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Unforced Variations; June 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2012

This month’s open thread…

408 Responses to “Unforced Variations; June 2012”

  1. 251
    Steve Bloom says:

    3231 sidd: Thanks for spotting that. Straneo’s pubs page has a lot of material, although the most pertinent paper doesn’t seem to be available yet. I don’t recall hearing anything previously about that particular GIS drainage glacier, but with 1.5 meters of SLR locked up in its basin and documented active undermining by warming Atlantic waters it obviously bears close watching.

  2. 252
    Russell says:

    You should be very concerned about this:

    This is an own goal as far as climate credibility is concerned and far worse than any oil funded campaign. The mistakes that occurred last time grey literature was included will almost certainly happen again.
    If you want to seem credible, then you will now need to distance yourself from some of what the IPCC says, and criticize it when it obviously gets things wrong.

  3. 253
    dbostrom says:

    Climate scientists are likely to face charges of putting politics before science, following two controversial decisions…

    Controversial because Fred Pearce decided so.

    Notice how there were no actual quotes, just a mention of “some people?” No problem; we understand that’s because dissenters are cowering in fear lest IPCC shocktroops in Kevlar and ceramic armor break down their doors in the middle of the night and drag them away to Pachuri’s secret lair hidden beneath a burgeoning Himalayan glacier.

    Good ol’ Fred, always casting his net for wider readership.

    At least it’ll give the contrarians something to hyperventilate over. Buy futures in smelling salts.

  4. 254

    You should be very concerned about this

    I sincerely hope that you don’t mind that I am unconcerned. I do remain highly concerned about the immediate global and local effects of the now well demonstrated human induced climate change and global warming.

    Seriously, this thing has reached a level where the IPCC is irrelevant.

    What they do or say isn’t going to change any physics or biology.

  5. 255
    dbostrom says:

    Paragraph concerning bureau composition causing Fred’s vapors can be found embedded here (warning: open cauldron of partially cooked bureaucratic sausage ingredients may scorch your eyes):


    I’m not seeing the raw materials for controversy in that para but maybe if somebody turns their paranoia gain up to “11” it might come through. I don’t have that setting on my dial.

    The process behind changing (and improving) the approach to grey literature appears far too bulky to fit through the Fred Filter. Here a few documents tracing the process:

    Decisions taken by the Panel at its 32nd Session With regards to the Recommendations resulting from the Review of the IPCC Processes and Procedures by the InterAcademy Council (IAC)

    Comments received from Governments and IPCC Office Holders by 6/05/2011 on the proposals by the Tasks Groups on Procedures (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.12), Governance and Management (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.10), Communications Strategy (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.13), and Conflict of Interest Policy (IPCC-XXXIII/Doc.11)

    Procedures: Adoption of the revised “Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work: Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports””


    And the rest of the extraordinarily meticulous and hence cumbersome process can be traced using the search facility here.. None of this is really amenable to a breathless 1/2 page treatment in New Scientist.

  6. 256
    dbostrom says:

    There’s a new mess in town:

    “Air-conditioning sales are growing 20 percent a year in China and India, as middle classes grow, units become more affordable and temperatures rise with climate change. The potential cooling demands of upwardly mobile Mumbai, India, alone have been estimated to be a quarter of those of the United States.

    Air-conditioning gases are regulated primarily though a 1987 treaty called the Montreal Protocol, created to protect the ozone layer. It has reduced damage to that vital shield, which blocks cancer-causing ultraviolet rays, by mandating the use of progressively more benign gases. The oldest CFC coolants, which are highly damaging to the ozone layer, have been largely eliminated from use; and the newest ones, used widely in industrialized nations, have little or no effect on it.

    But these gases have an impact the ozone treaty largely ignores. Pound for pound, they contribute to global warming thousands of times more than does CO2, the standard greenhouse gas.

    Indeed, the leading scientists in the field have just calculated that if all the equipment entering the world market uses the newest gases currently employed in air-conditioners, up to 27 percent of all global warming will be attributable to those gases by 2050.”

    In Rising Use of Air-Conditioning, Hard Choices

  7. 257
    sidd says:

    Mr. Steve Bloom: here is a section of Fig 2 from Rignot(2012). The unpronounceable glacier is moving right along.

    and here you might see the big hole under it


  8. 258

    “This is an own goal as far as climate credibility is concerned and far worse than any oil funded campaign. The mistakes that occurred last time grey literature was included will almost certainly happen again.”

