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  1. I posted a question which got buried at the tail end of the last thread, but I’d really appreciate some responses so here it goes again:

    Somebody described the field as “a mess” and brought up the idea of CO2 fertilization specifically. The general claim is that we don’t know how big of an effect it is and can’t account for it if we can’t quantify it. The conclusion seems to be that all previous dendro-based reconstructions of temperature have a bias which makes the past look colder since CO2 concentrations were lower, hence slower-growing trees than in recent times.

    I’ve been trying to find out whether this is the case, but I can’t read any paywalled articles, so I can’t access much.

    1) I know CO2 fertilization has been proposed in the literature as a confounding factor when interpreting some records. What’s the current prevailing opinion on its significance? How good are we at taking into account?

    2) I know sampling sites are chosen to try and limit the number of confounding factors, i.e. studies about precipitation look for trees stressed mostly by water availability. How is the potential fertilization from atmospheric CO2 concentrations controlled for when selecting sites for tree rings that are used as proxies for temperature?

    3) Some recent research indicates that enhanced CO2 availability increase the efficiency of water use by trees, because it’s easier to pull sufficient amounts of the gas from the atmosphere without having to leave their stomata open and let water escape. That seems to be subtly different from a direct “CO2 fertilization” effect, where carbon dioxide is simply the limiting factor to growth because there’s not enough of it. Not the same issue? Different implications for interpreting dendro data?

    4) What else should I know about this, and where can I look?

    It needs to be said that I trust scientists know what they’re doing and why, especially if they’re experts in a particular field. This is just an argument that piqued my curiosity, and now I have the “want to know more” bug about it. It’s beyond my layman’s knowledge about the minutia of dendroclimatology.

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by wheelsoc — 4 Feb 2014 @ 10:28 AM

  2. Thought folks might be interested in an Economist article that discusses impacts of warming. Tidbit: “In America, each additional day above 32 deg C raises the annual age-adjusted mortality rate by 0.1% relative to a temperate day (10-15 deg C). In India, the rate increases by 0.8%”

    Comment by Dean Myerson — 4 Feb 2014 @ 11:26 AM

  3. Thought that folks might be interested in an article in the Economist on the impacts of warming. Tidbit: “In America each additional day above 32 deg C raises the annual age-adjusted mortality rate by 0.1% relative to a temperate day (10-15 deg C). In India the rate increases by 0.8%”

    Comment by Dean Myerson — 4 Feb 2014 @ 11:30 AM

  4. for wheelsoc, in case you’re not already looking with Google Scholar:,5
    (that example uses the limit to only 2014 papers, just as an example; the most useful amateur approach I’ve found is to read in the “cited by” or “citing papers” to follow any interesting idea forward in time. Often on blogs someone mentions a single study as though it were the only information; digging helps)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Feb 2014 @ 12:34 PM


    The modernisers say that their approach could involve a fall in GDP, as they press for a more efficient approach to the use of energy, but said that illustrated some of the problems with the standard economic measure.

    Sandys said: “If energy prices go up, which they have, GDP goes up. If we reduce our energy consumption, or we bear down on the price, GDP will go down but our margin will go up. If you spend a pound on energy it is a very dead pound.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Feb 2014 @ 12:44 PM

  6. Re Dean Myerson,

    “More subtle but possibly more powerful long-term impacts may result from an effect of heat on fetal and child development.” Link

    The PETM suggest a lot of dwarfing, and that is what we can observe already.

    “Species in the North Sea decreased in length by up to 29% over nearly four decades as water temperatures rose” Link

    Comment by prokaryotes — 4 Feb 2014 @ 2:08 PM

  7. wheelsoc,
    For a detailed explanation of the effect, read the following:
    CO2 fertilization is a known effect, and will occur in absence of another limiting factor. The fertilization effect has been shown to be greater at higher temperatures, both by the direct interaction between the two and the indirect reaction of increasing the growing season. Local precipitation increases would also lead to increased growth, as would the greater water use efficiency.
    Effects are not uniform, as individual species react differently, and specific lcations have confounding effects. I have attached a few links. The first three are abstracts (paywalled), but the last two contain the full (albeit rather long) reports.

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Dan H. — 4 Feb 2014 @ 2:08 PM

  8. The Mann story is being covered by CC now:

    How about adding a permanent link to his legal fund site on the right-hand column of the web page??

    (reCaptcha suggests: “for mirito” whoever (s)he is.)

    Comment by wili — 4 Feb 2014 @ 2:27 PM

  9. Wheelsoc, besides Hanks (as always) excellent suggestion, a good go to for countering denialist nonsense is Skeptical Science where they have a list of the common talking points of the pseudo-skeptics and brief responses to each with references to the scientific literature. Here’s the one that looks most relevant to your query:

    Comment by wili — 4 Feb 2014 @ 4:03 PM

  10. “must be the weather…”

    You want to see it on this side of the pond. Here in Ireland, the precip was 60% above average in January, with some of the worst affected areas over 100% above average. There’s a reason why Ireland is green, but this is ridiculous. 3 cities here are underwater, and it’s even worse in parts of the UK. Now they’re talking about 2 more weeks solid of the same, with 5m storm surges expected in the SW of Ireland tonight.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 4 Feb 2014 @ 4:48 PM

  11. Speaking of the weather, I actually have a climate science question.

    How long before Arctic amplification causes the Jet Stream to completely collapse, and what will happen then?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Feb 2014 @ 5:54 PM

  12. There is an interesting article in Science News about modeling fish populations. According to the article the researcher. “George Sugihara, a theoretical biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,” uses a new method to deal with chaos. It occurred to me that his ideas might be applicable to near term regional climate modelling. There is an interesting discussion about the difference between chaos and randomness that could be help helpful in communicating complex modeling issues to the public. Here is a link.’s-catch

    Or Google “Tomorrow’s catch Chaos theory’s potential for fisheries management”.

    Comment by Mike S — 4 Feb 2014 @ 6:15 PM

  13. Phillips(2013)


    shallow ice model ice model that explicitly includes latent heat transfer by meltwater (CHW is cryo-hydrologic warming). The heat dumped into the ice raises its temperature and softens it, and makes areas of the bed temperate, rather than frozen.

    From the abstract:

    “The base case CHW simulations reproduce the observed increase in inland ice velocity between 2001 and 2007 reasonably well. The no CHW and surface CHW simulations significantly underestimate observed ice surface velocities in both epochs. The higher ice velocities in the base case CHW simulations are attributable to both decreased basal ice viscosities associated with increased basal ice temperatures and an increase in the extent of basal sliding permitted by temperate bed conditions. Only the temperate bed extent predicted by the base case CHW simulation is consistent with independent observations of basal sliding.”

    As they point out: “For every 1% by ice sheet volume of water retained, the ultimate ice warming potential after full refreezing is ~1.8 C”

    They describe a simple Gedanken where CHW increases the flow parameter (presumably in Glen’s law by a factor of three.

    Apart from the shallow ice approximation, there is a steady state treatment, which may not be justified. “While the one-time computation of the momentum and mass balance equations is readily justified for a snapshot in time, the use of a steady state energy equation may be inaccurate, because thermomechanical transients induced by CHW persist over time scales of the order of one to three decades [Phillips et al. 2010]. We fully acknowledge that the steady state assumption is a limitation in the computations for the cases with CHW”

    Is anyone aware of other approaches to CHW in models that use, say, the full Stokes rather than shallow ice approximation ; or do better than the steady state approximation. Don’t get me wrong, I like this paper a lot, and i hope more ice models will explicitly incorporate CHW, rather than parametrizing by melt area and other such approximation. I think that some firn models already do, but i am not aware of previous efforts to explicitly extend meltwater thermal effects into the ice body as is done here. The matter interests me even more in light of the perennial water body in snowpack recently discovered in Greenland.


    Comment by sidd — 4 Feb 2014 @ 6:19 PM

  14. I’d ike to second and elaborate on SA’s excellent question at #9: “How long before Arctic amplification causes the Jet Stream to completely collapse, and what will happen then?”

    Do we get a two-cell system? What would this look like? Would it actually extend the polar vortex even further south, bringing even more bitter winters to even more southerly climes? How stable of a system would that be? Would it quickly move to a one-cell system? Are we seeing the first inklings of any of this with some of the current weather weirdness? Do we really know? (Thanks ahead of time for any light thrown on this important question, and thank again to SA for raising it.)

    Comment by wili — 4 Feb 2014 @ 6:54 PM

  15. Claquin et al (2003) (link:, investigating LGM climate, discuss and attempt to quantify radiative forcing due to atmospheric dust ~21kya. They write that “[Increases in the potential dust source areas] are to be expected, due to effects of low precipitation and low atmospheric (CO2) on plant growth.”
    Claquin et al’s model-derived findings show a change in tropical atmospheric forcing of “–2.2 to –3.2 W m–2” between PI and LGM earth, due to the increased albedo of atmospheric dust. Despite confining that value to the tropics and giving no value for the mid-latitudes between 23.5 and 45 degrees N and S, this is quite a significant amount of forcing when compared to the direct global longwave forcing difference of -2.0 W m-2 between PI and LGM due to CO2, considering the disproportionately large amount of TOA insolation over the tropics.
    CO2’s effect of stimulating plant growth and increasing plant tolerance of aridity contributed to revegetating large areas of land that were desert at the LGM, compounding the effects of an increase in atmospheric humidity, reduced land/ocean surface ocean ration, and increased warmth, all of which combined caused the reduction of airborne dust and atmosperic albedo.
    My question is, is there any research that gives an estimate as to the potential climatic effect of CO2 via the stimulation of plant growth and increased plant tolerance of aridity in a post-industrial, doubled CO2 atmosphere? If CO2 in the Anthropocene atmosphere contributes to re-vegetating currently arid areas as it did post-LGM, we should expect an even greater warming feedback from CO2 than is assumed from water vapor and albedo feedbacks, due to decreased global dust-induced albedo and increased water vapor from transpiration over increased vegetated area. Are there any climate models or studies that include this potential effect?

    Comment by Nick Manny — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:07 PM

  16. > “How long …?”

    Questions of the form “how long until you stop …” presume.

    Better: “if” and “how would we know whether …” questions

    Barnes, E. A. (2013), Revisiting the evidence linking Arctic ampli- fication to extreme weather in midlatitudes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50880.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:26 PM

  17. Re Steve Metzler, the study Influence of Arctic sea ice on European summer precipitation could be interpreted much broader.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:31 PM

  18. Wili, my view is “the fridge” will stay open, the divide of hot and cold at the pole is gone. Weather will become even more persistent and the lack of a defined jet will affect ocean currents. That’s why i asked Does Sea Ice loss create the condition for an emerging permanent El Nino state?.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:36 PM

  19. “I’d like to second and elaborate on SA’s excellent question at #9: “How long before Arctic amplification causes the Jet Stream to completely collapse, and what will happen then?”

    For the record, I’d like to third your second and place extra emphasis on your follow up to the question at #9…

    WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN??? (Added Emphasis, mine)

    It really is a good question and I’m not trying to make light of it. I would like to know too.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:45 PM

  20. “Humans Will Eventually Become Extinct”

    I try to think that somehow a few breeding pairs could survive, but i fail to see how.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 4 Feb 2014 @ 8:58 PM

  21. Scientific indignation may be the least of Mark Steyn’s worries.

    Comment by Russell — 4 Feb 2014 @ 10:22 PM

  22. A question re. the ‘stagnation’ issue. I’ve read that we now have a slightly positive linear trend even when measuring starting 1998 – but consider that a rather weak rebuttal. Is it fair to say that there is not nearly a stagnation because temperatures on the southern hemisphere have generally gone up, as have temperatures in summer on the northern hemisphere – and only winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere have somewhat sharply declined? So three out of four are rising and one is falling (quite well explained by natural variability and ENSO). That’s no ‘stagnation’ at all in my book. Fair argument or am I messing something up?

    Comment by Random — 4 Feb 2014 @ 11:13 PM

  23. I wonder if Mother Jones will interview anyone who will contrast the Massachusetts of 1850 to the Massachusetts of 2014. Yes, it was colder then, and American Chestnuts were a major source of nutrition and lumber, but there was far less forest. Deer, turkeys, wolves, moose, and black bears were almost extinct in the state. Yes, there were more rabbits, grouse, passenger pigeons, and probably meadowlarks, but less of just about everything else. Sometimes this glass is half full mentality seems half true… at best.

    Comment by Dwight Mac Kerron — 5 Feb 2014 @ 12:11 AM

  24. New York’s former mayor, Mike Bloomberg, said he plans to spend his post-political career helping the United Nations with the “very difficult” and “frustrating” work of herding leaders towards a global climate deal.

    Bloomberg, who was named UN special envoy for cities and climate change last week, told a conference call he sees his next mission as getting leaders on side for a global climate deal.

    Comment by patrick — 5 Feb 2014 @ 7:08 AM

  25. The Norwegian carbon capture and storage nightmare

    Comment by prokaryotes — 5 Feb 2014 @ 9:55 AM

  26. The Antarctic Half of the Global Thermohaline Circulation Is Faltering

    Comment by prokaryotes — 5 Feb 2014 @ 10:02 AM

  27. also for wheelsoc:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2014 @ 10:55 AM

  28. I recently ran into this link and it prompted this question. Does anyone feel it needs closer attention?

    lots of other great stuff over at Earth Observatory, worth a trawl, but this is pretty nasty looking:

    acquired January 19, 2014 download large image (5 MB, JPEG, 4000×4000)
    acquired January 19, 2014 download GeoTIFF file (29 MB, TIFF)
    On January 19, 2014, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of a bloom of microscopic organisms off the southeastern coast of Brazil. Note how the waters of the South Atlantic are darkened in patches stretching as much as 800 kilometers (500 miles) from south to northeast across the continental shelf. In the image, the puffy strands of white over the sea and inland are clouds.

    Biologists working in the area have identified the bloom as Myrionecta rubra (previously known as Mesodinium rubrum), a fast-swimming ciliate protist. Though it is not a true phytoplankter, it is an autotroph; that is, it makes its own food. Myrionecta fuels itself by photosynthesis, but it does so by ingesting chloroplasts (chlorophyll-bearing plastids) from other algae. Aside from threatening the microscopic algae it consumes, Myrionecta rubra is not known to be toxic to other marine life or humans.

    Viewed close-up, these blooms have a deep red color. But this bloom appears nearly black in the satellite image because of how the ocean scatters and absorbs sunlight. Myrionecta rubra blooms tend to float a meter or two below the water surface, so whatever photons of red light they are reflecting are likely being absorbed or scattered on their way back to the surface.

    Closer to shore—look near Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo—the water has a green tint, perhaps signs of a different bloom of phytoplankton or of sediments stirred up by recent flooding in the region.

    Related Reading

    Crawford, D.W. (1989) Mesodinium rubrum: The phytoplankter that wasn’t. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 58, 161–174.
    Encyclopedia of Life Myrionecta rubra: overview. Accessed January 29, 2014.
    NASA Earth Observatory (2010, July 13) What are Phytoplankton?
    Owen, R.W., Gianesella-Galvao, S.F., and Kutner, M.B.B. (1992) Discrete, subsurface layers of the autotrophic ciliate Mesodinium rubrum off Brazil. Journal of Plankton Research 14 (1) 97–105.
    Skeptic Wonder blog (2010, June 26) Criminally photosynthetic: Myrionecta, Dinophysis and stolen plastids. Accessed January 29, 2014.
    NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Michael Carlowicz, with interpretation from Aurea Maria Ciotti, Universidade de São Paulo, and Norman Kuring, NASA Ocean Color Group.

    My question is. Being that these critters have a red tinge, in spite of looking black on film, would they tend to warm the water that they are in? If warming seas have contributed to these blooms it would stand to reason that their red color would be a positive feed back loop to further warm the surface waters for their kin, as well as their chlorophyl pray? Now that man has killed a majority of the whale filter feeders there is little predation to keep this feed back at bay.

    Comment by Leif Knutsen — 5 Feb 2014 @ 1:23 PM

  29. Yeah, Dwight, because Massachusetts is a good proxy for the whole planet, right? Right?

    Comment by Adam R. — 5 Feb 2014 @ 1:41 PM

  30. Hank Roberts wrote: “Questions of the form ‘how long until you stop …’ presume.”

    Yes. I do indeed presume that the rapid warming of the Arctic is already affecting the Jet Stream, and thereby affecting the Northern Hemisphere’s weather, and that continued rapid warming of the Arctic will cause the Jet Stream to slow and weaken to the point of collapse, possibly in the not-too-distant future.

    Thanks for the link. I have read that article, and I’m aware of the dialog on this issue between Jennifer Francis and Steven Vavrus on the one hand, and Elizabeth Barnes on the other, and I presume that Francis, Vavrus et al are correct.

    I’m interested in hearing the views of vastly more knowledgeable people than myself as to what we might expect and when, if Francis & Vavrus are right; and equally interested in hearing reasons that they might be wrong.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Feb 2014 @ 1:43 PM

  31. for Leif

    This may help:

    That’s one example of much you’ll find on your question by ‘oogling:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2014 @ 3:22 PM

  32. To Wheelsoc, to explore your queries (comment 1 in this thread) about CO2 and tree growth, you could go to see figure 6 (amongst other information) that would interest you. The paper also cites a number of modelling and empirical papers that are of relevance to your questions, like Pagani, M., Caldeira, K., Berner, R. & Beerling, D. 2009 The role of terrestrial plants in limiting atmospheric CO2 decline over the past 24 million years. Nature 460,85–8; Kgope, B. S., Bond, W. J. & Midgley, G. F. 2010 Growth responses of African savanna trees implicate atmospheric [CO2] as a driver of past and current changes in savanna tree cover. Aust. Ecol.35, 451–463; Prentice, I. C., Harrison, S. P. & Bartlein, P. J. 2011 Global vegetation and terrestrial carbon cycle changes after the last ice age. New Phytol.189, 988–998.

    Comment by GFM — 5 Feb 2014 @ 3:43 PM

  33. i see that Munchow has a new paper on the Petermann glacier at (he has kindly made it freely available)

    From the Abstract:
    Ice shelf velocity is 15-30% larger than pre 2010 extimates.They see 5Gton/yr basal melt, 1 GTon/yr surface melt + sublimation, and 4GTon/yr from ice shelf thinning.

    The figures anong other interesting things, detail the retrograde bed slope.

    From the conclusions

    “Following the 2012 calving event, PG ice shelf was shorter than in any previous measurements since the first records from 1876. We find spatially averaged melt rates of 10-13 m/yr, consistent with those reported by Rignot and Steffen (2008) and modeled by Gladish et al (2012). This rate exceeds the value required for steady-state mass balance (∼7-8 m/yr ), resulting in net thinning of 3-5 m/yr during the 2003-2010 period.”


    Comment by sidd — 5 Feb 2014 @ 4:18 PM

  34. @prokaryotes 24: Here is a more detailed look at the issue around the CCS project that was terminated in Norway.

    Comment by Mike S — 5 Feb 2014 @ 4:26 PM

  35. Dwight Mac Kerron, you remind me of the joke about the guy who fell off the skyscraper: as he passed the 5th floor, he said “so far, so good”.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 5 Feb 2014 @ 5:15 PM

  36. Let’s get to brass tacks. I’m in the upper Midwest (Michigan, specifically). Is the pattern we’ve seen this Winter here likely to repeat with some regularity? Because if so, I need to buy a bigger snowblower.

    I am only partly in jest here!

    Comment by Bruce Coppola — 5 Feb 2014 @ 5:31 PM

  37. Prokaryotes:

    Regarding the extinction of humans…

    Even as far back as the stone age, mankind had spread to every continent save Antarctica. I can think of no other vertebrate species that had accomplished this.

    Furthermore, mankind was living in every conceivable habitat, including forest, jungle, alpine, desert, marsh, grasslands, coastal, and arctic.

    This suggests that humans are exceptionally adaptable and resilient.

    Comment by rabbit — 5 Feb 2014 @ 8:07 PM

  38. I must admit to Adam and Mal that crises certainly can arise here in the best of all possible worlds. Why just today, a flock of robins was outside eating bittersweet berries off the vines that have grown thirty to forty feet up the red maples and choke cherries. Now we know that it’s not right that there are robins here and even worse that there is oriental bittersweet for them to eat. But at least there was a half foot of snow to set off their colors.
    Alas, for so many activists, if there is not bad news, then there is essentially no news.

    Comment by Dwight Mac Kerron — 5 Feb 2014 @ 8:14 PM

  39. Rabbit, in past times there wasn’t a global drastic change and deglaciation event of this magnitude we experience today, on a global scale. We deal with PETM 2.0 (PETM on steroids). There will be rapid simplification of civilisation, a fundamental response from the geosphere, then you have disease spread, species extinctions, food chain collapse and so on. Basically everything we call our home will be destroyed or a profoundly altered and not in a positive sense.
    And then we don’t really can say how far the ozone layer might be affected or the oxygen content of the atmosphere. When we mention the extinction of the human species we need to account for the time frame – which stretches several thousands years.

    Maybe theoretically some arcs could be sophisticated enough and intelligent enough managed to sustain conditions for survival. There are a lot of constructs how the species could survive, but based on the current state of affairs nobody seems to be in charge of things and we still run in circles about how to introduce better gas mileage or 10% “More ambitious” emissions targets, but which do not comply with dangerous thresholds.

    Burning all fossil fuels, we conclude, would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.Link

    Comment by prokaryotes — 5 Feb 2014 @ 9:22 PM

  40. “Activists,” Dwight? Is that what you call scientists who mark the precipitous decline of diversity in the natural world?

    I think your true colors are flying high at the mizzen, Dwight, and your pose as a seeker of knowledge is sinking fast.

    Comment by Adam R. — 5 Feb 2014 @ 9:23 PM

  41. For Bruce Coppola: check your local history and see if this fits:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2014 @ 10:07 PM

  42. I need to buy a bigger snowblower

    Not unless you can find a pedal operated one, better to buy a good shovel and get the exercise.

    Not jesting at all. ;)

    Comment by flxible — 5 Feb 2014 @ 10:29 PM

  43. To brer rabbit at #37, who opined: “This suggests that humans are exceptionally adaptable and resilient.”
    Indeed we are. But we are now entering a world with atmospheric CO2 levels that never existed any time in the entire history of our evolution as modern humans. And we are pushing far, far past this threshold as we type. The combination of increased heat and increased water vapor means that we could start seeing areas that are incompatible with human existence based on ‘wet bulb temperatures’ perhaps in just a few decades. Long before that, agriculture becomes very, very problematic. Also note that human flesh is now the largest, most massive (mostly) unexploited uniform food source on the planet…and nature does not long tolerate and unexploited food source for long.

    Some dozens of species are probably going extinct right now every day. We should be humble enough to remember that our entire race is, after all, only one more species. Should we expect that every other species can go poof, but our can never conceivably do so?

    Comment by wili — 5 Feb 2014 @ 10:49 PM

  44. For Dwight Mac Kerron: a chance to check in:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Feb 2014 @ 11:18 PM

  45. Hank & Fixable: Yep, love XKCD and have seen that one. And yes, it fits; didn’t need to look up history because I’m old enough to remember. I am not questioning climate change at all.

    I recognize the irony of posting about getting a bigger, fossil-fuel burning machine here, but I’m not young anymore and a shovel for heavy snows simply isn’t practical, alas. I’m pretty good at endurance but not so much on upper body strength. And there’s a paucity of willing teenage labor in my neighborhood. :)

    I do honestly wonder if the effects on polar circulation discussed above means a return, if temporary, to the “old normal” of Winter in the northern US.

    Comment by Bruce Coppola — 6 Feb 2014 @ 8:19 AM

  46. Bruce,
    If upper body strength is the issue, a bigger snow blower might not be the answer. The bigger the machine, the more they tend to buck. Might I suggest paying a neighbor kid to shovel your drive? Lost a good friend who didn’t want to give up clearing his drive. At some point, you’ve earned the right to leave the exercise to the young and hungry.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Feb 2014 @ 9:50 AM

  47. #40 Adam, Your response is duly noted. I learned a long time ago that when you challenge a warmist or a denier (or even mention those words ;-) the fur starts flying and EITHER side will accuse you of being one of those guys on the other side. Call me a skeptic; is that the flag you see? ;-)
    I have read Thoreau’s journals extensively enough to know that we do have significantly earlier flowering and last spring frost dates than he had in the 1850’s and we also have later first frosts in the fall, which gets us back to my point about the expanded growing season here. The journals are also one reason I know about the diversity of forest and large mammal wildlife that he did not have, but I have also seen pictures of my home town community when it was 90% fields. Now, there are a lot more trees, as well as thousands of automobiles.
    I suppose if I had to define activist it would come down to a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, a member of the tribe who knows that there is sin and imperfection in the world, and by God or Gaia, they are going to do tell you about it, possibly rather than planting their own gardens. I believe in diversity enough to find a place in the world for activists, but getting a lot of their mailers, I can tell you that there is no shortage of crises (or sin, I’m sure) in the world and apparently I should REPENT and DONATE.

    Hank, thank you for the robin charts. I first saw winter robins in cedar copses of grown-in pasture, a couple miles away, thirty years ago. Now we have enough cedar and bittersweet so that we have our own little flock, or at least a regularly visiting flock. Humans have taken to disrupting nature by putting hundreds, if not thousands of tons of bird seed out into feeders, but then, we have cats as well. Tsk, tsk.

    Comment by Dwight Mac Kerron — 6 Feb 2014 @ 9:54 AM

  48. Bruce,

    I have the same problem in the same location. However, being an avid skier (both downhill and cross-country), I am particularly enjoying this winter. I have probably gotten more winter exercise this year than the last three combined, including clearing my driveway every other day.
    The likelihood of a repeat performance next year (or the near future) appears slim. We have experienced this weather pattern about once every decade. On occassion they cluster (late 70s), but most often, they are individual outliers (1993). Weather is chaotic, especially in Michigan.

    Comment by Dan H. — 6 Feb 2014 @ 10:28 AM

  49. @#47 Dwight:
    More anecdotes from Massachusetts, I see. Your point is what, exactly? That things in our natural world will somehow be fine if these silly “activists” would just shut up and leave people alone? Activists being a tribe which, apparently by your lights, includes any scientists publishing research on the worldwide mass extinction now measurably in progress.

    When I mentioned the flag you have unfurled, I meant that of the peculiar sort of climate science denier–and in your case, broad-spectrum environmental science denier–who says “OK it’s happening, but it’s nothing to worry about because, look, a black bear! In Massachusetts!” It’s the same dodge used by people who find one glacier out of hundreds that’s growing instead of receding and smugly conclude that global warming is therefore nothing to worry about.

    You can’t come to RealClimate with your faux-reasonable tone and expect to get away with it. People here have seen every species of denier over the years and your sort is nothing new. But go ahead, comment more if you feel like it. You might get in a couple more before you get permanently bore-holed. Link some pictures of black bears in Cambridge next time; that would be cute.

    Comment by Adam R. — 6 Feb 2014 @ 11:23 AM

  50. #10 Steve -just backing up your point about how wet it is over this side of the pond, have a look at the Beeb yesterday, and a Met Office report, re. the continued flooding in the SW of England and Wales, particularly in Somerset (where the authorities advised 4 villages to be evacuated last night owing to severe flood risks):

    #1 – wheelsoc – one thing to bear in mind about the possible benefits of CO2 fertilisation is that the effects are not easily averaged, particularly if you take into account ocean acidification. So it’s all pretty much swings and roundabouts, within an overall warming trend. Whether it’s also a ‘storming’ trend as well (i.e. it’s getting stormier), well, the jury is out on that one, and I suspect will be for some time yet.

    Comment by Nick O. — 6 Feb 2014 @ 12:00 PM

  51. Dwight, the Inuit are now seeing robins in summer, a species they don’t even have a name for because they have never seen them before now.

    So far, global warming/climate change has been relatively benign for many people (while anything but benign for others), but keep in mind that it is not yet as warm as it will be based on only the increase in CO2 so far, never mind that the increase continues unabated.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Feb 2014 @ 12:34 PM

  52. 2013 was the second-hottest year without an El Niño since before 1850

    2013 was hotter than 1998 despite the latter being warmed by a powerful El Niño event

    Comment by prokaryotes — 6 Feb 2014 @ 12:37 PM

  53. Bruce, don’t go overboard. Weather is quite variable. I’m close to you in the US upper midwest. This winter is indeed a reminder of the “old normal”, but only a reminder, not a return. We had far colder spells in the 80’s and 90’s, and quite a few colder Januaries. You just forget, or somehow get older and less tolerant. This has been covered recently, with an excellent cartoon from xkcd about St Louis. Subtract 20 deg F and you have our graph.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 6 Feb 2014 @ 12:54 PM

  54. NC Museum of Natural Sciences declined to show the climate change film “Shored Up”:

    Comment by Tom Adams — 6 Feb 2014 @ 3:19 PM

  55. MAY I ASK A QUESTION? I know much of eastern North America is enduring severe cold, and that the UK is being deluged with rain.

    On the North American west coast, however, it has been strangely mild and dry (I’m in Victoris, BC). Normally, January would bring lots of rain, but there hasn’t been that much. I read on our provincial snow pack data that Vancouver Island is very low, although other parts of the province are above average. Now I see that California has a severe drought. Like us, the winter rains have failed. I also saw the other day that Alaska is abnormally warm.

    I am guessing that this polar vortex bringing misery to the East is somehow also causing the Western anomalies. But I could be wrong. Any thoughts?

    Second, is the bizarre weather related to global warming? Or is it unclear on that?

    Comment by Frau Katze — 6 Feb 2014 @ 6:33 PM

  56. Re: #’s 11, 14 & 19–

    There was a highly math-dense piece I encountered around six months ago, by two authors, and perhaps I linked to it via RC. I will try to find it for you, but I have never searched that far back.

    Two take aways were that a “two cell” circulation regime requires a reversal of vertical moment from what we currently have at the poles. How does the air rise over the coldest spot? Not likely.

    Second, they claimed the existence of paleo evidence suggesting a singular cell regime prevailed in prior epochs (I believe I recall multiple episodes), but only in the boreal hemisphere. I recall mentioning the gist of this to a friend in a phone chat, and he wanted to know what that would mean for, say, Nebraska? I told him, off the top of my head, I’d guess the prevailing winds would originate in the NE.

    I have oft wondered in ensuing months, whether any of the complex models had ever tripped into such a state. I will give the retrieval effort a solid try.

    Comment by Dave Peters — 6 Feb 2014 @ 6:54 PM

  57. Dan H: Thanks. I’m an XC skiier and have been enjoying the snow too – when the wind chills haven’t been too brutal. Just got back from skiing my local Metropark. I remember that “cluster” in the late 70s. That’s when I took up both downhill and XC. Then it seemed about 1980 or 81 and ever since (with a few exceptions) it became “hey, what happened to Winter?”

    Making light of all this is, of course, very much gallows humor.

    Comment by Bruce Coppola — 6 Feb 2014 @ 7:06 PM

  58. I previously suggested (Jan. UV, #594) that one problem with “putting across” the warmist perspective is unwittingly complicated by the absence of a canonical analysis interval. Thus, one minimalist contributor to a prominent conservative monthly admitted last June that he could not distinguish between seeing “today’s cooling” as blip from Nineties warming, or recent decade’s warmth as blip from Fifties cooling. Merely by quoting from the NY Times however (the rise in temps over last 15 years is markedly lower than prior 20), he had no trouble jumping to this florid depiction of what had hit the hockey stick: a “forlorn droop”.

    Our new GISS data for 2013 crawls forward a notch to further undermine this favorite meme. The most recent 5-yr. moving average (centered on 2011) was 108.4 hundredths F. above mean, for a heating of 28.1 hundredths F. in this measure from fifteen years ago: [the 1998 centered 5-yr. value was +80.3 hundredths F.] Thus, in the thirteen years since 1998, the 5-yr. has warmed by 2.2 hundredths F. per year. Had we established a consensus viewpoint by now, to assess the planetary warming from the time it measurably began actually heating, both sides could begin from the same fiduciary. Energy flowing into and from the near surface for over a third of a century just balanced in 1907, at minus 0.55 F., compared with the GISS mean from 1951 – 1980. Through 1998, we warmed by 135.6 hundredths F. in 91 years, or at an average rate of a hundredth and a half F. annually across most of the last century. After the five year interval which closed that century (the beginning of the minimalist’s specially chosen start point for the “plateau/hiatus”), global heating, framed within a context of our entire experience with the phenomenon, unambiguously accelerated by nearly half (45%).

    Note that the “droop” is achieved by a double-dip to the cherry bowl, first by keying off the Mother of All El Ninos, but also by comparing its aftermath to the anomalously hyped heating of the 20th Century’s final quarter. Many prominent conservative writers have visited the watering hole provided by the former, exceptional event, and I will comment further upon them later. My rejoinder to the periodical last June concluded by pointing out to their editors, that it certainly was an insult to their readership, if a writer who chose the topic of climate, could not even distinguish between a reduction and an enhancement in a rate of change, much less a “cooling,” from accelerated heating.

