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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    How to deal with climate change? In my opinion, it requires a range of things, with no one simple answer.

    The best way of at least changing behaviour is arguably a carbon tax, as others above argue, for reasons that it solves several problems. It is a disincentive for using fossil fuels, the polluter pays, and the income stream can be used for renewables or subsidies.

    Cap and Trade is just too susceptible to dubious practices, in my view. Forced regulatory controls on fossil fuel companies is technically ideal, but would be so divisive it probaly isn't going to happen.

    Regarding the best renewable energy, I dont think you can rule anything out as it depends on individual countries. Some suit wind, some may have to resort to nuclear.

    It's all expensive, but various authorities have suggested 1-2% of gdp per year, which is not impossible by any means.

    Carbon sinks like soils could be very useful, but require considerable global changes in farming techniques and this would be unlikely to happen overnight, yet it would be absurd to dismiss something like this either. It just seems commonsense that you would combine renewable energy, with promoting various carbon sinks. However somebody has to decide what split you have between the two.

    But will it all happen? Because of slow progress, a rapid transition to renewables is now needed, and electric cars etc. It's technically possible in my view, but is a massive undertaking, and difficult in slow moving democratic governments, and with people so uncertain about the whole thing and all the denialist propoganda. And it needs to happen across many countries.

    You almost need a war time "command and control" economy, and that would be resisted for ideological reasons. So humanity has a big headache, because while an answer is theoretically plausible, it is complex to implement and the politics are daunting.

  2. Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate

    Tom Curtis@3,

    You know beter than me that Rudmop@2 post is 100% off topic here (in addition to its presentation being so incoherent that it's essentially gish-galloping rubish) - I'm surprised it wasn't deleted yet.

    If you want to show us some substence of that incoherent nonsense and respond to it (thanks for your effort), I suggest you go straight into the appropriare threads (e.g. about climate models reliability) rather than dragging that off topic discussion here.

  3. Elevator Pitches - Chapter 01 - Ancient Sunlight

    FWL... I did work with an editor. As for the Kindle version, I'm not sure what's going on there. I've seen that same complaint elsewhere. When I downloaded it, it looked perfectly fine. Amazon's customer service was decidedly unhelpful and unknowledgeable. 

  4. Elevator Pitches - Chapter 01 - Ancient Sunlight

    Good idea - in theory, this can be useful. But in practice, to drive the message home, form matters. I recommend that you team up with an editor. There are already numerous grammatical errors and typos in this one posted image alone. The Kindle version is rendered like it's 1985. Clarity in style, wording & presentation is key, especially if you label this as an 'elevator pitch'.

  5. Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate

    Give up on trying to convince Trump about climate change.  Instead get the memes into his head about how much money America is wasting buying oil overseas and how that money comes back to buy up America and make Americans tenants in their own country and how some of it goes to support the terrs.  Emphasize, how renewables can be used to charge electric cars from Tesla, an all American company and all the money saved can be used for the rebuild, getting Americans back to work and making Trump the Hero of the day.  We need to put the EMphasis on the right syLAble.

  6. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri Norse Fire @558.

    You will appreciate that I am only able to interpret your written words. @532 you appear quite definite sayingThe question is whether we have the highest concentration of atmospheric CO2 in 800,000 years, without going further, why the current temperature is 1.5 ° lower than the medieval warm period?“ I did point out that the value “1.5 ° lower” was not properly defined as the units of degree were absent. But if you have modified your position to be now arguing that “500 to 1000 years ago, temperatures were warmer than today,” that is fine. However do note you are wrong to say that such a statement is “valid for (your) initial question.” It is not.

    Also it is wrong to cite Broecker (2001) in the manner that you do. Broecker do reference Huang et al (1997) in the manner you quote and Huang et al do set out that data supporting their findings. Indeed, Huang et al do provide a significant portion of the evidence for a global MWP presented by Broecker. However Broecker (2001) concludes “The case for a global Medieval Warm Period admittedly remains inconclusive.  And the graphic you provided @532 which attempts to use Broecker (2001) to support itself is, as explained @543, utter garbage.

    Your defence of the second graphic you presented @532 doesn't explain why the Dye 3 temperature profile developed by Dahl-Jensen et al (2009) is omitted. Nor does it explain the second trace on the graphic you presented. Nor does it provide any resolution to the case for a global MWP. As set out @543, that graphic is also utter garbage.

    The data presented in the third graphic @532 ends at 1935. I thought mention of the global warming 1935-to-date establshed by the global thermometer record would prevent your use of the 1935 end-point of that graphic to support your unsupported assertions. I can but repeat that you are wrong to do so.

    And the fourth you now agree is garbage.

    Your final point in this particular list @558 seems to be saying that someone can misuse data if it comes from a legitimate source. That is very wrong. You do require to show use of legitimate data by “those who did it,” with “it” being the proper use of NASA data to predict "a new short cold period ... between 2030 and 2050." The best of luck with that fool's errand!!

    But I should make plain that this discussion of individual data sets (and the garbage) is not the proper way to develop a case for asserting that “500 to 1000 years ago, temperatures were warmer than today.” Always the first step should be to assess the present state of the science on the subject. Although it is a few years old now IPCC AR5 is surely the place to start, particularly Chapter 5 - Section 5.3.5 or perhaps more helpfully the Technical Summary Section TS.2.2.1. You will quickly see that you will have quite a job on your hands asserting that “500 to 1000 years ago, temperatures were warmer than today.”

    Your additional web-links @558 add nothing to this situation. They concern the future, not the past. And in this, Zharkova et al (2015) is solely talking about the sun not our climate. The garbage you link to in the English-speaking press is entirely wrong in suggesting there is a prediction of climate within this work. Indeed, does not your German link say “Kein Effekt auf globale Erwärmung “?
    And if you think Abdussamatov (2013) is worth quoting (as your Forbes link does), do note the scientific response since publication – he has gained the attentions of nothing but a tiny pile of denialists. And that is because Abdussamatov (2013) spouts garbage.

  7. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It



    In some of your links the costs are discussed (f.i. How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming) and it appears that the costs are substantial.

    In some of your links (f.i. How to cut greenhouse gasses and minimize global warming) it is proposed to put a tax on carbon e.g. exactly what I propose: let the polluters pay.

    For the projects that can fund themselves (e.g. that generate a higher profit than the cost, like FARMING A CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTION) I doubt that they can be deployed on a large enough scale to lead to a substantial decrease in atmospheric CO2.

    My statement is: the heart of the problem is financial, not that scientific/technical solutions are lacking. Any undertaking that wants to replace the entire energy infrastructure of the planet (largely based on fossil fuels) with a new one (based on renewables or nuclear power) is bound to cost enormous amounts of money.

    You seem to believe that we can solve the problem without tackling the polluters. Even if this were possible this is a slippery slope. It is a power struggle. If we start from the viewpoint that the polluters don’t have to pay up for the damage they are causing, we will end up giving them extra subsidies to maintain the status quo.