    You know, given that one of the essential problems of creating a useful agreement is to get the developing world on board, it seems to me that taking pains to listen to their people and their points of view really might not be such a bad idea.

    And the use of grey literature wasn’t really the problem with the ‘mini-Gates’; it was the MIS-use of grey literature. Peer-reviewed literature, too, can be distorted, poorly cited, misunderstood or misquoted. It’s the scholarship that must be held to the highest standard. If that is done, then any relevant ‘grey literature’ can safely be evaluated on its merits.

  9. 259
    Dan H. says:

    Agreed. However, ‘grey literature’ should be under higher scrutiny, as it has not undergone any peer-review. On the surface, there is no reason why grey literature should be any less reliable than peer-reviewed sources. But since it has not undergone independent review (please no comments about whether the current peer-review is truly independent), the material needs to be reviewed much more closely. This is true particularly in light of the problems generated based on the previous use of grey literature. This was compounded by statements that only peer-reviewed research was used. I think the real problem with the ‘mini-Gates’ was the use of grey literature over other documented research. When grey literature clashes with other research, I would be hard pressed to choose the grey results.

  10. 260
    MapleLeaf says:

    Hello RC team,

    You are probably tired of debunking this stuff. But do you have any thoughts on the latest attempts by McKitrick to attribute regional temperature trends to socio-economic changes? I fail to see how socio-economic changes explain the warming over remote areas, such as the oceans and the Arctic.

    He also seems to be floating a red herring when he claims that the GCMs are not good at predicting regional changes. We know that, but what is his point when it comes to reducing GHG emissions? That we do nothing?

    Sadly the National Post in Canada has been providing McKitrick with a podium from which to spread his misguided science and opinions, so it would be nice to have a rebuttal from a respected and informed source such as RC. Thank you.

    [Response: McKitrick is nothing if not predictable. He makes the same conceptual error here as he made in McKitrick and Nierenberg, McKitrick and Vogel Vogelsang and McKitrick, McIntyre and Herman. The basic issue is that for short time scales (in this case 1979-2000), grid point temperature trends are not a strong function of the forcings – rather they are a function of the (unique realisation of) internal variability and are thus strongly stochastic. With the GCMs, each realisation within a single model ensemble gives insight into what that internal variability looks like, but McKitrick averages these all together whenever he can and only tests the ensemble mean. Ironically then, the models that provide the greatest numbers of ensemble members with which to define the internal variability, are the ones which contribute nothing to his analysis. He knows this is an error since it has been pointed out to him before and for McKitrick and Nierenberg and McKitrick, McIntyre and Herman he actually calculated the statistics using individual runs. In neither case did those results get included in the papers. The results of those tests in the M&N paper showed that using his exact tests some of the model runs were ‘highly significantly’ (p<0.01!!) contaminated by 'socio-economic' factors. This was of course nonsense, and so are his conclusions in this new paper. There are other issues, but his basic conceptual error is big one from which all other stem. - gavin]

  11. 261
    dbostrom says:

    Kevin: …‘grey literature’ can safely be evaluated on its merits.

    Exactly, and between gasps Fred manages to acknowledge that:

    From now on, for instance, any grey literature used in an IPCC report will have to be put online so that reviewers can assess its quality.

    Online grey literature: De motu corporum in gyrum

  12. 262
    SecularAnimist says:

    Russell wrote: “You should be very concerned about this:”

    Concern troll is concerned.

    I, on the other hand, am not much concerned about another baseless attack on the IPCC. It’s little more than lowbrow infotainment for the denialist ditto-heads at this point.

  13. 263
    SecularAnimist says:

    Dan H wrote: “When grey literature clashes with other research, I would be hard pressed to choose the grey results.”

    We all know all too well what kind of “results” you like to “choose”.

  14. 264
    MapleLeaf says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Thank you very much for your response. I suspected as much. Anything to ignore the increase in ocean heat content, rapidly diminishing Arctic sea ice and increase in extreme events, that and to fabricate doubt and uncertainty. I thought good researchers learned from their mistakes? Evidently, that does not apply to McKitrick…

  15. 265
    dbostrom says:

    Somebody: However, ‘grey literature’ should be under higher scrutiny, as it has not undergone any peer-review.

    Yes, and if we bother to look at the IPCC session notes and other documentation (above), we see that IPCC has taken great pains to ensure that going forward grey literature is more fully treated as a special case, to be integrated with greater caution.

