AGU Fall Meeting: Highlights

by Judith Curry

Last week, over 20,000 scientists met in San Francisco at the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Trying to take in the large number of talks and sessions is mind numbingly overwhelming.  The AGU helps by highlighting certain things:

Below I select some of the named lectures and sessions on demand to highlight.

Named lectures

The named lectures that are probably of greatest interest to Denizens are listed below.  Warning:  each lecture is 55 minutes, and there is typically a 5 minute introduction.

Jane Lubchenco: Predicting & Managing Extreme Weather and Climate Events  JC note:  Lubchenco is the Undersecretary of NOAA.

Paul Newman:  The Recent Findings of the “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2020” and the World Avoided by the Montreal Protocol.

Graeme Stephens: Climate Change: A Very Cloudy Picture   JC note:  This is an excellent talk, giving a historical perspective on our understanding of cloud feedback, insights from new observational tools, and a perspective on challenges and outlook for future progress.

Sessions on Demand

These sessions are given in their entirety (2 hours long), you cannot dial in to specific presentations.  Also, at the links provided, you may need to scroll down to find the particular session.  Here are some sessions of relevance to topics discussed at Climate Etc.:

U13C Effectively Communicating Climate Science (How to Address Related Issues) II.  JC note:  I missed this session when preparing my previous AGU post on communication sessions at the AGU.  The first talk is by Susan Joy Hasool, who is the communications expert that has replaced Chris Mooney on the AGU board.  The second talk is by David Cook of SkepticalScience.

U21C Data and Information Quality Really Matters in the Era of Predictive and Often Contentious Science I .  JC note:  I listened to a few of these talks, I definitely recommend the talks by Gunderson (1st talk) and Carlson (4th talk).  If the ppts for these talks ever appear, I will do an entire thread on these talks.

A32B Atmospheric Sciences New Fellows Speak II.  JC note:  the first two talks in this session are:

  • Chris Folland: High Predictive Skill of Global Surface Temperature a Year Ahead
  • Andy Lacis: Atmospheric Water Vapor: Climate Feedback and/or Forcing?

U32A Coupled Processes in the Arctic System: Feedbacks, Amplification, and Impacts on Midlatitudes I .  JC note: The talks in this session are listed here (Wed).

NG32B Current Issues in Stochastic Weather and Climate Modeling I .  JC note: The talks in this session are listed here (Wed).

GC43G Stephen Schneider Global Environmental Change Lecture: History of Global Warming.  JC note:  this session consists of an invited lecture by Ben Santer.

U44B Geoengineering Research Policy II:  The talks in this session are listed here (Thurs).

From other blogs

Several other blogs have been discussing the meeting:

Climate Abyss – John Nielsen-Gammon, with the following “Dispatches from AGU”:

Real Climate has three posts on the AGU meeting that can be found here.

176 responses to “AGU Fall Meeting: Highlights

  1. 20,000 scientists who can talk one hour each.
    They can not all present. How many presented in how many sessions?

    • AGU Objectives:

      “4.Develop an interface between our science and that of other disciplines — including engineering, public policy, global governance — to best inform decision making.”

      “5. Increase awareness of the reality and consequences of global climate change among scientists and the public.”

      Any further questions?


    • If they didn’t publicly rebuke the “Hockey Stick” they are not “scientists”, they are perpetuators of fraud.

  2. Thanks, Professor Curry, for highlights from the Fall 2011 AGU Meeting.

    Thirty-five years earlier, at the Spring AGU 1976 Meeting we first realized something was seriously wrong with science: Politicians – frightened by the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation – started trying to direct science to fit consensus models, after losing faith in the creative powers of mankind that President John F. Kennedy had energized during the Apollo program.

  3. For Steven Mosher
    I am not sure if you bother to read comments on your blog, but I just left you a note there.

    • Thanks Vuk I get the comments mailed to me I have just been busy and sick. To answer your questions/suggestions

      1. I do not promote my blog. It’s a blog about the R language and my work
      with climate data. It gets promoted through R channels and is meant
      for programmers or people who want to learn R. I don’t discuss
      climate debate there and will never discuss climate debate issues there.

      2. I do not moderate comments or practice any form of censorship. So
      you can post whatever you like. At sometime some fellow posted
      some nasty things about jewish people there. I don’t even delete
      that even though I disagree with it entirely. If somebody
      posts something illegal I would draw the line there.

      3. Im familar with Taminos work and I find him to be source of great
      insight. I personally do not approve of the way he responds to
      some people, but I’ve also been a jackass, so professionally
      I respect his work, personally we both can be unpleasant if
      you get on our bad side.

      4. I’m glad to comment on anything you want me to look at, but
      I like to keep most if not all of my communication public. That’s
      just how I like to operate, that way you never have to worry about
      what I might say behind your back or behind closed doors. If
      I’m not willing to say it publically, then its not worth saying.

      • Thanks Steven, that’s fine. I would look for your comments on your blog, which is far easier to access and use. My pc goes ‘nuts’ when I try to post something on here.

      • Regarding your ” I’ve also been a jackass”.What a polite way of calling someone a jackass! Have to try this.

      • Although not recommendable I do tolerate lie & fraud, since it can can be disproved. These I treasure: man of superior ignorance, his research is danger to society, cyclomaniac in supreme. The Steven’s description as ‘a lonely voice in the wilderness’ I consider as a complement indeed, since it is precisely what I do.

      • Tamino has a propensity to step on his dictum when bloviating his monotheistic message of people bad, not people good.

  4. The presentations on sea level rise did not do much to inspire confidence in any of the models to be able accurately predict anything farther than 30 years into the future. When you think about it, that timescale may make more sense to communicate about in any case.

    On another topic, what I read on GCMs also seemed very disappointing. Imo we need to cut funding on these GCMs in favor of better short term regional models that can actually predict future weather at a level of detail people will care about.

    • They need to build better models, preferably with people that know how to build better models.

      • That is true, but I am now leaning towardes the idea that the “goal” was incorrect. Far to high a percentage of resources is being focused on GCMs.

      • The goal was proving a theory, not learning about nature. Curiosity lost to hubris.

      • Rob, What you say is exactly correct. GCM’s are doomed to failure just as numerical weather prediction is doomed to failure. What is really needed is more emphasis on regional models and to understanding the sensitivities of the system. This can only happen when people step back and rigorously understand their methods and their models and work on the much harder problems of dynamical systems. It is also possible that simpler models might become a lot better as better data becomes available. I found it interesting that Gavin Schmidt stated that he had never heard any concern about errors associated with Reynolds’ averaging. I have some very compelling evidence that would be of interest to them. They really need to hire an expert on these matters and listen to him.

  5. Santer, Lubchenco, Lacis, Cook, etc. The CAGW beat goes on. Any discussion of budget cuts?

  6. Dr Curry –

    I listened to Ben Santer’s talk, and (apart from some quite gratuitously derogatory remarks about the UAH team) found it enjoyable and interesting. I sense much of his efforts are anti-sceptic i.e. they are in response to criticism, but the work is worthwhile nonetheless.

