Nature Unbound VIII – Modern global warming

by Javier

Summary: Modern Global Warming has been taking place for the past 300 years. It is the last of several multi-century warming periods that have happened during the Neoglacial cooling of the past 3000 years. Analysis of Holocene climate cycles shows that the period 1600-2100 AD should be a period of warming. The evidence suggests that Modern Global Warming is within Holocene variability, but the cryosphere displays a non-cyclical retreat that appears to have undone thousands of years of Neoglacial ice advance. The last 70 out of 300 years of Modern Global Warming are characterized by human-caused, extremely unusual, rapidly increasing CO2 levels. In stark contrast with this rapidly accelerating anthropogenic forcing, global temperature and sea level appear to have continued their rising trend with no perceptible evidence of added acceleration. The evidence supports a higher sensitivity to CO2 in the cryosphere, suggesting a negative feedback by H2O, that prevents CO2 from having the same effect elsewhere.


Modern Global Warming (MGW) is the change in climate that has been taking place from the coldest period of the Little Ice Age (LIA) to the present. It is characterized by a preponderance of warming periods over cooling periods, resulting in the warming of the planet, expansion of tropical areas, cryosphere contraction, sea level rise, and a change in dominant weather and precipitation patterns. The nadir of the LIA appears to have been the late Maunder Minimum period of 1660-1715 (Luterbacher, 2001; figure 103). Afterwards, most of the eighteen century was warmer, but was followed by an intense cold relapse in 1790-1820, before the LIA finally ended around 1840. The LIA is the closest the planet has been in 12,000 years to returning to glacial conditions. All over the world most glaciers reached their maximum Holocene extent in the LIA (Solomina et al., 2015; figure 43). But for the past 300 years, MGW has interrupted the Neoglacial cooling trend of the last five millennia. The last 70 years of MGW (25%) has seen considerable, and increasing, human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). There is great concern than this and other human actions (deforestation, cattle raising, and changes in land use) might have an important impact over climate, precipitating an abrupt climate change. To some authors the abrupt climate change is already taking place.

Figure 103. Climate variability over the past 1500 years. Proxy reconstruction of 30°-90°N mean annual decadally averaged temperatures over land back to A.D. 558. The time series is made from three segments covered by different amounts of data, which are kept constant within that segment. Gray shaded ranges give the 95% uncertainty bounds of decadal temperature estimates. Moberg et al., 2005, proxy reconstruction and the borehole reconstruction over the same spatial domain are shown for comparison. Each time series is plotted relative to its 1880-1960 mean. Source: G.C. Hegerl et al. 2007. J. Clim. 20, 4, 650-666. Instrumental temperature removed. Main climatic periods are indicated by background color. Multi-centennial warming periods are indicated by horizontal continuous lines and vertical dotted lines.

This series of articles has reviewed how the climate has been changing for the past 800,000 years, and with greater detail for the past 12,000 years. Climate change is the norm, and climate has never been stable for long. It is within this context of past climate change that MGW must be evaluated.

Modern Global Warming is consistent with Holocene climatic cycles

It is often said that MGW is unusual because it contradicts a Neoglacial cooling trend that has been ongoing for several millennia. However, this is a superficial observation. Several multi-centennial warming periods have taken place within the Neoglacial cooling trend. A warming period took place between 1250-850 yr BP (700-1100 AD), leading to the Medieval Warm Period (MWP; Hegerl et al., 2007; figure 103), and another one at 2800-2500 yr BP (850-550 BC), leading to the Roman Warm Period (RWP; Drake, 2012).

Current models propose that the world would be cooling if it wasn’t for the human influence on climate (Meehl et al., 2004; figure 104).

Figure 104. Models simulate global cooling without anthropogenic forcing. The four-member ensemble mean (red line) and ensemble member range (pink shading) for globally averaged surface air temperature anomalies (°C) for all forcings [(volcano + solar + GHG + sulfate + ozone)]; the solid blue line is the ensemble mean and the light blue shading is the ensemble range for globally averaged temperature response to natural forcings [(volcano + solar)]; the black line is the observations after Folland et al. (2001). Source: G.A. Meehl et al. 2004. J. Clim., 17, 19, 3721-3727.

However, the proposition that the world should be cooling absent an anthropogenic effect, contradicts our knowledge of Holocene climate cycles. One of the main cycles is the ~ 1000-year Eddy cycle found in climate and solar activity proxy records of the Early and Late Holocene (see: Centennial to millennial solar cycles). The periodicity of this cycle is maintained from Early to Late Holocene, and reflected in the Bond events of increased iceberg activity in the North Atlantic (figure 81). The start of the Medieval Warming ~ 700 AD, and the start of the MGW at ~ 1700 AD are separated by ~ 1000 years. The peak of the MWP at ~ 1100 AD and the trough of the LIA at ~ 1600 are separated by ~ 500 years (figure 103). Based on this cycle it can be projected that the period ~ 1600-2100 AD should be a period of net warming, to be followed by a cooling period ~ 2100-2600 AD, if the cycle maintains its beat (figure 105).

Figure 105. Warming and cooling periods of the past 1500 years, fitted to known climate cyclic behavior. Moberg et al., 2005, reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature anomaly for the period 500-1978 AD (grey curve), and its low frequency component (black curve). The 980-year Eddy cycle is shown in red, with a declining Neoglacial trend of –0.2 °C/millennium. As Moberg’s reconstruction ends in 1978, the dotted line represents the 1975-2000 warming, that is similar in magnitude to the 1910-1945 warming. DACP, Dark Ages Cold Period. MWP, Medieval Warm Period. LIA, Little Ice Age. MGW, Modern Global Warming. Peak natural warming is expected in 2050-2100 AD.

There might be an anthropogenic contribution in the MGW, but it is clear that warming at this time is not unusual, and in fact, it is about what should be expected. The most logical conclusion is that natural warming is contributing to the observed warming. If models are not capable of simulating this natural warming, of millennial cyclic origin, then the models must be wrong, and our knowledge of climate change insufficient.

Modern Global Warming is within Holocene variability

How unusual is the warming observed during MGW?. This is a very difficult question to answer. Temperature is an intrinsic intensive property that is changing during the course of a day at any point on the surface of the planet in an unpredictable direction and rate. If there is a global average temperature, we have no way of measuring it. However, we have devised methods of measuring temperature (or radiation) at different points on the surface (with huge areas unsampled) or in the atmosphere. A consistent mathematical treatment of this data gives a consistent value that we term average temperature, although it is not a temperature, but a conversion of intrinsic intensive measurements into an extrinsic extensive value using multiple assumptions.

However, the global average temperature concept is useful as the calculated value shows much less change over time than the measured values, and we term that change “anomaly,” wrongly implying that it should be constant over time. The change in the global anomaly over the years shows a correlation to real physical and biological phenomena, like length of the growing season, extent of the cryosphere, and sea level rise, among others, and thus it is useful. However, two dangers should be avoided when dealing with the global temperature anomaly. The first is using the same units for temperature as for the temperature anomaly. The degrees in the temperature anomaly are different than the degrees in temperature, since the connection to physical degrees is lost in the conversion from intrinsic to extrinsic. Many authors are unaware of this problem and attempt to compare proxy derived local temperatures to an instrumental calculated global anomaly. Also, the precision given in a temperature anomaly is not a precision in measurement, but a precision in calculation. This is also important as the real uncertainty cannot be calculated, due to multiple assumptions in the process that are no properly evaluated. Another danger is that averaging changes in temperature ignores differences in enthalpy (internal energy and the product of temperature and pressure or, more simply the “heat content”). Due to its low humidity, especially in winter, big changes in Arctic air temperature can take place with small changes in heat content. The weight that Arctic air temperatures should have in a global average is an unresolved question that is biasing instrumental temperature anomalies, relative to temperature proxies.

So, going back to our problem we are now calculating a global temperature with our chosen method, but with no way to relate it to anything similar from the past. Even our calculated anomaly becomes pure fiction (if it wasn’t already) when moving into the 19th century. The way we estimate climate change from the past is through proxies. The relationship of proxies to temperature is convoluted. Some proxies respond to summer temperature changes, while others to winter or spring temperatures. Other factors, like rate of deposition, rate of upwelling, precipitation, cloud cover, storm frequency, or wind, might affect a proxy often without a clear possibility of correction, as the researcher might be unaware of the bias. The resolution of proxies cannot match the resolution of our measurements. The 2014-16 El Niño that increased our global anomaly by 0.4°C for a short period would not be resolved by most proxies. And proxies are always local in nature. That’s why most serious scientists abstain from attempting to calculate past global temperature averages from collections of proxies, and avoid linking them to modern instrumental temperature anomalies. They are two very different things.

However, we can answer the question of how unusual MGW is. Biology offers us a solution. The treeline represents the limit where climatic conditions allow the establishment of new trees. Every year new tree seedlings attempt to establish themselves further up the mountain and generally fail. 52% of studies show the treeline has been going up for the past century, and only 1% show a line receding, indicating that mountain trees are generally responding to global warming and increased CO2 by raising the treeline (Harsch et al., 2009). However, many studies show that at most places the present treeline is still 100-250 meters below Holocene Climatic Optimum treeline levels (figure 106; Reasoner & Tinner, 2009; Cunill et al., 2012; Pisaric et al., 2003).

Figure 106. Holocene treeline changes in the Alps. The approximate Holocene timberline and treeline elevation (m above sea level) in the Swiss central Alps based on radiocarbon-dated macrofossil and pollen sequences. Source: M.A. Reasoner & W. Tinner. 2009. Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments (pp. 442-446).

We must take into account that present elevated CO2 levels might give current trees an advantage over Early Holocene trees. The difference in treeline altitude between now and the Early Holocene imply that MGW is not unusual enough to have returned us to Holocene Climatic Optimum conditions. Therefore, present global warming is within Holocene variability. Reasoner and Tinner (2009) quantify the summer temperature difference in the Alps between now and the Holocene Optimum as: “Assuming constant lapse rates of 0.7° C / 100 m, it is possible to estimate the range of Holocene temperature oscillations in the Alps to 0.8–1.2° C between 10,500 and 4,000 cal. yBP, when average (summer) temperatures were about 0.8–1.2° C higher than today.”

The cryosphere confirms that present conditions are within Holocene variability, as globally glaciers reached their shortest extent at times between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago, when many glaciers that now exist were absent (Solomina et al., 2015). Arctic sea ice was also very much reduced during the Holocene Climatic Optimum compared to present day, and perhaps ice free (less than 1 million km2) during the summers at some periods (Jakobsson et al., 2010; Stein et al., 2017).

MGW is not unusual by Holocene standards in its amplitude, duration, and timing. We cannot rule out that the magnitude of the warming, while not unusual for the Holocene, is unusual for the Neoglacial period that, after all, is characterized by a multi-millennial downward trend in temperatures. If that is the case however it is very difficult to demonstrate because of the mentioned problems of comparing present and past temperatures. Circumstantial evidence supports that the RWP was warmer than present (Holzhauser et al., 2005), but the RWP was extraordinarily long, a millennium, so some of its effects might be because of the long time spent in a warm state not necessarily warmer than the present.

Modern Global Warming displays an unusual cryosphere response

If MGW is not unusual by Holocene standards, it becomes important to inquire about the climatic response to the increased atmospheric CO2 levels. Is there anything unusual about MGW? The answer is a clear yes. The cryosphere (with the exception of Antarctica) is showing a very unusual response to MGW. For the last two decades glaciologists have recognized that global glacier changes over the past 170 years are not cyclical and greatly exceed the range of the previously known periodic variations of glaciers (Solomina et al., 2008; figure 107). Koch et al. (2014), attest that the global scope and magnitude of glacier retreat likely exceed the natural variability of the climate system and cannot be explained by natural forcing alone. Goehring (2012) states that after 5 kyr BP, the Rhône Glacier was larger than today, and its present extent therefore likely represents its smallest since the middle Holocene. Solomina et al. (2008) defend that Alpine glacier volumes have become smaller now than during at least the past ~ 5000 years. And Bakke et al. (2008; figure 107 d) have measured a retreat of maritime glaciers along western Scandinavia over the last century that is unprecedented in the entire Neoglacial period spanning the last 5200 years. Solomina et al. (2016) resume the global glacier situation:

“The current globally widespread glacier retreat is unusual in the context of the past two millennia and, indeed, for the whole Holocene. Contemporary glacier retreat breaks a long-term trend of increased glacier activity that dominated the past several millennia. The trend of glacier retreat is global, and the rate of this retreat has increased in the past few decades. The observed widespread glacial retreat in the past 100–150 years requires additional forcing outside the realm of natural changes for their explanation.”

Figure 107. Modern glacier retreat is not cyclical. a) Time-distance diagram for glacier extent on the Central Cumberland Peninsula (Baffin Island) through the Holocene. Source: J.P. Briner et al. 2009. Quat. Sci. Rev. 28, 2075–2087. b) Glacier fluctuations in the Himalaya and Karakoram up to 1980, defined by radiocarbon dating. Source: L.A. Owen. 2009. Quat. Sci. Rev. 28, 2150–2164. c) Relative glacier extent fluctuations in western Canada during the Holocene. Source: J. Koch & J.J. Clague. 2006. PAGES News 14, 3, 20-21. d) Combined equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) variations along the south-north coastal transect in Norway. The glacier growth index is obtained by adding standardized ELA estimates from southern and northern Norway. Source: J. Bakke et al. 2008. Glob. Planet. Change, 60, 1-2, 28-41.

Global glacier retreat is probably the only climate-associated phenomenon that shows a clear acceleration over the past decades. The World Glacier Monitoring Service, an organization participated by 32 countries, holds a dataset of 42,000 glacier front variations since 1600, that show that the rates of early 21st-century glacier mass loss are without precedent on a global scale, at least since 1850 (Zemp et al., 2015).

Unusual glacier retreat is confirmed by the loss of small permanent ice patches, also known as glacierets. These permanent ice patches have captured and preserved archeological organic remains during their long existence, and the remains are now being released as they melt. This is the origin of the new subfield of ‘ice patch’ archeology, that has developed in three regions, North America, the Alps, and Norway. Some plant remains, like tree trunks (figure 108 a & b), or the Quelccaya plants dated at ~ 5200 BP (Thompson et al., 2006) are naturally occurring and their burial in ice is related only to climatic conditions, but archeological remains (figure 108 c-f) reflect human activity and are thus more complex. Alpine findings are related to the use of mountain passes when conditions improved, and their dating shows asynchrony with North American findings, associated with summer hunting of caribou, that takes refuge from insects over ice patches. Thus, Alpine findings are more frequent from warm phases and at the beginning of cold phases, while North American findings are more frequent from cold phases when ice patches became more widespread. (figure 108 f). Most organic remains, like leather (figure 108 d), caribou dung, or corpses (Ötzi, dated at ~ 5200 BP, figure 108 c), are not preserved when exposed for even relatively short periods, and it is clear that they have remained continuously frozen since first buried in ice. Their present climate induced unburial is clear evidence that small permanent ice patches are experiencing a reduction not seen since the Mid-Holocene Transition. “The [‘ice patch’ archeology] field is characterized by a sense of urgency about recovering and preserving both those occasional human remains melting from alpine ice and newly-exposed artifacts of rare and fragile organic technology” (Reckin, 2013).

Figure 108. Organic remains recently unburied from ice. a) Detrital wood near the snout of Helm Glacier, exposed by glacier retreat in the summer of 2003. b) In situ stump (top arrow) and stem (bottom arrow), 600 m from the snout of Lava Glacier in 2003. c) Ötzi, the alpine iceman, in situ before his removal from the site at Niederjoch, Italy, in 1991. d) Iron Age leather shoe recovered from Langfonna ice patch, Jotunheimen, Norway, in 2006. e) Artifacts recovered from an alpine ice patch in the Yukon. Source for a)-e): J. Koch et al. 2014. The Holocene, 24, 12, 1639–1648. f) Summed probability of available radiocarbon dates for the Alps (grey line) and North America (black line) ice patch archeological findings. They demonstrate the probability that a date from each collection will fall within a particular period and exclude typologically-dated material (most of which is Roman in age). They have been smoothed to a 200-year interval to remove extraneous noise and emphasize more general trends. Source for f): R. Reckin. 2013. J. World Prehist. 26, 4, 323-385.

Arctic sea ice has displayed a similar behavior to glaciers, with a very pronounced reduction at the turn of the century (1996-2007), losing 30% of its summer extent in just a decade. This reduction is not outside Holocene variability, as multiple studies document a much lower Arctic sea ice extent between 9000 and 4000 BP (Belt et al., 2010; Jakobsson et al., 2010; Stranne et al., 2014; Stein et al., 2017), but appears excessive for just a decade within a multi-centennial cyclic warming period. The difficulty in reconstructing past sea ice levels means that we don’t have much confidence in how the present reduction in sea ice extent compares to previous reductions during past warm periods. However, an analysis of polar ice shelves (thick floating ice platforms), shows an unusual response in present polar ice retreat. Although ice shelves have collapsed and broken up at different times during the Holocene, this is the first time in the Holocene when a synchronous retreat in ice shelves from the Arctic and both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula is known to have occurred (Hodgson, 2011; figure 109).

Figure 109. Polar ice shelves Holocene reconstruction. Presence and absence of polar ice shelves that have broken up or retreated in the past few decades. Solid blue bars show periods when the ice shelves were present, red bars show periods of absence or retreat, and empty bars show where a grounded ice sheet was present. a) Sea ice proxy record from diatom-derived biomarker IP25 in Victoria Strait (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) from Belt et al., 2010. Ward Hunt ice shelf on Ellesmere Island (Canadian Arctic). b) George VI ice shelf, west of the Antarctica Peninsula, and Prince Gustav, and Larsen A and B ice shelves, east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Source: D.A. Hodgson. 2011. PNAS, 108, 47, 18859–18860.

Antarctica is an exception to the global reduction of the cryosphere. The continent hasn’t warmed for the past 200 years (figure 110), and it is currently debated if Antarctic melting is contributing to sea level rise and by how much (Zwally et al., 2015). Antarctic lack of climatic response to MGW and CO2 increase is not well understood, and it might have to do with the exceptional conditions of the continent that make it unique in many aspects.

Extremely unusual CO2 levels during the last quarter of Modern Global Warming

Another stark difference between MGW and previous Holocene warming periods is the great increase in CO2 levels. Atmospheric CO2 has been increasing since ~ 1785, following the 18th century warming, but the rate of increase has been growing continuously due to anthropogenic emissions, reaching the highest values in 800,000 years by the first decades of the 20th century, and it is now fast approaching a doubling of the Late Pleistocene average value of 225 ppm (figure 110). It is absolutely clear that the increase in CO2 levels is due to human emissions, as we have emitted double the amount that has ended up in the atmosphere, the rest being taken up by the oceans and biosphere, that is showing an important increase in global leaf area (Zhu et al., 2016), also known as greening.

The Antarctic Plateau is the only place on Earth where we can measure CO2 levels and proxy temperatures in a consistent manner for the past 800,000 years from ice cores. Much has been written about the close correlation between CO2 and temperatures over the Late Pleistocene (figure 110 a). The change of CO2 levels between glacial and interglacial periods, of only 70–90 ppm, is considered by most authors to be too small to drive the glacial cycle, although Shakun et al., (2012) defend that the CO2 change at terminations can explain a large part of the temperature increase during deglaciations. But we can test the hypothesis because over the last 200 years CO2 levels have increased by 125 ppm, an increase comparable to that of a glacial termination in terms of CO2 forcing. Surprisingly, Antarctica shows absolutely no warming for the past 200 years (Schneider et al., 2006; figure 110 b). The only place where we can measure both past temperatures and past CO2 levels with confidence shows no temperature response to the huge increase in CO2 over for the last two centuries. This evidence supports that CO2 has very little effect over Antarctic temperatures, if any, and it cannot be responsible for the observed correlation over the past 800,000 years. It also raises doubts over the proposed role of CO2 over glacial terminations and during MGW.

Figure 110. Antarctic ice cores temperature–Ln(CO2) discrepancy. a) Temperature curve (blue) for the past 800,000 years from EPICA Dome C Ice Core 800KYr Deuterium Data. Source: NOAA, contributed by Jouzel et al., 2007. CO2 curve (red) from Antarctic Ice Cores Revised 800KYr CO2 Data (to 2001). Source: NOAA, contributed by Bereiter et al., 2015; and from NOAA annual mean CO2 data (2002–2017). Due to the logarithmic effect of CO2 on temperatures, the comparison is more appropriately done with the Ln(CO2). The correlation shows a very big discrepancy over the last 200 years. b) CO2 curve (red) as in a). Temperature curve (blue) for the past 200 years from 5 high resolution Antarctic ice cores. Source: D.P. Schneider et al. 2006. Geophys. Res. Let. 33, L16707. No temperature change is observed in response to the massive increase in CO2.

The relationship between CO2 levels and temperature during Modern Global Warming

Physics shows that adding carbon dioxide leads to warming under laboratory conditions. It is generally assumed that a doubling of CO2 should produce a direct forcing of 3.7 W/m2 (IPCC-TAR, 2001), that translates to a warming of 1°C (by differentiating the Stefan-Boltzmann equation) to 1.2°C (by models taking into account latitude and season). But that is a maximum value valid only if total energy outflow is the same as radiative outflow. As there is also conduction, convection, and evaporation, the final warming without feedbacks is probably less. Then we have the problem of feedbacks, which are unknown and can’t be properly measured. For some of the feedbacks, like cloud cover we don’t even know the sign of their contribution. And they are huge, a 1% change in albedo has a radiative effect of 3.4 W/m2 (Farmer & Cook, 2013), almost equivalent to a full doubling of CO2. So, we cannot measure how much the Earth has warmed in response to the increase in CO2 for the past 70 years, and how much for other causes.

Looking at borehole records and proxy reconstructions (figure 103), it becomes very clear that most of the acceleration in the rate of MGW took place between 1700 and 1900, when very little human-caused GHGs were produced. The rate of warming has changed little in the 20th and 21st centuries, despite the bulk of GHGs being emitted in these past 70 years. However, if the increase in global average temperature over the past 7 decades was mainly a consequence of the rapid increase in CO2, the rate of temperature change should show dependence on the rate of change of the natural logarithm of CO2 concentration. This is because the proposed link between CO2 and temperature is based on a molecular mechanism where every added molecule has slightly less effect than the previous. Even accounting for the logarithmic response of global average temperatures to CO2, the curves for proposed cause and effect are clearly diverging (figure 111). The global temperature anomaly between 1950 and 2017 is not significantly different from a linear trend. On the other hand, atmospheric CO2 increase has been so fast over the 1958-2017 period that the rate of change of its logarithm displays a pronounced acceleration (figure 111).

Figure 111. The difference between temperature increase and CO2 increase. Thick black curve, HadCRUT4 13-month centered moving average surface temperature anomaly, relative to 1961-1990, from 1950 to 2017 (November). Source: UK Met Office. The thin continuous line is a linear trendline of the temperature data. Thick red curve, the natural logarithm of the 1958-2017 annual atmospheric CO2 concentration (ppm). Source: NOAA. Thin black dotted lines, visual aid showing the effect of the rapid increase in CO2 concentration on its logarithm. It is proposed that the increase in the logarithm of CO2 is causing the increase in temperature, yet the curves diverge.

The lack of MGW acceleration during the 20th-21st centuries can be more readily appreciated when looking at the change in warming rate (decadal trend change; figure 112). Over that period the warming rate has been oscillating between –0.2 and +0.4 °C/decade with an average of +0.16 °C/decade. Neither the warming rate maximum, nor the length of the warming periods have increased despite the huge increase in CO2 levels. The expected warming effect of the additional CO2 is not perceptible in warming rates. What can be seen in the warming rate record is that cooling periods have become less intense, from –0.4 °C/decade in the late 19th century, to –0.2 °C/decade in the mid-20th century, to zero in the 21st century pause. This decrease in cooling rate over time is a feature of MGW. The world is warming because it cools less during cooling periods, not because it warms more during warming periods. The reasons for this are unclear, and not discussed often in the scientific literature. There is a coincidental reduction in periods of very low solar activity, that also usually coincide with cooling periods, but other factors cannot be ruled out, including an effect from increased CO2 levels at reducing the severity of cooling periods, or a reduction in volcanic activity.

Figure 112. Surface warming trend. Running nine-year trends in surface warming. Red line, land only. Blue line, ocean only. Black line, land and ocean combined. Source: UK Met Office 2013, through the BBC.

The lack of MGW acceleration despite the rapid increase in CO2 over the past 7 decades only has two possible explanations. The first is that the ongoing increase in the proposed anthropogenic forcing exactly matches in magnitude and time an ongoing decrease in natural forcing (figure 104). The second is that MGW responds more to natural causes, and only weakly to anthropogenic forcing. The first explanation constitutes an “ad hoc” match of hypothesis to evidence, requires an unrelated coincidence of decadal precision within a multi-century process (natural cooling started just when we started our emissions), and it is disavowed by the IPCC, that considers natural forcing over the 1950-2010 period too small to have contributed to the observed temperature change in any direction (figure 113). That natural forcing has had no role over a 60-year period is hard to believe.


Figure 113. IPCC proposed contributions to observed surface temperature change over the period 1951-2010. IPCC assessed likely ranges (whiskers) and their mid-points (bars) for warming trends over the 1951–2010 period from well-mixed greenhouse gases, other anthropogenic forcings (including the cooling effect of aerosols and the effect of land use change), combined anthropogenic forcings, natural forcings and natural internal climate variability. The observed surface temperature change is shown in black, with the 5 to 95% uncertainty range due to observational uncertainty. The attributed warming ranges (colours) are based on observations combined with climate model simulations, in order to estimate the contribution of individual external forcings to observed warming. Source: IPCC. 2014. AR5. Synthesis Report. Summary for policymakers. Figure SPM.3 p. 6.

The second explanation requires only an insufficient knowledge of the response of the climatic system to CO2, and an insufficient knowledge of natural forcings and climate feedbacks. That our knowledge is insufficient is clear and demonstrated every time the “argumentum ad ignorantiam” that “we don’t know of anything else that could cause the observed warming” is used. New research into solar variability mechanisms (see: Climate change mechanisms) has produced hypotheses that indicate that solar forcing is probably not adequately represented in models, and the cloud feedback is essentially not understood yet.

Uniform variation in sea level during Modern Global Warming

Sea level rise (SLR), is one of the main consequences of MGW as it is driven mainly by the addition of water from melting of the cryosphere, and thermal expansion of the warming oceans (steric SLR).

A recent sea level reconstruction since the 18th century using tide gauge records (Jevrejeva et al., 2008; figure 114 a) shows that sea level rise has been a feature of MGW for over two centuries. The central estimate on 20th-century average SLR is ~ 1.6 mm/yr (1.2-1.9 mm/yr range), and the acceleration is usually estimated at ~ 0.01 mm/yr2 (Church & White, 2011; Jevrejeva et al., 2014; Hogarth, 2014; figure 114 b). SLR displays a 60-year oscillation, like many other climatic manifestations (see: Climate change mechanisms). The recent period of satellite altimetry (1993-2017) coincides with the crest of the oscillation, and thus shows a higher rate of SLR, ~ 3.0 mm/yr, but no acceleration, to the surprise of some authors (Fasullo et al., 2016). If the 60-year oscillation continues affecting SLR, over the next couple of decades we should expect a deceleration of SLR rates towards ~ 2 mm/yr.

Figure 114. Sea level acceleration started over 200 years ago. a) Time series of yearly global sea level calculated from 1023 tide gauge records corrected for local datum changes and glacial isostatic adjustment. Time variable trend detected by Monte-Carlo-Singular Spectrum Analysis with 30-year windows. Grey shading represents the standard errors. b) The evolution of the rate of the trend (black line) showing multidecadal variability. Blue line corresponds to the linear background sea level acceleration that corresponds to a sea level acceleration of 0.01 mm/yr2. Red line, IPCC calculated total anthropogenic radiative forcing. Source: S. Jevrejeva et al. 2008. Geophys. Res. Let. 35, L08715. IPCC AR5. 2013.

As was the case with temperature, SLR precedes the big increase in emissions, and does not respond perceptibly to anthropogenic forcing. Figure 114 b displays the linearly adjusted trend in long term average SLR acceleration as a blue line, and the increase in anthropogenic forcing (IPCC-AR5, 2013) with a red line. The evidence shows that the big increase in anthropogenic forcing, has not provoked any perceptible effect on SLR acceleration. The belief that a decrease in our emissions should affect the rate of SLR has no basis in the evidence. A projection of the observed SLR and acceleration for the past 120 years gives a value of ~ 280 mm more in 2100 than in 2017.

Cryosphere melting is considered the main factor driving SLR, followed by ocean temperature increase. However, SLR displays a small acceleration of ~ 0.01 mm/yr2 over the past two centuries (figure 114), while global temperature shows a linear increase over the past century, and the ocean is warming a lot less than the surface. It has been recently estimated from changes in atmospheric noble gases, that the ocean has warmed +0.1 °C for the past 50 years (Bereiter et al., 2018, see the press release). The best candidate for causing the observed SLR acceleration is therefore the observed increase in cryosphere melting since ~ 1850.

