RealClimate logo

Unforced variations: Oct 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2017

This month’s open thread. Carbon budgets, Arctic sea ice minimum, methane emissions, hurricanes, volcanic impacts on climate… Please try and stick to these or similar topics.

358 Responses to “Unforced variations: Oct 2017”

  1. 101
    Killian says:

    This has clear implications (I hope) for soil building and sequestration. Interesting there is no human component; a significant omission.

  2. 102
  3. 103
    Thomas says:

    When ignorance is impervious to fact and the truth

    “… And it’s studies dating to the 1970s, when researchers at Stanford first documented a counterintuitive phenomenon. Namely, that people tend not to change their minds when facts prove them wrong. Instead, they double down on the false belief. … .”

    “Once formed,” the researchers observed dryly, “impressions are remarkably perseverant.”

    Even after the evidence “for their beliefs has been totally refuted, people fail to make appropriate revisions in those beliefs,” the researchers noted.

    In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, […] The Gormans, too, argue that ways of thinking that now seem self-destructive must at some point have been adaptive. And they, too, dedicate many pages to confirmation bias, which, they claim, has a physiological component. They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe. [… .]

    That was for anyone interested on another take of why the likes of Victor never ever stop – they are the Energiser Bunnies of Self Delusions and the Dunning Krugar Effect and Narcissistic Personality Disorder related dysfunctions —

    Though there is a little in there for the likes of BPL as well – yes BPL I must be a chekist because you believe that I am …. and yes I am merely pretnding to be an Aussie – how clever of you to catch me out when I really live in St Petersburg …. so of course what you believe must be right …. you’re alwasy right BPL, right? :-)

    PS I actually have no idea what a “chekist” is, despite having that epitaph thrown at me a number of times so far. Fact is I have not bothered to even look it up – because IF I was a “chekist” then I’d already know, right? – and given i know I am not – because i have no idea what it is – what’s the point of looking it up????

    It would only open me up for delving deeper into the backwaters of someone else’s darkened mind … so I prefer to remain happy and not allow the mindless ravings of a victor or anyone else screw up my day …. happy days all (well almost all that is)

  4. 104
    Thomas says:

    fwiw … when it comes to sowing seeds it’s said that there’s good soil and then there’s rocky soil …

    We are more aware than ever, perhaps, of what we do not want to see happening in the world today, although perhaps a bit confused about what we positively aspire to. This is indeed a profoundly thoughtful juncture; an investigative time of looking inside to see what truly motivates us, from below.

    … the timing is right as this decade draws to a close to stand up and be counted for whatever it is that you most deeply believe. This is no matter what the consensus viewpoint might be, and no matter the implicit sacrifices involved. Colin Kaepernick, the SF 49ers quarterback who protested national policy along the lines of Black Lives Matter by “taking the knee” during the national anthem is a good example of this. Agree with his viewpoint or not, we all have to admit that he showed the courage of his convictions by so doing.

    And there’s AGW/CC environmental activist Michael Foster convicted on Felony Charges yesterday in Court for turning off a tar sands pipeline Tap.

    Then there’s Standing Rock. In a similar way, it is up to each and every one of us right now to make that kind of statement for whatever it is that we can discover as our bottom line. It is your unique viewpoint that is thus expressed, independent from the crowd, and yet the paradox is that as you find your own voice you wind up contributing in an important way to the evolution of the society that surrounds you.

    FAR OUT … I must be a Chekist then … please burn me like a Witch upon the nearest Stake! :-)

  5. 105

    Th: Though there is a little in there for the likes of BPL as well – yes BPL I must be a chekist because you believe that I am …. and yes I am merely pretnding to be an Aussie – how clever of you to catch me out when I really live in St Petersburg …. so of course what you believe must be right …. you’re alwasy right BPL, right? :-)

    BPL: Why do you hate Ray Bolger?

  6. 106
    zebra says:

    flxible #94,

    In 1910, farmers and farm laborers comprised about 34% of the population. In 2000, about 1%.

    A rational economic choice in those days was to switch from animal and human power to the only available option, which was fossil fuels. It was also a rational economic choice if you lived in a city, and were tired of having to clean your boots all the time from horse poop. It was a rational choice to switch from gas lighting to electricity.

    It was a rational economic choice, if you were a farmer, to have more children– just like it is a REC today if you are a subsistence farmer in many countries.

    It was a REC to “Go West”, whether from the East Coast or from Europe to US, because there were resources to control and exploit. Land to grow crops, trees to cut down, mines to dig and oil to strike.

    That people don’t understand the difference between now and then is unfortunate but not surprising; it’s a matter of limited experience as well as education.

    I also think that probably some find the concept of REC unsettling, because they want to moralize rather than solve problems.

    How about just trying to answer the question for yourself; this is a classic test of “rational”: Where would you choose to live in the scenario I describe?

    There was recently an article (NYT) about the effects of immigration on the US election, which had good data to support what many people have been saying:

    -Young, ambitious, talented, people move out of small towns to the coasts where there is employment and other interesting stuff.

    -The remaining population is older and more conservative.

    -Housing is cheap and it attracts immigrants.

    -Resentment grows, and you get Trump.

    But my point is… everyone is making a rational choice, based on conditions.

  7. 107
    Scott Strough says:

    The difference is biomass vs stable carbon. The model that climate scientists are using that is incorrect is The Roth C model which is biomass decomposing. The LCP is a different pathway all together and is carbon compounds feeding AMF who then use them to build soil glues that build new soil.

    There is no evidence at all this process magically stops at some arbitrary point in the future when some arbitrary saturation point is reached. The biomass saturation point exists because as the Roth C model quite correctly models, at some point: decay = new growth.

    The LCP is completely different because it isn’t decaying biomass, but rather describing a different carbon biochemical pathway that builds new soil that sequesters carbon into the geological long cycle.

    In a healthy grassland The Roth C model describes approximately 60-70 % of the products photosynthesis. The other 30-40% of the carbon fixed in green leaves can be transferred to soil and rapidly humified, resulting in rates of soil carbon sequestration in the order of 5-20 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. This second biochemical pathway is what was newly discovered and unknown till scientists discovered glomalin and started investigating it deeper.

    Until then yes we knew that somehow carbon did enter the soil, but incorrectly assumed it was by the processes of decay we were missing and that the Roth C model simply needed a slight variable change but fundamentally correct. Now we know it was not correct at all. But climate scientists living in their silo did not get that memo from soil scientists apparently. Because many of the scientists still have not added this important information into their models.

