Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Check out Nature Geoscience’s focus on the permafrost carbon-climate feedback [link]

New paper finds Africa has become wetter over past 1.3 million years -instead of drier as was thought previously. [link]

More precipitation extremes in the world’s dry regions? A statistical artifact [link]

Arctic sea ice break-up starting 5–7 days earlier per decade in Chukchi & Beaufort Seas [link]

NASA Study Solves Two Mysteries About Wobbling Earth [link]

Can melting of frozen methane explain rapid climate change 56 million years ago? [link]

Pacific sea level tilt predicts global temperature changes, new research [link]

Sea ice is making the Southern Ocean less salty, and what that might mean for the rest of the world [link]

How #airpollution is causing the world’s ‘Third Pole’, the Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountains, to melt [link]

Subterranean Caverns Hold Clues to Past Droughts [link]

Plants found to regulate leaf temperature to boost carbon (dioxide) uptake”  [link]

As permafrost thaws, trees grow faster in Alpine Tibetan forests [link]

New paper finds IPCC models “have large deficiencies in ENSO amplitude, spatial structure and temporal variability.” [link] …

Incorporating 3-D Cloud Effects into Weather and Climate Models [link]

NASA: These images show the complicated patterns of rising and falling ocean levels across the globe from 1993 to 2015. [link]

Great @capitalweather story about our newest weather satellite, GOES-R: (written by Angela Fritz, former MS student of JC) [link]

Nice review of the state of air capture of CO2, still in its infancy[link]

Abandon hype in climate models. The economic models that are used to inform climate policy currently contain an unhealthy dose of wishful thinking. [link]

The Anthropocene doesn’t have to be bad for the environment research shows [link]

“Plants less thirsty as climate warms: study” [link]

Good article: “How Does the Ocean Drive Weather and Climate Extremes?”
[link] …

“Plausible that the sea ice cover was reduced compared to present day pre-industrial conditions” 10000-6000 yrs ago [link]

Arctic sea ice – is this water warming? [link]

Fascinating: In the early 14th century, the Little Ice Age came to Europe. Discover a new project on its first decades: [link]

About science

Why facts don’t unify us [link]

Stop using the word ‘pseudoscience’ [link]

Stop ignoring misconduct [link]

Unscientific consensus. Statements of scientific consensus are only valuable, and scientific, if they are explained clearly to the public. [link]

Uncertainty in the era of precision medicine [link]

Uncertainty monster: climate adaptation decisions @Jeroen_vdSluijs
[link] …

Some challenging realities of climate science for adaptation decision making [link] …

Great interview with @stewartbrand, the “prophet for the modern environmental movement” [link]

“New Scientist” devotes an issue to the relevance of metaphysics to natural science… [link]

And the debate goes on: when and how to believe the experts [link]

Peter Gluckman: ‘the place of scientific evidence in policy making is neither straight ford nor guaranteed’ [link]

Should we embrace failure in science more? [link]

Why do scientists commit misconduct? [link] …


162 responses to “Week in review – science edition

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

  2. Congratulations, Professor Curry, on having one of your former students (Angela Fritz) selected to write the news report on NOAA’s new weather spacecraft.

  3. Curious George

    The complicated patterns of rising and falling ocean levels across the globe from 1993 to 2015. A great animation. It shows clearly that the satellite altimetry can not be trusted. Look for a pattern of of undulations flowing from the California coast to the west. It this supposed to be something real? It does not correspond to winds, nor to ocean currents. The idea of extracting the “sea level” with an accuracy of 1 mm from waves up to 29 meters tall sounds unlikely, and these results show that they are measuring something else. Something interesting, but not an ocean level.

    • Oh, it sounds unlikely…

      Try PDO and ENSO.

    • Curious George. I too watched the sea level animations with interest. I myself would not dismiss the satellite altimetry so quickly. I’m a NOAA veteran and some years ago happened to work with some guys from Ohio State (they do a lot of work in Geodesy) who were trying to calibrate satellites using synthetic aperture radars to measure water levels. They wanted to use Great Lakes gauging stations as ground truth for the measurements. Those stations have 1 mm precision. Accuracy, I’ll leave that for you to decide because one can be very precise and still be inaccurate. At that time the researchers said they had achieved 10 cm accuracy and wanted a known water level elevations to reference. It had long been thought that sea level varied across the open ocean in places that show no response to wind, current, or even tide (think Sargasso Sea). Wave heights can be filtered using sample rates and averaging. If you are looking for waves they are there too, just tune the filters and sample rates (think rogue waves). My impression was that the focus of the animation was anomalies, like deviations from surrounding levels. You’re right They are measuring something else (not MSL, not SLR although that little graph they snuck in in the lower right hand corner smells of turf encroachment to me) it is something different. I’ll disagree with JCH here and say this may, I said may, not be just be PDO and ENSO or the Walker circulation although it all goes together. So too the animation from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of temperatures fits into the same puzzle. As you said CG interesting indeed.

      • Curious George

        John, you write “Wave heights can be filtered using sample rates and averaging.” I am not disputing it; I just doubt that it can be done to a stated accuracy today. By necessity the returned pulse is a statistical average. Maybe we overestimate our knowledge of the statistics of the underlying rough surface (waves, maybe even rough waves.)

      • Curious George. I know you’re curious, or you wouldn’t be asking questions. Can I refer to you as George? I too am dubious of the accuracy claim. I myself have used the ‘gadgets’. GPS, RADAR, SONAR, Radio, etc (NOAA and NAVY days) all having strengths and weaknesses. I took your point to be that measuring sea level anomalies is something new and interesting. There is a background behind it. You asked if we (the collective) overestimate our knowledge. Spot on George. I call that hubris. Don’t be so hard on the satellites, it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools. Stay Curious.

      • Sea Surface Height anomaly?

        I don’t find him to be very curious, but I wasn’t saying only PDO and ENSO… only that you are looking right at the areas where the operate.

        If you lay out the ONI timeline, and the PDO timeline, the animation agrees with expectations. Water mounds in the Western Pacific during La Niña… gets yellow,orange, and red. The same area is blue during an El Niño… the western boundary of the Pacific generally get yellow, orange red during the an El Niño. There is often a similar phenomena with the western boundary of the Atlantic.

        Think about the 2011 nosedive in GMSL due to anomalous rainfall on land. Check March-April 2011… will it be a lot of blue?

      • Sorry, eastern boundaries of the Pacific and Atlantic…

      • John

        Here is the 2016 paper from Fasullo speculating as to why sea level rise has not accelerated as expected


        needless to say, it was a volcano that is blamed


      • jch

        so in agreeing with the volcano element you presumably agree with Fasullo’s findings on lack of acceleration?


      • Some say there is; some say there is not; all say there will be, so exactly how does it matter if there is or isn’t? It doesn’t.