    What struck me was the final word given to Steven Schneider – which was right in the ballpark of the ‘uncertainty monster’, but looking in a different direction. I took it all down because it is an interesting contrast to many of the things you have brought to Climate Etc, and it may interest other denizens.

    Schneider was quoted as saying –

    “Science strives to reduce uncertainty through data collection, research, modelling and so forth. The objective is to overcome the uncertainty completely – to make known the unknown.

    No doubt further scientific research into the interesting processes that make up the climate system can and will eventually reduce uncertainty about the response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.

    This is very unlikely to happen quickly however, given the complexity of the global climate and the many years of high quality data which will be needed.

    Meanwhile, even the most optimistic BAU emissions pathway is projected to result in dramatic, potentially dangerous climate impacts. That means making policy decisions before this uncertainty is resolved, rather than using it as an excuse for delaying action.

    I think this is worth pondering over. To someone who has already made their mind up that a) BAU scenarios show we are definitely disaster-bound and b) that disaster can only be avoided by dramatic and precipitate action, this will appear extremely powerful, perhaps even irrefutable. Indeed it is superficially quite convincing.

    However, it contains many flaws of which I’ll mention two. To say that there might be dramatic climate impacts is really to say nothing at all – dramatic is not something necessarily to avoid unless we’re the kind of people to be scared of the dark. It is not much better than saying ‘unknown and unpredictable changes’. ‘Potentially dangerous’ is not much better and I think is a subtle admission that science can tell us nothing about the changes, so some imagination and speculation has been used instead.

    Secondly, there is the obvious caveat that all policy has an opportunity cost. The uncertainty about the future of the climate is not the only unknown. We could resolve the uncertainty to the extent that we could be sure (for instance) that 5000 children under five will die every day from climate changes in the 22nd century and still conclude that it is not worth spending any money on mitigating that eventuality. Why? Because we might find it very obvious that any money would be one hundred times better spent on the 25,000 children who die every day now through cheaply preventable causes.

    To pretend that the ‘uncertainty’ about climate impacts is the only unknown and that we must, necessarily, act before those uncertainties are resolved is to fundamentally misrepresent the problem.

    We always have to act before uncertainties are completely removed, but we don’t have to act before we have some idea of the balance of probabilities involved.

    Schneider’s weak logic doesn’t help us at all in this regard.

    • Anteros, thanks for your comments on this

    • Yes, I think we would all agree that research is a high priority to reduce the uncertainty as quickly as possible, and that more funding is needed to accelerate that.

      • K Scott Denison

        Fail. More money isn’t the answer. Giving grants to open-minded researchers is the answer. Pouring more dollars into biased research won’t solve anything.

      • You probably realize that the skeptics are making the case for more research dollars quite well. This continued funding is also a disincentive for the scientists to show too much certainty. Thankfully there are complicating factors like aerosols and ocean circulations and sea ice that make the problem not too easy to solve.

      • K Scott Denison: Pouring more dollars into biased research won’t solve anything.

        Keeping the total amounts the same, how would you allot the money differently from how it is allotted now? The claim that the rewarding of research funds is biased is seldom accompanied by an analysis substantiating the claim that “open-minded” researchers can be identified, the good ones identified within that class, and that the research program would be different.

      • MattStat, the reallocation of research funds away from CAGW focused research is a well discussed topic. Roy Spencer has testified several times on it, and I have worked on it a good bit. The simplest case is to reduce (or terminate) the carbon cycle program, currently the biggest program in the USGCRP, and allocate those funds to natural variability, especially solar and ocean stuff. For example NASA tried to get a sun-climate program off the ground a few years back but failed (no NASA jokes please).

        On the modeling side the big challenge is to explain the MWP-LIA-present cycle, not the last 50, 30 or 10 years, which is the present focus. We desperately need to know how much of the last 100 years is due to emerging from the LIA.

        We also need to look at nonlinear dynamics, instead of aerosols, and so forth.

      • David Wojick, thanks for the comment.

      • Should be prerequisite: 3 lies – return the money back to the taxpayer, with modest interest. Then start paying for the damages / injustices committed; based on researcher’s misleading research. .

      • Jim D,
        So it is the skeptic’s fault that more money is being spent on climate research?
        What a wild convolution you make.

      • More money is not needed, just different targeting. But the money is controlled by entrenched CAGW biased program managers, so it may be necessary to zero the funding then rebuild the USGCRP.

      • David said,
        “On the modeling side the big challenge is to explain the MWP-LIA-present cycle, not the last 50, 30 or 10 years, which is the present focus. We desperately need to know how much of the last 100 years is due to emerging from the LIA.
        We also need to look at nonlinear dynamics, instead of aerosols, and so forth.”

        This is an interesting and IMO excellent perspective. Could you please be more specific in what brought you to these conclusions.
        Garry D

        Leave a Reply Cancel reply

      • Garry, I’m not sure what you are asking for, but the basic concept is that we need to understand why climate changes naturally before we can assess the role that humans may have had in past changes, or might have in future changes, if any.

      • Jim D,
        No, we do not all agree that giving more money to the same failed peer review, self directed, echo chamber research culture is going to help anything.

    • Amen to most of that. The London Times obituary for an old friend is apposite here:
      ‘Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
      been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his
      birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
      remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
      – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
      – Why the early bird gets the worm;
      – Life isn’t always fair;
      – and maybe it was my fault.
      Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more
      than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in
      His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
      overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
      charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from
      school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding
      an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
      Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
      that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
      It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent
      to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform
      parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
      Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and
      criminals received better treatment than their victims.
      Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar
      in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
      Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
      realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her
      lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
      Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his
      wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
      He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
      I Know My Rights
      I Want It Now
      Someone Else Is To Blame
      I’m A Victim
      Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
      still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing..’

      • 1aA stitch in time saves nine.

        1bHaste makes waste.

        2a Penny wise and pound foolish.

        2b. Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.

        As your take home assignments, extend this list; it isn’t hard.

        Common sense consists mostly of knowing which aphorism to recite after a mistake has been disclosed. The remainder is usually the result of hard patient work in defiance of common sense, such as knowledge that the Earth is round.

      • The lane is very dirty
        And my shoes are very thin.
        I’ve got a little pocket
        To put a penny in.

        If you haven’t got a penny,
        A half-penny will do.
        If you haven’t got a half-penny,
        May God bless you.

  7. Any attempt to predict outcomes in a nonlinear system more than a few months into the future is always wrong in important ways. In this case, the intelligentsia thinks they can predict related outcomes in two mostly uncoupled multivariate systems, i.e. climate outcomes and economic outcomes. Not since the eugenics movement of a century ago have we attempted such hubris based policy making. I have to admit, I’m somewhat worried that the result back to normalcy may follow a similar trajectory as a century ago also.

