Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

‘modern climate sensitivity is relatively low in the context of the geological record, as a result of relatively weak feedbacks due to a relatively low CO2 baseline, and the presence of ice and relatively small ocean area’ [link]

High-resolution proglacial lake records of pre-Little Ice Age glacier advance, northeast Greenland     [link]  Greenland was warmer during Medieval times, cooled by nearly 2°C from the 1930s to 1980s, has undergone no ice accumulation trends in 1800 years, and has had no apparent change in Arctic-chilled freshwater delivery to the Atlantic in recent decades.

More sensitive climates are more variable climates [link]

Hydroclimate variability in southeast Asia over past two millennia [link]

Large volcanic eruptions in the first half of the 19th Century led to sustained cooling, drought in Africa, and weakened monsoons

North Atlantic jet stream has become 15% more sheared in the upper atmosphere since 1979 [link]

“…the authors say that their results demonstrate that volcanic eruptions are imperfect analogs for geoengineering and that scientists should be cautious about extrapolating too much from them.” [link]

Rivers are a highway for microplastics into the ocean [link]

The bizarre weather science behind Greenland’s record melting [link]

A phenomenon that makes coral spawn more than once a year is improving the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. [link]

The polar stratosphere as an arbiter of the projected tropical versus polar tug‐of‐war (polar amplification, tropical upper troposphere warming) [link]

Strengthening tropical Pacific zonal sea surface temperature gradient consistent with rising greenhouse gases [link]

Greenland ice sheet during the last glacial cycle: Current ice loss and contribution to sea-level rise from a paleoclimatic perspective [link]

Pliocene warmth consistent with greenhouse gas forcing [link]

Weak average liquid-cloud-water response to anthropogenic aerosols [link]  Important implications for cloud feedback.

Perspective on European heat waves [link]

A new understanding of why oxygen stays in the air [link]

Midlatitude net precipitation decreased with Arctic warming during the Holocene [link]

Arctic Amplification Response to Individual Climate Drivers [link]  Oops they forgot to discuss internal variability (e.g. AMO etc).

Technology & policy

New Michael Moore documentary challenges alternative energy [link]

Turning giant underground salt piles into renewable energy batteries [link]

Oregon’s supreme court has just blocked a proposed wind farm that would have killed threatened species bald eagles, golden eagles and bats [link]

A reality check…. Renewable energy is a misnomer. Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of plastic, writes Mark P. Mills

Could just-add-water products save us? [link]

The Photovoltaic Heat Island Effect: Larger solar power plants increase local temperatures”

Kate Marvel:  Lost cities and climate change [link]

Combating climate change with regenerative farming [link]

How to optimize hydroelectricity production.

Cement soaks up greenhouse gases [link]

More evidence that even a high carbon price ($200/ton) will have very, very little effect on oil-related greenhouse gas emissions.

How Dutch stormwater management could mitigate damage from hurricanes [link]  This one is fascinating

Are bioplastics better for the environment? It’s complicated [link]

We should prepare for extreme weather, but tying it to climate change is a mistake [link]

About science and scientists

We should all be science critics [link]  Interview with Sheila Jasanoff

Just the facts?  Interesting essay by Gavin [link]

Confirmation Bias: Real Bias or Delegitimization Rhetoric? [link]

Why facts don’t change our mind [link]

Is an adversarial justice system compatible with good science?

Diversity, inclusion and anti-excellence [link]

The downside of diversity [link]

We need a new science of progress [link]

Patrick Brown: Empiricism and dogma: why left and right can’t agree on climate change [link]

Robustness analysis as explanatory reasoning [link]


86 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Corals in the Coral Sea – and their symbiotic zooxanthella – have very diverse environmental tolerances. And their spawn is both abundant and mobile on oceanic currents. There are vanishingly small risks to the community as a whole in any conceivable scenario.

  2. Diversity, inclusion and anti-excellence [link]

    “It’s a revolt of the mediocre many against the excellent few.”

    The march of the mediocre is a movement of those who no longer aspire as, they can not achieve. Instead, they denigrate excellence and promote their own inadequacies as a virtue. This behavior and thinking is not new. Thousands of years ago there were Esops Fables. The one that comes to mind…The fox who tries and tries to jump and reach the hanging grapes and fails. Departing, saying: “They are probably sour anyways.”

    On campuses, there is a developing class of life failures, the mediocre, and, as we have heard in the past; “We never fail to fail, it is the easiest thing to do.” Crosby Stills and Nash. “Southern Cross.”

  3. “The tropical Pacific Ocean response to rising GHGs impacts all of the world’s population. State-of-the-art climate models predict that rising GHGs reduce the west-to-east warm-to-cool sea surface temperature gradient across the equatorial Pacific5. In nature, however, the gradient has strengthened in recent decades as GHG concentrations have risen sharply5. This stark discrepancy between models and observations has troubled the climate research community for two decades.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0505-x

    No really – it hasn’t troubled anyone very much. It is down to internal variability that is missed by models. There is a very real potential for shifts in ocean and atmosphere circulation – with impacts on regional hydrology – from AGW. But not any sort of a handle on it. Despite Joe Oliver’s motivated interpretation of Judith’s GWPF article.

