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  1. Interesting Letter in Nature GeoScience & available on-line for the moment at least:

    From the abstract:

    “Global temperatures have risen over the past few decades. The water vapour content of the atmosphere has increased as a result, strengthening the global hydrological cycle. This, in turn, has led to wet regions getting wetter, and dry regions drier. Climate model simulations suggest that a similar intensification of existing patterns may also apply to the seasonal cycle of rainfall. Here, we analyse regional and global trends in seasonal precipitation extremes over the past three decades, using a number of global and land-alone observational data sets.”

    Comment by BillS — 4 Mar 2013 @ 9:09 AM

  2. Any thoughts on the latest denial from Watts?

    Comment by nuclear_is_good — 4 Mar 2013 @ 9:13 AM

  3. This is likely a dumb question, however it came up while reading recently about advancements in hydrogen fueled cars. Is it problematic that their (hydrogen fueled cars) emissions are water vapor (ie strong greenhouse gas)? Or would the level of emissions be insignificant compared to natural sources?

    Comment by James — 4 Mar 2013 @ 9:34 AM

  4. Thanks to everybody who offered feedback at the end of the previous open thread, in response to my question (see here). My source for 5-6m SLR in the 25th century is this article, although as a layman I am unable to judge how much confidence I should have in this single article and how well it represents general scientific understanding.

    In general I think it is a shame that so many studies seem to have a cut-off point at the year 2100. My feeling is that the true magnitude of the problem only shows if you look at the longer term. In Holland (where I live), for example, SLR may become painfully expensive by 2100 but we’ll probably manage. But over the course of centuries, the picture becomes ever more bleak and eventually, unless a green revolution happens, massive floodstorms and evacuations will become inevitable. Few people living here realise this. The cut-off point of 2100 in many reports might partially be responsible for the lack of understanding. But I’m digressing.

    Killian, thanks for the interesting input. Short answer, in my story I’m assuming a dystopian regime and a drastically reduced population (not only due to global warming and its side effects, but also due to various shortages and a nuclear war).

    Lawrence Coleman, I have heard about the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect and I know what it did to Venus, but I don’t think the scientific consensus is that this is a likely scenario in the geologically near future. Of course it depends on how exactly you define “BAU” and I do know that James Hansen spoke about it and that he is someone to take seriously. However, as far as I know this is still a bit speculative. Please feel free to point me to correct me, or to point me to additional sources.

    Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:01 AM

  5. Is it just me or is that a flagrantly cherry-picked data point in 2004 for his flat line?

    Comment by Brennan — 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:02 AM

  6. Lawrence (#420 Feb.),

    You might be interested in reading James Hansen’s “Storms of my Grandchildren.” In Chapter 10, “The Venus Syndrome” he looks at what models can say about very large increases in carbon dioxide concentration. They hint that water vapor may become the main constituent of the atmosphere. In that case, sea level would fall I guess.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:14 AM

  7. Brennan,
    I think it is just you. The Argo data shown, has four years of flat-lining, followed by six years of rise, and another nine years of flat-lining. Looks more like a step functioning, but then again, the data length is rather short.

    Comment by Dan H. — 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:37 AM

  8. Effects of daily temperature on public beliefs about anthopogenic climate change (the “Zorro” graph and link to new paper in AMS journal Weather, Climate, and Society).

    Comment by L Hamilton — 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:47 AM

  9. nuclear_is_good @2
    You link to a very strange piece of analysis. Watts (giving a hat-tip to old man Pielke, so it may be Watts is just repeating what he has been told) seems first to accept that OHC is a valid part of AGW and presumably if OHC is on the rise then there is no pause in AGW. But then Watts asserts he has a 0-700m OHC graph that contains “more up-to-date data from the ARGO bouy system,” – that is more up-to-date than the ScepticalScience graph.
    Watts seems pleased by his ‘discovery’ yet he is wrong in what he says. The “new data” in the graph (that comes from the NOAA) results from a reanalysis of old XBT data. The 2003-12 data that takes Watts interest in the NOAA graph is not new at all. It is the same old ARGO data as seen in that SkepticalScience graph which Watts is trying to belittle, the SkepticalScience graph that includes both 0-700m OHC and 700-2000m OHC, the latter being where OHC has been doing its stuff over recent years. (We’ll ignore the OHC rise below 2000m.)

    And there is perhaps another rod for Watts’s back in his post – 2003 to 2012 doesn’t constitute his 17 years of paused AGW.
    No. Steady now. Perhaps on Wattsupia 12 – 3 = 17.

    Comment by MARodger — 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:57 AM

  10. Re 2: Tamino has some thoughts about John Coleman’s analysis.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 4 Mar 2013 @ 12:12 PM

  11. Re 2: Tamino has some thoughts on it:

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 4 Mar 2013 @ 12:13 PM

  12. Evidence of the basic biogeochemical cycle that drives the climate wars has been discovered in Australia.

    Comment by Russell — 4 Mar 2013 @ 2:47 PM

  13. Significant contribution to climate warming from the permafrost carbon feedback – Andrew H. MacDougall, Christopher A. Avis & Andrew J. Weaver.

    In figure 3, the paper suggests that even with a hypothetical complete cessation of anthropogenic CO2 and sulphate emissions in the year 2013, atmospheric CO2 would not fall by more than about 10ppm for hundreds of years, if climate sensitivity is ~3C per doubling. That seems very worrying if true – doesn’t it mean that they expect permafrost carbon release to have offset all natural carbon sinks within the next decade or two? The usual scenario is that land and ocean sinks would quickly start to draw down atmospheric CO2 if we stopped emitting it (e.g. in the ‘Climate change commitments’ RealClimate article from 2010).

    Comment by Icarus62 — 4 Mar 2013 @ 3:38 PM

  14. @3 (and as an extension @2)
    It also was suggested somewhere else that the data comes from a place that claims to use methodology from Lyman 2010 but the graphs from Lyman 2010 had 2004 and 2007 looking quite very different than this graph (and much more like Levitus 2012).

    Comment by nuclear_is_good — 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:17 PM

  15. Brennan @ #3: It’s not just you.

    Comment by MalcolmT — 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:19 PM

  16. nuc’ and Brennan — Tamino covered it:

    “Problem: That trend line suggesting “the last 15 years have seen a cooling in the United States” isn’t statistically significant. Not even close.

    “Other problem: That’s not the last 15 years.
    Here’s all the data ….”

    Lesson – check _every_ claim — what the data is, where it’s from — as well as the arithmetic. Not that it’ll convince anyone over at WTF.
    Have you been watching Doonesbury lately?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Mar 2013 @ 4:27 PM

  17. #3–No, Brennan, it’s not just you. Was that even supposed to be convincing?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Mar 2013 @ 5:18 PM

  18. See Climate Change series @ USA Today, of which one is
    Dan Vergano’s article on Ruddiman’s latest,

    and another is Wendy Koch’s Why you should sweat climate change.

    USA Today has surprised me more than once, as when in 2011 and editorial had
    “Taken together, these developments ought to leave the deniers in the same position as the “birthers,” who continue to challenge President Obama’s American citizenship — a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence.”

    Anyway, if people like what they are doing, tell them so … I’m sure they’re getting plenty of negative email.

    Comment by John Mashey — 4 Mar 2013 @ 6:07 PM

  19. The good folks at Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice blog are tracking extensive cracks throughout the sea ice far beyond what any of those seasoned veterans of sea ice observation have seen before. Here is just the latest in a series of increasingly apocalyptic sounding exclamations from those otherwise rather stayed observers of all things Arctic and icy, this from A-Team:

    “Things fell apart out there this afternoon. This new pair of 550 km long fractures represents a significant eastward extension of the crack system through the core of the thickest, oldest, coldest, hardest ice of the CAA.

    It happened rather fast: nothing at 14:36 UTC, hairline cracks on the 16:16, both visible but barely at 17:51, both well-developed by 19:31. They’ll be a several kilometers wide by the next satellite pass. I will catch it with an animation these evening in the off-chance that it will be seen in a few months as a historic tipping point.”

    Comment by wili — 4 Mar 2013 @ 6:11 PM

  20. 19 Wili:

    Here’s the current image. Current Arctic Break-up, March 5, 2013

    (Hope this link works.)

    Comment by Killian — 4 Mar 2013 @ 9:51 PM

  21. Didn’t work. Try this, then (copy and paste):–ArcticComposite/arcticComposite.130303.0236.4.png

    Comment by Killian — 4 Mar 2013 @ 10:34 PM

  22. Vincent-

    See this NAS Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia (particularly Chapter 6) for a comprehensive review of long-term climate change impacts.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:22 PM

  23. re Arctic breakup broken link, this might point towards the line of country though probably not the precise item:

    scary monsters!

    new topic

    Hate to go off science, but a disgusting Nocera article about Hansen just appeared in the NYTimes. Have at it before comments close:

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 4 Mar 2013 @ 11:36 PM

  24. James (#3),

    Not a dumb question. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. But it is a condensable gas. It’s concentration in the atmosphere is thus limited by the temperature of the atmosphere. If there is too much water vapor, it rains or snows and the atmosphere dries out somewhat. Water vapor provides a dominant feedback for noncondensable greenhouse gases. But it is a little like running on a treadmill if you were to use it directly.

    Now, there are very serious problems with hydrogen as a fuel when it comes to warming. The stratosphere is very dry and adding water vapor there can have a strong warming effect. Fugitive hydrogen from fuel production and use could enter the stratosphere and become water vapor through oxidation. (Fugitive methane can do the same.) Under those conditions, the water vapor has a chance to accumulate and behave like a noncondesable gas for a while. But it is not the water vapor tailpipe emissions that would be the problem but rather hydrogen fuel leaks.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 5 Mar 2013 @ 12:50 AM

  25. 20 Killian: “You don’t have permission to open this page”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Mar 2013 @ 1:27 AM

  26. This is likely a dumb question, however it came up while reading recently about advancements in hydrogen fueled cars. Is it problematic that their (hydrogen fueled cars) emissions are water vapor (ie strong greenhouse gas)? Or would the level of emissions be insignificant compared to natural sources? – Comment by James

    Of course, we are a rather long way from having hydrogen-powered cars, but assuming it comes to pass, what would be the likely effect of expelling water vapor out the tailpipe?

    My guess is: not much effect. Water vapor rises, condenses, forms clouds (which actually reflect the sun’s heat) and eventually falls to earth as rain or snow. That’s why I moan every time I hear the idiotic argument from the WTFUWT folks that “water vapor, not CO2, is causing 90% of the greenhouse effect.” Fact is, water vapor is plentiful on earth (fortunately, otherwise we’d live in a frozen world) but water vapor reaches a saturation point and then condenses into a liquid. CO2 cannot exist as a liquid on earth (it could if the earth’s atmosphere was about 5 times denser than it is today, and if the planet was much cooler).

    But back to cars – I don’t think there is much hope of powering them purely on hydrogen. A stronger possibility would be to use ammonia. Burning ammonia gives you free nitrogen plus water vapor. The technology to do it was developed during WWII and was actually used in Belgium. There are some downsides (ammonia is poisonous, so you’ve got to handle it carefully), and of course you first need some sort of non-fossil fuel electricity (solar, wind, nuclear?) to produce the ammonia if the goal is prevent AGW. But it’s an interesting possibility. I’m not sure if anyone is seriously working on making it happen though.


    Comment by Paraquat — 5 Mar 2013 @ 1:54 AM

  27. Is there any chance of putting Neven’s Artic Sea Ice blog on the blogroll guys?

    Comment by Hasis — 5 Mar 2013 @ 3:08 AM

  28. 4: Vincent. As you are aware the signs of Climate change are not hard to miss in most parts of the globe and that’s only with around 400ppm of atmospheric CO2 and that’s reaally only begun to hit within the last 30 years as conditions in the 1980’s were pretty much as many below av. temps as there were high. Now in 2013 the subjective and measurable effects climate change is getting increasingly obvious. A BAU up to 2500 hypothetically speaking assumes that we will still be using harmful hydrocarbons which will (assuming the world’s pop. will probably stabilize at around to 10-12 billion mark within the next 100 years thus the demand for fossil fuel and hydrocarbons) will potentially double. We will have to find alternative sources of energy when our oil reserves and coal and gas end and they will be in all liklihood be climate friendly..but this is all academic because the world would have been pushed to beyond breaking point some argue very validly already. By the time the climate gets too wild and woolly and world governments en-masse agreee that CC mitigation methods must be immediately implemented it is already way way too late to do anything about it. I am guessing this will happen before 2050. Arctic ice is melting at an unprecedented pace right now and will in all likelihood be ice free in summer within the next 8 years. As the ocean warms it releases the frozen methane stored in the arctic ocean sediment around 1700GT. Methane is 20-25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. Simutaneously the methane and CO2 stored in the permafrost tundra regions also thaw..incidentally this is already well under additional 1500-2000GT of CH4(methane)and CO2. The rate at which this gas gets released depends on the ocean and land surface 1.5C additional warming than today all the methane and C02 in the permafrost will get liberated into the atmosphere. However the ocean floor is hovering just above freezing now and any additional warming will cause progressive and unstoppable methane release over the coming get the picture. I’m half dutch as well and I believe the dutch are very good at seeing things as they are, so I hope your book leads you to explore the rich and fascinating and very sobering field of Climate science. I am not a scientist per se, but a very interested Climate Change researcher. Good luck!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 5 Mar 2013 @ 3:30 AM

  29. I have a question I’ve been mulling over for a while that maybe someone can answer. We can determine CO2 levels of the past by measuring it from ice cores. This means there is CO2 trapped in the ice sheets. So how much CO2 is actually trapped in the ice sheets? Is it enough to be at all a significant source of CO2 as the ice sheets melt?

    Comment by David Werth — 5 Mar 2013 @ 5:02 AM

  30. nuclear_is_good @2

    This just one of Anthony’s more recent spectacular foot-in-mouth episodes, although none of the faithful seem to spot it. Its a sort of ‘golly gee whiz, this graph doesn’t agree with that one does it’ moment. Without noticing the blindingly obvious fact. The two graphs agree!

    Look at the 1st graph from Glikson. Actually from Nuccitelli et al 2012 which is using data from John Church at CSIRO (one of the authors of the paper)

    2 curves for the ocean. 700-2000 (dark blue) and then 0-700 (light blue) stacked on top of it. So to see what 0-700 looks like, in your minds eye subtract the lower curve from the upper and see what the upper alone looks like. Upward trend that then drops of significantly in the early 2000’s. And don’t forget – Anthony just sorta forgot to mention this – the data from Nuccitelli et al is pentadal (5 year running average). The PMEL graph Anthony shows is annual values.

    So you tell me, ignoring the distraction Anthony add with his ‘catch the eye’ yellow line, what is actually different about the 2 graphs? Nada. So what is the point of his post. Andrew Glikson, if he felt like responding to a minor blog, would simply point out. ‘Yeah, the second graph agrees with the first. Your point?’

    Note how Anthony then blurs things, never clearly spelling what he is referring to – OHC, just 0-700 OHC, 0-2000 OHC? Then leaves his ‘followers to draw the conclusion he hoped they would draw.

    All Anthony is doing here – de-rigeur for him – is throwing chum over the side to see how many sharks and smaller fish he can attract.

    Comment by Glenn Tamblyn — 5 Mar 2013 @ 5:22 AM

  31. “Is there any chance of putting Neven’s Artic Sea Ice blog on the blogroll guys?”

    Second that, strongly! Neven and his regulars are mining a narrow vein, but they are mining it deeply, diligently and knowledgeably.

    Comment by Glenn Tamblyn — 5 Mar 2013 @ 5:28 AM

  32. Vincent #4,

    Under BAU 5-6m SLR by 2500 would indeed seem a rather conservative estimate. It’s hard to know what would happen, since the forcing would be unprecedented. From what I’ve read in the scientific literature, being a layman as well, there seems to be a significant risk of about 15-16m of SLR by 2500 under BAU. Your 5-6m may be reality by about 2200, or even sooner with a very (even more) abrupt collapse of WAIS.

    For an impression of the sources and reasoning behind this estimate see this presentation I made in my work for a local Dutch ngo:

    For more on the potential mechanisms for such SLR see some interesting info on particularly the risk of WAIS-collapse here on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum (by an engineer calling himself AbruptSLR):

    Note that we both base our guesses in large parts on arguments by Hansen & Sato, which seem to be shared by some (more and more?) in the relevant scientific community, but are certainly not mainstream (yet?). There seems to be quite some debate currently on the rough likelihood of such a SLR-scenario, but many seem to agree to at least some (serious enough) risk of such fast and large SLR.

    Also note that Foster & Rohling (PNAS 2013) estimate about a 50% chance of circa 24m of SLR in the long run with CO2-levels stabilizing at around 400 ppm. They estimate about 84% chance of at least 9m of SLR at 400 ppm, in the long run (centuries to millennia).

    Since we’re already almost at 400 ppm today, and since we show no sign of stopping emissions soon, we’ll certainly go much higher than 400 ppm, and even higher still because of positive carbon feedbacks which seem already starting to kick-in today.

    Comment by Lennart van der Linde — 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:08 AM

  33. Vincent van der Goes @4
    You were saying it is a story you are writing, set in the 25th century, so 2400 -2500AD. Being a story (I scribble stories myself), what you probably need is less how we 21st century folk would view a BAU 25th century but how 25th century folk would view it.

    If we assume the big damage to human welfare occurs 2070-2200AD (be it due directly to AGW or indirectly as folk tussle for the leftover resources, with nuclear weapons, you say!), by the 25th century that would all be a distant memory for human kind. (Imagine the initial shock of the Black Death wiping out half of humanity – yet it doesn’t have much resonance in say the writings of Shakespeare two centuries later.)

    In your future world, however much of civilisation you decide survives (or is rebuilt) to 2400AD, by such a time the population would be well used to retreating before rising seas. Maybe some city of prestige remains behind defenses metres high, although even one or two such cities – do they make sense if the whole of Antarctica is set to melt eventually?
    Beyond sea level, would temperatures have pretty-much stabalised by 2400AD? Would the climate have started to stabalise? Although the catastrophically bad times (2070-2200AD) may be a distant memory, there possibly will still be pulses of refugee populations seeking new homes, although less so as, bar sea level rise, stability is restored.. But I would say that whatever the world you choose to depict, its population would surely be very sensitive to climatic data – global temperatures, atmospheric CO2, methane, extreme weather events & regional climatic change – all this on top of the rate of sea level rise. Remember they (or their forebears) didn’t listen to folk saying AGW was upon them. Would these people now listen to folk saying (bar sea level) its all over?

    Comment by MARodger — 5 Mar 2013 @ 7:08 AM

  34. OT, really, but @ 26 Paraquat said “I don’t think there is much hope of powering [cars] purely on hydrogen.”

    His comment was a little ill-timed, I fear:

    (Unless, perchance, he’s not counting hydrogen fuel cell technology as ‘purely’ hydrogen?)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Mar 2013 @ 8:35 AM

  35. Glenn Tamblyn #30:

    2 curves for the ocean. 700-2000 (dark blue) and then 0-700 (light blue) stacked on top of it. So to see what 0-700 looks like, in your minds eye subtract the lower curve from the upper and see what the upper alone looks like.

    Bingo! Interpreting data correctly was never Anthony’s strong point. How many times has he been called out on his hilariously mistaken ideas concerning baselines? He likes the satellite temp data because he thinks it shows less warming, not realising that it has a later baseline period than the land-based data, and that’s the sole reason why the temp anomalies are lower. What a total anti-science farce his site is, and as the evidence mounts for AGW, his posts only become more stridently ‘not even wrong’.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 5 Mar 2013 @ 9:59 AM

  36. I had not heard of this technology; I wonder how many others here have?

    Makes a lot of sense, at first blush.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 Mar 2013 @ 10:43 AM

  37. Re: #2 (nuclear_is_good)

    Since you brought up the subject, here’s my take on it:

    Comment by tamino — 5 Mar 2013 @ 11:37 AM

  38. Icarus62 @ #13: Thanks for reminding us of that crucial MacDougal article on permafrost tipping points. How would you say that the recent article on the sensitivity of permafrost to sunlight affect the graph you pointed to?

    Comment by wili — 5 Mar 2013 @ 11:44 AM

  39. What cooled the Arctic? Clouds? High pressure?

    The arctic winds have been too strong for the thinner than before arctic sea ice:

    Storms blowing from the Arctic are bring record snowfall as far south as Kansas and near record snowfall to north Texas:

    But recall the storm of ’93:

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 5 Mar 2013 @ 1:12 PM

  40. Dear Planet Earth,
    You’re so sensitive! But what is the relevant measure of your sensitivity?
    We have:
    Transient sensitivity, equilibrium or Charney sensitivity, and earth system sensitivity, based on how long you wait to see what happens and on what feedbacks are accounted for.

    Transient sensitivity is the temperature change due to, say, a change in CO2 concentration, within twenty years or so. Charney is the change expected if you wait for near equilibrium to recur, but don’t experience very serious feedbacks like the initial change releasing a big slug of permafrost carbon.

    Earth system sensitivity is what you get if you wait for all the feedbacks. In our current experiment we are releasing a large quantity of CO2 from carbon that was reduced long ago and taken out of the active carbon cycle. If our effort then releases a large amount of permafrost carbon on top of what we release on purpose, what will earth system sensitivity turn out to be? How long will it take to find out?

    Estimates anyone?

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 5 Mar 2013 @ 1:44 PM

  41. > electrode-boilers
    “when cheap electricity is available it can be converted to hot water/steam without any polluting consequences at all.”

    That matches what I hear from local energy guys, who tell me that companies are replacing old solar thermal water heaters with solar PV connected directly to resistance heating coils — any excess power from the solar PV gets saved as heat.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Mar 2013 @ 1:45 PM

  42. Who is Joe Nocera, and why is he going after James hansen about the pipeline issue? This is the second Op Ed column in the NY Times by Nocera attaking Hansen, this time much more personally. I don’t remember Nocera writing any other columns about climate change, but he seems to be lobbying strongly for the pipeline. It makes me wonder just why he is so concerned with this particular issue.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:07 PM

  43. Actually Paraquat’s comment was not that ill-timed at all. The press release that Hyundai will manufacture 1000 fuel cell vehicles for fleet use in 2015, does not make much of a dent in the ~15 million vehicles sold annually. Other companies have manufactured fuel cell vehicles for demonstration tests in select markets also.

    Comment by Dan H. — 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:28 PM

  44. 25:

    Yup. I have no problem getting there from my browser, but the link doesn’t work for me either when posted here. Go to Neven’s, find you way, then get to the index. Can’t even remember How I did that, but once you get to the index of images you can look at them going back months. I have it bookmarked, so can get there.

    Just go to the appropriate thread on Neven’s. He has a post on it, but also being discussed on the new forums.

    Comment by Killian — 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:33 PM

  45. New Jennifer Francis video on climate effects on weather:

    So glad of the increasing communication and activism on the part of climate scientists, including the allowance of more discussion of impacts and solutions here at RC.

