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Comments 951 to 1000:

  1. Eastern Canada wildfires: Climate change doubled likelihood of ‘extreme fire weather’


    Thank YUoui for the info.

    There is a typo on line 5. 15M Ha is 37.05M acres.   

  2. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Yes, bdgwx, that is a good point. The "many stations makes for randomness" is very similar to the "selling many sensors makes the errors random when individual sensors have systematic errors".

    The use of anomalies does a lot to eliminate fixed errors, and for any individual sensor, the "fixed" error will probably be slightly dependent on the temperature (i.e., not the same at -20C as it is at +25C). You can see this in the MANOBS chart (figure 10) in the OP. As temperatures vary seasonally, using the monthly average over 10-30 years to get a monthly anomaly for each individual month somewhat accounts for any temperature dependence in those errors.

    ...and then looking spatially for consistency tells us more.

    One way to look to see if the data are random is to average over longer and longer time periods and see if the RMSE values scale by 1/sqrt(N). If they do, then you are primarily looking at random data. If they scale "somewhat", then there is some systematic error. If they do not change at all, then all error is in the bias (MBE).

    ...which is highly unlikely, as you state.

    In terms of air temperature measurement, you also have the question of radiation shielding (Stevenson Screen or other methods), ventilation, and such. If these factors change, then systematic error will change - which is why researchers doing this properly love to know details on station changes.

    Again, it all comes down to knowing when you are dealing with systematic error or random error, and handling the data (and propagation of uncertainty) properly.

  3. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Another interesting aspect of the hypothetical ±0.2 C uncertainty is that while it may primary represent a systematic component for an individual instrument (say -0.13 C bias for instrument A) when you switch the context to the aggregation of many instruments that systematic component now presents itself as a random component because instruments B, C, etc. would each have different biases.

    The GUM actually has a note about this concept in section E3.6.

    Benefit c) is highly advantageous because such categorization is frequently a source of confusion; an uncertainty component is not either “random” or “systematic”. Its nature is conditioned by the use made of the corresponding quantity, or more formally, by the context in which the quantity appears in the mathematical model that describes the measurement. Thus, when its corresponding quantity is used in a different context, a “random” component may become a “systematic” component, and vice versa.

    This is why when we aggregate temperature measurements spatially we get a lot of cancellation of those individual biases resulting in an uncertainty of the average that at least somewhat scales with 1/sqrt(N). Obviously there will be still be some correlation so you won't get the full 1/sqrt(N) scaling effect, but you will get a significant part of it. This is in direct conflict with Pat Frank's claim that there is no reduction in the uncertainty of an average of temperatures at all. The only way you would not get any reduction in uncertainty is if each and every instrument had the exact same bias. Obviously that is infintesemially unlikely especially given the 10,000+ stations that most traditional datasets assimilate. 


  4. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    At the risk of becoming TLDR, I am going to follow up on something I said in comment #5:

    On page 18, in the last paragraph, [Pat Frank] makes the claim that "...the ship bucket and engine-intake measurement errors displayed non-normal distributions, inconsistent with random error."

    Here is a (pseudo) random sequence of 1000 values, generated in a spreadsheet, using a mean of 0.5 and a standard deviation of 0.15. (Due to random variation, the mean of this sample is 0.508, with a standard deviation of 0.147.)

    Normal dsitribution random sequence of values


    If you calculate the serial correlation (point 1 vs 2, point 2 vs 3, etc.) you get r = -0.018.

    Here is the histogram of the data. Looks pretty "normal" to me.

    Normal distribution sample


    Here is another sequence of values, fitting the same distribution (and with the same mean and standard deviation) as above:

    Normal sorted sequence

    How do I know the distribution, mean , and standard deviation are the same? I just took the sequence from the first figure and sorted the values. The fact that this sequence is a normally-distributed collection of values has nothing to do with whether the sequence is random or not. In this second case, the serial correlation coefficient is 0.99989. The sequence is obviously not random.

    Still not convinced? Let's take another sequence of values, generated as a uniform pseudo-random sequence ranging from 0 to 1, in the same spreadsheet:

    Uniform random sequence


    In this case, the mean is 0.4987, and the standard deviation is 0.292, but the distribution is clearly not normal. The serial correlation R value is -0.015. Here is the histogram. Not perfectly uniform, but this is a random sequence, so we don't expect every sequence to be perfect. It certainly is not normally-distributed.

    Uniform distribution

    Once again, if we sort that sequence, we will get exactly the same histogram for the distribution, and exactly the same mean and standard deviation. Here is the sorted sequence, with r = 0.999994:

    Uniform sorted sequence


    You can't tell if things are random by looking at the distribution of values.

    Don't listen to Pat Frank.

  5. Eastern Canada wildfires: Climate change doubled likelihood of ‘extreme fire weather’

    In this post, the link to Fire Weather Index (in the Fire Weather section) points to a European site.

