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Unforced Variations: Feb 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 February 2017

“O brave new world, that has such people in ‘t!”

This month’s open thread. Usual rules apply.

257 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2017”

  1. 201
    prokaryotes says:

    Top 10 Climate Change Movies

    Comment below the video! What do you think, your suggestions make a difference!

  2. 202
    mike says:

    A at 193: This historical record of CO2 readings show an average increase of approximately 0.76 ppm for February over January average. You have to use large datasets to get a sense of what is going on with numbers that have a good-sized fluctuation embedded. That is certainly the case for monthly averages on CO2 ppm readings.

    Big jump in Feb 2016 was probably related to heat spike and El Nino. If you look at the EN episode numbers and watch monthly CO2 numbers you can see the EL bump run through the months like the bunny bump through a snake. We are currently in that process watching the 2015-6 EN event CO2 bump lingering in the numbers from the past year.

    The larger up and down fluctuation in monthly average numbers that shows up when you look at a year or more of monthly readings has to do with landmass mismatch between northern and southern hemispheres and the related vegetative growth that produces the annual wobble in CO2 readings. I am a little confused about your question, maybe I have misunderstood?

    Right now we are beginning the drop in CO2 readings associated with spring in northern hemisphere. We are headed to the low monthly average for the year. That should show up in September with a monthly average of approximately 403.4 ppm, then the monthly averages will begin creep up for high readings that reflect fall and winter in northern hemisphere. Does that help?

    Daily CO2

    February 16, 2017: 405.77 ppm
    February 16, 2016: 403.36 ppm

    noisy number, but shows 2.41 ppm increase over previous year. I think that might be close to the underlying trend in annual increase at this moment, but I could be wrong about that. We need to be showing zero increase in year on year number. That would reflect that we have responded appropriately to the crisis of the anthropocene and moderated the scale of the sixth great extinction event.

    Cheers and warm regards to all,


  3. 203
    Thomas says:

    The heatwave that engulfed southeastern Australia at the end of last week has seen heat records continue to tumble.

    On Saturday 11 February, as New South Wales suffered through the heatwave’s peak, temperatures soared to 47℃ in Richmond, 50km northwest of Sydney, while 87 bushfires raged across the state, amid catastrophic fire conditions.

    On that day, most of NSW experienced temperatures at least 12C above normal for this time of year. In White Cliffs, the overnight minimum was 34.2, a new record for the state’s highest observed minimum temperature.

    On Friday, the average maximum temperature right across NSW hit 42.4, beating the previous February record of 42.0. The new record stood for all of 24 hours before it was smashed again on Saturday, as the whole state averaged 44.0 at its peak. At this time, NSW was the hottest place on earth.

    Now there’s major unprecedented bush fires around Christchurch NZ. It’s further south than Tasmania is.

  4. 204
    JCH says:

    Gavin… anybody… Gistemp has not updated on Wood for Trees since November 2016. Is there anything you, or anybody else, can do to help rectify the situation? WfT is a fantastic resource for the public.

    [Response: WFT justs scrapes our public data files. We haven’t changed anything at our end so likely a bug at their end. – gavin]

  5. 205
    MA Rodger says:

    As per GISTEMP, NOAA is also reporting a warm Janurary with the global anomaly at +0.88ºC, the =18th warmest month on record and the third warmest January after 2016 & 2007.
    All the top 20 months bar two (Jan 2007 =12th +0.89ºC and Feb 1998 =20th +0.87ºC) have occurred 2015-17. “Mucho Scorchio!!!”
    ENSO-neutral conditions persist in the Pacific (with NINO 3/4 rising from negative to positive last week & SOI continuing just negative) but the ENSO prediction of a follow-on El Nino forming at the back-end of the year has been reported by the BBC. So the “scorchio” could be getting a tiny extra boost by 2018.

  6. 206
    S.B. Ripman says:

