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Comments 851 to 900:

  1. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Bob Loblaw @64,

    Having now examined the rabbit hole Frank used to hide the derivation of his equ 5 & 6, I can now say he is flat wrong as he has all along mis-read his reference  Bevington & Robinson (2003). (Mind, I'm not sure how he reckons to fit all that Case 3b nonsense into this reference.)

    Frank (2020) is saying his reference shows for his Case 3b that varmean = varnoise x (N/(N-1)) with wi=1, indicating the sample uncertainty is a simple average of all the measurement uncertainties vari

    This is a mis-reading of Bevington & Robinson (2003) equ 4.22, the error being that equ 4.22 yields the 'weighted average variance of the data', the varnom from which the individual measurement variances vari are scaled. With wi=1, there is no scaling so the varnom = vari. The actual variance of the mean varmean is given in equ 4.23 where varmean = varnom/N which then yields the division by N1/2 for the standard deviation.

  2. At a glance - Does cold weather disprove global warming?

    JacobsLadder... Just curious, is there some reason you believe that sustainable energy can't supply heating?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The sock puppet in question has recused itself from further participation here.

  3. At a glance - Does cold weather disprove global warming?

    My apologies, Moderator.     Figures from for 2022.

    Supplied electricity (not capacity) for Ontario Province ~

    Nuclear 78.8 TWh ; Hydro 38.0 TWh ; Wind 13.8 TWh

    Total equates to about 89% of produced electricity.

    Equivalent to 13 GW of continuous electricity yearlong.

    (  ~13 million small bar radiators of 1000 Watts each, used 24/7/365 )  


  4. At a glance - Does cold weather disprove global warming?

    JacobsLadder @1 : 

    And that ain't half of it !  You didn't mention north of the Great Lakes.

    Each winter, nearly a million dead of cold in Ontario, but it's hushed up.

    Owing to their electricity coming 89%  from nuclear, hydro, and wind.

    [ 2022 figures of supplied electricity ]

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Did you mean to supply a figure for supplied electricity? I don't think your sarcasm encourages useful discussion and his point was about heating not electricity.

  5. At a glance - Does cold weather disprove global warming?

    Regardless of what may be happening with the global average temperature, the simple fact is that millions of people, in particular those in the north-eastern and mid-western US have experienced record cold winters for years.  Harbors on the Great Lakes have frozen over and there have been numerous deaths from hypothermia.  The people in these regions have always relied on coal and natural gas to meet their energy needs. So-called "sustainable energy" is totally inadequate, and it would be dead wrong (pun intended!) to deprived these people of their needs through government actions to curtail fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, our current "president" is trying to do just that to the American people, and we are not taking kindly to it!

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Politics is not permitted by the Comments Policy. Links to show that those regions are indeed experiencing record cold winters would also help discussion.

  6. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    One more followup to MAR:

    You quote Pat Frank as quoting Giever: adjudged average noise variance must be assigned using physical reasoning...

    This basically means that you should do what Spock did when calculating the return parameters in Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home.

    Kirk: Mr. Spock, have you accounted for the variable mass of whales and water in your time re-entry program?

    Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so... I will make a guess.

    You can get a more useful discussion n the JCGM 100:2008 mentioned earlier in this thread. In section 4.3, where it discusses "Type B evaluation of standard uncertainty", it says:

    4.3.1 For an estimate xi of an input quantity Xi that has not been obtained from repeated observations, the associated estimated variance u2(xi) or the standard uncertainty u(xi) is evaluated by scientific judgement based on all of the available information on the possible variability of Xi . The pool of information may include

    • previous measurement data;
    • experience with or general knowledge of the behaviour and properties of relevant materials and instruments;
    • manufacturer's specifications;
    • data provided in calibration and other certificates;
    • uncertainties assigned to reference data taken from handbooks.

    In other words, at some point you need to be allowed to make some sort of informed professional judgment.

    In no way does it provide justification for Pat Frank's equations 5 and 6. The quote you provide from him is basically word salad that he has used to convince himself of his conclusion.

  7. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty


    If the only error or uncertainty is a single, fixed offset that applies to all readings, and there is never any variation at all from that fixed offset, then when adding two numbers with different offsets, the result should be as follows:

    Ameas = Atrue + Aoffset

    Bmeas = Btrue + Boffset

    C = Ameas + Bmeas = Atrue +Btrue + Aoffset + Boffset

    In which case you are just simply adding the offsets to get the error. And if you are then dividing the sum by N, the offsets also get divided by N. But you don't go through the gymnastics of squaring and then square-rooting. That is completely redundant. The offsets are not "combined in quadrature", as Pat Frank keep saying.

    And if you are dealing with the situation where you are subtracting numbers, say, by calculating anomalies, then a fixed offset means:

    D = Ameas - Bmeas = Atrue - Btrue + Aoffset - Boffset

    ..and now you need to compute the difference between the two offsets. And if the offset is so fixed that it is the same for both A and B, then you get the true result for D without having to have any idea at all what that offset is.

