Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye the past few weeks.

Well, I’ve managed to meet two deadlines; my next deadlines are March 30 and April 19, so I have a small but temporary breather to work on the blog.  Below is a somewhat skimpy list of papers I’ve spotted recently; I hope you find something of interest and can point us to other links of interesting papers. (Note, I have held back a few things for full posts next week).

Scientists have developed a way to see our seas acidifying in real time [link]

Pierrehumbert on the anthropocene and human destiny, at DotEarth: [link] …

Upper Arctic STRATOSPHERE Sees Record High March Temp. Europe Facing „Intensified March Winter“! [link]

Scientific record: Class uncorrected errors as misconduct [link]

As El Nino continues to dissipate, chance of a La Nina by late 2016.
[link] …

When good intentions aren’t supported by social science evidence: [link]

The hidden driver of climate change that we too often ignore: Including agriculture – The Washington Post [link]

Forthcoming #BulletinAMS study examines how NWS #flood products can be more effective for the public [link]

Consensus: Did they say dry areas will get DRIER? They meant wetter [link]

How water — pumped, ice storage, water heaters, etc — can address variable electric power.  [link]

American Statistical Association Warns Against Using P-values [link]  But they don’t go all the way

Knowledge and #datagaps limit understanding of the #Himalayan #glaciers and #climatechange. [link]

Workshop on challenge of weather forecast verification @ECMWF  [link]

Following Sea Ice From Dark Winter to Sunny Spring [link]

New study finds drought in eastern Mediterranean worst of past 900 years

Pounding ocean waves damage Ross Ice Shelf’s structural integrity [link]

Biggest threat to polar bears reconsidered [link] …

The suddenly urgent quest to remove carbon dioxide from the air [link]

Nic Lewis at ClimateAudit:  Marvel et al. issue a correction to their paper [link]

Jim Overland: Is the melting Arctic changing midlatitude weather? [link]

Claim:  Greenhouse gas bookkeeping turned on its head [link]

Physics Today reviews book by Khvorostyanov and Curry [link]

A case study bearing on the nature of ‘consensus’ [link]

186 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. News of the US Justice Department & US Attorney General’s discussion of plans to prosecute climate change critics was the most distrubing news.

  2. Congratulations on what appears to be a very nice book review from a knowlegeable expert.

    • David L. Hagen

      Congratulations on a masterful review:

      The authors, whose prodigious experience is reflected in more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, have managed to provide a panoramic perspective on cloud physics, yet one that is filled with fine-grained detail.

    • I continue to say: It would be really nice if Dr. Curry would “teach” us about clouds more at CE.

  3. GISS Feb 2016 anomaly is 1.35 ℃. 2016’s mean is currently .385 ℃ above 2015’s mean of .86 ℃.

    A 2016 La Nina… has its work cut out.

    • Is that higher than Hansen’s high scenario projection?

      • I doubt it, but it would be well above scenario C. Did you see the link to Moyhu’s Hansen 1988 tool. You can check the progress of several series versus his scenarios.

      • Hansen 1988 revisited

        Looks like Nick’s website has the Feb number, but I don’t know where the data stops on the Hansen tool.

      • I doubt it, but it would be well above scenario C.
        Remember, Hansen C was the one in which CO2 emissions were to have stopped completely in 2000, so supposedly, every year since 2000 should be greater than Hansen C.

        Even with that, the all measurement linear trends are still less than Hansen C since 1979:

        Some are in denial about this, but we know how deniers are.

      • “Even with that, the all measurement linear trends are still less than Hansen C since 1979”
        You might as well have added the Dow. What is the point of plotting a whole lot of variables, none of which is what Hansen was predicting?

      • The Land Ocean Index is there – that is what Hansen erroneously predicted.

      • TE, the way things are headed, TE might consider what goes good with crow.

      • TE, the way things are headed, TE might consider what goes good with crow.

        Max, I’m not sure why you can say that –
        do you not conceive that Hansen C is the lowest possible and the scenario in which CO2 emissions completely ceased, as opposed to what really happened which has been 15 years of emissions since?

        And that the temperature trends of observations are still less than that scenario?

        If global warming theory was contained in Hansen’s testimony then by this very testable measure, the predictions of the theory failed.

        Now, to be sure, Hansen’s models failed because CFCs ( the fastest growing GHG, by RF, at the time ) were reined in.

        But that’s a good measure that warming is less significant that was presented decades ago.

      • so supposedly, every year since 2000 should be greater than Hansen C. …

        What I remember him saying is any decade could be less than the prior decade, so what you are claiming could be incorrect and possibly motivated by a political or religious agenda.

      • JCH didn’t say the Feb GISS temp was at Hansen’s projected C scenario. He said above it. I don’t know where the Feb GISS is compared to the C scenario, but I know the GISS has been rising. As long as you are doing all those plots, why not find out?

        I understand your point about trends, but Hansen’s projections were to the year 2020, so we still have about 5 years to go.
        Also, all that cherry-picking in an attempt to find a warming pause shows climate contrarians put little stock in trends.

      • TE,
        “The Land Ocean Index is there – that is what Hansen erroneously predicted.”
        It isn’t the GISS index. And it isn’t what he predicted – there were no land-ocean indices in 1988. The index he showed in his plot was from Hansen/Lebedeff, which was met stations only, and lives on as GISS Ts. That is what he showed in his plot.

      • From max,
        “we still have 5 years to go.”

        Word of advice max, master arithmetic before trying to comment on topics involving higher levels of math.

      • Feb 2016 at 1.69Ts is off the chart, as Hansen’s 1988 prediction chart only goes to 1.6.

        TE, how would you like your crow, baked in a pie?

      • According to TE, warming is meek, so that would be a rare, cold center crow pie.

      • bobdroege | March 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm |
        Feb 2016 at 1.69Ts is off the chart, as Hansen’s 1988 prediction chart only goes to 1.6.

        TE, how would you like your crow, baked in a pie?

        If you are right, TE isn’t the only climate contrarian who will be eating crow. Anticipate their argument will switch from the short term of the so-called “pause” to the longer term 1988-2015 trend.

    • timg56 | March 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm |
      From max,
      “we still have 5 years to go.”

      Word of advice max, master arithmetic before trying to comment on topics involving higher levels of math.

      From beginning of March 2016 to end of December 2020 is 4 years and 10 months,
      which rounds to 5 years.

      timg56’s specialty is making a fool of himself.

      Ha Ha !

      • Max,

        Do you understand what the phrase “to the year” means?

        If you meant end of 2020, you say “through the year”. Communicating clearly max. Something you need to work on.

      • Look at what I said.

        “we still have 5 years to go.”

        The day after your 4th birthday, did you say you were age 5?

        Never mind, you probably did and have been screwed up ever since.

      • You are hopeless.

  4. Consensus: Did they say dry areas will get DRIER? They meant wetter [link]

    Gee. Won’t that entail an increase in the rate of transfer of energy from the surface to the cloud condensation layer in the troposphere? I wonder by how much. note the concordance with the Romps et al calculations. Maybe it will change the transfer rates estimated by Trenberth et al and Stephens et al.

    • Matthew, have you looked into Dr Evans’ claim that the standard simple climate model has a fundamental architectural flaw along the lines of your above comment? My understanding is that it does not account for the increased radiative transfer primarily (but not exclusively) of water vapour as a response – the variables are not dependant.

      He has documented his thinking very thoroughly and has dealt with criticisms fairly well. It seems the sort of thing that would be up your street. I wondered what you thought of it.

