Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #46

Posted on 13 November 2016 by John Hartz

A Blow to the Gut... A Response... Toon of the Week... La Niña Update... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

A Blow to the Gut...

Donald Trump is seeking quick ways of withdrawing from a global agreement to limit climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the U.S. President-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris Agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until Nov. 18 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump's transition team for international energy and climate policy.

"It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election" on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris Agreement won enough backing for entry into force on Nov. 4.

Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal: source by Valerie Volcovici & Alister Doyle, Reuters, Nov 12, 2016

A Response...

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Bill, you’ve also said that the damage from this election will be measured in geologic time.

BILL McKIBBEN: That’s right. The Trump presidency comes at a moment when we could least afford it. It’s not like we were winning the climate battle before, you know, but we were beginning to make at least a little progress. There was beginning to be the kind of ramp-up of renewable and clean energy in this country and around the world. The world managed a year ago at Paris to do something, anyway, for the first time, about climate change. Now we’re going to hit not a pothole, but a ditch in the road. And it’s not as if—I mean, the thing to remember about climate change is it’s not as if we can just pick up four years from now where we left off. Physics is our enemy, and it imposes a difficult time limit here. We don’t have any more presidential terms to waste. So we’re going to have to figure out, as a nation and, maybe more importantly, as a planet, how to work around Trump, to one degree or another.

Bill McKibben: Trump's Presidency Comes When the Warming World Can Least Afford It by Nermeen Shaikh & Amy Goodman, Democarcy Now!, Nov 10, 2016

Toon of the Week...

2016 Toon 46 

La Niña Update... 

After a few months of on-again, off-again prospects for a La Niña in 2016-17, NOAA pulled the trigger on Thursday. In its monthly El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion issued on Thursday, NOAA placed its alert system into La Niña Advisory mode. A La Niña Advisory means that La Niña conditions are now present and expected to continue--in this case, through winter 2016-17. 

Weak La Niña Expected to Persist into 2017 by Bob Henson, WonderBlog, Weather Underground, Nov 11, 2016 

Graphic of the Week...

Changes in the Cryosphere 

Schematic summary of the dominant observed variations in the cryosphere. [Credit: fig 4.25 from IPCC (2013) ].

While the first week of COP22 – the climate talks in Marrakech – is coming to an end, the recent election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States casts doubt over the fate of the Paris Agreement and more generally the global fight against climate change.

In this new political context, we must not forget about the scientific evidence of climate change! Our figure of the week, today summarises how climate change affects the cryosphere, as exposed in the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013, chapter 4)

Image of the Week – Climate Change and the Cryosphere by Sophie Berger, Cryosphere Division, EGU Blogs, Nov 11, 2016

SkS in the News...

Climate Change: Interview with Dr. (Ben) Santer by Jeff Garberson, The Independent (Alameda County, CA), includes the following exchange:

Q. Are there good resources for members of the public to become more knowledgeable about climate?

A. I recommend three. First, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UK Royal Society produced a document called Climate Change: Evidence and Causes. Next, an Australian, John Cook, has a website called Skeptical Science with beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of discussion. And finally, the Third National Climate Assessment issued by the U.S. in 2014. Any and all of these are excellent resources.


Climate science’s long history matters—and so does the history of news reporting about it by Steven T. Corneliussen (Physics Today) includes:

Revkin isn’t alone in seeking to fill out the picture of public discussion of climate science’s long—and painstakingly established—history. In 2007, science historian Naomi Oreskes contributed a Washington Post op-ed headlined “The long consensus on climate change.” Spencer Weart of the American Institute of Physics engages the issue in The Discovery of Global Warming, his “hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.” In 2015, a Science magazine editorial examined the symposium “Climate Science, 50 Years Later,” as did the blog Skeptical Science.

The third link embedded in the above is to the SkS article, Scientists warned the US president about global warming 50 years ago today by Dana Nuccitelli. 

SkS Spotlights...