    This comes from a non-scientist living in Southern California.
    A couple of points:
    1. The difference between climate and weather cannot be stressed enough. In our area, after 4 years of unrelenting drought, we had great hope in the winter of 2015/16 when it was announced that a big El Nino was happening. But it was a bust again: about half the average precipitation; summer-like day after summer-like day; no help for the dwindling reservoirs. Now here we are in winter 2016/17 and the world is experiencing a light La Nina and historically that’s a time when SoCal typically gets less than average precip. We were expecting another pathetic winter and instead it’s been raining like mad, the Sierras are buried in snow, the reservoirs are filled to overflowing and our valleys are as green as Ireland. What’s going on? According to a couple of forecasters I follow, the jet stream has a split in it somewhere up by the Aleutians and this just randomly happens sometimes during La Ninas and when it does happen it can steer abundant moisture our way. In summary the point is this: that when entire seasons can vary wildly based on random factors, one should be extremely hesitant to draw conclusions about the climate from isolated weather events.
    2. Don’t underestimate the convictions of the supporters of Mr. Trump and don’t wishfully hope that their priorities for this nation are at all similar to yours. We have friends who are Evangelicals and have attended some group meetings of theirs and it is crystal clear that to them (a) our country is going down the drain (and their children and grandchildren are at grave risk) mostly because of a decline in church attendance, and (b) the election of Mr. Trump was a miracle ordained by God (because America has a special place in God’s heart and he wishes to save it from its decline, and because they prayed for him). To them the country’s morality (as defined by Biblical principles) is of far greater importance than problems with the climate or the economy or involvement in ill-conceived wars. To them colleges and universities and professors bear much of the blame for turning the country away from Biblical principles; and science, while a useful tool conferring benefits, has also brought unintended harms to our society. They are fervent and they are emboldened by Trump’s success. To summarize: be prepared for 4 years of intensified, vicious culture wars.

  7. 207
    chris korda says:

    Interesting critique of current Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs):

    “Over the last two centuries, the impact of the Human System has grown dramatically, becoming strongly dominant within the Earth System in many different ways. Consumption, inequality, and population have increased extremely fast, especially since about 1950, threatening to overwhelm the many critical functions and ecosystems of the Earth System. Changes in the Earth System, in turn, have important feedback effects on the Human System, with costly and potentially serious consequences. However, current models do not incorporate these critical feedbacks. We argue that in order to understand the dynamics of either system, Earth System Models must be coupled with Human System Models through bidirectional couplings representing the positive, negative, and delayed feedbacks that exist in the real systems.”

    “… about 50 percent of the world’s people live on less than $3 per day, 75 percent on less than $8.50, and 90 percent on less than $23. One effect of this inequality is that the top 10 percent produce almost as much total carbon emissions as the bottom 90 percent combined. … even if per capita emissions stabilize or decline in the developed countries, population growth in … wealthy countries will remain a major driver of future increases in resource use and emissions.”

    Modeling sustainability: population, inequality, consumption, and bidirectional coupling of the Earth and Human Systems
    Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas, Eugenia Kalnay et al. Natl Sci Rev (2016)

  8. 208
  9. 209
    mike says:

    anybody notice that a few republicans have proposed a carbon tax?

    The Rs are the people in charge. Nice to see some of them acknowledge AGW and suggest something to address the problem.


  10. 210
  11. 211
    Thomas says:

    208 Victor says: “Yay the world’s been saved from destruction! You don’t get it all you unscientific Gaia fools on RC! Problem solved!”

  12. 212
    Victor says:

    “With coal-fuelled power plants still resisting retirement, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany actually grew last year; when the cooler weather is taken into account they stagnated at best (see chart 2). Germany is now on a trajectory to miss its climate targets by a wide margin.”

  13. 213
    Victor says:

    “India intends to triple its production of coal by 2030”

  14. 214
    Thomas says:

    #207, very good thx.

    .. using national per capita GDP calculations and projections provides a distorted understanding of the distribution and characteristics of resource use and waste generation.
    .. using a consumption-based calculation rather than a national territorial production-based approach demonstrates even further the extent of global economic and environmental inequality: about 50% of the world’s people live on less than $3 per day, 75% on less than $8.50, and 90% on less than $23.

    The top 10% [of Consumers …] produce almost as much total GHG emissions (46% of global total) as the bottom 90% combined (54%) see Fig. 2)

  15. 215
    Hank Roberts says:

    Too bad toy stores don’t sell climate models suited to educate kids, eh?

    all seven climate models predict that occasional atmospheric rivers will develop that are bigger than any of the historic megastorms. Given the remarkable role that atmospheric rivers have played in California flooding, even these modest increases are a cause for concern and need to be investigated further to see if the projections are reliable.

  16. 216
    mike says:

    February 12 – 18, 2017 405.91 ppm
    February 12 – 18, 2016 403.45 ppm

    2.46 ppm increase in year on year. I think we have the Feb runup in CO2 embedded in this number. I think our actual background annual increase is now in 3 ppm range.

    More CO2, more heat. More CO2, more ocean acidification. Increases in heat and ocean acidification are loaded with tipping points where carbon sinks reduce function and new carbon and methane outputs come alive. This is the ballgame. In 2014 Dr. Mann said keep it under 405 ppm. Uh-oh, we have blown by the Dr’s number. No worries. Engineers and economists will save us.

