Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Ocean temps predict U.S. heat waves 50 days out [link]

A tale of two blobs:  very nice collection of essays from CLIVAR on the warm blob in the Pacific and the cold blob in the Atlantic [link]

Abandonment of composting hurts farmers w/out making food safer: [link]

Rise in record rainfall 1980-2010 globe up 12%; Europe up 31%; central NoAm up 24%; S.E Asia up 56%; 2015 study: [link]

Investigating #ClimateChange at Earth’s “Third Pole”: Ice cores reveal #Tibet’s #climhist of more than 500,000 years [link]

NASA study finds the arctic is changing, becoming greener [link]

“Elevated CO2 and Temperature Enhance the Grain Yield and Quality of Rice” [link]

Paleoclimate analysis of temperature and precipitation variations in the Himalsyas [link]

Roy Spencer: Another Potential Reason Why Climate Sensitivity to CO2 is Over-Estimated [link]

No significant increase in long-term CH4 emissions on North Slope of Alaska despite significant increase in air temperature [link]

Heterarchies: Reconciling Networks and Hierarchies  [link]

NGeo: Hitherto unknown sources of sulfur dioxide pollution revealed in satellite inventory [link]

UKMO:  Research provides new perspectives on recent changes in the Atlantic Ocean [link]

What caused the recent “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” weather trend? [link]

USDA:  Climate Data Tools For Informed Decisions [link]

New paper out Characterizing Arctic sea ice topography using high-resolution IceBridge data [link]

Irreducible uncertainty in near-term climate projections. Blog post;  Climate Dynamics paper [link]

Deep, old water explains why Antarctic Ocean hasn’t warmed [link]

Extraordinary Greenland ice sheet runoff in 2012 was amplified by hypsometry and depleted snow meltwater retention  [link]

Methods a #DataScientist needs in 2016 [link]

Tidal Troubles In The Mid-Atlantic. [link]

Pielke Jr:  Catastrophes of the 21st Century [link]

AGU:  Climate scientists as activists [link]

US Congress aims to cut climate science [link]

Mark Steyn: Trial of the Century update [link]

The latest academic witch hunters: feminists [link]

Kristof on academic left’s hypocrisy: “We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.” [link]

New Yorker: Examining the new wave of activism on college campuses across the country: [link]

163 responses to “Week in review – science edition

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

  2. Climate Scientists as Activists

    “Just as citizens are increasingly participating in the scientific process through numerous citizen science programs, scientists are increasingly exercising their rights as citizens in the political process.”

    There is no fundamental right to citizenship. Possessing the privilege of citizenship does not empower those citizens to disregard fundamental rights of people who do not share their views.

    “This trend is most notable in the effort to develop the political will to prevent climate change.”

    Because that’s all the science Steven Ghan needs; “political will”.

    “Since climate change is a global problem arising from the actions of almost everyone, global political solutions are required to prevent it.”

    If the actions didn’t happen via a global mandate then it does not follow that a reversal of those actions must happen via global mandate.

    “A large number of AGU members, motivated by the energy use implications of their climate research, are actively advocating local, state, national and international commitments to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that their science has concluded is driving climate change.”

    It’s never even occurred to these AGU members who identify as activists that they could use the market place to sell their ideas. It has never occurred to these activists that the reason there is an abundance of products like “gluten free” foods, or “fat free” foods is not because of science, nor because of a deep seeded need help people, the market is gluttonous with these products because some clever people convinced the public they were better off by buying bread that was “gluten free” and cake that was “fat free”.

    These simpletons don’t need government force to sell their ideas, they only have to be clever enough to sell them, instead the loud and droning calls for oppressive government regulations is all they can imagine.

    • Jean Paul Zodeaux said:

      It’s never even occurred to these AGU members who identify as activists that they could use the market place to sell their ideas.

      Oh, I think they’ve been there. Done that.

      But the public didn’t buy what they were selling. That’s why the technocrats now want to use the labyrinthine byways of an unelected, undemocratic, bureaucracy to inflict their anti-people, anti-growth agenda upon the world.

    • And congress has it right.

      The only way to get rid of this anti-democratic, blood-sucking technocracy along with its hard-on for humanity is to drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub:

      U.S. Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science.
      Proposed cuts to NOAA and NASA target climate change research in particular


      The spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee last week allocates $128 million for NOAA’s climate research, a 20 percent cut from the previous year. The bill allocates $1.7 billion for NASA’s earth science division, a 12 percent cut from 2016.

      • Peter Lang

        Is this a sign that pressure is mounting on politicians to get rational?

      • Peter Lang,

        After 24 years of the same-o same-o failures from team Clinton-Bush-Obama, is it any wonder that people are willing to try something new?

        Above all else, Americans are pragmatic. And if Clintonbushobama Incorporated can’t bring the bacon home, are the American people to be faulted for looking for someone who can?


      • Note that it is not modeling they want to cut here, but observations: CO2 measurements, CO2 emissions and ocean acidification. They just don’t want to know. Inconvenient knowledge. Fingers-in-the-ears attitude to climate change. If they could stop temperature and sea-ice monitoring, they would do that too. Remarkable stuff.

      • Jim D,

        The Warmists did this to themselves.

        If “the major science issues have been resolved” as Ghan assures us, then why the urgency for more research? Could it be that fleshing out that boogeyman is a bit more difficult than the Warmists believed?

        How’s that politics of fear working out for you?


      • You would think so, but I think there’s a few people left in Congress who haven’t accepted the science yet, and we can’t just ignore them for practical reasons, so the effort continues until they join in. Meanwhile these same people are trying to stymie the effort best they can.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “there’s a few people left in Congress who haven’t accepted the science yet”

        I don’t suppose it’s occurred to you that due to their position, scientific literacy and contacts they might be better informed than you and know something you don’t?

        Further, I can assure you that they are getting more common, not less.

        And when Trump takes over…

  3. “We also identified periods when average temperatures in Tibet went up and down by several degrees Celsius in roughly 200-year cycles. It’s still a mystery why that was the case, but we suspect this may be related to the 205-year cycle of solar activity.”


  4. Curious George

    I have been working your list bottom-up. Extremely depressing.

  5. On the two blobs, looks like the AMO is in a standoff. So far, it cannot cool. The PDO is still solidly positive. The May number for the NOAA PDO dipped a bit.

  6. Professor Curry,

    I admire your courage and tenacity in trying to identify a scientific basis for worldwide climate policies. Unfortunately, science seems to have little or nothing to do with the current climate policies.

  7. Rise in record rainfall 1980-2010 globe up 12%; Europe up 31%; central NoAm up 24%; S.E Asia up 56%; 2015 study: [link]

    That is at least qualitatively in accordance with the findings of increased maximum rainfalls in the central US, and increased mean rainfall with increased mean temperature in models and empirical research.

    • The actual paper is paywalled making it difficult to assess methods or results, despite agreement with pre-existing assumptions. However, the SI suggests their data coverage is heavily concentrated in the US and Europe, with the oceans essentially unsampled.

      • Steven Mosher

        ya all that rain on the ocean made it really wet

      • Unmeasured reductions in rainfall over the ocean could offset increases over land. Seems unlikely to be the case, but that would suggest a different situation from one with increasing rainfall everywhere. You know, “science.”

        Studying effects over land is a legitimate investigation by itself. But the SI suggests less than 20% average coverage in the tropics and subtropics, which makes global coverage even sketchier.

        Regardless, it’s paywalled so you have to tithe to enter the church of knowledge.

      • If there is a change in the proportion of rainfall between oceans and continents, it sticks out like a sore thumb… 2011 La Nina global sea level drop; 2014 to current global sea level spike. So I would suspect the proportion into the oceans is could be a bit higher 2014 to present.

      • I’d suggest it’s meaningless unless they took a good look at trends during the 30 years preceding the 1980-2010 period. While the abstract references the 1901-1980 period, one might expect that there might have been perhaps a few multi-decadal trends, both positive and negative.