    I wonder if Canada’s low carbon tax is paying for their SMR prototype development?


  4. The downside of diversity [link]

    “..the transformation of diversity into a pedagogical theory has weakened our democracy by undermining the common ground of reason on which citizens must strive to meet..”

    Unbeknownst to those who demand diversity in academic, business, and social settings, this demand requires more work, not less; ie a greater intellectual expression and documentation. Someone who wants “diversity” has to make the cogent argument, mostly on the basis of information and not just preference: “I believe…” that is not a political meme, rather, that society will be better off in the long run. Even though my hope is: Yes, I observe society struggles with differences and any hard case for similarities is well…religion; and we all know how religion is playing out in our global effort to: “…just to get along.”

    One does not need to labor too long in this “diversity” effort than to realize, change is slow, stepwise, and not met favorably by someone shouting at you. I am reminded that in very diverse countries like India or China with billions of people bumping into one another every day, diversity has not had a smooth road. Shear masses and opportunity along with screaming advocates has changed little in a thousand years of culture.

    Just as in science, or good science I might say, when you test your hypothesis and it fails, abandon the hypothesis and develop something else.

  5. This one looks important: Letter
    Published: 24 July 2019
    No evidence for globally coherent warm and cold periods over the preindustrial Common Era
    Raphael Neukom, Nathan Steiger, Juan José Gómez-Navarro, Jianghao Wang & Johannes P. Werner
    Naturevolume 571, pages550–554 (2019

    from the abstract: Furthermore, the spatial coherence that does exist over the preindustrial Common Era is consistent with the spatial coherence of stochastic climatic variability. This lack of spatiotemporal coherence
    indicates that preindustrial forcing was not sufficient to produce
    globally synchronous extreme temperatures at multidecadal and
    centennial timescales.

    • and from the text of Neukom et al: The results shown here can explain at least two curious facts about climate epochs of the Common Era: the lack of consensus about the timing of climate epochs, and the discovery of records that do not fit the standard narratives. Peak warming and cooling events appear to be regionally constrained. Anomalous globally averaged temperatures during certain periods do not imply the existence of epochs of globally coherent and synchronous climate. This global asynchronicity suggests that multidecadal regional extremes are driven by regionally specific mechanisms, namely either unforced internal climate variability24,25 or regionally varying responses to external forcing26–28.

    • I got interested in that article and found the discussion of McShane and Whyner resulting in their “Rejoinder” in 2011 (https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aoas/1300715184)
      It seems to me that they defended their initial assessment:
      “We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature.”
      From there any new paper should discuss and remove this result, otherwise any conclusion might be just spurious, like in any of the Mann papers before 2011.. (the main concern being that the screening of proxies messes with the statistical uncertainty in unpredictable manner)
      I saw that Neukom cited McShane and Whyner, but I could not get my hand on the arctile yet it seems hidden behind a paywall.. what does Neukom say about MW´s criticism?

      • morfu03, I am not finding where Neukom et al cite M&W.

        Here is a selection from their methods:
        Principal-component regression (PCR). PCR has been widely used in climate field reconstructions42–46. This method reduces the dimensions of both the target field and the proxy matrix using principal-component analysis (PCA). The instrumental
        principal components are predicted back in time on the basis of regression with the proxy principal components, and then back-transformed to the spatial dimensions of the target grid using the loadings from the PCA. As such, this approach assumes that the covariance structure of the temperature grid remains the same over the reconstruction period as in the time window used for calibration. Here we use the PCR approach introduced in ref. 42 and an ensemble integration similar to that in refs 41,44. The nested and ensemble approach is identical to that of the CPS (described above), with the following exceptions. The random weight factor
        is multiplied by the weight of each proxy derived from the PCA. We also resample the principal-component truncation parameters for the proxy (or instrumental) matrices in such a way that the retained principal components explain between 40% and 90% (or between 60% and 99%) of the total variance. We resample this parameter for two reasons: because there are multiple existing approaches to truncating principal components without an objectively discernible best method; and because the truncations are often sensitive to the period over which the PCA is

        You’d expect a reference to M&W to be in there somewhere.

        Neukom et al I downloaded from SciHub, the illicit library.

      • Neukom has a new 2nd paper, where McShane is referenced (86)
        “Consistent multidecadal variability in global temperature reconstructions and simulations over the Common Era”

        MW2010 writes about CPS “Methods like the Lasso coupled with pseudoproxies like AR1(Empirical) and Brownian motion will naturally account for this self-prediction (see also Kaplan), whereas naive CPS with latitude-based weighting will not (CPS using univariate correlation weights does, however; see SI).”
        Not so much about the PCR, but it appears to the untrained eye that MWs methods are not to dissimilar!?
        It would be great if some of mathematicians could weight in.. after all one of MWs point was that the uncertainty is not captured correctly.. is that true for Neukom as well?

      • “We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature.”

        That seems to be a widespread problem with paleoclimatology, which proceeds ambitiously with its pet data without ever establishing the cross-spectral coherence to validate the existence of a temperature proxy signal. PCR reconstructions are simply wasted upon such unvalidated data.

