History and the limits of the climate consensus

by Judith Curry

Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism.

I just spotted a wonderful article in the American Conservative – History and the limits of the climate consensus.  I reproduce the text in full below:

I began my career as a historian of the century following 1660, an era of harsh climatic conditions that often affected political and cultural history. Some periods in particular, especially the years around 1680 and 1740, stand out as uniquely stressful. Extreme cold led to crop failures and revolts, social crises and apocalyptic movements, high mortality and epidemics, but it also spawned religious revivals and experimentation. If you write history without taking account of such extreme conditions, you are missing a lot of the story. That background gives me an unusual approach to current debates on climate change, and leads me to ask some questions for which I genuinely do not have answers.

I believe strongly in the supremacy of scientific method: science is what scientists do, and if they don’t do it, it’s not real science. Based on that principle, I take very seriously the broad consensus among qualified scientific experts that the world’s temperature is in a serious upward trend, which will have major consequences for most people on the planet—rising sea levels and desertification are two of the obvious impacts. In many religious traditions, activists see campaigns to stem these trends as a moral and theological necessity. Personally, I love the idea of using advanced technology to drive a decisive shift towards renewable energy sources, creating abundant new jobs in the process.

Speaking as a historian, though, I have some problems with defining the limits of our climate consensus, and how these issues are reported in popular media and political debate.

Climate scientists are usually clear in their definitions, but that precision tends to get lost in popular discourse. To say that global warming is a fact does not, standing alone, mean that we have to accept a particular causation of that trend. Following from that, we must acknowledge that the climate has changed quite radically through the millennia, and that equally is beyond dispute. Climate change of some scale has happened, is happening, and will happen, regardless of any human activity. The issue today is identifying and assessing the human role in accelerating that process.

This point comes to mind in popular debate when people who should know better denounce “climate change” as such. See for instance the recent Papal encyclical Laudato Si, with its much-quoted statement that

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.

Well, not exactly. “Climate change” is a fact and a reality, rather like the movement of tectonic plates, or indeed like evolution. Particular forms of climate change may be exceedingly harmful and demand intervention, but that is a critical difference. It’s interesting comparing the English phrase “climate change” with the French phrase that was used at the recent COP21 Paris meetings, the Conférence sur les Changements Climatiques 2015: changes, plural, not change. Do you want to see a world without a changing climate? Look at the Moon.

That then gets to the human contribution to current trends. The basic theory in these matters is straightforward, simple, and (rightly) generally accepted. Carbon emissions create a greenhouse effect, which increases planetary temperatures. It should be said, though, that the correlation between emissions and temperatures is none too close. Rising temperatures do not correlate with any degree of neatness to overall levels of emissions. That is especially true when we look at the phenomenal growth in emissions from India and China since the 1980s, which should in theory have caused a global temperature increase far above anything we actually see. Sure, the effects might be delayed, but the correlation is still not working too well.

That disjunction is particularly telling when we look at the very recent era, from 1998 through 2012, when emissions have carried on rising sharply, but temperature rises have been slow or stagnant. This was a hiatus or slowdown in global warming, and it remains controversial. Some recent studies challenge the whole hiatus idea. Others accept the hiatus, but offer different explanations for its cause. Now, the fact that scientists disagree strongly on a topic certainly does not mean that the underlying theory is wrong. Arguing and nitpicking is what scientists are meant to do. But that lack of correlation does raise questions about the assumptions on which any policy should proceed.

That also gets us into areas of expertise. Climate and atmospheric scientists are not only convinced that the present warming trend is happening, but that it is catastrophic and unprecedented. That belief causes some bemusement to historians and archaeologists, who are very well used to quite dramatic climate changes through history, notably the Medieval Warm Period and the succeeding Little Ice Age. That latter era, which prevailed from the 14th century through the 19th, is a well-studied and universally acknowledged fact, and its traumatic effects are often cited. The opening years of that era, in the early-mid 14th century, included some of the worst social disasters and famines in post-Roman Europe, which were in turn followed by the massacre and persecution of dissidents and minorities—Jews in Europe, Christians in the Middle East, heretics and witches in many parts of the world. A cold and hungry world needed scapegoats.

Contemporary scientists tend to dismiss or underplay these past climate cycles, suggesting for instance that the medieval warm period was confined to Europe. Historians, in their turn, are deeply suspicious, and the evidence they cite is hard to dismiss. Do note also that the very substantial Little Ice Age literature certainly does not stem from cranky “climate deniers,” but is absolutely mainstream among historians. Are we seeing a situation where some “qualified and credentialed scientific experts” stand head to head with the “qualified and credentialed social scientific experts” known as historians?

If in fact the medieval world experienced a warming trend comparable to what we are seeing today, albeit without human intervention, that fact does challenge contemporary assumptions. Ditto for the Little Ice Age, which really and genuinely was a global phenomenon. Incidentally, that era involved a drop in temperature of some 2 degrees Celsius, roughly the same as the rise that is projected for coming decades.

The 2015 Paris Conference declared a target of restricting “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” It’s very important to set a baseline for such efforts, certainly, but what on earth is intended here? Which pre-industrial levels are we talking about? The levels of AD 900, of 1150, of 1350, of 1680, of 1740? All those eras were assuredly pre-industrial, but the levels were significantly different in each of those years. Do they want us to return to the temperatures of the Little Ice Age, and even of the depths of cold in the 1680s? The Winter of 1684, for instance, still remains the worst recorded in England, ever. Or are the bureaucrats aiming to get us back to the warmer medieval period, around 1150?

Seriously, does any serious climate scientist claim that “pre-industrial” temperature levels had been broadly constant globally for millennia, in fact since the end of the last true Ice Age some 12,000 years ago, and that they only moved seriously upwards at the start of industrialization? Really? And they would try to defend that? In that case, we should just junk the past few decades of writing on the impact of climate on history, undertaken by first rate scholars.

If pre-industrial temperature levels really varied as much as they actually did, why did the Paris conference so blithely incorporate this meaningless phrase into their final agreement? Did the participants intend “pre-industrial levels” to be roughly equivalent to “the good old days”?

I offer one speculation. Maybe the “Little Ice Age” was the planet’s “new normal,” a natural trend towards a colder world, and we should in theory be living in those conditions today. All that saved us was the post-1800 rise in temperatures caused by massive carbon emissions from an industrializing West. If that’s correct—and I say it without any degree of assurance—then I for one have no wish whatever to return to pre-industrial conditions. Climate scientists, please advise me on that?

Historical approaches are also useful in pointing to the causes of these changes, and therefore of much climate change that originates quite independently of human action. One critical factor is solar activity, and historians usually cite the Maunder Minimum. Between 1645 and 1715, sunspot activity virtually ceased altogether, and that cosmic phenomenon coincided neatly with a major cooling on Earth, which now reached the depths of the Little Ice Age. In fact, we can see this era as an acute ice age within the larger ice age. If you point out that correlation does not of itself indicate causation, you would be quite right. But the correlation is worth investigating.

So do I challenge the global warming consensus? Absolutely not. But that does not mean that all critical questions have been satisfactorily answered, and many of them depend on historical research and analysis. Pace the New York Times and large sections of the media, there is no such thing as “established science,” which is immune to criticism. If it is “established” beyond criticism and questioning, it’s not science.

Scientific claims must not be taken on faith.

Philip Jenkins is the author of The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels. He is distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and serves as co-director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

JC reflections

I have made most of the points raised here at some point or another.  What makes Jenkins’ essay so effective is not only eloquent writing, but the fact that the author clearly understands and defends the scientific method, and is also favorable towards using technology in a drive towards renewable resources.

The participation of historians in the climate debate is critical.  This is a topic that I am extremely interested in, and we have all been highly appreciative of the original posts by Tony Brown, at CE and also at WUWT.

Apart from the eloquent common sense in this Jenkins’ essay, he raises the issue of the Goldilocks Principle – what climate do we want?  Does anyone want the cold miserable climate of the 17th and 18th centuries?  I’m not even sure we want the climate of the 1930’s or 1950’s.  Historians have a huge role to play in articulating what constitutes a desirable climate, both regionally and globally.

And finally, regarding the MWP, who would prefer Mannian tree ring analysis to solid historical analyses, regionally and globally?

339 responses to “History and the limits of the climate consensus

  1. Pingback: History and the limits of of the climate consensus – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. It is a great essay.

    That said, temperature excursion is not the only consequence of carbon emissions — there is also the acidification of oceans.

    Is the acidfication of oceans necessarily going to be as disastrous as some claim? I have no idea. However, it strikes me as sufficiently risky messing with a large non-linear system on which we depend that I favor low-carbon alternatives.

    Even just on the temperature issue, I favor low-carbon alternatives — aside from the 1950s old-school old-nuclear light water reactors which have severe non-proliferation risks if scaled up to providing energy for the developing world. Even if ECS~1.5 we are still messing with planet in unpredictable ways. If we can go to a low carbon alternative — while creating jobs and not ruining ourselves economically — why not?

    • ybutt: Most of the claims you make here, you have made before and they have been objected to at length and in depth, including by me. Apparently you are oblivious to these counter arguments. At some point you should address them or at least acknowledge them, otherwise you are merely doing argument by assertion, a popular green strategy.

      • Could you kindly jot down your counter-arguments instead of being vague. I don’t religiously follow your every post but welcome your potential elucidation.

      • Well for starters you are attributing the so-called “excursion” to our emissions, which is far from known. This is the unsolved attribution problem. Nor is is necessarily an excursion, as opposed to natural variation. There is even some question whether this warming exists, since the UAH record shows zero warming 1978-1997, when the warming is supposed to have occurred.

        Then too you refer to “severe non-proliferation risks” from nuclear power, when it was recently explained at length that there are none. Weapons grade uranium requires special and very expensive facilities for its manufacture.

        Nor do we know that we are “messing with planet in unpredictable ways.” There is no physical evidence of this. You are just parroting the standard green rhetoric, as though the debate here did not exist.

      • David,
        thank you for your response.

        I have seen values of ECS as low as ~1 in peer reviewed literature.

        Please let me know where you have seen 0 or negative values (for the whole Earth system) — if you cannot quote any, I can safely ignore you on this. There is anthropogenic warming due to CO2 — the only debate is its extent: ECS ~1 or ECS~4 C

        Of course there is a huge risk of nuclear proliferation if there is a massive increase in old light water tech nuclear power —

        http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/04/f21/2015-03-31_FINAL_Report_SEABNuclearNonproliferationTaskForce_0.pdf

        we just did a deal with Iran because of this very risk.

        So you are wrong on that too.

        Lastly, you did not address ocean acidification at all.

        If renewables can create jobs and improve the economy and lower carbon emissions they are an excellent policy solution to anthropogenic climate change.

      • As I have explained before, ECS is a useless abstraction, because the climate is a far from equilibrium system. A system that cannot equilibrate has no equilibrium properties. ECS tells us nothing about what the climate will be like when CO doubles, if it ever does. CO2 does not control climate. More green junk.

        As for Iran, it appears they are trying to manufacture nuclear weapons. This has nothing to do with nuclear electric power generation. Denying poorer countries access to nuclear power because of Iran would be absurd, and cruel.

      • Just to elaborate on the futility of ECS. The IPCC has said, quite famously, some time ago, that the climate is a chaotic system, such that future temperature prediction is impossible. The best we can hope for is a probability distribution. This means that ECS cannot predict temperature, period. Yet this is how it is treated, as a prediction.

        Moreover, if the climate is this chaotic then it has no equilibrium states, which means that ECS does not exist, not even theoretically.

      • ybutt:

        There is anthropogenic warming due to CO2 — the only debate is its extent: ECS ~1 or ECS~4 C

        There is far more to debate than simply your ECS range. For example, if ECS requires several centuries to be expressed, cutting emissions today may provide no real benefit. Similarly, if ECS is at the lower end of your range, there is very little climate risk from continuing on the current path.

        The way you express your concerns seem to hinge, at every decision point, on the absolute worst case scenario. Trying to impose a consensus based on such assumptions is as problematic as absolute denialism, IMO.

      • ybutt > There is anthropogenic warming due to CO2 — the only debate is its extent: ECS ~1 or ECS~4 C

        That may well be the only debate within the narrow confines of modelling.

        But then there is the more fundamental question of whether the models have any relationship to the real world in the first place. How well are natural variations, clouds and other feedbacks understood? And empirical validation, given the lack of much robust empirical evidence to measure the models by (overall ocean heat content, absolute measurements of the radiation balance).

        Right now it’s all smoke and models.

      • a recent article on the effect of ocean “acidification” on coral reefs.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830472-000-growing-corals-turn-water-more-acidic-without-suffering-damage/

        As with most of the supposedly damaging effects of moderately higher temperatures and CO2 levels, there is no evidence that the tiny effect on ocean pH is harming anything.

    • Ybutt, I guest posted a partial answer to your ocean acidification question here a while ago. Shell Games. Ocean pH depends where in the water column, (surface ~ 1pH higher than immediately below the euphotic zone), when (diurnal and seasonal variation from biological activity up to ~1pH), and where (biological activity up to ~2pH. Florida Bay illustrated an even greater extreme). Oceans are highly buffered. The BAU scenario would at most change pH about -0.18 in barren ocean water. Less elsewhere. Marine organisms are adapted to much greater pH range. The coral alarm is based on scientific misconduct. The ouster alarmmis based either on misconduct or the equivalent of ‘knew or should have known’ gross negligence. Essay Shell Games covers the corals omitted from the shorter guest post.
      Its mostly more warmunist alarmism.
      Plus, there was recently a very substanial peer reviewed critique of a lot of the lab aquarium work that has been done to try to show harm. Very unrealistic compared to actual ocean conditions.

    • John Carpenter

      “Is the acidfication of oceans necessarily going to be as disastrous as some claim?”

      The oceans will never become acidic, i.e. achieve a pH < 7.0, in our or the many many generations to come. There just isn't enough fossil fuels available to make enough CO2 to achieve that result. Plus calcium carbonate deposits will continue to buffer the pH of the oceans keeping them above pH of 7.0.

      http://epoca-project.eu/index.php/what-is-ocean-acidification/faq.html

      The use of the term acidification, as described in the link, from a chemistry perspective is incorrect, IMO. In chemistry terms, the lowering of pH when above pH of 7 is considered 'neutralizing' and likewise the raising of pH when below pH of 7 is also considered 'nuetralizing'.

      I'm sure this comment will be viewed as a pedantic nit by many…. because it is.

      • Odd, because this:
        http://www.wmo.int/bulletin/es/content/monitoring-ocean-carbon-and-ocean-acidification

        says:

        “Declines in surface ocean pH due to ocean acidification are already detectable and accelerating.”

        I think the point about buffering via Calcium carbonate is that that material is, in part, from the shells and skeletons of marine species.

        Does anyone have a peer-reviewed study saying that ocean acidification will have minimal or non-existent effects on marine life?

      • Buffering comes from dissolved minerals in seawater. Not marine shells. The argument that marine calcification becomes difficult below pH 7.8 may have some merit–it depends on organism– but the oceans cannot get there. AR4 overlooked buffering when it erroneously claimed 7.8 by 2100.
        Do not rely on WMO. The dedicated warmunist head of the organization also says there has been no pause. Station Aloha off Mauna Loa, also run by Scripts, has detected an ocean shift from about pH 8.18 to about pH 8.12 since monitoring began. That is very barren ocean without the biological swings found elsewhere.

      • Thank you.

        Could you pls link to some of these quoted studies? Presumably peer-reviewed(?)

      • Please do more of your own homework. I have spent over 6 years researching this stuff. You asked to paper details once, gave them to you. Not twice
        Woods Hole website discusses experimental losers and gainer organisms. Linked footnote in guest postShell Games, which you apparently still have not read. But I dunno if the aquarium critique applies to that research.