    As for indirect evidence from two other separate and independent lines of inquiry:
    Fossil record:
    100 years of modern soil surveys:

    Please note this quote: “The origin of the mollic epipedon is only partially understood; however, the relation between Mollisols and grassland or steppe has been recognized for more than a century (Shantz 1923). Soils containing a mollic epipedon are among the world’s most productive soils (Liu et al. 2012). The thickness and high soil organic carbon (SOC) contents of the mollic epipedon mean that these soils have sequestered large amounts of C over long periods of time.”

    In this case “large amounts of C over long periods of time” in context does not refer to years or decades or even hundreds of years but rather geological time frames. And the “only partially understood” was much better understood once the LCP was discovered.

    This is not some extraordinary claim needing extraordinary evidence, this is a key piece of the puzzle being uncovered that is entirely in complete agreement with all the evidence. To actually claim the LCP stops at some point would be magical thinking needing extraordinary evidence. It would be like saying magically at some arbitrary age soils stop being formed because all the AMF just died and the plant roots died and the grasses got so healthy they magically can exists without an entire key aspect of their symbiotic biology! While all the evidence shows exactly the opposite. More carbon in the soil means MORE symbiotes in the soil accelorating the LCP rate to even higher than 5-20 tonnes/ha/yr, not less. How much higher is unknown. We haven’t even known about the LCP long enough to test it! All we know really is that the farmers who started this are all reporting higher rates, and no sign of any diminishing returns yet. The studies showing diminishing returns all involve pastures artificially fertilized rather than grasslands obtaining their fertility through microbiological symbiosis. Those following the Roth C instead.

    Grassland biomass does follow the Roth C model. And even saturates even faster than forests. But the LCP never saturates, it is a constant pump of 5-20 tonnes CO2e/ha/yr into the soil. And if anything that rate is increased as soil health recovers. No one has seen it taper off unless the grassland is destroyed, usually by the plow. That’s why forest soils are typically quite shallow compared to grassland soils, even though forests have more biomass.

  8. 108
    zebra says:


    I’m sorry but you keep waffling on this question of changes in rate of population growth, and how that affects the other dynamics, and how that in turn feeds back to population growth.

    Look, this is an exercise like the discussion of “can we hold to 1.5C in temperature increase”. As others have said, the fine details of the physics don’t really matter:

    1. Because we have to do something whatever the case.
    2. Because we probably are past the point where we can stay below that number.

    So, I am talking about the best combination of actions (“all of the above”) that developed countries can take so that the harm in 200 years is minimized. Do you really think I don’t have a realistic picture of the time scale involved? Let me ask you this:

    What would China’s pollution problem be like if they had never implemented the one-child policy?

    Now, because they were dealing with a peasant population, where having more children was the rational economic choice, and they didn’t have the economic strength to use alternatives, the method was harsh and offensive. But here I am saying “let’s get people to do this by improving their situation”, rather than try to force them into some painful changes.

    So, if you want to tell me again why you think simply reducing the rate of increase in population will not affect per capita consumption, please explain. You’ve agreed that the endpoint of the PCC curve is below some standard (e.g. Europe), then the curve must change direction somewhere.

  9. 109

    Thomas, #101–

    Good link. Shared.

  10. 110
    Mal Adapted says:


    Surely if well educated and intelligent are marrying more this would be directional selection?

    You’re referring to ‘assortative mating’. It appears to occur for IQ, as it does for multiple human traits. Evolutionary biologists discuss AM in the context of divergent selection and speciation, as in this review article. Again, there can only be directional selection within populations for higher IQ if higher-IQ individuals leave more descendants than lower-IQ individuals, over N successive generations. Again, I’m not aware of credible evidence that’s actually happening.

    I probably sound like an elitist snob or something. I’m definitely not, I hate snobbery and social class gets on my nerves. It was just an article I read similar to above that got me interested.

    Don’t worry about it, dude. I hate snobbery too. But as Frank Zappa, a true twisted genius of my time, said: “it’s not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity and make it work for you.”

    I’ve been interested in this topic as long as I can remember. Two years in a doctoral program in Ecology and Evolution schooled my skepticism, the common goal of all scientific training. On that basis (trigger warning) I’ve defended scientific investigation of the evolution of human behavior under names like ‘evolutionary psychology”, but not any specific findings thereof. I won’t make any claims for this 2014 “Expert Review” of Genetics and intelligence differences in Nature Molecular Psychiatry either. Read it FWIW to you.

  11. 111
    Thomas says:

    Hi, I heard that the UK is phasing out all coal fired generation by 2025.
    and that all new vehicles sold in the UK need to be electric or hybrid (or similar) before then (2022-2025?)

    I also heard that in 2008 the Parliament set a bipartisan independent Commission to monitor the long term program of 5 Year Plans – and to advise Govt OBJECTIVELY how well those 5 year plans are going and if they are inline with expectations in 15-20 years ahead and what would be needed by then as far a GHG emissions etc.

    Seems very similar to how CHINA is approaching their responsibilities of pollution, AGW/CC and the Paris agreement …. they too are using 5 year plans to meet very long objectives in 2040-2050 and their Govt is just as bipartisan imho, though may be better described as a ‘Unity Government.’

    Meanwhile in Australia and the USA a high % of the population and their POLITICIANS are still living in Fantasy Land ……… and frankly dragging their feet, at worst doing absolutely nothing and going backwards.


  12. 112
    zebra says:

    Just a reminder for the IQ/intelligence discussion: Heritability is not necessarily indicative of a genetic component in the way most people understand it. Epigenetic factors may play a role as well.

    If you do a twin study on the offspring of a mother with poor pre- and peri-natal conditions, it doesn’t tell you that much about the genome.

  13. 113
    nigelj says:

    Killian @97

    “#74 nigelj said Killian @69, maybe look at it this way. We have spent 40 years telling people about climate change and how it could be disastrous and catastrophic. Blatantly false premise. Read some of Oreskes work if you want to understand why climate awareness peaked in the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc., in 2007 then fell off dramatically.Your analysis, as always, is simplistic and suffers from your preconceptions. ”

    I disagree in part. I have read Oreskes book and some articles, and yes of course there’s been a campaign of denialism and doubt, and I loathe it with a vengeance. I have written many internet posts and so on exposing how shallow or plain false their arguments are.