    Just below equation 6, Pat Frank mentions anomalies, and correctly states that you calculate one by subtracting the monthly mean from the 30-year normal...

    ...but then he still adds the two offsets together instead of subtracting them. And he does it in the obfuscation of "quadrature".

    The form of his equations 5 and 6 is an extreme obfuscation, and only is correct if there is nothing else that affects the errors. And Pat Frank keeps calling it an equation that extends equation 4 (daily uncertainty) into monthly and annual mean temperature uncertainties. He can never give an explanation of what makes equation 4 (as corrected) different from equations 5 and 6.

    At PubPeer, he keeps going on about "intrinsic resolution" of liquid-in-glass thermometers, and in the paper he says this about the value coming out of equation 4:

    This ±0.382C represents the field-conditions lower limit of visually-read resolution-limited 2σ uncertainty to be assigned to any global daily mean land-surface meteorological LiG air temperature.

    So, is it fixed offset, or a 2σ uncertainty? Only he knows, it seems, and it depends entirely on what argument he is trying to make. Screaming "intrinsic resolution" at the top of his lungs is not a justification for assuming that LiG thermometers only ever have a constant offset with no variation. And fixed errors do not start with "±". Calling it a "±0.382C ... 2σ uncertainty" is the exact opposite of a fixed, unchanging offset.

    The Pat Frank Uncertainty Principle seems to be a parallel universe to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. You can tell what he is saying, or what he means, but not both. Things are one thing until Pat Frank says they are something else completely different.

    I can only conclude that he is so confused about the issue that he has compartmentalized many different aspects of it, and he can't see the conflicts in his positions. To paraphrase the words of a long-time commenter over at RC "Pat Frank and I have one thing in common. Neither of us has any idea what he is talking about".

    Pat Frank's statistics are like Pa Kettle doing basic math. Internally self consistent (in his mind), but...

  8. There is no consensus

    Bob Loblaw @954 :

    I would say Peterson has developed a rather high public profile well beyond Canada's frontiers, namely in the USA and all over Europe.

    Also, Peterson is now on a "coverpage" article on Desmog.

  9. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Bob Loblaw @61,

    I did say up-thread I wasn't going to burrow down into the rabbit holes of Frank's argument. So I haven't look into the references Frank uses to defend his equ 5 & 6. If he were honest about his methods, it should be him explaining why he is right and everybody else wrong. But I note for equ 5 & 6, he only "stands by them."

    The nearest Frank comes to an explanation for his equ 5 & 6, for using the RMS for the uncertainty of the combined average of N uncertainties (rather than dividing by N1/2) is found in the first version of nonsense**, Frank (2010). [**Note this is Frank's temperature record nonsense not him climate model nonsense.]

    Frank (2010) sets out four 'Cases' for combined uncertainties: 1, 2 3a and 3b. All but Case 3b are as you would expect with the RMS being divided by N1/2 and thus for large combinations, uncertainty will tend to negligable values. But Frank (2010) designates the combination of SAT data as Case 3b for which it says:-

    "When sensor noise variances have not been measured and neither their stationarity nor their magnitudes are known, an adjudged average noise variance must be assigned using physical reasoning [see Gleser (1998), 'Assessing uncertainty in measurement' - for PDF download]".

    I've not looked to see if the Gleser reference supports such an assertion but it doesn't sound unreasonable although perhaps for the individual variances rather than for the average of those variance.

    But Frank then goes on to tell us:-

    "For multiple sensors of unknown noise provenance, or for a time series from a single sensor of unknown and possibly irregular variance, an adjudged estimate of measurement noise variance is implicitly a simple average ... of the nominally unique ...  noise variance(s) of the N measurements. The primed sigma [in the shown equation] indicates an adjudged estimate [not a standard varriance] and distinguishes Case 3b noise uncertainty from those of Cases 1-3a.
    "In the case of an adjudged average noise uncertainty, each temperature measurement must be appended with the constant uncertainty estimate.
    [For Case 3b] the mean of a series of N measurements [of t] is the usual Σ(ti)/N, but the average noise uncertainty in the measurement mean is [the RMS x N/(N-1)] [see Bevington & Robinson (2003) 'Data Reduction and Error Analysis for the Physical Sciences' 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, Boston, p. 58, wi = 1 PDF], with one degree of freedom lost because the estimated noise variance in each measurement is an implied mean. Thus when calculating a measurement mean of temperatures appended with an adjudged constant average uncertainty, the uncertainty does not diminish as 1/N1/2. Under Case 3b, the lack of knowledge concerning the stationarity and true magnitudes of the measurement noise variances is properly reflected in a greater uncertainty in the measurement mean. The estimated average uncertainty in the measurement mean is not the mean of a normal distribution of variances, because under Case 3b the magnitude distribution of sensor variances is not known to be normal."

