Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

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


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

Term Lookup


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

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

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

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Recent Comments

Prev  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  Next

Comments 1901 to 1950:

  1. Why the food system is the next frontier in climate action

    Evan @3

    "I know a person who used to be vegetarian, but after having cancer his doctor recommended he start eating meat again."

    This statment  got my attention, having recently read about the cancer risks of high meat diets. Had a look on the internet and this came up:

    "Results from a large-scale analysis show that following a vegetarian or pescatarian (fish-eating) diet could significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer – but even limiting red and processed meat to five meals a week or less may also have a benefit...."

    "Compared with regular meat-eaters, the risk of developing any type of cancer was lower in low meat-eaters (2% less), fish-eaters (10% less), and vegetarians (14% less). This means that the absolute reduction in cancer diagnoses for vegetarians was 13 fewer per 1,000 people over ten years, in comparison to regular meat-eaters.",vegetarians%20(14%25%20less).

    The study is large, recent and significant.

    Now I'm not vegetarian or promoting vegetarianism per se. A low meat diet, especially a diet low in red meat, sounds sensible and makes for a decent reduction in emisssions. 

  2. One Planet Only Forever at 09:10 AM on 30 April 2023
    Why the food system is the next frontier in climate action


    Your question may be questionable.

    The climate change issue is primarily about human actions that are increasing ghgs in the carbon cycle (increasing the balanced state of ghgs in the atmosphere and causing other harms like increased CO2 absorption in oceans).

    That perspective helps identify and understand the differences between the variety of ghg impacts caused by human actions. Most important, it helps understand that some causes of CO2e from human food production and consumption are ‘not the concern’.

    Steady-state production of ghgs from food production and consumption is not the primary concern. That would be a sustainable carbon cycle. Food production and consumption that increases the level of ghgs, especially the use of fossil fuels, is the primary concern. An increasing population that eats less ‘higher impact food like meat or rice’ can actually result in a reduction of the steady-state level of ghgs. In addition to an increasing population having less consumption, the remaining consumption can be changed to be less harmful, like developing meat and rice production that does not cause as much ghg impact.

    Therefore, an answer to the question about the ‘per capita CO2e’ is that, due to the current developed problem of significant excess ghgs, especially CO2, already in the atmosphere, unnecessary CO2e impacts from human activity need to be ended and actions that will reduce the steady-state ghg levels in the atmosphere are required. (The peak level of ghg increase due to the historic, and continuing, lack of interest in seriously restricting harmful and unnecessary actions will undeniably be a harmfully excessive level).

    Also, the required changes of food production and consumption for the collective of human activity to be more sustainable will vary by region. Regions that currently have more people eating less than a ‘diet necessary for healthy living’ can be expected to have increasing impacts. But if such a region also has a significant amount of harmful unnecessary food consumption, due to a significant status gap in that region's society, then that region could, depending on how much harmful consumption is occurring in the region, reduce the total regional level of ghg impacts while the less fortunate in the region increase their impacts.

    PS. The titles of the two study reports linked in the last paragraph you are questioning are informative (the reports are even more informative): “A meta-analysis of projected global food demand and population at risk of hunger for the period 2010–2050” and “Future warming from global food consumption”. However, developed socioeconomic-political biases can bias what is investigated, how it is investigated, and how it is reported. That is likely a significant root cause of the populist political attacks on less biased science that establishes a requirement for significant changes of developed beliefs and actions, especially if it highlights the need for rapid changes of popular and profitable developments. It may also be why I did not see the obvious problem of harmful over-consumption being highlighted.

  3. EGU2023 - Highlights from the last week of April

    Graphs where online attendees have to turn their head on one side in order to read axis captions on their screens....

    Stefan's talk this afternoon, covering "what Exxon knew" was a must-watch. Baerbel will likely have plenty to say about it!.

  4. EGU2023 - Highlights from the last week of April

    "it's a pity that presentation skills are not taught at final year undergraduate level"

    It's a pity that they aren't taught at the graduate level, too. I saw far too many professors with nearly zero teaching skills during my academic career, and far too many scientists at conferences and meetings with nearly zero presentation skills.

    To your excellent list, add graphs with too many lines, graphs shown and removed before you can even read the axes to find out what is being displayed (and no explanation from the presenter), colours of lines or symbols that are almost indistinguishable.

    ...and modern software that makes animations, lack of contrast, etc. as "features", wher in reality theywork against clarity.

    For web sites, its as if the features epitomized at buduglydesign represent some sort of ideal, rather than something to avoid.

  5. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    nigelj @10:

    I'd be curious about the three versions of the 2nd law "violations" that you found. What were the key differences between them?

    I'd agree that the "energy can't flow from cold to hot" is probably the most common.

  6. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    I was still in public school when the significance of the term "law" was discussed in science class. The progression of confidence in scientific understanding  used to follow the path from hypothesis (untested) to theory (well-tested) to law (extremely well-tested over a long time).

