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Unforced Variations: August 2017

Filed under: — group @ 2 August 2017

This month’s open thread.

592 Responses to “Unforced Variations: August 2017”

  1. 101
    Paul D. says:

    Ew: #39 Andrew:

    Indeed nuclear is the most complex and most expensive way man has ever found to boil water.

    But also, by far, the most efficient. A handful of UO2 fuel pellets boils as much water as a 100 car trainload of coal, and with zero direct C02 emissions as well.

    And also, this implication among the anti-nuclear power advocates that there is something outmoded and obsolete about the use of water/steam as a working fluid in a thermodynamic machine cycle is clearly coming from someone who is not an engineer or scientist. There is literally no other chemical compound that has the ideal properties that water has in converting heat into mechanical work.

    The expense of nuclear power mostly arises from the extraordinary safeguards in the designs and operation due to irrational public perceptions of the hazards and environmental impacts of nuclear compared to the far greater hazards to humans and the environment from fossil fuel – notably the mining of coal.

  2. 102
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Thomas at #47 where you wrote

    It’s one of those long tail things, I suspect. Where the word “sudden” is in terms of a decade or two after warming is much greater than today.

    The abrupt warming at the end of the Younger Dryas may have happened in as little as 3 years, see Richard Alley’s book “The Two Mile Time Machine”.

  3. 103
    mike says:

    Thanks, Dan, but I don’t think you understand what I said. I think it makes sense to simply shrug off specific/stupid predictions and stick to the quite accurate discussion about the short/mid/long term impact of CO2e of 490. That accurate discussion is that 490 ppm of CO2e is a global disaster. Can I break it down for you in terms of mm of sea level rise at your beach front property? No. Can I tell which crops will fail on which continent each year? No. Can I tell you when the heat wave or flood will hit your zip code and crank up property damage and loss of life? No. Can I tell you when a specific glacier or ice mass will disappear. No.

    Will the Arctic/Antarctic/Greenland ice melt? Yes, and it won’t be good. When will it happen? Shrug. That really doesn’t matter because that question is rooted in a deconstruction of the global climate change disaster we have precipitated and deconstruction of that disaster is not useful. There are a plethora of bad things that will happen because of global warming. They are connected and it makes no sense to argue about the particulars of each specific potential impact. The overall, distributed impacts are the problem. And those are a big problem driven by the increase of CO2e in the atmosphere. It’s just my opinion and my practice, but that is what I am thinking and talking about. Getting pulled into arguments about when global warming will damage and burn the PNW forests is a fool’s errand. I worry about it, but it is only one pretty unpredictable impact of global warming.

    btw, I think a gambler who takes a card on 19 never looks like a genius, that is a foolish decision every time it is made. It’s like looking at the increase of CO2e and saying, hm, maybe this will work out great. Maybe 650ppm of CO2e will make the earth great again. yup. maybe. and pigs might start to fly.

    Best to you, thanks for discussion, I don’t think we are likely to need to discuss our different positions in any more detail.

    Thank you to folks who offered a little encouragement. You know who you are and I appreciate hearing from you.

    Pretty sad to review the numbers that Digby posted at 91, but they tell a story just like the CO2 and CO2e numbers tell. All of the IPCC agreements and feel-good stories about our fossil fuel catastrophe are meaningless unless we do something really significant about those numbers. That is what we need to be talking about.

    Warm regards


  4. 104
    Russell says:

    Will the solar eclipse compel SKS to adjust its Hiroshima Climate Bombometer on the 21st ?

  5. 105

    Some have been expressing concern about ‘failed projections’. Given the push given the meme by the denialati, it’s not surprising that some take it as a given that such failures are the norm. That does not appear to be the case.

    I tried to take a nuanced, semi-rigorous look at a set of ‘alarmist’ projections advanced to me by a denialist interlocutor. The process and results are here, for those interested:

  6. 106

    Speaking of projections, and uninhabitable places, someone should probably mention this:

    As an example, Eltahir says the temperatures during the 2015 heat wave reached a wet bulb temperature of about 30 C.

    He says the fatal point for healthy humans is a wet bulb temperature of 35 C for six hours, but “these are conditions that have not been observed anywhere.” The highest wet bulb temperature recorded is approximately 31 or 32 C, he says.

    About 15 per cent of the South Asian population gets exposed to those extreme temperatures of 31 or 32 C, but under the business-as-usual model that number would reach 75 per cent by 2100, the study found. Four per cent of that population would see wet bulb temperatures of 35 C.

    “This is a new territory we’re moving into,” Eltahir said.

    The underlying paper can be found here:

  7. 107
    Thomas says:

    95 Dan H. ASI summer “This has been predicted and failed at least three times in the past.”

    A classic logical fallacy. An emotionally driven comment not based on anything real or worthwhile nor based on objectivity or reason. What science/academic org predicted/failed at least 3 times? No one!

    Evidence/authority provided in support that Sept ASI will last until +205? One ‘paper’ published in 2013. Oh really? How nice. Another logical fallacy and side stepping a mountain of research analysis suggesting otherwise, RC included.

    Where are the refs for the predictions that failed at least 3 times? Waddhams? Al Gore Movie? Murdoch news reports? Heartland Institute? They do not represent the whole body of scientific knowledge and available data to date. Anyone else with high scientific authority and credibility ….. no, none!

