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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #41, 2019

Posted on 15 October 2019 by Doug Bostrom

38 articles, 9 open access

Known unknowns become known

3 months of SkS research news exposes a persistent feature of the weekly harvest: reports of investigations of expected climate outcomes in particular geographical sectors of Earth. This is made possible by regional climate modeling, a capacity that has matured and almost equally importantly become less expensive and hence more widely available in recent years. Earlier this year Filippo Giorgi's Thirty Years of Regional Climate Modeling: Where Are We and Where Are We Going next? (open access) comprehensively described how we've arrived at the point that we may project our likely experience decades into the future.This ability allows us to tackle both mitigation of and adaptation to global warming in a plethora of modes, not least in agriculture, engineering and health sciences. We have a lot of planning to do if we're to optimize the dilemma we've created but happily we've developed the skill and resources to drive this planning with numbers.

We knew something was going to happen but now increasingly we can say how much and where. That tells us what we need to do.

More generally, it's one thing to hear that the world's temperature will increase by 2 degrees centigrade if we play our remaining cards exactly right, but our imaginations may light up a little more brightly when "2 degrees" is replaced by "these things will happen" and  "world" is replaced by "on my continent," or "in my country's borders" or "in my province" or "in my county." This information invites comparisons and comparisons can lead to resentment. The Earth being spherical and hence a closed space, as a pragmatic matter we're all in this together despite regional disparities; each local choice counts to a whole that we must each wish to be successful. Hopefully regional climate modeling will translate into public awareness and motivation that finds a sink in wise formulation of public policy connecting dots in a bigger picture.


Physical science of anthropogenic global warming

Effects of ocean slow response under low warming targets

How accurately can the climate sensitivity to CO2 be estimated from historical climate change? (open access)

Observation of global warming and global warming effects

The role of winter warming in permafrost change over the Qinghai?Tibet Plateau

Stronger increase in the frequency of extreme convective El Niño than extreme warm El Niño under greenhouse warming

Responses of the Hadley Circulation to regional sea surface temperature changes

Deep Convection over Africa: annual cycle, ENSO, and trends in the hotspots

Recent trends in the near-surface climatology of the northern North American Great Plains

Ice shelf basal melt rates from a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) record for Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica (open access)

Rising mean and extreme near surface air temperature across Nepal

Modeling global warming and global warming effects

The Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Version 6 (WACCM6)

National-scale analysis of future river flow and soil moisture droughts: potential changes in drought characteristics

Evaluating a regional climate model simulation of Greenland ice sheet snow and firn density for improved surface mass balance estimates

Global Climate Model Ensemble Approaches for Future Projections of Atmospheric Rivers (open access)

Underestimation of global photosynthesis in Earth System Models due to representation of vegetation structure

North Atlantic Integrated Water Vapor Transport – from 850-2100 CE: Impacts on Western European Rainfall

Nonlinear response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to late Quaternary sea level and climate forcing (open access)

Estimates of changes in surface wind and temperature extremes in southwestern Norway using dynamical downscaling method under future climate

Regional hotspots of temperature extremes under 1.5?°C and 2?°C of global mean warming

Projected late 21st century changes to the regional impacts of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Humans dealing with our global warming

The contribution of technological diffusion to climate change mitigation: a network-based approach

Acknowledging uncertainty impacts public acceptance of climate scientists’ predictions

Climate uncertainty communication

Optimizing forest management stabilizes carbon under projected climate and wildfire

Impacts of Enhanced Weathering on biomass production for negative emission technologies and soil hydrology (open access)

Net neutral carbon responses to warming and grazing in alpine grassland ecosystems

Amplified or exaggerated changes in perceived temperature extremes under global warming

Using traditional ecological knowledge to understand and adapt to climate and biodiversity change on the Pacific coast of North America (open access)

Fast track or Slo-Mo? Public support and temporal preferences for phasing out fossil fuel cars in the United States (open access)

Capacity building for implementation of nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement (open access)

Biology and global warming

Population responses of bird populations to climate change on two continents vary with species’ ecological traits but not with direction of change in climate suitability (open access)

Climate change and invasion may synergistically affect native plant reproduction


Introduction of water?vapor broadening parameters and their temperature?dependence exponents into the HITRAN database, Part I: CO2, N2O, CO, CH4, O2, NH3, and H2S


Please let us know if you're aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we've missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

The previous edition of Skeptical Science new research may be found here. 