    • Taleb illustrates the difficulties of prediction using an example of a billiard ball as computed by mathematician Michael Berry. “If you know a set of basic parameters concerning the ball at rest, can compute the resistance of the table … and can gauge the strength of impact, then it is rather easy to predict what would happen at the first hit. The second impact becomes more complicated, but possible; you need to be more careful about your knowledge of the initial states, and more precision is called for. The problem is that to correctly compute the ninth impact, you need to take into account the gravitational pull of someone standing next to the table … And to compute the fifty-sixth hit, every single elementary particle of the universe needs to be present in you assumptions! … Now, consider the additional burden of having to incorporate predictions about where these variables will be in the future. Forecasting the motion of a billiard ball on a pool table requires knowledge of the dynamics of the entire universe, down to every single atom!” (The Black Swan, 2nd ed PB, p 178)

      Fortunately, long-term climate projection is much less complex than billiards.

      • This billiard example also shows what you can do with the information you have. Based on the resistance of the table, i.e. friction, one can easily calculate how long the billiard balls will stay in motion, simply from the concepts of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum.

        That is precisely what first-order climate science is about, calculating the energy balance and not necessary the dynamics. Taleb would have no problem with that.

        “Fortunately, long-term climate projection is much less complex than billiards.”

        I know you were being sarcastic with that comment, but first-order physics combined with statistical mechanics-styled approaches is a very powerful in deriving the mean value of various phenomenon.

      • On the contrary Web, the duration of motion is a strong function of the number (and properties) of collisions, with the table and/or other balls, and these quickly become unpredictable. Sometimes on the break the cue ball stops dead.

        Moreover, in the climate system adding CO2 is not a first order effect. In a system of nonlinear feedbacks there generally are no first order perturbations, because the system does not proceed by perturbation. That it does is the AGW fallacy in a nutshell. Nor need there be an energy balance.

      • My two paragraphs above raise two different issues. The first is error propagation, while the second is nonlinear feedback (and the butterfly effect). These are very different but both invoke lack of perfect knowledge. The point is that the term “first order” in physics is used to imply that other effects can safely be neglected. The physics of increasing CO2 is not first order in this sense.

      • That’s why I mentioned conservation of momentum. In a perfectly elastic collision, the cue ball could stop on a dime and thereby transfer all its momentum to the ball it strikes. Here is a kid’s book explanation to help you out if you are confused.

      • You missed my point Web. To predict the duration of the cue ball’s motion in the real world you would have to know the exact motion, geometry and composition of the cue stick, the tip, the balls (no two alike, none perfectly elastic), the table surface (my cat sleeps on it), the rails, and so on. The cue ball might stop dead when it hits the rack, or it might carom around for a long or short time, in many different ways, and you have no way of actually predicting which it will do. There is no simple first order motion here.

        Likewise, the climate debate is about the real climate, not some idealized “first order” climate determined by abstractions like sensitivity and energy balance. I am thinking of calling this the “physicist’s fallacy” as I see it everywhere in the debate, on the AGW side: prediction based on unrealistic abstraction. In the abstract a feather falls as fast as a billiard ball, but my feather blew up into a tree, get it? Suppose we double CO2 and the next ice age hits? Does that make the sensitivity minus 15 degrees? No it just shows that there is no such thing as sensitivity in the real wold.

        First order physics is an approach to discovery, not a method of prediction.

      • I have to agree with the warmistas on this one. Webby has made a good point that skeptics would do well to concede and then move on to the questionable assumptions in the CAGW story that produce the C part. If the Sun’s energy output increased, we would all have no problem accepting that the additional forcing would increase the Earth’s temperature, chaotic system or not.

      • Don, where does he say anything about the sun’s energy output in that post? Nor does it have to increase the surface temperature, on the contrary it might kick off the next ice age. Nonlinear feedbacks are like that, they produce counter intuitive dynamics.

      • OK David, have it your way.

      • +1 for Don, -1 for david

        There are several arguments that the skeptics would do well to give up as they are either contradictory or argue that no knowledge is possible.

        As Don points out, no knowledgeable skeptic would argue that
        the non linear feedback could produce a frozen planet if the sun
        doubled its forcing. No amount of blather about the butterfly effect
        and the inability of weather forecasting to get the next month correct
        would change the fact that we know very well that if the sun went out
        we would all freeze. It makes little sense to argue chaos on one hand
        and then hunt for sun spot correlations on the other. It makes no sense
        to criticize the temperature record on one hand and use it to spout
        nonsense about ENSO on the other. It makes no sense to argue that
        “average temperature” does not exist and then argue that the LIA was
        colder or the MWP was warmer.

      • Steven, nobody said anything about the sun doubling its output. Please don’t put absurd words into my mouth. A small increase might increase cloudiness enough to trigger the ice age, if it was coming on, as it may well be. Keep in mind that we do not know what triggers ice ages, even if M-cycles do set them up (which we also do not know for sure). No idea really, but increased cloudiness is a reasonable candidate, since it is an easy way to dramatically reduce surface temperatures.

        Moe generally, if the system is properly chaotic then a small increase in insolation might well trigger negative feedbacks that lower temperature. I have said for a long time that I will believe the models are realistic when I see this happening from time to time. I do not intend to give up the chaotic climate hypothesis just because you do not understand it.

      • Steven, regarding your silly “it makes no sense” list, there are many skeptical arguments, basically one for each step in the AGW chain of reasoning. Arguments against later steps have to accept earlier steps, so of course different skeptical arguments contradict one another.

        This makes perfect sense because skepticism is not a position, it is a set of positions, a political grouping with lots of strange bedfellows. Even lukewarmers are in bed with us. The only thing we agree on is that CAGW is not confirmed.

      • S Mosher –

        What you say is true. There is a great deal of sceptic nonsense. However, it may appear worse than it is because it is often different sceptics making either side of a contradictory argument. It may be the LIA enthusiast isn’t the one criticising the recent temperature record. It only seems that way if you take them/us as a whole..

        Notwithstanding that, of course, a lot of us are ideologue nut-cases. Goes with the territory I’m afraid.

      • Can I have both, moshe; temperospatial chaos and sunspot correlations with climate? Why surely I’m not joking.

      • WebHubTelescope: That is precisely what first-order climate science is about, calculating the energy balance and not necessary the dynamics. Taleb would have no problem with that.

        Non-linear dissipative systems with constant input usually do not have “balance”, but instead have complicated oscillations and waves. Examples are presented in the thermodynamics text book by Kondepudi and Prigogine: “Modern Thermodynamics”, chapters 18 and 19. (That is not the only source for dynamic systems, but it is one source that specifically addresses heat flows.) In Earth’s climate, such oscillations and waves are well documented, and include “weather”, Rayleigh waves, Hadley cells, currents, jetstreams, ocean waves, and so forth. Even if the Earth had constant input, it is likely that the energy flows would never be “in balance”, and that the exchange at the top of the atmosphere would be net inward for long stretches, net outward for long stretches, and balanced only on a space-time set of measure 0 (i.e., when the oscillation passed from net inward to net outward.) The celebrated mathematician John Nash proved that a dynamic system could have an equilibrium if special conditions were satisfied, but it is difficult to determine in most systems whether such conditions (or an equilibrium) exist in fact.