    Someone on a blog site claiming summer ASI will be gone in 2010 or 2025 – yep heaps but doesn’t count – even if they are climate scientists….. like hello?

    and another falsehood … “Granted, these could be wrong, but they match the current observations and measurements.”

    Actually no they don’t. If you were serious and competent enough to understand half the real issues involved in ASI Dan you would already know that Dan imho.

    re “However, when someone makes a prediction that is so far off, they look rather foolish. Just like the player taking a hit on 19. If he gets a two, he looks like a genius, but the deck is stacked against him.”

    Irrelevant emotionally driven fake metaphors & sophistry clap trap – that ain’t science!!! Climate science and the existence of ASI is not a friggin’ card game or Hedging investments on the stock markets!!!!

    What you have provided here Dan H. are Logical fallacies and False claims and Fake News all the way down. Meanwhile, models are useful. Who is really looking foolish here …. “Perfection is the enemy of the good!”

    That’s a very useful metaphor – the exceptions prove the rule – especially when flying in aircraft or space shuttles.

    94 Fahad Zia … Victor’s new Nym?

  8. 108
    Mr. Know It All says:

    94 – Fahad

    Sir, recently one of the worlds preeminent climate scientists, who regularly posts on this website, recommended the following books. Here’s the list and good luck in your studies:

    Some recommended books for those who don’t want to become climate scientists, but want to pick up enough to be knowledgeable about the debate:
    George S. Philander 1998. Is the Temperature Rising?

    Spencer Weart 2008. The Discovery of Global Warming.

    P.J. Robinson and Ann Henderson-Sellers 1999. Contemporary Climatology.

    This one is a little harder (more math):
    Dennis Hartmann 1994. Global Physical Climatology.

    Also, Sir, from my own library, I can recommend my old college textbook: “Basic Heat Transfer” by Frank Kreith and William Z. Black, copyright 1980 – read chapter 6 on Radiation. This chapter is on the physics of radiation, not the nuances of the debate. This particular book may be difficult to find, but most texts on Basic Heat Transfer should have a similar chapter. I’d think this would provide a foundation to understand some of the science involved in climate change. Then, there’s this video which is one piece of the puzzle:

    Thank you very much,
    Mr. Know It All
    2:14 pm Pacific

  9. 109
    Thomas says:

    Will I beat Mike? :-)

    MLO CO2 ppm July +2.68 above 2016.

    July 2016 above 2015 +2.99 (?) with an el nino.

    July 2017 above July 2015 = 5.67 ppm

    Not that long ago such an increase took a decade.

    But please do not scare “the children.”

    I do not recall any Modelling / research / papers / IPCC Reports since 1988 where decadal forecast analysis suggested CO2 Growth Rates at +2.5-3.0 ppm in 2017.

    (or even before 2030 at RCP8.5 – Anyone know of any?)

  10. 110

    nigel, #29–I know I said I’d let TUE go (and in fact I’ve consciously abstained from comment on it several times now). However, I must respond briefly to this:

    Much of what Wells is talking about is simply not possible, or so low probability as to be nonsensical.

    Just no.

    nigel, I agree with much of what you say. However, if you go through the specific claims Wells makes, as opposed to the rhetoric he uses, you will find that every specific claim is sourced to a scientist or to published research. The piece can be criticized, but not for lack of diligence in investigation or sourcing.

    (This vetting–should you want to attempt it–is mostly easily done using the annotated version which I’ve previously linked, though it’s easy enough to search up.)

    The corrected version (per moi) would be:

    “Nearly everything Wells says is possible, and most of it has a significant (ie., non-negligible) probability of actually occurring–particularly if we take no action to reduce our carbon emissions, or to adapt to the changing climate.”

  11. 111
    CCHolley says:

    re: Mr Know It All @75

    But it is odd that all those old high-temp records, across the entire country have stood for as long as they have – and things like that ARE evidence for non-believers. Then, if the records do indicate an overall warming trend, you’d have to do a lot of research on the heat island effect, location of land-based sensors, etc, since the nation and world are becoming more and more urbanized, covered with concrete and asphalt, deforestation…..

    Perhaps evidence for those that don’t want to admit to reality and only want to believe what they want to believe. Such people are intellectually dishonest because they are only looking at *evidence* that justifies their desired belief while ignoring the preponderance of other evidence to the contrary.

    No *if* to the temperature records indicating warming. And it shouldn’t take much effort for one to confirm such. Why doesn’t Mr. KIA take the time to do this? I wonder. And, of course, the questions as to the heat island effect, location of land based sensors, etc. etc. ad nauseam have been thoroughly discussed, evaluated, and resolved. Again, why does he not know this? Obviously, most likely because knowing these things or admitting to them would not fit his agenda. Not to mention that little brain power is required to recognize that beyond the temperature record there are physical signs of warming such as sea level rise, loss of glaciers, loss of arctic sea ice, more humidity, migration of species northward and upwards, and the lengthening of growing seasons. None of which could possibly be due to the heat island effect. Warming is real. Only a DENIER could possible say otherwise.

