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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. 151
    Thomas says:

    143 André Balsa: (sigh) Not so on any count.

    RE: The phrase […] is by writer James Baldwin, and is copy/pasted here without attribution and completely out-of-context to bait other readers of RC.


    What I wrote is still here:

    Readers can easily see the following copy/paste:

    “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.</b?


    example text for quiet contemplation, not for an argument: […] 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.

    Without attribution??? (sigh) Follow the link from which I said the text came from .. therein is the attribution as well as in my comment plain as day!!!

    Pulease! Read the article — get the context – comprehend the relationship between that article and the existence of Powerful Denier Activity in the USA and why that is so, and why so many Americans so gullibly fall for that BS (be they in Congress, actual scientists, or the avg Joe Public).

    Read the article, or don’t. But it helps to get as accurate and complete an understanding as possible of all the psychological drivers that block action on AGW/CC today despite all the science being published – and from as many perspectives as possible. Because Knowledge is Power. (sigh)

  2. 152
    Thomas says:

    144 Dan H. (sigh)

    Dan: This failed prediction was picked up by most news outlets:

    Be specific. WHAT prediction?

    WHY are you relying upon a News Media article for judging what the accumulated IPCC SCIENCE was “forecasting/indicating” in large ranges of “possibilities”?

    What are you labeling things as PREDICTIONS when they were NOT actually PREDICTIONS? This is Tarot Card reader level analysis you are providing here. Lift your game if possible.


    Same as above. Plus- there were about 30,000 active climate scientists in the field in 2010. NG is a just another MEDIA org not a scientific institution per se. They CHERRY PICK 2 scientists, one from 2012 and another’s statement from 2007. Did you or anyone check to see if those quotes were in fact accurate? No typos in the article? If it was proof read like a Published paper is triple checked for accuracy?

    NO, of course you didn’t. That’s called being incompetent Dan, and it “shore taint sciantiffacal” (sigh)

    Dan “And number three:

    Dan, as above again … be specific, but seriously are you so ‘blind’ that you cannot see anymore? Did you even bother to READ what’s said assuming there are no errors in the reporting of it by the BBC?

    Obviously no you have not, you have NOT read the talk at AGU in full, nor read ANY of the published papers quoted by Maslowski. At the very least you seem incapable to PARSE what is being said.

    Dan “This were predictions made by scientists, not politicians.”

    I don’t care who they are. Your claims assertions and beliefs are BS.

    Dan They were published in major news outlets,”

    I don’t care – anyone who trusts what’s written/reported in a newspaper/outlet by default is a rank fool.

    Dan “Sure, we scientists do not give them much credence, but how many have stood up to condemn them? Not many.”

    I am not my brother’s keeper??? You’re judging scientists based on what the BBC, NG, and WP publish and what one-off lectures and outlier academics might say in public one day?

    Are you for real, seriously, are you???

    Dan “The general public thought this was the “whole body” of scientific evidence, and accepting it.”

    I don’t care – the general public are as dumb as dirt. Like hello, news flash?

    Dan “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?”

    You have backed nothing up. You have made yourself look stupid imo. I am not following anyone’s HYPE. Pro or Con. And I’m definitely following your current HYPE. Because Dan it is flawed fro woe to go. And that’s my genuine “sciantiffacal” opinion.

    If cannot see your obvious errors in thinking there’s nothing I could possibly say to make a difference. It’s not my resposnibility what you believe or how you go about “researching for errors and failed predictions”.

    Climate science does NOT do “predictions” as REPORTED in your refs and other newspapers Dan … they are not Tarot card readers nor psychics. They do science and report their findings. And they have to use words and language to do that.

    QUOTE: “Four RCPs produced from Integrated Assessment Models were selected from the published literature and are used in the present IPCC Assessment as a basis for the climate predictions and projections presented in WGI AR5 Chapters 11 to 14.

    For further description of future scenarios, see WGI AR5 Box 1.1. See also Baseline / reference,
    Shared socio-economic
    Socio-economic sce-
    SRES scenarios
    , and
    Transformation pathway.

    I am a amateur dumb as dirt member of the general public I know how Climate science/scientists use the term “prediction” – how come you do not?

    Why are you asking me to explain to you now, today, the utter incompetence of the NEWS MEDIA in reporting about climate science and what climate scientists and paper authors actually THINK and SAY and the CONTEXT in which they say it?

    Seriously Dan H.?

  3. 153
    Thomas says:

    144 Dan H., I’ll wait patiently for you to list all the failed predictions by so-called “scientists” and the news media and the bloggers who declared for years that Global Warming Has Stopped and was simply Natural Variation of the climate system … where are they now?

    Well, they keep turning up here for one. LOL

  4. 154
    Thomas says:

    General Education is Useful?

    “Arctic Sea Ice is healthy for children and other living things. What’s good for Humanity is good for Arctic Sea Ice. What’s bad for Arctic Sea Ice is bad for Humanity.” (Thomas)

    From the European Society for General Semantics

    “‘Always’ and ‘never’ are two words you should always remember never to use.” — M. Kendig

    Whether you are trained or not, you can test your ability to discriminate between observations and inferences.

  5. 155

    #144, Dan–

    OK, let’s look at those.

    1) The headline says: “When will the arctic be ice-free in the summer? Maybe four years. Or 40.” A couple of paragraphs down, you get:

    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 which ‘prediction’ are we talking about here?

    2) The issue here seems to be this comment by Jay Zwally:

    This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

    However, that is not a prediction. It is explicitly a projection: “at this rate…” In other words, Zwally is looking at a (short-term) trend, and saying when the zero intersect would fall if the trend continued. He is not expressing an opinion about whether that is likely to prove the case (and I would guess he never thought it was likely that the trend would continue, but maybe someone could ask him.)