    Comment by Killian — 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:38 PM

  46. Folks,

    This is Ranga Myneni, Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. My research focus is on evaluating climate change impacts to vegetation using satellite data. I have been active in this science for over 25 years. A link to my professional web site is below near my signature.

    There is now sufficient evidence that our way of living is causing unnatural changes in climate. Collectively, we own this damage and therefore we need to solve it together. It is YOUR CLIMATE CHANGE also. Twenty five years have passed since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been advising the policy makers regarding the hazards of climate change. Yet, there has been little meaningful action to solve this global problem affecting all life on Earth.

    The solution lies in convincing policy makers that this is a priority for all citizens of the World. Therefore, I started an online project to collect one billion signatures by Earth Day 2014 for a petition addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to act judiciously and expeditiously on anthropogenic climate change.

    You can support by:

    (1) reading and signing the petition at

    (2) spreading the word to your (a) family, (b) friends, (c) colleagues and (d) acquaintances through the links on that page, and

    (3) composing an email to your trusted circle of family and friends, with the subject “Your Climate Change:“, add a short sentence at the beginning of this email (e.g. “I think this may be of interest of you.”) and copy-paste the text of my email

    We can easily reach our goal. If I can motivate at least 10 of you to sign the petition, and you in turn can motivate 10 more to sign the petition and they in turn can motivate 10 others … All it takes is 9 such steps, provided that each signee is unique.

    Thank You!
    Prof. Ranga Myneni (

    Comment by Ranga Myneni — 5 Mar 2013 @ 2:40 PM

  47. Is Gavin still planning his follow-up about Climate Sensitivity? It was promised two months ago.

    [Response: Life sometimes gets in the way… Sorry. The main holdup is an analysis I wanted to do showing what Ridley+Lewis’s calculation would give for a climate model where you know the right answer. – gavin]

    Comment by AndyL — 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:04 PM

  48. wili @ #38: As you know, the authors acknowledge that they still haven’t included all the permafrost feedbacks, so their projections may still be too conservative. I notice from a full copy of the paper it says:

    The PCF transforms the terrestrial land surface from a sink
    for carbon to a source of carbon to the atmosphere. This transition
    occurs in 2053 (2013-2078) for DEP 2.6, 2068 (2026-2104) for
    DEP 4.5, 2091 (2029-2131) for DEP 6.0 and 2065 (2014-2100) for
    DEP 8.5 (Supplementary Fig. S7). In the absence of the PCF, such
    a transition occurs between 2079 and 2198, contingent on climate
    sensitivity and emissions pathway.

    With the cessation of anthropogenic CO2 emissions the CO2
    fertilization of plants also ceases, leaving only the oceans as a fast
    sink for carbon. The strength of this sink is partially determined
    by the quantity of CO2 that has been added to the atmosphere. If
    the rate at which CO2 is being released from the terrestrial land
    surface exceeds the rate at which the oceans can take up CO2, then
    CO2 will continue to build up in the atmosphere, further warming
    the surface and driving a self-sustaining carbon-cycle feedback.
    In experiments where DEP 8.5 is followed up to a given date
    when emissions are instantaneously reduced to zero, all simulations
    with climate sensitivities above 3.0 C produce a self-sustaining
    PCF even if emissions are reduced to zero in 2013 (Fig. 3 and
    Supplementary Fig. S5).

    I think we can assume that the self-sustaining PCF hasn’t happened yet or we’d be seeing 4ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 per year instead of 2ppm… but the paper isn’t exactly optimistic about how much time we’ve got before this happens. Maybe we have 40 to 60 years, or maybe much less. What do you think?

    Comment by Icarus62 — 5 Mar 2013 @ 6:24 PM

  49. 34 Kevin McKinney says:
    OT, really, but @ 26 Paraquat said “I don’t think there is much hope of powering [cars] purely on hydrogen.”
    His comment was a little ill-timed, I fear:
    (Unless, perchance, he’s not counting hydrogen fuel cell technology as ‘purely’ hydrogen?)

    Hi Kevin. I stand by what I said. Hydrogen fuel cells have been around for decades. But at a cost of around US$1 million each, there is little chance of widespread adoption in cars. A few showpiece vehicles manufactured for big companies that want to milk the public relations benefits is not going to put a dent in gasoline or diesel fuel consumption.

    Much cheaper than fuel cells is to burn hydrogen directly in a slightly modified internal combustion engine. This too was done decades ago. I remember seeing in the 1970s a prototype by Caltech shown at a press conference. The beaming students drove the car around the university’s parking lot to a chorus of oohs and aahs by the reporters. We were all assured that this was “the car of the future.” That was maybe 40 years ago.

    What they reporters didn’t catch on to was that the hydrogen was supplied by a gas cylinder in the car’s trunk and the vehicle had a range of maybe five miles. Getting enough hydrogen on board to actually travel a reasonable distance means cooling the hyrogen until it becomes a liquid. That occurs at about 20 degrees Kelvin. Keeping it that cool is not easy. Park the vehicle in the sun and it rapidly warms, the hydrogen expands, and if you don’t want an explosion then you need a pressure-release valve, which means that in a short time you’ve got an empty tank. If you park the vehicle in a garage, leaking hydrogen (and it is a notoriously leaky gas) means you’ve the stage for an exploding garage.

    Ammonia, on the other hand, it quite a bit easier to handle, even though it is toxic. Compressed to about 10 atmospheres, it will remain a liquid indefinitely at room temperature. We already have a thriving ammonia industry (it’s used to make fertilizer, among other things). The main issue holding back ammonia-powered cars is that you do need some form of electricity to manufacture it – ammonia doesn’t come out of wells drilled in the ground. Since the goal is to reduce CO2 emissions, you would need a clean source of electricity. This is also an issue for hydrogen-powered cars (though for the reasons mentioned above, I don’t think they will ever be viable for mass production). The clean source of electricity could be wind, solar, nuclear or whatever, but until that infrastructure is in place, we aren’t likely to see many ammonia-powered cars on the road.

    Comment by Paraquat — 5 Mar 2013 @ 7:06 PM

  50. Icarus wrote: “I think we can assume that the self-sustaining PCF hasn’t happened yet or we’d be seeing 4ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 per year instead of 2ppm… but the paper isn’t exactly optimistic about how much time we’ve got before this happens. Maybe we have 40 to 60 years, or maybe much less. What do you think?”

    As you point out, in the paper itself, they say that they have not included all feedbacks, so even their most extreme-sounding claims are likely an understatement of the actual situation.

    So I have to conclude that we are close to if not at/just past the point when feedbacks would sustain CO2 levels at or above current levels for centuries, even if we stopped all further emissions immediately. No one has been able to tell me why this is not so. Note also that comparing weekly averages, we have recently been about 3ppm above last year’s same-time-of-year weekly averages.

    Also, the beginning of feedback does not necessarily equate with a sudden explosion in CO2 rate of increase. It will start as a very small added effect, then build on itself.

    For the record, no matter what is happening with feedbacks, runaways, etc, it is clear to me that our moral imperative at this moment in history is to dramatically reduce our emissions–personally, as a family, in our businesses, schools and institutions, and at the municipal, state, national and international levels–as quickly and completely as possible. I have been working to all so at all these levels, at great disadvantage to many of my closest relationships and to my career. I urgently urge all others to do the same.

    But I still want to know as accurately as possible the true nature of our current condition, however grim. This (sometimes) can be one of the best places to get such insights.

    (reCaptcha: “said no u go f” !)

    Comment by wili — 5 Mar 2013 @ 9:36 PM

  51. Here’s the place to find those weekly trends in CO2 atmospheric concentrations, with comparisons with the figures from the previous year:

    Comment by wili — 5 Mar 2013 @ 9:39 PM

  52. Paraquat @49,

    On the other hand, if you could make a SMALL fuel cell at a reasonable price it would resolve some of the issues people have with electric cars’ dependence on charging stations. Set it up to automatically switch on and recharge the main battery pack whenever the charge level drops below a given percentage. For a commuter vehicle even a few hundred watts coming in while parked during work hours would add up to significant range replenishment.

    I take your point about fuel storage, though. I wonder if you can get a fuel cell that will run efficiently on Ethanol.

    Comment by ozajh — 5 Mar 2013 @ 11:06 PM

  53. I have written an article looking in detail at surface temperature variations in all the major oceanic basins

    There are some interesting pattens. Some cycles seem common to many basins.

    whether these are “unforced” or forced by something ought to be looked at if we want to better understand climate.

    Comment by Greg Goodman — 6 Mar 2013 @ 6:20 AM

  54. Re 51 by willi

    Last month (Feb 2013) the Mauna Loa CO2 was 396.80 ppm. This was 3.26 ppm greater than the 393.54 recorded in Feb 2012. If May this year is 3.26 ppm higher than May 2012, which stood at 396.78 ppm, then the monthly value for May will break the 400 ppm barrier by 0.04 ppm!

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 6 Mar 2013 @ 6:24 AM

  55. wili @51
    The CO2 rise last month was pretty exceptional, the highest rise by some margin outside an El Nino (see graph of 1958-to date monthly CO2 rise here). I had always assumed 2013 would fall short of the first 400ppm month but unless this February figure proves an outlier, 400ppm in May will only take a repeat of the Feb-May 2012 rise.

    Comment by MARodger — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:21 AM

  56. (Oops. The intended second link above was to this year-on-year CO2 graph.)

    Comment by MARodger — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:28 AM

  57. Good point, Alastair. We have a ‘good’ chance of breaking that century mark.

    Of course, on the one hand, it is an arbitrary number.

    But if we can’t get excited by the fact that

    >CO2 concentrations are rising at an accelerating rate, or that

    >permafrost feedbacks may be kicking in, or that

    >we have broken the ice cap…

    perhaps the passing of an essentially arbitrary number will do the trick??

    One does get the sense that we are now in new territory, and moving into the 400’s makes that somehow more palpable (though we have presumably been in the 400’s in terms of CO2 equivalent for a number of years).

    Comment by wili — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:45 AM

  58. I’d like to suggest some articles on regional climate change projections. IThis would be a more tangible approach for the layman, and thus an interesting climate change communication means.

    Being from Brazil, I would have particular interest in the Amazon, but in general I’m sure the regional impacts would receive a lot of attention from those who are not nerdy enough to dig into equations, graphs and radiation budgets.

    Comment by Alexandre — 6 Mar 2013 @ 8:16 AM

  59. Alexandre, where in Brazil are you located. I’ve visited your country about half a dozen times since my first visit our our honeymoon, when I made my wife travel 7000 miles by bus in 6 weeks. (and yes, we’re still married) ;-)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Mar 2013 @ 9:34 AM

  60. #1, you said:

    “This, in turn, has led to wet regions getting wetter, and dry regions drier.”

    but that was the literature review. The paper’s new info:

    “On a regional scale, the tendency for wet seasons to get wetter occurs over climatologically rainier regions. Similarly, the tendency for dry season to get drier is seen in drier regions.”

    One would think that lots of details about the future water cycle should be in the past history of hot years, since the water cycle responds quickly to higher temperatures.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:14 AM

  61. About my previoous comment about Joe Nocera (42): I did some googling and found that Nocera has been severely criticized about inaccuracies in what he has said about the pipeline to deliver tar sand oil to the US. He also apparently got most of what he said about Jim Hansen wrong.

    Joe Nocera’s expertise is business, not science of any kind, but he apparently doesn’t even understand the economics of climate change. Unfortunately, the NY Times has given him a very large megaphone which can use to spread disinformation about the subject.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:44 AM

  62. Ray Ladbury,

    I’m in Serra Negra, a small town some 150 Km north of Sao Paulo. If you sometime happen to be in the neighbourhood, please drop by to have a beer!


    Comment by Alexandre — 6 Mar 2013 @ 11:08 AM


    We only hear about run-away melting in Artic ice but looking at all the daily data available for over 30 years now we also see there are strong “unforced” cyclic variations up there too.

    This plot is rate of change so the zero line represents neither loss not gain.

    The media tend to focus on one day per year in September. Scientists need to dig a bit deeper. What is happening up there is a lot more interesting than simple melting.

    I will be posting an article on that soon.

    Comment by Greg Goodman — 6 Mar 2013 @ 11:39 AM

  64. [Sorry the URL is not accessible for non logged please use this]

    We only hear about run-away melting in Artic ice but looking at all the daily data available for over 30 years now we also see there are strong “unforced” cyclic variations up there too.

    This plot is rate of change so the zero line represents neither loss not gain.

    The media tend to focus on one day per year in September. Scientists need to dig a bit deeper. What is happening up there is a lot more interesting than simple melting.

    I will be posting an article on that soon.

    Comment by Greg Goodman — 6 Mar 2013 @ 11:58 AM

  65. > who is Joe Nocera
    Opinions vary

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2013 @ 12:11 PM

  66. Thanks for the great graphs, MAR.

    At what point can we determine whether higher rates of CO2 concentration increases are purely the result of the ongoing recovery of a still-mostly-ff-powered global economy, and how much might be carbon feedbacks starting to kick in and sinks (such as oceans and soils)starting to fail? Will there be an isotope signature for such events?

    Comment by wili — 6 Mar 2013 @ 12:16 PM

  67. Alastair McDonald,

    >400ppm monthly average for May at Mauna Loa is very unlikely I think, though 400ppm for a weekly figure is possible.

    There was a milestone with this February’s average though: It’s the first time in the Mauna Loa record that a February average has been higher than the previous year’s May average – normally the peak in the annual cycle (albeit the difference isn’t significant).

    Comment by Paul S — 6 Mar 2013 @ 1:10 PM

  68. #43–Dan, the question wasn’t whether the initial production run would make a dent in CO2 emissions (though that is certainly a burning–no pun intended–question.) It was whether there was ‘much hope of powering cars purely from hydrogen.’ Inasmuch as we are now doing just that in production vehicles, I’d have to say it’s now a fait accompli.

    #45–Paraquat, thank you for expanding. But your information is about a decade behind the state of the art:

    Fuel cells are generally priced in USD/kW. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that the cost of a fuel cell for an automobile in 2002 was approximately $275/kw, which translated into each vehicle costing more than 1 million dollars. However, by 2010, the Department of Energy estimated that the cost had fallen 80% and that such fuel cells could be manufactured for $51/kW, assuming high-volume manufacturing cost savings.[40] Ballard Power Systems also published similar data. Their 2005 figure was $73 USD/kW (based on high volume manufacturing estimates), which they said was on track to achieve the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2012 goal of $30 USD/kW. This would achieve closer parity with internal combustion engines for automotive applications, allowing a 100 kW fuel cell to be produced for $3000. 100 kW is about 134 hp.[41]

    I’m not saying that fuel cells will save our butts, necessarily–“TANSTAAFL” could well morph to “TANSTAASB” by substituting ‘silver bullet’ for ‘free lunch.’ But the current number is, according to the DOE, $47/kw:

    If we extrapolate, then, the fuel cell cost might be somewhere in the vicinity of $5000, if manufactured at large scale.

    As to actual cost of the Hyundai ix35s going to Copenhagen, both parties seem to be keeping mum, which does make one wonder. All anyone seems to know is that it is a lease arrangement.

    I’ll leave it there–the subject is interesting, but peripheral to climate science.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Mar 2013 @ 1:38 PM

  69. This looks interesting:

    It seems like it could shed some light on whether changes in cosmic rays have any effect on climate, since it puts some numbers to the changes to the clouds (it’s not clear to me if cloud cover or density were studied, though).

    Comment by Derrell Durrett — 6 Mar 2013 @ 1:46 PM

  70. Antiscience blogs capture the Science category in annual Weblog Awards – 13 out of 17 finalists are climate denialists – ‘Science blogs would rather complain about the results than try to submit nominations themselves’

    In an escalation of the annual farce that plays out at the Weblog Awards (cf. Antiscience site wins another ‘Best Science or Technology Weblog’ award), this year we have 4 of 5 nominees in the Science category held by antiscience blogs. In 2010, Des tried to persuade the Weblog Awards staff to reconsider allowing antiscience blogs into the Science category, to no avail. In 2012, climate science denialists added “Best Canadian Weblog” to their trophy case.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 6 Mar 2013 @ 2:51 PM

    Worth checking.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2013 @ 3:34 PM

  72. Kevin McKinney wrote: “I’m not saying that fuel cells will save our butts, necessarily …”

    First of all, we don’t need to keep the cars going (with fuel cells or otherwise) to “save our butts” — and we certainly don’t need to find ways to maintain an economy that is absolutely dependent on selling 10-15 million new cars every year in the USA alone.

    The current dominance of auto-centric lifestyles in the USA gives rise to an exaggerated sense of the importance of maintaining that lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to drastically reduce the role of cars in modern, high-tech societies, and numerous social, environmental, and public health benefits from doing so.

    Second, a problem facing developers of automotive fuel cell technology is that battery-powered EVs have a huge head start.

    Current EV batteries are already very, very good, and are rapidly getting better and cheaper. Battery EVs can be easily “refueled” by many consumers right at home from a standard AC outlet, and the public charging infrastructure for them is already being rapidly deployed (with considerable backing from the car manufacturers and utilities and tech companies).

    Also, battery EVs are so inherently simple and cheap to mass-produce that as the technology becomes more standardized (assembled from generic components with standardized form-factors and interfaces like PCs) and production scales up, costs are likely to plummet.

    Moreover, there are already multiple mass-market battery EVs available, which are selling at much higher rates than the first generation of gasoline-electric hybrids did in their first years on the market, and there are multiple new, better and cheaper battery EVs coming to market in the next year or two.

    So battery EVs have a huge head-start not only in the development and commercialization of the technology, and in infrastructure support, but in public acceptance as well.

    All of that is going to be very tough for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to compete with.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Mar 2013 @ 4:48 PM

  73. 68:
    This is the way the world ends ?

    Comment by Russell — 6 Mar 2013 @ 6:09 PM

  74. > fuel cells

    Test them for crashes as seen in those Russian dashboard videos.
    (Notable that dramatic crashes don’t go boom, with gasoline vehicles.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:28 PM

  75. #72–That makes a lot of sense, SA. I wasn’t propagandizing for (or against) HFC technology, just trying to set the record a bit straighter. I suspect now that paraquat may really have been meaning something like “little hope of creating a vehicle fleet purely powered by hydrogen,” which would then connect with your comments.

    However, predictions are hard, and especially about the future (as a bona fide Baseball Sage once observed.) I’m just hoping that your more optimistic ones are right, anyway.

    I will say, though, that the folks at Hyundai are reportedly betting several hundreds of millions of euros that there is a commercial future for their technology. That bespeaks a certain seriousness, at least.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:30 PM

  76. This is the way the world ends

    When the link works

    Comment by Russell — 6 Mar 2013 @ 7:41 PM

  77. #72 Comment by SecularAnimist

    Good comment, and I agree with most of your points. Namely:

    1) Yes, we are overly dependent on cars, and that should change, and…
    2) That said, EVs are currently the most promising technology we have for non-fossil fuel powered vehicles.

    Regarding my discussion about ammonia-powered cars…I brought it up mainly because EVs still have a serious limitation for range. Better batteries (or maybe ultra-capacitors) offer a possible future solution, and I hope that comes to pass. But another approach worth exploring might be a hybrid, burning ammonia in a small engine to recharge the EV’s batteries when it is beyond the range of a grid-connected power outlet.

    Talking about hybrids, I remember seeing a video about a year ago where someone demonstrated using a very small and fuel-efficient turbine engine to power the generator. Compared to an internal combustion engine, turbines are very efficient if they are run at steady speeds. Running a car’s drive-train directly off a turbine has been tried and found lacking – they are poor at acceleration and deceleration, and will gobble fuel when used that way. Unfortunately, I have not heard any more about this turbine-hybrid concept since that one time, and I wonder if the research is still continuing. Anyone have more info? I did a bit of Googling but didn’t find much.

    Comment by Paraquat — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:06 PM

  78. @MARodger (or anyone else)
    A question about ocean heat content, in the ocean heat content graph near the bottom of this page:

    Why has 0-700m and 0-2000m diverged in the last 10 years or so, they seem to be a lot more correlated up until there. Is it something real, or measurement noise.

    [Response: It’s not noise – it’s more likely to be data sparsity in the early periods, so that the variance in the 700-2000m region is being underestimated. – gavin]

    Comment by RussellThor — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:07 PM

  79. Greg,
    Nice graphic, and definitely more telling. I look forward to your article.

    Comment by Dan H. — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:24 PM

  80. For those who wish to promote hydrogen fuel cell, or combustion, technology for transportation, it is deficient to not also discuss the economics how the hydrogen is produced in the first place, the engineering and cost for compressing and storing it for distribution, and the significant problems of leakage and safety involved in storing it in an auto “gas tank.”


    Comment by Steve Fish — 6 Mar 2013 @ 10:32 PM

  81. Alas, the appropriately certificated authorities and Google don’t even trust Emiliana.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Mar 2013 @ 11:41 PM

  82. Once again, thanks to everyone who provided feedback.

    Chris Colose: great, exactly what I was looking for!

    Lennart van der Linde: if you are interested in further contact, shall I send you an email?


    Being a story (I scribble stories myself), what you probably need is less how we 21st century folk would view a BAU 25th century but how 25th century folk would view it.

    Good point. Since humanity would still be facing ever worsening and virtually unstoppable consequences, and the problem was created in an age when life was better and Earth a more pleasant place, my guess is that most people living at that time will be feeling quite bitter about it.

    Comment by Vincent van der Goes — 7 Mar 2013 @ 3:08 AM


    We only hear about run-away melting in Artic ice but looking at all the daily data available for over 30 years now we also see there are strong “unforced” cyclic variations up there too.

    This plot is rate of change so the zero line represents neither loss not gain.

    The media tend to focus on one day per year in September. Scientists need to dig a bit deeper. What is happening up there is a lot more interesting than simple melting.

    Thorough investigation of the daily satellite ice data could give important clues to a better understanding of the “internal” fluctuations in the climate system: the part that, so far, models have trouble reproducing.

    Comment by Greg Goodman — 7 Mar 2013 @ 7:09 AM

  84. I love the idea of ammonia powered cars. I remember the weird atmosphere in the house in the late 1950s and early 1960s when my sisters would give themselves home permanents. (Who remembers the ad slogan, “Which twin has the Toni?”) Ammonia, in concentrations low enough that it doesn’t eviscerate your nasal passages, has a feral, fox-like smell that’s also oddly antiseptic, metallic, and corrosive.

    On an industrial scale, that much ammonia in the air would transform the planet to one of the moons of Jupiter. We’d have to mutate into something like the big eyed humanoids of “2001.”

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 7 Mar 2013 @ 10:20 AM

  85. BBC article on melting arctic glaciers:

    Comment by cowichan — 7 Mar 2013 @ 1:59 PM

  86. Seems Yogi had it right Kevin. Judging from the recent past, the future may not turn out to be what some expect. There even appears to be some fuel cell powered folks in California driving for free. I’d think it’s worth staying tuned considering what’s happening in the EU, especially in Germany.

