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Unforced variations: May 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 May 2012

401 Responses to “Unforced variations: May 2012”

  1. 301
    Phil Mattheis says:

    For another perspective on relationships between climate sensitivity and world-wide water distribution:

    The ice fields of Greenland and Antarctica are not just drops in the ocean – the oceans are just a drop on Earth.

  2. 302
    SecularAnimist says:

    dhogaza wrote (#242): “Hansen’s a bit over the top”

    There is nothing “over the top” about Hansen’s recent New York Times op-ed in which he discusses the probability of catastrophic drought:

    “Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.”

    As Joe Romm has documented, Hansen’s assertions are strongly supported by the scientific literature.

    What he describes is not “over the top” — it’s mainstream climate science.

  3. 303
    Dan H. says:

    Previous multi-year mega droughts in North America appear to be tied to ENSO, particularly La Nina conditions. Of course, the 20th century was a much wetter epoch in North American history, and the American West experienced its wettest epoch during the earliest part of the century. This may just be a return to a more normal period of the past millennium.

  4. 304
    SecularAnimist says:

    Dan H: “This may just be a return to a more normal period of the past millennium.”

    This is the standard denialist line each and every time the predictions of climate models come true.

    Bore hole.

  5. 305
    Mertonian Norm says:

    The concluding sentence in the Cook, Seager, Cane abstract reads:

    “Whether or not this [La Niña] process will lead to a greater prevalence of drought in the future as the world warms due to accumulating greenhouse gases is unclear at this time.”

    It’s a long read, but I did not find in it any inference of a return to a “more normal period”. The paper does not appear to provoke controversy — the closest it comes to that appears in the conclusion:

    “It may well be that the West will luck out as rising greenhouse gases induce an equatorial warming, or an El Niño-like response, and the resulting circulation changes increase precipitation across the mid-latitudes.”

    That reference to possible good fortune aside, it would seem that the paper seeks to promote a better scientific understanding of megadrought formation.

  6. 306
    SecularAnimist says:

    Mertonian Norm wrote: “It’s a long read, but I did not find in it any inference of a return to a ‘more normal period’.”

    You will find that Dan H. consistently misrepresents the material that he links to, even after his misrepresentations have been repeatedly pointed out to him.

  7. 307
    J Bowers says:

    Forgive Dan H, he’s just regurgitating the dog food he’s been fed.

  8. 308

    Apologies if this has been mentioned already, but apparently one of the latest ‘knickers in a knot’ incidents in denialworld is the alleged ‘debunking’ of the ‘Australian National University death threats’ story from last year.

    An intrepid faux skeptic FOI’d 11 emails from ANU’s climate unit, and, lo! only one contains an actual threat. (The others were abusive in widely varying degrees.) Therefore, no threats were issued to any climate scientists anywhere, anytime… and ANU’s climate unit moved to a more secure facility as a ploy to smear honest skeptics everywhere.

    I’ve summarized it in the “6th update” to this article:

    A couple of links to Australian comment are included.

  9. 309
    Dan H. says:

    Mertonian Norm,
    Regarding past droughts, the article states, “The easiest way to characterize the medieval drought record is as one with variability much like today but around a mean climate that was drier. All in all this suggests that whatever currently forces intermittent droughts in the West and Plains was simply the normal state of affairs during the medieval period.” The mean drought area for the West during the years 900-1300 was 42.3% , compared to 30.0% for the 20th century, with 1915 being the low (~20%).

    In short, the American West has experienced a period of relative rainfall abundance compared to past epochs. This trend is also evident in the Mississippi River valley.

    I see no controversy in this paper. Rather, it gives a detailed history of drought in North America over the past millennium. The conclusion that past megadroughts dwarf the Dust Bowl of the 1930s indicates just how dependent the area relies on weather patterns. The article stated that “high positive radiative forcing … was associated with colder tropical Pacific SSTs (La Nina), and epic droughts across the West.” These past megadroughts led to the disappearance of entire cultures. You may want to compare articles such as these with various off-the-cuff remarks.

  10. 310
    Mertonian Norm says:

    Thanks Dan H. for the [medieval period] clarification and the links to the other two items. I had not caught that particular sentence, and now I know what you meant to begin with. I’m not sure what off-the-cuff remarks you are referring to — do you mean Cook or Seager? Anyway, I’m not as well-read on drought science as I’d like to be, so good stuff.

  11. 311
    Hank Roberts says:

    > whatever currently forces intermittent droughts in the West and Plains
    > was simply the normal state of affairs during the medieval period.

