The most amazing greening on Earth

by Patrick J. Michaels

We’ve long been fond of showing the satellite evidence for planetary greening caused by increasing carbon dioxide, particularly the work of Zhu et al.(2016):

Figure 1: Trends in Leaf Area Index around the planet. Note the units are in hundredths (10-2) of meters per square meter. An increase of 25 (Purple, right end of scale) is actually an annual change of .025 square meters per year. Note that the largest greenings are in fact over the South American, African, and Australasian tropical rainforests.

The variable usually shown is the Leaf Area Index (LAI), an interesting measure of vegetation density. A value of 1.00 means that one square meter of the sensed vegetation, if the leaves were spread out, would entirely cover a square meter.

Plants with exceedingly dense vegetation (think of your over-fertilized tomato plants by the end of summer) have LAI values far in excess of 1.0, and some, such as sparse grasslands, may be quite a bit less than 1.0, indicating the presence of a lot of bare ground.

A new paper by Simon Munier, of France’s Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, and several co-authors, segregates satellite-sensed LAI data into different vegetation types, taken over the period 1999-2015. This allows the researchers to quantitatively determine the amount of greening that is taking place over time, depending upon the vegetation type.

A note on LAI: when applied to crop plants, it doesn’t necessarily directly correlate to the yield or productivity of the plant. Think about those over-fertilized tomatoes again. Gardeners often complain that they have huge vegetation masses (i.e. large LAI’s) but few fruit. However, if the vegetation in question is in fact consumed entirely as an agricultural product (think lettuce, for example) the LAI in fact is a direct measure of agricultural productivity.

The most common vegetation type on earth—grassland—is often agricultural in usage. Many are either directly grazed, or, as is the case for the most productive ones, harvested for hay which is then consumed when pasture is no longer growing enough to support cattle or sheep. Rapidly increasing grassland LAI values are therefore a very useful greening of the earth.

Munier’s team divided the satellite data into that sensing broadleaf (deciduous) forests, evergreen forest types, summer and winter crops, and grasslands. Their 17-year time series provides average LAI values as well as temporal trends.

The cool part of the paper is its Figure 8, showing mean and trend values worldwide for the LAI in six vegetation types:

Figure 2:  Average LAI value for the six vegetation types (given quantitatively in the lower left corner of each map) and the trend in LAI per year, on the right. The +/- is the spatial  standard deviation, which is generally large because soil, terrain, and weather difference clearly influence LAI and vegetation health.  Nonetheless, all the trend values are significant at the p-value<.01 These seemingly arcane figures reveal a spectacular greening of the world’s grasslands. See text for details.

The details are in the numbers. The average (1999-2015) grassland LAI is 0.55, meaning its ground cover worldwide averages less than complete. The trend, of 0.0279 square meters per year, is a remarkable 5.0% per year. Over the 17-year period of record, this means that grassland LAI increased by 85%. According to Munier et al., grassland, as the most common vegetation type, covers 31% of the global continental surface measured (Antarctica was not sampled). This is a remarkable greening.

The aforementioned Zhu et al. study performed a factor analysis to determine the causes. According to the paper,

Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau.

In other words, 78 [70 + 8] percent of observed planetary greening is caused by carbon dioxide and its effect upon climate.

We have repeatedly demonstrated (within here, for example) that about a half of a degree (C) of observed planetary warming is ascribable to anthropogenerated changes in the atmosphere. The main result appears to be a planet that is becoming so much greener that it is readily apparent from space.

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

225 responses to “The most amazing greening on Earth

  1. Typos in the caption to figure 1: “Note the units are in hundredths (10-2) of meters per square meter. An increase of 25 (Purple, right end of scale) is actually an annual change of .025 square meters per year. ”

    In the first sentence: omitted “square” before “meters”; also omitted “per year”. Second sentence: given those units, a value of 25 would correspond to an annual change of 0.25 square meters per square meter.

  2. guitar man | September 19, 2018 at 5:46 pm |

    Given that deforestation by humans stands at roughly 50% of global forests the remaining trees can or sequester the trillions of tons of this GHG

    I think you mean “can not sequester” … if so, just how do you know that?

    It’s really not nice for you to lie about the benefits of increases in CO2. Zhu is a known denier as well

    First, calling a man a liar without pointing out EXACTLY where you are claiming he lied is the act of a pusillanimous coward.

    Second, calling people “deniers” is just plain nasty. It was a term intended to bring up memories of “holocaust denier”, and as such is a scummy attempt at guilt by association.


  3. One of the interesting features of evergreens are their thirst for water; how they scavenge for water, and most remarkable to me, their “big gulp” after a significant rain.

    This year, as in some years past, at 45 N latitude there was no rain for almost 6 weeks. The fire hazard was “Extreme”. And then, in one day/night there was a 3+ inch rainfall. My observation region is atop the Niagara Escarpment, a dolomitic limestone bedrock that vegetation sits on and competes with one another for nutrients and water. Literally, scratch the surface and it is rock. As much of the region was carved by glaciers, there are pools and outcroppings which trap water and silt in which the forest vegetation send their roots to feed. During droughts, these pools dry out and one walks along the pool bottoms crunching the now dried organic matter. Trees during droughts look forlorn, some even droopy.

    After a 3+ inch rain one would think that a walk the next day through the forest one would find pools of standing water or, encounter at least squishy sneaker wetting surfaces. Not the case. Instead, no pools of water, the organic material is damp but does to compress, and the air? Oh, the air is fresh with the intermingling smells of cedar, balsa, spruce and pine. The trees have soaked up the rain and now give off their aromas. This hiker’s olfactory sense of identification is at first challenged and then lapses into pleasure; trees giving off an air of delicacy.

    Trees take advantage of what is around them. CO2 wafts their leaves and needles. These give off oxygen and intoxicating fragrances. And their roots seek and find all available water. Its nice to be around.

    • The increases in CO2 in our atmosphere produce no positive effects.

      In fact the additional CO2 forcings have disrupted a stable climate, acidified our oceans and are contributing to war

      • guitar man the additional CO2 forcings resulted in Trump, Brexit, the ousting of Robert Mugabe and now the death of Burt Reynolds. Indeed something must be done.

      • guitar man

        “The increases in CO2 in our atmosphere produce no positive effects.”

        Yet NASA reports a greening of the planet by 14% in thirty+ years of satellite observations attributed solely to increased atmospheric CO2.

        Would you be good enough to point out to me the observable, direct negative consequences of increased atmospheric CO2 please?

        And whilst you’re at it, perhaps you could furnish me with just a few credible, empirical studies which demonstrate that CO2 causes the planet to warm, far less man’s contribution.

        After 40 years of AGW, I’m sure there must be dozens, if not hundreds, I just can’t find any.

      • Guitar man,

        The increases in CO2 in our atmosphere produce no positive effects.

        That’s an unsupported assertion. The facts are that 0.75C of warming last century was beneficial.

        Mean Global Surface Temperature (GMST) increased by about 0.75C from 1900 to 2000. Analysis of empirical data of the impacts of this change and increase CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere finds the global impacts for each of the main impact sectors were (in percent of GDP):

        Impact sector change from 1900
        Storms 0.000
        Agriculture 0.563
        Water 0.005
        Sea level rise -0.002
        Health -0.165
        Energy 0.215
        Ecosystems -0.058
        Total 0.558

        That is warming and increased CO2 concentrations during the 20th Century were responsible for increased global GDP of about 0.56%.

        This is from one of the world’s most highly regarded climate economists, Professor Richard Tol. The source of the data is here:

      • guitar man

        I am not sure where you get your information on CO2; here’s one of mine:

        Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, Oklahoma State University, Carbon Dioxide Supplementation:

        “The rate of photosynthesis cannot be increased further after certain intensity of light termed as the light saturation point, which is the maximum amount of light a plant can use. However, additional CO2 increases the light intensity required to obtain the light saturation point, thus increasing the rate of photosynthesis.”

        Does this help?

      • OK, now try to grow a plant with zero CO2 and see what happens. In an atmosphere containing 150ppm CO2, vegetation starts to die out. with less the planet dies.

      • Rinaldo Sorgenti

        Fantastic catastrophic evaluation.

      • i hope you don’t teach that nonsense to the school kids “guitar man”, another sks visitor. i have yet to see any measured detrimental effects of the anthropogenic component of co2 in the atmosphere. i suspect i will never see any.

      • And the heartbreak of psoriasis. Climate change causes that, too, right, guitar man? Or else it’s Trump’s fault. Or Bush’s.

        Meanwhile, in the real world…

      • Goofy. Climate is never “stable”.

  4. It’s funny how the moderator
    Of this denier echo chamber restricts in line replies to the #Kochtopus members who
    Have setup full time shop here.

    Hey Scott, why are their 50% less trees on earth VS pre industrialization ?

    Nobody buys the greener earth BS

    • “…why are their 50% less trees on earth VS pre industrialization?”

      In developed nations the forest canopy has doubled over the last one hundred years. There’s been a decline of the forest canopy in third world nations as a result of clear cutting.

    • guitar man

      “Hey Scott, why are their 50% less trees on earth VS pre industrialization ?”

      Well I guess even a stupid question deserves an answer. Because they were chopped down for burning and IKEA furniture.

      My understanding is that not too long ago Scotland was basically a deciduous forest until it was all used for firewood.

      And once again, still no response from an alarmist on the fundamental question of the whole AGW nonsense, where’s the empirically derived evidence that CO2 causes the planet to warm?

    • The moderator of this site has put you into moderation because of your numerous content free comments that are also insulting to other commenters

  5. #Florence

    All cat 5 storms due to CO2 buildup

  6. Hi Patrick,
    Thanks for the essay.
    I think the bigger problem is the changing global chemical balance of critical elements and molecules like oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur etc.. Of particular concern is the decline of oxygen in the oceans, rivers and lakes and I think it is far more important than a few more square kilometers of land biomass.
    Just because it’s green that doesn’t necessarily make it better.

    Just to drive the point home, one of every two breaths you take came from the ocean. Global ocean oxygen levels have dropped over 2% in just the last 50 years. It might not sound like much but it’s the reason ocean dead zones and algal blooms are 400% larger since 1950.

    • Oxygenation depends on partial pressures – that don’t change very much – turbulent mixing and wind blown froth – and ocean warmth.

      Just a simple Fermi test. Are these sufficient to produce measurable – against large intrinsic variability – in ocean oxygen concentrations?

      The deadzones lurk about the coastlines of highly developed regions. The problem is discharges from agriculture and development. These are problems I have spent a career fixing. Ironically restoring some of the 500 GtC lost from soils and ecosystems over the Holocene.

      • I agree that effluent discharges are a major cause of some dead zones and algal blooms but the latest observations are seeing oxygen depletion far away from areas of heavy human activity.
        Go to Google News or Bing News and do a search and you will see reports from around the world and polar regions that are having serious problems because of the algae/oxygen problem.

