Introducing RC forum

It’s clear that there is a need to have some posts and discussions that specifically deal with up-to-the-minute articles and issues that we don’t necessarily want to cover in our usual detail. This might be related to a recent op-ed which just repeats the same talking-points as usual, or pointers to good discussions on other sites. To that end, we are introducing a separate category of post, called “RC forum”, where we will post these more minor items. Hopefully, this will help make interesting comment threads, which now sometimes occur under completely unrelated posts, easier to find and reference. The big pieces will still appear on the front page and in the RSS and Google feeds but the RC forum pieces will not. Right now, a notification email is sent out for every post, but we could restrict this to main page items if needed. There is now a link on the top bar to the RC Forum page and recent comments on Forum pieces will appear on the sidebar. Please let us know if you think this is a good idea or if you have ideas to improve it.

112 comments on this post.
  1. pat neuman:

    I think doing RC will help. There are a few recent items in the news that are making people nervous.

    1) In the US, the avg temperature for the first six months of 2006 has been the warmest of record (1895-current) according to NOAA.

    2) The early season fires in California

    and in the BWCA of northeast MN.

    3) Britain Set For Record Temperatures As Heatwave Builds Over Europe

  2. pat neuman:

    I should have said “RC forum” … not just RC.

  3. Steven T. Corneliussen:

    Please tell me if I’m missing something here (and maybe I am).

    Today you posted an interesting discussion called “Itâ??s different in Europe,” which calls to mind — among other things — what I see as a particularly important posting from 18 Nov 2005, “The False Objectivity of ‘Balance'” ( and also postings like “Heat Rising at the Washington Post,” 4 April 2006 (

    In looking back at those discussions with an eye toward maybe trying to contribute to the new posting “It’s different in Europe,” I seem to find that you are segregating and de-emphasizing an entire category of threads which you will now call “RC Forum” — but which I gather will be less visible to, and less findable by, the very nonscientists who most need your site.

    And here I thought the new posting about climate-science news coverage in Europe was a very big deal.

    Now, I do get it that the interview in the new posting goes over things that have been discussed in principle before. I gather that that’s closely related to what you mean with the sentence above that refers to “recent op-ed[s] which just [repeat] the same talking-points as usual… .” Fair enough; I admit that repetition of the same old thing can be a problem.

    But I also assert that ultimately RC’s task in the world is a political one, not a scientific one, and that it’s unrealistic to think you can contribute in the political realm without ever having to go back over old ground, finding new ways in slightly changing circs to persuade new visitors or to help other visitors persuade people.

    So is this that same old thing where some scientists don’t really think that the political world should operate in the way it actually does, and in the way that it is going to do regardless of scientists’ own regard (which I share) for the higher rationality of scientific discourse?

    Maybe I misunderstand something here, but if I don’t, then my answer to the question “Please let us know if you think this is a good idea” — and speaking as one of your original fans and participants, who just today was recommending RC to the op-ed-page editor of a regional daily who had just written a climate-science column — is that this looks to me like a bad bifurcation, an unfortunate segregation, and a loss to the civic discourse in which I’ve often said RC was a breakthrough.

    I hope that if I truly do get what is happening here — and maybe I don’t — that you’ll reconsider.

  4. Leonard Evens:

    I think the forum is a great idea.

  5. Mark Hadfield:

    I am sceptical about the new forum. It is my opinion, from long experience of discussion groups and forums of various sorts, that lumping is better than splitting.

    If an RC contributor wants to write a short article and initiate some discussions, perhaps he/she should try the Google globalchange forum?

    But I’m not going to die in a ditch on this. It’s your site, you can do whatever you like with it, and I will continue to follow it avidly.

    By the way, I *still* don’t like the way the comments disappear when you print them. I’ve managed to work around it by adding to my Adblock list.

  6. wayne davidson:

    #1 Pat, right and this follows 2005, only thing which cooled things down was Russian cold winter, now leaving no trace, vanished into heat wave… Forum is much needed because real time news needs to be divulged, explained or criticized.

  7. Eric:

    I agree with Steven (#3) but not his conclusion. As an amateur weatherman and skeptic, I would like a place to ask specific questions that aren’t addressed (or inadequately addressed) in previous threads. Just one small example: “Mars warming”. I’ve read it and don’t need to rehash Mars, however I would like to rehash Pluto. I believe Pluto warming was dismissed prematurely on that thread from a purely astronomic argument (“it’s headed into winter so it is cooling”) without discussing why measurements show it warming (how they might be local like Mars or not). Anyway, a small thread with a few good contributors would satisfy my needs.

  8. Sacha:

    You may be interested in the following opinion piece in The Australian… it may be useful to publish a response to it…,20876,19835476-31478,00.html

  9. cwmagee:

    Re: Pluto.

    If you want to know about the climate on pluto, your best bet is probably to ask an astronomer.

    Unlike Earth or Mars, Pluto has no satellites or ground stations, so the types of data that are used by normal weather and climate people (air pressure, temperature, atmospheric composition, etc.) are not available for Pluto.

    The only thing that Pluto and Earth have in common climatically is the sun that both planets orbit. Satellite measurements show that the solar output has been constant over the time period during which measurements of Pluto have been possible. And Pluto is now moving farther away from the Sun. Therefore, it is reasonable to deduct that whatever is happening on Pluto is independent of what is happening on Earth.

  10. Angela:

    I think this is a great idea!!!! I always read every article discussed here, in an attempt to understand climate change better. Thank you!

  11. George A. Gonzalez:

    According to NOAA: “The June (2006) statewide average temperature for Alaska was near average, and January-June was 0.55 degrees F (0.30 degrees C) cooler than the 1971-2000 average.” How can this be accounted for?

    Link to the NOAA article:

  12. Jeffrey Davis:

    Re: #8

    That Australian piece is “interesting” because it aggregates so many stale talking points. If the man who wrote that believes what he’s saying, I would be surprised. His points have been rebutted so often that repeating them qualifies as lying or nasty negligence.

  13. Dan:

    Re: It is worth noting the context that Alaska was the *only* state not to record above climatic “normal” average temperatures during the January-June period.

  14. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Good idea. It allows you to keep your main page more scientificially “pristine” — covering new ground or scientifically (r/t politically) more important topics about GW — while allowing on RC FORUM increased coverage of things in the political air re GW (new articles, books, talk-of-the-town, maybe statements by religious leaders as they pertain to the science), and a looser, perhaps more political, fleshed out discussion with less censorship (tho please do keep censoring ad hominem attacks on both fora).

  15. George A. Gonzalez:

    re: #13

    I think this makes the Alaska data all the more significant. It is such an outlier that I believe it requires explanation.

  16. Hank Roberts:

    George, are you familiar with the normal distribution curve in statistics, and the 5% level of confidence?

  17. wayne davidson:

    #15, It was close to Russia ….. Which had a cold temperature anomaly…

  18. George A. Gonzalez:

    re: #16

    This does not get at the fundamental question: how can one region of the hemisphere be so anomalously cold (for such a sustained period), while the rest of the northern hemisphere is anomalously hot?

  19. Dan:

    re 15, 16: It is not an “outlier”. Long wave patterns (even over six months) are such that when there is a warm ridge over the continental US, there is a cool anomaly in Alaska and the Bering Straits. There were papers in Monthly Weather Review years ago on this. Alas, I do not have the specific references.

  20. Dan:

    Post-script: I forgot to add that the opposite can also be true: A warm anomaly in Alaska accompanied by a cool anomaly over the continental US. Which explains the occasional news stories (especially in winter and spring) when it gets it sometimes warmer in Fairbanks than it is in Washington, DC.