    But, we should definitely be on our guard about terrorists because the attacks are really ramping up from that source. Sweden was hit, Greenland is in lockdown, terrorist bombings in Perth and Kinshasa, or maybe that was Kielbasa, not sure on all the factoids. Loose lips keep us all informed these days. Global warming have become a background issue with all the dangers we face from refugees from Ishtar and Atlantis.

    If you say something, see something. That is the only thing that keeps us safe these days.

    Submitted at 11:54 am Feb 21nd, in the year of our Trump, 2017.

    Warm regards,


  17. 217
    Thomas says:

    “India intends to triple its production of coal by 2030”
    – excellent and so they should. Much better than cow dung, and they’ll save a fortune by ceasing all coal imports this year (potentially waiting on confirmation)

    Meanwhile the USA should cut it’s production & consumption of coal by at least two-thirds before 2030 if not to be seen as an international pariah and climate criminal to be be slapped with punitive trade sanctions by the rest of the world.

  18. 218

    Th 217: “India intends to triple its production of coal by 2030”
    – excellent and so they should.

    BPL: You’re insane.

  19. 219
    Lynn says:

    I’ve got it — what to call Judith Curry’s type of “denial”:

    THE LOW MARGIN OF ERROR FALLACY. Also that she pushes or exaggerates those MEs even lower.

    What do you think?

    Actually this is a strategy of some anti-environment EPAs, like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. They took only the low MEs on the testing for alpha radiation in some Houston city wells (going against fed EPA policy and written admonition), and since the ME were pretty large, this made it look like there was never any problem, when in fact the actual test results showed danger for over a decade. The local news called it “fraud.”

  20. 220
    Jim Hunt says:

    Hank @215 – However please see:

    The Raspberry Pi Planet Simulator Cluster

  21. 221
    Thomas says:

    218 Barton Paul Levenson, the opinions of mad men, religious fanatics, and selfish elitist sociopaths have no currency in the real world. Karma wins out every time, eventually. (smile)

  22. 222
    Thomas says:

    2014 United States Coal Consumption = 485.03 MToE

    Per Capita Consumption = 1.49 MToE per Million Americans including BPL

    2013 India Coal Consumption = 341.00 MToE

    Per Capita Consumption = 0.25 MToE per Million Indians including the dirt poor.

    Therefore Maths proves beyond all doubt that the average American uses 6 times more Coal every year which produces 6 times / 600% more dangerous GHGs than the average Indian produces.

    And so it is that Maths also proves that if India tripled it’s Coal use they would still be way behind the Per Capita damage being done to the Planet that Americans have been causing since the 18th Century.

    OMG! That can’t be true could it? Americans are all really nice people.

    National contributions to observed global warming by H Damon Matthews et al

    Total contributions to global warming for each country are shown in figure 1. The United States is an unambiguous leader, with a contribution of more than double that of China, which falls second in the ranking.

    India is 5th!

    Accounting for population differences between countries is also critical in any discussion of national contributions to observed global warming.

    Table 2 also reveals that the climate warming due to fossil fuel CO2 emissions alone would result in a very different list of the top 20 countries. Brazil, for example, has a climate contribution that is dominated by land-use CO2 and non-CO2 gases, pointing to the critical importance of deforestation and agriculture in explaining their fourth-place ranking. The same is true of Indonesia, Columbia and Nigeria, whose fossil fuel CO2 emissions are not nearly large enough to explain their position on this list.

    Table 2. Top 20 contributors to global temperature change, ranked in order of their total climate contribution

    1st United States at 0.151 is 325% Greater than the teeming masses in India at 5th 0.047

    Table 3. Total versus per-capita contributions to temperature change for the world’s top 20 total emitters from table 2. Warming per billion people – 2nd is the United States at 0.51 – 20th is India at 0.04;

    OMG you’d think a ‘scientist’ knowledgeable about climate science would know all this already. Maybe not when they intentionally skip over references already provided on RC.

    Historically American’s contribution to the total Global Warming on the Planet is 13 times or 1275% greater than the average Indian’s.

    Maths can be a right bitch when it comes to sticking with one’s false beliefs and handling internalized cognitive dissonance that arises from it. (smiling, only joking, it’s a valid truism)

    The top 10% CONSUMERS, with 27.5 metric tons of GHG emissions per capita, produce almost as much total GHG emissions (46% of global total) as the bottom 90% combined (54%), with their per capita GHG emission of only 3.6 metric tons [87,90] (see Fig. 2).

    Sane, rational, evidence/science based individuals with a normal Human Empathy capacity do not miss items like the above nor actively set out to undermine nor deny them in public (imo).