        PS: Yes we have to restore carbon to the soil too so I’m in agreement with you.
        PPS: Source of all these problems is we do a poor job of controlling our technology and population growth. Got to fix that if we want live on this planet a few thousand years longer.
        To be blunt, we might need to genetically engineer our species to have a much later start to fertility, a shorter time span when we are fertile, longer gestation periods and turn us from carnivores into herbivores. No genocide, starvation or mass deaths required – very humane and I think ethical too.
        CRISPR and Gene Drive could make it happen but do we have the will to do it?

      • Gene hacking human ruminants FFS?

      • Jack, remote “deadzones” big? And, something new, or something newly observed?

      • jacksmith4tx, an herbivorous diet isn’t the most efficient for land use, and is unlikely to become so with a shift to our digestive system. Our energy needs are too high, and an omnivorous diet allows for use of marginal croplands to produce food.

      • aaron,
        The trend is these ‘remote’ dead zones are growing in size according to many recent studies. I just spotted a new one today:
        According to a recent study led by the University of Washington (UW), deoxygenation in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence may lead to loss of marine animal life.

        The study, published in Nature Climate Change, tracked temperature and oxygen level due to large-scale ocean circulation in Canada’s eastern coast.

        “Observations in the very inner Gulf of St. Lawrence show a dramatic oxygen decline, which is reaching hypoxic conditions, meaning it can’t fully support marine life,” said Moriana Claret, lead researcher for the study at UW’s Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Ocean. Oxygen declines have already begun to threaten species such as Atlantic wolffish, Atlantic cod, snow crabs, and Greenland halibut.
        The Gulf of St. Lawrence is considered one of the most rapidly deoxygenating areas, with the lower depths having lost 55 percent of oxygen since 1930, reported CBC News. Warm waters due to climate change take the majority of the blame, but agricultural and industrial waste residue contaminating waterways also plays a big part.

        Excess runoff nutrients in the oceans can create algae blooms, leading to a high growth of plants and algae. When they die due to a high concentration and lack of nutrition, the decaying process begins. This takes up a large amount of oxygen in the water and forms hypoxic conditions.”

        If you setup a a few search terms in your Google News or Bing News personal profile you will see it’s a global phenomenon. The Google trends tool confirms this too. Scientist are attracted to anomalies so it’s logical to assume they collect a lot of data and make a lot of theories, some better than others.

      • Interesting, thanks.

      • Plankton – phyto and zoo – are extraordinarily gifted at recycling nutrients along currents in the photic zone of oceans. There are boundaries that push aquatic – fresh and marine into changes in state called eutrophication. This schematic from a study a few years ago suggests that planetary boundaries from phosphorus and nitrogen releases from urban and agricultural lands are at a boundary. Nutrient discharges are far from only sewage outfalls – and requiring a raft of solutions I have spent a long career thinking about.

        Discharges from rivers contain phosphorus and nitrogen. Nitrogen is dissolved and organic. Free phosphorus in oxic conditions is commonly bound in a crystalline lattice that ionically binds to charged sites on clay particles. When these are neutralized on meeting salt water the particles are free to clump and settle to the bottom. Increased water clarity stimulates phytoplankton growth that in turn dies and sinks to the bottom.

        Sediment is oxygenated to a couple of centimeters at most. Below that it is anoxic and phosphorus is in
        a mobile form. If decaying plankton cause the surface of the sediment to be anoxic then a pulse of phosphorous is released into the water column. High phosphorus levels favor nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium. This is why dead zones cluster about developed coastlines.

        Jack’s study relates to a slowdown in AMOC – that has been measured only in recent years.

      • IIRC, there’s evidence that such slowdowns have happened in the past.


      1. The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is interesting because the water is permanently stratified.

      2. The Gulf itself is well oxygenated. The estuary is the problem.

      3. The article claiming that it is due to decaying organic matter seems reasonable. A partial solution may be more predators/scavengers and different harvest practices for seals and salmon eggs.

      Not sure how you blame this on CO2.

      CO2 has about 50 times the solubility of oxygen and it stands to reason that much of the ocean oxygen comes from ocean plants (or upwelling) and not direct diffusion.

  7. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “78 per cent of observed planetary greening is caused by carbon dioxide and its effect upon climate….”

    DON’T expect the CO2-centric mainstream media to report on this latest study of dramatic “greening” of the planet thanks to CO2 fertilisation. When you’re in the business of demonising carbon dioxide for political ends, such good news sends a rather unwelcome message.

  8. guitar man
    You mention a statistic on deforestation.
    You missed a major point of the article – it’s not just about trees (although these are also currently increasing due to CO2). Grassland which often replaces trees is just as good for photosynthesis and gas exchange.

    The “CO2 fertlisation is bad” argument is tortuous, un-parsimonious, transparently political, dishonest and plain wrong, more and more people are seeing this.

  9. I’ve tried to tune you, but have discovered you’re unstrung.

  10. We’re in a global experiment – seeing what recovery from CO2 starvation looks like. Previously reversal of long term CO2 starvation from silicate weathering, required violent volcanic activity. Now humans can do it in a more beneficial way. Humans are realising the ancient mythical commission to to be gardeners of the world.

    Humans are doing something good for the world. How does that sound?

    If we can keep this up, the next glacial maximum won’t have the massive aridity and die-back of inner continental vegetation, plus global dust clouds, that have characterised the last few glacial maxima. Our decendents 70,000 years from now will be grateful! (This may only be possible if fossil fuels are abiogenic).

  11. CO2 also leads to increased nitrogen fixing and bio-available phosphorus.

  12. And, seeds from plants grown in higher co2 are more robust, germinating both earlier and more successfully.

    • And nutrient decline

      • “nutrient decline”
        Urban myth. Like CAGW in fact.
        Greenhouse growers increase CO2 to 1000ppm inside. Does this mean that everyone who eats one of these greenhouse grown tomatoes is going to starve to death?

      • It’s a real thing, just not important in the context of providing proper nutrition to the developing world.

        Demand, crop choices, farming practices, logistics, infrastructure, soil quality, food processing, politics, war are all bigger factors.

        People who think a possible 3.8% reduction in a nutrient in a particular crop, in a century, that isn’t a good source of that nutrient to begin with, is a good reason to prolong poverty and stifle development are reprehensible.

      • Not a decline of nutrients, but rather a reduced concentration of some nutrients due to plants growing larger thanks to warming and CO2. In greenhouses with enhanced CO2 in the air they ensure that plants are fertilized accordingly.

      • Unless you plan on growing everything in an actual greenhouse, there is nutrient decline.

        “Rising CO2’s effect on crops could also harm human health. “We know unequivocally that when you grow food at elevated CO2 levels in fields, it becomes less nutritious,” notes Samuel Myers, principal research scientist in environmental health at Harvard University. “[Food crops] lose significant amounts of iron and zinc—and grains [also] lose protein.” Myers and other researchers have found atmospheric CO2 levels predicted for mid-century—around 550 parts per million—could make food crops lose enough of those key nutrients to cause a protein deficiency in an estimated 150 million people and a zinc deficit in an additional 150 million to 200 million. (Both of those figures are in addition to the number of people who already have such a shortfall.) A total of 1.4 billion women of child-bearing age and young children who live in countries with a high prevalence of anemia would lose more than 3.8 percent of their dietary iron at such CO2 levels, according to Meyers.”

      • Nutrient decline eh?

        When people who eat white flour and white rice complain about potential nutrient declines, it is hard to take them seriously.

        Carnivores don’t have this problem since the nutrients in cows/pigs/horses/chickens/etc. are going to be just fine. This is mostly a vegan issue – and who wants to be vegan?

      • There are some 42 essential plant nutrients – and these have to come from somewhere regardless of whether the plants are CO2 fertilized or not. Running down soil nutrients is not farming it’s mining.

        That this is a problem in half a century or is just another progressive shibboleth.

      • “When people who eat white flour and white rice complain about potential nutrient declines, it is hard to take them seriously.”

        Gish Gallop. Back to the subject: Yes, a nutrient decline.

      • “Nutrient Decline”

        There is no nutrient decline.

        The amount of nutrients per seed are about the same. The seeds are larger.

        There is more cotyledon/endosperm because the plant has done more photosynthesis thanks to more CO2.

        This makes the seed more likely to germinate.

        The “Nutrient Decline” claim is the same as saying there is more cotyledon/endosperm.

    • CO2 increases the amount of resources plants are able to supply to symbiotic nitrogen and phosphorus fixing fungi (this is also true of symbiotic bacteria).


      elevated co 2 stimulates net accumulations of carbon and nitrogen in land ecosystems: a meta‐analysis

      IUPUI Newsroom – Indiana University

      Enhanced levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are a likely key driver of global dryland greening, according to a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports


      Seed germination and rising atmospheric CO
      2 concentration: a meta-analysis of parental and direct effects.

  13. Pingback: Nuevo estudio que muestra un notable reverdecimiento global |

  14. The research should also have looked @considered huge improvement in newer grass varieties.In Ireland grass utilisation has gone from 9000/1200kg/dm/ nearer 15000 in the last 10yrs..Some new varieties are now hitting 20000kg/dm/ha.Actual grown is 10%/12% over utilisation figure.

  15. Patrick J. Michaels, thank you for this essay.

  16. While I agree with Michael’s points (hard to argue with the data as presented), to ignore the contributions of increasing urbanization is, well, fraught.

    As people increasingly move to cities, the land they left behind reverts to something in between its original composition and the state of development it had achieved by the time it was abandoned. That usually involves greening.

    In addition, people who move to the city no longer wander into forests looking for wood to burn at home. This preserves forest cover.

    Balancing the contribution of these two forces would be… interesting… which is why perhaps I have yet to see anyone attempt to do so.

    • In Chu et al., (2016), linked in my piece, the percent of greening caused by land use changes is only 4%.

      • This paper, also from 2016, is insightful.


        While recent findings based on satellite records indicate a positive trend in vegetation greenness over global drylands, the reasons remain elusive. We hypothesize that enhanced levels of atmospheric CO2 play an important role in the observed greening through the CO2 effect on plant water savings and consequent available soil water increases. Meta-analytic techniques were used to compare soil water content under ambient and elevated CO2 treatments across a range of climate regimes, vegetation types, soil textures and land management practices. Based on 1705 field measurements from 21 distinct sites, a consistent and statistically significant increase in the availability of soil water (11%) was observed under elevated CO2 treatments in both drylands and non-drylands, with a statistically stronger response over drylands (17% vs. 9%). Given the inherent water limitation in drylands, it is suggested that the additional soil water availability is a likely driver of observed increases in vegetation greenness.

      • Is the 4% land cover or land use? It says land cover in the abstract. There’s a difference.

      • Here’s the actual text from Zhu (not Chu–whoops!) et al. 2016:
        Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States.