  21. Brian Gordon:

    May I suggest that when suggesting articles for people to read, that the odds of others reading the article are greatly increased if you include a description of or snippet from the article? For example:

    “You may be interested in the following opinion piece in The Australian… it may be useful to publish a response to it…”

    I’ve seen (and done) this lots, and found that giving a reason beyond simply a personal recommendation greatly increases interest.

    In addition, why does Alaska’s temperature need an explanation? I agree it would be nice to have one, but I don’t see a cool Alaska as somehow indicating that global warming is not happening, if that’s your concern, George? There seems to be a fair bit of evidence that climate change will not be entirely uniform – or predictable.

  22. Steve Sadlov:

    RE: #21 – Perhaps the La Nina signature is still in force. We’ve got a cut off low trying to form just off the coast of California right now. Quite unusual this time of year and indicative of continued La Nina mode.

  23. George A. Gonzalez:

    re: #19

    Thanks for the info.!

  24. wayne davidson:

    #18, I have learned that winter is more complicated than summer in the northern hemisphere, where as the sun balances things out quite well everywhere in summer, during winter the lack of sun may create huge pools of cold air, despite a warm fall, strictly depending on weather, especially cloud distribution. The correct time to demonstrate consistent Global Warming on a world wide scale would be summer for the NH, while winter may show some extreme variations , then again due to Global Warming, all be it less convincing to the lay observer.

  25. pat neuman:

    Annual temperatures at climate stations in AK can be quite large. For example, 1993 temperatures were 4-8 degrees warmer than in 1996. 1996 was a cold year for AK and the Upper Midwest, but temperatures shot back up after 1996.

  26. Sacha:

    I put the link in comment 8 because this is an example of the sort of articles that sometimes appear in the centre-right media in Australia, and they’re given credence by some people. If a response isn’t made to it, it may well be given more credence than otherwise…

    Here is the start of the opinion piece…

    Debate on climate change far from over
    The UN panel from which governments get their information is deeply flawed, writes Economics editor Alan Wood

    July 19, 2006
    AT lunchtime on Monday, John Howard and Victoria’s Steve Bracks were on their feet talking about energy, climate change and the environment. While their approaches were notably different, there is one thing on which they both agree: the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the font of all scientific wisdom on global warming.
    In fact it has become quite fashionable of late to assert the global warming debate is over and an overwhelming scientific consensus prevails. This is simply untrue.

    As acknowledged in an Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics report on climate change scenarios, also released on Monday, there are still considerable scientific uncertainties surrounding the nature and extent of future climate change.

    A report released in the US on Friday has torn apart one of the main props used by the IPCC to illustrate the need for urgent action on climate change. The report raises serious questions about the IPCC process and the findings on which world governments rely in forming their climate change policies. First, some background….

  27. pat neuman:

    re 25. In trying to be more clear, I meant … Variation in annual temperatures at climate stations in Alaska can be quite large. I mean large variation from year to year for all the stations (not variation by station across the area for a single year).

  28. Lawrence McLean:

    Re #26. Sacha, I made a submission to the Australian regarding that article, however, there was no reply. Alan Wood is the “Economics Editor”, as such, he must be deemed to be a “high Priest” by the management of “The Australian”, and therefore cannot be contradicted by anyone who is outside of the Priesthood of Establishment wisdom.

  29. Brian Allen:

    The Website “Friends of Science”, “Proving Insight Into Climate Science” has the following “Myths” listed with brief summaries of “facts” to dispute the “myths” which include the following: 1. Global Temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprcedented rate. 2. The hockey stick graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature increase for 1,000 years, then recently began a sudden increase. etc. I would be interested if someone could provide a response to their website “facts” after a review (see I could take this offsite. This website also has what appears to be an impressive list of scientists that ask the Canadian government to renounce the Kyoto agreement.
    Thank you very much for your reply. I know this may seem trite but this is the kind of website information that will be contributing to the “controversy”.


  30. Lawrence McLean:

    Re #29: How Orwellian is that!! “Friends of Science”; that is the first lie!

  31. andres:

    the person who noted that Alaska temperatures ignored the fact that temperatures are above normal in all other states.
    How convenient eh?

  32. Steven T. Corneliussen:

    Comment 14 says this new subtopic segregation within RC’s overall discussion “allows [RC] to keep [its] main page more scientifically ‘pristine.'” But doesn’t RC exist to make civic and political discussion of climate science more rational, in a realm outside science itself?

    With due respect for the need for journalism to be factual and accurate about science — that is, with due respect for the very desideratum that RC exists to pursue — I’d like to reframe in a short comment the same question I was asking in comment 3: How in the world can scientists affect civic and political discussion of climate science if the goal is defined merely as keeping the main page scientifically pristine?

    That’d be great for a blog in which climate scientists, or scientists in general, discuss climate science among themselves, following science’s own admirable rules for discourse. Is that all that RC is? If so, why did Nature bother to endorse you back in December of 04? The world already has plenty of strictly scientific forums.

    Pristine? In a civic realm that includes Senator Inhofe and the editors of the WSJ? I’ve worked with and for scientists for over twenty years, and sometimes I think C. P. Snow was even more right than he knew.

  33. tom root:

    I’m interested in theories concerning what was happening in the tropics during the past few ice ages. Can someone give me a link? Thanks!

  34. Hank Roberts:

    Tom Root — you posted the same question in 33 here and in the Wegman thread. Try clicking on this, for answers. Note the method I’ve used, I recommend it for other questions. Type your question into the Google search box.

  35. Joseph O'Sullivan:

    #29 (Brian Allen)
    Friends of Science is an oil company sponsored front group.

  36. Hank Roberts:

    >Friends of Science
    DNS lookup:
    Reverse IP lookup: Commerx Corporation
    owns this range: –
    Commerx boasts of these clients and charities: (read and ponder)
    Commerx also offers: Oil & Gas Materials Management Software
    “By their friends ye shall know them.”

  37. tom root:

    Hank Roberts: My apologies for the double posting. And, of course, I googled satisfactory answers immediately after the posts. (Wish they could have been deleted.)

    If there’s a point, it’s that the index and search at RC will not necessarily produce an answer to or discussion about every climatological question, at least yet. This is a tremendous and well needed resource. Thank you.

  38. Hank Roberts:

    Pardon me for being grouchy, I’m just another reader, above caught failing to be appropriately helpful.

    I’d encourage our hosts to post a link to “How To Ask Questions The Smart Way” — a Usenet/Internet classic:

    (The programmers haven’t had to deal with how to tell the disinformation from the information, bless their hearts — that section’s being written here day by day.)

  39. Fernando Magyar:

    Well I guess that this artitcle from the New York times should be a good topic for this forum.

    Seems like the current administration has managed to somehow convince NASA that our home planet is no longer part of the universe and whaterver life exists here is unworthy of understanding and protection. Maybe it’s just me but it does make me a bit sad.

  40. Chuck Booth:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but how does one get to the “It’s different in Europe” thread, aside from clicking on the name someone who recently posted there – if it werent’ for the Recent Comments list, I would never have known the thread existed.

  41. pat neuman:

    re 39.

    If not NASA then what agency in the U.S. now has responsibility to understand and protect our atmosphere, waters, land and biosphere?

  42. Steven T. Corneliussen:

    I’d like to thank Chuck Booth for comment 40. It was a similar bit of confusion of my own the other day that led me to write comments 3 and 32. I wonder if any RC scientists, or others, consider 40 a reason to respond to those comments and 40, since it seems to me that it illustrates the cost of this new topic segregation policy. Thanks.

  43. Chuck Booth:

    RE#40 I now have it figured out – you simply click on the RC FORUM link on the homepage. Amazing….

