Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Warming tropical #oceans could see ‘widespread and intense’ species loss

“Vegetation regrowth only partly offsetting Amazon carbon loss ” [link]

Reproducibility will not cure what ails science: Nature News & Comment [link

Spiegel Slams Sorrowful State Of Climate Science Communication! “Reports Hardly Trustworthy” …”Arrogant Scientists” [link]  …

Brain Pickings:Richard Feynman on why a capacity for uncertainty is essential for being a decent human being [link]

Models predict unprecedented global warming to cause unprecedented cooling in Europe, Northern US [link]

New paper: “Rainfall consistently enhanced around the Gezira Scheme in East Africa due to man-made irrigation” [link]…

Why Climate Change Had No Impact on the Syrian Uprising  [link]

New studies deepen concerns about a climate-change ‘wild card’ [link]

Lakes are only 3% of Earth surface, but bigger CO2 sink than all oceans combined. [link]

Great article by @Stephen_Curry on what’s wrong with peer review and how we should fix it. [link] …

Philosophical Transactions A Discussion meeting issue ‘Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models and impacts…’ [link]  …

“cognitive ability is positively associated with both socially liberal beliefs and fiscally conservative beliefs” [link] …

The effects of tides on the water mass mixing and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean [link]

A strong #ElNino is here, and likely to last through winter and spring, @NOAA says [link]

Height of obs makes a difference “Observational evidence of temperature trends at two levels in the surface layer” [link] …

Southern Ocean carbon sink bounces back with renewed vigour, study says [link]

Ocean plants ‘can help freeze clouds’ [link]

New paper predicts “no clear trend of future wildfire emissions” [link]

Ocean acidification – what can we do about it? [link]

“Understanding requires simplification.” We need multiple models not more complex ones. [link]

Interesting article on sea level impacts on coral islands. [link]

.@nntaleb is right: genetic engineering could cause systemic ruin. So could nature, and it has  [link]

Scientists: Burning all fossil fuels could melt all of Antarctica, raise seas nearly 200 feet [link]

New paper claims “Tree planting can harm ecosystems” [link] …

Multimillennial scale solar activity and its impact on tropical climate [link]

Steve McIntyre: Reviewed new OCEAN2K reconstruction . It’s not a Hockey Stick. [link]

Kevin Folta – Monsanto: Some clarity to the controversy. A fair, critical piece. [link] …

Cass Sunstein: Availability cascades (ebola is a recent example; several current political controversies too). [link]

Failure to reproduce results is ‘a normal part of how science works’ [link] …

WHUT on QBO and ENSO [link]

Plastic bags are good for you [link]



113 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. From JCs link:


    The combination of these effects leads to entrainment of warm Atlantic Waters into the colder and fresher surface waters, supporting the melting of the overlying ice.

    So will this mean ever shrinking Arctic Ice?

  2. Pingback: Week in review – science edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  3. The RPI link on freshwater lakes is sheer nonsense. Land makes up 29% of the planet surface. For this comment, less, since there are no freshwater lakes in Antarctica. The PR says lakes make up 3% of the 29%, so less than 1% of the planet surface including Antarctica.
    The PR says lakes sequester more CO2 than all the oceans combined. OK, where? The ocean carbon sequestration is ultimately limestone and dolomite formed from calcereous phytoplankton like diatoms and coccolithophorids. Fossiliferous Strata kilometers thick, like on my Wisconsin farm. White cliffs of Dover, and all that.
    The PR Defies common sense, a quantity in apparently diminishing supply in academia generally, and climate ‘science’ specifically. The new professor making this claim motoring across that small lake would last in that dinky boat about 5 minutes on a breezy day offshore over the Fort Lauderdale reef! The oceans are vast. Go take a looksee.

    • It’s called eutrophication. I can’t say how good the study is, but based on my own knowledge of the relative orders of magnitude involved, it seems eminently plausible to me.

      • AK, I know all about eutrophication. And what happens is that Archea anaerobic methanogens digest that stuff and it is rereleased into the atmosphere as ‘swamp gas’ unless first consumed by methanotrophes.
        I clearly asked a simple question you missed. Which means the assertion is imminently IMPLAUSIBLE. Where is the ultimate
        freshwater sequestration reservoir? We know wheremit is for oceans (hint, limestone) and for freshwater during the Carboniferous ( ending about 300 my ago with the evolution of lignin digesting fungi) (hint, coal).

        Plus this was not a study, or even a PR about a study. If you had looked at the link before responding, it was an RPI press release about the recent hire of a ‘climate scientist’ assistant prof making absurd freshwater sequestration claims. Something also noted in my comment that you also overlooked.
        All RPI alumni should be up in arms about this hire. As I am about my alma mater’s hire of Naomi Oreskes. Maybe this comment reaches a couple of them.

      • And what happens is that Archea anaerobic methanogens digest that stuff and it is rereleased into the atmosphere as ‘swamp gas’ unless first consumed by methanotrophes.[…] Where is the ultimate
        freshwater sequestration reservoir?

        Do they really digest 100% of it? Or even 10%? I haven’t studied the carbon “economics” of lake deposition, but I know that methanogens require a low partial pressure of methane in order to extract the necessary energy from the reaction they use. When they’re deep enough, the partial pressure is likely (AFAIK) to be to high, and they will slow down and stop. Thus, eutrophication really only takes place in the upper layer of deposition. When the deposition is fast enough, most of the deposited organic material is incorporated into the sediment.

        So, just as in anoxic ocean deposition zones, when the deposition rate is faster than the diffusion rate of methane (and/or Co2) from the deeper layers, organic material (i.e. carbon) gets incorporated into the sediment.

