Week in review – science and technology edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

PNAS:  Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water and solar for all purposes [link]

Nature: Is the 2°C world a fantasy? [link]

VERY interesting: New paper finds length of day (LOD) is strongly correlated to Northern Hemisphere temperatures [link]

West Antarctica is losing ice. Watch glaciologist Robin Bell explain what’s changing & why: [link]

May I suggest another edit? :) Model spread is not uncertainty. http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2015/09/model-spread-is-not-uncertainty-nwp.html

Roger Andrews has just utterly destroyed claims about Syria, drought and migrants. [link] …

On Thin Ice: Big Northern Lakes Are Being Rapidly Transformed by Rising Temps [link] …

A promising idea in complexity theory may help prevent migraines, financial collapses, climate catastrophes & more: [link]  …

“Paying for more wind and solar is less wise than paying for research into [new] technologies.” [link]

How should #China #decarbonise? Teng Fei, one of China’s foremost experts on climate and energy policy explains [link]

Groupthink | The Economist [link]

Stanford Scientists Design Underwater #Solar Cells That Turn Greenhouse Gases Into Fuel [link]

To what extent does government promote innovation? “Bill Gates On Climate Policy” [link]

How fast can we transition to a low-carbon energy system? [link] …

195 responses to “Week in review – science and technology edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review – science and technology edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. VERY interesting: New paper finds length of day (LOD) is strongly correlated to Northern Hemisphere temperatures [link]

    I have been saying, for several years, that the decreasing need for leap seconds, the decreasing LOD, is evidence that sea level is not rising. Now, NASA agrees with me that Antarctic is not adding to sea level. Warm Oceans and more Snowfall is reducing the inertia of earth and causing some of the decreasing LOD. Water is being removed from the oceans and placed nearer the spin axis as ice.

    That also halted or paused the decreasing albedo that has been happening since the coldest part of the Little Ice Age.

    It is good to see that some others recognize these correlations.

    • I wouldn’t start the victory lap quite yet.

      The tea leaves (I am investigating using tea leaves for prediction per a Mosher thread – you have to use fresh leaves) say the trends support you.

      If the inertia isn’t decreasing that would tend to call sea level estimates into question.

      Does any of this give you a 2100 prediction.

      • To get a good prediction for 2100, use the data for 1100.
        This warm period is progressing just like the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods.

      • PA wrote: If the inertia isn’t decreasing that would tend to call sea level estimates into question.

        NO!
        If the inertia isn’t increasing that does tend to call sea level estimates into question.

        Rising sea levels would increase inertia. Increasing ice volume would decrease inertia.

      • Let’s see, moment of inertia…

        More water to the equator – increases the average distance from the axis of rotation, increasing inertia.

        More water from the equator decreases the average distance from the axis, decreasing inertia.

        Higher sea level more inertia, lower sea level less inertia.

        Any ice on the pole has effectively no effect on the moment of inertia.

        Higher inertia = slower spin rate.
        Lower inertia = faster spin rate.

        So if the sea level is rising we should be slowing down with more leap days and perhaps a run day and a walk day or two.

        Fewer leap days means sea level rise is a fijement of someone’s computer algorithm.

        Well, you really are confirming what I’ve contended for a while that the tide gauges measure sea level rise and satellites measure the differential of sea level rise and land fall + plus a gratuitous 0.3 mm/y.

        The satellite sea level change can be converted to real sea level change by subtracting 0.3 mm/Y and multiplying by 2/3rds.

      • Any ice on the pole has effectively no effect on the moment of inertia.

        Correct, except that ice came from water that was in the oceans, around the equator, and that did have a huge effect. Huge to no effect is a huge change.

        The pole is a point, a tiny amount of ice is in the column below a point, every thing outside the column below the point does matter.

    • First, NASA does not agree with you. A scientists who works for NASA used a method that shows gain; other methods show loss. NASA probably agrees with me: stay tuned.

      • JCH
        Hone your template for trying to destroy inconvenient studies because more such studies will be forthcoming and not just for Antarctica. Needless to say you need work since your argument is unconvincing.

      • More studies will be forthcoming. Since the physics is that the earth eill be warming a lot, most studies will correct bad historical records in that direction, and find more evidence of warming of the earth.

      • Jch

        Yes, the met office generally agree with me, so between us we set the agenda for the worlds two leading temperature data agencies. :)

        Tonyb

      • NASA does agree with me.
        http://www.earthweek.com/2015/ew151106/ew151106a.html

        Antarctica Gaining More Snow Than It Melts

        The NASA finding seems to contradict earlier studies that suggested melting Antarctic glaciers are contributing to global sea level rise.

      • Look at the map of Antarctic. It shows that huge areas are gaining ice and tiny areas, by comparison, are losing ice.

        EarthWeek keeps links to past stories on their homepage. I can find no links to the Antarctic Ice Story. No one would find it if they had not saved the link to it when it was posted. I suspect they may even take that down.

        I contacted Earthweek in 2010
        Re: Proof NOAA Climate Models are Wrong

        The editor wrote back:
        I will not be engaged in a climate change denial conversation.

        Now he is making access more difficult to a NASA story that does disagree.

        In 2013, he told me:
        Perhaps you should get your head out of the Medieval Warm Time and into the modern scientific consensus. Climate change deniers are rapidly becoming part of the fossil record. I have no patience with this, so if you don’t like what you read in Earthweek please move on.

        Now, I like something I like I read in Earthweek and he makes it hard for others to find it.

        He does publish lots of stuff I like, but he does not like why I like it. More and more stories do prove the consensus wrong.

      • Earth warmed out of the little ice age because it was supposed to warm out of a cold period. I don’t dispute the warming, I celebrate it. Warm times are when the oceans thaw and rebuild the ice on earth for the next cold period, in a few hundred years.

      • David Springer

        Great find, Pope. NASA found that Anarctica snow accumulation is actually decreasing global sea level by .23mm/year. IPCC had claimed it was adding 0.27mm per year.

        From the horse’s mouth on October 30, 2015:

        https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

        Full paper (open access):

        http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/fasttrack/igsoc/00221430/j15j071_1446132589095.pdf?expires=1448806388&id=guest&checksum=C82EF18599F646AEC1671887A1C2DBCA

        JCH STFU EFSAD ETC HAHAAHAHAA

    • You understand that the proposed correlation is with the underlying natural variation AFTER anthropogenic warming has been removed from the signal?

      Even so it is an interesting proposition.

      • The proposed correlation is natural and does trump the anthropogenic warming. After the natural correlation is accounted for, there is nothing left for the anthropogenic part. It is zero, plus or minus whatever the tiny effect it might have. If it has a large effect, that will be overpowered by the natural cycle. It is very robust.

      • You must find deviation from the data from the Roman and Medieval Warm periods and you can say that might possibly be anthropogenic, but there is no deviation. You get zero, plus or minus a tiny margin.

      • Clearly you didn’t read the paper:

        “we use a more recent and comprehensive ensemble of energy balance and coupled model results, incorporating both natural and anthropogenic forcing (Mann et al. 2014 – henceforth 81 MSM), to correct Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperatures;”

  3. From the Cawley article above: “observations are running cold”

    I left a comment asking when “observations running cold” turn into “models running hot” – we’ll see if it gets approved.

    Given the apparent consensuality (deliberate word conflation) of the article in general, I hold out little hope.

    • The head of GISS and a number of people in the climate community seem to believe the models are right and the world is wrong.

      This results in some counter-intuitive headlines. Claiming that the model of a system more accurately models the behavior of a system, than the system itself, is a bold assertion.

      • I never seem to find a good place to post this.

        Judith, I firmly believe you and most of the good people here are wrong about the Lamar Smith thing.

        Scientists (like anyone, really) should be able to entertain an expectation of privacy regarding their communications with each other, whether they are made on the government’s dime and the government’s servers or not.

        Many of you lament the rise of politically correct ‘communications’. Surveillance will increase it in both quantity and degree.

        And some day someone like Raul Grijalva will have Lamar Smith’s position.

        End of rant.

      • aswfuller2 | November 28, 2015 at 7:54 pm |
        I never seem to find a good place to post this.

        Judith, I firmly believe you and most of the good people here are wrong about the Lamar Smith thing.

        You are simply wrong. Totally and completely wrong. Your argument is totally and completely without merit. You have left the reservation.

        In the private sector – if management wants to see your emails – they see your emails.

        These are government employees. Congress is their employer. Congress writes their paychecks. Congress determines what tasks they are assigned to by allocating funds. Their expectation of privacy if their employer (Congress) asks is zero, naught, nil, nada, squat, zilch, zip, zippo, diddly squat, goose egg, zot, aught, bugger all.

        This isn’t a hard concept. If your boss wants to know what you are doing you either tell him or hit the road.

        Congress should defund the entire department until they comply.

        This is frequently compared to Congressman Raul Grijalva inquisition of skeptics. This isn’t apples and apples, that comparison is apples and deer. They aren’t even in the same kingdom (a phylogenetic reference). Congressman Raul Grijalva questions were specifically about information outside of the scope of the skeptics government activities. Unlike Lamar Smith who is extremely interested in the government activities of his employees..

        People in technical areas frequently operate under NDAs. Someone under an NDA couldn’t respond to the good congressman’s query if they wanted to. What the Congressman Grijalva was engaging in was a jack*ss stunt, outright harassment, and completely inappropriate. Besides I don’t believe inquisitions are legal in the US.
        ,
        Government bureaucrats are employees, they are aren’t special, they don’t get to hide information from their employer (congress), they don’t get to tell congress where to go and keep their job. Congress should make an example of Karl and his department.

      • That’s the issue being debated now. NOAA is their employer. Their checks come from NOAA. Congress passes budgets, but doesn’t write checks to them, or “employ” these people in the strict sense of the word. The case can be made that NOAA owns the emails, and would only have to give them up as part of a court order which normally requires a good reason. If Smith gave a good reason people would be on his side, but when the temperature was only adjusted by a small fraction of a degree, and all the data was provided, and independent groups had previously telegraphed this adjustment as needed, it seems stretching it, to say the least, that something grossly wrong happened. He lost his precious pause, the subject of his op-eds where he stuck his neck out to believe in its significance, and now is understandably disappointed that it fluctuated away, but that is not a good enough reason by itself.

      • thomaswfuller2,

        “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”

        If you want privacy, work for yourself. Find a wealthy backer who is prepared to let you do as you wish. Guard your results jealously. Don’t publish anything, in case readers demand to see your workings.

        Some Government scientists seem to believe that they are doing the Government a favour by allowing the Government to pay them for producing nothing of use. No wonder they want to preserve secrecy!

        Actually, this idea could be applied to all Government workers, not just scientists. Any queries relating to work performance or output could be waved aside on the basis that the reasons were private and privileged. All court hearings would be held in secret, to ,protect everyone’s expectation of privacy. No one would be held accountable for anything, or required to provide anything useful to anybody.