  12. 112
    wili says:

    The linked reference determines the paleoclimate sensitivity during the Middle Eocene at a latitude of 64 degrees 48 minutes in Canada (see the first image), and finds a regional climate sensitivity of about 13C. The second image illustrates that these findings indicate exceptionally high values of Arctic Amplification during this period as the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were found to be only about 490 ppm. While the mean global surface temperature was warmer during the Middle Eocene than today, we are warming at a much faster rate and C02-equiv is already well about 490 ppm. This does not bode well for our collective future:

    Alexander P. Wolfe, Alberto V. Reyes, Dana L. Royer, David R. Greenwood, Gabriela Doria, Mary H. Gagen, Peter A. Siver and John A. Westgate (May 2017), “Middle Eocene CO2 and climate reconstructed from the sediment fill of a subarctic kimberlite maar”, GEOLOGY, July 2017; v. 45; no. 7; p. 619–622, doi:10.1130/G39002.1

    Abstract: “Eocene paleoclimate reconstructions are rarely accompanied by parallel estimates of CO2 from the same locality, complicating assessment of the equilibrium climate response to elevated CO2. We reconstruct temperature, precipitation, and CO2 from latest middle Eocene (ca. 38 Ma) terrestrial sediments in the post eruptive sediment fill of the Giraffe kimberlite in subarctic Canada. Mutual climatic range and oxygen isotope analyses of botanical fossils reveal a humid temperate forest ecosystem with mean annual temperatures (MATs) more than 17 °C warmer than present and mean annual precipitation ~4× present. Metasequoia stomatal indices and gas-exchange modeling produce median CO2 concentrations of ~630 and ~430 ppm, respectively, with a combined median estimate of ~490 ppm. Reconstructed MATs are more than 6 °C warmer than those produced by Eocene climate models forced at 560 ppm CO2. Estimates of regional climate sensitivity, expressed as ΔMAT per CO2 doubling above preindustrial levels, converge on a value of ~13 °C, underscoring the capacity for exceptional polar amplification of warming and hydrological intensification under modest CO2 concentrations once both fast and slow feedbacks become expressed.”

    (Thanks to aslr at asif for link and text…I know this is regional, but still…13 C climate sensitivity…crikey! )

  13. 113
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re 47

    Open Access On the Potential for Abrupt Arctic Winter Sea Ice Loss

    They seem to suggest that after an ice free summer the winter ice can disappear in as short a time as 10 years. On a gemological timescale that is instantaneous, but I suspect in a warming world, with CO2 increasing, it could happen even more quickly.

  14. 114
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Andrew re 92,

    Sorry, but that hypothesis has been proved wrong in a number of ways, not just using “the models”.

    Well then give one instance where it was proved wrong.

    Some people, as you are doing, have asserted that it is wrong, but no one has proved it.

    BTW, what is your explanation for the abrupt end to the Younger Dryas?

  15. 115
    Thomas says:

    OT:kind of – Looking at the bigger picture (the dog wagging the ‘climate’ tail) with known unknowns into the near future – USA, UK and the west in general as a result of what happens in these two conservation bastions of big money interests – consider :

    (very useful ref links included, plus Mason is a good even keeled journo who can dig down into the real key facts/events imho)

  16. 116
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS TLT has posted for July with an anomaly of +0.60ºC, an increase on June’s anomaly of +0.49ºC. It is the 4th warmest July on record after the El Nino-boosted years of 2010 (+0.64ºC), 2016 (+0.64ºC) and 1998 (+0.63ºC) (these the same years as UAH but all four years far closer in RSS) and ahead of 5th-placed July 2014 (+0.49ºC), 6th-placed July 2005 (+0.46ºC), 7th-placed July 2015 (+0.44ºC). July 2017 sits 30th warmest month on the full record (=50th in UAH).
    “Scorchio-wise”, the first seven months of 2017 still sits in 4th spot behind El Nino years, as you would expect for TLT temperature records. It is significantly warmer than 2015, the highest non-El Nino year in the table below. That rates 2017-so-far as “scorchyissimo!!!”

    The years are ranked by Warmest-Jan-to-July below. 2017 is running on target to take 4th place, and could even perhaps sneak 2nd spot.
    (UAH numbers are very similar but in UAH 2017 is not so close to 1998 in 2nd-warmest-year spot and also running a little below the 2010 annual anomaly. The ranking of the years below are very similar to UAH – in RSS 2007 has snuck in at the expense of 2003.)

    ……….Ave Jan-July … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 ….. +0.84ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … … … 1st
    1998 ….. +0.68ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … … 2nd
    2010 ….. +0.63ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … … … 3rd
    2017 ….. +0.58ºC
    2015 ….. +0.46ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … … … 4th
    2005 ….. +0.44ºC … … … +0.42ºC … … … … 5th
    2015 ….. +0.42ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … … … 8th
    2002 ….. +0.41ºC … … … +0.41ºC … … … … 6th
    2014 ….. +0.41ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … … … 8th
    2007 ….. +0.37ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … … … 10th
    2013 ….. +0.35ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … … … 7th

  17. 117
    André Balsa says:

    U.S. Scientific Community Finds The Courage To Speak Truth To Power – Almost

    The big climate change communication news today is the object of an article on the New York Times:
    “Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.”

    A copy of the draft of the as-yet-unpublished report by scientists from 13 federal agencies was obtained by The New York Times. The report itself “was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.”

    The report “concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.” “Human activity, the report goes on to say, is a primary culprit.”

    Note the “human activity”, not GHG emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

    “The study does not make policy recommendations…”

    WTF? Apparently the US scientific community is losing the climate change communications war against the Koch brothers, the oil majors, the coal barons, the fracking industry and other assorted fossil carbon criminals, for lack of… balls?

