter S is correct.
    a says p about S.
    Therefore, p is correct.

    The strength of this argument depends upon two factors:[1][2]
    The authority is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    A consensus exists among legitimate experts on the matter under discussion.
    These conditions may also simply be incorporated into the structure of the argument itself, in which case the form may look like this:[2]
    X holds that A is true
    X is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    The consensus of experts agrees with X.
    Therefore, there’s a presumption that A is true.

    Yet both these would fail particularly as they argue universally. Appealing to authority is a fallacy. Unless it’s ya mum.

  45. Somewhat off topic. I looked again at Mann’s Ted video and saw some pretty bad things. He brought up Hansen’s 1988 testimony and showed a graph claiming that in fact the temperature record agreed well with scenario B. I note that even at Skeptical Science, the temperature record is shown as agreeing with scenario C (much lower than B), with no emissions after 2000. I think Mann is up to his usual tricks, namely, starting the comparison at a different point. If he does this, why should we trust anything he does?

    • Scenario Scenarios B and C stayed close together until ~2005, and GMT, 17 years after the prediction was made, was right there with them. The GMT has been both above and below them in the past. Continuing our behavior as we are doing, for GMT to track Scenario C into the future would mean AGW is a hoax. By 2015 the graph should show GMT well above Scenario C, but below Scenario B.

      I doubt the ‘team’ is worried. At all.

      • What version of GMT are you using?

      • On their graphs they usually present both Hadcrut and Gistemp. I don’t know which series was used in the video, which appears to end in ~2005. The graphs at RC, which they’ve been updating annually go through 2010.

      • These two disagree since 2001. You get a very different result if you use UAH, which actually measures something. There is no sig warming from 78 to 97 nor from 01 to today. No evidence whatever of GHG warming.

      • Re: Picking Cherries

        I have a proposition for everyone on this blog, warmers and skeptics alike. For all reference to “trends” we should use the wood for trees temperature index. Since the series begins in January 1979, use that value to start: -0.3C. Always use the latest value to end, currently 2011.75, +0.1C. That’s 0.4C per 32 years, or 0.125C/decade. Of course it will change when each new month is added. http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/wti

        Proposition: THIS is THE “trend”. Something for eveyone – limited to years for which there is satellite data, to avoid any inkling of splicing. However, it also includes the land data during that time. The nice thing about this is everyone can agree it also qualifies as a blatant cherry pick and violates every rule of time series analysis, so we can all be happy that it is incorrect.

        Since I’m hanging this on David’s post, I feel the need to say I am not trying to contradict his opinion, just move the goalposts. Now we can just argue about what it will be in the future.

      • BillC – I had already made a comparison graph to test DW’s claims, which I do not find compelling.

        You’ve linked to raw data for your graph. Can you link to the graph itself?

      • “For all reference to “trends” we should use the wood for trees temperature index.”

        If you want to be serious, we should just use the 132-month running average, which smooths out the solar cycle and a couple of ENSO episodes:

        http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/dTs_60+132mons.gif (blue line)

        Of course, when you use a running average, you lose the short-term noise, and what you are left with is a long, boring, uninterrupted upward trend. That’s not to everybody’s taste. But it’s the best way to see what’s happening, and there’s no question of cherry-picking a start date.

      • “These two disagree since 2001. You get a very different result if you use UAH, which actually measures something. There is no sig warming from 78 to 97 nor from 01 to today. No evidence whatever of GHG warming.”

        That’s a poor argument considering the amplitude of noise in the satellite records. By taking small subsets of the record you decrease the signal to noise ratio. How do you know that by chopping the record into a 19 and 10 year period you haven’t cut that ratio so much that you are now looking at noise rather than signal?

        You presume the signal should dominate over both periods, but don’t explain why. The period from 78 to 97 could easily be biased down by the noise (eg pinatubo).

        All this especially considering you’ve chosen the cut precisely to achieve this end (ie you didn’t pull those periods randomly out of a hat)

      • Robert,

        I am serious. But with respect to your suggestions:

        *The graph you linked to really takes off at around 1980. This is more or less my start year, and it is also the majority of the period IPCC calls attention to w/r/t attribution. It also happens to be the time when the satellite data starts. For all these reasons I think it is a good cherry-pick for a start year. Why bog down with the years when data is less good, and attribution is lacking?

        *As far as a 132-month (11-year) running average, sure, you can do that but as you point out it’s less fun. If your prediction comes true and we see a record high year in 2014 due to el nino, well, in my analysis then we will have to say the trend is say, 0.2C per decade instead of 0.125C per decade. I think there is something to be said for this approach, as it sort of accidentally accounts for uncertainty.

        I think I see your points, but I still prefer my approach, at least for blog discussions. Perhaps I should repeat it ad nauseam, girma-style.

      • JCH, RealClimate did an update on this last year and even they say that the actual temperature is BELOW scenario C. Then there is some muttering about how the actual forcings are below scenario B. I wonder if this is due to the aerosols which have an error bar of 100%. However, in 2006, they were still insisting that scenario B agreed with the temperature data. You tell me who is telling the truth! Not both can be right. I would note however that their 2010 update is surely biased if at all in favor of Hansen. So this closes the case for me. Where did Mann get his data? Could it be that he deliberately used old and wrong plots to make a point? Anything is possible in the land of Da Mann.

      • BELOW? You have to be kidding. Of course they said it was below Scenario C. That said that because it was below Scenario C. Surely your paranoia is not that bad.

        Why do you think he formulated Scenario A the way he did? What purpose do you think the scenarios serve?


        Hansen wrote about GHG emissions, not just CO2 emissions. Do you wonder why some people want to talk solely about CO2 emissions with respect to this subject?

      • Go to real climate and search for Hansen 1988 and read it for yourself. I was pleased and gratified. Maybe its not totally hopeless after all.

      • JCH, I have the link. Look at the final graph.
        you can find a similar graph at Skeptical Science. Like I said QED. If you don’t believe these two references, you are kind of “outside the mainstream.” Also note that they then argue that sensitivity must be 3K even though the latest GISS model has 2.6K. So which is it? What I see here is finally some pulling back from the brink of catastrophic predictions. Good!!

      • JCH, So then why did Mann say it was the same as scenario B?

      • Something else needs to be explained here. The graph you reference shows tremendous year to year variations in the greenhouse gas forcings including the CO2 forcing. Yet emissions continue to grow. Given the Mona Loa CO2 measurements, this can’t be right. Looks like something else must be involved here.

      • If you mean JCH’s graph, it is of annual changes. The annual increase of CO2 does vary from year to year, but as with the forcings shown, it’s always positive.

      • DY – I do not know what data Mann used in the video. Perhaps it was the Met station series Nick Stokes mentioned.

        Look at the red parts of the bar graph. Does that spark a question in your case-closed mind?

      • Yea, I see the decrease in CFC’s. I guess we now have a reliable method to measure CH4 emissions from cattle on an annual basis. In any case CH4 is a short lived gas so the past contributions need to be discounted.

        In any case, its irrelevant to the main point which is that Mann in 2011 shows something that is outdated and clearly misleading. I think he actually truncated his temperature series in 2005 or some such thing.

