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Why the Republican Party's climate policy obstruction is indefensible

Posted on 5 July 2017 by dana1981

Two weeks ago, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) had an exchange with Trump’s Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry about climate change. 

Perry’s responses perfectly summarized the Republican Party’s current position on the subject. The problem is that it’s an indefensible position.

Wrong on the science

The Republican position is based upon a rejection of established climate science. When confronted with the conclusion that global warming is 100% due to human activities, Perry responded, “I don’t believe that ... don’t buy it.” But of course it’s not a matter of belief – that’s what the scientific evidence indicates. There have been dozens of studies quantifying the various contributions to recent global warming. I summarized ten of them in the chart below (details here), and the answer is clear:

all of it

Human contribution to global surface warming over the past 50 to 65 years based on ten peer-reviewed studies (see for details). Illustration: Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook

That’s why the latest IPCC report likewise included a best estimate that humans are responsible for all of the global warming since 1950. During that time, solar activity has slightly declined, and there haven’t been any significant natural warming factors. Perry talked about “the warming and cooling of our ocean waters,” but the oceans have likewise steadily absorbed heat due to human-caused global warming.

On this issue there’s a 97% expert consensus whether you survey climate scientists or their public statements or their peer-reviewed literature. And the greater the climate science expertise of those surveyed, the higher the consensus.

Many Republican policymakers will now admit, like Perry, that humans have “some impact” on the climate. That simply represents an acceptance of 150-year-old science. They don’t deserve much credit for finally accepting science that was first established when John Quincy Adams was president.

Wrong on risk management

There’s a chance the less than 3% fringe minority of contrarian climate scientists are right. It’s a slim chance, given that their research doesn’t withstand scientific scrutiny, is full of errors, and their alternative explanations are all contradictory, but it’s not impossible.

But that’s like saying there’s a chance that if I chain smoke cigarettes for 50 years I won’t develop lung cancer. Or that I’ll never get in a car accident, or that my home will never be broken into or catch fire. Those are all possibilities, but people generally don’t like to take big risks with our health, or important purchases like cars and homes without having an insurance policy.

With Earth’s climate, there is no insurance policy. Either it remains stable and habitable or it becomes increasingly unstable and uninhabitable. In that sense the smoking analogy is quite apt. The more we smoke, the more we increase our chances of developing cancer. The more carbon pollution we dump into the atmosphere, the more we increase the odds of destabilizing Earth’s climate. We can either take that risk, or we can cut down our smoking or carbon pollution to minimize it. 

As it stands, climate change may represent humans’ worst-ever risk management failure, and climate inaction is decidedly anti-conservative.

Wrong on economics

Currently, most Republican policymakers don’t want to take any action to curb America’s carbon pollution (with the exception of about 10% of House Republicans). Like Rick Perry, they will often cite concerns about economic impacts to justify climate policy opposition. That’s exactly backwards.

In reality, climate inaction is the expensive route, and climate polices could potentially save tens of trillions of dollars. That’s the conclusion not of some tree-hugging environmental group, but of Citibank – America’s third-largest bank. Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions published a report in 2015 finding that investment costs alone in a climate action scenario would be $2 trillion lower than in an inaction, fossil fuel investment scenario. In other words, even if the 97% consensus is wrong, investing as though it were correct would save money. And if the 97% consensus is right, Citi found that slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars more.

It’s not just the Citibank report; there’s a 95% consensus among economists that the US government should commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Only 1% of economists disagree. 41% of economists think climate change is already hurting the global economy, 63% think it will by 2025, 89% by 2050, and 97% by 2100.

Wrong on ethics and morality

Sadly, today’s wealthy policymakers won’t feel the impacts of their climate policy obstruction. Today’s youth, and especially people in poorer countries who are least responsible for the problem will most suffer the consequences.

America is the world’s biggest net carbon polluter, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, and has joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries rejecting the Paris climate agreement. Nicaragua objected that the agreement was too weak, and Syria was mired in a civil war. Essentially, Trump and the Republican Party stand alone in rejecting the need for climate action, despite the country’s responsibility for the problem and resources available to address it. We’re forcing the rest of the world to clean up our dangerous mess. It’s a grossly immoral and unethical position.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 72:

  1. Republican politicians tend to have been in business or have ties to the business sector. They have been responsible for large corporations, or managing other peoples money, or are contracted to produce results and profits, and maybe they see climate science as threatening to that and their friends in the business sector. 

    But thats not really an excuse to deny basic science, or irresponsibly damage the environment, or promote dubious modes of business behaviour. Clearly plenty of executives have acted unethically at times, for example the GFC exposed this. Politicians deregulated the business sector, and created an environment conducive to unethical behaviour. We the public should not have to put up with any of this.

    Making a profit is not a reason to cut corners. The rest of us have to do our jobs correctly and within ethical guidlines, and various rules, so the same should apply to everyone. Nobody is above the law, or simple ethics, and responsible behaviour.

    I'm pro business, but voters are stupid if they keep voting for parties that over protect the business sector.

    It would be great if the Republicans (and a large part of their voting base) just took a deep breath and look at examples like Vovo Car's, who clearly accept the problem, given they are moving to 100% production of electrics and hybrids. So their ceo, executives, owners and managers clearly have a different attitude to the envionment than the Republican Party. Maybe they are just smarter business people as well, and see the writing on the wall.

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  2. It is deplorable when someone who does not have the capability to understand complicated important matters gets promoted to the level of their clear incompetence (the Peter Principle). It is more deplorable when that person's boss is as incompetent at being the Boss of that role.

    Rick Perry first claimed he was a skeptic then proved that he was not a skeptic. When faced with something that doesn't sound reasonable a skeptic would say they will have to investigate the matter to better understand it and promise to return with an honest response after achieving a better understanding. Rick Perry did not do that regarding the best explanation of what has been going on as presented by the Lead Scientist on the BEST Team.

    So Rick Perry showed that he was incapable of investigating, or unwilling to investigate, a matter to be sure he understood it. That makes him undeniably incapable of properly performing the responsibilities of his appointed leadership role. He should be removed from the role and b required to take training and pass tests to prove he has developed the required capabilities before getting a similar role. If he tries to excuse his statement and claim he actually did know better then he is worse than incompetent and should be penalised in addition to being removed from his role.

    What I have presented above regarding Rick Perry applies in properly Lead Businesses and Governments.

    The fact that Trump has not removed Rick Perry from the role he has proven his lack of ability to properly perform should be adequate proof that The Boss is also not capable of properly performing the duties of the President.

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  3. A minor phrasing corrrection to my earlier comment:

    "What I have presented above regarding Rick Perry applies when deserving/responsible Leaders are acting in Businesses and Governments."

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  4. The New York Times has published an email based interview of Noam Chomski. The interview presents an interesting perspective on Team Trump and who the supporting trouble-makers really are (spoiler alert - it is not Russian Hackers attempting to rig the election).

    An interesting point made is that Climate Change and Nuclear War are Noam's top identified concerns (and it is hard to argue against that) with the current USA leadership and its supporters being the major concern related to those two concerns (also hard to argue against).

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  5. I am soooo embarassed. I had meant to spell Chomsky correctly but I put the link in first and finished typing my thought then hit submit before the thought to confirm the spelling resurfaced.

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  6. Rightly or wrongly, I think that ClimateGate had a very damaging effect on the climate change views of conservatives everywhere.  It is very similar to evidence given by a witness testifying in some legal case who is  completely honest in his testimony until the last question, where, in his desire to "win the case" for whatever side, he  "fudges" his last answer.  The cross-examining lawyer then leads another witness who proves on that very point that the witness was not telling the truth.  For any jury, ALL of the evidence of that witness is tainted.  I truly think this happened with this issue.  Judith Curry has herself admitted that this made her seriously question her position which was until then "mainstream".   It is just about irrelevant now as to what was or was not the intention of those emails.  The damage has been done.  End of story.

    When you add this to the issue of the "hiatus" of X number of years whether or not it was really there (the IPCC at least in 2013 coined that term) has added to the legitimate questions of conservatives that are we being led down a garden path.  The models did not predict this and therefore are unreliable.    That is not an unreasonable position to take IF the hiatus really occurred.  For now let us not get into arguments about this because you will NOT convince the Republicans by one "new study" that shows that the IPCC was mistaken. 

    Then you add on John Christy's famous graph which so impressed Steve Koonin between the predictions of the models and the actual observations (see APS panel hearing below).  Do you not think that those pressing the Republicans not to do anything on the climate change file have not read the transcript of the APS panel hearing where three (3) of the top IPCC contributing climate scientists, Collins, Hand and Santer, admitted that the model predictions do not track the observations?  Their answer was that they do not trust the observations.  Can you not see how this would make conservatives suspicious?