    Here, let me boil down the correct message to three simple sentences:

    1. Climate change is caused by GHG emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, namely coal, oil and gas.

    2. The US and the rest of the world must completely decarbonize their economies by transitioning to renewable energy, to avoid the worst effects of climate change and their astronomical costs (estimated in the tens of $ trillions).

    3. The fastest way to complete this transition is a simple carbon fee + dividend scheme that can immediately be put in place, will boost the U.S. and global economy, create millions of new jobs and save $ trillions in health care costs. It would also put an end to the need for costly and murderous “Oil Wars”, which have cost American taxpayers $ trillions and claimed thousands of American soldiers’ lives.

  18. 118
  19. 119
    mike says:

    guardian says global subsidies for fossil fuels are 7 trillion. I wonder how much of that 7 trillion just cycles pretty directly to the bank accounts of the 1%ers?

    That seems like a lot of subsidy for an industry that appears to turn a decent profit. Maybe we need a carbon tax to raise the $$ to pay for these subsidies?

    I was not an economics major.



  20. 120
    Chris Korda says:

    Here’s the third draft of the latest quadrennial US National Climate Assessment, leaked to the New York Times in advance of near-certain watering down or outright suppression by the Trumpistas. It’s grim reading so better take a preparatory sip, snort or puff of something. Bottom line: limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial was always wishful thinking, and now the same goes for 2°C, so get ready for 3°C or more and expect nasty black swans. Chapter 15 (Potential Surprises: Compound Extremes and Tipping Elements) is unusually exciting, but not in a good way. And as you’ve probably gathered by now, “climate models are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate the amount of future change.”

    Regarding the lower/higher dichotomy used throughout the NCA, “the observed acceleration in carbon emissions over the past 15-20 years is consistent with higher future scenarios.” This should sound familiar by now. In other words, even with optimistic assumptions we’re not deaccelerating anywhere near fast enough, and very likely we’re actually still accelerating because 1) governments have overwhelming incentive to lie about their emissions given the near-total lack of enforcement, and 2) Earth has myriad positive feedbacks that aren’t accounted for sufficiently or at all in climate models.


  21. 121
    Thomas says:

    AGW/CC Denial Ground Zero? – maybe this excellent article explains a few things difficult (for most, impossible) to face.

    When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does.

    example text for quiet contemplation, not for an argument:

    I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

    It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

    But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

    And this one:

    All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

    And this one:

    White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

    end quote

  22. 122
    nigelj says:

    Digby Scorgie @93

    “POTUS might be stepping back from his Twitter addiction”. I wish. It would be really nice to see the end of Twump’s tweets for twits.”

    Yes it would, and it seems the majority of the american public agree:

    “The poll for CNN found seven out of ten Americans believed his tweeting habits “too often seem to be in response to news he may have seen on TV” and believe Twitter is a “risky way for a President to communicate”.

  23. 123

    KIA 75: Then, if the records do indicate an overall warming trend, you’d have to do a lot of research on the heat island effect, location of land-based sensors, etc, since the nation and world are becoming more and more urbanized, covered with concrete and asphalt, deforestation…..

    BPL: Read and learn.

    Böhm, R. 1998. “Urban bias in temperature time series: A case study for the city of Vienna, Austria.” Climatic Change 38, 113-128.

    Changnon, S.A. 1999. “A rare long record of deep soil temperatures defines temporal temperature changes and an urban heat island.” Climatic Change 42, 531-538

    Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., Imhoff, M., Lawrence, W., Easterling, D., Peterson, T., and Karl, T. 2001. “A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change.” J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947-23963.

    Jones, P.D., et al. 1990. “Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land.” Nature, 347, 169-172.

    Kalnay, E., and M. Cai. 2003. “Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate.” Nature 423, 528-531.

    Karl, T.R., H.F. Diaz, and G. Kukla 1988. “Urbanization: Its detection and effect in the United States climate record.” J. Clim. 1, 1099-1123.

  24. 124

    Menne, M.J., C.N. Williams Jr., and M.A. Palecki 2010. “On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record.” J. Geophys. Res. 115, D11108.

    “[1] Recent photographic documentation of poor siting conditions at stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has led to questions regarding the reliability of surface temperature trends over the conterminous United States (CONUS). To evaluate the potential impact of poor siting/instrument exposure on CONUS temperatures, trends derived from poor and well sited USHCN stations were compared. Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures. These results underscore the need to consider all changes in observation practice when determining the impacts of siting irregularities. Further, the influence of nonstandard siting on temperature trends can only be quantified through an analysis of the data. Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and sitingchanges, although a small overall residual negative (“cool”) bias appears to remain in the adjusted maximum temperature series. Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN temperatures are extremely well aligned with recent measurements from instruments whose exposure characteristics meet the highest standards for climate monitoring. In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS average temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.”

    Parker, DE. 2004. “Large-scale warming is not urban.” Nature 432, 290.

    “Controversy has persisted over the influence of urban warming on reported large-scale surface-air temperature trends. Urban heat islands occur mainly at night and are reduced in windy conditions3. Here we show that, globally, temperatures over land have risen as much on windy nights as on calm nights, indicating that the observed overall warming is not a consequence of urban development.”

    Parker, DE. 2006. “A Demonstration That Large-Scale Warming Is Not Urban.” Journal of Climate 19, 2882-2895.

    Peterson, Thomas C. 2003. “Assessment of Urban Versus Rural In Situ Surface Temperatures in the Contiguous United States: No Difference Found.” J. Clim. 16(18), 2941-2959.