        So, for lakes, if the article is correct, which I expressed no opinion about, the carbon would be sequestered as organic matter within the sediment. If you have references showing that levels of long-term reduced carbon sequestration in lacustrine sediment are too low to support this possibility, I’d be interested to see them.

        However, my search suggest that there is considerable deposition of reduced carbon in many lakes. Only suggests, I couldn’t find studies showing high deposition rates. But I’ll state again: it seems plausible to me.

      • The press release about the hiring of Kevin Rose is not helpful so I tracked it to a paper with Rose as co-author that cites a source study:
        “Lakes and reservoirs as regulators of carbon cycling and climate” by Tranvik, et al., (2009) where the authors state:

        This synthesis demonstrates that the global annual emissions of carbon dioxide from inland waters to the atmosphere are similar in magnitude to the carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans and that the global burial of organic carbon in inland water sediments exceeds organic carbon sequestration on the ocean floor.


      • For some reason I couldn’t make the above link work, but this one’s the PDF (open access).

        It appears to have been cited a healthy 349 times (as of this comment).

      • When a lake starts taking so much carbon and sediment it simply fills up. Rift lakes can have subsiding bottoms, but they are a minority. The oil industry looks for oil in such lakes.

    • I read the piece. Perhaps it’s an issue of timescales. It didn’t say how fast lakes bury CO2. Marsh solids now that a I think about it are wet carbon. While many lakes push CO2 into the atmosphere, it seems to enter as POC and DOC. The input to cause the push to the atmosphere. Marshes can be future peat bogs I suppose. Gathering carbon. Marshes are carbon dams if water flows through them. We have special cattail laws in Minnesota I suppose because they filter run off and protect water quality. I suspect shallow lakes with silty bottoms are carbon reservoirs. “Approximately 625,000 tons per year of total suspended solids, largely sediment, are transported by the Minnesota River at its mouth at Fort Snelling…That’s 86 20-ton truckloads a day” He didn’t say rivers. Even so I wonder if lakes can really do as much as he said.

  4. Thank you for linking to the Syria thing. The death of the poor child with his photo on the beach has been plastered all over the press in Canada starting with our version of NPR (CBC) blaming Canada for the death of the child with a bunch of lies such as Canada denied them entry to Canada. They had no even applied. Our version of the Weather Channel has also posted its obligatory article about how this boy is a victim of climate change. My daily does of sanity once again.

  5. “cognitive ability is positively associated with both socially liberal beliefs and fiscally conservative beliefs” [link] …

    Bottom line: smart people tend to be Libertarians.

    Americans of highest ability are less fiscally conservative than those of high ability. The association between cognitive ability and a dimension of fiscal conservatism is reduced substantially when controlling for socio-economic position.

    That is, really, really smart people think they could run things better than “Teh system”.

    • As do lots of not-so-smart people, cf the EU. Oh, wait, they are the system.

      • I once saw a Web page about how Einstein was a socialist. My thought (I didn’t know if the claim was correct) was that if Einstein thought he would be put in charge, he was wrong. “Cuffy Meigs” would end up in charge.

        I’m confident I could run things better than “Teh System”. I know that’s an illusion: The system would throw up a “Cuffy Meigs“, I’d just get shot, or whatever.

      • I must admit to something which some CE readers might find shameful, not having read “Atlas Shrugged.” I’ll try to rectify that.

    • Really smart people know that other people should be left to their own devices much of the time.

      Even if that means they will do stupid things.

  6. Some things are just plain wonderful. Plastic bags are high, high, high on the list of wonderful. I use and re-use ’em like crazy. (Talking about the super-light, super-flex give-away bags here, not the stiff, planet-saving lumps of inconvenience you have to pay for. Green with smiley-face – ugh!)

    The plastic bag is up there with Australian black coal and abundant electricity which does everything without smoke, flame or smell. (Gnocchi are also wonderful.)

    I won’t contemplate life without these things. Won’t even try. Not into all this puritanism, self-loathing and sustainable waste.

    Thank you for the Reason link, Judith. It brings cheer, and cheer is a mighty thing.

    • Moso, just recycle them when worn out, and do not let them get into oceans. Sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish food. Very bad for sea turtles.

    • I’m going to miss isopropyl alcohol when crude oil gets to expensive. I use it to disinfect containers and surfaces. Mix with clove oil for canker sores or tooth cavity pain pending the dentist or almost anything benzocaine is good for. Mix with vinegar to make an ear wash. Saturate a pad for use on boils or other infections. Use 90+ % to dehydrate freshly cleaned paint brushes or to clean foam ear protectors (those have to be re-hydrated to re-expand and become pliable again.) The list goes on.

  7. Potsdam article link on all fossil fuels burned melting Antarctica. This has gotten a fair bit of MSM hype. Went and read the paper earlier today. SI contains nothing of interest.
    Models all the way down. Unvalidated somebody elses ice model. Unvalidated somebody elses climate model. Regionally downscaled to Antarctica, when regional downscaling is notoriously inaccurate. Essay Last Cup of Coffee. Published in a pay for play new subsidiary of Science, edited by biased Dr. Marsha McNutt, emphasis on the second syllable IMO.
    What else could go wrong?

    Was not a rhetorical device. Three things.
    1. Paper assumes carbon sink saturation, so millennial dwell times. That just got thoroughly debunked for the Southern Ocean. See Judith’s link in the main post. Greening Sahel debunks it for land.
    2. Given the unvalidated ice model, the faulty climate model, and the faulty carbon sink assumption, this supposed event still takes 10000 years. By then the world will almost for sure be decending into the next ice age. Something MSM chose to ignore. Paper actually projects about 20cm by 2100. BELOW IPCC AR5.
    3. It is presently early spring at Amundsen-Ross (south pole station). The temperature today at mid-day was MINUS 99F. The freezing point of carbon dioxide is -109F. Damn cold, almost snowing dry ice. So all that water ice (about 2km thick) is going to melt when, since the melting point of ice is by definition plus 32F (for our non-metric non-US denizens reference). This paper is one heck of an already falsified modeled polar amplification.

