Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation modulates the impacts of Arctic sea ice decline [link]

New article: The Ross Sea Dipole – temperature, snow accumulation and sea ice variability in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica, over the past 2700 years  [link]

New paper on rainfall changes in  [link

Could More Snow in Antarctica Slow Sea Level Rise? [link]

Shedding light on the southern ocean CO2 sink [link]

Adaptation Bangladesh: Sea Level Rise’ film shows how farmers are fighting climate change [link]

Contributions of natural climate changes and human activities to the trend of extreme precipitation [link]

Northern Galápagos corals reveal twentieth century warming in the eastern tropical Pacific’ [link]

Changes in glacier dynamics in the northern Antarctic Peninsula since 1985 [link]

New article: The Ross Sea Dipole – temperature, snow accumulation and sea ice variability in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica, over the past 2700 years [link]

Suggests substantial cirrus cloud thinning could result from a deployment of stratospheric aerosol , they find that it could almost double the cooling effect! [link]

‘Lack of cool, not warm extremes, distinguishes late 20th Century climate in 979-year Tasmanian summer temperature reconstruction’

How ocean affect motion of & loss from & ice sheets [link]

Chaos Theory, The Butterfly Effect, And The Computer Glitch That Started It All: For centuries, we thought that the Universe was completely deterministic. But even if you know all the rules, you can’t get rid of chaos. [link

ENSO-stratosphere pathways [link

New modeling study concludes that human-caused climate change signal won’t be seen in hurricane damage to 2100, under all scenarios (even RCP 8.5), due to large internal variability [link]

New modeling study concludes that human-caused climate change signal won’t be seen in hurricane damage to 2100, under all scenarios (even RCP 8.5), due to large internal variability [link]

Changing response of the North Atlantic/European winter climate to the 11 year solar cycle [link]

The US warming hole [link] [link]

How enhanced weathering could slow climate change [link]

Deep Bore Into Antarctica Finds Freezing Ice, Not Melting as Expected [link]

The Radiative Forcing of Aerosol–Cloud Interactions in Liquid Clouds: Wrestling and Embracing Uncertainty [link]

Contrasting local and remote impacts of surface heating on polar warming and amplification [link]

Investigating the Uncertainty in Global SST Trends Due to Internal Variations Using an Improved Trend Estimator [link]

What causes drought, and why are they so hard to predict? [link]

“Energy transport, polar amplification, and ITCZ shifts in the GeoMIP G1 ensemble”. [link]

New York City Impacts on a Regional Heat Wave [link]

Increased West Antarctic and unchanged East Antarctic ice discharge over the last 7 years [link]

Latest words of wisdom from Oreskes: Climate Change Attribution: When Is It Appropriate to Accept New Methods? [link]

“The team found that a layer of fresh, cold water that melts off the bottom of the ice shelf acts like insulation, protecting the underside of the shelf from melting further” [link]

Warm Arctic−cold Siberia: comparing the recent and the early 20th-century Arctic warmings [link]

Klotzbach and Pielke’s new paper on US hurricanes [link

Social Science & Policy

Why current emissions policies remain magical thinking [link]

The hypocrisy of the California cities suing the oil companies over climate change.  Richard Epstein: Cross examination is going to be brutal [link]

What attribution could lead to in the legal world.  Better climate science has opened the door to lawsuits against big oil. [link]

Focus: Climate change and the social sciences [link]

Enlightenment Environmentalism: The Case for Ecomodernism ’s new essay in the Journal [link]

Countries are not living up their Paris promises. [link]

Managing climate related financial risk [link]

13 Youths ‘in a Position of Danger’ Sue Washington State Over Climate Crisis [link]

Are negative emissions technologies as risky as the problem they are designed to fix? [link]

Nearly all European countries are net importers of greenhouse gas emissions (from the production of goods and services in other countries) [link]

The past present and future of human evolution [link]

Insightful article from Sheila Jasanoff: Just transitions: A humble approach to global energy futures [link]

I am an environmentalist. And I work for the and industry. Change the way you think [link] 

Does climate change cause more war? [link]

About Science and Scientists

Out today: impact factor correlates with bad methodology and indicates, consequently, unreliable science:

The “world of bad data practice [divided] into five key themes: Honest Statistical/Computing Error, Honest Misunderstanding of Data, Honest Misapplication of Methods, Honest Failure to Normalize and Malicious Manipulation.” How bad data practice is leading to bad research [link]

. University professor cancels course on freedom of speech because the students could not stand freedom of speech. [link]

Amy Wax: What can’t be debated on campus [link]

Should we assume that science outlets that receive funding from industry are biased or dishonest? [link

Derailing science. Study: “ad hominem attacks may have the same degree of impact as attacks on the empirical basis of the science claims” [link]

Train PhD students to be thinkers not just specialists [link]

Being female in science [link] .

201 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Judy: I always find this feature useful and intimidating. How do you find the time?

    • well i flag these on twitter over the week, read some at the time. Periodically i read them, decide which are keepers, and this serves as my filing system for information. After reading things, takes an hour to pull this together. Was somewhat hard to justify the time today, but if it goes too long gets out of control. glad you find it useful

  2. Re aerosols:

    Roy W. Spencer says:
    February 22, 2018 at 4:58 PM
    why, just because IR exchange with a water body is only in an extremely thin surface layer? Well, so is evaporation…and that’s the primary way most water bodies lose heat. If you reduce the evaporation the water heats up. After the Deepwater Horizon spill, a sheen of oil covered the NE Gulf of Mexico, reducing water evaporation. The buoys there showed a sharp increase in water temperature.

    Julian Flood says:
    February 23, 2018 at 6:17 AM
    Dr Spencer,
    Re the oil sheen.
    Ocean oil sheen reduces evaporation, warming, decreases albedo, warming, reduces mixing by suppressing waves (see Kipling’s Knights of the Joyous Adventure and google Benjamin Franklin Clapham pond), reduces salt aerosol production by suppressing wave breaking which reduces low level stratus thickness, warming. Reduces surface mixing, increases stratification, reduces nutrient stirring and thus alters phytoplankton populations — damned if I know what this would do, but if I had to bet I reckon it would lead to less CO2 pull-down with the less discriminatory carbon fixation systems being preferentially selected*. Result, more CO2 with a C12 excess in the atmosphere which it would be easy to attribute to fossil fuel burning.
    I posted on Professor Curry’s blog about this and she tried to get an aircraft to sample the atmosphere above the Deepwater Horizon spill, but the a/c was otherwise occupied. One of the great missed opportunities. With the fond eye of a crackpot theorist I can see the lack of aerosols devouring the clouds around the Gulf spill, but then I would, wouldn’t I? Maybe someone should have a look.
    People don’t see oil sheen although it is everywhere. Having spent a lot of time over the water — I flew Vulcans from Cyprus (the Med is covered in sheen) and on maritime strike Buccaneers I saw it all around the UK. Most can be explained by river run-off (seehttps://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/peril_oil_pollution.html) but some is deliberate. We reported one tanker which was washing its tanks in the middle of the North Sea.
    I have one observation that I cannot explain. Flying down to Madeira (Airbus passenger, I’m long retired) I saw a smooth that covered literally thousands of square miles. It was sufficiently robust to stop wave breaking in a wind I estimated as Force 4. Gyre? But if so, how did the sheen last without being oxidised? What happens with an oil/synthetic surfactant mix, is it resistant to degradation? Does the Atlantic ridge leak light oils? Would synthetic surfactants which bacteria have found difficult to metabolise last long enough to form such a smooth? Dunno.
    Anthropogenic warming by ocean surface pollution explains a lot – for example, Wigley’s ‘why the blip?’ is simple. There was a war on and there was a lot of oil about. It might also pay to check oil pollution during the first 20th century warming episode.
    I just wish someone would have a look.
    JF
    *Some species respond to low nutrient levels by switching to C4 carbon fixing from their normal C3. C4 is less discriminatory against the light isotope.

  3. Harkening back to the lesson of Lorenz and chaos theory was the observation that global warming alarmists’ ad hoc use of software packages that were never designed to crush huge data sets but when used, may actually damage data with truncation errors that yield a false conclusion without the users ever understanding what they’ve done. While Kalev Leetaru may chalk up such erroneous results as an examples of honest mistake… it’s still bad science.

  4. With regards to the sea level rise article in Bangladesh, the tide data doesn’t indicate there has been any significant sea level rise on the surrounding land that isn’t part of the delta. As most of the country is a mud delta, it will be continually sinking as the land consolidates. There is a an issue that they build permanent structures on these flood plains, then wonder why they flood, but that isn’t a climate change issue.
    And have there been more, or more intense cyclones, in the region like the article states? Or is it just that population growth means more people are in harm’s way when the storms come through?

  5. Reference the various legal claims against hydrocarbon extractors and processors regarding the externalised cost of climate change, I think the coal/oil/gas industry should welcome the challenge. On the debit side we have speculative future negative economic impacts of CO2 in the atmosphere arising because of their activities. On the credit side we have the economic impact of the industrial revolution (not to mention parallel gains in agricultural productivity) arising because of their activities dating from the early 18th century to the present.

    I wonder which of these two numbers would be the greater?

    I think it would be entirely just for oil, natural gas, and coal producers to pay California in full for any future economic damage caused by CO2 after that proportion of the direct and indirect economic benefits California has enjoyed since, say 1790, due to industrialisation has been paid to oil, natural gas, coal producers and processors.

    California’s politicians, and the public who support them, are completely right to assert the principle that we should not have free-loaders in this world.

    • I am not saying I am in favor of the lawsuits, but on the economics I would say the benefit side has already been paid by the consumers because fossil fuels are not free. People do their own cost-benefit on what they are willing to pay for. These cancel, but the negative external effects have not been added in yet unless the carbon is taxed in some way to account for them. A lawsuit settlement would be like a retroactive carbon tax in my view. Who pays that? The suppliers or consumers? It’s messy.

      • Curious George

        Please quantify “the negative external effects” for year 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 (2017 data may not yet be available).

      • Exactly. How is that done? As I said I am not in favor of lawsuits.