    “Some critics” find the notion of IPCC’s having exerted a lot of effort to improve its process “controversial.” Fred Pearce could not or would not name these critics so we must take his word on the authenticity of the “controversy” and somehow fit that unsupported assertion with the ease with which he obtained quotes from people prepared to clarify IPCC’s approach.

    Read the IPCC documentation or obey rumors. I choose the IPCC documentation because it’s more transparent than Fred Pearce, has the excellent virtue of demonstrated existence.

  16. 266

    When grey literature clashes with other research, I would be hard pressed to choose the grey results.

    But you have no problem making nutty pronouncements contrary to well established science or extremely clear specific results over and over again, even after your errors are pointed out to you in no uncertain terms.

  17. 267
    Susan Anderson says:


    IMHO (with the emphasis on humble) it is a mistake to label Russell a concern troll, even if he *has* gone astray following Fred Pearce’s lead – bad idea. Kevin McKinney (in the same HO) has nailed it, and Dan H. has demonstrated his usual acuity in making the worst possible construction, which should be a kind of punishment all on its own.*

    On climate science, as far as I’ve been able to tell (and I’m a fan, both of his art and writing, though both are excessively literate in a follower of dead white European male kind of what – “if you’re anxious for to shine, in a high aesthetic line” (Patience, G&S)), he’s got his head screwed on right, and as a true Republican but honest scientist, is one of our national treasures.

    I’d agree, however, with all the points made and disagree strongly with the “own goal” statement and the mistake of taking Fred Pearce’s word as reliable and/or unbiased.

    PS. R may even regard this defense as another kind of punishment!

  18. 268
    Susan Anderson says:

    typos, aargh, please ignore. Moving on, a question about pyrocumulus clouds (fire clouds, pyrocumulonimbus clouds, also in the mix).

    Here’s a question arising from Earth Observatory’s posts about the Colorado and Siberian fires and pyrocumulus clouds. Following are some links and if anyone who knows their stuff can help with real knowledge it would be helpful. The idea is that these clouds may become another nasty kind of feedback loop. A well qualified meteorologist of my acquaintance has thrown fuel rather than water on the idea, dashing my hopes of being off the wall in thinking it might not be true.
    (August 2010)

    Large fires can create their own weather by rapidly heating the air above them. The heated air rises with smoke until water vapor in the air condenses into a puffy cloud. An odd-looking puff of white capping a dark column of smoke is the sign of a fire-formed, or pyrocumulus cloud.

    Occasionally, if the superheated air rises fast and high enough, it forms a towering thundercloud. Like the thunderstorms that form on a hot summer’s day, the tops of these cauliflower-shaped clouds reach high enough into the atmosphere that ice crystals form. Those ice crystals electrify the cloud, creating lightning. Called pyrocumulonimbus clouds, the clouds are capable of dangerous lightning, hail, and strong winds. One such firestorm in 2003 pelted Canberra, Australia, with large, soot-darkened hail, produced a damaging tornado, and generated strong winds that caused the fire to explode into neighborhoods in the capital city.
    Pyrocumulonimbus cloud above Canberra, Australia.

    A pyrocumulonimbus cloud towers over thick smoke from fires burning near Canberra, Australia on January 18, 2003. The umbrella-shaped cloud brought strong winds that helped the fires explode into the city. (Photograph copyright New South Wales Rural Fire Service.)

    As dangerous and destructive as pyrocumulonimbus-driven storms can be, the giant clouds also act like a chimney, sucking smoke high into the atmosphere. After the Canberra fires, the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (OMI’s predecessor) detected extremely high levels of aerosols in the atmosphere. NASA’s Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE III ) satellite confirmed that the smoke from Canberra’s firestorm had reached the stratosphere.

    Was OMI’s observation this summer an indicator that a similar firestorm had erupted in Russia? Fromm suspected that it was, and he set out to find proof of a pyrocumulonimbus cloud in other satellite data.

    Examples from the last few days:

    The quote above was found in a link from a recent Earth Observatory post on the Colorado wildfire, which in turn was inspired by this “Siberia Burns” Image of the Day yesterday

    Richard Pauli also provided some pyrocumulus photographs.