    Interpreted, short form: “anything but the IPCC”

  12. 312
    Hank Roberts says:

    two new satellite modules, “Suomi NPP: A New Generation of Environmental Monitoring Satellites”

    “Imaging with VIIRS: A Convergence of Technologies and Experience, 2nd Edition.”

    “Both modules are intended for operational forecasters, students, climate scientists, and other environmental scientists who use data from polar-orbiting satellites. Since the Suomi NPP module is a broad overview, it should also appeal to members of the general public with an interest in remote sensing, weather forecasting, and climate monitoring.”

    Registration and Support FAQs at

  13. 313
    Mertonian Norm says:

    “anything but the IPCC” seems a bit hyperbolic in response to the paper cited. Even, in which Cook et al caution against over-reading some IPCC drought findings, hardly presents itself as some sort of incendiary item. I don’t think Cook himself (Columbia dendro. researcher) is some sort of denier; maybe I’m wrong about that.

  14. 314


    I think Hank was referring to Dan H.’s probable attitude. There’s history here that you are stepping into.

  15. 315
    Ron R. says:

    Apparently I cannot get the captcha right. Third time trying (I tried just a few minutes ago and once this morning too).

    Speaking of geoengineering, I am wondering if anyone at RC is aware of an ongoing or future program to seed the sky with aluminum other sort of particles to reflect sunlight?

  16. 316
    Hank Roberts says:

    > drought
    remember as with all of this, _rate_of_change_ is the problem.
    Rate of change of CO2, and rate of change of all that follows.

  17. 317
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Joseph O’Sullivan,

    Thanks for the ebird link. This site also looks cool. I’ve always been more of a mammals man than birds, but as I age I realize that anything one can study is fascinating if you’re open to learning. The ebird site looks like it could be useful and I may even get my mother to start submitting photos, she does a bit of bird watching.


    Nice photo of that butterfly! Love the bokeh, so smooth. 300mm on a crop body is like a 480mm perspective. Mind if I ask what lens that was? If there was a touch more DOF you’d have that other antenna in focus and less blur on the far wing’s back edge. (I hope my unsolicited C&C isn’t received negatively, I like the image! It shows skill.) I am building my photography blog now. In the past I used gallery software I wrote from scratch, and it served its purpose well, but I want something a bit more flexible and I am sick of coding things. Mixing in some science is probably a good idea, it’s such a deep part of my personality.

  18. 318
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Hehe, did this make any other readers chuckle?

    Mertonian Norm (to Dan H.): “Anyway, I’m not as well-read on drought science as I’d like to be, so good stuff.”

    Don’t sweat it Norm. Neither am I, and neither is Dan H. as evidenced by a glaring mistake recently (which explains the tone you see from others). You’re not alone wading through the mountains of information trying to learn about climate science, but hang around here and you’ll have access to a lot of great scientific minds which lead us in the right direction.

  19. 319
    Dan H. says:

    Mertonian Norm,
    You may be interested in the new thread started today entitled, “Plugging the leake.” The article focuses on the various climate models concerning the Earth’s water budget, but also touches on the “dry zones.” Here is a link to the paper being discussed:

  20. 320

    Wow! Above -11 C surface temperature threshold melting the ice from under coincides with a great drop in ice extent:

    thin Arctic Ocean ice indeed.

  21. 321
    MalcolmT says:

    Unsettled @317: Thanks for the compliments and advice. The lens is an image-stabilised 70-300mm Canon zoom and can do better than that shot … but this is a climate blog, so if you want to keep talking wildlife photography (and I’m perfectly happy to do that), it’s probably better if we do it via my blog.
    – Malcolm

  22. 322
    J Bowers says:

    Will 3D printers make food sustainable?

    Producing beef this way results in a 96% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to rearing animals, and uses 45% of the energy, 1% of the land and 4% of the water associated with conventional beef production.

    A very interesting read.

  23. 323
    vukcevic says:

    Some of your readers may be interested at a new reconstruction of the AMO going back to early 1700s
    based on natural variability, resulting in values different to the reconstructions by Mann or Grey. Outstanding is a possible anomaly in the current data in early decades of 20th century.

  24. 324
    Kate says:


    Sorry I am very late to respond. The discussion here is so lively that I don’t usually have time to read it :) Someone pointed me to this thread, and I thought I would offer my two cents, since my name has come up a few times.

