AGU highlights

by Judith Curry

This week I am at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

The website for  the meeting is [here].  The meeting is huge, with over 20,000 attendees, so it is difficult to take in even a small fraction of what is going on.  Here are some highlights that I encountered, either at the meeting or from the virtual meeting website, and blog reports (notably the Yale Forum, which has a large number of posts on selected highlights).

The ‘new’ AGU

The YaleForum has an article on this entitled The New AGU . . . Talking up its Policy Backbone.  The subtitle is “AGU leadership professes its willingness to head-up an aggressive public policy and ‘education’ campaign directed at congressional skeptics.”  Some excerpts from the Yale Forum article:

[Chris] McEntee [AGU Executive Director] had spoken formally during her presentation about having AGU lead an effort involving major scientific societies in “educating” Congress on what unquestionably is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists on a full range of issues. AGU earlier had led the groups in bringing leading society officials to Washington on climate change issues, but the new effort seems destined to go beyond that in intensity and duration, including strategic targeting of specific legislators.

“It’s not something the old AGU would do,” Rutgers’ Alan Robock said from the floor, but McEntee’s statements received overwhelmingly favorable reaction from those in attendance.

I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.

Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow, host of the NPR Science Friday, gave the AGU Presidential Forum Lecture, ‘Science is Sexy’ which can be seen [here].  The talk was very good and engaging, and makes some important points about engaging the public re science.
Bob Watson

The Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture was given by Sir Bob Watson [link].  The lecture is summarized in at article at Yale Forum titled Forget About That 2 Degree Future.

Renowned British climate scientist Sir Robert Watson pulled few punches today during a talk about the warmer world humans will face in coming decades.

Watson, who was IPCC chair from 1997 to 2002, all but dismissed the possibility of keeping the rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — a temperature rise that corresponds to an atmospheric concentration of CO2 of 450 parts per million. It now stands at about 390 ppm.

Average global temperatures could rise 2 to 7 degrees C by the end of the century, driving a litany of environmental changes, Watson said. Already, the climate of the 2020s and 2030s already is locked in, or as Watson put it, “pre-ordained.” “Therefore, we must adapt,” he said.

“The only way to get to a 2 degree world is to de-carbonize immediately, and I see no political signs we’re doing this …. We need moral leadership and political will, and they are in short supply.”

I have to wonder about Watson’s basis for all this certainty.

Drew Shindell

The Atmospheric Sciences section Charney lecture was given by Drew Shindell, titled Mitigating near term climate change while advancing human development.  Shindell’s ideas were discussed previously on a Climate Etc. thread Climate fast attack plan. Shindell gave an excellent presentation and this plan makes a lot of sense to me.

Unfortunately, Shindell is getting a lot of push back for this idea from many climate scientists, who think that this strategy should not be adopted because it will detract from implementing CO2 stabilization policies.   Its a good thing the climate scientists aren’t in charge of policy.

Ray Pierrehumbert

The Tyndall Lecture was given by Ray Pierrehumbert, entitled Successful Predictions.  I did not attend this lecture, but I suspect it will be of interest to many of you.

JC’s presentation

My (invited) talk was titled ‘Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on Northern Hemisphere Weather [curry agu].  I would be interested in any comments on this.

JC’s best poster award

Most of the posters presented at AGU can be found online.  While I only viewed a small fraction of the posters, I was particularly struck by one of the posters in the Nonlinear Geoscience group:

“Bunched Black Swans” in Complex Geosystems:  Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to the Additive and Multiplicative Modelling of Correlated Extreme Bursts

Nicholas W Watkins, Martin Rypdal, Ola Lovsletten

For all natural hazards, the question of when the next “extreme event” (c.f. Taleb’s “black swans”) is expected is of obvious importance. In the environmental sciences users often frame such questions in terms of average “return periods”, e.g. “is an X meter rise in the Thames water level a 1-in-Y year event ?”. Frequently, however, we also care about the emergence of correlation, and whether the probability of several big events occurring in close succession is truly independent, i.e. are the black swans “bunched”ù. A “big event”ù, or a “burst”ù, defined by its integrated signal above a threshold, might be a single, very large, event, or, instead, could in fact be a correlated series of “smaller”ù (i.e. less wildly fluctuating) events. Several available stochastic approaches provide quantitative information about such bursts, including Extreme Value Theory (EVT); the theory of records; level sets; sojourn times; and models of space-time “avalanches”ù of activity in non-equilibrium systems. Some focus more on the probability of single large events. Others are more concerned with extended dwell times above a given spatiotemporal threshold: However, the state of the art is not yet fully integrated, and the above-mentioned approaches differ in fundamental aspects. EVT is perhaps the best known in the geosciences. It is concerned with the distribution obeyed by the extremes of datasets, e.g. the 100 values obtained by considering the largest daily temperature recorded in each of the years of a century. However, the pioneering work from the 1920s on which EVT originally built was based on independent identically distributed samples, and took no account of memory and correlation that characterise many natural hazard time series. Ignoring this would fundamentally limit our ability to forecast; so much subsequent activity has been devoted to extending EVT to encompass dependence. A second group of approaches, by contrast, has notions of time and thus possible non-stationarity explicitly built in. In record breaking statistics, a record is defined in the sense used in everyday language, to be the largest value yet recorded in a time series, for example, the 2004 Sumatran Boxing Day earthquake was at the time the largest to be digitally recorded. The third group of approaches (e.g. avalanches) are explicitly spatiotemporal and so also include spatial structure. This presentation will discuss two examples of our recent work on the burst problem. We will show numerical results extending the preliminary results presented in [Watkins et al, PRE, 2009] using a standard additive model, linear fractional stable motion (LFSM). LFSM explicitly includes both heavy tails and long range dependence, allowing us to study how these 2 effects compete in determining the burst duration and size exponent probability distributions. We will contrast these simulations with new analytical studies of bursts in a multiplicative process, the multifractal random walk (MRW). We will present an analytical derivation for the scaling of the burst durations and make a preliminary comparison with data from the AE index from solar-terrestrial physics. We believe our result is more generally applicable than the MRW model, and that it applies to a broad class of multifractal processes.

I have asked Nicholas Watson to send me his papers, I plan on doing a thread on his work in a future post.


AGU gives out a plethora of awards each year.  The new Fellows are listed [here].  Additional awards from the Atmospheric Sciences section are found [here].  I’ll take this opportunity to brag about three of my colleagues at Georgia Tech who are receiving awards at this meeting:

  • Josef Dufek, Macelwane Award
  • Athanasios Nenes, Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award
  • James Belanger, Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research

343 responses to “AGU highlights

  1. What are the supposed impacts of AGW?

    The less the area of ice sheets on Earth the more stable is the climate.

    The warmer the better for life (up to a point, which seems to be a lot warmer than now).

    Therefore, to justify high cost mitigation policies, there needs to be strong evidence of the supposed catastrophic impacts of warming. After 20 years of scaremongering, we still cannot get clear, well quantified, scientific, definition of the impacts.

    Uncertainty about the problem is a given; uncertainty about the chosen solution is inexcusable. This is to say, we should be confident that our solutions are going to be effective, and the more expensive the solution the more confident we should be

  2. “AGU leadership professes its willingness to head-up an aggressive public policy and ‘education’ campaign directed at congressional skeptics.”

    This seems like evidence of an eco-religion. It it is advocacy not science. We’ve had 20 years of that. When will it end?

    • JC said:

      I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.

      Thank you. That is fantastic. You are my heroine. Keep at it.

      I see Tamsin Edwards is following in your footsteps (and gives you credit):
      This is an interesting thread. The reservoir modeller’s comments are interesting (as are many others). A comment by Josh:

      What a wonderful thread! It has everything, top scientists, vigorous debate, insults, apologies, ceasefires, state of the art science (is that a contradiction in terms?) and even hugs. Brilliant.

      • Nic Lewis’ comments on that thread were, for my educational discernmrnt, the most interesting

      • Ianl8888,

        Yes. And, thank you for pointing the thread out.
        I found Nic Lewis’ comments very interesting (suggesting climate sensitivity less than 3C) and also the replies and insight into what the mainstream climate scientists think about it.

        I also found the comments by ThinkingScientist, very interesting. For those who haven’t read the thread, he is a modeller from the real world – oil and gas reservoir modelling. He has some insightful (for me) comments about modelling and predictions.

    • Say – Peter,

      Any updates yet on your theory about how your blog comment caused WordPress to shut down Judith’s blog?

      I mean, Peter – you asked the key questions:

      Will we ever know?

      How powerful are the climate orthodoxy’s thought police?

      We need to know the answers!!!! Just how widespread is this conspiracy?

      • Why don’t you take another census? Black Swans scare scientists to death. The Bible is called ‘to old’ to suit the new thinkin. Remember this one?

        Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

        You would think clouds would always just be clouds too.

      • David Springer

        Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
        and feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
        But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
        So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

        I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
        from up and down, and still somehow
        it’s cloud illusions I recall.
        I really don’t know clouds at all.

      • Status Update: Regarding my postulation that a complaint may have been lodged to WordPress, by either ‘The Conversation’ or Lewandowski, about my comment which demonstrates that most of the top Australian climate ‘scientists’ are up to their neck in extremist activism about catastrophic AGW, resulting in this message being displayed: is no longer available.
        This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.

        I was almost certainly wrong that access to Climate Etc was stopped because of a complaint about my comment.

        However, the comment is correct and important and therefore worth repeating. It is reproduced below:

        “The thirteen part Clearing up the climate debate written by Australia’s top climate scientists, demonstrates they are up to their necks in activism.

        ‘Part One’ provides links to the thirteen Parts (scroll to the end of the article). And a list of the signatories that endorsed this compendium. It’s a list of who’s who of Australia’s top climate scientists.

        It is clear from the contributions written by these top climate scientists they are activists and extremists.

        I went first to ‘Part Four’ (written by Mike Sandiford) to try to find out what they say about the consequences of AGW. Why are the scientists saying it is catastrophic?
        It’s about the evilness of humans, the damage plastic bags are doing and the like.

        Nowhere in the thirteen Parts, written by Australia’s top climate scientists, could I find any persuasive case for dangerous or catastrophic climate change.

        Don’t miss ‘Part 13’ the wrap up by a well known climate activist!

        Note: the thirteen parts were arranged by Lewandowski and the Editor of ‘the Conversation’. The thirteen contributors, and many others that endorsed it, are a who’s who of Australia’s top climate scientists. They are clearly alarmists, scaremongers, extremists. They are not objective. They are activists who are little better than Greenpeace, WWF, FoE and the rest of the so called ‘environmental NGO’s’.

        We should be concerned. These are examples of the sorts of people who decide what IPCC publishes in AR5. And what IPCC publishes influences governments to impose really bad policies – i.e. bad for human wellbeing.

        I realise this comment will be beyond Joshua’s ability to comprehend (and those of his idelogical persuasion), but some others may recognise this issue very is important.

        Just to be clear, I repeat that I acknowledge my postulation was wrong that my comment had been the cause of a complaint to WordPress by Lewandowski or the Editor of ‘the Conversation’ resulting in Climate Etc. being suspended.

  3. WASHINGTON, DC—The American Geophysical Union (AGU) recently announced its 2012 class of Fellows. This honor is given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of Earth and space sciences.

    Darn it, no one from Oklahoma was honored. I am disappointed.

    I’m glad to see Michael E. Mann among the three scientists from Pennsylvania scientists who are honored.

    Michael E. Mann, Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    David Pollard, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    Neil McPherson Donahue, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.

    • “I’m glad to see Michael E. Mann among the three scientists from Pennsylvania scientists who are honored.”

      Maybe I am missing the point, but you are being sarcastic aren’t you?

    • David Springer

      Max_OK | December 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Reply

      “I’m glad to see Michael E. Mann among the three scientists from Pennsylvania scientists who are honored horned.”

      Fixed that for ya!

    • Max_OK

      No one from OK?

      I heard they offered one to Senator Inhofe, but he declined.

      Can you confirm this rumor?


      Max_far from OK

    • I’m glad to see Michael E. Mann among the three scientists from Pennsylvania scientists who are honored.

      I wonder if he’d have been “honored” if the FOI request for his emails was successful.

      Odd how UVA fought to hide Mann’s emails but gave Greenpeace the OK to access the emails of Patrick Michaels.

      • When will Greenpeace reveal what their access to Patrick Michaels’ emails show?

      • Robert Austin

        Once allowed access to the Michaels emails (for a fee), Greenpeace declined to pay the price. One can only speculate as to Greenpeace motives for pursuing access to the Michaels emails, getting approval, and then choosing not to pay the fee for access. But it did allow an UVA representative to tell Steve McIntyre with a straight face that UVA did not release the Michaels emails.

  4. It’s interesting to see 20,000 attendees at AGW while at the same time there are, I understand,14,000 odd delegates at the Doha UN climate chat.

    There is very little media attention to Doha, and almost impossible to find out what is happening – other than from the propaganda agencies. The chart of media activity on climate change shows the pulses is almost dead. Doha doesn’t even show a blip on the chart. See here:

    Therefore, If the article on the front page of the Australian turns out to be correct it is the best news on climate policy in two decades, IMO.

    “World climate pact ‘to bypass UN’

    THE world’s major economies are moving towards a climate change deal that will bypass the existing UN framework, says one of the nation’s most senior former trade diplomats.

    Alan Oxley, former ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, said the US would lead the withdrawal, with negotiations to take place in the Major Economies Forum established by John Howard and former president George W. Bush.

    Mr Oxley said recent comments by US President Barack Obama and the looming failure to get Canada, Japan and other major economies to participate in the next round of the Kyoto climate change protocol – despite Australia’s agreement to join – were key to the new framework.

    Mr Oxley, who now heads World Growth, the free-market, non-government organisation he founded, said the deal had not yet been done but it was inevitable that when the world got serious about climate change, the UN would be sidelined.”

    It is inevitable this is the route the world will take. 20 years of failures under UN leadership demonstrates the UN approach wont work in the real world.

    Coincidently, I’ve been advocating this in a series of comments on Climate Etc. over the past week starting here: Notice especially the discussion between Harrywr2 and me on section 1.4.1.

  5. Mr Oxley, who now heads World Growth, the free-market, non-government organisation he founded, said the deal had not yet been done but it was inevitable that when the world got serious about climate change, the UN would be sidelined.”
    Australian Alan Oxley is another aging free-market freak. Oxley, not the UN, is headed for the sidelines. He’s in his mid-60’s, and time is rapidly passing him by.

    If Oxley were American, he would be part of our shrinking old guy demographic. Is the old guy demographic also shrinking in Australia?

    • Captain Kangaroo

      Many of us are not much older than Obama and at the peak of our careers. Is that still an option for you Max – or was it it all downhill from birth?

      ‘EXCLUSIVE / The US is considering a funnel of substantive elements of the Doha Climate Summit away from the UN framework and into the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a platform of the world’s largest CO2 emitters, EurActiv has learned.

      Since 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has provided an umbrella for talks to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, and on 26 November, will host the COP18 Climate Summit in Qatar.

      But it has been confirmed to EurActiv that Washington is increasingly looking to shift policy action to the MEF whose members account for some 85% of global emissions, and which the US views as a more comfortable venue for agreeing climate goals.

      If the idea gains traction, it could demote the UNFCCC to a forum for discussing the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions projects, sources say.’

      The only thing shrinking is your brain. Try doing some research before doing your loony lefty old guy routine – you wil find that it keeping your brain active keeps it subtle. ‘Even better: older brains might not be as agile or energetic as those of youth but they seem to have an enhanced ability to perceive patterns and connections, to understand what Strauch calls “the big picture.” She quotes Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College in California and an expert in adult learning: “The brain is plastic and continues to change, not in getting bigger but allowing for greater complexity and deeper understanding. As adults we may not always learn quite as fast, but we are set up for this next developmental step.” The trick is keeping the aging brain active and challenged.’

      • Has it been “all downhill for me since birth?”

        HA HA, good one ! I’ll have to remember it for future use.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        You answering the career question Max – or just contributing to the shrinking hive-bozo demographic in your moms basement.

      • I’m sorry, Cap, but the brain ages like the rest of the body. I would agree with Prof. Taylor about the benefit of keeping the aging brain active and challenged, which I believe you are struggling to do here, and you deserve a pat on the back for your effort. Have you tried ballroom dancing? Believe it or not, dancing is supposed to be good for the brain.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Well I recommend tango with beautifull women and the aviodance of tofu. Also a career in engineering and environmental science helps, along with computer modelling and an interest in arts and science. It helps to start with Lisa Simpson level smarts.

        ‘Poor cognitive test performance, enlargement of ventricles and low brain weight were each significantly and independently associated with higher midlife tofu consumption. A similar association of midlife tofu intake with poor late life cognitive test scores was also observed among wives of cohort members, using the husband’s answers to food frequency questions as proxy for the wife’s consumption. Statistically significant associations were consistently demonstrated in linear and logistic multivariate regression models. Odds ratios comparing endpoints among “high-high” with “low-low” consumers were mostly in the range of 1.6 to 2.0.’

        ‘I see the life cycle as comprising four tranches of 20 years. The first 20 years is about childhood and schooling. The second 20 years is busy with tertiary education, partner selection, reproduction, career establishment and household formation. It is the second 20 years that sets up the influence and income-earning capacity that follows. The 20 years to 60 should be the reaping years, delivering peak income, position and power.’

        Do you think I mentioned Obama by accident? I’d guess you have been over indulging in tofu and the decline has set in early.

      • “Is that still an option for you Max – or was it it all downhill from birth? ”

        :) :)

      • Yes, Cap, I’ve heard tofu and other soy products can be harmful, so no matter how much you enjoy tofu, you are wise to avoid it.

        I joke about eating tofu but rarely eat it ( maybe once a year). As a 90% vegetarian, I get my protein mostly from various combinations of rice, beans, oats, pasta, and cheese. I occasionally eat bacon, ham, and beef, but not in large amounts.

    • No, Mike, that’s the future old guys. They won’t be as fuddy-duddy as the current oldies. Tomorrow’s age 80 will be like today’s age 40. Viagra will be as common as aspirin.

    • Max_OK,

      Yr: “They won’t be as fuddy-duddy as the current ones”

      More disappointment comin’ your way, Max_OK. Remember, Max, your “mid-life crisis” descent into hive-bozo, age-inappropriate, creep-out madness is an exceedingly rare evolution.

      Rather, for normal people, Max_OK, their “lefty-fling” is an embarrassing misadventure of their callow youth which they abandon in disillusioned disgust just as soon as they become responsible adults. And these same normal people, then, for the most part, enter their “golden years” still pissed-off at the depredations visited upon them by those lefty youth-masters who once preyed upon and abused their adolescent naivete and innocent idealism.

      In that regard, it is not hard to imagine, is it, Max_OK, that, oh say, 50 years out from now there are gonna be big bunches of some really irked senior citizens on the scene with long memories of being jerked-around as a kid by the CAGW scam.

      Add to all that above, Max_OK, that these future grudge-bearing, currently hive-abused kids, will, when they are advanced in years, be in a position, like their predecessors, to put all that time they will have on their retiree hands and all that ring-savvy they will have gained through a lifetime of successfully out-smarting hustlers of various stripes to work fashioning nice little “pay-backs” aimed the hive’s way and your worst nightmare is realized, Max_OK–us angry, implacable old-guys (and gals) are gonna keep on comin’ at you lefties in serried ranks, cohort after cohort, decade after decade until the end of time.

      And, oh by the way, Max_OK, Viagra doesn’t help much if you can’t get a date, in the first place, right, Max?–and that last is the lefties’ problem number one. Sorry, but I mean, like, women will always prefer a real man to some hive-freak, momma’s-boy geek-ball. But don’t take my word for it, Max_OK, just ask Mr. Darwin about that deal–he’s the “go-to” guy on the subject and can explain it all.

      • Mike,

        just ask Mr. Darwin about that deal–he’s the “go-to” guy on the subject and can explain it all.

        Mmmm. I don’t think so, Mike. Darwin maybe was “the go-to guy” and could have explained it all at one time, but no longer. Like the Norwegian blue parrot, he “is no more”, “has ceased to be”, “is bereft of life, he rests in peace”

      • tempterrain

        Ah yes, Darwin does RIP, BUT his writings live on.


      • He could just be ‘pining for the fjords’?

    • Mike,

      Very good!

    • Mike, times change, and peoples attitudes change. When I am age 80, will I think the way my daddy, grand daddy, and great grand daddy did when they were that age? Good GOD, I hope not ! The latter two were segregationists, believed in ghosts, and thought frequent bathing was unhealthy. My dad thought a penny saved was a penny earned.

      Let me make clear that I have nothing against older people in general. On the contrary, I am indebted to the generations before me for making America a good place to live. I know their hard work and sacrifices benefitted me greatly. And it’s not just those still living who I thank, but also those who are gone and forgotten. We should have a special holiday to honor the elderly and the deceased. On second thought, it would be better to have a day for each.