  44. Sacha:

    Re #28 – thanks for that, Lawrence – it’s interesting that there was no reply. Did you also write to Alan Wood? I’d be curious as to his reply if he gave one.

  45. Lawrence McLean:

    Re: #44 – Sacha, I submitted a letter to the newspaper, however, I will do as you suggest and send a polite email directly to him and see what happens. I will let you know whatever. Cheers.

  46. pat neuman:

    re 41.

    My answer to the question in 41 is: NO agency in the U.S. now has responsibility to understand and protect our home planet.

    To view explanation as to why ‘to understand and protect our home planet’ disappeared from NASA’s mission statement see a July 22, 2006 post at:

    I have a different explanation. In a January 31, 2006 letter which I sent to the DOC Office of Inspector General I wrote:
    … “I learned recently that the mission statement for NASA includes ‘to understand and protect our home planet’. In knowing that, I believe that my concerns about hydrologic climate change in the Upper Midwest and about global warming, which were identified in OSC File No. DI-00-2100, need to be discussed with scientists in NASA in order to gain a full understanding of the state of the science in Dec 2000, Jan 2001; and currently. For that reason, I request that the matters described at the beginning of this letter be pursued further.” Additional information regarding my January 31, 2006 letter is at:

  47. Lawrence McLean:

    The Australian Government appears to be in the pocket of the Mining companies.

    In a private meeting with Government ministers, the Mining interests complained that the initiative of a few years ago by the Government to promote renewable energy, had worked to well. Australia had reached the set target years ahead of schedule. The relevant ministers refused to confirm this discussion, however, recently, the minister for agriculture has publicly stated: “The use of renewable energy is completely unjustified and it is improper to prop up the renewable energy sector at the expense of other sectors of the Economy”. He went on to say that “clean” coal is the most appropriate technology.

  48. pat neuman:

    It was a day for the record books in parts of California, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada on July 23, 2006 … blog compiled last night by Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel, from statements issued by local area NWS offices. It seems to me that NWS, or some other federal agency in the US, should be updating the public on a national scale regarding new records set.

    I wonder if anyone is starting to look at how the month of July 2006 is stacking up to other hot July averages in the records at climate stations in the US. If the 7 day max and min temperature forecast verifies at Leech Lake Federal Dam in northern Minnesota, then July 2006 will beat out July 1916 and July 1936 for the number one spot. Another rough summer for the Moose in northern Minnesota.
    Leech Lake Dam July temperature plot (pink) is at:

  49. Chuck Booth:

    There is, I think, a tendancy to overlook the fact that there’s a lot of freshwater on the planet (i.e., in liquid form) that is also affected by global warming – interestingly, in this case, some of the predicted effects may be beneficial (I’m posting the entire article because I don’t know how long the link will be active):

    Erie levels predicted to drop
    The Associated Press

    CLEVELAND â?? The newest update to a Lake Erie management plan predicts global warming will lead to a steep drop in water levels over the next 64 years, a change that could cause the lakeâ??s surface area to shrink by up to 15 percent.
    The drop could undo years of shoreline abuse by allowing water to resume the natural coastal circulation that has become blocked by structures, experts said.
    Updated annually, the plan is required by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada. It is developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada and state and local governments with help from the shipping industry, sports-fishing operators, farm interests, academics and environmental organizations.
    The newest update addresses for the first time, when, where and how the shoreline will be reshaped. It says the water temperature of Lake Erie has increased by one degree since 1988 and predicts the lakeâ??s level could fall about 34 inches. It also says the other Great Lakes will lose water.
    If the projections are accurate, Lake Erie would be reduced by one-sixth by late this century, exposing nearly 2,200 square miles of land and creating marshes, prairies, beaches and forests, researchers said.
    Researchers said new islands are appearing in the western basin, where Lake Erie is at its lowest and some reefs are about 2 feet below surface.
    â??There is now stronger evidence than ever of human-induced climate change,â?? states the report, dated this spring. â??Our climate is expected to continue to become warmer. This will result in significant reductions in lake level, exposing new shorelines and creating tremendous opportunities for large-scale restoration of highly valued habitats.â??
    A predicted drop in water levels also has been addressed by the International Joint Commission, an American-Canadian panel that controls water discharges out of Lake Superior and the St. Lawrence River. The commission told scientists at a workshop in February that research showed water levels should begin decreasing before 2050.
    â??We can try to be positive about climate change, really positive,â?? said Jeff Tyson, a senior fisheries biologist at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who helped write a portion of the management plan. â??If it continues to be hot, once you lose that meter of water over the top, we get an entirely natural, new shoreline along a lot of the lakefront. If we manage it right, things could look a lot like they did when the first white settlers arrived.â??
    The report was written in an effort to spark thought about what the shoreline could become, said Jan Ciborowski, a professor at the University of Windsor who specializes in aquatic ecology and also helped write the plan.
    â??There is a lot of opinion among scientists who study the Great Lakes that we need to get the public to start thinking: â??What are things going to look like?â?? â?? Ciborowski said.
    The plan monitors issues ranging from pollution to invasive species, said Dan Oâ??Riordan, an EPA manager at the Great Lakes National Program Office in Chicago. He said the agency recognizes the views of experts who predict the lake will shrink.
    â??Theyâ??ve done the math; I would trust the math,â?? he said.
    Story from the Monday, July 24, 2006 Edition of the Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio)

    Of course, this article doesn’t mention any of the possible negative effects on the ecology of Lake Erie.

  50. Lawrence McLean:

    Re #47, A transcript of the program is at:

  51. Sacha:

    Re: #47

    The following letter appeared in today’s Australian in response to Alan Woods’ opinion piece at,20867,19897053-21223,00.html

    Science and climate change
    July 25, 2006
    ALAN Wood (“Debate on climate change far from over”, Opinion, 19/7) notes that the recently released Wegman Report criticises statistical analyses of certain data on global warming. As Wegman and his colleagues point out, those analyses have been debated for some years; there is certainly room for disagreement with them.
    However, there is so much sound statistical evidence from so many other sources, that it would be quite wrong to suggest that the critique discussed by Wood materially weakens the argument that global warming is here, today, on a threateningly large scale. Wegman himself, when giving evidence to the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 19, took pains not to connect his report to any position on climate change.

    Indeed, the consensus among scientists on this issue is especially broad. In a joint statement last year the national science academies of all the G8 countries, and of Brazil, China and India, jointly concluded that “there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring (and) it is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities”. Although some journalists might wish to suggest that the existence of climate change is a theory open to debate, the scientific community is almost unanimous in asserting that it is virtually a proven fact.

    Ross Crozier
    Professor of evolutionary genetics
    James Cook University

    Peter Hall
    Professor of statistics
    Australian National University

  52. Sacha:

    Helen Caldicott wrote an opinion piece in today’s Australian (see,20867,19897882-7583,00.html) talking about the recent development of much cheaper (competitive with coal) solar cells by Prof. Vivian Alberts in South Africa (eg see this story ):

    “In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun…”

    Does anyone know what is happening with this?

  53. Sacha:

    Re #51: One thing about Helen Caldicott’s opinion piece is that it mentions in passing the “30,000 other species that cohabit this planet”. I hope this is a typo or a sub-editors mistake… my popular science readings suggest that she’s at least two orders of magnitude out here!

  54. Mark A. York:

    I’ve lived in SoCal for ten years. This is hottest summer ever. It’s been 119 here and severely humid. All I want is to get the hell out.