      • ["Continuing our behavior as we are doing, for GMT to track Scenario C into the future would mean AGW is a hoax. By 2015 the graph should show GMT well above Scenario C, but below Scenario B."]

        Well above Scenario C? Hats off to you, JCH, that is a bold and interesting statement/prediction!

        Especially as, if you plot the latest data for HadCRUt and GISS onto the ‘Hansen prediction’ graph linked below, both show that currently the ‘global temperature’ is below Scenario C.

        I would suggest the ‘Team’ might need to start feeling at least mildly concerned…

      • Well Arfur, they have no reason to be mildly nervous because GMT is below Scenario C. It’s been below Scenario C in the past. It’s been above Scenario A in the past. Those scenarios were devised to be lees and less plausible as time goes by, so the source of your excitement is not likely to be in the cards of the future.

        Scenario A will veer off far to the left. Scenario C will veer off far to the right. Scenario B will go right down the middle. Go ahead and place you bold bet south of C. I’ll stick with between C and B.

      • Hmmm. A few points, JCH:

        1. There was no ‘excitement’ in my post. You were the one making a bold statement/prediction about GMT ‘tracking’ (not below) Scenario C in the future ‘meaning’ AGW is a hoax. 2015? Not long to wait.

        2. Above Scenario A in the past? Well, the only point since 1984 (when the projections began) that GMT has been above Scenario A was 1984 itself. Or is that 1983? Difficult to see. Which begs the question: why would someone make a projection starting out with the GMT already above the Scenario A?

        3. I have no intention of making bold bets. I was merely pointing out that the current GMT is below Scenario C. Knock yourself out on the whole ‘betting’ thing.

        4. You will stick with ‘between C and B’? Maybe I’m being picky but you actually stated ‘well above Scenario C’. You may be right, or your words may come back to haunt you…

        We’ll see, eh?

      • You seem to think being below Scenario C should be a cause of concern. I call that excitement about being below Scenario C. I do not think my prediction is bold. Scenario C is implausible and unlikely to constitute one of Girma’s magic graph barrier lines.

      • Aah, that’s at least two strawman attempts in one small paragraph!

        Back to the subject… JCH: ["Continuing our behavior as we are doing, for GMT to track Scenario C into the future would mean AGW is a hoax. By 2015 the graph should show GMT well above Scenario C, but below Scenario B."]

        Tell you what, JCH, you have a really good holiday season and maybe we can re-visit things in three years time. Ok?

    • David Young and JCH

      The truth of the matter is that the rate of CO2 emissions were, in fact, slightly higher than assumed by Hansen in 1988 for his “worst” case scenario A.

      Despite this fact, the observed warming was essentially on the curve for scenario C, which was based on the assumption of no further CO2 emissions and showed half the projected warming as scenario A.

      Hansen’s 1988 study stipulated:

      Scenario A assumes that growth rates of trace gas emissions typical of the 1970s and 1980s will continue indefinitely; the assumed annual growth rate averages about 1.5% of current emissions, so that the net greenhouse forcing increases exponentially.

      Scenario B has decreasing trace gas growth rates, such that the annual increase of the greenhouse climate forcing remains approximately constant at the present level.

      Scenario C drastically reduces trace gas growth between 1990 and 2000 such that the greenhouse climate forcing ceases to increase after 2000.

      The actual emission growth rate increased from 1.5% in the 1970s and 1980s to 1.7% from 1988 to today, so the actual rate of increase was actually greater than that assumed by Hansen for Scenario A.

      Obviously, the CO2 projections for Scenarios B and C are way off the mark.

      No matter how one tries to wiggle out of this or rationalize it by changing the bases, Hansen’ forecast was exaggerated by a factor of 2+.

      And there is a very simple explanation for this: the climate sensitivity assumed by Hansen’s models was too high by a factor of 2+.

      Just that simple.

      We’ll see if it continues along these lines but, for now, it looks like Hansen needs to do some serious rework on his model assumptions.


      • Max,

        The farce of temperature data is that they cannot predict advancement of mans abilities, changes of our planet, nor any science not included.

      • “The truth of the matter is that the rate of CO2 emissions were, in fact, slightly higher than assumed by Hansen in 1988 for his “worst” case scenario A.”

        Hansen’s scenarios didn’t solely consist of CO2.

        Actual emissions have been slightly below scenario B.

      • lolwot, “Actual emissions have been slightly below scenario B.”

        So something we are not emitting as much of has a greater than anticipated impact? What is the world doing right?

      • Max,
        You have shown in your plot a comparison of Hansen’s predictions with land/ocean indices. However, Hansen (Fig 3, 1988) explicitly used for his comparison the Hansen/Lebedeff 1987 index, which was met stations only. You are not comparing like with like.

      • Temperature change from climate models, including that reported in 1988 (12), usually refers to temperature of surface air over both land and ocean. Surface air temperature change in a warming climate is slightly larger than the SST change (4), especially in regions of sea ice. Therefore, the best temperature observation for comparison with climate models probably falls between the meteorological station surface air analysis and the land–ocean temperature index.

        Hansen et al.,PNAS 2006


        Not looking too good lately, as I pointed out with this figure already on the thread.


    • David

      I think Mann is up to his usual tricks, namely, starting the comparison at a different point. If he does this, why should we trust anything he does?

      Fool me once, shame on you.

      Fool me twice, shame on me.

      Whether Mann is “hiding the decline” or defending his buddy, Hansen, it’s clear that we should not “trust anything he does”.


    • David,
      As I said to Max below, Hansen used for his 1988 predictions the Hansen/Lebedeff index, which was met stations (land) only. People do compare them with land/ocean indices, but that is not what Hansen was predicting. The GISS met stations only index, still maintained, is closer to Scenario B.

  46. Sorry, I should have left an example of the fallacy of appealing to authority. I’ll leave 2.

    1) Flat Earthers
    2) Co2 Warmists

  47. Judith,

    The problem being to far advanced is that all the little insignificant steps start to be lost. These small steps create the path of how to advance.

    The aging process certainly starts to play it’s role in slowing the minds energy paths.

    • “CAGW can not be inferred or deduced from the temperature record of the past 67 years.”

      Then I guess it’s a good thing “CAGW” isn’t a real scientific theory, but rather a straw man invented by climate deniers.

      “CAGW” was invented by deniers when all of their lies, fake experts, threats, and whining failed to change the indisputable reality of “AGW.”

      Those who were wrong about “AGW” invented “CAGW” so they could have something to denounce.

      • So when the British Journal of Medicine states in their editorial that climate change represents a threat more grave to mankind than all of the comunicable and non-comunicable diseases currently afflicting the world that must be either a) a group of deniers or b) not catastrophic

        When the UN states that there will be 50 mllion climate refugees by the year 2010 that means they are either a) a group of deniers or b) it isn’t catastrophic.

        When David Archer (and others) state that sea levels will rise by 10 meters and rises on the order of tens of meters are within the realm of possibility it means either that a) he is a denier or b) such a rise is not catastrophic.

        How many more of these would you like to see? Malaria, floods, droughts, pestulance? (At least we shouldn’t have to worry so much about plagues of frogs, as global warming is making them smaller.) Whether or not it was skeptics who first placed the C in front of CAGW is irrelevant to the debate, since they were not the ones making catastrophic claims.