Modern Global Warming and the CO2 hypothesis

The CO2 hypothesis proposes that changes in atmospheric CO2 levels are the main driver of Earth temperature changes (Lacis et al., 2010). It is based on the spectral absorption and radiation properties of certain gases, of which water vapor is by far the most abundant, and CO2 is a distant second. Water vapor levels are locally determined and highly variable due to condensation. CO2 levels are global, as it is a well-mixed gas that does not condense, and before industrialization it changed very slowly over time from natural causes. CO2 hypothesis considers that water vapor changes are not the driving factor, but a feedback, proposing without clear evidence that the relevant causal relationship is CO2 –> temperature –> water vapor. Past water vapor levels cannot be determined, but in the distant past, cold periods of the planet (Ice Ages) were associated to lower CO2 levels than warm periods, and this is the supporting evidence offered by proponents of the CO2 hypothesis. The interpretation of this evidence, however, is far from straightforward, as changes in temperature also lead to changes in CO2, from huge ocean carbon dioxide stores, because the gas solubility is dependent on temperature, and in well resolved records, changes in temperature generally precede changes in CO2 by hundreds to thousands of years. Another problem with the hypothesis is that it is generally accepted that a progressive decrease in CO2 levels has taken place for the past 550 million years (the Phanerozoic Eon), from ~ 5000 ppm in the Cambrian to ~ 225 ppm in the Late Pleistocene. This decrease does not appear to have produced a progressive decrease in temperatures, that display a cyclical range-bound oscillation (Eyles, 2008; figure 115), alternating between icehouse and hothouse conditions over the entire Phanerozoic.

Figure 115. Phanerozoic Eon conditions don’t support the CO2 hypothesis. Schematic representation of glacio-epochs during the past 550 million years in Earth history, and their relationship to phases of supercontinent assembly and break up. Glaciations are indicated and represented by the blue area above the scheme. Estimated global temperature trends (red graph), and variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (green graph), are indicated, with their general trend as a dashed line. Surce: N. Eyles. 2008. Palaeo3 258, 89–129.

The CO2 hypothesis is not new, and can be traced to Arrhenius in 1896, however it did not become the dominant hypothesis to explain temperature changes until the last warming phase of MGW started in the late 1970’s, and temperature and CO2 were both increasing.

In the 20th century, while MGW was taking place, humanity embarked in the ultimate experiment to determine the validity of the CO2 hypothesis and set about to burn huge fossil fuel natural stores while industrializing, to raise CO2 levels beyond what the world has had in perhaps millions of years. After 70 years with CO2 levels increasing faster than ever recorded, and above any previously recorded level for the Late Pleistocene, it is time to analyze the results.

  1. The world has continued warming as before. The warming during the 1975-1998 (or 1975-2009) period is not statistically significantly different from the warming during the 1910-1940 period (Jones, 2010).
  2. The temperature increase since 1950 shows no discernible acceleration and can be fitted to a linear increase. The logarithm of the CO2 increase, however, displays a very clear acceleration (figure 111). A linear relation between supposed cause and effect cannot be established.
  3. Sea level has continued rising as before. Its acceleration is not responding perceptibly to the increase in anthropogenic forcing (figure 114).
  4. The cryosphere shows a non-cyclical retreat in glacier extent with evidence of acceleration (figure 107; Zemp et al., 2015). The reduction of the size of ice shelves is also unusual (figure 109). The evidence supports a cryosphere response to the CO2 increase.
  5. Despite CO2 levels that are almost double the Late Pleistocene average, the climatic response is subdued, still within Holocene variability, below the Holocene Climatic Optimum and below warmer interglacials.

Lack of support for the CO2 hypothesis from Antarctic ice cores (figure 110), and from results 1-3 has forced the proponents of the hypothesis to make numerous new unsupported assumptions. They assume that all warming since 1950 is anthropogenic in nature (IPCC-AR5, 2014, figure 113). That past recorded temperatures must be cooler than previously thought (Karl et al., 2015). That the oceans (Chen & Tung, 2014), and volcanic eruptions (Fasullo et al., 2016), are delaying the surface warming and SLR. And essentially concluding that more time is required to observe the warming and SLR acceleration. All these might be true, but the simplest explanation (Occam’s favorite) is that an important part of the warming is due to natural causes, and CO2 only has a weak effect on temperatures. If after 70 years of extremely unusual CO2 levels, a lot more time is required to see substantive effects, then the hypothesis needs to be changed. As proposed it does not call for long delays, due to the near instantaneous effect of the atmospheric response to more CO2. The CO2 hypothesis is at its core an atmospheric-driven hypothesis of climate. There is a significant possibility however that the climate is actually ocean-driven, directly forced by the Sun, and mediated by H2O changes of state.

The high sensitivity of the cryosphere to the CO2 increase might actually be an argument for a reduced sensitivity by the rest of the planet. The air above the cryosphere is the coldest of the planet, as it is not warmed much from below, and therefore it has the lowest humidity of the planet. The ratio of water vapor to CO2 in the air above the cryosphere is the lowest and the one that changes the most with the increase in CO2. There is the possibility that air dryness, and the low capacity to produce water vapor in response to warming might be the reasons why the cryosphere is particularly sensitive to CO2, but it implies the rest of the planet is less sensitive. If CO2 sensitivity is highest over the cryosphere (except Antarctica), and lower over the rest of the planet, this points to a negative feedback by H2O response, in its three states, to temperature changes. Antarctica doesn’t show increased sensitivity because it has not been warming through the entire MGW, regardless of CO2.

There are multiple possible H2O temperature regulatory mechanisms, and the proposition that H2O only acts as a fast-positive feedback to CO2 changes is too simplistic. The huge water mass in Earth’s oceans and its slow mixing, add a great thermal inertia that resists temperature changes. Atmospheric humidity determines how changes in energy translate into changes in temperature, as humid air has a higher heat capacity and responds to the same energy change with a lower temperature change than dry air. Atmospheric humidity responds very fast to temperature changes through evaporation and condensation. This mechanism is proportional to water availability, and works better above the oceans than over land, and very little over the cryosphere, inversely correlating to MGW temperature changes, that are highest in the Arctic (polar amplification), and lower over the oceans than over land. To that we must add other region-specific temperature-regulating mechanisms by H2O. Deep convection is a tropical atmospheric phenomenon that takes place when the surface of the tropical ocean reaches 26-30 °C. The ocean flips from absorbing energy to releasing it, and convection takes the energy very high in the troposphere, cooling the ocean (Sud et al., 1999) and effectively limiting its maximum temperature. Polar sea ice is a negative feedback that releases heat when it forms in the autumn, then absorbs heat, when it melts in spring, and it acts as an insulator preventing ocean heat loss during winter. Ice-albedo effect is a positive feedback, in that a decrease in ice reduces albedo, driving further ice loss. But ice-albedo feedback is ameliorated because ice extent moves opposite to sunlight (maximum ice coincides with minimum albedo when it is darker), and by the high inclination of the Sun’s rays at polar latitudes, making water more reflective. So the albedo effect is not driving Arctic sea ice melting as demonstrated by the 10-year pause in summer Arctic sea ice loss, after losing 30% of its extent the previous 10-year period.

Due to its huge thermal inertia, changes in its three states, cloud condensation, humidity regulation, and effective saturation of IR absorption, H2O is a good candidate to explain the observed resistance of planetary temperatures to increasing CO2 forcing. Only in the cryosphere, where humidity is very low and sublimation a very ineffective change of state, CO2 increase, helped by the albedo effect, is likely driving a non-cyclical melting that affects sea level rise.


1) Modern Global Warming is one of several multi-centennial warming periods that have taken place in the last 3000 years.

2) Holocene climate cycles project that the period 1600-2100 AD should be a period of warming.

3) A consilience of evidence supports that Modern Global Warming is within Holocene variability.

4) Modern Global Warming displays an unusual non-cyclical cryosphere retreat. The contraction appears to have undone most of the Neoglacial advance.

5) The last quarter (70 yr) of Modern Global Warming is characterized by extremely unusual and fast rising, very high CO2 levels, higher than at any time during the Late Pleistocene. This increase in CO2 is human caused.

6) The increase in temperatures over the past 120 years shows no perceptible acceleration, and contrasts with the accelerating CO2 forcing.

7) Sea level has been increasing for the past 200 years, and its modest acceleration for over a century shows no perceptible response for the last decades to strongly accelerating anthropogenic forcing.

8) The evidence supports a higher sensitivity to increased CO2 in the cryosphere, which is driving unusual melting and a small long-term sea level rise acceleration. The rest of the planet shows a lower sensitivity, indicating a negative feedback by H2O, that prevents CO2 from having the same effect elsewhere.


I thank Andy May for reviewing the manuscript, and providing useful comments towards improving its content and language.

References [Bibliography ]

Moderation note:  As with all guest posts please keep your comments civil and relevant.

871 responses to “Nature Unbound VIII – Modern global warming

  1. An alternative explanation/contribution for greater than normal melting of NH glaciers is soot

    Feedbacks in the polar regions are somewhat counterintuitive, i spent the 90’s studying this. CO2 does have greater radiative impact at colder temperatures (with low water vapor). The water vapor feedback at these cold subzero temperatures is strongly positive, controlled by the temperature dependence of ice saturation (from Clausius Clapeyron). Cloud feedbacks are of opposite sign, with clouds in winter overall having a warming effect.

    Some very interesting food for thought here.

    • Judith

      There are some truly stunning photos of soot covered ice here

      But surely this is nothing new? I remember it was my job in the severe winter of 1962/3 to take the ashes and soot from our fireplace each morning and scatter it over the ice covered front path. it soon melted the ice.

      also you may remember in one of my articles I cited Scoresby -around 1820- observing the soot causing the melting of the ice, which he believed had come from the industrialisation of the US.

      That was the time when the arctic melting was so acute that the Royal Society sent an expedition-under Scoresby-to try to find out the cause.

      There is a memorial to Scoresby ‘the first Arctic Scientist’ in my local church


      • Local soot, yes. But long range transport, converging in the Arctic is something that was identified in the 1980’s, part of ‘arctic haze’. It was more of an air pollution thing at the time. Impact on glaciers is a more recent consideration.

      • Judith

        “Impact on glaciers is a more recent consideration.’

        Not by Scoresby and the Royal Society Arctic expedition of 1820 who pointed the sooty finger at American industrialisation it wasn’t :)


      • I think we need to remember that during the modern global warming period that the population of the planet has an average doubling time <50 years. I presume that means at least a corresponding time scale of the doubling of soot production and pollution!

      • Peter

        Early industrialisation used machines and processes-such as furnaces-that were far more polluting than those of today and soot from domestic houses were a real scourge, so I would imagine the soot pollution in the arctic would still have been very severe even a couple of centuries ago if the conditions were right.

        The chimney sweepers act to prevent children going up flues to be smothered n soot and getting ‘soot wart’ was still 14 years in the future from the arctic melting that Scoresby witnessed in 1820

        Hard Times By Charles Dickens
        ‘A SUNNY midsummer day. There was such a thing sometimes, even in Coketown.

        Seen from a distance in such weather, Coketown lay shrouded in a haze of its own, which appeared impervious to the sun’s rays. You only knew the town was there, because you knew there could have been no such sulky blotch upon the prospect without a town. A blur of soot and smoke, now confusedly tending this way, now that way, now aspiring to the vault of Heaven, now murkily creeping along the earth, as the wind rose and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it, that showed nothing but masses of darkness:- Coketown in the distance was suggestive of itself, though not a brick of it could be seen’.

        Bleak house

        “smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun’

        So there was plenty of scope for there to be sufficient soot to melt arctic ice. Once melted the soot was removed from the system and perhaps a change in wind direction then blew soot away from the arctic and it refroze. As you can see from the photos in my first link soot is now there in abundance and the propensity for the soot to melt the ice was known very many years before the 1980’s climate scientists noted it.


      • apparently the arctic haze emerged in the 1970’s, largely from smelting in the USSR.

      • Unbelievable pictures. Does this occur across Greenland or just in certain areas. “Local soot” means soot from Greenland itself?

      • Judith

        Soot or arctic haze, my point was that explorers of 200 years ago-let alone the 1970’s- knew the effects that dark material such as soot had in melting the ice. Perhaps we just forget things?There was also another known melting material-plant matter


        “When I persuaded our botanist, Dr. Berggren, to accompany me in the journey over the ice, we joked with him on the singularity of a botanist making an excursion into a tract, perhaps the only one in the world, that was a perfect desert as concerns botany. This expectation was, however, not confirmed. Dr. Berggren’s quick eye soon discovered, partly in the surface of the ice, partly in the above-mentioned powder, a brown poly cellular alga, which, little as it is, together with the powder and certain other microscopic organisms b}’ which it is accompanied, is the most dangerous enemy to the mass of ice, so man}’ thousand feet in height, and hundreds of miles in extent. The dark mass absorbs a far greater amount of the sun’s rays of heat than the white ice, and thus produces over its whole surface deep holes which greatly promote the process of melting. The same plant has no doubt played the same part in our country, and we have to thank it, perhaps, that the deserts of ice which formerly covered the whole of northern Europe and America, have now given place to shady woods and undulating corn-fields. Of course a great deal of the grey powder is carried down in the rivers, and the blue ice at the bottom of them is not unfrequently concealed by a dark dust.”


        I have no idea how significant either soot, other particulates or plant material had in melting ice-it may have been trivial-but it had been observed. Any of them may or may not have an effect in the modern day but certainly I have never heard of a ‘brown ploy cellular alga’.


    • At our grade school the snow removal crews would pile up a huge hill of snow on which we would play king of the mountain during recess. Our overshoes would transfer dirt from the base of the hill to the sides and top of it. As it melted in the spring, a lot of that dirt, which was suspended in the various layers from all the piled up snow events of the winter, would end up on the surface. As the melting progressed, the hill transformed from off white to dingy beige to almost black. It would disappear long before mounds of snow on which 100s of kids were never in pitched battle for the summit.

    • True, soot has likely contributed to the cryosphere melting, but the increase in soot is after all also a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion. It would change the mechanism, but not the origin or the solution.

      • It is easier to manage soot than it is to manage CO2. Further, CO2 is short lived, whereas CO2 has much greater residence time and gets caught up in various feedback and biogeochemical cycles.

      • “Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.”

        Without both of these elements – a Lorenzian forcing and a resonant planetary response – there is no abrupt change by definition. A Milankovitch forcing and a resonant response in ice, dust, vegetation and Atlantic overturning circulation. Rial et al (2014) suggest a change in the resonant frequency of the planet due to tectonic movement as an explanation of the 100kyr glacial/interglacial problem.

        A few recent papers have suggested the Hale solar cycle as the source of the ubiquitous 20 to 30 year periodicities seen in climate data. Intensity – especially UV – changes over the complete cycle of solar magnetic reversal. UV modulates polar surface pressure (e.g. Ineson 2015) in the Southern and Northern Annular Modes (SAM and NAM) that have such a major impact on the global system. The sun itself evolves in a chaotic n-body system – although constrained somewhat by the mass of Sol. There are no cycles – only variability in regimes of means and variance that occur over millennia (Demetris Koutsoyiannis 2013). Nor is the future anything but uncertain.

        Regardless of the source of abrupt and potentially extreme variability – the response is the same. To build prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes.

        The soot solutions are – btw – available in off the shelf technology and not so much for energy CO2 emissions. And there are multiple sources of black carbon and co-emitted aerosols.

    • Clouds have a do have a warming effect. Clouds also use convection to carry water vapor to high altitudes where it forms water and ice and radiates that energy to space. Then it drops the ice back on land and sequesters ice for thawing, reflecting and cooling later. In warmer times, more ocean is thawed to fuel this process, ice extent is less, and more ice is sequestered on land. Warm times with more thawed oceans and less ice shelves and sea ice around the land is when ice on land grows the fastest. This warm period is normal, natural, necessary and unstoppable. Ice cores show that these warm periods repeat and end. This time, we can watch it happen, before we just got records from proxy data. Ice accumulates more in the warm periods and it gets colder after. Ice accumulates less in the cold periods and it gets warmer after. We are in the early part of a warm period and it must last a few hundred years to build enough ice. Ice is depleting at the edges less and less but that will change to more and more later in this warm period. This is how ice cycles work.

    • The water vapor feedback at these cold subzero temperatures is strongly positive

      Could this not just be from the aspect that at times there’s just so little of it, that incursions of large amount of water vapor would be strongly positive?
      I see the effect of this in Ohio, depending where the weather comes from, and how much water vapor is carried in.

      But, it’s still a regulating agent, with little impact from changes in noncondensing GHG’s, because vapor pressure at night is based on amount of water vapor, temp and pressure, and there aren’t really large sources of water vapor to cause positive feedback over land, it’s a water sink, not a source.
      And in the tropics, when it gets to warm, negative feedback breaks out, clouds, and thunderstorms.
      You can see this because min temps follow dew points.

    • “CO2 does have greater radiative impact at colder temperatures (with low water vapor). The water vapor feedback at these cold subzero temperatures is strongly positive, controlled by the temperature dependence of ice saturation (from Clausius Clapeyron).”

      CO2 has driving attributes. A driver of change in the Arctic. H2O has regulatory attributes. Lacking H2O in cold dry air allows CO2 most of a free reign.

      The strongly positive feedback is contrasted with, every place else it isn’t strongly positive.

      The first water vapor in a place without it does what? Water vapor may have good torque and lousy sustain. At first it warms, then it cools. Regulating our planet’s temperature allowing us to progress from monkeys to Socialists.

      The Arctic warms to cool the planet from there, increasing its emission of joules to the TOA. Its warming pushes back sea ice to cool the ocean.

    • You studied soot on the ice. We took a cruise down the coast from Alaska to Canada. We took pictures of glaciers. Dark lines are all through the glaciers. Past centuries are full of time periods when soot from fires and/or dust from droughts created layers in the ice that were covered up by new reflecting ice. This is also normal and natural. Our soot is not likely worse than all these past dark layers. Dust layers are most more likely from cold, driest times when there is less green stuff growing and less rain to settle the dust or put out the fires.

    • possibly of interest. Road dust from tires and pavement has been broken out elsewhere I’m unable to locate at present, but the amount is huge.

    • Judith, an interesting article on the effect of debris on glacier melting.
      Scherler, D., Bookhagen, B., & Strecker, M. R. (2011). Spatially variable response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change affected by debris cover. Nature geoscience, 4(3), 156.
      “More than 65% of the monsoon-influenced glaciers that we observed are retreating, but heavily debris-covered glaciers with stagnant low-gradient terminus regions typically have stable fronts. Debris-covered glaciers are common in the rugged central Himalaya, but they are almost absent in subdued landscapes on the Tibetan Plateau, where retreat rates are higher.

      Glacier frontal changes paired with flow velocity data allowed us to assess characteristic differences in the terminus dynamics of Himalayan glaciers. Although retreating glaciers dominate, retreat rates vary from high for debris-free glaciers to zero for glaciers with debris cover >20%.”

      The hypothesis “more debris –> more melting” might be too simplistic. This article’s observation that “more melting –> less debris” suggests it might be the melting that controls the amount of debris and not the opposite.

      They don’t talk about soot, but I would imagine soot is associated to debris, and there is certainly lots of soot being produced in nearby China.

      It is an interesting and highly cited article. I will keep looking into this issue. Thank you for raising it.

  2. “However, the proposition that the world should be cooling absent an anthropogenic effect, contradicts our knowledge of Holocene climate cycles.”

    True, true and Western academia has gone from a scientific method that would require us to, prove humanity’s CO2 causes global warming — by rejecting the null hypothesis that all warming is natural — to proving it doesn’t while accepting and using only modern evidence of current climate change and ignoring historical evidence of climate change.

  3. Current models propose that the world would be cooling if it wasn’t for the human influence on climate.

    Historic data would propose that this warm period would last a few hundred years more, likely a little warmer, before cooling would occur.

  4. Nice work Javier. You’ve done a great job of synthesizing a wide variety of climate related information into a rational approach to better understanding climate based on the evidence at hand. I agree with most of your conclusions.

  5. There is definatly a connection between the orbital period of some of the planets, and the sunspot cycle.
    Leif has mentioned that the magnetic field at the solar poles, when the field switches polarity sets the next cycle.
    And we know the Sun is a big ball of magnetic fields, so waving a large iron core in a magnetic field matters. And you can see that influence here
    The pulses are a little faster than the orbital period of Mercury, and we know the Earths magnetic field connects to ours,
    And since the Sun switches polarity, it’s going to buck, half the cycle, and connect half the cycle, so Mercury, passing through those fields, will change them. Now to the point, Uranus and Earth are the only 2 planets with like polarity, opposite Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.
    The magnetic field period of Earth, Jupiter, and Uranus is ~990 years.

    • There is definatly a connection between the orbital period of some of the planets, and the sunspot cycle.

      The problem with this assertion is that we are exceedingly good at calculating orbits and counting sunspots. Any connection would be crystal clear and widely known.

      And the Interplanetary Magnetic Field is carried by the solar wind. It is going from the Sun to the planets, and its charged particles are unidirectional.

      • This is clear
        And magnetic fields do not need solar wind, they exist in space time, and plasma could very well dampen them, as the only thing that blocks then are materials where magnetic fields induce a current. But connected fields would act as a funnel to plasma, following those Field lines to Earth’s poles. The plasma is without charge, but magnetic fields have a polarity, the lines would not connect to the sun if they didnt.

        Lastly, they same they say about climate science, we know what’s happening, and they are wrong on that as well.

      • Planetary hypotheses of solar activity are abundant, varied, and contradictory. While I won’t say that it is not possible that one of them is correct, there is no sufficient evidence at this point for me to support any of them.

      • Did you not look at the graph of sun spots? That deserves further investigation, that is mercury impacting sunspot, they’re fricking magnetic anomalies and you’re waving a iron core in a strong magnetic field. And there’s a mechanism for that to influence the upcoming solar cycle.
        But nothing to see, move alone ;)

      • that is mercury impacting sunspot

        And the evidence for that is…?

      • The period. And it’s a big iron core in a intense magnetic field.

      • But you said that the pulses are faster than the period, so the period is no evidence. And regarding the size of the iron core, Mercury is tiny compared with the Sun and its magnetic field. The word big doesn’t belong in that phrase.

      • Lol, well while mercury is moving, earth moves too. Maybe go find a solar system simulator and actually look.

        And mercury is a huge block of iron, it doesn’t matter how big the sun is, magnetic fields will interact with it. Same with the plantary dynomos which also have incredibly large magnetic, and different polarities, and move. And there is a mechanism those fields can influence the Sun with.

        You can’t pick and choose which physics you want to believe in, in a system with multiple processes involved, you have to account for all of them.

      • Lol, well while mercury is moving, earth moves too.

        You are the one that has to show convincing evidence. You said Mercury, and it is not Mercury. You now say Mercury+Earth. Why not the rest of the planets? But then you need some adjusting factor, as Neptune surely doesn’t have the same influence as Mercury. But then you get to choose the adjusting factor so it matches the data.

        Sorry, your supposed evidence is not convincing.

      • You are the one that has to show convincing evidence. You said Mercury, and it is not Mercury. You now say Mercury+Earth. Why not the rest of the planets? But then you need some adjusting factor, as Neptune surely doesn’t have the same influence as Mercury. But then you get to choose the adjusting factor so it matches the data.

        Have you never played with magnets?
        Do you not know how iron bends magnetic fields?
        If you have 2 magnets, and pass iron between them, do you have no physical understanding on how they interact?

        Mercury has the fastest orbit of all the planets, the gas giants the slowest. Do you know what magnets bucking means? And what that does to their fields?

        And sunspots are magnetic anomalies. So Mercury is the moving iron core, that passes through the magnet fields of the sun as it orbits, and it makes more laps than any of the other planets.

        And those sunspots are pulsing as Mercury is passing through a field.

        Which BTW is why your car uses exactly the same process to synchronize the phasing of your crankshaft and camshafts in your car, by passing a piece of steel through a magnetic field.

        But since the other planets all change configuration on a thousand year cycle, the greater over all cycle is a long cycle, but Mercury has a short cycle.
        And, the Sunspot pulses are farther apart than Mercury’s cycle, not faster, my mistake remembering.
        It’s 88 days, about 3 months, and in that 3 months, earth moves a 1/4 orbit, so the over all clocking is just under 4 months, but also venus has a 7.5 month period, so Venus switches between earth and mercury and not between Mercury every other passing and would extend the length of the combined clocking a bit more.
        Which is a pretty good match for the sunspot cycle of 1905-1907, but by the next cycle the gas giants move.

        Jupiter and Saturn’s polarity are like, and when the Sun is also like, they will all buck, Uranus and Earth are opposite, and as they get into the fields of J&S will connect, depending on the Suns polarity is at the time.

        You can see how the planets are configured here
        And you can see why the first part of the cycle is different from the second.

      • And remember sunspots are magnetic anomalies.

  6. Javier:

    I think this is one of the best posts ever. Without getting too technical, it offers reasonable explanations. I think it’s possible the post could get much wider exposure.

  7. Conclusions 1,2, 3, 6 and 7, make conclusion 8 wrong.

    All of the planet shows a lower sensitivity, indicating every thing else is as it should be, changing in normal, natural, necessary and unstoppable cycles.

  8. He wrote: And proxies are always local in nature.

    Not true. Ice core proxies are more a proxy for average ocean temperature where the water came from and nothing to do with local temperatures where the ice is sequestered. This makes ice cores the best proxies for historical temperatures.

    • However, many studies show that at most places the present treeline is still 100-250 meters below Holocene Climatic Optimum treeline levels (figure 106; Reasoner & Tinner, 2009; Cunill et al., 2012; Pisaric et al., 2003).

      “most places” makes this also a best proxy.

    • It would be interesting to compare the tree lines and timber lines in the NH to the SH. The tilt of the earth has changed over ten thousand years, increasing solar into the SH and decreasing it out of the NH, that might have influenced these differences.

      Javier, do you have sufficient data to show this comparison?

      • Not really. I have 15 articles on this issue that I have read. They include two meta-studies and Thouret et al., 1996 that is from Colombia. As usual most studies from NH.

  9. global glacier changes over the past 170 years are not cyclical and greatly exceed the range of the previously known periodic variations of glaciers

    As with tree lines, I would expect the SH glaciers to not respond the same as the NH glaciers.

    Due to the change in the tilt of the earth axis relative to the sun, the NH has lost solar in and the SH has gained solar in over the past ten thousand years. The NH needs less cooling than it needed ten thousand years ago so it snows less and maintains less ice volume and extent. The SH needs more cooling than it needed ten thousand years ago so it snows more and maintains more ice volume and extent.

  10. The cryosphere (with the exception of Antarctica) is showing a very unusual response to MGW.

    More likely with the exception of the SH. The SH is producing more snowfall to counter the more solar in. Check on any mountain glaciers in the SH.

    • Solomina et al., 2016 look also at South American and New Zealand glaciers. The conclusion is the same. They also show retreat.

      • “New Zealand glaciers are in retreat”.

        Except the 58 or so that have been advancing since 1983.

        And – get this – advancing due to cold, not just precipitation from warmth.

        But no worries. It’s all still due to global warming, we’re told.

      • “Since the 1860s, the glaciers of New Zealand have been retreating with minor readvances in 1888, 1908-1909, early 1920s, 1947-1950, 1965-1967 and 1980-2005. There has been net recession since the 1940s (Purdie et al., 2014); however, a period of stable mass balance and glacier readvance/stillstand registered widely across Southern Alps glaciers interrupted this trend between CE 1980 and CE 2005 (Chinn et al., 2005; Purdie et al., 2014). This general pause in ice retreat and snowline rise has been suggested to relate to a switch in the phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) that occurred around CE 1978, which involved an increase in the proportion of cold air-mass incursions to the Southern Alps from southerly quarters during the ablation season (Tyson et al., 1997). Atmospheric warming and renewed glacier retreat beginning shortly after CE 2005 may relate to the most recent switch of the IPO (Purdie et al., 2014). Currently, less than a third of the maximum ice volume from around CE 1850 remains (Chinn et al., 2012).”
        Solomina, O. N., et al. (2016). Glacier fluctuations during the past 2000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, 149, 61-90.

  11. Javier, thank you for another good essay.

    Based on this cycle it can be projected that the period ~ 1600-2100 AD should be a period of net warming, to be followed by a cooling period ~ 2100-2600 AD, if the cycle maintains its beat (figure 105).

    “if it maintains its beat” is a great unknown. I have used the phrase “if the record follows from a quasi-periodic process that will continue”, and other words to the same effect.

    Have you thought of assembling your essays into a small book-length pdf and submitting them to an academic publisher such as Springer? That way your work might come to the attention of graduate students and others who avoid blogs.

