Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye the past 4(!) weeks.

A hidden province of volcanoes in West Antarctica may accelerate sea level rise [link]

The Dominant Role of Extreme Precipitation Events in Antarctic Snowfall Variability buff.ly/2U3stFU

The Strength of Low-Cloud Feedbacks and Tropical Climate: A CESM Sensitivity Study buff.ly/2NiqxqB

A preliminary calculation of cement carbon dioxide in China from 1949 to 2050 [link]

Spring rainfall on permafrost is a growing factor in Arctic warming, but it hasn’t been accounted for in most projections. New research suggests the increase in methane emissions could be twice the expected rate. [link]

On the westward shift of tropical Pacific climate variability since 2000 [link]

Unabated Bottom Water Warming and Freshening in the South Pacific Ocean buff.ly/2TZnHtd

Atmospheric methane grew very rapidly in 2014 (12.7±0.5 ppb/yr), 2015 (10.1±0.7 ppb/yr), 2016 (7.0±0.7 ppb/yr) and 2017 (7.7±0.7 ppb /yr), at rates not observed since the 1980s. Implications for the Paris Agreement:

Centennial-scale temperature change in last millennium simulations and proxy-based reconstructions buff.ly/2EnACjj

How well does a scientific model represent the real Earth system? We might need to re-envision it our ways of finding out. [link]

Antarctic sea ice Control on the Depth of North Atlantic Deep Water buff.ly/2BIaQVg

Carbon from fossil fuels (not wildfires) biggest source of arctic pollution [link]

But now climate change has claimed its first mammal species extinction (that we know of).

A new statistical tool could extend predictions of atmospheric river activity by as much as 5 weeks. [link]

Global impacts of ENSO reach into the stratosphere [link]

Spatial early warning signals for impending regime shifts: A practical framework for application in real‐world landscapes buff.ly/2IjiQld

An interesting new analysis from Australia: Sea levels in and around Sydney Harbour 1886-2018

“Can you take the heat?” Heat-induced health symptoms are associated with protective behaviors buff.ly/2V4K9kG

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas [link]

Relative roles of dynamic and thermodynamic processes in causing positive and negative global mean SST trends during the past 100 years buff.ly/2Ed5IK7

Early Meteorological Data in Southern Spain During the Dalton Minimum buff.ly/2EeuVEc

Hydrothermal carbon release to the ocean and atmosphere from the eastern equatorial Pacific during the last glacial termination (open access) buff.ly/2DUb7on

Influence of solar activity changes on European rainfall

How LA’s golf courses and manicured lawns contribute significant greenhouse gases [link]

Embracing the complexity of extreme weather events when quantifying their likelihood of recurrence in a warming world buff.ly/2Gq7dXP

Towards a more complete quantification of the global carbon cycle (open access) buff.ly/2GKSdmW

The melting of high-elevation glaciers due to climate change may temporarily offset streamflow declines. [link]

Atmospheric circulation modulates the spatial variability of temperature in the Atlantic‐Arctic region buff.ly/2TQApKG

On the timescales and length scales of the Arctic sea ice thickness anomalies: a study based on 14 reanalyses buff.ly/2trrcN7

Estimating the likelihood of future temperature extremes [link]

Impact of Atmospheric Heat and Moisture Transport on the Arctic Warming buff.ly/2S1gRlc

Climate changes in interior semi-arid Spain from the last interglacial to the late Holocene

Recent Tropical Expansion: Natural Variability or Forced Response?:

new paper on influence of Asian mountains (ie the Tibetan Plateau/ Himalayas) on typhoons and precipitation [link]

Variation in MERRA-2 aerosol optical depth and absorption aerosol optical depth over China from 1980 to 2017 buff.ly/2Dpb9nA

Interesting new paper on the AMO

Climate‐Induced Changes in the Risk of Hydrological Failure of Major Dams in California buff.ly/2WMb8Dm

Very strong atmospheric #methane growth in the four years 2014‐2017: Implications for the Paris Agreement

Insights into the global aerosol size distribution from the largest synthesised collection of in-situ aircraft measurements doi.org/10.5194/acp-20…

Winter upper ocean stability and ice-ocean feedbacks in the sea-ice-covered Southern Ocean.” A few takeaways follow… (1/5) journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.117…

Climate change suppresses Santa Ana winds of Southern California and sharpens their seasonality buff.ly/2ML6lxl

A sea change in our view of overturning in the subpolar North Atlantic [link]

Mechanisms and Impacts of a Partial AMOC Recovery Under Enhanced Freshwater Forcing buff.ly/2S0ZkOU

Changes in gyre circulation cause decadal variability in North Atlantic decadal sea level. [link]

Does the shoe fit? Real versus imagined ecological footprints [link]

Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492

What is the polar vortex and how does it influence weather? [link]

Finding sources of uncertainty in the spatial pattern of global warming [link]

Pacific Ocean forcing and atmospheric variability are the dominant causes of spatially widespread droughts in the contiguous United States buff.ly/2sUs7pp

Estimation of the Antarctic surface mass balance using the regional climate model MAR (1979–2015) and identification of dominant processes buff.ly/2Wq1mqp

Holocene environmental history in high‐Arctic North Greenland revealed by a combined biomarker and macrofossil approach buff.ly/2sRP8sK

Model derived uncertainties in deep ocean temperature trends between 1990‐2010 buff.ly/2FV6yxs

Recent acceleration of Arabian Sea warming induced by the Atlantic‐western Pacific trans‐basin multidecadal variability buff.ly/2G8oR1d

Have synergies between nitrogen deposition and atmospheric CO2 driven the recent enhancement of the terrestrial carbon sink? buff.ly/2WliT2N

Is equatorial Africa getting wetter or drier? Insights from an evaluation of long‐term, satellite‐based rainfall estimates for western Uganda buff.ly/2UmgC5Q

Social science, technology & policy

Understanding high-end climate change: from impacts to co-creating integrated and transformative solutions [link]

An antiquated California water law encourages political conflict rather than market transactions

The Green New Deal seeks a complete transition to clean energy by 2030. How much battery storage would an all-renewable grid require, especially in the most trying of winter weather conditions? [link]

Miami battles rising seas [link]

Policies to reduce CO2 emissions: Fallacies and evidence from the United States and California buff.ly/2Ng1yEp

Even in optimum weather, lithium-ion batteries lose about one percent of range every day, but the #PolarVortex caused tremendous loss of range for electric vehicles in the Midwest. [link]

Attributable damage liability in a non-linear climate [link]

Stochastic Trend: Energy Efficiency Improvements Do Not Save Energy

Perspective: Achievement of Paris climate goals unlikely due to time lags in the land system go.nature.com/2U2teyU

Direct air capture of CO2 is getting better and offering intriguing options [link]

Emission mechanism and reduction countermeasures of agricultural greenhouse gases – a review buff.ly/2S1tSee

French, R. D. (2019). Is It Time to Give Up on Evidence-based Policy? Four Answers. Policy & Politics, 47(1), 151-168.

“Given that CCS is expected to account for the mitigation of ~4-20% of total CO₂ emissions, in 2050 the CCS industry will need to be larger by a factor of 2–4 in volume terms than the current global oil industry” [link]

Could a new superplant solve the climate crisis?

About science & scientists

Scientist who resisted censorship of climate report lost her job [link]

Machine learning ‘causing science crisis’ – a crisis of reproducibility in science goes a lot deeper than machine learning. [link]

Oregon #Anesthesiology Doctor’s Personal #ClimateChange Battle Spurs Industry Change [link]

Academic freedom and the scope of protections for extramural speech: Why controversial remarks by faculty must be protected.