  8. “Elevated CO2 and Temperature Enhance the Grain Yield and Quality of Rice” [link]

    It goes in the “good” side of the ledger, always dependent of course on confirmation by independent researchers.

  9. “The annually resolved reconstruction is based on a large tree-ring data set of Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara) and neoza pine (Pinus gerardiana) from 16 ecologically homogeneous moisture stressed settings in Kinnaur, western Indian Himalaya.”

    Brings a smile to the lips. Wonderful things, trees. Depending on your initial assumptions, they can be used as proxies for all sorts of things, apparently. Temperatures, rainfall, maybe even cloud cover? Maybe excessive cloud hampers growth? Or maybe excessive cloud promotes growth, by being associated with increased rain, but not too much, which might retard growth, if also associated with reduced sunshine.

    I’m not sure how the tree whispering helps to develop viable water resource management plans to cope with another 300 year drought if it happens again. Maybe what’s behind the paywall explains it all!


  10. “…record rainfall events….” “unprecedented daily rainfall events…”

    Based, of course, on rainfall measurements stretching back over a century in Europe and the US. Other places did not have the same level of quality of historic weather data.

    The words “record” and “unprecedented” have lost their significance and have become meaningless. But the study allowed the authors to kick up the level of confidence a notch or so from medium to high in their conclusions about
    extreme precipitation events.

    Only in climate science.

  11. The New Yorker piece is a wonderful read illustrating how we are becoming a nation of navel gazers with too much time on our hands. What a shock it must be for these kids to have to lower themselves after graduation and do something as tedious, boring and degrading as holding an actual job.

    • Imagine the demise of society in the hands of ignorant, navel gazers who simply make un-negotiable demands unless properly pampered!

      “I demand all energy be recyclable I demand better weather.” Etc. etc.

      Does such social insanity result from the decision to hide humanity’s total dependence on the stormy star next door – that made all the elements and birthed the solar system – rather than modern climate “witch doctors” like Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC ? Mere mortals, more phony than the “Wizard of Oz!”

    • catweazle666

      What a bunch of utter nutters.

      Reading things like that seriously reinforces my hope that Donald Trump wins the election. Hopefully the special snowdrops will all evaporate in a puff of vapour.

  12. Meagan McArdle recently wrote Global-Warming Alarmists, You’re Doing It Wrong

    In it she references the Coyote Blog which in turn, references these plots ( as seen elesewhere ) from John Christy:


    This is contrary evidence to a general assumption that with global warming, ‘there are more hot days’. It’s logical, right? But evidently not so.

    So I ask, Does global warming mean less extreme heat?

    I posited that increased humidity means an increase in latent heat which might reduce extremes of sensible heat.

    But looking at the number of extremely hot days, it appears drought may explain the distribution. Drought causes extreme heat, and since drought has not increased in the US, neither has extreme heat.

    But it’s worth noting the significance. The all natural Dust Bowl caused a lot of extreme heat, while global warming has apparently caused none.

    • Danny Thomas


      Thankfully some are beginning there is not such thing as ‘global’ when discussing ‘global (my choice of term follows) climate change’.

      “”The oceans are acting to enhance warming in the Arctic while damping warming around Antarctica,” Armour said. “You can’t directly compare warming at the poles, because it’s occurring on top of very different ocean circulations.”
      Knowing where the extra heat trapped by greenhouse gases goes, and identifying why the poles are warming at different rates, will help to better predict temperatures in the future.
      “When we hear the term ‘global warming,’ we think of warming everywhere at the same rate,” Armour said. “We are moving away from this idea of global warming and more toward the idea of regional patterns of warming, which are strongly shaped by ocean currents.”

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-05-deep-antarctic-ocean-hasnt.html#jCp

      Having an outside discussion about the ‘worrying’ effects of increased precipitation rates where I stated that the scientists use of ‘worrying’ is unscientific and and subjective. Since rates of increase vary regionally some will benefit and some may indeed worry: (From another offering of Dr. C’s): https://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/record-breaking-heavy-rainfall-events-increased-under-global-warming?set_language=en

    • Yes, but can industrial agriculture and irrigation (i.e., fossil water use) be a major factor?

  13. Interesting…

    What have you learned from Tibetan ice cores?

    They have given us a glimpse of Tibet’s climate history going back to more than half a million years… .with the slow wobbling of Earth’s rotational axis, which drives tropical rainfall in 21,000-year cycles. We also identified periods when average temperatures in Tibet went up and down by several degrees Celsius in roughly 200-year cycles. It’s still a mystery why that was the case, but we suspect this may be related to the 205-year cycle of solar activity.

    • also noticed by Capt. D above
      possible non-anthropogenc natural cycle
      nothing to see here folks
      move along
      (especially ignore the several degrees C part)

      what exactly is the difference between several and a whole lot?

      • …several is 3 or more but less than many so far short of a buttload so nothing close to a whole lot although still, very possibly a large number– give or take a few…

  14. Record floods simultaneously in the US and Europe. Second year in a row with a 500-year event in Texas according to this.

    • Two years ago Hayhoe and Dessler were telling everyone Texas has entered AGW induced permanent drought. Don’t confuse weather with climate.

      • Climate is about the frequency of extremes too.

      • A respected atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, the 43-year-old had been invited to discuss climate change, and she breezed through her PowerPoint slides, delivering stark news in an upbeat manner: unless carbon emissions were swiftly curbed, in the coming decades Texas would see stronger heat waves, harsher summers, and torrential rainfall separated by longer periods of drought. – See more at: http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/katharine-hayhoe-lubbock-climate-change-evangelist/#sthash.oQGrtPPO.dpuf

      • JCH, that is May 2016. She has upgraded her slidedeck from two years ago to include downpours between droughts, since it has been downpouring. But she cannot erase her previous messages about permanent drought, in the same journal. When she predicts everything, she predicts nothing. And her temperature hockeysrick slides are borderline academic misconduct.

      • “Don’t confuse weather with climate.”

        Yes climate is the fictional weather some imagine we’re supposed to have.


      • A respected atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, the 43-year-old had been invited to discuss climate change, and she breezed through her PowerPoint slides, delivering stark news in an upbeat manner: unless carbon emissions were swiftly curbed, in the coming decades Texas would see stronger heat waves, harsher summers, and torrential rainfall separated by longer periods of drought.


        That’s why the Dust Bowl and 1950s droughts and heatwaves happened, because there was so much global warming.

        Global average temperature does not cause drought.
        Global average temperature does not cause floods.
        Global average temperature does not cause heatwaves.

        If they did, there’d drought every summer, right?

        Fluid dynamics cause weather and climate.

    • Jim D, you mean an endless search for the next Texas Sharpshooter fallacy in every single set of observations about everything. To be a successful prediction, it must be first predicted and OTHER THINGS NOT PREDICTED.

      AGW activists/proponents have at this point predicted everything and anything about the future, more rainfall, less rainfall, more drought, less drought, more extremes, less extremes,. Make up a prediction about anything and you can find a paper or an article that made the prediction.

      So whatever happens now or tomorrow, someone like you can point to the paper that predicted it and say we predicted that.

      Seriously, it’s getting so that reading tea leaves is more scientific.

      • They do not predict statistically significant cooling… a real drop in the GMST. So when that never happens, you ain’t never gonna gig ’em.

      • You can read the article about heavier rainfall events in the Week in Science list. Yes, some regions are getting heavier rainfall, while others like the western US and Mediterranean are getting drier, as was suggested could happen. It is not contradictory to have worse droughts and heavier rainfall events both as trends for the same place, like Texas. Heavier rainfall events doesn’t always mean more total rainfall, and that is not what they say. This item was specifically about events.

      • It is not contradictory, nor is it indicative of anything if not specifically predicted to the exclusion of the opposite prediction. There will always be trends in any weather observations of any kind. Rud said it best, when you predict everything, you predict nothing.