    • ya. and it can avoid peer review and other important things like supplying data and code.

      • ya. and it can avoid peer review and other important things like supplying data and code.

        Come on Steve, we both know if he provided the code and data, you’d just find something else to ignore it for, and there’s nothing stopping anyone from reviewing what he has provided, it published here where anyone can read it, no paywalls to hide it behind.

      • What data? What code? This article is based only on official sources and published science. Everything is sourced and publicly available.

        It is really endorsing that you only find imaginary faults with my article.

  12. Antarctic lack of climatic response to MGW and CO2 increase is not well understood.
    The NH has climate cycles and the SH has climate cycles. The two hemispheres have their own phasing and it is normal and natural that they don’t max and min at the same time. Both work the same way, snowing more on land when ice extent is low and snowing more on land when ice extent is high. Ice flowing more when ice volume and weight are higher and Ice flowing less when ice volume and weight are lower.
    The apparent NH climate response to CO2 is an unlucky accident in timing.

    • Major mistake, second more should have been less, this reads right:
      Both work the same way, snowing more on land when ice extent is low and snowing less on land when ice extent is high.

  13. But that is a maximum value valid only if total energy outflow is the same as radiative outflow. As there is also conduction, convection, and evaporation, the final warming without feedbacks is probably less.

    That needs to be repeated often. As far as I can tell, only the paper by Romps et al in Science Magazine has attempted to compute the change in the rate of a non-radiative transfer of heat from the surface to the mid- to upper troposphere. (I posted my attempt here. It has been downloaded a few dozen times from my ResearchGate page, but not published, so it doesn’t “count”).

  14. I read somewhere that only about 3% of atmospheric CO2 is generated by human activity. How can this “fit” with conclusion n°5 that recent sharp increase in CO2 levels is caused by humans only? Anyone?

    • That’s certainly not the case. We produce double of what goes into rising atmospheric levels, and atmospheric levels have gone up by 40% since 1850.

      • just quoting Watts “CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2, and changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions” or Salby “Man-made emissions of CO2 are clearly not the source of atmospheric CO2 levels” and even IPCC “only about 3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is attributable to human sources” and others. Nobody denies that man has substantially increased output of CO2 since WW2 but if the manmade share of the total CO2 is minimal, then an increase, even substantial, doesn’t seems very relevant.. Idk

      • That atmospheric CO₂ changes don’t track emission changes is due to emissions being small compared with natural fluxes, but atmospheric CO₂ increase (the trend), does track the cumulative emissions.

        The 3% number refers to fluxes, nor amounts. All the increase is down to us as we emit about double what it stays in the atmosphere, while the oceans and biosphere are net sinks.

        Salby is wrong on that as in other things he defends.

      • “…but atmospheric CO₂ increase (the trend), does track the cumulative emissions.”

        What does this imply if emissions stopped cold? Cumulative emissions would then remain constant. Does this mean atmospheric CO2 would also remain constant at its current level and never decrease? Or is it just a coincidence that the CO2 trend tracks cumulative emissions?

        “All the increase is down to us as we emit about double what it stays in the atmosphere, while the oceans and biosphere are net sinks.”

        If only half of our emissions are staying in the atmosphere, then natural sinks are adapting to extract the other half. This implies the atmospheric carbon cycle is an example of a giant natural feedback system. There is a body of knowledge – Feedback and Control Theory – that basically says you can’t assume any one source is responsible for changes in the system’s output until you know all the main sources and characterize all the main feedback paths. I don’t think we’re at a point to claim we know either yet.

      • If emissions stopped cold, the sinks would cause atmospheric levels to start dropping in very short term. The sinks do not depend on emissions, they depend on atmospheric levels.

        The problem to your argument is that atmospheric CO₂ levels are so high, that we are the only significant net source left. Oceans and biosphere have turned into net sinks.

      • Do we know what happens to the ca. 35 Gigatons of CO2 we emit yearly? More or less half of it is absorbed by plants, oceans.. correct? the rest remains in the atmosphere.. for how long?

      • the rest remains in the atmosphere.. for how long?

        The short answer is we don’t know.
        Consensus view based on Archer is a few centuries.
        Others have calculated around 2-3 decades, but the views are controversial.
        I particularly like this explanation by David Ellard at the Energy Matters blog:
        It will tell you everything you need to know about how CO₂ moves into and out of the atmosphere.

      • Frank

        To follow up on javiers response, the answer is that various experts have various viewpoints which vary wildly. In this calculation the effects are said to last for thousands of years

        I remember reading an account of a series of briefings using British govt money,for a series of lectures in Australia whereby it was also claimed that the impacts from increased co2 concentration would last thousands of years.

        I think that message has been watered down, in as much if you tell someone today that they need to drastically curtail their lifestyles in case there is an impact a thousand years down the line I suspect few would bother to do anything. Certainly the Paris accord targets will have no discernible impact on temperatures.

        Looking at past climates during the Holocene it is difficult to see that the impacts of co2 at 400ppm is any different to that we have observed at up to 300ppm or so.

        Whether by that time the logarithmic impacts of co2 above has ceased to have a big impact I don’t know, but certainly the past had more severe weather and extreme events than the modern era.


      • Tony, there isn’t enough carbon to burn to change it much, there is so much water vapor available to regulate temps.

      • Tonyb aka climatereason
        Well, i wasn’t in the least concerned about rising co2 levels actually :-) There’s no evidence for it driving climate change or driving up temperatures even. As for plants they love a bit of extra co2, who would be against that?? My original question was about the manmade share of co2 rise in the postwar era.. exclusively human according to Javier which kinda contradicts other reports i’ve read stating the 3-4%. Doing a quick amateur calculation: in 2015 with 410ppm there’s about 3200 gigaton of co2 in the atmosphere. 50 years ago that would have been ca 315 ppm or ca 2500 gigaton. Between 1960 and 2015 I find that somewhere between 1000 and 1500 gigaton of co2 was emitted. Given half of it is absorbed, that leaves us with 500 to 750 gigaton which kinda equates with the total increase from 2500 to 3200. All of this assuming that co2 remains in the atmosphere for longer than say 4 years as some say…

      • micro and frank

        I didn’t say I believed it, merely that was the official position!

        CO2 undoubtedly is important, but from the evidence it appears to become a very limited factor in our climate over 300ppm or so.


      • “If emissions stopped cold, the sinks would cause atmospheric levels to start dropping in very short term.”

        Interesting! So if emissions stopped cold or otherwise made any kind of substantial change, atmospheric CO2 would no longer track cumulative emissions. Doesn’t this mean that it is just a coincidence the CO2 trend is now tracking cumulative emissions and we therefore can’t really draw any conclusion from this apparent relationship?

        “…atmospheric CO₂ levels are so high,…”

        High compared to what? I think it is well-established that the amount of carbon in ocean reservoirs dwarfs the level of carbon in the atmosphere by several orders of magnitude. The amount of carbon in the lithosphere is several orders of magnitude greater still.

        “…we are the only significant net source left.”

        Perhaps we are the only significant source that we are aware of. The ocean is a big place and is continually overturning. Have we verified that all the carbon in the ocean is staying put?
        If the cryosphere is retreating, doesn’t this give an opportunity for some carbon in the lithosphere to escape into the atmosphere?
        And again, “net” doesn’t mean anything if we are looking at a giant control system with multiple input sources and feedback paths.

      • Doesn’t this mean that it is just a coincidence the CO2 trend is now tracking cumulative emissions

        No. This is easy to understand. The CO₂ for changes in atmospheric levels is coming from our emissions. If we stop our emissions, the CO₂ for changes in atmospheric levels will be the one already in the atmosphere.

        Perhaps we are the only significant source that we are aware of.

        The ocean can only be a net sink due to partial pressure difference. It doesn’t matter what other unknown oceanic sources there are.

      • If emissions stopped the sinks would still absorb CO2, ~2 ppm/year, implying a residence time (for excess atmospheric CO2) of about 50 years or a half-life time of 35 years. Although the capacity related to this timescale is limited, the sinks do not yet show saturation effects.

      • “If emissions stopped the sinks would still absorb CO2, ~2 ppm/year…”

        Did you mean this? “If emissions stopped the sinks would still absorb CO2 and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would start dropping by 2ppm/year.”

        For that to be true you must be assuming that all natural CO2 sources remain unchanged from year to year. I don’t believe we know that for sure.

      • willb, it would be an exponential decay over time. Under the simplest model 2ppm per year applies to an excess of 120 ppm (400-280) over the “natural” level that is stored in the deep oceans for example. 120/2 gives about a 60-year timescale for the decay function. Other estimates of the CO2 loss give 50 years. This is why I think we only have to halve the emission rate for nature to keep up better and that would almost stabilize the CO2 level without having to go to negative emissions. I mentioned this point on the week in review thread (but it is not the consensus view about what targets we need).

      • willb01,

        “Or is it just a coincidence that the CO2 trend tracks cumulative emissions?”

        If in a simple CO2 model emissions increase exponentially, then everything else also increases exponentially, such as cumulative emissions, excess CO2 trend in the atmosphere etc. Correlations will become more clear when emission rate alters substantially.

        “For that to be true you must be assuming that all natural CO2 sources remain unchanged from year to year.”

        Before 1850 there was CO2- equilibrium on timescales of ~100 years. CO2 in the atmosphere was 280 ppm. Because of a rise of ocean temperature and a minor saturation of ocean CO2 absorption I assumed an equilibrium concentration of 300 ppm in the atmosphere when emissions stopped now. Then you get an e-folding time of (400-300)/2 = 50 years for an exponential decrease of excess atmospheric CO2. The half live time is 50 * ln(2)= 35 years. After some time longer time scales will dominate.

        The following links give some information about the possible length of the long tail of CO2 decrease:

    • There are seasonal variations that make the CO2 level go up and down during a year. Our annual emissions are swamped by this variation. But the CO2 sinks at a rate of about half our emissions. This leave the long term increase on us.

      There are tides that might be 10 feet. Using Salby’s argument, an amount of glacier melt of an inch of sea level rise per decade could not raise the sea level, as the 10 foot tides, what, make it disappear?

      • nice.

      • Salby makes no such argument.

        Above after Ferdinand Englebeen and similar by Bart confirm Salby’s argument of CO2 time dependence on temperature. Salby overreaches to claim no human influence on atmospheric concentration, but temperature still controls the variability around the trend if increasing atmospheric CO2.
        While some of atmospheric increase is clearly human, and ocean outgassing is far too small in the temperature range (besides the oceans appearing to be a small net sink); soils are a highly temperature dependent source at ~60 GtC annually. Soils may well be responsible for part of the atmospheric increase in CO2.

      • But Gymnosperm, it doesn’t matter. Since we emit double of the observed increase, it becomes moot if there are other sources and how much they produce. It is important only to understand better the carbon budget, but we can’t get out of the hook for the CO₂ increase.

      • Here:

        “His theory builds off a simple observation, that in ‘official’ estimates of Earth’s carbon cycle budget, anthropogenic CO2 is only a small source compared to large natural sources and sinks.”

        In any case, I am sorry I attributed such arguments to Salby. I meant to argue against such arguments and not Salby.

        At the same time I believe there is some natural variability, of CO2 emissions and sinks that continues at this time. It may cause 5 to 15% of changes as nature sinks about half of it.

  15. He wrote:
    H2O is a good candidate to explain the observed resistance of planetary temperatures to increasing CO2 forcing.

    I write:
    H2O is a good candidate to explain the observed natural climate cycles.

  16. There is a significant possibility however that the climate is actually ocean-driven, directly forced by the Sun, and mediated by H2O changes of state.

    Wow! Javier, Dr Curry, this is a best posting ever.

    The ocean stores solar energy as heated water and cools itself with evaporation, warming the atmosphere to power the convective processes that carries the water vapor above much or most of the greenhouse trapping to release the energy when changing into water and ice, releasing energy to be radiated out as IR. We especially actually see this in the IR pictures of earth. This powers the forming of rain and snow that falls back, cooling and sequestering ice for cooling with reflecting and thawing during colder times when IR out is less. This process does more when needed more and does less when needed less. Water is not the victim of climate forcing, it plays a major role in the forcing and bounding of climate cycles.

    Thank you Javier and Dr Curry!

  17. Javier, looking at Figure 105, if the ‘980 year cycle + Neoglacial Trend’ is assumed as being predictive — and if the observed temperature anomaly actually does follow the predicted trend line — then at roughly what point in the future would a 30-year running average of the observed anomaly turn definitively negative?

    • Looking back at the MWP there were periods longer than 30 years of cooling and warming before the LIA cooling started. By ~ 2200 if the periodicity continues, the Anthropocene should be over, and global warming should have turned into global cooling.

      • If approximately 200 years will pass before the Anthropocene is very definitely over, and global cooling has very definitely begun, then we are in for another two-hundred years of acrimonious debate concerning the presence and alleged impacts of CO2-driven anthropogenic global warming. (Just saying.)

      • I don’t think so. People get tired and move to the next fad. Imaginary problems are the best class, as they can be solved at will with imaginary solutions.

      • By 2025 AGW will be the primary driver of government policy. Opponents will be completely pushed aside. Nursing homes will be the last outposts of opposition.

      • Your forecasting skills are poor. You ignore the golden rule of forecasting from J. Scott Armstrog. And IIRC, climate change wasn’t even discussed in the last US debate about the nation.

      • Beta Blocker

        JCH, if the Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House in 2025, they will have only twenty-five years left to reach their goal of achieving an 80% reduction in America’s carbon emissions by 2050.

        How will the Democrats pull it off?

        With an exceptionally stiff carbon tax, perhaps? Possibly combined with highly ambitious, mandatory energy efficiency standards; plus a mandatory carbon fuel rationing scheme of some kind?

      • micro6500:

        You’re doing a good job with your description. The GMST is not the correct the question. Is the system failing or is it adapting?

        Some of the skeptic’s attack has been at the GMST and is playing the wrong game. Karl found a warmer GMST and the system adapting. Others found the oceans massive reserves slowing atmospheric warming and said that was a problem.

        When things warm, they break. That’s the message. Water regulating things was discovered I don’t know when, maybe boiling food in water giving a consistent cooking rate. A discovery of what water does, and has done for many millions of years.

        When CO2 doesn’t warm enough, water is brought in as the bad guy. Water does not regulate, it kills us. Polar ice masses have one job, to kill foolish us if we upset them.

        The planet’s climate has for millions of years has depended on water’s phase changes. Its abundance and its movements. The argument is that it can no longer do this. That we can break water.

      • Is the system failing or is it adapting?

        It is adapting.

        I think it is yet to be shown, an increase in any of the noncondensing GHG’s affect max Temp. But I’m okay saying that yes more radiative forcing would likely cause some increase in afternoon temps, as compared to Min T (because that is a measure of the daily energy input).

        Maybe it’s just a little, maybe more. I’m not sure we can tell, and I don’t trust 99% of what I see published, unless I can see the same in what I’ve spend more than a decade looking at.

        But WV is the big dog of all of the gases in the atm that aren’t inert. We are a water planet.

        That I found is, that tiny bit of forcing is nothing compared to the positive feedback regulating temps. It looks by my calculations to be about 80W/m^2, that is what bends the cooling rate curve in the early morning hours, that’s exponential because I believe we’ll find the % of water vapor involved in the condense/evap cycle increases exp with RH.
        In this data (not mine), it shows ~35W/m^2 reduction in cooling, about the amount I would expect was being lost out the optical window for that surface temp, and an estimate of what Tzenith would be based on me measuring it for the last 4 or 5 years.

        So, and I just realized two competing feedbacks. If Tmax is higher due to NC GHG’s, over land there isn’t a lot of extra Water to evaporate, so TPW is intrinsic to the source of the air mass.
        So, Higher Tmax, stays in the high rate for a longer time (consuming less WV over the shorter slow rate time). But if Tmin is higher because of the dew point of the air mass, it needs more energy to slow cooling at the higher Tmin, than a colder Tmin. Because the draw of energy to space is higher at higher temps.

        Does that answer your question?

      • When CO2 doesn’t warm enough, water is brought in as the bad guy.

        This is just utter nonsense. Haven’t you read, it’s all natural, so it’s the good guy.

      • JCH:

        Thank you. It’s not all natural. We warmed it, most of it. And we rearranged the system. The system that preserved life as continents collided and the Bering land bridge emerged and we did what? Headed North into the cold to settle America.

        During the the 10,000 years or so of our civilization, we had a more or less steady sun and a steady supply of water. Which we still have.

    • This figure is not from Moburg et al – although the label suggests it is.

      With this purely periodic idea of climate there would be a fairly small oscillation about a rising trend.

      Climate is – however – aperiodic. As John Eddy himself said.

      Fourier analysis will yield wavelets – but this doesn’t mean that there are superimposed but separate cycles. The sun evolves and its behavior is the sum of the mechanisms at its heart.

      • With this purely periodic idea of climate there would be a fairly small oscillation about a rising trend.

        But as I keep point out, it will be dampened out before sunrise.

      • As you have poorly explained. I have tried to understand what point you think you are making but cannot. There may or may not be something there – but I have given up trying. Better graphs and some science references might help.

      • Better graphs and some science references might help.

        Yes, yes I know, Temp in F, RH, and Net Radiation in W/m^2 is quite confusing when excel chops off part of the units.

        As for the other, I pointed to a paper that explains the issue,
        and for the nonlinear math part, might I suggest you learn to design and simulate a switching voltage regulator, as a good analog. I haven’t found any equivalent in climate science.

      • “The simple exponential form suggests that an uncomplicated effective physical model is feasible. We think that the most important factor of nocturnal cooling rate is the total amount of water in the troposphere.”

        This would seem uncomplicated. It would seem to imply lower rates of nocturnal cooling in a warmer world.

      • This would seem uncomplicated. It would seem to imply lower rates of nocturnal cooling in a warmer world.

        The cooling rate depends on dew point, and while it is in theory going up, in reality RH is going down in our world.
        Did you notice the part where the found a poor correlation between Min T to both Absolute and Rel humidity?
        That’s because both are nonlinear to min temp.
        But it’s important to understand why it’s nonlinear. That is what I have been explaining. The energy barrier to cooling water vapor.

        5. Conclusions
        On calm weather days the nocturnal cooling can be
        described by an exponential function characterized by a
        timescale tc. Statistical analysis shows no correlation among tc
        and several atmospheric and soil variables (see
        Figures 4b and 5a–5f)
        . The simple exponential form
        suggests that an uncomplicated effective physical model is
        feasible. We think that the most important factor of noctur-
        nal cooling rate is the total amount of water in the
        troposphere. This quantity is poorly represented by the
        boundary value of atmospheric vapor content.
        Though the total atmospheric water content has a strong seasonality[Watterson, 1998], such tendencies are not visible in Figure 2. Detailed analysis of column-integrated precipitable and liquid water data, such as produced by the NASA Water Vapor Project [Simpson et al., 2001], and high resolution temperature time series might help for a better
        understanding of cooling processes.

        The simple uncomplicated effective physical model is the one I’ve been proposing, 97% correlation between dew point and Min T.

      • This is what a nonlinear function looks like.
        How do I know it’s not equilibrium?
        Because the temperature delta between the surface, and the sky doesn’t drop very much, while cooling rates drop by 80% to 100%.
        This is all basic circuit analysis.

      • Yes – what they suggest is that it is total column water content – that is not relative humidity – the latter is usually assumed to be relatively constant. And you do not know any different.

        I am a hydrologist, an engineer, an environmental scientist – nonlinear I understand. Nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated – this seems fairly smooth. .

      • Yes – what they suggest is that it is total column water content – that is not relative humidity – the latter is usually assumed to be relatively constant. And you do not know any different.

        But that’s not what their own paper showed, and The measured rh as compared to temp and dew point isn’t relatively constant.

        I am a hydrologist, an engineer, an environmental scientist – nonlinear I understand. Nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated – this seems fairly smooth. .

        Apparently not, it means it’s not a linear function, temp Xa + y
        And that’s why they found no correlation between absolute, relative humidity, or TPW.
        But I found it with dew point, and while only a few ppl understand it, it is absolutely correct. I just figure out how to condense 45 years of circuit analysis into something ppl with no background in it can understand.
        It seems perfectly clear to me that at the same time RH start significantly going up, net radiation drops significantly, and the same time the rate temp is dropping slows, sometimes to a stop. The point is the inflection point of these effects are all based on the air temp then, when it switches as that is the connection to dew point. If the inflection point is 4F above dew point, it doesn’t matter if T max starts out at a different temp or not, they all switch over at the same 4F above dew point. The only thing that does change, is how long at the high cooling rate it takes to get there. And because its the high rate, it acts as a regulator, reducing the residual temp to the original starting temp difference miltipled by the ratio of the two rates ie delta T max × LR/HR = delta T min
        Temperature is potential, flux is the equalizing energy being exchanged trying to eleminate the temperature differential.
        That is basic circuit analysis.

      • You made so much of it that I thought you might be talking about nonlinear ODE. Apparently not – but the exponential nocturnal cooling rate.

        “The simple exponential form suggests that an uncomplicated effective physical model is feasible. We think that the most important factor of nocturnal cooling rate is the total amount of water in the troposphere.”

        Your RH is at the surface – where temperature and humidity are known. But it is at a point – both in space and time yet you make global spanning claims and claims about trend that are not in evidence – even if it had some wider relevance. Nor is RH known through out the troposphere or across the planet – but is assumed to be constant such that the change in water vapor is given by the Clausius–Clapeyron equation in a warming atmosphere. That according to your reference should slow nocturnal cooling.

        Yet you claim that instead of water in the troposphere that dew and frost control the rate of nocturnal cooling. And that this has some implication for global warming. But I can’t argue because I don’t have the remotest idea of how any of it connects. So you can add me to that list – and also to the one of people who just can’t be bothered trying anymore.

      • This effect is global because at the surface there is a 97% between dew point and Min T, across 75 million records, across the planet. That’s how I know it does the same across the planet.
        And no I don’t know what the average of the atm column is, but I do know what it’s doing at the surface, and I know the troposphere condenses at night, lowering it’s height. What that means is it’s cooling from the top, because the reduction of the cooling rate is because as WV condenses it’s releasing IR, so as the top of the atm cools, the whole wv layer is radiating, and as RH gets to it’s upper limits, that IR is enough to stop it from cooling at the surface, but it’s still consuming WV out of the troposphere, but much of that reevaporates on it’s way down.
        So we have the whole tropo WV layer glowing in IR, half is going out to space directly, hence the reduction in the height of the tropo at night.
        At the surface the Enthalpy of a cubic meter of air is quite high, in the tropics it averages about 72kJ/m^3, and drops about 9kJ/m^3, that’s because there is so much WV in the column, it doesn’t have to reduce it a lot at the surface to slow cooling. And when it does slow, that reduces how much more is condensed.
        In the deserts of the SW US, the enthalpy is about 36kJ/m^3, but it drops by 18kJ/m^3, because it consumes more down to the surface, as compared to the tropics. The cooling rates in the deserts therefore will stay at the high cooling rate for most of the night, tropics will be at the high rate for a short time, then switch over to the slow rate till dawn. This plays out everywhere there is water vapor across the planet.

        It’s physics!

      • Robert I Ellison: I am a hydrologist, an engineer, an environmental scientist – nonlinear I understand. Nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated – this seems fairly smooth. .

        Robert I Ellison: You made so much of it that I thought you might be talking about nonlinear ODE. Apparently not – but the exponential nocturnal cooling rate.

        Whether a nonlinear ODE or other nonlinear function, why did you say that it couldn’t be integrated?

        You write lots of good stuff (I read most of your posts), but you also make your share of errors like everyone else. Why not just admit that in that case you goofed?

      • I was genuinely confused on whether something other than the exponential of the study was involved. Frankly I’d doubt your capacity to judge anything I say.

      • micro6500: and for the nonlinear math part, might I suggest you learn to design and simulate a switching voltage regulator, as a good analog. I haven’t found any equivalent in climate science.

        That is a challenge for us to come up with some examples. Do you have an broad or narrow frame of reference for the word “equivalent”? IPCC and Christopher Monckton have worked with an electrical circuit analog — have you studied that?

      • ”? IPCC and Christopher Monckton have worked with an electrical circuit analog — have you studied that?

        I haven’t seen it or if I did it didn’t impress me.
        In the earths case, while it functions like a switch to the cooling rate, it is more complex than a typical switching power supply, but that’s the basic function.

        Every day a pulse of energy enters the system, warming everything up, this is the charging energy.
        But the energy is stored in multiple places, the surface, the atm (hence why the tropo grows in height during the day, plus it’s stored globally as wv, but that gets blown into cooler areas where it’s used there.

        So 3 energy storage systems, every single day an energy pulse. The surface cools really quickly at sunset (that is what led me on this journey), so the surface starts right away, then the wv layer starts to cool at least some. But as the surface cools, air temps start increasing RH. As RH increases, it is my believe that more and more of the wv condenses, and then re-evaporates, that’s why high RH air is thick, and damp at times.
        As the surface air cools more and more, RH keeps going up at the surface, more WV is involved in this cycle. Until there’s enough IR being create to supply the energy that is always going out the optical window. That’s why it cooling at the surface slows. It’s pouring energy down, air temps slow their cooling, because this IR can then be radiate out the optical window.

        So multiple capacitive elements, multiple spectrum’s with different and varying optical responses, to IR cooling. Point 2 you can measure the zenith temp with an IR thermometer. This is a measure of TPW, but it’s part of the window to space, it’s taking a measurement above the atm layer + the TPW content. this and the non-condensing GHG’s set the high cooling rate, and there are multiple surface locations that show large drops in temp over night. All because the regulating feedback from WV is minimal.
        So, the RH feedback that slows cooling is positive feedback, but it only burns as much wv as it needs to stop the crash of min T into dew point, and that’s because there’s an extra 4.21J/gm stored in the state change between water and vapor. These energy barriers show up in semiconductors and are exploited to make them nonlinear switchable devices. So, it’s part storage, with a mix of band specific IR transmission, and filtering. Like a transconductance that varies with wavelength.

        Basically there’s a second supply of stored energy that is tapped into. And since this is a strictly temperature based phenomena, it’s regulating points are temperature based. When I realized this it made me laugh out loud.

        Now, If you look at the difference between the average Min T and Dew point for 75 million records, it’s about 2F, this is the working energy consumed by the atm at night to reduce cooling.
        Again the bump in the 70’s is a large change in stations (drops from about a half million station records/year to about 100k for 2 years, and then jumps up to over a million and climbs to 3 million, and then settles around 2million/year
        But it also went up after the 1999 amo change that raised average temps, but it would do that because it need more energy to maintain the higher average temps, and as this is happening, the average RH dropped, as it’s burning off water vapor to regulate temps.
        When the oceans swap warm water and cool water between two places, the wv created by the warm water blows to a different place, they get an increase in dew point, and average temps go up there. If you swap between the NH and the SH, more of that WV will blow over land with temp stations, that internal variability has the ability to change GMST, in the same way EL Nino’s do the same.

        Thanks for taking the interest, I’m trying to figure out a way to explain all of this, and obviously I’m not doing a very good job.

      • Robert I Ellison: I was genuinely confused on whether something other than the exponential of the study was involved.

        That may be the case, but it was not what you wrote. Is there some “interpretation” to your implication that nonlinear functions can not be integrated?

      • “Integrable systems are nonlinear differential equations which ‘in principle’ can be solved analytically. This means that the solution can be reduced to a finite number of algebraic operations and integrations. Such systems are very rare – most nonlinear differential equations admit chaotic behaviour and no explicit solutions can be written down.”

      • Robert I Ellison: Nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated – this seems fairly smooth.

        I was genuinely confused on whether something other than the exponential of the study was involved.

        Integrable systems are nonlinear differential equations which ‘in principle’ can be solved analytically.

        So you began with one function that you asserted could not be “integrated”, admitted to confusion, and have moved on to “systems of nonlinear differential equations”, only few of which are “integrable” (by a definition introduced post hoc ). Most such systems can be “integrated” numerically. Next up: on a finite precision machine most integrations, even of “integrable” systems, can not be carried out exactly, because most solutions can not be represented on the lattice, which can only represent a subset of rational numbers; even diffeqns with closed form solutions can be integrated more accurately via numerical methods than by the theoretical closed form on such machines.

        Back to your original quote: it is not true that “nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated.”

      • My engineering thesis compared an analytical solution of the hydrological storage equation with numerical solutions. It is analytically soluble in special but quite nonphysical circumstances involving infinite width. These solutions are so rare as to not matter in practical physical systems. The numerically integrated solution has properties of not evolving smoothly – as in the Hamiltonian of the famous 3-body problem. It is called non-intergrable not because it can’t be integrated numerically. But I am never sure what your point is or why.

      • Robert I Ellison: My engineering thesis compared an analytical solution of the hydrological storage equation with numerical solutions. It is analytically soluble in special but quite nonphysical circumstances involving infinite width. These solutions are so rare as to not matter in practical physical systems. The numerically integrated solution has properties of not evolving smoothly – as in the Hamiltonian of the famous 3-body problem. It is called non-intergrable not because it can’t be integrated numerically. But I am never sure what your point is or why.

