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Climate Hustle

The 2010 Climate B.S.* of the Year Award

Posted on 31 December 2010 by Peter Gleick

Welcome to the 2010 Climate B.S. of the Year Award.

2010 saw widespread and growing evidence of rapidly warming global climate and strengthening scientific understanding of how humans are contributing to climate change. Yet on the policy front, little happened to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe negative climate impacts, including now unavoidable changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, snowpack, glacial extent, Arctic sea ice, and more. These physical impacts will lead to sharply increased disease, military and economic instabilities, food and water shortages, and extreme weather events, among other things. Without appropriate risk management action, the United States will be hit hard. There is no safe haven. Yet confusion and uncertainty about climate change remain high in the minds of too many members of the public and Congress.

Why? In large part because of a concerted, coordinated, aggressive campaign by a small group of well-funded climate change deniers and contrarians focused on intentionally misleading the public and policymakers with bad science about climate change. Much of this effort is based on intentional falsehoods, misrepresentations, inflated uncertainties, and pure and utter B.S. about climate science. These efforts have been successful in sowing confusion and delaying action – just as the same tactics were successful in delaying efforts to tackle tobacco’s health risks.

To counter this campaign of disinformation, we are issuing the first in what may become a series of awards for the most egregious Climate B.S.* of the Year. In preparing the list of nominees, suggestions were received from around the world and a panel of reviewers – all scientists or climate communicators – waded through them. We present here the top five nominees and the winner of the 2010 Climate B.S.* of the Year Award.

Fifth Place. Climate B.S. and misrepresentations presented by Fox “News.”

There are many examples of bad science, misrepresentations, omissions of facts, and distortions of climate reality coming from Fox “News” (far too many to list here, but we note that Joe Romm just gave Fox his 2010 Citizen Kane Award for “non-excellence in journalism” for their misrepresentations of climate science). It seems that Fox has now made it their policy to deny the reality of climate change and has told its reporters to misreport or cast doubt on the science. This policy of disinformation was implemented by Fox News executive Bill Sammon, who ordered staff to cast doubt on climate data in a memo revealed this month. Fox’s political commentators have long used this tactic in their one-sided and biased discussions on climate change but Sammon’s memo seems to direct News staff to slant reporting in direct contradiction to what the scientific facts and scientists actually say.

Fourth Place. Misleading or false testimony to Congress and policymakers about climate change.

While Congress held more hearings in 2010 on climate change than in other recent years, these hearings elicited some astounding testimonies submitted by climate deniers and skeptics filled with false and misleading statements about climate science and total B.S. Examples?

Long-time climate change skeptic Patrick Michaels testified before the House Science and Technology Committee and misrepresented the scientific understanding of the human role in climate change and the well-understood effects of fundamental climatic factors, such as the effects of visible air pollution. Including these effects (as climate scientists have done for many years) would have completely changed his results. Michaels has misrepresented mainstream climate science for decades, as has been noted here, here, and elsewhere, yet he remains a darling of the skeptics in Congress who like his message.

A newer darling of Congressional climate change deniers is Christopher Monckton, who claims to be a member of the British House of Lords (a claim rejected by the House of Lords). Monckton testified before a Senate committee in May and presented such outlandish B.S. about climate that experts (such as John Mashey, Tim Lambert, John Abraham, and Barry Bickmore, to name a few) spent uncounted hours and pages and pages refuting just a subset of his errors.

Third Place. The false claim that a single weather event, such as a huge snowstorm in Washington, D.C., proves there is no global warming.

In February 2010 a big winter storm dumped record piles of snow on the mid-Atlantic U.S., including Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, prompting climate change deniers to use bad weather to try to discredit the reality of global warming. Limbaugh said, “It's one more nail in the coffin for the global warming thing.” Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe got attention with an igloo on the national mall and labeled it “Al Gore's new home” (combining bad science with a personal attack). Senator Jim DeMint said, “It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’”

Record snowfall is not an indicator of a lack of global warming, as has been pointed out in the scientific literature and many, many rounds of Congressional testimony. It merely means that there was a storm and temperatures were close to or below freezing. Indeed global warming can contribute to greater snowfalls by providing extra moisture. Many scientists testifying before the Senate and House of Representatives have explained the difference between a steadily warming planet and occasional extreme cold events in particular spots. But we can expect to see more examples of this kind of B.S. when it gets cold and snowy somewhere, sometime, this winter.

Second Place. The claim that the “Climategate” emails meant that global warming was a hoax, or was criminal, as Senator Inhofe tried to argue. In fact, it was none of these things (though the British police are still investigating the illegal hacking of a British university’s computer system and the theft of the emails).

Global warming deniers used out-of-context texts from the stolen emails to claim that global warming was a hoax or that scientists had manipulated data or were hiding evidence that climate change wasn’t happening. These claims are all B.S. A series of independent scientific and academic investigations in the U.S. and the U.K. unanimously concluded that nothing in the stolen emails made any difference to the remarkable strength of climate science (see, for example, the Penn State vindication, the Independent Muir Russell and Lord Oxburgh reviews, a British Parliamentary Panel review, and other assessments). Unfortunately, the media gave far more attention to the accusations than to the resounding vindications, and climate deniers continue to spread B.S. about this case.

The bottom line of “Climategate?” As a letter in Science magazine signed by 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences said in May 2010: “there is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change.”


First Place goes to the following set of B.S.: “There has been no warming since 1998” [or 2000, or…], “the earth is cooling,” “global warming is natural,” and “humans are too insignificant to affect the climate.” Such statements are all nonsense and important for the general public to understand properly.