      • The heavier rainfall follows from warmer air holding more water. The air gets warmer so what rainfall there is gets heavier. Tropical rainfall has always been heavier than that at higher latitudes for the same reason. It comes as a consequence of thermodynamics.

      • Jimd

        We can trace these heavy and light rainfall events throughout history. Amongst other Factors, it has to do with wind direction as well as warmth. One decade often differs appreciably in its wetness from its neighbour either side.

        Kington of CRU has traced the differing characteristics of each decade back some 600 Years. I have done it sporadically back some 1200 years.

        If you want to see for yourself how some areas become drier whilst others become wetter! or the incidences of rainfall become heavier or lighter, I suggest you go and look at the US weather review, published monthly from around 1850.. These changing weather patterns are as old as time.


      • Steven Mosher

        The “more” and “less” rainfall looks like you are predicting everything

        BUT… Its not.

        A simple example:

        I have a bucket of water.
        I sprinkle it on my back yard.
        Every square inch gets a drop.

        Now, I change how I water.

        I throw 2 cups in one spot.
        math is funny.
        This means other places will get less water. I only have a bucket full.

        A warmer atmosphere will hold more water
        Folks predict that under global warming storms will move slower.
        Some places will get hit with many cups of water.
        That leaves other places to get less water. More HERE entails
        LESS there. UNless you believe in water faires.

        The problem isnt that this prediction rules out nothing.
        The problem is you cant predict accurately ( regionally) which
        areas will see more rain and which ( cause its math) Have to get less.
        But some WILL get more, which entails that otters must get less

        The alternative condition would be this. ( its possible I suppose)

        It gets warmer:
        The air holds more water.
        The water falls to earth in the exact same pattern and the extra water is spread uniformly.. so wet areas get a little wetter and dry areas get a little wetter.

        Here is a clue. The warming will not happen UNIFORMLY and when there is more water in the atmosphere the excesss water will not fall uniformly.

      • Certainly part of AGW theory is a ‘water vapor feedback’ which should increase precipitable water.

        However, one cannot use that rational for increased flooding and also increased drought.

        Also, dynamics are more important than temperature as far as flooding is concerned. How can I state that so cavalierly? Look at the Wiki page of US floods. They have occurred fairly evenly across all months Jan-Dec.

        The humidity of rainfall comes from the oceans – a near infinite supply.
        Much of it comes from the tropics. That’s why even in the cold of winter, there are floods.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Certainly part of AGW theory is a ‘water vapor feedback’ which should increase precipitable water.

        However, one cannot use that rational for increased flooding and also increased drought.”

        Your choice brother.

        The theory holds that there will be an increase in precipitable water


        1. The total amount of rain that falls will increase
        2. the system will magically limit the amount of rain that falls… because
        well, you say so.
        3. the amount of rain that falls will decrease.


        Support your choice with some sort of argument.

        Then we can proceed to step 2.

        Lets assume you pick 1. More precipitable water > more total rain.

        Now you get to answer the question about how it falls.

        1. it falls magically so that places that had floods before will have less rain and those that were dry get more
        2. it magically falls uniformly… in which case places that flooded before will STILL flood and maybe some new places will flood.
        3. It falls like it falls now and wetter places will get wetter and flood more,
        consequently, drier places may get drier.

        so yes, you can use the fact of more water vapor as a rationale for more flooding and more drought.

        That is what building a hypothesis is all about.

      • Unless someone next door is using their weather modification (not climate modification) program.

      • so yes, you can use the fact of more water vapor as a rationale for more flooding and more drought.

        No, that’s ridiculous.

        Saying less rain will fall because there’s a greater potential for rain to fall is illogical.

      • Saying less rain will fall because there’s a greater potential for rain to fall is illogical.

        No it isn’t.

      • Stevie Ray didn’t just pull the title from thin air.
        Anyone who’s lived in Texas knows floods are a regular occurrence.


      • Steven Mosher,

        The air over the Libyan desert (or Death Valley) is quite hot during the day. Not a lot of rain.

        People that say a warmer atmosphere will hold more water are talking Warmese. True under certain circumstances. Real scientists tend to be fairly specific with definitions, so that what they say is properly understood by others, and useful as a starting point for discussion.

        Warmists use Weasel Words. Half truths, obfuscations, pointless and irrelevant analogies. All to disguise their total and absolute failure to achieve anything of benefit to humanity.

        I have performed experiments relating to transmission of various wavelengths of EMR (light) through various gases. You haven’t. You’ll make all sorts of excuses to avoid doing so, as do Warmists generally.

        I suspect they know what the results will be. Just for fun, you might wish to generate some chlorine (preferably in a clear container – it’s poisonous). You will note that when illuminated by white light it has a green colour. You may care to find out why.

        Interestingly, Fermilab answered a respondent (presumably a student) who posed a slightly similar question. The answer provided was wrong, but the Fermilab scientist realised he was wrong, and provided a revised answer. Stephen Pordes wrote “. . . sorry to make you read so much – and for the wrong answer the first time – . . . “.

        The scientist in question has a PhD from Harvard, and seems to a reasonably senior person in the Neutrino Division. I’m reasonably sure he is a more qualified scientist than you, but correct me if I’m wrong.

        Maybe you think that endlessly adjusting historical temperature records is science. I don’t. The records are either correct, or not. They are irrelevant to foreseeing the future, and are at best, a matter of historical curiosity.

        When you have figured out why chlorine is “green”, and the physical consequences, you may well decide that the greenhouse effect is nonsense. Have fun! Do a few actual experiments! Do some science, for a change!


      • catweazle666

        Steven Mosher: “It gets warmer:
        The air holds more water.”

        Doesn’t seem to be happening.




        Do try to keep up.

      • The air holds more water.
        Perhaps when it holds more water it cycles out faster. That transport from the surface back to the surface occurs faster.

    • Jimd

      Record floods in Europe in what respect? Who says so? It doesnt say that even in huffpo. Some areas in Europe have had the highest river levels in 30 years or just over 100 years. I have seen for myself marks of flooding on buildings dating back some 700 years far worse than today.

      The flooding is quite self contained to certain parts of Europe. Until the happy days of Brexit dawns, Britain is still in Europe and I spent half of the day watering my garden. It’s been quite a long dry spell here.

      As for Texas and its 500 year old record, I wasn’t aware that Texas had a 500 year long history.


      • Yes, 100-year events in Germany and/or France. It was on the radio. For Texas, it must be so far beyond the tail of their distribution that they make it about a 500-year return time, but climate is changing and it returned in one year instead.

      • JimD, “Yes, 100-year events in Germany and/or France. It was on the radio. For Texas, it must be so far beyond the tail of their distribution that they make it about a 500-year return time, but climate is changing and it returned in one year instead.”

        I have to remember this one for later.

      • The Texas state climatologist is Jon Nielson-Gammon. Maybe he has an opinion on return times for this event, or perhaps they got it from him(?).

      • Jimd

        Here is an article by that very man. These 500 year events seem to occur with astonishing regularity….


        Doing some research into California floods a few years agoIn the US wrather review I came across numerous severe flood references relating to the Texas area during the period 1850 to 1890

        These serious floods are not unusual in either Texas or Europe


      • That’s climate change for you.

      • One interesting thing I found was the climatological precipitation tables for Texas, and they do map 500-year events as part of this.

      • Danny Thomas

        Thanks for this link. It’s from 2004. Quick search shows no update (easily located at least). Are you aware of an update including 2015 precipitation?

      • It would be tough to update these kinds of things. Climate is a moving target at the moment. The best you can do is scale it, so a 100-year event in the 20th century becomes a 10-year event in the 21st, for example.

      • Danny Thomas

        Thanks for a good giggle. Much like the work from 2015 indicating the regional changes in precipitation are considered ‘worrying’ by the scientist (an unsubstantiated opinion), I got a kick outta the ‘100 year event becoming a 10 year event’ viewpoint.

        The conversation should be on regional impacts and not painting some ‘global’ picture with such a blunt broad brush.

