Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

New Yorker: How not to debate nuclear energy and climate change – response to Oreskes [link] …

Could Cleaner Air Be Worsening Global Warming?[link]

New paper: Models exaggerate temperatures of stratosphere by a huge 3-5C due to solar zenith angle assumptions  [link]

“Greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater higher than thought” [link] …

“East Antarctic Ice Sheet has stayed frozen for 14 million years”  [link]

UKMO: Global mean temperature forecast expects 2016 to be among the warmest years [link]…

Tiny phytoplankton have big influence on climate change [link]

Centuries of Melting Already Locked in for Polar Ice, Scientists Say [link]

New paper finds natural variability of stratosphere affects El Niño teleconnections [link]

Study: Elite scientists can hold back science [link] …

Climate researchers employ tool from 1800s: Whaling logs [link]

We may have solved one of the most troubling mysteries about sea-level rise [link]

Causation vs Correlation: Most get this wrong. [link]

NASA GISS: I’m sorry but climate sensitivity might be higher than we thought

NCAR scientists predict that Arctic sea ice loss will slow over next few years [link] …

New #NASA study data suggest we have overestimated #carbon stored in #forests – [link]

Climate change found to increase rain from storms like Desmond [link]

Complexity and the failure of quantitative social science [link]

NASA instrument documents the contraction of the Earth’s ionosphere [link]

CO2 diffusion in polar ice [link]

El Nino update from NOAA [link]

US town rejects solar power, because it would suck up all the sunlight [link]

219 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Can I add this one in for Jimd that shows a huge cooling event during the warm Jurassic that eas unconnected with co2 levels



    • Yes, changes in continental configurations affect ocean flows and that can change the climate locally quite a lot. Currently continental configurations are not changing, and they won’t in the near future, so the dominant effect is changing GHGs. However, ocean flows can be significantly affected by melting continental glaciers, such as in Hansen’s Greenland scenario that causes rapid cooling of the North Atlantic (not good for Europe) and meters of sea-level rise on century time scales, as has happened since the last ice age in the meltwater pulses (MWPs). What we are doing with the forcing encourages abrupt climate changes like this. It’s poking climate with a stick, and it can bite back.

      • You are slipping, yimmy. You forgot to mention that the sky is falling, the wolf is at the door and there’s a bogeyman under the bedstead. Woe is us.

      • People mention continents moving, and that is fine. I mention ice on continents melting, and skeptics are having none of it. Go figure.

      • so the dominant effect is changing GHGs

        Increased GHGs probably don’t change circulation much.

        How can I say that?

        Begin any atmospheric science course and one of the first concepts you’ll discuss will include a chart like this:


        Transport of energy from the surplus in the tropics to the deficits at the poles drives atmospheric circulation.

        Double CO2, warm the atmosphere, humidify the atmosphere, and even remove some Arctic sea ice during the sunlit season, and chart doesn’t change a lot. You’ll still have a similar surplus in the tropics and deficits at the poles.

        You can follow the global average temperature estimate ( though you cannot sense it ) but climate has little to do with the global average temperature.

      • The most direct effect on ocean circulations would be via melting, either of glaciers flowing into oceans, or warming the base of ice shelves causing them to break off enhancing melting.

      • jimd

        You can’t have it both ways. When you have proclaimed the warmth of previous periods and I have pointed out the different continental configuration, you dismissed it.

        A warm atmosphere, rich in co2, cooled very considerably in the past due to oceanic currents. With much lower temperatures to day, a modest change in oceanic currents could have a serious effect on lowering temperatures.


      • I would not dismiss it, but it is not a factor for the current change, which is very fast and there is no continental change in sight. Past geological periods were on the whole warmer because they had higher CO2, which is not to say that there were no variations due to geology. It can be both. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. For the present it is clearly just one of them because no one is pointing at geology. Even orbital variations are more important than geology at present because those are clear in the recent record too.

      • We are just having fun with you, yimmy. Don’t get mad.

      • Yes, you people can be clowns sometimes.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Jim D, it is good you are now arguing that global warming causes cooling. The show must go on.


      • That was Hansen.

      • Jim D: “Past geological periods were on the whole warmer because they had higher CO2”

        Except for when they weren’t, of course.


      • This is the forcing due to CO2 and solar variation. It corresponds well to known warm periods. Remember Steyn’s “alligators at the poles”. That was in the last high CO2 period. It supported the point. The last long icy phase was prior to 250 My ago in the Permian, also low in forcing.

      • Why don’t we agree to a Holiday truce this year, yimmy? We won’t laugh at you for a few days, if you stop the incessant carpet bombing for at least Christmas day.

      • The last long icy phase was prior to 250 My ago in the Permian, also low in forcing.


        Once the carboniferous era land masses linked up with a large mass at the south pole the ice age took off.

        Cutting off east/west circulation up to almost the north pole seems to be important from a climate standpoint. Before the land masses linked up things were just peachy.

        After the land masses linked up the ice age started.

      • PA, and the land masses are not linked up now, and we still have ice ages. What we do have in common with then is low CO2 levels.

      • Jim D:

        …the land masses are not linked up now, and we still have ice ages.

        Seems to me the land masses today are configured to deflect most global currents and to create bottlenecks into/out of the Arctic. The only uninterrupted global current possible is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Currents are determined by many factors (prevailing winds, temperature gradients, land masses, Coriolis effect, etc.). Complicated stuff.


      • Jim D | December 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm |
        PA, and the land masses are not linked up now, and we still have ice ages. What we do have in common with then is low CO2 levels.

        Karoo ice age
        The Karoo ice age was between 360 and 260 million years ago.[10] It was caused by the formation of the supercontinent of Pangea[wp] and the associated closure of the Rheic and Iapetus Oceans. We know of two glaciations in this ice age, centred in different locations – in the first, from 359.2 to 318.1 mya, glaciers expanded from what is now Africa and South America; in the second, 318.1–299 mya, they were centred in Australia and India.[11]

        Ice ages consistently happen in response to topology changes that disrupt mixing and allow ice to build on a large south polar land mass.

        But no it can’t be topology, it has to be a trace gas that logs the cooling by 100 k or more years. Claiming that CO2 causes ice ages is like claiming putting your baseball glove on causes you to have a baseball game.

      • There is a link between CO2 and geology. Look at Richard Alley’s AGU presentation from some years back. Mountain building as continents collide tends to reduce CO2, and the reduction since the Eocene may be largely attributable to the growth of the Himalayas. Similarly other geological conditions lead to more volcanic activity, perhaps when continents get large.

    • climatereason,

      From Horst’s link –

      “A global sea-level rise of likely tectonic origin, with a weakly quantified magnitude in the order of up to 100 m, has been well documented for the early Toarcian.”

      I just wonder, if the global seas volume remained the same, and the Earth’s volume remained the same, the mountains must have flattened out enormously. The sea floors could not have risen without an equivalent subsidence somewhere else.

      Can you think of a reason for this happening? I’m not saying it didn’t, I just can’t think of anything else faintly reasonable that could cause a global 100 m relative sea level rise. Maybe just another of Nature’s little mysteries!


      • There’s tons of literature out there about this very tectonically active era as pangea continued to fragment, mass extinctions, anoxic seas, massive sea level changes, global cooling, etc. Probably just better to keep inventing stuff in your head because truth is stranger than fiction and takes a bit of work..

      • Horst Graben,

        Instead of just adopting the Warmist mantra of deny, divert and obscure, could you help out by providing a cogent answer?

        Or do you think that babbling about literature, anoxic seas, mass extinctions, global cooling or anything else your febrile imagination can concoct, is sufficiently diversionary and obscurantist, whilst maintaining the usual Warmist standard of complete irrelevance?

        Sea level rise is, of course, relative. If sea volume remains constant, then the land against which the sea level is measured must fall. What would cause this to occur globally? I’m sure I don’t know, and I don’t think you or any Warmist have got a clue either.

        It’s all well and good to say it happened. Maybe it did. I’m curious as to the reasons, that’s all. Warmists just accept any nonsense as fact. If challenged, they just deny reality. Even if the missing heat is a travesty, just consign it to the hidden deeps. There. Inconvenient fact abolished. A pause? Come up with fifty explanations, each more bizarre than the one before. Getting unbelievable, even for politicians? Adjust past temperatures! There. Pause gone!