    • “As people increasingly move to cities, the land they left behind reverts to something in between its original composition and the state of development it had achieved by the time it was abandoned. That usually involves greening.”

      If people moving to cities causes greening then other people will replace them to take advantage of said greening.

      Or not?

    • “As people increasingly move to cities, the land they left behind reverts to something in between its original composition and the state of development it had achieved by the time it was abandoned.”

      Doesn’t the “population bomb” theory that underpins the “anthropocene” and sustainability/enviromentalist argument basically reject the idea that land could be “abandoned”? Those billions of people that the earth can’t sustain have to be fed somehow.
      What happened between the ’60s and today that allows us to even ponder whether land abandonment (as opposed to mass starvation) is contributing to greening? Any lessons from that we could apply to our response to AGW (I mean, we all agree here that “mitigation” of food consumption was the answer rather than a technological approach that produced more food- right? Good thing we had those international treaties to limit calorie consumption and a cap and trade on child birth).

      • Great point, Jeff. The Population Bomb was wrong. Paul R. Ehrlich had a bestseller by reintroducing Thomas Malthus’s theory of human doom by resource exhaustion. But technology solved problems in unforeseeable ways and will continue to. Granted,it also creates new problems to solve, but they are always solvable. We can grow nostalgic but there is no turning back. Doom is to stop through fear of uncertainty.

  17. If one observes rural New England forests, large swaths of forests grow in underutilized ex farm land crop fields.

    One can see fences and stone walls overgrown by forests in areas that were previouslm cleared fields. And USA does not experience food shortages from producer side. All good.

  18. “There are huge, non-climate effects of carbon dioxide which are overwhelmingly favourable which are not taken into account. To me, that’s the main issue, that the Earth is actually growing greener. This has actually been measured from satellites. The whole Earth is growing greener as a result of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so it’s increasing agricultural yields, it’s increasing the forests, it’s increasing all kinds of growth in the biological world.” (~Freeman Dyson, see link, ibid.)

  19. “As you know, most of my comments emphasize that fossil fuel reserves have limits. I’m more familiar with oil and gas, and I keep a close eye on production figures and reserves/resources. And thus far what I see happening is in line with a CO2 peak at 630 ppm due to market forces and gardual improvements in renewables and nuclear technology.”

    With the pace of technology a peak may be sooner rather than later. Modular nuclear is the front runner for cheaper and much more abundant energy.

    This is the General Atomics concept – EM2. They have a silicon carbide fuel cladding with a 1600 degree C melting point – already making conventional fuel safer – a track record as long as your arm, a fuel cycle that burns for 20 or 30 years and then is recycled through more burn cycles to utilize much more of the available energy. Leaving much less waste that decays to background levels in 300 years. This is not rocket science but it could be.

    Then there is the land use sector. It may contribute a quarter of anthropogenic carbon emissions. Soils and ecosystem losing carbon with implications for hunger, biodiversity, resilience to drought and flood – and healthier waterways. Halting and reversing this loss of carbon from biotic systems is no great stretch. It can be as simple as fencing land and is consistent with highly productive grazing.

    “The fertilisation effect occurs where elevated CO2 enables a leaf during photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight into sugar, to extract more carbon from the air or lose less water to the air, or both.

    If elevated CO2 causes the water use of individual leaves to drop, plants in arid environments will respond by increasing their total numbers of leaves. These changes in leaf cover can be detected by satellite, particularly in deserts and savannas where the cover is less complete than in wet locations, according to Dr Donohue.

    “On the face of it, elevated CO2 boosting the foliage in dry country is good news and could assist forestry and agriculture in such areas; however there will be secondary effects that are likely to influence water availability, the carbon cycle, fire regimes and biodiversity, for example,” Dr Donohue said.”

    Lucky elevated carbon levels in the atmosphere are a historical blip then. Carbon is much better restored to soils and ecosystems.

  20. Pingback: The Greening Of The Earth | Transterrestrial Musings

  21. It’s not all rosy.
    What they don’t address is given in a more complete picture.

    • …and that is just one article. If you just Google CO2 and plant growth, all the articles are equivocal and none rosy about the effect of CO2 on plants or food especially under warming conditions.

    • Those are experts and you’re not, so…

    • The primary cause of greening is increased soil moisture. CO2 increases nitrogen fixing in nitrogen limited environments, phosphorus as well.

      The article notes the exception which prove the rule as cautions and a change in nutrition in certain crops by an amount which is trivial in the context of providing proper nutrition.

      How stupid do they think their readers are?!

    • Looks like you need to read more of the articles before believing the greening is good mantra. It is not clear at all in any of those articles by anyone who has studied this. It is not that one-dimensional.

    • Great article. Not a completely rosy picture.

      • nothing is ever completely rosy

      • But the earth is so GREEN! It’s perfect, and CO2 is LIFE! It’s PLANT FOOD. Drink it up in your champagne.

        Science usually does a great job of showing the plusses and minuses. This article is here to convince the “skeptics” that adding the tremendous amount of CO2 is really a good thing. Makes them happy for awhile.

      • As I mentioned just Googling CO2 and plant growth brings up several articles worth reading on this subject. None of them say go for it in the context of climate change.

    • “But Norby notes the results scientists produce in labs are generally not what happens in the vastly more complex world outside…”

      ““The problem with [the skeptics’] argument is that it’s as if you can cherry-pick the CO2 fertilization effect from the overall effect of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” Myers says. But that is not how the world—or its climate—works.”

      We could say the same things about CO2 and the GMST.

      • Physics is a lot simpler than biology. Trapping heat leads to warming. Its an insulation, energy budget problem. Plants react to CO2 and warming in opposite ways.

      • Neither CO2 nor increasing CO2 trap heat. The molecules both introduce and remove internal energy. If they increase so will both processes. Given the numerous other processes going on, this might or might not cause warming. Physics may be simpler than biology but it is not nearly as simple as you make it out to be.

      • Energy conservation, which is a law of physics, dictates that a change in net forcing has to lead to warming. Whether that change comes from 11-year solar solar cycles, volcanoes, or anthropogenic factors, this happens and measurably so in the observations.

      • Jim D:

        CO2 warms
        CO2 greens

        Both arguments are control knob arguments. The climate is complex as is biology. And the greening impacts the warming and vice versa. Now, we can see two things happened: It warmed and it greened. Warming causes greening and/or greening causes warming.

        Warming is good at least some of the time and is CO2 caused greening. An article somewhere says, farmers know how to farm. So nitrogen limits will hardly apply to them as it may apply to the rest of the world such as someplace natural with limited nitrogen.

        If the Arctic warms a lot, who cares? Yes, the GMST went up. So not all warming is bad and not all bigger plants are good.

      • Jim D: Energy conservation, which is a law of physics, dictates that a change in net forcing has to lead to warming.

        Also described in the essay, though not in these exact words, is the measurable increase in the rate of conversion of radiant energy into high energy chemical bonds by the plants.

      • Ragnaar, certainly there is no doubt in science about the causes of the warming or greening. The effects and future trends are societal. You may not care about how quickly Greenland melts, but that impacts the sea-level rise rates and people near coasts. Floods, warming and droughts also affect plants and have to considered in any balanced approach.

      • Greening is primarily caused by increased soil moisture due to both warming and improved plant water efficiency. Improved efficiency also allows plants to provide more resources to soil, fungi, and bacteria which increase nitrogen and phosphorus (compounders are released that can free phosphorus from minerals) fixing when N and P are constrained. They are also able to provide more resources to seeds, sometimes increasing quantity, but generally producing more resilient seeds which are able to germinate earlier and more successfully. All of these feedback into each other.

      • Curious George

        Jim D: “Energy conservation, which is a law of physics, dictates that a change in net forcing has to lead to warming.” Net forcing is not a notion of physics. Energy input is. There is a big distance between the two – and, in a sense, that’s what the warming discussion is about.

      • Jim D:

        Here was my point which I hid. If it warms up there as Karl said, who cares? It will increase SLR by an inch a decade. So while you can say that there was not a pause because up there warmed under Karl, who cares? There are levels or SLR where we don’t care. So the GMST as a useful metric, adjusted by Karl is a big yawn. I don’t care about SLR. I said not all warming is bad. Karl warming is not bad in terms of increased SLR (As I don’t care about another 1 inch per decade and I share that with rational people) and is more of a debating point and telling people who wrote about the pause, not so fast. We have a message to stick to. And it also not all bad as few live where Karl adjusted. If there’s a drought there no one cares.

        So, we have:
        Not all warming is bad
        Not all greening is good

      • CG, if you are making a distinction between earth’s energy budget from which we get the forcing, and your own concept of “energy in” you need to say what that is.

      • Ragnaar, it is correct to say not all warming is bad, but that implies it is bad for some while no warming at all is not. The optimal position then would be for no warming. We can also quantify warming degrees against emissions and optimize that pairing too. For example each 2000 GtCO2 we emit by 2100 results in an extra degree of warming. We have control of this.

      • Jim D: You illustrate the problem beautifully. You get the forcing from the energy budget, but usually the energy budget is derived from the forcing.

      • CG, so you don’t believe the forcing terms? Which ones and why?

  22. Patrick J. Michaels, thanks for this post. I wonder if you might be able to answer a question for me:

    1. The Zhu et al paper concludes that Earth’s leaf area index has increased in the last 35 years, by perhaps 14%. This additional leaf area must be causing a 14% increase in carbon fixation through photosynthesis compared to 35 years ago.

    2. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has estimated that total carbon fixation due to photosynthesis is between 150 and 175 petagrams per year (link). Simple arithmetic: 14% of 150 = 21 petagrams. This is the (estimated) increase in the photosynthesis carbon sink compared to 35 years ago.

    3. The yearly anthropogenic carbon dump into the atmosphere is estimated at 10 petagrams.

    4. At the moment, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is increasing at an approximate rate of 5 petagrams per year.

    5. 10 – 21 + X = 5; X = 16

    Question: Does this imply that one of the other carbon sources (besides anthropogenic) has increased by 16 petagrams over the last 35 years? Perhaps an increase in CO2 flux out of the ocean?

    • 1. It depends on the root mass – most of the plant.

      2. It is only a sink if it stays sunk.

      3. Your point?

      4. Ditto.

      5. Again it doesn’t work if it doesn’t stay sunk.

      Lots of people are working at making it stay sunk – including the government. The US is already a land use net carbon sink – that can be easily improved – down on Highway 61.

    • Can’t be out of the ocean as that would raise the C13/C12 ratio in atmospheric carbon dioxide significantly, meaning there would be a decreasing fraction of fossil fuel carbon, and someone surely would have noticed.
      Good post, though!
      IOW: I don’t know!