    I became interested in climate change when I was a high school sophomore just like you. Now I am 19 and beginning my career as a climate scientist, by working as a summer student for professors. If you’re leaning towards law or policy, I’m not much help. Even developing technological solutions, like engineering solar panels, is very different from what I do. But for a long time in high school I assumed that I had to have an applied job which was “useful” in some tangible way. The day that I realized that I could just be a scientist, and get paid to discover interesting things about whatever I found most fascinating about the world, I knew that was the path for me.

    So if you’re considering a career as a scientist (which, in my opinion, is the best job ever), I can definitely give you some advice. Here are tips from my own experience:

    1) Learn as much as you can about the issue. Read books, watch documentaries, and attend public presentations by scientists. This will allow you to figure out what part of the field interests you most. Science today is incredibly specialized, and climate science has so many sub-fields and little niches you can study, that you have to narrow it down.

    2) Figure out what areas of science interest you most at school, and which you don’t like. For example, I wasn’t a big fan of chemistry, so I ruled out fields such as the impact of climate change on mercury cycling in the Arctic. Similarly, a lot of people dislike computer programming, and a lot of people (myself included) love it. Programming is vital for the physics-oriented fields of climate science, so be sure to give it a try. (Even if your school doesn’t offer computer science, you can learn programming languages online.) Also figure out if math is your thing. For me, I didn’t realize that I liked math until I started doing advanced math, so if you find it boring, don’t give up.

    3) When you have a better idea of what general area you’re interested in, try to puzzle through scientific studies about it. If all you can understand are the abstracts, that’s all right. (Unless you have some kind of special library subscription, that’s all you’ll be able to access most of the time anyway!) If after a lot of puzzling you start to understand what’s going on, and there’s a moment when you say to yourself, “This is the most fascinating thing ever” and you feel like a superhero, you’re on the right track.

    4) Some authors will come up over and over again, and you’ll find out who the top scientists in the field are. Go to their websites and find out what they studied in university. I clearly remember being unsure as to whether I should study geography or math, and coming to RealClimate to find out what Gavin Schmidt majored in. Turns out that he did applied math all along – same with many of the other top climate modellers. So I decided to major in math and I’m very glad that I did. (Look Gavin, you’re corrupting young minds!) Even though I’m not learning about climate change in my courses, it’s worth it, because it gives me the tools to apply to the parts of climate science I like the most.

    5) Above all, enjoy the experience, and follow your curiosity. Enthusiasm makes everything easier and more fun.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have more questions. You can find my email through my blog ClimateSight.

  25. 325
    Hank Roberts says:

    > (Unless you have some kind of special library subscription,

    with the older form of Google Scholar, you could find non-paywalled copies, for example that scientists had put on their own web pages.
    Do ask — a librarian may know how to make that search still work

    > that’s all you’ll be able to access most of the time anyway!)

  26. 326
    Killian says:

    Yet another positive feedback with the Arctic Sea Ice.

    Albedo and melt ponds on 1-year vs. multi-year Arctic Sea Ice:

    I don’t typically like to post on sea ice till July or so… but has anyone else noticed the shattered egg shell nature of the ice this season? Seems, less a detailed examination, this “broken egg shell” condition is more widespread and extends deeper into the ice pack than last year at this time. Yet, we seem to have been having pretty favorable conditions with the temps a bit cooler than usual, e.g.

    Hmmm…. I think we have reached that point where the ice is so thin in general that it will take an unusually cold and calm summer any given summer to not hit or exceed record melt.

  27. 327
    Hank Roberts says:

    Bad news for fertilizer-intense agriculture — it damages the ozone layer due to excess nitrogen compounds going into the stratosphere. That’s written up as bad news for biofuels:

  28. 328
    Hank Roberts says:

    NPR is doing a good, thorough, ongoing job looking at fracking both for health issues and for methane leakage:
    —excerpt follows—-

    “May 17, 2012

    Gaby Petron didn’t set out to challenge industry and government assumptions about how much pollution comes from natural gas drilling.

    She was just doing what she always does as an air pollution data sleuth for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    “I look for a story in the data,” says Petron. “You give me a data set, I will study it back and forth and left and right for weeks, and I will find something to tell about it.”

    Petron saw high levels of methane in readings from a NOAA observation tower north of Denver. And through painstaking, on-the-ground detective work, she tied that pollution to the sprawling oil and gas fields in northeastern Colorado.

    The story she stumbled into suggests that government may be far underestimating air pollution from natural gas production. Her measurements, which were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggest that methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is leaking at at least twice the rate reported by the industry.

