Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Good overview of latest research on what paleoclimate research tells us about droughts & floods in the western US. [link]

Evidence basis: No direct impact of #climatechange on international #migration. [link] …

Four more papers demonstrating solar-climate relationship [link]

30 different Arctic sea ice satellite measurement algorithms all hv different answers [link]

New paper: limits to the quantification of local change [link]

New paper finds “Slowing down of North Pacific climate variability” [link]

Low clouds suppress Arctic air formation and amplify high latitude winter warming [link] Hold the presses, my Ph.D. thesis showed the OPPOSITE [link]

Modeling fog and rain in the amazon [link]

New paper: Analysis of the 1930’s US Dust Bowl [link]  …

Oceanic phytoplankton contribute to ice formation in clouds [link]

New paper claims massive flooding of China’s Yellow River in 14 AD was caused by humans [link]

New papers on the impact of solar impact on climate [link]

Uncertainty propagation in climate model applications  [link]

Causal Feedbacks in Climate Change [link]

#Airpollution kills 3.3 million worldwide, may double: study [link]

Scientific American: Obama Seeks ‘Psychological Help’ with Climate Change [link]

Snowpack in Sierra Nevada mountains shrinks to 500-year low [link]

“Already 23 Papers Supporting Sun As Major Climate Factor In 2015 …Burgeoning Evidence No Longer Dismissible!”  [link]

Alexander von Humboldt:  Why is the man who predicted climate change forgotten? [link]

“2001-2014 pause in warming is unlikely to be..random natural variability in the context of an overall warming trend [link]  …

Cass Sunstein: Fifty shades of manipulation. [link]

New paper finds another solar amplification mechanism via stratospheric water vapor [link]

Thermosteric sea level rise estimates: “observational estimates of volumetric response of world’s oceans to temperature changes are sparse”  [link]

New paper finds water reservoirs are net source of “potent greenhouse gas” N2O [link]

Important new paper on Holocene natural climate variability [link]

Arctic sea ice minimum has been reached [link]


127 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. I hope the new Murphy, Michaels, and Knappenberger paper, “The Case Against the Carbon Tax,” which draws on the latest re climate sensitivity, gets a lot of attention and critical comment. https://www.masterresource.org/debate-issues/case-against-us-carbon-tax/

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

  3. A geo-engineering proposal by stimulating phytoplankton.

  4. regarding the article about western droughts… there’s a big desert in southern California. That should be the first clue about it’s thousands of years of history with droughts… which is totally unrelated to CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
    The problem in California is not a lack of water, it’s a huge number of people living off a limited supply of water, which already has to be artificially managed just to provide enough for the growing population over the past half century.

    • “The problem in California is not a lack of water, it’s a huge number of people living off a limited supply of water”

      We also have a governor who scolds Californians for using much more water than past projections by federal and state water experts yet out of the other side of his piehole welcomes millions of illegal immigrants without noticing any irony.

  5. Dr. Curry , this is long but this represents my conclusions on over 7 years of researching this climate change subject. This addresses many of the articles you put forth for us to discuss.

    For my part rather then send many post I am just going to send this one from time to time because this says all that I have to offer about this subject.

    As far as skeptics not being able to voice our opinion ,I will voice my opinion as much as I like and no one is going to stop me !

    I am sure you feel the same way as well as many others.

    I have put forth my whole climatic theory here as to why and how the climate changes both in the long term and in the shorter abrupt term. I had put this on the WUWT web-site which found it interesting as one can see by the moderator comment. This is what I have come up with based on all my efforts in this area.

    Here is what I have concluded. My explanation as to how the climate may change conforms to the historical climatic data record which has led me to this type of an explanation. It does not try to make the historical climatic record conform to my explanation. It is in two parts.



    Below are my thoughts about how the climatic system may work. It starts with interesting observations made by Don Easterbrook. I then reply and ask some intriguing questions at the end which I hope might generate some feedback responses. I then conclude with my own thoughts to the questions I pose.

    From Don Easterbrook – Aside from the statistical analyses, there are very serious problems with the Milankovitch theory. For example, (1) as John Mercer pointed out decades ago, the synchronicity of glaciations in both hemispheres is ‘’a fly in the Malankovitch soup,’ (2) glaciations typically end very abruptly, not slowly, (3) the Dansgaard-Oeschger events are so abrupt that they could not possibility be caused by Milankovitch changes (this is why the YD is so significant), and (4) since the magnitude of the Younger Dryas changes were from full non-glacial to full glacial temperatures for 1000+ years and back to full non-glacial temperatures (20+ degrees in a century), it is clear that something other than Milankovitch cycles can cause full Pleistocene glaciations. Until we more clearly understand abrupt climate changes that are simultaneous in both hemispheres we will not understand the cause of glaciations and climate changes.

    My explanation:

    I agree that the data does give rise to the questions/thoughts Don Easterbrook, presents in the above. That data in turn leads me to believe along with the questions I pose at the end of this article, that a climatic variable force which changes often which is superimposed upon the climate trend has to be at play in the changing climatic scheme of things. The most likely candidate for that climatic variable force that comes to mind is solar variability (because I can think of no other force that can change or reverse in a different trend often enough, and quick enough to account for the historical climatic record, and can perhaps result in primary and secondary climatic effects due to this solar variability, which I feel are a significant player in glacial/inter-glacial cycles, counter climatic trends when taken into consideration with these factors which are , land/ocean arrangements , mean land elevation ,mean magnetic field strength of the earth(magnetic excursions), the mean state of the climate (average global temperature gradient equator to pole), the initial state of the earth’s climate(how close to interglacial-glacial threshold condition it is/ average global temperature) the state of random terrestrial(violent volcanic eruption, or a random atmospheric circulation/oceanic pattern that feeds upon itself possibly) /extra terrestrial events (super-nova in vicinity of earth or a random impact) along with Milankovitch Cycles, and maybe a roll for Lunar Effects.

    What I think happens is land /ocean arrangements, mean land elevation, mean magnetic field strength of the earth, the mean state of the climate, the initial state of the climate, and Milankovitch Cycles, keep the climate of the earth moving in a general trend toward either cooling or warming on a very loose cyclic or semi cyclic beat(1470 years or so) but get consistently interrupted by solar variability and the associated primary and secondary effects associated with this solar variability, and on occasion from random terrestrial/extra terrestrial events, which brings about at times counter trends in the climate of the earth within the overall trend. While at other times when the factors I have mentioned setting the gradual background for the climate trend for either cooling or warming, those being land/ocean arrangements, mean land elevation, mean state of the climate, initial state of the climate, Milankovitch Cycles , then drive the climate of the earth gradually into a cooler/warmer trend(unless interrupted by a random terrestrial or extra terrestrial event in which case it would drive the climate to a different state much more rapidly even if the climate initially was far from the glacial /inter-glacial threshold, or whatever general trend it may have been in ) UNTIL it is near that inter- glacial/glacial threshold or climate intersection at which time allows any solar variability and the associated secondary effects, and or other forcing no matter how SLIGHT at that point to be enough to not only promote a counter trend to the climate, but cascade the climate into an abrupt climatic change. The back ground for the abrupt climatic change being in the making all along until the threshold glacial/inter-glacial intersection for the climate is reached ,which then gives rise to the abrupt climatic changes that occur and possibly feed upon themselves while the climate is around that glacial/inter-glacial threshold resulting in dramatic semi cyclic constant swings in the climate from glacial to inter-glacial while factors allow such an occurrence to take place. Which was the case 20000 years ago to 10000 years ago.

