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Unforced Variations: Nov 2013

Filed under: — group @ 2 November 2013

This month’s open thread…

289 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Nov 2013”

  1. 51

    #45–But Hank, I didn’t think that I was talking about just “comparing rational to emotional approaches.” I thought I was talking about the role of emotionality (again, NOT ’emotionalism’) in real, functioning human beings.

    From that perspective, I’ve been arguing that rationality can’t be a ‘silver bullet’ in climate change education because ‘rationality’ can (and often is) put into the service of climate change denialism. Consider the NASA 49 (or 41) who wrote that open letter requesting that NASA stop talking about ‘unproven’ notions like climate change. Highly rational guys, engineers and pilots to a man, capable of doing all kinds of hard calculations–and utterly failing to come to grips with the actual science because (I presume) their emotional biases prevent them from really looking at it.

    Reminds me of a research meteorologist I used to know (and love.) Great guy, but though he prided himself on his rationality–and he had tons–and denied his emotionality–of which he also had tons–his voice tended to rise in a manner that I found ironically suspicious when he talked about either.


    (Hey, they call that an ’emoticon,’ don’t they? And here I was, using it in a purely rational fashion…)

    WRT the Kahan study, I like it. But I have to say that I think that values have an emotional basis, and that therefore ‘cultural outlook’ falls under the (informal) rubric I’m using.

  2. 52
    deconvoluter says:

    RE: #40 and #43 engineers, geologists, physicists, arts graduates etc.

    …aggressive and vociferous purveyors of denial….

    This lacks detail, so speculation as to its causes is unavoidable. If it is part of the well funded campaign against climate science, then it would make sense to promote more people with a technical background of some sort.

    The ordinary busy professional is quite a different matter and less speculation is required in such cases. I have seen how some of these non-activists get their information from the media and from the purveyors just described. They suffer from a shortage of information and true skepticism.

  3. 53
    Sean says:

    @48 Kevin, great info (however re) “–framing issues in ways that respect the emotional validity of a particular point of view will facilitate communication. It will allow you to address points in a way that is more direct, preventing the ‘talking past’ syndrome from developing.”

    That is an excellent “theory”, and I know in some circumstances it will actually work – especially with any 3rd party readers on a public forum (who may not even participate in a discussion themselves). OK, so I DO admit that it can work. My qualification to that is unless one has very finely tuned communication skills and peace of mind to the point of almost being an “emotional zombie” themselves this process is extremely problematic and will STILL FAIL >98% of the time even if one is absolutely “perfect”.
    ie in cases that are naturally “emotional/emotive” dearly held and strongly identified with BELIEFS and World Views/Values etc. Because no matter “how” someone says things, or has plowed the ground for a fair equitable discussion as soon as a valid FACT comes into play, you lose the other immediately if that factoid conflicts with their “beliefs”. I have 15+ years of battle wounds to prove it. Face to face vs online, well I different story comes into play. Only my own “anecdotal” personal view. Yes maybe I am just a “bastard” and it’s always my fault. Could be. :)

  4. 54
    Pekka Kostamo says:

    Presidents and prime ministers read their teleprompters.

    There is a whole cottage industry to help them choose.

  5. 55
    Geoff Wexler says:

    To: Kevin McKinney.

    A most interesting essay on William Charles Wells. Perhaps you could extend it some time to cover William Herschel , who was according to Wikipedia, a great admirer of Wells?

    There is a bus station near his home in England, which is perhaps based on the experiment in which Herschel isolated the infra-red part of the spectrum.

    (Trivial typo near the start: radioactive should be radiative).

  6. 56
    Hank Roberts says:

    > cases that are naturally “emotional/emotive” …
    > BELIEFS and World Views/Values

    Well that’s Kahan’s point — people high on the independence/individualist scale think climate risk is low to negative. People high on the cooperative/community scale think climate risk is high.

    Kahan says this doesn’t affect the ability of the climate scientists to evaluate risk — he’s talking about just the audience/citizens/voters.

    That’s an important point.

  7. 57
    Ray Ladbury says:

    On the “New European Report” thread, Walter Manny said: ” I was commenting on the orthodoxy I believe pervades this site (and other sites, on either “side”) and which causes it to be less relevant than it should be. Ray, in my opinion, has not only made some great contributions here, he has also made any number of comments that belong in the borehole. None reside there. This comment does, of course, but not my site, and the moderators are free to do what they like.”