    Comment by flxible — 7 Mar 2013 @ 4:11 PM

  87. Steve Fish wrote: “… how the hydrogen is produced in the first place …”

    Behold MIT’s “artificial leaf”:

    … a small device that, when placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, would produce bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen.

    The device combines two technologies: a standard silicon solar cell, which converts sunlight into electricity, and chemical catalysts applied to each side of the cell. Together, these would create an electrochemical device that uses an electric current to split atoms of hydrogen and oxygen from the water molecules surrounding them.

    The goal is to produce an inexpensive, self-contained system that could be built from abundant materials …

    I don’t much like the moniker “artificial leaf” since it implies artificial photosynthesis, which is not what the device does — it’s basically self-contained, scalable, PV-powered electrolysis to separate oxygen and hydrogen from water.

    But it seems like a potentially valuable technology for “storing” solar energy in the form of hydrogen.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Mar 2013 @ 4:16 PM

  88. I recently redid the analysis of Klotzbach-2009 (more info here) and got a response from John Christy on ‘Staat van het Klimaat’ and WUWT.

    Of course this is some sort of shameless advertisement for my writings, but I’m also very interested in the opinion of others regarding Christy’s response. My response to Christy can be found here:

    Comment by Jos Hagelaars — 7 Mar 2013 @ 4:51 PM

  89. Okay, here’s a new topic: “But they are not ‘climate scientists’ with degrees in climate science; they just say [illegimately] that they are climate scientists.”

    I’ve been trying to explain to such denialist claims that any relatively new field will have scientists who do not have their degrees in that exact field, but have come to focus their studies on and publish in that field; and if their peer-reviewed scientific studies withstand the pressures of time and scientific scrutiny — that’s what makes them climate scientists or xyz scientists, not their terminal degree.

    For instance, Franz Boas got his PhD in physics, but became the father of modern anthropology — and no one thinks of him as a physicist, but as an anthropologist. Even his bitter intellectual enemies in anthropology would laugh at the silly notion that he was not anthropologist just bec his PhD was in physics.

    So — how many climate scientists actually have PhDs in “climate science,” and how many PhD-granting programs are there in climate science?

    I also mentioned that it wouldn’t surprise me if the senior faculty of such Climate Science programs — who do research in and teach about climate science — had degrees in other, related fields.

    Any ammo for me to disabuse such denialists?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 7 Mar 2013 @ 4:55 PM

  90. ammonia powered cars: A long time ago, somebody came up with the idea of hydrazine [double ammonia, N2H6] to replace gasoline. Problem: hydrazine is a “monopropellant”/explosive without air.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Mar 2013 @ 5:01 PM

  91. Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias, Brazil
    Royal Society of Canada, Canada
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    Académie des Sciences, France
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Germany
    Indian National Science Academy, India
    Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy
    Science Council of Japan, Japan
    Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, Mexico
    Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
    Academy of Science of South Africa, South Africa
    Royal Society, United Kingdom
    National Academy of Sciences, United States of America

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Mar 2013 @ 5:06 PM

  92. RussellThor@78,
    The graph is no more than a simple representation of the Levitus OHC anomaly data (non-controversial with perhaps the exception of the spelling of zettaJoule).
    That a trace of a deep OHC anomaly crosses the trace of a shallow OHC is surely to be expected.
    The question of the sudden nature of this crossing may be worthy of discussion. Myself, while conscious of the difficult subject of OHC data accuracy, I am less inclined (less than perhaps the #79 Response) to dismiss the ‘divergence’ since 2003 simply as ‘noise’. That is, I am not myself unreceptive to the idea that deep ocean heating could quite quickly assert itself, thus resulting in reduced shallow ocean heating. Yet I must make clear that such a personal point of view is in no way a scientific one. Far from it!

    Comment by MARodger — 7 Mar 2013 @ 5:59 PM

  93. > Greg Goodman
    Can you explain that in words?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Mar 2013 @ 7:28 PM

  94. The Los Angeles Times had an interesting article about a new record of the temperature of the Holocene to be published Friday (tomorrow) in Nature. Does anyone have expert comentary about what their results mean and how robust they are?

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 7 Mar 2013 @ 8:23 PM

  95. Re: #63 (Greg Goodman)

    About your claim of “strong “unforced” cyclic variations” and that “Scientists need to dig a bit deeper.”

    You need to go back to school:

    Comment by tamino — 7 Mar 2013 @ 8:33 PM

  96. Oh Greg, you dug too deep, man, you dug too deep!

    Comment by Tapani L. — 7 Mar 2013 @ 9:12 PM

  97. Vincent (#82),

    How bitter do we feel that there are no mammoth or buffalo to hunt? I think that if you write something post-apocalyptic, your characters will find things of beauty to appreciate. The movie “Wizards” might be something to look at.

    One thing you might want to consider is surviving technology. In Mad Max, a post nuclear holocaust scenario, there are surviving vehicles and small fuel depots. But from 500 years ago we see some stone structures and stained glass. I did a calculation a few years ago that the radiation environment just below the tank of a steel water tower is such that a solar panel should be protected from both ground and cosmic radiation and thus function for long past its normal lifetime. If you are going to use a water vapor runaway climate, your people might live high in the atmosphere using salvaged panels to fill bladders with hydrogen for buoyancy and produce oxygen to breath though electrolysis. There would be a lot of volatilized sulfur available too to work with. Could a bladder ladened with stored ice from high in the atmosphere descend to the roasting surface to scavenge and survive to return to sunlight? It would be gaseous leviathan. How would your people know where to drop down? Losing count of the orbits of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter could be a major plot complication since it might wreck navigation. Lots of fun things to consider.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 Mar 2013 @ 9:20 PM

  98. Post 63 – what is the impact of thermohaline circulation, the great conveyor belt?

    Comment by T Marvell — 7 Mar 2013 @ 10:09 PM

  99. When the links work: Can you explain that in words?

    Rate of change — look at
    Accelerated decline in the Arctic sea ice cover
    3 JAN 2008
    DOI: 10.1029/2007GL031972
    Cited by many subsequent papers

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Mar 2013 @ 11:11 PM

  100. Looks like Greg Goodman (above in comments) has been made to look like a fool:

    Comment by Victor — 7 Mar 2013 @ 11:15 PM

  101. Hydrogen powered ships?.. Many years ago I had the idea..born of cleaning our salt water swimming pool and watching the bubbles of hydrogen bubble up from the electric salinator..I thought..what if a ship was covered with light weight high efficiency solar cells and that electricity would generated hydrogen through electrolysis from the salt water the ship is sailing in. As the hydrogen bubbles would float to the surface there was some way of trapping and compressing them and then to feed the compressed gas to hydrogen powered engines which I thought would give better bang for the buck then just using the solar cells on deck to power the ship’s electric motors. I cant think of any harmful emissions that would cause. You would need to replace the electroysis electrodes once in a while but that’s all. Just shows I was conscious of emissions even way back in 1990. Do you guys think this is a viable concept?

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 8 Mar 2013 @ 1:12 AM

  102. I’m sure you all know about the Revkin latest, since it involves extensive quotes from Mike Mann. The deniers, for once, were late to the party. Still, it’s an interesting article with video interviews with Shakun (minor author) about this in Science:

    I can’t help thinking they’re trying to mop up after the massive Nocera fail and blowback on getting rid of environmental focus just when climate interest is ramping up in the general population.

    John Mashey, thanks for the suggestion about USA Today. That’s a fascinating item about early farming.

    I too have noticed they are doing excellent work and will follow your suggestion to begin supporting them. We do need an alternative to the NYTimes which is now also giving up on the International Herald Tribune (IHT) which did some of the better environmental reporting, if I understood correctly.

    Also, I agree that Neven’s Sea Ice blog should be listed here.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 8 Mar 2013 @ 1:22 AM

  103. Tex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobil, was on Charlie Rose yesterday, Thursday. A smoothie. Tries to sound reasonable. Says there is AGW, but the extent of the impact is unclear, due to the multitude of factors involved and to the margin of error given in scientific reports. Says we must develop non-carbon energy sources, but carbon fuels much supply 80%+ of energy in the next 40 years, and the government should not subsidize alternate energy production because it reduces the incentive of companies to become more efficient. Says he likes the carbon tax, an easy thing to say since it has virtually no chance of becoming law. Against regulation, including cap&trade. For government supported basic research (which won’t interfere with Exxon, like regulation does). He emphasized that his goal is for Exxon to make money.
    At least he admitted to AGW, but I don’t like his use of climate science uncertainty to muddy the waters and downplay the importance of AGW. It’s a lite version of what the tobacco industry did concerning cancer research. The uncertainty really isn’t there any more, for global warming or cancer.

    Comment by T Marvell — 8 Mar 2013 @ 1:57 AM

  104. Greg Goodman @64.

    Why the different end-points for your data in your graph linked @64? The latest data seems to be for early 2012 with most other of your traces ending even earlier.

    I myself feel the rolling annual average SIE/SIA is worth plotting (eg, as per here), mainly for completeness sake. I took a quick look at a plot of an averaged differential of that annual average, which does shows me plenty of wibbles & wobbles (not unlike your light blue trace) but I see no obvious cycles. The best of it is the gaps between the high peaks which are 4 to 6 years long with one peak absent

    Comment by MARodger — 8 Mar 2013 @ 5:04 AM

  105. Tamino takes apart Greg Goodman’s comment(@ #83):

    Comment by John Russell (@JohnRussell40) — 8 Mar 2013 @ 5:38 AM

  106. Vincent #82,

    Sure, you can mail me. If you don’t have my adress, look here:

    I already sent you a mail; at least I think it’s you.

    Comment by Lennart van der Linde — 8 Mar 2013 @ 5:41 AM

  107. Stomatas again:

    The scenario presented here is in contrast to [CO2] records reconstructed from air bubbles trapped in ice, which indicate lower concentrations and a gradual, linear increase of [CO2] through time. The prevalent explanation for the main climate forcer during the Last Termination being ocean circulation patterns needs to re-examined, and a larger role for atmospheric [CO2] considered.

    Comment by Magnus W — 8 Mar 2013 @ 7:14 AM

  108. More BS in Forbes. I hadn’t noticed before that they have a Tea Party columnist, James Taylor. He cites a survey of geoscientists and engineers in Alberta, essentially representing fossil fuel interests, as if they represent the views of all scientists.

    His article: Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis. The paper he cites: Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer. Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change, Organization Studies November 2012 vol. 33 no. 11 1477-1506 — read and see for yourself.

    Comments on the site have mostly taken him to task for misrepresenting but a few more won’t go amiss. I am writing to the editors too to complain.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 8 Mar 2013 @ 9:16 AM

  109. See Tamino’s post for some thought’s on Greg Goodman at 83…

    Comment by Tokodave — 8 Mar 2013 @ 9:32 AM

  110. @83 and earlier…

    Posting this twice link twice probably isn’t necessary. Rather reading about it once here would likely be better.

    Comment by jgnfld — 8 Mar 2013 @ 10:34 AM

  111. This certainly deserves some comment:

    A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years

    S. A. Marcott, J. D. Shakun, P. U. Clark, A. C. Mix (2013) Science 339, 1198-1201.

    Comment by chris — 8 Mar 2013 @ 12:31 PM

  112. Paraquat says “we are a rather long way from having hydrogen-powered cars”, and I, once a hydrogen-energy enthusiast, agree. Hydrogen cars are decades away. It isn’t certain engineering effort won’t be being misdirected into them decades in the future, but it is certain that the BMW 520h, with a liquid hydrogen tank and 300-km range, existed decades ago.

    … of course you first need some sort of non-fossil fuel electricity (solar, wind, nuclear?) to produce the ammonia …

    Better to extract CO2 from rocks, or the atmosphere, hydrogen from water, and react the CO2 and hydrogen to produce non-fossil gasoline.

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan — 8 Mar 2013 @ 4:04 PM

  113. Greedy Lying Bastards,” Craig Rosebraugh’s new film about climate change denial, opened today. It’s playing in selected US cities. See also its Wikipedia page.

    Also, what has to be my favorite climate change headline ever appeared on CNN today: Global warming is epic, long-term study says. The article contains a bit of false balance but it’s mostly straight out of “Science”. The comment threads are truly bizarre however, and reek of what I can only construe as mental illness.

    “Confronted with a high probability of environmental catastrophe on Earth, the richest people on the planet–people who systematically overeat and who air-condition the outdoor forecourts of gas stations–are unwilling to wait an extra four months to increase their incomes by 40 percent. Understood this way, the growth fetish appears to be a form of madness.” (Clive Hamilton, “Growth Fetish”, p 183)

    Comment by Chris Korda — 8 Mar 2013 @ 4:28 PM

  114. I’m surprised to see no mention of Marcott et al in March 8, 2013 Science “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years”. Comments? [coming soon… -mike]

    Comment by AIC — 8 Mar 2013 @ 4:52 PM

  115. T Marvell wrote re: Rex Tillerson: “At least he admitted to AGW, but I don’t like his use of climate science uncertainty to muddy the waters and downplay the importance of AGW.”

    The fossil fuel corporations have pretty much given up on public, outright denial of AGW when speaking to a general audience, since that position has become untenable — although they continue to fund organizations like Heartland to preach “AGW is a liberal hoax” to their talk-radio-Fox-News-programmed cult following.

    They have moved on to other propaganda strategies to obstruct and delay the urgently-needed phaseout of fossil fuels.

    These include denial that AGW will cause any serious harm in the forseeable future (a line which is also rapidly becoming untenable given the onslaught of serious harm already occurring), and of course attacks on the solutions — especially renewable energy like wind and solar — as costly, damaging to the economy, and ineffective.

    I have noticed of late a small but growing number of blog commenters who acknowledge the reality of AGW and preach despair and hopelessness in response — e.g. “it’s too late, we’re doomed, you’re deluded if you think there is anything that can be done, just give up, resistance is futile” — in a clear attempt to demoralize, while simultaneously regurgitating every Koch-funded, spurious attack on renewable energy (Solyndra!) that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh spoon-fed to their audiences throughout last year’s election campaign.

    Remember, for the fossil fuel corporations this is not about, and has never been about, science. It’s about perpetuating fossil fuel consumption as long as possible, by any means necessary — and that largely involves getting people to be passive and do nothing. When deceiving people by denying the existence of the problem won’t fly any more, then demoralize them into inaction by denying the existence of any solution.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Mar 2013 @ 6:03 PM

  116. Over 9000 comments so far on that CNN story (which is about the Marcott et al. study).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2013 @ 6:30 PM

  117. Chris Korda, OMG, commenters have a new meme: BP oil spill happened because government outlawed shallow water drilling so they had to drill in deep water.

    sorry everyone, OT, but in an era of shocking ignorance, this one was new to me.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 8 Mar 2013 @ 7:09 PM

  118. Re- Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Mar 2013 @ 4:16 PM

    So, what is the advantage of the “artificial leaf” over a standard PV array? Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 8 Mar 2013 @ 8:06 PM

  119. 91: Hank Roberts..and the CSIRO in Australia.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 8 Mar 2013 @ 8:28 PM

  120. “The most recent decade was the nation’s hottest on record”

    Which ten year span, did anyone catch that?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Mar 2013 @ 9:56 PM

  121. Lynn V @89 Search ‘climate science degree programs’ and you’ll find lots, and see: who’s a climate scientist? More to the point is who’s not?

    Comment by flxible — 8 Mar 2013 @ 10:20 PM

  122. SecularAnimist said I have noticed of late a small but growing number of blog commenters who acknowledge the reality of AGW and preach despair and hopelessness in response — e.g. “it’s too late, we’re doomed… in a clear attempt to demoralize, while simultaneously regurgitating every Koch-funded, spurious attack on renewable energy…

    Remember, for the fossil fuel corporations this is not about, and has never been about, science. It’s about perpetuating fossil fuel consumption as long as possible, by any means necessary — and that largely involves getting people to be passive and do nothing.

    Honestly, such people no longer bother me all that much. I agree with Annie Leonard who said at Bioneers in 2009 or ’10, it’s time to simply ignore these people and get about the business of change. She’s absolutely correct. Observable climate changes are making the difference. Obviously that is all that could tip the playing field, so let’s just get on with it now that we have a majority, even in the US, that are “getting it.”

    Second, studies indicate that memes and/or social movements reach tipping points and then spread relentlessly.

    We are likely at those tipping points.

    Other research (The Authoritarians, oft linked here) indicates the far ends of any ideological spectrum are essentially immovable and must simply fade out over time and/or end up marginalized.

    Worrying over denial is pretty much the biggest waste of time the “aware” can engage in at this point, and I needn’t remind at least some of you how ardent I (aka ccpo) have been in the past in fighting denial.

    What worries me far more is the seemingly increasing cannibalization going on among the “aware.” Much like racism and prejudice when the key antagonist has been overcome, the smaller differences between the formerly co-oppressed become more important and seemingly magically a whole new oppressive framework appears. (Protestant Americans vs. Catholic and other immigrants immigrants, e.g., light- vs. and dark-skinned of various ethnic groups.)

    We who are, for lack of a better term, climate aware need to avoid the sort of cannibalism already apparent, and even seen on these fora.

    The import of all this on climate science lies in finding solutions to sequestration, emissions and consumption. Biases are apparent for as yet “unproven” solutions merely because they haven’t been paid much attention by enough scientists, regardless of their efficacy in practice – even in the face of 30-year comparative studies, e.g.

    Failing to keep our ears, eyes and minds open in the problem-solving process is quite likely to lead us to non-viable solutions. Solutions are going to become a more important part of climate science. We will need to be modeling what happens if we start growing food all over towns and cities and not just on big farms. We need to model what happens if we regrow half of all the forests we’ve lost or start rebuilding soils at a rate many times what natural processes achieve.

    What happens if we successfully (the math is pretty simple, really) but very rapidly return atmospheric CO2 to sub-300 ppm, say, on a 50 – 100 time frame? Do we create problems with reversing CO2 just as we do with increasing it? Does rate of change matter in both directions?

    And all this on top of geo-engineering ideas and such.

    Meh… forget the denial. It’s days are numbered. Let’s get to the work at hand.

    aSIDE: First the Russians in Lake Vostok, and now reCAPTCHA –> EMIXPR ELEMENT

    Comment by Killian — 9 Mar 2013 @ 1:17 AM

  123. Could anyone comment on NOAA’s Ryan Neely’s (et al) article in GRL considering the “lack of warming” being caused by moderate tropical volcanic eruptions, rather then by anthropogenic SO2-emissions (China, India, etc).

    [Response: Neely et al is a paper about attributing the source of stratospheric aerosols, not temperature. They show quite convincingly that the small amounts of aerosols are the result of volcanic aerosols, rather than pollution from china or India. The paper itself doesn’t draw any further conclusion. However, in their press release, they link this result to a speculation in a paper last year that this amount of aerosols was significant in terms of temperature. Unfortunately, the release and the subsequent coverage took this extrapolation as if it was the main result. It was not, and the significance of these small amounts of aerosols have not yet been demonstrated to have had a significant impact on temperature. They may have a noticeable effect or not, but that has not been shown. – gavin]

    Comment by Henk Schuring — 9 Mar 2013 @ 8:25 AM

  124. Steve Fish wrote: “So, what is the advantage of the ‘artificial leaf’ over a standard PV array?”

    Well, as I understand it, MIT’s so-called “artificial leaf” combines a PV element with chemical catalysts to create a self-contained solar-powered device that, when dropped into a container of water and exposed to sunlight, separates the water into oxygen & hydrogen by electrolysis. The hydrogen can then be stored, and either burned as a fuel or used in a fuel cell.

    Whether that technology will eventually have an advantage over storing electricity in batteries (it’s apparently still in “proof of concept” status now) I cannot say, it does seem like an elegant way of producing hydrogen.

    The earlier discussion of using hydrogen for vehicles (either as a fuel for combustion engines or in fuel cells for EVs) got me thinking about using hydrogen as a fuel for utility-scale turbines to generate electricity, instead of natural gas.

    Gas turbines are often discussed as backup for wind and solar power, but of course gas is still a fossil fuel and still contributes to GHG emissions as well as other problems. It would seem to me that hydrogen could be used instead. The challenges of creating mobile hydrogen engines for vehicles wouldn’t apply to large, stationary turbines. And the resulting H2O emissions could be captured and recycled.

    I don’t know whether anyone is working on that, though.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Mar 2013 @ 2:53 PM

  125. I wrote: “I don’t know whether anyone is working on that, though.”

    Well, now I know:

    An experimental gas turbine simulator equipped with an ultralow-emissions combustion technology called LSI has been tested successfully using pure hydrogen as a fuel – a milestone that indicates a potential to help eliminate millions of tons of carbon dioxide and thousands of tons of NOx from power plants each year.

    The LSI (low-swirl injector) technology, developed by Robert Cheng of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, recently won a 2007 R&D 100 award from R&D magazine as one of the top 100 new technologies of the year.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Mar 2013 @ 2:59 PM

  126. I had to be a nag but I am still hoping to hear an explanation as to why the sea level rise predictions for 2100 (~20 inches see Figure 3) are so unusually low in this paper:
    Millennial total sea-level commitments projected with the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM

    H Goelzer et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 045401

    An educator who seeks to explain this to his students…

    Comment by Alex — 9 Mar 2013 @ 3:13 PM

  127. He’s been treated like a scientist — that’s called hard argument:
    “This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time….

    “Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2013 @ 3:39 PM

  128. Dan H.


    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Mar 2013 @ 9:27 PM

  129. OK guys, time to weigh in before comments are closed. Tom Friedman, for whatever reason (we won’t go there, please) is enormously popular and is featuring Keystone and negotiating chips for the Sunday NYTimes. Please get on it if you feel like it, sooner rather than later:

    (only 2 comments so far, but my experience is comments get closed within an hour of two):

    captcha: survey milyars

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 9 Mar 2013 @ 9:50 PM

  130. Hank Roberts, thanks for keeping “Science is so powerful it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts” front and center!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 9 Mar 2013 @ 9:53 PM

  131. H Goelzer, P Huybrechts, S C B Raper, M-F Loutre, H Goosse, T Fichefet. Millennial total sea-level commitments projected with the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM. Environmental Research Letters, 2012; 7 (4): 045401 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045401

    I’m just guessing — I’d guess their model, as set up to run out to the year 3000, was using conservative assumptions about how sturdy the big ice caps are.

    Because for a run out to the year 3000, it makes not much difference how fast change happens in the first century of the thousand years.

    Sure, they could’ve assumed much faster melting. But they’re interested in the year 3000.

    On Earth in 3000, I’d guess, few would know or care if those antedeluvian icecaps went slowly melting, or shattered into crushed ice and avalanched.

    Different perspective.

    As you’re a teacher, though, I’d encourage you to actually telephone or write the corresponding author of the paper and ask — often scientists are quite willing to give a phone interview to a class, or have some other way to talk to students about their work. A call from an interested teacher and the chance to talk to students who even know about the paper could be quite welcome.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Mar 2013 @ 9:55 PM

  132. Taylor is a paid propagandist employed by the Heartland Institute.

    He is a typical Libertarian Piece of Filth.