        Complete balderdash, all of it! If you really want to stop local temperature increases, stop creating heat. Kill all the people. Turn off the Sun.

        Wait a few billion years. Nice and cool now. Happy?

        Keep up the good fight!


      • Mike: I don’t know whom you are arguing with, but you should wipe the spit from your mouth before you go out to the Waffle House for supper.

  2. TCR: the warming after 70 years of CO2 concentrations that rise at 1% per year

  3. New paper: Models exaggerate temperatures of stratosphere by a huge 3-5C due to solar zenith angle assumptions [link]

    Paywalled. an open access PDF may be found here (for the moment).

    • From the abstract: “Many weather and climate models to call their radiation schemes only every 3 h, which we show can lead to a stratospheric
      temperature overestimate of 3–5 K and wavenumber-8 fluctuations in top-of-atmosphere (TOA) net shortwave flux around the tropics of amplitude 1.6 W m−2”

      Thanks AK. Is this as bad as it looks? Because it looks pretty bad.

      My opinion of climate modellers has not been too high since I discovered from reading this blog that many of them do not know the meaning of the term “boundary value problem”. But apparently they also did not know the difference between f() and .

      The paper says the effect is greatest in the stratosphere. But I wonder if it
      could have anything to do with the model/data discrepancy for tropospheric temperatures discussed here: http://judithcurry.com/2015/12/17/climate-models-versus-climate-reality/?

      • My attempted equation did not come out. I wanted to say “But apparently they also did not know the difference between f(mean(x)) and mean(f(x))”

      • Verification of the methods, Validation of the models. Can’t ever do too much.

      • Thanks AK. Is this as bad as it looks? Because it looks pretty bad.

        I’d guess so. Part of the problem, AFAIK, is all the shortcuts taken in early modelling days when there just wasn’t enough CPU time to do it right. That would include today.

        What’s worse, if I understand correctly, is that different models have different accuracies in resolving these problems, which would mean (AFAIK) that the multi-model ensembles average good corrections with bad.

        If the problem always produces the same error (in various magnitudes), such as “a stratospheric temperature overestimate of 3–5 K and wavenumber-8 fluctuations in top-of-atmosphere (TOA) net shortwave flux around the tropics of amplitude 1.6 W m^-2”, this would suggest that even the most inclusive multi-model ensembles are really modeling a planet other than Earth.

    • Some interesting reading from the same group:

      •   (105) Why are mixed-phase altocumulus clouds poorly predicted by large-scale models? Part I: Physical processes
      Barrett, A. I., R. J. Hogan and R. M. Forbes. Submitted to J. Geophys. Res.: PDF

      •   (104) Why are mixed-phase altocumulus clouds poorly predicted by large-scale models? Part II: Vertical resolution sensitivity and parameterization
      Barrett, A. I., R. J. Hogan and R. M. Forbes. Submitted to J. Geophys. Res.: PDF

      From the first paper:

      Stratiform mixed-phase clouds are poorly simulated by current weather forecast and climate models causing erroneous predictions of radiative transfer. Five operational models and ERA-Interim reanalyses were evaluated using ground-based remote sensors. All models underestimated the supercooled liquid water content by at least a factor of 2. Models with the most sophisticated microphysics (separate prognostic variables for liquid and ice) performed worst, having least supercooled liquid of all models.


      Despite their potential radiative importance, cloud at mid-levels in the atmosphere tends to be underestimated by both numerical weather prediction (NWP) models [e.g. Illingworth et al., 2007] and climate models [Zhang et al.,2005] suggesting a deficiency in the representation of mixed-phase clouds


      At lower latitudes, thin mixed-phase clouds commonly exist at mid-levels in the form of altocumulus; these clouds have been less studied in the literature and have a potentially greater radiative impact owing to the lower solar zenith angle and darker surface over which they form.

  4. The team of scientists has found that changes in the North Atlantic ocean circulation could allow overall winter sea ice extent to remain steady in the near future, with continued loss in some regions balanced by possible growth in others, including in the Barents Sea.

    Of course, what this implies, but the authors can’t speak out loud, is that the ocean circulation change from what they identify, led to some portion of the decline, as Rigor and Wallace published a decade ago.

    Instead, they all the sea ice change of the past is attributed to global wurming. Safe but not inspiring.

    • Terrific point, TE. Same logical mistake as warming from 1920-1945 all natural, from 1975-2000 all AGW, even though the two are statistically indistinguishable as Lindzen was fond of pointing out.
      Invoke natural variation to explain blown ‘projections’ without realizing it works both ways.

      • There are a ton of papers that find transport of warm waters to the arctic melt ice. The warming 1920-1945 may not have been all natural.

      • There are a ton of papers that find transport of warm waters to the arctic melt ice. The warming 1920-1945 may not have been all natural.

        So, the transport of water is man-made, not natural?

      • Yet you make two logical mistakes as well.

        Yesterday my body temperature went from 98.3 F to 98.9 F and I felt fine.
        Today my body temperature went from 102.5 to 103.1, both changes statistically indistinguishable no?

        Both the 1920 to 1945 and 1975 to 2000 periods were a combination of AGW and natural variations.

      • Same logical mistake as warming from 1920-1945 all natural, from 1975-2000 all AGW

        I think from what I have read if you take into account the solar, and the greenhouse gas components you are left with only a small rise due to any other natural components. Maybe around .2 C.

        I am wondering whether the PDO had something to do with. Because as you can see the PDO has a high peak centered around 1945. At the same time you can see the temperature hits a really high peak in 1945.


      • Joseph – this point was made to Dr. Curry by a scientist here a few months ago. Given enough time, cycles largely erase themselves. The PDO was probably a big player 1910 to 1943, but not much of a player during the 20th century, But, unlike the AMO, the PDO at least gets into the rings and throws punches in some rounds and takes punches in others.


  5. Brian G Valentine

    “US town rejects solar power, because it would suck up all the sunlight”

    It tends to have a worse effect on their available money

  6. While the warmer-than-average ocean waters are likely reaching their peak about now, they will remain a huge source of warmth for the next several months to drive the main impacts on temperature and rain/snow over North America, which typically follow the peak.

    Do they?

    No doubt the warm waters, 300 meters deep, contain a lot of energy.
    But is it the the warm water that drives the pattern?
    Or is it the patter that results in the warm waters?

    Certainly appears that the WWBs lead.

  7. Regarding quantitative social science, here are some possibly interesting results from my research. Searching Google Scholar (advanced search) for the terms “model or modeling or modeled” for the 5 year period 2011 – 2015 gives the following results:
    In the title: about 160,000 hits
    Full text: about 700,000

    Given that about 23% are in titles (a very high ratio) most of the 700,000 are probably on topic as well. This measures what we already knew, that modeling plays a major role in science today.

    However, the climate change case is rather extreme. GS search for “climate change” in full text for 2011-2015 gives about 398,000 hits. Adding the filter “model or modeling or modeled” still gives about 387,000 hits. That is 97% of the total! Clearly (and measurably) modeling dominates climate change science.

    As described above, GS full text search for 2011-2015 for “model or modeling or modeled” gives around 700,000 hits for all of science. Adding “climate change” still gives 387,000 hits, which is about 55% of the total! In other words, while climate change is a relatively small field, it appears to account for the majority of the modeling being done. Surely this looks like an over dependence on modeling. Climate science may well be the only field that is completely dominated by modeling. Much follows from this.

  8. The Locked in Polar Melting article is pure nonsense. 2C one meter SLR from Greenland by 2300. Prolonged 2C we lose Greenland altogether, 7 meters SLR.
    A reality check. 1/7 meters SLR means the article is asserting 15% of Greenlands ice sheet melts in 200 years. That is physically impossible. At the average ice loss rate of the past two decades, melting 15% would take 4 millennia. +2C cannot speed that up to two centuries.
    A second reality check. The Eemian interglacial was globally up to 3C warmer than now, for several thousand years. Greenland’s NEEM ice core showed that there, it was up to 5-8C warmer for 7 milllenia. And at the NEEM site, the Eemian melting over 7 millennia totaled 130 meters of lost ice height–from 2537meters now all the way down to 2400 meters then.
    Covered both observations in guest essay Tipping Points.

  9. David L. Hagen

    UAH: UN climate change goal? New trend analysis shows we’re there now!

