Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A fe thing that caught my eye this past week.

Elevated CO2 maintains grassland net carbon uptake under a future heat and drought extreme [link]

New paper:  Hurricane intensity predictability [link]

NAS report on GMOs [link]

The literature of climate change [link]

India records hottest day ever as temps hit 51C (that’s a whopping 124F) [link]

Antarctica’s Totten Glacier may melt in a few hundred years (or not) [link]

Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? [link]

Another geoengineering scheme plans to use planes and ships to cool the planet [link] …

Dan Kahan:  Serious problems with ‘the strongest evidence to date’ on consensus messaging [link]

Oliver Geden: Towards a viable climate target [link]

The strange science of why airport security lines spiral out of control [link]

We’ve got 5 years left until our carbon budget for staying under 1.5C of warming is blown [link]

John Nielsen-Gammon explains what caused the record rains in Texas [link]

Two-step rise of Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere may be linked to plate tectonics [link]

There’s no such thing as free will.  But we’re better off believing in it anyway. [link]

Advances in #meteorology and #weatherforecasting help make smart choices for #water reservoirs [link]

How can gaming help test your theory? [link]

The fading meaning of ‘GMO’ [link]

Undersea waves may melt Arctic sea ice [link]

Another gem from brainpickings: Information versus wisdom [link]

Toxic funding? Conflicts of Interest and Their Epistemological Significance [link]

Improving spring melt runoff forecasts via snow information [link]

Longer growing seasons shift grasslands vegetation towards more productive species [link]

Unsettled science: Geology is breaking apart over when the Americas came together [link]

Carbon sequestration potential of second-growth forest regeneration in the Latin American tropics [link]

A skeptical take on ‘Skepticism’ [link]

Are older academics past their productive peak? (!) [link]

What does the Pacific Artic’s new normal mean for marine life? [link]


191 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. On totten glacier and WAIS snow, am working up a guest post. But is so bad, the original SI on Totten glacier was disappeared after my original post elsewhere. Am trying to track down an archived version, as alas I did not save never thinking my comment would result in a complete Nature published SI. If anyone has a copy of the,original paper SI, on line for just two days, please archive and send to Judith. I failed because beleiving the SI once published would not be altered. It was, after my initial blog critique. Within 24 hours. Now we just need proof. Which my compromised server is not providing yet.

    • By my count you have already disproved almost every climate science theory put out in the last 100 years. Maybe it won’t mater if this one slips by.

      Food for thought, If we don’t have free will then we probably can’t stop technology from evolving beyond our ability to understand it or control it. Genetic engineering performed by AI = ?
      Kevin Kelly calls it the Technium.

    • bernie1815

      Perhaps Chris Mooney will send you a copy of his version! ;)

      • People take Chris Mooney seriously? I thought he was another comedian like Dave Attell.

    • bernie1815

      Can you link to your comment? Was it at WP? My initial take was the same as with many Mooney articles: High on hyperbole and no baselines to gauge the speed and scope of the hypothesized changes. I could not save the on-line version – it was some kind of preview.

    • rud

      Have you tried the ‘wayback’ facility?


    • Folks, have finished the possible guest post. Many thanks for your suggestions. Turns out was more complicated than even originally posted, and I made a mistake posting on it last night also. Yup.
      Results are even more interesting than before from a CAGW perspective. JC now has has the proofed draft guest post produced after 12 hours of pounding on this paper today. If she publishes, you all will be interested.

  2. Judy,

    I sent you a link that confirms earlier theory that the climate and weather models are using the wrong dynamics. The text on the link is illustrated with graphical output from the ECMWF global model. Please comment on the link below

  3. On the article about “Older Academics.” ALthough I “retired” early from acaeme at age 60, I continued to work for three years as a director of a marine consortium, and then for 18 years worked as a geological consultant for 18 years I officially retired from geology and regular work at age 81. I was able to do so because in general, my health was better than average. Proof that I was “up-to-par” or better came from repeated requests for my consulting services including repeat business. Even as I as getting ready to leave the Houston area, I was getting calls while I was packing up.

    Motivation may have helped. They ingredient was hat I loved the geological work I did. COnsulting gave me more flexibility and cut out the pettiness of academe.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

  4. Two-step rise of Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere may be linked to plate tectonics [link]

    The one up above seems to be inactive.

      • Thanks AK
        So initial O2 event caused by out gassing of O2 from Continential rocks as volatiles, then no change for 1By. Next event has vague cause and many effects. It may simple be that the Earth’s magnetic field developed around that time, provided protection from gases flashing off into space and resulted in the O2 buildup.

      • You’re welcome.

        Personally, I’m extremely skeptical of the whole paradigm.

        For instance, despite considerable searching, I’ve yet to find a good refutation of the hypothesis that the “banded iron formations” (BIF) could have resulted from photosynthesis using the ferrous→ferric (Fe++→Fe+++) transition as a hydrogen source. AFAIK the energies required are much closer to H2S than H2O, and could be done with a single chlorophyll loop like H2S. (Note that many/most cyanobacteria will use H2S as a hydrogen source if it’s available.)

        I’ll grant that there’s some arm-waving about relative isotope counts for sulfur, etc. but they seem mostly like question-begging to me. Not that I’m really that much of an expert.

  5. Mike Flynn

    “In the Arctic Ocean, a storm could trigger these internal waves to travel downward and stir up a deep reservoir of warmer water, driving it upward where it could melt sea ice — adding to a vicious cycle of melting that accelerates global warming.”

    Couple of points. The author might need to revisit the physics of ocean waves. There might also be a need to explain what mysterious force keeps warmer and less dense water from displacing the colder water above it, and rising to the surface, cooling as it goes.

    More nonsense, masquerading as science. Alarmism writ large, albeit not very cogently.


    • There might also be a need to explain what mysterious force keeps warmer and less dense water from displacing the colder water above it, […]

      Salt? Why do you think it’s less dense just because it’s warmer?

      • Why do you think it’s less dense just because it’s warmer?

        That is how water works.

      • AK,

        “There are two main factors that make ocean water more or less dense than about 1027 kg/m3: the temperature of the water and the salinity of the water. Ocean water gets more dense as temperature goes down. So, the colder the water, the more dense it is. Increasing salinity also increases the density of sea water.

        Less dense water floats on top of more dense water. Given two layers of water with the same salinity, the warmer water will float on top of the colder water.”

        Of course, there are exceptions. The exception does not prove the rule, however. My point remains valid, as no explanation of any possible exception to the general rule is proposed.

        Have I answered your question to your satisfaction?


      • But for the Canadian Basin the “reservoir” theory isn’t true. The water is so close to freezing as to not make a difference. The Amundsen basin (the other side of the North Pole) isn’t going to melt a lot of ice either.

      • That is how water works.

        Fresh water, yes.

        Sea water? It depends.

      • Fresh water, yes.


        I forgot: it only works that way down to ~4°C. Below that, density decreases with decreasing temperature.

        It’s still more complex for saline water, although IIRC by the time the salinity reaches oceanic levels, the increasing density for a splecific salinity increases all the way down to freezing.

      • Less dense water floats on top of more dense water. Given two layers of water with the same salinity, the warmer water will float on top of the colder water.

        But, IIRC most theories involve distinctly different salinity regimes involved in the polar subductions.

        So simplistic nonsense about “what mysterious force keeps warmer and less dense water from displacing the colder water above it” just confuses the issue.

      • Have I answered your question to your satisfaction?

        You don’t have any “answers” to offer. Just simplistic nonsense.

      • AK | May 21, 2016 at 9:50 am |
        Fresh water, yes.


        I forgot: it only works that way down to ~4°C. Below that, density decreases with decreasing temperature.

        1. In fresh water it works down to +4°C. The water molecules then start forming clusters which decreases the density.

        2. In sea water 34+ g /L salt the density increases until it freezes at around -2°C.

      • @PA…

        Yes, that’s what I said.

        I had momentarily forgotten about the density reversal in fresh water being focused on the fact that variations in salinity are also involved in models for density-driven flows.

        Something that some simple-minded people are forgetting. I have seen, and studied, graphs of the sort you put up, I just didn’t find it worth tracking one down for the sake of salt deniers.

        Of course, when it comes to melting ice, it’s also worth remembering that salt water will melt ice at temperatures that fresh water won’t.

      • @PA…

        But for the Canadian Basin the “reservoir” theory isn’t true.

        Take another look at the picture you posted: the Canada Basin contains a huge “reservoir” of warm water at between about 250-800 meters. The water is warmer, but denser (or at least not less dense) due to increasing salinity.

        The density difference is so small that very little energy (comparatively) would be needed to push that warmer water to the surface. Such energy could easily be carried in storm-driven waves.

      • Take another look at the picture you posted: the Canada Basin contains a huge “reservoir” of warm water at between about 250-800 meters.

        Huh? Let’s walk through this. The ice freezes at -2°C. The salt leeches out. The now 0°C melting point ice is exposed to the awesome melting power of 0.5°C water. Quelle Catastrophe!

        Or perhaps not. You may be selling the warming water disaster theory, but I’m not buying.

      • Huh? Let’s walk through this.


        Start with the picture you posted, for the Canada basin, but add a meter of ice on top. (You can do metric can’t you? It’s science, and science is done in metric.)

        Now, according to Wiki:

        Thus one part ice at 0 °C will cool almost exactly 4 parts water from 20 °C to 0 °C.

        The salinity introduces some small differences in detail, but for a general order-of-magnitude calculation, melting one part of ice will involve cooling 80 parts of water by 1°C.

        The picture shows the surface to be at about -1°C, presumably the melting point for ice in water at that salinity. The picture also shows over 500 meters depth of water more than 1°C warmer than that surface.

        By these numbers, there’s more than 6 times the heat necessary to melt that meter of ice on the surface, if waves should come along and stir things up, the ice could melt.

        You may be selling the warming water disaster theory, but I’m not buying.