    The climatic back ground factors (those factors being previously mentioned) driving the climate gradually toward or away from the climate intersection or threshold of glacial versus interglacial. However when the climate is at the intersection the climate gets wild and abrupt, while once away from that intersection the climate is more stable.

    Although random terrestrial events and extra terrestrial events could be involved some times to account for some of the dramatic swings in the climatic history of the earth( perhaps to the tune of 10% ) at any time , while solar variability and the associated secondary effects are superimposed upon the otherwise gradual climatic trend, resulting in counter climatic trends, no matter where the initial state of the climate is although the further from the glacial/inter-glacial threshold the climate is the less dramatic the overall climatic change should be, all other items being equal.

    The climate is chaotic, random, and non linear, but in addition it is never in the same mean state or initial state which gives rise to given forcing to the climatic system always resulting in a different climatic out-come although the semi cyclic nature of the climate can still be derived to a degree amongst all the noise and counter trends within the main trend.


    Why is it when ever the climate changes the climate does not stray indefinitely from it’s mean in either a positive or negative direction? Why or rather what ALWAYS brings the climate back toward it’s mean value ? Why does the climate never go in the same direction once it heads in that direction?

    Along those lines ,why is it that when the ice sheets expand the higher albedo /lower temperature more ice expansion positive feedback cycle does not keep going on once it is set into motion? What causes it not only to stop but reverse?

    Vice Versa why is it when the Paleocene – Eocene Thermal Maximum once set into motion, that being an increase in CO2/higher temperature positive feedback cycle did not feed upon itself? Again it did not only stop but reversed?

    My conclusion is the climate system is always in a general gradual trend toward a warmer or cooler climate in a semi cyclic fashion which at times brings the climate system toward thresholds which make it subject to dramatic change with the slightest change of force superimposed upon the general trend and applied to it. While at other times the climate is subject to randomness being brought about from terrestrial /extra terrestrial events which can set up a rapid counter trend within the general slow moving climatic trend.


    Despite this ,if enough time goes by (much time) the same factors that drive the climate toward a general gradual warming trend or cooling trend will prevail bringing the climate away from glacial/inter-glacial threshold conditions it had once brought the climate toward ending abrupt climatic change periods eventually, or reversing over time dramatic climate changes from randomness, because the climate is always under a semi extra terrestrial cyclic beat which stops the climate from going in one direction for eternity.

    NOTE 1- Thermohaline Circulation Changes are more likely in my opinion when the climate is near the glacial/ inter-glacial threshold probably due to greater sources of fresh water input into the North Atlantic.



    Below I list my low average solar parameters criteria which I think will result in secondary effects being exerted upon the climatic system.

    My biggest hurdle I think is not if these low average solar parameters would exert an influence upon the climate but rather will they be reached and if reached for how long a period of time?

    I think each of the items I list , both primary and secondary effects due to solar variability if reached are more then enough to bring the global temperatures down by at least .5c in the coming years.

    Even a .15 % decrease from just solar irradiance alone is going to bring the average global temperature down by .2c or so all other things being equal. That is 40% of the .5c drop I think can be attained. Never mind the contribution from everything else that is mentioned.

    What I am going to do is look into research on sun like stars to try to get some sort of a gage as to how much possible variation might be inherent with the total solar irradiance of the sun. That said we know EUV light varies by much greater amounts, and within the spectrum of total solar irradiance some of it is in anti phase which mask total variability within the spectrum. It makes the total irradiance variation seem less then it is.

    I also think the .1% variation that is so acceptable for TSI is on flimsy ground in that measurements for this item are not consistent and the history of measuring this item with instrumentation is just to short to draw these conclusions not to mention I know some sun like stars (which I am going to look into more) have much greater variability of .1%.

    I think Milankovich Cycles, the Initial State of the Climate or Mean State of the Climate , State of Earth’s Magnetic Field set the background for long run climate change and how effective given solar variability will be when it changes when combined with those items. Nevertheless I think solar variability within itself will always be able to exert some kind of an influence on the climate regardless if , and that is my hurdle IF the solar variability is great enough in magnitude and duration of time. Sometimes solar variability acting in concert with factors setting the long term climatic trend while at other times acting in opposition.


    Solar Flux avg. sub 90

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

    Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

    The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005. The key is duration of time because although sunspot activity can diminish it takes a much longer time for coronal holes to dissipate which can keep the solar wind elevated which was the case during the recent solar lull of 2008-2010 ,which in turn keep solar climatic effects more at bay. Duration of time therefore being key.

    If , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

    The decline in temperatures should begin to start to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24,if sub- solar conditions have been in place for 10 years + which we have now had. Again the solar wind will be needed to get to an average of below 350km/sec. which takes time because not only do the sunspots have to dissipate but also the coronal holes. In other words a long period of very low sunspots will be need to accomplish this. It will be a gradual wind down..

    Secondary Effects With Prolonged Minimum Solar Activity. A Brief Overview. Even if one or two should turn out to be true it would be enough to accomplish the solar /climatic connection.

    A Greater Meridional Atmospheric Circulation- due to less UV Light Lower Ozone in Lower Stratosphere.

    Increase In Low Clouds- due to an increase in Galactic Cosmic Rays.

    Greater Snow-Ice Cover- associated with a Meridional Atmospheric Circulation/an Increase In Clouds.

    Greater Snow-Ice Cover probably resulting over time to a more Zonal Atmospheric Circulation. This Circulation increasing the Aridity over the Ice Sheets eventually. Dust probably increasing into the atmosphere over time.

    Increase in Volcanic Activity – Since 1600 AD, data shows 85 % approximately of all major Volcanic eruptions have been associated with Prolonged Solar Minimum Conditions. Data from the Space and Science Center headed by Dr. Casey.

    Volcanic Activity -acting as a cooling agent for the climate,(SO2) and enhancing Aerosols possibly aiding in greater Cloud formation.

    Decrease In Ocean Heat Content/Sea Surface Temperature -due to a decline in Visible Light and Near UV light. This in turn should diminish the Greenhouse Gas Effect over time, while promoting a slow drying out of the atmosphere over time. This may be part of the reason why Aridity is very common with glacial periods.

    In addition sea surface temperature distribution changes should come about ,which probably results in different oceanic current patterns.


    The above accounts for abrupt climatic changes within a glacial or inter- glacial period. Dr. Curry this is similar to your stadium theory.

    [Long, interesting summary. Thank you. .mod]

    That comment for WUWT moderator.


    • You wrote:
      The most likely candidate for that climatic variable force that comes to mind is solar variability (because I can think of no other force that can change or reverse in a different trend often enough, and quick enough to account for the historical climatic record,
      Why is it when ever the climate changes the climate does not stray indefinitely from it’s mean in either a positive or negative direction? Why or rather what ALWAYS brings the climate back toward it’s mean value ? Why does the climate never go in the same direction once it heads in that direction?

      Solar variability is an external force and there is no feedback to turn the cooling on and off, always in the same bounds.

      The data does show that Earth has internal thermostats, one in the north and one in the south. There is forcing that always halts warming and causes cooling and there is forcing that always stops cooling and causes warming.

      I explain this:

      Dr. Philip Lloyd also explains the same thing. I found this link above.

      It snows more when polar oceans are warm and thawed and it always gets colder. It snows less when polar oceans are cold and frozen and it always gets warmer.

      There is three things. Solar into the Earth. IR out from the Earth. Albedo reflection out from the Earth. That is all there is.

      When it is warmer, there is more IR, so Albedo must be less.
      When it is colder, there is less IR, so Albedo must be more.