    Far-fetched ? It is what is happening in Europe at this very moment. CO2 emission rights are given to companies based on how high their estimated CO2 emissions were in the past. Instead of leveling the playing field – a sound principle of the free market – the opposite is happening. New companies that want to produce in a clean way are put at a disadvantage!

    And of course: the political will to change is lacking – because the support of the population for action is lacking – and this is because fossil fuel companies keep on funding climate change denial – and that is because they still believe they will get away with it.

    I believe we need to fight that fight. Only if fossil fuel companies get the message: “you will be held accountable, no matter what”, they will be inclined to change their course.

  8. Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate

    Rudmop @2, in order of importance:

    1)  The strength of the greenhouse effect of a given gas is a direct function of the difference in power radiated to space by that gas and the power radiated by the surface, and intercepted from going to space by that gas.  As the power radiated to space is an inverse function of the temperature of the gas at the mean altitude of radiation to space, the vertical distribution of the concentration of relevant gases is a fundamental property without which no valid determination of relative greenhouse effect of different gases can be made.  This is particularly the case when comparing the effect of CO2 to H2O, because of their very different concentration profiles:


    From an altitude of 10 Km, on average, CO2 has a higher concentration than water vapour.  The closer you approach the poles, the lower the altitude at which this is the case.  Unless your model introduces the vertical structure of the atmosphere, it will be GIGO for the stated purpose.  In particular, your failure to take into account the vertical concentration structure and mean altitude of radiation to space means you "concentration coefficient" is completely incorrect as regards impact on the greenhouse effect.

    2)  The energy trapping capability of each molecule is not simply a function of the sum of the energies at the absorption peaks in the spectra.  It is also a function of the relative energy radiated at those wavelengths from the surface:

    As you can see above, there is virtually zero energy radiated at 1.3 μm, 1.8 μm and 2.6 μm, so those bands should be heavilly discounted for H2O.  Likewise the 2.7 μm and 4.3 μm bands of CO2 are of minimal importance.  In contrast, the 14.9 μm CO2 band and 20 μm H2O band are of fundamental importance as they occur near the peak of outgoing IR radiation from the surface.

    The additional factor is the rate at which the energy is reradiated from those bands, which is a function of temperature, which in turn is a function of altitude.  The energy "trapped" per second is the energy absorbed minus the energy reradiated.  The colder the temperature of the gas, the lower is the energy reradiated and hence the greater the energy trapped.  This, of course, just restates point (1).

    Your failure to include a weighting for energy available to be absorbed at each wavelength, and energy released by each gas at each wavelength means your calculated ratio for the "heating coefficient" is wrong in methodology, and completely incorrect in result.

    3)  You have not explained, and nor can I see what relevance rates of diffusion have on the result.  In particular, concentration levels of CO2 (in particular) and to a lesser extent H2O are fairly stable so that rates of change in the concentration in still air (diffusion) have no bearing on spatial patterns of concentration, which you do not allow for in your equation in any event.

    In sum, you have either not justified, or are explicitly incorrect with regard to the major assumptions of your model.  To be frank, you would be far better of using existing radiation models such as the Modtran model used by the University of Chigago to calculate the relative impact on Outgoing Longwave Radiation (ie, the power emitted at 70 km, looking down) of removing CO2, water or clouds.

    Alternatively, you can simply look up the results of such determinations using a full Global Circulation Model, such as by Schmidt et al (2010).  They have determined that CO2 is responsible for about 20% of the total greenhouse effect, with water vapour and clouds being responsible for 75% and the other 5% being the responsibility of minor greenhouse gases.  That is a far cry from you determination that CO2 is responsible for just 1.15%.  

  9. Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate

    I have been working on a climate model that is able to determine carbon dioxide's contribution to the daily temperature that we achieve compared to the temperature that we would be as a black body.  Here is a cut and paste of my slides that I will be presenting this weekend. 


    Heat Trapping Capability of Carbon Dioxide

    Based upon an Ideal condition:

    •The period of time between the daily high and daily low is tied with stable atmospheric

    conditions where any volume of surface air is identical to an adjacent volume.

    •The sunlight received at the surface provides enough energy on a sunny day for the surface to

    convert an abundance of infra-red photons, which will be radiated from the surface of the

    earth, and these photons will be equal to or greater than required to excite all the water vapor

    and all the carbon dioxide molecules in a volume of atmospheric gases, from the surface to the

    troposphere, resulting in the maximum daily temperature.

    •As the molecules reach an average kinetic energy some will reach an excited state of superposition; they will randomly collide with other molecules in the atmosphere and transfer their absorbed energy to these molecules.

    •The amount of heat held in by the greenhouse gases can be determined by the minimum temperature achieved before dawn, if the local weather is stable, and not influenced by incoming or outgoing fronts.

    •current climate model to predict the heating caused by carbon dioxide necessarily relies on a doubling of carbon dioxide. This method seems arbitrary and it does not allow for accurate predictions of future temperature rise as a function of carbon dioxide concentration.

    Basis for the Model

    •This model has been developed by determining the ratios of three physical heat trapping properties between water vapor molecules and carbon dioxide molecules.

    •the Infra-red absorption spectrum of water vapor and carbon dioxide

    •the ratio of effusion rates between water vapor molecules and carbon dioxide molecules

    •the molar concentration ratio of water vapor and carbon dioxide (variable and dependent of absolute humidity)

    •The model also uses the difference between the average blackbody

    temperature of the earth and the global average temperature of the earth.

    •Calculated using Wein’s Displacement Law

    •Average blackbody temperature is -180 C and this would happen if there were

    no greenhouse gases. Global average is 14.8 0 C.

    •This difference is always 32.8 0 C.

    Heating Coefficient between Water vapor and CO2

    •Adding up the peak absorption energies of water vapor shows that a water molecule can absorb 3.72 x 10-33J. The energies are calculated from the peak absorption wavelengths: (1.3 μm, 1.8 μm, 2.6 μm, 6.0 μmand 20 μm)

    •Adding up the peak absorption energies of carbon dioxide shows that a molecule of CO2can absorb 1.33 x 10-33J . The energies are calculated from the peak absorption wavelengths:(2.7 μm, 4.3 μmand 14.9 μm)

    •The heating coefficient between water vapor and CO2is 2.8


    •Molar mass of water and CO2is 18g/moland 44 g/molrespectively

    •Use Graham’s Law of Effusion to find the diffusion rate

    •Water diffuses 1.56 times faster than CO2.


    •Water vapor can range from 4000 parts per million by volume to 12,000 parts per million by volume.

    •Carbon dioxide stay steady throughout the year at 404 ppmv

    •This coefficient can vary from a value of 9.9 to 30.

    Total Coefficient for heat capturing ability of water compared to carbon dioxide.