    However it doesn’t change in the slightest what I said, that the IPCC and media have also reported on how serious climate change will be and often quite stridently. This is definitely the case in my country, but I will concede America seems an outlier country with more scepticism in the media than other countries. However simply combating the denialists by screaming louder about how the world will end in ten years seems a dangerous strategy.

    However as I pointed out, we should warn the public in a measured way about the risks of abrupt climate change, just do it carefully. Hope Im not sounding too contradictory, but framing messages properly is really important. If anything your views seem very simplistic to me at times.

  14. 114
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @99, thanks. Good information. I have no reason to doubt it either.

    However by intelligence it should have been self evident I meant IQ. I accept of course only a part of IQ is hereditary, its complex environment plus genetics, and it may be a lesser part that is genetics. I never suggested it was all genetics.

    My point was more social class related really in terms of groups intermarrying and what this might mean economically.

    But on IQ levels, apparently they are dropping in some countries as below:

    “Some have even contentiously said this could be because educated people are deciding to have fewer children, so that subsequent generations are largely made up of less intelligent people.”

    Could be other factors however. Just my opinion, but it might be higher alcohol and drug use.

  15. 115
    nigelj says:

    zebra @108

    Well you werent saying that. You were quite explicit focus on population growth and get it down, not all this talk about sustainable farming methods etc. However at least you now concede a mix of strategies are required.

    “So, if you want to tell me again why you think simply reducing the rate of increase in population will not affect per capita consumption, please explain”

    But I have never said this. I have repeatedly said it will change and often reduce consumption, repeatedly! Its just obvious anyway.

    More to the point, you claimed smaller population means people would choose renewable energy, bicycles etc etc. You have not explained why. Please note flxible @94 expressed similar concerns: “That would be about 1920 – what “rational economic choices” were made then? What makes current folks any different, particularly when faced with the sudden disappearance of 2/3 of the “competition”?

    However I would agree with you if you mean smaller populations would consume less minerals and agricultural resources on the whole. But its pretty self evident anyway.

  16. 116
    Thomas says:

    Australia has been labelled a “laggard” in the global move toward electric vehicles by progressive think-tank Australia Institute.

    “Emissions from vehicles are on the rise and Australia currently has no serious policy measures to curb their growth,” said Matt Grudnoff, senior economist and author of a report released on Friday.

    “Transport is the third largest sector contributing to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and there are currently no serious policies to curb these emissions.”

  17. 117
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: nigelj says: 9 Oct 2017 at 8:21 PM, #~76

    Hi, Nigel. There is a lot of confusion regarding livestock and methane (CH4). The following is what I understand.

    Prior to corporate agriculture, all of the carbon that was released from the digestion of plant matter by animals in the form of CO2 and CH4 had been previously removed from the atmosphere in the form of CO2 by the plants. This is a portion of the fast carbon cycle and is carbon neutral in the long term. Although CH4 does have a greater greenhouse potential than CO2, it is at a much lower concentration in the atmosphere (measured in parts per billion) than CO2 (parts per million) and has a half-life of 7 years, so within the human time scale it doesn’t accumulate in the atmosphere like CO2 does.

    The problem with modern agriculture is the use of fossil fuels in the process (e.g. fertilizer made from natural gas) that adds to the CO2 atmospheric load because it was not removed in the recent past. One big change that is needed to stop the global warming potential of corporate beef operations, and all agriculture for that matter, is to remove or greatly reduce fossil carbon input. This is not rocket science, and there are well researched studies that demonstrate how to do this and produce the same amount of food for equal or less cost than current corporate farms. Check out the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial. They have documented their results in peer reviewed journals.

    As for a beef operation, cattle fed from naturally produced (no fossil carbon) grass that has been operating for 7 years or so has a minimal to nonexistent ongoing global warming effect due to cow digestion and excrement.

    Note that I have restricted my response to the process of growing food. Other global warming components, such as CO2 from transportation, are also relevant. Steve

  18. 118
    Killian says:

    #113 nigelj said Killian @97

    I disagree in part. I have read Oreskes book and some articles, and yes of course there’s been a campaign of denialism and doubt, and I loathe it with a vengeance. I have written many internet posts and so on exposing how shallow or plain false their arguments are.

    However it doesn’t change in the slightest what I said, that the IPCC and media have also reported on how serious climate change will be and often quite stridently.

    Not at all. Not even a little, really, but I speak as someone who has seen the existential nature of the threat from the beginning of my study of the issue. Science, as we all know, only last week or so finally assessed AGW/CC as an existential threat of 5%.

    That is, “strident” cannot be used when the warnings have been very far from adequate given the actual risk – and even the now-stated existential threat of 5% is far too low, imo. It will rise in the future, and relatively soon. So sayeth I.

    This is definitely the case in my country

    The same denialists have been all over the English-speaking world. Denial is not so different in the U.S., Britain, Australia…

    but I will concede America seems an outlier country with more scepticism in the media than other countries

    Perhaps. I doubt the differences are great.

    However simply combating the denialists by screaming louder about how the world will end in ten years seems a dangerous strategy.

    Straw Man. Per usual. Given the soft peddle thus far, despite your assertions to the contrary, your premise is quite simply flawed and your assertion of what is suggested is flatly misleading.

    Again: State the risk *and* the pathway to safety, then people will act.

    If anything your views seem very simplistic to me at times.

    Simple does not equal simplistic. First Principles cannot be any simpler, literally. Your problem is you understand neither simplicity nor First Principles-based analysis of these problems. You don’t, e.g., see First Principles in permaculture, so fail to understand the value of the design system.

    I will say again, stop telling, start listening: You are still not “getting it.”

  19. 119
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oct. 10, 2017, 12:59 p.m.
    Climatologist explains why ‘the conditions are primed for fire’ in California

  20. 120
    alan2102 says:

    #90 zebra 11 Oct 2017: “a note to all the people discussing all the “solutions” that are never going to happen without such a restriction: You just sound like you are more interested in imposing your will against opposition than dealing with climate change. Agroforestry, grasslands, simplicity, bicycles, blah blah blah… that’s what people would do “naturally” when there is no competition for resources.”

    China has been, and is, undertaking massive eco-restoration efforts, with variable success. Some of their projects are planned to take place over a CENTURY. That is not consistent with your suggestion that such things cannot take place unless “there is no competition for resources”.