Machine Learning’s Amazing Ability to Predict Chaos. [link]

UCSF’s dangerous targeting of academic researchers [link]

Based on citations, a study suggests that smaller teams come up with better new ideas than larger collaborations [link]

Is email making professors stupid? [link]

Artificial intelligence alone won’t solve the complexity of earth sciences [link]

Durham student was sacked as editor of a student journal, removed from his post as president of a student society, and has now been banned from a debate on another campus. And for what? Retweeting an article. [link]

Scenarios and Decision Support for Security and Conflict Risks in the Context of Climate Change [link]

When censorship is crowdsourced [link]

Decisions are largely emotional, not logical:  the neuroscience of decision making [link]

RIP Walter Munk [link].  A recent interview [link]

Scientific Gullibility, now in press. How did Psych get into the mess its in? Some answers here:

Former UW-Madison professor Don Moynihan on campus speech and attack on UW political science professor Ken Mayer: “If we look the other way when academic freedom is attacked, expect it to be attacked more often.” [link]

David Spiegelhalter: “You should not want to be trusted. Instead, what you should want to do is to demonstrate trustworthiness, because that is within your control.” spr.ly/6012Eutum

Intensification of El Niño rainfall variability over the tropical Pacific in the slow oceanic response to global warming buff.ly/2WOcMEg

185 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Reblogged this on lifeunderwriter.net and commented:
    Always interesting to see what other people are reading.

  2. The analysis from Australia about the relative lack of sea level rise in and around Sydney Harbour from 1886-2018 was pretty interesting in that models can be used to predict anything and you can believe them or not but it’s hard to deny something you see with your own eyes.

  3. ScienceMag stupidly says Happer is “a prominent opponent of climate science.”


    The article is reprinted from E&E News. It systematically and stupidly equates alarmism with “climate science.” Skeptics have a good grasp of the actual science. What they object to is alarmism’s interpretation. This vital distinction is apparently lost on Science and E&E News.

    Yellow-green journalism!

    • Science is supposed to be one of the world’s top journals and E&E News is an expensive newsletter, supposedly the best in is field. So the question is, is this article a case of ignorance (of the scientific debate) or one of stupidity (driven by ideology)? I see no other explanation.

  4. Decisions are largely emotional, not logical: the neuroscience of decision making [link]

    Certainly explains a lot about the global warming debate with it’s abdication of the scientific method and critical thinking pretty early on by alarmists who have come to prefer instead, political science and emotional appeals– using fear and ignorance, shame, guilt, envy, phony claims of consensus, and character assassination of scientific skeptics and disbelievers of their myriad and never ending unverifiable visions of dying polar bears, deadly storms, rising seas, heat waves, no snow, too much snow…

  5. This guy started the Extinction Rebellion

    Its worse than embarrassing.

  6. AAAS / Science magazine under Rush Holt has become a climate activist organization eschewing the fundamental premise of “science” to promote and ensure the very basic concept of the Scientific Method and evidence based science in favor of opinion science. I receive multiple requests for donations to AAAS’s Flexible Action Fund which AAAS will use as it sees fit to promote climate change. I refuse to throw money into a pot that I have no idea re how my money will be used for propaganda purposes.

  7. I think aggressive carbon capture storage is a bad idea. It is likely to lead to famine and drought.

    • Especially, if it works to reduce CO2, it will destroy our food supply, it will kill green plants that depend on CO2. We are nowhere near a dangerous high level of CO2 but we just came out of a period where we were close to a dangerous low level where we could not have grown food for billions of people. Yes, carbon capture storage could and would likely lead to famine and drought.

      • Plants were doing fine before the industrial era. They will after it, too.

      • What does “doing fine” mean in terms of global plant productivity? Are you saying that it has not increased with the CO2 increase? Or that we do not need the increase? Or what?

      • No, plants don’t need more CO2. That CO2 by itself means more photosynthesis, but it also causes warming and changes to the hydrological cycle, which stresses plants. Then there’s this:

        “Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein…. “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”
        – University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections, 10/7/14.

        from his work

        “Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat,” Arnold J. Bloom et al, Nature Climate Change, April 6 2014.

      • Plants benefit from increased CO2, but are harmed by higher temperatures and changes to the hydrological cycle that CO2 causes. Then there’s this:

        “Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein…. “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”
        – University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections 10/7/14.

      • No, plants don’t need more CO2.

        That is an anthropocentric view.
        C₃ plants are ‘doing fine’ at CO₂ levels of 400-600 ppm.
        Due to declining CO₂ levels plants developed C₄ carbon fixation in the Oligocene.
        Since the late Miocene C₄ biomass is steadily increasing at the expense of C₃ plants.

    • Dont worry, it’s extremely difficult and expensive to capture much CO2. Having the ability to do so might, however, prove valuable in the very long run.

    • Gee. You know, it can be rereleased.

      • Would we realize what was happening and why, act appropriately and timely. No. We’d probably blame it on climate change and double down on bad policies.

      • Well. it is true that the White House is sort of the last bastion of climate denial.

    • carbone capture store is a bad idea because it will money’s waste… There were a climatic warming during roman time without CO2… And these climatic change could be an advantage …

      • It’s also the perfect play for conservative politicians, once they’ve finished painting themselves into their typical heroic, saving-the-day mode. Like the Great Wall of the USA.

    • I wonder how the heat generated by running all of the carbon capture equipment and manufacturing and disposing of the equipment itself balances against the reduced Global Warming.

  8. The Dominant Role of Extreme Precipitation Events in Antarctic Snowfall Variability buff.ly/2U3stFU

    The best data to understand ice in Antarctic is the 800 thousand year ice core data. When the ocean temperature were warmer, the ice cores gain the most ice accumulation. When the ocean temperatures were colder, the ice cores gain the least ice accumulation.

    When the oceans are warmer and the sea ice donut and the ice shelf donut around Antarctic is small, there is more evaporation and more snowfall falls on the sequestered ice on the land and ice volumes grow.

    After the ice gains volume and weight, the ice flows faster and builds the ice shelves and cools the oceans and new sea ice forms. In this colder time, the evaporation is less and the snow that falls does fall on the sea ice and ice shelves. The sequestered ice on the land continues to flow and break off and cool the oceans until the volume and weight are depleted and another ice extent retreat begins and causes warming. Models are not needed to understand this, we have the ice core data. At least the model is supporting the data, that is the unusual part of this Antarctic story.

  9. The model low cloud feedback paper https://t.co/35m5CQ1y3n?amp=1 is very interesting. The authors play with the feedback parameter of low clouds (LCF). They find that as more positive this feedback is as more SST warming manifests in the extratropics. This impacts stongly the sensitivity. I compared the global SST 30-60 N;S with the tropic SST and the difference is without trend since 1970. Also their fig. 11 is particularly interesting:
    The 8S-8N Pacific SST over the longitude is shown. The experiments with negative LCF ( no. 3-6)replicate the observations quite well, the first with a positive LCF ( no. 7) is far away from the obs. A really interesting paper!

  10. Scientist lost job for resisting censorship, or for insisting on using her institution as a platform for editorializing?

    Probably most likely, her superiors wrongly believed they needed to censor because of bad assumptions about current admin.

    • She didn’t lose her job, her contract was not renewed. No expectations should be made by her of continuing engagement

  11. The article on developing a superplant: “Could a new superplant solve the climate crisis? Team of California scientists hopes a CO2-storing crop will help save the planet”, is worthwhile. They are trying to develop a plant that stores more CO2 in its roots, thus sequestering carbon.

    They are warmists, and their motivations may be flawed, but the concept is valuable regardless. Having the ability to control the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would be useful, and using plants is a lot smarter than designing some mechanical system. I’ve often wondered why we couldn’t sequester carbon by simply planting the fastest growing plants and chucking them into old coal mines.

    I was surprised by : “Normally, plants return most of their carbon back to the atmosphere when they decompose, leaving only a tiny fraction behind in the ground.” The trees in my yard disagree; they seem to be storing lots of carbon for quite a long time before decomposing.

    • Trees only a small part of plants.
      Think grasses and seaweed.
      Also tree trunk and branches only a small part of its carbon cycling, leaves continually dropping off and renewed is where most goes.
      Fire destroys some wood, The rest eventually rots and goes back to atmosphere on a 3-100 person life timescale.
      You just hav3 to liv3 longer to appreciate it

  12. ‘The Strength of Low-Cloud Feedbacks and Tropical Climate’

    The decline in mid to high latitude cloud cover appears to be connected with the shift to a warm AMO phase. In which case they have it backwards as a warm AMO phase is normal during a solar minimum.