    I think that you misunderstand the purpose of The Borehole. It is not a dungeon in which to jail miscreants and impose Kumbaya fellowship on the commenters. Its purpose is to keep the discussion focused more or less on the topic of the post. Any post involving Nukes, Al Gore’s carbon footprint, religion or comparing scientists to Nazis will likely derail a thread for a time and so winds up in the borehole. Also, any post that denies established scientific fact also belongs there as those who know the scientific facts will succumb to SIWOTI syndrome and correct the ignorance in the post. It is pointless to deny the reality of the greenhouse effect. It is pointless to deny that the planet is warming over the long term. These are simply empirical facts, and the only way you can deny them is if you believe in a massive scientific conspiracy or astounding incompetence of scientists. If one cannot be bothered to acquaint oneself with the accepted science in the field, it is not surprising one’s comments will be deemed unhelpful and a distraction. This is not orthodoxy. It is simply ensuring that the readers can continue to learn more about climate science without being distracted by ignorance, irrelevancies and misinformation.

    In my opinion, posts based on a logical fallacy belong there. Argumentum ad Hominem is particularly egregious in the context of climate science because its practitioners feel entitled to dismiss any fact or study done by an opponent based solely on the affiliation of the author, his funding source or his parentage. This is anathema to science. I don’t like all of my fellow scientists, but I damn well better listen to their arguments at least well enough to find any errors in them, or I’m not doing my job as a scientist. Argumentum ad Hominem is lazy, dishonest, disingenuous and unproductive. It is quintessential anti-science, and it pisses me off.

    I do not see the point of nor to I care to be nice to folks who derail scientific discussions by resorting to ad hominem attacks. I do not see the point in being nice to those who either cannot be bothered or do not have the courage to accept established science. FWIW, I occasionally peruse the comments in the borehole. One could argue that a tiny minority don’t belong there, but the overwhelming majority would add nothing to the discussion and could badly derail it. They belong in the borehole, and I pity our hosts for having to go through them at all.

  8. 58
    Hank Roberts says:

    Kevin, my #45 was referring to Dan H’s comment, not to yours, which is clear and makes good sense.

    Seriously, look at Kahan’s explanation of the problem:

    The question under investigation in our study was what explains climate change conflict–differences in science comprehension or differences in cultural outlooks? One shouldn’t really have to know statistics to see the answer in a figure like this:

    “Hierarchical Individualist” — sees climate risk as low or negative.
    “Egalitarian Com munitarian” — sees climate risk as high

    And this is an _audience_ problem.

    Here: pictures:

  9. 59
    Hank Roberts says:

    brief quote from the 11/5 Kahan blog linked above:

    The “white male effect,” as every school child knows!, refers to the tendency of white males to be less concerned with a large variety of societal risks than are women and minorities. It is one of the classic findings from the study of public risk perceptions.

    One thing that engagement with this phenomenon has revealed, however, is that the “white male effect” is really a “white hierarchical and individualist male effect”: the extreme risk skepticism of white males with these cultural outlooks is so great that it suggests white males generally are less concerned, when in fact the gender and race divides largely disappear among people with alternative cultural outlooks.

  10. 60
    Hank Roberts says:

    Kahan says: Click me; you won’t regret it

    white males are decidedly more “skeptical” about climate change risks only among “hierarch individualists.
    There is no meaningful difference between white males and others for “egalitarian individualists” and “egalitarian communitarians.”

    but remember,

    The cultural worldview scales are continuous, and should be used as continuous variables when testing study hypotheses, both to maximize statistical power and to avoid spurious findings of differences that can occur when one arbitrarily divides a larger data set into smaller parts in relation to a continuous variable.

  11. 61

    #53–I doubt it’s ‘always your fault,’ Sean! ;-)

    Well, there’s always a gap between best practice and reality, isn’t there? I know it’s that way in my reality…

  12. 62
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “… derail scientific discussions by resorting to ad hominem attacks …”

    I would respectfully object to the use of the phrase “ad hominem attacks“.

    An Argumentum ad Hominem fallacy need not be an “attack”. Indeed, it need not allege anything negative against its target, and it might even praise its target (“my opponent is an admirably sensitive soul, who is clearly so moved by compassion for suffering that you should reject his arguments as motivated by emotion, not reason”).