The reality is that the Earth’s climate is changing significantly, changing fast, and changing due to human factors. The reality of climatic change can no longer be disputed on scientific grounds – the U.S. National Academy of Sciences calls the human-induced warming of the Earth a “settled fact.” The evidence for a “warming” planet includes not just rising temperatures, but also rising sea levels, melting Arctic sea ice, disappearing glaciers, increasing intense rainfalls, and many other changes that matter to society and the environment. The recent and ongoing warming of the Earth is unprecedented in magnitude, speed, and cause.

This winning set of B.S. appears almost daily in the conservative blogosphere, like here and here and here, consistently in the statements of climate change deniers, and far too often in real media outlets. Actual science and observations from around globe have long shown the opposite (for example, here and here are nice rebuttals with real science). The planet continues to warm rapidly largely due to human activities, and average global temperatures continue to rise. The most recent decade has been the warmest decade on record and 2010 will likely go down as either the warmest or second warmest year in recorded history.

Associated B.S. argues that the famous “hockey stick” graph has been disproved. This graph shows the extraordinarily rapid warming of the twentieth century compared to the previous 1000 years. The graph and analysis have been upheld by subsequent researchers and numerous scientific assessments, including one from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

To the winners: congratulations, it is long past time your B.S. is recognized for what it is – bad science.

And to the public and the media: be forewarned: all of these and similar bad arguments will certainly be repeated in 2011. It is long past time that this bad science is identified, challenged, and shown to be the B.S. that it is.

The 2010 Climate Bad Science (B.S.) Detection and Correction Team

Peter Gleick, Kevin Trenberth, Tenney Naumer, Michael Ashley, Lou Grinzo, Gareth Renowden, Paul Douglas, Jan W. Dash, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Brian Angliss, Joe Romm, Peter Sinclair, Michael Tobis, Gavin Schmidt, John Cook, plus several anonymous nominators, reviewers, and voters.

[* “B.S.” means “Bad Science” doesn’t it?]

For more information, contact Dr. Peter H. Gleick or Nancy Ross, Pacific Institute, 510 725-2385.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 101:

  1. Three cheers!
    And well phrased Peter G. Tough choices, at first I wasn't sure about your placement... but the more I thought about my doubts the more they faded away. Another great post.

    John Cook, Peter G, and all the other contributors thank you for being one of the highlights of 2010.

    Happy New Years to you all.

    peter m
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  2. I'm disappointed Lindzen did not make the list for claiming, in his recent testimony to Congress, that thermometers are now sensitive only to high temperatures and not cold ones, thereby partly explaining the increase in global temperatures. Ooh, another one was the claims that the Arctic sea ice was going to make a recovery this year.... I realise though that the line had to be drawn somewhere, there are just too many examples of B.S. from the "skeptics".

    Seriously though, a great job and very well written. Hopefully this becomes an annual event to remind everyone of the inane claims made by 'skeptics' and contrarians. Come to think of it, this would make for a great editorial/opinion piece in some major news outlets.....the public really do need to know how blatantly and frequently "skeptics" mislead and misinform. Any takers?
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  3. Albatross,

    Could you please give some context to Richard Lindzen's statement about thermometers? That statement must have been challenged by someone?

    Is there anything about thermometers that could lead to a statement like that?

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  4. The National Academy of Sciences/settled fact bit was a nice touch. Wish I'da thunk it... ;)

    Good job, Peter!

    The Yooper
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  5. Bob,

    Busy now, will provide a link later. Yes, it was challenged at the time, by Meehl I think.
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  6. "Welcome to the 2010 Climate B.S. of the Year Award."

    Other than for a few specifics, how is this any different than the 2009 Climate B.S. of the Year Award? Or 2008 ... or ... iterate at will :)

    That's a good, but depressing, list you've made ...
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  7. Re: depressing, I agree. Next year's list will undoubtedly include Republican-run U.S. House hearings, but personally I hope to see less reactionary "denialism" next year. I don't mind the shift in power for other reasons, but with power comes responsibilities, first and foremost to accept the basics of science including GW and AGW. Then without politicizing an argument over "CAGW", we can skip right to solutions because there is plenty of agreement over what works.
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    FIFTH PLACE goes to a news editor who insisted his reporters
    – Report only the facts.
    – Don’t take sides in their reporting, and
    – Point out that in matters relating to climate change, some people question the claims being made.

    WOW – talk about BS. How dare a news editor demand fair, unbiased and balanced reporting from his staff. What next, equal air time for skeptics?

    FOURTH PLACE goes to Patrick Michaels for misrepresenting the “facts” of human induced climate change to a senate committee. How do we know he did this? Because Ben Santer says so, that’s how.

    THIRD PLACE goes to every “climate denier” who ever pointed to a single cold weather event as “proof” that climate change didn’t exist. Well gee – I wonder where we learned that from?

    Here’s a link to TEN YEAR’s worth of increasingly extreme cold weather events. I wonder how many “singular” events it takes to suggest a “trend”?

    SECOND PLACE goes to all those people who found something untoward suggested in the climategate emails.

    You know, like all those folk who took offence at destroying material subject to legal FOI requests, plotting to ruin other people’s reputations, and stuff like that. Not to mention of course, the HARRY_READ_ME file, or the “fudges factor” line of code that ensures one gets a hockey stick even when random numbers are input.

    FIRST PLACE goes to anybody who dares to suggest that maybe whatever was happening as far as warming went, has now stopped and maybe things are starting to cool off.