      Ice advances after it snows more and ice retreats after it snows less.

    • Sal: You have sufficient info to start your own blog. Hijacking space on one managed by someone else (JC in this case) just isn’t appropriate. Take a line or two to link to your own in the future, and spread your thoughts in that manner accordingly!

  6. stevenreincarnated

    Humans caused flooding of the yellow river in 14AD? This is a joke, right? If not I’m sure it will inspire some.

    • Chinese civilization originated with city states in the
      Yellow River Valley. The beginning of recorded history
      began with the Xia Dynasty 2100 -1600 BCE and sought
      a number of solutions to the devastating floods on the
      river. Canals channeled excess water to the sea and
      for several centuries the floods were less of a problem.

      Throughout the centuries China earned a name as
      a land of land of famine and floods, natural and also
      man-made through deforestation..The Yellow River
      was of ongoing significance in the prosperity of the
      following Dynasties.

      In the Zhou Dynasty, the leader invoked ‘The mandate
      of Heaven’ to legitimize his rule. When king and
      government failed to secure the well being of the
      people as a result of floods or famine, they were seen
      to lose the Mandate and rebellion was likely.

      Under the Han Dynasty 2006BC-222 AD State
      Graineries were set up to maintain the people’s well
      – being. These were often depleted by corrupt officials
      and were inadequate to feeding the hungry masses in
      the countryside when the silting of the Yellow River,
      flooding and change of course occurred, chronicled
      events throughout the following centuries contributing
      to the overthrow of dynasties up to modern times.

      • Re 14AD Dynasty Yellow River played a part in
        dooming the Xin Dynasty when enormous floods
        inundated the land when the silted up river broke
        its banks and jumped into two new courses.
        Thousands drowned and rebel groups broke into the
        palace and killed the Emperor.

      • Postscript: re the paper cited, according to the
        Sima Qian’s ‘The Records of the great Historian’
        and ‘the ‘Classic of Rites’ a number of tribes
        originally united under the Xia Kingdom in order to
        find a solution to the devastating floods on the river
        That was in 2100 BC. Hard to blame on man.

      • That was in 2100 BC. Hard to blame on man.

        Nope. Take a look at the timing of the spread of domesticated ( but non-wooly) sheep and goats into the Loess regions. For that matter, AFAIK the timing and various extents of the spread of wooly sheep isn’t too well known.

      • Here for instance.

      • ‘The Yellow River is notable for the large amount of silt
        it carries, 1.6 billion tons annually at the point where it
        descends from the Loess Plateau. If it is running to the
        sea with sufficient volume, 1.4 billion tons are carried to
        the sea.

        Due to its heavy load of silt the Yellow River is a
        depositing stream: that is, it deposits part of its burden
        of soil in its bed in stretches where it is flowing slowly.
        These deposits elevate the riverbed, which flows between
        levees in its lower reaches. ‘ New World Encyclopaedia.

        U may be right AK but the yellow river sure traverses a
        lot of loess. Yellow all the way down.

      • Grass tends to stabilize loess (somewhat). Goats (and sheep) eat grass; tear it up by the roots (if they’re hungry). Human goat-herders have a long record of (pseudo-cyclic) overgrazing, and it’s a very good bet they did it before there were records.

    • stevenreincarnated

      Thanks, Beth. I was just kidding of course.

  7. The first link to the West Without Water book by L. Ingram is as excellent read. Interesting with enough graphs of proposed climate history in droughts, floods and fires to put in perspective the current situation in the west. Hard to tease out natural variability vs man made climate change but a good general discussion. I bought it and support the writers even though I first read it at the library. Helpful and objective review.

  8. The West’s Climate History Suggests An Ominous Future
    The West’s Climate History Suggests A Future just like the past ten thousand years.

    independently, as if to add to her fears, the University of Arizona on Monday announced the results of a study showing that snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains is at its lowest level in 500 years.

    Duh, it is like it was in the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. It is right on track to follow the pattern of the past ten thousand years. Now that the Polar oceans are warm and thawed, the ice will rebuild just like it always does during warm times.

  9. “A century-scale (60–140 year) cyclicity was found in the summer temperature reconstruction from the Taymir peninsula (∼72° N, ∼105° E) and other high-latitude (60–70° N) regions during the time interval AD 1576–1970. This periodicity is significant and consists of two oscillation modes, 60–70 year and 120–140 year variations. In the summer temperatures from the Yamal peninsula (∼70° N, ∼67° E) only a shorter-term (60–70 year) variation is present. ”


    Step one: Skeptics attack Paleo science. Especially the northern hemisphere and yamal in particular.
    Step two: another skeptic hunts around the planet for some data set
    that correlates with the SUN.

    BINGO… its summer temps in yamal !! Just like “theory” predicted..

    The planet is big. there are thousands of time series to look at.
    Look hard enough and you’ll find something somewhere.

    cause you know the sun has no effect of winter temps in australia
    at least that is what solar theory says… sarc

  10. ““The Holocaust may seem a distant horror whose lessons have already been learned,” he writes. “But sadly, the anxieties of our own era could once again give rise to scapegoats and imagined enemies, while contemporary environmental stresses could encourage new variations on Hitler’s ideas”


    • Yeah and the majority of Jews in the US demonstrate insanity by continuing to support the Democratic party. Thanks for reminding me and actually depressing me. For those that don’t understand this comment, don’t worry about it, nickels understands.

      • I think a lot of people actually believe the the managerial state will be strong enough to overcome the balkanization of the country. History disagrees with them and more likely it will end up creating an unmitigated disaster.

  11. “Global temperature change observed over the last hundred years or so is well within the natural variability of the last 8,000 years, according to a new paper by a former Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) lead author.

    Dr. Philip Lloyd, a South Africa-based physicist and climate researcher, examined ice core-based temperature data going back 8,000 years to gain perspective on the magnitude of global temperature changes over the 20th Century.

    What Lloyd found was that the standard deviation of the temperature over the last 8,000 years was about 0.98 degrees Celsius– higher than the 0.85 degrees climate scientists say the world has warmed over the last century.”

    From JCs link:

    So where do we go from here?

    • You go to the actual paper and see that it says nothing about the variability of the GLOBAL temperature.

      • I can’t access the paper for some reason but It seems a bit of a stretch to call Lloyd an ipcc lead author. He seems to have played a minor role in a supplementary ipcc report.

        I don’t know his credentials to author the paper linked to. However I would argue that it has been warmer than today and much colder than today ( in europe) and therefore we remain well within natural variability. Dr Phil jones also said natural variability was much greater than he had hitherto realised in a 2006 paper.


      • europe is not the globe. antartica is not the globe. greenland is not the globe.

        FURTHER even IF we are within natural variability that has no bearing
        on the cause of the warming. It only bears on our ability to apportion
        warming to ‘natural’ and anthro.

        to establish that the warming is “natural’ or “unforced” you actually have to do some physics. mere observation doesnt get you there.

        put another way, the natural hypothesis need to show how Anthro is ruled OUT.

        its the same problem for both sides and right now the mass of physics is on the anthro answer

      • plus, leave the author’s qualifications and the journal (E&E) out of the whole discussion. the paper discusses ice cores. consequently it says
        nothing of interest about the globe..

      • richardswarthout


        What do you know about the paleo climates of the Far East; it has been written that some of the emperors ordered detailed records on growing seasons, etc.


      • Mosh

        I didn’t even bother to add in my comment above that you would argue that the physics trumps everything, as that was a given. I know Europe is not the globe which is why I said Europe, although we have both argued that CET has a good claim to be a reasonable but not perfect global proxy.