    Science peer review has not improved. It is obviously wekened by the desire to take in $4000 per paper published on line in a ‘fast’ fashion. Editors chose, send out for 2 fast peer reviews. These must have been really fast. Paris coming but SLR not accelerating, yet need SLR catastrophe. Hurry. And remember, model outputs are now scientific data…

    • Melting Antarctica!

      Sounds McNutty to me…all bullpucky, all the time…

    • Yeah we know, Rud, they are just making it up for Socialism or whatever. Rud, why don’t you write a comment and publish it. Or you can complain about it here as though you are the ultimate authority, where hardly anyone will hear you.

      • A totally factless comment.

      • I am questioning Rud’s judgement when he implies that the authors are acting recklessly and he mentions the upcoming climate negotiations.

        And if it as simple he seems to make it, he should have no problem writing a comment and publishing it.

      • He did supply some reasons for his conclusion. Can you counter those reasons? Or do you only have an ad hom attack?

      • Well jim I don’t know enough about the science to draw any conclusion with any certainty. Can you? Are you buying what he is selling hook line and sinker?

      • Joseph, try a come back to the facts already cited in the comment.
        I might in fact write a formal pal review response, as already did to Hansen’s most recent abomination. But this is a different venue. My ebook suffices. For this abomination, my comment does.
        Refute my objections to this piece of ****. Using anything you can find. Just please provide cites, so I can follow them up in rebuttal. You won’t, since cannot. Publish rejoider in Science Advance at a personal cost of $4k? Surely you jest. Been there done that re actual Science Marcott abomination and McNutt bias. They acknowledged receipt of info, then went dark. Very bad for their credibility.
        As for your ultimate authority aspertions, I do not recollect or see in my written post above any such. Just a clear fact statement that you cannot refute, so can only disparage using the usual warmunist BS stuff. In my humble opinion, typical of a loser’s arguement. You appeal to a failed authority. I refer to present climate facts. Ma Nature is not being kind to you. No warming, no increase in TC, Arctic ice recovering, ….

      • Second later reply. Joseph, why not engage the science facts rather than my presumed politics. You might be quite surprised about my personal politics. But the darned climate science just is.
        It is evident that you heard ‘something’ or would not have responded. One person at a time suffices. Are you that person for this exchange?

      • Speaking of bullpucky…

      • Refute my objections to this piece of ****. Rud,

        I am not going to engage the science in an area where I am not familiar with the relevant scientific literature. I think that is a prerequisite for being able to adequately critique someone’s study. I presume you are familiar with the most of the relevant research on sea ice melt, right?

      • I agree, the authors aren’t reckless. I’d call them lousy.

      • Joseph gets one right.

        He obviously heard Rud, as he responded.

        And he is hardly anyone.

    • 1. Paper assumes carbon sink saturation, so millennial dwell times. That just got thoroughly debunked for the Southern Ocean. See Judith’s link in the main post. Greening Sahel debunks it for land.

      How was it debunked? An earlier paper had found uptake, I believe, slowing down. The later paper found it had resumed.

      Debunking would require they found the earlier paper’s findings were wrong.

  8. The Curry Connection – excellent piece by Stephen Curry on pre-prints, he makes a very convincing case. In fast-moving scientific fields, this option gets work into the open much quicker, and allows a wide range of responses at a much earlier stage than post-peer review publication. Something to encourage, and I’ve flagged Stephen’s page for further attention.

  9. Multimillennial scale solar activity and its impact on tropical climate – paper
    Number of conclusions are based on the somewhat problematic Steinhilber’s reconstruction of the multi-millennial scale solar activity.

  10. IF we burn ALL the fossil fuel on the planet, Antarctica will MELT!
    our weekend climate update from the venerable WP
    Good Gaia
    How low will the alarmists go?
    check that
    Can the agitprop get any more ridiculous?
    I think this it
    they are full tilt mad

    IF a big asteroid comes, we’re in a pickle
    IF a virus mutates the wrong way, yep, ‘nother pickle
    IF the poles shift, well I just don’t know
    but I’m guessing possible pickle

    I’m reminded of that old story of Sparta
    I think it was Philip of Macedon, sent a message, “if I enter Lacedaemonia, I will raise Sparta”
    the Spartan reply was “IF?”

    Thank you Judith, not sure what I would do if Climate Etc. weren’t here

  11. Plastic bags, the new boggeyman here on the left coast. I think it’s time to pay homage to the noble boogeymen of the past:

    1. Cell phones (brain cancer)
    2. Cell towers
    3. High-tension powerlines
    4. Microwave ovens
    5. Grocery store checkout scanners

    They have all been rudely pushed aside by plastic bags, GMOs, chemtrails, and vaccines.

    I miss the good old days.


    • I build and manage cell sites on high voltage lines. I must be particularly evil to the green yard set.

  12. richardswarthout

    Steve McIntyre is rounding up the facts and will be lassoing the Ocean2K gang, probably in a short while. Looks like he’s hot on the trail. The O2K Gang deserves credit though, they’ve made all their work available.


    • The paper is nothing. SI figure 10, 25 year buckets from 1850 to 2000, does not provide a ‘blade’ to their hockeystick. SK will massacre them. But they already did it to themselves. Paris desperation ever more evident.

