Unforced Variations: Nov 2013

This month’s open thread…

289 comments on this post.
  1. Sean:

    For those interested who may not have ever seen this, I think it’s pretty good and worth the time. 22mins Interview and Q&A with Gavin circa 2009 (?)

    Andrew Revkin says: Gavin Schmidt discusses how scientists can and should occupy the space “between the paper and the Tweet.”

    Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate on the Promise and Pitfalls of Blogging

  2. Sean:

    @244 Susan Anderson sorry susan, I meant to say “examples” and not ‘evidence’ before. Both began with ‘e’ and so I blame steve fish for this, lol.

  3. sidd:



    is fascinating. Forests and woodlands buffer heating, give the small scurrying creatures and the sessile plants time to try an move poleward.

    “… thermophilization, particularly the increase of warm-adapted species, is attenuated in forests whose canopies have become denser, probably reflecting cooler growing-season ground temperatures via increased shading.”

    not just forests. i have planted trees far from others, and seen how the ground around changes. Plant an appropriate tree, and care for it, microclimate is important too.


  4. MARodger:

    Sean @250.
    You mention a “specific purpose” for commenting @RealClimate. Given you are responsible for over 15% of this comment thread and have single-handedly dominated it over the last few days with you voluminous comment (one stretching to almost 1,300 words) it is bizarre that your “specific purpose” remains entirely obscure.

    @250, you talk around the subject of trolls. Having presented the subject of trolling of course, there is the thought that perhaps you are by your ubiquity on this thread yourself trolling. If not, it would be preferable for all to be clear about your “specific purpose” here.
    If we look back up the thread, ‘trolling’ does not appear to be the subject matter of your “specific purpose”.
    @8 you ask for obscure climate videos, @12 you ask for a count of climate science workers, @17 you join in asking for a critique of a Kevin Anderson presentation, @38/39 you raise the subject of communicating science, in particular climatology & its denialist side. @42 you share your views on professions harbouring denialism, @47 suggest climatology isn’t getting its message across in the face of increased denialism, @53 assert that denialism trumps factoids, @190 provide advice to the UN IPCC in the manner of a question – ‘What is the IPCC & climatology doing about the denialist lies?’ then @191 accuse UN IPCC/climatology of “unconscionable and a dereliction of responsibility” How this accusation links with your comment @192 where climatology harnesses the expletive & Hansen’s pronouncement that a human-fueled “low-end runaway greenhouse” is “conceivable” – how this links in is not made plain. And on and on and on and on.
    And by the way, I make it @238 x 6, x 7 now I add myself.

  5. prokaryotes:

    Climate Change 2013 Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

  6. wili:

    Gavin, if you’re still reading these (sometimes interminable and garbled) posts, could you affirm (or not) that the figures for methanes GWP from Schindell et alia http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/326/5953/716 of 35xCO2 for century time scales and 105xCO2 for decadal time scales is true?

    Has any subsequent research superseded these figures in the last few years/months, or, in your view, are they still valid? Thanks ahead of time.

    (On the other matter, looks like it’s time to stop ftt.)

  7. Steve Fish:

    Re- Comment by Sean — 27 Nov 2013 @ 8:12 PM

    You invite another go, so OK, in the comment by Sean 27 Nov 2013 @ 8:12 PM you, when asked for a couple of references, said- “No. It is what it is. Not too many peer reviewed studies out there on the Borg. I am not going to play games with this. If you disbelieve what I said, or wish to refute it feel free for that is your privledge” (the Borg?). So you don’t have any references for your very strong statements and you still haven’t answered the embarrassing question (now the third time) regarding your inability to communicate effectively here while at the same time lecturing to climate scientists about how they should communicate.


  8. Hank Roberts:

    Wili, the papers citing that Shindell paper are worth a look; more than 200 total; about 60 in 2013. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2013&hl=en&as_sdt=4005&sciodt=0,6&cites=5198717999429845339&scipsc=

    The first result I get today on that page is
    The danger of overvaluing methane’s influence on future climate change
    JK Shoemaker, DP Schrag – Climatic change, 2013

  9. wili:

    Thanks, Hank. That’s a good strategy, but a bit overwhelming. I’ll start looking, though. I mostly wanted to know if there was a study that one of the authors themselves would consider valid to reconsider their GWP figures. Gavin’s judgment on such things would be worth orders of magnitude more than mine (or yours–sorry, old chap).