      • morfu03: It would be great if some of mathematicians could weight in.. after all one of MWs point was that the uncertainty is not captured correctly.. is that true for Neukom as well?

        I only just started studying that pages2k paper. It does seem that their large variety of data sets, long time frame, and large variety of statistical methods helps provide some robustness to their result. A common weakness could be bias in the selection of proxies (e.g. a single famous bristlecone pine contributed to overconfidence of Mann et al when M&W wrote their analysis.)

        More later.

  6. If there is any expectation of coherent global phasing – it is ill considered.

    Part of it is unexplained antiphase polar behavior. Part of it is the stadium wave as signals propagate through nonlinear stio-temporal oscillators in the global system.

    “M-SSA analysis of observed and model-simulated internal secular variability. a M-SSA spectra showing the levels of variability associated with dominant space–time M-SSA patterns underlying the data. Results for differences between the observed and CMIP5-simulated secular signals (observed internal variability): ensemble-mean spectrum and standard uncertainty (over the 111 estimates), black curves and error bars, respectively; analogous results for deviations of individual-model secular signals from each model’s ensemble mean (simulated internal variability), blue curves and error bars; 99th percentile of simulated spectra, blue dashed curve; the 99.99th percentile of variances obtained by projecting the simulated internal variability onto the M-SSA patterns of observed internal variability, red curve. b Locations of regional SAT indices. c Reconstructed time series associated with the leading M-SSA pair of observed–model-simulated data differences (observed internal variability) in select regional indices: NA North Atlantic, NP North Pacific, SWP Southwest Pacific, AA Antarctica, SA South Atlantic, A Arctic; Global Multidecadal Oscillation (GMO) time series represents the reconstruction of the global-mean temperature. All of the time series are normalised to unit standard deviation; the actual standard deviations of A and AA indices are around 0.6 °C; that of all others—0.1 °C.”

    • The last time climate change became globally synchronous was at glacial termination at the start of the Holocene when the two poles moved together instead of the bipolar seesaw.

      Thus if we are seeing global synchronisation now it could mean the start of glacial inception.

  7. “Detailed geochemical analysis of proglacial lake sediments close to Zackenberg, northeast Greenland, provides the first high‐resolution record of Late Holocene High Arctic glacier behaviour. Three phases of glacier advance have occurred in the last 2000 years. The first two phases (c. 1320–800 cal. a BP) occurred prior to the Little Ice Age (LIA), and correspond to the Dark Ages Cold Period and the Medieval Climate Anomaly. The third phase (c. 700 cal. a BP), representing a smaller scale glacier oscillation, is associated with the onset of the LIA.”

    I would expect the glacial advances to occur when there were more hot summers occurring in NW Europe. The 1250’s (c. 700 cal. a BP) had several.


  8. “But thanks to a double whammy of natural atmospheric circulation patterns and human-caused climate change, a growing body of research indicates that more mega melts like this could be in Greenland’s future.”

    A stronger negative NAO shift from near the end of July was on my long range solar based forecast. Rising CO2 forcing should actually increase positive NAO.

  9. “The heat period of 1947 can be compared with the year 2003 in terms of maximum temperatures and duration of the heatwaves.”

    And they both occurred on the same type of heliocentric configuration of the gas giants as the 1934 and 1976 heatwaves.

  10. About Science and Scientists


    Dr. Curry, I found this to be an interesting article. If you’ve seen this before, I apologize. I’ll be honest, as I read this essay about cargo cult science, I kept picturing the antics of our favorite lover of Bristlecone Pine trees, as well as a few other scientists out there.

    As always, thanks for this aggregate news posts you do.

  11. It’s good to see analytical technologies like combined XRF and XRD (X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction) being applied to palaeo climate research such as the nice paper by Adamson et al 2018:


    As JC explained in the linking paragraph, this shows quite striking “pre-industrial” (lol) climate change in Greenland in the last 2000 years, unrelated to CO2.

    High-resolution proglacial lake records of pre-Little Ice Age glacier advance, northeast Greenland [link] Greenland was warmer during Medieval times, cooled by nearly 2°C from the 1930s to 1980s, has undergone no ice accumulation trends in 1800 years, and has had no apparent change in Arctic-chilled freshwater delivery to the Atlantic in recent decades.

    This shows that many “OMG” reports about melt and glacial regression (now reversed to advance) from Greenland are just business as usual for that continent.

  12. Here’s where we are. In 2019, CO2 has achieved such deification that other factors are only relevant on timescales of millions of years:

    “however, on timescales of millions of years, factors other than CO2 can drive climate”

    • Curious George

      To state that only 10,000 years after the end of the last glacial period needs a very respectable amount of foresight, or guessing.

  13. More sensitive [modeled] climates are more variable [modeled] climates

    Since century scale climate models are not validated,
    it could be that the relationship between sensitivity and variability is simply a modeled artifact rather than an actual physical relationship.

    Global warming was historically thought to decrease variability.

    And variability does decrease with the hemispheric warming from winter to summer.

