Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Massive icebergs can slow global warming, says new study [link]

Scientists say human greenhouse gas emissions have cancelled the next ice age [link]

In a new study, researchers have worked out a formula for what triggers an ice age to start [link]

Does Gaia end Ice Ages? [link]

Uncertainty in Model Climate Sensitivity Traced to Representations
of Cu Precip Microphysics (Zhao al.) in J.Clim. [link] …

It’s the clouds: Scientists just found an unexpected factor that could be driving Greenland’s ice loss [link]

Relative roles of dynamic and thermodynamic processes in causing evolution asymmetry between El Nino and La Nina [link]

Carbon sequestration in managed temperate coniferous forests under climate change [link]

Engineering plants to get by with less water—and hotter temperatures. [link] …

Ocean circulation changes may have killed cold-water corals [link]

Measuring error in ocean warming [link]

#CO2 Annual Mean Growth Rate 2015 all time high: [link]


Did explosive #volcanic eruptions cause onset of #climatechange during the Last #Glacial? [link] …

The 40,000-Mile Volcano [link]

Impact of stratospheric volcanic aerosol on decadal climate predictions [link]

Warmest year?

Berkeley Earth reports a record-breaking warm year for 2015. [link]

Paul Homewood: “2015 Only 3rd Warmest Year According To Satellites” [link]

Steve McIntyre has an informative model-obs comparison through 2015 [link]

“accuracy of our estimates of the entire Nino3.4 region is only about plus or minus 0.3C” [link]

How Strong Was That El Niño or La Niña? – No One Knows For Sure [link]

Weather and extremes

Great article on American vs. Euro weather forecast model, via @PhysicsToday [link]

The Sardeshmukh paper is now published:  Need for caution in interpreting extreme weather statistics [link] …

MunichRe: 2015 saw lowest losses from natural catastrophes since 2009  [link]

Climatology of the frequency and spatial distribution of Atlantic hurricane landfalls [link]

Nature: Downturn in scaling of UK extreme rainfall with temperature for future hottest days [link]

About science and scientists

phys.org: Why you really don’t want “overwhelming” evidence without dissent. Honest skepticism is a good thing. [link]

Friends of Science: The 97% consensus myth [link]

Interesting essay:  Confessions of a doomer [link]

An interesting read: Democracy and expert advice on scientific issues [link] …

Two recent interviews with Richard Tol [link]

Arctic Methane mischief: misleading commentary published in Nature [link]
Gavin points out the signers are mostly associated with AMEG (Arctic Methane Emerg. Group) http://ameg.me/

Physics Today:  Climatologist Judith Curry calls attention to a new kind of attack on climate denial [link]

On blogging and the growing irrelevance of academic peer review in multi-disciplinary fields [link]

How misinformation spreads online, with reference to echo chambers and polarization. [link]

246 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review – science edition |

  2. So, the fact that, global warming is caused by humanity, becomes a new reality. Like indulging a fascination about vintage analog watches in an age of supercomputers, secular, socialist academia has taken reason to the opposite extreme: wishing to live in a virtual world instead the real one. Meta-world academics and the political bureaucracy to which they are beholden – like Renaissance artists to the doctrine of the Catholic Church – have given wings to a new kind of mystical thinking where the sterile results of unverifiable computer models are more real than dew on daisies.

    • +1 … Dew drops on daisies and raindrops on roses,
      snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes,
      silver white winters that melt into Spring,
      these are a few of my favorite things…

      • Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
        Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
        Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
        These are a few of my favorite things.

        Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
        Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
        Silver white winters that melt into springs
        These are a few of my favorite things

        When the dog bites, when the bee stings
        When I’m feeling sad
        I simply remember my favorite things
        And then I don’t feel so bad

        Read more: The Sound Of Music – My Favorite Things (maria) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

      • … everybody knows,
        that’s how it goes.

      • Fortran for spreadsheets and Pascal on Apples,
        Computers that sort all my numbers and matters,
        slicing the trees and then counting the Rings,
        these are a few of my favorite things…

      • Slicing the trees and then counting the rings,
        splicing two data sets so cool turns to warming,
        these …

      • Julie Andrews wants you to stop now.

      • Yes … adieu, adieu, ter
        yieu and yieu and yieu.

    • Wags,

      What you got against old watches? I think they are cool. Would collect them if I could afford the hobby.

  3. Thank you for pointing out the Nature paper on clouds:


    could any climate modelers weigh in on how serious the problem of having inaccurate cloud models is in the bigger picture of the overall fidelity of climate model projections?

    • Seems like the other paper you linked to may be relevant regarding this too:

      “Uncertainty in equilibrium climate sensitivity impedes accurate climate projections.”


      • This assumes that accurate climate projections are possible, which is probably not true. Moreover, if climate is a far from equilibrium (that is, chaotic) system then ECS does not exist, even as an abstraction, so its uncertainty is irrelevant. Assuming that the magnitude of things that do not exist can be uncertain, probably not. This is the conceptual confusion at the core of climate science.

      • Thanks. Yes I wonder if the conceptual framework is weak and ill-suited to quantitative analysis.

      • Each day the sun drills energy into the oceans, and then an almost an equal amount leaves. Yes or no?

        Do you expect this to somehow change on a relevant timescale?

      • JCH, I do not see the relevance of your question to my point. But my guess is no, because of variability in clouds and near-surface ocean circulation, among other things. Everywhere we look in this system we see oscillators and I imagine that near-surface ocean heat content is no exception.

      • Perhaps I should pose my point as a question, to wit:
        If the climate cannot equilibrate, how can it have an equilibrium property like ECS?

      • “David Wojick | January 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm |

        This assumes that accurate climate projections are possible, which is probably not true. Moreover, if climate is a far from equilibrium (that is, chaotic) system then ECS does not exist, even as an abstraction, so its uncertainty is irrelevant. Assuming that the magnitude of things that do not exist can be uncertain, probably not. This is the conceptual confusion at the core of climate science.”

        What he said.

      • > if climate is a far from equilibrium (that is, chaotic) system then ECS does not exist, even as an abstraction, so its uncertainty is irrelevant.

        Where’s Pr. Romer when you need him.

    • Not a modeller, but studied the models in order to write about them. Some directional answers to your question.
      Both AR4 and AR5 say clouds are the biggest uncertainty. How big? If you take the grey earth no feedbacks CO2 doubling causes 1.2C (both Lindzen and AR5 use 1.2C) then the IPCC ECS 3 implies the sum of all feedbacks is a Bode ‘f’ 0.65. Now IPCC says water vapor alone doubles the no feedback rise (2.4C, Bode f 0.5). AR5 has the sum of all other feedbacks except clouds at about zero, SPM WG1 fig.4. That leaves clouds with a positive Bode f 0.15 and a significant warming feedback of ~0.6C.
      Essay Cloudy Clouds explains why there is little observational support for any positive cloud feedback at all. A cloud ‘superparameterizarion’ increased tropical precipitation toward observed and lowered ECS. (Wynant et. al. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33:L06714 2006). Adding an adaptive infrared iris (more realistic cirrus clouds, previous guest post) also reduces ECS.
      To see how poorly CMIP5 does clouds, there are satellite/model comparisons in essay Models all the way Down. (stitched together from Jiang et. al. J. Geo. Res. 117:D14105 2012)

    • Not a modeler ybutt, but I think I can answer.

      Not having clouds right in the models is akin to having a transmission designed by a squirrel in your automobile. You are nuts if you think it is going to get you anywhere.

      • Thanks. So the IPCC projections that say we may expect X, Y or Z degrees temperature excursion in 2100 if keep to A, B, or C carbon emission scenarios should have error bars on the X, Y and Z — roughly what are those error bars?

  4. When it comes to climate models, as Willis has pointed out, the Tropics receive about half the incoming radiation. Perhaps the models should model the tropics with finer grid cells and more frequent time intervals. Then, perhaps the poles could each be modeled as a unit. The the area between the poles might could be divvied up between the continents and ocean regions. A courser grid could probably be used for those, with the exception of ocean currents. They need to be fairly accurate.

    But if the Tropics are the primary regulator of energy, those definitely need more computing power than the rest, IMO.

    • Two problems with your suggestion. First, to begin to get tropical convection cells ‘right’ is a seven orders of magnitude problem, as each doubling of resolution takes 10x the computational resource. Not feasible.
      Second variable grid scales messes up parameterizarion and time steps. No obvious straightforward solutions.
      What has been done is a ‘superparameterization’ for clouds, which produced a more correct tropical precipitation and lower sensitivity. Wyant et. al. Geophys.Res. Lett. 33:l06714 (2006).

      • I see no reason why, computationally, one can’t use different grid cells sizes and different time steps. It depends on the time and space scale needed for that region. As long as each isolated unit, let’s say the Arctic treated as a unit for example, is treated as a computationally conceptual object, it should work. That means that periodically, the inputs from the adjoining regions would be transferred to the Arctic unit.

        This is basically how a grid cell works now. I’m proposing not only different sized grid cells, but also independent subsystems that exchange data with each other, perhaps on different time scales.

  5. Curious George

    Uncertainty in Model Climate Sensitivity Traced to Representations of Cumulus Precipitation Microphysics. Paywalled. My comment is to an abstract only.
    “The intermodel spread is known to arise primarily from differences in cloud feedback.” CAM 5.1 model neglects a temperature dependence of latent heat of water vaporization. Why do we look for complicated explanations and neglect basic physics? Authors don’t even dare to talk about predictions; projections only.

  6. There is no reason to believe that climate change is so terrible at the moment. Unless you raise funds for Greenpeace or are a politician who presents themself as the savior of mankind: then you gain by exaggerating things. The reality is that the climate hardly affects our wellbeing and our prosperity. There are happy and rich people living in boiling hot Singapore, but also in freezing cold Canada. There are unhappy and poor people in boiling hot Kenya but also stone cold Mongolia. Climate change is not the main environmental problem. Dirty air causes currently roughly four million deaths each year. ~Richard Tol

  7. The post on peer review irrelevancy is quite good. And the comments thereto illustrate the points nicely.

  8. The max CO2 annual growth rate is somewhat at odds with the two year stall in CO2 emissions. El Nino would appear to be a factor, though it’s not completely clear why ( 97/98 event had dramatic high growth rate also ).

    Given the global economic slowdown and continued demographic drag, I suspect the ‘pause’ or even decline in CO2 emissions to continue, so barring an El Nino repeat, I suspect CO2 growth rate to fall next year.

      • I think I would say it is not as good as… The PDO index went up in December to 1.01. Heatwave in the North Pacific.

    • CO2 growth rate in general is at odds with CO2 emissions. It correlates with global temperature indices.

      There’s no pause in CO2 emissions.

      CO2 growth rate will be much lower for the rest of the decade (lower in average than in the last one). A big fat la nina is coming. We’re about to cool down.

      • CO2 emissions growth in 2014 was lower than that (~1%), so you may say it slowed down, but no pause.

      • We didn’t get a big La Niña last year after the false start El Niño. We got a warm blob instead.

        Expecting a strong La Niña just because of 97/98 is not much better than being certain that the pause is over and we’re now in a +PDO warming phase.

      • We didn’t get a big La Niña last year after the false start El Niño. We got a warm blob instead.

        Expecting a strong La Niña just because of 97/98 is not much better than being certain that the pause is over and we’re now in a +PDO warming phase.

        Ya – ENSO appears to be more a statistical variation of circulation than a cycle.

        And the fact that no one knows what will happen next year is not a ringing endorsement of climate models.

      • Yep. Temperatures spiked because of El Nino, so of course, the rate of CO2 did, too. La Nina’s revenge will be interesting.

    • TE, the supposed 2014 slowdown discussed by Guardian comes from IEA estimates of fossil fuel consumption. They got China wrong by 17%. There is no slowdown in CO2 accumulation measured at Mauna Loa (Keeling curve). Its on line for you to see for yourself. Bad data, bad reporting. No need to speculate about ENSO.