    Satellite data shows globe will stay below 1.5°C target at the current rate of warming, resulting in 1.1°C

    We can all rest easy now.
    Our real challenge is the 4-5%/year depletion rate in oil fields.
    We MUST devevlop new/sustainable fuels to keep our civilizations going.

    • “We MUST devevlop new/sustainable fuels to keep our civilizations going.”

      No problem.

      How about this?

      A billion-pound plan to reach untapped coal reserves under the North Sea will be under way by the end of the year, as the vast scale of the energy source beneath the North Sea is made clear.
      Scientific data of the true extent of the coal deposits on the sea bed
      reveals that even a tiny percentage of them would be enough to power Britain for centuries to come, says a local expert.

      Dermot Roddy, chief technical officer of energy company Five Quarter which will be leading the much-anticipated extraction work, said there are trillions of tonnes of deeply-buried coal stretching from the North East coast far out to sea: an amount thousands of times greater than all oil and gas extracted so far.

      And now technology is advanced enough to be able to reach it.


      Or this?



      Methane hydrate extracted from Sea of Japan

      The government has succeeded in extracting samples of a next-generation resource called methane hydrate from the bottom of the Sea of Japan, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said Thursday.

      Researchers conducted drilling surveys and were able to obtain samples of the “fiery ice” under the ocean floor off Niigata, Akita and Yamagata prefectures. The samples collected were up to a meter thick.


      Looks like centuries – millennia even – of available energy there.

      Along with the shale oil and gas, that little lot should keep us going until we can come up with something that is genuinely cheaper and more convenient than fossil fuels.

      • You might want to read essays Much Ado about Nothing and Ice That Burns in my ebook before getting too excited about the links you posted.
        There is always more to the story when you dig in.

      • David L. Hagen

        By “sustainable” I am referring to solar, nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, or Low energy nuclear reactions. Trillion tons is helpful but still finite. Any economics? That requires air liquifaction and losses of steam down hole. Sounds more expensive than Canadian “oil sands” which needs ~3 bbl steam/bbl bitumen.

      • “That requires air liquifaction and losses of steam down hole.”

        Whereas conventional coal mining (not open-cast to the same extent) requires considerable energy input and is highly labour intensive – to say nothing about extremely hazardous to the life and health of the miners.

        Worth mentioning also that the output of the liquefaction contains a fair proportion of syngas, feedstock for the good old Fischer-Tropsch process so beloved of ageing chemical engineers.

      • David L. Hagen

        For underground coal gasification see LINC Energy out of Australia

    • I guess that’s what happens when anything appears to question “the answer”. Fuller treatment here: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/117093/20151216/north-carolina-town-didn-t-ban-solar-panels-sucking-up.htm

      • It is always fun to perpetuate stereotypes. I was as guilty as anyone while stationed at Ft. Bragg in 1967. A typical Yankee making fun of the locals. But now I remind my fellow rust belters, the South is not finished with what we finished in 1865. NC has many thriving communities with 21st century economies and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US.

      • It is that kind of nonsense that makes people mistrust journalists.

      • Well, technically they are right. The solar panels are black and do “suck up all the sun” and reradiate 75-80% of it as unusable (from a plant standpoint) heat.

        I am surprised so many people are unaware that solar panels suck up the sun.

        There may a reduction in reflected radiation so it may have some effect on nearby vegetation. I expect the brown vegetation may be getting overheated. Being next to a solar array is like being next to an oven.

      • PA – I’d love to hear more on this from someone who knows better. The land in a place like North Carolina that is teeming with life above and below the surface prior to conversion to solar. I suppose that a solar farm is superior to covering the entire countryside with asphalt, but how much better I don’t know. The major signs of life I saw when I visited a large solar farm in the southeast was wasps that must have flown elsewhere for sustenance. What is going on underground without the usual plant/decay cycle?

        It may be that the “greens” are too much out of sight out of mind. I know they used to push for large transmission lines to be buried, which is insane from an environmental position. In terms of most life space tower pads do not divert water or impact life near as much.

    • I used to be a plant manager at an aircraft factory in North Carolina in the 1970s. We had a ton of people from Michigan, New York, Illinois, etc. My Uncle was a physics professor at North Carolina State University. His PhD students were mostly from Asia as the textile industry was preparing to move there in bulk. He mocked the locals. Called them hillbillies. Funny, one of the local students who went through that program when my Uncle taught there became Senator Edwards.

      • I am one of those hillbillies.
        The last demographic left safe to stereotype,
        by Manhattan hipsters in flannel shirts and Stonewall Jackson beards.
        It’s cool.

        Next time ya need somebody to take back a town in Europe, or say, the Levant …
        call us.
        Our social betters can stay safe and out of the way producing treatise on

        My uncles burned cams at Charlotte and Rockingham.

  10. Adding this melt signal to estimates of globally averaged ocean thermal expansion [~0.4 mm/year (10)] yields a total that is consistent with analyses of 20th century GMSL based on tide gauge records (22, 23)

    22 – C. C. Hay, E. Morrow, R. E. Kopp, J. X. Mitrovica, Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century global sea-level rise. Nature 517, 481–484 (2015).

    Accelerating. Strong evidence affirming Hay.

    • I do not read the report on the paper on the solution to Monk’s enigma that way at all. Rather, an independent indication that Hay is bogus. She asserted tide gauge SLR was 1.1mm/year early in the 20th century, and so has accelerated.
      The Monks Enigma paper used 1.8mm/year constant for the 20th century. That is also what the real, well sited (no land motion as determined by differential GPS) tide gauges say for the century. No SLR acceleration. No sat altimetry acceleration from 2.8 (excluding GIA) either. So overall no acceleration in evidence unless SLR is ‘karlized’. Perhaps a better description for SLR is ‘hayized’.
      And we can suspect the 2.8 sat estimate is high because of the closure problem. 2.8>> estimated ice sheet loss plus estimated thermosteric rise.
      Essay Pseudoprecision has more.

      • Note that adding this total melt signal (GMSL rise of ~1.0 mm/year) to estimates of thermal expansion (GMSL rise of 0.4 ± 0.1 mm/year) and net anthropogenic storage of water on land (GMSL rise of −0.11 ± 0.05 mm/year) for the period 1900–1990 (10) indicates that the GMSL rate adopted by Munk (1) (1.5 to 2.0 mm/year) was too high when considering records from the first 90 years of the century. …

      • How about sea level:


        II … is about 1.7mm that much: II

      • ordvic – they’re saying that is wrong for 1900 to 1990, and evidence is mounting that they are right. On scholar, nobody appears to be challenging them.

      • Ok maybe it’ll be about 2mm: it’s about the same: lI

        Oh! I’m scared we’re all gonna drown

      • Apropos of not much at all, 0.1 mm is about the thickness of a medium human hair. 0.01 mm (used in some sea level averages) requires a significant amount of hair splitting.

        Completely pointless sciencey figures.

        Some idea of the uselessness of such sciencey “precision” can be inferred from NOAA’s statement as to the accuracy of something as useful as tide predictions –

        “The accuracy of the tide predictions is different for each location.” That is, can be 60 cm or more out in quantum, and hours out in timing. Pardon me all over the place if I cannot bring myself to waste a decent worry over water levels one tenth of the the thickness of a human hair. At present, I believe I’m sitting on a whole continent moving NE at about 5 cm a year. That’s a lot of human hair thicknesses!

        Maybe I should worry about that, instead.


      • Monk’s enigma probably should read Munk’s engma. Scripps is not, AFAIK, a religious order. ;)

    • JCH | December 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Reply

      Accelerating. Strong evidence affirming Hay.


      Decelerating. Strong evidence affirming Straw.

      • Who added the green and red arrows and text?

      • Be careful! that’s listed as one of the most viral images on the internet.

      • JCH | December 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm |
        Who added the green and red arrows and text?

        Oh, that’s me, I was trying to show off my artistic skills.

        I took a chart from the Naval Observatory (they observe belly buttons and this tells them something about the time of day). It is from their “Time Service Department”.

        I then added the information from the articles with arrows and notes.