    I guess this could apply to just about any of the approximately 3 billion people now experiencing record and near record LOW temperatures, and record and near-record HIGH snowfalls.

    Yes, perhaps it’s time all us “deniers” started feeling a little ashamed of ourselves.

    What are the chances of this getting posted?
    Buckley’s – Now THAT’s “fair and unbiased” for you.
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  9. memoryvault asks "What are the chances of this getting posted?" All of your arguments can be made on their respective threads, but I think it is legitimate to make them one time here. I agree on one point, when events like the Russian heat wave are discussed in the news, there should be an explanation of both natural and manmade causes. That balance is ok, but "balancing" science with nonsense (e.g. there is cooling right now) is not ok. That's all I'm going to say about it since there are other threads for that subject.
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  10. Bob @3,

    You can view the three panel sessions here. The offending comments made by Lindzen were during the first panel session within the first 60 mins-- sorry that I can't be more specific than that.

    And no, to my knowledge there is no reason why thermometers would be more sensitive (or respond quicker) to highs than lows.
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  11. #8: Perfect! A fine example of what happens when someone spend too much time in "a haven for un-refereed pseudo-science with dangerously incorrect inference."
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  12. There isn't a single news media outlet (left, right, orange blue, purple or whatever) that satisfies memoryvaults criteria (unbiased and balanced reporting).

    Don't all journalists have to say the motto/quote "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" before taking a job with a news company?

    On the issue of equality in reporting, that doesn't mean that any whack job that has a theory has a right to equal time on TV and call it science reporting. If that happens, you move from serious news reporting to gutter press. There are 'forums' for expressing opinions (this web site for instance), that I'm afraid doesn't equate to news reporting.

    Bad reporting and biased 'equality' that results in inappropriate minority theories being pushed to the public generally shows a lack of knowledge of a subject, which reflects back on the credibility of a journalist to do any news reporting based on facts.

    The likes of Fox News and others are primarily interested playing games in order to stir up public opinion (both for and against). That is politics, not science reporting.
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  13. A marvelously crafted post on a truly depressing state of affairs.

    Here's to a Happier New Year for all in 2011!

    Many thanks to John and the SS team.
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  14. memoryvault:

    FIRST PLACE goes to anybody who dares to suggest that maybe whatever was happening as far as warming went, has now stopped and maybe things are starting to cool off.

    It's very easy to wallow in sarcasm, and to treat people who are going out of their way to make demonstrably false claims as somehow "daring" (or better yet, "oppressed," no matter how big their megaphone is). It's very easy to say "I doubt it," and when presented with facts, say it again and again, louder and louder.

    What's more difficult is making a coherent scientific argument for "cooling," and backing it up with plenty of solid, non-manipulated evidence. My guess is that if you were capable of doing this, you wouldn't be wasting your time and ours with childish sarcasm of this sort. Feel free to prove me wrong (on the correct thread, please).
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  15. Here is Monckton's explanation of his membership, from the footnotes in Wikipedia:
    Monckton, Christopher (2020-07-15). "Questions from the Select Committee Concerning My Recent Testimony". Science & Public Policy Institute. Monckton said: "The House of Lords Act 1999 debarred all but 92 of the 650 Hereditary Peers, including my father, from sitting or voting, and purported to – but did not – remove membership of the Upper House. Letters Patent granting peerages, and consequently membership, are the personal gift of the Monarch. Only a specific law can annul a grant. The 1999 Act was a general law. The then Government, realizing this defect, took three maladroit steps: it wrote asking expelled Peers to return their Letters Patent (though that does not annul them); in 2009 it withdrew the passes admitting expelled Peers to the House (and implying they were members); and it told the enquiry clerks to deny they were members: but a written Parliamentary Answer by the Lord President of the Council admits that general legislation cannot annul Letters Patent, so I am The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (as my passport shows), a member of the Upper House but without the right to sit or vote, and I have never pretended otherwise."
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  16. Here is Monckton's explanation of his membership, from the footnotes in Wikipedia:

    The House of Lords has firmly rejected Monckton's explanation, and I suspect they're a bit more knowledgeable about their rules of membership than he is.

    It suddenly strikes me that Monckton is basically the person many "skeptics" accuse Al Gore of being. The tireless self-promotion, the baseless claims to have invented this or that, the overheated alarmist rhetoric, the padded resume, the unconcealed elitism and snobbery...Monckton is the hard-right caricature version of Gore in the flesh, and far too many "skeptics" seem to love him for it.

    Or they did, anyway. He doesn't seem to get the respect he used to, thank heavens.
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  17. I lost interest half way through Monckton convoluted excuse for claiming to be what he's not. I'll take the word of the House of Lords vs his any time. However, this has no bearing on the vacuity of his arguments, which has been thoroughly exposed, nor does it lend more credence to the gross misrepresentation and deception that he has made his trade.
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  18. Hey guys. I read some crap about this so-called "Kiwi-Gate", from back in October 2010. It has something to do with a "Skeptic" Group taking the NZ meteorological society to court. Can anyone enlighten me on the actual facts surrounding this? The only place I see it mentioned are on Denialist Web-sites, so its hard to be sure if its even real (if it was, then The Australian failed to pick up on it-which is unusual for a Murdoch Rag).
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] Michael Tobis covers that to some degree here. Gareth over at Hot-Topic also has has several posts on it, including this one.
  19. Thank you for the response Daniel Bailey. So, just like "Climate Gate", this is just another Tempest in a Teacup manufactured by the Denial Industry. Even if they were able to show now warming for the last Century (which they haven't), we already *know* that not every part of the planet has warmed at the same rate-& some small areas have even cooled slightly. What matters is GLOBAL temperatures, something the Denial Crowd never seem to quite grasp.
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  20. "Can anyone enlighten me on the actual facts surrounding this?"