    Perhaps he should have been more aware, when speaking for the public, how his words would be misused and abused by denialati, but all the available evidence of political journalism tells us that normal humans have trouble grasping how far astray malicious misunderstanding can take our utterances.

    3) That’s the Maslowski ‘prediction.’ Unfortunately, it is not well-reported in this case. The actual projection for the first sub-1 million km2 annual minimum was for 2016, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 years. (That’s where 2013 came in; it was the earliest possible year for an ice-free minimum, not the ‘best guess.’) Note that the ‘window’ for the actual prediction is still open; we won’t be able to say Maslowski was wrong until September, 2019.

    4) Sorry, that one was paywalled, and in such a way that almost nothing was given (not even the full abstract), so I couldn’t see it.

    5) It’s a study looking at the future retreat of Arctic sea ice. The metrics used are not directly comparable, and one can only see the abstract and thumbnails of the figures. But this suggests a later Arctic ‘ice free’ date:

    The majority of the Arctic nearshore regions began shifting in 1990 and will begin leaving the range of internal variability in 2040. Models suggest that ice will cover coastal regions for only half of the year by 2070.

    6) A 2007 paper, and rather non-comittal. The abstract concludes:

    The ‘present 2007’ state of the Arctic ice could be a stable state given the recent high ice area export, but if ocean heat advection and ice export decrease, the ice cover will recover. A 2*CO2 scenario with export and oceanic heat flux remaining strong, forecasts a summer Arctic open ocean area of 95% around 2050.

    Apparently Smedsrud et al. weren’t even willing to predict the *sign* of future sea ice change! However, there is certainly nothing as aggressive as Maslowski’s projections envisioned.

    So, clearly, the BBC’s take in the first link was right: there’s a wide range of predictions/projections out there about the trajectory of the Arctic sea ice decline. And yes, press reports of (relatively) imminent ice-free Arctic summers are going to get much more attention than reports that say that that is something our grandkids should watch for–just as headlines that say “Robbery Nets $1M” are going to get more play than “Robbery Nets $17.32”.

    What is not clear to me is why we should (per Dan H.) be “condemning” Dr. Maslowski for a model-based projection that suggested an ice-free Arctic in 2016 (or, at latest, 2019), but not Barnhart et al., for their conservative
    projection. Or, for that matter, Smedsrud et al. for not having the guts to actually make one.

    One may make a sanity check ‘envelope’ estimate, though. Here’s a graph of the best ice volume data we have, the (observationally constrained) model data from PIOMAS:

    One can see that the mean minimum volume for 1979-2001 was just under 14,000 km3. At minimum in 2012–the current record-holder for low volume–there was about 3,800 km3 (per Mark I eyeball). As of the end of July, we were at about 6,600 km3. That will probably get us to a 3rd-lowest volume minimum early next month; luckily, it has been a relatively slow melt season, with a fair amount of coolish Arctic temps and also some good stretches of cloud cover. Since most of the year we’ve been at the lowest relative PIOMAS value for the date, had that not been the case, we’d probably be looking at yet another record low in 2017. (And it’s still not out of the question, albeit a record doesn’t look like the best guess at present.)

    Anyway, let’s peg the current minimum as roughly 4,000 km3. Then combine that with the observed trend, which for ‘back of envelope’ purposes we can take from here:

    -3,100 km3/decade.

    So, 4 divided by 3.1, giving 1.29 et cetera decades–call it 13 years, or 2030 or so. Naive? Sure. There’s no physical reason that the trend has to persist unchanged. But in line with a lot of predictions. So please don’t “condemn” me.

    Or anyone daring a projection, for that matter.

  6. 156

    KIA & BPL on UHI effects:

    I’d only note that Callander 1938, the paper that dragged GW theory into the 20th century, explicitly considered–or at least, I think it did. I know Callander constructed his own global temperature estimate, using met data from around the world, and I know he considered urban vs. suburban vs. rural sites as possible sources of bias. I believe he did so in his first paper, 1938, but if not, he did in followup research.

    So, far from UHI being an issue dug up by determined and heroic skeptics, it was in fact considered from the very beginning of modern research on AGW.

    You can read my essay on Callendar here:

    (Including the conclusion of his abstract from 1938: “The temperature observations at 200 meteorological stations are used to show that world temperatures have actually increased at an average rate of 0.005[degrees]C per year during the past half century.”)

  7. 157
    nigelj says:

    Andrew @91, Digby Scorgie is not a climate change denier or hired schill, unless he has had some very sudden conversion. I know all this from his comments on other websites.

    He was being a bit sarcastic, and lamenting lack of progress on renewables, but maybe this was all too easy to missinterpret. Goes to show how important it is to be crystal clear on things.

  8. 158
    nigelj says:

    Dan H @144, yes a few scientists have made bold predictions. I think you will always get some of that, given human nature, competitiveness, and free speech etc.

    However I also think the public are mostly see it for what it is, a few scientists. The public are aware the IPCC reports are a more measured and consensus account of things.

    So I trust you will do what you can to reinforce that? Rather than adding to the confusion? Is that too much to ask?

  9. 159
  10. 160

    Thanks for the link to the TOD of the National Climate Report. But it turns out that the fifth-order draft is now available:

  11. 161
  12. 162
    Thomas says:


    NOAA SST anomaly image Aug 9th based on 1961-1990 Mean – Note +8C bands above Alaska and Siberia, whereas the dark red +4C is more obvious.

    ASI 2017

    cesium62: The story this year has been low volume. The warm winter was not able to restore the ice lost last summer. Therefore the relatively few melt ponds in June and the relatively high snow cover weren’t able to make up for the weak and mobile ice. December or January may well be the most important time of year at this stage in the evolution of the new Arctic.