        What you wrote, “nonlinear implies that the function can’t be integrated” was not correct. What you have written since about non-integrable systems of nonlinear differential equations is different; you wrote it after I pointed out your mistake. I address your mistake because you regularly insult the people whom you correct.

      • Your mistake was to imagine that nonlinear differential equations – not necessarily systems of equations – were integrable because they can be integrated numerically. I responded with a simple explanation – but I cannot put everything at the level of your understanding. And you refuse the explanation because it was supplied in order to clarify for you what was meant. These nonlinear differential equations are referred to as non-integrable because they are not analytically soluble. They are chaotic in their evolution. Not sure what point you are think you are making – but it is trivial at any rate. As for insults – you called me a joke yesterday because I said it was not a biological butterfly. But yet again this has been an uninformative discussion. Bye.

      • Wow. I have said that my confusion stemmed from assuming a nonlinear differential equation – seeing chaos everywhere as I do – as so much was made of algebraic nonlinearity. Your petty animosity has other origins.

      • Robert I Ellison: Your mistake was to imagine that nonlinear differential equations – not necessarily systems of equations – were integrable because they can be integrated numerically.

        I disagree. Reread what you wrote: you switched from a nonlinear function to nonlinear systems of equations; and you switched from “integrate” which includes numerical integration (a subset of all integrations) to the more restrictive definition of “integrable”. You have provided in your many posts many examples of systems of nonlinear equations that have been integrated to yield graphable trajectories.

        It’s not about you personally, it is about what you wrote.

  18. “5) The last quarter (70 yr) of Modern Global Warming is characterized by extremely unusual and fast rising, very high CO2 levels, higher than at any time during the Late Pleistocene. This increase in CO2 is human caused.”
    Although this is the position of the consensus there is good evidence that disagrees with it. Stomata evidence finds CO2 concentrations at 400 PPM earlier in the Holocene(Wagner), and chemical analysis found spikes of CO2 in the 1800s and 1940s that rival today’s values(Beck).
    I think the position that modern CO2 levels are entirely due to anthropogenic sources require many assumptions that are not valid.

    • Stomata data is more difficult to interpret and also rests on assumptions. We measure CO₂ in a consistent way for hundreds of thousands of years in ice cores. And they do agree well over the period since 1956 with atmospheric measurements.

      • Do ice cores down to a depth of the year 15 years BP show the value measured in the atmosphere of that time (2003)?

      • Yes. Ice cores from places with high rate of accumulation form ice more quickly. There are CO2 measurements from ice cores up to 2006 that agree quite well with atmospheric measurements.

      • Ty, Javier.

        My wonderment is that in 200 years from now with that same depth-reached (2006) with todays (2016/17 whatever) atmospheric CO2 count still match or will time allow change to the amount of CO2 captured in 2006 and read in 2216/17.

        The measurement process: does it involve a sliding-scale (so to speak) that would apply to much older (deeper) readings of core samples versus more recent (nearer surface) core sample calculations?

        My main reason for asking is, example, the Carbon Cycle calculations/estimates. I have read 3 different studies that took place by 3 groups that calculated the sinks (Ocean, soil, vegetation, atmosphere etc.) that varied by huge amounts (estimates of some amount of knowledge) and yet they each (3) arrived at the same amount of human CO2 emissions. Based on yet more estimated mixtures.

        Obviously if the reading of CO2 in 2017 is subtracted from 1958 one would easily calculate the annual increase (somewhat linear). Then state the current annual increase in atmospheric accumulation assuming that all additional (more or less) is AGW. That is, what is emitted versus what is absorbed.

        If any of those estimates of the 3 groups were off by less than 1% then the AGW annual amount could be way low or way high.

      • Albert, Human emissions are not measured in the air. They are calculated as we are quite good at keeping an account of how much coal, oil and gas we burn, and how much cement we produce. Emissions due to land use changes are more difficult to estimate, but they are a smaller part.

      • Again, Javier, ty.

        Yes, tracking human emissions can be somewhat accurate assuming all countries are honest and any other “checks” are more of an estimate.

        But compared to Oceans, Soils and Vegetation mixing these are much larger numbers than human emissions. Those mixings also very quite a bit as more CO2 grows more green plants, etc. And these mixes are estimates. Estimates as stated by the 3-groups example vary hugely.

        The most accurate is the direct measurement CO2 in the atmosphere and we have faith that human burning fossil is tracked pretty close. All the other stuff varies greatly and are always estimates.

        Another thought that since it is being advertised that the Earth was in 250 ppm range for millions of years – it would seem the planet tends to balance itself. That humans put up about 10G tons of Carbon (creating 30G tons of CO2) – and that the Planet can absorb 50% of that (estimate) 5G tons compared to the much larger numbers mixing I believe it is too easy a jump to just bank on the consensus that AGW is the primary driver of the observed accumulation of late. It matches up well with subtracting 2017 and 1958 historic readings and seeing about 5G accumulation. Too simple in this complex system. Too convenient.

        Again ty.

      • I believe it is too easy a jump to just bank on the consensus that AGW is the primary driver of the observed accumulation of late.

        There is really no other possibility.

        The biosphere is expanding and is a small but increasing sink for CO₂, and is certainly not the cause of the atmospheric increase.

        Other sources, as volcanic emissions, are just too small to be responsible.

        Ocean surface releases ~ 16 ppm CO₂/°C due to warming. That can explain ~ 10 % of the increase.

        The other 90 % is down to us. Our emissions are double what is required, so it is a pretty safe bet.

        It doesn’t matter our ignorance of the carbon budget. Let’s say that there is a bank account that is not yours but you can check its balance, though not its movements. The bank account balance is stable at $1000 for a few years despite having movements. On a certain date you start depositing $100/month, and you observe that the balance is growing by $50/month. 20 months later the account has a $2000 balance. It doesn’t matter what other people are depositing and drawing money from the account. You are responsible through your deposits for the increase in balance. Even without looking at the movements you can affirm that you increased the balance. Obviously other people have noticed the increase in the account balance and are taking the opportunity to draw more money.

      • Javier,
        “There is really no other possibility.”

        Until, of course, one or more possibilities are discovered.

        It’s obvious that the Carbon Cycle cartoon put out by NOAA and others is just that, a cartoon and not science.

        The only real-time measurement (non-estimate) is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Ice core samples are promoted to be the most perfect capsule to hold atmospheric readings of CO2 for hundreds of years – like trees rings were once believed to be.

        Core samples along with all other emission and absorption numbers are estimates including fossil.

        What today’s science is trying to sell is that the 211.8 natural emissions are absorbed back each year by nature at 215.0 (at most) leaving the balance to be human emissions that are accumulating in the atmosphere.

        A movement of just 1.5% of either the natural numbers would show that humans are not the prime mover of current warming that is within natural variability and actually in balance. Just how accurate can estimates be and then be declared as fact?

        This obvious avoidance by the consensus science shows that today’s climate science is nothing more than cause and effect science.

        An average 5th grade student could do no worse.

        For crying out loud the climate scientific community picks Mann and Nye for their national and international spoke-persons. That’s called hiding behind the curtains.


      • That’s the wrong way of looking at the issue. 200 years ago changes in CO₂ levels were very, very slow despite similar fluxes. The reason is that at ~ 280 ppm atmospheric CO₂ the system was nearly in equilibrium, and sinks and sources were equal.

        It is not the little amount we emit every year, but the large accumulated amount for the past 200 years that has pushed the system out of equilibrium. With the atmosphere ~ 120 ppm above equilibrium, sinks have become larger than natural sources, so only a part of what we add remains in the atmosphere.

        Take a look again at figure 110a. Do you really believe that can be natural, just now? If you do, you are prepared to believe in anything.

    • The firm – snow being compressed in ice – is smoothed over decades – diffusion over 1000’s of years seems also possible.

      “One common assumption in interpreting ice-core CO2 records is that diffusion in the ice does not affect the concentration profile. However, this assumption remains untested because the extremely small CO2 diffusion coefficient in ice has not been accurately determined in the laboratory. In this study we take advantage of high levels of CO2 associated with refrozen layers in an ice core from Siple Dome, Antarctica, to study CO2 diffusion rates. We use noble gases (Xe/Ar and Kr/Ar), electrical conductivity and Ca2+ ion concentrations to show that substantial CO2 diffusion may occur in ice on timescales of thousands of years. We estimate the permeation coefficient for CO2 in ice is ∼4 × 10−21 mol m−1 s−1 Pa−1 at −23°C in the top 287 m (corresponding to 2.74 kyr). Smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion at this depth/age is one or two orders of magnitude smaller than the smoothing in the firn. However, simulations for depths of ∼930–950 m (∼60–70 kyr) indicate that smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion in deep ice is comparable to smoothing in the firn. Other types of diffusion (e.g. via liquid in ice grain boundaries or veins) may also be important but their influence has not been quantified.”

      Stomatal density in phenotype response to carbon dioxide concentration. It is calibrated against stomatal densities in modern plants.


      It seems to show greater fluctuation in CO2 levels than seen in ice cores.

  19. Pingback: Nature Unbound VIII – Modern global warming — Climate Etc. – NZ Conservative Coalition

  20. Atmospheric humidity responds very fast to temperature changes through evaporation and condensation.

    And no place shows this better than the nightly clear calm sky cooling profile.
    The first critical bit, is the temperature differential between the surface and spce is nearly the same at sunset, and it is at dawn, and yet there is a significant difference in cooling rates, this is because of the nonlinearity of the cooling rate to RH. The water vapor in the troposphere is an equalizing layer between the surface, and colder higher altitude, this is I think tied into the wet lapse rate. And remember the height of the troposphere varies greatly between day and night. This is a big deal, because to compress, it has to reduce the stored energy, including that of water vapor, and regulated systems have nonlinear rates, that’s what makes them a regulator. And in this case it’s the added energy above of heat of evaporation that has to be rejected to go from vapor to liquid, instead of it being 1J/gm for liquid, going from gas to liquid it’s 4.21J/gm.

    It astounds me that so many ignore this line of evidence.
    It’s basic physics, that’s exploited to create the modern world, and no one gets it.

  21. Thanks Javier – outstanding scholarly review the recent climate, a valuable resource!

    The recent Arctic ice downward oscillation is due in my view to an exceptionally vigorous excursion of the AMO, driven by the AMOC salinity-downwelling feedback. It is now terminating naturally by reactive transient Greenland melt, and will soon pass into history.

    • Yes, no doubt AMO has an outstanding effect on Arctic ice, but one has to consider also that simultaneously there was an intense phase of glacier melting. It could be a coincidence.

  22. Javier
    First, Let me thank you for this excellent review. It will be high on my list of things to recommend to my friends that push for aggressive action to save our planet from CO2.
    That said,I think the stomata evidence is robust enough to challenge the ice core ability to show short duration peaks. I think the ice core dating to get the fit to Mona Loa is quite subjective, and I can’t see a good reason to discount the chemical tests by at least 8 well trained chemists in different areas that show a background up to 450 PPM in the 1930s and 1940s. Further, the extensive work on CO2 residence time concludes it is short- about 4 years. If that is the case there shouldn’t be any anthropogenic CO2 from before 2000 left in the atmosphere and the bulk of the increase is from natural causes (Harde 2017). The bottom line though is that, if I am correct, it has no effect on your other 7 conclusions.

    • David Albert,
      It is possible and even likely that ice cores do not reflect well short term variability that takes place during the period of firn to ice. It has been said that they represent a low pass filter. The stomata data is there and anybody can decide on it.

      But we do know how “slowly” CO₂ has been changing since 1959, just a few ppm per year. It is impossible that 450 ppm measurements in the 30s and 40s represent anything other than local measurements.

      Regarding the 4-year residence time, that refers to the mean residence time of a specific molecule. But since that molecule disappears because it is exchanged by another one, it should not be mistaken with atmospheric lifetime of CO₂, (when the molecule disappears without being exchanged) that is believed to be much longer, from decades to centuries.

      • What about the Bomb Test Curve? 14C from late 1960s bomb tests makes an excellent tracer and indicates a residence half-time for atmospheric CO2 of 10 years.

      • Everybody keeps making that mistake. ¹⁴C tracer tells you what is the molecular residence time. It is ~ 3.5-4 years. But that ¹⁴CO₂ molecule that disappears through photosynthesis or into the ocean, is substituted by another unmarked CO₂ molecule from respiration or from the ocean.

        The important calculation is how long it takes for an excess of CO₂ to disappear from the atmosphere. The disagreement over that is so huge that it goes from a few decades to millennia.

      • Javier, what you say is true if we assume that CO2 diffuses in both directions. On the other hand if we assume that CO2 is pumped from the deep ocean in regions of upwelling then the Bomb Test Curve does indeed describe a residence time. See

      • I have a natural distrust for simple models about complex things.

        See a better explanation of what goes on with CO₂ exchange:

      • this is a really good article

      • Simple stoichiometry? The first thing to note about the carbon cartoon below is that fluxes have (optimisticaly) a +/-20% uncertainty. The second thing to note is the change is stores – 244GtC from fossil fuels leading to an extra 165GtC in the atmosphere. 118 GtC in the ocean, minus 140GtC in vegetation, soils and detritus and a spare 101GtC – the latter put into the land sector to balance the budget. But there cannot be in a century of burning, clearing and desertification – with the land use sector contributing 24% of greenhouse gases – a mysterious 101 GtC appearing there. If I did this with my taxes I’d be arrested.
        “The global carbon cycle for the 1990s, showing the main annual fluxes in GtC yr–1: pre-industrial ‘natural’ fluxes in black and ‘anthropogenic’ fluxes in red (modified from Sarmiento and Gruber, 2006, with changes in pool sizes from Sabine et al., 2004a). The net terrestrial loss of –39 GtC is inferred from cumulative fossil fuel emissions minus atmospheric increase minus ocean storage. The loss of -140 GtC from the ‘vegetation, soil and detritus’ compartment represents the cumulative emissions from land use change (Houghton, 2003), and requires a terrestrial biosphere sink of 101 GtC (in Sabine et al., given only as ranges of –140 to –80 GtC and 61 to 141 GtC, respectively; other uncertainties given in their Table 1). Net anthropogenic exchanges with the atmosphere are from Column 5 ‘AR4’ in Table 7.1. Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20% but fractional amounts have been retained to achieve overall balance when including estimates in fractions of GtC yr–1 for riverine transport, weathering, deep ocean burial, etc. ‘GPP’ is annual gross (terrestrial) primary production. Atmospheric carbon content and all cumulative fluxes since 1750 are as of end 1994” AR4 7.3

        The ocean component is fascinating. The efficiency of marine organisms in recycling nutrients – including calcium carbonate – in these nutrient deserts of the open oceans is amazing. Heterotrophs drift up and down sometimes hundreds of meters consuming autotrophs and detritus as it is sinks towards the abyss. As they die and dissolve the nutrient are scavenged by autotrophs. The oceans are supersaturated with calcite and aragonite in solution – this is incorporated in Coccolithophores in the open ocean. One of the two types of shell forming phytoplankton. Even acidification will not daunt these creatures as the shells sink and are dissolved back into calcite and aragonite. Ultimate carbon loss to the deeper oceans – the so-called biological pump – is put at 11GtC/yr. The solubility pump is an order of magnitude larger. It consists of mixing, overturning and upwelling of carbonic acid that is in equilibrium with the atmosphere at the surface.

        The vegetation, soils and detritus flux is more significant for changing atmospheric stores. This relies on a balance of respiration and primary production. At higher temperatures respiration increases exponentially and primary production less so. It results in a flux of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the reverse happens in colder times with carbon accumulating in the terrestrial stores.

        The fluctuation in carbon content of the atmosphere is missed in ice cores. But warming has caused measurable changes in soil carbon stores.


        This is a thermally induced enhancement of CO2 emissions from terrestrial systems due to a change in the respiration and primary production balance. This is in fact what Murray Salby is saying – regardless of what the blogosphere imagines he said. He puts it at 66% of carbon dioxide accumulation in the 20th century. Now you may claim it is an AGW feedback – albeit an unrecognized one – but we would have to disentangle forced from intrinsic climate change.

      • Javier wrote: I have a natural distrust for simple models about complex things.
        I write: I have a natural distrust for complex models that disagree with actual data.
        Occam said to look for the simple answers which do promote simple models that would work.

    • Ulric Lyons

      Atlantic Ocean CO2 uptake reduced by weakening of the meridional overturning circulation

  23. “Current models propose that the world would be cooling if it wasn’t for the human influence on climate (Meehl et al., 2004; figure 104).”

    That’s like proposing that the AMO would not turn warm from 1995, and is contrary to observations that AMO is normally warmer during periods of weaker solar activity.

    “However, the proposition that the world should be cooling absent an anthropogenic effect, contradicts our knowledge of Holocene climate cycles.”

    A virtual ‘Eddy’ solar cycle does not contradict the fact that solar has declined in recent decades.

  24. Javier, thank you for this excellent post.
    I have a remark about figure 111. Comparing the two scales I estimate that a doubling of CO2 results in a temperature change of 3.2 deg C.
    As the slope of the CO2 curve is about twice the slope of the linear temperature trend, the figure invites to argue that the direct response to doubling CO2 is about 1.6 deg C.

  25. “Arctic sea ice has displayed a similar behavior to glaciers, with a very pronounced reduction at the turn of the century (1996-2007), losing 30% of its summer extent in just a decade.”

    Declining solar wind strength causing an increase in negative NAO/AO conditions, driving an increase in warm humidity events into the Arctic, and the changes in atmospheric circulation driving a warm AMO phase. AMO and Arctic warming is normal during a solar minimum.

  26. A very good summary Judith. I only have a few reservations to this one point.

    “The cryosphere shows a non-cyclical retreat in glacier extent with evidence of acceleration (figure 107; Zemp et al., 2015). The reduction of the size of ice shelves is also unusual (figure 109). The evidence supports a cryosphere response to the CO2 increase.”

    As some have suggested soot is one alternate explanation but only a part of it. There is also dust from agriculture, roads, mining and other anthropogenic sources. That dust can travel long distances is evidenced by Saharan dust reaching North America.
    Then there is simple traffic such as road plowing, tracking by snow vehicles, or as one person has suggested, from ice-breakers which changes the inclination of sunlight striking the surface and exposes more surface to warmer waters. The effect is multiplied by the albedo changes as melting proceeds.
    Nor do I believe that glacial melt back is restricted to recent increasing CO2 levels. I remember visiting the Columbia icefields as a teenager and reading signs explaining glacial retreat that had been happening for an extended period. This would have been in the late fifties and before the large increases in industrialization and CO2 but after the major agricultural and population expansion on the North American plains.
    It is likely that melt-back is a poor term as glaciers are a dynamic system affected as much by winter precipitation as by summer warming. Glacial retreat is a better term that does not assume warming is the only factor involved.
    The fact that the cryosphere reduction is only significant in the North supports the contention that the cause may be anthropogenic factors other than CO2.

  27. “5) The last quarter (70 yr) of Modern Global Warming is characterized by extremely unusual and fast rising, very high CO2 levels, higher than at any time during the Late Pleistocene. This increase in CO2 is human caused.

    6) The increase in temperatures over the past 120 years shows no perceptible acceleration, and contrasts with the accelerating CO2 forcing.”

    How about this? I would call that a more than perceptible acceleration.
    On this scale 280 ppm would be -0.45 on the left axis.
    Not only that, but the value is about 2 degrees per doubling when converted to a logarithmic rate which is what would be expected. The CO2 forcing rate of change has tripled since 1950, and it shows in the temperature trend. Prior to 1950, CO2 and natural forcing rates of change were comparable at about 0.1 W/m2 per decade. Now it stands at 0.3 W/m2 per decade, far above anything natural.

    • One can always find a graph to his liking. The question is the data.
      Have temperature increase been linear for the past century up to now? The answer is yes. A linear trend adequately represents the overall rise. Have the Ln[CO₂] increase been linear since 1959? The answer is no.

      The quadratic increase of Ln[CO₂] is small but clear. And it is absent in temperature increase. It should also be there if most of the warming was due to the increase CO₂.

      • The graph shows that the temperature has been linear with CO2 which is even stronger than the expected log variation. Also the variation at 2 C per effective doubling is about that expected. No one is wondering why it hasn’t warmed enough for the CO2 change since 1950 except you. Two thirds of the CO2 forcing and two thirds of the warming have occurred since 1950. This is a significant increase in both rates over the pre-1950 rates.

      • But measurements do not show it’s a linear trend.
        They show it going up and down in a more step like fashion

      • It’s upward curving because the forcing at the end is both larger and changing at a much faster rate than at the beginning or at any time during the period. It can be seen that now is an exceptional time for both forcing and temperature trends.

      • Not it isn’t.
        Here the slope of the change of min and max temps for 60-80 N, where you claim it’s the absolute worst place in the world

      • And it’s N60 to N80, not a global anything.

      • How? These are from the only stations there. Satellites don’t have good coverage at the poles.

      • Your mean temperature rises twice as fast as CRUTEM4 land since 1980, yet can’t even distinguish El Nino years like 1998 like they can. What happened? Why is it warming so fast?

      • The arctic data shows the el Nino, and my global average shows the el Nino. As usual you don’t understand any of it, and then just make stuff up.
        What it doesn’t show is the effect of a constant forcing.

      • Your data has warmed more rapidly than CRUTEM4 since 1980. However, unless you reset the baseline whenever the stations in your average come and go, you are making a gross error in the averaging. The baseline does move if stations change. Most of your effect is likely that since you take no account of spatial distribution or trying to keep stations fixed like everyone else does. And, no, your 1998 “global” average does not appear to be warmer than the surrounding years. You must be doing some multi-year time averaging to get rid of it. El Nino years are very clear in all the other datasets.

      • No, I’m not doing multiyear averages. And I’ve published my code if you dint believe me.
        I so far deal with spatial averaging by making averages of the whole planet from 1×1 cells to 20×20 cells.
        But what it also shows is how poor the underlying data is, but since everyone looks at the finished data with impossible narrow error bars, you think it actually means something.

        Jim, I have been doing data analytics for 20 years, and my billable rate lists at $495/he.
        You have things made by ppl who have hired me for that work. Pretty much everyone reading this has.

        I wanted to see what the average of the measurement were. Not try to replicate the process of making up data, multiple groups did that.
        Just doesn’t make it physically meaningful.

      • Not correcting the baseline makes the time series worthless as being any sense of climate change. What you have is a plain average of stations. No skill needed. Sum up and divide to get the average. Rather simplistic.

      • Maybe, instead of assuming what I did and didn’t do, because I look at the data in multiple ways, with multiple spatial resolutions, and generate multiple reports on each area processed, and only show a tiny fraction of the data created, you could look at what I’ve written, and the code before you make assumptions.

      • Thanks, but no.

      • The most interesting thing about your plot was how it warmed by 4 F since 1980, but you are ignoring it for some reason. That’s more than twice the global average rate. Why does it do that? You have the data, so you should know.

      • Because dew points went up 4°F with the changing of the ocean cycle. You can see the marching rise in the sensitivity to insolation in the 20-30N lat that happened at the same time.
        It’s all in the stuff you won’t look at, or have and don’t understand.

      • It also happens over a year or so. That is not from a slow forcing starting in the 50s.

      • You didn’t believe in global warming being stronger more recently when I mentioned the upward curve to you earlier, but there it is, except even more so in your plots than in the real global data. The CO2 forcing rate is also stronger since 1980.

      • Not 4F, and I don’t believe global warming is stronger, it’s internal variability.

      • It’s also from a 10° or 15° lat band, not a global increase either.

      • So when the plot says all global stations, that was a mistake?

      • No, it just show that when averaged it was such a strong signal it was enough to raise the entire average significantly.

        That’s why I made more than one type of analysis over thousands of specific areas, global, hemispheric, lat band, and grids. Including slope, running averages, station records counts, and individual station averages.

      • Then show the average of all your global stations instead of some subset. Regional changes mean little when looking at global energy budgets. Here is CRUTEM4 global land stations since 1970 and converted to degrees F for comparison.

      • It is an average of all the stations on the planet in that dataset, that meet the minimum number if records per year, and it specified.
        Crutem4 adjusts the temps to normalize them. I do not. You can’t tell what the actual measurements are, when you normalize them, you get an average of normalized data, which you can do anything you want with.
        I wanted to see what the average of the measurement were.
        I also do a daily anomaly average so it only averages a stations change, so it is less dependent on whether a stations average is 50F, or 70F, but how much it changes from 50F or 70F instead.
        Different products, different purposes.
        The last average temperature chart, I go one step further, I convert each temp to the sb flux for that temp, then average them, and convert it back, as you can average the flux, as that conserves the energy difference between 50F and 70F when you average them, which the average of 60F for an answer does not, it’s more like ~61.x°F instead.

      • Then your warming since 1980 is twice the recognized global land average and several times the ocean average. Explain why that does not make it worse than we thought. What you have is not a real global average because you give a low weight to large areas that have fewer stations, and what you need is an areal average.

      • I give a weight of one to each measurement.
        And the other “global” averages are not global either, most of the planet isn’t measured. To they give weigh to something that isn’t there.
        Now, satellite has good coverage of the planet other that the actual poles. And
        I have good fidelity to the satellite data.
        Also the day to day change is also insensitive to poor coverage. As it is independent of base temp, as long as they are reasonably varied in location.
        But remember Mosh has stated more than once, he doesn’t even need but a few stations, but that’s because he isn’t calculating an average of measured temp, but of the theoretical temp at that location based on noncondensing GHG’s, lat, alt, and some adjustments due to proximity to water. The differences to that, they call weather and discard it.
        It’s not worse because min T is invariant to changes in co2 forcing, instead they correlate with dew point.

      • He doesn’t need a dense network because global warming is a smooth field that can be sampled with a sparse network. If the aim is only to get a trend you don’t need so many stations. You are weighing where the thermometers are more heavily, probably population centers, and almost ignoring sparse areas. That is not a global average surface temperature by any stretch, and the same issue will occur for trends when most of your thermometers are in urban areas.

      • The same way I don’t either when I look at day to day change.

      • At one position, yes. You only need one station for your purposes, and then you assume the world is the same. Fine. That’s your way of doing things.

      • At one position, yes. You only need one station for your purposes, and then you assume the world is the same. Fine. That’s your way of doing things

        Did you fall on your head as a child?
        I include thousands of stations, all that meet the data requirements I specify. But I do both yearly averages, and averages of the day 2 day change, and if the area has a thousand stations, that’s how many I average for that day(or year).
        My point is for the day 2 day change, it’s no different than Mosh saying he can generate a global average from 1 station. Depending on the quality I set, there’s anywhere between 75 and 90 million station records.
        When I do a 1×1 degree box, some places have a dozen or so per block, some 1, some none.
        You could actually go look, but you refuse.

      • I have seen you base your whole theory on what happens over one night at one station. When you use all your stations you only confirm the rapid warming rate since 1980, but have so far failed to explain this most obvious result, or why it is almost twice as fast as the CRUTEM4 land warming that itself is twice the global land/ocean average. These are the questions.

      • No, you see minute data from opposite sides of the world with a common function, a paper that was peer reviewed asking how to explain the same curve. An explanation that is based on all if this, and the extrapolation of how that effect would be represented in global measurements.
        When you design and simulate an amplifier, you don’t simulate the same input data over and over, and then average it to see if it worked right, most circuits like that you simulate a couple of input cycles. I confirm this effect with 74 million records, I said Min T follows dew point, it does over 75 million records at 97% correlation.
        And I’ve already explained mire than once why the temp went up, and a step function is not a slow bias. They are not the same, they do not look the same, and a slow bias does not look like a step. Steps look like steps. Slow bias looks like in this case a 50 year long ramp, and it isn’t anywhere close to a 59 year ramp.
        The step is from internal variability, just as el ninos are internal variability.

      • …which is where you are wrong, but I am not getting into that again. You could have said urban heat islands too because your stations may be dominated by cities, but you are not going to examine that possibility.

      • Ask Steve about that.
        Besides you keep ignoring the step down from the 50’s and 60’s

      • It’s what happens when you don’t use the same stations from one decade to the next. That’s no way to look at climate change.

      • The stations, if I’m not using them no longer exist. Maybe you stop picking your “facts” from your backside, and get the measurements and see what’s really there, like I did.

      • Exactly, if you are doing climate records, you use long-term stations like GHCN. That’s rule number one. Otherwise you end up with the junky trends that you keep demonstrating.

      • I’m using the entire data set from the Air Force, and I’m pretty sure it included GHCN in it. As it has the same stations list that CRU uses.
        And as I told you, I build a complete station station list. And isn’t GHCN only in the US? How does that show global temps.
        And the temp signal matches the satellite data pretty well, so as usual you have no idea what you’re talking about.
        You’re just not use to seeing what the actual measurements taken are.