        Nope. I’m just looking at the science. And the actual science doesn’t say anything about “warming water disaster”, that’s all in the imagination of the journalist mis-reporting the science. (Well, there’s a hand-wave:

        Historically, the existence of protective ice cover has shielded the Arctic Ocean from atmospheric storms, and as a result internal wave energy levels in the region have been much weaker than in lower-latitude oceans ([ref]). The rapid loss of protective ice cover during the summer months, however, suggests that change may be afoot.

        …But I usually ignore such things, probably added as a sop to the funding agencies. And anyway, it says “scenario of interest”, nothing about “warming water disaster”.)

        This process, if correctly modeled, has been going on all along. When the ice starts to break up, storms contribute to melting it by stirring up warmer water from below. The effects of “global warming”, if any, are a separate matter. As is often pointed out here (Climate Etc.), there have been times in previous centuries when the ice almost completely melted from the arctic.

        The foundation of the story is the science, which is about a new model for predicting how “gravity waves” will interact with “complex stratifications, such as multiple pycnoclines and intricate double-diffusive staircase structures”. The new model appears to have passed preliminary validation:

        We have performed a fundamental study of the impact of multiple layers on the propagation of internal waves in a density stratification. Starting with a simple stratification, it was demonstrated that multiple layers can have counterintuitive effects due to the interplay between evanescent and propagating waves in neighbouring layers. A set of laboratory experiments was performed and the experimental results were compared with the predictions of a weakly viscous model; the excellent agreement between the two served to validate the model and its interesting predictions. As a demonstration of the broad applicability of the model, which could be used for ocean or atmosphere inspired studies, we investigated a scenario relevant to the Arctic Ocean, finding that the presence of a double-diffusive staircase structure has a non-trivial effect on wave transmission. The degree of wave interference within the multiple layers, which is dependent on the time and length scale of the internal waves, is a prime determinant of transmission, and the relevance of interfacial waves was considered.

    • Warmer water below colder water makes no sense and I don’t believe there is warm, less dense, warm water, below more dense, colder water. That does not work for me.

      • Salt denial.

      • Mike Flynn


        I’m with you obviously. Warmists believe in all sorts of odd things. A flat Earth of uniform albedo, bathed in perpetual sunlight, without internal heat, and so on.

        They might even refuse to believe that the crust is in constant motion, or that the Antarctic was once fertile and ice free.

        Believing that warmer less dense water of the same salinity sinks, forcing colder denser water to the surface, is no trouble for a Warmist. They say “It must be true. NOAA have lots of brightly coloured pictures showing cold water rising to the surface.” Apparently due to surface winds sucking the abyssal depths dry.



      • Step 1 Start in the equatorial Atlantic, sit in the sun and become warmer and more saline
        Step 2 Join the Gulf Stream
        Step 3 Sink while warmer when encountering less saline water that is less dense

      • According to the men of Science today, their report suggests that:

        Analysis of Chris Mooney’s “Scientists say human greenhouse gas emissions have canceled the next ice age”

        mankind has at last gotten the victory over the nature of reoccurring Ice Ages, for a very long time to come they say.


      • Ragnaar,

        Couple of minor points. Indeed. And the denser warmer water (and it happens – exceptionally) becomes colder as it sinks though the colder less dense water, is it not so? It doesn’t rise, so what’s your point?

        Still no mass rising of denser colder water from the depths due to storms. Look at the original post. No reservoir of warm water hiding in the depths. That’s about as silly as missing heat from the Sun lurking in the ocean depths.

        Warmist dreams.


      • Believing that warmer less dense water of the same salinity sinks, forcing colder denser water to the surface, is no trouble for a Warmist.

        Simplistic nonsense for simple-minded f00ls.

      • Step 1 Start in the equatorial Atlantic, sit in the sun and become warmer and more saline

        Don’t forget that when sea-ice freezes out of sea water, it makes it more saline as well as (relatively) warmer.

      • Some people think sea ice loss is a bad thing. It can be thought of as bad press for lukewarmers. I don’t see it that way as polar oceans venting heat is oceans cooling and I think the oceans control the global average temperature. While the resulting temporary air temperature rise is also bad press that can’t be helped. The oceans do and will attempt to cool. If we are in favor of more sea ice and I am when a glacial period approaches, we like ocean temperature inversions. Salt is used to melt ice. I am from Minnesota. We use thousand of tons of it to do that on our roads.

        Sea ice should be kept away from salt water, and it can do that if it rides on 0.0 C freshwater. Salt can work by lowering the melting point of water. All things being equal, sea water will sink a ways when under ice. If it does melt the sea ice some, lower density freshwater coming from the bottom of the sea ice would tend to restore the sea ice’s melt protection of freshwater. This freshwater given the right weather can refreeze and do so before sea water does, it can do that at a higher temperature, 0.0 C versus about -2.0 C. Perhaps it would do this at night with an air temperature of -15.0 C. In the Atlantic equatorial regions, freshwater is driven out of the oceans by evaporation. Salinity then becomes a history of recent energy uptake by a parcel of water. Its higher density is now gives it instructions if you will. This high energy water then has a greater ability (and instructions if you will) to sink from its increased density somewhere around Greenland. So high energy is buried in the oceans and doesn’t effect the sea ice so much, the higher the past energy input the greater potential to sink from higher density. All things being equal, higher energy should speed up the hydrological cycle. Increased near surface salinity would seem to help with that. If the surface is warming, calling on the deep oceans with increased vertical circulations seems reasonable.

      • “…the denser warmer water (and it happens – exceptionally) becomes colder as it sinks though the colder less dense water, is it not so?”
        I can’t find the proper search terms to cite someone, but why should I let that stop me? Water molecules at about 1-3 C have characteristics relating to how much energy they exchange with other water molecules close the same temperature. If the exchange was much faster there would be no ocean stratification. Every heat input would go immediately to the full ocean column. Gulf Stream water if it were still there, would arrive not warm in the North, but the fact that warm water can stay warm on the long trip from Florida to England suggests some resistance to change or a storage capability. Perhaps storage is the better word. Imperfect storage. That could cover a lot of ground. Ice caps, IPWP, glaciers, and a Northern lake not freezing out and killing its fish. As the dense warm water sinks, a handful of degrees above freezing, a phase change, I assume its energy level is low. It’s almost a solid. On the scale of what water can do, it’s slowing. Active release and exchange of its energy, maybe not much. I can’t give a better answer, but I’ll stick with water’s ability to store energy is a key attribute of our climate. It’s like it stores the main currency, energy.

      • AK
        “Don’t forget that when sea-ice freezes out of sea water, it makes it more saline as well as (relatively) warmer.”
        At the point where a molecule of water changes to ice on the bottom of sea ice, and there is some salt in the area, the salt drops. Its water has left it. Perhaps drops an inch, I don’t know. Other sea water picks up the salt then sinks. Freezing water would now seem to carry salt vertically away. In this case, bitter coldd does extract freshwater from the ocean. It’s bound to be temporary. Meaning decades. Later the ocean will reverse the extraction and gain freshwater and become more buoyant. Perhaps getting ready for the next sea ice advance. Wyatt said something like, it’s the freshwater. What’s the supply and how stable or coherent is it in the ice and under it? What is the control knob of sea ice? Perhaps it’s salinity.

      • Mike Flynn


        Less dense water floats on top of denser water – this is a fact. Many things effect density – salinity, temperature, pressure, local gravitational field and so on. Don’t laugh too hard – if the system is chaotic, arbitrarily small input changes can have completely unpredictable consequences.

        As to water storing heat, left to itself it will cool to absolute zero, without external energy inputs. This is also a fact. Hot water cools, and cool water warms, until it reaches equilibrium with its surroundings. Unfortunately, the surroundings are usually changing, which tends to complicate the issue.

        Most statement by climatologists about anything at all are usually wrong. They just make stuff up as they go along, and create a gibberish jargon to avoid using science to explain their contentions. No clear hypothesis, no scientifically testable theories – nothing. The dim leading the gullible.

        I’m obviously impressed with real science, not so much with climatology.


      • Mike Flynn:
        It’s been an interesting discussion that made me think. Water can store energy in some cases quite admirably. If we were asked to keep most of a 140 acre, 8 foot deep amount of water from freezing through a Minnesota winter, how would we do it? To keep most of it at an average temperature of 2 C. We could use heaters, bubbles (no really), massive stirring machines but it all might fail. We could also just put the water into a lake. The water might form a coherent structure that does the job. The warmer bottom water has a mere 8 feet to go to be liberated to the much colder atmosphere and freeze the lake top to bottom. The water and ice set up a temperature inversion. The lower part of the ice is around 0 C with top being about what the atmospheric temperature is (lower than 0 C on average for at least 3 months) with some lag and adjusted for incoming solar.

      • A last point. The chemistry minor relative informs me that a water molecule loosely bonds with a salt molecule. I guess a tight bond would be a water molecule. Though it’s made of valuable hydrogen, we can’t economically separate the two and run our cars engines with the products of water. A loose bond might be seen if we let room temperature evaporate a saline solution. We get salt with that.

      • Mike Flynn


        I believe your 8 feet deep lake will not freeze right through in your area. Fresh water reaches maximum density at 4 C. As it gets colder than this, it becomes less dense.

        As the lake initially loses heat (from the surface), eventually the bottom waters will be at 4 C, being the densest. As the surface continues to lose heat, the top waters will fall below 4 C, but will remain on top, becoming less dense than the waters below.

        Eventually, the top waters will freeze at 0 C, and continue to float, as the now frozen water is still less dense than the water beneath. If the water below the ice can lose enough heat, its temperature will drop below freezing, and the ice will thicken. Of course, this will provide more insulation, and reduce the rate of heat loss from the water below the ice.

        The bottom waters will remain at 4 C. If this process continues long enough, the lake will freeze right through, top to bottom.

        I have slightly idealised the situation, and ignored energy penetrating though the water depth. This can be considerable, and is shown by properly constructed solar ponds reaching bottom temperatures of some 90 C.

        Observations of temperatures in a 16 m deep lake in Minnesota show very good correlation with theoretical predictions.

        Some commenters will no doubt accuse me of spouting nonsense, but you can check for yourself if you wish.