      • I would say the benefit side has already been paid by the consumers because fossil fuels are not free.

        Using fossil fuels beats the heck out of gathering dung, cutting trees or killing whales for fuel. Using fossil fuels is much lower cost than using windmills, solar or ethanol.

        Humans that continue to depend on fossil fuels will do well in the future.
        The humans that rely on windmills and solar and ethanol will pay much more for much less.

      • People pay significant amounts of their money on fossil fuels. It’s benefit is already paid for.

      • Energy has an existential value far in excess of the price. Many products have a value in excess of their price.

        https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-elements-of-value

        The source of the energy is immaterial – as long as the price point is viable.

        “Global energy use is expected to rise nearly 50 percent by 2035 and as much as double or triple by midcentury. 7 Policymakers in the Kyoto era viewed soaring global energy demand as an obstacle to emissions reductions. In this new era, we should see it as an opportunity — to catalyze innovation, to enfranchise hundreds of millions of people who now lack access to modern energy sources, and to discover new decarbonization paths.” https://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Climate_Pragmatism_web.pdf \\

        Pragmatic approaches are preferred to – and much more likely to succeed – the top down regulation of energy costs that is the idée fixe of the progressive left.

        We can contrast that with what is happening in the real world.

        https://judithcurry.com/2018/02/17/sea-level-rise-acceleration-or-not-part-iv-satellite-era-record/#comment-866826

      • A carbon tax is a pragmatic way to account for externalities from using fossil fuels. It’s why tobacco and alcohol are taxed so much.

      • “Climate change can’t be solved on the backs of the world’s poorest people,” said Daniel Sarewitz, coauthor and director of ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. “The key to solving for both climate and poverty is helping nations build innovative energy systems that can deliver cheap, clean, and reliable power.”
        https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

        We don’t want to reduce energy access and that is regardless of its source.

      • Yes, fossil fuels are running out. We need to move on, and before 2100, just to maintain access to the abundant energy we are used to and the growing demand in less developed countries. Fossil fuels will fall short of the 21st century energy demands, and as it does its costs will soar.

      • No I didn’t say that. But there are enough fossil fuels for decades at least – and we encourage the use of them. Most especially in the developing world.

      • Then the developing world will hit the crunch first, facing all the pollution problems along the way, while the developed world weens itself off first. Fossil fuels, especially coal, require a lot of infrastructure including national power grids, and it would be temporary while they can afford coal or its pollution. I don’t think that is a good plan. Better to go straight for the new clean energy technology that can also be more localized. There are parallels in Africa and India to how telecommunications (phone, internet, TV) have spread without national infrastructure thanks to wireless and satellite. Advancement doesn’t require going backwards first.

      • Particulate, nitrous oxide, sulfate and mercury emissions are not an issue with off the shelf coal generating technology. Most of Australi will be happy to supply cheap coal and gas to Asia and India for decades to come.

        What the source of supply to meet this demand will be determined by innovation economics and not waffle from Jimmy.

        I suspect it will be advanced nuclear – rather than the inherently impossible fantasy of economically powering industrial economies with wind and solar. I don’t mind if it wind or solar – but it is not ready for large scale deployment. I suspect, however, that maintaining industrial economies is not a priority with this rabble.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/06/18/safe-cheap-and-abundant-energy-back-to-the-nuclear-energy-future-2/

        And this is a much more feasible technology path to networked grids.

        “A recent analysis from the Center for Global Development, for instance, estimates that if $10 billion were invested in renewable energy technology in sub-Saharan Africa, then 30 million would gain access to electricity. If the same amount of money was given to gas-fired generation, it would supply around 90 million – or three times as many people…

        “Faced with a perceived conflict between expanding global energy access and rapidly reducing greenhouse emissions to prevent climate change, many environmental groups and donor institutions have come to rely on small-scale, decentralized, renewable energy technologies that cannot meet the energy demands of rapidly growing emerging economies and people struggling to escape extreme poverty. The UN’s flagship energy access program, for example, claims that “basic human needs” can be met with enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day.

        A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet.”
        https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-

        This is a far cry from draconian energy taxes and a bucolic vision of equal poverty. There will never be a rapprochement between these two visions.

      • Natural gas is fine, but at its current reserve to production ratio it runs out around 2070 before which the price will skyrocket of course. Then what? Natural gas should be treated as a finite asset that is best used as a backup for renewables to make it last longer and until energy storage technologies can take over, which hopefully will occur well before 2070.
        https://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WEResources_Natural_Gas_2016.pdf

      • With increasing demand it runs out way before then. This is a problem for the US. Hence Obama’s gas to nuclear strategy.

      • I have no problem with nuclear, but it is not for all countries.

      • CO2 is a result of and a cause of much good for life on earth.

        War against CO2 is war against life on earth.

      • The more the worse in this case. Like sugar. There may be an optimum level and we passed it when the polar glaciers started melting.

      • Jim D:

        I’d ask you to entertain the thought that rather than taxing natural gas, tax the sale of such to homeowners in Minnesota who heat their homes with it. Rather than taxing diesel which powers most farm equipment, tax the crops.

        There are fuel tax exclusions for equipment used off road. Fill your tractor with fuel that has less tax on it because you aren’t driving it on roads, hardly. They dye it, so it better not show up in your pick-up.

        Fossil fuel externalities have allowed the acres in production per man to grow food to increase materially. Allowing many people to create food and wealth doing something else, like planting trees or majoring in social justice at college. To move off the farm and to the big city and become liberals.

        Fossil fuel externalities have shrunk farm family sizes, lowering the population which is part of point and causing consolidating school districts in Minnesota.

        Fossil fuel externalities have allowed people to fly over middle America rather than drive through it, thus avoiding having to be among rednecks anymore than necessary. They can still stop by briefly to tell middle America, what’s wrong with it, and how they need to go organic and put up more wind turbines.

      • None of that has been free, and part of the cost has been to the environment. Another part is the dependence on a diminishing resource held by few nations.

      • Australia is by far the biggest exporter of coal. Because production is hugely efficient. Happy to keep exporting it to Asia and India to supply the huge expansion of HELE coal plants anticipated by ASEAN. As shown above. Something that they can do within the Paris agreement.

        Our own short term energy future is more HELE as well.

        Our 26-8% reduction in emissions agreed to – and on track – doesn’t depend on more wind and solar at all.

      • Coal takes the prize as the worst possible source of energy for so many reasons. Clean coal can’t compete with gas. They need to leave the stuff in the ground for the good of everyone.

      • Coal can’t compete with gas in the US. The US is not the world.

        As I said – pollutants are under control in new coal plants. Efficiencies are rising. Gas is about 60& thermally efficient at full load.

      • JimD: “…I would say the benefit side has already been paid by the consumers because fossil fuels are not free.”
        But there is a very large consumer surplus from the supply of fossil-fuel energy – I think aporiac’s suggestion was that the F-F producers seek to offset that surplus against any “negative externalities.” That consumer surplus has essentially built the modern world, so I suspect we would owe them rather more than they owe us, if we are to follow the ridiculous logic of this sort of claim.

      • Does that mean you think they skimped on the profits they could have taken? I am not sure where your argument leads except for more money into fewer hands, and an upwards wealth transfer.

      • Yeah – it’s like a coral reef. It’s worth only what people pay for it and dynamite fishing makes more money.

      • kind of, I guess.

      • No – it has intrinsic value that is not monetary. I have spearfished over coral flats a few times. But it is like going into God’s cathedral and killing things. I have studied contingent pricing in environmental economics – but none of it seems to hit the mark. In cost benefit analysis the reef would have a high but not quantified value.

        It may be more like the ability to pay for cold storage for a vaccine – but the saving of a child is priceless.

      • Intrinsic value, like the environment and current climate that we are adapted to? I see.

      • Only rich economies can afford environments. Or much else of course.
        Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions.

        And there are far more viable alternatives than denying the developing world energy.

        “A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet.” https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

        You haven’t read any of this of course – just respond with one line niggles that far from making a point make you look like a obdurate obscurantist.

      • You are listing UNDP priorities (SDGs), and one of them is stopping climate change from wrecking what little food and water resources those countries have, while another is clean and affordable energy. Most of these countries are emitting well below the world average carbon per capita, so they would not have to scale back and would be expected to develop better energy systems than they have now, which is not much to beat.

      • I never list SDG’s as anything but opportunities to piss resources up against a wall for photo opportunities for UN potentates.

        “The UN’s flagship energy access program, for example, claims that “basic human needs” can be met with enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day.”

        You don’t actually try to read anything I post or link to do you? Else you would recognize the contempt I have for these types.

        For far more rational development policy –

        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/post-2015-consensus

      • They care about less developed countries and have 17 Sustainable Development Goals, so you can try to distinguish your position from theirs rather than preaching them at me. For example, “innovating toward an equitable, low-carbon global energy system.” That’s from your reference, but could just as easily come from the UNDP. However, your reference is 1-dimensional like energy solves everything, while UNDP has 17 dimensions for improvement, including food, water, health, environment, all as important.

      • “After years of build-up, world leaders at the U.N. Friday set some of the most important priorities for the next 15 years, the sustainable development goals. At stake is about $2.5 trillion in development aid. Unfortunately, because of politicking and a desire to please everyone, this massive budget will likely achieve less good than it could.

        The presidents and prime ministers agreed to replace the eight goals and 18 targets of the Millennium Development Goals with an impossibly long list of 17 goals and 169 targets. The chief problem with this new laundry list of targets is that trying to prioritize 169 things looks very similar to prioritizing nothing.
        https://judithcurry.com/2018/02/24/week-in-review-science-edition-77/#comment-867079

        Lomberg is being polite – I am not. It is an unconscionable travesty that will not prevent millions of preventable deaths. One of the great crimes against humanity if anyone but you took any notice.

        And the other link that you ignore as usual? The alternative is a far cry from a fan, a light and a radio for 5 hours a day.

        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/post-2015-consensus/nobel-laureates-guide-smarter-global-targets-2030

        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/post-2015-consensus/energy

        The UN might ‘care’ for the planet – I’d have to be convinced – but they are just not very smart.