      • jch

        I thought I had seen you arguing that there had been acceleration?


      • No, you’ve seen me post links to peer-reviewed papers that have found acceleration both in the tide-gauge record and in the satellite record. I am probably the first person here to post a link here to the Fasullo paper.

        The rate since 2009 is 4.5mm per year. Over the entire satellite record it is 3.5mm per year. The rate 1900 to 1990 was 1.2mm per year.

        So exactly how does it matter? It does not. Like so many skeptic arguments, it’s 100% chaff. Yesterday one of them called anomalies inthe range of .79 ℃ to .84 ℃ a “cooling”… LMAO.

  4. As for the new Lew paper you linked to in the last edition, Judith, Distinguished Professor Paul Matthews has done a magisterial takedown here!

  5. It will be interesting to see what the Earth wobble phenomenon will suggest concerning past climate. Good article.

  6. Want to study Natural variability?

    get involved


    comment less , contribute more

    • Mosh

      Glad to see you promoting (endorsing?) this great collection of Monkal anecdotes


    • Steven Mosher said:

      comment less , contribute more

      A rule which Mosher applies only to those who use the scientific method.

      Those who use Mosher’s unicorn method, like Mosher himself, are exempted.

      • Where has Mosher ever invoked unicorns?

      • JCH,

        Where has Mosher not invoked unicorns?

      • His invoking… pretty close to never. You don’t even know what it means. Carry on.

      • JCH,

        I don’t know where you’ve been of late. It appears that, as usual, you’re out to lunch, because Mosher has been deep into using his unicorn method this past week on CE threads.

        Kip Hansen summed up Mosher’s unicorn method as follows:

        Wouldn’t it just be simpler for everyone if you would just name a few of the exemplar Skeptics that you have in mind? I mean instead of playing these little games? It is now clear that you really mean “every single person in the world who has ever expressed doubts about the IPCC AGW hypothesis”. If that is so, if you mean every person who is skeptical of “my answer” to the question “as I pose it” is a Unicorn Hunter, then there is no use you writing an essay — or even more comments — your viewpoint is intellectually worthless — as it is a “universal generalization” — everyone but me (and a very small ‘mine’) must be wrong because “they don’t agree with me (us) and there is no other possibly correct answer”. That is logically transparent and anti-scientific.


      • That’s what is called… a pile. I don’t eat piles for lunch.

      • JCH,

        That’s a very profound and substantive rejoinder, quite worthy of those who use Mosher’s unicorn method.

      • Once we peel away all the rhetological fallacies and word games, Mosher’s unicorn method boils down to this:


      • Glenn Stehle,

        Where has Mosher not invoked unicorns?

        Hyper-literalism for the win.

      • > Kip Hansen summed up […]

        Twas a challenge, not a summary.

        Here could be a list of exemplar contrarians:

        Well, Dr Roy had a recent article asking How Much of Atmospheric CO2 Increase is Natural? and she’s going down to Texas later this month to meet with this stellar crew:
        At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit:
        Matt Ridley (“The Rational Optimist”)
        Roy Spencer (UAH)
        Judith Curry (GaTech)
        Hal Doiron (The Right Climate Stuff)
        Zong-Liang Yang (U. Texas – Austin)
        Eric Groten (Vinson & Elkins)
        Marlo Lewis (CEI)
        Mike Nasi (Jackson Walker)
        Rupert Darwall (“The Age of Global Warming”)
        Stephen Moore (Heritage)
        Marc Morano (Climate Depot)
        Mark Mills (Manhattan Inst.)
        Rob Bradley (Inst. for Energy Research)
        Peter Grossman (Butler U.)
        David Kreutzer (Heritage)
        Calvin Beisner (Cornwall Alliance)
        Kathleen Hartnett White (Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment)
        Caleb Rossiter (American University)
        H. Leighton Steward (Plants Need CO2)
        Frank Clemente (Penn State)


        It’d be interesting to know which names in that list refer to Kip’s own prototypes of major contrarians.

  7. Vigorous debate is always welcome in the halls of science.

    Comment more!

  8. A funny thing happened on the way to the tropopause.

    Mysterious Anomaly Interrupts quasi-biennial oscillation.

    • Paper here.

    • The QBO-Paper is IMO very exciting. There was observed a disruption of the eastery phase of the QBO. In a standard paper about the QBO http://strat-www.met.fu-berlin.de/labitzke/summary/JASTP-Labitzke-2005.pdf is written: “The solar signal over the tropics and subtropics is much larger in the east phase, over the latitude range 30oN to 30oS, from the ground to 10 hPa” So there is some probability that this is a long time impacht of the very low active SC24 also on the troposphere. The last cycles with such low activity were the cycles No. 14 and 6, more than a century ago. So this behaviour must be “new”.

      • I linked to the QBO story a week or so ago.. this kid has a lot QBO info on his site.

      • In the paper there is the unavoidable hint to climate change as the reason of the anomalie: “Third, the tropical troposphere was much warmer than the 1980–2015 average, while the stratosphere was colder than the 1980–2015 average. This thermal structure was likely a combined result of both the strong 2015–2016 ENSO and climate effects.” This is complete BS because neither the tropical troposphere was warmer then in 1997/88 nor the tropical stratosphere was cooler than in 1997/98 ( Trendslope TLS = zero since 1996!, see RSS data for both) and during this ElNino was no anomaly in the QBO.(Peer review?) The mentioned forcing must be something different and we have indeed a very inactive sun over long timescales. Perhaps a combination of quite sun and a strong ElNino?

      • Perhaps a combination of quite sun and a strong ElNino?

        Or perhaps changes to boundary-layer turbulent pseudo-friction from Increasing tree growth and forest expansion in Tibet and/or increasing lake area with concomitant increased evaporation and convective heat transfer have pushed some sub-system associated with the Tropical Easterly Jet over a “tipping point”.

        To put it into context, the Himalaya/Tibetan orogeny anchors the summer updraft that drives the Tropical Easterly Jet, which is part of a unique feature of the Tropopause/lower Stratosphere with major transport of air and heat into the Stratosphere. (Also momentum, AFAIK.)

        It’s quite plausible that major planetary features such as the QBO are highly sensitive to changes in this feature.

  9. http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com

    Correct and as I have said this current warm spike is now in the process of coming to end. A spike of warmth which is in no way has been unique when viewed against the historical climatic record.

  10. Good article: “Whistleblower sues Duke, claims doctored data helped win $200 million in grants”


  11. RE: “New Scientist” devotes an issue to the relevance of metaphysics to natural science… [link]

    We’re not saying science has superseded metaphysics, or solved philosophy’s problems. There is still much fundamental science to be done, and a great deal of metaphysics too. But the intersection between the two is fascinating territory, with both fields constantly pushing the boundaries of what we know and what we can know.