      • Oops: “measure 0” for “measure o”.

      • Steven, David is right. If you hit the rack of balls just right on the break, they could roll around forever.

      • Nicely put MattStat. (Folks just can’t get away from equilibrium thinking.) Moreover, it is my understanding that these systems do not even exhibit stable averages, so the oscillations do not average out as some warmers like to claim. I think this is what is meant by so-called “strange statistics” but you might know better.

      • Don, I never said any such thing. What is this, put stupid words in Wojick’s mouth day? Can’t you folks read?

        At least I am getting my average up.

      • I am with you David. It’s a chaotic system. A lot of backspin and English on this ball called Earth.. We don’ know wtf will happen if the energy coming from the Sun increases, or the rate of escaping infrared radiation to space somehow slows down. Are you suggesting we buy snow shoes? I want to be prepared.

      • Do you ever solve physics problems? The original premise is that the billiard table has resistance, which means that it has friction that dissipates energy, and thus the balls can’t “roll around forever”. Give me the friction of the balls on the table and I can tell you how long it takes before they stop moving. That is a question that one would reasonably want to answer after perturbing a system consisting of an ensemble of particles.

        Statistical mechanics considers thousands of billiard balls, and often the math turns out simpler than one would expect. The Planck response is statistical mechanics. The Boltzmann temperature is a statistical mechanical concept. Same with diffusion.

        While in the middle of a weather event, things may look chaotic, but to an observer peering at it from a distance, it appears stable, or its parameters are slightly drifting. The drifting is what we want to detect over the long term, and it is the energy balance that will determine the response function to first order.

        Andrew Lacis has stated that same fact on this blog. Climate scientists really only do GCM’s to understand natural variability, and that really has little effect on the steady-state response function.

        When people start buying into chaotic systems as the solution to behaviors on this scale, they are also the ones most gullible to believe in perpetual motion machines.

      • All,
        Accepting that the energy balance is changed slightly does not appreciably alter the future predictability of the system. That’s kinda my point.

      • Web said, “Statistical mechanics considers thousands of billiard balls, and often the math turns out simpler than one would expect. The Planck response is statistical mechanics. The Boltzmann temperature is a statistical mechanical concept. Same with diffusion. ”

        Very good. Heat transfer is also a diffusion process. If the thermal conductivity of a mixed gas changes from 0.025W/(m-K) @283K to say 0.24W/(m-K) @ 253K, how would the conductive heat transfer vary with respect to the radiant heat transfer under those conditions?

        Before you say conduction is small compared to convection, where does convection get its energy?

        BTW, I use pseudo-chaotic. With such a small change possibly having a significant impact, interactions can be unpredictable, but understandable. Which opens the door to smaller changes that may a significant impact at other temperatures and pressures.

        If the increase in CO2 was causing obvious increases in temperature in the Antarctic, we would not be discussing pseudo-chaotic system impacts :) Remember that circumstantial evidence in the CO2 tracker animation?

      • steven mosher: +1 for Don, -1 for david

        I disagree with you there. david did not say anything about changing the output of the sun, but about changing the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere. With non-linear dynamics, the first-order approximations can be quite inaccurate for any understanding of long-term trends. The simulations and laboratory examples that are presented in most textbooks on nonlinear dynamics make that clear. Until the details of heat transfer within the atmosphere are known more completely and with greater accuracy than they are now known, the Earth atmospheric response to an increase in CO2 can’t be known.

        As I wrote in another post, it can’t even be shown that the climate system is ever, has ever been, or will ever be in equilibrium.

      • MattStat: Oops: “measure 0″ for “measure o”.

        That’s not the way it looked when I posted it. Does this system transform “zero” to “oh”?

      • Matt,

        The earth’s climate system doesn’t have to be in equilibrium for us to at least suspect with good reason that adding heat to the system from outside will increase the temperature. Also, if the rate of heat lost per unit of time from the system by radiation is reduced, shouldn’t we reasonably suspect that the temperature of the system will increase? Or are you saying we really don’t have a clue what is going to happen, in either case?

      • Don Monfort: The earth’s climate system doesn’t have to be in equilibrium for us to at least suspect with good reason that adding heat to the system from outside will increase the temperature.

        We have “good reason” to “suspect” many different things. I quote your words with approval. We do not have the evidence to know which suspicion is most accurate.

        The increase in CO2 might increase the speed with which the surface warms in the morning, and also increase the speed with which the energy transmitted from the lower to upper troposphere is transmitted, by transiently increasing the temperature gradient from lower to upper troposphere, and increasing the absolute humidity of the lower troposphere. Such an effect would produce a slight decrease in mean surface and mean lower troposphere temperature, but increase the mean upper troposphere temperature, while leaving the mean troposphere troposphere unchanged. This possibility is supported by knowledge of heat transfer, and by the characteristics of many nonlinear dissipative systems with constant input. This possibility can’t be ruled out or ruled in because the knowledge is partial, and the relevant heat transfer rates have not been measured accurately enough all over the Earth.

      • OK, Matt. You go with you don’t know wtf is going to happen, and I will go with adding the so-called greenhouse gas CO2 contributes to warming. Since we are likely no more than 1C apart, I ain’t gonna argue about it. Maybe little josh will want to argue about it, when he recovers from the beating he took here yesterday. . I think he is at about 12C.

      • steven mosher: As Don points out, no knowledgeable skeptic would argue that the non linear feedback could produce a frozen planet if the sun doubled its forcing.

        When I read ….
        Dispatch from AGU: An equable climate curveball
        Dispatch from AGU: The trouble with shortcuts to climate sensitivity

        this unknowledgeable skeptic realizes that not only is the science unsettled, it is predominantly nonexistent.

        At this stage of understanding, we really have no clue as to what to expect.

      • Cooling for a coupla decades from the oceans, cooling for a coupla centuries if Ol’ Sol keeps cheesing Cheshirely at us. Koutsoyiannis is making book.

      • No certainly David I agree with you, If we lowered the output of the sun, say had another grand minimum the planet could warm and monkeys could fly out of the south end of my alimentary canal. Further that implies that we cannot even understand why we had a LIA. Sure, TSI was lower. Sure Volcanic activity was higher. But those physical forcings might have nothing whatsover to do with the chilly temps. Why, if a volcano blocks solar input, who can predict what would happen? And if GHGs raise the effective radiating height of the atmosphere, why who knows earth could freeze over night. non linear dynamics can make anything happen. or not.

      • I also must disagree Web. The problem with first order conservation arguments is that the dynamics is critical for example in the ice ages where the distribution of the forcing changed but not the total forcing.

        Dynamical systems often have bifurcation points where the pattern of behaviour changes. First order conservation arguments totally miss this behaviour. There are also things like stable cycles that have varying periods and can be very complex. All this complexity is missed by simple conservation arguments.

        The only way to fix the simple conservation arguments is to tune the constants and correlations based on observations. But this only works up to a point and with climate, it may be pretty hopeless.