    Coal Vs. Natural Gas: Which Is Cleaner?

    Her paper was the latest volley in an intense estimate war under way in the scientific community about whether natural gas really is cleaner than the coal it’s already starting to replace on the electric grid….”

  29. 329
    dbostrom says:

    Here’s a “truth stranger than fiction” item, from the Northern-most notional democracy in the Americas:

    Good morning,

    You are one of approximately fifty EC [Environment Canada] speciali-sts that have been identified as participating in the final International Polar Year conference. Media will be present, and all presentations are open to media. Media interest in EC science is expected.

    If you are approached by the media, ask them for their business card and tell them that you will get back to them with a time for interview. Send a message to your media relations contact with the media contact information and they will organize the interview. They will most probably be with you during the interview to assist and record. For anything outside of your area of expertise, including other research or policy issues, refer the journalist to the media relations contact.

    Once your interview is completed, please provide a recording to Media Relations. If a recording is unavailable, you can complete a media interview form and submit to Media Relations.

    Enjoy the conference!

    “Enjoy the conference.” Was that sarcastic, or just a refection of the generally self-oblivious tone of the message?

    ‘[the “media relations contact”] will most probably be with you during the interview to assist and record.’

    So, working for Environment Canada is now akin to being a sailor in the old Soviet navy; a political officer oversees everything, is endowed with ultimate authority exceeding that of normally commissioned officers no matter their rank.

    The political officers (aka “media relations contacts”) must surely know that grinding temporal friction of the style they insist is necessary will essentially shut off journalist access to Canadian scientists. Presumably that’s seen as a feature, not a bug.

    Why does unchecked capitalism so often end up resembling the classic totalitarian state, the “invisible hand” turning into an iron fist sans velvet glove whenever it feels threatened by new information?

    There’s been little heed paid to this remarkable state of affairs in Canada. Read the whole thing at Planet3.0

    The takeaway message is familiar: scientists should surely hang together lest they be hanged separately.

  30. 330
    Hank Roberts says:!traps/id/6194a57c-3ca6-4883-9317-880aa873e086/articles/67mVDYjNU002q6JFNo7U

    on methane hydrates under the Alaska seabed:

    “… A team from the United States and Japan has just completed a month-long experiment aimed at extracting the methane using potentially commercially viable technology.

    Engineers injected carbon dioxide and nitrogen into the hydrate formations, and then lowered the pressure in the drill well…. releasing their methane for collection.

    According to the team, further tests are planned to build on the success of the experiment ….

    … In the tests, carbon dioxide was used to replace the methane trapped in icy cages. This raises the possibility of a chemical “prisoner exchange” in which we swap the carbon dioxide we don’t want for the methane we do ….”

  31. 331

    #328–The Harper government is doing a very good imitation of the Tea Party, in terms of environmental policy. They shut down the ozone monitoring experiment, appear to be gutting the Fisheries Act, have been (as doug points out) ‘managing’ scientists’ contacts with media–“muzzling” is a word that has been used more than once–and just shut down another important research facility with little or no justification:

    Their environmental policy (so-called) appears to center firmly on the exploitation of non-renewable resources. (Including, it would appear, making sure that as many resources as possible fall into the ‘non-renewable’ category.)

    Oh, and they appear not to be wild about the Parks Service, either.

  32. 332
    Snapple says:

    That link just goes to some fuzzy picture.

  33. 333
    Hank Roberts says:

    Try it again, it works for me — the article begins

    “Budget cuts claim famed freshwater research facility
    By Margo McDiarmid, Environment Unit, CBC News
    Posted: May 17, 2012 6:12 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 18, 2012 7:50 AM ET

    A famous research facility in Ontario that pioneered investigations into acid rain is the latest victim of federal budget cuts.

    The Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario is being closed at end of the fiscal year, March 2013.

    Sources told CBC News that staff were told on Thursday that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans would no longer run the facility and all staff associated with the ELA will receive ‘affected letters’, and no new experiments will be initiated.

    —-image caption—-
    Lake 239, one of 58 lakes that make up the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, is seen in a webcam photo taken May 17. Funding for the research facility will end next March, the federal government has announced.Lake 239, one of 58 lakes that make up the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, is seen in a webcam photo taken May 17. Funding for the research facility will end next March, the federal government has announced. (

    The Environmental Lakes Area was started in 1968. It’s a series of 58 pristine lakes that have been used for ground breaking research.