      • Lomborg was for a carbon tax before he was against it, or perhaps he is for it again now, I didn’t check his latest. He is also guilty of numerical distortions of the Paris agreement’s effect in ways that can only be political. If he wants Africa to have a power grid, he has to justify that over local solar power and figure out who is going to pay for it. Similarly he is in favor of lots of research into clean energy, which is great, but try getting the current US administration to do that. Maybe his heart is in the right place, but he is needlessly anti-UN when they share so many of the same goals and provide a route to funding what he wants. He should work with them rather than throw stones at them.

      • So that dates from the Obama administration where CGD were quibbling with how OPIC, as a government agency, spends it money on clean energy development. Do they actually have any money under the Trump administration or is this just a moot point you are raising here? Why does the energy industry have to rely on the government to invest in projects that help them? I can see why Obama would not see that as aligned with his (or UN) thinking. If Trump hasn’t defunded this due to America First, maybe his thinking will be different. What is their status?

      • The point really was the relative cost of gas and renewables. But you blather on with your left liberal narrative without any fact checking.

        Obama expanded OPIC projects to include gas Trump is of course ramping up coal exports.

        https://www.opic.gov/

        https://www.opic.gov/

      • If Trump wants OPIC to fund coal, why aren’t you complaining about that instead of what Obama wanted 4 years ago?

      • What does CGD think of Trump or OPIC today? Bring it up to date. OPIC are still funding renewable projects. Has CGD commented since Obama left? This is what Obama got Congress to agree to.
        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35534612
        The latest I could find about this is here. Trump is a threat to the program because he seems to have no interest in Africa, as has been made verbally plain too.
        https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/news/2017/07/25/436320/americas-relationship-africa-new-era/

      • The Center for Global Development studied studied energy access for developing countries for gas versus renewables. 90 million more people connected with gas. Africa has lots of gas. Obama expanded OPIC portfolio to include gas – over the objections of the Sierra Club and Green peace America. Trump includes coal. Modern coal is nearly as efficient as gas and has no pollutant problems. Africa has lots of coal. They are allowed under Paris commitments to develop whatever source of energy best meets their needs. Paris commitments give an 8% increase in energy emissions to 2030.

        OPIC exists to promote American business interests globally. OPIC in fact funded record levels of renewables funding in 2017 – in a budget signed off on by Obama. Trump is most definitely interested in promoting American business globally.

        You don’t have a relevant point – and now belatedly link to editorials – one full of US liberal narratives. The usual ones. This is opinion and not evidence. Which I suppose is what you do.

      • Obama’s initiative was bipartisan. We still don’t know what Trump will commit to Africa, but it is not promising given his proclivities. You take what you get, strings and all, and it is better than nothing.

      • Your Trump antipathies are evident and repeated endlessly – it is far from any relevant point. But American aid and philanthropy would be best spent where there are the biggest returns. Doesn’t matter where. America is not the world – and aid is far from the sum of development. Economic freedom is orders of magnitude more important.

        The global economy is worth about $100 trillion a year. To put aid and philanthropy into perspective – the total is 0.025% of the global economy. If spent on Copenhagen Consensus smart development goals such expenditure can generate a benefit to cost ratio of more than 15. If spent on the UN Sustainable Development Goals you may as well piss it up against a wall. Either way – it is nowhere near the major path to universal prosperity. Some 3.5 billion people make less than $2 a day. Changing that can only be done by doubling and tripling global production – and doing it as quickly as possible. Optimal economic growth is essential and that requires an understanding and implementation of explicit principles for effective economic governance of free markets. So what are these laws of capitalism?

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/03/11/all-bubbles-burst-laws-of-economics-for-the-new-millennium/

        Aid is relatively unimportant – and the US is not the world.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2015/06/08/the-new-un-sustainable-development-goals-are-they-suffering-from-relevance-deprivation-2/

        Trump is a protectionist and a spender – something not unusual in recent American history – but not something that bodes well for America’s future. The best thing Trump could do for Africa is sign off on the Doha round of trade talks – one of Lomberg’s smart development targets.

        Another of Lomberg’s goals is to increase agricultural productivity by 40%. Carbon sequestration in soils has major benefits in addition to offsetting anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion, land use conversion, soil cultivation, continuous grazing and cement manufacturing. Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs.

        Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology.

        You of course understand nothing of this – I’m not holding my breath for America to pull its head out of its arse – but America is not the world. The rest of us have signed off on the Pacific Rim trade deal.

        http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/2131770/its-matter-time-trump-and-china-embrace-tpp

      • How does Lomborg plan to achieve his goals? It’s all very well to talk, but getting governments, industry and the UN to do things requires collaborations, so what has he done along those lines? In terms of Africa, Obama, Bush before him, and the UN have achievements, and China is also heavily investing in their development. How does Lomborg plan to fit into these efforts if he just criticizes them from the sidelines? Yes, TPP was a good opportunity for the US, and misguided nationalism is what took that off the table. Brexit was another one of those. I believe in globalism, and large trading blocs that provide efficiencies that ultimately help the people. Call it liberal, but there it is.

      • The power of ideas Jimmy. Do you imagine that a lumbering bureaucracy can compete?

        “Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.

        Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is an academic and the author of the best-selling “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and “Cool It”. He challenges mainstream concerns about development and the environment and points out that we need to focus attention on the smartest solutions first. He is a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School, and president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center which brings together many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates, to set priorities for the world. The University of Pennsylvania asked almost 7,000 think tanks and thousands of journalists, public and private donors, and policymakers from around the world to nominate and rank the world’s best think tanks. Copenhagen Consensus Center’s advocacy for data-driven smart solutions to global challenges were voted into the top 20 among NGOs with up to 100 times’ larger budget. The Economist said “Copenhagen Consensus is an outstanding, visionary idea and deserves global coverage.”

        http://www.lomborg.com/about

        Trading blocks might encourage economic freedom – there are rules. Not sure America or China makes the cut. Only economic freedom matters in the end. Europe is far from free. Only Switzerland and Ireland make it into the top 6.

        https://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

        And an American liberal is not a liberal at all.

      • Does Lomborg still favor a carbon tax to fund research into new energy technologies? He used to preach that at least, and I thought that made sense. I get that he doesn’t like emissions targets, but he does want to prioritize decarbonization, which is a bit self contradictory, so it is hard to pin him to a position. Firmly in the middle I guess.

      • Many people have suggested a hypothecated tax for energy research. But this this may be internally funded as it is in Australia.

        Lomberg’s position is that there are better things to spend scarce aid on than wind and solar. James Hansen’s Easter bunny comes to mind in that context.

      • The bottom two thirds of the global population, sorted by per capita carbon, only emit one third the CO2. They are not the problem. It is more effective to consider what the top third should do, namely the 20 largest per capita emitters and that includes China. Or you could take the top half of the world’s population that has 80% of the emissions (about 40 countries). If Lomborg isn’t thinking about the industrialized countries, he is not tackling the problem at its source or from the same perspective as the UN.

      • Apart from the fact that most future emissions are coming from from developing economies – and mixed black carbon and sulfate emissions are a developing economy issue. But as I think I have said – I am heartily bored with petulant and intellectually deficient AGW memes and no longer give a rat’s arse.

        Imagining that we can transition now to wind and solar is Easter bunny thinking according to James Hansen. But there are alternative ways of approaching multiple global issues far better than chucking aid funds at a 20W solar panel on a bush hut. As I have explained endlessly.

        https://judithcurry.com/2018/02/17/sea-level-rise-acceleration-or-not-part-iv-satellite-era-record/#comment-866826

        Stop wasting everyone’s time with your stupidly narrow petit liberal memes

      • It’s a straw man to argue against transitioning now. This is a decades long process. No one is saying do it tomorrow. The technology is not there yet. The idea is 30% by 2030 and maybe 80% by 2050. These are very far in the future, and the motivation to succeed is there except for among a few naysayers who have been left behind. I think even as we get down to 50% of today’s emissions we will be pleasantly surprised at how much natural sequestration is helping, and we may not need to go much lower, and certainly not to negative emissions, because the CO2 level will starts to stabilize (not a mainstream view, by the way).

      • Dull, plodding and sanctimonious cant. I think he has said this before!!!!

      • If you want to pass the time till I post next, take a look at this long, long, comment thread at Roy Spencer’s.
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/2018/02/diagnosing-climate-sensitivity-assuming-some-natural-warming/
        Roy unfortunately also has an Aussie blowhard called MF who I think was banned from here (and you can easily see why). Anyway sensible comments by warmists David Appell (maybe also banned from here) and Tim Folkerts. Don’t be put off by Roy’s post. They hardly talk about that at all. Look out for Eli Rabett’s one-liner that questions Roy’s whole premise, his only comment. Entertaining stuff.

      • Apart from the fact that most future emissions are coming from developing economies – and mixed black carbon and sulfate emissions are a developing economy issue. But as I think I have said – I am heartily bored with petulant and intellectually deficient AGW memes and no longer give a rat’s arse.

        Imagining that we can transition now to wind and solar is Easter bunny thinking according to James Hansen. But there are alternative ways of approaching multiple global issues far better than chucking aid funds at a 20W solar panel on a bush hut. As I have explained endlessly.

        https://judithcurry.com/2018/02/17/sea-level-rise-acceleration-or-not-part-iv-satellite-era-record/#comment-866826

        Stop wasting everyone’s time with your stupidly narrow petit liberal memes

      • You already said that.

      • The bit about wasting everyone’s time repeating petit liberal memes?

      • The whole screed.

      • I have said what I am going to.

      • Jim D “on the economics I would say the benefit side has already been paid by the consumers because fossil fuels are not free”

        Externalities are social costs not directly built into the price, but that can nonetheless be attributed to the product indirectly. i.e. They are spin-offs/unintended consequences that aren’t fully captured in the economic transaction between parties that determines the price. But if we accept this principle of accounting for external social costs that are not captured in the price then we must also account for the external social benefits that are not captured in the price – such as not living in the conditions that appertained in, say, 1720.