  10. OnceJolly:

    Re – Hank @258 and Wili @259

    One of the relevant papers (cited in the AR5 Physical Science Basis) is Stevenson et. al. 2012 (Shindell is a co-author). From the paper:

    “While it is well understood that increases in CH4, NOx,CO and NMVOCs have driven up tropospheric ozone, only one model has previously explored the relative contributions of these different precursors (Shindell et al., 2005, 2009). Applying six different models here, we estimate that
    CH4, NOx, CO and NMVOCs are respectively responsible for 44±12% (±1 standard deviation range), 31±9 %, 15±3% and 9±2% of the 1850s–2000s ozone RF (Table 10).” (pg. 3079)

    In the same paragraph, they note:

    “The results from Shindell et al. (2009) indicate a split of: 74 % (CH4), 11 % (NOx), 13 % (CO) and 2 % (NMVOCs)(Table 10), which is outside the model range (except for CO) found in this study.”

  11. wili:

    Searching around a bit, it looks like some recent papers give a range of values for the global warming potential of methane, rather than one number. For example, “global warming potential that is 20–40 times higher than that of carbon dioxide (CO 2) on a 100 year timescale”


    Note that the high end of this range is even higher then that given by Schindell et alia.

  12. Sean:

    @257 Hi Steve. If I am ‘lecturing’ and I do not believe that I am, then I am not the only one doing so. A few days ago, Ray suggested to me I was wrong on a point I made that ‘communication’ was a two street. His pov was correct from where he was coming from and yet it did not disprove my own, imho.
    Steve, your reply wasn’t unexpected by me. I have been waiting for it so I could genuinely suggest a workable and very practical strategy that will help, if you are willing to give it a go.
    I humbly suggest you go back to the post I made you are focusing upon here. Copy and paste it into a text file. Then skim through it, select and delete all those sentences (ideas/claims) that you have a serious issue with and are critical of me for including.
    Re-save the text file, take a 20 minute break to relax and distract your mind by doing something else. Then come back to your computer and read what is there with fresh eyes. Have a think about what you see in the ‘content’ now.
    And ponder again what my purpose and intent is. Am I truly being unfairly ‘critical’ or lecturing any individual or org? Is it my ineffective communication that is at fault, or could it be something else entirely?
    Bottom line and most important imho is: What am I really demonstrating Steve? My answer is: ineffective public communication. What’s your answer? Cheers Sean

  13. OnceJolly:

    Appendum to my earlier comment:

    Probably not the most relevant one, though, given that the main point of the Shindell et al paper was methane’s indirect effect on aerosols. From the Physical Science Basis: “Shindell et al. (2009) estimated the impact of reactive species emissions on both gaseous and aerosol forcing species and found that ozone precursors, including methane, had an additional substantial climate effect because they increased or decreased the rate of oxidation of SO2 to sulphate aerosol. Studies with different sulphur cycle formulations have found lower sensitivity (Collins et al., 2010; Fry et al., 2012).” (Chapter 8, page 58)

  14. Sean:

    @254 MARodger, thanks for your comment & the time you took to review my ‘comments’. That tells me you’re not a dill, and are genuine in your comment.

    Firstly this is grossly unfair on me, and is a selective re-framing of the whole reality of me as a sincere RC participant, namely: “Given you are responsible for over 15% of this comment thread and have single-handedly dominated it over the last few days”

    It is unfair on me and a misrepresentation of the true facts because you are a) ignoring all my other comments made on this site and b) that you are ignoring my total time on this site which extends back to the year 2006. It’s called ‘cherry-picking’ and all kinds of illogical fallacies are involved here.

    So if you are going to make a genuine evidence based point, I suggest it will ONLY ever be accurate if you actually calculate the REAL long term figures. Then if you want to compare ME with everyone else who has posted here since 2006-2007 and are still posting here regularly, then feel free. But at least get the basic facts correct and present them fully and honestly. Short Term Variations do NOT only work in Climate Science. To focus on those is IRRATIONAL and not scientific. I claim that to do the very same thing about my posts is doing the very same thing deniers do, as such it grossly UNFAIR and UNTRUE.

    RE “how this links in is not made plain.” So MARodgers what you are saying here is that you are confused by the content of my comments as listed, and that this is a problem for you. But you find that I personally am the cause of this and therefore at fault? Is this what you mean, because I do not know what it is you are trying to say, nor what I am supposed to do or say about it.