    You seem to be saying that remedial efforts cannot take place without a reduced population. (Is that correct?) I cannot discern any reason for that point of view, and you’ve presented no evidence for it, and it is inconsistent with clear facts on the ground.

  21. 121
    alan2102 says:

    #108 zebra 12 Oct 2017: “What would China’s pollution problem be like if they had never implemented the one-child policy?”

    Probably not different at all. It is a common but WRONG idea that the one-child policy had a major impact on population growth. IT DID NOT. The big fertility fall-off happened before the one-child policy came along in the late 1970s. The policy had a small augmenting effect on what had already happened: fertility ~6 in 1950 down to ~3 by the mid-70s (BEFORE the one-child policy). You only have to look at the statistics. A few simple google searches suffice.

  22. 122
    alan2102 says:

    #95 nigelj 11 Oct 2017: “It will take decades to many centuries before population falls. Best estimates are population will peak somewhere between 2050 – 2100 and then slowly fall…. this means falling population wont fix the climate problem and will be too slow to fix other environmental problems, although it will certainly help ultimately.”

    Here here! We have the population we have. It is not going to change much, in the foreseeable future. Whining and hand-wringing about “overpopulation” does no good, and directs attention away from things that CAN do good. There is of course a role for family planning and contraceptive access to damp fertility in the few remaining high-fertility areas (Africa), but in general the “overpopulation” meme is dead and counter-productive. Meanwhile we have critical issues to deal with — issues that are actionable, unlike population.

  23. 123
    Hank Roberts says:

    Scientists have been using ESA’s CryoSat to study changes in the surface of the ice shelf and the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission to study how shelves flow to learn more about what’s going on hidden from view.

    Their focus has been on the Dotson ice shelf in West Antarctica.

    Noel Gourmelen from the University of Edinburgh said “We have found subtle changes in both surface elevation data from CryoSat and ice velocity from Sentinel-1 which shows that melting is not uniform, but has centred on a 5 km-wide channel that runs 60 km along the underside of the shelf.

    “Unlike most recent observations, we think that the channel under Dotson is eroded by warm water, about 1°C, as it circulates under the shelf, stirred clockwise and upward by Earth’s rotation.

    “Revisiting older satellite data, we think that this melt pattern has been taking place for at least the entire 25 years that Earth observation satellites have been recording changes in Antarctica.

    Read more at:

  24. 124
    nigelj says:

    Killian @118

    “The same denialists have been all over the English-speaking world. Denial is not so different in the U.S., Britain, Australia…”

    This is not the case. Read Pew research and there is huge divergence in climate change opinions in different countries. America has particularly strong climate change scepticism, other countries less climate scepticism, including Europe, Latin America and mine for example.

    Of course sceptics are active in all countries including mine, but the point is theres a big divergence in activity and also how the public react. Its interesting also Pew Research polling show the majority of scepticism in America is very much along certain political partisan lines.

    “However simply combating the denialists by screaming louder about how the world will end in ten years seems a dangerous strategy.Straw Man. Per usual. Given the soft peddle thus far, despite your assertions to the contrary, your premise is quite simply flawed and your assertion of what is suggested is flatly misleading.”

    Its not a straw man, its a fact. There has been no “soft peddle” on climate change in most countries, just a measured coverage of dangers of climate change. Exaggerating and scaremongering would be total, complete stupidity and you would have 90% of the population becoming sceptics. You seem to think you can treat adults like idiot children and they will just obey despite the huge evidence to the contrary.

    I outlined how I think it should be approached. You utterly ignored what I said. You make things very difficult.

  25. 125
    nigelj says:

    Steve Fish @117, thanks that’s interesting, and I see the logic. However regardless of the cycle process and inputs its probably also good to just reduce the methane emissions as well in absolute terms.

    My country New Zealand is researching cattle foods that generate less methane.I don’t have a reference for this, but google may turn something up.

  26. 126
    zebra says:

    nigel 115,

    I replied to flxible at 106– you apparently missed it.

    I also answered the same point in the other comment. Perhaps you are not familiar with US geography, so it didn’t register– and, of course, you live where this is not an issue.

    The answer is: Which would you choose? Forget about climate change for a minute, and just make a choice of how you would establish your culture (meaning technology, social/economic organization, geographical arrangement).

    To repeat:

    Would you have multiple inefficient small groupings spread over the continent, to which you have to ship coal for energy, and have trucks deliver products, and have people flying shorter (less efficient) distances?

    Or, would it make more sense, if you can have a comfortable population density, for everyone to concentrate on the coasts, with North-South rail transport, and wind and solar energy transported over shorter distances?

    I don’t know what kind of “evidence” you need here– look at what people choose to do now, when they have the choice. People in NYC, even if they are well off, often walk and ride the subway, (although the latter is falling into disrepair.)

    We can go through every facet of human culture, but you should be able to do that on your own and reach the same conclusions as I do.

    But the main problem still seems to be your inability to distinguish between per capita and net consumption:

    “However I would agree with you if you mean smaller populations would consume less minerals and agricultural resources on the whole.”

    No, per capita.

  27. 127
    zebra says:

    Alan 2102,

    See my answer to nigel just above and to flxible.

    Also, it really is discouraging to see the same meme repeated over and over: “The problem is just those Africans.” (With low IQ’s no doubt.)

    Well, not really. The problem is poverty and gender inequality all over the world, and the fact that unless we try to ameliorate that with non-fossil fuel technology, power still accrues to those who “own” the resources, because demand will continue.

    And the time scale we have to work with is a couple of hundred years– what’s your fallback plan if the world doesn’t get religion from your preaching and stop eating meat and adopt permaculture and all that good stuff? It seems obvious that putting a brake on population growth needs to be a significant part of an overall effort, at least if you are seriously concerned about migration and wars that will be precipitated by a changing climate.

  28. 128
    Astringent says:

    Nijelj @114 said : IQ is hereditary, its complex environment plus genetics, and it may be a lesser part that is genetics. I never suggested it was all genetics.
    But on IQ levels, apparently they are dropping in some countries as below:

    Is there not considerable debate as to whether there is a meaningful correlation between IQ and Intelligence in the first place? IQ tests measure how good you are at IQ tests, and the tests are the product of cultural and educational norms. It may be that ‘teenagers today’ are performing worse in tests, but given we are talking about measurements over 3 or 4 generations at most, unless a huge proportion of ‘IQ’ is genetics, rather than going to a good kindergarten and learning how to answer IQ test questions, it seems much more likely that changing culture is moving us away from a Victorian ideal of intelligence.

