Open thread weekend

by Judith Curry

Its your turn to introduce topics for discussion

Some news to report:  the postponed Congressional hearing, where I was to testify, has been rescheduled for April 25.

570 responses to “Open thread weekend

  1. Paul Matthews letter to Science is on the second page of the Bish’s 3/15 post ‘Marcott in Freefall’ @

    • David Springer

      Two hour on the History Channel right now (3-5pm Central Standard Time) called

      Little Ice Age: Big Chill

      It would behoove everyone interested in climate to watch it. Warmists won’t like it because it documents how civlization had blossomed in Europe during the Medieval Warm Period and then went straight to a living hell where 33% of the human population perished during the Little Ice Age that followed.

      While I’m sure it’s far more dramatic in high definition you can also watch it in it entirety on youtube:

      • David L. Hagen

        Speaking of the Children March 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        Half of children perish in pre-industrial societies. Take your pick: a bucolic, green fantasy world – or one that’s safe for kids. . . .What we modern, pampered, technologically blessed, First World inhabitants have forgotten is that child deaths were once commonplace. . . .

        Jean-Jacques Rousseau Emile 1762

        “One half of children who are born, die before their eigth year. . . .This is nature’s law. Why contradict it?”

        “Industry is good for children. It saves their lives.”

      • David L. Hagen

        Finland demonstrated the danger of cold to society:

        Neumann, J.; Lindgrén, S. (1979). “Great Historical Events That Were Significantly Affected by the Weather: 4, The Great Famines in Finland and Estonia”. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 60 (7): pp775–787. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1979)0602.0.CO;2. ISSN 1520-0477.

        “In the years 1694 to early 1697, cold winters and cool and wet springs and autumns led to extreme famine in northern Europe, particularly in Finland, Estonia, and Livonia. It is estimated thatin Finland about 25–33% of the population perished (Jutikkala, 1955; Muroma, 1972), and in Estonia-Livonia about 20% (Liiv, 1938). . . .
        Records indicate that in the absence of an appropriate diet, the population consumed unwholesome and partly or fully indigestible ‘foods’ which led to widespread diseases and epidemics (diarrhea of sorts, including lientery, dysentery, etc.). There were even some cases of cannibalism, The greatest rise in mortality took place in spring and early summer of 1697, when weather conditions were already in the process of improving. . . .Many of the farms were abandoned during the crisis, either through the death of either all or some members of the family concerned, or through migration (where migration included begging). The number of people who turned to begging was massive. . . ..”

      • David L. Hagen

        Classic summary:

        We don’t know whether we are going into hightened warming situation in the North Atlantic or into a regional cooling. There is that much uncertainty in the models.

  2. Ah…Earth Hour. That hour set aside each year to turn ON every light I own and light up the planet!

    • Barbecuing tenderized and aged roadkill over a bed of burning sidewalls. Craft huaraches from the treads. A barrel of fun, worthy of Cokesbury.

    • Personally, I don’t like to consider global cooling and having to eat rabbit but for starters let’s assume the AGW hypothesis is not a hoax and continuing global warming is our future because of it. Only then would it be sensible to say global warming is not natural so what if anything can anyone do now to stop AGW before natural climate cycles are simply overwhelmed by humanity’s activities. And, global warming alarmists will tell you that the answer is so easy that the question almost answers itself: The answer to the problem is, we need less of everything because that is the only way to stop AGW: we need less energy. But, they will also say, we need MORE government.

      • We need more government and fewer anti-government ideologues. Government is useful. Anti-government ideologues are useless. All they do is whine.

        I need less energy. I have so much it’s hard for me to relax. If you need more energy, get more sleep or see a doctor. But by “need less energy,” you may mean less electric power, natural gas, oil, etc. I don’t use as much of that stuff as I used to use, and I’m happier. So I never really needed as much to begin with.

      • ..we need more guvuhmint and less energy? Jest think of
        them towers of brightly lit bureaucracy office blocks churning
        out more, and more, regulations, more energy taxation on
        industry that creates wealth and employment, more limitations
        on freedom of speech and action that take us back ter the
        magical closed society and shamen leaders who KNOW how
        a country should be RUN and what is best fer us. Hmph.

        Beth the serf.

      • The founders tried to make it clear that we had a unique situation going here that wasn’t soon to ever be duplicated watch your Ps and Qs but never guessed it is the school teachers would start preaching AGW instead of teaching the ABCs.

      • I love my government. I can’t find anything good to say about anti-government ideologues. They blame government for their troubles, when they should be blaming themselves and/or fate.

      • Much like a union worker thanks his union for his retirement pay and not the taxpayer.

      • Max_OK

        You need less energy + more government.


        I prefer it the other way around.

        Chacun à son gout.

        Max_not from OK

      • Wag,
        Still working on the fusion power systems. It is harder than expected but two thrusts continue to go forward. One at Livermore and one in France. Setbacks is science and engineering are to be expected.

        So some big government projects may be useful to advance the state of the planet. Going forward with carbon limits is limiting the possibilites of mankind. I enjoy your free market defenses.

        EPA controling carbon dioxide emissions as opposed to clean water sewage treatment and drinking water desalination projects spends our resources in trivial instead of useful areas. Prioritization is the key. Opposing kestone pipeline to get energy from Canada instead of the middle east and opposing fracking on unproven impacts show the impacts of irrational controls.

        In 100 years the carbon age will be over with new limits on carbon emissions caused by economic improvements driven by free market science and some big government project when the market can’t look that far off.
        I do enjoy your positions.

    • Ditto

  3. It is most unlikely there will never be a global carbon price. Without a global carbon price, no individual country or regional carbon price will achieve anything significant, but will cost a fortune. Rational people know this so governments will not proceed to implement them. The EU and Australian carbon pricing schemes will be abandoned.

    • correction: “It is most unlikely there will ever be a global carbon price.”

      • correction: Not likely in your lifetime. Likely in the lifetimes of some who will remember you after you are gone. Even more likely when no living person remembers you.

      • Unless a carbon pricing scheme is implemented globally the cost penalty to the participants would be huge. Rational people and most policy makers world wide know this so a global agreement will not be achieved.

        Professor Richard Tol, long time advocate for carbon pricing and leading world authority on estimating the damages of global warming, wrote: The summary says:

        “The 18th UN Conference on climate change negotiations has just started in Doha. This column suggests that the probability of success is a mere 2.3%. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent on fruitless negotiations. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UN should close that chapter and try something new.”

        The article (and chart) is interesting. He begins:

        “Game theory suggests that attempts to negotiate an international environmental agreement, aiming to provide a global public good such as greenhouse gas emission reduction, are bound to fail (Barrett 1991, Carraro and Siniscalco 1992, Carraro and Siniscalco 1993). The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) nonetheless sought to find an agreement on legally binding targets for emission abatement. International conferences have been held each year since 1995. This year’s event, the 18th Conference, is from 26 November to 7 December in Doha, Qatar.”

        The previous 17 conferences have failed to reduce emissions. There were glimmers of hope in 1997 and 2001 when the Kyoto Protocol was, respectively, initiated and finalised. This international treaty, however, bound Europe and Japan to do nothing much and most other countries to do nothing at all. The US and Canada would have had substantial obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, but the US decided not to ratify the treaty and Canada withdrew after ratification.

        Richard Tol’s article also reveals that it was known and predicted back in 1991, using game theory, that the world would not agree to carbon pricing or international agreements.

      • Global agreement might not be necessary. Individual countries could unilaterally place carbon taxes on imports from other countries. This would rake in money from other countries, as well as making home produced local low-carbon goods more competitive.

        Other countries won’t like this but they’ll have to suck it up if the individual country is steadfast in this approach, and publicly they can always lean on all those IPCC reports to back up their actions. It’ll be those countries who angrily object who will appear to be the bad guys.

        We already saw this picture emerging with the EU airline emissions tax. Other countries don’t have to agree. The EU can dictate how much foreign airlines pay to enter the EU. The EU has effectively forced other countries back to the negotiations table and they know if they don’t come up with a global emissions tax, the EU will unilaterally impose their own.

      • Lolwot,

        Global agreement might not be necessary.

        Yes it is. It won’t work without it. Therefore it won’t survive.

        Individual countries could unilaterally place carbon taxes on imports from other countries.

        No they can’t. the other countries retaliate and it escalates into either war or everyone realises that doesn’t work. That’s why the world has been moving, bit by bit, to freer and freer trade and reducing trade barriers for half a century.

        We already saw this picture emerging with the EU airline emissions tax.

        It failed, EU had to withdraw it. A perfect example demonstrating why trade barriers will not work.

      • “No they can’t. the other countries retaliate and it escalates into…”

        …effectively a global carbon tax with all countries imposing their own tit-for-tat systems.

        “It failed, EU had to withdraw it. A perfect example demonstrating why trade barriers will not work.”

        On the contrary, the EU has stated it will reimpose it if the ICAO General Assembly in fall year doesn’t come up with a working global carbon emissions agreement. They’ve effectively told all the nay-saying countries “come up with a better plan then” and if they don’t it will give them more ammo to impose it unilaterally.

        This is exactly how unilateral action can lead to global agreement.

      • lolwot,

        On the contrary, the EU has stated it will reimpose it if the ICAO General Assembly in fall year doesn’t come up with a working global carbon emissions agreement.

        Its and empty threat. They can’t for obvious reasons i STATED BEFORE. THEY ALREADY TRIED AS HARD AS THEY COULD AND IT FAILED. tHEY HAD TO WQITHDRAW IT

      • lolwot,
        Sorry about the last attempt

        On the contrary, the EU has stated it will reimpose it if the ICAO General Assembly in fall year doesn’t come up with a working global carbon emissions agreement.

        It’s and empty threat. They can’t for obvious reasons which I stated clearly in the previous comment. EU already tried to impose trade penalties as forcefully as they could. They failed and had to withdraw. They will have not more power to force their will on other countries next time than they had last time or throughout the last 20 years of climate negotiations. Other countries will tell the, quite rightly to go jump, and impose greater penalties on the EU. And so it goes on and escalates. That’s where trade wars inevitably lead.

        This is exactly how unilateral action can lead to global agreement.

        That is an unbelievable naive statement on your part.

        EU has already tried a unilateral approach by implementing an ETS. It is now failing. It will be dead within a few years. It is totally political, continually fiddled with for political gain and to try to gain a political advantage. It demonstrates the impossibility of ever getting a global carbon pricing scheme off the ground.

      • Well lets see what happens in fall if the meeting fails. Lets see if your prediction that the EU backs down comes true.

        The EU already imposes safety and emission standards on imports that the rest of the world have to abide to or not trade with the EU. It’s not a huge jump to see that the EU can implement things that the rest of the world just has to live with.

      • There doesn’t need to be a global carbon tax to begin with.

        Coal is relatively expensive to transport.

        Inexpensively extractable coal is not evenly distributed throughout the globe despite IPCC nonsense assuming that it is.

        The Australians and Americans have more then their fair share of inexpensively extractable coal.

        Those countries without inexpensively extractable coal will bear the R&D and FOAK costs of ‘new energy technology’. They will then become exporters of said technology.

        Whether other countries would voluntarily impose a carbon tax in order to spur ‘new energy technology’ development and potentially share in the ‘new energy technology’ profits is up to them.

        It would seem to me that the Australian domestic energy market is probably too small to spur much in the way of ‘new energy development’ using a carbon tax.

        I would note that the Chinese, having similar domestic carbon costs(sans tax) as the Europeans are kicking the crap out of the Europeans in the Solar Panel business and are well poised to also kick the crap out of the Europeans in the nuclear power business. The difference of course being that the Chinese domestic energy market is growing and the European market is stagnant depending on ‘forced early retirement’ in order to sustain any energy generating technology market at all.

      • David Springer

        Yeah, but the price is going to be for removing carbon from the atmosphere not adding it. Carbon is a commodity. It’s hugely valuable element needed to make everything from fuel to furniture. We’ll eventually run out of easy to reach caches in the ground then we’ll turn to the atmosphere for it where it is ubiquitous and available everywhere from Alaska to Antarctica. Sunlight and water are really the only other two critical commodities. With hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, using sunlight to break and remake chemical bonds, a huge range of composite molecules can be formed which are the basis of all living things and all the materials living things produce. How ironic it will be when the demand for cheap durable goods based on carbon compounds causes limits to be imposed on how much carbon can be removed from the atmosphere. Inevitably this will happen because unlike the non-catastrophe of adding CO2 to the atmosphere removing it will quickly impact the biosphere which needs it to thrive. At about half the current concentration terrestrial plants begin to die off and at any diminished level productivity falls. Unfool yourselves.

      • HarryWR2,

        Excellent comment, as always. Thank you. I agree 100%.

    • Carbon pricing cannot succeed unless it is global

      Analyses by Professor William Nordhaus, advocate of carbon pricing and world authority on estimating the costs and benefits of climate change, greenhouse gas mitigation policies and the optimal carbon price, show that carbon pricing must be global or it will not succeed.

      Nordhaus (2008), p198, says:

      Complete participation is important because the cost function for abatement appears to be highly convex. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent instead of 100 percent will impose a cost penalty on abatement of 250 percent.

      In other words, if only 50% of emissions are included in the global carbon pricing scheme, the cost penalty for the participants would be 250%. The 50% participation could be achieved by, for example, 100% of countries participating in the scheme but only 50% of the emissions in total from within the countries are included, or 50% of countries participate and 100% of the emissions within those countries are included in the scheme (i.e. taxed or traded).

      In reality, the cost penalty for the participants would be worse than this because with less than full participation there would be leakage of emissions from the participants to the non participants. That is already being demonstrated in EU and now Australia as high emissions industries close down in countries with carbon pricing and move to countries with no carbon pricing.

      The abatement costs are likely to be higher than Nordhaus has estimated because it seems the compliance cost of carbon monitoring, reporting, policing and disputation has not been included. Consider what the compliance cost would be as smaller and smaller emissions sources are included. See for example this enlightening comment posted by an engineer:

      Given the cost penalty for the participants, what is the likelihood of a global agreement to price carbon being implemented, let alone maintained for centuries or until GHG emissions are down to level prescribed to be “sustainable”?

      • Peter Lang,

        “Carbon pricing cannot succeed unless it is global”

        If you are thinking of “succeed” in the sense of reducing CO2 emissions to Hansenian levels, that is an accurate statement. But if you remember that CAGW is really a progressive political movement, then that is not the case.

        Western nations from the US and EU to Australia are all to one degree or another taxing, regulating and accumulating power over the energy economy on a massive scale due to the CAGW political movement. It is nothing like the success of full decarbonization they crave, but it is already a source of enormous transfers of wealth and power from the private sector to the governments. In that sense, it has already been a resounding success.

      • Gary M

        Yes. I agree with all that.

      • Peter Lang

        My guess-timate:

        Likelihood of a binding global carbon tax (direct or indirect) = 0%

        Likelihood of a non-binding agreement in principle to reduce CO2 emissions as a % of economic growth signed by most major nations = close to 100%

        Ain’t politics grand?


      • Manacker,

        Yes, some sort of agreement like you suggest that everyone can agree to is a likely way we can move forward with rational policy and give the irrationals something so they can say they got an agreement.

    • Max_OK

      Naw. Peter Lang has thought this out a bit more than you have apparently, and he’s right.

      A few developed western societies may still jump on the carbon tax bandwagon, but the bulk of the future human CO2 is going to come from China, India, Brazil, etc.

      And these nations are not going to stop the development of their economies and the resulting transition of their populations out of poverty because of an imaginary rich white man’s guilt-driven hobgoblin.

      Not in your lifetime.

      Not in the next 200 years (long after the CAGW hysteria has died and been replaced by a new doomsday fantasy).

      It just ain’t gonna happen. So you can fuggidaboudit.

      Max_not from OK

      • I’ll tell you what ain’t gonna happen — hip people like me taking antiques like you seriously. Your ideology is too “yesterday” for me.

        As for Nukey Lang, the man’s got a one-track mind on a track to nowhere.

      • Max_OK,

        My agenda is rational policies and stop the waste on stupid policies.

      • Max_OK

        Whodat say you be “hip”?

        Nobody but you.

        You jes’ a bit goofy, dat’s all.

        Max_not from OK

      • an’ wet behind the ears…

    • In this political mess, the green lobby has imposed costs on the public for negligible difference, hurting the poor the most. Airlines imposed a fee required to cover the carbon tax. However EU has exempted international flights for a year and a major portion of credits were allotted free. Consequently, airlines benefit, the public lost. See:

      Costs and Benefits of Stopping the Clock

  4. David Wojick

    Let’s hope you are not snowed out on April 25. We have another snow storm due Sunday. Must be that old AGW right? Demons are like that. Out demon out. It will not go.

  5. The increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is due to global warming as shown in the following graph that has a correlation coefficient of 0.99.

    To try to control CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is impossible. It will drop only with global cooling as shown in the following graph.

    • That “following graph” shows no such thing. It looks like sharp bloody teeth. YECHH !

      • Max_OK

        Ah reckon readin them grafs an math-e-ma-ticks nevah wuz a big deal back in Oklahoma, wuz it?

        Max_not from OK

    • Latimer Alder


      Please explain the processing steps in your WfT graph, and why each of them are needed.

      Please alos discuss why the temperature line stops in about 1990, when data is available until 2012.

      It may be a nice graph of something, but it is not obvious of what.

    • sorry it is for Latimer Alder

      • Girma | March 23, 2013 at 2:12 am |

        Normalize removes the information you seek to demonstrate, used as you use it. If it looks like the information is still there, that is an artefact of the method, not a reliable indication.

        Also, you can effectively remove transients with less loss of fidelity by taking the two relatively-prime-length periods closest to half the period you suspect holds your transients. For 61 years (732 months), this would be 365 & 367 (yes, I know 365 isn’t a prime number, but it’s relatively prime compared to 367 and both are prime relative to 732).

        As we’re taking running means and plotting by center points, we lose quite a bit of grounds for comparing the curves. Further, there’s sometimes a good reason for applying the same transient filter to all curves being compared.. and there just isn’t enough Mauna Loa data to filter at 732 months very meaningfully.

        Here’s something closer to what you’re trying to procure, with less technical error:

        You remove transients of 61 years while still showing some fidelity to effects longer than 367 months. This reveals that the dips centered at 1910 and 1970 are likely unrelated to each other, ie not the product of the same cycle. It also shows it’s unlikely CO2 entirely follows temperature, as the temperature curve from 1940 to 1970 (when CO2 was steeply rising for at least the last third of that period) was flat. Keeping in mind that all graphs are fictions, subject to the interpretation of the chartsman.

        You could also refer to the physical properties of CO2 in solution and how temperature change (which BEST shows is net not as high for the oceans as for the land surface) drives CO2 out of solution, to see your claim is not possible on its own. The majority of CO2 level increase is not from temperature change alone.

      • David L. Hagen

        Bart R
        Thanks for the insights.
        Is the CO2 lag behind temperature significant?

      • We can also learn from Vaughan Pratt who uses similar long-term upward curves in temperature and CO2, but allowing for a lag response, to show that the sensitivity is nearer 3 C per doubling.

      • David L. Hagen | March 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |

        In this bit of fluff I threw together on WfT, is the lag signifiant?

        This demonstration lacks the tools to say. There is some help from ice cores, but less clarity than was believed even three years ago. comments on an interesting approach to resolve the lag question on millennial scales. comments in lucid, accessible language on different approaches to the same question with similar results.

        Both CO2-leads and Temperature-leads effects are predicted, physically. Heat drives CO2 from solution at known rates far below the scale we see. Global temperature affects how plants and microbes process CO2 at somewhat less simple rates. CO2 increases atmospheric temperature through the GHE mechanism at somewhat more convoluted rates still. Anyone claiming to have a perfect understanding of the entire chain of CO2 in the biom has a very, very long row to hoe. mentions just some of the present measurement difficulties at the cutting edge of reconstructing the ancient CO2 record.

      • JimD, “We can learn from Vaughan Pratt …. 3C per doubling.”

        Yes you can, provided you are opened minded enough to learn. The actual forcing of CO2 per doubling is estimated at 1 to 1.5 C, but the specific “surface” of that impact is not specific. So of the 3C (actually about 2.7 C was Vaughan’s estimate), we only know that ~1 to 1.5C can be directly attributed to CO2. Since Vaughan used HadCRU3, he could have compared the NH with the SH, finding that the SH was closer to 1C and the NH closer to 3C. That would indicate that there is some underlying trend or amplification involved. Since he was required to use a 15 year lag to “fit” his estimate, that would imply one or more of the ocean oscillations were involved. Since his filter truncated the last 25 years of the data, he was unable to verify the cause of the lag which he initially that would be simple to explain. That lag and the pre-1920 portion of his SAW was due to primarily North Atlantic SST dipping strongly in ~1915 and rebounding, something that would be totally unrelated to his CO2 forcing which makes a great tracer gas, since it is dang near the only thing we have a handle on in climate science.

        Well, there are some with a better handle on things,

      • Capt.d., it is important to know when someone is evaluating a transient sensitivity versus an equilibrium sensitivity. Girma is obtaining a transient one. If he used land temperatures, that would generally avoid lags, circulation changes, and might give a better estimate, plus we live on land, so it is more relevant to the speed of warming where we live.

      • JimD, Girma has basically chewed all the flavor out of the GMT data. It is time to move on to more relevant issues than there are 30 to 60 year oscillations and a long term trend in a short term record. Since that record is about 130 years long, the average is about zero on a paleoclimate timescale. You have to figure out if that 0.6 to 0.7 C secular trend is real or not before you can determine an accurate time baseline for CO2 attribution.

      • Vaughan’s method wouldn’t have filtered out along term trend from other sources such as a trend in OHT.

      • The very distinct upward curve of the secular trend is the significant thing here, coincidentally mimicking what CO2 would be expected to produce.

      • steven, Vaughan’s method had a 20 plus year filter. The data and the filter limit the valid range. The accurate OHC data would only provide a few points because of its length versus the filter width.

      • A 20 year filter wouldn’t do anything to a trend that is 200 years long such as the trend in increased volume flow of the gulf stream

      • JimD. That very distinct upward trend followed a very distinct downward trend. If you remove that trend you get a rough CO2 response of ~1-1.6 over the land areas. You can’t determine anything about ECS from the surface data, that would be all ocean data which is about 0.6 C per 300 years. That puts everything in a totally different time zone.

      • Steven, the filter would only impact the endpoints. Since there is a trailing upswing starting in 1976 with a larger swing from 1985 to 1999, the filter captures the peak trend. Since that part of the pseudo-cycle is roughly 30 years, missing the last half tends to exaggerate the upswing.

        As for the Atlantic SST trend, the filter would have better captured that because it is roughly a 60 year cycle riding the secular trend.

        There is no perfect way of doing the job, just comparing various different sections to verify. Like using Global, NH and SH or to get really robust, the same with Tmax, Tmin and Taverage.

      • capt.d., the land has been warming at 0.3 C per decade, including the so-called pause period. If that leads to the low sensitivity you claim (which it doesn’t, of course), it is very interesting that regarding future climate that this trend gives us 3 C per century when accumulated CO2 emission is only 20% of what it will be.

      • By 20%, I mean of course the added part of the CO2 above the natural value is 20% of what it will be. So whatever effect we have seen now is small compared to what we get in 2100.

      • JimD, the land has been warming recently at close to 0.3 C per decade. There is no guarantee that trend will continue and that trend is likely unsustainable.

        It would be unsustainable because it cannot transfer that energy into a reservoir at that rate. CO2 does not add thermal mass to the atmosphere, so the atmosphere has a capacity limit, cue the Sudden Stratospheric Warming events, tropical ozone depletion, cloud ceiling responses.

      • “Capt.d., it is important to know when someone is evaluating a transient sensitivity versus an equilibrium sensitivity. Girma is obtaining a transient one. If he used land temperatures, that would generally avoid lags, circulation changes, and might give a better estimate, plus we live on land, so it is more relevant to the speed of warming where we live.”

        Right on, JimD. If someone wants to look at a “from scratch” fit to the transient global warming, visit my blog post here:

        This completely stochastic model has exactly four (4) parameters, using only input from estimated carbon emissions starting in 1750.
        The four parameters are
        1. Median atmospheric CO2 adjustment time
        2. Temperature sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration
        3. A historic average atmospheric CO2 concentration baseline
        4. A constant temperature baseline to reference the temperature anomaly

        None of these parameters has a lot of wiggle room from what are considered the nominal values. #1 follows the BERN model. #2 chooses the 3C climate sensitivity. #3 uses 295 PPM. #4 is adjusted to give the smallest RMS error after the year 1900.

        The residual difference between the model’s output and BEST data is most accurately described as the result of a red noise process. If people like Tamino and Vaughan Pratt want to try to fit the residual to other natural processes or decadal periodicities, that is fine. But those will not change the overall trend, which is directly the result of carbon emissions.

        Take potshots at this model for all it is worth, as it accurately emulates the James Hansen fast transient model of 1981.

      • Dallas, you are arguing over the oscillations imposed upon the secular trend. I am arguing over the attribution of the secular trend.

      • Webster said, “Confirms Hansen’s fast transient model.”

        That fast transient model would provide an upper limit or worst case. For that rate to continue, the core would have to warm with the “shell”. The oceans can’t warm that quickly. The atmosphere can’t retain that energy on its own.

      • capt.d., re: land warming. If the earth can lose its excess energy by the land warming and drying quickly under cloudless skies, it may evolve along that route. Not a good thing. Better hope the oceans can keep up. This century will be a real-life experiment with transient climate.