      • timg56 -
        it’s worse than you thought….. On the self-tracker blog, the idiot reports that scientists ‘tell us that 2 degrees will lead to disaster‘. Robert is the most extreme of the CAGWists – so maybe he himself is a denier?

        Maybe he is a genuine sceptic-in-disguise and is simply repeating denier strawman arguments?

        Maybe a disaster isn’t the same thing as a catastrophe?

        Nope, I think we were right the first time – Robert is a moronic misanthropic fundamentalist, so logical incompatibilities are just his daily mental gruel.

      • Anteros,

        I don’t think Robert is a moron. Far from it. I just think that if he as at all like the personality he regularly displays here, then he’s one disagreeable piece of work. I also think he provides an excellent guide for the rest of us on how not to interact with folks you hold differing opinions with. Less name calling and more courtesy is not a bad thing.

        I also think the guy is entertaining, in a perverse sort of way. I loved how he related the concepts of traceability, transparency and chain of possession as causes of Challenger, Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Taurus (though I’m not quite sure how the Taurus gets ranked as a disaster). And I wonder if he’ll even top his line about how command economies like that of China are superior to a regulated market economy like that of the US.

        I might even feel sorry for a guy who seems to think mankind is making the world such a terrible and threatening place to live. I know that the number of days I stop and thank God for such a wonderful world I live in far outnumber those where I forget to.

  48. Bob says, “It means there has been a consistant warming trend since then with no let up. Meaning the so called current lack of warming is non existant, since 2011 will continue the trend.” Bob, you are dealing here with people who follow the science and know the empirical temperature record, not journalists. It makes no sense to pontificate about trends unless you give the dates. Yes, there has been a warming trend the entire 300 years of the instrumental temperature record. Yes, there was a warming trend from about 1912 until 1942. Yes, there was a cooling trend from about 1942 until 1977. Yes, there was a warming trend from about 1978 until 1998. Yes, there has been no discernable warming or cooling trend the past 14 years from 1998 until 2011. We have had 20 years of significant warming, 1978-1998, in the last 67 years- the very years that the IPCC claims CO2 emissions have become the principal forcing agent. What does one infer from that? It’s a little like a rorschach test, I suppose, but here’s what I infer. AGW is real (and I happen to think carbon black particulate fallout on the Arctic ice is the most important contributer). CAGW can not be inferred or deduced from the temperature record of the past 67 years. Like everything in science (unlike religion), this is a tentative conclusion open to new evidence. That evidence will be the future empirical (temperature) record.

  49. bob droege

    Question – Why are the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomalies” of the 2000s a few hundredths of a degree warmer than those of the 1990s, despite the fact that we have seen a slight cooling trend since January 2001?

    Answer – Because the rate of warming (HadCRUT3) over the 1990s (+0.19C/decade) was greater than the rate of cooling over the 2000s (-0.04C per decade).

    Very simple, actually.

    But since trends are what we are interested in, we have seen that the sharp warming trend of the 1990s has reversed itself to a slight cooling trend over the 2000s.

    Hope this clears up any confusion on this.


    • Max,

      I dispute your fact of a slight cooling trend since 2001.


      But it is really not long enough to determine a statistically significant trend.

      That’s the rub, any trend up to the current date that is long enough to be statistically significant, shows warming.

      • There is no length requirement for statistical significance in a trend. The math just depends on the variance versus the slope. Giss is an outlier this regard.

        For a real thrill try UAH. No warming from 78-97, nor from 01-11. Just a step warming during the 98-01 ENSO.

      • bob droege

        I have used IPCC’s preferred HadCRUT3 record, rather than GIStemp.

        It shows a cooling trend:


        Whether it is “statistically significant” is another question. I was simply pointing out to you that having “record warm years” in the 2000s, with a higher average over the decade than in the 1990s does not demonstrate a trend. If the warming trend of the 1990s is greater than the cooling trend of the 2000s, the average over the 2000s will by definition be higher than the average of the 1990s, right? (Just plain arithmetic.)

        But it is the “trend” that counts

        Whether the 2001-2011 trend is one of “no statistically significant warming” or one of “statistically insignificant slight cooling” is a matter of semantics. Call it a “travesty” if you prefer that description.

        The fact is that the rapid warming of the 1990s (and 1980s) has stopped for a decade, despite CO2 levels reaching record heights and IPCC warnings of 0.2C per decade warming..

        Get used to it (it might well continue).


      • If you were to calculate the error bars for your trend, you would find that they do not exclude a positive trend for the period you have chosen.

        Just wait til the next El Nino, you might not like it!

      • Bob, I think you have the point of the error bars wrong. If the linear mean trend line does not go outside the 95% confidence envelope then there is no statistically significant warming trend. This is the definition of significance. The fact that one can draw a visually upward trending line within that envelope does not mean it is possible that it is warming significantly. Nor is it cooling of course.

      • bob droege

        Just wait til the next El Nino, you might not like it!

        Actually, I won’t mind it at all, living in Switzerland.

        But if you guys need to count on El Nino to make your case for CAGW, you are on a pretty slippery slope.

        We’ve been told by IPCC that natural climate forcing factors are essentially negligible, now they are the prime drivers.



      • Max, I got to stop making more than one point per post, because you won’t respond to the important one.

        What are the error bounds for your selected trend for 2001-2011?
        Do they exclude a positive trend?

        And no, we don’t need to count on an El Nino to demonstrate evidence for CAGW, the trend of sucessive years being each one of the 10 warmest years in the historical record, is good and hasn’t been refuted in this thread, not by a long shot.

        And you better go back and read the IPCC reports as they are not saying the natural forcings are neglible, are you denying that there is a correlation between global temperature and ENSO? The next El Nino will put paid to the cooling since 2001 meme, if logic, statistics and critical thinking can’t put the vampire to rest.

        And David, the linear trend never goes outside the 95% confidence levels, the 95% confidence levels are determined by the linear trend. (if using a linear model)

        Significanced is defined by the % chance that observed trend could happen by chance if the actual trend were zero.

        This is not kindergarten, you don’t draw trends, they are calculated, perhaps by the least squares method.

      • “We’ve been told by IPCC that natural climate forcing factors are essentially negligible, now they are the prime drivers.”

        No they are not drivers. ENSO and the solar cycle are prime parts of the noise.

        It’s folly to take a trend line since 2001 disregarding the strong cooling noise from ENSO and the falling solar cycle over this period.

      • Bob, the 95% envelope is around the null hypothesis, which is no change over the period, not the mean trend line.

      • David,
        Wikepedia says you are wrong, that the confidence interval is around the models predicted value.


    • Max, if you use UAH there is no rapid warming in the 1980s & 90s.

      • David Wojick

        Yeah. I know, but these guys like bob (and IPCC, of course) prefer to cite the surface record (which guys like James E. Hansen or Phil Jones control) and then make the claim:

        New analyses of balloon-borne and satellite measurements of lower- and mid-tropospheric temperature show warming rates that are similar to those of the surface temperature record and are consistent within their respective uncertainties, largely reconciling a discrepancy noted in the TAR.

        Will they correct this claim in AR5?

        Don’t bet on it.