      • I suppose they figured that not publishing at all before Paris would hurt them worse than publishing the nothing they published.

      • The thing is, it may not matter that it and many other climate science papers are nothing. It’s still something actors, CEO’s, and politicians can wave in the air and proclaim the science is both settled and scary.

      • By November-December in Paris the monthly anomalies are likely to be in the mid-to-high .80C range, or maybe even low .90C range. People will be in no mood for you guys.

      • JCH

        I expect those delegates in Paris that come from those countries with some history behind them will not be too astonished that we are slightly warmer than we were during the LIA.


  13. Willis Eschenbach

    Interesting article on sea level impacts on coral islands. [link]

    I first wrote about the fact that rising sea levels were not a problem for atolls in 2003, in Energy and Environment … then again in 2010, and again in 2011 … and again in 2013

    So it has taken the NatGeo more than a decade to realize what Charles Darwin discovered a century and a half ago before he first saw an atoll It has taken them that long to finally stop believing in what I, as an amateur scientist, knew was a bogus claim the first time I heard it. Atolls are not endangered by rising sea levels, they are CREATED by rising sea levels … duh.

    And mainstream climate scientists wonder why they can’t get their message across? In large part, it is because they have been peddling falsehoods, like the idea that rising sea levels will destroy atolls. When you mislead people like that for long enough, guess what?

    Big surprise, they don’t trust you.

    Could the trust be restored? Sure … but first the scientists who peddled that bogus claim would have to admit what they did and accept the consequences. It won’t happen by way of “improved communications techniques” as our hostess seems to think, or by way of analyses of “framing” or the like.

    The problem is that people were suckered. They were gulled. They were conned into believing that the atolls were in danger. And now that it has happened in so many arenas of climate science (where are the promised catstrophes? where are the “climate refugees”? where is the promised warming over the last two decades? where is the jump in hurricane numbers?), they won’t be foolish enough to believe climate scientists for a long, long, time … and rightly so. The scientists have never admitted error or accepted responsibility for their bogus claims about atolls or anything else, and without that, the restoration of trust is not possible.



    • If anyone believes they are climate refugees, and some are claiming that, just hitch a boat to Germany. They just love refugees.

    • Plus 100 and more. Yup.
      Enjoy the Grand Canyon. It is truely grand. If you can, get from the eastern Flagstaff lava flows through eastern Arizona ‘Astec’ ball court ruins to the Meteor Crater. All just wow. My kids were in awe the whole way, even though our destination spring training Tempe Chi Cubs game was rained out. But, then, that is just more classic Cubbies lore.

      • We took a speedboat up the Canyon from Lake Mead and were amazed at the amount of lava covering the canyon walls.

        Another memory: waking up from a nap on the deck to see bighorn sheep peering down from a precipice.

        Everyone needs to see the Canyon at least once, from both top AND bottom.

    • Willis, this comes up constantly, and to my distress the Australian Prime Minister just agreed at a Pacific Islands conference that a temperature rise of 1.5C will be island-destroying and must be averted! What a sense of priorities! I recently replied to an otherwise excellent article in the Australian’s Weekend Magazine, which had a gratuitous and ill-informed comment on sea level rise; it also mentioned the inter-tribal strife to which refer:

      “The admirable Kate Legge’s article on the inspirational Gail Kelly had one flaw (“Gail force,” August 1-2). Legge refers to “rising sea levels” as a concern for those on the atoll Aniwa Island. The sea level rise around Vanuatu is negligible at around 2.5 mm a year. Atolls are living bodies which adapt to rises and falls in sea level, and monitoring shows that many have expanded over the last 30 years. Contrast that with real concerns, such as an inter-tribal killing followed by the burning down of tourist properties on which livelihood depends.”

      The info is readily available. The preference to ignore it is pervasive. I added in an e-mail to Kate Legge: “I can’t believe that sea level rise is of any concern to the impoverished islanders of Aniwa, unless they have been subject to intensive rich-country-activist brain-washing. Nor should it be: if it continues at present rates, it would take 400 years to rise a metre.”

    • +12
      Yeah, the mainstream climate scientists lost trust, but the atolls get a trust fund, which is a good gig if you can get it.

      I think the coral refugees will reframe the argument as ocean vinegarization and global water overheating, for which the first world needs to pay.

    • IIRC I was reading about how atolls were created by rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice age back in the 1970’s. Or ’60’s? Probably in Scientific American, so (probably) based on some speculative peer-reviewed article.

  14. HI, Judith, I do a lot of lateral thinking. I suggested that cumulus clouds work similarly to doughnut shaped airships. With a helicopter rotor in the hole and flying below their float height. If an airship flys below its float height, Say it floats at 10,000 ft and then tries to dive to 5000 ft, it must send a stream of air upwards. (Just as a cumulus cloud does). What does this analogy tell us about cumulus clouds? 1 they are also sucking air from below to send up through the middle of the cloud, (this can cause the low pressure areas that the biotic pump theory suggests, and 2, if they are behaving like an airship, they are also flying lower that ordinary theory would suggest. Because just as they pump air up through the middle of the cloud, the air that they are pumping is pushing back, pushing the cloud lower than it would normally be. That may affect cloud dynamics because of the higher air density at the lower height. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPO8dWm_GIg

  15. E.M. Smith cites a great quote for scientists to ponder from Mahatma Gandhi:


  16. Lakes are only 3% of Earth surface, but bigger CO2 sink than all oceans combined. [link]

    The Great Lakes represent 21% of the worlds fresh water and the Great Lakes water basin and its watershed includes lakes expanding that percentage significantly.