      • steven, you have to be able to separate the two. That is the problem with Pratt’s model, it added the oscillation to the secular at the endpoint and removed it at the start.

        To isolate the secular you would have to split the data up, but since the data period is rather short versus a trend that could be on the order of centuries, it is not an easy job.

        I am still looking for ways to isolate that trend,

        That just uses the satellite data since it is more manageable, but the quality of the southern hemisphere data really limits any conclusion you can make with the longer term data since the trend is still buried in the weather noise.

      • JimD, Drying out is possible in quite a few areas since glacial melt has been a major water resource for many centuries. But that is the ugly land use underestimate. We can clear snow faster plus black carbon emissions speed melt. That is not a fast feedback response and it is not even included in the models as best I can tell (BC is but appears to be underestimated). Nor are the SSW events which tend to produce much more snow and ice.

      • David Springer

        CaptDallas re; atmosphere’s heat capacity

        You say it can’t hold the excess energy for decades.

        That’s quite an understatement. On my planet it can’t hold the excess energy overnight. Where I live (100 miles inland) there’s an average 20F difference from day to night. Shouldn’t an atmosphere that can hold a few degrees for ten years hold it overnight too? Non sequitur.

      • CaptnDallas said:

        ” That is not a fast feedback response and it is not even included in the models as best I can tell (BC is but appears to be underestimated). Nor are the SSW events which tend to produce much more snow and ice.”

        SSW events may produce more snow at lower latitudes for a period of time in that colder air is shunted from the polar regions to lower latitudes where it combines with moist air to produce more snow, but on the other hand, SSW’s tend to restrict the growth of sea ice with higher pressure and higher temperatures over the polar regions proper. Thus it is a balance. Also, the most important metric regarding the long term trends in NH snow cover is the amount of snow cover in the late spring and early summer. This measurement has been on a downward trend for many decades, and given that SSW events don’t happen very often in the late spring and early summer, there seems to be no feedback between SSW’s and late spring early summer NH snow cover.

      • R. Gates Said, “SSW events may produce more snow at lower latitudes for a period of time in that colder air is shunted from the polar regions to lower latitudes where it combines with moist air to produce more snow, but on the other hand, SSW’s tend to restrict the growth of sea ice with higher pressure and higher temperatures over the polar regions proper. Thus it is a balance.”

        Over what time frame? Having a near balance over one or two seasons when the SSW events appear to have 15 to 20 years cycles is not very informative. The events themselves are a response to energy imbalances or convective “blobs” in lower latitude regions. If you look at the temperature differential between the North Atlantic and North Pacific you can see how longer term THC or AMO influences can impact the magnitude of the events.

        With the rough magnitude of an NH SSW event being on the order of 10^22 Joules, the impact on the Hemisphere meridional heat flux is very significant. Even if the snow and ice doesn’t “stick” it would impact the soil moisture in large regions in turn impacting the convective triggering potential.

        Without considering longer 60 to 150 years cycles, “Thus in balance.” is a SWAG.

    • Latimer Alder

      I think Ill just put this one down to bafflegab on both sides.

      If any of you come up with an explanation in English accessible to a wider audience, ring me back.


      What we are attempting to show

      Why it is interesting/important/worthwhile

      Proposed Method of showing it (outline, theory etc)

      Method used (in detail)

      Results (here show the graphs)

      Discussion and Conclusions

      i.e Something that looks remarkably similar to my old undergraduate lab book in chemistry. That particular format evolved because it was useful and (pretty much) universal.

      I commend it to your attention.

  6. How do we measure the temperature of the earth a hundred thousand or a hundred million years ago??

    The graph of temperatures on the earth over the last 160,000 or, even more so, 700 million years is a startling accomplishment. It is based on a number of pieces of evidence, but one of the most important is the amount of the heavier isotope of oxygen, O18, compared with the more abundant O16 . In Antarctic ice cores, we can probe the amount of O18 trapped directly in the ice, giving us temperatures for the last 200,000 years or so. To go back farther, we look in fossil seashells.

    How does this approach work? O18 has two more neutrons than O16, making it heavier by the ratio 18/16, the relative numbers of neutrons plus protons (all oxygen has 8 protons). Water molecules made with O18 are about 10% heavier then those made with O16. Because lighter molecules move faster at a given temperature, the O16 – type water can break the bonds with other water molecules more easily and it evaporates from the oceans more easily than the O18 – type. Thus, clouds are richer in the O16 type, and so is rain. So long as rain returns all the water evaporated from the oceans back to them, there is an equilibrium that keeps the two forms of water at a given ratio. However, if a lot of the rain ends up getting frozen into ice, as in an ice age, then the ice ends up enriched in O16 and the oceans enriched in O18.

  7. Humanity is making too much energy; we need MORE government. There are too many people in the world; we need MORE government. We are running out of oil; we need MORE government. People are too fat; we need MORE government. Healthcare is not free; we need MORE government. My employer is going out of business; we need MORE government; My paycheck doesn’t buy what it used to; we need MORE government. I want to retire in my 50s at full pay for life; we need MORE government.

    • Well, of course, you got more people, you need more government. No brainer, there.

      We got more more people, we need to use our natural resources more efficiently. Don’t waste what you can’t replace. Another no brainer.

    • Wagathon,

      Private sector cannot provide fast internet for Australia; we need government to do it.

      Australia’s Labor government decided only the government could give us fast broadband. So they have passed legislation to ensure the government provides broadband and competition is banned.

      The government is rolling out a fibre optic system to reach 93% of the Australian population.

      Rollout began in 2011 and was due to be complete by 2011. By June 2013 they were scheduled to connect to, and later changed to pass, 1.26 million dewellings. Now they say they will pass abut 200,000 dwellings by that date. And there has been very little take up of the monopoly and the government is trying to bribe people to connect to make the figures look better.

      At the current rate of progress (200,000 instead of 1.26 million) the project will take over 63 years instead of 10 years. So it will be finished in about 2074 instead of 2021.

      The original cost estimate was $50 billion. What will the final cost be?

      The government thought that after they’d built it they’d be able to sell it to the private sector. What chance of that? Guess who’ll be paying for this?

      That’s just one example of “we need MORE government”

      p.s., I haven’t mentioned that it was revealed today that US is selling satellite bands to Indonesia that will be able to do the job of some of what the National Broadband Network will be able to do. I wonder what will be the situation with alternative technologies and broadband speeds by the time the project is likely to finish if it continues.

      • California’s Gov. Jerry Brown (Gov. Moonbeam as he is called–and, he has dementia) is building a bullet train to nowhere. Top that!

      • Bullet trains are awesome, but some transportation funds should be spent on a time machine to send anti-governement ideologues back to the 17th Century, where they would be happy, assuming they wouldn’t find something else to whine about.

      • Bullet trains are fine but bullets are more effective.

    • Wagathon prefers a society where the rich or privileged few rule, and the poor masses have no say, and where corporate fiefdoms are uncontrolled by regulation. This experiment has generally failed in Europe and given way to western democracies, but I think a few African countries are still trying it.

      • The craziest thing about the Left and the liberal Utopians of Western academia goes way beyond their acceptance of global warming hysteria as an article of faith. What is far worse is their unquestioned belief that this time, their Marxist Utopia will be different from the failure of Eurocommunism and humanity’s past experiences with the ideology of Marx which has led to misery, suffering and millions of deaths.

      • The thing about giving elective power to the poor masses is that they end up caring about bringing the poor masses up to a comfortable standard in the country. This was what the us founding fathers aspired to as well, but that part has been forgotten by some.

      • Jim D, I believe Waggy is a born whiner. If he wasn’t complaining about government, I think he would find something else to belly-ache about.

        Why does he complain so much? Well, it probably serves some deep-seated psychological need. My guess is if he didn’t spend so much time finding fault externally , he would have to look closer at himself, and admit he isn’t what he thinks he should be.

      • Jim D

        Don’t know about Wagathon, but I prefer a government, which I have helped to elect that provides those services that I want from it – and no more, as limited by a constitution.

        It’s known as a constitutional democracy with a limited representative government..

        The problem with governments (politicians and bureaucrats of the ruling class) is that they grow organically (like any other organism) beyond the point needed or desired by those who fund the operation (the taxpayers), resulting in more power to the ruling class and less freedom to the individual. The danger is increasing government regulation and spending, larger budgetary deficits, greater long-term debt and higher taxes to finance the growth.

        If not checked by the voting citizens, this can develop into a spiral of ever-increasing government regulation and bureaucracy, leading to creeping totalitarianism, a “Big Brother” society, where the government is in complete control of the citizenry.

        Why do the voting taxpayers allow this to happen?

        Apathy is certainly one reason, but a key motivating factor often used by governments to retain and increase control is fear.

        As H.L. Mencken put it: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

        Sound familiar?

        The African countries, to which you refer, have not yet developed constitutional representative democracies, where everyone has the right to vote, so they do not yet have this problem. Some are still being run by one-party rule strongmen who are often no more than thugs. So their problems are totally different, and have little to do with the malaise of creeping totalitarianism, which we in western societies risk.



      • manacker said on March 23, 2013 at 3:12 am

        “Don’t know about Wagathon, but I prefer a government, which I have helped to elect that provides those services that I want from it – and no more, as limited by a constitution.”

        Me too. I want the government to provide only the services I want. If it isn’t something I want, then I don’t think the government should be providing it to anyone.
        But what I want isn’t exactly the same as what many others want. With so many people wanting so many different things, and population increasing, the government has to get bigger.

        Fact: Bigger population = Bigger government

        Resign yourself to that fact.

      • Max_OK


        More folks need more government.

        But let’s take the USA (because Switzerland is so small and unimportant).

        The per household federal government sending (in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars) increased from $11,900 in 1965 to over $30,000 in 2012.


        As the German beer-drinking song goes: “Wer soll das bezahlen?” (who is supposed to pay for this?).

        You guessed it.

        Max_not from OK

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Government exists to provide services the private sector can’t or won’t – the limits of which are dtermined in the usual messy democratic way. The size of government is best restricted to about 25% of GDP according to both Keynes and Hayek – and any other rational economist.

        There are a few other sensible behaviours in a modern economy – control of interest rates to manage inflation being the core technique.

      • Latimer Alder


        You say that it is inevitable that

        Bigger population = bigger government

        You could try plotting a graph of populations vs % of GDP spent on government to see if you are right

        It is certainly not intuitively obvious to me. Maybe the data will show otherwise.

      • manacker said on | March 23, 2013 at 4:10 am

        “The per household federal government sending (in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars) increased from $11,900 in 1965 to over $30,000 in 2012.


        Why are you saying “Ouch ?” You ain’t paying for it. You are Swiss. Americans like myself pay for it. I’m not crying. I don’t know about most Americans, but I’m far better off now than I was in 1965.

        I love our government. I don’t think much of anti-government ideologues.

      • How many 2012 dollars would the government have to spend to equal the purchasing power of $11,900 in 1965? I would guess it’s way more than $30,000. My Dad bought a Mercedes Benz diesel in ~1968 for $6,900. You ain’t gonna do that today for $30,000.

      • Max_OK

        We have the same phenomenon in Switzerland of a growing federal government.

        It’s less than in the USA, however: Per capita total (federal, cantonal, communal) government expenditures have not quite doubled (in constant Swiss Francs) since 1960.

        The federal portion has grown more rapidly than the other two, but -because of the decentralized system we have – federal taxes are still only a fraction of cantonal + communal taxes, and the federal budget is around 30% of the total.

        As a result of a constitutional amendment in 2001, we have a mandated “debt brake” (Schuldenbremse), that keeps federal spending from increasing above federal revenue (adjusted for estimated versus actual GDP), so do not have the problem of mounting federal debt, as you do in the USA.

        The 2011 total federal, cantonal and communal spending was around 200 billion CHF, with a net budget shortfall of 800 million CHF (0.4%), but a net social security surplus of 2.8 billion CHF, so the net surplus (incl. social security) was around 2 billion CHF (1%).

        The economy is also better today than that in the USA with around 3% unemployment, so the situation is different from that in the USA.

        The system is generally working well. But even here, there are many who are concerned about the continuous growth of the federal government.


      • JCH

        The US data I cited are adjusted for inflation (they are in constant 2012 dollars), so the almost three-fold increase in per household expenditures is real, not a reflection of inflation.


      • something is wrong with the numbers


        Per is a dangerous word.

      • manacker, yes, voting citizens should be able to choose the direction of government priorities. This works until money enters politics when the rich start to have undue influence on the policies at the expense of the average citizen. This is a major problem in the US at the moment. It is legalized bribery.

  8. When I take the GISS NH and SH mean time series and do a first difference, I can see that the SH has a fairly significant change around 1955. So I calculated a rolling 60-month SD for the first diffs and plotted them. Is the change in the SH meaningful? Why does the SD for NH and SH almost meet in 1976, when I believe there was a regime shift?

    • To follow up on my post, and to ask someone knowledgeable to comment…

      It appears to me that the volatility of southern-hemisphere GISTEMP mean temps doubled in a short period of time starting around 1955. By “volatility”, I mean taking the first difference of the temp series and looking at that, which is the residual after detrending*. If you plot this residual, the change is obvious to the eye, and taking a rolling 60-month standard deviation, it appears that the SD doubled and has stayed at those levels to the present. (The latter is what I’ve graphed in the link, above.)

      It seems to me that there are two explanations:

      1. An artifact. Seems to me there are two kinds of artifacts: 1a) an artifact based on physical causes, and 1b) an artifact based on data processing causes.

      For an example of 1a: if between 1955 and 1960 the number of stations in the SH had doubled, with the vast majority of stations being land-based, that would raise the volatility, since land temps are more volatile than sea temps.

      2. Real. That is, something happened around 1955 that caused the SH to shift to a higher volatility. As an example of this, there’s an article elsewhere on this blog that talks about a regime shift in 1976, and perhaps something happened in the solar cycle two previous to 1976 (cycle 20?) that started a ~22-year ramp-up to the regime shift.

      Volatility, as I’ve labeled it, won’t affect trend, obviously. But an obvious change in volatility could either reflect a problem with pre-1955 temps (real or due to processing) or it could reflect a mechanism that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. It could also affect error bounds pre-1955, I think.

      The graph mentioned in my previous posting shows the 60-month running standard deviation of the first difference of GISTEMP mean temps. I’ve also overlaid a loess smooth, and indicated 1955 and 1976 by dashed vertical lines.

      Any comments by people who actually know climate?

      * A first difference is more than detrending, but I think in this case it provides a way to differentiate trend from everything-else without arguing over what the trend looks like. If differencing is not appropriate, I believe it can introduce autocorrelations, but I don’t see that in the graph.

    • Is this the first difference between annual averages? I think you need to explain this more to get a response. These look like standard deviations of annual means and may show how they vary over time(?)

      • Thanks for your reply! It’s the first difference between monthly averages. So I took the GISTEMP monthly average temps for NH and SH and used R’s `diff` command on them, which for the SH shows a sudden increase in range. The graph itself was:

        plot (rollapply (diff (giss.nh), 60, sd), ylim=c(0, 0.3), ylab=”Deg. C”, xlab=”Year”, main=”First difference of rolling 60-month SD”)
        lines (rollapply (diff (, 60, sd), col=”red”) <- loess (sd ~ time, data.frame (sd=rollapply (diff (, 60, sd), time=time (rollapply (diff (, 60, sd))), span=0.33)
        lo.nh <- loess (sd ~ time, data.frame (sd=rollapply (diff (giss.nh), 60, sd), time=time (rollapply (diff (giss.nh), 60, sd))), span=0.33)
        lines ($x,$fitted, col="red", lwd=2)
        lines (lo.nh$x, lo.nh$fitted, lwd=2)
        abline (v=c(1954, 1976), lty=3)
        lines (spots / 3000)
        legend (1880, 0.155, c("GISS NH", "GISS SH"), bty="n", col=1:2, lty=1)

      • I don’t have an answer, but I notice additionally that before 1955 the SH ocean and land temperature were going up and down out of phase with each other, but since 1955 both have risen steadily (as seen with a 10-year running average).

      • Wayne

        I wrote about buckets in an article carried here 18 months ago. The historical data derived from them is largely pretty poor and we really do not have any sort of viable global SST record until the 1950’s or 60’s and even then its quite patchy

    • Perhaps it’s clearer if I show just the first difference of the GISTemp monthly means, so you can see what I saw. This graph shows the southern hemisphere (black) overlaid on the northern hemisphere (gray):

      • Oops, HTML didn’t work. The change is pretty striking:

      • If I squint, I see a slight increase in SH volatility before 1895. Is there an ~60 year phase? Any way to analyze just the end of the record meaningfully? Mebbe my opia hasn’t had enough theobromia yet.

      • Maybe you could try other datasets or isolate the SH land and ocean time series.

      • Jim D: Good suggestion, I’ll break it out into land and sea monthly temps for the SH, to see if there’s an apparent clue. I believe you said there appears to be a phase change, and if they were out of phase (canceling) and suddenly went in-phase (reinforcing), that would cause a jump like that. Of course, I’d still have no clue of why a phase change might happen.

        Kim: I’ll have to look at that. As you imply, analyzing the end of the record is fraught with peril. Especially if it’s the distant end.

      • My thought about the locked in rising in both land and ocean is that now both are forced by an outside influence (i.e. CO2), while before, internal variations were more important, but that’s just my view. I don’t necessarily see why it affects variability, so it would be good to see your further results.

      • Jim D: I just downloaded the monthly land-only GIStemp data for SH and NH, and there’s no significant difference between the NH and SH land SD’s. I can’t find easy-to-get, monthly sea-only files, so can’t be sure, but it would appear that it’s either a sea-only jump or something in the combining of land and sea.

        Around 1955, so perhaps it reflects a changeover from canvas buckets to insulated (wood, rubber) buckets around that time? That’s one possibility, based on a paper I just read that says: “Canvas buckets are generally lightweight, will not bounce along the surface and can be compacted for storage. They are thought to have remained the dominant bucket type used from the 1920s until their gradual replacement by rubber and other modern ‘insulated’ meteorological buckets in the 1950s and 1960s (Kennedy et al., 2011b).”

        I’m guessing that evaporation from the wet canvas might’ve served to moderate temperatures: cooler air less evaporation, warmer air more evaporation.

      • Wayne2, it seems reasonable to try to explain it by changing observation methods. I might have expected that to go the other way towards less variability however, because the air temperature changes more than the water temperature, so if you are measuring some air variability by mistake it would have been less steady before the change. Similarly if the sampling has increased, the variability would reduce, so anything I can think of goes the wrong way.

      • A nice little curiosity, probably explicable; how explanatory of climate it might be, even kim doesn’t know.

      • I made another graph from the overall SH (still haven’t gotten sea-only temps) that’s fairly interesting:

        Jim D: You’re right, it would seem that mixing air temp with sea temp due to uninsulated buckets would increase variability rather than decrease it. But perhaps evaporation through the bucket skin would push things in the other direction? Not saying that buckets are the answer but those who know the field haven’t chimed in on this thread.

      • Oh, I forgot to mention, the reason for the last graph: as Kim said, it looks like the volatility may have been higher in the beginning. It also looks like it might’ve peaked and is heading slowly down. If so, it could be climate-related and part of the Great Pause in temperatures of the last decade.

        Of course “it looks like” doesn’t mean “it is”. Could just be wiggly lines.

      • And what to my squinting eyes should reveal? I need a mechanism ex machina.

      • Wayne

        Sorry, this ended up way above your bucket query. Hope this try is better aimed
        Mr Kennedy and myself had quite a discussion about it off thread.

      • @climatereason: Thanks so much for pointing it out. It’s a great read. Any ideas on why there would be *lower* variance of monthly means before 1955 than after? Seems the opposite of what I’d guess based on history.

        One reason could be over-processing of older, less-standardized, less-reliable records. Higher values near the beginning of the record, then a steady, lower value, followed by a rapid rise could be due to a running mean with a phase-over in 1955-1965. The higher values at the very beginning of the record would then be an artifact of a running mean with fewer values to work on.

      • Wayne

        I think your supposition is a good one. Incredibly, a square on the grid was filled in if there were only one single reading during any one year. These were then used to intrerpolate data to adjoining squares if those didn’t have any data. ‘Over processing’ of almost completely absent data about sums it up. Always assuning the original reading was taken in any meaningful scientific manner in the first place.

        This sort of parsing of worthless information appears the norm in climate science . We have the same problem with the historic land instrumental recotd which, supposedly accurate to tenths of a degree, is nothing more than a general pointer. As Hubert Lamb said when talking about temperature trends ‘we can understand the tendancy but not the precision.’


      • @tonybclimatereason: The more I look at it, the more it looks like someone applied a 15-year running mean — or something equivalent to it — to the GISTemp SH monthly data. The ramp down at the beginning looks like a running mean that’s extended to the beginning of the data by using shorter and shorter windows, and the doubling of the rate takes about 15 years from 1955 to about 1970.

      • Wayne

        I suggest you go back to my article and look at the date. Then look at the archives shortly after, as I am sure that there was then an article by John Kennedy of the Met Office on the subject. Then also in the archives a bit later you will see a very good deconstruction by, I think, Greg Goodman. Worth searching out.

        SST is to me a worthless exercise until the 1960’s or so, but it has acquired an enormous importance to policy makers who, I suspect, have no idea they are basing key decisions on some matelot who haphazardly threw a bucket over the side of a ship 150 years ago then may, or may not, have recorded it to an accuracy of 5 to 10 degrees or so

  9. These meetings, and others like them, have a lot to say.

    Interesting the advancements in just 40 years.

  10. Hi Judith,

    This one’s for you: “Males Are Overrepresented among Life Science Researchers Committing Scientific Misconduct” (see ). It would not surprise me if the same were true in climate science.

    Speaking of retractions, Science seems to be the leading the pack in the number of retracted papers, although it’s neck and neck with PNAS (see ).


    A new study showing correlations between solar cycles and thunderstorms.

  12. Dr. Roy Spencer was honest when he said, “I am often asked, ‘So, are you saying there is a conspiracy here?’” Spencer said, “No, because the ultimate goals were not a secret. Just a bunch of elitists carrying out plans that the politicians supported — with continuing promises of congressional funding for research that those politicians knew would support Job #1 of government — to stay needed by the people. Many of the scientists involved are just along for a ride on the gravy train. Even I ride that train… The elitism clearly shows through in the behavior of those who speak out publicly on the need for humanity to change its Earth-destroying ways.”

    • All I can say is that it’s a good think that Spencer isn’t an “activist” who practices “normative science,” or Judith would be all over that excerpt.


      • Since Al Gore, the UN-IPCC and academia’s putative consensus on global warming is an archetype example of normative science, wouldn’t Spencer be anti-normative science?

      • Spencer goes beyond saying everyone should be like him. He says everyone is like him. I envy his ability to see into the minds of others.

      • Latimer Alder


        ‘ I envy his ability to see into the minds of others’

        How do you feel about those who boldly assert that any sceptics are sceptical only for ideological reasons. Surely they too must claim the same ability for mind-reading?

        More remarkable is that (in my case at least) they have never even been in the same room as me. Spencer is a professional academic and will at least have rubbed shoulders with those whose motives he mentions.

    • What Spencer describes* IS a conspiracy.

      “a bunch of elitists carrying out plans that the politicians supported — with continuing promises of congressional funding for research that those politicians knew would support Job #1 of government — to stay needed by the people.”

      That’s a conspiracy theory.

      • lolwot

        You might call that a “conspiracy”.

        I’d say it’s more of a “collusion of interests” between many different players, such as environmental lobby groups, industrialists and corporations, climate scientists, politicians and bureaucrats, all hoping to gain influence, increased power or a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie (the ultimate goal being a trillion dollar global carbon tax to shuffle around).

        These diverse interest groups are backed by the media, hungry for sensational doomsday stories to sell, and the media darlings, jumping on the bandwagon for celebrity, plus a portion of the general public that has swallowed the bait.

        I do not see this as a formal “conspiracy”, but more of a “ship of fools”.

        But if you want to think there is a “conspiracy”, by all means do so.


      • Spencer specifically says a “bunch of elitists” (there’s your conspirators) are “carrying out plans” (there’s the cloak and daggers bit) to grab more funding under the guise of something else (there’s your secrecy bit).

        That’s a plain as day conspiracy theory.

        Spencer’s excuse is that “the ultimate goals were not a secret”.

        That’s like a moon-landing denier saying that they aren’t advocating a conspiracy theory because “NASAs ultimate goals of faking the moon-landing were not a secret”. The conspiracy theorist will then expand on what NASAs goals were.

      • It’s a ‘blind men and the elephant’ sort of creature. Some perceive conspiracy, some a collision of interests; my take is that it is an ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusion and a Madness of the Herd’. Granted, there are some who bellowed mischievously, many who bellowed in fellowship, but all have headed madly toward the cliff.

  13. Nature has a new article on the Pacific Walker circulation. I haven’t read the article (it’s pay walled).

    Below is a quote from the linked review.

    “The overall trend towards a stronger, La Niña-like Walker circulation is nearly concurrent with the observed increase in global average temperatures, thereby justifying closer scrutiny of how the Pacific climate system has changed in the historical record.”


    No, I did not intentionally produce a spike or blade on the hockey stick by intentional manipulation of this data. ;) Nevertheless, it looks like a spike is there. But everyone can see why this spike is invalid, right?

    I assert that everything after 2004 on this time series ensemble is invalid as a claim of global temperature climate trend. It’s trivial to prove this.

    However, we can also see that the period 1988 to 1995 is equally invalid as a predictor of the global temperature climate trends entirely encompassing all or part of 1988-1995.