  14. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Very low solar activity affects the pressure distribution over the North Atlantic. The NAO index has been negative since the end of April this year and this will not change. This pressure distribution in the Atlantic hampers hurricane formation.

  15. Ireneusz Palmowski

    High pressure remains well over Greenland.

    • Blunderbunny

      Yep. Low solar activity also seems to correlate with a misbehaving jetstream and polar vortex too. Giving the northern hemisphere interesting weather at times of minima and grand minima. We live in interesting times so to speak. Meanwhile alarmist run around like headless chickens. Still hey ho. What can say to them?

  16. I came across something trying to understand a difficult situation that I handled in a less than optimal way:
    And then there you are, traumatized and bewildered, lost and questioning everything about your life. At that point, it can basically go one of two ways:
    1. You fall off the proverbial mental cliff and experience some Real S#%t™ that leads to a lot of dysfunction (less common than you think);
    2. You use this as an opportunity to forge a new set of beliefs and a new worldview that is more resilient and enduring than your previous worldview (a lot more common than you think).

    Kate Marvel wonders what we’ll do in the face of climate change? We will not disappear like some ancient civilizations. We will reallocate resources. We will plan for change. We will change. And we have resources.

    • Kate Marvel wonders what we’ll do in the face of climate change?

      What we’ll do is discover what fools we’ve been to imagine that there is anything more unusual about climate change than day following night or winter following summer. Or winds, or currents in the sea.

      Change means life.
      The climate stasis that a generation of geniuses crave will finally be achieved long after all life on earth is burned by a red swollen sun. The oceans will be gone. The bare rocks and pools of liquid metal will celebrate final victory over climate change and Donald Trump and life.

      Marvel at that Kate!

      • Kate Marvel wonders what we’ll do in the face of climate change?

        Empirical evidence indicates the world will benefit from global warming and be disadvantaged by global cooling. Therefore, policies that reduce global warming are bad.

      • Looking at it in a detached way, the Earth will benefit. It might do what it has always done; what every farmer knows how. Plough it all under.
        Who said we are in charge? It might even remain fallow for a long while.

  17. Perspective on European cold waves, as they a greater problem than heat waves:

    Winter of 763/764 A.D.In the same year (763 A.D.), it was bitterly cold after the beginning of October, not only in our land, but even more so to the east, west, and north. Because of the cold, the north shore of the Black Sea froze to a depth of 30 cubits (~ 45 feet) a hundred miles out. This was so from Ninkhia to the Danube River, including the Kouphis, Dniester, and Dnieper Rivers, the Nekrophela, and the remaining promontories all the way to Mesembria and Medeia. Since the ice and snow kept on falling, its depth increased another twenty cubits (~ 30 feet), so that the sea became dry land. It was traveled by wild men and tame beasts from Khazaria, Bulgaria, and the lands of other adjacent people.By divine command, during February of the same (764 A.D.) second indication the ice divided into a great number of mountainous chunks. The force of the wind brought them down to Daphnousia and Hieron, so that they came through the Bosporos to the city (Constantinople or Istanbul) and all the way to Propontis, Abydos, and the islands, filling every shore. We ourselves were an eyewitness and, with thirty companions, went out onto one of them and played on it. The icebergs had many dead animals, both wild and domestic, on them. Anyone who wanted to could travel unhindered on dry land from Sophianai to the city and from Chrysopolis to St. Mamas or Galata. One of these icebergs was dashed against the harbor of the acropolis, and shattered it. Another mammoth one smashed against the wall and badly shook it, so that the houses inside trembled along with it. It broke into three pieces, which girdled the city from Magnaura to the Bosporos, and was taller than the walls. All the city’s men, women, and children could not stop staring at the icebergs, then went back home lamenting and in tears, at a loss as to what to say about this phenomenon. (Theophanes the Confessor). Around Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), the two seas frozen. In the winter of 763 A.D., the Dardanelles and Black Sea were frozen over, and snow drifted to an astonishing depth of 50 feet (15 meters).
    In the year 763, the Black Sea and the Straits of the Dardanelles were frozen. In another account the Byzantine historian Nicephorus described the winter in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey):In the beginning of autumn, winter has come with abnormal colds; also saline waters are frozen which affected inhabitants of the city severely. One hundred mile (161 kilometer) stretch of the sea is covered by ice like in the regions north of Black Sea. Ice invaded most of the rivers; the coasts of Mesembria and Medeia were a sold mass of ice was 30 coudée thick (13-14 meters). Also snowfall was so heavy that his ice is enclosed by 20 coudée of snow and all morphological differences between sea and coast disappeared. Now a white cover unified sea and land. All parts of the North Sea facing north were solidified. Especially the areas of Hazars and round the Scythian’s Lands were inaccessible and unsuitable for human and animal life. After a while this significant crystal crust broke into several pieces and these were uplifted in the middle of the sea like Pyramids. Most of them, dragged by winds, were smashed and sunk in the opening of the Bosphorus to the Black Sea near Daphnusia, which was a powerful castle. Most of them entered into the Bosphorus. They filled up all the curls of the water way and connected Asia and Europe. They formed a land bridge between two continents and it was easier to pass the strait by walking instead of using boats. Accumulated ice masses in the Bosphorus without any delay were dragged into Propontis (Marmara Sea) and even reached Abydos. There they accumulated again in a perfect way to form a structure like a monolith and Propontis lost its sea characteristics. One of these huge icebergs was grounded in the bottom of Constantinopolis Fortress, and shook the city walls so that inhabitants were excited. Icebergs accumulated in front of the Fortress, then invaded all waterways. They accumulated to the same height as the city walls. As a result, inhabitants of the city were able to go out of the city from the harbor by crossing these icebergs and they can walk to the Galata Castle on the other side from Constantinopolis Fortress severe winter struck Europe beginning in 14 December 763.Black Sea was frozen with snow 30 feet (9 meters) deep. Lasted to 16 March 764. In 764, the Black Sea was frozen to a distance of fifty miles from shore. The Hellespont and Dardanelles were frozen and the Sea of Marmora was passable for cavalry. From October 763 to February 764, a frost at Constantinople, when the two seas there were frozen a hundred miles from the shore. During the winter of 763-764, very severe cold reigned in Gaul [Western Europe] and in Illyria (western part of today’s Balkan Peninsula) to the shores of the Black Sea. According to the Frankish chronicles, this cold was exceptional severity and could not be compared with any previous cold winter.The Bosporus and the Black Sea froze. In many areas the snow was 30 feet high.In Gaul [Western Europe] from 1 October 763 to February 764 there was a very severe frost.The olive and fig trees were damaged because the soil froze to their roots. As a result over vast regions of the earth a terrible famine broke out in the following years, which killed many people. During the winter of 763-764 in Western Europe, the cold started October 1st and ran until February 764. On October the 1st, came a most rigorous bitter frost, which lasted until February. It affected not only Europe but also all over the North and the East. The main sea was frozen near the pole and snow laid 20 feet deep upon the ice. It killed most vegetables and many sea animals. The snow destroyed many forests. During the severe frost, the Sea of Bosphorus brought great sheets of ice into Propontis [Sea of Marmara] that above 30 men might stand on each sheet of ice and be carried safely into the sea. These sheets of ice did great damage to the walls of Constantinople [Istanbul, Turkey]. March was followed by an excessive drought.
    In 763 in England, there was a violent frost, which continues about 150 days.

