Unforced variations: Dec 2011

Open thread for December…

406 comments on this post.
  1. SecularAnimist:

    Since a December open thread isn’t up yet, I’ll post this here:

    Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat
    30 November 2011
    Institute of Arctic Biology
    Univerisity of Alaska


    As the Arctic warms, greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost faster and at significantly higher levels than previous estimates, according to survey results from 41 international scientists published in the Nov. 30 issue of the journal Nature.

    Permafrost thaw will release approximately the same amount of carbon as deforestation, say the authors, but the effect on climate will be 2.5 times bigger because emissions include methane, which has a greater effect on warming than carbon dioxide.

    The survey, led by University of Florida researcher Edward Schuur and University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Benjamin Abbott, asked climate experts what percentage of the surface permafrost is likely to thaw, how much carbon will be released and how much of that carbon will be methane. The authors estimate that the amount of carbon released by 2100 will be 1.7 to 5.2 times larger than reported in recent modeling studies, which used a similar warming scenario.

  2. John Mashey:

    Just in case there are any who still think de Freitas was a martyr for science (or whatever), see Pal Review. I actually did go through and check 700+ papers at Climate Research, including dates and editors, and those are important in finding the patterns.

    and it turned it was even worse than many people thought.

    The journal had no Editor-in-Chief, so authors sent manuscripts to an Associate Editor of their choice. Each selected reviewers, handled the whole process and accepted papers with no further oversight.

    From 1990 to 1996, CR published zero papers from any of the following, called pals hereafter: Sallie Baliunas, Robert Balling, John Christy, Robert Davis, (Chris de Freitas), David Douglass, Vincent Gray, Sherwood Idso, PJ Knappenberger, Ross McKitrick, Pat Michaels, Eric Posmentier, Arthur Robinson, Willie Soon, and Gerd-Rainer Weber. [that includes 2 coal guys, 2 astrophysicists, a radian/degree-challenged economist and a chemist who works in the woods and has 2 dead guys on his “faculty.”

    Chris de Freitas became an editor and then accepted 14 papers from the pals 1997-2003. I looked at them all, and in my opinion, not all were bad, but quite a few were *awful*. Even the OK ones managed to insert poorly-supported memes into Abstract, introduction or conclusion.

    With 7 of the 14 papers, Pat Michaels might be called “king of the pals.”

    After von Storch and other editors resigned in 2003, no more pals papers came through de Freitas, and only a few more, through Robert Davis. The party was over.

  3. Tony:

    I just listened to a Science Podcast that was a study on aerosols by Natalie Mohowald(?) from Cornell and I have heard nothing of this from any site. The interesting thing was her contention that aerosols have a biogeochemical effect, by fertilizing the land or ocean ecosystems that increase carbon uptake for up to decades, as well as in the atmosphere changing the “amount” of CO2 in the atmosphere. It sounded very interesting, and an issue (in general, not this specific form) that I have considered being a possible source of some mitigation. Of course she explains that aerosol health effects are significant and are going to be removed, that this “masking effect” could make temp increase higher once they are removed. But removal would still leave a many year residual effect when precipitated.

  4. KeithWoollard:

    OK, I will try on the open thread seeing my questions get censored elsewhere. In the post about extreme weather events, there is a graph that makes no sense. Can someone explain it to me please. Here is my initial comment:-28.I am sorry, but your second graph makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would having fewer but stronger TCs affect the wind distribution on normal (non-TC) days? Are you therefore saying that in areas that never experience TCs, the wind speed increases with average temperature? Have you any scientific basis for this assumption?

  5. Hank Roberts:

    Keith, there’s nothing in the discussion or in Fig. 2 about “the wind distribution on normal (non-TC) days” nor anything about “areas that never experience TCs” — it’s a post about whether there’s enough data available to tell if trends can be detected in what is measured; that is a question that can be asked about any given data set. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

  6. Ron R.:

    Just wanted to mention again an unusual observation, that being that leaves on deciduous trees seem to be hanging on much longer than normal this year. We have an elm, a willow, a walnut and some mulberries that still have many or most of their leaves (because we haven’t gotten our usual killer frost yet).

    We are in California just inland from the coast.

    If this has already been observed and discussed and I’m in the dark then pardon.

  7. Mark C:

    I’m not familiar with these scientists (nor the details of the science), but it seems like their assertion that the warming caused by GHG is much less than that caused by atmospheric density has been shown to be incorrect.

    [Response: That link doesn’t work, but you can see it in the Google Cache. It is mostly nonsense, but the presenter at WCRP was very confident that in ten years time we would all know his name. We’ll see. – gavin]

  8. Hank Roberts:

    For Ron R., this may be a good place to start:
    “… the California Phenology Project (CPP) was launched in 2010 as a 3-year pilot project to develop and test protocols and to create tools and infrastructure to support long-term phenological monitoring and public education activities in California. A primary focus of the effort is how to recruit and engage California residents and visitors in the collection and interpretation of phenological data….”

  9. Charlie Harnett:

    Ron R., We’re seeing something similar here in Minnesota. Leaves hung on to maples far longer than what I recall as normal. They also appeared to cling longer to certain other species (but I don’t know what they are).

    [Response: The maples held on exceptionally long this year, dropping in many cases even well after the oaks, in my observations in northern Ohio.–Jim]

  10. caerbannog:

    Anthony Watts’ latest attack directed at Dr. Mann might cost Mann his keyboard and monitor (if he’s not careful with the hot coffee, that is):

    So without further ado, here is Watts’ latest deliciously incompetent attempt to discredit the “hockey stick” (linky http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/01/hockey-stick-falsification-so-easy-a-caveman-kid-can-do-it/):

    With apologies to the Geico caveman, paleoclimatology isn’t just for grant enabled scientists anymore.

    Priceless Climategate email 682: Tom Wigley tells Michael Mann that his son did a tree ring science fair project (using trees behind NCAR) that invalidated the centerpiece of Mann’s work:

    ‘A few years back, my son Eirik did a tree ring science fair project using trees behind NCAR. He found that widths correlated with both temp and precip. However, temp and precip also correlate. There is much other evidence that it is precip that is the driver, and that the temp/width correlation arises via the temp/precip correlation’

    I’m sure that Watts has been told that tree-ring-based temperature reconstructions are generally derived from cores taken at trees near timberline. Well sorry, Anthony — wrong timberline!

  11. Ron R.:

    Thanks Hank. At first I thought that read phrenology and I was thinking, why is he sending me there? :-)

    I’m wondering if it’s just a local phenomenon, a one off or if anyone else has noticed it.

    Anyway, will look the site over.

  12. Sou:

    @ Ron R #6 – where I live in south eastern Australia, the leaves on deciduous trees stayed on the trees till mid June this year. That’s right in winter and most unusual for our part of the world, although maybe it will no longer be ‘unusual’ as time goes by.

    I like the sound of the California Phenology Project. I’m taking photos these days to record unusual blossoming, longer autumns etc. Just for my own record, because I don’t trust my memory :D

    In my garden I get flowers blooming unusually in mid-winter, a couple of years ago we had two ‘springs’ with two blossom periods – one of them in early winter etc etc. Also we get visits from different birds – and some have settled here in recent years – moving across from hotter, drier climate zones. I’m seeing more different insects, too. Not as many Bogong Moths as there used to be. I hope they are okay – they travel from a couple of thousand km away to breed on the hill above us.

    Lots of changes happening.

  13. MalcolmT:

    @10, Ron R, Your example may be local but it’s the sort of thing that’s happening worldwide and a lot of people are looking at. You might like to explore from this site, too: http://www.climatewatch.org.au/news/2011/07/phenology-and-citizen-science-usa

  14. sidd:

    Mr. Ron. R, Mr. Harnett:

    The maple leaves were hanging on late in ohio and pa as well


  15. James:

    I recently was looking at aircraft cabin air quality:
    * humans can live up to 30000 ppm CO2
    * short term exposure to 600ppm is unnoticed (shopping malls conference center etc)
    * long term exposure to 450 ppm and we start to die of acidosis
    * primates do not adapt. Young can be more tolerant, but old die.

    That puts the next 30 years into the Very Important category, but the issue seems to be not mentioned. Why?


    [Response: These numbers are very different to OSHA guidance and a huge overestimate (see here for instance). This doesn’t get mentioned, mainly because it’s wrong. – gavin]

  16. J Bowers:

    Modest Rise in Number Saying There Is ‘Solid Evidence’ of Global Warming

  17. vukcevic:

    Number of commentators and even some scientists tend to dismiss the CET as irrelevant, a little local ‘difficulty’ irrelevant to global temperature data-set.
    I tested the claim and it shows existance of high correlation between the CET, the northern Hemisphere and the Global temperatures!
    If that was the case for the last 130 years, than we can take the CET as the best proxy available going back to 1660

  18. berbmit:

    Sitting at COP-17 … depressing and hot. Outcome looks gloomy and developed nations playing “hardball” with the less developed nations. Prompted the following guidelines for winning in negotiations … as learned from the current talks: http://www.csag.uct.ac.za/2011/12/02/negotiations-101-for-developed-nations-how-to-introduce-disruption/

  19. ccpo:

    Ron, I am in Detroit and there are still leaves on my yellow apple – a lot – and one of the cherry trees. And they are young trees. We’ve just had our first frosts this week… snowing now.

    Can’t be normal. Next year’s sea ice should be quite interesting.

    I continue to believe things are moving far, far faster than virtually all believe. I made the point recently that the world has been denuded in ways that has never been the case during rapid changes before. And this is more rapid than ever before. The system is extremely fragile compare to any other time.

  20. Utahn:

    It was WINDY here yesterday. We had 100 mph gusts, lots of damage. Outside of Hurricanes, isn’t wind speed supposed to go down? If so someone missed the memo. ;)

  21. dhogaza:


    Can’t be normal. Next year’s sea ice should be quite interesting.

    Actually, this year’s arctic sea ice extent is still interesting …

  22. Mike Roddy:

    I second Secular Animist. RC needs to address the Nature paper: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/12/01/379675/nature-climate-experts-thawing-permafrost-warming-of-deforestation/
    This is a great blog, but I and others were disappointed with your coverage of the Shakhova paper. This additional information may motivate RC authors to take a good look at methane and the Arctic.

  23. Paul Briscoe:

    I’m wondering if someone here can help me.

    A very persistent blogger who is clearly a “disciple” of the Climateaudit blog has drawn my attention to the latest post there regarding the Mann et al (2003) EoS critique of Soon & Baliunas:


    Having compared Figure 1 in EoS03 with the original Briffa et al (2001) paper, it does appear that the “tail” (post 1940) has been left off the EoS plot, although McIntyre also appears to have exaggerated this by adding in data that was not included in the original plot!!

    I don’t buy into the predictable McIntyre conspiracy assertions and I don’t see how it affects the findings either. However, others are now using this to claim that the EoS rebuttal of S&B is flawed. Can anyone here comment on this in a way that can help me to counter such claims?


    [Response: I agree that there is nothing much here. The point of the rebuttal to Soon and Baliunas (as can be seen in the emails) (published version here) was to point out how illogical their conclusions were based on their analysis. Note that they claimed that they could state it was warmer in a period before the present based on whether a proxy suggested it was either warmer, drier, or wetter in a 50 years segment, compared to today. This was simply unfounded, and so their conclusions did not follow from their analysis. (Indeed, a much better attempt with a similar approach was published by Briffa and Osborn (2006)).

    The divergence issue as a recognised problem predates this paper by years (Briffa et al, 1998), and was discussed in the almost contemporaneous Jones and Mann (2004) paper. That paper was a little clearer about what was done and why (i.e. fig 5):

    The various other (smoothed) NH reconstructions shown in the enlargement to Figure 5a have been scaled by linear regression against the smoothed instrumental NH series over the common interval 1856–1980, with the exception of the ‘‘Briffa et al.’’ series, which has been scaled over the shorter 1856–1940 interval owing to a decline in temperature response in the underlying data discussed elsewhere [Briffa et al., 1998a].

    I note there a few typos in the Eos figure 1 though (signs of fast turnaround perhaps). It should say 1856–1940 in the key for Briffa et al. for instance (as it is in Jones and Mann, 2004). But overall the issues in the Eos paper just have nothing to do with the problems with the MXD series. It could have been left out of that (rather crowded) figure without any problem, which obviously they would have rather done if they 13 authors thought there was something problematic. It should be made clear that Briffa and colleagues are well aware that the MXD decline is a problem and that without a resolution (either related to processing, tree sensitivity, direct anthropogenic effects or all of the above), people will rightly have a question mark over that series. But the the bigger point is that this is just one series out of many, and showing that S&B had a completely wrong approach doesn’t depend on any of those issues. – gavin]

    [Further response: It’s interesting to add that in Briffa et al, 1998, they state:

    “Over the hemisphere, the divergence between tree growth and mean summer temperatures began perhaps as early as the 1930s;”.

    – gavin]

  24. Hank Roberts:

    > Utahn
    > Outside of Hurricanes, isn’t wind speed supposed to go down?

    How often do you get hurricanes in Utah?
    Can’t tell you about Utah weather, but you might check locally.

    Where I live, California, this is the info; no certainty about what’ll happen:

  25. mike:

    Mid-November in dull grey England: harvested ripe tomatoes growing outside – not under glass; trees kept leaves till end of November. First frost was couple of days ago – this time last year we had thick snow.

  26. flxible:

    re deciduous trees dropping leaves late

    While it may make an interesting anecdotal entry in your garden calender as a reference for your personal micro-climate, variation in last and first frost dates is “normal” everywhere.

    The observation of blooms in fall or winter may be more to the point wrt climate change – it’s an indication of the decreasing number of “chill hours” in winter, meaning that the variety didn’t have a long enough dormant period the preceding winter and some of the buds remained dormant until the current cooling fall weather made up the required chill hours. This has been observed here on central Vancouver Island fruit trees with increasing frequency the past decade or so, my flowering quince has now done it the last 3 years in a row.

  27. J Bowers:

    The Spectator runs false sea-level claims on its cover

    Oh dear, Nils-Axel Morner. Quite comical, in a weird way.

  28. Icarus:

    If I understand it correctly, roughly 50% of each year’s anthropogenic CO₂emissions remain in the atmosphere, with 25% absorbed by the oceans (as determined by the changing pH). The remaining 25% is assumed to be taken up by the land, but no-one really knows where. Is that correct? I know this is probably quite a small amount compared to the annual flux, but still, with all the deforestation going on, forest fires, drought, beetle infestations and so on, it seems surprising to me that the land is taking up more than it would otherwise do, rather than less. Any comments?

    [Response: The average atmospheric retention over the last 50 years is about 43-44%, but with a large inter-annual variability (1 s.d. ~= 15%). I’m not sure what your more/less are with reference to. There’s uncertainty in exactly how the terrestrial flux is partitioned. Two big drivers are disturbance intensity and rate, and CO2 fertilization.–Jim]

  29. Louise Doughty:

    We have leaves still on many trees in North Wales (UK) too and many are still fairly green. The normal autumn colours associated with October were just starting in the second half of November. Some of the ones that had turned recently have been blown off in recent strong winds. We also have some strawberries flowering! Over recent years april showers seem to have been replaced by drought and easterly winds (prevailing winds are westerly). Weather patterns appear to be changing and it makes growing food quite difficult. Of course British weather is fairly unpredictable, especially in the West so it’s difficult to tell if this is a result of climate change or not.

  30. Utahn:

    Hank thanks, very interesting.

    “How often do you get hurricanes in Utah?”

    Once to my knowledge, and that was yesterday!

  31. Hank Roberts:

    > J. Bowers
    > assumed to be taken up by the land, but
    > no-one really knows where. Is that correct?

    Why would you think that? Is there a source where you found the idea?

    I’d really like to know where you found those statements about assumptions (and why the sources seems trustworthy to you).

    It’s kind of a hobby, backtracking ideas and patterns of trust in ideas.

    Seems easy enough to check; try some of these (just my first guess at a search, someone who knows something can certainly do better):


  32. Russ Gaulin:

    I live in central Mass., and we usually lose leaves approx. mid October. First snow toward the end of Nov. or into Dec. But this year we had 2 feet of snow Oct. 30, and since so many leaves remained, there were severe power outages when the wet snow took down branches. Then November was the second warmest on record for here. Weird weather — it’s the new normal. I keep meaning to join the phenology project, but it is clear that something is afoot just from casual observation. I wonder what it could be?? ;-)

  33. Hank Roberts:

    Oops, sorry, Icarus, not J. Bowers, is the comment I was replying to:

    > assumed to be taken up by the land, but
    > no-one really knows where. Is that correct?

  34. Hank Roberts:

    For Louise Doughty, you have a network you can contribute to:

    United Kingdom Phenology Network

    Phenology is the study of the times of recurring natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate. It includes recording when you heard the first cuckoo or first saw the blackthorn blossom. This can then be compared with past records. In autumn 2000 the Woodland Trust joined forces with CEH to promote phenology to a far wider and larger audience. Over 40,000 people across the UK are now registered to record with the UK Phenology Network, around half of current records being made online.”

    Found here: http://www.ceh.ac.uk/data/DataSetsandFacilities.html#PHEN

  35. Richard Hendricks:

    Well here in Texas, we had some redbuds start blooming in November, instead of during the spring like the normally do. Opinions vary between the “dormancy” of the drought making the recent rains feel like spring to the trees, to this is the redbuds attempting one last gasp of flowering before mass die-offs.


    Here’s a shot of one of my redbuds blooming two weeks ago:

    My red maple lost its outer 1/3 of its canopy over the summer, then when the rains started tried to grow new leaves. How much stress is that going to cause, spending energy and nutrients for brand new leaves that only last a month?

  36. Kevin McKinney:

    “forest fires, drought, beetle infestations and so on. . .”

    Hmm. Well, there’s an explosion of new growth after deforestation; all sorts of opportunistic plants sprout up to take advantage of the increased sun. (In Ontario, fireweed is one prominent example of such a plant, for example.) This starts off the normal succession cycle once again.

    [Response: Not just Ontario, but all over; a classic fire indicator.–Jim]

    I’m sure that there is quite a lot of work available quantifying these things–though I’m not looking just now. . .

  37. John Mashey:

    Phenology: this reminds me of one of the more ludicrous errors in the Wegman Report, a source of great amusement. See SSWR, p.117.

    They had copied and cited one of Ray Bradley’s tables, but introduced 3 errors, with the silliest being:

    phenology became *phonology*.

    Sadly, I was unable to locate any paleoclimate folks who had used audio recordings of plants.

    [Response: That’s a job for forest ecologists–Jim]

  38. john burgeson:

    Here in the Austin, Texas area we had new records for temperature set in 90 or 91 days last summer. Previous record was 60 days a few years ago.

  39. Susan Anderson:

    While I’m as hot as the next guy on the relationship of overall change in weather over time being a key indicator of climate change, particularly for lay people, beware of overweighting local changes over a short time. I first started paying attention to budding out in late fall and early winter a few decades ago and finally came to the conclusion that it happens quite frequently and doesn’t seem to change things in isolation. It takes about three years of bad stuff to kill trees, in general. Freeze/thaw is, of course, not great, but nature is pretty resilient.

    You need to stick to overall trends over the whole globe and significant periods of time.

    However, I do believe the one-two punch of Irene and the October storm has done damage to the northeast it will take a generation to heal, and of course in a generation we are going to have a raft of other troubles, plus the likely acceleration of these extreme events. Lately I’ve been thinking about out-of-season events, which do seem to be on the rise.

    The phrase “lurching from greed to fear” describes the coming socioeconomic reaction as people finally realize that we are approaching the endgame. Seesawing weather is clearly evidencing more extremes. Quibbling about individual categories of the most extreme events seems to have encouraged people to leave them out of the overall counts, which seems wrong to me. How do the most extreme events get pushed off the continuum. I know they have weird effects and different dynamics, but not counting them doesn’t work at all. Exactly how is a 10 or 12 inch rain not part of a continuum with an inch or two?

  40. Susan Anderson:

    In addition, it seems the overall Arctic thaw is likely to send nasty cold weather to certain populated areas (northern Europe, middle-north US) in winter for a while, as it did in the last two years. It appears, with a lot of help from skilled industry PR, unlikely that the average Joe or Jane will “get it” that this too is part of the overall picture of climate change, and part of “warming”.

  41. Arjan:

    Fall was very late here in the Netherlands too. We had very weird weather this year. A record warm and dry spring (in at least 100+ years), a cool and record wet summer and a very stable (high pressure), warm and dry fall lead to midday temperatures which were virtually unchanged between the end of March and the beginning of November! Now, it has finally become wet and windy, which is normal for the time of the year.

  42. John McManus:

    Listening to CBC Charlettown PEI Canada this morning I heard a prediction about Christmas. The Metiorologist said that today the chance of a white christnas was 65% while in the 1940’s it was 99%.

    John McManus

  43. Utahn:

    Hank, thanks! Having recaptcha probs but very interesting.

  44. Icarus62:

    Hank Roberts: Thanks for your answer. I think I partly got the impression about ocean vs. terrestrial absorption of anthropogenic CO2 from here:


    Towards the end it says:

    The land-atmosphere flux represents the balance of a positive term due to land-use change and a residual terrestrial sink. The two terms cannot be separated on the basis of current atmospheric measurements. Using independent analyses to estimate the land-use change component for the 1980s based on Houghton (1999), Houghton and Hackler (1999), Houghton et al. (2000), and the CCMLP (McGuire et al., 2001) the residual terrestrial sink can be inferred for the 1980s.

    From this and possibly something I read elsewhere, I got the impression that the anthropogenic CO2 taken up by the land through natural changes is something that has to be inferred rather than measured directly – i.e. you can figure out how much the oceans are absorbing, and how much is due to land use changes, so what’s left must be absorbed somewhere on land, but without being able to say where.

    Maybe I misunderstood – In fact it’s more than likely :-)

    [Response: The big challenge in terrestrial carbon cycle research is reconciling “top down” vs “bottom up” estimates of carbon fluxes. Bottom up estimates involve site specific estimates based on some combination of biometric measurements and/or local carbon flux tower data, to estimate the carbon gain or loss directly into/ out of the biosphere. Top down estimates involve inversion modeling (attempting to constrain the sources of atmospheric C based on larger scale atmospheric gas measurements and atmospheric transport measurement/modeling). The problem is mainly the very different scale and type of measurement made in the two approaches, exacerbated by very uncertain processes (soil flux, CO2 fertilization, biometrical uncertainties etc). We can say a lot about the “where”, but not nearly enough. Therefore the carbon budget currently closes via subtraction of the terrestrial component from the other two.–Jim]

  45. Rick Brown:

    Icarus @ 43:

    Perhaps these might be of some help.

    Houghton 2007 Balancing the global carbon budget

    Houghton et al. 2009 Importance of biomass in the global carbon cycle

  46. Tad Boyd:

    Post 39

    RealClimate Scientists,

    Is Susan Anderson’s assertion (pasted below) correct? That the last couple of cold winters were caused by the Arctic thaw (colder than normal winters here in Washington state too). As an ‘average Joe’, I do my best but can’t always tell when something stated is proven fact, or just one of the blog’s posters giving opinion. (No offence intended Susan, I am just not familiar with you so don’t know if you write from authority or not).

    “39.In addition, it seems the overall Arctic thaw is likely to send nasty cold weather to certain populated areas (northern Europe, middle-north US) in winter for a while, as it did in the last two years.”


    (Captcha issue I think – trying to post again)

    [Response: There have been a couple of papers linking these issues, but I would say that this is just rising to the level of interesting hypothesis, and is a long way short of well-accepted. If I were a betting man, I would not bet on a similarly cold winter this year. – gavin]

    [Response: Perhaps. But I’d still bet on cold (and wet) for Pacific Northwest this year given prevailing La Nina conditions. – mike]

  47. Michael Mott:

    I live in mid Alberta next to a decent sized lake 14 miles long and varying widths 1/2 to a couple miles. I look after my own infrastructure heating and plumbing. I have 20 acres of birch trees.

    Last year the winter was brutal a lot of cloudy days and -30c temperatures I keep a log because I have a semi passive solar home, this year we had -16c -18c -27c in the mid part of November and now we have strong winds gusting to 60km and 0c
    The lake is now frozen over, but the quality of the ice is suspect.


  48. Bob Loblaw:

    Kevin McKinney @ 35: Hmm. Well, there’s an explosion of new growth after deforestation; all sorts of opportunistic plants sprout up to take advantage of the increased sun.

    Increased sun also leads to warmer soil temperatures, which increases decay of soil organic matter. In the boreal forests, there is usually more carbon in the soil than in the trees. This can mean that a boreal forest stand represents a net carbon source for a period after disturbance. Most detailed boreal forest study I know of is BOREAS.

    Tropical forests, due to high temperatures overall, usually have very little soil carbon. Temperate forest would probably fall in between, but I’m just guessing.

    [Response: Yes. The other points wrt to fire and carbon is that charcoal speeds the soil warming process, and that the fire itself typically, even in a high severity fire, leaves a large fraction of the above-ground carbon in place, but dead, so that carbon (in snags and logs) acts as a C source as it slowly decays over time. In a mid-severity fire the amount left is even higher.–Jim]

  49. Ron R.:

    Very Interesting comments re: the late fall. Anecdotal but converging. Phenology too. Exactly right for the topic. Nice direct Hank.

    I, of course, agree with those who urge caution not to draw too much from this one year. But maybe we can our antenna up.

    The Old RC Almanac.

  50. Ron R.:

    Thanks Malcolm T. Yes.

  51. Ron R.:

    Re comments about winds. I generally consider strong winds to be an indication of the change of the seasons, warm to cold and visa versa. Low pressure to high and back again.

    We also had those strong winds here a few days ago. Snapped a dead pine tree (from borers) here clean in half and threw the top half into the ground like a giant spear.

  52. Ron R.:

    From Malcolm’s article


    Another based on Hank’s


    Nationwide phenological networks. Is the one planet wide? Are these disparate group coordinated?

  53. Hank Roberts:

    Totally _unrelated_ phenology — that had to be pointed out by NYT:


    “… While scientists do not fully understand why this year has produced the lowest acorn crop in 20 years of monitoring, there is nothing unusual about large fluctuations in the annual number of acorns. Fingers are not being pointed at global warming.

    Oak trees “produce huge, abundant amounts one year and not in other years,” Dr. Ashton said. “I don’t think it’s bad — the whole system fluctuates like this.” …”

    Watch for the known correlations as they work out, and watch for misattribution later on.

    “Coming on the heels of an acorn glut, the dearth this year will probably have a cascade of effects on the forest ecosystem, culling the populations of squirrels, field mice and ground-nesting birds. And because the now-overgrown field mouse population will crash, legions of ticks — some infected with Lyme disease — will be aggressively pursuing new hosts, like humans.