    I have not delved into the reference to see how it would support Frank's assertion. Well, not yet.

  10. Exploring the feasibility of a new feature: Bunk of the Week

    I think a bunk of the week would be good and maybe ease up on the other emails. There has been a few diversion tactics in the media I would like see debunked like  Small Modular Rector's SMRs none have ever been completed and I can imagine the price of electricity would be thru the roof. Also have you guys heard the planet has greened 4% so co2 can't be that bad. And also thorium reactors are cheaper and we should all drive cars with nuclear batteries because you only have to replace them every10,000 years.

  11. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    For what it is worth, this recent paper by Pat Frank has received a fair amount of discussion over at PubPeer. Here is the link to that discussion. Note that I have participated using a PubPeer-assigned anonymous user name (Camponotus mus).

    Pat Frank did note at PubPeer that he had discovered the inconsistency in the published equation 4, mentioned in the OP here. He said that the calculation (0.382C) is correct, and that the equation should have been written with the 2 in the denominator outside the square root sign. This is what I said would be correct, in the OP. He stands by equations 5 and 6, though.

    Equation 4 is not (as of today) corrected in the online version of the paper, or the downloadable PDF. There is a mention of this correction on the web page, if  you look in the right margin and find the button labelled "Comment". There is no formal correction notice on the journal page, as far as I can see.

    The rest of the PubPeer discussion exposes huge gaps in Pat Frank's understanding of propagation of error, uncertainty, and general statistics. Some of it repeats what I have presented here, but there is some new stuff, too. Warning: head vice required. If you go there, you assume all risks if Pat Frank's hagfishing is too much for you.

  12. There is no consensus

    Jordan Peterson has developed a rather high public profile (at least, in Canada) on a variety of anti-science stances.

    Desmog has a page on him and his climate change positions.

    He used to be a professor in psychology at the University of Toronto. The body that licences clinical psychologists in Ontario has been looking at his, and has recommended that he take some training if he doesn't want to lose his licence to practise. Peterson has challenged that order in court, and lost. Details in this CBC news report.

  13. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Per the IPCC reports, dare I mention that review articles are often exceptional examples of research. Organizing, theming, and critiquing the body of current understanding does itself create new understanding and further direction... aka: research.

  14. There is no consensus

    RicardoB @952 :

    In return, thanks for your thoughts on Dr Jordan Peterson.  My question about Peterson's "choosing" of Dr Curry . . . was a 25% rhetorical question.

    I have only seen a small amount of Peterson : too small to make a confident diagnosis of his psyche.

    Initial impressions of him : intellectual, sententious, and addicted to the limelight (so much so, that he might well be prepared to sacrifice his probity in order to achieve more limelight & notoriety . . . and thus more clicks & money ).

    So I wasn't sure whether his climate science denialism was genuine or merely commercial.   There's a ripe field for moneymaking if you pander to the deniosphere ~ whether in climate or far-right-wingism or vaccines or evolution etcetera.

    Peterson seems to have quite a cult following in some quarters.  Just imagine the good he could do, if on the Side of the Angels !

    If you strongly feel I would benefit from seeing more of Peterson, then please direct me (and us generally) to a couple of his essays or videos.  Fear not ~ I have a good supply of anti-nausea tablets.

  15. There is no consensus

    Eclectic @951:

    Thank you for you comments.

    You stated: "Dr Jordan Peterson shows how little he knows about climate matters ~ fair enough ~ but why is he choosing to boost Dr Curry?"

    He chooses to boost Curry as he chooses to boost many other prominent "climate narrative contrarians" that he "interviews" in that same channel, like Robert Bryce, Steven Koonin, Richard Lindzen and Alex Epstein.

    Dr. Peterson main point of view on the "climate debate" seems to come from his strong belief (?!) that the political measures that are being enforced by governments (to tackle global warming) will lead to mass impoverishment and starvation via the rise of the energy bill. In his words: "People can't care about environmental concerns when they are so desperate they are worried about tonight's shelter and the next meal." He frequently rages about "the consensus" and the "hysteria" that are leading to these political choices.

    Hence, he deliberately chooses to debate the topic only with "specialists" from the "contrarian side" - champions for the carbon industry agenda. It suffices to say that these interviews function not as debates or means to get to the truth (by now, Dr. Peterson seems mostly uninterested in the cientific truth), but as opportunities both to let these "specialists" voice their cherry-picked concerns and attack established comprehensive scientific bases, and to not get himself confronted/debunked on his opinions. There's no debating; there's only agreeing.

  16. Exploring the feasibility of a new feature: Bunk of the Week

    Suggested name for new series: 

    Let's Play Wack-A-Mole!