  55. Carl Christensen:

    I find it funny that amidst the hoopla of the Republican investigation into science, we are having heatwaves all over, e.g. 90 deg here in Oxford etc. Perhaps Myron Ebell’s god is angry? ;-)

  56. Fernando Magyar:

    Re #54: Where you headed? Mars or the shores of the methane lakes on Titan?;-)

    What I wonder is if the problems with power distribution are a sign of things to come? Being off grid with solar and wind is starting to look more and more sensible.

  57. Lawrence McLean:

    I checked out the LA times today regarding the Californian heat wave. It sounded a lot like our last Canberra summer. People were complaining that the nights did not cool down; same thing happened in Canberra last summer.

    In the articles in the LA times I noted a tendency to downplay global warming in relation to the heatwave. The articles bought up the “heat island effect of urbanization”. It would be interesting to see some data published that would enable the “heat island” effect to be quantified, especially in the context of the current heatwave. Surely there are some weather stations in California outside urban areas.

    Can anyone help?

  58. Mark A. York:

    “Where you headed?”

    I don’t know, but last summer in Ketchum, Idaho sure beat this. When I got back here in October my neighbors were still complaining and it was still very hot. This started earlier. I don’t know how long it will last into the fall.

  59. Steven T. Corneliussen:

    You wrote at the top: “Please let us know if you think this is a good idea or if you have ideas to improve it.” I take it that no one plans to answer my earlier criticisms — criticisms from a big fan of RC — but here goes again:

    If you hear about somewhere or somehow — as happens every day, now that RC is justifiably famous — and if you seek to learn from it, and if you then visit the home page, you won’t know about the RC forum threads unless you already know to choose the “rc forum” button.

    That’s it. If you don’t happen to explore that far, you miss the RC forum discussions. (Though yes, for the moment it’s true that the “Introducing RC Forum” thread on the home page could help. But that will eventually recede down the page and into the archive, presumably.)

    It’s disappointing, maybe deplorable, to see the political discussion that is ultimately RC’s reason for being segregated, obscured, and hobbled.

    I just flat don’t get it. The only way I can understand it is by wondering if it’s just another case of scientists wishing for “pristine” discourse (please see comment 32) in a world where only scientists get to have that.

  60. Chuck Booth:

    Re # 59 Steven T. Corneliussen wrote: “It’s disappointing, maybe deplorable, to see the political discussion that is ultimately RC’s reason for being segregated, obscured, and hobbled.”

    That statement is at odds with the stated mission of RealClimate:

    “RealClimate is 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. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

    I agree (and also noted this previously) that it is difficult for the uninitiated to find the RC Forum threads (I stumbled upon the Forum by clicking on one of the “Recent Comments” items for a thread whose title I didn’t recognize).

  61. wayne davidson:

    Does anyone have an opinion of the current state of ENSO? Looks kind of, much warmer off the coast of Peru….


  62. Steven T. Corneliussen:

    Chuck Booth makes a fair point in comment 60, though RC’s new segregation and demotion of political discussion also apparently extends to the RC Forum’s handling in Google, and is not solely a clarity-of-home-page thing.

    And it’s also true that the point he makes is at the center of a debate that is as old as RC itself. The dividing line between politics and science is hard to define. We’ve debated this often before.

    I say again: ultimately RC is a political enterprise — and thank heavens for it. It’s true that scientists can help best by refereeing the factual science. But it’s also true that the RC site is — quoting what Chuck Booth quoted — “for the interested public and journalists.”

    If the site is really for the interested public and journalists, then RC Forum is a mistake. RC is now almost hiding what’s of most value to the interested public and journalists: discussions in which scientists clarify the factual aspects of public news and commentary about climate science.

    At a minimum, the new arrangement should be reversed. Put the RC forum on the main page, and let the regulars — the initiated, as Mr. Booth might possibly call them — know to go looking for semi-hidden pristine scientific posts.

  63. pat neuman:

    Re: 57.

    Lawrence McLean wrote: … It would be interesting to see some data published that would enable the “heat island” effect to be quantified, especially in the context of the current heatwave. Surely there are some weather stations in California outside urban areas. Can anyone help?

    Good question, but who? NWS staff and the State Climatologists have access to the historical and operational climate data (at no charge) but have done little or nothing that I know of related to climate change. While I was a NWS employee doing hydrologic modeling and prediction, I asked NWS supervisors if I could do a comparison study on rural vs urban temperature data. I wanted to do it for snowmelt runoff modeling and for evaluation of climate change in the Upper Midwest. NWS supervisors did not allow me to do that.

    I did the comparison study at home on my own time but didn’t have it published. It was against NWS policy to publish a study on a “controversial subject” like climate change, even with a disclaimer that as not representing NWS. NWS directors said the public might still associate the my views with NWS even though I included a disclaimer that I was representing myself as a private citizen only. There was no way I could have shown my years of background and experience in hydrologic modeling and prediction without mentioning NWS and still appear credible, so I didn’t even try to have it published.

  64. Lawrence McLean:

    Re: #63.

    Thanks for your reply Pat. I find it rather odd that someone like yourself cannot easily point me to any data analysis regarding the “Heat island” effect, and yet, it is touted in the press as if it is a well established fact. It may well be true, however at this stage it is starting to look like a desired fact by folks who align themselves with the climate change skeptics.

  65. pat neuman:

    Re 64.

    Lawrence – My 2004 Urban Heat Island (UHI) did show an UHI effect for climate stations in the Midwest. The UHI effect is larger at times when wind speed is low and humidity is high (dog days). For example in the Twin Cities this AM the temperature at sunrise at the Minneapolis Airport climate station was 77 degrees F while the temperature in my yard was 69 degrees F. The official Minneapolis airport station is located in a grassy area near the end of one of the runways. My yard is 20-25 miles to the southwest of downtown Minneapolis. Both urban and rural climate stations show warming in recent decades. The warming is greater is at urban stations having more buildings, people, roads and traffic, however the warming in recent decades at rural and forested areas is also significant.

  66. Lawrence McLean:

    Re #65.
    Thanks Pat,
    In the place I am living at the moment there does not seem to be much of a heat island effect, however, it is a relatively small urban area.

    The contrainian machine is rocking and rolling, take a look at the article: It would be interesting to see an analysis of the points raised in that particular article, including the accuracy of the reference to the Newsweek article, and if the Newsweek article did exists as stated: how acurate did that article reflect the science at that time and who were the scientists (if any) that provided the information to Newsweek. I suppose what I am suggesting is a bit of a “cold case”.

    As far as I am concerned it is about 30 years ago that I started to be aware that the climate was warming.

  67. johna:

    Re: 57, 63,63,66 (Urban Heat Island, sometimes called UHI)
    Lawrence – hi Pat!
    The effect is real (and can be deadly) in a big city. But UHI is too small to explain the measured increases in global temperatures. Here is a link to the UN’s IPCC 2001 report and to the section that discusses it.
    . and specifically, the scientific basis of the land-surface temp record starts here-
    Jones evaluated the variation in the temperature record due to UHI between 1900 and 1990. He estimated it was only 0.05 C. [UK�s Hadley Centre has a bigger set of world temp records than anyone � � the sun never sets on the B.E. � and Jones is a top scientist]
    The graphs in figure 2.1 show annual average world temps. The grey band in (2.1 b.) is an error bar, and it includes the 0.05 C UHI uncertainty.
    See Box 2.1 for a simple discussion.

    So, the urban heat-island effect was considered and is included. And those who say otherwise are either confused, liars or both.
    More support comes from a recent short study by David E. Parker (2004). “Climate: Large-scale warming is not urban” in Nature 432: 290.
    His findings buttress the conclusions of Peterson. He compared and analyzed temperatures in cities and rural areas during both calm and windy conditions.
    But note, your question was the first article contributed by William.
    Hint: next time make use of the great Search Option this site provides.