      • agnostic2015: Matthew, have you looked into Dr Evans’ claim that the standard simple climate model has a fundamental architectural flaw along the lines of your above comment?

        I have not heard of that Dr Evans. Do you have a link or a reference? I look into most works that are recommended to me.

  5. A Rave Review of your book! Sweet.

  6. Sorry, I posted to the wrong thread.

  7. Physics Today reviews book by Khvorostyanov and Curry [link]

    Congratulations on a favorable review!

    • Heh, ‘have not yet acquired the authoritative sheen of established science’. They speak with marbles in their mouths.

      Seriously, now; I wish I could understand the text, not just the review.

      • If you can’t understand the text, how do you know the reviewer isn’t just sucking up to the authors?

      • “how do you know the reviewer isn’t just sucking up to the authors?”

        This would support the view expressed elsewhere that Dr. Curry is now viewed as an iconoclast instead of a heretic, the equivalent of gaining 5+ XP.

        People generally don’t “suck up” to heretics.

      • Sucking up on hot jawbreakers.

      • Cut max some slack. Sucking is one of the few topics he is probably knowledgeable on.

  8. American Statistical Association Warns Against Using P-values [link] But they don’t go all the way

    What in your opinion would be “all the way”?

    Besides the paper itself, published in The American Statistician, they have put up a file (zipped) with essays from about 2 dozen prominent statisticians, and have solicited more comments (apparently only from ASA members.)

  9. I do not oppose the religious freedom of Western academics and Leftist government bureaucrats to oppose modernity and preach fears of global warming but I should not be forced to pay their salaries.

    • Relax, everyone has to eat. Your taxes probably would buy each of those guys only a hot dog and a soft drink.

    • If Waggy’s taxes would fund the salary of a GS-15, both him and the 15 are doing well for themselves. I wish my taxes were high enough to pay the salaries of a bunch of ’em.

      • There is nothing preventing you from payingg as much tax as you like. Last I checked, the IRS won’t refuse any excess payments you wish to make, so go for it!

      • Barnes, I put the following reply to you in the wrong place, so maybe you aren’t the only one whose head is screwed on wrong.

        Barnes, is your head screwed on backwards? I wish I made enough money for my taxes to pay the salaries of a bunch of GS-15’s.

        JEEZ, do I have to draw pictures?

      • The white-collar civil servants of global warming alarmism are paid quite a lot considering their contribution to humanity is zero.

      • A visible hand, grasping.

  10. Yeah right, climate scientists can now measure pH with temperature and salinity measurements. Chemists will be slapping themselves that they have been missing something so obvious all these years….

    • MH, agree. The Climate Central link is nonsense. And so is the claim about rapidly acidifying. Because of buffering, the A1 B or roughly equivalent RCP6 would result in about -0.15pH in 2100. The diurnal variation in fertile ocean is 0.5. The seasonal variation in many ocean locations is over 1, in estuaries about 1.5, and in unusual settings like Florida Bay, over 3.

  11. FWIW, I raised a question about negative forcing of CO2 over Greenland similar to Antarctica ( How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica )

    I ran some CRM model runs on RAOB data for the Greenland Summit soundings ( and South Pole and FtWorth/Dallas for reference )

    The results indicate only a few negative forcing days , but still some over Greenland:

    One issue is balloon flights rarely reach the upper stratosphere, especially for the Greenland Summit, so I amended soundings with approximations from climatology but those are quite variable. I’m going to have another look using reanalysis data.

  12. Mavel credited the paper correction to Nic Lewis. Some small progress.
    There is a revealing back story if you thead back at Climate Audit. After Nic’s first post on probable missing LU (resulting in published correction), Gavin Schmidt posted a response on Real Climate saying Nic’s observations were just ex post unsupported complaining because Nic did not like the result. This leads to one of two conclusions. He deliberately prevaricated in his post at RC. Or, he at that time did not know his GISS had goofed, which would again shown how shoddy GISS output can be. Remember Gavin declaring 2014 hottest evah, when page 4 of his own press release said yup there was a 32% chance it actually was, and a 68% chance it wasn’t.

    • Marvel, not Mavel. Fat fingered iPad.

    • If you make a mistake, it shows how shoddy everything else you do can be.

      Don’t take chances. Accept work only from scientists who have never made a mistake.

      HA HA !

      • max10k,

        It seems that ristvan made an error.

        He realised he made it, (being a bright sort of fellow), and immediately issued a correction, lest any itinerant Warmist be inadverently misinformed.

        He did not fight tooth and nail to defend his error, nor attempt to hide it.

        Can you say that Mann, Schmidt, and the rest of the bedraggled collection of wannabes behave as ethically? If you can, whilst keeping a straight face, you may have a bright future as a deadpan stand up comedian.

        Give it a try. Say “Michael Mann was awarded a Nobel Prize.”

        How did you do?


      • Weak,even for you, Max.

      • If climate contrarians were as honest as Michael Mann there wouldn’t be a ClimateEtc.

      • Pathetic …

      • max10k,

        You wrote –

        “If climate contrarians were as honest as Michael Mann there wouldn’t be a ClimateEtc.”

        If you kept a straight face while you wrote that, your future as a comedian is assured. Or maybe you could just write comedy routines for others.

        Good luck!


      • If climate contrarians were as bright as Michael Mann they wouldn’t be climate contrarians.

      • When a group of “scientists” repeatedly lie, distort, manipulate, cover up, and refuse to share their data, we should entrust them with the responsibility to reorder the world energy mix and economy because detached from reality f00ls like you are willing to believe almost anything if one of these scientists say it’s so.

      • Michael Mann appears to believe in the cooling potential of the negative phase of the AMO, so I find it hard to pay a great deal of attention to him.

        Anyway, physics does not care what any scientist, or group of scientists, have done to offend you. February 2016 was extremely hot… because physics does what it does, and your pet collections of bruises and offenses matter not one bit.

  13. When good intentions aren’t supported by social science evidence

    More interesting than just political correctness having weird narratives, the more general fact is that the left wants direct action to fix stuff, and the right sees perverse consequences.

    That’s now old people tend to be conservative. They’ve seen it before.

    My theory is that all the problems that can be solved with direct action have already been solved; what’s left is problems that respond to direct action with perverse consequences.

    The left keeps attacking these surviving problems directly. The right always says it won’t work.

    Owing to problem evolution rules, the right is almost always correct.

    • Well, it is worse than that.

      More CO2 is a solution not a problem.

      Attacking a non-problem (fixing something that isn’t broken), or worse, attacking something that is beneficial, is virtually certain to have negative consequences, since you will make expensive choices and waste resources; to at best accomplish nothing and at worst, create new problems.

      Since there isn’t a problem to be fixed, fixing a non-problem amounts to dumping $100 bills into pile in the backyard and throwing in a match.

      If you like doing that sort of thing it is momentarily satisfying. The colored flames are fairly pretty (especially at night). But it is an expensive pleasure.that should not be done with taxpayer dollars. And you have to clean up the yard afterwards

      If the left wants to burn their money it is just fine. They have no right to burn ours..

      • As a technical economic point, burning money isn’t burning wealth. It’s just burning paper. The Fed quickly notices that the money supply is a little low and puts a replacement in circulation by buying back government debt.

        So burning money, or putting it in a mattress, or sending it overseas, is really just a gift to the government, at least until such time as it turns up again in circulation in the US. Then the Fed extinguishes the new copy by selling government debt.

      • http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/04/the-destruction-of-money-who-does-it-why-when-and-how/236990/

        The Treasury doesn’t have to sell government debt if there is too much money. They just have to make less money.