    So "97% of climate scientists" does not cut it with Republicans.  They simply do not trust the climate scientists believing, rightly or wrongly, that their bread and butter is really based upon making sure that climate change is primarily man-made.  Can anyone really be a scientist and say that 100% of climate change is man-made?  On  that point I fully agree with Perry.  Climate change has been on-going for the life of the planet and the man-made CO2 emissions simply cannot be 100% unless you have strong evidence that we are in a natural "cooling period".  It is not possible that the climate naturally is not going either up or down.  When you say "100%" you sound like an extremist.  Most people, and especially conservatives, do not like extremists.  Not a smart thing to say.

    But back to the Republican position.  When they see there are real-life climate scientists like Judith Curry (who I have to admit sounds much more balanced than Michael Mann in testimony before the various Congress committees and who is not subject to any "ad hominem" attacks that seem to be levelled at Christy and Lindzen), then the "red team blue team" approach with other scientists (primarily physicists I hope) may be the best answer to the Republicans.  Give it a go and see what happens.  If the Koch Bros result happens again, then you will have a very legitimate and strong position to force the Republicans to act.  If their own "red team blue team" comes to the conclusion that CO2 emissions are really the cause then we are at least then only into the question of how much warming and decisions as to how best to approach this.  So I say, fully support the "red team blue team" even if it has been done before. 

    Once we get past what Dessler calls "positive statements" (in his very good book on climate change) which are the facts, then we can get into "normative statements" on what we think the results are in economic terms and what we should do about it, both as to mitigation and adaptation.

    I do suspect that such a "red team blue team" debate will get bogged down on the facts and largely because we do not have the proper instruments to measure what is happening year to year.  If the result is that the Republicans do at least decide to dedicate much more money to funding both weather/climate satellites and water buoys and on-land temperature measurements then it will be a "win" for the majority of climate scientists who believe that we are the cause.

    What I found most unsatisfying about the APS panel struck in 2014 to re-evaluate their statement on Climate Change is that after having somewhat of an "appellate hearing" there were no "reasons for judgment", just a decision by the Board of Directors of the APS one year later to effectively stick with their previous statement.  I have no problem with them sticking with their same statement but by providing their reasons they could have provided massive "independent evidence" outside the climate science community that man made warming is a major threat to our world.  On another post, I have made reference to the APS panel.  You can read the APS Workshop Framework Questions and transcript of the proceeding with 6 of the top climatologists on both sides of this debate on the website just searching "Climate Change Policy Review".

    I just think the climate science community has to do a reality check.  Trump won and he in all likelihood is here for at least for the remainder of his first term and possibly 8 years (would Pence be any better?).  Anyone who does not accept this is really like the ostrich in the sand pictured on the home page of this website. 

    I personally am very unhappy with this situation but the American people have spoken!  Get used to it!  As Winston Churchill has noted, democracy is close to unworkable but compared to the alternatives, it is the best.  Comey must stay awake at nights realizing how he might have turned the course of history.  


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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "ClimateGate"

    Please better familiarize yourself with the content here.  For example, your meme has been debunked, in that 9 separate investigations have completely exonerated all scientists of all charges.

    "The manufactured controversy over emails stolen from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit has generated a lot more heat than light. The email content being quoted does not indicate that climate data and research have been compromised. Most importantly, nothing in the content of these stolen emails has any impact on our overall understanding that human activities are driving dangerous levels of global warming. Media reports and contrarian claims that they do are inaccurate."


    The Skeptical Science post on the topic

    Further, the court has ruled that academic emails can be withheld:

    "emails are proprietary records dealing with scholarly research and therefore exempt from disclosure"


    And the original fake news articles have all been retracted by the organizations that published them.

  7. Noam Chomsky talks plenty of sense. His book "Who Rules the World" is a recent  introduction to the full range of his views, and chapter 11 the doomsday clock covers climate change and nuclear issues. He also discusses neoliberalism.

    This guy has some "new deal" leaning economic views which I partly agree with, but some dont like. I suggest put economic ideological bias aside. His main points are more related to political values and foreign policy, where he is just asking that America be consistent, that they apply to themselves and their own government the rather high standards they demand of everyone else. 

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  8. NorrisM @6, while I agree that "climategate" was damaging, your analysis does not give the reason. 

    In the first instance, while the climate scientists may have used a poor choise of words in several (among many thousands of) emails, multiple independant investigations showed they had done nothing wrong as regards science (one was guilty of trying to avoid Freedom of Information requirements).  This is even demonstrable on the public record, with the most damaging accusations being that the scientists "hid the decline" whereas they had discussed the decline in late twentieth century tree ring widths (ie, the decline in question) in multiple publicly available scientific papers.  Several more damaging accussations were complete fictions; ie, the people making the accussation were involved in fraudulent behaviour in making and presenting "evidence" for the accussation.

    Secondly, even if the scientists in question had been guilty of scientific misconduct, they represented a handful of scientists among literally thousands of climate scientists.  In almost all industries, cases of misconduct will rise well above the approx 1% level that would imply.  The people rushing to condemn climate science do not typically condemn those industries of dishonesty on that greater basis, so it is not true that they are condemning climate science on that much smaller sample.

    Thirdly, the climate "skeptics" in general, and nearly all of them in particular, have been guilty of demonstrable dishonesty or sharp practise on a regular basis.  So much so that it is difficult to find a single "skeptical" paper in recent times that does not involve blatant misrepresentation of either what others have claimed, basic science, or observed facts.  This far more wide spread dishonesty has not resulted in a general distrust of climate "skeptics", or their positions.  Therefore they have not rejected climate science because of the purported dishonesty of climate scientists.

    The second two points rely on a fundamental of causation, ie, that like causes have like responses.  This is a factor in reasoning.  If we do not trust x because of circumstances, y, then we will also not trust x' if an exactly similar set of circumstances, y' applies.  The exception is with motivated reasoning.  That is, when we do not trust x because we do not like the message they give, but we asribe the mistrust to circumstances y to give a cloak of rationality to our mistrust.  If we then come across x' who gives a message we do like, even though exactly similar circumstances, y' apply, we will trust them because the actual reason for our distrust was the dislike of the message.

    To be honest, most conservatives are probably not that direct.  They may reject climate science simply because Pravda on the Hudson (ie, Fox News) does so, which they in turn trust because of motivated reasoning; while Fox News gives great, and very distorted prominence to "climategate" while concealing the many distortions of their regular contributors on climate.

    The same motivated reasoning applies to rejection of consensus messaging, as it implicitly means accepting Scott Westerfield's far more implausible "plot idea":

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  9. Norris M @6

    Interesting comments, but I largely disagree.

    "Rightly or wrongly, I think that ClimateGate had a very damaging effect on the climate change views of conservatives everywhere. "

    Well it probably didn't help their views. I  can appreciate that much. 

    People do get tainted by one so called mistake (alleged in the cause of climategate), but that is very shallow to dismiss people on that basis.

    It's also very much "wrongly" that climate gate tainted anyones views. I'm a political moderate, with a reasonably  decent arts, technical and some science education. It only took me five minutes reading the actual evidence of climate gate and both sides of debate and commentary, to see there was literally nothing there, nothing wrong. Numerous investigations have also concluded the same.

    People concluding otherwise, must want to conclude otherwise, and are being irrational. I do however agree it was an unfortuante thing and rather bad luck, but to claim it means the damage is irreversible is absurd, innacurate and lazy thinking.

    "Judith Curry has herself admitted that this made her seriously question her position which was until then "mainstream"

    Her views are in a small minority of climate scientists, and she does not have a spectacular research record or any great clarity on anything, in fact she is rather vague about things. So please explain why you give her views prominence.

    "The hiatus"

    So much rubbish is talked about this. Firstly the latest information shows the pause was more of a short blip, and entirely within expectations. Last years temperatures changed everything.

    It's at least partly  inaccurate to claim models didn't predict the pause. All models without exception expect flat periods, but its impossible to predict them exacly because short term natural variation is slightly random. Models have been reasonably reliable predicting temperatures, as evidenced by articles on this website.

    Things are still slightly under predictions, but only slightly and this is not enough to be concerned about. Republicans dont appear to want to hear that, instead they seem to hear, things are not 100% as predicted to within millimetres, so everything must be wrong. With respect this is childish, self interested, and intellectually empty thinking, and they are smarter than that.