    Peak hot and cold events have to occur on T-squares of the gas giants. A year either side saw lots of hot weather.
    January 764:

  18. The distinctive pattern of oceanic upwelling in an Ekman spiral – a secondary La Nina reinforcing feedback – is evolving in the eastern Pacific.

    Although still nothing in the 6 variable MEI this month.

  19. from the abstract of the sea surface gradient paper: We use the same dynamics to show that the erroneous warming in state-of-the-art models is a consequence of the cold bias of their equatorial cold tongues. The failure of state-of-the-art models to capture the correct response introduces critical error into their projections of climate change in the many regions sensitive to tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures.

    Lots of interesting details in the text, e.g. : Next, we iteratively coupled the atmosphere and ocean models (see Methods) and computed the response to the change in CO2 alone plus the imposed change in heating over land (Fig. 3). The coupled response has enhanced precipitation over the WPWP, and stronger trade winds. The strengthened winds induce a dynamic
    cooling tendency in the cold tongue that offsets the CO2-driven warming.

    I think of these models as significant achievements in synthesizing lots of knowledge, even though I think they are also too inaccurate at present for policy purposes. Continuously improving them is a large effort in “normal science”.

    • and: . The atmosphere and ocean models
      require a number of parameter values and constants to be set.

      . For coupling, the drag
      coefficient, cD—used to convert modelled winds into stresses to force the ocean component—is 2.25×10−3, which is about 50% larger than typical values, butwas found necessary for a coupled response with approximately the observed amplitude.

      “Tuned” in other words. Not bad, but a warning, so to speak.

  20. “Paleoclimate reconstructions are most often made based on data from a single location. Interpretation of the climatic changes at a given study location, however, depends on knowledge about other places – perhaps even the rest of the world. Maps of paleoclimate data therefore are the ultimate reconstructions. They show empirically based representations of past climate gradients, which can be used to infer circulation patterns and other important dynamics …” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124095489094057

    Abductive reasoning starts with a set of observations and finds the most likely explanation with considerable uncertainty. Rather than hypothesis testing this is how climate science must be done. Investigative and not reductionist in a hyper complex world in which modern dynamics are barely grasped. Indeed, where it has not been shown that the relevant function exist (Slingo and Palmer, 2012)

    e.g. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6

    In a discipline that routinely neglects the most fundamental dynamic limitations of models. Limitations barely grasped if at all outside of the modelling community – and yet that were among the earliest of digital computing discoveries.

    “Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.” James McWilliams

    And in which deep paleo analogs to modern circulation patterns are improbable as climate signals bounce around a complex flow field that has variable resonance.

    New approaches are required – one that goes beyond eyeballing graphs. Voltaire said it best – certainty is absurd.