        The statistical variation can only be reasonably applied to regions. That there has been some level of increased precipitation in one area (say Texas) has zero impact on an arid region which has had no modification in precipitation levels. Seems it should be framed as such and it seems at least some are looking things in this fashion.

        I do appreciate the link.

      • No, it’s a real problem. Imagine you have a moving distribution and you are trying to say what frequency a point currently on the tail has. How would you even go about defining a return period? What does a return period mean in those conditions? Would it be conditional on the climate stopping changing today? Would that assumption be much use? These are the questions for climatologists now. Instead of return periods, you may now have to define the frequency change with year for a given extreme event, which I believe is how they are treating coastal flooding probabilities, for example.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim D,

        Which part ‘is a real problem’?

        Coastal flooding is typical. I scanned thru the pages and pages of exhibits in the USGS work and wonder of all wonders I discovered that in pretty much all the variety of of ‘events’ there is a greater incidence of higher levels of precipitation as one nears the Gulf of Mexico as opposed to the more arid regions of Texas and those further from the great water source.

        So one part of the answer regarding estimating how frequently an event occurs must take regions in to account. Based on the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico alone the likelihood of increased precipitation levels increases.

        The climate of Houston must be separated from that of El Paso, and finding that some are comprehending this need (finally?) although late in coming is a good sign!

      • The changing statistics is a real problem. Your drainage system may be designed for 100-year return period. If that level becomes routinely exceeded on decadal scales, you have to rethink. Same with sea walls, levees, etc. Change, especially at a fast rate, leads to increasing problems with time if you don’t plan for it. I don’t think I am saying anything surprising here.

      • Danny Thomas

        Well you’re correct about not saying anything surprising. What was it Mosher said again? Something about preparing for yesterday’s weather?

        Well we ain’t there yet.

        One step at a time Jim. One step at a time.

      • The same mistake gets made over and over. During the 20th century vast flood infrastructure was built in Texas: seawalls, levees, dams, lakes, channels, storm sewers, etc. After tropical storm Allison, which did vast damage in Houston in parts of the city that already had very expensive flood mitigation infrastructure in place, they constructed another array of extensive mitigation infrastructure… especially in the hospital district.

        If you do not account for the infrastructure, you cannot compare the floods.

        The Wivenhoe flood looked average when compared with history. Once the infrastructure was accounted for, the Wivenhoe flood stood toe-to-toe with historical floods.

    • BTW, I tracked the storm which caused the Texas flood.

      I live in NM and was curious that the models and forecasts didn’t indicate rain here. But I saw the low spinning off the california coast in the satellite imagery with a trajectory to the south of us. Sure enough later the forecast changed and the rain fell. That storm slowly trekked across Texas, entraining lots of Gulf air. When that happens, regardless of season, there will be floods in Texas.

      The storm moving slow is typical of June, but the latitude and intensity was not. Very low June temperatures were behind the associated cold front. So why not argue that anomalously cold conditions caused the flooding?

      • The jetstream is sluggish. Same situation in Europe. Could be related to unusually warm Arctic this spring.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jetstream? Can Omega blocks be attributed to a warm Arctic?

      • The jetstream is sluggish. Same situation in Europe. Could be related to unusually warm Arctic this spring.
        The NH jet stream is always sluggish in June because there is more incoming sunlight at the poles than at the tropics. This is not related to AGW.

      • But that brings up a lot of issues.

        Francis hypothesis was sea ice decline -> Arctic warming -> weakened jet -> persistent patterns.

        First, the Arctic does warm with declining sea ice, but at the surface.
        The jet is the result of gradients in the upper trop, not the surface.

        Second, as the plot of insolation indicates, the gradient of radience varies a lot. Much more from Jan to July than AGW – the same fretting could be save for normal climate, because normal climate has strong and weak jets.

        Third, arctic heating is maximal during winter ( because of latent heat of freezing and more ocean heat being lost to the atmosphere ). Arctic warming is close to zero for the summer ( because latent heat of melting is being taken up ). So this storm doesn’t have anything to do with Francis hypothesis because it’s June, not January.

        Fourth, The Hot Spot would tend to increase the gradient, in a big way, from pole to tropics at 500 mb and above. This means a strengthened jet, not a weakened one. That hasn’t happened for the satellite era, of course, and upper tropospheric temperature trends don’t indicate much change. Will the Hot Spot occur? perhaps, but Francis’ theory is diametrically opposed to the consensus theory of warming. So which is it? Hot Spot? or weakened jet?

    • Jim D:
      You wrote about a 500 year return time. It’s assumed returns are getting shorter for 500 year events because of climate change or some other reason. Normal conditions are in the middle, 500 years events are uphill in either direction.
      The basin of attraction flattens because of climate change or some other reason. The 500 year events become more common and a Trump presidency becomes more likely as the political basin of attraction is bent out of shape these days. I think it’s assumed that some level of CO2 say 280 ppm, gives us the deeper basin attraction.

      • In the case of a Gaussian distribution, a shift by one standard deviation causes a 100-year event to become a 10-year event. This can be applied to summer-average temperatures for example where the projected shift in most land areas could be more than five standard deviations by 2100 meaning that an extremely warm 20th century summer is on the cold end by 2100 and the average summer then would be hot beyond anything a particular region has seen yet. Rainfall may not be Gaussian, but similar things would apply. The tail gets longer in that case.

    • http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/data/pngs/20160531/20160531_usdm_home.png

      Texas finally gets off the Palmer drought index after a 5 year drought, a fork was put in the permanent drought claims, and now Huff has something else to complain about.

      This just proves some people are never happy.

  15. Spencer on sensitivity. Both his and Lindzens papers diagnosing low sensitivity from delta TSI/delta T have been rightly criticized for the arbirtrary lags used. So I tend to think his first point is faulty. His second point about bias is an interesting and logically correct one I have not seen before elsewhere.

    • A choice of zero lag is just as arbitrary as a choice of a non-zero lag. It could be argued that finding the lag empirically is the right way to go. But once the lag is chosen, it has to then be verified by future measurements.

      • J2, finding negative sensitivity (Lindzen 0.7 versus CO2 only 1.2) based on short periods of large delta TSI/delta T is suspect for a number of reasons. There simply is no observable mechanism, especially in the two most important feedbacks, water vapor and clouds. For example, near surface water vapor follows the Clausius/Clapeyron equation. Only in the upper troposphere does it not. That strongly implies a positive WVF, but not as strong as in the models. So some ECS>1.2. And the energy budget studies suggest 1.5-1.8. Not that outliers are automatically wrong, but in this case probably so.

      • “There simply is no observable mechanism”

        The lack of a mechanism isn’t a show stopper. Sometimes, one has to collect a lot of data and use it to infer a model. Like Newton and gravity, but a lot more complicated. Personally, I think we need to collect more data over another couple of decades. Mainly because that will give us a better data platform to help distinguish between natural variability and “man made” forcing.

      • There simply is no observable mechanism, especially in the two most important feedbacks, water vapor and clouds.

        Personally, I’m doubtful that any mechanism for a negative “feedback” from water vapor will be found.

        But clouds are another story.. The observations were reported (not peer-reviewed) in 2006.

        The problem is with interpreting those observations. My own speculation:

        For me, the more important potential effect is on evaporation, which in any circumstance of air temp, humidity, and wind conditions would be higher with higher skin temp. This without any significant differences in temperature beyond a few microns. Most evaluations of “feedback” from clouds and water vapor depend (AFAIK) on modeled differences in air and water temp on a scale of meters.

        But this effect could take place absent any higher temp, which means increasing humidity at the surface and in the mixing layer (under 1 km). This in turn would often (usually?) lead to more clouds, which would both increase the downwelling IR and decrease the short-wave due to higher albedo. This means low clouds from increased evaporation from more GHG’s would produce a positive feedback at the skin, while producing a negative feedback on overall downwelling radiation.

        According to Minnett:

        Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g. doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels will increase the net forcing by ~4W/m2), but the objective of this exercise was to demonstrate a relationship.