    • Actually 2015 was in line with previous years, 2.1 or 2.2ppm so 40-45% airborne fraction. I think Curry mistook the bar to the right with 2015, when in fact it’s for January 2016. That one shows an increase of more than 3ppm but it’s just two weeks of data, and there is some evidence increases might be higher during El Niños.

    • I suspect CO2 growth rate to fall next year.

      The CO2 growth rate was 2.2 PPM compared to 2014 mid-year. The El Nino peaked in November and the CO2 level peaked (relative to 2014) in late December.by increasing in the winter faster than 2014.

      The CO2 level increases until mid May, drops until late September, then starts rising again. The pre-El Nino peak in May was about 2.2 PPM different. The current difference is 402.10 vs 399.87 or about 2.2 or 2.3 PPM different. It was just timing.

      This analysis argues for a 1.4 PPM level in 2016 at years end since the December 2015 CO2 level is elevated 0.8 PPM.

      The 1998 May peak was 369.94 vs 366.41 or 3.5 PPM. Most of 1998 and early 1999 had elevated CO2 levels. This year only November and December were elevated. It will be interesting to see if that affects the La Nina CO2 levels.

      The minimum will do serious damage to the trend since 1993.

  9. ‘The spreading of misinformation online’ much of it from
    academia departments of sociology, eg Lewandowsky
    fet al ‘ finding’ that climate skepticism predicts belief in
    conspiracy theories such as CIA involvement in the
    death of Martin Luther King, and failed moon landing


  10. The Berkely Earth article: 2015 clearly the hottest year (as) ever measured.

    The huge disconnect between BEST and HadCruT and UAH/RSS/balloon radiosondes is so bizarre. Berkely can straight out show the temperature rise since 1860, and that 1998 was NOT a particularly hot year, which is totally different from other datasets – especially those that skeptics use – and yet there is zero, zilch, nada to be said about other datasets and investigators’ conclusions.

    This is not science. This is a private, for-profit, capitalist Company telling its shareholders that they, alone, are smart and successful, and deserve a higher share value. And bonuses for the managers.

    When and how does this disconnect get resolved? When La Niña comes in, the satellite and HadCru temperatures are going to go down. Any bets the Berkely/NOAA stay higher than 1998?

    The disconnect between global datasets deserves a conference. What’s the chances of that happening?

  11. Re weather forecasting, American vs European success

    “Given that forecasters in the US and other nations have access to the ECMWF, does it matter who has the best model? The University of Washington’s Mass says yes: “The global model drives the regional models. Our regional models are driven by the US global model, not by the European model. So that inferiority projects down.”

    Interesting. The regional is a subset of the global. If the global is too warm or wet or dry, then the regional is messed up. But why? NOAA/GISS claims they know better, but we can easily see the differences in global temperature profiles.

    Presumably the European model uses the HadCru data, while the American uses the GISS data. Since the GISS data keeps changing, while the HadCru seems more stable, perhaps the US model keeps changing BUT is based on a catastrophic ideal that isn’t happening (which is why the data keeps changing to find a better match).

    Are they connected?

    • ECMWF is a short term weather model, not a climate model. They use neither GISS nor HadCru data. They use realtime data.

  12. Uncertainty in Model Climate Sensitivity Traced to Representations of Cu Precip Microphysics (Zhao al.) in J.Clim.

    The authors demonstrate that model estimates of climate sensitivity can be strongly affected by the manner through which cumulus cloud condensate is converted into precipitation in a model’s convection parameterization, processes that are only crudely accounted for in GCMs. [My bold]

    Oh for the good old days when GCMs were based solely on Fundamental Physics and calculated results were equated to realizations of DNS turbulence calculations.

    • Curious George

      John von Neumann: With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

  13. From JCs link to Physics Today

    “Trygve Lavik of Norway’s University of Bergen philosophy department calls for “a statutory ban on climate denialism.”

    “Only then does he stop to define “illegal climate denialism” for his paper’s purposes. It’s “a well-organized and well-funded campaign by a person or group with authority in society, which keeps repeating the same untrue and damaging claims about climate change, without mentioning conclusive counter arguments.”

    Okay if this were true what about Greenpeace and others? Are there lawsuits out there pending against a person or group?

    ” He targets three levels of denial: that there’s a warming trend at all,

    Well Nasa and the US Government must be culpable being that they spent billions on satellites that indicate there has been no warming since the nineties. Why are there no lawsuits against Nasa and US gov for perpetrating such a denialist scheme?

    that it stems from human causes if it does exist,

    Does Heartland claim that there is no human causes?

    and that it will cause harm.

    What harm has it caused so far? Are there any Lawsuits?

    He stipulates that “some phenomena should not be considered illegal, such as a climate scientist who publishes peer-reviewed articles that deny man-made climate change, and [a] layman who writes climate denial opinions [sic] pieces in newspapers, or participates in the climate denial blogosphere, and so on.”

    Whew dodged a bullet there!

    He indicts the Heartland Institute and the political campaign against climate scientists that has been called “climategate.” He doesn’t even begin to explain how legislators could actually write applicable laws or how prosecutors could actually apply them.

    Okay I hate heartland too. It’s an embarrassment! Where’s the lawsuits? I want to make a legal donation. Perhaps there is a political foundation I can join?

    These beard scratching professors really do need therapy. Apparently they are akin to Naomi Oreskes where they think if they are loud enough or belligerent enough they will have accomplished their task. News Flash: ‘A tiny fraction of people have ever heard of Naomi Oreskes (Is she a Hollywood star like Naomi Watts?) nonetheless have heard of Trygve Lavik (Is that an outdoor latrine?).’ There is a place at Disneyland called Looney Tunes a perfect fit for these professors and their families.

    • Curious George

      Is Trygve Lavik’s work a foundation of the social service Barnevern, famous for placing any child of their choosing in foster care?

    • I have about have it with these people. The arrogance and gall of the global warming community is just breath taking.

      It is time to retaliate. There needs an investigation of whether global warming is a deliberate conspiracy to commit future genocide by restricting food supplies. We can then have a Nuremberg style trial for the leaders of the global warming community.


      Quote by Ted Turner, billionaire, founder of CNN and major UN donor, and large CO2 producer: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

      Read through the quotes. These people don’t like us. They don’t like to see us living comfortably. They think there are too many of us. In their ideal world there are just the rich and enough housekeepers and gardeners (or automated servants) that they don’t have to lift a hand.

      1. Global warmers hate people, Mr. Joe Average, pure and simple. They want most of us gone.
      2. The easiest low impact way to get rid of people is to starve them.
      3. Capping or reducing CO2 reduces the food supply.
      4. Renewable energy which takes up thousands of square miles that would otherwise be available for animal habitat, human habitat, or food production, cuts food supplies.
      5. Converting food to fuel or growing fuel crops on food grade land, cuts food supplies.

      It is hard to find any global warmer program that doesn’t reduce food availability. This can’t be a happy accident. While the drones might not understand the goal the leaders of the warming community certainly do.

      • Curious George

        It all depends on where you live. Mr. Turner sees that only 5% of people surrounding him are worthy to live. He should lead by example.

      • + 1 million PA.

        One reason I think the Pope is not the brightest to hold the Holy See.

  14. Methane mischief in Nature. When even the WaPo feels it necessary to show how shonky this new warmunist alarm commentary was, you have solid evidence of how CAGW biased and pal review failed the Nature stable of journals has become. Dredging up yet again the thoroughly discredited ‘methane time bomb’ closet monster scare. 1. Methanotrophs eliminate the permafrost possibility. 2. The very nature of methanogen created methane hydrate eliminates the ocean clathrate possibility (more in essay Ice that Burns). There isn’t a third ‘methane time bomb’ possibility.

    McNutt herself and the Marcott mess previously showed the same for Science.

  15. Re Greenland and the effect of clouds, here is a paper (Smith et al 2014) that raises the issue of possible overestimating the true meltwater release from the ice sheet.

  16. I know a little off message from the fine piece “the measuring error in ocean warming”, but looking at the graph for “0-2000 m Mean Temperature Anomaly” leads me to assume that, since 1980, oceans have warmed by .1 C. So the waters circulating off the West Antarctic Ice Shelves are supposedly responsible for the instability of the glaciers in that region and those warming waters are just .1 C higher than they were pre 1980. A powerful effect on massive Ice Shelves from such little added heat.

  17. Sardeshmukh paper. Ideas are clear and simple, the stats math isn’t. Explains how every single ‘increasing US extremes’ example in the 2014 National Climate Assessment was a fabrication. Debunked each and every one just using historical records in essay Credibility Conundrums. That the US government could put out such twisted false documentation shows how biased and untrustworthy it has become on AGW.

    • ristvan:
      Re: 2014 National Climate Assessment

      Have you tried to look up any of the peer review comments, etc.? If the USGCRP or the National Climate Assessment fall under the Data Quality Act (or Information Quality) a lot of material beyond the report documents may be available. Problem might be that the USGCRP is an assemblage of Interagency Working Groups. Not sure what kind of creature that is.

      ​In general, an agency conducting a peer review of a highly influential scientific assessment must ensure that the peer review process is transparent by making available to the public the written charge to the peer reviewers, the peer reviewers’ names, the peer reviewers’ report(s), and the agency’s response to the peer reviewers’ report(s).​


      • Opluso, I don’t think is a peer reviewed document under the data quality act. Was produced by an interagency task force (Noaa, Nasa, etc.) Details on whose who at GlobalChange.gov. “more than 300 experts guided by a 60 member Federal Advisory Commitee, extensively reviewed by federal agencies”. No quality it whatsoever.
        Politics, not science. I wrote the essay to visually name and shame.

      • The USGCRP, created by law in 1990, consists of the 13 Federal agencies that do climate research. The USGCRP office prepares an annual report to Congress called Our Changing Planet. The National Assessment was not peer reviewed, they took public comments on it.

      • Curious George

        What is a budget of USGCRP, and is it 100% taxpayer-funded?

  18. Important and most excellent essay from Editor of FM.

    • Don, I agree. A vivid example of the uncertainty monster that warmunists seem to think does not exist. Same criticism could be applied to the Karl/Huang SST revisions that tried to erase the pause.

    • Don and Ristvan,

      Thank you for the feedback! This was intended to start a discussion among people familiar with these issues. Are the two accuracy estimates comparable (temperatures of NINO3.4 and whole ocean)? If so, are both correct? If so, why does the smaller scale measurement (2d vs. 3d, smaller area) have a much larger error?

      I have questions. Any answers, or pointers to answers in the climate science literature?

      • “If so, why does the smaller scale measurement (2d vs. 3d, smaller area) have a much larger error?”

        I believe that is the benefit of large numbers. What is funny is that just about any region is going to have about +/-0.3 C of real error but people seem to think it should have some unbelievably small error. Since the tropics represent about 50% of the globe and 70% of the global energy they should provide a gut check error estimate. When you add more uncertainty regions and get a lower “global” uncertainty, you are getting fooled by the big numbers. IMHO

      • Editor, I wanted to write a Blowing Smoke essay about your exact question. Looked for months, even in many paper SIs. Have a stats/ econometric training, so initiallymthought would find some ‘gold’. What I concluded after a year searching was that without inordinate effort of the sort Steve Mck applies in one specific area, paleo, it cannot reasonably be done by outsiders. Just too data and labor intensive.
        I switched strategies. Just Show clear cut academic misconduct instead. Much easier to ‘prove’, and in your policy dialogue arena, separates wheat from chaff. Nails that in multiple essays in the ebook. Wish could do even better, but that possible ability only resides on the energy choices side of the great CAGW debate.