      • You have to distinguish between ongoing costs and benefits that have already accrued. Who do you reward for those benefits, the power companies, coal companies, car manufacturers? Surely we have already paid them enough and many of those people already got rich from it. But there are ongoing costs that are real and need paying for. Your argument is like saying cigarettes have relaxed so many people, we should be thankful and it offsets the obligations to pay for their health risks with extra taxes. It doesn’t work as an argument.

      • Products exist in competitive markets where the price is set in relation to demand. What we want is the lowest price and the highest utility.

        I have given up trying to decipher Jimmy left liberal ad hos ramblings on economics but as usual anything that pops into his head is worth repeating.

      • Jim D “Your argument is like saying cigarettes have relaxed so many people, we should be thankful and it offsets the obligations to pay for their health risks with extra taxes. It doesn’t work as an argument.”

        Actually, it does work as an argument.

        You are also right that cigarettes relax smokers, but not so much that when confronted with your stupidity a given smoker might not be inclined to pick up a stick and beat your brains out. And so we have this potential benefit on the credit side and the ill-effects of smoking on the debit side.

        Should this fortunate outcome be realised, humanity will have been shown to advance through tobacco.

      • It’s just a debating remark. Damage continues. Benefits already paid for handsomely. You can send a thank you note to your friendly tobacco company if you feel so inclined, same for coal and oil. Add some cash too, if you think you got more benefit than it cost you. They will either appreciate it, or view you as some kind of sucker.

      • Jim D: “It’s just a debating remark.”

        My prediction is that when the rubber hits the road you will be found bent over with your head between your knees and your hands stretched back spreading your cheeks. It is only from this, Jim dear, that your correct concept of certainty derives.

      • Have a nice day.

    • aporiac1960,

      Can I contact you by email?

  6. “Why current emissions policies remain magical thinking”. This is a Nature editiorial comment (not sure who the author would be). Anyway, I have a different perspective on the “negative emissions” issue. It is often forgotten that the earth is sequestering half our emissions all the time, currently standing around 20 GtCO2 per year of our 40 GtCO2 emitted. If we suddenly halved our emissions tomorrow, the earth’s process would continue to act in proportion to excess CO2 levels in the atmosphere, not to our emission rate, and therefore net CO2 growth would go to zero. That is with continued emissions at 20 GtCO2 per year. There are simple models you can apply to this balance, and it turns out for each emission rate there is a stable CO2 level. My own admittedly simple model that fits past data says that for emission rates < 25 GtCO2 per year we can stabilize < 450 ppm (or < 2 C). So the situation isn't as reliant on negative emissions as these pessimistic articles indicate, in my view. Cutting emissions 50% stabilizes the climate without the need for negative emissions. Bottom line: if we help ourselves by halving emissions, nature helps us to stabilize the climate. Nature helps those who help themselves,

    • Climate cycles, temperature cycles, ocean level cycles, are normal, natural, necessary and unstoppable. You cannot stop natural change.

    • Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production – from 1750 to 2011 – was about 365 billion metric tonnes as carbon (GtC), with another 180 GtC from deforestation and agriculture. Of this 545 GtC, about 240 GtC (44%) had accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 GtC (28%) had been taken up in the oceans with slight consequent acidification, and 150 GtC (28%) had accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems (IPCC 2007).

      All is flow – panta rhei – as declared by Heraclitus. Jimmy’s grossly oversimplified, static view of systems is utter nonsense. But the real way forward – for multiple reasons – and I heartily bored with AGW twaddle – is to manage for multiple gases and mixed aerosols, change management to reverse the carbon flux from soils and ecosystems, increase energy efficiency and innovate on new energy sources. This is all happening in the real world – as opposed to the one these people seem to live in.

      The 21st century is when the Anthopocene commences in the building of prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes. Agricultural soils alone can absorb 3.5GtC/yr – 35% of the carbon content of greenhouse gas emissions – for 40 or 50 years. Ironically in the context of this non story – restoring life to soils enhances the symbiotic relationship of plants and soil organisms. Plants supply sugars to microbes and fungi – and soil organisms break down rock in more acidic conditions to release micro-nutrients.

      The reduction of mixed aerosols (black carbon, organic carbon and sulfate) alone has the potential to reduce warming by the equivalent of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions entirely – and can and has been done with off the shelf technology. High efficiency low emission (HELE) coal electricity generating technology is just one example. With enormous health benefits.

      Restored agricultural soils in Africa is estimated will increase production by 40 billion tonnes of food a year. Carbon sequestration in soils has major benefits in addition to offsetting anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion, land use conversion, soil cultivation, continuous grazing and cement manufacturing. Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs.

      Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology. Many countries have committed to increasing soil carbon by 0.4% per year. As a global objective and given the highest priority it is a solution to critical problems of biodiversity loss, development, food security and resilience to drought and flood.

      • You should read the enhanced weathering link. Even with a lot of effort,, and some expense, that can remove 0.4-5 Gt per year. As I said, nature is already removing 20 GtCO2 per year, so that would be a small extra contribution.

      • It is a non-story as I said. Adding crushed rock to soil to supply missing micro-nutrients is just one of many techniques for soil and food health. This is something very different to using crushed rock to speed slow weathering and carbon complexation processes – the latter is simply a nonsense idea. On economic as well as technical grounds.

        Flux and flows are beyond Jimmy’s superficial grasp – a lower carbon dioxide partial pressure will result in ocean outgassing, the stability and indeed growing of terrestrial carbon stores depends on active management at local scales, lower carbon dioxide levels will reverse the vegetation content. But there is a very much bigger picture that evades him as well. Deliberately or carelessly it seems.

    • I am repeating what others have said. Skeptics need solutions. We can lob water balloons at the consensus or be part of the conversation.

      It seems the United States has about 300 million acres of cropland. Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa and Wheat mostly. At a ton of CO2 per year per acre on a third of the acreage, that’s 0.3 Gigatons per year.

      Current United States wind turbines are said to be around 0.15 Gigatons per year of CO2 not emitted.

      https://environmentamerica.org/reports/ame/more-wind-less-warming

      With aggressive wind, we might approach one Gigaton per year in a decade or two with a large grid transformation. I guess this would require six times the current number of wind turbines.

      With diminishing returns from wind turbines because of increased grid penetration, less than ideal siting, and more and more power lines needed, low cost carbon soil sequestration will become more attractive.

      • As a “redneck in the Midwest” (your words Ragnar) why don’t you take your wind turbines and place them in a place where the sun does not shine.
        The contraptions are a monumental blight that devastate the natural world. Further, the line losses are enormous because load centers are not near the “windmills”. Throw in unreliability and poor timing relative to load requirements and you have an abysmal method for power production.
        The only reason the contraptions are deployed is to line the pockets of venture capitalists and elitists using subsidies and mandates inflicted on the taxpayer and consumer.

      • Initially natural gas can be used as a backup, and later storage can be the backup as that technology develops. It is a process that has to play out over decades, and we are just starting. Solar energy also continues to expand even as Trump wants to make it more expensive with an import tariff for solar panels. The US is in a better position than other countries, and should also expand nuclear power in my view.

      • “The climate-fueling actions, the suit says, have put the young people “in a position of danger with deliberate indifference to their safety in a manner that shocks the conscience.””

        Maybe the State of Washington will secede from the Union and spare us.

        I want to fuel the climate and see if it catches fire? The ones putting young people in a position of danger are the adults behind the suit, using the children as shields in their quest to do whatever. Maybe the children can go on a victims tour. Get some grief counseling. How about a climate therapy animal?

        No one is shocked. If fossil fuels were cut off from their state, then there would be shock and danger and not enough safety.

  7. “Countries are not living up to their Paris promises.”

    This is sad and shocking. It seems that non-binding agreements aren’t very binding. Our resident huffpo alarmist proselytizers should consider abandoning their futile mission to chastise the unbelievers here and concentrate on preaching to their flock. Too many of the faithful are straying from the path of righteousness.

  8. The link to changes in glacier dynamics in the Northern Antarctica Peninsula says the paper does a comprehensive analysis of those changes. It’s paywalled so the entire analysis is not available. But it cannot be a comprehensive analysis unless the paper addresses the potential geothermal activity below those glaciers. The list of papers looking at this little understood influence is starting to grow. As it should.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JF003251/full

  9. Breakup of last glacial deep stratification in the South Pacific

    CO2 escaped from the deep
    Why did the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide rise so much and so quickly during the last deglaciation? Evidence has begun to accumulate suggesting that old, carbon-rich water accumulated at depth in the Southern Ocean, which then released its charge when Southern Ocean stratification broke down as the climate there warmed. Basak et al. present measurements of neodymium isotopes that clearly show that the deepwater column of the glacial southern South Pacific was stratified, just as would be necessary for the accumulation of old, carbon-rich water. Their data also show that North Atlantic processes were not the dominant control on Southern Ocean water-mass structure during that interval, as has been thought.

    Abstract
    Stratification of the deep Southern Ocean during the Last Glacial Maximum is thought to have facilitated carbon storage and subsequent release during the deglaciation as stratification broke down, contributing to atmospheric CO2 rise. Here, we present neodymium isotope evidence from deep to abyssal waters in the South Pacific that confirms stratification of the deepwater column during the Last Glacial Maximum. The results indicate a glacial northward expansion of Ross Sea Bottom Water and a Southern Hemisphere climate trigger for the deglacial breakup of deep stratification. It highlights the important role of abyssal waters in sustaining a deep glacial carbon reservoir and Southern Hemisphere climate change as a prerequisite for the destabilization of the water column and hence the deglacial release of sequestered CO2 through upwelling.

    • So, naturalists observe, a flea
      Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
      And these have smaller still to bite ’em;
      And so proceed ad infinitum.
      Thus every poet, in his kind,
      Is bit by him that comes behind.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL076045/abstract

    • “ALL human race would fain be wits,
      And millions miss for one that hits.
      Young’s universal passion, pride,
      Was never known to spread so wide.
      Say, Britain, could you ever boast
      Three poets in an age at most?
      Our chilling climate hardly bears
      A sprig of bays in fifty years;
      While every fool his claim alleges,
      As if it grew in common hedges…”
      Jonathon Swift – 1733 – A Rhapsody

      Being the source of Maksimovich’s quote. Note the date and the bay leaves.