      • Indeed Max, I am not correcting you; I just work to keep the point in play. But of course we have to play the game their way as well, in order to make arguments within the AGW context.

        The argument that all the temp estimates are so uncertain that they do not disagree is hilarious. It would mean we have no idea what is going on. UAH shows no warming 1978-97. The surface stat models show a lot of warming, which AGW depends on. If we don’t know which is correct we don’t know if it warmed or not. In that case there is nothing for science to explain. Fine by me.

      • Don’t bet on it because AR4 was correct. The warming trend in satellite records does match that in the surface records

      • lolwot

        No. IPCC was not “correct”. (Your “WoodForTrees” chart simply shows the rather obvious observation that both the surface and satellite records have shown a linear warming rate since 1979.)

        As can be seen, the satellite record has shown a SLOWER rate of warming in the troposphere than the surface record, even though IPCC claims just the opposite (AR4, Ch.3) and GH theory tells us it should warm more rapidly in the troposphere than at the surface.

        David has pointed out that using an average linear rate misses the fact that there was essentially a one-jump increase and a super El Nino year but no warming trend otherwise in the satellite record.

        If one also considers the multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles of around 30 years each in the longer-term surface record, the CO2/temperature correlation becomes even shakier and less robust, making the case for causation very weak, if not non-existent.

        In other words, IPCC’s postulation of CAGW rests on model simulations, which are based on theoretical deliberations instead of on empirical data derived from physical observations or reproducible experimentation.


  50. Can I say? I find the many many interjections by Robert and Joshua undermining the interest of this site. So many valuable discussions get sidetracked when denizens engage with those two characters. Perhaps it might be wise to institute a moderation rule that permits only two postings per day for anybody other than approved denizens who can post as many as they want.

    • Mondo. The way to deal with the likes of Joshua and Robert is to ignore them. It is that simple.

      • Yes. The devil makes me take a swipe every once in a while, but I try to resist, and am successful most of the time.

      • It is an interesting point. I’ve made an early NY resolution to simply ignore all the obnoxious puerile fundamentalist bile from Robert – for at least a year. Life is greatly improved as a result. I do wonder what would happen if everybody ignored the troll.
        With Joshua I find that if I’m looking for a civil discussion, it is eminently possible. Perhaps because I’m not a republican, a conservative or even what Joshua likes to call a [fake] “skeptic” most of his snarky remarks are not directly aimed at me personally. I could do without the generalisations but to a certain extent I receive what I am prepared to give..

        I’m not a big fan of banning and censoring, but moderating for O/T trolling and offensiveness might be called for in Robert’s case.

      • Anteros

        I’m not a fan of banning or censoring either (glad our host leaves this practice to other sites like RC).

        But in actual fact, guys like Joshua and Robert are the best salesmen for CAGW skepticism IMO.


      • “I’m not a big fan of banning and censoring, but moderating for O/T trolling and offensiveness might be called for in Robert’s case.”

        That’s delightfully ironic, given the obnoxious drivel that is your standard key.

        I guess you’re just one of those deniers that have come to realize you’re never going to win an argument with me, so your only option to plead with someone, anyone, to intervene.

        Of course, since you rarely make any substantive points, I rarely engage with you. Typically you seek me out . . . true for most of the denier trolls who lurk here.

      • Getting the last word in seems to be another obsession…

      • good work on ignoring them guys

      • manacker -

        But in actual fact, guys like Joshua and Robert are the best salesmen for CAGW skepticism IMO.


        First, why does anyone who comes to this site need a “salesman?” What are you trying to sell, and why do you think it needs to be sold?

        Second, when you throw out unsupported comments about the crisis in public confidence caused by climategate (paraphrasing), and cite a poll as evidence, do you think it “sells” skepticism when I post analysis of the poll results and you run away from the discussion? What would you think about people who were “sold” by such some something like that?

      • If Robert didnt exist skeptics would have to invent him. he makes convincing people that action is required more difficult.

        Joshua is another matter. he actually never talks about the science. He plays one or two notes. Mostly tangential to the discussion. They tend to be counting “coup” types of attacks. That didnt work so well for indians

      • Anteros -

        With Joshua I find that if I’m looking for a civil discussion, it is eminently possible. Perhaps because I’m not a republican, a conservative or even what Joshua likes to call a [fake] “skeptic” most of his snarky remarks are not directly aimed at me personally.

        It’s interesting that you note some correlation between my snark and Republicans or “conservatives.” In actuality, the reason why I engage in civil discussions with you is that you engage in civil discussions with me. I also have civil discussions on this board with a number of Republicans and/or “conservatives,” who are willing to engage in civil discussions. But it is definitely true that oft’ times my snarky comments are directed at Republicans and/or :”conservatives.”

        Get my drift?

      • Joshua –
        Perhaps I am making an observation that you are not perfect. One aspect of that is that because you see – and talk about – the high correlation between right wing political ideology and ‘skepticism’ I think sometimes you merge the two. If your sarcasm is almost exclusively reserved for ‘skeptics’, I sense that this is triggered as much by anti-state, anti-enviro, anti-liberal remarks as by something to do with the climate, and you’ll attack people you then call your “beloved “skeptics”‘.

        I get your drift. I also sometimes get the real Joshua.

      • Anteros -

        One aspect of that is that because you see – and talk about – the high correlation between right wing political ideology and ‘skepticism’ I think sometimes you merge the two.

        That is definitely a danger, and I look forward to comments from others, including you, when they see that I’m conflating the two.

        If your sarcasm is almost exclusively reserved for ‘skeptics’, I sense that this is triggered as much by anti-state, anti-enviro, anti-liberal remarks as by something to do with the climate, and you’ll attack people you then call your “beloved “skeptics”‘.

        But surely you are aware of the possibility of a reverse phenomenon: You assume a particular trigger when, actually, another trigger is in play.

        My disagreement with much beloved “skeptics” is often rooted in opposing political orientation – but I would suggest that my use of snark is usually (certainly not always) rooted in an independent cause: personal vitriol directed towards me. That cause is almost 100% correlated with posts written by “conservatives,” Republicans and/or Tea Party types. That orientation isn’t causal, as there are folks of those types who don’t send vitriol my way, but there is certainly a correlation.

        I have a specific intent to approach everyone in these debates in good faith and let them throw down the first snark. Sometimes I don’t pull that off, particularly when I read comments that are so over-the-top in their political or partisan-in-other-ways bias such as those we might read from cwon. I feel reasonably confident that I do a pretty good job of carrying out that intent – but I will redouble my efforts going forward. Thanks for the reminder.

        It is interesting that as I was writing all that, I noted to myself one interesting exception – our illustrious host. I have often sent snark her way without first having been the recipient of snark from her, (and although I’ve argued that it isn’t really a relevant factor, she doesn’t seem to be a “conservative,” Republican, or Tea Party type – even if she does seem to have strong libertarian leanings if not of the extremist type we often see on these webpages).

        I’ll have to think some more about that.

      • Joshua,

        I read your second to last paragraph and was going to point out to you what you subsequently said in your last (full) paragraph

      • BillC -

        I read your second to last paragraph and was going to point out to you what you subsequently said in your last (full) paragraph

        Yeah – the credibility of arguments, IMO, is largely based on whether they anticipate and account for what a naysayer might say before he/she says it. Now I have to figure out how to construct a plausible rationalization for my double-standard w/r/t Judith (insert smiley-face here).