  23. Geoff Sherrington

    It is facile to state that it is socially desirable to increase the quantity of ‘carbon’ in soils of the earth. In popular jargon, this plausibly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, currently seen as a social good by a pool of enthusiasts.
    In simple form, this is mostly a static system view of the mechanisms. Take from air, relocate in soil, good outcome. Kinda like coal mining in reverse.
    However, think more widely and more dynamically. That increased soil carbon is not likely to increase in a monotonic step. It is part of a cycle. Mechanisms are steadily reducing the stored amount. One large mechanism is increased plant growth. Increased atmospheric CO2 is enhancing the way that more plant tissue is produced through photosynthetic mechanisms. But, there is another possible plant growth mechanism or two. One is to consider carbon compounds in the soil as solid fertilizers, enhancing growth much as urea and phosphate and potash are solid fertilizers that initiate plant growth processes. (There are other processes, such as better feeding of symbionts that we need not discuss).
    Now these N,P,K fertilizers are also dynamic in the sense that the more you add, the greater the harvest and the more you subtract when you ship your yield to market. It is a cycle; and so it is for carbon in agriculture and growth.
    If the agricultural aim was to increase static in soil, the simplest way would be to mine coal and bury it in farmland soils. This has some negatives.
    If one proposes to allow more greening, more plant material to sequester carbon from the air, there has to be an advantage over re-burying coal. There is an evident energy factor, growing plants takes less energy than burying coal.
    But what happens to this extra potential carbon storage from the greening of the globe? Most of it ends up as CO2 going back into the air, as plant material decays or is eaten or burned.
    It is clearly not enough to simply promote the benefits of increasing the global store of soil carbon. It needs to be kept in the soil and since we are into dynamics, that means active programs that continually add more carbon to the soil to replace that lost, much ending up as CO2.
    In summary, we can be pleased by the concept of benefits from a globe greening from more CO2 in the air, but until we understand the many processes involved, until we learn to manage the critical variables, we cannot make economic models of the overall outcome. In one pessimistic view, adding more carbon to the soil store might be bad because it dilutes other required nutrients. Like claims that plants grown under enhanced CO2 are less nutritious. Geoff.

    • Adding organic matter to soils has very practical productivity goals for global food security – e.g.

      Organic matter in soils starts by and large with atmospheric CO2 – and with 21 odd plant nutrients – and water. Plants in living soils give sugar to symbiotic organisms that speed up parent material breakdown.

      Food security, water conservation, flood and drought resilience and the rest is reclaiming desert and restoring forests, woodland, prairies and waterways to abundant ecologies. What’s not to be enthused about?

      • Listening to Dr. Elaine Ingham again – it is apparently some 42 nutrients. Could this be a coincidence?

      • RIE, thanks for the video.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Please read again what I wrote.
        You want to improve on Nature. To succeed, the plan needs management.
        Without management, we revert to the status quo of the natural balance that has been with us since time began.
        Management costs money. Is it money well spent? Geoff.

      • Reading Sherrington once is bad enough. These things are managed of course – better management improves productivity on agricultural land and lowers unit cost. But reclaiming desert and restoring ecosystems for biodiversity? Yes it costs money that wealthy economies can afford. For a large part of Australia – it is a matter of setting fire to it.×378.jpg

      • Geoff Sherrington

        RIE, In tghe late 1980s I was President of the NT Chamber of Mines and friends of a few Ministers there, so I had access to reports not usually made public. The payment for burning scheme has bugger all to do with storing carbon in soils, a lot to do with ways to hide aboriginal handouts to avoid citizen backlash.
        You want wealth countries to do expensive C in soil enhancement? It has to compete for its scarce dollar, but that competition should be on hard commercial grounds with no influence from utopian dreamers. Geoff.

      • A lot of that land is under aboriginal ownership. The original land management was mosaic burning. Keeps fuel loads small, clears out country, keeps wild fires cool and biodiversity high.

        Friends in high places in the NT? Me too. Dad and Dave. I think they are friends with Geoff too.

        A backlash against generous aboriginal handouts? Of course Geoff.

    • I’m thinkin’ any and all drawbacks are a pretty good exchange for reduced topsoil loss, given when it’s covered over by plants it’s not so susceptible to being washed or blown away; this is especially pertinent to grasslands.

  24. Since I believe we began the new Ice Age about 128,000 years ago and the green foliage is growing, the oceans are dropping and the ice at the poles which is hangig out over the water is breaking off , all this talk means noothing. Nature will do it’s thing and man has no affect on it.

    • “Nature will do it’s thing and man has no affect on it.”

      It’s pretty obvious that atmosphere matters, and I’m sure even you would not doubt that simple fact. We are changing the makeup of the atmosphere, so why pretend that “man has no affect on it”? The logical science steps are: man adds CO2, CO2 concentrations increase, earth warms (which is enough to QED), and then other things logically change.

      There are good science debates on the magnitudes of many of the things that are changing and certainly what to do about it, but why is there a debate on the basics? Earth is warming. Ice is melting, Permafrost is thawing. Blooms are earlier. It’s not the sun, and CO2 is the primary culprit.

      Most else is there to muddy the waters, especially if it comes from organizations that have a track record of bastardizing science to advance the agenda of the funders.

      • “…track record of bastardizing science to advance the agenda of the funders.”

        This is why I think Dr. Judith Curry realized she needed to get off the team doing the bastardizing.

      • Ron, Steve McIntyre either doesn’t understand what happened with the Briffa reconstruction understand it and is making an effort to dupe others. There is no honest debate regarding the “hide the decline” issue among scientists.

        I don’t trust a mining executive to tell me what the scientists meant (do you think he has a reason to lie?), I trust the scientists. If you think all of the scientists are lying, then we are back to the extremely rare and absurd claim that they all had to agree on some hoax and take it to the grave. Plus all new scientists have to sign some agreement as well. Extraordinary!

        Did you think that a “trick” was nefarious? Here’s a trick: squaring 2-digit numbers that end in 5 is easier if you take the tens digit and multiply it by one more than that digit, then append 25. See, a trick. But correct.

        Besides, look at this logically. Temps went up, not down. You can throw out the latter part of Briffa or even ALL of Briffa if you want, but let’s not pretend that the temperatures did not increase.

      • Steve McIntyre has been a speaker at Heartland ICCC. Heartland is the most prominent funder of science misinformation, and gets a lot of money from oil and mining interests. Heartland’s track record with smoking is more than enough for most people to stop believing anything they produce.

      • Scott, it seems you only know some dis-information you read on an extremist web site. You facts or talk of a math trick have no bearing on the several tree-ring hockey stick frauds. Mann’s trick amounted to bastardization of principle components analysis by amplifying two North American proxies with hockey stick shapes out of 22. One of these two, Gaspe, he used twice, once singly and again as a part of a group. The other came from a study whose original author, Graybill, warned against using it as a temperature proxy due to known CO2 sensitivity. This warning was sustained by the NAS summary.

        This was followed by Briffa’s trick, truncation of post 1960 MXD proxy, handling the “divergence problem.” That was followed by Phil Jones’s trick, splicing thermometer temperatures at 1960 to “hide the decline” by disguising Briffa’s truncation. After all three had their hands at doctoring it the hockey stick was deemed ready to be unveiled for the 1999 WMO conference in Tanzania. It later became the cover of the IPCC’s Third assessment report. It was featured twice in Al Gore’s film, once as the actual temperature record for the last 1000 years and again mislabeled as an ice core by Lonnie Thompson. The movie staff got confused because Thompson had displayed the WMO hockey stick in one of his ice core papers. Although Thompson was the main scientific consultant on the film he never corrected the mistake, ever. I guess he just looked at the movie as cult art. A The truth has been readily available since 2009.

        This is basic history in climate science even though it is blocked from Wikipedia. Here is a refresher:

        Clearly, you need to read my link in my last comment too.

      • Lol.

      • Ron, you seem to be reading nothing but misinformation sites. Watts (come on, be serious.) The “declines” has been explained, and scientists understand what they means, which means Watts has no clue.

        How dare scientists use actual temp increases when they should be using proxies! The HORROR!

        Watts? Why are people still linking to Watts? And economists? I thought people were here to discuss science.

      • JCH, are you also endorsing the this? “The “declines” has been explained, and scientists understand what they means…”

        If the “hide the decline” has been explained it should be a snap for you to point to a quote, a study or your own explanation. Okay, I will make it easy for you. Here is your side’s posted explanation: makes 3 straw men arguments.
        1) The decline was proxy decline, not temperature decline as some unschooled news people reported.

        This is true but they were still hiding valid scientific evidence. This is known as falsification. As Berkeley Earth founder Richard Muller explains in my 4min clip above, the proxy temperature is declining when the thermometer recorded temperatures are rising since 1960. So how can one say the proxies are accurate 1000 years ago when they are not accurate now? This disqualifies Mann’s study from being science and should never have made it through peer review, as Muller states.

        2) “Mike’s Nature Trick” has nothing to do with “hiding the decline.”

        This is technically true since Jones misunderstood what Mann did to get the proxies to make a hockey stick shape. Jones thought that he pasted late 20th century instrumental temperatures to replace the proxies, so he went ahead and did that for the WMO and IPCC presentations.
        Skeptical Science writes:

        It’s clear that “Mike’s Nature trick” is quite separate to Keith Briffa’s “hide the decline”. “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to a technique (a “trick of the trade”) by Michael Mann to plot recent instrumental data along with reconstructed past temperature. This places recent global warming trends in the context of temperature changes over longer time scales.

        Placing highly manipulated and cherry picked proxies as stand-ins for pre-instrumental historical temperatures was not a “trick of the trade” until Jones did it. Not even Mann did it in MBH98-99. And before Mann’s stardom for his MBH98-99 trick proxies studies were mostly honest, yet inconclusive, plots that vaguely took a poke at represented a local past climates.

        3) The “decline” has been openly and publicly discussed since 1995.

        This is true; it is called the divergence problem. Mann found the answer to the problem by his trick. Briffa had an even bolder trick to hide the decline and Jones through all caution to the wind by pasting highly responsive thermometer temperatures on the tail of low resolution (ghost shadow) proxy temperatures and made Al Gore’s millions with the grand daddy of all tricks.

        JCH, I know you are familiar with the above. Help your friend Scott instead of laughing at him.

    • “Nature will do it’s thing and man has no affect on it.”

      That plus a link to Watts. Serious people are laughing.

      • Scott Koontz wrote:

        There are good science debates on the magnitudes of many of the things that are changing and certainly what to do about it, but why is there a debate on the basics? Earth is warming. Ice is melting, Permafrost is thawing. Blooms are earlier. It’s not the sun, and CO2 is the primary culprit.

        Your idea of scientific logic is a little strange when one analyses your statement. On one hand you say you desire “good science debates on the magnitudes” and then you follow it up with unquantified assumptions about warming, melting, blooms and the sun to come up with an ironclad conclusion about CO2.

        This site is an excellent place to exchange hard facts of precise quantification as well as general feelings on the topics at hand. I respect your right to have your general feeling and also Robert’s whom you were responding to.