        They burn $2.6 billion in $1 bills a year (let alone other denominations), “send to waste energy facility” is the euphemism.

      • rhhardin makes a good point. Burning money makes unburned money worth more. If PA would burn all his money, my money would be worth more.

        PA says “More CO2 is a solution not a problem.”

        I wouldn’t say that. Even if more CO2 didn’t cause warming, producing it would
        fill the air with lots of nasties that cause respiratory problems. And even if pollution did not increase, supposed benefits from CO2 enhanced plant growth are dubious.

        PA is trying to sell a free lunch, but I ain’t buying.

      • I wouldn’t say that. Even if more CO2 didn’t cause warming, producing it would. fill the air with lots of nasties that cause respiratory problems.

        Well, of the over $500 Billion wasted on renewables and global warming, for less than one tenth that sum (probably much less) the government could have retrofitted the 400 some odd coal fired plants (because unfunded mandates are morally and ethically wrong) to remove the nasties, while allowing the pure sweet CO2 to continue to bless the planet.

        People with respiratory problems should be allowed to sue the global warmers and renewable advocates for wasting the money (and 9x+ more) that could have saved them.

        The point was, wasting money on wrong-headed solutions to non-problems keeps real problems from getting solved with non-wasted money…
        assuming the mercury/arsenic emissions is a real problem and not just another scaremongering talking point of the left.. Sulfur dioxide from emissions provided a fertilizing effect since plants need sulfur. Sulfur is 0.1 to 6% of a plants dry weight. The argument could be made that removing sulfur from emissions is misguided if not actively stupid.

        And it isn’t clear that biomass feedstocks are better and in fact may be worse.

      • Tell that one to the Chinese, PA. You don’t see them going “clean coal.” China is switching to renewables and nuclear.
        I think those commies are a lot smarter than climate contrarians who believe more CO2 would be a net benefit. But then who isn’t smarter than climate contrarians?

    • rhhardin said

      That’s now old people tend to be conservative. They’ve seen it before.

      Older people are more aware of things that possibly can go wrong, which makes them less willing to take risks, even risks that make sense to take. Of course, older people do have less time to recover from the consequences of a bad decision.

  14. “potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far”

    Oh, brother.

    I guess wild, ill-defined predictions out a century weren’t long enough – have to go out millenia now.

    • Dire enough, natural enough, millennial cycles that long and longer.

    • This sea-levels-by-year-10000 thing really seems to be a trend:

      Of course implicit in all these papers is that the first couple meters of sea level rise in the first couple centuries won’t change anybody’s mind. As the rising waters overrun more and more cities, countries will simply continue to burn fossil fuels – probably at the same rate as RCP8.5 requires. And nobody will invent ways to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. Countries will continue to charge towards the cliff because, uhm, because.

      I suppose it’s not necessary to say it by now, but extrapolating/projecting stuff more than 30 or 40 years out is pointless. If the authors just wanted to scratch their speculative itch they might as well have made a blog post.

    • Well, the “potentially catastrophic climate change” is utter nonsense.

      Nevada has 3 times higher wheat yields than the northern grain belt. The highest corn yield is in Arizona.

      The claim that higher temperatures will imperil food crops is a lie from the whole cloth.

      You can compare yields by region to determine the effect of more warming and this is before tossing in the effects of better CO2 induced drought tolerance and CO2 fertilization. Someone in the IPCC (or someone doing global warming studies in the US) should be charged with fraud.

      Further, when global warming makes Siberia, Northern Alaska, Northern Canada, and West Antarctica prime farmland we will have more acreage to grow crops on.

      • Clues for the clue????:

      • The average temperature or the maximum high temperature of Arizona is so much higher than the midwest any claim global warming harm to the corn belt is just someone trying to be funny.

        I worked in Arizona for a couple of weeks and it hit 115 pretty much everyday. That is easily 8°C higher than the summertime high in the midwest.

      • PA, as I have said before, blabing about whatever crosses your mind is an abuse of free speech. Because I know about growing corn, I can tell you don’t. I recommend you be like me and stick to talking about things you know about.

      • Max – the Soviets had this saying… knee high by May Day!

      • “The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye and it’s reaching right up to the sky”

        “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day …

        What’s funny is the movie version of the musical “Oklahoma” was filmed in Arizona, or so I have heard.

      • Max, I grew up on a farm and we grew corn for our stand. So I do know something about corn.

        Between this:



        and this:

        The one point you can’t make is CO2 induced warming will harm corn yields. Corn is most sensitive to water deprivation and more CO2 reduces water consumption while increasing the temperature of the peak photosynthesis response. And the narrowing of high and low temperatures by CO2 is beneficial.

        I can tell you from experience that if corn has to go digging for water it doesn’t grow very tall.

        Yeah, and I was kind of amazed they could or would grow corn in Arizona.

      • PA | March 12, 2016 at 7:24 pm |
        Max, I grew up on a farm and we grew corn for our stand. So I do know something about corn.

        Your stand. Are you talking about sweet corn?

      • We grew cow corn for the cows but that was on the other farm and generally faired better (once we got rid of the cows we planted asparagus in that field). The field was low and didn’t dry out as much in the summer.. Finding a calf in a field of corn is a little challenging.

        Since we wandered into the sweet corn frequently to pick for the stand, I was more aware of wet year/dry year variation.

      • Many commenters seem knowlegable about climate science but IMO climate science is very much a work in progress and riddled with bias, so I rather doubt such knowledge will retain much currency in 5 year’s time.

      • Farm boys, raise your hand if you ever saw 10-foot corn, irrigated or not, on your farm by June 24. Depending on the variety, the corn in Arizona is planted far earlier in the year than corn in Iowa. Corn in southern Iowa is planted a lot earlier than corn in northern Iowa.

        They plant early in Arizona so the corn is exposed to lower, more ideal temperatures when it is young.

        The corn in Arizona is likely irrigated to a high percentage.

        Much of the arable land in Canada already grows food. It will get better, but farms up there are very productive now.

      • PA, you didn’t say sweet corn or field corn, which makes me suspect you don’t know the difference. Sweet and field (also called dent) are two very different types of corn. Sweet corn is harvested in an immature stage before the sugar has turned to starch, whereas field corn is left on stalks for the kernels to dry, and it accounts for almost all corn produced in the U.S. Your not knowing the difference means you don’t know the basics about corn.

        Given your lack of knowledge, I wasn’t surprised you were surprised that corn can grow in Arizona. Corn can grow just about anywhere, but does better as a commercial crop in some climates. Despite irrigation, the climate in Arizona isn’t one of them. Consequently, the amount of U.S. corn grown in Arizona is minuscule. Arizona corn production doesn’t represent even as much as 1/20th of 1% of the U.S. total. Corn production is concentrated in the midwest, with four states (Iowa,Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota) accounting for more than one-half of the U.S. total.


        PA, corn is sensitive to heat and drought, which unfortunately, tend to come at the same time. You are aware of the problem with drought. But heat alone can have an adverse effect on corn. That’s something those “warmer is better” nut cakes can’t seem to get through their thick noggins.