    And it certainly need not be insulting, and is probably more effective if it is polite.

    Any statement that presents attributes of the person making an argument as a reason to reject that argument is an ad hominem fallacy — calling it an ad hominem “attack” perpetuates the confusion between rhetorical fallacy on one hand, and mere insults and personal attacks on the other.

  13. 63
    Walter Manny says:

    Ray, I think that I have perfectly understood the purpose of the Borehole, and “tiny minority” is not an apt description of the many intelligent comments that have been deposited there by the thin of skin. Nor are the many distracting comments on the “correct” side of the argument to be found there. Your own off-topic comments, for example, and Susan Anderson’s fabulously Kumbaya stuff, for another: not present. To be sure, the Borehole seems exactly as you describe it if you believe what you believe, but to those arriving to this site to learn, as you put it, how long do you think it takes for them to leave once they figure out the RC ethos, and do you think they bother to say why they left? Now that RC has devolved into Hank Roberts et al dot com, I would guess there’s some regret over the heavy-handedness of the Borehole, but perhaps a small audience is a good thing after all.

  14. 64
    SecularAnimist says:

    Walter Manny wrote: “once they figure out the RC ethos”

    I have no idea what you are referring to, except perhaps that the rote regurgitation of long-since and many-times-over debunked denialist nonsense is mercifully (and no doubt laboriously) deleted by the RC moderators — unlike every other open blog on the Internet where any attempt to discuss the science of anthropogenic global warming is quickly drowned out by a torrent of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, blatant falsehoods, and hate speech against climate scientists.

    I for one am glad to have even one climate change blog that is free of that garbage.

  15. 65
    Hank Roberts says:

    The Three Salient Global Mitigation Pathways Assessed in Light of the IPCC Carbon Budgets

    This briefing paper examines the levels of risk associated with three widely discussed global mitigation pathways: a 1.5°C marker pathway, a 2°C marker pathway, and a G8 marker pathway, in light of the latest IPCC report….
    … The G8 pathway, a marker of the high-level political consensus in developed countries, is based on a G8 declaration in 2008. Emissions peak in 2021, decline (in all-gas terms) by a maximum of 4.5% per year, and have a cumulative budget of 2,860 Gt CO2e. The authors find that its chance of keeping below 2°C is far less than 33%.

  16. 66
    Edward Greisch says:

    A new piece of the puzzle:
    Climate Change Denial

    George Marshall @ 8:21 pm
    “failure to fit a classic narrative … Our evolution as a social animal has left us highly attuned to threats posed by visible human enemies with a clear intention to do us harm.  Intention is important:”

    Instinctive cartoon-like response in most people. Possibly they have to be trained at least to the B.S. level to get it?

    I think we are getting down to where the real problem is.

    “Narratives need to be about co-operation common ground-and solutions need to be presented that can speak to the common concerns and aspirations of all people.” Don’t make anybody the enemy.

    Read what George Marshall says and let’s talk some more. This could be productive, but difficult.

  17. 67
    wili says:

    Manny wrote: “the Borehole…the many intelligent comments that have been deposited there”

    If you find the comments in the borehole intelligent, you’re not.

  18. 68
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, if you’re having trouble placing yourself in Kahan’s plane view, consider how you’d label an additional axis (or several more) to go beyond the 2-dimensional picture he sketches out. It’s a picture — the labels are poles apart, but people aren’t. I’d suggest an axis from intuition to calculus.

  19. 69
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Maybe Walter misses some of the old characters who came to RC spoiling for a fight. In those days, “those arriving to this site to learn” actually would have been appalled, doubtless were. Not much learning to be had in comment threads back then, not compared to now. “RC” or “References/Comments” has gone way up, RC as Raw Count of “you’re another” way down.

    Learning the skills of crude verbal pugilism wasn’t ever the instructional goal of RC, I think.

  20. 70
    sidd says:

    Mr. Walter Manny writes:

    1) ” … to those arriving to this site to learn, as you put it, how long do you think it takes for them to leave once they figure out the RC ethos, and do you think they bother to say why they left?”