  68. johna:

    Re: 66 (impending ice ages)

    Lawrence –
    Ignore any changes to the world around you. They are not noteworthy, a hefty hoax donned to discredit the sanguine senator.
    Seriously, contrarian fluff has more lives than Bela Lugosi.
    William C. has copies of many articles. You can read just what was written. I recall it only as interesting speculation and the beginnings of concern in popular magazines. Reviewing a few of them on his site has not changed my mind. William effectively contrasts those articles with was being written in the science literature.
    The first paragraph in the Newsweek article has the key idea � possible food problems. The whole thing isn�t even 1,000 words long. The phrases the reporter uses are all qualified �
    â�¦ominous signâ�¦may portendâ�¦ could begin quite soonâ�¦perhaps only 10 years from nowâ�¦ –
    Bear in mind that near the end of every year, magazines run prediction stories. Often by respectable people. These articles should be given about the same weight. I was so sure Oprah and Stedman would have little ones by now…

  69. pat neuman:

    re 67. I agree, the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is real (and can be deadly) in a big city, but is too small to explain measured increases in global temperatures.

    I’m concerned about people and temperature increases in large urban areas, as greenhouse gases reach higher concentrations. Unfortunately, UHI has shown it’s deadly nature many times (Chicago 1995, Europe 2003, California 2006, …).

  70. Hank Roberts:

    57, 63, etc. etc. whoah! Did you guys do any searching at all before starting this chat about how nobody can document urban heat measurement biases?

    I am sure there is both awareness of and routine correction for the ‘urban heat’ effect done in modeling and prediction.

    I can’t do the homework for you right now, but for starters:

    Here are 204 hits from Google Scholar. Don’t doubt this is getting attention since these are the academic search tool results.

    No doubt you all can improve on my quick dirty search.

  71. pat neuman:

    re 70.


    There are few scientific studies on Urban Heat Island (UHI) in the US because managers of federal agencies in the US have discouraged research related to climate change – due to what managers claim are the political and controversial nature of climate change and global warming. Low income people, most with no A/C, know it is hot in the city during a heat wave but don’t know why or when it is so much hotter than elsewhere and by how much. No studies provide that kind of information in the Midwest which I know of. It seems the people that should be doing that kind of work are employed by the National Weather Service (NWS) offices, but I know first hand that NWS staff were discouraged from doing UHI studies due to the controversial nature of UHI. The skeptics on global warming were successful in putting a stigma on people and work dealing with local/regional climate change concerns, including those concerns about the dangerous aspects of UHI for groups of people living in low income areas (including New Orleans).

  72. Hank Roberts:

    Pat, I modified my search to your criteria in Google Scholar — here’s what you’ll find if you search: Results — 161 for “Urban Heat Island” +midwest.
    It’s too bad they didn’t treat you well at NHS. “A prophet is without honor in his own …” [Agency?]

  73. pat neuman:


    I doubt that any google search will give what’s needed for UHI in the Midwest. Instead of spending my time looking at what others did, I’m doing my own UHI study using July temperature data at Minneapolis and Farmington 3 NW MN climate stations. Figures are at my link below showing average daily minimum and maximum for July (1891-2005). I’m working on tables which may help in showing any trends. It’s important to note that the station at Minneapolis was moved from downtown to the airport in 1937. Farmington 3 NW, which is 20 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, was a rural area until the late 1990s when it started to become suburban.

  74. Carol Endicott:

    I would prefer a message board format that facilitates discussions and questions and answers. I’m an aquatic ecologist with a great interest in understanding these critical climate issues. Although I have substantial scientific literacy, I lack the time to dig into peer reviewed papers to understand the issues.

    Of current interest to me is the hockey stick controversy. My coworker tells me this is based on a study with grossly inadequate sample size and fraught with bias. I see from this website that more than one study supports the hockey stick model of Northern Hemisphere temperatures. A forum that encourages interaction would be useful in addressing these discrepancies. Moreover, I could refer my naysayer coworker for additional information.

    Perhaps this is in the nature of science being complicated (like duh!), but the amount of information covered here, combined with the format, makes it difficult to make surgical strikes in finding the information I need.

    I’d appreciate any feedback.

  75. pat neuman:

    re 73.

    Better viewing of the UHI influence at Minneapolis, MN is shown at the link below. Off the bat, more UHI means warmer overnight minimum temperatures at Minneapolis vs Farmington but little or no effect on daily high temperature readings at Minneapolis).

  76. Grant:

    Re: #74

    It is indeed true that the “hockey stick” of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes is only one of many paleoclimate reconstructions for the last 1,000 years (some extend over the last 2,000 years). It’s also true that although they show varying degrees of fluctuation, they all show essentially the same “big picture” — modern temperatures are anomalously warm, and modern warming is anomalously rapid. The MBH reconstruction shows very little fluctuation over the last 1,000 years, the reconstruction by Moberg et al. shows much more.

    The reconstructions are hardly “fruaght with bias”; this is a mischaracterization due to the successful smear campaign of denialists. To my knowledge, only one statistical flaw has been uncovered, but when it is corrected it’s clear that it has no significant impact on the final result.

    It is true that the sample suffers from incomplete geographic coverage. It’s not a case of “grossly inadequate sample *size*” but of limited geographic coverage. This is the main criticism in the National Academy of Sciences report; on this basis they concluded that there is “less confidence” in reconstructions back to 900 A.D. Note that nowhere do they state that the results aren’t valid; they simply express “less confidence.” Further in the past, there is even less geographic coverage, so the NAS report indicates “low confidence.” However, the NAS report indicates that reconstructions, even back before 900 A.D., are definitely “plausible.”

    Back to 1600 A.D., the NAS report claims “high confidence.” That’s for two reasons: 1. better geographic coverage by the data; 2. the last four centuries include reconstruction data from borehole temperature profiles. Boreholes represent the temperature, the whole temperature, and nothing but the temperature — while other proxy data (esp. tree rings) respond to other conditions than just temperature (esp. rainfall) and even their temperature response is more keyed to the growing season than to the yearly average. The one drawback to borehole temperature reconstructions is that they represent *ground surface temperature*, not surface *air* temperature, but it’s abundantly clear that the two are closely related.

    If you want even more information on this, do a search on this site for “hockey stick.” Also, go to wikipedia and read up on “paleoclimate” — among other things, you’ll find a lovely graph showing most of the temperature reconstructions of the last 1-2 millenia.

    Probably the most important factor about the hockey stick regarding global warming, is that it’s only *one* of a *vast* number of evidences of climate change. Frankly, even if the hockey stick (and all its cousins) were shown to be grossly untrustworthy, it wouldn’t negate the overwhelming case; climate has been changing due to human activity, and it will continue to change. There’s a good deal of warming yet to come; how much, and how fast, depends on whether or not we can limit human interference with the climate system, and on what kinds of “feedbacks” exist in the system and how soon they’re triggered.

    One final note: yes, there’s a lot of information on this site, which makes a “surgical strike” for information more difficult. But if you read here *regularly*, you’ll soon find that you pick up a solid background and good context, so you’ll be both better informed overall, and better able to find what you’re looking for when you need something specific. In short, if you become a regular, you’ll be mighty glad you did.

  77. Hank Roberts:

    About the format, addressed to the Contributors:

    I’d welcome a separation between conversations between climatologists — academic but out in the open — and the chatter-filled threads.

    Much as you all try to filter, there’s endless repetition of the PR talking points and rebuttals everywhere; it’s hard to tell the kids and naive new readers from the trolls so everyone gets answered.