    But even when I was in public school, it was explained that "law" was a traditional term and science recognized that all understanding is subject to revision as more evidence is gathered.

    We have "laws" of gravity, motion, etc that have been supplanted by the "theory" of relativity, etc. We still talk of "laws" of universal gases, thermodynamics, etc. As John says, use of this terminology is grandfathered in.

    In common use, even "theory" gets misused when a scientist would say "hypothesis". The put-down of "that's just a theory..." should have the caveat "but I'm not a scientist" attached to it.

  7. EGU2023 - Highlights from the last week of April

    My take on Friday so far: Baerbel has already covered sessions where we were both present above.

    I particularly enjoyed CL1.1.4: Deep-time climate change: insights from models and proxies. This session provided a wide-ranging series of palaeoclimate studies looking at various parts of and the whole Earth at key points in the past such as the Permo-Triassic transition, the K-T extinction and the early Cenozoic hyperthermals.

    Some topics were more familiar than others, for example looking at the selective nature of the K-T extinction interval in the oceans: the post-impact 'winter' actually had a positive effect on e.g. siliceous diatom productivity whereas the Deccan Traps large Igneous Province was mostly negative in that instance. Calcareous planktom however suffered greatly. The most though-provoking presentation, "Resilience and implications of an Antarctic monsoon during the Eocene", was something I had not looked at before. It appeasrs there were local ice-sheets even then, but unlike today the continent's periphery supported dense forest.

    It's refreshing to be with so many people to whom the key principles of climate forcings are no longer argued over but instead it's the increaingly minute details of past climates that are under investigation and being presented.

    One word on presentations: it's a pity that presentation skills are not taught at final year undergraduate level. I've seen talks varying from absolutely outstanding to hard-to-follow this week. The cause of the difficulty variably includes talking at breakneck speed about highly complex topics, large blocks of text in slides too long to read for their display-time and using too small a font size to even screengrab effectively. Some, by no means all people need to learn how to communicate findings more clearly (the EGU Guidelines are quite specific in this respect) and in addition, every author had a Supplementary Material folder in which to upload a more detailed file. Attention to such points would have made an aleady enjoyable event even more so!

  8. Why the food system is the next frontier in climate action

    OPOF, thanks, as always, for your comments. However you slice it, ag-related emissions are a tough nut to crack. I eat primarily a plant-based diet, but during periods where I physically work hard, I have a difficult time keeping going without adding in a bit more dairy or some meat.

    I know a person who used to be vegetarian, but after having cancer his doctor recommended he start eating meat again.

    No doubt people in developed countries eat excessively and eat more meat and dairy than needed, but from my own experience I also know that the body has minimum requirements that change based on lifestyle (how hard I'm working) and current physical condition (my friend with cancer, or other conditions). No doubt in a world where we are properly feeding everyone, the GHG emissions will go up, just because properly nourishing everyone will require many to eat more and perhaps to eat more foods that are associated with higher GHG emissions.

    So I restate my last question. Do the authors have an estimate for baseline, per-capita GHG emissions (quantified in CO2e) in a world where we do all the right things to reduce ag-related emissions and where all people are properly nourished, but not over-nourished?

  9. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Eclectic #13 - 'principles' would be good but I like your point about an explainer - the only issue in this case is it would lengthen the rebuttal by another paragraph! Will give it some thought once EGU is over (today's the last day).

  10. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Quite so, John Mason ~  but my apologies for poorly conveying my thoughts.   I was not wishing to suggest terms like "Law" or other jargon of a technical or traditional type should be excised from the basic rebuttal . . . but rather that some sort of ultra-brief explanatory warning be used to put the earnest reader on guard against accepting "Laws" of physics (or anything else) as being more than a convenient summary (and nothing more real that that).

    The "Laws of Thermodynamics" can sound impressively authoritative ~ and I think this usage is sometimes purposely intended, to fool the layman into believing that the Denialist's objection to AGW has some validity.

    That said, I don't have a ready phrase or two which would serve.

  11. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Ineed, Eclectic! It's like many terms in science, including a lot of mineral names, that are "grandfathered" i.e. they are not considered to systematic or ideal but because they have such frequent use they are regarded as acceptable with caveats.

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 14:14 PM on 28 April 2023
    Why the food system is the next frontier in climate action


    I agree that the last paragraph is stated poorly. The answers to your questions may be in the two studies linked to in that paragraph:

    • “50 to 110%” contains per capita and global total values evaluated to 2050. However, a quick scan finds the following within that report: “How do the +60% to +110% figures compare to our findings? We find that under SSP2 (which, like the FAO projections, is regarded as a business-as-usual scenario), total food consumption will increase by 51%, with a 95% confidence interval of +45% to +56%. This is substantially lower than the FAO2 and Tilman et al.1 projections of 60–110%.”
    • “research suggests” has the following in its Abstract: “We find that global food consumption alone could add nearly 1 °C to warming by 2100. Seventy five percent of this warming is driven by foods that are high sources of methane (ruminant meat, dairy and rice). However, over 55% of anticipated warming can be avoided from simultaneous improvements to production practices, the universal adoption of a healthy diet and consumer- and retail-level food waste reductions.”