  17. It's not urgent

    PollutionMonster @47 :

    Sorry if I have wasted some of your time.   My reference to Mr G. Santos was intended as a humorous flourish, for the amusement of readers who follow U.S. politics.   (Santos is a current federal House Representative, from New York, and is of the same political party as the 45th President.)    Hard as it may be to believe, but Santos achieves a mendacity that exceeds that of No. 45  . . . and helps demonstrate the extremes to which we have come*** .    And AFAIK, Mr Santos was not involved (directly) with the Budget Committee Report you linked to.

    The Budget Committee Report you mentioned is largely pure partisan propaganda ~ and with it, I think your opponents are trying to trick you, by using omissions & cherrypicking of history and data.   Please regard that Report with your highest level of skepticism, for it cannot be taken as a useful & valid source of information.

    My phrase "budget deficit sabotage" was a shorthand to refer to how the "right-wing" party claims to be the party of responsible conservative fiscal management  ~  and yet (under No. 45 ) blew an even yuger [huger] hole in the federal budget, by making large tax cuts for the very wealthy and for the big corporations.   Leaving even less money for tackling climate issues.

    But enough of this rather offtopic partisan politics  ~ discussions in SkS  threads are intended to be limited to politics in a general sense (not partisan) . . . and limited specifically to how humans' "general politics"  is helping or hindering progress towards a healthy Nett Zero Carbon economy.


    *** When you have some spare time, look up Cicero's

             "O tempora O mores"

    . . . which applies to anti-vaxxers, as well !

  18. PollutionMonster at 20:24 PM on 10 September 2023
    It's not urgent


    Hmmm, I don't follow everything you have said. I am not sure where Mr G. Santos enters the picture, I didn't see any mention on the page I linked to. I never heard of this budget deficit sabotage. I've been arguing with a lot of anti-vaxxers and working lots of hours so I've fell behind on some subjects.

  19. Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on September 10, 2023 and now includes an "at a glance“ section at the top. To learn more about these updates and how you can help with evaluating their effectiveness, please check out the accompanying blog post @

  20. There is no consensus

    RicardoB @950 :

    thank you for the link to Jordan Peterson's YouTube interview with Dr Judith Curry [made February 2023].   Thank you ~ sort of ~ but alas the video is one (1) hour plus 34 minutes long.

    Warning.   I didn't get much farther than 35 minutes into the video, before my patience ran out.  Dr Curry seemed her usual rather vague & waffly self . . . a blend of half-truths & suggestive propaganda.   [See my comments at post #949 , above.]   If she or Dr Peterson have anything highly worthwhile to say in the remaining hour of the video ~ then please time-stamp it so I can go look at it.

    Shortly before I gave up entirely, Curry at 38:40 said**"at least over the next 3 decades, like the natural variability piece of this is pointing towards cooling ... [which] would tamp down the [CO2-caused warming]".

    ** My comment is that this is routine lawyer-advocate rhetoric coming from Curry  ~  she has almost no evidence to support this "looming cooling" in the next 3 decades . . . but it sounds good to the gullible Denialist listener . . . and if real climate scientists challenged her, she would simply stand back and say (approx) "Oh I didn't say the world would cool, I just said the expected anthropogenic warming would/could/might be somewhat lower than the IPCC expects."   [Which seems likely to be 0.5 degreesC hotter than 2023  ~  barring a sustained heavy asteroid bombardment.]


    # At the start of his video : some minutes of Petersonian waffle ~ he may have (as a psychologist) some personal insight . . . but it seems to get overridden by his desire for limelight (such is his multi-year track record).

    At 19:30 ,  Dr Jordan Peterson shows how little he knows about climate matters ~ fair enough ~ but why is he choosing to boost Dr Curry?

    At 23:30 , Dr Curry makes vague & fluffy reference to cloud effects.  And goes on to say:  "we don't know how sensitive the climate is to increasing CO2"

    At 24:35 , Curry goes on to suggest:  "... the oceans and the sun that are the biggest sources of uncertainty  in understanding what's going on ..."

    RicardoB , you can see why I regard most of what comes out of Dr Curry's mouth as being very often slanted towards insinuations of a vague or semi-deniable type, well-suited as grist for Denialists.

    But, if there's anything good in the last one (1) hour of the video . . . then let me know !

  21. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #36

     Extreme heat is forcing America’s farmers to go nocturnal

    "Rising temperatures in key agricultural regions across the United States are leading more farmers to harvest in the middle of the night to safeguard the quality of their crops.
    Heat has become a major economic threat to the agriculture industry, and it’s only expected to get worse. By the end of the century, climate change could lead to worldwide crop damage five to 10 times greater than conventional climate models have predicted, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of the European Economic Association."

  22. There is no consensus

    Rkrolph @948, Dr. Curry has recently "debated" the climate issue with Dr. Jordan Peterson in his YouTube channel. You can get a pretty good idea about Dr Curry's position on Global Warming from it:

  23. Exploring the feasibility of a new feature: Bunk of the Week

    This website appears to exist to debunk the climate mythys, so it seems a "no brainer" that obviously there should be a (roughly) weekly article debunking significant denialist nonsense contained in media articles, studies, papers or video interviews. Otherwise what is the point of this website?