      • > The oceans will never become acidic, i.e. achieve a pH < 7.0, in our or the many many generations to come.

        Not that one again, JohnC.

        Please.

      • Acidification can speed the break down of dead and unhealthy carbonates, but generally it supplies nutrients to healthy ones and also to plants.

      • John Carpenter

        Please what Willard? Not tell the truth? From the link..

        “Would dissolving all the CO2 released by burning all the world’s fossil fuel reserves ever make the seas acidic?

        No. The fundamental chemistry of the ocean carbon system, including the presence of calcium carbonate minerals on the ocean floor that can slowly dissolve and help neutralize some of the CO2, prevents the oceans from becoming acidic on a global scale. — Christopher L. Sabine, Supervisory Oceanographer, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, USA”

        See, I’m just appealing to authority. For generations to come the oceans will not become acidic.

      • > Not tell the truth?

        You must be joking, JohnC.

        That the oceans may never become acidic fails to be of any relevance regarding ocean acidification issues, and is related to the usual CAGW claptrap surrounding the word “acidification.”

        Here’s a link to the thread Sir Rud handwaved above:

        The problems with Rud’s post are multiple.

        https://judithcurry.com/2013/09/26/shell-game/#comment-387490

      • Willard, point to even one incorrect fact or misrepresentation. Both the post and the longer essay were extensively linked and footnoted. The barren seep was toxic with H2S. Proven by the water chemical analysis is the SI. Thatnis academic misconduct. Netarts bay is not an estuary, So the Whiskey Creek hatchery intake water needs to be managed as if it were. Thatt is at least ‘knew or should have known’ gross negligence by PMEL. A blog commenters assertions don’t carry much weight when they are unsubstantiated. And when they are, I post corrections. Did that just today over at WUWT. You come here only with opinions, or recycling hearsay opinions of others as in your comment just upthread, almost never facts. You cannot win any points or respect with that strategy. Up your game.

      • I have been trying to save little willito from himself, Rud. But the little rascal is stubborn. Thanks for encouraging him to up his game. We can only hope, that he will change.

      • > point to even one incorrect fact or misrepresentation

        I already cited more than one, Sir Rud. In this thread alone. Read harder.

        I can give you another one, just because you ask: your “CAGW/IPCC apparatus” is your own fabrication and the CAGW meme mispresents the scientific establisment. Not that I actually would need to – you twas your burden to prove your case of deliberate “shell game,” and all you succeeded to do over the years is to write essays with same bait and switch as Longhurst did in most of the chapter of his fabulous PDF.

        If you want more breadcrumbs, here’s a thread where I reviewed Alan covering similar stuff as you:

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/09/23/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread-2/

        Here’s our gorgious geologist review of Alan’s chapter:

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/09/20/new-book-doubt-and-certainty-in-climate-science/#comment-732608

        ***

        I can play that commitment game. For starters, it’s not the first time you get caught recycling that odd way of fabricating paws.

        I can even cite where I did. Covering your CAGW shell games is easy. All one needs to do is read harder.

        Please stick to playing an energy buff. It suits you best.

      • John Carpenter

        “That the oceans may never become acidic fails to be of any relevance regarding ocean acidification issues, and is related to the usual CAGW claptrap surrounding the word “acidification.”

        Willard, people need to learn to use words correctly. Acidification is a mis-nomer and is only used for an alarming effect. Period. There would be no alarm if we were talking about ocean neutralization. That sounds to benign. Talk about clap-trap. This is the kind of language that fans the CAGW fire.

      • John Carpenter

        Ha ha, I meant “too”

      • > [P]eople need to learn to use words correctly. Acidification is a mis-nomer and is only used for an alarming effect. Period.

        While I’m always thankful for contrarian concerns, JohnC, all your arguments are invalid: usages beat norms; “acidification” is well defined and correctly understood; rinsing and repeating the CAGW meme amounts to a proof by assertion; the audits never end.

      • Well, the standard estimate is 38,000 GT of carbon in the ocean.

        The roughly 2.7 GT per year (some of which is getting et by critters) is not going to make an appreciable difference.

        However to amuse global warmers we can start dumping coal ash (what is left when you remove carbon from coal) in the core ocean where not much lives.

        This would compensate for the change in PH due to CO2 increases resulting in a net change in PH of approximately 0 (zero).

        This would also provide vital nutrients to a part of the ocean that doesn’t have any.stimulating life in the ocean. It would also eliminate the coal ash that is the source of complaints from the eco-misinformed. So to me this strategy is a win/win/win and the only losers are the eco-misinformed who will have one less thing to complain about.

      • Marine shells are made up predominantly of calcium carbonate, last I checked was a mineral known as calcite and/or aragonite.

      • Yeah, we have to get rid of the obomunistas that are preventing us from improving the condition of our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans by dumping fine black coal ash there.

      • John Carpenter

        Willard, you win the the thread by self declaration and simultaneously fail chemistry.

        Well played.

      • John Carpenter, I can only conclude that you are not a chemist.

      • John Carpenter

        Haha, good one Bob

      • If you can point where I claim anything about chemistry, JohnC, I buy you the most expensive thing on the menu from any restaurant of a Red State that satisfies David Brooks condition of costing less than 20$, adjusted for inflation.

        Denizen chemists might appreciate Nick Stokes’ calculator:

        http://moyhu.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/active-ocean-acidification-calculator.html

      • bobdroege | January 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm |
        Yeah, we have to get rid of the obomunistas that are preventing us from improving the condition of our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans by dumping fine black coal ash there.

        Well, this is misinformed.

        Lake Michigan naturally gets down to 5.6 PH in spots. Yeah dumping coal ash may be beneficial but the obomunistas would throw themselves in front of the trucks and that gets a little messy and generates bad press.

        However the clams and whatever seem to deal with it. Since I have dug clams out of the Michigan shoreline the claim that 8.2 PH is barely tolerable for shellfish is a hoot.

        No, I was discussing the 90% of so of ocean more than 200 miles from shore that is a desert. A nutrient starved sinkhole full of nothing but water. Dumping nutrient rich highly alkaline coal ash in the mid-ocean is an outstanding idea.
        1. It is too far for the obomunistas to swim out to and get in the way of the boat.
        2. The alkaline coal ash will alkalinize the ocean which the global warmers keep insisting is needed.
        3. The coal ash, which is plants with the carbon removed, provides vital nutrients that simply don’t exist in the mid ocean. It may actually create an oasis in a desert.
        4. It gets rid of the coal ash.
        5. It gives the complainers two less things to complain about (ash and alkalinity).

      • PA,
        What about the mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals.

      • > I was discussing the 90% of so of ocean more than 200 miles from shore that is a desert.

        Right next to where we’re supposed to dump the nuclear waste, you know. Easy to spot. It glows.

      • bobdroege | January 22, 2016 at 9:58 pm |
        PA,
        What about the mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals.

        What about them?

        willard (@nevaudit) | January 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm |

        Right next to where we’re supposed to dump the nuclear waste, you know. Easy to spot. It glows.

        You want to dump the nuclear waste in subduction zones so that really isn’t a very good guide. You want the benefits of the ash distributed over a much larger area.

      • PA,
        More mercury in fish that we eat, that’s a good thing. Mercury being an essential vitamin necessary for the growth of humans.

        “What a maroon!”

        On the ocean acidification/neutralization issue, I will agree to stop saying acidification if we can agree that the solubility of aragonite and calcite is the actual problem with the lowering of pH.

      • bobdroege | January 22, 2016 at 10:45 pm |
        PA,
        More mercury in fish that we eat, that’s a good thing. Mercury being an essential vitamin necessary for the growth of humans.

        “What a maroon!”

        Well, gee.
        http://www.coalashfacts.org/documents/CCP%20Fact%20Sheet%201%20-%20Safe%20and%20Valuable%20Resources_FINAL.pdf
        Coal ash is a safe and valuable resource

        http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/pavements/97148/016.cfm
        Bituminous Coal Ash is 10-40% iron, subbituminous is 4-10%.
        The percent of mercury etc. in coal fly ash relative to iron is at or below the percentage in the earths crust.

        The “its poisoned with heavy metals” is basically a lie.

        Coal ash is so rich in vital trace elements that why we aren’t dumping it in the mid ocean is something of a mystery.

        The misinformed eco-rabble are maroons indeed.

    • ybutt, you make an argument about a “large, non-linear system” and the consequences that may befall it but the whole CAGW argument hinges on the premise that increasing CO2 levels from anthropogenic sources leads to increasing global temperatures. It is of sufficient correlation as to be considered a linear system. If it is not, I do not see where the hysterics of climate change are thusly justified.

      • Thanks — but I did not mean just temperature in the non-linearities.

        eg. non-linear (chaotic) knock-on effects upon fisheries.

        But temperature too has non-linear components if eg. more CO2 leads to more methane release from permafrost leading to a greater than anticipated temperature rise.

      • We have not doubt meaningful methane release from warming. Some from mining and agriculture . But biological variability is overwhelming.

      • not found

        darn auto correct

      • Thanks that is useful. However, as the scientist quoted there against the hype says it is still a future problem.

        Since it is a non-linear system why choose to continue dumping CO2 there (even if acidification effects are currently uncertain) and not boost renewables, especially if renewables can add jobs to the economy?

        None of the anti-hypers have addressed this simple point.

      • Climate may be a nonlinear system. But ‘ocean acidification’ in the realistic range for BAU CO2 is not. It is well understood buffered sea water chemistry, that AR4 happened to get wrong. And the BAU pH delta is smaller than the diurnal/ seasonal variation in biologically fertile oceans, to which all marine organisms are adapted. For example estuarine oysters set spat in the summer, when estuary pH is highest. There is a drop of over one full pH unit in winter, without harm to the spat once set.
        For example in aquariums, all corals calcify at pH 7.8 and above, at their species dependent water temperatures plus minus a few degrees. 7.8 will not be reached because of buffering. You are making a biological precautionary principle argument that makes no sense. And unless by renewables you mean modern nuclear, your remedy also makes neither economic nor technical sense because of intermittency. The sun does not always shine, the wind does not always blow, and there is not enough hydro to make up the difference.

      • ybutt | January 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm |

        and not boost renewables, especially if renewables can add jobs to the economy?

        None of the anti-hypers have addressed this simple point.

        Renewables are waste of money and resources to provide a lousy power source and should be surtaxed for not providing the CO2 benefit of fossil fuel (which would go to subsidizing fossil fuel).

        I would oppose renewables even if I thought CO2 was a problem not a blessing. The only place they have in the power grid is to provide a little generation diversity.

        The “add jobs” is another sick joke. It is like taking away powered farm equipment which would increase farm jobs 10 fold, and is stupid and senseless for the same reason.

      • FWIW, WUWT has a link, under its Categories drop-down list, for Ocean Acidification, that lists links and brief descriptions to the many threads it’s posted on this topic. Here it is:
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/category/ocean-acidification/

      • Ocean pH is one of the things we know little about as we don’t have much data even in recent times given the huge expanse of ocean, let alone from the past. As other predictions/projections fail to materialize, we will hear more and more speculation and alarmism about ocean pH. The recent study in Nature (Aug. 2015) cited above made it quite clear that many or most of the recent studies were flawed and possibly worthless. So, on ocean pH, it would be wise to wait until more and better studies are conducted before raising the alarm.

      • What fun it would be to fast forward to 2050 and find that most of the studies in every aspect of climate science were flawed and worthless. Some of the denizens would be vindicated. Some would not.

      • Until NOAA can differentiate a CO2 molecule from anthropogenic atmospheric sources from a CO2 molecule welling up from the depths of the ocean, any scientific claims about human emissions leading to acidification of the ocean is rank speculation.

        How have PNW shellfish producers dealt with the “acidification” problem? They ship the larvae to Hawaii for their first couple of weeks of growth. Were acidification a problem due to increased atmospheric concentration of CO2, the waters off Hawaii would be acidifying along with the waters off the Pacific NW.

    • ybutt, look at:
      https://drive.google.com/file/d/OB-ZfEkgmBH37N1Z2dW9DRkYxbzg/view?usp=sharing
      for a discussion of the global warming issue. In particular, look at the figure on ocean acidification effect.

    • “If we can go to a low carbon alternative — while creating jobs and not ruining ourselves economically — why not?”
      Yeah, I’ll let you know when Solyndra is hiring again.

    • Ybutt,

      Learn to recognize marketing and how to differentiate it from science.

      Ocean Acidification is a marketing ploy.

  3. daveandrews723

    The religion, or cult, of the CAGW crowd is being led by people who claim to be and are recognized as scientists. That’s scary.

  4. I always took the statement “pre-industrial era” as the particular year of 1849 (or some baseline around those years assuming we call 1850 the start of the industrial era).

    And I reach this conclusion by accepting the claim that current temperatures are about 1C above the “pre-industrial era”.

    I think the Goldilocks Principle is a more interesting argument. Why is 2C above the “pre-industrial era” ideal? How did we come to that conclusion?

    • Pre-industrial usually refers to the mid 1700s as that is when the CO2 rise is claimed to have started. A rise of 2 degrees C is not claimed to be ideal. It is claimed to be the threshold of disaster.

      • How is 2°C above preindustrial bad?

        The earth has been 10°C warmer and we got 100 ton lizards. The argument that warmth is bad for wildlife is just crazy on its face.

        This isn’t the warmest it has been this interglacial and another 1°C might not even exceed the MWP, the last time it was warm only 1000 years ago. The western Viking encampment in Greenland is still permafrost. And it certainly isn’t warmer than the Eemian.

        The “natural warming good” “human warming bad” mantra is without foundation.

      • The continent was in a state of perpetual trial. The northern tribes, the Trumpians, had been forced for centuries southward, pushing then ever into conflict with the Obamians, who were themselves in an ever constant state of conflict and economic crisis, balkanization being the order of the day. These states were constantly shifting boundaries and their collectives were ever on the verge of collapsing due to internal civil war. The Trumpians had mostly return to the small villages and their ways of hunting. Few plants were able to grow in the unfavourable climate. The complex technologies were useless, mostly fried in the great Era of the Sun, when the lights flashed across the lands and silenced the machines.

        The encroaching ice sheets accelerated their advance in the year 2120, and led to a crisis within the Trumpania. In addition, boats from Eurabia began moving across the sea and their eastern front was ever a region of conflict.

        Since the implementation of Dark Energy, initiated in the year 2095, temperatures seemed to only accelerate in their decline. Massive amounts of CO2 burned and pumped into the atmosphere had virtually no effect against the constant, merciless decline of temperature.

        etc etc…

      • As I said, 2 degrees is claimed to be the threshold of disaster. Not my claim but there it is.

      • The Goldilocks Question is, still, an interesting one. Should 1850 or 1780 NOT be the desired climate state, would 1* above those times be closer to “perfect”, so that 400 ppm CO2 (the driver) be desired?

        McKibben and 350.org have, indirectly, said that 350 ppm is the desired point. That would be about 1988, when Hansen did his open-windows-no-A/C trick.

        Reminds me of when I thought Calgary had reached its best stage of urban expansion: the day I moved into my new house in the ‘burbs.

      • David Wojick | January 22, 2016 at 1:50 pm |
        As I said, 2 degrees is claimed to be the threshold of disaster. Not my claim but there it is.

        And wherever you go, there you are.

        Don’t know what to tell you. Almost impossible to disprove.

        The only way to determine if they are right is run the temperature up 2°C and see what happens. I’m game. It has been beneficial so far. Even if they are right the effects will happen gradually. All we have to do is monitor crop yields. If they continue rising we’re good. We might as well reap all the benefit of more CO2 that we can.