    So it is not clear how the last paragraph comes to be stated the way it has been stated.

    However, my criticism of the report is that it fails to mention the following fairly obvious realities:

    • Immediate significant reduction of harm done can be achieved by reducing unnecessary consumption. Few people want to discuss that ‘herd of elephants in the room’ because that would reduce perceptions of economic prosperity that are based on all the unnecessary consumption, especially the conspicuous unnecessary consumption displays of higher status – like eating more meat.
    • The current developed socioeconomic results are loaded with harmful unsustainable activities. The system aspires to ‘meet the wishes of the winners of competition for status, power, popularity and profit’ and ignore, dismiss or make excuses for the harmful systemic inequities of the developed ‘starting point’.
    • The obvious best ‘ideal’ action to aspire to is all humans being governed, self-governing preferred, to limit their harmful actions to ‘essential (necessary) needs’ and limit the harmfulness of those essential needs. That means that anything beyond ‘essential needs’ has to ‘ideally’ be strictly limited, again preferably by self-governing, to harmless actions.

    An example of the report being written from the biased perspective of a '(potentially unwitting) promoter of the harmful unsustainable status quo' is the unquestioned inclusion of the following:

    "According to the World Economic Forum, investment in plant-based protein offers the highest heat-trapping pollution savings per dollar of invested capital of any sector but remains significantly under-invested. This burgeoning industry offers a major opportunity for smart policymaking and investing."

    That promotes 'unnecessary' industrial food production, potentially with many other harms 'but the focus is restricted to the climate impact'. Local family cooperatives producing 'natural meat in ways that sequester carbon' combined with diets corrected to consume less meat would be a better solution ... but that would reduce opportunities for investors and diminish their developed perceptions of wealth ... but 'investors pursuing their maximum benefit' are not necessarily beneficial, especially if they employ populist misleading messaging to hide or excuse harm done, especially if they promote positive perceptions that some people can be tempted to hope to obtain from more harm done.

  13. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Part of the communication problem is the word "Law"  ~  a word of great historical & cultural weight (especially among the religious).

    The sight of the word Law  has a mesmerizing effect on non-critical thinkers.   Law seems something forever unquestionable and beyond discussion;  something fixed and eternally true  ~  a divine decree received directly from the Hand of God.   Instead of being just a word meaning a convenient concept in the minds of physicists.   The word is mistaken for the reality.

    Perhaps there could be room for some brief form of words, to deflate the awesomeness  of a "Law" in the discussions about GreenHouse Effect.

  14. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    John Mason @7

    Thanks. I agree its useful to include general information on thermodynamics in the rebuttal. Make it a teaching session. But I just believe "at a glance" should be something reasonably short, so the full teaching session would be better in the "details" section. Seems obvious to me.

    Just to clarify. My version in ten lines is very much in my own words and structured, expressed  and ordered as I wished. I just used the realclimate resource as background information and a detailed point they made seemed very good. In other ways their account as a bit confusing.


    Bob Loblow @8. 

    I did a quick scan of the internet on the greenhouse effect violating the second law, because my own knowledge was sketchy. I found three versions. The one I mentioned was the most commonly expressed version I came across.

    I agree its a complicated area and does require a lengthy explanation but for me that is better in the "details"section. Or perhaps I'm being a bit OCD about how its organised!

  15. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    The tricky part about rebutting a "greenhouse effect violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics" myth is that there are so many possibilities and variations of such a myth. It's kind of like trying to get someone to say what they mean by "saturated" when they start spouting the "CO2 is saturated" myth.

    The specific version on the full rebuttal page is related to a specific statement from Gerhard Gerlich, and arguments made in a paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner.

    When you hear someone exclaiming "2nd law of thermodynamics!", you really need to find out exactly what they think the 2nd law means before you can point out the errors (although the Gerlich and Tscheuschner flavour is pretty common).

    The 2nd law is a favourite "argument" amongst the Creation Science/Intelligent Design crowd, too - evolution "violates the 2nd law". (The argument is just as wrong there.) Back in the olden days of Usenet (before the Web and blog comments), I remember a Creation Science fan emailing me (Usenet exposed people's email addresses) with a 2nd law argument.

    After several rounds of email pointing out his errors in understanding the 2nd law, he came up with this strange argument of " the flow of information content" that he claimed had a similarity to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so evolution violated his "2nd law of information content" and that mean it also violated the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Really bizarre stuff. (He never responded to my last email, where I said that calling it "the 2nd law of thermodynamics" was a lie, and why was he lying in the name of the Lord?)

    I've always suspected that the appeal of the "greenhouse effect violates the 2nd law" myth may partly be due to its familiarity as a false argument against evolution. If you believe that evolution is Bad Science, and find the 2nd law argument convincing, it's easy to accept it as an argument against the greenhouse effect when you're already convinced that climate science has it all wrong.