    “We expect 2012 to be the worst year for Lyme disease risk ever” ….

    Watch for that and if you see it in the news for the US Northeast next summer, recall it’s a predicted consequence of the low acorn year.

  54. JCH:

    Around 60 million trees in the Houston area started dropping leaves as early August – because the drought was killing them.

  55. Edward Greisch:

    Does Phenology include river ice freezing, thawing and thickness?

  56. Craig Nazor:

    When I lived near Cleveland, Ohio prior to 1975, I distinctly remember that spring came in the last 2 weeks of May. Before mid-May, there were very few trees with leaves; by the end of May, all the trees had leaves. When I visited Cleveland in the spring of 2010, all the trees had produced leaves by the end of the first week of May, and the people I talked to said that, yes, spring was consistently coming earlier.

    This last summer in Austin, Texas, we had record heat and record drought. This fall, I have seen some unusual things. In addition to the Texas redbuds blooming (mentioned in an earlier post), after the first rains, we had ornamental pears burst out in full bloom, along with at least 2 species of Penstemon and one species of Manfreda. Was it the heat or the drought? Was the heat and drought caused by anthropogenic global climate change?

    My personal observations, taken as a whole, appear to be agreeing with the climate science.

  57. Paul Briscoe:


    Many thanks for your very comprehensive response to my post at #23. It proved extremely useful.

    I don’t make a habit of reading the stolen emails, but I note that bloggers at Climateaudit are quoting email 0285.txt from Mike Mann to Jones and Rutherford. This discusses the reasons for the truncation of the Briffa reconstruction. Sadly, the people at Climateaudit appear to have missed the most obvious point – that this shows the truncation was for sound scientific reasons and clearly NOT, as McIntyre is asserting, an attempt to hide something which might dilute the message.

  58. perwis:

    There is this new paper in Science, “The Role of Carbon Dioxide During the Onset of Antarctic Glaciation” by Mark Pagani et al.:

    “Matthew Huber, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue, said roughly a 40 percent decrease in carbon dioxide occurred prior to and during the rapid formation of a mile-thick ice sheet over the Antarctic approximately 34 million years ago.”

    “The team found the tipping point in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for cooling that initiates ice sheet formation is about 600 parts per million. Prior to the levels dropping this low, it was too warm for the ice sheet to form.” (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111201174225.htm)

    I am no expert on this, but I have read that an important theory of glaciation of Antarctica 34 million years ago is that the glaciation was primarily caused by tectonic changes (opening of the Tasmania/Antarctica and the Drake Passage).

    It seems to me that if the glaciation of Antarctica was more influenced by a reduction of CO2, then the Antarctic ice sheets may be more vulnerable to warming than previously thought (including the East Antarctic Ice Sheet).

    Should we be more worried of the Antarctic ice sheets now?

    The paper is here:
    Mark Pagani, Matthew Huber, Zhonghui Liu, Steven M. Bohaty, Jorijntje Henderiks, Willem Sijp, Srinath Krishnan, Robert M. Deconto. The Role of Carbon Dioxide During the Onset of Antarctic Glaciation. Science, 2 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6060 pp. 1261-1264 DOI: 10.1126/science.1203909

  59. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Susan @ 38, 29,Tad @ 45
    >You need to stick to overall trends over the whole globe and significant periods of time.

    Not enough, as you (Susan) know if you think about it. Think globally and locally and seasonally as some map generation fun here will convince you.

    Tad, this season so far is not shaping up like the last two years. One indication is the Arctic Oscillation (AO) ((glossary). It is highly positive just now. Last winter and even moreso the year before, the AO was very negative. (Note that the AO does not exactly correlate to other things, partly because just knowing that there is generally low or high pressure over the Arctic does not locate the center of low or high pressure very closely). Winters like the last couple (warm Arctic, cold northern mid latitudes (relatively) seem likely to recur, but not every year. When more cold air blows out of the Arctic it is replaced there by warmer air from elsewhere. This pattern may result from the reduced ice cover in the Arctic ocean – sometimes. Note that heavy snowfall in autumn and early winter may result from higher evaporation from lakes, Hudson Bay and the oceans, but record snowfall is not at all the same as record low temperatures.

  60. Dan H.:

    Nice to see you again. I see you survived the Texas heat and drought this year.
    Not being a biologist, I cannot answer your first question. As far as the second, we just wrapped up to thread about extreme events (focusing on the Russian and Texan heat waves). We should refrain from attributing individual weather events to climate change, although a change in the probability if such events could not be ruled out.

  61. Martin Smith:

    Is something strange happening? The anomaly map has been like this for some weeks, Purple and blue over all of Antartica and read and yellow over all of the Arctic. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01a.fnl.anim.html

  62. Anonymous Coward:

    perwis (#58),
    You wrote “It seems to me that if the glaciation of Antarctica was more influenced by a reduction of CO2, then the Antarctic ice sheets may be more vulnerable to warming than previously thought (including the East Antarctic Ice Sheet).”
    Not really because the article you reference is less hawkish than Hansen’s famous “target atmospheric CO2” paper which argued in 2008: “We infer from Cenozoic data that CO2 was the dominant Cenozoic forcing, that CO2 was ~350-500 ppm when Antarctica glaciated, and that glaciation is reversible.”

    You also wrote: “Should we be more worried of the Antarctic ice sheets now?”
    Should anything happen to the bulk of those ice sheets, we will not live to see it. It is not an immediate concern. Hansen’s paper argued that “it would be foolhardy to allow CO2 to stay in the dangerous zone for centuries.”
    The sooner the problem is tackled, the easier it will be to reach whatever target is chosen so immediate action is nevertheless warranted. But there are more immediate concerns such as the impact of climate change on wildlife or rainfall.

  63. Kevin McKinney:

    #48–Thanks, Bob–solid information always trumps (well-intended) speculation! I was going to mention the slow C release as fire debris or (in the case of logging) “slash” decays, but Jim said it better, anyway.

    On another topic, geo-engineering gets (yet) another look:


  64. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Perwis @ 58, I think that paper informs us about what may happen over geological time. If you wish to worry about sea level in the near future, this may help. ;) More constructively, worry that too few people get it that we had better leave most of the remaining carbon in the ground and get on the ball with alternate energy, (there is some progress). Then try to do something about it: spread the word and encourage others to do the same.

  65. Ron R.:

    Susan Anderson — 2 Dec 2011 @ 4:30 PM
    it seems the overall Arctic thaw is likely to send nasty cold weather to certain populated areas (northern Europe, middle-north US) in winter for a while, as it did in the last two years.

    What I call the Swamp Cooler Effect. Thaw leads to temporarily cooler temps. But when the ice is finally gone then you start getting some real heat issues.

  66. Hank Roberts:

    > the slow C release as fire debris or (in
    > the case of logging) “slash” decays

    Don’t forget half of a tree is underground; roots decay over the decade or so after logging. Lots of landslides happen with that time lag.

  67. Hank Roberts:

    uh, oh: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL049513.shtml


    Observed decreases in oxygen content of the global ocean
    Key Points

    Observations reveal a clear global pattern of oxygen decreases in the ocean
    Most decreases appear to be associated with increased ocean stratification
    This matches model projections of a global reduction in water mass renewal rates

    Paging Peter Ward …

  68. vukcevic:

    Here is one for the solar and the climate experts to ponder:
    Notice that the temperature not only oscillate at the sunspot rate, but intriguingly on some occasions precedes the solar cycle by a number of years (?!).
    From science point of view this is not ‘politically correct’ but I can assure any ‘sceptic’ that both the temperature and the sunspot number data are indisputable!
    Not interested, well you should be, this little gem has some of the answers that the science is desperate not to know!

  69. John Mashey:

    re: 37 Thanks Jim, but I’m not sure I take that journal seriously.
    Now if, it had been in Journal of Scientific Exploration, it would be another story.

  70. Louise Doughty:

    For Hank Roberts @ #34 Thanks for the link. It looks interesting. I’ll follow it up

  71. CM:

    Vukcevic #68, if you’ve got answers that science is desperate not to know, write them up, why don’t you? I’m sure the Fortean Times will be interested.

  72. Bob Loblaw:

    Kevin @ 63:

    Interesting link on solar geo-engineering stuff. Oddly, from a Canadian perspective, this comes at a time when it looks like Canada’s government is making cuts to Environment Canada that will affect its solar radiation work:

    Nature story on ozone monitoring cuts

  73. Ron R.:

    Not to belabor but re: my comments @ 12:14 PM.

    “Thaw leads to temporarily cooler temps”.

    More specifically, thaw and evaporation lead to temporarily cooler temps. Swamp coolers also being known as “evaporative coolers”. Hence the Swamp Cooler Effect.

  74. Michael Sweet:

    Your summary of the exreme events thread is inaccurate. It was shown that the probability of extreme events has dramatically increased. Hansen’s recent paper shows that the Texas heat is more than three standard deviations over normal covering a large area. That is over 95% confidence of it being caused by ACC. You are now required to provide evidence that the heat was not caused by ACC.

  75. RichardC:

    68 vul said, “Here is one for the solar and the climate experts to ponder:
    Notice that the temperature not only oscillate at the sunspot rate, but intriguingly on some occasions precedes the solar cycle by a number of years (?!).”

    At some times the curve fits, at some times it leads, at some times it lags, and at some times it opposes. Ditto for the magnitude. Sometimes it fits, other times it doesn’t. From your graph, the period of the temperature oscillation appears to vary at completely different rates than the sunspot oscillation. So the position, rate, and magnitude all appear fairly random. It seems that there is little correlation. Yep, the sunspot cycle has a small effect on global temperatures, and some of the features of your graph hint at that, but your graph doesn’t seem to inflate that into a dominant feature. Look at 1990 VS 1810. Also, your temperature graph appears to be totally bogus. It doesn’t reflect actual temperatures at all. Yeah RIGHT temperatures in 1998 were very low and temperatures in 1725 were higher than modern values. Yeah, right, 2010 wasn’t tied for the warmest year on record but merely average over the last 300 years! Yeah, RIGHT, temps have been steady for the last 300 years. LOL! My conclusion is that you used some flaky faked temperature chart cobbled together by yourself or some other hack as opposed to an actual temperature record. Given that, I certainly don’t trust your sunspot numbers either.

    Why embarrass yourself by posting obvious garbage? I challenge you to support your temperature graph with cites. Got data?

  76. George M:

    Re: 74 Dan- check back when the confidence interval is 99.9%. Also specify which years the drought is going to happen and what the severity will be. Remember, the 95% CI was chosen because it covers a fairly wide deviation from the average and is an indication that something “might” be happening. Having done much experimentation in my career I also know that a 95% CI is often wrong and must be backed up by multiple experiments to confirm it. In this case the historical and archaeological record is pretty clear that the southwestern US has been subject to many serious droughts, some of them lasting years. One example is the Chaco canyon culture, which apparently disappeared(i.e. everybody left- moved out) in less than a century from a combination of drought and an influx of people from further south that destroyed the ability of the culture to cope in a marginal environment. Another example is the Dust Bowl- a combination of drought and bad farming practices decimated the southcentral US in the 1930’s.

    Saying “oooh, that drought last year was a bad ‘un” is a weather observation. Ascribing it to CO2 or AGW requires predictions for NEXT year- dates, location, and severity. Or if not that specific, at least the numvber of areas that will be affected, the extent affected, and the average severity.

  77. Dan H.:

    NOAA showed that the extreme heat in Russia and Texas was most likely due to natural causes. We are currently at a standstill.

    [Response: Well, see here for an alternative view on Russia.–eric]

  78. J Bowers:

    SABC News — Over 6 thousand protesters bring Durban CBD to a standstill

    Photo Essay: Global Day of Action Against UN Conference of Polluters (COP) in Durban

  79. Craig Nazor:

    Hi, Dan!

    It’s nice to know that you are continuing your AGCC obfuscations here on RealClimate, under an altered alias. (And thanks for the link, Eric.)

    Since our Austin summers in general have been getting progressively hotter over the past 2 decades, and since the scientific evidence for AGCC has also been getting stronger, there is little doubt in my mind that AGCC is very likely already starting to have a big impact on Texas.

    Meanwhile, Governor (and major Presidential candidate failure) Rick Perry-appointed Texas political hacks are scrambling to deny this by censoring state-commissioned scientific reports:


    Lovely, isn’t it?

    Maybe you should consider leaving your Novi, Michigan job and come on down to Austin, Texas for a government job, Dan!

  80. vukcevic:

    Reply to CM and Richard C

    Regarding: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-T.htm
    I will be publishing (on line) within next 2-3 weeks as many details as I have and know. I will give link to the article when it is available.

  81. Hank Roberts:

    > Dan H … NOAA … standstill
    Reposting the same old GWPF talking point, as though it had never been debunked.
    Do we need more recreational typing?

  82. DrTskoul:

    Ok chief…

  83. Pete Dunkelberg:

    J Bowers @ 77 raises a crucial point that is taken up at Planet 3.0:
    Fool Me Seventeen Times.

  84. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Re: leaves. For those interested in how climate change is/will affect biological systems, Lee Hannah’s Climate Change Biology is a place to start. It is textbook-style (not science-popularizer book), and while the biology aspect is done fairly well, it needed proofing by someone in the climate field (e.g. Keeling is spelled as “Keating”**, the use of “global warming” vs. “climate change” is put down to scientists and doesn’t mention the Luntz memo at all, there is some confusion over models…and those are just the items I spotted–RC regular commenters would find many more). So reader beware on the climate side.

    A more specialized work is bird migration in Bird Migration and Global Change by George Cox. I’ve just read reviews and have now ordered it (also ordered The Warming Papers since I was making an order anyway) so can’t comment on the contents outside of the reviews.

    @Jim’s response to 37. I’d forgotten about that one. It was like reading it again for the first time. Hilarious!

    **isn’t misspelling “Keeling” when talking about climate akin to someone misspelling “Mendel” or perhaps “Darwin” when talking about biology? (does quick search to ensure he spelt Mendel correctly).

  85. tamino:

    I second what Richard C (#75) said.

    Vukcevic: when asked point-blank what temperature data that was, your response (which was appropriately boreholed) was evasive. Neither the graph you linked to, nor your reply, have indicated *what* temperature data for *what* location/region/planet.

    You’ve been spamming this (and other) blogs for *years* with proclamations of revolutionary insight, always linking to some graph will little or no explanation. Please spare us further self-serving claims that you “will be publishing” soon. It’s time for you to put up or shut up.

    Either you can tell us what the temperature data are, or you can’t. If you can, it sure as hell won’t take you “2-3 weeks” to do so. If you can’t, then Richard C is 100% correct that your argument is bogus.

  86. Dan H.:

    Thanks, but no thanks. Politics is already too invloved in the entire debate for my tastes. I will stick with my science job.
    I do feel for you with your current governor. It seems that every time he opens his mouth, his ratings slip.
    I have a question regarding your Texan climatology. For those places with lopng records, has the summertime high temperatures increased? Or have the nightly lows increased? I am curious as to which (if either) is leading the temperature change.
    Conversely, you could move back north, where most of our temperature increase has occurred during the winter months, resulting in extended foilage, without the nasty increase in summertime heat.

  87. Jim Galasyn:

    Here’s a video of a presentation that I gave to a local church a couple of week ago: State of the Oceans 2011.

  88. wili:

    I posted this over on the scientific uncertainty thread, but it is more appropriate here.

    This was one of the first articles that really got me concerned that something a feedback may have started:


    “Warming ocean contributes to global warming

    The warming of an Arctic current over the last 30 years has triggered the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from methane hydrate stored in the sediment beneath the seabed. Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Birmingham, Royal Holloway London and IFM-Geomar in Germany have found that more than 250 plumes of bubbles of methane gas are rising from the seabed of the West Spitsbergen continental margin in the Arctic, in a depth range of 150 to 400 metres. Methane released from gas hydrate in submarine sediments has been identified in the past as an agent of climate change. The likelihood of methane being released in this way has been widely predicted.”

    But it was the possibility that this process was happening in the much shallower (average ~50 m) area of the vast (~200 k^2)East Siberian Arctic Shelf that really had me concerned since the methane would have little time to dissolve into the ocean before entering the atmosphere there. Toward the bottom of this page, you can link to Shakhova’s slide presentation on this from last year:


    Slides 33 and 34 are key. 33 shows the basic level, without figuring in sudden releases or ‘fluxes’, from the area is ~8 Tg/year. But 34 shows that the directly measured fluxes show methane releasing at up to three orders of magnitude faster than the general rate, and if higher rate were to be extended throughout the region, it would add up to ~3.5 Gt/year just from ESAS. I take these, then, to mark out the range of possible current (at the time) emissions–certainly higher than the 8 Tg figure but presumably much lower than the hypothetical ~3.5 Gt figure. But that leaves quite a wide range–was it closer to 10 Tg or 100 Tg or larger?

    So that was the rate already at least a year ago. But then this year there was news of a ‘dramatic’ increase in this rate and “massive discharges” that required scientist to go up “at short notice.” Does this mean a 10% increase? 50%? 100%? An order of magnitude? Two?…



    I’m hoping for the lower ranges in both areas. Certainly there is no evidence from monitoring stations that multiple gigatons of methane are now coming out of these areas.


    If this is part of a feedback mechanism implying exponential growth, even moderate initial increases are worrying.

    The whole thing is, in some ways, too depressing to even contemplate. But, like a train wreck, it’s something I can’t seem to take my eyes off. So any info or insights would be appreciated.

  89. JCH:

    John N-G has had a series of posts on Texas weather in 2011, including one today, and this older post may be of interest.

    The Houston area is said to have ~600 million trees. It is estimated ~60 million have been killed by the drought. This weekend they’ve been cutting down the dead ones in the park across the street. They’re large oaks and pines. They’ve survived a lot of Texas weather. Just in front of my skyscraper – a dozen big trees are on the ground, and there are still more to cut.

  90. vukcevic:

    Thank you for your kind note.
    Not all of my posts get accepted by the moderator (I have added my email on the graph), answer to you or anyone (anonymous) else is in the link and you can verify if you whish to do so.
    I do publish you may find some new stuff from this one
    no voshebniy insight, just data analysis and an eye for things that others can’t be bothered with.

  91. Hank Roberts:

    For Wili, a reminder — in the other places you’ve posted that, people pointed out that the direct quotes you give are from an article first published several years ago about that group of scientists rushing to the Arctic.

    You might look back at the earlier postings for more information:

  92. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Posted at John N-G’s place:
    Folks south of the border are suffering: North Mexico wilts under worst drought on record.

  93. Bill:

    Many of the preceding comments are about local/regional anomalies. Here is Maine a favorite spring game is betting on the ice-out date of local lakes and ponds (some local fire departments use it as a fund raising lottery).

    The USGS has kept track of these dates for the last ~65/~165 years on 29 lakes and ponds in New England. This URL will get you to the data:


    The Maine Dept. of Conservation has a more usable site for 2003-2010 here:


    While it helps to be familiar with Maine geography, it is interesting to just pick one lake and flip through the years and watch the dates change.

    This fall has been so warm so far it will be a miracle if anything freezes this coming winter but we shall see.

  94. SteveF:

    Looks like interesting new work by Huber and Knutti:



  95. Getting Warm:

    A number of posts have mentioned Anthony Watts and “Climate Gate II”. Watts Up with That has been fully devoted to personal attacks and throwing up straw men around this issue.

    Please go to http://wattsupwiththat.com/ and request that Watts release all his personal e-mails regarding climate.
    And ask your friends to do the same.
    Fair and balanced.

  96. Hank Roberts:

    > please go to ….

    Or don’t — “let’s you and him fight” is such a boring game and such an effective, seductive distraction.

  97. Pete Dunkelberg:

    @ new paper by Huber & Knutti – Question for RC experts:

    Would it be reasonable to say, based on the new paper, that 75 to 125 percent of observed recent warming is anthropogenic? In other words, any unaccounted natural variation could go either way?

  98. s.radun:

    I think you may have bin a bit harsh in your comments regarding Vuckevic. I follow his links, true he is secretive, but when the data are released they are always from the most reliable sources. Anyone dealing with the temperature historic records should in no time work out his graph. It took les than five minutes to do so; he posted vertualy the same graph number of times with its real designation, on at least two web-blogs. Perhaps an apology is order since his link shows that he has emailed data to the moderator.

  99. tamino:

    Re: #89 (vukcevic)

    You still haven’t answered the question, namely, “What temperature data is that?” The answer is not at your link. It is extraordinarily rude, even arrogant, for you to make such claims as you have and refuse to disclose this crucial information.

    Re: #97 (s.radun)

    You think I was harsh on vukcevic? He posted a graph, claimed that “temperature not only oscillate at the sunspot rate, but intriguingly on some occasions precedes the solar cycle by a number of years” and that “both the temperature and the sunspot number data are indisputable!

    Richard C (#75) disputed his temperature data and said “I challenge you to support your temperature graph with cites. Got data?”

    Vukcevic evaded the question. After intimating its significance, to simply refuse to tell us what the temperature data is, is vastly more rude than anything I have assailed him with.

    If vukcevic wants to be treated politely, then he should stop his immensely insulting, extremely arrogan “game” of making claims about temperature data with no reference to what data it is, then refusing simply to say so when asked point-blank.

    And you, s.radun, should learn to recognize real rudeness — namely, vukcevic’s — when you see it.

  100. David B. Benson:

    Pete Dunkelberg @97 — Gavin Schmidt has previously suggested much the same.

  101. Daniel Bailey:

    @ s.radun

    Those who deal in climastrology and math-turbation continually, in spite of kind advice to the contrary, are afforded little slack in my book. Vukcevic has a history of focusing on cycles with little regards to real-world mechanisms underlying his physics. Nor does he, as noted earlier, bother to provide sufficient documentation as to the paternity and construction of his graphs.

    Those such as he rely on the power of the eyecrometer to beguile the innocent. Facts, cites to supportive literature, a slavish adherence to the physics of this world and an open description of the methodology used are inconvenient to that end; as such their lack is the hallmark of the specie. Examples abound on the webs, from G. White to Tisdale to Gaddes to Cotton.

    Given that, and his previous encounters with Vukcevic on Tamino’s blog, I thought Tamino was rather restrained. Vukcevic in his current iteration is here to gain acolytes, and little else other than to waste the time of others.

  102. Kevin McKinney:


    A nice (and somewhat unusual) book with a lot about phenology is Amy Seidl’s “Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Warming,” described here:



    Interesting–if I can use so callous a word about a situation that seems to be verging on the tragic–given that Mexico is a ‘drought hot spot’ in a lot of model studies. Hadley cell expansion and all that. . . Gwynne Dyer talked about that in “Climate Wars,” I believe.

  103. DrTskoul:

    s.radun. You must be kidding right?

  104. vukcevic:

    One thing I can give you is you’ve recognised importance of what is plotted; but lecture on politeness from Tamino!?
    Back to business:
    Graph presented is kind of ‘Poincaré conjecture’ not of the climate, but more importantly of physics.
    Two well versed scientists Dr. Svalgaard of Stanford and Dr. Steig of Washington Universities have all information required. None have protested any irregularity.
    The fact that temperature oscillates with more or less at rate of solar activity isn’t surprise, but 1-1.5 degree C is far more than expected.
    It is not actually following the sunspot cycle as much as the strength of the Heliospheric magnetic field at Earth’s orbit in form, the amplitude and the base line:
    This you may make you think of Svensmark and GCR.
    Well it is not, since on numerous occasions temperature precedes the HMF by some years.
    It is this type of little cracks in our knowledge which opens a new vistas in the marvels of science.
    Do I have solution?
    Not exactly, but I am working on it.

  105. Russell:

    Patrick Michaels has written a Forbes column on ‘Climategate II’ that invites comment :


  106. J Bowers:

    Carbon dioxide emissions show record jump

    “Latest research on carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels shows they have increased by half in the last 20 years”
    The study, published in the peer reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, found that global carbon emissions were likely to carry on increasing at a rate of about 3% per year. It was accompanied by another study offering new proof that climate change is linked to human activities, in burning fossil fuel.

    Prof Chris Rapley, professor of Climate Science at University College London, said: “These two new results offer a stark message. Human carbon emissions are certainly disturbing the climate system upon which we depend, and in spite of the economic slowdown, and despite all the efforts by governments, businesses and people to reduce them, our emissions are reaching new highs. The climatic consequences, already emerging, will grow over time, and are irreversible….
    Julia Steinberger, lecturer in ecological economics at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, said the research showed that even the recession had barely made a dent on the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

    She said: “The worst economic crisis in decades was apparently a mere hiccup in terms of carbon emissions: a temporary drop for the richest countries in 2009, and hardly perceived by emerging economies. These findings are truly shocking, and constitute a global wake-up call.”

    What’s that phrase? “Same… something…. different day”?

  107. J Bowers:

    vukcevic — “I do publish you may find some new stuff from this one

    There’s “publish“, and then there’s “publish“.

  108. notjonathon:

    Another local anecdote:
    I moved to Okayama, Japan some twenty years ago. For the first few years, first frost generally occurred sometime in the first week of November, and fall color was at its peak about a week later. Ten or so years ago, that began to change, and for the past three or four years, the effective date of first frost has retreated to the beginning of December. This year, the weekly forecast predicts first frost to occur this coming Friday (the 8th).
    In addition, true summer (temps over 32-33 C), which used to end between the last week of August and the first week of September, now generally continues well into the month.
    Add to this warmer summer nighttime temperatures and generally warmer winter lows and you get a picture of nearly continuous warming, with fewer anomalous cold spells (one “average” winter in the past five).
    I am living in an unequivocally warmer climate than I was twenty years ago.

  109. Adolfogiurfa:

    @Tamino: But..don´t you think that including “cities” would be biased as we all know cities have an anomalous temperature?

  110. Kevin McKinney:

    Call me dense, but vukcevic is simply impenetrable.

  111. James:

    Just an observation on the weather versus climate point – there are a number of comments above with respect to trees on leaves at this time of year and tomatoes only recent receiving their first frost when growing outside in the UK.

    As is also pointed out above, this time last year, the UK was experiencing its biggest snowfall and lowest temperatures for many years. This lead to many imported and indigenous trees being killed by the cold weather for the first time in living memory.

    Either both weather events are relevant to a debate regarding climate change – or neither.

    If a mild autumn, following a very cold one – are both to be indicative of AGW then I am lost.

    There is also a comment above about the CET graphs for England which, in all honesty, do not demonstrate a signature for AGW – and we need to understand more about the regionality of the effects of AGW.