        Are you disputing that:
        1. The articles claim the pre-1990 sea level rise was 1.2 mm/y
        2. The articles claim the post-1990 sea level rise was 3.0 mm/y
        3. The default decrease in rotation is 0.17 mm/y
        4. The post-1990s rate of rotational decline is 1/2 the pre-1990 rate and basically zero in the 2003-2004 period.
        5. Are you simply questioning my artistic ability
        6. Or did you want to do correct attribution when reusing the chart?

      • I found it it on the US Navy site sans the artwork. The 1.2mm is from a prior paper.

      • Didn’t realize I’d forgotten to include the links: And thanks for calling my attention to it, I noticed an error.

        “Here we revisit estimates of twentieth-century GMSL rise using probabilistic techniques9, 10 and find a rate of GMSL rise from 1901 to 1990 of 1.2 ± 0.2 millimetres per year (90% confidence interval)…
        also indicates that GMSL rose at a rate of 3.0 ± 0.7 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2010, consistent with prior estimates from tide gauge records”

        “A recent probabilistic analysis of a global database of tide gauge records (22) has estimated a GMSL rise of 1.2 ± 0.2 mm/year in 1900–1990. “

        Using eclipse data from as far back as 2000 BC, scientists estimate that the Earth’s rotation is slowing at approximately 1.7 milliseconds per solar day per century.


    • Sort of like this (sorry about the scale (the image is a little large for this blog).


  11. Climatereason is going to love the article on whaler log books. Combined with the DMI summer ice extent maps and the Russian materials, this should convincingly show the roughly 60 year full Arctic sea ice cycle back two cycles instead of one, and in granular detail. And satellite coverage happened to start near ‘peak ice’ of the most recent cycle, which apparently bottomed out at nadir in 2007. As they get more logbooks digitized and online, this becomes a really interesting quantified historical research project. Every day lat, lon, temp, wind, ice extent….for 2600 vessels probing the Arctic for years per voyage over a century. Pure gold.

    While the NCAR Arctic sea ice loss slow down paper is only a model, it is perhaps motivated by the first paragraph of this comment, plus the observation that sea ice is recovering both in extent and volume (multiyear ice), and that warmunists would be well advised to begin a climbdown from Arctic summer ice free by (wadhams 2013, …) cause it aint happnin.
    Continued pause and Arctic sea ice recovery would deal massive blows to IPCC AR6 in 2019.

    • Prepare for a few articles debating whether it’s ethical to use logs from whaling ships, complete with references to Nazi science experiments.

      • Curious George

        If I were Al Gore, I would defend my business interests. Weaponized ethics is an excellent tool.

    • Rud

      I used the whaling log books and Hudson bay company records for my articles on arctic ice melt from 1820 plus there were good records from Scoresby during the first scientific polar voyag

      . In the scott polar institute archives in Cambridge Ther are good Russian and other records that demonstrate that the arctic Ice melts regularly. We can take the melting back through the Vikings to the ipiatuk in Alaska in the bronze age.

      Despite all the evidence to the contrary it mystifies me why many people believe the arctic has been a deep frozen wasteland until man started to melt it from the 1970’s


      • Tony
        Because they want to believe it. I excuse the denizens. Part of the game. The professionals are a different matter. I consider it misfeasance to be so oblivious to records that are so easily accessible. What do they teach at the universities? Why don’t the students raise hell about getting half the story? Maybe history is ignored now in every aspect, including climate. OT but the stories I could tell about history illiteracy by the younger generation. We are in Big trouble.

      • cerescokid: “Why don’t the students raise hell about getting half the story?”

        Because they want to get their degrees?

      • Tony, I should have intuited you were already on it. But this adds to the trove of information to firm everything up.
        New Bedford was the heart of New England whaling. I worked a summer job in grad school at Jenny Oil in Massachusets. (Biggest New England home heating oil distributor. Sold the largest regional gasoline station chain to Citgo for megamillions. Family fortune foundation was whaling out of New Bedford for lamp oil. The family scrimshaw collection in the office lobby was the best I have seen anywhere. Belonged in our Smithsonian Museum, or your R.A. Is still in the family.

      • Rud

        I remember reading once about the number of whales being killed for their oil in the 19 th century. It’s no wonder their population plunged.

        Our king Alfred received a norwegian visitor around 880ad who wanted him to fund an xpeditions to hunt whales around Iceland. There were evidently vast numbers of bowheads at the time


        My home town had a whaling fleet That spent a lot of time in new England

        It’s obviously good to have as much data as possible so this initiative is very welcome


      • I remember reading once about the number of whales being killed for their oil in the 19th century. It’s no wonder their population plunged.

        Along with all of the direct economic benefits of the oil industry, we can add “Saved the Whales!” The plot of Star Trek IV notwithstanding.

  12. This report (not a paper) is very confident in that Greenland will disappear if temps go up 2ºC, of which 1ºC has already happened:

    But apparently the Eemian up there was 10ºC warmer and still Greenland mostly didn’t melt (contributed 1 meter to sea level rise out of 7 possible):

    Also, unlike Antarctica the ice is (mostly?) land-locked.

    Am I missing something or is that report wrong?

    • Report is warmunist drivel. See my just posted comment upthread giving two separate ways to show this observationally.

    • It’s correct. Paris is the best we can do, and despite it by 2300 the world will be flooded.
      Given that, there is no point in trying.

    • 1. The Arctic was warmer during the Eemian and it didn’t all melt away.

      2. The resulting slowing of the earth from accelerating melt and rising seas isn’t happening. In fact the rate of slowing is decreasing. The conspiracy sites have a hollow earth theory and if the Greenland melt water is magically falling into the earth this would explain the Greenland melting with no obvious effect. But that seems to be a stretch and there are no scientific studies to confirm it.

  13. Tiny phytoplankton have big influence on climate change [link]

    The original publication of that article was here. Tracking down the original articles, I found This treasure trove of publications, mostly available as open access PDF’s (in on-site links). The issue of the role of phytoplankton, especially the ecological balance between coccolithophores and diatoms, seems to me to be critical to predicting the future of CO2 (both fossil and natural) in the ocean’s ecosystems and climate.

    The lab where this comes from appears to be headed up by Irina Marinov, a confirmed alarmist associate of Michael Mann:

    Irina Marinov participated in the National Public Radio program Radio Times together with her fellow climate change experts Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University) and Naomi Oreskes (Harvard University), discussing the science and politics of climate change with the program’s host Marty Moss-Coane.

    She appears to be a model writer (spec writer?) and expert on ocean dynamics of the Southern Ocean. Her publication include many regarding the role of phytoplankton in the evolution of the “climate” under anthropogenic CO2 “forcing”. (Or at least modeling thereof.)

    I wonder if she could be persuaded to provide a blog post or 6 regarding how the behavior of phytoplankton is parametrized in climate models, how much difference there is among different (lineages of) models, and how such parametrization might respond to reducing some of our current huge ignorance regarding the behavior of phytoplankton, the zooplankton that prey on them (and strongly influence their populations), and the larger predators that dominate the marine food web.

    Assuming she has a thick enough skin to tolerate the all-in sniping that goes on around here.

    She seems to think that by the end of the 21st century “there’s no more open sea convection in the southern ocean.

    • One very obvious flaw in her reasoning is generally discussed in essay Good Bad News. It discusses a different alarmist version of the same biological shift argument. Same logic applies to her. The oceans are vast and varied. Models do not regionally downscale.

      • You short on money again Rud? Why not link to an open access version of your writing rather than trying to make people track down and buy your e-books?

        I know they’re cheap, but personally I prefer to discuss things anybody can read without having to go through the hassle (and risk) of paying for access.

      • AK, no not short money because otherwise could not have spent the time to write. But after spending the better part of two years researching and writing, why should I give you free what others are glad to pay $8 for at Amazon Kindle? Huh? Or are you short the 8 bucks?

      • But after spending the better part of two years researching and writing, why should I give you free what others are glad to pay $8 for at Amazon Kindle? Huh? Or are you short the 8 bucks?

        Not me. But I value my time researching and composing comments here, based on influencing my audience.

        I’m not going to use up my precious time holding an inside conversation about something readers have to spend 8 bucks to know what’s being discussed.

      • Rud may paywall his research but at least he isn’t using taxpayer funding to produce it in the first place. So I’m OK with his mercantilism.

        Maybe I can convince Naomi Oreskes to launch a campaign for RICO investigations of the Iron Triangle of climate research —- taxpayer funding + research entities + paywalled publishers.