        According to Iowa State University Agronomist Roger Elmore and Climatologist Elwynn Taylor, high temperatures may have a double impact on corn. “The first is the increase in rolling of corn leaves in response to moisture deficiency,” they say. “By rule-of-thumb, the yield is diminished by 1% for every 12 hours of leaf rolling – except during the week of silking when the yield is cut 1%/4 hours of leaf rolling. The second impact is less obvious initially. When soil moisture is sufficient, as it is for the most part this July, the crop does not have a measurable yield response to one day of temperatures between 93° F and 98° F. However, the fourth consecutive day with a maximum temperature of 93° F or above results in a 1% yield loss in addition to that computed from the leaf rolling. The fifth day there is an additional 2% loss; the sixth day an additional 4% loss. Data are not sufficient to make generalizations for a heat wave of more than six days, however firing of leaves then becomes likely and very large yield losses are incurred. Generally a six-day heat wave at silking time is sufficient to assure a yield not to exceed trend (Iowa trend yield is near 174 bu./acre). Should warmer-than-usual nights continue for a six-week period the state is assured a below trend harvest.”


        PA, if you still believe heat doesn’t affect corn, write DuPont and explain why the following caveat about its corn seed is wrong:

        “All products may exhibit reduced yield under water and heat stress.”


      • If you’re going to sell sweet corn to the Green Giant, which almost nobody does, you’ll be raising your corn under a scheme almost no corn farmers know anything about. If every corn farmer raised corn for the Green Giant, you guys would have corn coming out of your ears year round. Corn coming out of your ears… haha, corny. When I was a kid I saw The Three Stooges do live shows at the Corn Palace, which was a corny place even for their corny jokes.

  15. Consensus: Did they say dry areas will get DRIER? They meant wetter
    The emptiness of claims about precipitation changes seems to stem from ideas about the sub-tropical subsidence zones. But subsidence in such areas tends to be stronger during winter than summer. Claims about any change in precipitation, beyond a globalized small increase from the hypothesized water vapor increase, would appear to be weak.

    • Regional, nay even local, variation, hence net benefit or loss, will appear turbulent.

      • Weather is local and variable. Climate is regional with some of the local variability evened out. Meteorology provides a reasonable degree of skill in short term prediction of weather over 1 to 10 days and some skill at prediction of regional climate trends up to 5 – 10 weeks.

        Global climate change is an artifact based solely on models that are apparently unskilled at prediction, probably due to very little meteorology being employed.

        Bring on more meteorologists!

  16. The Pierrehumbert item which is good, also links to this forward thinking piece on 50 and 500 year horizons by Socolow. He focuses on three aspects with short and long-term consequences: sea level, nuclear energy, and CO2 emission.

    • Curious George

      We are quite good in 50- and 500-year horizons. Not so good looking 18 years into the past.

      • 50 years ago most of the land area was about 1 C cooler, and the skeptics are still scratching their collective heads about that fact. Meanwhile, as the article shows, the world has moved on, and the grown-up debate is about the real issues, which are captured by Socolow’s essay.

      • Curious George

        Mr Socolow does not have a patent on pinpointing real issues.

      • I am pointing out that the debate has moved on, and the skeptics need to graduate to that level if they want to participate anymore. Still talking about whether GHGs have any significant effect is just missing the bus on setting policies going forwards.

      • > 50 years ago most of the land area was about 1 C cooler …

        Of course it was, Jiminy Doodlebug says so …

        We have to wait another 15 years for the satellites to verify that 50 year period, of course, but the problem is too urgent for the time to collect accurate data

      • Only a few diehard skeptics haven’t agreed about the warming rate from thermometers. This looks like one of them.

  17. David L. Hagen

    Scientific Photo to Fuel Conversion Breakthrough
    Nanorods Of Photocatalysts Achieve 100% Conversion From Solar Energy To Solar Fuel

    Assistant Professor Lilac Amirav explains how, when looking at one of the half-reactions taking place, the reduction of water to hydrogen using the photoelectron, they were able to obtain 100% conversion from light energy to hydrogen generation! The rate of recombination is reduced and so the efficiency rockets. Mostly thanks to the micro structure, Professor Amirav and her team proved that 100% conversion from light to solar fuel is possible, simply by engineering the catalyst and cocatalyst to exist in the form of nanorods.

    Perfect Photon-to-Hydrogen Conversion Efficiency
    Nano Lett., 2016, 16 (3), pp 1776–1781
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04813

    We report a record 100% photon-to-hydrogen production efficiency, under visible light illumination, for the photocatalytic water-splitting reduction half-reaction. This result was accomplished by utilization of nanoparticle-based photocatalysts, composed of Pt-tipped CdSe@CdS rods, with a hydroxyl anion–radical redox couple operating as a shuttle to relay the holes. The implications of such record efficiency for the prospects of realizing practical over all water splitting and solar-to-fuel energy conversion are discussed.

    • Perpetual Notion Machine.

    • From the end of the article

      While a lot of work still needs to be done on the oxidation half of the equation, this perfect conversion rate for this half of the reaction has smashed previous records, and could well lead to a new method of harnessing solar to power. Unfortunately, this method of water splitting can only be carried out at incredibly high pH (incredibly alkaline) so the next challenge is to reduce this to the kind of pH that would be easy to run, while not corroding the nanorods or disrupting the micro- and nano-structure.

      They have invented a horse that ingested 100% of the grain it is given (it eats the trough clean.). So the head is good to go. They just have to work on the back end of the horse.

      • Yup. It seems (from the abstract) that they are claiming a Quantum Efficiency of close to 100%, while conveniently ignoring the other electrode. If I had only ever counted the money paid into my bank account, I would be “wealthier” than I am today. Once you ignore the debits, it is easier to claim a lot of things.

        The use of the terms “nano” and “100%” coupled with green things like solar energy, even in an abstract, is also suggestive of people on the make.

        Sticking my neck out, the “CdSe@CdS” is also a clear suggestion that they may be of the quantum-dot ilk: Maybe physicists without funding who went into chemistry, and found no funding, so went into solar energy funded by global warming fears. I have compassion for them, as a scientist, but wish they didn’t feel the need to over-claim.

    • David L Hagen,

      From the breathless puff piece –

      ” . . . new discovery could mean that scientist are only a few hurdles away from making this research a reality, and all inspired by plants!”

      Translation – “We wouldn’t mind more money, to pay for our hobby. Don’t expect anything useful soon.”

      Only joking. I’ve noticed in the past that breakthroughs seem to occur more or less accidentally. Sunlight is still a fairly low intensity power source, and energy intercepted is energy subsequently unavailable to, say, plants.

      Why not let Nature take its course? Let plants grow. Burn the plants. The CO2 and H2O produced is food for the next generation of plants.

      Actually you have to add some extra CO2, because Nature keeps locking the darned stuff up in the crust. Hence the currently low – possibly dangerously so – levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      What might be better is using solar power to produce CO2 from carbonate rocks. The CO2 produced will obviously produce more plant matter, and lead to progressive greening of the Earth. This seems like a good thing to me, but Warmists favour less plants, more deserts, and the eventual removal of Mankind from the face of the Earth.


      • What a crock!

        I exhaled on my Chia pet and it wilted.

      • max10k,

        It seems you must be a Warmist, but correct me if I’m wrong. Warmists suffer from the inability to distinguish fact from fiction, and believe that surrounding an object with CO2 or H2O will cause the object’s temperature to rise. They refuse to believe that the Earth has cooled since its creation.

        They profess allegiance to people who claim that climatology is a science, even though some of these people exhibit clinical signs of delusional psychosis. Some self styled climatologists even claim (incorrectly) to have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

        Warmists believe that CO2 simultaneously causes floods, droughts, heat waves, cold snaps, ice increase and ice decrease, amongst other things.

        Warmist comments often consist of indecipherable three word epithets, and expressions such as Duh!, Wrong!! and similar fact free nonsense terms.