      • I enjoyed the article too. Not only is there the question of the smaller area having the larger uncertainty. They are claiming a change over time. Surely the earliest measurements are sparse and unreliable and therefore have a significantly larger uncertainty. All subsequent uncertainty calculations should be driven by this baseline uncertainty.

        Perhaps they are applying the Mann et al principle where the four proxy data sets available for 1,000 AD had less uncertainty in representing NH temperatures than the later NH temperatures calculated using thermometers.

  19. Let’s see, pre-industrial co2 levels likely increased due to agriculture to the tune of 30 to 40 ppmv. Post industrial land abuse also contributed in the 30 to 40 ppmv range so just plain land use could have contributed 60 to 80 ppmv of 400 ppmv we have today.

    Since CO2 gets its own little accounting column for the press and land use impact is based on radiant change mainly, some how demon coal gets the majority of the blame, when land use likely is responsible for 25% to 50% of warming if you consider the hydrology side of land use.

    For some reason I think climate science needs more accountants.

    • Capt Dallas,

      “For some reason I think climate science needs more accountants.”

      I have some experience working with biomedical companies. They apply cutting edge science to vital public policy issues, with lessons that could be applied to climate science. Such a wider role for outsider experts — such as statisticians, software engineers — and outsider reviews (i.e., in effect, auditors).

      Since so much of climate science is funded by the public (as with biomedical), raising the standards of work to meet public policy needs seems reasonable imo.

      • I guess biomed companies can’t say what they like and eg make up sales figures for periods before they started selling. So they’d be pretty restricted in breaking “records” and having “unprecedented” results.

        In climate science, you can have records broken every day, and nobody lets a little precedent or two get in the way of announcing an unprecedented weather event.

        Those biomed companies really should be studying climate science to improve their marketing hype.

      • Mosomoso,

        Retraction Watch and the flow of articles about replication failures in the social and biomedical sciences show how the changed rewards structure in the sciences plus institutional changes (e.g., the ongoing hustle for funding) have overwhelmed the cultural mechanisms which guided much of scientists’ conduct.

        As usual for institutions, the response has been slow. I wonder if it is beyond the Problem Recognition phase.

      • …the flow of articles about replication failures in the social and biomedical sciences show how the changed rewards structure in the sciences plus institutional changes (e.g., the ongoing hustle for funding) have overwhelmed the cultural mechanisms which guided much of scientists’ conduct.


      • Given two million articles a year the number of retractions, perhaps a thousand over several years, is negligible. Failure to replicate often just means the work is hard to replicate. In the social sciences replication may be impossible because the experiment cannot be repeated. Testing people a second time is a different experiment. There is no real problem here, just anti-science hype.

      • Really, it’s not anti-science, it’s anti-BAD science.

      • David,

        “Given two million articles a year the number of retractions, perhaps a thousand over several years, is negligible.”

        The number of articles on Retraction Watch represent an accurate measure of the number of peer-reviewed English-language papers deserving attention? That’s an interesting perspective, but I suspect a minority one.

        Most of the research I’ve seen on the subject suggests that a large fraction of those 2 million papers are barely read, let alone considered worthy of the considerable effort necessary to get a retraction. The classic work in this (there has been much since) is “Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship” by James A. Evans, Science, 18 July 2008, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/321/5887/395

        Nor is producing research to force a retraction a highly-regarded activity. Unless it concerns highly cited research, the opposite is true — implying that the retractions seen are a tiny fraction of those papers deserving retraction, among the worst cases among major papers.

        Worse, the few studies made to test the quality of research suggest an even larger problem — much research is not even reproducible. Scientists at Bayer attempted to reproduce published data prior to launching a drug development program on a new target and reporting that only 20–25% of published data were consistent with their. A similar analysis at Amgen found an even lower 11% rate.


        On the other hand, I am not aware of any such research producing findings that support David’s optimism.

        “There is no real problem here, just anti-science hype.”

        That’s an odd view given the large number of articles about a “reproducible crisis”. Such as this special issue of Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/reproducibility-1.17552.

        Fortunately many of the leaders in science have a more realistic view than David’s, hence the initiatives to address the problem. For example…
        The “Reproducibility Project” in psychology: http://www.nature.com/news/reproducibility-1.17552

        The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology — http://validation.scienceexchange.com/#/cancer-biology

        The “Reducibility Initiative” to get more such research published: http://validation.scienceexchange.com/#/reproducibility-initiative

      • Editor, you are the one citing Retraction Watch in support of your very strong claim that “the changed rewards structure in the sciences plus institutional changes (e.g., the ongoing hustle for funding) have overwhelmed the cultural mechanisms which guided much of scientists’ conduct.”

        The requirement for funding has been around for at least 50 years. 25 years ago I studied the job ads in Science and noted that all senior positions required a self funded program, not just funding the position, but an entire program. There is no changing rewards structure in science.

        As for the replication scare, this has become a reform movement, not unlike AGW. We have discussed this at length in the Scholarly Kitchen and replication can be extremely difficult, especially in organic biology. Simply using a different brand of reagent is often sufficient.

        As for psychology, that is the joke I was referring to. You cannot replicate a psychological experiment. If you use new people it is a different experiment, because people are different. (No one is claiming to find universal laws in people, as in physics.) If you use the same people it is still a different experiment because they know about the first version.

        Your anti-science hyperbole is unjustified and unseemly. Science is not broken.

      • Jim 2: If you are claiming that most science is BAD science then that is anti-science in my book.

      • Editor, regarding Evans consider this. Actually there is a good reason why many papers have to go unread. As Derek de Solla Price discovered back in the 1950’s, publication on a specific scientific issue exhibits an S-curve, along the lines of the logistic equation.

        So when research takes off the number of papers being produced grows rapidly, probably quickly reaching the point where not all can be read by the researchers involved. As this growth continues the topic becomes saturated and research rapidly ceases, all the important questions having been answered. It is likely that few of these latter day papers are read, but they are still useful, in creating the saturation. There is no evidence of poor research in this model.

        (Price was the father of scientometrics.

        Also, the global expenditures on basic research are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, employing millions of people. Making strong claims about this massive enterprise, based on a few isolated studies, is completely unjustified. It is exactly like early days of the climate scare, a reform movement running away with itself.

      • David,

        We bow before your logic. All these scientists worried about the problem, all those articles in major journals about the problem, all these programs to address the problem, are just “anti-science hype”.

        Glad you cleared that up for us! With such confidence, too!

      • DW:

        There is no real problem here, just anti-science hype.

        Your dismissal of the counter-argument as “anti-science hype” is much too broad, IMO. Your argument has the form of a poorly designed meta-analysis that pulls together dissimilar papers to support an unwarranted conclusion. I agree with Editor and side with those who perceive a problem and want to address it rather than deny it.

        Yes, there is obvious anti-science bunk tossed at many fields of research (climate science among them) but that doesn’t mean there is not also a serious problem with the enforcement of standards and the perverse incentives in many fields.

        My own background in environmental policy convinced me that, far too often, the science relied upon by policymakers was specifically intended to support a given outcome — particularly when the study is conducted by a “captive” research entity dependent upon government grants. This is not necessarily a fully conscious decision on the part of researchers but that does not excuse the behavior. Just consider how rare it is to find papers that conclude all future research dollars should be cut off because the investigation has reached a dead end. Instead, they typically point to “interesting” or preliminary results that suggest the need for further research.

        If at first you don’t succeed, fund, fund again.

        Your claim that the incentives in science are unchanged for decades does not rebut the hypothesis that incentives matter, and that they are perverse. If anything, it suggests the problems may be longstanding and universal.

        Medical research (despite your denialism displayed both here and on another thread) is rife with mistakes, flawed models and even intentional misconduct. Does that mean that we should discard all medical research? Of course not. But neither should we pretend that a serious problem does not exist.

      • There are many big problems with the lichurchur in general. However, they won’t be solved using arguments such as the Editor’s “flow of articles”. This argument presumes that rewards structure of the past were better, which is at best a paleocon claptrap.

        If you want to claim that something is bad, there’s no need to show it is getting worse and worse. One might argue the opposite: better and cheaper communication means leads us to see that most of science is crap. Heck, even better and cheaper science can lead us to that, since science is mostly what one can discover as heing crap.

        Galileo did some astrology, and most of Newton’s notebooks were crap. Einstein got two good years, and made many mistakes along the way. Feynman was a fast thinker, but with speed comes inaccuracies. What is true of the greatest names of science is even truer for all those who namelessly increase scientific progress.

        Changing institutions won’t change that.

        Besides, the Editor’s “raising the standards of work to meet public policy needs” sounds nice, but is quite empty regarding climate science. Policymakers would like to have something for tomorrow. They’d settle for 15 years to forecast the investments needed to protect our infrastructures. Requiring that science becomes engineering has too much political undertones to be taken that srsly.

        Srsly, if Denizens want to change something, they should first try to up their arguments a bit.

      • Given the scholarship that in the biomedical field where lives are on the line landmark studies are 11-20% reproducible (the AMGEN 11% study reviewed landmark studies – that they were relying on).

        Psychology Studies by some estimates are so unreproducible that they are basically social commentary. The various Cook studies are abject examples.

        Given the “steering pressures” of government funding and prevalence of “PAL” review (per climategate) the climate papers addressing global warming in some way would be expected to be in the AMGEN range of 11%.

        The solution is to assume studies that aren’t reproduced by a completely independent group paid by a different funding source are wrong. There should be a independent group paid to do hostile review of any reproduced studies. Any independently reproduced and hostilely reviewed studies could be used as a basis for government policy.

        As it is unproven climate science studies are only suitable as grist for coffee table or water cooler conversations.

      • > The solution is to assume […]

        Right as I was looking for an example, PA comes to the rescue.

        One does not simply offer an assumption as a solution. I don’t even need to read the rest of his comment. One can be sure it just doesn’t work.

        A bit of background knowledge helps a bit. What PA’s trying to do is to reinvent the ethnocentrist debates in historical studies. While judging the past with the present worked in the past, it doesn’t anymore. PA’s also touting the “reproducible” slogan, which will meet the same wall as verificationism and falsificationism before that. If you can’t reproduce someone else’s results, there’s no need to assume anything: scratch your own itch and do some science.

        Keep calm and give these two a rest, Denizens.

      • Willard | January 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm |
        > The solution is to assume […]

        Right as I was looking for an example, PA comes to the rescue.

        One does not simply offer an assumption as a solution. I don’t even need to read the rest of his comment. One can be sure it just doesn’t work.

        And I don’t need to read the rest of your comment either.

        If studies are only 11% to 20% reproducible and you make your claim based on a random study, I might as well claim you are wrong right off the bat.

        I will be right 80-89% of the time. I would take those odds any time. The global warmers thrive on these flawed studies since all the chaff makes a sensible debate impossible and global warmers avoid honest debate like the plague.

    • yes, climate science needs more accountants …
      and statisticians, mathematicians, geologists, meteorologists, and physicists
      some dang historians and philosophers would help too
      and for Gaia’s send in the psychiatrists

    • CaptD,

      How are we going to account for 40,000 miles of undersea volcano? Maya tried to tell us this last year: “http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150205142921.htm”

      Fully with you on the land use being ‘patient zero’. Have no idea whatsoever where to focus concern after that starting point.

      • I believe that would be in Gaia’s budget. In any case, focus on land use would help build a coalition with the people that like to eat plus strong support from the pot head munches crowd. No getting past the political side of things.

    • Willard raises David’s bid on their assault on science! See his recent tweet:

      Falsifiability’s Sean Carroll’s scientific idea ready for retirement @mtobis, @EthonRaptor & @FabiusMaximus01: https://t.co/kmq5ZKNQcB Thx
      — willard (@nevaudit) January 16, 2016


      The article he cites with approval: “WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Falsifiability” by Sean Caroll at Edge (2014?). Climate activists motto: if you cannot score, then move the goalposts.