    • Oxley has for many years been one of the most insightful Australian commentators on trade and related matters. He is held in high regard professionally, and his opinions are well worth taking account of. I assume that you have no substantial grounds for dissing him?

      (signed) another ageing free market freak.

  6. JC:
    When you did your research concerning NA winters etc, did you look at paleo data in regards to the time frames of similiar Arctic Temps?

    There is bow head whale proxy data that show the retreat of ice as a reflection of the temps in the above paper.

    The Polar Vortex, along with the positioning of the North American High, seem more dependant on the state of the Pacific that the state of the Arctic from what I can determine.

    Just a few questions.
    Thank you.

  7. JC said:
    “I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.”
    I’m in favor of the new level of activism. I believe it is irresponsible for scientists to leave activism to politically motivated special interests.

    • Who’s left to do the science?


    • Max_OK

      Let’s let:

      Activists do “activism”


      Scientists do “science”

      I believe it is irresponsible for scientists to leave activism to actively support politically motivated special interests.

      Max _not from OK

    • I’m in favor of the new level of activism.
      That would be “technocracy” I believe…

      I believe it is irresponsible for scientists to leave activism to politically motivated special interests.

      Where have you been?

      In many branches of science there are radical movements. Increasingly, both in the rich and poor worlds, scientists are involved in active advocacy which they see as an intellectual and ethical duty.
      – ‘Reshaping the World Order,’ 1977

      Here are some excerpts from the book ‘Resources and Man’ by the National Academy of Science, published in 1970:

      What can we in North America do to aid our own underprivileged, to meet the population increases that will yet precede real population control, and to help the rest of the world?
      page 3

      Man’s own best interests plead for a more generous attitude toward the rest of nature and for less materialistic measures of well-being and success–especially in the developed countries. Such changes in attitude would make it easier to bring about dynamically balanced relations between the need for materials and the quantity available on the one hand and the quality of life and quantity of consumers on the other.
      page 3

      If present world food production could be evenly rationed, there would be enough to satisfy both energy (calories) and protein requirements for everyone–although with drastic reductions for the now affluent.
      page 4

      Man must also look with equal urgency to his nonrenewable resources–to mineral fuels, to metals, to chemicals, and to constructions materials. These are the heritage of all mankind. Their overconsumption or waste for the temporary benefit of the few who currently possess the capability to exploit them cannot be tolerated.
      page 5

      That fossil fuels be conserved for uses which cannot be met by other sources. The fossil fuels (oil, NG, coal) are needed for petrochemicals, synthetic polymers, and essential liquid fuels, for which suitable substitutes are as yet unknown. . . . They should not be spent in the generation of electricity, for heating, and for industrial purpose where substitutes can qualify.
      page 15

      The gap between economies characterized by massive consumption and modest population and those characterized by low consumption and massive population is seen by many as a major contributor to world instability. Large-scale efforts have been made and are being made to narrow this gap and to diffuse higher per capita consumption to an ever greater proportion of the world’s population.
      Page 32

      I read ‘Resources and Man’ and don’t remember seeing one paragraph in it that talked or warned about global warming. Yet what is in this book is similar to what is called for today under the pretext of global warming.

      Looks to me like people who were looking to unite against a common enemy figured out a way to tie in pollution, famine, water, and global warming to fit their bill.

  8. Max_OK:
    Activism based on what science?

    The 10M to 1000M area of the atmosphere has not even been studied well.

    The certainty of the models verses the present reality show a growing divergence.

    It is common knowledge that the major ocean currents are not well understood, that the effect of UV on the Strat, and the resulting variation of the Jet Streams is not well understood, the Water Vapor is poorly modeled…..

    And you really think policy should be based on this?

    Are you actually serious?

    • Nah, I was just kidding. I think activism should be left to ideologues, not scientist. Then there’s little doubt the message is BS, and the opposite is the truth.

  9. BillC posted on Lucia’s one of the funny things about AGU and all the posters.

    With estimates that is could take as long as 400 years for the average temperature of the oceans to increase by 1 C and sea levels by 24″, does immediate action mean in the next century of three?

    • The ONLY compelling convergent evidence we see from those pushing the theory that humans cause global warming is the picture of collusion and corruption in the field of paleoclimate. The foi2009.pdf disclosures of CRUgate may be painful to see but only charlatans will to hide from it, hide previous interglacial warming, hide the decline, run from the truth, dismiss the corruption of science, and continue to lie to the people.

  10. Willis Eschenbach

    Max_OK | December 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm
    JC said:

    “I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.”

    I’m in favor of the new level of activism. I believe it is irresponsible for scientists to leave activism to politically motivated special interests.

    I couldn’t agree more with our esteemed host. When scientists become activists, it is far too easy for their activism to infect and corrupt their science. And that, in turn, is deleterious to science itself.

    Climate science in particular has been poisoned by the unflinching, fact-defying alarmism practiced by far too many mainstream climate scientists. The ugly side of this was spelled out in great detail by the Climategate emails. This activism has led to insanity like California’s new cap-and-tax law. Everyone knows that it will do nothing. It will have no measurable effect on the temperature, now or in fifty years. They tried it in Europe. It didn’t work for beans, and accomplished nothing.

    Yet people are still pushing it, and it will cost us billions …

    So no, please, we don’t need more activism among scientists. Why should anyone believe the word of an activist?


    • Right, Willis, why should you would believe the word of any activist you agree with?

      Willis, you are a hoot !

    • The ONLY compelling convergent evidence we see from those pushing the theory that humans cause global warming is the picture of collusion and corruption in the field of paleoclimate. The foi2009.pdf disclosures of CRUgate may be painful to see but only charlatans will to hide from it, hide previous interglacial warming, hide the decline, run from the truth, dismiss the corruption of science, and continue to lie to the people.

    • Why should anyone believe the word of an activist?

      OK so we discount the opinion of any scientist who advocates in op-ed columns, appears on TV , goes off on a demo etc. That leaves the ones who don’t. So why don’t they? They would if they felt the problem was serious.

      So, it can’t be that bad after all, can it?

  11. In SF, eat here: The food is adequate, the view is great (if you request it) and you’re off the street…We live in Santa Cruz and that last part is key when we go to the city.

  12. For all natural hazards, the question of when the next “extreme event” (c.f. Taleb’s “black swans”) is expected is of obvious importance. In the environmental sciences users often frame such questions in terms of average “return periods”, e.g. “is an X meter rise in the Thames water level a 1-in-Y year event ?”.

    How obviously important is it… like, if you miss two bowel movements or–your transmission needs an overhaul?

  13. I see that Michael E Mann (of hockey stick fame) has been made a fellow of the AGU. This award is presumedly in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the science of AGW which has already seen him awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Huh???

    • Perhaps next a Nobel. Personally, I could care less what Europe does or where they’re headed or what the hell they think of Americans who could care less about whatever they think. After Bush the Great, Schrodinger’s cat is out of the bag.

    • The citation said: “For exceptional scientific contributions to illuminate the causes of climate change and for major breakthrough and paradigm shift.”

    • Peter, what I like best about Michael E Mann is the mere mention of his name sends global warming deniers into fits, and the thought of them kicking and screaming and foaming at the mouth is amusing. He should get some kind of award for agitating them without even trying.

      • Max_Ok

        I’m trying to devise a web site domain that incorporates the names Mann, Hansen, Gore and Jones. It would get lots of hits from sceptics. Unfortunately I can’t think of any way it would subsequently earn me money…

      • Tony,

        I Googled “Gore Hansen Mann Jones” to see what would come up. I got a lot of blogs. I think the market is saturated for denier/skeptic blogs.

      • You’re right MaxOK. What is even more disturbing to sceptics is the excessively high esteem accorded to him by mainstream climate science acolytes; there are too many of ’em!

  14. Drew Shindell’s lecture is interesting. Lot’s of ‘No Regrets’ policies there.

    He doesn’t mention it by names, but electricfication using clean generation sources (e.g. nuclear) would have a big impact on reducing all of the culprits: CH4, black carbon, CO and ozone.

    These figures show the damage these are causing:
    3 million deaths per year
    50 million ton reduction in crop yields

    Estimated Damages:
    Climate = $330 billion pa
    Health = $150 billion pa
    Crops = $4 billion pa

    Black carbon:
    Climate = $200 billion pa
    Health = $5,000 billion pa
    Crops = $4 billion pa

    Cost-benefit analysis:
    Damages = $3,500/ton
    Abatement cost = $250/ton

  15. Interesting Posters at AGU.

    mann and missing tree rings

    And now the one that are relevant to hide the decline

    So what cause the trees to diverge?

    Here is what the latest take is

    The second half of the twentieth century saw both a decrease in the intensity of solar shortwave radiation reaching the surface of the Earth and a divergence between Arctic temperature and tree-ring reconstructions of that temperature. Arctic vegetation growth is limited not only by temperature but also by light availability, which suggests a causal relationship between these phenomenon. We demonstrate that Arctic tree-ring density is sensitive to changes in light availability across two distinct phenomena: explosive volcanic eruptions, and the recent epoch of global dimming. In each case the dimmest Arctic regions show the greatest tree-ring density response, whereas the brightest show the least. No significant divergence exists in the least light-limited trees. We repeat this analysis separately for each of the seven species for which we have sufficient data and find, once again, that in all cases divergence increases with increasing light limitation and that divergence approaches zero at the lowest level of light limitation. Changes in light availability thus appear an important control upon tree-ring density and a sufficient explanation for the recent divergence from temperature.

    Tree ring records are arguably the most important indicators of continental temperatures over the last centuries and millennia, though their fidelity has come into question on the basis of under-representing Arctic warming since approximately the 1960s. Here we explore divergences between tree ring densities and other markers of temperature over the last 600 years, using a recently developed Bayesian Hierarchical Model that explicitly models spatial and temporal covariance and thus allows us to compare inferences from spatially distinct data sets over common regions. We find that reconstructions based on tree ring densities alone consistently diverge from non-dendro-based temperature estimates after 1960, but that, at low frequencies, divergence occurred during no other interval since 1400. We additionally identify a novel type of divergence, wherein tree ring densities systematically overestimate the magnitude of cooling in the years immediately following volcanic eruptions. Comparing inferences from the tree ring density series and the instrumental record since 1850 reveals a statistically significant divergence in volcanic response, with the densities inferring, on average, 0.12C of excess cooling relative to the instrumental record. Comparisons of the volcanic responses inferred separately from the densities and from ice core records over longer time intervals likewise indicate that the densities are biased towards a colder response to volcanic eruptions. Our results demonstrate that divergence between temperatures and tree ring densities is not confined to the post-1960 interval, consistent with separate evidence (Stine and Huybers, AGU abstract 2012) that aerosol injection into the Arctic atmosphere from volcanism or anthropogenic sources leads to a reduction in tree ring density via a decrease in photosynthetically active radiation.

    Oh ya, Zeke and Robert Rhode and Matt menne had a great poster as well

    • Thank you for the links to what these posters had to say.

      I’m interested in the events on legal issues (see below), but haven’t found anything yet.

      “This year, the Fall Meeting will feature several workshops and related events that focus on legal issues affecting scientists and their research. These include:

      Legal Duties to Preserve and Disclose Scientific Data and Personal Communications

      The Law for Government Scientists

      One-on-One Consultations with an Attorney

      An Inside Look at the Michael Mann Case”

  16. ‘Average global temperatures could rise 2 to 7 degrees C by the end of the century, driving a litany of environmental changes, Watson said. Already, the climate of the 2020s and 2030s already is locked in, or as Watson put it, “pre-ordained.” “Therefore, we must adapt,” he said.”

    Crap Judith, when I say this people get all twisted.
    We are not even prepared for the weather of the Past as Sandy showed.

    • Predicting a rise of 2 to 7 degrees by 2100 should:
      Confirm to anyone that the climate system is still very poorly understood since the range of the estimated temperature rise is so large.

      Demonstrate that Watson has a bias when he picked 2C and not a lower number as the bottom and pointed to the 7C upper range which is completely unsupported based on observations.

      Stating that it is essential to prepare for or adapt to future conditions is:

      Obvious- Since CO2 levels will not go down for many many decades the building and proper maintenance of robust infrastructure is the most senisble action that any government can take.

  17. Judith – Is there any mechanism for forcing retraction of a paper presented at the AGU conference? I refer to my comments on the previous post on your blog by Vaughan Pratt, which was reportedly of a paper presented at the AGU conference. I point out that his logic was circular. Obviously I would want my assessment to be checked carefully first.
    It said “Now I see what you have done. You haven’t taken the temperature and removed various components to find out what the AGW component is. What you have done is to start with the AGW component as calculated by the model (which is coded to match the temperature), and then removed from the temperature all the components (“the 22-year and 11-year solar cycles and all faster phenomena”) that aren’t in the model.
    Of course the output matches the model!!
    The fact that you got a match to [] ‘millikelvins’ should have told you that you had stuffed up.”

    • Mike Jonas,

      If you are correct, I would expect Vaughan Pratt would retract the paper without any further prompting, to protect his integrity and the integrity of science. Isn’t that what should happen, if you are correct? Has anyone else checked you assertion that he is wrong? What does he say about your assertion? Can you provide a link to where he responded to you?

    • Mike Jonas you write “I point out that his logic was circular.”

      Mike, you are behaving like a scientist, so you are pissing against the wind. This is not about science; it is about religion and advocacy. When it comes to the peer reviewed literature, the warmists have every base covered except one; the empirical data. On just about any aspect of CAGW, a warmist can refer to a paper in the literature which supports the hypothesis of CAGW. The one exception is the empirical data. What Dr.Pratt is doing is to get a paper into the literature which says that although the empirical data shows that CAGW is not happening , in fact the data, if it is looked at in the “proper” way, shows that CAGW is happening.

      What this thread illustrates vividly, is where our hostess differs from other warmists. I suspect she believes that CAGW is real, but insists that when it is discussed between scientists, and by scientists to the rest of the world, the discussion must be done in a strictly scientific way. I, and other skeptics may disagree with her on CAGW, but we can only applaud, respect and encourage her in trying to talk only science.

      • Jim Cripwell

        The most glaring bit of circular logic was in the Hansen et al. 2005 “pipeline” paper, which went like this.

        Our models tell us that the global warming since 1880 from GHGs should have been X.

        However, the physical observations only showed warming of X/2.

        Therefore warming of X/2 is “still in the pipeline”.


        It’s enough to make you dizzy.


      • manacker said on December 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        “Our models tell us that the global warming since 1880 from GHGs should have been X.

        However, the physical observations only showed warming of X/2.”

        That’s a good model. Better than x divided by a lot of other numbers,

    • –slaps forehead
      1. you are wrong.
      2. Dr. Pratt did a POSTER

      Not a paper. A POSTER. You put your charts on poster board. You tack it up on the wall with 2500 other people. You stand in front of it for a few hours and talk to people as they walk by.

      • Isn’t a poster like a big piece of paper? ;)


      • Does a poster go into the official records of the AGU meeting?

      • Yes, and in the small print of the AGU rubber stamp it says “peer-reviewed poster”.

      • Thank you, JCH. That is what I thought. So people in future can reference Dr. Pratt’s poster.

      • JCH and Jim Cripwell,

        A poster is usually preliminary and unpublished data although someone may choose to reuse part of a paper, a figure say to help introduce the newer data. They have to be accepted but are not typically “peer reviewed” and only go into a meeting proceeding or occasionally the abstract into a special issue of a journal

        Posters are rarely cited as they are typically incomplete, often brain-storming kinds of things and not peer reviewed and everyone takes them with a grain of salt. Often they are produced only by the grad students and the professor may not see it until it is complete and may see things he does not like right off the bat but it is too late to change since you have to hop on a plane to attend the meeting.

        The only time one would ever be pulled or flagged or left out of a meeting summary in a journal is if their was fraud or plagiarism or an author got mad their name was on it without their permission.

        Poster sessions are typically fun social events where people freely exchange ideas and critique and question the students about their posters.

      • Steven Mosher

        It is silly for skeptics to make such a fuss over peer review.

        Dr. Pratt gave you everything thing you need to do to check the work yourself.

        Would you somehow feel better if his poster were reviewed by anonymous climate scientists WHOM YOU DONT TRUST!

        He showed his work.

        Your choices:
        1. Check his work and find the error
        2. complain without checking
        3. Accuse him of being a leftist
        4. Change the topic and ride your own hobby horse
        5. talk about peer review, which you never cared about before.
        6. blah blah blah.

        The funny thing is when i first read his work, I had no clue what he was doing. reading his comments, it becomes a lot more clear. If you believe in AGW his demonstration is going to be a lot more interesting than if you dont believe in AGW. In short, he is not offering a “proof”. Im suspecting that many of you think he is offering it as a ‘proof’ of AGW.
        Silly. who would prove something that is true.

      • Steven, you write “Silly. who would prove something that is true.”

        You miss the point. Up to now, with few exceptions, there is at least one peer reviewed study on any aspect of CAGW that supports the hypothesis of CAGW could cite. The one exception was a peer reviewed study that shows that the recent empirical data supports CAGW. Now we have that reference. Dr. Pratt has done his bit to support The Team as they sponsor The Cause.

      • Steven Mosher

        you are wrong on a few things.
        1. There is no such thing as CAGW.
        2. Nobody with any sense doubts that humans changing the atmosphere by adding GHGs will cause some warming (AGW)
        3. Vaughan’s work, and other posters, are grey literature. Nobody in their
        right mind would cite them for authority. Shit, you cant even find the poster I worked on last year. The purpose of the poster is to show some preliminary work and talk to other folks about it. So, last year, Zeke and Menne and I did one, and then gavin comes by to chat, and john N-G comes by to give us his thoughts, carrick dropped by to offer suggestions and criticism. Nobody in AGU checks your work. You submit an abstract, they give you a time slot to be in front of your poster. you chat with the people who come by.
        4. You misunderstand what dr. Pratt is up to.

      • Steven, you write “2. Nobody with any sense doubts that humans changing the atmosphere by adding GHGs will cause some warming (AGW)”

        Thanks for your comments. You keep on saying this, and I keep on saying I agree that AGW is real. There is no question that as you add more CO2 to the atmospere, global temperatures will rise. However, with so much CO2 already in the atmosphere already, a rise in temperature caused by any additonal CO2 is too small to be measured. So I cannot be in the category of “Nobody of any sense”.

        You also write “4. You misunderstand what dr. Pratt is up to.”

        We will see.

      • Mosh

        Just a quickie.

        You write: “there is no such thing as CAGW”

        In the real physical world, I’d say you are right.

        But there is the “CAGW” premise posited by IPCC (which has been defined elsewhere).

        IPCC has not given their posited premise (or hypothesis) this name – it is, however, the name commonly given to the IPCC premise (theoretical bases, claims and projections), like it or not.

        So it “exists” as a “concept” and can’t be denied away – even if it is only a figment of imagination.



      • Steven Mosher


        You seem very certain that more C02 will not cause a problem.

        two questions.

        1. What science supports this certainty?
        2. The average temperature of the planet is 14-15C. The human species has evolved and adapted to a climate that is somewhere between 12C and 16 C. Are you certain it is safe to go to 20C, a condition the earth saw roughly 50M years ago, when allegators were in alaska?

        two simple questions.

      • Steven you write “1. What science supports this certainty?”

        I am not certain that there can be any science that can prove that CAGW is wrong. As I have said many times, CAGW is a perfectly plausible and reasonable hypothesis. You must remember I have an agenda, which is only indirectly connected with CAGW. I am convinced that the world in general, and Canada in particular, will commit economic suicide if the use of fossil fuels is restricted. So I want to do all I can to prevent Canadian politicians from restricting the use of fossil fuels in any way. The warmists have, to me, presented no convincing evidence that CAGW is real. In fact, the opposite; the evidence that the IPCC has presented is so flawed as to be unscientific. So until I see some really convincing evidence that CAGW is real, I will continue to insist that it is merely a hypothesis, and hope we continue to use fossil fuels as much as necessary (I am against waste).

        You also write “Are you certain it is safe to go to 20C,”

        No I am not at all certain that it is safe to go to 20 C. But until I see convincing evidence that there is more than a snowball’s chance in hell that the global temperature is going to differ significantly from where it has been for millenia, I am not going to worry. I am far more worried that global temperatures are going to fall significantly this century, than I am worried that they are going to rise significantly.

      • Steven

        A paranoid cat.

      • Steven
        Up to now most of warming has been at high latitudes. Not many people live in SH at h.l.
        In the North there is Canada, Alaska and Siberia, all would more than welcome your Californian and NewYork softies, when you run in front of 1 m high tsunami when some ice melts in Greenland and the Antarctic.
        Bring it on!
        Unfortunately it will not happen, in UK we are freezing, while Mediterranean Croatia had ½ meter of snow today.