      But…

      “Big whorls have little whorls,
      Which feed on their velocity;
      And little whorls have lesser whorls,
      And so on to viscosity
      (in the molecular sense).”
      LewisFryRichardson 1922

      It is all whorls as I have said once or twice. I never know what JayZee’s point is – as he seems incapable of stating it. Other than that it is all politically motivated denial by right wing zealots.

      The total change in CO2 forcing from glacial max to glacial min was some 2 W/m2 – from retreating ice caps at TOA 25 W/m2. Indeed that flea that wagged the dog’s tail.

    • That you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. One clue, almost none of the people you quote agree with you. And now, cue the insults.

      “The fate of humanity does depend very much on how clouds respond to our emissions of CO2. …” – Tim Palmer

  10. “Recent studies have presented conflicting results regarding the 11 year solar cycle (SC) influences on winter climate over the North Atlantic/European region. Analyses of only the most recent decades suggest a synchronized North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)-like response pattern to the SC. Analyses of long-term climate data sets dating back to the late 19th century, however, suggest a mean sea level pressure (mslp) response that lags the SC by 2–4 years in the southern node of the NAO (i.e. Azores region).”

    With solar cycles 23 and 24, the variance at sunspot maximum is about 2 years, and at sunspot minimum around 1 year. It’s not a lagged climate response, it’s because the solar wind strength lagged the sunspot cycles. While with solar cycles 20 and 21, the major low in the solar wind strength was around sunspot maximum, along with the greater negative NAO conditions. That directly suggests that the effects of weaker solar wind on the NAO greatly overwhelm any effects of higher UV on the NAO around sunspot maximum.
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/association-between-sunspot-cycles-amo-ulric-lyons

  11. OK, maybe you don’t mind nuclear materials all over the place, but are there any countries would you not allow to have fast reactors?

    • “To provide [electricity] in today’s world, an ‘advanced reactor’ must improve over existing reactors in the following 4-core objectives. It must produce significantly less costly, cost-competitive clean electricity, be safer, produce significantly less waste and reduce proliferation risk. It is not sufficient to excel at one without regard to the others.” Dr. Christina Back, Vice President, Nuclear Technologies and Materials for General Atomics, May 2016 testimony before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the status of advanced nuclear technologies.

      You mean Iran and North Korea? That ship has sailed. There are 270,000 metric tons of high level nuclear waste sitting in leaky drum and ponds around the world. And the best you can do is drop a western, liberal elitist wisecrack. You tell me – what countries would you exclude?

      On version of the technology I discuss here – https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/06/18/safe-cheap-and-abundant-energy-back-to-the-nuclear-energy-future-2/ – that of course was already linked like everything else you ignore. That is the reason for your intransigent ignorance on so many matters – and it prevents any discourse or progress. I could discuss nuclear technologies – but with you it is pointless.

      • I think we are lucky that collapsed countries like Iraq and Syria did not have reactors. I could also name Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. You can see the risks there.

      • HELE is a better option for powering people generally than conventional reactors – purely on economics. In the nuclear technology I discussed – the units are delivered on a truck, sealed in a bunker for 20 or 30 years and then taken away on a truck. People would have to have a very good reason to open it up.

        Fission products be would separated by mass at the factory – about 3% – and decay to background levels in 300 odds years. Fission products can’t be used to produce bombs. The bulk of the material is plugged into another burn cycle with added fertile material.

        The biggest risk I can see is liberal, elitist blather.

    • You do not need a fast reactor to easily exceed all of Dr. Black’s targets.
      The solution is unconventional but quite practical. However, a number of “sacred cow” establishment types, “green religion” and “Washington swamp creatures” will get gored.

      On the other hand, President Trump will be delighted as both the nuclear and coal industries will be saved.

      Without getting into details, uses a gas nuclear reactor to pressurize the air used by a combustion turbine. Competitive with natural gas plant (which it is partially), slashes spent nuclear fuel (by about 90%), CO2 emissions plunge, fuel essentially impossible to reprocess so stops proliferation, and the reactor is absolutely passively fail-safe. This is a patented US technology privately developed.

      I suspect the public will be hearing more about this hybrid technology over the course of the next year or so. The concept design has been completed.

      • The General Atomics concept uses energetic neutrons to breed fissionable material from fertile material – that can be anything from used nuclear waste to thorium. In that sense it is a fast reactor. The hybrid concept uses GA silicon carbide fuel and presumably the core and reactor vessel design.


        http://www.hybridpowertechnologies.com/technology.html

        In this concept – Instead of driving a Brayton cycle turbine – it drives an air compressor. It is claimed in principle that this doubles the thermal to electrical power conversion of the gas plant. Not clear on how the economics work but half the emissions again from fossil fuels.

      • Actually, the core is more similar to that developed in Japan while the vessel is made from the same steel as conventional water reactors.
        The fossil fuel use efficiency is about 80%; the reactor provides for compressing air which generally takes about half of the input energy to a gas turbine. Essentially doubles the gas turbines electrical output.
        The favorable economics result from : very large output; exceptionally high efficiency (reactor and fossil portions of plant); low cost of fossil side of plant (combined-cycle plants have exceptionally low build costs); and low-cost nuclear fuel. This is a classic economies-of-scale approach. Beat the competition by being more powerful, more efficient, and better.
        Fossil emissions using coal or natural gas easily comply with President Obama’s previously proposed Clean Power Plan.
        I do not subscribe to the “zero-emissions” religious dogma which condemns most of the planet’s population to perpetual poverty. All energy resources need to be practically and reasonably deployed. The hybrid is a means to do exactly that without resorting to exotic, or unreliable or expensive technology approaches.

      • What Japanese core design? One of the advantages of the GA core design is that it burns for 30 years without refueling. And steel is steel.

        The efficiency here would be a total of some 60% – equivalent to a combined but using nuclear as one half of the cycle. High temperature nuclear reactors have an efficiency of 50%. Converting energy to steam first is an interim step. So you get an extra 10% for the price of a whole gas plant? Yes the nuclear fuel cost is low but the capital cost is high – the reverse potentially for gas plants.

        But this is a discussion in an almost total vacuum of facts and the devil is in the detail. We first have to face the engineering reality of building things. But if you think you can make a profit – I’d encourage you.

  12. Eastern Pacific:

    Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity Obtained from Multi-Millennial Runs of Two GFDL Climate Models

    Abstract
    Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), defined as the long-term change in global mean surface air temperature in response to doubling atmospheric CO2, is usually computed from short atmospheric simulations over a mixed layer ocean, or inferred using a linear regression over a short-time period of adjustment. We report the actual ECS from multi-millenial simulations of two GFDL general circulation models (GCMs), ESM2M and CM3 of 3.3 K and 4.8 K, respectively. Both values are ~1 K higher than estimates for the same models reported in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change obtained by regressing the Earth’s energy imbalance against temperature. This underestimate is mainly due to changes in the climate feedback parameter (−𝛼) within the first century after atmospheric CO2 has stabilized. For both GCMs it is possible to estimate ECS with linear regression to within 0.3 K by increasing CO2 at 1% per year to doubling and using years 51-350 after CO2 is constant. We show that changes in −𝛼 differ between the two GCMs and are strongly tied to the changes in both vertical velocity at 500 hPa (𝜔500) and estimated inversion strength (EIS) that the GCMs experience during the progression towards the equilibrium. This suggests that while cloud physics parametrizations are important for determining the strength of −𝛼, the substantially different atmospheric state resulting from a changed SST pattern may be of equal importance.

  13. “Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist.” Edward Lorenz 1969 – https://eapsweb.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Three_approaches_1969.pdf

    I have been thinking about models and chaos. The Forbes article is wrong.
    There is no randomness in climate – everything is deterministic but is so complex that it evolves nonlinearly with multiple negative and positive feedbacks that behave in the way – seen in climate series – as a chaotic system with regimes and regime shifts that are only apparently random (Slingo and Palmer 2011). The difference is not between deterministic and random – but between predictable and unpredictable (Koutsoyiannis 2010).
    Model errors propagate over time – small errors propagate rapidly and larger less rapidly – but both with a characteristic doubling time. But even if observations of initial conditions were preternaturally precise – and the equations were perfect – we should still expect in the absence of perfect physics that in the next instant models would diverge from climate. (Lorenz 1969)

    Laplace’s demon armed with perfect knowledge of the physics of the system, perfect equations and Deep Thought – the Hitchhikers prototype and not the IBM clone – might still not get it right. We of course have none of those things. Climate evolves as a system with both spatial and temporal dimensions – models evolve as sequential computations. Both nonlinearly.

    Be that as it may these millennial scale computations of JayZee’s start at the same point and have the same forcings – the difference being the CO2 component. So the difference should be solely the planetary response – ECS – to CO2? Laplace’s demon might be able to show how much if any is irreducible imprecision from changed starting points – and how much is a forced response. But I’ve probably got him wrong as well.

    • Robert, you wrote: Model errors propagate over time – small errors propagate rapidly and larger less rapidly – but both with a characteristic doubling time. But even if observations of initial conditions were preternaturally precise – and the equations were perfect – we should still expect in the absence of perfect physics that in the next instant models would diverge from climate. (Lorenz 1969)

      Climate cycles are well bounded inside boundaries that repeat. The boundaries gradually got colder over fifty million years. The most recent few million years saw increasing extremes in the cycles until we came out of the last major ice age into a new normal with unprecedented narrow boundaries. For ten thousand years, ice core data and other proxies show both hemispheres follow the new normal, not in phase with other, but in the same bounds. Oceans in both hemispheres get warm enough to remove much of the sea ice and then get cold enough for it to return. These cycles are operating inside the same bounds.

      A proper understanding of why, would produce models that do the same thing. Models would not model the cycles exactly, but they would stay in the same bounds and have similar periods to the natural cycles. The NH and SH cycles do not have the same periods. The hemispheres must be modeled separately. Land and oceans in the two hemispheres are very different. They exchange water and do influence each other, but they do not drive each other.