International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA)

ICBA is an international, non-profit agricultural research center established in 1999 through the visionary leadership of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Originally focused on the problems of salinity and using saline water for irrigated agriculture, ICBA has evolved over the years into a world-class modern research facility with a team of international scientists conducting applied research and development to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability in marginal and saline environments.

In 2013, the Center developed a new strategic direction that takes innovation as a core principle and the Center's multi-pronged approach to addressing the closely linked challenges of ensuring water, environment, income, and food security, includes research innovations in the assessment of natural resources, climate change adaptation, crop productivity and diversification, aquaculture and bio-energy and policy analysis.

Currently, ICBA is working on a number of technology developments, including the use of conventional and non-conventional water (such as saline, treated wastewater, industrial water, agricultural drainage, and seawater), water and land management technologies and remote sensing and modeling for climate change adaptation.

Improving the generation and dissemination of knowledge is an important strategic objective of ICBA and the Center is focusing on establishing itself as a knowledge hub on sustainable management and use of marginal resources for agricultural production and environmental protection in marginal and saline environments. With the help of its partners, ICBA innovates, builds human capital, and encourages learning that is fundamental to change. 

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • On Trump and climate, America is split in two by these demographics (Dana)
  • US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory (Carbon Brief Staff)
  • What President Trump means for the future of energy and climate (Mark Barteau)
  • Global weirding Episode 5 (Katharine Hayhoe)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47 (John Hartz)
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #47 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

 2016 Poster 46

SkS Week in Review...

97 Hours of Consensus...

 97 Hours: Jennifer Francis


Jennifer Francis' bio page

Quote provided via email 

High resolution JPEG (1024 pixels wide)

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 14:

  1. Mr. Trump's expressed views on global warming are opposite mine and probably everyone reading here.  They're also not the end of the world, and the hysterics detract from our credibility. 

    The US is only 15% of world C02 output and falling, and President Trump's actual actions regarding it will be much milder than expressed on the campaign trail.  The wall is becoming a fence, the Obamacare repeal will retain it's most expensive element, there will be no particular effort for mass deportation of illegals (meaning it won't happen).  Not a few seem to have forgotten that he is a New York Democrat who contributed to the Clintons three times and whose kids are friends with Clinton/CGI's sole heir.   One thing is certain: He'll be great for ratings.

    Coal is not coming back, because natural gas is cheaper and easier to handle. Once a power plant is fully converted to gas, going back to coal means lower efficiency and re-installing huge, maintenance-heavy exhaust scrubbers. 

    Yes, we should have started dealing with this in the 1960s, when Johnson was originally told about it. But Lyndon Johnson's first, middle and last concerns were ramming through his progressive agenda and having the country "voting Democrat for 200 years".  

    A small but critical course correction 50 years ago could have made us the world leader on this issue at a small cost, even a $$ gain if we instead of China had become the solar and wind tech manufacturer. (It would help even more if we'd started with solar for hot water preheating, rather than expensive, low-yeild solar electric panels).   The course was set then, and can only be adjusted in increments now. 

    0 0
  2. Driving by, ok nobody knows exactly what Trump will push for, but we can be 99% certain of one thing: Trump and the Republicans have enormous opposition to climate science and reductions in emissions, and will have the power to decimate existing legislation. Are you seriously saying its likely or even possible that they are going to keep what Obama put in place?  Even as Trump has already put several climate sceptics in his cabinet? I dont think so.

    You are right, gas is cheaper, but these Republicans will promote coal out of sheer hatred of liberals. They have obstructed Obama for 8 years on virtually everything so why would they change their ideology now?

    And what has 1960 got to do with climate? Climate change was not really a proven threat back then. The science at that time suggested warming was possible, but there was no evidence of warming happening back then. It was only the warming trend from about 1980 - 1990 that strongly suggested the science was correct. 

    And take Obamacare. Its not as simple as keeping the "good bits". Obamacare is an integrated package, and cant be fragmented up. I dont have time to explain but a google search might help you.

    Yes the wall may become a fence. Who knows. But every Trump policy has huge problems, and softened versions will still be problems.