    If we were to abuse trendology as short-trendline trendologists are given to, then we’d conclude that the period encompassing 2004-2011 must be far warmer than the period encompassing 1988-1995. This is invalid reasoning. From global temperature levels taken alone, we can conclude nothing about climate trends that is valid.

    Except we can absolutely deduce that people who make claims about warming or no warming based solely on some global temperature record for the past X years, where X is less than 32 and especially where X is less than 17 are making invalid claims. (See, valid deductions can be made in Science, if you limit yourself to what is possible to deduce.)

    • Bart R


      Your set of curves has clearly demonstrated that the past does not necessarily repeat itself.

      But the multi-decadal quasi-sinusoidal cycles of ~30 years warming followed by ~30 years slight cooling, with an amplitude of ~+/-0.25C all on a slightly tilted axis with warming of ~0.7C per century, seem to have been a repetitive part of the modern temperature record.

      Atmospheric GH gases, primarily CO2, have not followed this trend at all. They have increased gradually, accelerating after WWII, and at a leveling off to an exponential rate of just under 0.5% per year.

      GH theory tells us that there should be a direct correlation between ln(C1/C0) in CO2 concentration versus dT in temperature. This correlation is not visible.

      Statistical analyses have concluded that there is no robust statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature – in fact the temperature trend appears to be more of a random walk.

      It appears that a new ~30-year cycle of slight cooling may have started around 2001, although it is still too early to say whether or not this trend will continue for another 17 years or so and become statistically significant.

      If it does, it will be a case of “history repeating itself” again – although I do not believe we know the reasons why this is happening.

      And, until we do, we are not able to make any realistic projections of future temperature, despite the beautiful GH theory and all those climate models..


      • Chief Hydrologist

        These are 20 to 40 years periods of alternating cool and warm periods. See for instance – It is seen in the decadal variability of Walker Circulation as related phenomenon. It certainly isn’t a repeating pattern but is nonstationary over 1000’s of years.

      • Max

        GH theory tells us that there should be a direct correlation between ln(C1/C0) in CO2 concentration versus dT in temperature. This correlation is not visible.

        Actually it is visible, but the warming is 1.2 deg C for doubling of CO2.

        Here is how to make it visible.

        1) Find the 61 years running mean for the GMST for HADCRUT4:

        2) Fit the above data with a quadratic function to obtain a Model Secular GMST

        Here is what I got:
        Secular GMST = 0.5*k1*(year – 1895)^2 + k2*(year – 1895) + k3
        where k1 = 0.00004526 deg C/year^2
        k2 = 0.003441 deg C/year
        k3 = -0.3380 deg C

        3) Plot the Secular GMST against the annual CO2 concentration for their common year.

        4) Fit the above data with the function a*Ln(CO2/b)
        You get a = 1.777 deg C and b = 317.786 ppm

        5) The fitted curve gives you 1.23 deg C for increase in CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm.

        Climate sensitivity is 1.23 deg C, which is identical to the sensitivity with zero feed back.

        Max, let me know if you get the same result.

      • The general rule in trendology is to dismiss any apparent cyclic behavior with less than three full well-formed periods.

        No global temperature graph longer than 180 years meets this criterion.

        Hence, no “repetitive part of the modern temperature record.”

        It’s far more likely 1910 and 1970 were the nadirs of two series of dips in a longer trend that more nearly follows the peaks of the 30+ year average. Volcanic aerosols are a strong bet for the bulk of the effect, but it’s also likely that ocean circulations do play some role.

        There are some much stronger tests of periodicity that can be applied to trend line; these likewise disconfirm the 30-year cycle claim. It’s a defunct claim. It is inoperable, arithmetically. You can cling to it, just like some cling to the belief that 2+2=5, but that doesn’t make it so.

      • ..there should be a direct correlation between ln(C1/C0) in CO2 concentration versus dT in temperature. This correlation is not visible.

        Statistical analyses have concluded that there is no robust statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature – in fact the temperature trend appears to be more of a random walk.

        If the surface of the globe were a homogeneous flat shell, and the atmosphere only CO2 and N2, then a simplified ln(C1/(CO+1)) ~ dT relation would be expected.

        Demonstrating that the relationship is not as simple as that mathematical model does not disprove the model, it confirms that Earth is not a homogenized surface with homogenized atmosphere without complicating factors.

        If we invoke the ceteris parebus principle, we can say that if everything else were the same between two cases, the case with the higher CO2 would tend to the higher global climate temperature.

        But that’s not where we run into our principle difficulty. Regardless of level of ‘Climate Sensitivity’ response of dT to ln(C1/(CO+1)), lucrative CO2E emission and land use changes are external forcings to a complex system. That perturbation itself is the issue. It predictably leads to shifts in the state of the system that themselves are unpredictable. This translates both to extremes of weather (and of much more in climate than temperature: circulation speed and path, precipitation level and duration, etc) that themselves are unpredictable across all climate basins and modifications in formerly reliable regional patterns, as well as knock-on effects on biological systems. All of this was foreseen by Chaos Theory when applied to the question three decades ago.

        Civilization is probably equipped to cope with simple global temperature change on climate timescale. It might be expensive to reconfigure infrastructure and shift land use, and it’s inequitable to expect those costs imposed because of lucrative CO2E emission and lucrative land use changes to be absorbed by unconsenting victims.

        It’s much more of a problem when the Risks and Key Vulnerabilities from climate system state changes and extreme events are figured in. The focus on temperature is misleading, in this way.

  15. One more reason we need to follow the example of those brilliant Chinese central planners of state controlled “capitalism.”

    “Number of dead pigs found in Chinese rivers rises to 16,000”

    How are we supposed to get them to control their CO2 emissions when they can’t even control their dead pig effluent?

    • but a carbon tax on all imports from China. That would do it.

      • Nah, then they’d just call our note and foreclose on California and NewYork.

        Wait a minute, that might not be such a bad trade.

      • GaryM, you don’t call Treasury securities, which is what the Chinese hold. You can sell ’em or hold ’em to maturity.

      • You got a vewy pwetty Easta Egg in yo colleckshun?

      • Max_OK,

        Gee thanks. There’s this thing some of us skeptics have…it’s called a sense of humor. Maybe you could rent one.

  16. Excellent website for free videos to download on how machines work.

    It is a treasure.

  17. A couple for Lewandowsky

    “A day after Climategate happened someone at Google tweaked the search engine so that you no longer were automatically prompted for Climategate when you typed in Climate….

    Google are a nefarious lot. They do this kind of thing ALL the time. Remember this is the same company that had a bit of “rogue” code that allowed their map vans to acquire personal information….”

  18. Re Latimer Alder’s comment on March 23, 2013 at 4:35 am

    You say that it is inevitable that

    Bigger population = bigger government

    You could try plotting a graph of populations vs % of GDP spent on government to see if you are right.”

    Thanks, that’s an interesting idea.

    Re your other comment ( skeptic motivation), it seems to me most skeptics are Republicans and Libertarians who fear their Laissez-faire ideology is at risk.

    • Latimer Alder

      You say

      ‘ it seems to me most skeptics are Republicans and Libertarians who fear their Laissez-faire ideology is at risk.’

      To quote your own words:

      ‘I envy your ability to see into the minds of others’

      1. Since ‘Republicans’ is purely a USA concept, how do you account for scepticism in UK, Europe, Australia…all of which nations are well-represented here?

      2. And how especially do you claim to be able to read my brain?

      I pretty much avoid expressing any political views on climate blogs.

      3. You castigate Spencer for making remarks about his fellow academics. How should I qualitatively distinguish those from your remarks about ‘sceptics’?

    • Max_OK,

      it seems to me most skeptics are Republicans and Libertarians who fear their Laissez-faire ideology is at risk.

      More correctly and succinctly you could have said: “Skeptics are rational”

      You could have added: “Doomsayers are not”

      • Skeptics are rational, but false skeptics aren’t. I believe many of those who claim to be skeptics are false.

        Doomsayers believe mitigation measures will ruin the economy.

    • Latimer, I said “most,” and you ain’t most.

    Posted 22 March 2013

    “Two Australian scientists, Drs Judy Ryan and Marjorie Curtis are challenging Professor David Karoly, of the Schoool of Earth Sciences at University of Melbourne, to provide scientifically justifIed evidence for his claims that humans are causing dangerous global warming. Drs Ryan and Curtis have agreed to our website posting the exchange of emails betweem themselves and Prof Karoly.

    Exchange of emails between Drs Judy Ryan and Marjorie Curtis and Professor David Karoly, in which the latter is challenged to provide scientific evidence for his claims of man-made global warming.”

  20. On nuclear energy, GE chief Jeff Immelt told a US pres candidate that “with everything maxed out we could build five nuclear power plants in the next decade — maximum — in the US.”

    Immelt said that the future of nuclear power is very much in the hands of governments, given the cost and the liabilities issues involved in building new plants. For it to go ahead in a post Fukushima world, nuclear power needs long-term planning and not governments that say, “Oh, we’re going to do nuclear today.”

    Immelt believes coal and natural gas with some solar are the likelier energy options. He says GE is backing a broad range of energy options, including coal, natural gas, solar, wind and nuclear but is cautious about the outlook for nuclear.
    “The issue is always one of economics and, for right now, nuclear is a sovereign business, a government to government business. It’s not really a commercial business. There’s a liability regime, there’s government approval processes and things like that.

    “To me the future of nuclear is very much about where governments want to spend the money, as it is about safety or technology. If governments want to use their own balance sheet to promote nuclear power, it’s going to go forward.
    “But if governments don’t want to use their own balance sheet to promote nuclear power, it’s not going to go forward.”

    Immelt says the world may swing back to nuclear power if there is a “tremendous dislocation in the global energy markets”. At the moment, though, with cheap gas available in the US and cheaper than expected solar power, it will “take a while” before there is enough impetus for this to happen.

    • ‘sovereign business’. Hmmm, much as I despise JI, that is a worthwhile insight. Germany recently panicked and shuttered its nukes; Japan similarly panicked, but has since rethought. Any progress in US nukes is completely subject to government restriction of liability. These are not private business decisions, but government(sovereign) ones.

      Sadly, these are not subject to economic necessity.

      • michael hart

        The UK government has just given approval for two new French-built nuclear reactors:

        But EDF are still negotiating about a guaranteed price for their electricity.

        You can hardly blame them; not only do they wish to make a profit but, they do not wish to see their future market destroyed at the whim of environmentalist-inspired government.

        Hitachi are also going to drive as hard a bargain as they can in the UK market. The insanity of the Climate Change Act in 2008 made it even harder for private nuclear power generators to believe they will not be victimized by economics polluted by Greenpeace carcases.

      • Michael Hart,

        You’ve hit the heart of the issue. You have explained very clearly the impediments to low cost nuclear power.

    • Jeffrey Immelt, the quintessential crony capitalist, is the last person I would look to for advice on energy policy.

  21. Faustino,

    Thanks for that. It seems about right to me given the widespread nuclear paranoia and anti-nuclear politics in the developed countries. Progress is blocked by the anti-nukes. So, until they decide they prefer low-cost, low-emissions nuclear power to fossil fuels, and allow the impediments to be removed, the development and take up rate will be slow.

    And, until the cost comes down they will not be even close to being viable in Australia (but even at current costs they would be about 1/3 the cost of renewable energy, avoid more CO2 emissions, and at about 1/3 the CO2 abatement cost – for a significant part of an electricity generating system.

    So the real question for the CAGW alarmists is: are you sufficiently concerned about CO 2 emissions to advocate that the impediments to low cost nuclear power be removed? T

    he USA will have to lead the way. Australia can do nothing until the price comes down.

    • I am a supporter of nuclear energy on the cheap. The plants should be mass produced and the waste can be dealt with far more haphazardly/cheaply than it is currently. The first thing governments should do is pick up the cost of dealing with the waste.

    • I think the radioactive waste and fuel should fall under military control anyway, so naturally it’s something the government should handle. Not just because private companies aren’t willing to make such a long term bet as to the whims of the government on how they should deal with the waste, but also because it’s in the government’s interest to control materials that could fall into the hands of terrorists.

      • kowlot wrote: “I think the radioactive waste and fuel should fall under military control anyway”
        Should that apply to all countries, or should people living in the ‘unfriendly’ ones be denied the benefits of cheap nuclear energy?

      • All countries except Belgium

      • I’ll give you that ;-)

  22. Heh, hipster as dementor. Thanks, you ol’ sooner sucker.

  23. We Need More Government by Bad Andrew

    Boy the way Joe Stalin played
    Policies profoundly arrayed
    Guys like him were born, not made
    Those were the daze

    And you knew the Gulag then
    production units were production units and men were men
    Mister we could use a man like Adolf Hitler again

    We all need the welfare state
    We don’t mind pulling Al Gore’s weight
    Gee a trillon dollar debt is great
    These are the dayyyyyyyyyysssssseeeeeee ♫

  24. The majority of skeptics that comment here are either pranksters or fall into Michael Shermer’s category of “Why People Believe Weird Things” delusional types.

    Often, one can no longer tell if a skeptic is taking a real stance or is simply trying to prank the argument, either by becoming increasingly preposterous or silly.

    I don’t know what to call this other than a kind of trolling prank that seems to be in vogue. There is certainly evidence that this exists based on ridiculous survey responses . It also occurs on TV shows such as Jay Leno where people intentionally appear as clueless or embarrassing as possible when asked questions on current events. They act clueless to catch a buzz and to attract attention that they so desperately crave.

    Watch for it and you will see what I mean. For some reason much of it comes out of Australia, where mocking authority seems to be the national past-time.

    The Delusional
    This intersects with my interest in “Why people believe weird things”, which is also the name of one of Michael Shermer’s books. I consider Shermer a disciple of Martin Gardner, who was one of the original writers on healthy skepticism. At the end of his book, Shermer lists several rationales for why people believe in weird stuff:
    1. They believe because they want to, and it makes them feel good.
    2. Immediate gratification (which Shermer could have labeled a variant of #1)
    3. What Shermer refers to as a need for “Simple explanations of a complex and contingent world”.
    4. To provide morality and meaning that the scientific and secular systems can’t provide.

    Shermer links all these rationales together in his own theory that humans are “forward looking species always seeking greater levels of happiness and satisfaction”. Shermer does not distinguish this from people’s need for a religion. They find like-minded people with similar views and often a tribe is formed. If not that, they become the lone voices preaching their own gospel.

    So I would suggest that this is really not skepticism at all but something else. I think it is often a misplaced issue, such as political anger or conspiracy theorizing, posing as skepticism.

    Shermer understands the implications of all this because he points out that he regularly receives mail “from people obviously offended by our existence”.

    So this is all very entertaining to watch these belief systems play out on a topic that is interesting but sometimes dry without the pranks and the krank testimonials. The challenge is in determining who is simply pranking and who is actually delusional.

    • Latimer Alder


      ‘For some reason much of it comes out of Australia, where mocking authority seems to be the national past-time.’


      What a startling revelation! Who knew?

      And an interesting equation of alarmists with ‘authority’. Much to ponder there.

    • michael hart

      Why do you expend so much effort trying to categorize skeptics?

      The majority of this skeptic is not, and never has been, persuaded by the alarmist claims of impending environmental catastrophe predicated upon carbon dioxide released by combustion of organic fuels.

      • Michael Hart wrote:

        “Why do you expend so much effort trying to categorize skeptics?”

        Taxonomies R Us.
        I am working on releasing a state-of-the-art semantic web infrastructure for environmental modeling of land, aquatic, and atmospheric domains. This is part of a $4M project that recently finished up, with no strings attached for public release. It will be accompanied by at least four papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals, and I will maintain a semantic web server and blog to support the effort.

        A big part of the semantic web is to apply common ontologies to the knowledge sources, which helps to reduce ambiguity and facilitates data mining.

        Which gets me to your point: the categorization of climate clowns is more of a relief valve for me. Spend enough time working on first-order logic and semantics, and the classification of skeptics into a taxonomy becomes kind of second nature.

        Other realists always ask me why spend the time engaging in the debate with flaky skeptics. The most recent comment I received was:

        “Please, save yourself time and grief. If you could bring in God, Buddha, Einstein, and a humongous universe-wide thermometer/scale with videotape as proof and witness, it wouldn’t matter.”

        to which I responded “I feed off these people for motivation and to get ideas. What they try to hide usually turns out to be the better path to follow.” What can I say, but it works for me. I take my blog postings, insert various ideas into proposals, and people are willing to fund the ideas. Who would have thunk it?

        Michael Hart then said:

        “The majority of this skeptic is not, and never has been, persuaded by the alarmist claims of impending environmental catastrophe predicated upon carbon dioxide released by combustion of organic fuels.”

        Who is talking about catastrophe? As far as technical strategy and analysis, I am just following the obvious movement toward environmental-aware designs and alternative energy strategies. What I am doing with general environmental modeling and climate science is all of the same piece. Everything we learn about the climate will have benefits downwind. I just get irked by all the prank and agenda-driven anti-climate-science that is going on. It certainly creates an impediment to doing real science.

        As far as studying the skeptical mind, I have read Martin Gardner my entire life, and continued on with the writings of Michael Shermer, Robert Park (who was my advisor’s advisor), and David Goodstein (who was a student and biographer of Richard Feynman). In my formative years, I have had harsh run-ins with kooks such as Martin Fleischmann (of cold fusion fame) and this has forever colored my opinion of the on-line scams that continue to perpetuate. These will not go away in the wild-west of the internet. I might as well engage and see if I can make heads-or-tails out of it. The only ones I won’t go near and personally engage with are the religious/dogmatic arenas as nothing practical ever comes out of that, IMO.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        Thanks for the extended commercial fro your wonderful work.

        Those of us who didn’t already know just how clever (and how modest) you are will no doubt be suitably impressed by the range of your abilities, the breadth of your correspondence and the intellect on display.

        But we’ve heard similar stuff from you before…and none of it has ever seen the light of day.

        Putting my ‘sceptical’ hat firmly on, will we get to ever see this new venture? Should I be holding my breath – or waiting to buy copies with my first pension cheque in a decade or two?

        PS: Submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals is not a very difficult achievement. Getting them accepted and published is a tad harder. Having worthwhile content quite a lot tougher than either.

      • Lattie, is this your thought process?

        In a very recent thread you said:

        “That there are any questions at all that ‘cannot be asked’ gives the lie to all the junk we hear about the rigour of peer-review, the use of reproducibility and all the other stuff that is claimed to give published papers some standing.”

        But now you say:

        “PS: Submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals is not a very difficult achievement. Getting them accepted and published is a tad harder. Having worthwhile content quite a lot tougher than either.”

        Which one is it? Rigorous or not rigorous?

        Lattie’s rhetoric has an automatic pilot that he sets to “whine”.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right. His model predicted, in different fields of medical research, rates of wrongness roughly corresponding to the observed rates at which findings were later convincingly refuted: 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials.’

        Surely Latimer is right on both counts.

        I myself have just finished designing the world’s most advanced toilet. It starts with mechanical screen filtration followed by two upflow media filters with polymeric flocculation, membrane ultrafiltration, UV disinfection and spectrographic analysis. Why do I need spectrographic analysis in a toilet? Because I can. It gives real time process monitoring. This is a system that is suitable everywhere – and cheap enough to be practical – but nowhere more so than senstive areas such as resort islands on the Great Barrier Reef. My motivation is the same as it has always been – to make progress in environmental technology and keep pollutants out of our waterways. My engineering specialty is hydrology and my environmental science expertise is in water quality – this comes together as biogeochemical cycling.

        Globally rainfall and flood records show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times. These are very real and can be seen inter alia in changes in river morphology on decadal scales.

        It is apparent to science that these decadal shifts in climate are cooling and warming modes in the instrumental record. Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        We are left with the potential for the planet to at least not warm for a decade or three more. ‘If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the
        20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained.’ S&T 2009 This passage goes on to suggest that a sychonously chaotic climate has risks at both extemes of warming or cooling.

        The real question is what the various contributions are and what the internal system adjustments are. In a basic sense it depends only on the imbalance of radiant flux at top of atmosphere. The data shows that cloud changes – which result from changes in ocean and amosphere circulation – are the dominant cause of recent warming by far. The variability is by no means merely decadal but centennial to millennial.

        The inability of the space cadets to entertain this is an unfortunate product of groupthink. Webby’s is a peculiar case of simplistic goupthink science combined with extreme self agrandisement. I complain about simplistic notions of what the science is and he responds with long rants about Australian climate sceptics. Annoying but ultimately irrelevant. The longer this pause lasts the less relevant he gets and the pause is likely to last for decades hence at least.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        To ‘submit’ something to a journal, all you need to do is to stick it in an envelope with a stamp on it, correctly addressed. Or just write an e-mail to the editor with the ‘paper’ attached.

        Example: The madman down the pub regularly ‘submits’ his ramblings to all sorts of places. Never been published AFAIK, and I guess it all goes straight into the bin. But he can legitimately claim to have ‘submitted’ it somewhere.

        And that is the claim that you make for your latest venture. That you will ‘submit’ it.

        Once it has survived the challenge of arriving at the correct place, and assuming it is not written in green ink (which is, I am led to believe, a surefire mark of being bonkers) it may get reviewed by ‘peers’.

        No doubt some ‘peer-reviewers’ do a sound and thorough job, sticking rigorously to the traditions of anonymity and scientific rigour.

        But it seems that many do not.

        We have plenty of evidence that in climatology personal feuds are rife and that the reviewers fail to find even fairly basic sanity checks (example Gergis et al), or ask even basic methodological checks (Marcott et al).

        One famous reviewer (Jones) said that he read the papers on a train and that if they ‘feel right’, he passed them. By ‘feeling right’ he meant that they supported his (and the Team’s) view of the way the climate works

        So it seems that to pass peer-review the minimum standard can be as a low as

        a. It is not written in green ink
        b. The ‘anonymous’ reviewer does not hate the author’s guts nor feel professionally threatened by the new work
        c. There are no obvious ‘howlers’
        d. It gives the ‘right’ resut for the agenda that suits the reviewer.

        So – is peer review ‘rigorous’?

        Perhaps in some cases and in some fields it sensibly acts as a bare minimum quality control mechanism. But in many other places it doesn’t even achieve that.

      • Mr telescope,

        We mere human beans recognise and are suitably impressed
        by yer superior machine-capacity fer reflection and taxonomy.
        So while yer classifyin’ climate clowns an’ all, especially those
        from Oz, havya’ by any chance caregorized the hockey -stick
        of Marcott, Skukun, Clark and Mix, with its two ‘disappeared’
        alkenone cores from the 1940 population and three introduced
        alkenone cores from the 5-00 – 1000 earlier population.?


      • tsk we human beans make so manyerrors, especially me

      • > Spend enough time working on first-order logic and semantics, and the classification of skeptics into a taxonomy becomes kind of second nature.

        Description logics are a bit weaker than FOL, I believe.

        Ask David Wojick: he’s then official logician here…

      • What kind of naive waif are you Lattie?
        Obviously you have not published. It is not at all that straightforward as putting a stamp on an envelope or attaching to an email
        1. One has to get authorization from employer
        2. One has to get authorization from sponsor
        3. One has to get agreement from co-authors that the paper is OK to have their name on it. In my case, two colleagues from where I work, plus a scientist each from a government lab, an electronics company, and a university.
        4. One has to have sufficient funds for any publishing fees, and try to convince your employer to pay for this. Otherwise you are out personally a thousand dollars per paper so you don’t risk getting the reputation as a “deadbeat” research contributor.

        Lots of little hings as well, such as disclaimers, citations, list of potential reviewers, etc.

        BTW, emails are replaced with more sophisticated download web forms.

        ” Latimer Alder | March 24, 2013 at 1:28 am |

        @web hub telescope

        To ‘submit’ something to a journal, all you need to do is to stick it in an envelope with a stamp on it, correctly addressed. Or just write an e-mail to the editor with the ‘paper’ attached.”

        If your sole experience is with a madman down at the pub, I would perhaps move to a different pub.

        “The madman down the pub regularly ‘submits’ his ramblings to all sorts of places. “

      • I recall a few times I have sarcastically ripped on Chief Hydrologist to go back to what civil engineers are supposed to be doing, like digging latrines. But then he says this:

        “I myself have just finished designing the world’s most advanced toilet. “

        This has got to be the continuation of some long-running prank. That’s the way these pranks work, they keep on ratcheting up the implausibility to the breaking point.

        “It starts with mechanical screen filtration followed by two upflow media filters with polymeric flocculation, membrane ultrafiltration, UV disinfection and spectrographic analysis. Why do I need spectrographic analysis in a toilet? Because I can. “

        choice. This kind of prank would be ripped apart if it appeared at but the gullibility level here is at such a low bar that Chief’s pronouncements pass for seriousness.

      • Plebian concerns, since plumbed. I have long since finished designing the world’s most perfect bed. I aspire to the big time, though, I wanna design the world’s most perfect cookstove.

      • “willard (@nevaudit) | March 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |

        Description logics are a bit weaker than FOL, I believe.

        Description logic is useful in dealing with the native triple-store of the semantic web, so that one can build up the subject-predicate-object tuples into more elaborate relationships without losing all the conceptual structure. I am using Prolog for most everything, which does first-order logic well enough, and it needs some meta-code to resolve description logic perfectly, but I am not a purist about such matters. To a lot of people, even committing to RDF is a little too much to ask for.

        “Ask David Wojick: he’s then official logician here…”

        I doubt Wojick is slinging any code.

      • skeptics:kim rdfs:comment “useless” .

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        None of the minor hurdles you describe have much to do with the worth of the paper. Just admin stuff set by your employer..We all have to put up with admin…the price you pay for all the other goodies you get from employment.