    •1.56 x 2.8 x 19.95 = 87

    Average Value that Carbon dioxide contributes to daily

    heating above blackbody temperature is:

    32.8/87 = 0.38degrees Celsius.

    That is .00093 0C/ppmv

  10. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    @7 bvangerven,

    You asked, "What needs to be done to bring the climate crisis under control ?"

    There are at least 6 published ways:

    Project Drawdown


    Restoring The Climate White Paper

    Another, this one from the IPCC, 9 years old and still not acted on:

    How to cut greenhouse gasses and minimize global warming

    Another one:


    Another one:

    How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming


    Commonland - 4 returns from landscape restoration

    I even did one myself which draws a little from all of the above.

    Can we reverse global warming?

    Believe me I am nowhere near a “best climate scientist”. But I can read what the best scientists and engineers out there are publishing. We can do this and at a profit. Not the scientists fault. Many scientists have proposed plans from all sorts of fields with workable ways to solve AGW. It’s almost ridiculous how many great economically sound ways there are to solve this. What lacks is the will, not the means.

    You then asked, "For me, the most essential question in the climate debate is: who is going to pay for this ?"

    Which is a fair question, if it would be prohibitively expensive. Doesn't need to be though. Most those above plans yield net increases in profits rather than costs. You should be asking why won't the powers that be allow me to earn a profit while fixing the climate. That's a far more rational question. A question I really can't answer. I have a few educated guesses, but this website is not the place for speculation.

  11. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Great little video. Should be required viewing in school science classes.

  12. Trump can save his presidency with a great deal to save the climate

    A revenue neutral carbon tax could indeed appeal to a people with divergent world views, at least in theory. It could indeed form a good deal between democrats and republicans, and lift Trumps ratings, in theory. The trouble is climate denial is virtually a prerequisite for Republican Party politicians, and this is very embedded now. That's a big thing that would have to change.Trump needs their support to pass various bills related to the economy, so can't afford to alienate them too much.

    A revenue neutral carbon tax seems like a very desirable, rational approach, in that it drives behaviour, and also provides a revenue stream and one that can be very targeted. The trouble is the Trump Administration is driven more by convictions, than rationality or evidence, by my observation. Again how likely is that to change? They seem more focused on imagined short term problems, (heavy emphasis on the word imagined), and conspiracy theories. It's in their DNA.

  13. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri...  Let's look at that logic from another angle. Okay?

    You go to a doctor because you have some condition that you'd like to have examined by an expert. You go to that person because you know they have years of training in their field. They are the expert and you are not. Right?

    The same applies to climate science. The people who do the research are experts in their fields. They are people who've spent their entire professional career studying the subject matter. They have a very deep understanding of the subject matter which other people don't have.

    When you go to the doctor, and that doctor gives you their professional opinion, do you say, "Well, you need me here to challenge your expertise. I can find many things on the internet that disagree with your diagnosis! How can I trust that your diagnosis is correct?"

    No. You don't. If the diagnosis bothers you for some reason, you might go ask a second professional for their opinion. But that's about it. 

    But you are here suggesting that you have the capacity to actually challenge the overwhelmingly agreed consensus of professionals related to man-made climate change.

    Most scientists in other fields would say they don't have the expertise in climate science to challenge the consensus position. They don't just blindly accept the science. If they're curious they will spend time trying to learn why there is such a broad and overwhelming consensus. But they certainly don't try to blindly challenge the science without first fully informing themselves on the topic by reading the relevant scientific research. And they certainly aren't going to trust blogs to inform them.

  14. CO2 lags temperature

    >So no statement of any documentary on science is true?
    Of course not, but it cannot be assumed that this is what the science actually does say especially if the documentary has a point to make other than informing about science in a disinterested way. They are not a source on which to found an opinion without checking actual science first.

    >I have no reason to distrust more of one man whose base is in Antarctica, than what you tell me.

    Since I dont know documentary you refer to, nor the wording or context of the statement, so it is hard to comment, but someone stating opinions at variance to rest of the scientific community should be fact checked. What was the documentary so we can evaluate your source perhaps? You still havent explained your process for evaluating one source of information (eg something you heard on a documentary) versus another (say the IPCC reports).


    "You can see that Tom Curtis himself confirms it (That there are a lot of non-scientific staff)."
    Seriously?? You can distrust the IPCC because their administrators arent scientists? That is what you are trying to imply? All the actual writers and reviewers of the science of climate change are scientists as Tom said or did your brain just censor that information because it would destroy your case?


    But I have seen that in the scientific community the subject is far from being consensual,
    Your evidence for this please?

    That the share of CO2 produced by human emissions causes current global warming,

    That is NOT an assumption! That is conclusion of the studies. Predicted by science long before global warming even noticiable. Just in case we have problem with assumption in google translate, an assumption is that which is deemed to be true at commencement of a study. For climate science, that would be laws of physics and chemistry. You would us and yourself a favour if you actually read the IPCC chapter of attribution instead of you making assumptions about how the science was actually done.

  15. Adri Norse Fire at 04:20 AM on 23 February 2017
    CO2 lags temperature

    Why do we have to converse in English? I'm tired of cutting and pasting into the google translator and then I have to interpret what you mean. I guess it's my fault because this is a web in English.

    Tom Curtis

    You have described very well the improved method that used PAGES 2000, but that does not imply that it is a truly impartial reconstruction because as I said to have more markers in some continents than in others, in doing the average the global reconstruction has a better representation of certain parts of the world than others and the final reconstruction is biased. When you have many more proxies in some areas than in others, the average of the continents is partial in not having a similar number of proxies in the different areas. In other words the final result will approximate more faithfully to some means than others and therefore will condition the global average. To have a really faithful chart, they should have many more proxies in Africa, for example. But as you say, the PAGES 2000 chart is more reliable than that of Loehle and McCulloch. But back to the beginning, what about my appreciation on the PAGES 2000 chart?

    MA Rodger

    It is true what you say about the first chart, but the paper it refers to also says: ''From an analysis of 6000 continental borehole thermal records to ammonia the world (14), Huang et al. Conclude that 500 to 1000 years ago, temperatures were warmer than today, '' Which is valid for my initial question.

    The second chart has probably been made by the man shown below, '' Nasif Nahle '' from the three sources he quotes. But the temperature of the chart is at least exactly the same as that of Dahl-Jensen's study and in that study it also says: '' The last 10 ky BP. The CO is 2.5 K warmer than the present temperature, and at 5 ka the temperature slowly cools toward the cold temperatures found around 2 ka. (C) The last 2000 years. The medieval warming (1000 A.D.) is 1 K warmer than the present temperature, and the LIA is seen to have two minimums at 1500 and 1850 A.D. The LIA is followed by a temperature rise culminating around 1930 A.D. Temperature cools between 1940 and 1995. ''

    If you have a good eye you will see that the third graph shows that the peak temperature is 0.7 no to 0.5 therefore there does not seem to be much difference between today and the Medieval Warm Period according to that chart.