    Misc refs

  23. 223
    Solar Jim says:

    RE: Scott at #158
    “5-20 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year x 1.5 billion hectares = 7.5 – 30.0 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s roughly 60%-250% of annual fossil fuel emissions +/-.”

    Unless I have misunderstood your numbers, fossil “fuel” emissions annually are approx. ten billion tons of CARBON, or 36.66 billion tons of carbonic acid gas, aka carbon dioxide. Your 60%-250% figure would therefore be inaccurate.

  24. 224
    Thomas says:

    re #218 – I thought abusive, insulting, ad hominem attacks were banned from RC?

    Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

  25. 225
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 215, 220
    Egress! How technophilia can reinforce biophilia to improve ecological restoration
    Authors: Buette, Brook

    First published: 3 June 2016
    DOI: 10.1111/rec.12387

    For effective and sustained ecological restoration, community support is essential. Yet, in modern society, artificial constructs and electronic technology now dominate most peoples’ interests (technophilia). This has led to a perceived growing disconnection between humans and nature. We ask how such technology might be harnessed as an agent of connection to the environment, rather than being seen as a driver of detachment. We use the example of a hugely popular mobile augmented reality smartphone game “Ingress” to show how gaming technology can excite people about nature, unlock their inherent biophilia, and highlight the value of ecological restoration in their everyday lives.

  26. 226
  27. 227
    Scott Strough says:

    @223 Solar Jim,
    You said, “Unless I have misunderstood your numbers, fossil “fuel” emissions annually are approx. ten billion tons of CARBON, or 36.66 billion tons of carbonic acid gas, aka carbon dioxide. Your 60%-250% figure would therefore be inaccurate.”

    You are correct, I should have said NET emissions rather than just saying emissions. Please excuse my typo. Keep in mind I used numbers based on degraded agricultural ground that is currently a net emissions source. Some agricultural ground and well as some wilderness areas and of course the oceans are currently still functioning as sinks. We could probably pump up the sequestration rates for some of those areas as well, but I left them off because the calculations are far more complex and I wanted to stay ultra conservative in my estimate. Just sticking with degraded soils for a rough estimate of the sink potential. The real results would be that or more.

  28. 228

    Th 222: if India tripled it’s Coal use they would still be way behind the Per Capita damage being done to the Planet that Americans have been causing since the 18th Century.

    BPL: A molecule of CO2 doesn’t care what country it’s from. It has the same radiative effect.

    Th: Sane, rational, evidence/science based individuals with a normal Human Empathy capacity do not miss items like the above nor actively set out to undermine nor deny them in public (imo).

    BPL: Sane, rational, evidence/science based individuals with a normal Human Empathy capacity do not intrude anti-western political crap into discussions of science. Of course, that lets you out.

  29. 229

    Re Victor’s “India to triple coal”–Thanks, V. So grateful for the update on the latest from 2015.

  30. 230
    Hank Roberts says:

    > India … triple its production of coal

    Have you looked at the air, there, now?

  31. 231
    mike says:

    thomas at 217 says: ““India intends to triple its production of coal by 2030”
    – excellent and so they should. Much better than cow dung, and they’ll save a fortune by ceasing all coal imports this year (potentially waiting on confirmation)”

    I think it is naive and wrong-headed to suggest that expansion of coal production is excellent because it might be better than cow dung. Is there any reason that a developing nation needs to follow every step and stage of development that more developed nations have followed? Might it not be a better idea for a developing nation to learn from mistakes of more-developed nations and avoid some development mistakes? Ask coalminers and residents of Kentucky how the coal industry shapes up these days?

    Why would a country like India want to create a coal-based energy system with what is known today? Aren’t there some better, more attractive options? What makes you think replacement of cow dung with coal fuel an excellent idea for the residents of a small blue planet?

    Maybe that is a more elegant response than BPL mustered at 218.

    Daily CO2

    February 20, 2017: 406.67 ppm
    February 20, 2016: 404.12 ppm

    submitted at 9:34 am Feb 24th


  32. 232
    Thomas says:

    231 mike asks Aren’t there some better, more attractive options?

    As far as I have seen via govt news et al they are moving positively on all options – and have struck a balance that works for them, perhaps.(?) India is rolling out very large projects in PV solar, thermal solar, nuclear power stations, wind, gas and coal fired power stations. It’s an energy hungry fast developing nation.

    India’s population 1 billion 278 Million 457 Thousand 7 hundred and counting.
    Births today 15,848 and counting
    Births this year: 66 million and counting
    It’s only February btw.

    This is the reality.

    China has 1,373,731,086 souls and counting. Plus 600 Million 44% of those are now at reasonable ‘middle class’ incomes or above.