    Are we “constantly pushing the boundaries of what we know and what we can know,” or are we merely setting ourselves up for another Icarian moment?

    Empiricists, and maybe even Kant, would argue for the latter.


    • Science is what we know. Metaphysics is what we don’t know. Science is pushing the boundary of knowledge. What we don’t know is not knowledge, it is a mystery. Any attempt to frame metaphysics as a body of knowledge violates another branch of philosophy – logic. Any claim to knowledge of a mystery is invoking divine revelation or sheer nonsense. Metaphysics is not nonsensical in itself but any statement about it must be.

  12. Judith

    Shame on you!

    The reference to the first intervals of the LIA in Europe must have been inserted by you to irritate Mosher! as surely they are nothing more than the anecdotal Ramblings of aged monks?

    Mind you the references to the first pulses of the lia in the early 1300’s corresponds Remarkably closely with the restoration of our local abbey whereby research carried out last year matched the written records, that doors and windows were blocked up due to the heavy rain and cold of the early 1300’s in contrast to the warmer decades prior to that. The manorial crop records also show this deterioration.

    Fortunately the climate did improve again in later decades

    Consistent anecdotes.


    • In recent years, is there anybody who has done more scientific work, adding them to body of data, with old temperature records than Berkeley Earth?

      • JCH

        Yes, they like anecdotal figures but not, it appears, anecdotal text.

        The two should be used in conjunction, especially the further back in time instrumental records are pushed back


      • They don’t conclude/claim that anecdotal temperature evidence from Europe and “that island” means the MWP was a global event.

      • JCH
        I’lm mention just a few mad monks’ names I can remember: Nicolas Copernicus (Kopernik), Giordano Bruno, William of Ockham (razor), Rudger Boscovich, Robert Boyle, Roger Bacon, Georges Lemaître etc.

      • Mendel. Pity for him and Darwin both that more of their contemporaries ignored his work. Fortunately Watson, Crick and Wilkins knew of both, but because Nobel prizes aren’t awarded posthumously, hardly anyone ever remembers Rosalind Franklin.

        It’s all well and good to remember giants of the past, but let’s not forget that one big way in which science progresses is due to better instrumentation.

    • Tony,
      yep, the old English castles were getting a bit too cold for the young Ed the III and his jobless knights, all dressed up in their silk stockings and nowhere to go, so they decide to move an mass over to France. The ‘rosbifs’ got stuck in there among unfriendly ‘froggies’ for the next 100 years.

  13. RE: Great interview with @stewartbrand, the “prophet for the modern environmental movement” [link]

    Casey Caplow: You have this interesting form of optimism—yes, things will go wrong, but they’ll also rebound. It can include negativity, because everything isn’t always rosy. Overall, do you think things are getting better?

    Stewart Brand: That question makes me think of the most wonderful book that came out in the last couple years: Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, which discusses how human violence has been going down steadily per millennium, per century, per decade, per year, practically per month. Cruelty and injustice have also been going down over time. The trend is pretty damn solid. There are digressions like World War I and World War II, but if you look at this issue statistically, instead of just anecdotally, you see an amazing, very long-term, benevolent trend—which has every reason to continue.

    Long live the doctrine of Positivism, which at this particular point in history is being used to justify the neocon faith in US militarism and hegemony, and in a broader sense the perennial dream of the liberal internationalists: one world government.

    A couple of rebuttals to Pinker’s neocon/liberal internationalist apologetics, which of course come dressed up as “science”:

    Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Violence


    Pinker’s List: Exaggerating Prehistoric War Mortality

    Another source which largely rebuts Pinker’s sublime view of Western Enlightenment civilization is Azar Gat’s War in Human Civilization.

  14. Temperature change occurs in part from discrete weather events,
    but also changes in energy exchange rates with space (AGW).

    Precipitation occurs from discrete weather events.
    Water vapor feedback is thought to increase global mean precipitation.

    To predict any decrease in precipitation, contrary to the global mean increase in precipitable water, means predicting future weather, which is not possible.

    It is not surprising, despite IPCC claims, that ‘dry region’ precipitation fluctuates unpredictably with weather, and doesn’t play along with GCMs.

    • To predict any decrease in precipitation, contrary to the global mean increase in precipitable water, means predicting future weather, which is not possible.

      That’s a bit like suggesting that we can’t predict the boiling pot won’t go dry because we can’t predict where all the bubbles will form, nor the path they’ll take to the surface, Turbulent One. That said, I’ll be the first to volunteer that climate attractors are more complex and not as well-constrained than the ones of daily routine kitchen phenomena.

      OTOH, that dry regions exist at all, and persist for periods spanning decades to millennia is a most curious feature of such a wildly unpredictable system.

      It is not surprising, despite IPCC claims, that ‘dry region’ precipitation fluctuates unpredictably with weather, and doesn’t play along with GCMs.

      A citation of specific IPCC claims about dry region precipitation might be helpful.

      • That’s a bit like suggesting that we can’t predict the boiling pot won’t go dry because we can’t predict where all the bubbles will form,

        No. Precipitation is, in this analogy, the result of the bubbles.
        If you can’t predict the bubbles, you can’t predict precipitation.

        Imagine, for a moment, that the same motions of the atmosphere for a given decade took place but with a uniformly warmer, wetter atmosphere.
        ( this wouldn’t happen, but for the distinction of motion versus humidity, imagine it ).

        Precipitation would increase everywhere.

        Some regions are dominated in the general circulation by subsidence with resulting low levels of precipitation. Low, but not no. There are, every year, variations to the general circulation – let’s call it the specific circulation – that result in precipitation. The specific circulation is not predictable.

  15. Here’s all the depressing science news that matters for skeptics… your “a huge La Niña is a coming to get you JCH” is going up in smoke:


    We are possibly in a ramp-up to a positive phase of the PDO. In the past what has happened is a very rapid increase in the Global Mean Surface Temperature, so yes, it would be nice if we could sweep that metric under the rug. During a ramp up, La Niña events lack their usual punch, and even a Liberace El Niño can knock it out of the park… vanishing pauses; kick-butt surges.

    Skinny La Niña now emaciated and near death; AMO… who gives a crap what the AMO is doing as it does almost nothing; PDO… some upwelling, but the double blob is interesting:


    It’s like a global heatwave:

    • Why would you care JCH since according to your wrong way of thinking it is CO2 that drives the climate. It seems to me you are giving ENSO much of the credit.

      The historical climatic record proves your way of thinking when it comes to the climate is wrong on every single count. Every single count.

      AGW enthusiast are out of touch with the data and thus reality.

      By the way global temperatures will be going down from here on out.

      • By the way global temperatures will be going down from here on out.