    “More BS in Forbes. I hadn’t noticed before that they have a Tea Party columnist, James Taylor.” – 108

    Comment by Vendicar Decaruan — 9 Mar 2013 @ 10:31 PM

  133. Secular Animist: A number of my contri’s might have seemed starkly pessimistic of the planet’s future but it’s only because I wish to lay out the actual state of affairs and not the usual soothing..”if we globally cut emissions by 15% within the next 10 years we will avert the worst of GW” crap. The water in the bucket is dangerously hot, all us little frogs must leap out IMMEDIATELY!. No more time for fiddling while rome gets nuked,(“nuked” fits the geological time frame we are dealing with), no more time for academic procrastination. Let’s tell it as it is shall we. Far from discouraging and depressing people all I’m saying is… there is a bad ass bear hot on our tail…RUN!!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 9 Mar 2013 @ 11:14 PM

  134. Hank Roberts,

    Thanks for the comment. I contacted the first two authors of the paper when it first came out – with no response. :(

    Comment by Alex Glass — 10 Mar 2013 @ 12:37 AM

  135. 131: Susan Anderson. It does! It can take a while though as Copernicus found out.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 10 Mar 2013 @ 1:25 AM

  136. But James Taylor has seen fire and he’s seen rain. He saw sunny days that he thought would never end. He has some credibility when it comes to Climate Change, you have to admit.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 10 Mar 2013 @ 1:52 AM

  137. Secular Animist,

    I have noticed of late a small but growing number of blog commenters who acknowledge the reality of AGW and preach despair and hopelessness in response — e.g. “it’s too late, we’re doomed… in a clear attempt to demoralize, while simultaneously regurgitating every Koch-funded, spurious attack on renewable energy…

    Is it not possible that some of us simply aren’t persuaded that humanity is going to take the appropriate action? Is it not possible that those of us from an engineering background aren’t persuaded that we can transfer this fossil fuel based civilisation onto a different track? Is it not possible that a person like myself sees the growing traffic on the roads and knows that all his work colleagues and friends remain totally wedded to FF driven exponential growth?

    I rarely voice these doubts precisely because I don’t want to sabotage any efforts others are making. But these doubts are considerations I hold having a good knowledge of the issues. They are not driven by a desire to demoralise.

    In the mean time I do what I can. I don’t drive, apart from the rare occasions I have to for work. I walk everywhere, apart from a weekly trip by bus. I’m typing this wearing three layers so I only have to turn the heating on occasionally to knock the rooms I use above 12degC. And I blog rather than keep my notes to myself, or tucked away on some message board.

    Be careful that the justified disdain we both feel for the denialists doesn’t turn into a disdain for anyone that disagrees with any minute aspect of your views.

    Intelligent and informed people can and do disagree with you.

    Comment by Chris Reynolds — 10 Mar 2013 @ 5:42 AM

  138. Related to my earlier question
    “Warming in climate-change simulations reaches a local maximum in the tropical upper troposphere as expected from moist-adiabatic lapse rates, but the structure of warming varies between models and differs substantially from moist adiabatic in the extratropics. Here, we relate the vertical profile of warming to the climatological temperature profile using the vertical-shift transformation (VST)”
    Older question:

    Comment by Magnus W — 10 Mar 2013 @ 6:11 AM

  139. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of commentators on global warming seem to under the impression that CO2 is the only greenhouse gas. For example there is a lot of talk of keeping temperature increases below 2C by controlling emissions. If C02 was the only greenhouse gas this might be possible. However if you include the others we are passed there already. Has anybody else notced this?

    [Response: You appear to be confusing CO2 and CO2_equivalent. The distinction is critical. See e.g. my commentary in PNAS “Defining Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference”: -mike]

    Comment by DP — 10 Mar 2013 @ 8:30 AM

  140. James Gentle and Karen Kafadar take over at WIREs Computational Statistics<a href=";

    There has been a big change at WIREs Computation Stats.
    In a stunning (but welcome) development, James Gentle of GMU and Karen Kafadar of IndianaUniversity have been named editors-in-chief, joining remaining original editor David Scott.
    I last discussed WIREs Comp Stat back in July, when Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said were quietly dropped as editors. I outlined the problems that apparently led to their summary dismissal.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 10 Mar 2013 @ 11:18 AM

  141. James Gentle and Karen Kafadar take over at WIREs Computational Statistics

    There has been a big change at WIREs Computation Stats.
    In a stunning (but welcome) development, James Gentle of GMU and Karen Kafadar of IndianaUniversity have been named editors-in-chief, joining remaining original editor David Scott.
    I last discussed WIREs Comp Stat back in July, when Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said were quietly dropped as editors. I outlined the problems that apparently led to their summary dismissal.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 10 Mar 2013 @ 11:27 AM

  142. > Alex Glass

    I’m not a scientist, but — rereading the paper — their models give results consistent with the last IPCC AR4 report.

    That paper is looking at the end result in the year 3000. The rate by 2100 isn’t their focus — by 3000, that’ll be _ancient_ history.

    Did you read the earlier topics here at RC on sea level rates of change when the AR4 came out? The AR4 explicitly did not include anything after their deadline, which was before a lot of research came out on melting rates.

    Models take a while to build. The paper’s quite thorough in describing what they were doing. I think you’ll find your question answered — and enough information to explain it to your students — if you look at it and read the earlier discussion.

    Try the search box upper right, or a site search like this:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2013 @ 12:18 PM

  143. (PS for Alex Glass — I can’t guess what level of students you’re working with so I may be way off the mark — what level of explanation are you looking for?)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2013 @ 1:44 PM

  144. Lawrence Coleman & Chris Reynolds:

    I wasn’t thinking of you guys in my coment (#115).

    I’ll be the first to say that it is self-evidently impossible to prevent extremely destructive impacts from AGW, given that they are already occurring.

    I’ll also be the first to say that not only is the current situation with AGW much worse than most people realize, but it is getting worse much more rapidly than most people realize.

    I think it is extremely unlikely that we can avoid much more destructive impacts than we are seeing now, which will cause horrific harm to the Earth’s biosphere, not to mention incalculable human suffering, and will likely challenge human civilization to survive.

    But, SO WHAT? Shall we all just sit around crying in our beer?

    I don’t think so.

    Because we absolutely do have the knowledge and the technology and the resources needed to reverse the ongoing increase in global GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within 5 years, leading to near-zero emissions within 20 years, with the vast majority of those reductions occurring in the first 10 years. Likewise, we have the means to begin drawing down the already dangerous anthropogenic excess of CO2 and sequestering it in soil and biomass.

    And based on my best effort to understand what climate science is telling us, I believe it is possible, even likely, that by doing those things we can prevent the most catastrophic outcomes of AGW, end the rapid warming, and allow the Earth system to recover.

    It’s one thing to recognize the real challenges and obstacles that face us — while exerting all possible effort to overcome them.

    It’s another thing to become an obstacle, and to in effect aid and abet the fossil-fueled obstructionism that is the only real obstacle, by preaching the sort of defeatism and despair that is known to make people tune out, give up and become passive.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Mar 2013 @ 1:49 PM

  145. Chris Reynolds wrote: “Is it not possible that some of us simply aren’t persuaded that humanity is going to take the appropriate action?”

    I am certainly not persuaded the humanity is going to take the appropriate action.

    That’s exactly why I’m focused on persuading humanity to take the appropriate action.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Mar 2013 @ 1:52 PM


    ah the Daily Telegraphs own Christopher Booker requires a response to his it aint warming much dimissasl of ACC ever being a issue for humankind

    Comment by pete best — 10 Mar 2013 @ 2:34 PM

  147. Re: 23 and 42, Nocera is an opinion columnist for the NYTimes who strikes me as a gadfly who sometimes hits the nail on the head and sometimes hits his thumb. He is not dogmatic like Brooks and some of their others. An unkind person could say he confuses the NCAA and NOAA!

    The interesting thing about the NYTimes is that they killed their environment desk earlier this year, but claimed coverage would not suffer. Then earlier this month they killed their Green blog (announced at 5 p.m. on a Friday), again claiming coverage would not suffer. Shortly after that they published Nocera’s editorial tirade against Hansen.

    Comment by Bob Gort — 10 Mar 2013 @ 3:37 PM

  148. > Christopher Booker … look at the graph


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2013 @ 3:48 PM

  149. “ah the Daily Telegraphs own Christopher Booker requires a response to his it aint warming”

    Just wait until he discovers the Kelvin scale …

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Mar 2013 @ 5:18 PM

  150. > Now, there are very serious problems with hydrogen as a fuel when it comes to warming. The stratosphere is very dry and adding water vapor there can
    > have a strong warming effect. Fugitive hydrogen from fuel production and use could enter the stratosphere and become water vapor through oxidation.
    >(Fugitive methane can do the same.) Under those conditions, the water vapor has a chance to accumulate and behave like a noncondesable gas for a while.
    > But it is not the water vapor tailpipe emissions that would be the problem but rather hydrogen fuel leaks.

    Saying (fugitive) hydrogen escapes from the atmosphere. Recent reports on catalytic and bacterial production of hydrogen are of interest

    Comment by James — 10 Mar 2013 @ 7:24 PM

  151. For your perusal:

    Car companies gang up on renewables – hydrogen, Fortune, 2/4/13:

    Related to previous: Electric Cars Head Toward Another Dead End? TOD via CNBC via Reuters, 4 Feb 2013

    [NOTE: The most intractable problem with cars is not fuels, not to minimize the barriers there, but is resources. Cars for 9+ billion, for how many generations? The math doesn’t work in a resource-constrained world. Cars are a moot argument, IMO. They should be eliminated ASAP, regardless of type, except for specific, irreplaceable uses.]

    Drumbeat, TOD, link:
    Fairly extensive posts, links and discussion on hydrogen via the Drumbeat on TOD, OP is sfhaze on August 15, 2012

    Fuel cell trams and trains via the Drumbeat on TOD, August 15, 2012

    Various posts and comments on hydrogen via the Drumbeat on TOD, October 22, 2012, Leanan, October 22, 2012,

    The Hydrogen Dream, Luis de Sousa, January 31, 2012, TOD:

    The Hydrogen Economy and Peak Platinum, Big Gav, August 13, TOD 2008

    Comment by Killian — 11 Mar 2013 @ 2:41 AM

  152. 144: Secular Animist. Thanks for the response. I agree that we have many of the means available to dramatically cut emissions. However the problem is our out of control population (had to mention the elephant in the room) and the extra energy that this dramatic growth requires. Simultaneously because of the little issue above we are cutting the very forests that have always been the planet’s principal carbon sink. I have heard a dozen times that livestock are carbon neutral..rubbish. If cattle were at the same numbers then maybe, but they also are growing rapidly in number to sustain the appetites of the world’s rising middle classes. Whilst the bovine pop. is growing they cannot be carbon neutral. Trying to persuade China and India into steep emissions reduction mught be challenging owing to China’s bloody mindedness. You have the means in America to start immediately. We in Australia have the same means in fact everybody in the 1st world has. The only way to practically cut emissions is through a collective response by world leaders and a few bold public sector corporations. By installing solar panels on 1/5 of the houses and buildings of the industrialised world we can make a huge dent in emissions. Even nuclear is a viable if costly option. What I don’t see a glimmer of is any urgency by world leaders to do anything concrete lest that might jeopardise their reelection chances. The technology is there but trying to change people’s attitudes might well be impossible.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 11 Mar 2013 @ 3:02 AM

  153. Wood for Trees has not updated Gistemp LOTI since November, 2012. Does anybody know why, or whether or not it will ever again be updated?

    Comment by JCH — 11 Mar 2013 @ 9:27 AM

  154. > Woodfortrees

    Encourage him:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2013 @ 12:35 PM

  155. I just read Hertsgaard’s book HOT. Is it credible? Is it useful for redistribution?

    Comment by John Burgeson — 12 Mar 2013 @ 10:48 AM

  156. John #155

    For what’s it worth: i’ve read most of it and as I remember it seemed accurate. Any particular issues that you worry about?

    Comment by perwis — 12 Mar 2013 @ 3:38 PM

  157. Since the subject of Arctic sea ice came up recently, I’ve been doing some posts on that topic. Part 1 is here:

    Part 2 here:

    Part 3 soon to come.

    Comment by tamino — 12 Mar 2013 @ 7:40 PM

  158. 152 Lawrence C said, ” However the problem is our out of control population (had to mention the elephant in the room) and the extra energy that this dramatic growth requires… …By installing solar panels on 1/5 of the houses and buildings of the industrialised world we can make a huge dent in emissions.”

    If you use “industrialized” in a scientific sense, then the industrialized world is growing rapidly while the third world is shrinking just as quickly. This won’t stop until the entire world is industrialized. Given this, wouldn’t it make more sense for the industrialized world to continue using old fossil sources and use the world’s renewable production in the 3rd world? It makes no scientific sense to build solar cells in China and ship them to the West while ripping down old coal plants in the West and rebuilding them in China…

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 12 Mar 2013 @ 8:25 PM

  159. Book: “Requiem for a Species”by Clive Hamilton 2010

    Chapter 1: The species involved is us humans.

    Chapter 2: Growth fetishism. Economic Growth has become a religion. The denialists accuse us of what they are guilty of. Economics or money is a very strange religion.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Mar 2013 @ 12:19 AM

  160. Thanks for the heads-up on ‘Greedy Lying Bastards’, Chris K @113.
    The targets of that movie include the Koch brothers, whose names pop up repeatedly, as we know, amongst those funding climate change disinformation. They also popped up on Forbes magazine’s latest ‘rich list’, as reported on the ABC on March 5 ( ) – “Tied at sixth were brothers Charles and David Koch, with $US34 billion each, fortunes built on their US oil refining, pulp and paper and chemicals empire Koch Industries.” If you add their separate fortunes together, which for this purpose I think is reasonable, they are third on the list, not equal sixth.
    Perhaps we need to ask another rich-list leader (Bill? Warren?) to counterbalance their influence?

    Comment by MalcolmT — 13 Mar 2013 @ 1:23 AM

  161. Weird article at IEEE Spectrum on anthropogenic vs. volcanic sulphur dioxide pollution; here’s my response:

    The way this article is framed is a tad misleading. It comes across as saying that human emissions are dwarfed by volcanic emissions. If you read almost to the end you find that anthropogenic emissions are about half the total, and it’s the INCREASE from China and India that’s not that large a factor.

    The author appears to have confused VARIABILITY with TOTAL IMPACT (at least in the way he has expressed himself).

    Also I unfortunately can’t access the original paper to answer this question: if “AOD has increased by between 4 percent and 10 percent per year since 2000”, why is it so clear that a 4% pa increase from China and India is not a significant component of this incease? Is this period large enough for statistical significance? And why anyway is this important, because there is no driver we know of for volcanic output to increase continuously, whereas any unconstrained growth in industrial pollution will eventually break out of the natural background signal (unless, as I say, something is forcing unconstrained growth in volcanic activity)?

    And there’s also a pretty good reason for carbon dioxide to have a bad press: it doesn’t clean out of the atmosphere as acid rain (which may seem a good thing) but that means an increase is long-lived. After about half of the increase is absorbed by the environment; the rest is absorbed by much slower processes, with a significant fraction of the increase still present in 1,000 years.

    This article raises more questions than it answers, that can only really be answered by reading the original source, once again illustrating the problem of academic publications hidden behind a paywall.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 13 Mar 2013 @ 1:46 AM

  162. 29:
    A very rough back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that the rate of C02 emission from melting Greeenland ice is about 0.01 times the human rate.

    Comment by Russell Robinson — 13 Mar 2013 @ 5:06 AM

  163. 158 Jim Larsen..actually just now you could well be right considering the plummeting price of solar cells around the world. If one could convince China and India of the merits of a mass roll out of renewable energy in their own respective countries fronted by solar cell energy production would place them at an economic advantage over the west who is still uing increasingly expensive fossil fuel technology, that should be a clear win win. I believe the Chinese gov has now got to be considering a cleaner future for it’s cities after seeing the footage of Shanghai and Beijing choking under a thick acrid layer of smog. I like your logic Jim.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 13 Mar 2013 @ 6:41 AM

  164. #163–Lawrence, China is aggressively installing wind and solar. See this graph:

    Things have shifted in India, too:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Mar 2013 @ 8:16 AM

  165. Lawrence Coleman wrote: “If one could convince China and India of the merits of a mass roll out of renewable energy in their own respective countries …”

    China is a world leader in deployment of wind and solar, and India is on the way.

    It makes no sense to speak of “China” and “India” as though they are monolithic entities that act with one mind.

    Both are complex societies, and while their power structures of government and industry don’t map exactly to those of the USA, they are like the USA in that there are those who ARE “convinced” of the urgent need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and there are also powerful interests that are heavily invested in fossil fuels and want to perpetuate their use.

    But if we are going to speak in terms of “convincing” nations, then I wish we could convince “America” of the merits of a mass roll out of renewable energy that would match what China is already doing.

    And if “America” is serious about convincing “China” to phase out fossil fuels, one thing we could do is to stop exporting huge amounts of coal to China.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Mar 2013 @ 11:09 AM

  166. Russell Robinson @162.

    A most intriguing question posed by David Werth @29 – how significant will the CO2 trapped in ice sheets when released by its melting be as a source of atmospheric CO2? You calculate that from the GIS it would roughly add 1% to the CO2 mankind is releasing via FF use etc (thank you) which sounds a rather a lot but then today’s net loss of Greenland ice is also rather a lot.

    Yet the melting ice presumably also releases the rest of that ancient air trapped with the CO2. So, me thinks, would that not make the gaseous emissions from melting ice (having lower CO2 content than today) act to dilute today’s CO2 levels?
    But then does CO2ppm still hold as the value to be watched? With the release of the ancient air from the ice, there is more atmosphere for IR energy to escape through, a blanket that will also support more H2O to work alongside that extra CO2.

    Which is why I say ‘most intriguig.’

    Comment by MARodger — 13 Mar 2013 @ 12:38 PM

  167. Muzzling of scientists in Canada worsens:

    Comment by AIC — 13 Mar 2013 @ 2:50 PM

  168. SA wrote: “Shall we all just sit around crying in our beer?”

    Has someone proposed this? If so, please point it to us. If not, please do not make up straw men and imply that someone here holds a position they don’t hold.

    I agree with most of what you said up to that quote, by the way. I just want to continue to be able to discuss the science and its implications without constantly being accused of colluding with the oil companies or advocating lacrimonious beer dilutions. (In any case, don’t much care for salt in my yeasty beverages ;-)

    Comment by wili — 13 Mar 2013 @ 8:53 PM

  169. Canadian Arctic Glacier Melt Accelerating, Irreversible, Projections Suggest
    18% gone by 2100 CE.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Mar 2013 @ 10:10 PM

  170. Just saw this link by a denialist, supposedly “climategate 3” and the password to all the emails that supposedly prove scientists were fudging the data, etc —

    Does this need to be addressed?


    Subject: FOIA 2013: the password

    It’s time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair.

    Indeed, it’s singular “I” this time. After certain career developments I can no longer use the papal plural ;-)

    The “all.7z” password is [redacted]

    …I prepared CG1 & 2 alone. Even skimming through all 220.000 emails would have taken several more months of work in an increasingly unfavorable environment.

    Dumping them all into the public domain would be the last resort. Majority of the emails are irrelevant, some of them probably sensitive and socially damaging.

    To get the remaining scientifically (or otherwise) relevant emails out, I ask you to pass this on to any motivated and responsible individuals who could volunteer some time to sift through the material for eventual release….

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Mar 2013 @ 2:44 PM

  171. Your thoughts on the science planned during the The Coldest Journey? I think it’s worth the risk … and the fuel, as seems to be the problem with the usual suspects who are – quite predictably – downplaying the expedition.

    Comment by Bojan Dolinar — 15 Mar 2013 @ 5:22 AM

  172. Further to comments @29, @162, @166.

    I thought to reverse the back-of-envelope calculation of Russel Robinson to find how much air there is in ice but I came out with 100%.

    600Gt GIS ice melt. 30Gt human CO2 emissions. CO2 500ppm(by weight) in the trapped ancient air. It would take ice made of solid air for GIS to release 1% of human emissions.

    So what would be a good % for an ice cap’s air content by weight. The best I could find was this (looking at the structure of Alpine ice) which gives a range, possibly 10% as a useful single value, but is that by weight or by volume?

    Comment by MARodger — 15 Mar 2013 @ 7:42 AM

  173. Thanks AIC for that link — those Canadian scientists aren’t being just muzzled, they’re being throttled. The government changed the rules about publication, lied about that, got caught, lied again, changed the rules about applying for grants.

    Sounds like the Canadian government has realized they’re in big trouble with climate change and are desperate to hold off public information for a while.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Mar 2013 @ 8:02 AM

  174. We may not have to wait for the release of methane hydrates because of climate change.. A story in our local paper says that Japan has “extracted natural ‘ice gas’ from methane hydrates beneath the sea off its coast, opening up a super-resource that could meet the country’s gas needs for the next century…” The story (Edmonton Journal March 15, 2013) points out that they “must find a way to avoid releasing large quantities of methane” into the air.

    Comment by JABowron — 15 Mar 2013 @ 12:26 PM

  175. The commenter “Killian” posted the below two links in February’s unforced variations. They essentially cast doubt on the claim heard everywhere that fracking contributes only half of the greenhouse gas emissions of other fossil fuels. I am curious what the take is on this claim by the scientists of Real Climate? Thank you.

    Comment by Doug — 15 Mar 2013 @ 1:24 PM

  176. > the claim heard everywhere

    Claims you hear — often called “Heard-a-guy-in-a-bar” citations — ought to be checked

    A search on the subject in Scholar doesn’t find support for the barfly estimate. I’d guess that’s being copypasted by folks who don’t check facts.

    Just the first page of results has two papers giving more credible numbers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Mar 2013 @ 8:28 PM

  177. Hank Roberts unsurprisingly said drivel drivel barflies drivel.

    Not impressed with Ivory Tower, unfounded, elitism. Not good enough for you so you call legitimate feedback “barfly estimate?” Does not reflect well on you.

    The first is from Cornell. Full of barflies, Cornell, certainly.

    The second is from the NOAA. Barflies all, there, too. The findings were published in the dive bar rag, Nature. The findings supported earlier findings of 4% leakage and made more menacing the IEA’s (that’s the International Energy Agency, made up of mostly foreign barflies so doubly suspect) findings that substituting methane for coal doesn’t appreciably change the outcomes of BAU FF use since up to 9% leakage was found during this study.

    The article notes Ken Caldeira, the useless cad, and Tom Wigley (of the noted barfly clan NCAR – probably hip-hop barflies given that silly shortened moniker) found that even conservative rates of leakage, i.e. 2%, would make no appreciable difference in temps for at least 250 years.

    The “reliable” estimates you support as non-barfly make no effort to measure leakage or underestimate it, which is why they considered methane to be half the emissions of coal. It is when the full process is considered *and measured*, as noted above, by barflies, of course, that the numbers move back toward equilibrium.