    [MARodger, BTW, has been both vigilant and spot-on, in his running commentary about the persisting dissonance between loose language and the underlying reality of our thermal record during the 21st century.]

    Comment by Dave Peters — 6 Feb 2014 @ 7:16 PM

  59. ” Is the pattern … likely to repeat…? Because if so, I need to buy a bigger snowblower.”

    This is actually a great example to illustrate the difference between weather and climate. As a result of the weather, Bruce wishes he had a larger snow blower now. Snow blowers usually don’t come for free, however, so Bruce is wondering whether the decision to buy one makes sense. How much does one cost? Would the investment be worth it?

    …and those are questions of climate, not weather.



    Those are the key words that make Bruce’s pondering part of climatology: what are the future expectations of weather? Like mutual funds, will past performance fail to be an indicator of the future?

    Bruce (apparently) currently does not own a large snow blower, based on past climate where he lives. Will future climate be the same? Will Bruce incur future costs due to a shift in climate?

    a) economic? (cost of a larger snow blower)

    b) health? (heart attack shoveling snow, because he didn’t buy a larger snow blower)

    How will Bruce adapt? Can he afford to adapt?

    Questions that society writ large has to deal with on many scales.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 6 Feb 2014 @ 8:16 PM

  60. Frau Katze @ 54
    Living a bit north of you on the Island for over 30 years, I would say that the *historically normal* January is exactly what we’re experiencing right now, below freezing day and night with predominately clear skies. Historically at least 2 weeks straight in January, sometimes after a heavy snowfall -, some years the entire month of Jan has been frozen. The seasons have shifted, some say we’re getting 4 or 5 seasons now.

    But you’re right about the lack of rain, although that would “normally” occur more late Oct to year end. Blame that mostly on ENSO being neutral, just wait for next fall, when El Nino kicks in – which may not help California, they’re at least 3 years into drought now. Meanwhile, expect the unexpected.

    Comment by flxible — 6 Feb 2014 @ 10:30 PM

  61. Bruce. There is another type of snow removal tool. The one I had had 25-30 years ago was called something like a Snow_shue. It was a large scoop, with a flat bottom, and an angled U shaped handle. It works by sliding along the ground, and filling with the snow. Mine could carry nearly a cubic yard at a time, with no lifting, only pushing. Needless to say, the hardware store had them well hidden in the back, as they’d much rather sell a several hundred dollar snow blower, than a $25 snow pusher. Some models have wheels on the bottom, but I never had any problem with having to slide it. In any case I could clear a large volume on snow in a little bit of time with no backstrain.

    Comment by Thomas — 7 Feb 2014 @ 12:18 AM

  62. “Further summer speedup of Jackobshavn”: Joughin, I. and Smith, B. E.: Further summer speedup of Jakobshavn Isbræ, The Cryosphere Discuss., 7, 5461-5473, doi:10.5194/tcd-7-5461-2013, 2013:

    Clear, broad, informative plain-talk (BBC audio) from Prof. Ian Joughin, includes mechanisms:

    “The millimeters add up…” (to potentially surprising events due to sea-level rise).

    Author profile and “21st-Century Evolution of Greenland Outlet Glacier Velocities”:

    Comment by patrick — 7 Feb 2014 @ 5:00 AM

  63. Correction: there’s no audio link there for Ian Joughin. Lost it, very sorry.

    Comment by patrick — 7 Feb 2014 @ 6:38 AM

  64. Thomas @61, I still have and use one of the snow scoops you describe. It does indeed work great, but to use it you do need a place to push the snow to since when full it is impossible to lift to empty, so it won’t work in some tight places with small yards. Mine is an older sheet metals scoop, but the newer ones I’ve seen have plastic scoops.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 7 Feb 2014 @ 9:05 AM

  65. #61–Yes, still around. See, for example:

    …and many variations on the theme.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Feb 2014 @ 2:58 PM

  66. This just in at

    We’ve been assured by a certain stripe of denialist that the polar bears will be just fine under warming because ‘they will adapt.’ And so they are, apparently–but now what are the eider ducks and thick-billed murres going to do? (And what will the polar bears do later, after they’ve decimated the available egg/duck/murre supply?)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Feb 2014 @ 10:10 AM

  67. Weather: I live in Oslo, Norway running a private weather station. Tomorrow will be the 30th day in a row with snowfall. In the same period I’ve recorded 160 minutes of sunshine (divided between two different days), i.e. less than 3 hours. In a month! And the forecast for the next week hasn’t even a hint of a break in the clouds, and still quite likely snow every day. I really begin missing the blue sky.

    Comment by Steinar Midtskogen — 8 Feb 2014 @ 1:19 PM

  68. Dwight

    Alas, for so many activists, if there is not bad news, then there is essentially no news.

    If I’m an activist, Dwight must be an inactivist. I can’t be an activist, though, because for me “U.S. House passes Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013” is mostly bad, but isn’t really news; while “President signs substantive carbon tax into law” would really be news, and could be very good.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 8 Feb 2014 @ 2:51 PM

  69. flxible @ 60: Long term January average temp in Victoria is 7.6C daily high and 1.44 daily low. Hardly ” below freezing day and night”

    Comment by cowichan — 8 Feb 2014 @ 2:54 PM

  70. Is there anything about global warming that climate scientists and skeptics agree upon ?

    Comment by Tietjan Berelul — 8 Feb 2014 @ 6:51 PM

  71. Rob Loblaw #59: Indeed – a nice analysis of how our individual situations are a microcosm of the society as we face climate change.

    Tietjan Berelul #70: Yes. Both know that major economic and social changes are necessary to deal with climate change. The difference is that scientists urge us to face it and deal with it. The “skeptics” (scare quotes intentional) fear this and resort to denial. And incidentally, a lot of average citizens like me wonder if things like buying cars with a bit better gas mileage and switching to CFL and LED light bulbs amount to much more than pissing in the wind.

    I visit RC occasionally but I think this is the most – maybe the first time – I’ve commented here.

    Comment by Bruce Coppola — 8 Feb 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  72. “Is there anything about global warming that climate scientists and skeptics agree upon ?”

    Skeptics don’t even agree with each other, not even on the broadest things. Some deny that CO2 is a GHG. Some deny it is warming. Others agree it is warming, but that it is due to natural variation. Or a 60 year cycle. Or the sun. Or the urban heat island effect. Etc.

    The only thing skeptics agree on is that climate science is wrong, wrong, wrong. They can’t even agree on why this is. Some believe climate scientists are part of a worldwide conspiracy to turn the world communist. Or fascist. Or to tear down the first world to the level of the developing world. Or to get goverment grants because, you know, governments are such strong backers of action to mitigate global warming. Or because they’re natural born frauds and liars. A very few believe that climate scientists are honest but error-prone. Some believe that physics is totally wrong, i.e. about relativity etc as well as atmospheric physics. Etc.

    Given that skeptics, taken as a whole, put forward a nearly infinite variety of often conflicting and contradictory beliefs regarding global warming and climate science, exactly what is a climate scientist supposed to agree with? It’s impossible to agree with all skeptics, or even a large minority of skeptics, because of these fundamental disagreements amongst themselves.

    So, allow me to bounce the question back to you: Is there anything *skeptics* agree upon other than “climate science (and/or the IPCC summary of the current state of knowledge of climate) is wrong”?

    Comment by dhogaza — 8 Feb 2014 @ 10:58 PM

  73. cowichan @ 60 – What does “long term” constitute for your average? Doesn’t seem to agree with Enviro Canada records of ’61-90. Does it include 1975? 1980? 1985? At any rate I pointed out I’m further north [than Vic or Cowichan], where it’s always a bit cooler. And this past week doesn’t fit averages down there or up here, but wanting to see some real chill hours for a change, for the sake of tree fruit production, I like it. :)

    Comment by flxible — 8 Feb 2014 @ 11:28 PM

  74. @TB (#70)

    The skeptics would have to achieve a consensus among themselves before your question could even be meaningfully addressed. There really isn’t a mainstream skeptic position that nearly all of them broadly subscribe to the way mainstream climate scientists broadly agree over most of what ends up in the IPCC reports. There are the skeptics who claim the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist because it would violate the second law of thermodynamics, the ones who admit it exists, the ones who claim the increase in atmospheric CO2 content is mostly of natural origin rather than the result of our burning fossil fuels, and on and on – climate skepticism is a big tent with the only litmus test being agreement that even if the climate is changing nothing should be done about it.

    Comment by Jon — 8 Feb 2014 @ 11:37 PM

  75. Not the wine! Please! Not having one of those vintage twistcap-sealed Ontario table wines could ruin the next lost weekend. And don’t expect the other scruffies will share from their sewer-cellars.

    This piece of mildly mixed-emotions news carries the serious bitter truth of AGW – higher prices for everyone everywhere because the new ranges of weather-potential is going to hit your wallet right in the bread basket. Pallet that. If you doubt it, you haven’t been checking food prices over the last decade.

    Comment by owl905 — 9 Feb 2014 @ 1:47 AM

  76. Bill Nye handles the scientifically illiterate with grace:

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 9 Feb 2014 @ 3:36 AM

  77. Crash on Demand: Welcome to the Brown Tech Future

    In Crash on Demand, David Holmgren not only updates Future Scenarios (2007) work but also builds on his essay Oil vs Money; Battle for Control of the World (2009), as a running commentary on the rapid changes in the big picture context for permaculture activism, especially in the Australian context.
    David’s argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers (by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff.

    Radio Interview:
    “A growing group of activists, ecologists, authors and scientists are saying only a serious economic crash could save us from climate doom.”
    CRASH ON DEMAND – Do we need to break the system to save the climate? Permaculture co-founder David Holmgren says “YES”, in this rare radio interview.



    Comment by Walter — 9 Feb 2014 @ 6:04 AM

  78. Tietjan Berelul @70.
    It is probably best if we define your “skeptic” as those who can in some way be described as climatologists. Publication is not a helpful marker as there are many academics with papers published in this field who are seriously off the planet. There is the question of where to draw the line on who is a climatologist and who is not. Do we include say Singer (an old climatologist), Tsonis (a meteorologist) or include Svenmark (solar physicist)? What of Humlum and Akasofu (flavours-various of Geologist) or Scarfetta (astrophysics modeller and not of this world)? It is probably best to see if the ‘skeptical’ climatologists generally consider their work worthy of merit.

    Doing that allows us to take the message of the ‘skeptic’ Lindzen. All should agree that mankind is creating a net climate forcing that is positive (warming) and that the climate is indeed warming. You can probably add to Lindzen’s list of agreement by saying that all agree that the value of mankind’s net climate forcing is not well defined.
    But what is very evident from a scientific analysis of the ‘skeptical’ position is that while the ‘skeptics’ disagree with the consensus position, all the ‘skeptical’ hypotheses are themselves in disagreement with each other. A ‘skeptic’ may cite many such hypotheses as though they constituted some unified (or unifiable) theory. Lindzen, for instance, cited Tsonis, Zhou&Tung, Svenmark and Wyatt(?) when he gave evidence before a Parliamentary committee a few weeks back. All four of these hypotheses are incompatible with each other.
    With the exception of Zhou&Tung, what they do have in common is a proposal for reducing the value of climate sensitivity well below the IPCC values. This is probably the big science-“skeptic” divide. The “skeptics” never address directly the evidence that establishes a high sensitivity, a rather telling absence.
    For the record, Zhuo&Tung accept the consensus values of sensitivity but revise the anthropogenic climate forcing. In doing this they are however straying badly into denialist territory in many other ways.

    Comment by MARodger — 9 Feb 2014 @ 7:28 AM

  79. After an unusually warm January, Slovenia was hit by sleet; some areas ended with 10-centimeter thick ice cover. The term “ice age” is being used a lot, though the temperatures were just slightly below freezing and the sleet was only made possible by warm air in high altitudes. Strangely, I detected no cynicism regarding global warming beyond occasional commentator:

    Comment by BojanD — 9 Feb 2014 @ 8:01 AM

  80. Tietjan Berelul,
    There’s not even anything that all pseudoskeptics agree upon–and indeed, most pseudoskeptics don’t even maintain consistency with their own beliefs over time, so it’s kind of a moot point, don’t you think?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Feb 2014 @ 9:09 AM

  81. UK Flooding and the Science of Climate Change

    Comment by prokaryotes — 9 Feb 2014 @ 9:41 AM

  82. A new report, jointly between Met Office & CEH,
    “The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK” out now


    or directly (as PDF):


    … I hope it comes with a waterproof cover (;-)

    But will it make the media start reporting on extreme weather events which are happening around the world with increasing frequency & ferocity and link them to climate change (for which anthropogenic GHG emissions are to blame) – there still appears to be a massive disconnect, or is it a wilful ignorance ?

    Meanwhile, while most of Britain has been cut of by rail from the West Country, an article in the BBC “How do you fix the Dawlish problem ?” had the cheek to suggest that Hitler was to blame for the problem, while not mentioning extreme weather, climate change or sea level rise once. For web link just google “Dawlish+Hitler” !

    Comment by B Eggen — 9 Feb 2014 @ 12:17 PM

  83. Ray Ladbury,

    I was not trying to make a point.

    I am trying to make up my own mind about global warming. The thing both sides have in common is that they accuse the other side of exactly the same thing.

    Comment by Tietjan Berelul — 9 Feb 2014 @ 12:54 PM

  84. More state of the art American climate policy:

    Comment by Dave Peters — 9 Feb 2014 @ 1:14 PM

  85. Tietjan Berelul, it’s not a matter of “making up your mind”… it’s a matter of understanding the science.

    That’s like “debating” Evolution. There is no “debate”. Just people who understand the process and those who don’t. Whether or not you accept the facts doesn’t change the outcome or reality.

    CO2 traps heat and accumulates. Humans produce it in mass quantities. More CO2 traps more heat. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 9 Feb 2014 @ 1:32 PM

  86. Tietjan Berelul, What ‘skeptics’ are accusing ‘scientists’ of is being a world wide conspiracy, what ‘science’ is accusing ‘skeptics’ of is being unscientific conspiracy theorists – you want to be spending some time at to learn what scientists really have to say about climate science vs skeptic “theories” [there is really no coherent skeptic scientific theory of climate] – if you really do want to make an educated decision on it all.

    Comment by flxible — 9 Feb 2014 @ 1:43 PM

  87. Bruce Coppola wrote: “a lot of average citizens like me wonder if things like buying cars with a bit better gas mileage and switching to CFL and LED light bulbs amount to much more than pissing in the wind.”

    Enough people pissing makes a mighty river. There are many things that “average citizens” can do to reduce our demand for fossil fuels — most of which will also save us money and improve our health and quality of life.

    LED light bulbs are now very affordable, save consumers money over their lifetime, and have significant potential for reducing electricity consumption. According to the US DOE:

    Residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

    Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

    As for “buying cars with a bit better gas mileage”, for some of us in the automobile-dominated USA who would have difficulty functioning without a car, there may be no practical options other than choosing the most fuel-efficient car available and driving only the minimum necessary.

    Having said that, the current generation of mainstream hybrid cars (e.g. the Prius) and the newer pluggable-hybrids (e.g. the Volt) do get more than “a little bit better” gas mileage than conventional gasoline-fueled cars and are increasingly affordable.

    And there are now a number of zero-emission battery electric cars available (e.g. the Leaf). Batteries are improving rapidly so purchase prices are dropping and range is increasing, which combined with much lower costs of operation and maintenance compared to fossil fueled cars is making EVs increasingly popular.

    And EVs can significantly reduce emissions — a recent NASA pilot program in which employees at the Kennedy Space Center commuted in EVs which they charged at work found that “electric cars are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a far greater amount than expected … the numbers are 10 times better than we thought we’d ever see”.

    We are really approaching the point where it will be entirely “mainstream” for US suburbanites to live in solar-powered homes that will not only be “net zero energy” in the sense of generating as much or more energy than the house itself consumes, but will also generate all the electricity to operate an EV, which will be integrated with the house so its batteries can provide power to the house at night and during grid outages.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Feb 2014 @ 1:58 PM

  88. Tietjan Berelul:

    I am trying to make up my own mind about global warming. The thing both sides have in common is that they accuse the other side of exactly the same thing.

    Well, one thing they don’t have in common is that the vast majority of working, publishing climate scientists have concluded that global warming is real, is caused by us, and will have drastic consequences for millions of people in the next few decades. That consensus is supported by nearly every professional scientific body in the world, and is succinctly stated by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences:

    Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks.

    The publications at the NAS link are free to download, and are easily understood by educated laypeople. The NAS is America’s most prestigious scientific body, created by Congress in 1863 to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science.” While there are a handful of AGW “skeptics” among its members (incidentally dispelling any notion of enforced orthodoxy), they are increasingly ignored by the majority. They scrupulously guard their credibility against any attempt at politicization. If you can’t trust the NAS to be objective, you can’t trust anyone.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 9 Feb 2014 @ 4:20 PM

  89. Dan H. and Wheelsoc:
    It,s not that clear that “CO2 fertilization is a known effect” … Stomata ususally close with more CO2, to reduce water loss … Water and soil nutrients availability limit yield, rather than CO2.
    See f.e.:
    Global CO2 rise leads to reduced maximum stomatal conductance in Florida vegetation

    Comment by Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid — 9 Feb 2014 @ 5:32 PM

  90. For a while the skeptics had some at least to the uneducated plausible conjectures for why warming wasn’t due to CO2. Galcitc Cosmic Rays, have long since been demoloshed, but I’m sure they still have their following.

    As Secular Animist said about plugins, they are getting affordable and attractive. I wouldn’t quite call them mainstream today, but wait 2-5years. This can cut fossil fuel usage by a factor of 2-5 over conventional vehicles. Also you can look into purchase or lease of solar. You can support via crowdfunding or other investment vehicles the funding of more renewable energy. None of these are enough, but they will at least start moving society in the right direction.

    Comment by Thomas — 9 Feb 2014 @ 6:51 PM

  91. #83 Tietjan Berelul says:
    “Ray Ladbury,
    I was not trying to make a point.
    I am trying to make up my own mind about global warming. The thing both sides have in common is that they accuse the other side of exactly the same thing.”

    The other thing many have in common Tietjan, is that they also both DO the same thing. Suffer the same degree of Biases and fall into the pit of Logical Fallacies daily. They also do not clearly hear what the other side is actually saying, usually because they are so busy reacting and focusing on what it is they want to say next.

    Typical human behavior. Best if you do the work by yourself and read the original materials absent other people’s opinions and rhetoric. The scientific evidence does not take sides, has no emotions, and isn’t a political beast. Read it. Follow your own instincts and use common sense.

    Start here:

    Glossary and the SPM first. Do not be in a hurry. Focus on the ‘evidence’. Listen to what IT is saying to you. Not people.


    Comment by Walter — 9 Feb 2014 @ 7:34 PM

  92. Implemented a killfile mechanism, test version on the first 500 comments of the thread “If you see something,say something” is at

    this will go away innabit, like a few days; i dont want to host it since i have to leech data off the realclimate site. i would rather someone at realclimate implement similar. Not so hard, mebbe an afternoon or two + bugfixes…

    If there is interest, i will make the scripts available, but really i would rather see it reimplemented cleanly here, rather than a third party site. I shan’t use it myself, i have a frankenstein thing that works off a usenet type thing…


    Comment by sidd — 9 Feb 2014 @ 8:33 PM

  93. Sidd, great little app thanks. Very helpful for all.

    You overlooked these IDs though:
    Not my regular handle too much background
    Kevin O’Neill
    Joseph O’Sullivan
    Devil’s Advocate

    It’s my eye for detail, perhaps.


    Comment by Walter — 10 Feb 2014 @ 2:39 AM

  94. 28 Lief
    Anything dissolved or suspended in the near surface water column can alter its radiative equilibrium . But just as things that absorb solar energy tend to raise daytime water temperatures , those that reflect light may lower it by increasing albedo and ‘undershine’.

    You may find the references in this Climatic Change paper useful

    Comment by Russell — 10 Feb 2014 @ 3:13 AM

  95. Sidd, nice. I ticked me.

    Comment by Tony Lynch — 10 Feb 2014 @ 6:33 AM

  96. Walter *77

    “… only a serious economic crash could save us from climate doom.”
    In theory communism could work: if everyone behaved so as to improve the wellbeeing of all of us, owners of eveything, the situation could be good …
    But we DO know that our so aimed effort would be just a drop in the ocean … Efficiency drops dramatically, relative to when most of our effort directly benefits us or our family …
    And capitalism reigns practically all over the world … bar its “upper” part.
    ATMOSPHERE is intrinsically a communist “estate”: no private property possible.
    If only each of us could own its private part of the atmosphere! We would not spoil it as we do.
    Could a global (but partial) communist “dictatorship” help to solve the problem? Not foreseeable.
    So, as a general mind change is really really difficult, I am afraid have to agree with what quoted above.

    Comment by Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid — 10 Feb 2014 @ 6:46 AM

  97. The DailyMail today:

    “Mr Paterson has been dismissed by Cabinet colleagues as ‘stupid’ for failing to take seriously the threat posed by climate change.”

    Comment by prokaryotes — 10 Feb 2014 @ 7:12 AM


    Posted by Hannah Hickey-UW on February 4, 2014

    The Jakobshavn Glacier, which is widely believed to be the glacier that produced the large iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912, and the largest glacier in Greenland is moving ice from land into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded.

    The new observations show that in the summer of 2012 the glacier reached a record speed of more than 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) per year, or more than 150 feet (46 meters) per day. These appear to be the fastest flow rates recorded for any glacier or ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica.

    Comment by Walter — 10 Feb 2014 @ 7:51 AM

  99. Tietjan Berelul
    Well, you could look at which side has the imprimatur of the National Academy of Sciences and every other honorific or professional organization of scientists. It should tell you something when not one professional organization of scientists supports the denialist side.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:41 AM

  100. FYI …

    Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war
    By Suzanne Goldenberg
    The Observer
    Saturday 8 February 2014

    From California to the Middle East, huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. US intelligence is warning of the dangers of shrinking resources and experts say the world is ‘standing on a precipice’

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Feb 2014 @ 12:30 PM

  101. If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than comtempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology.
    We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.

    — Lyndon B. Johnson

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2014 @ 1:43 PM

  102. By the way, for those buying LED lights from eBay or direct from China, this is cautionary:

    That’s not unusual at all, I’ve taken a few cheap LED lights apart and decided not to put them back together, lest someone get killed.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2014 @ 3:07 PM

  103. > Jakobshavn glacier

    Several previous RC topics over the years have focused on the
    Jakobshavn glacier
    — Paste that in the search box, upper right corner of each page.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2014 @ 4:43 PM

  104. I’m curious about Mike Mann’s Huffington Post article discussing the tropical Pacific’s thermostat phenomenon. He state’s it lowers the global average temperature increase by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees C. Would that be the total reduction from 2000 to 2100, or would that be per Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation event?

    Comment by Andy — 10 Feb 2014 @ 4:45 PM

  105. “A quadrillion here, a quadrillion there, and soon you will be talking real money.” Actually, that is a decade of $ flooding cost, in 2100, as per:

    Comment by Dave Peters — 10 Feb 2014 @ 9:21 PM

    (hat tip to )

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:00 PM

  107. I think everyone needs to make a better distinction between denialist and skeptics.

    The WattsUp crowd for example are full blown denialist (and bat-shit crazy IMO) most of which don’t even believe CO2 is a forcing.

    Then you have the skeptics who basically embrace the opaque nature of CO2 in the infrared and the conservation of energy. This group does have a range of views based on the degree of sensitivity. Most of the crew at Lucia’s Blackboard fall into this camp. I call this bunch the lukewarmers.

    Comment by Tom R — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:02 PM

  108. # 55 Frau Katze

    This is a good discussion of the cause of the California drought

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  109. #96 Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid.

    The text was copied/pasted direct from the source site. The snipped quote given by Rafael was by the ‘interviewer’ as an attention-getting headline and wasn’t by David Holmgren.

    re: Could a global (but partial) communist “dictatorship” help to solve the problem?

    China is making the greatest gains in alternative energy and nuclear energy use (total and % wise) than the rest of the world. It also includes longer term plans to stop their existing high volume fossil fuel use from ~mid-century. If others took it as seriously as they did, I suspect they could make even tougher goals to cut GHG emissions sooner. It would require a ‘level playing field’ be established economically world wide that is fair, just, and equitable to all people.

    Some thoughts on the left-right political dichotomy (in the US by way of example):

    Comment by Walter — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:29 PM

    raises many more questions that one would like answers for.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Feb 2014 @ 10:49 PM

  111. Here is an unforced variation … or is it forced?

    One way to understand the strange oscillations of ENSO:

    climate science is way cool

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 11 Feb 2014 @ 1:37 AM

  112. #109 Walter

    Thank you.
    My point is not actually related to the usual “left-right political dichotomy” …
    At individual level, in our free democracies, any obligation in relation with the use of the atmosphere (not owned by each of us, but by ALL, kind of “communist state” that needs “partial” dictatorship to be handled), would conflict with our freedom …
    So, it would be necessary a big change in our mind-set. Very, very difficult.
    And something similar happens at countriy level.
    “…It would require a ‘level playing field’ be established economically world wide that is fair, just, and equitable to all people”.
    I agree with that, but apart from very difficult to get, people would play as freely as possible … You can´t have a policeman/woman after each person.

    Comment by Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid — 11 Feb 2014 @ 5:49 AM

  113. > permaculture … crash

    The farmer I know best, who’s actually been developing crops to try to replace corn and soy in the real world, comments that permaculture so far doesn’t scale up well.

    We need to replace vast acreage used (destructively) for agriculture, for the whole world. Doing a partial job, withdrawing into little enclaves that are self-supporting, sounds like a lovely return to Medieval times. But with no one to protect them from the barbarian lords,

    I suspect separated, sustainable villages not involved with the surrounding world would work out even less well than it did last time.

    Yes, little microgrids can hold a village together in the absence of the national grid and transportation — for a while.

    I doubt if even the science-fantasy replicator-in-every-library will enable such little groups to maintain and defend themselves apart from the larger culture. Librarians are damn scarce, when you actually need one, have you noticed?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 7:51 AM

  114. Already a fair number of comments on UK floods. Any chance of an authoritative article on how the UK floods fit climate models? I know in general terms that the hydrological cycle should intensify with warming and that one event is hard to pin on climate change, but it would be good to do a catch up on how the broad trend of extreme weather fits the models.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 11 Feb 2014 @ 8:58 AM

  115. Philip – Judith Curry promises an article on the British floods soon. They have had major floods in the past, so possibly that will be badly mangled – as was done on blogs with the Wivenhoe Dam incident in Australia in 2011. They had it ranked very low versus Australian flood history when it was in fact one of the worst floods in the record. I have no idea where the current flooding in Great Britain ranks, but mitigation work has to be in the analysis or the analysis is totally botched.

    Comment by JCH — 11 Feb 2014 @ 10:01 AM

  116. For another look at the workings of the denialist mind, here’s a takedown of Roy Spencer’s recent outpourings:

    Roy Spencer’s latest deceit and deception

    Reminds me of his Senate testimony last July, in which he used the UAH Middle Troposphere (MT) product to claim that there’s no warming at high altitude over the tropics. But, didn’t Spencer claim that the MT product was contaminated with cooling from the Stratosphere as the reason to switch to the UAH Lower Troposphere product when he and John Christy introduced the LT back in 1992?

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 11 Feb 2014 @ 10:16 AM

  117. Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 7:51 AM

    I think that the Rodale Institute study points the way that agriculture has to go.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Feb 2014 @ 10:50 AM

  118. Thanks for the link to that interesting farm, hank. I notice that it is featured as one of the “wonderful farms” in this article:

    That approach is definitely a promising part of a potentially sustainable future. But I don’t think it is necessary to tear down other people’s approaches to make a point about how good one approach is. None of us knows what the future holds, but the more of us helping to produce at least our own food, the better for us all.

    Keep in mind that still much of the world supplies most of its food locally in “small enclaves” if you will. Medieval monastic “enclaves” were crucial in preserving the fragments of classical civilization that did get preserved, even in a very violent world. We are all doing ‘partial jobs’ no matter how grand our plans may be.

    Comment by wili — 11 Feb 2014 @ 10:52 AM

  119. Philip–This write-up by the Met Office seems quite well put together, first describing the storm sequence in a historical context, and then placing them within the setting of the extraordinary global/Pacific/tropical doings we all witness unfold.

    Comment by Dave Peters — 11 Feb 2014 @ 12:02 PM

  120. Hank Roberts wrote: “permaculture so far doesn’t scale up well”

    Well, that’s kind of the whole point of permaculture. It isn’t about “scaling up” to continent-wide fields of genetically identical monocrops. It’s about agriculture that works with biodiversity and natural ecosystems rather than against them.

    Hank Roberts wrote: “Doing a partial job, withdrawing into little enclaves that are self-supporting, sounds like a lovely return to Medieval times … I suspect separated, sustainable villages not involved with the surrounding world would work out even less well than it did last time.”

    There are villages in China that have successfully sustained themselves for thousands of years, without any of the modern scientific knowledge that would be available to self-reliant communities today.

    Self-reliance and even self-sufficiency in food production do NOT mean “withdrawing from involvement in the surrounding world”. On the contrary, they can contribute to the sustainability of the “surrounding world”. During WWII, Victory Gardens produced as much as 40 percent of all the produce consumed in the USA.

    Hank Roberts wrote: “little microgrids can hold a village together in the absence of the national grid and transportation”

    “Little microgrids” with distributed generation are expected to be a $13-billion-per year business within a few years.

    Microgrids powered by photovoltaics and/or wind turbines are bringing electricity to communities in the developing world who will never get it any other way, because they have no “national grid”.

    And in the USA, microgrids are being deployed by corporations and the military, and can help hold the grid together.

    Indeed the whole concept of the “smart grid” is that it will an “InterGrid”, which connects a multitude of intelligent micro-grids which will be both consumers and producers of electricity.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Feb 2014 @ 12:03 PM

  121. Tamino: “The Real Difference between Skeptics and Deniers”:

    Comment by patrick — 11 Feb 2014 @ 12:07 PM

  122. Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Feb 2014 @ 3:07 PM

    The LED video is a good caution. I use a lot of them. More important was another video that was popped up by YouTube, titled The Light Bulb Conspiracy. Thinking there might be a chuckle in the video I watched it and found a very well done and informative documentary on planned obsolescence that has direct application to discussions here on how to reduce fossil carbon pollution.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Feb 2014 @ 1:00 PM

  123. A small overview on exceptional UK floods in recent years. Flooding in the UK

    Comment by prokaryotes — 11 Feb 2014 @ 1:16 PM

  124. Climate on the Diane Rehm Show:

    With Gavin Schmidt!


    Comment by Radge Havers — 11 Feb 2014 @ 1:26 PM

  125. UK Floods 2014 Could Last for Months + 1.6M Homes at Risk for Flooding

    Comment by prokaryotes — 11 Feb 2014 @ 2:12 PM

  126. Nisbet(2014)


    point out that isotopic composition of airborne methane has become lighter since 2008, indicating greater wetland/ruminant emission. I imagine if and when arctic methane doom nears, we ought to see a swing the other way ?


    Comment by sidd — 11 Feb 2014 @ 2:21 PM

  127. Hank Roberts wrote: “By the way, for those buying LED lights from eBay or direct from China …”

    Why would anybody do such a thing when you can buy beautiful, high-quality, made-in-the-USA, Cree 9.5 watt / 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs with a 10-year warranty and 25,000 life expectancy at Home Depot for five bucks?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Feb 2014 @ 4:52 PM

  128. > permaculture. It isn’t about “scaling up”

    Let’s not have one of our famous arguments, shall we?
    And just agree to disagree with very few words said about it?

    Mine, 1 line: agriculture must be a carbon sink; we can, we must do it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 4:57 PM

  129. Cite for Secular Animist: Resilience Feb.10, 2014

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 5:07 PM

  130. A 29-page Met Office report The Recent Storms & Floods in the UK.
    My own analysis for my neck-of-the-woods (slightly less definite due to the data from the local weather station having stalled in May 2013 – probably due to spending cuts) – February saw record rainfall, 38% above the previous 55-year February maximum and 3.35sd above the February mean. As I informed my local paper, I reckon that makes it a 1-in-2000 year event – either that or the produce of climate change.

    Comment by MARodger — 11 Feb 2014 @ 5:50 PM

  131. Hank Roberts wrote: “Cite for Secular Animist …”

    My favorite thing from there:

    “If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.”
    – Pete Seeger

    Hank Roberts wrote: “And just agree to disagree with very few words said about it? … agriculture must be a carbon sink; we can, we must do it.”

    Well, sir, I can’t agree to disagree about that, because I agree with it.