        It seems to work for climatology, why not extend the principle?

        Cheers.

      • Jim D | November 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm |
        That’s the issue being debated now. NOAA is their employer. Their checks come from NOAA. Congress passes budgets, but doesn’t write checks to them, or “employ” these people in the strict sense of the word. The case can be made that NOAA owns the emails, and would only have to give them up as part of a court order which normally requires a good reason.

        And the dance continues.

        1. The executive branch has to respond. That is why the administration has had so many hard drive crashes that they must be ordering some of their drives pre-crashed.

        2. They can grill the secretary of state like a piece of fresh tuna and get all her emails… errr, that aren’t on crashed drives or scrubbed servers and they can’t query NOAA flunkies?

        3. This is easy – NOAA responds to the query or they should face a financial penalty in the next budget and there should be a rider on a “must sign” bill to rollback the temperatures.

        If they don’t respond we have to assume something was done incorrectly and force them to undo it.

        This isn’t rocket science, if there wasn’t anything to cover up, they wouldn’t be covering things up. I just can’t understand what they were doing that was so dishonest that they have to hide it. I expect the emails will lead elsewhere to some other lies or untoward influence because this is too much smoke for so small a fire.

        [Snicker] if someone releases the requested information – ala climategate it might prove all the claims of deniers about the temperature adjustments are right. That would just toast global warming as an issue.

        On the other hand they just may be emailing dirty pictures.

      • If Smith is serious, he would have had a bipartisan select committee and an official investigation by now like they did with Benghazi. This all looks very half-hearted and individually driven, which may be why NOAA isn’t taking him seriously.

      • The Washington Post also talked to an author of the study who retired from NOAA in July about the “rushed” accusations. Thomas Peterson, who is now at the World Meteorological Organization, explained that there had been some tension between researchers and computer engineers behind the code that worked through weather stations on land for abnormalities. The engineers wanted to keep testing their code, and the researchers chafed at the wait. “We’re talking about a time lag of years between the science and when they thought the software testing would be ready because of this question of whether one piece of software might develop a glitch,” Peterson told the paper. The submission of that dataset for peer review in early 2013 was apparently delayed six months for that software testing.

        If this is the “rush” that Rep. Smith is referring to, it relates to the land surface temperature dataset, which was simply expanded to include more stations. That change had very little to do with the increase in the warming trend since 1998. The reported warming was almost entirely due to the updated sea surface temperature data. …

        Lol.

    • Ticketstopper, approved and answered.

      PA, no models are also not automatically right, but observations also have errors, known and unknown errors. If there is a difference, both models and observations can be the reason.

      Do you still remember when the UAH tropospheric temperatures showed cooling? That trend was wrong, the models were more accurate. I am only asking people to consider both possibilities.

      • How about the UAH now, compared to the models? Which is “more accurate”?

      • “That trend was wrong, the models were more accurate.”

        The models were different. If the models are off by a factor of 3 (trendwise) they aren’t more accurate.

        Further, there seems to be some confusion (any real scientist correct this if it isn’t accurate) about the atmosphere. The lower 450 meters (the surface layer) is relatively independent of the upper atmosphere.

        It isn’t hard to have an upper atmosphere trend different than the surface layer.

      • If this character is any good, he will be able to show us which models are “more accurate’ than UAH, or any of the other temperature series.

      • Don

        Victor is a highly respected scientist. It is very good to see him commenting here. Hopefully he will fully answer any questions.

        Tonyb

      • When data disagrees with models, you don’t know why. Could be the model. Could be the data.
        Jesus do I have to quote Feynman on this again.

      • Don Monfort: How about the UAH now, compared to the models? Which is “more accurate”?

        I do not know. That is exactly what I mean with that we should study both options.

        Given that the difference is mainly due to the missing tropic hotspot in the satellite temperature trend, it seems more likely than not that there is some problem with the satellite trends.

        The tropical hotspot 1) is seen in some radiosonde datasets, 2) it is seen in radiosonde winds, 3) it is expected from basic physics (that we know that the moist adiabatic temperature profile should be a good approximation in the topics due to a lot of convection), 4) you see the strong response of the troposphere compared to the surface at shorter time scales and 5) it is seen in climate models.

        But we will only know this with confidence when we find the reason for the problem with the satellite trends or when we find problems with all of the other 5 pieces of evidence against it.

      • I am not impressed so far, Tony.

        “the models were more accurate”

        He is not talking about the models. He is talking about the mean of the models. Cheap trick.

      • We need to put up a hundred satellites and take the mean. Case closed.

      • Steven Mosher: “When data disagrees with models, you don’t know why. Could be the model. Could be the data. Jesus do I have to quote Feynman on this again.”

        Please do. Dead heroes are very practical. I am sure Feynman even as a theoretician was aware that experiments have errors, including unknown errors.

        This week I saw a leaf dangling in the middle of the air. I did not immediately quote Feynman and claimed to have refuted gravity. I assume it was a spider web, but did not even check.

        And please make the statement that when the UAH trend still showed cooling that the models were wrong then because of that.

      • Models are always wrong. And the average of wrong, is still wrong.

      • “That trend was wrong, the models were more accurate.”

        When model output correlates with data sometimes and not other times, it does not prove the model is right during those times of correlation. That can be and likely is just dumb luck.

        When model output does not correlate with data, during any time, that does prove the model is wrong.

      • Don

        Victor is a practising scientist of some stature. Here is a recent article of his. Sceptics are not always friendly to warmists and vice versa.

        http://variable-variability.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/uk-global-warming-policy-foundation-gwpf.html

        If victor is willing to engage with those here that can only be good for a civilised exchange of views, albeit robustly expressed.

        Tonyb

      • Could be the model. Could be the data.

        Missing ‘Could be the method of comparison’. And of course, ‘some combination of all three’.

        Given the strong dependence of global average TLT trend on the spatial structure of surface warming, a like-for-like comparison needs to account for the difference between modelled and observed surface patterns over the relatively short period of record.

      • From Victors website:

        “The debate is about this minor difference you see at the top right. Take your time. Look carefully. See it? The US mitigation sceptical movement has made the trend since the super El Nino year 1998 a major part of their argumentation that climate change is no problem. When for Lamar Smith such minute changes have “far-reaching policy implications”, the maybe he is not a particularly good policy maker. The people he represents in the Texas TX-21 district deserve better.”

        Actually I thinks this will be a very effective tool for Smith. It is the same tactic the left has used for years. All he has to do is point to some perceived big government conspiracy (data tampering) it will feed on itself and cause a field day for conspiracy theorists. Maybe they can get Oliver Stone to make a movie. Most people don’t pay enough attention so the original piece of propaganda steals the day.

      • I am robustly expressing, Tony. If he is good, he can take care of himself. No need for more lectures.

      • stevenreincarnated

        1. Perhaps something has changed but it isn’t seen by most radiosonde data sets. Have a paper where the split is at least even? If not claiming that as evidence against the satellites is weak.

        2. Christy argued that radiosondes weren’t meant to measure wind speeds and so the older ones would be out of transmitting range to quick at high wind speeds to make an accurate comparison. I suppose you can still use it but his argument seems pretty straight forward and I have not seen the countering argument to his objection although there may be one. Have you?

        3. The physics does say it should be there as far as I am aware.

        4. It is there on shorter time scales as measured by what? The satellites or the radiosondes that can’t measure it at longer time scales?

        5. Yes, the models show it there.

      • stevenreincarnated

        I should say in my objection to the radiosonde data sets showing a hot spot that it isn’t at the magnitude predicted by the models and not that none is there.

      • Don

        No lectures, it is just that the alternative is being stuck with Jimd and mosh for scientific opponents. ….

        Tonyb

      • If you go to the most recent post on Venama’s blog, he comments on the Smith-Karl adjustment issue. A point he makes there is that there was a much larger adjustment made recently to create UAH6.0 in the opposite direction, and not a peep from Smith. The whole post is an excellent overview of other relevant adjustments for context.
        http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/

      • This guy will be a lot easier than Mosher for you, Tony. Is that why you want to keep him around? Just kidding, Tony. But if Steven bothers to come back, he will clean VV’s clock.

        “And please make the statement that when the UAH trend still showed cooling that the models were wrong then because of that.”

        Yeah, he would like for Mosher to say that. But I don’t Steven will co-operate.

      • That’s BS, yimmy. Smith is not in charge of oversight of UAH. Do you really think that pointing to other adjustments justifies the Karl adjustment, or is some kind of evidence or proof that Karl was not not influenced by politics, or that Karl followed NOAA established scientific procedures and methods? How so, yimmy? Why do you worry so much about the Congressional investigation if Karl et al done nuthin wrong?

      • DM, Smith keeps citing the satellite data as some kind of truth or standard to which he holds other datasets. If only he knew more about its own adjustments, which perhaps he doesn’t.

      • If models and data disagree, which is wrong? A key problem is that for observational data we do not have a data-model that tells us what we should expect (think of flipping a coin experiment) which then tells us the proper statistical test. In reading hundreds of model testing studies, I have found that some use very vague tests of “goodness” such as pattern matching while ignoring magnitudes or comparison of trends with again no comparison of magnitudes or simply eyeballing the results or comparing with a very large uncertainty zone around the model results or creating an ensemble of 40 models which includes the data. Sometimes differences are “explained” as due to this or that, and therefore excused. The question of how close a model should be to reality to be considered good enough is often not even addressed. Are these good tests? The authors thought so but I don’t always agree.

      • stevenreincarnated, I agree that each of the 5 pieces of evidence that the tropical hotspot exist are not very strong. If you put them against the satellite evidence one by one it would be undecided.

        However, with all five in combination, I see those 5 as stronger than the evidence that there is no tropical hotspot from the satellites and some radiosonde datasets. That is why I wrote it is “more likely than not that there is some problem with the satellite trends.” It is surely not final evidence. For that we need to understand the reasons.

        There is a graph very popular at WUWT, comparing the satellite and radiosonde trends with the models for the tropic hotspot. (The two satellite and various radiosonde datasets are averaged so that you cannot see they do not agree amongst each other.) I would not see that absence of the tropic hotspot as a strong point for the satellite datasets.

      • Your answer appears to be 20 years, albeit with a number of qualifications.
        So, we’ll see in 2 more years.
        In the meantime, should the massive changes engendered by a crash decarbonisation program be forced into society?
        I’d also note that there are any number of fundamental problems inherent with the present models and the phenomenon being modeled – which combined with the high level of divergence vs. observations to date, in turn gives me very little confidence in said models.
        Equally, the attempt to conflate observational error vs. model error is not a good one. Unlike the models, the observations arise from a tremendous variety of sources over a huge span of time; the possibility of a systemic bias in even a large portion of the record is, frankly, ridiculous.
        For example, the ongoing attempts to prove the Medieval Warming Period wasn’t really warm. What a ridiculous waste of time.