    Peterson T., Gallo K., Lawrimore J., Owen T., Huang A., McKittrick D. 1999. “Global rural temperature trends.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 26(3), 329.

  25. 125

    PD 101: irrational public perceptions of the hazards and environmental impacts of nuclear

    BPL: Chernobyl. Fukushima Dai. Nobody died (that we know of) at TMI, but it cost its investors a billion dollars. Brown’s Ferry–a guy with a candle started a fire that cost the plant $100 million. SL-1–sabotage surrounding a sordid love triangle, 3 dead.

    Public perceptions of the danger of nuclear power are probably based on A) the fact that it’s dangerous, plus B) the pathological lying of the nuke freaks who keep insisting that it’s perfectly safe. If just for one lousy time they would say, “Sure, it’s dangerous, but so are most heavy industries, and the dangers are controllable,” more people might have listened. But they love to lie. “No civilian was ever killed by nuclear power!” We know that’s garbage, so why are the nuke freaks still saying it? What is with their pathological aversion to admitting they were wrong?

  26. 126

    Th 121: White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

    BPL: A prejudiced statement is a prejudiced statement, even when directed against white Americans.

  27. 127
    Digby Scorgie says:

    Andrew @91

    The article I referred to is the very opposite of trolling paid for by the fossil-fuel industry. The data I quoted were buried in disguised form in the BP review and had to be dug out by the author. Now why would BP want to do this? Did they not want the general public to know that fossil fuel still forms a huge part of the energy we consume?

    As for the examples you give, they all describe changes from a very low base. I am all for renewable sources of energy, but it will take a lot more effort before we see them make significant inroads into fossil fuel’s market share.

  28. 128
    Thomas says:

    96 etc Alastair McDonald to andrew, zebra and myself. You will not get an argument nor refutation from me. What I will say is that you are skipping a cpl of communication key points.

    1) barely anyone grasps the import of your refs back to the younger dryas / permiam(?) asteroid event and how that connects with / informs (or could) what’s going on the arctic today logically.

    2) You are skipping the issue of MYI Multi-Year-Ice in the Arctic and how that is the #1 thing that has fallen off the cliff. Most untrained non-experts do not get it’s relationship to abrupt change potential – especially when you provide a ref that goes to extent.

    3) Furthermore ‘most’ people do not comprehend the relationships between PIOMASS, Extent and Area …. people are confused.

    First A McD, to be effective first you need to de-confuse them about the hard facts. Both form the past and the present. This is where all (most) climate scientists (and IPCC reports, UNFCCC etc) fall down in their efforts to communicate the dire situation humanity is facing on a global scale.

    You need to presetn a simple “argument” that captures all the detailed science in a way that is comprehensible to the average person, and at the same time be unnasailable by retorts by anyone .. by other scientists, by the denier industry and by those who are not really up to speed with all the details.

    A big ask I know … but there is no effective alternative than doing that. I only know where you are coming from because of doing my own ASI research study – things that “zebra/andrew” are totally overlooking probably because they do not know in the first place. Natural reaction is to find a Paper to “cherry-pick” in their attempt to fall back onto Appeals to Authority in their own defense of their own current “beliefs” and “cognitive dissonance”.

    eg Andrew’s reliance on non-quoted science he believes says the Arctic will not be Ice free in Summer/Sept until post 2050. That, as you know, is ludicrous. But he is deaf to all other scenarios as a result.

    The onus is on you to make your case and convince them … it needs to be a slam dunk presentation, not a drip feed — one that slaps all the Politicians/Media in the world (and RC commenters etc) in the face at the same time — iow you have to be able to convince those more like Homer Simpson all the way up to qualified scientists and academics at the same time.

    This a tip, not a complaint or criticism. If you were rich like the Koch brothers you’d hire an AD Agency to convey the message in a way people would get it instantly with repetition – simple! But not cheap! TY

  29. 129
    Thomas says:

    #99 Andrew says: to #91 Digby Scorgie “Fossil fuel paid trolling, pathetic.

    Digby is not as pathetic as an unpaid Troll who repeatedly relies on Logical fallacy arguments like Ad Hom and Straw Men and misquoting science/reports totally unrelated to the Digby and others have actually stated. Emotionally driven outrage comments which border on the incomprehensible, the delusional and at best active Cognitive Dissonance issues being in your face Andrew. (sigh)

    God gave us two eyes and two ears so that we could all listen and see twice as much as we speak. Try it. Listen is an anagram of the word SILENT btw. DO check that fact for accuracy given you do not belief a single thing I say by default.

  30. 130
    Thomas says:

    101 Paul D., yes spot on.

    103 Mike, yes, spot on. The GBR and all other surface coral reefs will be defintiley long gone before CO2 hits 490ppm.

  31. 131
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @110

    Ok, I accept your points. I don’t want to pursue the issue too much more, its been thrashed to death.

    I do accept the vast majority of the concerns Wells raise are possible and obviously very concerning. The real point is a couple things he raised push credibility to the limits, and this is what denialists will jump on, unfortunately. I just wanted to make the point we don’t want to encourage totally out of control scaremongering that does that sort of thing.

  32. 132
    Thomas says:

    #105 Kevin McKinney: Commendable. Saved for potential future use. I wish a working group of climate scientists had been providing such a specialized data based report (past IPCC projections vs present reality) annually since ~2000 on a single website fit for purpose. Using “constantly comparable” standards/units.