      Meanwhile science rolls on, undisturbed by Willard and company. I’ll bet that a century from now the work of the IPCC will be respected (no matter what the climate outcome), scientists will still consider Popper’s work about falsifiability a major standard — and these climate activists will be forgotten (except as footnotes).

      • > [S]cientists will still consider Popper’s work about falsifiability a major standard […]

        Scientists like Sean Caroll, whom the Editor dismisses as if he was a climate activist. Yet, Sean Caroll came to the same conclusions that a few generations of philosophers before him already has, viz. that falsifiability is:

        [J]ust a simple motto that non-philosophically-trained scientists have latched onto.


        While there are merits to the idea, there’s little point in going a bridge too far with it and become more Popperian than the Popper himself:

        Science ain’t about refutation, but about understanding. Editor’s personal attacks won’t cover for how he inflates the idea of falsification. They only show how he can move goalposts instead of responding to arguments.

        If the Editor could learn to read first, that would be great.

      • Willard:

        Simply because one could argue that an undetectable genie inside my watch makes the mechanisms work does not mean that falsifiability has no utility in science. Conclusive disproof of all possible supporting hypotheses is not the goal. Refutation of the stated hypothesis is.

      • Opluso,

        Your reply to Willard was great. It would have taken me 3x as many words to the same not as well.

        But more amazing is that it was necessary to say it. Willard must be desperate to believe that discrediting falsification is necessary to save his theories.

  20. Warmers predict PDO assisted hot spurt:

    Trenberth and Mann. How droll.

  21. Pingback: Esa ciencia del calentamiento global, tan firme | PlazaMoyua.com

  22. I predict 2016 will be the “but satellites” year:

  23. Satellite trends in deep doo doo

    @RoyWSpencer strong evidence of major long term drift in UAH/RSS https://t.co/1Pg1uj9JjY https://t.co/uwyHbP4G8G— eli rabett (@EthonRaptor) January 15, 2016


  24. How they might have boosted sales of the WaPo or Guardian in 1972 with junk science reporting like we have now:

    “According to researchers, if the trend continues at the present rate – but there is no reason to believe the rate of change will not accelerate due to newly discovered, um, stuff – mullets on males will reach the tops of nine foot wide bell bottoms by 2016. A similar trend has been observed among women under the age of 30.

    “According to a spokesman for the international research team, disco-dancing and walking as we know them will be things of the past. Our grandchildren will never see their feet after dressing and the back of a human will be a rare sight.

    “Moreover Arctic ice is expanding at rates which are beginning to cause concern among scientists. The entire Northern Hemisphere could freeze over at time when human movement is seriously hindered by vast bell bottom trousers and ankle length hair…”

    Trends end, duh.

    • Moso, do keep up. Back in the 1970s, some of these same geniuses were predicting the next ice age due to aerosol pollution. Holder et. al.

      • Back in the 50s we knew it was Sputnik, the H-bomb and “them things they keep sendin’ up” making Eastern Australia suddenly wetter.

        Someone’s always knowin’ somethin’ ’bout climate change – isn’t they?

      • Mosomoso, highest regards to you and your bamboo down under. From us dairy cow farmers up over. Too cold here for bamboo; besides, the cows prefer alfalfa.

  25. Well played, Sr!

  26. BEST’s claim that 2015 was the “hottest year on record” is unambiguously the most sensational assertion based on the most tendentious treatment of actual measurements.

  27. “Nature: Downturn in scaling of UK extreme rainfall with temperature for future hottest days”

    Well of course as a +NAO UK summer is warmer and drier, but a -NAO UK winter is milder and wetter. However, the increase in UK rainfall since the mid 1990’s is clearly warm AMO driven, and the warm AMO was driven by an increase in -NAO, the complete opposite of what the IPCC approved GCM’s say that increased CO2 will do to the NAO!

  28. CO2 didn’t manage to postpone the end of the Eemian:

  29. “Interesting essay:  Confessions of a doomer ”

    Sadly, I agree with the doomer.

    • The doomer is kind of right. The only way to stop poaching in many areas of the world is to kill poachers. Crime is economic. If they need meat and there is free meat available with low probably of punishment, the only way to stop poaching is eliminate the killer or the killee. If you don’t stop the killers there won’t be any killees left.

      The eco-friendly/human-hostile systemically block controlled exploitation of resources. The result is uncontrolled exploitation of resources. The eco-friendly are personally responsible for some of the coming extinctions.

      We should be farming the mid-oceans for protein, seeding the waters with nutrients. We could turn a desert into an oasis of life and reduce pressures on other protein sources. Fertilizing the mid-ocean with coal ash, iron, and other nutrient sources is a good way to start. We should be researching the most effective ways to seed the nutrients and stock the created nutrient rich waters.

      We could stop destroying land with renewable energy. We should levee a tax on renewable energy and use that to subsidize fossil fuels to push the CO2 level above the 460 PPM peak we are currently headed toward. More CO2 means more plant growth and less pressure on the environment.

      We could stop burning down rainforests to grow plant matter for biofuel. China’s wise nuclear program is a model for the future. If we cut nuclear costs (and power costs) enough we can synthesize fuel competitively.

      We are going to have to feed the population of the future. We can either grow the food through intelligent and planned exploitation of the available resources maximizing the harvest, saving as much wilderness and wildlife as possible, or desperate people will eat whatever they can get their hands on, and the only non-domesticated animals will be vermin.

  30. Geoff Sherrington

    Re: Measuring error in ocean warming [link]
    In time, scientific auditors will catch up with sloppy scientists and expose case after case of underestimation of errors and uncertainty.
    The estimation of errors often fits into established international frameworks, for example those of BIPM, who have many relevant guidelines including a general book of 307 pages –
    The estimation of errors is not really handicapped by a lack of existing knowledge about how to do it. There is, however, a lack of use of established principles.
    People who are accustomed to working with earth science measurements can become attuned to the treatment of errors so that it serves for them as a rough guide to the quality of papers they study. Poor error treatment = poor quality paper.
    In particular, authors who know that their papers are poor as they write them are more likely to use poor methods to express errors and will often present unbelievable error estimates.
    Conversely, authors who feel they are foremost in their fields or who have had top reviews of some of their past papers can wrongly assume that their reputation overcomes a continuing need for proper, formal error estimation. Thus, we get statements like this recent one from dendroclimatology, “For N-TREND, rather than statistically screening all extant TR [tree ring] chronologies ….. This strategy explicitly incorporates the expert judgement the original authors used to derive the most robust reconstruction possible from the available data at that particular location.”
    In climate science, there is an obvious problem that some errors cannot be estimated because error information was never recorded or has been lost long ago. One cannot repeat ship bucket measurements from 1910, one can merely replicate supposed conditions to get approximate errors. Further, as is customary, contemporary small experiments can be conducted using tools like the deployment of a number of temperature buoys in a controlled pool for examination of the spread of measurements, experiments with replicated instruments, experiments with different types of instruments, etc. Usually, many small experiments of this type are conducted to see which types of error dominate. We don’t seem to meet many of these in publications.
    Of course, the separate recognition of errors based on statistical precision estimates need to be kept somewhat separate from bias errors, which often will exceed the precision errors in real world measurement. The assumption of a Gaussian distribution of numbers is another pregnant source of error.
    When future historians write about the rise and fall of the climate change empire, they will have a framework on which to hang their books, namely, the recognition, growth and understanding of error and uncertainty estimates. It is a linking theme from decade to decade.

  31. Not sure why McIntyre chose to start in 1970, but if you take the statistically more robust longer term since 1950 as the IPCC does, the models are doing OK. They can account for the net warming since 1950, which is a substantial 0.6-0.7 C.

    • David Springer

      Jimmy, Jemmah, Jimboy…

      “Significant warming according to Phil Jones is more than 0.1C/decade. I think you know that. So I’m a bit surprised to see you say as much as 0.7C since 1950 which is 0.106C/decade. Barely rises above the point of significance little buddy according to an acknowledged expert in the field. And you call it “substantial”. Hardly.

      Repeat after me: the pause killed my cause.

      It doesn’t appear the El Nino is going to save it either. Pencil whipping the data might work. Better send some emails telling the usual suspects to get mo’ mo’ busy cooling the past.


    • Jim D:

      As cited elsewhere in these comments, Radford Neal addressed similar questions on his blog in regard to temperature trends and the “pause”. His post is well worth a read.

      This result is meaningless, however. As one can see in the plot from their paper shown above, there was a `pause’ in the temperature from 1950 to 1970, which makes the slope from 1950 to 1997 be less than it was in the decades immediately before 1998. Applying the same procedure but with the first period being from 1970 to 1997, I obtain a one-sided p-value of 0.027, which one might regard as statistically significant evidence of a slowdown in the trend.

      It seems that statistical methods as well as starting points can determine the outcome of these investigations.


      • Radford says the magic word for 2016 elsewhere:

        In my previous post, I concluded that even when looking at the satellite temperature data, for which a pause seems most visually evident, one can’t conclude definitely that the trend in yearly average temperature actually slowed (ignoring short-term variation) in 2001 through 2014 compared to the period 1979 to 2000, though there is also no definite indication that the trend has not been zero in recent years.

        I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening?


      • Interesting not only is there no sat warming 2001-2014 there is also none 1979-1997. It is all hiatus. But the second hiatus is a little warmer than the first, apparently due to the giant El Nino. Thus looking 1979-2001 make no physical sense.

  32. David Springer


    In this article you have 69 of 396 comments or 17%.

    I know you like to hear yourself talk and you’re like a really super important guy, a mover and shaker extraordinaire, but the rule is 5%. How about it, huh?

    • > the rule is 5%

      Out of many, Big Dave?

      Please revisit that rule and report.

      • David Springer

        Here ya go, Willard. Thanks for asking. Monfort is in moderation now in case you’re wondering.


        • Anyone that makes more than 5% of the most recent 1000 comments will be put in moderation (unless this is a guest poster engaging with the commenters). Occasionally, a single individual has exceeded 10% of the most recent 1000 comments. Such frequent commenting is almost always associated with one-liners, which are typically content-free zingers. I will release any substantive, constructive comments and release you from moderation once your comment frequency drops below 5%. E.g., think twice before blasting off all those one line zingers.

      • Thanks, Big Dave. We’ll see if Don Don hasn’t taken a short break. I think you underestimate the importance of his role among Denizens, a roll you may never be able to fulfill as well as him.

        In return, here’s a little something for you:

      • I had a couple of comments go into moderation yesterday, springy. But I was out of the house much of the day, so maybe you clowns caught up with me. I was playing whack-a-mole on that thread. Too much mendacity and ignorance going on there.

        I took my 12 year old son, who thinks he wants to do some soldiering, to see the film “13 hours”. It was supposed to be a realistic depiction of the hell of war. He and I had read the book. I recommend it.

        Movie disappointing for containing too much Hollywood war movie cliche, phony fireworks and silly dialogue. That kind of casual barroom bravado doesn’t go on when the dookey hits the fan. There was some feel for the heat and terror of battle. You should watch it. See how elite war fighters do their jobs.

      • David Springer

        Thanks your opinions Don and Willard. Duly noted. Ding!

        Donny’s in moderation. Dr. Curry was chuffed.

      • I’ll take my business elsewhere.

      • David Springer

        If by “business” you mean narcissism then be all means please do take it elsewhere. Take your co-dependent babble buddy Willard with you if possible. Thanks in advance.

      • You are a non-entity, springy. You can have the sandbox. Maybe Judith will allow you to turn into a
        fully cartoon venue. Have fun, little dude.

      • David Springer

        It’s not supposed to be a sandbox. Grow up.

      • You are an envious little rascal and about as uncivil and unpersonable as they come, cartoonboy. I suggest you try to acquire some redeeming qualities. A little human-like creativity and a sense of humor might help.