    Neven responds: That’s exactly it. We’ve seen weather similar to 2013 and 2014, the rebound years that followed 2012 (someone over on the ASIB just wrote that “According to the NOAA-ESRL measurements 2017 has been colder than 2013 and 2014 in both the Arctic and the high Arctic (80N+) over most of the May – Jul period and on average”), but 2017 just keeps digging low.

    This is perhaps the most educative melting season I’ve seen. It means that when volume is as low as it was after a mild winter, and the weather is just slightly less clement than it was this year during May-June-July, records will be broken for sure. And I dare say than when such low volume ice at the end of winter is presented with the build-up of melting momentum seen in 2010 and 2012, or the endlessly clear skies of 2007, the Arctic could go below 1 million km2 SIA, ice-free for all practical purposes.

    end quotes from,1834.3650.html

  13. 163
    Mr. Know It All says:

    121 – Thomas

    Jesse Jackson disagrees with James Baldwin about who are the most dangerous people:

  14. 164
    Thomas says:

    imo/ime Climate scientists are not the problem, and climate science knowledge isn’t either. The world has more than enough of both already.

    Jon Christensen of Climate Lab – Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the Department of History, and the Center for Digital Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles SAYS:

    “Dystopian visions are easy to conjure these days; they come with scientific probabilities.”

    “The second part of that communication strategy – making a compelling connection to how we can act, individually and collectively, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change when so much of our lives depend on fossil fuels – is the really hard part. “
    “One of the chapters in our report reviewed the state of research on climate communication, which over the past couple of decades has taught us a lot about what doesn’t work. We don’t know as much about what does work, but we’re beginning to pull some guidelines from research.”

    Pls note the list: “What do we know from the literature?” Maybe readers have heard it all before here and why it is so critical today?

    Article also incl. a link to a June NATURE paper I already ref’d here last week.

    And the good Professor also included a link to DWW’s TUE article in the New Yorker. LOL

    So yes indeedy there is cause for alarm right now. And some fear too boot. :-)

    Closing with a direct Quote from the article:

    Numbers numb and stories stick.

    Messengers matter. Doctors and scientists are trusted more than journalists and politicians. Religious leaders are trusted by their flocks. People trust people who share their frames, narratives and values. This contributes to the echo chambers we tend to live in. But it’s a fact of life communicators need to understand.

    A great article with excellent video presentations.
    See more at

  15. 165
  16. 166
    Michael Roddy says:


    We await your response.

  17. 167

    Re 128


    Thank you for your kind words and advice. I am already doing much of what you suggest, but posted my ideas here hoping I could shortcut the process. The problem with that is posting here is a distraction, when I should be getting on with writing papers and a book.

    I did produce a poster describing my ideas in more detail which I took to the Pages conference in Zaragoza. However, the only person who was qualified to discuss it, refused to read it since she was a climate modeller and ‘knew’ I was wrong!

    That is my real problem. I am proposing a new paradigm which, of course, is rejected by scientists both great and small. As Max Planck wrote:

    “A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    I have placed my poster on ResearchGate and you can read it here. Do you find it comprehensible?

    PC. How many paradigm shifts can you spot?

  18. 168
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re #142


    You quoted the paper which says:

    “However, the fact that the ice-thickness distribution in all models is consistent with our explanation …”

    But all the models are getting the sea ice melt wrong! So I don’t think you should rely on that paper, based on a model too much.

    As they write “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.”

    The rapid ice loss is happening during the summer so the cloud feedback is not important.

    In the winter the polar air emits back radiation to the cold ice surface and so loses heat. The cold air then freezes the water at the edge of the ice sea ice sheet and the sea ice grows out from the remaining multiyear ice which has not melted during the summer. The greater the area of winter ice, the colder the surface can become, and the more it can spread outwards. Thus there is a positive ice-air feedback happening every winter from the cooling of air by a frozen surface, just as there a positive feedback causing melting during the summer from the ice-albedo feedback.

    This ice-air feedback is described by C.E.P. Brooks (1970) in Chapter 1, but left un-named by him.

    You repeat “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 …”

    I am not claiming that the abrupt step change will be caused by albedo, but rather warmer air temperatures.

    But my argument is not that here is a mechanism which will cause abrupt change. My argument is that changes in sea ice caused the abrupt changes at the end of the last glacial maximum and the start and end of the Younger Dryas stadial. Therefore when the Arctic sea ice melts we will get another abrupt change, to conditions similar to those during the last inter glacial when hippopotamuses frolicked in the River Thames.

  19. 169
    Mal Adapted says:


    Looks like the Heartland Institute has switched bogus journal publishers to revive the underwater volcano meme :

    Thanks for the heads up, Russell. I don’t often click on your links, much less read their content, but this time it was worth it. It seems rather hard-hitting for you, but maybe I just haven’t been paying enough attention 8^D! Bravo regardless.

  20. 170
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mike Roddy:


    We await your response.

    Apparently I’ve missed something. Why would Gavin click on a random russian link? Who the heck is the ‘we’ demanding a response?

  21. 171
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Hi Dan,
    Did you take a course particularly intended to sharpen your skills at misinterpreting scientific research. I mean, it’s one thing to blithely ignore caveats and subtleties buried deep in the guts of a technical article. However, to post a link to an article and then contend the opposite of what is stated in the very title of the webpage, well,…that’s just master bullshittery there.

  22. 172
    Andrew says:

    Re: #4 Patrick

    Thank you for posting the news about Southern Company shutting down the “clean coal” part of the Kemper power plant.

    There are some new/old developments in that latest coal boondoggle, as reported here:
    “New Fraud Allegations Emerge at Troubled ‘Clean Coal’ Project As Southern Co. Records Multi-Billion Loss”

    “Troubled” doesn’t begin to describe how this whole thing is a total, extremely expensive mess.