      • It’s certainly his prerogative to paywall his work. And mine not to spend time on it.

    • “As these waters sink they take with them anthropogenic heat from the atmosphere.”
      ? Heated waters sink?

      My understanding was that these sinking waters formed by losing heat to the bitterly cold atmosphere, not by taking up additional heat.

      “It also takes up forty to sixty percent of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide.”

      ATTP take note – perhaps the majority of CO2 uptake occurs in a small region in the Antarctic.

      As for a modeled slow down, this sounds very speculative.

      Like the convection of the ITCZ which takes place in a very small area, I understand that the deep water convection of the Antarctic takes place in very small areas of polynyas. Similar to the ITCZ, I do not have confidence that these are even measured well, much less modeled well.

      But the theory also begs questions – subsurface warming adds to stability? Ok, why doesn’t the sub surface warm water become buoyant to the surface? Fresher waters mean more sea ice, so Antarctic atmosphere becomes colder ( lacking warmth from the oceans ). But colder air masses create more polynyas and deep waters!

      And how could she fall in with ideologues Mann and Oreskes?

      • ? Heated waters sink?

        Remember that sea water density depends both on temperature and salinity. And the latter is often influenced by precipitation, freezing of sea ice, and its melting.

        That makes the whole subject a lot more complex. I suspect the basics of the temperature/salinity behavior have been properly modeled, although I would like to see some auditing of the modeling parameters.

      • AK,

        You wrote –

      • AK,

        Sorry about that. Fat finger syndrome

        You wrote –

        “I suspect the basics of the temperature/salinity behavior have been properly modeled . . . ”

        I suspect your suspicion is misplaced. The average Warmist obviously has no grasp of real, (as opposed to Warmist pseudo -), physics.

        In the Warmist World, the Earth never cooled, heat trapped by CO2 is never radiated away to a cooler environment, cooler denser water up wells, warmer less dense water sinks to the bottom, and the laws of thermodynamics cease to operate in the presence of giant intellects such as those possessed by Hansen, Schmidt and Mann.

        I was joking about the giant intellects, of course.

        After four and a half billion years of absorbing sunlight, the seas seem to have cooled quite bit. No longer boiling, they are very cold in the abyssal depths, in spite of of being but a few kilometres away from the red hot mantle. An unknown quantity of energy is released through thermal vents, undersea eruptions and lava flows, as well as the remorseless continuous radiation from the solid crust.

        The reason the depths remain so cold is of course easily explained by normal physics. A Warmist would have to resort to magical transportation of missing heat, or incomprehensible nonsense words to explain why the seas have actually managed to cool to their present temperatures.

        Assigning any notion of commonsense, or basic physical knowledge, to a Warmist, is a grave error, and you will suffer the consequences if you do so.

        I suspect that there is something worse than hubris, and that is clueless hubris. I may be wrong.


      • http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/10/southern-ocean-showing-remarkable-revival-in-carbon-absorption-ability

        Well, gee, the carbon budget charts show the ocean absorbing 90 GT/Y of carbon. The Scripps article says the Arctic absorbs 58 GT (and increasing) and the other article says the Southern ocean absorbs 40%.

        So the Southern ocean absorbs a scant 40%, not 40-60%.

        The North pole is mostly open ocean (the global warmers claim it is open ocean), the south pole is a piece of rock with ice on it. Cold water absorbs more CO2 than ice/rock. Further, in times of great upwelling the Southern ocean may absorb 30% less:
        Researchers estimated that the efficiency of the Southern Ocean to absorb CO2 had dropped by about 30% which they put down to higher wind speeds across the area which brought carbon-rich waters to the surface. .

      • “Well, gee, the carbon budget charts show the ocean absorbing 90 GT/Y of carbon. ”

        Shouldn’t that be

        “Well, gee, the estimated carbon budget charts show the ocean absorbing 90 GT/Y of carbon.”

        if we are going to precise about this.

      • Horst,

        From the paper:

        “Historical biogeochemical and ecological conditions are
        subject to north–south asymmetries owing to interhemispheric
        asymmetries in physical drivers.”

        I’ve said this a thousand times but nobody listens!

      • The N/S deal is well studied, just most tools on blogs are dim to that reality. On one of the papers, it shows the N/S asymmetry, then the model prediction wipes that all out, no more N/S asymmetry. Also, the variations are perfect around latitude bands, but the data does not show that type of regularity. Like I said, they are likely getting numerical artifacts, not making real-world predictions.

    • Assuming she has a thick enough skin to tolerate the all-in sniping that goes on around here.

      Yeah I believe any scientist on what you guys consider the “wrong” side of the climate change debate would have to endure the flood of questions and comments, the responses to which would in many cases not be satisfactory These initial questions would lead to more questions and comments and so on. I don’t know if people would really want to spend so much of their time doing that. Would you?

      • I don’t suppose you’ve noticed, but skeptical scientists get it too, from people like you.

      • Yeah and there is only about 5 of us or so who post regularly. So it’s not quite and I believe she ignores most of us anyway or at least doesn’t respond too often. I doubt she would be doing it if the proportion were reversed though like it would be for someone posting here.

      • Yeah and there is only about 5 of us or so who post regularly.

        There’s more than that who come out of the woodwork when a real scientist shows up.

        But yeah, it’s not an even balance. But a lot of the worst snipers are really only responding to folks like you; not so much real science.

        Anyway, she does seem to have some valuable expertise. I don’t know whether she’d want to spend much time explaining the basics, but I’d certainly like to know how much real value there is in the climate modelling (parametrization) of phytoplankton behavior.

      • And then, there’s always the nuts. But real scientists can just ignore them.

        Of course, My own suggestion that whaling may have contributed to the recent rise of atmospheric pCO2 might cause some to consider me a nut.

        Their loss.

    • Plankton respiration is a myth.

  14. Ok, so the dilemma was why so much melted ice (as measured by sea level rise) doesn’t slow down the Earth’s rotation as much as expected.

    My non-scientist 2c: groundwater raises sea levels without affecting ice. Furthermore, groundwater (unlike glaciers) is not located near the poles. Thus a milimeter coming from groundwater would not slow down the Earth as much as a milimeter from ice.


  15. Centuries of Melting Already Locked in for Polar Ice, Scientists Say [link]

    The warm times are natural and normal. That is when it snows more and rebuilds ice on Antarctic, Greenland and the mountain glaciers. They do not really understand natural variability. They don’t even have a clue.

  16. US town rejects solar power, because it would suck up all the sunlight [link]

    Their reasoning was unreasonable, but they did the right thing. North Carolina has passed law against doing stupid stuff based on climate model output. Stuff must be based on actual data. Every state should do this.

  17. Another article mentioning W Antarctic melt without mentioning the increase and abundance of Antarctic sea ice in recent years. And the sub-glacial ash sheet sheet size of Wales just near PIG. And the still active volcanism there (oh, so that’s why the peninsula looks like one end of a cordillera!)

    If I ever need instructions on how to neatly step around a woolly mammoth in a phone booth, I’m going to ask one of these melty-pole alarmists. They can step around anything.

  18. Thank you, Professor Curry, for your continuing efforts to protect the field of climatology from those who would use it to generate grant funds.

    You deserve special recognition for actively opposing this relentless force.

  19. It would be nice if we could have 2 back-to-back “Point-Counter- Point” CE blog stories on El Nino — (1) That its not all that big of a deal; (2) It’s (as the Donald would say) HUGE!

    • It’s a big deal. It cannot be reversed by a La Nina as a La Nina amps up OHC, and, as Trenberth puts it, that just comes back to haunt. What people here are banking on is La Nina dominance in the immediate future. They are banking on the return of the Kimikamikaze Wind… a divine wind.

      • Cloud cover, evaporation, and precipitation determine whether la Nina increases ocean heat content. Just because it generally does, doesn’t mean it will. Energy pools in the west pacific, but that’s just part of the picture. Shoot, photosynthesis variability even may make a difference.

  20. That NOAA article on El Nino was – wait for it! – kind of sensible and informative.

    You heard it here first.

  21. The Siege of Miami
    As temperatures climb, so, too, will sea levels

    Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker …

    “You can’t build levees on the coast and stop the water” is the way Jayantha Obeysekera put it. “The water would just come underground.”