      • David Springer

        @Victor

        We can’t trust the models or the data but we’re supposed to trust in actionable conclusions based upon them.

        Does not compute.

      • Ticketstopper: “the possibility of a systemic bias in even a large portion of the record is, frankly, ridiculous.

        Thus it is not an empirical question whether urbanization has warmed the climate record, it is ridiculous to even see this as a theoretical possibility?

        Thus the raw trend of the satellite temperatures, which is too small due to changes in the orbit, is better than the dataset produced by Chris Christy and Roy Spencer?

        Thus the adjustments made by Leif Svalgaard to the historical sunspot datasets are ridiculous?

      • Victor, With regard to the hot spot, I have never understood the argument that wind speed was a better measure of temperature than the thermometer. I do know that the wind speed is very noisy with ground observations showing noise in many cases equal to 100% of the average value.

        The issue of the theory of the hotspot I think depends on the lapse rate theory. But the tropics are dominated by convection, a notorious ill-posed problem. It seems to me quite possible that the theory may not capture all the effects due to precipitation, clouds, etc.

      • David Springer, whatever you decide, there is always uncertainty. Whether you marry someone or invade a foreign country, you never know the consequences exactly.

        The discussion we are having here is about a few tenth of a degree Celsius, not about the existence of climate change. The large uncertainties are in the impacts, if only because it is nearly impossible to say how humans will react.

      • dpy6629, I also did not claim that the evidence from the wind patterns for a hot spot is stronger by itself. Just that it is one of 5 different pieces of evidence in favour of a hotspot.

        It could be that there is no tropical hotspot. In that case less heat radiation would disappear to space and the climate sensitivity would be higher.

      • That’s more BS, yimmy. We are not surprised. You didn’t attempt to answer any of my questions.

        UAH is not the issue. The issue is that NOAA whistleblower SCIENTISTS have alleged to the appropriate Congressional oversight committee that something is fishy with Karl et al. You can whine all you want about Smith’s politics and his motives, but his investigation is well within his powers and responsibilities. NOAA is obligated to comply by the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions affirming broad Congressional oversight powers. Period.

        Do you care about the Constitution, or don’t you? Have you ever whined about Democrat controlled committees looking into alleged misdeeds of Republican administrations? I freaking doubt it.

        Who is going to keep checks and balances on the federal agencies if Congress doesn’t do it, yimmy. Your hero Obama has taken away the power of the federal agencies Inspector Generals to do their jobs. This crap is atrocious. This is from the New York Times. Not your favorite huffpo, but close:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/28/us/politics/tighter-lid-on-records-threatens-to-defang-government-watchdogs.html

        “This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,” said Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system. “It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.”

        “In a rare show of bipartisanship, the administration has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans. The Obama administration’s stance has “blocked what was once a free flow of information” to the watchdogs, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing.”

        Even lapdog Leahy sees the problem. Federal agencies under Obama’s rule have become essentially immune from oversight. The IRS clearly discriminates against a certain political class, shreds disk drives, can’t find backup tapes, takes the fifth and nothing happens, because the Justice Department turns a blind eye. Now we have an intelligence scandal with whistleblowers at CENTCOM alleging that intelligence on ISIL was doctored to fit Obama’s bogus narrative. A freaking Major General has blatantly deleted emails sought in the Pentagon IG’s investigation and he hasn’t been fired or put in jail. What are the chances that Hillarity will face any consequences for mishandling just about everything she has touched?

        If this is allowed to go on, what will The Donald (or Ted Cruz) do when he takes over, yimmy? You will be screaming then.

        Do you have any clue about the seriousness of this, yimmy? Or are you strictly a hardwired pre-programmed ideology directed drone?

      • David Springer

        You wrote down a bunch of words that didn’t answer the question, Victor. Try again.

      • DM, you wondered why Smith would care about NASA data adjustments. I answered that he relies on it. I am not going into the rest of your diatribe, as it seemed irrelevant to this point.

      • Victor Venema, thank you for stopping by.

        see those 5 as stronger than the evidence that there is no tropical hotspot from the satellites and some radiosonde datasets.

        Is there some mechanism by which the satellites could be missing the tropical hot spot while being accurate everywhere else?

        In your reasons, 3 and 5, are you asserting that there is good evidence that basic science and models are both complete and accurate? My readings reveal incompleteness/omissions and sources of inaccuracy; the models, for example, have number of parameters whose values have been set via sort of “informal” reasoning (aka “guessing”, but informed guessing).

      • You are disingenuously deflecting, yimmy. You don’t know how to be honest. Smith’s liking for UAH, or shrimp, or ice cream has nothing to do with his investigation of allegations from NOAA whistleblower SCIENTISTS that some NOAA sighentists have been influenced by politics and have not followed the agency’s rules. Now bring up UAH again, clown.

      • Matthew, no I have no idea what could be wrong. Zeke Hausfather just tweeted a link to an article suggesting that in future the adjustments may need to be higher. I did not read this article yet.

        Given the central role in the climate “debate” I have tried to get some colleagues knowledgeable about microwave radiometry enthusiastic about the topic. However, a climatologically short dataset with really difficult trend errors is not very attractive for a better understanding of the climate system. And there are no users the need to know the tropospheric temperature to estimate impacts. Science funding is determined by scientific value, that this dataset has political value does not count.

        In general, it is a hard place to make good measurements. Outliers are often the place where you notice the limits of your methods. To repeat an older comment:

        Radiosonde measurements are difficult. It is called a “hot” spot because the warming is stronger, but actually it is very cold there, one of the coldest places on Earth. Next to producing an unbiased sensor over such a large temperature range, there are measurement errors due to radiation (and little ventilation at low pressure) and wetting of the sensor in clouds and subsequent evaporative cooling. That makes sufficiently accurate measurements very hard and radiosondes are just one-use instruments and their designs have changed / improved over the years, which may cause artificial trends. The hotspot is not seen in the temperature trends directly, but if you look at the changes in the wind patterns, you do see it. Also a radiosonde analysis from this year did find a hotspot. Let’s see if this result holds.

        For the satellite estimates the coldness of the “hot spot” also means that not much radiation comes from the “hot spot”, this while the satellite sees the integral over the entire column and thus has to “remove” the influence of the hot stratosphere above and troposphere and ground below. The latter being exceptionally hot. The satellite estimates come from a number of satellites launched one after another. They have different designs (frequency band and calibration differences), which need to be corrected for. The satellites drift in position and thus measure the temperature during different times of the day and the first satellites did not have fuel to maintain height. All this necessitates large corrections and it is difficult to check whether a good job was done because at any one time, there are normally just a few satellites up in space one can compare with.

      • Dr. Venema, why don’t we go with the ten models that are “more accurate” than the others? Or twenty, if you like. Get rid of that ball of spaghetti that doesn’t look at all credible.

        Hey, we could go with the twenty models that have come closet to observations. Is that OK? Or would you prefer the twenty that are closet to the model mean?

        With the money saved from not having to pay those jokers messing around with all those less accurate models, we could put up some more satellites and deploy more buoys. Or feed the hungry.

      • Don Monfort, it would be more pleasant to have this discussion in a more civilized tone.

        If the “whistle-blower” exists, for which at the moment we only have the word of Lamar Smith, no documents, no known whistle-blower at the scientific integrity office of NOAA. If the “whistle-blower” exists, we still have the problem that the times do not fit. The claim is that the whistle-blower told the scientists in “April, May, and June of 2015” that the study was rushed, but the Science paper was submitted much earlier and the SST temperature dataset that is the cause of the changes is even older.

        Details here:
        http://www.vox.com/2015/11/22/9777582/lamar-smith-noaa

        Also interesting: Coal CEO Thanks Lamar Smith, Asks Him to Expand Probe of Climate Scientists

        Do you really want the government in the business of picking scientific winners and losers by harassing scientists presenting inconvenient results? I prefer freedom of science. In Germany we have that in the constitution. The Americans wrote it into the constitution after WWII. In Germany the actions of Lamar Smith would be completely illegal.

      • Don Monfort, having less models sounds good to me. I like observations. Have been working with observations for most of my career. And we could use a lot more climate-quality observations.

        Who would you like to be the person to select which of the climate models of groups from all over the world have to stop developing the model they have invested their career in? The UN, Obama?

        I would not select models based on their reproduction of the temperature trend. That would lead to an underestimation of the uncertainties. If we would select the models with the best reproduction of the cloud fields, which is a main source of uncertainty in climate projections, this set of models would have a higher climate sensitivity.

      • Victor, I’m not sure why no hotspot would mean higher sensitivity. It just means that the tropopause theory is missing sonething, which would be a big deal for climate science I think.

      • Dr. Venema, please try to concentrate. The issues raised by the stonewallers and their sympathizers about “whistleblowers”, “timing”, “rushed” “scientific freedom” etc. are red herrings. The Congressional committee that has oversight responsibility for the NOAA can investigate the operations of the NOAA for any reason that even vaguely resembles oversight, any time it desires to do so. Period.

        The oversight powers are implied in the U.S. Constitution and broad powers, including subpoena, to carry out oversight have been defined and affirmed in Supreme Court decisions. Look it up.

        Forget about the red herrings. Those are self-serving partisan political arguments that you wouldn’t hear from the presently aggrieved crowd, if this was a Democrat controlled committee investigating a Republican administration.

        Let’s go over it one more time: Congressional oversight committees don’t need whistleblowers, they don’t need timing, they don’t need allegations and they don’t need to be investigating anything in particular. Put simply, the committee decides if, when and what to investigate. Feel free to complain about fishing expeditions. That’s standard whining from the targets of investigations.

        The NAOO apparatchiks don’t get to decide when they will be investigated, and they don’t have any right to not co-operate with an oversight investigation. That includes government employed scientists. Period.

        Are you sure you don’t have legislative oversight of government agencies in Germany? Who looks out for the folks?

      • You must have been thinking about how it was done in the old East Germany, doc. It took me a couple of minutes, but here you go:

        http://countrystudies.us/germany/154.htm

        Other responsibilities of the Bundestag include selecting the federal chancellor and exercising oversight of the executive branch on issues of both substantive policy and routine administration. This check on executive power can be employed through binding legislation, public debates on government policy, investigations, and direct questioning of the chancellor or cabinet officials.

      • Don M, Smith changed the rules in January so that the ranking minority member in his committee had no say on subpoenas, so now we are left with a situation where an individual Senator with conspiracy ideation can go rogue and after anyone he chooses. As a committee they should have a mandate, and they would use their power responsibly, but left to individuals you get things like this that resemble McCarthyism: persecution based on prejudice and partisanship. America went through that before, and it was not a good episode. There were checks and balances that made sense before January.

      • On the other thing:
        “Who would you like to be the person to select which of the climate models of groups from all over the world have to stop developing the model they have invested their career in? The UN, Obama?”