    What does all this mean? No new coal power plants in the US, despite all the rhetoric from the Trump administration. And no new nuclear either. Unfortunately, fracked natural gas is very much on the table, despite plummeting renewables prices.
    Utilities are driven strictly by the bottom line. If fracked natural gas was taxed proportionately to the damage to the environment it causes, it wouldn’t be competitive.
    As it stands, the U.S. is sacrificing the precious aquifers it depends upon to produce grain, in exchange for the gas fracking industry’s meager profits.

    Right now nat gas is selling around $2.85 / million BTU. That is, dirt-cheap.

  23. 173
    Thomas says:

    148 Barton Paul Levenson, hi, re “But if you disagree with the quote, why post it without any arguments against?”

    Fair enough, that’s a reasonable assumption in most situations. Sorry. OK, I hadn’t thought of that in my grrrrgh response. I’m a little different. I prefer to let refs speak for themselves ‘holistically’ allowing others to draw their own conclusions … so example quotes are just that, an invitation to something not necessarily the “point of it”.

    while the article wasn’t addressing agw/cc issues directly I thought it was an excellent “analogy” (re usa / west) as it raised the exact same cultural/psychology issues that are impacting agw/cc progress.

    Sometimes we humans can get a better sense about ourselves and the ‘others’ we are arguing with by looking through the prism of a seemingly different “subject”. eg prejudice is prejudice – the solutions to that ‘conflict’ are always the exact same no matter what that prejudice is about.

    But the article had even much more to offer, imho. But maybe a waste of time too.

  24. 174
    Obstreperous Applesauce says:

    Grab some popcorn and Google: war between wapo and nyt.

    Elsewhere, for those searching for a cure to America’s political decline into a puddle of grey goo, one view of the problem’s depth and scope:

  25. 175
    Dan H. says:

    I do not believe the general public is aware of the IPCC reports (in fact, I am not convinced that most even know the IPCC exists). Sure, we are, and have read them. However, John Q. Public gets most of their information from the news outlets (and the interent). A few pols show the disconnect between the science and the public. The PNAS paper is the most telling, although it is restrictive to marine environments.

    These articles detail some of the issues facing climate communication, and some recommendations for improvement.

  26. 176
    Thomas says:

    167 Alastair B. McDonald, no worries. You linked to a “poster” before fairly recently which I viewed and responded to you. Have you updated that, as this link looked a little different, from memory, but essentially the same theme?

    Asking for me “feedback” on the scientific rigor of your theory is a bit over my pay grade, and so not worth tuppence. :-)

    Howver I do get the point that the models do not seem to capture ASI responses in the short term, and frankly (for no other reason than an educated hunch) I suspect they are missing something important. My following of the science unfolding on agw/cc since early 2000s does inform me that new understandings and refinements and totally unexpected advances in knowledge about all kinds of more detailed things/nuances about the climate system (eg the amount of warming absorbed by oceans that wasn;t showing up in SST and the effects of deep ocean currents, and the Greenland cold spot etc etc)have arose from time to time … and then there’s a new “abrupt” understanding by scientists of some subtleties not previously known . and that then these feed into all kinds of work and slowly “models” and such are adjusted in later “studies” and number crunching.

    iow the body of work by agw/cc research has indeed changed / improved in the last 20 years … and will continue to do so … at times unexpectedly by the majority of scientists … and the public/media/politicians; and that is not only normal but to be EXPECTED.

    Having put in my own time into looking at the work of paleoclimatologists, and the equally “new” understandings that have arisen in recent decades about that ala Peter ward but by many others as well in the field, and the sometimes “abrupt” changes in parts of the climate system and the cause/effect role of CO2 in the atmosphere records … well to me new understandings of the dynamics involved today would have to be the “norm” and not the exception to the rule.

    Personally I dont fear new info arising – I expect it in this field. eg the new Russian paper ref’d about methane hydrates, yet again. The onus is on them though to produce the robust science before it will gain any tracking with Gavin or anyone else. That’s normal and also to be expected – I’m not qualified to judge the value of such science papers for the research validity – I rely on the exerts collectively for that. It takes time.

    So if you’re onto something you have no other choice but making such a compelling argument and backing it up with enough evidence that others may add their shoulder to the wheel and help getting a proper paper published.

    off the cuff, I suspect making this point – “because they are ignoring the fact that the CO2 band is saturated” – in your poster is a huge barrier for agw/cc scientists/experts to overcome. Is it actually critical to your “theory” being sound? It’s a red rag to a bull, imho. needs a softer approach and more supporting evidence/clarity, maybe as an addendum/side bar?

    Maybe the co2 band isn’t saturated, but more saturated than the predominant view is? I don’t know. Outside my pay grade! :-)

    fwiw ASI has been one of the agw/cc issues I have monitored over time, and put a little more time into understanding – I cannot grasp all of climate science it’s just too much. My view is that last year and this year especially has been very much outside what the predominant agw/cc science expectations were … something weird is happening and it doesn’t seem to be simply “natural variation” because there isn’t too much “natural” about it.

    Those that comprehend the “science/history” of the arctic 100x better than I seem totally flummoxed. or at least surprised by it all. imho, I believe that events are moving much faster than the science can keep up with it in many areas of the climate system and biosphere.

    That’s not a criticism of any scientists either. It is of the politicians and powers that be that have been curtailing such work (and criticising it) rather than expanding it faster the last decade especially.

  27. 177
    Nemesis says:

    @Micheal Roddy, #166

    Com on, that’s GOOD news, as methane is a new, cool energy source^^ Man, the economy will grow like crazy. Ah, what a wonderful, wonderful world we live in. Hail technology and economy!

  28. 178
    Thomas says:

    Climate change, and doing climate change research, has changed the way I see and do science. Here are five points that explain why.