    What is being assessed is fresh water clarity and how organisms like algae impact water clarity. The press release does not go into what exactly the influence of water clarity has on the carbon cycle.

    I do know that the introduced zebra muscle helped clarify Lake Erie and then the other Great Lakes as it migrated North into Lakes Huron and Michigan.

    The water clarity has improved in the Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie where the Zebra muscle has made a temporary home. I can see Lake Huron’s bottom clearly 50 feet down and more. Schools of fodder fish are a dark mass moving at the thermocline where Coho Salmon feed.

    Does this mean that the accidental introduction of some non-native species has a net benefit in fresh water lake clarity and improving the deposition of carbon in the carbon cycle?

    Let’s hear a cheer for Ukrainian ocean freighter ballast water pollution of the Great Lakes. Michigan Dept of Natural Resources personnel need not applaud. Natural and accidental influences on nature are not fully modeled.

    • Interesting. I wonder how long it will take for the zebra mussels and a lake to reach equilibrium – they do have predators. I found this, but cannot vouch for the source:

      “Zebra mussels have had positive impacts on parts of the Great Lakes ecosystems. Many native fish, birds, and other animals eat young and adult zebra mussels. Migratory ducks have changed their flight patterns in response to zebra mussel colonies. Lake sturgeon feed heavily on zebra mussels, as do yellow perch, freshwater drum, catfish, and all the sunfish. The increase in aquatic plants provides excellent nursery areas for young fish and other animals, leading to increases in smallmouth bass populations in Lake St. Clair and the Huron River.”

      A healthy sturgeon population is a good thing!

    • The article I linked to above suggests that dissolved organic carbon is a major source of reduced water clarity. Simultaneously, the cloudiness apparently “protects” these lakes from the effects of climate change. Or something.

      The main point I took from that paper (only skimmed the beginning and moved on) was that the global comparison calculations are the result of the larger watershed carbon cycles which are being attributed to lakes themselves. There may also be a “catch” in the paper’s focus on organic (vs inorganic) carbon but I did not pursue.


      • opluso

        Thank you for the link. Alas, like AK, I could not open the link but AK did find an open access article which may represent the one you linked to:

        “Limnol. Oceanogr., 54(6, part 2), 2009, 2298–2314
        E 2009, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.
        Lakes and reservoirs as regulators of carbon cycling and climate.”

        The point I was making is that the Zebra muscle, as a filter feeder, clarified the waters of first, Lake Erie, and when transported yet again on ships hulls to the other Great Lakes, clarified those waters as well. As a filter feeder, all comers are ingested, much algae is utilized to grow the shell of the muscle, and fresh water is excreted; hence, clarified water. The Zebra muscle seems to have suffered a Malthusian die-off as they ran out of nutrients and the populations collapsed.

        Taking the Zebra muscle’s place at the table was the Quagga muscle; a hitchhiker from the Ukraine. With the above average (more than 1/2 a foot per year) rainfall around the Great Lakes, an abundance of nutrients have washed into these waters from, mostly, agricultural and sewage systems overflows and the Quagga muscle is now set to do what the Zebra muscle did, chew up the abundant algae bloom. Better agricultural practices regarding water run-off, and better sewage systems, i.e., separating storm water runoff from sewage systems, more likely than not, will lead to another Malthusian die-off laying the groundwork for other non-native filter feeder species.

        Such is the cycle of life, and, in turn, the cycle of carbon.

  17. “Multimillennial scale solar activity and its impact on tropical climate”

    From the supplement:
    “…suggesting a solar decreasing trend toward Grand (Super)
    Minimum conditions for the upcoming period, AD 2050–2250..”

    A fairly good estimate, my empirical planetary model gives long Maunder like solar minima starting from the 2090’s, and again from around 2200.

  18. “Plastic bags are good for you [link]”

    They also useful in that they give greens a distraction, something visible to complain about. But paper is better for sniffing glue.

  19. daveandrews723

    Dr. Curry… in just reading the titles of the articles you mentioned in this post it is apparent that the science is not “settled.” haha. And it never should be in the field of climate science in which there are so many questions unresolved, despite what the warmists continue to claim in their heavy-handed attempt to control the debate… and the money.

    • they are controlling the debate and the money aren’t they?
      it’s distressing
      the social, political, belief system aspect of this stuff is what fascinates me the most
      everyone I know buys ‘climate change’ even though they know nothing about the subject
      moreover, they consider my attempts to educate myself about it eccentric, conspiracy minded, and some sort of anti-social act
      beats anything I have ever seen
      (and I been to two barn dances and a out of town rodeo)
      some fundamental social political phenomenon is happening around this issue
      it’s not about science

  20. Cass Sunstein: Availability cascades (ebola is a recent example; several current political controversies too). [link]

    Cass’s #1 goal is to find a way around the 1st ammenment by labelling opinions he does not like conspiracy theories and then outlawing them. A board of elites gets to decide what is and isnt a conspiracy.


    And he wants the government constantly nudge you into behaviourly modified ‘choice structures’



    Dangerous man with a tremendously condescending elitist take on ‘liberty’. He typifies the leftist Managerial state, which knows better than you how you should live your life.

    • “A possible method for insulating Congress from such pressures is to cre- ate a risk regulation committee entrusted with compiling information about a wide range of risk levels and empowered to set priorities. This committee would have authority over both substantive statutes and the appropriations process. It would thus operate as a check on short-term pressures by putting particular concerns in a broader context. Its basic goal would be to rank risks, publicize misallocations, and initiate legislative corrections. ”

      Basically sunstein advocates a ‘department of information’ to protect Congress from being steered incorrectly.