    Details on the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System can be seen on this Natural Resources Canada web page. The system combines weather, fuel moisture, and fire behaviour indices into a rating of the danger of fires developing.

  6. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Getting back to the temperature question, what happens when a manufacturer states that the accuracy of a sensor they are selling is +/-0.2C? Does this mean that when you buy one, and try to measure a known temperature (an ice-water bath at 0C is a good fixed point), that your readings will vary by +/-0.2C from the correct value? No, it most likely will not.

    In all likelihood, the manufacturer's specification of +/-0.2C applies to a large collection of those temperature sensors. The first one might read 0.1C too high. The second might read 0.13C too low. And the third one might read 0.01C too high. And the fourth one might have no error, etc.

    If you bought sensor #2, it will have a fixed error of -0.13C. It will not show random errors in the range +/-0.2C - it has a Mean Bias Error (as described in the OP). When you take a long sequence of readings, they will all be 0.13C too low.

    • You may not know that your sensor has an error of -0.13C, so your uncertainty in the absolute temperature falls in the +/-0.2C range, but once you bought the sensor, your selection from that +/-0.2C range is complete and fixed at the (unknown) value of -0.13C.
    • You do not propagate this fixed -0.13C error through multiple measurements by using the +/-0.2C uncertainty in the large batch of sensors. That +/-0.2C uncertainty would only vary over time if you kept buying a new sensor for each reading, so that you are taking another (different) sample out of the +/-0.2C distribution. The randomness within the +/-0.2C range falls under the "which sensor did they ship?" question, not the "did I take another reading?" question.
    • When you want to examine the trend in temperature, that fixed error becomes part of the regression constant, not the slope.
    • ...and if you use temperature anomalies (subtracting the mean value), then the fixed error subtracts out.

    Proper estimation of propagation of uncertainty requires recognizing the proper type of error, the proper source, and properly identifying when sampling results in a new value extracted from the distribution of errors.

  7. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Eclectic # 43: you can write books on propagation of uncertainty - oh, wait. People have. The GUM is excellent. Links in previous comments.

    When I taught climatology at university, part of my exams included doing calculations of various sorts. I did not want students wasting time trying to memorize equations, though - so the exam included all the equations at the start (whether they were needed in the exam or not). No explanation of what the terms were, and no indication what each equation was for - that is what the students needed to learn. Once they reached the calculations questions, they knew they could find the correct equation form on the exam, but they needed to know enough to pick the right one.

    Pat Frank is able to look up equations and regurgitate them, but he appears to have little understanding of what they mean and how to use them. [In the sqrt(N) case in this most recent paper, he seems to have choked on his own vomit, though.]

  8. No, a cherry-picked analysis doesn’t demonstrate that we’re not in a climate crisis

    Paul @ 22:

    Good question. PubPeer can be a useful method of providing further review of a published article. It requires that someone start the discussion - you, for example, started one on an earlier Pat Frank paper, as you noted at ATTP's blog. Authors of the paper may not participate, though, and sometimes the discussions at PubPeer descend into flame wars that make a Boy Scout wiener roast look innocent (for the wiener).

    [Note: I see you posted today at ATTP's that someone has started a PubPeer review.]

    I debated starting one over the recent Pat Frank paper discussed here. but your experience with the earlier Pat Frank paper made me feel that it would likely be a waste of time.

    There have been other "contrarian" papers that have been handled by either writing to the journal or submitting an official comment to the journal, but not all journals are interested in publishing comments.

    Springer has retracted this paper, with only a short note as to why. We do not see the detailed nature of the complaints, what was said in post-publication review, or what the authors said in response. Just the opinion that "...the addendum was not suitable for publication and that the conclusions of the article were not supported by available evidence or data provided by the authors" and the conclusion that "...the Editors-in-Chief no longer have confidence in the results and conclusions reported in this article."

    A lot of speculation can be read between the lines of the Springer retraction notice. Sometimes, such reviews can end up with papers being retracted, editors being removed, or even a publisher shutting down a journal (cf. Pattern Recognition in Physics).

    Springer has not made the paper "disappear". It is still available on the web page, but marked as retracted. It's just that Springer has put a huge "caveat emptor" on the contents.

  9. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don... "...offering a narrow view on a be arrow set of discussion points isn't helpful to those seeking answers and clarification..."

    It seems to me, reading back through the conversation, you're not actually seeking answers or clarification at all. When offered such you've merely rejected it and doubled down on your errors.

    Seeking answers requires that you are open to understanding explanations and have some capacity to move a conversation forward through adjusting and learning.

  10. No, a cherry-picked analysis doesn’t demonstrate that we’re not in a climate crisis

    Why wasn't this paper cycled though for post peer review?  The authors disagreed with the retraction, and that may have given them a chance to air their grievances.  Don't have to wait for Festivus Day.