  19. 269
    Deep Climate says:

    Heartland’s James Taylor hits new low with defamatory false accusations

    The NOAA’s National Climate Data Center recently announced that the last 12 months were the warmest on record in the “contiguous” U.S., extending the 2011-12 hot streak that has now eclipsed the previous record in 1999-2000 by a half degree Fahrenheit. Apparently, that was just too much for the Heartland Institute’s James Taylor who used his regular column in Forbes magazine to accuse the NOAA of “doctoring real-world temperature data”. According to Taylor, the “alarmists” at NOAA “simply erase the actual readings and substitute their own desired readings in their place”.

    But it turns out that Taylor’s source is none other than hapless climate blogger Steven Goddard, who recently leveled incoherent and unsupported false accusations against James Hansen and NASA’s Gistemp record, as well as NOAA. Goddard also relies on the same reviled NOAA data in his botched attempt to buttress his case that NASA is “hiding” an 80 year cooling trend. Never mind that the U.S. “lower 48″ represents less than 2% of the Earth’s surface area in any event, or that past attempts to show U.S. cooling have been proven utterly wrong.

    If Forbes has a shred of integrity, this sorry episode will surely result in an abject retraction and apology to NOAA, along with the banishment of Heartland from the magazine’s pages. And it’s also high time reputable commentators in the mainstream media called out the irresponsible behaviour of Forbes and other right-wing media.

  20. 270
    MMM says:

    Regarding the latest McKitrick paper: I’m also confused by his inclusion of the MSU lower tropospheric temperature data. There are two obvious ways that it could have been used, but I can’t tell that which (if either) of those ways actually reflected the paper result.

    Way 1: It is a another variable to be fed into the statistic-o-matic process. If he’s doing this, that seems crazy, because of course the tropospheric temperatures should correlate with the surface temperatures.

    Way 2: He’s independently correlating his variables with lower trop data because a good correlation there would indicate that it isn’t just UHI, since UHI shouldn’t contaminate the troposphere. Or he’s seeing if GCMs do a good job of replicating tropospheric temps in addition to surface temps. But no indication that he did either of these analyses in the text.

    So, am I missing something here?

    [Response: “Way 1”. It’s there because if you did a straight correlation of his socio-economic variables with the MSU-TLT data you get a strong and highly significant correlation (stronger than with the surface data). So by his logic that would imply the MSU data is tainted by ‘educational attainment’ or ‘GDP growth’. Since that would be absurd, it doesn’t get mentioned. Instead, it is, as you say, one more variable in the ‘stats-o-matic’. – gavin

  21. 271
    dbostrom says:

    DeepClimate: But it turns out that Taylor’s source is none other than hapless climate blogger Steven Goddard…

    Speaking of Steven Goddard, what’s the deal w/his blogs? The eponymous Steven Goddard site of late seems to have become a rapid-fire meme machine, while the Real-Science site went through a similar paroxysm (mostly of ancient headlines about weather) then of late has slowed down to a more normal rate.

    Deep Climate really seems to get under the skin of whatever entity is running those sites.

    The two sites seem tied to and supplied by the same inexhaustible pool of jackalope scientistical constructs but are running in opposite phases as far as volume of ejecta goes.

    Also, is Lewis Page actually Steven Goddard? :-)

  22. 272
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Deep Climate: “If Forbes has a shred of integrity,…”

    We need not read beyond the first clause of this sentence to know that it is true, since the premise of the conditional is demonstrably false.

  23. 273
    SRJ says:

    Has somebody looked at the claims of Heinz Hug? Here is a link:

    My first impression is that he only looks at one specific absorbtion band for CO2 and when he applies his result to the real atmosphere he seems to ignore all other absorbing gasses as well as the properties of the earths spectrum.

    I would be very interested in comments on this from physicists with strong knowledge about spectroscopy.

  24. 274
    J Bowers says:

    256 dbostrom — “There’s a new mess in town: “Air-conditioning sales are growing 20 percent a year in China and India, as middle classes grow, units become more affordable and temperatures rise with climate change.”

    A positive anthropogenic feedback.

  25. 275
    Jim Larsen says:

    273 SRJ, I’m not an expert, but even I saw that the experiment held H2O constant, which is a Freshman Error. Thus, the rest is probably Freshman Level.

    Plus, such a HUGE thing – an 8000% error in the primary AGW measure, well, once somebody pointed it out, I’m pretty sure climate scientists would slap their forehead and say, “DUH!”

    Since that didn’t happen, I’m sure the site is just plain garbage. They let anybody post on the internet. (Even ME!)

  26. 276
    dbostrom says:

    J Bowers says: A positive [HCFC-22] anthropogenic feedback.