        OK, you got me there. Since the modelers have invested their careers, we can’t cut them off now. We are sure you feel the same way about the coal miners.

        Let’s leave it at that.

      • I seems like Don is saying that it really doesn’t matter if it’s all about politics(riling up the base), he likes it so they should do it .

      • Don Monfort, the democrat ranking member of the Science committee does not agree with your assessment of the legal situation. I am happy to let the courts decide on this issue.

        For me as a citizen it is important whether there is an initial suspicion. If there were, I would say Smith does his job. Although I would guess there are surely lower oversight departments and Congress should only jump in when they fail. The issue is really much, much too small.

        If there is no reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, which is my current assessment, then as a citizen I would see this as political abuse of government power, an attack on the freedom of science, an enormous waste of taxpayers money and the time of our people’s representatives. Even if that were legal, as a citizen I would not re-elect such a Congressman.

        Knowing some key scientists at NOAA and because the other datasets find the same results, I am confident that there will be no wrong doing in the emails. But there will always be something to spin.

        The problem is, we can get rid of Lamar Smith, but his “donors”, the companies that legally pay him bribes due to Citizen United, will just hire another dancer. The “donors” will always win, either they get a scandal because NOAA seems to have something to hide or they get another smear campaign by selectively quoting from the emails like they did with climategate. Whether there was wrongdoing or not, there is always some selective quote in the emails Rush Limbauch and Alex Jones can get high blood pressure about.

        We really need to get money out of US politics, the population agrees about this with large majorities, Republicans to Democrats are equally disgusted. Wolf PAC has a good plan to make this happen.

        P.S. The link in my last comment was broken: Coal CEO Thanks Lamar Smith, Asks Him to Expand Probe of Climate Scientists

      • The majority party can change rules, yimmy. Nothing new about that. Remember how the Dems passed Obama care by hook or by crook?

        Keep up the disingenuous deflecting, and the whining, McCarthyism blah…blah…blah.

        They must have something to hide, or they would co-operate. We expect them to to eventually employ the Lois Lerner defense;crashed hard drives. lost backup tapes, take the 5th.

      • The majority party can change rules, yimmy. Nothing new about that. Remember how the Dems passed Obama care by any means necessary.

        Keep up the disingenuous deflecting, and the whining, McCarthyism blah…blah…blah.

        They must have something to hide, or they would co-operate. We expect them to to eventually employ the Lois Lerner defense;crashed hard drives. lost backup tapes, take the 5th.

      • Lois Lerner defense;crashed hard drives. lost backup tapes, take the 5th.

        Oh lawdy, Don. Your conspiracy slip is showing. Trying to fool the world, eh?

      • Don M, so if for balance, someone wanted to check all the whistleblowers emails to see if this accusation is just as political as it looks, how would they go about that?

      • Don Monfort | November 28, 2015 at 6:13 pm |
        On the other thing:
        “Who would you like to be the person to select which of the climate models of groups from all over the world have to stop developing the model they have invested their career in? The UN, Obama?”>/i>

        That is easy to solve – run least squares deviation on the models vs real data (after firing the data adjusters so the modelers have a fixed target).

        The 10% of models with the largest least squares deviation should be given a 5 year debarment. This would discourage modelers from using absurdly high CO2 forcing.

        Some of the modeling groups have used absurdly high forcing for years with no repercussions. Congress should change that.

      • That’s the old familiar and worn out Climategate defence: What if the skeptics emails got stolen..bwahhahhahaaa!

        You wanna see the whistleblowers emails, yimster? (1)You could ask Chairman Smith. (2)You could use your mighty brainpower and financial resources to help the Demos win back control of the House and ask their Chairman.

        I would say try (1). More likely to be effective, in your lifetime. And keep up the whining. That obviously makes you feel better.

      • Jim D | November 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm |
        Don M, Smith changed the rules in January so that the ranking minority member in his committee had no say on subpoenas, so now we are left with a situation where an individual Senator with conspiracy ideation can go rogue and after anyone he chooses.

        You have that backwards. Lamar Smith’s action would stop Eddie Bernice Johnson from going rogue and attacking skeptics. Eddie has had some ethics issues and isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

        If Rep. Raul Grijalva was on the committee Smith’s action would be mandatory. In my opinion Rep. Raul Grijalva is a complete idiot and sets such a high standard in this regard that we probably won’t see his equal for a while.

        It would be helpful in the future to use the congressman’s actual names so it is clear who you are referring to.

      • David Springer

        Victor, your description of microwave sounding units is badly flawed.

        For the satellite estimates the coldness of the “hot spot” also means that not much radiation comes from the “hot spot”,”

        Signal strength doesn’t vary much by altitude.

        The weighting factor for the surface vs. mid-troposphere is 3 and 6 respectively. The tropopause is only 8.

        “this while the satellite sees the integral over the entire column and thus has to “remove” the influence of the hot stratosphere above and troposphere and ground below.”

        That’s wrong too. Central frequency changes with pressure. That’s really easy to separate. It’s like tuning different stations on a radio. There’s no bleed at all from either distant or adjacent stations.

        Your description of radiosondes (which I was actually launching, tracking, and recording in the US military circa 1975) isn’t any better. I was also well schooled in radio frequency theory and practice including microwave. You obviously were not. Why would you presume to lecture out of ignorance when it’s so readily apparent to others who know better? That seems to be typical in climate science. Color me not impressed.

      • David Springer, then we are colleagues. For my PhD in remote sensing of clouds, I also launched radiosondes. Not that that helped me understand the measurements errors, but I knew how fill a balloon and operate the machine.

        The satellite looks down and gets one value for the entire column. Making (forward) model assumptions of how the atmospheric column below looks like you then estimate the weights (height profile) where you think the signal comes from. The height profile of the weights spans an enormous range and for most frequencies is non-zero at the surface. Thus you also see the surface.

        If you want to get a better height resolution you need to use various angles or combine the signal of different frequencies. In each case again making assumption on how horizontally homogeneous the atmosphere is and how the pressure and temperature profiles typically look like.

        From Wikipedia: Channel 2 or TMT is broadly representative of the troposphere, albeit with a significant overlap with the lower stratosphere (the weighting function has its maximum at 350 hPa and half-power at about 40 and 800 hPa). In an attempt to remove the stratospheric influence, Spencer and Christy developed the synthetic “2LT or TLT” product by subtracting signals at different view angles; this has a maximum at about 650 hPa. However, this amplifies noise,[17] increases inter-satellite calibration biases and enhances surface contamination.[18] The 2LT product has gone through numerous versions as various corrections have been applied.

        Another methodology to reduce the influence of the stratosphere has been developed by Fu and Johanson,[19] the TTT(Total Troposphere Temperature) channel is a linear combination of the TMT and TLS channel: TTT=1.156*TMT-0.153*TLS for the global average and TTT=1.12*TMT-0.11*TLS at tropical latitudes.

      • Don, if we don’t get both sides emails to the same extent, it is just a partisan “investigation”, and those don’t work out well for getting at the full truth behind the situation, but actually Smith is not interested in whether his whistleblower is just being political, or possibly already knows that he or she is, and so he won’t want those emails out too. He is operating an openly political sham of an investigation that actually has nothing to do with data and methods of adjustment, and more to do with victimizing scientists with inconvenient results. Everyone knows this including NOAA which is why they stand behind Karl rather than the whistleblower.

      • I almost missed out on this gemstone:

        “For me as a citizen it is important whether there is an initial suspicion. If there were, I would say Smith does his job. Although I would guess there are surely lower oversight departments and Congress should only jump in when they fail. The issue is really much, much too small.”

        You would guess there are surely…. Which is it? You “would guess” or “there are surely”? You really don’t have a clue. Aren’t you a German citizen? You didn’t know that there is legislative oversight and separation of powers in your own system of government. You know less about our system. Get in touch with Chairman Smith and give him your opinion on which issues are too small, much too small. Tell him you are going to move to Texas and become a citizen. That ought scare him.

        Read more, comment less.

      • Oh, I forgot one. (3) You could file a FOIA, yimmy. As long as the NOAA apparatchiks are stonewalling with that BS ‘scientists are exempt from oversight’ ploy, they couldn’t give you anything. But eventually the courts will order them to give up the emails that belong to the people. Go for it.

      • Don, more direct would be a FOIA for Smith’s emails to see what he is thinking and why. Is this all based on his misplaced trust in RSS trends that even its own scientists downplay relative to surface data?

      • Victor Venema, thank you.

        Let’s see if this result holds.

        Good words.

      • Your ignorance is way abundant, yimmy. Check the Constitution. Make sure you have the U.S. Constitution and not some other one. Look at (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1).

      • Don, and you can look at Amendment IV, especially the part about probable cause.

      • Curious George

        Jim D: “If we don’t get both sides emails to the same extent, it is just a partisan “investigation”, and those don’t work out well for getting at the full truth behind the situation.” Please define “both sides”, and why they should be investigated to the same extent. Bankers and bank robbers are usually not investigated to the same extent.

      • The NOAA employees involved in these accusations are Karl and some unnamed whistleblower who seems to have wanted to delay publication of Karl’s paper. On what grounds did he want to delay an already accepted paper? Did someone ask him to? This is equivalent to the kind of information Smith wants about Karl, so it is a way to balance the email part of the “investigation”. NOAA may be able to release both their sets of emails that they deem relevant to these questions.

      • Craig ( and others )

        “If models and data disagree, which is wrong?”

        you never know.

        there are many possibilities.
        1. The theory could be wrong, in part or in whole.
        2. you understanding of the theory could be wrong.
        3. the data could be wrong
        4. both could be wrong
        5. it could be a miracle
        6. if could be a fluke

        From the bare observation that the theory said X, and the observation
        said Y, you simply don’t know. Its where the real work begins,

        1. The theory could be wrong in part or in whole.
        The problem is deciding what Part of the theory is wrong. If you
        take a theory to be a collection of statements joined by logic and math
        Then your problem is deciding which part of the theory needs to be changed. In extreme cases Someone might even suggest changes
        to logic or math. That is, very painful, because it entails changing
        a lot of other theories. So ditching a theory is not a simple matter.
        Because theories are interelated. When c02 increases and the globe doesnt warm… do we take it down to the point where we reverse tyndall?
        and if that gets reversed how much other science needs revision.
        So ditching a theory has a PRAGMATIC component. The theory
        may be wrong in part but it may still be useful
        2. your understanding of the theory may be wrong.

        3. The data could be wrong. Let’s take victors example. I see a leaf
        not falling.. or I see David Blaine levitating. Maybe its an illusion.
        maybe I made a mistake collecting the data. Maybe the instruments
        are bad. I would remind people of the famous example with feynman and solar neutrinos. Theory predicted X. Observations said not X.
        Feynmans response?. We can find anything wrong with the theory or
        the data. We just dont know……….. In the end it was the data– .
        4. Could be both.. Yup
        5. Could be a miracle! Ordinarily people do not come back from the dead. If you buried jesus and then saw him alive afterwards.. you
        might think… hey my theory about death is wrong.. or you might
        think WOAA.. I cant give up that theory… it must be a trick… or you might
        think… hey.. this is something supernatural.. Hume had some things to say here.