        The 7 GT/Y (and rising) of carbon absorption means we can back out of trouble twice a fast as we got into it.

    • Using the pre-industrial era as a baseline accomplishes two things. It oversimplifies history and it conjures up an image for the public of a climate that was constant before the 20th century. With that view held by the public, there is less chance for any questions. Nice and tidy and no penetrating inquiries. Don’t rock the boat.

  5. With reference to this:

    That disjunction is particularly telling when we look at the very recent era, from 1998 through 2012, when emissions have carried on rising sharply, but temperature rises have been slow or stagnant.

    Let’s go to our favorite go to organization, the GWPF…

    “Remember when some analysts used 1998 as a start point for global temperature trend analysis they were rightly criticised for it. “

    As for this:

    “…but the fact that the author clearly understands and defends the scientific method, “

    So much for a clear understanding of the scientific method, eh?

    • Joshua, you obviously do not know statistics or understand how the pause is calculated. Or are being willfully obtuse. One starts with the present. The most recent month available. Then you look backward in time statistically to find the earliest month for which there is either no trend, or no statistically significant trend, depending on the test employed. Most of these just happen to land either in 1998 or 1997 at present. It is not a cherry pick. It is basic statistical mathematics. So if you repeat the canard again, it will prove you are being willfully obtuse, and or deliberately obfuscating.

      • > One starts with the present. The most recent month available. Then you look backward in time statistically to find the earliest month for which there is either no trend, or no statistically significant trend, depending on the test employed. Most of these just happen to land either in 1998 or 1997 at present.

        In other words, you do exactly like Ross did, J:

        McKitrick uses a regression technique that is supposed to be robust to heteroscedasticity (unequal variance) and autocorrelation to find the trend in the temperature time series. He starts with the last five years of data and tests if the trend is statistically different from zero, i.e. does the 95% confidence interval around the mean include zero. He then repeats this analysis with six years of data and so on until the 95% confidence interval does not include zero. This is declared the start of the hiatus.

        But McKitrick has missed an obvious trick. If he had used the 99% confidence interval, he would have obtained a much longer hiatus and impressed the credulous even more. And if he had used the 99.9% confidence interval … This is beginning to to show the problems with the method.

        https://quantpalaeo.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/recipe-for-a-hiatus/

        So according to our very serious Sir, before Ross’ revolutionary technique, nobody knew stats.

      • We keep looking for cherries until we find the cherry which is furthest from the tree. This can in no way be considered to be cherry picking.

      • Willard, I trained to PhD level econometrics, read, and understood the McKitrick paper. It is sound. The hearsay critique you cite is not. I actually went to your reference and checked. Please up your game.

      • > I trained to PhD level econometrics […]

        And I am a ninja, Sir Rud. This is not required to see the recipe behind the appeal to your own authority. Reading harder suffices to see when a very Serious Sir shines the glass of a diploma he doesn’t have (“PhD level”) and handwave to his own mind (“understood the McKitrick paper”), chances he has no argument, not to mention the alleged formal chops.

      • BTW even a non-econometrician/non-statistician, perhaps even yourself, should be able to spot the flaw in Telford’s critique that you link to.
        Hint, misuse/misunderstanding of confidence intervals. Longer pauses would be found with tighter confidence intervals using RMs method? Nonsense. Go look at the math RM set out.
        Telford’s own ‘experiment’ shows how bassackwards his blog critique is. Never confound sensitivity and specificity in Baysian statistics. Bayes theorem will bite every time because it is counterintuitive. Telford attempts a frequentist stats disproof to a quintessential Bayes theorem problem (RM statistical discrimination ‘power’ given the autocorrelation problem of red temperature noise around some trend which may be zero) and belly flops. Wrote Bayes up in the recognition chapter of The Arts of Truth.
        Color me underwhelmed.

      • Rud –

        “Joshua, you obviously do not know statistics ”

        Hey, I’m just going with what the GWPF says. They are scientists. I’m not. Here, I’ll give you the link to the GWPF article. You can take it up with them as to their ignorance of statistics:

        http://www.thegwpf.com/nasa-noaa-and-uk-met-office-show-el-nino-boosted-2015-temp/

        “….or understand how the pause is calculated.”

        Well, actually I do know how the “pause” is calculated. That was, exactly, my point. It is “calculated” by using 1998 as a starting point, for example as in the “analysis” I excerpted from the OP.

      • Willard to set you straight, never claimed to be a Ph.D. Resent the slur. Am a JD/MBA with 13 issued patents on the side. I passed all the economics Ph.D exams except history of economics as an undergrad, and had my summa undergrad thesis accepted as a Ph.D thesis at that university. But when accepted to Harvard’s joint law school/business school program (four years instead of five) thought that was the better life course than one more year to Ph.d and then what? You sound bitter. I am at peace with my life choices. And please lose the Sir slur. Why not write a guest post Judith might accept, instead. But enough engagement for today. Time to start dinner this stormy evening.

      • Dear Sir,

        Everyone knows how big you are in Japan, which makes your handwaving all the more perplexing.

        You asked for points, and you got served.

        If Ross’ recipe is “how the [paws] is calculated,” then it’s unclear what everyone did before Ross invented his recipe.

        Please consider refraining from making comments that are both patronizing and ridiculous, and I’ll revise the title that marks how Very Serious you sound to me.

        Enjoy your meal,

        W

      • “One starts with the present…. It is not a cherry pick.

        Funny, that. Because if you start with the present and you go back further than 1998, then the pause just up and disappears. Interesting how pauses can come and go like that.

        You’re playing a semantic game, Rud.

        The point is that what is most instructive is the longest relevant trend (since anthropogenic emissions change atmospheric physics).

        That the rate of increase hasn’t been monotonic is instructive and important. And within the longer term trend, a shorter term trend (e.g., from 1998 to 2014) may be relevant to the extent that it may have implications as to the magnitude of the longer term trend (and thus, the validity of the models’ output).

        That was the point, most likely, being made by the GWPF article’s author.

        It would be nice if the discussion would focus on that rather than people trying to leverage short term change in longer term trends, in one metric only, to claim that “global warming” has “paused” or “stopped.”

        But that’s not going to happen as long as people exploit atmospheric physics to fight identity battles.

      • Well, your comment just shows you do not understand the mathmatical definition of monotonic functions. By all metrics, even karlized, surface temps declined slightly in the period ~1950 to ~ 1975. Deal with it.

      • And BTW, Rud –

        . Then you look backward in time statistically to find the earliest month for which there is either no trend, or no statistically significant trend, depending on the test employed. Most of these just happen to land either in 1998 or 1997 at present. </blockquote

        "Just happen to…" Too funny. I mean it's just a coincidence that the trend their referencing coincides with a powerful El Nino?

        A trend is not a pause, the method you describe is not a pause, but a trend. By definition, a "pause" must be in reference to an earlier time period. That's one of the problems with the "pause" meme…

        The use of "pause" by "skeptics" isn't meaningful, as "skeptics" then turn right around and act as if there is no such reference to an earlier, longer term trend. A pause implies knowledge of a cessation of a causal factor. Yet "skeptics" present no argument about such a cessation in cause.

        "The "pause," (the one that "skeptics" refer to, with the use of the definite article) is a rhetorical device, not a meaningful concept. "Skeptics" want to have their cake and eat it too. They simultaneously want to truncate the trend of SATs (one metric only, ignoring OHC) since 1998 even as they use a term that necessarily refers to a longer-term trend.

        What makes it even more amusing is that we then have the GWPF saying that it isn't valid to consider a spike in temps in 2015 as a end point for a trend…

        Semantics and tribalism. Sameosameo.

      • wliiard the better take down of Ross comes from Brandon

        http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2014/12/a-peculiar-pause/

        Pretty soon the Pause as found by Ross will disappear.

        Now you see it.. now you dont. THAT’S some robustery!

      • When analyzing a time series you need just the right amount of observations, not too few, not too many. It’s the same for music, not too few notes, not too many.

      • Willard, I trained to PhD level econometrics, read, and understood the McKitrick paper. It is sound.

        Okay, maybe you can then explain – based on the McKitrick paper – the conditions required for us not to be in a pause.

      • Rud,

        Willard was told he was a nimrod, but he must have thought it meant ninja.

        So he’s some sort of ninja nimrod. Your guess is as good as mine what that means.

    • Funny how in about 1999 it was ok to use 1998 as a high point when advancing CAGW.

      • ==> “Funny how in about 1999 it was ok to use 1998 as a high point when advancing CAGW.”

        Ah yes. The old “They did ti first” rationalization. I believe it may have been one or two days since I last saw that here a Climate Etc.

  6. Judith
    Some of us already know all the above and fave continual jibes from those who think anything before 1980 is anecdotal.

    however, it often strikes me that instead of continually hitting the congress or senate committees over the head with science , that is either way above their heads or uses hypothetical computer models, you could give them a history of the climate over the last thousand years.

    you do not even need to mention the absurd tree rings or other novel proxies, as there are plenty off real events with real people that you could weave a story around
    tonyb

    • > there are plenty off real events with real people that you could weave a story around

      Indeed, TonyB. You can even pick them within the same few kilometers over and over again and weave stories at will.

      History as a science. The history of scientific method. What could go wrong?

      • Willard: “History as a science. The history of scientific method. What could go wrong?”

        Why the put down of history?

        The history of the scientific method, how it came about and how it’s been used and abused, is a fascinating story.

        The fact that so many modern-day “scientists” are ignorant of this history prevents them from practicing science.

      • > The history of the scientific method, how it came about and how it’s been used and abused, is a fascinating story.

        Of course it is, Glenn. I’ve never said otherwise. On the contrary.

        That’s not the same as using “but science method” as a weapon, however. In this case we see a religious historian of science presenting history as “social scientific” based on a recursive definition (let’s be generous and not call it circular) to distance himself from “religious activists.” While Ben Goldacre might be tempted to call that scienciness, I’d rather call that crappiness.

        To put Jenkins’ historical reading and his activism bashing into perspective, here’s a book he prefaced:

        http://www.amazon.com/Wealth-Justice-Morality-Democratic-Capitalism/dp/0844743771

        The rewriting of everything is just too obvious.

      • > In this case we see a religious historian of science […]

        A religious historian of religion, that is.

      • Willard,

        So what are you trying to say?

        That if we can impugn Mr. Jenkins’ motives, character and credentials sufficiently, it will make the Medieval Warm Period and the succeeding Little Ice Age.just go away?

      • Glenn,

        There’s no need to impugn Jenkins any motive to see that he wrote a foreword for a reconstruction dedicated to a very specific market using the very same tropes he used for that editorial in the American Conservative. If you read the foreword, you’ll see “ill-judged social interventions,” “bureaucrats,” “political elites,” “interventionist states,” “tyrannies,” and even “progressive” in scare quotes. Search for GaryM’s comments in the archives to see what kind of playbook that is.

        There’s no need to appeal to any motive to see that he uses “but scientific method” as a weapon. To take one of your metaphor, that meme as taken a life of its own.

        So my point is that Jenkins’ editorial smells at best scienciness, but most probably crappiness.

        I can also add that his notion of “scientific method” conflicts with his conception of science as “what scientists do.” There’s no need norms you call “method” if you define science purely descriptively.

        If he would have come with a clear concept of LIA and MWP from an historical perspective, that would have been great too. I don’t think he can do that, since our historical records of these times are quite limited. Most of historical eras are still open to debate, by the way – we’re still arguing about what was the Enlightenment.

        ***

        Jenkins’ area of expertise in the history of religions is quite vast, and seems to go from the Middle ages (a concept that is not that clear from an ) to more recent epochs:

        [R]esearch of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination—or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Jenkins

        You can see that he also covers Islamism.

        Baylor U is lucky to have such a maverick.

      • Glenn,

        There’s no need to impugn Jenkins any motive to see that he wrote a foreword for a reconstruction dedicated to a very specific market using the very same tropes he used for that editorial in the American Conservative. If you read the foreword, you’ll see “ill-judged social interventions,” “bureaucrats,” “political elites,” “interventionist states,” “tyrannies,” and even “progressive” in scare quotes. Search for GaryM’s comments in the archives to see what kind of playbook that is.

        There’s no need to appeal to any motive to see that he uses “but scientific method” as a weapon. To take one of your metaphor, that meme as taken a life of its own.

        So my point is that Jenkins’ editorial smells at best scienciness, but most probably crappiness.

        I can also add that his notion of “scientific method” conflicts with his conception of science as “what scientists do.” There’s no need norms you call “method” if you define science purely descriptively.

        If he would have come with a clear concept of LIA and MWP from an historical perspective, that would have been great too. I don’t think he can do that, since our historical records of these times are quite limited. Most of historical eras are still open to debate, by the way – we’re still arguing about what was the Enlightenment.

        ***

        Jenkins’ area of expertise in the history of religions is quite vast, and seems to go from the Middle ages (a concept that is not that clear from an ) to more recent epochs:

        [R]esearch of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination—or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Jenkins

        A nice example of a tu quoque.

        You can see that he also covers Islamism.

        Baylor U is lucky to have this maverick.

    • no tony here is what we have a problem with

      “Ditto for the Little Ice Age, which really and genuinely was a global phenomenon. Incidentally, that era involved a drop in temperature of some 2 degrees Celsius, roughly the same as the rise that is projected for coming decades.”

      Imagine that.

      No go figure.. How many “stories” do we have about the LIA.
      from How many places?

      I regularly post 40,000 stories from 40,000 different places are the globe.
      These stories are told by thermometers.

      I am regularly scolded about “extrapolating” to places where I have no stories.. I am regularly lectured that a gloabl temperature doesnt exist.
      Not now. not ever.
      I am regularly told that Mr Nyquist rules and I dont have enough stories.
      I am regularly told that these stories are a random walk.. And lastly I am told that these stories are forgeries

      Now then. These same people look at a painting of snow, or a drawing of Washinton crossing some river, or a couple of hundred impressionistic accounts ( man it was cold, sheep died ) from a few hundred locations
      And they CONCLUDE with no HINT of skepticiscm that the global temperature that DOESNT EXIST today was cooler in the LIA.

      They conclude from Few “data points” that a phenomena was “global”

      Weird. They leave their skepticism at the door

      • Alas, your thermometers – regardless of their usefulness, accuracy, coverage, adjustments etc – did not exist in the period of interest. Therefore, we must perforce use proxies.
        You may prefer the use of tree rings, sediments, bore holes etc (or not).
        Others may prefer the use of historical documents (or not).
        I think we can agree that both methods provide only sparse coverage and have wide error margins. Where multiple methods from multiple datasets agree, we can infer general trends only. Where these exist, the vast majority appear to support both the MWP and LIA as global events – heck, even IPCC suggested it at one point!
        To paraphrase your own line: it is what it is.
        And what it is suggests significant climate variability at multidecadel to muticentenial scales – variability that exceeds that seen in the 20th C. Which would appear to run counter to the narrative of “more and faster then ever before”.
        Which would also appear to make attribution even less certain.
        So we would appear to be left with the precautionary principle – we MIGHT be doing damage, or about to hit some “tipping point”, but then again, we might not.
        Which means it comes down to – in pragmatic terms – doing stuff that has collateral benefits in any case (ie, is worth doing anyway) and watching and waiting. What we’ve actually been doing for the last 30 odd years, as it turns out.
        Still waiting to see any negative effects. Maybe we need to continue along the same path for another 30 years – or maybe for another 300 years. Then we might have more of an idea what the effects really are, because we might, by that time, have actually found something negative – that is, something in the real world, as opposed to the Sim-world of projections, which seem to be drifting further and further away from reality, despite continued “improvements”.
        Or so it seems to me, anyway. But what do I know? Heck, all I do is peruse the MSM and read blogs that interest me. No expert me – not in this area anyway. Somewhat informed I like to think, but not expert. So if you can edumacate (sic) me and show me the error of my ways, please attempt it – I’d be most appreciative.