      • Mosh

        The “globally and annually averaged land and sea temperature” construct is around 15C today (up 0.7C from where it was 150 years ago).

        It is clear that we have emerged from a colder and harsher climatic period, called the Little Ice Age in the process.

        Now we are getting all excited about the most recent warming “blip” in the record – and we’ve already managed to tie it all to human behavior (using fossil fuels) so we seriously believe that it is “we” who are changing our climate.

        We’ve even managed to crank out model simulations to show that we are, indeed, the primary source of the recent warming “blip”, and that this will lead to very much warmer temperatures in the distant future, unless we change our ways and stop using the very fossil fuels that got us out of the poverty and misery we lived in 200 years ago.

        Then we’ve used the same models to predict that this warming will cause all sorts of extreme weather conditions (everything bad, of course), with devastating consequences, such as crop failures, extinction of species, dying of rain forests, disappearance of glaciers, loss of drinking water, increased vector borne diseases, you name it.

        What’s wrong with this picture, Mosh?

        First of all it’s hokum.

        IIt’s based on theoretical deliberations – not on actual physical evidence.

        We (you included) are fooling ourselves with statements like:

        The average temperature of the planet is 14-15C. The human species has evolved and adapted to a climate that is somewhere between 12C and 16 C. Are you certain it is safe to go to 20C, a condition the earth saw roughly 50M years ago, when allegators were in alaska?

        Mosh, there is no empirical evidence that we are going to 20C. And, even if we did, there is no evidence supporting the notion that it was caused by human GHGs. Nor is there any empirical evidence supporting the notion that this would be bad for humanity or our environment. The notion that the current temperature (or that in pre-industrial times) was “better” for humanity than one that is a few degrees warmer is not based on empirical data, but on model simulations.

        Mosh, it’s all in your head (and in the climate models). But they are only as good as what you feed into them (as you know better than I). GIGO.

        We are deluding ourselves into believing that there is a “crisis”, when it is all just a figment of our imagination.

        I don’t really care WHO says we have a crisis: Hansen, Watson or anyone else. They may honestly have deluded themselves into believing it. So be it.

        They are wrong, as sure as you are sitting where you are.

        And, if you’ve fallen for the doomsday hysteria, so be it.

        I haven’t.


      • I see the Moshtwit is asking questions again:

        You seem very certain that more C02 will not cause a problem.

        two questions.

        This after very rudely telling others they do not have the right to ask questions. But clearly he feels he has the right to ask questions. What a hypocrite!

        Or is he just so arrogant that he thinks only he has the right to make unsubstantiated pronouncements about his beliefs and they must not be challenged?

        Or is he just so deluded that he is unaware of his conceit and arrogance?

        What a twit.
        It’s hard to believe that anyone could be so conceited, arrogant and ignorant.

      • JCH – you say that “in the small print of the AGU rubber stamp it says “peer-reviewed poster”“.

        Are you able to provide a link or other evidence to support that claim?

  18. Vaughan Pratt | December 7, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    Hansen delay did not change:
    Hansen delay: 15 years no change

    Hansen is wrong to attribute 15 year lag to the CO2 warming factor.
    15 year lag is well known natural effect

    The 15 years lag is nothing to do with CO2, it is result of totally natural process, since this is exactly the delay between geomagnetic signal (simply derived from the combined sun-Earth magnetic field changes and the AMO:
    Why is that?
    There is a 15 year delay between the changes in the angular momentum of the Earth’s inner core (where magnetic field is generated) and the LOD (length of the day)
    NASA and the Oxford University scientists in 1997/2000 published paper on the effect: Torsional oscillations of the Earth’s core

    Dr. Pratt would have done far better service to the climate science if he pursued the idea from his initial draft:
    The second and third harmonics dominate, are largely untouched by the filtering, and can be associated with ocean oscillations of respective periods 83 and 55 years per our fit (75 and 50 years when fitted with HADCRUT3). A plausible origin for this component is wobbling of the Earth’s iron core pumping hot magma upwards, felt most strongly at the ocean bottom where the crust is thinnest. The crust could be filtering (attenuating
    and phase-shifting) the other harmonics.

    The Ocean tectonics, according to the geologic records from North Atlantic show (as I actively advocated for some years) that the primary temperature change is a function of the natural processes.

    • sorry, this post went into wrong thread

    • I thought a few years ago Hansen also said there was a 50 year lag.

      • Bill

        Hansen loves “lags” and uses them to stop up gaping holes.

        In his co-authored 2005 “hidden in the pipeline” paper, half of the greenhouse warming was still in the pipeline.

        Since the “forcing” from 1750 (280 ppmv) to 1972 (336 ppmv) was ~50% of the total forcing from 1750 to 2005 (379 ppmv), based on the logarithmic relation, Hansen figured a calculated time lag of around 33 years.

        Looks like this is a variable “fudge factor”, to make things “fit”.


  19. “I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.”

    Only because the AGU majority is not willing to fight the vocal minority, and because a scientific organization with a ‘CEO’ is obviously not about science.

  20. “AGU declares propaganda war on skeptics!”

    If I were them I would try defending their community’s research budget as we go over the fiscal cliff, not attacking powerful congressional skeptics. But I guess the debate will now grow and prosper. The UN just launched a similar iniative. Both may be coordinated by Watson as that is what he mostly does.

    The AGU initiative reminds me of the old saying that a fanatic is someone who having lost sight of his objective redoubles his effort. Still it is good that they are finally making clear how politicized they are.

  21. Re: “Bunched Black Swans”
    Sounds like a different description of Hurst-Kolgomorov Dynamics

    See google scholar search
    Especially publications by the ITIA team led by Demetris Koutsoyiannis

    • More links:
      Multidecadal climate to within a millikelvin
      Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis. “Climatic Variability over Time Scales Spanning Nine Orders of Magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch Cycles with Hurst–Kolmogorov Dynamics.” Surveys in Geophysics (2012). doi:10.1007/s10712-012-9208-9

      • BTW, David, I know you saw the post above, and contributed additional resources. Thanks!

    • Koutsoyiannis’ contributions are stimulating and properly taken with a grain of salt they are quite valuable, but be sure to recognize that they suffer from fundamentally fatal oversimplification. Such clever tricks are repulsively common and even more repulsively culturally accepted in the mathematical sciences. They’re justified as necessary to render problems tractable. At one point while taking a graduate level course in statistical computing I reached a point where I had seen so many egregious abuses of assumptions (including unstated ones made implicitly, very often even totally unconsciously) that I decided a label was needed so that I could quickly make the point with colleagues (with a light touch of humor) that although I was impressed with their ability to manipulate chalk-boards full of algebra, I wasn’t buying their CDOs (Convenient Dramatic Oversimplifications). For one example: Koutsoyiannis treats spatiotemporal series in an aspatial temporally-global fashion. There are 2 major fundamental constraints on achievable insights right there alone. (I recommend paying careful attention to the comments & illustrations of Bill Illis at WUWT — e.g. & .) Koutsoyiannis’ methods could be adapted to get around these fundamental limitations, but then we’d be into the rough seas of grossly impractical multivariate optimization. Even surfing them with another clever trick like simulated annealing would be no better than a crap shoot. Might as well do a full systematic grid search. A smarter approach may not be absolutely needed, but it’s desired (i.e. where & when possible, work smarter, not harder). I hope Watkins, Rypdal, & Lovsletten will take a careful look at the following:
      Dickey, J.O.; & Keppenne, C.L. (1997). Interannual length-of-day variations and the ENSO phenomenon: insights via singular spectral analysis.
      Terrestrial annual & semi-annual backbone variations provide a valuable opportunity: hierarchically-tuned focus. The burst-bunches are conveniently bundled on frames. Why leave such easy money on the table?? Ignoring glaringly easy opportunity is neither smart nor frugal.

  22. So, scientifically, the AGU is going to keep doing the same thing, which is nothing.


  23. Here is the parallel UN propaganda effort.

    “UN Alliance to Support Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness Launched at COP 18

    3 December 2012. More than 250 delegates participated in the launch of the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness at a side-event on 3 December 2012 organized in the margins of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The event took place just after Parties agreed on Saturday night on the new Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Convention which deals with education, training and public awareness. Founding members of the Alliance include: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with the UNFCCC Secretariat providing the Secretariat for the Alliance.
    Read more:

    The UN is rolling out the big guns. We can probably expect more groups like the AGU as well. The big push is on!

    • Drumbeats for AR5. Lots of frightening press releases, E.g., Sandy. A cold front collides with a tropical storm at an unprepared location. Perfect.
      In the meanwhile, consult the Dutch for countermeasures.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      The big push is on!

      Time to trot out the good-lord Monckton, defender of science!

      • Interesting quote: “Monckton was removed from the 2012 UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, after impersonating a delegate from Myanmar in order to misleadingly claim that there has been “no global warming at all” for 16 years, obscuring the clear warming trend.” What clear 16 year trend are they referring to?

        I do not think Moncton is a martyr, just a mild hero. Richard Courtney did something mildly heroic like this at a COP many years ago by distributing one of my reports during a break. Skeptics are defenders of science but it is a hard job in this crazed context with people trying to restructure the global economy in their favor.

  24. “I have to wonder about Watson’s basis for all this certainty.”

    • A range of 2 to 7 degrees is “certainty”?

    • jacobress

      Remember, this is the same Robert Watson that told us (back in Kyoto) that “the science is settled”.

      That’s about the highest level of “certainty” I could imagine.


      • There is no credible source for that claim. You’re just despicable.

      • There is no instance of a climate scientist saying with respect to climate science that “the science is settled”. So rather than being honest about it, somebody from your side manufactures one on the internet and you roll with it as though it is fact. Your MO.

        Nobody can say what Feynman would say about your tactics. He’s dead. You hijacked a defenseless corpse. It’s how you roll.

      • Nonsense, the term the science is settled means settled enough to take extreme action on. Hansen clearly said this in 1988 and it has been clear dogma ever since. It does not mean there is no science left to do, which never happens. Most calls for action say the science is settled, in one rhetorical form or another. The exception is those who use an insurance analog.

      • manacker

        Let me modify that statement:

        “Remember, this is the same Robert Watson that is quoted to have told us (back in Kyoto) that “the science is settled”

        OK now?


      • JCH

        Regarding Feynman, yes he is no longer alive.

        But he has left us his words, and they are quite clear on verifying hypotheses with empirical evidence derived from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation.

        The CAGW hypothesis of IPCC has not yet been verified by such data, so it remains an uncorroborated hypothesis.until this happens.


      • JCH, check out:
        ‘Nuff said

      • JCH

        I do not believe that Robert Watson is “losing it” due to advancing age, so I take his claim of 7C warming from AGW by 2100 seriously enough to do a reality check on it.

        It does not pass this test, since it would mean (using IPCC’s model-based climate sensitivity) that CO2 would have to rise to a level of 1786 ppmv, a level that represents more than twice the amount of all the carbon contained in all the optimistically inferred remaining fossil fuels on Earth (WEC 2010).

        IOW this is either a grossly stupid error (hardly likely) or an obvious gross exaggeration, intended to frighten the uninformed listener.


      • The science is settled as far as fossil fuel reserves are concerned. There are a finite amount of reserves left so this is a no-brainer.
        No scientific theory could ever reverse this course of action.

        However, what happens if we use all the supplies of marginal quality hydrocarbons to generate the liquid fuels that our current global economy requires?

        What happens if the EROEI drops to 1.1 or thereabouts to generate the equivalent amount of liquid fuel from substandard existing sources? An EROEI investment of 1.1 would mean that we would burn the equivalent of 10 times the amount of fuel to get at a usable liquid equivalent.

        This is the Red Queen in action, running and producing faster and faster just to say in the same place.

        Think about the vast amounts of oil shale out there and the fact that this might be developed in a bootstrapped fashion. The bootstrapping accomplished by using the shale energy on itself to extract more of the oil. This is what is called marginal returns, and any capitalist knows how to take advantage of that.

        Grocery stores and supermarkets run on margins of less than 1%. Banks and high-speed Wall street traders on much less.

        Can you imagine a situation where the hydrocarbon EROEI is 1.1 and we emit 10X the amount of carbon per year but end up with the same amount of usable fuel to run the global economy. That is the systems view of the world, and it has absolutely nothing to do with science. We need energy to run the economy and we are getting to the bottom of the barrel where energy quality and density is concerned.

      • manacker, regarding Watson’s 7 degrees. At the upper end of the sensitivity (4.5 C per doubling), it only takes 823 ppm to get you 7 C.

      • Jim D

        You write:

        At the upper end of the sensitivity (4.5 C per doubling), it only takes 823 ppm to get you 7 C.

        C’mon Jim.

        How dumb do you think I am?

        Even at this ridiculous “upper end of sensitivity of 4.5C per doubling” would take 1156 ppmv CO2 by 2100 to reach 7C warming from today.

        That’s more CO2 than there is in all the optimistically estimated fossil fuels resources on our planet, Jim. It’s physically impossible!

        C0 = CO2 today = 393 ppmv
        C1 = CO2 in 2100 = 1156 ppmv
        C1/C0 = 2.942
        ln(C1/C0) = 1.0789
        dT (2xCO2) = 4.5C
        ln(2) = 0.6931

        dT (from today to 2100):

        = (4.5)*(1.0789) / (0.6931) = 7.0C

        Now you’ll probably pull another rabbit out of the hat, and tell me the warming is not “from today”, but from some hypothetical “pre-industrial” period back in 1850 or earlier.

        This is an absurd starting point, Jim, because we have already seen the warming we’ve already seen and are doing just fine (thank you), so it is no problem.

        But, OK, let’s play your silly game anyway.

        There has been 0.7C warming since the record started in 1850. So, if we include this warming, we only have an added warming of 6.3C.

        This gets us to 1037 ppmv by 2100. This is slightly higher that the amount of carbon that there is in all the fossil fuels left on our planet, Jim. There is no way that these will all be used up by 2100.

        And your 823 ppmv figure is pure BS. Do the math. Using the same arithmetic as below, 823 ppmv only gets us to 4.8C above today’s temperature. (Besides, as Brandon wrote, if you believe in a significant time lag, it would take even higher CO2 levels to reach a 7C warming.)

        C0 = CO2 today = 393 ppmv
        C1 = CO2 in 2100 = 1037 ppmv
        C1/C0 = 2.639
        ln(C1/C0) = 0.9703
        dT (2xCO2) = 4.5C
        ln(2) = 0.6931

        dT (from today to 2100):

        = (4.5)*(0.9703) / (0.6931) = 6.3C

        Face it, Jim.

        Watson’s horror prediction is a physical impossibility. It was simply intended to frighten gullible folks at Doha.

        And it sure as hell didn’t work with me.

        Did you fall for it?


      • I was going by “7 degrees warming from AGW” as you put it, which to me means from all of AGW. If it is 7 degrees in this century, that is over 1100 ppm CO2e, which would have to include the other GHGs and not much change in aerosols. This is within the bounds of the 8.5 W/m2 (total AGW) hypothesized upper-bound scenario being considered in the IPCC AR5.

      • Jim D

        However you slice it Jim, 7C warming is an absurd prediction, as I pointed out.

        Why Watson would state something so obviously exaggerated is beyond me.

        Is he getting desperate?

        Or did he think he could frighten some yoy-yos at Doha?

        Beats me.

        But it was a stupid move because it made him (and the “consensus” cats) look stupid. Don’t defend this idiocy or it will make you look less than bright.


      • Perhaps Watson has seen some AR5 projections for RCP8.5. I would not be surprised if that had 7 C in the envelope of possibility. Note that this is a higher CO2e than the pessimistic A2 scenario in AR4.

    • Web

      You are 100% right when you write that the fossil fuel resources of our planet are limited.

      WEC 2010 has made an estimate of all the inferred possible recoverable fossil fuel resources on our planet.

      The results are interesting.

      According to these estimates, we have used up around 15% of all the fossil fuels that were ever on our planet, leaving 85% to go.

      Now I know that there are other estimates that put the remaining fossil fuels somewhat lower, but let’s stick with the WEC figures.

      The first 15% got us from an estimated 280 ppmv to a measured 392 ppmv today (and added 112 ppmv).

      So the remaining 85% should get us to:

      392 + (0.85)*(112) / (0.15) = 1027 ppmv

      That’s all there is, Webby.

      That’s why I pointed out to Jim D that Watson’s prediction of 7C warming by 2100 is a physical impossibility, even at the ludicrous “upper limit of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 4.5C”, because it requires CO2 levels that are higher than this.

      As far as EROI is concerned, you can be sure that oil companies know this very well (and will not pour money down a hole if there is no profit in sight).


  25. “Its a good thing the climate scientists aren’t in charge of policy.”
    Big applause!

  26. A little humility in discussing climate might go a long way. Most contributors are absolutely sure they are right, and there are polar differences in conclusions. There are two possibilities: Either one side is wrong, or both sides are wrong, and there is not enough evidence to be certain. We may formulate the first and second laws of climate change:
    (I) If you have two climatologists (whatever that is), they differ significantly
    (II) They are both wrong
    For the 3,000th time, the issue is NOT whether human activity contributes to climate change, but rather how much?

    • “the issue is NOT whether human activity contributes to climate change, but rather how much”

      and who and where and how and why don’t forget.


    • Given that one side’s position is simply that the other side’s position is not proven it is not possible for both sides to be wrong.

      For the 3000th time it is not known that human activity contributes to global climate change. Locally yes via UHI, etc., but globally quite possibly not.

      • For the 3000th time it is not known that human activity contributes to global climate change. Locally yes via UHI, etc., but globally quite possibly not.

        This kind of statement tells nothing about the issue, it tells much about the person who presents it.

      • David Wojick

        Many “local” or “regional” human contributions to warming: by urbanization, land use changes, spurious warming signals from poorly sited weather stations, elimination of many sub-Arctic stations from the record, etc., would presumably end up as a “warming signal” in the global record. Some of these are real while some are only spurious measurement errors.

        So it is safe to say that these would all contribute to the recorded warming, whether they are real or not.

        The “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” is an artificial construct to start off with. It’s absolute value has no real meaning; the only thing that counts (assuming it’s not being manipulated) is its change over time.

        If this change can be shown to have been introduced by factors such as urbanization, adding buildings with AC exhausts near thermometers, changes in land use, elimination of stations, etc. then it is clear that some of the observed “warming” is anthropogenic but not GHG-related.

        I believe this is the case.

        And it is certain that NONE of these are in any way related to human GHG emissions.

        Unfortunately, this cause category (i.e. “non-GHG anthropogenic warming”) has been totally ignored (or rationalized away) by IPCC.


      • You forgot to mention the possibility of spurious cooling signals. Ie the possibility that warming in recent decades has actually been greater than the records show, or that warming in the past (eg the 1900-1950 warming) is overestimated making the recent warming anomalous.

      • Pekka

        Let’s just play the “devil’s advocate” for a minute.

        David Wojick’s statement

        it is not known that human activity contributes to global climate change. Locally yes via UHI, etc., but globally quite possibly not.

        can be debated.

        I’d say that any widespread local or regional human-caused warming that has nothing to do with GHGs (whether real or only a spurious measurement signal) would still end up showing up in the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” construct.

        The trick is to first identify and quantify the naturally occurring warming signal (see other posts) and then then to identify, quantify and separate these non-GHG related anthropogenic warming signals out in order to get a better picture of the anthropogenic signal from increased GHGs.

        IPCC has assumed that their combined impact is negligible, and has therefore ignored them.

        However, if one assumes that they = 0 (and they are not 0), one arrives at an exaggerated estimate of the anthropogenic GHG impact.

        I think that is the basic problem many skeptics have with the way IPCC has handled them.


      • lolwot

        What “spurious cooling signals” are you referring to?

        I’ve seen quite a bit of studies on “spurious warming signals”, but none of “spurious cooling signals”.

        Can you cite some studies?


      • Max,

        My comment was based on the very common observation that skeptics present exact absolute claims that are certainly false when taken as such. Backing up and interpreting them freely to mean only something in the same direction leaves open what they really mean.

        My impression is that It’s much less common for warmists to present equally absolute and exact statements (that happens also occasionally but not often).

        I agree often with David Wojick when the discussion is not directly on climate but very seldom when the climate is discussed. He presents time after time statements that I consider simply false when formulated as he typically formulates them.

      • Pekka, are you saying that my claim that we do not know if humans are changing the global climate is somehow absolute? Do you therefore consider the contrary claim that we do know that humans are changing the global climate to be somehow not absolute? It sounds absolute to me which is why I objected to it. How is it not absolute?

      • Pekka, bear in mind that the claim that we know something is a much stronger claim than that we do not. This is a fundamental epistemic distinction that is central to the debate. The warmers are making the questionably strong claim, not the skeptics.