    Just because the latest nonsense might be adequately answered in the  list of climate myths is not a reason to not do a specific debunking. You cant expect people to automatically make the connection between a paper and an existing climate myth buried in the list of 100 climate myths.

    Sure if theres nothing significant one week skip that week, but I would say there will be something significant most weeks. Sadly to say. 

  24. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Eclectic @14 some of these physicists come across as very arrogant and over confident, and seem to think that because physics is the most fundamental of the science it makes them experts at everything, without having to study the detals of other issues, like the climate issue. And with the climate issue the details are particularly important. I assume thats sort of what you mean by Happer-Giaever syndrome. 

    Yes the IPCC reports are a rich lode of information. I can see a great deal of work has gone into these and I get a bit defensive when they get criticised, and especially when the motives of the authors get criticised.

    The IPCC scientists are volunteering their time, and yet  they get slammed by paid professional deniers with their junk science, and also slammed by a few people at the extreme edges of the warmist group, who think the IPCC should immediately and uncritically embrace the latest and most doomy study. Makes me furious. And I say this as someone who has a doomy disposition or bias, but at least Im aware of the potential for that to sometimes get out of control.

  25. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #36

    The Guardian had an article about Powis et al 2023.  This paper shows that heat waves hot enough to kill humans will spread to many locations with 2C of warming.  They use a lower wet bulb temperature of 31.5C where previous studies of extreme heat used 35C wet bulb .  Recent studies have found the 31.5C wet bulb temperature is fatal without fans or AC.  

    I have not seen a similar article that discusses when agriculturatal animals like cattle and goats will begin to be killed by heat.  Obviously it will be impossible to air condition pastures.  If the heat cannot be withstood by animals even occasionally, it will be very difficult to keep animals in those areas.  Imagine if they could not raise cattle in Texas for the entire summer!!   At 2C warming large areas of the world are too hot for humans (and presumably agricultural animals) (sorry, I could not copy the diagrams showing where the heat would be too hot for humans)

    Does anyone have a link for the threat of extreme heat to agricultural animals? 

  26. Exploring the feasibility of a new feature: Bunk of the Week

    (I mentioned this in the google form.)

    I think it's good to refute arguments that haven't already been refuted in your "climate myths" permalinks. There are a lot of advanced climate change deniers out there, and it's hard to refute them if you don't have a solid understanding of climate science and research, which is a complex topic. Worse, they are sometimes convincing to people who don't have an agenda to deny AGW.

    I saw this recently with a YouTube video arguing that CO2 greenhouse theory is self-contradictory in how the stratosphere cools. I'm considering posting it in the comments of the "greenhouse theory falsified" article but I don't know if I should expect people to watch a 20-minute video. I did suggest this as something to be in "bunk of the week" (or whatever to call it).

  27. Exploring the feasibility of a new feature: Bunk of the Week

    I don't think a once-per-week-no-matter-what schedule is helpful. We have so much social media noise already. Instead, please consider setting a threshold for how bad the bunk needs to be (in both content & spread) and debunk stuff that is higher than that threshold no matter how seldom or often it happens.

  28. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Nigelj @12 ,

    Agreed.  Michaux seems determined to assert that "renewables" are an impossibility, or at least a cul-de-sac, on the path to electricity generation of the non-fossil-fuel type.  But the adage is :- half a loaf is better than none . . . it would be foolish not to go the path of wind/solar, while we are gradually developing newer technologies.

    @13 : Clauser appears to be a climate neophyte, suffering from the Happer-Giaever  syndrome.   One wonders at his choice of ignoring the rich lode of information available per the IPCC.

  29. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    The IPCC reports are clearly conservative leaning. However the latest IPCC report does project warming at around 4 - 5 degrees by end of this century at BAU (Business as usual emissions) and SLR (sea level rise) worst case up around 1 - 2M end of this century. And it will go on rising after that  if we do nothing.

    There are lower SLR projections out there and a small number of higher projections by people like Hansen at around 4M end of century, but his is very speculative. So Im not sure that the IPCC are being excessively conservative on the key numbers.

    For me SLR projections of 1 - 2M end of this century look very worrying with the potential to cause massive problems. Even although 2M is worst case and low probbaility the impact is potentially huge so such a scenario should be guiding or mitigation response. If people cant see all this and feel motivated to take serious action, then I'm not sure they would change their attitude if the number was 4M anyway.

    So obviously the IPCC should robustly communicate the climate problem, but  I think we are at risk of scapegoating the IPCC for the lack of strong mitigation response, when the culprit is really peoples complacency, due presumably to numerous factors from vested interests, resistance to change, psychological barriers, ideological views, the denialist campaign etc,etc.