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Comments 1 to 41:

  1. The problem that I see is that when climate scientists move into the social sciences (economics, public health, etc.) their analysis is often very weak.  So when they say "these things [actual effects on human beings] will happen" in your city/county/state, they are frequently going to be way off the mark.  And of course those errors become valuable ammunition for deniers.

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  2. I'm not sure I understand how publishing regional model projections is "to move into the social sciences," Mark. 

    More it's the case that these projections most immediately affect decisions to be made around civil engineering and agronomy, as is visible in other papers we list. Social sciences come in as a knock-on effect of that. So, it seems climate scientists (those in the domain of physics) are a few steps removed from the sausage factory driven by their findings.

    As to whether projections are off the mark, I'm not remotely qualified to say. Few of us are, with those few suited for a productive role in critique found in the role of reviewing papers for publications.

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  3. markpittsusa @1, do bear in mind climate scientists are not themselves doing research in social and economic issues. Research papers that touch on impacts of the physical science on the social structure of communities, or which evaluate economic outcomes are usually multi disciplinary affairs with several authors expert in their own fields. 

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  4. .Nigel - At least in terms of the economic social science, I believe you are dead wrong. And that’s the problem.

    For example, there are few (if any?) economists involved in making the often repeated prediction that climate change will cost the US economy 10% by 2100. I know of no peer-reviewed article in an economic journal that shows this.

    If you track down where the economic loss estimates are coming from, they are almost always made by climate scientists, not economists.

    And concerning health issues, the situation is not much different. It is climate specialists, not public health officials, making the most predictions.

    [I am basing this opinion on my familiarity with the big IPCC report from the end of last year, the Forth National Climate Assessment (for impacts on the US), and the influential Lancet report on health problems related to climate change - all from about the end of last year.]

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This discussion would greatly benefit from you backing your claims with references. As it is, this is tending to sloganeering. In particular, please:

    1/ Reference the report(s) for economic losses being calculated by climate scientists. It would be particularly helpful if you showed where in the reports, you see estimates ignoring adaptation.

    2/ Can you be specific about the  predictions on health in the report that you think are authored by inappropriate authorities.

  5. I am also happy to get into the gory details as to why the popular economic loss estimates are mostly non-sense. (Short explanation: because they are based on the unrealistic assumption that people will not adapt to change.)

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  6. Half-facetiously I note that in nature, adaptation is driven entirely by death. :-)

    The Fourth National Climate Assessment appeared in two volumes, the first being concerned with the physical science of climate change, the second focused on climate change effects on human culture. 

    Expert guidance for the two volumes was sourced from two distinct pools of disciplines, as one would expect. 

    If by "climate scientists" we mean people who are investigating physical science aspects of climate change, then no, it's not climate scientist who were making economic or health assessments for the NCA Volume II. 

    Meanwhile the insular nature of the process Mark alludes to isn't actually a real phenomenon. Here's how the construction of volume II is described via the horse's mouth, in the NCA front matter:

    NCA4 Volume II was thoroughly reviewed by external experts and the general public, as well as the Federal Government (that is, the NCA4 Federal Steering Committee and several rounds of technical and policy review by the 13 federal agencies of the USGCRP). An expert external peer review of the whole report was performed by an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).3 Additional information on the development of this assessment can be found in Appendix 1: Report Development Process.

    For my part I'm not inclined to second-guess all of this; comparative to the talent pool encapsulated in the above process, I know nothing at all. Does anybody else here feel as though they could do a better job? And if so, specifically what do we have to offer?

    Meanwhile a brief glance at this list of authors of the Lancet report Mark mentions reveals numerous public health experts, medical doctors etc. practicing in the field of public health. 