        Another problem with conservation arguments is the nonlinearity in feedbacks. We don’t even know the functional forms of these, so how can we hope to quantify them for any situation other than the present climate.

      • Oh my, someone who doesn’t believe in conservation laws, continuity laws, mass balance laws, and to top that off, that probabilities need not add up to unity.

        With constraints and boundary conditions becoming irrelevant, I find it increasingly hard to have a rational discussion with these people.

      • Web, I do believe in conservation laws. I’m just saying that what you are using is an integral law. You integrate the real conservation law over the whole earth system. This is still valid but almost useless for real predictions. Dynamics are critical for predicting ice ages, which are really big changes where the integral of the forcings was probably pretty constant, but the distribution changed due to orbital changes.

      • WebHubTelescope: Oh my, someone who doesn’t believe in conservation laws, continuity laws, mass balance laws, and to top that off, that probabilities need not add up to unity.

        With constraints and boundary conditions becoming irrelevant, I find it increasingly hard to have a rational discussion with these people.

        No one said anything like that. Just because the climate system is in perpetual disequilibrium does not imply that mass and energy are not conserved.

        What we said was: (1) first-order approximations (!) are not accurate enough for long-range forecasts; (2) there is no evidence that the Earth climate system ever has been in equilibrium (in fact, the empirical evidence is that it hasn’t) or even that it could be. Even a simple disk with a heterogeneous composition and uniform lighting but non-linear transfer between areas and layers will not produce equilibrium, and the Earth thermodynamics is more complicated than that.

        The non-rationality enters when you assert that obvious cavities in the scientific knowledge don’t matter.

        You also wrote: I know you were being sarcastic with that comment, but first-order physics combined with statistical mechanics-styled approaches is a very powerful in deriving the mean value of various [phenomena].

        sure, but the mean over 2 centuries (or some other undetermined length of time), averaged over the surface and throughout the atmosphere is not that useful, even if you could show that you had estimated it accurately.

      • The guy used billiard balls on a table with friction as an example.
        You estimate what the impact energy of the stick hitting the ball is and then you use that as a potential energy to figure out how long it takes for the balls to release that energy through friction.
        That is a first-order physics law. It gets you ballpark close to the answer. Same goes for the climate system, and I am talking about the span of time we are interested in, not some rhetorical time of celestial and geological shifts.

      • WebHubTelescope: and I am talking about the span of time we are interested in, not some rhetorical time of celestial and geological shifts.

        50 years?

      • In billions of years, things will change certainly.

        OK, this is what I consider interesting reading:
        “How does the Earth system generate and maintain thermodynamic disequilibrium and what does it imply for the future of the planet?”, A. Kleidon

      • Photons must be a little like pool balls on a warped table :)

      • Indeterminate, wave like pool balls.

      • I’m not so sure about indeterminate. I have noticed a few weird things, but not indeterminate things. For example; Bond albedo times TSI equals the potential surface temperature of a planet. For Earth, subtract the non thermal flux generated by the geomagnetic field, approximately 69Wm-2, you get the average surface temperature. Mathematically oddity or are photon reflections not as elastic as we think?

        It may be an oddity, but it is great for screwing with people :)

      • Er, that should be the average surface flux not temperature. It was something I noticed looking at Postma’s paper trying to figure out his odd integration.

      • For Earth, subtract the non thermal flux generated by the geomagnetic field, approximately 69Wm-2, you get the average surface temperature. Mathematically oddity or are photon reflections not as elastic as we think?

        It may be an oddity, but it is great for screwing with people

        So you finally admit to it. You have been pranking us with this incessant lingo distortion all this time. You actually haven’t a real clue what is going on.

        This is quackery nonsense about the geomagnetic field having anything to do with an energy flux as you describe.

        What is ultimately sad is that you put this stuff out there like cut bait hoping to attract some innocent squid that will trip over some triviality and then you can parade around like you caught a trophy lunker.

      • LOL Web, No it is an oddity as best I can tell. An interesting one though.

        As for the quackery with the magnetic field, quite a number of theories on the ice age triggers have been made.

        As there has be research into thermal non-thermal radiation interactions

        And if you want to get into superstring theory it is all the rage.

        Like I said it is a puzzle, that interesting oddity may be nothing but a parlor trick :)

      • OK, somebody jump in here. Both Web and Captain can’t be right!

      • OK Captain you say there is a nonthermal EM flux on the same order of atmospheric reflection and absorption? Presumably coincidental?

      • BillC, That’s the great thing about theoretical physics, it is hard to tell who is right and for how long :) This CERN thing may change a bunch of common concepts. But face it, what would the old guys do if they had all the data we have? Defend their theories or continue exploring?

      • Sorry Bill, you’re on your own. I have my own retroencabulator, and have no interest in Captain’s modial interaction of his capacitive diractance.

      • BIllC said, “OK Captain you say there is a nonthermal EM flux on the same order of atmospheric reflection and absorption? Presumably coincidental?”

        Possibly at low energies. I thought that if there was a crossover, it would be at much lower energies, 100K and below, 180K seems to have something happening,but I don’t have a clue yet how to tell one way or another.

        Both the Antarctic and the tropopause seem to pretty well controlled by something.

  8. When earth temperature goes up and down with the same limits for ten thousand years, it is really likely that the next cycle will be in the same range. A manmade fraction of a trace gas will not change this. If you want to predict the future, the best data to use is the past. Every once in a while, earth changes its cycles, but lately, for the past ten thousand years, it has been repeating, warm, cool, warm, cool, warm, cool, warm, cool,……
    We are now warm and the snows have started and we will now cool again.

    • Pope: A manmade fraction of a trace gas will not change this.

      I cringe when I read this. What matters is the total, not the concentration: empirical research and mathematical/scientific analysis shows that an increase in the total might warm the earth 2K – 4K over some time span. In your oscillatory language, it might raise the limits by 2K – 4K. Since the feedback mechanisms (if they are feedback mechanisms) responsible for remaining within that range are unknown, it’s foolish to claim that they will not be exceeded in the future because they were not exceeded in the past.

      • Just love it, spend more money because it “Might”.

      • A. C. Osborn: Just love it, spend more money because it “Might”.

        That’s the justification for most expenditures: research, insurance, vacations, purchases. All that changes are the probabilities and the possible losses.

      • Seconded. The effect of the low concentration isn’t controversial. What matters is the odds of a photon travelling through miles of atmosphere hitting one of those 1-part-in-2000 molecules. Those odds are pretty good.

        That’s one of the “skeptic” talking points that needs to be taken out back and shot.

      • Thanks to my error in reading MattStat’s comment, I just wasted 15 minutes on the Vatican website looking for what, exactly, the Pope said about trace gases.

      • JCH – He said, “scuzee mia”

      • You are right, the effect of low concentration of CO2 is not controversial.
        Research shows that lower CO2 makes green things grow not so good while they require more water. In the history of earth, we are much more close to record lows than we are close to record highs. We are not a lot above the lower limit where the green things can’t grow.