    As John Mason points out, there is no real shortcut to explaining what the 2nd law (and 1st and 3rd) actually means, which makes it more difficult to debunk any (or every) bogus 2nd law argument.

  16. Philippe Chantreau at 03:10 AM on 28 April 2023
    At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    I'll take crack at the 3laws of thermodynamics, although I am only quoting:

    1- You have to play

    2- You can't win

    3- You can't break even

  17. Why the food system is the next frontier in climate action

    The last paragraph indicates population is expected to grow by 50 to 110% over the coming decades, and yet we can abate 55% or more of anticipated warming. Does the 55% abatement mean 55% abatement of per-capita emissions or 55% of total emissions for a baseline year of something like 2022? IF this is 55% abatement of per-capita emissions, then it would seem that population will grow as fast or faster than we can reduce per-capita emissions, so that the net ag-related emissions will continue to grow. Or am I missing something?

    Do the authors have an estimate for baseline, per-capita GHG emissions (quantified in CO2e) in a world where we do all the right things to reduce ag-related emissions?

  18. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Not bad at all, although a key aim of these mostly short intros is to explain and fully introduce stuff - therefore the need to explain what thermodynamics is. Many folk "out there" do not know what the word means. Some rebuttals are therefore much easier to write in a very short fashion than others.

  19. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    My quick version of "at a glance" in about ten lines:

    "A climate myth claims that greenhouse gases cannot warm the earth because the flow of energy is from cold greenhouses gases to a warm surface, and this violates the second law of thermodynamics, which states that energy can only flow from hotter to colder objects (unless energy in some form is supplied to reverse the direction of heat flow).

    However the CO2 is not generating heat. It acts like a blanket to slow the transmission of heat energy from the surface and  in the atmosphere to colder space. The energy still transmits from hot to cold, just less heat at a  slower rate, so the second law is not violated. By analogy, if greenhouse gases violated the second law a blanket would not keep you warm."

    (Its based on memory of an explanation on a page. Its rough and needs refining, and I do not claim to have much scientific expertise, but I believe the essentials are there in about ten lines.)

  20. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    If any of you want to have a go at explaining why the greenhouse effect does not invalidate thermodynmaics #2 in ten lines, including (essential) an introduction to what rule #2 actually says, then feel free to have a crack at it!

  21. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    I tend to agree with Wilddouglascountry. The at a glance section was quite long. When I see "at a glance" I was hoping for a clear statement in ten lines. If a rebuttal cant be summarised clearly in ten lines, then the rebuttal probably isn't valid. Although clearly AGW and the greenhouse effect doesn't violate any laws of thermodynamics.

  22. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Note: the link to the full rebuttal is also included in the green box at the top of this post...

  23. At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    Wild (may I call you Wild?):

    This "At a Glance" version is intended to be brief. Although in this page, you only see the "At a Glance" part, the entire SkS rebuttal is available from the last link in the "Click for further details" section. This "At a Glance" has been added to the "Basic" tab in the full rebuttal (which also has an "Intermediate" tab).

    Short link from above:

    ...leads you to the long link of the actual page.

  24. wilddouglascounty at 23:52 PM on 26 April 2023
    At a glance - The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

    I took a gander at the 2010 TonyWildish original version of this and think that the revision you are offering here is a bit too dumbed down. Wildish and the related comments goes into the details of the dynamics of heat loss a bit more in-depth than your new version, while the new version focuses more on the paper that has been the source of disinformation on this topic, then says it is wrong without discussing enough the important physical details of heat loss/retention that make it wrong. I think the revision needs a bit more of those details; otherwise it's just a "they are wrong" argument without enough "why's" to really get to the heart of their mistakes.

    And by the way, please consider this to be my "form" that you asked feedback to be submitted by, since I didn't. I presume you look at the posted comments as well...

  25. One Planet Only Forever at 12:46 PM on 26 April 2023
    Drastic climate action is the best course for economic growth, new study finds

    I am pleased to see more economists are developing a more comprehensive and realistic accounting of the ‘current day costs of being less harmful’ and ‘the future costs of harm done by harmful current day activities’. Economic evaluations of the ‘perceived current benefits obtained from causing increasing future climate harm’ vs. ‘reducing the harm done’ needed to move away from the Nordhaus style of significantly discounting the ‘future harm done’ toward the more ethically sensible Stern style of evaluation which, by using a lower discount rate, is more concerned about harm done to future generations.

    “The Choice of Discount Rate for Climate Change Policy Evaluation” is a 2012 Discussion Paper that comprehensively presents the case for using lower discount rates. Longer term evaluations require lower discount rates, especially if there are harmful future consequences. Quotes from the paper and related points:

    In the Introduction “Using his own DICE model, Nordhaus indicated that the differences between the Stern-endorsed and Nordhaus-supported discount rate accounted for all of the difference between the more aggressive climate policy endorsed by Stern and the considerably more modest effort supported by Nordhaus.” The Stern-endorsed discount rate was 1.4%. The Nordhaus-supported discount rate was 4.3%.