    Bruno Lemke, PhD
    Lu Liang, PhD
    Melissa Lott, PhD
    Rachel Lowe, PhD
    Maquins Odhiambo Sewe, PhD
    Jaime Martinez-Urtaza
    Prof Mark Maslin, PhD
    Lucy McAllister, PhD
    Prof Slava Jankin Mikhaylov, PhD
    James Milner, PhD
    Maziar Moradi-Lakeh, MD
    Karyn Morrissey, PhD
    Kris Murray, PhD
    Maria Nilsson, PhD
    Tara Neville, MSc
    Tadj Oreszczyn, PhD
    Fereidoon Owfi, PhD
    Olivia Pearman, MEM
    David Pencheon, BM
    Steve Pye, MSc
    Mahnaz Rabbaniha, PhD
    Prof Elizabeth Robinson, PhD
    Prof Joacim Rocklöv, PhD
    Olivia Saxer, MA
    Stefanie Schütte, PhD
    Jan C Semenza, PhD
    Joy Shumake-Guillemot, DrPH
    Rebecca Steinbach, PhD
    Meisam Tabatabaei, PhD
    Julia Tomei, PhD
    Joaquin Trinanes, PhD
    Nicola Wheeler, MSc
    Prof Paul Wilkinson, FRCP
    Prof Peng Gong, PhD †
    Prof Hugh Montgomery, MD †
    Prof Anthony Costello, FMedSci †

    None of them are qualified to offer expert guidance? How likely is that?



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  7. Markpittsusa says "It is climate specialists, not public health officials, making the most predictions." The he mentions the report from the Lancet.

    This report linked below is from the Lancet. It has convenient popups to information about each author, there are around 65 of them. It includes where they work and the focus of their department. I started clicking and saw exactly the mix that one could hope for: climate and atmospheric sciences, public health, global health, epidemiology, air quality, energy, livestock, fisheries, tropical medicine, etc.

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  8. Doug & Philippe,

    I will respond in detail concerning the economic losses part of the reports, but I need a little more time to reread the reports and related articles.

    I don't think skeptical scientists take things on authority, as you seem to be doing.  

    Have you looked at the data yourselves?  Have you read the academic articles concerning economic losses underlying what's in those reports?  Have you questioned why few if any estimates by professional economists are included?

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  9. Ultimately we take many things on authority, Mark, hanging our lives in the balance in so doing. I strap myself into a car and drive around with reasonable confidence that engineers who did finite element analysis to provide survivable space in the vehicle in the event of a collision were qualified for the work.  

    Have I become sufficiently expert as to have read and studied finite element analysis to the point that I could understand and describe in detail what's keeping me safer? If I were to pretend we as a culture were ignorant of finite element engineering analysis because I personally don't understand it, would that behoove me? No, obviously not in both cases. In reality it's a plain fact that finite element analysis makes me safer despite me knowing not much about it.

    "Argument by authority" is a handy rhetorical tactic but doesn't pertain to the real world, doesn't function successfully as a means of dismissing everything we as a culture understand..

    In the real world, we have to make decisions based on advice by specialists who know things we don't.

    What you are suggesting is a route to paralysis. Paralysis over synthetic doubt strangely enough is the same strategy that worked so successfully for decades  to keep us frozen in a state of suspended animation for dealing with climate change. 

    I think we'd all be interested in specific, defensible objections to the reports you cite as having problems. You're going to have to demonstrate superior skills in a variety of domains. Vague won't really do.

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  10. markpittsusa@ 4

    Your statements have been shown to be false by other people. I will make only one comment. You say "If you track down where the economic loss estimates are coming from, they are almost always made by climate scientists, not economists." And @8 he says "Have you questioned why few if any estimates by professional economists are included?"

    In my experience this is completely false. He provides no evidence of these assertions, and his many other assertions. They are completely fact free empty assertions. markpittsusa is clearly sloganeering (and trolling) which is forbidden by moderation policy. Moderation policy requires he back his assertions by providing references to specific research papers or academic articles or online data bases and the like, and he has not. He never has. Therefore its sloganeering. Surely he needs a warning or things start to get deleted?