      • Pekka

        David’s wording of the statement may have been different than I would have used (as I wrote above), but his key premise is that it is not fully known whether or not increased GHG concentrations resulting from human GHG emissions have caused a change in our global climate.

        I would have worded this differently, namely added the word “significant” prior to “change in our climate”.

        An “insignificant” change in the climate would not be possible to measure, so it would be difficult to substantiate with evidence either way.

        By adding the word “significant” I can both have something that can be substantiated or refuted plus cover the IPCC claim of “most of the warming since 1950”.

        But I think we are arguing semantics here, Pekka.


      • Max,

        When the most elementary part of the theory tells that the relevant scale is 1C for doubling of CO2 (relevant scale is not an estimate) and when we have also a warming history that fits well with a climate sensitivity higher than that value it’s absolute nonsense to say that we should not discuss the size of the effect but start to argue about it’s existence.

        That would be what’s rightly called denialism.

      • Pekka

        That’s where my position varies slightly from David’s

        I can accept that there is a GH effect and that CO2 is a GH gas that could have caused some warming in the past, BUT it is my conclusion that there is no empirical evidence to support the premise that AGW has been the principal cause for post 1950 warming, as IPCC postulates, and that it thus represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment unless GHG emissions are drastically curtailed, as IPCC posits.

        So David and I are both rationally skeptical of the above “CAGW” premise of IPCC.


      • Regardless of the past, it comes down to how certain a skeptic is of no significant effect in the future. This is what the debate should be about. Skeptics should express their level of certainty that temperatures won’t rise 3 or more degrees by 2100. However, they are in a bind here since they don’t believe in any certainty on principle which should include that in low sensitivity, but somehow doesn’t. You can see why it is hard to debate them with these self-contradictions in their stance.

      • The current state of capitalism is one of marginal returns.

        Everyone is trying to make money off of tight margins. This is seen in everything from grocery store chains to high-speed trading on Wall Street.

        The fear is that the same holds true with fossil fuel returns. There is a concept called EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). At one time this number was high, and we could expect high returns on energy from a minimal investment in a crude oil rig. So it didn’t take much money and energy to get an outlandish return on energy output.

        Nowadays that is no longer true. The EROEI is going towards unity with oil sources such as the tar sands and oil shale. So it takes a lot of fossil fuel such as natural gas to extract the valuable oil out of the ground.

        Yet, to the marginal capitalist, this doesn’t matter. The argument goes like this:

        So what if it takes 90% of the energy of the energy to extract what will provide a 100% source of liquid fuel to the customer? If the 90% is cheap and easily accessible, such as the natural gas in the tar sands of Canada, then it becomes an adequate marginal return on investment. These oil companies can still make money off these tight returns. They don’t care how much excess they burn as long as they make money off of the margins.

        But this has huge implications on carbon emissions. There is still a huge overhead on burning fossil fuels that don’t have any productive value other than to get at or convert to the more valuable liquid hydrocarbon fuel that our society needs to keep running.

        That is the hidden positive-feedback compensation that will tend to drown out the conservation measures that we are working toward.

        In an ideal world, we have to save our valuable liquid fuel “seed corn” for developing alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. We need to do this both the to save our skin when it comes to diminishing fuel supply and to prevent an explosion of carbon emissions yet to come.

        The government is the secret weapon, because they are not beholden to marginal returns. Every nation-state with nationalized oil companies knows this as they are protecting their seed corn by investing in alternative energy projects.

      • Jim D

        You’ve got it ass-backward.

        Someone proposing a hypothesis or premise is required to cite the evidence supporting this premise.

        Someone rationally skeptical of the premise does not need to cite a competing hypothesis – the skeptic simply can ask the one promoting the hypothesis to show the empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis (Feynman) as well as what it would take to falsify the hypothesis (Popper).

        Now to your specific question.

        Is 3C is reasonable estimate for year 2100 from GH warming (principally CO2)?

        IPCC models estimate a mean climate sensitivity of around 3C

        So this means atmospheic CO2 would have to reach 2×393 = 786 ppmv by 2100, provided the IPCC climate sensitivity estimate is correct.

        If we substitute the observed 2xCO2 temperature response since 1850, we would arrive at warming by 2100 of 0.8C to 1.5C (instead of 3C) with a doubling of CO2.

        So 3C is on the upper side of realistic provided the CO2 estimate is reasonable.

        Based on UN projections for world population and even if we assume a 50% increase in per capita fossil fuel consumption, we only arrive at around 600 ppmv by 2100 (IPCC cases B1 and A1T), so I do not believe that 786 ppmv by 2100 is reasonable.

        On this basis, IPCC’s CS gets us to 2.0C, while the observed CO2 temperature response gets us to 0.5C to 0.9C.

        So I’d say a range of 0.5C to a maximum of 2.0C (1.2C±0.7C) would be a reasonable estimate, NOT 3C.


      • manacker, OK, if we specify 3 degrees above pre-industrial, that would require 560 ppm at median climate sensitivity, and we should be at 560 ppm by about 2100 even if CO2 burning suddenly went flat at today’s value from now on. How certain would you be that 3 degrees above pre-industrial will not be attained by 2100, which includes your certainty about this CO2 scenario? To me, the evidence points somewhat higher than 3 C by then given what I think is a more realistic CO2 burn rate (with other feedbacks like albedo and methane possible).

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        WHT said:

        “Everyone is trying to make money off of tight margins.”

        No, not everyone. There are are some industries that remain very very profitable and that is proven by the record dividends they are paying.

      • Web

        It’s pretty logical to me that profit-driven “capitalist” corporations like hell, Exxon-Mobil, etc. will only pursue a capital investment project if it looks economically attractive. (A “state-owned” oil monopoly might see this differently for political reasons.)

        So if EROI is below 1 (i.e. it takes more energy to recover the fuel than it contains) it will be unlikely that the company will invest (exceptions could be if the energy used to extract the resource is no value “opportunity” energy, such as by-product natural gas, that would otherwise be flared, or if the recovered fuel has an especially high value – i.e. can be used with only minor refining for motor fuel or petrochemicals), but I’d guess that these will be “exceptions” rather than the rule.

        So the EROI problem will actually solve itself. Resources that are too energy intensive to recover will be left in the ground until less energy-intensive extraction technology can be developed.

        Don’t you think?


      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Jim D, if CO2 reaches 560 ppm at 2100, we can be almost certain temperatures won’t rise by three degrees by 2100. Don’t be like manacker and assume an instantaneous response.

      • Brandon, yes, in the unlikely event we are at only 560 ppm at 2100, 3 C won’t be a global average rise, probably just the land areas.

      • Jim D

        You’re pulling the old “switcheroo” on me here.

        We were discussing warming above today’s level (which is very comfy, thank you),

        NOT warming over some hypothetical “pre-industrial” level during the Little Ice Age (which was not so comfy).

        Depending on when you define “pre-industrial”, this is somewhere between 1750 and 1850 (when the global temperature record started), with 0.7C to maybe as much as 1C below today’s temperature.

        But past warming is silly to discuss – it’s already happened, it has brought no disadvantages and there is nothing we can do about it.

        So you are asking me whether or not warming of around 3C – 1C = 2C by 2100 would be reasonable.

        I’ve told you what I have concluded would be “reasonable”: 0.5C to 2.0C (max).

        And this will require CO2 level to increase to 600 ppmv by 2100, which is high, but also sounds reasonable.


      • Brandon

        I agree that, if one assumes a “time lag” as Hansen and others do, there would still be some of the warming “in the pipeline”.

        [To follow this more closely one would have to establish how much this “time lag” really is: Hansen 2005 assumes around 33 years (half of past warming still in the “pipeline”, half of the “forcing” occurred in 1972, estimate made in 2005), Pratt cites 15 years; what is it really?]

        I have simply assumed (for simplification – and without accepting any specific significant “time lag”) that the amount in the “pipeline” in 2100 would be the same as the amount in the “pipeline” today.



      • Max Manacker,

        Once again you are making up stuff.

        The EROEI will never go below unity=1 that is for certain.

        Yet it can go arbitrarily close to 1 for quite a long time and produce marginal returns.

        In the old days of freshly discovered crude oil reserves, the EROEI was over 30. That means we would use about 1/30 of the energy to produce a unit value of energy usable for other purposes.

        This number starts to go down to 2 and 3 for fossil fuels that are difficult to extract. For an EROEI of 2, this would mean we would “waste” 50% of that produced.

        Next, consider that we develop boot-strapping technology that allows the fossil fuel being recovered to power the process of extraction. That is essentially what is happening with mountain-top removal. We are using energy, in this case potential energy in the form of gravity, to allow us to get at all the stored energy of the coal, at still a reasonable and efficient rate. But what happens if we can use the embedded energy in the fuel underground to lift it out and then to process this energy? That’s what we will need to do for oil shale and deeper tar sands to make it viable. For tar sands, the boot-strapping source is natural gas.

        If you understand this, then you can see how much fossil fuels could be burned in short order. If the EROEI is 1.1 and the technology is viable, this would mean we could burn about 10x the amount of fuel just to be able to use one unit for running the economy.

        I am not in the policy business, but an interesting idea is to place a tax on poor hydrocarbon EROEI sources where the carbon emissions can’t be sequestered. This will protect the commons from a potential explosion of carbon emissions.

        This is the Red Queen in action, and something that Max Manacker does not consider, likely because it is counter to his agenda.

      • “I agree that, if one assumes a “time lag” as Hansen and others do, there would still be some of the warming “in the pipeline”.”

        That’s not an assumption, it is a reality.

        Lots of people understand this idea. It’s why it is recommended that you fill up your bathtub with water and occupy the bathroom if your heat is shut off during the winter (survival mode on and no other alternatives exist) .

        In this case, the extra heat in the pipeline comes from the water that will slowly disperse its stored thermal energy to the surrounding environment.

        It’s also why coastal areas stay cool during heat waves

        It’s also why your PC’s CPU doesn’t overheat immediately thanks to a heat sink. Vaughan Pratt covered this the other day..

        Why do you say it is a “square quote” assumption, rather than a factual premise?

        Is it because you want to keep the level of FUD high?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        manacker, you’ve repeatedly calculated climate sensitivity while assuming an instantaneous response, even after your error was pointed out. Not only that, but the assumption you describe now is beyond silly.

        So no, I’d say, things are not “OK.”

      • Pekka

        You are confusing my statement with that of David.

        I am not arguing against any AGW.

        I am simply saying that there is no empirical evidence for the CAGW premise (or hypothesis) of IPCC.

        So I believe we agree on that point.


      • Steven Mosher


        What exactly is CAGW? For the sake of discussion, lets say that it is the following. we are warming the planet and the consequences will be

        1. Humans are changing the atmosphere by adding GHGs
        2. Adding GHGs tends to warm the planet.
        3. If we add too many GHGs and warm the planet too much, there will
        be negative consequences.
        4. One possible negative consequence is a rise in sea level of over 2 meters.
        5. A sea level rise of 2 meters would be catastrophic for some people.

        Now, you say there is NO EVIDENCE for CAGW. is that true?

        We have evidence for #1, evidence for #2, evidence for #4 and #5
        The only thing people really disagree about is #3

        And even there, you should be able to see that all sides of the debate claim to have evidence. the issue isnt the lack of evidence, the issue is that No amount of evidence can convince people who refuse to consider the evidence with a open mind.

      • Brandon

        Yes. I have argued in the past that over a 150-year record it is likely that this “time lag”is a small percentage. In fact I assumed it was zero, but I’ll admit that could be wrong.

        And, more recently, when I calculated the observed 2xCO2 temperature response I tried to avoid calling it “climate sensitivity”.

        And when I calculated future warming, I also used this CO2 temperature response rather than trying to adjust it for “time lags”

        What is the “time lag”? Using a bit of circular logic,Hansen in 2005 estimated around 33 years with his “half of warming still hidden in the ‘pipeline'”. Pratt estimated 15 years. Do you have an estimate?

        In any case, it only makes Watson’s silly “7C by 2100” projection look more absurd if we build in a “time lag”.


      • Steven Mosher

        The IPCC “CAGW” premise as I understand it from AR4 has been described many times on this thread, so I won’t bother to repeat it here.

        Let’s go through your points and see where we agree.

        “we are warming the planet and the consequences will be catastrophic”

        “We are warming the planet”, yes.

        “The consequences will be catastrophic”. NO There is no empirical evidence to support this assertion; it is a conjecture.

        1. Humans are changing the atmosphere by adding GHGs

        2. Adding GHGs tends to warm the planet.

        3. If we add too many GHGs and warm the planet too much, there will be negative consequences. This is a loaded question. If you say “too many and too much” the answer is “yes”. But how many is “too many” and how much is “too much”? And there could also be positive consequences (winners and losers); in fact, they might outweigh the negative ones..

        4. One possible negative consequence is a rise in sea level of over 2 meters. “Possible”? Anything’s “possible” over the next millennium or so. “Likely in the next 250 years”? No evidence for that.

        5. A sea level rise of 2 meters would be catastrophic for some people. Not necessarily. If it happened over a period of several millennia , people would adapt to it. And there is no empirical evidence supporting the notion that it would happen more rapidly.(or at all, for that matter).

        So there is evidence for #1 and #2 and for half of the two lead-in points.

        #3 is a loaded question with the “too many” and “too much” posits. There is no evidence that we will add “too many” GHGs resulting in “too much” global warming.

        #4 is so worded that one cannot argue that it is “impossible” (over the next couple of millennia, for example). There is just no evidence that it constitutes a real threat over the next few hundred years.

        #5 depends on the time span. There is no evidence that the postulated 2m SL rise will occur over a time span that will make it unable for humans to adapt (by doing as the Dutch have been doing for centuries), IF and WHEN it should appear to be occurring..

        So we’ve got “evidence” for 3 out of 7 (counting the two points in the lead-in statement).

        The rest is conjecture.



      • Brandon Shollenberger

        manacker, you’ve jumped from one stupid assumption to another. That you seriously refer to “the ‘time lag'” makes it seem you have no idea what you are talking about. I cannot sensibly answer your question because it is built upon the silly premise that there is “a time lag.”

        A response function is not “a time lag.” This is basic stuff.

      • Brandon

        Don’t get all huffy.

        Climatologists have all sorts of weird and wonderful expressions.

        Vaughan Pratt wrote of Hansen’s 15 year “time lag”.

        Hansen referred to warming “in the pipeline”.

        Others refer to the lag in “reaching equilibrium”.

        I’m not a climateologist, but the concept of a time lag for reaching equilibrium makes sense to me as a chemical engineer, but Hansen’s quantification of the “pipeline” sounds like a bit of circular reasoning to me. However, maybe you want to take the time to explain it in simple terms, so I can understand.

        But now let me repeat so you understand the context.

        In the exchange I just had with Jim D, we were talking about warming expected to year 2100 from CO2 emissions.

        I pointed out that Watson’s 7C prediction was balderdash, to put it politely.

        II used the IPCC mean “climate sensiitivity” to calculate this.

        Jim D added some waffles: amountl of projected warming started 200 years ago, Watson’s projection doesn’t look so bad if you use IPCC’s upper limit for CS. He tossed out a grossly underestimated CO2 level that would allegedly achieve the 7C warming.

        I showed him that his estimate was wrong and, even using these weasel concepts, Watson’s estimate would require more CO2 than all the fossil fuels on our planet contain.

        You wrote that my calculation was incorrect, because a portion of the warming would still be “in the pipeline”.

        I pointed out that I had simply assumed that the amount that is “in the pipeline” today waiting to come out (0.6C according to AR4) was roughly equal to the amount that would still be “in the pipeline” in 2100, so that the error in calculating the warming by 2100 would be relatively small. And, at any rate, any warming still “in the pipeline” would make Watson’s ridiculous “7C by 2100” forecast even more absurd.

        This was obviously a canard on Watson’s part. Since he is a pretty smart guy (I am sure), I can only assume it was a conscious attempt at fear mongering.

        Another thing I find totally absurd is the notion that one should worry about “warming since industrialization started”. The roughly 1C warming we’ve seen since “industrialization started” has been partly natural and partly anthropogenic, with no good agreement on this split.

        We’ve already seen that warming and it hasn’t hurt us one iota (thank you), so why count it in the “warming to 2100” projection?

        Only one reason. Fool the folks. (The average guy hears “7C warming” and he thinks this means “warming starting today” NOT “warming starting some hypothetical time of the past prior to industrialization”, back in the Little Ice Age, when climate was harsher than today.)

        So let’s cap this discussion off.

        It’s not going anywhere (unless you want to explain the reasoning behind the quantification of the “pipeline” to me).


      • Brandon Shollenberger


        Don’t get all huffy.

        If we’re going to start posting imperatives, here’s one for you: Don’t assume people pointing out stupidity do so out of offense or annoyance.

        Vaughan Pratt wrote of Hansen’s 15 year “time lag”.

        Hansen referred to warming “in the pipeline”.

        Others refer to the lag in “reaching equilibrium”.

        You just listed three lines as describing the same thing despite the fact they don’t. The second and third have little bearing on the first. What Vaughan Pratt did was try to find a way to shift curves so he could ignore the complexity of response functions. It’s gross simplification with no physical basis that could only (theoretically) work under limited circumstances.

        That you say this is the same thing as what Hansen and others refer to when discussing response functions is absurd. It strongly suggests you don’t know what you’re talking about. Regardless of what one believes about Pratt’s value, it is certainly not what people are talking about when they discuss “reaching equilibrium.”

        Only one reason. Fool the folks. (The average guy hears “7C warming” and he thinks this means “warming starting today” NOT “warming starting some hypothetical time of the past prior to industrialization”, back in the Little Ice Age, when climate was harsher than today.)

        This is bull. The reason to talk about the change in temperature since pre-industrial times is having a baseline is useful. Any time we want to discuss a change in a system, it is easiest to refer back to prior to when the change began. That’s especially true in a complex system with noise and time-dependent effects, such as the Earth’s climate.

        So let’s cap this discussion off.

        With you making things up about simple concepts and accusing people (including me) of rampant dishonesty. Sounds like a plan.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        For those who didn’t read the earlier thread and comments by Vaughan Pratt, the “time lag” he talks about is explained here.

        Basically, when net forcings change, it takes a while for the Earth’s temperature to respond. That makes sense. We don’t expect things to react instantaneously. Wrap a blanket around you, and it takes a while for it to heat up. Put a second blanket on top, and it again takes a little while to get the additional heat. Earth’s climate is similar.

        What Pratt decided to do is try to bypass the complexities of this delay. To do this, he took temperatures and matched them to changes in forcings in the past. As in, the temperature now matches the change in forcing 15 years ago. The hope is by shifting his temperature curve by 15 years, he’ll “account for” the delayed temperature reaction to change in forcings.

        In other words, he’s trying to account for the delay in warming when you put a blanket over you by fiddling with a time variable. It could be reasonably accurate under some circumstances, but it’s not actually a measurement of anything.

        (In the blanket example you’d have to keep adding blankets for his approach to be remotely accurate. A single blanket, equivalent to a step-change in forcing, couldn’t possibly be handled by his approach.)

    • On the contrary Pekka, the claim that humans are changing the global climate so it is merely a question of how much is seriously misleading at best. That this is known is false. My disagreement thus goes to the heart of the issue.

      • David,

        I consider that statement to be true beyond any doubt.

        (Here I’m ready to make an absolute claim, because the statement that I consider to be true is so self-evident that I cannot understand how anyone can disagree.)

        I can add that it’s also a clear fact that the present knowledge of physics tells that the most likely size of that effect is far from negligible. That can be concluded from physics that has been confirmed really strongly by solid theory and innumerable empirical observations.

        That the scale given by solid science is such does not prove that the final effect is as large but it is enough to prove that the only reasonable way of formulating the question is asking about the size of the effect, not about it’s existence. Denying so solid facts is just stupid den… – or purposeful attempt to confuse.

      • What global climate change caused by humans do you consider so solid and settled Pekka? I know of none.

      • Pekka, you write “That can be concluded from physics that has been confirmed really strongly by solid theory and innumerable empirical observations.”

        We have been through this before. In the past I have asked you for references to this empirical data, and you have never provided any. What is this empirical data, and where can I find it?

      • Nothing more is needed than basic theory of interaction of radiation with matter and thermodynamics. In addition a few empirical observations are useful, but on that side it’s enough to know even roughly the temperature profile of the atmosphere.

        That’s enough to tell the scale for the radiative forcing and the temperature change that corresponds to the forcing. This is the basis that is not disputed by any serious physicist. It’s not disputed by any of the skeptic climate scientists either. I don’t count as serious physicists or climate scientists those those who don’t accept the validity of the standard undergraduate level textbook physics.

      • Pekka

        There is empirical evidence that it has warmed over the past 150 years (ignoring any errors in the record).