    Obviously I hope I'm wrong, sanity prevails, and Trump changes tack, because if he doesn't this beautiful planet is in genuine danger in so many ways.

    0 0
  3. DrivingBy: I suspect that just about everyone attending the ongoing Cop 22 Conference in Marakesh, Morocco considers Trump's promise to withdraw from the Paris Accord to be a "Blow to the gut".

    Here's an example of how diplomats are reacting:

    The United States would become "a kind of rogue country" if it pulls out of an international agreement to combat global warming, leaving the world more vulnerable to droughts and other climate extremes, warned Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and human rights advocate.

    "It would be a tragedy for the United States and the people of the United States if the U.S. becomes a kind of rogue country, the only country in the world that is somehow not going to go ahead with the Paris Agreement," Robinson said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Sunday.

    INTERVIEW-U.S. will be 'rogue' state if it ditches climate accord - UN envoy by Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters, Nov 13, 2016

    0 0
  4. Nigelj,

    I think that the time for coal is past, even if the Trump presidency tries to revive it.

    The biggest coal compaies in the USA have recently declared bankruptcy.  If regulations are eased for emissions (which I expect), they will not be able to raise the capitol to reopen closed mines.  Who will finance new coal burning generators with the writing on the wall for 4-8 years from now?  There may be less coal shutdown for 4 years but the economics of coal argue for no more than a stalling in the shutting down of current facilities.

    If the Saudi's keep pumping, fracking is not econnomic.  It appears that the Sauds do not want to compete with fracking.  Even if the pipelines are built, Trump cannot raise the price of oil enough to make those wells economic.  Oil sands also require high prices to be profitable.  The Saudi's might want to pump as much as they can before oil is no longer used.  They make money at current prices.

    WInd and solar have gotten much bigger under Obama.  Will Trump really ignore the jobs created by WWS?  Those jobs already exceed the old jobs under coal.  Trump can hold back expansion but since wind and solar are cheaper they cannot be shut down once they are built.  Perhaps Trump will waste a lot of money on nuclear, but that will lower CO2 in the end also.

    0 0
  5. We outside America need to act now, before Trump opens a single coal mine, drills a single well. or withdraws a single cent from renewable development projects.

    It doesn't matter that the economics lean towards renewables and away from fossil fules. Trump & co are tools of the fossil fuel indistry and that it what they will pronote, regardless

    350 degrees, Greenpeace and FOE have their hands tied because they operate inside the US and so it would be pretty hard for them to call for a boycott of US corporations; therefore there needs to be a new campaign group set up in countries outside the US promoting such a boycott. It doesn't have to be all encompassing; just a handful of the big names - Coca Cola, Starbucks, McDonalds etc, will do to start with. 

    But it needs to be done quickly, ideally before Trump has even taken office. We need to deliver the first blow, or at least make the threat clear to Trump and the Republicans. To wait until Trump takes charge is to give the advantage, and we can’t afford to allow that. We need him on the defensive and on the back foot.

    The sooner people realise that there is absolutely zero chance of the UN or our governments doing anything that will get Trump and co to change course, the quicker we can get together and do something ourselves. The wait and see approach is the dumb ass approach and we’ll take a severe beating.

    The only way Trump and the Republicans can be brought to see reason is to hit them in their wallet; our governments won’t do it; we can. We need to be the ones shaping events and controlling them, not the other way around. Action needs to be swift and uncompromising.


    2 0
  6. Jonbo69,

    Chinese are already doing it:

    China Threatens to Cut iPhone Sales Over Trump Rhetoric

    Maybe not in response to climate ravaging by the irresponsible con man, as you suggest, rather to his ravaging of trade agrements; but still along the lines you suggest.

    0 0
  7. Michael Sweet @4.

    I agree. I'm aware of some of those things, and thanks for the ones I wasn't aware of. And I hope you are right in your interpretation. It's just the election of Trump put my in such a foul mood that I just didn't care to try to find any positives!

    At heart the Republicans believe in free markets (at least within America) So with renewable energy and gas having fallen in price it makes sense on this alone, and will hopefully prevail.