  11. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

    The retracted study made questionable claims that food production hasn't been affected by climate change. I came across this commentary recently, following a discussion on another website that suggests food production is already being negatively impacted by climate change:

    Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies
    Published: July 9, 2019 11.22pm NZST

    Farmers are used to dealing with weather, but climate change is making it harder by altering temperature and rainfall patterns, as in this year’s unusually cool and wet spring in the central U.S. In a recently published study, I worked with other scientists to see whether climate change was measurably affecting crop productivity and global food security.
    To analyze these questions, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops.

    We found that climate change has affected yields in many places. Not all of the changes are negative: Some crop yields have increased in some locations. Overall, however, climate change is reducing global production of staples such as rice and wheat. And when we translated crop yields into consumable calories – the actual food on people’s plates – we found that climate change is already shrinking food supplies, particularly in food-insecure developing countries.......

    I wonder if Sky news have published the fact that the paper was retracted?

  12. Don Williamson at 04:38 AM on 28 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    I've recently posted quotes supported by links but the comments haven't appeared on this forum. I understood that forums on Skeptical Science was the go-to for tough questions but I'm beginning to see the filtering - maybe the statements from well respected climate scientists are to difficult to acknowledge or too difficult to explain? IMHO offering a narrow view on a be arrow set of discussion points isn't helpful to those seeking answers and clarification. Please rethink the silencing of those that are bringing up genuine issues for discussion  :)

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] The only comments I can see from you begin with your first post, in this thread, on August 15, 2023.

    You have made a total of 21 comments on this site, and all are still visible. None of your comments have been deleted, and the only changes to the contents of those comments has been to activate links - in which case the displayed text may have changed, but the embedded link is still the same.

    This comment is the exception. You have made accusations that are not acceptable according to the Comments Policy, and I have applied a "warning snip" to the portions that violate the policy. Please read the policy thoroughly, and make sure that future comments adhere to the policy.

    Moderation actions here are always applied post-facto. If you attempt to make a comment and it never appears, then you have done something wrong.

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    • ...and if you continue to violate the Comments Policy, then your account will be deactivated.

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     Also note:

    If you are looking at comments on the Recent Comments page (accessed from the Comments link under the masthead), then clicking on a comment that takes you to a blog post with a long comments section will take you to the wrong page of comments. There is a bug where the link in "New Comments" assumes 50 comments per page, but there are only 25, so it will try to take you to e.g., page 3 instead of page 6.

    This comment of yours, in Recent Comments, shows this incorrect link, which will show you older comments on page 3.

    If I change "p=3" to "p=6" in the link, I get to the correct comment.


  13. No, a cherry-picked analysis doesn’t demonstrate that we’re not in a climate crisis

    Noted in a couple of other threads, but worth repeating here.

    This paper has been retracted. Further details available in several places:

  14. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

    Also note that this retracted paper was examined in this Skeptical Science post, and the ATTP reblogged it at that time, and today ATTP has a followup post.

  15. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Apart from ATTP's posts on his own website (with relatively brief comments) . . . there is a great deal more in the above-mentioned PubPeer thread (from September 2019)   ~  for those who have time to go through it.

    So far, I am only about one-third of the way at the PubPeer one.   Yet worth quoting Ken Rice [=ATTP]  at #59 of PubPeer :-

    "Pat, Noone disagrees that the error propagation formula you're using is indeed a valid propagation formula.  The issue is that you shouldn't just apply it blindly whenever you have some uncertainty that you think needs to be propagated.  As has been pointed out to you many, many, many, many times before, the uncertainty in the cloud forcing is a base state error, which should not be propagated in the way you've done so.  This uncertainty means that there will be an uncertainty in the state to which the system will tend; it doesn't mean that the range of possible states diverges with time."

    In all of Pat Frank's many, many, many truculent diatribes on PubPeer, he continues to show a blindness to the unphysical aspect of his assertions.

  16. CO2 is not a pollutant

    Please note: a new basic version of this rebuttal was published on August 27 which 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 @

  17. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Sorry that this is the first time I have commented have been lurking for years.

     Figure 4 3rd explanation

    Typo: Person A will usually fall in between A and C, but for short distances the irregular steps can cause this to vary. Should read between B and C.


    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Thanks for noticing that! Corrected...

  18. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Oh wow. That PubPeer thread is astonishing. I didn't realize this had already been hashed.

  19. 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

    Note that the lead section of this article is discussing the same retracted paper that was mentioned in the August 24 New Research post.

    Retraction Watch also has an article about it.

  20. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Although DiagramMonkey may think that I am a braver person than he is, I would reserve "braver" for people that have a head vice strong enough to spend any amount of time reading and rationally commenting on anything posted at WUWT. I don't think I would survive watching a 1h26m video involving Pat Frank.

    I didn't start the hagfish analogy. If you read the DiagramMonkey link I gave earlier, note that a lot of his hagfish analogy is indeed discussing defence mechanisms. Using the defence mechanism to defend one's self from reality is still a defence mechanism.