  13. An elegant skeptical take on the purported climate caused extinction:


    However, “island” is too grand a term for the sand spit this critter inhabited. That it was even a species is questionable.

  14. michaelrath250

    Thanks, Judith for taking the time to curate all these sources. It is a great service.

  15. Rob Johnson-taylor

    I don’t know if anyone noticed this in Nov 2018

    High-precision airborne measurements, in combination with atmospheric modeling, suggest that the Katla subglacial caldera may be one of the planet’s biggest sources of volcanic carbon dioxide.


    Original paper
    Geophysical Research Letters
    Globally Significant CO2 Emissions From Katla, a Subglacial Volcano in Iceland
    Evgenia Ilyinskaya, et al

    Volcanoes are a key natural source of CO2, but global estimates of volcanic CO2 flux are predominantly based on measurements from a fraction of world’s actively degassing volcanoes. We combine high‐precision airborne measurements from 2016 and 2017 with atmospheric dispersion modeling to quantify CO2 emissions from Katla, a major subglacial volcanic caldera in Iceland that last erupted 100 years ago but has been undergoing significant unrest in recent decades. Katla’s sustained CO2 flux, 12–24 kt/d, is up to an order of magnitude greater than previous estimates of total CO2 release from Iceland’s natural sources. Katla is one of the largest volcanic sources of CO2 on the planet, contributing up to 4% of global emissions from non-erupting volcanoes. Further measurements on subglacial volcanoes worldwide are urgently required to establish if Katla is exceptional, or if there is a significant previously unrecognized contribution to global CO2 emissions from natural sources.


    • 25 kt/day = 0.009 Gt/yr, in a world where humans emit about 40 Gt/yr.

      • And natural sources amount to 30 times the human number. But of course those are “balanced” by magic! Humans = black magic :(

      • “swampgator11 | February 24, 2019 at 7:46 am |
        And natural sources amount to 30 times the human number. But of course those are “balanced” by magic! Humans = black magic :(”

        Why is it beyond your comprehension that the natural carbon cycle must, by definition, be balanced between sinks and sources?
        Boggles my mind that you may think otherwise.
        It acts over millenia to be so ….. well before mankind buggered it up.

      • On the contrary, Tony. Given that the myriad sinks and sources are independent of one another and relatively slow changing, it is likely that they would never balance for very long. Thus we we should expect the atmospheric concentration to oscillate on relatively long time scales. The recent increase may well be part of such an oscillation. Of course this implies that the ice core records are unreliable, which is likely.

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


    I am more impressed by machine learning than I thought I would be. What if we had enough data – and precise enough – to obviate the need to solve the 3-D Navier-Stokes equation?

  17. David Spiegelhalter: “You should not want to be trusted. Instead, what you should want to do is to demonstrate trustworthiness, because that is within your control.” spr.ly/6012Eutum

    “Probably every man-made disaster that has happened to humanity can be put down to people not having the humility to realize that they didn’t know as much as they thought they did.”

    The first step in demonstrating trustworthiness is admitting one doesn’t know. There is a danger admitting you don’t know, that someone will say: “If you don’t know, then, I will find someone who does know.”

    Unfortunately, David Spiegelhalter, to overcome such doubters, suggests assertively saying: “I don’t know”. I suspect the phase “I don’t know” stated assertively might come across as: I don’t know. (and, neither do you!)

    So, to demonstrate trust, you have to be trusted in the first place which goes along the lines of: relationship building. Relationship building gets into the issues of personality, initial impressions, non-verbal communication, assumptions, state of mind, emotional baggage, etc.

    Science seems to get muddles once we decide we want to communicate it.

    The best thing for me to communicate science to myself is to observe it, at least in my mind’s eye.

  18. Thanks for your work, Dr. Curry.

    I am constantly amazed by the climate crusaders’ assumption they can modify human nature, and reliably affect politics at levels ranging from local to global [Nature Climate, Land Use]. It’s like stuffing a fat lady in a tight girdle; things pop out all over the place. [OK; whip me with a woke stick.]

    That, and other links you provide show the dangers of academics/scientists hitching their stars to transient political policy making; things and people change. Today’s superstar is tomorrow’s nobody. Nothing illustrates this like liberal ideology changing and eating its early heroes for not changing fast enough to accommodate the current dogma.

    • “I am constantly amazed by the climate crusaders’ assumption they can modify human nature”

      Maybe you have confused the means and the ends. Perhaps the idea is not to change human nature in order to achieve certain climate policies, but to use climate policies to change human nature. In that regard they are merely following a very long established and disastrous (in human terms) tradition.

  19. Abyssal ocean warming contributed substantially to anthropogenic ocean heat uptake and global sea level rise between 1990 and 2010.

    Purkey et al. proclaim that ex ante, without demonstrating any credible means of distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic ocean heat uptake. A substantial prize should be offered to anyone who rigorously demonstrates such means.

    • at a climate conference 5 years ago Thomas stocker said we did not have the technology to measure the heat of the deep oceans.


      • Hi Tony,

        What do you think of the article “Centennial-scale temperature change in last millennium simulations and proxy-based reconstructions”? https://buff.ly/2EnACjj) buff.ly/2EnACjj

        The abstract states the following:

        “This study evaluates the low-frequency simulation–reconstruction agreement within the past millennium through assessing the amplitude of temperature change between the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950–1250 CE) and the Little Ice Age (1450–1850 CE) in PMIP3 model simulations compared to proxy-based local and continental-scale reconstructions. The simulations consistently show a smaller temperature change than the reconstructions for most regions in the Northern Hemisphere, ….”

        Although I know nearly nothing about proxy based reconstructions, the subject is of interest to me. I have. over the past few years, arrived at the opinion that some reconstructions can be trusted and some can’t. Do you have an opinion about the reconstruction used here?


      • Richard

        I can only read the short abstract and not the pdf. So I can not see their methodology. I am a little surprised at the dates they give. Generally I would consider the MWP to have lasted from around 850 to 1150 Ad or so. So without being able to see what methods and proxies they used for their reconstructions it is difficult to pass a considered opinion on it.

        I tend to follow Hubert Lambs comment on reconstructions that ‘you can understand the tendency but not the precision’ in other words, we can generally tell if there are periods of considerable warmth or cold well above and below ‘average’ but couldn’t put a precise figure on it with any accuracy. The more widespread the reconstruction, continental, northern hemisphere or global, the more vague the findings tend to be.

        Which is why I tend to restrict myself to CET as the records are rich and the nuances are that little bit clearer.


      • Tony
        Thank you for the information. I’ve been unable to comment for a long time and have been wanting to ask about the following statement you made on 17 Sep 2017:
        “To this day there is clear evidence of warmer than today conditions on nearby upland dartmoor where crop lines, tree lines and dwellings all show habitation at a higher level …”
        My question is this: “Is there evidence that the warmer conditions existed in areas outside of upland Dartmoor? Also, is there any evidence of the hounds of Dartmoor?

      • Richard

        The interesting thing about Dartmoor is that its height is relatively modest-it is not mountainous with heights up to 2000 feet. which means in our latitude that a few hundred feet makes a huge difference. For example a couple of weeks ago one of the main roads on a modest hill was closed by snow at around 800 feet The snow disappeared at around 400 feet.

        So on Dartmoor the ability of people to live and farm at higher places can be seen by homestead ruins, field markers, barns, crop evidence, tree remains etc whereby at lower levels they would be living there anyway, as the temperature would always be just about acceptable.

        The Domesday book tells us of the oxen and ploughs the upland farms used to cultivate areas not possible today. This warmer climate than today is ironically also mentioned in the Dartmoor tourist information from the authority that looks after what is now a national park, despite the fact it is a govt body..

        As for the hounds. one of the main places you can see the ruins are at Hound tor, where the story was set



      • Tony,

        Thank you. Dartmoor sounds interesting. Still have it in the back of my head to visit during the Mayflower festivities.