    This is not hard to comprehend unless one closes one’s Ivory Tower to all inputs.

    I’d guess that’s being copypasted by folks who don’t check facts.

    And I’m certain you’re an arrogant so-and-so to call Cornell, the NOAA, the journal Nature, etc., barflies.

    Shame, shame, shame.

    I realize you probably saw my name attached and let your brain go to mush, but that sort of prejudice and arrogance is not excusable, particularly when it leads to libel of good scientists and knee-jerk dismissal of their work.

    While I am of the opinion a healthy society listens to all voices, there is a prerequisite that the voice not be spouting drivel. To coin a phrase from a movie I can’t remember the name of, these are serious times for serious people. If you aren’t a serious person, please exit stage right. Or left. Don’t really care. Just go if you’re going to spout disrespectful drivel.

    Comment by Killian — 16 Mar 2013 @ 2:11 AM

  178. Re 175 I have heard that the claims about relative fracking methane emissions ignore the methane emissions caused by mining coal.If you factor that in emissions from gas fracking are a lot less.

    Comment by DP — 16 Mar 2013 @ 6:38 AM

  179. A question:

    We’ve all seen the various projections for CO2 increases over the next century under various scenarios.

    Has anyone translated those to estimated economic impacts?

    If such graphs were feasible, it would be possible to make rough estimates of things such as the global return on investment for switching from one level of CO2 production to another, which then could be compared with estimated costs of making such a switch (probably an easier calculation).

    That would seem to useful for countering arguments to the effect that “ideally” we should do something about climate change, “but it’s just too expensive”.

    Have economists and climate scientists collaborated on anything like this?

    Comment by JMcDonald — 16 Mar 2013 @ 8:32 AM

  180. Killian @177, not unsurprisingly said ‘I have such a persecution complex’.

    Hank was responding to the comment of “the claim heard everywhere“, not to your cited articles which were mentioned in the same comment . . . you may find Hanks propensity to encourage folks to make their own checks frustrating, but misdirected rants based on misinterpretations of such simple comments, leaves one wondering about any of your assertions.

    Comment by flxible — 16 Mar 2013 @ 9:48 AM

  181. While researching a question raised by one of my denier friends, I came across a couple of graphs near the bottom of the linked NSIDC Web page that shows Arctic sea decreasing, but Antarctic sea ice staying about the same. Can anyone point me to an explanation of why this is happening?

    Comment by Richard Palm — 16 Mar 2013 @ 10:53 AM

  182. Killian, dear, bless your heart, you’re leaping too fast.

    If you’d looked — the search link I posted showed people how to find some of the research that _supports_ what you said.

    Your statement about gas/methane/fracking _is_ correct.
    Your assumption that nobody but you has the truth is … not helpful.

    C’mon. Read the science, share the information behind your opinions.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2013 @ 11:38 AM

  183. I logged on here specifically because I found Hank’s response to my question so offensive Killian. I was merely asking a question of the climate scientists on here, as to their take on the studies. Then I was greeted with a response to “look it up” from someone who isn’t a climate scientist. (Hank)

    To tell you the truth, even if I tried to “look it up” I wouldn’t know if what I was reading was the best science on the topic. That’s why I came on here to ask climate scientists. Not all of us Hank, come from a science background nor have the researching prowess you do…

    Hank, you also seemed rather dismissive of my statement that the fracking claim is heard “everywhere”. Well….that is all one hears in the media, and I would guess that 99% of the American public anyways who have thought about it at all, think that fracking contributes about half of the greenhouse gases specifically because it is heard everywhere in the media.

    Lastly, thank you DP at #178 for your response.

    Comment by Doug — 16 Mar 2013 @ 11:40 AM

  184. For JMcDonald, yes, those economic estimates are made quite a bit. Scholar will find them. For a critique of some of them, this might be an amusing place to start:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2013 @ 11:41 AM

  185. I logged on here specifically because I found Mr. Robert’s remarks at #176 to my question so offensive. I was merely asking a question of the climate scientists of their opinion of those studies. Instead I get a command from Mr. Roberts (not a climate scientist I believe) to “look it up”. Well, I thought the purpose of this site was for climate scientists to communicate with the public. I do not come from a science background and even if I knew how to use “Google Scholar” I wouldn’t know if what I found was the best science on the topic. That’s why I wanted to ask the climate scientists their opinion. I thought the purpose of this site was to increase the understanding of the public, but if we are going to be met with snide remarks for merely asking a question, it will discourage the understanding of people like me. -Doug

    Comment by Doug — 16 Mar 2013 @ 11:50 AM

  186. In #181, “Arctic sea decreasing” should read “Arctic sea ice decreasing.”

    Comment by Richard Palm — 16 Mar 2013 @ 1:22 PM

  187. . . .my statement that the fracking claim is heard “everywhere”. Well … that is all one hears in the media …

    What I hear in the media is that using gas in place of coal in power plants contributes much less CO2, NOT that obtaining gas from the process of fracking does – if folks misinterpret that to mean that obtaining gas by way of the fracking process is best, ignoring other problems wrt storage and transport of either fuel …. well, Hank suggests you research the whole picture, from those who’ve actually done research on that particular question, and form your own opinion [even pointed you to authoritative papers] rather than asking for opinions from folks involved in way different areas of climatology.

    Comment by flxible — 16 Mar 2013 @ 1:46 PM

  188. Doug,
    First, I would point out that Hank suggests that everyone do their own research.

    Second, I would point out that Hank’s advice is actually very good advice as it increases the chances that one will find reasonable understanding whether one starts at WTFUWT or at Realclimate.

    Third, I would point out that the scientists who run this site all have day jobs and run this site as a kindness to those of us interested in science.

    Fourth, I would point out that the questions you ask are not really climate related.

    Fifth, it doesn’t speak well when one takes offense at a suggestion to do one’s own research.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Mar 2013 @ 2:39 PM

  189. Doug, you’re right, I’m not a climate scientist, I’m a regular reader.
    I regret you were offended. I use Scholar often as a first place to check when I’m told that a claim is “heard everywhere” — it’s worth trying.

    Glad you came back and asked again. Someone else will be able to help better.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2013 @ 2:39 PM

  190. Richard Pam @181 &186.
    There is a SkepticalScience take on the contrarian argument that says “Antarctic Sea Ice is increasing so ya-boo sucks to your CAGW!!!!” I’d reckon it’ll stretch to explaining why Antarctic Sea Ice is “staying about the same.”

    Comment by MARodger — 16 Mar 2013 @ 3:42 PM

  191. MARodger @190

    Thanks, that answers the question very well. I’ll have to remember to check in the future.

    Comment by Richard Palm — 16 Mar 2013 @ 5:20 PM

  192. I have a question I have been unable to get answered elsewhere, so I thought I might try here.

    I read frequent references to the effects of El Ninos and La Ninas, as well as the AMO, on global average temperatures. And not just in the sense of surface air temps. The sharp increases in temps during El Ninos in particular seem to cause a spike in the GAT. 1998 being the best example.

    It is not uncommon when partisans of both sides of the climate debate are arguing whether the climate is currently warming, cooling, or in a pause, for the commenter to pick a start date that either includes, or omits 1998, depending on which point they want to make.

    My question is, how does the concentration of heat in one area of the climate system, raise the average temperature of that system? As I understand, the various ocean oscillations are the result of winds and currents concentrating, or dispersing, heat within the climate system. They are not phenomenon related to an increase in external heat/energy added to the system.

    Yet if you compare reported global average temperature trends, El Nino years show a correlation with a significant increase in global average temperature. 1998 in particular shows a severe increase in average temperature. But how does an El Nino, super or otherwise, increase the global average temperature?

    Where is the additional heat/energy coming from?

    Comment by GaryM — 16 Mar 2013 @ 5:57 PM

  193. Richard Palm says

    I do not know what others here think, but I think this paper makes some very reasonable explanations given that in some areas of the Antarctic sea ice extent is declining and in others expanding. It is hard to believe an Antarctic “cooling” could do both. The wind explanation can do both.

    Comment by JCH — 16 Mar 2013 @ 8:07 PM

  194. GaryM @192 — I’m an amateur at this but I’ll attempt answers to your questions.

    First of all, the AMO is most likely of no interest. It is well correlated to global temperature changes since it is just the temperature changes of the North Atlantic.

    More interesting is ENSO. During ENSO neutral conditions warm water piles up in the Pacific Warm Pool. During El Nino conditions this warm water rushes east along the equator and shuts off the cold Humboldt current along the coast of Peru. This combined effect increases the average temperature of the globe as opposed to the situation during ENSO neutral conditions when only the Pacific Warm Pool is warmed.

    I hope I have that both nearly correct and understandably so.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Mar 2013 @ 9:01 PM

  195. David B. Benson @ 192

    Thanks for the reply, but I don’t think that answers the question. Movement of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere will certainly raise the average temperature of the atmosphere, but the heat gained by the atmosphere is lost by the ocean. And the heat “piled up” in one part of the ocean means there is less heat where it would otherwise have been had the heat not concentrated. But neither phenomenon adds any heat/energy to the climate system. It is just moving it around among the various components of the system. The average should, as far as I can see, stay the same.

    So why does the global average temperature rise with an El Nino, and/or fall with a La Nina?

    Comment by GaryM — 17 Mar 2013 @ 12:06 AM

  196. Trying again to include a link that failed to post above:
    how to use Scholar

    chuckle — and reCaptcha says: “now oaitoll”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Mar 2013 @ 12:08 AM

  197. GaryM, if I am correct, misunderstands what the surface air temperature represents. So start with that. He’s thinking the GMT is a measurement of entire earth system; therefore, he thinks sloshing heat between ocean and atmosphere, or different depths of the oceans, should not change the GMT as what is being sloshed around is already in the GMT, and should not change the GMT. I could be wrong, but I’ve read his question several times and people always explain how El Nino warms the atmosphere, and he seems to think such a process should have net zero effect on GMT.

    Comment by JCH — 17 Mar 2013 @ 12:37 AM

  198. JMcDonald @179: I think you will find what you want in the Stern Review –

    Comment by MalcolmT — 17 Mar 2013 @ 2:47 AM

  199. MARodger’s comment @166 is well taken. I hadn’t thought about the other components of the atmosphere that would be there. So that means the release of air from glacial ice would tend to move the CO2 level toward the level in the trapped air which as MAR said would dilute the atmospheric level slightly. Thanks for helping me clarify my thinking.

    Comment by David Werth — 17 Mar 2013 @ 4:22 AM

  200. Re 192-gary m. the heat is coming from the oceans which does not get measured in global averages that usually take surface temps only

    Comment by jimmy — 17 Mar 2013 @ 6:55 AM

  201. Further to DBB’s comments on ENSO, there’s also an interesting radiative component to it:

    Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) data at the top of the atmosphere are observed from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument aboard the NOAA polar orbiting spacecraft. Data are centered across equatorial areas from 160°E to 160°W longitude. {Ie., the equatorial Pacific.} The raw data are converted into a standardized anomaly index. Negative OLR are indicative of enhanced convection and hence more cloud coverage typical of El Niño episodes. More convective activity in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific implies higher, colder cloud tops, which emit much less infrared radiation into space.

    (Edited for easier reading.)

    Much more detail here:

    From the conclusion:

    OLR has – over the globe – decreased over 10 years. This is a result of the El-Nino phase – at the start of the measurement period we were coming out of a large El-Nino event, and at the end of the measurement period we were in a La Nina event.

    The reduction in OLR is explained by the change in the two regions identified, which are themselves strongly correlated to the Nino-4 region.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Mar 2013 @ 7:39 AM

  202. also for JMcDonald:

    Nature | Letter

    Probabilistic cost estimates for climate change mitigation
    “… political choices that delay mitigation have the largest effect on the cost–risk distribution, followed by geophysical uncertainties, social factors influencing future energy demand and, lastly, technological uncertainties surrounding the availability of greenhouse gas mitigation options. Our information on temperature risk and mitigation costs provides crucial information for policy-making, because it clarifies the relative importance of mitigation costs, energy demand and the timing of global action in reducing the risk of exceeding a global temperature increase of 2 °C, or other limits such as 3 °C or 1.5 °C, across a wide range of scenarios.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Mar 2013 @ 12:12 PM

  203. reminder from J.Romm, linking to here

    Comment by jyyh — 17 Mar 2013 @ 12:40 PM

  204. Kevin McKinney — 17 Mar 2013 @ 7:39 AM

    That is similar to an answer I got from Judith Curry, that El Ninos increase cloud cover which trap radiation. But I think it is incomplete. That is, it posits a mechanism that COULD increase GAT. But since clouds also reflect incoming solar radiation, is the net effect of cloud cover from an El Nino sufficiently positive to explain the close tracking of GAT to ENSO and AMO) oscillations?

    And I am not confusing air temps with global average. Here are some graphs of reported temps, with both land and sea included.

    And this is a list of El Nino years.

    This is from a NASA site regarding the effects of clouds on climate.

    “Overall, clouds have the effect of lessening the amount of heating that would otherwise be experienced at Earth’s surface….”

    Is there research that shows that El Ninos cause increased clouds, and that the effect of those clouds is a net positive feedback that explains the close correlation between ENSO and spikes in global average temperature, as well as decreases in the average due to other oscillations?

    Comment by GaryM — 17 Mar 2013 @ 3:14 PM

  205. GaryM @195 — jimmy @200 offers a correct explanation. The heat in the Pacific Warm Pool is not just on the surface but extends to some depth. During El Nino much of that heat is redistributed to the surface.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Mar 2013 @ 4:23 PM

  206. Ocean Plankton Sponge Up Nearly Twice the Carbon Currently Assumed
    Carbon cycle models need revision.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Mar 2013 @ 7:25 PM

  207. When It Rains These Days, Does It Pour? Has the Weather Become Stormier as the Climate Warms?
    This is the way a physicist looks at the data.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Mar 2013 @ 7:29 PM

  208. On further reading of the links provided by Kevin McKinney, I think I understand that the research cited does support the argument that El Ninos increase cloud cover, with what appears to be a net decrease of OLR that correlates with the increase in reported GAT during that oscillation. It at least explains to me the mechanism by which the increase in “average” temps during El Ninos could be caused, which was what I asked for. My thanks.

    Comment by GaryM — 17 Mar 2013 @ 11:01 PM

  209. DBB #206,

    I don’t find that article particularly convincing, and am very concerned that it will give the denialists/do-nothings a good talking point.

    A superficial read of the article might give the impression that the change in CNP ratio in warmer waters will mean that more Carbon gets incorporated into plankton. A negative feedback loop!! Hurrah, we don’t need to do anything, just let Mother Nature do it for us.

    However, I suspect the truth of the matter (especially given the reference to ‘nutrient-starved areas’ is that the CNP ratio of the plankton is overwhelmed by the lower overall population per unit volume, and that in fact LESS Carbon in total is being removed in warmer water.

    Comment by ozajh — 17 Mar 2013 @ 11:16 PM

  210. I can never get a comment in edgewise on here but maybe this will get through. I am NOT a scientists but I follow this site very closely and am trying my best to educate myself about Climate Change. I saw this article on MSNBC this morning:

    If we carry on with this BAU situation as it appears we’re going to what will things look like in the next 5 years? Or the next 10 years? I don’t see anything changing as far as fossil fuel extraction and consumption so I can only assume that we’re headed for more extreme conditions. How much longer can we keep going like this? I would appreciate a best guess or estimation of a 5 to 10 year time horizon from anyone but especially Gavin. I have a 16 year old daughter and three young step sons so I’m wondering at what point do we hit the wall of reality? Are there any indicators that would signal an abrupt change in the climate? Do scientists ever panic about this or are they always this stoic about disaster?

    Gavin? Wili? Hank? Anyone???

    I’m just Joe Average trying to figure things out so I would appreciate any informed prediction or best guess. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 18 Mar 2013 @ 6:08 AM

  211. GaryM,

    It’s incomplete to just think about the horizontal coverage of clouds. What also changes with El Nino is the effective height of clouds. Higher clouds are colder, which means you get reduced IR emission and therefore less OLR.

    This page shows standardized (essentially meaning detrended) OLR variations. You can see reduced OLR is associated with El Nino and increased with La Nina.

    Comment by Paul S — 18 Mar 2013 @ 7:43 AM

  212. Chuck Hughes,
    A lot depends on how the planet responds to our continued belching of CO2 into the atmosphere, on the response of the Sun, etc.

    About half of the carbon we’ve produced has gone into the oceans, biosphere, etc. Will that continue, or will methane from thawing clathrates and permafrost make the planet a net carbon source?

    Will the low solar activity we saw in the previous solar minimum continue as a grand solar minimum, or was the last solar min a one-off?

    Finally, what good would it do to panic? All I know how to do is to keep trying to push things in the right direction. I hope for the sake of your daughter’s generation that we succeed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:11 AM

  213. jyyh (#203),

    Romm has got this one wrong. He is correct that Nocera is attacking McKibben for no reason, but on the climate science he is formally incorrect and on the political side he is undercutting President Obama and former Speaker Pelosi who have both committed to reversing climate change. The formal error is that cutting emissions to zero will lead to a reduced concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and, within a decade or so, a falling global average temperature trend. There are certainly irreversible aspects of climate change under natural conditions, not all warming can be reversed that way, but some portion can be reversed.

    Since President Obama’s emissions reductions commitments are not adequate to actually reverse climate change or even stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide, to hold him to his commitment, we must expect him to propose sequestration of carbon that is already in the atmosphere. Such a scheme was outlined in the Target paper by Hansen et al. That means reversing climate change by explicit human effort to clean up our mess. As confused as Nocera seems to be about the technology he is describing, carbon in urea is not sequestered when used in fertilizer for example, such power plants might be used to reverse climate change if fueled with wood or other biomass.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:36 AM

  214. Chuck, I’m not a scientist (though I’ve been reading ecology since the 1950s).
    Do we hit the wall of reality? Probably not. Each new generation assumes the conditions they’re born into are natural and normal.

    Ask any urban crow or raccoon about their world: nature has provided them with telephone poles, overflowing garbage piles, big stormwater drains, and freedom from big hungry predators; life is good.

    Abrupt change is well under way; most people don’t notice anything. Individual lives are too short, and science is a very recent thing in the world.

    Despair would be a waste of time. There’s work to be done here.
    Shifting baselines

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:45 AM

  215. Chuck Hughes #210:

    The scenarios you see discussed here, presented by the IPCC, and so forth, span a large range of possibilities for future emissions. I’ll leave any further speculation to others, but for sure nobody can tell you exactly what path emissions and climate will take.

    As to the hyperventilation in your linked article, please make use of a paper bag if it starts to affect you. The next few years of US fossil fuel production are understandably important to people whose jobs or profits depend on it, but the climate responds to global FF burning, not US. And over a span of decades, not a few years. You will notice the article hardly mentions that. Look for discussions of GLOBAL production, and ignore impressive claims about reserves, for the best perspective on what will affect both economy and climate.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 18 Mar 2013 @ 12:05 PM

  216. Must have messed up my link: standardized OLR.

    Comment by Paul S — 18 Mar 2013 @ 12:10 PM

  217. As a non-climatologist, I am curious why there are no plots of Energy_in – Energy_out for the Earth. I would presume we have satellite measures of both? Thanks.

    Comment by bobbb — 18 Mar 2013 @ 2:52 PM

  218. Chuck Hughes wrote: “Are there any indicators that would signal an abrupt change in the climate?”


    Rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap.

    Widespread, intense, prolonged drought afflicting major agricultural regions all over the world simultaneously.

    Increased frequency of extreme precipitation events with resultant flooding.

    And plenty of other indicators, which we are already seeing.

    By the standard of previous eras of naturally-occurring climate change, the changes that are already occurring are already “abrupt”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Mar 2013 @ 3:14 PM

  219. bobbb, Paul S just above your question gave one useful link to
    standardized OLR

    (the blog software is still eating links sometimes).

    If you’re in a nation that contributes anything toward satellite programs, talk to your government. The US, for example, used to have a fairly good satellite program, but it fell apart a while back and the satellites aging out of service weren’t replaced. Some European countries and Japan are putting up satellites, but the result is still a patchwork of data sets that have to be put together.

    They do get put together; good illustration of how it’s done here:

    It’s a big problem by now:

    Almost all these satellites are in fairly low orbits so they get a narrow track on each pass, not a global view from a height.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Mar 2013 @ 3:53 PM

  220. SA–+100

    (reCaptcha = “autocrats had emm” !)

    Comment by wili — 18 Mar 2013 @ 4:03 PM

  221. On March 8
    “I’m surprised to see no mention of Marcott et al in March 8, 2013 Science “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years”. Comments? [coming soon… -mike]”
    Comments? [still coming soon… -mike]

    Comment by Sven — 18 Mar 2013 @ 4:04 PM

  222. Thanks @219 Hank. I’m with you on the satellites, but I am not expecting any rational and thoughtful discussion of science funding here in the U.S. anytime soon.

    Comment by bobbb — 18 Mar 2013 @ 6:30 PM

  223. Chuck Hughes @210.
    You ask about 5 to 10 years of AGW but also ask “How much longer can we keep going like this?” (I assume the linked NBCNews article was simply an exemplar of ‘going on like this’.)

    I’m sure if we collectively try hard enough we can ignore all the natural warnings of AGW or failing that blame them on anything (or anybody) other than ourselves and so ‘keep going like this’ until we run out of fossil fuels.

    And it’s a big old world we live in. Over a 5 to 10 year period, AGW may well provide a few pointers to our climatic future. An ice-free summer Arctic Ocean looks probable. And surely there will be more extreme weather events to shock us and then forget about. Mundanely there will be more millimetres of sea level rise and average surface temperatures increasing in hundredths of ºC, and these rises could even be on a scale that contrarians would find more difficult to belittle.
    Yet it’s a big old world. Over 5 to 10 years none of this future would be much different than if we all managed to stop using fossil fuels tomorrow or more realistically started making steps tomorrow to stop using fossil fuels. And if we rely on some “abrupt change in the climate” to bring us to our collective senses, we will be likely leaving it way too late, may be waiting… …until just before the fossil fuels run out?

    Last decade there was an estimated extra 0.32 W/sq m positive forcing added to AGW (80% due to CO2). Using best estimates, that’s an extra 0.25ºC on average global temperatures in a century’s time. That don’t sound so bad, until you add up all the decades of emissions gone and the future decades we will need to wean ourselves of fossil fuels. Only then is it possible to understand how deep the do-do mankind has got itself in.
    If the science is correct (and science usually is in areas as thoroughly researched as this), the 1½ºC to 2ºC rise deemed ‘safe’ is now pretty-well inevitable. (‘Safe’ of course doesn’t mean it will be painless.) So will an extra ~0.25ºC maintain ‘safety’ for future generations? And if so, what about the next decade’s extra ~0.25ºC?
    We are truly gambling with the well-being of future generations. Yet understanding that is a very big ask for folk who simply don’t want to know.