        I think you need to better demonstrate that physics will over rule natural varability in a highly complex real world global climate system and that it has this global application rather than just one that can be proven in a laboratory.

        Clearly the case for physics is not helped when everyone shouts ‘unprecedented’ when it clearly isn’t.

        As I said previously, I can’t access the original paper on my iPad but I am always bemused why ice cores are thought to be a reliable proxy for global temperatures.

      • Steven Mosher: europe is not the globe. antartica is not the globe. greenland is not the globe.

        Everybody decides to ignore some of the data.

        FURTHER even IF we are within natural variability that has no bearing
        on the cause of the warming.

        That could only be true if we knew for sure that forces independent of CO2 had not caused the recent warming.

        put another way, the natural hypothesis need to show how Anthro is ruled OUT.

        Sez you.

        That justifies how many trillions of dollars be devoted to non-fossil fuels instead of being devoted to improved flood control and irrigation? If it were not for the trillions of dollars being claimed by climate activists, this would be an academic discussion as popular as the rate of expansion of the universe and its implications for the “standard theory” and other physical laws. When writing on burden of proof, never forget the money.

        If the effect of accumulating CO2 is to raise the rate of warming by 0.1C per century, then we can end the public policy debate. That is a value that can not be ruled out on present evidence, and all the calculations based on “physics” have inadequacies.

      • Richard

        Mosh has Previously posted material on Korean climate records (on the few occasions when he isn’t posting photos of records made by Korean pop idols) and there have been studies on china, some by Phil jones and Japan also has good records.

        It is beyond my resources to tie them all together as my cheque from big oil inexplicably fails to arrive every month.


      • richardswarthout:What do you know about the paleo climates of the Far East;

        There was at least one study of long-lived conifers at a high elevation in south-west China. It supported the idea of a Medieval Warm Period for the area. I’ll try to track down the paper soon. Somebody may beat me to it.

      • There would be no effective physics without observation. It would still be turtles all the way down. Theory and observation are the yin and yang of scientific physics. You can’t have one without the other.

      • richardswarthout


        So. How is “mass of physics” calculated? Perhaps the total mass of all buried physics texts?


      • richardswarthout

        Tony and Matthew

        Thank you for the information. If the MWP extends beyond Europe – to Asia (and the Pacific Warm Pool) then shouldn’t it be considered globally (or at least NH) significant?


      • Richard

        Well, you would think it would be seen as significant wouldn’t you? Realistically you can’t get records from everywhere and supplanting them with novel proxies leaves much to be desired.


      • Richard, I’ve only glanced over some Chinese climate stuff to do with dynasty change, the troubles of the Ming etc. I find the work on citrus and sub-tropical herbs pretty interesting. But if you’re keen for the whole spring roll…

        Bao, Y., Brauning, A. and Yafeng, S. 2003. Late Holocene temperature fluctuations on the Tibetan Plateau. Quaternary Science Reviews 22: 2335-2344.
        Battarbee, R.W., Jones, V.J., Flower, B.P., Cameron, N.G., Bennion, H., Carvalho, L. and Juggins, S. 2001. Diatoms. In: Smol, J.P., Birks, H.J.B. and Last, W.M. (Eds.). Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 155-201.
        Benoit, G. and Rozan, T.F. 2001. 210Pb and 137Cs dating methods in lakes: a retrospective study. Journal of Paleoliminology 25: 455-465.
        Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W., Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 2001. Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294: 2130-2136.
        Bond, G., Showers, W., Cheseby, M., Lotti, R., Almasi, P., deMenocal, P., Priore, P., Cullen, H., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 1997. A pervasive millennial-scale cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and Glacial climate. Science 278: 1257-1266.
        Chu, G., Liu, J., Sun, Q., Lu, H., Gu, Z., Wang, W. and Liu, T. 2002. The ‘Mediaeval Warm Period’ drought recorded in Lake Huguangyan, tropical South China. The Holocene 12: 511-516.
        Chu, G., Sun, Q., Li, S., Zheng, M., Jia, X., Lu, C., Liu, J. and Liu, T. 2005. Long-chain alkenone distributions and temperature dependence in lacustrine surface sediments from China. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69: 4985-5003.
        De’er, Z. 1994. Evidence for the existence of the medieval warm period in China. Climatic Change 26: 289-297.
        Esper, J., Cook, E.R. and Schweingruber, F.H. 2002. Low-frequency signals in long tree-ring chronologies for reconstructing past temperature variability. Science 295: 2250-2253.
        Fairbridge, R.W. 2001. Six millennia in Chinese peats, relating to planetary-solar-luniterrestrial periodicities: a comment on Hong, Jiang, Liu, Zhou, Beer, Li, Leng, Hong and Qin. The Holocene 11: 121-122.
        Ge, Q., Wang, S., Wen, X., Shen, C. and Hao, Z. 2007. Temperature and precipitation changes in China during the Holocene. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 24: 1024-1036.
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      • richardswarthout


        Thank you. Much to read. Father, give me strength.


      • richardswarthout


        “Realistically you can’t get records from everywhere and supplanting them with novel proxies leaves much to be desired.”. Yes. I sympathize with most paleoclimate scientists; too often their work is misused.


      • Mosher’s comments are interesting and get to the heart of much of the issues in question.

        “FURTHER even IF we are within natural variability that has no bearing on the cause of the warming. It only bears on our ability to apportion warming to ‘natural’ and anthro.”

        My perspective- Put another way; nobody currently can reasonably accurately determine the net impact that humans are having on temperature change over timescales important to humanity. Humans care about very short term timescales. The climate system is complex and only marginally understood.

        “to establish that the warming is “natural’ or “unforced” you actually have to do some physics. mere observation doesnt get you there.”

        My perspective-True- again it is an issue of timescales and system responses. If you had a near perfect model of the climate system (one where the model perfectly matched observed conditions) you would “know” what impact humans were making. Currently there are no perfect models, and no reasonably reliable ones far less than perfect either.

        “its the same problem for both sides and right now the mass of physics is on the anthro answer”

        My perspective- True for warming but not for the cause that it will be sufficiently harmful to mitigate CO2 emissions. The physics can’t reliably tell anyone that.

      • the natural hypothesis need to show how Anthro is ruled OUT

        No! The natural cycle shows how the Anthro is not significant.
        Anthro is likely there, but it is so tiny that it does not show up in the data enough to exceed the errors in natural cycles.

        The alarmists must show how it can be ruled IN without cheating.

      • climate reason: “I am always bemused why ice cores are thought to be a reliable proxy for global temperatures.”
        Steven Mosher: “europe is not the globe. antartica is not the globe. greenland is not the globe.”

        IPCC does not seem to be bemused to the same degree:
        “Resources available prior to the instrumental period—historical sources, natural archives, and proxies for key climate variables (e.g., tree rings, marine sediment cores, ice cores)—can provide quantitative information on past regional to global climate and atmospheric composition variability and these data contribute another line of evidence. Reconstructions of key climate variables based on these data sets have provided important information on the responses of the Earth system to a variety of external forcings and its internal variability over a wide range of timescales (Hansen et al., 2006; Mann et al.,2008). Paleoclimatic reconstructions thus offer a means for placing the current changes in climate in the perspective of natural climate variability (Section 5.1).”
        (Ref. IPCC,WGI, AR5, 1.2.3 Multiple Lines of Evidence for Climate Change)

        From Lloyds it is indicated that:
        “Figure 3 gives the Holocene to 10 000 years before present from the Vostok website10. The relative temperature, ∆T, was given by:
        ∆T = (∆δD – 8∆δ18O)/9 (1)
        where ∆δ18O is the globally averaged change from today’s value of sea water δ18Osea, and 9 parts per thousand per oC is the spatial isotope/temperature gradient derived from deuterium data for the region of East Antarctica near Vostok11.”
        “A single site on earth cannot describe the global climate, but it can clearly track changes in global temperatures to a reasonable degree. Certainly all relatively deep ice cores record a steep rise in temperatures at around 11 000 YBP marking the start of the Holocene, and the anomaly at 8200 YBP is equally clear in most records.”