    The "per year" part of Pat Frank's insanity has a strong presence in the PubPeer thread bigoilbob linked to in comment 27 (and elsewhere in other related discussions). I learned that watts are Joules/second - so already a measure per unit time - something like 40-50 years ago. Maybe some day Pat Frank will figure this out, but I am not hopeful.


  21. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Electic, I appreciate the kind words. I think the strangest part of my conversation with Pat Frank is when he quotes Lauer & Hamilton saying 4 W m-2 and then gaslights me because I didn't arbitary change the units to W m-2 year-1 like he did. The sad part is that he did this in a "peer reviwed" publication. Oh wait...Frontiers in Earth Science is a predatory journal.

  22. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Bdgwx @36 , you have made numerous comments at WUWT  blogsite, where the YouTube Pat Frank / Tom Nelson interview was "featured" as a post on 25th August 2023.

    Video length is one hour and 26 minutes long.  ( I have not viewed it myself, for I hold that anything produced by Tom Nelson is highly likely to be a waste of time . . . but I am prepared to temporarily suspend that opinion, if an SkS  reader can refer me to a worthwhile Nelson production.)

    The WUWT  comments column has the advantage that it can be skimmed through.  The first 15 or so comments are the usual rubbish,  but then things gradually pick up steam.  Particularly, see comments by AlanJ and bdgwx , which are drawing heat from the usual suspects (including Pat Frank).

    Warning : a somewhat masochistic perseverance is required by the reader.  But for those who occasionally enjoy the Three-Ring Circus of absurdity found at WUWT  blog, it might have its entertaining aspects.   Myself, I alternated between guffaws and head-explodings.  Bob Loblaw's reference to hagfish (up-thread) certainly comes to mind.   The amount of hagfish "sticky gloop" exuded by Frank & his supporters is quite spectacular.

    [ The hagfish analogy breaks down ~ because the hagfish uses sticky-gloop to defend itself . . . while the denialist uses sticky-gloop to confuse himself especially. ]

  23. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    I'm sure this has already been discussed. But regarding Frank 2019 concerning CMIP model uncertainty the most egregious mistake Frank makes is interpretting the 4 W/m2 calibration error of the longwave cloud flux from Lauer & Hamilton 2013 as 4 W/m2.year. He sneakily changed the units from W/m2 to W/m2.year.

    And on top of that he arbitrarily picked a year as a model timestep for the propagation of uncertainty even though many climate models operate on hourly timesteps. It's easy to see the absurdity of his method when you consider how quickly his uncertainty blows up if he had arbitrarily picked an hour as the timestep.

    Using equstions 5.2 and 6 and assuming F0 = 34 W/m2 and 100 year prediction period we get ±16 K for yearly model timesteps and ±1526 K for hourly model timesteps. Not only is it absurd, but it's not even physically possible.


  24. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Here is a lengthy interview with Pat Frank posted 2 days ago.

    Per usual there are a lot of inaccuracies and misrepresentations about uncertianty in it.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Activated link.

  25. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    In the "small world" category, a comment over at AndThenTheresPhysics has pointed people to another DiagramMonkey post that covers a semi-related topic: a really bad paper by one Stuart Harris, a retired University of Calgary geography professor. The paper argues several climate myths.

    I have had a ROFLMAO moment reading that DiagramMonkey post. Why? Well in the second-last paragraph of my review of Pat Frank's paper (above), I said:

    I am reminded of a time many years ago when I read a book review of a particularly bad “science” book: the reviewer said “either this book did not receive adequate technical review, or the author chose to ignore it”.

    That was a book (on permafrost) that was written by none other than Stuart Harris. I remember reviewing a paper of his (for a permafrost conference) 30 years ago. His work was terrible then. It obviously has not improved with age.

  26. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    Markp @2

    The IPCC do indeed have this scientific reticence. Its like a sort of conservatism. But its not just the IPCC.  Science has operated that way for centuries and for good reasons.Some initial scientific findings prove to be false so the conservatism is a form of quality control. If the scientific community was too quick to endorse every new scientific finding then all its credibility would have been gone long ago, and everyone would have stopped listening long ago.

    We have problems with a public backlash even now, when a theory proves to be incorrect (fortunately its very uncommon) so imagine if the scientific community was less conservative that it is. So although I'm not a conservative sort of person as such, and dislike playing down of risk assessments,  I respect that its probably better that organisations like the IPCC are a little bit conservative.

    That said how conservative are they? If you read their reports there are charts showing warming could reach 5 degrees this century and 10 degrees by 2300. And charts now upgraded to show that 2 M SLR is possible this century as low probability but high impact event.This does not look excessively reticent or conservative.