        Maybe if you look around, you can locate the clue which I believe Steven Mosher lost, and then you will have at least one clue. Maybe the clue is with the Warmist missing heat, or Michael Mann’s missing Nobel Prize. It will be with a big pile of clues lost by other clueless Warmists.

        You might even find a fact or two in your travels, but I am not sure whether you would recognise it. Please ask for assistance if you need to. I am aware most clueless Warmists prefer fantasy to fact, and have difficulty appreciating the difference.

        I am always ready to offer help, particularly to those less fortunate than myself.


      • Flynn, you impress me as a citified sap who wouldn’t know a bull from a steer and thinks boll weevils are something to watch out for in corn flakes. You are no more qualified to explain CO2 than you are to milk a yak.

        Anyway, I hope you have a Happy St. Pat’s Day

      • You wrote –

        “You are no more qualified to explain CO2 than you are to milk a yak.”

        Actually, I am more qualified than you to explain how to milk a yak (more or less). First, I would explain that you should not try to milk a yak, as they are first male, and second, quite grumbly if you attempt to grasp their private parts, as you would probably be yourself.

        However, if you are talking about females, then I should explain that they are referred to by a variety of names, depending on locality, language, dialect, and the alphabet used locally. Wikipedia is not complete, or particularly authoritative in this regard.

        And, in fact, unlike you (correct me if I am wrong) I have actually milked a female yak (actually a crossbreed, as wild yaks are not widely used for milking). The location was between Manang and the Tibetan border, and I also did a few other interesting things around the same time. I produced more laughter than milk, but milking it was. Goats are easier.

        I assure you that CO2 needs no explanation. Its properties do not include the ability to raise the temperature of a body which it surrounds, any more than you can get milk from a yak, which is the male of the species.

        Your mind reading abilities appear to be defective. Keep trying.


      • Why not let Nature take its course? Let plants grow. Burn the plants. The CO2 and H2O produced is food for the next generation of plants.

        •   1.     The theoretical efficiency (per hectare or acre) of non-biological conversion of sunlight to hydrogen is an order of magnitude greater than anything using biologicals (within current projections for GM). The practical efficiency today is much higher.

        •   2.     There’s all sorts of creatures evolved over hundreds of megayears to eat, and otherwise attack plants. Nothing’s shown up yet for most of the plastics that could coat non-biological converters. Same (pretty much) goes for glass and other ceramic coatings.

      • “I produced more laughter than milk, but milking it was.

        That was my point. Incompetent. Not qualified to milk a yak.

      • David L. Hagen

        Mike Flynn
        Thanks for your pragmatic wisdom/understanding:

        What might be better is using solar power to produce CO2 from carbonate rocks.

        The foundational driving issues are the cost of collecting the solar energy and the efficiency of such conversion. This article addressed part of the efficiency, but nowhere near yet on the other half of the efficiency, nor on the economics.
        (PS Thanks for delightful clarity on milking yaks!)

  18. Judith, great book review. Your status in the science community has been upgraded from heretic to iconoclast. But, seriously, great work!

  19. Consensus Case. Read it days ago and thought it outstanding. The difference between the ‘consensus’ in biology on the definition of a species, which gets very fuzzy at the edges because of issues like fertile hybrids and the 97% climate consensus is striking.
    In the former case, there is robust give and take because no one definition suffices for all known taxonomic cases even though everybody since Darwin understands the basic concepts of speciation and species.
    In the latter, ‘thought police’ enforce the supposed consensus because there really isn’t one. Like Stalin’s biological Lysenkoism. Climate Lysenkoism.

  20. Claim: Greenhouse gas bookkeeping turned on its head

    Good luck explaining to a rice paddy farmer that he’s supposedly harming the planet and has to stop the only thing that sustains his life and the life of his family. Maybe they can send some Greenpeacer’s to “explain” it to them. I’m sure they will get a warm welcome.

    They are trying to brainwash the poor of the world to be thankful when CO2 reduces and green things stop growing better and they face starvation. This is the means to the population control that the Greens work toward every day.

  21. Jim Overland: Is the melting Arctic changing midlatitude weather? [link]

    Of course it is, that is why the Roman and Medieval Warm periods ended and a colder period followed. We are in the beginning of another warm period that is promoting snowfall that will cause colder.

    This always happens every time. It will snow more for a few hundred years, rebuild ice on land and then the ice will spread on land and dump into the oceans and cause another colder period similar to the little ice age.

    • Pct

      In 1922 pathe news produced a news clip on the arctic ice patrol set up in the wake of the titanic tragedy to monitor ice bergs caused by excessive heat off greenlands coasts.


      The 1930’s and 1940’s remain the two warmest consecutive decades in Greenland in the record so of they want to check the impact of melting ice on the mid latitude weather they could do no better than to analyse this period as a proxy for the current era.


      • Tonyb: I agree! More analysis of data we already have can help us understand what has happened and that will help us understand what will happen. To get the best proxy for the current era, we need to look at the data and history for the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. When you refer to the Greenland record, you are talking about instrumented records, a little more than a hundred years during a warming cycle, coming out of the little ice age. I talk about the ice core records for ten thousand years and 150 thousand years and 400 thousand years and 800 thousand years and other records for 50 million years. This is what I look at and think about. I hope to soon publish my latest thoughts again, they continually change some. If you want an early version, send me your email address. my email is alexpope13@gmail.com I have sent my latest thoughts to Judy Curry and many others. I am not ready to post here again yet.

      • The Titanic sunk in 1912. In 1922 ice patrols were set up to monitor ice bergs.
        Why the delay? Ice berg skeptics, the ancestors of today’s climate skeptics. It’s in the DNA.

      • Curious George

        Remember that the Titanic was unsinkable, just like climate models.

      • Max

        Errr….you might have heard of a world war that took place between 1914 and 1918 and which caused tensions well before and after that date? To get a patrol together so soon after the end of the war was quite a remarkable achievement.


      • Yes, Tony, I had a few relatives in WWI. They were gone before I showed up, but I have photos of them in uniforms. They all survived the war, but one had a chronic lung condition from being gassed.

        I have ancestors who fought in America’s civil war ( on the losing side). Records don’t show them as slave owners. I am 100% white (DNA confirmed) but I have a few fourth cousins who identify as black.

      • So Tony explains the obvious to oblivious max and max’s thoughtful response is to change the subject to something only he would be interested in.

        Nice, max. You continue to demonstrate that foolishness has no limit.

      • Tony may be interested to know my ancestors helped slow the demise of his country’s empire. Maybe they made up for some previous ancestors who invaded his country.
        make their own empire

      • Sorry about the sentence fragment. I wrote something about Germany trying to build an empire like the British did, but decided to not use it.

  22. richardswarthout

    This is an old science story, but I’ve never seen it before: there was a show the other night on Forensic Files titled Dirty Deeds, about a man and wife that went missing in Hambleton, UK. Search teams were coming up empty when one of the investigators, going through photos, noticed unusual mud on the couple’s car. He called in an expert, Dr Tony Brown, at the time (1993) a professor at Exeter University, who was able determine where the mud came from and helped search teams find the bodies. Their 35 year old son was found guilty of murder. Was this the same Dr Tony Brown whom we all love? Is he also a forensic geologist?


    • Richard

      Not guilty. The reason I used the name tonyb is that tony brown is a common naMe and various incarnations of him have been , author of fiction, author of books on snowboarding, writer on chess, top cyclist, football manager, top cricketer , glacialogists, professor of mathematics. My talents unfortunately don’t encompass all those skills…


    • I hope that he soon finds the ‘dumped’ original data, buried by Dr.Phil Jones.
      What a tale to tell!