    Except that from the look of it your list sounds accurate. Yes I have mentioned those things, whether your interpretation about them is reasonable is anyone’s guess. I really don’t know what I am supposed to say or how to help you. But thanks for your comment because it is still helpful to me. Cheers Sean

  15. Sean:

    @254 re: “@12 you ask for a count of climate science workers” Yes I did, and the last time I checked I still had not received a response by way of a tip of where I could find that info. I asked that question for a reason. I had spent MANY hours in the proceeding weeks trying to locate a credible source for the many comments I had seen that there were 27,000 or so in the field. I can’t recall but that 27,000 (?) might even have been made right here on RC itself.
    I am not an incompetent in internet search in fact highly skilled for well over a decade now. Before barely a soul even knew what the “Internet” was was using FTP to find documents in Universities etc around the world in the 1990’s. But it wasn’t as congested as it is today and so is getting harder and harder every day. I asked for some help, it is important to me. If anyone knows anything please have a look at my original query: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/unforced-variations-nov-2013/comment-page-1/#comment-421558
    I have not complained and still are not that I didn’t get a response either.

  16. Sean:

    Regarding my last comment “@12 you ask for a count of climate science workers”

    RC About: “We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics …”

    If the many queries I have asked recently, but especially this one about 27,000 workers in the field of climate science is not appropriate for posting to RC as a question and a request for help, then I honestly do not know what would be. Why this query could be an ISSUE for anyone is totally beyond me. And should be for everyone else here as well, imho.

    Who is being unfairly and relentlessly critical here? Me?

  17. Sean:

    RC Moderator, please replace my last sentence in my last comment with:
    “Who is being unfairly and relentlessly critical, plus intentionally belligerent here? Me? To put this as clear as day, I am not operating inside a vacuum.”

  18. wili:

    RC Moderators, please replace Sean’s last 30 posts since #190 with…nothing. They have contributed nothing to the discussion. The last question posed is typically ill formed and so of course can be given no simple answer. There is obviously no clear definition of “workers in the field of climate science.” As discussed above, and as is clear from a moment’s thought, climate science involves many fields and draws on experts from any number of disciplines. Clear from a moment’s thought, but then thinking can seem a very laborious process for some, and a moment can seem a very long time.

    His/her belligerence when people don’t serve him/her as he/her feels he/she deserves is a clear indication that he/she is lacking in the minimum level of maturity required to contribute productively on such a site. I work with often-emotionally-distressed teenage girls, and his antics make them seem the epitome of calm-cool-and-collected by contrast. Drama queen would be far too polite a term.

    I will comment no more on the matter. Best, wili.

  19. OnceJolly:

    @261 Wili

    I think I’m going to have to bow out on this and let the experts comment. My impression was that the AR5 would use the Shindell et al. figure, but the reported figures are lower (20 year and 100 year figures of 28 and 84 w.o. carbon cycle feedbacks and 34 and 86 with). My best guess from browsing Chapter 8 of the Physical Science Basis is that given the high uncertainty in the indirect effect on aerosols, the decision was to report GWPs that don’t include these effects.

  20. Sean:

    The Mobbing Encyclopaedia
    “The empirical research on mobbing in the workplace has revealed…..”

    Repost info: “Writer and critic Richard King believes that Australians have become too quick to take offence.” Richard says freedom of speech means nothing without the freedom to offend. On Offence: The Politics of Indignation is published by Scribe.

    Recommended Audio sections: @29:00 mins; @33:20 mins to 40:00 mins

    In this provocative account, Richard King explores how the politics of offence is poisoning public debate. With hurt feelings being paraded like union banners, we’ve ushered in a new mood of censoriousness, self-pity, and self-righteousness. http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/on-offence/

  21. wili:

    Thanks, OJ. That makes sense.

  22. Edward Greisch:

    I received the following email:

    “From: PAGES IPO
    Subject: e-announce: US Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences – seeking community input

    The US National Research Council is conducting a Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences (DSOS 2015) and wants to hear from the ocean sciences community regarding the top ocean science priorities for the next decade.

    The purpose of this decadal study, sponsored by the NSF, is to review the current state of knowledge, identify compelling scientific questions for the next decade, analyze the infrastructure needed to address these questions vs. the current NSF portfolio, and identify opportunities to maximize the value of NSF investments.