      90 pages this article goes on. Ive noticed most if Cass’s propaganda tries to bury the reader in long unending seemingly ligical prose with the truly nauseauting concepts he is pushing rolled slyly in like a pill in food to a cat. Do what the cats do….spit it out.

      • ‘We’ve got to keep those horrible people with their selfish “availability cascades” from influencing Congress or the courts so we can influence Congress and the courts with our selfish “availability cascades”’

  21. This passage from Sarewitz:

    “More and more, science is tackling questions that are relevant to society and politics. The reliability of such science is often not testable with textbook methods of replication. This means that quality assurance will increasingly become a matter of political interpretation. It also means that the ‘self-correcting norm’ that has served science well for the past 500 years is no longer enough to protect science’s special place in society. Scientists must have the self-awareness to recognize and openly acknowledge the relationship between their political convictions and how they assess scientific evidence.”

    Is in line with my argument that the “Republic of Science” model (in which each researcher is led, as if by an invisible hand, to cooperate in maximizing the rate of discovery) does not apply to science whose primary function is to guide policy. The behaviors that optimize policy influence (and the rewards for same) are at variance with those that optimize discovery (and the rewards for same).

  22. .@nntaleb is right: genetic engineering could cause systemic ruin. So could nature, and it has [link]

    Interesting article. It references a very interesting article with an interesting theory about how the end-Permian Extinction Event was primarily “caused” by a new type of methanogen using a new, much more efficient pathway for degrading acetate to methane and CO2.

    That paper, in turn, references an equally interesting article showing that this pathway almost certainly evolved when:

    [… T]wo genes required for acetoclastic methanogenesis, ackA and pta, were horizontally transferred to the ancestor of Methanosarcina from a derived cellulolytic organism in the class Clostridia.

  23. This just in, passing as climate science, as published bty Nature. Quantifying the carbon debt that richer countries owe poorer countries.
    Apparently it is around $10 trillion. Here is how the green press reports it.
    Fortunately these absurd numbers may help sink the Paris climate talks.

  24. From the article:

    Rep. Johnson came to the hearing armed with EPA’s claims and tried to use them in an effort to discredit key Republican witness, David Shaw, the chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But unlike the EPA-informed Rep. Johnson, Shaw came to the hearing knowing what he was talking about.

    Rep. Johnson began her questioning of Shaw by trying to portray opponents of the EPA rules as wantonly and recklessly endangering the health of children. She asked Shaw whether EPA critics factored into their cost-benefit analyses billions of dollars of unreimbursed medical expenses spent by the states to treat children with respiratory problems.

    Shaw matter-of-factly explained to Rep. Johnson that she had been misinformed about the EPA rule. He noted that the EPA ruled is targeted at greenhouse gases, which which do not have an impact on respiratory health. Flabbergasted, Rep. Johnson asked Shaw to repeat what he said. After he did, an obviously perplexed Rep. Johnson then asked Shaw on what EPA’s respiratory health claims were based.

    Shaw explained that the EPA’s health benefit claims were based on the rule’s so-called “co-benefits.” That is, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants would also simultaneously and additionally lead to reductions in other conventional coal plant emissions, like particulate matter and various components of smog. EPA has for years claimed that these emissions cause respiratory problems. But Shaw rightly described these EPA claims as “mostly unsubstantiated.” (We’ll get back to this point in a moment.)

    Shaw then proceeded to point out that to the extent local air quality needed to be improved, EPA already had other programs that directly focused on conventional emissions and that Rep. Johnson’s own congressional district already met EPA air quality standards. Not knowing what to do with such a knowledgeable expert witness, at the end of her 5-minutes of questions, Rep. Johnson meekly withdrew by asking Shaw to submit to her documents supporting his testimony.


  25. As far as public policy goes the skeptics lost any ‘debate’ a long time ago. The other thing is is that skeptics are all over the map, have no real strategy, and have no credibility. The only thing that keeps policy in check is that there is no credible energy alternatives being presented and just saying no to fossil fuels has lead to a strain on energy resources that will eventually lead to a breaking point. Natural gas has filled the gap for coal but that wont be a satisfactory solution. Eventually oil prices will go up again and Politians will be blaming big oil for price gouging just like they always have. Until people and politians realize the only true solution, at least in the short term, is nuclear, as Hansen came to find out, public policy will just be more feel good wastes of money. Now if you believe that CO2 is not a problem and that fossil fuel will last forever I suppose you can laugh at perceived ignorant policy and fume over wasted money. The next election will probably determine which path we go down.

    • +1, a real one.

    • Go on living in you fantasy world.

      • AK, care to elaborate? :-)

      • The only thing that keeps policy in check is that there is no credible energy alternatives being presented […]

        Actually, solar PV is a very “credible energy alternative”. The problem is that it won’t become a mature competitor for another decade or so. Basically, wait and the problem will solve itself.

        Natural gas has filled the gap for coal but that wont be a satisfactory solution.

        Why not? In a couple decades it will probably be replaced by gas produced from solar power and ambient CO2. At that point, it will be “carbon-neutral” (actually, “fossil-carbon-neutral”), while preserving the current investments in transport, storage, and generation.

        And that’s not to mention the likely availability of sea-floor methane hydrate (from the clathrate), which could well also be “carbon-neutral”, if it’s mined by replacing it with CO2 extracted from ambient sources.

        The most likely ambient source being sea-water at the surface immediately above the methane extraction operation, minimizing the need for transporting the CO2.

        Until people and politicians realize the only true solution, at least in the short term, is nuclear, as Hansen came to find out, public policy will just be more feel good wastes of money.

        As long as “public policy” consists in throwing money at the problem without caring where it goes (except into the pockets of cronies), you may be right.