        But since I don’t have an employer I could quite merrily send my paper to a journal and be entirely truthful to say that I had submitted something to them. If they were so short-sighted as to bin it without reading it, it wouldn’t affect my claim.

    • That’s good Webber. And yet, we’re not the ones who believe weird things in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary. Freud’s most useful insight had to be the defense mechanism he termed “projection.”

      • Sorry left out your money quote: “The majority of skeptics that comment here are either pranksters or fall into Michael Shermer’s category of “Why People Believe Weird Things” delusional types.”

        One for the ages I’d say.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Web, you should read what converted Shermer. Al Gore’s array of science.

      skeptic much? not. never was.

      • The difference is that Michael Shermer will only go after theories that are sure fire krackpot. He is risking his (and his operation’s) reputation if he misses the mark on one backed by real science. He is smart that way and like a tree farmer, is in it for the long haul. A former RAAM participant, he knows how to take all sorts of punishment as well. A very cool character.

        As to understanding what drives the kranks and krackpots, anyone is open to volunteer their interpretation.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Civil engineer, environmental technologist, environmental scientist webster. And yes it is true that I use spectrographic analysis for process control – but it is also a parody of your absurd self aggrandisement.

      I use a range of state of the art technologies and software for improving water quaility at scales from construction sites to major basins. What is the problem?

  25. Shermer sounds like Kahneman, stating the obvious and commonplace at extreme length, to be quoted by snobs who want to make their put-downs more authoritative. “I think Shermer said it best when he links together the various rationales etc…” “Kahneman summed up these types etc…”

    Hey, if you don’t like contradiction, find another planet. Trust me, your stuff sounds weird and self-gratifying to the other side. And remember, people used to feel all coy and superior quoting Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and The Alchemist. That guru book you love quoting now can bring blushes ten or fifteen years down the track when it’s lying in the remainder bin at K-Mart. Better just to speak your piece, Webby. Let fashionable airheads like Shermer do their own book promos.

    It’s also worth keeping in mind that skeptics find the approach of most of their opponents to be simplistic and juvenile. For too many alarmists, climate is a kiddie console of poorly understood observations sets treated as buttons and levers labelled “forcings” and “mechanisms”. It’s okay. I won’t clobber you with a Shermer quote. I’m too Australian for that.

    • Another Aussie who needs a mirror.

      Try Shermer’s website
      and see how you fit in.

      Granted, a lot of the stuff debunks CoastToCoastAM type of krank theories, but it has always been a good resource for the latest and as an overview.

      You won’t find anything on trying to debunk such direct scientific phenomenon such as AGW and Peak Oil, because there is no need to. The science supports it, so Shermer and company supports it.

      • I’m trying to help you out here, Webby. Get away from the conceit-mongering Shermer. Find something else to provide that self-congratulatory glow and tickle your sense of exclusivity. Get away now, before the awful moments when Matt Damon and, finally, Kim Kardashian declare themselves acolytes. Before an aging Madonna shows the world her “skeptic” tattoo.

        Beware of Big Smug and those in the pay of Big Smug. After Peak Pretentiousness comes…that remainders bin at K-Mart!

  26. The latest entry in the UN’s Orwellian campaign to redefine the language.

    Restrictions on abortion should now be considered “torture.”

    James “Death Trains” Hansen and the creators of the 10:10 video couldn’t have said it better.

    Reason 3,792,435 why it would be insanity to let these despicable people anywhere near energy policy.

  27. Thank you, Professor Curry, for an open thread where we can introduce new findings related to Earth’s changing climate. My nomination is recent evidence of strong energy pulses coming from the Sun:

    I. G. Usoskin, et al., “The AD775 cosmic event revisited: the Sun is to blame,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 552 2013, (in press)

    Again, I thank you for allowing readers to introduce new findings.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  28. As this is an open thread I’d like to ask a question..

    From my research there appears to be tentative evidence that some of the weather we are experiencing (in the UK) has similarities to that which occurred at the start of the Little Ice age episodes. The descriptions of weather observations in the 17th and 14th centuries often seemed to suggest a jet stream that was not in its usual position, thereby letting in weather systems on a regular basis that we here in the UK normally only see once in a while, with the upshot of colder/more disturbed weather than we normally see.

    Is there any evidence at all that the jet stream may have any relationship to sun spot levels/magnetic activity?

    Here is the met office graph showing our sharp decline in temperatures over the last decade whereby our long slow temperature rise seems to have (temporarily?) stopped and reversed.


    • I strongly suspect something causal to both sunspots fading out of the visible spectrum and the sun’s effect on climate, but I have no mechanisms and dozens of speculations. The ratio is poor and hasn’t changed in years.

      • Peter Davies, I used punch cards to program a room-sized ICT 1905 for economic modelling in 1966, and I have the impression that he Chief is older than me.

      • I did a grad dip in computing back in 1972/3 when I was 32/33 years of age but my impression is that I’m older than just about everyone on this blog (with the exception of Fred Moolton, but Fred is not around much since he lost his wife. You, Jim C and Chief must have been pretty young those days.

      • Oh yes, I forgot about a couple of other Aussie deniers Peter L and Alex Biggs

      • Peter Davies, Jim Cripwell, Faustino, Chief Hydrologist and anyone else I’ve missed, it is great to have contributions from genuinely wise people. I’d also include Latimer Alder and Manacker as wise, whatever their age.

        Credit to Judith Curry for running a blog site that attracts and keeps people with such enormous depth of experience contributing.

      • Add to that list: Steve McIntyre – he’s spent most of his life in the real world and is very wise.

      • Latimer Alder

        @peter lang

        I’m deeply flattered to be included in such exalted company. You are too kind.

        Though I can’t go back as far as Faustino, my first very faltering steps in computing involved paper tape and an ICL1906A in the mid 1970s. Our research supervisor wanted a balance of skills in his little group, so I got to teach myself ALGOL. The other junior guy got to learn FORTRAN. I suspect he made the better choice :-(

        And to add to my portfolio of forgotten languages I later became quite a wizz at APL for a while. You could do a lot of neat stuff with that, even if it performed like a dog.

      • David Springer

        All kidding aside my introduction to computing was in the US military at the tender age of 18. The class was Boolean Algebra. The place was NAS Millington, TN. The year was 1975. It was a part of the overall Avionics “A” school which included Basic Electricity & Electronics, Vacuum Tube Theory, Transister Theory, Radio Frequency Fundamentals, and Digital Logic Circuitry.

        In the military, unlike a university, school is strictly about the technical subject matter and classes are continuous for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, plus a lunch break.

        After “A” school for several months in Millington, TN, just a stone’s throw from Memphis and the Mississippi river I was sent off to “C” school in NAS Lakehurst, NJ. I walked by the crash site of the Hindenburg two or three times a day going from barracks to chow hall to school. After school, when not on barracks duty which was one day one, one day off, I partied at the bars in Asbury Park and Toms River where Bruce Springsteen was hanging out.

        “C” school was meteorlogical equipment repair. There I got a lot more theory including radar and waveguides (waveguide theory makes my eyes glaze over) and dozen other systems from satellite telemetry receivers to strip chart recorders to TTY machines to closed circuit television cameras, monitors, and distribution systems to cloud height detectors, digital display systems, and perhaps my favorite a radiosonde tracking dish and ancilliary recording equipment.

        From there I spent 3 more years at USMCAS El Toro, CA in the care and feeding of the control tower weather equipment, deploying to 29 Palms twice a year for war games where I’d set up and keep in good working order, including field repair to component level, mobile weather stations to support our fighter jet and helicopter squadrons.

        My favorite deployment was for 60 days TDY to the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma at the height of tornado season in 1978. There I set up and maintained a mobile field based radiosonde launch and recording facility and launched a routine couple of balloons each day and more as required if there were any approaching supercells. On that deployment I got a full day of hands on working with the prototype of the first color doppler radar and the engineers who designed it.

        Before I got out of the Marine Corps I’d enrolled in Pepperdine Business School and took a class Entrepreneurship 101. We each had to develop a business plan for a final paper in the class. I developed a business for a personal computer franchise store. As it turns out I was a couple years ahead of my time because around 1980 franchise stores such as Computer Land and Computer World started popping up. Instead of staying on the business side of things I went on to hardware and software design instead. One of my first commercial designs appeared on the March 1983 cover of Popular Science. It was a portable computer (latter called “luggables” as it weighed over 20 pounds and appeared alongside Osbourne and Kaypro machines.

        Mine is the one on the lower left of the cover. Me and one other engineer did all the circuit board and firmware design. We drew the schematics and did the PC board layouts ourselves. One mechanical engineer did the enclosure. We were mil-spec. It was almost literally a bullet-proof computer. As I recall it weighed in at 27 pounds. Some of the firsts in it were 3.5 inch floppy disks and 5″ Syquest removable-media hard drive. I also invented the first ram-disk which was a 360 kilobytes of random access memory on an STD-bus expansion card and firmware that made it look like a 3.5″ floppy to the operating system. The O/S I think was still CPM in that cover shot using a 12mhz Zilog Z-80 cpu but we’d already begun to produce an MS-DOS version based on the Intel 8088. I believe I also did the first combination IBM Monochrome-CGA card to hit the streets beating ALR by a few months but we were using the STD bus for the small form factor not the IBM-PC bus so ALR got all the glory for the first IBM display adaptor clone.

        Good times.

      • David Springer said:

        ” I also invented the first ram-disk which was a 360 kilobytes of random access memory on an STD-bus expansion card and firmware that made it look like a 3.5″ floppy to the operating system.”

        Interesting info. I updated the Wikipedia page for RAM_disk to record the history of your invention

      • David Springer


        The Silicon Disk referenced in the wikipedia article was in 1980 the same year that I did the one for the Jonos portable. From the article it appears it was software-only. The O/S was flexible enough to adapt to any size disk through a table entry specifying tracks, sectors per track, and bytes per sector. So a ram-disk driver could be for any amount of ram. I designed both the hardware and software and used six banks of 64K DRAM chips for a total of 384K and then carved off exactly 360K to perfectly emulate a double-sided double-density 5.25″ or 3.5″ floppy. That amount of memory just about perfectly filled an STD form factor expansion card with barely enough room left over for a half dozen or so chips for bank-switching and bus buffering. Since lots of people had software and data divided up to fit onto individual floppies that made it seamless to simply put a floppy drive into the computer and do a disk-copy to the ram-disk.

        In 1984 I did the first software driver for hard disk caching that I know of for the IBM AT using the Lotus-Intel-Microsoft (LIM) standard for bank-switched memory. We were producing a multi-function card for the AT. In 1985 I had the first 80386-based product out which was a tiny card that plugged into the 80286 cpu socket on the IBM AT. The little card contained an 80386-SX and a few chips to adapt to the 80286 bus. It didn’t make the AT run any faster but it allowed software developers to get an early start on 80386 software as there was no other means of doing that at the time. Byte magazine that year published an interview with me and I mentioned that the 80386 architecture in 32-bit addressing mode would allow a LIM bank-switched memory card to be emulated in software. Later that year someone (not me) actually did exactly that so I guess I could be credited with that invention although I didn’t actually produce it myself. No one could patent it after I put the idea out in the public domain through Byte magazine.

        In 1986 I designed an 80386 accelerator card for the IBM AT which had a clock-doubler in it and around that year (early 1987 I think) when Dell Computer was still named PC’s Limited I demonstrated the accelerator card to Michael Dell and his VP of engineering in a private meeting. It was the first time I met Michael Dell. He didn’t buy it because in his lab at the time he had a prototype for a 16mhz 80286 motherboard he planned to introduce at ComDex that year and my accelerator board which doubled the IBM AT clock rate of 6mhz to 12mhz only tied the 16mhz 80286. I pointed out that my accelerator card continued to function doubling an 8mhz 80286 non-IBM motherboard but it was still no sale. Neither my accelerator card nor the PCs Limited 16mhz 80286 motherboard sold in any large quantities as true 80386 motherboards soon displaced them all.

        In hindsight instead of trying to sell one of my designs to Michael Dell in 1987 I should have been trying to sell myself. It wasn’t until 1993 and PC’s Limited had become Dell Computer that I went to work for him full time. Dell had become a Fortune 500 company in 1992 and Michael Dell the youngest-ever Fortune 500 CEO. When I joined it had already topped $1 billion in annual sales. Seven years later when I left Dell it had grown to $40 billion in annual sales and was the biggest success story Wall Street had ever witnessed as far as rapid growth of market capitalization inching out rivals Intel and Micosoft. The stock split six times in the seven years I worked there.

        Interestingly a top advisor to Mike Dell in 1993 was one Kevin Rollins who was working for Bain Capital at the time. Mike Dell is Jewish. Kevin Rollins is a Mormon along with Bain Capital’s most famous employee Mitt Romney. Rollins joined Dell in 1996 and in 2006 became its president and CEO when Mike decided to take a vacation from the job.

        Small world, eh? I knew Kevin Rollins. He played the fiddle and provided some entertainment at company meetings occasionally. He did one helluva good rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” only he changed the lyrics so the Devil was the CEO of Compaq Computer (our arch enemy) and Mike Dell’s soul was the one the devil wanted to steal. At any rate I didn’t know Rollins worked for Bain when he was a consultant for Dell 1993-1995. I just now found that out when double-checking dates for this comment – thirty years in the past is stretching my ability to get the dates correct to the right year. So unbeknownst to me there’s only one degree of seperation between me and Mitt Romney through Kevin Rollins. There’s only one degree of seperation between me and another 2012 Republican primary contender – Rick Perry. My wife knows Perry’s whole family. There’s only one degree of separation between me and George W. Bush too… the surgeon who’s practice my wife manages grew up in Midland, Texas and attended high school with GW. They still correspond. The doctor is an amateur Tex-Mex chef who published a cookbook and the Bush Whitehouse kitchen prepared recipes from it. What a very small world. I know the doctor fairly well and I know his cooking even better. He cooks for the office and my wife brings leftovers home to me on occasion plus I get invited to barbeques at his home once in a while. Now I’m wondering how many degrees of separation there is between me and the other 2012 Republican primary contenders. Can’t be more than two since I’m only one degree away from two of them and they all know each other. :-)

      • So, you run in 2016; it’s your turn.

    • Noise rider.

      • Fan

        The earlier advances and reverses (on a 300 year long rising trend) were before we became saturated in Co2. You are surely not suggesting that with co2 at nearly 400ppm that the latest advance and reverse can be due to natural variability as well?

      • You showed red noise on the plot over that entire span The red noise won’t go away just because of an additional forcing function.

        Perhaps you need to take a few years to study time series analysis and signal processing. A class on noise theory couldn’t hurt either.

      • webby

        Was that comment about noise aimed at me?


    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      LOL … TonyB, perhaps the Met Office is trying to understand why “Britain’s long slow temperature rise (temporarily?) stopped and reversed” during the intervals (read from TonyB’s own graph):

      •  1760-1780?
      •  1800-1820?
      •  1830-1840?
      •  1860-1880?
      •  1900-1920?
      •  1940-1960?
      •  2000-2010?

      Question  Why does Britain’s sustained overall warming so commonly (in TonyB’s phrase) “stop and reverse” … and then so reliably resume?

      The world wonders, TonyB!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘During the descent into the recent `exceptionally’ low solar minimum, observations have revealed a larger change in solar UV emissions than seen at the same phase of previous solar cycles. This is particularly true at wavelengths responsible for stratospheric ozone production and heating. This implies that `top-down’ solar modulation could be a larger factor in long-term tropospheric change than previously believed, many climate models allowing only for the `bottom-up’ effect of the less-variable visible and infrared solar emissions. We present evidence for long-term drift in solar UV irradiance, which is not found in its commonly used proxies. In addition, we find that both stratospheric and tropospheric winds and temperatures show stronger regional variations with those solar indices that do show long-term trends. A top-down climate effect that shows long-term drift (and may also be out of phase with the bottom-up solar forcing) would change the spatial response patterns and would mean that climate-chemistry models that have sufficient resolution in the stratosphere would become very important for making accurate regional/seasonal climate predictions. Our results also provide a potential explanation of persistent palaeoclimate results showing solar influence on regional or local climate indicators.’

      The idea is that warming or cooling of stratosphric ozone influences sea level pressure in the Northern Annular Mode – which in turn influences the path of storms spinning off the Arctic. The suggestion is that the salad days for England are drawing to a close for another thousand years.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      tonyb asks “Is the latest advance and reverse [in British temperature] due to natural variability as well?”

      TonyB, in regard to your question and the answer given previously, a reasonable, starting, elementary statistical analysis would be an order-by-order fit of the data to Chebyshev polynomials, with the significance of each successive order subjected to Pearson’s \chi-square test.

      The well-respected test by Press et al., Numerical Recipes (of which older editions can be found on-line) provides an accessible mathematical introduction to these topics.

      Summary  Get out your calculator, TonyB!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        Why can you NEVER give a straight answer?

        Lets try again. Is the latest advance and retreat in CET due to natural variability as were the previous ones?


      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        ClimateReason/TonyB poses a null hypothesis: “The latest advance and reverse [in British temperature] is due to natural variability.”

        Remark  No published quantitative analysis has provided statistical reason to reject TonyB’s null hypothesis with P\lt0.05.

        What is your next statistical question, ClimateReason/TonyB?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Hmmm … let’s try a variant \LaTeX idiom:

        ClimateReason poses a null hypothesis: “The latest advance and reverse [in British temperature] is due to natural variability.”

        Remark  No published quantitative analysis has provided statistical reason to reject that null hypothesis with P \le 0.05.

        What is your next statistical question, ClimateReason?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        Good grief Fan, is that a yes or a no to natural variability?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        ClimateReason/TonyB grows frustrated: “Good grief, is that a yes or a no to natural variability?”

        LOL … TonyB, please read further in that universally admired — and disingenuously sophisticated — mathematical textbook Numerical Recipes

        “That is the curse of statistics, that it can never prove things, only disprove them! At best, you can substantiate a hypothesis by ruling out, statistically, a whole long list of competing hypotheses, every one that has ever been proposed. After a while your adversaries and competitors will give up trying to think of alternative hypotheses, or else they will grow old and die, and then your hypothesis will become accepted. Sounds crazy, we know, but that’s how science works!”

        You are seeking a level of scientific confidence that statistical inference alone can never provide. Happy learning, TonyB!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Chief Hydrologis asks do you ever tire of spouting meaningless and anti-scientific nonsense?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Chief Hydrologist asks: “Do you [FOMD] ever tire of spouting meaningless and anti-scientific nonsense?”

        LOL … Climate Etc readers who study (and run the code samples) of Numerical Recipes Chapter 14: Statistical Description of Data will learn precisely the mathematical mechanism(s) by which cherry-picking gives rise to (in Chief’s elegant phrase) “the meaningless anti-scientific nonsense” that is pathognomonic of demagogic climate-change denialism.

        Thank you for encouraging Climate Etc posters to acquire a firm grasp of statistical principles, Chief Hydrologist!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Is this the right place?


        Simply throwing random names into the mix is not a scientific endeavour. It is in fact profoundly anti-science.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Chief Hydrologist asserts: “Simply throwing random names into the mix is not a scientific endeavour. It is in fact profoundly anti-science.”

        You are correct, Chief Hydrologist! Perhaps you can recommend a free-as-in-freedom introductory-level mathematical statistics book that receives even better reviews than this one?

        A must-have for all programmers of all ages

        This book is the greatest compilation of computational knowledge that any seasoned or unseasoned computer scientist, and student, could ever have.

        I have been programming for 15 years and I still go back to this book as the first step in learning or re-learning any computational technique.

        I own this book in both C and C++, because it’s just that amazing.

        Please post that even-better mathematical statistics book, Chief Hydrologist!

        Readers of Climate Etc will bless you for your thoughtful kindness!

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      • Chief Hydrologist

        Funny – I took a session in computer science way back when we were programming with punch cards – and decided it was not for me. But if you could actully point to an application and describe the usefulness in climate science – I might be able to follow an argument.

        I usually recommend these 2 on atmospheric and oceanic simulations.

        ‘Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’

        I am fundamentally of the view that climate changes abruptly – it is chaotic in a word that tends to confuse the uninitiated. This means that climate is sensitive to small changes and that there are risks at both extreme ends of the spectrum. But people like you are more the problem than the solution.

      • Fan

        So you seem to be saying that our current reversal of temperatures in England after its peak a decade ago coud all be due to natural variabilty?


      • Chief, you are not that old that you used Hollerith cards like I did back in the seventies?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Chief Hydrologist asserts: “I am fundamentally of the view that climate is [random and/or chaotic].”

        You are correct Chief Hydrologist! Now apply some statistical analysis!

        Statistical Question  When chaotic [El Nino behaviour], random [volcanic eruptions], and secular [solar irradiance] influences are subtracted, is there a strong secular influence [AGW driven by CO2] still remaining?

        Statistical Answer  Yes, definitely.

        Practical Conclusions  Statistical analysis strongly indicates that James Hansen’s scientific worldview is factually correct and morally sound.

        Thank you, Chief Hydrologist, for (again) reminding Climate Etc readers of the immense strength and statistical robustness of these conclusions!

        A full appreciation of the power climate-change requires an integrated cognitive model that unites fundamental thermodynamics, with multiple lines of observational evidence, within a unified statistical model!

        It is quite a lot of work to develop these three capabilities, eh Chief Hydrologist? And yet without them, rational skepticism is infeasible, eh?


        Regarding Hollerith Cards  Aye Climate Etc lassies and laddies, now that’s real programming for `yah! The clatter of the readers! The hanging of the chads! The dropping of the card-boxes! Well I remember the time that new German post-doc alphabetized the FORTRAN common-block cards for the on-line runtime code … three weeks later Fermilab was still down!

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      • Chief Hydrologist

        FOMBS – I am of course right and people like you are more the problem than the solution.

    • Peter Davis, you write “Chief, you are not that old that you used Hollerith cards like I did back in the seventies?”

      I used the cards in the 1950’s; for the IBM 650. As a bit of trivia, these cards were the same size of the original US dollar bills.

      • Yep Jim they were the same size as the US$. Programming with Fortran and Cobol in those days. Bit hairy trying to get these damn things through the compilers in those days.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It was early 80’s. The house sized main frame was still being used and the course was in FORTRAN for engineering computing 101. Thankfully – I then progressed to an XT clone with DOS, 64kb of memory and no hard disk. How things have changed.

    • climatereason | March 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply

      Is there any evidence at all that the jet stream may have any relationship to sun spot levels/magnetic activity?

      None at all, it’s all down to the SuperMoleculeCarbonDioxide who wears his knickers on the outside. He is capable of unmixing himself from the empty space surrounding him and defying gravity gathering himself together en masse he shoves the jet stream away from its more benign course, proving that carbon dioxide drives global temps down as well as up. Why does he do it? Because he can, he’s SuperMoleculeCO2, more powerful than the Sun.

    • Peter, you write “Fortran and Cobol in those days. ”

      You were lucky. I started in machine language. I watched the complete development of software.

    • Tony,

      I take it you’ve read this a few times, but if not, has a wealth of information and references to other research that could help you greatly:

      • R Gates

        Thanks for the link. I will read it again

        Nice to see you around again. Whilst you’ve been away Webby has conceded that anecdotal material is very useful and is now invariably polite. Girma has stopped posting graphs, Fan has agreed to provide straight forward answers to straight forward questions and..

        Sorry, can’t keep a straight face, of course Fan didn’t agree to that. His level of obfuscation has risen 57.2% in the last few months.

      • R. Gates is a resource himself; one of the few warmists I read with regularity.

      • Kim

        Yes R Gates is always worth reading. What’s more he’s promised me a slap up dinner if I ever visit his neck of the woods. I got him up to a main meal AND a dessert, but I’m holding out for coffee and mints before I book the flight.

      • Hi Gates
        Long time, no see.
        Interesting read but wrong ending
        From solar-induced variations of cosmogenic isotopes over the past 104 years, Lockwood [61] has deduced there is an 8% chance that the Sun will return to Maunder minimum conditions within 50 years. Feulner and Rahmstorf [289] used a coupled model to predict that this will offset anthropogenically rising global mean temperatures by no more than 0.3°C in the year 2100, relative to what would happen if the solar output remained constant.
        I have read most of the relevant and the irrelevant web available (TSI, solar magnetic etc), and can state with a high degree of ‘presumptuous’ confidence that:
        the current understanding of the solar magnetic input as related to the climate variability is not at the level where any meaning conclusions can be formulated, btw. Svensmark hypothesis although the most advanced is no exception.

  29. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS (literally)

    Art inspired by
    the Disintegration of the Arctic Ice Cap

      Out flew the web and floated wide
        The mirror crack’d from side to side;
          ”The curse is come upon me,” cried
            The Lady of Shalott.

      In the stormy eastwind straining
        The pale-yellow woods were waning,
            The broad stream in his banks complaining,
              Heavily the low sky raining
              Over towered Camelot:

    Readers of Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Weblog will appreciate this poetic/artistic/scientific coupling.


    CAVEAT  The small-but-vocal minority of Climate Etc readers who prefer to remain ignorant of the climate-change science as embraced by the world’s scientists, engineers, mathematicians, philosophers, theologians, military strategists, and poets … can sustain their peace-of-mind by resolutely ignoring all of the above art-math-and-science!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  30. Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation published.

    Because peer-review tends to eliminate ideas that are not supported by evidence (e.g., questioning the link between HIV and AIDS lost intellectual respectability decades ago; Nattrass, 2010, 2011), much of science denial involves the internet. The internet provides a platform for individuals who reject a scientific consensus to affirm “each other’s feelings of persecution by a corrupt elite” (McKee and Diethelm, 2010, pp. 1310–1311). Internet sites such as blogs dedicated to a specific issue have therefore become hubs for science denial and they arguably play a major role in the creation and dissemination of conspiracist ideation.