    What I love most here is the conversations that are among the working scientists — the visiting specialists and the authors whose work is mentioned who come here and comment (including those with diverging points of view). I could never post in such a thread. I’d learn more from it.

    What about flagging some threads as “heavily moderated science” somehow — maybe have a parallel thread for reader questions?

    I’ve seen this done on one weblog, have to think where — the main page was solely threads by the log’s owners; there was also a “forum” link that led to standard “forum” threads, one for each main topic, for questions and answers, and some threads for general chatter.

    I know, more work.

    —> The added sidebar link for “with inline responses” is very helpful now — if the software allowed that to become a page of its own, showing names of those who posted the responses, that’d be comparable.

    Only other thought, I know I”m nagging — responders, please, use paragraphs; use outline form; separate thoughts with formatting. The responses inline are the best information on many subjects and they are offten stream of thought unformatted and almost unreadable, coming in later on ‘sideways’ to them. They work in linear reading but not trying to look for information later on.

    It’s great. It’s getting better.

  78. Hank Roberts:

    Some nice graphics here for energy alternatives

    and a wonderful quote:

    “Citing Edwin Land, the father of Polaroid photography, Lovins attributes inventions such as the Soft Energy Path concept to a â��sudden cessation of stupidityâ�� and an ability to â��stop having old ideas.â�� As illustrated in Figure 2, a Soft Energy Path: … involves efficient use of energy, diversity of energy production methods (matched in scale and quality to end uses), and special reliance on…”soft technologies” (a.k.a., alternative technology) such as solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, geothermal energy, etc.

  79. Hank Roberts:

    I lost track of where people were wondering about local climate information from the US National Weather Service.

    It’s coming along — here’s one quite local example:

    “Little Known Services Web Link: Local Climate Information

    Have you ever needed to know the High and Low Temperature or the amount of Precipitation on a certain day? Have you wondered what day was the warmest or coldest on record?

    Your National Weather Service in Springfield has set up a web page full of answers to these questions and many more!

    On our main page, you will see a list of Quick Links on our site. One of these is Local Climate Info. The Local Climate Info site contains climate data for 4 locations in our office�s area of responsibility: Springfield, Joplin, Rolla/Vichy, and West Plains.

    At the top of the Local Climate Info page, you will see a blue box titled Preliminary F6 Data. Just select the station (Springfield, Joplin, Rolla/Vichy, West Plains), the month, and year. Notice that F6 data for Springfield and Joplin are available from January 2000 to Present, while Rolla/Vichy and West Plains are available from May 2002 to Present….”

  80. pat neuman:

    re 79.

    Staff at NWS Weather Service Offices can do a few things differently (below), but one common theme to all NWS offices is that their staff will not discuss regional climate change or global warming. Senior meteorologists with NWS have told people off the record that there is no global warming problem.

    Hottest Month on Record at Duluth

    Drought blamed on Mother Nature

  81. pat neuman:

    Another example of your NWS at work talking with the media and public, but not about climate change:

    “At a state drought task force meeting Tuesday”

  82. Dan:

    re: 80. After giving a public presentation not related to climate change, a local NWS meteorologist in my home town was asked by a member of the audience about global warming. His first response was that he was not going to touch that question with a 10-foot pole. Where upon he proceeded to talk about climate change in great detail as a natural phenomenom. The audience was genuinely interested in learning about it (they were mostly senior citizens). I was quite disgusted about how they were completely mislead and mis-educated (if there is such a word!) by half-truths and gross misinterpretations of fundamental data. Of course the meteorologist proceeded to say that it was just his opinion! In other words, even though he would not touch the question officially, he would not hesitate to misinform the general public. And this was a public group with general scientific interest. I did not challenge the meteorologst as he was the guest and was clearly quite full of himself. Although I could not resist asking where he had received his meteorological degree. ;-)

  83. pat neuman:

    re 82.


    If possible I’d appreciate knowing the city name of the NWS office of the “local NWS meteorologist”.

  84. Hank Roberts:

    I posted this as a response at Stoat, but want to commend it to the Contributors here — there’s serious work being done on why people — specifically “highly educated adults enrolled in university graduate programmes” — don’t understand climate science.

    It’s like the Piaget stages for maturation, like understanding conservation of mass — add duration (change over time) and very few adults comprehend this!

    Nobody has a chance as a specialist to read other specialties; I hope we gadflies can be of some use flitting back and forth with stuff like this. These folks might be worth inviting.

    “Math is hard” as Barbie says. Even without math, climate is hard. People don’t get it. Here’s the research, found while looking for more by Donella Meadows on leverage.

    Mentioned here:
    Overall research info here:
    Source of quote below here:

    “Why do people underestimate the time delays in the response of climate to GHG emissions? To explore this question, we presented highly educated adults enrolled in university graduate programmes with descriptions of past greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and global mean temperature.

    “Subjects were asked to predict the behavior of CO2 levels and global temperatures in response to changes in human-generated CO2 emissions. No mathematics was required and data was drawn from the non-technical reports of the 2001 UN report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    “We found a widespread misunderstanding of climate change dynamics. Two-thirds of the subjects believed global temperature responds immediately to slight or dramatic changes in CO2 emissions. Still more believed that reducing emissions near current rates would stabilise the climate, when in fact emissions would continue to exceed removal, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and radiative forcing.

    “Such beliefs make current wait-and-see policies seem entirely logical, but violate basic scientific principles of conservation of matter.”

  85. pat Neuman:

    re 84. … “We found a widespread misunderstanding of climate change dynamics.” …


    Coming from a big family and having pretty good communications with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews; my general impression is that most people rely on what they hear from TV stations and friends to form their own opinions about when global warming might get bad and how bad it might get. Their behavior of not cutting back on energy use and travel tells me that they accept a wait-and-see approach. Most people think they need the energy they use, and besides, reducing their GHG emissions wouldn’t make a difference anyway. A friend of mine from way back who travels a lot told me that he may accept that global warming is happening because of our fuel emissions but added that he would not to let that change the way he lives. Clearly we need leadership, even much greater than the leadership shown recently by the mayor of New York during the heat wave, who seemed to attempt to make a strong pitch that everyone needed to cut back/conserve energy now… to prevent blackouts. The problem is that most people don’t understand the difference between demand, need or want. Most people think want and need are the same thing. To me, need should mean that without something there is a risk of serious loss or injury. I may think I need to keep cool so I need A/C. However, if I keep my body in shape I can get by without A/C. Thus, I really don’t “need” A/C at all, just a want… like an addiction to too much oil.

    by pat Neuman

  86. wayne davidson:

    Alarmed? I am not so, despite seeing astounding climate change in my Arctic abode, we are creatures born from climate change, and will cope with anything coming our way, it is those conservatives who like to keep things the same who will be alarmed, eventually, after reading about our warnings in Internet archives.
    Prophets, even science ones, are never listenned in their own communities.

  87. pat neuman:

    Comment #86 says …we are creatures born from climate change, and will cope with anything coming our way, …

    I disagree that we will cope with anything coming our way. For example, in a July 31 Pielke Jr blog comment, I wrote that … global warming may lead to the end of the world by itself or through human conflicts that develop as a result of global warming. … For Pielke Jr., R. to suggest that scientists fail to see that …, is unacceptable in this world created by God. … The problem for this century and beyond is the rapid rate of global warming, a result of power generation from billions of fossil fuel burning machines. … In other words, the “end of the world” by global warming will be caused by the rapid speed of anthropogenic global climate change, much too fast for plants and animals to adapt/evolve. My view or the “end of the world” is when plants and animals on earth have become extinct. Many people will be surprised at how quickly things change. … Excerpt from: Ice in Southeast vanishing twice as fast as expected By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK

  88. wayne davidson:

    #67, Pat, we will survive, because that is our in our nature to survive, but it may not be pretty. Instead of an explosive rate of GW, I rather think it will be a strong one, towards balance, which would bring the Earth back to the Miocene, something that was 20 million years ago. When semi-tropical trees and alligators lived at 80 degrees North. The rate of change would be impossible to cope with in many countries, the way things are would not be the same at all. Scary yes, but end of the world no.