  21. “More sensitive climates are more variable climates [link]”

    You’ve got to love that – it’s like saying… It’s like holding a match to a mattress, or it’s more like, you’d have to hit it with an asteroid to get its attention…

    • “‘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.” Edward Lorenz

      Swathes of geophysics are yet to be mapped – nor is it shown that functions exist to model every eddy. So this is junk science – along with the one on Pacific Ocean temperature gradients. But the principle of regime shift in oceans and atmospheric flows first suggested by Lorenz’s convection model can be demonstrated by lower order models.

      Figure 1: Solutions of an energy-balance model (EBM), showing the global-mean temperature (T) vs. the fractional change of insolation (μ) at the top of the atmosphere. (Source: Ghil, 2013)

      The model has two stable states with two points of abrupt climate change – the latter at the transitions from the blue lines to the red from above and below. The two axes are normalized solar energy inputs μ (insolation) to the climate system and a global mean temperature. The current day energy input is μ = 1 with a global mean temperature of 287.7 degrees Kelvin. This is a relatively balmy 58.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

      The 1-D climate model uses physically based equations to determine changes in the climate system as a result of changes in solar intensity, ice reflectance and greenhouse gases. With a small decrease in radiation from the Sun – or an increase in ice cover – the system becomes unstable with runaway ice feedbacks.

      Ghil’s model shows that climate sensitivity (γ) is variable. It is the change in temperature (ΔT) divided by the change in the control variable (Δμ) – the tangent to the curve as shown above. Sensitivity increases moving down the upper curve to the left towards the bifurcation and becomes arbitrarily large at the instability. The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society. The problem of abrupt climate change on multi-decadal scales is of the most immediate significance.

      Metaphorically – the driver is not so commonly an asteroid as a butterfly whose time has come.

  22. liquid-cloud-water, abstract: We estimate that the observed decrease in cloud water offsets 23% of the global climate cooling effect caused by aerosol-induced increases in the concentration of cloud droplets. These findings invalidate the hypothesis that increases in cloud water cause a substantial climate cooling effect and translate into reduced uncertainty
    in projections of future climate.

    The second sentence in this excerpt does not seem to follow from the first. A “substantial” effect reduced by 23% in some places is still “substantial”. That 23% applies to some of the increased cloud cover, according to the authors.

  23. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Japan must be ready for the floods.

  24. Strengthening tropical Pacific zonal sea surface temperature gradient consistent with rising greenhouse gases [link]

    Part of the Pacific Ocean Is Not Warming as Expected. Why?

    From the article, which is about this paper:

  25. Nice article on National Ignition Facility at LLNL about fusion.

    Still 50 years away but small on time frame of ice age timing.


    Next is opening of San Andres fault and moving LA up to SF.


    • Beta Blocker

      Will the shortened distance between the two cities make the Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed rail project less expensive?

      • Bill Fabrizio


      • Not only is San Andreas fault to move LA up to SF,

        2 inches a year.

        Nevada faults to open sea side properties east of Sierra Nevada mountains

        Tell Al Gore so he can swoop up ocean view properties.

        Next ice age is coming unless we hurry to release extra greenhouse gases.

  26. The Campaign to Destroy Equal Voice

    “To observers, this row offers a reminder that the greatest threats to progressive campaigns come not from the conservative Right, but from their own puritanical fringes.”


    I seem to look for similarities to the climate debate everywhere. We can’t have action on climate change if there isn’t social injustice. The IPCC is a bunch of old white men. Climate science is that too.

    The article is powerful because at it shows the extreme starts fighting itself and their message is diluted. And they blame us, the skeptics. Which is non-sense. They’ve had every advantage, and then they start crying when they don’t get their way. But you have to blame the right thing. If you don’t, you’re off target and wasting energy and opportunities.

    The hero of the article in my mind is Eleanor Fast. I am going to take a chance and say that she did the work of advancing the cause, and these new people are weakening the cause. And are throwing those that did do the work under the bus.

    Like the young feminists are doing to the old ones now. The young ones haven’t done the work, they just destroy things. Anyone can do that.

    • Ragnaar –

      > And they blame us, the skeptics.

      Do you think that entities like the Koch brothers, who are immensely wealthy, have enormous business loses at stake should there be regulation that targets mitigation, and who have an enormous and very sophisticated lobbying wing of their organization – that dedicates billions of dollars (guessing – hard to know since it’s “dark money”) to political activism, are more or less relevant than the puritanical free speech haters at the “fringe” end of the left?


      • Joshua
        You seem to have no reliable data about the Koch brothers with respect to AGW but seem to view them as a powerful force on the issue none the less.
        Seems to infer more about you than them.

      • Hi Joshua:

        I said they blame the skeptics. I meant they’re blaming the wrong things. If it wasn’t the Koch brothers it would be somebody else providing oil products.

        Their message is diluted in my opinion by bringing in social justice. Climate science could use more women, but does having having multiple messages really help their cause?

        With the story I linked to, it was supposed to be about women in politics in Canada. Not about calling conservative women in politics in Canada racists.

        Which is another similarity. Call someone a racist or a denier and that ends the discussion. No wonder we can’t even talk anymore.