    "For now let us not get into arguments about this because you will NOT convince the Republicans by one "new study" that shows that the IPCC was mistaken. "

    So you are saying don't even try because people are so stubborn with minds closed? Humanity might as well give up. Just imagine your outrage if Hilary Clinton said something like that. Nobody needs to be that closed minded.

    Remember the only evidence that really counts is the science, and weight of scientific evidence, and it all points one way. Not politics, or character of climate scientists, or scandals, or occasional mistakes, or the like. One mistake on a minor point does not make an entire theory wrong, or key conclusions wrong. Climate change theory is built on wide evidence, not one piece of evidence.

    "So "97% of climate scientists" does not cut it with Republicans. They simply do not trust the climate scientists believing, rightly or wrongly, that their bread and butter is really based upon making sure that climate change is primarily man-made."

    Well that is just foolish thinking. Scientists are not exaggerating to manufacture work. Scientists get work in all sorts of fields because its needed, without glamourising everything.  

    We could turn around and say we dont trust politicians because their bread and butter depends on xyz, or business people or anyone. The world cannot and doesn't work like that or it would come to a complete stop . You have to have fundamental trust in professionals, unless they personally start to consistently act otherwise. Now look at the many, many false claims by Donald Trump, and there you have someone of dubious integrity.

    Basically people just do their jobs, and scientists are no different. They very critical of each other if they can find fault, because its in their interests. 

    "Can anyone really be a scientist and say that 100% of climate change is man-made? "

    Obviously yes, if thats what the science finds, and it does or very close to it. It's like certain diseases have very precise causes.

    "Climate change has been on-going for the life of the planet and the man-made CO2 emissions simply cannot be 100% unless you have strong evidence that we are in a natural "cooling period". "

    There is overwhelming evidence that we are in a natural cooling period. The solar energy output of the sun has been in a decades long cooling phase. Review "Is it the sun" on this website. This is a key reason for scientists beings concerned, quite apart from the evidence and calculations that point at CO2.

    "It is not possible that the climate naturally is not going either up or down. "

    No because the science doesn't find this. There are over 12,000 research papers on climate change, and many look at this aspect. How many would be enough for you?

    "When you say "100%" you sound like an extremist. Most people, and especially conservatives, do not like extremists. Not a smart thing to say."

    Maybe so, but when they said 90% that was too extreme as well. Seriously do we have science here, or "pc" correctness on an acceptable level? What is an "acceptable level" and why? 

    "But back to the Republican position. When they see there are real-life climate scientists like Judith Curry (who I have to admit sounds much more balanced than Michael Mann in testimony before the various Congress committees and who is not subject to any "ad hominem" attacks that seem to be levelled at Christy and Lindzen),"

    With respect, you are being one eyed. There's fault on both sides. Michael Mann gets abuse each week for example. Forget the short tempers, and look at the scientific research.

    "then the "red team blue team" approach with other scientists (primarily physicists I hope) may be the best answer to the Republicans"

    It's a staged, dubious sort of enquiry that can achieve nothing new. It's too small. The IPCC is much, larger and they include sceptics as well as so called warmists, and rotate new scientists on each review panel. You have a very good process, but most people haven't read what really happens overall, only biased little snippets of information taken out of context.

    The rest of the world has moved on while the Republicans alone seem stuck. You are just engaging in delaying tactics yet again, and we are sick of it for over a decade now. The rest of the world has seen through the ruse, and moved on to accept the obvious reality of human caused warming.

    "Once we get past what Dessler calls "positive statements" (in his very good book on climate change)"

    It's a very dubious book, and it's not about books and opinions, it's about the weight of published evidence in proper journals.

    "I just think the climate science community has to do a reality check. Trump won and he in all likelihood is here for at least for the remainder of his first term and possibly 8 years (would Pence be any better?). "Anyone who does not accept this is really like the ostrich in the sand pictured on the home page of this website."

    That's a real laugh given Trumps approval ratings are so low. I doubt he will even survive this term, and chances of re-election look slim. I'm sorry he is probably a good family man, but imho he is a confidence trickster, and does not have solidly founded policies and beliefs.

    "I personally am very unhappy with this situation but the American people have spoken!'

    Yeah sure. All your previous comments suggest otherwise. 

    "Churchill has noted, democracy is close to unworkable but compared to the alternatives, it is the best. "

    Well I would agree on that, but not with much else.

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  10. NorrisM @6 ,

    regarding the APS (American Physical Society) workshop/review of global warming [carried out in January 2014] and its 500+ page transcript (fortunately each page is brief!!!) :-

    I have read through the transcript, with particular attention to the sections which you highlighted (in another thread) as showing dubious science and/or dubious answers/fudging ..... and I must say I found nothing substantive there which could be taken as overthrowing the mainstream science.     Nothing at all.    So I must beg you to be specific in nominating and clarifying any points which you feel strongly could support the denialist position (other than points of sheer empty rhetoric — of which there were many!!!!).

    And in support of my statement above : it comes as no surprise that the senior officials/scientists/physicists of the APS found nothing substantive enough to justify them altering the APS Statement on AGW and climate science.

    Furthermore, you will have noted that the review panel workshop date was January 2014 : just before the 3 record hot years 2014 / 2015 / 2016 (plus year-to-date in 2017) gave added demonstration of how empty and unreal were the claims that Global Warming had stopped.   On top of that, the accompanying tropospheric warming now shows Christy's own claims to be wrong.  And also reinforcing that Lindzen is very, very wrong.

    Tom Curtis and Nigelj have indicated the false reasoning i.e. "motivated reasoning" used by many science-deniers such as Koonin Lindzen Christy and Curry.  It must be highly likely that Curry's claim that "Climategate" suddenly converted her away from mainstream science ..... is a factitious claim made in retrospect : a demonstration of "motivated reasoning" on her part.  After all, numerous independent reviews have shown that the "Climategate" allegations were a beat-up over nothing substantive.  And what real scientist would alter her views, citing evidence known to be false?!

    That is why the Republican politicians' professed desire for "Red Team" reassessment, is pure poppycock.  All they wish to do is achieve further years of delaying tactics, and at the same time give the public the impression that the genuine climate scientists are sufficiently moved by doubt of their own position (as to agree that review is necessary).

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  11. nijelj and Tom Curtis.  Thanks, some very interesting replies. 

    As a non-scientist (and Canadian) I am just trying to get a handle on a very important issue looking on from the outside given that the main battleground is in the US.  Please be assured that I think that the election of Trump is one of the scariest things to happen in my life.   My concern is that everything that I have read and listened to (Sam Harris podcasts especially) tells me that we have Trump for a long time unless evidence is uncovered showing that Trump personally colluded with the Russians.  But all that means is that we end up with Pence as President.  Given my views on religion, this is just as scary a prospect. 

    So my point is that a "new" red team blue team is about the only thing that I think the Republicans will undertake.  If this ultimately gets more money for observational equipment, then that would be a positive. 

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  12. NorrisM@6 said: "ClimateGate had a very damaging effect... It is very similar to evidence given by a witness testifying in some legal case... For any jury, ALL of the evidence of that witness is tainted."

    I'm constantly amazed how often climate deniers use the Law as an example to Science.  Who has a more questionable reputation, lawyers or scientists?   Next time I see a scientist chasing an ambulance I'll revise my opinion.  For example, deniers keep harping on the exact timing of the demise of the Arctic summer sea ice.  It is apparently really, really important to them that the scientists accurately predict the exact year when Arctic summer sea ice disappears.  Who, other than a lawyer, performs this kind of misdirection?  Hey, prosecutor, 80% of the sea ice is already gone!  Past tense.  In the last 30 years.  Outside a courtroom, is there any question where the remaining 20% is headed?

    Those of us fighting what is going on need to be aware that we are fighting rooms full of lawyers, and their speciality is misdirection.  A favorite is 'moving the goalposts': like suddenly its no longer sufficient to point out that 80% of Arctic summer sea ice is gone, scientists must now predict exactly when the remaining 20% will be gone or their reputations will be ruined, their testimony tainted, and climate denial justified for the rest of eternity.  

    The appeal to jurisprudence is how NorrisM can point to the 'hiatus' and render judgement, "The models did not predict this and therefore are unreliable."  But barrister, outside the kind of courtroom that found OJ Simpson guiltless of murder, any model of reality fundamentally cannot beat reality.  It's not possible.  It can only beat other models.  It's not the fault of scientists if the Heartland Institute won't produce any.  What you really should be asking yourself, NorrisM, is: 'Why won't they?'.  That would at least lead you to a constructive outcome.