    I’ve been saying for a long time in various comments here that organic agriculture can help to draw down the already dangerous anthropogenic excess of atmospheric CO2 by sequestering carbon in soils and biomass — as the 30-year Rodale Farming Systems Trial (cited by Steve Fish above) has demonstrated.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Feb 2014 @ 6:09 PM

  132. > for five bucks
    Where? Link? Prices, with rebates, vary state by state.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 6:56 PM

  133. WebHubTelescope @111:

    Variability of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the Holocene epoch

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Feb 2014 @ 7:11 PM

  134. PS re China, equally cautionary about little stuff and big stuff like solar photovoltaic gear:
    I’ve bought enough little electronics, LEDs and flashlight bits and pieces in recent years to believe this guy’s description.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 8:11 PM

  135. #113 Hank Roberts says: “> permaculture … crash”

    That is quite a distinctive passive aggressive streak on display.

    Passive-aggression is frustrating to its targets, since it’s not as easily identifiable—or unacceptable—as, say, socking someone in the jaw would be. For their part, passive-aggressive types can learn to express their anger in healthier ways, and stop sneaking around.

    This may be a science site to discuss science topics. This doesn’t change the fact that the site is well stocked with people where human behaviors of all kinds arise that curtail genuine mature open-minded emotionally honest and fruitful discussions. Plus the simple sharing of information with others.

    Here’s some science about that:
    In The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, (and discussion forums) 2nd ed., passive aggression is defined as a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2008).

    A well worn saying goes: “Say what you Mean. Mean what you say. And don’t say it Mean.”


    Comment by Walter — 11 Feb 2014 @ 8:42 PM

  136. #132 Hank Roberts says:
    > for five bucks – Where? Link?

    As SA said already @ Home Depot

    $4.97 WAS 12.97 Save 62%
    Cree 60W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19…


    Comment by Walter — 11 Feb 2014 @ 9:08 PM

  137. Walter, what you see at those links depends on your ZIP code.
    Those prices are based on local gov’t and utility rebates. This is normal.

    I see — at the link you gave — six for $77.82, and down below that a little window showing a single-lamp $4.92 price at the bottom — and when I click that one, the price changes for quantity one is $12.97.

    Others will see different results. Looking through a computer isn’t like looking through something unbiased and transparent.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 9:44 PM

  138. A clue to that kind of pricing — “in store only …. pick up” items.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Feb 2014 @ 9:46 PM

  139. Hank, you asked the question. You got THE answer. Plain and simple.

    If you had constraints involved then you should have listed them yourself at the get go. That you don’t like the answer, does not make it wrong. Ask better questions.

    btw Hank, I know how to ‘shop’ and use the internet to buy ‘stuff’. On my monitor looks like the discount no longer applies. The early bird gets the worm. Have you checked Ebay? Bargains galore! Free home delivery too.

    What SecularAnimist said true and correct. It was also sage advice to consider into the future. But this ain’t the shopping channel twitter page, so I will move along now.


    Comment by Walter — 12 Feb 2014 @ 2:04 AM

  140. Anyone remember Charles Monnett, the bow whale researcher who published a monograph on dead polar bears?

    He was grilled on his study by agents of the DoI Inspector General’s office and was later cleared of scientific misconduct. By then the investigation changed tack to alleging he had mishandled contracts, which was also cleared. Eventually he was given a reprimand by his department for emailing his concern that environmental checks on a drilling proposal hadn’t been properly carried out. He attempted to sue the department under whistleblower provisions, finally settling on a payout, and has retired from the department due to its lack of support and integrity to science.

    You can read the conclusion of the shameful events here and trace back through the saga.

    This story should be widely publicised. The DoI has successfully muzzled the researchers and swept it under the rug. As far as I am aware, PEER is the only place where developments have been made public after the initial flurry of interest a few years ago.

    Comment by barry — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:30 AM

  141. Walter opines about the passive aggressive behavior of other commenters.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:38 AM

  142. Re: LED bulbs.

    My point was just that high-quality, made-in-the-USA, name-brand LEDs with warranties are readily available at mass-market retailers, both in-store and online, commonly for less than $10 each.

    For best prices, as with anything else, shop around — look for sales, quantity discounts, etc.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 12 Feb 2014 @ 11:51 AM

  143. #140–Barry, thanks for drawing our attention to the conclusion of this shameful episode. I’ve written about it here:

    I’ve also included ‘your’ information in a quick update.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Feb 2014 @ 2:10 PM

  144. Interesting tidbits turned up — we know concrete contributes a lot of anthropogenic CO2. What I found looking around is that much of that is badly made, so buildings aren’t expected to last long in normal use, and collapses are astonishingly common.

    This is an area where doing it right — so it lasts — could cut the CO2 produced by half, compared to doing it wrong and tearing it down and doing it again in two or three decades.

    … the local materials and methods that they use will all but guarantee that any new structures will fail again, in the next disaster. Cement Trust wants to provide tools to Charities to help them overcome the low quality of materials and low skills of local labor (the poor concrete supply chain)….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Feb 2014 @ 2:45 PM

  145. JCH: I was in Brisbane in 2011, and it was one of the biggest floods in a long time even with mitigation. If I recall rightly, the flood level was within a metre of the last big flood before the flood-containment Wivenhoe Dam was completed in the 1980s.

    Disasters in different eras are hard to compare for a number of reasons – not just mitigation, but we have better weather prediction and emergency responses. On the negative side, more people.

    SecularAnimist: it depends where you are putting LEDs whether you get a quick payback. If you have lights that are on 10 hours + per day, it‘s a lot different than a light you occasionally switch on. A calculated that a floodlight lighting up a building would recover its cost in a few months, if you switched from incandescent to LED.

    Wattage can be deceptive (even lumens). I have 3 x 2W units in a smallish bedroom and they light it up pretty well. In another slightly bigger room, I have 5 x 2W units and the room is really brightly lit. Since LEDs are directional their lighting effect depends a lot on how they are packaged. Downlights are terrible no matter what the technology because of their narrow beam. You need an absurd number to light up a whole room.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 12 Feb 2014 @ 3:11 PM

  146. Fox fodder with Roy Spencer: Report: 95 Percent Of Global Warming Models Are Wrong – Fox Nation

    Comment by Richard Prins — 12 Feb 2014 @ 4:20 PM

  147. #141 Steve Fish says:
    “Walter opines about the passive aggressive behavior of other commenters. Steve”

    Yeah? I made a comment about one, with supporting scientific based information for the wiser. Maybe he has issues with permaculture and long haired hippies? I don’t know for certain, nor to any confidence level. Don’t care either.

    Check the 10 point list Steve. Much to learn from the science of modern psychology. Might be two in these parts who could learn something new about themselves. Make your own choices. Everyone’s behavior has consequences. I am 100% certain about that. No exceptions.


    Comment by Walter — 12 Feb 2014 @ 9:46 PM

  148. # 144 Hank Roberts says:
    “we know concrete contributes a lot of anthropogenic CO2.”

    Look here: “ CO2 and the Global Carbon Cycle – The amount of fossil fuel CO2 emitted to the atmosphere [..] Total cumulative emissions between 1750 and 2011 amount to 365 ± 30 PgC, including a contribution of 8 PgC from the production of cement.”

    8 PgC is a ‘lot’ of CO2 in a total sense. 2.19% of 365 PgC is not.

    Look here: “ CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Combustion and Cement Production – CO2 emissions from cement production were 4% of the total emissions during 2000–2009, compared to 3% in the 1990s (Boden et al., 2011).”

    Maybe there is a better word to describe things scientifically and effectively and much more accurately than ‘a lot’?

    Ref: IPCC AR5 WGI Technical Summary 2216 pages – (file name: 2013-09-30 WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_All)

    Side-bar: When Google Was Not an Obsession, Content & Conversion Were Likely Better “If you can relate to this dilemma, it might also be time for you to go back to your roots.”


    Comment by Walter — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:18 PM

  149. When assessing current groundwater levels in the UK, consider “Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise”

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:38 PM

  150. Rafael Molina Navas

    ATMOSPHERE is intrinsically a communist “estate”: no private property possible.

    If only each of us could own its private part of the atmosphere! We would not spoil it as we do. Could a global (but partial) communist “dictatorship” help to solve the problem? Not foreseeable.

    In the terms of the Economist’s art, the atmosphere is a commons. There is a large and growing body of work on approaches to managing global commons. While “commons” shares a root with Se&#241or Molina Navas’s word, not once do “communist” or “communism” appear in the linked document. Garrett Hardin, who coined the phrase “Tragedy of the Commons” proposed “mutual coercion mutually agreed upon” as the only feasible solution. The Devil, as they say, is in the details.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:42 PM

  151. Drat. The comment preview rendered code &#241 correctly.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 12 Feb 2014 @ 10:45 PM

  152. A scientist friend (in the medical sciences) is concerned about the lack of analysis in articles printed in the mass media about the impact of revegetation in de-iced oceans (eventual algae growth in the Arctic as the ice recedes) and on de-iced land. He reasons that as the ice recedes, vegetation advances and normal photosynthesis starts acting as a carbon sink.

    Can anyone point me to literature that models and quantifies the impact of this effect on carbon capture?

    Comment by James — 12 Feb 2014 @ 11:31 PM

  153. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert:

    Comment by patrick — 13 Feb 2014 @ 2:46 AM

  154. Daring to go down the Rabbit Hole

    How to Make Friends and Manipulate Irrational Voters

    97% of Climate Scientists agree that Global Warming is causing Climate Change and that human activity is what has been causing it.

    98% of your cognitive reasoning is Unconscious!

    Lecture by 40 year veteran of Cognitive Science and Linguistics George Lakoff of Berkeley CA. Founder of the field of Cognitive Science. For the last 30 years an incredible amount has been learned about the human brain and mind. But almost nobody knows about it.

    Watch the video to gain some insights into the relevance to climate change, politics, and policy making. Learn about cognitive policy and material policy.

    What does the public need to understand in order to see that a policy is the right thing to do automatically?

    And learn why everything you learned at college about ‘Enlightenment Reason’ is wrong.

    For those who are up to it, enjoy.


    Comment by Walter — 13 Feb 2014 @ 3:07 AM

  155. Richard @ 146

    Spencer has been posting the model/obs comparison graphs for a while now. Initially he posted linear comparisons, and then 5-year running means after complaints, using TMT 20S-20N observations (zeroing in on the tropoical hotspot location). But no one could tell if he had used the same altitude for the CMIP5 projections, and he never clarified after a number of queries so we don’t know if he was comparing apples to apples. He did flag that he was using RCP8.5 projections, which are the highest emissions trajectory of the 4 scenarios developed for AR5 (comparable to A2 scenario in IPCC AR4, which has the highest CO2 emissions in the near-term if I understand it correctly). I don’t know if that trajectory is fit for recent emissions comparisons. Perhaps a moderator could comment?

    His latest attempts at model/obs comparisons, reflected in the Fox article, do not flag which emissions scenario he is using at all, but I assume it is still RCP8.5. Now he is using TLT obs instead of TMT.

    One commenter at his blog saw a problem with the 5-year averaging.

    To the mods: Roy’s charts are widely cited in the blogosphere, and now making it to MSM. As Gavin does an annual model/obs comparison, and Roy’s charts and message are antithetical, would it be worthwhile doing a post on it? I’m pretty sure you would have a large group of interested readers.

    (Or so I assume… +1 anyone?)

    Comment by barry — 13 Feb 2014 @ 6:38 AM

  156. James @152: Skeptical Science had a series on the carbon balance in the Arctic going forward, with special emphasis on permafrost; iirc, the out gassing from melting tundra overwhelms the potential new carbon sequestration. Permafrost holds more carbon than all the carbon in all living things combined, as I recall. So it’s rather…difficult for just one forest (if such were to grow up there) to compensate for the loss of that quantity of carbon.

    Also note that the change in albedo that any foliage above the snow line creates can cause many degrees of warming, locally at at least.

    Others here doubtless know much more about it than I, though.

    Comment by wili — 13 Feb 2014 @ 10:32 AM

  157. For James, for your concerned scientist friend (in the medical sciences), he’s starting with an unquestioned assumption, apparently.

    As you state his notion, he is assuming more carbon will be captured when the ice melts and wondering why he doesn’t see that documented in the mass media.

    Suggest he first check that assumption, and that he look for information in Scholar rather than mass media.

    A few productive search terms will give him a good start:
    tundra albedo change “sea ice” algae “primary productivity” permafrost

    LMGSTF him:

    That’s just a start. Scientist types prefer to find things out for themselves rather than be told answers. He can look this one up.

    Odds are he’ll refine that search quite a bit — let us know what he comes up with?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2014 @ 10:32 AM

  158. PS for James, for your own information, if you limit the above search to the last few years and read some of the summary and review sources, that will get you a good idea where he’ll end up after he follows the science at his own pace. Here, for example:

    Larry D. Hinzman, Clara J. Deal, A. David McGuire, Sebastian H. Mernild, Igor V. Polyakov, and John E. Walsh 2013. Trajectory of the Arctic as an integrated system. Ecological Applications 23:1837–1868.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Feb 2014 @ 10:37 AM

  159. WebHubTelescope @ 111 re: ENSO “climate science is way cool”

    Yes, isn’t it.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 13 Feb 2014 @ 11:54 AM

  160. Also for James–I won’t try to duplicate Hank’s good work, but I will remark that the ‘big picture’ is that cold waters tend to be the most productive waters. There is a reason, for instance that there was historically a strong Greenland whale ‘fishery’–and why the North Atlantic fisheries of all sorts were so productive.

    That is because those cold waters also tend to be the most oxygenated ones, as I understand it.

    As oceans warm, the waters hold less dissolved oxygen:

    As you can see from the curves, there is a considerable difference between 0 C and 25 C.

    One of the really troubling long-term aspects of oceanic warming is the possibility of anoxic oceans, which have occurred in the deep past during ‘hothouse Earth’ episodes. Mark Lynas did a good job of covering that issue, as I summarize here:

    Hothouse Earth episodes and consequences:

    Main summary article on “Six Degrees”:

    One last thought: it’s a mistake to assume (as perhaps your friend does) that the Arctic ocean photic zone is not already inhabited by phyto-plankton. It is. And in fact, the bottom of the sea ice is habitat for more organisms than you might think, and maybe more than anyone yet knows.

    Hank’s suggestions should turn up literature on that, though.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Feb 2014 @ 12:07 PM

  161. BBC Today programme this morning mentions a (non-Tory) government minister talking of “willfully-ignorant head-in-the-sand NIMBYst conservatism” preventing action on AGW. The programme then interviews one of the prime suspects – Lord Lawson of the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy alongside Prof Brian Hoskins on the question of whether the rain hitting Southern England for the last 8 weeks is the result of AGW.
    The BBC interviewer perhaps got clocked-out at the end of this piece but this is how Lawson was asked about the need to take action on AGW.
    “If there is a chance, and some would say there is a strong chance that man-made global warming exists and is having an impact on us, doesn’t it make sense whether you believe that it is a 90% chance or a 50% chance, does it not make sense to take care to try to avoid the kind of emissions than may be contributing to it? What can be wrong with that?”
    Lawson’s reply “Everything.” He then goes on to inform the audience of this ‘flagship’ BBC news programme that there has been no recorded warming in the past 15, 16, 17 years and when challenged replies “That’s a fact. And it’s accepted even by the IPCC.” The interviewer did say he would get back to it and that ‘get-back’ resulted in Lawson insisting that OHC rise and global ice loss was “pure speculation.” And just to be sure the audience take the proper message away with them the interviewer (Justin Webb) ends this interview with Hoskins & Lawson saying on that seemingly controversial point saying “Well, it’s a combination of the two.”

    I thought the BBC had a handle on these deniers. Naturally I have complained to the BBC. “Almost every point he (Lawson) made was woefully wrong.”

    Comment by MARodger — 13 Feb 2014 @ 12:47 PM

  162. I invite all RC regulars to participate in the new ClimateState forum. (If you want full access PM or email me please.) For instance share your project, create and manage your own focus group or share your expertise. Thanks!

    Comment by prokaryotes — 13 Feb 2014 @ 12:51 PM

  163. Fusion–still the next great thing:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 Feb 2014 @ 4:07 PM

  164. There is an interesting AMA with Kerry Emanuel (MIT)

    Comment by prokaryotes — 13 Feb 2014 @ 5:15 PM

  165. There’s been a lot of weird weather in the last year or two. If some rogue nation or other entity was doing geoengineering on the sly, could it be detected, and could it cause weather anomalies like we’ve been seeing?

    Comment by I ask, therefore I am — 14 Feb 2014 @ 12:40 AM


    Thanks for that link Pete. What are the natural variability pieces left that aren’t predictable? Volcanoes probably. ENSO we still may figure out.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 14 Feb 2014 @ 3:31 AM

  167. Why didn’t MetO predict the uk storms when others did?

    what MetO 3 month preview predicted in november 2013
    “As discussed in the temperature section, forecast models favour a
    negative NAO pattern this winter, with high pressure areas more
    likely to be centred over or close to the UK. As in all seasons, this
    pre-dominance of anticyclones is likely to lead to drier-than-normal
    conditions across the country,”…/8/A3_plots-precip-DJF-2.pdf

    meanwhile this guy in october 2013 who describes his method said “The need for stronger west and SW winds from a Conservation of Angular Momentum consideration certainly lends itself to scope for the North of Britain to get some real batterings- we are set to have some of our biggest winter storms in years.”

    even a usa farmers almanac in aug2013 predicted the usa winter. If people called cranks are predicting the weather months out while official sources point to the opposite then something not adding up?

    [Response: Predicting there will be storms in winter is an easy thing. If there are a lot you look prescient, if there aren’t no-one remembers. Neither of the ‘forecasts’ you highlight are based on anything skillful. As for the Met Office, seasonal forecasts for the UK/Europe have some skill, but it is too small (IMO) to provide useful info. But at least it is a published and tested methodology so you know how much too believe it (not much). The joke long -range forecasts from the almanac or Corbyn have the credibility of looking at chicken entrails. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 14 Feb 2014 @ 7:12 AM

  168. #161 MARodger “Almost every point he (Lawson) made was woefully wrong.”

    Glad we cleared that up.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2014 @ 7:46 AM

  169. thanks gavin. If its so easy so why didn’t MetO predict it then? why were the winter storms in uk and usa such a ‘surprise’ to those claiming to be experts? They went the other way to drier? Meto have a history of warmer bias? “Weather expert accuses Met Office of ‘warm bias’ in getting annual predictions wrong 13 out of the last 14 years”

    Which bit of science are people claiming they are 95% sure about? its certainly not forecasting? if the cranks were getting it wrong 13 out 14 years what would you be thinking of their method? I’m looking for what works and the evidence is some people can predict which implies they have some true science?

    [Response: The chances of you finding the truth by reading the Daily Mail are low (and yes, that is a prediction too). On the off chance you actually are interested in evidence, I would suggest reading about the (very different) methods of prediction that are used for weather forecasts (initialised with current atmos. state – good for up to 10 days or so), seasonal forecasts (initialised with current surface ocean conditions – some skill for average conditions in the 1 to 3 month range, but no predictability for individual weather events), decadal forecasts (initialised ocean state – some skill up to 5 years, but basically still experimental, and no predictability of individual weather events) and climate forecasts (free-running coupled models driven by external forcings – skill in long term trends, statistical impacts, no predictability of individual weather events or ocean oscillations). If you distinguish between these things you are more likely to get a serious answer.

    So, believe what you want to believe, but until any of the long-range weather people actually publish their methods and show they actually have skill (as opposed to luck), colour me sceptical. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 14 Feb 2014 @ 8:17 AM

  170. thanks. Which bit of the daily mail story do you deny? i don’t shoot the messenger imo its rational to look at the message?

    the guy on the climate board link who predicted the worst winter storms for the uk did describe his method? And people on the board called him a clown but he was proved correct both in timing and severity.No ‘black box’ in his case. So published methodology is out there for proven results. Not sure what ‘extra’ people are looking for? If some amateur can do it why can’t the well funded experts? If MetO had made his accurate prediction they would be hailed as masters of the universe?

    [Response: Try and think about this a little. For a forecasting system to credible, just getting lucky once is no use at all. You need to have a track record of doing better than something easy (like using the average over the last 10 years). That takes more than ‘some bloke on an internet forum’. You might be surprised to learn that the Met Office takes it’s prediction business very seriously, and if there was real skill in long-range weather forecasts they would use it. There isn’t, and so they don’t. – gavin]

    if we accept that the 95% claim [what is that for?] is not for forecasting then any predictions extended into the future must also be suspect such as 15m sea level rises and 4-6 degree temp rises? The point of a model is to predict. If you can’t predict what have you got? An empty box like that ‘bomb detector’ that was sold in iraq?

    [Response: I have no idea what ‘95%’ you are referring to (and I suspect, nor do you). Absent that crucial piece of information, we aren’t going to get very far. ]

    i can understand the need for a published and tested methodology but i don’t understand why people stick to a published and tested methodology that don’t work while maintaining its the ‘only’ way?

    [Response: Published and tested methodologies are used because people need to be able to assess how likely a prediction is to be right or wrong if it’s going to useful. And that is exactly what is missing with the ‘bloke on the internet predictions’ (BOTIPs). New methods however are proposed all the time and if they work when tested they get published and used. They can be statistical, use analogues, be based on simple or complicated models etc. One example of this in action is the annual sea ice low forecasts run by SEARCH. If your BOTIP were tested as clearly, I’d be a lot more interested. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 14 Feb 2014 @ 9:39 AM

  171. richard:

    “if we accept that the 95% claim [what is that for?] is not for forecasting then any predictions extended into the future must also be suspect such as 15m sea level rises and 4-6 degree temp rises? – See more at:

    Gavin previously described the difference between short-term weather, seasonal, and climatic predictions as an inline response above.

    You’re probably not going to get very far here if you show no evidence of actually having read and understood his explanation …

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Feb 2014 @ 11:30 AM

  172. > even a usa farmers almanac in aug2013 predicted the usa winter.

    I have a copy. It didn’t. You should have looked.

    Comment by tamino — 14 Feb 2014 @ 11:39 AM

  173. If the noble politicians of this world kept their promises as often as the MetOffice got it’s weekly weather prediction right we’d all die of shock.

    If the politicians of the world could get their own predictions right even once we’d all be more content. Like a Budget that came in on Budget. Actually find those mysterious WMD and nukes in Iraq. Jobs growth forecast to be ‘created’ over the next term of office were actually filled by people working at them instead of filling unemployment lines. Predictions to keep the interest rates down, the pound up, housing affordable, healthcare services improving by X, inflation down, and social harmony up and the trains running on time … to fulfill their own ‘predictions and promises’ then they might actually earn THEIR wages for a change and gain a lift in credibility. Yes? Not bloody likely mate!

    What a sad state of affairs in the world when one doesn’t know the difference between a MetOffice weather report and the pointy end of climate science methodology and why it is so critically important today. I hope the poor sod remembers to tell his butler to re-gas the air-conditioning system. Would hate to imagine anyone in a state of personal discomfort. Summer’s coming soon.


    Comment by Walter — 14 Feb 2014 @ 12:03 PM

  174. Richard,
    Do you invest in stocks? If someone came to you and told you they had a sure way to predict where a particular stock would close on a date certain, would you give them all your money? Would you do so after they showed you (a posteriori) that they’d gotten a single stock right? Or would you put your money with an analyst that based decisions on fundamentals and showed better than market average returns over the last 20 years even if he didn’t do well this year?

    The situation with climate projections is very similar. You have a very complicated system, and predicting that system in the short term is very much a fraught proposition. However, over the long term, the sources of short-term noise tend to cancel and the long-term forcings–the fundamentals–dominate.

    Weather: complicated and chaotic–even the best forecast will sometimes get it wrong

    Climate: complicated, but not chaotic–in the long run, the projections will be right more often than not.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Feb 2014 @ 12:06 PM

  175. richard–I don’t know if you’ve absorbed what Gavin said, but if not, then: please note that predicting climate and predicting weather are not the same problem (though of course there are elements in common.) It’s very important to grasp this, as if you don’t, you’ll tend to think that a bad Met seasonal forecast says something about the skill (or lack thereof) of climate models.

    For weather forecast, you have to get timing and intensity of particular events right. For climate, you don’t, since what you want to know is what happens ‘on average.’ So, in principle, a forecast could get the latter right while utterly failing to get the timing of events correct.

    The counterintuitive thing that follows from this is that it’s easier, in a way, to forecast climate years in advance than it is to forecast weather just weeks in the future. It’s that matter of timing: for climate, you don’t care about it so much. Over longer time spans, things do ‘average out.’

    With that point out of the way (hopefully!), let me add a couple of things. First is that the climate models used by the IPCC are evaluated quite rigorously. I have often seen folks on the Internet claim otherwise, but their claims can’t be true unless every climate scientist out there is lying about this point–an idea I find quite ludicrous, though there are folks out there who profess (and appear) to believe it.

    Here’s what the current Assessment Report (AR 5) has to say about model assessments:

    It’s lengthy, and it’s tough reading, but it is also a summary of probably hundreds of scientific papers published on this topic since the last report (2007).

    A much quicker and more pain-free summary of model performance versus observations can be found here:

    You might also review the annual model-observation comparisons posted each year on this very site. The 2012 edition is here (for some reason I’m not finding the 2013 version):

    So–you seem to be assuming that climate modeling ‘doesn’t work.’ I’d suggest that someone is feeding you a crock of what my mother usually called ‘applesauce.’

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Feb 2014 @ 2:51 PM

  176. #169 [gavin’s response] “climate forecasts (free-running coupled models driven by external forcings – skill in long term trends”

    Skill in long term trends?? But gavin, among various other things you can’t understand clouds, you can’t understand the oceans, you can’t even account satisfactorily for temperatures flatlining since the turn of the century. You even admit that your decadal forecasts are “still experimental”. Skill in long term trends seems to be way, way beyond your horizon.

    I’m sure you and your colleagues do their very best but it seems to me that the more climate science develops the more does it become apparent that there is much, much more to learn before reliable long term predictions could be made.

    As it is you seem to me to be quite, quite out of your depth. Sorry.

    [Response: I’m crushed. – gavin]

    Comment by simon abingdon — 14 Feb 2014 @ 2:53 PM

  177. A compilation of the current UK response to extremes and some science about climate change.
    The UK Response to Climate Change (UK Storms, Floods, Extreme Weather) Feb, 2014

    Comment by prokaryotes — 14 Feb 2014 @ 3:57 PM

  178. Oh, dear:
    “Meet the Press” to host climate change “debate” between GOP’s Marsha Blackburn and Bill Nye “the Science Guy”

    Oh, dear:
    Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People
    By Chris Mooney

    Oh, dear,
    I sometimes wonder about commenters on moderated sites who nevertheless manage to fly under the radar and clog threads with floods of barely agreeable verbiage:
    Google slaps phishing warning on misleading GOP website

    Comment by Radge Havers — 14 Feb 2014 @ 5:01 PM

  179. The Daily Mail is a tabloid. I’d sooner read the TV guide.

    Comment by Matt Owens — 14 Feb 2014 @ 7:20 PM

  180. A glance at today’s wind global map shows Britain circumvallated by a 360 degree wall of wind fit to scatter the Spanish Armada, or with better timing, to sail round Britain without touching the tiller .,62.64,217

    Comment by Russell — 14 Feb 2014 @ 9:12 PM

  181. Richard has only one valid point, how can the Met office possibly miss projecting these events? It was likely easy to work it out. There was and is a huge long lasting temperature anomaly over the North Pacific, this bends downwards the jet stream more radically Southwards turning it into a perfect heat and moisture Atlantic jet slide in tandem with the gulf stream.

    Me thinks humans have been completely left out of modeling results, I believe we use to project a whole lot more, now we simply interpret what models displays. Although we are imperfect beings and we have forgotten what we ate 3 days ago due to memory faculties so minuscule compared to high speed computers, we are far better than computers with intelligence and cognitive organizing. No offense to your craft Gavin, but I think models are extremely good for general long term projections, but incapable of applying themselves to complex nuances, for instance Arctic Sea ice, a very complex system, the models projected wrong by 38 years,. I think an hybrid model, half human and half computer, using the vastness and precision of computers while having the option to inject the most basic nuances and happenstances would be the most powerful GCM ever. Long live AI but Chomsky denied that we are not even close to
    the singularity.

    Checkout my blog, I make predictions that happen, sometimes I fail, but I do have a fairly good batting record. The North Pacific Temperature anomaly has been present for as long as the battering of the British Isles persisted.

    The Pacific anomaly was around for a long time, making glaciers melt in January Alaska and of course affecting the California drought. I mentioned it last October with the Arctic in mind projecting that it will be a warm Arctic winter.

    Not bad for an imperfect human.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 14 Feb 2014 @ 9:44 PM

  182. Sometimes it feels like you are about a resemble an English bulldog with your head frequently bashing the immovable brick wall of ignorance, denial and scepticism. A new online survey by our ninemsn as to whether the fires in South Australia and Victoria were impacted by climate change or not. Result: only 8% supporting climate change. Had they forgotten that those regions effected had the hottest and driest year last year and since the beginning of 2014 repeated heatwaves and no rain. The vegetation was completely dried out so the fuel load was immense and volatile and primed to erupt at any time. Yes of course climate change had played a part, that goes without saying, no one can say quantifiably to exactly what extent. As I mentioned in an earlier post…current climate change affects every climatic system on earth to varying degrees. The play of gasses and air masses do not conform to boundaries. So isn’t it a travesty that only 8% of Australia’s population recognise the familiar fingerprint of CC.
    I have a question. Since Greenland is losing 4x more ice now than 20 years ago and it’s largest glacier is pumping out ice towards the sea at record speed. Sooner or later the NAOC is going to slow…probably within our lifetimes is my prediction. Mid to northern latitude Europe will suffer it’s consequence. Now, say it cools the European climate by 5-10 degrees by 2100 perhaps. Wouldn’t that cooling have a negative feedback upon the overall world temp? Or would it mean that equatorial regions would warm by the same extent? Would the slowing of the entire thermohaline transport have a net cooling or warming on the averaged world climate?

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 15 Feb 2014 @ 6:03 AM

  183. #174 Ray Ladbury “Climate: complicated, but not chaotic–in the long run, the projections will be right more often than not.”

    You wish.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:01 AM

  184. #183–Ray can and likely will speak for himself. But I strongly suspect his ‘wishes’ run in quite the opposite direction.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:35 AM

  185. Well, Simon, as you’ve never been right about anything in your life, I’ll go with science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:57 AM

  186. An interesting item here:

    What’s interesting about that is the guy who’s saying it: Jeremy Grantham is an economist and manager by training, and an asset manager by professional experience. In 2011, Bloomberg named him one of the ’50 most influential people.’ (In finance, presumably.) An environmentalist-philanthropist, to be sure, but not a cheer-leader per se–especially in his professional capacity.

    Speaking of which, his professional touchstone in managing investments–his firm had “more than US $97 billion in assets under management as of December 2011”–is ‘reversion to the mean’:

    “For the record, I wrote an article for Fortune published in September 2007 that referred to three “near certainties”: profit margins would come down, the housing market would break, and the risk-premium all over the world would widen, each with severe consequences. You can perhaps only have that degree of confidence if you have been to the history books as much as we have and looked at every bubble and every bust. We have found that there are no exceptions. We are up to 34 completed bubbles. Every single one of them has broken all the way back to the trend that existed prior to the bubble forming, which is a very tough standard. So it’s simply illogical to give up the really high probabilities involved at the asset class level. All the data errors that frighten us all at the individual stock level are washed away at these great aggregations. It’s simply more reliable, higher-quality data.”

    In the present instance, he is talking about what he identifies as a ‘carbon bubble’:

    Grantham has repeatedly stated that the rising cost of energy – the most fundamental commodity – between 2002 and 2008 has falsely inflated economic growth and GDP figures worldwide and that we have been in a “carbon bubble” for approximately the last 250 years in which energy was very cheap. He believes that this bubble is coming to an end.

    By the way, all my background on Grantham comes from ‘good old Wikipedia’:

    Anyway, returning to his thoughts on the mid-term energy mix, which I didn’t yet quote:

    “I have become increasingly impressed with the potential for a revolution in energy, which will make it extremely unlikely that a lack of energy will be the issue that brings us to our knees,” Grantham writes in his latest quarterly newsletter.

    “Even in the expected event that there are no important breakthroughs in the cost of nuclear power, the potential for alternative energy sources, mainly solar and wind power, to completely replace coal and gas for utility generation globally is, I think, certain.

    “The question is only whether it takes 30 years or 70 years. That we will replace oil for land transportation with electricity or fuel cells derived indirectly from electricity is also certain, and there, perhaps, the timing question is whether this will take 20 or 40 years.”

    I wonder, should it really take 30 years to ‘completely replace coal and gas for utility generation,’ and ‘oil for land transportation’ in 20, what the implied emissions trajectory would be?

    From this chart (based on 2010) it would seem that potential emissions savings could amount to maybe 50%, at a quick glance:

    Thinking about doubling times in connection with economic growth: 2% (the growth rate of the more ‘successful’ developed world economies just now, though the US & UK are both pushing 3%) gives a doubling in 35 years, and 7.7% (China’s current rate, which is probably not going to continue, IMO) gives a doubling time of under 5 years.