        6. Fluke.. repeat the experiment, if you can. This is hard with historical data

        In all of these we see that is NOT the MERE disagreement that DETERMINES our decision. Its not an automatic law: An automatic
        law would say: Observations Always win. or Theory always wins.
        The disagreement is just the begining of the work. which of the 6
        is the case? And of course there are extremes. I see the guy levitating
        and I say… hmm. do I really want to re do all of science to keep that
        observation? how much work is that? Or should I invest time in
        looking more closely at the “data”? I look at the data again and I say..”ahh it wasnt real” Or I dont even look have to look again.

      • You don’t say anything about the Speech and Debate Clause by naming some unrelated other part of the Constitution, yimmy. You are ignorant.

        We are talking about a Congressional oversight investigation of a federal agency that was created by Congress. It belongs to Congress. Congress can erase it, or cut their funds so low they end up being able to pay two employees, minimum wage. You live in a huffpo dreamworld.

        Look at the Supreme Court decisions affirming the broad oversight powers of Congress and see if they say anything about the Congress needing probable cause to investigate a federal agency and the government employees who pretend to work there. Try to get on the right page, or STFU.

      • Victor Venema | November 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm |

        The tropical hotspot 1) is seen in some radiosonde datasets, 2) it is seen in radiosonde winds, 3) it is expected from basic physics (that we know that the moist adiabatic temperature profile should be a good approximation in the topics due to a lot of convection), 4) you see the strong response of the troposphere compared to the surface at shorter time scales and 5) it is seen in climate models.

        You raise a good point.

        The CMIP3 models date to around 2007 (AR4). The hotspot issue would therefore have been cooking for about 8 years.

        If there is no hotspot the models are wrong.

        This resembles climate sensitivity. Anything that might refute global warming if answered accurately seems to get dodged like the plague.

        Why was model activity not stopped until this issue was resolved? If congress blocked model funding until the issue was resolved one way or another I’m quite sure it would be resolved quickly.

        Leaving major issues dangling in the air is the hallmark of global warming. Perhaps emailing Lamar Smith and suggesting that the climate community get closure on the major issues: such as sensitivity and the hot spot as a condition of continuing funding, would be appropriate.

        It is like climate community has ADD. No hot spot, 1.5-4.5 sensitivity with uncertainty of 100% of mean value. Wide estimates of aerosol forcing. Etc. Climate science identifies these issues and starts looking at them then “oh butterfly,.. pretty”.

        Focus people, focus.

      • The Washington Post also talked to an author of the study who retired from NOAA in July about the “rushed” accusations. Thomas Peterson, who is now at the World Meteorological Organization, explained that there had been some tension between researchers and computer engineers behind the code that worked through weather stations on land for abnormalities. The engineers wanted to keep testing their code, and the researchers chafed at the wait. “We’re talking about a time lag of years between the science and when they thought the software testing would be ready because of this question of whether one piece of software might develop a glitch,” Peterson told the paper. The submission of that dataset for peer review in early 2013 was apparently delayed six months for that software testing.

        If this is the “rush” that Rep. Smith is referring to, it relates to the land surface temperature dataset, which was simply expanded to include more stations. That change had very little to do with the increase in the warming trend since 1998. The reported warming was almost entirely due to the updated sea surface temperature data. …

      • Ah, the “retired guy” red herring. Why don’t they just drop the BS and go straight to the disk drives crashed-can’t find the backup tapes-5th amendment-Lois Lerner defense. That’s a sure fire stonewall, as long as lawless Obama controls the DOJ.

      • By definition models are only ever a partial representation of reality. When it comes to evaluating them it comes down to their performance in meeting their intended purpose.

        When it comes to the climate the pressing issue is what will the earth look like in 50 years (say). This is quite different from getting a steer on the local weather in 3 days time.

        For what it is worth I’d say all that we can reasonably expect of the science is to give a rough estimate of the global temp 50 years out (within broad bands), and from a policy perspective that is probably enough.

        Now GCMs were never developed to do that (they were developed to investigate aspects of the way the climate worked), and it is very doubtful they are the best models to do give us a rough idea of the temp in 50 years time.

        So instead of testing GCMs against parameters of evolving climates and arguing about whether what they say will happen in 50 years tells us something about what will happen in 50 years, we should be investing in other forms of modeling better optimised to this task.

        And if we used GCMs for what they are designed for we’d quickly find we didn’t need so many of them, and every major power wouldn’t need to have one or more to fulfill their national pride, and we would significantly disinvest in their development.

      • David Springer

        @Victor

        You’re still talking from ignorance about satellite height resolution and trying to make a literature bluff from wikipedia of all places. Give me a break. Horizontal layers in the atmosphere radiate in different frequency bands. These are easily distinguished from each other and don’t bleed anymore than adjacent radio stations bleed together. The weightings are for signal amplitude not frequency. Looking sideways does not change frequency it changes amplitude in a well known inverse square with distance law. You are talking out of your ass. Please stop.

      • David Springer

        @Victor

        With regard to radiosondes. You were a meteorologist launching balloons and intrepeting the data which in 1970’s was on an analogy strip chart recorder. I was the electronic technician responsible for the precision and accuracy of the equipment you were using. I supervised your use of the equipment. Big difference in roles. You are talking about things out of pure ignorance. The temperature sensor on radiosondes are kept dry by design. Evaporative cooling doesn’t effect them. Ventilation isn’t a problem at altitude either. Horizontal winds take care of that. As a user these are things you should know. So you’re either dishonest or incompetent. I’d guess some of both.

      • David Springer

        Mosher writes:

        “there are many possibilities.
        1. The theory could be wrong, in part or in whole.
        2. you understanding of the theory could be wrong.
        3. the data could be wrong
        4. both could be wrong
        5. it could be a miracle
        6. if could be a fluke”

        He left out his favorite. Unicorns. It could be unicorns. A big stupid unicorn pretending to be scientist that looks surprisingly like Steve Mosher. It could be that too.

      • Ah, the “retired guy” red herring.

        You missed on this one…

        The “retired guy” may have thought it was a “red herring”. The people who talked to him may have thought it was a “red herring”.

        But I doubt the software guys (and/or gals) who blew the whistle thought so. What I’d like to know is whether a political stunt paid for by tax money and used to prop up a major risk to my economy was actually done according to ISO 9000 standards?

        And if not, why not? And to what standards it was done? If any?

        Science in general, as organized curiosity, can go with “best guess” approaches where, say, making aircraft requires higher standards. Which is applicable for the “science” that’s input to political shenanigans in Paris? With the economy everybody depends on at risk?

      • For every example of “adjustments” downward, there are equal if not greater numbers of “adjustments” upward.
        Thus the burden of proof that said adjustments – over the last 200 years much less multiple millenia – are skewed in either direction to a significant degree – is extremely high.
        I’d also note that there was no ideological reason for “adjustments” to be skewed in any one direction prior to the advent of the CAGW hypothesis.
        An equal corollary to the above statement is that “adjustments” made after the advent of CAGW as a political phenomenon are extremely suspect as there is now a clear benefit to doing so (on both sides).
        For that matter, the entire oeuvre of climate models arose specifically in response to the thesis of global warming – it should surprise no one that even the most even minded climate modeler should exhibit at least some confirmation bias with respect to output.
        As someone who has worked with device physics level models for decades, I can personally attest to the myriad ways by which a highly complex problem can get “solved” via confirmation bias – in the absence of empirical data.
        And so, we return to the original point. The original period in which climate models might “diverge” was a decade. Then it was 15 years. Then it became 17 years. Now I hear 20 years.
        I’ll accept that 20 years, but I will accept no further.
        At some point, kicking the can of empirical validation down the road becomes pure charlatanry.

      • I must conclude that a discussion with David Springer is futile. For the other readers two examples that require little background:

        David Springer: “You are talking about things out of pure ignorance. The temperature sensor on radiosondes are kept dry by design. Evaporative cooling doesn’t effect them. Ventilation isn’t a problem at altitude either. Horizontal winds take care of that. As a user these are things you should know. So you’re either dishonest or incompetent. I’d guess some of both.

        The balloon drifts with the wind. That is why the position of the balloon can be used to determine the wind. As a consequence the winds do not take care of the ventilation because there is no net wind. Fortunately the radiosonde swings below the balloon and turbulence may provide some ventilation. Unfortunately icing may limit ventilation again.

        I do not know how David Springer wants to avoid the radiosonde getting wet in clouds and having an evaporation error when the radiosonde comes out of the cloud with a strong tropical sun coming from above and below.

        The right panel of Figure 9.5 of this WMO report shows up to 5°C differences between wet radiosondes when they rise above the cloud top.

        The Vaisala sensor had a hydrophobic coating and Vaisala measurements were clearly not affected as badly as the other radiosonde types on emerging from cloud. The heavy rain that occurred from time to time in Mauritius induced faults in certain types of radiosonde, suggesting that some of the radiosonde types had not been thoroughly tested in wet conditions. Radiosonde systems need to be tested for tropical rain conditions and manufacturers should consider whether the application of a hydrophobic coating to the temperature sensor would improve measurement accuracy in these conditions.

        As Willard would say: I thank you for your concerns.

    • It may not be the models per se running hot, but the forcing they are given running high. For example, a solar weakening would not have been in the forcing and higher than expected aerosol increases, possibly in Asia, would also reduce the forcing. Since all the AR5 models are given the same forcing scenarios, they would all suffer from a mismatch with observations if he forcing was off, so I think it is more likely the uncertainty in the forcing that we see here as a bias. To capture the full uncertainty, you also need to add perturbations to the forcing representing how accurately you know them, and the AR5 set-up did not permit this.

      • Curious George

        Are models based on physics? Can you detach forcings from physics? From Mother Nature?

      • Forcings, for sure, are detached from the model physics. They represent needed inputs, solar variability, volcanoes, anthropogenic additions, that the models can’t predict with their physics. The RCPs specify these.

    • It looks from this graph at Ed Hawkins blog that the models aren’t too far from reality. By this time next year if things go as expected it will probably be even closer to the model average.

      • Joseph,

        But who cares?

        Do you really believe that the climate can be prevented from changing? Maybe reducing CO2 to a specified level which cannot actually be specified by any of the Warmist deniers, will usher in a Golden Age. A chicken in every pot (or suitable vegan alternative), Truth, Justics and the American Way – (and World Peace, of course.)

        You are dreaming I suspect.

        I note the use of the Warmist Weasel Words, of course. ” . . . if things go as expected it will probably be even closer . . . ”

        Or not, as the case may be. The future hasn’t happened yet. Will civilisation (as we know it) really collapse if the models are wrong? Oh well, enjoy your fantasy.