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  13. 1. The only honest climate "sceptics" are those who are rather unfamiliar with the material: people who out of some sort of misguided ideological loyalty to their group or tribe think that it is another left-wing progressive government ploy, out to destroy traditional values, work, and families. The rest are being disingenuous at best. Those who are taking a group position may be open to changing their minds under the right circumstances, probably not by learning about IR-bands and CO² molecules, but by appeals to their loyalty and conservatism which mandate not running down the farm before handing it over to their children.
    The others are not well-intentioned or well-meaning people.

    2. Just because 97% of [climate] scientists have stated that anthropogenic climate change is real does not mean that the other 3% have good theories and other data sets showing the opposite. Far from it. That would mean there are a lot of bona fide scientists with reasonable alternate theories whose research and credentials are impeccable. That is not true: finding sceptics that you can parade around as "real" scientists is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. That is why you keep meeting the same very small handful of star-status sceptics, none of whom are close to producing some synthesis of theoretical grounds on why the data has not been interpreted correctly and can be better explained by their alternative.

    3. Staffing a red team (Richard Muller is no longer a candidate) with qualified specialists is therefore pretty much mission impossible. It's like equipping moderate "rebels". After ½ a $billion there were 5 rebels, who immediately passed their equipment on to the other side to which they defected at the first encounter. Educating new candidates for your red team would be like cupping some sea water and crossing the entire beach — they would be convinced by the material as soon as they started understanding the efforts and results undertaken so far.

    4. If there were qualified scientists with convincing alternate explanations of the facts, they could make a killing$. Such a person would be herded into every studio and corporate office around.

    5. The whole sceptical delusion is a disorder that only seems to occur in a select group of Anglo-Saxon countries, much like an infection, mainly due to patterns of media ownership and corporate funded think tanks and lobbyists.

    >> Only rhetorical and political considerations remain. It is time for investments in energy alternative and research in the same order of magnitude as military spending: this is one war we cannot afford to lose. People on the wrong side of this issue have to be outed as dummies, fakes, mercenaries, nincompoops, malevolent charlatans, hired ideologues, whores. None of the talking points are remotely plausible for anybody who takes the time to look into the actual science and responses by scientists. People who raise the "talking points" need to be pointed in the right direction once or twice, but any sign of perseverance means it is willful stupidity.
    Against the foolhardy even the gods contend in vain.

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  14. Anybody seen this paper I hear the deniers crowing about today?

    Wallace, Aleo, and Idso.

    They're saying it's peer reviewed, yada yada. If anyone could point me to a debunking of this, I'd appreciate it.

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  15. This seems to be an updated 2016 paper,

    Also, this seems to largely be related to these two topics:

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  16. NorrisM @12

    Thank's for clarifying your views on Trump and Pence. I was probably a little unfair to have suggested you were being disingenuous. It was just impatience on my part.

    Just briefly on the issue, because I'm more interested in the red, blue team issue. I have the same reaction, Trump is scary, and Pence is too ultra conservative for me and particularly regarding religion. I could much more easily accept someone like Reagon.

    I'm also not impressed with politicians who just make things up, and while they are literally all guilty of this, and none of us are perfect, Trump is in a class of his own.

    When people cannot even agree on basic facts, theres nothing left but fighting and tension, or even all out civil war.

    However I would prefer Pence by a small margin. I have real concerns that Trump could start an unnecessary war, and this is the greater concern for me living in NZ, as such things have global implications outside America, either militarily or econiomically, so Pence seems preferable from my own admittedly self interested perspective. But surely none of us want a war? Especially another war that literally doesn't make sense.

    I have mixed feelings about Trump surviving the first term. It would be hard to impeach him, although moves have already started in earnest. The Russia thing is a mystery, and I would not like to guess an outcome. Perhaps Trump is teflon coated like certain other presidents, and it's common with shrewd politicians, but he is so mired in so many scandals that there's quite a high probability he might not survive the first term.

    I doubt he will be re-elected unless his attitudes change. Republicans have no love for him. However much may depend on the economy, as this determines politicians fates more than anything.

    I'm still very sceptical about your red blue team. I suppose if it produces more funding that would be nice. JW Rebel has raised some good points.

    I would do as you yourself say in general, and "step back and look at the issues from the outside". The scientific community are unlikely to take the red blue team seriously as its just a smaller version of the IPCC, and set up by people with a very strong hatred of climate science, so hardlly objective people. The rest of the world will see it as a jacked up joke of a process, that may be biased and untrustworthy. The Australians would call it a sort of Kangaroo Court. So whatever the result, it is likely to have poor credibility. And who would be on the panel? It will be hard to find exemplary people, and if its staffed with numerous sceptics it will be considered a joke by the rest of the world.

    I think Tom Curtis made a key point about sceptics. Yes, I would accept climate scientists like Michael Mann are not perfect. The last IPCC report had a mistake about Himilayan Glaciers, (one mistake in a document over a thousaand pages long, and not actually remotely crucial to basic climate theory). This stuff gets enormous publicity, but rarely does the so called "media" do a review of the numerous mistakes made by "sceptics" and believe me they are numerous. 

    So yes what might ultimately count most is the substance of someones ideas, we should never forget that, but one side in this debate has far more general credibility, and its not the sceptics. But the mass media are corporate owned, and have done a cynical and I believe deliberate job protecting the sceptics from any real scrutiny. 

    Sceptics are always sure they are right about everything and never admit uncertainty, ever. Have you noticed this? They do come across like lawyers. In comparison the IPCC meticulously documents varying levels of certainty across varying things.

    Ultimately the sceptical campaign is a huge delaying tactic.

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  17. Contributing my 2c.

    "The models did not predict this and therefore are unreliable."  This is a rhetorical trick - a straw man. Models have no skill at decadal prediction, never claim to. If you look at individual model runs,

    pauses are not uncommon.

    Going back to early times, I think republicans had a visceral response to AGW from combination of sounds expensive/more govm't/less freedom/Al Gore is fat. From there it is look for reason to discount it. "Climategate" gave one. I would suspect 99% read the damaging attacks from denialists and believed them as confirming what they suspected without making any effort to seek out context despite climate scientists almost immediately providing that context. Investigations of course did look at context and exonerated the scientist but I doubt many read the detail, preferring to claim whitewash/cover up.

    Why are US and particularly GOPers so locked in denial? More interesting question. To me it seems "critical thinking" skills are completely lost. I wonder whether there is a deep distrust in teaching critical thinking least it lead to atheism? The red/blue team idea seems to indicate a strong tendency to legal thought and process rather scientific.

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  18. "Many Republican policymakers will now admit, like Perry, that humans have “some impact” on the climate. That simply represents an acceptance of 150-year-old science. They don’t deserve much credit for finally accepting science that was first established when John Quincy Adams was president."

    And the understanding that something was making the Earth warmer that it would otherwise be if it re-radiated directly the all energy back into space that it receives from the Sun goes way back to the late 1600s.

    The Trump administration and many republicans are stuck way back in the Middle Ages on this topic when many people believed in succubi and succubuses and such things. Then again maybe they still believe in those things as well.

    Taking an anti-information position can not and will not work in the real world.

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  19. @too

    thanks. so, not peer reviewed, just updating an old non-peer reviewed paper?

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  20. Supak @14

    I had a very quick scan through this research paper out of curiosity.  James P Wallace is some obscure engineer. It doesnt appear to have been conducted by climate scientists. I dont claim any specific climate expertise, but I take an interest, and the paper was easy to follow.

    The paper makes claims there are a lot of adjustments in temperature which accentuate a warming trend, that they consider suspicious and unwarrented. Maybe they are starting to see conspiracy theories. But they have to prove in meticulous detail why those adjustments would be invalid, and they just haven't really done this from what I can see.

    The most interesting and useful graph is fig1v-1 on page 11 which shows global temperatures, and essentially the very early data and  subsequent corrections. It is obvious that the raw data and corrected data since the 1970s is much the same. The real change has been early last century where data has actually been corrected downwards, which does lead to a stronger warming trend. But again the research paper haven't really demonstrated why that has been wrong.

    Either calculate some linear trends, or just step back and just squint your eyes down. The overall linear trends comparing the unadjusted data and adjusted data are just simply not hugely different anyway. We are still left with a strong warming trend, in even the unadjusted data. And they havent really proven why any adjustments are wrong.

    Now the research paper focuses a lot on America, but why would you do that? They are one country. Its better to look at global averages surely.

    The research makes a peculiar claim that in America "cyclical trends" have been removed or ignored. But they are making an unsupported claim that these are cyclical trends. We cannot say they are, and in fact all the evidence of global warming says they aren't.

    They also have a graph for my country NZ, which is really why I'm responding, and did have a quick read of the research. It got my attention obviously.