    • Once hypothesis-shifting was complete, several new hypotheses emerged in short order to counter the conclusions of LOG12. Several of those new hypotheses were based on what we call unreflexive counterfactual thinking; that is, the hypothesis was built on a non-existent, counterfactual state of the world, even though knowledge about the true state of the world was demonstrably available at the time. Table 3 indicates which of the remaining hypotheses involved this reliance on counterfactuals (marked by UCT in the final column). We argue later that this unreflexive counterfactual thinking is indicative either of the absence of a collective memory for earlier events, or of the lack of a cognitive control mechanism that requires an hypothesis to be compatible with all the available evidence (which is a hallmark of scientific cognition but is known to be compromised in conspiracist ideation; Wood et al., 2012). Unreflexive counterfactual thinking may therefore represent a distinct aspect of conspiracist ideation that has received little scientific attention to date.

      Interesting, the absence of a collective memory for earlier events and the lack of a cognitive control mechanism that requires a hypothesis to be compatible with all the available evidence is something I have observed but not just in the context of conspiracy theories. Take the Easterbrook WUWT post for example linked on the last thread.

    • So the purveyor of the CAGW conspiracist site SkepticalScience has contributed to a paper identifying a conspiracy among skeptics to engage in conspiracy ideation to undermine the revealed truth of CAGW.

      And I am betting lolwot does not see the absolute hilarity in this.

  31. I stand corrected.

    I was wrong.

    Up to this past week, I earnestly believed based on extrapolating Vostok and a conservative reading of such opinion as sources cite that we had no reliable evidence about CO2 baseline levels above the range of 300 ppmv within the past ten million years.

    Certainly, in many regions of lush vegetation, CO2 can easily double or halve that concentration depending on season and time of day, but if anything the regionality of those effects only cast doubt on higher baselines extracted by paleo methods.

    However, Pliocene reconstructions suggest that during its warmest peak this epoch may have hit modern CO2 levels:

    They were also much warmer than today, too.

    This gives me much to consider. Some species that live today thrived in that era, certainly more than descend unchanged from 10-20 million years ago. None of them are humans, of course, but that isn’t a particular issue.

    Also unrelated but interesting, the efforts of to assess the skill of different climate reconstruction methods.

    • David Springer

      Bart R | March 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply

      “I stand corrected.”

      That’s novel!

      “I was wrong.”

      That’s not.

      The earth has been ringing like a bell with a frequency of first 40,000 years and then 100,000 years for the past several million years between a lot of ice and not so much ice. Before that it was pretty much green from pole to pole and was like that for hundreds of millions of years. The study that has you all excited reveals nothing new. The point that the continents are in the same configuration as 5mya is like (duh) obvious.

      A few days ago in another thread said I’d REALLY like to know what happened a ~3mya to transform an earth green pole to pole for hundreds of millions of years into a planet with large polar ice caps. Something happened that hadn’t happened since the Cambrian explosion 500mya. What?

      • > A few days ago in another thread said I’d REALLY like to know what happened a ~3mya to transform an earth green pole to pole for hundreds of millions of years into a planet with large polar ice caps.

        Lack of blogs like Judy’s.

    • maksiimovich

      The Pliocene paradox is problematic insofar as it asks hard questions on reconstructions(proxies) and the random mechanisms at play.

      The range of say co2 is 300-360 ppm and yet T was greater.Geographic chnages such as Panama are not explanations,and there are significant problems with reconciling biological proxies and ice core co2


        The change appears to be due to the shift in ocean currents related to the Drake Passage. This is not the only paper that indicates that the ACC had a 3 to 4 C impact on global temperature.

      • I just went with the simplest explanation: at millennial equilibrium for present CO2 levels, the poles should be expected to be 19C warmer than today, or 20C warmer than when CO2 levels were 290 ppmv.

        Can anyone remind me what the value of 20/ln(100) is, as a rough estimate of millennial global climate temperature sensitivity?

        For the Antarctic, that’s an unimpressive shift from an annual average of -40C to -21C, which is far less dramatic than the Arctic shift of -14C to 5C.

        Those are changes we’re committed to, right now, at current CO2 levels, all other things being equal. Ocean circulations can change how long it takes to get there, and how regional basins are affected along the way by climate state transitions (you’d call them extreme weather clusters spanning centuries), but they can’t directly shift the attractor. Only prolonged tropical volcanic activity, things that shift CO2 level in the atmosphere, or the orbit and tilt of the Earth, can affect that equilibrium.

        If our present understanding of the Pliocene is accurate, that is.

      • Bart R, that works out at 46 degrees per doubling.
        ln(390/290)/ln2 divided into 20 C.
        Talk about Arctic amplification!

      • BartR, Not that simple. Because of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the average elevation of the Antarctic continent, there will be much less impact that in the Arctic which has water under the ice cap. The Antarctic is often out of phase with the Arctic so it could just as likely cool as the Arctic warms.

        In the Arctic, flow under the ice is a major factor. Right now the Atlantic side of the Arctic ocean with the Gulf Stream is averaging 4 C warmer than the Pacific side. That difference is mainly due to the ACC down south which did not exist as it does today 4 million years ago. Regardless of CO2 concentration, there is still winter and water still freezes limiting the range of increase.

        Trying to interpolate Paleo sensitivity to modern configuration is far from simple.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        20 C warmer? Am I the only one who thinks that value is crazy?

      • Brandon Shollenberger | March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

        20 C warmer? Am I the only one who thinks that value is crazy?

        I think the value is crazy.

        But then, the value is based on observations and the product of scientific inquiry confirmed not by a single line of proxy data but by three well-matching datasets.

        If I must go with what I think is crazy, or what the data reveals, I’ll rely on the data. Thinking without data is the domain of philosophers, lawyers and marketers.

        Except, some marketers are pretty good at evaluating market data.

      • FWIW, I think 20 C is surprisingly large. Although I equated it to a climate sensitivity, that is clearly not a valid calculation because there is a hysteresis effect, so that a given CO2 level does not coincide with a given sea-ice extent. The sea-ice extent depends on the history, and it provides an albedo that helps its own survival. There are critical ranges of CO2 that are nearly bi-stable to Arctic sea-ice presence or absence, and it seems 350-390 ppm is in that range.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Bart R:

        If I must go with what I think is crazy, or what the data reveals, I’ll rely on the data.

        Indeed. You’ll rely on the data so much that you’ll completely disregard what the majority of data says in favor of a single paper’s interpretation…

        Oh wait. What’s that? We shouldn’t assume a paper is correct just because it is more recent? I guess. I suppose we should consider the possibility a paper with startlingly new results is wrong and previous papers are right. I mean, it’s not like every paper with new results is right, right?

        Sarcasm aside, why do you accept this paper’s conclusions as true? How do you decide they’re better than the conclusions of other papers? Your own source acknowledges it contradicts earlier results. How do you decide which results are right? Science requires skepticism. Where is yours? For that matter, where do you get off saying:

        If our present understanding of the Pliocene is accurate, that is.

        Our “present understanding of the Pliocene” contradicts the source you offered. That paper is suggesting a new idea. How do you claim it represents “our present understanding” of anything?

      • Brandon Shollenberger | March 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

        I’ll stand by 20C of millennial polar warming for a rise of 100 ppmv from 290 to 390 as the only qualifying data point so similar to our present condition, as that’s what the data says happened.

        The data say so. The data is coherent with other Pliocene studies, is well-supported within the published study, and has had influence beyond the study. There’s wide uncertainty in these measures, much wider than the uncertainty on instrumental measures today, but the conclusions approximate a case we now must consider possible because we now must consider it observed in the past.

        Is it the only possible outcome? The most probable outcome? A one off? An error? We don’t know. We must, however, call it a Risk.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Bart R:

        The data say so. The data is coherent with other Pliocene studies

        The source you refer to specifically says its conclusions are different than “other Pliocene studies. The data for that paper may “say so,” but the data used in other papers says otherwise. You have provided no reason to favor this paper over the previous papers, and yet, you’re saying those papers are wrong.

        It is extremely deceptive to say “the data says” anything while ignoring all data which says otherwise.

      • Brandon Shollenberger | March 26, 2013 at 11:32 am |

        See where I conclude, “Is it the only possible outcome? The most probable outcome? A one off? An error? We don’t know. We must, however, call it a Risk.”

        The conclusions of the paper are new, but the premises of the paper show the coherence of the data with the rest of the Pliocene.

        But then, you have to have realized this when you read the paper.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Bart R, you offer no rebuttal to the point I made, that “the data” in general does not show 20 C. Despite this, you say:

        But then, you have to have realized this when you read the paper.

        Why would you say things about me you have no possible way to know are true? I have read that paper. I have read other papers that don’t agree with it. I don’t claim to know which are right.

        What I do know is it is wrong to claim “the data shows X” by focusing solely on data that agrees with X. That’s exactly what you’ve done.

      • Brandon Shollenberger | March 27, 2013 at 10:03 am |

        Indeed, you err on logic.

        You are in essence saying, when parsed to pure logic, “The rise is never 20C.”

        Well, in pure logic, a single counterexample suffices.

        I’ve provided a single counterexample.

        I’m not saying “We now know current CO2 levels will always result in a 20C warming at the poles at equilibrium.”

        I’m saying we have one well-documented, well-reasoned estimate that CO2 levels like today, in a world otherwise somewhat like our own, resulted in 20C warming at the North Pole, and now must consider this outcome possible.

        As we have no other equally well-documented, well-reasoned real observations, many would argue we treat this as the most reasonable estimate of the outcome of human action.

        I’m perfectly okay with looking at GCM’s too, if you don’t accept actual observations.

    • The Arctic was 19 C warmer according to this. Clearly no sea ice in the summer then, and I wonder about the winter extent too as the average is not much below freezing. Interesting consequences for the possibility methane and CO2 outgassing at high latitudes, which might be consistent with the high CO2 values.

      • Jim, read the paper. It blames the warming for the most part on poleward heat transport. As I have been pointing out poleward heat transport statred accelerating about 1750. It began a slower rate of acceleration about 1900. Recent studies using argo indicate there is no trend in poleward heat transport. The studies are too short to be definitive of course. The evidence up to date is that co2 does not drive poleward heat transport.

      • I wonder if the presence of a year-round ice cap is preventing this poleward heat transport. Seems it would be an obstacle at least. Perhaps its loss in near future will allow that current to resume.

      • Just published from New Statesman’s John Gray in UK, an update on the life and times of ideas of James Lovelock, well worth reading here –

      • I thought about the possibility of fresh water influx. That would fit the models vaguely at least as far as an explanation of the current lack of trend. The problem is the trend down since the MWP and the early date at which the trend started up again and then began slowing down. There seems to be no correlation with co2 and that presents the problem.

      • Steven, The freshwater influx seems to be over estimated with regard to THC fluctuation and underestimated with regard to surface heat transfer. When the average North Atlantic SST reaches 0 C, you lose part of the salt -1.9C to fresh 0C heat of fusion buffer. Winds mix the fresh lens to a point, depending on how well the surface water is mixed, the freezing point drifts. When you have a stable polar vortex, mixing efficiency would be lower in the 55 to 70 degree latitude range. With the polar vortex disrupted, mixing efficiency increases and there is lower freezing temperature.

        In the Southern Ocean, the ACC with the higher average surface wind velocity in the 50 to 65S latitude range maintains a more stable freezing temperature.

  32. Max please help me in verifying the following result (climate sensitivity of 1.23 deg C based on the observations of Mauna Loa and HADCRUT4)

    GH theory tells us that there should be a direct correlation between ln(C1/C0) in CO2 concentration versus dT in temperature. This correlation is not visible.

    Actually it is visible, but the warming is 1.2 deg C for doubling of CO2.

    Here is how to make it visible.

    1) Find the 61 years running mean for the GMST for HADCRUT4:

    2) Fit the above data with a quadratic function to obtain a Model Secular GMST

    Here is what I got:
    Secular GMST = 0.5*k1*(year – 1895)^2 + k2*(year – 1895) + k3
    where k1 = 0.00004526 deg C/year^2
    k2 = 0.003441 deg C/year
    k3 = -0.3380 deg C

    3) Plot the Secular GMST against the annual CO2 concentration for their common year.

    4) Fit the above data with the function a*Ln(CO2/b)
    You get a = 1.777 deg C and b = 317.786 ppm

    5) The fitted curve gives you 1.23 deg C for increase in CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm.

    Climate sensitivity is 1.23 deg C, which is identical to the sensitivity with zero feed back.

    Max, let me know if you get the same result.

  33. David Springer

    Here’s something to discuss.

    An amazing divergence between northern and southern hemisphere average temperature. What’s amazing is the divergence was minimal until the year 2000 then it shot up like a rocket in the NH and stayed pretty flat in the SH. The divergence is unprecedented in the entire record.

    What happened?

    My guess is the mother of all El Ninos in 1998 caused a pulse of warm water to reach the Arctic a year or two later which was absorbed as heat of fusion in the ice lowering summer ice extent by about 10% over the next several years and this exposed more warm water that normally circulates up from the tropics on the conveyor belt to the atmosphere and warmed it causing a NH-only spike in air temperature.

    I believe Alexander Pope has the right handle on this. The northern ice cap reduction will cause more snowfall which will eventually lower northern hemisphere average albedo through later spring melt. Ice extent then recovers and the system is primed for a repeat. The whole cycle takes decades and thus the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation.

    But that’s just a hypothesis and its predictions can’t be tested by any other means than waiting it out to see what happens.

      • It’s the difference between the land and the ocean quantities of the hemispheres. The oceans stopped warming and the land didn’t.

      • David Springer

        The ratios of land to water in SH and NH didn’t change in the year 2000 did it?

        Yet the warming of the the two hemispheres dramatically diverged in that year with the northern still rising and the southern going flat.

        If you think the ocean suddenly stopped warming and land continued that’s fine but it doesn’t answer my question. What caused that change?

      • David Springer

        p.s. steven (not Mosher)

        UHI is a non-issue. Satellites agree with thermometers. It’s a trivial matter to cherry pick just rural thermometers and the story remains the same. Mosher is right about at least that much.

        The story that remains the same is that land is warming far faster than ocean. The old narrative about why that happens is that the ocean is buffering the heat. That hypothesis was falsified by the Argo buoys which do a decent job of precisely measuring ocean heat content down to about half the ocean’s average depth and hence we have Trenberth’s notorious “missing heat”.

        My hypothesis that greenhouse gases have little effect on water temperature however is alive and well. Downwelling infrared from greenhouse gases illuminating a body of liquid water raises the evaporation rate without raising water temperature. A dry surface cannot respond by evaporation so the temperature must rise instead.

        However *some* surface temperature must rise in response to more greenhouse gases. In the case of greater IR illumination of a water body the warmer surface is at the top the clouds not the top of the water.

        Lapse rate feedback is negative and well known but never globally measured until recently. It was found to be higher than models predicted but is in line with what I believe happens. As more water vapor is lifted off the ocean (with no rise in temperature at the ocean surface or near air surface) the environmental lapse rate decreases. Water vapor must then rise higher than before to adiabatically cool to the dewpoint and form a could. This results in cloud tops that are higher but not warmer. The higher cloud top now occupies what used to be cold dry air above the clouds. At this higher altitude there is less greenhouse gas between the cloud top and space so the cloud tops cool more efficiently.

        I believe when improved instrumentation begins measuring what’s happening with clouds we’ll find that cloud tops rise about 100 meters per CO2 doubling and that is sufficient to largely negate the warming effect at least over oceans and wet land surfaces.

        So we should find the anthropogenic warming signal to be the greatest where there’s the least water on the surface for evaporation. Winters in high latitudes over land when the surface is frozen would be where to look. And that’s exactly where we find the greatest warming. It isn’t urban heat islands its the inability to warm water by illuminating its surface with mid-infrared when the surface is free to evaporate in response. Very simple really and all observations make perfect sense in light of it.

      • I thought the conventional view was a PDO-type thing, perhaps with other SH circulations adding to it at this time. Anything the ocean does can only be temporary, however, even if it can last decades.

      • I didn’t say UHI was an issue. If GISS still had the graph on their site I would have linked it there. It may not be an answer as to why the NH warmed more than the SH but it at least gives you a clue as to where to start looking. Something you didn’t seem to have previously.

      • New paper from al et KT, exhuming the missing heat from the machina of model/observation melding.

      • The differences in sensitivity due to the source of the forcing is likely to have a much greater influence than has been popularily believed, I agree.

      • Two issues are intertwined:

        Noise vs Signal
        The historical temperature record shows red noise with RMS fluctuation amplitude of approximately 0.2 degrees.
        This discussion of plateauing and diverging will continue until the underlying mean (which red noise reverts to as part of the Uhlenbeck-Ornstein process) reaches a significant level, thus drowning out the noise …. although the noise level could increase as well due to positive feedbacks — just ask any audio enthusiast. Mosh putting a filter on the curves essentially removes the noise.

        Transient vs Equilibrium
        The long-term difference between NH and SH is obviously the heat sink of the ocean. Hansen knew about this in 1981. Look at this chart:
        The upper band is essentially land, where I added a simulation for Hansen’s 2.8 C as red dots. This is the transient response of the sensitivity. The lower curves will follow the slower transition to the equilibrium value.

        This is the way climatologists view the issues as well.

      • Web, the question that is interesting isn’t that the SH is warming slower than the NH. That would be expected. The question that is interesting is why did the oceans stop warming when the difference between the land and ocean temperatures were increasing in magnitude.

      • Webby

        Some wey up the thread you made this comment immediately below .Was it directed at me?


      • “The question that is interesting is why did the oceans stop warming when the difference between the land and ocean temperatures were increasing in magnitude.”

        Noise? (when you say ocean, you really mean the surface region of the ocean, because it is clear that bulk of the ocean continues to waem)

        Red noise is governed by the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process, which essentially describes a reversion-to-the-mean process. As the mean rises and we get noisy excursions above the mean, then of course we will see all sorts of periods that look like holding patterns or cooling patterns as the temperature reverts back to the longer-term trend line. Like all the signals and noise we have seen in the past, the perception that the southern hemisphere has appeared to stop warming will only become a fact over a longer time scale.

      • I suppose noise could be covering up what appears to be about a 0.5 C warming deficit between land and ocean. You would think that would create a fairly firm trend. There has been noise in the system before but the noise has gotten quite loud lately and even exceeds that of the earliest records. You seem quite sure the bulk of the oceans have continued to warm. The boyancy gradient says no if hasn’t if the surface hasn’t. Which is more likely to be noise?

      • steven said to webby:

        “You seem quite sure the bulk of the oceans have continued to warm.”
        Direct measurement and indirect observation of effects would indicate so. Certainly there is great differences between ocean basins with regions like the Atlantic and Indian oceans warming more down to 2000m, but within a reasonable margin of error, one can be quite confident that the oceans have been warming, with greater warming at deeper levels over the past 40+ years. Around 0.5 x 10^22 Joules per year on average is a good estimate.

      • Hansen predicted that the temperature difference between land and ocean surface would diverge back in 1981:
        Projecting toward the year 2000, he plotted that the divergence was already nearing 0.5 degrees C.

        Add in noise and what exactly did you expect?

        Is this some sort of eye-opener? If you are a realist and have been following the science, not really.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope | March 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

        “Hansen predicted that the temperature difference between land and ocean surface would diverge back in 1981:”

        The chart predicts nothing of the sort. I suggest instead of making up your own explanations you start showing them in the context in which they were published if you want to be taken seriously. Of course if you wanted to be taken seriously you’d probably be using your real name like Judith Curry and many of the people who comment here do.

      • David Springer

        The question that is interesting is why, at least in HADCRUT4, Northern and Southern Hemisphere warming had been tracking together for 160 years very closely with a slightly higher warming trend in the NH than all of a sudden in 2000 the NH global average temperature takes off upward like a raped ape while SH went flat.

        What caused the behavior to suddenly and dramatically change circa 2000?

        There were some smaller divergences in the past 160 years but the magnitude of what happened since 2000 is unprecedented. This begs for an explanation.

      • Hansen’s chart shows the difference between an atmosphere that does not have a heat sink intimately attached to it (the upper band) and one that has a deep heat sink with an infinite thermal conductivity (the lower band).
        The majority of the land surface is only indirectly coupled to the ocean, so we can use temperature records such as the historical BEST land data to compare against Hansen’s upper band projections. Lo and behold, they match up pretty well for Hansen’s 2.8 C climate sensitivity.

      • R Gates, we are discussing since the year ~ 2000. I would agree there is little doubt the bulk of the ocean has warmed in the last 40 years. The surface has also.

      • Web, there is a difference between one warming faster than the other and one warming faster then it had and the other not warming despite being far behind. It could be noise but it would be by far the most noise in the record. Now if the divergence was getting larger but the oceans were warming at an increasing rate or even warming at all your argument would be much stronger.

      • steven, the ocean heat content has been steadily increasing since 2000 even if its surface hasn’t been warming recently. Circulations like the PDO can do this by bringing up colder water from deeper in upwelling regions.

      • Jim D, I am aware of what the measurements say. The measurements also say the surface hasn’t been warming. The question then becomes which one is noise. A higher heat content requires the surface warm. This is the boyancy gradient. The lack of warming is wide spread.

      • steven, the OHC is a more robust measurement of global warming. The surface is mostly important as a proxy for the IR radiative response, which apparently isn’t going up, consistent with accumulation of energy in the deeper ocean as a response to the rising forcing. In a sense, the surface and deep ocean together control the response to forcing. If the surface temperature rose fast, the OHC would not. There is an energy balance equation for this.

      • Jim, yes I am aware that there are energy equations. There are also physical properties of water. In order for the water below the surface to warm the surface has to warm. There are exceptions of course such as fresh water with cooler temperatures have greater boyancy but, as I pointed out, the lack of warming is wide spread. .

      • Steven,
        You might be interested in this blog post I wrote from last year

        And then use WfT to compare the GISS data to BEST land-only data:

        The land-only data diverges from the land-ocean data in the way that Hansen explained it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The webster uses diffusion of heat from the atmosphere to the oceans. Which is typically bizarrely unphysical.

        Much better off comparing TOA flux with OHC

        This can be updated both with CERES and von Schuckmann – but the CERES graph has nice little trend lines. All the warming happened in the SW – as the data shows it to be in earlier satellite records. See for instance IPCC s3.4.4.1.

        Here’s one for an earlier period –

        They are funny little space cadets.

      • steven, the evidence suggests that the OHC can continue to increase while the surface does not get warmer. Maybe you are disputing this evidence, but it explainable when the ocean is overturning slowly. I don’t think anyone has labeled this as a contradiction. During the next El Nino, we may well see the OHC decrease as the surface temperature increases, as has happened with past El Ninos.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Ocean heat content is centered on a 5 year mean in 5 degree cells. This is not much use in comparing to ENSO. The graph below compares annual OHC from sea level rise to net flux at TOA. The ocean heat content follows TOA flux – which is mostly changing in the SW in the ERBS record. OHC content increased in the 1998 El Nino and declined to the 1999/2000 La Nina. There is an element of cloud radiative forcing associated with ENSO.

        ‘Figure 7 gives a direct interannual comparison of these new ocean heat storage data from 1993 to 2003 against those from the 12-month running mean ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV Edition3_Rev1 and CERES/Terra Scanner ES4 Edition2_Rev1 net flux anomalies. The CERES/Terra Scanner results are global and the ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV results cover 60°N to 60°S (or 87% of the earth’s surface). The net flux anomalies are calculated with respect to the 1985–89 period. They are basically deseasonalized anomalies similar to those shown in previous figures. A 12-month running mean filter has been applied to the TOA radiation data to reduce the temporal sampling noise and to match up directly with the corresponding time scale of the ocean storage data. The ocean heat storage data (Willis et al. 2004) is available only in annually smoothed seasonal data. The drop in the global ocean heat storage in the later part of 1998 is associated with cooling of the global ocean after the rapid warming of the ocean during the 1997–98 El Niño event (Willis et al. 2004).’ Emphasis mine. It occurred because of the reduction in low level marine stratocumulous in the 1998 El Nino.

        Zhu et al (2007) found that cloud formation for ENSO and for global warming have different characteristics and are the result of different physical mechanisms. The change in low cloud cover in the 1997-1998 El Niño came mainly as a decrease in optically thick stratocumulus and stratus cloud. The decrease is negatively correlated to local SST anomalies, especially in the eastern tropical Pacific, and is associated with a change in convective activity. ‘During the 1997–1998 El Niño, observations indicate that the SST increase in the eastern tropical Pacific enhances the atmospheric convection, which shifts the upward motion to further south and breaks down low stratiform clouds, leading to a decrease in low cloud amount in this region. Taking into account the obscuring effects of high cloud, it was found that thick low clouds decreased by more than 20% in the eastern tropical Pacific… In contrast, most increase in low cloud amount due to doubled CO2 simulated by the NCAR and GFDL models occurs in the subtropical subsidence regimes associated with a strong atmospheric stability.’

      • CH, I don’t know where you get your 5-year OHC, but all the plots I have seen are along the lines of this one linked. El Ninos like in 2007 and 2010 show up with dips, which is where the hot surface water loses heat depleting the OHC more efficiently.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The xbt data uses a running 5 year mean – to overcome the lack of data.

        von Schuckmann uses a 3 month average for ARGO data.

        I have been staring at this one for months. More LW out is consistent with a lower cloud height and more cloud in La Nina and vice versa.