        There is no doubt that humans are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion; there are good estimates of how much this is

        There is empirical evidence since Mauna Loa measurements started in 1959 (if we accept that these are globally representative) that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen (by roughly half the amount emitted by humans)

        There is empirical laboratory information on the LW absorbing properties of CO2 (water and other GHGs) to tell us that these are GH gases. Based on these data, a theoretical 2xCO2 forcing has been estimated: this corresponds to a theoretical warming of around 1C of our atmosphere (all other things being equal)

        We also have lots of satellite measurements since the late 1970s) of heat fluxes, sea ice extent, sea level (SL) rise, etc. – this is good background info to confirm that is has been warming.

        So that’s the extent of the empirical data.

        We also have the GH theory, model simulations, interpretations of rather dicey paleo climate proxy data from selected periods of our planet’s distant past, etc.

        From all this, the scientists cited by IPCC have constructed the “consensus” premise of IPCC, which has been called the “CAGW” premise.

        It postulates that:
        – most of the warming after 1950 was caused by AGW
        – the mean 2xCO2 climate sensitivity is 3.2C
        – this means that we can project future GH warming of 1.1C to 6.4C by 2100
        – this warming will cause increased heavy rains and floods, droughts, heat waves, tropical cyclones and extreme high sea levels
        – this warming will also result in several adverse effects to our environment, extinction of species, increased vector borne diseases, crop failures, glacier disappearance, water shortages, etc.
        – UNLESS we dramatically curtail emissions of GHGs (principally CO2)

        But what is missing is empirical evidence to support this “CAGW” premise.


      • This exchange between Pekka, David W and Max A ihas been most interesting and informative for me and I’m sure, many others as well. The lack of ad hominens and verbal abuse is a breath of fresh air. I agree with Max A that there are human impacts on climate but the extent is not known.

        Pekka’s basic physics however, is an oversimplification of a non-equilibrium dynamical and very complex collage of systems and that classical reductionism will not work as a means of analysis and/or prediction.

      • Max, in the context of the debate an insignificent effect is no effect. This is very important. Every breath I take removes oxygen and adds CO2 but I am not changing the atmosphere. It is a misleading sophistry to say otherwise which is what the warmers do.

      • Pekka, you are confusing your beliefs with scientific certainty. This matter is clearly debatable because it is widely debated.

      • Pekka said, “That’s enough to tell the scale for the radiative forcing and the temperature change that corresponds to the forcing.”

        So at the TOA which is actually near the Top of the Troposphere, radiant physics allows us to accurately calculate the temperature impact on a surface of approximately 255K degrees to an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees. What if you choose a different frame of reference, the surface where we are actually concerned with temperature for example, The impact of the change in radiant forcing produces a change of approximately 0.5 to 1.0 degrees +/- about 1.0 degrees.

        So the sound combination of radiant physics and thermodynamics is selecting a frame of reference in an unstable portion of the system and anyone that selects a more stable surface frame of reference is “WRONG” per Pierrehumbert and “sensitivity” is limited to the boundaries arbitrarily selected by the radiant physics/physicists.

        Now, even though the majority of newer data and methods are producing “sensitivities” in the range of 0.5 to 2.0 C, since the radiant physics/physicists have models based on an arbitrary frame of reference that consistently indicates that there is the possibility of warming greater than 2.0 C, the population of the world’s fate is in the hands of “scientists” that actually have the gonads to publish that the slope of the temperature change from 1997 to 2012 is 0.034C +/- 0.011 when the data set they use has an optimistic range of error of +/-0.1 C anomaly with an approximate accuracy of +/-2 C in terms of absolute temperature. Since it is the absolute temperature that determines the effective radiant energy of the true surface that would interact with the arbitrarily selected radiant “surfaces”, would being skeptical of the application of the radiant physics and thermodynamics be allowed?

      • capt.d., you have only demonstrated why decadal trends make no sense in a noisy climate. Look long-term for your answers, like Vaughan Pratt did (and Girma tried to do with less success using his linear mis-fit).

      • JimD, “capt.d., you have only demonstrated why decadal trends make no sense in a noisy climate.” Actually I demonstrated that the inmates are in charge of the asylum. A representative of the MET office stated that range of error to 95% confidence level. What I have been trying to demonstrate is that century scale trends make no sense in a noisy climate.

      • David,

        I’m not confusing anything. There is a real set of information that I call undergraduate textbook physics. There’s no significant controversy on its content and validity (that’s certainly true for all that’s needed in this connection even if there may be some controversies on the edge of the knowledge in some other areas like questions about dark energy and dark matter).

        That’s the physics I’m talking about. The second part was some empirical knowledge of the atmosphere on a very rough and general level. There should not be the least controversy on that.

        The rest is elementary analysis. For same part the analysis cumbersome as the spectral data is complex. Thus the analysis cannot be done without the help of computers but very many people have done the analysis at variable level of detail. There’s no question on the reliability of that work at the level needed here.

        All that is something that is known very well and verified thoroughly. Claiming that trust in such knowledge is just my belief is a statement that goes beyond reason. That can be stated only by someone who doesn’t know at all what physics is about or someone who is not sincere.

        If you really don’t know that much about physics after being involved with climate issue so long then that appears possible only trough a conscious effort to avoid learning things that contradicts your chosen goals.

      • Pekka is waffling. The way things ought to work, is that the sort of things he says need to be done, have been done, and the warmists claim that as CO2 is added to the atmosphere, this should cause global temperatures to rise at a rate considerably in excess of the rate of 0.06 C per decade; a rate which has been observed since we had decent records starting around 1850. This rate of increase has possibly been going on ever since the LIA; we just dont have the data to show that.

        If CAGW were actually happening, then what ought to happen is that the empirical data should show that the rate of rise of global temperatures is in excess of 0.06 C per decade; since we have been adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate that has not occurred in recorded history. This has not happened. This is the empirical data that is required to demonstrate that CAGW is real. This is the empirical data that Pekka seems to sort of claim is there, but never produces. All that Pekka is doing is restating the appeal to authority that has been discredited before. All Pekka is really saying is “Trust me, I know what I am talking about”.

      • David

        I realize it’s basically semantics but there is a substantive difference between “no warming” and “no significant warming”.

        The first is very difficult to determine: 0.0001C global warming from AGW could exist, but no one would ever see or feel it. So it’s not “falsifiable”

        The second is easier to defend, because it puts the onus on the CAGW supporter (in this case Pekka) to cite specific empirical data that show a significant (i.e. measurable) warming from AGW, which he is unable to do.


      • Jim Cripwell, it is a common error to use a linear 0.06 C per decade when the actual CO2 addition is accelerating, meaning that the warming rate is accelerating. The last ten years was 0.15 C warmer than the previous ten, and this is only increasing with each decade. Back in 1850 CO2 was being added at a rate less than 5% of the rate now, so the warming back then would not have been noticeable and far short of 0.06 C per decade. I am fairly sure the skeptics using the 0.06 C figure are not understanding this perhaps too subtle point.

      • “what ought to happen is that the empirical data should show that the rate of rise of global temperatures is in excess of 0.06 C per decade”

        it does

      • Jim,

        You are mispresenting me.

        I have tried to be very careful in discussing only issues that are presently known very well, beyond reasonable doubt. All these are issues on which scientists like Lindzed, Spencer, Christy and Pielke Sr. agree. They are also things about which Judith said that she doesn’t listen to people who don’t agree on them.

        I have said nothing about CAGW. I have even left open whether the climate sensitivity is more than 1C (or more than 0.5C, if you wish) for doubling of CO2.

        I have only stated that the well known physics tells that changes in radiative energy transfer are unavoidable with increasing CO2, that well known physics tells approximately the forcing (for my argument we don’t need to agree on 3.7W/m2, agreeing that the value is likely to be more than 2W/m2 would be enough). From that we can apply Stefan-Boltzmann law. We need not transfer the warming to the surface from the effective radiative temperature for my argument to be valid.

        We can apply excessive safety margins at every step, and my argument is still valid: We know that the effect exists and we know a appropriate scale for considering it.

      • In my above message “Jim” refers to Jim Cripwell, not Jim D.

      • Pekka, I figured that. I have learned to check for other Jims in the thread when seeing responses. You don’t have such issues with your name.

      • Jim D.

        You can forget trying to explain to Jim Cripwell Anything whatsoever fitting straight lines to collections of points. He is ignorant and worst than that doesnt even know that he doesnt know. I’ve tried. BBD has tried. he refuses to read sources you point him at. He is stuck on stupid and not worth engaging.

      • Pekka, you write “I have said nothing about CAGW. I have even left open whether the climate sensitivity is more than 1C (or more than 0.5C, if you wish) for doubling of CO2.”

        Fair enough. Do you agree that the climate sensitivity could be less than 0.5 C for a doubling of CO2? Do you agree that the climate sensitivity could, in fact, be indistinguishable from zero?

      • Yes, Steve, I just look for some kind of acknowledgement that they understand the simple points about linear fits, but they usually just disappear at that stage, only to pop up later with the same stupid fit.

      • JimD, here ya go,

        Their estimate is a little higher than mine, but they are at least peer reviewed. That still doesn’t include the underlying trend from circa 1600 that I believe has an underestimated impact.

      • capt. d., they are looking at a potential future deforestation for a given GHG scenario. Sure 50% deforestation leads to more albedo and a cooling effect, but don’t you think it may also lead to higher CO2 levels? Are you suggesting the deforestation we had already is hiding some of the CO2 effect on warming? I don’t completely understand why you point to this paper.

      • JimD, You have to consider the cumulative impact of a couple thousand years of deforestation and land use. If you compare the Holocene CO2 changes to the previous interglacials, there is more of a continuation or rise in the Holocene CO2 as measured in EPICA cores.

        That just looks at the last 150k years, but none of the transitions are the same, different regions and depths have different responses to forcing. The NH is more responsive to obiliquity and land impacts and the SH more precessional ocean oscillations. CO2 tends to respond to both.

      • Jim D

        Gotta call you again on a statement you just made

        Jim Cripwell, it is a common error to use a linear 0.06 C per decade when the actual CO2 addition is accelerating, meaning that the warming rate is accelerating. The last ten years was 0.15 C warmer than the previous ten, and this is only increasing with each decade.

        The “warming rate is obviously NOT accelerating” (even though the CO2 addition is).

        Over the 1980s and 1990s the “warming rate” was 0.15C per decade.

        Over the 2000s the “warming rate” was zero.

        And over the period 1910 to 1944 the “warming rate” was also 0.15C per decade.

        No “acceleration in the warming rate” there, Jim.


      • manacker, the warming rate now is over twice the century average, and recent decades have had consistently high warming rates. Should each decade warm more quickly than the previous, or should we just take 30-year spans to prove the acceleration more easily? This is quite arbitrary. Even this so-called stalled warming has produced a record decade by 0.15 degrees over the previous one, little recognized by skeptics who are a little myopic when looking back (or forwards).

  27. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    Judith Curry:

    I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.


    I have to wonder about Watson’s basis for all this certainty.

    These two statements deserve close attention.
    They explain each other beautifully.

  28. Judith Curry

    Lots of good stuff there.

    Here are my comments:

    1. Agree with you that AGU should NOT become an activist group (we’ve got enough of these and need some impartial, objective scientists out there instead of activists).

    2. Science is “sexy”. True. But “agenda driven pseudo-science is not. Gotta keep it clean and objective (back to your first comment).

    3. Sir Robert Watson is an avowed CAGW activist. For him “the science was settled” way back in Kyoto. So when he projects 2° to 7°C warming by year 2100, I do a quick “sanity check” on his numbers

    Based on IPCC’s mean 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimate of 3.2°C, it would take a calculated CO2 level of 1786 ppmv to reach the 7°C level, so this is obviously an absurd level which does not pass the “sanity test”, since this increase exceeds by a factor of two all the optimistically estimated remaining fossil fuel reserves of our planet [Watson should get out there and check his assumptions before he makes absurd predictions.]

    The 2°C warming above today by 2100 would make sense at 604 ppmv CO2, using IPCC’s climate sensitivity

    However, based on the observed long-term CO2 temperature response of the past 160 years a level of 604 ppmv would only cause warming of between 0.5°C and 0.9°C, so I would think the 2°C estimate is a “high side” estimate.

    So let’s adjust Watsons estimate to 0.5°C to 2.0°C to get some sanity into the projection. [This takes the “C” out of “CAGW”.]

    4. Agree with you that Drew Shindell makes sense as far as reducing real near-term air pollution from CH4/CO/particulate carbon (PC) by applying existing simple technology.

    He shows good economic impact from CH4 measures. Simple technology for reducing BC (and NOx) pollution from diesel emissions exists today. For CO and BC emissions from cook-top stoves (in underdeveloped countries) it’s a matter of providing a reliable low-cost alternate source of energy. This is more of a health issue than a classical air pollution problem, but the costs to solve the problem are relatively low.

    Shindell made an interesting comment that these measures would give a better near term climate impact than reducing CO2, which is not working today. At the end of his presentation this raised some questions from the audience whether or not these actions would detract from CO2 abatement efforts (a “turf fight” for funding in the making?), but he handled the question very tactfully, reiterating that CO2 has the largest impact on global climate long term.

    5. No comment on Ray Pierrehumbert’s presentation

    6. Your presentation on the impact of declining sea ice on northern snowfall is interesting. As I understand it, the recent NH snow cover and sea ice anomalies (2007-2010) suggest that snow cover appears to increase as sea ice decreases (which I suppose would be a negative feedback to surface albedo). You describe how this hangs together.

    When I look at the long-term NH winter snow cover record, I do not see a downward trend, so this seems to make sense long-term as well.

    The tie of variations in Arctic sea ice and Eurasian snow cover to winter weather in the USA and Europe is interesting, and I suppose could be used to improve winter season weather forecasts.

    You add that more work is needed (back to the 1930s) and that sure makes sense.

    7. Your “best poster” award on “Bunch Black Swans” in models by Nicholas Watkins et al. – no comment

    So there were some interesting presentations there.

    From Watson’s talk it appears that while certainty is down, the projected disastrous impacts are up. 7°C warming is even higher than the upper limit of IPCC’s highest AR4 projection of 6.4°C, so are we seeing an escalation of the “C” in “CAGW” to keep the fear factor alive?


  29. “JC’s best poster award

    […] I was particularly struck by one of the posters in the Nonlinear Geoscience group:

    “Bunched Black Swans” in Complex Geosystems: Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to the Additive and Multiplicative Modelling of Correlated Extreme Bursts

    Nicholas W Watkins, Martin Rypdal, Ola Lovsletten”

    Semantics …

    This reminds me that cross-disciplinary communication improves as we become more familiar with each others’ languages.

    The researchers refer to:
    a) “bunched volatility”
    b) “joseph effect”

    They illustrate a “shuffle”.

    A narrative on the following could easily be reframed around these terms:
    (from semi-annual LOD)
    (from annual LOD)

    It’s simply (1) solar and (2) lunisolar bunching with ENSO-shuffling unshuffled.

    There’s a 1/4 cycle (3.2 year) phase shift in the lunisolar pattern that’s coincident with the ~1998 oblateness shift Ben Chao illustrates here:

    Chao, B.F. (2006). Earth’s oblateness and its temporal variations. Comptes Rendus Geoscience 338, 1123-1129. doi:10.1016/j.crte.2006.09.014.

    The phase shift indicates a simple change in the dominating direction of persistent mass flow.

    Livina & Lenton’s methods (although accidentally misapplied elsewhere) could be modified to detect the same patterns. There are dozens of other approaches.

    The concert of the decadal solar & lunisolar patterns is evident in the Indian Ocean Dipole. (see next paragraph)

    When time & resources permit, I will illustrate that existing observations can take our collective understanding of aggregate constraints to a whole new level.

    Best Regards.

    E. Wyatt+ 2011 Figure 4:

    Next Up …

  30. Steven Mosher

    Poster on Adjusting land temperatures.

  31. John Robertson

    Thanks Judith, if I read you right, the certainty of the advocates is inversely proportional to the supporting data. Or is that certainty exponentially proportional to their loss of credibility with the taxpayer?

  32. David Springer

    We had keggers in high school with more than 20,000 people.

    For many years I attended Comdex and Consumer Electronics Show every year with 200,000 and 100,000 people each, respectively. Those were big. You couldnt’ get a room in Vegas without booking way in advance. One year I drove out with no room booked and finally found a fleabag with a vacancy. It had no phone in the room. I had never before or since seen a motel room with no phone. This was back in late 1970’s or early 1980’s so no cell phones. When I called my wife that night I had to call from a pay phone. She seemed a bit incredulous about no phone in the room. :-)

  33. Max, like many here, Iin the late 90s I believed the apocolypse
    message on CAGW, canards, swans, gators,polar bears the lot!
    Started plantin’ trees, then started readin’.to find out HOW BAD
    IT WAS …and came across Dr Evans ‘Hot Spot’ and more…careful
    to avoid oil shills and marxist environment. Behavior of climate
    scientists, (thx ter Steve MC and Steve Mosher,) political cui bono
    and fuzzy evidence led me to a change of view. This article reveals
    the politicization of the science I say.

    • Beth

      Thanks for posting the link to that excellent essay on WUWT on the birth of the IPCC “consensus process” at Madrid 1995. It gives a good chronological summary of how – and why – climate science got suborned by the political agenda and, thereby, corrupted.

      Like you, I first accepted the IPCC reports as factual science.

      Guess I was a “slow starter”. For me it wasn’t until three things happened that the light really came on: Al Gore’s “AIT” film, with all its obvious exaggerations and distortions, the “hockey shtick” saga and all the media ballyhoo surrounding the AG4 WG1 SPM report in early 2007.

      Like many skeptics, I was angered at first for having been duped and (I guess) reacted emotionally rather than rationally. But, as time has gone by and I’ve had the chance to check the literature out there more closely, my initial anger has been replaced by puzzlement that so many people could fall for such obviously hysterical “doomsday” scenarios and astonishment that so many scientists and scientific organizations would sell out to the “we must act now” politicians and climate lobbyists..

      So I’ve become a “rational skeptic”. I’ll look for empirical evidence, try to check the logic and challenge the numbers, before I accept any claims or predictions.

      So far I’ve found that the “CAGW” premise is so full of holes that it is relatively easy to refute – unfortunately, it has been so constructed to be non-falsifiable: even if all the claims and predictions made turn out to be wrong, there is always a rationalization possible to keep the dogma alive (did you ever debate with a strict creationist?).

      Bit it’s fun debating with CAGW believers, anyway – because it’s interesting for me to see what is motivating them by how they act and react..

      Changing the subject, I’m still waiting for your next poetic Climate-Christmas ditty.

      Luv’ them purty po’ms!


      • “So far I’ve found that the “CAGW” premise is so full of holes that it is relatively easy to refute – unfortunately, it has been so constructed to be non-falsifiable”

        you’ve just claimed it’s easy to falsify and unfalsifiable without blinking.

      • lolwot

        you’ve just claimed it’s [CAG] easy to falsify and unfalsifiable without blinking.

        No. I did not say that. You have misunderstood.

        I have written that it is easy to “refute” the CAGW premise (with logic and data), but it is impossible to “falsify ” it (as it is conceived).

        “Refute” means to me to argue against, presenting evidence which conflicts with the hypothesis (“work in progress”), while “falsify” means to provide the evidence to definitely demonstrate that a hypothesis is false beyond doubt and can be rejected (end of hypothesis).

        Let me ‘splain:

        Ten (or fifteen) years of “no warming” despite unabated human GHG emissions and GHG concentrations reaching record levels raises serious questions about the validity of the CAGW premise of IPCC (i.e. if the premise says it “should have” warmed by 0.2C/decade, but in fact it did not warm at all, is there something wrong with the premise?),


        There are published studies, which attempt to rationalize away this “lack of warming” as “noise” from natural variability or warming hidden in the deep ocean or Chinese aerosols or shifts in ENSO patterns or “what have you” that are masking the true underlying GH warming signal.

        When asked “how many years of no warming despite unabated GHG emissions would it take for the CAGW premise to be falsified”, the answer comes back that no matter how many years there were, CAGW would still not be falsified.

        That’s not science, lolwot.

        It’s dogma.


      • It’s like asking how many years of no nuclear bomb detonated in a major city by terrorists does it take to falsify the threat of Catastrophic Nuclear Terrorism.

        Well go on, how many?

        And if you can’t come up with a number, well the idea of terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons must be dogma and no threat at all.

        CAGW is a threat, not a hypothesis.

      • lolwot

        Let me correct that for you

        “CAGW is a postulated threat, not a hypothesis.

        The threat (the “C” in “CAGW”) is “postulated” based on theoretical considerations (model simulations, etc.) rather than empirical scientific evidence, ergo it is “hypothetical” – and can be referred to as a “hypothesis”

        So far it has not been validated by empirical evidence (Feynman), so it remains an “uncorroborated” hypothesis.

        There are questions about whether or not it is being falsified (Popper) as we speak by the facts on the ground.