        I won’t be wasting my time dealing with the likes of you here, for at least until after the election. Looking forward to helping a candidate who won’t be dinning me for money every other day. And it will be nice to have air support again.


        He keeps tapping his self-destruct button, but so far after the smoke has cleared he has only come out a little singed and stronger. If he doesn’t blow himself up, he’s the next POTUS.

        Try to make yourself useful, little dude.

      • Don’t worry, Don Don. When the Cruz will be sinked by the New York values we all love, Big Dave will return to his nightly spamming, at least until Judy gets tired of it once again. See you back then.

        Meanwhile, the latest Cruz news:

        TIPTON, IA—Following Gov. Scott Walker’s recent endorsement of building a fence along the Canadian border, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reportedly worried Monday that all the good foreign countries to wall off from the U.S. had already been taken by other GOP candidates. “Sheesh, the rest of the guys snatched up the best countries right away and now all that’s left to barricade ourselves off from are a few crummy islands,” said Cruz, who appeared visibly distressed upon realizing that, in order to gain attention on the issue of immigration, he was now stuck with backing a plan to build a U.S. border wall in the middle of the Caribbean Sea to keep out undocumented Bahamian citizens.


      • Ted’s OK but he is not an operator and master of communication, like Trump. Like the others trying to distinguish themselves from the gaggle of mostly career politicians seeking the biggest job on the planet, he has never won anything but slightly over half the vote in an election among a few million folks in his home state.

        The Donald has demonstrated his ability to compete and build an empire in the big old real world. He doesn’t need to beg for hundreds of millions in campaign contributions, he doesn’t need the aircraft, the big house, preferential tee times and the other perks. He doesn’t need a job.

        Ted should promise if he wins the first thing he does is annex Canada. That quashes the citizenship issue. Then you would be one of us, willito. I’ll keep you updated on developments, from time to time. I’ll be doing some traveling.

        Here is one lefty who sort of gets it:


        He doesn’t realize the refugee issue is tied into the illegal immigration issue, national security and the question of general competence. You can’t have a safe and sovereign country, if you don’t protect the borders. Trump has got a lot of office buildings, residential towers, golf courses. You never heard of squatters coming on Mr. Trump’s property and setting up housekeeping. Or hordes of thugs roaming the premises robbing people and assaulting women.

        My work has only just begun. On to victory!

      • I expect no less than a victory from teh Donald, Don Don, now that you’re his don, and would expect teh Donald to take his due Droit de Seigneur if he wins, wherever are the people and the women. He’s a dad-made-man, after all.

        More evidence of his communication mastery has been adduced here:


        This exchange is eerily similar to some we had, Don Don.

      • That’s fantasy, willito. The Donald is immune to that crap. The Democrat owned and operated mainstream media has met it’s match. He should buy the New Yorker from Conde Nasty and put me in charge. But he’ll probably wait a little while until it sinks to Newsweek level and get it for $1.

        Yeah, The Donald has made good on his silver-spoon legacy. We don’t ding FDR or JFK (who never made a Roosevelt dime on their own) for that. Do we, willito? Having rich and powerful parentage is often a curse. Donald’s ne’er do well older brother died from alcoholism in his early 40s. And there’s Teddy Kennedy.

    • David Springer

      Who died and made you the blog cop, Monfort?

      The admonition landed in the wrong thread. You had 69 of 400 comments in Scientists Email article. The admonition is copied there after realizing the original went to the wrong place and you are now in moderation which is the right place.

  33. David Springer

    If, as some scientists now believe, a new ice age was barely averted a few thousand years ago by human activity and CO2 levels have now postponed it for 100,000 years until the next Milankovich cycle, doesn’t prudence and the precautionary principle dictate that we raise CO2 even higher as a safety margin? An ice age would be very, very bad for civilization easily eclipsing what possible grief there might be from some warming of high northern latitudes.

    Thank God for fossil fuels and deforestation, eh?

    • Yes. But we also don’t want to out grow our production capability and we don’t seem to have residency time right. We need to consider our ability to sustain high concentrations.

      • You guys are such amazing skrew ups. When the earth needs the ACO2, it won’t be there. All that will be left is to follow the advice of the Stones:

      • Great video.

        JCH, that was the point of my comment. If our population and expectations outgrow our extraction capability, bad things will happen. Also, airborne fraction seems to be dependent on time and concentration, too high too early and all those greenhouse gasses could be on the bottom of the ocean when we need them.

        There are good arguments for conserving our most easily extractable resources for emergencies (we don’t want to be dependent on complex and fragile tech in a major, global scale emergency, or have all our capital abroad. Ideally, we would install production infrastructure with a wide operating range and operate at the low end except under certain circumstances ).

        Fortunately, it should be fairly easy to release methane from clathrates with explosive for a short-term fix and there’s lots of coal. Chemical processes could also release carbon from minerals.

        But I think Malthusian risks are real. Mideast is an example of growth outpacing long term resource availability. Just because Erlich has been obscenely wrong doesn’t mean we will always be able to innovate our way out of resource constraints .

      • David Springer

        There are other ways to thwart an ice age if necessary. They were talking about it in the 1970’s when scientists were concerned that global cooling from 1950-1970 was never going to end.


      • Yeah, I thought about doing that to my lawn last spring. I need to buy a charcoal grill.

      • Soot is black. The Stones are suggesting human alteration of the albedo of the earth in order to control the GMST.

    • This isn’t a hard problem. To increase the CO2 level to something reasonable like 600 PPM is going to require subsidizing fossil fuels. The obvious way to do this is an annual tax on renewable energy on per acre basis.

      We need to eliminate some regulations as well, since we don’t care if they burn or leak natural gas since that warms the atmosphere as well and converts to CO2 anyway.

      But subsidizing fossil fuels would be justified on the basis of the extra plant growth alone. The ice age diversion benefit is just bonus.

      These two benefits are worth so much it is almost inconceivable that fossil fuels won’t be subsidized at a higher level when people come to their senses and the global warming hysteria fizzles out.

    • An alternative motto could be “Two degrees isn’t good enough we want 3” . You might want to say 4 or whatever floats your boat. Maybe “Bring on the heat!.”

      But, anyway, we can always keep it in the ground and use it when we need it though. And we still have a hundred thousand years before the next ice age right?

  34. David Springer

    This is from NOAA . The error bars are 0.01C. That seems suspiciously low. Regardless, lets assume its accurate. Where’s the alarm in 0.1C rise in 30 years?

    Also, note where much of the rise in past 30 years is located… between 2003 and 2007. Since that rise is unprecedented in the rest of the graph which begins in 1955 one might wonder WTF happened in those years.

    I’ll tell ya what happened. The 3000-buoy ARGO 0-2000 meter ocean temperature sensing system began being deployed in 2003 and was completed by 2007.

    What’re the odds that an unprecedented physical warming of the ocean happened by sheer coincidence with the deployment of the first instruments able to measure ocean temperature with +-0.01C accuracy across almost the entire global ocean?

    I’d guess those are pretty long odds. The logical and reasonable conclusion is that the older instruments (and/or the horrific torturing of data from the old instruments) were resulting in falsely cooler temperature prior to ARGO.

    I swear to Christ the people responsible for this charade need to be fired if not fined and incarcerated and live the rest of their miserable dishonest lives in shame.

    • Do polymaths guess at odds?

      From 2002 until 2007 there were three back-to-back El Nino episodes.

      • David Springer

        “Do polymaths guess at odds?”



      • David Springer

        Nice own goal!

        El Nino events take heat from the ocean and add it to the atmosphere so your contention supports my point not yours.

      • David Springer

        Polymaths quickly deduce what happens to ocean heat content (temperature anomaly 0-2000 meters) during La Nina and El Nino. When the ocean surface is warmer it gives up energy faster to the atmosphere and outer space while the opposite happens during a La Nina.

        The experts agree:


        During La Niña events (with cold ocean surface) the ocean absorbs additional heat that it releases during El Niño events (when the ocean surface is warm).

        Thanks for playing. There’s a consolation prize waiting as you exit stage left.

        And don’t forget to repeat after me:”the pause killed my cause”

      • For the period called ENSO, in the presence of the enhanced GHE, OHC usually goes up during La Nina episodes, during ENSO neutral, and during EL Nino episodes.

        It goes up a little more during a La Nina, and a little less during the typical El Nino, which ends up warming the atmosphere.

        The exception is when the TOA imbalance flips positive, as that is required to get large amounts of heat out of the oceans: certain volcanoes and the 1997-1998 EL Nino are the big ones.

      • Sorry, i have energy imbalance sign wrong

      • Usually skies clear a tiny bit in the tropical pacific during El Niño (slight global albedo reduction), so even though it’s releasing stored heat, it also may be taking in more than usual.

      • David Springer

        JCH you’re just writing lots of words that mean nothing. That’s called babbling. Back it up with supporting opinions or go home.

      • From 2002 to 2007 there are three El Nino events in a row – no La Nina storage recharge:

      • David Springer

        Here’s how to do it, JCH. I say the ocean loses heat during El Nino. I pointed out that Gavin at RealClimate said the same thing. Now I’m going to add more support. From NOAA this time.


        “El Nino clearly influences globally averaged temperatures which go up a few tenths of a degree C a few months following the peak warming in the tropical Pacific. This is because the tropical Pacific loses large amounts of heat to the overlying atmosphere during El Niño.”


        “During an El Nino the ocean loses heat and is released to atmosphere,” explains Stockdale. “Often a year after an event you get a peak to the global mean temperature.”

        “One of the issues in the so called hiatus has been for a number of years the Pacific has been in a La Nina cold state and has been absorbing heat.”

        See how that works? You give your opinion then if called on it you back it up. I leave you with this:

      • David Springer

        The graph you provided is the one I was questioning in the first place with the suspicious rise in OHC 2003-2007. You said it was because of three consecutive El Ninos. I provided several authoritative sources saying ocean loses heat during El Ninos. Then you counter with the same suspect graph. It doesn’t work that way. Find a credentialed source that agrees with you. Good luck.

      • On net, OHC does not go down during an El Nino.

        Sunlight in… sensilbe out, latent out, OLR out… all tiny little laying of the ocean skin.

      • All from a tiny layer of the ocean skin…

        And you’re the one who is digging the hole. Wikipedia can’t help.You need to park your ego and think it through. The upper meters are warmer because of past events. Sunlight warms water that will participate in the skin processes. That water warms] on the spot. Down welling radiation causes a boatload of evaporation from the skin layer.

      • David Springer

        Again, you’re using a graph of 0-2000 OHC to support the graph of 0-2000 OHC. The graph is what’s in question so you can’t use that to support itself.

        Let’s recap the argument once again.

        1. I raised a concern that 0-2000m OHC showed an unprecedented rapid increase between 2003 and 2007. Far more and faster than any other time since 1955. I tentatively blamed it on new and better instrumentation deployed and becoming the dominant data source (ARGO) during that time. I further suggested the lower temperature in the past was mistaken due to poor instrumentation prior to ARGO i.e. the rise is a instrumentation artifact and wasn’t a physical rapid increase in 0-2000m OHC.

        2. You then came back and said that there was indeed a physical cause; three consecutive El Ninos.

        3. I then pointed out, backed by multiple sources, that El Ninos DO NOT result in accelerated rise in OHC. In point of fact OHC rises faster during La Nina.

        Find someone credible who supports your thesis that OHC increases faster during El Ninos. Otherwise stop being a monumental asshat and admit your contention that the rapid rise in 0-2000m OHC is mistaken and in fact supports my point.

      • El Nino events take heat from the ocean and add it to the atmosphere so your contention supports my point not yours.