    Yeah, the Kiwi people were forced to redo their temp reconstruction analysis.

    The old trend and the new trend are exactly the same to the .01C level.

    Denialists proclaim victory because ... nothing has changed.
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  21. Albatross - 10

    Thanks for the link. I listened to the complete testimony and I felt that Lindzen came across as somewhat of a fool; however, Representative Rhorbabacker came across as a fool's fool!

    This was especially evident when he challenged the scientists on the low level of CO2 compared to other gases such as nitrogen and oxygen.

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  22. MemoryVault's five fallacies
    1)That balance means one page for lies to balance one page of truth. Rather balance means understanding that all stories have more than one side and finding out what the other side is. The balance to climate change is not "not climate change" - it is where is the doubt? For example, where is the heat in the oceans? Will the Arctic have ice free summers before or after 2020? Things like that

    2)Assuming that someone presenting to Congress automatically is knowledgeable about the subject. Better to consider the validity of the science, or at least the scientist.

    3)Thinking individual weather events make a trend. This whole line of thinking is wrong, for the most part. You could look at the number of cold records vs the number of warm records (although better to do that for 30 years or so...). The warm vs cold records is HEAVILY in favor of warm. One theory is because the world is warming due to human activity.

    4)Thinking that any wrong doing by the part of climate scientists (if any) has changed the SCIENCE of the climate in any way

    5)Thinking weather=climate. It never has and it never will!
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  23. Actually thoughtfull

    1) Debating "climate change" is like trying to debate the wetness of raindrops. Were last year's raindrops wetter than this years?

    The "debate" is and always was about Anthropogenic Global Warming - AGW for short. And the opposite of AGW is NON Anthropogenic Global Warming - ie - warming caused by something else.

    So the BS award #5 goes to a news editor who dared suggest his reporters point out that some people don't agree with the "anthropogenic" part when reporting on possible causes of "climate change". How dastardly of him.

    2) Straight ad-hom - "my expert is bigger than your expert nah nah nah".

    3) "thinking that individual weather events make a tend" ??????. So, how many "individual weather events" like progressively colder, snowier Northern Hemisphere winters does it take to establish a "trend"? Let me know and I'll watch out for it.

    "You could look at the number of cold records vs the number of warm records (although better to do that for 30 years or so . . )."

    Whoever claimed it hadn't been warming? How would this prove the "A" in AGW? And why 30 years - why not 60 years so it takes in the natural cooling cycle that preceded this perfectly natural warming one?

    Or 600 years so we can take in the longer wave approximately 300 year oscillations that gave us both the MWP and the LIA?

    "One theory is because the world is warming due to human activity". Yes, a "theory". There are others which fit the observed facts far better that AGW. The best fit to date is the 25 - 30 year alternating warming - cooling cycle overlaid on a longer 300 year alternating warming - cooling cycle.

    4) No the wrongdoing on the part of climate scientists HASN'T changed the "climate science" in any way. It was total crap before, during and after the wrongdoing by "climate scientists". In fact the "wrongdoing" was an attempt to hide the fact that the "science" was crap. Go read the HARRY_READ_ME file.

    5) I'm sorry, but if medium to long term trends in "weather" are not "climate", then what the heck is "climate"? Enlighten me please?
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  24. memoryvault.

    (1)If I can measure the weight of the rain-drops, though, & *prove* they were heavier on average than last year, then I'm off to a better start than the guy who, without evidence to back him, says they're not. The problem with Fox is they give MORE weight to those who claim Global Warming isn't happening-even when they have NO PROOF to back that claim-than to scientists who can PROVE that global warming is occurring & why its occurring. That's not balance, that's BIAS.

    (2) Refer to (1). Most of the "experts" they rely on actually have NO EXPERTISE to speak of. Those who do often present hypothesis as fact (as per Lindzen & his supposed warm-biased thermometers). Again, why are these people given more weight than those who have more than 80 years of climate records to back their position?

    (3) That one is simple. If you get a single Summer's day that's colder than the Winter Average, then does that mean Summer ceases to exist? Yet what you're suggesting is equally ridiculous. A year's worth of weather is worth more than a day to a month, & a decade's worth of weather is worth more than a single year. To be statistically significant, though, a trend requires at least 20 years of combined weather events. Even with the cold December of the Atlantic Coast last month, global temperatures for 2010 were still +0.66 degrees above the 1961-1990 average-making it the hottest year since records were first taken. 2000-2010 is also the hottest 11 year period in the last 130 years, in spite of being dominated by the lowest sunspot numbers in a century.

    (4) Well that's just straight up ad-hominem. You want to provide PROOF, not just more baseless allegations? The fact is that no climate scientists have been found guilty of wrong doing-in spite of the Witch Hunt waged by the anti-AGW crowd, & I've yet to see the anti-AGW crowd provide a single shred of hard data to show that the science was "crap". Meanwhile, all your mates have provided as an alternative is, at best, pseudo-scientific rubbish &-at worst-ludicrously convoluted conspiracy theories that would make the most ardent tin-foil hat wearer blush.
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    Moderator Response: Watch the all-caps, please.
  25. memoryvault, the easiest argument to rebut is your (3) "there is no cooling right now", lots of threads here on that. I tend to agree about (1) AGW not being debated properly, like I said in #9 above. I have no opinion on (2) and not much of an opinion on (4), they seem a little pointless to argue about.