        As far as science debates it seems you have forfeit unless your scientific logic is that you disagree with something somebody else said (Robert and Watts) and therefore need not respond to anyone else, as you wrote: “That plus a link to Watts. Serious people are laughing.”

        If you are embarrassed by not knowing the true story of the hockey stick that is understandable. One of the drawbacks of a whitewash is that serious people who trust the consensus are caught off guard to learn that the consensus has insider secret fibs. Those that value the integrity of science have to weigh going along with these problems over risking their careers for interfering with the cause toward global social utopia.

      • “If you are embarrassed by not knowing the true story of the hockey stick that is understandable.”

        I know the story. Even talked to some climate scientists including Mann. Seems you are taking a side instead of reading and understanding the science. You are stating that every climate scientist is in on a hoax, except a select few outliers.

        That is embarrassing. You disagree with the super majority because it makes you feel better about your gut feelings. Chinese Hoax?

      • “You disagree with the super majority because it makes you feel better about your gut feelings. Chinese Hoax?”

        You are mind-reading and answering facts and logic with rationalizing denial by associations. This is common.

        “You are stating that every climate scientist is in on a hoax, except a select few outliers.”

        Bias exists. And science was meant to constrain it. You don’t understand science enough to know what “bastardizing science” means. Is it a hoax when a police department protects one of their officers that facts show committed a crime? As far as careful groups work product, the American justice system was set up specifically to deal with bias and corruption authorities yet we have seen hundreds of convicted murderers set free after DNA evidence proved the “super majority” was wrong. In some of those cases evidence was planted and witnesses gave coached or biased testimony. Are those all hoaxes? Do your statements hold up to logic?

      • Ron, you don’t seem to “understand science enough” but I will give this a shot. There are many articles that explain the hockey stick and the decline. SO many that I’m surprised that you would mock the people who do have read the details.

        Here is a very simple explanation, and from the primary sources. You can continue to link to non-scientists and make silly comparisons to the police, but there are plenty of studies and plenty of proxies.

        Good luck! If you need more detail I can find more links for you.

      • The hockey stick has at least one problem that is not simply addressed as you seem to think. The current record is recorded on a frequent (daily) basis and then summarized into a yearly average, then graphed. Past data does not have this resolution. When you put up a graph of data that are averaged differently over different periods, the graph will always be deceptive. The “shaft” and “blade” of the graph are not comparable data. In order for the hockey stick to be mathematically correct, both the shaft and blade would have to come from data that was at a minimum averaged over the same time period. In reconstructions of this type, the time period that the data are averaged over increases going back in time. Therefore, the graph will be smoother by simple mathematics the further back one goes using reconstructions of this type.

  25. 18000 years ago

  26. Global greening also benefits fish and fisheries.

    Apparently the Peruvian anchovy fishery in the last century reached its highest biomass in 25,000 years:

    In other words since before the last glacial maximum and associated CO2 starvation.

    The anchovy is a plankton filter feeder – a mini whale. So it will respond to increased primary and secondary productivity resulting from CO2 enrichment (NOT “pollution”) of the atmosphere.

    Fossil fuel burning has made more people but CO2 enrichment has also made more food to feed them.

    • As a general rule of thumb I tend to avoid filter feeders and ‘bottom’ feeders as part of my diet. That list includes crustaceans, bivalves and small fish like anchovies or sardines. I don’t like the way they taste is really the main reason though. Considering the fact they (filter feeders) tend to concentrate heavy metals, synthetic man-made chemicals and algae toxins there are better food sources to choose from.
      I do have a weakness for shrimp though (grin).
      Feeding anchovies as fish meal to fish farms and as a supplement to animal feed is their main economic use so I guess we are what we eat.
      Here is a nice summary of the Peruvian anchovy industry.

      As I noted in a earlier comment the effects of decreasing ocean oxygen levels on fish populations is a growing concern.

      • I love the salty taste of anchovies.
        The Neopolitana is my favourite pizza.

      • Both anchovies and sardines are delicious – and so good for us. I ate Tasmanian oysters – from the edge of the Great Southern Ocean -just yesterday. Mmmm …

      • Neopolitana
        Napoli pizza

      • Looks like a bumper crop of ‘nutrient enriched’ crustaceans and bivalves will be in your grocery fresh sea food isle soon.
        “A NASA satellite is tracking flooding in the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence, and its images show dark, polluted water flowing from rivers into the Atlantic Ocean.

        Nearly 8 trillion gallons of rain fell across North Carolina during the storm, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh’s estimate.

        That rain led to catastrophic flooding across the state, and has polluted rivers, streams creeks and their outflows along the coast, NASA’s satellite images show.

        The color of the water in the image “reveals how soils, sediments, decaying leaves, pollution, and other debris have discolored the water in the swollen rivers, bays, estuaries, and the nearshore ocean,” according to NASA.”

      • I once had fish from Lake Illawarra sampled for metal. The lake was surrounded by notoriously dirty industry and urbanization for 100 tears. Bioavailable metals were well below problematic levels.

        On the other hand I tested oysters in Gladstone Harbor during a major dredging exercise. Oysters are problematic especially where there is fecal contamination of human origin. My remotely sourced Tasmanian oysters last Friday were delicious.

        In my local creek there is a flying fox colony and fecal coliform levels are very high – people swim and fish there all the time without problems. It depends on the source. In sediment metals below the top centimeter are reduced and soluble. If the top centimeter is anoxic then nutrients and metals diffuse into water column. This is what happened in Lake Illawarra – we fixed it – and downstream of developed areas worldwide.

        But runoff is of course a natural process and it is not a runaway problem. The worst has already happened. 40 years ago we lost 50% of our seagrasses. 20 years ago the Mary River flooded killing seagrass and decimating the dugong population.

        It is a problem that is progressively being addressed – just like climate change. This is from New Zealand but it is something the rich world at least has been working on for decades.

    • Similar to on land, nitrogen fixing also increases with CO2, increasing primary producers in oceans.

  27. Sardines like warm surface water. This has a different plankton assemblage to the rich, cool, upwelling water that anchovies love.

    Productivity is greatest from intense nutrient rich upwelling – but in warm surface water plankton is super efficient at recycling nutrients.

    Pacific Ocean – especially – in Jan 2008 – anchovies.

    Past 1000 years – anchovy – sardines in the 20th century and at the medieval warm period.

    • Robert
      That’s interesting about the sardines and anchovies. Looks like there needs to be a sardine / anchovy index of ocean conditions, alongside the ENSO indices, Southern Oscillation etc. Sardine / Anchovy index (SAI – you saw it here first!) could be a good index of what oceanographers refer to as the Pacific “ground state”, such as An and other authors studying its nonlinear dynamics.

  28. Mr. Koontz
    I have a post near the top of the replys. It explains my thoughts on Global Ice making and Global Ice mellting. It is how I see the actions of the Ice Ages.

  29. Pingback: The Upside of Climate Change - The Locker Room

  30. sheldonjwalker


    Tamino thinks that he has “proved” that my graph (which I call a global warming contour map), is wrong. And many of Tamino’s followers, believe him.

    You can imagine, that I am not very happy about this situation. I have spent over 2 years developing my graph, gradually improving it, and thoroughly testing it. I consider it to be a fairly unique, accurate, and reliable graph. You might think that my claims are just bragging, by a conceited loser. But let me tell you about my expertise…

    • It’s not that your graphs are “wrong” but simply do not show what you think they show. Calling him a moron doesn’t help your cause.

  31. sheldonjwalker

    Have Australian academics and scientists become mentally unhinged, because of global warming?

    I could not believe what I read, in an article called, “The divisive issue Australia can no longer ignore”.

    ~ ~ ~ begin quote ~ ~ ~

    But Professor Greg Skilbeck’s words were even more sharp.

    The academic from the University of Technology, Sydney, said if we believed in science as part of the function of our everyday lives, we should believe in climate change.

    “You cannot pick and choose — if you don’t accept climate change, you should not be given penicillin or painkillers or even visit a doctor,” he said.

    “You should not be allowed to fly or drive a car either. But I guess that as most climate deniers also pick and choose the bits of the Bible they subscribe to as well, I should not be surprised.”

    ~ ~ ~ end quote ~ ~ ~

    Professor Greg Skilbeck wants to deny people their fundamental human rights, if they don’t believe in the global warming religion.

    He wants “heretics” to get no medical treatment, including penicillin and painkillers.

    He wants “heretics” to be stopped from going to the doctor.

    What will happen to “heretics” children, and babies?


    I would like to suggest to the University of Technology, Sydney, that Professor Greg Skilbeck should be dismissed from his position.

    If the University of Technology, Sydney, is unwilling to do that, then I suggest that the Australian government should cut funding to the University of Technology, Sydney.

    We can not allow unreasonable people to set the agenda, for dealing with global warming. Professor Greg Skilbeck’s words will make the climate change situation even worse than it is already.

    Professor Greg Skilbeck appears to believe that he owns science, and can stop other people from using it. This is an arrogant and stupid belief. I have no confidence that Professor Greg Skilbeck can contribute positively to the global warming debate.

    • Missing the point completely. This is about being hypocritical by picking and choosing which basic science to believe. What distinguishes the peer review process behind climate science from that behind penicillin or the rest of physics? Skeptics don’t know the peer reviewed case behind climate science any more than they do behind penicillin, but choose only to trust one of them. That’s what he is saying.

      • sheldonjwalker

        Jim D,

        you seem to be unaware of a number of studies, which show that Skeptics have a better knowledge of science, than Alarmists do.

        How much recent peer-reviewed science is there, about penicillin?

        The most important issue, is not to be gullible about believing everything that scientists say. Just because they have a job title, and wear a white coat, doesn’t mean that they are always right. Scientists are motivated by more than just “the scientific truth”. They need to eat, they need money, and they like to be admired.

        Professor Greg Skilbeck’s words are all about punishing, and causing unnecessary suffering to people, who don’t believe the global warming religion. Please note, that I believe in global warming, but I don’t believe the global warming religion.

      • No, he is making a rhetorical point. You believe all peer reviewed science except climate science. Maybe you even believe parts of climate science related to paleoclimate but not the parts related to CO2. How do you decide which parts to believe and which must be some part of a vast conspiracy? It is an interesting question of how you separate peer reviewed science in your mind that he wants you to ponder with his examples.

      • sheldonjwalker

        If I say that I am going to lock you in a room without food or water for 10 days, am I just making a rhetorical point?

        I have a brain, and a good science education. I am fully capable of deciding what to believe.

        You say, “You believe all peer reviewed science except climate science”. How do you know what I believe, you have never asked me. This is one of the problems with Alarmists, they think that they know everything.

        Perhaps climate science seems dubious compared to other areas of science.