        In the article, the first things these privileged women do is pay back the one that hired them by finding fault with her. An organization takes a lot of work to start and maintain. Something they didn’t have a lot of experience with.

        Now our esteemed climate scientists have people like AOC helping them. Until she turns on them.

        The more mad the right can make the left, the more we’re going to see this. They are going to out alarm each other. They will go against the IPCC. And I think someone should count up the contributors to AR5 and tally them by gender. And ethnicity. And age. Because, we need something to save ourselves. Saving ourselves from climate calamity wouldn’t be right if it wasn’t inclusive.

        What to do? As I think was a story I heard somewhere, talk to the other side. Focus on targets and like evil capitalists, implement some improvements. It does take brave people to approach the other side. But brave people don’t rely on their tribe to figure what’s right to do. Brave people are free of that.

      • Ragnaar –

        It wasn’t my intention to give you a soapbox, but to get you to respond to a question about the relative influence of a particular powerful force, and even more importantly, the influence of that particular force in the context of similar forces.

        It is always interesting to me to see “skeptics” who have libertarian tendencies look the other way at the massive influence of powerful corporations on the development of climate change/energy policy. Libertarians can be, in my experience, ideologically consistent – perhaps more so than people who strongly identify along the different bands of the ideological spectrum. But w/r/t climate/energy and “crony capitalism,” in my observation that ideological consistency tends to fall apart.

        >I said they blame the skeptics. I meant they’re blaming the wrong things. If it wasn’t the Koch brothers it would be somebody else providing oil products.

        > Their message is diluted in my opinion by bringing in social justice. Climate science could use more women, but does having having multiple messages really help their cause?

        I go back and forth on this. I don’t know the answer. I tend to think that tying the issue of climate change directly to existing realms of ideological polarization will contribute, at least to some extent, to the ways that polarization interfere with policy development. Or if it doesn’t contribute, it may well just reinforce the continuing lines of polarization.

        On the other hand, the obvious counter-argument is that social change has occurred in the past, inspired by people who were unafraid of talking issues despite the potential blowback of antagonizing ideological opponents.

        Did you look at the material I linked?

      • Rob –

        Did you look at that link?

      • Yes Joshua. The Koch brothers used Congress and Presidents to game our system. They also used attorneys and public relations firms. And they have an uncommon code of ethics and morality. They are many things not the same as full libertarianism, whatever that is.

        It’s a Venn diagram with of course me being the most important circle and then their circle and then the socialist’s circle. They are them and I am me. I don’t think I am changing and neither are they.

        “But w/r/t climate/energy and “crony capitalism,” in my observation that ideological consistency tends to fall apart.”

        Energy tends toward monopolies. Xcel is a monopoly. And we let it be that we even though Minnesota is liberal. Pipe and power lines are monopolies. Maybe not exactly but you get it. The atmosphere and the watersheds are commons and governments will be involved.

        Agriculture is full of government intervention. Look at the price of milk and that history. My Grandpa milked about 12 Holsteins in the 1960s.

        We just concede it all? Is that the consistency that is expected of me?

        Back when college students had to do such things, I took a class that covered utilitarianism. STEM majors don’t have to do that these days. Hows that for a consistent liberal arts college mission?

        I look at the Koch brothers and see efficiency by looking at their balance sheet. They have money, and they made it mostly from selling things. That’s the tip off. If their balance sheet said negative 500 billion dollars, I’d say stop doing that. And government failed yet again.

        Joshua, we are the greatest country in the world. It’s not perfect and often times it’s not pretty. I am happy the Koch brothers at times identify as in the neighborhood of libertarians.

        Libertarians have been kicked, ignored, and made fun of. Marginalized, categorized and filed under X with the Trekkies. That we even are a thing is a testament to the value of stubbornness and delusions of grandeur.

      • Hi Joshua:

        “I go back and forth on this. I don’t know the answer. I tend to think that tying the issue of climate change directly to existing realms of ideological polarization will contribute, at least to some extent, to the ways that polarization interfere with policy development. Or if it doesn’t contribute, it may well just reinforce the continuing lines of polarization.”
        “On the other hand, the obvious counter-argument is that social change has occurred in the past, inspired by people who were unafraid of talking issues despite the potential blowback of antagonizing ideological opponents.”

        I hadn’t thought of that one. Tying climate change to other polarizing issues is the kind of thing that campus radicals do. They make a list of with ten items on it. All the world’s travesties. It doesn’t work. Because even moderates find something on the list where they are at odds with the radicals. It’s a question of winning everything or nothing.

        Then since they are experienced politicians, they trade away 2/3s of the items on the list to get what they wanted, and then 2/3s of the allies say bleep that. So to implement the goal, the alliance is destroyed as allies are thrown overboard.

        This makes the libertarians looks better by comparison.

  27. Greenland melt surface: a new way of looking at it:

  28. Claim: Staying Positive After A Weather Disaster Impedes Climate Action


    Most of us are familiar with Thriving. But thriving is bad because it prevents us from fixing climate change. Don’t applaud people when the put their lives back together again. Highlight the misery.