    And do you think that adding a degree or two to those scary looking numbers would change the public perception much, and lead to stronger mitigation? I'm not seeing it. If the public cant work out that 5 degrees of warming this century under BAU is serious I doubt that saying its 7 degrees would make much difference. All we can do is repeat the implications for the planet of the official projections, explain them as well as we can, and point out the serious climate changes and the increased  preponderance of heatwaves and flooding  we are already seeing, and as loudly as we can.

    Fossil fuel exporting countries do indeed have a malign influence on the Summary for Policy makers. Can't find the reference now but apparently some terms on levels of risk have been weakened and references to fossil fuels minimised. This is a very real concern and does mean we need to understand things are worse than the SFPM suggests.  If you read beyond the SFPM and to the fine details, and the actual charts, things are not watered down in the same way. The trouble is who reads that?

    Regarding your complaint that billionaires profit out of climate solutions and might have other ulterior motives, and countering this with the suggested alternative of placing solar reflectors on the ground. Its a possible climate solution, but billionaires will still make money out of this one way or the other. Its hard to escape the private sector making money out of climate solutions, given the structure of our economy. I don't care as long as the job gets done, and they are not breaking laws or profiterring as such. It would be good if they reduced their personal climate footprint, and showed some meaningful  climate leadership and helped those less fortunate than themselves.

  27. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    Low sulfur diesel fuel has been out for how long?  25 yr?  If this is reducing cloud formation, then diesel engine particulates may have been helping too by shielding the sun, and possibly creating clouds.  Now particulates are so low you can't see any smoke.  They even have particulate traps.  China and India better keep burning coal since the smoke probably reflects the sun.  Seems it is more complex than CO2 and could explain some anomalies. 

    Moderator Response:


    "If"? "May"? "Possibly"? "Probably"? "Could"? "Seems"?

    Such uniformed speculation serves no purpose here.

    Please take the time to review the Comments Policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it. Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  28. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    Skeptical Science asks that you review the comments policy. Thank you.

    Geoengineering has been going on for decades (aka Chem Trails).  See what they are doing at [SNIP]

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] No, thanks. We have no interest here in conspiracy theories such as chemtrails.

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 02:54 AM on 25 August 2023
    ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering


    I agree that the IPCC presentation of understanding regarding 'the problem and the solutions' has been harmfully compromised by 'interests that conflict with the development of sustainable improvements for humanity, regionally or globally'.

    However, IPCC is not responsible for 'promoting increased awareness and improved understanding' regarding the understanding that is compiled by the IPCC. The leaders (in political and business, globally and regionally) need to be 'held responsible' for the promotion of increased awareness and improved understanding.

    The IPCC report presentation must be consistent with the available evidence. That requirement has resulted in the progressive strengthening of IPCC statements contrary to the desires and interests of the undeserving portion of leadership competitors around the planet. And the latest IPCC statement concludes that, based on the evidence, the lack of leadership action through the past 30 years has created a situation where it is almost certain that 'reasonably limiting the harm done to the future of humanity' will 'now' require dramatic reductions and limits of harmful consumption, especially energy over-consumption (desired but 'unnecessary' consumption), as well as removal of CO2 from the atmosphere - even if those actions reduce the status of people who unjustifiably developed perceptions of higher status (permitting those developing to be like the higher status people to become more harmful while requiring the higher status people to set less harmful examples for everyone else to aspire to).

    The awareness and understanding that now undeniably needs to be promoted is that many of the current leaders (winners) are undeserving of their status. They have proven to be unworthy of their wealth and influence through their efforts to weaken the presentation of understanding by the IPCC which made it easier for them to actively promote 'doubt regarding the fundamental understanding of the required corrections and requirement to make amends for harm done' that is presented by the IPCC.

    The current situation can be understood to be the result of a history of harmful irresponsible actions by undeserving wealthy powerful people. Arguing for 'significant climate geoengineering actions', rather than promoting the fundamental 'need to end harmful human geoengineering impacts that incorrectly developed popularity and profitability' and 'reducing the harmfully over-developed GHG levels', will not address the real problem ... it will not result in sustainable solutions.

  30. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    Markp... "Adam and Miriam accept the logic that the only necessary thing to do in order to reverse GW is to reverse GHGs, in other words, get rid of them. That's a little bit like having your doctor tell you that in order to cure your tobacco-caused cancer, you just need to stop smoking."

    This is a grossly innaccurate comparison. GW isn't a cancer, being that cancer is a growth. Tobacco smoking damages cells which then become cancerous. You can't reverse that effect.

    Global warming, on the contrary, is not a growth. It is an effect due to the radiative properties of GHG's in the atmopshere. If you stop emitting CO2 you stop the warming, and it's now understood, that cessation of warming would be near immediate when we stop the increase of atmospheric concentrations.

  31. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    This is a reasonably well-done video by Adam, but there are some points that need to be made.