      • The G in GHCN means global. They are vetted and long term. Diluting them with ever changing stations defeats the purpose of that dataset.

      • I use the same stations CRU uses, are they too?

      • They do an areal average step to lat/long boxes to then get a correctly weighted global value, and you don’t. It matters.

      • And yet it still is a good match to the satellites. And theirs doesn’t.

      • Do the satellites show 3-4 F of warming since 1980 like yours? I think not. But they do show El Nino years very distinctly which yours decidedly does not.

      • That is different view of the same data

        This one matches sat data

      • Also GISTEMP is based on station and ocean data, not satellites.

      • That they infill for areas that have never been measured with data they make up.

      • There are stations. Check BEST in the middle of Siberia, for example.

      • So what? How many stations, and how far back, and how many records a year are there in central and northern Africa?
        Btw, how far away is the nearest station to the one in Siberia? I can tell you there as much as 5F difference between stations 30 miles apart here.

      • When you are looking at multi-decadal trends, there is not a 5 F difference in a short distance. Imagine if there was. Climate changes all at once with a smooth spatial pattern. Sampling works well over long distances for that reason.

      • temperature has been linear with CO2

        Absurd, you can foul the eye, but you can’t foul the data. CO₂ rate of increase has been exponential.

        No one is wondering why it hasn’t warmed enough for the CO2 change since 1950 except you.

        Patently false. Lots of people are wondering why temperatures don’t increase as much as models project, once they stop introducing adjustments.

      • You can calculate that the rate for the past 70 years is consistent with 2 C per doubling. Only you try to make it a surprise. This is an observation-based estimate. Models may warm more in some periods and less in others. For example in the 15 years prior to 1998, the models warmed much too slowly, but you don’t hear about that. Over the last 30-70 years the model warming has been about right on the total warming because 2 C per doubling is right in the middle of the AGW ballpark.

      • the rate for the past 70 years is consistent with 2 C per doubling.

        Assuming only artificial warming. Huge assumption.

        For example in the 15 years prior to 1998, the models warmed much too slowly, but you don’t hear about that.

        Because whatever models were available in 1983 were a joke. All models currently working have been adjusted to past observations. What you fail to understand is that models use current hypothesis to provide evidence for current hypothesis.

        Do you know what is the difference between current HadCRUT4 temperature anomaly and CMIP5-RCP4.5 model average for now? 0.2 °C and growing. That’s only after 11 years of being initialized. 2 °C/century of excessive warming is about right for you.

      • No, I mean the current models that ran from pre-industrial times underestimated the warming in the 15 years prior to 1998, but they got the mean warming rate since 1950 right because they caught up after 1998.
        Again, the warming rate is consistent with what was expected, especially with the well measured period since 1950, when the temperature rate of change did accelerate, unlike your claim that it did not, as my plot showed clearly.

      • What models say about the past means very little, since models are adjusted to reproduce the past with all sort of parameters. Models are just tools. They can’t give any answer that wasn’t programmed into them before. Your faith in models is touching.

      • I usually go with observations that support AGW. The models would be a bonus, and don’t figure into my thinking as much as the observed warming and existing observed imbalance that by themselves show that the warming has not yet caught up to all the forcing. I only talk about models when the skeptics raise the issue first, because that is not the way I would argue the AGW case.

      • It is usually the case that scientists agree on the evidence but disagree on the interpretation. That is why it is very important to stick to the evidence and not fall in love with the hypothesis as it has happened with the CO₂ hypothesis and AGW. When that happens is when science loses its way.

      • I am just saying that the warming is no less or no more than expected from 2 C per doubling, so the observations support the standard theory about as strongly as they possibly can over the past 70 years of warming.

      • No. The observation does not support the standard hypothesis because we don’t know the percentage of natural warming.

        You get 2 C per doubling if natural warming is 0 %, but if natural warming is 30 % you get 1.4 C per doubling, and if natural warming is 60 % then you get only 0.7 C per doubling. How can that support any hypothesis?

      • The piece of information you ignore is that the imbalance is still positive even after all this warming. The forcing is leading the warming, and easily the largest changing forcing agent is the growing GHGs. The imbalance is an expected consequence of a rapid forcing change, and 0.3 W/m2 per decade from CO2 alone is a rapid forcing change by any measure. All nature is doing is creating a lag of the surface warming behind the forcing which the ocean does because it can sequester some heat away from the surface.

      • You lose perspective. Most of this warming has undone the previous LIA cooling. The biology is showing a very subdued response and species aren’t changing their ranges much. This is because the warming is essentially an increase in minimum temperatures.

        The problem with all that forcing increase is that the decadal rate of warming has not increased. Figure 112 shows that decades of intense warming show peak rates of 0.2-0.4 °C/decade now exactly as they did in the 19th century. All that forcing increase is unable to increase peak rate of warming. Not impressive. I don’t believe in lagged warming in the pipeline. There is simply no evidence of that.

        And the ocean is not sequestering anything. What a Goebbelsian language. The ocean is trying to equilibrate with the temperature change, and it will not reverse this process until substantial surface cooling forces it to do it.

      • You have decided not to believe that the surface temperatures are lagging the forcing even though it is shown by the fact that the imbalance is positive, The imbalance is an observationally derived quantity like the warming itself. The warming too is on top of anything that has happened in the measured record and, as I keep having to tell you, is occurring at the expected rate. Given that the forcing rate is 0.3 W/m2 per decade, a warming rate of 0.2 C per decade matches up with AGW, yet the skeptics remain determinedly mystified by the warming’s source. If nature is having any effect, it is keeping us cooler than the energy balance equilibrium, and playing a resisting role to the warming

      • It is very simple Jim. If there was a huge load of warming in the pipeline, prolonged pause periods would become incredibly unlikely. The evidence says no significant warming in the pipeline. You can do all the maths you want, you still can’t beat the evidence.

      • The evidence is the continued rise decade on decade of the OHC. This is the imbalance playing out. The ocean does not do that on its own. It needs an energy supply, a forcing supply, and the only one large enough to supply this energy is the rising GHGs. It’s simply the physics of energy conservation.

      • That is not evidence of what you say. The world has been warming for 300 years and the surface has warmed more than the ocean. You need to look no further for the reason for OHC increase. Under those circumstances the ocean would warm with and without increase in CO₂.

      • The land has been warming twice as fast as the ocean for the last 30-40 years in response to the increased forcing. The land and ocean both show a major response especially since 1980 when the forcing change rate has been the strongest. You may be surprised that these timings correspond, but the scientists are not. This shows 30-year temperature trends for the land and ocean. It is patently absurd to say nothing unusual is going on.

      • The land has been warming twice as fast as the ocean for the last 30-40 years

        Not for the last 30-40 years, for the last 300 years. The land always warms and cools faster because of the huge thermal inertia of the ocean. Nothing surprising with that.

      • The land is warming faster in response to a large recent change rate in external forcing, which is the point I was making. This change rate has tripled in the last 60 years and it shows.

      • No. It doesn’t show it. There is a 60 year oscillation in the surface temperature data, but the temperature increase for the past 70 years can be adequately represented by a linear increase, and Phil Jones is on record saying that the 1910-1940 warming and the 1975-1998 warming are not statistically significantly different.

        You are just seeing what you want to see. That is called faith.

      • You don’t think it is exceptional which is a form of denial. Not only is it happening, but the exceptional temperatures are also quantitatively explained by the exceptional CO2 levels we have now, and on top of that, the energy imbalance is still positive so the earth is still trying to catch up to the forcing change. You just dismiss this all outright, no ifs, buts or maybes or even any reasoning. It’s interesting to see.

      • That is not true. I see the cryosphere retreat (except Antarctica) as exceptional, because there is evidence for that. I don’t see the warming as exceptional because there is no evidence for that. I do see the warming, but where is the evidence that it is exceptional? Lots of people see exceptionality everywhere. As a skeptic I need solid evidence for everything, and solid evidence that the warming is exceptional is lacking. If you want to be convinced by insufficient evidence that is up to you, but cease insulting those that don’t.

        You are very fond of narratives like this: “the exceptional temperatures are also quantitatively explained by the exceptional CO2 levels we have now, and on top of that, the energy imbalance is still positive so the earth is still trying to catch up to the forcing change.” That means absolutely nothing to me. Science is not about finding a convincing narrative, but about finding hard evidence to support facts. Warming, yes. Exceptional, remains to be demonstrated.

      • There are other aspects that relate this to paleoclimate. For example, higher CO2 levels have always corresponded to warmer periods in the last billion years. Paleoclimate experts explain this by changing GHG levels from geological processes. Also, we should now be in a phase of the precession cycle that favors the growth of Arctic ice, yet that is melting significantly, especially lately. These paleoclimate aspects should give you pause too, but they don’t seem to faze you. So, yes, it is more than the observations showing the GHG forcing leading the warming today, but this consistency over paleoclimate too. You have trouble explaining many things when you dismiss the effect of GHGs, let alone the basic physics that predicts it.

      • No Jim, I think deeply about paleoclimatic aspects, more deeply that most people in this debate, probably including you, as my series of articles demonstrates. The support for the CO₂ hypothesis from paleoclimatic data is very weak, so weak that it would not resist cross-examination by an attorney in front of a jury. It is all circumstantial, and it is not possible to determine cause and effect. The reality is that temperatures are very tightly regulated on Earth over the past 600 million years, alternating between hothouse and icehouse conditions by oscillating in a quasiperiodic mode by no more than ±10-20 °C, i.e. by a factor of 2-4. Meanwhile CO₂ changes are not regulated at all and have changed between 6500 ppm and 180 ppm, i.e. by a factor of 35. And you and others want the tightly regulated parameter to depend on the highly variable parameter. Sorry, it is not credible. To make CO₂ change due to temperature changes, in addition to the huge CO₂ paleosources and sinks poses no problem at all. The opposite is a big problem. I am very aware of basic physics and logic, the consensus scientists, however, appear to be living in a dream.

      • Without any concept of the effect of GHGs, you must be completely mystified as to what distinguishes icehouse and hothouse paleoclimates, and also believe that GHG levels are only coincidental with these episodes and not causative. It beggars belief, and I don’t think you can seriously hold such a dismissive position given all that has been written on the subject in so many scientific journals and also popular science books and textbooks by people who devote their lives to these subjects.

      • As a scientist, I am very used to scientists being wrong. I see it everyday. The evidence is the only judge. Belief is a word that I have eliminated from my vocabulary. Facts are or are not, and there is sufficient or insufficient evidence. There is no room for beliefs in science. And I have also studied history of science, so I know science always gets it wrong before getting it right. And unless we exercise our skepticism and demand solid evidence, there is no way we can tell if it is getting it wrong this time.

        GHG levels are not coincidental. They depend on temperature.

      • Passively, GHGs vary by 10-15% per degree while paleo levels have varied actively due to emission and weathering processes by factors of several, that is clearly not just a temperature response or outgassing. If you use outgassing to explain GHG changes, you would be off by a large factor. It is volcanoes and weathering, and now emissions that are the primary factors for their large changes. We are doing the equivalent of those geological processes sped up 100,000 times, and similarly affecting the climate.
        This is a common problem for the CO2 skeptics. They have to back away from a lot of other long established science to make their logic work, so they have to pretend to understand less than they thought they did before, and now paleoclimate like recent climate becomes a series of unexplainable epicycles to them. It’s a retreat from knowledge.

      • The total amount of carbon in accessible fossil fuels is just a very small part of the amount produced by huge volcanic traps over many millions of years in the past.

        It is not a retreat from knowledge is a backing off from an unsupported hypothesis. And that is an important advance.

      • There is enough accessible fossil fuels to add several hundred ppm to our current level, and in a very short time geologically. This puts us at levels comparable with iceless hothouse climates last seen 50 million years ago.
        Nowhere in the history of scientific theory is something that explains so much replaced by nothing in particular.

      • several hundred ppm

        Is another 3 or 5W/m^2, a fraction of the 30 or 40W/m^2 That water vapor regulates.
        It’s not going to do much at all.

      • Those levels are like an increase of solar activity by 1%. Most would agree that is rather large.

      • Yeah, it is. How much does the troposphere height drop at night? At the surface that equates to about 9kJ/m^3, a 1,000 feet? 300m ×9kJ=2,700,000J per meter just there, and most of the water vapor is left in it.
        But look at where the fast slope intersects the rise from sunrise, and see how cold it would have been just on the noncondensing GHG’s.

      • And remember most is stored in the tropics, and blown poleward to cool.

      • All the pieces fit, except what’s being sold by the consensus. Tropics, deserts, El Ninos, satellite data, arctic warming (Not the tipping point nonsense). And the measurements, both global and ones you can do yourself.

      • Our emissions from fossil fuels are stabilizing and likely to decrease in the near future. Peak Coal was in 2013 and Peak Oil is not too far away. CO₂ levels might stabilize around 500 ppm.

        If a scientific hypothesis is wrong it doesn’t matter that there is no replacement. It gets rejected the same. Spontaneous generation was rejected without a replacement good alternative simply because it didn’t fit the evidence.

      • This scientific theory explain things that have happened, not just recently but back through paleoclimate. They don’t get rejected unless and until a better explanation of the same observations comes along. Plus there is a physics foundation in radiative transfer to it that would make its roots rather deep ones to pull out. For example, the same science explains why the surface temperature is 288 K instead of 255 K, and few have shown skepticism of that part yet, but that is what it would take as part of this regression of understanding that is being proposed.

      • CO₂ greenhouse effect is critical, but the amount required for that is very small. Once the global average temperature is above freezing, water takes over and regulates the planet temperature. The physics won’t be contradicted by kicking the CO₂-hypothesis.

        As I have explained to you, there are numerous instances in science history when long-held beliefs were kicked because they didn’t match the evidence before any new hypothesis had solid foundation. Is that your last best hope, that your religion will continue because there is no clear alternative?

      • Science has explanations, and it only gets trumped by better explanations. You don’t want to abandon the physics that explains how large the 3.7 W/m2 forcing change from doubling CO2 is, and that we have already had 2 W/m2 today. Maybe you even accept that this is the largest component of the forcing change in the last few centuries, and from there you accept that the ongoing observed positive imbalance means that the warming still trails this forcing change, but it seems somewhere along that line of reasoning from physics and observations you have already diverged because you don’t get to the logical conclusion of warming in the pipeline.

      • I discovered very long ago that logic is philosophy and has nothing to do with science. Whether logical or not, things are the way they are. If there was significant warming in the pipeline, pause periods would become so unlikely that we would not observe them. There is no way around that.

      • During the pause, the ocean heat content was still rising. Global warming has two components, total heat content and surface temperature. Only one paused, the other continued. Looking at surface temperatures alone is a mistake especially in periods that are affected by solar variations and other short-term ocean fluctuations. I look at the 30-year mean temperature’s trend and that did not pause even a little.
        You may wonder why until you realize that the 15-year pause was preceded by a 15-year rapid warming. Fifteen year trends are all over the place, but the 30-year one is steady. I think it is because 15-year trends severely alias the 11-year solar variations into them.

      • Ocean warming lags surface warming due to thermal inertia and limited exchange. Therefore it has to catch up, pause or not pause. Recently Bereiter et al., 2018 estimated ocean warming at 0.1 °C in the last 50 years. That is several times less than surface warming. It says nothing about the surface pause.

      • The sign of the heat content trend is the sign of the imbalance. That it has to catch up with anything at all is because the forcing change has outstripped its response rate, while the land surface can keep up better. Yes, the ocean is slow to keep up because of its thermal inertia, and that means there is warming in the pipeline because the ocean has not caught up yet, and that does mean the attribution of warming to forcing is > 100% because more is in the pipeline. You don’t like logic, but there it is anyway.

      • No. You don’t understand. There is no warming in the pipeline from the ocean, because the ocean has warmed less than the surface. As long as the situation persists the ocean will gain heat. It will not cede heat, so it cannot warm the surface. For that to happen the surface has to cool more than the ocean, and if that happens we will no longer be worried about global warming. We will be worried about global cooling.

      • The land is not warming spontaneously. It is responding to the same forcing as the ocean, only at twice the rate. The temperatures are diverging and the ocean has more and more catching up to do with each decade.

      • It doesn’t matter. The ocean is patient. It is used to a lot of catching up during glaciations and deglaciations.

      • We live on the land, and this is currently warming at 0.3 C per decade in response to the forcing change, and that continues as long as that remains unabated. The Arctic is warming even faster aided by the albedo feedback with consequences for sea level.

      • So now we have to be scared because you cut the surface in pieces and decide which part to consider? Frankly you are very inconsistent jumping from ocean warming to land surface warming. You know it is not such a big deal. The world warms and cools and now it is warming time. You believe it is all CO₂’s fault, I don’t. You have no reason to believe that it is all due to CO₂, while I have reason to believe it is only partly due to CO₂, because the world was already warming before CO₂, and because warming takes place on a 1000-year schedule, as I have shown you.

      • I have said that the forcing is leading the warming, and that the forcing is almost entirely GHGs. The surface temperature is below the current equilibrium value (a positive imbalance) given all this forcing. If we want to stabilize climate change, we have to first stabilize the forcing trend. You have decided you don’t even believe that the observationally based positive imbalance can be true. This is a throwback to the people who didn’t believe the warming could be true. Once you get past that obstacle of your own making, you can see that the warming is forced, and more is due even if we stop emissions now. The attribution is therefore > 100%, not a fraction. You are not the only skeptic to completely miss the logical consequence of the positive imbalance.

      • Ah, but you are assuming lots of things there. You are assuming a large net positive feedback, and you are assuming no natural warming. Those assumptions are unwarranted and have a catastrophic effect on the thesis. The CO₂ hypothesis has already failed, as no acceleration is observed in warming or sea level rise. 70 years is plenty of time for the evidence to manifest, and it hasn’t. The huge increase in CO₂ shows little effect.

      • None of those assumptions, just observations show all that. You are back to the wrong things you wrote in the first place, No significant acceleration? Really? What more do you need?

      • Well, for a start I don’t believe temperatures prior to 1900. Of course prior to 1950 emissions were very low, so any acceleration then cannot be blamed on emissions. Then we have the issue that since 1950 temperature increase does not deviate from a linear trend enough to defend that warming is accelerating. In fact, the pause is pretty strong evidence that there is no acceleration.

      • Even a linear upward trend since 1980 would not be natural, especially as it is still going strong today. The forcing has also been growing quite linearly at 0.3 W/m2 per decade in the same period, also not relenting, so no surprise that the temperature is responding rather strongly and hitting new records decade upon decade. We’ve been through all this. You can look at a graph like I presented and say no acceleration. Fine. I just point that out. You don’t have to defend yourself.

      • Even a linear upward trend since 1980 would not be natural

        Why not? The world has been warming naturally since ~ 1715. Why is it now not natural?

        You use adjectives that are subjective, like strong warming. The warming rate has not increased significantly, and the increase in temperature in the past 14 years (2003-2017) has been 0.17 °C, which is 0.12 °C/decade, which is exactly the same rate as 1950-2017.

        The hypothesis you follow predicted 0.3 °C/decade in the 1990’s for the 21st century, based on the forcing you talk about. You are the one that is missing warming, and compared to expectations the warming is weak, not strong.

      • The 30-year temperature has had a trend of 0.19 C per decade since 1980, more than twice the 20th century average trend. Being already past 1 C, this puts us on track for well over 2 C by 2100, and that is just the transient rate, with equilibrium being somewhat larger, so this is consistent with various scenarios that require some action. Putting it in the CO2 perspective, a 2 C target requires us to keep that below 450 ppm, which can still be achieved with modestly decreasing emission rates, but that CO2 level still threatens Greenland and sea levels. Bottom line, this is not anywhere near a stable climate.

      • The 30-year temperature has had a trend of 0.19 C per decade since 1980, more than twice the 20th century average trend.

        You cherry pick the start, and ignore the cooling period prior, and ignore that part of the change is internal variability, according to consensus.
        BTW, what I’ve proven, is that there is a negative feedback.

      • Oddly, the other skeptic on this conversation says I have not demonstrated an acceleration, and you complain that it is. When you look at the trend over the century you see ups and downs of about 0.2 C superimposed on a general upward rise of about 1 C. Since 1950, the CO2 forcing rate of change has tripled from 0.1 W/m2 per decade to a dominant 0.3 W/m2 per decade. This brings its signal out of the noise rather clearly, so that is what you are looking at there.

      • Except to slow cooling based on dew point temp, there’s 30W/m^2 or 40 W/m^2 of temperature controlled positive feedback late at night from Water Vapor, all it does, is reduce it’s positive feedback by your 0,3W/m^2.

        Now I just know your head is going to explode because I mention both positive and negative feedback, but that’s the way it works.
        Sorry that is beyond your ability to comprehend. But that doesn’t make anything you’re saying right.

      • Now you are saying stuff of your own invention that I have no time for.

      • I told you your head would explode, but just because you do not understand circuits with multiple feedbacks, doesn’t mean I don’t.

      • I think you have issues with how an energy balance works.

      • Right, sure, though I was familiar when I passed my FCC license in 1976, and every year since. While it’s obvious you haven’t a clue.

      • Nothing you have said so far relates to the global energy balance at all, except to deny the sign of certain measurements.

      • It relates to actually understanding energy balances, feedback, and how to tell them apart. Which you can’t do.

      • I know when you haven’t even used the concept except to complain about it.

      • I know when you haven’t even used the concept except to complain about it.

        Because it’s irrelevant to my point, and it’s not accurate enough to tell you what you claim. I know that because I actually know what kind of measurement that requires, and it doesn’t exist, it’s modeled, and the models are wrong.

        But you’ve never done even lab work that required taking actual measurement, let alone accurate, precise measurements have you?

      • It’s irrelevant to your point because you’re so far off track with your argument. The measurements come with error bars, and the sign of the imbalance dashes your hopes, but you can’t wish its existence away, and the sooner you face it, the sooner you will make progress.

      • It’s irrelevant to your point because you’re so far off track with your argument. The measurements come with error bars,

        And they are fabricated, the balance was adjusted based on the modeled expectation for the balance. It is junk.

        And again, you can’t even understand multiple competing feedback, you’re clueless. you have no technical skills you can apply, you just read stuff you really do not understand, and then became a climate warrior, but you’re not, you’re a useful tool to be exploited.

        My background.
        Was licensed to operate broadcast systems in 1976 at 17 by the FCC.
        First person in the world to make a lcd display on 5v transistors (1980). Design and failure analysis of cmos and bipolar semiconductors. 15 years as a multi-simulator SME (logic, timing, transmission lines, IC design analysis, Analog same as GCM’s, ie differential eq solvers), designed the highest speed custom circuit at that time for NASA Goddard(1986). Assisted the teams working on Hubble and Shuttle design teams. Analysis of microwave stripline attenuators and switches based on pin diodes. Military Aerospace Component engineering, Worse case analysis, and Reliability) Assisted the guy who made the first direct TV receiver, was the first person in the world to see it get rained out day 2 after the first one was built. Assisted Bell Labs with their HDTV reference system. Assisted the FDA, NSA, NRL, John Hopkins Lab, NASA, Chrysler, Ford with IC and/or electronic design tools. Assisted the guy who invented Surface Acoustic wave filters at the NRL.
        Provided database services, and data analysis for the biggest companies in the world, most of the brands in the networking aisle at best buys, Dell, Apple, Gateway, JDSU, Cary Research, Mitel, New Process, Arris, Motorola, Zebra, Symbol, NOAA. Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
        Then for a hobby I’ve spent the last 20 years doing astrophotography of deepspace objects.

        You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about, on the other hand, I’ve worked in related fields of the science involved for 40 years, and I do.

      • Oops, Cray Research, saw 1/4 of Redstorm, about the size of a basketball court.

      • Your CV makes it all the more remarkable that you can’t follow the basic science when it comes to the effect of GHGs. You don’t trust measurements, and all your problems start and end there. If you trusted the measurements, you would see that the forcing change is still leading the warming change, which has implications for the attribution of warming to GHG changes. If you have any interest in planetary atmospheres you would know how important GHGs are to our surface temperature. What happens when you try to explain the 33 C effect? At what stage of the explanation does it become a mystery to you? This is all explained by standard radiative transfer and known properties of gases.

      • Half that 33° is from condensing water vapor or there about, that puts it back about where it’s suppose to be. And once more, the measurements are the measurements, but that is not what has been published. And the balance artifact, is from models, the model is wrong the published series are wrong, and the imbalance is anyone’s guess.
        I can follow advanced science. That’s the point!

      • Yes, some part of it is because clouds have a greenhouse effect, and the rest is from the gases in clear skies. Having established that your view on that part is mainstream physics, do you dispute that doubling CO2 enhanced by the H2O feedback due to warming, leads to 2-4 C of warming? If not, why not?

      • I’ve explained to you 20 times at least.

      • Thanks. Pardon me while I look for it.

      • It’s funny that you get I can’t follow simple measurements out of that because it goes against all of your assumptions, but you can’t follow my more complex multiple competing feedbacks.

      • I give you global accepted measurements and you have mostly denied them for no particular reason other than you don’t like the result.

      • Because they are poorly sampled, processed, and analyzed. Something I’ve been employed to do for 40 years, I just can verify my work, they can’t.

      • Who’s “they”. NASA? BEST? CRU? Their results agree with each other, and show El Nino years very clearly. Satellites kind of agree to within their ever-changing calibration error bars, but the latest versions agree more, and they also show El Nino years in contrast to your effort.

      • They all do the same thing don’t they. And I show El Ninos. Remember I do more that temp.

      • You must have got something wrong. You should be able to distinguish an El Nino year from one that isn’t. Even satellites can do that much completely independently.

      • And I do.

      • The amplitude should be a few tenths of a degree with clearly visible peaks. Even satellites show it.

      • You are picking a particularly high warming period due to the 60-year oscillation. From 1950-2017, the period when 90 % of the emissions took place, the warming is again 0.12 °C/decade.

        All those sensitivity studies are going to turn out wrong due to their assumptions being incorrect. Atmospheric levels will stabilize below 550 ppm, and temperatures won’t reach +2 °C. Alarmists have been consistently wrong and that is one of the few things you can rely on in climate science.

      • If you average over a 60-year oscillation you cancel it out. The amount we are warmer than 60 years ago is real, and it is a lot. Same if you take 100 years since the solar strength was this low. Cancel what you like out, and you don’t get rid of the warming. Nor that for all this warming, we are still lagging the forced change by about 0.5 W/m2, the imbalance.

      • Warming has taken place, and sea ice has melted, yet the average person hasn’t noticed anything and wouldn’t know global warming has been taking place if they weren’t told. So it is not a lot.

        The scientists that fill the grey areas of what we don’t know with worse case assumptions and depict catastrophic scenarios are more rewarded and that drives an unfounded alarmism that then drips into some people like you clearly unable to exert a healthy dose of skepticism. Then reality comes and it is not quite like it was depicted by the alarmists.

        J. Scott Armstrong has been researching forecasting for decades, mainly in business and economics. He is one of three authors that set the golden rule of forecasting. In 2007 listening to Gore stupid forecasts breaking every rule of forecasting, he challenged the IPCC claim of 0.3 °C/decade with a no change forecast for the next 10 years. And in 2017 he won. The accumulated error of his no-change forecast was smaller, because the warming was less than half what the IPCC forecasted.

        He has warned that research on forecasting has shown that experts’ predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainty and complexity. They tend to be extremists instead of conservatives, and tend to trust too much their opinions.

        Time will show you wrong. It has already showed you wrong on your alarmism. For 2017-2025 we are going to see very little warming, if any. So far February 2016-February 2018 has only seen cooling, and that is likely to continue.

      • As I have said, paleoclimate tells us a lot of what we need to know, like at what CO2 levels iceless conditions prevail in the Arctic and Antarctic. We are in control of CO2 levels that can reach values not seen since the Antarctic froze over. Nor is it a mystery how CO2 levels quantitatively lead to those types of climate, much as you want it to be. Paleoclimate is a science that you can’t tear down by appeals to ignorance. Respect what has been learned.

      • Paleoclimatology has been reinterpreted under the unproven CO₂-hypothesis. The alternative interpretation is that we know what CO₂ levels prevail under warm and cold conditions. We know temperature acts over sinks and sources of CO₂ setting their equilibrium. It is the type of climate that leads to the CO₂ levels. And this, again, is very easy to see. Temperature is tightly regulated in a ±10 °C range, while CO₂ is unregulated and can change by 35 times between 6500-180 ppm. And you want the tightly regulated parameter (temperature) to depend on the unregulated parameter (CO₂). I don’t think so.

      • What is also known in paleoclimate is that geological processes control CO2 levels on 100 million year time scales. Some processes increase the surface carbon and some decrease it. Also the sun brightens about 1% per 100 million years which reduces the effect of larger CO2 levels in the distant past. The net solar+CO2 forcing has not changed more than is consistent with 10 C variations. Note also that 10 C only causes about a factor of 3 change in CO2, so most of that large factor you cite is geological, and that is the driver of climate changes via GHG levels.