      • You seem to not be able to distinguish a rhetorical argument from a real threat. Is that guy threatening you with a realistic scenario? No. He is making the point that you take a lot of science as true by default, penicillin being one example. You may well believe some climate science like Milankovitch cycles – I don’t know. Maybe even Arrhenius and Tyndall’s physics from ages ago. There may be other things in peer reviewed science you rail against on blogs than CO2 – again I don’t know. I am defending his right to make a rhetorical point, and it is only a shame you didn’t understand it and instead took it as a threat to your people.

      • sheldonjwalker

        It is every Alarmists wet dream, to punish Skeptics for not believing the global warming religion. Alarmists have been abusing me for over 9 years. I don’t find it funny any more.
        If somebody makes a threat without meaning it, then they are stupid.
        If they meant it, then they are stupid, and evil.
        Will I ever believe anything that Professor Greg Skilbeck says?
        No, there is not much chance that I will ever believe him.

      • I am sorry you feel that way. You and Skilbeck were made for each other because he also uses a provocative style to make his point. It is not very effective on skeptics because they only see it as a threat rather than the rhetoric it is, and a big argument ensues about that. Misses his point completely as I said before.

      • sheldonjwalker

        Jim D,

        you are not a member of the group being threatened. You are a member of the group doing the threatening.

        I lost my sense of humour, when alarmists (including Bill Nye the stupid guy), said that people who didn’t believe the global warming religion, should be locked up in prison.

        Was that just a rhetorical point, as well?

      • There are some policymakers who are being reckless with planning. Given information on sea-level rise, they decide to ignore it and plan for low-ball situations. Those would be ripe for suing if they went against the experts. Bloggers, who cares. It’s the policies where the mistakes are being made. They in turn may blame their bad advice on some skeptical thinktanks or congressional testimonies. If any of this happens, it would be too far in the future that any of the perps would not be alive anymore, I suspect. They just end up with bad names in history which may be punishment enough. The US is a global outlier in this area of planning having exited Paris. I don’t think Trump is the only one to blame for this.

      • Wafflers in stereo? I have shown this Ghil graphic before.

        None of these people have got beyond case 1. or perhaps 2. They are therefore wrong on the most basic of paradigm levels. There is a core of Earth system science that is not fundamentally misguided – but most of climate science fails. Science succeeds with efficacy – climate science is speculative.

        It is not about science at all but of a collective rhetoric that invokes science but relies on erroneous, motivated assumptions. In the service of a progressive ideology I note.

      • It’s like case 2, but more of a ramp than a step for the last 60 years. The warming tracks the forcing.

      • No #jiminy it is case 3 – whether you like it or not.

      • I had linked #jiminy’s denial of abrupt climate change to the articles nonsense ‘rhetoric’ on deniers and penicillin etc. Disappeared for some obscure reason?

      • This is abrupt climate change. A degree in a century is abrupt by any standards, and it is only just starting.

      • Not even close #jiminy – the core of abrupt change in the scientific sense is internal variability. Most 20th century warming was from internal variability – some of it may be anthropgenic.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronize at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due in a decade if not now if the past is any indication.

        “What defines a climate change as abrupt? 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.” NAS 2002

      • Tsonis has also said that the trend is dominated by anthropogenic warming, and he removes that to look at the non-trend part. You don’t seem to have noticed that detail.

      • Not true #jiminy. While it is presumed that there was some minor anthropogenic warming – at most 0.1 decade C/decade – the problem is vastly less tractable than #jiminy can imagine.

        “A vigorous spectrum of interdecadal internal variability presents numerous challenges to our current understanding of the climate. First, it suggests that climate models in general still have difficulty reproducing the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of internal variability necessary to capture the observed character of the 20th century climate trajectory. Presumably, this is due primarily to deficiencies in ocean dynamics. Moving toward higher resolution, eddy resolving oceanic models should help reduce this deficiency. Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed.”

        People like #jiminy are obsessed with carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. Which is irrational. Rational responses – even if there is a problem – and the warming rate is laughably small – are multi sector and multi gas. It is moreover happening for other reasons involving changes in land use and productivity increases with technological innovation.

        They are talking here about a dynamic sensitivity – not sensitivity in the sense of forcing and response. Surprises are indeed likely – but catastrophic surprises are very low risk. And moreover cannot be addressed with irrational policy.

      • #jiminy has a habit of vastly oversimplifying science to suit his narrative.

      • Yes, Tsonis assumed 1 deg/century for the anthropogenic trend, which is pretty much all of it.

      • Did they? They cleaned a signal using poorly functioning models. But whether this was anthropogenic is a moot point. But I don’t mind – the rate of warming is some 0.1 K/decade. That is the most we can expect from CO2.

      • What do you mean: did they? Have you not read it? 1 C per century is a linear approximation to what actually happened since 1900 which is an accelerating warming that already twice as large now. It accounts for all the warming. You should be more interested in this component because it is ten times larger than the modes he is talking about.

      • Science is about great ideas – I’ll return to this below – and not consensus, collective, climate memes. That is of course not science at all.

      • In the Swanson-Tsonis PNAS paper, footnotes 25 and 26 are DM Smith’s decadal prediction for pronounced warming (because of what he expected to take place in the Pacific,) and Keenlyside’s prediction for cooling (because of what he expected to take place in the Atlantic.)

        AMO versus PDO. PDO cleaned the AMO’s clock.

        Removal of that hidden variability from the actual observed global mean surface temperature record delineates the externally forced climate signal, which is monotonic, accelerating warming during the 20th century. Swanson and Tsonis

      • “Previous climate model projections of climate change accounted for external forcing from natural and anthropogenic sources but did not attempt to predict internally generated natural variability. We present a new modeling system that predicts both internal variability and externally forced changes and hence forecasts surface temperature with substantially improved skill throughout a decade, both globally and in many regions. Our system predicts that internal variability will partially offset the anthropogenic global warming signal for the next few years. However, climate will continue to warm, with at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.”

        Did this work out for them – we are now again at pre-spike levels.

        “… over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged. Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.”

        JCH’s predictably bizarre interpretations not withstanding – these exploratory and quite primitive bits of science are hardly definitive. And reading the abstract doesn’t get to the caveats.

        “Since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin.”

        That’s more like it.

        But the experiment has been done and any way you look at it – apart from the incredulity around opportunistic ensembles – the maximum anthopogenic warming rate is small.

        It must be galling that skeptics like me were right all along.

      • Science is about great ideas – JCH struggles to frame a coherent thought beyond lolz. lolz.

      • Re: “you seem to be unaware of a number of studies, which show that Skeptics have a better knowledge of science, than Alarmists do.”

        And which studies would those be?

        If you’re tempted to cite Kahan’s work, then make sure you don’t confuse “concern about climate change” with “knowledge of climate change”.

        Anyway, unfortunately the political ideology of many adult conservatives / Republicans prevents them from shifting their positions to match the evidence. So scientific literacy is correlated with greater acceptance of climate science amongst Democrats, but not Republicans. For more context on this, see Kahan’s work, among others:

        “More importantly, this item bears a radically different relationship to OSI [ordinary science intelligence] for individuals of opposing political outlooks. Whereas the probability of belief in human-caused global warming increases slightly for relatively left-leaning individuals, the probability is unaffected for right-leaning ones as OSI_2.0 scores increase.”

        “To the extent that science knowledge influences people’s judgments related to climate change and trust in climate scientists, it does so among Democrats, but not Republicans. For example, Democrats with high science knowledge are especially likely to believe the Earth is warming due to human activity, to see scientists as having a firm understanding of climate change, and to trust climate scientists’ information about the causes of climate change. But Republicans with higher science knowledge are no more or less likely to hold these beliefs.”

        So when you pool conservatives and liberals together to look at the results in aggregate: those with greater science knowledge, a degree in science, or more formal education were more likely to accept that humans caused most of the recent climate change, in line with the evidence-based scientific consensus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):

        And other papers showed that climate change knowledge was positively correlated with acceptance of anthropogenic climate change in children, undergraduates, and other adults:

        “Overcoming skepticism with education: interacting influences of worldview and climate change knowledge on perceived climate change risk among adolescents”
        “Climate change conceptual change: Scientific information can transform attitudes”
        “Investigating the effects of knowledge and ideology on climate change beliefs”

      • Re: “you seem to be unaware of a number of studies, which show that Skeptics have a better knowledge of science, than Alarmists do.”

        I forgot to include Kahan’s figure from the paper I cited here:

        Here’s the figure:
        (Figure 8 of: “‘Ordinary science intelligence’: a science-comprehension measure for study of risk and science communication, with notes on evolution and climate change”)

      • Thanks Mark – but it’s 3.00 am and I have my laptop and my first cup of coffee. Click on science and try to connect things. Not that there is much science about here this morning. But I am not Atomski’s skeptic and I am not cyberstalking one acronym comments by JCH.

        Yes – there are really no two ways about it – rich economies can afford environments. Conservation, ecological restoration, water sensitive urban design – none of this is cheap. Cheaper with good forward planning. And you get richer with capitalism and free, happy as a lark and not arbitrarily imprisoned with enlightenment democracy.

    • As twee as I find both &sheldon & #jiminy – there are in fact two unsupported propositions.

      1. Australia is not reducing emissions

      We continue to be on track.

      For stringent targets. Right up there with the US. Per person is even more impressive because we are still a melting pot.

      Some of this is done with northern savanna burning – more with the land sector more generally.

      2. Any of it beyond radiative basics is credible Earth system science.

  32. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #329 |

  33. Pat Michaels, the self-proclaimed poor sportsman, who never tires of shooting large fish in small barrels, is one of the more interesting and funny speakers on climate. Here’s a short clip of him in Randy Olson’s ill-fated movie, Sizzle:

    • Character assassination in the service of an ideology is nothing new. But the CO2 experiment has been done. 20th century warming was some 1 degree C – late century warming was some 0.4 degrees C. And this of course is now accelerating towards catastrophe. Literally incredibly the proof of accelerated warming is opportunistic model ensembles.

      The reality is that only climate surprises can shift the rate of warming dramatically higher.

      Surprises are indeed likely – but in the dictionary sense rather than in the sense of Rene Thom – catastrophe is a low probability risk.

      We need or want top down government intervention – the not so secret progressive agenda to transform societies and economies – on greenhouse gases. Even if it was a problem it is being addressed with land use changes and technological innovation.

      Yet people like Scott, Atomski and #jiminy bring it back to the most basic level of greenhouse gas physics. As if that is what is denied. What is being asserted is that there is much else happening in climate that complicates the pictures and this is the broader science – with change and uncertainty at its core – that is systematically denied

    • Global cooling would be dangerous. Global warming would be beneficial, not dangerous. There is no valid evidence that global warming can be dangerous. It;s just a pile of scaremongering based on cherry picking and innuendo. Why on Earth won’t climate alarmists and activists look at this objectively.

  34. Largest fish in the barrel that he will never shoot: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and we are warming/changing the climate and thus the planet. Michaels wants you to forget all that because some predictions from some people did not happen, at least yet.