    As many people have learned, the IPCC has done a pretty lousy job of informing the public, and the scientific views it presents have been warped both by the scientists themselves (the dreaded "scientific reticence" effect) as well as the politicians from 195 member countries that have veto power on much of the content released to the public which can be generally characterized as very, very conservative. In other words, it's way worse than they tell us, and their "solutions" not nearly as effective as they tell us. Adam and his friend Miriam are both, from what I can tell, very much cheerleaders for the IPCC. Not surprising: they are fresh out of university and so in that sense have not spent much (any?) time in the real world of working scientists, so their current YouTube careers aside, they may not want to annoy the IPCC-dominated narrative on all things climate.

    Two big issues: 1) we need geoengineering more than they tell us, and 2) there is more to geoengineering than SAI.

    1) Like so many climate scientists under the spell of the IPCC, (for many reasons which take too long to unpack here) Adam and Miriam accept the logic that the only necessary thing to do in order to reverse GW is to reverse GHGs, in other words, get rid of them. That's a little bit like having your doctor tell you that in order to cure your tobacco-caused cancer, you just need to stop smoking. Fighting the cause isn't always guaranteed to bring about a result in a timely manner. Reducing GHGs, yes, but who is doing that? Miriam said something like international agreements like Paris have "already reduced warming by 1C" and I say huh? All the talk of international agreements sounds good but isn't our reality, as anyone looking at our world's biggest problems today knows in an instant. Our "efforts" to reduce emissions are nowhere. It's not happening. Targets and discussions aren't enough. The point that people behind geoengineering make is: emissions reduction is not and WILL NOT happen fast enough to stop our ecosystem from collapsing. Additionally, carbon removal methods, whether nature-based or mechanical, have huge scaling problems. Yes, nature has dealt with CO2 in the past, but not like what we have now. They are very slow, are not always even feasible (tree-planting a perfect example, look at the studies) and have other issues such as water constraints making them impossible at scale. And mechanical CO2 removal is even worse. When it works, it's fast, but unscalable, with DAC being the most obvious case. So after the IPCC cheerleading stops, we have to face the music. We don't have time to rely only on the method of "turn off the tap and clean up the mess." 

    2) Geoengineering (you heard Adam slip in "SRM" as well, Solar Radiation Management, a type of geoengineering) is almost always equated with just ONE currently discussed method, which is Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, or SAI. That's because it's got a lot of billionaire-potential!

    SAI is NOT more than a theory at this point, however. But you won't find that mentioned by many of its proponents. It is not the only way to go, is not loved by many (unbiased) climate scientists, has oodles of scientific problems to overcome if it would even work, and so is NOT the end of the geoengineering or SRM story. So Nigelj's characterization above, which makes it seem that SAI is ready-for-take-off, is wrong. 

    I will admit that, like the VAST majority of actual movement on climate we have seen, geoengineering efforts have a lot in common with disaster capitalism, and so should be checked out very thoroughly. Making money off of GW is the most effective thing we humans have done to date, which is a crime against humanity. Period. Governments now throwing large sums of money out for grants only on very narrowly-defined work chokes real progress. What we forget is that scientists have to get paid. Who pays them? Why? Most scientific research is arguably being funded by those who are expecting a product to patent and sell if things go well. Scientists are NOT always out there trying to find the fastest most practical fix here. The more tech that goes into it, the better. The more career-building we can get out of it, the better. That's why we see people talking about, of all things, space mirrors, as if simply putting them on the ground here to do what clouds and snow do is out of the question. There are people promoting that very idea and it has vastly more promise than any other geoengineering solution but is largely ignored (but that's changing) because it doesn't create billionaires and cannot be weaponized.

    Like many things, this discussion has so much more to it than meets the eye. We need to think, REALLY think, and be realistic, and stop listening so much to government institutions (or their cheerleaders) that have almost never served anyone other than the powerful very well.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Please avoid characterizations/personalizations/insinuations/allegations pertaining to motive or deception, a form of ad hominem (prohibited by this site's Comments Policy).

  32. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    DiagramMonkey also has a useful post on uncertainty myths, from a general perspective. It touches on a few of the issues about averaging, normality, etc. that are discussed in this OP.

  33. ClimateAdam: The Vlog Brothers on geoengineering

    Lets imagine a scenario where the world fails to reduce emissions enough to adequately fix the climate problem, leaving tropical countries sweltering in the heat with unendurable heatwaves.

    The world debates geoengineering, but countries like America are (rightly) concerned about side effects of geoengineering and prefer sucking CO2 out of the atmpsphere - but the costs on the global economy are considerable. Nobody can make a decision.

    Tropical zone countries become desperate and form a group and they start spaying aerosols over huge areas of the planet, risking negative side effects for everyone. All it takes are a fleet of aircraft. How would you stop them?  Shoot aircraft down? Trade embargos? Beg them to stop? Whatever you do to try and stop them,  it looks like a huge problem to me.


  34. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    DiagramMonkey's post also has a link to an earlier DiagramMonkey post that has an entertaining description of Pat Frank's approach to his writing (and criticism of it).