      • David Springer

        No one was able to pencil whip the Thames into being frozen solid.

        The Vikings weren’t adjusted out of Greenland.

        Therein lies the difference between the stories told by your thermometers and the real world.

        Write that down.

  7. David L. Hagen

    The modern political problem of “climate change’ began with the 1992 “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) POLITICALLY REDEFINING “Climate Change” to mean:

    2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

    Now we have the “equivocation” of being accused of being a (holocaust lilke) “denier” if you do not “believe in climate change” – though earth’s climate has been changing for 4.5 billion years.

    The Fallacy of Equivocation occurs when an equivocal word or phrase makes an unsound argument appear sound.

    • The bigger problem is the adamant refusal to separate ALW (anthropogenic local warming) from AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

      AGW is generally agreed to be mostly due to GHG. ALW is completely unrelated to AGW and some AGW mitigation strategies such as wind mills or black glass make ALW worse.

      Warmers like renewables because they make it warmer and they “in theory” fight GHG related AGW… which means it is warmer justifying even more drastic action.

      The government climate grant process should be required by law as the only priority, to establish attribution for natural warming/ALW/AGW and the various forcings to -/+10% accuracy before any mitigation or “research” on the quasi-fanciful harmful effects of future warming is funded.

      • David L. Hagen

        Yes. More importantly the largest “greenhouse gas” is H2O, not CO2. Furthermore, we have very little confidence in cloud models to know if H2O warms or cools. Foundationally, Does CO2 cause warming? OR Is ocean warming releasing CO2? Until those issues are quantified we have little knowledge of long term climate trends.

  8. I have often mentioned 1740 here.

    it was the event that caused Phil Jones to admit that natural variability was greater than he had hitherto realised.

    The temperature had been warming substantially since the low point of the little ice age in the 1690’s.

    during the 1730’s it rose to a level not seen again until the 1990’s

    in 1740 this extended warm period came to a shuddering halt with a winter that remains amongst the most severe in the instrumental record back to 1659 and using other proxies amongst the coldest in the last 800 years.

    the modern era seems to have some of the characteristics of the mwp in as much temperature variability is relatively limited. We should be thankful instead of continually trying to dial the climate back to some notional ideal that has never existed.

    climate changes. Get used to it
    tonyb

    • Dec 2010 was the second coldest on CET, and Mar 2013 was cold even by Maunder standards. The now warmer world evidently does not inhibit how negative the daily NAO values can reach. An event like winter 1740 can happen any time given the right short term solar conditions in the right season.

    • There were some very significant cold periods through the MWP. The late 8th and early 9th centuries, the late 10th and early 11th centuries, and most notably around the 1120’s, with records of the Euphrates regularly freezing.

  9. An excellent article. It raises many of the questions that should be addressed by all scientists interested in the climate question. The combination of geologists and historians, and their combined knowledge over centuries, is what is missing in the debate. Similarly, the practice of adjusting recorded data from the last 150 years is really an assault on the science of the time and the many scientists who were perfectly capable of taking accurate readings. The use of the word “unprecedented” belies the entire history of science and recorded human history.

    The fact that those who advocate CAGW refuse to debate those who have doubts is telling. Similarly, the removal of the debate from the realm of science into the political sphere has effectively killed the proper vetting and interpretation of what little we know about the atmosphere. It is time to get the science of climate change out of the UN, and away from government agencies that refuse to debate the issue. The fact that peer review no longer protects the science/policy interface is an even more serious problem. Somethings, however, have not changed – money is still the root of all evil!

  10. Apart from the eloquent comment sense in this Jenkins’ essay, he raises the issue of the Goldilocks Principle – what climate do we want?

    That’s an easy one. They want the climate that best promotes the Socialist agenda. It’s all about the means. The ends are only relevant in the socio-political sense.

  11. “Climate and atmospheric scientists are not only convinced that the present warming trend is happening, but that it is catastrophic and unprecedented.”

    Is that correct? What surveys test agreement with either of those adjectives? (There are many surveys showing almost total agreement among scientists with the IPCC’s finding that past warming — 1951-2010 — is largely anthropogenic).

    Saying the current warming is “unprecedented” — without limiting the time scale or cause of the warming — seems false.

    Such statements commonly made in the public climate debate, illustrating how it has collapsed into cacophony.

    • If ECS~1.5C as several recent peer-reviewed papers contend is even most of the warming 1951-2010 anthropogenic? honest question.

      Thanks.

      • ybutt,

        I think the relevant point is that there is sufficient basis for non-scientists like Philip Jenkins (and me) say “scientists are convinced” that there has been anthropogenic warming since 1950.

        Whether scientists are correct or not is a different question.

        I have seen no evidence about the number of scientists who believe the “present warming trend is … catastrophic and unprecedented.”

      • There definitely has been anthropogenic warming since 1950.

        But how much?

        If ECS is around 1C then it is less than even many scientists think:

        http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/5/139/2014/esd-5-139-2014.pdf

      • y? butt. huh? what?

        read more, comment less

      • Thanks Bud. But I simply asked a question and got deflections to it — so here goes again: If ECS~1.5C as several recent peer-reviewed papers contend is even most of the warming 1951-2010 anthropogenic? honest question.

        If you cannot answer the question, it is ok to not post a reply.

      • ybutt: If ECS is 1.5, TCS is likely lower, perhaps as low as 1/2-ECS. TCS of 0.75C*120ppmvCO2/280ppmvCO2=0.32C. That’s about 1/3 of the industrial era temperature increase. That leaves open the rest could be Black Carbon + Land Use – Aerosol + Natural Variation – Volcano
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record#/media/File:Global_Temperature_Anomaly.svg
        This Wiki-Plot shows ~0.9C increase since ~1890 (-0.3C) to now (~0.6C)
        Full-blown ECS (non-CO2, tectonic-ocean circulation caused) takes centuries to millennia,
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record#/media/File:EPICA_temperature_plot.svg
        The glacial periods never reach equilibrium, the temp declines until a reversal.
        In the case of the Plio-Pleistocene glaciation, several millions of years are required for equilibrium, but it is a highly fluctuating dynamic equilibrium.

      • “is even most of the warming 1951-2010 anthropogenic? “

        Wrong question. The question is “How much of the warming is due to GHG induced AGW and not ALW”.

        Doing something about GHG has no or in many cases negative impact on ALW. You can hold your nose (figuratively/literally speaking) until you are blue in the face (to avoid exhaling your 40,000 PPM of CO2) and it won’t impact ALW.

        Until we have a good number for AGW-ALW (net GHG AGW) it isn’t clear if there is anything to be gained from reducing any GHG.

        A comparison of asphalt to dirt to grass.
        http://www.ejournal.unam.mx/atm/Vol21-2/ATM002100202.pdf

        The peak difference of 20°C (419 W/m2) vs 45°C (581 W/m2) between grass and an impermeable surface, 162 W/m2 dwarfs other forcing changes humans might be making.

      • billions of years natural purity until we arrived
        evolution’s great error
        we
        the great Creators of the Unnatural
        we
        the ants that spoil the perfect picnic

        I await the world the great ones shall build
        the purity restored when our razor intellects surgically remove us from the process
        evolution’s unfortunate dalliance corrected

      • ybutt

        Your deference towards peer-reviewed papers shows no appreciation that they are government-funded, and that government has an obvious interest in fomenting climate alarm.

        It sadly does not follow that scientists follow the scientific method.

      • “There definitely has been anthropogenic warming since 1950.”

        Indeed. Human Land Use changes and Urban-Heat-Effect have caused warming. But evidence of carbon-dioxide warming? None whatsoever.

        How can you tell the difference between water-vapour, methane and carbon-dioxide warming?

        The climate consensus 5 years ago was that the temperature rise was too much, too fast, for natural variability; yet historians tell us different. Now consensus is saying natural variability is masking the effects of carbon-dioxide. But they can’t tell what the cause of this natural variability is. However, they’ve still got lots of potential causes which they’ve dismissed as ‘too small a change to have cause the rise’. They weren’t noticing the IPCC remarks about chaos – or they don’t understand chaotic systems.

      • As I recall, ybutt, ~50% of the warming since pre-industrial times happened before we were burning a lot of fossil fuels. And again from memory, the IPCC uses most (or the majority) to mean more than 50%.

  12. Facts are facts: whether it’s caused by natural changes in the North Atlantic circulation patterns or solar activity, there has been no global warming for a while now, going on 20 years. Rather than warming alarmists’ predictions that our children would never know snow, we may actually be headed towards, as many outside Western academia predict, decades of global cooling.

    Climate change is complex and its impacts more so. We have limited knowledge of the consequences of the modest change that has occurred in the past. There is even more uncertainty about the effects of the rapid change expected in the future. ~Richard Tol (Bogus prophecies of doom will not fix the climate)

  13. Thanks for posting the Jenkins article. Climate Science is still in its infancy. This post is further evidence of how many important questions are still unanswered despite the vast sums spent by governments.

  14. Alan Longhurst

    How could Peter Jones possibly have thought that natural variability was trivial – considering that HH Lamb was the founder and previous director of the CRU?

  15. “And finally, regarding the MWP, who would prefer Mannian tree ring analysis to solid historical analyses, regionally and globally?”

    … the EPA?

  16. What a truly honest Kevin Trenberth might have said:

    …The fact is that we can’t find the human contribution in global warming at moment and it is a travesty that we can’t… but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

  17. Thank you, Professor Curry, for this report. I have seen the careers of many good scientists destroyed in a futile attempt to hide the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 and powers the Sun today.

  18. Most basic understanding of atmospheric motion, weather, and climate will center around the observation that thermal energy is necessarily transferred from the areas of tropical surplus to the areas of polar deficit:

    This net radiant energy gradient produces the temperature gradient which produces the thermal wind of the jet stream. The distribution of net radiance is determined by the spheroidal shape of an orbiting earth. The rotation of the earth, placement ( size, shape, orientation ) of the continents and oceans, and other factors account for fluctuations in climate.

    Within the negligible limits:
    1. Earth’s shape will not change
    2. The rotation rate of earth will not change
    3. The oceans and continents will not change

    Increased CO2, I am finding, does not significantly change the meridional distribution of net radiance.

    Climate Change, at least as far as increased CO2 is concerned, is false.

    That doesn’t mean that warming is false or that climate change won’t occur.

    But climate change is not likely to occur because of CO2, but will likely occur from the same ‘natural’ fluctuations that have always occurred ( fluctuations in the general circulation, an infinite variety of which are all mathematically valid, regional ocean areas acting as either sources or sinks of energy, etc. etc. ).

  19. To me the Goldilocks temperature is very much dependent upon sea level rise which is potentially the most costly, hardest to remedy, and most disruptive negative that could come from warming.

    Ideally we would not want a big part of Bangladesh or Florida to be under water, for example.

    Unfortunately predicting sea level rise not only has the problem of predicting temperature but a bunch of other problems too. So that doesn’t make it easy to pick a temperature.

    • To me the Goldilocks temperature is very much dependent upon sea level rise which is potentially the most costly, hardest to remedy, and most disruptive negative that could come from warming.

      There is an immediacy bias with SLR.

      A one meter rise today would be quite disruptive.

      A one meter rise over 300 years ( about the current rate ) or 500 years ( perhaps the rate that is attributable to warming ) is insignificant because humans don’t live 500 years and the properties they prize are rarely kept that long.

      When we conceive of SLR, we think of it in terms today.

      But SL is not rising one meter today.

      • “A one meter rise today would be quite disruptive.”

        “A one meter rise over 300 years ( about the current rate ) or 500 years ( perhaps the rate that is attributable to warming ) is insignificant”

        Agree but what would be the lowest rate that would be disruptive?

        One meter in 100 years, 50 years? What’s the global temperature to get that rate?

  20. Excellent article.

    The Wisdom of Crowds [groups] (and consensus):

    “Whether the feelings exhibited by a crowd be good or bad, they present the double character of being very simple and very exaggerated. On this point, as on so many others, an individual in a crowd resembles primitive beings. Inaccessible to fine distinctions, he sees things as a whole, and is blind to their intermediate phases. The exaggeration of the sentiments of a crowd is heightened by the fact that any feeling when once it is exhibited communicating itself very quickly by a process of suggestion and contagion, the evident approbation of which it is the object considerably increases its force.”

    The earth is warming and it will cause massive destruction!!!!!

    Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd

    https://socserv2.socsci.mcmaster.ca/~econ/ugcm/3ll3/lebon/Crowds.pdf

  21. Terrific article. Another perspective on why warmunists are always trying to disappear the MWP and LIA using ever dodgier means. Wilson’s NH reconstruction being the latest.

  22. “Climaterroists” would have us believe we are entering “unprecedented” times, some (many?) declaring that the past is not relevant to the future. Historians tell us that the earth and “Mankind” have experienced many “unprecedented” up and down times and the future should be similar. Yesterday was sunny here in Virginia, Snowing like hell today. “Unprecedented”? Nope. Just part of the overall behavior called winter. Records, as they say in sports, are “recorded” and broken. Some over a bit longer period than others; some over short.

    Good to hear some historians chiming in. It is soooooooo nice to be in the warm period of a 120,000 year main earthly thermal cycle.

  23. “If you point out that correlation does not of itself indicate causation, you would be quite right. But the correlation is worth investigating.”

    It certainly does. I suggest you look at where the bulk of deeper negative North Atlantic Oscillation episodes through the Maunder, Dalton and Gleissberg Minima that caused the colder periods on CET are. Notably between sunspot maxima (+~1yr), 1672-1686 for one solar magnetic phase, and 1686-1706 for two phases, 1807-1817, and 1885-1895.
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/tcet.dat

    Then note the dearth of aurora sightings in the colder run of CET years in the Dalton Minimum of 1807-1817, page 11:
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/92RG01571-Aurorae.pdf

    Also of note is that negative NAO/AO values though 2009 to Mar 2013 reached extremes not seen since these previous solar minima.

  24. Pingback: History, And Consensus | Transterrestrial Musings

  25. Awesome post. As a history buff, I wish I had been able to speak to these issues with the authority and grace that this author exhibited. Thanks so much for the post, Judith.

  26. “And finally, regarding the MWP, who would prefer Mannian tree ring analysis to solid historical analyses, regionally and globally?”

    Really kind of a false choice. I’ve yet to see any kind of historical analysis
    that was quantitative. That is, an analysis that could be replicated, that made testable predictions, and that had appropriate uncertainty calculated, or any uncertainty calculated.

    So I would rather have Mannian tree rings.
    Why?

    1. We can actually go get the data and check it myself.
    2. We can actually replicate his methods and find problems
    3. We can actually calculate an uncertainty and have arguments about it.
    4. We can actually improve it if we take the time.

    This is not to say that “documents” need to be ignored.
    As with all things science the point is you can make progress by considering ALL of the data– yes bad tree data, yes impressionistic descriptions of weather, yes.. you want to consider it all.

    • So I would rather have Mannian tree rings.

      Sounds like you didn’t learn anything from your boss.

      • You miss the meaning of ‘have’.

        Note I didnt say TRUST

      • You miss the meaning of ‘have’.

        Note I didnt say TRUST

        Fair enough.

        Kind of like the who would you rather have dinner with: Satan or Sadam Hussein question.

      • Some periods in particular, especially the years around 1680 and 1740, stand out as uniquely stressful. Extreme cold led to crop failures and revolts, social crises and apocalyptic movements, high mortality and epidemics, but it also spawned religious revivals and experimentation.