    Couple that with increasing population growth, and it would seem that at best, these two changes–at the optimistic end of Grantham’s expectations–would at most leave us emitting about what we do now.

    Of course, this is very, very rough–back of the back of the envelope, as it were. But it suggests that though there may well be positive developments in store (should Mr. Grantham prove correct), more intentional action would still be needed to save our kid’s butts from a draconian future.

    No surprise to regular readers here, I guess.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Feb 2014 @ 9:04 AM

  187. Lawrence Coleman @182.

    You say “Sooner or later the NAOC is going to slow…” I thought it was slowing already. And hot off the press, that’s the finding of Smeed et al 2014.

    Comment by MARodger — 15 Feb 2014 @ 9:09 AM

  188. Lawrence@182.
    I’m not an expert by any means in this area, hopefully the experts can chime in. This is what I think:

    To the extent that any slowing of the thermo-haline circulation cools the Greenland climate there would be a negative feedback limiting the amplitude of the change.
    The question about net heating/cooling hinges on two considerations. One is how does it affect ocean het content. My guess is it increases OHC by decreasing the formation of cold deep water, this would have a temporary (hundreds of year though) heating effect at the surface. It also may impact the planet’s radiation balance -largely by changing cloudiness -I have no idea whether this effect would warm or cool, that would require detailed modeling.

    Comment by Thomas — 15 Feb 2014 @ 10:17 AM

  189. Kevin @186 –

    I have been reading Grantham for a few years now. This guy is a very sharp cookie, and a breath of fresh air in the otherwise murky halls of economic analysis. You can subscribe to his quarterly newsletter here. Definitely worth keeping up with.

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 15 Feb 2014 @ 12:18 PM

  190. Simon Abingdon:

    As it is you seem to me to be quite, quite out of your depth. Sorry.

    Another victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect: so proudly unaware of his own incompetence that he’s willing to say that here, of all places, under what looks like his real name.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 15 Feb 2014 @ 1:00 PM

  191. Kevin McKinney wrote: “I wonder, should it really take 30 years to ‘completely replace coal and gas for utility generation,’ and ‘oil for land transportation’ in 20, what the implied emissions trajectory would be?”

    Thank you for linking to and quoting Grantham’s comments. I agree with him that wind and solar and other perpetual energy sources will inevitably replace fossil fuels, for both electricity generation and surface transport, as well as for heating and cooling buildings.

    This will happen simply as a result of market forces, as fossil fuels inevitably become scarcer and more difficult and costly to obtain, while the cost of ever more powerful technologies for harvesting abundant, free energy from sunlight and wind continues to plummet.

    As I understand what Grantham is saying, his estimates of how long that will take are based on a transition driven by market forces. And of course, it is always helpful to have market forces on your side.

    However, we don’t have that long. We cannot afford to wait 20 or 30 years for a market-driven transition to a 100 percent renewable, zero-emissions energy economy. We need to make that transition happen in a fraction of that time, if we are to have any hope of avoiding the worst outcomes of anthropogenic global warming.

    Fortunately, we have the technology, AND the economic resources, to make that happen, IF we choose to do so.

    Which is exactly why governments need to step in with appropriate policies to accelerate the transition.

    Which is exactly why the fossil fuel interests are doing everything they possibly can to delay and obstruct the transition for as long as they can get away with it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Feb 2014 @ 3:12 PM

  192. Can anyone help me please? Here in the UK, there’s been some discussion about the link between the series of storms we’ve experienced over the last two months and climate change. Whenever the topic is discussed, the BBC seems compelled to ask Lord Lawson of the GWPF for his comment, in the interests of “balance”.

    There has been some protest at this, along the lines of that Lord Lawson isn’t a scientist, so why are the BBC asking him for his opinion. But I can’t actually think of any British scientist with a solid record of published research in climate science who is a sceptic, so maybe this isn’t surprising. Are there any? I can think of plenty of British sceptics, but they’re mostly journalists, politicians or people associated with think tanks.

    This was further highlighted for me by the recent House of Commons Select Committee session on the IPCC 5th Assessment Review. The sceptic side had to jet in two of its witnesses from the US and Canada.

    Comment by Chris Snow — 15 Feb 2014 @ 4:15 PM

  193. I would agree with secular animist, regarding Gratham. You will note, that Gratham also said something to the effect that it may happen much faster than his timetable. He is certaily more optimistic than the likes of the IEA. At some point the case (for wind/solar) becomes compelling strictly for economic and local impact reasons without even factoring in global impacts. And that point seems to be ocuring in multiple (but by no means a majority) of places already.

    I think the transition to battery electric vehicles is also going to come surprising quickly. I think in just a few years they will become more attractive than gas powered vehicles, then the marketplace will deliver rapid change.

    That leaves primarily space and water heating as the biggest holdouts as far as fossil fuel consumption is concerned. Even here, heat pumps (air source or otherwise are coming along), but the equipment replacement cycle is a long one.

    Comment by Thomas — 15 Feb 2014 @ 6:44 PM

  194. #191–My pleasure, SA. Yes, that is the sort of thing I was thinking of, too, under the banner of “intentional action.” Too cryptically phrased, perhaps, but it was already a long comment.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:12 PM

  195. More pinball [i know u guys hate daily mail but…]

    One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming.

    Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual.

    Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’

    His statement carries particular significance because he is an internationally acknowledged expert on climate computer models and forecasts, and his university post is jointly funded by the Met Office.

    Prof Collins is also a senior adviser – a ‘co-ordinating lead author’ – for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His statement appears to contradict Met Office chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo.

    thank goodness finally something that makes sense to me

    Comment by richard — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:15 PM

  196. 192: Chris Snow. There would be a link that’s for sure, but as mentioned above the extent of the link is very difficult to quantify. Anthropogenic climate change adds varying degrees of forcing to every system ranging from almost imperceptible to blinking obvious. The rise of CO2 from 270ppm to now over 400ppm, the extent of equatorial and sub tropical deforestation, the soot deposits on the polar ice caps, the increase in atmospheric water vapour due to a corresponding increase in ocean temps and changes in ocean currents, the extreme ice albedo currently happening in the arctic etc,etc are all conspiring in tandem to alter the climate as we know it. The polar vortex..’love that term!’ and rossby waves causes by the circum-polar jet stream slowing down and allowing huge pockets of frigid air to excape from the arctic and hammer you in England and the US is due to the narrowing of temperature gradient from the equator and the arctic..the arctic has had a mean increase of 4C since 1960 whereas the equator has only had 0.5C rise, thus the difference between the two are less. This slows the S-N jet steam and when it curves to the right due to the correolis effect this pushes the weather systems along. So as you can see, what you and the US are currently experiencing would absolutely be caused by Climate Change forcing…no climate models yet or in the near future are accurate enough to put a percentile figure on the extent.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 15 Feb 2014 @ 7:54 PM



    The jet stream, as its name suggests, is a high-speed air current in the atmosphere that brings with it the weather.

    It is fuelled partly by the temperature differential between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes.

    If the differential is large then the jet stream speeds up, and like a river flowing down a steep hill, it ploughs through any obstacles – such as areas of high pressure that might be in its way.

    If the temperature differential reduces because of a warming Arctic then the jet stream weakens and, again, like a river on a flat bed, it will meander every time it comes across an obstacle.

    This results in weather patterns tending to becoming stuck over areas for weeks on end. It also drives cold weather further south and warm weather further north. Examples of the latter are Alaska and parts of Scandinavia, which have had exceptionally warm conditions this winter.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Feb 2014 @ 10:37 PM

  198. I just noticed that, at the 10 hPa level, the polar vortex has now split in two.,77.28,279

    Is this unusual? Unprecedented? What does it forebode, if anything?

    At the 70 hPa, it is nearly in two, with a very odd configuration:,77.28,279

    Comment by wili — 15 Feb 2014 @ 11:06 PM

  199. #176 [Response: I’m crushed. – gavin] Ho ho, very droll. Shame you hadn’t the resource to address the criticisms.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:23 AM

  200. Bill Nye is not backing off. We need more like him who are ready to face down the deniers in a public sphere.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 16 Feb 2014 @ 2:15 AM

  201. #195 Richard quotes:
    Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’

    From the 1990 IPCC Report

    (Yes 1990, if I make errors in my comments/jargon, please correct them)

    Equilibrium Climate Change – and its Implications for the Future

    Page 154

    “A reduction in mid-latitude synoptic variability might be expected as a
    result of the reduction in the equator-to-pole temperature gradient (polar vortex system) at low levels”

    “There was a general reduction (in difference/gradient) in the standard deviation in mid-latitudes in winter though the patterns of change differed considerably”

    “One study (Bates and Meehl 1986)
    reports a reduction in blocking (defined as areas of high
    pressure anomaly which persist for more than seven days)
    in the southern hemisphere, and changes in the positions
    but not the intensity of blocking in the Northern
    Hemisphere though no information was provided on the
    statistical significance of the results.

    “In the live models considered these was a general
    reduction in the standard deviation of inter-annual variations
    in monthly mean SLP (se-level pressure). However the patterns
    varied considerably from model to model so no other meanings
    or conclusions could be drawn.”
    [end quote]


    Walter says:

    Imagine what they know now about climate variability caused by a warming world? Well thankfully somebody kept FUNDING climate science work and so not long after the climate scientists worked out the there IS a “Polar Vortex” BLOCKING in the northern hemisphere as well.

    Published Scientific Papers have confirmed this, and prescient physical observations now physically confirm the major effect of this significant change in the global climate. See west USA, east USA and the UK right now.

    Warnings have been given already last year (and before)

    Climate, Ice, and Weather Whiplash
    Jun 3, 2013
    New video couples interviews with two experts — Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters

    The Polar Vortex shifts due to major warming in the arctic polar region has been established climate science for over a decade now. The extreme weather caused by “blocking”. This blocking is caused by the massive shift in the usual Jet Stream processes connected with the POlar Vortex.

    And it is THAT which is currently occurring, and THAT has been directly ATTRIBUTABLE to climate change, and was predicted and forecast as INCREASING in intensity and frequency as temperatures slowly rose across the globe for over a decade now.

    But in regards the antarctic it was in the IPCC FAR Report in 1990 – 23 years ago now. Who knew? Not Richard. Not Politicians for whom it was written.

    But of course, despite 25+ years to top shelf “high end” climate research, no, this is still not enough for Richard and so many others who have refused to listen to the scientists for decades and continue to not look at scientific evidence nor the conclusions.


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 2:23 AM

  202. Richard et al,

    All measures able to be followed from this 1990 IPCC report (uncertainties aside and SLR) all measures have been tracking at or above BAU forecasts at that time.

    eg CO2 wasn’t expected to hit 400 ppm until ~2020+

    However, in all the explanatory texts the IPCC report has proven true and correct in it’s overall ‘thesis’ or rather Message given then. They did articulate the future expectations of what ‘should’ occur under AGW theory and known facts.

    In fact they are very spot on how this report was presented, and they clearly laid out the high level of uncertainties and the need for much new detailed climate science research. I doubt one denier could find one error in it bar the SLR estimate.

    In 2014 everything is now running at or above BAU with zero (effective CO2e) mitigation occurring. That’s where we are 25 years later.

    25 years worse off from the entrenched irrational inaction of our Global Politicians.

    So, thanks for nothing!

    1990 IPCC FAR

    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 3:09 AM

  203. Richard et al,

    Matt Collins?

    One snow flake doesn’t make a snow storm!

    A thousand climate denial scientists and blog sites, a million even, will not ever change reality. Reality is Real. Nothing else. Best deal with it and not frenetic fantasies and wishful thinking.

    Beliefs, Ignorance, not even Consensus, has anything to do with it.

    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 3:18 AM

  204. Richard, I am glad you feel better that somebody of stature made AGW a trivial matter about these storms. But you should reason what he said:

    “by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual. – ”

    Stuck in winter? This is more of a summer thing, when the temperature difference between Pole and equator is something like 30 degrees C less. IT is not a very cold winter in the UK hey?

    And can someone elaborate about the often used explanation of the Jet stream usually being North of the UK in winter? My understanding of this is that the Polar Jet stream traditionally migrates Southwards during the cold season. Is there something particularly strange about its present tendency to hit the UK?

    – NAO being positive does just that jets –

    and it has been positive :

    The interface between cold Arctic air and warmer temperate air masses is where you find the Polar jet stream. But a cyclone at about the stream can be usually South of the Cyclone in the NE Atlantic. Many warmer than Polar air Atlantic Cyclones, by this description, mean that the jet has to be at lower latitudes.

    So the problem is most likely something to do with a greater number of particularly Strong Cyclones, which appears to be the same thing which has been warming the high Arctic all winter.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 16 Feb 2014 @ 3:21 AM

  205. r.e. Matt Collins, he writes on Twitter:

    “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

    Comment by SteveF — 16 Feb 2014 @ 3:41 AM

  206. Richard @ 195,

    Likely the Daily Mail asked Prof Collins if the current jet stream anomaly was a result of climate change (“no”), and then pretended that Dame Julia Slingo had said the opposite in order to concoct a controversy. From the quotes available it appears she said an increase in heavy precipitation events and persistent storm tracks further south is consistent with global warming projections – not that global warming would cause the jet stream to “get stuck.”

    See if you can find her proposing as much in this news article, which includes her quote that the Mail cited.

    The Mail elided Slingo’s more nuanced quotes, obscuring the difference between her comments and Collins.

    It seems you are skeptical about the science but uncritically receptive to the tabloid press.

    Comment by barry — 16 Feb 2014 @ 5:53 AM

  207. The Daily Fail article is the latest instalment from David Rose. Given his past performances I would not be surprised if it were an ‘accidental’ misquote or a failure to provide the full context of the quote…

    Comment by Mike McClory — 16 Feb 2014 @ 6:03 AM

  208. Richard,
    In actuality, there is active investigation going on as to whether the sort of Summer melting we have seen in the Arctic could weaken the Jetstream and lead to just the sorts of Arctic incursions we are seeing. The results to date are tentative but quite interesting.

    The thing you have to understand is that science is not a monolith of bedrock knowledge, but rather a method for finding out about the world around us. There are some facts that you can take to the bank–e.g. that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that greenhouse gasses warm the planet. There are some facts that are pretty well agreed upon–e.g. that doubling the CO2 will raise the planet’s temperature more than 2 degrees–but still being refined and somewhat controversial. Then there is the frontier–by far the most interesting aspects of the science, but aspects we are just starting to grasp. For the most part, the effects of climate change are in this realm. What we know, however, is not reassuring.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2014 @ 7:37 AM

  209. Chris Snow: “The sceptic side had to jet in two of its witnesses from the US and Canada.” – See more at:

    Great, perhaps exporting idiots can become a major growth industry on this side of the pond.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2014 @ 7:39 AM

  210. #195–It’s not that dramatic, actually–at least not from the scientific perspective. The matter is currently being researched and, yes, debated. Some (notably Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers) feel that sea ice extent is driving these changes. Dr. Francis and others have shown apparent association of the two in a few papers, such as Francis and Vavrus, 2012:

    Two effects are identified that each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds, and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

    Others (notably the energy budget guru, Dr. Kevin Trenberth) feel that this is unlikely, arguing that there is not, so far, a specific identified physical mechanism by which this could work, and that it seems implausible on energetic grounds.

    The matter is considered here:

    (Haven’t had time to go through the video myself, yet–full disclosure!)

    So, Dr. Collins is correct: the link is hypothesis, not ‘knowledge.’ The Daily Mail, as usual is incorrect: what Dr. Collins said, as you quoted it, is that there is “no evidence” of the link. But as we know, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (And Dr. Francis and others would likely contest the ‘no evidence’ assertion.) But of course the Mail won’t be careful in thinking such things through, and of course, they will take the most ‘anti-AGW’ tack they possibly can, subject to their own (low) standards of avoiding utter absurdity.

    The other point that should be made here is that while this weather may or may not be caused by AGW, it is nevertheless related to AGW, in that there is work showing that England (and other parts of Northwestern Europe) could well see much more of this under a “business as usual” scenario. One paper, cited by Mark Lynas in his 2008 book, Six Degrees, found a 37% increased in ‘western gales, with increased flooding and coastal erosion.’ The quote, by the way, is not Lynas’s; it’s a paraphrase of my summary of the section “Blighty Gets A Battering,” from the “Four Degree World,” found here:

    (If anyone cares to read the ‘parent piece’–a summary of the whole book–there’s a link to it in the “Four Degree World” summary article linked above.)

    And that brings up a germane point: the projection cited was relative to a much larger rise in global mean surface temp (GMST) than we have so far seen–that’s why it’s in the chapter “The Four Degree World.” In that sense, the observations could be a a preview, or foretaste, rather than something that will turn out to be ‘the new norm.’

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Feb 2014 @ 8:15 AM

  211. Richard, note what Matt Collins himself had to say:
    (hope this works)

    “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

    Comment by Marco — 16 Feb 2014 @ 8:17 AM

  212. Hmmm. Bill Nye, Meet the Press “debate” summary of sorts from NBC:

    Unfortunately I missed the first part of it, but saw Blackburn make unchallenged (because of Gregory’s handling) assertions about the benefits of Carbon.

    I’m going to go punch a wall now. Before I go, Simon @ 199, you’ve been hanging around here long enough to know that your petty objections have been discussed from a variety of angles. If you’re too lazy (bored? lonely?) to put some effort into your comments, expect flip responses.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 16 Feb 2014 @ 11:03 AM

  213. Richard, a timely piece.

    Maybe you want to look elsewhere than the Daily Fail for your science news.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Feb 2014 @ 11:19 AM

  214. #210 kevin mckinney “as we know[!], absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

    On the contrary, the scientific enterprise is based absolutely on such an assumption:

    absence of (any) evidence (that the null hypothesis is false) is indeed evidence of (the) absence (of any null hypothesis falsification)

    Comment by simon abingdon — 16 Feb 2014 @ 11:46 AM

  215. [edit – can you try and submit comments that are not laced with ad hom name calling? You have a valid POV but that is not the way to get any engagement here. Of course, I am assuming that is what you want. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 16 Feb 2014 @ 12:36 PM

  216. lol gavin. ok lets try again


    from your link

    “Francis says it is premature to blame humans for these changes.

    “Our data to look at this effect is very short and so it is hard to get very clear signal,” she said.

    “But as we have more data I do think we will start to see the influence of climate change,” she said.”

    just another person saying there is no evidence and linkage? why is that better than the daily mail?

    Comment by richard — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:14 PM

  217. 201 walter

    if we start cherry picking from ippcc reports especially not the recent one i think we be here all night. anyone can play that game too eg glaciers. As we all know co2 rise has not resulted in expected temp rise. ok some people go looking in the oceans to find the ‘missing heat’. Until we find the heat the current interpretation of the link is suspect? what if like weapons of mass destruction in iraq there isn’t any heat?


    the co2 linkage is not something we can take to the bank. where is the missing heat? All the predictions based on it like the 50m refugees by 2010 haven’t happened. Imperial statements is not the same as comparing prediction and actual. Until people can explain the difference what confidence can there be?

    why did collins feel the need to come out with a public statement about there being no evidence for cause? because people were making one.

    [Response: He was just interviewed and was asked specifically about changes in the jet stream and this was misconstrued to imply that MO statement about intense precip was wrong. Error was by Daily Mail, not Collins or MO. Joint statement from both to appear tomorrow. – gavin]

    Ok some say lack of evidence is no reason not to believe something and to say we will find the evidence given time? but that’s a dark road isn’t it and well within daily mail land?

    Comment by richard — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:36 PM

  218. Ray @ 213 & Kevin @ 210
    Two papers from last year that suggest that position and strength of jet stream is not unprecedented:

    Royal Meteorological Society

    “Long records of the latitude and speed of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet stream since 1871 are presented from the newly available Twentieth Century Reanalysis. These jet variations underlie the variability associated with patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and have considerable societal impact through variations in the prevailing westerly winds. While the NAO combines variations in the latitude and speed of the jet, these two characteristics are shown to have quite different seasonal cycles and interannual variability, suggesting that they may have different dynamical influences.

    In general, the features exhibited in shorter records are shown to be robust, for example the strong skewness of the NAO distribution. Related to this is a clear multimodality of the jet latitude distribution, which suggests the existence of preferred positions of the jet. Decadal variations in jet latitude are shown to correspond to changes in the occurrence of these preferred positions. However, it is the speed rather than the latitude of the jet that exhibits the strongest decadal variability, and in most seasons this is clearly distinct from a white-noise representation of the seasonal means. When viewed in this longer term context, the variations of recent decades do not appear unusual and recent values of jet latitude and speed are not unprecedented in the historical record.”

    Geophysical Research Letter

    “Previous studies have suggested that Arctic amplification has caused planetary-scale waves to elongate meridionally and slow down, resulting in more frequent blocking patterns and extreme weather. Here trends in the meridional extent of atmospheric waves over North America and the North Atlantic are investigated in three reanalyses, and it is demonstrated that previously reported positive trends are likely an artifact of the methodology. No significant decrease in planetary-scale wave phase speeds are found except in October-November-December, but this trend is sensitive to the analysis parameters. Moreover, the frequency of blocking occurrence exhibits no significant increase in any season in any of the three reanalyses, further supporting the lack of trends in wave speed and meridional extent. This work highlights that observed trends in midlatitude weather patterns are complex and likely not simply understood in terms of Arctic amplification alone”

    To be fair I’ve not read the papers – just the abstracts. However, I don’t think it is possible at this time to claim with any certainty that the position of the jet, the presence of blocking highs and thereby the cold in North America and the floods in the UK are as a result of emissions of GHG’s.

    Comment by Brian Blagden — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:44 PM

  219. Why are there no journalist investigating the science properly? What went wrong?! ps. Thanks Walter #201, very interesting that the IPCC back in 1990 elaborated already on the jet stream blocking characteristics.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:48 PM

  220. If you want to laugh or cry, here is a news item from the Spiegel on the recent UK floods: Translated Ger->Eng (In a nutshell, it reads like UK just had a few stormy rainy days)

    Comment by prokaryotes — 16 Feb 2014 @ 1:57 PM

  221. Simon A., the statistic tells you how likely it is that you can tell something about what’s real by using the information at hand.
    The statistic doesn’t tell you what’s real.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Feb 2014 @ 2:05 PM

  222. gavin -so he denys he said this bit? ” ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’” i’ll wait to see what they do say.

    [Response: No. He said that, and as far as I can tell no-one disputes this. It is the Mail who things that this is contradictory with increases in precipitation intensity and they appear to be unique in this belief. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 16 Feb 2014 @ 2:24 PM

  223. Ray Ladbury @ 209

    Maybe we can arrange a trade. What would you offer for Christopher Monckton?

    Comment by Chris Snow — 16 Feb 2014 @ 3:45 PM

  224. #218 Brian

    “However, I don’t think it is possible at this time to claim with any certainty that the position of the jet, the presence of blocking highs and thereby the cold in North America and the floods in the UK are as a result of emissions of GHG’s.”

    I can literally trace on a map the position of the jet stream with a 700 or 500 mb charts, especially by being fully aware that over North Pacific and Atlantic cyclones the jet stream can be to the south of them, all while following the interface between coldest polar and temperate air over the continents. If the planet warms the jet should be to the North of its usual meandering paths. If they haven’t found it so yet, is likely because they don’t do the right sketches!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 16 Feb 2014 @ 4:06 PM

  225. DAILY MAIL climate change denial alert! :)

    The UK has been having the wettest Jan/Feb since records started, some going back 250 years, others 100 years. There has been widespread flooding and transport disruption.

    Julia Slingo of the UK Met Office says “all the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to play” in the rain and storms.

    However, the (notorious) Daily Mail, a climate sceptical newspaper, and their jounalist David Rose, have come up with a story that Prof Mat Collins of Exeter University and the Met Office has said “‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge”.

    So CO2 climate change isn’t happening.

    Readers of Real Climate will know that David Rose has “form” when it comes to mis-reporting climate change issues and Mr Rose has from time-to-time be taken to task and corrected on this Real Climate site.

    This is the story:

    “No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts”

    And here is the link:

    Would anyone like to comment on this or explore the issue further?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 16 Feb 2014 @ 4:15 PM

  226. Water shortages could disrupt Britain’s electricity supply, researchers warn
    Team of academics say climate change could force nuclear and gas-fired power stations to shut down during droughts

    Comment by prokaryotes — 16 Feb 2014 @ 4:30 PM

  227. Revkin has a piece on the blocking patterns with good addenda of emails from Francis and Green responding to claims made. Greene refers to a paper by Cohen et al. that features extra snow in Siberia as a crucial link between warmer, more open Arctic and alterations in the jet stream. Has this paper been discussed already here somewhere and I missed it amongst the verbiage?

    Comment by wili — 16 Feb 2014 @ 6:56 PM

  228. Given the reliance on models surely no model can be validated or verified unless it can reproduce past events accurately? I understand current climate models do not pass this test consistently? if so why is anyone even talking about them never mind relying on them to project and predict upon which policy and taxation is based? I’m shocked. Who checks the flow charts before the code is written? Put it another way would anyone use and rely on an unvalidated air traffic control system in real time?

    until it validated its meaningless. Are the flow charts and code open source for anyone to look at?

    the use of unvalidated models explains a lot imo about the debate about divergences and why there is often more heat than light?

    [Response: Mainly because of comments like these. There are plenty of article on climate modeling on this site – explaining what they are, what they are used for, why you can’t get a perfect model and how they are evaluated and how we decide what they are (and are not) useful for. (see here and here). Read those first, and then come back and ask questions that make a little more sense. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 16 Feb 2014 @ 7:13 PM

  229. #217 Richard

    “As we all know co2 rise has not resulted in expected temp rise”

    Tell me, by way of a quote from the IPCC or other reputable CS body what this “expected temp rise” was supposed to be, over what time frame are YOU referring to, and exactly what CO2 rise are YOU referring to. I don;t deal with “vacuous” statements. What you said is meaningless. I know of no such evidence. You need to get very specific about the word “expected” and give a hard quote that qualifies your claim ‘we all know’.

    Furthermore, one doesn’t need a scientist to tell them their local climate has changed in there last decade from what it was 50 years ago. It’s self evident.

    The science details the accumulated ’causes’ and tries to quantify those and the effects over time which includes ranges and degrees of confidence.

    My point about the 1990 FAR is that what is in there has unfolded to be true. NO reference is there anywhere in IPCC reports of 50 million refugeees either. That’s typical distraction of one’s inability to remain focused on the topic ands the subject matter.

    Big deal some earlier estimates of glaciers and SLR have turned out not to be as close. Meanwhile the Sea Ice in the arctic is tracking 30 years ahead of schedule.

    There is NO missing Heat. How does ice melt if there is insufficient heat to melt it?


    It’s a big big world Richard. GMSTs are but a small piece of a Pie. Eat the entire 10 course meal before you leave the table.

    Of course you won’t and will carry on regardless. Too clever by half.


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 7:18 PM

  230. Theo @ 225, meet richard @ 195. Keep reading from there.

    Let me guess. At WUWT or similar someone has posted the Daily Mail story and no one there has been skeptical enough to verify it.

    Comment by barry — 16 Feb 2014 @ 7:59 PM

  231. Here’s an article that speaks to an issue that was hotly debated for a while a couple weeks ago:

    “Do We Have the Courage to Bring the 800-lb Gorilla out of the Corner?”

    “…our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) serves as a self-evident indicator for loss of nature and liquidation of our shrinking resource base.”

    Comment by wili — 16 Feb 2014 @ 8:03 PM

  232. 231, thanks wili. good well balanced rational article. I like this quote “Acknowledging our contribution to the problem isn’t enough — otherwise it’s just rhetoric. We must act and model the behavior we hope for ourselves and others. ”

    By way of example for those who haven’t seen it, here is Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows-Larkin example (i’view at COP19): (links go direct to video time)

    KA “I haven’t flown in 8 years”
    – they both caught the train from Manchester to Warsaw

    Alice Bows-Larkin responds to an Al Gore comment on individual action:

    An out-take of James Hansen from 2009 about civil resistance, moral responsibility, inter-generational injustice, and comment by KA on the scientific community thus far:


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 9:19 PM

  233. Richard,

    here please listen to this for a couple of minutes, and then by all means ignore it.

    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 9:31 PM

  234. wili this is a very good section – travel slow, save money, increase your productivity, and lower GHG emissions all at the same time.

    – about KA’s train trip to China and back

    A slow life is a happier longer more fulfilled life. I love my relatively tiny carbon footprint.


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 9:40 PM

  235. #227 wili, that dot earth tete a tete was excellent!

    So often I see this where even the wizards of CS speak at cross purposes to each other.

    In this situation, someone starts a ‘public’ debate over the Polar Vortex, and then this gets mimicked into multiple lines of thought and ensuijg arguments related back to climate change. one being the ‘record temperatures’ and other specifics. two weeks later people are arguing about these varying specifics and have lost site of the original cause of why the subject came up in the first place.

    In this case it is about the unusual “blocking pattern” of the tongue. Not so much about the ‘temperatures or the snow falls’. It’s the blocking which is unusual climatically here …. drought in CA, warm in Alaska, and freezing snow in the central east down to florida. Those details in themselves do not matter in the climate science more ‘extreme weather’ sense. It’s the shift in temp differences due to global warming that is sending the polar vortex on a loop more than “historically normal” would have it.

    It’s that which is a direct result of AGW and climate changes. And anyone saying “well we don’t have enough science yet on these specifics” is throwing up a phurphy and not addressing the genuine links that are there in this winter time nth hemisphere that something is way beyond “normal” . The is self-evident, not have the exact data from the science to hand on every single nuance is irrelevant.

    There is a common sense and observations. Worked for humans for a few 100K years and it is as valid today as back in the caves. The science should ADD to our knowledge with evidence , but ti doesn’t need to replace basic human nature and for people to deny what;’s right in front of their eyes. The flooding wind and waves in the UK is a case in point. That ain’t normal. Flooding is normal, gales are normal but what’s going on there now is NOT a normal UK climatic pattern in winter by a long shot.

    An absence of hard CS data to confirm or deny that is unnecessary. Unstable weather patterns and changes in “normal climatic conditions” is the common sense aspect that should apply here. NO directly proven attribution is necessary, no one should confirm it and no should deny it either.

    The extreme weather is what it is … EXTREME. Every IPCC report has told the world since 1990 that MORE extreme is what one will get. Here it is. LOOK ! Get over it, I say. Another study to “prove it” is unnecessary.

    What’s needed is ACTION to reduce GHG emissions. the rest is a BS distraction whether it is the Daily Mail or scientists arguing in public about who said what first and what did they “really” mean. imho.

    This quote from your link is super, because it is True, and rational!

    “It is time for theory to be reconciled with the observations.”

    Climate change is real. No one needs another paper to prove that. No one needs the weather bureau to tell you when you are in the middle of a hurricane either. Though a it of warning sure does help. The world has had the ‘scientifically valid’ fore-warnings now for 25 years.

    Scientists don’t determine what is, nor why, reality does. They don;t need to be perfect, they don;t need to always have the answers for every dumb-assed question put them either.

    By the same token they also don’t need to say X isn’t happening, isn’t related just because they don’t have the data yet or never thought of looking for it 2 decades ago.


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 10:46 PM

  236. Climate models underpowered?

    There is a note, Risks from Climate Feedbacks, from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. It’s about climate feedbacks. Commenting on the (CMIP5?) models it says

    For the models to be useful, climate processes must be well characterised within the models. The underlying physics of physical climate feedbacks are relatively well understood so they are comparatively well represented in models. However, some carbon cycle feedbacks are either poorly represented or omitted from climate models because of uncertainties in their underlying biological and geological processes. Some commentators have suggested that the under-representation or omission of feedbacks in climate models may result in inaccurate projections. This does not alter the fundamental model prediction that increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will cause the climate to warm, but it does increase uncertainty about the magnitude and speed of the warming.

    and concludes

    Compared to existing model estimates, it is likely that climate feedbacks will result in additional carbon in the atmosphere and additional warming. This is because the majority of poorly represented climate feedbacks are likely to be amplifying feedbacks. This additional atmospheric carbon from climate feedbacks could make it more difficult to avoid a greater than 2˚C rise in global temperatures without additional reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The strength of many amplifying feedbacks is likely to increase with warming, which could increase the risk of the climate changing state (Box 3). Some commentators suggest the uncertainties in our knowledge of carbon cycle and physical feedbacks may mean the Earth will warm faster than models currently estimate.

    And (surprise!) the BBC has been showing an interview with Jennifer Francis. It’s also on their website.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 16 Feb 2014 @ 10:55 PM

  237. Richard:

    “Are the flow charts…:”

    Modern software engineers don’t use flow charts. I doubt you know as much about software engineering as you pretend to know.

    “and code open source for anyone to look at?”