    This is where scientists, led by Dr. David Schindler, discovered that phosphates in detergents and household products were causing lakes to turn green with algae. It led to international changes in ingredients for those products.

    The ELA is also internationally known for research into everything from acid rain to climate change to fish farming — essentially, all the ways that human activity can affect freshwater systems….”


    “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

  34. 334
    dbostrom says:

    The Environmental Lakes Area was started in 1968.

    Subsequently spanning eleven changes of Parliament, multiple PMs and their foibles.

    They were all wrong, it turns out, while Harper’s crew remarkably enough are the first Canadian pols in decades to finally notice that the ELA is a silly waste and must be cut. Harper’s sane, all the prior crew were just plain crazy, or stupid. Gosh, Canada must be embarrassed at being mired in incompetence for so long, eh?

    Or could it possibly be that the majority rules here, that Harper and his bunch are simple-minded wreckers? Maybe Canada has a newer, more current reason for shame.

    The greater the longitudinal heft of a data set slated for termination– the bigger the implicit accusation that all their antecedents were somehow wrong– the more politicians with the same deep sense of history as fruit flies embarrass themselves and their constituents as they wade in with blunt instruments and get down to smashing.

  35. 335
    Hank Roberts says:

    —excerpt follows—
    researchers on the new Arctic project, led by Katey Walter Anthony from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF), were able to identify long-stored gas by the ratio of different isotopes of carbon in the methane molecules.

    Using aerial and ground-based surveys, the team identified about 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland in lakes along the margins of ice cover.

    Local sampling showed that some of these are releasing the ancient methane, perhaps from natural gas or coal deposits underneath the lakes, whereas others are emitting much younger gas, presumably formed through decay of plant material in the lakes.

    “We observed most of these cryosphere-cap seeps in lakes along the boundaries of permafrost thaw and in moraines and fjords of retreating glaciers,” they write, emphasising the point that warming in the Arctic is releasing this long-stored carbon.

    “If this relationship holds true for other regions where sedimentary basins are at present capped by permafrost, glaciers and ice sheets, such as northern West Siberia, rich in natural gas and partially underlain by thin permafrost predicted to degrade substantially by 2100, a very strong increase in methane carbon cycling will result, with potential implications for climate warming feedbacks.”

  36. 336
    J Bowers says:

    dbostrom — “So, working for Environment Canada is now akin to being a sailor in the old Soviet navy; a political officer oversees everything, is endowed with ultimate authority exceeding that of normally commissioned officers no matter their rank.”

    Mind if I frame that and put it on the wall?

  37. 337
  38. 338
    john byatt says:

    Apologies for that url , did not notice till it hit the screen


  39. 339
  40. 340
    Hank Roberts says:

    > cleared

    The Guardian has one paragraph of news, not cited to a source:

    “A review has cleared the scientist Peter Gleick of forging any documents in his expose of the rightwing Heartland Institute’s strategy and finances, the Guardian has learned.”

    The rest is rehash.

  41. 341
    Snapple says:

    Heartland’s Joe Bast claims:

    Heartland released a computer forensics report, conducted by Protek International, which states: “We conclude that the Memo did not originate on the Heartland System. It was not created on the Heartland System and was never present there prior to its February 14 posting online.”

    Technically, Protek’s claim is probably true; however, DeSmogBlog’s Richard Littlemore (2-16-12) never said the Climate Strategy memo was on the “Heartland System.” He hinted that it was “written on Joe Bast’s laptop”:

    The DeSmogBlog is committed to accuracy. Joe Bast says the document is a fake, a statement we take with a grain of salt given the Heartland Institute’s previous dissembling on the subject of climate change and its discredited position on the safety of second hand smoke. In the circumstances, if the Heartland Institute can offer any specific criticism of the Climate Strategy or any evidence that it was faked and not, actually, written on Joe Bast’s laptop, printed out and scanned, we would be pleased to consider that evidence.
    I thought that point about the Climate Strategy memo being written on Joe Bast’s laptop was pretty interesting. Mr. Littlemore seemed very sure of himself. Perhaps someone should ask Mr. Bast if the controversial strategy memo was on his laptop. It would also be interesting to know why Richard Littlemore seemed to think that the Climate Strategy memo was “written on Joe Bast’s laptop.”