      • Richard

        Let us know if you do intend to be in this neck of the woods. I live on the coast roughly halfway between Exeter and Plymouth and Dartmoor lies immediately to the north of these two towns


      • nobodysknowledge

        Deserted Hound Tor. “Pollen evidence suggests that cereal farming had ceased by 1350,”
        The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, the Black Plague, or simply the Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.

      • nobody’s knowledge

        there is evidence that barns used for storage at Hound Tor were moved to a lower altitude in the preceding decades as the climate worsened-although there were still periods of warmth in summer and winter.

        It is not thought the black death reached the isolated farms on Dartmoor although nearby Exeter was affected. My guess is that as farmers died off in the fertile valleys 1000 feet lower, the temptation to move on to their land by upland farmers must have been strong. Life as an upland farmer would always be tougher than in the river valleys.


    • Which means estimates of warming of the abyssal oceans are probably too low.

      • Until you understand the Vostok Ice Core which shows that the new Ice Age began 18,000 years ago none of this talk avbout GLOBAL WARMING is relevent. We are well into the GLOBAL ICE MAKING stage of the new ice age.

      • Until you understand the Vostok Ice Core you will not see the difference in what happened just after ten thousand years ago and what happened 130 thousand years ago. it is much different, The most recent ten thousand years have new one thousand year cycles that have replaced the many thousand year cycles of the past million years.

        This is a new normal. This new normal is not because of any change in external forcing, it is because of changes in the amount of ice that is sequestered in cold places that cannot take part in current ice cycles.

        The energy sequestered in the oceans and ice is just right for the new normal.

      • which means they have no idea.


      • 130 thousand years ago, the oceans kept rising and warming because ice and water from the major ice age leading up to then was still on land in places warm enough to thaw and go back into the oceans. Greenland lost a lot of ice, not all, because the higher warmer oceans let it thaw longer.

        Now, that ice is sequestered mostly on Antarctic ice and some on Greenland ice, both of those ice sheets are stable now, Antarctic has been stable for millions of years, slowly increasing with each cycle until now. The Greenland ice is now stable. Over the new one thousand year cycles, Antarctic and Greenland gain and lose the right amount of ice to stay stable, building when oceans are warm and thawed and losing when oceans are cold and frozen. Oceans no longer get deep and warm enough to remove significant ice from Greenland ice.

      • When the oceans have enough heat, they thaw polar oceans and remove heat while they sequester more ice. When the oceans do not have enough heat, they freeze the polar oceans and stop sequestering ice and allow the sequestered ice to cool the earth until it is depleted.

        We can see the oceans have reached the warm limits when the polar oceans thaw and turn on more evaporation and snowfall.

        We can see the oceans have lost enough heat when the polar oceans freeze and turn off the more evaporation and snowfall.

        The oceans do the measurements of ocean heat and the sea ice is our indicator.

      • It is virtually impossible that they have no idea.

      • The oceans have enough heat and the polar oceans are thawed enough and the more snow is falling now. I see that on the news every night. This modern warm period is natural, normal and necessary and will continue about as long as the Roman and Medieval warm periods lasted while they rebuilt sequestered ice for a few hundred years.

        This is in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere may or may not correlate with this, the period of the ice cycles there are different, compare their ice cores.

      • It is virtually impossible that they have no idea.

        Shamanistic incantations can be called an “idea.” It’s virtually certain, however, that no fully credible idea has ever been scientifically demonstrated.

      • Huff-and-puff dramatic nonsense – Carl Wunsch publishes papers about the abyssal ocean heat content.

      • Most of what Wunsch publishes are lamentations about how little is truly known, to wit:

        Much of the deep-ocean volume remained unobserved. At the present time, warming is seen in the deep western Atlantic and Southern Oceans, roughly consistent with those regions of the ocean expected to display the earliest responses to surface disturbances. Parts of the deeper ocean, below 3600 m, show cooling. Most of the variation in the abyssal Pacific Ocean is comparatively featureless, consistent with the slow, diffusive approach to a steady state expected there. In the global average, changes in heat content below 2000 m are roughly 10% of those inferred for the upper ocean over the 20-yr period. A useful global observing strategy for detecting future change has to be designed to account for the different time and spatial scales manifested in the observed changes.

      • Abyssal ocean warming contributed substantially to anthropogenic ocean heat uptake and global sea level rise between 1990 and 2010.

        JCH: “Which means estimates of warming of the abyssal oceans are probably too low.”

        Insolation driven warming from obliquity oscillation (Milankovitch) takes 6500 years to lead to the start of an interglacial (when eccentricity is in the right place). This is how long it takes for insolation change to change the temperature of the ocean down to the abyssal depths.


        In this context, can you explain how anthropogenic CO2 warming in the 20th century can lead to abyssal warming in a timescale of months and years only, as you are asserting?

    • The ice cycles regulate temperature in Polar Regions. The ice cycles also regulate sea level. When oceans are deeper they get warmer and there is more thawed ocean and more evaporation and more snowfall that sequesters ice for causing cold periods. When oceans are not as deep they get colder and polar oceans freeze and there is less evaporation and less snowfall and sequestered ice depletes and causes warm periods.

  20. Dr. Curry,
    Your name has been mentioned as a possible member and you’ve been quoted reg. the proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security to be headed by Professor William Happer, labeled by WaPo as a denier. As the proposal evolves, would you keep us abreast of the developments?

  21. Carbon cut apocalypse: cost of Australian energy plans

    “Labor’s 45 per cent emissions-¬reduction target would push electricity prices 50 per cent higher, cost workers up to $9000 a year in lower wages and wipe $472 billion from the economy over the next decade, according to the first independent modelling of the energy policies of both the government and opposition.

    “The Coalition’s commitment to meeting a 26-28 per cent reduc¬tion under the Paris Agreement would also come at a cost, with $70bn in cumulative economic losses by 2030 and a 2 per cent hit to real wage growth.

    “The research, which is currently under peer review in the US, has been authored by Brian Fisher, the former head of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, who served under the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments as a chief adviser on climate policy.

    “The comprehensive modelling of the economy-wide impacts of both parties’ climate change policies has exposed claims by Labor and the Coalition about the costs of their commitments. It suggests that Labor’s policy would result in 336,000 fewer jobs in 2030 than there otherwise would have been while the Coalition’s commitment would result in 78,000 fewer jobs as the economy adjusted to transitional shock.

    “Dr Fisher, who has also been a lead author on three reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, accuses both sides of politics of engaging in a dishonest debate.”

    Read the full article here:

  22. Interesting “new analysis” of sea level?

    “Well-informed people know that the IPCC and other alarmist individuals and organisations constantly
    make exaggerated claims of global catastrophe that are unsupported by true scientists, but which are
    repeated constantly as a mantra of climate virtue designed to frighten the weak and the gullible,
    including politicians; the threat of rising sea levels forms a significant part of this commentary, which is
    described here as an act of MENDACITY (Noun) and/or MENDACIOUS (Adjective).”

    Now seriously Dr. Curry. why do you recommend this stuff?

    ‘Figure 19: View of the Fisherman’s Hut at Long Reef, Collaroy—photo taken Jan. 2014 (GMD); in all images, the
    high water mark comes to within 1.5 metre or so of the grassy bank, but there are NO observable effects of any
    sea level rise, or indeed coastal erosion, in any of these images”

    AWESOME analysis. 1.5 meters or so, photos of a grassy bank no less!

  23. Little brown rat story was typical:

    Not one shred of evidence presented that a change in climate had caused the extinction. Just blame on generic terms like “climate change” and then move to politics. No need for any evidence to back up the claim.
    And the way this works is they don’t need to show evidence, because if sea levels rose, it’s climate change. If the rains stopped, it’s climate change. If it rained too much….climate change. Lack of food…..climate change. No evidence for any of those things but they have built up this wonderful game of circular logic that there can be no sane debate.

    • Skeptical science ran story on how the population has dropped in the mekong delta during the last 20 years by approx 2-3% due to climate change, all the while ignoring the fact that manufacturing in the interior of viet nam has increase by 10-20% during the same period. Normal migration now that the country is experiencing the industrial revolution.