  9. Professor Curry, thank you for the links.

  10. Graeme Stephens: Climate Change: A Very Cloudy Picture JC note: This is an excellent talk, giving a historical perspective on our understanding of cloud feedback, insights from new observational tools, and a perspective on challenges and outlook for future progress.

    He done a similar presentation at the EGU that was well received.A number of similar papers have allowed the Global energy balance group to make some substantive recommendations for interpretation in the problems ie reframing eg,

    Our involvement in the 5th IPCC assessment report with respect to Global Energy Balance related issues will continue to play an major role in our activities over the coming year(s). An important aspect will also concern the revision of the quantification of the energy flows on the prominent picture of the global energy balance, which should take into account the unprecedented wealth of high accuracy data now available from both surface and space-born observations. The magnitude of these flows is currently heavily debated, particularly with respect to the surface flows, such as the downwelling shortwave and longwave radiation (e.g. Stephens et al 2011).

    To contribute to this issue, with the newly founded Swiss National Science Foundation project we envisage to make the best use of information contained in collocated surface and satellite radiation observations on the absorption of solar radiation. Such investigations are urgently needed for a better understanding and representation of the Global Energy Balance in the framework of the 5th IPCC assessment report.

    Interesting times ahead also for the Faustian problem.

    • Oops, I meant to tie the Gordian Knot to your Faustian problem.

    • I can also recommend Stephens’ talk on cloud feedbacks. He makes some intrersting points on the inadequacy of cloud modelling in GCMs, the emerging importance of precipitation vs water vapour and a slightly contraversial stance on the use of global mean temperature in respect of calculating cloud feedbacks. Definitely worth a listen.

  11. Cook, Santer, Lacis, etc?

    Dr. Curry, who selects the major speakers for this events? The membership? Some committee (if so, elected by the membership)?

    It seems strange that 20,000 scientists should all be singing from the same hymnsheet.

  12. I made the mistake of watching the session on communicating climate science. I could have made it a much shorter presentation. Act like a politician. Did they happen to notice where the trust level in politicians is?

  13. Have you entertained the possibility that they might be right?

  14. Interesting how pushing the current “consensus of scientists” is far more important than actually understanding this planet and the system it is co-interacting.
    Temperatures are the after effects of these interactions, yet science has them as the premise of trying to create predictions in a solar system in constant change on a planet in constant change that NEVER repeats itself.

  15. Judith Curry

    The Graeme Stephens presentation on uncertainties regarding the impact of clouds on our climate was very interesting.

    Here are my quickie “take homes”.

    Cloud feedback remains highly uncertain today, although some progress is occurring on global scale.

    More observational data are needed to determine impact of clouds.

    Overall effect of clouds is negative (reflect more incoming SW energy than they absorb outgoing LW radiation). However, this ratio varies with individual cloud optical depth and other properties.

    Reducing the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity range is the wrong goal when it comes to clouds.

    2xCO2 climate sensitivity is a poor measure as it relates to clouds.

    Clouds impact not only temperature but also precipitation.

    Need to understand processes – including precipitation and evaporation. Precipitation has a radiative signature, which is not considered in the models, IOW the models do not represent observations on precipitation, and this cannot be resolved by resolution alone.

    Stephens concludes that cloud impact on climate is not simply a feedback function of changes in global mean surface temperature. To understand the impact clouds on our climate one must understand the processes involved in precipitation and evaporation, based on actual observational data, rather than simply model simulations.

    What may have been alluded to indirectly, but I found missing specifically, is the notion as suggested by Spencer that clouds are not a feedback, but an independent forcing in themselves.

    And that the real questions are:
    – what are the driving forces and underlying physical mechanisms that cause clouds to behave the way they do?
    – how can these be measured with observational data?
    – how have these impacted past climate?
    – how are they likely to impact future climate?

    You probably got a lot more out of this talk than I did, but those were my observations.


    • Max good summary. His talk at Santa Fe Conference was even better, included aerosol indirect effect, and he made a strong argument that there are negative feedbacks within the clouds that act to reduce the aerosol indirect effect. When a few more of stephens’ in press papers are published, i will do a thread on his recent work

    • If you don’t know what the clouds do; ask somebody: is in Brazil, or Sahara better climate, ASK THE TREES. Trees have much, much better knowledgeable than ”pretend Skeptics”

      H2O+CO2 clouds intercept some sunlight up, where cooling is much more efficient = that heat never comes to the ground. End result: upper atmosphere a bit warmer, on the ground cooler. Because of the proportion in difference between upper atmosphere and the ground smaller – at night clouds slow cooling. Those 2 factors cancel each other. Because of clouds, Brazil has cooler days / warmer nights than Sahara. Complicating simple processes is what IPCC wants you, to do their dirty job.

  16. We just passed 149,250 comments.

    • David,

      What is needed is to download the stats from Judith’s blog hosting as a time series (hourly intervals should suffice) since Climate Etc. started. Low-pass filter the the “noise” related to the topics of her posts, look for long term trends and underlying drivers (political, scientific milestones etc.) and try to do a factor analysis.

      • in terms of stats that i get, i get number of daily hits (total and for each post), number of clicks to links, web referrers, and who is making the most comments on a weekly basis. current comment stats are:

        Joshua 71
        Robert 53
        kim 52
        hunter 43
        WebHubTelescope 37
        Captain Dallas 36
        David Wojick 36

      • RuhRoh! I never made the list before. That’s what I get for talking to Joshua and Web :(

      • I can’t imagine how the tedious Joshua and Robert have the time to comment as often as they do. Let’s venture a guess-they are either paid trolls or are on the public dole.

      • Interesting. Team “zOMG!!!” (Joshua+Robert+Web) = 161
        Team “chill out” (Kim+Hunter+Captain+David) = 167

        Draw whatever conclusions you may.

      • P.E. –

        It looks different when you realise Holly is on ‘Hollyday’..

      • Dr. Curry,
        It is time for me to take the lovely Mrs. hunter’s advice and layoff the blogosphere.
        The great thing about the AGW disputation is that one can leave for months at a time and come back and find the same basic conversation proceeding.
        Until one wall or the other is hit and hit hard, nothing much is going to change. And, unfortunately, social manias tend to move very incrementally.

      • Bill C: I would rather do an issue tree. See
        There is no noise here, just a lot of different sub-issues. Climate Etc. is an excellent sample of the debate, warts and all.

      • Interesting that Climate Etc. is a metaphor for statistical analysis of time series in the sense that any attempt to filter out the noise will always affect the legitimate signal. You can’t screen out the “warts” without losing some value just like you can’t smooth data without losing some useful information.

        Blogosphere as model of signal processing.

      • Indeed, PE. Every sentence has meaning (or expresses a proposition, in the jargon of logic) and the same sentence almost never occurs twice. So every sentence adds information.

        Moreover, because the underlying structure is an issue tree, we often return to the same basic point simply to embark on another path. This is not redundancy, it is navigation. (In my little science of issue trees it is called traversing the tree, one path at at time.) So what seems like a topic repetition is often merely a way to get new ideas on the table.