        Cheers.

      • Joseph, Looks like 3C should be the new 4.5C. Normally, I would expect press releases like, “Thankfully, it looks like it isn’t as bad as we thought.” instead of ” the pause is dead!!!”

    • Victor Venema,

      If you have 100 models producing different results, then by definition at least 99 are worthless, if the aim was to produce a model which produced a correct result. Even if one happens to be correct, there is apparently no way of knowing which it is, otherwise there would be no reason to foolishly persist with the other completely useless models

      The models are supposedly based on sound physics, so either the model builders don’t understand physics, or they don’t understand computer programming, or they are trying to predict the outcome of a chaotic system.

      Even a trivial equation such as the logistic map, may evolve to stability, oscillations, chaos, chaos with islands of stability, and so on. It is impossible to always determine the result from a particular input value, without actually performing a suitable number of iterations.

      As well, digital computers are unsuited to the computations required for chaotic systems. For any two binary values expressing arbitrarily small input differences, there is always another to be found, between those two, which is even smaller. Issues of this sort sent Lorenz on his merry chaos expedition.

      If the movements of the atmosphere are chaotic, no useful results (in any practical sense) can be derived from computer models, particularly if those computers are “digital”.

      And so it seems so far. Billions spent, not a single useful result. Nothing better than a child with a straight edge and pencil, or an itinerant thaumaturge, could provide at far less cost.

      Belief in the bizarre beliefs of the Warmist cult may diverting funds from possibly more productive uses. Maybe more teachers, nurses, medical research, more efficient ways of killing complete strangers in foreign lands because you don’t like their way of life, the list goes on.

      Climatology may be the idea refuge for scoundrels, scroungers, and second raters. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of performance measurements or accountability. “Money for nothin’, and your chicks for free”, as the song goes.

      Cheers.

      • As Don said, you need a hundred satellites, and I would suggest each with independent scientific groups processing the data. Two that don’t even agree with each other just doesn’t cut it.

      • “If you have 100 models producing different results, then by definition at least 99 are worthless, if the aim was to produce a model which produced a correct result. ”

        err. No. it is entirely dependent on the use of the model.

        The aim of modelling is to produce a result that is Correct ENOUGH for the intended use.

        Example: In modern day fighter bomber you have a
        model that calculates the dropping of a gravity munition.
        This model is CERTAINLY WRONG. It models the munition as a point mass with a constant drag. But the model has to run really really fast
        because it is used to drive a display for the pilot who must release the munition at the right time. So you have to comprimise accuracy for giving an answer in a timely manner.

        When the munition is dropped it never lands where it was predicted to land. It might be a millimeter off or 10 meters off. But it doesnt matter, because it gets the job done.

        Example: Hurricane prediction. You have a dozen models.. their tracks are all over the place… each and every one is wrong.. but they all
        get used.. for example if they all say “south florida” will get hit, we use that information.. maybe they all predict cat 5 at land fall and its cat 2.
        Doesnt matter, they all get used to alert people.

      • Steve Mosher,

        I believe we are talking about climate models. You may attempt the usual nonsensical Warmist tactics of diversion, if you wish.

        If you wish to disagree with something I wrote, please quote me. If you want to wander off into the Warmist denialosphere, and argue with yourself, be my guest. Just don’t expect me to follow along.

        I prefer to live in the real world.

        Cheers.

      • If you have 100 models producing different results, then by definition at least 99 are worthless, if the aim was to produce a model which produced a correct result.

        One must define “correct result” in order for this sentence to make any sense at all, and you do not.

        If by “correct result” you mean “exact prediction” then every model in every field is worthless by your definition. I challenge to you produce such a model in ANY field.

      • fizzymagic,

        If 100 models produce different outputs, I make the assumption that obviously there was a reason for having 100 different models. I also assume that the same physical laws were used to create the models.

        You are correct that nobody has managed to define the desired result, although it seems to have something to do with predicting future global average surface temperatures, even though this would appear to be a completely meaningless and pointless exercise.

        An understanding of physics might suggest that one model might suffice. If the self appointed climatologists actually had a clue, a useful model based on physics could be refined to the point where it became useful. An example of a useful model might be one that models stresses in an engineering component before manufacture.

        To date, no climate model has produced anything of use, regardless of the substantial computing power that has been applied. As a pleasant form of recreation, playing with computers at someone else’s expense has much to commend it.

        I used to do it myself, albeit in a somewhat different field.

        Cheers.

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote –

        “The aim of modelling is to produce a result that is Correct ENOUGH for the intended use.”

        I would agree. Unfortunately, climate models don’t seem to, unless the intended use is to terrify politicians and similar gullible folks into providing a continuing source of funds to Warmists.

        Why have 100 or more models, all producing different results, if no one can say that one is better than another?

        Maybe history can be changed to fit a particular model. The rest can then be discarded as inaccurate enough for anything useful. Don’t you agree that one useful model is preferable to 100 models that are useless?

        So which of the models predicting global calamity as a result of plant food production gets your nod of scientific approval? Has its internal processes and output been verified by observation and experiment? Does it show the overall cooling of the Earth over the last four and a half billion years?

        If it fails these simple verification procedures, it’s a toy. An expensive toy, but a toy nevertheless.

        Cheers.

      • David Springer

        Mosher writes about models that are “correct enough for the intended use”.

        Great. Find one that’s correct enough to pin climate sensitivity down to a range that doesn’t go from “no worries” to “end of the world as we know it”. Good luck.

      • @Steven Mosher,
        Your example is a poor one.
        Mass decarbonization isn’t a 500 pound bomb with a 100 meter radius of effect – it is more like a nuclear weapon with a kilometer plus impact.
        If the model is unable to even inform whether the world will suffer the core, inner blast, outer blast, or outside of blast radius effect of said nuclear weapon of mass decarbonization, it is quite debatable what value said model is.
        Or put another way – increasingly I wonder if the climate models are the high computation equivalent of the Drake equation – which will say anything you damn well want it too depending on the choice of model parameters.

  4. West Antarctica is losing ice. Watch glaciologist Robin Bell explain what’s changing & why: [link]

    When oceans get warm, Antarctic, Greenland and Mountain Glaciers dump more and more ice and ice cold water into the oceans and on land to provide massive cooling. The warm oceans open and provide more than enough snowfall to replace and rebuild the ice volume. This and the increasing Albedo that comes later after the ice volume gets big enough to advance again, provide the cooling for earth. The temperature that Polar Oceans thaw and freeze provide the thermostat set point for earth. You are watching the early part of the Roman and Medieval Warm periods all over again in the early part of this Modern Warm period.

  5. Judith, you missed the JC vs IPCC short term trends on Ed Hawkin’s blog

    http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2015/near-term-global-temperature-forecasts/

  6. Groupthink | The Economist [link]

    Groupthink indeed, but not *primarily* political in nature. US politics has an asymmetrical alliance with climate culture, same as with religion (but in the opposite direction). Yet both the culture of climate calamity and religion, are viable entities independently of politics.
    https://wearenarrative.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/wiwfig61.jpg?w=640&h=365
    https://wearenarrative.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/2d-religious-map-jpeg.jpg?w=640&h=363

  7. More technotopian nonsense, this time from the University of Michigan.

    This esteemed professor looks at rates of adoption for various infrastructure projects – and then attempts to use said projections for present day technology alternative energy.

    Sadly, Mr. Professor leaves out that the vast majority of previous adoption processes were at a ridiculously lower level of investment – several of which in fact involved little or no government subsidy whatsoever.

    More technotopian nonsense.

  8. Re: VERY interesting: New paper finds length of day (LOD) is strongly correlated to Northern Hemisphere temperatures.

    So his hypothesized connection between LOD & temps is geomagnetic, correct?

    Given Prof. Pratt’s work looking for a climate signal from geothermal heat release, have the two geo-variables been combined to check for stronger correlations with temp?

    No doubt, the respective lag times (magnetic field/atmospheric changes and geothermal heat plumes/currents) and signal-to-noise issues would complicate matters so the precise assumptions applied would impact results greatly.

    • Curious George

      The Northern Hemisphere temperature is subject to doubt. So (to a lesser degree) is the length of day. We are stretching measurement accuracy to its limits.

  9. “On Thin Ice: Big Northern Lakes Are Being Rapidly Transformed”

    On thin ice indeed. The article fails to mention how these big northern lakes take in a lot of waste heat from industrial and municipal processes.

    The lead-in poster child is Lake Baikal, which was heavily polluted during the Soviet era (and now?).

    The next big lake is Lake Superior which froze over last year IIRC.

    This article seems like a rehash of a whinging National Geographic article from a couple of years ago.

  10. Not only was the article about Syria interesting but the comments were equally informative and thought provoking. I spent some time last week looking at the claims of causality between AGW and refugees and it didn’t take long to find out there were many factors at play. But isn’t this common? Any time you do just a little research into such a claim other possible causes surface.
    I looked into a claim that massive migration into the capital of Bangladesh was due to AGW and found in one study alone 20 factors that were affecting the population shift.

    For the feeble minded, one trick pony adherents this seems to work. But for the critical thinkers who insist on multi-variate diagnostics, this stuff is one big Turkey.

    • Cerescokid

      I pointed out the facts of regular historic syrian droughts compounded by a dramatically rising population to Jimd some weeks ago. It is therefore good to see a full scale article on the subject. I hope he will read it and discard his subscription to huffpo.

      Tonyb

  11. May I suggest another edit? :) Model spread is not uncertainty. http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2015/09/model-spread-is-not-uncertainty-nwp.html

    Next to the internal variability there is also natural variability due to volcanoes and solar variations.

    The don’t even suspect that there is a lot of ice on earth and it does make a difference in natural variability.

    They don’t even suspect that A Medieval or Roman or Modern warm period is warmer because there is less ice volume and extent.

    They don’t even suspect that a Little Ice Age is colder because there is more ice volume and extent.

  12. Yet another study about the Antarctic and not a peep about the recent studies identifying levels of geothermal activities greater than previously known. Also, no analysis or quantification of how much the waters have warmed in the last 200 or so years and how does the current calving rates compare to those of previous centuries.
    But the author got her 15 minutes of fame. Andy would be proud.

    • Yep. A sub-glacial ash sheet the size of Wales near PIG, the area is clearly still active…and they just don’t mention it. Wow.

      But that’s the art of climate science in 2015. What you don’t mention and discourage others from mentioning simply goes away. Mention something often enough and it materialises. Like that disastrous rise in sea levels beach-loving Australians just can’t find along thousands of miles of stable coast. Wow again.

      Don’t believe your eyes and ears. Believe the bleating and bloviations of technocrats jostling around the Paris money-trough. Believe Pope Junta and the witless Prince of Wales, because you are nothing without your cuddly authority figures, you wild green children of the New Class.