      • In every climate scare story, if one digs deep enough, there are other variables that have been conveniently ignored.

        If not ignored, it makes the reader actually have to think. That is the last thing needed when the future of the world is at stake.

    • The correlation between extinctions and climate change, and possible solutions to slow warming gets crazier. Certain scientists believe the sequencing of the woolly mammoth genome is near. There’s a real effort to clone the woolly mammoth and release around 100k of them in Siberia to preserve permafrost. Apparently the mammoths will destroy trees that contribute to the warming tundra.

  24. “true scientists”? are those the people who discover the “true facts”?

  25. With each additional story about geothermal activity in Antarctica comes the obvious question, when will a comprehensive study be made to determine the geological contribution to SLR from that continent.

    There have been too many studies covering various aspects of geothermal activity affecting Antarctica and Greenland to ignore it much longer.

    • There has always been geothermal activity affecting Antarctica and Greenland. The ice cores are proof that it has made no difference in Antarctic for millions of years and it has made no difference in Greenland for over a hundred thousand years. We have ice core data that proves this. We should no longer ignore this actual data.

      • The above new paper covers the solid earth rheology and deformation of the land on the Antarctic Peninsula. The authors show that the mantle has lower viscosity than previously thought and there is uplift of the land on a decadal time scale rather than millennia. Along with the Barletta 2018 paper, new geological processes have been uncovered.

        These 2 papers are part of a much larger body of work coming out in the last 10 years that found geological dynamics previously only theorized. That includes many papers identifying geothermal activity on a much larger scale than had been known. Equally important was the finding in those papers that the subterranean heat had temporal and spatial variability. Research has found that the Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers are being influenced by basal melting from this heat. Adjacent waters are also being warmed by sea floor warmth.. Papers have also found evidence of geothermal influences on the Greenland Ice Sheet and attached marine terminating glaciers in fjords.

        I know geological processes have been involved with these 2 Ice Sheets for millions of years. But given the findings of temporal and spatial variability, we don’t have a baseline over the last 200 years to separate natural processes from those of AGW. We need a comprehensive analysis of what has always been there versus those new influences from AGW.

  26. My latest: Will President Trump finally confront climate alarmism?


    Some excerpts:
    President Trump may finally do something about the rampant Obama-era climate change alarmism in his agencies. The Washington Post reports that there is a draft Executive Order creating a Presidential Committee on Climate Security. Among its sorely needed tasks is the independent and adversarial review of some of the blatantly alarmists reports recently issued by various federal groups, including the Pentagon. The question is will he issue this Order?

    The President has steadfastly ignored the flood of alarmism coming from his out-of-control agencies, other than tweeting that he does not believe it. The excellent and skeptical Red Team proposal from the EPA Administrator Pruitt was squashed by White House staff as too controversial. But now the Democrats have made climate change a major issue, especially with the radical Green New Deal. So maybe the President will finally take at least a little action and actually create this Presidential Committee. It is the least he can do.

    The Post does go to great lengths to bash physicist Will Happer, the reported author of the draft EO and a staffer on the National Security Council. Happer is a prominent skeptic, who at one point was being considered to head Trump’s Office of Science and Technology policy. This was considered too controversial so the job went to an expert on thunder storms, for which the alarmists were vocally thankful.

    The post mentions vaguely that Happer once worked in the Energy Department. What they carefully neglect to say is that he headed DOE’s Office of Science, which has an annual budget of over 6 billion dollars and is the world’s largest funder of physical science research. In short he is a very heavy hitter, just right for drafting this Executive Order.

    Given the negative tone of the article, I am sure the Post’s hope is to quash the Order, and the alarmists are indeed pouring forth the predictable howls of anguish and damnation. These are led by the Center for Climate and Security, which makes its living hyping climate change security scares, like our naval bases slowly sinking beneath rising seas. They have issued a long list of damnations that make for a fun read. These are quotes from various admirals, generals, captains and security wonks, each more alarmist than the last.

    In any case the cat is now out of the bag and sitting squarely in President Trump’s court, as it were. This Executive Order is a big step up from tweets when it comes to administration recognition of climate skepticism. It may be the perfect antidote to the wacky Green New Deal.

    End of excerpts. There is more in the article, including live links.

  27. “Scientist who resisted censorship of climate report lost her job [link]” There is a clear distinction between science and environmental advocacy which this person did not understand. If she had insisted on quoting the Bible in her report no doubt there would have been a similar reaction from her employers.

    • He left out the “In some ways.”

    • You might also like:

      Well, that was a first . . . being called a ‘climate science denier’ in the Congressional Record.


    • “I’m trying to take a pragmatic approach,” she said. “The world is warming and humans are contributing to that change.”

      “We don’t know how the 21st century is going to play out,” she went on. “But I hope we can focus on pragmatic solutions that are politically palatable, don’t jeopardize the economy and make progress instead of fighting this endless war over the science.”

      Uncertainty in a complex dynamical Earth system is not your ally – but then they have zilch uncertainty and very little science. Perhaps poor wee willie’s economic AI overlord could help them out.

      “The machine-learning technique is almost as good as knowing the truth, so to say.”

      • speaking of pragmatic approaches, chief might appreciate:


      • And where is MLK’s dream now in the land of the race bating hustlers? It will take vomiting these leeches from the public square before his dream can be realized.

      • Poor wee willie’s dream is of an AI overlord governing all economic transactions – that might be mistaken by a classic liberal as a SJW fever induced nightmare. His purloined Futurama imagery may thus be a more than fitting allusion to this mooted, profoundly impractical dystopia the cadre for which he is a card carrying member.

        Creating prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes in the real world is dream enough I think. I have a dream that the future is cyberpunk.


      • Willard: speaking of pragmatic approaches, chief might appreciate:

        Are you trying to claim that pragmatic approaches to climate adjustment and remediation are bad ideas? Is there something they have in common with athletic competitions, and if so what?

        As to MLK, he pursued pragmatic approaches toward realizing his dream. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • Before he was assassinated, MLK was widely considered to be a race baiting hustler. His tactics were widely unpopular with the majority of Americans.

      • instead of fighting this endless war over the science

        The consensus science is wrong, it really is not science,
        That war does need to be fought to get to proper science.

        Climate science output does not match real actual climate data.
        That must be fixed.

      • There is a wealth of Earth system science that is considerably more interesting than Alex’s too often repeated soft drink analogy.

  28. Top German MP Warns Of ‘Dictatorship Of Climate Law’

    Climate War Splits German Government As Climate Law Is Postponed Indefinitely

    “You know we have overcome the dictatorship of the proletariat here in East Germany, and now we are facing a dictatorship of the climate law. I do not consider this law to be compatible with a market economy.” –Andreas Lämmel, CDU member of the German Bundestag, Deutschlandfunk, 23 February 2019

    “Climate policy is increasingly splitting German’s coalition government of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD). The coal exit was supposed to be part of a comprehensive climate law. But if and when that comes no one knows. That’s because the coalition committee has actually stopped the far advanced legislative project of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD), according to the government.” –Andreas Mihm, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 19 February 2019

    “Germany’s Christian Democrats are moving away from the climate change bill agreed by the coalition government, at least for the time being. The reason: “The exit from coal is ambitious enough.” CDU and CSU reject any additional CO2 reductions, as demanded by the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD).” –Deutschlandfunk, 16 February 2019

  29. Economic consequences of some alternative Australian climate policies

    Australian climate policy is at a cross-road. With a Federal election expected in May 2019, it is timely to assess the economic impacts of alternative domestic policy approaches proposed by the two major political parties. While the Coalition government seeks to meet its Paris Agreement commitment of 26-28 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 (relative to 2005), the Labor opposition has announced a higher target of 45 per cent emissions reduction over the same time frame, with the aim of reaching net zero emissions by mid-century.

    BAEconomics has examined the economic impacts of adopting different domestic climate policies using the BAEGEM Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model. BAEGEM is a recursively dynamic CGE model of the world economy with a structure similar to that of GTEM. BAEGEM simulates the inter-relationships between production, consumption, economic growth, flows of international trade and investments, constraints on production inputs, and greenhouse gas emissions (Mi and Fisher 2014). The world regions and production sectors covered in the current model disaggregation are presented in Table 1 and some key model assumptions are set out in Table 2.