    Would have saved a lot of wasted talk/arguments going in circles. Well intended people (Al Gore’s team included) keep re-inventing the wheel in this agw/cc issue and rarely the twain will meet upon the same road at the same time.

  33. 133
    Thomas says:

    126 Barton Paul Levenson, I specifically said I didn’t seek an argument. By all means challenge the text I referenced, but PLEASE do not repost it AS IF that was something that I said myself – because I didn’t!!! That is disingenuous even if accidental – as I have raised this issue with you before how you misrepresent others “comments” in your responses – there is no excuse for that.

    By writing Th 121: White Americans are probably….. the way you did is more likely than not to give a totally false impression to readers here…. especially if they have not read and do not double check my original post.

    So please address the Guardian article specifically, it’s context and the actual writer who quoted the person who said that above, plus who he was and when he said it [as I did myself – while noting that both of them are Americans themselves and whose voices are as equally valuable/important as BPLs].

    This may give other the impetus to go read the article in full for themselves and draw their own conclusions about what is being conveyed in her narrative and know for certain that those words included by BPL are not from my own keyboard or mind.

    I believe that you are already intelligent enough to understand the negative impact of what you are doing with out needing to repeatedly reminding you and asking you to stop it.

    The article I shared here in full is here:

    My reasoning for posting it here, and believing it is/could be relevant is in my comment #121

    The subject is actually American Cultural Myths and Collective Delusions = AGW/CC Denial:101 – it’s a great example of what a good story/narrative might look like while conveying true provable facts in the process. That’s the purpose – the quotes were an attention getting technique. It worked. :-)

  34. 134
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Dan H. claims:

    “Public distrust of climate scientists is at an all-time high.”

    Prove it, denier.

  35. 135
    Thomas says:

    118 Barton Paul Levenson, re new book. Congrats and best wishes for some positive feedback.

    A growing topical subject and very interesting science – eg Prof Brian Cox is back in Oz again and habitable planets was part of his brief.

  36. 136
    Thomas says:

    August 2017 Quoting current Scientific awareness for Andrew et al from ref’d link above Page 152 – Section 4. Climate Models, Scenarios, and Projections – KEY FINDINGS

    3. The observed acceleration in carbon emissions over the past 15–20 years is consistent with higher future scenarios (very high confidence). Since 2014, growth rates have slowed as economic growth begins to uncouple from carbon emissions (medium confidence) but not yet at a rate that, were it to continue, would limit atmospheric temperature increase to the 2009 Copenhagen goal of 2°C (3.6°F), let alone the 1.5°C (2.7°F) target of the 2015 Paris Agreement (high confidence).

    4. Combining output from global climate models and dynamical and statistical downscaling models using advanced averaging, weighting, and pattern scaling approaches can result in more relevant and robust future projections. These techniques also allow the scientific community to provide better guidance on the use of climate projections for quantifying regional-scale impacts (medium to high confidence).

    I don’t know about others, but I try to keep myself up-to-date with the latest output of known credible reliable climate scientists and bodies.

    When I see such credible science based updates providing new information I update my “beliefs and opinions” accordingly based on reason and logic and the evidence. What do you do?

    Useful ref: Paul Samuelson, the Nobel laureate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recalled that John Maynard Keynes once was challenged for altering his position on some economic issue. “When my information changes,” he remembered that Keynes had said, “I change my mind. What do you do?”

  37. 137
    Charles Hughes says:

    Thank you very much,
    Mr. Know It All
    2:14 pm Pacific

    So KIA, how long did you repair refrigerators for Maytag?

  38. 138
    Thomas says:

    Thinking of compelling narratives and an accurate history regarding agw/cc, the lack of action/progress/awareness, and lack of political support for faster changes … maybe some hints is this article, quoting:

    As historian Mary Beard notes: “History’s for all not just ‘historians’; but you have to KNOW something.” Arguing without knowledge – without evidence – takes a sledgehammer to the very foundations of what facts are. Fostering evidence-based and well-reasoned debate is an antidote against the alarming increase in constituencies who believe that interpretations of the past can exist outside either evidence or reason. […]

    Such projects challenge textbook and popular versions of US history that often dilute controversy for the sake of unity narratives. Their power lies both in their compilation – a democratic practice – and in the sharing of information, which break down the divide between ivory-tower academic disputes and rubber-meets-the-road activism. They aim to foster a sense of the past as eternally present, and in need of serious unpacking.

  39. 139
    Thomas says:

    Andrew et all, please read the following paper.


    [1] Three years ago we proposed that the summer Arctic would be nearly sea ice free by the 2030s; “nearly” is interpreted as sea ice extent less than 1.0 million km2. We consider this estimate to be still valid based on projections of updated climate models (CMIP5) and observational data. Similar to previous models (CMIP3), CMIP5 still shows a wide spread in hindcast and projected sea ice loss among different models. Further, there is no consensus in the scientific literature for the cause of such a spread in results for CMIP3 and CMIP5. While CMIP5 model mean sea ice extents are closer to observations than CMIP3, the rates of sea ice reduction in most model runs are slow relative to recent observations. All CMIP5 models do show loss of sea ice due to increased anthropogenic forcing relative to pre-industrial control runs.