    In 3a. The Social-Welfare -Equivalent Discount Rate “The choice of ‘social welfare discount rate’ is largely, if not entirely, based on ethical considerations: how much future well-being should count relative to current well-being in the social welfare function.” The Stern evaluation used a 0.1% social welfare discount rate. The Nordhaus evaluation used a 3% social welfare discount rate.

    Even the evaluation discussed in this article is from the perspective of a less ethical economic evaluation that is limited to the financial items that are easy to quantify and enter into the ‘economic models’. An example is the statement that “Achieving such rapid decarbonization would require climate policies commensurate with a global carbon price of about $250 per ton of carbon dioxide today but declining to below $40 per ton in 2100 as the prices for clean technology come down.” There is no ethical reason for high carbon prices to be reduced in the future. The ethical requirement is for the harmful impacts to be ended, not to have them continue to be in the competition for popularity and profit in an ‘economically fair way’. (Note: even the 2012 paper I linked to above is 'ethically neutral' even though it presents the case for using lower discount rates which is more aligned with ethical considerations).

    It is simply unethical for ‘Some people’ to benefit from causing harm that ‘others’ experience and have to try to deal with and repair. A continuously increasing price on carbon is one of the many mechanisms that need to be imposed to achieve the required correction of harmful developed activity, especially the correction of developed popularity and profitability of harmful over-consumption. And a Zero discount rate, and potentially a negative discount rate (increasing the evaluated cost of future harm being created), is probably more appropriate.

  26. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory


    Discussions of extreme events are probably better placed on this thread (after reading the original post):

  27. Rob Honeycutt at 04:12 AM on 26 April 2023
    2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Gootmud @1522... There is an entire body of research related to precisely this topic known as attribution research. Your lack familiarity of the science shouldn't lead to the conclusion that "we can't explain causally." On the contrary, the overall causality of the shift in distribution is extremely well-known. The only place uncertainties appear are the chances that any given indivual weather event is driven by human causation. But even there, attribution research is demonstrating increasingly how much more likely these are to be primarily a result of the rise of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

  28. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Gootmud @ 1522,

    Hot weather tends to be associated with a high pressure system situated in a position to a) allow maximum insolation and b) to permit warm air advection. That's not "some random process". With global warming, in the synoptic situation I describe, it can be expected to be a bit hotter again. This should not be too difficult to visualise.

  29. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Also note that this conversation is getting of the proper topic, which is the 2nd Law myth.

  30. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Gootmud @ 1522:

    The diagram and explanation provide does not at all mean "some random process we can't explain causally". We can explain variation about the mean. It's called weather.

    If you think that every single normally-distributed measurement is a purely random process, you need to think again.

  31. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Rob @1520...that looks like "climate does weird things" presented as a graph. It suggests heat waves are the result of some random process that we can't explain causally.  We can only talk about the distribution, and we expect that as the mean shifts the tails will shift along with it. That contradicts the idea of attribution.

  32. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Gootmud @1518:

    The 2C rise does not cause the 20C heat spike, it turns an 18C heat spike into a 20C heat spike. Rob's diagram @1520 shows this shift in the overall distribution.

    Rob's diagram also assumes that the spread around the mean remains constant. This may or may not be the case, and may vary locally. Another plausible scenario is that a location used to go +/-16C from it's mean, and now it goes +/-18C around its new mean that is +2C, so +20C (from the old mean) is the result of a 2C shift in the mean, and a +/-2C expansion around the mean. The +20C spike compares to a system that only saw +16C in the past.

  33. Rob Honeycutt at 00:52 AM on 26 April 2023
    2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    And here is a simple graphic explaining it as well.

  34. Rob Honeycutt at 00:50 AM on 26 April 2023
    2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Gootmud @1518... Probably the best way to understand this is to watch what happens over time with the shifting distribution of temperature events. Here is a great animated graph from the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

  35. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    Seems to me the main paradox between AGW and the 2nd law of thermo is not about radiation transfer but about attribution.  The greenhouse effect says higher average CO2 over decades causes higher average temperatures. But how does a 2°C temperature rise over a century cause a 20°C heat wave for a week in Toronto? Humans have gotten a bit taller over the past century, but no one would consider that a satisfactory explanation of a village where everyone is 8 feet tall.

    As summer arrives in the northen hemisphere, we're due for another season of news stories that claim such causality without asking whether it makes any sense.  Was CO2 especially dense in Toronto that week?

    One can obviously handwave that Earth is a heat engine not constrained by the 2nd law, or that climate is a chaotic system that does weird things we can't explain, but that undermines the claims we can attribute the heat wave to anything in particular.  Or one can point to computer simulations where similar weird things happen, but that just relocates the paradox from Toronto to SimToronto.