    And who is to say that our Oxbridge, literate, professionals, have a monopoly of ‘intelligence’? They are just well adapted to a pretty dumb and artificial environment (and haven’t demonstrated that much intelligence in how they have been running things recently). Not hard to argue that it takes as much or more intelligence to feed your family off a hectare of rice paddy, or that a hunter gatherer who knows the safety and nutritional value of every plant in their environment is more intelligent.

  29. 129
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: nigelj says: 13 Oct 2017 at 1:30 AM, ~#125

    I have read about the experiments on the reduction of methane from cow digestion. I hope that this will work. It seems to me that an even better idea would be to stop all of the leaks of methane to the atmosphere from drilling and transport operations in the natural gas and petroleum industry.

  30. 130
  31. 131
    Mal Adapted says:


    in general the “overpopulation” meme is dead and counter-productive.

    Good comment. I used to be a population-growth alarmist, but in the last 20 years I’ve reached the same conclusion you have. For the data-driven, the decline in total fertility rates globally are incontrovertible IMO. Nowadays I’m more of an I=PAT* alarmist. If any of y’all plan to attack me for that, bring it, but please read my entire comment first**. Except where indicated, any personal moral weighting you impute is your problem, not mine 8^|!

    Empiricism: Globally, declines in fertility since 1960 are clearly associated with economic development, but recent declines in some countries appear to be related to the anticipation of prosperity, in particular the rising expectations of young females. In Brazil, for example, TFR decline has been in advance of substantial per-capita income gain.

    As elsewhere in the world throughout human history, for subsistence but far more for commodity extraction following the arrival of the global market economy, I(Brazil) has kept pace with PAT(Brazil).

    Morality: I’m still glad I didn’t have kids. While higher A may ease pressure on some forms of natural capital, AT** hasn’t been globally sustainable since the early-holocene adoption of sedentary cereals agriculture in the ‘fertile crescent’. Choosing to beget a child necessarily entails acceptance of personal I > 0 unto the Nth generation. When P(descendants)=0, OTOH, I(personal)=0 for all values of AT(descendants). IOW, the buck stops here.

    * where, perhaps taking the original 0th-level heuristic too literally:

    I = aggregate liquidation of natural capital;

    P = total population;

    A = per-capita affluence;

    T = per-capita ‘technology’, including all force multipliers of human muscle power;

    Subscripts ‘(x)’ indicate population scope.

    ** The per-capita factors A x T thus represent per-capita cultural capability to liquidate natural capital. Here I propose a third 0th-level per-capita factor, ‘C’, for cultural posture toward the biosphere. If you’ve arrived here after reading every foregoing sentence, you may now commence trashingrobustly critiquing my comment.

  32. 132
  33. 133
  34. 134
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: Scott Strough says: 12 Oct 2017 at 9:16 AM, ~#107

    Scott, thanks for your reply, but I still have questions. Your claim that glomalin soils are stable for geologically long cycles is not supported by the evidence you have provided. Several of your references claim glomalin lasts 7 to 42 years in living soil depending on conditions. The Retallack study examined fossilized soils (paleosols) to support their climatic cooling hypothesis, but fossilization would seem to be extremely impractical in cropland.

    Your assertion that there “is no evidence at all this process magically stops at some arbitrary point in the future when some arbitrary saturation point is reached,” is your own opinion and provides no evidence. Remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. How about providing a couple of peer reviewed scientific references to support your opinion? In fact, there is evidence that there is a saturation point. Your sources say that in regions that have the right conditions, mollic soils are 1 to 2 meters thick. If they continue to increase indefinitely there should be layers in current undisturbed regions, and in the geological record, that are much thicker. Perhaps the rate of creation and the rate of loss are equal at 1 to 2 meters thick.

    I applaud your promotion of farming practices that restores soil carbon for sequestering CO2 and making cropland more productive. I think that suggesting this could stop or reverse global warming caused by burning fossil fuels detracts from your arguments. It seems logical to me that returning agricultural soils to a healthy state would be able to remove just the portion of CO2 in the atmosphere that was released because of bad farming practices.


  35. 135

    On the somewhat tangential question of Chinese government population policy, I followed Al’s suggestion of a few quick Google searches, soon finding these two links:

    Putting those two together, yes, the “one-child” policy could not have been responsible for the decline from Chinese TFR ~ 6 in 1970 to TFR ~ 3 in 1980 (when the policy was officially implemented.)


    1) The decline is still likely due to changes in government policy, since:

    Until the 1960s, the government encouraged families to have as many children as possible[5] because of Mao’s belief that population growth empowered the country, preventing the emergence of family planning programs earlier in China’s development.[6] The population grew from around 540 million in 1949 to 940 million in 1976.[7] Beginning in 1970, citizens were encouraged to marry at later ages and have only two children.

    2) The one-child policy era saw the TFR drop from ~ 3 to ~ 1.5, so it hardly seems to have been ineffective.

    So my takeaway would be that Al is right in detail, but hasn’t dented what I take to be zebra’s larger point, that government policy can have a very, very large effect on demography. And I’d add that it’s rather interesting to see the projected convergence of TRF among the regions of the world they graphed.

    Too bad they excluded Africa. But here’s a global discussion from 2015, should anyone care to read it:

  36. 136
    Thomas says:

    Long ago I posited and query MA Rodger (and the group scientists here) about a logical (?) conclusion I had pondered for some time that the ENSO dynamic would be naturally (aka Physics) affected by the ongoing rising temperatures in the Pacific as AGW continues. I noted that I was not aware of any climate science papers or commentary about such a thing. To me, at that time, it was a very curious observation of my own, and so, not being a scientist nor 100% aware of everything going on in the field, I asked/discussed what MA Rodger el al might think about that.

    I see a new article on RC today, quoting from it: “A subset of Earth System Models (ESMs) project that El Niño-like conditions will progressively increase in coming decades as sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific warm,….”

    Seems I have my belated scientific based answer. Though, it’s still a complete mystery to me why I was so ridiculed here for having such a thought and discussing it publicly on RC.