    NASA GISS Model E is open source. Have at it. You coulda googled it, you know? If that was too much work, I doubt you’ll make much headway with the code.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Feb 2014 @ 11:34 PM

  238. In the public domain, scientist would best start working out when they are being intentionally jerked off. Scientists the MetOffice etc need to start learning real quick that they do NOT give answer to questions put to them by David Rose and his ilk. Black list them. Given them nothing but your website url to share with readers in the newspapers and tv bulletins.

    Only deal with genuine “journalists”. Cut the rest loose, give them nothing. A rose by any other name is still a disingenuous jackass looking for drama and controversy. Put him on permanent “block sender’ on your phone and email.

    There’s a pattern, look up from your modelling work for a moment and recognize the flags of this pattern:

    When there is extreme weather they say there has always been extreme weather.

    When there is drought, well we always had droughts, this is normal and natural.

    When there is no major sudden dramatic increase in temperatures, well this means AGW and climate change isn’t real.

    When there are 50C temps in Australia they say well it was that hot in 1910, no big deal, it happens.

    When the arctic melts they say it’s normal for the climate to change.

    When it snows like hell is freezing over they say that is normal, no climate change there.

    When the largest hurricane ever seen hits NE USA and then Philippines, that’s ok, that’s not climate change, we always had hurricanes, who knows how big they were there in 1423?

    When there is normal ‘weather’ for a season it means there is no climate change.

    When it is abnormal extreme weather the next season it means there is no climate change, it’s normal too. Weather “changes”. The climate is fine.

    Next week they the same talking heads will say hey, the climate has always been changing, nothing to look at here. Move along.

    See the sophistry yet?

    Stop engaging with those who use you and your ‘authority’ to quote you in order to spin even more BS.

    Go hard, take no prisoners. Stop being nice and polite to jackasses in the media. Don’t give them the time of day, is my best suggestion.

    Can’t you all get together, instead of the ~5,000 sites all over the place, and at least start your own Internet Climate News Channel like YoungTurks or something on Youtube?

    Get Bill Gates or someone to fund it even also launch such a beast on Cable/Satellite TV worldwide?

    Like, just cut out the middle man making billions off disinformation, crackpot journalism and rank lies; the “Master Puppeteer”?

    Oh well, doesn’t matter.


    Comment by Walter — 16 Feb 2014 @ 11:38 PM

  239. The Australian government is in deep denial

    Comment by john byatt — 17 Feb 2014 @ 12:35 AM

  240. The Daily Mail continues to conflate.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Feb 2014 @ 1:31 AM

  241. gavin-i have no problem with models that don’t work but it explains why climate science has a worse rep than 2nd hand car dealers right now. Until there is validation then well its not valid. If IPCC and other reports are based on unvalidated models no wonder its full of junk predictions. Why does saying something is unvalidated make one ‘a denier’ or whatnot? Its thro the iteration process that you can discover the missing equations so its no big deal to say models are beta or whatnot?

    Posting a long list of excuses why a model doesn’t work doesn’t make it valid? Writing reports upon their outcome and claiming its ‘the truth’ isn’t science and seems to be at the root of the hostility the public have? Its natural.

    if people didn’t overclaim i doubt there would be a problem?

    [Response: You insist on asking the wrong question and not understanding why you get the answer you do. Models have been evaluated in many ways and they do show skill at predicting emergent properties. Do try and get over the obsession with ‘validation’ – (Newsflash! All models are wrong – but some are useful). If you don’t want to use information from complex models, then you are stuck with simple ones which are ‘even wronger’. Your choice. – gavin]

    Comment by richard — 17 Feb 2014 @ 3:02 AM

  242. John 234 – Aust Govt denial? Don’t give them that much credit. They know plain and simple that renewable energy doesn’t use coal. Coal is money. Money is politics. That’s all its about – greed and corruption.

    ‘In 2011 Mr Warburton co-authored a two part-article in the conservative journal Quadrant called “The Intelligent Voter’s Guide to Global Warming”, which questioned the findings of mainstream science about how much global warming would be caused by man-made emissions.’


    ‘… prompted Mr Abbott to say:…
    “It is one thing to have solar hot water systems and what have you but it’s another thing to expect that we can deliver base load power with renewables. That is why all of these renewable systems need conventional backup.”

    Read more (if you must!):

    Australia has probable resources of 150Gt of coal (plus its oil) out of the lower bound limit of 200Gt before we pass 2 degrees warming. A HUGH proportion of the global climate PROBLEM is heading for a dock in Newcastle as fast as it can.

    Pathetic, but no surprise.

    Tell me Mr Abbott, is it bush fire, drought, hurricane or flood season in Australia at the moment? Well at least the Lucky Country isn’t impacted by climate change. Oh how pleased I am for you! Karma is so satisfying isn’t it!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 17 Feb 2014 @ 4:03 AM

  243. #208 Ray Ladbury “some facts that are pretty well agreed upon–e.g. that doubling the CO2 will raise the planet’s temperature more than 2 degrees–but still being refined and somewhat controversial”

    That’s odd, I seem to remember that about a year ago you’d firmed up on 2.8, saying that climate sensitivity was a “mature field”.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:22 AM

  244. Even the Daily Mail Online said: “Prof Collins made clear that he believes it is likely global warming could lead to higher rainfall totals, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water.”

    Response @217 says, “Joint statement from both to appear tomorrow.” That’s today.

    Collins, yesterday on Twitter: “I said that the models don’t tell us much about how the jet stream is affected by climate change. I don’t disagree with Julia”

    Feb 14 he tweeted: “The issue of the role of climate change on this weather cannot be solved by a debate between two opposing sides. It requires scientific work”

    So, attack dogs who are already attacking Collins for the joint statement, you aren’t really paying attention, and you are already wrong.

    Comment by patrick — 17 Feb 2014 @ 7:28 AM

  245. hey guys relax no daily mail this time :)

    Evaluation of Climate Models Wednesday 5 February 2014
    Presenting author:
    Dr Catherine Senior, Met Office and Prof Peter Cox,University of Exeter. this is the pdf

    ……and there is an audio

    but i think DM would print some of it if they knew what was said in

    Comment by richard — 17 Feb 2014 @ 7:33 AM

  246. Re: the jetstream:,30.36,256,30.36,512

    Paraphrasing comment #1, “Exploring CRUTEM4…”: In stark contrast to how deniers portray the situation, the level of openness and even ease of use regarding global data is impressive.

    Comment by patrick — 17 Feb 2014 @ 7:38 AM

  247. “On the contrary, the scientific enterprise is based absolutely on such an assumption:

    absence of (any) evidence (that the null hypothesis is false) is indeed evidence of (the) absence (of any null hypothesis falsification)””

    Don’t be silly, Simon. The null hypothesis is rather a special case, conceptually, and not what we were talking about.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Feb 2014 @ 8:46 AM

  248. Comment 228 seems curiously unresponsive to (or perhaps unaware of) previous responses to similar questions (not to mention Gavin’s multiple explanations.) To wit:

    richard, I have been presuming that you have been asking questions in good faith, but I’m beginning to rather doubt that that is the case.

    Speaking to my comment only, I cited two good sources explaining in great detail that models are in fact carefully evaluated and, yes, validated, and that moreover they do have a solid record of successful predictions versus real-world observations.

    Yet here you are in #228 blithely asserting that “the use of unvalidated models explains a lot imo…”

    Unresponsive repetition is not a mark of curiosity or good faith. It’s also boring after a while. Yet in its way, it, too, “explains a lot.”

    So, if you wish to be taken seriously, please show some sign of responsiveness. Otherwise, you will soon find that no-one responds to you.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Feb 2014 @ 9:14 AM

  249. #218–Brian, thanks for the links. Chris Colose has also made related points on RC in the past.

    But, to be clear, I wasn’t claiming the one side of this debate or another was correct. It seems to be a matter under active investigation, as your links help document.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Feb 2014 @ 9:39 AM

  250. #195 et al The Mail on Sunday issue and the Media in general.

    Rule #1 of public communication known by all good politicians is – ‘answer the question you wanted to be asked, and tell the public what they need to hear’

    eg. “Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual.”

    Professor Collins when asked by the The Mail on Sunday “Can the current extreme weather, flooding and snow storms be attributed to global warming and climate change?” [MAY HAVE] said [SOMETHING LIKE] the following: [edits to clarify that following is an imagined statement, not what Collins actually said]

    Well Mr Rose, you have asked me a question about extreme weather events and climate. What we all know for certain Mr Rose, is that all aspects of weather are directly connected to Climate in every way. They are intricately linked together. You cannot have one, without the other.

    What your readers need to understand is that we know that the climate system as a whole is warming, and this is predominantly caused by the accumulation of increasing levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, like CO2. This is incontrovertibly true and frankly, undeniable. Over 100 years of good science proves this beyond any doubt now.

    We also know that the main causes of this increase in GHGs has been the combination of 250 years of ongoing fossil fuel use, plus the destruction of forests globally that used to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As well as other human activities like cement production.

    We know that the level of warming we have now does have a direct effect on the climate system and it is causing long term changes already. These are measurable and clear.

    While it is impossible for science to determine accurately exactly how those changes affect every location in the world, it is a fact that a change in the climate system itself means changes in the weather patterns experienced in different ways across all regions of the earth.

    It is not a question of ‘if this event or that event’ is attributable to climate change. This is the wrong question to be asking. Weather and climate are directly connected in a symbiotic dance across the entire planet. The more the planets atmosphere and oceans warm, the more the weather patterns will change and the more the state of the climate changes too. Exactly when or by how much, here or there, isn’t the question either.

    What we do know from the science however is that a warming world will lead to, and has already led to, far more extreme weather events and other consequences. Events such as those we are seeing right now, but even far worse.

    Your readers also need to know that global warming is not about average global temperatures rising 1, 2 or 3 degrees into the future. It is about large temperature increases on a regional and local level of maximum summer heat waves that are 6, 8, 10 degrees above your previous highs. Sometimes for days on end. People need to think about the implications of this kind of new kind of extremes in weather where they live.

    The question really should be, no matter what the weather is today or tomorrow, what are we going to do now about reducing the amount of GHGs, CO2 from fossil fuels in particular, we are putting into the atmosphere each and every day?

    Because this is the main thing that we can do to hopefully stop the climate system moving into even worse extreme weather events than those you are asking about today.

    Rule #2 – REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT (while ignoring all followup questions)

    Rule #3 – Stay *On Message*

    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 9:48 AM

  251. Richard @ 241.

    Regarding the models being wrong. Have a read of this, hopefully it is picthed suitably for you to able to understand.

    Comment by Dan — 17 Feb 2014 @ 11:11 AM

  252. Simon Abingdon, do I really have to explain to you the difference between a confidence interval and a best estimate? Are you really that bereft of clues?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Feb 2014 @ 11:35 AM

  253. The question, dear richard, is: do you know what is in that PDF?

    Or did you just read somewhere that it contain some supposedly ’embarrassing’ quotes to be mined?

    Rather ironic that it’s based on the AR5 chapter I linked for you, and which you show no sign of having investigated.

    Following Gavin’s link to the final text, here is Chapter 9 again:

    From the executive summary:

    The ability of climate models to simulate surface temperature has improved in many, though not all, important aspects relative to the generation of models assessed in the AR4. There continues to be very high confidence that models reproduce observed large-scale mean surface temperature patterns… There is high confidence that regional-scale surface temperature is better simulated than at the time of the AR4. Current models are also able to reproduce the large-scale patterns of temperature during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), indicating an ability to simulate a climate state much different from the present.

    There is very high confidence that models reproduce the general features of the global-scale annual mean surface temperature increase over the historical period, including the more rapid warming in the second half of the 20th century, and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions…

    Models are able to capture the general characteristics of storm tracks and extratropical cyclones…

    Many models are able to reproduce the observed changes in upper ocean heat content from 1961 to 2005 with the multi-model mean time series falling within the range of the available observational estimates for most of the period. The ability of models to simulate ocean heat uptake, including variations imposed by large volcanic eruptions, adds confidence to their use in assessing the global energy budget and simulating the thermal component of sea level rise.

    Current climate models reproduce the seasonal cycle of Arctic sea ice extent with a multi-model mean error of less than about 10% for any given month. There is robust evidence that the downward trend in Arctic summer sea ice extent is better simulated than at the time of the AR4, with about one quarter of the simulations showing a trend as strong as, or stronger, than in observations over the satellite era (since 1979).

    Models are able to reproduce many features of the observed global and Northern Hemispher (NH) mean temperature variance on interannual to centennial time scales (high confidence), and most models are now able to reproduce the observed peak in variability associated with the El Niño (2- to 7-year period) in the Tropical Pacific. The ability to assess variability from millennial simulations is new since the AR4 and allows quantitative evaluation of model estimates of low-frequency climate variability. This is important when using climate models to separate signal and noise in detection and attribution studies (Chapter 10).

    Of course, I omitted all the caveats, model failings and any bits in which models are not yet doing as well as we would all wish. In other words, I was cherry-picking.

    In general, that’s not a good thing to do–which is why Chapter 9 does present such a ‘warts and all’ picture of the climate modeling.

    But in the present instance, I have every confidence that richard won’t overlook them (should he bother to read the text), as he surely will overlook all points similar to the ones just quoted.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Feb 2014 @ 11:39 AM

  254. Met Office article on the Mat Collins, Julia Slingo “disagreement”:

    Comment by SteveF — 17 Feb 2014 @ 11:48 AM

  255. Demonstrating my earlier point, I have easily found (thanks to NOAA) that the jet stream is more the North and is more jagged by comparing 2 months: Januray 1982, brrrrrr a cold winter all over the Northern Hemisphere and January 2014 a strange winter for most.

    Is easy to understand, the interface between Cold Polar atmosphere and Temperate zone moved Northwards because it is warmer!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 17 Feb 2014 @ 1:11 PM

  256. Walter,

    Where did you get that text of the interview between Prof Collins and Rose?


    Met Office UK Rainfall figures are available here:

    The top ten wettest summers (JJA) are as follows

    1912 384.4
    2012 379.2 *
    1956 359.2
    2007 357.8 *
    1985 343.2
    1927 337.1
    1931 327.6
    1946 326.8
    2009 323.0 *
    2008 320.2 *

    You will note that in the top ten are four years from 2007 onwards. The probability of this happening by chance is 0.14%.

    Since 2007 a new pattern has asserted itself in the summer northern hemisphere summer.

    By using the above pattern as a mask and corelating with monthly average SLP I have calculated a series to indicate the strength of the pattern, this picks up on the AO rather a lot, but the post 2007 behaviour is clear.

    Adjusting for the rise in geopotential heights due to AGW, 500mbGPH over grid boxes in Siberia (May) and Greenland (JJA) shows marked increases post 2007.

    Any comments?

    PS, I fail to see what you find out of Cox & Senior’s presentation that would be of any help for denialists like Rose.

    Comment by Chris Reynolds — 17 Feb 2014 @ 3:18 PM

  257. Another post about the impossibility of economic growth in a limited world:

    “Limits to Growth–At our doorstep, but not recognized”

    Comment by wili — 17 Feb 2014 @ 5:34 PM

  258. Amory Lovins now:

    Comment by patrick — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:06 PM

  259. Wondering if there is such a thing as a “Climate Science Media Advisory”?

    A place which hosts a Blacklist of Journalists and media organisations that climate scientists and advocates should totally avoid, such as David Rose, Fox news etc. Maybe even a private/covert list that scientists worldwide can access easily?

    I suspect there isn’t given the conga line of ‘climate scientists’ MetOffice, university people who keep speaking to David Rose to manipulate, misquote and misrepresent.


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:31 PM

  260. ClimateState news round up, past 48hrs.
    Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low
    Biochar – The Next Stage In Climate Action
    UK Minister: Climate Change a National Security Crisis
    Kerry: US to Work With China on Climate Change
    BBC Wavier jet stream ‘may drive weather shift’
    Flooded Soil Science
    ESA: Arctic Lakes Show Climate On Thin Ice

    Comment by prokaryotes — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:42 PM

  261. #256 Chris Reynolds asks: “Where did you get that text of the interview between Prof Collins and Rose?”

    From the Mail on Sunday. I put it as a quote between “…”. The next item in “…” was my common sense imagination of how Rose would normally put his questions to people like Collins.

    Is that clearer?

    [Response: Please make that explicit if you ever do it again. We have edited previous comment for clarity. ]

    re ” I fail to see what you find out of Cox & Senior’s presentation that would be of any help for denialists like Rose.”

    Yes, and this is the big problem.

    Climate orientated Scientists need to choose what is more important to them personally. ‘Being right’ all the time, or ‘Being successful’. Billions are depending upon you all achieving the latter. After ~25 years believing the former is the most important thing, not seeing this has now become a very critical problem needing to be understood by all. And the sooner the better I believe. I could be wrong. Saying what I say shows I do not think that I am. It will take some convincing to change my mind.


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:46 PM

  262. I’ll take a crack at question #1 mr. wheelsoc says…

    ” Somebody described the field as “a mess” and brought up the idea of CO2 fertilization specifically. The general claim is that we don’t know how big of an effect it is and can’t account for it if we can’t quantify it. The conclusion seems to be that all previous dendro-based reconstructions of temperature have a bias which makes the past look colder since CO2 concentrations were lower, hence slower-growing trees than in recent times.”

    Only part of the reconstruction is based on tree rings pre 1960 intensity. Tree growth is used as indicator of temperature because it closely matches the instrumental record up until that point. pre industrial tree growth seems to be more closely aligned with temperature without industrial output skew. There are probably many fossil fuel theories about this that would give you a head ache but avoid the obvious. Pollution has caused growth suppression. PART of that suppression was mitigated by clean air technology. As intensity increases with population so also does the short lived pollution that suppresses tree growth. If you want a clear picture of what kind of extra co2 has been captured by co2 induced tree growth falling short of pre industrial. Go to the graph of increasing co2 made by keeling and still being compiled yearly. The trees inhale and exhale winter and summer and that is the small zig zag pattern in the mt Everest graph of anthropogenic increase. If you can notice any expansion in that zig or zag over time it would indicate your phenomenon. You may need a magnifying glass to see the issue you are referring to and miss the line drawn though the two going to the ceiling. There is no wildfire plant co2 sequestration due to increased co2. If there is, you have the graph upside down.

    Comment by ying yang — 17 Feb 2014 @ 6:56 PM

  263. #256 Chris Reynolds asks: “Any comments?”

    Well done. I understand what you are presenting there. makes perfect sense to me.

    I doubt if even 0.14% of the Mail on Sunday readers would have the slightest clue. I know David Rose wouldn’t care at all what you have said and would simply dismiss it out of hand. He will never ‘report’ that.

    That’s what people like David Rose do. A scientific level of evidence for the truth of my comments here are everywhere to be found.


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 7:00 PM

  264. Where did you get that text of the interview between Prof Collins and Rose?

    I have the same question. I think Walter wrote the text with quotation marks, which is not a good idea as the internet never forgets.

    Comment by JCH — 17 Feb 2014 @ 8:38 PM

  265. I have an issue that I believe needs some airing here, especially for any not yet aware of it. I want to present in my own way, because it has interconnected parts. Understanding these are critical, in my view, to being able to recognize the import and why it should matter to all. Up to you what you make of it, but It would really nice to hear what it is that people think and feel about it here, especially the scientists in the field.

    Let’s start off where I did myself. JANUARY 13, 2014

    The new CCNF website:

    Note the about page, and the theme being ‘fact checking’ on that page, if you haven’t been there before. Please also pay close attention to “how” the subject matter, and Michael Q and John Cook were addressed by the few scientists there.

    Next we go here: IPCC, Climate Scientists Baffled by the 17 year Pause by 1000frolly denier advocate and engineering and sceince graduate with 3 degrees. (ignore the video itself)

    See the top comments thread, and open it up.

    You all noticed the “fraud” words there, as per Michael Mann current legal case?

    OK? Moving on to WUWT to see what they said back in Sept (old news but …): “0.3% climate consensus, not 97.1%”

    Scroll down to the Update for:
    Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change
    by David R. Legates, Willie Soon, William M. Briggs, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

    OK? So now Monckton has what he wanted for a long time now. He is a listed Co-AUTHOR of a climate science peer-reviewed paper. This he will be using everywhere he goes now to enhance his ‘authority and expertise’ level in the Public domain especially in the media.

    Instead of being intentionally manipulative and using ‘spin’ the average person can’t work out, and where ‘plausible deniability’ is used for his public defense, now he can say it plainly without lying about it.

    OK. So that one point. The other is the ‘peer-reviewed’ paper itself suggesting: “0.3% climate consensus, not 97.1%” and that John Cook of SkS is an incompetent climate scientist.

    In a recent article here Michael Mann wrote about his NYT oped piece, where he said: “Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.”

    and also said ” How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to communicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster?”

    This is the Context and Framing in which the above and below is viewed. I have been wondering what if anything has been done by ‘sceitists’ recently to tackle this issue of this paper and the attacks upon John Cook’s credibility and the same kind of ‘defamation’ being laid upon him as has been done to Michael Mann. I looked, and I cant’ find this being an issue in pro-science sites. Cooks 97% paper is highlighted, but not the personal attacks on his character. (of course i could have missed these too, there are time limits)

    HOWEVER, there’s more. Scroll donw that WUWT page a little more for:

    UPDATE: – Cook and Nuccitelli paper rejected:
    Bishop Hill writes:
    The Benestad (Cook, Nuccitelli) et al paper on “agnotology”, a bizarre concoction that tried to refute just about every sceptic paper ever written has been rejected by Earth System Dynamics.

    Please read the ‘rejection’ note slowly and carefully (I did) :


    NOW we travel back to the ‘professor clown’ 1000frolly youtube page again.

    In that same long thread of comments please locate this comment:

    Not surprisingly, comments by one WallyKnitWit have been deleted from that thread. People can’t usually handle the Truth.

    Richard Lock seems like a decent person doing what he can to no avail. Scientific facts have no use in these kinds of matters. Scientists still need to realize that and act accordingly. There is a ‘Public Opinion War’ going on. It’s loosely coordinated. Many puppets out there in cyberspace being used, not so many puppeteers in the shadows.

    But do get this truth, there is a ‘covert’ war plan being acted upon. It’s best to not pretend there isn’t by naively believing that the ‘evidence’ will win the day all by itself. It will not. History proves this is so repeatedly.

    So, where to now? Feel free to make your evaluation here, read the details provided in the links. Get the context in the big picture absolutely right, and then say what you like.

    Meanwhile I have a couple of questions. Is there anyone out there in RC land that has a spare $100K sitting around that they would be willing to risk by giving it to John Cook to take the appropriate and in fact necessary legal action?

    I can confirm that 1000frolly’s comments were formally reported to Google for ‘TOS abuse’. Google re-instated them with no action taken. But 1000frolly is the tip of the iceberg. It needs to go further than that.

    Next is there perhaps another 10 intelligent people out there with a spare $100K each to throw at Michael Mann’s legal case? He must win that, no excuses. You have to realize that the defendants already have a bottom pit of funds to defend themselves. And I mean BOTTOMLESS.

    One small error can sink any legal case. Mann’s team has to get this 100% perfect from the get go. They need people to do that, they need resources, and they cannot fail. Or you can all kiss your scientific work goodbye.

    Scientists all over, and the readers supporters of this blog have to wake up and deal with the reality here. This is not a game. This is not a vigorous debate among post-grads in the university canteen. This is serious business. It is real and you have already lost the high-ground in this battle for the minds of the public in the Public Opinion War.

    Outflanked, out planned, out gunned, out resourced, and out propagandized. It’s far better to face this reality square on and then act accordingly. No vapid conspiracy theory. No hyperbole. This is the telling it straight talk. Please don’t ignore this issue. It is not only about John Cook. It’s everywhere now and has been going on for years.

    Please think about it, seriously and rationally.


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 8:43 PM

  266. Regarding the WUWT update about Cook:

    “Bishop Hill writes:
    The Benestad (Cook, Nuccitelli) et al paper on “agnotology”…..”

    “Bishop Hill” is
    … united by their peculiar doctrines, and by the efforts of their preachers. I am told that they came into existence as a sect about 1830; in 1843 their chief preacher was a man of some energy, Eric Janson by name; and he taught them the duty of living after the manner of the Primitive Christian Church, inculcating humble and prayerful lives, equality of conditions, and community of property.

    There is a reason why (there alwasy is) the name ‘Bishop Hill’ was chosen. Only the user and his closest confidants would know for certain.

    Montford founded the Bishop Hill blog on 21 November 2006 which at first focused on British politics.

    In July 2010, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a British think tank that is skeptical about global warming policy,[21] hired Montford to lead an inquiry into the three British investigations into the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, commonly known as “Climategate.

    [edit – tedious]


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 9:32 PM

  267. More on Andrew William Montford, for those not up to speed.

    Sun, 2013-08-25
    Defamation By Internet? Part 1 – Murry Salby’s Short-Lived Blog Storm
    On July 9-12, Macquarie suffered this kind of attack (Wave 1). Ex-Professor Murry Salby made serious, but unsupported and sometimes contradictory, accusations against Macquarie, by the unusual route of email to bloggers. Joanne Nova (Australia), Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That, USA), and Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill, UK) republished them.

    After 4 days and 1,500+ comments at those blogs alone, SalbyStorm’s Wave 1 ended quickly when Salby’s checkered past was detailed at DeSmogBlog. Discussions stopped, although with little apology or introspection about gullibility at “skeptical” blogs. A very few people had wondered at oddities of Salby’s claims, searched for his past history, and independently started finding problems within a few hours. Salby supporters did not do that, preferring to specualte and comment.

    ‘controversy storm’ – please remember that phrase. What it is. How it works. Why it works. And know that it is coordinated behind the scenes. Funding is no object. Monckton et al have all the money they want and ask for. No questions asked. More people need to understand how this kind of running ‘action teams’ works.

    You could ask the CIA (black ops) or Mossad, but they are unlikely to tell you. Or you could research the life and times of Osama bin laden too.

    “Patterns”, remember that word too. Do you really truly want to be successful or happy playing naive games, endlessly chasing your own tails and burning up your energy, and still losing every time?

    There are other ways that are rational and proven to work. But one needs to take the situation seriously and see it for what it is. And learn how to ‘get out of the way’ long enough to come through the backdoor in a surprise pincer movement.

    The wise should think about that long and hard. I’ll leave it at that for now. Don’t want to get ‘boring’ or hog the thread. You guys write, I’ll read and listen in silence.


    Comment by Walter — 17 Feb 2014 @ 9:57 PM

  268. At #77 and #87:
    I did not understand him as saying changes in behavior would be helpful. What I understood him as saying is we would go the browntech route because we do not want to give up our technology even if it means we may die as a species.

    Listen to what Nicole Foss has to say afterwards about financial problems. Her arguments, as well as those of Gail Tverberg, have not been refuted to my knowledge.

    Basically, we are in the early stages of a bottleneck event. How can anything else be concluded, given the numbers on population (rising) compared with carrying capacity (using finite resources that are past peak) and available energy (more energy needed to obtain less and less energy)?

    Comment by kleymo — 17 Feb 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  269. Walter, imho that is way to much information/detail, but maybe that’s just me. The liars in face of climate impacts, run out of cards and claim we can adapt. Thus, in debunking we should focus on making clear we cannot just adapt.

    And this quote comes to mind, in regards to the recent denier meme’s.

    “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” – Harry S. Truman

    Comment by prokaryotes — 17 Feb 2014 @ 10:33 PM

  270. 1) Enderlin(2014) doi: 10.1002/2013GL059010
    Cohort from Byrd Polar Research Center and Utrecht

    Mass waste from all causes 2009-2012 378+/-50 Gtonne/yr (more than 1mm/yr sea level rise,) accelerating at 27+/-9 GTonne/yr^2 (will double in 15yr)

    SMB has taken over in Greenland since 2006.

    “Our results confirm a decline in the relative importance of discharge to ice sheet mass loss (Figure 3). The 17% increase in discharge between 2000 and 2005 accounted for 58% of the mass loss during that time. This fraction decreased to 36% in 2005–2009 and again to 32% between 2009 and 2012. Since 2009, nearly all (84%) of the increase in the rate of mass loss has been due to increased surface melting and runoff.”

    They do say that (under some assumptions):
    “…21st century sea level rise from Greenland glacier discharge should not exceed 80 mm.”

    but go on to temper it with:

    “Given the large variability in discharge and SMB observed within the past decade and the potential for unaccounted positive feedback within the ice-climate system, however, the contribution of GrIS discharge to future sea level rise remains highly uncertain.”

    Sing it. Glacier discharge 80mm and SMB how much ? Looks to me like SMB is accelerating too, from fig 3. SMB is already larger than discharge. And Greenland albedo is dropping. Our worst cases grow direr.

    2) Meanwhile basal melt drives Antarctica

    Depoorter(2013) doi:10.1038/nature12567

    Depoorter judges that total basal melt and calving are just about balanced in terms of quantity. (1321+/-144Gtonne/yr calving, 1454+/-174Gtonne/yr basal melt). The two big ice shelves still lose mass predominantly through calving, Thwaites shelf is balanced between the two, PIG is more basal melt. Their map of shelf thinning rates is on fire in the Amundsen sea, and more uneasily, between Totten and Moscow U. The latter are included in their list of glaciers “vulnerable to oceanic forcing.”

    Pitchard(2012) doi:10.1038/nature10968

    Pritchard points out that basal melt is a control on total mass waste “… through a reduction in buttressing of the adjacent ice sheet leading to accelerated glacier flow.” They conclude:

    “…the most profound contemporary changes to the ice sheets and their contribution to sea level rise can be attributed to ocean thermal forcing that is sustained over decades and may already have triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat.”

    Rignot(2013) doi:10.1126/science.1235798

    Has about the same figures for basal melting than Depoorter (1325+/-235 Gtonne/yr basal melt) but lower for calving (1089+/-139Gtonne/yr.) They point out that most of the basal melt come from “small warm cavity ice shelves” and warn about the same stretch near Totten:

    ” “Modified” warm deep water at a temperature near 0°C has been reported 40 km south of the continental shelf break northeast of Totten (30). By analogy with observations in the Amundsen Sea, our results suggest the presence of seawater at similar temperatures under several East Antarctic ice shelves. Even zero-degree seawater at outer continen tal shelf depths could expose ice shelves with deep grounding lines like the Totten (2.2 km), Moscow (2.0 km) and Shackleton (1.8 km) to temperatures more than 3°C above their melting points.”

    They conclude with another warning:
    “…if major shifts in sea ice cover and ocean circulation tip even large ice shelf cavities from cold to warm (35), there could be major changes in ice shelf and thus ice sheet mass balance.”

    Thwaites is the one that keeps me awake at night.


    Comment by sidd — 18 Feb 2014 @ 12:59 AM

  271. Walter,

    So when you posted:

    “Professor Collins when asked by the The Mail on Sunday “Can the current extreme weather, flooding and snow storms be attributed to global warming and climate change?” said the following:… ”

    Everything after “said the following:” is what you’ve made up?

    Comment by Chris Reynolds — 18 Feb 2014 @ 1:52 AM

  272. Thanks Prok, it’s not you, others have far less patience.

    Sure I could nip and tuck several bits, but if you can edit down those 3 comments and yet still convey my intention and get people to actually go read the links, then I am all ears.

    I know I have tried sharing complex inter-connected info like this in the most simplest ways over the years. Such as a short heading and only providing the links, assuming people will go ‘see’ what’s there to see. That doesn’t work either.

    Maybe I am just a johnny-come-lately and everyone already knew this and comprehend clearly broader implications and thus are over it. Or do not even recognize the importance of it. I don’t know. I am not a mind-reader.

    My quote?

    “When you do not know something, you will not know that you do not know it, until you do.” Walter Esq.

    re #256 and 264. It’s really hard for me to accept what I have done is not self-evident and as clear as day in #250. Too long yeah, sure. The rest is pretty obvious, or should be. I’ll put it down to being boring and just a lousy writer, again.


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 1:55 AM

  273. Walter. Dr Mann does not have to win his case. You can put every climate scientist in the known universe behind bars if it would make you happy.

    But the next day, the next month and the next year humanity’s actions will see the concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere grow, the energy content of the oceans and atmosphere increase, and seas will inexorably rise. With this will come all the predicted ills we know about, and as it all tips over the edge we will get those ills we don’t yet know about as well, and it I there that there be dragons we should fear the most.

    That is the truth you have to deal with. Cope

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 18 Feb 2014 @ 4:23 AM


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 8:46 AM

  275. 271 Chris Reynolds, your choice of the words would not be an accurate description. I’d prefer it to say I wrote each of those words with thought and clear intent. Hoping it would tell a clear and coherent narrative that leaves one with a singular take away message.

    My purpose was to show how it could be done by way of an example, that might be compelling. (not likely given past feedback) Still, it is a fact that the general public don’t understand the science and can’t handle the complexities or the jargon.

    Psychology and neural science tells us that what connects with humans is ‘narrative’ (or story telling mode). Simple ones that conclude with a single take away message.

    ie “The question really should be, no matter what the weather is today or tomorrow, what are we going to do now about reducing the amount of GHGs, CO2 from fossil fuels especially, that we are putting into the atmosphere each and every day?”