    Number (5) is where I have a simple opinion. Climate is aggregate measurements (statistics) of temp and precip, maybe a few other odds and ends like hurricanes. Climate change is the change in those statistics due to long term changes like solar, GHG, etc. Weather can impact climate, for example what happens with weather will help determine the amount of amplification of CO2 warming if any. Weather is mainly the chaotic dynamics but also the cyclical changes, so multi-year ENSO cycles are weather, along with day/night and seasonal change which are sometimes loosely referred to as climate. So while measurements of weather over time are climate, those measurements have to be statistically valid (properly aggregated over sufficient time to determine the long term non-weather changes).
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  26. Marcus, I didn't see your post before I posted, my only beef with your reply is that sunspots are a canard. They have only been low since 2005 and whatever effect they might have is subject to the same delays as CO2 warming (e.g. the ocean could be releasing previously stored heat masking cooling if it exists).
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  27. Marcus

    1) What FOX actually may put to air isn't even germane to this discussion. The BS #5 award in the above article was for a news editor advising his staff to offer balanced reporting. If the BS award had been for an example of actual biased reporting I wouldn't be typing this now.

    But while we're on the subject, what IS the "proof" of AGW anyway? Not GW, which has been observable, but "A"GW? Apart from some increasingly redundant computer models, where's the PROOF of AGW that all these "experts" are privy to?

    You refer to "climate scientists who can prove global warming is occurring and why it is occurring". Okay, hit me with the "proof" that it's caused by anthropogenic influences, and isn't just a continuation of a cycle that's existed since the last glacial.

    2) Again you avoid the issue. BS award #5 wasn't given on the strengths or weaknesses of the so-called "experts" from either side. It was awarded to a news editor who called on his staff to acknowledge there were, in fact, "sides" to the debate at all. See 1) above.

    3) Actually, "trends" in climate study are usually expressed in 30 year periods. In fact, many climate graphs and charts are measured in 30 year periods on the horizontal. There's a historical reason for that. It's because we recognised the 25 - 30 year warming - cooling "trend" a long time ago.

    4) No "white-wash" "investigation" of the climategate emails has even looked at the HARRY_READ_ME files. You know, the folder where we find a line of code that ensures the progam creates a "warming" trend even when random numbers are fed into it. A line of code appropriately labelled "fudge factor".

    No "evidence" that AGW "science" is "crap"?

    How about the "evidence" of observable fact?
    CO2 continues to increase in the atmosphere. Not only should it be getting hotter, it should be getting hotter quicker. It isn't. CO2 AGW theory disproved by observable fact.

    CO2 AGW theory requires a hotspot to have developed in the tropical troposphere. No observable hotspot. CO2 AGW theory disproved by observable fact.

    CO2 AGW theory requires that "winters warm faster than summers". This is actually stated in an article on this site as one of the "fingerprints" of AGW.

    And observable fact? Three progressively worsening, colder NH winters. CO2 AGW theory disproved by observable facts.

    But hey, why should anyone believe their own lying eyes when we've got all these "experts" to tell us what the real truth is?

    Like the latest "global warming causes global cooling" from Professor Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute.

    You couldn't make it up . . . .
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    Moderator Response: Please don't use all caps. Use italics, or if you must, use bold. Also, the claims you have made are addressed in other posts. Either use the Search field at the top left, or click the "Most Used Skeptic Arguments" at the left. We try to keep comments on the relevant thread. In addition to the posts KR linked for you, also type "email" without the quote marks. Then search for "hotspot."
  28. memoryvault - You ask "...what IS the "proof" of AGW anyway? Not GW, which has been observable, but "A"GW?"

    I would suggest taking a look at The Big Picture, which provides just that - an overview of the evidence for warming, for human attribution of the majority of that warming, and what the results of that warming may mean to us. I would also strongly suggest you take a look at How do we know more CO2 is causing warming and The human fingerprint in global warming. If you disagree with the write-ups, I suggest you follow the links on those pages to various peer-reviewed articles presenting the evidence and conclusions discussed.

    I believe those links will present a great deal of information for you on this topic.
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  29. Two of the worst NH winters you say? Only if you live on the Atlantic Coasts (&, even then, not even the worst on record). The Middle East, the bulk of North America & Central Europe-not to mention the Arctic circle-are all suffering above average temperatures this winter-& last winter-& after one of the hottest Summers on record to boot, so do please get your facts straight. As to the proof of AGW-why are we getting a warming trend (which even YOU admit to, apparently) when all the natural forcings (solar output & the PDO) point towards a cooling trend for the last 30 years-a cooling trend which hasn't materialized? Instead, we've had an accelerating warming trend-i.e. the warming trend for the last 30 years has been +0.16 degrees per decade (which was faster than the warming for 1949-1980). Yet look at each decade & you see the following: 1980-1990 had an average temperature anomaly of +0.19 degrees, then 1990-2000 was +0.31 degrees (a difference of 0.12 degrees), then 2000-2010 was +0.53 degrees (a difference of 0.22 degrees). I don't know where you learned maths, but that suggests the decadal change *is* accelerating-consistent with AGW.

    BTW, at its most extreme, global warming *could* cause Global Cooling. What do you think would happen if sufficient fresh water were to enter the North Atlantic over a relatively short period? Here's a clue-it would reduce the salinity of the North Atlantic which-in turn-could cause the Gulf Stream to slow down-or even stop. That would cause extreme cold in North America & Europe, whilst causing long-term drought in the bulk of Africa, the Middle East & Asia. Of course, someone with a modicum of scientific knowledge-& not merely a reliance on Propaganda-would know that.
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  30. "CO2 AGW theory requires a hotspot to have developed in the tropical troposphere. No observable hotspot. CO2 AGW theory disproved by observable fact."