        I believe you are very wrong. During an El Nino OLR goes up because a larger area of the ocean surface is warm. Sunlight absorbed in the bulk layer makes it even warmer because it is not being blown to the Western Pacific. Back radiation increases. Evaporation increases. That is how an El Nino warms the atmosphere. It is not stored heat jumping through the skin layer and into the atmosphere.

      • “During an El Nino OLR goes up because a larger area of the ocean surface is warm.”

        The atmosphere warms and that increases OLR. There is a time lag shown by increased temperatures. We could say La Ninas decrease OLR as well. This is shown by decreased temperatures. Is heat jumping from the oceans during an El Nino? If the IPWP spreads out, it would. I think the oceans will first take care of their-selves, and the cooling contribution of an El Nino can be seen as a positive thing if we are worried about too much warmth. The atmosphere can be thought of as a cooling radiator for the oceans and land. We measure the temperature of the radiator for what purpose? With an automotive cooling system, the important measurement is made elsewhere. Over long enough time frames, the radiator temperatures tell us what is going on with the oceans. The radiator fluctuates much more than what it is cooling. What we call a vehicle’s thermostat switches between cooling and warming. A bit like ENSO. A warming ocean should switch to more cooling episodes or El Ninos. We are to be concerned about all manner of marine life being stressed. Well we should then hope for higher atmospheric temperatures as the oceans maintain acceptably cool temperatures. Do radiators have equilibrium temperatures? For a certain amount of work being done or heat, yes. Say we then diminish the ability to transfer LW from the source to the radiator. The radiator is ‘on’ more frequently but at a lower temperature. The equilibrium temperature is the one that transfers 100% of the heat.

      • David Springer

        “I believe you are very wrong.”

        NOAA, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt, and Jim Stockdale – all experts in the field – say I’m right. You quoted not a single source that agrees with you.

        Your belief doesn’t change the truth of the matter – the ocean tends to lose energy during El Ninos and gain energy during La Nina. The physics of it is really simple. The warmer ocean surface during the El Nino emits more energy than the cooler La Nina surface.

        What part of that don’t you understand?

  35. Help please. I am trying to find a chart someone included in a comment within the past two or three months (from memory). The chart was a plot of climate sensitivity estimates versus date each estimate was published. From meory the x-axis ran from about 2005 to now. The trend was from high on the left to lower recently. The chart had bounds that I seem to recall were narrowing from 2005 to now. Within the bounds was shaded a sort of salmon colour. If anyone knows of that chart could they please post a link to it, or remind me which thread it was posted on. At the time I asked for the source, but didn’t receive a reply so I still don’t know if it was from an authoritative source..

      • edimbukvarevic,

        Thank you. That’s great and I spotted the link in the article to the Nic Lewis post on Climate Audit (although the link is not formatted (underlined, coloured text etc.). That’s an excellent source. Many thanks.

        AK, thank you for the link too. However, I didn’t realise from your comment that the Nic Lewis post was the source of the data for the chart because the figures wasn’t on the Nic Lewis post and you didn’t say so. I suspected you posted the wrong link. I am just letting you know because it’s important to explain, not just post a link with no explanation.

      • @Peter Lang…

        Sorry, I was in a hurry. I’d just followed a link from the blog post edimbukvarevic linked to: “(from here)” which I’d got to via Google image search. I noticed that my source was the same post he linked to, didn’t have time to explain.

      • edimbukvarevic ,

        Thank you for the links. I’ve just prepared an email for my recalcitrant, stubborn warmist mates. I’ll attempt to post it here so you, teacher, can see the wee bit of education I’ve gained from your answer to my question (thank you again).

        Climate models running too hot; climate sensitivity overstated
        Climate Models are running too hot

        Global climate models are running too hot. They are over-estimating temperature changes in the mid-troposphere compared with observations from balloons and satellites:
        See chart here: http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/christytestimonyemr.pdf
        John Christy, 2015, Testimony to House Committee on Natural Resources: Oversight Hearing on “The Obama Administration’s CEQ Recently Revised Draft Guidance for GHG Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change.”

        Climate sensitivity estimates are decreasing

        Estimates of climate sensitivity that are based on observational evidence are declining: See chart:
        Chart from: ‘Published measurements of climate sensitivity declining’
        Data points from: Nic Lewis, 2015, ‘Pitfalls in climate sensitivity estimation: Part 2’ http://climateaudit.org/2015/04/13/pitfalls-in-climate-sensitivity-estimation-part-2/

        According to Nic Lewis, all the analyses up to 2012 had problems due to the analysis methods used.

        To summarise: all pre-2012 instrumental-period-warming studies had one or more serious problems, and their median ECS estimates varied widely. Most studies from 2012 on do not appear to have serious problems, and their estimates agree quite closely.

        Compare the estimates of ECS from the models (brown violin on right of plot) with those from instrumental data:
        Source: Nic Lewis, 2015, ‘Pitfalls in climate sensitivity estimation: Part 2’

        The above plot suggest ECS is around ½ what the IPCC reports have been saying since they began.

        As for ECS, the observational TCR estimates have broadly similar medians and ‘likely’ ranges, all of which are well below the corresponding values for the CMIP5 models.

        The main cause of long tails in ECS and TCR studies based on observed multidecadal warming is uncertainty as to the strength of aerosol forcing (Faer). I’ll end this part with a pair of slides that show how well constrained the Lewis and Curry (2014) energy-budget main ECS and TCR estimates would be if they were recalculated using the distribution for aerosol forcing implicit in Bjorn Stevens’ recent study instead of the wide AR5 aerosol forcing distribution. The median ECS estimate reduces modestly from 1.64°C to 1.45°C, but the 95% uncertainty bound falls dramatically, from 4.05°C to 2.2°C.

        The picture is similar for TCR, although somewhat less dramatic. The median TCR estimate reduces modestly from 1.33°C to 1.21°C, but the 95% uncertainty bound falls much more, from 2.50°C to 1.65°C.

  36. As a layman in understanding climate science, some things Dr. Curry says just make sense (e.g., TCR).

    However, when new topic first comes up for me, its like watching a long-volley tennis match between sides.

    Can folks provide some “professional” comments/links to this video only regarding the satellite record comments?

    • From an engineering perspective most of the comments are a pack of lies. If the microwave radiation for O2 from the MSU/AMSU units is correctly filtered and analyzed a temperature profile of the atmosphere can be derived. The O2 emission is related to the temperature . Much of the adjustment is due to nonlinearities (orbital altitude, view angle, switch of satellites, etc.). The measurements are regularly compared to balloon data. The microwave sounding units on the weather satellites are designed to produce a temperature profile of the atmosphere from 3 mbar (45 miles) to the ground for weather prediction. Since the device is being more or less for its intended purpose by Spencer et. al. most of the comments are rubbish.

      However the using satellite data for temperature measurement isn’t as mature a science as MIG thermometers and thermocouples. Also the same instrument problem exists that has happened with land measurement.

      They keep changing the balloon instrument packages much like they have deployed a number of land sensors.

      A partial solution is to require by law that balloon and land sensors conform to an engineering standard and that the standard be supported in all future instruments, by law. Temperature data is to some extent useless for climate purposes if it isn’t consistent and collected from conforming devices.

      • PA, NOAA does in fact conduct cross calibration studies when radiosonde instrument packages change. I gave some examples for humidity sensors in the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth. So it is possible to reconstruct fairly reliable historical records back into the 1970s. Before then, the instruments were cruder and the cross calibrations are less reliable. But for verifying the satellite algorithms, adjusted balloon data should be quite good.

    • Never seen such rubbish. I cannot believe for one minute that the team controlling these satellites do no know: its altitude to the nearest meter, and the time of day to the nearest second. The claims here are beyond satire.


    • SS, there was a fairly extensive thread on this at WUWT. The techical issues are fairly well covered in some comments. The video is a deliberate and deceiving hatchet job, put out by Yale funded by Grantham.

    • Right, the chief scientist for RSS is lying. If the chief scientist of RSS is lying, then why did UAH adjust their series to be a close copy of RSS?

      ground truth, they sukk at saying anything worthwhile at all as to the surface air temperature of a planet called earth

      • richardswarthout


        “Right, the chief scientist for RSS is lying. If the chief scientist of RSS is lying, then why did UAH adjust their series to be a close copy of RSS?”

        Perhaps I missed something but does he, anywhere in the video, say that RSS data is inaccurate? Appears only that he is critical of skeptics because (in his opinion) they use misleading trend starting points and ignore related data such as ice melt and surface temperature. IMO it is he that is ignoring the facts, at least regarding starting points; the pause is not the result of manipulating starting points, as stated in the video by Mears and Titley.


      • … A similar, but stronger case can be made using surface temperature datasets, which I consider to be more reliable than satellite datasets (they certainly agree with each other better than the various satellite datasets do!). … – Karl Mears, RSS, bold mine

        What he is saying is not controversial.

      • richardswarthout


        Thank you for the answer. Interestingly, Mears clarified his position in an interview with the Washington Post, as follows:

        “In this case, I would trust the surface data a little more because the difference between the long term trends in the various surface datasets (NOAA, NASA GISS, HADCRUT, Berkeley etc) are closer to each other than the long term trends from the different satellite datasets. This suggests that the satellite datasets contain more “structural uncertainty” than the surface dataset.”


        Given that all surface data sets use the same data, is it unexpected that they are close?


    • Well…

      There are some satellite issues.


      Satellites do degrade and there is a dance performed to keep the data coming.

      Further these are polar satellites that cross the entire planet at the same time every day (A-Train and effectively an M-Train). So there 1 or 2 measurements per day.

      However this is no better or worse than the MIG temperature data situation.

      Also Spencer (to my understanding) is a NASA employee and could only work on UAH when they were using the AQUA satellite.

      • What difference does it make!

      • PA — Could you give an explanation that a layman can understand what the NOAA Message means — Thanks:

        GOES-13 Sounder IR data is not available. All products from GOES-13 (GOES-East) Sounder IR data have been halted and distribution has been stopped except the Sounder ASOS SCP products for CONUS, which are replaced with GOES-East Imager ASOS SCP products for CONUS. Engineers are investigating the problem.

      • Well, the older GOES Sounder used an IR sensor and a filter wheel. The sensor was cryogenically cooled (it had a heat sink exposed to space). with a scanning mirror for input. The sensor would measure the wavelengths in a given range and then the wheel would turn. It was a monocular version of the above device (not plastic either) with about 20 filters and measures a range of IR frequencies mostly from water vapor and O2.

        The sounder measures infrared. The imager senses light and is basically a reflecting telescope corrected for up to 5th order effects.

        The GOES products are geosynchronous (26,199 miles altitude) vs POES ( 220 statute miles). Note: All the climate trends (UAH/RSS) are computed from POES data.

        The sounder failed. ASOS SCP (cloud cover conditions at 631-400 MB and over 400 MB) is something you can determine by looking at it (visible emissions). This IR data product will be replaced using visible data from the imager until they sort out the problem.

    • Wow – Dessler is spot on with confirmation bias but can’t recognize it in himself.

      Mears is right about 1998 starting with an big El Nino, but then this year is a big El Nino, so starting and ending with a big El Nino should be a wash, so through the end of this year.

      Christy from the get go said the significance of the satellite measurements was the failure of the Hot Spot prediction, not that there’s ‘no global warming’.

      I can’t really believe that Yale is copacetic with their name on something like this, but then, it may be evidence of closed minded PC thinking on campus.

    • Another thing to consider is this:

      For the period of record for the MSU data ( since 1979), for land only, UAH-LT is nearly identical to NASA GISTEMP land only!

      So, the satellite data may be more accurate than these ideologues would have you think.

    • It’s amazing how long anti-fossil fuel advocates have been getting away with the same rhetorical nonsense. Recently Fabius Maximus Editor prompted me to look up some of my old comments. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same conversations happened 20 and 30 years ago too.
      (Scroll down for more comments)




  37. Stephen

    Various commentators swear blind that whilst the satellite temperature record is useless, the satellite records for sea level rise and arctic ice extent is fantastically accurate.