        Same as last month, and the month before that, and the month before that, and the month before that, and the month before that, etc. …

        ENSO can’t heat anything. The energy comes from the sun; it interacts with the earth system; less leaves than comes in… because of ACO2; the surface warms.

      • jch

        I see no reason why temperatures should decline or that we are about to enter a new ice age, little or otherwise.


      • Salvatore does, tonyb, and says so quite often. Here’s a typical example:

        Salvatore Del Prete May 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

        I would say before this decade ends because what is GOING to happen is the global temperature trend is going to be in a definitive down turn due to prolonged minimum solar conditions and the associated secondary effects.

        The PDO/AMO and ENSO will also be more often then not in a phase which promotes global cooling. Evidence exist for a connection between these indices and solar/lunar parameters.

    • Long ago, the Weather Channel used to advertise with to groundlings in a bar, one dressed in red rooting for warm weather, on in blue rooting for cold. The Weather Channel would then come on the bar tv and the victor chided the other.

      You remind me of those two guys.

    • JCH:
      With the SST anomalies, if the baseline remained static, say a 30 year period, cooler is going to appear weaker with an overall SST rise.

      JISAO PDO:
      J 1.53
      F 1.75
      M 2.40
      A 2.62
      M 2.35
      J 2.03
      J 1.25

      The long national nightmare is over:
      NOAA PDO:
      201601 0.79
      201602 1.23
      201603 1.55
      201604 1.59
      201605 1.41
      201606 0.76
      201607 0.11
      201608 -0.66

      The train has left the station, the cheese has slid off our crackers and the chickens have come home to roost. And I say all this with 55% confidence. NOAA’s PDO hasn’t been negative since August of 2014.

  16. JCH:

    I’m with you, but isn’t it sad that denizens tout a LN as a *saviour*.


    • People clutch at deeply held religious beliefs (a climate system being stuffed with energy {absent abrupt climate change – no sign of that in 21st century} can cool for decades… lol – group think); physics simply does not care.

      One of my speculation/questions, could GISS June .79 ℃ end up being the lowest anomaly of 2016? August looks like .84 ℃ to maybe even .89 ℃. Even the satellites are warming up! If so, an annual GISS mean of plus 1.00 ℃ is achievable even though observation-based estimates of CS are low (not).

      • JCH | September 3, 2016 at 10:36 am

        ‘People clutch at deeply held religious beliefs…’

        Certainly true of the one that keeps cycling around throughout history, i.e. the certainty of catastrophe absent repentant acts, and the anticipated joy of the blissful new dreamland in which salvation is delivered. Physics has no accommodation for this or any other human narrative construct.

  17. David L. Hagen

    Embrace Failure
    How To Embrace Failure In Order To Become Successful

    “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein . . .
    Einstein forged ahead with his theories, fearlessness and grit. We would all do well to emulate him. Remember, each defeat becomes an eventual victory.

    7 Epic Fails Brought to You By the Genius Mind of Thomas Edison

    He was the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” a larger-than-life hero who seemed almost magical for the way he snatched ideas from thin air.
    But the man also stumbled, sometimes tremendously. In response to a question about his missteps, Edison once said,
    “I have not failed 10,000 times—
    I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work
    .” . . .
    “One of the things that makes Edison stand out as an innovator was he was very good at reducing the risk of innovation—he’s not an inventor that depends on just one thing,” DeGraaf says. “He knows that if one idea or one product doesn’t do well he has others…that can make up for it.

  18. “Next we informed participants that many scientists have said that by the year 2100, the average temperature in the United States will rise at least 6 degrees Fahrenheit”


    Not sure “informed” is the right word to use here.


  19. Sorry… just got a notification from the NYT, wanted to share with you:

    “Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming.”

    You are doooomed, guys! :-)

  20. DLyons123@aol.com

    Julia, I remember an article in the IEEE Instrument and Measurement Society magazine (or maybe it was the IEEE Spectrum) some years back concerning Methane production which was a major concern at the time. As a result we had two of the participants come speak at a meeting of our local IMS chapter in the Silicon Valley. They had spent a good deal of time in the Arctic measuring the production of Methane from the melting of the permafrost. One fact I still recall (if my memory serves me right) is that 85% of all Methane is emitted from the rotting material in the melting permafrost in the northern hemisphere. They noted that the longer the summer the more Methane is produced. The rotting material was the flora and fauna of a previous warming period that had spread even unto the Arctic region. Another major contributor to the remaining portion of Methane production interestingly was man made: the rice fields in the southern hemisphere. The rice plant conducts the methane from the soil by breaking the surface tension of the surface of the water when the fields are flooded. Doug Lyons

  21. Uncertainty monster: climate adaptation decisions @Jeroen_vdSluijs

    I enjoyed many of the concepts expressed but have some reservations. Early on, Van der Sluijs states:

    “Arriving at societally acceptable
    adaptation solutions is a deliberative
    challenge (not a technical). ”

    I must disagree. Without a rational technological basis, all deliberation is simply an exercise in mass collaboration to pick a journey in some random direction. History is littered with societies which made incorrect choices and rode them into oblivion.

    With “Climate Change” we face a multi-layered conundrum, including:

    1. Is the climate changing?
    (looks like warming since end of LIA)
    2. Why is changing?
    (Roles of natural variations and human causations?)
    2. Will planet continue to warm?
    3. How much more will it warm?
    4. Costs/Benefits of warmer world and higher CO2?
    (lets be honest, not advocates. For each degree C and 100ppm this is largely a ?)
    5. Can we control natural variation?
    (almost certainly not if we do not understand the key mechanisms)
    6. Can we adequately control human causations?
    (unlikely without stable population and use of not-yet-practical/acceptable tech solutions)

    The preso goes on to state:

    “Resilience is the capacity of a system
    to tolerate disturbance without
    collapsing into a qualitatively different,
    usually undesired, state”

    There is an old saying “save your pennies for a rainy day”. The most liquid form of wealth, cash, provides the greatest flexibility for prosperity when the unexpected occurs. And nothing is more predictable than the unexpected.

    Quickly reaching a stable and reasonably prosperous world population (without mass purges) will greatly simplify the process of generating and saving per-capita wealth. Cheap and reliable energy is the most powerful enabler for this kind of progress.

    On the other hand, scrapping productive assets is a willful destruction of wealth. Production scale implementation of ineffective technology (for example wind turbine/solar/storage requiring a massively expensive, complex and vulnerable generation-storage-grid-distribution-storage-premises system and virtually 100% backup) does not help society save cash and give it the flexibility to withstand the unexpected. Research quantities of wind, solar, storage, and next generation nuclear might be a productive hedge, however.

    The bottom line is this: when an individual or society is “broke” there remains zero resilience, only a reliance on the kindness of strangers. Western Europe and the US are almost hopelessly down the rabbit hole of debt now, and the best rule of holes remains: “when you are in a hole stop digging”.