    Wow, I do love how these Zombie Memes keep coming back again & again. As someone with a modicum of scientific knowledge will tell you, the hot-spot is supposed to exist *independent* of Global Warming. i.e. atmospheric physics predicts the existence of a hot-spot in the tropical troposphere about 10km above the Earth's surface-a hot spot that is meant to exist whether the troposphere's temperature were warming, cooling or remaining unchanged. The failure to properly identify said hot-spot (it has been detected, just not reliably) says more about the difficulty of detecting the hot-spot with current instruments than it does about global warming. Now a *real* fingerprint of AGW is a cooling stratosphere....oh &, guess what, the stratosphere *is* cooling-i.e. observable fact. Once again, do a little research in future.
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    Moderator Response: To read more, type "hotspot" without the quote marks, in the Search field at the top left.
  31. #27: "disproved by observable fact."

    Interesting point from someone who has yet to offer any substantiated facts.
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  32. KR

    I tried, KR, I really did. I followed the links and I read it all, including the sub-links all the way until I got to the "Humans are causing this warming" and the link to "How do we know CO2 is causing this warming".

    Then I read through all the stuff about "positive radiative forcing" which hasn't even been established as fact yet, but decided to accept it for the moment in the interests of "getting educated".

    But then I got to the bit about this allegedly CO2-heated atmosphere "taking a long time to heat up the oceans because of their thermal inertia" and I realised our problem here is we are in parallel universes, you and I.

    In my universe we have something called the Four Laws of Thermodynamics.

    These obviously don't apply in your universe.
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  33. Memoryvault - your posts remind me of a frog in water warming to a boil. For some reason you are not noticing that the earth is warmer this year than last, and taken at a decade level -we haven't had a decade colder than the last since the 70s were cooler than the 60s. So we are at 30-40 years of your 60 year cycle. It better start getting cold and quick!

    More likely the research of thousands of scientists, individually verifying the same data but through different methods and techniques, are in fact correct and the world is warming, and it is warming precisely due to CO2 - as we have known since Arrhenius's work in 1896. That is 114 years of time tested science. Basically eternity for science.

    Good luck disproving the A in AGW - it is very well understood - unless the person doing the understanding has an ideological ax to grind.
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  34. muoncounter

    Back in the Sixties we were taught in high school about the 25 - 30 year cyclical nature of climate, within a larger 600 year cycle of warming and cooling.

    We were taught this because it had already been observed and noted for a long time. To date I've not seen anything, anywhere, including this site, to suggest anything different is happening now.

    In the mid-Seventies however I did see all of this same "end of the world because man is evil" claptrap. Only then we were all going to die because evil man was causing the planet to cool down.

    The fact was we were simply transitioning from a 25 - 30 year cooling period into the current warming period. I have no doubt in 25 - 30 years there will be a similar period of mass-hysteria, though I doubt anybody will make the sort of money that's being creamed off this latest insanity.

    Since I am saying nothing untoward is happening that hasn't happened in the past and won't happen again in the future, and you people are claiming something entirely different is happening - "just this once", then the burden of proof lies squarely at your feet, not mine.
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  35. memoryvault, I again ask you to check your facts. If you break the planet's climate for the last 120 years into neat, 30 year "cycles", then you get the following. 1890-1920 -0.007 degrees per decade (effectively no warming or cooling); 1920-1950 (a period dominated by significant increases in solar output-peaking around the mid-1940's) +0.096 degrees per decade; 1950-1980 (a period where solar output remained relatively stable) +0.014 degrees per decade. Finally 1980-2010 (a period dominated by falling solar output) +0.16 degrees per decade. So please do tell us where these natural 25-30 year cycles are, because the evidence isn't backed by observed temperature trends. The other problem is, of course, if the current warming was natural, irrespective of the actual cause, we'd be seeing a warming evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere-but instead its limited to the troposphere, whilst the stratosphere is cooling.
    I also note you've brought up *another* zombie meme-namely the claim that scientists were predicting an Ice Age. In fact, 90% of all scientific literature of the day was predicting either no change or warming-the "Global Cooling" hypothesis was a minority view, even then.
    The rest of your post is, yet again, the typical ad-hominem attacks that are used as a substitute for actual proof. The fact that you've not "seen anything" to suggest anything different is just because of your own selective blindness, not the result of a lack of evidence. Unless you're prepared to provide evidence, contrary to what we've supplied you, to back up your increasingly infantile claims, then there really is no point in continuing this discussion with you.
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  36. memoryvault - If you have particular issues with what you perceive as conflicts between thermodynamics and the greenhouse effect, please say what they are.

    Note there are several threads appropriate for the "greenhouse effect", "2nd law of thermodynamics", and "ocean heat content", which you can find using the search box.

    Thermal inertia - if you hook a VW bug to a small trailer, and floor it, it's going to accelerate to highway speeds pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you use the same VW to tow a tractor-trailer, it's going to take a lot longer to get up to speed. Air has very little thermal mass, water has a lot by comparison, and it takes some time to respond to the radiative imbalance. I don't understand what your issue is with it.

    As to cycles - checking back (using a great number of tools) on various forcings of the climate, it's evident that solar changes, pollution albedo, El Nino, volcanos, and other things have had an effect on the climate - CO2 is not the only driver of climate. But if you look at the last 150 years, it's clear that only CO2 heating can explain the current temperature trends - nothing else correlates. In particular, look at the moderator response to posting #2 on that thread.