  30. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist


    "In comparison, Simon Michaux [referred to briefly in a different SkS thread, recently] does know what path we should be taking towards a wind-turbine & solar-panel powered economy . . . but says we cannot reach that goal, owing to inevitability of materials supply shortfalls. (We can't get there from here.)"

    IMO Michaux is taking a very doomy, pessimistic approach to the materials issue. The crowd who wrote the limits to growth in around the 1970s were the same and  proclaimed the world would run out of key metals like lead, zinc etc,etc,  by the 1990s and of course that never happened.  Lets explore why.

    Now firstly obviously materials are a finite resource. Some of the elements are quite rare and so scattered in the crust they cant be extraced economically. Even the concentrated mineral despots of those elements are not common in the earths crust. So we have a problem and are at risk of running out of some things longer term.

    But Michaux takes a particularly doomy view of the situation. He  looks at known current high grade / medium grade reserves and says red alert we are running out. But he is basing his warnings on known reserves of good grade ore depoits. He makes insufficient allowance for our ingenuity in extracting low grade deposits, making new discoveries, mining the sea bed,  extracting minerals from sea water (there are trillions of tons), high levels of recycling. And its highly likely we will get better at doing these things and in energy efficient ways.

    Im not talking techno hype where anything is possible and we will conquer all problems. Im just taking the view that its very likely we will find ways of  finding more materials.

    If we do run into severe shortages of materials we will have to reduce our energy use. Michaux concerns do not seem a good enough reason to give up on renewables completely, and he doesnt provide an alternative if we did do that.

  31. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Markp @10 ,

    Thank you for the link to the David Spratt article of 4 September 2023.

    His article is very reasonable as far as it goes in discussing Risk Assessment of climate tipping points in a general way.   And, as he mentions, the economists' projections are nigh-on useless for the long term.   (Though I do take exception to Spratt's undiscriminating interchangings of the phrases "human extinction" and "civilizational collapse". )

    But then Spratt comes to a halt, before making any practical suggestions.  ( A point noted by physics professor Daniel Marlow, whose replying comment is the only one listed, so far, beneath that article.)

    In comparison, Simon Michaux [referred to briefly in a different SkS  thread, recently]  does know what path we should be taking towards a wind-turbine & solar-panel powered economy . . . but says we cannot reach that goal, owing to inevitability of materials supply shortfalls.  (We can't get there from here.)


  32. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    An enlightening 10-minute read from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

    "Betting against worst-case climate scenarios is risky business"

  33. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Markp @1+,
    I think it is wrong to say that the IPCC is not a scientific body. Certainly the SPMs are edited for the political purpose of obtaining unanimity, but the assessment reports do reflect the whole of the science and thus are scientific. If that science is not being done (and in the case of WG2 & WG3 I fear it probably isn't), it is a problem not of the IPCC's making.

    The two examples you provide are worthy of discussion.
    Spatt & Dunlop (2018) 'What Lies Beneath; The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk' is a bit of a gallop through the subject and today a little dated. It is the product of a think-tank and, apparently, "is not intended as a 'scientific paper'." Perhaps study of missing threats should become a subject set up as a science; the studying of the cracks within AGW science.
    Today the science (and thus the IPCC) is addressing tipping points and if the evidence suggests either of them are still underplaying them, then that should be put on record.
    And the 'fat tail', our inability at nailing down ECS and partcularly the top end of possible ECSs; if that does continue to remain elusive, isn't that because the 'fat tail' acts so slowly? And if it is slow and also temperature induced, presumably we should be able to dodge it before it arrives.

    ☻ The second example you cite is a downloadable undergrad thesis and the climatology bit of it is about the rather dated 'Arctic melt-out' warnings of two-decades back. At the time the basis for these warnings was the period of increased melt 2000-07 which saw previous trends in annual Arctic minimum SIE rise from -0.06M sq km/y to -0.24M sq km/y. The idea that the thinning ice would disappear with a rush was at the time** not unfounded but it hasn't been borne out with 2007-on only showing a slow downward trend in the Arctic SIE  minimums.
    (** I remember at the time the widespread incredulity given to 'official' projections which were suggesting ice-free Arctic summers would arrive more slowly, sometime 2027-50. We are now not far off from the start of that period and no ice-free event yet.)

    The other bit of criticism of in the undergrad thesis looks at economic forecasting. This is perhaps off-topic (the numpty Clauser is the topic here & he is a science guy) so I'll try not to wax too lyrically.

    I don't think the thesis really scratches the surface in its descriptions of what I consider ligitmate criticism of the pretty awful work in this field. The idea that timely AGW mitigation would (according to denialists) crash the global economy and pauperise the less-developed world but AGW itself would do no more than slow economic growth marginally (global growth reduced by just a third under +4ºC AGW in the doomiest projection here) I find utterly unbelievable. (My usual example is to imagine Madagascar melted into the sea. The loss to global economy would be 0.014% but would the 30M souls who live there just go down with the ship?)
    But with the numpty Clauser as the topic here & he a science guy, economic forecasting is not on-topic here.