    He gets paid by oil companies to say this (his own admittance) just like he was paid by tobacco companies to say that smoking was not linked to cancer. Think about this. The guy was and is a paid shill, and even when he admits it people still applaud his segues that mean little.

    Oil companies tend to get their money’s worth when they pay Biologists to muddy the waters. Lots of people simply don’t want to admit that we are changing our climate, and he targets that audience.

    • This article is not about Dr Michaels.
      It is not about the infantile mantra “oil industry funding”, of which, for every dollar funding a climate skeptic, 100 oil dollars fund establishment ecofascists like you.
      It is not about tobacco funding which is another infantile irrelevance.
      It is about new French research (denier country anyone?) showing beneficial global greening from CO2 to be even “better than we thought”.

      What is your problem with plants?
      Have you ever heard of photosynthesis?

      • It must be particularly galling for totalitarian Leftists that Exxon is unlocking the power of oil in plants. Come to think of it, reducing CO2 to pre industrial levels would kill off 14% of global vegetation, perhaps this is another whacky attempt by Lefties to punish big oil, both coming and going. Greenies can’t see their conundrum yet. I jest, but…

      • “This article is not about Dr Michaels.”
        I responded to a link of Michaels. Is that so hard to understand?

        “It is not about the infantile mantra “oil industry funding””
        Infantile? So you’re OK with “smoking will not cause cancer” scientists who follow up with “ignore the world’s climate scientist” from the same people?

        “for every dollar funding a climate skeptic, 100 oil dollars fund establishment ecofascists like you.”

        Nice job. Calling every climate scientist an “ecofascist.” You must do well on science papers.

        “It is not about tobacco funding which is another infantile irrelevance.”
        Wake up. Same people who lied about tobacco are lying about climate science. Ignoring the simple link is, well, infantile.

        What is your problem with logic? Ever hear of a direct response to a video of a specific person? Most people understand conversation threads.

  35. JCH is this going to be a good month of warming for you?

  36. Geoff Sherrington

    R I Ellison,
    As was likely, sometimes you discuss topics where you and I are in agreement. The Tsonis work above is a case. In it you mention the need to start investigations with knowledge of the natural states before proceeding to anthropogenic influences.
    Some earlier work was by Edith Efron in “The Apocalyptics”, about an earlier USA national scare when an epidemic of cancers was predicted, caused by man-made chemicals. The scare is a close match, overall, to the global warming scare.
    Here is some OCR of a dozen pages that I hope you – and all other readers here – will find enlightening if you have not already seen it. Geoff.

  37. Science is great ideas and not consensus at all. Einstein’s special relativity started with the fact of the constancy of the speed of light despite differing inertial frames of reference. One going one way at some speed and the other some other way at a different speed. The three vectors – light and our fearless frames of reference should vector sum to varying speeds of light seen by observers in frame 1 and frame 2. Apparently not. Explain that? Along the way we get the space-time continuum, time dilation and mass inflation. The faster you go the fatter you get. Best to stay on the couch. Now that’s a great idea. Quantum mechanics started with quirky math to describe unruly data. Chaos theory – it is more than just a word – began with a propitious truncation. Ironic that the bete noire of AGW – deterministic chaos – was discovered in a convection model – but one of the three great ideas of 20th century physics.

    For my great idea – I have to come back to CERES and Argo. The surface temperature is almost totally irrelevant – a couple of percent of global energy storage and with moisture and evaporation effects in convection and latent heat. Surface temperature is clearly not mirroring global energy storage exactly because of transfers of energy between oceans and atmosphere. Ocean heat is a much more stable indication of the change in global energy storage (delta S) in a period.

    I have of course shown you the Argo record. It shows a warming planet lately with a period of little change early in the record.

    The CERES record using cumulative energy balances -the novel method is described in the link – NASA did all the hard work – shows continuous planetary energy gain over the record. The discrepancy seems most likely in early Argo data. Mirror anomalies in SW (warming) and IR (cooling) reveal the pattern of low level cloud. Higher cloud cover over cooler oceans – and less over warmer. Where sea surface temperature shifts most significantly is the eastern and central Pacific.

    Climate science has been a bit short of great ideas for some 150 years. Although I think Anastasios Tsonis had a great idea – using network math on ocean and atmospheric indices to discover synchronous chaos.
    150 years ago there were lots of great ideas around. Including the Navier-Stokes equations. These are beautiful equations that govern the motion of fluids.

    “Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer.” Edward Lorenz

    Instead of every micro eddy we are stuck unavoidably with computer simulation cells kilometers across and stacked in layers. Continuity ensures that mass and momentum are conserved across boundaries. Inside cells are parameters that operate on the trajectories of solutions. Small changes in parameters amplify through the simulation. Did I say that was a great idea?

    Not sure that CO2 greening is a great idea – but to give credit where it’s due Pat Michaels has been talking sense for so many years now it hardly matters. It was always people and environment with me with my engineering, hydrology and environmental science background. Skills honed in the school of hard knocks from a very young age.

    I was surprised to find Pat is an ecologist. I thought he was another physicist with zilch Earth sciences. In fact I wondered this afternoon what Big Bang Sheldon would think of global warming – as you do. The actor would be a card carrying member of the climate change collective – and why would we care? Sheldon is inscrutable but as a theoretical physicist – why would we care again? But an ecologist is this planet.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        JimD writes “Even Lewis and Curry take this to be self-evident because they don’t argue against it”
        Careful, JimD. The Lewis_Curry exercise was a rework of the IPCC effort using start data & methodology that was based on IPCC.
        I never read it as containing any non-IPCC fundamental assumptions, by them, about climate mechanisms. Did you?

    • When you heat a pot of water, you only need to know how much heat came in and how much left to know the temperature change. You don’t need to know every detail of every eddy in the pot. It’s the difference between an energy budget problem and a fluid dynamics problem. Milankovitch didn’t need to invoke fluid dynamics, just energy, to explain climate change. Climate is about forcing.

      • But the real world – door number 3 remember – is random and chaotic including the energy dynamic #jiminy. We barely even need Milankovic. The rest is dynamic internal responses in dust, ice, cloud and biology. Even if #jiminy doesn’t like it.

      • When you have to start out a skeptic argument by denying/ignoring something we already know, you put yourself in a tight spot. Energy drives the climate and energy changes drive climate change.

      • Energy comes from Sol and Earth gains it or loses it as reflected SW or emitted IR – and the factors that influence that.
        The deceptively simple 1st order differential global energy storage equation – – depends a lot on why energy out changes in a period.

      • Yes, the energy budget is simple because it comes from the basic physics of energy conservation. If you have different forcing terms from the IPCC, you need to state them. The energy budget is key, and it shows the dominant anthropogenic forcing and the positive imbalance. Even Lewis and Curry take this to be self-evident because they don’t argue against it, and skeptics have not taken them on at all.

      • #jiminy’s ‘forcings’ are a fraction of intrinsic variability found in the CERES energy budget record.

        “The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.”

        I don’t need to invent a new ‘forcing’ – intrinsic variability is there in data. It’s small – it sums to zero – it isn’t and doesn’t.

        It sums to perpetual change and more extremes the longer the record.

      • CO2 alone has provided 3 GJ/m2 which is several times as much as the ocean heat content has increased. Forcing averaging 1 W/m2 is not so small when it persists for a century, and the amount in the 21st century could be many times larger than that. These are the numbers.

      • In the real world this 3GJ/ms is not added to the system but delayed by nanoseconds – in among the unsteady state of transient energy dis-equilibria at toa. Entropy is not maximized but will be if the planet has anything to say about it. .

      • The imbalance over the last decade or so has been about 0.8 W/m2 which is a warming effect. Subtract the CO2 effect (equivalent to returning to 280 ppm) which is 2 W/m2 and the earth starts cooling again (0.8-2.0 = -1.2). This is a large effect and is the difference between warming a lot and cooling a lot.

      • The 0.8 W/ms ocean warming rate is derived from Argo ocean heat and assumed to be all AGW. But in that is large intrinsic variability – over periods far longer than the period of record.

        I’m thinking a return to more La Nina like conditions for centuries – with more stable low level marine-stratocumulus in the eastern and central Pacific and more Australian, African and Indian rainfall.

        With mooted NH cooling from enhanced meridional blocking – with a dimming sun – and a cooler Pacific and more cloud – perhaps with the next climate shift intrinsic 20th century El Nino like warming will be lost.

      • Subtract the 2 W/m2 CO2 change and warming becomes cooling, so it is all AGW.

      • Reverse CO2 concentrations? It can be done. But #jiminy’s physics can’t.

      • …and it doesn’t even have to be CO2. You could reduce the solar input by 2 W/m2 or have the same effect from a large volcano. All would turn the warming into a cooling, and you’re having none of it because you dismiss the effects of forcing changes in general.

      • Minor and short term disturbances do no a climate make – perhaps it does. James Hurrel seems to think so.

        “The global coupled atmosphere-oceanland-cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamical phenomena with associated physical, biological, and chemical
        feedbacks that collectively result in a continuum of temporal and spatial variability. The traditional boundaries between weather and climate are, therefore, somewhat artificial.
        The large-scale climate, for instance, determines the environment for microscale
        (1 km or less) and mesoscale (from several
        kilometers to several hundred kilometers)
        processes that govern weather and local
        climate, and these small-scale processes
        likely have significant impacts on the evolution
        of the large-scale circulation (Fig. 1; derived from Meehl et al. 2001). ”

        I am very obviously more interested in the most modern data than a 150 year old mathematical model. In complex and dynamic fields data is the only way to get any complete picture – and there are so few totally reliable sources. For satellites and oceans really only the 21st century. There is a background of powerful intrinsic climate variability against which 2W/m2 is a leaf in the storm.

      • Yet, 2 W/m2, which is the current value of CO2 forcing, is so much larger than the 0.8 W/m2 imbalance that you are interested in, and you want to ignore it. Take away the steady CO2 anthropogenic forcing of ~2 W/m2 and the rest of the radiative energy balance that you are looking at is a net cooling for the 21st century.

      • The current rate of CO2 forcing increase is 0.03 W/m2/year. It is a very small rate. #jiminy wants you to believe that it has added up to a 2 W/m2 increases in energy imbalance at TOA. It doesn’t of course – it causes 0.03 W/m2 of warming per year and a new transient entropy maximum.

      • It is 2 W/m2 and counting at 0.03 W/m2 per year, e.g. 2.0, 2.03, 2.06 in successive years, 2.3 in ten years, 2.6 in twenty. With a warming of 0.02 C per year this is s transient sensitivity (warming/forcing) of 0.67 C/(W/m2) and that is 2.4 C per doubling, which is a typical AGW value. So these trends don’t surprise anyone.