        ‘To explore the relationship between interannual variations in CERES TOA flux and ENSO, Fig. 5a shows outgoing LW TOA flux anomalies from CERES Terra with multivariate ENSO index (MEI; Wolter and Timlin 1998) for the tropics (30S–30N) and globe. The CERES TOA flux anomalies are smoothed with a 2-month running mean, consistent with MEI. In the tropics, there is a fairly good relationship between LW TOA flux anomalies and MEI, with an r2 value of 0.56. Earlier studies (Allan and Singo 2002; Wong et al. 2006) showed a similar relationship between LW TOA flux and ENSO: for example, the 1997/98 El Nin˜o resulted in monthly anomalies greater than 5 Wm-2 in the tropics. Positive MEI values (El Nino-like conditions) are associated with positive outgoing LW TOA flux anomalies, and negative MEI values (La Nina-like conditions) are associated with negative outgoing LW TOA flux anomalies.’

        ‘…Since LW emission to space is greater in cloud-free regions and from clouds with lower tops…’

        Although – this is what cloud cloud cover anomalies look like. Most of the net warming in the period was from cloud changes and there’s some hints of ENSO in there – but I would eventually look for decadal changes linked to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation.

        But both land and ocean temperature changes must be the result of the changes in radiant flux balance at TOA.

        d(W&H)/dt = power in – power out

        Where W&H equals work and heat. Changes in power in are miniscule in the 11 year solar cycle. Most change is in the SW and – btw – are the opposite sign to sulphate forcing.

    • I don’t think it was the El Nino. The Atlantic portion of the Arctic started up around 1984 so I would think it is an AMO mother of all peaks related to one of those non-existent Bond events.

  34. Bart R writes with admirable forthrightness :
    “I stand corrected.”
    “I was wrong”

    How refreshing to see someone admit to being wrong on the Internet. It renews my faith in humanity. A little bit anyway, Though no doubt the effect is temporary.

    Still, it almost never happens. Imagine how much more pleasant…not to mention productive…Internet discussions would be if everyone did that more often..

    Personally, I’m wrong so often I’ve gotten good at admitting mistakes. I kind of like it. Cleansing somehow…

  35. UK energy & CO2 policy: Cristopher Booker, Daily Telegraph, 23 Mar 2013

    As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.
    The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

    Three more events last week brought home again just what a mad bubble of make-believe these people are living in. Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, we lost two more major coal-fired power stations, Didcot A and Cockenzie, capable of contributing no less than a tenth to our average electricity demands. We saw a French state-owned company, EDF, being given planning permission to spend £14 billion on two new nuclear reactors in Somerset, but which it says it will only build, for completion in 10 years’ time, if it is guaranteed a subsidy that will double the price of its electricity. Then, hidden in the small print of the Budget, were new figures for the fast-escalating tax the Government introduces next week on every ton of CO2 emitted by fossil-fuel-powered stations, which will soon be adding billions of pounds more to our electricity bills every year.

    Within seven years this new tax will rise to £30 a ton, and by 2030 to £70 a ton, making it wholly uneconomical to generate any more electricity from the coal and gas-fired power stations that last week were still supplying two thirds of our electricity. Put all this together and we see more starkly than ever the game the Government is playing. It knows that no company would build wind farms unless it is given subsidies that, in effect, nearly double or treble the price of its electricity. The Government will only get CO2-free nuclear power if it promises it an equal subsidy. And now the Coalition is also hell-bent on driving our much cheaper and more reliable coal and gas-fired plants out of business, by imposing a carbon tax that will not only eventually double the cost of their electricity, but also make it impossible for them to survive. So mad is this policy of “double-up all round” that it is driving even the largest and most efficient power station in the country, Drax, capable of supplying seven per cent of all the power we use, to switch from burning coal to wood chips, imported 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from the US. And how has the Government forced Drax to do this? By giving it a subsidy on wood chips that doubles the value of its electricity, while putting an increasingly prohibitive tax on coal.

    This is all insane in so many ways that one scarcely knows where to begin, except to point out that, even if our rulers somehow managed to subsidise firms into spending £100 billion on all those wind farms they dream of, they will still need enough new gas-fired power stations to provide back-up for all the times when the wind isn’t blowing, at the very time when the carbon tax will soon make it uneconomical for anyone to build them.

    So we are doomed to see Britain’s lights going out, all because the feather-headed lunatics in charge of our energy policy still believe that they’ve got to do something to save the planet from that CO2-induced global warming which this weekend has been covering much of the country up to a foot deep in snow. Meanwhile, the Indians are planning to build 455 new coal-fired power stations which will add more CO2 to the atmosphere of the planet every week than Britain emits in a year.

    Thank you, David Cameron, leader of “the greenest government ever”. Thank you, Ed Miliband, father of the Climate Change Act, the most expensive suicide note in history. Between you, you seem determined to switch off our lights, lock the door and throw away the key. We owe you more than we can say.

    • Bryony Brownouts.

    • Faustino,

      Thank you or that. Brilliantly written. Very clear.

      The Australian Labor Government is doing the same, just a stupid.

      And Obama wants to do the same to the USA.

      And he is egged on an supported by the irrationals, the CAGW alarmists and doomsayers, many of whom blog away their insanity on Climate Etc. and other web sites.

      • Breaking news. Steven Goddard reports that Obama’s birth certificate is fake. Based on some kind of analysis by a sheriff.

        Evidently people like me are supposed to take this kind of thing seriously. Because a sheriff is standing in front of a power-point presentation making arguments.

        But you can see how it’s all tripe. It’s indistinguishable from a kind of self-delusion where people are falling over themselves to be duped by conspiracy theorists with complex arguments.

        So Lewandowsky probably hit the nail on the head. I’ve been looking at the issue of climate skepticism as a political motivated phenomenon. Yes but that’s only part. What I’ve missed is the conspiracy theory angle. This IS all about conspiracy theories. The skeptic blogs are like “lone gunmen” sitting on their computers frantically typing posts into a blog revealing the truth. Or standing up on video in front of a small room frantically pointing at powerpoint slides that prove that Its-all-a-scam ™.

        It’s the equivalent of the old days when the conspiracy theorist would wile away their days writing pamphlets in their motel room. With an eager audience ready to be duped, perhaps willingly, unknowingly into believing the fantastic conspiracy.

        Except now we have the internet, so this little cottage industry now thrives in real time.

      • Sorry I reacted to the word Obama and started typing but by the end my comment above was not relevant to the post I replied to, I should have started a separate thread.

        The UK has more gas than 48 hours worth. No idea where Christopher Booker is getting that 48 hour figure. But don’t take my word for it, just see if the gas really runs out this week as his figure suggests.

        Enough gas has evidently been stored for a typical winter followed by a very cold March, or else we’d have run out already. It has nothing to do with energy policy and more to do with planning for seasonal demand.

        As for long-term power shortages, this has been more about the inertia of governments to get the nuclear ball rolling. They found plenty of money to spend on a war but then were broke bailing out the banks. We’ll have to go gas in the short-term as back up for the renewables and nuclear in the longterm.

      • lolwot, “I saw the name Obama and reacted…”

        Yeah, I do that too :)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The UK has 15 days gas storage at best – how much is left? Gas supplies will become much more problematic over the next couple of years as North Sea gas runs out.

        The taxes on top of the laugable cap and trade prices are – and always have been – about making nuclear economically viable. The only real alternative is to build more capacity in coal.

    • I’m truly sorry for any suffering these misbegotten policies will cause, and it make me sick that folks like lolwot below refuse to accept the damage their fantastical beliefs are causing.

      • Sorry, lolwot above.

      • Alarmist Christopher Booker of the Daily Telegraph wrote 17 hours ago: “we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm”

        Well that makes just 31 hours of gas left until the gas runs out and the suffering begins! Let us enjoy this very rare opportunity to see one of Christopher Booker’s claims tested by reality in real time.

        Do you want to put an early bet in as to whether Booker’s claim will be shown to be true or false? Or more interestingly how much longer we will continue with gas AFTER his supposed deadline.

        Like his climate denial, his claims about gas supply are founded on conspircist ideation rather than facts.

      • iolwot

        Surely all Booker is saying is that our stored reserves-always very small- have been run down by the extra demand? IF they were not replenished they would run out in 48 hours time. We must all assume they WILL be replenished but this ‘just in time’ philosophy- which I find disturbing-surely demonstrates that we need more stoarge capacity as the UK continues its decade long cooling trend


      • lowlot, remove your blinkers and you’ll quickly discover that Booker is merely reporting an acknowledged fact. Britain has only 20 days worth of storage capacity, and we’re down to less than 10% of that – you do the math.
        Coupled with that, we’ve just had an outage of one of the two pipelines from Europe, which I understand is now fixed (hopefully), and they’ve already reduced the gas main pressure – in effect, rationing the stuff.
        A couple more days of this cold weather and it will really be touch and go whether or not we do in fact run out.
        Energy supply requires planning decades in advance, and successive governments dragging their feet has now brought us to this point where the chickens are coming home to roost en masse.

    • The Drax coal fired power station in Yorkshire, supplying
      7% of Britain’s electricity, has become a key component in
      the Government’s Green energy policy.

      At a cost of some 700 million pounds, Drax is about to switch
      to burning millions of tons of woodchips shipped from the US.
      Sir David King admitted on Radio 4’s Today program that when
      the full cycle of wood chips is factored in, any real saving in
      carbon dioxide emissions would be unlikely. At an estimated
      doubling or trebling of energy costs, cui bono?

      H/t Tallbloke’s blog.

      • Richard Betts has departed in a snit from the BishopHill thread which is bewailing the coming ‘Bryony Blackouts’ over Great Britain. It’s cold outside, but hot in his kitchen.

    • WUWT excitedly report that the UK has had its 43rd coldest winter in the last hundred years (to me, in other words; average).

      • Right Jim D. Here’s what you left out, I’m sure by accident.

        “The winter ranked 43rd coldest since 1910, and continues the trend towards colder winters. In the last five years, only 2011/12 has been above the 1981-2010 average. The average over these five years has been 3.03C.

        Interestingly, the average winter temperature for 1911-2013 stands at 3.52C, so by 20thC standards the last few years have been genuinely cold.

        The mild winters between 1998 and 2008 increasingly look to be the exception rather than the rule, as Figure 2 shows clearly.”

      • He was spinning that too, but he left a graph that makes it obvious that the clear majority of winters since the mid-80s have been above average.

      • OK Jim, have it your way. Another member in good standing of the intellectually undead.

        An idea for a new bumper sticker,

        “I pause for climate zombies”

      • I read WUWT for humor and it doesn’t disappoint.

  36. Chief Hydrologist


    Simply throwing random names into the mix is not a scientific endeavour. It is in fact profoundly anti-science.

  37. Chief Hydrologist

    Recent, somewhat abrupt climate changes add to the collective concern that larger future nonlinear changes pose a significant risk to societies [2]. Furthermore, recent assessments place such ‘large-scale discontinuities’ rather closer to the present state of the climate [3]. By definition, such events imply significant impacts on societies or on other living components
    of the Earth system. Hence, if an early warning of a climate tipping point can be achieved, then it could be of considerable value to societies, at least in helping them build an adaptive capacity to cope with what is approaching.
    In general, for a system approaching a threshold where its current state
    becomes unstable, and it makes a transition to some other state, one can
    expect to see it become more sluggish in its response to small perturbations [4].

    Mathematically speaking, for systems that can be characterized as gradually
    approaching a (co-dimension 1) bifurcation point in their equilibrium solutions, their leading eigenvalue tends towards zero, indicating a tendency towards infinitely slow recovery from perturbations. This is referred to as ‘critical slowing down’ in dynamical systems theory. This phenomenon has long been known about [5,6], but it has only recently been applied to climate dynamics [7,8].

    I generally think that neither side of the climate war has much of a credible theory of climate change and that in the clamour and fog the first victim is the integrity of science. Some science has at least recognised the nature of the beast. The criticality paradigm has a couple of significant implications for policy. Climate is sensitive to small forcings – and it is still not warming for a decade or three more.

    • The idea that we’re all staggering on the edge of calamity–heating our homes and driving to work like drunken terrorists–and, slightest wisp of a tailwind could send nature into a non-recoverable tailspin, reminds me of ancient maps showing square rigged ships going over the edge of the Earth under full sail…

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And yet one should try to distinguish science from partisan rhetoric.

      • … and the ancient science of cartology.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘We develop the concept of “dragon-kings” corresponding to meaningful outliers, which are found to coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems. These dragon-kings reveal the existence of mechanisms of self-organization that are not apparent otherwise from the distribution of their smaller siblings. We present a generic phase diagram to explain the generation of dragon-kings and document their presence in six different examples (distribution of city sizes, distribution of acoustic emissions associated with material failure, distribution of velocity increments in hydrodynamic turbulence, distribution of financial drawdowns, distribution of the energies of epileptic seizures in humans and in model animals, distribution of the earthquake energies). We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point. The presence of a phase transition is crucial to learn how to diagnose in advance the symptoms associated with a coming dragon-king. ‘

        There be dragons…

      • “Our results are only part of the story, since the Earth’s surface temperature is determined by a balance between sunlight that warms the planet and heat radiated back into space, which cools the planet,” said Palle. “This depends upon many factors in addition to albedo, such as the amount of greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane) present in the atmosphere. But these new data emphasize that clouds must be properly accounted for and illustrate that we still lack the detailed understanding of our climate system necessary to model future changes with confidence.” Philip Goode

        If we need to also add a pinch of bat wing, we are back to what Philip Stott cautioned us about–i.e., in such a chaotic system the risk of doing something is as great as doing nothing.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Figure 1 (middle) shows that these climate mode trend phases indeed behaved anomalously three times during the 20th century, immediately following the synchronization events of the 1910s, 1940s, and 1970s. This combination of the synchronization of these dynamical modes in the climate, followed immediately afterward by significant increase in the fraction of strong trends (coupling) without exception marked shifts in the 20th century climate state. These shifts were accompanied by breaks in the global mean temperature trend with respect to time, presumably
        associated with either discontinuities in the global radiative budget due to the global reorganization of clouds and water vapor or dramatic changes in the uptake of heat by the deep ocean.’ S&T 09

        If we need to add your bat p_ss and wind – there will be no understanding at all. The risk in changing the atmosphere exceeds the risk of not doing so – all things being equal. Things are never equal and there are all sorts of other considerations – especially the impacts on people and economies of wrong action. Where have I ever given the idea that these are not fundamental considerations? The right actions are another thing entirely.

      • Consider that the Earth has been in a cooling trend for the last 10,000 years and that pretty much covers the human experience from sunrise to sunset. Everything else is dogma.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Considering that you can predict the outcome of changing the compositon of the atmosphere in a system that is known to change abruptly is an argument from extreme ignorance. I am less than impressed that you think you can do so on some facile argument about temperatures in the holocene.

      • If we’ve learned one thing it is that even the past is very hard to predict. And, predicting the future is still impossible. Make a note of it.

      • Abstract

        Predicting historic temperatures based on tree rings, ice cores, and other natural proxies is a difficult endeavor. The relationship between proxies and temperature is weak and the number of proxies is far larger than the number of target data points. Furthermore, the data contain complex spatial and temporal dependence structures which are not easily captured with simple models.

        In this paper, we assess the reliability of such reconstructions and their statistical significance against various null models. We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature. Furthermore, various model specifications that perform similarly at predicting temperature produce extremely different historical backcasts. Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago.

        We propose our own reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere average annual land temperature over the last millennium, assess its reliability, and compare it to those from the climate science literature. Our model provides a similar reconstruction but has much wider standard errors, reflecting the weak signal and large uncertainty encountered in this setting.

        McShane, B. and Wyner, A.J. A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? Annals of Applied Statistics (Submitted)

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The quote at the start of this thread was about potentially predicting tipping points. The point is that the system does not behave in ways that are easily predictable. Imposing changes on this system creates a risk of abrupt change in the system. Surely this is a simple enough idea.

  38. dan bloom post yes or no?

  39. people are more likely to accept increases in energy prices if they perceive them as needed to reach an ambitious and positive social goal than if they perceive them as top-down government decisions to reduce oil imports or protect the climate…. This framing makes it more likely that the public will accept the resulting increases in the price of electricity. It also reduces the risk that the decision will be reversed by the next government.

  40. Treating climate change as beyond argument

    Much of the noise in the climate change discourse comes from argument and counter-argument, and it is our recommendation that, at least for popular communications, interested agencies now need to treat the
    argument as having been won. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real,
    and that individual actions are effective. This must be done by stepping away from the ‘advocates debate’ described earlier, rather than by stating and re-stating these things as fact. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.

    The certainty of the Government’s new climate-change slogan – ‘Together this generation will tackle climate change’ (Defra 2006) – gives an example of this approach. It constructs, rather than claims, its own factuality.
    Where science is invoked, it now needs to be as ‘lay science’ – offering lay explanations for what is being treated as a simple established scientific fact, just as the earth’s rotation or the water cycle are considered.

  41. Idle thoughts of an idle fellow. Does anyone know what is happening to the recent occurrence of SSW, which stated at the beginning of January? I have tried Google, with little success. Is there any possibility that the current cold spell in Europe, and the recent drop is the AMSU temperatures are related to this recent SSW?

    • Everything that happens is due to global warming.

    • Jim Cripwell | March 24, 2013 at 7:24 am | Idle thoughts of an idle fellow. Does anyone know what is happening to the recent occurrence of SSW, which stated at the beginning of January? I have tried Google, with little success. Is there any possibility that the current cold spell in Europe, and the recent drop is the AMSU temperatures are related to this recent SSW?

      Only been able to find up to February mentions so far from beginning in January:

      A page from the Met 2012 explaining how its winter forecasts will be improved by taking SSWs into account:

      However, their blog post for this March shows a complete disjunct..

      Is this the kind of thing you were looking for?

      • Myrrh, you write “Is this the kind of thing you were looking for?”

        Not exactly. What I was looking for is how the current SSW is progressing; how intense it is; and when it is likely to be over. For past events, I have seen animated maps, which show the progress. I assume they exist, but I cannot find them.

      • Ah, ok, don’t really know about them so wasn’t sure what you were asking for. Interesting, I’ve been delving into it a bit more:

        “There is a phenomenon behind this movement in the jet stream which had been identified by a researcher named Judah Cohen (who has written extensively about this subject), and initially picked up back in 2008 by the online amateur weather community called a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW).”
        continued on:

        It goes on to explain that not all shifts in the jet stream caused by SSWs:

        “What should be made clear though is that SSW’s are not the cause of every cold spell we receive in the UK, nor are they a guarantee of a cold spell for the UK and NW Europe as a whole, as it all depends on where blocking high pressures set themselves up. For example, the UK could end up on the ‘wrong side’ of one of these blocking highs, with the cold air from the north flooding south into eastern Europe, and the UK being on the opposite side of the high pressure with a warmer southerly wind direction. This sort of detail, however, is slightly predictable based around other research carried out by Judah Cohen on snow cover advance during October across Siberia (this creates an index known as the snow advance index) and all sorts of complex feedback loops are created from this, resulting in particular types of planetary scale waves being created through the late autumn/early winter period, usually leading to analogous pressure patterns. But, for example, the second coldest December in recorded history, December 2010, occurred not due to one of these SSW’s, but due to the Stratosphere being warmer than usual to begin with during the winter period (usually the Stratosphere cools rapidly through November and into December – during that particular year it was reluctant to do so).”

        Seems: “SSW’s were discovered over Berlin in the early 1950s (the good old days).”

        Not sure how there can be animations of this, perhaps you mean animations of the jet stream forecasts once they’ve taken all such into account as the eumetsat page explained?

        There’s this for the UK:;sess=

        Aha, just noticed they have a stratospheric temperature forecast page:;sess= and they have a link there to different layers.

      • Jim at 2.03: so it’s not all about CO2 then? Gosh!

  42. Could I ask readers here if they have heard about my pioneering work
    about “polar cities” for survivors of climate chaos 30 generations
    from now and that the time to start discussing them and planning and
    even pre-siting them might be now, as there is still time to prepare?
    see my work at or google the term,
    “polar cities” – and wiki also has page. It’s a bit CLI FI, my work,
    and I produced two books already on Amazon, a novel titled POLAR CITY
    RED, well reviewed in the Alaska media, and a nonfiction history of
    polar cities, POLAR CITY DREAMING. go look and comment pro and con. I
    am most interested in feedback, and all POV welcome. – Danny Bloom,

    • I just love it every time I confuse you with Steve Bloom. Excellent conversations I’ve had with the wrong one in mind.

    • I speculate about the distant future sometimes. What would a 1000+ ppm world look like in 2500 AD? Would sea-level be well on its way to rising 70 meters? Would tropical areas still be habitable with 35 C oceans and steam-bath climates, and if not, how would evacuation take place, or would worse things happen to those populations. Would there be hypercanes? Where would the food sources be? What would the energy sources be? What about fresh water supply? Would acidification lead to ecological disaster in the oceans? The fact that polar latitudes have smaller areas than lower latitudes and that 70% of the world population lives within 100 meters of sea-level may mean population crowding and less area where food can be grown, especially in the southern hemisphere as people escape to higher ground and higher latitudes. This is an interesting area for cli-fi, for sure. A 350-400 ppm world in 2500 AD would look more friendly from an environmental viewpoint.

    • Yew quote:
      ‘Hamilton shows that the climate problem is now primarily
      a question of social science: of psychology and political
      Say, I’d go along with that. :)

      Hmm , though I am a smidgeon worried about ‘the pause’
      and the present cold spell in the UK.

      • No cold spell Beth. Jim D explained that all that snow and cold’s nothing but spin. I’m sure that’s a comfort to those freezing their kiesters off and worrying about heating their homes…despite the fact that we’re but a few days away from April. “April is the cruelest month” may soon have a whole new meaning…

        As to the pause, see lolwot about that. He’ll set your mind at rest.

      • Tony
        What with remembrance of things past in climate variability
        and inclement events shown in the CET record, I’ve started
        knitting yer woolen sweater, argyle pattern, but I’m findin’ it
        somewhat complex. Hope I have it finished before the onset
        of a new LIA.

      • Beth

        Can you make it double thickness please? I will let you know how the outdoor tomatoes go this summer

      • Yes pokerguy,

        ‘April,cruel month!
        And May’s no picnic.’

        H/t Bader.

        A serf.

      • No Tony I can’t, that would mean pulling it out and starting
        again ( Yer’ll jest hafta wear two chesty bond singlets.
        Tomatoes? I’d say tomatoes in the UK could be a thing of
        the past, like wine in Vinlandia.

      • Yes Beth…April (and soon May) will be the cruelest months, mixing fond memories of warmer times and a desire to get them back..

        Meanwhile dear Beth, I see some co2 lying around in the atmosphere like a patient etherized upon a table, not doing too much of anything besides feeding the plants and greening the earth.

      • Sounds buried, pg, which is what the plants do with it, since the beginning of time, well earthtime anyway.

    • Danny

      Before I glance at your work can you assure me its not a joke?

      • Not so much a joke as a very imaginative response to last decade’s fear of a boiling earth. I commend Danny to your attention, but feel sure we’ll all be squished metropolitanly together toward the Equator long before Danny’s utopic visions come to pass.

      • oops

      • Hi tony,
        re polar cities)

      • Beth

        Good grief. What with our Govt busily shoving up energy prices whilst the UK temperatures plummet, and this guy promoting Polar cities, it is difficult to know how to keep our sanity.

        Has the world lost all sense of perspective and context?


      • Yup, more geology and theometry.

      • Tony,

        Madness …yes! (
        Re Long term prediction, looks like Danny needs ter read
        Taleb’s ‘Black Swan’ … but I predict he won’t. )

        Beth the serf and so on.

      • True geniuses appear on the most Northern and most Southern horizons.

    • “Could I ask readers here if they have heard about my pioneering work
      about “polar cities” for survivors of climate chaos 30 generations
      from now and that the time to start discussing them and planning and
      even pre-siting them might be now, as there is still time to prepare?”

      30 generations? About 900 years? I haven’t yet checked your link, but I’ve said before that at any time in human history, predictions of the world 90-100 years hence would have been wildly wrong, we have no capacity to make sensible or useful predictions over the time-frames you mention, and it would surely be mad to put resources now into a fantasy 2900 AD.

      If you want to do it as speculative fiction, that’s another matter, but it would have no policy relevance.

      • Faustino,

        Thanks. I was going to get in before the rush and buy a beach front property. But thanks to your advice I think I’ll wait a while.


    An article in today’s New York Times

    Are fossil fuels on the road to obsolescence?

    • Many many years ago I knew that those hydrocarbon bonds were much too lovingly made to fracture them merely for the energy within them. We need them for structure, to house us, to clothe us, and to keep all our stuff in.

      • Plastic for siding, soffits, and facia boards is good. Plastic doesn’t rot, would does.

        For clothing I prefer cotton and wool.

      • David Springer

        Max_OK | March 24, 2013 at 10:44 am |

        “Plastic for siding, soffits, and facia boards is good. Plastic doesn’t rot, would does.”

        Some types of wood are highly rot resistant. Plastics get brittle and break after too much UV exposure and it’s considered not as aesthetically pleasing as wood. You’d use the right wood if the cost was right but because extremely durable woods like teak, white and red cedar, eucalyptus, and white oak are beautiful, highly desired, and don’t grow as fast or as ubiquitously as pine it’s too pricey for most people in larger applications like outdoor decks, roofs, and siding. A great many wooden homes are centuries old and in perfect repair. American Chestnut will last for 200 years and was once a staple for construction in America until circa 1900 Chestnut Blight almost made them extinct. Boats that last many generations are built from good woods.