        This means positive feedback from clouds could produce an up to 2500% amplification of the effects of GHG’s increasing evaporation while decreasing overall downwelling radiation. The actual extent of the feedback would depend, of course, on local conditions.

        Somebody pointed out to me, however, that simple transport could also allow the cloud “feedback” to be negative. Large amounts of dry air over tropical oceans, with virtually no temperature rise (because almost all the extra energy goes into evaporation), which is transported via the monsoon effect to continental regions where it contributes to much more cloudiness, with higher albedo and much less absorbed SW.

        The result of such a loop in a small area could result in a substantial negative feedback from clouds on a regional scale. I don’t see why this couldn’t, in principle, overbalance the almost neutral feedback from cloudy air over most of the rest of the globe.

        Relevant to this is the fact (IMO) that the models can’t seem to get the monsoon effect right

      • ristvan:

        There simply is no observable mechanism…

        Lindzen & Choi sought to observationally test the assumption, found in most models, of strongly positive cloud feedback. The IPCC was officially uncertain of the sign, but models assumed positive. You left me wondering why you think there’s no possible (or demonstrable?) mechanism for lowered sensitivities due to cloud feedback?

        L&C chose a lag period based on maximizing R (correlation). Maximum R was found with lags from zero to one month. Is that the arbitrary aspect you dislike?

      • Opluso, Dessler 2010 did an interesting study comparing clear sky to all sky TSI. Basically no pattern, r^2 0.02. Suggests cloud feedback in agregate is about zero even though Dessler asserted his data showed was positive. Junk stats conclusion. The data for Lindzen’s adaptive infrared iris suggests it could be negative in the tropics. Ditto Eschenbachs Tstorm regulator hypothesis. Essay Cloudy Clouds makes clear IPCC thinks substantially positive, but without a shred of observational evidence. (I cover all three possible lines of evidence: more cloud, different cloud mix, wetter clouds (optical depth). Having looked at all the published papers (including the many poor observational cloud results in models with positive cloud feedback) I come down on about zero until better evidence appears.
        And, as previously posted here on other threads (Moncktons equation guest post), IPCC ECS ~3 implies net Bode feedback +0.65. IPCC says WVF is 2x CO2, so 2.4 and Bode f of 0.5. All else, mainly clouds, is therefore 0.65-0.5=0.15 per IPCC. Now, observational energy budget ECS is maybe 1.5-1.8. That is Bode f 0.25-0.3. There are several reasons (precipitation being one) to think the WVF is maybe 50-65% of modeled. If all else (clouds) is zero, then lower WVF run through Bode gives the correct observational sensitivity range. A rough double check.

      • Re: Dessler 2010

        Spencer & Braswell (2011):

        Our Refutation of Dessler (2010) is Accepted for Publication


        Steve McIntyre on alternative to Dessler’s methodology:

        The supposed relationship between CLD forcing and temperature is reversed: the slope is -0.96 w/m2/K rather than 0.54 (and with somewhat higher though still low significance).


      • “J2, finding negative sensitivity (Lindzen 0.7 versus CO2 only 1.2) based on short periods of large delta TSI/delta T is suspect for a number of reasons. There simply is no observable mechanism, especially in the two most important feedbacks, water vapor and clouds.”

        Water vapor, clouds, convection and precipitation are all inter-related so looking for “A” mechanism would be a bit tricky, but if you want “A” mechanism think about the convective triggering mechanism.

  16. Rice. This is a new set of experiments on a C3 plant, but not a new result. Specifics depend on cultivar (e.g. Temperature adaptation) and experimental details. But there is always greening and enhanced rice yield with CO2 fertilization. Essay Carbon Pollution provides a lot of additional info, and also for other major crops.

  17. David Wojick

    I have been working on an analogy for why climate sensitivity is a highly misleading concept, which makes it worse than useless. CS is like the rate of fall of a feather in a vacuum. There is such a thing in the abstract, but we live at the bottom of a chaotic ocean of air, so this is not how feathers fall in our world, not even close. Under common breezy conditions here a feather might well go upward, not downward.

    And so it is for so-called climate sensitivity. It is just an idealized abstraction, describing a world that does not exist, but taken as true of this world. What a colossal misunderstanding!

    • DW, interesting thought, but not sure I fully agree.
      Take your feather analogy. In the long run, it comes to ground. Effective or equilibrium sensitivity is about the long run. All the turbulence in the short run washes out eventually. We see that in, for example, airbourne residence time of volcanic aerosols. Just as there is no global average temperature except in the abstract, but the abstraction can still provide useful information. So, abstracting to a new thermodynamic/radiative equilibrium at doubled CO2 provides useful information.
      The more difficult part (perhaps this is what you meant) is the notion of ever approaching that equilibrium in fact. The planet is dynamic, and dynamical systems don’t reach a rest equilibrium. The ice ages and interglacials show that on millennial time scales. MWP and LIA show it on centennial time scales. Arctic sea ice may show this on decadal time scales, just like the temperature anomaly record since 1910. Two equivalent periods of warming, two periods of cooling/stasis.

      • David Wojick

        CS is typically taken to mean what will actually happen when CO2 reaches 560 ppm (2 times 280) or some other near-term doubling. This is very false, hence not useful information.

      • David Wojick

        The analog is about the immediate rate of fall, not what eventually happens to the feather. Newton’s laws say one thing but the reality may have an opposite sign. That is the point with sensitivity as well. This fundamental confusion, between abstraction and prediction, infects the entire debate.

    • Steven Mosher

      bad analogy.

      Its really simple.

      The earth system responds to changes in forcing.

      The sun goes down. what happens?
      The sun goes out. what happens?

      When the forcing changes ( like in the little ice age ) the system responds.
      Less Watts in and you will cool. More Watts in and you warm.
      The change in temperature / the change in watts is your sensitivity.
      The earth is sensuitive to changes in forcing

      so suppose the forcing goes down… more clouds reflect more light back to space…suppose svensmark is right? Suppose we have another Mauder

      Will the cooling be uniform? happen all at once? nope we cant expect it to be uniform or happen all at once. But if you change the forcing enough ( how much) and for a long period of time (how long) then the earth system will respond to the forcing. That response is sensitivity.. in its barest form.
      No point in calling that “abstract”

      too many skeptics try to play the “meaningless card” or try to argue the science by looking at definitions. 5th grade debate.

      Much better approach is to accept the science as defined ( like Nic Lewis)
      and work to show how the uncertainties run in your favor.

      • Mosh

        On that subject, here is a letter from Nic Lewis that didn’t get printed



      • Mind you, it was only a week ago that the article was published in new scientist to which Nic is responding


      • David Wojick

        No Mosh, it is not simple, not even close. For example if there are nonlinear negative feedbacks then it may be chaotic. In that case increasing a forcing might cause the system to go in the opposite direction. There are other examples.

      • In that case increasing a forcing might cause the system to go in the opposite direction.

        IMO you’ll never get this point into many people’s heads, because they’re too mired in denial to look at their own hidden assumptions.

        I’ve been trying.

      • David Wojick,

        I agree.

        Perhaps no one has ever put it more eloquently than Leo Tolstoy:

        The human mind cannot grasp the causes of phenomena in the aggregate. But the need to find these causes is inherent in man’s soul. And the human intellect, without investigating the mutiplicity and complexity of the conditions of phenomena, any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, snatches at the first, the most intelligible approximation to a cause, and says: “This is the cause!”

        LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace

      • Steven Mosher

        “No Mosh, it is not simple, not even close. For example if there are nonlinear negative feedbacks then it may be chaotic. In that case increasing a forcing might cause the system to go in the opposite direction. There are other examples.”

        Sorry. the sun goes down, it gets cold.
        As soon as you have evidence of the actual earth system getting warmer when the total forcing goes down, you got nothing.
        Go back and watch Palmer again.
        There is a reason WHY people dont take you seriously.
        you are not doing science.