    If I survive a sexual assault, I should not thrive from that point. Because then sexual assualts continue. My victimhood isn’t mine. It belongs to society. And society needs it. So it can take it. I can be made a poster child even when I don’t want it.

    So what can hinder recovery and thriving? Society.

    Blacks can’t thrive. Because we need them as poster representatives so Trump loses. And every Republican before Trump. It’s worked out well for blacks.

    Yes, I know I am on thin ice here.

  29. Science doesn’t die in the darkness; it dies when science becomes a team sport, in full view of a bloodthirsty, cheering electorate.

    The above is my modifying the below quote:

    “Democracy doesn’t die in the darkness; it dies when politics become team sports, in full view of a bloodthirsty, cheering electorate.”


    Bridget Phetasy. Not a scientist. A moderate. A liberal who lost her home as the left went nuts.

  30. New computer model confirms humans can change the global climate.
    On the plus side it will eliminate CAGW instantly.

  31. Scientists extract hydrogen gas from oil and bitumen


    Our problems are solved. All I kind find are puff pieces. I wonder how serious phys.org is to not vet this.

    The miracle:
    “…the key innovation being a high temperature membrane that only allows hydrogen to pass, leaving all other combustion products trapped. How well the tar sands would trap these is still uncertain.”

  32. The terrifying reason why Godwin’s Law works so well
    Everything here and in the climate wars exists with a background that has a large influence. It’s not just the problem before us. Germany of the 1930s and 1940s exists someplace else in our minds. We say it’s over there. That’s a mental crutch.

  33. Are Political Disagreements Real Disagreements?
    written by Michael Hannon

    “Partisan cheerleading may also explain why attempts to correct false beliefs sometimes backfire. If factual corrections are interpreted as challenges to our “team,” the correction will seem to “backfire” because people will reply by expressing their loyalty.”


    No matter what Dana and SkS do, our side keeps cheerleading. Desmogblog just entrenches our side. Nothing stops cheerleading. We are the Philadelphia Eagle’s fans.

    The climate wars exist within the above background. Exhibit A, WUWT. All the studies about how dumb Republicans are, miss what’s going on.

    Our side is mirrored by their side. They cheerlead and because of their numbers, it’s ten times as much. Like the GND lemmings running for President.

    “The theory of “motivated reasoning” assumes that the misinformation documented by survey researchers is an accurate reflection of what voters truly believe. But this is an inadequate diagnosis in many cases. Many citizens have the capacity to perceive reality in a less partisan way than they have claimed.”
    “In short, people are neither as dumb nor as biased as we thought. What appears to be stupidity or irrationality is often just cheerleading.”

    Actually skeptics know more about climate science. Take the IPCC fall back tactic. We take the time to understand what the IPCC says. So we attack with what is said to be knowledge, while they cheerlead. And it looks ridiculous. They cheer the latest study as if they just kicked a field goal. At the pep rally, the new paper is revealed. I want the school band to start playing Louie, Louie.

    “For instance, if liberal democrats interpret vehement denials of anthropogenic climate change as evidence of people out of touch with reality, they will criticize their opponents for not engaging with the evidence. This may further antagonize the other side because they will interpret liberals as calling them stupid.”
    The SkS playbook. A bunch of Einsteins.

  34. Why some climate scientists are saying no to flying


    Where else do we see symbolic acts? I took communion at a Lutheran church when I was young. In front of people.

    I don’t really care if they fly. If they flew more, we’d probably be better off. It’s a play by the skeptics and it’s working to some extent. But the woke left will join in and be more vicious than the right.

    We can’t have private roads so libertarianism is wrong. Because you fly, you’re wrong. Same lame argument. So if you remove one thing, the whole argument fails. And that’s false in both cases. So they strive to do everything right. Pretty soon we may be outing people for flying. Don’t think that however the airline data is kept will not be hacked.

  35. Chance, not ideology, drives political polarization
    “”In our world, political divisions are so fiercely defended,” Macy said. “The two sides get very worked up, which would seem to indicate that positions are deeply rooted fundamental divisions. But our study suggests that these positions may just be identity markers, like bumper stickers, the result of opinion cascades that propelled people into a position with which they came to emotionally identify.”
    I suppose the above means to not argue the fundamentals but the emotional. Who argues the fundamentals? Scientists on one side do and that doesn’t work. What’s fundamental from the right? Economics I suppose, and that doesn’t work. What of this cures polarization? Rationality doesn’t seem to apply. Outrage. That’s a kind of cascade as people get cancelled.

  36. “Storytelling is at the heart of science, too.”

    “Both fields have one general principle: to reflect how we see the world, artists with their creativity, scientists with their measurements and logical building blocks. Both are required for society to function.”


    In the climate wars, current functionality is far from optimal.

    So they run around with the cudgel of science and hit people over the head with it. It’s a story that doesn’t sell.

    One side tells the story that the other side are idiots. The other side tells the story, no you are the idiots. Neither side can tell a story and with that they fail to recognize how things work. The esteemed ones while selling the reality of science cannot see the reality that others can. This system we live in and how it functions efficiently. They think its natural state is one of war and destruction. And they are constantly looking for better cudgels to arm themselves with.