    • There is no randomness in climate – everything is deterministic but is so complex that it evolves nonlinearly with multiple negative and positive feedbacks that behave in the way,

      The climate is extremely well bounded. It is self correcting. When it is colder, it gets warmer. When it is warmer, it gets colder. That means that some most important factor is so simple that it has been discounted. Occam would tell us to look for that most important simple factor. Put that in models and they will cycle instead of getting exponential.

    • I disagree. Climate is a stochastically forced, globally coupled, spatio-temporal chaotic, resonant system.

      e.g. Synchronization of the climate system to eccentricityforcing and the 100,000-year problem.

      There are simple rules but the rules are those of chaos.

      e.g. http://www.ajsonline.org/content/312/4/417.abstract

  14. Sheila Jasanoff’s article is really a social science gem.
    Later generations will have much to ponder about it.

    “The sociology and politics of science, themselves domains of robust scientific inquiry, tell us otherwise. Built into the very processes of knowledge-making are disparate social and cultural judgments that inevitably shape policy: judgments about what is worth knowing (and what is not); whose knowledge counts (and whose does not); which facts deserve contestation (and which ones do not); whose questions should be taken seriously (and whose should not). In the Second Enlightenment, those invisible presumptions will have to be opened to public view, dusted off, reexamined and critiqued, and rearticulated in order to build a more robust base of knowledge and technologies for transformative action.”

    Thank god (this metaphor is only a metaphor, so please don’t feel offended anyone) the sociology and politics of science themselves are such robust domains of scientific inquiry. Otherwise everyone would be lost. All my hopes now rest on the Second Coming of the Enlightenment to achieve …. well whatever.

  15. My latest: The glut of modeling in “climate science”

    Excerpts:
    “Awhile back my colleague Dr. Patrick Michaels and I did a quick study of the extent of computer modeling in science, especially in climate science. The result was startling — modeling completely dominates the field.

    We reported this: “In short it looks like less than 4% of the science, the climate change part, is doing about 55% of the modeling done in the whole of science. Again, this is a tremendous concentration, unlike anything else in science.”

    I have now followed up with some additional analysis. What is perhaps most important is that a lot of this speculative modeling is not climate modeling per se. It is impact modeling, where runaway global warming is supposed to cause some sort of damage. This is how computer modeling supports climate change alarmism, by relentlessly predicting speculative catastrophes.

    So this is basically what today’s so-called “climate science” amounts to. It is speculative computer models all the way down. Hot climate models that drive adverse impact models that then drive economic cost models. And we spend billions of dollars a year on this junk.

    There is arguably no science here at all. There is nothing testable and if these claims are not testable they are not science. They are simply science fiction; stories spun to scare us into letting the global government have its way with us.

    The obvious thing to do is to declare a moratorium on federal funding of climate related computer modeling, which is just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Instead let’s refocus the US Global Change Research Program on understanding how the climate system actually works. Either that or shut it down.”
    http://www.cfact.org/2018/02/20/the-glut-of-modeling-in-climate-science/

    • David

      I carry out a lot of primary research for my articles about Historic climates over the last 500 years or so.

      In this I am fortunate in having the Met Office library and archives close by. I have also been to places such as the Scott Polar institute in Cambridge.

      I rarely see anyone else accessing information, including the scientists who work above their library.

      There are two points.

      Firstly, much of the material is quite dull. Overwritten scientific papers that are often confused and rambling. Long winded books on obscure climate topics. Lots of worthy articles with lots of tables.

      The second point. In short, no one these days offering grant money or in a position of political authority wants to read this historic stuff as it requires effort and perhaps background knowledge to put things into their historic context

      Consequently these days, with our short attention spans, instead of the meaty material of the past we get lots of brightly coloured all singing graphics and modelled scenarios and the written equivalent of ‘sound bites’ all demonstrating the modeller is;

      a) concerned about the devastation man is wreaking
      b) needs to carry out more work to ascertain the extent of future devastation
      c) needs funds
      d) wants to impress their peers.

      At a very rough estimate I would say that less than 5% of the material in these places have had their information digitised. If it hasn’t been digitised it doesn’t exist to many researchers, who often access their data solely via the internet.

      Interestingly, the documents I come across pre around 1975 tend to be much more interesting (relatively speaking) better written (presumably because there are no whizz bang computer models to accompany them) and altogether have more gravitas.

      A moratorium on modelling would be good and an effort made by modern researchers to actually look at the original material that lies in the libraries and archives, which might help to put their modern day concerns into a better historic context.

      tonyb.

      • Tonyb
        Thanks for all you have done for observations in climate discussions.

        Can’t wait for sea level from Roman to Middle ages from you.

        You chose a tough and demanding focus but we encourage you to keep slogging through the muck.

        Scott

    • David, You said that very well! THANKS!

    • This does not occur in a vacuum. The predicted effects of climate are important for planning and a lot of people want to know the results, including national and local governments, the insurance, agriculture, and energy industries, anyone who has a stake in what happens over the next few decades. There is a climate services industry that as spun into existence because of the rapid changes and concerns about those, where the past is no longer a guide to the future, so it is not just an actuarial problem. With these concerns comes a lot of money. If you want to work on something worthwhile, climate change is one area where the money is not short.

      • Curious George

        Jim, higher up you brought in “the negative external effects” and then you could not specify any. You are a babe in the woods. And so are planners.

      • Sea-level rise and coastal cities, changing food and fresh water availability, energy demands, health impacts, increased risks of flooding, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, sustainability of populations, resource-related conflict and migration, health impacts, ocean acidification, ecosystem survival, snowpack loss, …

      • Curious George

        Please provide numbers for years 2014, 2015, 2016. If the past is no longer a guide to the future, we are limited to speculations, or models which have not been reliable (in the past).

      • Do you think the past is a guide to the future, and that climate services are wasting their time with projections of impacts? Would you use 20th century probabilities if you were planning for decades ahead? Not sure where you’re coming from on this one.

      • There is Nile River data going back over more than a millennia, there is a high resolution ENSO proxy spanning the Holocene. There were mega-droughts and mega-floods. There is extreme intrinsic variability in which the 20th century features as relatively benign.

        For instance – a millennial IPO reconstruction and mega-drought in Australia.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL062447/abstract

        One listed above – interesting for its characterization of extremes in southern Australia.

        http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaafd7/pdf

        And a modelling study of US drought based on reconstructed SST.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL042239/abstract

        The projection of extremes from 50 years of data is inherently nonsense. Models as well fail to capture intrinsic variability – a lack of detailed physics of internal variability and of the equations with which to represent it. One problem is the scale problem. Fine scale process models are to define parametization schemes for GCM – an inherently unsatisfactory procedure. One solution would be to reduce the grid size in GCM to <10m – something well beyond the power of any current computer. So modelers resort to tricks and obfuscation. From the cloud and uncertainty paper above.

        "In light of the importance of the uncertainty estimate, we also need to think carefully about the methods by which it is derived. One source is GCM intermodel spread (e.g., [36, 42, 52, 145, 161]), but this source is plagued by problems of errors versus uncertainty, representativeness of the model diversity [66], and common lineages of model components ([6], and references therein); further, model spread may be biased by requiring the model ERFaci to lie within the consensus range [119]."

        I am far from in favor of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – but model outcomes can easily be over interpreted. In any case – whether intrinsic or forced the solution is the same. Building of prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes.

      • Sure, if you use one site, 50 years doesn’t give you much idea what a 500-year event would be, but using 100 sites, you can get a better idea, and the US has and several 500-year events recently with a frequency higher than you would expect from historical data.

      • 500 years is the laymen’s term – the idea involves exceedance probabilities – the chance in a flow being exceeded in any given year. And flows at any site tend to cluster – or persist as Hurst put it. And there are global hydrological effects emerging from millennially varying ocean conditions.

        You are attempting to draw conclusions that must be inconclusive from short term data. The glory of the Nile data is the shear length and what it reveals about hydrological flows.

        “Since “panta rhei” was pronounced by Heraclitus, hydrology and the objects it studies, such as rivers and lakes (and sinks), have offered grounds to observe and understand change and flux. Change occurs on all time scales, from minute to geological, but our limited senses and life span, as well as the short time window of instrumental observations, restrict our perception to the most apparent daily to yearly variations. As a result, our typical modelling practices assume that natural changes are just a short-term “noise” superimposed on the daily and annual cycles in a scene that is static and invariant in the long run. According to this perception, only an exceptional and extraordinary forcing can produce a long-term change. The hydrologist H.E. Hurst, studying the long flow records of the Nile and other geophysical time series, was the first to observe a natural behaviour, named after him, related to multi-scale change, as well as its implications in engineering designs. Essentially, this behaviour manifests that long-term changes are much more frequent and intense than commonly perceived and, simultaneously, that the future states are much more uncertain and unpredictable on long time horizons than implied by standard approaches. Surprisingly, however, the implications of multi-scale change have not been assimilated in geophysical sciences. A change of perspective is thus needed, in which change and uncertainty are essential parts.” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02626667.2013.804626?scroll=top&needAccess=true

        I am reading the storyline version of extremes – and the background literature – that I don’t in principle mind – but these stories need to be put into a deep (excuse the pun) context. You take it to extremes.

        I’ll get back to you when you know a little bit more bout it.

      • I was talking about rainfall, not river flows.

      • Give me rainfall and I can predict river flow. Literally. With models. This seems a more than ordinary quibble even for you.

      • Manmade changes affect rivers. It is not just nature there. Rainfall is.

      • Depends on the catchment. And it tends to integrate rainfall over an area – and leave a semi-permanent record. Rainfall exceedance probabilities are a bit fuzzy. You need to define the area and the period.

        You are arguing that 50 years and a few undefined anomalies are all you need?
        Basically on trivial quibbles. You are a funny little thing.

        One hundred years – monthly and across the continent.

        A 1000 years.

        It was a bit of a dry century in Australia.

      • I doubt that climate services are possible, but in any case they are different from climate science. That the so-called science has been overwhelmed by modeling of distant futures, which is not science because it cannot be tested or dis-confirmed by observation, is due to the modeling being federally funded instead of real science. This is a flaw that needs to be corrected.