    Some people told me that they thought the only realistic response for South Florida was retreat.
    [ … ]
    I asked about the limestone problem. “That is the one that scares us more than anything,” Mowry said. “New Orleans, the Netherlands—everybody understands putting in barriers, perimeter levees, pumps. Very few people understand: What do you do when the water’s coming up through the ground?

    • rovingbroker,

      It is surprising that so many are so ignorant of basic Earth science. Even Wikipedia has the following –

      “In the near field outside the former ice margin, the land sinks relative to the sea. This is the case along the east coast of the United States, where ancient beaches are found submerged below present day sea level and Florida is expected to be submerged in the future.[5] GPS data in North America also confirms that land uplift becomes subsidence outside the former ice margin.[4]”

      Nothing mysterious. No need for global warming nonsense.The crust moves and heaves following its own rules. Often we can see our theories verified by observation, but at other times, processes which we can but dimly guess at, make mock of our predictions.

      Ah well, it’s probably enough that we can be wise after a natural event, even if if our newfound knowledge still doesn’t tell us much about the future.

      And life goes on – we hope!


    • Curious George

      Ask the Dutch. 17% of Netherlands are below sea level.

    • RB, it was a giggle. My permanent residence is directly on the Atlantic in Fort Lauderdale, a mere 45 miles from Miami, with the same porous limestone about 80 feet down here that the building footings go down to and then into. The building and its glass were built to withstand a 155 mph Cat 5. The Dreaded SLR will not be a factor for at least 100 years. Two ways to know this. 1. Everything including water sewer sinks was built at least 2 meters above MHT, and except for the lowest garage level at least 3 meters ober that for storm surge. 2. Unit prices have doubled despite all climate fears and the local real estate bubble.

  22. RE the NC town that rejected (more) solar panels. The article linked by Judy is very misleading. The town already has 3 sets of solar panels and basically didn’t want to be walled in on 4 sides by them. There are other accounts if you can get down the list supplied by Gooble. From the article:

    Except that’s not what happened. If you look back at the local news story that started all the furor, it’s unclear whether anyone at the meeting actually said the solar project would “suck up all the energy from the sun”—that was the reporter’s paraphrasing.* According to that news story, one of the speakers at the meeting, a retired science teacher, was concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep vegetation from growing. She said—again, paraphrased—that she has observed areas near solar panels where vegetation is brown and dead because it did not receive enough sunlight. More importantly, Woodland had already approved construction of three other solar farms, and it seems the opposition to this particular project was mostly for NIMBY reasons—the town wouldn’t receive any additional tax revenue from this particular project, for example.


    • From the article:

      It would be foolish to conclude that all the town’s residents have an aversion to solar energy, said Ron Lane, who has been on the Woodland Town Council for two years. In the past year, Lane noted, the town approved zoning changes to accommodate a trio of major solar farms, one of which is nearly completed.

      Woodland simply got too cramped for a fourth solar installation, he said.

      “How would you and your family like to live in the middle of a solar farm, surrounded on all four sides?” said Lane, a retired elementary school principal. “We have approved three solar farms on almost three points of the compass. This would have completely boxed the town in with solar farms.”


  23. I would like to know more about the NASA GISS study. I found a little more in their press release.

    • Curious George

      “that approach … falls way short of capturing the individual regional impacts of each of those variables.” Encouraging from an institution which until recently modeled the Earth as a flat disk receiving 1/4 of solar irradiance.

      • Actually it is a jab at the recent few-parameters-fits-all studies, such as those by Otto and Lewis that have no way of accounting for spatial variability in the forcing, and have been coming up with low estimates. You can certainly criticize Lewis on the grounds you state, but I suspect you won’t.

      • Curious George

        Jim, I am with you on that one – we need better models. To get them, we must no longer pretend that current models are adequate.

      • Curious George: “Jim, I am with you on that one – we need better models. To get them, we must no longer pretend that current models are adequate.”

        “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

        IPCC Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para.,, p774.

      • Curious George

        cat – maybe IPCC should ban all models, and burn modelers at stake. Maybe all attempts to forecast – pardon me, to project – climate should be banned. Seeing the kind of people devoted to these tasks, maybe the strongest punishment is indicated.

        Now the real question is what constitutes a long term. Is it 40 years? 40 months? 40 weeks? 40 days? 40 hours? (The last one is my estimate for CAM5.1).

      • The IPCC sentence is about the difference between weather and climate and leads in to the difference between predictions and projections, but I think those are both poorly understood here. Read further down.

      • Curious George: “Now the real question is what constitutes a long term.”

        Perhaps we can get an idea from the accuracy of weather forecasts.

        The British Met Office claim to use the same hardware and software to model both weather and climate simply by changing the granularity in their models.

        “Barbecue Summer” mean anything to you?

    • Jim D,

      Good grief! It’s worse than we thought!

      “If you’ve got a systematic underestimate of what the greenhouse gas-driven change would be, then you’re systematically underestimating what’s going to happen in the future when greenhouse gases are by far the dominant climate driver,” Schmidt said.”

      Maybe he should have stuck to mathematics or juggling, instead of venturing into fortune telling. His track record seems to consist of crying “Hottest year EVAH!! (Well, one chance in three, he admitted), or “It’s WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!!!”

      Yeah, right, Gavin. Maybe you should look at “Physics 1 for Dummies”. Only joking, it might be a bit advanced. Feynman’s Lectures in Physics are pretty good, from memory. You might not need words like forcings, or feedbacks any more.


    • Here is some more. The study and image you link to is China in a winter smog inversion. Same hypothesis as global cooling in the 1970’s in US and EU. Which many warmunists now pretend never seriously existed.
      Problem. Those China smog aerosols do not go high enough to persist, nor last long enough to affect the general Southern hemisphere. So this alarmist paper asserting we are underestimating sensitivity can be checked by simply comparing trends in NH v. SH and what they imply for global sensitivities. Do that, and this hypothesis fails. Alternatively, look at energy budget sensitivities including China through maybe 2014. Also fails.
      Do not confuse true air pollution with ‘carbon pollution’. Do not confuse comdensing water vapor with CO2, whichnis an invisible gas. And above all, do not confuse religion with science.

      • Curious George

        Don’t forget wind-blown Saharan dust, a major source of carbon pollution.

      • All the smog ends up raining down onto the land, then has a different climate effect. One interesting example of the US cleaning up our smog is an increasing requirement for sulfur in fertilizer. Smog contains organic carbon, vocs and oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. It’s the perfect soup of life, so the effects are not restricted to albedo alone, there are biochemical reactions that can help to destroy snow, ice and permafrost. The key unknown besides natural variation is a more complete understanding man’s climate impact from smog.

        The maximum dust concentrations always precede glacial melting. Not only ending glacial maximums, but also preceding Dansgaard–Oeschger events.


      • Precedes the melting by 100k years, or follows it by a few?

      • gymno: you are reading the time scale backwards

      • Err No Rud.

        Aerosols are real.
        Aerosols are a negative forcing.
        Getting Aerosol forcing correct is extremely important because of the
        huge uncertainities and because this uncertainty dominates observational estimates of ECS.

      • Aerosols are real.
        Aerosols are a negative forcing.
        Getting Aerosol forcing correct is extremely important because of the
        huge uncertainities and because this uncertainty dominates observational estimates of ECS.

        And aerosols are now understood to be less significant as of AR5 than they were as of AR4.

        And SO2 has declined for decades in US and Europe, so the net effect of aerosols there is positive, not negative.

    • There seems to be a mistake: “…The result dovetails with a GISS study published last year that puts the TCR value at 3.0°F (1.7°C); the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which draws its TCR estimate from earlier research, places the estimate at 1.8°F (1.0°C).”

      They must mean 1.8°C for this last figure.

    • My interpretation from the few clues in the press release is that aerosols have a bigger impact than their globally averaged forcing implies. Their effect is focused on continental areas that would have been the fastest warming otherwise, so their impact on the mean temperature is larger than if they had just uniformly forced the whole globe the way CO2 does. Bottom line: aerosols have hidden more of the GHG surface warming than suspected in simplistic zero-dimensional energy budget studies and it is worse than we thought.

      • Jim D,

        You wrote –

        “. . . it is worse than we thought.”

        What is worse, and what fool thought it up in the first place? Should I worry a lot, or just a little?


    • Jim D:

      With Gavin Schmidt as co-author, this paper should not be paywalled.