    DiagramMonkey refers to it as Hagfishing.

  35. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Thanks for that link, Tom.

    I see that DiagramMonkey thinks that I am braver than he is. (There is a link over there back to this post...)

  36. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Diagram Monkey posted about the most recent Pat Frank article.

  37. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    An update.  Dr. Frank created an auto erotic self citation for his paper, so there is no longer "no citations" for it.

  38. Climate Confusion

    MarkP... Zeke Hausfather has a very good explainer on this topic that may assist in your understanding of this topic.

  39. At a glance - How substances in trace amounts can cause large effects


    Your analogy is a bit hard to follow. I presume that the point you are trying to make is:

    • The best players in the world will not be very effective in stopping you from reaching the goal when their shoes are tied together. As a result, your chances of scoring are high. This is analogous to IR radiation easily passing through gases that do not absorb well.
    • Even a mediocre player that is free to run around and get in your way has a good chance of stopping you, even if he only represents 2% of the players on the field (most of whom are limited by having their shoes tied together). This is analogous to CO2 blocking IR radiation, even though its concentration is  small compared to the gases that are not blocking IR radiation.
    • So, your chances of scoring are largely the result of the one player free to run around and defend against you, not the 50 players with their shoes tied. Expressing the concentration of untied players relative to the tied players is misleading.

    To extend the analogy, if they took away 25 of the players with their shoes tied, the local high school player would now be 4% of the total opposition. But that does not mean that he would be twice as effective at stopping you. He's still only one player.

    For a further look at how concentrations of CO2 in ppm can be misleading, it is worth reading this blog post (to beat my own drum):

    The Beer-Lambert Law and CO2 Concentrations

  40. Climate Confusion

    Markp @ 19:

    In your first paragraph, you appear to be confusing two different scenarios:

    • net zero implies that anthropogenic net additions to atmospheric CO2 are zero (which means emissions are zero, or we have found ways to remove CO2 as well as add it).
    • Stabilize CO2 means that atmospheric concentrations are not changing - which can happen when anthropogenic net contributions are still positive, but are balanced because natural removals exceed natural additions by the same amount.

    In the first case (net zero), natural removals (which currently exceed natural additions) will cause a reduction in atmospheric CO2 over the next decades, and we expect to see temperatures stabilize. The decreasing CO2 will not lead immediately to cooling, because the current CO2 levels still have "warming in the pipeline" that will offset the immediate direct cooling effect of less CO2.

    In the second case (CO2 stable), there is still "warming in the pipeline", so we expect to see temperatures continue to rise for a while.

    Once you understand this difference, I expect that much of your confusion will dissipate.

  41. Climate Confusion

    Markp @19 , your final paragraph is, in itself, showing lack of clarity.

    Cynical people (like you and I ) as well as non-cynical people, should surely wish to take practical action to achieve nett-zero carbon emissions in a reasonably quick manner  ~  even though those scientists (with various levels of "ept" )  fail to give perfect precision of projection of the probable prospective developments  [futurists refer to this as the problem of pppppd  scenario ].

    More seriously, Markp . . . what alternatives are you suggesting?

  42. Climate Confusion

    I'm still not sold on the idea that zero or net-zero emissions implies no future warming, as Evan says "A world where the best we do is to stabilize CO2 has, for all intents and purposes, "warming in the pipeline", something that does not occur if and when we reach net-zero emissions."

    First of all, it is not ultimately GHGs that determine warming, it is the EEI that does that. In other words, as I understand it, if the EEI is positive, but GHG emissions are zero, Earth still warms. 

    I also find it problematic that the idea of "zero emissions" or "net-zero" seems to imply to most people that all we are talking about are human emissions, when the possibility of an end to human emissions could exist while (significant) non-human emissions (for example permafrost melt) could still create warming, so that we are actually not at zero or even net-zero emissions regardless of source.

    I have long searched for a really solid scientific explanation of the concept of baked-in or committed warming that carefully tries to help people understand why some scientists say it exists and some say it doesn't. But the Zeke piece (and I don't trust for-profit scientists on this) is not convincing and neither is the Scientific American piece.

    Neither is the MacDougall 2022 ZECMIP study paper which clearly states "The most policy relevant question related to this research is: will global temperatures continue to increase following complete cessation of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions? The present iteration of the study aims to answer part of this question by examining the temperature response in idealized CO2-only climate model experiments. To answer the question in full, the behaviour of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land-use-change must be accounted for in a consistent way," which is another way of admitting that ZECMIP at this point is still "garbage in, garbage out."

    In fact, the pieces I have found seem to rely purely on models which are always incomplete, as is ZECMIP.

    And neither is this piece by Evan able to clarify this for me. Evan simply says it does not happen, as if that's been settled. He does not mention the warming, for example, that would come from the (potentially sudden? would it even matter?) end of reflective fossil fuel aerosols.