        It can´t both be right that Lloyd cannot estimate global temperature and variance while IPCC can retrieve quantitative information on past regional to global climate from the same data.

        (I assume that the same data are involved. I don´t know if that is correct.)

      • McIntyre’s current analysis of Ocean2K seems to indicate that alkenone data correlates with some ice core proxy temperature (anomolies?) SST data. This is the kind of work that needs to be done in order to gain confidence in this or that proxy.

        Since the ocean is the dog wagging the global surface temperature tail and the alkenone samples are widely distributed, this solid study of his is significant to the global warming issue.

        From his article (a comment from him):

        Steve: I’ve seen contour maps of the world ocean constructed from core top alkenones and the results were impressive. I’ll try and locate one. Also, alkenone series (and Mg/Ca) series over the Pleistocene have impressive correlations with Vostok ice core results. The coherence of such disparate proxies gives me considerable re-assurance that they are actual PROXIES rather than squiggles.

        The comment:

        The article:

      • Mann et al. 2008 used a multitude of proxies while Lloyd used only a few. So unless these ice core data is a proxy of global temperature, which I doubt, my argument above is invalid.

    • That Lloyd paper is all kinds of dumb – the sort of thing that could only appear in E&E. As Mosh says, a Greenland ice core is not the globe. But it’s not so much the Greenland might be peculiar. Any single site anywhere will show much more variability than an average of thousands. Boston annnual since 1900 has a standard deviation of 0.72°C. London 0.71. Lloyd quotes the sd of HADCRUT as 0.26°C. His ice cores show variability of 0.98°C, and he thinks that applies to the global average.

      And yes, as Tonyb says, he isn’t a physicist and clime researcher, and IPCC lead author (assessment). He is a mining engineer and consultant, who once had a bit part in a IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage.

      • Nick

        It’s a bit of a shame that some sceptics saw this paper as so significant. It’s interesting but no more than that.


      • This is a disturbingly common problem. For instance, it showed up in the book Climate Change: The Facts which had authors like Anthony Watts, Mark Steyn, Ross McKitrick an Jo Nova. These are all people who want you to take them seriously on the global warming issue, but then they all sign onto a book which says things like (Chapter 5):

        These authors considered January 1969 temperature data for measurement and sampling error, temperature bias effects, and the effect of limited observational coverage on large-scale averages. The analysis revealed worldwide errors in the range of 1-5C for individual sampled area-boxes, i.e. errors that far exceed the total claimed twentieth century warming of -0.7C.

        Despite the claim otherwise by Brohan et al. in their 2006 paper, “Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes”, these results indicate that no statistically significant modern warming will be able to be inferred on the basis of HadCRUT or similar thermometer-based records until the current temperature rises over 1°C above that for 1969.

        The “individual sampled area-boxes” in the sudy it refers to are 1°x 1° boxes. There are 360 longitude degrees and 180 latitude degrees. That means there are 180 x 360 = 64,800 of these area-boxes. That means the book uses the uncertainty we have if we look at less than .2% of the globe to claim we can’t know global warming has happened.

        Given leading names in the skeptic movement sign onto that, it’s no surprise some skeptics saw this paper as so significant. It’s just more of the same ridiculous tactic of conflating small areas with the entire globe when doing so is convenient, something the skeptic movement apparently endorses.

      • Greenland ice cores do not show the temperature in Greenland. Land temperatures do vary more than ocean temperatures. Ocean covers more of the earth and is a better indication of total earth temperature.

        The Greenland ice cores do show the temperature of the oceans in the north polar region. The Antarctic ice cores do show the temperatures of the oceans in the south polar region. The tropical oceans are mixed with polar oceans and the ice cores do reflect the ocean temperature changes. The tight bounds found in the ice cores do show that the earth temperature is regulated by the temperature that polar oceans freeze and thaw. When the polar oceans are thawed, it snows more until they freeze. When the polar oceans are frozen, it snows less until they thaw. It does go back and forth, in the same bounds, in the north and in the south.

        Earth Temperature regulation is very robust. It has the signature of a system with thermostats and powerful forcing that always works in the right direction. The cooling system is turned on and off by thawing and freezing polar oceans.

        Just look at the data. Read the Lloyd paper again.
        It is in line with Pope’s Climate Theory and Ewing and Donn and Wysmuller.

  12. “Sun makes Air: News from Europe” (link: solar-climate relationship) —

    The translation of the site was a bit rough but the message was pretty clear: it’s the sun, stupid.

  13. Quixotically, the most significant contribution during the decarbonization-fixated rule of Obama administration over the last 7 years toward stabilization of an economy that has been clobbered by Leftist-liberal tinkering — from monetary policies that have driven the cost of capital to zero and fiscal policies that have inflated the currency, along with a greater centralization of federal power, expansion of the entitlement state and unleashing of radical religious fundementalism — has been the recent drop in oil prices.

    • “…drop in oil prices.”

      Yep, due almost entirely to fracking on PRIVATE land. Permits to drill on public land have been, at best, slow walked. However, that didn’t stop the Omamanator from taking credit for it.

      • And probably part of typical boom bust cycle typical of US. Overbuilding fueled by low interest, restrictions (ie. Frank-Dodd) and aversion of lending in other markets (housing in particular), and underdevelopment in regions that probably should have been developed first for technical reasons due to political reason (inadequate access to federal lands, Russian/environmentalist interference and manipulation, eg, Poland..).

      • On another hand, there is good reason to save some of our most easily extractable resources for security purposes. But probably better ways to go about it than politically arbitrary restrictions.

  14. Cass Sunstein’s paper concludes “A statement or action can be counted be counted manipulative (when) it does not sufficiently engage or appeal to people’s capacity for reflective and deliberative choice. Some forms of manipulation are egregious, (e.g.,) grossly exaggerated descriptions of outcomes. Some arguable forms of manipulation are milder (e.g.,) framing in terms of loss aversion, tone of voice, and facial expressions to encourage certain decisions. In their troublesome forms, manipulative acts fail to respect choosers … (and) undermine people’s autonomy and do not respect their dignity. From the welfarist point of view, benign, knowledgeable manipulator(s) could make people’s lives go better and possibly much better. But under realistic assumptions, the presumption against manipulation is justifiably strong, because manipulators are unlikely to be either benign or knowledgeable.”
    Sunstein’s points would suggest that some climate advocates are manipulative because they believe they are acting on the right side of the argument considering the common good even though the science is not clear (… after all if the science were clear there would be no debate). Advocates discount and seek always to explain away the lack of clarity in the science (by reinterpreting temperature data sets, selecting historical time periods of hiatus etc. to support their viewpoints. There is a thin gray line between “nudging” (Title of Sunstein/Thaler best selling book) and “manipulation” of people. T.M. Wilkinson “Nudging and Manipulation” (article paywalled at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00974.x/abstract;jsessionid=B9F96C6B2D7D0E249ED23F4B9DB0BC38.f01t04?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage= differentiates nudges based on : (1) publicity and transparency, which claims that Thaler and Sunstein’s own attempt to deal with evil nudges is inadequate; (2) manipulation and autonomy, where the nature and wrongness of manipulation is connected to a conception of autonomy; (3) perversion of the decision-making process – a piecemeal approach, which sorts nudges into easy and hard cases and assesses attempts to pick out certain methods, such as temptation, as manipulative; (4) perversion of the decision-making process which shows why we do not have a clear, complete and correct account of what such perversion is; (5) intentions and nudging’s escape clause, that governments that nudge as Thaler and Sunstein would wish, manipulate because they (absolutely do) intend to manipulate; and (6) consensual manipulation, where it is claimed that manipulation can, with the right consent, be consistent with autonomy.
    Question: is the Administration “nudging” or “manipulating” when it orchestrates letters to the president from hand-picked groups of scientists and retired admirals and generals, etc., implying that these are “independent” however that support its policy agenda… all done for the purpose of shaping public opinion? I call this propagandist manipulation… and a myth. But expect much more of this in the run up to the November Paris climate meeting.