    Firstly the graph looks slighly wrong to me. But let that pass. We have recently had a big debate and enquiry as to whether adjustments to our data were valid, led by a certain sceptical lobby group. The bottom line is this became a big issue, involving a court case taken by the sceptical group against NIWA, our climate agency that prepared the temperature record and adjustments. The judge threw the case out of court, on the basis that the sceptical group didn't present properly qualified experts, and other failings.

    The temperature reconstructions were handed to an Australian climate agency to peer review, and they concluded there was nothing wrong with what NIWA had done and adjustments made were all in order. Refer link below:

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  21. Thanks, Nigel. If I ever convince PredictIt (run by your old NZ prediction market boys) to have some Intrade style prediction markets, I'll be sure to let these guys know so they can post about it!

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  22. scaddenp@17 quoted NorrisM@6: "The models did not predict this and therefore are unreliable."  Claiming that models didn't match 'reality' and therefore cannot be trusted, is like claiming that hands only have five fingers and therefore cannot be used.  You have the benefit of intellectual purity.  On the other 'hand', you are reduced to using your toes to grasp things.

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  23. supak @14, nigelj @20, Wallace may be an obscure engineer, but D'Aleo is a meteorologist, and Idso is a climatologist.  Both, however, are well known deniers, and Idso has earned a reputation for, for want of a better word, dishonesty when it comes to climate science.  Idso does not appear to have any peer reviewed climate research since the early 2000s, but has been very productive of misleading denier "reports".

    I have not gone right through the report but evidence in the early sections suggests this is just another in that sequence.  In particular, they show a graph of various versions of the GISS temperature trends (Figure IV-1), the differences between which they attribute to "adjustments".  The graph plots versions for 1980, 1987, 2007, 2010 and 2015.  Wallace et al, however, feel no need to inform readers that the number of meteorological stations used increased from 1000 to 2200 between 1981 the 1980 (actually 1981) and 1987 versions, or that it increased to 7200 for the 1999 version.  Nor do they feel any need to inform their readers that prior to 1995, no Sea Surface Temperature data was used, so that the data was for meteorological stations only.  The very substantial changes in the temperature series between "1980" and 1987, and between 1987 and 2007 are probably influenced by these large increases in available data.  Attributing the effect to "adjustments" without taking into account the change in available data is straightforwardly dishonest IMO.

    Hardly any better is the "proof" that the "adjustments" eliminate a large "cyclical" component by comparison of global temperature data to US and North Atlantic temperature data.  What is not noted is that the current versions of temperature data, even with all the adjustments, retain that large "cyclical" element in those areas. This can be seen clearly here, for example.  (I should note that adjustments have increased the trend of the temperature data for the contiguous US, but has not eliminated the "cyclical" pattern.  As a further note, I put "cyclical" in inverted commas because it is unclear to what extent the pattern is due to cyclical patterns in the climate, and to what extent it is due to changes in the aerosol forcing over time.)

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  24. ubrew - what model claim is to be able to predict is climate - ie 30 year weather averages and that they have skill in doing that. What they do not claim and have no skill at, is predicting decadal-level variation. Models have ESNO-like features but are incapable of predicting the size and timing of ENSO event even months out let alone years. On short term, ENSO dominates. On long term, you have climate and that is what models are attempting to predict. They should be evaluated only against the predictions for which they claim skill.

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  25. scaddenp@24: none of that is a subtlety the deniers claim to understand.  'In the Eyes of the Law' (which are the same 'eyes' that would today be calling for a 'honest-broker' red team/blue team debate on climate change), the models didn't match reality, and therefore are wrong.  You know, and I know (well, maybe I don't know, exactly), that a random-number-generator is probably used to determine if 'this year' is a La Nina/ a neutral/ or an El Nino.  I presume that most models don't even include the PDO cycle, or knew that the ramp-up in Chinese and Indian coal usage, with associated aerosols covering the N Pacific and Indian Oceans, was imminent.  But what is that saying, other than that they are friggin' models?  Only a Lawyer is going to 'prosecute' a model for not matching the reality, because Only a Lawyer would think it should.  And that is the actual problem.  It doesn't matter that climate models should only match the 30-year trendline, because what matters is what the Koch-funded lawyers think.  And that's where this battle must be fought, since lawyers, depending on who is paying, can argue themselves into thinking humans can breathe seawater.  And if you disagree, and can't, then you must not be human.

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  26. Tom Curtis @23, yes we have so many lies by omission in sceptical climate articles it's frustrating. Thank's for the link to the NASA explanation for adjustments.

    Regarding these temperature adjustments. The  graph on page 11 in the Wallace research study appears to be land temperatures, im not sure it doesn't say.The adjustments adjust temperatures upwards anyway. The research is critical of this, but doesnt really say why in any detail, just vague accusations.

    This link  below shows a broader picture, with graphs showing adjustments for all three: land, ocean and combined. It also gives explanations on why they are made.

    It shows land adjusted upwards, oceans steeply downwards and the net result is land and ocean combined actually adjusted downwards slightly. Interesting that the Wallace study didn't bother to mention all that. You are obviously aware of all this, but its a great article with clear visuals, and may be of interest to us non experts.

    This article is also interesting, and gives more detail on why adjustments are made

    I cant see a problem. The links all provide good reasons for adjustments to compensate for various biases, and urban heat island effects, etc,etc. The fact that the land / ocean combined is actually downwards seems lost on the sceptics. 

    I hope Im interpreting it all right. But the graphs in my link are pretty clear and the sources legitimate.

    Maybe mistakes are made in adjustments, but I would like to see proof and none is on offering. It seems unlikely that every adjustment would be an error, especially when you look at the checking process and how good it is. It seems unlikely there is a global conspiracy across countries to adjust things one way on land. This is in the region of nasa moon landings conspiracy nonsense. And if so why would they do the opposite for the oceans? 

    Like you say it doesn't remove the alleged "cycles" anyway.

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  27. Scaddnp @17, one of my obsessions is why people dont teach critical thinking better in schools. It's crazy that they don't. I agree maybe it's so people dont question religion too much.

    Another additional reason might be so people dont question and analyse politicians or lawyers too cleverly, or authority in general. Never underestimate the power of lobby groups behind the scences influencing how schools do things. I suppose teachers might not like it either, but they have a duty to teach these skills in my view.

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  28. ubrew - models dont put ENSO/PDO etc into model at all.  These are emergent features from running the physics. Its just that because they are essentially chaotic, each different model run produces a completely different wiggle.

    I not sure about the subtely lost - the deniers writing up about perceived model/obs mismatches have to get the data in first place and publications very much emphasize what models predict and dont. If someone wont read your text, how are you supposed to communicate?

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  29. nigelj@27,

    My concern is deeper than critical thinking. Why don't the supposedly advanced societies raise the vast majority of their members to be 'moved by rational consideration of distant motives'? Why do they fail to raise responsible considerate adults?

    The best explanation I have is that those who want to get away with the easier/lazier, less responsible, less considerate behaviour would struggle to be winners in such a society.

    And once a few of those types get away with their undeserved competitive advantage others are eager to follow the unacceptable examples.

    As more people focus on believing whatever they want to excuse what they want to get away with the society devolves to the point where the callous greedy and the intolerant can actually win popularity contests by the easy appeals to tempt people to try to benefit form being greedier and less tolerant (far easier than getting people to be moved by the rational consideration of distant motives). And if things are allowed to degenerate far enough the most abusive and aggressive among them can win the Presidency and the unfit for Leadership likes of that 'Winner' can be appointed to leadership roles by that undeniably undeserving President.

    And the fuel for all of this is the creation of unsustainable and undeserved perceptions of prosperity and opportunity by over-development of the economy in the wrong direction (unsustainable and damaging development).

    A main demand seems to be that people will change as long as the change is an improvement on their current developed perception of prosperity and opportunity (or fond regional memories of the prosperity of past-times before an unsustainable way of living came to its inevitable and deserved end).

    Trying to get people to understand climate science also requires many of them to understand the unacceptability and unsustainability of their perceptions of personal prosperity and opportunity. And it requires many wealthy powerful people to accept that they deserve to lose the economic gambles they made.

    A critical thinker is not immune to the powerful temptation of personal Winning. In fact, a critical thinker can choose to behave less acceptably and be 'very smart' about how they behave unacceptably.

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  30. That article did prompt me to dig a little further. I found the second graph on this page rather interesting and was wondering what other peoples thoughts were on it. overview to get things into perspective

    It's the Temp Anomaly (deg C) versus Years BP graphic.

    Is the graph accurate and what process causes these glacial/interglacial cycles?