    Here is a list of hundreds of journals dealing with environment and economics and with each authors background searchable and with many economists involved. That is a start and destroys the assertion that economists are not deeply involved in the climate issue.

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  11. Markpittsusa, you said exactly this:

    " It is climate specialists, not public health officials, making the most predictions."

    And then this:

    "I am basing this opinion on my familiarity with the big IPCC report from the end of last year, the Forth National Climate Assessment (for impacts on the US), and the influential Lancet report on health problems related to climate change - all from about the end of last year.]"

    Looking at Lancet report shows that numerous authors are public health specialists. This has nothing to do with authority at all. It simply shows that you either did not read the report or that you intentionally mispreresented the pool of authors. That was the only scope of my post. I made no argument on the usefulness or authority of experts, you did.

    I find it very intersting that your initial argument was that the concerning information did not come from experts, and then when it is shown that it actually does, you turn around to suggest that expertise does not confer authority. 

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  12. Doug & Philippe

    Re: The Forth National Assessment, Vol II

    Some things to consider:

    First, it is impossible to easily see the non-sensical aspects of this report because it is basically a summary of hundreds of articles. So, as a skeptical scientist, you have to go to the underlying articles to see if they make sense.

    Secondly, I am Not saying their analysis is wrong in the sense that they made up the data, or did the calculations wrong, or anything like that. But they are wrong in the senses of:
    — Garbage In Garbage Out (aka your assumptions determine your conclusions)
    — Correlation is Not Causation
    — Hundreds of Articles That All Cite the Same Few Sources Do Not Constitute Hundreds of Independent Findings

    Thirdly, many of the “scientific predictions” that were reported in the popular and social media concerning this report were the worst case (usually 2 standard deviation) scenarios. This is a big deal since much of what is said to be “science,” is not what scientists are predicting at all.

    Forth, we have to trust the experts. And we can’t pick and choose which experts to believe, right? The Forth NCA report ignores the economic loss estimates of the recent Nobel Prize winner William Nordhaus (mentioned 2 times) but instead relies heavily on the work those trained in climate science/ sustainability instead of economics (particularly the work of S. Hsiang, mentioned 33 times). If career bureaucrats choose to ignore the economic experts when making economic estimates, is the result science, or politics?

    [I will address specific scientific problems in the Forth NCA report in a later post.]

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  13. Doug & Philippe & Nigel,

    Your objections are understandable, but as my comment states, I need a little time to make my objections specific. I read the NCA report and related articles 9 months ago, and I don't remember many details.

    I think most skeptical scientists would want to hear my specific scientific objections (and then as Nigel suggests, you can ban me for making good points that go against your views.)

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  14. Mark:

    — Garbage In Garbage Out (aka your assumptions determine your conclusions)
    — Correlation is Not Causation
    — Hundreds of Articles That All Cite the Same Few Sources Do Not Constitute Hundreds of Independent Findings

    Having made those vague and hence unanswerable* claims, Mark, it's now incumbent on you to back all of them with specifics.

    Or don't. Everything is information.

    *"Unanswerable" comes in two main forms: unintelligible, or inarguable. 

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  15. Nigel,

    It would be helpful to me (really) if you could tell me who you think were the professional economists who contributed to estimating economic losses in the Forth NCA report.  (There are 177 references in that Part 14  of the report, so it's not obvious.)

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  16. Doug, please read my comment posted about 3 minutes before yours...

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Lacking link citations to support your claims, your assertions about the NCA4 are without merit and can safely be ignored.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Moderating this site can be a tiresome chore, particularly when commentators repeatedly make things up and misrepresent the words of others. We really appreciate people's cooperation in abiding by the Comments Policy, which is largely responsible for the quality of this site.
    Finally, please understand that moderation policies are not open for discussion.  If you find yourself incapable of abiding by these common set of rules that everyone else observes, then a change of venues is in the offing.