      • Yes, geological processes are very important in CO₂ levels, but not so much on climate. Temperatures have a ~ 150 million-year periodicity with ice ages or cool periods now, 150, 300 and 450 million years ago. Geology lacks that periodicity and therefore cannot be responsible, nor CO₂.

        The faint young Sun paradox has not been solved. It is clear that CO₂ is required for the solution, but different atmospheres and processes have been proposed, and none enjoys clear acceptance. Rosing et al., 2010 proposed that a lower albedo by the early Earth reduces the requirement for higher CO₂ levels to solve the paradox.

      • When you add in that sun-like stars do strengthen by 1% per 100 million years as part of their stellar evolution, there is no problem with higher CO2 levels in the past. Plus there are geological cycles. The continents come together and separate with a period around 400 million years. CO2 is removed during mountain building periods like the last 50 million years when the Himalayas were forming. CO2 is added during more volcanic periods like the Permian-Triassic transition. Geology leads to very large changes in CO2 which corresponds to very large temperature changes. For example,

      • Never heard about a 400 million-year geological cycle. I wonder what the evidence is for that.

        Anyway if you are down to arguments about things we don’t quite understand in the distant past, it is clear that you are running out of arguments.

      • I am pointing out that there are known geological processes in paleoclimate that also give GHGs as an explanation for the widely differing climates from icehouse to hothouse. You dismiss all that too. I think you do that by working backwards from a result you don’t like about the current climate trend and seeing what else you must therefore not believe in to be consistent.

      • You dismiss all that too. I think you do that by working backwards from a result you don’t like about the current climate trend and seeing what else you must therefore not believe in to be consistent.

        Actually that’s what the CO₂-hypothesis supporters have been doing. Go back in time and explain everything in terms of CO₂, mass-extinctions, PETM, ice ages… All that the data shows is correlation, not causality. And as I explained to you, science is not about believing, but about demonstrating. The high CO₂ levels of the distant past mean that the Late Ordovician ice age, known for the Saharan glaciation must have taken place with CO₂ levels that are inconsistent with the CO₂-hypothesis. So the trip to the past is frail with danger for the CO₂-hypothesis as well.

      • You can take the last 100 million years with less uncertainty about other effects. This demonstrates the variation between hothouse and icehouse as CO2 levels dropped by several hundred ppm. You may still be in search for other explanations, but you won’t find any, as paleoclimate people already understand it in terms of the greenhouse effect. You’re going to attribute a political motive to those people too, I guess, but you need to look at their journal papers and textbooks first rather than just disliking their results.

      • No, no. Not political motivation. I know scientists well and only a minority are politically motivated or activists. But that doesn’t mean that scientists cannot be wrong. It wasn’t political motivation what made nearly all doctors believe that ulcers were caused by stress. After all having an ulcer is a cause for stress. It was simply the prevailing idea at the time, as CO₂ is the prevailing idea now. Based both cases in a huge amount of circumstantial evidence, and high distrust to anybody trying to change the paradigm.

        I’ve read the papers and books and it is all a house of cards. Built on the central idea that since we have observed warming at a time of increasing CO₂, and in this last case the increase of CO₂ cannot be due to the increase in temperature, then every change in temperature must be due to changes in CO₂. But the paloevidence is against that central idea. We know that for 5500 of the past 6000 years, CO₂ levels were increasing and temperatures decreasing. We know that the glacial cycle, the biggest climate change of the past several million years is not due to CO₂. When we go to more distant past we are just projecting our bias taking advantage of our lack of knowledge to fill the blanks.

        It is not a coincidence that we are observing warming at a time of great CO₂ emissions, but not for the reasons usually accepted. Warming periods are good to human societies. Periods of increased civilization and increased knowledge. Periods of cooling are periods of stress to human societies. If we had burned the fossil fuels at a time of cooling we would not have embraced the CO₂-hypothesis, as CO₂ cannot turn a cooling period into a warming one.

        Resistance to the CO₂-hypothesis is quite common. You can read it in many articles, sometimes between lines, not clearly expressed in a way that could be used by a skeptic, as being labelled as a skeptic carries a stiff penalization. If the next decade sees very little or no warming, as I expect, it is quite likely that we will see scientists openly divided on the CO₂-hypothesis. Then science will begin to advance again, as science cannot advance without disagreements.

      • Yes, it is not politically motivated, but it is a well supported consensus. To think that hundreds of ppm of CO2 have little effect on temperature is counter to expectations from the same basic physics that explains the current temperature, a view that is also supported by data, both paleo and now. The current energy balance, surface temperature, and contribution of GHGs to them are well quantified at a rather fundamental level of physics and observations. It’s a lot harder to undo that knowledge than you seem to think because all the numbers are known and understood. This is why general circulation models can replicate earth’s current climate, which relies on the physics of GHGs to work at all. Lacis has a really good paper about what happens when you remove just the CO2 from a GCM.,%202010,%20Science.pdf

      • , just observations show all that

        The problem Jim, is you’re not looking at the observations, but creative fiction based loosely on some observations.

        There is a big difference.

      • You have doubts that the imbalance could be positive when that is based on the steadily rising ocean heat content. I could point you to Lewis and Curry, who have accepted published values their paper, but I think that would not be good enough for you.

      • Ocean heat content is still poorly measured, more poorly than even land, and that’s pretty bad in parts of the world.

      • What has been measured shows a positive trend within the error bars, and you still hold out for a negative value, presumably based on some deep internal belief, rather than face the consequences of what it is.

      • What has been measured

        No it’s not what was measured, it’s what was modeled based on sparse measurements.

        You just can’t comprehend that they are not the same.

      • That’s what the error bars account for. You hope all the cold water is somehow between the floats. That’s your desperation.

      • During the pause, the ocean heat content was still rising. Global warming has two components, total heat content and surface temperature. Only one paused, the other continued.

        And that is a bad data problem, it’s not physically possible.

      • The evidence is the continued rise decade on decade of the OHC. This is the imbalance playing out. The ocean does not do that on its own. It needs an energy supply, a forcing supply, and the only one large enough to supply this energy is the rising GHGs.

        Only because they cook the books and make up data out of thin air, and then normalize across the planet.
        That’s why I have better data, it’s only the years where the number the number if station drops significantly that that becomes an issue, why I do not include those early years at all, but I have to live with the drop in the early 70’s.
        But I also do an anomaly process that eliminates that.

        And I do both small and large areas.
        Stop the straw man made up arguments about my work when you are to lazy to go read the data, and examine the code.
        I explicitly wanted to see what was actually measured.
        Not made up results, that exist just to promote an agenda.

        It’s simply the physics of energy conservation.

        Yes it is, you just have the wrong theory, and bad data.

      • I don’t have time for conspiracy theorists.

      • Don Monfort

        But Trump rules and Paris is dead.

      • Javier: Assuming only artificial warming. Huge assumption.

        I think it is good of you to reply to the comments on your essay. Thank you.

      • DIM SUN
        Jim D
        Also the sun brightens about 1% per 100 million years which reduces the effect of larger CO2 levels in the distant past. The net solar+CO2 forcing has not changed…

        Sorry but no – the “dim sun” is not a fig leaf for lack of catastrophic warming in past high CO2 regimes. “The net solar+CO2 forcing has not changed” – absolutely wrong. The solar output grows steadily and linearly by 10 percent per billion years. By contrast CO2 has gone up and down like a yoyo. How can the factor of the two produce your required “garden of Eden” pre-industrial climate stasis?

        The dim sun is in fact the strongest evidence for the truth of Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis. The earth’s biosphere has adapted to the slowly expanding sun. CO2 had no relevance whatsoever, except as a pre-requisite for plant growth, until the Quaternary when CO2 starvation began as a result of cool oceans and long term silicate weathering. Anthropogenic CO2 is rescuing the biosphere from CO2 starvation but some hominids with a death-wish are trying to prevent this.

  28. Ken Stewart tests their CAGW theory at the poles , Tasmania and SE OZ and finds it is a failure. The poles should be the perfect place to test it, but still it fails the test.

  29. How doubly embarrassing. Post in haste, repent at leisure. I will do better next time.
    What my post should have said was:
    Janvier claims that his one reference for the temperatures in Antarctica, Schneider et al 2006, says that there has been “absolutely no warming” for the past 200 years.
    >>Surprisingly, Antarctica shows absolutely no warming for the past 200 years (Schneider et al., 2006; figure 110 b). The only place where we can measure both past temperatures and past CO2 levels with confidence shows no temperature response to the huge increase in CO2 over for the last two centuries. This evidence supports that CO2 has very little effect over Antarctic temperatures, if any, and it cannot be responsible for the observed correlation over the past 800,000 years.
    Alas, this is not what the article says. And Janvier must know that it is not what it says, which means that he is … what is the euphemism that I am searching for?
    I digress. Here is the Conclusions section from the paper :

    >>5. Conclusions [17] Our reconstruction based on high resolution stable isotope time series emphasizes that the short Antarctic instrumental records provide very limited context for assessing Antarctic temperature change, as there is large internannual to decadal scale variability, attributable in part to the SAM. In the longer-term context, our reconstruction, combined with other evidence, suggests that the Antarctic continent has experienced modest warming over the last 150 years. Similar phasing as the SH mean temperature record suggests that this warming may be linked to global changes and suggests that Antarctica will warm in parallel with the SH, in general accordance with model-based predictions [e.g., Shindell and Schmidt, 2004]. <<

    where SH = Southern Hemisphere, an abbreviation used within the paper.

    Sorry to burst all your balloons. I would be sending Janvier to the naught corner. Incidents such as this destroy credibility.

    • Your hastiness to align with the consensus prevents you from actually checking the evidence, instead of trusting the conclusions of the authors, that it seems were not happy with the lack of warming that their study indicated.

      You have their entire data in figure 111 b. You can see by yourself that it shows no warming for the past 200 years, and that the end-of-analysis temperature was lower than the start-of-analysis temperature. They just decided to cherry pick a point 150 years ago so they could conclude that Antarctica showed a tiny bit of warming.

      Try sticking to the evidence instead of your beliefs.

      • You have reinterpreted the data for your own purposes.

        No I have not. I have posted the entire data in figure form and there is no interpretation from my part. No warming is observed.

        And your attempt to muddle the issue with an apples to oranges comparison doesn’t go too far. Perhaps you didn’t read my article, but I am discussing exclusively ice core data, not surface temperature reconstructions that are subject to a completely different set of assumptions and the problem that Antarctica is not adequately sampled.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        I think you mean 110B, not 111. You are correct that the ice core data show no warmibg trend, of course. The paper did cherry-pick 150 years (instead of all the data) to be able to say there was some warming, while all the data say otherwise. But there is more going on than that.

        The high altitude and very low temperatures on the East Antarctic plateau change the normal radiative warming due to rising CO2 to a slight radiative cooling effect, thus no increase in temperature due to rising CO2 in figure 110B (I can’t put my hands on the reference, it was 2016 and a Dutch group I think). There has been clear warming in the peninsula region, and probably slight warming in West Antarctica (which is lower altitude than East Antarctica). East Antarctica is a very unusual place for CO2 forcing.

      • Then you agree that ice cores do not support a causal relationship between CO₂ and temperatures. Because we have been told that repeatedly.

        The problem is that evidence either supports the CO₂-hypothesis or can be explained away. Evidence can never disprove the CO₂-hypothesis. It is indeed a religion and should be tax exempt.

      • No Surface Cooling over Antarctica from the Negative Greenhouse Effect Associated with Instantaneous Quadrupling of CO2 Concentrations

        Over the highest elevations of Antarctica, during many months of the year, air near the surface is colder than in much of the overlying atmosphere. This unique feature of the Antarctic atmosphere has been shown to result in a negative greenhouse effect and a negative instantaneous radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere (RFTOA:INST), when carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are increased, and it has been suggested that this effect might play some role in te recent cooling trends observed over East Antarctica. Here, using fully coupled global climate model integrations, in addition to radiative transfer model calculations, the authors confirm the existence of such a negative RFTOA:INST over parts of Antarctica in response to an in- stantaneous quadrupling of CO2. However, it is also shown that the instantaneous radiative forcing at the tropopause (RFTP:INST) is positive. Further, the negative RFTOA:INST lasts only a few days following the im- posed perturbation, and rapidly disappears as the stratosphere cools in response to increased CO2. As a consequence, like the RFTP:INST, the stratosphere-adjusted radiative forcing at the TOA is positive over all of Antarctica and, in the model presented herein, surface temperatures increase everywhere over that continent in response to quadrupled CO2. The results, therefore, clearly demonstrate that the curious negative in- stantaneous radiative forcing plays no role in the recently observed East Antarctic cooling.

      • OK. When there is warming the CO₂ is working in forward, and when there is cooling the CO₂ is working in reverse. Some magical molecule we’ve got. No wonder it can be blamed for hurricanes and blizzards. That’s what happens when you get rid of religion, something else fills the void.

      • JCH

        A bugle call for reinforcements. Since Smith and Polvani 2017 didn’t toe the party line with their findings of likely natural variability in the temperature, the establishment needed a quick slap down of those ungrateful upstarts. Ask and you shall receive. Voila, a new paper to keep the AGW narrative alive.

        They are going to have more difficulty with the facts of inherent instability in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet. But that is for another day and another post.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        The thing here is that there has not been an instantaneous 4X increase in CO2… more like an increase of 40% over many years…. not sure what the 4X increase in CO2 in the model is supposed to show, since it has nothing to do with current conditions. The question is if slight cooling in high altitude East Antarctica can be explained by a modest increase in CO2. Seems like it can.

      • Whenever there is an interesting paper, I follow the cites. Negative GHE; interesting. The plateau becomes East Antarctica. Also interesting.

        I understand your unsupportable beliefs need some sort of crutch, but it’s just a matter of time before the crutches get chopped in two. That’s how unsupportable usually ends.

      • I don’t have any unsupported beliefs. I just have preliminary conclusions based on evidence and always subjected to change if evidence changes. I have found that I am less often wrong that way.

        The CO₂ hypothesis has claimed victory based on circumstantial evidence and unsupported assumptions. Those are not solid foundations. It will be fun to watch it crack and crumble over the coming decades. Science becomes better after failures, like aviation safety.

      • A bugle call for reinforcements. Since Smith and Polvani 2017 didn’t toe the party line with their findings of likely natural variability in the temperature, the establishment needed a quick slap down of those ungrateful upstarts. Ask and you shall receive. Voila, a new paper to keep the AGW narrative alive.

        So the AGW establishment mafia didn’t like Karen L. Smith and Lorenzo M. Polvani’s Spatial patterns of recent Antarctic surface temperature trends and the importance of natural variability: lessons from multiple reconstructions and the CMIP5 models, so they blew the bugle to get somebody to write a paper to restore the narrative.

        There is something weird about your silly conspiracy yarn. Two of the authors who answered the bugle call were named Karen L. Smith and Lorenzo M. Polvani.

      • Here’s the anomaly for Min and Max temps for Antarctica

      • stevefitzpatrick

        From the original paper on Antarctic cooling effect (Smithusen et al):
        “Earlier studies with general circulation models (GCMs) have also shown the comparably small effect of increasing CO2 on the LW flux at the top of atmosphere emitted to space above Antarctica [Shine and Forster, 1999; Hansen et al., 2005], but they neither show a cooling effect nor give an explanation for this and its climatic relevance.”

        The observationally confirmed low CO2 effect in Antarctica is indeed confirmed by Smith et al (2018) GCM runs (their figure 2f), where the one-year averaged net forcing from 4X CO2 in the highest parts of Antarctica is “not statistically different from zero”. I read both papers, and I expect Smithusen et al will disagree with at least some of the conclusions of Smith et al, and will probably respond with critiques. But more to the point: it is clear that the absolute magnitude of radiative forcing from any specified increase in CO2 is far lower in Antarctica (averaging ~2 watts/M^2 for 4X CO2) than everywhere else on Earth (averaging ~7.4 watts/M^2 for 4X CO2). This has to account for at least a large portion of the observed slower warming of Eastern Antarctica.

      • That sounds reasonable, Steve, but we must then follow the reasoning to its last consequences. Antarctica doesn’t warm or cool due to a CO₂ effect, therefore it must warm or cool due to solar changes or heat transport. Despite 300 years of warming, Antarctica has not warmed, so net heat transport effect is zero, or more probably it is so small that it is compensated by cooling from insolation changes.

        In any case, what we are told, that Antarctic ice core records support that for the past 800,000 years temperatures have responded to CO₂ changes is not true.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        “Antarctica doesn’t warm or cool due to a CO₂ effect, therefore it must warm or cool due to solar changes or heat transport.”

        Sure, it is clear that Antarctica in general, and East Antarctica in particular, have experienced very little warming due to GHG forcing. Which is no surprise: even taking the GCMs as accurate, the net average current forcing in Antarctica is probably in the range of 0.3 watt/M^2, and in East Antarctica, very close to zero (or even negative). So GHG forcing in Antarctica is certainly swamped by other things like changes in heat transport.

        I think the reason green advocates get so worked up about people pointing out the relative lack of warming in Antarctica (eg see Steig et al versus O’Donnell et al) is mainly political. If there is no chance of “Antarctica melting soon”, then all the scary scenarios of 60 meter sea level increases due to melting of Antarctica are nonsense, and so irrelevant to public policy.

  30. What is it about this site? It must be the arrow marks I use to delineate quotes. Will try harder. The last one originally read:

    Ah, condescension. How endearing. You have reinterpreted the data for your own purposes. Why not write to Schneider and tell him that his conclusion is incorrect? As for …
    ” instead of trusting the conclusions of the authors, that it seems were not happy with the lack of warming that their study indicated.”
    What ‘seems’ is this, Janvier? I so no teary faced emojis on the copy of the paper that I have. How do you reach your conclusion without a backtwist and pyke?
    And, Janvier, if you do happen across Schneider, please do ask him about the paper
    “Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year
    Eric J. Steig1 , David P. Schneider2 , Scott D. Rutherford3 , Michael E. Mann4 , Josefino C. Comiso5 & Drew T. Shindell6
    Assessments of Antarctic temperature change have emphasized the contrast between strong warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and slight cooling of the Antarctic continental interior in recent decades1 . This pattern of temperature change has been attributed to the increased strength of the circumpolar westerlies, largely in response to changes in stratospheric ozone2 . This picture, however, is substantially incomplete owing to the sparseness and short duration of the observations. Here we show that significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported. West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1 6C per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by autumn cooling in East Antarctica, the continent-wide average near-surface temperature trend is positive. Simulations using a general circulation model reproduce the essential features of the spatial pattern and the long-term trend, and we suggest that neither can be attributed directly to increases in the strength of the westerlies. Instead, regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature and sea ice are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica.<<
    Strong warming,of the Antarctic Peninsula, slight cooling in the interior?
    Hmm…Why was it you cited the 2006 paper and not the above one from 2009? Did you feel that you could misinterpret the first one and that nobody would notice?
    Not enough? Try :
    "An assessment and interpretation of the observed warming of West Antarctica in the austral spring
    P. Schneider, Clara Deser, Yuko Okumura
    We synthesize variability and trends in multiple analyses of Antarctic near-surface temperature representing several independent source datasets and spatially complete reconstructions, and place these into the broader context of the behavior of other components of the climate system during the past 30–50 years. Along with an annual-mean trend during the past 50 years of about 0.1°C/decade averaged over Antarctica, there is a distinct seasonality to the trends, with insignificant change (and even some cooling) in austral summer and autumn in East Antarctica, contrasting with warming in austral winter and spring."

    No warming? Off you go to the naughty corner, you little cherry picker.

    No, no, wait. You mission is to find another paper that corroborates your assertion that there is no warming on the continent.
    Nothing from What I Made Up About That or Breitbart, please.
    Take your very best shot.

    • Sorry, not interested in apples to oranges discussions, about whose reconstruction can be trusted better, that lead nowhere.

      If we want to compare temperature changes in Antarctica over the past centuries and millennia, there is only one way to go reliably, and it is ice cores. According to ice cores Antarctica has not warmed over the MGW period. End of the story.

      • “If we want to compare temperature changes in Antarctica over the past centuries and millennia, there is only one way to go reliably, and it is ice cores. According to ice cores Antarctica has not warmed over the MGW period. End of the story.”
        In other words you have no corroboration, and if you admit that you will be shown as someone misrepresenting the truth,
        Can you explain why the temperature readings in the last 30 years and included in the scientific literature are less accurate than the ice core samples included in the 2006 study?
        Summary : you have reinterpreted the results of one paper to your own advantage, and by doing this you claim that you have scores a point, and you just ignore all other evidence,
        You are completely ignoring the fact that the ice core samples from the peninsula were not included in the study, and that the peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas of the planet.
        From this carefully selected, single, observation, you go on to the following:
        “This evidence supports that CO2 has very little effect over Antarctic temperatures, if any, and it cannot be responsible for the observed correlation over the past 800,000 years.”
        Point 1 is that there Antarctica has particular weather conditions that may or may not make it unsuitable to be the basis of such a claim about the influence of CO2
        Point 2 : the claim that CO2 “cannot be responsible for the observed correlation over the past 800,000 years” falls over as a
        JC SNIP

      • I am interested in the science, not in the type of high school debate you seem to like.

        There is no 200-year Antarctic temperature reconstruction that we can trust other than ice cores. The period of CO₂ change is 200 years, not 50 years.

        What the ice cores say has not been shown in disagreement with instrumental measurements at nearby stations. Obviously the comparison has been made.

        If we don’t have other way to reconstruct past 200 years temperatures in Antarctica, and the method has not been shown incorrect, all your arm waving is out of place.

      • Oddly enough no one disputes the pattern of 20th century Antarctic warming – modulated as it is by global patterns of atmospheric and ocean circulation. Of which SAM, the IPO and ENSO are key parts. The pattern is similar to SH warming more generally.

        Here is the longer record.

        Here is west and east Antarctica. The difference is due to decadal modulation of SAM.

        But it is modulated over millennia.


        It all seems quite pointless, time wasting and smarmy quibbling. The data across these studies is consistent but in the light of the periodicity of variability no amount of data will provide statistical confidence that we know what we are talking about.

        But as I keep saying the rational responses are the same. Irrational responses are to be ignored.

      • JC SNIP
        Just before I accused the blog of bias? Hmm. Not a fan of free speech?
        .When the facts change I change my mind
        has become
        .When the facts change I close my mind.

      • Don’t personally insult other commenters; instead critique their arguments.

      • It is clear that the facts don’t interest you – and only nasty little gibes get snipped. Tell us it wasn’t just a nasty personal insult and we will demand free speech. You will find that there are actual believers here despite how annoying goalpost shifting climate warriors are.

        “Antarctic temperature reconstruction: (a) Full annual resolution reconstruction (black line) with ±2σ uncertainty shaded in gray and multi-decadal smoothed version (heavy line). Instrumental calibration record, A8 (gray line); (b) Reconstruction (black line) compared with Orcadas temperature (gray line, inverted) after the linear trends have been removed; (c) Reconstruction (black line) compared with SH mean instrumental record (gray line) after a multi-decadal (0.05 cycles/yr cut-off) low-pass filter has been applied. In all plots, the zero line represents the 1961–1990 climatological mean.”

      • SNIP? So much for free speech. All I did was accuse your blog of bias.

        When the facts change I change my mind
        When the facts change I close my mind.

      • Snip? What a cop out. Free speech except when it contradicts you? All I did was accuse you of bias.
        When the facts change I change my mind
        When the facts change I close my mind

      • The Antarctic temperature record is there – more up to date is the PAGES 2K record showing regional changes over more than a 1000 years that I showed. Do you disagree with any of it?

        The reasons behind these patterns is a different and far more interesting matter.

        Judith has been accused of bias any number of times – and the discussion here is fairly robust at times. It’s just not an issue. This blog is far more open than most climate blogs on either side. So your complaints are petulant whines.

        What did you really say? Strip it of names – and let us judge how fair this was.

    • One Magpie does not a spring make. Javier stays close to data from reputable sources. He does have a dinosaur climate paradigm. As do you I suppose – but a different one.

      The first paradigm is linearly forced climate with a single number in W/m2 – albeit it with perhaps nonlinear responses – with natural variability as white noise around a climate signal – and with a mean of zero at any scale of course (Demetris Koutsoyiannis 2013). Natural variability is just wiggles that cancel out. The second is purely periodic – as it says – superimposed on a forced signal. Perhaps with many different periods and over oh so long a time. The quibble is – just how big these wiggles are and over what time frame they zero out. Here I part company from Javier. I am firmly in the camp of the third paradigm. Although – after Demetris Koutsoyiannis (2010) – I would redefine deterministic as predictable and random as unpredictable. The Earth is a Lorenzian forced – small variations in orbit or solar intensity in both visible and ultraviolet frequencies – globally coupled, spatio-temporal chaotic, resonant system. The planet responds with synchronous chaos and abrupt climate change seen in ocean and atmospheric indices that are some of the fruits of an earlier natural philosophy (Tsonis et al 2007, Swanson et al, 2009).

      The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain. “Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” Op. cit. p14 Abrupt change – equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of René Thom), or a tipping point – requires both Lorenzian forcing and a planetary resonance.
      Abrupt shifts occur at all scales in the climate system. It is worth reading a little on this from Demetris Koutsoyiannis – for conflating Heraclitus and hydrological science alone.

      “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.” (Demetris Koutsoyiannis, 2013)

      If the past is uncertain and the future unpredictable – extreme event attribution can best proceed in story lines (Lloyd and Oreskes 2018). It reminds me of another favourite hydrological essay. One in which science in the world is a productive and creative methodology at the heart of fundamental advancement of science in a process of investigation and discovery. It “requires an investigative approach, where the goal is uberty, a kind of fruitfulness of inquiry, in which the abductive mode of inference adds to the much more commonly acknowledged modes of deduction and induction.” (Baker, 2017, p1) The product is a more fruitful if less certain science. But these narratives must be placed in a deep context. I am reserving judgement on whether Oreskes is up to the task.

      In that spirit – looking in depth at the reasons for regional temperature variations may be fruitful. Australasia temperature may be at the highest point in a 1000 years. North America by contrast was warmer 1000 years ago. What causes these and other differences in regional patterns of warming and cooling?

      Pages-2K 2013

      There are contrasting effects – wet or dry, hot or cold – in the USA and Australia of the great shifts in heat, wind, currents and cloud associated with shifts in the Pacific state.

      Vance et al 2013

      And it was especially dry in the 20th century in Australia – with a contrasting wetness in the USA – and with global effects on cloud, hydrology, temperature and biology. Including on Nile River flows.

      And for the contrast between the Arctic and Antarctica? “As a working hypothesis, polar synchronization brings new insights into the dynamic processes that link Greenland’s Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) abrupt temperature fluctuations to Antarctic temperature variability. It is shown that, consistent with the presence of polar synchronization, the time series of the most representative abrupt climate events of the last glaciation recorded in Greenland and Antarctica can be transformed into one another by a π/2 phase shift, with Antarctica temperature variations leading Greenland’s.” Rial 2014 – Synchronization of polar climate variability over the last ice age: in search of simple rules at the heart of climate’s complexity

  31. “Is there anything unusual about MGW? The answer is a clear yes. The cryosphere (with the exception of Antarctica) is showing a very unusual response to MGW.”

    Strongly disagree. The answer is very likely NO. I don’t understand why you think it’s clearly yes. This is a superficial observation, just like you said for the MGW in general. It does not exceed the range of the previously known periodic variations of glaciers by Holocene (or Neoglacial) standards. Not cyclical? Well it will be when the glaciers advance again.

    • I don’t understand why you think it’s clearly yes.

      Because that is what the evidence from glaciers and ice patches supports, and I always go with the evidence.

      Experts have been looking at moraines for centuries. Glaciologists are the type of paleoclimate scientists more used and favorable to cycles and solar forcing. And they are nearly unanimous in saying that this time the melting has gone too deep. Even if cooling returns and glaciers start growing again, that won’t change that the 20-21st century retreat was excessive for a period 5000 years into the Neoglacial.

  32. Javier, I agree we have much better records for surface temps and so tend to focus on them. However, the oceans are the repository for most of the added heat from the recent warming. I was a bit surprised at no discussion of either those data or efforts to begin paleoclimate understanding of ocean heat since the deglaciation began.
    There’s also the increasing interest in how ocean and land temps have evolved since that deglaciation (Marsicek et al “Reconciling divergent trends and millennial variations in Holocene temperatures” Nature 554:92-96 2018
    Any comments or thoughts?

    • Not much trust can be put on ocean heat measurements prior to the Argo era. Recently new methodology for measuring heat content in ice cores from noble gases has been developed that holds much promise (Bereiter et al., 2018). If the method is reliable our knowledge of past heat content is going to advance immensely.

  33. How to know when you are being duped?

    When a very complex condition is reduced to a very simple statement.

  34. Javier

    sorry, I dived straight in to a couple of threads and omitted to say that I thought your article was very good.