  89. pat neuman:

    re 87. 86.


    Having it “in our nature to survive” is not enough to guarantee survival of our species. The dinosaurs ruled the world for more than 100 million years.

    Also, in clarification re 84,

    On his Prometheus web page, Roger Pielke wrote

    “I criticized scientists at RealClimate last week for serving as agents of divisiveness in political debates.” …

    … “an internal memo from the Inter-Mountain Rural Electric Association that details, among other things, that the IREA have donated $100,000 to support the activities of Patrick Michaels, a long-time political advocate on the climate issue.”

    “But the response to this memo, at RealClimate and elsewhere, suggest to me that many involved in the climate debate would much rather bash their opponents than work with them to find common ground. In a democracy, action occurs most often through compromise rather than complete annihilation of oneâ??s opponents. Until this point is realized by those calling for â??actionâ?? expect gridlock to continue.” —

    I replied

    The point is that Pielke Jr., R. does not understand, believe or care that global climate change research means much more to the world than other sciences. That global warming may lead to the end of the world by itself or through human conflicts that develop as a result of global warming.

    For Pielke Jr., R. to suggest that scientists fail to see that in a democracy action occurs most often through compromise rather than complete annihilation of oneâ??s opponents, and then for Pielke Jr., R. to blame RealClimate scientists for contributing to gridlock (which is happening but is not in any way a result of the efforts by RealClimate scientists to educate the public on global warming), is unacceptable in this world created by God.

    What I meant by “unacceptable in this world created by God” was that it is morally unacceptable for people to mislead others about the consequences of global warming – which may essentially end up being the end of the world.

  90. pat neuman:

    re 82. Dan wrote … a local NWS meteorologist in my home town … proceeded to talk about climate change in great detail as a natural phenomenom. … Of course the meteorologist proceeded to say that it was just his opinion! …

    I’m curious now if the local NWS meteorologist, described by Dan as clearly quite full of himself, is aware of a recent statement in the latest issue of NOAA News which says:

    “NOAA scientists add that no single episode of extreme heat can be blamed exclusively on human-induced global warming, but instead heat waves will become more likely and progressively more intense over the course of decades.”

    The statement by NOAA that heat waves will become more likely and progressively more intense over the course of decades is an admission that rapid global warming is occurring.

    Also see:
    Table showing All-Time-Record High Temperature set in July 2006 at:

  91. Ron Taylor:

    Re #90

    Pat, maybe there really is hope!

    Yesterday I sent an email to the NOAA Paleoclimatology people expressing surprise that their webpage on climate change had not been updated since 2000, and asked when we could expect an update. Today, I received this response from Bruce Bauer:

    “Should be sometime this fall. We have an update essentially
    complete – it is in peer review at the moment. I’ll let you know when it is ready!”

    A sea change?

  92. pat neuman:

    re 91.


    Maybe there is hope but that would not excuse NOAA administrators and National Weather Service supervisors who intentionally ignored or misled the public on climate/hydrologic change and global warming for more than six years. Their failure to tell the truth was a criminal act which will have severe and long lasting consequences to the world. Those at fault should be held accountable. Do you agree?

  93. Ron Taylor:

    Re 92

    You bet I agree! On the other hand, it is important for these folks to put aside ideology and address the science. There seems to be a simmering revolt among government scientists in departments where they have been muzzled. Also, I suspect that Rove and friends are reading the pole numbers about global warming.

  94. wayne davidson:

    There seems to be a further warming of an apparent EL-Nino, wonder if this affects ENSO prognosis?

  95. pat neuman:


    issued by
    July 6, 2006

    Weekly ENSO Update (PDF, PPT) – updated Mondays

    Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to prevail during the next 3 months.

  96. wayne davidson:

    Pat, that is old news, things have evolved much warmer since that time, also, number of hurricane predictions have been going down by at least two institutes, current events seem similar to 1997…

  97. wayne davidson:

    Here is an Australian assessment, a little bit interesting:

    “Most of the ENSO prediction models surveyed at the end of July showed a continuation of neutral conditions, although on the warm side of normal. A sustained warming beginning at this time of year would be unusual, given that ENSO events typically begin to evolve between March and June.”

  98. Hank Roberts:

    Pat, see here:
    Update prepared by
    Climate Prediction Center / NCEP
    August 8, 2006

    ” The recent atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns indicate near-average (ENSO-neutral) conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
    However, equatorial Pacific surface and subsurface temperatures have increased in recent months and are above average.
    Statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate that either ENSO-neutral or weak El Niño conditions are most likely through early 2007.
    Based on recent trends and a majority of the forecasts, ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to continue during the next 1-3 months. Either ENSO-neutral or weak El Niño conditions are likely for late 2006/ early 2007.”

  99. pat neuman:

    re 93.


    Muzzled may be the correct word for what they did to Jim Hansen earlier this year, but others who couldn’t be muzzled were rewarded with memorandums of suspension and removal from government service.

  100. Eli Rabett:

    IMHO an unthreaded discussion such as this has a very small S/N ratio. Moving this Forum over to change would provide the organization it needs (some of those leading RC are also moderating the google group.

    The group could be renamed realclimate forum.

  101. Hank Roberts:

    But, Eli, don’t forget the need is for a three part ratio of moderator:signal:noise and what we’re short on here is climatologists’ time to moderate.

    I think that’s the limiting factor, and that’s not _bad_.

    I imagine a lot of the he-said-they-said stuff isn’t appearing here, so people when they just gotta rant know to go elsewhere. I know I do (grin).

    My guess is this one unthreaded topic can be rolled over from time to time and it’s serving as a catch-all for ideas, from which topics can be created if there’s potential, quickly.

    Speaking of which, the inimitable Benny Peiser recently circulated in his email list a pointer to a report that the world’s oceans suddenly cooled off in the psat couple of years, I believe it’s going to appear in the AGU Geophysical Letters. The article he linked to was captioned “Draft” and not meant for distribution so I closed my eyes and backed slowly away from the keyboard. But, does that sound familiar to anyone who’s seen anything for publication on ocean temps recently?

  102. Alastair McDonald:

    Who does moderate GlobalChange?

  103. Michael Tobis:

    Participants on this list are welcome on the globalchange list at

    of which I am a co-founder and co-moderator.

    That group is intended to replace the now hopelessly juvenile and noise-filled usenet group sci.environment, and it presents a usenet-like interface for those who are familiar with that approach. See

    for more details on how to access globalchange through a newsreader or an email subscription.

    Our intention is to provide a lightly moderated discussion of all matters involving the global environment, not limited to environmental science. While we’ve had a couple of marginal cases, on the whole it tends to be obvious which articles to allow and which to purge.

    I think it would be fine if realclimate referred requests for an open discussion to that list.

    However, I don’t agree with Eli’s suggestion that we should rename the list to realclimateforum or such, and not just for technical reasons. We are trying to provide a venue for discussion of a broader range of topics than those covered on realclimate. Any issue involving the science, politics or philosophy of anthropogenic global change(not limited to climate change) is on topic on the globalchange list.

    Anyway, please feel welcome to join in!

  104. Hank Roberts:

    Here’s a promising increase in the useful amount of LED light produced by the devices — from about 2% to 41% — by better aiming the photons actually emitted. Wow.