    And as for the last chart, I agree with you that it is a slop. But it seems that you have missed one of the first graphics I put. The CO2 graph for 800,000 years. Maybe you should dissect it too, do not misunderstand me, I still like the dissections you do.

    It is true as you say that NASA has not made these findings public, but those who did it, have been using the data provided by NASA, as you can see here:

    Rob Honeycutt

    Very good. You really are right, but I'm not starting from scratch. Obviously I am not an expert and I recognize that I do not defend very well in the details, but I think I know something more than the average about science.

    You already have your answer, but you must admit that it is good for you as a scientist (if you are) to have someone come forward to rebut your arguments. If something is really scientific it must be susceptible of being falsified or refuted, right? Science advances through essay and error. I'm doing you a favor, then.


    So no statement of any documentary on science is true? First of all, I did not say that this is how "science works", of course not, I mean that is how science is taught to the public. And Jane Goddall teaches science through the media, as much as David Attenborough. I have no reason to distrust more of one man whose base is in Antarctica, than what you tell me.

    <Hmm, so it would appear you have again unskeptically accepted a comment from what source ??> You can see that Tom Curtis himself confirms it (That there are a lot of non-scientific staff).

    You build on this subject in a supposed consensus that does not exist, perhaps in public and political opinion itself. But I have seen that in the scientific community the subject is far from being consensual, although the majority supports the anthropogenic global warming. It's not like I said before, like the law of gravity.

    <You claim climate science is based on untested assumptions. Which would these be?> That the share of CO2 produced by human emissions causes current global warming, for example.

    <You? Or are your biases too powerful?> Haha, well I am not angry and as you have been able to check now, the graphics I put are not very good, but neither are the rubbish to which Mr. MA Rodgers alluded.

    Tom Curtis

    Again, thank you for the information. And yes, I immediately noticed that appreciation.


    And I want to add something, you do not seem very convinced about the solar theory to which I alluded and is normal if you are not familiar with it. I just want to say that I do not know your age, I will be alive between 2030 and 2050 but I guess those who live with me will be able to see it firsthand.

    And for MA Rodgers, I have just remembered the names of leading Russian scientists who have come to similar conclusions on this subject, Mr. Abdusamatov and Mrs. Zharkova.

    I do not know why but it seems that there is an error in the server of Nature about the article of the Mrs. Zharkova, perhaps a ray? Just write it on google and try to have it if you can. Best regards.

  16. CO2 lags temperature

     The argument against CO2 caused global warming is flawed. It is "apples and oranges" The time period cited is thousands of years ago. We were not relavent then as agents of climate change then. In the past 200 years, We have become exponentialy more effective in causing climate change up to the present. These changes are linked to CO2 changes.

     Before this period, CO2 was not much effective as a cause of climate change.

     Thank You - Poor rochard

  17. CO2 lags temperature

    Being that the previous commenter is using a name that doesn't appear before this, I have no clue who it is. But it does seem that whatever I've said struck a nerve, even if the commenter doesn't refer specifically to anything I've said.

  18. CO2 lags temperature

    @Rob Honeycutt - I find it quite arrogant that you assume that every tidbit of information on this website is accurate while others only produce incorrect data.  This for me is the crux of the whole issue, the "us" vs. "them" mentality.  The very fact that legitimate scientists are labeled as "deniers" (substitute heretic if you like) if they do not tow the company line, offends me, as it should any true person of science.  When you enter into a scientific discovery with a bias, that should set off alarm bells.

    When postulating a theory, it is the primary goal of the scientist postulating that theory that they make all attempts to disprove it, and allow others to make the same attempts and to not "fall in love" with it (please search for Dr. Richard Feynman and his lectures on the evolution of the oil drop experiment in calculating the charge of an electron and how credential bias delayed the calculation of it's true value).  It's called transparency.  The validity of an argument does not depend on whether it is peer reviewed or not either, we throw that idea around like it is the true litmus test of an idea.  If it is the truth, it will survive all efforts to destroy it.  In fact Einstein was offended that his papers needed to be peer reviewed.  Peer review to me is censorship.  If the goal is the truth, peer review is unecessary because it's quite possible that those peer gatekeepers are inadequite to fully understand new or "radical" concepts, like when Einstien and Rosen postulated that gravity was a wave.  I feel it hobbles us as a species.  True science is also not gouverned by concensus either (that single flawed paper that everyone clings to).  We used to all agree that the world was flat remember?

    I have a degree in physics, I understand how to read papers and understand how data is represented and mis-represented.  Graphs are never or rarely presented with error bars which in itself smacks as unscientific.  I will patently ignore any data set that does not have a full disclosure on the error analysis and indicate it clearly, yet the general public is led to believe that what they are seeing is gospel and not open to debate.

    I do not know you Rob, as you do not know me, and I have no issue with your point of view, other than it should be stated that it is a point of view and not a definitive statement of the truth, because neither of us has earned the right to say what the truth is, and a great many people with greater qualifications than ours haven't earned that right either.  The truth is or it isn't, it does not require concensus or cheerleaders.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Sloganeering snipped.

  19. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    It was easy to see Hitler and the Nazis as evil people, go to war, and justify killing them to save millions from their ovens. So why don't we look at the people in power, both corporate and governmental, who are knowingly setting policies and making decisions that are turning the planet into a giant oven that will kill billions (of our species and others) and do the same? This is life and death and happening faster that we want to accept. For all it's intelligence, our species is incredibly stupid. We study the laws of nature, then knowingly defy them; we study history, then knowingly deny it. Perhaps in the long run, this may be bad for us, but good for the Earth. 

  20. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Richard Muller has a record of conflict with climate scientists and for many, many years he was a soulmate of deniers like Anthony Watts. In the end, he stood up to be counted when he was confronted with the evidence. 

    Whatever about the past, he is very, very good in this video, quite the star in fact.

  21. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    What needs to be done to bring the climate crisis under control ? Those who are responsible must be forced to pay the bill. It is a simple as that. For me, the most essential question in the climate debate is: who is going to pay for this ? Fossil fuel companies keep on funding climate change denial for this reason: they think they will get away with it in the end. They will cash the profits and the population will be presented the bill: climate adaptation, mitigation, geo-engineering. Or even worse: we will all pay in the shape of an unprecedented disaster, we will all participate in a gigantic lottery with only losers.

    If only …

    If only it is possible to make a damage claim against the fossil fuel industry, backed up by the scientific evidence that has been around for about 30 years. If only fossil fuel companies could be made to understand: you, the polluters are going to pay no matter what. And the longer you delay climate actions, the higher the bill will be. The alternative: to start collaborating NOW in a plan to evolve towards a carbon neutral society as soon as possible.