    2)” Now that RC has devolved into Hank Roberts et al dot com …”

    In reply:

    1)If those who wish to learn will not do the homework, then they may leave. That is the ethos for any advanced class. Do the math. Do the homework. If you can’t do the math or the homework, find someone you trust to explain, and just audit the class. RC is full of people you can trust. As to who they are and why you ought trust them, you are left to your own judgement. If people leave, that is their choice, and their judgement, who can gainsay them. Perhaps, as may be true in your case, they might find a different forum more to their liking. Perhaps a meta-forum where they discuss the shortcomings of RC and their reasons for leaving. Just not here, if you please.

    I have not read the borehole in a long while, but it seems like a large section of repeat offenders wind up there, multiple times by the look of it. Would that they would really leave, perhaps the moderators would find time to comment more frequently, rather than wading thru crap.

    2) I, for one, welcome our new Hank Roberts overlord. Long may he reign. I always supported him. All Hail Caesar Hank !

  21. 71
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter, you fail to understand the situation in a couple of critical dimensions. First, it isn’t about belief but rather about evidence. Second, it isn’t about whether a post is off topic, but rather whether it is likely to be disruptive to the thread–that is to derail the discussion of the topic.

    It is easy to ignore a single off-topic post. However, if a comment is simply off the deep end, in denial of science for which evidence is incontrovertible, it is likely to generate a case of SIWOTI (Someone Is Wrong On The Internet) syndrome. And if it is attempting to besmirch the reputations of scientists known to people here, it will likely generate a firestorm.

    Finally, you seem to be under the impression that Realclimate is a debating society. It isn’t. It is an educational resource for those who want to come here and learn the science. It has done an excellent job of keeping that possible in a subject area that is but ought not to be controversial. There are plenty of places where one can engage in debate on this subject. There are precious few where laymen can come here to learn the science. The borehole plays a critical role in ensuring that remains possible. I have actually gone through and read a good proportion of the comments there. Most are simply sad. The majority are the same allegations of conspiracy one can find on the comments in the Wall Street Urinal. If I want a good laugh, I can go there.

  22. 72
    Hank Roberts says:

    Don’t let Manny personalize the concern troll. It’s a tactic.
    Asking for cites is not an attack

    Asking for sources is not a bar to entry.

    People lie, and post PR spin as though it were credible.
    You know what to do about that.

  23. 73
    Chris Snow says:

    For some light relief, I’d like to share two letters that appeared side by side in this week’s edition of my local newspaper, the Totnes Times. As you can see, they are written with all the authoritative ignorance of those with no expertise in the subject. Taken together, they cover a wide range of the climate myths (even Al Gore gets a mention), but are so bad, I would like to nominate them jointly for a Golden Horseshoe award.

    Letter 1
    Readers may or may not believe in catastrophic global warming caused by mankind. Personally, I don’t but everybody has the right to make up their own mind.

    Firstly, it’s not catastrophic even if it is happening. A total rise of 0.7C over the last century and a standstill since 1985 despite steadily increasing CO2 emissions cannot be described as ‘catastrophic’. A mild warming will be beneficial to mankind. Sea levels are rising at less than 2mm a year.

    The present hysteria about global warming and proposed actions to control it, can be compared to the human body. If, in an accident, a man has his arm severed, it is wise to put a tourniquet on the stump to keep him alive. If he has a nosebleed, it is most unwise to put a tourniquet on his neck. Any global warming, whatever its cause, is relatively minor and analogous to the nosebleed. The vast amounts of money being spent on trying to nullify global warming is akin to the tourniquet, which will destroy the world’s economy.
    The head US envoy on climate change has said to the UN that ‘talks aimed at negotiating a binding treaty to curb global warming are based on unrealistic expectations and are not doable.’

    The big game changer will be the exploitation of shale gas which is happening now.

    Letter 2
    The spread of ugly wind turbines and solar farms into the South Hams countryside continues unabated, with our Government committed to producing 30 per cent of our electricity from ‘renewables’ by 2020 under the Climate Change Act of 2008. But how concerned should we be about the climate?

    This autumn the Inter¬national Panel on Climate Change has issued its 5th assessment. According to the summary for policymakers, there is now even greater certainty, 95 per cent, up from 90 per cent in its 4th assessment of 2007, that more than half the warming since 1950 was caused by fossil fuel carbon dioxide. The new summary was leaked. Sceptical analysts soon pointed out that while the graphs, of predictions made in the 4th assessment, showed warming continuing ever upward, the actual temperatures since about 1998 have remained stubbornly flat, and even declining slightly. Worse, the actual readings lay well outside the permitted margins of error.