    All of this is very well-established physics, memoryvault. There are definitely uncertainties, such as just how much the climate will respond to a particular forcing, and how cloud cover will respond. But the overall picture is quite solid.
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  37. Actually Thoughtfull

    "the world is warming, and it is warming precisely due to CO2 - as we have known since Arrhenius's work in 1896. That is 114 years of time tested science."

    You mean Arrhenius' work that was discredited by Angstrom within a couple of years of its publication, and languished in obscurity for for nearly seventy years until it was dusted off to give support to the CO2 AGW theory.

    Hardly 114 years of "time tested science".

    By the way, would that be the Arrhenius who was a lifetime member of the Swedish Society of Racial Hygiene, and board member of the The Swedish Institute for Racial Biology that was at the forefront in sterilising tens of thousands of "mental defectives"?

    Yet another climate scientist who supports global warming and dabbles in population control as a hobby - seems uncommonly common.
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] Further comments containing ad hominems such as yours will be deleted - and all comments replying to them. Keep it clean. Final warning.
  38. KR

    "Air has very little thermal mass, water has a lot by comparison, and it takes some time to respond to the radiative imbalance. I don't understand what your issue is with it."

    Temperature is not heat. The atmosphere does not "heat" the oceans. Not by radiative forcing nor by any other method. The oceans "heat" the atmosphere.

    Observable proof - evaporation which leads to our precipitation.

    There is more "heat energy" in the top 10 feet of the oceans than in the entire atmosphere, and there's a couple of miles of ocean under that, all containing heat energy.

    Our Laws of Thermodynamics clearly hold that heat energy will always flow to maximise entropy - or in simple terms from systems of high heat energy to systems of low heat energy. Or in this case, from the oceans to the atmosphere.

    All of this is very well-established physics, KR - at least in my universe - and has very little to do with VW's pulling trailers.
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  39. Ah, memoryvault-when faced with an argument you can't win, you resort to the tried-&-true denialist tactic of character assassination. The fact is that the ability of CO2 to absorb Infrared Radiation has been proven-time & again-in the laboratory. Tell us, if the Greenhouse Effect isn't real, then why isn't our planet an ice-ball? If CO2 isn't a significant Greenhouse Gas, then why were temperatures several degrees warmer about half a billion years ago-in spite of a much dimmer sun? If CO2 isn't the cause of current global warming, then why is there a decreasing correlation between solar activity & global temperatures? If Tropospheric CO2 concentrations are not the key cause of global warming, then why is there a decline in outgoing IR radiation into space? Why is there a decrease in stratospheric temperatures over the period of 1979-2010? Seriously, your arguments are getting increasingly infantile, & its abundantly clear that you have nothing intelligent to add to these discussions-& never did.
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  40. If your take on the laws of thermodynamics were true, memoryvault, then our planet would be an uninhabited Ice-Ball of a planet. It is the ability of Greenhouse gases to trap infrared radiation that gives our planet the comfortable average temperature of roughly 16 degrees C, rather than -18 degrees C. The problem is that you get your "established physics" from Denialist Propaganda sites.
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  41. Marcus

    "The fact is that the ability of CO2 to absorb Infrared Radiation has been proven-time & again-in the laboratory. Tell us, if the Greenhouse Effect isn't real, then why isn't our planet an ice-ball?

    You tell me why Mars IS an iceball? Much higher proportion of CO2 in it's atmosphere than here on earth - so obviously enough for a bit of radiative forcing.

    And yet it remains largely a frozen ball.

    And I never claimed atmospheric gases don't hold a certain amount of heat energy. I wrote that the transfer of heat energy is from the oceans to the atmosphere, not the other way around.

    Or are you now claiming that the atmosphere holds more heat energy than the oceans?

    And no, I didn't get my "established physics" from "Denialist propaganda sites". I got it from a good high school education followed by a degree in mechanical engineering, followed by 35 years working in the field - quite often in areas associated with heat energy transfer - you know, thermodynamics.

    Where did you get yours from?

    And for the record, I'm downunder here OZ and I don't get cable - I've never seen the Fox News Network.
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  42. First of all, Mars is much further away than Earth. Second-but most importantly of all-the air pressure of Mars is much lower than Earth. So even though CO2 is a large proportion of the Martian Atmosphere, the atmosphere is simply too thin to retain much heat. Look at Venus, though, with its very thick CO2 rich atmosphere. Its also worth noting that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere-warm enough to support liquid water-abut the same time water was beginning to appear on Earth-so clearly the rich CO2 of a thicker Martian Atmosphere was able to compensate for its greater distance from the Sun. So yet again your counter-argument is totally weak & unsubstantiated. I'm of course still waiting for you to provide evidence to debunk my other points with regards to CO2-namely stratospheric cooling, the decrease of IR emissions into space, the warmer climate of hundreds of millions of years ago (when CO2 levels were 10 times higher than today), the fact that temperatures are warming despite a decline in solar activity. Come on, I'm waiting.
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  43. MV @ 42 You tell me why Mars IS an iceball?

    Low gravity, thin atmosphere, further from the sun.

    That rebuttal is on the "to do" list I think.
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  44. Marcus - and Rob Painting

    Yes, Mars has a lower gravity, yes it has a thin atmosphere, and yes it is further from the sun.

    Nonetheless, it does have an atmosphere, and that atmosphere does have CO2.

    So there should be "some" degree of radiative forcing causing "some" level of warming.

    But what do we find - zilch. Nada, nothing.