  34. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    "Your logic would also have us stop trying to change flaws in our law courts and legal system, flaws in our election system, ad infinitum, because "what we have works and they are doing their best."

    Mark, as you're upset about the direction this discussion has taken let's just note that you've invented a situation wherein we claim the IPCC is perfect and not subject to improvement. 

    I'm familiar with Spratt & Dunlop's brief. It's critiquing the IPCC process, methods and results against an imaginary purpose for the organization.

    Spratt & Dunlop's conclusory remarks are notably lacking in any concrete prescription of actionable, practical advice for remedy. They are unhappy with what exists but apparently are not able to conjure a better substitute. 

    With critics failing to deliver a plan for how progress might appear, the reader is left with a false impression; no additional communications vehicle is suggested by the authors, so surely the solution lies in altering the subject of the critique so as to address the authors' untethered objections to the IPCC. If so, what happens?

    As Schellnhuber points out, what's missing from the IPCC is reports is imagination divorced from a continuum of evidence (possibility vs. probability). There's a role for unsupported extrapolation, but that's an additional communications task that if commingled with strict evidentiary requirements will quite arguably leave the entire process of dealing with climate change even more amenable to misinformation and disinformation than it is today. Notably and despite such critiques as the one we're discussing here, the IPCC is the subject of concentrated, prolonged polemical attacks on its credibility from the side of the fossil fuel industry and other enthusiasts of unaccounted external costs. Arming such rhetoricians with valid grounds for their own purposes of critique wouldn't be a smart move. 

    It would be nonsensical to claim that no improvement is possible in the IPCC process and methods. Fortunately nobody here is making that claim. But improvement doesn't include introducing science fiction into the foundations of IPCC reports, and it's hard to see how bringing possibility divorced from probability into the IPCC's work would be other than exactly that. We're blessed with imagination and can and should exploit it, but here our imagination needs a solid tether— as a separate feature— because imagination comes with degrees of credibility and here credibility is mandatory. 

  35. Climate Confusion

    Simon Michaux does not explicitly promote inaction.

    But to put it another way: like the Old Irishman giving directions :-

    "You can't get there from here."

  36. Climate Confusion


    Simon Michaux does not promote inaction. That is not fair at all. Where do you come out with crap like that? He's concerned father and is trying to help people not be led down a dead end. 

    I'm done.

  37. Climate Confusion

    One Planet...

    I'm not involved in mirrors for money. It's nonprofit. We want to show people a method that can work and hope they run with it. That's all. And we certainly don't see it as a "primary solution" but it's probably the best SRM idea in town. Because drawdown just isn't going to happen fast enough. 

  38. Climate Confusion


    Yes, real progress is being made. But if we don't pay attention to all the greenwashing, pure money-chasing and ill-informed "solutions" like tree planting, the real progress won't have as much room to breathe in and expand. I'm all for progress on climate change, but I'm not into the hype and the BS, and there's a lot of it.

  39. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Bob "Oh my" Loblaw

    I don't need a lecture on how the IPCC works. Thanks. I did not say the IPCC provides analysis "in the sense of crunching data, etc," now did I? Read what I wrote, please. 

    As for "what information? What flaws?" maybe if you'd READ the papers I linked to, you would find out. I'm not inveting this. And please don't put words in my mouth, either: "some people say"?? Please see if you can find that in my text. Talk about "weak"!!! 

    I'm happy to check on this site for the new items it brings but I think I'm finished discussing the reality of how much we have not managed to do to stop climate change with people who have their heads in the sand.

  40. John F. Clauser: the latest climate science-denying physicist

    Michael Sweet

    "Doomers" is a word with little value or meaning and has become similar to "conspiracy theorist" where people apply it to those whose views they do not like.

    I'll bet you haven't read, for example, What Lies Beneath, one of the papers I linked to. The foreward was written by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, professor of theoretical physics specialising in complex systems and nonlinearity, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and former chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. He is not a doomer. People who want the IPCC to be improved are not necessarily "doomers" or cranks. It's really too bad you and others here seem unable to accept that this government organization is not perfect and could be made better. 

    You say "if all scientists take your attitude..." well guess what? My attitude is to do what I can to stop the warming, which is why I work for a climate science nonprofit to do just that, and not by handing out leaflets asking people to turn off the lights, but by helping an organization that is currently helping the poor in the Global South live more comfortably by converting their roofs into cool roofs, for free. And it's not just white paint. And that's not all. So please. 

  41. It's cooling

    Oui, merci. 

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] As previously stated, this is off-topic. You are welcome to post comments on the relevant threads and you have indicated that you have in fact looked over the "Climate's changed before" thread. If you want to continue that discussion and dispute the debunking of this and other papers offered there, then do it on that thread not here. Offtopic comments get deleted.