        But there are policy options that would cost little, and have a good chance of being beneficial. I’ve mentioned such before, but here’s one (don’t have time to chase links): a country such as the US could offer “land grants” of sea-floor methane hydrate mining rights in territorial waters contingent on the use of ambient CO2 replacement technology, and demonstrating a “good faith” effort to develop such technology prior to its becoming cost-effective.

        This would be a powerful incentive for companies currently depending on fracking (which we know will run out) to step up to the plate and pay for the R&D, knowing that, once developed, those mining rights would become enormously more valuable.

        I could go on, but not right now.

      • AK, We have discussed this before. I’m about half way between you and Peter Lang on this. I am very pro solar, but it is limited. Many areas outside of the southwest are just not good for solar. Even people going solar end up losing on the investment. Solar is limited. Now you have a very good idea for solar conversion to gas and mining methane. But I have no idea if that is practical? I find it very interesting but will it come off the shelf? OTOH Molten Salt Nuclear reactors are very close to realization.

      • See March of Dimes..

      • I should not have limited that to the SW. Montana, for instance, gets plenty of sunshine.

    • Given that the skeptics control both houses of Congress, how is that a loss?

      • I was talking about public perception where AGW has steadily gained ground. As far as policy, Obama has effectively circumvented congress at least as far as coal is concerned.

      • I disagree on both counts. Public skepticism has remained relatively constant for over a decade or two. EPA has yet to even produce a final climate rule for coal fired power so that wheel has yet to even spin, much less pick a winner. There is no possibility of climate legislation. I would say skeptics are doing pretty well, all things considered. I see no loss in any of this, just a good fight.

      • Hard to argue with that. I was mainly thinking of policy pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations. Although Bush seemed to push alternatives more as a ruse that a real alternative to fossil fuels. Yes, skeptics remain the same but last I checked public opinion polls show AGW as steadily rising.

    • Maybe this will avoid moderation.

      A silly comment by ordvic on many levels.

      Support or reject specific policy suggestions as making sense or not. There is no unified “skeptic” position- nor does there need to be.

      “Now if you believe that CO2 is not a problem and that fossil fuel will last forever”

      What is a problem in your view? Fossil fuels have benefits and harms. They will not last forever.

      • I think there is a unified skeptic position, including lukewarmers, namely that CAGW is not a basis for policy.

      • Rod, I appreciate your comments and don’t mind the silly characterization and would not wish moderation. My comments were not necessarily my view, however unformed that may be. I was talking about my perception of the current political situation. Now that may be wrong but it is as I see it. If I am silly perhaps so politics?

      • David, I would agree with that statement but is it drowned out? If you look at the Letter sent by Jerry Brown to Ben Carson in the next thread you’ll see a mindless dissertation. But I see Jerry Brown as the winner. Ben Carson got ‘Trumped’ (as in Donald) by the Moonbeam.

    • Ordvic,

      As far as public policy goes the skeptics lost any ‘debate’ a long time ago.

      What absolute nonsense. It’s the CAGW Alarmists who lost the debate long ago.

      The skeptics, on the other hand are doing well All the momentum is with the skeptic’s case. Consider, for example, how the how the heat has gone out of CAGW in the main stream media. First, note the drop in the media interest since the Copenhagen Climate Conference fiasco in 2009 as shown in the ‘Activity timeline’ chart (which is updated daily): http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?#activitytimeline

      Second, consider the change in the CAGW Alarmists’ message since 2009. In 2009 James Hansen (claimed ‘father of global warming’) in his book “Storms of my grandchildren: The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity” claimed that the oceans would evaporate and Earth’s atmosphere would become like Venus if humans don’t stop their evilness. He and other CAGW alarmists were telling us Florida, New York, London and the Australian Opera House would be inundated within a short time. And there would be 50 million climate refugees by now – but there are none!

      What are the CAGW alarmists arguing now? Well there arguments mainly involve calling people who do not accept the climate cult’s beliefs “deniers”, “flat earthers”, dinosaurs, etc. They also argue a lot about temperature trends, whether or not there is a pause, where is the missing heat hidden, will sea level rise 30 cm or 1 m by end of century, is equilibrium climate sensitive 3 or 1.7 or could it be as high as 6, 12, 20 or whatever scary figure can be used for their strawman arguments.

      Notice how the CAGW alarmists avoided addressing the content of my comment here: http://euanmearns.com/time-for-the-tories-to-repeal-the-2008-climate-change-act/#comment-11878 . Instead they made silly comments about “you should write for WUWT”, “denier”, “flat earther’ etc. Those are the only arguments they have left. The CAGW cult is now comprised of the ‘flat earthers’, the ‘deniers’. The basis for their cult’s beliefs are being knocked off bit by bit.

      • Peter,
        I should have made my statement more clear. I am talking about public perception that is leading to public policy. If you take a look at goggle or any other search engine you will find that the Paris Climate Summit is still being touted and attended by all countries. Their only worry is that they will come up short on goal setting. ALL the countries are on board. Institutionally AGW has control of the agenda. This is epitomized by the Headline at the guardian:
        Paris climate talks could fail, warns Francois Hollande … but notice the caveat … Nations must make a greater effort to reach agreement or else millions face the risk of becoming climate refugees, says French president.
        This is typical of the technique of downplaying expectations. In the end you will see Obama and the other world leaders touting their accomplishments. The other headlines go something like:
        Paris 2015: August smashes global heat record as giant El Nino builds … Sydney Morning Herald · 6 hours ago.
        Australia’s new Prime Minister actually understands climate change … So what exactly might Turnbull’s election mean for Australia’s climate policies and its negotiating position going into the highly anticipated Paris Climate Summit in early December … September 14, 2015 Jamie Henn …
        Mashable · 20 minutes ago.
        The Global powers are all on board with creating the impression that something must be done about global warming even if it’s just posturing. I don’t see the IPCC just disappearing anytime soon.