  17. Steve Easterbrook has a couple of interesting posts up from AGU as well. One on model validation and one on model architectures (particularly interesting to me).

    • Gene, thanks for the link, these are interesting.

      • Judith,

        I and some other denizens have been interested in retrospectives on the ozone hole. I would like to see a guest post on this topic, we can start with Paul Newman’s talk (and his salad dressing).

        If no one else more qualified volunteers for this, I will do so, after watching the talk & doing some limited additional research.

      • Bill, yes this is a good topic, but not an area of my own personal expertise. if you would like to put a post together on this, that would be great. thx.

      • I will. give me a few days. unless someone more qualified than I chimes in and wants to do it :) thanks. not my personal expertise either, but i suspect it will promote interesting discussion (over the holidays, when cheer is needed!)

  18. I think there is an interesting topic developing,

    It seems that Hacker, the thief of confidential Emails, the dastardly conservative skeptic bent on defaming climate scientists, may just be a climate insider that is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

    At least, someone is slipping not so subtle hints that the deck is stacked to the huddled skeptical masses.

    Jen, posted earlier that the climate indoctrination seminar’s talking points were a bit biased. I wonder how many climate scientists would be willing to speak out about the cherry picking of “peer reviewed” literature for inclusion in a summary for policy makers :)

  19. It seems that Hacker, the thief of confidential Emails, the dastardly conservative skeptic bent on defaming climate scientists, may just be a climate insider that is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

    That old myth is looking a little threadbare now that we know the thief hid messages for two years, manipulating the release by concealing some of the data.

    That has “denier” written all over it.

    I feel a little sorry for the thief. Did you see Monckton jumped out of a plane to try rather pathetically to stir up interest in the already-forgotten “Climategate 2.0”? Seems like the salad days of the anti-science crusaders may even now lie in the past.

  20. The Graeme Stephens talk on clouds was interesting, as mentioned above, and provoked some controversy, as evidenced by the subsequent questions. Stephens is an original thinker, and so his ideas are always provocative.

    The talk also illustrated the confusions about terminology that confound some of the literature on cloud effects. In particular, from his presentation, I inferred that he was probably referring to cloud feedbacks as equivalent to changes in “cloud radiative forcing” (ΔCRF), whereas a distinction can be made between ΔCRF and cloud feedbacks as estimated from partial radiative perturbation (prp) simulations – see the J. Climate paper by Soden et al on The Use of Cloud Forcing to Estimate Cloud Feedback. The prp method models cloud feedback as positive in almost all simulations, while the ΔCRF method yields both positive and negative feedback estimates. This results from the latter’s tendency to neglect cloud masking effects on non-cloud variables such as the Planck Response, water vapor, and albedo, and attribute the changes in those variables to changes in cloud effects instead. Both methods have their advantages and limitations, but confusing the two can lead to misinterpretation of cloud data.

    • Fred Moolten

      You are correct about the theoretical differentiation between “feedback and forcing”, but I think Stephens’ presentation goes further in that it opened some new thoughts on the validity of cloud feedbacks as a function of change in global mean surface temperature (he has apparently concluded the impact of clouds is not a function of GMST)..

      His conclusion seemed to be that climate sensitivity is a poor measure as it relates to clouds.

      In a way this is a similar argument to that of Spencer, i.e. that clouds represent a distinct forcing on their own, driven by as yet poorly understood mechanisms.

      Conclusion: There still appears to be a lot of uncertainty related to the impacts of clouds and their causes.


    • I like the talk by Graeme Stephens very much and share many of his viewpoints on the cloud feedback. The CRF Fred mentioned are called as CRE ( cloud radiative effects, also by scientists in UK ) to avoid the possible confusion the word ” forcing” have caused.

  21. Eco-fascism, Eco-left, UN fingerprints, Durban;

    It deserves a topic listing.

    • If you actually read the Kyoto Protocol you will find a single purpose constitution setting up a global “government” with nations as member states. All the usual constitutional machinery is there, but it is modeled on the UN so the legislature has all the power. Most UN-based international treaties are like this, and there are many such, so it is a bit late to freak out.

      • David Wojick

        Re your post on the prospects of a global UN “government”,
        the UN was set up at the end of WWII. Membership was open to “peace-loving nations” and its primary objective was to avoid another global war. There were 50 member nations from Europe, North and South America, Asia, the Middle East, North and South Africa and Oceania. A good percentage of these were democratic republics.

        Over the years it grew organically.

        Many of the member states today do not have representative democratic governments. Many are ruled by dictators; some of these are simply thugs.

        Unfortunately there is no governance organ to control the UN and corruption has become a way of life.

        There is almost no way to hold the UN accountable for most of what goes on in this growing empire. No national legal jurisdiction applies to the UN network and no media corps has the resources, or for that matter the interest, to deal with the entire network. Despite a Secretary-General who wields more control than anyone else in the system, accountability ultimately does not reside with him, either. In fact, there is no procedure at the UN for impeaching or firing the Secretary-General.

        There is, however, a tremendous machine for glossing over anything that goes wrong. The Secretariat fields a department of public information with an $85-million annual budget and more than 700 employees, about half of whom staff UN public-relations offices in more than 100 countries worldwide.

        Another write-up informs us:

        In 2006-2007, the DPI operated with a budget of $177 million, representing 47 percent of the total UN budget. Its staff of 761 officials works in New York, Vienna, Geneva, and UN information centres and offices around the world.

        Whichever estimate was correct for 2006, it is probably much higher today, but data on this are difficult to find.

        The UN is now in the climate industry in a big way, and it looks like it wants to parlay this into a leading administrative and money-shuffling role in the trillion dollar climate business of the future..

        I have seen descriptions of specific examples of UN corruption with estimates of misappropriated funds that run into the billions.

        I don’t know how you feel about it, but I shudder at the thought of a non-elected global government, run by the UN.


      • Max, I do not believe there is the slightest prospect for a of a non-elected global government, run by the UN. So I give the threat no thought whatsoever. I try to only worry about real threats, there being enough of these to keep me busy.

      • “Non-elected”

        Simple fix — popular election of representatives to the UN Assembly.

        It’s doubtful national governments would tolerate such a thing in our lifetimes . . . it’s precisely the legitimacy that such an election would grant that national governments would see as a threat.

        In its current form, the UN is a simple talking shop with a miniscule amount of money and no real power. Fear of the UN “world government” is a symptom of mental illness, no more and no less.

      • “Many”? Try “the vast majority”.

      • Robert will find the diagnosis both in DSM V and in AR5.

  22. cwon14 and his fellow inhabitants of the Big Rock Candy Mountain should understand that Mother Nature is the original Eco-Fascist, and that in a sense we have aways been ruled by an eco-fascist world government

  23. Just in case anyone is in any doubt over the American Geophysical Union’s position on AGW :

    ” The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.”

    Read more on:

    • “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance”

      Thanks temp…this by itself is plenty to consequently dismiss anything this organization has to say.