    But watch the more vindictive people in Congress try to put a spanner in the works somehow. Unfortunately emotion and settling scores as they see it against The Green Movement counts with some people.

    0 0
  8. Part of any boom in the US economy under Trump would be the use of much "cheap" coal, gas and oil. The rest of the world would be somewhat shackled to increasing use of renewables, which are still presently more expensive partly because the hidden public costs of fossil fuels isn't adequately taken into account.

    Having just had yet another online "discussion" with several deniers, who in the usual manner brought up all the oft-rebutted arguments, slipping from one to another at will, I see no chance that the Trump machine is in any way amenable to logical and scientific debate.

    1 0
  9. @nigelJ

    - In the mid-60s, a presentation by a noted scientist (someone here recall the name?) to LBJ included the advisory that over the next century, the increase in atmospheric C02 would change the world's climate, with destabilizing effects, and that it would not be a temporary, reversible problem like smog.  C02's greenhouse effect was discovered in the 19th century and confirmed (by Arhennious) around 1900.  There's even a reference to it in the old educational film "Our Mr Sun", a suprisingly well-produced piece from our grandparent's day. 

    My point about the other items, wall-fence, ACA-ACA-lite is that DT really has few fixed positions; he's a combo real estate developer/reality show host. Someone called him Quantum Trump, as he seems to simultaneously hold multiple, opposing positions on a subject.  That is not always a bad thing, because in politics there's often no right answer. 


    We can hope that trade implications will enter the new Administration's calculus. If abandoning Paris turns out to be bad for business, Trump will probably change his tune.  Democrats should have been helping those coal miners get jobs in the oil & gas fields or whatever emergent industry arises (wind turbine contstruction & upkeep). If Trump's administration is smart, they will offer new jobs that exist instead of old ones that aren't coming back.  Trump couldn't care less about coal itself, he's looking at the communities which were formerly sustained by it, they are part of his support base.  While he also couldn't care less about climate change, if ignoring CC turns out to be a drag on the economy I suspect he'll adjust. 

    0 0
  10. Wol,

    In many locations, including Texas, WWS are the cheapest form of energy.  In that case if Trump delays the buildout of WWS it will hurt international competitiveness.  If WWS continue to go down in price they will be built out more and more.  

    Unfortunately, even a few years delay in installing more WWS will result in a lot more carbon in the atmosphere.

    0 0
  11. Driving by @9, yes a couple of scientists in the 1960s predicted global warming but there was no consensus in  the science community. Maybe there should have been.

    Trump is possibly a pragmatist. So am I, but his changeability is so large it's not normal

    0 0
  12. Nigelj,

    The report was from the National Academy of Science not "a couple of scientists".  They warned strongly that AGW would be a big problem in the future.  It reported the consensus of scientists at the time.

    It has been over 50 years since that reort was delivered to the President.  Unfortunately, we are making the same argument now.

    0 0
  13. Michael Sweet @ 12, I didn't realise there was such a strong consensus on global warming in the 1960s, but I accept your evidence.

    I was really just reacting to Driving By. He made an initial claim that warnings about warming made in the 1960s were ignored by the Democrats, as they were more interested in their progressive agenda. This annoyed me.

    But it shows an important point. Both Republicans and Democrats have been in denial about climate change at various times. The elite become tied up in their own narrow agendas, whatever they may be.

    0 0
  14. Trump's plans for coal is likely to stop any transition of existing coal burners in the US and motivate utilities to maximize their use by ending laws and enforcement that make coal burning less profitable. However, his main plan would likely be to maximize exports of coal and us US influence to keep buyers of US coal from reducing their burning-blaming them and excusing the US.

    Bottom line is Trump is bottom line popularity and profit guy who has a history of not caring how popularity gets drummed up or how unsustainable or damaging a pursuit of profit is understood to be. He has proven that popularity for nationalism can override any better understanding that what is being promoted will not advance humanity to a lasting better future. Tragically in Germany White Nationalists were twice proven to respond even more as the damaging absurdity of the Weimar and Nazi Regimes claims were ramped up.

    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us