    • I heard Sunstein speak on “Nudge” right after the book came out. I was unimpressed. He was against government restricting liberty, but in favor of nudges. A nudge was when government pushed people to do things government wanted. Without restricting liberty.

      As I recall, he had one reasonable example of a good nudge — he doesn’t think people save enough. And too many don’t take advantage of company matching, etc. So his proposed nudge was to change the default settings when people become employees. Rather than have the defaults be no saving, no match — set them for saving enough to get the full match. Employees still had the liberty to choose whatever saving level they want. The nudge is simply in the default level for those who never get around to doing the paperwork.

      His other examples seemed rather muddled.

    • I read Sunstein’s paper. It felt like trying to read a high school essay, it just kept repeating the same points over and over without actually coming right out and saying anything.
      Lets face it, the whole essay could have been reduced to a few paragraphs.
      However, I understand he is a master propagandist, so I try to learn. What I see is that you need to kill the readers analytic skills by pure drudgery of seemingly rational yet asinine observations. You muddle on with senseless babble, throwing here and there a sentence that makes sense and leads the reader in the direction you want. The reader is so excited about actually comprehending something that they take the statement to heart. You expound on these little ‘comprehensible kernels’ in a friendly and colloquial way, so the reader begins to feel like somehow they are part of the smart crowd since they understand this part.
      But underneath it all you are pushing nonsense.
      Very talented. Very annoying.

      • Getting people to do things they don’t want to do is also an ethical delimma. It is not as simple as a salesman, for example, Willie Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, trying to persuade you to buy something, so he can be well liked, and make some money doing it. It is more trying to change your value system with distortion and untruths so the persons can expand his personal power and influence on a broader scale.

      • @Danley Interesting, thanks. Reference, or maybe just an observation?

        My obvious distate being the question of why the government (Cass’s legacy) is in the business of influencing people’s thinking; not a trait of a Liberal society…

      • @nickels… this response may not be below your question, I had trouble doing that. No that is my own observation not from a reference.

  15. Question: What if any proxies are there to track atmospheric water vapor content (not rain)? Given water vapor is so much stronger of a GHG, for paleo CO2 dynamics to be interpreted wouldn’t you also need to know the relative water vapor for the same time series?

  16. BTW I’m thinking of Ghil and this paper about CO2/temp causality, showing its a chaotic attractor. Trying to reconcile how CO2 *appears* to drive warming in the current period while it clearly lags warming in most of the ice core record. Ghil says that climate sensitivity to CO2 is variable depending on other conditions. The IPCC approach says that water vapor is a co-factor, to the extent added CO2 allegedly launches a positive feedback loop which then accomplishes most of the warming. On the other hand, Salby says CO2 is a co-factor, entirely enslaved to, water vapor content and heat. The Lenton paper appears to show they influence one another in a chaotic non-linear fashion. But it only demonstrates how they are corelated, not the mechanism of correlation. Then I think of the “crazy extreme skeptics” like Konrad who preach that GHGs are actually coolants. I wonder if CO2 can’t act like both an insulator and a coolant at different times as the relative volumes and rates of water vapor and methane and CO2 go up and down. Maybe that’s totally stupid, but I’m trying to reconcile all these different data points with shoddy high school physics somewhere in the back of my head :-)

    • Throw in ever changing ecology and fluidity of minerals.

    • Brian G Valentine

      We recognize the interpretation of “thing having a certain influence sometimes” and “thing having opposite influence other times” as a hallmark of Junk Science and indistinguishable from the interpretation “thing has no discernible influence”

    • Being both an insulator and coolant is normal in the natural world – wool and clouds are 2 examples. In the man-made world, most of the walking clothes are both.

      I’m very suspicious that a combination of water, carbon-dioxide, and microbes in the atmosphere are key.

  17. Oops I forgot to reference “this paper” – Causal Feedbacks in Climate Change http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n5/full/nclimate2568.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201505

    • thanks for this link, looks like an important paper

      • In conclusion, our analysis provides direct confirmation that internal Earth system mechanisms rather than orbital forcing have
        controlled climate dynamics over the Pleistocene cycles. Moreover, they demonstrate the existence and importance of a feedback

        So far, I agree. But the earth temperature has clear indication of a thermostat. There is no way GHG have a thermostat that can turn cooling on and off. It is no accident that every cold time has more ice extent on land and every warm time has less ice extent on land. It is no accident that it snows more when oceans are warm and thawed and that it snows less when oceans are cold and frozen. It is no accident that ice advances after every warm time with more snowfall. It is no accident that ice retreats after every cold time with less snowfall.

        To consider it possible that CO2 regulated temperature during the past million years, when it ranged between 180 and 280 parts per million is really not believable. The oceans are a huge carbonated drink. Of course CO2 went up and down with temperature. Open a hot and a cold carbonated drink. The hot drink has much more vapor pressure of CO2. Consider that effect and you have no CO2 left to do any control.

      • When considering Earth Temperature, there are only 3 things to consider.

        Solar in provides most all of the energy to Earth.
        IR out and Albedo out balances the Solar in and provides most all the cooling of Earth.

        The change in temperature from doubling CO2 is a very small number.

        When Earth is colder, there is always less IR out so Albedo out must be more. When Earth is hotter, there is always more IR out so Albedo out must be less. The temperature change from doubling CO2 is too tiny to change this.

        The last million years saw CO2 swinging between 180 and 280, that is much less than doubling. Only Albedo could have caused the temperature changes. Albedo from ice extent changes. Solar in did not change enough. CO2 could not have caused it.

        They claim the ice extent change was a result of the temperature changes. There was nothing that could have caused those temperature changes other than Albedo, IR went the wrong way.

      • The rate that CO2 leaves the oceans during a warming and the rate that CO2 enters the oceans during a cooling are different. That in itself does not in any way prove that CO2 caused any of the warming or cooling. The CO2 does not cool my carbonated drinks, I use ice for that. Earth adds ice with for cooling by increasing snowfall and removes ice for warming by reducing snowfall.

      • I would expect a warming ocean to give up CO2 from the full volume. I would expect a cooling ocean to take in CO2 only at the surface plus some from rain and snow and not on ice covered surfaces. I would expect the rates to be very different.

    • Rhyzotika: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n5/full/nclimate2568.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201505

      that looks like an important paper. Thank you for the link. I hope that it becomes publicly available soon.