    • “In the plot, one can discern three layers:
      * About 50 m of low salinity water “swimming” on top of the ocean. The temperature is -1.8 °C, which is very near to the freezing point. This layer blocks heat transfer from the warmer, deeper levels into the sea ice, which has considerable effect on its thickness.”
      Heat rises unless it is denser than what it is trying to rise through. Diving high salinity water somewhere near Greenland is important to the thermohaline circulation. I think some consideration should be given to sea ice melting from below. Disturbing a stability seems to fit the bill. And it perhaps has some non-linear connotations. I’ve spent a little time looking at lake ice as I don’t have a nearby polar ocean to look at. In the dead of a Minnesota Winter the warm water is on the bottom, and the fish are thankful for that. I’d say the ice protects them with what warmth it can preserve. And it’s a case of warmer being denser and sinking. If we keep the less cool water away from the ice, we get to have to have ice in both cases.

      • What is the soil temperature relative to the outside temperature? Root cellar effect? Maybe.

      • Arch Stanton:
        Not sure what you mean? Freshwater is densest at 4 C. As the lake becomes colder, 4 C water can displace 3 C water at the bottom.

      • If I understand what you have said… my thought was that a root cellar (usually just a few feet below ground level) has a constant temperature even though it may be -50′ and blowing outside. If your lake in MN is 100 feet deep the soil temperature at depth should be warmer earth. The mass of the Earth is greater than the mass of the lake. Something like that.

      • It’s a 140 acre lake. About 560,000 square meters. If the earth gives 0.1 watt per square meter that’s 56,000 watts. Yes, I think the lake bottom material, the stratification and the ice all contribute to keeping things from becoming too cold in the lake.

      • With that information in mind I now wonder how many square meters there must be at the bottom of the sea.


        Now then how many watts of output is this way down there? And this stuff runs 24 hours a day. Global warming is hard.

      • Arch Stanton:
        Upon further reading, .09 watts per square meter from the steady energy flow from the earth’s interior may be the number. SkS says so, and it’s an average number. Minnesota looks to be less than average.

    • One other point (that I hadn’t realized.

      The maximum density of freshwater is 4°C.

      The maximum density of sea water is whatever its freezing point is. Or around -2°C. In other words it gets denser until it freezes.

      • nobodysknowledge

        It is something called inverse stratification. This is also known from observations in polar regions.
        “In winter, the exact opposite happens since the lakes are covered with ice. Most of the water under the ice is 39 Fahrenheit; however, there is a thin layer of water under the ice that is colder than 39 and therefore less dense. This thin layer of water floats on top of the lake under the ice throughout the winter, but this stratification is not quite as stable as in the summer because the density difference is much smaller. This concept is called inverse stratification because cooler water is sitting on top of warmer water. Under the ice, the water cannot mix because it is not exposed to wind.”

      • The maximum density of sea water is whatever its freezing point is. Or around -2°C. In other words it gets denser until it freezes.

        Since you want to get nit-picky (above), I’ll point out that while what you said is true for, say, the North Atlantic, it’s not true for more enclosed areas like the Baltic, and some of the arctic regions. There, at times, melting sea ice and/or incoming river flow can actually reduce the salinity of the upper layer to almost fresh. Sometimes, depending on season, location, weather, etc.

        IIRC there are some specific models for the Baltic, during glaciation or early post-glacial times, where dramatic regime changes (“tipping points”) can take place. Since I’m pretty skeptical of the ability of such models, when numerically programmed, to actually replicate real-world conditions, I’m not interested in tracking down the details, but you could if you’re interested.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by the weird things water can do

  6. Re: The literature of climate change

    As climate change and human population growth continue alarmingly but incrementally, cli-fi and post-apocalit have the power to scare us into action….

    After all, post-apocalit ought to give you a few nightmares.

    Post-apocalit’s little secret is to wake us up while there’s still time.


  7. Dan Kahan: Serious problems with ‘the strongest evidence to date’ on consensus messaging

    The study purports

    to show that subjects exposed to consensus message “increased” their “key beliefs about climate change” and “in turn” their “support for public action” to mitigate it.

    Christening this dynamic the “gateway belief” model, VLFM touted their results as “as the strongest evidence to date” that “consensus messaging”— social-marketing campaigns that communicate scientific consensus on human-caused global warming—“is consequential.”

    The most striking trait of the climatariat is its remoteness from reality. This is just as true of its pseudo-science as it is of its belief that, with the appropriate pedagogical, indoctrinational, propaganda and coercive means, the public can be taught to accept its pseudo-science.

  8. Undersea waves may melt Arctic sea ice [link]

    I have not read this yet, but they keep making up alarmist junk.

  9. “Carbon budget”…”threshold exceedance budget”…Oliver Geden’s “viable climate target”…

    If you thought all those management cults of the 1980s with their special chants and in-language were just a new shamanic class sucking on corporate behemoths…

    The shamans have become the non-elected elites of crappy new entities like the crappy, gelatinous German Empire known as the EU.

    We might hope that Oliver Geden’s Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik remains just another euro-money hoover, but the crappy gelatine Empire is talking of forming its own army and police as it stretches in its blobby way east.

    Oliver’s bureaucratese and mock-scientific ranting about climate is better than no religion at all when you have a crappy empire to hold together while expanding.

    Don’t just obliterate the climatariat. Obliterate the EU too. Obscenities both, each needing the other. Bring ’em both down.

  10. From There is no free will…

    “In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.”

    Modern neuroscience is hopelessly and inexcusably philosophically bankrupt. The “agreement” among these scientists is along the lines of;

    1.) Determinism is true.

    2.) All events are caused

    3.) All actions, therefore, must be predetermined

    4.) There is no free will nor moral responsibility.

    Is this reasoning justified? Is it justifiable to express the physics of determinism in terms of logic? Physics is empirical not logical, and the empirical evidence undermines any dogma regarding strict determinism.

    Evidence against determinism:

    1.) Determinism as it stands, can be neither true or false, and a person’s belief in free will, under determinism, is a predetermined event which is no more “false” than another person’s belief, also predetermined, that he has no free will and cannot be held accountable is “true”. They are both simply predetermined events.

    2.) The problem with “predetermined” is the journey it compels on the back of turtles all the way down.

    3.) Determinism embraces moral incoherence. Ironically, the modern scientists who is in “agreement” that there is no free will can find they also agree with most Christians, Muslims, and other religious adherents who believe that all events are the will of some supernatural or prenatural being. For the modern scientist the mythology becomes science itself, and the modern scientist all to often either comes dangerously close to anthropomorphizing science or the laws of physics, or unabashedly does so. Both parties (religion and science adherents) embrace a notion that there is no moral responsibility. Proclaiming that the reason one has done something is because of God’s will is as morally incoherent as declaring someone acted the way they did because neurons were dancing in his head.

    Free will and moral responsibility are inextricable. Inherent in free will is moral responsibility which is why the author of this article, after taking the reader through arguments dismissing free will, comes full circle and argues that even if there is no free will, believing there is appears to be a good social strategy for survival.

    4.) While refutation by action can flirt with argumentum ad lapidem, it is still pretty difficult to find a person claiming to believe in determinism who doesn’t undermine his claims with this own actions. Even the determinist will insist on the luxury free will provides, because along with moral accountability and responsibility for one’s own actions comes the authority to make choices.

    4.) Inherent in adequate determinism is in-determinism. Adequate determinism has a near statistical certainty when measuring the macroscopic, but that adequacy dwindles as we go down the microscopic rabbit hole to an irreducible property justly called in-determinism.

    ““Quantum physics might seem to undermine the idea that nature is governed by laws, but that is not the case. Instead it leads us to accept a new form of determinism: given the state of a system at some time, the laws of nature determine the probabilities of various futures and pasts rather than determining the future and past with certainty.”

    ~Stephen Hawking~

    5.) Events have many causes. The causal chain of ancient lore, where one event causes the next event, is as fictional as the descending and larger turtles that carry the weight of this chain. The world in which we live does not appear to be under a strict causal determinism, only adequate determinism. If we were to reverse engineer a decision made while including in our model not just deliberation process, but the generation of new possibilities because of this deliberation process it is likely we will find several causes that led to that decision including habitual decision making processes that predate the decision making at the moment, as well as other factors that lack any recognizable causal chains and the freedom to generate alternative possibilities.

    An individuals will determine’s their own actions that are available for such determination. Unlike strict determinism, or even adequate determinism that will explain why that person twitches against his will, if that individual recognizes there are alternative possibilities, some of these being unpredictable and open to interpretation, and chooses one of those alternatively, that individual has done so freely.

    An individuals will cannot possibly be free (un-caused) but the individual using that will can be.

    • I had issues with the article, too, though not perhaps for the same reasons you did. I too doubt the existence of free will, and even question whether consciousness is real. Once you break consciousness into it’s components, it vanishes.

      The universe’s origin call into question cause and effect. What caused the big bang? Getting something from nothing is a pretty good trick. Did something change, and if so what? And something else triggering the beginning of the universe just pushes the question back a notch (sort of like positing God).

      Second, you can’t state what the future is going to be, on account of quantum effects. And, you can’t even know the current state. So this idea that someone will make the same decision time and again is not believable (note, it works for silicon chips, but only after a lot of engineering to make that highly likely, and the decisions will not always be the same, only the very high percentage of the time).

      Third, they explore that morals would break down. They could have run the experiment “Cheat, and this incredibly egregious thing will happen to you” along with the “you have no free will to decide” and see what happens. Knowledge of lack of free will, I suspect, only applies to some actions, but not all.

      Fourth, they treat your much of a brain as something external to “you”. That’s kind of strange to me. I know why they do this “Well, this part is because of this genetic thing, that part that genetic thing, this part evolutionary,”, etc. until “you” is nothing much at all.

      Anyway, I doubt there is free will, but the arguments in this article do not persuade me at all, and less so arguments that society will decline if that thought were to become prevalent. In fact, a society with stronger consequences would counteract that. Look at Singapore to know the truth of this. Consequences work to modify behavior, and perhaps this is even in line with the idea there is no free will.

      • Once you break consciousness into it’s components, it vanishes.