  37. 137
    Thomas says:

    Hey Mike! This is for you and for the satisfaction of your logical rational mind …. (even though you’re not a scientist.)

    “Yet this rapid increase in CO2 occurred during a period when fossil fuel emissions were nearly flat ….”

    I too, am not surprised by this finding here.

  38. 138
    Scott Strough says:

    Nigelj 125,
    New Zealand is researching cattle foods? Are you kidding me? That is about the most stupidest dumberest idioticest thing I ever heard. Unfortunately I can’t seem to make up a dumb enough sounding word to fully express my dismay at the concept. New Zealand, a country with vast grassfed cattle now wants to step backwards into the dark ages by producing “feeds” for cattle? Come on man. A properly managed grassland biome is a net SINK for methane. Yes that includes the animals and insects like termites and the ants and the manure..all of it. The entire biome is a net sink.

    And you want to experiment with feedlots which are huge sources of methane? But you want to try experimental feeds that are grown using agricultural practices that destroy the ecosystem function of upland oxic soils, including but not limited to the methane oxidation function? Really? It doesn’t get any more stupid than that.

    The second biggest agricultural component besides rice production to methane increases is related to the way we currently practice animal husbandry. This component is primarily driven by reducing the natural processes that remove methane from the atmosphere. Since ruminants and other animals have been passing gas since the beginning of time, it is less an emissions problem but rather a symptom of soil degradation caused by the way we currently raise grains (largely to feed animals in confinement).

    In my opinion methane is an animal husbandry problem primarily because of CAFO’s. It is not a problem in a properly managed grassland/savanna biome. After all those biomes supported many millions and millions of grazers who were extirpated. The methane levels before they were extirpated were actually lower than now! According to the following studies those biomes actually reduce atmospheric methane due to the action of Methanotrophic microorganisms that use methane as their only source of energy and carbon. Even more carbon being pumped into the soil! Nitrogen too, as they are also free living nitrogen fixers.

    “Grasslands and their soils can be considered sinks for atmospheric CO2, CH4, and water vapor, and their
    Cenozoic evolution a contribution to long-term global climatic cooling. Cenozoic Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling

    “The subsurface location of methanotrophs means that energy
    requirements for maintenance and growth are obtained from
    CH4 concentrations that are lower than atmospheric. Soil Microorganisms as Controllers of Atmospheric Trace Gases
    (H2, CO, CH4, OCS, N2O, and NO)

    “Upland (i.e., well-drained, oxic) soils are a net sink for atmospheric methane; as methane diffuses from the atmosphere into these soils, methane consuming (i.e., methanotrophic) bacteria oxidize it. IMPACT OF METHANOTROPH ECOLOGY ON UPLAND METHANE BIOGEOCHEMISTRY IN GRASSLAND SOILS

    “Nevertheless, no CH4 was released when soil surface CH4 fluxes were measured simultaneously. The results thus demonstrate the high CH4 oxidation potential of the thin aerobic topsoil horizon in a non-aquatic ecosystem. Methane fluxes from differentially managed grassland study plots: the important role of CH4 oxidation in grassland with a high potential for CH4 production.

    “Of all the CH4 sources and sinks, the biotic sink strength is the most responsive to variation in human activities. Environmental impacts on the diversity of methane-cycling microbes and their resultant function

    “The CH4 uptake rate was only 20% of that in the woodland in an adjacent area that had been uncultivated for the same period but kept as rough grassland by the annual removal of trees and shrubs and, since 1960, grazed during the summer by sheep. It is suggested that the continuous input of urea through animal excreta was mainly responsible for this difference. Another undisturbed woodland area with an acidic soil reaction (pH 4.1) did not oxidize any CH4. Methane oxidation in soil as affected by land use, soil pH and N fertilization

    I pulled a few quotes out to make my case, but I highly recommend you read the sources in their entirety and even find further educational materials, since this is a highly complex subject.

    The main summary being, the current system used to raise animals in confinement has removed them from the farmland, where when managed properly their methane emissions are part of a larger agricultural system that oxidizes more methane than the animals emit. Since this biological oxidation of methane occurs below the soil surface where that carbon enters the soil food web, actually animals improve the BCCS systems even more than without them. This actually has been known for decades and is well vetted, but was never quantified for climate scientists. Sir Albert Howard, father of organic agriculture, noted this effect on soil biology (of removing farm animals from the land and replacing their impact with synthetic fertilizers) way back in the 1940s.

    “As the small trickle of results grows into an avalanche — as is now happening overseas — it will soon be realized that the animal is our farming partner and no practice and no knowledge which ignores this fact will contribute anything to human welfare or indeed will have any chance either of usefulness or of survival.” Sir Albert Howard

    In my honest opinion one reason for the recent spike in atmospheric methane is simply the fruition of Sir Albert Howard’s prediction, since we continue to ignore this. Loss of soil carbon would be another impact of ignoring this.

    The third major factor in increased emissions is from natural wetlands. I am less familiar with this portion of the methane cycle, but I can hypothesize that it could potentially be related in part to agricultural runoff causing anaerobic conditions (dead zones), since most decomposition under anaerobic conditions does produce large quantities of methane. Fertilizer Runoff Overwhelms Streams and Rivers–Creating Vast “Dead Zones” Ironically the “King Corn” lobby is so huge, that even though the above article from Scientific America admits the primary cause cropland runoff of synthetic nitrogen, they actually propose:

    the only way to increase ethanol production from corn and reduce nitrogen runoff would be for Americans to stop eating meat, thereby freeing up corn used as livestock feed for other uses.

    While also stating:

    “That [also] means not utilizing all the land to grow crops.”

    Apparently they don’t see the irony in these two statements. The solution of course is not to grow corn for ruminants at all and dramatically reduce its usage for other livestock. And not to use corn for ethanol production at all. (excepting a nice corn whiskey) There are other ways to feed animals and distill ethanol more efficiently than using “king corn” surpluses.

    Grass Makes Better Ethanol than Corn Does
    Soil Carbon Storage by Switchgrass Grown for Bioenergy

    So step one is to stop subsidizing the over production of corn and soy and changing our production models to more efficient regenerative models of production that don’t cause AGW. And no amount of “special feeds” reducing ruminant CH4 will be helpful at all because not one damn one of the feeds could possibly pull methane negative like the grassland biome does, which is destroyed to grow the feeds! And ironically instead of agriculture contributing to the methane problem, we could use it to more rapidly oxidize methane coming from other sources too!