    The survey committee feels strongly that this report must be informed by broad and thoughtful community input from across the entire spectrum of ocean sciences supported by NSF. 

    One of the ways they are soliciting community input is through a virtual Town Hall: 

    The site provides more detailed information on the statement of task, as well as a complete list of the DSOS committee members.”

    I went to their web site and thanked them for confirming what climate scientists do.

  23. Tony Weddle:

    If methane levels are increasing, as they are, shouldn’t we be considering the GWP of methane over short time scales? The amount of methane being converted to carbon dioxide is being replaced each day, and more. It looks like, for the foreseeable future, the instantaneous level of methane will not be decreasing, so the full impact of the current level of methane should be used. If the GWP over 1 year is, say, 120xCO2, shouldn’t that be the number used? Is that not right?

    [Response: Not really. The impacts over a single year are small (tiny even) because of the inertia of the climate system which integrates the forcings over time. 20 years is pretty much a minimum at which it makes any sense, but as you can read in section 8.7 of AR5, there are many problems with GWP as a concept. – gavin]

  24. MARodger:

    Sean @264/265/266.
    It is gratifying when my comments here are helpful. Perhaps I should have a second attempt.

    But let me first point out why you are being unreasonable to expect (or demand?) answers to questions posed here. Your query @12 asked “A while ago I saw a statement indicating there were approx 27,000+/- individuals (climate scientists and others) currently working in the Climate Science related fields. Is this accurate today?” You also ask for an authoritative reply. This enquiry of yours is all a bit vague. “…and others”? “Climate Science related fields”? And where did you see this number? If it is important, why not describe why are you so interested? If the answer were know by somebody reading your comment @12, would they not answer it? That they did not, the question is likely not one so simply answered. Indeed, the questioning posed @12 did ask “Does anyone have a ref to…” So if nobody does “have a ref to…” why the surprise when you get no reply.
    But you find this unreasonable and @266 you quote from the RealClimate ‘About’ page as though RealClimate has some sort of obligation to answer such off-the-street questioning. This is an incorrect reading of that page. The quote concerns “developing stories” within climatology not off-the-street questions in the comment threads.
    Do you really expect our hosts or perhaps me, or some other denizen of these comment threads to invest time investigating a question when the questioner is so unhelpful? You do not @12 share with us your own labours trying to find the answer you seek, and you “highly skilled for well over a decade” in such work. Note also that @265 it is no longer “a while ago (you) saw a statement” but there are now “many comments (you) had seen that there were 27,000 or so in the field.” Is that consistency? Myself, I can find 27,000 articles, species, years, homes, trees, quotations, pages, affected people, all concerned with climate science but the only ‘27,000 working’ is here on this RealClimate thread. (Of course, while I might not have been “highly skilled for well over a decade,” might I suggest that if you think 29,083 could be the number you seek, you will also get ‘authors’.)

    So to the second attempt.
    Sean @264
    You say ” I really don’t know what I am supposed to say or how to help you.” The comment I made @254 had one central question although I did not directly pose the question. Then, are the dots too far apart to join up? Let me cherrypick. ““Sean @250. You mention a “specific purpose” for commenting @RealClimate. … it would be preferable for all to be clear about your “specific purpose” here.” So what is this “specific purpose” of yours for commenting here @RealClimate?

  25. prokaryotes:

    Scientists Measure Bubbling Sounds of Melting Glaciers? [Video]

  26. Sean:

    @255 Prokaryotes says: Climate Change 2013 Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

    Absolutely brilliant IPCC video, thank you for sharing this, and especially the website. Chris Machens of Germany is brilliant and has done a fantastic service for everyone with his website http://climatestate.com/

    An extra special thank you to Prokaryotes for a final confirmation of the answer/s to my key question. You and Machens have just saved me a lot of unnecessary work and time. Fantastic. I will upload of few choice videos and submit many existing Youtube videos not yet listed there in the coming weeks. Thanks Sean

  27. Sean:

    @274 re: “expect (or demand?)” I have never expected nor demanded a damned thing. Paranoia and presumption is not becoming of you nor anyone. Have a good day.

  28. prokaryotes:

    Sean, thanks for the positive feedback. At the bottom of the page at ClimateState you have the option to suggest videos.