  22. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    But scientists do one major mistake. They consider objects (measurements) as separate from each other. Scientists create an independent observer with thoughts and assume there is common view. In fact this world is just measurements or sounds. Everything in this world is just thoughts (measurements). The number of measurements in the substance increase so the substance starts heating up. All our measurements are based on this planet (meter, kilogram, second) and not related with our senses (periodic table of elements). We don't align our activities (waves) with the sun and moon so our minds get disturbed and disturb environment. Without aligning our clock and calendar with sun and moon and our activities with the cardinal directions i.e. movement of our planet we can not solve climate and extreme weather.

  23. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Excellent video by the way.  Hats off to Peter.

  24. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    I like the last line... "Are you serious?"

  25. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Dcrickett@2: Also on Peter Sinclairs 'climate crocks' website, I was fascinated by something pollster Ed Maibach said.  After detailing the substantial public preference, as polled, for climate action in the U.S., he mentioned that the public, by and large, doesn't know that their neighbors hold the same opinions that they do (see at the 2 min mark of that articles video).  They've been conditioned to 'suffer in silence' with their climate concerns, and not rock the boat.  The fossil propaganda doesn't just preach against climate action, but encourages its believers to loudly proclaim that those who don't hold similar views are socialists or worse.  So, to keep the peace, a majority of Americans simply hope somebody else will broach the subject, and never rise up to realize that all their friends and neighbors hold the same view.  Here possibly is a way forward:  destigmatize 'alarmism'.  The message must be pushed that 'we are all alarmists now' (or, at least, a healthy 70% of us) and thus encourage people to end their climate silence.

  26. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Great video!

    But it makes me wonder about the priorities of climate care. It shows a trickle of somewhat soft initial indications has segued into a torrent of firm and ever-hardening “facts” (I do not wish to get into a discussion of Karl Popper’s Empirical Falsification). The scientific evidence has for years pointed to increasing urgency for action on climate care, but politically the powers of denialism hold the field.

    If presenting the scientific reality could win the day, that day would have been long ago. I have no objection to pointing out and defending the reality; it keeps on winning small victories all the time. But in no way can these small victories bring the climate crisis under control.

    What can?

  27. Climate Change – What We Knew and When We Knew It

    Great video. I've noticed for some time that the denier-skeptics, when they accept that some warming has actually ocurred, always frame it as 1) scientists noticed warming 2) scientists looked for a cause, 3) scientists settled on excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Which is basically in reverse order of what actually happened.

    The reality, that scientists correctly predicted today's conditions decades in advance, is a very powerful argument that scientists really do know exactly what they are talking about when they make climate predictions decades to centuries into the future and we should take those predictions very seriously.

  28. Is anything wrong with Forbes Climate Reporting?

    Reading Forbes for science is about the same as visiting a plumber when suffering from a toothache.

  29. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri Norse Fire @547, I just noticed from scaddenp's reply your comment to the effect that:

    "The IPCC review? Is it not true that there are a large number of non-scientific personnel among the IPCC?"

    First, there are a large number of non-scientists among the IPCC personel.  That is because the paid personel of the IPCC do not conduct the reviews.  Instead, the paid personel are administrators who undertake publication, maintain the website, and reprsent the IPCC in meetings with other UN bodies/officials.  The actual reviews are conducted by experts acting pro-bono.

    You will note that I say "experts" and not scientists.  That is again, because there are a large number of non-scientists among the authors of the IPCC.  Specifically, the authors of Working Group 3 (dealing with the best policy for mitigation), and to a lesser extent Working Group 2 (dealing with impacts), include a large number of economists.  The authors of Working Group 1 are (The scientific basis) are, however, exclusively scientists; and all IPCC authors are relevant experts.

    Finally, you may have heard that the IPCC reports are political because the wording is voted on line by line by national (and hence typically political) representatives.  That, however, is only true of the Summary for Policy Makers.  It is why it is always better to read the Technical Summary, or the relevant sections of the individual chapters.

    I will note that most wording changes in the Summary for Policy Makers have been at the insistence of states such as Saudi Arabia, who have had an obvious interest in downplaying the effects of anthropogenic global warming.  To the extent that it introduces a bias, it causes the IPCC to underplay the risk.

  30. Elevator Pitches - Chapter 01 - Ancient Sunlight

    Bought the Kindle version .. best reading on Windows 10 laptop running the Kindle app. Not so good on my old Amazon device or my Android tablet. Print was small, looked cramped without spaces. But an excellent reference Rob well done.

  31. CO2 lags temperature


    "Is it not science? When Jane Goodall is talking in a documentary about the behavior of chimpanzees is not science?"

    No, it is not. It is one scientist explaining her work, and subject to the editing of the documentary maker. No other scientists review her comments, nor is there a "right of reply". Documentaries are often didactic (eg GGWS) and by selective editing/quoting present a view that is very different from what they actually support (ask Carl Wunshfor example.) Actual science is presented in peer-reviewed journals and thanks to citing tools it is easy to see whether the views expressed there have contested or accepted by other scientists.

    "The IPCC review? Is it not true that there are a large number of non-scientific personnel among the IPCC? And then, why only the IPCC?"

    Hmm, so it would appear you have again unskeptically accepted a comment from what  source?? as an excuse to dismiss the views of the IPCC. See your biases at work? You still havent explained where these biases arise.  When governments wanted to know about the science of climate change, they put together IPCC. The science of climate change (WG1) is a review of the all peer-reviewed science by a large team of international experts in the field. The people and their associations are listed in back, (but have you actually bothered to read it - or just spent time finding reasons to avoid conclusions you dont like?) Are you seriously suggesting that there is a more capable group for assessing climate science out there that we should take note of?

    "Of course, you can convince me if what you say can be scientifically tested directly and not based on an assumption."

    You would appear to have an extremely naive about the nature of scientific testing. Vast sections of the science cant be put on a laboratory bench. Instead science proceeds from investigation of the chain of causation and seeing what can be observed fits one theory or another.Climate theory makes a huge no. of predictions of which the most compelling is probably the change spectra and amount of radiation both irradiating the surface and being lost to space. Both are directly measured, both fit theory to extraordinary accuracy (see here and here). No other theory remotely fits the predictions.

    You claim climate science is based on untested assumptions. Which would these be? Something you read from another unreliable source? Are  conservation of energy and Planck's Law untested assumptions in your mind or is it okay for scientists to assume that?

    So far people here have shown that sources you have relied on for your arguments are in fact from sewers of disinformation. MA Rogers above shows you how a link you provided distorts the science. If that were me, I would be angry that they duped me and would trust them no further. You? Or are your biases too powerful?

  32. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world


    The Earth can be compared to a bed that has had an extra top sheet added. Whether it is a cold night or hot, the occupant will be slightly warmer. That translates as a more energetic atmosphere, where every event has an element of AGW, mostly small but sometimes large or even contradictory, like the massive snow dumps. The larger events are likely to exceed the capacity of our infrastructures, topping stopbanks, depleting water resources, overloading air conditioners. And if we don't pull finger and deal with our excessive release of "thermal blanket" (greenhouse gases) the situation will only get much, much worse.