  18. #Airpollution kills 3.3 million worldwide, may double: study says… this will no doubt be taken superficially to suggest that AGW or manmade global warming kills people. You have to read the fine print to understand it is not about that … more and more it becomes apparent that intentional and unintentional poor or miscommunication causes most of the disagreement in the climate change debate… which can include all the way from a) innocently not understanding the topic, to b) intentionally misleading to “nudge” a person or group emotional inclination, to c) intentionally misleading to propagandize in order to force groups of people to agree or conform to a statist position e.g., Herr Doctor Joseph Goebbels head of the Hitler’s Nazi propaganda ministry. I suggest that IPCC should define a code of ethics for communication on climate change to prevent widespread manipulation of thought and even nudging for that purpose…. and to stick to science. All nudging and manipulation are verboten.

    • I suggest that IPCC should define a code of ethics for communication on climate change to prevent widespread manipulation of thought and even nudging for that purpose…. and to stick to science.

      The IPCC has proved, time and time again, that they should not define any code of ethics!!!!!!!! That must be done, but not by the IPCC!!!!

  19. Of course its not going to happen. In fact most all of the UNFCCC 1993 Rio conventions is declarative statement not of fact but unproven science and manipulation to achieve predetermine ends, a false mandate based on doctrine and not science. And this shaped the direction of everything that followed.

  20. “Already 23 Papers Supporting Sun As Major Climate Factor In 2015 …Burgeoning Evidence No Longer Dismissible!”

    … and the first one quoted says:

    “Equatorial Pacific Ocean temperature time series data contain segments showing both a phase-locked annual signal and a phase-locked signal of period two years or three years, both locked to the annual solar cycle.”

    Is this a joke?

  21. New papers on the impact of solar impact on climate [link]
    “This periodicity is significant and consists of two oscillation modes, 60–70 year and 120–140 year variations. In the summer temperatures from the Yamal peninsula (∼70° N, ∼67° E) only a shorter-term (60–70 year) variation is present.”

    That is the mean AMO periodicity, driven by the ordering of solar activity by a Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus quadrature series.

  22. Pingback: Perfect Sunday | The Lukewarmer's Way

  23. Brian G Valentine

    The item on fog and rain in the Tropical Amazon is kind of interesting. Previous GCM simulations of tropical rainfall (as summarized in the IPCC AR and elsewhere) had pretty much uniformly over-predicted rain, and this could ultimately be traced to the “hot spot” in the high troposphere over the Tropics that resulted from greenhouse gas “forcing.”

    Evidently rainfall is heat transfer, and if the GHG idea couldn’t predict rainfall it couldn’t predict much. In fact I am unaware of anything that the GCM predicted correctly within periods of 2+ decades.

    The President seeks to cure Climate Denialism. Maybe there are some pills I can take to help me to overcome my inability to recognize GHG Climate Control as anything more than absolute, unadulterated, nonsense that has become the most damaging thing to “science” since the investigation of “witchcraft” in the New England colonies

  24. A question for Steven Mosher

    How reliable is the application of physics theory to a problem like climate change when all the physical interactions involved are not well understood? The impact of clouds and feedbacks in general are examples. In other words, I am asking how reliable are conclusions drawn from applying physics in the face of an incomplete knowledge of the physics involved?

    Note: This is a question from a non-physicist not an attack by a climate partisan. My question arises because of the Theory of Second Best from economics, which roughly states that if one or more conditions of a general equilibrium optimization are not met, the resulting optimization will not be the same as would result if all conditions were met.

    • When theory leads to models and the models have output that does not match real data, then the models may, or may not, have correctly modeled flawed theory. In any case, wrong is wrong. Do not use that output to do stupid measures to fix a problem that does not show up in real data.

    • Giw2

      This is a question I frequently ask mosh although you state the case more Completely than I do.

      What works as a demonstrable theory in a laboratory may not work in the real and very complex world. The scientific community do not help themselves by ignoring historical climatology which shows that extreme events are rarely unprecedented and neither is our weather or climate.

      they are further not helped by attributing mystical powers to novel proxies such as tree rings and corals.


      • “What works as a demonstrable theory in a laboratory may not work in the real and very complex world.”

        Its funny.

        we see that the trace gas c02 influences plant growth in controlled experiments.

        No skeptic I know of including you doubts that this transfers to the real world.

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh: your line of effluvia is tired.
        Do you contest the fact that increased CO2 levels increase plant growth?
        If so, your view is in contrast it thousands of commercial greenhouse operators who routinely enrich the atmosphere in their greenhouses, it flies in the face of most, if not all relevant botanical research.
        in short: whats your point?
        a pissante critique of rhetorical technique employed by a commenter on a blog?
        and this from someone whose responses often consist of this one word:
        “Wrong!” ?
        Increased levels of CO2 have been shown to increase agricultural output in almost any setting imaginable, in labs and in field studies, do you dispute this?
        If not, then your point is another in a series of snarky, equivocating responses.
        BTW: how and why did a group of people, at most loosely associated with UC Berkely, end up with an acronym like “BEST”…why not “IDIOTS” (Independent Dedicated Investigators Obtaining Temperature Statistics)
        I think we all know why…for the same reason you guys coatracked onto Berkely in the first place.
        Harvard Car Wash anyone?
        Princeton Review?

    • You might be over-thinking the situation.

      The physics is simple, but there is a F-Ton of it interacting with each other on a HUGE scale over a LONG time. It’s not possible to accurately model the climate and it is not worth the effort to improve the modeling to inform policy.

      Industrial activity very likely warms the climate. Business as usual will quite possibly be bad for human health and the environment at some point in the future, likely when most of us are dead. It makes sense to find economic ways to stop crapping in our nest. CO2 is the toughest nut to crack, so we should tackle the easier problems first that also cause acute damage to human health and the environment.

      One side thinks everything is just dandy and we can pollute more to grow our corporate masters and the other thinks the sky is falling and we need to bankrupt the world to fix CO2 now and empower our bureaucratic overlords.

    • “How reliable is the application of physics theory to a problem like climate change when all the physical interactions involved are not well understood?

      It beats putting your head in the sand.
      For over 100 years the science community has been trying to refine the initial estimates of how much warming c02 and other GHGs produce.
      Progress has been slow. what’s new?

      The impact of clouds and feedbacks in general are examples. In other words, I am asking how reliable are conclusions drawn from applying physics in the face of an incomplete knowledge of the physics involved?

      Well you can see for yourself. we dont understand clouds very well.
      yet we can build a model of the climate that gets the globall temperature correct– within a couple degrees C. That’s stunning.

      Note: This is a question from a non-physicist not an attack by a climate partisan. My question arises because of the Theory of Second Best from economics, which roughly states that if one or more conditions of a general equilibrium optimization are not met, the resulting optimization will not be the same as would result if all conditions were met.

      well duh.

      • davideisenstadt

        so the result of this effort has been to create models that are accurate to a couple of degrees celsius, thats a stunning achievement, of course the entire increase in temperatures since the mid 1800’s has been about 0.8 degrees celsius, or less than half of the error in the current models. great job mosh…great job.

      • thanks for falling into the trap.

        Since we are concerned with the CHANGE in temperature, we can normalize the bias out by taking anomalies.


        If your prediction is bias high, you bias adjust.

        suppose I guessed your weight for a week


        But your actual weight was

        My accuracy in weight would be low
        My accuracy in CHANGE of weight would be perfect

        Its not a simple problem.