    Of course not too many would get the opportunity to say all that I wrote there in one go in an ‘interview situation’. I tried to show how many different ways one could say this and end up at the same end point.

    It is also not easy to do this off the bat, but anyone in front of a camera or a microphone can be trained to do this using role play. Anyone!

    I think everything I said was ‘scientifically sound’ and supported by valid climate science consensus.

    The cherry-picked quotes from Collins that Rose used had more to do with what “scientists did not know” and then an image of “disagreement”. Handed it to him on a plate. Rose just ignored everything else Collins and others said. That’s what they do.

    What did my text focus on instead?

    Is there any word, any phrase or sentence or paragraph that could be taken out of context and misused? Or disagrees with the ‘consensus’ as per the IPCC reports (the #1 authority?) Would any climate scientist disagree with what was actually said? (I wont expect an answer of course. I got that clear as a bell!)

    Genuine questions but it that makes no difference and so doesn’t matter anymore.


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:20 AM

  276. #250 Walter

    This post is utterly disgraceful. What were the moderators thinking?

    To represent several paragraphs as a verbatim account of an merely imagined interview is quite extraordinary.

    At the very least realclimate should dissociate itself absolutely from this post and publish a frank apology to its readers for allowing such misleading material to appear under its imprimatur.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:30 AM

  277. Which climate scientists will correct the mis-characterizations in this U. S. Department of State Remarks on Climate Change:

    Comment by Dan Hughes — 18 Feb 2014 @ 10:07 AM

  278. 277 Dan Hughes says: “Which climate scientists will correct …”

    I’m sure the auditors, oscillators, vents and etc. — your blogroll favorites — will mention what concerns you.

    You can look this stuff up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2014 @ 11:33 AM

  279. BBC 2 Newsnight on the floods in England

    It hosted a sort of debate (more later), but first it had the MP Laura Sandys, who is not a contrarian, (at about 6.45m) asserting that “Actually even the climate skeptics are only skeptical about whether it is man made”. I wonder if she noticed that this major simplification of contrarian advocacy appeared to be contradicted at once by Andrew Montford who tried his best to suggest that sea level rise as well as heavy rainfall were nothing new. The policy of balance did not favour him on this occasion because he was sitting opposite Kevin Anderson.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 11:45 AM

  280. Dan Hughes @277.
    To link to a 6,000 word speech and ask about some unspecified “mis-characterizations” it contains that would be of concern to climate scientsts – to do that without a hint of what it is about is an act of gross disrespect. If it is the mention by Kerry of the GHGs being a described as a layer a “half an inch … (that is) way up there at the edge of the atmosphere” that concerns you, or perhaps mention of the speed of global warming being shown by “all 10 of the hottest years on record” being younger than Google, or maybe mention of the process of ocean acidification occurring “when the rain falls the rain spills the acidity into the ocean” then do say so, do indicate what it is you are blathering on about. That a politician chooses to speak so colourfully that he becomes unscientific and causes “mis-characterizations”, so what? (And I think only the last of these three examples would totally falls into that category. A speech has visual communication as well as the literal meaning of the words on the page.)

    Comment by MARodger — 18 Feb 2014 @ 11:55 AM

  281. Re: 276. Agreed. Utterly disgraceful to make stuff up. An apology for that one is in order as well.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 18 Feb 2014 @ 12:56 PM

  282. Re- Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:20 AM ~#275

    Your response to Chris Reynolds is an extended excuse for your error. It would seem that a simple, two sentence, admission of fault and an apology would be more appropriate.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 18 Feb 2014 @ 3:18 PM

  283. 282 Steve Fish, there was no ‘error’, nor ‘fault’ by me and no ‘apology’ is coming nor is it ‘appropriate’ that I do so.

    #282 WP, that’s silly too. This was “made up”

    It is NOT real, so get over yourself. There is NO difference between a graph a diagram and ‘word picture’. NONE.

    AS someone else said, the “internet does not lie” … what I wrote is as clear as day.

    I am not responsible for others *Interpretation* anymore than you are for David Rose’s ‘interpretations’ of climate science.

    While you all ignore the import of the content and why it is critical to communicating the ‘science’ implications ot the public clearly and simply and properly in a way that it cannot be misused.

    But no, some people just can’t be told they do not know it all already. What a joke this ‘storm in a tea cup is’ in a world full of Dr Coopers out of touch with reality it seems.


    [Response: Whatever. Don’t do it again. – gavin]

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 3:55 PM

  284. The chief scientist of the Met Office has been criticized …

    ‘richard’ source/guidance/nym alias sockpupett what have you.

    [Response: A tempest in a teapot, as usual, pun intended.–eric]

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 5:32 PM

  285. As the Met Office report states ‘With a credible modelling system in place it should now be possible to perform scientifically robust assessments of […] the degree to which there is a contribution from human-induced climate change.’

    Does it really matter what the % of contribution is? Why? A storm is a storm. Encouraging the public and politicians and business to reduce emissions might help more. Because a theoretical computerized guesstimate with error bars is still not reality, but an ‘representative image’. It will still be labeled ‘a fraud’ anyway.

    Is this another example of the tail (denier industry) wagging the dog (scientists) wasting their time and eating up their energy and resources?

    5 x IPCC reports, 25 years, and CO2 now @ 400ppm knowing already that will increase exponentially from now to 2030+ on BAU. What else does anyone ‘really’ need to know before ‘acting rationally’?


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 6:24 PM

  286. Walter is on ignore until his
    tapers off.

    Quite a bit.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Feb 2014 @ 6:28 PM

  287. [Response: A tempest in a teapot, as usual, pun intended.–eric]

    I get the joke. Is it a joking matter?

    If it is a merely a tempest in a teapot why let richard’s comments through?

    Gavin responds 3 times, a clear pattern break from his normal behaviour.

    I hear people speak a lot about “noise” and then generate it themselves. Multiple readers respond to richard’s comments on top of Gavin’s, and now it;s a storm in a tea cup? What doesn’t fit this picture here Eric?

    If it is richard the UK MP, then simply say so. Speak the truth and put it on the record publicly. Don’t play silly games.

    It isn’t a game unless it is really only about attention seeking and having a forum to talk about one’s own ‘really important’ personal work activities and greater knowledge level than the hoi polloi. Anyone can do that. Cable TV is full of such things from Pawn shops to repossessions to pimping my truck.

    If it’s about ” a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to *developing stories* and provide the context sometimes missing in *mainstream commentary*.”, then please do so and drop the facade.

    People bring *developing stories* here repeatedly and all of you barely say a word about it. People have to fend for themselves, and 1% of genuine questions are ever answered directly by the *working climate scientists*.

    This “richard” manipulator shows up here, yet again, and he gets the noisiest attention as if it’s an in-house sport.

    A tempest in a teapot indeed. What’s your RC 2014 project plan of your role in communicating the critical importance to the politicians and the world at large that immediate reductions in GHG emissions are critical now?

    Bar playing word games with ‘richard’ et al, and referencing an article by MM on the NYTs? I’m curious to know. Others too might get inspired if they got to hear about that. It would shut me up for weeks on end. Free bonus for all!


    [Response: I was just responding to one comment; I did not bother to read through the history of who said what to whom and which comment “get through”. If I had my way we would have no open comments at all — just “letters to the editor” like traditional media. –eric]

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 6:55 PM

    supporting information online at

    Arctic albedo change feedback

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2014 @ 7:11 PM

  289. BH richard says: 17 Feb 2014 at 3:28 AM
    “229 walter
    now i know ippc is based on unvalidated models its not even worth talking about them.”

    Richard, the IPCC (reports) are based on scientific rigour, hard facts, accumulated meaningful evidence, dialectic argument, and rational reasoned best judgments.

    Models are tools used to “present” that science in a more meaningful way that is comprehensible to human beings, including the scientists studying the climate. They are also used as a communication tool between scientists in order or them to understand each other as they do their own individual work. Models are also ‘yardsticks’ in order to compare apples wit apples, and apples with oranges effectively in a way that has meaning to the scientists.

    The IPCC reports and their findings are IN FACT not ‘based upon models’ at all. To suggest this is so is a blatant falsehood, a lie, and a gross misrepresentation of the truth of the matter.

    It’s a shame so many like you richard do not know this and spread such disinformation wide and far. What goes around will come around in due course.

    Why such matters are not clarified in the public domain (a decade ago now and repeatedly) so that everyone in the OECD understood this, is a mystery to me and many others.


    [insert why I am wrong Here: …….]

    [edit – stick to substantive points]

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 7:34 PM

  290. #280 MARodger says it very well: “A speech has visual (imaginative) communication as well as the literal meaning of the words on the page.”

    I agree with that. It’s proven in neural science and psychology in fact.

    btw I added in the (imaginative) myself, in case that isn’t totally clear already for a few. I hope it is only ‘a few’. Or we’re all doomed for sure!


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 7:41 PM

  291. And a key basis for Linguistics too!

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 7:42 PM

  292. Btw Australia no longer has a car manufacturing industry. The last 3 corps Ford, GM and Toyota have all announced “they quit” in the last 6 months.

    16 February 2014, 9.58pm AEST
    The great global warming subsidy

    “the fuel tax credit scheme to the mining industry. In 2011, for example, the mining industry accounted for A$2 billion of the $5.2 billion total ”

    18 February 2014, 6.45am AEST
    Will Steffan Climate Council: heatwaves are getting hotter and more frequent

    “… called the “silent killers”, they cause the greatest number of deaths of any natural disaster type”

    18 February 2014, 1.48pm AEST
    Australian aluminium outgunned by cheap, coal-free global rivals

    “Alcoa’s decision to close the Point Henry smelter, at a cost of almost 1000 jobs in Geelong and elsewhere, comes amid a perfect storm buffeting Australia’s aluminium industry. Point Henry will be the second of Australia’s six aluminium smelters to close, after the demise of Kurri Kurri in 2012.”

    I think Australian graduates may be emigrating to India soon to get work in a Call Center as their last hope for a job.

    ( For the few who don’t get that, it is just a joke. I really do not believe it, honestly. Not yet at least. OK? Need to be real clear on real climate these days. Pun intended. )


    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 8:09 PM

    Seth D. Burgess, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317692111

    High-precision timeline for Earth’s most severe extinction

    … Onset of a major reorganization of the carbon cycle immediately precedes the initiation of extinction and is punctuated by a sharp (3‰), short-lived negative spike in the isotopic composition of carbonate carbon. Carbon cycle volatility persists for ∼500 ka before a return to near preextinction values. Decamillenial to millennial level resolution of the mass extinction and its aftermath will permit a refined evaluation of the relative roles of rate-dependent processes contributing to the extinction, allowing insight into postextinction ecosystem expansion, and establish an accurate time point for evaluating the plausibility of trigger and kill mechanisms.

    supporting information online at

    Comparison to current rate of change and quantities, anyone?
    (remembering that the baseline for that event was not the same as our present climate, so YMMV)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Feb 2014 @ 8:13 PM

  294. btw all aluminium smelters here received massive subsidies from the state governments with extremely low electricity pricing rates. How much is not known. “commercial in confidence” is the plausible deniability explanation by all sides of politics for decades now.

    Things are ‘heating up’ now everywhere. Kerry’s comments will come back to haunt them, political chaos in Thailand, Iraq, Syria, nth Korea, Ukraine, Israel (and children), Philippines, Indonesia, Bosnia, India, Burma, Egypt unrest far from over yet, plus all over African nations, there’s UK storms n floods, Australian heat waves and fires plus disbanding all CC institutions – major renewable projects being abandoned – and all mitigation carbon price govt policies reversed, there’s CA droughts, eastern nth america frigid, record low arctic ice extent in January, the Keystone pipeline protests, Murdoch’s media criminal trial in the UK still unfolding with dire News Corp implications eventually, $US and Equities about to fall off a cliff, Gold poised to go over $2000, fracking oil and gas output in the US will not be able to hidden soon so all will know the huge projections are a myth, extreme weather in Ireland, Europe, Mediterranean region, hot in Sochi and Alaska, Amazon droughts (not the bookseller) and too many other things to list in Sth America no one gets to hear about, with the next IPCC reports not far away now.

    Life’s good! How are you doing where you are?

    Quoting :
    “The U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee was on the spot with a Feb. 12, hearing: “Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared.” All we have to do is look out the window to get an understanding of the problem.
    This isn’t about future climate change. It is about now.
    “We need to stop rewarding communities that fail to prepare,” Secretary O’Mara told committee members. “They get everything paid for, they get all the shiny new infrastructure. It’s completely crazy.” ”



    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 8:55 PM

  295. “If I had my way we would have no open comments at all — just “letters to the editor” like traditional media. –eric”

    They should listen to your good advice Eric. It is spot on. Totally agree, even recommend it myself to ears that do not hear.

    Thanks … really, I mean it.

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:00 PM

  296. This has got right under my skin!
    I would like to state categorically that whoever “Richard”, it is NOT ME!

    Richard J. Hawes, P.Geol., B.Sc. (Geography and Geology) London 1971,
    3 years with GSC mapping the Mackenzie Valley and Arctic Islands Pipelines in Ottawa
    MSc Geography (glacial geology) Calgary 1977,
    PhD Geology DNF 1980 (was going to be in glacial geology but I fell 20 m off a mountain east of Revelstoke,
    Went into the oil patch, where I have remained ever since
    MBA Calgary 1990 (finance)
    Openly looking for a new PhD subject in 10 to 15 years

    Member of APEGGA, AAPG, CSPG and GSL
    “The multiple lines of scientific evidence indicates that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real”
    Got THAT off my chest …

    Comment by Richard Hawes — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:18 PM

  297. I offered the speculation near the last of January, that empty Sierra reservoirs could still be significantly replenished if the blocking ridge broke down, but that, should rains continue to fail, damages from drought could eclipse such recent climatic heartaches as storm Sandy and the inundation of New Orleans. Today marks a noteworthy moment in this situation, for while the ridge did indeed yield to abrupt multi-day, record-setting torrent in early February, this month’s accumulation has now fallen back to dead-on average. Moreover, the remainder of the month is now forecast to be quite dry.

    Sacramento can illustrate California’s Central Valley. On average, it receives 82% of its annual twenty-one inches, during five rainy months from November thru March, with the tapers beginning and ending this season separated by an utterly dry July. The drought started last Winter in mid-season, unfortunate because flood control is practiced in early season releases. Rain in quarter I of 2013 was off by 3/4ths, and the blocking ridge set up following a record half-inch of rain which fell on the fall equinox. From there, to the end of January 20014, Sacramento received two rains and a drizzle which totaled an inch and a half, off 87% for that interval. Thus, should the current 10-day forecast prove out, Sacramento will have wracked up a deficit only four days worth shy of a full-year, 21 inch shortfall, since January 1, 2013.

    Salient circumstances at present include a forecast zero flow nomination to the State Water Project, a counter-intuitive assessment that supplies for southern, highly populated counties are far less seriously threatened due to more robust storage, Bay Area delta eco systems threatened with “collapse”, and land fallowing in the San Joaquin running to half a million acres (of a CA total of ~8 million irrigated, that produce nearly half the nation’s fruits and veggies). Lastly, the harrowing prospect for mass residential service loss, hangs on the receipt of March moisture, and frantic local efforts to effect emergency alternative water sources.

    Comment by Dave Peters — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:20 PM

  298. Gwynne Dyer: Extreme weather a little payback for temperate emitters

    Comment by Walter — 18 Feb 2014 @ 9:33 PM

  299. Walter Motor Fingers @285 left out the ending to the “About RC” statement: ” …. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team.”

    What that refers to is the blog, not the open comment section, and refers to the blog posts signed by the authors – “The contributors to this site do so in a personal capacity during their spare time” – whether any of the site owners are inclined to answer any particular question flung out in the comments is entirely up to them and the time they volunteer to policing these comment threads, especially ‘Unforced Variations’, which was established as the open comment section to allow the public to post useful information, not to critique the owners. Real Climate and it’s professionals owe nothing to any of the readers.

    [Response: Thanks! Well said (and accurate).–eric]

    Comment by flxible — 18 Feb 2014 @ 10:26 PM

  300. At 9:57PM on the 17th Walter promised, ” Don’t want to get ‘boring’ or hog the thread. You guys write, I’ll read and listen in silence.”

    He lasted until 1:55AM.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 18 Feb 2014 @ 11:30 PM

  301. Thanks for the Pistone et al. reference on Arctic albedo. Goes nicely with Prof. Box’s on fall in Greenland albedo. At this point early Eurasian snowfall (as some predicted would happen with declining sea ice) is bucking the trend, and I am unsure of the situation with albedo in Canadian High Arctic.


    Comment by sidd — 19 Feb 2014 @ 5:01 AM

  302. #250 “an imagined statement”?

    More like “an explicit example of how to handle responding to manipulative journalists to not be misrepresented, and still stick to the science and still be understood by the public and make a positive difference instead of creating dramas all over the media and the internet for weeks to forever”

    Too wordy?

    Of no value.

    Probably wrong anyway.

    Ignore him.

    Nothing to see here.

    Whatever Walter

    [Response: Please get back to making substantive points if you want to continue commenting here. This is all very boring. – gavin]

    Comment by Walter — 19 Feb 2014 @ 8:00 AM

  303. #297–Dave, your predicament out there is on my mind, for what that’s worth. (And of course, it’s ‘my’ predicament, too, since damage to the California economy is damage to the US economy–and ecology, too, for that matter, as your comment about the Bay Area makes plain.)

    Thanks for the update, grim though it is.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 19 Feb 2014 @ 8:28 AM

  304. Gavin, clearly we have a difference of opinion about what is substantive: “having a firm basis in reality and so important, meaningful, or considerable”

    I did not write an imaginative fairly tale, but something substantive and meaningful about a never-ending problem for all climate scientists and the general public to this day.

    It causes you all as a group of experts endless ‘blow back’, that wastes your time and energy unnecessarily. That’s the reality.

    It’s not the public’s personal fault when they are all swimming in a sea of disinformation everywhere they go, every time they turn the TV on or pick up a newspaper.

    If there is something you believe is more important than this matter in climate science today I’d like to know what it is?

    eg Michael’s NYTs article touched on this very subject: “Until the public fully understands the danger of our present trajectory, those debates are likely to continue to founder.”

    They don’t understand because of the extreme public confusion caused by all. Deniers, politicians, the media and scientists themselves. I have presented one substantive and already proven part of the solution.

    I didn’t make it up. It’s true!


    Comment by Walter — 19 Feb 2014 @ 9:05 AM

  305. [edit – tedious]
    [edit – stick to substantive points]
    [Response: Whatever. Don’t do it again. – gavin]
    [Response: Please get back to making substantive points if you want to continue commenting here. This is all very boring. – gavin]

    Used to be (fairly) easy to navigate the comments on RC by selectively ignoring the usual suspects (on an evolving list) and almost any post that scrolls off the page.

    Trolls come in many flavors, all nasty.
    Feeding them contaminates everything else.
    This month’s unforced variations is pretty much the Walter show, to no good end.
    Our hosts shouldn’t have to be police or censors.
    Those who visit should respect local standards of etiquette and substance, or go bother others.

    Comment by Phil Mattheis — 19 Feb 2014 @ 9:55 AM

  306. (In more constructive mode, if not necessarily positive)

    While might be entertaining to watch Bill Nye and others discuss climate change/global warming/vanishing arctic ice with those who choose to believe in alternate realities, an unfortunate primary consequence is the illusion that there is any room for “Debate” on basic presumptions.

    I saw the Arctic ocean first time in May of 1973, at Barrow, AK. Pressure ridges (2-4+ meters high above water, often miles long) were visible off shore at variable distance, defining the line where free circulating pack ice bumped up against grounded shore ice. The ridges tended to break free in spring, joining the pack ice as thicker stuff that frequently persisted into multi-year status.

    There is a new video on YouTube showing progressive loss of thicker Arctic ice from 1987 to present:

    Is painful to watch.
    There is no “Debate”.
    [reCaptcha: employering Dati]

    Comment by Phil Mattheis — 19 Feb 2014 @ 10:25 AM

  307. Phil Mattheis @ 305 — So true! It only takes a little observation of the longtime commenters here to understand the norms of the site. Hopefully Walter will take your comment to heart before we start finding his posts in the Borehole.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 19 Feb 2014 @ 12:31 PM

  308. New Scientist

    permafrost [above a northern cave] melted just once in the last 500,000 years.

    At the time, global temperatures were 1.5 °C warmer than they have been in the last 10,000 years. In other words, today’s permafrost is likely to become vulnerable when we hit 1.5 °C of global warming ….

    “Up until this point, we didn’t have direct evidence of how this happened in past warming periods,” says Ted Schuur of the University of Florida in Gainesville….

    Soggy permafrost

    What are the consequences? The greatest concern, says Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter in the UK, is the regional landscape. Buildings and infrastructure are often built on hard permafrost, and will start subsiding. “Ice roads won’t exist any more.”

    The increasingly soggy permafrost will also threaten the pipelines that transport Russian gas to Europe. “The maintenance and upkeep of that infrastructure is going to cost a lot more,” says Schuur.

    As for the methane that could be released into the atmosphere, Schuur estimates that emissions will be equivalent to between 160 and 290 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

    That sounds like a lot, but is little compared to the vast amount humans are likely to emit, says Lenton. “The signal’s going to be swamped by fossil fuel [emissions].”

    He says the dangers of the permafrost greenhouse gases have been overhyped, particularly as much of the methane will be converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the soil, leading to a slower warming effect.

    Schuur agrees with Lenton that the methane emissions are “not a runaway effect but an additional source that is not accounted in current climate models”.

    Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1228729

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Feb 2014 @ 5:49 PM

  309. Huss(2014) (doi:10.5194/tcd-8-1191-2014) measures Antarctic Peninsular ice as contributing a maximum of 70 odd mm of sea level rise. Does anyone seriously expect peninsular ice to survive past 2100, given even the most conservative RCP 2.6 scenario which peaks at net radiative forcing of 3W/m^2 and declines to 2.6W/m^2 in 2100 ? Right now under 0.5-0.8 W/m^2 the thing is melting at 36Gtonne/yr (Shepherd,2012,DOI: 10.1126/science.1228102) and the melt rate is accelerating.


    Comment by sidd — 19 Feb 2014 @ 8:12 PM

  310. It’s quite amazing how much influence David Rose’s deceitful article has had on the public discourse. Just one ellision of strong caveats from Dame Julia Slingo and, like lemmings to a cliff, the critics propagate the sleight of hand. No interest in presenting or commenting on the rest of the sentence, which might force them to ponder what she may have meant by “no definitive answers” on linking global warming to the recent storms over the UK. No interest whatsoever in gathering all that she said on the matter in the press briefing to understand her ‘messaging’. Just the same half-sentence repeated over and over. The contrarians are rumouring that there is a groundswell of disapprobation in the climate community. They do love a bit of cloak and dagger.

    The Met Office response is being criticised in the skeptiverse for not naming Slingo and not giving a line-by-line explanation of her comments. It doesn’t occur to those clamouring that they failed to examine Slingo’s comments in the first place, or that the Daily Mail pitched Collins as the renegade scientist making a “dramatic intervention” against the establishment. MO did well to set the record straight on the science and ignore a personality war.

    Comment by barry — 19 Feb 2014 @ 8:40 PM

  311. I was rereading Gardner(2013, doi:10.1126/science.1234532 ) when i recalled Meier(2007, doi:10.1126/science.1143906 )

    Meier has an estimate mass loss from Glaciers and Ice Caps (not Greenland, not Antarctica) of 402+/-95 Gtonne/yr in 2006 accelerating at 11.9+/-5.6 GTonne/yr^2, (acceleration data from 2000-2006)

    But Gardner, using GRACE over the period 2003-2009 , has a much smaller estimate 259+/-28 Gtonne/yr, no acceleration estimate.

    These do not agree to within the error bars. Does anyone know which is considered more reliable these days ?


    Comment by sidd — 19 Feb 2014 @ 11:39 PM

  312. To the scientists who run this site,

    I’ve been reading your wonderful site for about 4 years now. I would just like to make a suggestion to perhaps make the comments section work better. Many of the commenters get in immature squabbles between themselves, and it must be very frustrating for you to have to police them like school hall monitors.

    A way to let people continue to make comments, and post links for interested readers, yet avoid the squabbles, would be to simply make a rule that commenters may not respond to each other. As soon as a commenter responds to another one, you could bore hole them. It would seem a nice compromise between banning comments all together, and the present format. It should I would think, also reduce the total number of comments that are posted here, which I am sure you would not mind. I think an awful lot of us learn by reading your comments to the readers, and you could continue to do that. You might even find the time to respond more frequently since you would not be having to spend your precious time following the conversations between the commenters. Thank you for considering my idea.

    [Response: I think it is a great idea, except that sometimes the comments in response to other comments are quite useful and informative. Not often, I admit … –eric]

    Comment by doug — 19 Feb 2014 @ 11:53 PM

  313. doug wrote: “simply make a rule that commenters may not respond to each other”

    So, for example, if one commenter posts something about a particular article, then no subsequent commenter in the thread can mention or discuss that article?

    Or they can mention the article, but they are not permitted to mention that someone else already referenced it?

    Or they can acknowledge that a previous commenter mentioned the article, but they have to pretend that they didn’t read what the previous commenter wrote about it, and not say anything about that?

    Also they are not permitted to answer any question posted by a previous commenter, even if they have a factual and informative answer at their fingertips? Or are they just not permitted to correct any misstatement of fact that a previous commenter has posted?

    Or is it just that they are not permitted to discuss, agree with, or disagree with any view or opinion that a previous commenter has posted?

    In your view, the job of the moderators would be made “simpler” by conducting this sort of analysis of whether and to what degree each and every comment posted here is a “response” to a previous comment?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 20 Feb 2014 @ 10:30 AM

  314. What I found amusing about the Nigel Lawson Radio 4 interview was that he would readily assent to the proposition that the link between bad recent weather in the UK and AGW was uncertain, but then make the transparently illogical “companion” assertion that it was certainly not linked to AGW. So the link is both uncertain and certain at the same time. Sigh. This man was our Chancellor or the Exchequer? Its a wonder the economy isn’t in a total mess … oh, hang on a minute …

    Comment by Simon C — 20 Feb 2014 @ 10:34 AM

  315. I am a long way from being a scientist. I like to think I can read and understand climate science to a admittedly limited extent. I find myself engaged(really nice term for it) in an ongoing “debate” with a person with literally years of experience in disinformation.

    I would appreciate a scientist stopping in now and then and dealing with this person from an informed level. Shouldn’t take long, and it would be a public service.

    Comment by EMichael — 20 Feb 2014 @ 10:37 AM

  316. > find myself engaged … in an
    > ongoing “debate” … disinformation.

    They love finding people willing to do that.
    Even more when you go and recruit new people.


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Feb 2014 @ 11:36 AM

  317. EMichael, at that angrybear thread, a bit earlier, you wrote:

    Of course I am googling to find evidence. I am not a scientist

    It works better to give pointers, rather than copy large chunks from other sites and paste them in.

    Beware the mistake of using ‘reverse citation” — stating a belief, then googling to find support for the notion. You can find anything on the Internet. Scientists look for evidence _against_ their own ideas.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Feb 2014 @ 1:52 PM

  318. I have put together some thoughts on the papers I have cited, (mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica) with some figures from them at

    There is an amusing animation of the 2012 surface melt from infra red pictures of Greenland linked from that page.


    Comment by sidd — 20 Feb 2014 @ 7:11 PM

  319. Depersonalising comments:

    Ostensibly a good idea. I think it’s possible to do it like this, with a title reflecting the strand already being discussed.


    Sub-headings to clarify focus, for example.


    The current practise of numbering comments kind of personalizes the conversation, but it also spares much repetition, as does simply naming the person you’re replying to.

    Snark is like water. It will leak through anyway.


    Possibility of less economical discourse for doubtful gains: formulating and learning to apply new adjudication not worth the trouble.

    Comment by barry — 20 Feb 2014 @ 7:34 PM

  320. @293 Hank said, re: the extinctions: “Comparison to current rate of change and quantities, anyone?”

    I second the question. How about for any of the other of the big five extinctions, or all, or some? Thank you.

    Hank: first link didn’t work for me, but these do:

    Comment by patrick — 20 Feb 2014 @ 7:40 PM

  321. Hank,

    Appreciate the comments.

    The “large chunks” have been preceded by “pointers” for a long time in a discussion that has gone on well before the topic I linked. And I do have my beliefs which I have stated prior to “googling” proofs. But when faced with comments that constantly change the cherries being picked, as a non scientist I do not have the knowledge to instantly know which cherry is which, and need to find out what is being said first, then comment.

    Once again, thanks for the comments.

    Comment by EMichael — 20 Feb 2014 @ 10:43 PM

  322. Ancient 5,000-Year-Old Forest Unearthed by UK Storms
    Scientists: IPCC Underestimating Sea Level Rise
    Abrupt Climate Change: Implications for People and Businesses
    U.S. Methane Emissions are 50% Higher than Official Estimates

    Comment by prokaryotes — 21 Feb 2014 @ 2:22 AM

  323. If one person monopolizes this discussion, no matter how “right” they might be, and goes on and on … over and over … and long to boot, arguing with anyone who dares speak out about it, it prevents the discussion from having the usual give and take that makes it so valuable. I often come over and explore people’s links and find all kinds of interesting material. For the past weeks, I’ve had to scroll … and scroll … and despite being fairly patient, it made me go elsewhere. I don’t have much to contribute and avoid cluttering up the discussion, but believe a little self-censorship from addictive commenting would be a good idea.

    Self-righteousness may be good armor from the hurly-burly of living in community, but sharing is a much better way of being, imnhso.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 21 Feb 2014 @ 8:00 AM

  324. Pushing back against beltway, bubbleheaded denialism using custom taylored language:

    Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wrote one ripsnorter of a letter.
    (posted at Greg Laden’s Blog)

    Comment by Radge Havers — 21 Feb 2014 @ 11:29 AM

  325. EMichael @315.
    Your troll at doesn’t come across to me as somebody with much between the ears. And given your excellent sourcing of quotes from Richard Alley, I’m surprised you haven’t hit upon where the troll is kidding you (& possibly kidding himself)
    The Alley 2000 GISP2 reconstruction is a bit of a favorite for denialists. The little bump at the end (helpfully coloured red in your toll’s version) – hey – is this all that your allegedly-mighty seeowtoo can manage?
    What appears little understood by these eager denialists is that the Alley GISP2 data stops well before the present day data. It’s not even 95-years -before-present, because the convention used in Alley (2000) is to set “present day” at 1950. Thus the last data on the graph is AD1855 when CO2 was still below 290ppm.
    A more correct but still not up-to-date version of the graph is perhaps this one used to debunk this same nonsense from Don Easterbrook, or perhaps this figure from Kobashi et al (2011) but which again is still not up-to-date as that pesky temperature on Greenland just won’t stay diwn, damn it. And here is yet another version but the original graphic (by Gareth Renowden) is now 3 years old, so the record 2012 melt year would be higher still. The up-to-date Greenland temperatures for some reason don’t feature greatly in the published research. It’s the melting that gets all the attention.

    Comment by MARodger — 21 Feb 2014 @ 1:13 PM

  326. Below is the rather surprising paragraph in the BBC’s reply to complaints that the recent radio presence of denialist Lawson was as inappropriate within a discussion on climatology as say an alchemist on things chemical, a blood-letter on medical care or a Soviet planner on the economy.

    “Whilst there may be a scientific consensus about global warming – that it is happening and largely man-made – there is no similar agreement about what should be done to tackle it; whether money should be spent, for example, on cutting carbon emissions or would be better used adapting our defences to the changing climate. Lord Lawson is not a scientist, but as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer is well qualified to comment on the economic arguments, which are a legitimate area for debate.”

    If we can simply “adapt(ing) our defences to the changing climate,” I say bring on RCP 8.5. It can’t be much of a problem if adaptation’s a serious option.
    Being a former Chancellor of the Exchequer doesn’t make Lawson “well qualified.” Look at the nonsense being spouted by the present incumbent.

    Comment by MARodger — 21 Feb 2014 @ 1:45 PM

  327. Oops:

    Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1248667

    Rapid Reductions in North Atlantic Deep Water During the Peak of the Last Interglacial Period

    … Using a subcentennially resolved epibenthic foraminiferal δ13C record we show that North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) influence was strong at the onset of the last interglacial period and then interrupted by several prominent, centennial-scale reductions. These NADW transients occurred during periods of increased ice rafting and southward expansions of polar water influence, suggesting that a buoyancy threshold for convective instability was triggered by freshwater and circum-Arctic cryosphere changes. The deep Atlantic chemical changes were similar in magnitude to those associated with glaciations, implying that the canonical view of a relatively stable interglacial circulation may not hold for conditions warmer/fresher than at present.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Feb 2014 @ 3:55 PM

  328. Has anyone else noticed that estimates for thermosteric sea level rise have been dropping ?

    1)Stammer(2013) 1993-2010 1+/-0.3 mm/yr

    2)von Shuckmann(2011) 2005-2010 0.75+/-0.15 mm/yr

    3)von Shuckmann (2013) 2005-2012 0.5+/-0.1 mm/yr

    But sea level rise continues at 3.2 mm/yr
    More ice melt is masked by less thermosteric rise ?