      • I mean the quote is soooo stupid. The earth doesn’t even have a climate. It has climates. No real scientist plays along with this idiocy.


      • Bad Andrew,

        “The earth doesn’t even have a climate. It has climates.

        We’ve heard this argument before. What does it mean? Yes we can define sub-climates. We can say that the climate of Canada is different from the USA. Within the USA we can say that the climate of Florida is different from Michigan.

        The climate, or sub-climate, of Northern Florida is different from Southern Florida.

        We can carry on dividing indefinitely into tiny areas which have infinitesimally small differences from the adjacent tiny area.

        So does it mean that the words climate and sub-climate have no meaning at all? No. Of course not. We just need to define which area we mean which can be as large, or as small, as you like. It can be the average of the whole globe or the average of a region.

      • Earth in the Balance, and Butcher Gore’s thumb on the scales.

      • Customer: “Can’t we have some of that nice looking meat on that upper shelf behind you?”

        Butcher Gore: “No. The steaks are too high”

      • Housewife (to Butcher Gore): How’s your liver?
        Butcher Gore (groaning): Been actin’ up lately, ma’am.

      • “It’s a good-lookin’ piece of meat.”

        -George Costanza

      • “What does it mean?”

        Temp, look up the definition of “climate.”


      • tempterrain, if climate on different latitudes is different; it’s expected, because of the angle position to the sun. But because climate on SAME LATITUDE is different; like Florida and Death Valley… it proves that sun-flares, sunspots, galactic influences are the biggest con / used as smokescreen. If those things affected the climate; would have being same climate in Florida and all the way to the west-coast. Would have being same climate in Australian inland deserts as in Brazil – they are on same latitude; but completely different climates. Proves that sunspots and galactic influences are exclusively used by B/S merchants

        When you eliminate the IRRELEVANT – if you can publicly identify; whoever uses the irrelevant as relevant; aether is paid to tell lies, or it’s in his genes to tell lies. ( on the end, will be proven that H2O controls the climate, not CO2, or sunspots! But it needs more people like you; people that can notice that: without any GLOBAL warming, there are lots of different climates. WHY ARE DIFFERENT CLIMATES? H2O!

    • tempterrain

      Another “argument from authority” to try to substitute for the missing “argument from evidence”?

      Fits your track record.


  24. About the AGU and it’s political inclinations;

    From someone who knows;

    “The modern American leftists are more brutally arrogant than any European communist party of the 1980s.”

    The AGU are largely academics and government funded trolls, no surprise they were captured by eco-radicals and the AGW sham.

    • Another couple of quotes from the same source.

      “Moreover, Mooney is not just uneducated and ideologically blinded. He is also self-evidently corrupt. He, a fanatical atheist……. ”


      “Let me be honest: I despise you, folks, and your conference in San Francisco deserves a huge targeted earthquake that will end most of your lives because you are just contaminating the intellectual and moral landscape of our planet and limiting the freedom and dignity of the people who actually want and deserve both. ”

      As Judith would say “wow” !

  25. From

    the climate was more equable, meaning that the high latitudes were almost as warm as the low latitudes and winter was not too much cooler than summer. The problem with this is that no climate model has yet successfully simulated such a climate, and no hypotheses for how the climate system worked back then has yet been proven. … The good news is that since we’re now dealing with a paradox from 6,000 years ago rather than tens of millions of years ago

    I have done some modelling and the ‘equable climate curveball’ seems to be much more than an inconvenient predicament. There is something very messed up, ‘missing’, badly construed when it is not possible to simulate and sustain a “known” preexisting situation.

    Lack of computing power or unknown variables as justification for not achieving a match is not satisfying to me. Possibility space can be sampled. Crude models can be constructed.

    If a preexisting “known” situation cannot be described with the current ‘dynamic descriptions’ then something predominantly important is absent.

    • As I am fond of pointing out, we do not understand natural climate, but doing so is not a research priority. The modeling community is obsessed with the mythical problem of sensitivity.

    • Raving

      Back to your post regarding the findings of a “more equable” and warmer climate during the Holocene.

      I am generally leery of and paleoclimate data – as these often depend on rather subjective interpretations of dicey reconstructions of questionable data from carefully selected periods of our distant geological past. IOW, it is like “reading tea leaves” – you can get almost any “answers” you want to find.

      But, as the article states, since this is based on much more recent data, there could be some validity in the study.

      If the analysis is validated, it would point out how climate models are basically unable to recreate the actual real-life climate and, hence, are virtually useless for making future climate projections.


  26. Raving

    You raise an interesting point. But it goes even deeper.

    As IPCC AR4 informs us (Ch. 3, p.240), Kevin Trenberth concluded in 1990 (based on 15 years of data) that the “1976 divide” represented a “climate shift”:

    The 1976 divide is the date of a widely acknowledged ‘climate shift’ (e.g. Trenberth, 1990) and seems to mark a time (see Chapter 9) when global mean temperatures began a discernable upward trend that has been at least partly attributed to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere

    If we start in 1998, we now have 14 years of data showing that there has been essentially no “discernable upward trend” observed in “global mean temperatures”.

    Trenberth referred to this ”unexplained” fact as a ”travesty”

    Whether or not it is a ”travesty” depends on what you were hoping to see; (I am personally quite relieved to see that the IPCC projections of continued rapid warming have proven to be false and that there is little cause to worry about rampant 21st century warming).

    However, it is clear to me that Trenberth’s 1990 claim of a ”1976 divide” was no more valid than the suggestion that there has been a ”1998 (or 2001) divide” ending the time period where we observed a ”discernable upward trend in global mean temperatures”

    Just basic logic at work here – no fancy model-derived climate sensitivity hypotheses.

    But I’d like to read a rebuttal to this logic by someone (like Fred Moolten) who still believes in Trenberth’s “1976 climate shift”.


  27. Sometimes I see the blind leading the blind even with their eyes open.

    The common denominated to resolve many issues is by using applied science.

    But! history shows, that regardless of the science, human emotions play a very large part in our daily lives.

    When you have government groups and others dictating the type of information to be accepted and only paying for projects that are in line with mainstream, than you have a formula for duplicating the errors formed through history.
    Global warming when seen through the eyes of scientific evidence, we note that the Sun has the controlling strings, pulling each one at will causing our planet to change.

    Pollution is another issue, air, water and living things. We all live on this space ship called Earth, we must try to keep it clean and address the issues scientifically and not as a mob media.

  28. This comment by Steve Mosher is really disturbing:

    “I respect his [Tamino’s] work, personally we both can be unpleasant if
    you get on our bad side.”

    Why are posters like Steve allowed to give open threats against others on your blog site?

    • Ninderthana –

      I think Mosher is simply saying he can be uncivil in his blog comments. I don’t think of that as an open threat. You’ll find plenty of people way more unpleasant – and if you’ve been to Tamino’s blog, you know one yourself.

  29. Tamino’s Open Mind is the best oxymoron of the 21st century (so far),
    What are you going to do Steve with those that p-you off? Send around the boys to knee-cap those you disagree with?