    Ambiguity and uncertainty are key parts of the natural world, and scientific exploration of it.

    At public lectures and community events, people want to know that I am frightened about bushfires. They want to know that I am concerned about the vulnerability of our elderly to increasing summer heat stress. People want to know that, among everything else, I remain optimistic about our collective resilience and desire to care for each other.

    Communicating how we connect with scientific results is also important part of the role of climate scientists. That photo of the family who survived the Tasmanian bushfire is now back in my presentations.

    Short article re that “US climate report”: quoting
    “Some Earth system components, such as arctic sea ice and the polar ice sheets, may exhibit thresholds beyond which these self-reinforcing cycles can drive the components, or the entire system, into a radically different state,” the report says.

    Tipping points include the strengthening of El Nino and La Nino events, yearlong melts of the Arctic Sea Ice and melting of the permafrost, which would release CO2, further impacting global warming.
    The report also notes that there could very well be surprises in computer models that predict the impacts of global warming, especially in polar regions.

    “Future changes outside the range projected by climate models cannot be ruled out,” the report says. “And climate models are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate the amount of long-term future change.”

    Extreme Arctic cyclone in August 2016 A Yamagami et al 12 July 2017 on summer Arctic Frontal Zone classic GAC 2012 account

    “An extremely strong Arctic cyclone (AC) developed in August 2016. The AC exhibited a minimum sea level pressure (SLP) of 967.2 hPa and covered the entire Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean on 16 August. At this time, the AC was comparable to the strong AC observed in August 2012, in terms of horizontal extent, position, and intensity as measured by SLP.

    Two processes contributed to the explosive development of the AC: growth due to baroclinic instability, similar to extratropical cyclones, during the early phase of the development stage, and later nonlinear development via the merging of upper warm cores.

    The AC was maintained for more than 1 month through multiple mergings with cyclones both generated in the Arctic and migrating northward from lower latitudes, as a result of the high cyclone activity in summer 2016.”

    Hat tip to A-Team ASIF – another major AC may be occurring now.

  29. 179
    nigelj says:

    Dan H @175, thanks for the comment and links. I had seen the Pew research before and its pretty interesting.

    But you say “I do not believe the general public is aware of the IPCC reports (in fact, I am not convinced that most even know the IPCC exists).”

    Ridiculous statement.Your link is only on America, and its on opinions on climate, not basic awareness of the IPCC.

    In New Zealand our media have had regular news reports the latest IPPC findings for the last 25 years.I doubt that many people are left who have not actually heard of the IPCC. I know its similar in Australia and Britain at least from talking to people. Its hard to believe America would cover the IPCC issue that much differently.

    Polls by Pew Research around the world show the majority of people in most countries want more done about climate change. Clearly they are likely to have at least heard of the IPCC. Their media would in all probability quote the source of global predictions on climate change.

    Of course there’s big enough group of denialists, nobody doubts that. Pew research shows more scepticism in America than most countries. This is due largely to a band of paid professional sceptics spreading as much doubt and confusion and pseudo science as possible. Basically in summation, we have a pack of paid professional climate science hit men (and women)

  30. 180
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @176

    “My view is that last year and this year especially has been very much outside what the predominant agw/cc science expectations were … something weird is happening and it doesn’t seem to be simply “natural variation” because there isn’t too much “natural” about it.”

    Yes something weird. My reaction was we had the “pause” which was more of just a land based temperature slowdown, but it was certainly of significant length and on the limit of what was expected. Then we had the very high temperatures of 2015 and 2016, and it looks like this year as well, and it is outside the norm, but hardly so surprising to have a correction like this after a flat sort of period.

    But the pause and correction combined is pretty dramatic compared to the previous 100 years, so maybe global warming is changing ocean cycles somehow leading to flat periods followed by a really big el ninos spilling over into a couple of years. This may be the new normal.

  31. 181
    Mal Adapted says:

    Bookmark under ‘Impact of AGW on regional weather’: a report in the current Science, Changing climate shifts timing of European floods.

  32. 182
    Killian says:

    #164 Thomas said …Jon Christensen of Climate Lab …University of California, Los Angeles SAYS:

    “Dystopian visions are easy to conjure these days; they come with scientific probabilities.”

    “The second part of that communication strategy – making a compelling connection to how we can act, individually and collectively, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change when so much of our lives depend on fossil fuels – is the really hard part.“

    It sure is when you don’t have a clue what those things are. Who besides people like me are saying anything even a little realistic about the future of society?

    We have put so much “stuff” into the environment we could, in some cases, at least, live off of it for a very long time… if we didn’t have to worry about sustainability, keep adapting to a constantly changing environment, etc.

    The only solution to all this is Regenerative Governance. I have never seen any other viable solution. Deep Simplicity, that is your option. Period.

    The true problem? Nobody wants to accept this. Despite the simple math and simple logic, people cling to what seems familiar and, most importantly, comfortable.

    Fear of change is the true problem, and fear of what the change must be.

    But we can backcast from a worst case scenario, design to that, and do some great things. We know what to do, it’s just “we” is a very small number of people and, much like the Peanut Gallery that is most regular posters here, egos and denial of what must be are rampant.


  33. 183
    Thomas says:

    174 Obstreperous Applesauce, excellent article. I ‘believe’ it is essentially true based on hard evidence over time. I think of it as a “Virus” that’s been spreading especially across the developed world for decades. It’s very much taken root in a large section of Australian society … being aware of it, it’s causes and being able to recognise when I (and a growing numbers of others as well) see it manifest in public discourse and from the mouths of our current Politicians and the Murdoch press especially as well, it’s more than ‘frustrating’. It’s growth globally is insidious and a threat to civilisation and the fulfillment of what the Enlightenment was supposed to be about.