    Comment by MARodger — 18 Mar 2013 @ 7:28 PM

  224. Apparently, Paul Dennis of UAE has filed a comment (unfortunately, I don’t know where. What I saw this in was copy-pasta without attribution) on the Marcott et. al. paper, and in it he says this:

    “In one sense I see such statements as a form of confirmation bias. This is a very serious issue in modern science that is being driven by government policy, funding organisations etc. If ones views run counter to the prevailing orthodoxy then chances of funding, tenure, career development etc. are all affected. We have to move away from such a stance and try to re-establish the scientific method.”

    The full text of his statement is in a comment here:

    (Slate’s commenting system sucks, so I can’t link directly to the relevant comment. You should be able to find it by searching for ‘paul dennis’… after you open up all the comments :-\)

    Words fail me. That sounds like it’s right out of the AGW deniers playbook. It is almost beyond belief that a scientist would go on record saying these things. Does this person have an axe to grind with UAE?

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:28 PM

  225. Ten Times More Hurricane Surges in Future, New Research Predicts
    with 2 K warming.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:29 PM

  226. for Steve Meltzer: ‘oogle “paul dennis” comment Marcott

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Mar 2013 @ 8:44 PM

  227. Thank you for all the kind responses to my “average Joe” question. I think my simple question(s) is a fundamental one being asked by average Americans and others who are not scientists and do not understand all the math and terminology. I see people like Dr. James Hansen, who I greatly admire, talking on TED about the consequences of Climate Change and the future of his grandchildren… getting himself arrested etc. and I can’t help but wonder what the implications are for my own children and others hoping to live a full happy life. Will it be possible to do? How miserable will life get for people their age and at what point will the majority of folks finally “get it” or will they ever get it given our circumstances and political “climate”.

    I realize these are rhetorical, unanswerable questions and statements with no clear solutions but I believe that some sort of simple, understandable, UNIFIED message has to be articulated en mass in plain terms to people like myself and morons like James Inhofe who unfortunately have a great influence over legislation and… it has to come from YOU. It also has to be consistently repeated ad nauseum until it sinks in. I know there are many others like me who share my frustration with this situation including many of you in the scientific community. If the situation is so urgent that Dr. Hansen feels the need to be arrested, the message coming from the scientific community needs to be equally as urgent.

    I understand the demands of doing research but at some point you have to get up from your desk and do some talking to the public the same way you talk to each other.

    Again, thank you for all your hard work and bravery. “My hero’s have always been scientists”, if I my steal a quote from Willie Nelson. Cheers!

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 18 Mar 2013 @ 10:36 PM

  228. Steve Metzler @224.

    The quote was attributed to this source Mar 18, 2013 at 9:20 AM – Paul Dennis [Posted at Bishop Hill blog – “OMG” Thread] in a ‘cut&paste’ comment on this blog (Frobes). The original appears to be OffMyGoogle.
    Do be conscious of who this Paul Dennis is. Yes he is on the same campus as the CRU. Yet because he has strong links to climate contrarians he found himself arrested over the ‘climategate’ affair. It sort of says it all really.

    Comment by MARodger — 19 Mar 2013 @ 5:17 AM

  229. Many thanks to Hank and MARodger. I had found a Guardian article yesterday that linked Dennis to some climate contrarians around the time of the Climategate affair, before I posted here. Didn’t realise that he was actually arrested. I should read more carefully.

    That Dennis would bother to hang around on Bishop Hill, and agrees by and large with the conspiracy theory mongering of the fake skeptics useful fools there speaks volumes. Bishop Hill makes WUWT seem reasonable by comparison.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 19 Mar 2013 @ 10:39 AM

  230. Re 228 and 229: Paul Dennis was NOT arrested over ‘climategate’, as the link you put up specifically states he was questioned by police. Big difference… [edit]

    Comment by sue — 19 Mar 2013 @ 12:31 PM

  231. Does anyone have any trouble with this argument, besides the grammar.

    Comment by Andrew Spiteri — 19 Mar 2013 @ 12:52 PM

  232. Hold on there, I think MARodger has that wrong, and Steve has taken his word for it without checking the claim.

    The word “arrest” is not on the page hotlinked behind “found himself arrested” — nor in any other report Google finds about Paul Dennis and the Norfolk investigation.

    If you copied that claim from somewhere — where did it come from? Who came up with that word, where?

    That Guardian story says Dennis’s work does not support the most batshit insane imminent catastrophe alarmism. None of the published science does.
    The Guardian failed to mention that his work does support what climate scientists are saying, that an external forcing is changing rates of change:

    See also this (2009)
    Thomas, ER, Dennis, PF, Bracegirdle, TJ and Franzke, C (2009)
    Ice core evidence for significant 100-year regional warming on the Antarctic Peninsula.
    Geophysical Research Letters, 36 (20).
    “We present a new 150-year, high-resolution, stable isotope record (δ18O) from the Gomez ice core, drilled on the data sparse south western Antarctic Peninsula, revealing a ∼2.7°C rise in surface temperatures since the 1950s. The record is … a robust proxy for local and regional temperatures since the 1850s. We conclude that the exceptional 50-year warming, previously only observed in the northern Peninsula, is not just a local phenomena but part of a statistically significant 100-year regional warming trend that began around 1900…. outside of the expected range of variability … indicating that the warming is likely the result of external climate forcing.”

    Remember how science works.
    “Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Mar 2013 @ 1:02 PM

  233. We published an English version of my Dutch post on Marcott on the site of Bart Verheggen:
    It has an English version of the graph Eli Rabett calls The Wheelchair, a name which I found amusing.

    Comment by Jos Hagelaars — 19 Mar 2013 @ 3:03 PM

  234. OK, got it. Was just questioned by police because he had suspected ties to some of the climate change contrarians who first posted the ‘Climategate’ e-mails. That’s what I took from my first reading of the Guardian article as well.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 19 Mar 2013 @ 5:16 PM

  235. Hank Roberts @232.

    Indeed my use of the word “arrest” was in error. More correctly, Paul Harris was ‘helping police with their enquiries.’
    You ask “where did it come from? Who came up with that word, where?
    I in’t sayin’ nuffin, copper. I in’t no grass! If your bothered, it was my mistake although bizarrely Paul Harris was actually jailed for selling secrets, this of course being another Paul Harris but whose story strangely appeared in the search list as I sought a link for our Paul Harris and his brush with the law. After his namesake being jailed, does ‘arrest’ seem so bad? Especially as UK police seem to be arresting people at the drop of hat these days

    Comment by MARodger — 19 Mar 2013 @ 6:24 PM

  236. > bothered
    Nope, was curious, appreciate the reply.
    I enjoy chasing down misapprehensions; every now and then I catch one.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Mar 2013 @ 7:32 PM

  237. May I request that comment 228 by MARodger be edited to reflect that his statement that Paul Dennis from UEA was arrested is false? TIA

    Comment by sue — 19 Mar 2013 @ 10:54 PM

  238. In Hansen (1988) the predicted anomaly for Scenario A (no curtailment of industrial greenhouse gas output) uses a CO2 sensitivity of 4C/doubling to arrive at a prediction of +0.9C for today, compared with an actual +0.22, relative to 1988.

    Since Scenario A is more or less what happened in the last 25 years, what value for CO2 sensitivity puts today’s global temperature anomaly at the center of the predicted range for Scenario A. Might that not be a good way to use Hansen’s model to arrive at a most likely sensitivity value?

    [Response: Scenario A is not ‘what happened’ (not even close). Scenario B was better, but also too high in terms of total forcing. And yes, you can use this to estimate what sensitivity would have worked better (very rough calculation given here (but see updates also). – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Everett — 20 Mar 2013 @ 10:10 AM

  239. sue @ 237: May I suggest that this would be a radical departure from normal practice both here and elsewhere? It would be an unreasonable burden to place on moderators of any site to require that they do a post hoc edit of every statement later shown to be untrue.

    These things usually come out in the comments, and that, IMO, is how it should be. (Surely Mr. Watts would agree, for once…) ;-)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Mar 2013 @ 11:28 AM

  240. SecularAnimist, #218–Would you be willing to email me offline? I’d love to get your input on a matter very much related to the future costs and capacities of renewable energy. If so, you can do so by clicking on my name on any of these comments–that’ll take you to my website.

    If not, well, no sweat.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Mar 2013 @ 11:34 AM

  241. Kevin and Sue,
    Might it merit an in-line response?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Mar 2013 @ 12:42 PM

  242. “Paul Harris was ‘helping police with their enquiries.’” has a rather different meaning in the UK, e.g. it is being “invited” down to the station house for questioning without being formally charged with anything. the BBC has a page describing this:

    * If you’re asked to go to a police station to help with enquiries, make sure you know if you are being arrested or whether it’s up to you whether you go.
    * If you’re being asked to go voluntarily, you can refuse. But the police may then decide to arrest you, in which case you have to go.
    * Even though you’re at the police station voluntarily, you’re entitled to send a message to your family or a friend telling them where you are and to receive free legal advice from a solicitor.
    * If you’ve not been arrested and go to the police station voluntarily, you can leave at any time.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 20 Mar 2013 @ 1:46 PM

  243. Ray, Yes it would merit an in-line response.

    Comment by sue — 20 Mar 2013 @ 5:13 PM

  244. Natural Climate Swings Contribute More to Increased Monsoon Rainfall Than Global Warming
    Monsoons in North America?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Mar 2013 @ 5:55 PM

  245. Dr. Jason Box’s Dark Snow Project has 2/3 of its funding.

    “The first-ever Greenland expedition relying on crowd source funding aims to answer the ‘burning question’: How much does wildfire and industrial soot darken the ice, increasing melt?”

    In related news, from this Discover Magazine story found at the Dark Snow page:
    “Is it a warm winter in Greenland? Yes, very warm. Incredibly warm? Worth writing home about? Not sure, but it is not the biggest anomaly in the Northern Hemisphere. That title goes to Svalbard: 10 to 12 C above normal since December.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Mar 2013 @ 6:59 PM

  246. Ray @ 240:

    I’m agnostic on that idea–FWIW.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 Mar 2013 @ 7:03 PM

  247. And also from Discover — an explicit correction: “Winter Snow Melt in Greenland Grossly Over-Estimated, By Tom Yulsman | March 19, 2013 9:29 am”

    That correction is taken into account in updates on that first link to Discover that I posted a few minutes earlier about melt rate. Read them both.

    Here is the correction as main story in a different blog page.

    My short version: On first look the satellite info matched what would be expected from wintertime snowmelt; on a careful look what the satellites detected was the wet snow left from this past summer’s unusual melt underlying this winter’s snow layer. It’s a good reminder that satellite data isn’t ground truth, it’s interpreted.

    Good opportunity for some blogtracking if someone’s doing a PhD thesis in communications (I hope someone is). How far do the first stories travel, and how quickly are the early incorrect reports corrected?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Mar 2013 @ 7:08 PM

  248. Eli Rabett @241
    “Helping police with their enquiries” is used as a euphemism for arrest as well as for cooperative interview. The difference between the two forms can be as trivial as the indicated level of cooperation perceived by the police. It can also be affected by how much searching the police can usefully carry out – objections to having your house ripped apart and computers dismantled are more difficult if you’ve been arrested. In UK arrest can mean no more than that you are not seen as entirely forthcoming with information about a (suspected) offense.
    And do remember that the not-arrested-Harris was not simply interviewed. He provided a formal statement. Why? Did he see the hacker legging it out of the CRU one dark night? I assume not.

    While Harris did not “find himself arrested” as I wrote @228 and was only “helping the police with their enquiries,” the existence of the Levenson Enquiry should remind all of the context of factual reporting within the UK.
    All is not well with the British press. Indeed, they are continually take great liberties in describing the denizens of this fair land while employing a fine mix of words to scotch any come-back. Take the Torygraph’s Delipole who on this very subject accuses the Guardian article linked @228 of indicating that they had “found the identity of the Climategate leaker” “seemingly,” before speculating on Harris being “prosecuted for this noble and selfless act” which sounds like they are happy both to condone what is a criminal act as well as, by countenancing Harris’s conviction for it, imply he may have done the deed.

    Comment by MARodger — 20 Mar 2013 @ 7:29 PM

  249. Update worth a look: (xrefs the similar topic at RC)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Mar 2013 @ 8:40 PM

  250. David Benson @243 – yes, monsoons in N American – I recall them [fondly] growing up in Phoenix, playing in the rain.

    Comment by flxible — 20 Mar 2013 @ 10:00 PM

  251. Good news, now if we could just get China on board…

    Any comments?

    Comment by BallyWho — 21 Mar 2013 @ 12:08 AM

  252. 227 Chuck Hughes: See: “Drought Under Global Warming: a Review” by Aiguo Dai

    What it all means is that the price of food goes up over 40 years. I expect a great famine, or that food will be really unaffordable. Read these books: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 21 Mar 2013 @ 12:13 AM

  253. BallyWho wrote: “now if we could just get China on board …”

    Not sure who you mean by “we”, but if the USA wants to discourage China from burning coal to generate electricity, one thing we could do is to stop exporting huge amounts of coal, much of it mined on public lands, to China.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 21 Mar 2013 @ 9:56 AM

  254. > BallyWho says: 21 Mar 2013 at 12:08 AM
    your link is to an NPR piece from last year that’s mostly about comparisons by Cathles et al. on the climate effects of burning natural gas compared to coal.

    If you ‘oogle on that You’ll find warring press releases, and lots of PR and lobbying, tied to current political fights. Look for comparisons that include the full cost, not just the production cost, and for estimates on leakage. That link is just for hits listing him as an author since 2012, as a place to start.

    Bigger issue in my view is:

    Should we spend time and money developing fossil fuel projects and technology, knowing we need to abandon them as soon as we can (and so factor in the cost of scrapping all that production and transportation infrastructure.

    Or, spend the same money and effort developing new technology that we can keep maintaining over the very long term.

    I think there’s a good case to be made for developing the materials needed for the most efficient generators, which operate at the highest possible temperatures. Right now those get heat from combustion of fossil fuel.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Mar 2013 @ 10:02 AM

  255. 251 BallyWho said, “Good news, now if we could just get China on board…
    Any comments?”

    I suppose “good” is subjective, because I find it to be horrible news. Using their pro-CH4 numbers, replacing an old coal plant which has perhaps 10 years left with a shiny new CH4 plant which will surely last 50 results in:

    50 * 0.6 / 10 = a TRIPLING of GHG emissions due to the conversion.

    And China IS on board. The plan is to take all the coal that was going to be burned here and emit even more GHGs shipping it to China to get burned anyway. This allows those in charge to print articles that make you feel good while we’re QUADRUPLING the future emissions from our US-sourced fossil power plant food!

    All this good news is going to bake us….

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 21 Mar 2013 @ 2:29 PM

  256. flxible @250 — Thank you. Growing up in New Mexico I certainly experienced those rains, sometimes thunderstorms, but nobody ever called it the monsoon season.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Mar 2013 @ 5:10 PM

  257. #253 SA 21 mar 9:56 am
    To me, “we” are the negotiators for a world more resilient to climate change. Currently I favor David Victor’s approaches.

    WRT Chinese coal exports it’s easy to find an economist who sees that glass as half full:

    Although 23 years seems like a long time, it’s small potatoes compared to atmospheric CO2 lifetimes or, FWIW, bringing a billion poor Chinese folk up to 21st century living standards.

    or to new technology deployment time for that matter

    complex – yes

    confusing – you betcha

    Comment by BallyWho — 21 Mar 2013 @ 6:38 PM

  258. #254 Hank Roberts 21 Mar 10:02 am

    I “read” Epstein et al.

    I support such attempts at what is, to say the least, some very difficult analysis

    Taking a lead from David Victor — new technologies, even after they have been developed and proven to scientific and engineering satisfaction, still have to be sourced (is there really enough wind in this place), distributed (now let’s see, we need a new power plant right here and here and here…), and deployed (what do you mean it’s not going to fit on the grid).

    The times and costs required for success in these follow-on activities – think negotiation – IMO are the main reason we are taking so long to make progress. Development of alternative technologies is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

    Nice to hear from you again Hank…

    Comment by BallyWho — 21 Mar 2013 @ 7:11 PM

  259. 247ish HankR linked to, “Something strange was happening, just not melting at the surface, Scambos says. It turns out that the intense surface melt that occurred last summer — which affected upwards of 97 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet — left behind unusually warm snow. Heavy snowfall this winter then buried the warmer layers, according to the NSIDC. In addition, there’s some indication that meltwater from the summer remains unfrozen at about 5 meters beneath the surface.”

    Just another glitch, perhaps partially caused by the fact that cooling is a dry process while warming is a wet one. Warmth gets pulsed deep into the ice sheet every summer via surface melt and drain, while all winter the GIS stays snuggly warm under a nice blanket of insulating snow.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 21 Mar 2013 @ 9:27 PM

  260. 257ish BallyW linked, “. “This demand for coal in China appears to be long lived.” and “if the United States does not build West Coast ports to ship western coal to Asia, Canada will likely do so,”

    Amazing. By taking the conclusion of burning all the coal that is possible as an axiom, they “prove” that our making money off burning coal is environmentally pure. And these folks actually get paid to write….

    oh, probably by coal companies. NOW it makes sense.

    The question isn’t WHO makes the money off coal, but WHETHER we allow ANYBODY to mine the coal. So far, the answer has been, “Mining coal is profitable without a carbon tax. Thus, mining all coal is REQUIRED.”

    Profit = Purity.

    Period. There are no other variables.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 21 Mar 2013 @ 10:35 PM

  261. #255 Jim Larsen 21 Mar 2:29

    Thanks for your post but I really don’t understand your estimate. ISTM if we replace one power plant with another that is nearly twice as efficient, we should have less GHG emissions.

    The links I supplied in 257 demonstrate that there is still much controversy as to whether the Chinese demand for US coal is sustainable, so maybe the coal won’t “get burned anyway”. That seems to be the sense of the GreenPeace source report at

    with its very pessimistic view for long term Chinese economic success.

    Comment by BallyWho — 21 Mar 2013 @ 11:04 PM

  262. Sorry, apparently to link (slowly) to the GreenPeace report, you have to link to:

    and click on “Endless Coal Myth”

    Comment by BallyWho — 21 Mar 2013 @ 11:27 PM

  263. 231Andrew Spiteri

    The worst-case and – unfortunately – looking almost certain to happen scenario
    By Aaron Franklin

    Please, RC, tell me it isn’t so. Or if it is, what desperate measures could stop it.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Mar 2013 @ 12:09 AM

  264. #263–Mr. Franklin has a whole lot ‘sposin’ going on there. I think that scotches the ‘looking almost certain to happen’ part. In fact, I’d guess, as a layman, that it’s almost certain *not* to happen the way he lays it out: there’s just too much “if” and “and then” to be very probable.

    I’ll admit that it’s unsettling to think that this nightmare scenario probably can’t be firmly ruled out, though.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Mar 2013 @ 10:08 AM

  265. > arctic-news

    That’s AMEG stuff, alarmist super-scared ranting, not from a scientist.

    Yes, things are very bad. You’re just figuring this out now?
    No, their particular bugaboo isn’t the worst problem.
    No, burning more methane faster isn’t a solution.
    There isn’t a solution, sorry to say. No quick fix.
    Nor is a Venus-runaway the direction we’ll go at worst.

    Yes, the Arctic sea ice is going away.
    It’s going to happen. It’s been happening.
    It started decades ago.
    We’ve been doing the wrong thing a long time.

    Look, that blogger:
    Asserts he works for the world’s experts on the Arctic (citations needed);
    says they know what he’s posting;
    then claims they must agree with his post
    because they haven’t told him otherwise.

    Could be, might happen, citation needed.

    He’s giving a PETM scenario, approximately.

    Now, what’s AMEG’s suggested technofix?
    Burn more methane faster as quickly as possible.
    “Depressurizing” — building a big new gas infrastructure.
    Drilling like crazy around the Arctic.
    Releasing — for sure — gas that might maybe could be possibly going to be released if we get a PETM, but might not.

    Mhmmmm. Is that the smartest best use of the time and money available?

    Or would it, maybe, be smarter to be building an infrastructure and hardware and ways of living that can be maintained by those who live _through_ the coming shitstorm — and won’t have to be dismantled and recycled along with all the fossil fuel-burning stuff that’s already obsolete?

    And then bloggerguy goes off the rails entirely to the Venus scenario.

    Look at the leverage available. We have a problem with too much fossil fuel burned. What should we do?

    “… there are levers, or places within a complex system … where a ‘small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything’ …. most people know where these points are instinctively, but tend to adjust them in the wrong direction.”

    Burn more methane faster to fix the situation?

    Not likely.

    There is no fast sure fix. It’s happening.

    We can moderate the problem by stopping burning carbon, dismantling the fossil-fuel-burning technology, emoving our crap from the seashore in advance of the rising ocean instead of leaving it for the ocean to cover — and taking our lumps instead of putting off the pain for our heirs to suffer.

    Are we smart enough?

    Why, it’s a big universe.
    There must be some other intelligent species out there
    that’s reached this point
    and not screwed up their planet beyond use.
    We couldn’t be the first one, could we?


    Awfully quiet in this neighborhood of the galaxy, isn’t it?

    Maybe it’s up to us.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2013 @ 11:44 AM

  266. …” leverage points … people tend to adjust them in the wrong direction …” is from Donnella Meadows, op. cit.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2013 @ 11:49 AM


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2013 @ 12:15 PM

  268. #259 Jim Larsen 21 Mar 9:27pm

    You’re right and I agree with you. China and the US both practice Capitalism. For example both recently shut down major solar cell manufacturers for lack of profit. bankruptcy/a-16685636

    Coal is cheap, dirty stuff mined all over the world. China and the US both regulate their coal Industries attempting to mitigate harm during extraction, transportation and use. It’s a matter of opinion how effective these regulations will be, but China is trying hard not to emit and has the advantage of all the CC knowledge developed since the US formulated regulations. China has been fairly successful so far but the history of US results is pretty scary.

    China is a “developing” nation. US is a “developed” natiion. Since Kyota developing nations should be allowed higher GHG emission rates than developed ones. This is a “fairness” principle giving the developing nations the same kind of leeway to develop, say, their electrical energy programs that US had starting with the rural electricity developing efforts of the WPA 75 years ago. Since half of the CO2 emissions from back then are still circulating around the Earth, this would seem to be just and fair.

    If the US can’t give China the carbon credits, the least we can do is to sell them some of our coal, profit not withstanding.