        Wood is the best looking most flexible and forgiving construction material you can hope to find but selecting the right wood for the right job cannot be ignored.

      • True. Too bad good wood is so expensive.

        I like Pacific Yew, the cognac of wood.

  44. Heh, in looking for his missing heat, Kevin Trenberth has found that the ocean is a very complex place.

  45. Even if we solve the global warming problem by returning to sailboats and horses, representatives of governments from around the world can still meet in Cancun to worry about something else, right?

  46. It has been reported here and elsewhere that the climate models (GCM) run “hot” and require adjustment. I would like to report that weather models that forecast hourly temperatures also seem to run “hot” and they too are being adjusted. Comparing the immediate past 12 hour temperatures with the forecast temperature for the next hour, there seems to be a 3 C hotter temperature forecast for the immediate next hour. A while later, the same observation, the forecast for the subsequent hour runs hotter, not always 3 C, just hotter. I know the weather forecast models are adjusted for the local conditions as the average temperatures Maximum and Minimum are still stated, only we don’t reach average Maximum and we are below average Minimum temperatures. I wonder if both GCMs and weather models are infected with the same CO2 bug.

    I know our hostess would like more resources directed to improving weather forecasts, starting with 3 weeks, then 3 months and so on. My contention, from my microscopic observations, is that more efforts should be directed to the here and now, let alone with 3 weeks hence.

    Out on a walk this morning, I saw a Spring Robin pecking at the frozen earth in a vain attempt to acquire a tasty morsel. Two geese sat on the ice pre-programed to a Spring thaw that has yet to arrive. Now mind you, I think pond hockey season is over in spite of the empty hockey net still in place. And the ice fishing season may be a bit tricky with only the foolish venturing forth. Nevertheless, the winter is colder and longer than immediate past. And the weather forecasts are and have been running hotter than reality.

    Maybe scientists will develop a vaccine to the CO2 bug?

    • We’re in development of a vaccine to prevent such madnesses of the herd; so far, we’ve efficacy against delirium, but not the fever, and the life course and reproductive capacity of the virus seems undented.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      RiHo08 contends  “More efforts should be directed to the here and now!”RiHo08, based on what citizens see with their own eyes, the citizen-science Audubon Society agrees with you.

      The Audubon Society’s members see that AGW is real, serious, and accelerating, that is.

      It’s mighty good that citizen-science agrees so strikingly with professional science, eh?

      Which shows that conspiracy-theory denialism is … well … delusional, eh RiHo08?

      It’s remarkable how difficult it is for self-deluded denialists to grasp this reality! Perhaps they need to get out in nature more?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • FOMD

        I am not pre-programed as were the geese, and apparently the Audubon Society volunteers. Drink with thine eyes only.

  47. For people who want to see an example of ad hom in the Climate discourse, here’s a prime case some here will not be familiar with:

    And one of its commentators refers to Climate Etc., too, to sustain his arguments as they crumble when examined from their source. Impressively, it appears Climate Etc. has been ad hom’d as a luke-warmist blog. Perish the thought! We all know Climate Etc. is rigorously and diligently balanced and fair, without taint of bias or preconception.

    However, while “theconversation”‘s post somewhat taints the well by naming “the other team”, it isn’t virulent in its demagogy. It says why it is associating the people — based not on irrelevant personal qualities like shoe size or hair color — from the ideas and activities associated with them.

    But oh, how the comments section reveals the effects of the ginger little first nudge on the first domino.

    Does anyone think the comments section there may have indulged more productive conversation were the topic less of a team-naming exercise?

    • Latimer Alder

      I had a quick look at the article in question and the commentary

      Confirmed my thoughts that they make academia out of ‘institutions’ for a good reason. Many of the inmates would find it tough to survive in the real world.

      • Ironic that the real world is so littered with escapees from these institutions, but not nearly so littered as it is with rejectees and never-beens..

        And so many who boast of their institutional achievements to bolster their opinions when convenient.

      • Latimer

        Many tenured academics (like seasoned bureaucrats) are like animals that have been kept in a zoo too long.

        They could no longer survive in the wild.

        (It’s the “Hey, man, it’s feeding time. Where’s my steak?” syndrome)


      • Latimer Alder

        @bart r

        The real world is littered with escapees from academe?


        In over 30 years in the commercial world in UK and Europe i don’t recollect meeting a single one among the ‘doing things’ people I worked with.

        There may be a few in the ‘talking about’ world.

        But Judith has documented her own experience here with such wide-eyed wonder (‘if you get the answers consistently wrong your contract doesn’t get renewed!’) and such regret experiences like that are closed to her students as to suggest that it is a very unusual transition.

        And I imagine that any escaped climatologists would find the constant need to ruthlessly calibrate their work against reality to be completely beyond their abilities.

        Better that they be left to bask in the warm glow of their ‘peers’ approval in a protected cosy unthreatening environment than face the tough questionning of commerce or engineering where academic conventions (aka job protection schemes) do not rule the roost.

        Their sensitive souls couldn’t take it poor dears.

      • Latimer Alder | March 25, 2013 at 12:30 am |

        Mmm. Mmm. Just smell the sour cherries boiling away.

  48. We need MORE government. And, we need more slaves to global warmanism.

    “The new slaves: Those who have accomplished are obligated… to support those who have not accomplished. The economic game has been rigged and is to be corrected by rules, scorn, taxes, and tax audits [i.e., capitalism and the productive are the new Jews that the liberal fascists now target]…

    “Dick Dawkins is both incredibly rigid and possibly mad, Islam is Dawkins multiplied by tens of thousands, Gaza and Palestine have been Jewish land for millennia (Jordan was the original Palestinian homeland), and there is no Anthropogenic Global Warming just as 150 years ago there was no particular value in Dutch tulips or the Brit’s South Sea Bonds [or, gold at $2000 which is where it’s heading].” (James Brody)

  49. Perhaps timely to review as this past winter echos the extremes of the previous one.

  50. Bart

    Useful link. The take home message is surely that we urgently need a Plan ‘B’ (cooling) to supplement Plan A’ (warming)

    Come to that I would place a plan ‘C’ even higher, dealing with hackers, international cyber terrorists or another Carrington event.

    • climatereason | March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

      Is there a difference between hackers and international cyber terrorists now?

      As for Carrington events.. do you not know how much preparation has gone into planning for CME’s, nuclear attacks, comet collisions, election of non-US born US presidents, and other events with a total of two or fewer historically documented occurrences?

      The idea that these unicorns are underfunded is amusing.

      Are you also concerned about plans dealing with invasions by aliens from outer space?

      • Bart R

        Potential disaster past scorecard:

        “Events” cited by tony b (your score): 2
        CAGW events (observed score): 0

        But billions of taxpayer dollars are going into researching the latter while orders of magnitude less are going into the former.

        What’s wrong with this picture?


      • bart

        I think you’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent on this one. hackers tend to be people or groups with a grudge or who want to prove how clever they are.

        International cyber terrorists are organised groups facilitated by their national country. An example is North Korea ‘constantly attacking’ South Korea and China sporadically attacking the west in general.

        The likelihood of them causing considerable damage at some point is very high and has at last been recognised by the uk govt, albeit their defensive plans are in a very early stage.

        We are all so wired up that an attack on our infrastructure would be devastating. To compare it to aliens is rather strange

        A major Carrington event is certain to happen at some point. perhaps in 10 years perhaps in 50.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        climatereason, hackers are not as limited as you suggest. The distinction you’re drawing between them and “international cyber terrorists” isn’t right either. Those terrorists are hackers. It’s a simple Venn where “hackers” are the group and “international cyber terrorists” are a small subset of that group.

        As for the “likelihood of them causing considerable damage at some point,” I don’t agree it is “very high.” Most of the fear behind concerns like that is not well-founded. Much of it comes from ignorance and exaggeration. Cyber terrorism is a legitimate threat. It just isn’t likely to ever “be devastating.”

    • manacker | March 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm |

      All this focus on disaster and catastrophe, and yet you don’t realize that you yourself run up the score for Risks and Key Vulnerabilities to billions:

      But billions of taxpayer dollars are going into researching the latter while orders of magnitude less are going into the former.</I

      What’s wrong with this picture, indeed?

      Shouldn't the dollars that taxpayers now spend be spent instead by those we know create the need for the research, the lucrative carbon-burning industries?

      Oh, wait. I've left too much room for a socialist answer to that rhetorical question. Let me restate:

      Every dollar taxpayers have spent and have yet to spend to resolve uncertainty in climate research must be reimbursed by lucrative carbon burning enterprises.

    • climatereason | March 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

      hackers tend to be people or groups with a grudge or who want to prove how clever they are.. International cyber terrorists are organised groups facilitated by their national country..The likelihood of them causing considerable damage at some point is very high and has at last been recognised by the uk govt, albeit their defensive plans are in a very early stage.. We are all so wired up that an attack on our infrastructure would be devastating. To compare it to aliens is rather strange

      How is the damage done by the terrorists or nations different from the damage done by profit-motivated or grudge-motivated or vanity-motivated hackers? They’re frequently the same people, and when they aren’t they often trade among each other to one-anothers’ advantage. They can’t be distinguished in any meaningful way. Each is as bad as the other.

      A major Carrington event is certain to happen at some point. perhaps in 10 years perhaps in 50

      Perhaps in 500,000 years? Perhaps in 5 billion years?

      Do you know what the PDF of Carrington-level events is? Ten to fifty years is ludicrously low. And yet, the amount of research into shielding, adaptation, insurance, planning and continuity in case of an event of this level is not small.

      If we were to scale by probability and damage functions to the same spending for carbon emission impacts, we’d be many orders of magnitude short of the mark to match the level of preparedness for a new Carrington.

      • Bart

        State sponsored cyber hackers are likely to have more resources, a strategic plan and nationalistic motivation and can sustain an attack over a longer period

        Whether ultimately it matters whether it’s an anti capitalist group or state sponsored hackers who decide to take out the banking system, the electricity supply, food delivery etc is surely immaterial.

        We have had a number of carrington type events in modern times. Whether its worth shielding for such an event is debatable but protecting against cyber attacks might help protect against a carrington. I think you just want to be contrary tonight.


      • The banks are already spending beaucoup dollars trying to defend against hackers, government or otherwise. There will be failures, perhaps even on a large scale. And we will survive them, and learn from them.

        Carrington events, like feces, happen. Always have, always will. You do the best risk assessment you can, prepare for those you think are most likely, and make sure the government doesn’t use the threat of them as a means to accumulate even more power.

      • Maybe some day we will call government attempts to use fear to assume control of the economy – “Hansen Events.”

      • Gary

        The banks might be spending millions but it didn’t stop the north Koreans shutting down part of the south Korean banking and communications industry last week


      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This is what I’m talking about Tonyb. People get even the most basic things wrong when it comes to “hacking.” To show what I mean, North Korea was never identified as the culprit in the incident you refer to. It was only implicated indirectly: It was reported the attack came from Chinese networks. That implicated North Korea as it has previously launched attacks via Chinese networks, but that was just an implication. It was never adopted as the truth.

        In reality, the entire thing was a screw up. An IP address was misidentified. The supposed Chinese IP address used for the attack was actually an IP address assigned to a server for a South Korean bank. How that server got infected isn’t (publicly) known yet, but there is nothing to tie it to China or North Korea.

        Does it make much difference where the attack came from? No. But if people pushing a cause can’t get even the most basic facts right, how can we trust anything they say? Why should we get frightened by people’s misconceptions and ignorance? We can’t. We shouldn’t.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        It occurs to me I should point out I called BS on the North Korea angle the moment the story broke. It’s possible North Korea was the source of the attack, but it was obvious from the start that there was no evidence against North Korea.

        The entire case rested on implications revolving around the use of Chinese networks. It was a joke even if they hadn’t been stupid about the IP address. Chinese networks are a source for a crazy number of attacks. Few originate in North Korea. People blamed North Korea because they don’t like North Korea. That’s it.

        Shoddy work like that is what has ensured I’m not convinced of the dangers of AGW. The difference? Climate science isn’t my specialty. Network security is. I’m a lot more willing to call people in my field morons than people in another field.

        And yes, I am calling them morons. Nationalistic pride is all it took to blind “specialists” to the results of a simple whois command. It’s the same sort or idiocy that made the hockey stick an icon even though it was complete rubbish:

        We like the answer so it must be right. There’s no reason to even think about it!

      • Brandon

        You completely baffle me with your comment ‘pushing a cause.’

        The general belief is that it was carried out by North Korea with or without the collusion of China. Blame has swung back and forth but that was the situation yesterday

        The basic fact is that the threat of organised cyber terrorists is a very real one which I would certainly considr has the potential to severely affect our way of life in the short term.

        Britain had belatedly woken up to this with a national cyber securty strategy and has committed tens of millions a year towards combating it.

        This is dwarfed by the amount we are spending on Combating AGW which unfortunately in Britain has proved very elusive over the last ten years as our temperatures have plummeted

        Agw is the wrong target


      • Bart

        I note that you are an expert on National security. I linked to a UK govt cyber defence strategy.

        To me modern civilsation restes on very slender pillars and we make ourselves highly vunerable the more we become wired up unless massive efforts are made to protect us.

        A concerted malicious attack on our infrstructure, banks and transport systems weoukd cause immeduate panic and with our ‘just in time’ mentality the shope would run out of food immediately, banks would not dispense money and fuel would remain locked in the petrol stations tanks.

        To me that is a far greater threat than AGW. Do you believe cyber hacking, especially the state sponsored type, has the abiilty to cause us severe disruption or worse?


      • Brandon

        Sorry, I called you Bart. Can you ever forgive me?


      • TonyB

        A concerted malicious attack on our infrstructure, banks and transport systems weoukd cause immeduate panic and with our ‘just in time’ mentality the shope would run out of food immediately, banks would not dispense money and fuel would remain locked in the petrol stations tanks.

        It could happen much faster than that. If the electricity system was brought down there’d be no water. There’d also be no ATMs or banks. And petrol pumps wouldn’t operate so you couldn’t escape the city to get to a fresh water supply. Half the population of the cities would be dead within 2 weeks.

        What do you reckon about “smart grids”?

      • The terrorist to fear is the one planning the Carrington Event. Can’t drone that dude!

      • Peter

        Smart Grids? The degree of control they could have over us makes me nervous. Relating it to cyber xecurity I am not sure that concentrating information even further woud do anything to lessen the risks of an attack.

        I agree that a first attack on electricty infrastructure would cause immediate havoc. No money. Shops cant process bills. Petrol can’t get pumped.

        AGW pales into comparison.

      • KIm

        This guy supposedly advises the UK govt on ‘space weather’ and predicts the national grid will get knocked out this year.

        I think you have hit on the plot for the next Bond film. An evil twisted genius wreaks revenge on mankind by creating a carrington event. Enhanced by co2 induced AGW the event will wipe out humanity unless….

        Had to stop as I was scaring myself.

      • Brandon Shollenberger


        You completely baffle me with your comment ‘pushing a cause.’

        My understanding is you believe computer networks are a potential target of devastating attacks. This leads you to believe we should focus much more on computer security. That’s not some grand campaign, but it is a cause.

        The general belief is that it was carried out by North Korea with or without the collusion of China. Blame has swung back and forth but that was the situation yesterday

        Uh… Nothing in that link blames North Korea. The only “evidence” there ever was linking the attack to North Korea was a “Chinese IP address” that your own source acknowledges was misidentified. With that evidence gone, there is nothing to connect the attack to North Korea.

        People may still believe North Korea was responsible. That just demonstrates my point: People blamed North Korea because they don’t like North Korea. It had nothing to do with evidence. It was pure bias.

        I note that you are an expert on National security. I linked to a UK govt cyber defence strategy.

        I think you mean network security. I do know quite a bit about national security though. For example, you don’t want to hear what I have to say about airport security. Or port security. That one’s less “scary” since it doesn’t involve hijacking, but it’s much more dangerous.

        To me modern civilsation restes on very slender pillars and we make ourselves highly vunerable the more we become wired up unless massive efforts are made to protect us.

        That’s a view which is pressed upon society by some people/groups. Part of it is an intentional exaggeration to get things (you see the same in all fields). Part of it is the media promoting inaccurate scare stories because it has no idea what it’s talking about, and scare stories sell. And part of it is just the normal ignorance/fear/etc.

        Do you believe cyber hacking, especially the state sponsored type, has the abiilty to cause us severe disruption or worse?

        No. There are two reasons. First, if you know the subject, things like the UK cyber defense strategy you linked to are a joke. It’s a bunch of flowery language designed to make things seem like far more than they are. Talk to people working on computer networks for a military base (I was just on one two weeks ago), and you’ll see a totally different view. It’s not like Hollywood would have you believe.

        Heck, just look into the “breaches” that report mentions. Most of those are so minor as to be a non-issue. There is often no damage done, and the main costs of such breaches are usually “security improvements.” And the majority of those breaches are not due to a network issue. They’re because somebody did something stupid, like responded to a phishing attempt with their password.

        Second, most of our infrastructure will go on despite any computer problems. Consider this. I was in Tulsa a few years back when a severe winter storm knocked out power for most of the area, for quite a while. Life went on. Nobody starved. Almost nobody died. Many businesses were open despite power loss. Blockbuster, a place that does many transactions with computers, opened without power. They just used paper and pencil.

        The situation you describe is simply not realistic. Short of a coinciding natural disaster (or major, physical terrorist attack) such as what happened with hurricane Katrina, cyber attacks are not capable of creating the damage you describe.

        Sorry, I called you Bart. Can you ever forgive me?

        No prob. Typos happen.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Peter Lang:

        It could happen much faster than that. If the electricity system was brought down there’d be no water. There’d also be no ATMs or banks. And petrol pumps wouldn’t operate so you couldn’t escape the city to get to a fresh water supply. Half the population of the cities would be dead within 2 weeks.

        Words cannot describe how wrong this is. Compare what you describe to any actual events. For example, the major blackout of 2003. How many thousands of people died then?


        This guy supposedly advises the UK govt on ‘space weather’ and predicts the national grid will get knocked out this year.

        Yes. He says this because an 11-year solar cycle will peak this year. Just like it did a decade ago. And the decade before that. And the decade before that. As for his group advising the UK government, I don’t know what role they have. Many “advisers” are people who spoke to an agency once and got ignored. I don’t know if something like that is the case here. What I do know is the Space Environment Impacts Experts Group he belongs to is quite new, has no track record of successful predictions, has no real credibility, and likely will fall into disrepute like most doomsday organizations do.

        Can we please stop listening to random doomsday scenarios? I get people dress them up in science nowadays, but doesn’t make these things any less of a joke than the thousand cases that have come before. We got through 2012 okay. We’ll get through 2013.

    • Tony,
      Not Carrington events but Bond events from the Chiefio.
      You get an invitation at the end of the article Tony.

      • Beth

        Thanks. Hmmm. I think I will embark on a Historical climatology lecture winter tour that will purely coincidentally take in the warm places of the world.

        Thats Chiefio down for Florida in December. Webby will want to welcome me for January. Shall I put you down for February? March-is there Test cricket on somewhere warm I could give a lecture?

        April should be OK back in Britain. Anyway I need to tend to my outdoor tomatoes. and this will give me time for my new thesis;

        “Outdoor tomatoes in Britain-a metaphor for global cooling?”


      • Tony,
        We have cricket in February, ask Faustino Tony, and March
        is beautiful weather. We could take you swimming in a turquoise
        sea. And say, even April in Oz is not a cruel month Tony …
        Accommodation even fer a small entourage can be arranged. )
        B t s

      • April-May in NSW is about as perfect as climate gets anywhere. In Qld not so much, in Vic, not so much. They try, but…

      • Here we go, mosomoso, the old in- su-lar inter- state rivalry.
        Sydney versus Melbourne, sigh. Anyone knows Victoria has
        the right golldilocks climate fer getting around. Warm but
        doesn’t sap yer energy too much…most of the time.)
        Beth the serf.

      • One downside of NSW is that people look at you comically when you speak of “outdoor tomatoes”. Victorians, on the other hand, know exactly what you mean.

    • climatereason | March 25, 2013 at 6:31 am |


      Sorry, I called you Bart. Can you ever forgive me?

      Hey, I forgive you too.

      Brandon’s not wrong about everything.. if we limit everything to network security.


      Almost certainly not the work of a national government; though the alleged participation of Russian mobsters makes it manifestly equivalent to national government status from a certain point of view, if true.

      Hackers now often are professional, large businesses run at the scale of any national government program and often intermixed with them to a degree it is impossible to fully separate the players; only two nations are bigger than the largest criminal enterprise of this sort as regards online footprint and capability; neither of them is China, North Korea, or Russia.

    • Bzzt. Times up.

      The PDF for Carrington level CMEs (visible in daylight, aurora visible in the mid or low tropics, exposed wires throw off substantial sparks capable of igniting paper) can be worked out roughly like this:

      Riley predicts roughly 1/8th odds of a CME of this size this decade; Nasa deems 2013 the most likely year for the Riley CME.

      The size of a CME’s peak effect corresponds to roughly the cross-section of Neptune. Being extremely conservative, using the cross-section instead of Saturn and dividing by the area of a sphere the radius of Earth from the Sun then multiplying by the Riley equation tells us a Carrington Event is likely about 4.8 times in 1,000,000,000 this decade.

      Compared to the recent estimates of Katrina-level landfalls increasing at least sixfold due AGW?

      To the demonstration by Jennifer Francis and others that the jet stream changes due AGW predict drought and flood at least tripling?

      Carrington Event might be a term that excites preppers and scifi writers, but it’s a unicorn. Try focusing on real things.

  51. Arctic update interlude:

    For those who follow things in the Arctic, I would continue to suggest you pop on over to Neven’s blog, where he’s got a great new post about current conditions and potential effects on the upcoming melt season:

    Also worth mentioning or reinforcing (for those suffering this late winter/early spring nasty weather at lower latitudes) is the extremely low AO Index that we’re just now bouncing a bit up from. The index went down to below -5.0, which is the lowest in the past 60 years of records. What this has meant of course is that high pressure has dominated the polar regions:

    Forcing all that nice late winter cold air down over lower latitudes.

    This high pressure anomaly over the lower troposphere is the final “leg” of the SSW event that begin way back in January, working it’s way down from the stratosphere into the troposphere over the past few months as clearly seen in this graphic:

    As the NH sea ice melting season begins, all eyes will be on the Arctic to see if 2012’s record low sea ice extent/area/volume will be beaten once more.

    • David Springer

      And for those who follow things in the Antarctic…

      Antarctic sea ice continues to grow and this year is 2 million square kilometers above the 1979-2000 average.


      1. I thought CO2 was “well mixed” in the atmosphere. Why isn’t warming from it well mixed too?

      2. Why is the sea located close to the most highly industrialized, highly populated parts of the world shrinking while the sea ice located the farthest from human industry is growing?

      3. Can you spell “soot”? I knew you could. ;-)

      • Steven Mosher

        1. I thought CO2 was “well mixed” in the atmosphere. Why isn’t warming from it well mixed too?

        a) duh
        b) recall that H2O is a GHG, and see how dry the air
        over antarctica is.
        c) if it warms 4C in the arctic whats the temperature? If it warms 4C in antartica whats the temperature? what does temperature have to do
        with ice melting.
        d) compare SST.

      • “Antarctic sea ice continues to grow and this year is 2 million square kilometers above the 1979-2000 average.”

        Antarctic sea ice and the behavior is poorly understood,and the responses of the models are sensitive to the tuning forks ie start a trend in the 19th century and extrapolate it can get you into trouble when the sign is inverse to the models eg Turner 2012 Zunz 2012.

        The models are in trouble with the Antarctic anomaly.

      • Steven Mosher

        reading for dave

        stratospheric cooling and increased cyclonic winds.. leading to
        polynyas (more open water) fostering more ice growth.

        see Zhang to understand how southern ocean is a bit more complicated

      • The Antarctic energy imbalance is -114wm^2

      • David Springer raises some interesting (if not common) questions related to the lopsided nature of global warming…namely the different rates at which the NH and SH warm with different effects for each. Also as part of his question, he (wrongly) assumes that somehow the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is directly causing a reduction in Arctic sea ice over the long-term. Of course the situation is more complex than that.

        To the first question regarding the different rates of warming of the SH and NH, this question has been discussed many times here and elsewhere. On a simply level, one might begin by looking at this long-term hurricane chart and puzzle why so many more hurricanes occur in the NH than the SH, and realize that the planet’s dynamics favor shunting more energy toward the North Pole than the South Pole: (outer ring is NH hurricanes, inner ring is SH hurricanes)

        Given that the bulk of the energy being stored in the planet’s system from increasing GH gases is being stored in the ocean, and given that vastly more energy is advected from the equator toward the North pole than the South pole via both ocean and atmosphere, and given that the South pole is a continent covered by 2 miles of ice and the North pole is a relatively shallow ocean now covered by slightly more than 1.5 meters of ice on average, reasonable people can well understand why the NH might be responding differently than the SH to increasing GH gas concentrations.

      • stratospheric cooling and increased cyclonic winds.. leading to
        polynyas (more open water) fostering more ice growth.

        Polynya (russian for hollow) as is the argument

      • I would add that the Arctic is surrounded by warming continents, while the Antarctic is surrounded by the Southern Ocean that has not warmed so much. Also the Arctic seems to have reached some kind of albedo-feedback tipping point where it now is on a slide that would not easily be reversed, while the Antarctic with a large permanent polar glacier is not as susceptible to such a tipping point.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Polynya (russian for hollow) as is the argument”

        and then you point to a paper on model results?
        errr, ok, then will you accept all results from that model or just the one you like?