        It is ironic that while the rest of science (the real part) is experiencing a “lack of replicability” crisis, climate science is awash with stuff that is obviously not replicable and no one cares. Climate science must be refocused on testable science.

      • Climate services, and there are many either in weather services or working as private companies, are typically asked for projections of certain parameters and probabilities decades ahead for planning purpose. This is a practical problem, not just of academic interest.

  16. Thank you.

    As for the “butterfly effect” — when a butterfly flaps its wings, the effect is absorbed in the turbulence of the first few inches of air surrounding the butterfly. I wonder if anyone has ever shown that a storm or even a small dust devil resulted from the flapping of a butterfly wing.

    Of course, “butterfly effect” is just a name.

      • I was referring to biological butterflies, not mathematical butterflies. With billions of butterflies migrating each year, maybe some day an actual butterfly will induce an actual cyclone or rain storm. Not so far.

        I am reminded that John von Neuman said that with 4 parameters he could model and elephant, and with 5 he could make it wag its trunk. That would be handy for people who model elephants. Did he, in fact, ever do so?

        “How absolute the knave is!”

      • The butterfly was an allusion to the shape of the Lorenz attractor. The Lorenz butterfly is however at the base of every tornado in Texas – and it comes from the title of a 1972 lecture.

        The butterfly is poetic – of which there is too little in science – and this was great science – but has been earnestly pontificated on by dull pedants ever since.

        I gave you the clue – but it flew past without you noting the flap of its wings far less the tornado in the world of ideas that this butterfly provoked.

      • I gave you the clue

        You are such a joke.

      • MM. As for the “butterfly effect” — when a butterfly flaps its wings, the effect is absorbed in the turbulence of the first few inches of air surrounding the butterfly. I wonder if anyone has ever shown that a storm or even a small dust devil resulted from the flapping of a butterfly wing.

        How many small dust devils does one actually see?
        Billions are still born every day.
        The effect is not such that any flap of a wing could ever be said, much less proven to cause a large event. Rather it is the concatenation of such an event is effected by microscopic changes in the events development.
        It is more the inability to predict events from causality due to such microscopically different starting circumstances that the term comes about.
        Instead of taking the chiefio literally try to agree with him on the actuality, which is that minor perturbations cause major effects and are unpredictable and almost unscalable.

      • The butterfly was purely poetic – no butterflies were harmed in the making of Texan tornadoes. Tornadoes form when cold polar air meets warm air masses. The driver for that is surface pressure at the pole. The butterfly there may be solar UV/ozone chemistry acting through atmospheric pathways.

        e.g. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8535

      • Angech: Instead of taking the chiefio literally try to agree with him on the actuality, which is that minor perturbations cause major effects and are unpredictable and almost unscalable.

        I have read lots of good stuff by Robert I Ellison, and in the sources he has linked and reference. I have read the papers by Ghil and others that he has referenced, and I bought two books by Dijkstra after reading the Ghil articles. Most of it is irrelevant to understanding CO2 and climate, my major interest here. His most precise prediction to date is that in the next 10 years there will be a climate change. All I wrote this time were two small plays on words, “butterfly effect” and “modeling elephants.” It’s a shame that no one has thought them humorous.

        “[M]inor perturbations” can sometimes cause major effects, depending on the states of the systems being studied. Most of the time (i.e. with probability 1 based on Lebesque measure of the attracting basin. cf the areas of the smallest polygons containing the “wings” of the “butterfly – shaped” attractor in the link ), they produce minor effects. But back to physical butterflies, has such an effect been demonstrated in climate and weather for any actual event?

      • Therre is no equivalence between the Lorenz butterfly and the multi-dimensional attractor of the spatio-temporal chaos of the climate system. The latter for which there is no math. You confuse simple systems and allegory for an immense reality.

        The reality is tremendous energy cascading through powerful sub-systems with Lorenzian forcing – SAM and NAM prominently – causing shifts in the system at all scales in time and space.

      • The entirety of the butterfly’s flap cannot be completely contained within a short distance. Perhaps the fine details of the perturbation will be diffused away, but the energy require for this diffusion will affect the bulk properties of that air.
        When the system then enters a chaotic splitting, this tiny difference will eventually cause the solution to go one way around the split, whereas the original solution would go the other.
        Bam. Completely different weather from thereon.

      • nickels: Bam. Completely different weather from thereon.

        How often?

        Robert I Ellison: The butterfly was purely poetic

        I agree — I called it a “name”. nickels seems to take it literally.

      • Robert I Ellison: no butterflies were harmed in the making of Texan tornadoes.

        Is that something that is known? I wrote more modestly that no cyclonic disturbances had been observed to have been initiated by butterflies flapping their wings. It seems you are in agreement on that narrow point.

      • MRM: areas of the smallest polygons containing

        I ought to have written the measure of the smallest union of convex sets containing the attractor, to include volumes as well as areas, and cases like the display in the wolfram link where the attractor has wings in barely overlapping otherwise disjoint subspaces.

      • “How often?”

        I am talking about the trajectory of a solution to the equations of climate/weather, not the statistics of the trajectory, which is a related, but different problem.

        Take lorenz. Depending which lobe the solution is circling, the original Boussinesq problem has circulation clockwise or counter-clockwise, so, basically, radically different trajectories from that point on.

        So a minor changes in the initial conditions of the Lorenz equation will, at first see no or very little difference in trajectories. However, eventually every solution goes past a region where solutions are split to one lobe or another. Any tiny initial condition is finally split into a total difference at that point.

        Weather will do the same thing. Generally solutions will only diverge linearly, or may even slowly converge. But certainly regimes of instability will present splitting opportunities that send the solution into a radically different circulation pattern. If you like, use the boussinesq as one example within the context of weather.

        After this divergence we enter a completely different trajectory.

        Statistically how does the weather change? Who knows.

        But the trajectories of the solution completely diverge. Since the statistics are a function of the trajectory, …

        Absolutely the butterfly was literal.

      • One has to remember that solutions for a different equation never ‘coalesce’. Trajectories are forever distinct, no matter how closely they might approach one another. Even with as much diffusion as you like, saving the point at infinite time.

      • nickels: I am talking about the trajectory of a solution to the equations of climate/weather, not the statistics of the trajectory, which is a related, but different problem.

        My question was more literal, in response to this of yours: Bam. Completely different weather from thereon.

        How often do butterflies actually cause that to happen?

        In phase space of dynamical systems, the set of points on which arbitrarily small perturbations cause large changes in the trajectories has measure 0. With probability 1, a small perturbation of a point chosen at random will produce a small shift in the trajectory.

      • No butterflies – no trajectories – no phase space – no climate equations. Just coupling and synchronization. A planetary response to Lorenzian forcing.

        https://earth.nullschool.net/

        “We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/abstract

        And I am far from amused at being called a joke.

      • Robert I Ellison: “We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged.”

        And, as you and I both wrote, no butterflies!

      • Saying that a biological butterfly can’t influence tornadoes in Texas – is very different to saying there never was a biological butterfly.

      • “In phase space of dynamical systems, the set of points on which arbitrarily small perturbations cause large changes in the trajectories has measure 0”

        Ah, I see where you are coming from. That’s an interesting problem.

        With the Lorenz, all regions of phase space go through the ‘splitter’ eventually, but that set of equations is in fourier space, i.e. small perturbation means global spatial perturbation.

        In world space it is a little bit interesting, because unstable weather events only occur from time to time in localized space (I don’t have a good handle on what these look like, other than the obvious Lorenz case). So one needs to consider the pre-image of those spatial/temporal instabilities.

        A small, localized disturbance can propagate, at most, at the speed of sound, so it might take a very long time for such a change to introduce a final divergence in the solution, i.e. for the change to enter a region of instability. And in the meantime, viscous forces might work to decrease the perturbation.

        I think Lorenz’s butterfly still holds weight, if it is a little dramatic, in practice.

      • Robert I Ellison: Saying that a biological butterfly can’t influence tornadoes in Texas [which I wrote] – is very different to saying there never was a biological butterfly. [which I didn’t write, and no one has written]

        your line ( No butterflies – no trajectories – no phase space – no climate equations. Just coupling and synchronization. A planetary response to Lorenzian forcing.), which I endorsed, is specific to the case of actual climate changes and weather changes.

        nickels: I think Lorenz’s butterfly still holds weight, if it is a little dramatic, in practice.

        I think it is a gross exaggeration, usually harmless as long as one remembers that small perturbations rarely produce dramatic changes: the small perturbations have to be timed and localized just right, as in resetting biological rhythms or initiating neural spike trains.

        Shall we take on John von Neuman’s modeling of elephants with 4 parameters? Everyone knows what he meant, but has anyone ever done it, or is it another (gross) exaggeration?

      • But what you talked about was biological butterflies. Were you confused again?

      • An allegorical elephant “is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of” elephants. “It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story, with a purpose of teaching or explaining an idea or a principle.” Not sure how anyone can confuse this with a real elephant.

      • Robert I Ellison: An allegorical elephant “is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of” elephants. “It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story, with a purpose of teaching or explaining an idea or a principle.”

        Golly! Your erudition is astounding.

        And all I said was that everyone knew what von Neuman meant.

  17. Dr. Curry…I respect your intellectual courage and the magnificent depth of maturity upon which it is based.
    Thank you, sincerely for sharing your richness with others.

  18. “…a naive faith in stasis has repeatedly led to prophecies of environmental doomsdays that never happened.”

    Ecomodernism

    Sure, the climate changes, and then we change. Don’t tell me we can’t and will walk off a cliff like a lemming.

    Thebreakthrough.org

    I always thought the way to breakthrough is to dog whistles skeptics with 69,046 peer reviewed papers, a conspiracy of fossil fuel interests and Naomi Klein.

    They had held off vilifying Republicans, until climate change. Everything was going to be Okay, we were doing good. We could do good. Even Republicans had done good. But this is climate change. So let’s recycle the arguments that got Trump elected. We had solved past environmental problems, they said so, but this is different. Let the partisan politics continue.