      • lolwot

        To your other OT point:

        The threat from terrorism is real; there is real evidence every day demonstrating this

        There is real empirical evidence that nuclear weapons exist. Many of the post Cold War weapons are still around, most are (hopefully) accounted for. Simply “dirty bombs” are not that hard to construct.

        So the empirical evidence tells us that threat from “nuclear” terrorism is real.

        There is no such empirical evidence telling us that the threat from CAGW is real.


      • There’s no question CAGW is a real. If the Earth’s climate is significantly altered, either through raised CO2 or by some other mad geo-engineering scheme, there is a genuine risk of catastrophic side effects. The threat is real.

        Unless you can prove the precise effects that the CO2 geo-engineering scheme will have on the biosphere you can’t disprove the threat.

      • “Many of the post Cold War weapons are still around, most are (hopefully) accounted for. Simply “dirty bombs” are not that hard to construct. So the empirical evidence tells us that threat from “nuclear” terrorism is real.”

        How is the threat falsifiable? How many years without a nuclear bomb exploding does it take until the threat of nuclear terrorism is falsified?

        If it can’t be falsified then it can’t be a real threat right? That’s how it works isn’t it?

      • lolwot

        Your logic is flawed on whether or not terrorism is a threat. It is a real threat today.

        Whether the terrorist uses nukes (including simple dirty bombs) or airliners is a moot point – he’ll use whatever he can get his hands on (so we’d better make sure he doesn’t get nukes or airliners).

        There is no comparison with this real proven threat and the CAGW premise.


      • Do you now see that threats don’t have to be falsifiable to be real?

        Nuclear terrorism is a real threat but is not falsifiable.

        CAGW can be a real threat without needing to be falsifiable.

      • lolwot

        Do you see now that your analogy between terrorism and CAGW was flawed?

        [Terrorism is happening in real life daily, CAGW is only happening in the virtual reality of climate models.]

        If not, I can’t help you.


      • I’ll repeat: Do you now see that threats don’t have to be falsifiable to be real?

        If you claim all threats must be falsifiable to be real then you must admit the threat of nuclear terrorism isn’t real.

      • lolwot

        I have pointed out to you several times why your analogy between CAGW and terrorism is a poor one.

        I have also pointed out to you that I never said “threats need to be falsifiable to be real”.

        Terrorism is not a hypothesis, but a physical observation; and terrorists use any means at their disposal; so far nukes (incl. dirty bombs) have not been at their disposal (and let’s hope good nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism programs keep it that way).

        CAGW as posited by IPCC is a hypothesis rather than a physical observation.

        I simply stated the Popper principle that a scientific hypothesis should be falsifiable to be a valid scientific hypothesis..

        The “CAGW hypothesis” as posited by IPCC should be “falsifiable” to meet this criterion, but I cannot get anyone to tell me how it could be falsified.

        I’m told that even if the past decade’s lack of warming were to continue for an infinite number of years despite continued unabated GHG emissions and levels rising to new record levels, this would apparently not “falsify” the CAGW hypothesis.

        So I have concluded that this hypothesis is not a scientific hypothesis, but rather dogma (which can never be falsified).


  34. Out of your list, I saw Bob Watson and Ray Pierrehumbert.

    I didn’t enjoy Bob’s very much – it was too general and scattershot for me, with a few questionable things said. I didn’t find him too convincing.

    I thought Pierrehumbert’s was excellent, a very enjoyable story put together with solid and clear references to actual science. Top stuff.

    • Pierrehumbert’s talk is much about the history of CO2 science. It is surprisingly interesting even as it covers a lot of familiar ground. Pierrehumbert maintains a tolerable velocity of new info by speaking very rapidly and by salting dry info with wry comments.

  35. Judith,

    I enjoyed the straight forward treatment of uncertainty in your talk at the AGU and/b> I greatly enjoyed the pleasure of meeting you for the first time in person.

    It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some CAGW activism, but I was profoundly surprise at the almost complete lack of open skepticism . . . . if skepticism was there it was incognito . . . . at least to me . . .


    • Oops, sorry I messed up the bold html commands . . . . : )


    • John,

      It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some CAGW activism, but I was profoundly surprise at the almost complete lack of open skepticism . . . . if skepticism was there it was incognito . . . . at least to me . . .

      That’s a pretty sorry state of affairs. It suggests there were no real scientists in attendance. Or if they were, they were too scared to speak. Does that mean no scientists were present?

      How can we trust anything these guys say if they are simply parroting beliefs handed down from the high priests?

      • Peter Lang,

        There were ~20,000 attendees of whom most were involved scientists.

        I doubt Most areas were not directly connected (if connected at all) to the activism of warming from anthropogenic CO2.

        My surprise was of few public counter voices to the expressed very public activism in the Atmospheric Science and Global Environment sections.

        I am still very optimistic about the existing strong general culture’s evolution toward balance in climate science, the AGU activist sections to the contrary not withstanding. : )


      • Correction to my comment a moment ago.

        Revised paragraph:

        “I think most areas were not directly connected (if connected at all) to the activism of warming from anthropogenic CO2.”


    • The Skeptical Warmist

      John Whitman said:

      “It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some CAGW activism, but I was profoundly surprise at the almost complete lack of open skepticism…”


      If you’re talking about skepticism toward AGW, then this is not surprising at all as the science is so very solid in this regard, that very few professional scientists (who don’t have strong political or religious leanings) doubt that humans are warming the planet over the long run.

      • The Skeptical Warmist said
        on December 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

        If you’re talking about skepticism toward AGW, then this is not surprising at all as the science is so very solid in this regard, that very few professional scientists (who don’t have strong political or religious leanings) doubt that humans are warming the planet over the long run.

        – – – – – – –

        The Skeptical Warmist,

        Appreciate your thoughts.

        I am surprised at the lack of expression of skepticism at the AGU meeting of the controversially selective (cherry picked) research that continues to form the basis of the assessed science products of the politicized IPCC. Those IPCC products being the questionable basis for catastrophic AGW claims.

        Does skepticism of that exist in significance and is it expanding within the scientific community? It appears to be so. But no hint of it at the AGU meeting. Why? It seems to me there is an organizational flaw in a scientific body like the AGU where obvious and significant skeptical parts of the community appear not to be reasonable represented.

        Does it have a cause in the AGU’s leadership deciding for all its members (inappropriately) that the science is settled?


  36. I liked this AGU Poter

    PA13A-1986: When the circus comes to town: Countering campus presentations on climate denial

    “Our experience, based on a visit by Christopher Monckton to Union College, is that the attention and publicity surrounding such events can have a positive impact by raising the profile of climate science and engaging a wider audience than would otherwise be possible. The principle lesson from our experience is that our students are some of the most effective counters to such presentations by climate change deniers.”

    • Unfortunately he uses the skeptics versus science fallacy but his conclusion that skeptics may be better communicators is interesting. But then skepticism is easier to defend because a debate implies debatability.

    • Max_OK

      Yeah. A desperate cry in the dark.

      The Kyoto quacker is slowly dying in Doha.

      Oh, but there’ll be a statement of intent and agreement – always is.

      That’s what these guys get paid for.


      • I think more schools should invite Lord Monckton to speak. Students probably find this clown more entertaining than professional comedians, and he’s a lot cheaper.

  37. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, you asked for comments on your paper.

    As is my habit, I first tried to duplicate your results. I used the Rutgers snow area dataset, and the Cryosphere Today Arctic sea area dataset.

    Sadly, I could not duplicate your results. The data run from 1979 to the present. I compared the SON ice area with the DJF snow area. The R^2 was 0.05, and was not significant in the slightest (p-value = 0.22, adjusted for autocorrelation = 0.30).

    I subsequently tried the same analysis using the NSIDC Arctic sea ice data … with slightly better (but still not quite statistically significant) results.

    Sooo … just what are you using for your datasets, and how are you getting significant results from them? Because so far, I find little to support the idea that the autumn sea ice has much effect on the winter snowfall. It might have such an effect, but so far I can only find the scantest support for the claim.


    • Willis, i did a post on this paper back in Feb, and the data are publicly available The results were questioned then reproduced by 3 different groups

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Many thanks, Judith, that’s what I needed. I’ll take a look at it tomorrow.

        All the best,


      • Willis Eschenbach

        OK, using I get an R^2 of 0.2 for the relationship of SON ice and DJF snow, with a p-value of 0.02 … however, when I pull out one single outlying year’s data, the significance disappears, the p-value goes up to 0.051.

        I can’t say I find that too impressive. I really, really don’t like datasets where removing one single solitary data point makes my results statistically not significant. It’s a very bad sign in my book.

        And even if we assume that the significance is meaningful, It still leaves 80% of the temperature to be explained by other factors.

        Finally, we are assuming significance as though this were a single try to find the result. I assume, however, that other combinations were tried by your team, like ASO (August-September-October) ice vs. DJF snow, SON ice vs JFM snow, and the like.

        Now, whenever you try more than one combination of factors to find a result, the chances of a false positive start rising. For example, in this case the results appear, and I stress “appear”, to be statistically significant at about the p = 0.02 level. This is adjusted for autocorrelation.

        But if you had looked at as few as three different combinations of months of ice and snow to find that result with a p-value of 0.02, it is no longer statistically significant.

        To understand why, suppose you have a 100-sided die. The odds of throwing a “1” on a given roll with that kind of die are one in a hundred.

        So if you say “I’m gonna throw a 1 on the next roll” and you throw a 1, the odds of that happening by chance alone are 1%, or to put it another way, it has a p-value of 0.01. Clearly, that’s beating chance by a long ways. If you made that prediction and it happened, it would be a statistically significant result.

        But if you say “I’m gonna throw a 1 in ten throws” using that same die and you do so, is that still statistically significant? Well, no, it’s not.

        This is because the significance level for multiple trials is

        Overall p-value = 1 – (1 – p) ^ N

        where “p” is the p-value of your result, and “N” is the number of instances that you tested to find the result. With a hundred sided die, it turns out that you have one chance in ten of throwing a “1” in ten throws, which is to say the result has a p-value of 0.10. In climate science, a p-value greater than 0.05 is generally taken to mean no statistical significance (although that is a low threshold).

        Let me reiterate that by chance alone, if you look at three different combinations of ice and snow months, a result as strong as yours will occur one time in ten. I fear I’m not much impressed by that kind of weak correlation. My concern is heightened by the fact that the result becomes non-significant by removing a single outlying year (1980).

        So I would say that yes, there is a weak correlation (R^2 ≈ 0.2) between smaller ice area in the autumn and larger winter snowfall area. And there is a logical relationship between the two (more open ocean –> more atmospheric moisture –> more snow).

        Now, let us assume for the sake of discussion that the relationship is as stated. what does that mean? For one thing, it means that the albedo feedback due to melting ice would be greatly changed. How much?

        Well, the linear regression says that the winter snowfall area increases about 0.8 units for every unit of decrease in ice area. So initially, as a first cut you’d say that the snow increase would nearly offset the ice loss. However, this will be need to be adjusted to take into account the albedo of the underlying surface, as well as the effective area.

        Regarding the underlying albedo, for ice loss you are going from ice to water, where with snow loss you are going from snow to land. Again initially, you’d think that since the albedo of water is lower than that of land, that would make a big difference. However, the difference is much more apparent than real, because of the low horizon angle of the sun on the arctic ocean areas. Think about looking at a late afternoon sun across the ocean, and how much of the light is reflected off of the water surface, you can’t even look at it. At low solar angles, the albedo of water is greater than that of land.

        So when the ice melts, it is replaced by water that reflects the sun nearly as well at low angles as the ice did, and reflects the sun better than soil does (you can look at land with low sun above it, but you can’t look at sea with low sun above it).

        Additionally, there is a much larger factor, the effective area. The snow extends much, much further south than the ice does. I don’t have the exact areas in question, but a square kilometre of snow at 40°N intercepts nearly nine times the sun that is intercepted by a square kilometre of arctic ocean ice at 85°N. So a change in snow area increases the amount of reflected sunlight many times more than a corresponding change in ice area.

        As a result, if the relationship between autumn ice and winter snowfall stands the test of time, then it would likely reverse the long-postulated positive albedo feedback of melting ice. This means that it would actually be a negative feedback, with ice loss in the far north replaced by snow gain over a much larger effective area, in latitudes further south, and a corresponding increase in overall albedo due to ice loss.

        This is one of the reasons I love climate science, so much of it is counter-intuitive.

        Judith, a question. Does this relationship of autumn ice and winter snowfall in this strength (R^2 = 0.2) show up in any of the models you tested ?

        My best to you,


  38. Lord Monkton explains reality so clearly it’s no wonder the alarmists hate him. Her’s his update on the Doha climate chat:

    The usual factions were manoeuvring:

    • The European tyranny-by-clerk, which needs global warming to be a problem because it can then arrogate yet more centralizing powers to itself, yea, even unto the last fluorescent light-bulb. The EU will sign anything, because the unelected Kommissars who have the sole right to propose its laws do not have to care what the people think, and they want more central power in their hands. They are also advising the envious UN on how to grab all political power by stealth – a treaty here, a treaty there until suddenly democracy has been stolen away forever.

    • The BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – which is not really a bloc at all. All of these emerging nations cannot afford to allow the vicious policies of the anti-development Greens to interfere with their mission to expand the use of fossil fuels to give their people affordable electricity, lift them out of poverty, and thus benefit the environment by stabilizing their populations. They will sign any treaty that does not bind them to limit their emissions.

    • The fly-specks: The small island states and other economically tiny nations in the undeveloped world. Their ambition is to extract as much money from the wealthy West as they can get.

    • The unfooled: Canada, Japan, and New Zealand, who have stayed clear of the now-defunct Kyoto Protocol, which will unavoidably expire December 31 because there was no agreement to extend it by October 3, as its own terms require.

    • The fools: In this category, Australia stands alone. Its absurd carbon dioxide tax is almost 50 times more expensive than letting global warming happen and adapting in a focused way to its consequences.

    • The United States: Also in a category of its own, Obama’s U.S. is a house deeply divided. The “Democrats” – more like Communists these days – will do whatever it takes to destroy all (such as fossil-fuel corporations) who fund their Republican opponents. Also, they will sign any treaty calculated to wreck the economy of the West. The Republicans, however, will not. No climate treaty will be agreed to by the U.S. Senate, where Senators Inhofe, Hatch, Vitter, and others have spoken out clearly and consistently against climate-extremism.

    • Peter Lang

      Luv’ ‘im or hate ‘im, you’ve gotta admit that Monckton has a way with words.

      I’ve not seen the Doha drama spelled out more succinctly than he has done in the short text you posted.

      A masterpiece of logical analysis and the English language!


      • He is too hyperbolic for my taste but it is in fact all about money at this point, which is why it is failing.

    • Odd how Monckton didn’t mention anything about Obama’s birth certificate

    • The Skeptical Warmist

      Moncton has so much hot air and self-important puffery that a new climate term needs to be created just for him: MHI for Monckton Heat Island.

    • “Delegates at UN climate talks in Qatar have agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, avoiding a major new setback.

      The deal, agreed by nearly 200 nations, keeps the protocol alive as the only legally binding plan for combating global warming.”

  39. This IPCC graph clearly shows that Lord Moncton’s claim is wrong!

    • That’s one way. I also saw a paper where Tamino showed that if you broke the donkey’s back legs, the temperature was actually rising.

      • Ah, Grant Foster, masquerading under name of the prince with magic flute, more appropriate would be John Milton’s Prince of Darkness.
        He declared that the CET temperature record as shown here:
        was fabricated, and when put right by his friend Gavin, he exploded in a tirade of vulgar abuse, which got him promptly deleted end bared for some time from the RC blog.

  40. Max _ I’m glad ter say NOT from OK )

    Thx fer informative comments you provide, there’s so much available
    out there isn’t there, and of course what Judith Curry presents
    here. Must say Climategate Emails were a real eye opener re
    the politicisation of the science, the ends justify the means.
    BTW Won’t write more, a metal door swung shut on my arm today
    and I had ter have 6 stitches ( … left arm so I can still type.

    • Beth

      Sorry to hear about your accident – best wishes for a speedy recovery.

      (Will miss your poems in the meantime.)


    • Beth, I’m sorry to hear about your injury. That must have hurt like hell. I hope the pain is easing, and wish you a rapid recovery.

      Beware of that Swiss Max. Don’t let him sweet talk you. He could be a dirty old man.

    • Bad luck Beth. A speedy recovery and best wishes for the coming festive season. Thank you again for your good work with birds and philosophical concepts that make a most welcome relief from all the aggro and posturing that passes for debate among some of our commenters – just wish that they could find something more constructive to do because my mouse roller is wearing out.

    • Beth

      Sorry to hear of your accident. Its the weight of all that additional man made Co2 that unbalanced the door and caused it to swing shut. Hope you are better soon


  41. Say, lol, how would temperature measurements taken at airports,
    carparks and air conditioner outlets, as shown by Anthony Watts’
    quality surveys, result in cooling bias?

    • Beth

      Ah reckon it kinda matters whut end of th’ air kon-dish-un-er yew put all them thur-mo-me-ters.

      lolwot’s thinkin’ they mighta been settin’ near the cold end, ruther th’n the hot end.

      Reckon we need a kli-mut study ta figger that out.


    • eg by placing stations away from regions of the world where most of the warming happens.

    • lolwot

      You just laid an egg by answering Beth’s question about how temperature measurements could show a cooling bias with:

      by placing stations away from regions of the world where most of the warming happens.

      Aren’t we talking about “global” warming?

      Aren’t we talking about it being caused by “well-mixed” greenhouse gases?

      Doesn’t that imply that, when local data points are “globally and annually averaged” (in some sort of a data processing procedure) we have a “global” temperature.

      Having individual measuring stations in locations where it isn’t warming is just part of this overall mish-mash, as is having them in locations where it is warming more than the average, as long as this warming or cooling isn’t being forced artificially.

      And this “construct” has no real meaning in itself, it’s only the “change” in this construct that is of interest.

      And this will only be affected if one adds AC units, asphalt parking lots and runways, urbanization, etc. to existing stations (as has been the case) – if you can show that one has been adding artificial forcings to cool the measurement, please do so (and answer Beth’s question).

      Gotta go.


    • Steven Mosher

      Depends entirely on the time of day the air conditioners go on.

      Tmax is typically achieved around mid day, before AC comes on.
      Looking at electricity loadings and studies of AC use, the AC typically comes on sometime after Tmax is achieved outside. If the air vented from the inside of the building is warmer than the outside air, then you have the possibility of contamination. It depends how rapidly the air outside cools after tmax. Also, the air vented tends to go straight up and hug along the building structure.. Somewhere around here I have a paper describing that flow.

      Airports are interesting because they can be hotter or colder. the nice thing is they are typically flat with low buildings and any winds over a few meters /sec greatly helps. Jet exhaust ( the excess heat) dissipates over a very short distance ( looking at the ground saftey operating guidelines for air craft). Looking at 1 minute data from various airports its hard to see any spikes that are coincident with take offs. But, that was just a spot check of several days of data.

      both are interesting questions, but no one has done a detailed field experiment. The science, however, is settled. For one side it is settled one way. For the other side it is settled the other way. Definitive measurements?
      nope. nobody has those.

      • Mosh

        Nobody is saying it is certain that the factors Watts describes as “poor station siting” are really causing a major warming distortion to the record.

        So, nope, the “science is not settled”.

        Lolwot alluded to “cooling distortions”

        Beth asked lolwot whether he thought these factors would cause a cooling distortion.

        To which he had a rather silly response that has nothing to do with warming/cooling trends.

        I think we can conclude that there are several factors that might have introduced a spurious warming distortion to the land surface record of some undefined magnitude, but no factors have been identified that would introduce a cooling distortion to the record.

        ‘Nuff said.


  42. My apologies for being way off topic, but does anyone know what has happened to Roy Spencer? His blog has not been updated for over a month, the UAH temperature for November is not yet available, though, the RSS is. I hope he is all right.

    • Steven Mosher

      When he gets back ask him about the wisdom of fitting straight lines to data without checking the residuals

  43. Pingback: Feel The Warming « Tarpon's Swamp

  44. I missed it. Did Dr Mann or one of his associates present a paper bolstering the missing tree ring claim?

    • Steven Mosher

      There was a poster calling his claims into question

      • On Real Climate, wasn’t MM saying in the comments section that there was going to be a presentation or something that bolstered his claim?