    Applying the same technique of model selection and extrapolation approach to CMIP5 as we used in our previous paper [2009], the interval range for a nearly sea ice free Arctic is 14 to 36 years, with a median value of 28 years. Relative to a 2007 baseline, this suggests a nearly sea ice free Arctic in the 2030s.;jsessionid=2BE5F94B24ED1E26A87975EE827C9363.f04t04

    This paper is already 6-10 years out of date … and it appears self-evident (to me) given the ongoing significant monitoring of ASI since 2007 that ASI area loss, PIOMASS loss, and MYI loss has accelerated since this work was done relative to CO2ppm growth and the annual Global mean Temp increase.

    Nothing in this paper (that I know of) indicated the possibility or likelihood of such a rapid collapse of ASI maximum in 2016/17 nor the massive jump in Arctic surface air and oceans temperatures 2015-2017.

    Let alone the 2012 record ASI summer minimum which occurred the same month this paper was published.

    Does the Paris Agreement / Goals reflect the true urgency as indicated by the rapid loss of ARCTIC SEA ICE up to today? I think the answer is clearly no.

    What did DWW say about ASI loss? Was that scientifically valid and backed by up-to-date scientific evidence/data or not? :-)

  40. 140
    Nemesis says:

    mike, #103

    ” I think it makes sense to simply shrug off specific/stupid predictions and stick to the quite accurate discussion about the short/mid/long term impact of CO2e of 490. That accurate discussion is that 490 ppm of CO2e is a global disaster.”

    Com on, don’t be so pessimistic, just let tha invisible hand of tha *free market* roll and it will solve any problem for sure. Just think *positive* and things will be fine. Amen :-)

  41. 141
    nigelj says:

    mike @119

    “guardian says global subsidies for fossil fuels are 7 trillion. I wonder how much of that 7 trillion just cycles pretty directly to the bank accounts of the 1%ers?

    “That seems like a lot of subsidy for an industry that appears to turn a decent profit. Maybe we need a carbon tax to raise the $$ to pay for these subsidies?”

    My understanding from a similar article is the subsidies have two components. Firstly tax payer subsidies given direct to fossil fuels producers. You can be sure most of that cycles very directly into the pockets of the 1%, either as executive salaries or to the big shareholders as dividends. For some reason I doubt much gets into the pockets of the staff.

    Sometimes its a tax concession rather than a dollar subsidy, but this amounts to the same end result.

    Quite why a fundamentally profitable industry needs endless subsidies certainly eludes me. Pressure from lobby groups I guess.

    Secondly my understanding is the remainder of these subsidies are governments effectively keeping fossil fuel prices artificially low, so it acts like a tax transfer from the general population to keep prices low, so fossil fuels are affordable by low income people. This happens in India and Latin America.

    I know the Economist Journal is critical of this as just distorting the economy, and encouraging excessive fossil fuel use,and their preference is to assist low income people differently, with government income support or family support packages, which would make some sense. But that becomes political and, sigh, contentious.

    Anyway, I think it would be better to spend all those fossil fuel subsidies on renewable energy subsidies. Seven trillion dollars would subsidise a lot of wind power and electric cars, literally hundreds of millions of them.

    Carbon taxes are another approach to things, and could indeed be channeled into subsidies, preferably for renewable energy. Carbon taxes seem like a practical sort of solution to me.

    Ultimately cap and trade has huge potential, and avoids the need for subsidies, but it relies on governments structuring such schemes properly. Faint chance of that.

  42. 142
    zebra says:

    Alastair M 113, 114

    From the paper:

    However, the fact that the ice-thickness distribution in all models is consistent with our explanation suggests that albedo and cloud feedbacks play a minor role for Arctic winter sea ice loss not only in MPI-ESM, but also in the other models. Moreover, while the ice–albedo feedback is only active during polar day, the convective cloud feedback is most effective during polar night when it is not counteracted by the cooling shortwave effect of increased cloud cover. If either surface albedo or longwave cloud feedbacks were the main reason for rapid ice loss, the fastest change would preferentially occur either in polar day or polar night, respectively. However, rapid ice-area loss can occur before as well as after springtime sunrise (Fig. S9). Moreover, any variables involved in a strong positive feedback loop can be expected to show synchronized shifts. The absence of large shifts in cloud properties or sea ice volume during the ice-area loss therefore points to the threshold mechanism, rather than radiative feedbacks.

    To repeat my earlier observation:

    If we keep burning FF, we will eventually get an ice-free Arctic.

    But that doesn’t mean there will be an abrupt step-change, resulting from loss of albedo, in any time period that we should be concerned with, which is what you suggest. Look at the extent graph as it exists now: There is an enormous amount of open water at the minimum, relative to the maximum.

    And yet it freezes.

  43. 143
    André Balsa says:

    Re: #126 BPL

    Barton, unfortunately you are falling for a rather astute baiting from a troll whose only objective seems to be to prevent any serious discussion of climate change related matters, here on RC.

    The phrase “White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.” is by writer James Baldwin, and is copy/pasted here without attribution and completely out-of-context to bait other readers of RC.

    It is of course quite important to discuss racial issues in the US. But I am positive RC is not the best place to do so.

    Most importantly, I would point out that trolls are stooping extremely low these days here on RC, to the point of using racial issues as a means of distracting the rest of us from the urgent issues of emissions reductions. This is absolutely disgusting, but how low will they go to get their paycheck from the Koch brothers? As low as it takes, apparently.