  36. Cranky Uncle earns 2023 IILP Annual Best Publication Award

    Great job John and company. A real win for truth.

  37. Rob Honeycutt at 09:25 AM on 22 April 2023
    There is no consensus

    Okay, let's go over this again, Albert.

    The premise of the paper is as stated in the introduction. 

    We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC, published over a 21 year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).

    Do you honestly not see the words: human activity is very likely causing most of the current AGW?

    That statement creates the fundamental basis of papers that either endorse or minimize that position.

    If you're telling me that most "skeptics" agree that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW... hey! We're good!

    "It is a clear indication that only 1.6% of the papers thought that humans were causing most of warming."

    Nope, precisely because categories 1, 2 and 3 all endorse the idea that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW.

    "...AMS in 2016 and it explicitly asked members if they vpbelieved humans were responsible for the majority of warming and 67% said yes."

    And they also explain that most of their members were NOT experts in climate science and do not publish climate research. The greater their expertise, the greater their level of agreement, with the highest level of expertise also demonstrating ~97% agreement with the idea that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW.

    "...why Cook went to considerable lengths to hide the category numbers."

    He didn't.

    "I am passionate about truth in science..."

    Clearly, quite the opposite.

    "...I have an open mind on all matters..."

    As Carl Sagan used to say, "It's good to keep an open mind, but not so much that your brain falls out." I think that perfectly describes your position in this matter.

    "In the sixteenth century, 99.9% of scientists believed the Sun orbited the Earth."

    No, it was 16th century scientists who were explaining to people the earth orbited the sun. Once presented within a scientific/mathematical structure, scientists of the day readily accepted this fact. 

    "i Won't be commenting on this thread again."

    We are relieved.



  38. There is no consensus

    "a) If you had bothered to read the actual paper it's explained why the figures are organized as they are."

    I have read the paper multiple times and the so called explanation groups 1,2 and 3 together and compares them to groups 5 6 and 7 and as I have said, most sceptics would be in group 3.

    The "minimise" option Is a red herring as most sceptics believe in an ECS of 1.2C which is both group 3 and groups 56 and 7.

    "b) Your 1.6% figure only relates to papers that explicitly quantify human contribution. With that you'd have to compare that to other papers that explicitly minimize human contribution."

    Nonsense. It is a clear indication that only 1.6% of the papers thought that humans were causing most of warming.

    You can't count, for example, a paper that explicitly quantifies against a paper that implicitly endorses human contribution.

    Nomsense. Most sceptics who write papers would be in several categories and that is the lie in Cooks paper.

    The only time that a scientific organisation has polled its members was by the AMS in 2016 and it explicitly asked members if they vpbelieved humans were responsible for the majority of warming and 67% said yes.

    They didn't play the pretend game of setting up false categories and compare warmists against sceptics like Cook did.

    The AMS were extremely embarrassed by this and tried to spin the result saying it was misinterpreted blah blab blah but since this no scientific body has ever dared poll their members again.

    Roh you still havenot explained why Cook went to considerable lengths to hide the category numbers. It took me a couple of days to eventually figure out how to chuck the file into a spreadsheet and extract the totals.

    I am passionate about truth in science, you're not, so let's just agree to disagree. 

    PS engaged with you on this subject because I have an open mind on all matters and wanted to read whether there were aspects of the "97%" I wasn't aware of, but your comments show me that there aren't.


    Last comment 

    A few years ago the Australian sceptic society had a comment on their home page saying nothing was exempted from scepticism but also had a manifesto on global warming saying the science was settled and gave theit reasons.

    I went through the manifesto line by line discrediting it by referring to data and submitted it. However next day it had disappeared and I contacted the editor and he said he had passed it on to "experts" to see if it was valid. He said he would get back to me but never did.

    So a sceptic society now determines what you can be sceptical about. You can challenge the theories of Newton and Einstein but not the high church of climate change. That makes it a faith, not science.

    Very last comment

    In the sixteenth century, 99.9% of scientists believed the Sun orbited the Earth.

    i Won't be commenting on this thread again.




    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Points previously made, previously refuted, all marked with warning snips. If there had not already been a response, the entire post would have been deleted as sloganeering.

    As this user is incapable of reading, understanding, and/or following a comments policy, the only thing we can agree on is that this will be his last post - on this thread, or any other.


  39. It's not bad

    This doesn't seem to help!  

    "Climate news can seem dire with little hope for a better world. Talk to climate scientists, engineers and researchers, however, and they see a different future – a positive one that's well within our reach.

    For Earth Day 2023, instead of imagining the worst, USA TODAY invites you to envision the best. Conversations with a dozen experts give a glimpse of what a time traveler from today might see as they experience life a generation from now in a United States that put its mind to solving climate change – no miracles or as-yet-uninvented technology needed."

    Is everything really coming up roses? I thought in order to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees C it would require technology that can take massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and finding a place to store it. If we let it go to 2 degrees C, can we relax?