        Some periods in particular, especially the years around 2010-2015, stand out as uniquely stressful. Extreme drought led to crop failures and revolts, social crises and apocalyptic movements, high mortality and epidemics, but it also spawned religious revivals and experimentation.

        ya gimme the solid answers of historians

      • Steven Mosher | January 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm |
        Some periods in particular, especially the years around 2010-2015, stand out as uniquely stressful. Extreme drought led to crop failures and revolts, social crises and apocalyptic movements, high mortality and epidemics, but it also spawned religious revivals and experimentation.

        Huh? Say what?

        Hard to make the case for disaster. In fact the food issues were more related to burning food as fuel than any other single cause.

      • Some periods in particular, especially the years around 2010-2015, stand out as uniquely stressful. Extreme drought led to crop failures and revolts, social crises and apocalyptic movements, high mortality and epidemics, but it also spawned religious revivals and experimentation.

        ya gimme the solid answers of historians</i.

        Hmmm…

        Looks like you've proved why history is not so good, because it can be made up by people trying to prove a point.

      • “Some periods in particular, especially the years around 2010-2015, stand out as uniquely stressful.”

        Nothing like the Irish Famine of 1740-41 in this part of the world, we haven’t seen a winter that severe recently. Winter 1708-09 stands out as worse in a number of European locations.

      • Mosher is making, at the very least, coherent arguments. Try addressing what he is actually saying.

      • Here you go, an illustration of the limitations of historical accounts:

        http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/monster-storm/mid-atlantic-blizzard-could-make-legitimate-history-n501601

        This storm sweeping the East Coast will be well documented, video and everything. It’s a killer storm. Six people dead so far, 3 in snow related auto accidents. Never mind that the blizzard is also putting the squash on travel by auto thus curtailing accidents, a lot of drive-by shootings and other mayhem, likely resulting in a net reduction in deaths. A life saving storm. But it will be remembered as the Big Killer Storm of 2016.

      • Steven Mosher appears to be well out of his league when it comes to discussing history. 2010 to 2015 have been relatively benign years despite what you might hear on CNN.

      • Did CNN say that about the whole world, Jeff? Mosher is giving an example of a specific area. You have to get his code book.

      • Don..

        I Dont think they got the trick I played.

        hey… Denizens….

        read the two paragraphs… the first one is a quote from the Historian
        the second one is MADE UP… but shows the Same style of reasoning.

        You all accept the first paragraph because its about “cooling” in 1740.
        Not climate change, but a freak winter’

        Now, fast forward to 2010-2015 and the syrian drought and ensuing chaos. Would you let a historian get away with attribution? .

        NOPE.

        The point is Several people here (ahem) tend to construe this as a History OR science decision. And they practice skeptism of the science but NO SKEPTICISM of the history.

        OR

        Several people (ahem) tend to construe the issue as the Surface record OR the satellite record. And they never practice skepticsm about the satellite record..

      • “The point is Several people here (ahem) tend to construe this as a History OR science decision. And they practice skeptism of the science but NO SKEPTICISM of the history.”

        That’s because we need a survey: “90% of historians agree, the MWP was real, and actually happened.”

        Then it will be incontrovertible.

      • Steven Mosher | January 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm |

        the second one is MADE UP… but shows the Same style of reasoning.

        Several people (ahem) tend to construe the issue as the Surface record OR the satellite record. And they never practice skepticsm about the satellite record..

        1. The “made up” quote is wrong going by crop production.

        2. I tend to think the surface and satellite records (other than an up to 50% ALW contamination in the surface record) are both right and GHG warming is primarily a surface effect.

        Either that or both surface and satellites are wrong and we don’t have clue what is happening. Combining sea surface and land air to create a “global index” is like combining apples and oranges to get grapefruit.

      • “1. The “made up” quote is wrong going by crop production.”

        What crop production? Syria? It’s “made up” to make a point about anecdotal historical observations. If it’s wrong, doesn’t that make the point?

        Explain it again, Steven. Slower.

      • I forgot to mention that the obama crowd has cited a very similar “made up” scenario to explain the Syrian civil war. It ain’t obama’s fault, it was climate change that done it. Damn the deniers! That’s a twofer.

      • “I began my career as a historian of the century following 1660, an era of harsh climatic conditions that often affected political and cultural history.”
        Do we take the historians word for it?

        “Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said Monday that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change…”
        “..the scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than on natural climate variability.
        The researchers said this trend matched computer simulations of how the region responds to increases in greenhouse-gas emissions…”
        The historian leans to natural variability above. The climate scientists link it to GHGs based on a match of something like a trend to their model output. Both might be saying poor people get hurt by climate extremes. And we may agree droughts have a lesser impact now than 350 years ago. Did the historian do this: Find a trend in population, make a model with 1 control variable, and write a paper claiming this control variable does this to populations. If so, what was the control variable? He may be saying, climate is random therefore history is random. Is he claiming we can control climate and therefore history?

    • Wrong Mosh, think harder. The trees are less than qualitative because they are proxies for about a dozen first order effects.

  27. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    Excellent essay by Historian Philip Jenkins and commentary by Dr. Judith Curry.

    Executive Summary: ” …there is no such thing as “established science,” which is immune to criticism. If it is “established” beyond criticism and questioning, it’s not science.

    Scientific claims must not be taken on faith.”

  28. Judy, thank you for the link to a very clear and almost elegantly simple article. While the article is very clear, the comments that follow it are bewilderingly off topic. But then, for the religiously committed, anything that looks like an opposing viewpoint will be seen as heresy and responded to as such.

  29. The other question in my mind is whether the MWP and LIA are really examples of some mysterious “variability” based on internal climate dynamics or whether they might be explained by a combination of volcanic activity, solar activity, and possibly even CO2 levels.

    The MWP did coincide generally with the rise of indigenous New World civilizations that would have cleared land by burning of the wood and the LIA coincides with the collapse of these civilizations mainly from disease after contact which resulted in regrowth of the forests.

    • More likely the population increase followed the start of warming due to more abundant food and better resistance to disease. There was also population increases in Europe prior to the start of empire-building.

      And as for the last century – global population rose from 2 billion to 7 billion. Now we’re running out of land for religious ‘dissenters’ to move to.

      And also note that the historian’s correlation with the LIA of reduced sun-spots has been happening for the past 15 years or so.

      “The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14, which had a maximum smoothed sunspot number V2.0 of 107.2 in February of 1906.”
      http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml

  30. “If it is “established” beyond criticism and questioning, it’s not science.”

    I think it’s pretty well established that the earth revolves around the sun, the Earth is round, etc. But sure everyone has the right to criticize and question all they want. That doesn’t mean other scientists are necessarily going to agree, modify their opinion, or take them seriously.

    • richardswarthout

      Joseph

      Are you sure about that? Do you think “science” is about counting heads and freedom of speech? Do you discount the description of science as a continual inquiry into previous held notions? Do you know that theories of psychology have been completely revised over the last few decades? That Behaviorism, once the dominate theory in the 1950s, has now gone to the back of the line?

      • “Do you know that theories of psychology have been completely revised over the last few decades? ”
        I thought we were talking about science.
        I could understand using ulcers or plate tectonics but, psychology?

      • I thought we were talking about science.

        Better analogy is ulcers or diet where the “consensus” has lost.

        Psychology is voodoo with a scientific veneer. They apply a statistical veneer to their studies to make them look more facty.

      • The consensus was that man was too small to alter a climate that was too big and too complex, and yes, that consensus has lost.

      • The small man theory could be called the JCH theory.

        Not expected to get much traction

  31. richardswarthout

    The most significant part of the article, IMO, is this:

    ‘That also gets us into areas of expertise. Climate and atmospheric scientists are not only convinced that the present warming trend is happening, but that it is catastrophic and unprecedented. That belief causes some bemusement to historians and archaeologists, who are very well used to quite dramatic climate changes through history, notably the Medieval Warm Period and the succeeding Little Ice Age.”

    It shows conflict between one group of scholars (historians and archaeologists) and another group of scholars (climate scientists); highlighting that the climate debate is not merely between the consensus scientists and a scattered few skeptics, but rather a significant intellectual conflict that has not yet been adequately addressed by the IPCC and it’s supporters.

    Richard

    • RS, even within the narrower climate science community they practice data and paper selection bias without ever addressing the counters. For example, AR4 excluding radiosonde upper troposphere humidity measurements, and therefore ignoring Glenn Paltridge’s 2009 paper. Despite the fact that there are, at least from the 1970’s, careful calibrations of dry bias from one instrument series to the next that allow quite precise reconstructions. On the same issue, AR5 ignoring papers on satellite based measurements of UTsH that independently confirm Paltridge.
      And there is an even bigger underlying selection bias, because so few ‘nonconsensus’ papers get through peer review in the first place. Remember the climategate emails on this.
      They don’t just ignore history and archeology. They ignore their own when inconvenient to the warmunist consensus. Look at the present attack on USH, with Mears of RSS even disavowing his own work because, like UAH, it shows the very inconvenient pause.

      • richardswarthout

        Rud

        I agree. Regarding selection bias, I recently read Eagleman’s book “Incognito”, about the role of the unconscious mind. That role is significant, even making decisions before we are aware of those decisions; what part of your mind decides on the person you select for marriage? After reading Incognito, I am open to the possibility that selection bias is largely an action of the unconscious and that each scientist, to be true to his/her profession, should adopt a discipline that will prevent or diminish its effect.

        Regards,

        Richard

      • So rud.

        RSS depends on a TOBS adjustment that uses a GCM to calculate the adjustment.

        You trust a GCM to adjust your data?

        Next… have a look at RSS temperature fields..

      • You are OT, but deserve an answer. I think the RSS method of accounting for polar for polar bit drift is weaker thanmthe direct corrections UAH implemented over a decade ago. But since both UAH and RSS come up with nearly the same result from the same underlying MSU data, and since both check with radiosonde data in regions were that is available (and even by delta temp by latitude in the case of UAH), I find your question moot. In other words, its good enough because validated by two other methods.
        OTH, most of the surface data appears not fit for purpose, both land (surface stations project) and sea before drifter bouys and ARGO. No matter how you massage it, the underlying uncertainty is much larger than represented. That is likely a whistleblower thing on the Karl paper, properly spotted by McKitrick when the Karl paper first came out. We will see.

      • Ristvan:

        “And since both check with radiosonde data in regions were that is available”

        This is something I see continually asserted from certain “quarters”.
        However would you like to explain why RSS deviates from RATPAC radiosonde data since circa 2000.


        This to me indicates a possible calibration problem with the new AMSU on noaa15?

        Also you would agree that without calibration to RS data then the UAH/RSS TLT dataset is meaningless as that is the only way we can legitimately know that the algorithm is conforming to the real world.

        This comes back to Moshers’s point that “Several people (ahem) tend to construe the issue as the Surface record OR the satellite record. And they never practice skepticsm about the satellite record..”

    • Richard,

      I enjoyed the read of the Jenkins article but have qualms w/r/t this:”It shows conflict between one group of scholars (historians and archaeologists) and another group of scholars (climate scientists);”

      My mind immediately went towards the Naonomicization (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Oreskes) of the discussion which reminded me of “history is written by the victors” which I’ve rephrased as ‘climate history is written by those who perceive themselves as victorious in advance’.

      While I find little to argue regarding the content as IMO it’s handled in a balanced fashion, I’m not sure one particular side of the debate would be in agreement.

      • richardswarthout

        Danny

        Perhaps I was not clear. There are two credentialed groups and a consensus opinion with each group, and those opinions are in conflict. This is new information, the battle has changed: The climate science consensus team is facing an adversary that is organized, trained, and well equipped.

      • Richard,

        You were completely clear, but perhaps I wasn’t.

        In agreement with your point it appears one side of this debate is writing history (under their presumption of victory) while the other has a counter view.

        Stephen, in his example here (https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/22/history-and-the-limits-of-of-the-climate-consensus/#comment-759617) justifies to Tony B his methods (extrapolation) while chastising Tony B in the same breath for doing somewhat the same. It’s clear that Tony doing so based on the history is ‘not science’ yet doing so with numbers quite obviously is.

        And just to be clear, I’m not accusing either of improprieties. I think each is doing all they can via the substantiation with which they have to work. That the work leads to varying results should lead to further inquiry.

  32. “f in fact the medieval world experienced a warming trend comparable to what we are seeing today, albeit without human intervention, that fact does challenge contemporary assumptions. Ditto for the Little Ice Age, which really and genuinely was a global phenomenon. Incidentally, that era involved a drop in temperature of some 2 degrees Celsius, roughly the same as the rise that is projected for coming decades.”

    But what if MWP and LIA were the result of human intervention?

    “Preindustrial anthropogenic perturbation to the carbon cycle has been proposed as a possible explanation for late Holocene atmospheric CO2 variability [Ruddiman, 2003, 2007]. According to this hypothesis, pandemic diseases caused a rapid reduction in population and widespread abandonment of farms which allowed rapid reforestration that sequestered atmospheric CO2 [Ruddiman, 2003, 2007]. The rapid CO2 decrease in ∼1600 A.D. coincides with a pandemic among North American populations as a result of diseases introduced by Europeans. However, a modeling study does not support the idea and shows that the sequestration was not enough to decrease atmospheric CO2 [Pongratz et al., 2009]; although the model methods were not accepted by Ruddiman and Ellis [2009].”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GB004247/full

    • Then for my money we had better forgo a tainted baseline and settle for 7,000 ybp before most of those anthropogenic impacts started messing with the climate. You know, during the Holocene Climate OPTIMUM when the world was something like one degree warmer than it is now.

      • 1 degree warmer? do you have some Monk’s diary to confirm that?

      • Just to be clear I am not claiming that all of climate is caused by humans.

        Clearly the big swings have been driven by Milankovitch cycles.

        The optimum was probably caused by high insolation at that time.

      • BTW I do think the optimum is a good argument that warming (or at least a little more warming) may not be as catastrophic as some want to suggest.

      • Mosher really hates those monks, doesn’t he? Ping TonyB.

      • As a matter of fact I don’t have the monk’s name but he worked for an order of the IPCC WG1 in the preparation of Chapter 7 of the FAR. He completed part of the illumination.

      • I merely note that when talking about Science skeptics are usually ALL OVER the uncertainties and the precision.

        but when it comes to “History”

        The Monk said it was Cold.023

        when it comes to the Holocene they drop all their objections to proxies.
        Suddenly one or two bits of evidence is enough.

      • Mosher, skeptics are not concerned with uncertainty about records of the weather in historical material.

        Because no one in the past ever had a single reason to lie about the weather. Ever. Anyone.

        If the monk says it rained and ruined the crops or it was hot and the grapes on the vine were great that is more likely than not to be the truth. Why on earth would he lie?

        If Gavin Schmidt, however, in the modern age of climate alarmism, says it’s hotter than ever ever ever before, well, that’s more likely than not to be false. Cos he’s got every reason to lie. Geddit?

        Your hostility to history is what makes you unreliable as a source of material about modern weather, in my opinion.

    • One other note to what I posted.

      Although the quote refers to North America, the impact could have also been significant in South America. Increasingly archaeologists are turning up evidence of large civilizations with large scale agriculture in places that are complete jungle now.

    • The heavy-farming-to-sudden-regrowth theory was pretty desperate and silly. That it had to be refuted by a “modelling study” shows we really have been hockey-sticked out of our senses. (I’m ashamed to say the new Gaian Bottleneck theory, like the famed 97% push poll, came out of an Australian university. But please remember we also came up with the stump jump plough and the surf ski before you judge us.)

      Let’s have an IGY where everybody has to go outside, regularly view those confusing white woolly things that get between us and the sun…and nobody is allowed to publish till he has something adult to say. For climate, they should take some time.

      • So you like the model, huh?