    Comment by BallyWho — 22 Mar 2013 @ 1:06 PM

  269. Hank Roberts wrote: “Awfully quiet in this neighborhood of the galaxy, isn’t it?”

    Sure it is. We’re like an isolated tribe with stone-age technology, and no knowledge of modern civilization, that bangs on drums to send signals the few miles between our handful of small villages. Listening for the sound of distant drums from far-off villages, and not hearing them, we conclude that there must not be any other villages on Earth.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Mar 2013 @ 3:05 PM

  270. BallyWho wrote: “If the US can’t give China the carbon credits, the least we can do is to sell them some of our coal, profit not withstanding”

    The USA does, in fact, sell a lot of coal to China — at quite a nice profit for the coal corporations, too, since they pay a pittance to mine coal on public lands, and sell it to China for top dollar.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Mar 2013 @ 3:07 PM

  271. Tom Toles, on intelligence:

    “… The thinking here is that cooking vastly increased the usable calories available in a largely inedible landscape…. But controlling it is hard, as anyone who has ever tried to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together is well aware. You’d need a LOT going on to get fire-making reliable if you were a smartish primate. A bigger brain and some language and opposable thumbs and a would all come in pretty handy. So that’s my candidate. We got good at making fires and keeping them going.

    “Now we need to learn when it’s time to put them out.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2013 @ 3:48 PM

  272. re coal export from US – The US does not have to export coal to China, Australia is gladly taking care of the Asian market

    As for Aaron Franklin’s speculations on AMEG, it’s waaaay too breathless, he should be breating into a paper bag and hiring a copy editor.

    Comment by flxible — 22 Mar 2013 @ 3:51 PM

  273. Nice paper on subglacial lake prediction


    Comment by sidd — 22 Mar 2013 @ 5:44 PM

  274. Thanks sidd.

    “drainage switches and capture by neighbouring networks”

    Under the ice, how would a drainage be captured? changes in the sediment below, or changes in the ice above the moving water?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2013 @ 6:53 PM

  275. 261ish BallyWho said, “Thanks for your post but I really don’t understand your estimate. ISTM if we replace one power plant with another that is nearly twice as efficient, we should have less GHG emissions.”

    Yep, that is certainly one way to look at it. But the planet doesn’t care whether the GHGs were emitted in 2013 or 2073. The argument for yearly emissions reductions misses the point entirely, which is explained by the Trillion Ton Limit (lots out there. Just google Trillion Ton)

    Basically, humanity has a set total emissions limit, and the yearly quantity emitted is irrelevant (within reason). Now, the interesting part is that emissions are NOT caused by putting gas in your tank or by burning coal in a power plant, but by BUILDING the power plant or car. Once built, the infrastructure WILL produce CO2 until it wears out. For example, say you want to help the planet so you buy a hybrid. Well, what did you do with the SUV? You sold it?????? Golly, you just INCREASED emissions by adding a vehicle while retaining the SUV on the road, though driven by another driver. (The planet does not care who drives the car) So unless you’re willing to trash-compact that SUV and THEN buy a hybrid, you’re not doing the planet much good. (The trickle down over a decade does help, but please focus on this aspect) Every car built represents a certain amount of emissions, as we don’t trash usable cars, we use them until they are worn out. Once built, SOMEBODY will drive it until it’s too expensive to fix. (Cash For Clunkers is an exception)

    The same goes for power plants. It turns out that coal power plants in the USA were massively built perhaps 60 years ago. They have worn out their licenses and would require huge renovations to get their licenses renewed. Thus, from a climate standpoint, they represent almost zero future emissions. The US coal power plant industry is simply irrelevant to climate change because the infrastructure is on the cusp of both wearing out AND becoming illegal.

    So your source decided to pretend that coal plants last forever and to use that as a baseline from which to measure brand new CH4 power plants. Well, the planet only cares about total emissions over the next centuryish. So by building a new fossil-fuel car, or a new fossil-fuel power plant you are adding guaranteed emissions. The old coal plants lasted ~70 years. Obviously power plant tech has improved, so the new CH4 plants will surely last even longer. Pretending that building an OPTIONAL CH4 plant is offset by the MANDATORY retirement of an obsolete and worn-out coal plant, well, that’s just a lie. What it is in reality is the creation of a brand-new fossil-fuel era which has NOTHING to do with the old one that MUST end NO MATTER WHAT ELSE WE DO, as coal plants are old and dying.

    It’s the baseline. The REAL baseline is “Our coal plants won’t spew much CO2 into the atmosphere over the next 100 years because they’re all at the end of their life.” Thus, there’s very little climate gain involved in closing US coal plants as climatic policy, as opposed to just closing them cuz they’re worn out. You get the SAME result either way. Let them die natural deaths instead of pretending that building new CH4 plants somehow eliminates CO2 emissions from coal plants that are dead anyway.

    Two scenarios, both beginning with the REALITY that all our coal plants get closed over the next decadeish:

    1. We “replace” coal plants with CH4 plants.

    2. We continue to run coal plants until they die.

    Now, wait 10 years. In scenario 1, we end up with expensive CH4 plants that simply can’t be closed (profit would be lost) even though solar and wind will be cheaper and don’t kill the planet. In scenario 2, we simply close the coal plants ~10 years from now and replace them with low-carbon sources. Scenario 1 emits TONS of GHGs through construction, and then saves ~40% for a few years, but in every year after 10 (for perhaps half a century), scenario 1 emits GHGs that simply don’t exist under scenario 2. If you’re gonna compare two scenarios, you HAVE to include ALL emissions, not just those in the first 10 years. The first scenario is planetarily and financially ruinous, while the second scenario is logical and cheap and might save the planet.

    You pick….

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 22 Mar 2013 @ 9:16 PM

  276. Mr. Roberts, as i understand, eq. 1-3 describe the hydraulic potential which is not only dependent on bed topo, but also on ice overburden. As icesheet expands or retreats the hydraulic potential contours change, thus changing routing of subglacial drainage.


    Comment by sidd — 22 Mar 2013 @ 10:26 PM

  277. I see a paper in press by Ruddiman in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences (doi: 10.1146/annurev-earth-050212-123944)

    I recall a dispute between Broecker and Ruddiman about the cause of a 20ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last 8Kyr or so that Ruddiman attributed to humans and Broecker to oceanic carbonate compensation. Was that question ever settled one way or the other ? Ruddiman doesn’t seem to address the carbonate compensation mechanism in this paper, perhaps he has done so elsewhere ? I am looking at the literature but would appreciate informed comment.


    Comment by sidd — 23 Mar 2013 @ 2:05 PM

  278. #275 Jim Larsen 22Mar 9:15

    Thanks Jim for your very thorough explanation. I believe your detailed analysis is much better than my way over-simplified wind/solar approach.

    Looking over the recent AEP settlement it would seem that scenario 1-like replacements will be around for much longer than 10 years. A modified scenario 2-like calculation accounting for 40 years (?) of emissions should be added to account for the replacement – even clean new technology is bound to emit some GHGs.

    AEP agreement can be found googling AEP agreement or linking to

    Thanks again Jim. I probably would have missed the Sierra 14 year long lawsuit with its favorable results had you not taken the trouble to explain. ISTM we’re headed with you in the right direction, but it’s going to take a wee bit longer than you hope.

    If you can get a copy of David Victor’s climate change negotiation book “Global Warming Gridlock – Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet”, I think you’d enjoy perusing it. Tough sledding but a pretty complete analysis by an experienced CC negotiator. I recommend it.

    Comment by BallyWho — 23 Mar 2013 @ 4:04 PM

  279. David Victor’s CC negotiation book is reviewed at:

    Try it, you might like it


    Comment by BallyWho — 23 Mar 2013 @ 4:15 PM

  280. sidd (277)

    I have to confess that I’ve never been particularly interested in the controversies surrounding his views, but there are lot of holes in Ruddiman’s story of the Holocene, including the CO2 rise, which almost certainly involves a change in oceanic carbonate chemistry state (to a large extent at least). This isn’t really fully resolved though. I notice that his article in annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences doesn’t satisfactorily address several of the criticisms out there in the literature.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 23 Mar 2013 @ 6:09 PM

  281. I assume that the unusually cold weather we’re having in the Southern United States is due to the splitting of the Polar Vortex and not a miscalculation on the part of a groundhog. This situation is not well understood by most people. I think I understand it but the comments I’m reading elsewhere are along the lines of, “this proves there is no Climate Change happening.” Of course as it’s being reported by the Weather Channel and other news sources they never mention the word “Climate” no matter what happens. Is there any way to change the public dialogue on this?

    The explanation I’m hearing is that all the heat that was absorbed in the Summer and Fall due to the melting ice created a high pressure dome over the Arctic and forced all the cold air South this Winter. Do I have that right? Can anyone give a good explanation of what the Polar Vortex is and how that has an effect on our weather patterns?

    It would help if more folks knew how this works, myself included.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 24 Mar 2013 @ 1:29 AM

  282. Jim

    An interesting approach is to use methane from landfills (usually just burned off) to power multiple generators. The electricity can be sold by the local government to the power company. Very, very green.

    Comment by BallyWho — 24 Mar 2013 @ 7:42 AM

  283. Response to #277, 281: For ten years, my central argument has been that the carbonate compensation explanation of the late-Holocene CO2 rise fails to explain the downward CO2 trends during similar intervals early in previous interglaciations. The key driving factors that Broecker hypothesized were much the same back then: ice sheets had retreated, and forests had moved north and stored carbon, yet atmospheric CO2 fell during the intervals when his hypothesis predicts it should have risen. This argument against his hypothesis still stands, and it reappears in my AR EPS article, along with a refutation of the criticism of my hypothesis based on the carbon-isotope composition of CO2.

    In recent years, newly emerging archeological data and land-use histories have provided strong bottom-up support for early anthropogenic (pre-industrial) emissions of CO2 and CH4 large enough to explain the upward late Holocene gas trends. This new information was my focus in the AREPS article. For more detail, WH Freeman will publish my new book “Earth Transformed” this coming October.

    [Note: direct tests of the carbonate compensation hypothesis based on trends in marine sediments are impossible. No reliable way exists to measure absolute carbonate dissolution, and even if one were developed, limited core coverage would not permit a global calculation.]

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 24 Mar 2013 @ 7:44 AM

  284. The Australian says the Liberal shadow cabinet has been advised to abolish climate research altogether.

    Comment by Russell — 24 Mar 2013 @ 9:21 AM

  285. For Chuck Hughes: A “simple” explanation of the Polar Vortex – but you may find the Arctic climatatology affecting your weather more complicated.

    Comment by flxible — 24 Mar 2013 @ 10:25 AM

  286. Thank you for the response, Prof. Ruddiman. I take it then that you remain unconvinced by Prof. Broecker’s argument (Eos,v87,#3,2006) that this interglacial ought be best compared with MIS11 rather than the previous three, due to the difference in patterns of orbital forcings.

    I do like the new (to me) detail that you provide on early human forcings, and I look forward to reading the final version of your article.


    Comment by sidd — 24 Mar 2013 @ 11:26 AM

  287. > trash-compact that [older vehicle]

    Yep. You can do that (at least in California)

    (I verified this when I last turned in an older vehicle at the junkyard — to make sure they weren’t going to put it back on the road.)

    You don’t get as much money as you (or the junkyard) would by reselling it or parting it out. Low income people get $1500/vehicle; us rich folks get $1000/vehicle:

    “… You may apply for California’s vehicle retirement program at any time, and for any reason; passing smog check or not.

    The goal of the vehicle buy back program is to encourage the removal of older vehicles from California in order to replace them with newer less polluting transportation ….
    … The CA Vehicle Buy Back Program is currently operating however delayed due to a high number of applications received…..”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2013 @ 11:34 AM

  288. PS, oops, deceived by Google’s putting advertisers first. The above link is bad (it’s somewhat slanted info about availability of the program, combined with an ad steering people to sell their old cars to junkyards instead of get them trashed, if you read all the way down to the bottom of the page).

    Damn. Can’t trust Google any more. They really are pushing any site with something to sell or something that hosts advertising up to the top of the search results.

    Better source:
    (that too needs help, if you read all the way to the bottom of that page it degenerates into not-exactly-English word salad, sigh. Emailed their webmaster. Proofreading the Internet is never, ever done.)

    But yes.
    CRUSH your old car!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2013 @ 11:46 AM

  289. Six years after an initial judgement that had already taken eight years to win against AEP’s replacement of a coal-fired power plant, a favorable modification was negotiated

    All this time and effort for reduction of SO2 emissions, a universally acknowledged harmful pollution. My take, vis-a-vis RC discussions, is that the times involved in “making people change” are very lengthy – much longer than we would appear to expect in our “scientific” discussions of CO2 problems.

    As suggested by David Victor in his book on climate change, I believe a bottoms-up approach for GHG emission control should be based on capability. Victor claims this would be more effective and successful than our current top-down by regulations approach. It would seem that much of the world agrees with this experienced International Law negotiator.

    See the review for “Global Warming Gridlock – Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet”, previously linked.

    Comment by BallyWho — 24 Mar 2013 @ 3:59 PM

  290. Curious about easterbrook’s views on ‘committed warming’.

    “The idea that there is some additional warming owed, no matter what emissions pathway we follow is incorrect. Zero future emissions means little to no future warming, so future warming depends entirely on future emissions. And while the idea of zero future emissions isn’t policy-relevant (because zero emissions is impossible, at least in the near future), it does have implications for how we discuss policy choices. In particular, it means the idea that CO2 emissions cuts will not have an effect on temperature change for several decades is also incorrect. Every tonne of CO2 emissions avoided has an immediate effect on reducing the temperature response.”

    Is he on to something?

    Comment by barry — 24 Mar 2013 @ 4:00 PM

  291. something?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2013 @ 7:47 PM

  292. Snark got my URL, that should link to:“committed+warming” (fewer without doublequoting the string, more and other similar terms better found searching the two words without double quotes around them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2013 @ 7:51 PM

  293. Hi Guys,
    Great job – all this focus and dedication was the inspiration for my new book ON THE EIGHTH TIN, which I launched on Amazon Kindle this weekend.
    It takes a look at a climate change solution out of left field and may well appeal to your members and followers. Hope you get the chance to check it out.
    Many thanks,
    AA Cory

    Comment by AA Cory — 24 Mar 2013 @ 11:51 PM

  294. re: ‘committed warming’

    It would seem possible that we can’t answer the “what would happen to the temperature if CO2 emissions…?”

    CC leadership published a policy recommendation to operate with cummulative CO2, not emission rates. They state
    “…Even given some chosen target for global temperature change, however, it is extremely difficult within the paradigm of greenhouse gas concentration stabilization to define an appropriate policy target for greenhouse gas emissions. The reasons for this are threefold. First, the relationship between emissions and atmospheric concentrations is complex; achieving stabilized concentrations over time would clearly require large emissions reductions, but would also imply continued emissions at a changing level consistent with the level of natural sinks that evolve over time in a manner difficult to quantify [9,10]. Second, the relationship between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature change is an elusive quantity that has preoccupied climate scientists for several decades. This ‘climate sensitivity’ has been estimated many times, but remains subject to at least a threefold probable uncertainty range which has not narrowed appreciably in 30 years of research [10]. Third, even given some known instantaneous temperature response to increased greenhouse gas concentrations, there is still a considerable lag between the point of atmospheric concentration stabilization and the eventual ‘equilibrium’ climate change. This lag results from the slow adjustment of the ocean and other slowly responding climate system components to the relatively rapidly increasing atmospheric forcing; consequently, the eventual temperature change associated with a given greenhouse gas stabilization level will not be fully realized for many centuries [11,12]…”

    so it really may not matter. It certainly would seem to be undecidable at this time.

    Comment by BallyWho — 25 Mar 2013 @ 12:17 AM

  295. Hank – your link didn’t bring up the appropriate search results on my browser so did my own and found a couple of realclimate posts that seem to agree with Easterbrook’s assessment (no ‘warming in the pipeline if emissions immediately cease).

    But other reasonalbe climate science blogs contend there is warming in the pipeline even if emissions ceased immediately.

    Monckton, on the other hand, is calculating how much surface warming remains “in the pipeline” from the CO2 we’ve already emitted, due to the thermal lag of warming the oceans, and the fact that there is still a planetary energy imbalance. We can calculate this by instead plugging in the current CO2 concentration (390 ppm) into the formula above:

    dT = 0.8*5.35*ln(390/280) = 1.4°C

    Since the surface air has warmed about 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels thus far, there remains approximately 0.6°C warming “in the pipeline” from the CO2 we’ve emitted to this point, roughly consistent with Monckton’s calculations (0.7°C).

    IIUC, “zero emissions” and “constant concentration at 2000AD levels” are different things, where the latter requires some smaller volume of emissions annually to maintain the atmospheric concentration. And I had not seen the latter explained til now. Thanks for the encouragement to google.

    Comment by barry — 25 Mar 2013 @ 7:01 AM

  296. barry, the blog software here doesn’t like double quotes (some of the time); when you see only part of what ought to be a link appears colored green, try instead copying the whole line and pasting it into your browser’s search box. Or just use the RC search box, top right.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2013 @ 10:19 AM

  297. Bill Ruddiman, What would you choose as a co2 baseline in 1850 corresponding to the beginning of the oil age? What uncertainties would you place on that value? The ice core data says 287 ppm but could that number be higher? A slightly higher number by 5 ppm seems to fit the cumulative carbon emissions profile better.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 25 Mar 2013 @ 11:26 AM

  298. Wan’t to revise the revisionists ? Fred Singer’s shop <a href=""has put out a call for editorial helpers for Part Deux of Heartland 's upside down anti- IPCC report

    Comment by Russell — 25 Mar 2013 @ 12:05 PM

  299. Re #286: Sidd —Several past misconceptions about stage 11 have been upended. [See Rohling et al, EPSL doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.054 2010; Tzedakis et al., Clim. Past,; Ruddiman et al, The Holocene, doi:10.1177/0959683610387172, 2011].

    Stage 11 wasn’t an unusually long (26,000-year) interglaciation, but instead a long warm deglaciation (425-410K), followed by a full interglaciation of less than 10K (410-402K).

    Stage 11 isn’t the best Holocene analog. The precession signals were comparably weak, but precession and tilt were out of phase early in stage 11 and in phase early in stage 1. The best (but imperfect) stage 11 analog to the present day was ~398K, by which time CO2 and CH4 values were dropping and sea level was falling, indicating new ice growth.

    The best Holocene analog is stage 19, both with weak precession and with tilt and precession in phase. CO2 reached an early-interglacial stage 11 peak of 260 ppm (versus 267 early in stage 1), and then fell continuously for the next 10,000 years to a value (245 ppm) at the top of the 240-245 ppm range predicted by the early anthropogenic hypothesis. Unlike the late Holocene, it did not rise.

    Re #297: I favor 285 ppm as the pre-industrial value. High-resolution ice at Law Dome shows CO2 reaching 284 ppm just before 1200 and 283 ppm in the early 1500’s, but falling during the late 1500’s during the American population collapse. The start of the fossil-fuel industrial era near 1850 is the first time CO2 exceeded these earlier (and clearly pre-industrial) values.

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 25 Mar 2013 @ 12:48 PM

  300. Sorry for the bad lik in the above – this should work :

    Want to revise the revisionists ?

    Fred Singer’s shop has put out a call for editorial helpers for Part Deux of Heartland ‘s upside down anti- IPCC report

    Comment by Russell — 25 Mar 2013 @ 1:33 PM

  301. Where’s the heat? In the oceans, of course. Always nice to see the obvious confirmed by the science.

    Comment by Killian — 25 Mar 2013 @ 6:25 PM

  302. Now we have confirmation of the obvious as ocean heat content rise is confirmed in the deep ocean. It even shows a rather obvious increase in rate of change.

    Comment by Killian — 25 Mar 2013 @ 6:27 PM

  303. Re; #286 sidd, #299, bill
    Sidd: try this graph of Law Dome CO2.
    The red segment is the unusual fast drop of CO2, as per population collapse.

    Bill: is Figure 2 from the 2011 paper from The Holocene online anywhere not behind a paywall? (I.e., the CH4/CO2 insolation-aligned one?) That one Figure would do a lot to help people understand the comments in #299, including the 240-245ppm estimate.

    Comment by John Mashey — 25 Mar 2013 @ 8:27 PM

  304. The entire GISS web site appears to have gone down, with responses like this:

    You don’t have permission to access /
    on this server.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Mar 2013 @ 3:06 AM

  305. Philip @303 Appears shutdown may not be short

    Comment by flxible — 26 Mar 2013 @ 11:50 AM

  306. It’s not just you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2013 @ 12:02 PM

  307. Greenland’s Glaciers Loom Larger as Source of Sea Level Rise
    Glaciers and ice caps not (strongly) associated with the main ice sheet.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Mar 2013 @ 7:00 PM

  308. Mount the backup … oh, wait ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2013 @ 9:56 PM

  309. Sorry about the double post; it’s a pop-up issue. Sometimes works weird for me.

    Comment by Killian — 27 Mar 2013 @ 1:36 AM

  310. If each joule of fossil carbon burned today traps 100,000 in the future, what fraction of the total forcing over 350,000 years (the duration of the long tail) does the first 100 years’ worth trap?

    Comment by Peter Shepherd — 27 Mar 2013 @ 5:30 PM

  311. The latest Economist have a very long and very strange article on climate sensitivity:

    A debunking of some of the misrepresentations and misunderstandings in that article would be good, I think.

    Comment by perwis — 27 Mar 2013 @ 5:41 PM

  312. 311 perwis mentioned The Economist…

    They’re pretty good with their words. Let’s dig in…

    They lead off with a comparison that doesn’t matter to the Big Picture – 1998 SAT compared to 2013 SAT – and link it to a fact (CO2 is rising) that doesn’t explain the comparison. It’s a great way to instil the reader with the false sense of legitimate comparison while not explicitly saying it. Since the REAL answer is well-known (read Foster and Ramstorf 2011), their usage of supposed ignorance is in fact a lie.

    Next, they take another fact, that if one ignores the weather and solar and volcanic activities of the last 15 year, one would estimate that temperatures would be a tad higher today. They then make an IMPOSSIBLE extrapolation. If this flat period (which has been explained) were to continue (which wouldn’t happen even if the conditions which caused this flat period were to continue), then that impossibility would make scientists question their theories. Yep, and if unicorns suddenly filled the woods and pigs started flying, genetic science would be in an uproar. Big Whup.

    Then they delve into Climate Sensitivity, conveniently labelling the section “the insensitive planet”. The title says nothing explicitly wrong – (actually nothing at all), but it sure is leading, eh? They note that mainstream science says 2-4.5C per doubling, and mention that leaked (i.e. EVIL) info goes all the way up to 7C. All of this, including future releases, they then label as “old” and “conventional wisdom”.

    Then they talk about unpublished and minor players. Folks nobody has heard of. Those people get labelled “new”.

    This begs the question as to whether NEW is better than OLD. Gee, not a hard choice, eh?

    They talk about the traditional way climate science is done – trying to understand the physics behind climate and building a model of the planet, as compared to simply recording basic historical facts and extrapolating. They note that the technique they prefer, basic extrapolation (they never explain why they thought such a technique was Evil and Wrong in 1998) would result in too severe an estimate of global warming as volcanic cooling could be underestimated. (all errors admitted MUST be towards false alarmism).

    Next they blather on about Ignorance, and how Nobody Knows Anything. Nary a mention of F&R2011, which speaks to the heart of their article and surely they know about. Why not mention the #1 piece of information, especially when no other information is even 10% as relevant?