    It’s why I have shared insightful docos like this here. and recently this one:

    imho knowing these things really matter in being able to drive through rational evidence based action on AGW/CC in the US and elsewhere. Ignoring these issues means attempts to communicate the dire trajectory gets no where. This “virus”, these “myths” and “delusions are a much bigger barrier than simply getting one side of politics promising action on AGW/CC into power with +50% of the vote and assuming that’ll fix everything. Or Hansen winning the court case. It’s worth having a look at the kinds of people (extreme lunatics some of them) that Trump is getting to fill the ~137 Federal Court vacancies across the nation as we speak and 99% of the media is not reporting on, yet.

    China as an example does not have these problems in their society – and it is not because they are communist or a one party state. It’s because of the prevailing culture and ‘beliefs’ of the citizens themselves. They do not “think” like a large majority of ‘American’s’ do … even Democrats and Greens voters btw.

    But, unfortunately, so many who should know better seem not to be capable of facing up to these issues and confronting them head on when opportunities arise. Like sitting in front of Lamar Smith and others in a Congressional Hearing and calling a spade a spade.

    Speaking truth to power always entails some risk. Avoiding those personal risks will solves nothing and nothing will change that must change before rational actions to address AGW/CC can be implemented properly across the world.

    Time is running out fast imo. This is not the time for complacency or patience, imo. But no one cares what people like I/us think or say, so my voice is useless. Maybe Gores new doco may shake a few, but I doubt much will come of it, simply because being a politician he comes with a ton of baggage that will immediately switch half the population and 75% of the media off from listening in the first place. As happened in 2007.

  34. 184
    Mr. Know It All says:

    111- CCHolley
    Yes, warming is real. The debate and skepticism is about what is causing it.
    118- BPL
    Congratulations on the book! Looks like you have several of then on Amazon. Hope you sell millions!
    119- Mike
    Guardian article on FF subsidies: The article did not break down the specific subsidies. Do you have a link to the IMF report? Perhaps they show their math.
    121 – Thomas
    Another Guardian article. 30 y.o. Suzy goes to Turkey for 2 years, writes about the horrors of her home nation – the USA, says she doesn’t know anything about why communism was “bad” (there are plenty of books on it). Sounds like she thinks just about anywhere is better than the USA. Where does Suzy live now? Has she moved to a better place? No. She’s here in the USA bad-mouthing the greatest nation to ever exist; and YOU are posting links to it. Her grossly misguided and immature way of thinking are exactly what got Trump elected.
    141 – Nigel
    On FF subsidies, you may not be familiar with the way the tax code works in the USA, but typically it gives favorable treatment that helps business activity. FF production is one of the riskiest, and most expensive business endeavors undertaken by any business, so it is not surprising that the subsidies are large. This has contributed to the USA being the number 1 economy on earth, the nation that people from all regions on earth want to come to; and many tens of millions have done exactly that – happily leaving their homeland behind. As far as subsidies, renewables get massive subsidies in the USA, yet they contribute probably less than 10% of our power production. If not for those subsidies, renewables would be a small fraction of their current size. Do also realize that people will freely pay out the nose to get FFs for cars, heat, etc – we are not forced to do it – we do it willingly.
    7:12 pm Pacific

  35. 185
    Killian says:

    Re #13 nigelj said Killian @397, previous unforced variations.

    It’s tempting to think that way, but I just think the doomsday climate scenario is likely to be unhelpful overall. …However the climate doomsday scenario position of Wells is incredibly unlikely, and many scientists would say impossible…

    I think maybe you are a bit clueless about risk analysis, which would be strange, but that’s the only way to understand these comments.

    …The denialists…

    Why should I care what lying, crazy people do? I spend my time with the sane. Or mostly sane…

    The standard IPCC predictions are bad enough

    They are always, per the nature of science, always well behind reality, so area poor yardstick. I’ve been far more accurate on the changes we’ve seen, and on the speed of change looking forward. I was saying 3M possible this century years before Hansen and others eventually got around to it.

    I’m not bound by numbers or reticence, and it is my *job* to be as objective as possible. The science is a lagging guide, not a leading guide. Try to remember this. It is an extremely important point.

    I think it would be wise to emphasise some things are ahead of predictions and very worrying. The IPCC should be doing this and are far too conservative and reticent. This is the ground that needs to change, not doomsday within ten years rhetoric.

    How strange. You say only talk about published science, in essence, then say published science is just rhetoric.

    The ten years is not rhetoric, it is historical fact. Given we are pushing the planet faster and harder than it has ever been before – excepting bolides – a ten year rapid change seems more like an eventuality than mere rhetoric. Regardless, it is the only sane *risk assessment.*

    You seem to keep forgetting the key is risk, not scientific scenarios. Science informs policy, it does not create it. That is based on risk analysis.

  36. 186
    Thomas says:

    180 nigelj says: “This may be the new normal.”

    I suspect so nigelj. The flip side of KIAs missives about weather and temps in NW USA etc.

    In the region where I live – in Mid-August the “climate” norm was 2-3 weeks of freezing cold westerly winds that would kink in like clockwork. Late july/aug temps would ease a little during winter, then the westerlies would drop day/night temps by ~5C … eg 18-20C days down to 14-15C and nights down to 3-8C depending on how close one was to the coast.

    So how is the “weather” in mid-august? 28C today and heading towards +30C this weekend and zero westerly winds expected at all yet again like previous years when they have failed to blow.

    In the Arctic, such variations and changes are much more significant and extreme for what my untrained mind for obvious reasons.

    And yet the KIAs and Victors and even those who are genuinely concerned about AGC/CC and support the science are endlessly dismissive of what is already occurring globally and how fast the earth is shifting to new climate norms in the majority of “regions” everywhere.