  33. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri... I take extreme exception to your comment relate blue sky and Stalin. No one here presents the arguments for AGW because anyone has "told them so." People you will encounter here at SkS are presenting the published scientific research which they've read and understand. We are presenting what has been researched and shown to be correct through a great deal of hard work by a long list of very intelligent and well-educated people.

    Again, per my original question... When I read your comments it sounds to me as if you are starting from a position where you believe the science must be wrong, and you're attempting to rationalize that position before you even understand some of the most basic elements of the science. I'm trying to understand why you would do that rather than starting from a position saying you just don't know and proceeding to learn something about the science.

    I fully admit, this is a challenge today because there are so many websites out there which present wrong information. You just have to have some capacity to decipher which resources are reliable and which are not.

  34. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri Norse Fire @547.
    You say:- "I do not know if it's a good way to discredit me by supposing that those graphics are maliciously manipulated, that they are biased or that they are directly garbage."
    Of those four graphics you presented @540, certainly three of them were "biased" to the point of being "directly garbage" although whether this "bias" was due to malicious manipulation I cannot say for sure. It could be simple incompetance.
    As for your notion that I was 'discrediting' you - that I find surprising because you said of previous comment examining the failings of graphics you had presented that you had "liked the dissection" done and even offered up more charts on the stength of it (indeed you offered up the "garbage").

    And off-topic, I note you also present @547 a link to a web blog provided by The Daily Sheeple (which has been described as "among the most untrustworthy sources in the media") suggesting this shows "NASA scientists" amongst other arguing for a potential "a new short cold period ... between 2030 and 2050." If you examine this web blog you link to, you actually see it shows no such thing. The "garbage" it presents on that matter is only supported by the well-konwn climate denier Don Westerbrook. The NASA scientist comment is solely about the sun, as is that of Clette & Lefevre. The NASA web page linked does say:-

    "The Little Ice Age lasted longer than the Maunder Minimum, and there are other potential causes. Nevertheless it is believed by many scientists that the prolonged solar minima and its corresponding decrease in solar energy cooled Earth. Mapping out the details of how much the change in solar energy could have produced such an effect remains an unresolved area of research."

    but this still does not support your assertion of a NASA source for "a new short cold period ... between 2030 and 2050."
    And please do not see this as "a good way to discredit" you, unless that is you choose to take no heed of this correction and continue spreading "garbage."

    Concerning the global temperature rise since 1935 and my rhetorical question - averaging GISS, NOAA BEST & HadCRUT the rise is quite significant, so far totalling about 1ºC.

  35. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world

    The likely reasons for the Oroville Dam's main spillway failure are identified and explained in:

    Damage to Oroville's main spillway 'was an accident waiting to happen' by Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, Feb 20, 2017

  36. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri Norse Fire @549, your discussion is becoming increasingly wide ranging, and off topic.  I am sure the moderators would appreciate your taking the various points to their most appropriate threads.  In particular, where you say,

    "The theory is essentially that solar observations are increasingly recording fewer sunspots and it is thought that solar cycle 25 or 26 will practically have no stains, a event that has precedents +200 years ago where especially the Maunder Minimum coincided with the colder phase of the Little Ice Age."

    You should read, and take further discussion to this article.

    Discussion of the MWP should be taken to one of numerous threads devoted to it, or that on Pages 2k.  That includes discussion of farming in Greenland, although this thread would be more apt.  Discussion of Holocene temperatures should probably be taken to a thread on Marcott et al.  


  37. CO2 lags temperature

    Adri Norse Fire @548, when you have different numbers of proxies in different areas, you can either  take a simple mean (as did Loehle and McCulloch), or you can divide the globe into different areas, determine the temperature for each individual area from the proxies within it, and then determine the global temperature by taking an area weighted mean of the reconstructed temperatues for each area.  There are a variety of other techniques which approximate to the effects of one or the other.  If you do the first of these, you get a biased temperature record.  If you do the second, you get an unbiased temperature record, but with some regional temperatures being more reliable than the other.  What was done by the PAGES 2000 project approximated to the second method.

  38. Adri Norse Fire at 23:21 PM on 21 February 2017
    CO2 lags temperature

    And Tom Curtis, thanks for the info. I almost forget it.

  39. Adri Norse Fire at 23:18 PM on 21 February 2017
    CO2 lags temperature

    Rob Honeycutt

    You're right. I simply answered a question that alluded to my convictions or motivations, but I understand the censorship, I do not set the rules, much less want to change them. And I can assure you that I am not confused, annoyed or angry with any of you who are answering me and I think the conversation so far has been very correct. We are going through the path of science, you believe that what I say is not science because they are sources with which you are not familiar, I will not deny that some of the data I have mentioned come from sources that are openly against anthropogenic climate change and may be biased, but you can not deny that you are using an ad hominem fallacy as the truth of their arguments does not imply a direct relationship with their personal convictions.

    It's like saying, the sky is not blue because Stalin said it was blue. In the end we refer to scientific research, as I put above.

    MA Rodger

    I do not know if it's a good way to discredit me by supposing that those graphics are maliciously manipulated, that they are biased or that they are directly garbage.

    <I wonder what has happened to global temperatures since 1935?> Me too.

    Tom Curtis

    <Probably the best, and certainly the one using the most proxies, is that from the PAGES2000 consortium,>

    As you say about the reconstruction of Loehle and McCulloch, the reconstruction of PAGES2000 consortium is also a biased reconstruction since it has many more proxies in some areas than others as we can see. It is true that for the average global temperatures it is necessary to perform tests on different continents, but it is not necessary when we are talking about a particular region. So I wonder where the investigations of the four reproductions above were made, (whether global or regional) because they are closer to me than to you. And according to the graph of PAGES2000 consortium, you must recognize that in the last 2,000 years there have been periods, at least as warm as the current one.


    <I find it worrying that you would uncritically accept a comment from a TV documentary and assume that it invalidates the science.>

    Is it not science? When Jane Goodall is talking in a documentary about the behavior of chimpanzees is not science?

    The IPCC review? Is it not true that there are a large number of non-scientific personnel among the IPCC? And then, why only the IPCC?

    <Is there actually any point in us discussing data with you? In your own mind, what data would you change?> Of course, you can convince me if what you say can be scientifically tested directly and not based on an assumption. Because if we agree that the truth of this subject depends on assumptions because it can not be scientifically demonstrated directly, then as long as we both have different assumptions we have become believers of our own conclusions. So when you can raise the temperature of a huge biosphere box by adding CO2, I'll believe you.

    <Also, just make sure that you do understand the extent of agriculture in Greenland.> I find the link very interesting, but I think you have not noticed some comments below.