        Once you break a molecule into it’s component atoms it also vanishes. Most things are more then the sum of their parts.

    • Jean Paul Zodeaux,

      The there-is-no-free-will advocates practice science the same way the Warmists do. “There’s no such thing as free will,” they tell us. “The science is settled.”

      The goal of the there-is-no-free-will and CAGW advocates is the same: to harden science into dogma.

      Popper proposed a philosophy of science whereby we posit a theory and then go looking for evidence to disprove it. The science-as-dogma crowd proposes a philosophy of science whereby we posit a theory and then go looking for evidence to prove it, ignoring or ruling out of bounds any evidence which might disprove it.

      Another there-is-no-free-will dogmatist is Richard Dawkins. Just like Stephen Cave, he cannot accept the consequences of his purely naturalistic ideology, and especially in a culture where humanism dominates, So in this PBS interveiw, he falls into an orgy of cognitive dissonance, first claiming one thing, and a few moments later claiming the very opposite:


      A much more thoughful person, also an avowed atheist, but lacking the dogmatism, is Melvin Konner. After citing a study by Stephen Pinker, Konner goes on to write of another study that contradicts Pinker’s findings:

      The other study, equally beautiful, published in Nature one day earlier, provides a remarkable contrast. It is called “An Anatomical Signature for Literacy,” and it proves the profound power of human agency over the brain. It begins:

      After decades spent fighting, members of the guerrilla forces have begun re-integrating into the mainstream of Colombian society, introducing a sizeable population of illiterate adults who have no formal education. Upon putting down their weapons and returning to society, some had the opportunity to learn to read for the first time in their early twenties, providing the perfect natural situation for experiments investigating structural brain differences associated with the acquisition of literacy…

      The study, done in Bogota and at the Basque Center for Science in Bilbao, showed that learning to read, even in adulthood, specifically increases the anatomical connection between the two halves of the brain, in areas linking vision and language.

      The young former guerrillas decided to put down their weapons, learned to read, and changed the anatomy of their brains. It is hard to imagine a better case for the ability of the subjective self to change the objectively visible one. The study is one of many warnings to those who may too readily conclude that if something is seen in the brain, it must be causing what is seen in the mind.

      Not so. It is only a correlation, another set of data to be meticulously compared with those of thought and behavior, leaving the task of discerning causality as difficult as ever, sometimes more so. Yet it is very, very important data, and it can certainly change our sense of ourselves—especially if we are among those who think of the mind as something separate from the brain.

      The “New Biology” and “The Self”

    • catweazle666

      “4.) There is no free will nor moral responsibility.”

      It strikes me that ‘modern neuroscientists” are just another bunch of scientific illiterates who have entirely failed to grasp the implications of chaos theory.

      There’s a lot of it about.

  11. “When you see something that has been cited 2,000 times, it’s not like you say, oh, let’s go see if it’s correct or not,” he says. “It was a done deal.” http://www.wired.com/2016/05/geology-breaking-apart-americas-came-together/

    [Until you check with the real world]

    Sound familiar?

    • Peter Lang

      Permanent ice sheets began to collect about 10 Mya in East Antarctica and 5 Mya in West Antarctica and Northern Hemisphere. The start of permanent ice sheets at the poles coincides with the new finding that North and South America joined about 10 Mya.

      There has been no ice sheets at either pole for about 75% of the past 400 million years. So, no ice sheets is clearly the normal situation. And life thrived.

      The planet will stay in a coldhouse phase until North and South America separate. That will be many millions of years away, or longer.

      Why would any one believe we are endangered by CO2? On what rational basis can it be postulated CO2 emissions will be dangerous or catastrophic?

      • “The planet will stay in a coldhouse phase until North and South America separate.”

        Not really. Ice ages take place at about 150 Myr, with some being stronger than others. It is possible that continental disposition enhances Ice Ages, but it is unlikely to be the cause of a periodical phenomenon. Quaternary Ice Age is at its peak, and should be over in about 40 Myr regardless of what North and South America do.

      • Peter Lang


        You missed the point. I was not talking about the ‘ice ages’ or more correctly the glacial interglacial cycle (which occur o a ~100,000 year cycle, not 150 Myr cycle). I was talking about the coldhouse phases which is what the planet is in now. it started cooling 50 Mya and ice sheets started forming as I stated in my previous comment. We are currently in only the third coldhouse phase since multi-cell animal life began (during the last Snowball Earth about 620 Mya). We are in an unusually cold time.

        Here’s a bit about the previous coldhouse phase (which was of some 70 million years duration): http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

      • The 150 Myr cycle is clearly apparent in Veizer’s data:

      • Peter Lang


        Your use of the term “ice age” confused me. Usually, “ice age” means glacial period, not “coldhouse” phase.

        Can you please post a link to Veiser’s chart and paper. Does it explain the cause of the 150 Mya cycle?

      • Ice Age is any period when there is a permanent ice sheet at least over one of the poles. We are right now in an Ice Age called the Quaternary Ice Age that started 2.58 million years ago according to some, or 10 million years ago according to others.

        Jan Veizer constructed the most comprehensive database of marine delta 18O isotopic variations for the entire Phanerozoic period, and later expanded it to earlier periods. There are multiple graphs over the internet plotting the data from this database that is publicly accessible.

        Veizer’s most famous paper is:

        Veizer, Jan, Davin Ala, Karem Azmy, Peter Bruckschen, Dieter Buhl, Frank Bruhn, Giles AF Carden et al. “87Sr/86Sr, δ13C and δ18O evolution of Phanerozoic seawater.” Chemical geology 161, no. 1 (1999): 59-88.


        As far as I know there are only hypotheses about the periodicity of the ice ages. A popular yet discussed one claims that it is due to the transit of the Solar system through the galactic equatorial plane.

      • Peter Lang

        Thank you Javier. I should have realised you were meant “ice ages” as understood by geologists, not as seems to be more widely used in public discourse to mean the glacial periods.

        Could you please give me a link to the chart you posted in your previous comment. I want to be able to link to it (as you did) and cite the reference.

        My interest is in the policy relevance, rather than gaining a detailed understanding of the science.

        Is the chart you posted widely accepted? If so, is it included in IPCC AR5 (I haven’t seen it there)? If not, why not?

      • The data from Vezier’s studies is so much widely accepted that a different version of this graph is used in Wikipedia in multiple pages:

        The version I am using here and I used in my blog was made by Bill Illis for a WUWT article:
        The figure is no longer available there as he put it in imageshack instead of WUWT archives.

        I changed the X axis to have the present at right, unlike geologists, and used the figure in my blog (properly crediting it to Bill Illis and Jan Veizer)

        I do not know if Veizer’s data has been used in IPCC AR5. Probably his work has been referenced. I guess IPCC is not interested in Phanerozoic climate changes as they are only concerned with human caused climate change.

      • Peter Lang


        Thank you. I looked for a chart on an authoritiative source like the one you have shown but couldn’t find one. Can you give me a link to a similar graph, including showing the times of ice ages and major extinction events, from an authoritative reference (peer reviewed. I need to link to it in an authoritative reference, no a blog site.

        IPCC WG1 Chapter 6.3 covers the Pre-Quaternary Climates. That’s where I the figure in my first comment you responded to is: https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-6-1.html.

        Chapter 6.3 is here: https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6.html

      • Peter Lang

        Your first chart shows that the current glacial period is the coldest. However, the second chart you posted shows the Ordovician-Silurian glaciation was the coldest. Which is correct? It’s an important point for the message it sends. Your fiorst chart is the clearest, especially as it includes the major extinction events all being in the cold times, not the hot times. An authoritative source for a chart like that by Veizer is what I’d like. I’ve looked but haven’t found one.

      • Peter,

        If you need a published graph of Veizer’s data, let’s see if this one serves your purpose:

        Regarding mass extinctions associated to profound cooling, some of them apparently are, like Late Devonian:

        But this is a very controversial topic since different authors blame mass extinctions also on global warming, CO2 increase, or increased vulcanism, besides the proverbial asteroid rain.

        For the link between mass extinctions and isotopic excursions see:

        Regarding whether the Ordovician-Silurian ice age or the Quaternary ice age is colder, I don’t think we can tell. For the graphs the difference is due to the different averaging methods. Taking Veizer’s delta 18O data at face value, it looks like the Ordovician-Silurian ice age has a more profound excursion to the cold side.

      • Javier,

        Thank you for your reply. I’ve been Away and only just seen it.

        Charts in pdf documents cannot be posted on web sites like this. I was looking for one showing the same information as your chart, but from an authoritative site. I was looking for simple, like your chart, showing global average temperature and with the ice ages and major extinction events shown.

        The IPCC AR4 WG1, Figure 6.1 is one authoritative chart (see my first column in this sub thread), but not as clean and simple as yours and does not show the same temperature profile. I’d need to be able to explain, in simple terms, why they are different and which is correct.

        Another authoritative chart is Hansen and Sato, 2011, Figure 1 ‘Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change’ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51916914_Paleoclimate_Implications_for_Human-Made_Climate_Change

        There is the widely quoted schematic by Scottese ‘Paleomap Project’ http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm

  12. “…a researcher for the RAND Corporation where she is involved with wargames, futures methods, and a variety of defense-related studies.”

    Well, my theory on war is now confirmed. The reason the West fights the wrong wars and loses them all is that we have too many faddish intellectuals buying into fad theories. (Works for climate too.)

  13. ‘Another gem from brainpickings: Information versus wisdom [link]’

    A lament for the loss of ‘perfect narratives’, which were by no means perfect anyhow, and created rather than discovered much of the ‘wisdom’ therein. This lament is a negative meme: ‘the past is always better’. Nor have emergent cultural narratives, ‘revealed through the layers of a variety of retellings’, disappeared anyhow; they are still with us. The certainty of imminent (decades) climate calamity, is such a narrative.

    To prefer the delivered ‘wisdom’ in cultural narratives, epic and emotive and compelling (due to our evolved sensitivity to them) as they typically are, is to prefer fantasy with its own agenda, over reality. Great for entertainment maybe, but a very poor second as something ‘solid and useful for human life’, to real data and scientific understanding. This is like preferring the stories and recipes of witch-doctors over the formulas and process of modern medicine. Neither are perfect, yet the latter has much the stronger means to track reality; in fact its main failures occur when those supposedly ‘perfect’ narratives still derail objective method.