      • Joshua,

        You hold her to a higher standard. Don’t. JC stands for Judith Curry, not – well, you know.

        If she didn’t have any opinions, she wouldn’t run a blog (unless it is some kind of secret experiment, which I have suspected all along). :) Then she would be like me.

      • I agree with manaker.

      • Joshua –
        You make some interesting (and thoughtful) points.

        Regarding our host. I’m probably going to be the last to observe or even sense political influences, but Dr Curry attracts a fair amount of vitriol from both sides as if there were some rabid ideological partisanship on show. There are many complaints that she has sold out to the IPPC ‘one-worlders’ as well as becoming a thoroughbred ‘denier’. I guess that’s a lot to do with being a public figure as well as this blogs host, but it does strike me as odd that it exists as strongly as it does without [to my mind] any noticeable political baggage.

        I still have this weird question about how you see Mosher as a ‘skeptic’. Not because he denies it (though he does) but because when he talks about giving his ‘own side a hard time’ he’s referring to believers not only in AGW, but those who believe that something should be done about it.

    • mondo,

      Why don’t you retaliate by going over to boobies blog and machinegun posting disruptive nonsense on his threads? Wait, that would make him happy. Better than no traffic at all. Maybe Mr. Cripwell has a better plan.

      • Robert is the entertaining alternative to Dr. Curry’s dry and repetitive topics.


      • Joshua is not even entertaining. Robert at least attempts to put on a show. Joshua is just annoying.


      • .. / – …. .. -. -.- / .-. — -… . .-. – / … …. — ..- .-.. -.. / …. .- …- . / …. .. … / .–. — … – … / – .-. .- -. … .-.. .- – . -.. / .. -. – — / — — .-. … . / -.-. — -.. .

      • steven mosher,

        .. – / .– — .-.. -.. / -.-. . .-. – .- .. -. .-.. -.– / … .-.. — .– / – …. .. -. –. … / ..- .–. / ..–.


      • Steven Mosher,

        Dash, Slash and Dot all you like. Climate Science is still a pile of dung.


      • Oh, dear, Miss Morse. Dit dit dah fit. dit dit ugh. dah dit dah see? dah dit ‘kay?

    • Hear, here!

    • Mondo

      I’m not going to point the finger at Robert or Joshua in particular, but you are right about there being a lot of diversions from the main topic.I’m not sure of the answer though

    • Diversions from the main topic are part of the discussion. If someone asserts ten sentences in a comment on the main topic there are at least ten different points, any one of which can become the topic of discussion. This is true for every comment made. It is a tree structure, specifically an issue tree (as I named it in 1973). This is why the discussion often diverges into numerous distinct discussions.

      • David Wojick

        Interesting observation.

        Even leaving aside O/T trolling, etc. the human brain works on “triggers”, which shift the conversation to a vaguely related point where the poster desires to start a discussion or something deemed (by self) to be interesting to express comes to mind.

        There are many jokes about how this can work out, but we see it in practice here, as you say.

        But I think it makes a thread interesting, as long as there is not too much repetitiveness, don’t you?


      • Yes Max, it makes things interesting and sometimes the sub issues that arise are quite surprising.

    • Robert is defending an unpopular position, namely CAGW, so he gets swarmed. This is not his fault; it is actually pretty impressive. Joshua is arguing psychology, which is always off topic, and very unpopular, but he does it well. Together they are a huge distraction, if one’s focus lies elsewhere. But there are a number of skeptics who are just as far off of the technical topics, they just don’t get mobbed.

      • Both bobbie and josh want to be mobbed. It’s their MO. They are not here to be popular. They are here to punish Judith for straying from the reservation. They can’t allow a real climate scientist to have an open, unfettered discussion with deniers. The two punching bag clowns are little disingenuous fetterers. The worst part of it is that they are absolutely humorless.

      • yeah because you are a barrel of laughs

      • Don, everyone is entitled to present and defend their position, which Robert, not bobbie, and Joshua, not josh, both do. You on the other hand are primarily a vulgar name caller, probably the worst we have.

      • You need to rethink your understanding of psychology, davie. Can you remind us again what year it was that you invented that ‘issue tree’ thing? Anything as revolutionary as that since? Don’t take yourself too seriously, davie.

      • Yeah, it’s kind of odd that David W. takes those two seriously.


      • Don, I discovered the issue tree on October 14, 1973. I applied it mostly to regulatory issues, leaving CMU to run my own company. Here is an article about that early work: http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html
        Here is my little textbook:
        Last big issue tree I did was for a strategic plan for the Naval Research Laboratory.

        But I moved on to the chaotic dynamics of information flows in complex issues, or what I call issue storms. The climate debate is a beautiful issue storm. Lately I have been looking at the dynamics of ideas in science. Here is my latest:
        “Population Modeling of the Emergence and Development of Scientific Fields ”

      • Andrew, I do not usually take them seriously as far a debating them goes. But I also study the logic of the debate and they both play legitimate roles. In fact Joshua is probably right much of the time. His basic point is that most folks here, including me, are taking strong positions and that looks like what is called “motivated reasoning” in psychology. I think this point, while correct, is irrelevant. He also points out that there is a certain logical symmetry between the arguments of the skeptics and of the warmers, which is also true but irrelevant.

        Joshua’s points are not made in the debate, they are about the debate. They are in what is called the meta-level in logic (as is this comment). He is not talking about climate he is talking about us. This creates a great deal of confusion, which I enjoy studying, since confusion is my field.

      • The irony is that with so much insight into ‘motivated reasoning’ he has so little insight into the errors his own ‘motivations’ introduce into his rhetoric.

        Me, oh, I understand all that. What I don’t understand is climate.

      • I doubt there is much true motivated reasoning here. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_reasoning we find this essential definition: “When people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence, the phenomenon is labeled “motivated reasoning”.”

        The whole point of the climate debate is that there is no overwhelming evidence one way or the other. If so then neither side is suffering from motivated reasoning.

      • Kim,

        ["What I don’t understand is climate."]

        Oh, that’s easy. Climate is as climate does!


      • Yes David, that tree thing has been a boon. A lot less regulatory confusion since your discovery.

        You make joshy sound like he is neutral, and reasonable, with some academic point to make about the debate. Bullcrappy. You are very naive. They don’t want a debate. They are here to obstruct, and to ridicule deniers, like you. Yes David, you are just another denier to them.

      • randomengineer

        D Wojick — The whole point of the climate debate is that there is no overwhelming evidence one way or the other.

        You don’t get it. In evolution there is no debate because the evidence is overwhelming to the point that there is no serious dispute. There are just pinheads yapping at the heels of scientists demanding “debate” and the truth is that there’s no debate to be had. Most (perhaps all?) of these pinheads are also extreme right wing bible thumpers. Do note that the common assumption of all of the true believer alarmist crowd is that anyone demanding debate or daring to question the science is probably a tea party nut at the very least.