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  31. too@30 asks "what process causes these glacial/interglacial cycles?"  Carbon Dioxide causes them.  They are touched off by orbital changes, but since Earth is a sphere there's no 'side' it can point toward the Sun that should automatically cause more warming than any other 'side'.  When the Southern hemisphere, which is mostly ocean, is pointed toward the Sun, it vents more CO2 from the Southern Ocean, and this causes the Northern Hemisphere to melt its ice sheets despite the fact that its getting less sunlight overall.  SkepticalScience talks about this in 'myth 12: CO2 lags temperature'.  Also, potholer54 did a good video explaining this.  Google "potholer54 The "800 year lag" unravelled" to find it.

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  32. too @30, this graph from Hansen shows the relative change in forcing between the preindustrial values and the Last Glacial Maximum, and would be fairly representative for most glacial cycles:

    As ubrew12 notes, the trigger for the change in ice sheet extent (the primary driver of albedo changes) and GHG concentrations are changes in orbital parameters that result in near zero change in overall forcing, but significant changes in particularly sensitive regions such as the North Atlantic.

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  33. @too

    "Is the graph accurate and what process causes these glacial/interglacial cycles?"

    The graph uses "Present" as 1950, like all ice-core-derived products.  Thus it purposefully truncates the warming post-1950.

    For previous ice ages and why they happen, one of the best summaries of the sceince extent is Berger et al 2016: Interglacials of the last 800,000 years. This paper is a wealth of information, all presented in context. As such, it's no easy read, being 58 pages long (not counting supplemental data).

    Concepts covered in the paper:

    Ice Ages, Glacial and Interglacial phases (and the transitions into and out of them), Stadials and Interstadials
    Forcings (precession, obliquity, eccentricity, insolation)
    Isotopes (the ratios of water isotopes are an example of a strong temperature proxy; others exist)
    Proxies (temperature, greenhouse gases, ice volume/sea level, marine sediments and corals, terrestrial/speleothems/cave data and ice core gases, etc.)
    Marine Isotope Stages

    Ice Age - A period where continental-sized ice sheets exist
    Interglacials - loosely defined as the absence of Northern Hemisphere land-based ice sheets outside of Greenland and sea levels similar to those of today
    Glacials - the time within the past 2 million+ years not found in an interglacial (lower sea levels and widespread continental ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere)
    Stadials/Interstadials - generally referred to as much shorter intervals of time (still millennial-scale events themselves) found within glacial phases and within the transition from glacial to interglacial phases (stadials are colder periods and interstadials warmer; transitions between these can be very abrupt; a requirement for both is continental ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere outside of Greenland)
    Terminations - the end of an icy glacial phase and the ensuing (relatively rapid) transition to an interglacial phase
    Inceptions - the end of a warm interglacial and the slow slide into an icy glacial phase (slow compared to terminations)
    Insolation - the warming from the sun received at the surface of the Earth, itself dependent upon the distance of the Earth from the sun, the time of year and the angle at which the sun's rays strike the Earth
    Marine Isotope Stages (commonly referred to as MIS) - periods of warmth, as deduced by proxy records from marine sediments; MIS are numbered sequentially backwards from the present Holocene (MIS1) to earlier such.

    As a general note, conditions that existed during previous glacial and interglacial phases are not identical, for physical reasons. So while glacial phases were colder, with more ice and lower sea levels than interglacials, the amounts of land-based ice, the amount the sea levels dropped or rose were not identical in different glacial phases, nor were they in different interglacial phases. Why? Because those conditions present then were based on the above mentioned parameters, which all were somewhat different. But what DID occur was the sum of the physics extent at those times.

    My main takeaways:

    1. Human actions, by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, ensure that our climate will become warmer in the next century and remain warm for many millennia to come (pages 162 and 163 of the paper).

    2. Terminations involve rapid, nonlinear, reactions of ice volume, CO2, and temperature to external astronomical forcing.

    3. Glacial inception is a slower process involving a global sequence of changes.

    4. Interglacials have been typically 10–30 thousand years long.

    5. The slow response of ice sheets mean that sea level highstands (the period of maximum sea level rise experienced in an interglacial) may be attained later than the periods of peak forcing and peak warmth.

    6. All ages referenced in the paper refer to 1950 as present.

    7. Average dating uncertainties within the ice core records are several centuries to several millennia, +/-.

    8. GHG concentrations can only be directly measured for the past 800,000 years from the ice core records; all others use different proxies to infer such or to infer temperatures/sea levels.

    9. Due to ocean mixing times, a millennia is the minimum duration to measure the mean state of the global ocean.

    10. The differences between the interglacials and today (and between the interglacials themselves) are very small between 60 degrees North and 60 degrees South; the differences are primarily found in the high latitudes/polar regions and expressed in high or low levels of land-based ice sheets (or the complete lack thereof).

    11. The radiative forcing from GHGs found in interglacials with high levels of GHGs vs those interglacials with lower amounts (~280 ppm vs ~250 ppm for CO2) is about 1 W/m-2, driving a global temperature difference of about 1 degree C.

    12. All interglacials were warm enough to lose most land-based ice sheets outside of Greenland in the Northern Hemisphere, with the warmest implying further ice sheet mass losses from Greenland and/or Antarctica.

    13. There is strong evidence of higher sea levels (and lower levels of land-based ice sheet mass) during the previous interglacial (MIS 5) and MIS11.

    14. The warmth of MIS5 is due to both higher levels of CO2 and insolation being high, whereas MIS11 (one of the warmest interglacials) was warm only because of high levels of CO2.

    15. The duration of a termination of a glacial phase is 4,000-9,000 years, with CO2 jumping 50-100 ppm, more or less synchronously with Antarctic temperatures; CH4 makes its transitions within a few decades, toward the end of the CO2 rise (implying terrestrial emissions form peat bogs and wetlands).

    16. Terminations generally only occur when a large ice volume/low sea level has been reached (meaning that a nonlinear tendency towards instability is present in the ice sheets).

    17. The onset of the last 4 interglacials occurred during the period during which Northern Hemisphere daily summer insolation is rising.

    18. The primary source for Co2 injection into the atmosphere during terminations is the deep oceans, with the primary locations for such being the Southern Ocean.

    19. Stadial/interstadial seesawing can produce an "overshoot" in Antarctic temperatures, possibly contributing to complete collapses and disintegrations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (MIS 5e, 9e and 11c), and a rapid pulse injection of CO2 released form the Southern Ocean.

    20. No stadial/interstadials have occurred during interglacials, which are less variable than glacial phases; basically, the climate is pretty variable ordinarily, but that variability is suppressed during interglacials (during which variability is of centennial-to-millennial durations).

    21. Holocene climate (the last 12,000 years) is preserved in proxy records of decadal scale temporal resolution. Such are also emerging for MIS5 and earlier interglacials.

    22. There is some evidence of an anthropogenic contribution to both the warmth and higher CO2 levels of the Holocene (MIS1); i.e., the Ruddiman Hypothesis.

    23. By 2100, global temperatures will exceed those during all of the Holocene (MIS1), under all emissions scenarios.

    24. Summer temperatures appears to be the most important driver of glacial inception.

    25. Glacial inception is unlikely to happen within the next approximate 50,000 years (when the next strong drop in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation occurs) if either atmospheric CO2 concentration remains above 300ppm or cumulative carbon emissions exceed 1,000 Pg C; only for an atmospheric CO2 content below the preindustrial level may a glaciation occur within the next 10,000 years.

    Summary: Given the continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions, glacial inception is very unlikely to occur in the next 50,000 years, because the timescale for CO2 and temperature reduction toward unperturbed values in the absence of active removal is very long, and only weak precessional forcing occurs in the next two precessional cycles.

    Berger et al 2016 - Interglacials of the last 800,000years (open access)

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  34. @too

    Note that the next figure (Fig. 3) from your link is a complete fabrication/misrepresentation, as it uses Alley's GISP2 core data (last data point 1855), so it misses all the warming of the instrumental record.

    Click to enlarge

    Larger Image

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  35. Along a different tangent ... notice Rick Perry's body languarge in that video (hands, #10). It suggests that he (subconsciously) knows he is going to a place he is uncomfortable with.

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  36. Too@30, the second graph on your link page is for the history of Greenlands warming. It shows a strong warming in the so called  minoan warm period, and an apparent weak warming in the so called modern warming period, according to their labels on the graph.

    It is accurate, but incomplete, as it only shows temperatures to early last century. It is deceitful, or  "Lies By Omission".

    The full picture is here, and you can see although Greenland was very warm in the past, recent warming is more rapid. The recent instrumental record is grafted on in red.