  19. “It’s a straw man to argue against transitioning now. This is a decades long process. No one is saying do it tomorrow. The technology is not there yet. The idea is 30% by 2030 and maybe 80% by 2050. These are very far in the future, and the motivation to succeed is there except for among a few naysayers who have been left behind.” Jimmy D

    Does this seem likely? There are multiple sectors and indeed multiple gases and industries. The energy sector is a small part of it and there the paris commitments are for an 8% increase in emissions by 2030 – despite wind and solar.

    As usual they neglect a biggy. ‘The best estimate of industrial-era climate forcing of black carbon through all forcing mechanisms, including clouds and cryosphere forcing, is +1.1 W/m 2 with 90% uncertainty bounds of +0.17 to +2.1 W/m 2. Thus, there is a very high probability that black carbon emissions, independent of co-emitted species, have a positive forcing and warm the climate. We estimate that black carbon, with a total climate forcing of +1.1 W/m 2, is the second most important human emission in terms of its climate forcing in the present-day atmosphere; only carbon dioxide is estimated to have a greater forcing…’ Bond, T. C. et al, 2013, Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH: ATMOSPHERES, VOL. 118, 5380–5552, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50171

    if co-emitted species are considered – the warming potential is much as doubled. It is – however – the most tractable emission with off the shelf technology.

    “Electricity and Heat Production (25% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Only just – eliminate it all and there is still 75% left. But the technology simply isn’t there yet. Unless you subscribe to the Easter bunny theory of AGW mitigation.

    “Industry (21% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily involve fossil fuels burned on site at facilities for energy. This sector also includes emissions from chemical, metallurgical, and mineral transformation processes not associated with energy consumption and emissions from waste management activities. (Note: Emissions from industrial electricity use are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)”

    Reducing this requires a whole host of improved technologies. Progress is being made.

    “Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (24% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector come mostly from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. This estimate does not include the CO2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass, dead organic matter, and soils, which offset approximately 20% of emissions from this sector.[2]”

    This is the second biggy after black carbon and co-emitted species. The potential to sequester 100 Gt-C with immense benefits – taking 360 Gt-CO2 from the atmosphere. Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs. We can reclaim deserts and restore forests, woodlands and grasslands.

    “Transportation (14% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector primarily involve fossil fuels burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation. Almost all (95%) of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel.”

    Needs a whole new suite of improved technologies.

    “Buildings (6% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector arise from onsite energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes. (Note: Emissions from electricity use in buildings are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)”

    Stop eating and cuddle up to die?

    “Other Energy (10% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): This source of greenhouse gas emissions refers to all emissions from the Energy sector which are not directly associated with electricity or heat production, such as fuel extraction, refining, processing, and transportation.”

    Fugitive gas reductions is possible. It all depends on cost.

    I wouldn’t want to put a number on it – but progress in key areas is happening and it is the world that is leaving Jimmy behind.

    • Robert I Ellison: Does this seem likely? There are multiple sectors and indeed multiple gases and industries. The energy sector is a small part of it and there the paris commitments are for an 8% increase in emissions by 2030 – despite wind and solar.

      In response to advice, let me say that, and what follows, is a good post.

  20. re: Oreskes
    “We argue that there is no “right” or “wrong” approach to D&A in any absolute sense”

    This sounds dangerously close to the “post-modernist” rejection of scientific method I’ve been hearing about.

    The troubling aspect of “attribution” is the word itself which is typically used as a subjective projection.

    • This is just an attempted power grab away from the lowly statisticians to the more visible and goofy high priests of scientific P.R.
      Stalin did a similar kind of thing by turning the party members against each other and playing them off one another to consolidate his power.

    • The elites are sick of how slow dealing with all the papers and the rest is going. They buy all the science with the funding channel, but the process is simply too slow and exasperating.

      They want an unaccountable scientific priesthood who can just make grand statements at will and deem them dogma.

  21. Halpern’s piece “Chaos Theory, The Butterfly Effect, And The Computer Glitch That Started It All” is historically wrong in a very important way. Lorenz was the first to discover chaos in a physical system, but that was only because he had read Poincare’s prior discovery of the math (about 50 years earlier). Chaos is a mathematical property of certain equations. Lorenz did not discover chaos per se.

    What Lorenz did is a fine example of what Pasteur called surprise favoring the prepared mind. That is he recognized something incredibly deep in something seemingly trivial, a computer glitch as most would have called it. He may well have been the only meteorologist to ever have read Poincare.

    • There were mathematicians working on the nolinearity problem in specific systems. Poincare used a non-integrable Hamiltonian to calculate the evolution of trajectories in a 3 body problem. Kolmogorov worked on what was called ergodic theory. Hurst worked on Nile River data that Mandelbrot later recognized as having properties in common with the fractals he was considering. Science is always done by standing on the shoulders of giants.

      Lorenz led to an understanding of the properties of the class of complex and dynamical systems across a wide range of social, biological, economic and physical problems.

      • Yes, when new math is developed, the scientific question then becomes: where and how does it apply? For example, Einstein realized that the rise of non-Euclidean geometries in the 19th century had raised the question: what is the geometry of our universe, and general relativity was the answer.

        My other point is that Lorenz may have been unique in knowing about the math. Do meteorologists normally study strange math?

  22. The past present and future of human evolution [link]

    So, changes in skin color are supposedly a result of environmental conditions.

    Now natural selection can only act on something once it exists, i.e. provides a selectable advantage.

    So, it begs the questions, how many people do we know throughout history who have just spontaneously changed colors? This would require just the right genetic random walk to do so. How many bytes long is this mutation? What are the odds of such a random mutation?

    Remember, natural selection cannot help until after the fact.

    (Now try the same experiment to create an eye or leg or limb).

    • “The question of extreme weather events and their relation to anthropogenic climate change is a topic of major scientific and social concern. But what is the relation between anthropogenic climate change and extreme weather events? The IPCC has stated that climate change, of which warming is just one part, is “unequivocal” (IPCC, 2013), a statement about detection. In addition, in public outreach, NASA discusses anthropogenic climate change under the category of “Facts”—i.e., things that are known to be true (http://climate.nasa.gov/vitalsigns/carbon-dioxide/), a claim about attribution to causes. It might therefore seem logical to draw the conclusion that if the climate has changed, then at least some of the diverse individual weather events that collectively comprise the climate must have changed, too, and moreover, that we can now attribute recent observed extreme weather events, at least in part, to being caused by climate change.”

      Just reading this from the list above – it seemed apt. I have no particular gripe yet – and there are a couple of other more technical studies mentioned. But extremes in climate series increase by X^n over very long time frames. 50 years just doesn’t do it.

  23. Interesting article on peer review:

    “The scientific reviews may be carried out by someone with a personal ax to grind, or people who aren’t trained to evaluate a study’s methods or statistics. And to top it off, reviews are usually anonymous and kept secret by the journal that commissioned it.”

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/24/586184355/scientists-aim-to-pull-peer-review-out-of-the-17th-century

  24. RE: Being female in science

    For a change, here’s a funny story about a female not in science named Marilyn. The game show host Monty Hall would show three doors to contestants. Behind the closed doors are two goats and a car. If the contestant picked the car, she wins it. Monty would ask the contestant to pick one door. Then he would open another door and show a goat. Then he would ask, do you want to switch door? Should she switch? This is the Monty Hall problem.

    Marilyn published a solution to the Monty Hall problem in the pop magazine Parade. She said the contestant should switch door because it would double her chances of winning. Soon Parade got 10,000 letters, including from mathematicians and scientists, saying she was wrong. Of course she was right and the experts were wrong. Not really surprising. As a child, Marilyn vos Savant just happened to be the person with the highest recorded IQ according to the Guinness Book of Records.

  25. RE: 13 Youths Sue Washington State Over Climate Crisis

    Using children for propaganda and legal purposes. Pathetic. I’d rather listen to Jadyn Rylee & friends. They’re more sensible than the alarmists in Our Children’s Trust

  26. note the bias in “try to determine whether such extreme events were partially caused by climate change or not.” It’s also conceivable that climate change reduced the number or severity of some types of extreme events, but that’s not even considered.
    David in Cal

  27. RE: Being female in science

    “It was lonely being a woman in solar physics but more women are becoming scientists. For years I was the only woman in a sea of men in physics classes… I used to be a ballet dancer (at MIT — yes, there was a dance troupe there) and now I jog. I also fix up old cars into hot rods — I have a 1933 Ford 3-window coupe, 1957 Chevy Bel Air, for example… A note to young women interested in pursuing a career in science: Do not let anyone stop you. And, if you are interested in a different type of career, please take science anyway. Our world is increasingly one of technology, and science is the way to improve the health and welfare of humankind and the environment.” – Sallie Baliunas

    • What is that contraption in the background?

      • Just guessing, base of a large telescope around 1975.

      • That’s the telescope at the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory, where she was the Director

        The same Observatory where Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe. Einstein and Hubble at Mt. Wilson Observatory

      • David Wojick

        Hubble discovered the red shift. Whether this is due to expansions is still uncertain. My view is that the red shift is due to the curvature of space-time, especially in the time dimension. I almost did my PhD thesis on this.

        From a Euclidean perspective stationary objects on a non-Euclidean geodesic will appear to be moving away. The further away (hence the longer the geodesic) the greater the apparent motion. This is because from a Euclidean perspective a non-Euclidean geodesic is a curved line and a curved line in space time indicates motion.

        If I am correct then the red shift simply measures the curvature of space-time and there is no expansion going on. The wave length measurement needs to be adjusted for the length of the geodesic traveled by the light being measured. This is a relativity principle which I call “metric dilation.” I conjecture that if this principle is applied then the red shift can be made to go away.

  28. David Wojick

    My latest articel — “Systematically refuting climate alarmism”
    http://www.cfact.org/2018/03/05/systematically-refuting-climate-alarmism/

    Excerpt:
    “Over the last ten months I have done a series of articles here at CFACT that systematically refute climate change alarmism. Since no single article does the whole job of refutation, I thought it useful to combine and summarize them, as follows. Note that much of this is original research on my part. I am not simply repeating old arguments.”

    There is more of course, but it is pretty short, an easy read.

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