    The best short-term course into our uncertain future is the conservation of wealth (using proper accounting methods, not politically motivated cost-hiding) and a push for technological innovation, scientific knowledge, and open societal communication. Progress along these fronts will help us to understand the real challenges ahead, give us better tools to work with, and conserve the wealth we will need to use those tools. We are at a point in time where we simply cannot afford to fund endless feel-good and politically-motivated ventures with public debt.

    • Quickly reaching a stable and reasonably prosperous world population

      How do you know what the best world population is?

      We have exceeded the population levels of all past forecasts of doom, and more and more people are better off after each breach of the limits. History has shown that more people are better off when there are more people. History has shown that a higher percent of people are better off when there are more people.

      Economy’s thrive in growing populations. Economy’s stall when population growth stalls. You get more old retired people sucking money out and less young working people putting money in.

      • I like a lot of the rest of what you wrote.

      • Thanks, and no need to worry about (civilized) disagreement. You are right, the ultimate carrying capacity is unknown and likely will increase as mankind becomes more knowledgeable. But each of us has an impact, and at some point the only way to expand the party without accumulated damage and resource depletion is to live and work smarter.

        A stable population requires increasing productivity to support the ever-growing tail of retirees, etc with an ever shrinking working class (or delayed retirements). A growing population demands more efficient use of the vast resources given to us by mother earth. Mankind has shown the ability to do both.

      • Mankind has shown the ability to do both.

        What we haven’t yet demonstrated is the ability for 7.125 billion of us to use carbon energy reserves at or below the same rate at which they’re replenished. I don’t think that would be such a bad gift to future generations.

      • Brandon

        France has demonstrated that a nation can use 1960s technology to supply its grid power with almost no atmospheric CO2 emissions. Better nuclear technology has since been placed into service in other places and even better technology is under development. So the worst case for “carbon free” grid power has been demonstrated over a period of 30 years. Folks like Tesla are attempting to prove that grid power can be used to directly meet local transportation needs. We already know how to create liquid fuels from electricity.

        So, yes, technologies for building a “carbon lite” society have been demonstrated. Some are pricey and some segments of society oppose these technologies on a variety of grounds. The left has a long history of obstructionist behavior toward non-fossil energy, going back to its signature move of the 1960s, the sit-in. But if society faces a proven need for transition, at least some routes have been demonstrated.

      • sciguy54,

        France has demonstrated that a nation can use 1960s technology to supply its grid power with almost no atmospheric CO2 emissions.


        Better nuclear technology has since been placed into service in other places and even better technology is under development.

        The newer generation plants are proving difficult to build, but that’s also to be expected for bleeding-edge tech. I wouldn’t be unhappy to see an accelerated buildout of Gen II+ designs while Gen III kinks get worked out. OTOH, I’m also happy to throw more wind and solar at the grid in the near term, with natural gas plants to soak up intermittency and handle peaking — but ideally not new demand.

        Solving the developing world’s growing energy requirements with nukes doesn’t seem a good option. I might except India and a few others, but most of Africa, no. That said, I mostly focus on what I think the US should be doing, not the rest of the world. Emphasis on *doing*.

        We already know how to create liquid fuels from electricity.

        I’m a fan of cyanobacteria for liquid fuels myself, but they’re nowhere near prime time. Basically whatever is reasonably efficient and carbon neutral, let’s do that. My sense is that solving the grid has the most near- and mid-term bang for the buck. What to do about liquid fuel replacements should become more clear as that progresses.

        So, yes, technologies for building a “carbon lite” society have been demonstrated.

        But actually deploying them to the near exclusion of carbon-emitting technologies without destroying the economy has not. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, and when talking about fossil-free energy more like ten in the bush.

        The left has a long history of obstructionist behavior toward non-fossil energy, going back to its signature move of the 1960s, the sit-in.

        TMI going down within a week or two of China Syndrome being released certainly didn’t help. I also think many wrong “lessons” have been “learned” from Chernobyl and Fukushima. The lesson should be, “don’t build fission plants stupidly”, not “don’t build fission plants at all”.

        Going back to the French, you do realize that they nationalized their utility industry just after the war, and that their subsequent aggressive nuclear programme was more or less 100% state controlled, don’t you? As a result, their plants were highly standardized. Here in the States, the right would pitch a fit at such anti-innovation.

        One perk of being a pro-nuke, pro-CO2-mitigation advocate is that it avails more opportunities to lob partisan rocks at both sides.

        But if society faces a proven need for transition, at least some routes have been demonstrated.

        With zero time to do something we’re not sure can be reasonably accomplished in less than a century. Now they’re dealing with adaptation *and* mitigation at the same time, hitting all the rocks, chuckholes and washouts we couldn’t clearly map from our vantage point on the well-paved portion of the road.

        This generation is the one still in the driver’s seat. I suggest we NOT act like we’re just along for the ride.

    • Brandon

      “Going back to the French, you do realize that they nationalized their utility industry just after the war, and that their subsequent aggressive nuclear programme was more or less 100% state controlled”

      Yes, I do.The largest advantage of nationalization was that it enabled the nuclear industry to steamroll the very vocal green obstructionists and the stealth press and courthouse obstructionists. The green organizations of the world learned a great deal from that, in fact.

      Without 50 years of such obstruction it could have been done better, cheaper, and faster by public utilities here. Remember, most of our power industry consists of regulated utilities tightly controlled as to profit, but still sensitive to price and competition for new and better technologies. Sadly, for 50 or so years here in the US we not only have the greens, who have every right to their opinion and protests, but we have had a fourth estate stealthily pushing agendas ( an obvious fact which they still mostly deny), and a legal system rapidly devolving in a complimentary direction. Because each utility is fairly local in nature, and usually at the mercy of one or a few state legislatures, the greens+press were able to frustrate progress by strategically aggregating pressure at key places at the proper moments in time to allow the courts to make key rulings setting crippling precedents. Unlike a supreme ruler, private industry is stymied by uncertainty. When someone can stop a billion dollar project indefinitely by netting a fish with slightly unique coloration and showing it to a sympathetic judge, then uncertainty skyrockets and activity stops.

      Fast forward to today, and the modern greens have created well-funded NGOs and learned to communicate and coordinate directly with federal bureaucrats, legislators and judges using means outside of official federal channels. Why? They know from experience that you can stop massive projects by applying pressure at key local points, but conversely if you want to steamroll your opponents and build out a project rapidly on a national scale, then the minimum acceptable point of implementation is at the federal level. Lesson learned.

  22. Really enjoyed the New Atlantis article on trusting the experts.

  23. This belongs in a policy thread, but:

    Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, after formally joining the Paris Climate deal at the G20 summit on Saturday

    Body language indicates discussions didn’t go just swimmingly.