    In response, the IPCC hurriedly withdrew the summary and replaced it with a 2nd edition including a revised graph, based on an earlier model, which had margins of error nearly twice as large. Now the errant temperature readings appear within the margins. So, while their certainty has increased from 90 to 95 per cent, the margin of uncertainty in the science on which this is based has nearly doubled, in complete contradiction.

    The original 1st edition summary contained the comment that ‘models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10 to 15 years’. This was also removed and replaced with a long-winded rationalisation. It also conceded that the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature forcing may have been over-estimated.

    Nature Climate Science reports that the IPCC’s predictions of warming from 1993-2012 and 1998-2012 were over-estimated by factors of more than two times and four times, respectively. Regarding the future effect on temperature of a doubling of the concentration of atmospheric CO2, the IPCC now admits that ‘…no best estimate can now be given because of lack of agreement (in the science)’.

    The technical summary, the detailed science supporting these confused conclusions, will not be released until January, in the words of the summary, following adjustments for changes, for consistency with the summary. In other words, the science will be amended as necessary to fit the desired conclusions.
    Professor Corinne LeQuere, head of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, gave this reply during a recent interview: ‘The policymakers see the information from quite a different angle as they have to make a relationship with policy. They go through it, line by line, paragraph by paragraph and suggest changes which the scientists respond to.’

    But all this should be no great surprise as Al Gore, over 10 years ago, said that science can not be allowed to influence climate policy. Gore further predicted, in his 2007 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony speech, that the Arctic ice would have completely disappeared by 2013. The reality is that the rate of Arctic ice growth has more than doubled. And Antarctic winter ice this year had the largest coverage since records began in 1979.

    If the IPCC computer models can not even predict the past, why on earth are we still listening to their alarmist exaggerations about the future? How much longer do we have to put up with this nonsense and the ridiculous energy policy restrictions of the Climate Change Act?

  24. 74
    Walter Manny says:

    Ray, thanks, and we’ll continue to disagree about this, I think. You have been very good about saying the preponderance of evidence points to potentially dangerous warming, and I agree with that, but that’s where belief comes in, along with the precautionary principle. If you don’t believe something, you don’t do anything about it.

    You have written recently about sensitivity bifurcation and deep ocean warming, both of which have little to do with solid evidence [yet] of one thing or another. Nor are models evidence of anything, strictly speaking, though they are vital to improved understanding.

    Finally, while I do take your point about RC being an educational site, surely there’s a debating aspect to it, or folks here would stop debating. Debate is, after all, a key component of anyone’s education. So, yeah, I find it irritating when debate gets shut down on topics such as the hiatus, but I’ll allow that it’s a tedious objection, and I’ll desist.

  25. 75
    Rob Nicholls says:

    Chris Snow (#73). Thanks for this, it made me smile. Reminds me a lot of ‘An Appeal to Reason’ by Nigel Lawson.

  26. 76

    Manny, there is a HUGE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE from paleo proxies that deep ocean warming of the magnitude and rate we are seeing is VERY BAD. If you think otherwise, you are deluding yourself and misinforming others. That is not cool. Nor is it smart.

  27. 77
    AGWeird says:


    I have a serious question about something I don’t understand.

    First, two premises (to confirm that I got them right)
    – Changes in pH usually has been buffered (counteracted) by the chemical composition in the ocean. But since we now release lots of carbon very fast, we overrun the buffer system.
    – There are large variations in pH on a small spatial and temporal scale.

    Then why are not the small-scale pH variations counteracted by the buffer effect?


  28. 78
    Hank Roberts says:

    > debate

    Pfui. Dagnabbit, debaters don’t use DOI.
    If they did, they couldn’t be debaters.

    You claim the existence of what you call “debate” proves the site’s welcoming it, and yet you seem to think citing sources prevents debate from happening.

    And ya know what?
    You’re right.

    Debaters can’t use DOI, nor take time to give fair reading to sources on the subject.

    We’re doing something slow here (because a lot of us are pretty damned slow, myself for example. I’ve got to look just about everything up, to have any hope of comprehending the subject). Learning whose statements have any weight of fact behind them takes a long time even with the best of intentions on all sides.