  112. Richard Willey:

    Hi All
    I have a somewhat odd request. I am an active member of a bridge related newsgroup. For whatever reason, the “Watercooler” portion of the newsgroup has fallen victim to a particular annoying spambot / troll. Every day or or two, “AL-U-Card” posts another bunch of discredited denialist crap. I’ve tried dealing with him, however, in all honesty it takes a long time to track down his references and find the appropriate counter to his usual crappy claims.
    I’m hoping to crowd source a bunch of responses. In an ideal world, I’d love to see 50 or so people wander by, pick one of his claims, and a craft a reasonable response. I’m not asking for or expecting a sustained effort, however, I’d love to see him drown under the weight of a bunch of replies.
    So, if anyone has some free time today and feels like posting, please wander by
    Thanks in advance

  113. Edward Greisch:

    Has anybody ever heard of a “Minoan High” other than from an Australian “think tank” and Adrian O?

  114. Paul S:


    I was playing around with the HadCET data yesterday and found that December temperatures are unique amongst the monthly time series in not showing a positive trend over the past 40 years. Even exempting the last three cold years, which may bias the trend, it is -0.1ºC/Decade (-0.4ºC/Decade including those years). This compares to +0.2 to +0.5ºC/Decade seen in all other months.

    It seems that temperatures around December in the UK have been strongly affected by some other factor(s) over the past few decades

  115. Kevin McKinney:

    #112–I’d be glad to assist, in general, but not when it involves watching a hour’s worth of denialist video, which is what the link appeared to be pointing to when I clicked.

    Heck, it’s hard to carve out time to watch Dr. Archer’s very worthwhile video lectures.

  116. Hank Roberts:

    For Richard Willey, I recommend this
    source for short rebuttals:

  117. Kevin McKinney:

    #109–“don´t you think that including “cities” would be biased as we all know cities have an anomalous temperature?”


    It’s areas which are *urbanizing* which are problematic, not ones which are just *urban.*

    It doesn’t matter, for example, that downtown New York or London (or, for that matter, downtown Paducah, KY) are a degree or to warmer than they would be if they were still marshland. They’ve been built up far longer than the period with which we are concerned–and there isn’t any reason to think that urban environments respond differently to generalized warming.

    In fact, if I’m not mistaken, studies of urban vs. rural warming have been done, and don’t show significantly different trends for the two categories.

    It’s worth noting, by the way, that the urban heat island effect was being taken into account even before it received the name by which we now know it–Guy Callendar took it into account in his pioneering work in the late 30s:


    So those who are under the impression that “skeptics” discovered this issue are sadly mistaken.

  118. vukcevic:

    @J Bowers
    Agree, anything I ‘publish’ on line (as an article) is based on easily verifiable data, from half a dozen world most reliable sources. Publications with hundreds of references, but no ‘downloadable’ data source for most of people is ok.
    @Kevin McKinney
    I search, not re-search, no much point staggering along path well trodden by many; have irritated as many sceptics as proponents of the prevailing understanding.
    Lot of established scientists and commentators take exceptions references to oscillations, but I am sure you musician know differently. Whish you success in your endeavours.

  119. Pete Dunkelberg:

    @ 105 – link to whine from “Half-graph” Michaels – he is harassing scientists because he was criticized in a private email:
    “…Wigley must be compelled to come forth.”

  120. Dan H.:


    GISS has been using an UHI correction to its temperature data for years in an effort to eliminate the “urbanizing” effect.

    I agree that once a city, like New York, reaches a certain metropolitan status that its growth is rather meaningless with regards to the UHI. Small cities or towns that have experienced large growth over the timeframe are much more likely to exhibits these growing pains.

    Just look at the temperature changes in West Point and Central Park, NY. These two locations are roughyl 60 miles apart. The growth on NYC starting ~1880 is clearly visible.

  121. Daniel J. Andrews:

    @ Kevin McKinney (102). Thanks for the link to that book–I hadn’t heard of that one. I read the review, and it has food for thought. Some objections came to mind, but also I can see the point being raised. I’ll have to track it down in a library. Thank you.

  122. wush:

    The Greatest Uncertainties in Projections of Future Climate!
    How many aerosols does it take! I read somewhere that our actions produce twenty percent of the total aerosol load!


    Is enough credence given to the action of aerosols and their ability to alter the earths energy budget?
    The invigoration-induced upward motion can change regional
    circulation patterns, which can potentially alter larger-scale
    circulations and affect global climate. The delayed onset of
    precipitation and stronger updraughts could result in more aerosol
    particles and water transported into the upper troposphere and
    even the lower stratosphere. It also suppresses the wet scavenging
    of aerosols, creating a positive feedback.

    The clear observational evidence with the support of model
    simulation results of aerosols affecting convective clouds and
    precipitation is a testimony to the fact that human activities can
    impinge on the natural system of our planet by altering cloud
    development, precipitation and latent heating profiles to a much
    greater extent than previously thought.
    The findings presented here imply a potentially adverse
    impact on sustainable development over regions vulnerable to
    extreme meteorological events such as drought or flooding.
    A much greater extent than previously thought!!?

    An aerosol-induced invigoration of upward winds! So the extent to which heat is moved upwards is, to some degree, dictated by aerosol concentrations.

    This bit ;- could result in more aerosol
    particles and water transported into the upper troposphere and
    even the lower stratosphere.

    I don’t suppose this could explain why aircraft condensation trails appear to last longer nowadays, having more material for water vapour to condense onto?

    Professor Lovelock, a climate science independent thinker who refuses to conform to the accepted views, said this ;-
    The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show.
    From here;
    Is he correct? It seems to me, from what I understand so far, that they, aerosols, have a far greater influence on climate than previously thought and they could indeed be absolutely running the show.

    Your thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

  123. Kevin McKinney:


    Thanks, vukcevic, I can use every good wish.

    But you could help this musician’s endeavor to understand your work by providing more context and more useful labeling of your graphs. You seem to feel that they speak for themselves; for me, that is mostly not the case.

  124. Hank Roberts:

    > easily verifiable data, from half a dozen world most reliable sources

    If it were, you could specify the explicit data source right in the graph.

    When you repeatedly claim it’s out there, for sure, someone can find it:


  125. Mark Shapiro:

    A glance at Patrick Michaels’ CV (a version is here: http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/MICHAELS.CV_.2009.02.12.pdf )
    shows that in 1989 he made an important discovery about global warming. Michaels found that the big money, the easy money, was in denialism.

    Sad to say, he has been riding the gravy train ever since.

  126. Russell:


    The notion of a ‘Minoan Warm Period ‘ has about as much archaeological street cred as the Iron Sun does in astrophysics.

    Some years ago Peabody Museum director Steve Williams wrote an excellent book entitled ‘Fantastic Ardchaeology’ , dealing with the gonzo works of Von Dannikin and the sort of amateurs intellectually preared to translate New Hampshire glacial grooves and graphic granite as evidence of Phoenician or Welsh explorers .

    So rich is the comic vein opened by RC’s more chuckleheaded opponents that I must stake a copyright claim to the title of the sequel- Fantastic Climatology

    Publisher’s query’s invited of course.

    Here to head off the usual suspects from declaring Predynastic, Shang, Atlantis, High Brazil, Olmec and Hubba Hubba warm periods is a Classical Anecdote that pretty much takes the zephyr out of the Roman Warm Period’s sails

    Whoever ignores this eyewitness account of the climate in question:

    Britanniae situm populosque multis scriptoribus memoratos non in comparationem curae ingeniive referam, sed quia tum primum perdomita est. Ita quae priores nondum comperta eloquentia percoluere, rerum fide tradentur…

    Solum praeter oleam vitemque et cetera calidioribus terris oriri sueta patiens frugum pecudumque fecundum: tarde mitescunt, cito proveniunt

    ……………………………………… –Tacitus, Agricola I, 10-12

    has no more directions in the true disciplines of the Climate Wars, look you, of the Roman disciplines, than is a puppy-dog.

  127. Susan Anderson:

    Sorry, no I do not speak from authority. I follow weather and climate science a lot and our breathing planet does seem to provide some complexity in winter that is counterintuitive to those looking too closely at weather and making conclusions from it. But I seem to have joined them.

    I do find it annoying that “snowpocalypse” is cited as proof the global warming is wrong, and when we have July weather in May that is not related. The increase in energy and water vapor in the system is unmistakable, but my lay viewpoint is not sufficient to claim that any particular set of weather events is due to GS. I do, however, feel that scientists are professionally hesitant to notice the obvious at times. I also have to travel through things like Irene and the October storm and both seem a little excessive to just be put down to “normal variation”.

    My apologies. I thought I had provided sufficient vagueness to not seem to be making a claim, but think the whole subject is fascinating and worth thinking about.

  128. vukcevic:

    Note for the mod: If my post is too long I am happy to edit it down. Thanks
    @Kevin McKinney
    5 Dec 2011 at 2:07 PM
    Once I assemble enough of ideas and have good data to work on then I do ‘publish’ it on line. It appears to me that scientists have ignored natural variability for some time now.
    This was an inspiration for me to look deeper into the N. Atlantic Oscillations, of which the above controversy is only part of. Part I can be found here:

    @Hank Roberts says:
    5 Dec 2011 at 2:12 PM
    Hi Hank,
    In my overall state, the time is far too short to take things too seriously. When I work something out I put it on line, just in case. At some stage I gather all bits together and write an article, such as linked above, which than has all info you require.
    Hey how many experts know that the N. Atlantic surface temperatures can be predicted by 5-10 years in advance, or the contribution of the Reykjavik atmospheric pressure on the global temperature trends? The BEST report came close to it, but failed to either understand it or pursue it to its logical conclusion, but I’ve done it anyway. http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO.htm
    Are Tamino, Daniel Bailey, DrTskoul, people called CM & RichardC aware of the above? How many keen to ‘chastise’ know what drive the ENSO?
    Attaining knowledge is no one’s privilege, to the contrary ‘the science is often moved forward by reasoning of an individual’.

  129. Hank Roberts:

    Dan H claims to state facts, and links to images he found somewhere so a naive reader might believe the images illustrated what he claims.

  130. timg56:

    It probably isn’t a good thing when the climate change debate makes it into The Onion.


  131. Russell:


    Note also that in summer Central Park is downwind from New Jersey’s asphalt expanses, while all is green upwind of West Point

  132. Susan Anderson:

    Russell, you can always be relied to provide acerbic and entertaining wit about the subject. Thank you.

    Earlier, I was in such a hurry I failed to proof: I meant GW not GS, and there was a reference to selective weather cites that emphasize winter weather in winter but fail to notice extreme summer weather in what should be spring. This is *not* related to my compliment to Russell, which is both sincere and unrelated to my weather comments.

  133. Daniel Bailey:

    @ vukcevic

    “Attaining knowledge is no one’s privilege, to the contrary ‘the science is often moved forward by reasoning of an individual’.”

    Science advances through a deep understanding of what came before (the ‘seeing farther by having stood on the shoulders of giants‘ thing), not from misquoting Galileo.

    So Vukcevic fancies himself Galileo. A true Galileo would at least have proposed actual physical mechanisms before drawing curves and plotting the data that agrees with them. After all, if one denies scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox; but to properly discuss the physics of nature we ought to begin not with the metaphysical, but with experiments, and demonstrations.


  134. Craig Nazor:

    Hank and Russell,

    Having debated Dan “H” at great length (years, actually – and about some of the same issues he brings up here) on another blog, the arguments and debating tactics he uses have not changed, and neither have his opinions about anything that I have ever said or posted, as far as I can tell.

    Comparing the temperature of West Point to NYC to illustrate the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is ridiculous on many levels.

    The elevation for Central Park is around 6 ft above sea level (if you are not standing on a rock), and the elevation for West Point is about 241 ft above sea level. West Point is also located in a very mountainous area, where there is a lot of cold drainage (colder air sinking from higher altitudes and flowing down the Hudson River Valley). NYC is in a much wider and more flat area, 60 miles to the SOUTH, and much closer to the ocean.

    You see, I used to live in NYC.

    I lived on Manhattan Island around 200th Street. Right across the Hudson from me were the cliffs of the Palisades. At the top of the cliffs, there was a pretty typical ecosystem for northern New Jersey. At the base of the cliffs along the Hudson, there was a narrow strip of land protected from the prevailing west wind by the enormous cliffs themselves, and over 300 ft. lower in altitude. The ecosystem there included plants that were found much further south, some on the Shores of Maryland. In the winter, it was an excellent place to go bird watching for birds that were normally found much further south in the winter. Protection from the cold, howling west wind was excellent.

    This is what horticulturists and ecologists call microclimates, and they play a very important role in species distribution in some very surprising ways. This is why temperature averages (or proxies that reflect temperature averages) I would assume are much more important to long term climate measurements than “the temperature changes in West Point and Central Park, NY.” This certainly doesn’t come anywhere close to illustrating the UHI effect.

  135. Craig Nazor:

    Dan, from the IPCC AR4:

    Studies that have looked at hemispheric and global scales conclude that any urban-related trend is an order of magnitude smaller than decadal and longer time-scale trends evident in the series (e.g., Jones et al., 1990; Peterson et al., 1999). This result could partly be attributed to the omission from the gridded data set of a small number of sites (less than 1%) with clear urban-related warming trends. In a worldwide set of about 270 stations, Parker (2004, 2006) noted that warming trends in night minimum temperatures over the period 1950 to 2000 were not enhanced on calm nights, which would be the time most likely to be affected by urban warming. Thus, the global land warming trend discussed is very unlikely to be influenced significantly by increasing urbanisation (Parker, 2006). … Accordingly, this assessment adds the same level of urban warming uncertainty as in the TAR: 0.006°C per decade since 1900 for land, and 0.002°C per decade since 1900 for blended land with ocean, as ocean UHI is zero.

    If you disagree with that, post your evidence.

  136. Edward Greisch:

    111 James: Look up Rossby waves or polar oscillation. You could have traded weather with Greenland.

    126 Russell: Thank you. That is what I thought.

  137. Craig Nazor:


    The Onion makes fun of anyone and everything, and for those of us with a sense of humor, that is a good thing.

  138. vukcevic:

    @ Daniel Bailey
    Galileo looked and found, have you visited the basement room?
    Everything I do starts with data ( Met, UCAR, NOAA, NASA etc), so your assertions are plainly false!!
    Vukcevic challenge to Daniel Bailey
    Be more precise: Have you red my article:
    Specific: Reykjavik atmospheric pressure – N.A. SST ? Tell us here: how much do you or did you know about the link between Reykjavik atmospheric pressure and N. Atlantic SST? Forget about correlation (we already know about moving averages and statistics), just get to the substance and tell us your expertise on the subject. [edit – no personal attacks]
    Specific: Reykjavik atmospheric pressure – N.A. SST ?

    [Response: Relationships between wind patterns (and SLP) in the N. Atlantic have been discussed for decades – Delworth and Dixon (2000) for instance, or read this summary from Visbeck. – gavin]

  139. vukcevic:

    Note to the mod:
    Sorry, the ‘basement room’ refers to the Galileo museum in Florence where exhibits and his notes are on public view.

  140. Kevin McKinney:


    Hmm. Google translate made pretty heavy work of the Latin, but I think it said, among other stuff, that they couldn’t grow olives or grapes in Britain (in Tacitus’ day, presumably.)

    Nice Shakespeare reference, though.

  141. Pete Dunkelberg:

    wush @ 122, relax and take a deep breath. The paper by Li et al. looks fine to me. It finds yet another cause of bunching of precipitation. Be wary of over-interpreting the paper though.
    “Much more than previously thought!”
    Well it must have been suspected, that’s why the study was done. On the other hand if it is the first study of this exact effect then any statistically significant finding will be “more than previously thought”

    Both clouds and aerosols are the subject of far more research and “credence” than you would ever guess. On the other hand, the last item you link is sprinkled with platitudes, bombast and error. Beware of giving oracles more credence than they merit.

    Li et al. is a good illustration of the need to find out in detail the consequences of our actions. These details may influence the sort of modest policy changes that may actually be made while we hide from the larger picture.

    For a bit more perspective on new papers wush, a few are highlighted at the AGW Observer each week.

  142. Pete Dunkelberg:

    A new paper, Foster and Rahmstorf 2011: Global temperature evolution 1979–2010 nicely tightens the error bars on global warming. Tamino has all the details. By a remarkable coincidence the whole paper looks like the sort of statistical work he does. ;)

  143. Dan H.:


    You personal experience living in New York (or Austin for that matter) does not equate with scientific data. The following was published recently in a peer-reviewed journal. Do you have any evidence to support your contentions?


  144. timg56:

    To Dr Tskoul and others,

    I have a couple of questions and then perhaps a discussion of “deniers” might be appropriate.

    1) Which 3 nations are the top carbon emitters in the world?

    (I understand it is China, India and the US.)

    2) Assuming that the very minimum amount of reduction of emissions required to keep temp rise within the 2 – 4 degree C range is a drop to 50% of 1990 levels by 2020, (which is what I believe they are calling for in Durban) what would be required in the US to reach that level?

    (I read that it would require shutting down every coal fired generation plant in the US and taking about half of the automobiles off the road (or replacing them with electrics).

    3) The proposal on the table is for the developed nations (excluding China, India and Brazil) to fund $100 billion a year to poor nations to cope with climate change. Ignoring for the time being the issue of corruption, which is endemic to most of these nations, what do you think is the likelihood of this happening when Japan is faced with rebuilding following the tsumani and Germany is having to deal with propping up the EU and failing or grossly underperforming economies in southern Europe? By default that leaves the US.

    There is only one technology currently available that is capable of supplanting 50 – 70% of current US generation capacity. (It’s called nuclear.) And even if one chooses to be optimistic and assumes up to 20% could be met by renewables, you would still be faced with the added cost of upgrading the grid (new transmission lines, smart grid technology) in order to integrate them into the system. (Take a look into what is required to integrate wind turbine generation into the NW power grid or the issues revolving around system stability, load balancing and reliability that distributed generation creates.)

    The upshot of this is that in order to meet the minimum emission reduction levels we need to build 250 new nuclear plants, fund develop and construction of renewables equal to 20% of current generation output, and upgrade the entire grid at the cost of billions. All in 8 years.

    At the same time we would have to either replace 50% of the automobiles with electric vehicles (we will ignore the impact that has on generation) or come up with a means to forceably (directly or indirectly) take them out of service.

    Who wants to deny that this is what is required? Or that it will cost tens of trillions of dollars? And assuming we are all in agreement – because I support much of this – who is willing to state that it will make any appreciable difference when the two biggest emitters of carbon are increasing their output the whole time?

    The denial I see is from people who refuse to recognize real world technology and financial limitations and instead try to incite a holy war against fossil fuel. Instead of fighting things like the Keystone pipeline, support the construction of new transmission lines. Rather than trying to making it impossible (or extremely expensive) to operate a coal plant, push for construction of replacement nuclear plants. And finally, acknowledge the fact that even if the US would stop burning its coal, gas and oil tomorrow, the end result would be us shipping it to China, India and Europe to be burned there.


  145. JCH:

    I have some questions about the 33C provided by the greenhouse effect. I assume it was less in preindustrial times. What would that number be? Or is my assumption wrong? At the trough of the so-called LIA, was it 33C? If not, what would be a reasonable number?

  146. SecularAnimist:

    timg56 wrote: “There is only one technology currently available that is capable of supplanting 50 – 70% of current US generation capacity. (It’s called nuclear.)”

    That’s blatantly false, and in fact it is a claim that has been as often and as thoroughly debunked as denial of AGW itself.

    I’m not going to launch into a detailed, footnoted rebuttal, because the moderators of this site have stated that “debates” about nuclear power are off-topic.

    However, you are following a well-worn pattern in your comments here:

    1. Deny the existence (or seriousness or urgency) of the global warming problem, and

    2. Denigrate, disparage and exaggerate the costs of, and obstacles to, rapid deployment of the solutions that are readily available.

    Your closing paragraph makes your position very clear: do anything, anything at all — EXCEPT REDUCE THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS.


  147. Hank Roberts:

    > timg56
    > I read that ….

    Citation needed. _Where_ did you read that? Why do you trust that source?

    Compare this: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=guaranteed-global-warming-with-existing-fossil-fuel-infrastructure

    If you just drop claims here without saying where they came from, nobody’s going to have much helpful to say. Tell us where you are reading the doomsday-scary stuff you keep posting and why you think it’s a reliable source. There are wackos out there from all parts of the political spectrum, not all of them even who they claim to be.

    Cite sources.

  148. David B. Benson:

    JCH @144 — 33 K remains about the right number for GCH warming. From 1850–1800 until now we’ve seen about a 0.7–0.8 K temperature increase.

  149. ratnik s. novardnark:

    Durban will be a total waste if Canada has it’s way. Obama is treading water. China is the only country on track to reduce energy-intensity and is leading the world in wind and solar use.

    The political system in China functions admirably. In the US, not at all.
    Canada is on the verge of ruining the environment in BC by pushing for tar-sands bitumen pipelines across, west, to Kitimat where spills will be inevitable.

    Canada vitally needs a west to east energy corridor through it’s northern half.

    Superconductivity is lagging. Mag-lev is lagging. High speed rail is non-existent in Canada and is not even contemplated.

    Canadian dinosaurs allied with American sauropods in Durban.

    Brace yourselves for more than 2 degrees by 2050.

  150. J Bowers:

    Re. 140 Kevin McKinney.

    “With the exception of the olive and vine, and plants which usually grow in warmer climates, the soil will yield, and even abundantly, all ordinary produce.”

    Written toward the end of the 1st-C AD. The Romans did grow grapes in Britain but not until the following century, only as far as Lincolnshire (with any certainty), and in a diagonal line down towards the Bristol area. As to the quality, who knows, but there was still a roaring trade in imports.

    One thing to note is that the map often cited by ‘sceptics’ is from a book by Richard Selley of Imperial College who wrote this piece:
    The Impact of Climate Change on British Viticulture.

    Selley gave a lecture in 2004.

    “Promising areas over the coming decades include south-facing slopes of the Derbyshire Peak and the Lake Districts but, says Professor Selley, the prime winelands of the future will be in Scotland,particularly the north side of the Great Glen.”

    In 2008 he also had a bit of a twist on Tacitus with the release of the 2nd edition of his book, outlined in the ICL press release.

    The author, Emeritus Professor Richard Selley from Imperial College London, claims that if average summer temperatures in the UK continue to rise as predicted, the Thames Valley, parts of Hampshire and the Severn valley, which currently contain many vineyards, will be too hot to support wine production within the next 75 years.

    Instead, Professor Selley says, this land could be suitable for growing raisins, currents and sultanas, currently only cultivated in hot climates such as North Africa and the Middle East.
    Combining temperature predictions from the IPCC and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre with his own research on UK vineyards throughout history, Professor Selley predicts that these cool and intermediate grape varieties will be confined to the far north of England, Scotland and Wales by 2080, with ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ varieties seen throughout the midlands and south of England.

    ‘Sceptics’ never point that out ;) An interesting podcast of an interview with him HERE, where he points out that Britain now has the ability to start tea plantations, thanks to Cornwall’s microclimate.

  151. SecularAnimist:

    Jim wrote: “Yes, thanks; I just moved it and all responses to it.”

    FYI, my reply to timg56, currently #24, is marked “EDIT: OT, MOVED” but in fact has not been moved to the “Unforced Variations” thread. Not complaining, just thought I’d mention it.

    [Response: Thank you.]

  152. Ray Ladbury:

    Ultimately, I believe that nukes will be part of the mix we are forced to use to avoid catastrophic warming. My objection to it is that it gets us no closer to where we eventually need to be–that is, a sustainable energy economy. It replaces one set of energy stakeholders (oil companies and coal barons) with another (Uranium miners and nuke operators).

    As to the rest of your diatribe, I object to your painting all developing countries as a monolith of corruption. They are not. Some countries, such as Ghana and perhaps Botswana, are making great strides and seem poised for takeoff. Zambia has improved. Latin America still suffers from corruption, but has made progress in this area.

    Finally, you concentrate on the expense while missing the opportunity. The country that first solves the problem of energy sustainability will make lots of money exporting that solution to the rest of the world.

  153. DrTskoul:

    timg56…old reheated food…don’t you have anything better? OOooohhh we will need to spend gazillions of Jamaican dollars…EEehhhmm if the proper price is put on carbon, we have been getting a gazillion dollars loan from the future generations since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Time will come for the repayment…Any costs to upgrade our energy sources will pale in contrast….

  154. Edward Greisch:

    What do you think about the following comment from http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/12/07/open-thread-20/

    “Gene Preston, on 7 December 2011 at 9:35 AM said:
    Here is the cover page artists view showing what the US would likely look like with a 220 ft ocean rise http://egpreston.com/NatGeoOct2011a.jpg

    and there was also this graph that is important http://egpreston.com/NatGeoOct2011b.jpg .

    The article about PETM climate in the National Geographic should give a climate sensitivity and does give a prediction of a bad future. Is National Geographic right?

  155. Russell:

    140 &150
    here’s the gist of the Tacitus quote , from Agricola Book I :

    The geography and inhabitants of Britain, already described by many writers, I will speak of, not that my research and ability may be compared with theirs, but because the country was then for the first time thoroughly subdued. And so matters, which as being still not accurately known my predecessors embellished with their eloquence, shall now be related on the evidence of facts….

    Their sky is obscured by continual rain and cloud. Severity of cold is unknown. The days exceed in length those of our part of the world; the nights are bright, and in the extreme north so short that between sunlight and dawn you can perceive but a slight distinction. It is said that, if there are no clouds in the way, the splendour of the sun can be seen throughout the night, and that he does not rise and set, but only crosses the heavens. The truth is, that the low shadow thrown from the flat extremities of the earth’s surface does not raise the darkness to any height, and the night thus fails to reach the sky and stars.

    With the exception of the olive and vine, and plants which usually grow in warmer climates, the soil will yield, and even abundantly, all ordinary produce. It ripens indeed slowly, but is of rapid growth, the cause in each case being the same, namely, the excessive moisture of the soil and of the atmosphere.

    Though the following century saw Roman colonists drive viticulture to its northern limit in Germany, around Trier , and begin the production of exportable Bordeaux near Chateau Ausonne, nary a Roman olive ever took root in cool Britain .

  156. Hunt Janin:

    What, if anything, will be done about the Kyoto accord at the Durban conference. If NOTHING is done, what impact, if any, will this have?

  157. Kevin McKinney:

    J. Bowers, #150–Thanks for a much cleaner translation of the Tacitus, and for some very interesting elaborations on climate in the UK!

    Turning to the nuclear question, I found this page:
    [edit – not here thanks.]

  158. Dan H.:

    I posted this over at the AGU thread, but in case you missed it, I am re-posting it here for your sake.


  159. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hunt @ 156, to evaluate Durban you need at least your Daily Romm including this and many subsequent posts there. Also Democracy Now!