    The European Union is the next largest group of nations with an estimated combined population of over ~510 Million souls and counting.

    3rd in Population by Nation is the United States at 318,892,103 (Call it 320 million with the Highest per capita use of fossil fuels and GHG etc in the world)

    Indonesia 253,609,643 (A huge mainly Muslim nation previously Dutch)
    Brazil 201,009,622 (Courtesy of the Portuguese)
    Pakistan 196,174,380 (Courtesy of the British)

    Yes that’s Pakistan with 200 million people! And it’s a political basket case with non-stop Islamist bombings and terrorism happening.

    Nigeria 177,155,754

    It’s a bit of a poverty basket case too with Terrorist Islamic groups like Boko Haram. 46.5% are Christian, slightly larger than the Muslim population of 45.5%.

    Bangladesh 166,280,712

    First large nation to be affected by sea level rise and reduced river flows from less melting snow and ice being likely.

    Russia 142,470,272

    Half the population of the USA. Per Capita GDP $9,000 (or 16%) versus USA $56,000 per year.

    Japan 127,103,388
    Mexico 120,286,655
    Philippines 107,668,231

    All other nations are below 100 million in population.

    The question might be: Can any nation operate today without coal, gas and oil being 3 primary energy sources in their whole energy mix?

    Are there any alternatives today?

  33. 233
    Thomas says:

    re 226 Victor

    IN 2016 China cancelled 30 coal fired power stations and 30 coal stations/electricity projects.

    This means China is stopping work on the equivalent of the combined coal-fired capacity of UK and Spain. Up to now, the Chinese government had avoided interfering in projects that had already been contracted and financed, and where construction had started. The cancellations will be painful, and entail major commercial losses and disputes.

    IN 2017 via Victor url ” China cancels 103 projects that were planned or under construction, eliminating 120 gigawatts of future coal-fired capacity.

    China has about 3 times the coal fired capacity of the USA, but are expecting to only use 50% of that capacity, with that decreasing over time and more and more renewable low carbon energy comes online.

    But it is still huge chunk of global emissions between now and say 2040 by both China and the US alone over the next 25 years.

  34. 234
    Thomas says:

    re 226 Victor … so that 160 coal projects canceled in less than 2 years in china. That’s amazing, especially when many of them had already began construction.

    That kind of short term rapid responsiveness is not possible in the west. the sky would fall in.

  35. 235
    mike says:

    spiky day on CO2:

    Daily CO2

    February 24, 2017: 408.28 ppm
    February 24, 2016: 404.20 ppm

    Last week:

    February 19 – 25, 2017 406.91 ppm
    February 19 – 25, 2016 404.40 ppm

    Watching the dailies and weeklies, I have a sense that the trend at this moment is at 2.5 ppm over last year. That’s a pretty miserable number, especially in light of the runup in CO2 that happened with the El Nino of 2015-2016.

    Deniers can blow smoke and create confusion with reports that suggest CO2 has 4 yr life in atmosphere or that we are only responsible for 4 plus % of CO2 buildup, but there are real world consequences to our situation that cannot be avoided. And when you look at the basic number, ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere over time, it is clear to any reasonable person that we have created a pretty bad situation with burning of fossil fuels. Time to make big changes. I don’t see it happening. We are continuing to crank up the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. More CO2, more warming.

    If you think there is no problem, please buy coastal property and live on it. Prove you believe global warming, glacial and icecap melt, and sea level rise are not happening. Live on the coastal interface.

    warm regards


  36. 236
    Thomas says:

    The Guardian (fwiw) With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist Robert Mercer is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network

    Cambridge Analytica had worked for (Brexit), he said. It had taught them how to build profiles, how to target people and how to scoop up masses of data from people’s Facebook profiles. A video on YouTube shows one of Cambridge Analytica’s and SCL’s employees, Brittany Kaiser, sitting on the panel at Leave. EU’s launch event.

    Facebook was the key to the entire campaign, Wigmore explained. A Facebook ‘like’, he said, was their most “potent weapon”.

    “Because using artificial intelligence, as we did, tells you all sorts of things about that individual and how to convince them with what sort of advert. And you knew there would also be other people in their network who liked what they liked, so you could spread. And then you follow them. The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.”

    But there was another reason why I recognised Robert Mercer’s name: because of his connection to Cambridge Analytica, a small data analytics company. He is reported to have a $10m stake in the company, which was spun out of a bigger British company called SCL Group.

    It specialises in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations”, refined over 25 years in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In military circles this is known as “psyops” – psychological operations. (Mass propaganda that works by acting on people’s emotions.)