    Thoughtful commentary on this from the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

    C02 has made a bit of a comeback as a refrigerant; better materials science makes it more tractable. There’s an efficiency cost but the numbers are such that working out what’s better seems like a challenging accounting problem; it’s not plainly obvious whether more cumbersome (and patented) molecules are a clear winner.

    Sequester C02 in cooling systems? “Here, you -must- take this air conditioner.” Just kidding. :-)

  27. 277
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Heinz Hug makes the mistake of not being familiar with even the fundamentals of climate science. Search “saturated gassy argument” at this website. That such an “article” could exist in a “skeptic” website is all you need to know about the validity of denial.

  28. 278
    SecularAnimist says:

    Deep Climate wrote at 269: “And it’s also high time reputable commentators in the mainstream media called out the irresponsible behaviour of Forbes and other right-wing media.”

    Well, the thing of it is, those “reputable commentators” know that by doing so, they would not be going up against Forbes and Heartland. They would be going up against ExxonMobil and Koch.

    Hence the deafening silence from the “mainstream media”.

  29. 279
    Susan Anderson says:

    Air conditioners run on power, a lot of it. More consumption, more pollution. The argument about refrigerants and closed systems doesn’t affect that part of it. The hotter it gets, the more power coming from fossil fuels, until the source problems are fixed. Seems we’re going backwards on that part thanks to the knowledge-destroying powers of PR and ostrich government.

    That said, I sympathize with the Indians and other hot climate sufferers around the globe who say, you’ve got yours and you don’t want us to have the same comforts, hypocrites.

  30. 280
    Susan Anderson says:

    Nobody offered expert response about pyrocumulus fire clouds. After looking at a few videos, I can see it’s local and like Arctic methane relatively small. Still, I’d like to know more.

    Meanwhile, about fires, another breakdown related to costs and diminishing infrastructure:

    A decade ago, the government had 44 large tanker planes at its command. Now, with fires raging from California to Colorado to Wyoming, the regular fleet is down to nine.

  31. 281
    dbostrom says:


    Meanwhile, about fires, another breakdown related to costs and diminishing infrastructure:

    It’s not really about costs, it’s about revenue– lack of it.

    Read the article and learn how our fleet of air tankers numbers fewer than a dozen now and are mostly over 50 years old. It’s shameful on many levels.

    The nut:

    “The contractor-owned planes, refurbished from military use and leased by the United States Forest Service, have been hobbled by accidents and mechanical problems, leading to growing safety concerns and calls for a major overhaul. A decade ago, the government had 44 large tanker planes at its command. Now, with fires raging from California to Colorado to Wyoming, the regular fleet is down to nine.

    “The bottom line is the fires are getting bigger as the fleet gets smaller,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the Senate’s forestry subcommittee. “That is a pres-cription for trouble.”

    Modern airplanes are available, some able to skim up a bellyful of water from a lake without even stopping to land and thus to conduct dozens of drops a day, but these are too expensive for the private contractors who fly the forest missions. Even the supply of younger military hand-me-downs has dried up. “There are no lightweight bombers being surplused anymore,” said Vincent Ambrosia, a forest fire expert at NASA.

    The antisubmarine planes now in use, including the one that Mr. Buxton-Carr watched taking off here, were declared surplus after the Navy began replacing them with the P-3 Orion in the 1960s.

    So far this year, attrition has reduced the fleet by three. In early June, one tanker attempting a low-altitude bombing run in western Utah hit the rising terrain and crashed, killing the two pilots on board. Another was forced into a hard touchdown after its landing gear failed to deploy. A third was grounded after its owners discovered a “significant crack” during an inspection, federal officials said.”

    In Europe sane taxation still exists. Europe has a modern fleet of air tankers. It’s not a coincidence.

    I wonder how GE could vend goods and services to the government if <a href="nobody paid taxes? Sure, GE creates jobs but by the same logic so do we all; we vend our services, spend the proceeds, create a multiplier effect.

  32. 282
    sue says:

    Gavin, I have read both of your most recent papers Schmidt et al 2011 and Schmidt et al 2012 , and on the later one have to say “what the heck?…” after this post and this one How is it that less than a month after criticising a paper, you submit a paper to include it into the model database? I see your stated reason in the paper as being used as a sensitivity test (after a reviewer suggested this), but can you explain what your thinking was? Was there external pressure to include this or do you determine what studies are included in the database?