    <Since 2013, the world has had its three hottest years in recorded history ( 2014 / 2015 / 2016 ).>

    Really? Can you tell me the degree of difference between those years? Can you give me more information about these investigations? I would appreciate it. I have never been a detractor of global warming, but I did not know that it was so marked, especially by the cold waves that have lashed Europe lately.

    But going back to the subject, I do not really know what an 'Amerikaner means', but these statements do not come from Mr. Ferrara, (by the way you were making the ad hominem fallacy an art) come from NASA scientists and others. And especially of Russian scientists of whom I can not remember the name now. The theory is essentially that solar observations are increasingly recording fewer sunspots and it is thought that solar cycle 25 or 26 will practically have no stains, a event that has precedents +200 years ago where especially the Maunder Minimum coincided with the colder phase of the Little Ice Age. They believe that something like a new short cold period can happen between 2030 and 2050 and it seems to me, that nobody should be underestimated, even though they have worked as lawyers and 'propagandists'.

    1.- Link, NASA:

    2.- Link, (independent?):

  40. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Tom Curtis @1490,

    The Manabe & Strickler model presents interesting findings but I'm not sure that I would accept them without a fight. Likewise, the figure of 5% convection contribution deriving from the figure presented @1488 is also not well established. (The 5% is more the value for the conduction of sensible heat from surface to atmosphere and certainly is not a good value to rely on.)

    While the Manabe & Strickler non-convection calculation of atmospheric temperature profile is a useful calculation, I do not see it as the final word. Firstly, it is being compared with two other profiles which pre-suppose the lapse rate. Thus the model Manabe & Strickler were developing is really just testing their model above the troposphere. So is the non-convection version a fair one? It assumes only a single value for the H2O profile which may not be (probably isn't) a good choice for a global average. Indeed, what model should be set up to calculate a non-convective atmospheric GH effect? That is the start point. I think you would have to freeze representative GHG levels (& presumably cloud) over the whole globe to calculate it. I would suggest that the result would show that it is the holes in the H2O blanket that are responsible for a very large portion of the energy balance. This is why the Wanabe & Strickler graph without such a hole shows the large increase in temperature for non-convection at low altitudes where in their modelled H2O is high.

    And a quick back-of-fag-packet argument. If we look at average surface temperatures, if half the cooling were convective, would we see a significant temperature differential between equator & 30 degrees? If we look at TOA outward IR (eg Trenberth & Stepaniak (2004) fig 3a&b) would there be a sign of a cooler upper atmosphere above the outer limit of the Hadley cells? Of course, what we see is more LR at the outer limits and less over the tropics which suggests it is the GH effect which continues to dominate the outward energy budget through the thickness of the troposphere with the dry atmosphere sinking in the gentle Hadey cell flow allowing big energy fluxes to flow out from the planet, averaging perhaps roughly 270W/sq m. Over the equator the H2O GH effect keeps that energy flux down to say 225W/sq m. Of course, all this very much first-cut response to the Manabe & Stickler model.

  41. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Rob Honeycutt @1491,

    I agree that when explaining the GH effect, at a minimum there is a willful prejudice being employed when an immutable counter-argument wielded against both "blanket" and "greenhouse" as an analogy (or metaphor or whatever) is of the form as presented @1482 (ie - "One is a solid and one is a gas.").

    But my thought is to break that immutable nonsense rather than live with it. Thus my position trying to revitalise both the "blanket" and the "greenhouse" as strong analogies for the GH effect.

    Thus I would argue as follows.

    Note the follow-on comment @1482 "A solid object like a blanket will impose on the rate of heat loss through the loss of convection." A blanket does not trap air anything like as well as the lower atmosphere. The plume of hot gas passing through a blanket is travelling at quite a rate (as this test shows - note 400ft/min =2m/s)  And greenhouses are not hermetically sealed but are actually far more leaky that the lower atmosphere, even commercial ones. The lower atmosphere retains parcels of air for a week or more. The same cannot be said for either any blanket or any greenhouse.

    And this slow action of the atmosphere circulation is probably best explained by the planet Earth being so big and tha atmosphere so shallow. In the tropics a latitudinal band measuring say 1,000 km is heated and so it is wanting to rise up and displace the cooler air above it. This creates a Walker Cell which will flow away from the tropics at the top of the atmosphere where it cools by radaition into space and so cooled drops back down to the surface outside the tropics. The problem for the "big convetion" argument is that the longitudinal winds at the top of the atmosphere (and the balancing ones in the lower atmosphere) are much less than 10m/s. This speed of wind is the result of the upward convetion flow from the tropics but the <10m/s represents a massive acceleration from the vertical convetion speeds - because comparatively the tropics are very broad but the atmosphere is rather shallow. If the vertical motion feeding this <10m/s is 1,000km wide, the upward speed has to be <0.02m/s which means the air in any "big convetion" cooling circulation will take >600,000 seconds or seven days to reach the top of the atmosphere. Radiation, on the other hand, is flying about at the speed of light. So it's not much of a contest, is it? Thus the values of the various fluxes in the Earth Energy Balance diagram as shown @1488 show very small quantities of convection in operation.

    Now this last bit referring to the diagram is a bit of a throw-away remark. The diagram in its original form did describe the sensible heat flux as "thermals" (eg in Trenberth et al 2009 figure 1) which is wrong. But I'm not sure it is entirely wrong.

  42. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world


    It is common knowledge that there are large rains in the American West on 100-200 year intervals.  California and the feds decided that it was not worth ,spending the money for an event that has not happened since 1862.  As pointed out above, AGW made the flood worse.  It is very unlikely that with natural forces alone that Oroville dam would have neared faliure this year.  AGW added the extra to force failure.

    They are expecting 10 inches (25 cm) of rain at Oroville this week from a new storm.  Other reservoirs are full and there will be significant flooding.  Oroville expects to be low enough to slow the flood as long as the damaged main spillway holds out.  The rainy season is nearing its end.  How much water will fall in March?

    What Ubrew12 said x2.

  43. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world

    Situation in CA is identical to "inland tsunami" fluds in QLD 6 years ago. After a decade of misarable drought, the freak and very intense rains filled Wivenhoe Dam to some 170% of its capacity. The dam operators must have spilled signifficant amount of water, otherwise it may not have held. Everyone was quick to blame dam operators (ditto as jipspagoda@1,3 above) but refused to acknowledge the unprecedented weather event (weather on steroids is avery accurate term here) leading to the tragedy; and at the same time tried to dismiss any links to AGW with "weather has always been unpredictable" trolls (exactly as jipspagoda@1,3 above). Give me a break, deniers: how many times do we need to repeat the obvious that AGW signal is responsible for increasing magnitude of extreme precipitation events like this one in CA and recent one in QLD? You can argue that the dam operators could have better handled the emegrencies (if they could have predicted the magnitude of these emergencies 50y ago) but do not dismiss the obvious influnce of AGW signal here, as proven by climate scientists and the long term weather data.