        He wrote:

        [Response:: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the shoe may be on the other foot so to speak. Tune in to my AGU New Fellows talk next week [Abstract Title: The Past as Prologue: Learning from the Climate Changes in Past Centuries (Invited) Final Paper Number: A32D-02, Presentation Type: Oral Presentation, Presentation Date and Time: December 5, 2012; 10:30 AM to 10:50 AM, Presentation Length: 20 minutes, Session Title: A32D. New Atmospheric Sciences Fellows Presentations II (Video On-Demand), Location: 3002 (Moscone West)] which will be livestreamed. I’ll be showcasing some very interesting new results based on real world data (the chronologies used to build D’Arrigo et al ’06) and, yes, Houston–we do very much appear to have a problem. I will also be addressing the recent claim by Esper et al that multiproxy reconstructions are underestimating a long-term cooling trend. This claim will be demonstrated to have been falsified :) – mike]

        Did this happen? Or not?

      • I will have to look for that one.
        I read through the poster specifically addressing the missing tree ring notion. it seemed pretty clear. There were also a couple presentations on aerosols and tree rings ( divergence issue) that should cause that whole issue to be revisited. when its all said and done I think revisiting the whole MWP reconstruction and doing a ground up assessment should be on the table. It would start by bringing proxies up to date and getting people to archive data. More money for paleo is in order.

  45. The Skeptical Warmist

    Dr. Curry,

    Interesting that you’ve come to some similar conclusions in your AGU presentation as Dr. Francis at Rutgers– specifically in regards to blocking events and amplitude of waves. But I’m also a bit interested in why no mention of Sudden Stratospheric Warming events? These have played such a big role in several of our extreme outbreaks of snow and cold in the NH. The shattering or dislocation of the Arctic vortex that results from SSWs can bring several months of extreme cold and snow to lower latitudes and the energy that is behind SSW events can be traced back to tropospheric wave breaking on the tropopause which of course have ties to the MJO, the QBO, and ENSO.

    • Hi Gates
      Have you noticed the SSW started very suddenly few days ago, very unusual for the early December, bursting high up into the stratosphere:
      Anything in the ENSO or rest of Pacific to push troposphere suddenly into 10 hPa geo-potential height ?
      I have not noticed anything.
      How about Kamchatka volcanic activity?
      Oh, yes , indeed there is:
      Dispatch of 05 December 2012:
      The eruption continues with a strong intensity. The weather cleared can see on the webcams the presence of a plume eruption that leveled at an estimated altitude by KVERT to 4000m away to the southeast (see MODIS image taken this morning. Yesterday raised the thermal anomaly by MODVOLC is now less wide (2 km) long and of about 12 km, indicating that it is likely channeled. aviation alert level is maintained by the orange KVERT. Sources: MODVOLC; MODIS / NASA KVERT.

      Keep an eye also on Kljuchevskoy and Shiveluch, they can cause nasty winter.

      Read, observe, acquire knowledge and share.

      • The Skeptical Warmist


        Your link goes to past year’s data. Currently no significant SSW event going on:

        As this is what it would look like in stratospheric temps: (see mid-January 2009):

        In looking at above 2009 chart, you’ll even notice a very minor SSW event in mid-December of that year. Good to compare that minor SSW with the major SSW that occurred in mid-January 2009, all on the same chart!

      • Vuc, There does appear to be a link between sulfides/sulfates and general stratospheric warming events, but it is pretty complicated. For one thing, the energy has to be available to produce the event. With the North Atlantic quite warm this year and the Northeast Pacific cool, it will be interesting to compare the magnitudes and development of events.

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        captndallas said:

        “There does appear to be a link between sulfides/sulfates and general stratospheric warming events, but it is pretty complicated.”
        On what research/data do you base this “link” opinion of yours between SSW’s and sulfides/sulfates? I’ve read many dozens of actual research papers on the subject of SSW’s and have found none that support such a “link” being found.

      • Gates, “On what research/data do you base this “link” opinion of yours between SSW’s and sulfides/sulfates?” Thoroughly incomplete and extremely speculative results plus a bit of a gut instinct.,2010.pdf

        The Palvani and Solomon tropical stratosphere ozone depletion paper didn’t proper consider SST influence in my opinion. Because of that I have been digging a little deeper into estimates of absolute surface and deep ocean temperatures. You have to admit that there is a crap load of energy released by these events and that there is more than just polar ozone being impacted.

      • Here is this year
        I was comparing two and recording for my future reference, accidentally posted wrong one. This is translation is also relevant

        Dispatch of 01 December 2012:
        The activity continues Tolbachik. The thermal anomaly detected by the MODVOLC yesterday now extends about 15 km west of the central axis of the rift-zone south (Tolbachinsky Dol) where the eruption occurs. Today the business is still clearly visible on the webcam but it seems that the activity is concentrated during the night on the southern part of the series of eruptive fissures. This hypothesis seems confirmed by the MODIS image taken this morning on which we do not see a casting progression (the south). The KVERT keeps the aviation alert level to orange. Sources: KVERT; MODVOLC; MODIS / NASA

        Dispatch of 30 November 2012:
        The KVERT lowered the aviation alert level to orange. One might assume that ash emissions abated. However, the Tokyo VAAC reported this morning, shortly after 04h, TU the presence of a plume about 6,000 meters. For the moment, the activity remains essentially effusive with the introduction of very fluid lava on the western side of the rift-zone south (Tolbachinsky Dol). Sources: KVERT; Tokyo VAAC

      • Captdallas
        You could well be right about sulfates. Lot of smoke during last few days from Tolbachik volcano

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        captdallas said:

        “You have to admit that there is a crap load of energy released by these events and that there is more than just polar ozone being impacted.”
        I agree with the “crap load” comment…as unscientific but accurate as that is. We’ve both come to the conclusion that the amount of energy released during the larger SSW’s is on the magnitude of some number N x 10^22 Joules of energy. .

        What I disagree with is any link of the cause being associated with sulfates/sulfides or Vuk’s never-ending suggestion of volcanic connection. Essentially, SSW’s involve huge transports of energy from lower latitude sub-tropical regions. This energy starts of course in the ocean and goes poleward to troposphere, where we see it then “break” as a tropospheric wave on the tropopause, which then is translated upward into a massive disruption of the stratospheric circulation, either fracturing or off-setting the polar vortex. Much of this energy then continues on into the mesosphere as both thermal energy and as EP flux. This represents a major reorganization of both the stratosphere from pole to equator and has effects that ripple right down to the surface at the equator. It may affect sulfates/sulfides as a effect, but they certainly have no known or demonstrated causal connection.

        My point to Judith was– how can you talk about winter weather in the NH, increased snowfall, etc. without mentioning SSW events, as they have such a major influence on NH winter?

      • R Gates

        All most interesting. I’m following your various comments and links on SSW closely. Thanks for the pipeline into cutting-edge climate science. Arguing with the contrarians is fun, but there is more to life… ;-)

      • Gates, “My point to Judith was– how can you talk about winter weather in the NH, increased snowfall, etc. without mentioning SSW events, as they have such a major influence on NH winter?”

        Her approach looks at the changes in the amplitude of the jet stream “waves” and lower level energy, so she has a reasonable approach from a weather perspective, IMHO.

        As for the no direct connection between sulfides/sulfates and ozone, that would be not yet in my opinion. To transport the right mix of water vapor and aerosol impurities to altitude would require sufficient surface energy. Since the ice crystal in the stratosphere would not absorb aerosols, the impurities would need to be captured in the lower atmosphere. There is an obvious relationship between deep convection and ozone depletion, but the mechanism needs some tweaking.

        Oh and “Crap load” is a standard Redneck unit used in initial estimations :)

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        captdallas said:

        “There is an obvious relationship between deep convection and ozone depletion, but the mechanism needs some tweaking.”

        You know of course that there is an observed and studied relationship to SSW’s at the poles affecting (that is, SSW events happen prior to) both of these at the equator, yes?

        Also, don’t misunderstand me– I completely agree with Judith’s approach on the matter of sea ice/blocking patterns/wave etc. and it is not dissimilar to what Dr. Francis is doing at Rutgers (I’m actually surprised they wouldn’t collaborate on this as the approach is so similar). I simply think the full story of NH winters can’t be told without looking at the changing nature of SSW events, which would of necessity tie back into the teleconnections of MJO, QBO, and ENSO.

      • Gates, “You know of course that there is an observed and studied relationship to SSW’s at the poles affecting (that is, SSW events happen prior to) both of these at the equator, yes?

        I am trying to untangle some of the relationships based on available surface and deep ocean energy. An imbalance between the hemispheres both N-S and W-E would tend to set the stage and a transition should increase the chance of equatorial events like the 98 El Nino. I am trying to get a good energy baseline to see if some of the transitions may be predictable to some degree. So I am waiting on the many papers that are in the works to see if my guestimates are close. I am playing with a simple static model that may be more fun than useful, but it does produce some interesting results.

      • The Skeptical Warmist


        Here’s some links you might find useful:

        And I have many more. Bottom line- SSWs are such major events, involving so many different teleconnections at so many layers of the atmosphere from pole to equator, that in producing any explanation about changes to NH winter one risks having a very incomplete model without taking SSW’s into account.

      • Gates
        I do appreciate your effort and you may have a paper or something published or in line to be published. I have no interest beyond a hoby, and having some fun with occasional cartoon.

        I propose to you to read this paper, study Fig.1 page 3/15
        and then explain how that pinprick of strong SWW happen to be over Bering Strait if it came from warm mid Pacific.

        You can ignore it but do read this too:
        At the beginning of 2003, the active dacite lava dome within the Sheveluch amphitheater stood 494 m …….. Seismicity related to these explosions was recorded on the nearest seismic station located 8.5 km southwest of the crater. The most energetic of these produced single pulses of ash that rose between 1 and 6 km (3,300 and 20,000 ft) above the dome or as high as 8.5 km (5 mi) ASL (28,000 ft). These estimated elevations are based on direct measurements of the ash column or, when weather or darkness precluded visual confirmation, inferred from interpretations of seismicity. Many explosions were also accompanied by partial collapse of the lava dome, producing pyroclastic ……. page 30
        My interest is more in volcanic tectonic rather than atmospheric effects
        Wish you good luck.

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        For those trying to get a handle on the profound teleconnections and global effects that a major SSW event can have, this paper is one of the best:

        It is hard, in fact, to find another event that happens over such a short period that has such a major influence on global weather patterns as NH SSW events even affect SH weather. One might look to ENSO for something similar, but this evolves over a period of months whereas SSW events happen over a period of days, though their effects can linger for months.

      • The Skeptical Warmist


        Thanks for the links. I shall review them when I have a chance. Also, being a true skeptical warmist as I am, I’ll never reject looking at research or new ideas. Everything I accept as true is only provisionally so, as my focus then becomes one of looking at any data that might refute my provisionally held “truths”. Your links are invaluable in this regard and in the whole spirit of always fighting against confirmation bias.

        Again, a sincere thanks to you…

      • Vuc, “then explain how that pinprick of strong SWW(sic) happen to be over Bering Strait if it came from warm mid Pacific.”

        Actually, those tiny pinpricks don’t really do the events justice. I calculated one based on the surface energy change during the event, about 52 days, and it was ~10^22 joules. Small potatoes in the grand scheme of things but Gates figured it to be on the order of 0.25 Wm-2 if it were averaged globally. He also mentioned that these events are not included in the energy budget. Since they appear to be associated with ENSO and QBO, that is a pretty strong indication that natural variability, aerosols, land use etc. influences could be seriously underestimated. It is kinda exciting for climate geeks :)

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        For some of you following the SSW discussion in some way, a rough analogy to the dynamics of energy release from Earth to space during an SSW event is the “rattling of a lid” on a boiling pot (captndallas) or the relief valve on a pressure cooker (my own). These are crude but roughly accurate in that the energy of the boiling water is released by large bubbles of steam that come up from the water and then eventually out the “rattling lid” or relief valve for a cooker.

        SSW’s are large releases of energy from Earth to space, that have as their origin, warmer ocean waters and the transport of this energy to troposphere to stratosphere to space via advective and convective atmospheric processes. These events show up first as tropospheric wave breaking on the tropopause, which is of course has seasonal variations but is lower in the NH winter, and of course is extremely low in the northern latitudes of the NH Winter– just the place and time for a tropospheric wave to break. .

      • R Gates

        SSW’s are large releases of energy from Earth to space, that have as their origin, warmer ocean waters and the transport of this energy to troposphere to stratosphere to space via advective and convective atmospheric processes.

        Could SSWs be the sort of events that might increase in magnitude when energy is accumulating in the climate system?!

        Could it really be that simple?!


      • BBD, “Could it really be that simple?!”

        It may be an unexpected response due to a combination of CO2, general available energy or just some natural occurrence that was never properly considered. CO2 by itself should only have about 1.2C of impact near the ERL with initially about 0.5 to 0.8 at the surface. Any more requires positive feedbacks and/or a considerable about of time because of the slow rate of ocean heat uptake.

        Since the NH SSW events appear to have taken a break to some extent from 88 to 98, they could be a major contributor to warming during some periods and cooling during others with a net zero impact. Then it could be just that simple. The lid isn’t heavy enough for 3C :)

      • Capt’n
        The sub-polar North Atlantic Ocean is the dominant factor in the heat loss to the atmosphere at high latitudes. Cold winds remove the surface heat at rate of several hundred watts per square meter, resulting in deep water convection associated with the thermohaline circulation which according to Hurrell (Gate’s boss.) is synchronized with interdecadal North Atlantic Oscillations (NAO).
        The NAO, as Dr. Curry says in her presentation controls N. American and N. European winter climate. SSW is only minor distraction an may as well be often triggered by heat release from the subpolar gyre.

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        BBD asks:

        “Could SSWs be the sort of events that might increase in magnitude when energy is accumulating in the climate system?!

        Could it really be that simple?!”
        Probably not quite that simple,nor as simple as my “relief valve on a pressure cooker analogy” would suggest, but they are events that are not fully recognized just yet for their overall importance to Earth’s energy balance and their widespread global impacts on short-term weather patterns. I believe, as some upcoming research will indicate as well, that SSW’s have not been fully appreciated for the role they play in the energy transport chain from ocean to atmosphere to space, and as of today, only rough calculations have been made as to the amount of energy that is released from the Earth system to space during a good-sized SSW event. Certainly, some portion of the “missing heat” problem will be found with SSWs– of this I am pretty confident. Roughly if we think that the TOA imbalance is somewhere around 1 w/m^2 currently averaged over the whole planet, and somewhere around 0.6- 0.8 w/m^2 is going into the full ocean at all depths, with much smaller amounts into the atmosphere and cryosphere, then it is possible that somewhere around 0.1 w/m2 (on average, with larger amounts on some years) is being released each in SSW events, and this is energy release that is not being as of yet put into Earth’s energy budget calculations. I think SSW’s help to close the gap of the “missing energy” problem– though I am also confident that Trenberth (who did a paper on SSW’s back in the 1970’s) may disagree with this..

      • Vuc, SSW might be a minor deal or an indication of something much larger. There are two ends to the North Atlantic THC. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is the other end. Changes in average ACC surface winds can cause a 10 Sverdrup swing in the THC. That is about 1/3 of the Gulf Stream current so it is not insignificant.

        So imagine in a NH winter you have a large ice melt, more resistance to down welling higher salinity water and a warmer than normal north Atlantic SST, where is all that energy plus the heat of fusion of the growing ice going to go?

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        Vuk says:

        “The NAO, as Dr. Curry says in her presentation controls N. American and N. European winter climate. SSW is only minor distraction an may as well be often triggered by heat release from the subpolar gyre.”

        This is an excellent point, but only tells part of the story. Indeed, some SSW’s have their beginnings in warm waters of the Atlantic and some in the warm waters of the Pacific. The actual trigger point, the timing of the tropospheric wave breaking on the tropopause, seems to have a relationship more to the MJO and the state of planetary wave 1 or wave 2, and research is on-going as to the difference between an Atlantic triggered SSW and a Pacific one in terms of its effect on the Arctic vortex, and whether or not there is more likelihood of the Vortex being shattered versus simply displaced. A shattered vortex (such as we had in 2009) can lead to cold air outbreaks on both sides of the NH, whereas a displaced vortex will tend to have cold outbreak only toward the side of displacement with warmer weather on the other side.

      • The Skeptical Warmist

        This part of what Vuk said:

        “SSW is only minor distraction an may as well be often triggered by heat release from the subpolar gyre.”

        Is not a reasonable or substantiated claim by any of the data. EP flux charts prior to the 2009 SSW can clearly show the path of the energy flow. It came from sub-tropical sources and was associated with the the MJO or “pineapple express” being over the Pacific sector, transporting huge amounts of energy poleward in early January 2009. In the days prior to the 2009 SSW event, the Pacific NW was getting hit with the “pineapple” express. This energy was headed toward the pole and toward the stratosphere and was of subtropical origin.

      • Gates
        Well if you say so, but I wouldn’t put too much money on it
        Negative atmospheric pressure anomaly at the northern leg of the NAO (Stykkisholmur/Reykjavik) in January 2009 twice as low as normal for any January in the previous 15 years , here is a quick graph I did for you
        It was such a rapid start
        I do not believe that such burst can be produced by normal heat convection all the way from central Pacific, whichever train was traveling by, pineapple, banana or Fort Worth cattle train.
        The NASA’s movie :

  46. The biggest problem is what we’re not even talking about. For thousands of years humanity has been just winging it when it comes to dealing with whatever nature brings our way. The big change is that the Left wants to untie us from this experience. New are public-funded schoolteachers who come down from their ivory towers to let us know they can foretell the future instead of warning us about charlatans who made similar claims throughout history. These Climatists tell us industrialization has been a disaster, modernity is a bad thing and America is evil and killing us and must be stopped. This is something we have come to expect from neo-eco-conservationist ideologues but everyone has pretty much been taken by surprise at the brazen hubris of these government toadies pretending they have their fingers on nature’s thermostat and then—after a carbon tax is in place to fund the government watchdogs—the world will be hunky-dory.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      What leading “greens” advocate is quite different from Wagathon’s unsubstantiated claims:

      Anthill: a Novel
      by Ed Wilson

      Raff lived by three maxims. Fortune favors the prepared mind. People follow someone who knows where he’s going. And control the middle, because that’s where the extremes eventually have to meet.

      Wagathon, perhaps it would benefit you (and many skeptics) to read more broadly?

      Happy Holidays to all! \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\ {\displaystyle\text{\bfseries???}}\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        For those unaware of eo Wilson and whose interest was not engaged by your choice of page, here is a detailed review of the book from the new York times

        Fan, if you are assessing interest in this book as a possible Christmas present for denizens can I recommend instead that you buy us all an excellent pre agw climate book called ‘times of feast times of famine’ by Emmanuel le roy Ladurie. It will provide an excellent perspective on climate through the ages and enable those who like anecdotal computer data in particular to put modern climate into its proper perspective


      • Melville gave us whales and obsession, Orwell gave us pigs and politicians. Wilson gives ants and and mindless compliance. Ayn Rand gave us liberty and personal responsibility.

  47. From “consensus” to “what unquestionably is an overwhelming consensus,” and from de-carbonize to “de-carbonize immediately.”

    It’s worse than we thought, and we have to become more activist to achieve our aims.

    Was there ever a CAGW climate conference anywhere that didn’t come to these two conclusions?

  48. Doha climate talks end with a wimper.

    It’s the economics, stupid!

    For 20 years the UN process has been trying to get international agreement to targets, timetables, carbon pricing, UN taxation powers, and UN control.

    It’s failed!

    20 years of delay so far – and counting (slow death preferred to removal of life support, sudden death and admission of failure)

    The wise heads have been saying all along “It’s all about economics”

    But the ‘Progressives’ would not listen. The ‘Progressives’ ridiculed these people and anyone who didn’t accept the ‘Progressives’ beliefs and proposed solutions.

    The ‘Progressives’ want to talk about their projections of impacts in 100, 200 years and more from now. They wanted irrational policies like carbon pricing and renewable energy. And they did all they could to thwart rollout and development of the least cost way to reduce emissions, nuclear power.

    The Kyoto Protocol is next to useless. It was clear to most rational people all along that such policies could not work. Despite that, the unelected bureaucrats of the EU and the Australian Leftist government have managed to get their way and force through an extension of the Kyoto Protocol and agreement to pay $10 billion per year, down form $100 billion per year, to corrupt, incompetent governments to spend mostly on bribery.

    The EU carbon price has been a failure.

    Lord Monkton says about Australia and the Australian carbon tax:

    The fools: In this category, Australia stands alone. Its absurd carbon dioxide tax is almost 50 times more expensive than letting global warming happen and adapting in a focused way to its consequences.

    But really, the ‘Progressives’ need to take a really good, hard, impartial look at what they’ve been advocating: i.e. economically irrational policies. They are not acceptable.

    My advice to the ‘Progressives’. Start listening and stop telling!

    • Peter Lang

      I liked the comment

      Many countries and environmentalists said the deal at the end of marathon two-week UN talks in OPEC-member Qatar would fail to slow rising temperatures or avert more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.


      Of course the watered-down feel-good “treaty” will not do any of those things.

      No treaty ever did.