    Cambridge Analytica worked for the Trump campaign and, so I’d read, the Leave campaign. When Mercer supported Cruz, Cambridge Analytica worked with Cruz. When Robert Mercer started supporting Trump, Cambridge Analytica came too. And where Mercer’s money is, Steve Bannon is usually close by: it was reported that until recently he had a seat on the board.

    And since 2010, Mercer has donated $45m to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50m to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. This is a billionaire who is, as billionaires are wont, trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs.
    more details

    [ Hint: Mercer’s success is in maths and developing trends analysis in economics to become a hedge fund manager. This kind of software is used to help “investors” in the stock market, and anyone can buy it. John Abbott, partner of Jennifer Marohasy used similar IT when he was investing in the stock markets, now he and Jennifer are using the same kind of software to “create” their long term “weather forecasting” business – just as Judith Curry is not embarking on now. Birds of a feather?? ]

    imo the above is another example of why climate science denial has nothing to do with science and is all about normal psychology, framing, metaphors, cultural ideology, culture wars, and the abuse/misuse of economic power.

    Make America Number 1; Club for Growth Action; American Heartland PAC;
    While Robert Mercer doesn’t have a formal statement on his view on climate change, he has funded known climate change denier Art Robinson and his work, as well as prominent climate change denial groups including The Heartland Institute.
    Climate Change Denial Funding – A DeSmog analysis found that, collectively, the Mercers have given at least $22 million to organizations that promote climate science denial while blocking moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Hedge Fund Manager Robert Mercer ($2 million), Energy Tycoons Jay Bergman and William Clayton ($1 million each) and T. Boone Pickens ($1 million)

    The above imo relates in practice to the various refs shared in the recent past about psychology/cognitive sciences of George Lakoff eg Reason is 98% unconscious metaphor and cultural framing; and successful marketing by the right/conservatives. The century of the self doco especially the last episode with Blair and Clinton electioneering 20 years ago now. various vids by Dr Kroth on delusions, displacement and denial of evidence/observations. Cognitive dissonance and the Dunning Krugar Effect. The pernicious effects of income inequality. And of course the ubiquitous Neo-Liberal economic/political “belief system” across the west and especially in the Anglo-sphere.

    The core issue is how these multi-hydra “action groups” are now able to use advanced IT and “marketing tools” to monitor and target the public debate using emotionally driven trigger words and phrases. iow political propaganda funded by big business interests who now hold and control over 50% of global wealth and income.

    Especially in America which is ground zero for global climate science denial activity and the highest concentration of re-elected Denialists in Congress and State Legislatures.

    I cannot see this situation shifting until ethical scientists (in general) and academics in all fields plus the few decent journos left in the world get highly politically involved enough in Public discussions that the public becomes much more aware of the “intentional manipulation” that’s been going on for a long time now. Yet I fond it hard to imagine how this would come about to change anything.

    They do not have deep pockets to compete in the “open marketplace of ideas”.

  37. 237
    Thomas says:

    PS more extract from TG artilce is very telling imo

    He describes Mercer as “very, very conservative. He truly did not like the Clintons. He thought Bill Clinton was a criminal. And his basic politics, I think, was that he’s a rightwing libertarian, he wants the government out of things.”

    He suspects that Mercer is bringing the brilliant computational skills he brought to finance to bear on another very different sphere. “We make mathematical models of the financial markets which are probability models, and from those we try and make predictions. What I suspect Cambridge Analytica do is that they build probability models of how people vote. And then they look at what they can do to influence that.”

    Finding the edge is what quants do. They build quantitative models that automate the process of buying and selling shares and then they chase tiny gaps in knowledge to create huge wins. Renaissance Technologies was one of the first hedge funds to invest in AI. But what it does with it, how it’s been programmed to do it, is completely unknown. It is, Bloomberg reports, the “blackest box in finance”.

    Johan Bollen, associate professor at Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, tells me how he discovered one possible edge: he’s done research that shows you can predict stock market moves from Twitter. You can measure public sentiment and then model it. “Society is driven by emotions, which it’s always been difficult to measure, collectively. But there are now programmes that can read text and measure it and give us a window into those collective emotions.”

    The research caused a huge ripple among two different constituencies. “We had a lot attention from hedge funds. They are looking for signals everywhere and this is a hugely interesting signal. My impression is hedge funds do have these algorithms that are scanning social feeds. The flash crashes we’ve had – sudden huge drops in stock prices – indicates these algorithms are being used at large scale. And they are engaged in something of an arms race.”

    The other people interested in Bollen’s work are those who want not only to measure public sentiment, but to change it. Bollen’s research shows how it’s possible. Could you reverse engineer the national, or even the global, mood? Model it, and then change it?