    And when *ahem* and *cough* plop in for debating during the science conversation, refusing to cite sources, it blows up conversations.

    My opinion, solely: you came here for debate, and debate is not the goal here; persistent reminders you’re in a science lesson aren’t attacks.

    I don’t care _what_ your facts are.
    I care whether you’re making them up.

  29. 79
    Hank Roberts says:

    Bass: Dan H. ….. by co2science 217,411 views. Uploaded on Apr 9, 2010

    Isolated for 42 days in chambers of am bient and elevated CO2 concentrations, we periodically document the growth of cowpea plants (Vigna unguiculata) via time-lapse photography.

    Go, don’t flinch, laugh if you can, but stay for the music.

  30. 80
    sidd says:

    Mr. Manny addresses Mr. Ladbury:

    “You have written recently about … deep ocean warming … little to do with solid evidence … ”

    Evidence, quite solid actually.

    doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00834.1

    some grafs from these and other at

    Mr. Manny continues:

    “Debate is, after all, a key component of anyone’s education …

    Quite. Part of the trivium, specifically, rhetoric. Together with grammar and logic, qualifies one to study further.

    Unfortunately, useful debate in science is only possible when all parties understand the science. RealClimate is not a debating society. RealClimate is a course in climate science, say at undergraduate level, with some graduate level seminars, requiring aptitude and motivation. Debate can occur after you have mastered the known, and takes place, quite vigorously, at conferences and in peer reviewed papers.

    When you are taught in class about Newtonian gravitation, you do not debate your professor about action at a distance. Not for long, anyway, before you are shown the door, either by the professor, for wasting his time, or by your fellow students, for wasting theirs. This might be a more useful _question_ (and _not_ a debate) in a class on relativity, in the context of light delay, but unfortunately, you will never get to that class, because you flunked out of Newtonian physics. So sad.

    Debating someone who will not read and cannot count is less useful than debating the inverse square law with a cat. At least the cat will soon apply needle like claws to your tender bits to be let out and kill small things, whereas the illiterate, innumerate or ill-intentioned debater will waste your time for ever insisting on explanations he cannot, or worse, will not understand.


  31. 81
    Susan Anderson says:

    Tenney Naumer and I have located one of the best detailed analyses of a trolling attack we’ve ever seen. It was on Angela Fritz’s blog (h/t somebody at Neven’s for the ref.) but this is the best place to find the whole thing. Brilliant! I think it might come in handy with some of the cleverer and more polite phonies:

    At the end, this nice short summary, but the detail is priceless and more exactly in the bullseye; do go to the link:

    1. Discredit your opponent
    2. Inject misinformation
    3. Accuse others
    4. Deflect the argument
    5. Attack the science
    6. Establish yourself as a (false) authority
    7. Amplify your message.

    These are your tactics. They define your motives. They explain why you are here: to distract you

  32. 82
    Susan Anderson says:

    Now, to change the subject, Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Capital Weather Gang has a nice set of satellite pix:

    Of course, Dr. Masters at Wunderground did three posts, and one should bear in mind that it is now barreling towards Vietnam, though now the reports of deaths are finally filtering in from the Philippines.

    There’s some peculiar evidence (comments at Masters blog) of the startling ignorance of Joe Bastardi (arguing with Heidi Cullin, go figure). You’d think he’d not want to expose that he has no idea about how heat and energy get moved around …

  33. 83
    ArcticHaze says:

    I have a question about the availability of global monthly average temperatures (not anomalies). I’m looking for some data to verify the old van Loon (1972) claim that global temperature difference between July and January is 2 K (with July being the globally hottest month).

    I understand the physics. Landmass heats faster than ocean so the land-filled NH will be hotter in boreal summer than SH in austral summer even as it receives less irradiation due to the shape of Earth orbit. But I want to see it with some actual data. All the global series of temperatures are useless for that as they are anomalies calculated separately for each month.

    Any ideas when to find the data (or at least the values of offsets of each month anomaly relative to annual anomaly)?