  13. On Thin Ice: Big Northern Lakes Are Being Rapidly Transformed by Rising Temps [link] …

    Until recently, scientists had scant knowledge of how warming and weather extremes were affecting lakes.

    Yep, they were not around to take data and make observations during the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. They have observed that we warmed out of the Little Ice Age and now they get to observe the beginning of this Modern Natural Warm Cycle.

  14. “Paying for more wind and solar is less wise than paying for research into [new] technologies.” [link]

    “Paying for more wind and solar is less wise than paying for research into Natural Climate Variability.

  15. Matthew Marler – if you have not seen it already, this one might interest you.

  16. How fast can we transition to a low-carbon energy system? [link] …

    That depends on how stupid we are.

    We know that carbon energy improves the standard of living.

    We know that Wind and Solar decreases the standard of living.

    That is what has happened almost everywhere that has tried to use both.

    Some “off-grid” places do improve with wind and solar, but not as much as if they could have a carbon based grid, or, a nuclear based grid.

  17. Length of Day and sea level:

    • 40 minutes in, he does not understand orbits. He said orbits change because the earth is not a sphere. The change he it talking about occurs because the earth is in orbit around the sun.

      • I’m not sure what you mean. He was discussing the orbit of satellites around the Earth, not the Earth around the Sun.

      • I’m not sure what you mean. He was discussing the orbit of satellites around the Earth, not the Earth around the Sun.

        Yep! He thinks the shape of the earth makes a difference and he ignores the difference due to the orbit around the sun.

  18. The authors of the PNAS paper include Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi who wrote the Scientific American piece on powering the whole planet with renewables and did the Stanford study to power the state of New York with renewables. They’re big on hydrogen for transportation. The words “crackpot” and “half-baked” come to mind.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030/

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/14/1716851/can-the-empire-state-go-green-new-study-says-new-york-state-can-be-100-renewable-by-2050/

    • Essay Hydrogen Hype ran the actual numbers. Worse than half baked. Downright nonsensical.

    • Curious George

      I discontinued my Scientific American subscription a long time ago, after they devoted a whole issue to a criticism of Bjorn Lomborg and limited his response to one page. He refused, and answered his critics at his web page. Then the dear SciAm sued him for a copyright violation.

      Keep in mind that a nuclear fusion is only 15 years away, as always.

  19. Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water and solar for all purpose

    Yes…ice houses used to be a low cost form of air-conditioning. We probably could bring back horse drawn carriages with big burly men calling out …’ice…ice’.

  20. From the article:

    Peter Thiel writes in the NYT that what’s especially strange about the failed push for renewables is that we already had a practical plan back in the 1960s to become fully carbon-free without any need of wind or solar: nuclear power. “But after years of cost overruns, technical challenges and the bizarre coincidence of an accident at Three Mile Island and the 1979 release of the Hollywood horror movie “The China Syndrome,” about a hundred proposed reactors were canceled,” says Thiel. “If we had kept building, our power grid could have been carbon-free years ago. Instead, we went in reverse.”

    According to Thiel, a new generation of American nuclear scientists has produced designs for better reactors. Crucially, these new designs may finally overcome the most fundamental obstacle to the success of nuclear power: high cost. Designs using molten salt, alternative fuels and small modular reactors have all attracted interest not just from academics but also from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists like me ready to put money behind nuclear power. However, none of these new designs can benefit the real world without a path to regulatory approval, and today’s regulations are tailored for traditional reactors, making it almost impossible to commercialize new ones. “Both the right’s fear of government and the left’s fear of technology have jointly stunted our nuclear energy policy,” concludes Thiel. “supporting nuclear power with more than words is the litmus test for seriousness about climate change. Like Nixon’s going to China, this is something only Mr. Obama can do. If this president clears the path for a new atomic age, American scientists are ready to build it.”

    • We didn’t get to full utilization of our existing nuclear capacity until about the year 2000. If we had kept building in the 80’s and 90’s we would have had hundreds of nuclear reactors running at 20 or 30% utilization.

      Does no one remember Whops?

      Nuclear for base load
      Coal for intermediate load
      Gas for peaking

      That how we get nuclear power plants are 10% of capacity but 20% of generation.

      We stopped building new base-load almost entirely in the 1980’s.

      Fear and an anti-nuclear baselash made small contributions to no new nuclear being built…but mostly the lack of need for 24×7 baseload.

      With wind power mandated in most places…that shrinks the base load requirement even further.

      • Some of the newer designs load follow, so nuclear could do the majority of the work.

      • Load following would be a waste: it wouldn’t pay for the amortization.

        Much better to run at max capacity, and feed the extra into something that could make productive use. Examples would include Rapid Response Hydrolysis.

        Also, pumping and desalination systems capable of working in an “on-supply” mode.

  21. Willis Eschenbach

    As always, Dr. Judith, a most interesting and eclectic collection. I went to look at this one:

    VERY interesting: New paper finds length of day (LOD) is strongly correlated to Northern Hemisphere temperatures [link]

    The author takes the average CMIP5 computer modeled estimate of the NH historical temperature, subtracts it from observations, and names the part that is left over the “intrinsic component of climate variability”.

    Who knew it was so easy to separate the “intrinsic climate variability” from the rest of the signal and noise? Just take the average of a fistful of unverified, unvalidated models, subtract that average from the observations, and voilá!

    Intrinsic variability revealed!

    w.

  22. Willis Eschenbach

    With that said, the underlying idea is interesting, and the correlations are strong. Significant? … not sure yet.

    w.

  23. Re underwater solar cells.

    I might be wrong, but artificial photosynthesis to remove CO2 from the air, and turn it into hydrocarbons at great expense, so these can be burnt to produce more CO2, doesn’t seem to be such a giant leap forward. It seems even less clever to do it underwater. Maybe more grant proposals being written?

    I quote –

    “The vision is to funnel greenhouse gases from smokestacks or the atmosphere into giant, transparent chemical tanks. Solar cells inside the tanks would spur chemical reactions to turn the greenhouse gases and water into what are sometimes called “solar fuels.””

    Why not use the CO2 and water to grow trees, or grass, or corn or something? These can be turned into fuels of one sort or another as expensively as you like. Trees, at least to some people, even look nicer than “giant transparent chemical tanks.”

    I haven’t seen a poem starting –

    “I think that I shall never see,
    A poem as lovely as a giant transparent chemical tank.”

    Visions? These researchers are obviously suffering from them, and likely to give nightmares to others! Can’t they find anything better on which to waste their time? Or is it really a case of publish or perish?

    Cheers.

    • Why not use the CO2 and water to grow trees, or grass, or corn or something? These can be turned into fuels of one sort or another as expensively as you like.

      Solar PV is around an order of magnitude more efficient in terms of solar energy received, or area used.

      • We’ve been here before. Trees and plants still build themselves, heal themselves, replenish themselves, don’t need cleaning, and produce a nice environment suitable for leisure activities.

      • But they’re an order of magnitude less efficient at turning sunlight into energy. Energy we can use.

        You don’t go into a field in an agribusiness farm for “a nice environment suitable for leisure activities.” Why should you demand it of solar power farms?

      • Something fascinating about canopies,
        lying on your back in a meadow
        gazing up and up at a blue canopy
        that seems to go on forever. Or
        here, beneath tall trees, canopy
        of patterned leaves, hidden world
        of green mysteries,squirrels’ abodes
        in northern hemisphere, possums’
        in southern hemisphere, gatherings
        of birds in both. Or kinda’ in reverse,
        you’re peering, at ground zero,
        into forests of clover, watching
        ants follow scented trails,
        mantids that lurk in thickets like
        ancient dinosaurs. Then there’s
        the magic of familiar things, walking
        in wet weather, pavement
        shining beneath your feet, rain
        drummingdown on your umbrella.

      • Curious George

        The last time I checked, the efficiency of the best commercial PV panels was under 20%. The photosynthetic efficiency was about 5% (and plants don’t need batteries or wires). Your “order of magnitude” seems a little optimistic.

      • The photosynthetic efficiency was about 5% […]

        AFAIK such “efficiency” applies to energy at the power side of the proton pump within the cell. Drop that by an order of magnitude for the energy efficiency of the actual product of photosynthesis, such as glucose.

        And that doesn’t address the further losses involved in converting glucose (or whatever) into ethanol or fatty acids.

      • Curious George

        According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency, this is an efficiency to produce glucose.

      • According to […], this is an efficiency to produce glucose.

        Yes, well take a close look at the details:

        Stated another way:
        100% sunlight → non-bioavailable photons waste is 47%, leaving
        53% (in the 400–700 nm range) → 30% of photons are lost due to incomplete absorption, leaving
        37% (absorbed photon energy) → 24% is lost due to wavelength-mismatch degradation to 700 nm energy, leaving
        28.2% (sunlight energy collected by chlorophyl) → 32% efficient conversion of ATP and NADPH to d-glucose, leaving
        9% (collected as sugar) → 35–40% of sugar is recycled/consumed by the leaf in dark and photo-respiration, leaving
        5.4% net leaf efficiency.

        Many plants lose much of the remaining energy on growing roots. Most crop plants store ~0.25% to 0.5% of the sunlight in the product (corn kernels, potato starch, etc.). Sugar cane is exceptional in several ways, yielding peak storage efficiencies of ~8%.

        Most crop plants store ~0.25% to 0.5% of the sunlight in the product (corn kernels, potato starch, etc.), sugar cane is exceptional in several ways to yield peak storage efficiencies of ~8%.[citation needed]

        Ethanol fuel in Brazil has a calculation that results in: “Per hectare per year, the biomass produced corresponds to 0.27 TJ. This is equivalent to 0.86 W/m2. Assuming an average insolation of 225 W/m2, the photosynthetic efficiency of sugar cane is 0.38%.” Sucrose accounts for little more than 30% of the chemical energy stored in the mature plant; 35% is in the leaves and stem tips, which are left in the fields during harvest, and 35% are in the fibrous material (bagasse) left over from pressing.[citation needed]

        IIRC I once did a calculation for azolla, based on assuming the entire mass was glucose (cellulose which is a polymer of glucose) and got around 2-3%.

        Of course, for comparison with solar PV, you need to include the efficiency of electrolysis (~85%), and conversion of 4H2+CO2→CH4+2H2O (~85-94%). = 16-17%. Compared to azolla this gives a factor of 6-7, which is around an order of magnitude. Especially since the figure for azolla doesn’t include energy spent growing, harvesting, and processing.

        And I suspect my figure for azolla was optimistic, although I’m not going to go back and re-figure, given that other cost efficiencies besides energy are the ultimate determiners.

    • AK,

      Wouldn’t cost effectiveness be a consideration? Would it be more cost effective to convert phytoplankton to fuel?

      Other researchers and companies seem to think so. There seems to be no end to the variety of proposals used to extract money from the hapless taxpayers forced to fund all this nonsense in the name of “innovation”.