    “It does seem possible. And it does worry me. There are quite a few pieces of research that show if you repeat something often enough, people start involuntarily to believe it. And that could be leveraged, or weaponised for propaganda. We know there are thousands of automated bots out there that are trying to do just that.”

    THE war of the bots is one of the wilder and weirder aspects of the elections of 2016. At the Oxford Internet Institute’s Unit for Computational Propaganda, its director, Phil Howard, and director of research, Sam Woolley, show me all the ways public opinion can be massaged and manipulated. But is there a smoking gun, I ask them, evidence of who is doing this? “There’s not a smoking gun,” says Howard. “There are smoking machine guns. There are multiple pieces of evidence.”

    Anyone who believes a Tweet by a Million Gavin’s setting the record straight on climate science will make a difference is kidding themselves, imo.

  38. 238
    Thomas says:

    Automated programmed “Bots” first began appearing on Usenet discussion boards in the early 2000s. A little history fwiw, I was there as it happened. The world has totally changed since then.

  39. 239
    Thomas says:

    a quote

    This is the world we enter every day, on our laptops and our smartphones. It has become a battleground where the ambitions of nation states and ideologues are being fought – using us.

    We are the bounty: our social media feeds; our conversations; our hearts and minds. Our votes. Bots influence trending topics and trending topics have a powerful effect on algorithms, Woolley, explains, on Twitter, on Google, on Facebook. Know how to manipulate information structure and you can manipulate reality.

    which is also driven by: “if it’s free then you are the product”.

    Know the difference between framing and propaganda:
    Frames are mental structures used in thought; every thought uses frames. Every word in every language is defined relative to a mental structure — a frame. Frames, in themselves, are unavoidable and neutral. Honest framing is the use of frames you believe and that are used to express truths.
    Propaganda expresses lies that propagandists know are lies for the sake of political or social advantage.

    27 October 2003

    BERKELEY – With Republicans controlling the Senate, the House, and the White House and enjoying a large margin of victory for California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s clear that the Democratic Party is in crisis.

    George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science, thinks he knows why. Conservatives have spent decades defining their ideas, carefully choosing the language with which to present them, and building an infrastructure to communicate them, says Lakoff.

    The work has paid off: by dictating the terms of national debate, conservatives have put progressives firmly on the defensive.

    In 2000 Lakoff and seven other faculty members from Berkeley and UC Davis joined together to found the Rockridge Institute The institute offers its expertise and research on a nonpartisan basis to help progressives understand how best to get their messages across.

    #NotTheEnemy versus #ProtectTheTruth ?

    Lakoff often writes and lectures about examples of how climate science denial attracts people.

  40. 240
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @ Thomas #236 – 237 – 239 and many more:


    Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how interesting you are. Talk for too long and people will resent you for using up their time, even if they enjoyed listening to you. They’ll also hesitate to connect with you in the future.

    The best rule of thumb: make your point as quickly as possible, and then shut your mouth. Your audience will appreciate it.

  41. 241
    mike says:

    A second consecutive spikey day.

    Daily CO2

    February 26, 2017: 408.58 ppm

    February 26, 2016: 403.58 ppm

    What does it mean? Probably not much except that we are looking at numbers well above the nice, round 400 ppm number. This is not where we want to be. Unfortunately, next year we will be looking at numbers above 410 and wondering if there is anyway to get back to these good old days in 408 range.

    This is where the rubber meets the road. This number is the one to follow if you follow only one number.

    submitted 09:45 Feb 27

    Warm regards


  42. 242
    Thomas says:

    BPL: A molecule of CO2 doesn’t care what country it’s from. It has the same radiative effect.

    This kind of rhetoric is known as puerile sophistry by a dill.

    Can BPL get any more puerile with his distracting ways and denial of reality and collective responsibility? I think he could. He is far from alone how entrenched personal beliefs and political/cultural ideology keeps getting in the way of accepting permanent solutions to agw/cc.

    One in four Anthropocentric CO2 Molecules are stamped “Made in the USA”.

    It doesn’t matter whether molecules of CO2 care or not.

    Molecules do not Vote.

    But given the recent US elections it could be a subject for further study. Maybe they do?

  43. 243
    Thomas says:

    240 Chuck Hughes … well fark me if Chuck doesn’t have something to say about a comment by Thomas…. and nothing else for a whole month.

    Such a surprise you could blow me down with a feather, not.

    Read the links for yourself my dimwitted resident crybaby … you can read articles longer than a Tweet’s length, yes? (smiling)

  44. 244
    Thomas says:

    Mike, with daily and weekly numbers, +4 or +5 ppm on the year before are not typical in the daily records going back decades.