        I wouldn’t count out Ruddiman so fast:

        “In 2014, Ruddiman and colleagues published findings estimating that the human-caused, pre-industrial warming had an approximate 1.2 Kelvin effect. The post-1850 rise in temperature is 0.85 K, and the Ruddiman group, which includes Vavrus, concludes that the combined effect of the pre-industrial warming and industrial warming is twice that of the industrial age warming alone. Importantly, they underscore that this occurred over thousands of years, unlike the less than two century scale of the current greenhouse gas effect.”

        http://www.humansandnature.org/william-ruddiman-and-the-ruddiman-hypothesis

      • Don’t like the hypothesis or the model. Both being stupendously simplistic/mechanistic/literal-minded and all that.

    • So if we die en masse, the climate changes

      Golly gee and deary me, but who would be left to notice ?

      Some academic hypotheses are just too “headliney” for their own good. I can’t really find any adult motive here

  33. It is reassuring that Dr. Curry agrees that we need to decarbonize. That is the smart thing to do, indeed.

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/pdf/atlanta_rev.pdf

    “While we need to continue with aggressive efforts to reduce carbon emissions…”

    “Dealing with climate change is both necessary and feasible. The best climate change strategies combine adaptation with reducing our carbon footprint and protecting our natural resources, since it will be much more difficult to adapt to faster warming rates. ”

    “Implement energy conservation and efficiency strategies. The up-front investment
    will provide payback within a few years in terms of substantially reduced energy
    costs. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, the emission reductions will have
    a substantial beneficial effect on our air and water quality.
    • Further reduction in carbon emissions will require clean energy technologies. The
    single most effective thing we can do in the short term is not to build any more coal
    burning power plants until clean coal technologies are available. “

    • It looks like she wrote that in 2007, y? who? what? bbutt. Did “continue with aggressive efforts to reduce carbon emissions” mean the same thing in 2007, as it means now? Does it mean to “decarbonize”? Has Judith changed her opinion, since Climategate and them taking her Chair?

      What is it that you are trying to accomplish here?

      • Maybe she still thinks that? Or do you speak for her?

        What is it that you are trying to accomplish?

      • What looks like I am attempting to speak for her, y? who? huh? b’butt?

        You talk a lot, b’butt say nothing.

      • Maybe Dr. Curry can speak for herself whether her views have changed and why.

      • Her views have changed. We all , or most of us, live and learn. I am sure she will respond to your bombardment of questions, if she feels like it’s worth her time. Read more, comment less.

  34. Cf. “Fallen Angles,” Niven, L., 1991. A near-future science fiction story, in which the Green Party has won overwhelming majorities throughout the modern world and successfully implemented drastic limits on GHG emissions, and, it turns out, their theory of AGW was generally correct. Unfortunately, what they failed to appreciate was that new ice age–no mere “little ice age”–that is scheduled to begin right now (on a geological time scale) was actually being staved off only due to man’s GHG emissions. The policies of the Green Party therefore rapidly plunged us into a new ice age, covered most of the United States and Europe under glacier, starved most of the worlds population to death, and otherwise produced more poverty and misery than any other political movement in the history of politics. Be careful what you wish for.

    • When nomadic people first came down into the great river valleys to create permanent settlements, the earth’s population was perhaps five to ten million. (http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1998/7/98.07.06.x.html)

      When the thermal vise clamps down on the earth again, earth’s 9-billion plus population will almost certainly go below this number to less than 1 in 2000 will likely remain! Maybe to 1-mllion! Harsh realism? Yes, based on the last 360,000 years.

      https://img.youtube.com/vi/LLCvFUerr18/default.jpg?h=90&w=120&sigh=__M_EPaSL8s6uU-3ExTZ4utAVp8sg=
      Below is a 3-min “run” thru the “roaming range of humanity” during the past 360,000 years.

      • richardswarthout

        Joel

        Interesting, the most striking observation, to me, is that man has always included equatorial regions as a habitat. As far as your predictions, I suspect that you will never be rewarded or punished for them. Unless perhaps, you are awarded for a future expected accomplishment, as in the case of Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

        Keep Warm

        Richard

      • Trying to keep warm in the blizzard of 2016. Below is picture of my brother beginning to dig out the 15″ of fluff south of Richmond. Practically on the edge of the storm. Hear some areas around DC got upwards to 40+” of global warmth!

  35. Mosh, you aren’t thinking very critically. When history can be backed up with archeology such as tin mines being uncovered for the first time in centuries in the Alps, settlements in Greenland to name just two, gives a lot more assurance of reality than cherry picked data being selectively manipulated to come to a pre-decided conclusion by a scientist whose livelihood depends on that conclusion.

    • Read harder.
      Note I said you use ALL the evidence.
      Judith offers a false choice: Mann’s tree rings OR good history.

      Put another WAY… a GOOD historical account will consider documents, artifcats and yes… tree rings and other proxies.

      There is no simple either this or that choice.

      You look ay all the data… AND YES you look at the suspect science as well as the shoddy history

      • richardswarthout

        Mosh

        Pleaee relax, and notice that Dr Curry’s tongue is resting in her cheek; probably found its way there as she pondered the reality that “Contemporary scientists tend to dismiss or underplay these past climate cycles”

        Respectfully,

        Richard

      • Yup, and when you have done that, you become strongly inclined to discard tree ring climatology. And totally inclined to reject them as used by Mann: Stripbark bristlecones, Yamal061, centered principle components, hide the decline,… Even your BEST founder Mueller seemed to be offended by that last. I bookmarked the YouTube of his ‘outrage’ as a reminder of how folks can change apparent colors for funding.

      • Judith offers a false choice: Mann’s tree rings OR good history.
        Put another WAY… a GOOD historical account will consider documents, artifcats and yes… tree rings and other proxies.

        Well if literature majors,read more they would come to a better understanding of the paradoxes from irreducibility and incompleteness such as Borges on Tlön

        Their books are also different. Works of fiction contain a single plot,
        with all its imaginable permutations. Those of a philosophical nature
        invariably include both the thesis and the antithesis, the rigorous pro and
        con of a doctrine. A book which does not contain its counterbook is
        considered incomplete.

      • Mosher, a good historical account will not include tree-rings-as-temp-proxies because they have been found not to be reliable evidence. They’ve been found unreliable.

        I am not sure you understand evidence at all. You snark about monks diaries and insist debunked tree-rings should form part of evidence for paleoclimate ‘reconstructions’.

        In a court weight is given to the evidence that is validated i.e the witness’s account is proved. Tree-rings haven’t been validated. They’ve been invalidated. McIntyre, mate. Live with it.

        Weight is also given to evidence that is not found to have been fabricated i.e there is no reason to doubt the witness’s account. Monks’ diaries have not been found to have been fabricated. Neither have paintings, farmers almanacs, horse race meeting records etc etc. In fact they are evidence that is presumed to be correct because, logically, what possible reason did any monk ever have to lie about the weather?

        As between competing witness accounts – tree-rings on one hand and monks’ diaries on the other – the monks win.

        So, no, we don’t take tree-rings into account. I mean, we do for the purposes of the court case, but once that’s over tree-rings go the way of ‘recovered memory syndrome’ and ‘sudden accelerator syndrome’ – into the bin of crappy arguments run to try to win an argument, but they failed.

      • Hide the decline.
        When I was in grad school my roommate’s specialty was auditing monastery documents from the middle ages. The lies and cover ups were hilarious. But you are a believer and not skeptical. As I said a good history CONSIDERS everything. Read more carefully puppy.

      • Mosher, “Read harder.
        Note I said you use ALL the evidence.
        Judith offers a false choice: Mann’s tree rings OR good history.”

        Everyone doesn’t use all the evidence though. The Alarmists got their name by focusing on a worse case and the Skeptics theirs name by focusing on the best or better case. It isn’t the alarmist’s or skeptic’s job to consider all the evidence and reach a pragmatic conclusion.

        What screws the process up is the intellectual food fighters. They will defend a worst or best case to the bitter end because they have no real stake in solving problems, their reason to be is the problem.

        They are the Food Babes of science.

      • Steve Mosher, the alarmists have proposed a hypothesis (not the skeptics). The skeptics do not have to prove anything as a counter hypothesis (as you often seem to imply), they only need to falsify at least one critical part of the proposed hypothesis to show it is invalid as claimed. They have not only falsified at least one, they have falsified several. In fact, there is not a single claim that is UNIQUE to AGW (as compared to natural variation) that has been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. Those not falsified, that have not been shown to be valid, are only due to the fact that there is no final determination yet on some items (validity of exact timing of cooling and heating, validity of accuracy of some proxies, etc.). If some of the claims of alarmists are shown to be valid, but not others, the hypothesis is still FALSIFIED. A totally different hypothesis may be made that then agrees with what is known, but that would not be the present hypothesis of AGW.

      • Oh Mosher, please. We all get that you have blind spot about historical references. It’s the mote in your eye. Your achilles heel. Kryptonite etc etc.

        You say we should read harder cos you’re just saying a good history CONSIDERS everything. Well, mate, take your own advice. You’re the one who’s refusing to consider any historical material, just dismissing it all.

        It’s nice you went to college and had a room mate. And it’s nice he or she read some monks’ diaries but the conspiracies found were never about the weather, were they? Were they?

        Of course they weren’t. No one in the past would ever lie about the weather.

        Nowadays, however, thanks to climate science, there’s every reason to suspect lies.

      • In all this exchange, Mosher’s one about his college roommate is the most believable.

        As a history undergrad, I am of the firm belief that historical accounts are chock full of viewpoint bias. In other words, there is little in history I am not skeptical about.

    • Ideological activists living in Oceana don’t like the
      inconvenient data of history, hafta’ throw it down the
      memory whole.

      But the historical record offers the value of what in map-
      reading is called taking cross references that check bias
      or careless observation…crop records, farmers’ almanacs,
      captains’ logs, village records, encroaching and retreating
      alpine glaciers, Thames’ ice fairs etc. These don’t give
      precise weather temperatures but then, what does? … Do
      tree rings measure temperature or other things? And then
      there’s the matter of human sampling bias and statistical
      methodology.

      • Plus many. We can understand the qualitative implications of historical climate change. As Lindzen pointed out elsewher on 2015 warmest ever (by 0.13C +/- 0.1C, that is meaningless. Regards from a sometimes farmer up over to a serf down under.

      • It’s rainin’ down under, serfs like that.
        Hope the weather’s what yer need ‘up’ on
        the farm.

      • Its fine. TY. Enough permanent snow to protect the alfalfa from winter kill (essentially freezer burn, aka freeze drying). We like cold plus snow in Wisconsin winters. Not cold without snow. And neither in summer.

  36. This post indirectly raises the question “what is a global climate, and how do we know when it has changed?”

    Just how many different climates has the globe had over the last couple of thousand years, which one are we currently in and what’s the next one we are heading towards?

    Clearer definitions would help the debate and focus the science (and reduce the squabbling over perturbations within climates).

    • That is a really interesting observation. The official definition is (paraphrasing) the weather envelope over at least 30 years. But what is the envelope? Is Temp daily average, or Tmax, or Tmin? Heck, we have even changed the way snowfall is measured from depth accumulation per storm, to depth accumulation per (3?) hours to remove compaction, to water equivalent (all that is relevant for California). We have a global warming castle built on shifting sands, a scientific tower of Babel.

      • 30 years of weather gives us a means to measure characteristics, but we also use this (and other measures) to classify the results at a sub global level (vis. Köppen, Thornthwaite). This means we know one when we see it and also have objective criteria to tell if one becomes the other and what transitions are occurring over time.

        I’m not aware of a similar accepted classification for the globe. Curious to know if there is a body of work in this area (Google doesn’t produce it with the more obvious search terms). http://www.britannica.com/topic/classification-1703397 gives useful over view, but like most references it focus on regional classifications and doesn’t discuss a global taxonomy and how this changes over time.

  37. What possible limit is there on, the climate consensus, when the government is using tax dollars to pay for their cooperation?

  38. richardswarthout

    Dr Curry

    This morning, before going to Climate Etc. I read Dr Jenkins article and came to the same conclusion that you did, that it was significant and needed to be posted at Climate Etc, and especially brought to the attention of Tony. I then, before going to Climate Etc, wrote a word document intended to be cut and pasted as an off-topic comment (with an apology for doing so). When I then went to your site, cut comment in hand, I was pleasantly surprised with today’s post. Thank you, perhaps I have a bit of your wisdom lingering in my soul.

    Sincere regards,

    Richard

    • Could you list a few of the straw men so that we know what you mean? And what the correct arguments would be in each case?

      • Perhaps it would be faster to list non straw men, Matt, but it seems PDA and Andrew already found a few. This lede’s pure straw gold:

        Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism.

      • Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism.

        Claiming that there is global warming is science.

        Claiming that it is CAGW is like claiming a match is an acetylene torch.

      • Willard: Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism.

        Why is that a strawman argument? People have been called “deniers”, “serial disinformers” and such merely for showing that the “catastrophe” claims or quantitative predictions are not unequivocally supported by evidence. Bengtsson was pilloried (metaphorically) for deigning to associate as an adviser with GWPF; and Nate Silver for publishing a reasonable essay by Roger Pielke (I have forgotten whether it was Sr or Jr.) In these instances, senior climate scientists have acted as though they considered criticism offensive. Besides that, some prominent scientists and politicians have called for criminal investigations of people who speak and write criticism, or finance it. Do you require a full litany-like review of all these instances when an author refers to efforts to stifle criticism?

        How about the written opinion of Marcia McNutt, PhD: “The time for debate is over.”?

      • willard, quoting John Russell: but the most common and basic strawman is the “climate has always changed”.

        Why is that a straw man argument? Usually the phrase “straw man argument” refers to an argument that is being criticized that has never been expressed. This one is simply a reminder of an argument that the anti-CO2 lobbyists want to avoid: there is plenty of reason to believe that with or without CO2 and global mean warming there will continue to be alternations of hot and cold, drought and flood that are at least as threatening to civilization as the small, gradual warming (and increase in plant growth and rain) that are forecast (hypothesized, expected, modeled, etc) to result from more CO2.

      • > Why is that a straw man argument?

        Because nobody disputes that climate changes.

        Because that fact is irrelevant.

        Do you have other rhetorical questions like that, Matt, or would you prefer to let that sleeping dog lie?

        That crappiness ain’t worth your heroic defense.

      • willard: Because nobody disputes that climate changes.

        Because that fact is irrelevant.

        You are shifting your ground: neither of those makes it a straw man. This is what Wikipedia says: A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.[1]

        The author merely reminded everyone that climate always changes. It isn’t an apparent or attempted refutation of anything. And as I elaborated, the natural changes are more worthy of attention than the small, gradual increase in global mean temp that is modeled to result from increased CO2. That is not irrelevant.

        Your claim that the essay was full of straw men is false, in my opinion, but if you can come up with a few examples of actual straw men I may change my mind.

      • > [N]either of those makes it a straw man.

        The first indicates why it’s a straw man and the second why it’s fallacious.

        Do you focus on that one because you accept the other ones, Matt?

      • > if you can come up with a few examples of actual straw men I may change my mind.

        I’ve never witnessed that.

        What I’ve witnessed instead is crickets.

      • Willard: Do you focus on that one because you accept the other ones, Matt?

        You nominated two possible straw men, and neither one was a straw man.

      • > You nominated two possible straw men, and neither one was a straw man.

        First, I nominated more than two, but only one in this thread. John Russell nominated the other. There are others in the Twitter conversation. There are many more in Jenkins’ editorial. My favorite one being “science is what scientists do, and if they don’t do it, it’s not real science.”

        This claim is redhibitory.

        Find one person who disputes that climate changes, and find another who rejects that “Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism,” Matt. Alternatively, find one person who holds both positions.

        Good luck with that.