  35. Geoff Sherrington

    I, the original denizen Geoff am from Melbourne, but NOT the same person as “Geoff from Melbourne” who might be coat tailing.
    Original denizen is well aware of the criticisms that Steve McIntyre, JeffID et al made of the first Steig Antarctic paper with its magazine cover in red.

  36. What a superb review paper. The best thing I have ever read on this topic. It deserves widespread dissemination.

  37. Geoff Sherrington

    Thank you for this essay and those before part viii.
    There is enough recent history to suggest widespread opposition to parts of your presentation, but people who think about the topic and read widely – as you do – will find much in common with you. Geoff.

  38. “Physics shows that adding carbon dioxide leads to warming under laboratory conditions”

    I have not seen any lab experiment that shows that co2 leads to surface warming, reference? What I have seen is experiment which shows that CO2 absorbs LWIR. It’s then calculated how much this warms the surface through back radiation, but I have seen no experiment that proves that the math and physics are correct.

    • “Physics shows that adding carbon dioxide leads to warming under laboratory conditions”

      This is the big stupid of climate science. Ppl with zero circuit analysis skills take this, then assumes “nothing else changes”, well folks, something else changes every night.
      Physics also controls vapor pressure of water. The difference is there about 100 times the forcing stored in this water vapor, and it is selfadjusting.
      Co2 isnt.
      So the forcing from co2 increases, just gets swallowed up by negative feedback from water vapor.

      So you you claim to accept science, and it’s physics, well stop ignoring the other parts of physics.

    • I have not seen any lab experiment that shows that co2 leads to surface warming, reference?
      You have not looked very hard. The experiment is rather simple and you can do it yourself. It was described for the first time by Eunice Foote in 1856, that we are aware, but credited to John Tyndall in 1859. Since then it has been repeated innumerable times. You just fill the glass jars with the gases, put a thermometer inside, and watch how much they warm under the Sun. The difference in the warming is due to the difference in the gas.
      The American Journal of Science and Arts

      • Javier,

        Why not post a link to a recent repeat of the experiment?


      • Why? Any reason to believe it has stopped working?

      • You just fill the glass jars with the gases

        So? We don’t live in a jar with only one gas in it.

        Sure simplifications allow you insight, but too many ppl assume they directly apply to arbitrarily complex systems.
        Some times they do, sometimes they don’t. You have to learn to tell the difference.

      • That’s why I said under laboratory conditions. Read the article.

      • That’s why I said under laboratory conditions. Read the article.

        I don’t care about the article, we don’t live in a jar. So using that as proof is a false assumption.
        We as a society have wasted trillions on a false assumption, and a bunch of activists wet dreams.

        How many people would that buy a life time of clean water, sanitation facilities, energy to improve their lives.
        But that’s probably the reason it wasn’t done.
        The saviors of the human race are saving it by letting everyone die, but their little cliche, who will live like the Kings of old.

      • “Why? Any reason to believe it has stopped working?”

        You claim it’s been repeated innumerable times. A link to just one would should be really easy. But maybe innumerable means never.


      • And I also say that you can test it yourself. What better way of being convinced?

      • You just fill the glass jars with the gases, put a thermometer inside, and watch how much they warm under the Sun.

        This is merely the classic canard of “climate science” that what happens in vitro is what happens in situ. In fact, the atmosphere is warmed not so much by insolation as by moist convection, which is the principal means of heat transfer from the thermalized and evaporating surface. There is neither deep convection nor evaporation in the laboratory jar.

      • Again, that’s why I said “under laboratory conditions.”

        Nobody knows how much warming is being caused by the increase in CO₂, but I think it is pretty safe to conclude that it is not causing cooling.

      • Again, that’s why I said “under laboratory conditions.”

        Nobody knows how much warming is being caused by the increase in CO₂, but I think it is pretty safe to conclude that it is not causing cooling.

        And I explained how the vapor pressure of water limits the waming from increases in noncondensing GHG’s to a fraction of the Planck response.
        CS to doubling of co2 is conservatively less than 0.5C.
        The response to changes in insolation over the seasonal cycle for the extratropics is <0.02°C/W/m^2
        This sets a limit to exactly what you're guessing.

      • Peter Langlee

        Thanks Javier,

        That experiment indicate that oxygen and possibly nitrogen is the major cause for Earth temperature is 33C warmer with an atmosphere. The tube with pure oxygen resulted in higher temperature than common air, even though O2 is not a GHG.

    • “The widespread claim on the web that a temperature warming effect of CO2 can be measured with CO2 in a jar is totally bogus, and Anthony Watts demonstrated how Bill Nye erred in trying to demonstrate such a thing.”

      • And Roy explains how to do the experiment more properly.

        If you prefer a more popular approach, you have mythbusters.

      • If you prefer a more popular approach, you have mythbusters.

        I don’t remember specifically why now, but as I watched that episode, I found it an example of a bad experiment that would not answer the question at hand.
        So I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

      • Javier,

        I heavily edited TV kids TV show is not an experiment.


  39. Before experiment – and there are some on a planetary scale – you would need to have a hypothesis.

    I just had a look at the first few comments – don’t bother going beyond the article. If you understand the very basic physics – we can discuss the experiments otherwise it’s pointless.

  40. “It is often said that MGW is unusual because it contradicts a Neoglacial cooling trend that has been ongoing for several millennia.”
    An interesting comment.
    I guess it means that whenever a trend reverses it gets to be called unusual.
    This is a bit unfair as most reversals happen naturally due to factors beyond our present understanding.
    The MGW was simply one of the uptrends, not unusual, and most millennial cooling trends would have similar periods of warming occurring.
    Perhaps not understood would be a better therm than unusual.

  41. Javier,

    [“Physics shows that adding carbon dioxide leads to warming under laboratory conditions.“]

    Could you please provide a link to support this statement?


  42. On an aside Spencer said
    “The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for January, 2018 was +0.26 deg. C, down from the December, 2017 value of +0.41 deg. C: ”
    The El Nino and baby El Nino in the mid months of 2017 are over. This weak La Nina is a lot stronger than the one we were purported to have early 2017. Any chance of another big temp drop for Feb 2018. It always seems to go up when I want it to come down.
    JCH shoot me down.

    • Not enough dark blue in the La Niña tongue to do you any good at all. So sorry. Sad 1.2:

      • Thanks, darn.

      • Heh there was a little drop of 0.06 of a degree after all. I’ll take that!

      • “There have been back-to-back La Niña events and the anomalies they have produced are essentially red hot. 2017, started with the end of the 2016 La Niña and ended with the 2017 La Niña,”

        by any objective standard the 2016 La Nina did not deserve that name. It was < 5 months and barely under -0.5 C.
        It was followed by almost a new El Nino, that is why it stayed so hot.
        The new La Nina has already beaten the previous one even though it is also weak it is not finished yet and may cause the usual predictive problems, JCH.
        Javier is right, there is another 6 moths of cooling in the pipeline. If your warming does not eventuate in the next 2 months it will make this a much colder year.
        2 months would also make Australia's BOM start bleating about a severe La Nina.
        Ah well. I can dream on.

    • Angech, you should expect a bigger drop in the April-July period, like most years, when the Arctic ceases to be above average.
      Temperature pause levels are being slowly restored and I don’t see any reason for further warming in the next 2 years.

      • I really hope so Javier. A couple of further drops would really stir up the pigeons.

      • If you’re a migratory bird, you might feel it.

        Dream on. The pause is dead. You’re doing mouth to mouth with a corpse. PDO is rising. OHC is sky high. La Niña is anemic and dying.

        This is a pause-level La Niña:

        As a La Niña peters out it gets warm, so what happens when an anemic La Niña peters out?

      • Dream on. The pause is dead.

        Hmm. Temperature going down since February 2016. Cavin Schmidt and James Hansen predicting 10 more years of hiatus.

      • Prospects for a prolonged slowdown in global warming in the early 21st century

        Global mean temperature over 1998 to 2015 increased at a slower rate (0.1K decade 1) compared with the ensemble mean (forced) warming rate projected by Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models (0.2K decade 1). Here we investigate the prospects for this slower rate to persist for a decade or more. The slower rate could persist if the transient climate response is overestimated by CMIP5 models by a factor of two, as suggested by recent low-end estimates. Alternatively, using CMIP5 models’ warming rate, the slower rate could still persist due to strong multidecadal internal variability cooling. Combining the CMIP5 ensemble warming rate with internal variability episodes from a single climate model—having the strongest multidecadal variability among CMIP5 models—we estimate that the warming slowdown (o0.1K decade 1 trend beginning in 1998) could persist, due to internal variability cooling, through 2020, 2025 or 2030 with probabilities 16%, 11% and 6%, respectively.

        So the odds of a continued warming hiatus were low, and the paper contained this little jewel, which I started pointing out the day this paper was first featured here at CargoCult Etc., and it is what is happening right now and it’s not over until the PDO goes hard negative, and that has not happened:

        The synthetic series in Fig. 5a also show examples of greatly accelerated warming lasting a decade or more, which are evidently spring-back effects as an internal variability cooling episode is followed by a strong internal variability warming episode. The strong warming episodes are further amplified by the underlying forced warming trend. One extreme example shows a warming of almost 1 °C in 15 years—a much greater 15- year warming rate than has occurred in the observations to date (red curves). These spring-back warmings illustrate another important potential consequence of strong internal multidecadal variability as simulated in CM3, and reinforce the need to better understand whether such internal variability actually occurs in the real world.

      • As climate prediction by the team has been so outstanding, I simply don’t trust what they say.

        And the spring-back warming sounds as the latest foolishness in climate science.

      • The temperature goes down after an El Niño? Lol.

      • You are right. You can find all sorts of remarkable junk on CargoCult Etc.

        JC Reflections

        Prospects for a Prolonged Slowdown in Global Warming in the Early 21st Century

        Posted on November 30, 2016 | 274 Comments

        by Nic Lewis

        JC Reflections

        This is a remarkable paper, and it is gratifying to see the GFDL group making a concerted effort to sort out the multitude of modes and time-scales of natural internal variability. For the first time, we have a coupled global climate model (AOGCM) that seems to be approaching a reasonable treatment of the ocean and the coupled modes between the ocean and atmosphere, including strong multi-decadal variability. The GFDL CM3 model is an outlier in this regard among CMIP5 models, apparently causing some to reject this model in their analyses. Personally, I think this model comes closest to a realistic treatment of internal variability. According to Laepple and Huybers (2014), AOGCM-simulated sea surface temperature variability is systematically smaller than instrumental and proxy-based estimates, increasingly with timescale, the discrepancy reaching two orders of magnitude for tropical variability at millennial timescales.

      • The La Niña seems to be persisting.
        The downwards trend should still be in existence for another 3 months.
        I will take another 0.06 in March, thank you very much.

      • December 2017:

        It’s waning. With each update, the BOM graph backs off:

      • It’s waning.

        That’s the best it could happen for everybody. During a La Niña there is reduced cloud cover over the tropical Pacific and the ocean absorbs more solar energy. La Niña constitute periods when the planet gains more energy that it loses. It is cooling for today but warming for tomorrow.

        We can see that a cooling like in 2000, after the 1998 El Niño was faster but very short lived and was followed by a jump in average temperatures due to La Niña energy gain. The slow cooling that we are observing after the 2015 El Niño will not be so easily reverted and constitutes a promise of restrained warming, which I think is positive for everybody at this point.

        So let’s all hope that a strong La Niña doesn’t take place. Neutral or moderate La Niña are clearly better.

      • was followed by a jump in average temperatures due to La Niña energy gain.

        The AMO went positive in 2000 also.
        That was followed by a step in dew pt, which Min T follows.
        But I also detected an increase in sensitivity to insolation in the 20-30N lat band at the same time.

      • “During the 1990s, the global climate began to switch to a meridional wind or regionally cool cycle. Evidence of this switch was observed across climate indices, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO, Figure 1), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the pattern of sea level pressure variation north of 20°N, and the Northern and Southern Annular Modes (NAM and SAM). Each of these indices represent different measures of jet stream behavior in the North Atlantic, northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, respectively. The NAO is defined by sea level pressure differences between the low pressure cell around Iceland and the high pressure cell around the Azores [1]. A positive NAO index indicates a large pressure difference between Iceland and the Azores, whereas a negative index indicates a small pressure difference [1]. The NAO is essentially a measure of the variability of the zonal flow with strong zonal flow during the positive cycle and meridional Rossby wave blocking north-south patterns during the negative cycle [2]. Mann and Lazier [3] have taken the work of Klyashtorin [4], Beamish et al. [5] and other earlier researchers to recognize the relationship between the above indices and many other climate indices including the Southern Ocean Index, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Aleutian Low Pressure Index, the Atmospheric Circulation Index, the Pacific Circulation Index, and the Length of Day Index to reveal the similarity in patterns over the 20th century and correlations with fish abundances. All of these indices indicate zonal wind patterns in the early 20th century were succeeded by meridional patterns in the mid century and zonal patterns in the latter 20th century [3] (Figure 1). Several workers report decadal climate variability for particular ocean areas with similar phases to those presented in Figure 1. Similar phases are exhibited in the North Pacific Index (NPI) or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index [6] and correspond to shifts in salmon production in the North Pacific Ocean [7]. During the positive 20th century NAO periods, temperatures tend to increase, particularly in winter while during the negative period 1940 to1970 temperatures decrease (Figure 1b). During the late 1990s an apparent hiatus in decadal-scale warming occurred at mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This observed stall in average surface-temperature increase was consistent with the mid-20th century behavior associated with a reversal of large-scale wind patterns, from zonal winds to meridional winds. The multidecadal component of climate variability is distinct from the secular-scale one, which is presumed to be of anthropogenic origin and apparently gaining strength in the 20th century (Figure 1). Interaction between these two components of climate variability remains an active topic of research. An important hypothesis in this review is that the changes in atmospheric circulation indicated by these indices result in changes in ocean gyre circulation over multidecadal time scales.”

        SAM and NAM drive changes in upwelling in the ENSO and PDO zones – that are the globally dominant source of cloud cover change. The polar annular modes are modulated by UV/ozone chemistry in the stratosphere.

        “The mechanism for these changes is via a stratospheric pathway, a so-called ‘top-down’ mechanism, and involves altered heating of the stratosphere by solar ultraviolet irradiance. Anomalous temperatures in the region of the tropical stratopause give rise to changes in the subtropical stratospheric winds, in geostrophic balance with the modified equator-to-pole temperature gradient. This signal then propagates poleward and downward and is amplified by altered planetary wave activity8 before being communicated throughout the depth of the troposphere in the Pacific and Atlantic basins14.”

        The 20th century saw a peak in warm eastern Pacific temps – the eastern Pacific will cool this century with declining solar activity. But predicting ENSO beyond this spring’s predictability barrier is a more difficult task.

      • thx, interesting ref

      • On the net, the planet is gaining a lot of energy, so it’s ridiculous to suggest there is going to be no warming for the next two years. The La Niña tongue is very cold right now and it’s about to warm up. angech is celebrating a tiny drop in the satellite temperature series. The thermometers went up in February.

      • Anomaly usually goes up during NH winter due to Arctic warming. But heat moving to the Arctic during the dark, strongly sub-zero winter is mostly exiting the planet as IR radiation. Anomaly will go down in April-July, and the cooling experimented since February 2016 (24 months already) is likely to continue for another year at least.

      • it’s ridiculous to suggest there is going to be no warming for the next two years

        That’s what happened to the last two years (since February 2016), unless we are talking different things.

        A conservative prediction is one that bets on the continuation of what is happening. Although eventually wrong it fails less than trying to guess a turning point. So yes, I support a continuation of the observed 24-month cooling trend for another year. 2018 will be less warm than 2017. We will see about 2019.

      • The warming hiatus is dead. You are talking as though it is still alive. Look at the troughs after 1998, 2005, and 2010. That is what you have to have to restore a pause-level GMST.

        There have been back-to-back La Niña events and the anomalies they have produced are essentially red hot. 2017, started with the end of the 2016 La Niña and ended with the 2017 La Niña, is the 2nd hottest year in the instrument record and you call that “not warming”. It’s daft.

      • “the report of my death was an exaggeration.”
        Mark Twain

        It all depends how we define the pause. To me if global temperature anomaly goes back to the range it had 2003-2013 and remains there, the pause is alive and El Niño was just a temporary disturbance. That’s still to be seen, of course.

      • Ulric Lyons

        Robert I. Ellison | March 4, 2018 at 12:49 am

        Positive NAO/AO drove a cold AMO and multi year La Nina conditions in the mid 1970’s and mid 1980’s, = global cooling. Negative NAO/AO drove AMO warming since 1995, = global warming.

    • What are you smoking?

      February GISS anomaly is going to be high 80s, maybe even 90. March is off to a hot start through mid month. It’s a positive PDO; forget everything you think you learned about La Niña during the warming hiatus.

      But thanks for confirming the prediction that everybody thinks I missed.

  43. I’m a relative layperson here.

    I don’t understand why there is an attempt to correlate CO2 level measured in Antarctic ice with local Antarctic temperatures.

    I’m not aware that climate scientists even argue that there should be a local relationship. Global warming is not meant to be evenly distributed. It means that the aggregate average temperature of the land and oceans is increasing and that is undoubtedly the case.

    You assert that current warming is normal within Holocene standards, but I see no evidence to suggest that the recent well documented increase of 1C in such a short period of time is evidenced in the historical record. Where is your evidence to support this short term increase of 1C as being normal.

    Your assertions that sea level rise is not responding to anthropogenic forcing are also without merit. SLR is not a linear phenomena. In the event Meltwater Pulse 1A, ca. 15k years ago, sea levels rose 50-80 feet in ~ 500 years. Sea level rise is accelerating at the moment and is subject to certain tipping points. Wind patterns, ocean temperatures and circulation, grounding lines and bedrock topography are all factors which will influence the rate of ice melt. The technology for measuring these variables has rapidly advanced in recent years and the best physicist / glaciologists (Eric Rignot from NASA is a good one) are telling us that the information reveals that we are passing tipping points and committing to many meters of SLR.

    You make a point that temperature increase is not accelerating but I’m not sure what point that is proving. CO2 ppm increases are not accelerating either. They rise consistently at about 2.5 – 3 ppm / year. The consistent and steady increase in global temperatures mirrors the consistent and steady increase in CO2 levels. Temperature increases should only accelerate if greenhouse gases level increases accelerate.

    Arrenhius’ 19th century prediction that global temps would increase by 5-6C with a doubling of CO2 levels is looking pretty prescient.

    Not sure what your game is here.

    • another layperson here
      “The consistent and steady increase in global temperatures mirrors the consistent and steady increase in CO2 levels.”
      Why did global temperatures not increase between 1945 and 1979 when the CO2 level increase really stated to kick in ? When i way was a kid in the early seventies there was speculation of a new ice age coming despite the CO2 increase.

      • The GMST actually did increase from 1945 to 1979 by failing to decrease as much as the negative phase of the PDO should have reduced it. Same with the recent “pause”, which was, by comparison, a gigantic bust: a PDO at ACO2 ~300 ppm versus ACO2 ~390.

    • I don’t understand why there is an attempt to correlate CO2 level measured in Antarctic ice with local Antarctic temperatures.

      The correlation between past temperatures and past CO₂ levels for the last 800,000 years has been done that way. If we say that they matched in the past due to a causal relation CO₂–>temperature, that should be observable also in present measurements. If it is not, then the causal relationship is likely wrong.

      Where is your evidence to support this short term increase of 1C as being normal.

      I have explained that our calculated anomaly cannot be compared reliably with past temperatures inferred from proxies. But the trees do that for us. The treeline demonstrates that it was warmer during the Holocene climatic optimum both in the NH and the SH. Due to limitations in proxies, we do not know how normal is present warming, but we do know that the 1910-1940 warming and the 1975-2000 warming are not statistically significantly different.

      Sea level rise is accelerating at the moment and is subject to certain tipping points.

      Those are empty claims. Satellite altimeter data does not show acceleration, and if those tipping points were to exist we would not know were they are. That is science fiction, not science.

      the best physicist / glaciologists (Eric Rignot from NASA is a good one) are telling us that the information reveals that we are passing tipping points and committing to many meters of SLR.

      Experts have a very poor record at predicting climate changes and tipping points.
      Failed Climate Predictions
      You are free to believe in expert opinion, but that is not science. Experts are wrong all the time.

      CO2 ppm increases are not accelerating either. They rise consistently at about 2.5 – 3 ppm / year

      That is not correct. CO₂ increase is accelerating. From ~ 1 ppm/yr in the 1960’s to > 2 ppm/yr in the 2010’s

      Arrenhius’ 19th century prediction that global temps would increase by 5-6C with a doubling of CO2 levels is looking pretty prescient.

      Arrhenius made several estimates that varied greatly. It seems all of them are likely to be wrong. An ECS of >5 °C/doubling is not considered realistic by most researchers, even considering negative contribution by natural variability.

      Not sure what your game is here.

      Probably because you are used to most people having an agenda or a preconceived belief when discussing climate change.

  44. Thanks, very interesting account.

  45. Good WSJ editorial on Climate Prediction Uncertainty.

  46. Javier,
    Thanks for the will written and informative essay. You stated that Murry Sably was wrong regarding his CO2 conclusions. Can you elaborate please?

    • It has been the subject of numerous blogposts. Salby mistook the yearly variations of atmospheric CO₂ that are dependent on temperature changes (mainly due to ENSO), with the long term trend that is dependent on emissions. He said he was going to publish it, but obviously never did.

      • Javier, the long term trend is clearly dependent on changes in temperature, too. Easily seen in Spencer’s graph are the step rises in the carbon growth rate coincident with the well known step rises in temperature (circa 1980 & 2000). The SSTs of the southern ocean are the best fit with the co2 growth rate. (this still doesn’t answer the all important question, though, of whether or not the rise in carbon dioxide is anthropogenic)…

      • Afonzarelli, as you know, changes in CO₂ are due to changes in the ratio of sinks and sources, and everybody knows since at least the 70’s that some sinks and sources respond to temperature changes. However once seasonality is removed from CO₂ changes, the next remaining factor is ENSO. However over time ENSO tends to average to zero and when you look at the CO₂ curve from 1959 without seasonality, it is very smooth.

        We do know that on an interdecadal timeframe the biggest changes in temperature are due to the 60-year oscillation. This oscillation is pervasive in most climate phenomena, yet it is absent from CO₂ changes.
        To me the only explanation is that sources and sinks of CO₂ are so big, and the fluxes between them are so big, that their natural change is very slow. This is confirmed by the fast and profound atmospheric methane response to the 8.2 kyr event, while the CO₂ response is much smaller.

        The slow natural change in CO₂ levels further confirms that CO₂ increase is due to human sources. Sinks are working hard to catch up to stabilize our perturbation and they are doing a very good job. They are only a few decades behind as the airborne fraction has been decreasing from ~ 60 % to ~ 45 % in just five decades.

        Probably this capacity by sinks and sources to respond rapidly to changes in CO₂ is what gives CO₂ levels such stability and makes them not to respond too much to changes in temperatures.

        But they do certainly respond to long term changes in temperature. In my mind there is little doubt that the Holocene conundrum, the increase in CO₂ for the last 6000 years when temperature was decreasing, is due to the biosphere response to the cooling by contracting and releasing CO₂. Ruddiman prefers to make a fantasy hypothesis blaming the usual suspect, humankind.

      • By this reasoning there should be more CO2 in interglacials? The reality is that there is a dynamic between respiration and primary production that tends to add to terrestrial and marine carbon stores in cooler times that are returned to the atmosphere in warmer times. There are heterotrophs and autotrophs in this biological system. And dynamic because biology is assuredly chaotic.

        e.g. –

        The rate of change at Mauna Loa is most assuredly temperature related. Both ENSO and volcanoes can be seen. The changes are very rapid. But CO2 will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere and only sustained cooling can challenge that.

        The significant source of multi-decadal temperature variability is upwelling in the eastern Pacific. With cloud feedbacks (e.g. Clements et al 2009, Burgmann et al 2018). Nor does it remotely sum to zero. It is driven by changes in the polar annular modes that are modulated by solar UV/ozone chemistry.

        But CO2 will continue to accumulate and only sustained cooling can challenge that.

        The Holocene carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere are far better explained – as Javier has the biokinetics in reverse – by the development of agriculture in various places some 9,500 years ago. It is not much of a conundrum.


        Reversing the 25% contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from the land use sector using modern technologies and systems is possible.

      • During glaciation cooling at the end of the Eemian, CO₂ levels were sustained for many thousands of years, while the world cooled substantially. I guess you explain that by lots of agriculture by primitive Homo, because on your book sustained cooling should challenge CO₂ unless agriculture is involved.

      • Your reductio ad absurdum argument –
        and conflating of distinct mechanisms –
        leaves a lot to be desired. At that depth in the ice core millennial scale diffusion would seem a likelier explanation. More recent data should have more weight than ice cores at the time of the previous interglacaial.

      • Nice try, but there is no escaping the evidence whenever it doesn’t fit your pet hypothesis.

        The Vostok ice core and the 14,000 year CO2 time lag

      • Not so nice a try. You have made this point already. I have already discussed diffusion – with references. Modern data says something else. Excuse me if I go onto something else.

    • There is a temperature related biokinetics of carbon flux.


      Temperature drives the thermally induced emissions that dominate changes in atmospheric CO2. Now you may call this an AGW feedback – but it does depend on whether recent (century long) warming was intrinsic or forced.

      There is a great deal of denigration of scientists inevitably on simplistic and spurious grounds that is easily the least attractive feature of the climate war. Salby is an atmospheric scientist with a very sophisticated take on carbon dynamics.

      • afonzarelli

        Ellison, istvan authored a simplistic and spurious rebuttal of salby over at watts’ that would be an excellent case in point (except for the fact that rud ain’t exactly the brightest bulb on the tree)…

      • afonzarelli

        I think you owe Rud an apology for your absurd comment . Here is part of his cv

        “About the Author: Rud Istvan is CEO of Third Stream Bioscience and the principal of NanoCarbons LLC. He was previously a Motorola SVP, general manager of future businesses, and director of its corporate strategy offices. Prior to Motorola, he was a senior partner at BCG. The author holds a BA summa, JD, and MBA from Harvard University. He is a named inventor on 14 issued patents. He previously published Gaia’s Limits (on global carrying capacity) and The Arts of Truth (on “official” misinformation, including in energy, climate, health care, public health, public education, and other important policy topics).”

        He puts a great deal of time into his research. What is your motive in slurring his abilities?


      • Blog refutations of serious scientists are inevitably spurious. Somehow in the climate war 10 minutes on the internet beats decades of effort. Time after time we find that trivial quibbles – on both sides – are presented as rigorous scientific refutation. It is the depth of ant-enlightenment ignorance – and Watts’ mob is one of the dimmest.

        Have you read it? Are there serious points and rigorous argument based on data and science? I’m less than inclined to accept Rud as authoritative on atmospheric physics on the basis of his biosketch.

      • Robert

        I was refuting the commentators remarks on Rud’s intelligence. He clearly is not dim


      • I think the Salby controversy is unproductive. Robert is correct that a scientific reputation rests on an entire career, and Salby is a very good atmospheric scientist, as his popular textbook on the subject demonstrates to anybody outside it. You don’t get to write a popular textbook unless you really know the subject, and it is a very complex subject.

        Even very good scientists make mistakes. Salby erred in not retracting his claims when it became evident that he was misinterpreting the evidence, and he became a casualty of the climate wars. He was very unfairly treated by his university and made to pay too highly. He then allowed himself to be weaponized by skeptics through his conferences, but since it was a blunt soft weapon he suffered the consequences. It is a sad story but it has a moral lesson.

      • Javier remains incorrect in his superficial and frankly disingenuously condescending take on what Salby was saying. That was one minor annoyance.

        The technical points were something else. There is a thermally induced CO2 emission – and I discuss the balance between respiration and primary production above.

      • As the world warms the biosphere expands and sequesters more CO₂. The ocean releases CO₂ when it warms, but it is a small amount, like 16 ppm / °C, and that release is overwhelmed by what it takes due to the increase in atmospheric CO₂ partial pressure.

        By thermally induced CO2 emission you might refer to volcanic emissions. Active volcanoes are indeed quite hot.

      • Emissions from volcanoes are not caused by changes in atmospheric temperature.

        In a warming, CO2 enriched world there is an increase in both respiration and primary production. It is the balance that matters. The total CO2 emission from soils and detritus is about 98+/- 12 GtC/yr.

        “The available data are, however, consistent with an acceleration of the terrestrial carbon cycle in response to global climate change.”

        The increase in respiration from soils alone between 1989 and 2008 is reported at 1.5GtC. To put this in context, human emissions are 9.7 PgC – which is equal to 9.7 billion tons carbon content, 9.7 Gigaton C and 34.7 billion tons CO2. The increase in soil respiration at present equals some 20% of human emissions

      • I got as far as ‘pause’ data trumping theory and laughed. “First, if Salby is right, the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations should have slowed or stopped because of the ‘pause’. They haven’t.”