    Of course, other commentators argue the opposite, liking the temperature record but not the others.

    I think they all have inherent problems and wide margins of error, that may render them of limited value

    However, bearing in mind their importance I would have thought a team of sufficient status could be put together that could determine how much reliance we should place on all three records, staring with temperatures.


    • Tonyb and SS, there are issues with sat measurement of SLR and sea ice extent. For example, the jason 2 SLR spec is locational repeatability to within 3 mm. Meaning uncertainty of +/- 1.5mm. And instrument drift (random) of not more than 1mm/year. Another +/-0.5. All the recent jiggling down then up in the SLR chart JCH posted could just be the design allowance for instrument drift. The sea ice stuff has two problems. First, the instrument looks for the microwave difference between ice and water. But it cannot distinguish meltwater on an ice flow from seawater, so randomly underestimates depending on sea conditions. More important, a ‘pixel’ is deemed ice if more than 10% or more than 30% is ice. Even DMI is going to >10% from 30. That means anything from 90% water to 100% ice is cointed as ice. Obviously, weather comditions determines how pack ice bunches up or spreads out. It woild be easy to have a low ice record which actually contains more actual ice. A polar cyclone explains 2012, which probably actually had more ice than the true nadir in a normal September 2007.
      What needs to ne done is validation. For SLR, against a well distributed network of geostationary tide guages as determined by differential GPS. For sea ice, mapping at least a good regional pixel sample in visible light (sea black, meltwater pools blue, ice white) and the correcting for meltpools and actual ice density variation. Ditto CRN (or inspected verified international equivalents v. Balloon v sat temps.

      Why this has not been done is the same question as why Watts had to undertake the US surface stations project to show 80 percent of NOAAs stations have site issues. It should have been NOAA! IMO, Because if the responsible parties did the science right, there would be no CAGW in evidence. Same reason Mann disappeared the MWP and LIA, and Karl disappeared the surface pause. Has to be anthro, not natural variation, that changes climate.

      • ristvan:

        FYI, Jason 3 launches this week. Don’t know if it will improve on error ranges.

        However, aren’t you referring to measurement precision, rather than accuracy, when you mention locational repeatability of a few mm? In contrast, I doubt the accuracy of Jason-2 sea level estimates is better than a couple of cm.

        First there are the assumptions built into the model used to determine actual satellite altitude (local gravitational pull, atmospheric drag, etc.). Then there are the microwave measurement model assumptions:

        To take a measurement, the onboard altimeter bounces these pulses off the ocean surface and measures the time it takes the pulses to return to the spacecraft. This measurement, multiplied by the speed of light, gives the range from the satellite to the ocean surface. After correction for atmospheric and instrumental effects, the range measurements are accurate to less than 3 centimeters. The range measurements are subtracted from POD-derived estimates of the satellite orbital height, resulting in ocean height measurements that are good to 3 centimeters (just over 1 inch) relative to the center of the Earth.

        This accuracy figure pertains to a few-kilometer spot on the ocean surface directly beneath the satellite. By averaging the few-hundred thousand measurements collected by the satellite in the time it takes to cover the global oceans (10 days), global mean sea level can be determined with a precision of several millimeters.

        The satellite data is also “ground truthed” by direct comparison during flyover to specific tide guages, but I don’t have info on the accuracy/precision of that verification procedure.

        Another point is that satellite sea level data does not cover actual shorelines (for technical reasons). Yet the part of sea level that we most care about is the part that touches shore (ports, beaches, near-shore reef depths, etc.).

      • Curious George

        Remember that the sea surface is not flat; there are waves many meters tall, on whose surface there are waves several decimeters tall, on whose surface there are waves many millimeters tall; a “sea level” is just an abstraction. The interpretation of the satellite altimeter measurements depends on a number of assumptions, which we may or may not believe. As my salary does not depend on it, I choose not to believe.

      • Just saw this regarding the accuracy of Jason-3:

        The primary instrument on Jason-3 is a radar altimeter. The altimeter will measure sea-level variations over the global ocean with very high accuracy (as 1.3 inches or 3.3 centimeters, with a goal of achieving 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters).

    • Well, the satellites count ground subsidence (apparently deliberately) as sea level rise. So it doesn’t make much sense to give any credence to the satellite numbers until they clean up their act. Adding 0.3 mm to the sea level because the floor of the ocean in theory is sinking makes a bad joke a worse joke.

      We can zero CO2 and the ground will still subside and the CGSLR will be unaffected.

      Plus there is the LOD anomaly issue.

      The actual SLR for pre-1990 is 1.2 mm/y from LOD studies. Since the LOD anomaly is much less (1/3) in the 21st century the SLR is 1.2 mm/y or less. The satellite data processing algorithms should be adjusted to conform.

  38. Democracy? I’m for labelling politicians. Is Donald a GMO? Does Hillary contain DNA? Voters need to know!

  39. The idea that CO2 emissions have kept the ice age at bay is ludicrous. Typical of the nonsense in Nature these days, with every paper looking for CO2 funding.

    This paper asserts that: ‘summer insolation is near to a minimum at present’. But nothing could be further from the truth. Orbital eccentricity is at a minimum at present, and this prevents the precessionary insolation cycle from reaching a minimum (ie: there can be no Great Winter). So we are nowhere near an insolation minimum, and therefore there is unlikely to be an ice age for the immediate future. If there was going to be an ice age, it would have happened nearly 10 kyr ago, not during the Industrial Revolution.

    We know this is true, because the last time there was a minimum in orbital eccentricity was 400 ky ago – and there was an extended interglacial then too, and for exactly the same reason. It is eccentricity that invigorates the precessionary cycle. If there is no eccentricity, there is no dramatic change in precessional insolation (ie: no Great Summer or Great Winter). During low eccentricity periods the interglacial warming has to depend a lot more on obliquity insolation, which is why interglacials become roughly aligned with the obliquity cycle, every 400 kyrs. And because the obliquity cycle is longer (41 kyr against 23 kyr) we get a longer interglacial warm period, just like the present one.

    However, this time around, the eccentricity will remain low for the next 100 kyr, and so there will be no precessional Great Winter for 100 kyr. It is the loss of northern hemisphere insolation during a Great Winter that drives the world into an ice age, and so there is not going to be an ice age anytime soon. However, once an ice age has been initiated, it is the growth of ice sheets and the corresponding increase in albedo that prevents the world from easily recovering from a growing ice age, despite the best efforts of the precessionary Great Year cycle. So the requirements for an ice age are:

    Loss of NH insolation during a precessional Great Winter.
    Growth of ice sheets and increase in albedo.
    Gradual cooling into ice age conditions, whatever the precessionary Great Year cycle does.

    The albedo feedback system is so strong, that no subsequent precessional Great Summer insolation can break it. Unless, of course, we get a break in the system. That break is caused by dust, which can lower the ice albedo. So the requirements for an interglacial are:

    Ice sheets and cold oceans.
    Reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
    Widespread dieback of plant life, due a lack of CO2.
    Widespread duststorms.
    Reduced ice sheet albedo
    Increasing NH insolation during a Great Summer.
    Ice sheet dissipation and interglacial warming.

    So the primary feedback system controlling the ice age and interglacial cycle is albedo, not CO2. Although CO2 does play a key role in interglacial initiation, but by getting too low, not too high.

    The paper outlining this theory is here:

    But Professor Best has a good synopsis of the paper here:


  40. richardswarthout

    This appears relevant to the prevailing theory of climate change.

    String Theory Has Failed as a Scientific Theory

    The fire igniting critics of string theory is not personal animus or professional jealousy. It’s the idea that a single theory has become so entrenched and popular in its field that its failures cannot be addressed truthfully. Now, physicists ask that the rules be bent or changed just to accommodate it. To loosen the principles of our fantastically successful scientific method just to allow for one passing theoretical fad to continue would be a disaster.

    The fire igniting critics of string theory is not personal animus or professional jealousy. It’s the idea that a single theory has become so entrenched and popular in its field that its failures cannot be addressed truthfully. Now, physicists ask that the rules be bent or changed just to accommodate it. To loosen the principles of our fantastically successful scientific method just to allow for one passing theoretical fad to continue would be a disaster.



  41. Re the ice extent variations. The forces at work are other than CO2.

    If the Barents ice cycle repeats itself, we should expect growing ice extent in the next decades as part of a natural oscillation.


  42. Judith,

    I’m curious what you found interesting in the Confessions piece.

    All I saw was the usual whiny rant on how nasty mankind is raping Mother Earth and we are all doomed.

  43. Chris Mooney is a clown. Or a journalist. The two are often interchangeable.

    1) I am betting the Schellnhuber paper is entirely model derived. Either that or they found the records meticulously kept by subsistence cultures on temps and CO2 concentrations.

    2) In what generally should be seen as good news, Mooney tries spinning it with the now tired saw about man having pushed the planet into a new geological age.

    3) He can’t help but throw in the false “fact” about CO2 residence times lasting thousands of years. Even IPCC states average residence time as 6 years. That some percentage can last thousands of years is effectively meaningless if the average is 6.

  44. solvingtornadoes

    Two types of pseudoscience
    There are two types of pseudoscience, distinguishable by the following assumptions:
    1) Valid science is indicated by consensus
    2) Valid science is obvious
    The first tends to be associated with people who are politically liberal.
    The second tends to be associate with people who are politically conservative.

    Very often these two groups are at odds with each other on a particular issue. But when it comes to undermining the credibility of science they play for the same team.

    About ten years ago I confronted the “settled science” of global warming. My examination revealed it as plainly inept. That brought me to wonder if there were not other, deeper, ineptitudes. I found myself examining the foundational assumptions of meteorology and, deeper still, core issues regarding the physical chemistry of H2O. And then I made a discovery:
    BREAKTHROUGH: Hydrogen Bonding as The Mechanism That Neutralizes H2O Polarity

  45. So in a sluggish two-horse race – which is hard to judge both from above and at ground level – one horse might be in front, or they might have been neck and neck for a bit.

    And I should care if temps have been up since 1850, with the odd dip or flatline before 1910, after WW2 and after the late 1990s?

    This is a reason for “climate scientists” to stay indoors, make string, and ignore the vast physical world?

  46. David Springer,

    You have over 10% of the comments on this thread. Shut up.

  47. ‘“[A]lien megastructures” cannot be completely ruled out.

    Weird star system scientists have been checking for aliens just got weirder

    There is a star, unimpressively named KIC 8462852, that sits 1,400 light-years away and seems to be relatively similar to our own sun. But whatever circles that star is so weird and unprecedented that respected scientists concede far-fetched explanations like “alien megastructures” cannot be completely ruled out. A new analysis of observations of the star dating back to the 19th century shows that the weirdness around it has been happening for decades, if not centuries, and could rule out the leading natural explanation.


    “The KIC 8462852 light curve from 1890 to 1989 shows a highly significant secular trend in fading over 100 years, with this being completely unprecedented for any F-type main sequence star,” reads a paper by Schaefer that’s been submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available in its pre-peer review draft form here. [link copied from original.]

    From the PDF:

    Boyajian et al. (2015) [the paper describing recently discovered “irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20% level”, link added by me] extracted the DASCH light curve for KIC8462852, as part of their collection of data from a wide variety of sources. They discussed this light curve in four sentences, concluding that the star did not do anything spectacular over the past 100 years”. They also concluded that dips as seen with Kepler would have a high chance of not being visible in the historical Harvard light curve. [my bold]


    Under ordinary situations, an experienced eye has a photometric accuracy that is 1× to 3× more accurate than DASCH (e.g., Schaefer 2014a; 2014b). This result is from several ‘blind’ methods for many stars, for example by measuring the RMS scatter throughout the folded light curve of a variable star with a roughly-sinusoidal light curve. For the case of KIC8462852, I find that the real uncertainty in the magnitudes are close to being equal for the DASCH and the by-eye measures.