      If solar PV is so efficient, why can’t I get some to fuel my vehicle with, or run my air conditioning at night? I live in the tropics. There’s no shortage of sunlight, that’s for sure. Otherwise it wouldn’t get so darned hot, I suspect!

      I hope it’s you funding these things, and not me. I certainly wouldn’t give either group a brass razoo – willingly at least!

      Cheers.

      • Wouldn’t cost effectiveness be a consideration? Would it be more cost effective to convert phytoplankton to fuel?

        I doubt it. Even the Joule process, which involves essentially zombie cyanobacteria converting solar energy to fuel, is much more efficient than converting the whole (growing) phytoplankton.

        But the real issue is the cost of surface area, and the structure to support your conversion system. Trees grow themselves, but they require (typically) tons of support structure that has to might rather tight requirements. Even algae, and my favorite azolla, require something to support the water. Assuming equivalent costs of support structure for algae/ferns vs. solar PV, the cost per unit of fuel would be 1/3-1/10th for PV/hydrolysis alternatives.

        I can’t say I’m thrilled by the underwater PV approach, compared to simple thin-film PV with electrodes, but all the names belong in the hat. It might turn out to be better.

        Not to mention costs of available surface area.

  24. I live in El Nino Central, the east side of Oz. While there is substance in ENSO indicators and one can usually expect typical Nino/NIna effects to manifest somewhere, I’m always struck by the very marked contradictions which just get glossed over. (That’s quite apart from the completely dud predictions of El Nino such as David Jones’ ludicrous claims of perennial rain deficit just before the 2010-11 Big Wet and double Nina. Maybe if we gave the BoM a few more million…)

    But I’m talking about genuine contradictions. The 1938-9 La Nina came with shocking drought/heat/fire in mid-course, while the 1997-8 “Super” El Nino was fairly benign in most of Australia. And this year is no exception. The warmies have been cheering for Nino to come and punish skeptics and the little scamp is finally here. (He’s actually due two or three times a decade anyway, but sssh.) There have been serious fire events, more bad heat and fire is still very likely through the Australian summer 2015-16. Someone will probably get hit, just like in 1896 or 2009, and it might be my own region; but this sappy, stormy spring down the eastern seaboard has in no way been like those of the scary mid-90s.

    The reason for these contradictions is simple: Nobody knows enough. And in any age of dogma, knowledge moves too slowly. The climatariat grows, knowledge does not.

  25. What would the “skeptics'” next course of action be if 2015 looked like this projection from the Met Office? They would at least have to rethink the “pause”, but also seeing that this puts it back into the middle of the model trend, their house of cards just tumbles. What would Plan B be?
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2015/global-average-temperature-2015

    • The pause just fell into their lap, so they’re actually still looking for plan A. I guess TV churches could start selling AMO prayer cloths to nursing home residents.

    • The ENSO tropics are anomalously warm.
      The Southern Ocean is anomalously cold.
      The rest of the oceans are somewhat warm.

      The anomalous regions are typical El Nino, which will reverse.

      The somewhat warm oceans are more the background warming and it’s not the end of the world and may have some benefits.

      What’s your next course of action?

      • You say anomalous, but a lot of that will be the new normal.

      • The 30-year trend is .17C per decade. Things continue to look up.

        Normal, a La Nina followed by an EL Nino is curtains for you guys. Back-to-back EL Nino would be more merciful. Would put you out of your misery. Your only hope is a very strong La Nina followed by another La Nina, and your odds are paper thin.

      • El Nino as well as La Nina don’t appear to be related to global warming in any way.

        They represents a persistent wave patterns of circulation which have occurred through out the observed past as well as proxy records going back at least millenia.

        That means they have occurred, regardless of what global temperature has been.

        They will continue to occur.

    • We are in a Modern Warm Period, just like the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. During the next few hundred years, we will have many warm years that reach or break records. That is what happens in a Warm Period. None of the records will exceed 1 or 2 degrees C higher than now. We are not as warm as past periods and we may get as warm or break those records by a tiny bit. Our measurements have gotten better, but they still have more uncertainty than the margin of the records. .

      • “We are in a Modern Warm Period, just like the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. During the next few hundred years, we will have many warm years that reach or break records. That is what happens in a Warm Period.”
        Really?
        Last time I looked at the Milankovitch cycle for insolation at 65deg N (ie the accepted driving factor for IA’s) the Earth was some way off the bottom of a cooling period that began after the HCO with insolation at a max around 11kya.
        From:http://www.sciencemag.org/content/207/4434/943.short
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles#cite_note-Imbriel1980-24

        ” Ignoring anthropogenic and other possible sources of variation acting at frequencies higher than one cycle per 19,000 years, this model predicts that the long-term cooling trend which began some 6000 years ago will continue for the next 23,000 years.”

    • No matter how much the Earth warms, there is still no valid physics which could possibly prove any warming what-so-ever is due to carbon dioxide, which physics allows us to calculate actually cools (like water vapor) but by less than 0.1 degree. Details at https://itsnotco2.wordpress.com

  26. “A dry La Niña, especially so in the southeast. April 1938 to January 1939 (Figure 1) was very dry in Victoria, southern NSW and southeastern South Australia. Victoria had 98% of its area in the lowest decile, and southeast Victoria had lowest-on-record falls. When this low rainfall combined with extreme heat, it resulted in the Black Friday fires, which lit up almost all of Victoria, southern NSW and southeastern South Australia, causing massive devastation. Some 1.5–2 million ha was burnt in Victoria, much of it protected forest.” – Official Aust govt record.

    No belief in theory, system, mechanism or model can ever exempt a human being from opening his eyes and senses and using his bloody loaf.

  27. On Thin Ice: Big Northern Lakes Are Being Rapidly Transformed by Rising Temps [link]

    While it is possible that the environmental journalist for this piece of sky-blueing it, and even if Cheryl Katz may have trudged the frozen Siberian Lake Baikal and directly observed the calamitous decline in its fragile ecosystem, I am quite confident that Ms Katz, from the San Fransisco Bay area has no idea about the Great Lakes right here in the central portion of the USA.

    “Majestic water bodies like Baikal and North America’s Lake Superior are integral to regions such as Siberia and the Great Lakes, playing a key role in transport, fisheries, and tourism. They also store the bulk of our planet’s liquid freshwater. But the lake-rich northern latitudes, where the majority of these vital resources lie, are the fastest-warming regions on earth.”

    For the last two consecutive years, the Great Lakes have been completely frozen over. Such a freezing over feat has not been observed for decades. The US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) at its Detroit District station, they keep such records. If you probe a bit further using ACE and the Detroit District data, one can observe that the Great Lakes have increased their water levels over the past two years and this water year is keeping pace with last year’s above chart datam.

    Environment Canada also has a keen interest in the health of the Great Lakes and are yet another resource for facts which seem to have escaprf Ms. Katz view.

    I am afraid that Ms Katz is just another alarmist environmental journalist who has not done her homework which seems par for the course for other environmental journalists.

    Are you listening Seth?

    • From the article:

      Year-to-year variations can mask long-term effects. For instance, the nearly ice-free winter of 2012 was followed by exceedingly cold winters in 2014 and 2015, with extensive, thick ice. But low-ice winters are increasingly common these days, Austin said. The phenomenon stresses fish, evaporates lake water, and affects activities ranging from recreation to commercial shipping. …

  28. I’m sure climatologists take all factors into account in their toy models, so the following bits and pieces might not be telling them anything they don’t know.

    Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down because of the Moon, by an amount that becomes noticeable over geological time in some fossils. The process is still happening and has significantly slowed down the rotation of Earth over time. Current estimations are that this (together with the tidal influence of the Sun) has helped lengthen the Earth day from about 6 hours to the current 24 hours.

    Of course, the redistribution of mass within the Earth due to the continents madly zipping hither and thither, and possible (even likely) movements within the interior, demonstrated by volcanos and suchlike, complicate the issue.

    Even the imbalance caused by tidal action on the oceans, and the resultant frictional forces, cause perturbations in various aspects of the Earths orientation and travel around its axis.

    As a consequence of energy lost by the Earth, the Moon’s distance from the Earth actually increases slowly, with a subtle reduction on the Moon’s tidal influence. And of course, these are just a few of the factors impacting the Earth’s rotational period.

    What’s the impact of all this on the Earth’s climate? I don’t have any idea, and I would be inclined to disbelieve anyone who said they could predict detailed future climate based on the past history of the Earth. It’s interesting. I wonder if the modellers take these factors into account, or just pretend the atmosphere doesn’t act in a chaotic fashion, so small initial perturbations are simply cast aside. Who knows?

    Cheers.

    • The difference between 7 inches and 11 inches per century (tidal gauge vs satellite) is on the order of about 1 second per year. For atomic clocks this is huge (I’m assuming momentum is conserved).

      Somebody has to have done the math and proven which measurement is right. In fact the earth’s rate of sea level rise should be computable from just from the change in rotation.

    • I would be inclined to disbelieve anyone who said they could predict detailed future climate based on the past history of the Earth.

      I would believe someone based on past history a lot sooner than someone who had a model showing the what will happen next is something that never happened before.

      Repeating cycles are based on what you know really did happen and might again. The models extrapolate into what never happened and what likely never can.

    • popesclimatetheory,

      I’m not throwing cold water on your theory, and I take your point that if something happened in the past, it may happen again.

      But – the human brain is exceptionally good at seeing cycles, which may or may not actually exist. Even if they do, they may or may not continue into the future. Additionally, mathematical analysis of a complex waveform may indicate say, regular sine waves, which are merely accidental mathematical artefacts.

      Given the fact that people may be projecting something that doesn’t exist into the future, assuming that the nonexistent something will persist into the future, I’m always suspicious of foretelling the future from the past.

      Occasionally, the forest seems to be obscured by the trees. A Fourier analysis of an observed square wave might show it to be the product of a large number of odd integer harmonics. After someone has analysed the thing to death, they are likely to become quite peeved when somebody points out the square wave was actually generated by an on-off switch.

      I haven’t yet seen anything to convince me that climatologists can predict the future any better than you or I. And even I couldn’t predict what time it would rain today, or how much precipitation would be recorded over a specified time at a particular location. Any fool could predict that it might rain. It’s the Wet Season, and it’s happened every year in the past, as far as anyone knows.

      No offence intended, of course. You might be right. Have fun.

      Cheers.

  29. Oil still around $40. The 1 year out contango is around $7, meaning a price pressure for crude to go to storage.

    11/27/15
    OIL 41.71
    BRENT 44.86
    NAT GAS 2.212
    RBOB GAS 1.3905

    http://marketrealist.com/analysis/stock-analysis/energy-power/upsteam-oil-gas/charts/

  30. JIMD

    Even the Guardian admits the Syrian crisis had nothing to do with drought.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/29/climate-change-syria-civil-war-prince-charles

    Can huffpo be far behind?

    tonyb