    NIST Tech Beat – July 20, 2006

    “LEDs …. typically emit only about two percent of the light in the desired direction: perpendicular to the diode surface. Far more light skims uselessly below the surface of the LED, because of the extreme mismatch in refraction between air and the semiconductor. The NIST nanostructured cavity boosts useful LED emission to about 41 percent and may be cheaper and more effective for some applications than conventional post-processing LED shaping and packaging methods that attempt to redirect light.”

  105. Eli Rabett:

    #101 Already all over sci.environment, and RP Srs blog

    #103 reasonable. I do think this forum would be much better if it were threaded.

  106. wayne davidson:

    Pat, this story you linked above on the most current topic, needs rebuttals, especially since all the science presented seems flawed or exagerated…. I think its a job for RC Forum!

    “Northland Scientists Have Different Opinions On Global Warming

    May 15, 2006 – Posted 10:53 a.m. – Global warming has been a hot topic for a number of years now.

    Meteorologist Dave Anderson talked to several Northland scientists to see if consensus has been reached.

    Recently, a group called Environmental Defense teamed up with the Ad Council to make a series of public service announcements warning people of the dangers of global warming.

    To learn about those dangers myself, I talked to three of our area’s weather professionals.

    I found they had three different opinions.

    Mike Stewart is the meteorologist in charge of the Duluth National Weather Service office.

    He tells us that global warming has not yet been proved or disproved.

    â��Bottom line is we’re not really sure what is causing global warming or if it is even going on,â�� said Stewart. â��It could be a combination of human causes and natural causes.â��

    Stewart cautions people against thinking short term weather events are proof of long term climate change.

    He says our warm January is evidence of that.

    â��People say that’s global warming. Global warming does not cause the warmest January on record in Duluth while northern Europe had some of the coldest winters on record.â��

    In Stewart’s opinion, we need more data before we can say for sure what is going on.

    â��We’ve only had reliable data for 50 or 60 years since the war across the world. In the U.S. we may have 100 years of data. It will require many years of research.â��

    Dr. Al Pekarek is an associate professor of geology at St Cloud State University.

    He doesn’t believe global warming is happening and he says he’s not alone in that belief.

    �18,000 scientists signed a petition saying the global warming model as presented in the popular media is just plain wrong,� said Pekarek.

    Dr. Pekarek feels if any warming is even taking place, it is due to solar activity.

    �If you correlate temperature with solar activity the correlation is almost perfect.�

    Dr. Pekarek thinks the theory that global warming is caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is wrong.

    He cites the same polar ice core data as those who pin global warming on human causes.

    �When you really dig into the ice core data what we find is that temperature changes first and CO2 follows usually by several centuries, or even millennia.�

    Dr. Bob Wilson is a meteorology professor at Northland College in Ashland.

    He believes the evidence for human driven global warming is increasing.

    â��We can’t be certain that human activity is driving this right now, but if we keep increasing CO2 and other gases at the rate we are it’s inevitable that we will trigger such a reaction,â�� said Wilson.

    Dr. Wilson says the reaction is beginning.

    â��In my opinion, the preponderance of evidence indicates it is occurring. There’s been so much activity taking place from increased sea surface temperatures to ablation of glaciers to dramatic weather events that I think that evidence is accumulating that it is.â��

    Because of the accumulating evidence, Dr. Wilson thinks we need to act now to slow or stop global warming.

    â��I don’t think you can wait until the ambulance comes around the corner until you take some corrective action, and that’s why I’m in favor of developing a balanced plan to do that now instead of waiting until it is too late.

    Dr. Wilson feels the best way for people to take corrective action is as simple as trading a gas guzzling vehicle in for a smaller one.

    He did that himself recently.

    �It gets me where I need to go and it does it in a zippy fashion, so I think conservation methods like that, particularly with automobiles, is the way to fly.�

    Meteorologist Dave Anderson, the Northland’s NewsCenter.”

  107. Hank Roberts:


    Putting a value on carbon dioxide, and deciding who owns it, for purposes of carbon credits and carbon trading.

    Moguls –if you’re writing a big long term fuel contract, this might be an issue worth addressing in anticipation.

  108. Carol Endicott:

    I asked a question a month or so ago regarding the hockey stick (#74). I’m afraid I’m still being lazy and wanting spoon feeding. (Hell, I am incredibly literate on evolution/creation issues. Diving into a new controversy, outside my science is daunting). I had a conversation with a coworker who is a skeptic of global warming….[edited]…Note that a paleoclimatologist referred me to this site. I have “Climate over the past millenia ” by Jones and Mann, which I will read over the weekend. I’d also like a citation for the National Academy of Sciences review of the hockey stick investigations.

    Anyway, any input?

    [Response: (Comment was edited to preserve the information, but to remove inappropriate comments of said coworker). Thanks for your interest in our site. You can find a substantial discussion of (and link to) the NAS report in our previous post back in June here. Links to other reputable climate science blogs are provided in our blogroll, and you can find useful additional discussions there. I hope you find the information you’re looking for in these resources. – mike]

  109. C. W. Magee:

    Any chance of you guys summarizing the salient points of various scientific publications for those of us who aren’t climate or modelling specialists? Comments on things like climate related EOS articles, for example, would be great for those of us who are curious about the field, but spent little professional time in it.

  110. Chris:


    There’s a very interesting, but very weird, observation in the Law Dome record for CO2. In their classic paper [Etheridge et al (1996) J. Geophys. Res. 101, 4115-4128], it was pointed out that the CO2 levels “stabilized” or even decreased slightly during 1935-1945. I’m not sure this has been taken much note of in the subsequent years.

    Now the same group have made a more detailed analysis of the Law Dome cores and come up with the same conclusion. [MacFarlingMeure et al. (2006) Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L14810, doi:10.1029/2006GL026152]

    They say that “The new high density measurements confirm this result and show that CO2 concentrations stabilised at 310-312 ppm from ~1940-1955”

    Anyone got an expert view on that? It seems an extraordinary notion. It would fit with the mid 20th century “cool” period, but that’s already explained by manmade aerosols. It’s rather weird too, that this period corresponds to that just before the Manua Loa record started. But there must be directly measured [CO2] records going back before Manoa Loa, towards the start of the 20th century? or maybe not???

    Any expert evidence/opinion on this?

    The authors suggest an “oceanic sink”…

  111. Pat Neuman, Chanhassen MN:

    I have another matter, which I feel should be of major concern to scientists and the public. Over and over again meteorologists in the US downplay and ignore regional climate change and global climate warming in their comments and articles to the public.

    “A Look at Weather History: Heat Waves of the Past Century” (in Sept. 2006 Twin Cities Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, AMS), is another example.

    The AMS article failed to note that July 2006 was the warmest of record (1898-2006) at Leech Lake Federal Dam climate station in northern Minnesota.

    The article failed to note that the climate station at Minneapolis was moved from downtown to the airport site in January 1937. Thus, average temperatures in July 1936 included downtown urban heat island which should be considered in making comparisons to temperatures at the airport site following 1936.

    The article failed to note warming trends at all climate stations in Minnesota over recent decades.

    The article failed to note that Minnesota weather is influenced by
    global temperature change and that climate change in the Arctic is taking place at alarming rates.

    Link to AMS Newsletter article: …then click on Newsletters…

    Link to Leech Lake temperature plots:

    More examples of meteorologists in the US downplaying or ignoring regional climate change and global climate warming in comments and articles they make for the public are at:

  112. wayne davidson:

    #106, I didn’t write that! Must be a mistake of sorts… Please erase this comment when corrected.