        To the true alarmist believer climate is in EXACTLY the same boat as evolution. The only possible “debate” is from motivated reasoners. You are saying the science isn’t settled and there’s a debate. Not to them there’s not, no more than there is re evolution. The true believers are amusing themselves and shooting fish in a barrel for practice. You’re one of the fish demanding and claiming debate when there’s no debate to be had — a motivated reasoner in the classical definition.

      • Don, this is off topic but I did make some headway in stemming over regulation. I helped create the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB, which clears all proposed regulations using a burden budget process which I designed. I also helped write the rules for Regulatory Impact Analyses. Unfortunately we could not get judicial review for RIA’s, so they are not all that strong. But things are not nearly as bad as they were in the 1970′s when the regulators were out of control.

        Then in the 1980′s I moved into defense, fighting confusion in what I call “the wacky world of weapons.” That was a lot of fun, but most of it is classified. I took on climate change in 1992, one of history’s greatest confusions. But in 2004 I jumped again, into the structure and dynamics of science per se. The wonderful thing about the logic of complex issues is that it is subject matter independent. Issue trees are the hidden structure of expressed thought (speaking and writing). I live in a world that no one else sees, where sentences come in beautiful systems.

        I never said Joshua was neutral. Nobody here is neutral. But his arguments are sometimes quite sharp and I admire a good argument, on either side. He has logical talent.

      • Interesting the work on OIRA and RIAs David. Underappreciated, and a great tool. Those particulates will still kill you, though….

      • A good book is “Reforming RIA” put out by Resources for the Future. Though you may not agree with their mission, the book is nicely divided into some pro and con papers (9 all told) including different perspectives (env. scientists, lawyers, economists) including folks who are against RIAs in general but for the purpose of the book were told to stipulate that they are here to stay.

      • OK David, I applaud your well-meaning efforts at regulatory reform/control and congratulate you on getting some of your ideas implemented. Your efforts may have even slowed down the inexorable march of the statists. However, I don’t believe that government regulation is less onerous, less irrational, or less costly, than it was in the 1970s.

        I never said that you said josh is neutral. But a reasonable person reading your description of josh, who had not read the little snake’s attempts to portray skeptics as knuckle dragging right-wing bible thumpers (see randomeng’s cogent comment), would get the impression that josh had no axe to grind. Josh is very sneaky and a lot more intelligent than bobbie and the other warmista attack clowns, but he is on the same mission that the rest are. That is to dog Judith and hijack her board. And just about everybody here knows it.

    • These kinds of posts crack me up. What kind of logic drives someone to make off-topic comments about not liking off-topic comments?

      Anyway, thanks for reading mondo. It’s nice to know that you care, especially in the holiday season.

  51. HAD/CRU data is in for Nov 2011; 0.263 C. This means the 2011 average has fallen below 1997, and 2011 is, so far, the 12th warmest year on record. Not the 11th as was claimed in time for Durban.


    This brings up, once again, the old perrenial question. For how long do global temperatures not have to rise, before CAGW is declared to be wrong?

    • Another 7-8 years? Need to get the next ENSO oscillation out of the way first!

    • Jim, yes, it was the coldest Nov since 2000.

      But since they know it must be warming, they will conclude that the data must be wrong, and they will adjust the data.
      In fact they are already doing this for HADCRUT4, see


      “The update to the data set has adjusted the annual temperature anomalies in comparison to the previous version of the dataset. Most notably, the inclusion of new bias adjustments for marine data has resulted in a warming in the mid 20th century, relative to HadCRUT3. The inclusion of new land station data at high latitudes and in Russia has resulted in a warming of years in the late 20th century/early 21st century.”

      (Recall that in email 2640 Wigley and Jones discussed how “It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip”)

    • 17 years. That’s official – Santer Claws.

    • By 2015 if JCH is right…


      If the global temperatures do not rise above the Scenario C line by 2015, AGW is a hoax. That would be roughly the same temp as 1998.


      • Since I am the one who clued DY into the fact that RC updates this subject annually, I want to thank DY for suggesting I read the updates, and to Arfur for linking to it yet again.

        Since realizing the devastating possibility last January, I’ve had like ~10 months to get over the likelihood 2011 will drop farther below Scenario C. It took some therapy, but I’m good now.

      • I always had faith you’d pull through! :)

      • Arfur Bryant said on December 20, 2011 at 10:50 am

        “If the global temperatures do not rise above the Scenario C line by 2015, AGW is a hoax. That would be roughly the same temp as 1998.”

        Another temp rise like in 1997-98 and temp in Scenario B looks good.

    • Before AGW is declared dead, 30-40 years. This is the back side of the uncertainty monster.

  52. Anyone interested in an excellent article on Dr Jones’ emails.
    It really requires more widespread dissemination, maybe to the UK parlamentary commisssion.

    • I saw that last week. The lawyer is doing just what a lawyer does, get the maximum for his client. Most lawyers though are bright enough not to make documentaries when they push the legal limits. The poor scientist just gets sucked in by the slick talking lawyer. Stuff like that never happens in real life :)

      • Think of all the money that could have been saved if they’d just gotten a room.

      • It seems to me that you’ve changed in your orientation as to the meaningfulness of that clip. What you now seem to characterize as a lawyer being a lawyer, you seemed to previously identify as evidence of the vast and nefarious AGW cabal.

        Am I right? If so, what caused the change?

      • Joshua, I haven’t changed anything. I just posted the link from the source you complained about. My whole point was that the scientist screwed up. Lawyers are lawyers, nothings new there. Corruption is a fact of life, people just rationalized that their corrupt heroes are justified in their corruption.

      • Kinda like this Joshua,


        Not as exciting as the documentary out takes, but it is a splitting hairs things. Copying information that may be subject to an FOIA request isn’t deleting the information if it is stored some place safe from FOIA requests, even though it is deleted from the place it it supposed to be stored.

  53. Joshua’s comment is featured in a post a collide-a-scape

    “That is a good and important question, and it is one that I have given quite a bit of thought to.

    In all honesty, I can’t deny that at some partisan level, I will feel vindicated if AGW is definitively proven (I don’t feel it has been just yet).

    When my better self thinks about the implications of that, I realize just how easy it is to let partisan interest, motivated reasoning, socio-centric bias, etc., distort my more rational thinking processes.

    And not viewing myself as particularly better or worse then your average Joe or Jane climate combatant, that is why I am astounded that so many combatants, on both sides of the debate, seem so oblivious to influences that bias their thinking as well.”

    • That quite an admission considering that it’s asymmetrical; that is to say that any reasonable person would want it to work out the other way; low climate sensitivity is better for us all. There’s no moral dilemma for a skeptic; only moral risk.

      Then we have the larger group who are more interested in simply getting it right, wherever the cards may fall. And then to make it even more complicated, the real debate behind the debate is over policy; even though we all pretend that science wags the policy tail, it’s always been the other way around. From the beginning.

    • Peace on Earth?:o)

    • Leaving aside the particular issue of climate change, a dilemma will always confront someone who predicts, based on genuine conviction, that bad things will happen if we don’t change course. “What if I’m wrong? Should I be happy or upset?”

      In truth, though, I don’t see the dilemma as a serious problem. Human nature is what it is. I don’t want to see disasters happen, and I will be greatly pleased and relieved if they don’t. I don’t like to be proved wrong, and I will be upset and embarrassed if that happens. This ambivalence, I suggest, is both inevitable and acceptable.