    As to the other points you wish me to debunk, let's see:
    Stratospheric cooling and decreased IR emissions into space could simply be the result of the planet cooling off. Note I said "planet", not "atmosphere". In the larger scheme of things the amount of heat energy in the atmosphere is piddling compared to other sources.

    The warmer climate hundreds of millions of years ago when CO2 levels were ten times higher than today?

    A warmer planetary surface system (atmosphere + oceans + land surface will ALWAYS have higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    This is fully in accordance with Henry's Gas Law - one of the Noble Gas Laws which, along with the Laws of Thermodynamics are obviously no longer taught in high schools today.

    The fact that temperatures are (or at least have been) rising despite a decline in solar activity.

    Simple. All energy comes from the sun (well most of it anyway). A large amount of it ends up stored in the oceans. The oceans have what is erroneously described on this website as "low thermal inertia", but we'll stick with the term for now since everybody here knows what it is meant to mean.

    Put simply, the oceans have been acting as a "thermal blanket", trading heat with the atmosphere. Now the loss of heat energy is becoming measurable and the oceans are cooling. So too will the atmosphere.

    It goes in roughly 25 -30 year cycles. Has done since the last glacial. Almost like the planet breathing.

    Which is about where I came in.
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  45. The ol Mars should have lots more heat trick..
    So how do deniers explain Venus ??
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  46. Low incoming solar radiation + very few CO2 molecules to capture outgoing infrared radiation = VERY COLD PLANET. Its not rocket science, MV, though clearly its well beyond your understanding.

    As to your claims re: the planet cooling off. What complete & utter bunkum. Did you fail to grasp the part where I pointed out how, in geological time, the Sun is getting brighter-not dimmer. So how exactly is the planet meant to "cool down"? If it were somehow "cooling down", then that should be causing the stratosphere to warm-not cool-& we should also be seeing an increase in IR radiation escaping the atmosphere.
    So you see, MV, that your claims are contradicted by observed reality-as always. Similarly, your claims of a cooling ocean are also not backed by observation. The total heat content of the oceans are continuing to rise-not fall as you claim. I've already debunked your ludicrous claims of a "25-30 year cycle", using *actual data* (data seems to be a concept people like yourself are unfamiliar with), data which shows we've been in a warming phase for the better part of 100 years-with the first 50 years being explainable by increased solar input, but the second 50 years running contrary to decreasing solar input. Indeed, in spite of decreasing solar input, the warming of the last 30 years has been the fastest ever recorded (including the Holocene Optimum, the Roman Warm Period & the Medieval Warm Period-all of which occurred over the space of *centuries*-not decades as we're currently seeing).
    Your claims regarding climate in the distant past are equally pseudo-scientific. The Sun was significantly cooler than today, so where was all this heat needed to get CO2 into the atmosphere? The CO2, as any primary school student could tell you, was as a result of long-term (multi millions of years worth) volcanism. That CO2 then trapped the radiation of the much dimmer sun to give significantly warmer temperatures than today. So you've really got your cause & effect back to front.

    So really, not a single one of your claims has any basis in *reality*, & are just more of the same pseudo-scientific bunkum you've been spouting since the start of this thread. All I can say then is, given your complete lack of knowledge in this area, I can only pray you "stick to your day-job" in future.
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  47. You are right, memoryvault. A lot of dialectical techniques we see here daily are just plain manipulative tactics. Such techniques should be described and confronted avoiding names. Calling someone "denialist" deviates attention from the arguments and even ennobles the person as a brave soldier of some worthy crusade.

    As this site is duplicating traffic each eight months -and this causes people who don't deserve the d-word to become threefolded- the problem is locating and citing the comments from a person in a way it is evident what is he or she doing.

    For instance, someone wrote recently "MemoryVault's five fallacies 1)That balance means one page for lies to balance one page of truth. Rather balance means understanding that all stories have..." but I found it using Google and I am unable to locate the proper page to see the discussion. Can anyone tell me where is located?
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] That quote came from here.
  48. MV @ 44 - Yes, Mars has a lower gravity, yes it has a thin atmosphere, and yes it is further from the sun.

    And no oceans of water. And greater orbital eccentricity than Earth. And no clouds of composed of water vapor. And no plate tectonics. And a higher atmosphere.

    So there should be "some" degree of radiative forcing causing "some" level of warming.

    Yes, earlier in its' history Mars may have had clouds made of CO2 which warmed it enough to allow water to form on its' surface. Well that's according to some of those atmospheric physicists anyway.

    But what do we find - zilch. Nada, nothing.

    By "we" I take it you mean you. Next time look harder. Mars does indeed have a very small Greenhouse Effect, about 2 degrees C according to early work by Carl Sagan.
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  49. memoryvault

    Could you describe the mechanism(s) by which a cooling planet can explain changes in outgoing radiation precisely at those wavelengths at which greenhouse gases absorb energy? How does a cooling planet explain the increase in downward longwave radiation? Is there any data that supports this hypothesis? Or even better, scientific papers?

    Where is the data that shows ocean cooling?
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  50. #49 Anne-Marie Blackburn at 22:09 PM on 2 January, 2011
    Where is the data that shows ocean cooling?

    It's here.

    Between third quarter of 2009 and third quarter of 2010 the upper 700 m of oceans lost 1.015×1022 J. That's equivalent to a continuous net radiative heat loss at TOA (Top of Atmosphere) of 0.63 W/m2 averaged over the entire year.

    It is definitely not increasing since third quarter of 2003. Prior to that date it was not measured properly. Trenberth's missing heat can only be found in the past.
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