      However, from the abstract it appears they are cribbing off Lewis & Curry by using observations (gasp!) to constrain their estimates:

      Here we show that climate sensitivity estimates derived from recent observations must account for the efficacy of each forcing active during the historical period. When we use single-forcing experiments to estimate these efficacies and calculate climate sensitivity from the observed twentieth-century warming, our estimates of both TCR and ECS are revised upwards compared to previous studies, improving the consistency with independent constraints.

      Judging from the supplemental info, they calculated a 1.4C TCR and a 2.3C ECS for doubling pre-industrial.

  24. It is interesting that it is hard to find Aqua pictures of US smog.

      • Nope it was a reply to this thread
        Jim D | December 19, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Reply
        I would like to know more about the NASA GISS study. I found a little more in their press release.

        That got stranded.

        The link has pictures of the Chinese pollution and an “Oh that’s awful” caption underneath it. The pictures came from the Aqua Satellite “Aqua (EOS PM-1) is a multi-national NASA scientific research satellite”

        The only pictures of smog pictures from the US I could find are an Atlantic haze attributed to Canadian wildfires.

        I was wondering if there are any 2015 pictures of visible (from space) US pollution. And I am not talking wildfires. The US literally may have more air pollution and soot from wildfires than from power plants. And the wildfires are “natural” and CO2 isn’t pollution.

      • PA:

        Check out the link I provided. Aura site has animated illustrations, etc.

        Depending on wavelength observed, they can select for SO2, etc. concentrations. US urban and industrial pollution has declined in recent decades.

      • The worst US and European pollution was in the 60’s, pre-satellite, but it led to “global dimming” which was actually quite local, and cooling of the eastern US seaboard and western Atlantic in that period, while European pollution affected eastern Europe and Russia. These all go into long-term “observation-based” sensitivity estimates.

      • The worst US and European pollution was in the 60’s, pre-satellite, but it led to “global dimming” which was actually quite local, and cooling of the eastern US seaboard and western Atlantic in that period,

        Too bad there’s not much observational evidence of what the actual change in albedo was and that the IPCC reports have continually diminished their estimates of this effect.

      • So that’s where the NCC paper by Marvel and Schmidt comes in. You can’t simply globally average pollution effects when they are local. They are more effective at inhibiting warming when focused over the land.

  25. On causation vs. correlation:

    The rise in autism rates is likely to do with increased awareness and diagnosis, or one of many other possible factors that have changed over the past 50 years.

    Actually, probably more explanatory was a change in the definition being used so as to be more inclusive.

    Too bad the author didn’t mention the Bradford Hill criteria:


  26. Climate Change at the Debate tonight #6:

    6. Climate change and energy

    Democratic presidential candidates almost all unilaterally agree the government needs to step in to help stop climate change and invest in more clean energy, and all three candidates cheered a historic, 196-country agreement reached in Paris last week to try to limit the Earth’s warming by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    The litmus test among environmentalists has long been whether or not candidates would approve the fourth stage of the Keystone pipeline to ship Canadian oil to Nebraska, a politically touchy point for Clinton who recently said she opposes the pipeline but not before wavering for months.

    Obama took that test off the table in November when he announced he wouldn’t approve the pipeline ahead of the Paris summit on climate change.

    Clinton has now shifted her focus to trying to invest in coal communities hit by a shift to clean energy: Before Democrats’ November debate, she unveiled a $30 billion infrastructure and tax-break plan to do just that.


    OR: isn’t that an interesting softball ABC, especially since they all have the SAME position.

  27. Regarding: “Complexity and the failure of quantitative social science”
    By Brian Castellani (Professor of sociology at Kent State University):

    “Such systems, given their emergent, idiographic and qualitative complexity, are not understood well using simple formulas or statistics. Needed, instead, are entirely new methods, grounded in the forthcoming age of the computer, which Weaver, in 1948, saw on the horizon. Also necessary is a more open and democratic science, grounded in interdisciplinary teamwork and exchange – both critical to understanding and managing organized complexity. Weaver puts it this way: “These new problems, and the future of the world depends on many of them, requires science to make a third great advance, an advance that must be even greater than the nineteenth-century conquest of problems of simplicity or the twentieth-century victory over problems of disorganized complexity. Science must, over the next 50 years, learn to deal with these problems of organized complexity” (1948, p. 540).”

    No wonder Weaver was confusing ability to predict with ability to explain – knowledge with unknowledge – science with fiction.
    The logic of scientific discovery
    By Karl Popper was first published in English 1959.
    The first 26 pages are wonderfully exhilarating – enjoy!

    Victory over problems of disorganized complexity can only be achieved by imagination, pure luck and cruel testing of theories to eliminate flawed ideas. The victory will only be evident by the long term ability to repeatably predict particular outcomes. The ability to predict something which could not happen anyway – by any other reason.

    An example of failure:
    The congressional committee’s Democratic chairman, Henry Waxman, pressed him: “You found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?” Greenspan agreed: “That’s precisely the reason I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or so with considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

    “In turn, however – as I have hopefully made clear in this essay – by today’s standards, the overwhelming majority of social scientists are not very good technicians or methodologists.”

    Very well Brian Castellani.
    You have made that perfectly clear to us!

    • Curious George

      Science needs philosophers or historians of science the same way birds need ornithologists.

      My apologies, I don’t remember the source.

    • No wonder Weaver was confusing ability to predict with ability to explain – knowledge with unknowledge – science with fiction.

      Interesting, or at the very least amusing – well, at least to me – that the confused Weaver of those days should have been followed – albeit many moons later – by an equally confused now former IPCC-nik, dutifully robed in academic clothing, also named Weaver!

      Canadian climate modeller, Andrew <climate change is a barrage of intergalactic missiles> Weaver; aka a Greenpeace parrot par excellence, is currently known as the “historic” first Green Party member of the British Columbia provincial legislature.

      This latter-day Weaver continues to spread his green gospel hither and yon. Sometimes he’s even aided and abetted by the superbly mis-informed – but totally dedicated – Federal Green Party MP, Elizabeth May;-)

      Small world, eh?!

  28. “Here we show that climate sensitivity estimates derived from recent observations must account for the efficacy of each forcing active during the historical period. When we use single-forcing experiments to estimate these efficacies and calculate climate sensitivity from the observed twentieth-century warming, our estimates of both TCR and ECS are revised upwards compared to previous studies, improving the consistency with independent constraints.”

    Efficacy: the ability to produce a desired or intended result.

    • When we use single-forcing experiments to estimate these efficacies and calculate climate sensitivity from the observed twentieth-century warming, our estimates of both TCR and ECS are revised upwards compared to previous studies, improving the consistency with independent constraints.”

      So they adjusted just the CO2 on some planet and held everything else constant (single-forcing experiment)…

      Which planet did they use and where is the data?

    • edbarbar,

      Of course, the silly Warmists have forgotten that in the real world, an experiment is an experiment. In the Warmist World of Denial, an experiment consists of running a computer program which is written to produce a predetermined outcome, as you point out.

      To make really, really, sure that you get the right answer, you generate numbers relating to non existent entities that you make up. That way, no one can dispute your meaningless answers.

      In this case, Transient Climate Response, and Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity are the supposed quantities.

      However, as climate is defined as the average of weather, both TCR and ECS are complete nonsense. No meaning at all. I am not surprised that politicians and Warmist Watermelons get taken in.


  29. Last year a Graeme Stephens’ paper had profound implications… so here it goes again.

    • JCH: Interesting. I missed the first paper and the classic WUWT choke on it.
      Full papers:
      The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance
      in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model.

      The albedo of Earth

      • Ok, I’m feeling a bit stupid but I just have to ask…

        Manmade GHG forcing (or at least CO2, not sure about other GHGs) is relatively uniform across the atmosphere. It affects outgoing IR.

        Manmade non-GHG forcing is overwhelmingly concentrated in the northern hemisphere. Deforestation, black carbon on snow, aerosols – you name it. It works by affecting incoming radiation, though to the extent that it impacts clouds it also affects IR.

        And yet, after all that impact on the Northern hemisphere, apparently the albedo there is still the same as in the Southern hemisphere, within a range of 0.2w/m2. Several people noted this in the original thread but I don’t see any ‘obvious’ explanation. (In fact the most obvious are that either those forcings are small, or that they cancel each other out – but neither would have been ‘obvious’ before checking the paper).