    Model description and results are here: http://www.baeconomics.com.au/publications

  30. This Nadeau et al paper linked above


    says this:

    Changes in deep ocean circulation and stratification have been argued to contribute to climatic shifts between glacial and interglacial climates by affecting the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

    Does ocean circulation now only affect climate and temperature indirectly via an effect on atmospheric CO2 level? No – this is not supported by the necessary direct and strong relationship between CO2 and climate in the palaeo record. This relationship is nonexistent and CO2 lags temperature. Water has a high heat capacity and changes climate directly by its own thermodynamics. Universal CO2 mediation is not needed and not plausible.

    This further deepening of the submissive worship of CO2 is reminiscent of the Soviet media during the reign of Josef Stalin. Everything that happened in the country had to be direct attributed to the father like president. A new railway, or power station, or university? Or even good harvests and weather? Stalin’s own hand had to be acknowledged. If you valued your life.

    • You can say “CO2 lags temperature” until you are blue in the face, or you can think. Up to you. Atmospheric CO2 is the earth’s control knob.


      Stalin – bonkers.

      • JCH
        You can throw a tantrum at data you don’t like but that won’t make it go away. The ~800 year lag between temperature fluctuations and following fluctuations of CO2 is intrinsic to the major ice core records.

        In your graphs the black-red lines are called “CO2 forcing”. But that is just interpretation, not data. They are actually reconstructed CO2 air concentration. But calling it “forcing” means you are assuming CO2 is causing the change. But there is nothing in the data to support that. It could just as easily be that CO2 is following temperature – serving as a proxy of temperature.

        Correlation is not always causation.

        FWIW I am not a believer of either CO2 or solar forcing of climate. Except Milankovitch forcing over 10^4 year timescales and this only when earth is at a glacial tipping / flicker point.

      • Been explained a zillion times. Sort of like anchovies.

      • A warm carbonated drink has more vapor pressure of CO2 in the container and a cold carbonated drink has less vapor pressure of CO2. The oceans are huge carbonated drinks. CO2 in the air goes up and down following temperature of the oceans.

        This is simple, basic, easy to understand, science.

  31. The Washington Post has a very long, honest, serious editorial about climate change today. It starts by saying this will be the first of a series.

    • After reading the WaPoo’s call for higher taxes on American consumers, all I can say is “Wife, where did you put my yellow vest?”

      • Re-read it. It’s very interesting. A tax on consumption (which is what a carbon tax is) is in line with conservative thought on taxation as are well thought out pigouvian taxes.
        Before somebody tries to take my right-winger decoder ring, consumption taxes replace other taxes and that “well thought out” caveat is important. For example, IMO, one of the biggest impediments to a carbon tax is the simple fact that those who most want it are the most active in the effort to limit what alternatives to carbon are allowed.
        The Yellow Vests remind us that a tax designed to say “quit smoking!” is very different from one designed to say “quit driving to work!” especially when there aren’t other ways to get to work.

    • You lost me with “honest”, you are writing about the Washington Post.
      Climate change is normal, natural and necessary and it happened before we used fossil fuel and it has not changed outside natural bounds that we find in actual data and historic records.

  32. We learned from Dr. Happer that by paleogeophysical reckoning, the Earth is actually, CO2-deprived. Thank God America is not a part of trying to maintain that problem. America should be the first society to be awarded a Nobel for leading the way to bringing about individual liberty and the freedom to pursue the limitless opportunities that the modern world affords.

  33. Pingback: Tiedeuutisia etelänavan ympäriltä | Roskasaitti

  34. sheldonjwalker

    ❶①❶① . . . One sandwich short of a picnic . . .

    Since 1980, scientists have been using satellites to monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region.

    Why do scientists monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region, you might ask? The answer is quite simple. What do you think polar bears eat, when they can’t hunt seals, because there is no sea ice.

    The number of sandwiches grows and decays with the seasons. There are more sandwiches in winter/spring (while the polar bears are eating seals). And there are fewer sandwiches in summer/fall (when seals are not available).

    But scientists are concerned, because over the decades, the number of sandwiches is following a decreasing trend.

    The number of sandwiches is obviously getting smaller. Not every year, of course. It does so in fits and starts. But the long term pattern (the trend), is clear. Deny it, and you are a sandwich denier.

    A bitter argument has broken out, between the 2 scientists who have been monitoring sandwich numbers.

    Dr Anne Alarmist, insists that sandwich numbers are falling rapidly, and may fall to zero within 10 to 20 years.

    But her rival, Dr A Skeptic, claims that Dr Anne Alarmist is talking “poppycock”. Dr A Skeptic agrees that there is a decreasing trend, but claims that sandwiches will continue to be available, for at least 100 to 200 years.

    Each scientist has plotted a graph of sandwich numbers from 1980 to 2018.


  35. Here are two articles that cover the progress now being made in Small Modular Reactors:

    Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet:

    Canadian National Lab Advances Three SMR Designs::

    NuScale out of Portland, Oregon is the closest to having an SMR reactor licensed by the NRC. It’s capital cost is now estimated at $4,200 per Kw as compared with $11,000 per Kw for an AP1000 reactor.

  36. A paper by Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, published in Nature, postulates

    “Low-lying cloud banks off the coast of California, Peru and Namibia are some of the planet’s most effective cooling systems, because they reflect sunlight back into space. But new climate simulations show that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere could break up these cloud layers and exacerbate future warming.”

    Any comments?

    • It’s a complex system that only the upper 1/1000th of the population can understand, so that means the only surprises that can happen in the future will always result in global cooling.

    • You ask. Any comments? YES!

      Climate simulations have never matched real climate data. How can they show anything that can be believed? That does not work for me. The war against fossil fuel and CO2 is all about getting people to pay for power that does cost more and supporting wind and solar power that do not work and making more money by the promoters of this junk science that has nothing to do with science. Clouds have to do with evaporation and convection of warm moist air and condensation of rain and forming of ice in the clouds. CO2 has no part of this in real climate or weather or natural processes, only in alarmist model theory and model output.

    • Ask more questions and try not to reach many conclusions before getting answers.
      How many simulations were run?
      What percentage Show net Cloud reduction worldwide?
      How well have the simulations been at matching observed conditions

    • “Two key mechanisms and their interaction with the surface shape the stratocumulus instability and hysteresis. First, as the atmosphere above the clouds becomes more opaque to longwave radiation when CO2 levels rise, the downwelling longwave flux at the cloud tops increasingly originates in lower and warmer atmospheric layers…”

      Reducing the temperature difference between the surface and cloud and thus their moisture source.

      “Second, evaporation at the surface strengthens under warming (Fig. 1 and Supplementary Fig. 2b), which, other things being equal, enhances the generation of turbulence through latent heat release in the cloud layer. This strengthens the turbulent entrainment of dry and warm air across the inversion and likewise promotes stratocumulus breakup2—unless it is, as is the case in our and other simulations19, compensated by other processes, such as thinning of the cloud layer over which the turbulence generation can be realized, or weakening of the entrainment by a reduction in the cloud-top longwave cooling.

      A minimal conceptual model2 that combines these interacting processes suggests that stratocumulus decks break up when the instability parameter S = (LHF/ΔL) × (hc/h) exceeds a critical value around Sc ≈ 0.6, where LHF is the latent heat flux at the surface, ΔL is the longwave cooling of the cloud tops, hc is the thickness of the cloud layer and h is the cloud-top height.”

      You need to make a distinction between process level ‘large eddy simulations – which this is – and GCM for a start. To go further requires some understanding of bis-table cloud cells.