  24. Hermine looks to strengthen, stall, and sit and spin off Long Island:

  25. Not a single word in the ACS article on CCS about the patented Skyonic process for carbon capture and conversion to sodium bicarbonate.

    One would expect a proper review of the art would include an actual operating plant that captures and mineralizes 75,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The plant captures CO2 from an adjacent cement plant’s flue gases. It has been operating in San Antonio, Texas for 2 years.

    Plant description is here:


    It was also the subject of some commentary on Climate Etc, August 30, 2016 post. https://judithcurry.com/2016/08/30/climate-policy-fake-it-til-you-make-it/

    • To cite a specific comment, click on its permalink next to the name.

      Like this:


      Interesting question, BTW.

    • Everyone who depends on the green stuff that grows for food or anything else should sue anyone who removes the wonderful green fertilizer, CO2 from the air.

      • There’s no need to remove it …. all.

        Just the extra 120 ppm that the biosphere doesn’t need – as it was doing just fine without it. …. and prevent too much extra getting in there.
        How else did mankind flourish at that level?

      • Indeed, ToneB. And who needs the smelly and expensive tedium of composting animal dung and other agricultural waste when we have nitrogenous fertilizers cheaply obtained from all those fossil fuels we’re not conserving?

      • ” And who needs the smelly and expensive tedium of composting animal dung and other agricultural waste…”

        From the looks of it, the free range, all organic, and all natural crowd. Looks like they are taking some composting short cuts. What exactly is agricultural waste anyway.

      • Dallas,

        There are reasons that major brands slapping the “organic” label on their products isn’t a strong selling point of their price premium for me. One is all those marketing classes I took in college.

        Conservation need not mean “organic”, e.g., burning fertilizer feedstocks for fuel may not be amongst the wisest of our present options for future, and presumably somewhat larger, future generations. Lotsa other important industrial chemicals come from underground carbon-rich goop that we can’t as easily obtain from a compost pile. I’m just sayin’.

        As for what constitutes “agricultural waste”, now that is a good question. Perspective matters: one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. The tomatoes my father used to convert from grass clippings, leaf mulch and imported pickup loads (very plural) of horses#!t are but one example of him being living proof of the principle. A more extreme, but somewhat similar example is John D. Rockefeller, who used the stuff that goes into making what we now call gasoline for powering his own oil refining process whilst his less-creative competitors simply dumped the stuff into whatever local river was handy. Thank goodness for the automobile, or dullards like that might still be doing it.

        Speaking of cars, as you and I have previously discussed, feeding them moonshine derived from corn mash is an inefficient, arguably wasteful and therefore stupid idea. Burning corn stover for steam to make electricity is probably not as dumb, but I don’t see that scaling so well. But the fact that there seems to be a surplus of corn stover looking for a more profitable market tells me at least some Big Agra outfits consider it a waste product.

    • There may be a Skyonic patent, and there is a federally funded ($26 million grant) pilot plant. Basic high school chemistry. But unless the electricity used for chloralkali electrolysis that produces the input NaOH comes from nuclear rather than fossil fuels, there is zero net CO2 reduction to the entire system. Actually, a bit is added because of chloralkali inefficiency. And if you have nuclear electricity, you don’t need carbon capture converting Drano plus CO2 into soda ash in a wet column.

      • The SkyMine plant cost $130 million and was 75 percent funded by private investors. Government contributed about 25 percent.

        It’s a good thing that chemical engineers don’t listen to Ristvan, and we don’t want to either. Our plants work as designed, despite Ristvan’s false statements that they don’t.

        Chemical engineers know the difference between Drano and NaOH, but Ristvan simply refuses to learn that distinction.

        Nuclear power is not the incremental power that is reduced by using the SkyMine process, as I told you on the earlier thread. Apparently, you don’t learn.

        But, it certainly is entertaining reading the false statements you continue to make.

      • Is this the result of common core chemistry? .Lye is pretty much lye where I come from.

      • Is this the result of common core chemistry? .Lye is pretty much lye where I come from.

        Per Wiki:

        According to the National Institutes of Health’s Household Products Database, the crystal form is composed of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum.

        You can jump to the link for a full description of how it acts when it gets wet, I’ll just mention that it’s highly exothermic.

    • The article was about direct air capture. Their survey of stack capture was very sketchy, touching only on the majors.

      • Extracting CO2 from ambient air is similar to extracting trace elements from sea water. You can do it, but the economics are typically rather poor.

      • Yesterday’s “typically rather poor economics” are tomorrow’s $trillion business.

        In principle, removing CO2 from the air could be made easy and cheap. Reducing the energy cost below around 100-150 KJoules/mol is another matter. Could it be made economic at that figure? Perhaps.

      • The economics of extracting dollars from gullible investors and government grant-makers, on the other hand, is extremely compelling.

    • Curious George

      Roger, your source is from 2010. The plant has been operating for a while now. When can I find published production results?

    • @Roger Sowell…

      Have you guys considered a modification to your process, in which you use the standard chlor-alkali process to create chlorine, hydrogen, and NaOH, then recombine the chlorine and hydrogen in a fuel cell to produce HCl? As I understand it, the latter also has many uses it could be sold for.

      Not only could you recover up to perhaps 75% of the input energy, but by adding storage facilities this recovery could be deferred as needed, adding high-value short-term energy storage to your product.

      Not only that, but as the technology matures, if somebody starts actually paying for long-term sequestration (which, as far as I can tell, normal sales of chlorine, NaHCO3, and Na2CO3 don’t usually accomplish per se) you could sequester the chloride ions with Ca/Mg as described in the second link, which would actually produce the effective sequestration you’re pointing at.

    • Roger Sowell: http://www.osti.gov/scitech/servlets/purl/1027801

      thank you for the link. the report is 6 years old. Is there an update, or a report based on at least 5 years of operation?

      • oops. The data in the report are 6 years old; the report is only 5 years old.

      • For matthewmarler,

        There are 3 reports to DOE.

        A search on the keywords “skymine carbon DoE report” should fetch them.

        The reports are Decision Point 1, Decision Point 2, and Final.

        There is also a much earlier 2010 report by Jones, Mineralization Pilot Project.

  26. Abandon hype in climate models. The economic models that are used to inform climate policy currently contain an unhealthy dose of wishful thinking.

    True, but also:

    Abandon hype in climate models. The climate models currently contain an unhealthy dose of flawed theory and only produce flawed output.

  27. Sea ice, southern ocean salt. Interesting but not very plausible. The Southern Ocean is the most turbulent in the world, and it is simply not credible that meaningful stratification could be sustained as postulated. Shaken, not stirred.

  28. Not a single word from you that it only captures (they claim) 15% of its CO2 emissions. This technology cannot reduce global CO2 emissions significantly. Not even close.