  160. wush:

    Pete Dunkelberg @ 141, thanks for your reply to my post on the paper by Li et al.
    I will “relax and take a deep breath” . That’s another tens of millions aerosols I’ve taken in! from here;- http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Aerosols/page1.php

    It is no doubt perfectly obvious that I am not a scientist. I realise there is a lot of research into cloud microphysics and aerosol properties and that there is a lot to learn.
    It is not just the cause of bunching of precipitation which peeked my interest. It was the statement ;-
    The invigoration-induced upward motion can change regional
    circulation patterns29, which can potentially alter larger-scale
    circulations and affect global climate30. The delayed onset of
    precipitation and stronger updraughts could result in more aerosol
    particles and water transported into the upper troposphere and
    even the lower stratosphere.
    More aerosol particles and water transported into the upper troposphere and even the lower stratosphere!?
    If aerosols can do this and greater concentrations are produced by us from our Urban Dust Islands and our cultivated soils and pollen aerosols from our (hybridised) crops etc. etc. shouldn’t we be a little bit concerned? We cannot change back to a natural aerosol supply and we are constantly adding more. I mean – potentially alter larger scale circulations and effect global climate, seems pretty major to my unscientific mindset. That is what prompted me to ask others their opinion. Maybe, like you say, my mind is over interpreting what I am reading because to me adding our supply of aerosols is contributing to climate change, and the more I find out about them just seems to confirm this. Black carbon aerosols absorbing heat, fine smoke aerosols extending cloud lifetime but reducing rainfall, and BVOC aerosols readily attracting water and making it rain. This papers findings and the numerous effects of aerosols must all be taken into account in our real climate. I just think they are the poor relation to carbon dioxide and more people should be aware of the potential effect of aerosols. Maybe you are already but a lot of people are not.

    Thank you for the link to AGW Observer, Wow! Puts it in perspective, wish I could understand half of it, though!

    You said;- Li et al. is a good illustration of the need to find out in detail the consequences of our actions. These details may influence the sort of modest policy changes that may actually be made while we hide from the larger picture.

    My assertion is , Anthropogenic Aerosols are part of the larger picture and are here to stay so modest policy changes cannot be implemented easily. What could we do?
    They might be running the show!

  161. SecularAnimist:

    Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, interviewed this morning by Pacifica Radio journalist Amy Goodman at the COP 17 conference in Durban:

    “Actually, to be honest, nobody over here is paying any attention to science.”

  162. SteveF:

    Peter Huybers has a new paper out:

    “Combined obliquity and precession pacing of late Pleistocene deglaciations”


  163. CM:

    Hunt #156,

    We don’t know yet what will be done about the Kyoto protocol in Durban. Hang on a few days. (And like Pete said, look/ask elsewhere—this blog is a great source for the science, but not for international policy negotiations.)

    If nothing is done? Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Chair of the African Group of negotiators at Durban, put it this way to the Europeans:

    Today in Africa we are suffering, in part because of climate change. In Europe you’re not suffering. But if you don’t do much in Durban your children will suffer and they are not used to suffering.

    (blogged live at 3:57pm GMT, http://oneworldgroup.org/durban)

  164. Hank Roberts:

    Edward G., the guy you quote wrote that the National Geographic article ‘suggests’ a 280-foot sea level rise within a 200 year period sooner rather than later. He’s hallucinating. It doesn’t suggest what he’s implying, he’s scared, or mongering, or both. Don’t let the nitwits distract from what we really do know, which is plenty scary.

    Yes, it’s a serious concern, yes fast changes are likely.

    I’ve been quoting in blog comments from this article about rapid change for several years, I’m glad to see Nat. Geo. mentions it in their current piece:
    Abrupt increase in seasonal extreme precipitation at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary
    Birger Schmitz, Victoriano Pujalte

    Yes, we’re pushing the climate system _faster_ than events at the PETM did.

    Yes, the spike we’re creating could, if we continue, take CO2 levels _up_ to the 1000 ppm baseline from which the PETM began its increase

    Will another jump from 1000 to 1500 be kicked off by ours? time will tell).

    Have we explained the Fermi Paradox yet?
    Keep listening for signs of intelligent life from the universe.

  165. Kevin McKinney:

    “Turning to the nuclear question, I found this page:
    [edit – not here thanks.]”


    Still, I understand: the history says ‘be careful. . .’

  166. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Pielke Sr. rescued by Tisdale? What next?

  167. Daniel Bailey:

    @ vukcevic

    “Everything I do starts with data ( Met, UCAR, NOAA, NASA etc), so your assertions are plainly false!!”

    ‘Asserting’ that you mis-quoted Galileo? I provided a link that demonstrated it.

    “Vukcevic challenge to Daniel Bailey
    Be more precise”

    1. Science is done by formulating testable hypothesis’ based on physical processes, testing those hypothesis’, revising and repeating as necessary, writing up a draft paper and submitting the draft to a reputable journal in the field for consideration for peer-review and (maybe) subsequent publication and yet more subsequent “review” in the form of either citations by other papers or comments (or even subsequent papers) overturning the draft piece in question (in a nutshell).

    2. Science is NOT done by climastrological curve-fitting of graphs that are then put onto various blogs in guerrilla-publishing-fashion to sway those not versed in the scientific method.

    You pander “bling”. Cease.

    Suggestion (in the spirit of being more ‘precise’): Write up your hypothesis’ (replete with references to physical mechanisms that can support your assertions) in the form of a paper and submit it to a reputable journal for review.

  168. MARodger:

    MA Vukcevic
    The responses in this thread to you & your work (linked @128) presents an interesting collection. May I make a few observations.

    @138 you say you start with the data. I would suggest such a start misses a vital stage in the scientific process. The start point is always the existing science. Without framing your work within the existing science, science cannot progress. How else are we to judge between conflicting conclusions, or even know the extent of such conflict. (e.g. Could Galileo have confidently developed his heliocentric universe without fully understanding the nonsense he was refuting?)

    Sadly, such a situation does make speculations more difficult – knowing the science becomes a prerequisite for doing science. But such is the way of things.

    Given the need to know the science, conclusions that jump far from the accepted wisdom require a lot more attention to the science and what they are diverging from. In your paper North Atlantic Oscillations Part One, references to the AMO/NOA comprise just two quotes, and the controversial one is from a paper with the ink hardily dry. Is this adequate? I would suggest you invest some resources to searching the literature on this specific area if you wish to develop a serious thesis on the AMO/NOA.

    Indeed, your thesis that ‘one end’ of the NAO precedes AMO by 11 years may be worthy of attention although I note the Response @138.. (So I am sort of fine up to your Fig 13.) But then to propose that a good correlation between the data can be obtained after it has been manipulated in some particular manner – that rings very loud alarm bells for me and they continue to ring as you present “ambiguity” rather than proposing some physical basis for you manipulations. As presented, this is a step too far. Worryingly you intimate at various points in this thread that you have already made yet further steps. So my advice ‘one step at a time’ may be seen as unhelpful.

  169. Steve Fish:

    Together, Monckton and Watts drive into yet another deep pothole.


    See Monckton Responds, parts 1 and 2. Steve

  170. vukcevic:

    Response to #168 MARodger
    Thanks for using your time to read the article, I hope it was not entirely wasted.
    Allow me make couple of points:
    – I search through data for valuable information that others may have ignored.
    There is nothing hidden in the way are treated data, it is clearly described. The authors of the NA SST data compilation put large question mark on the accuracy prior 1950, so my analysis is actually doing opposite of what you are implying, i.e. it is increasing credibility of the AMO data set, since there are no such doubts about the RPA data.
    – Since you started with Galileo; 400 years ago he made this drawing
    and for four centuries, many from Galileo to Dr. Hathaway of NASA tried to find that elusive mechanism you talk about.
    Did they abandon collecting and analysing data because no one knows what the actual mechanism is; no they didn’t
    I did my bit too: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

  171. Septic Matthew:

    Another milestone in PV power:


    Some of the American PV panel factories are partially powered by PV cells. We’ll have the Solar Age when aluminum pack frames for hikers and campers are made in factories powered by PV panels.

  172. MARodger:

    Vukcevic @170
    Responding to your two points.
    You tell me “I search through data for valuable information that others may have ignored.” You thus hopefully know when you see ‘valuable’ but ‘ignored’ data. However, can you determine why ‘valuable’ data has been ignored without a grasp of the on-going science?

    In this thread, Galileo actually appeared first @133. Your example (not mine) of 400 years of collecting & analysing sunspot data – no harm in that but how useful was it all? Nailing what sunspots are and how their number will change in future, other than the 11 year cycle, was/is little to do with sunspot counts.
    Galileo also recorded a very rare astral phenomenon – a star that moved! I doubt many astronmers over the next 200+ years went searching for moving stars which suggests the form of the ‘data’ is germane to this collection process. (Indeed Le Verrier probably never knew of Galileo’s sighting when he solved the matter.)
    As for stopping, with intriguing data it is likely nothing will stop us humans with our pattern-seeking obsession.

  173. Septic Matthew:

    152, Ray Ladbury: Finally, you concentrate on the expense while missing the opportunity. The country that first solves the problem of energy sustainability will make lots of money exporting that solution to the rest of the world.

    Intriguingly, the U.S. has a balance of payments surplus in international trade in solar power technology. Sorry I do not have a link to the report in which I read that.

  174. Hank Roberts:

    2011 Greenland Melt Season
    December 6, 2011

  175. Kevin McKinney:

    #175–Thanks, Hank.

    I also note with some gratification the answer to a puzzle we kicked around a bit last year:

    Given the large fraction of the high elevations of the ice sheet that experienced more melting than average, the blue fringe of “less melting” along the southern and western coasts might seem puzzling. How could the lower elevations of the ice sheet be melting less than average if the higher elevations are melting more than average?

    According to remote sensing scientist and Arctic Report Card author Marco Tedesco, this ribbon corresponds to places where the snow now retreats so completely in the summer that the ice surface is bare. The bare surface “blinds” the satellite to the presence of melt water; it is much easier for the satellite to detect liquid water when the surrounding terrain is snow-covered.

    Because recent years are more likely to have bare ice than the earliest years in the time series, the analysis seems to show that melting has decreased at the ice margin. Scientists know from field observations, however, that this outermost edge is melting, too.

  176. Craig Nazor:


    Most of your post concerns economic predictions. If you are that good at predicting the economic future, I would suggest that you invest in the stock market, make a lot of money, invest in a politician or two, and attempt to have your way with the economic policies of this country.

    What your statements do is to deny the real costs of doing nothing in the face of the strong scientific consensus that anthrpogenic global warming is real, is happening now, and that if we don’t lower the human release of CO2 into the atmosphere very soon, human civilization will suffer far more than your worst financial predictions as to what would happen if we cut back on our use of fossil fuels.

  177. Craig Nazor:


    While my observations are not “scientific data,” they are valid points nonetheless, which were addressing your comments, which were also not “scientific data.”

    The paper you posted includes virtually no data from ocean areas, which encompass over two-thirds of the planet. It also includes very few data points from the poles, which is where most of the observed warming is occurring. This is not very convincing.

    The paper is by Dr. Lüdecke. Here some interesting Internet hype about him: “According to Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, who spent months comparing the varying widths of annual tree-rings and stalagmite deposits with recent temperature and sunspot records, this remarkable increase in solar activity was the real reason why the weather got warmer from 1950-2000. There has been no warming since 2000.”

    Can you imagine that, Dan, months! Remarkable! That’s not really anywhere close to the consensus about much of anything, Dan.

    So you are just going to ignore the statements I posted from the IPCC AR4? This is scientific data that clearly supports my contentions. There won’t be much of a discussion if you ignore half of what I have posted.


    Your link states: “Our estimate for the bias due to UHI in the land record is on the order of 0.03C per decade for urban stations.” Since most of the world is not urban, this really says little to disagree with the IPCC AR4 number for the UHI effect that I posted, which is 0.002ºC per decade for the entire planet.

  178. vukcevic:

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, I shall move on.

  179. Hank Roberts:

    “MA Vukcevic … @138 you say you start with the data.”

    For the charts you post, you didn’t keep the data file, and you don’t remember where you found the data — so all you have to show is the pictures?

    If you had the data, or a reference for where you got the data, you could publish a reference along with each chart — like a scientist would.

    It would be a good start, if you were to start with the data.

  180. Hank Roberts:

    Climate Change and Crop Insurance in the United States
    Well worth perusing — both historical data and projections of changes.

  181. Hank Roberts:

    Snow cover anomalies, one of many charts available here:

  182. Hank Roberts:

    (Hat tip to http://www.politics.ie/forum/environment/33041-climate-change-debate-thread-993.html for the Rutgers snow lab link)

  183. vukcevic:

    Hank Roberts says:
    9 Dec 2011 at 12:42 PM
    “MA Vukcevic … @138 you say you start with the data.”
    For the charts you post, you didn’t keep the data file, and you don’t remember where you found the data

    What you wrote is nonsense bordering on falsehood! I have made no such remarks. Data sources are forwarded by emails to Dr. Svalgaard (solar scientist) of the Stanford University and Dr. Eric Steig (climate scientist) of the Washington University. Once my article appears on-line it will quote all relevant sources and more!

  184. Hank Roberts:

    Uh, huh.

    > it will quote all relevant sources and more

    I believe you.

    How do you plan to footnote the charts — you mean that eventually, people _will_ see references along with the charts?

  185. vukcevic:

    @ #184
    Here is an example how and what I do:
    Number of graphs in the above article have appeared here and elsewhere prior to the publication.

  186. vukcevic:

    Data is not secret. Some months ago I tried to post it on your blog, with the source quoted, you censored it; since it has been posted on number of other climate blogs. If you whish to know do your own homework.
    One would think that your ignorance of one the world’s best known temperature data series can not be acceptable excuse for primitive language & mannerism? Don’t forget that this blog is read worldwide.

  187. MARodger:

    Trying to graph 50 years of snow cover anomalies as linked to is asking a bit much. A better presentation of snow cover anomaly graphs (4 months – 10 years) linked here.

    What you miss looking back only 10 years is the period of strong decline prior to 1990. Also this format doesn’t illustrate the continuing summer decline too well.
    My attempt at doing both is (a two click) linked here.

  188. Michael Doliner:

    Yesterday I read Gilbrt Plass’s 1956 article. His argument seems to be this: the interglacial oscillation is caused by the slow circulation of ocean waters. The ocean is the only real sink for carbon dioxide, but because the circulation is so slow, as balance of ocean surface concentration and atmospheric concentration is reached early, and atmospheric concentration begins to rise when the ocean will absorb no more CO2. As atmospheric concentration rises the ocean will absorb a little more, but not for a long time will it ever absorb enough to get lower than what it was at the previous balance point.

    Now what happens when the atmospheric concentration is high enough to cause a rise in temperature sufficient to start the release of sequestered CO2 in clathrates and permafrost. Since the ocean cannot at least for a long time reduce CO2 levels enough to lower atmospheric concentrations, this high average temperature will remain for a long time continuing to cause the release of more CO2.

    I presume the runoff from melting glaciers will produce a new sea surface that can absorb more CO2, but that will be only in a small area. Could it be enough to stop this feedback cycle? If not why have we not reached the “tipping point” already?

  189. Dan H.:

    You really need to read your references more closely. The AR4 report clearly states, “this assessment adds the same level of urban warming uncertainty as in the TAR: 0.006°C per decade since 1900 for land”. This is a factor of 5 smaller than the recent report. This is also referencing work that is over a decade old. Zeke mentioned the BEST work over on the AGU thread, which showed 0.02C / decade.
    You should also refrain from attacking the researcher, and stick to the published work. Yes, sometimes scientific works does take months to collect and analyze, sometimes longer. Even with the aid of supercomputers, science cannot progress at the speed of light. It takes time, sometimes painstaking long time. Finally, it is extremely difficult to obtain tree-ring and stalagmite data from the polar regions.

  190. Hank Roberts:

    Vukcevic copypasted part of what I wrote, leaving off my question mark.
    I’m done with the guy — at least ’til data files are identified for the graphs. Once they are, anyone can check the claims made about correlations.

  191. Kevin McKinney:


    Michael, IIRC, Plass published a couple of things in ’56. Would you mind being more specific, just so those interested can follow your comments better?

    Also, there’s an awful lot that has been learned about the oceanic circulation since ’56–and in fact, a lot was learned in the IGY of ’58-’59. So I’m thinking that Plass ’56–whichever Plass ’56 it may be–is perhaps not going to be the best place to start in evaluating “why [we have] not reached the “tipping point” already.”

  192. MARodger:

    MA Vukcevic. This is all getting rather too silly for my liking.
    @68 you present a graph with the strange comment that the temperature data has been e-mailed to two named individuals. @75 we get comment from RichardC that “…your temperature graph appears to be totally bogus “ @80 you say regarding this graph “I will be publishing (on line) within next 2-3 weeks as many details as I have and know. I will give link to the article when it is available.“ @90 you provide your e-mail address for some reason. @104 you say the data resides with the two named individuals and “None have protested any irregularity. “
    @107 J Bowers points out the difference between a peer-reviewed publishing & printed in a (fiction) book to which you replied @118 “Agree, anything I ‘publish’ on line (as an article) is based on easily verifiable data, from half a dozen world most reliable sources. Publications with hundreds of references, but no ‘downloadable’ data source for most of people is ok.” (Presumably this last point is suggesting paper publishing is more trying by having non-on-line references.) @128 you add “When I work something out I put it on line, just in case. At some stage I gather all bits together and write an article, such as linked above, which than has all info you require.”
    @170 you say “There is nothing hidden in the way are treated data, it is clearly described. The authors of the NA SST data compilation put large question mark on the accuracy prior 1950,..” Now @187 you say (to Tamino) “Data is not secret. Some months ago I tried to post it on your blog, with the source quoted, you censored it; since it has been posted on number of other climate blogs. If you whish to know do your own homework.”

    MA Vulcevic. That is far too much faffing about. It is no surprise people lose patience with you.

    Do you not see? You have published your graph! The whole wide world can log on and see it. Forget your ‘article’ protocols. The graph is in the public domain. So it has been published.
    So who are these authors of the NA SST data”? Provide just one link to where the data “has been posted on a number of blogs” or some other useful reference. It is an easy step but we rely on you to make it!!

  193. vukcevic:

    Hank Roberts, MARodger
    Hi guys
    If you deal with temperature data, there’s only one widely accepted and known 300 year long record
    I assumed people who comment here know that much.

  194. Michael Doliner:

    Here is the article I was referring to by Plass

  195. Craig Nazor:


    The second link you posted stated: ““Our estimate for the bias due to UHI in the land record is on the order of 0.03C per decade FOR URBAN STATIONS.” The emphasis is mine. The AR4 estimate is for land, which includes ALL land – rural areas as well as the Antarctic, and takes into account satellite data. And ALL LAND is a mere one third of the planet. So who is the one who has misinterpreted the evidence? You are comparing apples to oranges. Your study DOES NOT indicate that UHI effects are driving the observed warming.

    I DID NOT “attack” Dr. Lüdecke personally. I pointed out that many of his scientific views on AGCC are outside of the consensus on many issues, including his insistence that there has been no warming since 2000, or that the “remarkable increase in solar activity” is causing the observed warming (except that there has been no warming since 2000, of course!). This is evidence of possible bias and faulty logic, or an inability or stubborn unwillingness to take into account the reams of other research that prove these ideas highly unlikely. In science, until research has been debated and discussed (and eventually referenced) by climatologists far more knowledgeable than you or I, the past credibility of the researcher is a legitimate issue to take into account.

    My sarcasm was directed at implying that “months” was a long timeframe for understanding the science of the earth’s climate. It is not. There are already good proxy data from many polar regions: ice cores. They are telling a far different story than the claims of Dr. Lüdecke.

    I see no excuse for denying the clear scientific consensus on AGCC without far better evidence than you have posted. This summer was brutally hot, and, thanks to our scientifically illiterate governor, our state is not responding fast enough to the growing problems that AGCC is likely causing in central Texas. I am not really inclined to grant the benefit of the doubt to scientists like Dr. Lüdecke, who are in a small minority.

  196. MARodger:

    Vukcevic @195
    You have not previously stated that your data was from a temperature “record”. @170 you talked of “the authors of the NA SST data compilation” which doesn’t sound like a ‘record’. Are you now trying to tell us after all this nonsense that you have some magical formula for converting CET into NA SST? And a riddle-free reply to this question may divert the brand “time-wasting hoaxer” from affixing to you. (Note the use of the word “may” as opposed to “will”.)

  197. Dan H.:

    No one is claiming that the UHI is driving the observed warming. So you can stop shouting. The study on which the AR4 based its claims has been updated by Phil Jones himself:
    If you continue to deny the conclusions of every scientist with which you disagree, then by definition, you will agree with everyone. However, a small minority consensus does not really do us any good when it comes to the broader scientific perspective.
    I pity you with your governor, who appears to be illiterate in a lot more than science – lately it has been the number of supreme court justices.

  198. Dan H.:

    You still seem to be misreading the presentation. Note where it says that the results are consistent with Zhou, 2004. That paper, which was edited by James Hansen, “estimated warming of mean surface temperature of 0.05C per decade attributable to urbanization.”

  199. Hunt Janin:

    What, if anything, does the new UN climate talks agreement say about sea levell rise?

  200. vukcevic:

    @ #196 MARodger
    With all respect due to you, your comments are misplaced. Looks as if you were somewhat confused and are mixed up about totally independent products here:
    which deals with the AMO (the North Atlantic SST), the NAO and the Reykjavik atmospheric pressure (the NAO’s principal component): http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/64/12/35/PDF/NorthAtlanticOscillations-I.pdf
    The above is not to do (and I have not made direct connection but quoted to someone as a kind of analysis I occasionally do) with:
    (the SSN stands for the sunspot number, not same as the SST- sea surface temperature). This was originally derived, based on and strongly supported by my initial findings, posted as:
    where the HMF is the heliospheric magnetic field at the Earth’s orbit, (are you familiar with the subject?, if not read works of Ken McCracken, the NASA scientist).
    I hope that was helpful, but it could make discussion far easier if you indicate what expertise you have and in which field of science. Commenting on something you have not entirely understood is often unproductive.
    You could benefit from re-reading the posts on which you whish to comment.
    I shall not waste any more of your valuable time on this particular matter.

  201. Hank Roberts:

    Dan H. quoted part of a sentence — the paper is describing a pattern observed in rapidly urbanizing areas around cities in China, a pattern that’s different than found in London and Vienna, which aren’t changing fast nowadays

    Look at the air pollution in China. Extremely rapid change, very dirty air.
    “Climate effects of black carbon aerosols in China and India
    Menon, Hansen, Nazarenko… – Science, 2002
    … Black carbon also contributes significantly to global warming ….”

    The same abstract says: “Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C decade−1 over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81°C over this period.”

  202. Hank Roberts:


    —–excerpt follows

    In the last few years, winter dust storms on the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado have sharply increased …. Of 65 so-called dust-on-snow events since 2003, when tracking began, 32 have struck in just the last three years, according to the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, a nonprofit research group based in Silverton, Colo. Dust can accelerate how fast snow melts because it absorbs heat.

    “It’s not a mysterious process,” said Chris Landry, the organization’s executive director. “Anybody who has thrown coal dust on their driveway or sidewalk to melt it down knows the theory.”

  203. Michael Doliner:

    here is the link to the Plass article i mentioned in 188.

  204. MARodger:

    Vukcevic @200
    Any confusion I may have had, it was purely the outcome of your continued faffing about. And you continue to faff about still. You waffle on about SSN & HMF when the source of your temperature data (of whatever ilk it may be) continues to remain as a mystery.
    I could ask you again. What is the source of the temperature data you graph against sun spot data?
    If you cannot answer, if you cannot solve said mystery, a solution to which should be simplicity itself, I consider it fair to conclude that this data you use is bogus, your graph fake and you nought but a time-wasting hoaxer.

  205. CM:

    Hunt #199,

    > What, if anything, does the new UN climate talks agreement
    > say about sea level rise?

    Uh… “We’ve wasted two decades. All good things are three. Let’s waste another one”?

    Flippancy aside: Nothing at all that explicitly references SLR, I think, but you can check for yourself:

    You will want to have a look at the documents on adaptation (L8./Add.1, short version: blah blah blah) and the Green Climate Fund (L.9, short version: good news is we’ve got a plan to manage the funds, bad news is we don’t have a plan to raise them). And you might want to search all the documents for “Aosis” or “small island”. And check back again in a few days for decisions.

  206. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Michael Doliner @ 203
    > link to the Plass article

    You would be interested in

  207. vukcevic:

    Response to MARodger #204
    This is a highly respected blog, and I hope it stays as such. Fraud accusation should not be banded around likely, and I hope the moderator will react.
    Two top scientists in their field (Dr. Svalgaard and Dr. Steig) know that data are absolutely authentic, and that point was made to you very clearly, I am also happy to email temperature data to Dd. Schmidt, if he would whish to check authenticity himself.
    I hope you are not questioning their competence, if you are you should say so, if you are not than you should stop insinuating fraud, you can’t have it both ways. Nothing gives you right to be privileged to information before its publication and that is process which takes time.

    [Response: Communication would obviously be enhanced if data sets that were used were more given a more replicable provenance. Saying that you got it in an email may well be correct, but it is not replicable. If this is un-published data, you should say so – again with a provenance that will eventually lead to replication. However, neither temperature records nor sunspots are unpublished data, so you should be able to direct people to the online source. You cannot be surprised at people wanting this background, along with clear descriptions of any processing you have done, especially since you appear to be claiming some novel conclusions. Remember the burden is on you to convince people that your results are worth noting, not for other people to make a case that they aren’t. Taking the time to provide these references would be a far more productive use of your time than arguing with people over what is or is not justified. – gavin]

  208. Hank Roberts:

    Annals of Glaciology
    Papers accepted for publication in Annals 53(60)
    Theme: Interaction of Ice Sheets and Glaciers with the Ocean

  209. Susan Anderson:

    I hope you all have had a chance to look at this. Anjari Appadurai tells it like it is (yesterday) at Durban. If you love the truth, it is passionately so. Moved me and friends to tears, very powerful:
    (set up to begin around minute 15, be sure to stay until the President’s personal statement, and the performance at the end)

    We could use a little help over at DotEarth where the truth is subject to slime:

  210. Dan H.:

    You are correct in that other areas (especially in Europe) did not grow as fast as CHina and other regions. That is why the UHI is generally stated as being below your quoted value of 0.1C / decade.

  211. Susan Anderson:

    oops, DotEarth is here:

  212. John E. Pearson:

    Given that CO2 emissions are increasing it appears quite probable that we’re going to hit 550 ppm well before the century’s end. I suspect we’re still a half century off from any concerted action. It’s been 23 years since Hansen spoke to congress. It’s been 14 years since Kyoto. CO2 emissions haven’t slowed a whit. It will probably be the children of today’s children who respond. It’s not a stretch to think that they will be forced to perform some fairly drastic geoengineering feats. It would be tremendous to hear some of today’s geoengineering pioneers (Lackner and Broecker come to mind) discuss the physical and technological limitations of various geoengineering schemes on RC. This might serve to get a few more brains thinking about geoengineering. A few more brains could make a big difference if geoengineering becomes mandatory 75 years out.