    • andywest,

      I agree that narrative and storytelling (also known as ‘theory’ in science) are still very much with us. And they serve the same purposes they always have.

      Narrative and storytelling were never exclusively about truth-telling, at least if we venture outside the romantic Alice-in-Wonderland world of Rousseau. Included in their purposes have always been domination and social control:

      From the essay:

      One can hear the echo of Rilke’s passionate exhortation to “live the questions” — a celebration of the uncertainty necessary for the telling of truth — in Benjamin’s case for the sensemaking power of story.

      There’s that uncertainty monster again.

      The dogmatists have worked long and hard to eliminate her, but she still lives, even though wounded and battered.

      An orientation toward practical interests is characteristic of many born storytellers… This points to the nature of every real story. It contains, openly or covertly, something useful.

      And therein lies the very point that makes Benjamin’s meditation so timely and so unshakably urgent today — this fashioning of experience into something “solid” and “useful” for human life is precisely the transmutation of information into wisdom that we, a century after Benjamin, are increasingly losing and desperately need.


      Our current crop of intellectuals, writers, scientists, artists and political elites have their heads in the clouds. Their milieu is to be found inside the beltway, inside their tony galleries, coffee shops and bookstores in the major urban areas, and inside the ivory tower. In this world where ethereal abstraction rules, they are isolated from real flesh and blood human beings.

    • For a rebuttal to Popova, and how she gets some things wrong with her romanticization of the past, one probably couldn’t get mcuh better than this:

    • To prefer the delivered ‘wisdom’ in cultural narratives, epic and emotive and compelling (due to our evolved sensitivity to them) as they typically are, is to prefer fantasy with its own agenda, over reality. Great for entertainment maybe, but a very poor second as something ‘solid and useful for human life’, to real data and scientific understanding.

      But what is the origin of “our evolved sensitivity to them”?

      I would say, more or less in line with Barber & Barber, that prior to the invention of writing, such cultural narratives were the best record available of distant and/or past events and processes that could be highly adaptive to a culture dealing with unfamiliar situations.

      Just because we’ve invented something much better doesn’t mean the older resource is completely without value. Especially when it comes to mythic stories of cultural “leaders” who got their followers into lethal trouble.

      • Good point. Our evolved sensitivity is because, overall, they have been a net benefit. Cultural narratives produce a consensus in the face of the unknown, which is significant advantage not dependent on the details of the particular narrative. But the costs can be high, despite a long-term net benefit. Now that we perceive their action, we could avoid these costs.

  14. With respect to growing airport lines …
    We’re entering into the very start of the summer travel season, and so more infrequent flyers are coming to airports.

    And TSA, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t see this coming or if they did they didn’t do anything about it.

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – President Reagan Aug. 12, 1986

  15. The drought has been shrunk mightily …

  16. After IERJ published the conclusion to a research assignment from my research mentor in 1960, I prepared this brief, two-page tribute to PAUL KAZUO KURODA (1916-2001):


  17. Astronomer Stacy McGaugh, in an article about contrasting gravitational theories and whether the law of General Relativity needs to be “tweaked”:

    “Ultimately, what we want is irrelevant. Science is not a consensus endeavor: the data rule.”


  18. Not content with charring birds to a crisp, the Ivanpah solar plant smoked itself! Note in the picture the scorched area has grates where people can walk. That would have made a great headline if a person got fried. From the article:

    Misaligned mirrors are being blamed for a fire that broke out yesterday at the world’s largest solar power plant, leaving the high-tech facility crippled for the time being. It sounds like the plant’s workers suffered through a real hellscape, too.


  19. Rapidly changing climate is not really news anymore but here is another one.”Spring Has Sprung In The Arctic … But It’s Way Too Early For It
    NOAA just reported the earliest snowmelt in 78 years of recorded history.”

    • And that follows this item from a week ago.”‘Unusually’ Thin And Fractured Arctic Ice Hints At Yet Another Record Melt
      Could we even be facing an ice-free Arctic summer?”

      • jimd

        huffpo have managed to change the 73 years of record keeping at Barrow as reported by NOAA to 78. You will recall the Arctic warmed substantially from around 1912 to around 1942. Unfortunately record keeping started in Barrow 1943 so its not surprising the earlier record temperatures that might put today into context were ,missed.


      • The Arctic area is about a degree warmer now than it was in the 40’s, so it is no surprise really.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, I love the way you ignored Tony’s point. Classic greenery.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, how exactly do you know what the average area temperature of the entire Arctic was in the 1940’s, to a degree or so? Do you realize how preposterous that claim is? Of course you don’t.

      • The global temperature has risen almost a degree since then, and we have Arctic amplification that adds the rest, so unlike the skeptics who are always taken completely by surprise when the Arctic sea ice reaches new lows, I’m not. It is expected and predicted to continue in much the same way as the warming of the last 60 years.

      • Don’t know why you post this stuff. The “ice free this year” claim is bullsh*t.

        It is interesting that we could get a record low ice extent this year. If we don’t get a record low this year the “ice melters” are in trouble.

        I’ve never followed the devolution of a strong El Nino and the evolution of a strong La Nina so am not sure what to expect from this winter yet. But the Arctic is exhausting a phenomenal amount of El Nino heat. What happens when the heat runs out?

      • PA, obviously you have seen that it is already a record low for the time of year, and by a large amount, but some here may not have been following because the “skeptic” sites make little mention of it.

      • Well, the “it is all going to melt” narrative is invalid.

        The ice pack is small enough in volume you might get a record low. But without odd winds blowing the ice through the Fram strait and an odd blocking pattern funneling heat to the Arctic there is going to be ice. The missing extent is outside the Arctic ocean and really doesn’t matter. It would take twice the record ice melt to give you an ice free Arctic.

        Crow while you can. The next couple of years (starting with this winter) may be real tough on the “its all going to melt” theorists.

        There is more old ice that just won’t melt than during the previous minimum. So I’m dubious we will have a record minimum but it is definitely possible.

      • It doesn’t help the “recovery” meme, when you keep setting new low points to recover from.

      • Jim D, This may help you to understand the AGW science, maybe not?


        Nobody knows nothing.

      • Jim D.

        For those that prefer their climate info from a source more reliable than the HuffPo, NOAA: “Arctic set for record-breaking melt this summer“, 20 May 2016.

        No mention of “ice-free”.

      • HuffPo only phrased it as a provocative question. It might draw readers. If you read the article, it is not mentioned as a possibility.

      • Jim D.

        “HuffPo only phrased it as a provocative question. ”

        That’s pure clickbait, the kind mocked in this classic “Bloom County”, by Berke Breathed. More evidence that you should be getting your info from NOAA, not tabloids.

        Bedfellow: “Hello, Bloom Beacon! This is Senator Bedfellow! What’s with this headline? … There’s no story, just a headline!”

        Milo: “Which headline?”

        Bedfellow: “The big headline on the front page!” ‘BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST’”

        Mile: “Oh, that’s just a typo.”

    • Natural variation at its finest!

      • “Denial” at its finest.

      • Yep, you deny it’s due to natural variation. You seem to be clueless how science works.

      • Temperature records and forcing records proceed together, but not connected to each other. No siree bob. No way. Not even perhaps. That is denialism.

      • Temperature records and forcing records proceed together, but not connected to each other. No siree bob. No way. Not even perhaps.

        And what about those (much more numerous, AFAIK) who do say “perhaps”. Perhaps it’s at least partly CO2, perhaps it’s entirely natural variation. You and yours still call them deniers.

      • I have yet to see a “skeptic” say perhaps it is all GHGs, which is the center of the IPCC position (positive imbalance left, pipeline warming due). This is specifically where the denial is: not even saying perhaps it is all.

      • I have yet to see a “skeptic” say perhaps it is all GHGs, which is the center of the IPCC position […]

        Well, yes. The chance of that is very low, considering how previous warming phases were clearly not from GHG’s. (Unless Salby’s right, of course.)

        Of course, it can’t be ruled out that “natural variation” actually reduced what “would have been” a larger warming from GHG’s. But the whole “would have been” paradigm is invalid. Natural variation is involved in climate all the time. Period. End of sentence.

        The chance that the participation of “natural variation” in the recent warming is exactly zero is infinitesimal, of course. As anyone who understands PDF’s will realize.

        The biggest problem, IMO, is the unwarranted assumption that “natural variation” and “GHG’s” have additive effects. Especially at the scale of “global temperature”. Which is a myth of course.

        But AFAIK the vast majority of both alarmists and “skeptics” pretty much accept that unwarranted assumption.

      • Jim D | May 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm |
        I have yet to see a “skeptic” say perhaps it is all GHGs, which is the center of the IPCC position (positive imbalance left, pipeline warming due). This is specifically where the denial is: not even saying perhaps it is all.

        Skeptics don’t say it is zero either.

        The ECS studies are converging on a value of around 1°C. This makes the “deniers” twice as right as the “warmers” who converge around 3°C.

        If the IPCC doesn’t get with the science they will be revealed (as if it weren’t obvious already) as a political advocacy organization and not a scientific one.

      • “…it is all GHGs…”
        I hope this isn’t a case of semantics. Aerosols, solar, soot from forest fires, land use changes beyond the GHG effect and agricultural practices.

      • I think AK and PA both confirmed that they deny that the increase in GHGs can very likely account for all of the warming and more, which is what I said. It is a flat denial of the consensus view.

      • Ragnaar, the warming is very likely all GHGs with some offsetting factors as you list. Plus there is natural variation in the negative direction because the sun is less active now than it was 60 years ago.

      • Jim D | May 21, 2016 at 5:16 pm |
        I think AK and PA both confirmed that they deny that the increase in GHGs can very likely account for all of the warming and more, which is what I said. It is a flat denial of the consensus view.

        We know the effect was 0.2 W/m2 from 2000 to 2010 because it was measured. This is the period of greatest CO2 emissions increase.