  23. Knowledge and #datagaps limit understanding of the #Himalayan #glaciers and #climatechange. [link]

    Wait a minute. The “Science is already settled”

    How can all this not already be known?

    Did the consensus scientists not show up for this exchange of lack of knowledge?

  24. So someone spruiking something called “Destiny Studies” who thinks we “as a species” can “set the climate” is feeling inspired by recent work on gravitational waves. (It’s the NYT and Revkin, so the snobbish reference to Einstein still works, however unconnected.)

    Then it all goes beyond purple, with Star Trek meeting The Green Berets:
    “We may be the only ones able to bear witness to the beauty of our Universe, and it may be our destiny to explore the miracle of sentience down through billions of years of the future, whatever we may have turned into by that time.”

    What we could do as a species if only we would react more hysterically to the latest fabricated scare by Big Green and Big Smug! More and greater white elephants to Gaia! And it’s not just about those pesky grand-kids. Professor Silly Beard is for arranging our Manifest Destiny a few billion years out,

    It’s all about Einstein, them gravitational wave thingies and us as a species these next few billion years, sonny! Such beauty awaits such sentience! (Duke Wayne walks off with Vietnamese orphan as sun sinks in east, for some reason.)

    Proper adults, please. Not just the beards, but whole adults needed. As a species.

  25. “Is the melting Arctic changing midlatitude weather?”

    “Since 1980 the Arctic’s temperature rose at a rate more than double that of the Northern Hemisphere average—a relative increase referred to as Arctic amplification.”

    UAH lower trop north pole temperature fell from Dec 1978 to Mar 1995.
    As did the northern north Atlantic upper ocean heat content.

    The feedback from low ice extent looks negative. With less summer ice extent, the rebound to the following spring maximum is greater than after summers with more ice extent.

    “Arctic warming may be responsible for another kind of severe weather: bouts of abnormally cold weather a thousand kilometers south of the Arctic circle. The frigid temperatures experienced in the eastern US and Europe during the snowy winters of 2009–10, 2010–11, and 2014–15, for instance, have been linked by some scientists to Arctic changes over the past decades.”

    I forecast all those negative AO episodes and mid latitude cold hits well in advance from solar factors, as well as early the Feb 2012 and March 2013 cold outbreaks. The Arctic warming events and mid latitude cooling events are simultaneous, simply an exchange of air masses.

    “Based on more than 20 climate models developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report in 2013, researchers predict that the winter surface temperature in the Arctic—that is, at latitudes above 60° N—will rise another 4.0 °C, relative to year 2000 values,2 by 2040.”

    The IPCC circulation models unanimously indicate increased positive AO/NAO with increased greenhouse gases. But it requires increased negative AO/NAO for the Arctic region to warm, as happened from the mid 1990’s.
    There is no change on this in AR5.

    • “The feedback from low ice extent looks negative. With less summer ice extent, the rebound to the following spring maximum is greater than after summers with more ice extent.”

      Well it would be:

      With more open water available to freeze over for the oncoming winter and given that it would take an exceptional one not to return much of the usual extent, it seems to me to be obvious that the anomaly is evident at the end of the melt season and not at the end of the freezing “season”.

      • From year to year, the rebound to Spring maximum appears to be stronger after a greatly reduced summer minimum as in most years 2007-2012, than the few years previous to 2007, and since 2012, where the summer minimum was not so small. It would imply that cooling of the sea surface from being exposed to the air is cooling it more than the sunshine can warm it. There is probably more cloud cover when ice extent is below normal too.

  26. Ocean waves are vibrating the Ross Ice Shelf.
    Who knew?
    I long for the days before mankind sullied the planet and the integrity of ice
    shelves was unquestioned.

  27. Did you know that methane and nitrous oxide are GHGs too? Not heard a thousand times about cow burps and rice farming?

    The WaPo thinks it’s something of a secret. But luckily they’ve stumbled across this important new study in Nature, which they feel they absolutely must publicize…

    God save us from these silly, manipulative rags and their mutual pocket-wetting.

  28. Re:The suddenly urgent quest to remove carbon dioxide from the air [link]
    It’s another Synthetic-Trees story. Again.
    I’m glad to see the article quotes an apparently sane scientist, Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth sciences at Stanford University :

    “I’m skeptical there is a technology that will cheaply capture CO2 at 400 parts per million when it’s expensive to do at 400,000 parts per million in a smokestack,” [..] It’s tougher thermodynamically. Carbon dioxide in air is a thousand times less abundant.”

    I’ve said it before, we can extract gold from seawater at very low concentrations. I’m confident I could probably design a better way to do it. That doesn’t mean it is economic or that you should pay me to do it (but if you pay me enough, I will do it).

    • …and if you really want me to do it, you can get my email address from Judith Curry.

    • I have no objection to carbon capture. As long as it isn’t mandated by the government or required by regulation and is done with private funds.

      If the global warmers or eco-wackos want to capture carbon molecules with their money – go ahead, no one is stopping you.

      The government should require that all carbon capture methods have a release method that is reasonably efficient. When the US government comes to its senses we are going to want that carbon back.

      As to the technology… these carbon capture stories read like fairy tales. The concept that at any level it makes sense to reinvent the tree requires a level of mental processing failure that is breathtaking.

      The global warmers and eco-wackos (GW&EW) should take their money, buy scrub land, fix the nutrient balance, plant trees, and hand ownership to an irrevocable trust, creating a permanent reserve. The method has been field tested repeatedly and we have the coal to prove it works. And it is cheap.

      GW&EW don’t want to spend their money and do good, they would rather waste taxpayer money and do nothing.

    • Here’s an estimate of the cost to extract CO2 from air and sequester it as dry ice in Antarctica, $2,400/t CO2: https://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-233330

  29. New study finds drought in eastern Mediterranean worst of past 900 years [link]

    Study shows MWP drought that ended 901 years ago was worse than today.


    It has been known for while that the Mediterranean during the MWP had bad droughts

    I guess the study was attempting to convey how bad the MWP droughts were and just used confusing wording.

    • Where’s the link to the new study?

      If it was supposed to be in britannica, I didn’t see it. I did see:

      “Meanwhile, global warming skeptics have used the MWP to bolster their position in the debate over the nature and effects of climate change.”

      Yes, a position. But genuine skeptics do not take positions. So are global warming skeptics half-assed skeptics? Nah, half would be an over statement.

      Anyway the MWP as a bolster is slowly slipping away as temperatures rise, leaving these so-called skeptics with less and less to cling to. Next, they will be saying warmer than MWP is better.

    • Max I’m not even sure the study is right – did you look at their map?

      The current drought doesn’t affect Turkey at all and in 1315 Turkey was heavily affected

      I don’t have access to the drought atlas so I don’t have a pretty map of the drought that ended 901 years ago but it is what it is.


      A little over 3000 years ago a drought of up to 300 years actually destroyed civilizations in the area and CO2 emissions were presumably low (I couldn’t find a study on CO2 emissions for the period).

  30. A simple equation, employing the time-integral of sunspot number anomalies and an approximation of the net effect of all ocean cycles achieves a 97% match with measured average global temperatures since before 1900. Including the effects of CO2 improves the match by 0.1%. http://globalclimatedrivers.blogspot.com Everything else must find room in the unexplained 3%.

  31. JCH | March 12, 2016 at 9:42 pm |

    They plant early in Arizona so the corn is exposed to lower, more ideal temperatures when it is young.

    I looked up the average temperatures in Arizona and you can plant in March (temperature above 50°F). So I suspect you are right.