    [Response: The experimental design for these project was based on the need to sample a wide range of uncertainty – in models, forcings and observational data. The point is not to decide a priori which forcing reconstruction is correct and have everyone use that (since that is practically impossible), but rather to see whether we can explore what difference any of the reconstructions make so that we can assess whether any model/observations mismatch can be related to that (or to problems in the models, or in problems with the observations, or all of the above). So adding the Shaprio et al reconstruction to the possibilities was not a hard decision, despite my misgivings about there methodology. I will be astounded if using this gives the best match to observations, but it might be useful in bracketing ranges of behaviour. No external pressure required! – gavin]

  33. 283
    Tokodave says:

    Susan; the fire situation is complex. Throughout the west after a century of fire suppression efforts there are now several factors that are combining to make fires ever more complex and destructive: the fire suppression has been if anything, too effective, many forests have been impacted more by the absence of fire than the Smokey bear effect, there are accumulations of too much fuel, this is complicated by a climate change trifecta, earlier snowmelt, longer hotter summers and insect infestations leading to extensive stands of dead and dying trees. This is true for the ongoing Colorado fire which has extensive stands of impacted Lodgepole Pine, but these conditions extend throughout the Northern Rockies well up into Canada. Add to this the vast number of people who’ve moved into the “wildland urban interface”, cutbacks in the Forest Service and the aging air tanker fleet and you can see it’s going to be a loooong hot summer.

  34. 284
    oarobin says:

    in reading about climate reconstruction in various blogs i find that i am missing a lot of background material in order to understand the science issues involved.
    i think discussions would benefit immensely if we had a beginner’s resource or primer to refer to in these discussions.
    one request i have is if you could contemplate a series of post detailing how single and multi-proxy reconstructions are done and interpreted by the community.

    these should include strong emphasis on the concepts, ideas, assumptions in a reconstruction with plenty of references to the primary literature and toy examples (or real examples taken from past work).

    i am also wondering if you would consider it a next book project along the lines of David Archer “Global Warming: understanding the forecast”.

  35. 285
    dbostrom says:

    Very nifty article in Popular Science about the travails and strange punishments suffered as part of keeping the world up to date on climate science. Mundane title but just get past it:

    The Battle Over Climate Science


    “I ask Inhofe if he’s noticed any climate changes in his home state, such as last summer’s unprecedented heat and severe drought, withering crops, wild fires and dramatically expanded tornado season. “There’s not been any warming,” he snaps. “And there’s actually been a little bit of cooling.”

  36. 286
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by oarobin — 23 Jun 2012 @ 1:01 AM:

    Good idea, but first check what is already here. I did a Hank and put your phrase “single and multi-proxy reconstructions” into the RC site search window and, after dodging the “Browse multi proxy reviews, deals, coupons, and more” and “Meet singles for free,” thoughtfully provided by Google Ads, I found- -and 52 other articles. While you wait for just the right RC post, check out the existing ones.


  37. 287
    Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks to Bostrom,

    Actually, I’m up on our idiot failures in finance, feeding the looting classes and starving our services, and some of the factors contributing to fire escalation including insect damage and human control freakism (no longer allowing or setting small fires to prevent the bigger ones later). I included the NYT article, which I had read carefully, because all these things are related.

    It was the pyrocumulu(nimbu)s clouds that I wanted more info about or a place to look them up. The videos provide visual evidence that they are relatively local, as they need moisture to spread. Nonetheless, the resemblance to atomic explosions is stomach-churning. As my meteorologist friend did not dampen my nightmares but suggested Dresden and Tokyo as metaphors, I was looking for more information before I went off the reservation.

  38. 288
    Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks to Tokodave as well. Good summary.

    It is hard not to talk about political idiocy when it crosses these dangerous boundaries and tries to legislate reality, which is despite our magic thinking not equipped with a human brain or sympathy, and is busy evolving ways to reject our multiplicitous stupidities.

    When we think we are too smart to have to pay attention, we are in real trouble.

  39. 289
  40. 290
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re: dbostrom’s Pop. Sci article

    It certainly isn’t flattering to the denialati, but I think far more charitable than history (or perhaps eventually the civil courts) will be.

    If one finds one must threaten violence in defense of one’s position, that is one of the surest signs that one is in the wrong. Truth needs no defense. It merely needs people with sufficient integrity and courage to proclaim it, regardless of threats or risks.