        There is a thermally induced CO2 emission and the biokinetics are obvious. It would would have to be shown that there isn’t and I don’t think that’s possible. The only question is how big the effect is.

      • afonzarelli

        Bartemis May 13, 2017 10:53am

        So stupid. The model is not that CO2 is proportional to the temperature anomaly, but that it is proportional to the integral of temperate anomaly.

        Ferdinand Engelbeen May 14, 2017 12:36pm

        Rud is wrong on that point…

  47. Although I rabbit on about chaos – it is shorthand for a complex of physical processes that cause climate data to behave like that of the broad class of dynamical systems and climate is defined thus as chaotic. It confirms that we are looking at a highly complex system for which there is no simple cause and effect. After that it is mechanism and coupling.

    For that you may go directly here – this is a paper with exceptional clarity.

    “Ice age CO2 reductions coincide with an increase in ice sheet extent and therefore an increase in global albedo, and this should result in further cooling of the climate. But what actually happens is that when CO2 reaches a minimum and albedo reaches a maximum, the world rapidly warms into an interglacial. A similar effect can be seen at the peak of an interglacial, where high CO2 and low albedo results in cooling. This counterintuitive response of the climate system also remains unexplained, and so a hitherto unaccounted for agent must exist that is strong enough to counter and reverse the classical feedback mechanisms.” CO2 forcing changes are minor compared to ice albedo changes – but become important at glacial max with the creation of CO2 (and moisture) starved deserts.
    “A summary graph of all the factors that play a role in glacial modulation. Key: Ice Volume (grey), Epica3 temperature (red), CO2 levels (yellow), Epica3 Dust (purple), Laskar Precessional Forcing (blue), Laskar Eccentricity (black). Diagrammatic only – scales adjusted to suit the diagram. Note that there are no strong Great Summers or Great winters for at least 50 kyr into the future, and so the world is unlikely to experience another ice-age for many millennia. Image courtesy of Prof Clive Best”

    Following a “temporary warm period, the rate of polar ice regrowth and its associated increase in albedo, controls the cooling-rate of the oceans and climate. These steadily reducing temperatures control the equally steady oceanic absorption and sequestration of atmospheric CO2, which in turn eventually controls the exponential increase in dust production, which then lowers ice-sheet albedo and primes the world for another interglacial warming.”

    Although there is a complex biokinetics that controls – with temperature – sequestration of carbon and emission of CO2 – not simply oceans. I hope as well that they are right about ice ages. But northern insolation is declining over the next few thousand years and – if we believe Wally Broecker – the trigger for abrupt inception of glaciation is Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. There is a complex of processes there involving freshening and warming of northern ocean surfaces as well as ocean and atmospheric circulation changes driven by chaotic solar intensity changes – especially UV – modulating cold polar outbreaks in both hemispheres.

    Even if we temporarily escape another glacial – the suggestion is with a cooling eastern Pacific surface – and regional northern cooling – with a declining solar intensity this century – of a cooler, internal planetary influence offsetting AGW. But there are no cycles in climate – it is chaotic turtles all the way down. And chaos at this juncture of incomplete understanding of mechanisms and their coupling is intrinsically unguessable.

    • But there are no cycles in climate

      Except for the Milankovitch ones, especially obliquity. But this too is chaotic – an externally periodically forced nonlinear oscillator.

      You say no. OK – then why does every single interglacial since the MPR coincide with an obliquity peak with a 6500 year lag?

      Does so.

      • Milankovitch cycles are not quite periodic – and they are Lorenzian forcing of a resonant system.

      • You mean related to a Lorenz butterfly attractor, the two “wings” being glacial and interglacial? That would make sense.

      • A hand is five.
        Another five.
        What do you get when
        you add five and five?

      • I was thinking more of a small trigger for a large event – but yours works.

      • No actual butterflies were harmed in the making of the hypothesis.

        However there is a problem. We can make formulas capable of explaining past interglacials and thus capable of predicting future interglacials. Of course 30,000 and 70,000 years are required for the first and second predictions to come true. But no truly chaotic system can be successfully predicted, so the interglacial cycle is an astronomically derived cycle, and thus deterministic, not chaotic.

        Tzedakis, P. C., Crucifix, M., Mitsui, T., & Wolff, E. W. (2017). A simple rule to determine which insolation cycles lead to interglacials. Nature, 542(7642), 427.

        A simple rule dispels the myth of chaotic atractors and tipping points.

      • Javier
        Chaotic systems can be periodically forced.
        But they’re still chaotic / nonlinear.
        Like pushing a child on a swing.
        The classic Belousov-Zhabotinsky nonlinear oscillating reactor can be periodically forced.
        Chaos is of course anathema to cyclomania, but as I keep saying the two are not exclusive.

      • Robert A hand is five.
        Another five.
        What do you get when
        you add five and five?

        Are you trying to say “high five!”?

      • Chaotic systems can be periodically forced.

        Phil, it is clear that climate and weather are dominated by chaotic behavior on short timescales.
        The question is if on longer timescales periodic variations in forcings and conditions cause deterministic cyclical behavior that can be predicted.
        The seasons are the perfect example. Although subjected to chaotic variability, seasons are predictable. You can count on summer being warmer than winter. Agriculture would not be possible without this predictability.
        Since cycles are present all around us in biology, geology, astronomy, and climate, I don’t understand why believing that this is a real phenomenon probably behind observed periodicities can be compared with a mental disorder. Again we find a general insulting disqualification for a perfectly respectable scientific opinion. Same attempt as in climate with skeptics disqualification.

      • Javier makes the common error of equating chaos with randomness. The solar system is an n-body problem and although orbits can be reconstructed or projected over relatively long periods – it doesn’t imply a strict periodicity where it counts. It is chaos that is predictable within limits.

        “The orbital motion of the planets in the Solar System is chaotic. As a result, initially close orbits diverge exponentially with a characteristic Lyapunov time of 5 Ma. This sensitivity to initial conditions will limit the possibility of obtaining an accurate solution for the orbital and precessional motion of the Earth over more than 35–50 Ma. The principal sources of uncertainty in the model are reviewed here. It appears that at present the largest source of error could reside in the lack of knowledge of the value of the precession due to the oblateness (J2) of the Sun. Nevertheless, for the
        calibration of geological time-scale, this limitation can be overcome to some extent if one considers in the geological data the signature of the outer planets’ secular orbital motion which is predictable on a much longer time-scale. Moreover, it should be possible to observe in the geological records the trace of transition from the (s4 − s3) − 2(g4 − g3) secular resonance to the (s4 − s3) − (g4 − g3) resonance. The detection and dating of these passages should induce extremely high constraints on
        the dynamical models for the orbital evolution of the Solar System.”

        If the variable of interest is 65 degree north insolation – then chaotic orbital wobbles add up to variability in both period and intensity. “There are three main orbital cycles that influence and regulate the intensity of terrestrial insolation in the high latitudes, and these are obliquity, eccentricity and precession. Although each of these cycles has a unique effect, it is the complex interplay between these orbital cycles that provides the insolation forcing for each ice age cycle…”
        “Graph of Milankovitch insolation at 65°N (blue) vs. Antarctic temperature (red). The graph plots the last 21 precessional Seasonal Great Years in W/m2. The insolation peaks represent northern hemisphere Great Summer seasons, and the insolation troughs represent northern hemisphere Great Winter seasons. Sources: Laskar et al., 2004; Epica3, 2007.”

        The actual timing and intensity of glacials/interglacials depends on internal planetary responses that are indeed unpredictable. Milankovitch insolation is a relatively small change that initiates abrupt and large transitions in the climate system. It is as I say a Lorenzian forcing of a resonant system.

        And while one place may be warm and another cold due to axial tilt – it is the shifting global average that matters for climate. The latter is not predictable either.


      • Javier
        I shouldn’t have used the “cyclo..” word, it was going too far, sorry 😐.
        Ocean circulation systems can have cyclic behaviour eg AMO / PDO and I wonder if chaotic dynamics could be present in oceanic circulation. If so then you have the basis for chaotic/nonlinear dynamics on century and millennial timescale. Both internal and periodically forced.

      • I wonder if chaotic dynamics could be present in oceanic circulation.

        Of course they do, just as hurricanes have different paths, based on a similar origin location.

      • If the variable of interest is 65 degree north insolation

        It is not. This is a profound mistake. The variable of interest, as defined by Milutin Milankovitch is whole 65° NH summer energy, not the peak energy on a single day. Close but the differences matter a lot because it follows obliquity more than precession. Nearly everybody is mistaken on this, but Huybers and Tzedakis have realized the truth.

      • It was a rhetorical question – there is no mistake profound or otherwise.

      • Ulric Lyons

        “it is clear that climate and weather are dominated by chaotic behavior on short timescales.”

        Having produced weekly scale forecasts for solar forcing of the AO/NAO for several years, I thoroughly disagree.

    • Remembering of course that there is no physical butterfly involved.

      • Lorenz specifically referenced a butterfly wing, in his comment as being able to alter global weather.

      • It comes from the title of a 1972 lecture by Lorenz – can a butterfly in Mexico cause a tornado in Texas? It is pure allegory. No real butterflies involved.

      • The “butterfly” was slight differences in decimal places to the far right in initial conditions in his weather model.

  48. You can’t assume any of the current warming is natural, the same as you cant assume it’s all due to CO2.

    It’s all in the data.

    Find me some natural warming that’s going on in the recent past or present.

  49. Greenhouse gases don’t change the emission spectrum of the planet. They delay escape of energy for microseconds and increase the energy content of the atmosphere at any one time. What does happen is that there is an increase in photon scattering in all directions.

    So there’s your hypothesis. The induced scattering in the relevant frequencies should be detectable with a space based spectrometer when the Earth is viewed through a narrow aperture. Snapshots taken in 1970 and 1997 show the difference.

  50. Javier – many thanks for this post. The fact that it’s in plain English means that it will be widely read.

  51. Whether or not the world is warming or whatever the cause – an enlightened global response is the same. Where the focus is on energy emissions – it is a monumental failure. Paris – as it should – commits the world to an increase in energy emissions of 8% in 2030.

    Energy emissions are 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even if miraculously we moved to 100% wind and solar – this would still leave 75% as well as black carbon and co-emitted aerosols – that have a warming potential of 1W/m2 as black carbon but twice that when mixed with organic carbon and sulfate. This is a health and environmental issues addressable with off the shelf technology – including HELE coal generation.


    Reclaiming deserts and restoring grasslands, woodlands and agricultural lands conserves biodiversity, builds prosperous and resilient communities, enhances food security and mitigate flood and drought. It has the potential to sequester 100 billion metric tons of carbon over 40 years. It is happening in the US as much as anywhere else.

    Much can be done with economic freedom and some with aid – focusing on the same smart objectives on fronts of population, development and environment.

    The remainder can be addressed only with technology improvements – including in energy. Efficiency and innovation advances that have major economic advantages for innovators and adopters. And that – if you have a passing acquaintance with economics – will rapidly transform economies and society in “a gale of creative destruction”.

    The climate war has polluted both science and policy on both sides. Despite what you read here or elsewhere the past is uncertain and the future unpredictable – but it matters not at all. Personally – I look forward to the day when climate science is relegated to that little corner of the mind labeled natural philosophy and policy is rational.

  52. Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  53. RGHE theory exists only to explain why the earth is 33 C warmer with an atmosphere than without. Not so. The average global temperature of 288 K is a massive WAG at the ”surface.” The w/o temperature of 255 K is a theoretical S-B ideal BB OLR calculation at the top of – the atmosphere. An obviously flawed RGHE faux-thermodynamic “theory” pretends to explain a mechanism behind this non-existent phenomenon, the difference between two made up atmospheric numbers.

    But with such great personal, professional and capital investment in this failed premise, like the man with only a hammer, assorted climate “experts” pontificate that every extreme, newsworthy weather or biospheric flora or fauna variation just must be due to “climate change.”

    The Earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the Earth warm, it keeps the Earth cool. As albedo increases, heating and temperature decrease. As albedo decreases, heating and temperature increase.

    Over 9,600 views of my five WriterBeat papers and zero rebuttals. There was one lecture on water vapor, but that kind of misses the CO2 point.

    Step right up, bring science, I did.

    Nick Schroeder, BSME, PE (LinkedIn)—We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-

    • TOA has a simple conceptual basis. In space all energy flux is electromagnetic. Thus a radiative – as opposed to a thermodynamic equilibrium – can be defined.

      dE/dt – Energy in – Energy out

      The left hand term is ocean heat change(90%), terrestrial heat change (4%) and change in ice and water vapor (4%). It doesn’t quite add up but never mind.

      Energy in is from the sun – and it changes a very little.

      Energy out is in SW.

      And as IR emission.

      Ocean heat is in Joules – and power flux is in Watts. But just imagine that the latter is in Joules/second and all the units are the same. No oranges here.

      This is a system that is not in any sort of physical equilibrium. It gains energy and tries to lose it at the same rate largely in the Planck response to warming or cooling. Technically a system that tends to maximum entropy. The atmosphere is mostly transparent to incoming SW and the surface is warmed. Warm surfaces emit IR photons. At specific IR frequencies greenhouse gases interact with outgoing photons causing vibrations to rotations to translation to electron excitation. All with the quantum photon energy of the Planck constant times the frequency. Ultimately photons will be re-emitted in random directions – bouncing around the atmosphere – with more greenhouse gases – a teeny amount longer than they otherwise would. Now if this doesn’t happen on the planet you’re from all bets are off.

      On my planet tremendous energy cascades through powerful sub-systems modulating energy out through changes in ice, cloud, water vapor, dust and biology. It’s endlessly fascinating.

      • 288 – 255 = 33 is rubbish.

        Upwelling/downwelling/”back” LWIR is thermo rubbish.

        RGHE is rubbish.

        If you can’t defend those points – you;ve got bubkis!!

      • References:
        Trenberth et al 2011jcli24 Figure 10
        This popular balance graphic and assorted variations are based on a power flux, W/m^2. A W is not energy, but energy over time, i.e. 3.4 Btu/eng h or 3.6 kJ/SI h. The 342 W/m^2 ISR is determined by spreading the average discular 1,368 W/m^2 solar irradiance/constant over the spherical ToA surface area. (1,368/4 =342) There is no consideration of the elliptical orbit (perihelion = 1,415 W/m^2 to aphelion = 1,323 W/m^2) or day or night or seasons or tropospheric thickness or energy diffusion due to oblique incidence, etc. This popular balance models the earth as a ball suspended in a hot fluid with heat/energy/power entering evenly over the entire ToA spherical surface. This is not even close to how the real earth energy balance works. Everybody uses it. Everybody should know better.
        An example of a real heat balance based on Btu/h is as follows. Basically (Incoming Solar Radiation spread over the earth’s cross sectional area, Btu/h) = (U*A*dT et. al. leaving the lit side perpendicular to the spherical surface ToA, Btu/h) + (U*A*dT et. al. leaving the dark side perpendicular to spherical surface area ToA, Btu/h) The atmosphere is just a simple HVAC/heat flow/balance/insulation problem.
        “Technically, there is no absolute dividing line between the Earth’s atmosphere and space, but for scientists studying the balance of incoming and outgoing energy on the Earth, it is conceptually useful to think of the altitude at about 100 kilometers above the Earth as the “top of the atmosphere.”
        The top of the atmosphere is the bottom line of Earth’s energy budget, the Grand Central Station of radiation. It is the place where solar energy (mostly visible light) enters the Earth system and where both reflected light and invisible, thermal radiation from the Sun-warmed Earth exit. The balance between incoming and outgoing energy at the top of the atmosphere determines the Earth’s average temperature. The ability of greenhouses gases to change the balance by reducing how much thermal energy exits is what global warming is all about.” (bold & underline are mine)
        ToA is 100 km or 62 miles. It is 68 miles between Denver and Colorado Springs. That’s not just thin, that’s ludicrous thin. 99% of the atmospheric mass is below 32 km. Above 32 km there are very few molecules. Without molecules, energy, heat, cold, hot concepts get a tad iffy.
        The GHE/GHG loop as shown on Trenberth Figure 10 is made up of three main components: upwelling of 396 W/m^2 which has two sub parts: 63 W/m^2 LWIR and 333 W/m^2 and downwelling of 333 W/m^2.
        The 396 W/m^2 is calculated by inserting 16 C or 279K in the S-B BB equation, a calculation that does not actually exist in the real world. The result is 55 W/m^2 of power flux more than ISR entering ToA, an obvious violation of conservation of energy, i.e. created out of nothing. That should have been a warning.
        ISR of 341 W/m^2 enter ToA, 102 W/m^2 are reflected by the albedo, leaving a net 239 W/m^2 entering ToA. 78 W/m^2 are absorbed by the atmosphere leaving 161 W/m^2 for the surface. To maintain the overall energy balance and a steady temperature (not really a requirement) 160 W/m^2 rises from the surface (0.9 residual in ground) as 17 W/m^2 convection, 80 W/m^2 latent and 63 W/m^2 LWIR (S-B BB 183 K, -90 C or emissivity = .16) = 160 W/m^2. All of the graphic’s power fluxes are now present and accounted for. The remaining and perpetual looping 333 W/m^2 are the spontaneous creation of an inappropriate application of the S-B BB equation violating conservation of energy.
        But let’s press on.
        The 333 W/m^2 upwelling/downwelling constitutes a 100% efficient perpetual energy loop violating thermodynamics. There is no net energy left at the surface to warm the earth and there is no net energy left in the troposphere to impact radiative balance at ToA.
        The 333 W/m^2, 97% of ISR, upwells into the troposphere where it is allegedly absorbed/trapped/blocked by a miniscule 0.04% of the atmosphere. That’s a significant heat load for such a tiny share of atmospheric molecules (aren’t any above 32 km) and they should all be hotter than two dollar pistols.
        Except they aren’t.
        The troposphere is cold, -40 C at 30,000 ft, 9 km, < -60 C at ToA. Depending on how one models the troposphere, an evenly distributed average or weighted by layers from surface to ToA, the S-B BB equation for the tropospheric temperatures ranges from 150 to 250 W/m^2, a considerable, 45% to 75% of, less than 333. Radiation is a surface phenomenon. There is no “surface.”
        (99% of the atmosphere is below 32 km where molecular energy moves by convection/conduction/latent/radiation & where ideal S-B does not apply. Above 32 km the low molecular density does not allow for convection/conduction/latent and energy moves by S-B ideal radiation et. al.)
        But wait!
        The GHGs reradiate in all directions not just back to the surface. Say a statistical 33% makes it back to the surface that means 50 to 80 W/m^2. An even longer way away from the 333, 15% to 24% of.
        But wait!
        Because the troposphere is not ideal the S-B equation must consider emissivity. Nasif Nahle suggests CO2 emissivity could be around 0.1 or 5 to 8 W/m^2 re-radiated back to the surface. Light years from 333, 1.5% to 2.4% of.
        But wait!
        All of the above really doesn’t even matter since there is no net connection or influence between the 333 W/m^2 thermodynamically impossible loop and the radiative balance at 100 km ToA. Just erase this loop from the graphic and nothing else about the balance changes.
        BTW 7 of the 8 reanalyzed (i.e. water board the data until it gives up the “right” answer) data sets/models show more power flux leaving OLR than entering ASR ToA or atmospheric cooling. Obviously those seven data sets/models have it completely wrong because there can’t possibly be any flaw in the GHE theory.
        The GHE greenhouse analogy/theory not only does not apply to the atmosphere, it doesn’t even apply to warming a real greenhouse. (“The Discovery of Global Warming” Spencer Weart) In a real greenhouse the physical barrier of walls, glass, plastic trap the convective heat, not some kind of handwavium glassy, transparent, multi-layer, radiative thermal diode.
        The surface of the earth is warm for the same reason a heated house is warm in the winter: Q = U * A * dT, the energy flow/heat resisting blanket of the insulated walls. Same for the atmospheric blanket. A blanket works by Q = U * A * dT, not S-B BB. The composite thermal conductivity of that paper-thin atmosphere, conduction, convection, latent, LWIR, resists the flow of energy, i.e. heat, from surface to ToA and to make that energy flow (heat) requires a temperature differential, 213 K ToA and 288 K surface = 75 C. The atmosphere is just a basic HVAC system boundary analysis.
        Open for rebuttal. If you can explain how this upwelling/downwelling/”back” radiation actually really works be certain to copy Jennifer Marohasy as she has posted a challenge for such an explanation.

      • Wow – it’s an energy cartoon – not seriously intended to exactly be representative of a dynamic Earth. But It works by photon scattering – and unless you can refute quantum mechanics?

      • Per Al’s prize-winning photo-electric equation, a photon of a minimum energy enters in/absorbed by atom/molecule excites/rotates/oscillates/vibrates electrons out of their orbits. When those electrons fall back into their assigned/normal orbits they emit a photon – at a lower energy than the incoming photon, different by the work function.
        So, an AL atom in a ruby absorbs high energy SW UV and emits lower energy red light.
        The 0.04% GHGs CANNOT absorb 333 W/m^2 and then remit 333 W/m^2 per the ubiquitous k-T diagram (i.e. everybody and his uncle uses it or variations.)
        Per my paper there is zero net energy left behind at either location warming the surface or warming the atmosphere.
        The galactic king of QED was Feynmann and he observed that if experiments don’t support your theory, your theory is wrong.
        My collection of papers is nearing 10,000 views and zero rebuttals.
        Your lone unfocused nonsense hasn’t changed that record.

      • My preferred analogy for how GHGs work is indeed insulation. No GHGs means no insulation. The surface goes to 255 K because without insulation it just radiates to space as though the atmosphere is not there. You need those special gases in the atmosphere for it to be an insulator at all.

      • You need those special gases in the atmosphere for it to be an insulator at all.

        Both vacuum, and inert gases are excellent insulators.

      • For radiation?

      • Thermal radiation is blocked neither by a vacuum nor inert gases.

      • No, conduction is, that’s what makes them good insulators. That’s why thermos containers use a vacuum to insulate the contents, and air is what makes fiberglass insulation a good insulator.
        Mirrors (gold the best, silver next) backed by either is the best thermal barrier layer.

      • The atmosphere insulates against thermal radiation escaping to space, specifically the GHGs in the atmosphere, without which clear air won’t insulate at all.

      • That insulates you very little, its why you can die of hypothermia over night in the desert. Why the temp can drop almost 40°F over night, more than 2x the global average of ~18°F.
        Why the enthalpy of the desert drops twice as much at the surface, as it does in the tropics.
        And why the optical window plays an important role in cooling the surface even with the noncondensing GHG’s.

      • It is actually a big difference between a comfortable 15 C and a frigid -18 C. That’s the GHGs doing that.

      • They do maybe half of that, the rest is my effect.
        So no, close to half is stored heat of evaporation being dispersed around the globe.

      • Funny, thanks.

      • Your efforts at it are humorous.

      • As I said. The atmosphere is mostly transparent to incoming SW and the surface is warmed. Warm surfaces emit IR photons. At specific IR frequencies greenhouse gases resonantly interact with outgoing IR photons causing vibrations to rotations to translation to electron excitation. All with the quantum photon energy of the Planck constant times the frequency. Ultimately IR photons will be re-emitted in random directions as electron orbits in greenhouse gases jump between energy states. These IR frequency photons bounce around the atmosphere – with more greenhouse gases – a teeny amount longer than they otherwise would increasing energy – and thus temperature – in the atmosphere.

        Electron orbits make quantum leaps – so when a photon is emitted in random directions on a return to a lower energy state – it is with the quantum of energy of the photon that caused electron orbit excitation. The key quantum mechanism in the atmosphere is increased IR photon scattering in all directions – including down – with increased greenhouse gas concentrations. You cannot show that this doesn’t happen and rabbiting on about irrelevancies doesn’t change that single, simple core fact.

        The planetary scale experiment has been done as I discussed above. Now if you will excuse me I will get onto something more interesting than your – or Jimmy D’s – physics confabulations.

  54. has anything really happened or anyone figured out what’s going on yet?

  55. John Miller

    Excellent article -will there be a Part IX to this, and if so can you provide us an outline? I’m guessing it will be your educated guess (in detail) on what will happen between now and the next onset of glaciation.

    • John

      Did you mean ‘guess’ or ‘robustly modelled computer projection’ ? The words are completely interchangeable in post modern climate science.


    • will there be a Part IX to this?

      I hope so. I am working on a Part IX about conservative forecasting of climate change in the 21st century with sections on:
      – Changes in CO2 emissions and atmospheric levels.
      Including analysis of demographic changes, Peak Coal and Peak Oil
      – Changes in solar activity.
      Including analysis of a proposed mid-21st century solar grand minimum
      – Changes in global surface average temperature.
      – Consequences for sea level rise, Arctic sea ice melting, and weather extremes.

      It is guaranteed to be controversial even though I am trying to be as conservative as possible with my estimates. The evidence points to small changes in climate but profound changes in human dynamics related to climate change. Obviously everybody will have a different opinion, since we will be discussing the future.

      The article is getting long enough that it will require another article to discuss the next millennia and the chances of a glaciation in humanity’s future.

  56. Javier
    Please put our minds at rest that this isn’t you:

    • I read the sad news. A military on board the Spanish scientific vessel for Antarctic exploration was alone on deck during rough sea conditions and fell overboard without anybody noticing. The body was recovered 6 hours later. That’s too bad. We tend to forget the dangerous fantastic work that climate scientists and supporting personnel are doing at remote locations so we can find out what is going on with climate.

      Javier is a quite common name in Spanish-speaking countries. It comes from Saint Francis birthplace at the castle and village of Javier in Navarra (Spain).

  57. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #306 | Watts Up With That?

  58. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #306 |

  59. There is a one eyed climate narrative that never changes, never evolves and never admits of any scientific complexities or doubt.

    Recent climate change is dominated by cloud change. it requires space based evidence. Cloud change is dominated by changes of sea surface temperature and associated low cloud formation in the Pacific (Clements et al, 2009).

    It is not discernible in surface temperature – except as decadal changes in temperature trajectories – or in CO2 graphs. It is discernible in wind, ocean circulation and biological productivity that are abundantly clear to science. .


    Nor is it an oscillation. The data patterns were recognized from 1500 year Nile River records in the middle of the last century as regimes and sudden shifts. It is a pattern repeated in climate series at all scales. It is a dynamical systems response to a changing Lorenzian forcing. The Lorenzian forcing is small changes in solar intensity.

    The response is more eastern Pacific upwelling – more cloud – and a cooler planet than otherwise for centuries.

    One can repeat endlessly a simplistic narrative – it gets a lot tedious – and it so completely ignores such broad areas of climate science as to be irredeemable nonsense.

      • “We emphasize that the NE Pacific cloud changes described above are tied to cloud changes that span the Pacific basin. Despite much less
        surface sampling in the Southeast (SE) Pacific, cloud and meteorological changes in that region generally occur in parallel with those in the NE
        Pacific (Figs. 2 and 3). Also, we find that the leading mode in an empirical orthogonal function analysis (15% of the variance) of global cloud cover (fig. S3) has a spatial pattern similar to that in Fig. 3 and the time series shows the same decadal shifts as in Fig. 1, indicating that the changes in the NE Pacific are part of a dominant mode of global cloud variability.” Clement et al 2009, SCIENCE VOL 325 24 JULY 2009 p463

        Reading past the headline might help – but I doubt it.

      • None of them agree with you. You read straight to your political bias.

      • And you’ve mocked me for years for saying almost exactly what she is saying. The PDO has been progressively offsetting (masking is the NASA word in the article you have linked to about a billion times) AGW warming since it peeked around 1985. For 30 years it masked the AGW signal, which is why low climate sensitivity is a stew”O”pudd pipe dream. But but, the AMOC!

        It is not offsetting it now: sea level rise accelerating; warming rate over the first two decades steamrolling toward .2 ℃ per decade (an IPCC bullseye); La Niña events with hot anomalies. Lol.

        Springback warming. Enjoy it.

      • I link to the NASA page because it explains an aspect of this simply and authoritatively.

        “Also, we find that the leading mode in an empirical orthogonal function analysis (15% of the variance) of global cloud cover (fig. S3) has a spatial pattern similar to that in Fig. 3 and the time series shows the same decadal shifts as in Fig. 1, ”

        Have you got past the paywall yet? From long experience – I don’t think they are saying what you imagine they are saying – any of them. Nor is climate data what you imagine it to be. Springback doesn’t quite get the job done.

        Try this one – but I doubt that it will help you. It’s “a vision and an agenda for the next 10 years of hydrological research in support of society.” I advise you to look at the base of the triangle.

        But seriously I don’t mock you – you make enough of a fool of yourself.

      • Lol. You’re wrong. You’re wrong because you hate progressives. it’s hilarious.

      • “Ιt is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits.”
        (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1094b)

        I am wrong on science because I a classic liberal with a sophisticated social and environmental viewpoint who hates progressives? Oh God I hate progressives.

    • Also of relevance. The main component of the energy budget that changes under CO2 forcing is absorbed shortwave radiation (ASR).