    Next they talk about ocean temps. Science recently got a jolt because the estimated rate of transfer of heat from the surface to the deep turns out to be far larger than expected. So, of course, The Economist ONLY talks about surface water temps and wonders where O where could all that missing heat have gone? Uh, the deep ocean.

    Sorry, but my ability to hold down my lunch while reading and interpreting an extremely intelligent NaziPropagandaesque version of Climate has its limits….. I’ll let someone else carry the flag from here….

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 27 Mar 2013 @ 11:27 PM

  313. Perwis, that seems to be based on the “unpublished Norway” study talked about a while back, is there any news in it?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2013 @ 11:41 PM

  314. Isle of Man buried under 10 foot snow drifts:

    I would say this is highly unusual any time but especially in the Spring. Should we expect more of this type of event in the future given the erratic situation with the jet stream?

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 28 Mar 2013 @ 3:45 AM

  315. Peter Shepherd @310

    It takes 9 months for CO2 released into the atmosphere to trap the energy equal to that released by its creation through burning, this assuming 43% remains in the atmosphere (which is today the case if land-use emissions are included). And 43% is probably not far off the average for the CO2 residency over the first 100 years. That would yield you 133 x release energy. If you include feedbacks in your total and take ECS=3, you’d probably be multiplying by, say, 2.4 for the total with average feedback over 100 years.

    Comment by MARodger — 28 Mar 2013 @ 5:45 AM

  316. Agree with #311 – keen to hear RealClimate’s view of the Economist article. Back in early Jan, Gavin promised a follow-up on climate sensitivity specifically covering Nic Lewis (mentioned in the Economist article).

    Comment by AndyL — 28 Mar 2013 @ 9:02 AM

  317. > each joule of fossil carbon burned today traps 100,000 in the future

    Is that a paraphrase of ? Might look there, if that’s what you’re referring to. I’d guess you look at how far from the new equilibrium the planet is in each year to answer your question.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2013 @ 9:12 AM

  318. Perwis @311
    That Economist article is strange. It has the whiff of being written by an idiot who is at most ambivalent about AGW. Yet the actual content is not greatly in error. It is its composition, its emphasis that sucks. And this it does so badly as to make it a grossly misleading account. The Economist will run stories like this at its peril – when does their readership decide that grossly misleading articles on climate might indicate grossly misleading content in other articles on other subjects?

    It is the judgement of the author that is wrong. He (assuming a single male author for the article) quotes Hansen on the 5-year mean temps being flat for a decade but says this is a “surprise.” Why? Hansen doesn’t consider it ‘surprising’. And conflating this with a 15-year period and the denialist ‘no warming’ nonsense? Perhaps ‘he’ is a Daily Rail reader!!
    He then takes a cue from a true skeptic from the Daily Rail despite this cue having taken a kicking already. And note that, like Hansen, the mis-used source of Rose at the Rail, Ed Hawkins – he isn’t “surprised” either.
    And so it goes on showing zero appreciation of the full subject, all the way down to its non-conclusions. “Hardily reassuring.” Indeed so!

    The Economist’s editorial comment on the article, while unquestioning of the ‘lower’ sensitivity finding of the article, is unequivocal in its conclusions. There is no room whatever for denialism. “If the world has a bit more breathing space to deal with global warming, that will be good. But breathing space helps only if you actually do something with it”

    Comment by MARodger — 28 Mar 2013 @ 9:51 AM

  319. perwis, thanks for the link

    Comment by Sven — 28 Mar 2013 @ 1:35 PM

  320. MARodger #315 & Hank Roberts 317, yes it was the Caldeira & Hoffert article. I expanded that formula to see what it looks like, not able to paste into this dialogue box. Instead I used Hansen’s graph at to visually estimate the integral assuming 33% at 100 years, repeating for 1,000 & 350,000 year periods, then comparing to the longest ratio. MARodger your solution at #315 is more up to date and complete than my calculation, which I’ll share after an engineer friend reviews it. Your 100-year result looks small compared to the 100,000 larger quantity expected over 350,000 years – an extraordinary head-to-tail ratio, hard to grasp in common human timescale.

    Comment by Peter Shepherd — 28 Mar 2013 @ 3:09 PM

  321. 318 MARodgers noted the Economist op-ed that said, “The second reason is more practical. If the world had based its climate policies on previous predictions of a high sensitivity, then there would be a case for relaxing those policies,”

    I LOVE it. When one’s desires have been proven wrong, the best response is to hypothesize. “If I’m right (even though already proven wrong), then….”

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 28 Mar 2013 @ 3:31 PM

  322. Peter Shepard @320.
    My 43% guestimate was entirely a ballpark attempt. It looks low w.r.t. your linked graph @320. It is also low looking at Archer et al 2009 so a figure nearer 50% would perhaps be better. Note that Archer et al demonstrate why the head/tail ratio is small. The top right hand side of Fig 1 shows the decay for a 1,000 GtC release levels off after 1,000 years at ~20%. The following tens of millennia with CO2 effectively constant would provide the bulk of the 100,000 years-worth of warming.
    Archer et al also shows the remaining %CO2 increases if the CO2 release is bigger but that this is roughly mirrored by an increase % in the first 100 years. But then the forcing is not linear with ppm CO2.

    Comment by MARodger — 28 Mar 2013 @ 6:08 PM

  323. There’s a thing I can’t understand about Arctic sea ice – how come according to NSIDC the maximum sea ice extent in 2013 was the 6th lowest in satellite history while Jaxa is showing it to be higher than the 2000′s (not even 2010′s) average?

    Comment by Sven — 28 Mar 2013 @ 6:43 PM

  324. 323 Sven,

    To me it looks like the maximum has been stable enough so that different measurement systems could cause huge differences in rankings. If 6th and 16th are essentially equal (not saying they are), then the statements are both reasonable.

    But talking extent is wrong-headed nowadays unless one also mentions volume. Before, volume wasn’t available, so we made do with an inferior and misleading metric. Today, we have the Real Deal. Here’s a graph that shows that there’s been no surprises, no deviations, no nothing but inexorable spiralling death for arctic sea ice.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 28 Mar 2013 @ 10:14 PM

  325. Before, volume wasn’t available, so we made do with an inferior and misleading metric. Today, we have the Real Deal. Thus, Delialists say, “We were misleading in the past, so we MUST be misleading today for consistancy’s sake.”

    They do stick to their principles….

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 28 Mar 2013 @ 10:45 PM

  326. 323 Sven,

    Comment by David Sanger — 29 Mar 2013 @ 2:32 AM

  327. Sven @323.
    As you point out, the 2013 Maximum was the 6th lowest in the NISDC record (1979 to date). It was also the 6th lowest on the JAXA record (2003 to date). And it would also remain in that placing were the JAXA record longer. This graph of monthly data demonstrates the point.
    It isn’t made plain on the JAXA page you link to that JAXA only starts in 2003 & so the decadal averages are derived from other records. There would also be an issue with decadal averages smoothing out annual lumps. Given the multiple-record-use and smoothing, comparisons do need to be made with some caution.

    Comment by MARodger — 29 Mar 2013 @ 4:21 AM

  328. A A Cory 24 Mar 10:51

    Eighth Tin is great!!!

    (Get it for kindle)

    Comment by BallyWho — 29 Mar 2013 @ 10:52 AM

  329. This may be one of the less astute questions, but I am interested in the answer. Two days ago one of my French colleagues, in a conversation about the cold weather this spring (23degF predicted in Chartres tomorrow night), remarked that he understood that the Gulf Stream was slowing. Now, I hadn’t heard very much about that scenario in a couple of years, so I did the usual searches, including RC; but I didn’t come up with anything recent. Given the European climate’s expected sensitivity to changes in the Gulf Stream, I would expect that at least the Europeans would be studying it pretty intensively. My question, then, is whether there is much on-going research into the Gulf Stream, and where would I look for recent results.

    Comment by Mo'Handy — 29 Mar 2013 @ 3:03 PM

  330. for Mo’Handy, I searched Scholar since 2012 for
    thermohaline circulation speed gulf stream
    (yeah, I had to know the first 2 words went with it, and there are others I didn’t search on that you learn immediately starting to dig in. AMOC for another:
    Srokosz, M., M. Baringer, H. Bryden, S. Cunningham, T. Delworth, S. Lozier, J. Marotzke, R. Sutton, 2012: Past, Present, and Future Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 1663–1676.

    Past, Present, and Future Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
    This isn’t paywalled (takes a few clicks); it is a review, and says:

    “… Despite its importance, and the uncertainty about its future behavior, the AMOC has not been well observed until recently. The traditional approach for measuring the AMOC was using synoptic trans-ocean basin ship-based estimates of geostrophic velocities, calculated from density, in turn obtained from temperature and salinity. This approach led to the most highly sampled part of the AMOC being a section at ~24°N, with occupations in 1957, 1981, 1992, 1998, and 2004 (Bryden et al. 2005). A further occupation of this section occurred in 2010 (Atkinson et al. 2012; Frajka-Williams et al. 2011). Such serious undersampling means that any conclusions drawn about the past behavior of the AMOC are subject to considerable uncertainty (Cunningham et al. 2007; Kanzow et al. 2010). This paper will discuss the following: the past and present behavior of the AMOC in light of more recent observations; the possible impacts of future changes; the potential for predicting future changes, particularly on decadal time scales; and future directions for AMOC research. Further background on the AMOC may be found in the reviews of Kuhlbrodt et al. (2007, 2009), Lozier (2010, 2012) and special issue of Deep-Sea Research (2011, Vol. 58, Nos. 17 and 18). Kuhlbrodt et al. (2007) discuss the driving processes of the AMOC—surface heat and freshwater fluxes, vertical mixing processes in the ocean interior, wind-induced upwelling in the Southern Ocean—so readers are referred to that review for more on those topics.

    “What do we know about present and past changes in the AMOC?…”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2013 @ 8:58 PM

  331. Re- Comment by Mo’Handy — 29 Mar 2013 @ 3:03 PM

    This Google Scholar search for- gulf stream european climate- in the “with all of the words” box and limited to 1010 to 1013 in the date box will give you a start. Pay attention to all of the extra goodies available for refining a search. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Mar 2013 @ 9:01 PM

  332. Nice new-to-me weather site (independent, open apparently):

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2013 @ 9:10 PM


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2013 @ 9:11 PM

  334. Balmaseda et al., 2013 has reanalyses of OHC

    I was truch by the divergences of the traces since 2000, so i plotted the differences

    when will the Kraken rise ?


    Comment by sidd — 29 Mar 2013 @ 11:52 PM

  335. I’ve heard that old cracker again…”with zero% future emissions”. Yes granted with zero% future emissions we just might avert catastrophic CC. However the only way you are going to achieve zero percent is by making the alternative sources considerably less costly than coal, oil and gas and then by a long process of education, lobbying and negotiating. Also my making the alternatives considerably more efficient at converting energy than fossil sources. The only way to measure a problem’s weight is by acknowledging the realities of the situation and not through dwelling on academic hypotheticals. I just heard that we in Australia have more than 1500 wind turbines operating and it’s still not making any impact whatsoever to our carbon footprint. We will need a million plus to make a sizable carbon dent. We are now rolling out solar panels at an ever increasing rate but it still does not seem to make much difference. What we require now are cheap and efficient alternatives to fossil fuels. Unless the developing countries and many western ones immediately stop building oil or coal fired electricity generators we are going to go over the point of no return..but I doubt that level of collective realisation will be happening within my life time.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Mar 2013 @ 3:47 AM

  336. Just a very premature observation of arctic sea ice extent and area; we seem to be tracking or are slightly under the 2012 trace at this same time last year. To my eyes we are slightly leading last year’s by about a week.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Mar 2013 @ 7:19 AM

  337. @Lawrence Coleman “What we require now are cheap and efficient alternatives to fossil fuels”.

    Nuclear power. Problem solved at a stroke and for the foreseeable future.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Mar 2013 @ 8:39 AM

  338. @Lawrence Coleman “We will need a million plus [wind turbines] to make a sizable carbon dent”.

    Are you suggesting we build them?

    Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Mar 2013 @ 8:55 AM

  339. Gavin,

    Very nicely judged performance (& judgement on format – I agree, you are there to communicate – not to make ‘good’ tv) on the Stossel show (watched it via the link on quark soup)

    And Roy Spencer was mostly quite gracious on his blog (except when he went in for a bit of mind-reading “I could tell he was somewhat annoyed by the conservative/libertarian vibe he was surrounded by”)

    Comment by PeteB — 30 Mar 2013 @ 9:20 AM

  340. On the Gulf Stream/Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation(AMOC or MOC)/Thermohaline circulation, check out the Thor project. I looked at this recently, and it’s quite helpful (the video within the link:)

    or the video direct:

    For those with an appetite for in-depth observation and masses of real-time information, the issues with salt and circulation are occasionally addressed at Neven’s:

    Also featured here:

    Also a simple google turned up good images etc.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 30 Mar 2013 @ 10:18 AM

  341. Re: 335 Lawrence Coleman said What we require now are cheap and efficient alternatives to fossil fuels. Unless the developing countries and many western ones immediately stop building oil or coal fired electricity generators we are going to go over the point of no return..but I doubt that level of collective realisation will be happening within my life time.

    My greatest fear is that this logical fail (no disrespect meant) will continue to dominate the solutioneering as we move forward. Not that LC is wrong, but that this is a hugely insufficient response to our predicament. Any care to take a shot at why?

    Comment by Killian — 30 Mar 2013 @ 4:39 PM

  342. > over the point of no return
    There are a great many such — Great Extinction underway.
    For climate, that was a while ago, for returns within human lifetimes. But I don’t see any support for the real Venus-type “runaway” conditions.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2013 @ 8:48 PM

  343. OK, this is my night to howl. Found at Neven’s, this depressing but vital article. Michael McCarthy’s farewell as Environment editor at the Independent:–but-at-least-we-greens-made-him-wait-8554548.html


    But there have been what you might call side effects. For if, over the past decade and a half, you have closely observed what is happening to the Earth, week in, week out, you may take a dark view of the future; and I do. The reason is that the Earth is under threat, as it has never been before, from the ever more oppressive scale of the human enterprise: from the activities of a world population which doubled from three to six billion in four short decades, between 1960 and 2000, and which, in the four decades to come, will probably increase by three billion more.

    These activities are now wiping out ecosystems and species, across the world, at an ever increasing rate: the forests are chainsawed; the oceans are stripmined of their fish; the rivers, especially in the developing world, are ever more polluted; the farmland is rendered sterile of all but the monoculture crop by demented dosing with pesticides; the farmland insects and wild flowers and many of the birds have gone.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 30 Mar 2013 @ 9:41 PM

  344. Re- Comment by Killian — 30 Mar 2013 @ 4:39 PM

    Please offer an alternative to what Laurence Colman suggests and the means to convince all the citizens in the US and the rest of the developed and developing world to follow your minimalist and near-aboriginal lifestyle ideas. Meanwhile getting everybody focused on the problem with doable technology seems like a realistic good start.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 30 Mar 2013 @ 10:59 PM

  345. 341 Killian. You must a Christian fundamentalist Killian, always hoping for a miracle. I’m a lay Buddhist so looking at and making the best of the cards we have dealt ourselves is natural to me. As Einstein stated. ‘the scientific process and Buddhism is entirely complementary’ or words to that affect. Only by intimately understanding what we are up against and acknowledging it’s stark realities are able to find/ invent and be confident at taking the appropriate action/s for it’s remedy. Sorry no other way!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 31 Mar 2013 @ 2:31 AM

  346. 337: Simon Abingdon. I did mention “cheap” somewhere in there… something that developing countries could readily roll out.
    I’ve considered nuclear power however, excellent and almost unlimited base load power. Maybe a two pronged approach… nuclear power directed to the biggest industries and major polluters, correct me if I’m wrong but that should take care of at least 50-65% of a country’s energy budget and home generators such as solar, Blue gen ((look it up on the net) (Blue gen is a box as large as a dishwasher that converts mains gas to electricity 4-5kw/h and pressurised hot water)), hydro/ geothermal, wind…whatever your local environment would best support.
    I have always included nuclear in the overall picture but it does have it’s place…an extremely safe place!. Inland so immune from tidal waves, but near reliable water and tectonically stable. (I’m a little concerned about all these sinkholes popping up all over the place lately?) So industrial nuclear and passive domestic means might be the best balance??

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 31 Mar 2013 @ 3:06 AM

  347. Lawrence Coleman wrote: “What we require now are cheap and efficient alternatives to fossil fuels … the developing countries and many western ones immediately stop building oil or coal fired electricity generators …”

    Killian responded: “Not that LC is wrong, but that this is a hugely insufficient response to our predicament”

    Of course it’s not “sufficient”. The point is, that it is a NECESSARY response to our predicament.

    We need to stop the increase in GHG emissions and begin rapid, steep reductions WITHIN FIVE YEARS if we are to have any hope of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of unmitigated anthropogenic global warming.

    The ONLY way to accomplish that, within the necessary time frame, is with technical fixes — specifically, with the rapid deployment of the renewable energy and efficiency technologies that we have in hand now, and the equally rapid phaseout of fossil fuel use.

    Is that “sufficient” to address “our predicament”?

    If “our predicament” is broadly defined to encompass ALL of the negative impacts of human activities on the Earth’s biosphere which are creating the global ecological crisis, the answer is obviously not. Profound, deep, and far-reaching technological, economic, social and even (I would argue) spiritual changes, which will amount to a transformation of human civilization and of humanity’s relationship to the rest of life on Earth, are necessary.

    But the reality is, that we don’t have time for such an evolutionary transformation to bring about the phaseout of fossil fuel use that we MUST accomplish within a matter of YEARS, not decades or generations. We need a quick fix to what is essentially a technical problem — GHG emissions — if we are going to buy the time needed for more profound changes.

    That’s why discourse about replacing capitalism with some other economic system, or about whether wind and solar energy technologies are “sustainable” on time scales of centuries, or reversing population growth, etc. — accompanied by disparagement of the readily available technological solutions to the immediate GHG problem — is frustrating, and in my opinion, unhelpful.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 31 Mar 2013 @ 1:35 PM

  348. Yes, simplest, easiest, least risky pathways forward are largely ignored. What is one to make of this contradiction? One would think that at least via the wedges approach everything would be welcomed, and under good risk management and a wish to avoid unintended consequences the least risky, least invasive, most productive processes would be most championed. Not the case.

    The ONLY way to accomplish that, within the necessary time frame, is with technical fixes

    Absolutely false, as repeatedly demonstrated. In fact, there are no technical fixes that can achieve this in a five year time frame without massive de-consumption (yeah, I sometimes make up words), too. This I would happily advocate, so have no problem with this limit.

    What is technically and practically feasible is to shift all farming to regenerative practices in a five to ten year period. This is primarily an issue of knowledge with some practical issues also present.

    Also technically and practically possible is the restoration of very large areas of forest ecosystems. We know how to rebuild and propagate forests in very simple processes. A base of a forest ecosystem can be in place in five years and left to mature with either little or no management. Food forests require some management for harvesting and optimal growth, but that is mere hours a year for even an acre of forest for two people.

    More controversial is Savory’s process to rebuild grassland ecosystems with large herds of grazing animals. The primary issue here would actually be sociopolitical and economic as opening large areas of open range would prove difficult from an ownership and profit sharing basis. There are some doubts about the efficacy of his systems, but also some demonstrable successes. Grasslands sequester several times more carbon per acre/annum than forests do, so this would be a very effective and very fast, relatively, approach and is worth a serious look.

    If Savory’s calculations are correct, restoring only half of the lost/degraded grasslands of the world would be sufficient to return us to 300 ppm. That seems a bit grand, but if only half or a quarter true, the benefits would still be massive and multivariate.

    Each of these also addresses food security issues, of course. You will recall Hansen and, I think, Sato estimated reforestation alone could draw down 50 ppm of carbon.

    Any technofix causes problems and likely has limits that will eventually exert themselves. None of the suggestions above hold any serious unintended consequences or limits, particualrly when measured against the massive benefits.

    Another tranch is to simply stop consuming so much. This is ultimately the core of the solution, so to put this off is rather stupid of us. However, since the CO2 issue can be brought down to negative emissions without any change in our industrial systems, we can choose to leverage the time line for pervasive societal change by employing these carbon reduction/food security strategies first and develop a decarbonization process over an as yet undefined time period whose primary constraint will be resources consumption and ecosystem damage. However, at the end of the day, consumption will fall, a lot, per capita – at least compared to OECD levels – and systems will simplify. These are non-negotiable and should, at this late date, be noncontroversial.

    You can keep proclaiming the virtues of technofixes, but please stop the misleading claim technofixes are the only short-term option. They are not, and they are inferior to safer, simpler, more effective and more productive solutions.

    I won’t argue the politics of any of this with you because they are irrelevant since bounded by physical limits. If we fail to shift to simpler, regenerative systems, we fail and the time line to collapse is irrelevant in any practical sense.

    Comment by Killian — 31 Mar 2013 @ 4:27 PM

  349. 344 Steve Fish says: Killian — 30 Mar 2013 @ 4:39 PM
    …to follow your minimalist and near-aboriginal lifestyle ideas.

    Please, no grade school rhetoric. It’s demeaning to you and boring.

    Lawrence Coleman says: 341 Killian. You must a Christian fundamentalist Killian

    See above.

    Only by intimately understanding what we are up against and acknowledging it’s stark realities are able to find/ invent and be confident at taking the appropriate action/s for it’s remedy. Sorry no other way!!

    Yeah, seems this is not the first time you’ve implied I’m doing anything other than that. I suggest it’s a redundancy you need not repeat, of so.

    Yes. The realism required is not just in understanding the problems, but in the solutions. While people with views like Steve’s above choose to ignore the real limits and the good scholarship that outline the parameters of the possible viable solutions, I do not. The scale of the problem is immense, but the solutions, particularly long-term, are equally simple. Some confuse simple with aboriginal (a truly unintelligent response) and or simplistic. That is a lack of knowledge, or perhaps ideological blockage to objective analysis. Regenerative systems require very careful observation, planning, testing, adjustment and, above all, patience. There is nothing simple about the process of regenerative design, but the designs themselves are simple. It’s just not a complex problem to build soil, and that, above all else, is the basis of sustainability, e.g.

    Nuclear: hard to believe people still consider this “safe” or “green.” At least more are seeing it as a small wedge rather than a primary solution…. progress, I suppose. As a quick note: 10k nuclear generators to replace FFs. Just sayin…. it’s impossible. Nuclear can only be a possibly, but not currently, viable limited, short-term, option for, as Lawrence implied, places such as Korea.

    But be advised: sustainable nuclear does not currently exist. Lowering consumption is a far more benign response and fits risk assessment much better.

    Comment by Killian — 31 Mar 2013 @ 5:13 PM

  350. New Models Predict Drastically Greener Arctic in Coming Decades
    Albedo change.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 31 Mar 2013 @ 7:52 PM

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