  34. 84
    Hank Roberts says:

    > van Loon (1972)

    I sure wish RealClimate had a staff librarian :-)

    I’d guess you might turn up what you want searching Scholar, starting with the original paper

    and reading papers that have cited it (there are several hundred). E.g.:

    A modulation of the mechanism of the semiannual oscillation in the Southern Hemisphere


    DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0870.1998.t01-3-00005

  35. 85
    MARodger says:

    ArcticHaze @83.
    You would think that the month-by-month climatology for GISS, NCDC etc would be easy to source but I’ve never seen a whiff of one myself. I wonder if Fleming et al 1988 would provide what you’re after. Mind, my attempts at cut&paste of the tables have never been satisfactory so it may be a ‘transcribe by hand’ task.

  36. 86
    Dan H. says:

    The variations over smaller scaled are due to local phenomenon. This could include soil runoff, ocean floor releases, plant and animal life. Local effects have always occurred, which are separate from the larger ocean.

  37. 87
    SecularAnimist says:

    Walter Manny wrote: “the preponderance of evidence points to potentially dangerous warming”

    The actual observed effects of the warming that has already occurred, as a result of the greenhouse gases we have already emitted, are self-evidently already “dangerous” since they are already causing massive and costly harm.

    So any “debate” about whether anthropogenic global warming is “potentially dangerous” is fatuous.

  38. 88
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Further to Sidd, what is about the deep ocean that make it so susceptible to our eyes sliding around it? Folks of all stripes repeat the same fiction: “We don’t know about it.”

    We do, enough to say that what’s happening down in the briny deep is fairly disturbing. Let alone temperature, there’s circulation, as Sidd points out. Look up the term “Sverdrup” or “Sv.” Changes in deep ocean circulation are measured in multiple Sv. 1 Sv is roughly equal to the flow of all rivers together into the ocean. A wag might say “the Kraken awakes.” :-)

  39. 89
    sidd says:

    re:monthly climatology

    look at MERRA monthly in Giovanni (my new best friend, as I posted awhile ago), like

    2nd parameter block from the top, scroll down in that block, you will see 2 m Temperature

    knock yourself out, i have been playing with precip there and other places, like ERA-40, and podaac and such, big time sink

    have phun


  40. 90
    Edward Greisch says:

    78 Walter Manny: Search Climate Progress [] for the number of people killed per year by GW. I think Joe Romm said it is 160,000/year and half a million total. Not that Romm has proof of his estimates. I agree with 87 SecularAnimist.
    1.  Enemy + Intention → Harm to victims
    2.  Hero + Intention      →  Defeats enemy and restores status quo

    Most “adults'” thinking is at the cartoon level. We must get most voters’ thinking to move from the cartoon level to at least a rudimentary science level. We have to teach the concept of experiment and we must get all students to do hands-on experiments. In other words, we have to teach, not tell them, what science is.

    Debate is an “enemy.” We always loose debates because the other side does the Gish Gallop.

  41. 91
    Walter Manny says:

    An attempt at clarification about: “deep ocean warming… [having] little to do with solid evidence (yet).” To be more precise, I should have narrowed that to the deep ocean explanation for the hiatus, to suggest that the evidence, while compelling, may be preliminary.

    Stocker (IPPC co-chair): “I’m afraid there is not a lot of public literature that allows us to delve deeper at the required depth of this emerging scientific question [the hiatus]. For example, there are not sufficient observations of the uptake of heat, particularly into the deep ocean, that would be one of the possible mechanisms to explain this warming hiatus.”

    Stocker may have been wrong about that or misrepresented his report, but the IPPC has been held up here as a useful standard and reference.

  42. 92
    wili says:

    Speaking of death tolls, Haihan is already the deadliest storm to hit the Philippines in that nation’s history.

    10,000 are estimated dead just from one town.

    It may be hard to know exactly how much GW contributed to make this the monster it became.

    But we can be quite sure that such storms and worse will become more and more common.

    The equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima-obliterating bombs in energy that we are adding to the climate system every day are going to be falling around the heads of ourselves and our children with more and more deadly force.

  43. 93
    wili says:

    This is good news, right? If industry-generated aerosols have a more limited cooling effect than originally thought, we can clean up and scale down dirty coal plants without worrying too much about consequent sudden jumps in global temperatures of up to 2 degrees C (if I remember the upper limits of earlier studies correctly).

    On the other topic, we need both better science ed. and better debating/communication skills.

    As others have noted, I don’t think it is for lack of science education that so few petroleum geologists accept the science of global warming.