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

  17. I did, Mark, and what I read is that you've incurred a heavy debt of claims which you now need to pay back. 

    How about taking a pause on making more unsupported assertions and instead focus on paying off your balance?

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  18. markpittsusa @13

    "(and then as Nigel suggests, you can ban me for making good points that go against your views.)'

    Quit with shoving words in my mouth, and totally misrepresenting what I said.


    markpittsusa @15

    "It would be helpful to me (really) if you could tell me who you think were the professional economists who contributed to estimating economic losses in the Forth NCA report. (There are 177 references in that Part 14 of the report, so it's not obvious.)"

    Find out yourself. Stop being lazy. You are making wild accusations that defy even simple commonsense. It's therefore incumbent on you to provide proof, not me.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The onus is now on the user to whom you refer to either support his claims with link citations or to withdraw them.  He will also not be allowed to continue to misrepresent others here.

  19. A little time? For what?

    Markpittsusa, if you really looked at the Lancet review, you would have known that there was plenty of public health experts among the authors, so why portray it as the opposite?

    If you didn't look at the authorship, then again, why would you say that you were familiar with it enough to know about that particular point?

    These are indeed legitimate questions.

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  20. markpittsusa at 9 (on electric airplane thread)

    "When I say Hsiang is not an economist, I mean he has no formal training in economics, has never been part of an economics faculty, and has never published in a peer-reviewed economics journal.That is exactly the problem. He is a climate guy trying to do economics."

    Yes he has no economics qualification but that doesn't matter. He doesn't have to have this because 1) he has plenty of maths and economics experience if you google his history and publications and 2) The paper he authored has plenty of people with economics qualifications as in the list I posted. That's how science works. Like I said it tends to be a multi disciplinary team effort. And remember many qualifications in public policy subjects include units in economics.

    And your argument is flawed on another level because  its the "argument from authority" fallacy, namely that someones qualifications are not evidence their findings are correct or incorrect. Studies ultimately stand or fall on what they say. You have yet to prove the content of the study wrong.

    And you don't need a huge number of economists anyway. 


    markpittsusa (@11 on electric airplane thread)

    "I have provide detailed analysis that I (and I think most economists) would agree shows that only 1 in 8 directedly cited "experts" for mortality related economic costs are not trained in economics or public health."

    You have not provided a detailed analysis. You have sampled only a very small number of people involved in the section on heatwaves and all from a section on the physical sciences, as I showed, and so of course they would not include any economists or health experts, or certainly very few. I'm not sure why you don't seem to understand this.

    "Please share the names of the economists that you think contributed. The entire burden of proof is not mine alone."

    Yes the entire burden is on you. I'm happy with the report, therefore the burden of proof is on you. Innocent until proven guilty. I've read enough of these sorts of things to know they are multi disciplinary affairs. You appear to have jumped to conclusions of your own without checking properly. That's your problem, not mine.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Added backlink to original thread.

  21. It's just absurd to think people with degrees in atmospheric physics or climate science (and nothing else) would do detailed economic analysis and forecasting. They might dabble a little where their maths skills are relevant, but they would not be the primary source. They have neither the training, time or skills. That's why research papers on the relationship between hard sciences and the humanities like economics, or health fields have many authors in several disciplines.

    Scepticism is important and I get where Mark is coming from, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I prefer to target my scepticism at sensible things. If the paper reached unusual looking conclusions I would be sceptical of the content and I perhaps would check out the authors, but its not unusual. But each to their own interests.

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  22. Burden of Proof ?

    In our world of Realpolitik, the burden of proof is on the people who want to spend $100 trillion to change the world's energy systems.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] That would be a strawman argument. If your views are based in your political values and you cannot imagine a way to reduce CO2 emissions in a way that is compatible with your political views, then can you imagine any proof that would satify you? If not,  then this is not the site for you.

  23. markpittsusa @22

    "In our world of Realpolitik, the burden of proof is on the people who want to spend $100 trillion to change the world's energy systems."