  40. prove we are smart at 20:06 PM on 21 April 2023
    EGU2023 - Upcoming presentations in Vienna

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, it isn't often ( well in my information world) I hear even a little of good about Davos and the WEF. You know I believe in the inherent good in people and people can change.

     But I feel like I am constantly on a seesaw-occassionally balancing evenly-a little down and losing some hope to a little up and we'll muddle through. But the last few years have seem me sink way down and no corresponding way up to match.

    Yes I agree with your statement "(SkS can be understood to have been formed in response to the successful misleading marketing by conservative populists trying to preserve and grow their undeserved perceptions of status and superiority)."

    As Prof Anderson asks " Will it be a velvet revolution or a violent revolution?" I believe that is coming, it was coming anyway with the widening inequality, climate disruption has sped it up and will spread it more.

    Perhaps the harmful media ( sometimes contolled by or controlling those populists) can be called out. Then the majority may be ruled by politicians that believe "life is about planting trees under whose shade you will never get to sit" My seesaw may swing up, perhaps my lucky Australia will go with the former then-i think the larger the percentage of homeless and less resilient citizens, the more the latter will dominate-spilling over to their neighbouring countries.

    In this age of misinformation and forgotten morality, we NEED this to happen, from our IPCC-  "Targeting a climate resilient, sustainable world involves fundamental changes to how society functions, including changes to underlying values,worldviews, ideologies,social structures,political and economic systems and power relationships."

    That is a revolution in every way possible-bring on the leaders and media that can wake us up to a velvet one..


  41. One Planet Only Forever at 14:53 PM on 21 April 2023
    Arctic sea ice has recovered

    Albert started an interesting discussion with their comment @120.

    I have an update of my questioning comment @124.

    My updated question for Albert is "What explains the recent reduced rate of Arctic Sea Ice loss given that global ice mass loss has continued to occur?" (in addition to the links @124 see the EGU "Review article: Earth's ice imbalance" here which has the following in its Abstract "The rate of ice loss has risen by 57 % since the 1990s – from 0.8 to 1.2 trillion tonnes per year")

    Similar to my question @124, the answer is not that human impacts have stopped significantly affecting the climate. And, as has been painstakingly pointed out by others, the recent lack of rapid reduction of Arctic sea ice does not mean that the recent rapid reduction of Arctic sea ice due to human induced global warming has ended.

    That raises another question. "Why is the admittedly unusual temporary reduction of the rate of Arctic Sea Ice loss being focused on so relentlessly when global ice loss has continued to occur rapidly?"

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 07:40 AM on 21 April 2023
    EGU2023 - Upcoming presentations in Vienna

    prove we are smart,

    I agree in general with your comment and the presentation by Prof. Kevin Anderson, University of Manchester you linked to. The following is in response to the question you ended your comment with.

    I would caution against simplistically claiming that ‘the 1%’ or ‘the Davos WEF group’ are ‘the problem’. The fundamental problem is the success of more harmful Populist political game players (Note: Populism is fundamentally misleading, but some of the misleading political players are less harmful regarding climate change). Refer to the SkS re-posting of the Thinking is Power item “Science and its Pretenders: Pseudoscience and Science Denial” and my comment @6 on that posting. (SkS can be understood to have been formed in response to the successful misleading marketing by conservative populists trying to preserve and grow their undeserved perceptions of status and superiority).

    Not all of the wealthiest 1% are the problem. The problem is the harmful populist portion of the wealthy and the supporters they have gathered by being misleading about climate science and the required rapid changes of what has developed (note that the harmful populists are harmfully misleading about many matters, not just climate change). And harmful populist people can be found to different degrees in almost every nation, not just the richest and highest climate change impacting nations.

    It does appear that the Davos WEF group are doing less than they could to reduce the climate change harm done (they harmfully compromise what could be done). So it is fair to point that out. But I have noticed that the harmful populists currently claim that the Davos WEF group are a threat because of the climate impact restrictions that are being discussed by that group. The conservative populists want more freedom, especially more sovereignty for regions they control to be as harmful as they please. They oppose the ‘globalist progressive improving understanding’ that has been developed collaboratively and collectively globally (like the IPCC results, the Sustainable Development Goals, or the Universal declaration of human rights). Their opposition is due to the reality that the understood actions required to develop sustainable improvements for humanity, to be less harmful and more helpful, require significant changes of their developed preferred beliefs and ways of living.

    In closing and responding to: “Is dangerous climate change not really dangerous for the 1%?”

    People focused on the pursuit of status relative to others can indeed not consider harmful consequences to be dangerous ‘for them’, especially if they believe those harmed have little ability to ‘do significant harm in return’. And that attitude can exist at all levels of wealth and status. And it is especially true regarding ‘future harmful consequences’ like the type created by accumulating climate change impacts. And those future consequences can be less of a concern if there is ‘doubt about the harm being caused’. Hence the harmful success of populist political players promoting ‘Big Lies’ and ‘Alternative Facts’.