    (It would be nice to have the wealthiest corporation since the invention of money on our side, too. But Exxon is not likely to come around soon, no matter how much science they understand (plenty) or how many debates we win (or lose).)

  44. 94
    wili says:

    Since this has been a topic of (sometimes heated) discussion, I thought I might point out this section from the recent WMO GHG bulletin (as covered by SkSc):


    “In a special section on methane, the bulletin said that there has not yet been a measurable increase in Arctic methane due to melting of the permafrost and hydrates. It said that the increase in global average methane levels was rather associated with increased emissions in the tropical and mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere. Attribution of this increase to anthropogenic (human-influenced) or natural sources requires better coverage and more sophisticated observations in the atmosphere which are currently not available.”

    How does this square with the fact the many of the highest levels of methane recorded on earth continue to be in the Arctic?

  45. 95
    Radge Havers says:

    Some people will go over to the dark side regardless of education. In the case of (some) petroleum geologists, it’s hard not to wonder about how $$ affected the nature of the education they received, not to mention the career environment. There is an historical and cultural/values component to science education which should perhaps be given more emphasis early on and continuously thereafter.

    Apart from that, science is a good thing and well worth learning. Like Ed, my experience was certainly transformative, and agree that more is better… within practicable limits. By itself however, boosting science curricula is probably not sufficient to fix the mess we’re in. Narrative-wise, I’ll just point out that there’s a recalcitrant and smugly self-satisfied, anti-science element out and about. No mean task to undermine even that portion of the problem culturally.

  46. 96
    Jack Maloney says:

    Dear Moderator: When “climate science” prefers suppressing questions rather than answering them, civilization is indeed at risk. Posting SA’s baseless claims in #87, and boreholing polite and legitimate questions addressed to them, does more than stifle debate – it reveals RealClimate’s intellectual poverty.

  47. 97
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Jack Maloney — 10 Nov 2013 @ 9:03 PM

    Based on content, I disagree.


  48. 98
    tmb says:

    95 – As a member of the dark side I see many examples of cognitive dissonance, but mostly AGW just doesn’t come up. A few people will pontificate about what they saw in the “Global Warming Swindle” or whatever it’s called. A couple more will make snide remarks occasionally about Al Gore. On the rare occasion where I press the issue or overhear a conversation it’s painfully obvious they are about 20 or 30 years behind in their understanding. It’s pretty depressing because they are otherwise smart people. I don’t know how much of it is the paycheck and I’d hesitate to guess. Still, it’s a tricky environment for someone who “believes” the evidence for AGW. I’m just keeping my head down while exploring options. I’m certainly not the only one who understands what’s coming, but it’s a disappointingly small number.

    (I’m having captcha issues so I apologize if this suddenly appears multiple times…)

  49. 99
    MARodger says:

    Steve Fish @97.
    Based on content, I do not see the comment from Jack Maloney as borehole material. Then the enquirer does have history so on that count I would side with the moderator’s actions.

    Of course, finding actual “real scientific” proof that AGW is “already causing massive and costly harm” is not straightforward. This is not because such “harm” is not happening. Rather there is always a lot of “harm” in this big wide world and nailing down the “harm” attributable to AGW to a scientific standard is not simple and, like a ship’s officer asking for the latest first aid reports on the Titanic, it is not the best use of resources. ‘And those first aid reports jolly-well better be signed off all tickerty boo, or you won’t have heard the last of it.’ Just remember the continued ruckus with ‘a majority of the last 50-year’s warming was likely caused by AGW’.
    Also, from the comfort of a life in the (presently) safe developed world, what level of “harm” would be construed as “massive and costly”? A farmer enduring drought or working in higher temperatures or an eco-system falling apart due to AGW – would these feature high on the list of significant “harm”? A skeptic may be hard to convince, especially when he can point to other anthropogenic causes of “harm” to such life systems. It simply wouldn’t register unless has a pesonal impact, say like it raises the insurance premiums on the Hummer.

  50. 100
    Dan H. says:

    How can you be quite sure that they will become worse and more common. Even the IPCC does not concur, stating that the “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust.” A recent report from the University of Colorado stated, “The analysis does not indicate significant long-period global or individual basin trends in the frequency or intensity of landfalling [tropical cyclones] of minor or major hurricane strength.”