        Further the ECS studies are converging downward toward 1°C and after Trump takes office that will happen a lot faster.

        The “consensus” view is that land use changes are negative. Pavement emits 200+ W/m2 more peak than grass. And at the end of the day the soil 2 inches under pavement is 20+°C warmer than ambient. Unlike grass which at 4-6 inches deep is at ambient at the end of the day.

        A tilled field as opposed to grass or forest, isn’t a lot better than asphalt.

        The consensus view on land use changes is frankly nuts.

      • I think AK and PA both confirmed that they deny that the increase in GHGs can very likely account for all of the warming and more, which is what I said. It is a flat denial of the consensus view.

        I think AK and PA both confirmed that they deny that the increase in GHGs can very likely account for all of the warming and more, […]


        I would certainly agree that the increase in GHG’s can account for all of the warming and more. I find it highly unlikely that it does, but that’s not the same thing.

        [… W]hich is what I said.

        Nope. It’s not what you said.

        It is a flat denial of the consensus view.

        It is most certainly not denial. Simply disagreement.

        The fact that you don’t understand the difference is what shows you to be the witch-burning fanatic you are.

      • AK, there are grey shades of denial, but saying something is very unlikely when the consensus says it is very likely is shading towards full denial. Complaining about IPCC certainty levels is one thing, but then proposing the same level of certainty in the opposite direction looks hypocritical on its face. I would call that level of certainty a denialistic tendency relative to the consensus.

      • Complaining about IPCC certainty levels is one thing, but then proposing the same level of certainty in the opposite direction looks hypocritical on its face.

        Only to a bear of very little brain.

        I would call that level of certainty a denialistic tendency relative to the consensus.

        That’s probably because you’re a witch-burning fanatic. Or at least have witch-burning fanatic “tendency”.

        As well as being almost as much of a blathering ninc0mp00p as Mike Flynn when it comes to the science you clearly don’t really understand. (Although you do a slightly better imitation than he does.).

        “Contrarian”, now. Yeah, I’d call myself that and proud of it. But the fact that somebody doesn’t see the essential difference between “contrarian” and “denier” just demonstrates that they’re a witch-burning fanatic.

      • Complaining about IPCC certainty levels is one thing, but then proposing the same level of certainty in the opposite direction looks hypocritical on its face.

        Only to a bear of very little brain.

        I would call that level of certainty a denialistic tendency relative to the consensus.

        That’s probably because you’re a witch-burning fanatic. Or at least have witch-burning fanatic “tendency”.

        “Contrarian”, now. Yeah, I’d call myself that and proud of it. But the fact that somebody doesn’t see the essential difference between “contrarian” and “denier” just demonstrates that they’re a witch-burning fanatic.

      • A contrarian would have an alternative theory that they believe instead. A denialist just says they think the existing theory is most likely wrong, but they are not sure why.

      • You might say the same about God, right?

      • It’s not a theory – a theory is established and widely accepted as proven. The word you seek is hypothesis. And the competing hypothesis is that the temperature variation we see is due to natural causes (not man-converted CO2)

      • >i>captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3 | May 22, 2016 at 11:06 am |
        PA, there are some great studies of athletic field surfaces.


        Thanks. The Virginia Highway department says pavement reaches a peak 60F above ambient. This is consistent with your numbers.

        The engineering studies for using the heat under pavement as an energy source are pretty damning. 50C for dirt two inches under pavement for an ambient of less than 30C. Plants shield the ground from energy that in pavement or bare dirt is either radiated immediately or stored in the ground for nighttime release.

      • JimD, “A contrarian would have an alternative theory that they believe instead.”

        Cool, my theory is that the main stream is politically biased and over egging the potential harm to “inspire” political action.

        “Of course there is no guarantee as to what will remain in the final report, which for all the talk of extensive reviews, is not even seen by the proletariat, let alone opened to their comments, prior to its final publication. The paper I refer to as a “small private opinion poll” is of course the Zickfeld et al PNAS paper. The list of pollees in the Zickfeld paper are largely the self-same people responsible for the largely bogus analyses that I’ve criticised over recent years, and which even if they were valid then, are certainly outdated now. Interestingly, one of them stated quite openly in a meeting I attended a few years ago that he deliberately lied in these sort of elicitation exercises (i.e. exaggerating the probability of high sensitivity) in order to help motivate political action.”


      • JimD, How about the use of scare statistics?

        ” Fossil fuel combustion harms air quality and human health. A 2010 study by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that air pollution from coal-fired power plants accounts for more than 13,000 premature deaths, 20,000 heart attacks, and 1.6 million lost workdays in the U.S. each year. The total monetary cost of these health impacts is over $100 billion annually.” Horrors! We must kill coal and make energy more expensive!!

        From the CDC, “Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years.” Wait, this is like 5 times or FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT WORSE!!! And alcohol is a KNOW carcinogen.

        “Acceptable” risk is three to five times worse than the sales pitch risk :)

      • captd, no, that puts you in the denialist category. I saw no alternative theory to AGW there. You are just saying you are sure it is wrong but you don’t know why or what else is right. See the distinction?

      • A contrarian would have an alternative theory that they believe instead. A denialist just says they think the existing theory is most likely wrong, but they are not sure why.

        Totally WRONG

        First of all, denial, in a psychological sense, consists of refusing to believe for other reasons, then looking for excuses/rationales to support it. (The Holocaust example fits well into this definition.) Deniers are perfectly capable of selecting a plausible or popular alternative theory. They are most easily identified (in scientific subjects) because they don’t understand either the paradigm they’re denying or the one they offer as an alternative well enough to make sense discussing them.

        As a contrarian, I recognize that every consensus paradigm has a chance of being wrong. A very good large chance, historically speaking, if you allow for small but critical details being off to count as “wrong”.

        So I look at the consensus, at the structure of circular definitions and assumptions that makes up the paradigm, and try to find large holes. Then I try to make an objective evaluation of the probability that the paradigm is wrong in general, not just detail.

        But when the “consensus” is clearly a social, not scientific, consensus, as is the case with the IPCC-sponsored “global warming” paradigm, it starts off with two strikes against it, due to the non-scientific nature of the consensus. In this case, an alternative theory is not really necessary. Even without a preferred alternative, it is possible to estimate a probability that the “consensus” paradigm is badly wrong.

        But I actually do have a preferred alternative theory, which is that what we call the “climate” constitutes the attractor within which the current state of the earth’s air/sea/surface system (i.e. “weather”) evolves. It is highly sensitive to even small differences in many boundary conditions, of which pCO2 is certainly one. Not just the path of the weather within/along that attractor, but the shape itself.

        As with almost all such hyper-complex non-linear systems that have been studied, it is subject to effectively random (actually pseudo-random) unforced variation at time-scales ranging from annual (where seasonal “forcing” provides an overwhelming enormous signal) to geological, where changes to the geological boundary conditions become indistinguishable from unforced variation.

        This unforced variation combines in a highly non-linear fashion with the effects of well-mixed GHG’s, which means that actually distinguishing the relative effects of changes to, say, pCO2 from unforced natural variation doesn’t even make sense.

        In a general way, I’d say my preferred theory (or cluster of theories) would fall into the same space with those of people like Anastasios Tsonis and others who focus on using tools like network theory to analyze climate. (Perceived differences are probably just semantic.)

      • JimD, “captd, no, that puts you in the denialist category. I saw no alternative theory to AGW there.”

        There is that clown car again :) The Greenhouse Effect estimate for CO2 doubling is ~1.0 C per doubling AGW would include land use and a variety of other influence unrelated to CO2. Climate change is a vague term for whatever happens it has to be due to CO2 and/or CARBON POLLUTION.

        If politics we not involved there would not be so many options :)

      • PA, since most progressive liberals seem to live in the frost/freezing zones I recommend we start a campaign mandating porous paving to mitigate climate change. That way they will be so busy repaving roads they won’t have much time to be progressive :)

      • Steven Mosher

        Jim D

        You realize of course that if you stopped fighting the “contrarians” here that with 2-3 weeks the place would soon be indistinguishable from WUWT.. an echo chamber on steroids.

        You might consider doing an experiment

      • AK, CO2 alone is worth 2 W/m2, more than a small perturbation in paleoclimate terms, and not surprisingly the temperature perturbation associated with it is not small either. You say just a timing coincidence and maybe even agree that the TCR looks like 2 C per doubling taken at face value, but you are sure it isn’t, because…(insert alternative theory here), or maybe just because you don’t want to believe it.

      • Look at it this way: there’s a fair-sized body of good, peer-reviewed science out there that goes to demonstrate that the simplistic, IPCC-sponsored, “global warming” paradigm is incorrect. In addition we have the well-documented history of anti-scientific social manipulations used in building that “paradigm”.

        We then have a large body of believers in that simplistic paradigm, who are upset at the perfectly valid scientific threats to it, and go into denial over them, not because of any lack of validity, but just because they don’t like them.

        This denial is characterized by conspiracy ideation (“it’s all a plot by ‘big carbon'”), demonizing anybody who disagrees with them, making threats and calling for “investigations”, and other behaviors that fall into the general category of “witch-burning”.

        It is these witch-burning fanatics who are the real denialists.

      • Mosh

        You do realise there is no such person as JimD? We all take it in turns to put the other side. Its been my turn this past week and I think I’ve done pretty well. Its the Captains’ turn next week then David Springer is on duty.


      • You say just a timing coincidence and maybe even agree that the TCR looks like 2 C per doubling taken at face value, but you are sure it isn’t, because…(insert alternative theory here),


        I never said “just a timing coincidence”. That’s you putting words into my mouth, because you’re in denial over what I actually did say.

        [… M]aybe even agree that the TCR looks like 2 C per doubling taken at face value, but you are sure it isn’t, because… […]

        Nope. I don’t “agree that the TCR looks like 2 C per doubling taken at face value”, I strongly question the assumptions that go into your fantasy “face value”.