    Comment by sidd — 21 Feb 2014 @ 4:21 PM

  329. Along with my last comment: The results of Balmaseda(2013) doi:10.1002/grl.50382 showing increased heat uptake by deeper layers, coupled with the fact that thermal expansion coefficient of sea water decreases with depth e.g.

    so heat going deeper is less effective in expanding water. Nevertheless, my point remains, there is another component of SLR that must be increasing if thermosteric rise is decreasing, given that total SLR is constant. I suspect ice melt.


    Comment by sidd — 21 Feb 2014 @ 4:29 PM

  330. Radiation from nuclear testing, banned hopefully before it was to late, has been a source of tracing in the environment ever sense. There is quite allot of data on how it progressed, and is still dispersing. YAY. I was not really aware of the data stream until the latest incident in Japan got me thinking , how this release would be traceable and could show a more exact estimates of the cycle time. Ocean surface to floor and back. The Data makes me hot just thinking about it. This is something like the uv activated stuff you put in your radiator to help find a leak. Heat is quite traceable in real time from satellite on the ocean surface. Given the correct equipment these trace radioactive ass water can be monitored as they cycle to the ocean floor and back. Maybe flash Gordon of the future can build a Radiation Capture and Storage RCS along with Carbon Capture and Storage CCS and have it all undermined by flash dushebag of the future.

    Comment by ying yang — 21 Feb 2014 @ 5:05 PM

  331. sidd, see for example

    Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise and the recent UK floods which caused record groundwater flooding, explained here.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 21 Feb 2014 @ 7:44 PM

  332. Continents can act as a buffer for short term SLR.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 21 Feb 2014 @ 7:46 PM

  333. sidd @328.
    The data certainly shows more ice melting. That’s melt from both poles (GRACE gives N=30Gty^-2, S=15Gty^-2) and did I read a recently published acceleration figure from from non-polar glaciers on the rise? If not Kaser et al (2006) gives ~2.5Gty^-2 over the end of the last century. That would give SLR from melting rising in the order of 1mm every 7 years. If that isn’t reflected in total SLR, that implies land storage is on the up and/or the thermostatic rise is decreasing.

    Comment by MARodger — 22 Feb 2014 @ 5:28 AM

  334. Re #308 – He says the dangers of the permafrost greenhouse gases have been overhyped, particularly as much of the methane will be converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the soil, leading to a slower warming effect. – See more at:

    My guess is that the 10.1126/science.1228729 study is underestimating the threat of permafrost thaw. See:

    Discovery of Positive Methane Feedback from Permafrost Thaw

    Mr Woodcroft said no one knew of the microbe’s existence or how it worked before the research discovery. He said global warming trends meant vast areas of permafrost would continue to thaw, allowing the microbes to flourish in organic matter and drive methane gas release, which would further fuel global warming. ”The micro-organism generates methane by using carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the bacteria it lives alongside,” Mr Woodcroft said.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 22 Feb 2014 @ 1:07 PM

  335. Re: melt of glaciers and ice caps:

    See my comment at 19 Feb 2014 at 11:39 PM. Estimates are lower there these days also.


    Comment by sidd — 22 Feb 2014 @ 2:36 PM

  336. Global sea level trend during 1993–2012 Here we investigate the global-mean sea level (GMSL) change during 1993–2012 using Empirical Mode Decomposition, in an attempt to distinguish the trend over this period from the interannual variability. It is found that the GMSL rises with the rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr during 1993–2003 and started decelerating since 2004 to a rate of 1.8 ± 0.9 mm/yr in 2012. This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, while the land-ice melting is accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level. Recent rapid recovery of the rising GMSL from its dramatic drop during the 2011 La Niña introduced a large uncertainty in the estimation of the sea level trend, but the decelerated rise of the GMSL appears to be intact.

    The land-ice contribution to 21st century dynamic sea-level rise .. we find that the pattern of DSL change is independent of warming scenario, and appears to scale according to the freshwater input. Consequently, the pattern of ice melt related DSL may be linearly added to other components such as 15 those associated with heat uptake and changes to the hydrological cycle.

    An improved mass budget for the Greenland ice sheet Extensive ice thickness surveys by NASA’s Operation IceBridge enable over a decade of ice discharge measurements at high precision for the majority of Greenland’s marine-terminating outlet glaciers, prompting a reassessment of the temporal and spatial distribution of glacier change. Annual measurements for 178 outlet glaciers reveal that, despite widespread acceleration, only 15 glaciers accounted for 77% of the 739 ± 29 Gt of ice lost due to acceleration since 2000 and four accounted for ~50%. Among the top sources of loss are several glaciers that have received little scientific attention. The relative contribution of ice discharge to total loss decreased from 58% before 2005 to 32% between 2009 and 2012. As such, 84% of the increase in mass loss after 2009 was due to increased surface runoff. These observations support recent model projections that surface mass balance, rather than ice dynamics, will dominate the ice sheet’s contribution to 21st century sea level rise.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 22 Feb 2014 @ 8:02 PM

  337. Those interested in a recent up-close attempt at reading the tea leaves in the tropical Pacific for signs of an emerging El Nino, might enjoy this jewel of a guest post from operational scientist, Dr. Michael Vincent:

    [Response: Very nice. I’m better on 2015 being warmest-year yet (that is, above 1998, 2010, etc.). –eric]

    Comment by Dave Peters — 22 Feb 2014 @ 10:38 PM

  338. A bit more on the CA drought:

    The jet meander bringing us this weekend’s Clipper, is projected to pinch off during the next couple days, potentially bringing rain to California by mid week:

    However, in the absence of super-normal rainfall during the coming several weeks, rice will likely simply not be seeded by many farmers. Cattle ranching suffered more heavily than did any other agriculture, during the 1977 drought. The sharply restricted irrigation supplies, such as they become available, will presumably be shifted towards sustaining vineyards, as well as fruit and nut orchards, leaving annual, vegetable croplands, particularly deficient. Finally, students of the historic 1977 drought know that supplies proved remarkably fungible, assisted by a massive program of sharing (up to 1 & 1/2 half million acre feet), primarily through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, supported by unrestricted flows from the Colorado’s watershed. Such supplies though, were then plentiful:

    Today, as the above exhibit shows, they are decidedly not plentiful. Further, in one of the least controversial examples of the attribution of carbon-driven alteration of regional climates, scientists have tracked the expansions of the equatorial Hadley circulation cells for several decades. Ours has steadily marched the dry doldrums polewards several miles each year, bringing dryness towards Texas, Las Vegas and South California. Thus, the ease with which Valley farmers replaced both CVP (Central Valley Project—Federal) and SWP (State Water Project) cutbacks with supplements from the Colorado River in 1977, including trades which assured residential continuity to populous Marin County, will instead run into this:

    Comment by Dave Peters — 23 Feb 2014 @ 1:45 AM

  339. Re: # 337

    My apologies to Dr. Michael Ventrice, for mis-spelling his name. Just a terrific exposition!

    Comment by Dave Peters — 23 Feb 2014 @ 2:37 AM

  340. > 334
    The microbe isn’t new on Earth since that last warm excursion documented by that cave study. The temperature record isn’t changed by knowing the mechanism — the microbe — exists. There’s no reason to think the microbe evolved new and changes how the world works — although, admittedly, we did evolve and we did change how the world works.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Feb 2014 @ 10:23 AM

  341. > 340
    But the Anthropocene warmth pulse can be considered unprecedented and this find completes our understandings of the situation. The point here is that there might be a larger methane feedback from permafrost thawing, not recently identified and considered in magnitude. This new microbe could explain why we see methane uptake in the Arctic and in Antarctica.

    recaptcha says “peculiar ingseel”

    Comment by prokaryotes — 23 Feb 2014 @ 12:43 PM

  342. ”The micro-organism generates methane by using carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the bacteria it lives alongside”

    Ya know, that’s wonderful news, if it can be domesticated as a living organism, to make more efficient methane-producing bioreactors. That kind of approach is badly needed.

    I hope you follow up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Feb 2014 @ 4:17 PM

  343. PS, here are the cites for that story:

    Press release:

    Nature Communications: Discovery of a novel methanogen prevalent in thawing permafrost

    … Partially thawed sites were frequently dominated by a single archaeal phylotype, Candidatus ‘Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis’ gen. nov. sp. nov., belonging to the uncultivated lineage ‘Rice Cluster II’ (Candidatus ‘Methanoflorentaceae’ fam. nov.). Metagenomic sequencing led to the recovery of its near-complete genome, revealing the genes necessary for hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. These genes are highly expressed and methane carbon isotope data are consistent with hydrogenotrophic production of methane in the partially thawed site. In addition to permafrost wetlands, ‘Methanoflorentaceae’ are widespread in high methane-flux habitats suggesting that this lineage is both prevalent and a major contributor to global methane production….

    Hmmm, someone seems to have patented the methane bioreactor idea last year, I wonder how the patent office allowed that. Or maybe he just patented his own particular bacterial strain.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Feb 2014 @ 4:26 PM

  344. El Niño 2014?

    Comment by prokaryotes — 23 Feb 2014 @ 9:22 PM

  345. That’s a cool WU post by Dr. Michael Ventrice on characterizing ENSO.

    I started thinking about the origins of ENSO recently and came up with an inharmonic analysis of the wave equation applied to an ocean basin. This is very similar to the blanket analogy that Dr.V explained at the beginning of his post.
    and here is the second part:

    Here is my projection of the ENSO in terms of the SOI, as the formulation looks stable.

    Maximum El Nino exactly halfway into 2015, as measured by SOI.

    This is all based on idealized hydrodynamic math that has been known since at least before 1929 [1], once I realized that mine wasn’t an original idea. These old papers are fascinating reads:

    [1] S. Goldstein, “Tidal Motion in Rotating Elliptic Basins of Constant Depth.,” Geophysical Journal International, vol. 2, no. s4, pp. 213–232, 1929.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 24 Feb 2014 @ 1:56 AM

  346. Yikes! David Wasdell appears to make a good case for us being way past dangerous levels of CO2 now. I’m not sure where I first got this link (hope it wasn’t here – if so, sorry for the duplication) but I’d sure like to hear from the experts on this:

    Basis for a Carbon Budget (PDF)

    It’s a critique of SPM figure 10 and uses both Hansen’s work on climate sensitivity as well as work by the Apollo-Gaia project on total Earth System sensitivity (ESS). Admittedly, the much higher levels of ESS play out over much longer periods but we may already have condemned future generations to intolerable temperatures and sea level rise.

    [Response: you have seen the problem right away. ESS is only relevant to the very long term change in CO2, not the value today, or in 2050. We could have a huge overshoot and then come back down by 2300 and few of the additional effects will have made themselves felt (not that I would recommend that course of action). More specifically, the SPM is very focussed on the relatively near term, and is broadly correct, Wasdell’s piece is neither. – gavin]

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 24 Feb 2014 @ 3:48 AM

  347. On a totally different note, I recently discovered a new paper by David Wasdell. I would usually ignore it, but Wasdell seems to be widely quoted by non-scientists. He argues for a Earth System Sensitivity of 7,8°C, amongst other things, and that the IPCC AR5 is heavily underestimating current climate change. He argues that there is about no Carbon-budget left to avoid a 2°C temperature increase. However, He gives no real references in the end, but, as a non-expert, I am highly skeptical about his conclusions, as he is not a scientist and has made some weird claims in the past, as has been discussed here I think. Here is a link, for those interested:

    Comment by Patrick Flege — 24 Feb 2014 @ 6:34 AM

  348. From David Wasdel’s latest:

    >>The temperature response to the proposed ceiling of allowed carbon emissions is 5.4°C, not the 2°C indicated in the SPM.

    >>The temperature response to the current set of emission-reduction pledges is c. 10°C, not c. 4°C as indicated in the SPM.

    >>The temperature response to which we are already committed at the present level of cumulative carbon emission is 3.9°C (+ effect of non-CO2 GHG emissions) not 1.5°C implied in the SPM

    >>The budget of c. 300GtC of available carbon emission before breaching the 2°C policy target is seen to be an illusion. In reality the carbon account is already overdrawn by c. 288GtC.

    >>All the above figures should be treated as conservative underestimates as we move from the stable conditions of the Holocene into the far-from-equilibrium, rapid change and enhanced sensitivity of the Anthropocene.

    >>Recognition of the sensitivity of global climate dynamics to small changes in average surface temperature implies that the degree of safety assumed in the policy target of limiting increase to no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial value, is a delusion.

    >>Avoiding dangerous climate change is no longer possible. Limiting its intensity requires restriction of the target temperature increase to no more than 1°C.

    >>Achieving that goal requires reduction in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gasses to around 310 ppm of CO2e (from the current value of some 450 ppm CO2e).

    On these grounds the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC AR5 WG1 should be rejected as not fit for the purpose of policy-making. It is a compromise between what is scientifically necessary and what is deemed to be politically and economically feasible. It is a document of appeasement, in active collusion with the global addiction to fossil sources of energy.

    Comment by wili — 24 Feb 2014 @ 6:55 AM

  349. Hank, it appears as if methane created in bio-reactors is less energy incentive and more energy efficient than driving around in the country side and polluting ground and drinking water or pay people for drilling rights.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 24 Feb 2014 @ 7:57 AM

  350. Dear Gavin,

    Good to see your response to Tony Weddle. I had the same thoughts as you, as ESS refers to processes that take place over centuries and millenia. I am confused why Wasdell does not seem to grasp the difference in time-scales with regards to the 2°C target and eventual, long-term temperature changes. Or, apparently, he does not care for the temporal aspects regarding Hansen et al’s work (or others), and ignores it on purpose.

    Your effort (and that of the other mods) is the reason I always come back here.

    Anyway, does anyone have good information on estimates of ESS? I am familiar with Hansens work, and Lunt et al (2010), but I would also be interested in more recent estimates (not that the previous ones are wrong imo, it is just good to have a variety of data available).

    Comment by Patrick Flege — 24 Feb 2014 @ 9:37 AM

  351. > 346, 347, 348
    (three new posts by three different people re Wasdell paper).

    Gavin’s inline reply at 346 answers all of them.

    > 349, bio-reactors

    Redoing sewage handling worldwide is a major challenge.
    Our sewage is contaminated with persistent organic chemicals, endocrine disruptors, pha rma ceuticals, and heavy metals. I know people working at university programs are wrestling with those issues.

    By contrast, the fossil fuels coming out of the ground formed from entirely pure, naturally occurring ingredients :-)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2014 @ 11:25 AM

  352. Re Walter’s comment #201 is very confusing, he added keywords(wrong interpretation) into quotes of the IPCC report from 1990.

    IPCC 1990 “A reduction in mid-latitude synoptic variability might be expected as a result of the reduction in the equator to-pole temperature gradient at low levels (Figure 5 2)”

    Walter’s version: “A reduction in mid-latitude synoptic variability might be expected as a result of the reduction in the equator-to-pole temperature gradient (polar vortex system) at low levels” – See more at:

    Comment by prokaryotes — 24 Feb 2014 @ 3:50 PM

  353. It’s important to check what people claim are quotations.
    It’s surprising how often they aren’t.

    Sometimes they don’t know how to use quotation marks.
    Sometimes they are relying on memory instead of checking sources.
    Sometimes they make stuff up.

    After checking a while you get a feel for someone’s reliability.

    Search indicates that same thing is found at least two places?
    Google the whole string inquotes, or just this:

    “(polar vortex system) at low levels”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2014 @ 5:46 PM

  354. > fossil fuels

    PS, prepare for a wave of newbies who’ve just discovered the “abiotic oil” notion, thanks to some far right believers.

    Rachel Maddow described this:

    … when Republican Governor Pat McCrory in North Carolina needed somebody to be in charge of the most scientifically intensive of all state agencies, protecting the natural resources of North Carolina, he found somebody who apparently believes the “World Net Daily” conspiracy theory.

    A conspiracy theory like this obviously has some appeal, right?

    There`s a reason that some people would want to believe this. When John Skvarla first made those comments in that TV interview the day before he took office in North Carolina, the alt weekly, which is called “Indy Week” in the research triangle area in North Carolina, they reacted with some alarm to learning this was the guy who was going to be in charge of environmental issues for the state.

    They listen to his interview and then they took the claims to a retired geology professor from UNC, to ask if this theory about new oil being made every day has any scientific credence whatsoever. The professor told “Indy Week”, no, the theory is, quote, in his words,

    “another idea that conservatives have latched on to as a way to denying that there`s any limitation that the earth places on the way we live.”

    They also noted part of the reason this theory has some appeal is if you think that the earth is not very old.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2014 @ 6:11 PM

  355. I’m surprised that there’s not been a post regarding the WSJ commentary by McNider and Christy.
    Why Kerry Is Flat Wrong on Climate Change

    McNider and Christy present a graph showing temperature vs. model results. This graph appears similar to one presented by Roy Spencer in his written testimony before the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last July. Here’s the LINK to Spencer’s written comments, showing this graph as Figure 2.

    Spencer claimed the graph shows Middle Troposphere data, probably the UAH TMT averaged with the RSS version of the same, both data sets based on the MSU channel 2 measurements. These data are known to include strong influence from the stratosphere in addition to that from the troposphere and was the main reason given by Spencer and Christy for the introduction of their lower troposphere (now called TLT) product back in 1992. As a result of the stratospheric influence, the MT graph shows much less warming compared to that found in other data sets for the troposphere or surface. Spencer obviously knows this, which indicates that he intended to deceive the US Senate with this presentation, IMHO.

    It’s clear that McNider and Christy have perpetuated this deception by repeating the presentation of this graphical data. McNider and Christy didn’t mention that Spencer’s graph was limited to tropical latitudes between 20S and 20N, so the unaware might assume that the graph represented the entire Earth. Worse, McNider and Christy shifted the so-called “model” curve above the satellite data curve, which results in a visual impression of greater difference between the two. The WSJ op-ed was immediately pointed to by Charles Krauthammer in his latest opinion piece on the Washington Post late Thursday (The myth of ‘settled science’), spreading the disinformation to a much wider audience. The WSJ was clearly complicit in this deception, allowing the McNider and Christy piece to appear without the usual paywall that surrounds most of the WSJ site so that individuals reading Kruathammer’s commentary could link directly to the WSJ post. I suggest that these actions are just another example of the well known saying from pre-World War II Germany: “A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”. As we are now entering another election cycle, I expect to see more of this sort of disinformation spread far and wide.

    Given the ongoing concerns regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and EPA’s proposals to regulate CO2 emissions, many sectors of the US economy, such as the fossil fuel and electric power industries would likely be impacted and sending the wrong signal to the public would likely result in imprudent investments. Presenting false and deceptive information is considered a fraud in some legal situations, particularly regarding securities. For a group of individuals to do this represents conspiracy to commit fraud, which is also a crime in the US. One can only wish that these denialist be brought before a court of law to face whatever justice is applicable…

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 24 Feb 2014 @ 8:18 PM

  356. “346, 347, 348
    (three new posts by three different people re Wasdell paper).

    Gavin’s inline reply at 346 answers all of them.”

    It would be more helpful if we were informed exactly how and where Wasdell is wrong so we could go on to explain that to others who post his stuff on other sites. Any pointers would be most appreciated.

    Comment by wili — 24 Feb 2014 @ 8:57 PM

  357. > if we were informed exactly …
    > we could go on to explain that to others

    Provide a pointer to the Inline Response

    Then you don’t need to be the intermediary.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Feb 2014 @ 10:25 PM

  358. Thanks for the reply, Gavin. However, you said that Wasdell’s piece is not “broadly correct”. Can you expand on that? Is his figure for an ESS (PDF) incorrect? Even if it is, the paper I linked to is also scary using Hansen’s estimate of climate sensitivity? Is that incorrect, or is Wasdell’s use of it incorrect?

    If it’s just a matter of timing, it’s hard to justify Patrick Flege’s (and, perhaps, your) dismissal of it. Do future generations not count, provided current generations are long gone by the time the effect of our actions are fully borne out?

    [Response: the issue is that current emission paths are usefully predictive of 2100. They are much less so for 2500 or later. – gavin]

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 24 Feb 2014 @ 10:43 PM

  359. Hank @353:

    It’s important to check what people claim are quotations.

    This includes in scientific papers – in the days when I reviewed papers I’d check as many references as I could easily locate and a surprisingly high number were wrong. This ranged from a minor error in the author’s name or the title to claims about topics that were absent from the supposed source. I even had one author who quoted himself as finding the opposite from what his paper actually said. Some authors were spot on with all their citations, but I recall one who got 12 out of 13 references wrong (I rejected the paper – who knows how many errors were made in collecting and collating the data). If any quotation or reference is unexpected, check the original.

    Comment by Richard Simons — 25 Feb 2014 @ 12:20 AM

  360. I am going into withdrawal here without the Model update, know you are busy but hope that it is soon, we need the ammo

    Comment by john byatt — 25 Feb 2014 @ 12:50 AM

  361. Some bedrock maps of Greenland based on the new Bamber data


    Comment by sidd — 25 Feb 2014 @ 1:16 AM

  362. Gavin, that is true (re RCPs being helpful for decadal projections not so much for projections centuries hence). So are you saying that we can’t know much about the ultimate ESS for CO2 concentrations we’re seeing now? Because this is the issue – Wasdell thinks that for Hansen’s sensitivity and ESS, the levels of CO2 (and other GHGs) we have now pretty much preclude any further carbon budget to keep within the arbitrary 2C limit (except Hansen’s sensitivity allows a tiny budget). Given these more likely (?) climate sensitivities, it shouldn’t ultimately matter whether dangerous climate change occurs in 2200, 2300 or 2400 because of our actions now; surely we should care about what we leave for future generations?

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 25 Feb 2014 @ 1:59 AM


    In this article, study co-author Samuel Bowring talks about the end-Permian timeline study linked at #293 and #320. The article says the next step is to see how the timeline of the extinctions compares to the timeline of the Siberian Traps eruptions. Geochronologist Bowring says, “We are slowly spiraling in on the truth.”

    Comment by patrick — 25 Feb 2014 @ 2:35 AM

  364. Correction: Bowring says, ““You can think of it as slowly spiraling in toward the truth.”

    Comment by patrick — 25 Feb 2014 @ 2:42 AM

  365. Tony,

    I fear you misunderstand me. I do agree that ESS is larger in the long term. However this is not a new finding, and does in no way negate the possibility to stay below 2°C. My beef with Wasdell is that he consistently claims to be ahead of mainstream science, yet his conclusions are often nothing to be surprised about.

    But I won’t repeat, as a layman, what Gavin has already said. IPCC projections are useful for around 2100. That is correct.

    I do not dismiss the risk and dangers associated with a, possibly high, ESS. However, one does need to take into account the temporal differences. Wasdell simply ignores them in order to proliferate himself.

    Comment by Patrick Flege — 25 Feb 2014 @ 4:07 AM

  366. A climate scientist has commented on Wasdell’s paper.

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 25 Feb 2014 @ 5:03 AM

  367. @#365 “consistently claims to be ahead of mainstream science” I’ve never heard him make such a claim. Did I miss something?

    Comment by wili — 25 Feb 2014 @ 10:26 AM

  368. > A climate scientist has commented

    He’s a fire ecologist; he has been actively publishing (interesting work, too) — look him up on Scholar.

    He gave the prepper bloggers there a decent explanation of the problems with Wasdell, I’d agree.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2014 @ 11:24 AM

  369. Tony Weddle/Wili #346, #348,

    Wasdell’s Bottom Line is correct, even though his approach can be questioned. We have run out of carbon budget, and are in substantial carbon debt. In the thread “If you see something, say something” (IYSSSS), #291, I use a different approach to identify the temperature target ceilings for avoiding the climate Apocalypse, and come to the above conclusion. In IYSSSS #511, I present the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that, if implemented, would provide a reasonable chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. It starts with the temperature ceilings from IYSSSS #291, and then outlines a policy/strategy as a basis for action. The actions required are not pleasant, but neither are the prospects for our survival if these harsh actions are not taken.

    If your doctor says that high-dose chemo is the only way to save your life, then ‘take two asspirin and call me in the morning’ won’t do. In our case, the patient, the biosphere, is extremely ill. The plan I have presented in IYSSSS #511 is the high-dose chemo, and we have most of it available today. Like any chemo treatment, there are no guarantees; there is only maximization of chances of survival. All other ‘proposals’ I have seen presented (e.g. IYSSSS #373) are ‘take two asspirin and call me in the morning’. Their contribution to avoiding the climate Apocalypse parallels the contribution of errectile dyssfunction to good sex!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 25 Feb 2014 @ 11:40 AM

  370. ps, the whole huge thread there is worth reviewing, as Dr. Cochrane writes earlier there:

    “I had the opportunity this week to speak to our local city council about how climate change is impacting us here. It took 8 months to wend through the local politics to get on the docket but we managed….
    … continuing to plug away. I live in a very ‘red’ state but I’ve kept the politics out of the climate change discussions and I’ve been trying to educate people through editorials in the local paper for years. One thing we are doing though is trying to place the conversation here in town in terms of improved resiliency. Hopefully something everyone can agree on.”

    Good sense there.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2014 @ 12:03 PM

  371. Re patrick, interesting, there is also evidence for volcanism as a precursor for the PETM.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 25 Feb 2014 @ 1:13 PM

  372. In my little corner of the internet the ‘pause’ is still the new talking point and now some people are claiming that “AGW models all overestimate the amount of warming we were supposed to have by now.”

    Can someone please give me a better response than my layperson understanding can come up with. Thanks in advance.

    Comment by freemike — 25 Feb 2014 @ 1:28 PM

  373. Mainstream media waking up?

    In South Florida: Rising Seas Sinking In

    CNN: Why Are We Still Debating Climate Change?

    Comment by prokaryotes — 25 Feb 2014 @ 2:10 PM

  374. Sidd, is it ok if i upload that video to yt?

    Comment by prokaryotes — 25 Feb 2014 @ 2:22 PM

  375. #363–patrick, thanks. I’ve added a brief note about the paper as an update to my “Five Degrees” summary, here:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Feb 2014 @ 3:44 PM

  376. Eric@355 I didn’t understand the y axis in the plot in Christy’s wsj piece. Could you or anyone else explain it?

    Comment by Hal Juul — 25 Feb 2014 @ 5:48 PM

  377. Mr. prokaryotes asked if he might upload a video I created from the Bamber(2013) data to yt (I presume that means

    I thank him for the offer, but I must decline. I do not want any of my content republished on youtube, or any large content aggregator. The reasons are not germane to this forum.

    As for small content aggregators, or if someone wants to reproduce my pages/images/video/audio/3dholodeck recordings for other than private use, I’d like them to ask permission first, as Mr. prokaryotes was kind enough to do. (Not that my desires will stop the unscruplous from appropriating content.)

    An email address that eventually gets to me is not hard to find if you dig a bit. If anyone is having trouble getting the video, I recommend the coral cache, thus×50.mp4

    is the coral cache version of×50.mp4

    stills and other links are at


    Comment by sidd — 25 Feb 2014 @ 6:56 PM

  378. Tony, re not knowing much with confidence about the course of events past 2100 —

    Amateur perspective: do you read GRL? Browsing the abstracts every week turns up new possible events with uncertain outcomes about and for climate.

    You can rule out slow calm beneficial climate changes, it seems.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2014 @ 7:18 PM

  379. Not sure why folks would be concerned about the climate in 22 or 2300 when the climate today indicates the immediate future, even the lifetimes of the oldtimers here, may be untenable soon. We do know things need to change, but apparently we’re going to await the changes that “natural variations” force upon us. Maybe chisel an apology on a stone [that’d be hard copy] to leave for your great-grandchildren in case digital or paper messages don’t weather the storms. :)

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2014 @ 7:38 PM

  380. Gavin.
    I can think of two potential objections to Wasdell.

    The first is that he may be leaving out or underestimating the amount of atmospheric CO2 that will be redistribured to other earth CO2 reservoirs -particularly the oceans, and thus he is applying the sensitivity to an injection of CO2, which will significantly decline over time.

    The second is just the difficulty of modeling the systems (including human inputs) over multicentury timescales.

    Care to elicidate further?

    [Response: That is a good point, and is indeed part of the difficulty in assessing any CO2 trajectory or level out a couple of centuries or two. – gavin]

    Comment by Thomas — 25 Feb 2014 @ 9:58 PM

  381. Hank, thanks for the tip of scanning GRL. I will.

    Regarding long term outcomes, I tend to agree with flxible that even short term outcomes don’t look good but it seems to me that Wasdell is at least showing that if the international community wants to avoid 2C (because of some arbitrary idea of where dangerous climate change will kick in, agreed on years ago) then it can’t do it without removing atmospheric greenhouse gases and so any notion that some emissions reduction agreement can do the trick are delusions. If only the next 86 years are important, however, then a different argument ensues.

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 25 Feb 2014 @ 10:51 PM

  382. @barry, re #140

    Barry, I have saved 78 different articles from many sources that cover the story of Dr. Charles Monnett, see here:

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 26 Feb 2014 @ 2:29 AM

  383. Re- Comment by freemike — 25 Feb 2014 @ 1:28 PM

    See here-

    Keep in mind that the denial hobby and its enthusiasts find scientific evidence easy to refute based on their simplistic belief system.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 26 Feb 2014 @ 11:27 AM

  384. > If only the next 86 years are important

    Nobody has made any such argument.

    Tony, the climate scientists will be delighted to run multiple scenarios over longer time spans. A model generates a range of possibilities. Each run takes a lot of computer time and money.

    You’ve probably heard the story about planning large computation-intensive projects: you can either

    1) buy today’s hardware, build a computer center, and run for five years, with a large staff, or
    2) take the same amount of money, go to Bermuda for four years to party, then spend what’s left over on a fast computer and do the same project in one year on your desktop.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2014 @ 11:47 AM

  385. freemike (# 372)– Your query raises two rather distinct topics: a) the “pause,” and b) the “models running cool”. Both have received much attention, if you are not in deep yet, with the development of your interest. I have been a devout warmist for decades, but with long gaps in my attention to the literature. In these past couple years, I am struck by the greatly enhanced attention being devoted to a far more thoroughly instrumented Pacific Ocean. I hope that we may well be nearing the brink of having within humanity’s grasp, not only strong inferences about the recent, relative decadal reduction in the rate of surface warming (compared with the final quarter of Century 20), but also with a more compelling story about the true pause which stretched across the middle of that century. Many keyposts at RC across the past year address a declining proportion of the radiative imbalance which may be flowing to the surface and air, compared with a Pacific which has been more prone to ENSO behavior characterized by fewer and less intense El Ninos, or a protracted quasi-La Nina bias. To which the minimalists respond, “yeah, and the dog ate my homework”. Or, “well, if the Pacific sucks up the excess energy, it is thereby no big problem”. These are subjects of deep technical complexity, at the edges of what an immense expenditure of extraordinary mental talent, has yet to securely win over to the known realm.

    The first of the concerns you raise however, results from an altogether different source. Namely, the “pause” arises from a deliberate and egregious distortion of elementary statistical methods long since known and routinely practiced, for interpreting intrinsically noisy data, such as that exhibited by our thermometer record. This false claim then, is endlessly repeated. And that practice cannot be remedied by esoteric science, but rather by a vigilant citizenship which talks common sense rejoinders to the common man.

    Commenter Swanson above (# 355) mentions a few of the usual suspects: Roy Spencer, Charles Krauthammer, and Paul Gigot at the WSJ editorial page. I have made a practice of frequently challenging their references to the “pause” wherever and whenever I encounter them, and will dig up a recent example, momentarily. I think it might be helpful if we members of the choir could share, critique, encourage and improve upon each others efforts along such lines.

    Comment by Dave Peters — 26 Feb 2014 @ 1:06 PM

  386. freemike (# 372) -– Here is my retort to the “pause claim” made by Fred Singer, which I encountered somewhere on Real Clear Politics within the past few months:

    In the single year beginning September 1, 1997, and ending on August 31, 1998, the Pacific Ocean disgorged a huge amount of stored-up energy. The heat from that unprecedented El Nino, possibly assisted by far smaller variations elsewhere, was sufficient to elevate the temperature of the world’s near surface air by 0.55 Fahrenheit degrees, compared with the preceding twelve months. [from HadCRUT4]

    We are now confident that the world cooled for many centuries, before it assuredly stopped cooling, and began warming, several years into the 20th century. In the 104 years which have elapsed between 2011 (our latest central year of the 5-yr. running average), and 1907 (the year, very broadly averaged, when multi-century cooling bottomed, and Global Warming began), the annual incremental warming has averaged 1.57 hundredths degree F. [from GISS]

    In those twelve months therefore, we added 35 year’s worth of normal heat gain [0.546 / 0.0157 = 34.7]. When Mr. Singer (or similarly, the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Paul Gigot, John Stossel, or Michael Barone) steps upon that needle point, to assert that the Earth’s behavior since 1998 has exhibited no warming, one might fairly respond: why don’t you get back to us on that in August of, say, 2032?