  213. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Susan, right on! Get it done! Folks, check out Susan’s link for sure. There is also this from Eli about an unplanned young spokesperson.

    “Scores of delegates and observers gave her a sustained ovation. Then the South African authorities threw her out of the conference.”

  214. Craig Nazor:


    I am not shouting. This web site will not allow the use of italics or boldface type, so capitals are the only way to emphasize anything. You will just have to put in your eyeplugs.

    So your opinion has changed that the UHI effect is significant in terms of the recently observed warming, as you used to claim?

    The Phil Jones study does not significantly change the AR4’s estimate of the UHI effect on the observed global warming. Yes, China is heavily industrialized. One would expect a little more of the UHI effect in China.

    I do not deny the conclusions of every scientist with whom I disagree. That’s a red herring. I weigh all the evidence together to search for the best information, with the help of some of the knowledgeable people on this web site. But because of the influence of hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate money, there is a lot of misinformation about AGCC out there, and you still appear to be pedaling some of it, like the Lüdecke paper. Why is that?

    I am not misreading anything. You have still not responded to many of my questions. Instead, you bring up new points that include misrepresentations of what I have said. You have spent a lot of your time criticizing me personally or telling me what to do: “You seem to be misreading the presentation”; “You can stop shouting”; “You continue to deny the conclusions of every scientist with which you disagree”; “You really need to read your references more closely”; “You should refrain from attacking the researcher”. What is that condescending, controlling attitude all about?

  215. vukcevic:

    re:Response note from Dr.Schmidt

    Dr. Schmidt
    All data I use are published:
    Temperature data directly downloaded from: Met Office Hadley Centre
    Sunspot data from: SIDC Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre
    I have emailed direct download links with short explanation to your email address as shown at the NASA website:
    Subject: Temperature data source
    From v…-(at)- yahoo.com

    Dr. Schmidt thank you for your time and attention.

  216. Anonymous Coward:

    In the context of Durban, Susan, Pete and others are asking governments to “get it done”.
    Why are you expecting the call to “get it done” to work now when it hasn’t worked in the past? What’s the incentive for governments to heed this call?

    Anjali Appadurai asked “What does it take to get a stake in this game?”
    I thought that was obvious: in an intergovernmental process, it takes power over at least one governments.
    This is done through elections, corruption, industrial action or violence. Those who are not willing to use any of these means effectively will never have a voice at the intergovernmental level.

    “this from Eli” in #213 is a broken link by the way.

  217. MARodger:

    Vukcevic @206
    The word “fraud” in its most common usage is synonymous with criminality. As such it is a word I would not consider appropriate in this context and so I did not use it.

    Response (Gavin) @206
    I feel you are under the misapprehension that Vikcevic has named a source of unpublished data. The information to hand suggests the two named persons are not the source of it.
    I base this view on the note appended to the offending graph “Details and info regarding the temperature graph are emailed to Dr Svalgaard & Dr. Eric Steig (Washington University and the ‘RealClimate’). “
    Reliance on use of the preposition “to” would possibly be presumptive in present circumstances but its use is repeated @183 and also backed up by comment @104.
    Thus Vikcevic sent the the data to the named persons. The source is entirely unknown.

    Vukcevic @206
    Nobody has the right to publish a graph here and then to refuse point blank to name the source of the data being graphed. In this thread you have been asked directly or indirectly to provide your data source a total of 16 times. So for a seventeenth time, what is the source of your temperature data?
    If you cannot or are unwilling to answer appropriately, I consider it entirely fair to conclude that this data you use is bogus, your graph fake and you nought but a time-wasting hoaxer.

  218. Snapple:

    Re comment 212 about geoengineering–

    Here is a power point presentation Dr. Robock gave in Moscow titled “Smoke and Mirrors: Is Geoengineering a Solution to Global Warming?”

    Dr. Robock was a speaker at a conference hosted by ROSHYDROMET titled “Problems of Adaptation to Climate Change” (November 7-9, 2011). The Russian site RACC 2011 has now posted information about the conference.

    Robock is an expert on nuclear winter, and geoengineering is looking at the possibility of making a little nuclear winter with aerosols in the sky.

    I wrote about the conference a few times on my blog. Here is the latest post.

    The Russians are discussing ways to mitigate climate change, but they make a lot of their money selling natural gas so they don’t usually address the need to move away from fossil fuels. Also, their scientists—like ours—may be targeted by the powerful fossil-fuel interests like Gazprom if they aren’t careful. Gazprom is majority owned by the Russian government and pays a lot of the bills.

    Still, Russia/Gazprom wants to know all about global warming so they can continue to sell gas—that’s my impression. They will have to fix their infrastructure, but they may be able to exploit gas in the Arctic Ocean.

    The Russian fossil-fuel companies own a lot of the T.V. and print media, so their political operatives can run influence operations. The big media can have a lot of influence as long as they promote the line of Putin’s ruling United Russia political party.

  219. gavin:

    Relevant text of the email from Vukcevic:

    Link for the temperature data


    Data is for month of June:

    – Highest insolation, the average June SST in the nearby box ( 45N- 55 N, 15W – 45 W ) is 12.2 C while the June land temperature is on average 14.2, so the land temperature is predominantly due to the effect of insolation, with 350 year trend-line: y = 0.0001x + 14.075, R2 = 0.0002

    Solar data is direct annual number as published by SIDC:


    Volatility of the temperature data is greater than sunspot annual number, so the 4 year moving average is applied to the temperature data in the graph plotted.


    Why this couldn’t have been made directly as a comment is beyond me. In future, please include sources of data alongside any analysis to avoid this pointless waste of everyone’s time.

  220. Kevin McKinney:


    Actually, italics are perfectly usable on RC. You do, however, have to type in the appropriate HTML tags.

  221. vukcevic:

    Dr. Schmidt
    Ok, I take your point.
    My very short article, offering more detailed analysis, but no interpretation of cause, mechanism or consequences for the solar input reassessment, a higher degree of competence is required.
    That will be left to you and colleagues at NASA, NOA, NCAR, Berkely, etc to properly evaluate.
    Dismissing the find as irrelevant will not do, thanks to internet and blogosphere I shall pursue the matter and press for the science’s interpretation whichever side of the argument scientists decide to approach it.

  222. vukcevic:

    It is assumed that any scientist, who chooses to pursue further work on this particular matter, would appropriately acknowledge contribution of M.A. Vukcevic.
    I suggest that until the article appears, to quote
    as the relevant reference.
    Thank you.

  223. John E. Pearson:

    218 snapple wrote “geoengineering is looking at the possibility of making a little nuclear winter with aerosols in the sky.”

    Interesting read. I will try (in my spare time) to read some of the references.
    Aerosols are one particular implementation of geoengineering. I don’t know how many others there are. Robcock alluded to the geritol solution. I think it has been determined that the geritol solution is not a serious option.

    The geoengineering proposed by Broecker and Lackner is not injecting aerosols into the stratosphere. It is essentially carbon sequestration via accelerated weathering. Presumably there are other schemes that I’ve never heard of.

    At the end Robcock mentioned the “moral hazard” asking “do we have the right do this”? If your geoengineering scheme is injection of aerosols into the stratosphere I find myself asking (but not answering) the same question. However if your geoengineering scheme is taking CO2 directly out of the air and burying at a la Broecker and Lachner I personally find the “moral hazard” to be a nonissue. The fact remains that the world has done nothing to mitigate global warming, reduce CO2 emissions, etc. The current crop of effective noisy liars James Imhofe, Rush Limbaugh, etc will die. The children of today’s children will pay for the lies of Inhofe et al. Part of the price they pay will likely include geoengineering. Figuring it out ahead of time is preferable to an “oh shit” response 80 years down the line.

  224. vukcevic:

    All past comments relating to reliability of data used are shown to have been baseless. It is up to contributors if they whish to reassess their position on the matter. I am happy to answer any further questions within the reason.
    My thanks to anyone who has shown an interest, and particularly to those who didn’t question my credibility, which obviously was honest and true. This is far more important than what this minor discovery may or may not mean to the reassessment of the solar contribution.
    Thanks to Dr. Schmidt, Dr Steig, ‘Jim’ and others involved in running this blog, for their patience and extreme tolerance.

    [Response: I think with your interests you could contribute a lot. Just remember that you always have to document sources and procedures. Even when you do that, some people will still have questions and doubts, it’s the nature of the beast.–Jim]

  225. MARodger:

    Thank you Vukcevic for the links @219.
    After so much prevaricating, it is most pleasing to confirm the graph that MA Vukcevic has linked to so frequently in this thread (and that I and a few others had despaired at ever getting to the bottom of) is not at all fake, that it is without bogus data and not in any way a hoax. I have myself reproduced it at the (non-permanent) link below.
    As to the implications of this graph, whether for instance it is safe to say it shows CET June temperatures oscillating with SSN, that issue remains.


  226. Dan H.:

    I do not know what you mean by my opinion has changed, please elaborate.
    I have responded to all your questions, and the new points are relavent to the discussion. If you feel that you are being misrepresented, then please clarify your position. You presented one piece of old data to support your view, while I presented three newer reports to support mine. If you feel that the one report you referenced is more valid than the newer work, then I suggest you show adequate reasons why, without falling back on the researcher’s personal beliefs or the money stream.

  227. Edward Greisch:

    223 John E. Pearson: What is the geritol solution?

    How would putting H2SO4 in the air affect my asthma?

  228. Richard Simons:

    Elsewhere I have been having arguments with people who insist that there is a ‘pause’ in global warming. They can’t accept that there is no significant deviation from the previous trend (I think they know no statistics) but keep coming back to one or two papers that refer to a recent pause. Reading the papers, it is obvious to me that the authors attach no long-term importance to this and have not examined the statistical significance. Non-the-less, the people I am disagreeing with persist in the belief that there is a real pause in warming. Please could I ask scientists writing papers to use ‘apparent pause’ or similar wording unless the deviation from the long-term trend is significant? I know it is tedious and should not be necessary when dealing with educated, responsible adults, but unfortunately it seems we are not. Thanks.

  229. Hank Roberts:

    Dan — when you respond to someone’s statement quoting partial sentences out of new abstracts without mentioning the caveats, it often sounds like you think they directly pertinent to the subject already being discussed.

    Beware the “Gish gallop.”

  230. vukcevic:

    Thanks for your comment; your advice is always welcome. I spent many years doing things according to a required modus operandi. Now I have some time available to pursue it my own way and pace. The ‘patience is a virtue’ has been abounded at wayside in the age of the instant communication and the instant knowledge. I am learning that voluntarily going into lion’s den one shouldn’t complain about few minor claw scratches.

    To #225
    I thank you for your latest statement.

  231. Ray Ladbury:

    Look at the temperature record since 1975. Count how many times the warming has “paused” and then come back again. Ask they why they think this one is different.

  232. Dan H.:

    The problem is that there is a real ‘pause.’ Whether it is attributable to Asian aerosols (as claimed by Hansen), ENSO, solar activity, or all of the above occurring simultaneously, has not been ascertained. While there may be no long-term importance attached to this recent period, it cannot be ignored.
    Just remind people that we had a much longer ‘pause’ from the 1940s to 1970s, until warming resumed. This currect period is but a third of that. The long term trend of 0.6C/century has not changed.

  233. Hank Roberts:

    for Richard Simons: high school level explanation might help convince your acquaintances, if they want to learn the statistics: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Those whose goal is to repeat the talking point won’t care about the math. Good luck with them.

  234. Hank Roberts:

    So, Richard, see if you can convince Dan, for example. If he would read and understand Bob Grumbine’s high-school-level explanation, he’d quit claiming he knows a pause exists that is not ascertainable by statistics.

  235. JCH:

    Dan H. – this graph shows that since 1998 one year has tied 1998, and four years have exceeded 1998. The 17-year trend is less steep than the 1979-to-present trend, but not much, and it does not appear to me to be sufficient for claiming there has been a ‘pause’:

    1998 – 0.563333
    2002 – 0.563333
    2005 – 0.624167
    2007 – 0.580833
    2009 – 0.570833
    2010 – 0.63

  236. Hank Roberts:

    Those nice crisp lines on charts are what fools people.

    What we need is a graphics charting program that includes display of the uncertainty for the data set being viewed.

    It could start by displaying a long timespam in a thumbnail (in which lines look nice and crisp).

    It should include the uncertainty/error bar for that particular data set.

    So taking annual global temperature, when the viewer zooms in to look at, for example, the last ten or fifteen years, the display would automagically fuzz the misleading “line” and show the actual cloud of uncertainty for that time span.

    Trends aren’t there in the data for short time spans; they’re an illusion.


    Any programmers around here?

  237. Hank Roberts:

    These aren’t as confusing as most:

    Those are from:
    Parker David E., Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change. WIREs Clim Change 2010, 1: 123-133. doi: 10.1002/wcc.21

  238. George Fripley:

    Apparently Ian Plimer has now written a book for kids entitled – How to get expelled from school. It is all about the ‘global warming scam’. Does this man have any integrity at all?

    It has also, unfortunately, been endorsed by ex Prime Minister John Howard.

  239. Ray Ladbury:

    George Fripley of Ian Plimer: “Does this man have any integrity at all?”

    I do not think that it makes sense to speak of integrity when the person is not of sound mind. I look forward to the day when the Diagnostic Standard Manual carries a diagnosis of Epistemic Closure as a mental illness.

  240. MalcolmT:

    @238 You can credit Plimer (and Carter, Bolt, Monckton, etc) with integrity or intelligence but not both.
    I’m happy to say the ABC report was good enough to point up Howard’s lack of integrity (supporting an ETS when in office but not believing in it), mention that the launch was held at the Sydney Mining Club(!) and give generous space to a critical comment from the Science Teachers’ Association of NSW president.

  241. Yvan Dutil:

    Scariest story I have seen recently!!!


  242. Richard Simons:

    Dan H. said “The problem is that there is a real ‘pause.’ ”

    To me, a real pause would be temperatures significantly less than expected from the preceding trend. I challenge you to select a series of years between, say, 1970 to 2000, and determine the trend in global temperature. Then select the equivalent data from one or any number of recent consecutive years and demonstrate that the temperatures are significantly less than would have been expected from extrapolating the trend. You choose the years for determining the trend and also the years to determine the ‘pause’. You choose any reasonable method of analysis. So, now’s your chance! Up and at ’em, and show us the ‘real pause’.

    Hank Roberts “Those nice crisp lines on charts are what fools people.”
    Also, I suspect there can be strong optical illusions where one year’s data (e.g. 1998) carry more weight than is justified.

    “So taking annual global temperature, when the viewer zooms in to look at, for example, the last ten or fifteen years, the display would automagically fuzz the misleading “line” and show the actual cloud of uncertainty for that time span.”
    That sounds a great idea.

    An analogy I’ve used is the heights of 6 children born at 2-week intervals. You wouldn’t be particularly surprised if the relationship between age and height was negative, but you would not conclude from that that children shrink as they get older.

  243. George Fripley:

    Ray Ladbury @239

    Perhaps it is Epistemic Closure for Ian Plimer, but it’s more a case of Manic Irrelevance Syndrome for John Howard (ie the belief of all ex-politicians that people are interested in what they have to say)

  244. Michael Doliner:

    response to Pete Dunkelberg at 206. Thanks for the reference. Plass’s discussion of radiation is not really relevant. This whole subject has gotten far too complicated. Plass’s central point is that the only real sinks for CO2 are the ocean and the sequestering of hydrocarbons. Both take a long geological time. Once CO2 increases in the system the glacial oscillation is set off and it takes a minimum of 50,000 years to stabilize again. Just exactly why the warming occurs in interesting, but the important thing is that it does occur. If rthe ocean and atmosphere are considered a system there is no way to get CO2 out of the system except for the multimillion year process of sequestering in hydrocarbons.And once the level is high enough to raise the temperature enough to release sequestered carbon then the jig is up–carbon levels will continue to grow until all the CO2 that can be released in this way is released and new sequestering can begin.

  245. Edward Greisch:

    Pause: See:
    “How Can It Be Warming When It’s (Almost) Always Cooling?

  246. Charles:

    Ray Ladbury @ 239:
    “I do not think that it makes sense to speak of integrity when the person is not of sound mind. I look forward to the day when the Diagnostic Standard Manual carries a diagnosis of Epistemic Closure as a mental illness.”

    ROTFLMAO! Ray, I always enjoy your pithy comments, and I can appreciate your being short-tempered with some stuff. But this one is a beauty! Hear! Hear!

  247. CM:

    Hank #236, re: a charting tool with automatic uncertainties,

    Maybe we should suggest it to Paul at woodfortrees.org, or maybe someone with C++ and stats skills could offer him a patch for analyse?

    He expressed some misgivings about adding trend lines back in 2008, and indeed they have been roundly abused and the caveats ignored by the usual suspects. I have wondered why he didn’t add uncertainties as an option. I suspect the reason is that getting it wrong (i.e. underestimating uncertainties by not accounting properly for autocorrelation) would do more harm than good, and that getting it right may mean different methodical choices for different kinds of data, cf. the appendix to Foster and Rahmstorf 2011. (And perhaps it’s really difficult to implement from scratch, as he does, or would involve a much bigger number-crunching load on the server; I don’t know; but then, he’s already implemented Fourier transforms.)

  248. Craig Nazor:


    Since you asked:

    “The UHI has been shown to contribute between 25% and 50% of the observed warming. I would call that major.” You said that back on the Change.org blog when you were posting under the alias of “Dan Johnson”:


    Questions I have asked here that you haven’t answered:

    “But because of the influence of hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate money, there is a lot of misinformation about AGCC out there, and you still appear to be pedaling some of it, like the Lüdecke paper. Why is that?”

    [After a list of examples @214] “What is that condescending, controlling attitude all about?”

    By the way, there is no “real pause” in rising global temperatures. The rise is not linear, but it is not expected to be linear. Do you have any peer-reviewed science to back up that claim?

    For reference, here’s what you said about rising global temperatures on the above Change.org link under the “Dan Johnson” moniker:

    “Temperatures during the last decade have not warmed”

    Are you still willing to own that opinion?


    I (and others) have warned Dan about the “Gish Gallop” before. It has not sunk in yet. You can reference that by doing a search on the Change.org link above. There is no doubt that this is the same “Dan”, since he recognized me (as seen @60 above) on RealClimate, and I know no other “Dan” when it comes to blogging climate change. It is a lively debate, with some interesting participants.

  249. Walter Pearce:

    Re: 232, “the pause” — What pause? Here’s a nice link referring to a study done by some folks you may recognize:


    “When the fluctuations in temperature over the last 32 years (which tend to obscure the continuation of the global warming trend) are accounted for, it becomes obvious that there has not been any cessation, or even any slowing, of global warming over the last decade (or at any time during this time span),” the study states. “All five data sets show statistically significant warming even for the time span from 2000 to the present.”

  250. Kevin McKinney:

    #206–I second the thanks for this link.

    I had the pleasurable sensation that I understood the implications more deeply this time around. Maybe I’m learning. . .

  251. Ray Ladbury:

    Charles@246, Thank you. I have been accused of being pithy in the past, but usually only by people who spoke with a lisp.

  252. Rick Baartman:

    My APS membership is up for renewal. Should I sign up for the topical group “Physics of Climate”? I’m not a climate scientist, and my brief perusal suggests this group is stocked with deniers. Is it worth the trouble?

    [Response: Yes. The wider the distribution of people involved, the less likely it will be hijacked by people with agendas. There is some fascinating physics associated with climate and so your time will be repayed with interest. – gavin]

  253. grypo:

    From the old Soon thread

    @grypo – that directory, to me, looks like his Tech Central Station file – [Willie] Soon was a regular contributor. Also articles co-written with Baliunas and with “Dave” Legates.

    Ok, I missed this, and now things make a little sense. The names and transcripts that were in the Tech Central Station file were McIntyre’s. Although we can’t look into the file structure anymore (and never could look at the actual files) I pieced together the cached file names from my PC, from back when he allowed his files to be viewed. That file (TCS-DOCfile03-d/ 07-Oct-2003 11:43), if you check, was never modified after October 2003, meaning all those McIntyre files predate the release of MM03, the climate2000 site, or any other incantation of McIntyre to the wider climate world. So for whatever reason, McI’s paper was in Soon’s possession early enough to make sure this newsflash was quickly disseminated (during a Congressional Hearing, I might add).

    It also explains the HackerGate 2.0 email that indicates that Mann received news about the paper from Soon’s co-worker.
    My opinion is that this paper was a well coordinated, and now, neverending attack.

    Even if we can tackle ONE single chapter down
    the road but forcefully and effectively … we
    will really accomplish A LOT!
    — Willie Soon, circa 2003

  254. Maya:

    I’m not quite sure what is to be gained from a “debate” on global warming, but Nader apparently thought it was worth the effort, so Inhofe and Markey are going to go at it.


    The ever-amusing Captcha says: government shoral

  255. John E. Pearson:

    227 Ed asked about geritol.

    It is dumping iron on iron-limited ocean eco systems. I don’t think it is taken seriously as a “solution”.

    Re: H2So4. You are assuming that all geoengineering is shooting SO2 into the stratosphere. It isn’t. We are doing a massive geoengineering experiment right now and as far as I can tell we are not going to let up during my life time. It strikes me that it would behoove us to consider alternative geoengineering experiments to counter the on-going one should it prove deleterious to the continued existence of “civilization.” That being said, which do you think would be worse for your health: breathing trace amounts of SO2 or not eating for 6 months?

  256. Hank Roberts:


    Scary chart.

    From: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010JG001441.shtml
    Multidecadal variability of atmospheric methane, 1000–1800 C.E.

  257. Hank Roberts:

    … The climate-change chapter in SuperFreakonomics is a case in point. In it, Levitt and Dubner throw their weight behind geoengineering …. Levitt is in no better a position to evaluate Myhrvold’s proposal than we are.

    When an actual expert, University of Chicago climate scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert, questioned the claims in Levitt and Dubner’s writing on climate, Levitt retorted …. preemptively defensive …. covering subject matter outside your expertise, it pays to get second—and third and fourth—opinions.

    … How could [Freakonomics authors] slip up in so many ways? Some … offer insights for the would-be pop-statistics writer.
    Source: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/id.14344,y.0,no.,content.true,css.print/issue.aspx

  258. John E. Pearson:

    Hank said: “he climate-change chapter in SuperFreakonomics is a case in point. ”

    of what?

  259. Dan H.:

    I will respond to your challenge.
    Using this data from CRU:
    The 120-month linear trend from 1970-1980 was ~0.1C/decade. That value rose to 0.41C/decade for the period 1/73-12/82. The 120-month linear trend averaged 0.1C/decade from 1/76 – 1/97, after which it spiked up to 0.45C/decade during the period 4/92-3/02. Since then, the 120-month linear trend as decreased steadily until todays value of -0.08C/decade. That value is comparable to the period 1/67 – 12/76. I specifically chose 120-month so that the 1998 year did not carry more weight. Incidently the most recent 120-month trend is still lower than the 2/98-1/08 trend, which contained the single highest and lowest temperature anomalies in the past 15 years.
    The GISS data shows a smaller range, with a high of 0.4C/decade for the 5/92-4/02 period, and the most recent 120-month trend at 0.006C/decade.

    Whether you call this a “pause” as some have, or a “lack of warming” or “warming hiatus” is a matter of semantics. It is better to attempt to explain this recent occurrance rather than dismissing it altogether. That would be reminiscent fo those who tried to dismiss the warming of the 1980s.

  260. Kevin McKinney:

    #259–“It is better to attempt to explain this recent occurrance rather than dismissing it altogether.”

    I believe the point of those who disagree with you is precisely that statistically insignificant variations are in fact not ‘better explained,’ since they are expected from time to time, given the observed variability of the temperature record.

    Of course, that’s just the statistical side of it. The physical mechanisms driving the evolution of temperature trends over decadal timescales are of considerable interest, I should think, however unsurprising the ‘pause’ might be from a statistical point of view.

  261. Claire Mathieu:

    Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas
    Russian research team astonished after finding ‘fountains’ of methane bubbling to surface


    I remember reading an article before about that line of research, with all sorts of fear-inducing words. How much should one worry about this?

  262. vukcevic:

    Decade or two trends don’t prove much:

  263. Dan H.:

    Statistical insignificant variations are in deed expected. The difference in opinion is that there are those who feel that the change from +0.45C / decade to -0.08C / decade is insignificant over a 10-year period, whereas I do not.
    This does not change the long-term trend of 0.6C / century. But the variations about and below that trend line are natural.

  264. dhogaza:

    Dan H.

    Statistical insignificant variations are in deed expected. The difference in opinion is that there are those who feel that the change from +0.45C / decade to -0.08C / decade is insignificant over a 10-year period, whereas I do not.
    This does not change the long-term trend of 0.6C / century.

    Do you have *any* idea how self-contradictory these three sentences are?

  265. Kevin McKinney:

    #263–Dan, I’m not going to argue this with you at any length, but I am going to suggest that statistical significance isn’t a matter to be decided by what any of us ‘feel.’

  266. Kevin McKinney:

    #261–Well, funny you should ask; it’s currently being mooted on the “AGU Day 5” thread. Opinions seem to vary.

    FWIW, I’d say don’t worry at all; just keep working to mitigate emissions as much and as soon as possible, ’cause this is another good reason why we need to do so.

  267. Ray Ladbury:

    Dan H., Please tell me you are not that dim. OK,Dan, one way of assessing statistical significance is to look at whether an event is rare or common, right?

    Go to Woodfortrees. Plot the trend from 1977-1987. Plot the trend from 1987-1997. Chew on that one for awhile.

  268. wili:


    You are right to be very worried. Estimates of sea bed methane I have seen are orders of magnitude greater than that given in the article.

    If you want independent confirmation that something is amiss with methane in the Arctic, look at the latest dots on the methane graph for Barrow, Alaska:


  269. Dan H.:

    There is nothing contradictory in those statements. One concerns the long-term trend. Another concerns the short-term trend, which often does not match the long term. The last is simply an agreement with Kevin that statistical variations exist.
    The recent change in the short-term trend has a cause other than statistical variation, just as the previous change in the 1990s did. Looking at the long term, extended periods above and below the trend occur, which cannot be attributed to random variations.

  270. J Bowers:

    266 Kevin McKinney — “FWIW, I’d say don’t worry at all; just keep working to mitigate emissions as much and as soon as possible,…”

    You’ll like this, then.