        Your “but, the D word” doesn’t imply that science is immune to criticism. It only confirms that victim playing is often encountered from the promotion of the CAGW meme. A meme that may very well be the most important strawman of them all.

      • “Find one person who disputes that climate changes, and find another who rejects that “Acknowledging the science of global warming does not require accepting that it is immune to criticism,” Matt. Alternatively, find one person who holds both positions.”

        I will play. The climate doesnt change. The weather changes. Climate, defined properly doesnt change.

        further you can’t criticize climate science. It is immune to criticism

        So.. Ya I hold both positions. Presto! no more straw man.

        Oh wait.. I changed my mind.. Now it is a straw man..

        Wait.. I changed my mind again..

        This is fun. Now willard, argue that I dont hold those positions.

        The problem with arguing that those locutions are strawmen, is rooted in a gross misunderstanding of how they function rhetorically.

      • David Springer

        Mosher writes:

        “I will play. The climate doesnt change. The weather changes. Climate, defined properly doesnt change.”

        Even if you define climate as the average of 4 billion years of weather it still changes as future weather gets added to the sum. Duh.

        The only thing that doesn’t change is you’re a m0r0n with delusions of being clever.

      • richardswarthout

        All

        Please grant me, on my 75th birthday, the opportunity to stick my nose into the fading hours of this post.

        It seem that many of the commenters are missing the point of article.

      • > So.. Ya I hold both positions. Presto! no more straw man.

        Not so fast, Buster.

        First, you find someone who holds that position. However, that’s not enough. We’re on the Internet, and it might be a trivial thing to do.

        Second, you ask: does that “holding” amounts to a positive claim? That way, you can filter out Devil’s advocate, Red team members, counterfactual thinkers, and arguers for argument’s sake.

        Third, you ask if that positive claim is a fair representative of the position you’re attacking. Moshpit might already know how this works:

        There is probably a fine distinction to make between a classical strawman […] and these types of oblique ‘strawmen’ that people engage in.

        https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/water-vapour-and-climate/#comment-71404

      • richardswarthout

        All

        I’ll try this again:

        Please grant me, on my 75th birthday, the opportunity to stick my nose into the fading hours of this post. It seems that some commenters are missing the main point of the article, captured by the following excerpt:

        “Climate and atmospheric scientists are not only convinced that the present warming trend is happening, but that it is catastrophic and unprecedented. That belief causes some bemusement to historians and archaeologists, who are very well used to quite dramatic climate changes through history, notably the Medieval Warm Period and the succeeding Little Ice Age.”

        The bemused are scholars, credentialed historians and archaeologists, are not the usual target of Mosher and Willard, yet are treated as the usual skeptics:

        Mosher says that history can be flawed, citing his college roommate’s experience. He chooses however not to give credit these professional historians and archaeologists, that certainly they know how to distinguish good historical information from bad

        Willard criticizes Dr Jenkins for using strawmen but by doing so uses a strawman; his criticism is unrelated to the main point of the article.

        Regards,

        Richard

      • Richard,

        Happy birthday!

        May you enjoy many more.

        Fyi – my wife’s is the day before yours. She is still beautiful at 58.

      • > his criticism is unrelated to the main point of the article.

        Which one, and about which point, Richard?

        Meanwhile, another strawman:

        Seriously, does any serious climate scientist claim that “pre-industrial” temperature levels had been broadly constant globally for millennia, in fact since the end of the last true Ice Age some 12,000 years ago, and that they only moved seriously upwards at the start of industrialization?

        Happy birthday!

    • Perfect Willard. A cartoon character. Pretty much you in a nutshell.

  39. From the article:
    ..
    Mainstream Scientists Cashing In On Climate Wagers (reuters.com)

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/16/01/22/2055229/mainstream-scientists-cashing-in-on-climate-wagers

    From the article:

    In global warming bets, record 2015 heat buoys mainstream science

    http://www.reuters.com/article/climatechange-bets-idUSL8N1541LL

    • I wonder if losing bets makes climate contrarians less contrarian? I doubt it. For those with hope, there’s always next time. It keeps people buying lottery tickets.

    • And speaking as one who bet on the Seattle Seahawks, I have a question for Carolina fans who think their Cougars won despite the team’s embarrassing second-half scoring hiatus. The Seahawks ran up 24 points while holding the Cougars scoreless in the second half, which is the most important part of the game, so what fair-minded person would say the Cougars actually won?

    • Max_OK: so what fair-minded person would say the Cougars actually won?

      That’s funny.

      Maybe you are unfamiliar with the common advice that the players have to play the full 60 minutes. Of the scoring convention that the winner is the team with the largest point total; that’s different from ice skating where the moves in the second half of the program earn more points than in the first half.

  40. In 1688, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Cotton Mather presided over the infamous Salem witch trials, albeit at arms length.

    If we juxtapose the times of the colonial population willing to believe in witches with the Little Ice Age, we have a “perfect storm” of stress.

    During times of severe (and in this case cold) stress, people are willing to believe in anything, including a God whose motives for harming his most adherent population, is merciful.

    Which brings us to the 21st Century, Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Kevin Trenberth and our own President of the United State, Barak Obama, hell is in our future, yet, our great, great, great grandchildren, will be grateful for the actions we take today or so we have been told.

    Hanging witches today in the guise of climate skeptics is the right course as a merciful God will exonerate the innocent as they enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Or so we are told.

    Personally, I am not advocating hanging, pressing to death, or burning at the stake heretics with the objective of confiscating their property. I am advocating though, listening closely to skeptics, and considering what it is they are saying, no matter how repugnant their message that climate change is a result of natural variability may seem.

    I wish to stay the hand of violence against our fellow man, in spite of how disagreeable their message. After all, free speech is….a burden we must all bare.

  41. The article misses the quantification part of the argument. All the forcing variations from the MWP to the LIA amount to plus or minus a few tenths of a W/m2, but you see the effect of that variation on climate very plainly. Excluding the Ice Ages, this has been a typical climate variation. Now through just CO2 we have added 0.5 W/m2 up to 1950, accelerated up to 2 W/m2 since then, and are on a BAU path to 5-6 W/m2 by 2100. This is not just another climate change, but is more typical of the difference between the Holocene and the mid-Eocene, a period with no ice, high sea-levels, and forests in what is now Greenland. Or, in the other direction, it is larger than the difference between the deepest Ice Age and the Holocene. That is climate change of a different order, and emissions through 2100 can put us on that path if nothing is done. Quantitatively, it is not just another climate change like the LIA or MWP, but an order of magnitude larger, and people thinking that are sadly underestimating things.

    • Jim D,

      ???????? and are on a BAU path to 5-6 W/m2 by 2100.
      What’s the pathway on which this destination lies?

      • There are several ways. One is a continued increase of emissions of 1 GtCO2/yr through 2100 which is moderate compared to the current growth rate. Other ways project population and per capita growth rates forwards with various assumptions. Usually you end up in this range.

      • Generalities. There are lots of ways for me to become 6’2″ and beautiful. Likelyhood?

      • It’s assuming a slowed down rate of growth for BAU which is generous if anything.

    • Huh?

      Emissions didn’t start driving the CO2 level until about 311-316 PPM.

      So up to 90 PPM (311 to 401, some of which is probably due to ocean heating) can be claimed as “emissions related”.

      Of the 90 PPM we know (because it was measured) that 22 PPM (370-392 PPM) caused 0.2 W/m2 of warming.

      If we do the whole loggy thing that is about 0.87 W/m2 since 311 (1940).

      Estimates based on fossil fuel supply predict a 460 PPM peak.

      The fact that exponental emissions growth has had only a small effect on the rate of CO2 increase, and any “hiatus” results in a decline in the rate also argues for a mid-400s peak

      But even if the peak is 500 PPM that is only 0.8 W/m2 more forcing.. “Yawn.”

      Further, China – responsible for almost 1/2 of coal fired emissions is going nuclear.We are on a BAU path of 460 PPM (or less) by 2100 and only 0.5 W/m2 more forcing (or less)..

      • As I have said before, your scenarios resemble those of the most active mitigation policies, and there is a reason for that. They, in common with the IPCC, require per capita emissions globally to drop by 50% by 2050, and to basically stop by 2100. That doesn’t just happen by itself, especially if people are still opening up new fossil fuel resources, and not charging the true price of carbon. It needs global agreements, and a proactive leaving of fossil fuels in the ground.

      • Jim D | January 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm |
        As I have said before, your scenarios resemble those of the most active mitigation policies, and there is a reason for that. They, in common with the IPCC, require per capita emissions globally to drop by 50% by 2050, and to basically stop by 2100. That doesn’t just happen by itself, especially if people are still opening up new fossil fuel resources, and not charging the true price of carbon. It needs global agreements, and a proactive leaving of fossil fuels in the ground.

        This is completely wrong.

        I assume any “global warming” intervention is unnecessary or counterproductive. I loath the current renewable energy sources (wind/solar)..

        I assume that the current situation plays out. That’s BAU. What is happening? Fossil is getting more expensive, nuclear (now that China is rolling the ball) is getting cheaper, and CO2 absorption will increase.

        New oil is 5x the recovery cost of old oil. The gas situation is similar. 6% of the cost exports are going to disappear, Indonesia is tapped out. Fossil fuel will get more expensive and be displaced by nuclear. The cheaper nuclear plants from China will displace coal fired generation at most locations. China is working on 4 different reactor technologies at the current time and plans to deploy more reactors than exist on the entire planet including the research reactors..Given that they are starting construction at around a 10 a year pace this is BAU. Nuclear is competitive at current fossil prices. Cheaper reactors, cheaper fuel, and increasingly expensive fossil will make it the hands down favorite. China is developing a cheap export only reactor. The third world is going nuclear.

        The environmental absorption (7,.0 GT in 2014 according to CDIAC Global_Carbon_Budget_2015_v1.1, an all time record, HIGH EVER in recorded history) is going to continue to climb until it meets emissions around 2050. And that is that. It doesn’t matter how much fossil fuel we burn once emissions and absorption meet at around 10 GT per year. CAGW aficionadoes ignore absorption because the rising absorption makes the global warmer scare a joke

        To come up with 500+ PPM scenario you have to do an “IPCC” and stick your head in the sand and ignore the obvious. BAU is what would logically be expected from current trends and BAU has no place for CAGW.

      • PA, I also think it would be great if China moved away from coal rapidly, whether to hydro, multiple forms of renewables, nuclear, gas, or an all of the above approach. I favor all of the above, and therefore it is also good for the US to adopt the EPA guidelines and move from coal that way, and for Europe to go to various clean energy forms too, even if some of them don’t like nuclear so much. I am not as single-mindedly nuclear as you because I think there are some developing countries we would not trust to do it properly or safely, and for whom modern technologies will offer better local solutions anyway. You seem to be expecting a fossil fuel driven price crunch to drive the world to other forms, but I don’t think we will even get to that point, and the reduced demand due to a move towards alternative energy sources will even lower some fossil fuel prices as we go forwards, so that is where some controls are needed, such as applying real costs to carbon. In the end, the interest in them will be gone, and that will be because of their connection to climate change.

    • JimD: It’s laughable that you can state with certainty effective global forcing to within a few tenths of W/m2 1,000-years ago. You are every bit as redunculous as the denizens who promote pollution and the status quo.

      Another interesting perspective from Dr Russell Seitz (VVatts Up VVith That), this time from 2013.
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000151/epdf

      Today, science basks in the space program’s reflected glory. But while orbiting telescopes provide a lot of hyperspectral eye candy, our view of Earth’s reflectivity remains dim—there is still some bickering over its second decimal place, for contemporary measurements of albedo span a range of ∼7 W/m2, a radiative uncertainty several times larger than total greenhouse gas forcing. Average values are easily estimated by integrating the data from orbiting radiometers, but having such numbers for yesterday tells us little about tomorrow. Albedo change is as dynamic as the weather on a planet where trees shed leaves and farmlands are plowed and harvested every day. There is more to climate modeling than backcasting, and until models incorporate the fine structure of how albedo varies, not just annually, but from sunrise to sunset, its impact on future climate variability will remain problematic. This lack of temporal detail cannot cheer those trying to wind down the Climate Wars, for albedo, not atmospheric chemistry, determines the first decimal place of the Earth’s temperature.

      • So, are you saying that a 5 W/m2 jump in forcing will have little effect on climate? Be precise here about what you are criticizing, because you may have missed the point about future magnitudes of change compared to paleoclimate changes.

      • Horst Graben: thank you for the link.

        there is still some bickering over its second decimal place, for contemporary measurements of albedo span a range of ∼7 W/m2, a radiative uncertainty several times larger than total greenhouse gas forcing.

        Do you think they intend “second significant figure” for “second decimal place”? And similarly for “first decimal place” in the final sentence that you quote?

      • Dr. S3itz (his name might be a mod trigger) would be better to explain as he does drop by once in a while. I suspect he means that while Climateball debates hundredth’s of degrees C, Albedo is responsible for the changes to the tenths of degrees C and it is a topic that is dismissed or ignored.

      • JimD: Have fun chasing the squirrel with your dim-bulb opposite numbers.

      • Matt: my reply (as was the origional comment) is hung up for an unknown word that may kick the comment to the boss for approval.

      • 7 W/m2 was one of those look squirrel efforts that I am not chasing for one.

      • People talking about numbers dependant on accuracy to .01 over an annual basis when our knowledge base has uncertainties in the .1 range on a daily basis pretty much tells all we need to know.
        Thanks Horst.

  42. History is like climate science, in that both are hopelessly incomplete but somewhat handy.

    With history, you cant know much, but at least when someone is arguing, hinting or fudging for modern climate exceptionalism (surely the Grand Stunt of this era) it’s pretty easy to check. You don’t even need a good library or a good memory any more.

    Relevant example just for today:
    http://www.emmitsburg.net/archive_list/articles/history/stories/blizzards.htm

    The lack of precedents these days is unprecedented! The past weather which was worse than they thought is worse than we thought!

    I don’t revere or “believe” history, I just use it as best I can. If Justinian, Theodora and Belisarius didn’t have that scandalous Secret History (the Anekdota, tonyb!) written about them by their own official historian, we’d now think they were all wonderful human beings.

    The approach for history is the same as for climate science: Best available knowledge is not the same as adequate knowledge…but some knowledge beats none at all.

  43. I love the idea of using advanced technology to drive a decisive shift towards renewable energy sources, creating abundant new jobs in the process.

    Yes, diverting money from technology A to technology B necessarily creates new jobs in technology B.

    It also necessarily destroys jobs in technology A.

    Dreamers rarely recognise this.

  44. ybutt
    If we can go to a low carbon alternative — while creating jobs and not ruining ourselves economically — why not?

    Sure. But without nuclear we assuredly will ruin ourselves economically.

    (And see post just above re: job “creation” myopia).

    • Punksta,

      Speaking of “job ‘creation’ myopia,” I think maybe Judith Curry suffers from a touch of the same ailment, because she seconded Jenkins’ when she wrote:

      “What makes Jenkins’ essay so effective is not only eloquent writing, but the fact that the author…is also favorable towards using technology in a drive towards renewable resources.”

      Carl von Clausewitz famously wrote that “War is merely the continuation of policy by other means.”

      But in the ‘Unconquerable World,’ Jonathan Schell speaks of the “rise of the war system” where “the logic of war had eclipsed the logic of politics.” Or in other words, war had taken on a life of its own and become the ends, and not the means. Part of this is driven, of course, by the fact that war had become big business.

      Speaking more generally, Carroll Quigley in ‘The Evolution of Civilizations’ calls the phenomenon the “institutionalization of the instruments of expansion,” and it becomes ubiquitous throughout all the instruments of expansion of a civilization when the civilization enters the “age of conflict.”