      A more reasonable test of acceptability would be to consider an imaginary scenario in which I was granted the mysterious power to make reality come out one way or another. If I had to choose between avoiding disaster and avoiding the embarrassment of being wrong, which choice would I make?

      Well, I certainly don’t think I would have a problem choosing the embarrassment, and I doubt that many others would be seriously conflicted either. I suppose the only real conflict would arise when what I predict is not a disaster but some minor piece of adversity. If the outcome were minor enough, I suppose I might prefer to see it happen rather than be shown up as mistaken. I could even rationalize that choice by believing that the world would be better off if my credibility is preserved than if it dodges some very inconsequential mishap.

      To return to climate change, a variation on this theme involves predictions for the short term future. If one claims that the next two decades, for example, will show a net warming (with a rising sea level and an increase in heat waves), would it be better for humanity for that claim to be proven right or wrong? I won’t try to answer that, except to say that a case can be made that because unabated CO2 emissions might eventually prove more hazardous than a curtailed level, a hope to see the prediction fulfilled can be defended as a hope for an early warning signal that would ultimately motivate prompt actions that avert greater harm over the long haul.

      • I’m glad to see you contemplate such things Fred. They torment me.

        We cannot know what to do about AnthroCO2 until we know what the future course of natural climate variability would be and what the climate sensitivity to CO2 is.

        I suspect climate sensitivity to CO2 is low, I suspect that natural variability will cool us for at least a couple of decades. Consequently, I predict near term future cooling, about which I despair, because adapting to warmer is a lot easier than adapting to cooling.

        If climate sensitivity to CO2 is high, then we’ll ultimately have to deal with anthropogenic warming. If it’s low, it’s not going to be the agent of salvation from the next ice age. So I’m conflicted. I hope sensitivity is high enough to geoengineer ourselves around the next ice age, and I hope it is high because adaptation to warmer is so much easier than adaptation to cold. I fear, rather than hope, that climate sensitivity to CO2 is low, and that we have cold times ahead. A hard rain’s gonna fall.

      • Kim – what natural process will cause the cooling that you predict?

      • Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

      • Please Kim, I’m really curious, you could have a convert here. What natural process could cause us to enter a new ice age? Surely you must have some idea if you are so certain that it is happening?

      • Same as it ever was for the next two decades, the oceanic oscillations.

        Same as it ever was for the next century or so, just as it’s varied through the Holocene, probably from the sun.

        Same as it ever was for the descent from the Holocene into the next (not little) Ice Age, Milankovitch.

      • And I’m not certain. This is temperospatial chaos we are talking about. I’m just playing the odds, but Koutsoyiannis is making book.

      • Kim temporalspacial chaos is so complicated sounding. nonergodic rolls more easily off the tongue.

        They have a link on tropical belt changes that appear to be natural variations. Which would tend to agree with Roy Spencer’s unknown cloud, whatever is proper today, forcing/feedback.

        Geomagnetic field fluctuations related to solar cycle changes appear to be partially to blame. Hard as heck to prove though. GCR appears to be a bit of a red herring, FWIW. Not what I ever expected, the magnetic field guys may not be crackpots after all.

      • Well someone’s interested in the contents of a magnetic field guy’s computer.

    • Skeptics don’t have this dilemma. As a skeptic, I would be greatly disappointed to find that my disbelief in CAGW is wrong, because that would mean there were catastrophic consequences, so at that point I couldn’t care less about the political aspects.

      But the troublesome thing about this comment is the continued conflation of AGW and CAGW, a central weapon in the CAGW debate.

      I don’t know one way or the other about AGW. And without the C, it is simply not that big an issue politically. Adaptation to climate is always necessary, regardless of whether it is caused in part or in whole by human activity. It is the C that is the focus of the real political debate.

      If AGW is a fact, then the Earth may warm, or it may cool depending on natural variation. If it warms and that warming is moderate, such warming may be beneficial to mankind but is certainly no existential threat. In either case, there is no reason we need to drastically change our economy.

      Only if the AGW has catastrophic consequences, does decarbonization (the holy grail of the CAGW movement) even become an issue. I, and I suspect most other skeptics, are aren’t terribly concerned whether Dr. Curry, Steve Mosher and other lukewarmers are correct that human activity is partially responsible for some warming. It is a bit irritating, their ready acceptance of the conflation of AGW and CAGW by CAGW proponents like Joshua. But other than that, the lukewarmer position is mostly irrelevant politically.

      If I am right on the science, I am right politically. Whether I am right or wrong on AGW is irrelevant to my politics. If I am wrong about CAGW, my being wrong politically is of no interest to me at all, the catastrophes to follow will be all I care about.

      So I guess there is some, shall we say, asymmetry on this angst about the supposed conflicts between one’s scientific position and one’s political position. I don’t have any at all.

    • Our individual biases indeed are present all the time, which is why this discussion space so often takes on the quality of a cathouse. Our biases are hard to let go of because we are convinced that they are a valid way of knowing. I am sure that many AGW believers feel, on an emotional level, a sense of attachment to a large community of people whose processes of thought and information processing place them far above the nihilism of society in general. They feel frustrated that their abilities are under-appraised in policy making that is far from Spock-like. This frustration leads to cynicism reflected in a belief that bread-and-circuses are needed to get any kind of movement in the right direction. And the rest of science is supposed to be forbearing as immature findings are elevated to the status of “settled science” and every heat wave and hurricane is pounced upon to spread the gospel to the masses.
      Many on the other side, including me, tend to have the little hairs on the backs of our necks immediately raised by inertial thinking and consensus statements in the sciences. Some of us are idealists about what science is supposed to be, while others (including me) have seen this kind of thing before at close range and have a high disregard for it. I think that what unites skeptics is a belief that this is not going to end well unless a correction is made, preferably from within the sciences themselves. Unlike some AGW proponents, many if not most skeptics are not seeking vindication in a binary outcome to the AGW debate. My own bias is that humans do affect global climate, but the magnitude of this effect remains far more uncertain that its proponents claim as does the cost-benefit tradeoff for actions proposed to change this effect.

      • Bob K, @ 1:54 PM ‘What unites skeptics is a belief that this is not going to end well unless a correction is made, preferably from within the sciences themselves.’

        Bingo, and why Judy is the heroine of the piece.

        Meanwhile, the costs mount, and we are already out of money.

      • Heh, this is an example of a ‘defining contrarian motivation’.

    • Joshua and Robert have been discussed at length in this and other threads. I am far more interested in viewpoints than in personalities and their possible motives, which are IMO an absolute waste of time.

      I personally have no problem with their viewpoints (although I sometimes disagree with them) and the general tone of their posts. Its only when they (and others) react to offensive remarks that I tend to skim over everything.

      My thoughts are that if any post is offensive in any way then it SHOULD be moderated. If any post is off topic it COULD be moderated. In either case we all can just ignore it and skip to the next comment.

      I have operated under a simple credo all my adult life: NEVER react. To do otherwise is to be childish.