      • davideisenstadt

        Youre a master of equivocation, which if you choose to think for a moment, isn’t really a compliment.
        you didn’t in your comment specify which error you you were referring. Now, to claim that you meant other than the obvious is…equivocating.
        First of all in order to compute an anomaly, you first have to have a reliable baseline to work off of, one thing that you maintain we dont and cant have…”we dont measure GAT…we estimate an index” repeated ad nauseum…so…what do you get you anomaly from?
        a meaningless concept? an index? an estimate of an index?
        Look mosh, youre employed by BEST; at least some of your workdays are spent spreading your line of “reasoning”….
        I understand that… If your claimed accuracy is 2 degrees celsius, its pretty crude when the underlying trend over a century and a half is less than one degree…if the two degree error refers to the anomaly, then the situation is even worse.
        You can put all the mayonnaise you wish onto this pile of chicken excretia…its still not chicken salad…its chicken excreta covered with mayonnaise.
        really mosh…the display you have presented on this thread is beneath you.

      • To be fair he has been consistent with his many viewpoints; that is my only concern.

      • “Youre a master of equivocation, which if you choose to think for a moment, isn’t really a compliment.
        you didn’t in your comment specify which error you you were referring. Now, to claim that you meant other than the obvious is…equivocating.
        First of all in order to compute an anomaly, you first have to have a reliable baseline to work off of, one thing that you maintain we dont and cant have…”

        WRONG. you dont understand how anomalies are computed.

        Its merely subtracting a constant.

        It can be any constant you like.

        sometimes you use the mean of the whole series. otherwise known as scaling.

        Sorry you fell for it

      • davideisenstadt

        well mosh,
        from where do you get the constant?
        what does the constant represent?
        look mosh, while know your educational background; i dont talk down to you, even though your assertions a sometimes those of an english major, not someone who constructed models for a living since 1985, or taught math at a college (undergraduate level for a decade or so). Of course you are an english major, and haven’t taught statistics at a college level for a decade or so, so theres that….
        Anyway, what is the anomaly derived from?
        When you quote an error of 2 degrees celsius and then equivocate that you might have meant an error in computation of change in temperature, but, then again, looking at your choice of words, maybe not, what is one to conclude?
        That part of your job entails fouling boards with your endless snark, equivocation, and dissembling. Its tired Mosh and, until recently, i thought beneath you.

      • David.

        You understand why you fell for it.
        IF you think getting accurate temperatures is important, then 2C error
        will not look accurate.
        IF you thing getting CHANGE is important then you wont be fooled by an offset error.
        But you were not looking for the truth.. you just wanted to criticize.

        Now to your questions

        “well mosh,
        from where do you get the constant?

        1) you can make it up say 15.
        2) you can take thee mean of the whole series
        200,+ 201 etc and then you have an offset from the mean.
        3. You could pick any sub string and use that, then you have an
        offset relative to the period

        With temperature, like a GMC output, I’d just use the whole
        series. But you can check for yourself that the CHANGE is
        independent of the period you pick. Go ahead, try.

        what does the constant represent?

        A) it depends. It can be the mean of the whole series,
        it can be a subset… anything… Guess what…
        algebra works.. the CHANGE is independent of the

        look mosh, while know your educational background; i dont talk down to you, even though your assertions a sometimes those of an english major, not someone who constructed models for a living since 1985, or taught math at a college (undergraduate level for a decade or so). Of course you are an english major, and haven’t taught statistics at a college level for a decade or so, so theres that…

        Its not stats its algebra. look back at the example. calculate the change in weight.

        Anyway, what is the anomaly derived from?
        When you quote an error of 2 degrees celsius and then equivocate that you might have meant an error in computation of change in temperature, but, then again, looking at your choice of words, maybe not, what is one to conclude?

        No equivocation. I said getting within 2C was great.
        YOUR response was that the CHANGE in temps was .8C
        so YOU brought up CHANGE
        I laid a trap, and the college prof fell in

        I will make it simple

        Suppose the true temp in 1850 was 15C
        Suppose the true temp i 2015 is 15.8C

        whats the change?

        Suppose my model said
        the temp in 1850 was 17C
        the temp in 2015 was 17.8 C

        whats the change?

        college boy, whats the change?

        So, we have a model which is biased in absolute terms
        its gets temps wrong,
        BUT in terms of measuring CHANGE it gets things right.

        An we dont even need anomalies to see this.

        can you calculate a slope?
        I knew you could

      • I originally wrote:

        “Note: This is a question from a non-physicist not an attack by a climate partisan. My question arises because of the Theory of Second Best from economics, which roughly states that if one or more conditions of a general equilibrium optimization are not met, the resulting optimization will not be the same as would result if all conditions were met.”

        In response Steven Mosher wrote:

        “Well duh.”

        Ah, but Steven this is where belief/faith gets introduced into economics. Economists that advocate market-based solutions believe that markets are sufficiently close to meeting the conditions to yield favorable outcomes (I’ll spare you the economics lesson here), while those that advocate more command and control have a belief/faith in another solution.

        It seems to me that the same thing is going on with climate science. Those that believe climate models are good enough to foresee catastrophe in the future have placed their faith that their imperfect knowledge of physics is good enough, while those that don’t have the same level of faith in the models beg to disagree.

        Unfortunately in my opinion, this is where the fervency of rival religious groups begins to creep (some would say gallop) into the picture for both economics and climate science, resulting in enshrined positions, cherry picking of facts, and inflexibility of stance.

        Again in my opinion, a little more humility on both sides is in order. I am now focusing my comments toward the combatants of the climate wars only because this is the topic of this blog, but it equally applies to economists. Mr. Mosher you claim that: “…we can build a model of the climate that gets the globall temperature correct– within a couple degrees C. That’s stunning.”

        As true as that may be, this accomplishment of being able to tell us what is happening now is chump change in comparison to trying to assert what will happen by the end of the century. Trying to decide what to do to change the course of the climate is deadly business. Estimates are that 3.3 million individuals are dying prematurely each year from air pollution, providing an argument today for limiting fossil fuel use. Of course many see that the prospect, as remote as it may be, of future annihilation of the human race is even stronger reason to act now. At the same time, 3.5 million individuals (mostly women and children) are estimated to die prematurely each year from the effects burning wood and other biomass in cook stoves, and undoubtedly, many more die of similar consequences of energy poverty, which is defined by the IEA as “the lack of access to modern energy services.” Undoubtedly, fossil fuels and renewable energy sources can overcome energy poverty. However, fossil fuels are ready to do it today at the scale needed to conquer the problem, a problem which impacts more than a billion people. I’m not sure the same claim can be made for renewables, and even if they are up to the challenge, the added costs will slow the process, killing millions of people prematurely in the process.

        Climate scientists have a role to play in this damned if you do and damned if you don’t dilemma. Monopolizing the political debate with such religious fervency over which policy to adopt is analogous to adopting a killer policy by default. In short, I am trying to say it is time for climate scientists to work together in seeking solutions to this very high stakes game. I believe there has to be a policy that will address: those in energy poverty today, those impacted by air pollution today, and those who face the possibility of annihilation from runaway climate in the future. A wicked problem indeed.

  25. F1000 Research just published my latest study: Wojick D and Michaels P. “A Taxonomy to support the Statistical Study of Funding-induced Biases in Science.” F1000Research 2015, 4:886 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7094.1).

    As a follow up I am well into a statistical semantic analysis showing the pro-alarmist bias in US Government funded climate research, plus a bias cascade in progress.

  26. , plus a bias cascade in progress.

    Oh man.. I find that kind of amusing.. I remember saying something about being poked in the eye last time. But just think about the biases that you obviously have given your associations with these ideological organizations.