    • This is reply to Roger Sowell.

    • The Skyonic SkyMine plant in San Antonio is a pilot plant and can easily be scaled up to 5 to 10 times the existing capacity. The process works. CO2 is being prevented from entering the atmosphere.

      There is zero need for such a plant, but if governments are so stupid as to pass laws that prohibit CO2 emissions, then smart chemical engineers like Joe Jones of Skyonic will take advantage.

      • Insignificant (even when scaled up) reduction in global CO2 emissions means nothing. It’s a senseless waste of resources. Yes, people can (and do) take advantage and that’s the main problem with the AGW hysteria.

      • Curious George

        How has it been doing so far?

      • Curious George

        Roger, there are two kinds of engineers. One kind tries to prevent a government stupidity. The second one takes advantage of it.

      • for Curious George and two kinds of engineers,

        Engineers know that the best way to repeal a bad law is for that law to be strictly enforced.

        (and I’m in both camps, trying my best to prevent bad laws, and also do my best to take advantage of the existing laws.)

      • Curious George

        Roger, +5

  29. “New paper finds Africa has become wetter over past 1.3 million years -instead of drier as was thought previously.” Perhaps hubris at play in both cases, with too much certainty claimed on the back of too little evidence.

  30. Dr. Curry,

    More precipitation extremes in the world’s dry regions? A statistical artifact

    … in one study — Donat et al. (2016).

    I found the first and last sentences of the abstract look eye-catching as well.

  31. Evaluation of the Global Mean Sea Level Budget between 1993 and 2014


    Evaluating global mean sea level (GMSL) in terms of its components—mass and steric—is useful for both quantifying the accuracy of the measurements and understanding the processes that contribute to GMSL rise. In this paper, we review the GMSL budget over two periods—1993 to 2014 and 2005 to 2014—using multiple data sets of both total GMSL and the components (mass and steric). In addition to comparing linear trends, we also compare the level of agreement of the time series. For the longer period (1993–2014), we find closure in terms of the long-term trend but not for year-to-year variations, consistent with other studies. This is due to the lack of sufficient estimates of the amount of natural water mass cycling between the oceans and hydrosphere. For the more recent period (2005–2014), we find closure in both the long-term trend and for month-to-month variations. This is also consistent with previous studies.

  32. Green Climate Fund Failing at its Only Two Tasks

    The lone success of the disastrous 2009 Copenhagen climate summit is looking like a mess, seven years later. The Green Climate Fund was envisioned as a mechanism to raise $100 billion annually to invest in green projects around the world, especially in developing countries. It was a crucial bit of leverage to convince the developing world to provisionally sign on to last December’s climate deal in Paris, but thus far it has only managed to raise a little more than $10 billion—a far cry from that lofty goal that, again, was set up as an annual target. But that’s not the GCF’s only issue, as the outgoing executive director of the fund recently warned that those holding the pursestrings lack the requisite focus to distribute the money they’ve managed to raise.


  33. Malthus Chokes on Bumper Wheat Crop

    A generation after leading scientists and experts warned the world of an escalating series of horrendous famines, the crop gluts continue. The latest kick in the pants to the Malthusian doomsayers is a bumper global wheat harvest.
    [ … ]
    Defying not only the Club of Rome doomsayers, but also the climate Chicken Littles who have been warning about damage from rising temperatures to world agriculture, food production is booming even as meteorologists call July 2016 the hottest month ever.


  34. Tibetan Plateau:
    “Measurements of stable isotopes (carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen) in tree rings indicate that tree growth has been stimulated by the synergistic effect of rising atmospheric CO2 and a warming-induced increase in water and nutrient availability from thawing permafrost.”

    The Plateau is given 2 signals to stop sleeping, get moving. CO2 levels and warmth. Signals transmitted, received and acted on. Nice job Gaia. We are counting on you.

  35. Intensification of landfalling typhoons over the northwest Pacific since the late 1970s by Wei Mei and Shang-Ping Xie Nature Geoscience (2016) doi:10.1038/ngeo2792

    Intensity changes in landfalling typhoons are of great concern to East and Southeast Asian countries[1]. Regional changes in typhoon intensity, however, are poorly known owing to inconsistencies among different data sets[2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Here, we apply cluster analysis to bias-corrected data and show that, over the past 37 years, typhoons that strike East and Southeast Asia have intensified by 12–15%, with the proportion of storms of categories 4 and 5 having doubled or even tripled. In contrast, typhoons that stay over the open ocean have experienced only modest changes. These regional changes are consistent between operational data sets. To identify the physical mechanisms, we decompose intensity changes into contributions from intensification rate and intensification duration. We find that the increased intensity of landfalling typhoons is due to strengthened intensification rates, which in turn are tied to locally enhanced ocean surface warming on the rim of East and Southeast Asia. The projected ocean surface warming pattern under increasing greenhouse gas forcing suggests that typhoons striking eastern mainland China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan will intensify further. Given disproportionate damages by intense typhoons[1], this represents a heightened threat to people and properties in the region.

  36. http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/hard-to-believe

    What to believe when there are multiple but differing claims of “truth”?

    In my work in geology and geophysics I’ve learned that we rarely determine the truth. What we determine is a story consistent with the understood facts. But the facts are rarely unique to one story. Most large errors are attributable to not understanding this.

    The 19th century philosopher William James said that to truly understand something we would have to be that something. From the outside we can only approach the truth, even if we can get extremely close. Accepting this allows us to move forward while being prepared for changes.

    The ego wants certainty. Absolutes. Al Gore and Bill McKibben are egos on two feet. But they have some things right. Recognizing the non unique nature of conclusions and solutions should let a fruitful dialogue between them and the skeptics in which all benefit. But as long as ego rules, this will not happen.

    Pity, because the best way is not to vilify, denigrate and exclude but to work to resolve inconsistencies, contradictions and what we don’t understand, can’t understand (yet), and make useful decisions based on a recognized level of uncertainty.

  37. Douglas Proctor said:

    ‘Pity, because the best way is not to vilify, denigrate and exclude but
    to work to resolve inconsistencies, contradictions and what we don’t understand, can’t understand (yet), and make useful decisions based
    on a recognized level of uncertainty.’

    Could have been Judith Curry speaking.

  38. Probably will wind up with it’s own post: Explaining Ocean Warming:
    Causes, scale, effects and consequences” Edited by D. Laffoley and J. M. Baxter
    September 2016


  39. Self-dying cars …

    A Dutchman died on Wednesday after his Tesla collided with a tree, according to local authorities, and it took firefighters hours to remove his body from the vehicle due to fears they could be electrocuted. Reuters reports:


  40. This was recently posted on WUWT:

    I was trying to figure it out in broad terms.
    Numbers are rounded.