  39. 139
    Thomas says:

    Killian …. re “but I will concede America seems an outlier country with more scepticism in the media than other countries”

    K: Perhaps. I doubt the differences are great.

    Oh I vigorously disagree there Killian. The USA extremist denial-ism is off the scale relative to all other nations – english speaking or not – especially in political circles of those in power.

    AGW/CC Denial-ism ground zero is the USA. You will find any active denialist anywhere on the planet that has not and still is being directly informed, guided/directed and motivated via USA Based deceit and manipulation by political/religious/social driven ideologues.

    While a Monckton (UK) might travel to Oz to promote his idiocracy the info he puts out is traced all the way back to the USA denier camps and funders of that. GWPF in the UK was motivated and funded to be created via the USA and the information/guidance the US deniers provided Lawson.

    Follow the money and follow the materials/data all roads lead back to the USA and it’s overall dysfunctional political/corporate state of being.

    I thought would be obvious to everyone by now …. but again maybe one needs to be on the OUTSIDE looking holistically over the world to see it. For Americans there’s a distinct Gold Fish Bowl effect going on – has been for many many decades – it’s become far worse over time too.

    Everyone interested in such matters or having to deal with it in their “day job” eg from Europe, Oz, NZ, China, Japan, Russia, Middle East, India, Sth America, wherever, know this and see it almost every day no matter the subject.

    And then ‘generally’ (as in most scientists/researchers and a few other specialist groups are different) the leaders and politicians and most Americans from the President down to the lowliest homeless man with a shopping trolley do not listen or heed the advice of those beyond their shores – anymore! (shrug)

  40. 140
    Thomas says:

    Killian there is a huge conga line of denier politicians and activists here that have traveled to the USA for specific training and deep indoctrination into the AGW/CC denier / free market / neoliberal Memes (they are all one and the same interconnected extremist ideology) and then come back to be high priest preachers of Climate Change Denialism here in Australia.

    They don’t hide it they happily promote that they went to the USA to be coached the Heartlands of the US. They think it makes them experts in Climate Science … LOL

  41. 141
    Thomas says:

    124 nigelj – well i see things very differently than you do nigelj

    Exaggerating and scaremongering would be total, complete stupidity and you would have 90% of the population becoming sceptics.

    Um, the evidence of human history suggests the complete opposite of your belief nigelj. You don’t need to look very far to find it either. Ever heard of the Iraq War v2.0? ~90% of the US population became warmongers. 6 months after the invasion +60% still believed Saddam had direct ties to Al Queda … Tony Blair still believes they were minutes away from launching nuclear weapons at Europe, jeepers creepers!

    You seem to think you can treat adults like idiot children and they will just obey despite the huge evidence to the contrary.

    You got that back to front as well. I think some extra research into the social sciences, political sciences, the power of marketing techniques upon whole populations (aka propaganda and ‘brainwashing’) and psychology could be in order. :-)

  42. 142
    Thomas says:

    PS re “Exaggerating and scaremongering”

    One better first prove that that is / has been / might be the case vs “the soft peddle” approach vs the degrees of really accurate well-balanced and clearly communicated truths of the serious of the matter – short and long term.

    imho a bit of everything has occurred — the question is how much and by whom and what IS the world’s take away message from that — and what has been the USA populations and politicians overall take away message from that?

    The USA being the #1 leading historical contributor by a huge margin in GHG emissions and all drivers of AGW/CC on the Planet.;jsessionid=46A1718A2EE36754EB8CE06471DBE80D.ip-10-40-1-105

    Compared to the rest of the world Obama, the Clintons and the Democrats are some of the worlds greatest Soft-Peddlers the last 20 years. Trump and the Republicans may be even worse BUT that still doesn’t change the facts or the valid comparison of them to Europe, China and many other leading nations in the world.

  43. 143
    Killian says:

    #124 nigelj said “However simply combating the denialists by screaming louder about how the world will end in ten years seems a dangerous strategy.”

    Straw Man.

    “Its not a straw man, its a fact.”

    Then you know the definitions of neither. To characterize what I suggest about denial as “simply… screaming…” is a perfect example of a Straw Man. Not surprised you do not understand that.

    To then call your opinion about denial, and my analysis of dealing with it, a fact shows you don’t understand that difference either.

    You are wasting everyone’s time by posting at all. You do not belong here at this point. Your posts are not coherent.

    Killian @118

    “The same denialists have been all over the English-speaking world. Denial is not so different in the U.S., Britain, Australia…”

    This is not the case.

    It is the case. Denial is 1. from the same sources; 2. has resulted in greater denial since 2007 by the general public; 3. has led to far greater false equivalence in news reporting, 4. has enabled the election of denialists in these countries, particular in the U.S. and Australia.

    You think the rate of denial among the public is the only important metric? It is, at this time, the least important, but will become the most important.

    You keep calling my thinking simplistic, which is extraordinarily ignorant. It is informed by myriad concepts, some of which we can be certain you have never considered. You confuse the concept and condition of simplicity with simplistic; no English-speaking adult should make such an error. Because First Principles and First Order Issues mean nothing to you, you are lost in a sea of tertiary concepts and find the simple elegance of such thinking foreign and opaque.

    Read Pew research and there is huge divergence in climate change opinions in different countries.

    Public opinion is not the demialists. Denial comes from an organized cadre. That is the issue. Public opinion is a direct result of that. Oreskes’ work is key here, not your opinion. Denial among the public did not spawn naturally from the public nor from hard talk about climate. 1. There was a large spike in agreement among the public after AIT, then the denial machine went into overdrive and public opinion nose dived.

    It wasn’t the hard talk, it was the denial industry. This is children’s level knowledge and logic, and you are failing at it.

    Your premises are consistently wrong. Your conclusions are worse.

    Wasting my time.

    There has been no “soft peddle” on climate change in most countries, just a measured coverage of dangers of climate change.

    And there you go tossing aside the risk assessment. It can only be seen to be intentional at this point. Let’s bear this in mind…

    If there is risk is death without, say, amputation, but you tell a patient that, really, they just need to worry about adapting to having a damaged hand/arm and do nothing about the risk of death, you are a quack.