      • Alberto: Yes, that uncertainty is at the heart of the matter. Getting some real data on albedo (post human influence) and then forcing it into a model (where it should be an emergent property) and seeing better simulation of tropical circulation is a big step toward better understanding what is going on.

        That’s the game of multiple working hypothesis… you have to go where the data leads, not your old, bad ideas.

  30. Deny you have a war on somebody’s primary asset while seeking their vote.
    Undermine its value from behind the scenes once elected.
    Come clean on the war when the end is near.
    Buy the asset while telling others to sell it.
    Offer the affected people 30B dollars and hope they will vote for you.


    Will it work ?


  31. The article on elite scientists holding back science mentioned a male favoured bias in science hiring, yet recent results suggest that it may be the opposite. That there is a 2:1 hiring advantage for women in STEM. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360.abstract

  32. With respect to the Marvel et al. paper, I’ve discussed the implications of distribution of radiative forcing in the comments of ATTP’s blog. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/forcing-efficacy/

    I argue that while distribution of radiative forcing may cause an underestimate of instrumental ECS estimates, it causes an overestimate of paleoclimate ECS estimates. Thus, a lot of the so called discrepancy between instrumental and paleoclimate estimates is due to not taking radiative forcing distribution into account (a second major reason is the differences in definitions of ECS, with the paleoclimate definitions generally having a longer timescale than instrumental definitions).

    • -1

      Good luck with that. I tried using TSI/pi as a better estimate but there appears to be issues with atmospheric lensing which makes things more interesting than I can deal with. In any case, the stratosphere and up acquires a fairly variable amount of energy over a much large area than the surface that seems to vary with atmospheric tides.

    • -1=e Paleo is a completely different animal. The temperature changes are caused by focused forcing in combo with feedbacks like dust and over-extended ice sheets. The ice sheets get so big, the slightest nudge causes total failure. As they melt, the complete history of dust remains on top to help the cascade into oblivion. When that happens, you get albedo changes and ocean circulation changes and precipitation changes and terrestrial vegetation changes and marine biology changes it’s turtles all the way down. There is no way to sort out all the “forcings” and feedback “forcings” from low-frequancy paleo data and then make a judgement on the effects of CO2 in the modern high frequency instrument era.

      Likewise, in the modern era, we have CO2 plus a handfull of other anthro forcings from smog, dust, landuse, etc. plus there are short term climate cycles of 30-years and 60-years and long-term climate cycles of hundreds and thousands of years that we don’t understand.

      To my mind, take the straight CO2 forcing response of 1.1C and double it. There is your best guesstimate. No amount of future modeling or measuring will get us any more certain or accurate.

      The only important challenge is to figure out the technical, political and economic way to reduce air pollution and decarbonize the west, India and China.

      • The only important challenge is to figure out the technical, political and economic way to reduce air pollution and decarbonize the west, India and China

        where do i send a check ?

  33. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/263623-noaa-turns-over-subpoenaed-climate-documents-to-house-committee

    Note the usual misleading reference to “climate change skeptics.”

  34. Could Scientists here at CE respond in a way laymen can understand to Dr. Cowtan (who speaks in layman language):


    • It would have been warming just as much as we suspected provided there wasn’t lots of small volcanoes which we didn’t think would have much impact, a weaker solar cycle we didn’t think would have much impact and industrial aerosols which we didn’t think would have much impact. Once you add polar regional temperatures that we didn’t think were really needed, everything is going just as we expected.

    • Do the models not reflect pollution from aerosols in their projections? To a layman, this seems odd if they don’t.

  35. The paper by Hogan which shows the effect of solar zenith angle approximations is nice and illustrates what I have been saying for years: the models are NOT “just physics” because spatially continuous processes must be discretized and this can introduce errors (even ignoring things like clouds that are simply unknown).

  36. Study: Elite scientists can hold back science

    I find the premise interesting but had to stop reading when the author wrote:

    “how many patents they invented”.

  37. Re: http://phys.org/news/2008-12-nasa-instruments-document-boundary-earth.html

    “The height of the ionosphere/space transition is controlled in part by the amount of extreme ultraviolet energy emitted by the Sun and a somewhat contracted ionosphere could have been expected because C/NOFS was launched during a minimum in the 11-year cycle of solar activity. However, the size of the actual contraction caught investigators by surprise. In fact, when they looked back over records of solar activity, they found that C/NOFS had been launched during the quietest solar minimum since the space age began.”

    So, what would the effect be on the world’s temperature, near-surface and wind patterns?

    There was some talk about not taking the “other” light frequencies into enough account, but I don’t know which way this revelation by NASA would then go ….

  38. “Low correlation implies sustained output. High correlation implies big peaks and troughs.”

    “For people new to wind power, a low correlation is good. A high correlation is bad. Why? If you have 1000x 3MW wind turbines and the correlation of output power between the turbines is high then they will be producing 3GW some of the time, 1.5GW some of the time, and 0GW some of the time – their output power rises and falls in unison.”

    His first above statement applies to synchronized chaos I think. Low correlation is our average weather. High correlation is the synching that accompanies regime changes. It would apply to a market bubbles as well where everyone wants to buy and then sell. Does weather literally synch? A few nights ago my small lake finally froze over, going from 1% to 100% coverage. I’d guess it happened over 6 hours. Weakly correlated surface water all did something it does once a year, at the same time. It correlated for a few hours and the lake entered its Winter regime. Correlation would also apply to ice sheets. Gains equal losses, that’s weakly correlated. High correlation is significant sustained gains or losses. Some water is now doing something that usually just averages out.

  39. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/12/11/scientists-may-have-just-solved-one-of-the-most-troubling-mysteries-about-sea-level-rise/

    “First, they say, the estimates of 20th-century sea-level rise used by Munk were too high. More recent estimates put the rate at between 1 and 1.5 millimeters per year, Mitrovica said. Additionally, he and his colleagues argue that the model Munk used to correct for the ice age effect was inaccurate.”

    So what about these accelerating values and the high rises of the late 20th century, the 3.14 mm/year? I looks like some establishment scientists think the sea level “data” commonly used is seriously inaccurate ….

    Something else not “settled”?

  40. Climate change shock: Burning fossil fuels ‘COOLS planet’, says NASA


    “Climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York and a co-author on the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said: “The assumptions made to account for these drivers are too simplistic and result in incorrect estimates of TCR and ECS.”

    Well maybe not so shocking since it is already well known.

    “While the findings did not dispute the effects of carbon dioxide on global warming, they found aerosols – also given off by burning fossil fuels – actually cool the local environment, at least temporarily.

    ” “Both values are projected global mean surface temperature changes in response to doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations but on different timescales.

    “TCR is characteristic of short-term predictions, up to a century out, while ECS looks centuries further into the future, when the entire climate system has reached equilibrium and temperatures have stabilized.”

    The spokesman said it was “well known” that aerosols such as those emitted in volcanic eruptions and power stations, act to cool Earth, at least temporarily, by reflecting solar radiation away from the planet.

    He added: “In a similar fashion, land use changes such as deforestation in northern latitudes result in bare land that increases reflected sunlight.”

    Kate Marvel, a climatologist at GISS and the paper’s lead author, said the results showed the “complexity” of estimating future global temperatures.

    She said: “Take sulfate aerosols, which are created from burning fossil fuels and contribute to atmospheric cooling.

    “They are more or less confined to the northern hemisphere, where most of us live and emit pollution” “

  41. New article on susceptibility of conifers to drought: http://www.ladailypost.com/content/lanl-study-forecasts-disappearance-conifers
    The Nature article is behind a paywall.

  42. From the article:

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — If governments are serious about the global warming targets they adopted in Paris, scientists say they have two options: eliminating fossil fuels immediately or finding ways to undo their damage to the climate system in the future.

    The first is politically impossible — the world is still hooked on using oil, coal and natural gas — which leaves the option of a major cleanup of the atmosphere later this century.

    Yet the landmark Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 countries on Dec. 12, makes no reference to that, which has left some observers wondering whether politicians understand the implications of the goals they signed up for.

    “I would say it’s the single biggest issue that has to be resolved,” said Glen Peters of the Cicero climate research institute in Oslo, Norway.