        And I’m not “sure it isn’t, because”, to the extent something like “TCR” is anything besides a myth, it could very well be around 2°C/doubling, and explain the warming from 1970. Or it could be around 1°C/doubling, and explain 1/2 the warming. Or it could be around -0.5°C/doubling, with unforced variation accounting for more than the total warming. Or it could be around 3°C/doubling, with unforced variation accounting for the difference.

        Or, in place of “unforced variation” above insert “a combination of unforced variation with other “forcings”, including solar, biological, cosmic rays, aerosol (both natural and anthropogenic), etc.

        But since I can’t honestly assign anything beyond a 50% probability to the notion that “TCR” is anything besides a myth, and that with a huge uncertainty range, the whole idea of attribution becomes simplistic nonsense.

        Not only that, I question the whole concept of a single “global average temperature” as a metric for anything outside of the imaginations of a bunch of religious fanatics.

      • climatereason: You do realise there is no such person as JimD? We all take it in turns to put the other side.

        I put him (her?) on my never read list.

      • Oh, and the way you keep using the word “believe” also demonstrates that you’re a religious fanatic. As silly as my creationist friend who keeps telling me: “you’ve got to either believe it’s true or it isn’t” (the Bible).

        Science isn’t about “belief”. The closest it comes is accepting something as provisionally true with no immediate need for reassessment.

        When it comes to the IPCC-sponsored, social, not scientific, “global warming” consensus, every aspect is in urgent need of reassessment, and has been since the Climategate exposures. And will continue to be as long as we hear cries of “denier” and calls for “investigations”.

        These aren’t the tools of science. They’re the tools of anti-scientific witch-burning fanatics.

      • In my black book, AK gives the skeptic vote, while Jim D is still running with the 97%, denier crowd.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “I have yet to see a “skeptic” say perhaps it is all GHGs”

        What a profoundly crass statement, even by your exalted standard!

        I doubt you’ve ever seen s aceptic say that perhaps water isn’t wet either, Jimbo.

        There’s a reason for that, I wonder if you can guess what it is?

        Really, you need to engage your brain before you post…

  20. From the article:

    In what’s turning into a public relations headache for the solar industry, news has emerged that a recent test of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada resulted in some 130 birds catching fire, when they flew into an area of highly concentrated solar energy.

    As KCET’s Rewire is reporting, the incident happened last month, but the news is only emerging now. According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno, the birds were likely drawn to a glow created by the concentrated solar energy above the project’s sole tower.


  21. Unsettled science: Geology is breaking apart over when the Americas came together [link]

    Another paradigm comes crashing down:

    […] Those analyses confirmed that Montes’ rocks had come to Colombia from Panama as early as 15 million years ago, implying the continents were connected by rivers at that time.

    Not everyone is convinced, though. The 3.5-million-year date for the isthmus formation, which has been around for more than a century, is as close to a fact as science gets—so “of course, there’s a lot of resistance,” Montes says. Plenty of scientists disagree with Montes and Jaramillo’s theory of an older isthmus, and they’re not going to let it go without a fight.

    And this is in a field with little or no major economic/ideological significance.

    So what would it be like if there were (major economic/ideological significance)? Look no further than “global warming science”. The “physics” of “global warming from CO2” has also been around for more than a century, and is based on an obsolete notion: the idea that you can take calculations that work for a point (source of radiative energy gain and loss) and apply them to “global” averages to come up with an answer that makes sense.

    The whole science of chaos/complexity says otherwise, as even the most alarmist of scientists who study the field will admit if pressed (or if you carefully examine what they say). Just like the “3.5-million-year date for the isthmus formation”, the Arrhenius Model (or, technically, “global warming” models based on his speculations) has been around for “been around for more than a century”. It is treated as being “as close to a fact as science gets”, especially by pseudo-scientific alarmists trying to defend a failed paradigm.

    • I’m waiting for the confirmation from reanalysis of ocean sediments on both sides of the isthmus. You should be able to compare ocean fossils and salinity/mineral profiles to build a really solid case for the 15 million year theory. That’s how you advance science. If I wanted to displace a whole lot of fossils I might propose a series of large lateral earthquakes. At least that fits with known observations of the eastern Pacific rim.

      • Yeah, and another possibility is that there was a small island arc (or perhaps more than one) that got included early.

        But IIRC there’s a fair amount of evidence for intermittent connections both ways: land to land, and sea to sea (at different times).

        Not to mention the potential for rafting (for fossils). I once tried to build a model for massive riverine mudslides, following a rare massive over-inundation, that ended up dumping hundred-square-kilometer “rafts” of tangled branches, with much of the mud/soil washed out of the roots, into the ocean.

        This was actually to explain the spread of monkeys (and some rodents?) into South America, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar model for some north-coast South American river would work as well. Also, less plausibly, some Central American river for transport the other way.

        I suppose, with an open seaway, a model based on an Amazon flood might also be plausible. Perhaps.

    • If the dating of the isthmus formation is seen as a plate tectonic prediction failure in terms of the tectonic relationship between North & South America, then it allows other hypothesis with alternative predictions to shove a foot in a firmly open door.
      Alternative perspectives on tectonics have explanations for modern day solid earth processes which would have major implications the ideological alarmism of global warming.

      • Well, links to something with more detail might help.

        My first reaction is that you’re sounding like a creationist (IDi0t) who thinks a “failure” of an adaptationist or “spandrel” explanation/prediction opens the door to “Intelligent Design”. It doesn’t.

        OTOH, I still remember the first time I tried reading a modern explication of the sequence of subduction processes involved in forming the Japanese Islands. This certainly wasn’t the simplistic “sea-floor spreading and continental margin subduction” process I read about in the ’70’s.

        IMO (for the moment) what’s that what’s wrong with the current paradigm WRT Panama is the assumption of a simplistic closure. A prolonged “stuttering” process, with alternating regimes of land and sea connectivity, might end up being right.

        We must also remember, for purposes of climate modeling, that the depth and area of oceanic connections is also important. Shallow connectivity could allow warm surface currents to flow from the Atlantic (Caribbean) to the Pacific while blocking deeper currents that could flow at earlier times.

        The actual model (<i<i.e. a model that represents enough of the history to be predictive) of the Panama closure is likely much more complex than something like “it closed ‘x’ MYA”.

      • AK
        Agreed, creationists (IDiots).
        Other hypothesis that I was obliquely referring to is at this site

        Understand the seductive nature of an oceanic connection, similar to circumpolar current that developed after South American separation from Antartic. Above site poses a credible alternate and simple model of possible tectonic history between North & South America.

      • Oh, Expanding Earth. I’d put that in the same class as “Intelligent Design”. Or, perhaps, some of Velikovsky’s wilder notions. Planets bouncing around the Solar System like billiard balls all so the sun could stand still for the son of Nun.

        I’m not sure exactly what rationale there is for adding an entire new “prime mover” to insert mass into the Earth, when plate tectonics seems to explain everything just fine.

        Of course we have a proponent of the “iron sun theory”, I would speculate our hostess might allow room for “expanding earth” as well,

      • AK | May 23, 2016 at 9:12 pm |
        Oh, Expanding Earth….

        Of course we have a proponent of the “iron sun theory”, I would speculate our hostess might allow room for “expanding earth” as well,

        I would be surprised to find an expanding earth story in a scientific journal.

        An “Expanding Earth” article would be a “puff piece” which usually goes in a different sort of journal.

      • I would be surprised to find an expanding earth story in a scientific journal.

        IMO “iron sun” has similar defects: there’s no plausible wider narrative.

  22. David Wojick

    Tooting my own horn:
    No other science is so model dominated.

    • Wasn’t the World treaty on ozone depletion (Montreal Protocol) primarily predicated on modelling?

      • And the ozone hole’s still going strong.

      • David Wojick

        Yes, Stephen, in fact it was the model (no pun intended) for the climate change scare. Robert Watson produced a big multi-scientist modeling report that helped tip the scales so he and others went on to form the IPCC. Global environmental impact assessment is nebulous at best so the modelers have taken over the field.

      • From the article:

        This maximum size, however, is comparable to that observed in the years 2012 and 2013. Moreover, in 2014, the hole disappeared completely only on the 1st of December; in the years 2012 and 2013, on the contrary, the hole had already disappeared by the middle of November.

        These data seem to confirm the trend observed in the last couple of years, that is a stabilization in the dimensions of the hole, but with no significant further reduction.

        Researchers are trying to understand the reason of this apparent slowing down in size reduction. Future data should show if the mitigation strategies currently implemented are effective, or if different actions may be needed.


      • David Wojick

        Good stuff jim2. Note “….different actions may be needed.” That the ozone hole is natural, as many argued, hence indifferent to our actions, is not a consideration.

    • Try the plate tectonics as a model dominated science.
      AFAIK there is no crustal rock based evidence for tectonics beyond 180My. Beyond that everything is implied, inferred, invented, interpreted, modelled.
      So everything beyond 180My is not provable or falsifiable.
      Post 180My tectonics is then modelled by a hypothesis that does not make the evidence based distinction.

      • AFAIK there is no crustal rock based evidence for tectonics beyond 180My. … So everything beyond 180My is not provable or falsifiable.

        Your conclusion does not follow from your (arbitrarily limited and false) premise and you ignore mountains (literally) of non-model evidence.

      • In this non model evidence is there one rock formed at a tectonics spreading ridge that is greater than 180 My?
        Otherwise it’s modelling.

      • According to this site the oldest surviving sea-floor crust in situ is “about 280 million years old”:

        The oldest seafloor is comparatively very young: about 280 million years old. It is found in the Mediterranean Sea and is a remnant of an ancient ocean that is disappearing between Africa and Europe. The next oldest seafloor is found in the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean and the north-eastern Pacific Ocean, as far as possible from the mid-ocean ridges where they were created. These parts of the seafloor are about 200 million years old.

        As of March, 2007:

        Scientists have discovered a 3.8-billion-year-old rock formation in Greenland that they say is the earliest example of oceanic crust ever to be discovered


        Hidden in plain sight among an oft-studied cluster of ancient rocks, the Greenland formation contains a telltale structure known as a sheeted dike complex ([…]).

        Because such a complex can form only during continuous crustal spreading, it identifies the Greenland rocks as ophiolites, or pieces of ocean crust that were later stranded on land.