      “Marine stratocumulus cloud decks forming over dark, subtropical oceans are regarded as the reflectors of the atmosphere.1 The decks of low clouds 1000s of km in scale reflect back to space a significant portion of the direct solar radiation and therefore dramatically increase the local albedo of areas otherwise characterized by dark oceans below.2,3 This cloud system has been shown to have two stable states: open and closed cells. Closed cell cloud systems have high cloud fraction and are usually shallower, while open cells have low cloud fraction and form thicker clouds mostly over the convective cell walls and therefore have a smaller domain average albedo.4–6 Closed cells tend to be associated with the eastern part of the subtropical oceans, forming over cold water (upwelling areas) and within a low, stable atmospheric marine boundary layer (MBL), while open cells tend to form over warmer water with a deeper MBL.”

      This is a process that happens prominently over the tropical and sub-tropical Pacific due to shifts in SST. Seen in both surface and satellite observations. The key there is the persistence of closed cell cloud before raining out from the center leaving open cell cloud.

      “Off the west coast of South America, an intricate network of clouds presented a spectacular view to the Moderate Resolution Imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite when it flew overhead on September 30, 2005.” https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/5904/cloud-formations-off-the-west-coast-of-south-america

      What seems to be the case is that persistence of closed cells over warm oceans is reduced over that of persistence over cool surfaces – changing albedo in ways that cause significant global cooling and warming effects.

      I find the mechanisms proposed in this Nature study to be plausible – if not yet at a level of detail to be definitive. Very little is. Nonetheless the study’s pathway to a hothouse Earth is more convincing than some others I have read.

      You have been warned many times of the reality of tipping points in the Earth system. Still – 1200 ppm is a ways away so we may have some time. Here’s a recent Rattan Lal video. He suggests that CO2 drawdown of 157 ppm is possible this century.


      Worth a go – until we get some GM tweaked superplants of course.

  37. Popesclimatetheory & Rob Starkey

    Thank you for your comments they are appreciated.

  38. New 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Popular accounts of the second law of thermodynamics are quite different from the formal statement of the law. Popular accounts say entropy is always increasing. The formal statement is more restrictive. Kelvin and Clausius statements of the second law refer to heat engines and the conversion of heat to work. The second law is a generalization of the operation of heat engines. The Strangelove theorem is a more general formulation of the second law that does not use heat engines and heat conversion. It describes pure heat transfer from hot to cold matter.

    2nd law of thermodynamics (Strangelove theorem):
    Entropy decreases in heat transfer from hot to cold matter.

    Proof of Strangelove theorem

    Premise: Initial entropy (S1) is equal to final entropy (S2)
    S1 = S2
    S1 = Sh + Sc
    Sh = (Lh + Qh)/Th Eq. 1
    Sc = (Lc + Qc)/Tc Eq. 2
    Sh is entropy of unit mass of hot matter; Sc is entropy of unit mass of cold matter; Lh and Lc are latent heats of unit mass of hot matter and cold matter respectively; Qh and Qc are sensible heats of unit mass of hot matter and cold matter respectively; Th and Tc are temperatures of hot and cold matter respectively

    S2 = (L + Q)/T
    Where: L is latent after heat transfer; Q is sensible heat after heat transfer; T is temperature after heat transfer
    Conservation of energy requires that the initial and final energies are equal:
    Lh + Qh + Lc + Qc = L + Q
    Rewriting the premise:
    S1 = S2
    Sh + Sc = (Lh + Qh + Lc + Qc)/T Eq. 3

    Let: dQ = heat flow; Cc = specific heat of cold matter, Ch = specific heat of hot matter
    Heat outflow from hot matter:
    dQ = Ch (Th – T)
    Heat inflow to cold matter:
    dQ = Cc (T – Tc)
    Heat outflow from hot matter equals heat inflow to cold matter:
    dQ = dQ
    Ch (Th – T) = Cc (T – Tc)
    Solving for T:
    T = (Ch Th + Cc Tc)/(Ch – Cc)

    Substitute T into Equation 3:
    Sh + Sc = (Lh + Qh + Lc + Qc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc)/(Ch – Cc)
    (Sh + Sc) / (Ch – Cc) = (Lh + Qh + Lc + Qc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc) Eq. 4
    From Equations 1 and 2, we derive:
    Lh + Qh = Sh Th
    Lc + Qc = Sc Tc
    Substitute into Equation 4:
    (Sh + Sc) / (Ch – Cc) = (Sh Th + Sc Tc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc)
    (Sh + Sc) / (Sh Th + Sc Tc) = (Ch – Cc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc)

    Examine the last equation. The right side and left side of the equation are quite similar. Th and Tc appear in both denominators. However, the numerator in the left side is a sum while numerator in the right side is a difference. This makes the right side less than the left side of the equation.
    (Sh + Sc) / (Sh Th + Sc Tc) > (Ch – Cc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc)
    Therefore, the premise that S1 = S2 is false because S1 > S2.This proves the Strangelove theorem that entropy decreases in heat transfer from hot to cold matter.

    Next I will formulate a disproof of the third law of thermodynamics. The 3rd law was invented before quantum mechanics. The 3rd law can be violated using quantum statistical mechanics. Then I will reformulate the 3rd law to make it consistent with quantum mechanics.

    • The Kelvin and Planck form of the 2nd law?

      The 1st law says that you can’t win. The 2nd that you can’t break even. The third that we are all going to die. Simples – and a disproof seems unlikely.

    • This is a more rigorous proof of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (Strangelove theorem)

      Continuing from the last equation of the theorem:
      (Sh + Sc) / (Sh Th + Sc Tc) = (Ch – Cc) / (Ch Th + Cc Tc) Eq. 5
      Since: 0 < Tc < Th
      Let: Tc = a Th
      Where: 0 < a 1
      At lower limit a = 0, the right side of equation is less than 1:
      (Ch – Cc)/Ch < 1
      At upper limit a = 1, the left side of equation equals 1:
      (Sh + Sc)/(Sh + Sc) = 1
      At upper limit a = 1, the right side of equation is less than 1:
      (Ch – Cc)/(Ch + Cc) (Ch – Cc) / (Ch + a Cc)
      Therefore: S1 > S2

    • New 2nd law of thermodynamics (Strangelove theorem) in statistical mechanics

      The Strangelove theorem is originally expressed in classical thermodynamics. It can also be expressed in statistical mechanics. In statistical mechanics, entropy (S) is given by the Boltzmann formula:
      S = k ln W
      Where: k is Boltzmann constant; ln is natural logarithm; W is number of possible microstates corresponding to a macrostate
      Strangelove theorem states that entropy decreases in heat transfer from hot to cold matter.

      The initial entropy (S1) is the sum of the entropies of hot and cold matter:
      S1 = Sh + Sc
      Where: Sh is entropy of hot matter; Sc is entropy of cold matter
      Sh = k ln (H^m)
      Sc = k ln (C^n)
      Where: H and C are number of energy states in hot and cold matter respectively; m and n are number of particles in hot and cold matter respectively
      The final entropy (S2) is the entropy of all the particles (sum of hot and cold particles) after heat transfer:
      S2 = k ln (A^(m + n))
      Where: A is number of energy states after heat transfer from hot to cold matter

      Strangelove theorem statement:
      S1 > S2
      Expressed in statistical mechanics, the theorem requires that the following conditions are satisfied:
      H, C, A, m, n are integers greater than 1
      H^m C^n = B^(m + n)
      C < B < H
      C < A < B

      I will not give a general analytical solution because it is trivial to show that numerical solutions exist that satisfy all the required conditions. Therefore, Strangelove theorem is true in statistical mechanics. This proves that my theorem is not just mathematics. It is a law of nature because it is true in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, two established branches of physics.

  39. Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet
    Doing the heavy lifting, Shellenberger was on Tucker Carlson last night talking about the above. Why might win this if Carlson is paying attention to Quillette. This is a winning approach.

    • In the real world (if not in libertarian Shangri-La), massive build out of nuclear requires large amounts of up front investment, with long term horizon for return (why not invest that same large amount of money in the stock market with a shorter time horizon on return?), significant liability exposure, exposure to sunk investments/opportunity costs that might lose out to competitors as other technologies advance, etc.

      Do you think that Tucker will support the federal financing, underwriting, and large-scale centralized energy policy development required?