    But no one can know everything about everywhere – let alone communicate that via the media or internet or any other vehicle. Clearly (?) the IPCC AR5 is seriously out of date almost as soon as it was published (RC articles here said as much on several specific subjects) and the Paris Agreement/Treaty is equally out of date.

    Then there is people like Victor & KIA & Andrew – judas priest man! :-)

    As you say: “This may be the new normal.” Yes! I also suspect it is only a transitional phase that will not last very long given the rate of ongoing CO2e emissions etc. now and in the pipeline already.


  37. 187
  38. 188
    Killian says:

    Re #166 Michael Roddy said OK,Gavin:

    We await your response.

    I win again. Should dig up some of my convos with Gavin and Archer…

    Sanguine climate concern is downright consternationing.

    I love that the solution is rapid, globally massive action to…. stop. Just slowthe heck down, kiddies, and save the world.

  39. 189
    Mr. Know It All says:

    179 – Nigel

    In America where I live, I’d say most people have heard of the IPCC. Well, many young adults and children, most of whom are militant AGW believers, have probably never heard of it, but most people who are over say 30 or 40, and who bother to listen to radio or TV news have heard of the IPCC. It’s in the news regularly.

    But Americans are different than the rest of the world – there’s a reason we’re number 1 in many aspects. We are not sheep. We value freedom and are skeptical of anything that might make us less free. Militant leftist AGW believers would, today, destroy our national economy over AGW. They would destroy the world economy over it. Most of us are intelligent to realize that is not a good idea so we resist, we question, we are skeptical, we do not just say “BAAAA BAAAA” and roll over like people in other nations. We are more independent than most others.

  40. 190
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @189

    This may come as a shock you you, but people outside of America also value freedom and worry about the economy. Apparently you dont teach much international history and geography in your schools any more. This may partly explain the ignorance. Its disturbingly like the censorship in certain odious countries in the news these days, only the scale is different.

    However America is a good country in many ways, and I like Americans I have met as tourists in my country regardless of their politics. So nothing personal against Americans.

    I agree its healthy to have some scepticism of any new idea, but it needs to be rational scepticism, and people have to be open minded enough to move on. Americans (some of them) believe any old nonsense climate denialism, and are not sceptical enough of their own scepticism!

    The website demolishes the sceptical myths in brutal and complete fashion based on the full range of published science.

  41. 191
    Thomas says:

    189 Mr. Know It All ….. ROTFLMFAO. “Free”? I love it – you’re a blast as a stand up comic! :-)

  42. 192
    nigelj says:

    Killian @185

    “I think maybe you are a bit clueless about risk analysis, which would be strange, but that’s the only way to understand these comments.”

    I understand risk analysis well enough. I understand when it comes to the fundamental environmental stability of our planet we need to take great care, and we need to take worst case scenarious seriously. In that respect we should pay attention to worst case IPCC predictions on sea level rise and temperatures, and pay very good attention. There is some science suggesting the IPCC are a little conservative, and that is worth considering that as well.

    But worst case scenarios have to at least be possible! What I don’t subscribe to are impossible or incredibly unlikely scenarios like earth becoming like Venus, or catastrophic change within the next 10 years as some have suggested. It becomes absurd, and I repeat unhelpful and plays into the hands of the deniers.

    Everything humans do has risk. Remember that hadron collider experiment had some possibility of causing a mini black hole of unknown and possibly severe dangers, but it was a vanishingly low probability? Should that experiment have been stopped Killian?

    “The standard IPCC predictions are bad enough” “They are always, per the nature of science, always well behind reality, so area poor yardstick.”” I’ve been far more accurate on the changes we’ve seen, and on the speed of change looking forward. I was saying 3M possible this century years before Hansen and others eventually got around to it.”

    I stated in another post above that IPCC predictions are likely to be conservative. There are two reasons. Science reports tend to be a little conservative or understated for obvious reasons, and the IPCC reports are signed off by government officials, who may be under instruction to play down risks. However its a question of how conservative they are, a tricky question. The worst case published papers on sea level rise have it more like 2 metres absolute maximum this century. That is bad enough, and should be a consideration in policy. There’s no compelling science that says we should go crazy and consider more.

    But hey, 2 metres versus 3 metres. I think we are not in some sort of fundamental disagreement over the issues, and the need to pay attention to the higher risk scenarios.

    “I’m not bound by numbers or reticence, and it is my *job* to be as objective as possible. The science is a lagging guide, not a leading guide. Try to remember this. It is an extremely important point.”

    Well I’m not sure what you mean. Published data on temperatures, etc, will be more reliable than anecdotal experience etc. Science is more rigorous than gut instinct. Not saying anecdote or instinct has no value, and its always a complex question of considering both.

    “I think it would be wise to emphasise some things are ahead of predictions and very worrying. The IPCC should be doing this and are far too conservative and reticent. This is the ground that needs to change, not doomsday within ten years rhetoric.”

    “How strange. You say only talk about published science, in essence, then say published science is just rhetoric.”

    Where did I say that?

    “The ten years is not rhetoric, it is historical fact. Given we are pushing the planet faster and harder than it has ever been before – excepting bolides – a ten year rapid change seems more like an eventuality than mere rhetoric. Regardless, it is the only sane *risk assessment.”

    How can a prediction over the next ten years be “historical fact”? Anyway radical change in ten years just pushes credibility beyond the limits for me. Radical change within a century is quite bad enough, and we should be very concerned.

    “You seem to keep forgetting the key is risk, not scientific scenarios. Science informs policy, it does not create it. That is based on risk analysis.”

    They are closely related. However I agree risk analysis is ultimately another thing separate from the science. I think it’s more of an economic and political sort of question. I have already commented on risk analysis at the start of this post, and risks have to be at least possible.

  43. 193
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @189, part two.

    You worry about impacts of emissions reductions on Americas economy. Well its a valid question, but not a reason to doubt the science.