      How stupid are these guys?


  49. Steven Mosher said

    You still don’t get it.

    The discussion is going to shift to impacts.

    @ November 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm


    It’s all about the economics, stupid!

    • Moron. impacts is economics

      • Moshtwit, referring to himself as a moron. I agree.

      • By the way MoshMoron,

        If you think you know the answer to the question i posed “What are the impacts?” why didn’t you answer when I asked you in the first place instead of carrying on like a child with “I don’t have to answer your question”?

  50. Captain Kangaroo

    ‘We considered the Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability in a network of well-known indices describing climatic phenomena all over the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Our network approach—via data compression to a subspace of dynamically and geographically distinct indices— provides means to establish rigorous estimates of uncertainty associated with multidecadal variability observed in the instrumental climate records and to address the question of how likely these observed multidecadal teleconnections are to be due merely to random sampling of uncorrelated red-noise time series. Multi-channel Singular Spectrum Analysis (M-SSA) of this network (Figs. 1, 2, 3,4, 5) identifies the dominant signal with a time scale of 50–80 years, which propagates through the phase space of the indices considered as the ‘‘stadium wave’’ (Fig. 4; Table 2). In Sect. 4.2 below, we interpret this stadium wave in terms of the sequence of atmospheric and multiyear-lagged oceanic teleconnections originating from the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)—an extensively studied intrinsic oceanic mode associated with the variability of Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC). The
    stadium-wave propagation is reflected in the NH area averaged surface temperature signal, which explains, by
    inference, at least a large fraction of the multidecadal nonuniformity of the observed global surface temperature
    warming in the twentieth century.’

    Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability – Marcia Glaze Wyatt • Sergey Kravtsov • Anastasios A. Tsonis (The paper and a discussion can be found here – )

    Sudden stratospheric warmings are associated with changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation – thus we go full circle in this study with connections to global indices linked in a global ‘stadium wave’.

    The network approach used by Wyatt at al considers these indices as nodes of an underlying dynamic system. Change propagates through the dynamic system that is climate. ‘It is still unclear how the climate on a regional or even global scale can change as rapidly as present evidence suggests. It appears that the climate system is more delicately balanced than had previously been thought, linked by a cascade of powerful mechanisms that can amplify a small initial change into a much larger shift in temperature and aridity (e.g., Rind and Overpeck, 1993).’

    It is not clear where these things start and finish – cause and effect is obscure. But the key to the energy changes driving the system – at least as multi-decadal variability – seem to be in the tropics.

    • The Skeptical Warmist

      Captain Kangaroo said:

      “Sudden stratospheric warmings are associated with changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.”

      SSW’s are pretty much “associated” with every large scale atmospheric and ocean event– and that fact, the pervasive nature of the “association” of SSW’s with so much of the climate system is what makes them so remarkable. Of course I know you’re not (at least I hope you are not) implying a causative factor in using the word “association” for certainly association is not causation. SSW’s are the result of a series of large scale global oceanic and atmospheric teleconnected events, both temporally and spatially spread out over the whole planet, with the actual SSW event being not the end event, but only one in a looping series that feedback upon themselves. The engine for this chain of events is the excess heat the builds at the tropics and subtropics and needs to be adveted both to the poles and ultimately to space. In this regard, SSW’s are much like hurricanes, though on a much larger scale.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Pretty much so – but I was wondering why then the focus on this amongst the many phenomenological chaotic oscillations cascading through the global system.

        But if you have any evidence that SSW makes much difference to global energy flux at TOA – by all means tell someone. The evidence is all that the major changes in flux occurs in the tropics.

        You get the distinction? The SSW are the result of planetary scale waves in the troposhere propagating into the stratosphere at the polar region and although the polar and subpolar regions are area of net energy loss – you have not made the case that there is a major infuence on global energy flux. Nor has anyone else to my knowledge.

        There are of course other troposphere/stratosphere interaction from deep convection. .

        Air enters the stratosphere in the tropics [Brewer , 1949], where it is transported from the upper troposphere across the tropopause situated at about 380 K potential temperature ( 17 km) into the stratospheric overworld [Holton et al., 1995] and further toward higher latitudes in the Brewer-Dobson circulation. It is well known that moist boundary layer
        air is transported into the upper troposphere by deep convection with a main outflow region at about 13 km [Folkins and Martin, 2005]. How the air reaches the stratosphere is in contrast subject of ongoing debate. The way by which the rising air is dehydrated is closely linked to the transport mechanism of troposphere-to-stratosphere transport (TST)
        and equally uncertain.’ Unprecedented evidence for overshooting convection hydrating the tropical stratosphere – Corti, et l 2008 GRL

        There is a discussion of STE here –

        And really the point of the Wyatt et al study is that everything is connected with everything. It is a single globally connected system – with chaotic oscillators (such as SSW) as network nodes on the underlying dynamic system. It is the difference between thinking in terms of phenomenon and thinking in terms of systems.

  51. Captain Kangaroo

    • Captain Roo
      I found your video most interesting, thanks. I watched it several times and in slow motion. What is striking is that the SSW starts over the Kamchatka- Aleuts area, where there is lot of volcanic activity. I assume rising dome of the hot volcanic air punctures a hole through the tropo-pause, which is then moved around globe by the jet stream, hole gets larger and eventually masses of the warm air from troposphere pour out into stratosphere.
      Thanks again.

  52. Peter Lang 8/12
    Herewith a political,economic impact.

    • Beth

      Interesting NYT article.

      Farage is lamenting the UK’s EU membership while the Swiss are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the plebiscite that stopped an eventual EU entry.

      When I read that the EU parliament has 754 members, the hair stands up on the back of my neck – and that doesn’t count the many more EU bureaucrats that are busy as beavers, cranking out new rules and regulations at the speed of sound.

      A nightmare.


    • Beth,

      Thanks for that. He’s great for a laugh. I enjoy sending the links to his speeches to my pomme mates and titling them “British diplomacy at its best1”

      Sorry to hear about your accident. If you can’t type, perhaps you should make You-tube videos in the meantime.

  53. “I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.” – Judy
    If you are 200% opposed, I am 2000% opposed. They have become advocates of pseudo-science, something that is sad to say about an organization of scientists.

    • Arno Arrak,

      They have become advocates of pseudo-science, something that is sad to say about an organization of scientists.

      Yes. But it’s valuable. Every new example like this reveals how corrupt ‘climate science’ has become.

      It provides ever more reason to oppose economically irrational polices.

      It’s also interesting to see how the loonies who believe in CAGW try to defend it.

      For example, this morning we had lolowot posting his arguments in support of CAGW:

      Odd how Monckton didn’t mention anything about Obama’s birth certificate

      Brilliant, eh?
      Nothing left?
      No arguments so they resort to this sort of nonsense.
      What a joke.

  54. Yeah Max,

    The EU, It’s a hive. 745 members and an army of “productive ‘
    bureaucrats cranking out “research”… ‘findings tsk guess what?’ ..
    … White, blue, red – alert papers fer governments to act on.
    Imagine THE COSTS, jest the bureaucrat salaries, the leave
    entitlements and retirement benefits alone… makes me shivverr,
    (even though the planet , so we’re told is dangerously warming.)

  55. I second those who laud Pierrehumbert’s talk. Don’t be put off by the title. He has presented the history of AGW from Arrhenius to the present, and clearly done his historical research on the development of the scientific ideas in published papers through the century including cross-fertilization of ideas from astrophysics even mentioning Carl Sagan’s work on Venus. I have not seen the development so well laid out in a talk before, very appropriate for the Tyndall Lecture too. Some brutal treatment of people who got it wrong in there too, so be warned, but he says it is good to be wrong in interesting ways as a way to defend Lindzen.

    • Before we can arrive at a unifying theory we first must realize that current GCMs are nothing more than modern-day divining rods. Andi Cockroft described the first digital weather model ever. It was a computer model by Edward Lorenz back when vacuum-tube computers were first introduced to science just fifty years ago. Lorenz used, “a set of a dozen or so differential equations involving such things as temperature, pressure, wind velocity etc.” As Concroft tells the story, Lorenz re-ran his program, “by entering a variable to 3 decimal places,” and to Lorenz’ surprise, “the results were completely at odds with what was achieved earlier.” As it turns out, “re-entering the variable to its full 6 decimal places produced a repeat of the initial results – from this Lorenzo drew the inevitable conclusion that with his dozen or so equations, even a miniscule variation on input is capable of creating massive change in output.”

      So, what happened? As Concroft asks, “why such a radically different outcome for such a miniscule difference in input?” They learnd that with non-linear equations the final result is so dependent on initial conditions that even slight changes in the beginning results in large changes in the later output—i.e., like a stitching error where after you put a lot of little segments together by the time you get to the end you have nothing close to the ‘circle’ that all of the little segments came from.

      The conclusion that Lorenz drew, was that given that such small variations can create such massive variation in output, it was impossible to “model” a weather system. (Andi Cockroft, 10 Billion Butterfly Sneezes — More chaos than you can shake a stick at)

    • Jim D,

      I join in praising Pierrehumbert’s presentation. It should be quite enjoyable even to moderate skeptics, it may even offer limited support for some of their points. It’s true that Pierrehumbert presents his judgment on the value of many papers without much supporting arguments but what can one do in one presentation. As I see the presentation he makes it clear that the judgments are not claimed to be anything more than his own personal views. Being explicit on personal views is more honest than hiding them, and being open makes the presentation more enjoyable to everyone who can avoid getting too irritated.

      Scientists should accept more generally – and sincerely – his stated view that scientists must be allowed to be wrong, when they are wrong in interesting ways. The science really needs its Lindzens and Spencers to stay on right track. It’s really important that scientists are motivated to find errors in the main stream paradigm from its all edges. it’s important to have both these skeptics and the real alarmists who search for the possible pathways to catastrophes.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        I skimmed the presentation but I noted that some scientists at least missed multi-decadal variation. What the evidence suggests is the largest cause of recent climate variability. What they continue to rationalise as groupthink zombies is centennial to millennial variation.

  56. Mosher says:
    @ December 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    What exactly is CAGW? For the sake of discussion, lets say that it is the following. we are warming the planet and the consequences will be

    1. Humans are changing the atmosphere by adding GHGs
    2. Adding GHGs tends to warm the planet.
    3. If we add too many GHGs and warm the planet too much, there will
    be negative consequences.
    4. One possible negative consequence is a rise in sea level of over 2 meters.
    5. A sea level rise of 2 meters would be catastrophic for some people.

    1. True
    2. True
    3. True, but it’s a meaningless motherhood statement. Poorly worded. Not quantitative. How many GHG’s is too many and how much temp change is too much? How much is actually net beneficial It strains credulity to say that we just happen to be at the perfect temperature. That’s a bi like arguing Earth is the centre of the universe.
    4. Talking about 2 m without stating timeframe, and probabilities is meaningless.
    5. Talking about catastrophic for some people is silly. A death of a family member is catastrophic for some people. We are talking about catastrophic for humanity. Sea level rise is not catastrophic. The global costs are negligible in comparison with global GDP. Damage costs of sea level rise are estimated at:
    $0.2 trillion for 0.5m
    $1 trillion for 1 m
    Global GDP cumulative to 2100 (discounted) = $3,500 trillion
    So 0.5m sea level rise cost = 0.006% of global GDP
    1 m sea level rise = 0.03% of global GDP
    i.e. negligible cost

    • 3. 2X and more CO2 equivalents
      4. 100-200 years almost certain in 200 years with current emissions
      5. This should do yah

      • Eli Rabbett,

        Your linked article seems to be misleading to me. You seem to be implying that that the global average temperature change would occur everywhere. This is not true. For a given temp increase, the tropics would warm little and the high latitudes would warm a lot. Most of the warming would occur in winter and at night. That is all good.

        You scaremongering is not convincing or persuasive. Especially when I know that the CAGW alarmists want to implement policies that will do economic damage to the world now. That means damage to human well being.

        You need to do much better than this if you want to make a persuasive case. In the meantime, the more I see of this sort of baseless scare mongering the more I become persuaded that is a serious lack of evidence for CAGW.

  57. A new post on ‘The Conversation” advocates CCS

    I posted this reply (may be interesting to those interested in coat comparisons and amount o CO2 that could be avoided by nuclear, renewables, CCS.

    Currently in Australia we have some $30-50 billion of support going into renewable energy and only $3-5 billion going into CCS,

    And $0 going into nuclear power!
    Is this rational?

    First, let’s compare how effective renewables, CCS ad nuclear would be at cutting emissions. Then we’ll look at the economics and the amount of subsidies required.

    Renewables (wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal):
    Subsidies: $30-$50 billion
    Emissions avoided: 41,850 GWh/a x 1 tCO2/MWh x 60% effective = 27 Mt/a

    Subsidies required: ?
    Emissions avoided: ?

    For 20 GW nuclear (150,000 GWh per year)
    Subsidies required: $10-$20 billion [1]
    Emissions avoided: 150,000 GWh x 1 tCO2/MWh x 98% effective = 147 Mt/a

    [1] AETA 2012 Report:
    Table 5-2 Capital cost comparison:
    Brown coal = $3,788/kW
    Black coal = $3,124/kW
    Nuclear (Gen 3+) = $3,470/kW
    Cheaper than brown coal
    $346/kW more than black coal.
    Cost difference for 20 GW = $7 billion.
    Add owners costs and establishment of nuclear regulatory organisation, say $10 to 20 billion total subsidy required.

    Table 5.2.6 Comparison of cost of electricity (no carbon price)
    Brown coal = $95/MWh
    Black coal = $89/MWh
    Brown coal with CCS = $192/MWh
    Black coal with CCS = $175/MWh

    Nuclear (Gen 3+) = $97/MWh

    If we are interested in cutting CO2 emissions at least cost there is no comparison. It’s obvious what we should do.

    We’d also get the side benefit of avoiding about 900 fatalities per year from pollution from NSW coal power stations alone (based on USA figures)
    CCS won’t deliver that benefit.

    • Peter Lang

      Leaving aside the unanswered environmental concerns related to CCS schemes, there is another basic problem: it is a non-value-added cost (and, as your numbers show, a pretty high one) that even involves the use of more energy.

      I once made a rough cost/benefit analysis ($ invested in CCS versus global warming averted by 2100), based on CCS proposals cited by Rutt Bridges on an earlier thread here

      [$17 trillion over next 90 years for 0.36C theoretical reduction in warming by 2100.]

      A few years ago the big buzz was “hydrogen”. We had articles predicting the birth of a new “hydrogen economy” (nukes=>electrical power=>hydrolysis of H2O=>hydrogen as a motor fuel).

      This turned out to be a dead duck, not just because hydrogen is a very tricky and dangerous material to pump into your gas tank, but also because it was a net energy waster.

      Another energy waster is corn for ethanol. It is only alive because of heavy taxpayer funded subsidies.

      Energy wasting schemes are not what we need.

      Ideally the world would rid itself of the post Chernobyl/Fukushima phobia and go nuclear, as you write. But WWF, Greenpeace, and all the other green lobby groups (that are now howling about AGW) have done such a good job of fear mongering against nuclear power, that this will be very difficult politically.

      How do you see this problem being overcome?


      • “But WWF, Greenpeace, and all the other green lobby groups (that are now howling about AGW) have done such a good job of fear mongering against nuclear power”

        Not really. It’s commonly attributed in the US that the decline of ‘new nuclear builds’ was due to fear mongering. The reality is that we really didn’t need any more baseload. We also didn’t build much coal. The prevalence of gas came about due a marked increase the numbers of households that had air conditioning. The relative small capital expense of a gas fired plant for ‘seasonal load’ made sense.

        So no one really needed any more 24×7 generating capacity. No one bothered to do the kind of community outreach and education that needs to be done to counter ‘green-peace’ et al.

        That is still the case. The 4 proposed nuclear plants in Florida weren’t delayed due to ‘anti-nuclear’ sentiment or even cheap gas, they were delayed indefinitely due to ‘lack of demand growth’.

        In Europe the whole Kyoto small incremental decrease in emissions nonsense has lead to too much wind being built. If all I want to due is reduce my carbon footprint a few percent then building windmills is the cheapest way to get there. Unfortunately, when you realize that your ‘cheap coal’ and ‘cheap gas’ is gone you have a hard time justifying a nuclear power plant…because it’s only going to run 16/7 because the windmills are going to be working 30% of the time. Even the French have this dilema now…they’ve always sold ‘off peak’ energy to neighbors, but if the wind is blowing off peak in neighboring countries that have to basically ‘waste’ all that energy.

      • harywr@

        You may be right that there were other reasons beside “fear” that caused the slowdown of new nuclear plants in the USA.

        But I live in Europe, and I think that the main reason countries like Germany are backing out of nuclear power entirely is “fear” (in the public and the politicians)..

        And I believe that WWF, Greempeace, and all the other green lobby groups were the prime reason for this “fear”.


  58. Surely the question that should be asked is ‘why is the AGU promoting a science fraud’?

    As I have just explained, again, here:

    “..when the Water Cycle is put back into the AGWScienceFiction’s Greenhouse Effect Energy Budget, then the “33°C warming from -18°C by greenhouse gases” is seen to be an illusion.

    Without any our atmosphere of mainly nitrogen and oxygen the temperature would be -18°C.

    AGWSF lies that this is the temperature “with nitrogen and oxygen in place”, and only without its greenhouse gases ..

    Our full atmosphere of real greenhouse gases, which are not ideal gases but have volume, weight, attraction and subject to gravity, act as a blanket weighing down a ton per square foot around the Earth keeping the heat from the Sun’s warming of the Earth from escaping too quickly before the Sun again heats the surface. Compare with the Moon.

    Taking the Water Cycle out of this the temperature would be 67°C, think deserts.

    In other words, the Earth’s atmosphere of practically 100% nitrogen and oxygen alone, without water, would be 52°C hotter – so much hotter, these are the real gases actually acting like a heavy blanket around the Earth..

    The Water Cycle cools the Earth down to 15°C from the 67°C it would be without water.

    By clever sleight of hand AGWSF has created a direct warming from the minus18°C to 15°C without any connecting logical process, from beginning with the science fraud that the -18°C doesn’t include absence of our great heavy real gas blanket of nitrogen and oxygen and by removing entirely the Water Cycle.

    Real physics is logical in its connections with internal coherence..

    The “Greenhouse Effect of 33°C warming by greenhouse gases” is an illusion, a magic trick.”

  59. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  60. The magnaminity of Pierrehumbert ‘s Tyndall lecture stands as a bipartisan example affording a stark contrast both to those bent on ignoring the science, and those indisposed to acknowledge its limitations.

    • Pierrehumbert’s lecture was interesting, but the magnanimity is a tad questionable. In order to produce the results his model does, it requires a TOA frame of reference. The “WRONG” gang used a surface frame of reference. If a solution is correct, it will work in all frames of reference. The key is what “surface” provides the most reliable frame of reference. On a water world, that reference is likely the bulk of the water. The TOA frame of reference which is sandwiched between two chaotic layers and referenced to another questionable and chaotic layer could provide some interesting challenges. Challenging puzzles are fine, but is would be nice to know that a solution exists.

  61. In re the AGU’s activisim: what we need is as much activism against the AGW hysteria as we can muster. Shame on the AGU – how can supposedly intelligent people be so stupid?.

  62. Kim Cobb has a very interesting post on the AGU meeting

    Women’s attire at the AGU
    (note: JC did not make the fashion list)

    • A smile on the face of a women always makes her beautiful. Pictured in abundance. I rest my case.

  63. I’m waiting for the AGW growd to discover that farm animals just may be emitting as much or more CO2 from their respiration as man is burning fossil fuels. Shall we now have carbon taxes on farm animals – and on humans too, since we humans alone also emit at least 4 gt/yr of CO2? A breath carbon tax – how cool.

  64. Pingback: Circular Logic not worth a Millikelvin | Watts Up With That?

  65. How much rent would the rent-seekers seek if the rent-seekers could seek and did seek rent?

    As Much As Possible

  66. Regarding the Tyndall Lecture:

    I found the lecture to be an interesting and informative presentation. However, the last couple of slides were a turnoff with the look and feel of cheap Hollywood theatrics. The lecturer’s position was clear enough in the rest of the presentation but did not get in the way of the presentation. This is a Tyndall lecture and he didn’t need such ‘crap’ as at the end; besides Liberty half-buried in the sand is not a ‘climate success’ to date.

    An example of an ending to the presentation that would have been more interesting and relevant to the topic would be the current decade+ ‘flatline’ of those various entities referred to as global temperature. After all he did mention the earlier 20th century flat-line period and some mention of where things stand now would seem appropriate. Other folks may have other examples of a topic currently of interest to climate prediction. Bottom-line—it is an interesting talk but the lecturer’s opting for his own political theatrics over deft engagement on a current topic of interest significantly takes away from the presentation as an objective instructive tool.

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