  29. prokaryotes:

    Help ClimateState to reach more people

  30. Hank Roberts:

    >> hurt feelings being paraded …
    > Paranoia and presumption …

    “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

  31. Sean:

    @279 aha! Now I get it “private run project by Chris Machens aka prokaryotes since 2009 (formerly climateprogress.net, climateforce net and biochar.be)”

    Good stuff, very intelligent, highly professional and serving a critical need globally. The general public trying to make sense of Climate Science and the future within a storm of noise. Various feedbacks had confirmed to me recently that audio/visual presentations was the solution to disinformation and confusion.

    Plus Chris you have created a new venue space where individuals can positively contribute in coin, ideas, talent, and within a positive sharing environment. Very classy indeed. 200 hits a day? Times 1000 within a year imho. Your SEO is brilliant and is exactly how I would have structured such a site, where single videos/files uploads are replicated across multiple sub directories. I was doing a very similar thing on Google Docs for a history project compilation holding over 2500 separate files across 50+ sub-directories, where every title was keyword rich. Page 1 Google search results went off the scale. Simply offering my confirmation you are on the right track here. It will be successful, have no fear.

    Best to you. I will contribute soe things I have collected over time. Including future editing some longer youtube videos of lectures by professionals into shorter subject focused vids. I have already shared your site within an academic public domain that regularly discusses the latest in Climate Science. Thanks for saving me from starting from scratch. I could not have done as good a job as you have Chris. KUDOS

  32. Sean:

    @279 PS on avg speed adsl 2 your site works fast, no problems loading pages nor vids.

    From Little Things Big Things Grow http://youtu.be/_tHEGo-g3mw

  33. Chuck Hughes:

    @ 280

    Frank: “But this is our hill. And these are our beans!”

  34. Chuck Hughes:

    What now?


    Does anyone here envision Americans giving up their oil and gas consumption in light of this?

  35. Lars Karlsson:

    Fred Singer is now spreading a claim that the tropical tropospheric hot spot was presented as a human fingerprint in IPCC SAR:


    “This report devotes a whole chapter, #8, to “Attribution and Detection.” Its main feature is what one might call the “invention” of the “Hotspot,” i.e. an enhanced warming trend in the tropical troposphere — never actually observed.

    The first error was to argue that the Hotspot is a “fingerprint” of human influence — and specifically, related to an increase in greenhouse gases. This is not true.

    I haven’t been able to find any such claim in SAR chapter 8, i.e. the Hotspot is a “fingerprint” of human influence. There is a discussion about differences in models and observations, but not even there the Hotspot is presented as a fingerprint.

    Have I missed something, or is Fred simply making the thing up?

  36. Sean:

    @284 an alternative view about nth american shale oil gas potential
    FEB 2013 – New Shale Gas Report – Drill Baby Drill – David Hughes

    In this landmark report, PCI Fossil Fuel Fellow David Hughes takes a far-ranging and painstakingly researched look at the prospects for various unconventional fuels to provide energy abundance for the United States in the 21st Century. While the report examines a range of energy sources, the centerpiece of “Drill, Baby, Drill” is a critical analysis of shale gas and shale oil (tight oil) and the potential of a shale “revolution.”

    also Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social and Political Attitudes http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/3207711

  37. Hank Roberts:

    > Your SEO is brilliant … single
    > videos/files uploads are
    > replicated across multiple
    > sub directories ….
    > every title was keyword rich.
    > Page 1 Google search results
    > went off the scale….

    This explains so very much.

    My growing belief in the Captcha AI Oracle is further strengthened by its first suggestion: ‘was ntClicyt’

    Carry on ….

  38. MARodger:

    Lars Karisson @285.
    Singer is getting in a stew over Santer et al 1996 “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,” (Santer et al 1995b in SAR). Where Singer is away with the fairies is in characterising this as the “main feature” of the SAR chapter and (it seems) seeing it as vital to the SAR. Santer et al (1996) conclude that “many uncertainties remain” with their attribution. SAR says of Santer et al 1995b “Some concerns remain…” So the study is not being relied on and is certainly not a “main feature” of anything in the SAR, unless you’re Fred Singer.

  39. Sean:

    @287 is just more confirmation of #229 for those readers looking on quietly, smiling and nodding their heads in agreement. Teaching by practical example and role playing in real life situations is always a far superior mode of communication than a one way lecture or unnecessary arguing which goes no where and gains nothing. Just sayin’ :)