    But what about these so called terrible economic impacts? They are hard to find. Over the last few years approximately half your new generating capacity has been renewable energy. Rather than negative economic impacts this appears to have actually been positive job creators!

    Costs of wind power and solar electricity are now very similar to coal and gas, and that is without subsidies. Electric cars are getting close to the cost of conventional cars.

    Of course replacing old coal plant has a cost, but overall the worry about economic impacts is exaggerated.

  44. 194
    MA Rodger says:

    It is interesting to see the blather from the troll Mr Know It All @189. He demonstrates that he doesn’t question AGW because he considers such things should only be accepted from a position of proper understanding (which would always be a challenge for someone as stupid as he). Rather he questions AGW only because he doen’t like what he sees as the unpleasant the implications of it. And the silly man doesn’t that see his statement stands as a confession of his prejudice on the matter. Such is the stuff of denial.

  45. 195

    KIA: Congratulations on the book! Looks like you have several of then on Amazon. Hope you sell millions!

    BPL: Thank you.

    KIA: Militant leftist AGW believers would, today, destroy our national economy over AGW. They would destroy the world economy over it

    BPL: How would it destroy an economy to switch from fossil fuels to renewables, and to stop clear-cutting forests? The court finds itself unable to follow the alleged reasoning.

  46. 196
    jimmy says:

    Mike @103 count me as one of those encouraging you to keep posting the co2 no. The important thing is to realise this is the most important number we have. When the yearly increase is well over 2ppm in a post el nino year, we should all be screaming from the rooftops. Slowly becoming obvious that feedbacks are starting to kick in and it will be harder and harder to slow this ship by cutting back alone.
    It’s well past time for us to panic.

  47. 197
    MartinJB says:

    MKIA (@189) evidently knows as much about US opinion on global warming as he knows about climate science:

    I only wish that our actions matched our opinions. Unfortunately, we have gerrymandered local and congressional districts and a republican majority in the congress that cares about their base more than the future.

  48. 198
    zebra says:

    #168 Alastair M, and Everyone Else Talking About Arctic Sea Ice:

    Equivocal rhetoric is fallacious and bad form for the “good guys” as much as it is for the Denialists.

    “when the ice is gone!”
    “ice free Arctic!”

    …and other such breathless phrases, make it really easy for the other side to misrepresent intended meanings. More important, we are supposed to be the science guys, right, so there has to be some quantitative element to your arguments, even to have a sensible debate amongst ourselves.

    Let’s look at this:

    What will the graph look like when you are saying “the Arctic will be ice free by the year 20xx… andwe’reallgoingtodie!”

    Do you mean that very minimum point will touch 1Million sqkm?
    Do you mean the plot will be below 1M for three days? Three months?
    Do you mean the maximum will be just a little bump that goes up from zero to 1M?

    Alastair, I read your poster, I read your comments, and I don’t see an answer to my point: “And yet it freezes.”

    Here’s some more data, on which I have done only rudimentary analysis, so I may have it wrong, but I don’t see the relationship you imply between the minimum extent and the maximum.

    Minima seem to be diminishing faster than the maxima. How do you explain that, given your position that freezing is the result of air flowing over existing ice?

  49. 199
    CCHolley says:

    re: Mr Know It All @184

    Yes, warming is real. The debate and skepticism is about what is causing it.

    So you now agree that warming is real? Wonderful. Does this mean you will stop posting your nonsense on localized temperature record anomalies and the reliability of the global temperature records in showing warming?

    As for the cause, there is no scientific debate. The physics of heat and energy are well understood. Certainly the conservation of energy. Can you identify a scientifically viable alternative cause of the warming backed by evidence? One in which energy isn’t magically created? I’d bet not.

  50. 200
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    Militant leftist AGW believers would, today, destroy our national economy over AGW.

    Anybody want to chip in for a tinfoil hat for Mr. IAT? He can’t sleep at night, on account of AGW-believers beaming economic nightmares into his brain.

    Americans are different from the rest of the world in many ways, but thankfully few of us are as fearful of imaginary cultural enemies as Mr. IAT is. I met a few self-proclaimed militant leftists in the 1960s and ’70s; I assume they’re all dead, incarcerated or comfortably bourgeois by now. Whether or not they’re still militant or even leftist, most of them are presumably AGW understanders if not believers. There might even be militant leftist AGW believers crowded under Mr. IAT’s bed: pigs might fly, you know.

    Until I see extraordinary evidence for the latter, however, I’m not investing my meager capital in large, sturdy umbrellas. It’s more likely IMO that ‘militant-leftist-AGW-believers’ is merely the vehicle for an endogenous thought disturbance. As I observed previously, IMO Mr. IAT is gripped by a conspiracist delusion. He may be dependent on it for his self-regard, making him simply unable to accept the multiple intersecting lines of scientific evidence that global warming is anthropogenic. It seems fear and hatred leave no room in his mind for reason, in any case.

    All that internal drama must be gut-wrenching for Mr. IAT, and I feel some sympathy (just enough to notice) for the guy. YMMV, as we’ve all got problems of our own. And of course, AGW is the hardest problem anyone’s ever faced, independently or collectively IMO. We can’t really be expected to feel sorry for people who, internally or otherwise, are driven to make it harder.

    [Note to reviewers: did any of that sound like a Sokal hoax*? I don’t take it very seriously, but skepticism isn’t the least hypothesis for Mr. IAT’s AGW-denial, and in any case it’s been tested and ruled out. My ‘hypothesis’ sounds good to me, like his apparently does to him. I’m not psychologically dependent on mine, however. I’ll entertain arguments that he’s cynically playing the victim here on RC, or that ‘he’ is a software agent. MA]

    * Find the easter egg by following that link ;^).