    British public strongly support renewable energy, survey says

    Solar power: More than at present 74%. Less than at present 6%
    Wind farms: More than at present 56%. Less than at present 19%
    Oil power stations: More than at present 10%. Less than at present 47%
    Coal power stations: More than at present 16%. Less than at present 43%

    That actually surprised me, but probably because I hang out where a vocal minority shout out loud a lot.

  271. Richard Simons:

    Dan @159: “I will respond to your challenge.”
    You did indeed find that the trend in recent years is numerically less than the trend in previous decades. However, the challenge was to demonstrate that the difference is statistically significant, which you did not attempt.

    “The difference in opinion is that there are those who feel that the change from +0.45C / decade to -0.08C / decade is insignificant over a 10-year period, whereas I do not.”
    You, and various others. However, no-one has demonstrated it and all I’ve seen indicates that it is not even particularly close to being significant.

  272. Utahn:

    Dan, weren’t we just talking about how removing natural variation eliminates any “pause” ? And shows an underlying 2C per century trend rather than 0.6?

    Maybe I missed some other discussion as I know a lot is being discussed?

  273. Bob Loblaw:

    Dan H. @ 263:

    The difference in opinion is that you seem to think that significant/not significant is matter of opinion, whereas most scientists that I know of use standard objective statistical methods.

    As long as you insist on treating this as an opinion, expect to find that scientists have the opinion that your statements are (to quote dhogaza) “self-contradictory”.

  274. Dan H.:

    It is entirely possible that the entire “pause” is being caused by natural variations. If you remove these variations from both the lower, recent trend and the higher, previous trend, then the resulting trend is still ~0.6C/century. Tamino and I have had a disagreement about this.

  275. Dan H.:

    No Bob,
    I do not think it is a matter of opinion, contrary to what others have said here.
    I responded to Richard’s request. Does anyone else here have an analysis that shows that the recent trend is similar to the previous trend.

  276. Hank Roberts:

    Dan’s trying hard to sound like he knows something about the subject.

    What Tamino said in thoroughly dissecting Dan H’s notion:

    “… it isn’t right, which is easily confirmed statistically.”
    Continue reading →

  277. Dan H.:

    Did you see my response to Tamino, with supporting evidence that he dismissed because it did not support his own view?

  278. Bob Loblaw:

    Dan H. @ 275:

    Let’s look at what you said in # 263 in it entirety:

    Statistical insignificant variations are in deed expected. The difference in opinion is that there are those who feel that the change from +0.45C / decade to -0.08C / decade is insignificant over a 10-year period, whereas I do not.
    This does not change the long-term trend of 0.6C / century. But the variations about and below that trend line are natural.

    First sentence: “statistical insignificant variations are … expected”.

    Second sentence: “…opinion … feel that the change is … insignificant … whereas I do not.”

    Third sentence: “does not change the long-term trend”.

    Translation: you expect statistical insignificance, but you have the opinion/feel that it is not insignificant (thus rejecting the applicability of the statistical test), and yet it doesn’t change the long-term trend, so you agree it isn’t significant.

    And you don’t see the self-contradiction? Oh, my.

  279. Dan H.:

    It is entirely plausible, in fact quite likely that significant short-term trends can exist within any long-term trend. No contradiction.
    I do not know why you all seem to think this is about opinions and not rely on statistical analysis.

  280. Hank Roberts:


  281. Utahn:

    Not sure what time frames we’re talking about Dan, but do you at least agree that the last 30 years is 0.2 C per decade a la Foster and Rahmstorf?

  282. Hank Roberts:


  283. Ray Ladbury:

    Dan H.,
    Did you even bother reading my post? I showed that there are two similar 10-year periods within the past 35 years. In fact, although both contiguous periods show little to no warming, the 20 year period shows significant warming. What this means, Dan, is that 10 years is simply too short to determine a significant climatic trend.

    That is not to say the variability/noise in the system is uninteresting. It is in fact very interesting and an area of active research. It just ain’t climate… pretty much by definition. I would say that if you can cherrypick 3 10 year periods in 35 years that give little warming, then such periods are unexceptional, and they certainly do not indicate a change in the overall trend.

  284. Richard Simons:

    Dan @ 275: “I responded to Richard’s request.”
    No – I asked for you to determine if there was a statistically significant difference.

    Dan @279 “I do not know why you all seem to think this is about opinions and not rely on statistical analysis.”
    How can you possibly imply you alone are relying on statistical analysis, when you have avoided presenting any P values? Do you in fact understand what is being asked of you?

  285. Kevin McKinney:

    #279–“I do not know why you all seem to think this is about opinions and not rely on statistical analysis.”

    The irony!

    Dan, you’re the one who is determining statistical significance by ‘feel!’

    The ten-year ‘trend’ is not significant, as determined by standard statistical tests. And that’s not a matter of opinion.

  286. Craig Nazor:


    I really don’t mean to drag you away from your losing position on the current debate, but I asked you some questions, and I’m feeling a little ignored.

    On another blog, you said: “The UHI has been shown to contribute between 25% and 50% of the observed warming. I would call that major.”

    Do you still believe that?

    You also said:

    “Temperatures during the last decade have not warmed”

    Do you still believe that?


    (Posted under the name of “Dan Johnson.”)

    I’m also impressed that you got Tamino to use a whole web page to debunk some of the same claims that I have been telling you were bogus for the past year. Congratulations!

  287. RichardC:

    Dan H,

    Long term trends have different uses than short term trends. Long term trends point to where climate is heading with BAU and no changes in the planet’s response. Short term trends point you to the natural variations. So, as you say, a short term trend is real and has use, and I bet everyone here agrees with you. What do you think the current short term trend has been caused by?

  288. Dan H.:

    I do not believe that the UHI contributed more than 25% to the observed warming. There have been others who have reported that, hence the statement. Even if it only contributes 10%, I would still call that major.

    As posted previously, the warming trend over the past decade is -0.08C/decade for CRU and +0.006C/decade for GISS. Neither of theses are significantly different than zero, so based on the data, I would have to answer yes.
    Tamino did deote an entire thread to our arguement. He then refused to allow me to respond. I wonder what he was afraid of.

    [Response: Dying of boredom I imagine. – gavin]

  289. Dan H.:

    Over the past 30 years, both the CRU data yield a warming of 0.16C / decade, so I would generally agree with you. However, the temperature has fluctuated such that ebvery 30 years corresponds to a half cycle. From 1881-1911 and 1941-1971, temperatures have decreased, in a pattern similar to that being observed over the past decade. In the intervening thirty years, temperatures have increased approximately 0.15C/decade. Hence, many climatologist state that temperatures will regain their upward movement after this next cycle culminates.

  290. Dan H.:

    The cause is most likely a combination of one or more of the following:
    1. Aerosols from China as claimed by James Hansen.
    2. Declining solar activity as mentioned by Judith Lean.
    3. The negative phases of AMO, NAO, PDO, etc. as stated by Mojib Latif and Susan Solomon.
    4. Aerosols from volcanic eruptions identified by Jean-Paul Vernier.
    Any one of these would result in less heat reaching the surface. I am less inclined to agree with Trenberth on the “missing heat” migrating to the depths of the oceans, until he can demonstrate why this would suddenly occur. Of this list, the oceanic effects correlate best with the past temperature record, although I would not rule out any of the others influencing the oceans through cloudiness in the temperate latitudes.

    Any other thoughts?

  291. Utahn:

    ” Hence, many climatologist state that temperatures will regain their upward movement after this next cycle culminates.” So who are these many climatologists predicting 20 more years of cooling before the next oscillation? Can you give me some links to their work?

  292. Ray Ladbury:

    Dan, Please. You are positing a cycle with 60 year periodicity based on all of 2 cycles? Dude, do you understand how easy it is to hallucinate periodicities in random data. OK, Dan, another exercise for you. Graph the following series of ordered pairs
    (1,2), (2,7), (3,1), (4,8), (5,2), (6,8) (7,1), (8,8), (9,2), (10,8)

    Is the series periodic? If so, predict the y value for the 11th point.

    If you said 4, you are correct. The y values are digits of the base of Napierian logarithms, e, and the x values are their ordinal positions in the number. Hopefully, this illustrates the danger of positing cycles without 1)lots of data, or 2)a physical mechanism.

  293. Ric Merritt:

    Amateur etymologists can consult the OED today. Most of the website is by subscription, but the Word of the Day, linked from the front page, is available to all.

    Today’s WOTD is Climate.

    Since it’s the OED, you get all of the usages and history back to Latin and Greek.

  294. wili:

    I thought I’d drop by to see if anything interesting is happening, but I find, as usual, people have allowed a troll to hijack the entire thread. What exactly is the borehole for if not for this drivel?

    [Response: Unfortunately we are all too busy to deal with all this. For my part, I think we need a significantly updated method of highlighting comments, so that the worthwhile ones actually wind up at the top. The software for doing this efficiently and fairly is, however, not there yet. –eric]

  295. SecularAnimist:

    Craig Nazor wrote to Dan H: “I’m also impressed that you got Tamino to use a whole web page to debunk some of the same claims that I have been telling you were bogus for the past year.”

    Yes, Dan H has demonstrated an impressive ability to deliberately and maliciously waste people’s time with nonsense. I’m sure it gives him great satisfaction.

  296. Hank Roberts:

    The only real problem with Dan H is his increasingly successful mimicry of someone who knows the science. This is the kind of performance you’d expect from a good PR guy, or someone who’s been in sales for a long time, selling the ideas. I’ve watched it for decades used against scientists. The tactic is to seem oh so reasonable to the majority audience while slipping in enough lies and distortions to get the knowledgeable listener or the scientist on the stage or radio show to lose his or her temper.

    He’s very good.

    I wouldn’t buy a used car or an insurance policy from this guy after watching him work the audience. But if I were a newcomer, he’d seem oh so trustworthy.

    [Response: You have him pegged exactly Hank.–Jim]

  297. Hank Roberts:

    Aside to Dan — if you go to Grumbine’s site and work through the example given, you’ll understand the point the statisticians teach.

    It’s the basic core understanding of elementary statistics — what we can tell, and what we can’t tell, from any _specific_ data set.

    It’s a calculation done that tells you how many observations are needed, given how much they vary, before you can say there’s a probability that a trend can be detected.

    For annual data, “how many” at one observation per year means how many years.

    For other kinds of data, “how many” is how many observations.

    Taking statistics changes how you view the world, and gives you a common language you can use talking to and understanding scientists.

    It would be a good idea.

  298. Hank Roberts:


    “Plant studies miss the full effect of climate change

    16:36 15 December 2011 by Peter Aldhous
    For similar stories, visit the Climate Change Topic Guide

    Climate change is affecting plants’ seasonal activities more strongly than biological experiments suggest. The finding suggests that such studies may have to be reworked to get a better picture of the effects of global warming.

    “This is huge,” says Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and a member of the team behind the study. “We are relying heavily on these experiments to predict what will happen 100 years from now.”….”

  299. J Bowers:

    Dr. Mark Roberts, Polar Oceanographer and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, writes a rebuttal to the GWPF’s latest nonsense, spurred by the manufactroversy over Frozen Planet’s polar bear footage, for the Open University.

    The science behind climate change explained

  300. SecularAnimist:

    New development in the police investigation of the stolen UEA emails:

    Hacked climate emails: police seize computers at West Yorkshire home
    Leo Hickman
    The Guardian

    Police seize equipment as part of investigation into the theft of thousands of private emails from the University of East Anglia

  301. J Bowers:

    Hacked climate emails: police seize computers at West Yorkshire home

    No arrests, they’re just pulling their finger out at last, seizing Tallbloke’s laptops as he was one of the recipients of the emails. Jeff Id got a notice from the DoJ via WordPress, too.

  302. Snapple:

    This is so terrific!

  303. Radge Havers:

    Hank @ 296

    “increasingly successful mimicry of someone who knows the science”

    That’s a very good point and worth reiterating. Unfortunately it’s something that should probably be factored into responses to propagandists so that you’re not just training better liars. My take: if you’re going to engage with these sorts, consider that it becomes more about tough love, getting into there heads and presenting the facts of the matter so that they’re put in an uncomfortable and ineffective position–less about science education which is designed for constructive and open minds.

  304. Hank Roberts:

    “increasingly successful mimicry of someone who knows the science”

    Yah. My first exposure to that was in 1966, as a very young biology student, hearing a professional defend DDT in debate with a young passionate postdoc who was doing research on eggshell thickness. It was also my first real understanding of the terribly vulnerable underbelly of the traditional liberal education, which values charm and verbal skills more than science.

  305. Hank Roberts:

    Some references follow to go with this story

    Pau, S., Wolkovich, E. M., Cook, B. I., Davies, T. J., Kraft, N. J. B., Bolmgren, K., Betancourt, J. L. and Cleland, E. E. (2011), Predicting phenology by integrating ecology, evolution and climate science. Global Change Biology, 17: 3633–3643. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02515.x


  306. Susan Anderson:

    On the recent development in the UK investigation into the CRU thefts, Steve McIntyre is AFAIK a bigger player in the distractionalist fake skeptic attack machine than Tallbloke, and appears to be another target of the investigation.

  307. Ron R.:

    Question: Would it be a an appropriate to assume that during the MMCO trees and shrubs grew faster and larger due to the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (from volcanoes), the warming and tropicalizing of the climate and the subsequent necessarily longer growing season?

    I’ve tried to get some information about the various trees in the Ginkgo Petrified Forest (ginkgoes, walnuts, maples, elms, oaks etc.) size wise compared to todays average for those families but so far no luck. Anyone know if they were bigger? Any paleobotonists out there?

    Two, if this can be assumed can we also assume that modern trees and shrubs should similarly begin to increase in size for similar reasons?

    [Response: By MMCO I assume you refer to the Miocene. Faster, yes; larger, not necessarily. The same holds true today. Increased CO2 affects the rate of carbon assimilation, via an increase in biophysical efficiency (reduced photo-respiratory loss). Time to a defined size can certainly be affected by the drivers you mention, but maximum size is another matter, because other biological and physical limitations are involved, such as the ratio of photosynthetic to respiratory tissue (which changes with size), the basal metabolic rate, leaf architecture and display geometry, competition, and the efficiency of water conduction through the xylem (among others); these things determine the carbon balance of the tree and/or the limits to growth.–Jim]

  308. Peter Backes:

    About GD time:


    Wouldn’t it be great to find out the identities of the trolls behind the curtains?

  309. Hank Roberts:

    > trees … size wise compared to todays average

    Few places today have a full grown tree of almost any species.
    This place does: http://colebrooklandconservancy.org/trees.html

    [Response: Nice find. A couple of the best places to see large trees at a landscape scale, in a relatively intact ecosystem in the eastern U.S., are Great Smokey Mountain NP, the nearby Joyce Kilmer forest, and Porcupine Mountain State Park, Upper Peninsula, Michigan. There are a number of much smaller areas as well, but these are the big ones.–Jim]

  310. Ron R.:

    Thanks Jim.

    Ok, trees increase in height but not necessarily girth in response to increased CO2. Of course that extra height will need extra width to support it. But for physiological limitations, perhaps a set amount of stoma per leaf, you’re saying that there is a limit to how wide it can get in response to CO2.

    [Response: No, I was talking about all growth; primary (height) vs secondary (width) is a separate issue altogether, under different, often species-specific controls and constraints. But you are right that stomate density is an important determinant of physiological response to CO2 concentration]

    Perhaps the more general response is to increase the numbers in the community (as we see in rain forests today) rather than the size of individuals? Still in subtropical areas of less rain it would seem intuitively that individuals themselves would compensate by growing larger?

    [Response: That’s population dynamics–even further removed from direct CO2 effects. Way too confounded. And there is no separating total number from average size in plants–they are always negatively correlated, via competitive thinning]

    All the same, i’m wondering if anyone has done an actual comparison of trees and shrub size between periods of heightened and lowered atmospheric carbon?

    [Response: Some have looked at radial growth rate, using fossilized tree rings. But I don’t know that any have compared maximum size. That would be very difficult–you’d need entire intact specimens.]

    One other question, the temps were on average 3 degrees C warmer during the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum and I’ve read the ppm of atmospheric carbon between 460 and 580; is that correct?

    Hank, that webpage reminded me of an old photograph I saw somewhere once but can’t find now of a giant old oak tree absolutely dwarfing the horses (and wagon?) underneath it. I seem to remember John Muir in it too but maybe that’s wrong.

    [Response: There are pictures of him underneath massive valley oaks. Underneath various massive trees for that matter.]

  311. Chris Colose:

    Ron R,

    I don’t know much about tree physiology, but I can say that there is an empirical relationship between stomatal pore density on tree leaves and CO2 that is often used as a proxy for paleo-CO2 levels, but breaks down at higher concentrations (above 1000 ppm in most cases) and in this limit the stomatal proxy only provides a lower constraint on paleo-CO2. There are several other big CO2 proxies used before the ice core era, including Boron isotopes and alkenones .

    [Response: You basically have it Chris. But to clarify a little, the breakdown at higher values was observed mostly in experimental situations, and even there, mostly in a certain kind of experimental situation–open top chambers, not so much in greenhouses where things are better controlled. Conversely, some fossil-based evidence continues to show response up 2500 ppm and above (McElwain and Chaloner, 1995. Stomatal density and index of fossil plants track atmospheric carbon dioxide in the Palaeozoic., Ann. Bot. 76, 389-395.). The big difference between the two of course, is that the fossil-based stuff is under potential genetic selection and therefore more maleable, whereas the experimental stuff is not–it’s generally the same plants, tested over a short time period and high CO2 fluxes. Very different beasts.–Jim]

    As for your other question- Since the early Miocene (~23 mya – present) CO2 was typically at pre-industrial range to slightly higher than modern (e.g., less than 500 ppm in the Pliocene, see the Beerling and Royer commentary in Nat. Geoscience this year for a Cenozoic CO2 history).

    Most of the decline in CO2 from the big ‘greenhouse’ climates came before the Miocene between 50-25 mya, in line with the growth of the Antarctic ice sheet (see the most recent Pagani et al 2011 paper in Science). And yes, temperatures were several degrees warmer, and in the pliocene at least, sea levels 10-30 m higher, and several times this for the Late Cretaceous to Miocene.

  312. Philip Dooley:

    I am going to try to explain global warming to a 9th grade class of honors students early this Tuesday (20th). Upon reviewing the material, I am confused about exactly what altitudes the CO2 warming forcing originates. In response to the saturation argument, I have seen claims that the effect is in the stratosphere where there is no convection. David Archer implies that the effect is in the troposphere, with temp rises less than the lapse rate keeping the air stratified. Are storms and other convection currents rare enough to consider the troposphere stratified ? Can you tell me or send a link : Between what altitudes does 90% of the CO2 forcing effect occur ? Do you have a graphic for a multi layer model of the atmosphere ? How many layers did Gilbert Plass use ?

  313. Ron R.:

    Thanks for the reply Jim.

    [Response: Some have looked at radial growth rate, using fossilized tree rings. But I don’t know that any have compared maximum size. That would be very difficult–you’d need entire intact specimens.]

    It would seem that fossilized trees found in the Ginkgo Petrified Forest (Wanapum) would be a good place to begin. Middle Miocene, buried whole in ash courtesy of the huge Columbia River Volcanism.


    [Response: Excellent. That goes on my list of places to see. Not sure those are whole trees though. And see response to Chris above–Jim]

    Chris, thanks for your comments. Of course the Miocene and Pliocene climates were two entirely different animals. Warm and wet /cold and dry.

    This study has a nice chart if you can get to it.

    Another very similar one.

    Regarding the ppm (but will look for your cites – perhaps an update?).

  314. wush:

    Off the wall, Oh, Look! more dust.
    There is twice as much dust in the atmosphere as there was 100 years ago.
    “There is a strong possible loop where the climate becomes drier and windier causing more dust, and more dust affects radiation, so it feeds back on climate.”

    Increasing desertification, more erosion from agricultural soils, increasing areas of dusty hard surfaces, roads and buildings, urban dust islands, mining mountains, open cast mining, deforestation, slash and burn, dust and more dust.
    During past glaciations, the amount of dust in the atmosphere was higher than during interglacial periods, thus more heat was likely reflected from the Earth’s atmosphere back into space.
    How long before there is enough dust to do this?
    I see, so we warm things up, make dust, and create an ice age, great.

  315. Chris Colose:

    Philip Dooley (312)

    You have to be careful about over-interpreting the simple one or two layer models of the greenhouse effect. In reality, the “forcing” originates almost everywhere in the vertical, and certainly most of the effect of CO2 is in the troposphere. The upper troposphere is particularly important here for a number of reasons- one is that the temperature is much colder than the surface, which is the whole reason you can generate the big dips in the thermal emission spectrum that you see in David Archer’s book, particularly at 15 microns wavelength (or 667 cm^-1 wavenumber). This, in turn, implies that for any given temperature the outgoing emission to space is reduced with an increase in CO2.

    If you look closely at some of the images in Archer’s book, you may notice an inversion in the dip of the thermal infrared spectrum near the center of the CO2 band. This is because the stratosphere is warmer than the tropopause, and thus emission near the center of the CO2 band increases as CO2 is increased with temperature held fixed. The increased emission turns out to have a large effect in cooling the stratosphere, rather than having a large impact on the surface; at the surface the contribution is dominated by the decreased emission in the wings of the CO2 band (which are tropospheric).

    I am not sure what you are getting at in terms of the stability, which I don’t recall Archer getting into much (though I don’t have the text in front of me), but the key thing for the greenhouse effect is that temperatures are declininng with height at all. But in the tropics (especially over the ocean), the temperature profile tends to stay near a moist adiabat, implying little Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). In mid-latitudes, the thinking with convection is a bit different, and vertical ascent is typically diagnosed with forcing mechanisms (such as the QG omega equation or Q-vector convergence).

  316. Craig Nazor:


    About your UHI quote, you said:” There have been others who have reported that, hence the statement.”

    So how can we tell if you actually believe what you are saying, or if you are instead referring to research in which you don’t actually believe? And why would you do that? It’s fundamentally dishonest, and guaranties to disgust those with whom you are debating, as these comments demonstrate.

    Do you have any recent research to offer that claims that UHI effects are contributing 10% of the observed warming?

    Which leads me to another point: You appear to believe that world average temperature has not warmed in the past ten years. At the same time, human population has increased, urbanization has increased, and human use of energy (and the ubiquitous energy byproduct, extra heat) has increased. So what has happened to all that extra urban heat?

    To rephrase your statements: Increasing UHI effects are contributing up to 25% of the observed warming, but there has been no observed warming in the past 10 years.


    I don’t think that you actually believe that. But the only other explanations would be that 1) somehow you are mean-spirited enough to actually WANT to waste the time of all these intelligent people here (I don’t believe that, either), or that 2) someone has put you up to this.

    Which is it?

  317. Ron R:

    Jim @ #313: That goes on my list of places to see.

    Mine too. along with Fly Geyser (related geologically) and another wonder.


  318. Edward Greisch:

    Red herring: Diverting attention from the real subject.

    30 Ray Ladbury: Truth as a weapon: See “FOOL ME TWICE; Fighting the Assault on Science in America” by Shawn Lawrence Otto; Rodale Books. Says: “science is a political act.”

    Science has been loosing status to “New Age” “truth is relative” stuff. Science is too difficult for most people. “Religion Explained” by Pascal Boyer talks about how people try to do all of their thinking as if everything was a person. They have a big subconscious sub-processor for interactions with other people. They can’t do math or logic.

    So just the truth isn’t going to work. You also have to say that science works and why science works and everything else doesn’t and that the opposition is telling lies. The lies are a problem. Point out that they are reading this on a computer that depends on physics being true.

    41 Ray Ladbury: By the time truth wins, it could be too late. People have believed unbelievable things for thousands of years.

    49 Donald Oats: But the alternatives to truth feel better. And they don’t require hard thinking. Hard thinking hurts.

    51 Ray Ladbury: Who said anything about sane? Sanity hasn’t even been defined yet, as far as I know.

    62 David Horton: “intelligent person”. There is the problem. There aren’t many of them.

    rasmus: Your “perception of what science is all about.” Yes, that is exactly what Shawn Lawrence Otto is talking about. When you have people saying that “truth is relative and “my” truth is just as good as your truth,” science is in trouble. Otto says it has been too long since scientists, except for Carl Sagan, did any speaking out. wmar, Adrian O. and Dale R. McIntyre, PhD all sound perfectly reasonable on dotearth, but you know otherwise. WUWT gets higher scores from click counters than RealClimate does.

    I don’t agree that there are just a few devilish people to blame and that is all there is to it. [There are fossil fuel companies, but in a world of scientists, the fossil fuel companies wouldn’t stand a chance.] I think that the problem is the basic design of the human brain. The fossil fuel money is bad, but not the only problem.

    There are very few people who are able to become scientists because, until now, science wasn’t required for survival. Now, everybody has to be a scientist or we are in trouble at the species level.


  319. J Bowers:

    Re. 314 wush

    That’s interesting.

    * Asthma, Coral and African Dust
    * NASA: When the dust settles

    In addition to affecting marine ecosystem health, the researchers suspect that the dust may trigger respiratory health problems in humans. According to Shinn, levels of asthma on the islands of Barbados and Trinidad are among the highest in the world. “The incidence of asthma on Barbados and nearby Trinidad, as documented by the Caribbean Allergy and Respiratory Association (CARA), has increased 17-fold since 1973,” he said. “And that was the first year that Prospero’s graph showed a big spike in the dust record there.”

  320. Radge Havers:

    EG @ 318

    I think you may be zeroing in on something here.

    They have a big subconscious sub-processor for interactions with other people.

    From a very early age people will instinctively read intention into very simple shapes and movements.

    The lies are a problem.

    They are effective, especially if you don’t call them out quickly and in simple terms for what they are. It’s also a bad idea to let light weight, heavily slanted caricatures be passed off by portentous blowhards as the wisdom of the ages. They may seem trivial and transparent to you, but people get swept away by them.

  321. John E. Pearson:

    “Hydraulic fracturing techniques — despite causing a growing controversy — are creating a once-in-a-generation boom in oil and gas drilling in the United States, and the opportunity to build many more pipelines to carry new supplies to market.”


  322. Hank Roberts:

    Hydraulic fracking also works to the benefit of the bottled-water and private utility water companies. They will be happy to sell you professionally cleaned-up water, not that nasty polluted stuff from the aquifers that has the fracking residue and all those other toxic wastes in it.

    $$PROFIT$$ — they don’t count the costs.

  323. Ray Ladbury:

    Edward Greisch, If a member of a species has a deficiency in perception sufficiently severe that it cannot identify a threat, that member will not last long. Likewise, if the majority of a species has a similar deficiency, the species will either evolve or become extinct.