    And the case has been adequately proven as far as I'm concerned. 


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  24. markpittsusa (@13 on the electric aircraft thread)

    "Economists Estimating Economic Costs of Climate Change Due to Labor Lost (16%) This comment concerns the lack of professional economists participating in the Labor Loss part of economic losses in that same report. The list below shows that only 3 of 19 experts (about 16%) of those estimating economic costs actually have educational or professional training in economics."

    Assumimg your numbers are correct, I have no problem with 3 economists out of 19 experts. It's about what I would expect. It looks entirely appropriate.Bear in mind many of those experts would have done units in economics at university (college) as part of their degrees. That is common practice with people with public policy degrees, and even scientists sometimes do units in economics.

    You haven't provided any evidence that 3 economists is not enough. It's also not clear that the labour productivity section footnotes would include all the people invloved in the study. So I'm just not sure what your problem is. Who are you to judge how many economists or other experts should be on these teams? Surely the decision is for the people involved in the studies? They will know what resources they need and how much.

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  25. “What’s wrong with climate scientists publishing in economics?” In my view such publications, per se, are not a problem.

    But you need only turn the NCA situation around to see why the selection of authors brings the report into doubt. Consider the following:

    Suppose, for example, that a government somewhere commissioned a major report on climate change which was primarily written by traditional economists, with only about 15% participation by traditional physical climate scientists.

    Now of course those economists would have taken 1 or 2 courses in climate science as part of their curriculum.

    Perhaps those economists had even published papers on climate science, but their publications were all in economics journals, not climate science journals.

    And assume further that the report’s findings were generally at variance with most climate scientists (including a recent Nobel Prize winning climate scientist.)

    If all this were to happen, climate scientists would (correctly) cry “Foul !”

    But what I’ve described is nearly the exact mirror image of the NCA report.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Sloganeering snipped.

  26. markpittsusa @25, your analogy doesn't make too much sense because a study on the physical sciences would never or rarely require an economist. The NCA and similar reports consider not just the science but also the impacts risks and adaption to climate change. Can we agree this is a very wide ranging issue? As  such you need a huge pool of information beyond what one person could do. The physical impacts are vast and encompass nearly every scientific discipline so not just atmospheric physics, but geology, biology, water conservation, crop production and literally dozens of other issues.

    But quantifying the economic impacts of all this only needs a few economists. Much of their work is computerised. For this reason the team of people producing the  NCA report is likely to be mainly various science and technology experts, and just a few economists. So the balance of people looks fine to me. 

    You have considerable pateience to track down peoples qualifications and it's not a bad sceptical exercise to go through, but I don't see that you have uncovered any problem, because theres clearly significant economic expertise involved. Just scanning the bibliography in the NCA reports and numerous economics research foundations are mentioned, and clearly they must employ plenty of economists. 

    But you have to apply a commonsense filter to scepticism. Very few climate scientists are going to do pure economic modelling and calculations. I know a little bit about economics, have read a couple of text books, and this is complex material and climate scientists don't know this stuff and why on earth would they try when they can simply get a couple of economists involved? If a climate expert did economic modelling and it turned out to be a mess which is quite likely, they would probably get caught out in peer review or by various sceptics and it would be painful, so climate scientists are not stupid, they delegate the economic calculations to economists or similar people. Climate scientists want to do climate science. There may be some exceptions but not that many.

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  27. The impossible expectation that expert resources must reach a supernatural level of omniscience seems like a variation of a familiar route to misunderstanding, covered here. 

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  28. Here is a timely piece from Oreskes and Stern on the intersection of climate science and economics: Climate Change Will Cost Us Even More Than We Think.

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  29. Mark  Pitts,

    So the  burden of proof lies with those who want to save money by building the cheaper systems. It seems to me like a no brained decision to build cheaper renewable energy and not expensive polluting fossil fuels.

    Why are you against cheaper energy?

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] That user has opted to recuse himself from further discussions here, finding the burden of compliance with this venue's Comments Policy too onerous.