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  37. OPOF @29, what you say is true, but better critical thinking would help more people identify the economic, ethical and social villains you are talking about. The system requires good information to work optimally, and only critical thinking can preserve this.

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  38. Hopefully too, the information provided here would have helped you form an accurate impression of the reliability of what you find at climate4you.

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  39. Thank you Mr Too@30 and Mr Scaddenp@38 , for pointing to the website Climate4you .com , which I hadn't come across before.

    Climate4you seems a trashy website (though not as trashy as WUWT).  At first glance at their "Overview" page, they appear to present many graphs scientifically analysing data — but their commentary in text is containing many unscientific statements.

    Most outrageous, I thought, was their comment that some rather minor variations of atmospheric CO2 during the (pre-industrial) Holocene period were evidence that the CO2 level had no correlation with Earth's surface temperatures & climate changes over time, and therefore CO2 could be disregarded as a significant factor in climate change.

    They also denigrated the validity of any corrections of the various temperature records — calling these corrections "administrative changes" that downgraded the "reliability" of the various data sets (from various organizations).

    Then they praised the UAH satellite records of so-called "lower troposphere" [what the man-in-the-street would really think of as upper atmosphere and having little relevance to down here on the surface of the planet] and they pooh-poohed the extensive actual surface records and the ocean heat/temperature records.

    On top of that, they implied that various "cycles" in the recent and mid-Holocene were a major cause of the modern rapid warming.   And combine that with their strange urge to fit entirely inappropriate polynomial/non-linear trend curves to a plethora of widely-scattered data points.

    All-in-all, they appeared to focus on minor variations in temperature data sets, as though these mathematical variations had a real life of their own — and without the slightest acknowledgement that all true data records are merely a representation of real physical events which have real physical causes.

    In summary : Climate4you is a trashy website (despite its specious graphs and its temperate language in the "Overview").

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  40. Recommended supplemental reading:

    The Moral Outrageousness of Trump’s Decision on the Paris Agreement by Donald Brown, Ethics & Climate, July 7, 2017

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  41. nigelj@37,

    I agree that critical thinking is important. My point is that critical thinking without 'being moved by rational consideration of distant motives' can lead to incredibly dangerous and damaging thoughts and actions. And 'being moved by rational consideration of distant motives' would likely result in a 'non-critical thinker' accepting/following a helpful dogma/propaganda and being dismissive of harmful dogma/propaganda.

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  42. Climate4You is Ole Humlum's misinformation organ.

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  43. nigelj, Tom Curtis and Eclectic.

    If the Department of Energy does decide to form a Red Team Blue Team to examine climate change, then I think I can sit back and watch the fireworks rather than spend an inordinate amount of time reading all of the thread on this website dealing with the questions of the climate models trying to understand the debate.   The reason I say this is that I think the real battleground will be whether the climate models have (a) accurately hindcasted the past climate (without adjustments that are needed to match reality); and (b)  accurately predicted the future climate changes over the last 20 years. 

    Perhaps a part of the debate will be that irrespective of the discrepancies that exist the "hard science" not only proves the 1C increase but also the "positive vapour feedbacks" although I would have to think that would be an uphill argument.  Perhaps the answer will be that the differences in predictions and observations are minor.  As I noted elsewhere, if they all cannot agree on the facts because of the lack of proper instrumentation measuring things then that would at least argue for more funds dedictated to measurements which has to be a positive for both sides. 

    As I have noted on the other climate model thread, during the APS Panel chaired by Steve Koonin, both Santer and Held (at pages 503-505) acknowledged that the climate models have not been able to predict the changes.  So the real issue will be whether both sides can agree on a "revised" Christy chart. 

    Tom Curtis on a reply to my reference to Koonin, questioned Koonin's independence.  At that time, I had no idea who Koonin was other than that he was a physicist who had been appointed by the APS to head the Climate Policy Panel. 

    Since that time, I have done a Wikipedia search of Koonin and his credentials are stellar.  I have also read the Physics Today article on his WSJ OpEd in the fall of 2014 and read his recent statement suggesting a Red Team Blue Team approach.  Not too many people have their Doctorate in Physics from MIT.  Not too many people have risen to the position of Undersecretary of Energy for Science under the Obama administration.  Yes, he did work at one time for BP where he was responsible for long range technology including alternative and renewable energy sources.  But this guy is no dummy.

    So when as a sophisticated scientist as Koonin at the APS hearing expresses surprise at how far the models were off from observations, it makes me take note and  ask how many "non-climate scientists" really understand how far the models are off from what has been happening with temperatures.  It made me ask how much most non-climate scientists really know about the actual physics.  Are they largely relying on the climate scientists without any real investigation on their own part?  What are the fields of science necessary to construct adequate models?  Reading the comments of SemiChem on fluid dynamics made me ask whether this was an area properly represented.  What strikes me is that there are so many areas that it has to be difficult for one or two people to have a sufficient grasp on all the relevant areas.

    Back to the differences, I am NOT saying that there cannot be valid explanations for these differences in the models and observations but unless I am missing something, if you have models that are two times off what is actually happening, it does make you pause. 

    So, of course, the issue will then be just how far off are these models.  In fairness, all three IPCC climatologists (contributors) were not ready to concede that there was as much difference as Christy suggested but they certainly admitted there were clear discrepancies and they did NOT say (as they easily could have) that the discrepancies were minor.

    Koonin is now the Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress, New York University.  He was a past professor of theoretical physics and provost of Caltech.  If the only way to criticize the legitimate questions that Koonin has raised is to attack Koonin without addressing his reasons, then I will be very disappointed with the replies to this comment. 

    As I noted before, I think both sides of this debate should welcome any efforts by members of the Trump administration to get to the bottom of this.  Let the chips fall where they may.  Given that Trump is here to stay for at least another 3.5 years, what is there to lose? 

    If Koonin was indeed appointed to head this Red Team Blue Team investigation, I think you would have someone who would ensure that all sides are properly represented.  I have to assume he chose the 6 climatologists who participated in the APS Panel in 2014.

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  44. NorrisM @43 states:

    "Tom Curtis on a reply to my reference to Koonin, questioned Koonin's independence. At that time, I had no idea who Koonin was other than that he was a physicist who had been appointed by the APS to head the Climate Policy Panel."

    The claim is incorrect.  I have not specifically discussed Koonin in this thread, and certainly not in reply to NorrisM.  My only specific reply to him in this thread prior to this one(@8) pointed out that a causal claim he made @6 was invalid.  Granted that Eclectic applied some of my more general comments about motivated reasoning to Koonin @10, but even that does not call into question Koonin's independence.

    Given, however, that NorrisM has explicitly raised the issue of Koonin, I note that mere credentials do not grant wisdom.  There are even better qualified people than Koonin who fall into the climate "skeptic" camp, but the proportion of similarly qualified people who disagree with, or unconvinced of the hypothesis of AGW is very small relative to the proportion who accept the science.  Nor are that small proportion able to give cogent reasons for their disagreement.

    An example of this is Koonin's nonsense claim that "...human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%."  Koonin defended this claim at Climate Etc, by comparing what he calls the greenhouse effect, ie, the downward IR flux at the surface of 342 W/m^2 to the 2.3 W/m^2 anthropogenic forcing since 1750 (both figures taken from IPCC AR5).

    The immediate problems with this claim are that the greenhouse effect is the difference between the upwelling IR radiation at the surface and the IR radiation to space (ie, 159 W/m^2 based in the AR5 figures); and that that total includes not just the forcing but the feedback responses from water vapour and the IR effect of clouds.  The proper comparison is therefore between either the forcing of 2.3 W/m^2 and the 40 W/m^2 of the Total Greenhouse Effect which is due to well mixed Green House Gases, or possibly between the forcing plus its equilibrium feedback response and the total greenhouse effect.  The former gives a 5.8% change to date, while the later gives at least a 2.9% response (based on the water vapour and lapse rate feedbacks at least doubling the effect of the forced response).

    In short, Koonin's article and his defence of it shows he lacks understanding of the physics of the greenhouse effect at a fundamental level.  His article is comparable to somebody trying to explain what is wrong with specal relativity without understanding what is meant by a "reference frame".  Given that he wrote and submitted his article after the APS symposium where he obtained the views of six climate scientists, that lack of understanding is very disturbing.  (For more on the article, see here.)

    No amount of qualifications can justify a scientist pontificating on a subject on which he makes such fundamental errors.  Indeed, that he does so shows that despite his qualifications, he has researched the topic at an entirely superficial level; or taken his information almost entirely from anti-science sites (such as WUWT, where that faulty argument gets a regular replay).

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  45. NorrisM @43.