      Or do you think he’ll complain about big bad government and taxes?

      • Joshua:
        Because solar panels can be built and deployed fast is an argument for Mao’s pig iron. Now China thinks long term. I suppose Carlson has a problem with those things. Government involvement. But some of these Hollywood frauds have the money to fund a nuclear power plant or Gen IV research. If Musk wasn’t afraid of the SJWs, he’d do Gen IV and actually save the planet rather than enable rich people’s virtue signals via Teslas. Aren’t we all working towards the common good here? I’ll admit nuclear starts with a handicap. Some might admit wind and solar is a dead end. This leaves us where? Trying to bring forward something that satisfies enough people. I find it hard to ignore France’s past success with nuclear power while being whatever version of left they used to be. And Germany’s failure to go Green in some way we could honestly define as successful. Shellenberger successfully identified problems with renewables on a large stage while providing an answer at the same time. Renewables don’t have an answer. They have a warm and fuzzy amount of support, and they still don’t work. Kind of like no one actually caring enough about global warming to solve the problem. You couldn’t have teed up an industry anymore while still seeing it fail. All we got with them is another problem which is appearing as higher electricity prices. What I think we’ll see is its collapse. First to go is home solar. Like backyard furnaces.

      • “Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham. I think it was the most in depth and factual account of one of the worst man-made disasters I have read. Nuclear power is amazing but it can be incredibly lethal. The men and women that hurled themselves into that inferno to prevent the total melt down of that reactor were real heroes. There will be more catastrophic failures because humans make mistakes.
        “The Soviets never offered a formal tally of the victims. Perhaps 15,000 persons died almost immediately; many more surely perished from radiation poisoning. Another eventual victim, a political one, was President Mikhail Gorbachev. He would maintain in retirement that Chernobyl was the key reason for his downfall.
        Chernobyl and environs are now a permanent “exclusion zone” that covers an estimated 1,000 square miles. The desolation seems an appropriate memorial site for Soviet communism.”

      • phil,
        If you think biosphere around Chernobyl is safe you are crazy. Sure there are some animals that live there but they all have genetic damage. Notice that some life forms are in notable decline, especially insects since they lay their eggs in the top layer of the soil. Anything that relies on insects for food are also affected, especially birds.
        It seems that some like to live dangerously!
        Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro nuclear but the simple truth is humans make mistakes. The engineering needed to protect us from ourselves is one reason the previous generations of nuclear reactors are so expensive.

      • jacksmithxt4
        The lethal ionising radiation dose for humans is 2-5 Gy, while that for insects such as ants 🐜 is somewhere 100-1000 Gy. So if insects are ever threatened by either “global warming” or ionising radiation, that will only be after we are long, long gone.

        Another good source of information about the Chernobyl accident is the book “Legacy of Chernobyl” by Zhorzhes Medvedev. He showed how the accident started in 1983 when corners were cut for the prestigious project to make it in time for May Day celebrations.

      • >phil
        Seems like Chernobyl is a ‘hot’ literary subject these days. Here is another in-depth analysis of the ‘fallout’ from one of the worse man-made catastrophes.
        “Brown does not pinpoint a death-toll number herself. Instead, through her archival research and on-the-ground reporting, she examines the full range of ways radiation has affected residents throughout the region, while explaining how Soviet politics helped limit our knowledge of the incident.

        In Manual for Survival, Brown does suggest that the higher end of existing death estimates seems plausible. The Ukrainian state pays benefits to about 35,000 people whose spouses apparently died from Chernobyl-caused illnesses. Some scientists have told her they think 150,000 deaths is a more likely baseline for the Ukraine alone.”

    • This is not news. Shellenberger has been promoting this for years (see the 2013 documentary film “Pandora’s Promise”).

      See also: “Into Eternity”
      The world’s nuclear power plants have generated an estimated 300,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste that must be safely stored for 100,000 years or more. Every year, they generate another 12,000 metric tons of high-level waste. I am pro nuclear power but I want to see a better solution than to just bury it. Maybe we can find a way to speed up the radioactive decay process or send it off planet.

      My prediction is we will eventually genetically engineer humans to stabilize the global population to about 3 billion people. I would increase life span to 120-130 years but limit natural fertility to a 5-10 years span beginning at 35. Of course the new homo sapiens 2.0 will be much more intelligent than we are so they will have the intellectual capacity to deal with all the problems we will pass down our descendants.

      • David Wojick

        I thought the waste could be reprocessed and still has something like 90% of its power capacity.

      • “The AIROX process technology (Feinroth et al., 1993) is considered
        a dry process and includes the following major steps: fuel de-cladding;
        gaseous plus volatile fission products removal; new fuel fabrication.
        The feasibility of this technology has been demonstrated by the Korea
        Atomic Energy Research Institute DUPIC (Direct Use of Spent PWR Fuel
        in CANDU Reactors) project (Lee et al., 1993). In the AIROX process,
        the discharged UO2 fuel is oxidized to U3O8 in O2 atmosphere at 400 °C.
        The fuel pellets are converted this way into a fine U3O8 powder and part
        of the gaseous and volatile fission products are removed in this step.
        Then, the U3O8 is reduced back to UO2 in H2 atmosphere at 600 °C. The
        UO2 powder is sintered into fuel pellets in which process additional
        volatile fission products are removed.” https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt3h86m7dk/qt3h86m7dk.pdf

        I quite often find Jack’s ideas – including human 2.0 – bizarre. He certainly seems to march to a different drumbeat. But let’s limit ourselves to the nuclear fuel cycle.

        The once through process uses some 0.6% of the energy available in enriched uranium fuels. A closed fuel cycle removes about 3% of nuclear fuel as lighter and shorter lived fission products. The fuel is then topped up with fertile material – unenriched uranium, depleted uranium or thorium – and reintroduced into the next burn cycle. It enables high fuel utilization. There is enough high level ‘waste’ sitting around in leaky drums and ponds for hundreds of years of energy supply.

        This is a design summary from General Atomics. GA is a private company with an impressive nuclear track record. Including in helium cooled research reactors – of which the Energy Multiplier Module (EM2) is a variant.


        A closed fuel cycle schematic.


        Waste reduction to 3% of that of light water reactors and activity reduction to background levels within 300 years.


        Fabricate in factories, deliver to a site that has a reduced footprint and no need for water sources, burn undisturbed for 20 or 30 years and return to a factory.


        Although I focus on EM2 there are dozens of projects underway. But the EM2 is a technology evolution designed to a performance specification that included cost, safety, fabrication, installation and operations that give it outstanding potential to change the energy landscape. And GA does have a track record.

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  42. This linked paper number 6 from the top has important implications for ENSO. It explains why people have been repeatedly waiting in vain for an El Niño of the classic 1999 variety. None such have happened since 1999 due to a shift in the “ground state” of the Pacific, that this paper describes. All the over-hyped “el Niños” since 1999 have been of the weaker and less consequential “Modoki” type. That is, warming’s of the equatorial central (not eastern) Pacific with no engagement of the Bjerknes feedback.

    On the westward shift of tropical Pacific climate variability since 2000 [link]

    [alternative title: “Waiting for El Ninot”]

    Li, X., Hu, ZZ. & Becker, E. Clim Dyn (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-019-04666-8

    A profound westward shift in atmosphere–ocean variability in the tropical Pacific is observed when 2000–2017 is compared to 1979–1999. This westward displacement is associated with changes in oceanic Kelvin wave activity along the equator, especially a remarkable reduction in the eastern Pacific (175°–145°W)…

  43. What I deduct from Judith’s post on her observations of 4 weeks of papers and posts in climate science is there is far more unknown than known in the field yet we still have some who seemingly demand we must act now or humanity will be forever doomed.

    Oh how I long for the day when science used to say, this is what we observed and were able to replicate. This is how we observed it and this is how we replicated it. Finally, these are ways it can possibly be falsified. Now it is yours to scrutinize, find possible fault or falsify if you can, then do what you want with it.

    Thank you Judith Curry for your bravery and honesty. It is very refreshing to see actual science which questions everything just for the sake of learning and seeking some truths.

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