  38. “Marine stratocumulus cloud decks are regarded as the reflectors of the climate system, returning back to space a significant part of the income solar radiation, thus cooling the atmosphere. Such clouds can exist in two stable modes, open and closed cells, for a wide range of environmental conditions.” Koren 2017

    CERES SW data shows less reflected light in the early years followed by little net change and a recent warming associated with a warm eastern Pacific.

    The IR data on the other hand shows cooling in the early record, little change in the middle and more cooling at the end.

    The mirror image of SW and IR energy changes show that cloud was a principal component of energy change in the climate system in the 21st century. Very little atmospheric warming – and little of that not associated with EL Niños. It is consistent with earlier ERBE and ISCCP data – and ocean heat linking rates of 1990’s warming to net TOA radiant flux. Caused presumably in large part by changes in eastern and central Pacific sea surface temperature. More cloud cloud (closed cell) oven cooler surfaces and less (open cell) over warmer.

    This is not to say that AGW is not buried somewhere in there amidst the large natural TOA power flux fluctuations resulting from ocean and atmospheric circulation changes (Loeb et al 2012). Nor that there isn’t a low risk of adverse regimes initiated by greenhouse gases emerging from the dynamical complexity of the Earth system.

    With nearly 20 years of 21st century ocean and space monitoring – it seems we have a warming planet with a large internal wiggle. The wiggle has a secular variability that is more extreme over time with globally coupled fluid flow evolving and shifting as solar modulated polar annular modes drive great ocean gyres to more or less upwelling or downwelling.

    Less cloud cover after the 1976/77 great – it will always have a special place – Pacific climate shift, a little more in in the cooler Pacific years following and a little less in the recent warm Pacific conditions. Foreshadowing millennial scale variability in the global energy budget.

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.

    Hear it now, what were the odds?
    The raucous laughter of the Gods

    Kim 2011

  39. Why is greening assumed to be good?

    It’s mostly “weeds.”
    Weeds compete with crops for soil nutrients.
    It brings with it more insects.
    Many important plants grown under higher CO2 are less nutritious.
    Greening is a positive feedback on global warming (though its albedo).

    So why is greening good?

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Really smart stuff, this CO2, to read the minds of humans naming objects and learn the difference between weeds and non-weeds.
      Come on, use some science. Geoff.

  40. Pingback: John Holdren on Trump's Energy/Climate Armageddon (Part II: renewables, energy efficiency, carbon capture & storage, messaging, etc.) - Master Resource

  41. Because CAGW claim that cannot occur.
    Plants, coral seaweed, animals all die when you heat things up to much.
    If things green up it cannot be getting hotter enough.
    And they would be wrong.
    Is that a simple enough answer.

  42. This is sort of a breaking OT story. The billionaire owner of the LA Times, Patrick Soon-Shiong, is claiming to have a new zinc air battery breakthrough:|twitter&par=sharebar

    • I hunted up this comment by Rud Istvan that stuck in my mind:

      ristvan February 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm
      GF, solve the fatal zinc dendrite formation shorting problem and you will be a multimillionaire. i bet you cannot, because is inherent in that electrochemistry.

    • This is awesome, seriously. The story says the battery is about $100 per kilowatt hour- a fourth of lithium ion.
      A couple notes- he’s going to make a whole lot of money. And people who invested heavily in lithium ion are going to loose a bunch of money- including not a few national governments. Sound familiar? Am I the only one who ran around my house changing expensive twisty compact fluorescent light bulbs for LED? How much money did the world economy blow making everyone dump incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents to “save the Arctic” (and put mercury in all our houses and landfills)? What’d we save in emissions- a half-day of China’s increase in emissions?
      Everyone needs to keep this in mind when governments insist we need to do X right now! No, no, “merchants of doubt” and such.
      Finally, African villages aren’t Detroit. These batteries (and the next big thing) will help get people in Detroit out of ICE cars, but something stable, compact, green, reliable and cost effective is going to have to power Detroit all day and charge those batteries all night on cloudy, windless winter days when the sun goes down at 5 p.m. It isn’t going to make a bit of difference to that grid that you run your reading lamp off a solar panel and a battery.

      • I’ve seen a lot of battery stories that go nowhere, so I’ll at least reserve judgment until Rud Istvan shows up with his green eye shade. I’m reminded of this old episode of the old TV police comedy, Barney Miller, where they arrest a guy who says he’s from the future. He tells Sgt. Harris, who spends most of the episode on the phone with his broker, to invest in zinc.

        Has Soon-Shiong solved the dreaded zinc dendrite problem? Will he become a multi-millionaire? That’s a significant question, since he’s now a multi-billionaire!

  43. 18/9/2018 “I may try a backwards prediction, 2 weekly, on arctic sea ice growth this year. Hint comment in 2 weeks to focus on that small patch off ice off Alaska [if it still exists].”
    ice still existing therefore a very quick refreeze coming up in Beaufort and possibly Chukchi seas.
    Next watch those fluffy reformations of ice on the Chukchi ice edge.

  44. My experience in my area has shown that invasive species (alien eurasian annual grass, BRTE, BRRU, etc) have increased LAI in the Mojave desert exponentially. The Mojave doesn’t have a historic fire regime, but it now has a modern one thanks to invasive species.
    Blackrbush (Coleogyne ramosissima) was greatly reduced reproductively over the past 1,600-2,000 years due to warming and drying of North America. Because blackbrush does not reproduce as it once did, it is now undergoing type conversion because of invasive species and resulting fires.
    Increasing LAI in the Mojave desert is not due to co2, it is due to invasive species and climate change that occurred long before fossil fuels. The same climate change that drove the Anasazi out of the southern Great Basin-Northern Mojave region.

  45. I’ll plow this plowed ground and beat this dead horse yet some more. Maybe somebody will step up and ‘splain scientifically how/why I’ve got it wrong – or not.

    Radiative Green House Effect theory (TFK_bams09):

    1) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with atmosphere, RGHE’s only reason to even exist – rubbish. (simple observation & Nikolov & Kramm)
    But how, exactly is that supposed to work?

    2) There is a 333 W/m^2 up/down/”back” energy loop consisting of the 0.04% GHG’s that traps/re-emits per QED simultaneously warming BOTH the atmosphere and the surface. – Good trick, too bad it’s not real, thermodynamic nonsense.
    And where does this magical GHG energy loop first get that energy?

    3) From the 16 C/289 K/396 W/m^2 S-B 1.0 ε ideal theoretical BB radiation upwelling from the surface. – which due to the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the atmospheric molecules is simply not possible.

    No BB upwelling & no GHG energy loop & no 33 C warmer means no RGHE theory & no CO2 warming & no man caused climate change.

    Got science? Bring it!!

    Nick Schroeder, BSME CU ‘78, CO PE 22774

  46. Re: “We have repeatedly demonstrated (within here, for example) that about a half of a degree (C) of observed planetary warming is ascribable to anthropogenerated changes in the atmosphere.”

    No, you didn’t. For instance, if you’re going to cite climate sensitivity estimates from Lewis and Curry, be aware that those estimates assume that most of the recent warming is anthropogenic. Citing Christy’s work won’t be of much help to you either, for a whole plethora of reasons. For example, even if you assumed his work is sound (which it isn’t), it covers only the post-1970s tropospheric warming, not near-surface warming across the industrial-era.

  47. Perhaps like this.
    Atmospheres develop due to the substrate the planet is made of.
    They are held by the gravity and temperature of the planet.
    They reflect the formation and history of the planet.
    If earth had an oxygen and nitrogen atmosphere with no GHG, water and CO2, the sunlight saw and low radiation would make it back out to space without heating up the air mass as much. The pressures might be the same but the temperature could not be.

  48. Pingback: Bits and Pieces – 20180930, Sunday | thePOOG

  49. The point of this second experiment is to demonstrate that a surface with multiple outgoing heat transfer pathways cannot radiate as a BB. Just as reflected, transmitted, absorbed incoming radiation must equal 1.0 the outgoing radiative and non-radiative heat transfer processes must equal 1.0. Radiation does not function independently from the non-radiative processes.

    The immersion heater is feeding 1,180 W of power into the insulated pot of water which is boiling at an equilibrium temperature of 200 °F. (6,300 feet) The only significant pathway for energy out of this system is through the water’s surface.

    Any surface at 200 °F radiates at 1,021 W/m^2. This is 2.38% of the 42,800 W/m^2 power input to the system. That means 97.6% of the power input is carried away by non-radiative heat transfer processes, i.e. conduction, convection and evaporation.

    Likewise, the significant non-radiative heat transfer processes of the atmospheric molecules render the 396 W/m^2 LWIR radiation upwelling from the surface impossible.

    No 396 W/m^2 upwelling BB LWIR means there is
    No energy to power the 333 W/m^2 GHG out-of-nowhere perpetual energy loop,
    No energy for the CO2/GHGs to “trap” or absorb and re-radiate “warming” the atmosphere/surface,
    No RGHE and 33 C warmer and
    No man-caused climate change.

    This second experiment validates the findings of the modest experiment.

    Modest experiment:

    Annotated TFK_bams09

  50. In Michigan, I see a lot of grape vines growing all over small patches of woods. I don’t think it’s been this bad before or maybe I just haven’t noticed it. I wonder if this is due to the rising Keeling Curve?

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  52. Pingback: All is not necessarily what it seems… – Red Meat, Red Wine, and Red Delicious: A 40 Day Cleanse

  53. A warming world, reasonably, should lead to greening, which would also produce increased CO2 as plant decay and increased food availability would reasonably increase insects and other CO2 exhaling animal kingdom species. The source of warming could be a discharging battery. Which Earth has. Let’s not put the cart before the horse regarding what causes what. Plants can’t cause warming. Warming causes plants.

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  55. One does NOT need complicated arguments to refute anthropogenic climate change proponents.
    Climate change proponents DENY climate change, asserting 100% is due to Human influence.
    This is an indefensible position, but it is the basis of all climate change “policy” since before 1980.
    In World Meteorological Organization Technical Note 156: Effects of Human Activities on Global Climate. ISBN 92-63-10486-7, 1977, Figure 7, and later, Kellogg W W, 1987 Mankind’s impact on climate: the evolution of an awareness; Climatic Change 10 113–36, this claim is made.
    W. W. Kellogg’s temperature plot shows a fluctuating (+/- 1C), but CONSTANT, temperature global temperature, followed by modeled temperature change due 100% to humans.
    Kellogg’s pre-1980 models give the same result as models today since they depend, in effect, only on the CO2 greenhouse.
    In late 2017, Dr. Gavin Schmidt of Columbia U and Goddard Institute for Space Science asserted again that humans are 100% responsible for climate change in a public forum, quoting his and other current models.

    From Kellogg to Schmidt (and including, presumably, 97% of his colleagues) climate change does NOT exist without human influence!
    Image that, for a few billion years, climate has changed without human influence, but NOW, humans are responsible for 100% of any change.