    Our species has a deficiency when it comes to adequately perceiving risk. We have developed corrective lenses as it were–science and quantitative risk assessment–but if people refuse to use them, then eventually we will reach a disastrous outcome. Even if we stumble through the crisis of climate change without realizing the worth of science and quantitative reasoning, some disaster will get us eventually.

  324. Ron R.:

    Chris Colose — 17 Dec 2011 @ 1:42 PM

    Thanks for that reference to Nature Geoscience. Here’s a free version (don’t tell them).


  325. Ron R.:

    The trigger?


    Re: Hank’s link,


    If the phenological response to increased CO2 and climate change includes increase in the growth of plants (in both community number and individual size)

    [Response: ??; thought we had gone over that–Jim]

    it would seem wise to allow and even encourage this Gaian-like reply (rather than resort to our usual short sighted policies – in this case slash and burn – thereby leaving only the high CO2 levels).

  326. Philip Dooley:

    Chris Colose (315)

    Thanks for the extra information. The model that I like is multiple layers of glass with a vacuum in between them on a greenhouse. Adding more CO2 adds more sheets of glass.

    My concern about stability is that any convection shorts out the insulating effect of the CO2. The troposphere has to be stratified most of the time for the CO2 to do much warming. If the CO2 effect is distributed thru the troposphere, then the added heat is also distributed, resulting in a uniform expansion of the troposphere and raising the tropopause.


  327. SecularAnimist:

    This is probably more appropriate for the Unforced Variations thread, but John E. Pearson at #55 and Kevin McKinney at #68 have noted yesterday’s New York Times article on warming arctic permafrost and methane releases, with Kevin mentioning that it is a good article though with some “simplifications” that “grated a bit”.

    I agree that it is mostly a good article, with intelligible straightforward reporting that is mostly based on the real science being done by real scientists in this field. But here’s what really “grated” with me — stuck right in the middle of the article:

    Citing permafrost temperatures for northern Alaska — which, though rising rapidly, remain well below freezing — an organization called the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change claimed that permafrost is in “no more danger of being wiped out any time soon than it was in the days of our great-grandparents.”

    So who or what is this “Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change”? The organization is not identified, or described, nor is it referred to anywhere else in the article, nor is any reason given for citing its views.

    Well, folks, it turns out that the Center is a “think-tank” funded by ExxonMobil and run by two brothers, Keith and Craig Idso, who have worked for the fossil fuel lobbying organization the Western Fuels Association, producing denialist propaganda. The Center’s public position is that “there is no compelling reason to believe there will necessarily be any global warming as a result of the activities of man, especially those activities that result in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere” (emphasis added).

    One might have thought the time was past when major news organizations felt the need to “spike” their news reports on global warming issues with talking points from the fossil fuel industry’s paid propagandists — without, of course, identifying them as such — to “balance” the views of, well, actual scientists.

    One would have been sadly mistaken.


  328. Hank Roberts:

    > Ron R. … if the phenological response … includes …. growth …

    The physiological response to strychnine includes hyperalertness.

    In both instances: add for a while, for some, with other effects.

  329. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    I’m just catching up on my blogging, and came across on Catholic Answers Forum “Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist [IVAR GIAEVER] Resigns Over Global Warming.”

    I read in Wiki that he’s a physicist (in areas not remotely connected to climate science), so why should his voice, I’m wondering, and I told them that.

    Is there anything more that you all know about him?

  330. Ron R.:

    Hi Jim. I reread your answers @ 307 & 310. Sorry and thanks, I must have misunderstood. That seems counterintuitive. Will have to do more personal study.

  331. Ray Ladbury:

    Giaever is a condensed matter theorist. There is absolutely no reason why his background should give him any understanding of climate science. He has no climate publications, no publications in related fields, zip. It’s another case of a physicist gone emeritus, that is, they find they are too old to make further contribution in their area of expertise, so they decide to straighten out one of the sciences they perceive as “softer”.

  332. Imback:

    @326 Philip Dooley,
    I haven’t read the whole thread, so sorry if I repeat earlier points. Because expanding air cools, a neutrally stratified troposphere is actually colder with height. And the greenhouse effect warms when the troposphere is colder with height. Thus convection, which promotes neutral stratification, does not deter the greenhouse warming effect.

  333. Hank Roberts:

    > Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change …

    wikipedia: (also known as CO2Science)


    “… rather than its promise of ‘separating reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change’, on the contrary CO2 Science twists the most recent science, ever so subtly, to suggest that there is no link between carbon dioxide levels and climate change.”

    So their reputation got so bad they changed their name?

  334. Dan H.:

    The answer to your last question is neither. I am simple trying to uncover the truth, as any good scientist would.
    With regards to your extra urban heat, several other parameters good lood to the reduction. These include, but are not limited to, the recent solar minimum, volcanic activity, and ENSO fluctuations. Many prominent climatologists have pointed to these causes as an explanation to the temperatures of the past decade. Additionally, James Hanson has blamed aerosols generated from coal burning in China. Urbanization is only one factor in temperature changes. Over short timeframes, such as a decade, fluctuations in one or more variables can combine to mask other effects.

  335. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Ray, you mean like this?


  336. Craig Nazor:


    So how can the UHI effect be contributing up to 25% of the warming if the planet has not warmed?

    By denying the strong scientific consensus about anthropogenic global climate change, as well as rejecting a proper statistical analysis of global temperature data, you are obscuring science, not uncovering it.

  337. MARodger:

    Dan H @334
    This truth you seek – does it always have to include your proposed long term warming trend of ~0.6 deg C? If this trend does have to be included, it is probabbly why you are having difficulties espressing your position to folk who consider such a trend as fictitious as that fabled archipelago, the Urban Heat Islands.

  338. Kevin McKinney:


    Well, FWIW, the CSCDGC (nee CO2Science) comment wasn’t one of the things that grated; it struck me as so spectacularly dumb that it actually made me laugh out loud. My feeling was that it was self-refuting–and self-discrediting for the CSCDGC.

    Should I have taken it more seriously than that? Sometimes the denialist hall of mirrors erodes my sense of perspective. . .

  339. Hank Roberts:

    “… all of the investment on solar water heater can be got back in 2~4 years. After 2~4 years, we can use hot water free.”

    A wide variety of innovatively designed solar hot water collectors is available.

    Here is a balcony systems for apartments:

  340. Maya:

    Did anyone mention this? How different a world it would be if everything were powered with the sun and wind instead of dead dinosaurs.

    “Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reported the first solar cell that produces a photocurrent that has an external quantum efficiency greater than 100 percent when photoexcited with photons from the high energy region of the solar spectrum.”

  341. Philip Dooley:

    Imback @332

    Yes, I understand the cooling as the air rises, but the air is still warmer or wetter than the air around it so it continues to rise and carry upward the heat that the CO2 effect is trying to trap. This effect is obvious during summer thunderstorms. Also , supersaturated air is also common. I guess that it boils down to : what percentage of the time is the troposphere quiet and stratified ?


  342. wush:

    Re, 319 J Bowers,
    Thanks for the interesting links.
    I’m probably putting two and two together and making five! But maybe… Increasing incidences of Asthma in Britain follow a similar pattern to the Caribbean. Highest Asthma Rate in the World, 1 Wales, 3 Scotland , 5 Ireland.
    I wonder if some of this dust is transported up to Europe from the Caribbean on the Gulf Stream winds!
    Dust mix does not match those currently used in climate models.


    The amount of dust actually injected into the atmosphere, though, may have been significantly underestimated
    the amount of coarse dust driven into the atmosphere by wind is at least double and may be eight times as much as previously thought.
    What is clear is that it is yet another example of how fiendishly complicated the atmosphere is, and what a broad set of approaches is required to understand it.

    Question;- Is it correct to say,
    If there is more air-born dust there will be more sites for water vapour to condense onto so more cloud formation, precipitation, cooling in summer (albedo) and warming in winter(cloud cover)taking place as a consequence?

  343. Ron R.:

    Doing a bit more research. I’d been thinking that with higher CO2 plants would perhaps have increased stoma density to incorporate more of that carbon into their woody structure but hadn’t realized that according to recent studies that with increasing atmospheric carbon stoma density actually decreases to decrease the loss of water, due (I suppose) to higher resulting temps. And as you indicate though there are other factors involved as well.


    I wonder though if, assuming all other things were equal as you say, it’s possible that in response to increased selective pressure from long term high amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere as existed during the Miocene (there must be some reaction) that after perhaps an initial negative response, such as today’s closing off of stoma, in time plants would have evolved a more positive adaptational (if nonpermanent) response that would allow them to use the extra carbon to their benefit. I mean, it seems to me that closing off stoma is non-optimal. Could plants have evolved some mechanism to accomodate (something not apparent in the fossil record) such as, for example, separate stoma for respiration and transpiration, thus allowing for the increased intake of carbon while simultaneously closing off water vapor pores?

    If I’m seem too obtuse please pardon.

    [Response: Not obtuse; great questions. Right–the stomatal/CO2 correlation is negative: higher CO2 = fewer stomata, to an asymptote (you have to retain some stomata). The plant is attempting to optimize the gain of carbon relative to the loss of water. This has been known for a while. Plants are nothing if not the world’s greatest optimizers. More later.–Jim]

  344. Imback:

    @341 Philip Dooley,
    Consider an idealized case where convection immediately and completely mixes the troposphere to always be neutrally stratified. If the air is dry, then the temperature would decrease with height by the dry adiabatic lapse rate of about 10 degrees C per kilometer. If the air is totally saturated, then the temperature would decrease with height by the saturated adiabatic lapse rate of approximately 5 degrees C per kilometer. (The actual troposphere’s lapse rate is generally in between.) My point is that in either case, the troposphere has a definite lapse rate of getting colder with height. Thus the greenhouse warming effect is not deterred by convection.

  345. MMM:

    Ron R: #343: I think what you are missing is the concept of “limiting nutrient”: to you, increased CO2 means more stomata so a plant can get more of it, but to a plant, more CO2 means that CO2 is less of a limiting nutrient, so it can spend less effort to get the same amount (or a bit more) CO2, and instead work on other limiting factors: Jim mentions loss of water as being one of those factors, another common one is nitrogen availability (and there is some research showing that as CO2 concentration increases, the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the plant increases: the extent to which plants can do this is still an open question: the extent to which low-nitrogen-content leaves are less nutritious to grazers is another question).

    [Response: They’re coupled: a reduced transpiration stream will reduce nutrient uptake, altering the C:N and other nutrient ratios.–Jim]

    In a low CO2 environment, a plant would grow many more stomata, because it would be desperate for any CO2 that it could get. Sort of like in a low-oxygen environment, you breathe more often and more deeply, but in a high oxygen environment, you can get away with breathing shallowly and infrequently (why waste energy on breathing if you don’t have to?).

  346. Ron R.:

    MMM, I hadn’t thought of it that way. The idea that a plant only wants so much carbon as that’s all it needs. Thanks.

    Still, we know that the ‘only needs so much so that’s all it takes’ model is not always true in nature. During the same time period, the Miocene, animals grew to huge dimensions (megafauna) because of an abundance of primary productivity – more food available. So they seemed to have been trying to maximize their use of it to maximize themselves. I’m not sure frugality in the face of abundance is nature’s way.

    So the question is, could there have been megaflora as well?

    [Response: Ron you have some misconceptions. Plants don’t “only need so much” carbon (within the limits set by the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis). If plants could get unlimited supplies of CO2 without any penalty, they would. But they can’t, because the gain of carbon necessarily requires the loss of water, which for the vast majority of land plants in turn has further effects like reduced ability of the plant to cool itself, reduced nutrient uptake, etc. It’s these kinds of tradeoffs and constraints and feedbacks that have to be well understood before any informed judgment on your original question about maximum tree size can be made. It’s a highly complex system–I only mentioned a couple of simple examples to illustrate that point. Also, animal size is not determined by primary productivity.–Jim]

  347. David B. Benson:

    wush @342 — Yes, if more aerosols then there are more condensation nuclei. However, that might possibly inhibit forming large enough droplets to have sensible clouds much less precipitation. The physics is more complex than I understand well.

  348. Richard Simons:

    Ron: Evaporative cooling seems to be an important function of stomata that might stop their numbers from reducing by much in plants from areas that get hot (and it need only be for an hour or two on critical days). A hint of this is given by members of the stonecrop family. They have separated the light-trapping part of photosynthesis from the CO2 fixing part, reducing water loss by closing their stomata during the day, only opening them at night. However, AFAIK, they are primarily found in cool, dry habitats, likely because they overheat in warmer places. As Jim says, the situation is complex and ‘more CO2 = more growth’ or ‘more CO2 = fewer stomata = better drought tolerance’ are both wildly simplified, if not almost completely untrue.

    [Response: This is Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), the third most common photosynthetic system (after C3 and C4). It is present in numerous families, but most notably the Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae. It exists primarily in taxa that have lifeforms that experience very dry conditions, including e.g. epiphytes (plants not rooted in the ground) or those growing in areas of minimal soil depth, including rock faces, desert pavements etc. The stonecrops (Sedum spp.) are a genus within the Crassulaceae, the family the system was first discovered in. One correction: the relationship between stomate density and atm. CO2 is solid when considered across generations (or elevations), over a broad range of tree taxa (e.g. ginkgo, oaks, willows, spruces, dawn redwood, hemlock), although the sensitivity at higher CO2 levels varies. This is the basis of their use as paleo-CO2 estimators–Jim]

  349. Ron R.:

    Jim, I agree with your main statement in 346. I just thought that MMM’s idea, if I understood it right, was interesting.

    Another interesting thing to note though is that the Middle Miocene was also the start of the “Clarendonian Chronofauna” (According to SD. Webb), a period spanning of one of the greatest evolutionary bursts in both terrestrial and sea life. Could that have been caused by the increased food available which was in turn caused by high CO2? Was the Middle Miocene a true “land of the giants”? I’m not stating, just asking.

    It’s coincidental that the decline in CO2 with the buildup of the Antarctic ice sheet was followed by a large extinction event, that of the mid-Hemphillian. While temps probably played a large role, perhaps declining productivity did as well?

    About the PP question, actually I believe that it has been one of the explanations for body size for a awhile. True, that not everyone buys it as the main driver but I think enough do. Against it though might be the fact that there were megafauna in the Pleistocene as well, a time of vastly decreased CO2. Were they just genetic hangers on? I don’t know.

    [Response: There are highly productive systems where maximum animal body size is small (estuaries, many forests) and conversely there are far less productive systems where body size reaches toward the largest known (grasslands, savannas, tundra). There’s not a good relationship there–Jim


    Anyway I know that I have a lot to learn and appreciate your patience and that of the other posters here..

    [Response: Thanks for your interest in the topic!]

  350. wush:

    David B Benson @347-Thanks for your reply. I was taught a long time ago that we need dust to form clouds (some at least) and now it seems we are underestimating the quantity of dust in the atmosphere, by at least double and maybe considerably more. My understanding is that present climate models are geared to estimates of large particles but really they should be accounting for the actions of smaller ones too. These discrepancies highlight the limitations of our understanding of our changing climate IMO.
    We are told aerosols and their actions are one area of great uncertainty in climate change. It seems to me they may be far more influential than we think!

  351. wush:

    Ron R, – My two pennies worth.
    Any form of fertilisation which enables a plant to perform better will be utilised to its advantage.
    Co2 enrichment is providing one of its essential building blocks of life, carbon, which it coverts into sugars for its vital energy processes. Its sole aim being to reproduce and perpetuate. So some of the extra sugars it produces through photosynthesis are utilised in the development of flowers and the development of its reproductive end product, seed, fruit, nut or tuber etc. The enrichment process will enable the plant to perform better, develop sweeter taste, with extra sugars, which makes it more attractive to something which is going to eat it and spread its seed or whatever it takes to reproduce. Co2 enrichment is used in some glasshouse crop production. It makes things grow to a greater potential end product of reproduction (fruits etc)
    If it is in the correct location where all other conditions suit it (its natural environment) the community will thrive. At the end result, co2 is a sugar enhancer. The building block of life. My guess is in evolutionary terms plants would benefit by having stronger healthier offspring (with more sugars to build from) and so may well grow faster to maturity, they might be bigger, but they would certainly taste better. (those sugary carbs, again). So ultimately they (plants) are energy storage devices.
    And our ongoing agricultural production provides an insight,
    Increasing atmospheric CO2: effects on crop yield, water use and climate
    CO2 enrichment increased agricultural weight yields by an 36%

    [Response: The sugars produced by photosynthesis are not synonymous with the common concept of sugar you are using here; you are confusing edibility with net primary production. Also, there’s a large literature on the effects of CO2 fertilization and it varies widely as a function of species and time scale studied. Definite benefits, as well as “definite uncertainties” have been identified.–Jim]

  352. Ray Ladbury:

    Wush, Google Leibig’s law of the minimum. Carbon is almost never the limiting factor in growth of plants. That is not the mechanism by which CO2 increases growth in some plants. Rather, some plants respond to CO2 by transpiring less. This reduces loss of water, which can be a limiting factor. It seems to me that this might indicate that at times of high CO2, reducing water loss might be an evolutionary advantage–in other words times of high CO2 may be associated with more potential for drought.

    Note also that not all plants have this ability, and this includes many important food crops. Many weeds do have it, including poison ivy, which LOVES CO2.

    Again, do not confuse fetid with fertile.

    [Response: That’s not quite right Ray. Carbon is indeed very often limiting–which is exactly why many plants show a definite and positive response to increased CO2, and why some greenhouses elevate it. The biochemical basis for this is well known: the key enzyme of C3 photosynthesis acts as both a carboxylase and oxygenase, causing photorespiratory carbon loss (one of the great enigmas of evolution). Increasing the atmospheric [CO2] increases the intracellular [CO2], which drives the carboxylase reaction more strongly, relative to the reverse (oxygenase). And over geologic time there is longer term evidence for this also, namely the evolution of the CO2-concentrating C4 photosynthesis system as atmospheric CO2 levels dropped over the Cenozoic.–Jim]

  353. Dan H.:

    Agreed. Greenhouse often pump in CO2 up to 1000 ppm, and along with fertilization, irrigation, and temperature control, can induce plants to grow larger and faster (some even introduce artificial light to prevent seasonal changes). Unlike animals, plant can live indefinitely (theoretically), and will continue to grow given adequate conditions. You may be interested in the results from the Aspen FACE experiment conducted in Rhinelander, WI.


  354. Jim:

    OK time out for some more clarifications here.

    First, a general point: how plants respond to their environment is a very large and complex topic, with a positively enormous literature behind it that ranges from molecular biology of Arabidopsis to the global climate system. Be careful when making broad generalizations.

    Second, as I’ve said many times here, the primary fertilization effect of CO2 on plants is through an increased biochemical efficiency, which is to say a reduction in the loss of carbon already fixed via reduced photorespiration. This effect is strongest among the vast number taxa having the C3 photosynthetic system.

    How that increased biochemical efficiency gets translated into subsequent plant performance, as manifested in “bottom line” metrics such as e.g. carbohydrate and protein biosynthesis, plant size and competitive ability, and ultimately, fitness, is a separate set of topics upon which many careers have been, and are being, spent, and which is far too complex to go into here. Hopefully I will in the future get some time to pull together a list of open access review articles that summarize some key points.

  355. Ron R.:

    Lots of poison oak in the Middle Miocene Ray. The growing season was pretty much year round as there was no winter as we know it. Today the growing season is again lengthening and for the same reason, rising CO2. Perhaps the two together, elevated CO2 and a longer growing season will result in more and vibrant growth. A tropical future perhaps? The worry is people. Can’t see a natural habitat without “managing” it. If people don’t allow the extra growth we’ll be left with just the higher CO2.

    [Response: You still seem to be confusing the separate issues of growth rate and maximum size. They are not necessarily coupled. The growing season is continuous in the wet tropics as well, but the trees are no bigger than the eucalypts and some of the conifers of the seasonal temperate zone, smaller in fact.–Jim]

    Anyway, it would be interesting if someone did a comparison of the ratio of tree ring numbers to total size of the trees at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest as an indicator of Miocene growth speed and size, or just compared their average total size to the averages of those same trees today. I’m just interested because I’m interested in that time, the Miocene, particularly the Barstovian. Oh to have a time machine!

    [Response: I think it’s been done. I’ve looked at the fossilized rings on upright stems on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone and the fossil redwoods in Sonoma County (CA) and didn’t see anything particularly out of the ordinary growth wise. I think the Yellowstone trees are Miocene–Jim]

    Can’t think of much else to say right now. Thanks.

  356. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim, Thanks for the correction. I’m just a physicist. My wife’s the ecologist, so your correction may keep my hand from getting slapped at the dinner table. ;-)

    [Response: I never put “just” and “physicist” together Ray, given that I am a physics moron. Anyway, hopefully she can correct us both.–Jim]

  357. Ray Ladbury:

    Compared to biology, physics is easy. We even have problems that can be solved exactly. Biology always reminded me of what von Neumann said about math to a student who said he was having trouble understanding: “Young man. In math you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.”

    I have tremendous respect for folks that take on problems as tough as living organisms.

  358. Hank Roberts:

    Ron R. again ignores the unnatural rate of increase in CO2 from fossil fuel use; trusting in evolution, eh?

  359. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Here’s a question — anything more on “colder winters in a warming world”? About GW increasing frequency of negative arctic oscillations (see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/cold-winter-in-a-world-of-warming/ and http://ipy-osc.no/article/2010/1276176306.8)

    I know this would be difficult to prove and take years or decades of data and evidence to be sure about.

    But it came up recently on a blog in which someone from Australia was complaining about their very cold start to summer there.

    Would Australia have something comparable to a negative arctic oscillation (from the Antarctic region perhaps), and could these be logically (even if empirical evidence is not enough yet) be linked to GW…assuming they are indeed getting more frequent cold summers or cold snaps.

  360. David B. Benson:

    wush @350 — Actually dust is not strictly necessary but aerosols (almost) are. Turns out that some micro-organisms are swept aloft during oceanic evaporation and those act as aerosols from the standpoint of condensation nuclei. These page
    is a starter, but fails to distinguish well between the smaller condensation and cloud-sized droplets not to mention to growth into drops large enoough to fall.

  361. Susan Anderson:

    Stating the obvious, I find it interesting that deniers, fake skeptics, whatchamacallem are averse to considering they might be wrong. The idea that someone who asserts one position without deviation through thick and thin might feel entitled to call themselves a skeptic is just wrong.

    One thing that is unique about “skeptics” is that they are totally unskeptical. So dangerous!

  362. Ron R.:

    Jim and Hank. Not to worry, I hear you. I’m just throwing some thoughts out there.

    Wush’s comment at 351 is interesting. Not ignoring Jim’s response, I’ll just add that we have a horse, a grazer of course. In the spring when the new grass comes in it is indeed “sweet”. It becomes irresistible to her. Sugar represents concentrated energy and thus most animals love it. Grazers co-evolved with grasses. Even though grass phytoliths have been found from the Cretaceous (in coproliths) grasses appear to have taken off around the time of the beginning of the lowering of global temps 14.5 – 13 mya (though some authorities put it’s radiation as early as 5.5-6 mya). Coincidentally this is also the beginning of the Clarendonian Chronofauna. A connection? Could sugars in grasses have been the main ingredient that led to the megafauna?

    [Response: It might well be relatively sweet, but it’s also much lower in lignin, tannins, phenols and similar compounds that reduce digestability.–Jim]

    Anyway, eating this grass warms up a horse, so much so that their feet can actually get too hot and they could get a dangerous malady called laminitis or founder and become lame. You can literally feel the hot in their hooves. I’ve not researched how wild horses deal with it except to note that in the wild horses live much shorter lives than in domestication.


    I’ve wondered if the evolution of grasses, C4 in particular, was a coevolutionary response to help keep grazers warm at night. Anyway, anything sweet induces heat in horses (and other grazers?). To keep our horse warm on freezing nights, if she’s not been out grazing I give her some grain which has molasses on it.

    [Response: I can’t see it. For one thing, C4 grasses are generally less nutritious than C3 grasses, due to their unique anatomies, which increase their lignin concentrations and thus reduce digestability. A response to decreasing atm. CO2 over time, perhaps accompanied by drying, and knowledge of photosynthetic limitations is much more explanatory.–Jim]

    I don’t claim to be an expert in anything we’ve been discussing just posting some ideas.

  363. Ron R.:

    Jim @ 355.

    [Response: I think it’s been done. I’ve looked at the fossilized rings on upright stems on Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone and the fossil redwoods in Sonoma County (CA) and didn’t see anything particularly out of the ordinary growth wise. I think the Yellowstone trees are Miocene–Jim]

    Thanks for that link. I’ll look at it. if I am full of it I’m full of it. I don’t have any special stake in these ramblings. Just cogitating.


  364. John E. Pearson:

    Pretty far off topic but this shoudl be seen by scientists:


  365. Anna Haynes:

    We need a congressional climate hearing.

    [Response: Because they’ve worked so well in the past? ;-) – gavin]

  366. adelady:

    Lynn Vincentnathan ” But it came up recently on a blog in which someone from Australia was complaining about their very cold start to summer there.

    Would Australia have something comparable to a negative arctic oscillation?”

    Even if we had such a thing we don’t need it in a La Nina year. Whoever’s complaining should count their blessings (and instal a rainwater tank) until the next el Nino lines up with the Indian Ocean monster to make our lives hot, dry and difficult yet again.

    You wouldn’t think we’d just got over a decade long drought would you? How soon they forget. Sigh.

  367. wush:

    Thank you Jim for your response @ 351
    I know plants produce many different carbohydrates, (sugars and starch) and that photosynthesis initially produces simple carbohydrates. Is it correct to say that through photosynthesis the first sugars to arise are hexose sugars, probably glucose and fructose and that by enzyme action or hydrolysis these are converted to the monosaccharide and disaccharides, like sucrose and also to starch. These products being translocated to other parts of the plant and will undergo various other enzyme processes to build further foodstuffs like complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All of which are built up from co2 supplied from the atmosphere. So complex carbohydrates will be present in sweet fruits, green leaves and underground storage organs, but they could just as easily be stored in lignin in my willow firewood.

    [Response: Yes, you’ve outlined the carbohydrate basics well, and that the source of all is atmospheric CO2. Some technical points. Cellulose is the really important carbohydrate of course (the most abundant organic compound on earth), and lignin is not actually a carb, but a polyphenol. And get some better firewood :)]

    I agree there are up sides and down sides to co2 enrichment. Plants have evolved to survive in loads of different environments and will respond in different ways.I don’t get the “confusing edibility with Net Primary Production “bit, sorry! Isn’t some of the total NPP converted to edible NNP. I’m not confusing it, I am stating that extra co2 gives extra NPP. Is it not reasonable to conclude that in a carbon rich environment more carbon would be used in all the various processes within the plant.