    The amazing lack of clarity on this subject, which is absolutely crucial to the discussion of any need to lower emissions, is astonishing, and leads cynical people like me to assume that it is a result of the IPCC-induced obfuscation and the complete ineptitude on the part of scientists to recognize that this issue is important and to do something about providing clarity. 

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Sloganeering and accusations of deceptions snipped.  Please conform future comments to adhere to this site's Comments Policy to avoid such behaviors in the future.  Thanks!

  43. At a glance - How substances in trace amounts can cause large effects

    Say I'm on the soccer field.  The ball is infrared radiation.  Against me are 50 of the best players in the World.  Can I make a goal?  Did I mention their shoes are tied together?

    Now, put one more opposing player, from the local high school, only his shoes aren't tied together.  Can I make a goal?  Suddenly, it's not as certain.  The opposing team has only grown by 2%, but my chances of making a goal have dropped around 50%.

  44. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #33 2023

    Thanks OPOF!

    Yes, it's a bit frustrating and indeed ironic that we don't have the full Samoilenko & Cook paper on tap, only the submitted manuscript.

    An object lesson of sorts on the weird intersection between for-profit publishers and science. Climate Policy is published by Taylor & Francis, which in turn is owned by Informa, which as a publicly traded company is intended for the purpose of rent-seeking for the benefit of investors as opposed to advancing the state of human knowledge. The rent-seeking objective is quite successful; by jealously guarding and obfuscating scientific information, Informa yielded three quarters of a billon dollars of profit last year. We could wish that selling sewage was a more profitable avenue thus luring the cloud of investor flies looking for free lunch in that direction. But as it stands now, hiding information from the public is the best deal on offer. 

    It may be that the authors still have managed to cling to the right to individually share what they've learned and won't be sued if they do so. Try emailing john[at] if you're keen to see figures. 

  45. One Planet Only Forever at 07:38 AM on 22 August 2023
    Skeptical Science New Research for Week #33 2023

    Thank you for another wonderful set of interesting items.

    The highlighted item "Developing an Ad Hominem Typology for Classifying Climate Misinformation" presents an interesting and helpful evaluation of misinformation ad hominem attacks regarding climate science.

    The developed understanding can be understood to apply to misinformation attacks on other efforts to increase awareness and understanding, like the Sustainable Development Goals, that result in requiring:

    • changes of direction of development (Systemic Change)
    • correction of development that has already occured (Changing the Status Quo)
    • making amends for harm done by past actions (Systemic Change that Changes the Status Quo)

    Minor Point: The linked report does not include the Figures and Tables. The text only includes the statements:

    • INSERT Figure x HERE
    • INSERT Table y HERE
  46. At a glance - Is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth correct?

    More speculation won't get us anywhere.

    J4Zonian's recent comment is not his first appearance here, and he has been an infrequent visitor. Nothing in previous posts suggests a strong anti-climate-science stance, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt (until further evidence comes to light).

  47. At a glance - Is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth correct?

    Given I doubt he'll be returning, I wonder if the "Jeffersonian" name reference is a clue to the intent.

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 02:39 AM on 21 August 2023
    At a glance - Is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth correct?

    Bob, It may be very difficult to 'know for sure' what J4sonian meant.

    The use of the term 'delivery guy' is my primary basis for considering J4sonian's comment to be a misinformation ad hominem type of comment (I have just started reading the "Samoilenko, S.A., & Cook, J. (2023). Developing an Ad Hominem Typology for Classifying Climate Misinformation. Climate Policy." paper highlighted on "Skeptical Science New Research for Week #33 2023")

    The short statement by J4sonian can be considered to be a dog-whistle appeal to people who have developed a motivation to disrespect and be dismissive of 'Al Gore'. The 'delivery guy' term can easily be interpreted that way.

    The nasty thing about dog-whistle misleading messages is the way that they can be claimed to 'not be the misinformation appeal to people who are inclined to be unjustifiably impressed that it is intended to be'. 'Delivery Guy' could be claimed to have been a friendly colloquial way of describing a diligent pursuer and presenter of increased awareness and better understanding

    A history of clearly attempting to help increase awareness and improve understanding regarding climate science by J4sonian could convince me that their comment was not meant to 'disrespect Al Gore as a means of being dismissive of the information he raised awareness of'. And a part of that would include J4sonian admitting that when Al Gore produced An Inconvenient Truth he had a significantly better awareness and understanding of climate science that many 'geologists at that time' and many 'geologists claiming to be well informed regarding climate science today'.

    In summary, a reasonable sounding clarification from J4sonian could be a more subtle dog-whistle appeal to people who are motivated to dislike increased awareness and improved understanding regarding climate science and the related required corrections of 'harmful over-consuming developed ways of living' and 'making amends for the harm done'.

  49. Sea level rise is exaggerated

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on Aug 20, 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 @

  50. At a glance - Is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth correct?

    We'll only know for sure if J4zonian clarifies his position.

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