    Links to quotes:

    I wrote to the Chicago FBI spokesman Royden “Ross” Rice, to ask about Dr. Gleick’s situation, and Agent Rice said: “No arrests have been made and no charges filed in connection with the Heartland Institute incident” (5-14-12). Of couse, something might happen later, but probably the federal government will not charge Dr. Gleick with any crime. I doubt that the Heartland Institute will sue Dr. Gleick, because a trial might reveal that the climate strategy memo is on Joe Bast’s laptop. Hopefully, Dr. Gleick has dodged the bullet, but tricking the Heartland Institute into mailing him their internal documents made scientists look dishonest, which is what denialists are always saying.

    Still, because of Dr. Gleick, teachers don’t have to lie to the kids.

  42. 342
    Snapple says:

    The Guardian says that the results of the investigation will be made public. That kind of news is not released on the weekend. This is just the heads-up. I think a big story is coming.

  43. 343
    dbostrom says:

    Snapple: I think a big story is coming.

    Heaping dishes of crow for preening self-proclaimed semantics experts are being prepared even now.

    Which transgressions cannot be condoned? Would those be false accusations, or self-righteous sermonizing?

    Will punters get their answers, too?

  44. 344
    wili says:

    Hank @ 335–Did you see the NYT coverage of that paper/story? I think they did a bit better at presenting the science.

    Both seem relevant to the Greenland discussion. If you don’t, I’ll probably post them over there (if folks can stop feeding trolls and making personal comments over there for a few moments.)

  45. 345
    dbostrom says:

    Highly recommended: the story of the graph that would not die, the graph that launched a thousand misbegotten letters-to-the-editors, the graph that was repeatedly killed only to be resurrected (under the care of actual medical surgeons, no kidding!) and again sent shambling into the public square to delude and deceive the unsuspecting citizenry.

    Even today it lurks and waits, protected by increasingly notorious outcast “researchers” operating from their their sooty Chicago aerie:

    Dear Heartland, Stop using Arthur Robinson’s Trick to Hide the Incline.

    Bunk that has lived and died and then been jolted back to life, for over a decade, with body parts removed and stitched on willy-(Soon)-nilly. Wouldn’t it be merciful let it go to its grave in peace, at long last?

  46. 346
    Hank Roberts says:

    wili, good NYT pointer on the Alaska methane study.

    I see no reason to double-post the Alaska methane story in the Greenland glacier speed topic, tho’. This is plenty.

  47. 347
    SecularAnimist says:

    A couple of items of interest.

    From Reuters:

    Club of Rome sees 2 degree Celsius rise in 40 years

    Rising carbon dioxide emissions will cause a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2052 and a 2.8 degree rise by 2080, as governments and markets are unlikely to do enough against climate change, the Club of Rome think tank said.

    From Smithsonian Magazine:

    Looking Back on the Limits of Growth

    Recent research supports the conclusions of a controversial environmental study released 40 years ago: The world is on track for disaster. So says Australian physicist Graham Turner, who revisited perhaps the most groundbreaking academic work of the 1970s, The Limits to Growth

    Turner compared real-world data from 1970 to 2000 with the business-as-usual scenario. He found the predictions nearly matched the facts. “There is a very clear warning bell being rung here,” he says. “We are not on a sustainable trajectory.”

  48. 348
    Radge Havers says:

    SA; Perfect storm if correct, and not just with climate. Very disturbing notion.

  49. 349
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Heartland Institute on life support, asks for donations from ‘rich uncle’

    After losing major sponsors for this year’s ICCC, HI turned to coal lobby groups and fringe bloggers for “sponsorship”. Their “Unabomber” bill board campaign was so offensive that speakers deserted the conference and staff from the Washington office resigned in protest.

  50. 350
    Hank Roberts says:

    Purely an aside, but cautionary — ‘Dunning Krueger’ (the inability to realize one’s lack of ability) isn’t “them” — it’s everyone, under some conditions.

    Are you mildly sleep deprived? Like less than 8 hours of sleep a night?

    You’re not as smart as you think you are, if you’re not sleeping that much.

    Amazing, huh? But — DK to the rescue — nobody believes that of himself or herself.

    “a key finding from Van Dongen and Dinges’s study: after just a few days, the four- and six-hour group reported that, yes, they were slightly sleepy. But they insisted they had adjusted to their new state. Even 14 days into the study, they said sleepiness was not affecting them. In fact, their performance had tanked. In other words, the sleep-deprived among us are lousy judges of our own sleep needs. We are not nearly as sharp as we think we are.”

    I try to remember this (obviously not with complete success) when I find that I am growing more critical of others.

    It’s so tempting to think my critical sharp edge is improved as I feel more critical of everyone else’s work.

    But, alas, I probably need to sleep more when I’m feeling that way.