  30. The 'contact form' link didn't work for me to inform Skeptical Science of an important research article in Nov4th edition of Nature Astronomy which states that the Universe is now considered to be a hypersphere as opposed to being flat. This is very relevant to climate science because new physics could prevail from this important new finding. New physics equals new theories on gravity which is extremely relevant to human scale tidal effects. 

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] If you feel that such an article merits the consideration of others here then the onus is on you to provide a link citation and a synopsis of why you feel it's relevant to the conversation and worthy of the time of others here.

  31. As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

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  32. I am just a average intelligence guy but am a voter and being such I would like to know why I should change my view that "there is no man made Global Warming".  I need facts and process on how its possible - not "we said so" or need need to "believe by faith".  I think if something is warming - like the seas and land it makes things around them warmer - NOT MUCH COLDER.  Explain to me how 2 extemely cold Polar Vortexes, back to back can set up so early in the season.  Since they are coming out of the Arctic region, and Ive been tol how hot it is up there this summer and fall, how can it drop down cold air into the U.S.  I was excited when I heard we were getting these dropping down as I thought we would warm up from all that warm air up there.  How can something hot make it REALLY COLD?  


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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Welcome to Skeptical Science.  As a first step, read the Newcomers, Start Here page.  Then read The Big Picture page.  Then, if you still have questions, use the Search function in the Upper Left portion of each page to find the most appropriate thread (read the thread first to ensure your questions are not already answered in it or in the comments section underneath).  Thousands of threads exist here.

  33. Did all that.  Hopefully someone can give a simple factual response.  I know if I turn on my stove burner and let it run for 10 minutes on high, then turn it off, and tell you to put your hand on it immediately and tell you its cold 2 seconds after.  You won't do it.  See, laws of scince apply.  Thermodynamics.  


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  34. Being very "warm" in the Arctic, means it is much warmer than the long term average. In some cases, annual average is 3-4C above normal. (If that doesnt sound much, that is like the temperature difference between New York and Memphis). However, while -6C is definitely warmer than -9C, it is still freaking cold. Anything coming out of the Arctic is much colder than air below it. Perhaps it would be better if you told us what informs your opinion that "there is no man made Global Warming"?

    Studies show that political beliefs are best predictor of peoples attitudes on climate change which is mind-boggling if you think about it. Facts dont matter? However, from experience here, if accepting the science around climate change is offensive to your political and tribal values, then no facts or studies are going to change your mind. If you want to embrace critical thinking instead motivated reasoning, think what information/developments would cause you to change your mind. Please dont insist on something that science says is impossible (like temperature rising uniformly with CO2 concentration). It seems that for most people however, opinions are formed by "my tribe doesnt go for that" followed by uncritically swallowing misinformation to helps them justify that claim. Fortunately, science doesnt work like that.

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  35. Why would you assume politics are forming my opinion?  My is formed by common sense and the laws of science.  You talk relatives term "colder in the Arctic than here in U.S.".  I know what temp water freezes at.  Most of your info says the Arctic caps have melted.  So I would at least assume the air mass would be 32 degrees or higher.  Should actually be much higher if its so far above normal up there over this past summer and fall.  I won't do what most GW do, that is to just take it by faith.  Most GW people take it by faith "by what some scientist say".  The facts and common sense don't line up in their favor, so they must do this.  I think an assumption you make is correct.  Most Liberal minded people automatically accept the view of GW.  Fits the agenda of the left.  Again, please explain Thermodynamics and how something at least 32 degrees can cause a massive Cold Air mass to set up, expecially so early in the season.  The exact opposite shouls occur logically.  HOT doesn't produce COLD.    


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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Please refrain from making political statements, per this site's Comments Policy.