    Comment by Dave Peters — 26 Feb 2014 @ 1:38 PM

  387. Journal of Climate . Jan2014, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p285-299. 15p.
    Fast and Slow Responses to Global Warming: Sea Surface Temperature and Precipitation Patterns.

    an attempt to post a link to the abstract triggers the spam filter; ‘oogle it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2014 @ 3:49 PM


    Thoughts on Abrupt Climate Change, As In 30 Years, not 100
    — February 20, 2014

    University of Colorado Professor Jim White offers examples in the individual and corporate sectors of impacts that could be felt as a result of abrupt climate change. (Video)

    … White explains in a new two-minute Yale Forum video interview that he was approached by a supplier of major air conditioning systems for companies on the scale of Microsoft and Google with the question, “What’s the average high temperatures going to be 40 years from now.”

    He explained that customers want to write-off such capital investments over four decades, but if they build for average high temperatures reached over a shorter period … trouble city.

    “They need to buy oversized for today so they can adapt to tomorrow.”

    Independent videographer Peter Sinclair recorded White, along with a number of other climate scientists during the December meeting of the American Geographical Union in San Francisco, Ca. White was the chair of a recent National Research Council report on abrupt climate change.

    (Actually, they need to build different buildings, not over-buy A/C.

    I recently heard an architect comment (KQED’s radio locally) that how nuts it is to be build thick highly insulated cool-white or green-planted-roofs on buildings in Sacramento — that he could accomplish the same result by having big trees shading ordinary shingled roofs.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2014 @ 5:23 PM

  389. Flxible wrote “Not sure why folks would be concerned about the climate in 22 or 2300 when the climate today indicates the immediate future, even the lifetimes of the oldtimers here, may be untenable soon.”

    What time frame do you associate with soon?

    Comment by Peter Brunson — 26 Feb 2014 @ 6:52 PM

  390. @Hank, #387

    Fast and Slow Responses to Global Warming: Sea Surface Temperature and Precipitation Patterns The deep ocean warming retards the surface warming in the fast response but turns into a forcing for the slow response. As a result, the fast and slow responses are nearly opposite to each other in spatial pattern, especially over the subpolar North Atlantic/Southern Ocean regions of the deep-water/bottom-water formation, and in the interhemispheric SST gradient between the southern and northern subtropics. Wind–evaporation–SST feedback is an additional mechanism for the SST pattern formation in the tropics.

    Analyses of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) multimodel ensemble of global warming simulations confirm the validity of the diagnostic method that separates the fast and slow responses. Tropical annual rainfall change follows the SST warming pattern in both the fast and slow responses in CMIP5, increasing where the SST increase exceeds the tropical mean warming.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 26 Feb 2014 @ 10:28 PM

  391. Peter Brunson: “What time frame do you associate with soon?”

    “… the immediate future, even the lifetimes of the oldtimers here …” …. isn’t clear?

    As one of the ‘old timers’, I’m not too concerned with the climate, globally or locally, 80-90 years from now, why would I be interested in it 1-200 years hence? Why would you be interested in it? Concern for a hypothetical ’10th’ generation? What concerns me is the immediate future, which isn’t looking too rosy, particularly for any major change to “BAU”. Speculation about the far future is pointless when we have such an poor understanding of the present, particularly concerning the details of climate, but what we should know is that your immediate children [if you have such, I don’t], will not find the planet as comfortable as it has been. OTOH, this is a climate site, so speculation about unknowns isn’t entirely out of place. :)

    Comment by flxible — 26 Feb 2014 @ 10:36 PM

  392. Climate change: No warming hiatus for extreme hot temperatures

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Feb 2014 @ 11:23 PM

  393. Hank Roberts @388,
    “I recently heard an architect comment (KQED’s radio locally) that how nuts it is to be build thick highly insulated cool-white or green-planted-roofs on buildings in Sacramento — that he could accomplish the same result by having big trees shading ordinary shingled roofs.)”

    No, it’s not nuts… It’s downright STUPID!! Though a bit ironic that it was a statement from an architect >;-)
    Apparently there is a least one smart architect left in the world…
    Distinguished Lecturer Series: Building Science
    Dr. Joseph Lstiburek


    Comment by Fred Magyar — 27 Feb 2014 @ 6:32 AM

  394. As one of the ‘old timers’, I’m not too concerned with the climate, globally or locally, 80-90 years from now, why would I be interested in it 1-200 years hence?

    Because that’s how long it takes. Why think 200 years ahead?

    Because I’m not smart enough to work on plans that take _less_ time.

    “Plant just one tree. Love, Ma” — someone used to buy that as a classified ad in the old CoEvolution Quarterly, year after year.

    Good idea.

    Everybody needs a hobby.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2014 @ 7:39 AM

  395. Lstiburek is wonderful. Everyone should know about this guy.

    “they’re old books. That involves asking a librarian to get them. That involves a social interaction. That’s why younger engineers don’t get them.”

    He starts into green roofs at 32:30, and the fundamental building science that’s known but that nobody gets taught around 37:00.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2014 @ 10:36 AM

  396. #385 – Dave Peters – Yeah, that old “pause” thingy. Funny thing, those folks who rant about the so-called “pause” don’t want to talk about the low solar activity during the last solar cycle, even though a few years ago these same guys probably claimed that the world was heading into another Maunder Minimum cold period. Also, not one of them wants to talk about the massive increase in coal burning in China and India over the past 20 years, the result being a major increase in SO2 emissions. Also, the rapid economic growth has also resulted in large increases in diesel emissions, thus more “black carbon” particulate air pollution from both countries. That Asian Brown Cloud keeps growing larger each year, which one might expect to have an impact on weather, that is, if one were interested in a truthful presentation.

    Comment by Eric Swanson — 27 Feb 2014 @ 10:47 AM

  397. “If we cannot distill complex science into plain English, the failure is ours.”–Dr. Ben Santer, about a half hour ago.

    Climate Change: Evidence & Causes, NAS & the Royal Society event & publication:

    Comment by patrick — 27 Feb 2014 @ 11:20 AM

  398. As for not building light, well-insulated roofs because they can be shaded by large trees,

    That’s true, but short-sighted. What happens when drought, flood, violent wind, ice storms, salt, or a disease kills the tree large tree? What about new houses that won’t be shaded by just-planted trees for a decade or three? What about using the roof-top for solar panels?

    It doesn’t seem stupid to me to have a light, well-insulated roof at all.

    Comment by David Miller — 27 Feb 2014 @ 11:50 AM

  399. The Berkeley BEST Land+Ocean temperature series is available to supplement the Land-only previous analysis.

    Any opinions whether they have made a mistake in the analysis by using the SST data model from Hadley rather than that of NOAA? To me, it looks like HadSST has been overly tampered with by questionable correction algorithms, especially post WWII.

    So, after all that work, all they have done is recreate HadCRUT4. I suspect that they would have recreated GISS GISTEMP loti if they replaced HadSST with NOAA’s ERSST.

    GISS is still the BEST, imo.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 27 Feb 2014 @ 12:11 PM

  400. Hank Roberts wrote: “I recently heard an architect comment (KQED’s radio locally) that how nuts it is to be build thick highly insulated cool-white or green-planted-roofs on buildings in Sacramento — that he could accomplish the same result by having big trees shading ordinary shingled roofs.”

    What “same result”?

    A recent study found that the results of white roofs and green-planted roofs are quite different:

    Looking strictly at the economic costs and benefits of three different roof types — black, white and “green” (or vegetated) — Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have found in a new study that white roofs are the most cost-effective over a 50-year time span …

    A green roof, often called vegetated roofs or rooftop gardens, has become an increasingly popular choice for aesthetic and environmental reasons … For example rooftop gardens provide stormwater management, an appreciable benefit in cities with sewage overflow issues, while helping to cool the roof’s surface as well as the air …

    However, unlike white roofs, green roofs do not offset climate change. White roofs are more reflective than green roofs, reflecting roughly three times more sunlight back into the atmosphere and therefore absorbing less sunlight at earth’s surface. By absorbing less sunlight than either green or black roofs, white roofs offset a portion of the warming effect from greenhouse gas emissions …

    Both white and green roofs do a good job at cooling the building and cooling the air in the city, but white roofs are three times more effective at countering climate change than green roofs.

    I would ask that architect on the radio where he would plant those “big trees” that can shade the entire roof of a commercial building, in the middle of a densely built-up urban environment?

    And how long would it take those trees to grow big enough to shade the entire roof of a commercial building? Perhaps it would take as long to grow them as the entire 50-year life span of an inexpensive highly-reflective white roof that could be installed in a matter of days?

    I’m all for planting more trees. LOTS more trees, including in urban areas wherever possible. But it seems there are cheaper and faster ways to address the problem of black roofs (which the Berkeley Lab study found post a significant public health risk — “In Chicago’s July 1995 heat wave a major risk factor in mortality was living on the top floor of a building with a black roof”).

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Feb 2014 @ 3:11 PM

  401. SA, “Same result” for that architect meant satisfying LEED criteria, which can be done in several ways:

    The new LEED v4 rating system transforms how building products are specified

    I’m not defending it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2014 @ 6:51 PM

  402. Link failed: use this:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2014 @ 6:54 PM

  403. PS: “white roof” refers to reflecting visible light.
    “Cool roof” doesn’t have to mean white:
    (that’s about 8 years old, but I haven’t seen an update)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Feb 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  404. On the sunshine coast in SE QLD white roofs are just about black within six to twelve months and not even rain removes it, seems to be a mould or something, very few actually scrub it off

    Comment by john byatt — 28 Feb 2014 @ 4:28 AM

  405. The first 2014 hourly average CO2 readings above 400ppm reported at Mauna Loa by Scripps Institute for the 26th February.
    For about the last 8 weeks CO2 levels have been a bit flat. Oh my God!! Another “hiatus”!! That’s another one UN IPCC have failed to predict!!! If this run of hiatii keeps going, it could become statistically significant in, what, half a Gs or so.

    Comment by MARodger — 28 Feb 2014 @ 10:33 AM


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2014 @ 1:21 PM

  407. Perhaps of interest:

    Comment by Dave Peters — 28 Feb 2014 @ 1:32 PM

  408. Worth reading in full (from Reddit)

    excerpt follows:

    … These climate change scientists do climate science for a living. Surprise! Articles. Presentations. Workshops. Conferences. Staying late for science. Working on the weekends for science. All of those crappy holidays like Presidents’ Day? The ones you look forward to for that day off of work? Those aren’t holidays. Those are the days when the undergrads stay home and the scientists can work without distractions.

    Now take a second before you drop your knowledge bomb on this page and remind me again… What’s your day job? When was the last time you read through an entire scholarly article on climate change? How many climate change journals can you name? How many conferences have you attended? Have you ever had coffee or a beer with a group of colleagues who study climate change? Are you sick of these inane questions yet?

    I’m a scientist that studies how ecological systems respond to climate change. I would never presume to tell a climate scientist that their models are crap. I just don’t have the depth of knowledge to critically assess their work and point out their flaws. And that’s fair, because they don’t have the depth of knowledge in my area to point out my flaws. Yet, here we are, with deniers and apologists with orders of magnitude less scientific expertise, attempting to argue about climate change.
    I mean, there’s so much nonsense here just from the ecology side of things

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Feb 2014 @ 10:31 PM

  409. #407–Thanks. Dave.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 1 Mar 2014 @ 5:44 AM

  410. “The most troubling aspect of the Keystone pipeline is that,” he says, “it’s an encouragement to use oil longer than we should.” Field says the fight over Keystone is largely symbolic but still important, because other countries are looking to the United States to lead on climate change.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 1 Mar 2014 @ 6:48 AM

  411. Tony Weddle/Wili #346, #348,

    Wasdell’s Bottom Line is correct, even though his approach can be questioned. We have run out of carbon budget, and are in substantial carbon debt.

    In the thread “If you see something, say something” (IYSSSS), #291, I use a different approach to identify the temperature target ceilings for avoiding the climate Apocalypse, and come to the above conclusion. In IYSSSS #511, I present the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that, if implemented, would provide a reasonable chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. It starts with the temperature ceilings from IYSSSS #291, and then outlines a policy/strategy as a basis for action. The actions required are not pleasant, but neither are the prospects for our survival if these harsh actions are not taken.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 1 Mar 2014 @ 8:34 AM

  412. The Dunning-Kruger effect is on display in the comments at Hank’s link:

    Thus an increase of carbon dioxide from 350 ppm (0.035%) to 400 ppm (0.04%) is not a significant change in the atmosphere (and not enough to have an effect on climate)


    The rational interpretation of current CO2 levels and temperature compared with the past is that the they aren’t nearly as closely related as computer models suggest. One can speculate endlessly like a taxi driver pretending he is lost as the meter continues to revolve.

    It still amazes me that deniers will flaunt their arrogant ignorance (“arrognorance”?) like that, in the faces of bona fide experts.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 1 Mar 2014 @ 8:49 AM

  413. This is probably worth a look, for those with paywall access:
    Science 14 February 2014:
    Vol. 343 no. 6172 p. 732
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1249069

    Books et al.

    Environmental Law
    The Case for a Public “Trust”

    mentioned in

    The relatively recent history of the public trust doctrine in US law is likely to interest those who like this sort of thing: ‘oogle it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2014 @ 11:30 AM

  414. Diogenese wrote: “We have run out of carbon budget, and are in substantial carbon debt.”

    This is something that everyone who has seriously looked at global warming has known and been saying for years.

    There is a reason that Bill McKibben named his organization “” and not “” when he founded it six years ago (when CO2 concentrations were around 385 ppm).

    As Hansen et al wrote that year:

    If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less … An initial 350 ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2 is captured, and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon. If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.

    Diogenese wrote: “I present the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that, if implemented, would provide a reasonable chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse … The actions required are not pleasant …”

    Whatever may be said about your February 9th comment, it is certainly not “the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs”, and indeed, it really offers nothing more than what Hansen et al recommended in one sentence in the abstract of their 2008 article: “phasing out coal use … and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon.”

    Again, pretty much everyone who has seriously considered the issue has understood for years (some of us for decades) that any solution must be built on the foundations of (1) eliminating fossil fuel use ASAP, necessarily focusing on the largest sources first (e.g. coal-fired electricity generation and oil-fueled ground transport) and (2) drawing down the already dangerous excess of CO2 with organic agriculture and reforestation.

    And of course, during recent years, numerous researchers like Marc Jacobson at Stanford, Amory Lovins and his colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the organic agriculture researchers at the Rodale Institute, have produced numerous detailed, documented — and in some cases peer-reviewed — plans for phasing out anthropogenic CO2 emissions and sequestering atmospheric carbon much more quickly, much more easily, and at much lower cost than most people realize can be done.

    Indeed, in many cases these plans would have large economic benefits and would enhance human well-being in other significant ways, so there is nothing at all “unpleasant” about them.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Mar 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  415. Interesting perspective:

    Debating the Value of Blog Comment Sections February 27, 2014 By Keith Humphreys

    I miss reading the insightful commenters who used to be able to respond to my blog posts, but on balance am very happy with my decision to close off comments on most of my posts. The result has been that I have more time to engage on Twitter with knowledgeable people. I also have time to look at emailed comments from readers, and thus far at least have been able to respond to every one that was civil and substantive. Last but not least, I like knowing that in blogging I am no longer providing a platform for the subset of people who comment out of hatred, ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. That’s a lot of upside for one click on the WordPress template.

    My suspicion is that in the long run, Twitter and whatever technologies succeeds it will supplant most blog comment sections as fora for interactions between bloggers and readers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2014 @ 12:54 PM

  416. @~412

    “It still amazes me that deniers will flaunt their arrogant ignorance (“arrognorance”?) like that, in the faces of bona fide experts.”

    OTOH if they didn’t flaunt like that, they wouldn’t so arrogant to begin with. They’ve been trained in this comforting and righteous virtue by an anti-intellectual, authoritarian culture which they will go down defending to the bitter end — because, you know, learning and changing you mind about something is weak, unprincipled, and just plain unpatriotic.

    If it were just a matter of D-K, the problem could be simply fixed by a little education. I rather think we need a major retooling.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 1 Mar 2014 @ 1:04 PM

  417. ASLR at neven’s blog posted a handy summary of recent advances in climate science that must be factored in when assessing estimates from AR5. Most of these have been discussed at some point here, but I thought it was handy to have them all presented and summarized together. I would be interested in any comments, corrections…Fuller references are available at the above mentioned site:,106.msg21064.html#msg21064

    “(a) Sherwood et al (2014) and Fasullo & Trenberth (2012) show that the most likely value for ECS is about 4.5 degrees C instead of the assumed mean value of 3 degrees C; therefore, you should multiply the old projections by a factor of about 1.5, due to the low amount of cloud cover near the equator.
    (b) Pistone et al. (2014) shows that the decrease in Arctic albedo (including land snow, sea ice and black carbon effects) beyond that previously assumed results in additional radiative forcing equal to ¼ of the CO₂ in the atmosphere.
    (c) Schuur & Abbott (2011) shows that the permafrost emits about 2% of its carbon emissions as methane instead of as CO₂ (as assumed by AVOID), and as over a one hundred year period, methane has a global warming potential at least 35 times that of CO₂, this means at least a 70% error in the carbon emissions from the permafrost degradation. See also Monday et al. (2014) and Isaksen et al. (2011).
    (d) Cowtan & Way (2013); England et al. (2014); Santer et al (2014); and Rosenfeld (2014); all provide solid evidence that the current mean global temperature has been masked by such causes as: limited data; the negative phase of the PDO cycle; volcanoes, and aerosols, respectively. Furthermore, once corrections are applied to the GCM projections to account for these masking mechanisms, one will find that the ECS is actually higher than previously assumed, which supports my points (a), (b) and (c).
    (e) Hansen et al. (2013) and Previdi (2013) show that the inclusion of slow-response feedback mechanisms can cause Earth Systems Sensitivity to be as high as 6 degrees C (while work such as Pistone et al. (2014) shows that the “slow response” feedback mechanisms are occurring very quickly).”

    Comment by wili — 1 Mar 2014 @ 2:12 PM

  418. Hank Roberts #408,

    Ah, yes, leave it to the experts! And, what do the climate experts tell us?

    “Does the [IPCC] report support recent claims that two-thirds of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground?

    This statement comes from the International Energy Agency (PDF). It’s based on the goal of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (global average) above preindustrial conditions, which has been the target of international climate talks. The IPCC report says that meeting the two degrees Celsius goal requires keeping the total amount of carbon we’ve emitted from rising above 800 gigatons or so. (The tally as of 2011 was roughly 530 gigatons.)”

    Not to worry; we have modest carbon budget left!

    In the thread “If you see something, say something” (IYSSSS), #291, I identify the temperature target ceilings for avoiding the climate Apocalypse. To have a 50/50 chance of achieving 2 C, Anderson requires a demand reduction of ~10% per year for a few decades. To have a 90/10 chance of staying within 2 C, Spratt quotes that we have run out of carbon budget. Both Anderson and McKibben state that 2 C is a political target; the scientific target is ~1 C. Hansen, in his recent Plos One article, states that 2 C would be a dangerous target, and we shouldn’t exceed 1.1-1.2 C. Now, if we have run out of carbon budget to have a 90/10 chance of staying within 2 C, what does that mean if we want to have a high chance, or even a reasonable chance, of staying within Hansen’s, and many other experts’, desired target of ~1 C? It means we have not only run out of carbon budget, but we have accumulated substantial carbon debt. And, how do we pay off this debt in the timely manner required to avoid the climate Apocalypse?

    In IYSSSS #511, I present the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that, if implemented, would provide a reasonable chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. It starts with the Hansen-derived temperature ceilings from IYSSSS #291, and then outlines a policy/strategy as a basis for action. The actions required are not pleasant, but neither are the prospects for our survival if these harsh actions are not taken. Furthermore, no one has shown with either simple or complex computations that the required targets can be achieved with high chances of success without the personal deprivations and hardships that my plan requires, and without the adverse global economic consequences that will follow in all likelihood.

    If you want to leave it to the ‘experts’, feel free, but what is required to avoid the climate Apocalypse with high or reasonable chances of success is far more than their report (or recommendations) suggests.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 1 Mar 2014 @ 4:01 PM

  419. Wili #417,

    The articles you have referenced show an increasingly dire situation. My climate change amelioration plan, designed to provide a reasonable chance of avoiding the climate Apocalypse, is based on data gathered prior to the publication of these articles. My plan, detailed in the thread “If you see something, say something” (IYSSSS), #511, requires severe personal deprivation and hardships, and almost assuredly very adverse global economic consequences. Your posts only increase the hardships required to make my plan effective. If you notice, there have been no critiques of my plan that contain numbers to the contrary. No surprise; the real-world numbers allow essentially one conclusion.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 1 Mar 2014 @ 6:10 PM

  420. > If you want to leave it to the ‘experts’, feel free

    Surrounded by straw men you are.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2014 @ 8:52 PM


    There is no issue more urgent than climate change, yet government, corporations, and the public are reluctant to change. This conference will examine the psychological factors, money and politics, and infrastructures that impede change as well as the difficult choices that must be made to foster urban resilience in the face of climate change.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2014 @ 9:10 PM

  422. People might be interested in seeing the UK Annual Average rainfall from 1910 to 2013.

    Comment by Chris Reynolds — 2 Mar 2014 @ 2:53 AM

  423. Re #418 – yes it is all dire warnings and those who pontificate on the advisory boundaries between science (reality) and politics (what we think is reality and reasonable) state that we still have a chance of avoiding 2C because otherwise how else can they approach it. Anderson’s recent talks and papers state that cutting emissions to avoid 2C is not really possible as we are locked in to our existing technologies (cars – 10 years, aircraft 30-50 years, power stations 50 years etc)and hence avoiding the 1 trillion tonne limit (if it is indeed that high) is now most unlikely.

    Only demand side technological change can over the next 10 years can help here. He suggests buying cars that to 60 mpg essentially and a few other things besides until supply side and deman side can make a difference but as far as he is concerned a 3-4C world is more likely than a 2C one due to the area under the curve and heroic assumptions made by economists that have no scientific merit.

    Comment by Pete Best — 2 Mar 2014 @ 6:13 AM

  424. Diogenes,
    Saying we are out of carbon budget is the equivalent of John Boehner saying the US is “broke”. It’s true, but not meaningful. It is not meaningful because the world is not going to stop on a dime and change its energy and industrial infrastructure. That is a process that will take decades, and it will take lots and lots of capital. That means energy, and that energy will be produced with current infrastructure at least for now. That does mean we are opening ourselves up to potentially severe consequences. That is the consequence of 30 years of political standstill. We are out of good options. We have to choose the least bad.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2014 @ 8:01 AM

  425. Re #421, Climate change is a trigger for evolution, hence it will bring change (rapid simplification (short time) -> extinctions (short/med time) -> new evolving species (long time)). Today we already have problems which originate from climate disruption and yet we do not prepare and stiluse oil to distinguish fire.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 2 Mar 2014 @ 12:03 PM

  426. Bill Nye: Invest In Clean Energy And Change The World

    Comment by prokaryotes — 2 Mar 2014 @ 12:40 PM

  427. Smart, thoughtful discussion, a while ago, with cites to sources:

    … Counterintuitively, even though global warming had ceased, some of the impacts of warming continued to worsen.

    These experiments, assuming an overnight apocalypse, are purely hypothetical. By definition, we’ll never be able to test their accuracy in the real world. However, as a lower bound for the expected impacts of our actions, the results are sobering.

    Posted in Science Lessons

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2014 @ 1:08 PM

  428. Ray Ladbury #424,

    “Saying we are out of carbon budget is the equivalent of John Boehner saying the US is “broke”. It’s true, but not meaningful.”

    Don’t agree; there is a major difference between running out of monetary budget and running out of carbon budget. At the individual, corporate, and national level, there are Safety Nets that have been instituted that allow people who have run out of monetary budget to maintain a modest semblance of a ‘normal’ lifestyle. In fact, as we saw in late 2008, for large enough corporations, more than a modest semblance!

    When we run out of carbon budget, there is no Safety Net. Any further carbon expenditure goes toward increasing carbon debt. This increased debt translates into reduced chances of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. Any plans or proposals that focus on substituting low carbon technology for high carbon technology without the parallel extremely harsh reductions in fossil energy demand are nothing more than recipes for reducing our chances of avoiding the climate Apocalypse. So, once we accept the reality that we have run out of carbon budget (as I have shown), then EVERY non-essential expenditure of fossil energy is one step closer to the climate Apocalypse. We have to tighten the belt on fossil energy expenditure until we can barely breathe; we have no other options if we want to avoid the climate Apocalypse!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 2 Mar 2014 @ 1:24 PM

  429. Diogenes wrote: “If you want to leave it to the ‘experts’, feel free”

    Thank you.

    I do value the views of those who have done decades of work on strategies, approaches and plans for rapidly ending GHG emissions and drawing down excess CO2, over the views of anonymous blog commenters who obviously have given little real thought or study to the issues involved.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Mar 2014 @ 1:59 PM

  430. Pete Best #423/ Ray Ladbury #424,

    What I have been trying to do is span the gamut from where I believe we are headed based on all the available evidence to what is theoretically possible if the citizens of this planet decided to work collectively. At one end of the spectrum, if we remain on the BAU path, and all available credible evidence implies that we will, the global climate models predict we will experience global mean temperature increases on the order of 5 C by the end of the century. This spells extinction for our species. If the major carbon feedbacks are included in these models, the time to reach these temperatures will be accelerated by perhaps a generation or more.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the self-consistent climate change amelioration plan I presented in IYSSSS #511 shows that it may be possible to avoid the climate Apocalypse if we do hard demand reduction on fossil-based energy until the transition to low carbon technology is complete. This requires major personal deprivation and economic dislocations. I don’t believe this level of hardship can be avoided.

    What are the likelihoods or chances of these options being pursued? I believe the likelihood of the BAU option is close to 100%, from all available evidence. I don’t believe the major reason is the infrastructure commitment, as Pete, Anderson, and others have suggested. If the citizens of this planet became serious about survival of our species (which they are not at present), they could ‘bite the bullet’ and replace that existing infrastructure with the low carbon equivalent; they have taken similar losses in wartime to save their countries. The major reason is that they presently are not motivated to elect the leaders who will direct such transformations. Electing the Tony Abbots and Stephen Harpers of the world, who openly support extracting every last gram of fossil fuel from the ground, does not show the commitment needed to effect the major transformations required.

    The likelihood of my plan in IYSSSS #511, or something similar, being implemented is about the same as my likelihood of winning the $500M PowerBall. The will is not there to endure such deprivation and hardships, and the major economic dislocations that will follow.

    What about intermediate options; Pete mentions Anderson believing 3-4 C is more realistic? A number of climate experts have made similar predictions; the question is whether we can stabilize at such temperatures, horrible though life at those levels may be. Hansen’s recent Plos One article summarizes the difference between aiming for 1 C vs 2 C, as follows:

    “However, distinctions between pathways aimed at ~1°C and 2°C warming are much greater and more fundamental than the numbers 1°C and 2°C themselves might suggest. These fundamental distinctions make scenarios with 2°C or more global warming far more dangerous; so dangerous, we suggest, THAT AIMING FOR THE 2°C PATHWAY WOULD BE FOOLHARDY.

    First, MOST CLIMATE SIMULATIONS….DO NOT INCLUDE SLOW FEEDBACKS such as reduction of ice sheet size with global warming or release of greenhouse gases from thawing tundra. These exclusions are reasonable for a ~1°C scenario, because global temperature barely rises out of the Holocene range and then begins to subside. In contrast, GLOBAL WARMING OF 2°C OR MORE IS LIKELY TO BRING SLOW FEEDBACKS INTO PLAY…..The lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 in the climate system is so long that it must be assumed that these SLOW FEEDBACKS WILL OCCUR IF TEMPERATURE RISES WELL ABOVE THE HOLOCENE RANGE…..with our ~1°C scenario it is more likely that the biosphere and soil will be able to sequester a substantial portion of the anthropogenic fossil fuel CO2 carbon than in the case of 2°C or more global warming…..With the stable climate of the ~1°C scenario it is plausible that major efforts in reforestation and improved agricultural practices, with appropriate support provided to developing countries, could take up an amount of carbon comparable to the 100 GtC in our ~1°C scenario. On the other hand, with warming of 2°C or more, CARBON CYCLE FEEDBACKS ARE EXPECTED TO LEAD TO SUBSTANTIAL ADDITIONAL ATMOSPHERIC CO2, perhaps even making the Amazon rainforest a source of CO2…..a scenario that slows and then reverses global warming makes it possible to reduce other greenhouse gases by reducing their sources. The most important of these gases is CH4.”

    My interpretation of his article is that when we get much past prior Holocene experience, we really don’t know what is going to happen, but the feedbacks have the potential to increase radically. If he has this problem with a 2 C target, one can only imagine the extent of the problem with 3 C or 4 C. So, in my view, ANY plan or proposal that doesn’t have a hard quantitative interim temperature ceiling target near ~1 C is a recipe for heading straight into the climate Apocalypse. For all practical purposes, targeting 3 C may be little different from targeting 5 C or 6 C. If the feedbacks do indeed kick in with a vengeance, as Hansen et al imply they might when going well past prior Holocene, targeting 3 C may buy us an extra generation or two, if that much.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 2 Mar 2014 @ 1:59 PM

  431. When y’all publish your 2013 update to model-observation comparisons, will you please show the spaghetti mass of skinny lines for individual model runs instead of the gray blob covering the range? I realize it will be more work, but the skinny lines make it easier for me to explain that the models do not project that the temperature to be as smooth as the ensemble mean, but that instead the models project the temperature to be jagged like each of the individual model runs.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 2 Mar 2014 @ 4:06 PM

  432. > the spaghetti mass of skinny lines for individual model runs

    That’s always helpful. I suspect many people don’t know or remember that’s how these things are worked out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2014 @ 6:27 PM

  433. These experiments, assuming an overnight apocalypse, are purely hypothetical. By definition, we’ll never be able to test their accuracy in the real world. – See more at:

    Nuclear winter is studied heavily, which could result in dramatic population decline. But then after a decade or longer the Nuclear summer kicks in – which would thwart the capabilities of natural ecosystems to cope when exposed to high levels of UV-C radiation. This would also increase the time greenhouse gasses would prolong in the atmosphere. And then we have the large climate inertia and possibly a higher climate sensitivity than previously thought. Earth energy balance needs to be restored, either naturally over many millenia or by human intervention (reforestation, carbon sequestration and the help of carbon negative technologies).

    Comment by prokaryotes — 3 Mar 2014 @ 1:57 AM

  434. SA (#414)
    One aspect of our being laggards, is seeing where other’s choices lead:

    Me, rather than the RMI “path”, I prefer the harder route taken by nearly carbonless France, forty years ago. Because it costs < 2/3rds the average of these peers, for household electricity: GB, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands & Denmark.,_second_half_2011_(1)

    Comment by Dave Peters — 3 Mar 2014 @ 3:30 AM

  435. Re #430 – the jury is out on long term feedbacks but as our emissions are at 2 ppmv per annum and earth has not experienced GHG emissions of this magnitude seldom, if ever then YES, it could definitely be a factor come the end of the century. Methane clathrates are once such possibility as the Arctic faster than just about anywhere else and more quickly then as permafrost warms up then volume increases of methane are to be expected but just how much of an increase is open to question. SO YES slow feedbacks may indeed warm us up some more than just our emissions alone but its a hard one to empirically nail down.

    Although I don’t disagree with your appraisal of the situation I would questions one of your assumptions. The notion of some collective humanity deciding that we can all wean ourselves off of FFs with or without some hardship to ourselves. I doubt human nature in various states of ignorance regarding the implications of ACC can make the world take the action you state we should. The reality of the situation is that with our present economic and political systems in place and PROSPERITY and PROGRESS being the watchwords of the system then taking a massive 10% per annum growth until 2050 only means that the very foundation of the post second WW system would not be sustainable and a new system needs to emergy which I am presuming is what you are suggesting?

    Yes we cant deny what you are saying really, its just the method of transitioning to this system that is in question. I would suggest that the USA for example has a priority list such as energy security, reliability and availability and hence the easiest method of eliminating ACC as a major threat to your way of life presently would be to get rid of coal as it will be the least difficult to do as technologies exist that can provide base load power with very low emissions. Gas and Oil and less easy to replace presently. CSP and Solar, Wind, Nuclear can replace coal globally. Then we can tackle gas and oil as they are going to be in short supply anyway come 2040-50. Eliminating coal wont be politically or economically easy though but with the right message and thinking it can be done.

    Hansen always states that the elimination of coal was the best bet

    Comment by pete best — 3 Mar 2014 @ 5:33 AM

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