  42. It's cooling

    Cork @336 , 

    Merci , for your Cedric Ringenbach reference link, on the other thread ("Climate's Changed Before"  = Most Used Climate Myths No. 1. )

    Ringenbach's concerns over the contradiction of temperature/CO2 lag . . . are greatly discussed on Most Used Climate Myths No. 12   ~ which is accessed on the top left corner of this page (which you may already be aware of).

  43. Climate's changed before


    Your link is an article from 2012.  I see nothing that relates to your previous posts.  The conclusions of the link are the same asw what we discuss here at SkS.  What is your point?

    The moderators often delete link only posts. You have  to say why the link is interesting, not just say it is interesting.  It was a waste of my time.

  44. It's cooling

    In the last GIEC report a difference is made between CO2 records in geological times: C02  would raise 1000 years after the spike in temperature (melting of ice and erosion of sediments etc... = delayed release) and CO2 records in recent times, CO2 increasing 50 years before a spike in temperatures. And they insist that both phenomenons occur at the same time of course and may feed each other.

    Over the last 150 years, the spike in temperatures occurring after a spike in CO2 would be very bad news indeed. 

  45. Climate's changed before

    It is in french but it is worth reading. 

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Nope it isnt. Long ago debunked and not relevant to this topic. Link only posts are permitted by comments policy. The correct way to engage is first choose the appropriate place, make your argument and use links to published literature to support your argument.

  46. It's cooling

    Cork @330 :  I would answer slightly differently from Bob Loblaw ~ and I hope I may give my answer here in this thread, for the sake of continuity.

    English language has horrible spelling, and an overly-rich vocabulary (which can be useful for nuances of meaning, as well as for the artistic appeal of literary style).   Nevertheless the English language, like most other languages (possibly excepting Japanese? )  can also be used in a simple effective manner - like a hammer - to convey ordinary meanings.

    Cork, my protest was not against your literary style, but against the ideas that you wrote.

    For example, your sentence:  "The anomaly of the temperatures of the last 150 years may just be an anomaly."   There are technical scientific meanings of "anomaly".   Here it is not clear what you mean by an "anomaly"  ~ but you seem to be using the word anomaly  in its ordinary Oxford Dictionary sense of:  "irregularity, deviation from the common or natural order, exceptional condition or circumstance".

    If you meant that sort of anomaly . . . then yes, the sudden steep temperature rise in the last 150 years, is certainly an anomaly.

    Permit me to answer your question this way ~ by this example :-   You, Cork, are walking on a sandy beach; you are alone and no-one is in sight.   The sand is pure and white.   And then you see a gold coin lying on the beach.   The gold coin is an anomaly.   You know that there is an explanation for this anomaly ~ someone has dropped the coin there (it did not get there without a mechanism causing a coin to be present).

    Likewise, we know the mechanism of rapid rise of CO2 producing the anomalous modern spike in temperature.

    Our proxy records of temperature a million or ten million years past, are "smoothed together" over thousands of years, and will not show a sudden short spike (as rapid as our modern spike).   Perhaps there were some (few) sudden spikes in ancient geological times  ~  but, like the gold coin on the beach, there would need to be a mechanism which produced a spike.   And our knowledge of geology and physics tells us that such spike-mechanisms must have happened very rarely.

    The important point is that we now have a modern anomaly ~ a rapidly rising temperature, and we know it will continue to rise (since we know the mechanism).   And we must tackle this problem.   [My apology for this long answer : but I can be more verbose, if you wish ! ]

  47. It's cooling

    CORK @ 332:

    You don't need to join a group to be part of it. You don't even need to be aware that your actions and viewpoints are shared with a larger group.



    The hockey stick is one of many forms of evidence that tells us the current warming is unusual. Like anything else, it can easily be criticized by the uniformed. Should you wish to discuss the hockey stick, this thread is the place to go.

  48. It's cooling

    Bob Loblaw @331

    The simple answer to why the current warming is due to human emissions of CO2 is "physics". We do have information on past climates through geology - combined with understanding the physics involved. We know what physics can and has affected climate in the past, and we know that those processes do not explain the current warming - unless you also include the effect of CO2.

    Yes, I know all this. 

    That's exactly my point: explain Climate change to the wider public with that type of information. Not with hockey cross curves that can easily be criticised. 

    Now, good bye. 

  49. It's cooling

    Bob Loblaw @331

    I am not part of a group, thank you.

    I'm going to Past Climates. Apologies.  

  50. It's cooling

    CORK @ 330:

    I see. You're in the group of people that say "how could we possibly know what happened in the distant past?

    The simple answer to why the current warming is due to human emissions of CO2 is "physics". We do have information on past climates through geology - combined with understanding the physics involved. We know what physics can and has affected climate in the past, and we know that those processes do not explain the current warming - unless you also include the effect of CO2.

    But as the moderator told you in comment 327 - this is getting off topic for this discussion. The moderator pointed you to the thread on past climates. Another post you may benefit from reading is the one on the Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming.

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