  36. I would assume that if GW was so obvious and true - a simple common sense answer would be given. If an average intelligence person can't get a straight factual answer from the smart people, why should I change my mind? Just because someone says, "hey some experts say so, just believe them doesn't work for me" What if a president said "If you like your doctor you can keep him" - Why would I automatically trust him. Smart, powerful people can lie too. Proof is in the pudding. BTW - I'm a Libertarian. Nuetral minded. That is why I want facts, not experts opinions that contradict facts, common sense, and laws of nature.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Again, politics are off-topic and contrary to this site's Comments Policy.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

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

  37. I didnt assume - I pointed out that studies show that politics is the best predictor. It may not apply to you.

    "Most of your info says the Arctic caps have melted." Point me to one place on this site where it says the arctic cap has melted. I believe that this is a strawman argument. No reasonable discussion can be had if you choose to misrepresent what is stated. The arctic caps are definitely melting. At lowest, they dropped to around 4m km2 this year, but temperatures are above freezing in high arctic for only about 50-60 days of year. The influx of warm sea water and ice transport are major factors in continuing ice lose.

    Temperatures in high arctic are now more than 20C below zero so hardly surprizing it is cold. For information on what it is like in arctic in terms of temperature, seaice etc. I highly recommend the charts on For why you might be getting more polar air excursions to where you live, try

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  38. You might like to go to the thread here, read the article and tell us (on that thread) which statements you disagree with and why, preferrably references papers or data to back you position.

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  39. mzimbal7, what "massive cold air mass" are you refering to?

    The Arctic fall started quite a while ago and had time to produce cold air, which can then travel to a variety of places. How cold that air is compared to seasonal averages is another story.

    The Danish Meteorological institute has sea surface temperatures, with animations:

    They also have mean temperatures north of 80 degrees lattitude, with archives:

    The anomaly (departure from mean) is available here:

    They also have a lot of information on Greenland.


    NSIDC also keeps records on a variety of data on the Arctic.

    NOAA has a lot of data readily available, updates, analyses, etc, here is an example:


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  40. "If an average intelligence person can't get a straight factual answer from the smart people, why should I change my mind?"

    It is much easier to give a straight answer if we have a straight question, not one that is loaded with misunderstanding and misconceptions.

    Denying that world is warming in face of the obvious evidence is extremely odd, but people do it, requiring incredibly convolted leaps of reasoning.

    However, the attribution of global warming to particular cause is a complex process and require somewhat more study because climate and radiative physics are not exactly high school level topics.

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  41. That the climate changed naturally before the impacts of humans became the dominant forcing of climate is uncontentious.

    That the impacts of human activities are now the dominant forcing of climate is equally uncontentious, from a scientific basis.

    Scientists have evaluated all natural forcings and factors capable of driving the Earth's climate to change, including the slow, long-term changes in the Earth’s movement around the Sun (Milankovitch cycles or orbital forcings), and it is only when the anthropogenic forcing is included that the observed and ongoing warming since 1750 can be explained.

    Natural vs Anthropogenic Climate Forcings, per the NCA4, Volume 2, in 2018:


    Scientists have also quantified the warming caused by human activities since preindustrial times and compared that to natural temperature forcings.

    Changes in the sun's output falling on the Earth from 1750-2011 are about 0.05 Watts/meter squared.

    By comparison, human activities from 1750-2011 warm the Earth by about 2.83 Watts/meter squared (AR5, WG1, Chapter 8, section 8.3.2, p. 676).

    What this means is that the warming driven by the GHGs coming from the human burning of fossil fuels since 1750 is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.


    In the early 20th century human activities caused about one-third of the observed warming and most of the rest was due to low volcanic activity. Since about 1950 it's all humans and their activities.

    Further, the detection of the human fingerprint in the observed tropospheric warming caused by the increase in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases like CO2 has reached 6-sigma levels of accuracy.

    There have been many, many scientific studies over the past 175 years examining the properties of greenhouse gases, the radiative physics of carbon dioxide and the role it plays in the Earth’s atmosphere. One of the most comprehensive, recent and openly-accessible is the US 4th National Climate Assessment (Volume 1, released in 2017 and Volume 2, released in 2018). You can download the whole thing or by chapter:


    In short, human activities (primarily via the human burning of fossil fuels) have warmed the globe, which in turn are impacting the Earth’s climate.

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