    • I guess I hope for the best and think everyone should do the same. The problem that I see here is that human nature is always predicting disaster. This is amplified by modern “tragedy TV.” If you look at the weather channel, they are constantly exaggerating the next weather disaster. It’s fun to watch what happens when its not nearly as bad as they were saying. As Martin Luther observed, we know not the day nor the hour of the second coming. Perhaps the human desire to find the worst is as old as the Book of Revelation. Russell has some hilarious comments on the impending second coming and its advocates throughout history.

      This predeliction to believe that disaster is just around the corner is something that has a downside for its advocates: people do tend to tire of predictions of impending doom that don’t come true. Remember how AIDS was going to destroy civilization? Remember the Population Bomb? I could go on ad nausium, but you get the point.

  54. Joshua could really be something if he actually got curious about the science instead of just about the debate. Then he might understand why skeptics have ‘no defining contrarian ideology or motivation’. Then he might see that all his talk of tribal drumming is just a reflection of his bias, and his beat.

    • Kim,

      You are so correct. In fact, the skeptic position has been defined by Presented Warmer Science and how lousy it is. Skeptics are created purely by the behavior of Warmers.


      • Which is by design, of course.


      • Well, it was certainly intelligently designed. When you look at the errors the alarmists have made, shutting up their ears and eyes, shutting themselves into model chambers and refusing to look outside, it is inevitable that they end up wrong. And this is the intelligence at work; the lack of it among the alarmists is key to their hubris, intelligence is their nemesis, as willfully ignorant they trod on.

    • Agree very much.

    • Kim

      I like Joshua, but you are absolutely correct in your analysis-he seems much more interested in deconstructing the debate rather than the scientific reasoning behind the discussion in the first place.

      • Sadly, by not comprehending the science, he makes elementary errors in deconstructing the debate. It’s just a bad habit he’ll probably eventually grow out of, when he finally understands that you must be able to construct in order to sensibly deconstruct. That part isn’t taught very well, but comes slowly with being made foolish from ignorance too often.

      • Only if you understand when you look foolish. Some people never learn because they can’t. The disappointing thing is that it seem like they explicitly teach techniques of organized stupidity in college these days. There’s a method to much foolishness.

  55. Curious with so much going on in the news, a real smear campaign at RC of our host we get a second bite on Permafrost paranoia.


    What’s the best thread for this one?

    • Honestly, I tried to take RC seriously as a source of information from a point of view different from my own, but it’s too much like a dude ranch to me. With the word “troll” tossed around so often I can’t help but to think that the typical poster is more than a tad emo. Can anyone can point me to a blog that takes the pro-AGW side without sounding like something out of Pravda in the 1950s?

      • I suspect they dont exist. There is no proper science to support the hypothesis of CAGW, so it is very difficult to get any sort of blog that supports it, and also makes sense scientificly.

      • You might try http://www.skepticalscience.com/. It is one sided but that is what you are looking for right? They seem fairly calm.

      • SkS refers to those apocryphal beings known as “those in denial over climate change” which to me suggests a desire to set up strawmen to knock down rather than to have a serious discussion about anything.

      • Science of Doom is pretty good too http://scienceofdoom.com/

        Any skeptics care to demonstrate otherwise?

      • “What’s the blog about?

        Climate science.

        Who’s it for?

        People interested in the science behind the climate stories we read about every day. People who want to learn. People who want to contribute to other people learning about climate science.

        What does the author think about Science?

        Science is not a religion.

        It’s good to ask questions.

        Being skeptical is a positive thing.

        When people of an alternative viewpoint use catchy but insulting labels for you, keep asking questions and thinking for yourself. Science isn’t settled by being able to come up with the best insults, although it can be a lot of fun – even for grown ups.

        What does the author think about Climate Science?

        It’s a fascinating subject and something really worth trying to understand.

        A little more specific?

        Some aspects of current “Climate Science” have become more like a faith. The science has been pressed into a political agenda and consequently the spirit of free inquiry has been squashed.


        Opinions are often interesting and sometimes entertaining. But what do we learn from opinions? It’s more useful to understand the science behind the subject. What is this particular theory built on? How long has theory been “established”? What lines of evidence support this theory? What evidence would falsify this theory? What do opposing theories say?

        Anything else?

        This blog will try and stay away from guessing motives and insulting people because of how they vote or their religious beliefs. However, this doesn’t mean we won’t use satire now and again as it can make the day more interesting.

        Comments and Questions

        These are encouraged. But check out the etiquette. Otherwise the spam filter may eat your comments for breakfast. If not, the moderator will lunch on them.

        A Calmer World

        It’s easy to trade blows on blogs. It’s harder to understand a new point of view. Or to consider that a different point of view might be right. And yet, more constructive for everyone if we take a moment, a day even, and try and really understand that other point of view. Even if it’s still wrong, we are better off for making the effort.

        And sometimes others put forward points of view or “facts” that are obviously wrong and easily refuted. Pretend for a moment that they aren’t part of an evil empire of disinformation and think how best to explain the error in an inoffensive way.”

      • Louise -

        I completely agree. I guess I learned most of my climate science from SoD – primarily because of the attitude you refer to. A rare place of impartiality amidst the chaos.

      • I completely agree, too, and you’re gonna love this; I don’t even read there. Trustworthy people have told me it’s an honest blog.

  56. Check this out at dotearth: Ken Caldeira resigns as IPCC lead author

    He doesn’t resign in protest of anything, but thinks he can better use his time doing other things. If there is to be an AR6, i suspect that many potential lead authors will have this attitude and I also predict that the climate modelers will revolt (they spend far too much of their time and resources on IPCC production runs).

    • From Dr. Caldeira: “Clearly, at the outset, the early IPCC reports played an important role showing that there was a high degree of consensus around the reality and basic science of human-induced climate change. It was important to show that, despite a few climate-science deniers, the fundamental science was well-accepted by the mainstream scientific community.”
      Is it completely impossible for a prominent AGW promoter to maintain an adult tone of conversation without lapsing into propaganda-speak, or are these people always expected to be “on” as part of their jobs?

    • The rat running down the hawser calls out to his fellows: Stay aboard, the Cap’n has that leak well in hand.

      • Hey, if you’ve lost Andy Revkin, who do you have left to lose? I’m proud of him for going after Pachauri.

  57. Joshua | December 18, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    What I find ironic is that Tallbloke would be so upset about someone posting insults on a log post. He regularly posts insults and I recall when he rationalized Monckton analogizing people to Nazis.

    You never did reply to my pointing out of your errors regarding what you think I said about Monckton’s comments.

  58. Robert | December 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm |

    I believe that he is suing over what appears to be a clear case of libel on the part of Greg Laden

    You can fund his fantasy of harassing his critics through the legal system if you want to. What you should bear in mind, though, is that the essential character of the man, like all deniers, is cowardice. He will never face his critics in the light. If you give money, it will be diverted into some denier slush fund, as his lawyer admits.

    , as well as looking into the legality of the search warrant and seizure of his computers.

    There’s nothing to look into. They had a warrant, they executed it. If you think you can strike back at the police for doing that, good luck. A search warrant is humiliating, but perfectly legal. The only real protection is not to have a warrant issued — that is, don’t receive stolen property from criminals, don’t circulate stolen property, don’t associate with thieves at all.

    Please let me have your name and address Robert, so that my legal representative can send you a letter. Or are you to cowardly to risk putting your opinions to a legal test?