  44. 144
    Dan H. says:


    This failed prediction was picked up by most news outlets:

    As was this one:

    And number three:

    This were predictions made by scientists, not politicians. They were published in major news outlets, not internet blogs. Sure, we scientists do not give them much credence, but how many have stood up to condemn them? Not many. Most we content to let them be paraded around, without speaking up. The general public thought this was the “whole body” of scientific evidence, and acceptign it. Then, when they failed to occur, they have become skeptical about scientific predictions. In Aesop’s fable, the shepherd boy falsely cried wolf three times, before the villagers wised up. Do you really believe people will believe the next prediction of an ice-free Arctic

    Not just one, but several papers have come to a similar conclusion to the one I presented:

    So, perhaps I should ask you whether you are following the hype or ashering to sound scientific practices. I have backed up my contentions, can you back up yours?

  45. 145
    MA Rodger says:

    Having made such a pig’s ear of my comment @116, (the observant would have noted the disappearance of 2003 was actually due to 2015 appearing twice), here is the corrected table for RSS TLT data along with UAH TLT for comparison. The years present in both columns (& in both tables) are the same showing that the first seven months of the year pretty-much define the final annual outcome.
    Ignoring the differences in anomaly base, the main difference between the two tables is that UAH promotes older years at the expense of recent years, as UAH somehow manages to find a lower warming trend (or perhaps it is RSS finding a higher one). The third table demonstrates how the differences between RSS & UAH values change chronologically.

    RSS TLT- years with warmest Jan-Jul.
    …….. Ave Jan-July … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 …. +0.84ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … … … 1st
    1998 …. +0.68ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … … 2nd
    2010 …. +0.63ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … … … 3rd
    2017 …. +0.58ºC
    2015 …. +0.46ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … … … 4th
    2005 …. +0.44ºC … … … +0.42ºC … … … … 5th
    2002 …. +0.42ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … … … 8th
    2014 …. +0.41ºC … … … +0.41ºC … … … … 6th
    2007 …. +0.41ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … … … 9th
    2013 …. +0.37ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … … … 10th
    2003 …. +0.35ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … … … 7th

    UAH TLT- years with warmest Jan-Jul
    ……….Ave Jan-July … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 ….. +0.59ºC … … … +0.51ºC … … … … 1st
    1998 ….. +0.58ºC … … … +0.48ºC … … … … 2nd
    2010 ….. +0.41ºC … … … +0.33ºC … … … … 3rd
    2017 ….. +0.31ºC
    2002 ….. +0.26ºC … … … +0.22ºC … … … … 5th
    2005 ….. +0.21ºC … … … +0.20ºC … … … … 6th
    2015 ….. +0.21ºC … … … +0.27ºC … … … … 4th
    2007 ….. +0.21ºC … … … +0.16ºC … … … … 9th
    2014 ….. +0.17ºC … … … +0.18ºC … … … … 8th
    2003 ….. +0.17ºC … … … +0.19ºC … … … … 7th
    2013 ….. +0.14ºC … … … +0.13ºC … … … … 10th

    Warmest TLT Jan-July Aves
    Ranked chronologically
    showing RSS minus UAH
    2017 … … … +0.27ºC
    2016 … … … +0.25ºC
    2015 … … … +0.25ºC
    2014 … … … +0.24ºC
    2013 … … … +0.23ºC
    2010 … … … +0.22ºC
    2007 … … … +0.20ºC
    2005 … … … +0.23ºC
    2003 … … … +0.18ºC
    2002 … … … +0.16ºC
    1998 … … … +0.10ºC

  46. 146
  47. 147
    jgnfld says:

    DH @144

    Your citations are not to anything published in the peer-reviewed literature but rather to coffee klatsch statements by individuals. These are NOT accepted scientific predictions which is why you do not find them in the peer reviewed literature.

    Maslowski has presented his ideas at AGU, but many ideas get presented at meetings that never get subsequently published.

    You need to learn to understand the difference between peer reviewed and off the cuff statements–although of course you already knew the difference and were merely exploiting it.

  48. 148

    Th 133: By all means challenge the text I referenced, but PLEASE do not repost it AS IF that was something that I said myself – because I didn’t!!! That is disingenuous even if accidental – as I have raised this issue with you before how you misrepresent others “comments” in your responses – there is no excuse for that.

    BPL: My mistake. I should have made clear that my argument was with the person you were quoting. But if you disagree with the quote, why post it without any arguments against? It seemed to me like you were endorsing the quote, if not originating it. If that’s mistaken, maybe you could be a bit clearer about it next time.

  49. 149
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Danier H (9 Aug 2017 at 7:08 AM),

    Are you just failing to read? The WaPo article you link to is *headlined* “When will the Arctic be ice-free in the summer? Maybe four years. Or 40.” It’s highlighting the *range* of predictions by scientists.

    Right off the bat it contrasts Wadhams, who is a figure of considerable controversy within his own field, with “Other scientists [who] are more circumspect. Lars-Otto Reiersen, head of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, told Reuters that most climate models don’t expect ice-free summers in the Arctic for another 30 or 40 years. “But,” he cautioned, “there are models that indicate 2015 as an extreme.”

    So what is your point, again? Is is that news outlets (and press releases) sometimes downplay the ranges that *scientists* build into their predictions? Though the WaPo article does NOT do that, it could still be a legitimate gripe. But the thrust of your never-ending disingenuous complaining seems to be against the scientists themselves. Why is that?

  50. 150