  44. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world

    The main spillway failed due to unprecedented volumes of water cascading down its length.  Where did all that water come from?  1) falling as rain rather than snow (AGW), 2) unprecedented amounts of rain (AGW), 3) falling on hillsides denuded by five years of unprecedented drought (AGW).  I'm not surprised that infrastructure like this is taxed past its design limit by the unprecedented conditions that have long been associated with AGW.  It's part of a pattern, as the author states "what we’re seeing is consistent with climate scientists’ expectations of a hotter world."  Munich Re recently reported that severe flood events in Europe have doubled since 1980.  So it would be folly to not ready our infrastructure for more of this: the point of this article.  

  45. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world

    The issue is that GW increases the frequency of major rainfall events and thus the risk, something the environmental groups challenging the spillway safety 12 years were well aware of.

  46. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world


    Extreme droughts and floods have happened in the past and  will happen in the future.  Seems more like failure to plan for the past and the future to me

  47. Correcting Warren Meyer on Forbes

    "One more error is, he claims Al Gore states that, "...we will see a tipping point where temperatures will run away, [Gore] is positing that feedbacks will be nearly infinite (a phenomenon we can hear with loud feedback screeches from a microphone)." Nope. Sorry. That is Mr. Meyer's misunderstanding and is nothing that Al Gore has ever stated."

    I did a bit of research and managed to find the source for Al Gore's claims about "tipping-points".  It turns out to be a conflation of a comment Gore made to CBS news in 2006, and a review of An Inconvenient Truth, by James Hansen.

    CBS reported on January 26th, 2006 that:

    "And politicians and corporations have been ignoring the issue for decades, to the point that unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, Gore said.

    He sees the situation as "a true planetary emergency.""

    You will notice that while the sentiment is Gore's, the initial sentence contains no quotations, and hence no indication that the term "point of no return" was Gore's.

    Meanwhile, in his review of "An Inconvenient Truth", Hansen expressed similar views when he wrote:

    "Any responsible assessment of environmental impact must conclude that further global warming exceeding two degrees Fahrenheit will be dangerous. Yet because of the global warming already bound to take place as a result of the continuing long-term effects of greenhouse gases and the energy systems now in use, the two-degree Fahrenheit limit will be exceeded unless a change in direction can begin during the current decade. Unless this fact is widely communicated, and decision-makers are responsive, it will soon be impossible to avoid climate change with far-ranging undesirable consequences. We have reached a critical tipping point."

    In January, 2016, Anthony Watts published an article by Jaclyn Schiff, which quoted the NBC article, before saying:

    "Well, the 10 years are about up, by now, warming should have reached “planetary emergency levels” Let’s look at the data:


    As you can see, little has changed since 2006. Note the spike in 1998, in the 18 years since the great El Niño of 97/98, that hasn’t been matched, and the current one we are in isn’t stronger, and looks to be on the way to decaying. So much for the “monster” El Niño."

    In the space covered by the ellipsis, Schiff published a graph of the UAH TLT temperature through to Nov 2015.  Why November, given that the Dec 2016 data was published by Roy Spencer on January 5th, 2016.  Perhaps it had something to do with the December values being higher than those of October, hence giving the lie to the claim that the temperatures "looks to be on the way to decaying".  Regardless, hindsight shows her claims to be utterly baseless:

    Indeed, so also did foresight for anybody aware of the relative delays of surface and mid troposphere temperature responses to ENSO fluctuations.

    More important than any shenanigans with out of date temperature data is the complete misunderstanding of what Gore is reputed to have said.

    Going back to the original NBC metaphore, a point of no return is that point in a flight, or expedition, were turning around will not leave you with sufficient fuel (or supplies) to return to base.  It could also be used of a scenario where you are driving rapidly towards the lip of the Grand Canyon, in which case the point of no return is that point at which no amount of braking, or rapidity of turning will prevent you from going over the lip.  In neither case is there any sudden change in your conditions.  The point of no return on a flight is not a point of sudden turbulence; and the point of no return as you follow Thelma and Louis to a premature death is as smooth as any other point you had traversed on the trip thus far.

    Applying this to Gore's thought, clearly he was saying (whether using that phrase or not) that if radical action was not taken by (approximately) 2016, then we would have reached a point where no economically achievable measures could prevent CO2 concentrations rising sufficiently to cause temperatures to pass the threshold beyond which their impacts are considered dangerous.  No sudden jump in temperature is predicted, and nor is it predicted that the temperature increase by 2016 will itself have passed a dangerous threshold.

    In any event, Schiff's misunderstanding was then picked up by the deniasphere, with Hansen's term frequently substituted.  From there, it was apparently further misinterpreted by Warren Myer.

    Ignoring the gross misrepresentations without which deniers have no argument, the question is whether or not we have in fact passed Gore's 'point of no return', or Hansen's "tipping point".  The answer is that we do not know.  We may have, and if we have not we certainly will do so soon.  My feeling is that we have for a 1.5oC increase above the preindustrial, but not quite yet for a 2oC threshold.  Unfortunately, whether we have or have not passed it, the actions of Trump in the US, and Turnbull in Australia seem geared to ensure we pass it very soon, if we have not already.



  48. Correcting Warren Meyer on Forbes

    joe...  I think you're misinterpretting here. In the article, I'm stating that Warren says the IPCC merely makes up positive feedbacks. That is clearly not true. On the other hand, Warren does make up the idea of negative feedbacks dominating, which would make CS lower than the direct effect of CO2. That is not scientifically supportable.

    And, no, there's not been any retreat from the position on the estimates of climate sensitivity. They remain basically where they've been for many decades.

  49. Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world


    Do you really want to not tell people that a large part of the problem is caused by AGW?  Even if AGW is only responsible for 20% of the precipitation, the flooding would not have happened without that contribution.  The main spillway is reported to have failed due to erosion from the heavy rains so it has the same ultimate cause.  If it was not warmer due to AGW the rain would have been snow and they would not have had any problem.   Can you suggest a situation where this flooding would have occured without AGW?  It would be extremely unlikey.

    All weather is affected by AGW.  Whenever there is record damage from weather it is always worse because of AGW.  People need to be reminded every time.  Most people in the USA do not really remember when Pakistan or Bangladesh is flooded.  They notice California a lot more.

  50. Correcting Warren Meyer on Forbes

    Rob - thanks will gladly clarify.  The statement is made to the effect that Warren made up the second part of the theory catastrophic warming based on positive feedbacks.  (ie he pulled it out of his backside and/or his imagination) .

    I was only pointing out the theory has been put forth by many from the climate science community, including this site.  Granted, there has been some retreat from this position.  

    (my second part of my comment was pointing out that i originally posted to the same/similar comment to a different blog post in error)

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