  43. Skeptical Science News: The Rebuttal Update Project

    The blog post was updated on Apr 20 with the link to the latest rebuttal getting the "at a glance treatment": Positives and negatives of global warming

  44. It's not bad

    Please note: the basic version of this rebuttal has been updated on April 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 @

    Thanks - the Skeptical Science Team.

  45. Rob Honeycutt at 00:46 AM on 21 April 2023
    Arctic sea ice has recovered

    Albert @150... I'm curious why you can't see what you're doing is selecting (cherry picking) short time frames out of a clear overall trend in order to fit a predetermined conclusion. 

    This is truly what I find so fascinating to witness. The sheer volume of well-established research and scientific evidence that has to be dismissed or ignored in order to come to such conclusions is staggering.

    Anthony Watts I can understand simply because his income is predicated on keeping climate deniers coming to his website. People who don't have a specific monetary necessity, these I don't understand.

  46. Rob Honeycutt at 00:35 AM on 21 April 2023
    Arctic sea ice has recovered

    Albert @149... So, I guess you're saying ice measurements before satellites weren't accurate unless you're trying to use pre-satellite ice measurements to reject research that you don't like. Right?

  47. Arctic sea ice has recovered

    Albert @151,

    If you start from 2003 you get a linear trend of -0.052M sq km/y, an even steeper decline.

    Perhaps to assist you in this exercise (which is presently somewhat akin to the children's game 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey'), may I point you at the excellent JAXA Vishop webpage which provides 'graph options' that include 'annual graph' and 'draw linear fitting lines from visible region'. This will show you that all trends in this data for periods ending 2022 are declining for start-dates prior to 2015. Given the wobbly nature of the data, using just eight data points, this same facility shows the data yields other instances of non-negative eight-point-long trends in this data so such a short period is entirely unrepresentative.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] You're doing this wrong. You're not supposed to do actual statistical analysis on the data. If you look at the monthly values, not annual, there is a lot more noise, and you can then use your eyecrometer to just look at the graph (ignoring the "draw linear fitting" button), and then your Morton's demon will filter out any signal that shows a decreasing trend and you can convince yourself that it looks like 0 trend.

    (HTML badly needs a sarcasm tag.)

  48. Arctic sea ice has recovered

    I do look at JAXA data and it evidently has "decreased since 2006" in that the JAXA annual average SIE 2006-22 has a linear trend of -0.032M sq km/y"

    I was wrong, if you start from 2003 instead you will see that JAXA data linear trend shows 0 change.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] So, to make your point, you start looking for outliers and cherry picking certain times to get the result you want? Classic use of the techniques illustrated in The Escalator (updated version).

    The Escalator 2022

  49. Arctic sea ice has recovered

    The Kinnard has Arctic ice extent increasing from about 750 to 1500 which is an absurdity. Vikings colonised Greenland about 980 and farmed some areas that today are permafrost.

    But the graph shows 980 ice extent to be about the same as 1700 and by that time the areas farmed were permafrost.

    The graph shows ice extent dropping dramatically from about 1400 but the little ice age was ramping up in 1400, not down.

    The graph shows ice extent increasing dramatically from about 1600 but the LIA peaked around 1650-1700 and temperatures have risen sporadically ever since. The Central England Temperature database correlates well with this.

    Here is a different reconstruction that shows 1940 Arctic ice to be about the same as 


    See figure 1b

    But the guy was italian and what would they know?  See, I can be sarcastic as well.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL]Link breaking page formatting shortened.

    Your Greenland myth is covered in this post.

    You have already been pointed to places where your poor understanding of the Medieval Warm Period is covered.

    You can correct your misunderstandings about the Little Ice Age by reading this post.

    The Van Achter reconstruction that you show uses climate model data fitted to recent sea ice data to extrapolate values into the past and future. They also state "The Canadian Archipelago region was removed from the dataset since SIT reaches unrealistic values in this area." They also state "For the variability analysis, the trend and seasonal cycle are removed from the time series (pan-Arctic SIV and gridded SIT)".

    Have you considered how this selection of data might influence the result? The authors have. In their conclusions, they state:

    This analysis of the Arctic SIT and SIV variability bears some limits. Indeed, our results for the temporal and spatial patterns of variability are based on only one model, and despite the use of 30 ensemble members and a reasonable validation against observations, the model is not perfect. Furthermore, the spatial modes of SIT variability are robust for all the 30 ensemble members, but the temporal analysis shows some dissimilarities between members. Other studies with other model outputs are therefore needed to confirm our conclusion.

    Given that you reject climate models entirely, I am surprised that you would be so convinced that a reconstruction based on one is the most reliable indicator of past sea ice conditions.


  50. Rob Honeycutt at 15:44 PM on 20 April 2023
    Arctic sea ice has recovered

    "...the trend has probably plateaued."

    And that is what we call a baseless assertion. 

Prev  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  Next

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

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