    Of course if it warms in Iowa (and global warming increases low temperatures twice as fast) the season will be a lot longer and they can start sooner too.

    One big limitation in the corn belt is they have to wait until the fields dry off from the snow melt so they aren’t planting in a pond (this is corn not rice), the other limitation is soil temperature in the high 40’s or higher..

    • This focus on one crop. With enough temperature rise, vegitables could be grown year round. So the farmers may switch to more favorable crops. Where it’s cold, you grow wheat which is generally less profitable than corn.

      • Winter is not going away. The Dakotas will still get repeated blasts roaring straight down from the arctic. Maybe they will miss Minnesota!

        And then there is the role of corn in our economy. I guess one could fatten cattle on salads and vegetables.

      • Corn – high sugar; high energy; wide array of products made from it.

      • JCH | March 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm |
        Corn – high sugar; high energy; wide array of products made from it.

        That isn’t exactly true.

        I eaten what we called “cow corn” and it is tough and pretty bland. You could live off it but dinner wouldn’t be the high point of your day.

        They must be fermenting the starch because if memory serves it doesn’t taste like the corn they use for ethanol has much sugar..

      • It’s why cattle get fat: sugar content. I don’t think there is any difference between dent, or field corn, and the corn used to make ethanol, but the only alcohol they made when I was kid left you blind. We never raised sweet corn as they had it at the grocery store, so we just left the corn out in the field until it got hard.

      • Ragnar is right. There’s more than corn. But crops generally do best in types of soil to which they are accustomed. Moving soil around to follow changing climate would be a monumental task. Nothing on that scale has ever been attempted by mankind, unless you count Noah’s Ark.

      • JCH | March 13, 2016 at 12:53 am |
        It’s why cattle get fat: sugar content. I don’t think there is any difference between dent, or field corn, and the corn used to make ethanol


        Sweet corn is a recessive naturally occurring mutation of maize. The mutation screws with the sugar to starch conversion. It has about 86 kcal or 18.7 grams of sugar per 100 grams. That is almost 20% by weight of sugar. It is eaten in the “milk” stage.

        By the time “field corn” is mature virtually all the sugar has converted to starch and it is in the “dent” stage. Any data on how much sugar is in field corn relates to the stalks or silage.

        The “field corn” ears are bigger and the stalks are bigger. My interest sort of ended there because it wasn’t good eating.

        From what I can tell, ethanol is made from field corn that is treated with enzymes to convert the starch to sugar. The goo is then fermented.

      • Here’s an example of adaptation. 1st crop of the season, sweat peas, that are then canned or frozen, possibly by Mexicans, immigration status unknown. 2nd crop of the season beans, or soybeans to you city folk. A lengthened growing season all other things held constant means more production. In Minnesota, we wait each year for the ground to warm and some years dry out before getting into the fields. Seeds in wet soil may rot, and they do little if anything in cool soil. Western Minnesota has many drainage ditches. Things drying out isn’t necessarily bad.
        Field “Corn is made up of 71% starch (a carbohydrate), 4% fats, 8% protein, and has basically no fermentable fiber at 2.2% (unless fed with the cob).”
        A lot of corn is fed to livestock but as mentioned has many uses.

      • From Ragnar

        “Here’s an example of adaptation. 1st crop of the season, sweat peas, that are then canned or frozen, possibly by Mexicans, immigration status unknown.”

        What ? Many people (Trump fans) don’t want to adapt to “Mexicans, immigration status unknown.”

      • max1ok:
        My reply to your above is on the Presidential thread.

      • Sorry, Ragnar, I don’t see your reply, but it really isn’t necessary since I was just kidding,

        I will say that, coming from a farm background, I find your comments on farming interesting but bizarre.

  32. PA is right about eating field corn. It’s actually pretty good if you pick it before it matures, slice the kernels off the cob, and fry ’em in butter, Unfortunately, he is wrong about almost everything else he has said.

    PA “Of course if it warms in Iowa (and global warming increases low temperatures twice as fast) the season will be a lot longer and they can start sooner too.”

    Well that might work if the warmer weather of spring came early and the hotter weather of summer came late, with ideal growing weather in between, but why would you expect such a spread? We aren’t talking about a greenhouse here, where everything is within our control.

    • Well, you took your dining experiment a little further then I did. Being curious I’m going to have to go try this.

      The big issue (as I understand it) with corn planting is the ground being 50 degrees and the air not freezing (actually 28 degrees) after it is planted.

      Since to this point neither of us has pulled out the “big gun” of an actual study or monthly trends, if I get a chance I’ll look around and see it I can generate an informed response.

    • So far so good. About a week from now is the equinox. An earlier start would be appreciated. We are talking of many local conditions. It will be too hot and too dry for some. Too cold and too wet for others. Field crops always have had an element of chance to them. I’ll watch storm tracks to see are they hitting or missing Renville County? That’s money falling from the sky.

  33. The suddenly urgent quest to remove carbon dioxide from the air [link]

    More prattle from Chris Mooney. It’s perfectly true that ambient CO2 capture is a technology whose time is coming.

    It’s also true that accelerating the development and growth of this technology via inexpensive policy options would be a major help in dealing with fossil carbon without impacting the roll-out of cheap power to the less-developed world.

    But for the next few decades, until the technology is mature and widely deployed (thus very cheap), IMO the best use for that CO2 is to combine it with electrolytic hydrogen from solar (or wind) power to make fuel: methane to replace fossil natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons for vehicle power.

    Policies could be developed to create a small, high-price market for such products while keeping the overall costs almost negligible. This could leverage the power of free-market capitalism to nurture the growth of a wide variety of innovative technologies, with the best winning.

    Of course, Mooney’s a “scientist” (of sorts). He sees interesting things in the lab, but clearly doesn’t understand the requirements, both technical and financial, for bringing such things into production. Like many socialists, he seems to want the government to just give orders for it to happen.

    • AK , thanks for the link to an interesting article. I’m not optimistic about the discussed technology, but who knows.

      I doubt Mooney is a socialists. Sometimes liberals let on like they are just to get market worshippers all riled up.

      • AK , thanks for the link to an interesting article.

        The article link was copied from the main post above. That’s why it’s blockquoted.

        I doubt Mooney is a socialists.

        I generally assume anybody who shows clear opposition to “free”-market capitalism is a socialist. And anyway, I said “like many socialists”, which doesn’t actually call him one, although IMO the implication is probably true.

        As for the technology, most of the approaches I’ve seen could probably, IMO, be developed into cost-effective technology, although many of them will probably not be cost-competitive with the best ones.

        The navy’s (etc.) technology using bi-polar membranes seems to me the optimal approach for using seawater from the mixing layer, allowing the world’s ocean surface to act as the extractor from the atmosphere. (They’re in equilibrium with a settling time around a year, AFAIK.)

        Given the expense of piping liquified gases such as methane and CO2 overland, a local extraction step using a hygroscopic very alkaline sodium phosphate solution might turn out best. This would avoid issues of evaporation of the working fluid, while the CO2 could be separated using the same bipolar membrane electrodialysis (BPMED) approach as above for seawater.

        A big advantage of this approach is that there are many uses for bipolar membrane electrodialysis, which will probably combine to accelerate the cost reductions due to Wright’s “Law”. Which means the technology will get cheap fast.

      • Curious George

        From the article: .. demonstrating the ability to extract CO2 with an electrochemical energy consumption of 242 kJ mol1(CO2). How much energy did we get from burning that carbon? Burning CH4, where most energy comes from hydrogen, yields 810 kJ/mol CO2. You spend 30% of it just to extract CO2 from seawater.