    [Response: Reasonable after the fact, yes, since it was the empirical observations that came first, not apriori predictions based on knowledge of the underlying biochemistry. However, because of the existence of things like: biochemical “downregulation” (i.e. a decreasing response or “acclimation” over time), changes in stomatal number and aperture (which reduces CO2 capture by the leaves (“stomatal conductance”)), changing plant respiratory and photosynthetic rates as functions of weather, plant size, internal allocation decisions, light levels, etc., the increased atmospheric CO2 is not necessarily translated into a measurable benefit to the plant, or at least not as much as would occur in the absence of such things. Given how diverse plants are in their structure and function, and the different possible time scales involved, there is a lot of uncertainty of response from taxon to taxon–Jim]

    Say in storage organs, fruits, nuts etc. (I think) some of which results in sweet edible stuff for us, and anything else that eats it I suppose. So there is increasing biophysical efficiency resulting in a greater amount of vegetable matter produced annually or each growing season.

  368. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE GW & CO2 fertilization. Here’s what I recently wrote:

    What might global warming and its effects mean for food and food production? First we need to address the argument that elevated carbon dioxide levels increase crop production. Aside from this being disingenuous because the CO2 is also causing warming and other effects that could be harmful to crops, there is evidence that increasing CO2 will not help crops as much as expected, and may even harm some crops and sea life, never mind the warming (Cline 2007: 23-26). While earlier enclosed studies showed increased growth with added CO2, recent open field studies show less increase and even a decline of some crops (Long, et al. 2006, Cruz, et al. 2007: 480). Furthermore, crops were found to be less nutritious (Högy, et al. 2009), and had greater pest damage (Hunter 2001). In the real world, crop growth is affected by many factors beyond CO2, including other nutrients, water supply, climate, extreme weather events, soil moisture, toxins expected to increase with global warming, and soil acidification from CO2 (Oh and Richter 2004). So while CO2 may moderately enhance crops up to a point, these other factors are expected to limit the potential enhancement and even lead to eventual declines. When the impact of warming is considered, a nonlinear relationship regarding crop productivity has been found for mid and high latitudes — the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia, Japan and Northern China — with increased yields projected up to around 2050, after which the warming causes sharp decrease (Schlenker and Roberts 2009). A more recent study has found that climate change has already reduced some crops globally, despite CO2 fertilization and improved technology (Lobell, et al. 2011). As for sea life, an important human food supply, CO2-caused ocean acidification is having negative impacts on zooplankton (at the base of the food chain), shellfish, fish, and coral reefs, home to one-fourth of sealife (Rogers and Laffoley 2011; Doney, et al. 2009; Hoegh-Guldberg, et al. 2007; Munday, et al. 2010).

    Crops yields could decrease [in South Asia and Asia] 30 percent by 2050 (Cruz, et al. 2007: 479), perhaps even more if CO2 and increasing diurnal temperatures harm rice yields (Cruz, et al. 2007: 80; Welch, et al. 2010).

    Cline, W. R. 2007. Global Warming and Agriculture. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    Cruz, R. V., H. Harasawa, M. Lal, S. Wu, Y. Anokhin, B. Punsalmaa, Y. Honda, M. Jafari, C. Li, and N. Huu Ninh. 2007. “Asia.” Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contributions of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, and C. E. Hanson (eds.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 469-506.
    Doney, S. C., V. J. Fabry, R. A. Feely, and J. Kleypas. 2009. Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem. Annual Review of Marine Sciences 1: 169-192.
    Hoegh-Guldberg, O., P. J. Mumby, A. J. Hooten, R. S. Steneck, and E. G. P. Greenfield, C. D. Harvell, P. F. Sale, A. J. Edwards, K. Caldeira, N. Knowlton, C. M. Eakin, R. Iglesias-Prieto, N. Muthiga, R. H. Bradbury, A. Dubi, M. E. Hatziolos. 2007. Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science 318(5857): 1737-1742.
    Högy, P., H. Wieser, P. Köhler, K. Schwadorf , J. Breuer, J. Franzaring, R. Muntifering and A. Fangmeier. 2009. “Effects of elevated CO2 on grain yield and quality of wheat: results from a 3-year free-air CO2 enrichment experiment.” Plant Biology 11: 60-69.
    Hunter, M. D. 2001. “Effects of Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Insect-Plant Interactions.” Agricultural and Forest Entomology 3: 153-159.
    Lobell, D. B., W. Schlenker, and J. Costa-Roberts. 2011. “Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980.” Science 333(6042): 616-620.
    Long, S. P., E. A. Ainsworth, A. D. B. Leakey, J. Nösberger, D. R. Ort. 2006. “Food for Thought: Lower-Than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations.” Science 312(5782): 1918-1921.
    Munday, P. L., D. L. Dixson, M. I. McCormick, M. Meekan, M. C. O. Ferrari, and D. P. Chivers. 2010. “Replenishment of fish populations is threatened by ocean acidification.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(29):12930-12934.
    Oh, N-H., and D. D. Richter, Jr. 2004. “Soil acidification induced by elevated atmospheric CO2” Global Change Biology 10.11: 1936-1946.
    Rogers, A. D., and D. d’A. Laffoley. 2011. International Earth System Expert Workshop on Ocean Stresses and Impacts. Summary Report. International Program on the State of the Ocean. Oxford. http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1906_IPSO-LONG.pdf.
    Schlenker, W., and M. Roberts. 2009. “Nonlinear Temperature Effects Indicate Severe Damages to U.S. Crop Yields under Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 106(37): 15594-15598.
    Welch, J., J. R. Vincent, M. Auffhammer, P. F. Moya, A. Dobermann, and D. Dawe. “Rice Yields in Tropical/Subtropical Asia Exhibit Large but Opposing Sensitivities to Minimum and Maximum Temperatures.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(33): 14562-14567.

    Due to word limitations I did not get into how elevated CO2 (in an experiment in Japan) has been found to induce floret sterility in rice and could reduce yields by 40% — it’s cited in the Cruz (IPCC) source on Asia….the famous glaciergate chapter.

    [Response: Thanks for backing up your statements with citations! I think however, that your overall assessment of CO2 fertilization effects is biased toward the negative. The Lobell etal 2011 paper is one example.–Jim]

  369. Ron R.:

    Jim. Thanks for your comments. I’m assuming you are correct about the C3 vs C4 grasses nutrition wise. Okay leaving the C4 grass type out, I’ve wondered if the evolution of grasses was a coevolutionary response to help keep grazers warm at night and could the increased sugars in leaves (and general increase in productivity) resulting from elevated CO2 have been the driver for the evolution of the megafauna?

    [Response: Grass evolution makes the top 10 list of important events in plant evolution, and was almost certainly driven by grazing pressure, I don’t think there’s much doubt about that, but not likely for that reason. More to do with the enormous selective advantage of having two different types of meristems located near the ground, with still others at the bases of leaf blades, and hence all +/- protected from large herbivores, giving the ability to quickly regenerate leaf and reproductive tissues after being munched, repeatedly. Not to mention the advantages of wind pollination mechanisms (pollinator independence)–Jim]

    An interesting comment:

    “Elevated CO2 also leads to changes in the chemical composition of plant tissues. Due to increased photosynthetic activity, leaf nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches) per unit leaf area increase on average by 30-40% under FACE elevated CO2 (Ainsworth 2008; Ainsworth & Long 2005)”

    One other question. Does the closing off of stoma also mean less O2 available to us?

    [Response: No. Stomates do not close permanently. They’re highly regulated, moment by moment. The oxygen is free to go as soon as the water is split.–Jim]

    I’ve not had the time to look at your other link from yesterday yet. Will get to it. Thanks.

  370. wush:

    Jim, My very basic understanding of the subject has been much improved, and indicates a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, (shouldn’t jump to conclusions) thank you for your help.
    I needed firewood to bring down cost of buying it. It is very wet where I live so got some salix viminalis x schwerinii and other fast growing hybrid salix. Not the best firewood in the world, ok if it is seasoned well, but Wow! does it grow fast. Must be all that….. No! don’t go there. H2o.

    [Response: :) Like weeds!]

    Speaking of water, I recently posted about there being a lot more dust in the atmosphere. Probably more then 100% more than current climate models use at present. Wouldn’t this dust not only add to changes in the weather but also act to provide some essential and trace elements for plant growth when it is precipitated out or deposited. Dust from dry areas moved to wetter areas exponentially in a warming world.

    [Response: Yes, the common term being “dry deposition”, having its own cadre of researchers, particularly with respect to nitrogen.]

    One last question; Do you think plants will make it rain more in our warming climate and if so should this be factored into climate models if it isn‘t already? Difficult though!

    [Response: Plants, particularly trees, are indispensable w.r.t. hydrological regulation, both on the ground and in the air, pretty much always and everywhere. Beyond that your question is too involved to answer simply. Evapotranspiration is factored into climate models, yes.]

    Pollen may increase chance of rain.
    Pope’s results, published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL), showed that pollen grains can become active cloud condensation nuclei at supersaturations of 0.001% and lower – conditions that are not unusual in the atmosphere.
    Pollen Count Rising Due To Global Warming, More CO2
    The study found that ragweed grown in an atmosphere with double the current carbon dioxide levels produced 61 percent more pollen than normal. Such a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to occur between 2050 and 2100.
    My jumping to conclusions says, increasing warmth and increasing moisture equates to less stressful conditions, humidity, less evapotranspiration but with turgidity maintained, (for those that thrive in these conditions, like nearly all of them) so optimum metabolism maintained. Add nutrition from dust and the cotwo effect and hey presto you’ve got obesity or mega fauna. All the food you want to eat. See done it again!

  371. EFS_Junior:

    Well over at WTFUWT? they have the following post;


    I’ve made three posts over there, but only two were let through, here is the verbatim copy of the post that didn’t make it through.

    From the title “Hansen’s Arrested Development” to the picture included to these sentences;

    “James Hansen has taken time off between being arrested to produce another in the list of his publications”

    “Normally these days I prefer to only deal with scientific papers, which of course leaves activist pleadings like Hansen’s stuff off the list.”

    I see no less than four direct ad hominem attacks.

    All four, right at the very beginning of this post (all before the “Continue reading →” page break).

    Should anyone trust someone who’s first line of attack are four direct ad hominem attacks?

    I don’t.

    And somehow, the person posting all this trash talking (Willis), does not even remotely understand the scientific subject matter being discussed in either Hansen’s or Loeb’s papers.

    Apparently, the poster (Willis) thinks this is all just some sort of a joke. Seriously.

    Go figure. :-(

    The part where I say “I don’t.” should also include “But then again, I never did trust anything that Willis ever said, to begin with in the first place.”

  372. Rod B:

    Susan (361), I’m a skeptic and readily admit that it’s possible some, much, even all of my skepticism might be incorrect.

  373. SteveF:

    Judith continues to embarrass herself by publishing utter drivel:


  374. Dan H.:

    I have a real issue with people posting ad hominem attacks instead of focusing on their real work. Unfortunately it is not restricted to Willis, but is rampant. It has even affected some of the posters here.

  375. Hank Roberts:

    For ‘wush’: http://www.collectioncare.org/pubs/v2n2p1.html

  376. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, long time no see. I would characterize you as more a contrarian than a skeptic. ;-)

  377. Hank Roberts:


    (actually ‘methane’ and correct in the actual article)

    is quite good, including a lot of links and information and some quite thoughtful comments about peer review, politics, WTF, and a Pielke inversion.

  378. wush:

    SteveF@373, Can I ask why you dismiss this so emphatically?
    When you read stuff like this it seems likely there may be a grain of truthdust in it;-
    There is twice as much dust in the atmosphere as there was 100 years ago.
    extraxt;- But first, researchers need to figure out why dust levels are rising in the first place.
    “We don’t know,” said Natalie Mahowald, an atmospheric scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “It’s probably a combination of agriculture and pasture-usage as well as climate change because a lot of regions are getting drier, and that would increase desert dust.”

  379. wush:

    Hank Roberts @375. Living organisms have found ways to deal with temperature and relative humidity by regulating their metabolic rates whereas inanimate objects cannot. I can only think your reason for providing the link was to demonstrate that higher levels of temperature and humidity are detrimental to plants. Ecosystems adjust whereas inanimate material decomposes.

  380. EFS_Junior:


    We can dismiss the “extraterrestrial dust” hypothesis simply because it does not follow from the scientific method, in that this hypothesis is not falsifiable, in and of itself, unless, of course, you have a whole bunch of “expertise dust” (e. g. of known origin, like you know collected from space (e. g. above Earth’s atmosphere)) that’s been collected over these past 800kyr.

    We could also inspect the expertise of the claimant, such as there pervious publications on “extraterrestrial dust” or their training/work experience in the field of “extraterrestrial dust” or the fact that “extraterrestrial dust” can not even make it to Earth’s surface, given that it would all burn up in Earth’s atmosphere in the first place.

    Or considering that some “extraterrestrial dust” just might make it to Earth’s surface, that the amounts of this “extraterrestrial dust” would have to exceed Earth generated dust by at least O(1) to perhaps O(10) or even O(100).

    We also know that right now, all the dust in Earth’s atmosphere is sourced from the Earth itself, we call it wind induced dust storms, or windborne particulates, or anthropogenic particulates, either from point sources (fossil fuel generation stations, production of chemicals, and transportation), or non-point sources (land use changes and agriculture).

    See also;


    There is nothing in those articles to even remotely suggest that the majority of dust seen in Earth’s atmosphere has ever come directly from space (versus Earthly origins of dust that everyone sees every day) over these past 800kyr.

    We can only conclude one thing with certainty, Dr. Curry will post garbage less often often than WTFUWT? does.

  381. Hank Roberts:

    > wush
    The decomposers in the ecosystem speed up.
    That’s the point of the article, how to anticipate and avoid the consequences of warmer temperatures.

    > ecosystems adjust

    Within limits we can talk about fairly well, there’s a lot of published work.
    You know this familiar example of rate of change with warming?


    The current rate of change is unnaturally fast.

    Natural changes have been too fast for some organisms.

    Ecosystems get simpler with rapid changes.

  382. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Ray @352:

    Google “rubisco”.

  383. Hank Roberts:

    Hat tip to comp.risks: http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/26.67.html

    Why data matters for public policy (Vint Cerf)

    First posting in the new Google “Policy by the Numbers” Blog
    http://j.mp/ucuW0U (Google – Policy by the Numbers) [via NNSquad]

    “As a computer scientist and engineer, I’ve always been fascinated by the
    process that determines how policies and institutions are created. Unlike
    computing systems, policymaking is anything but binary. An unpredictable
    combination of special interests, money, hot topics, loyalties and many
    other factors shape legislation that passes into law. Now, more than
    ever, we need to use data to build sound policy frameworks that facilitate
    innovative breakthroughs. In order to inspire confidence in the future
    (and the markets), governments have to lead by using today’s facts to
    place big bets on-not against-a better tomorrow.”

  384. Hank Roberts:

    The rest of that post from Vint Cerf:

    “To get conversations rolling, Google’s public policy team will be sharing data insights here on this blog. We’ll also be inviting researchers, policymakers and thought leaders to contribute their interpretations of various data sets and what they mean for public policy. This forum will be open to ideas, and we welcome everyone to leave comments discussing their opinions.

    Measurement and analysis provide the checks and balances we need to build a better future in the information age. When we don’t examine the numbers, policy is all too often created at the expense of the next generation. The Internet generates 2.6 jobs for every one lost, and today the world’s data is doubling every two years. We need to make sure that we sustain the laws that got us the open Internet we have today, and that sound policies are in place to keep this unparalleled engine of growth going.

    Public discussions that are grounded in numbers reveal whether laws are effective and relevant or failing to protect citizens’ interests. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts; the facts speak for themselves and it is folly to ignore them. With this blog, we hope to spark policy debates, foster discussions among policymakers and constituents and help citizens exercise their right to hold governments accountable.

    posted by Vint Cerf, Internet architect and policy enthusiast”

  385. jyyh:

    “Elevated CO2 also leads to changes in the chemical composition of plant tissues. Due to increased photosynthetic activity, leaf nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches) per unit leaf area increase on average by 30-40% under FACE elevated CO2.”

    that’s one study which I should read if I worked on this. I’m not challenging their results, but just saying things work differently in labs and nature. I had imagined the plants would create more phenols and other almost undigestive compounds in elevated CO2 in response to pests, which would have increased in number in elevated temperatures at higher CO2. After all, the interplay between animals and plants has been (presumably) approximately in balance at least since the end of the carboniferous (Should again check why that ended).

  386. jyyh:

    sorry, meant Permian, there are some theories of the Permian-Triassic extinction having a biological origin while I thought the Siberian traps were the confirmed reason for it.

  387. Anna Haynes:

    Re my #365 comment saying, “We need a congressional climate hearing”, I’d like to reply to Gavin’s ironic response “Because they’ve worked so well in the past? ;-) ” –

    No. Because I do think there could be coercion and/or undisclosed interested-party funding at play, and I’ll continue to wonder about it until I hear the relevant researchers answer Qs about this, under oath.
    (For me, at least, this persistent doubt impacts their credibility.)

  388. Dan H.:

    Many of us feel that politicians and bureaucrats have had too much input into the climate debate. I doubt that a congressional hearing will resolve anything.

  389. David B. Benson:

    How long does it take to convert a primitive atmosphere into the modern one? Not how long did it take, but what is a minimum time estimate?

  390. Hank Roberts:

    > primitive atmosphere into the modern one?
    Dunno; this might have some numbers: http://books.google.com/books?id=U_QqAd1QlIgC&pg=PA122&lpg=PA122&dq=biosphere+atmosphere+evolved&source=bl&ots=VVA4biIYws&sig=HpnpwOWlMFQ00RwHXPy__QikuVg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KTL1TofNFcSfiQLr1Mi4Dg&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=biosphere%20atmosphere%20evolved&f=false

  391. David B. Benson:

    Hank Roberts @390 — Thank you. 2.0–2.5 billion years, it seems.

  392. prokaryotes:

    Im looking for a small list about “How to deal with a media frenzy?” This was posted on RealClimate, by a commenter about 2 years ago, in light of Phil Jones contact with the media.

    Does somebody remember the particular RC post? Thanks.

  393. wayne davidson:

    As always there is an excellent synopsis on Dr Masters site about 2011 tornadoes, http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2007
    horrendous year of destruction, NOAA should be proud of saving so many lives.
    But I am interested in the mechanics of such events. They are not random, nor are they easily forseeable
    unless we study hard the reasons behind this mayhem.

    I like to propose that cold stratospheric air linked in part with ozone depletion had something to do with spring time Southeastern US Upper Air profile steep temperature differentials, a great difference should cause fiercer tornadoes. The cold air bit comes from where I am, and it is a great deal interesting again just now, http://eh2r.blogspot.com/. GCM’s suggest that a warmer troposphere is intrinsically linked with a colder stratosphere, we experience this in the Arctic as I write. A warm Arctic troposphere co-exists with a very cold stratosphere.  The key cause is thinner Arctic sea ice. There seems to be an explanation for everything, again more study and discussion is needed.

    Must finally praise computer modelers! They have unraveled many mysteries that would have remained so, was it not for their efforts.

  394. Ron R.:

    (captcha incorrect. Again)

    I think the Yellowstone trees are Miocene–Jim]

    I Finally got to that link.

    The Yellowstone trees you refer to in that link are of Eocene age.


    Still though, point taken. High CO2 (even higher than the Miocene) but no mention of unusual size (though I’m not sure a systematic comparison was actually made sizewise).

    And yet: “Since photosynthesis and stomatal behavior are central to plant carbon and water metabolism, growth of plants under elevated CO2 leads to a large variety of secondary effects on plant physiology. The availability of additional photosynthate enables most plants to grow faster under elevated CO2, with dry matter production in FACE experiments being increased on average by 17% for the aboveground, and more than 30% for the belowground, portions of plants (Ainsworth & Long 2005; de Graaff et al. 2006). This increased growth is also reflected in the harvestable yield of crops, with wheat, rice and soybean all showing increases in yield of 12–14% under elevated CO2 in FACE experiments (Ainsworth 2008; Long et al. 2006).”

    Hank Roberts — 20 Dec 2011 @ 12:40 PM
    trusting in evolution, eh?

    Not trust. Hope.

  395. Hank Roberts:

    > … I’m not certain …

    > … and yet
    > …

    Yes, but, for example …


  396. wush:

    Ron R @394
    Might tree size be dictated by how windy it was then? If it was warm and sub tropical at that time it may not have been too windy and trees would have grown larger. Especially as these conditions of warmth and humidity are less stressful to growth and higher co2 levels does result in increased biochemical efficiency for many plants, at least in their initial growth stages. Just a thought!
    Quote;- Most botanists thought that the law of nature behind Da Vinci’s formula was an efficient way to transport sap to leaves. Eloy disagrees. He thinks trees are structured as they are in order to protect themselves from damages caused by the wind.

    Quote;- their growth is determined by the need to withstand wind stress on their branches.

  397. Joe Cushley:


  398. Hank Roberts:

    wush, got cites for your “if it was” and “especially as … does result” statements? Why do you believe these are true in any general way?

    The climate change problem for biology is the rate of change; we know pretty well the limits of evolutionary change — where climate has changed in the past, we know if the plants and animals moved with the change or died out.

    We’re changing the world something like 10x to 100x faster than natural changes have occurred (other than the odd asteroid impact or other excursion).

    Claiming faith, or hope, or trust that biology will pull our chestnuts out of the fire at just the right time seems Panglossian aka cornucopian.

  399. Ron R.:

    Not sure that went through.

    Unfortunately wish, I’m not expert enough to say for sure. But at 14.5 mya temperatures began to drop with the buildup of the antarctic ice sheet. That brought strong winds from the sea which created an upwelling along the coast leading to such vast deposits as the California Monterey Formation. Before that, with a mostly uniseasonal climate it would seem that winds should have been less strong.

    As for trees preferring less windy conditions, again I’m not sure but that seems reasonable. Trees do get hard and woody, as a necessity so as to support their own weight and to withstand the winds. Some trees are rather tall and are buffeted by the wind. Course the tallest trees that would experience the most winds have needle like leaves which make it easier for the wind to go through, which would seem to support your comments. Mexican fan palms which rise to a height of 100′ have leaves with deep serrations which allows wind to travel through without too much damage. My guess is that a big reason trees are structured the way they are is so as to maximize their exposure to the sun (phototropism). They want to be able to obtain sunlight all day, and since the sun moves during the day and throughout the year and they cannot (quickly enough at least) they have leaves on all sides. Some plants will even follow the sun throughout the day (known as solar tracking or heliotropism).


    Anyway, I like to imagine a world with deciduous trees as tall as conifers.

  400. wush:

    Ron R @399
    Sorry Ron, I don’t know my Eocene from my Miocene. I thought the period you were referring to was 50 to 40 mya. When your link said:-
    Based on the fossil record, Yellowstone’s climate was warm, almost subtropical.
    That seems like a favourable climate to be growing in and imo growth would be greater. With a cooling climate I suppose deciduous trees were able to adapt better than subtropical species. The coniferous spp would probably be able to cope even better in a harsher climate hence the boreal forests. I too like the thought of deciduous trees reaching maturity and I always thought they were constrained by their ability to transport nutrients from roots to leaves (as well as day length and phototropic ability) but the link I provided gave the alternative view of height restricted by wind. I thought it interesting.
    Where I live nearly all our native deciduous woodland is gone and we replace it with ugly forests of non-native evergreen conifer plantations of Sitka spruce, they grow fast and turn a profit I suppose but they are monogenic wastelands as far as the ecosystem is concerned.

  401. Ron R.:

    Wush, the same thing occurred here. thousands of acres of oaks were cleared and replaced with eucalyptus, thought at time to be profitable for the building industry. Then they discovered their propensity to split. So there they stand. It too is monocultural with very little growing under it. What works well for one environment may not work for others.

    Course now they’re growing GM trees with reduced lignin content to make them better suited for the building and paper industries and we open up a whole new can of worms.


    I don’t agree with all the science worshippers we read here from time to time. Yes science has done a lot of good medically, convenience and knowledge wise, But like Ian said on Jurassic Park:

    What’s so great about discovery? It’s a violent, penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world.

    The Eocene would have seemed unbearably hot to us. The Miocene was on a par with heat predicted for ACC today. I happen think the Middle Miocene was a paradise for those animals that evolved with it but it would have been one we, and many other species today are unadapted to. And it’s coming on quickly. So now we are spectators to and participants in major change. The question is: how bad will it get and will we be able to adapt in time?

    Hank Roberts “Claiming faith, or hope, or trust that biology will pull our chestnuts out of the fire at just the right time seems Panglossian aka cornucopian.”

    Do you have a better idea (see Gavin’s response #365 above)?

    I’m not ready to abandon all hope.


    My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair.
    Thomas Jefferson

    Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope; and the one unchangeable certanity is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.
    John F. Kennedy

    [Response:Your comments are drifting farther and farther from relevance to anything having to do with climate.–Jim]

  402. Hank Roberts:

    “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” — Aldo Leopold

    “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organize.” — Joe Hill

  403. wush:

    Seems we may have been at it a long time! The first human-induced global warming?
    Quote;- We hypothesize that the extinction of mammoths increased Betula cover, which would have warmed Siberia and Beringia by on average 0.2°C, but regionally by up to 1°C. If humans were partially responsible for the extinction of the mammoths, then human influences on global climate predate the origin of agriculture.

    Question;- Did we eat that many mammoths? &
    Does this mean our current policy of sustainable forest management in the NH is having a warming effect too? We plant a lot of evergreen conifer forests which reduce the albedo and we don’t slash and burn forests in this area like we do in the rainforests.

    [Response:read this–Jim]

  404. Kevin McKinney:


    Hank Roberts “Claiming faith, or hope, or trust that biology will pull our chestnuts out of the fire at just the right time seems Panglossian aka cornucopian.”

    Do you have a better idea (see Gavin’s response #365 above)?

    Yes–work like hell to mitigate carbon emissions.

  405. Ron R.:

    Do you have a better idea (see Gavin’s response #365 above)?

    Kevin McKinney Yes–work like hell to mitigate carbon emissions.

    That goes without saying.

    [Response:Your comments are drifting farther and farther from relevance to anything having to do with climate.–Jim]

    Yes, sorry.


  406. Ray Ladbury:

    Ron R.: “I don’t agree with all the science worshippers we read here from time to time.”

    It really is a pity you are not sufficiently astute to appreciate the irony of your using a computer to broadcast your anti-science ignorance across the globe.

    Science has benefited humans in far more than material terms. It has given us understanding of our world and banished demons back to the deepest realms of our unconscious. And it has provided us with a way of avoiding our dangerous tendency toward unrealistic and overly optimistic thinking if we would but take advantage of. Why not try it.