      • Steven Mosher

        Here AK
        Here David

        Let us know when you get invited to speak..

        shoot for tedX

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | June 4, 2016 at 10:52 pm |

        “There is a reason WHY people dont take you seriously.”


      • David Springer

        Mosher, forcing is defined by the IPCC as anything which causes the radiative balance at the tropopause to change.

        Assuming clarity is within the realm of possibility in your thinking please try to be more clear in your use of the term. For instance total “forcing” isn’t a matter of solar input. It’s influenced by changes in albedo, chemical composition of the atmosphere both above and below the tropopause, and so forth.

        To answer your request for data showing temperature going up while total forcing over a long period doesn’t trend in the same direction I would simply point to the beginning of interglacial periods. TSI doesn’t trend up when the climate state flips but temperature sure does.

        Thanks for asking. No go read about chaotic systems so Wojick doesn’t make you look like a dimwit so easily next time.

      • @Steven Mosher…

        Linking to Tim Palmer again.

        First of all, this guy’s completely immersed in the paradigm. What Kuhn would call “normal science”. Want an example? 48:00:

        There is no option other than to do it with very high-level super-computing.

        How would you have reacted during your defense work days if somebody’d said “There’s no option but to demand the government get us a bigger computer”?

        Is he right? Nope. From a previous response to you

        Eliminating as oversimplified and irrelevant all low dimensional deterministic toy models, the simplest approximations are probably low dimensional chaotic empirical models based on a selection of observed dominant Fourier modes and analysis of their non linear interactions (Tsonis like models). A breakthrough in coupled map lattices theory generalizing to variable local oscillators would bring us even farther.

        Or take his idea about lower precision computing. Sure, it might get some gains. But how about doing it with analog computers, rather than digital processing. A 64-bit FP variable can maintain a great deal more precision than any analog unit (AFAIK), but that probably isn’t true of the reduced precision variables he’s talking about.

        How many analog computers could you fit on a chip? Well, every flip/flop (in the processor and L1 cache anyway) actually contains several analog computers. Granted, to represent a single model cell you’d probably need more than a few transistors.

        But not that many. I’d guess, if you re-applied current chip technology to packing sophisticated analog computers onto a chip, you could probably get a million/cm^2 of computers capable of representing a GCM cell to the precision he’s talking about. Or at least, a hundred thousand.

        Palmer doesn’t seem to have any way to conceptualize this. Take a look at the first question, at 1:02:52. I don’t know for sure if this is what the kid asking the question is describing, but it certainly resonated with me. (I’ve thought about this option before, but I’m skeptical that the improved GCM’s would do any better than the current ones, so I’ve never pursued it.)

        Anyway, my point is more-or-less ad hominem: why should I take Tim Palmer’s word for it that his little “executive decision maker” analogy is valid, when he shows so little talent for thinking outside the box. I don’t know who Tomas Milanovic is in real life, but I’m sure he’s published the things he’s saying in more rigorous terms.

        Even Palmer admits that:

        In this example, the externally imposed forcing is considered to be weak. If the forcing is strong, then the general character of the response may well change. […] In a nonlinear system, the response will not scale linearly as the external forcing is increased to large amplitude.

        He’s referring to another toy model here, but the application to climate is clear: an argument by assertion that the “forcing” is small compared to the amount necessary that “the general character of the response may well change.

        I find this duplicated in most “consensus” climate arguments, an argument by assertion supported by arm-waving and “trust me” paraphrases. Sorry, I might “trust” Anastasios Tsonis, or “Tomas Milanovic”, but given Palmer’s demonstrated failure to “think outside the box”, I’m much more skeptical in his case.

    • Think of the temperature like a harmonic oscillator with an equilibrium position. We are shifting that equilibrium position upwards, and there is a delay in the system due to the ocean heat capacity, but eventually it will oscillate around that new equilibrium, if it ever catches up.

      • David Wojick

        Thinking of it that way is pur AGW speculation, disguised as science.

      • There is a restoring force, which is the radiative interplay with surface temperatures. Watch how quickly the El Nino disappears to see the power of this restoring force. It is radiation, not a La Nina that will achieve this.

      • catweazle666

        “Think of the temperature like a harmonic oscillator with an equilibrium position.”


        So we can add non-linear dynamics AKA chaos theory to logarithmic functions on the ever-lengthening of concepts of which you entirely lack comprehension.

        Jolly good.

        Carry on.

      • Exactly. The fast radiative response is why the temperature never stays much warmer or colder than the average for long. It is a tight spring in this oscillator. ENSO pushes it away, radiation gets it back.

      • David Springer

        Exactly wrong, Jimmy. Radiation doesn’t explain the current ice age nor the flipping back and forth from glacial to interglacial cycles. The climate system is a non-linear chaotic system. Here’s a little primer on it:


      • Radiation is a restoring force for the energy balance. The drivers can be regarded as chaotic: ocean circulations, solar variations, volcanoes, but the balance is restored by radiation that can respond fast to surface temperature changes.

      • Exactly. The fast radiative response is why the temperature never stays much warmer or colder than the average for long. It is a tight spring in this oscillator. ENSO pushes it away, radiation gets it back.

        Except for the recent ENSO.

        For most of the periods,
        anomalous high temperatures -> net radiance loss
        anomalous low temperatures -> net radiance gain
        Radiative response.

        The recent El Nino didn’t exhibit this.

        Instead, anomalous high temperatures were matched by net radiance gain.

        Does this mean the El Nino is a shortwave event?

        That’s what I gather, but of course, the CERES data has a lot of uncertainty.

      • There is a delay. First we have global record temperatures, then they start to go down when radiation catches up to the ENSO heating. It is not there yet, clearly, but you will see the radiation go negative soon, or else we are in deep trouble because the heat will persist at the new high temperature in a step-like behavior.

      • The PDO went positive… the NE Pacific blob.

      • Jim D’s, simplistic and inaccurate metaphor is a common mental model among AGW proponents and many Climate Scientists. It is this exact mental model that leads to the often expressed idea that “more energy in the system will lead to greater extremes”.

        They subconsciously imagine that the energy of the system is expressed as the amplitude of the oscillations, and not simply the enthalpy of the system. This leads to the explanations of colder winters and snow as “consistent with” global warming. Yes, there is additional kinetic energy in winds and tides, but this is inconsequential in comparison to the total enthalpy change.

        People often mistakenly believe that a rate of temperature change has an inertia, that it will continue for awhile after an external energy input is removed. This is as inaccurate as Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff and not falling until he notices, but a common mental model nonetheless.

        It never occurs to them that raising the heat content of the system could actual dampen the range of oscillations by compressing them to one side of the boundary conditions. It is my personal belief, not supported by much scientific literature, that a warmer world will be a world of less weather extremes. It is even possible that the small warming we’ve seen since the 1970’s is responsible for the current hurricane drought the US has experienced for over a decade.

        One of my mental tasks on the back burner to which I may get around someday, was to produce an animation demonstrating the MAJOR misconception of the climate system, not just in the public’s mind, but in the mind of many climate scientists as well.

      • That looks like a misconstrued view of what I said. The short-term oscillations are there anyway due to ocean circulations, the sun, volcanoes mostly, and these will always be there. The important part is the equilibrium point of the oscillations which shifts according to forcing, some of which may also be from the sun or volcanoes, but has lately been over 90% from emissions. The thermal inertia of the ocean prevents us keeping up with the equilibrium point and currently we are in an imbalance associated with a transient climate.

      • Perhaps there is some iota more nuance to your mental model, but why do you assume the amplitude of the “oscillations” will remain constant if the so-called equilibrium point moves? More pseudoscientific projection based on a faulty mental model of the climate system being a collection of damped oscillators.

      • These are things like ENSO, volcanoes, solar intensity, which are outside the system. There is no reason to believe these will change, although things may happen to ENSO and other circulations like AMOC that can have profound effects.