    KIC8462852 is suffering a century-long secular fading, and this is contrary to the the various speculation that the obscuring dust was created by some singular catastrophic event. If any such singular event happened after around 1920, then the prior light curve should appear perfectly flat, whereas there is significant variability before 1920.


    KIC8462852 displays two types of unique dimming episodes (the dips from Kepler and the fading from Harvard) and these must be causally related and coming from the same mechanism. That is, Ockham’s Razor tells us that it is very unlikely that one star will sufer two different mechanisms that are unique to that star and that both are only manifest in dimming the starlight by up to 20%. The timescales differ greatly, from a day for the Kepler dips up to a century for the Harvard light curve fading. However, dimming events with intermediate timescales are also seen (e.g., the 1900-1909 decade and the last hundred days of the Kepler light curve), so apparently there is a continuum of timescales available for the one dimming mechanism.

    A look at his figure 1 (below) shows me it’s consistent with a centuries-long project to implement massive space solar stellar power, with two major construction phases around 1900 and 1950-1970. I’d guess it would also be consistent with a long-existing system of space solar stellar power, with various rings of collectors precessing so as to change levels of obscuration at the given times.

    • But, we don’t yet know everything about nature. So, I would still bet it’s a non-alien phenomenon.

      • Your priors are showing.

      • And I’m OK with that.

      • Don’t forget that “alien megastructuresis a natural explanation. One thing we don’t yet know “about nature” is the likelihood of human-style intelligence/engineering showing up in any particular situation.

        Except that we do “know”, (barring “Intelligent Design”) that it’s greater than zero (in at least one).

        (And even “Intelligent Design” doesn’t rule out “alien megastructures”. What could be created once could be created many times.)

      • > it’s greater than zero

        Quite an understatement:

        The truth is out there.

      • AK said: Don’t forget that “alien megastructures” is a natural explanation.
        I consider man and his CO2 emissions to be natural when it gets right down to it. But I was using natural in the more conventional sense as relating to man. But in this case, I extended it to intelligent beings.

        That’s a bit nitpicky, AK.

      • That’s a bit nitpicky, AK.

        Well, consider, by analogy, an archaeopaleontological structure that might be “man-made”, but for which “natural” explanations can be contrived. How to balance the likelihood of “human” construction against the implausibility of contrived “natural” explanations?

        Mostly, it’s going to depend on your priors. If the apparent age is in the megayears, say, could it be a particularly bright proto-human? How to evaluate the probabilities of such a structure being created by such a source, and surviving to be found, relative to intricately contrived “natural” explanations.

        Similar logic applies here. We know it isn’t impossible that human-style intelligence/engineering arose near that star. Evaluating even our currently available technology, we can be pretty sure it is possible, and even plausible, that our own civilization would be able to achieve such an effect within a century or two. (Figuring out what we’d do with all that energy is perhaps a bigger challenge.)

        Until we can get a look at whatever “natural” explanations astronomers can come up with, and judge just how contrived they are, I don’t see how an a priori assumption that “it’s not ‘alien megastructures’” could be warranted.

  48. I forgot to include the original caption:

    Fig. 1.— The 5-year binned DASCH light curve of KIC8462852 (large blue diamonds). The star shows highly significant fading from 1890 to 1989. The light curves for the two check stars with colors close to that of KIC8462852 are displayed in the figure with grey squares (TYC 3162-1001-1) and triangles (TYC 3162-879-1). The dashed line is a simple linear trend connecting the two end points, while the solid line is the chi-square fit result. The secular trend for KIC8462852 can be viewed either as a steady fading of 0.203±0.032 mag/century with substantial dips from 1900-1909, or as an unsteady decline averaging 0.165±0.013 mag/century.

  49. Cancelling of next ice age:
    Ok, so I now have the original paper by Ganopolski. I do hate paywalls.

    Ganopolski is making a comparison between the present interglacial and the interglacial 400 kyr ago. This is a valid comparison because both of these interglacials happened at a time of minimum orbital eccentricity, which means that precessional insolation cannot fall to a grand minimum and the slide into an ice age can be more gradual.

    So although Ganopolski says: “insolation is close to a minimum”, it is not close to historic minimums, and nor is it as low as the minimum value 400 kyr ago. Present polar insolation is still 25 wm2 higher than the ice age 400 kyr ago. So although we will be sliding towards an ice age, because that is obviously the climate’s preferred condition, the slide will not be as fast as 400 kyr ago. (And will be reversed soon, because NH insolation is about to increase again.)

    The NH polar insolation that forced an ice age 400 kyr ago was lower than it is now:

    Ganopolski then says: “there is no evidence (in the current era) for the beginning of a new ice age”. This is not exactly true, because there has been a clear slide from the Holocene maximum into cooler conditions. And because precession is at a minimum, that slow slide is more influenced by the slow fall in obliquity insolation. So the Holocene’s slide towards an ice age was much slower than 400 kyr ago.

    Holocene temperature vs the obliquity index.
    Obliquity has fallen from a peak of 24.2º to 23.4º

    Ganopolski then launches into a story about recent CO2 increases saving us from falling into a new ice age. But he never mentions albedo. This is strange, since Ganopolski’s last paper demonstrated that albedo was a key element in glacial modulation.* Perhaps this was required for the grant application.

    In reality, the primary feedback for glacial modulation is not CO2, but the slow extension of the ice sheets and the associated increase in albedo. So if we have been saved from further glacial cooling in the last few millennia, it was due to the increase in agricultural and industrial soot deposits on the ice sheets, rather than a belated rise in CO2. And although the precessionary cycle is weak at present it has begun to rise again, and so an ice age is unlikely for the foreseeable future.

    For the many reasons how and why ice-albedo controls the ice age cycle, see Prof Best’s succinct summary:



    * Ganopolski (2010) “Simulation of the last glacial cycle with a coupled climate ice-sheet model of intermediate complexity.”

    • Ralfellis: It sounds to me like everyone is claiming to know more about the onset of ice ages than is actually known. To my knowledge we still do not understand the mechanism, which happens very quickly, relatively speaking. In that context what is the time span of your “foreseeable future”? A hundred years, or a thousand or ten thousand? The latter is extremely unlikely. The fact is that this interglacial has already run quite long, has it not?

      • Which is why I decided to investigate it. The mechanism is very simple, once you understand it. The achilles heel of a glacial world is albedo – if you get dust on ice sheets, the albedo can drop so much the ice sheets can absorb an extra 200 w/m2. This huge extra absorption is how an interglacial can warm in such a short span of time. See my paper on this:


        As to the future, the NH insolation is NOT going to get any lower for the next 20 kyrs, so there will not be any ice age any time soon. After that we get a weak Great Winter. But if we understand that albedo is the true key to ice age modulation, this weak ice age forcing will be very easy to counter.

        Then we will truly have arrived in the Anthropocene era.


  50. Uncertainty in Model Climate Sensitivity Traced to Representations
    of Cloud Precipitation Microphysics (Zhao al.) is behind a paywall.

    Slides from a talk with the same title by the first author:

    Changes in convective detrainment parameterization changes in one GFDL model reduce ECS from 3.0 K to 1.8 K!

    12 Slides compare output from four models with different entrainment parameterizations, but only ONE SLIDE compares model output to the real world observation (latitudinal variation in reflected SWR). The low-ECS models perform at least as well as the parent high-ECS model in that regard. This just reinforces my impression that the real world for modelers is the AOGCM – which admittedly have better resolution, more precise data, multiple initialization conditions, the ability to simulate changes that will take decades, and numerous other advantages over the real world. However, we need to know if such changes in parameters actually correct the best documented discrepancies between AOGCMs and observations besides ECS: little intensification of the hydrologic cycle with temperature, regional variation in precipitation, the hot-spot, seasonal changes in LWR and rSWR (Manabe PNAS 2013). Is there a bias (conscious or unconscious) against looking at the most problematic areas because skeptics emphasize them? Has anyone written an authoritative account the the biggest problem areas that might direct attention to improving model ECS (rather than merely running experiments with them)?

    Too harsh? Probably, but see the IPCC’s summary of model improvements between CMIP3 and CMIP5 (Slide 13).


    For a more detailed summary, see the link below. Do these improvements narrow the range for ECS? Arguably not, when they aren’t making progress on cloud feedback (cloud radiative effects).


    Abstract: Uncertainty in equilibrium climate sensitivity impedes accurate climate projections. While the intermodel spread is known to arise primarily from differences in cloud feedback, the exact processes responsible for the spread remain unclear. To help identify some key sources of uncertainty, the authors use a developmental version of the next-generation Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory global climate model (GCM) to construct a tightly controlled set of GCMs where only the formulation of convective precipitation is changed. The different models provide simulation of present-day climatology of comparable quality compared to the model ensemble from phase 5 of CMIP (CMIP5). The authors demonstrate that model estimates of climate sensitivity can be strongly affected by the manner through which cumulus cloud condensate is converted into precipitation in a model’s convection parameterization, processes that are only crudely accounted for in GCMs. In particular, two commonly used methods for converting cumulus condensate into precipitation can lead to drastically different climate sensitivity, as estimated here with an atmosphere–land model by increasing sea surface temperatures uniformly and examining the response in the top-of-atmosphere energy balance. The effect can be quantified through a bulk convective detrainment efficiency, which measures the ability of cumulus convection to generate condensate per unit precipitation. The model differences, dominated by shortwave feedbacks, come from broad regimes ranging from large-scale ascent to subsidence regions. Given current uncertainties in representing convective precipitation microphysics and the current inability to find a clear observational constraint that favors one version of the authors’ model over the others, the implications of this ability to engineer climate sensitivity need to be considered when estimating the uncertainty in climate projections.

    /ignorant ranting?

  51. Not having a policy edition, but still thinking this is important and interesting. Food for thought:

  52. From the article:

    Italian papers on genetically modified crops under investigation
    Work that describes harm from crops was cited in Italian Senate hearing.

    Papers that describe harmful effects to animals fed genetically modified (GM) crops are under scrutiny for alleged data manipulation. The leaked findings of an ongoing investigation at the University of Naples in Italy suggest that images in the papers may have been intentionally altered. The leader of the lab that carried out the work there says that there is no substance to this claim.


  53. From the article:

    Oil futures fell further on Wednesday, with U.S. crude touching its lowest since 2003, as a global supply glut bumped up against bearish financial news that sparked deeper worries over demand.

    U.S. crude oil dropped more than 4 percent in early trading, falling to as far as $27.32 a barrel. It bounced back to trade down 70 cents at $27.76.

    The contract settled down 96 cents, or 3.26 percent, in the previous session.

    “You need the low price to slow down shale much faster,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst with SEB in Oslo. He added that a “very broad-based sell-off across assets and across the world” would amplify pressure on oil prices. “With oil being fundamentally weak, it should be moving down even further.”


  54. stevenreincarnated

    It could be both the satellites and the surface measurements are reasonably accurate. RSS follows the AMO. If the AMO is slowing you will get less poleward driven water vapor according to hypotheses that indicate you get dynamic changes in water vapor because of those changes in OHT. Less movement of water vapor out of the tropics means less latent heat released at higher latitudes. It would also help explain why water vapor has not been following surface measurements.

  55. 13 mentions of the word “pause,” many usages not referring to da paws.

    How things change quickly.

  56. Gerhard Keller

    A simple question about ocean heat uptake: If the oceans take up 90% of the additional heat – how large would the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere be without this ocean heat uptake?

    Reversely spoken: If the greenhouse effect would be 1° C in the atmosphere without the ocean uptake: Is it only 0.1° C with this uptake?