      • Burning CH4, where most energy comes from hydrogen, yields 810 kJ/mol CO2. You spend 30% of it just to extract CO2 from seawater.

        Wrong. Typical estimated round trip energy efficiency from PV busbar to CCGT busbar is ~30%.

        The LHV of methane is 50.00/55.50*889=800.90 kJ/mol CH4.

        Giving CCGT a 65% efficiency (based on LHV) yields 520.58 kJ/mol CH4.

        Dividing that by 30% means you start with 1735.29 joules at the PV busbar.

        The quoted figure of 242 kJ mol (CO2) is ~14% (13.94583369386519) of the original 1735.29. Not really that bad efficiency.

        The key is that the low round-trip energy efficiency becomes cost-effective at low enough prices for solar PV. (Or wind power, I guess.)

    • > Given the expense of piping liquified gases such as methane and CO2 overland, a local extraction step using a hygroscopic very alkaline sodium phosphate solution might turn out best

      Seems a circular concept

      I agree piping liquified CO2 overland at the volumes needed from a traditional power station is prohibitively expensive

      So you suggest using the extracted CO2 on-site with H2 to generate CH4 as a raw fuel. Where and how is the H2 to be obtained, please ? Electrolysing water for H2 seems to leave us where we started – how to power the electrolysis

      And the Fischer-Tropsch process for liquid hydrocarbons has been used in extremis (Germany in WW2, South Africa during apartheid-induced sanctions) but is always abandoned when actual petroleum products are again available – it’s just too expensive

      • Where and how is the H2 to be obtained, please ? Electrolysing water for H2 seems to leave us where we started – how to power the electrolysis

        Solar PV, of course. Cheap, getting cheaper at an exponential “growth” rate of -0.5/five years.

        And the Fischer-Tropsch process for liquid hydrocarbons has been used in extremis ([…]) but is always abandoned when actual petroleum products are again available – it’s just too expensive

        Relative costs change. At different rates.

        There’s been a lot of work recently on very small, efficient, catalytic reactors. Today it’s just about cost-effective for manned space technology, but that was once true of heat pipes. Today they’re standard in laptops, and hobbyists use them in overclocked PC’s.

        With the right sort of encouragement, and Wright’s “Law”, mass-produced mini-reactors could probably be brought to appropriate price-points within a decade. Combine that with really cheap H2 and CO2 powered by really cheap solar PV…

      • Another thing about Fischer–Tropsch: AFAIK a good deal of expense derives from the need to minimize methane (and other short-chain) production. Given that the market for methane (natural gas replacement) is much larger than for applications that actually require liquid fuels, I’d guess reactors could be made much cheaper by accepting a large methane fraction, and distributing it and the other short-chain gases to different markets.

        I also missed this:

        So you suggest using the extracted CO2 on-site with H2 to generate CH4 as a raw fuel.

        The “site” I was referring to is the location of the solar (or wind) farms where the energy is produced. Feeding the DC from PV directly into the BPMED-based extractors and electrolysers (which use DC) could eliminate the losses and expense of inversion and rectification.

        Both the technology and infrastructure plant for distributing and storing gas (natural or “renewable”) is already more-or-less in place. But the expense of creating a similar infrastructure for CO2 could probably be avoided.

  34. Is the ‘Oceans Conveyor Belt’ slowing down ?
    There are indications that it might be ( see here ).

  35. From the article:

    “In the past, many scientists have been cautious of attributing specific extreme weather events to climate change. People frequently ask questions such as, ‘Did climate change cause Hurricane Sandy?’ Science can’t answer that because there are so many relevant factors for hurricanes. What this report is saying is that we can attribute an increased magnitude or frequency of some extreme weather events to climate change,” said David Titley, professor of practice in Penn State’s Department of Meteorology and founding director of Penn State’s Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, who chaired the committee that wrote the report.

    The committee found that scientists can now confidently attribute some heat waves and cold events, and to a lesser degree droughts and extreme rainfall, to human-caused climate change. Even a decade ago, many scientists argued that research could not confidently tie any specific weather events to climate change, which the committee reports today is no longer true today.

    “If we can actually understand how and why frequencies or magnitudes change of extreme events are changing, those are two components of risk. Understanding that risk is crucial for governments and businesses. For example, if you’re managing a business, you may need to know whether there may be more droughts in the future because that may impact supply chain logistics and, ultimately, your bottom dollar,” said Titley.

    Scientific confidence for attributing extreme weather events is a three-legged stool, said Titley. To confidently link specific weather events to climate change, researchers need an understanding of the underlying physical causes of weather events, enough observational data to place a specific event within a historical context and the ability to replicate an event with computer models. For example, when examining hurricanes and typhoons, the lack of a high-quality, long-term historical record, uncertainty regarding the impact of climate change on storm frequency and inability to accurately simulate these storms in most global climate models raises significant challenges when attributing assessing the impact of climate change on any single storm.


  36. For those of you who have NEVER curled a ribbon, some facts so when you want to do so. I did this when young with my mother who “knew” how to apply the factors at least 75 years before this study! Bows,curls, etc come prepackaged these days. Wonder how youth are doing with “simplicity”/

    Physics of ribbon curling unravelled
    The UK-based team will present the study on Wednesday at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore; it also appeared last month in the journal PNAS.

  37. From the article:

    We don’t often get insider accounts of hacks against major institutions like hospitals because they immediately go into damage control mode. But at a SXSW talk, a couple of experts told tales out of school. The experts, [John Halamka, CIO of the Boston hospital Beth Israel Deaconness, and Kevin Fu, a University of Michigan engineering professor, recounted incidents in which hackers downloaded patient X-rays to China, took down entire networks, fooled Harvard doctors, and more.


  38. https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/23/is-sea-level-rise-accelerating/#comment-767198

    Go back to length of day and sea level rise. PA’s calculations are way wrong. the core of the earth does not spin at the same rate as the crust and the mass of the core cannot be used in the calculations. You can only use the mass of the crust in the calculations.

    • popesclimatetheory,

      Even worse. Core and crust are apparently not the only components moving independently of each other. Heat energy seems not to be evenly distributed in the less solid parts of the Earth (I consider crustal rock to be viscous, and evidence of this can be noted where exposed rock faces show folding, or during earthquakes where wave motion is sometimes evident in solid rock.)

      This leads to density changes within the interior. Other factors can also affect mass redistribution which can result in various types of volcanic eruption, geothermal activity, the formation of kimberlite pipes and similar good stuff.

      So, length of day will change, as localised density changes, and conservation of angular momentum leaps into action. On top of this, the Earths rotation slows, as the heat resulting from internal and external tides due to movements leaves the system.

      It’s interesting to note that the Moon is synchronously geolocked to the Earth, with its offset CG mass closest to the Earth. Frictional forces slowed the Moon until one face faces the Earth at all times – more or less. I’m not sure whether mass density redistribution measurably affects the Moon’s libration, but I suppose it does.

      The tides on and within the Earth will presumably bleed away energy until the Earth also becomes stationary with respect to the Moon. I figure this won’t happen anytime soon. Anybody who assumes that sea level changes are purely due to supposed global warming are living in some sort of bizarre fantasy world – albeit possibly unknowingly.

      Warmists are a confused lot. They confuse carbon dioxide with carbon, heat with temperature, energy with power, reduction in the rate of cooling with an increase in temperature. Their biggest problem is confusing climatology with science.

      All part of the rich tapestry of life.


  39. The link does not appear to go to the post by PA, but it gets close, just scroll down or up and look for it.