    Anyone who dismisses such figures as “only daily” figures and therefore irrelevant is ignoring the accumulated evidence and reacting emotionally, not scientifically.

  45. 245
    Thomas says:

    There were 15 responses to my February Poll

    46% Favourable
    47% Unfavourable
    7% Non Definable

    Proving beyond all doubt that only 0.0176% of RC visitors care in the least about what Thomas does or says.

    And proving beyond all doubt that 99.991% of RC visitors are quite capable of using RC without a problem.

    Meanwhile, did you know that 2.5% of traffic to realclimate is coming from India? (smiling)

    And that only 47% of traffic comes from the USA. It’s of genuine international interest and does not represent an American politico-cultural edifice.

  46. 246
    MA Rodger says:

    As February draws to a close, our planets polar ice continues to show previously-uncharted levels of sea ice at both poles.

    Up North, the NSIDC chArctic & JAXA VISHOP both show Sea Ice Extent sitting below all previous years and so far hovering a few tens of sq km below the record for ‘lowest maximum for the year’. (This ‘lowest maximum for the year’ could occur at any time up to late-March, so the to-date situation is not yet close to ‘end-of-story’.) For the two months so far, with the exception of the exceptionally-melty 2016, 2017 has been easily outstripping all years for having the lowest SIE and, as this JAXA Arctic SIE anomaly graphic shows (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’), 2017 is so far knocking the exceptionally-melty 2016 into second place.

    Down South, the SIE has been remarkably sitting below all other years on the satellite record (with the exception of a 5-day period in early January in the JAXA data) since early November 2016. The period of minimum ice was perhaps the closest of squeaks in this 4-month period but now as other years begin to show a significant freeze-up, the 2017 Antarctic SIE to the end of February continues to decline. “Mucho squeltchio!”

  47. 247
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Thomas: “Automated programmed “Bots” first began appearing on Usenet discussion boards in the early 2000s. A little history fwiw, I was there as it happened.”

    Given how bot-like most of what you post sounds like even now, this doesn’t surprise me.

  48. 248
    Hank Roberts says:

    The sensitivity of West Antarctica to the submarine melting feedback.†

    Accepted manuscript online: 1 March 2017
    DOI: 10.1002/2017GL072514

    †This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/2017gl072514


    We use an ice sheet model with realistic initial conditions to forecast how the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica responds to recently observed rates of submarine melting. In these simulations, we isolate the effects of a positive feedback, driven by submarine melt in new ocean cavities flooded during retreat, by allowing the present climate, calving front and melting beneath existing ice shelves to persist over the 21st Century. Even without additional forcing from changes in climate, ice-shelf collapse, or ice-cliff collapse, the model predicts slow, sustained retreat of West Antarctica, driven by the marine ice sheet instability and current levels of ocean-driven melting. When observed rates of melting are included in new sub-glacial ocean cavities, the simulated sea level contribution increases, and for sufficiently intense melting it accelerates over time. Conditional Bayesian probabilities for sea level contributions can be derived, but will require improved predictions of ocean heat delivery.

  49. 249
    mike says:

    Another spikey day:

    Daily CO2

    February 28, 2017: 407.61 ppm
    February 28, 2016: 403.36 ppm

    at 4.25 ppm over same day last year. The upcoming weekly average will be well over 3 ppm, might be in the 4 ppm range. Thomas as 244: you are correct. These kind of numbers do not show up in the records. There are all sorts of trends and indicators that can be sussed out by simply watching this one simple number. Your observation is one of those and leads to conclusion that the rate of CO2 increase in atmosphere is unprecedented. That is not good news.

    In 2014 Dr. Mann said we should keep it under 405 ppm. He was correct about that. That ship has now sailed. Our annual number for 2017 will be well above 405 ppm.

    5 years in a row of steady increase in global temp averages. Like the 4 or 5 ppm increase, there is nothing in the record like this current moment. And the US elects a potus and congress who want to debate whether global warming is even happening.

    Baffling, no?

    Warm regards,


  50. 250
    Larry Edwards says:

    I don’t know if anyone has commented here about the webpage below, or when the webpage was posted (but it represents data “through the year 2016”). It is an interesting graphical depiction of data from Howe et al. 2015 (“Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA.” Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2583). The webpage is a Yale site.

    The graphics depict opinion concerning climate change and what should be done about it, county-by-county both in-color and interactively on a map. The are also bar charts on generalized topics, presented nationally.

    This information may help in identifying ways for scientists on or visiting RealClimate, toward new ways to get information out to the public. Perhaps a discussion of the presented results would be a helpful topic on the RealClimate site.