    1 C temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 alone.
    The TOA then emits +4 W/m2 at equilibrium.

    3 C temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 plus all that other stuff including feedbacks.
    The TOA then emits +16 W/m2 at equilibrium.

    I suspect the above is flawed. Short wave inputs are assumed constant. How to explain increased TOA emission?

    For 1 C above we do not have +4 W/m2 at a doubling. We actually have less emission now, warming the atmosphere.

    For 3 C above we do not have +16 W/m2 at a doubling. We have even less emission now further warming the atmosphere.

    For the climate to gain Joules, it must emit less of them. What about at equilibrium? Still emitting less to explain why it’s warmer.

    The approach is to say, since you have more money you will spend it. GHGs prevent you from spending the increase in your bank account.

    • This is wrong and/or unclear:
      “For the climate to gain Joules, it must emit less of them. What about at equilibrium? Still emitting less to explain why it’s warmer.”
      At equilbrium, the atmosphere will stop warming. It should emit the same as at time zero. Inputs equal outputs. And inputs haven’t changed.

      • That’s why insulation is the better analogy. With more insulation the outside is the same ambient temperature, but the inside is warmer for a given interior heating. Insulation adds to the temperature difference. GHGs are insulation.

      • That’s why insulation is the better analogy.

        Insulation” is a horrible analogy. The only thing it’s good for is dishonest rhetoric: confusing people who don’t really understand how the “greenhouse effect” actually works.

  41. The TOA emission remains the same, but the surface has to respond to increased CO2 downward emission and that from increased H2O that is a feedback to the warmer temperature.

    • Jim D:
      Perhaps I am not following. I’d argue TOA emission has dropped allowing the atmosphere to bank more Joules. But I am not saying that with high confidence as measurement accuracy is less than we like, and the because of the oceans.

      • The drop is temporary leading to an imbalance until the warming restores the outward flux to equal the more-or-less fixed incoming one. At equilibrium it is back the same as before the forcing change.

      • As far as I can tell, you’re confusing “less” meaning a lower amount of TOA emission for any specific “global average temperature” with “less” meaning lower total TOA emission.

        The WUWT author (George White) is clearly confusing “surface” meaning the actual solid/liquid surface with “surface” meaning the overall source of upwards TOA radiation.

        Remember that there’s only a fairly narrow window for IR from the surface to reach TOA. A major part of the IR at TOA is emitted by the atmosphere (or clouds therein), and one of the mainstay assumptions of the “greenhouse effect” is that the height curve for emission of that part is raised (due to increased atmospheric opacity for that range of wavelengths), leading to a presumed lower “average” radiating temperature. All other things being equal.

        Which they aren’t, of course.

  42. Cell phones have been shown to be no threat to human life.


    The Sun, has no effect on cloud formation even though that does not make any sense either.

  43. AK,

    I’m not the slightest bit confused about the solid/liquid surface and the overall source of upwards TOA radiation. Yes. the clouds and GHG’s emit photons into space (N2/O2 is irrelevant), but that power mostly originated from the absorption of surface emissions that didn’t get through the transparent window or past clouds. While clouds absorb solar energy, because of the tight coupling between the clouds and the ocean, it’s a valid approximation to consider that all solar energy is absorbed by the radiating surface when determining the next LTE state.

    You’re also underestimating the size of the transparent window, where on a joule by joule basis, nearly half of the surface emissions consequential to its emission temperature pass directly into space (about 45%). I will urge you to do the line by line simulations for yourself. Note that this window is even wider for radiation leaving cloud tops and into space owing to the low water vapor content between cloud tops and space.

    The energy absorbed by the atmosphere, whether by GHG’s or clouds, either leaves out into space or is returned to the surface in roughly 50/50 proportions based on geometrical requirements. If you believe the narrow window claimed by Trenberth, there’s not enough left for incremental CO2 to capture, as to increase the temperature by 3C and increase emissions by more than 16 W/m^2, the atmosphere must absorb another 32 W/m^2 (unless of course you believe that the climate system has the infinite, internal source of power assumed by Bode).


    • You’re really confused about how the “greenhouse effect” works.

      Yes. the clouds and GHG’s emit photons into space (N2/O2 is irrelevant), but that power mostly originated from the absorption of surface emissions that didn’t get through the transparent window or past clouds.


      Clouds and GHG’s emit photons into space independently of “the absorption of surface emissions that didn’t get through the transparent window or past clouds.

      The fact that you could make a statement like that shows that you’re too confused about how the “greenhouse effect” works for it to be worth my while going on.

      • AK,
        I’m afraid that it’s you who’s confused. If you don’t think the energy radiated by clouds and GHG’s mostly originated from the absorption of LWIR radiation emitted by the surface, where do you propose it came from?

      • Go read a textbook on the subject.

      • AK,
        You mean the textbooks that claim massive amplification from positive feedback turns 3.7 W/m^2 of forcing into more than 16 W/m^2 of incremental surface emissions?

        If you really want to understand how the GHG effect works, I suggest you study quantum mechanics and the physics describing the absorption and emissions of photons from the electron shells of atoms and molecules.

      • I suggest you study quantum mechanics and the physics describing the absorption and emissions of photons from the electron shells of atoms and molecules.

        I have. That’s all it takes to know you’re talking nonsense.

        I’ve also studied the differential equations that describe IR absorption and emission in the atmosphere. Also basic meteorology. Your nonsense demonstrates that you haven’t, or at least haven’t understood what you read.

        That’s why I’m not going to waste time on you.

      • AK,
        You have yet to dispute anything I’ve said, except to make false accusations about my understanding of the physics. Your feeble attempts to discredit me just show you to be petty with little to contribute to the discussion. If you have anything of substance to say about my findings that the mapping from Bode to the climate is so broken that any dependent conclusions are meaningless nonsense, I’ll be happy to respond.

      • And when I asked you where you thought the energy did originate from, you couldn’t answer except by making a nebulous reference. If you want to cite a reference, be specific. Better yet, explain it in your own words so I can be more precise about why you are mistaken. Otherwise, I have to generalize and extrapolate based on the flawed understandings of other alarmists.

        For example, perhaps you blindly accept Hansen’s implicit and unacknowledged assumption that there’s an infinite source of energy within the atmosphere that provides the amplification from feedback. Perhaps you think that N2 and O2 absorb and radiate LWIR photons. Perhaps you’re arbitrarily conflating the EM energy transported by photons with the non EM energy transported by matter. Perhaps you’re unaware of the spectral properties of the planets emissions. Perhaps you’re just a partisan hack who can’t think for themselves and only believes what your political party tells you to.

        I can’t say if any or all of these apply to you, but certainly, there’s a flaw in your logic and I’d be happy to help you identify and fix it. I only ask that you try and be civil.