      • TE, I think it is both a transfer of stored heat and a SW forcing. Spencer did a good analysis of irradiative characteristics of ENSO events. There is a transfer of heat from ocean to troposphere and increase in outgoing LW radiation. Skies also tend to clear over the pacific and more SW radiation is absorbed. But anomalies is very small and sometimes during el Ninos there is more cloud over the pacific.

        IIRC la Nino tended to have slightly more cloud cover, so more heat is stored in the IPWP, but slightly less heat is accumulated in the whole earth system.

        My intuition is that forcing during ENSO events is chaotic and favors +/- forcing depending on PDO, AMO and other quasi-cycles . Certain regimes favor heat uptake or release (changes probability, not full on determines heat budget) during ENSO events.

    • The Bolshevik artists were also in love with an extreme form of abstraction, what they called Suprematism.


    • David Wojick

      Put another way, sensitivity is either a prediction or an abstraction. If a prediction, it assumes that the CO2 level determines global temperature, which is surely false. If an abstraction then the question is how it relates to global temperature, that is, what else is involved? This key question seems not to be asked, much less answered. My read is that sensitivity is an abstraction treated as though it were a prediction, a fundamental confusion.

      • More accurate to say forcing determines the global temperature, of which CO2 provides an important component, especially when it doubles.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Put another way, sensitivity is either a prediction or an abstraction. ”

        No: the climate sensitivity ( bare) is simply a metric.
        Change in temperature / Change in Watts.
        is that abstract? Is F=MA abstract?
        So youve started with a false dilemma. Not a good way to attack

        “If a prediction, it assumes that the CO2 level determines global temperature, which is surely false. ”

        Err no. The climate sensitivity is simply delta C/ delta F
        doubling C02 increases watts by 3.71. So the sensitivity
        with respect to increasing watts by 3.71 is called the ECS
        if we wait a long enough time for the increase to work its way through
        the system
        When say the Sensitivity to doubling c02 we MEAN the sensitivity
        to adding 3.71 watts ( regardless of the source)

        If an abstraction then the question is how it relates to global temperature, that is, what else is involved? This key question seems not to be asked, much less answered. My read is that sensitivity is an abstraction treated as though it were a prediction, a fundamental confusion.

        Err no. you are fundamentally confused.

        Start this way. ECS is the warming seen by adding 3.71 watts
        to the system and waiting until the system reaches quasi equillbrium.
        Thats about 3C. this also means if you added 3.71 more watts from
        the sun, you’d get the same effect.

      • Curious George

        Steven, is the dimension of climate sensitivity a Degree per Watt? I know I am just nitpicking, but does it have a physical dimension, or is it just a number, which would contradict your statement?

      • Steven Mosher,

        I believe you are mistaken.

        Filling a room with 100% CO2 (1,000,000 ppm) provides no additional Watts at all. Doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere provides no extra Watts at all. The temperature will not change in a positive direction.

        Your Warmist confusion about Watts, heat, and temperature is widely shared by many highly educated people calling themselves climatologists.

        Carry out some experiments. Do some science. If the observed results don’t agree with your predictions, your theory is wrong. Let me know if you manage to create some heat by adding CO2. I don’t believe it’s possible, but maybe I’m wrong.


      • “Filling a room with 100% CO2 (1,000,000 ppm) provides no additional Watts at all.”
        “Doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere provides no extra Watts at all. The temperature will not change in a positive direction.”
        Wrong! Spot the difference. Clue: the sun.

      • Jim D,

        Please reread what I wrote. Maybe I was not clear enough.

        Adding CO2 provides no extra Watts at all. In fact, the atmosphere and its components reduce the amount of insolation by around 30% or so, resulting in a cooler surface.

        The properties of CO2 do not change depending on whether the Sun is shining or not, whether it is in a bottle, or whether it is in the Antarctic or Singapore. It is definitely not a miraculous one way insulator.

        Interestingly, a Wiki reference to CO2 supports my contention. It also contains the following warning –

        “This article or section contains weasel words, vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information”

        I wonder if this is a reference to a supposed greenhouse effect?


      • MF, I think we have established in the past that you don’t understand how insulation works.
        Q: If you have an insulating gas, does the surface stay warmer than with a fully transparent one for the same surface heating by the sun?

      • Jim D,

        You wrote –

        “Q: If you have an insulating gas, does the surface stay warmer than with a fully transparent one for the same surface heating by the sun?”

        You might care to rephrase your essentially meaningless question. It assumes facts not actually in evidence. If I understand what you trying to imply in your odd Warmist fashion, the answer in reality is no. I don’t believe you are interested in increasing your knowledge at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, of course.

        Howeve, I’ll just point out that the radiation from the Sun can be reasonably easily reproduced as to spectrum. Unfortunately, the supposed effect that you imply does not exist in reality.

        If you are truly interested in learning more, you might start with John Tyndall’s relevant lectures and books. He actually experimented with the physical properties of gases, invisible and visible radiation, and provided real life instances of what his experimental work showed. His lectures in particular were aimed at the curious lay person, and very well explained.

        I assume the chances of you actually seeking knowledge are about as remote as a Warmist actually accepting that you can’t boil water by concentrating the 300 W/m^2 emitted by a glacier or iceberg.

        Just claiming you can doesn’t make it fact. Give it a try.


      • MF, it was a simple question. A high-school student might do a better job with it than you. Want to try again, or you can ask a high-school student for help? Clue: no is the wrong answer.

      • The bearing of this experiment upon the action of planetary atmospheres is obvious… the atmosphere admits of the entrance of the solar heat, but checks its exit; and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet (Tyndall, 1859a)

      • David Springer

        Mike Flynn is an imbecile. The question assumes no facts not in evidence. That’s just a phrase he heard someone else use and it caught his fancy like a crow with a shiny coin. The crow doesn’t know how to use it to buy anything he just likes playing with it.

        The GHG effectively lowers the albedo of the illuminated object. Write that down, Flynn.

        If the illuminated surface absorbs more of the incident light will it become warmer?

        This is not rocket science and that’s not a trick question.

      • David Springer

        Mosher, climate sensitivity is indeed a simple metric and it’s at the heart of the climate debate.

        That simple metric hasn’t had its estimated value of 1.5C – 4.5C refined in 50 years.

        That’s some f*cked up science that hasn’t managed to come up with a better answer despite thousands of researchers in 50 years spending billions and billions of dollars in the effort.

        You fit right into it, actually. One more useless tool trying to improve the art and failing in the attempt.

      • David Springer

        Mosher is still fundamentally confused about electromagnetic radiation and matter illuminated by it. He believes that all watts of EMR are the same. That’s wrong. The makeup of the illuminated matter and the frequency of the EMR both change the end result of how much of the energy is absorbed. The earth isn’t a blackbody and the sun isn’t a monochromatic source of light. Write that down, Mosher. Act like you’ve got a brain in your head.

      • David Springer,

        You wrote –

        “The GHG effectively lowers the albedo of the illuminated object. Write that down, Flynn.”

        I hope you don’t mind if I disobey your order. More weasel words. An umbrella coated with 18% grey effectively reduces the albedo of the illuminated object, if it is lower than that value – such as, say, the average albedo of the Earth, around 0.3. Stand out in the tropical sun for a bit, then stand under your 18% sunshade. You’ll probably cool down. Might not be a bad idea, at that!

        In the finest Warmist position, you appear to totally misunderstand that GHGs prevent a percentage of insolation reaching the surface, resulting in lower, not higher, temperatures. John Tyndall actually provided measurements relating to this in the laboratory, and verified the effect in practice during his mountaineering efforts,

        The hottest places on Earth (arid tropical deserts) are notably deficient in that most important of greenhouse gases, H2O. Additionally, arid sandy deserts generally have a very high albedo. GHGs appear to have no effect. Less GHG, higher temperatures during the day, and lower temperatures during the night.

        You’re right, it’s not rocket science. It’s not a trick question – just a silly pretense at one.

        By the way, what’s my percentage of posts per thousand? I assume you’re keeping details for me.