    I fear we will lose some good people before the truth prevails. The denialists have nothing reasonable left to throw, and they are left with nothing but threats, intimidation and violence as their weapons. These weapons cannot prevail, because the truth will not be silenced no matter how many they kill.

  41. 291
    dbostrom says:

    Ray: …far more charitable than history (or perhaps eventually the civil courts) will be.

    I think the author did a great job of letting the wrong speak for themselves, no favor at all when handled correctly as in the case of the article.

    I fear we will lose some good people before the truth prevails.

    W/hatemongers like Joe Bastardi feeding the instability of crazy people by analogizing earth sciences researchers with serial rapists of children it’s hard to say how far the outer limits of the bell curve of “wrong” might extend.

    Bastardi and the denizens of his particular level really do need to stop but their blindness means they simply don’t understand that, and can’t be told.

  42. 292
    Lorius' friend says:

    This page is yet another crackpot trying to debunk the importance of the greehouse effect, but it’s too embedded in mathturbation and presumptuous nonsense for me to see thorugh. I know there’s a fundamental fault somewhere – if someone trained in physics could please take a quick read-through and point it out svp, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

    The conclusion goes:

    “The above analysis appears to indicate that the warming of the earth by Greenhouse gases takes place through the effects of downward radiation to which the atmosphere is transparent, arising from molecular emissions at frequencies outside the resonance bands of any atmospheric gases, which could include those not nominated as being a GHG. It further shows that the actual level of GHGs in the atmosphere, which are those gases
    capable of absorbing any radiation of a frequency lying within the range of the blackbody spectrum from a temperature corresponding to that of the earth‟s surface in any region and therefore covering a range of about -50
    oC to 50oC, (or 223 K to 323 K), is almost of no consequence in determining the increase in surface temperature from the Greenhouse effect. It is thus apparent that Greenhouse gases act only as a conduit through which flows the radiation energy captured initially by certain gases in the
    atmosphere. It moves from the internal energy of the absorbing gases into a relatively stable thermalised volume of local air”.

  43. 293
    flxible says:

    What does this say about “sequestering” CO2 back underground? :(

  44. 294
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Lorius’ friend quotes:”The above analysis appears to indicate that the warming of the earth by Greenhouse gases takes place through the effects of downward radiation to which the atmosphere is transparent,”

    Given that the amount of downward radiation to which the atmosphere is transparent has been roughly constant over 50 years, that can’t explain why the temperature changed.

  45. 295
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Lorius’s friend

    That’s old, by John Nicol (emeritus physicist); you can find it about 2,990 places online right now. No point trying to chase down all of the copies. The sites that love that kind of stuff feature it prominently.

  46. 296
    Hank Roberts says:

    > flxible …
    > what does this say

    It says more chickens are coming home to roost.

    That’s part of a series, worth serious attention. Another part says:

    “… Though regulated under different laws than waste injection wells, gas storage wells operate under similar principles and assumptions: that deeply buried layers of rock will prevent injected substances from leaking into water supplies or back to the surface.

    In this case the injected material had done everything that scientists usually describe as impossible: It migrated over a large distance, travelled upward through rock, reached the open air and then blew up.

    The case, described as “a continuing series of geologic surprises and unexpected complexities” by the Kansas Geological Survey, flummoxed some of the leading injection experts in the world….”

    What could be worse than leaking toxic waste?
    How about high pressure bubbly _carbonated_ toxic waste, eh?

  47. 297
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Lorius’ friend — 24 Jun 2012 @ 9:52 AM:

    The information on the RC site that refutes Nicol’s saturation argument is found here:

    and here:

    Also, when someone claims to refute a conclusion accepted by thousands of scientists over many years that have published many research papers on the basis of a simple point that they have all seem to have missed, I just ignore them. It doesn’t help the article any that it is poorly written and edited, has no references, and was not presented as peer reviewed and published in a respectable journal. Steve

  48. 298
    dbostrom says:

    John Nicol doesn’t correctly explain (or understand?) the horticultural greenhouse, let alone the atmospheric version. Not even up to garden variety denier standards.

    Yet another jackalope sighting. Natch, they reproduce like rabbits.

  49. 299
    Susan Anderson says:

    I seem to have put my reply to Doug Bostrom and some other comments about anti-realists, beliefs, and education under methane. My bad, way off topic there and especially since I mentioned checking references ;(

  50. 300
    dbostrom says:

    Nice new polar plot by Jim Pettit, using PIOMAS volume model.