      So my point is this: I would argue that renewables have now become big business and have taken on a life of their own. What was once a means to an end is now the end. What was once an instrument is now an institution. Renewables are the end, and climate change and peak oil have become nothing more than the means to justify more and more expenditures on renewables.

      Evidence of this abounds. For instance:

      “A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/12/business/energy-environment/a-cornucopia-of-help-for-renewable-energy.html?_r=0

      “$5.4 Billion in Solar: California Goes All In”
      https://www.masterresource.org/solar-power/5-4-billion-solar-california/

      “Buffett’s Mid-American Buys First Solar’s 550 MW Topaz Solar Power Project”
      “http://cleantechnica.com/2011/12/08/buffetts-mid-american-buys-first-solars-550-mw-topaz-solar-power-project/

      “Buffett Ready to Double $15 Billion Solar, Wind Bet”
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-06-10/buffett-ready-to-double-15-billion-solar-wind-bet

    • “But without nuclear we assuredly will ruin ourselves economically.”

      Odd because old-nuclear (all current light water reactors’ technology) cannot survive without insurance premium bailouts via the Price-Anderson Act subsidy.

      Also: subsidizing old-nuclear makes investment in new-nuclear less likely.

      Government subsidized old-nuclear is the enemy of new nuclear.

  45. JC wrote-

    “What makes Jenkins’ essay so effective is not only eloquent writing, but the fact that the author clearly understands and defends the scientific method, and is also favorable towards using technology in a drive towards renewable resources.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I think correspondingly someone who is not favorable towards renewables is more effective if they are strongly concerned about climate change. In a recent technical posting of mine concerning renewables, I said nothing on climate. One poster offering a “rebuttable”, posted an article that I thought was entirely consistent with my posting, but in which the authors explicitly recognized the need to address climate change.

    https://judithcurry.com/2015/02/03/taxonomy-of-climateenergy-policy-perspectives/

    • The conclusion for this is that if you have a two part psuedo problem your opponents who should be allies with each other, will be more effective if they have totally opposing positions.

    • aplanningengineer,

      While most Americans, and certainly most American engineers and scientists, are shaped by a philosophy known as “positivism” or “progressivism,” I believe the reality of our world is far more complex than a world as seen through the lens of this philosophy.

      In this lecture Jenkins gave at Bayor University, for instance, he closes it with this:

      “Clearly environmentalism has a very strong religious content and many of us would say, in terms of the literture on climate change, it also has developed its own wing of apocalyptic sentiment. They are people who speak the language of religion even if they don’t believe it. But one lesson I get very strongly is that when you look at elite global institutions like the United Nations, I never know who they’re representing except for themselves. They’re not speaking for their countries or the populations in their countries, and it’s never more true than in the UN.”

      • The UN has become their own special interest group. Hanging around each other they have developed group think much like global warmers.

        Facts aren’t problems. The “facts spoken as accusations” is typical of the rhetoric of these special interest groups.

        The UN was established so diplomats had a place to talk on the theory that when people are talking they don’t do as much fighting because unlike in the comics it is hard to fight and talk at the same time. Sort of the diplomatic equivalent of a computer industry sand box.

        The UN was intended to play in their sandbox and be generally ignored. And generally they should be.

      • It would be so much better if the US cut UN funding by 95%.

      • > one lesson I get very strongly is that when you look at elite global institutions like the United Nations, I never know who they’re representing except for themselves

        The “elite” trope again, this time with the populist “they’re not us.” The same playbook as Brooks’ slightly divisible crap:

        The leitmotif of Brooks’s career is claiming that he has a special understanding of and appreciation for the salt-of-the-earth types who don’t actually know who David Brooks is. His first major work of this variety was his 2001 Atlantic column “One Nation, Slightly Divisible”[3].The column was all about the differences between the elitist, godless, self-important blue states and the hardy, honest, respectable red states.

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/David_Brooks

  46. An historical narrative would benefit from a longer term view. Environmentalism became a major movement in the 1960s, leading in the US to the establishment of the EPA in 1970, which promulgated a number of scares to enhance its mission. I recall a cartoon showing showing William Ruckelshaus, the first EPA Administrator, doing the trick of keeping multiple plates spinning on wands, each plate being an EPA scare program.

    Over time the scares grew in size, leading to the present climate change scare, which entails control over all the world’s energy. A major step in that direction was the runup to the Montreal Protocol treaty, based on the ozone depletion scare. It was a global control treaty and it featured a massive scientific report, which became the model for the IPCC reports. In fact Robert Watson, who led the ozone report effort, came to lead the IPCC.

    The point is that the idea that the climate change scare is somehow a free standing movement is simply wrong. It is part of a massive (and heavily institutionalized) political movement that has been steadily growing in strength for over 50 years.

    • A very keen observation.

      Recent book titled Hubris does an excellent job elaborating on this phenomenon in climate change, medicene, public health to name a few. A poster recomended it on WUWT. Forgot the name.

  47. So this is interesting in Science today:

    ” For now, the increases in CO2 soaked up by new vegetation—including trees now growing where shrubs used to dominate—more than compensate for the amounts of the gas released by thawing permafrost, the team says. ”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/what-s-behind-arctic-s-increasing-carbon-dioxide-fluctuations

    • They say “If the effects of climate change weren’t included in the model, the trends toward bigger seasonal variations in CO2 at Arctic latitudes disappeared, researchers report online today in Science.”

      More model based non-science. How about the increase in CO2 (the food supply) has stimulated the observed growth? Climate change may have nothing to do with it. Perhaps their pro-AGW model does not include the benefits of increasing CO2. Most do not.

      • So you think increased ACO2 over a sparsely vegetated arctic landscape would result in greening sufficient to take up the increased levels of CO2 that occur with a melting permafrost?

        Want a bridge?

      • JCH: The deposition of Black Carbon and ammonium sulfate has likely had just as much influence on plant fertilization as ACO2 and significantly more influence on the melting of ice in Alpine and Boreal regions.

      • First, it melted every season long before ACO2; it had plants every season long before ACO2; it has had industrial pollution for a very long time. Around 1980 it started show larger seasonal fluxes.

      • Checkout Chapter 4 Air Pollution Impacts on Forests in
        a Changing Climate

        ACO2 is way down on the list. Improved pollution control and Forest rebounding may be one source of the post 1998 GAT slowdown in the face of the largest ACO2 impact.
        http://www.iufro.org/science/special/wfse/forests-society-global-drivers-summaries/

      • JCH, in the quote ybutt posted, they specifically refer to new growth doing the job. But they seem to attribute this growth to warming. My point is that it may simply be due to the increased CO2. That the increased growth has occurred is not at issue.

      • You bet on Arctic tundra cold and CO2 enrichment; I’ll bet on ACO2 warmth and CO2 at ambient. I don’t think you’ll find a greenhouse owner who will run the experiment because he already knows who will win.

    • Horst – they are talking about the arctic and what happened there when it got warmer. Plants grew better. Good luck.

  48. In my own debates on this subject in the early oughts, there were three principal claims made by alarmists. These were: temperatures are the highest they’ve been in tens of thousands of years, the rate of change of temperate is beyond a point at which species can adapt, and, given current trends, these things are going to get a lot worse.

    Reasoned debate focussed on the temperature and models, as well as whether sudden changes really are catastrophic. I was least skeptical on the last point, and this was indeed the point on which alarmists had the strongest claim.

    By around 2008 most people were willing to concede that temperatures were perhaps not as unprecedented as stated by Mann (and Gore), the hockey stick was accepted as an exaggeration. But the other two points about adaptability and rate of change remained.

    Fast forward to now: models have proved useless, nobody can reasonably claim that rates of change are harmful, and we are reduced to having to debate the earlier, previously conceded, point about mean temperatures of the past; as well as some entiterly new claims about acidification.

    Leaving aside the debate about relative degrees of contribution, there really does seem to be less and less to be alarmed about, and much less substance on which reasonable people can disagree.

  49. Apparently even the people disputing the science of ocean acidification say that there are indeed deleterious effects:

    http://www.nature.com/news/crucial-ocean-acidification-models-come-up-short-1.18124

    “Cornwall says that the “overwhelming evidence” from such studies of the negative effects of ocean acidification still stands. For example, more-acidic waters slow the growth and worsen the health of many species that build structures such as shells from calcium carbonate. “

    Any reason the critics of ocean acidification science are also wrong?

    • The oyster farming episode in the PNW highlighted the issues with more acidic waters but the cause wasn’t CO2. So it is pretty obvious that a rapid change in ocean pH causes problems but no real evidence that increased atmospheric CO2 will cause a rapid enough change to cause problems.

      Kinda like the Food Babe pointing out that Girl Scout Cookies are not nutritionally complete. Who cares?

    • Yes, because the appropriate level of scientific inquiry has not been performed to back up the two words “overwhelming evidence” that the reporter then attached to his own word, then you you cite as evidence.

      Perhaps you can quote these authors within one of their peer reviewed papers that says the same thing in context, otherwise, it’s just a reporter made up opinion.

      Cheerleading for the climate consensus using the same shallow sceptical logical cul-de-sac type of arguments just helps to make the “climate is a made up conspiracy hiding socialist world domination” meme more reasonable to those still on the fence.

      • > two words “overwhelming evidence” that the reporter then attached to his own word

        I thought they were Cornwall’s:

        Cornwall says that the “overwhelming evidence” from such studies of the negative effects of ocean acidification still stands. For example, more-acidic waters slow the growth and worsen the health of many species that build structures such as shells from calcium carbonate. But the pair’s discovery that many of the experiments are problematic makes it difficult to assess accurately the magnitude of effects of ocean acidification, and to combine results from individual experiments to build overall predictions for how the ecosystem as a whole will behave, he says.

        http://www.nature.com/news/crucial-ocean-acidification-models-come-up-short-1.18124

        That’s the only occurence of “overwh.”

      • This clown, y? who? me? b’butt, is a a low level troll. He searches for Judith’s views on the climate science and comes up with something from 2007, that he hopes to employ for some lame disingenuous purpose. Now he wants to know if her views have changed. Like she has been quiet since 2007. What a putz.

      • > Perhaps you can quote these authors within one of their peer reviewed papers that says the same thing in context […]

        There you go:

        A large number of studies havefound that ocean acidificationwill
        likely negatively impact the calcification or growth of calcifying
        invertebrates, coccolithophores, calcifying macroalgae, and corals
        (Riebesell et al., 2000; Gazeau et al., 2007; Anthony et al., 2008;
        Wood et al., 2008; Byrne et al., 2010), and influence the behavioural
        traits of invertebrates and fish (Munday et al., 2009;Appelhans et al.,
        2012; Nilsson et al., 2012). Subsequent shifts in ecosystem structure
        and function are likely to occur due to the direct biological effects on
        many ecologically important species (Hall-Spencer et al., 2008;
        Fabricius et al., 2011; Kroeker et al., 2013a). Yet, meta-analyses
        and reviews of published studies reveal that the effects of ocean acidification are variable, sometimes contrary to the expected outcome,
        and that they are species and context dependent, interacting with
        changes in other environmental stressors in both synergistic and
        additive ways (Fabry et al., 2008; Po¨rtner, 2008; Hofmann et al.,
        2010; Kroeker et al., 2013b).

        http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/07/07/icesjms.fsv118.full.pdf

        You’re welcome.

      • Thanks Willard! $40 is too rich for my blood to get the paper. Do you have a non-paywalled link? In any event, the peer reviewed paper you quoted from does not use “overwhelming evidence”. It, in fact, has an appropriate number of weasel words to indicate that while some studies show the potential for harm, the field is so complex and many studies show counter-intuitive results. Thus the need for tightening up the experiment standards… no more GIGO Sky-Fall BS trolling for grants.

        Over-selling every single negative potential, like the poorly understood OA situation, SLR, weather, drought, flood, mass extinction, famine, allergies, ad infinitum, results in a fundamental distrust of the so-called consensus. This is the biggest hurdle to climate action because you are just feeding red meat to the WUWT Koch-heads.

        In science, admitting ignorance is the most important technique to avoid confirmation bias. For this, Cornwell and Hurd should be applauded.

      • The point is that all of these studies are speculative, with regard to possible future effects. My understanding is that there are no known adverse effects at present. Reminds me of Silent Spring.

      • Note the prevalence of the future tense and the subjective term “likely.”

      • > the peer reviewed paper you quoted from does not use “overwhelming evidence”.

        They’re still from Cornwall, my good geologist, so please acknowledge this own goal before moving the goalposts.

        Also note that I only quoted this bit FYEO and don’t intend to promote that paywalled crap furthermore.

        ***

        > The point is that all of these studies are speculative, with regard to possible future effects.

        David doen’t always talk about possible future effects, but when he does, it’s never speculative.

      • CO2 Science has a large database of synopses of peer reviewed articles on aspects of “acidification” (actually neutralization). Many show potential adaptability, not injury. They also have reviews, etc. Lots of stuff.
        See http://www.co2science.org/data/acidification/acidification.php.

      • Willard, I seldom talk about possible future effects. My focus is on what we do and do not know today, especially the latter because these green scares are universally based on speculation.

      • Horst,

        “climate is a made up conspiracy hiding socialist world domination”

        I knew you’d come around! :)

        One trick I use is to make a rash statement, review it, quote myself, and then I have a published, peer-reviewed, and cited paper! After awhile, I am one of the most cited authors in the field. Fortunately, we don’t have to do no stinkin’ tests like that Feynmann guy said, not in climate science.

        Ok, gotta go burn some (cheaper) gasoline and pickup my one of my sons…

      • > My focus is on what we do and do not know today, especially the latter […]

        Good choice, since it’s the best way to argue from ignorance.

        INTEGRITY ™ – Future is Speculative.

      • Willard: Quite complaining about goal posts that you have moved because your argument fails the straight-face test.

      • > Quite complaining about goal posts that you have moved because your argument fails the straight-face test.

        My argument was and still is that the words are presented as Cornwall’s:

        I thought they were Cornwall’s: […]

        https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/22/history-and-the-limits-of-of-the-climate-consensus/#comment-759690

        Then you switched to asking for chapter and verses in the paper. I obliged.

        Then you switched to “but these two words ain’t in the paper.” This doesn’t contradict the fact that a journalist reported Cornwall saying that there was “overwhelming evidence,” and that the lichurchur review of the paper cites many papers showing negative of ocean acidification, evidence that is not refuted by recognizing the difficulty in accurately assessing the magnitude of acidification effects.

        Unless you wish to dispute that the reporter misquoted Cornwall or that Cornwall doesn’t understand the lichurchur he reviewed, you not have more post to grab and move, Horst.

        Should we contact him?

      • Willard:
        Absolutely, contact the authors…can you do that, please. I’m a bit busy this week because my day job is saving the planet, my startup enterprise is saving the planet and my volunteer time is spent saving the planet. You can see why me ferreting this trivial matter would be irreversibly harmful to the well being of the planet. Since you and your acolytes are of the “do as I say, not as I do” set (et tu quoque, Brute?), the planet will be fine with you being occupied by this small matter. Perhaps you can talk Cornwall and Hurd into making a guest post as Judge Judy is also busy saving the planet over these next several weeks.

    • You can make anything scary if you extrapolate enough.

      I am beginning to think you are the smartest nuclear physicist ever employed at the Gap.

      Or is it Chik fil lay?

  50. I’m reading Mosher’s comments and he’s making an interesting point. But I don’t know what to do with it. It would be nice to quantify historical accounts, but how shall that be done? It surely makes no sense to dismiss them, either. Can a coherent picture be put together with error bars?
    Mosher, what would BEST do if it was presented with a truckload of accounts by monks etc., each of which gives a certain amount of information about weather at a particular time and place? Here it snowed in this year. Here it didn’t and it was warm and the birds came early. How much can be done with this?

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