      • David Springer

        You are wrong, Flynn. GHGs cause an effective lowering of albedo of the surface they cover. That results in a higher equilibrium temperature of the surface in question. It’s not rocket science but for the impenetrably thick skull of an imbecile like you it might as well be rocket science.

        Mind your comment frequency or I’ll have your dumb ass in moderation again too.

      • David Wojick | June 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Reply
        Put another way, sensitivity is either a prediction or an abstraction.

        It isn’t either. It is an artificial metric.

        There isn’t a physical parameter called “climate sensitivity”.

        It is the claimed effect of just changing CO2 on an artificial global temperature metric, If all other things are equal. Since all other things aren’t ever equal this is philosophically equivalent to driving at night with your lights off and no map/gps in an unfamiliar area.

        It isn’t a productive exercise.

        Hypothetically, what does it tell you if 20 years from now ocean heat content isn’t a lot different than today? Does that mean sensitivity only affects land? Or does that mean that land is sensitive to something else? If the Antarctic and the Himalayas cool do you have to subtract that from the land sensitivity?

      • John Carpenter

        Flynn, Tyndall was a warmist.

  18. Hi Steven, doesn’t look like we are heading for Maunder, more like Dalton
    Tony B (if you ask politely) will tell you all about historical rainfall records in Europe at the time.
    More details: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN.htm

    • David Springer

      Mosher is still busy denying there’s a modern solar maximum. Don’t bother watching for any teachable moments. He’s ineducable.

  19. ulriclyons

    “The researchers conclude that the true pattern of temperature change due to human influence in the Northern Hemisphere since 1990 is best characterized as “Warm Arctic, Warm Continents.” Most of the model runs show both regions warming, Sun said, suggesting that extremely cold winters over Northern Hemisphere continents are becoming increasingly unlikely as the climate continues to warm.”

    The warm Arctic and cold winters are both negative AO/NAO driven, the human influence is increased positive AO/NAO:

  20. “Warm Arctic, Warm Continents.”

    Just happenstance of course that the majority of continents and the Arctic are in the same hemisphere…not to mention that the continents act as Rossby wave guides.

    • David Springer

      Rossby waves are inertially driven. The fluid motions of the oceans and atmosphere are mostly driven thermally (uneven heating). The continents certainly play a major role in uneven heating and guiding thermally driven flows. I’m not sure how much or how important inertial flows are in the grand scheme of things. Could you expand on your thinking in this regard?

      • I wish I could report some evolved thinking in this regard, but the notion is primarily thermal and mechanical. The North American Cordilleran system has multiple points over 4 kilometers.

        If you take a tour of nullschool earth, it is immediately apparent that continents are black holes for wind until you get to about the 500mb level. Probably friction.

        Yet there seems no signal for the American Cordilleran system except possibly in SH Peru where you begin to get 6 km surface interference. The Congo and Amazon basins remain black holes despite low elevation.

        So to feebly answer your question I can only offer that this mysterious friction can alter your inertial moments?


  21. David Springer


    I added this comment to Roy’s article:

    In the past 50 years the 95% confidence range for “climate sensitivity” has not been improved.

    It’s still 1.5C to 4.5C which in practical terms is a range from beneficial to catastrophic.

    Climate science is moribund. Thousands of researchers. Billions upon billions of dollars. And it still can’t offer better information for policy decisions.

    Incredible. No wonder the US economy is in the tank when research with no milestones and no progress keeps getting funded decade after decade.

    Go Trump.

  22. “New Yorker: Examining the new wave of activism on college campuses across the country: [link]”

    A promisory pint awaits a person who can honestly claim to have read through to the end of that article.

  23. John Carpenter,

    You wrote –

    “Flynn, Tyndall was a warmist.”

    An appeal to authority, by gum! Who’d’a thought it?

    Tyndall also believed in the aether, the meteoric origin of the Sun’s heat, the indivisibility of the atom and a few other apparently reasonable things, which turned out to be non factual.

    Tyndall was first and foremost a scientist (or Natural Philosopher, as he described himself).

    Now, Tyndall wannabes such as Hansen, Mann, Schmidt and all the rest of the ragtag Warmist mob are obviously Warmists. Scientists, not so much. They persist in believing the impossible, whereas Tyndall, as a result of his experiments, revised his initial musings on several things.

    In one of his books, he quantifies the cooling effect of CO2, and many other gases. He demonstrates the effect of principle with a diagram of a popular Victorian reception room accessory.

    Warmists have no intention of actually reading Tyndall, so I won’t bother providing references. You should appreciate this Wonderfully Warmist Way of unhelpfullness!


  24. If we accept the net IC-bias corrections of Zwally 2015 and their subsequent elevation change results, then we must assume: (1) that two CryoSat-2 studies of EAIS elevation changes have errors of three to ten times their stated uncertainties; (2) that all other studies of recent Antarctic mass balance (Fig. 1) are in error; (3) that EAIS balance velocities based on accumulation models, which currently approximate observed velocities well, are wrong by a large margin; (4) that field studies dedicated to the determination of surface
    height change over the Subglacial Lake Vostok area did not
    detect ∼20 cm (or greater) increases between 2001 and
    2013 (4 × their reported uncertainty); (5) that the assessment
    of subglacial lake hydrostatic equilibrium is in error; (6) that
    all other studies of IC-biases are wrong by a considerable
    margin. However, if instead, we assume that the combined
    corrections used by Zwally 2015 are invalid – if they are
    replaced with any of the other IC-bias determinations, then:
    (1) the elevation trend for the EAIS interior is near zero; (2)
    Antarctic ice-sheet mass gains do not exceed losses; (3)
    the field studies conducted at Subglacial Lake Vostok are
    accurate; (4) the CryoSat-2 studies and other recent
    Antarctic ice mass-balance studies are consistent. …

  25. Danny Thomas

    First documented extinction: http://www.businessinsider.com/bramble-cay-melomys-first-mammal-to-go-extinct-due-to-human-caused-climate-change-2016-6

    Hmmmm. In a short search, this was found:

    The small population size means genetic drift, disease and introduced species all pose a threat to the species.

    Habitat loss via erosion of the cay is the single most important threat, particularly given that sea levels are predicted to rise thanks to climate change. Bramble Cay is by no means stable. Between 1958 and 1987, the cay decreased in size; but in 2011 it had returned to a size comparable to 1958.

    While the size of the cay varies, the vegetation on it is shrinking, and this might be the main cause of the melomys’ decline.

    Bramble Cay also serves as a rookery to marine turtles and seabirds. The vegetation is disturbed by nesting seabirds throughout the year and by turtles between October and March. In our December 2011 survey the area disturbed by turtles was quite extensive, and many turtles were nesting towards the centre of the cay. Photos show a substantial reduction in the cover of vegetation between 2009 and 2011.”


    • Interesting, but check the scales on Figure 1.


      Models +/- 0.9%
      Measurements +/- 4.5%

      Measurements too noisy to use?
      Models not nearly enough variability?

    • Here we use corrected versions of ISCCP and PATMOS-x from which spurious variability has been removed by empirically subtracting all cloud variability resembling an artefact[5]. Since one major artefact appears as coherent spurious cloud changes across the entire area viewed by a satellite, the correction procedure unfortunately also removes any real cloud variability at near-global scales, thus precluding examination of global mean cloud changes.

      • Danny Thomas

        “thus precluding examination of global mean cloud changes.” and yet that’s exactly how they used the headline.

      • Danny Thomas

        Trenberth citing Joni: “”This is a very good attempt to try and get a handle on this, but I don’t think it’s the final answer,” says Trenberth, who notes that the time frame studied was pretty short and included a period often described as the global warming hiatus, from 1999 to 2013.” (I wondered about this also. Inclusion of the pause which didn’t exist?)

        “Climate researchers still have a lot of work to do when it comes to understanding clouds, says Trenberth, who believes the state of the science is still like that old Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now, in which she sings, “I really don’t know clouds at all.”