        I suppose you’d dismiss ophiolites as only counting as sea-floor because of “models”. But really, it’s models all the way down.

        You haven’t personally seen any actual sea-floor, have you? So you’re relying on somebody’s “models” for everything.

        Of course, Biblical “literalism” is a model as well.

      • Of course, since the whole system of radio-dating is based on models, you could dismiss all that and claim it was all created in 4004BC.

      • Fair points.
        In fairness I did say “otherwise it’s modelling”.
        As in modelling without reference to any actual rocks is purely modelling.
        Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought Geology was the story told by the rocks not a model based story.

        Your reference about 280My old sea floor is interesting but seems to be an argument from authority. It is principally an assertion that is expected to be accepted at face value. It does not provide the precise location of the rocks in question nor their geographical extent. It does not define the method by which these rocks were identified or a paper providing a description. So I might just let that one go.

        It is my experience that faith based analogies are common in science. Having seen such arguments in the CC debate I find them a double edge sword with both sides of the debate making such points, always achieving nothing. So I will refrain from such comments, but if you feel they craft a better argument by all means make those points.

        With regard to the Greenland Ophiolite, I was unable to access the map to gauge the nature and extent of the rocks being referenced and I only have access to the article not the related paper.
        My understanding of Ophiolites is that they are sections of ocean crust that have been uplifted into continental crust. The article asserts that the uplift is caused by collision of tectonic plates. There is no description of the actual plates that they reference. The dike complex is attributed to crustal spreading, not specifically a spreading ridge and does not identify a spreading ridge.
        The solid earth process uplifting the Ophiolite is asserted here to be plate tectonic, but a detailed argument supporting that point not presented. To that extent it is merely conjecture. Perhaps there is more in the paper. This argument reminds me of the climate catastrophe papers that conclude that it’s all caused by climate change but don’t actually show how.

        Your comments on my generalisation on modelling acknowledged.
        I left myself open to that.

      • Well, see, the problem with being a skeptic is that it’s your choice which “consensus” science(s) you choose to question, and your responsibility to give it/them a fair trial.

        That link worked for me, although I had to authorize a security exception in my browser (their certificate seems to be invalid), and I had to solve a rather simple capta (to prove I’m human. The instruction to solve the capta is in Russian, you can take my word for it or use Google Translate.

        In general, though, it’s not my responsibility or anybody else’s to provide you with the papers that validate scientific claims. I’ve tracked down thousands of papers in my own skeptical journey, and usually find their claims to be valid, although the interpretations might be open to question.

        If you want to be a real skeptic, you should learn to use Google, Google Scholar, Sci-hub, and other such resources to get to the papers yourself. In fact, you could have done the same Google search I did to come up with the sites I linked.

      • As it is defined in the Bible, the model is that of One coming in the clouds, and that all flesh will see…would you feel like an idiot the next day? Just to be fair.

      • AK

        Thank you for the link. Read abstract.
        As is sometimes the case in these situations the article is far more dramatic than the paper.
        The abstract described as inferred, an ocean, island arc and spreading ridge setting … from the dike geochemistry. It does not actually describe or report finding rocks from a spreading ridge or a spreading ridge as they exist in our oceans today.
        That’s better than just making it up, but not much.
        If plate tectonics is to be invoked, at bare minimum, a description of rocks from a spreading ridge is needed. Inferring, implying or inventing does not cut it for me.

        Thanks for engaging with me.

      • austparagus:

        AK has done an admirable job pointing to a small portion of the supporting evidence for tectonic plates and continental drift, which you mostly dismiss as “modelling”. Given your idiosyncratic standards, I honestly don’t know how you can dig yourself out of your own epistemological hole.

        Our very existence is based on inference from unprovable assumptions based upon possibly hallucinatory observations. Most of us are willing to whistle past that graveyard and engage a given hypothesis (or theory) on its own terms.

        To put it simply: Rejecting coherently presented evidence does not advance the debate. Good luck to you, nonetheless.

      • Look at it this way: nobody does research in fields such as evolutionary theory or plate tectonics for the sake of “proving” them to skeptics. The paradigms are accepted, and research is done for the sake of addressing detailed questions the paradigms define.

        IMO the best place to start is with the work of Thomas Kuhn. By examining his ideas about “paradigm shift”, and the histories of the shifts he describes, one can come up with a (somewhat heuristic) understanding of what a paradigm is.

        I would very simplistically describe my own impression of a “paradigm” as a self-consistent structure of interlocking definitions and assumptions that work together to support one or more research “programmes” by defining appropriate questions for research, and limiting questioning of assumptions to those at the “cutting edge” of the research “Programme”.

        From the outside, any such paradigm is a huge network of (apparently) circular definitions and logical progressions. From the inside, it eliminates massive waste of time by focusing effort on what the paradigm itself defines as “unknown”.

        Since not long after Darwin, for instance, the paradigm of evolution by natural selection has come to be generally accepted. Researchers may provide strong evidence-based arguments for or against certain “programmes”, such as Neo-Darwinism, Adaptationism, “Spandrel” theory, or Evo-Devo. But nobody is arguing about evolution by natural selection itself, and nobody is trying to prove it.

        The same is true for plate tectonics. There are a good number of fundamental questions that may or may not be open, depending on one’s approach to specific “programmes”. But nobody in the field questions the general idea of sea-floor spreading and subduction. Nobody’s out to “prove” plate tectonics to proponents of “expanding earth” or whatever, any more than anybody doing research in evolutionary theory is trying to “prove” it to creationists/IDi0ts.

  23. RE: A skeptical take on ‘Skepticism’

    Great article!

    Horgan’s roll call of the “idols of Capital-S Skepticism” — Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krause, Stephen Hawking, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Michael Shermer, Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, and “the late, great warmonger Christopher Hitchens” — is like a short list of the most doctrinaire, dogmatic and bigoted personalities to be found in the sciences.

    • There are some good things in this article, for example his opinions about the tribalism displayed by Dawkins and Krause.

      There are some stupid things in this article, for example be skeptical of string theory and multi-universes but give climate change a pass. Horgan appears to be one of those sciencish writers who do not have a clue about skepticism about climate change and prefers not to discuss it.

      The informed comments take Horgan to task for being a poorly informed idiot.

  24. David Wojick

    The “conflict of interest” article seems oblivious to the most obvious COI, which is government funding biased in favor of mission support. See my little study:

    • I suppose one could argue that grant recipients already report their “mutuality of interest” biases when they reveal the underwriting grants.

  25. ulriclyons

    Undersea waves may melt Arctic sea ice:
    “Ice reflects 80 percent of sunlight while the ocean absorbs up to 90 percent of sunlight. Less ice cover makes the planet vulnerable to more heat from the sun’s rays, which accelerates global warming. Receding ice also has serious impacts on local habitats, ecosystems, and indigenous communities.”

    Clouds and water vapour increase in the Arctic as sea ice extent diminishes, reducing solar heating.
    The sea ice insulates the Arctic Ocean keeping it warmer, it cools faster when exposed. After summers with greater losses of sea ice extent, the rebound to the following Spring maximum is stronger.

  26. Omega Block and Fort McMurray
    I agree with the theory but not so much the bias. If cool comes South and warm goes North, what’s the problem? That would seem to lessen the Polar Equatorial Temperature Gradient over time and could be a negative feedback.

    • “Omega blocks are fairly common in spring”

      The strength of the pole-to-equator gradient varies much more from February to June than AGW can ever produce.

      But, for the Northern Hemisphere, for many longitudes, blocking indicates a contrary relationship to the Francis meme:
      DJF stronger gradient -> stronger blocking
      JJA weaker gradient -> weaker blocking

      • The main Francis graph showing the evolution over about 62 years may show different regimes a la Tsonis. An idea I’ve been thinking about:

        I hope it’s understandable. It goes something like this: The PETG is the control variable. At some important slope value, the jet goes from linear to a Z curve system. As the Arctic warms it stops blocking warmth out with a rigid jet to allowing it in with a wavy jet. It allows it in so it can then go out of the TOA.
        “One of the most important and mysterious events in recent climate history is the climate shift in the mid-1970s. In the northern hemisphere 500-hPa atmospheric flow the shift manifested itself as a collapse of a persistent wave-3 anomaly pattern and the emergence of a strong wave-2 pattern.”
        I am taking wave-2 to be a more rigid jet. If there are cycles, they could be detectible in long term wind patterns.

  27. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby for sub grid scale parameterizations.
    Exaggerator won the Preakness for Hansen.
    I’m liking Abiding Star in the Belmont for the next solar minimum.

  28. Regarding undersea waves and sea ice:
    Playing the appeal to authority card:
    “What I can share from our findings is that the freshwater balance, and therefore the halocline, is largely responsible for the winter time trends of sea ice growth.”
    Winter sea ice growth controlled by freshwater. I am going to take what Wyatt wrote and guess that freshwater is good for sea ice. So we would have more evaporation in the equatorial Atlantic as temperature records are falling like dominoes. I am suggesting that that freshwater from evaporation finds its way to the polar and near polar regions via large circulations. And then we have sea ice. The high salinity Gulf Stream meets the freshwater it lost months ago. And we watch what that does to total sea ice.

    • I am suggesting that that freshwater from evaporation finds its way to the polar and near polar regions via large circulations. And then we have sea ice.

      This doesn’t seem to make sense unless you add precipitation: “freshwater from evaporation finds its way to the polar and near polar regions via large circulations [and precipitation].” Was that what you meant.

  29. Pingback: Week in review – science edition – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  30. A cloud conundrum:
    What is this going to do to the estimates of sensitivity? If one browses the comments, there’s a few alarmists and a great majority of skeptics.

  31. The following press release should make you wonder about how advanced Neanderthals had gotten before they were reduced to living deeply in underground caves as the one found in France. Also to what extent they had evolved to before they were once again relegated to such abodes and had to compete with the rise of “modern man”. This bodes very strongly on how “modern man” can survive a “super” freeze and carry many of our current advances to the next cycle and compete with the next onsault of “warmies”!!