      • and then you point to a paper on model results?

        The cmip5 models get the sign wrong,The proposition that O3 forcing has increased the SIE ie an additive property,when due to the MP one would suggest that the future would have a response in the antarctic vortex (reduction) and subsequent decrease in SIE etc.

        When the models are perturbed with O3, however the sign does not reduce ie O3 forcing mitigates the GHG forcing,there is a problematic issue with the assumptions,eg the antarctic SIE is recovering from a previous decrease in extent,and natural variability is greater then the guessed monotonic assumptions.

        The Weddell sea polynya was greater in 1976,and has not been greater since.

    • Steven Mosher

      I visit Neven’s every day. awesome graphics and animations, mostly intelligent commentary. Before seeing the cracks I would have bet that 2013 would not beat 2012 given the current state of things not so sure.

    • “This high pressure anomaly over the lower troposphere is the final “leg” of the SSW event that begin way back in January, working it’s way down from the stratosphere into the troposphere over the past few months as clearly seen in this graphic:”

      This is very important. The fact that a SSW event pushes heat high into the atmosphere doesn’t mean that the heat will automatically dissipate. The upper atmosphere and deep space is still an almost perfect insulator, and the only way that the earth’s heat can be dissipated is by radiation and during this time the excess SSW heat will work its way down lower in the atmosphere.

      (the reason I have to say this is that I get the impression that many of the people think the SSW is a short-circuit directly to outer space — kind of like abduction by aliens)

      It is in fact just another bit of noise.

      • Webby,

        I would differ from you on the notion that SSW’s are just another “bit of noise”. They are in fact major and significant rapid realignments of the stratosphere that can affect weather from the pole to the equator. But you are correct in that SSW’s are not a short-circuit whereby heat is funneled directly to space. Much of the energy in SSW’s travels from troposphere to stratosphere and back to troposphere in very much the manner of a large Hadley-like super cell. Some of it does radiate to space (of course, else satellites would not be able to measure that radiation). But given the large disturbance that SSW’s create in things like the Arctic Vortex, (which obviously takes a lot of energy to disturb), you can be sure that much of the energy in SSW’s stays right in the Earth system.

      • SSW events are not short circuits but they are an indication that energy is taking another path. Deep convection is not a short circuit either, just a shorter path.

      • Steven Mosher

        are you so sure about that webby? granted the heat is not funnelled directly to space, but wouldnt you expect the rate of transfer by radiation to increase somewhat.. thats an honest to god question

      • Ahoy Captn!

        Not sure what you mean by “different path” related to SSW’s. Different than what? Remember that SSW’s actually have their origins at lower latitudes, and that over the pole proper they represent downwelling masses of warmer air, even though this warmer stratosphere can be measured of course by the radiation signature picked up via satellites. Downwelling air is being compressed over the pole during an SSW event, hence the higher pressure as displayed quite clearly in charts like this:

        And that downwellng air is also what breaks up the vortex, as seen in charts like this:

      • R. Gates, “Different than what?” That is a good question. Different than a cooler North Atlantic, for sure. There is some indication of a cycle related to ENSO, PDO, SST and QBO, but with that many correlations, Paleo has the better answer which is longer term ocean oscillations. The Arctic Antarctic Seesaw.

        “The dominant forcing factor appears to be precessional insolation; Northern Hemisphere summer insolation correlates to at least the early to middle Holocene climate trend. Spectral analysis reveals centennial-scale cyclic climate changes with periods of 1220, 1070, 400, and 150 yr.”

        “The establishment of the modern meridional and zonal SST distributions leads to roughly 3.2 degrees C and 0.6 degrees C decreases in global mean temperature, respectively. Changes in the two gradients also have large regional consequences, including aridification of Africa (both gradients) and strengthening of the Indian monsoon (zonal gradient). Ultimately, this study suggests that the growth of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets is a result of the global cooling of Earth’s climate since 4 Myr rather than its initial cause”

        I am thinking a Bond Event.

      • I don’t know much about SSW events. I have just wondered, how stratosphere can be warmed by convection when the lapse rate there is far less than the adiabatic one and typically has the other sign. Therefore any uplift should lead to the situation that the rising air is colder than stratosphere at the same altitude.

        What’s really going on there?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        …convective overshooting is one process…

      • The Skeptical Warmist


        The warming of the stratosphere over the Arctic during an SSW is not caused by convection over the Arctic, but rather is the end result or the downwelling leg of warm air that was advected from thousands of miles a way. A wave of warm air travels at mid to high stratospheric levels (10 hPa and higher) from lower latitudes and then descends over the pole, compressing and warming even more in the matter of a few days. This higher pressure and warming air shatters the vortex and forces cold air out of the Arctic to lower latitudes.

      • If I understood the explanation correctly the phenomenon is then not a warming of the stratosphere but a a warming in the arctic troposphere that involves the lower stratosphere as path for the heat transfer from low latitudes.

        Did I understand correctly?

      • The Skeptical Warmist


        Actually, the warming over the pole goes from stratosphere and works all the way down to the upper troposphere:

        But the origin for this energy comes from lower latitudes in the troposphere several weeks before the polar SSW event.

      • Dramatic picture. I wonder whether that’s the explanation for the exceptionally cold March we have had here in Southern Finland (60N).

      • Steven Mosher | March 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm |

        are you so sure about that webby? granted the heat is not funnelled directly to space, but wouldnt you expect the rate of transfer by radiation to increase somewhat.. thats an honest to god question”

        Right. That’s why I said ” the only way that the earth’s heat can be dissipated is by radiation and during this time the excess SSW heat will work its way down lower in the atmosphere”

        Which means that some of this excess thermal energy will radiate out to space during this time, while the rest convects and diffuses away from the source, downward.

        I try to be careful on how I state this stuff, and when I repeat it and it comes out the same, I figured I said it right the first time. I perhaps left a tiny gap in the wording open to interpretation, which Mosh filled in.


        That said, I can just see this SSW stuff appearing on CoastToCoastAM where the host will go on about mysterious processes that are sucking the energy out of the earth, and asking whether aliens or Russian experiments are involved with it.


        Now if you want to try to unravel another real mystery, read my blog post from last week on why the standard atmospheric model of lapse rate may differ from an adiabatic process by a very precise maximum entropy factor:
        This has everything to do with the vagaries, uncertainty and disorder in thermal convection. I agree with Gates that there is some inexplicable stuff going on in the atmosphere, as in the SSW, but some of it is so mundane, and doesn’t have quite the pizzazz of a big SSW event.

        Bottomline I say bring on the physicists. I have no problem with that.

      • Webster, I noticed that you added a little to your post. I came up with roughly the same value, 0.19 assuming 50% entropy at the radiant boundary layer myself. That is why I started considering a moist air boundary (-1.9C) or envelope in my static models to estimate meridional flux. Since the two hemisphere are somewhat isolated by the Coriolis effect, there is 2 C difference between the NH and SH. That implies to me that there can be up to roughly 2C natural variability which is pretty consistent with the paleo data from~ 60S to 60N.

      • The same thing came to my mind when I read that paper chief. Then I began to wonder how that thought connects with this

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Many people have connected ENSO with the 11 year cycle – Brazil rainfall is strongly ENSO drIven.

      • There’s an older paper out there that connects russian thunderstorms with the solar cycle also. I’ll see if I have it saved tomorrow or if I can find it. It would be interesting if soal activity controlled stratospheric composition.

      • This blog post is an interesting re-analysis I did on upper atmosphere wind correlations.
        It is a re-analysis in that the data is somewhat dated but applies a fresh perspective to the post-processing. The newer data isolates the 3.9 day baroclinic wave temporal periodicity predicted by Von Storch.
        H. Von Storch and F. W. Zwiers, Statistical analysis in climate research. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

        To address another point — rainstorms are catalyzed and stimulated by aerosols emitted by automotive and industrial pollution. This has been statistically proven by correlating storm activity with middle-of-the-workweek maximum of pollutant generation. The statistical odds of this being a random occurrence are infinitesimally small when I looked at it a few years ago.

        T. L. Bell, D. Rosenfeld, K.-M. Kim, J.-M. Yoo, M.-I. Lee, and M. Hahnenberger, “Midweek increase in U.S. summer rain and storm heights suggests air pollution invigorates rainstorms,” Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 113, no. D2, Jan. 2008.

        More evidence that man can have a measurable impact on weather patterns. If pollution continues along this trend, this will have an effect on the climate.

      • There’s an old paper correlating Nile River levels with aurorae borealis. Has a(not the) Feynman for an authoress.

      • There is just entirely too many papers to weed through to find one specific one. So

        here is one on winter cyclone intensity

        Here is one on the connection with ENSO

        And there was one on thunderstorms in Italy that won’t link in the format I have “The mutual relations between solar activity, thunderstorms and vertical gradients of electro atmospheric potential” Murri et al 1973. They do mention papers that came to different conclusions. I guess that is why they are still doing studies on it after all these years.

        Web, I have seen that one before. I would add alterations of the hydrologic system to that of aerosols in human influences.

    • R. Gates

      “all eyes will be on…”


      End-summer Arctic sea ice extent has bounced around quite a bit since reaching the past low point in 2007 (% change compared to 1979-2000 baseline and million square km):

      2006: -16.3% 5.89
      2007: -39.2% 4.28
      2008: -33.6% 4.67
      2009: -23.8% 5.36
      2010: -29.9% 4.93
      2011: -34.5% 4.61
      2012: -43.2% 4.00

      First there was a recovery (that got a lot of ballyhoo from one side) and then a reversal to an even lower extent (that got even more ballyhoo from the other side).

      We have no notion what the end-September 2013 figures will show us, although it is pretty apparent that the trend since 1979 has been shrinking.

      And for those folks who like to extrapolate: 40% less end-summer extent in 23 years extrapolates to 100% less (defined as 90% gone) in 58 years (or by 2070).

      (Even the polar bears are yawning.)


      • Max,

        Your apparent? lack of understanding of the significance of the events transpiring in the Arctic leads me to the conclusion that:

        1) You really don’t care
        2) It doesn’t support your world view, so you choose to downplay it.

        There is a high degree of probability that many reading this blog will live to see the first virtually ice-free Arctic ocean in many thousands of years. The declining sea ice is already most likely having some significant effects on NH weather patterns and is of course the subject of many lines of research. The ultimate long-term effects might be beneficial or harmful to human civilization, but the more important point is that they likely won’t be trivial.

      • Steven Mosher

        you best look at volume. If we get the right weather 2013 could be an awesome ice kill. open water north of 85..

      • Steven M.,

        Related to volume, here’s a copy of a post that I put at Neven’s blog just today:

        One of the key dates and metrics that I am looking at is PIOMAS average thickness during the period of April 20-25. Based on the long-term shifting of the date of the peak in the average thickness from late May to late April over the past few decades:

        We can anticipate that the peak of the average thickness will occur during the week of April 20-25 or so, as the thin ice melts out early and raises the average thickness until the real melt season sets in. The timing and level of this peak average thickness will be a great clue for strength of the upcoming melt season.

      • R. Gates

        The article you cited ended with something like “we’ll have to wait and see”.

        I fully agree.

        Your dire predictions are nice, and may even have some semblance of scientific foundation, but they are WAGs.

        Observed fact #1: Arctic sea ice has receded by 40% over a period of 23 years (from the 1979-2000 average extent)

        Observed fact #2: This has happened in fits and spurts

        Observed fact #3: End-summer 2012 represents a new low since the record started

        Observed fact #4: The previous low was end-summer 2007

        Observed fact #5: In between 2007 and 2012 there was a period of apparent slight recovery

        These are observed data, Gates, and have nothing to do with your assertion that I “lack understanding of the significance of the events transpiring in the Arctic”. If you ignore these observed data, it is obviously YOU who lack the understanding.

        Finally, if we “extrapolate” the past record, we will reach an end-summer sea ice extent of 1 msk (defined as “zero” extent) by 2070.

        A tip: don’t accuse others of “lacking understanding” simply because they may not agree with you – that’s not only silly, it’s arrogant.


        If you extrapolate the PIOMAS ice volume we would be lucky if it makes it to 2020. The downward curve is accelerating.

      • That one didn’t include 2012, which dropped further, but you can find that with an additional Web search on images for PIOMAS ice volume.

  52. The growing Antarctic sea ice is only an embarrassment for IPCC because IPCC has downplayed it as non-existent, while ballyhooing the Arctic sea ice decline.

    Most recent NSIDC data show that one has essentially offset the other.


      • lolwot

        Nice graphs, but let’s look at some data.

        The last month for which we have NSIDC data is February 2013.

        We have for sea ice extent in million square km:

        14.66 Arctic
        3.83 Antarctic
        18.49 Sum

        Compared with the 1979-2000 average baseline in msk:

        15.64 Arctic
        2.94 Antarctic
        18.58 Sum

        So the TOTAL sea ice extent TODAY is 0.5% below the 1979-2000 average.


    • Why would it be embarrassing for the IPCC? Your claim is absurd and laughable.

      • JCH

        The “embarrassment” is that Antarctic sea ice is growing while IPCC states there are no average trends – at the same time that IPCC is making a big story out of receding Arctic sea ice.

        So my “claim” is not “absurd and laughable” at all.

        All IPCC would have had to do it concede that Antarctic sea ice is growing.

        Nut IPCC chose not to do so.

        And this is what is “absurd and laughable”.


      • I would think a certain group should be embarrassed about their track record on sea ice and it aint the IPCC

    • More embarrassing is that they did not predict the rapidity of the Arctic sea-ice decline in AR4. It’s worse than they thought.

      • Jim D

        “It’s worse than we thought”


        Where have I heard that frightful sentence before?



      • More spin for ya from The Mail JIm D on “your average winter.”

        “Freezing Britain’s unusually harsh winter could have cost thousands of pensioners their lives.

        This month is on track to be the coldest March for 50 years – and as the bitter Arctic conditions caused blackouts and traffic chaos yesterday, experts warned of an ‘horrendous’ death toll among the elderly.

        About 2,000 extra deaths were registered in just the first two weeks of March compared with the average for the same period over the past five years.”

        H/T B.H.

  53. Gotta love that “death spiral” specter of lolwot!

    How many times in the past 10,000 years have we seen this very same “death spiral”?

  54. I met him on a blog on the internet
    Where he drank koolaid and it tasted just like cherry-cola
    C-o-l-a cola
    He walked up to me and he asked me to tax
    I asked him his name and in a conspir’torial voice he said Lolwot
    L-o-l-o Lolwot lo-lo-lo-lo Lolwot

    Well I’m not the worlds most physicist guy
    But when he squeezed out that tripe he nearly blew my mind
    Oh that Lolwot lo-lo-lo-lo Lolwot
    Well I’m not dumb and I do understand
    Why he walked like a liberal and talked like a rad
    Oh that Lolwot lo-lo-lo-lo Lolwot lo-lo-lo-lo Lolwot

    Well he drank koolaid and ranted all night
    Said let’s go back to candlelight
    He wrote a comment – death spiral’s about to be
    Said we are dead – let’s kill the economy
    Well I’m not the world’s most articulate guy
    But when I read what he wrote I just rolled my eyes at that Lolwot

    Yeah, I was bored, and had just heard the Kinks on the radio. So now lolly has his own theme song. (And hey, it’s an open thread.)


    Now physics used by Einstein demolishes the greenhouse. This is probably the most important article (and linked scientific paper) that you will ever read about the reasons why it is not carbon dioxide that causes climate change.


  56. How about Baschkin and Kravchinsky and the various als hanging out in their gangs?

    • It’s the sun wot dunnit; in a cloudbank, with its coat of many powers, again.

  57. Daniel Halevi Bloom

    ••MEANWHILE CLIVE HAMILTON in Australia told me via email:
    ••”Hello Danny
    I got your voice phone message — at 1.30 am in the morning!
    Thanks for the material on polar cities. I don’t really know how to respond. While I obviously share your assessment of the situation, and the alarm it should generate in a rational person, I think the world is perhaps two decades away from taking the “polar cities” idea seriously.
    Some of us are much too far ahead of the times and it drives us mad. It will be no comfort to be vindicated in 2040.”

    • I’m not sure that Hamilton is equipped to pontificate on how a rational person might or might not react, and I would put no weight on his vision of the future.

    • Well Danny, Clive Hamilton says: “Some of us are much too
      far ahead of the times and it drives us mad.’
      Perhaps more accurate to say,’ drove us mad.’ Hmm,
      apocalyptic visionaries may sometimes be prone ter madness.
      As Clive Hamilton stated earlier, climate warming is more about
      social science and *psychology* than the science itself.

      • Yes, Beth, well said. and CH is correct: climate wamring is more about social science and psychology than science itself, and this goes for the denialists and the lukewarmers as well, no? CH is no more mad than you or I are. Visionaries see things most of us don’t see. I know …because I am one, and it’s not fun being a visionary, let me tell you. Every day, people throw you know what at you. Comes with the territory. I call myself “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student’ for a reason. Google the title. And you might look at my polar cities work as a modern Jeremiad taking my cues from Jeremiah of old. We are doomed, doomed, Beth. But not yet, and not now. We have 500 more years. Which side will your descendants be on? I have no kids so my DNA and my polar cities meme stops with me. Soon. – Danny Bloom, [1949-2032[

      • dannybloom

        “we have 500 more years”

        At the current usage rate and based on WEC 2010 estimates of remaining reserves, “we” will have used up all the remaining fossil fuels on our planet in around 300 years.

        At anticipated population growth plus some medium-term increase in per capita usage, we will get there in around 150-200 years, if we ASS-U-ME that there will be no economically competitive replacement before then.

        Nuclear power is already competitive for most of the requirement (electrical power), but we still need something for transportation.

        WEC 2010 estimated that we had used up around 15% of all the fossil fuels that were ever on our planet by 2008, leaving 85% as “inferred possible recoverable resources”.

        Other estimates are much lower (“peak oil”, etc.), but if we assume this estimate is correct, we can only reach (asymptotically):

        385 + 0.85*(385-280) / 0.15 = 980 ppmv CO2

        That’s it, danny – ain’t no’ mo’.

        And at the latest observation-based estimates of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of ~1.5C (half of earlier AR4 model-based predictions), this would cause around 2C warming when the fossil fuels are all gone.

        This is no big deal in itself, but I personally do not believe that’s the way it’s going to play out.

        Long before fossil fuels are all gone, there will be viable replacements, and the remaining reserves will be used only for higher added-value end uses (petrochemicals, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, etc.).

        And these viable replacements will keep the lights from going out and stave off our return back to the cruel, harsh pre-industrial world of drastically shorter life expectancy and lower quality of life,

        As others have stated here, our biggest potential problem is not AGW, but a long-term cooling of our planet.

        But that is another story.

        So you can forget your vision of booming Greenland real estate, White House and Congress moving to Alaska, etc. That’s all a pipe dream, which has absolutely no sound basis.

        You can relax, danny.


  58. And Faustiono, come on, Clive is just as capable and rational as you or I are to make his ideas known to a wide audience. Play fair, sir. Questioning people’s sanity or rationality or mental stability is not the way to get anywhere in these climate chats. You cannot imagine how many times i have had people call me schizophremic and worse, just for suggesting the concept of polar cities, which by the way, the new york times wrote about in 2008 in a blog post by andrew revkin there at dot earth. he trears dr curry and dr hamilton with the same respect. you should too, sir. as for me, i do not have a phd or a sponsoring institute so no need to take me seriously at all. but some do. the future will tell

    • Danny, yes, I’m normally polite and courteous, but I know Hamilton of old, my comments reflect my dealings with him. He was very poorly regarded as an economist, with good reason, and left that field. I’m just amazed how many people pay heed to him.

  59. Oh, they tried that polar city idea on the West coast of Greenland around 1000AD. It’s fun till somebody gets hurt.

    • mosomoso, just you wait my friend. the united nations will be headquartered in greenland in 2500 a.D. and the american white house will be located in “white house north” in juneau and the usa congress have be relocated to fairbanks in 500 years. this is not cli fi, this is where the human species is headed with our collective heads in the sand. what Happened in greenland in 1000 A.D.?

      • danny boy

        What are you smoking, man?


      • dannybllom

        Polar city? Mosomoso quoted the Vikings. We could of course go back to the Bronze age when a large town was situated in the arctic

        I have been in contact with the University of Fairbanks previously about this find and will be writing about it in ‘historic variations in Arctic Ice part 3’

        The arctic melts and refreezes with astonishing regularity. The last rime before this one being 1919 to 1949 and the one prior to that being 1816 to 1850


    • mosomoso


      It’s still buried in the permafrost.

      No survivors, I’m afraid.


  60. danny, the history of climate variability and effects on
    human individuals and societies is interesting reading’.

    There’s also Tony Brown’s extensive research available
    on the internet.


    • Note to Beth and Tonyb and Momoso and Max: Not smoking anything Max. And thanks for heads up on Greenland and Fairbanks stuff. I lived in Alaska for 12 years where Robin Bronen coined the term “climate refugees” you might remember her. She teaches at the UAA there. Look, one thing I forgot to add since this blog of Judith Curry’s is really about policy: you guys I know are having fun ridiculing me and my polar cities ideas, comes with the territory, and thankfully I have a good sense of humour, and don’t mind the kidding around re buy beachfront property etc. BUT listen: regarding policy, I ma saying nothing new here with my polar ciites meme: the Homeland Security Dept and the CIA have already set up task foreces on northern settlement climate refugee villages for adaptation strategies. Ask Joshua W. Busby in Texas he wrote big policy paper on this in 2007. Ask Larry C. Smith at UCLA, who wrote THE NEW NORTH. Every major nation with northern interests is already in fact exploring my polar citties concepts, in secret, so sa not to scare people. I am doing this as cli fi fiction for now, also so as not to scare people/ But let’s agree: this already IS policy in USA and Canada. For sure. Norway and Sweden too. Russia too. They are ready and will be ready. These polar cities will NOT be cities per se, more like Mad Mad villages and they won’t be at the poles eiither. BUT the name stuck. What can i do?

      • Daniel

        I don’t think any of us are ridiculing you as you come over as an earnest and sincere person. its just that we all happen to believe in natural variability and nothing is happening in the arctic that hasn’t happened before and will no doubt recur in the future.

        when doing various research I have come across plans for Russian polar towns and no doubt this is all spurred on by the desire to tap into hydrocarbons and open up new trade sea routes. with technology and tenacity the Russians opened up the northern sea route in 1936 and I am sure that we shall see attempts to open the north west passage on a commercial basis.

        however the notion that such villages are being built as a last refuge for mankind should remain as science fiction not a visionary revelation. Even James Lovelock has recanted
        all the best


  61. Sorry, forgot about the abolition of the MWP. Gosh, Clive would have me off to re-education camp for that one.

    Clive is opposed to “angry ridicule” and “vituperation”…except by Clive when contradicted by anybody. So buy your Alaskan condo well away from that particular Professor of Ethics.

  62. Max, i love your post above and i love your optimism and insight! Okay, so maybe we won’t need my polar cities? I am hoping we never need them, I do not want my pipe dream to ever come true. See where I am coming from, Max? I want to fail here. I hope your vision comes true. Really. I am an optimist, but i am trolling in Alaskan waters, having spent two winters in Nome. Brrrrrr. 1983-1985.

  63. And since we are on policy here, you might know, some of you, that Homeland Security and the CIA in USA and all major industrial nations with eyes on the prize in the Arttic already have set up polar cities task forces and written papers and held confabs on this, but under different names. See Josuhua W. Bushy in Texas article a few years ago. What I am saying is nothing new. The public is not aware, but Homeland Sec already has plans in place. Of course, This is not sci fi or cli fi anymore.

    • dannybloom.

      It has all happened before as regards temperature fluctuation but some people seem oblivious to history. Are you aware the CIA issued an official report in the early 1970’s outlining the action needed to combat global cooling, which was the major groundless scare at that time? A move to the equator was more on the cards than taking up home in the Arctic.

      Can I respectfully suggest that if you read a book such as ‘Climate History and the Modern World’ by Hubert Lamb (first director of CRU) you might be abke to see our climate in a better historic perspective-which includes a melting arctic.

  64. to sum up: my polar cities concept is just a what if scenario in case all else fails. It’s the worst case scenario and no need to even think about the now, except for those few people who like to peer into the future, as scenarios might go. But I cannot see the future. Sure, maybe AOK and nada to worry about. I am not at all worried or anxious. I am a very laidback dreamer. And I am an optimist. I see the Great Interruption occuring in 2500 a.d. and lasting for 10,000 years and during this time billions will die in masive human die-offs and some will survive in polar city settlements. Later, we will come back to repopulate the central regions again/ Better luck then.

  65. Hey, what about Baschkin and Kravchinsky? Someone tell me quickly, so I’ll know what to think.

  66. daniel halevi bloom

    climatereason on March 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for your vote of acceptance, even though I might be barking up the wrong tree.. Smile. RE: “I don’t think any of us are ridiculing you as you come over as an earnest and sincere person. …..however the notion that such villages are being built as a last refuge for mankind should remain as science fiction not a visionary revelation. Even James Lovelock has recanted…” BUT ONE THING, climaterason: Dr Lovelock did not recant at all. I have studied that fake msnbc interview he did with ian hjohnston there last yaer, and 1. the entire interview was a set up piece for his new book , part 3 of the Gaiai trioloogy which Allen Lane will publish in the UK in Jnanuary 2014 and 2. he did not recant he merely movied the timeframe back to reality, more like 2500 AD…..that is not recanting. he stillk says the retreat will be toward the pi