        Yes Hansen has made some ridiculous statements that did not come to fruition. It may be that rising sea levels and warmer oceans do not meet their expectations but hat hasn’t stopped them from touting such. If you look at Hansen’s reputation compared to say Spencer or James Watt in the eyes of the majority of the public it is that approaching sainthood (the Pope approves this message) compared to a couple of Rush Limbaugh type troglodytes. The mainstream media still controls the message and any scandals are quickly glossed over. Your use of abbreviation CAGW is not excepted in their channels and would be mocked as proof of your ignorance. The media makes a mockery of Skeptics and effectively marginalizes them. The Media as well as all the institutions of government power are controlled by these people. If conservatives take over in the US perhaps that will change but that has always just been temporary set backs for them in the past. Just look at Abbott.

        This is the type of thing they concentrate on not a few pesky skeptics:

        Threat to oceans from climate change must be key to Paris talks, say scientists
        Major study of plankton shows warmer seas could have a huge impact on the marine food chain

        That’s why I say the debate is over and they won, even if they didn’t.

      • Ordvic,

        Thank you. Now I understand what you are saying. Sorry I misunderstood you original comment

      • The only thing that will change to this march toward alternative energy policy will be if the climate does not cooperate as you suggest.

      • Did you see this interesting post. Average temperature of troposphere dropped 0.5 degrees from 1998 to 2008: http://euanmearns.com/the-diverging-surface-thermometer-and-satellite-temperature-records/

      • No, I didn’t see that. Very good! I’ll read it through later when I have time. I’ve been wanting to see something like this for a long time.

  26. Much of Antarctica is over 5000 ft elevation and very very cold. Even a rise of 10 degrees would not cause these regions to exceed the freezing point. These regions survived the previous several interglacials which were warmer than today.
    For the lower elevations, whatever melting would occur from burning all fossil fuels would take thousands of years, like at the end of the last Ice Age in Canada. It is not a swoosh melted type thing. In a thousand years we should be able to handle it.

    • I agree with these points.

      These are my policy relevant facts on climate change:

      Policy relevant facts on climate change

      1. climate change does not change in smooth curves as the climate modelers’ would have you believe. It changes abruptly. Always has and always will.
      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1 ,

      2. Life thrives when the planet is warmer and struggles when colder. It thrives during warming periods and struggles during cooling. See Figure 15.21 here: http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/1983/1/McCarron.pdf . Note that the climate warmed from near glacial temperatures to near current temperatures in 7 years 14,600 years ago and in 9 years, 11,600 years ago. And guess what? Life loved the rapid warming periods. Life burst out and thrived.

      3. For 75% of the last half billion years – the period when animal life has thrived – there has been no ice caps at either pole http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-3.html . We are currently in a cold-house phase. It strains credulity to argue that 1% warming (i.e. 3K/273K) will be catastrophic when we won’t get anywhere near the global average temperatures of the previous warm times.

      4. The planet has been cooling for the past 50 million years and we are currently in only the third cold-house phase in the past half billion years.

      5. We won’t get out of the current cold-house phase until plate tectonics movements reopen a path for global circulation around the equatorial regions http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html .

      6. Warming and increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has been a major benefit to life and to humanity for the past 200 years. It strains credulity to accept the increased plant productivity that this positive trend is delivering will suddenly change and turn negative.

      7. Despite 25 years of climate research and spending reportedly $1.5 trillion per year on the ‘Climate Industry’ http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/07/30/377086.htm , we have only a very poor understanding of the damage function. In fact, most people who blabber on about ‘climate science’ and call those who do not accept their interpretations of the relevant facts “climate deniers” haven’t even heard of the damage function, let alone able to define it and quantify it.

      8. According to the most widely accept Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) for projecting future climate damages, abatement costs, social cost of carbon, net-cost benefit of proposed policies, the abatement policies that have a net cost – irrespective of any climate considerations – would be a net cost, not a net benefit for all this century. See the chart here:
      explanation here: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/10/27/cross-post-peter-lang-why-the-world-will-not-agree-to-pricing-carbon-ii/

      9. Figure 3 in http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0613-3 (free access to earlier version here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf ) shows that global warming projected by the climate modelers would be net beneficial for most of this century. The only component that becomes a significant net cost, late in the century, is energy. This cost is based on the assumption that energy costs must rise as GHG mitigation policies force us to move to renewables. However, we won’t move to renewables (because they cannot provide the energy the world needs). We’ll move to cheap nuclear power. With cheap energy and all other parameters summing to be a significantly net-beneficial any GW that does occur would be net beneficial to well beyond this century. (Professor Richard Tol – has been a recognised world leader in estimating the damage effects of climate change for 25 years or so.)

      10. What is needed to support rational policy analysis are probability distributions for:

      a. time to next abrupt climate change

      b. direction of next abrupt climate change (i.e. warming or cooling)

      c. duration of next abrupt climate change

      d. total amount of change

      e. damage function (i.e. net economic cost per degree of warning or cooling)

      It is concerning that we’ve spent 25 years on climate research (and are spending some $1.5 trillion per year on policies justified on the basis of CAGW) to get to the point we are at now where we know little that is relevant for rational policy analysis.

  27. MetOffice reports on the UK climate prospects
    (link credit WUWT)

  28. “…the truth in question is his own (Caldeira’s) prediction that no matter what humans do in the way of carbon emissions, sea levels are not going to rise by more than 8cm this century due to melting Antarctic ice.”