    You set out your position saying "If the only way to criticize the legitimate questions that Koonin has raised is to attack Koonin without addressing his reasons, then I will be very disappointed with the replies to this comment."

    The reply @44 can be forgiven for criticising Koonin without perhaps "addressing his reasons" for his "legitimate questions" as it is surely beholden on you to set out clearly what you think Koonin's "legitimate questions" actually are.

    Regarding the branding of Koonin as a "science-denier" @9, this does appear to be justified. The Koonin NYJ article linked @44 is paywalled but an account of it elsewhere sets out quotes from the article which show the man is well away with the fairies. I would say the third excerpt is the real clincher.

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  46. "I think both sides of this debate"

    In the discussions around global warming and its anthropogenic causation, there are those who focus on the science using the scientific method and logic, seeking reproducible evidence that best explains what we can empirically measure.

    Then there is everyone in the extreme minority, those who ignore the above in favor of slander, innuendo, unsupported assertion and character assassination in favor of promulgating false equivalence to support the ephemeral facade of "debate" and "sides".

    But it is not about the science, the bulk of the science was settled, decades ago. Deniers posing as skeptics set up a charade tableau of false equivalence to poison the well of public acceptance of that science.

    A parsimonious harping at the font of stolen, out-of-context and context-less emails proven not germane to the science is continuing on in the prosecution of the agenda of denial.

    Truth, science and reputable journalism all sacrificed to the unholy alter of false equivalence under the guise of promulgating a fallacious "debate".

    There is no debate. All that remains is the informed and the uninformed.

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  47. NorrisM @43 , if I may add several points to the posts from TC, MAR and DB :-

    (A)  The claim (by Koonin?) of climate model projections having been much "hotter" than the observed rise in global surface temperature — is nowadays a claim which is severely out of date, since the development of record high temperatures in years 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / and YTD 2017.

    In other words, the claim (of model "failure") is wrong.  And consequently it is invalid to say mainstream climate science must be wrong because of "model deficiencies".

    (B)  Certainly Koonin "is no dummy".   Yet there are many smarter people than Koonin : but AFAIK hardly any of them are climate change deniers (in the way that Koonin is a denier i.e. a denier in the sense of someone who minimizes AGW and claims it is of negligible size & importance).   Of course, here I refer to intelligent people who understand the science.

    In no way do I wish to suggest that there cannot be brilliant 200+ IQ artistic minds / mathematical minds / business minds / or legal minds [ especially ;-)  ]  who are nevertheless deniers of climate change ..... but it is simply that those types of brilliant minds fail to understand the issue and therefore their opinions (and intelligence) are inadmissible in the case.

    (C)  # As a matter of interesting comparison : work by Professor Lindzen (in the late 1980's) projected only a very slight temperature rise for the past 3 decades.  Currently, his modelling has run approximately 1.05 degreesC below reality.  That full degreeC is hugely, hugely, hugely off target.  Several other denialist-type scientists have made projections that also turned out to fall embarrassingly short of reality (though not as severely poorly as Lindzen's).

    Overall, it is quite laughable how badly wrong the denialists get things!!!

    (D)  Unlike with Lindzen and Curry, there is AFAIK no apparent evidence that Koonin is in the pocket of Fossil Fuel Industry.  Nor does he seem to be a political extremist, nor AFAIK a religious extremist.  And he is too young to be likely suffering from subtle forms of mental senility.

    So, what is the explanation for Koonin as an intelligent guy with a (non-climate) science background, holding opinions which are roughly equivalent to "Flat Earth" ??

    To comprehend this puzzle, we must work upwards from our knowledge of human nature.  "Motivated Reasoning" (particularly so, in the intelligent) is an extremely powerful force, owing to the way that our human emotions usually overrule the human intellect (unless we take stern measures to remain coolly objective i.e. scientific, through developing insight into our own motivations).

    Somehow, somewhere in his mind, Koonin has allowed himself to bend & twist & contort himself into overlooking/ignoring the obvious (the obviously "Round Earth", so to speak!! ).   His "motivated reasoning" is pushing him into a failure to understand the general scientific picture involved in the Greenhouse process & its consequences — he chooses to lose himself in a maze of minutiae, and chooses to fail to comprehend the basic process : a process which is so basic that it is easily comprehensible by even a moderately intelligent high school science student.

    But such is the perversity of the human mind — and all too often!

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  48. Norris M @43, this is just my two cents on climate models. This is the simplified explanation. 

    First just google the nasa giss global temperature record (the long term one since around 1900) or hadcrut if you prefer. Notice it generally tracks up but with many wiggles along the way. The fact is climate modelling can predict the track, but not the wiggles, because they are erratic natural variation.

    Climate models  have predicted the track reasonably well over the last 25 years, but temperatures are still slightly under. It's believed oceans are absorbing more heat than expected, delaying warmring slightly, but this is only a delay.

    Notice in the same graph that the pause since 1998 is very small. Notice there are many small pauses along the way. The claim by people like Koonan etc that the pause was not predicted is somewhat out of date, based on old data. It was not as big as first thought, so is within expectations. It is more of a wiggle, obvious in the graph.

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  49. Thanks for the comments on my last post.  My apologies to Tom Curtis for attributing the comment re Koonin to him.  Eclectic your comment was not vicious in any sense but I do think we should stick to what people say and not who they are (although I have to admit if anyone has some "strong fundamentalist religious leanings" I cannot help but put a tick mark against anything else they say even though it may be completely rational). 

    This morning at home when I opened this website, the reply of Andy Laicy (sp) to Koonin opened in front of me magically.  It was a detailed answer to the short questions I had posed relating to the "hard physics" which had been answered in short fashion by Tom Curtis (I had only asked for yes no answers at the time).  Laicy's reply is pretty understandable even for a layman.  So this explains the solid science based upon physics.

    So there is a rational explanation that makes sense to most scientists whether they be climate scientists or other scientists.

    So the question comes down to whether, using this science incorporated into a GCM, you can then actually predict the future.  As a layman, the two things that puzzled me after being initially convinced by the Dessler book was:  1.  If the models are capable of predicting the future then they should have had an answer for the supposed "hiatus" and 2.  If the physics explain this 25 year increase in temperatures (1975-1998), how do you explain the temperature increases and decreases that I had referenced earlier, especially the .3C rise from 1900 - 1940 or so.

    But for now, I would like to concentrate on what I believe is the "discrepancy" that Christy has proposed based upon his diagram.  What surprises was the passive reaction of Santer and Held when questioned by Koonin about Christy's diagram.  They made references to some studies that had examined this discrepancy in the past but did not comment on their conclusions nor did they strongly object to what Christy was alleging.   Surely, if the difference was only marginal that they would have said so at that time.  It was absolutely basic to their case.

    I guess this "basic to their case" is another question.  What has really troubled me is if you cannot reconcile major differences with the models and observations (if that is the case) then how can you still believe that we are still in the 3C range rather than 1-1.5C by 2100?  Is this where Hawking and other non-climate scientists are?  To them, is it irrelevant that the models are not sophisticated enough to predict the future?  Or does it all come down to position that the models are predicting things? 

    In other words, does the case for anthropogenic warming of 3C stand or fall on the models?  If not, then why?

    But, I have to say, even if we are so sure that this period of warming was caused by humans, then surely there still has to be a full answer for why the temperature went up from 1900 to 1940.  For me, notwithstanding Michael Mann's hockey stick, I would also like to have some explanation for the MWP (even his most recent graph seems to acknowledge this warming).  But it would go a long way to at least have a rational explanation for the warming in the first 40 years of the 20th century.

    I suspect that the answer to the model discrepancy is that it is a small discrepancy.  But if this is the case, then why did Santer and Held not say so when they had the golden opportunity, knowing that the transcript of the APS hearing would effectively be read by the world.

    To SkepticalScience Editor:  I saw one attempt to "reconstruct" the Christy diagram but it was very confusing continually flashing from one thing to another.  Could you not do a "simple" reconstruction showing where the "red line" should be and where the "blue dots" should be.  Leave out the "ranges" just as Christy did or perhaps have three lines, High, Medium and Low Case.  It would be very helpful.

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  50. NorrisM - " If the models are capable of predicting the future then they should have had an answer for the supposed "hiatus" "

    You are still not grasping the point I already stated that the models have limitations on what they predict and in particular have a/ no skill at decadal prediction and b/ dont pretend too. Model evaluation is subject of chp9 of the IPCC report. If you want to know the answers to your questions, then try reading it. Insisting model predict what they catagorically state they cannot is denier rhetorical ploy.

    Mid-century cooling is discussed on this site here.

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