    You are a quack. rather…

    Exaggerating and scaremongering…

    You keep saying things like this. Tell us all, what is scaremongering in this context? It’s not something I do, so why do you keep using this Straw Man? Existential threat of 5%. Recent study. Is there really any way to scaremonger the risk of death? How does one exaggerate beyond the risk of death? You might die, then be eaten by a bear? Who cares?

    If you are on the beach and a massive earthquake happens, even though massive tsunamis don’t always follow massive earthquakes, is it scaremongering to run around screaming for people to get to higher ground?

    …would be total

    Not really sure how speaking of the risk assessment and solutions is “total scaremongering.” Maybe in your unable-to-keep-all-issues-in-mind head you think taking about the long tail risk equals talking *only* about the long tail risk, but that would be another Straw Man if applied to our discussions.

    You seem to think you can treat adults like idiot children and they will just obey despite the huge evidence to the contrary.

    Telling people the risk and the solutions is now equal to treating them like idiot children?

    I outlined how I think it should be approached. You utterly ignored what I said.

    How did I ignore it? I told you you’re completely wrong. You mean I disagreed? Yes. I always disagree with dishonesty via straw man arguments, misleading descriptions of others words and non-existent logic all backed by dissociation with facts.

    You make things very difficult.

    You keep repeating things like this, hypocritically, while not addressing points made, ignoring risk at every turn, and just not being prepared for the conversation.

    My future comments will be much shorter. In my opinion this post clearly marks you as a denialist. The slow and steady, let’s be careful slow roll approach among denialists goes back a long way. Given the slow roll, the complete discounting of the existential threat, the reliance on gov’t and tech, the false presentation of Capitalism as potentially sustainable, and the constant dishonest use of Straw Man argumentation, I say you have marked yourself.

    Future responses will be quite brief and to the point.

  44. 144
    Killian says:

    New paper from Aug. ’17 on rapid climate change. The abstract doesn’t constrain time frames and figures are too small to read, but the SLR chart *seems* to suggest near-instantaneous SLR, geologically speaking.!

    The LIG record reveals that strong climate forcing is not required to yield major impacts on the ocean and ice caps. Antarctic ice cores document that LIG atmospheric CO2 was ~ 275 ppm, while global temperature was 2 ppm/yr) have surpassed 408 ppm, levels not achieved since the Pliocene 3 Ma ago, while global temperature increased ~ 1 °C since the 1870s. With greatly increased CO2 forcing at unmatched rates, except perhaps during global extinction events, dramatic change is certain. In the interest of our future world, we must seek to understand the complex set of linked natural events and field observations that are revealed in the geology of past warmer climates.

  45. 145
    Mal Adapted says:

    Steve Fish:

    It seems logical to me that returning agricultural soils to a healthy state would be able to remove just the portion of CO2 in the atmosphere that was released because of bad farming practices.

    That’s logical, but remember that climate forcing is a function of total atmospheric carbon.

    Scott Strough has convinced me that climatically-significant soil carbon storage capacity currently exists, and he details a process for refilling it on a small scale. I’m still unconvinced that glomalin soils have unlimited capacity to sequester carbon on geologic timescales, but right now I’m interested in decadal-scale processes and incremental effects. Each carbon atom withdrawn from the atmosphere is removed from the immediate greenhouse pool. For as long as that carbon atom resides in a sequestered pool, the decrement in radiative forcing equals the increment caused by transferring it to the atmosphere from any sequestered pool.

    Ideally, we’d be regenerating the soil carbon pool at the maximum possible rate, while also reducing anthropogenic emissions to zero at the maximum possible rate. The divergence of the real from the ideal is what claims our attention on RC.

  46. 146
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted #130,

    Also notes for Kevin M and nigelj.

    Mal: “you may now commence trashingrobustly critiquing my comment.”

    I already did that but you didn’t reply.

    First, thanks to Kevin for the references. As the final one points out, what matters is females replacing themselves. Males don’t count when it comes to “not having” offspring, in terms of population. If Mal is a male, it doesn’t matter whether he chose to supply sperm for the purpose or not.

    Mal, I have been making two points:

    1. Those women with the most choice, because of economic security and societal empowerment, choose low fertility. So, there is no “genetic imperative” to pop out babies that is not overcome by human will and reason. The default state for humans reaping the benefits of technology and technological exploitation of resources is a stable or declining birth rate.

    So, my bottom line is that it should be possible to “nudge” things in that direction using inputs that do not add to fossil fuel consumption.

    2. The ratio of population to resources drives choices that result in “liquidation of natural capital” (nice phrase) in a non-linear fashion. So, per capita consumption will increase or decrease in a non-linear relationship with population. Cutting the population in half would result in a much greater than half reduction in LONC; likewise for reduction in the rate of growth in population.

    Now, for nigel and the others, since my reply to nigel apparently got lost:

    Do the test. If the coasts of the US could accommodate the entire population at a relatively low density, would you choose to live in Cleveland? I’ve explained why I think it would not be a rational choice.

  47. 147
    Killian says:

    #138 Thomas…

    Yeah. Exactly. So thanks for detailing the mechanism. But you lot give back:Fox is an Aussie thing, no? Murdoch? Huge piece of the denial machine.

  48. 148
  49. 149
    Hank Roberts says:

    It only costs $37.95 for the full article.
    Clearly they’re not trying to change anyone’s opinion by publishing that way.

    Sea-level change and superstorms; geologic evidence from the last interglacial (MIS 5e) in the Bahamas and Bermuda offers ominous prospects for a warming Earth
    Dedication:A. Conrad Neumann.
    A. Conrad Neumann, Professor Emeritus at UNC Chapel Hill, pioneered studies in the Bahamas and Bermuda on sea level, reefs, notches and sediment flux at the end of MIS 5e, and pioneered concepts of ecological behavior of coral reefs under changing sea levels with “keep up, catch up, give up” (Neumann and Macintyre, 1985). Conrad was instrumental in recognizing the catastrophic events at the close of the last interglacial, recorded by reefs, dunes, and bioerosional notches, christening it the climatic “madhouse” between the greenhouse and icehouse. This work compiles several decades of evidence collected by the authors in the Bahamas and Bermuda, carrying forward ideas that Conrad first articulated many decades ago.

  50. 150
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas @135,
    I don’t think it was that long ago that you specifically asked me a question about the impact of AGW on the ENSO. However your initial comment on the subject was a long time ago, seemingly dating to 2008, although back then you did not explicitly ask about a link with AGW, just whether ENSO was showing any signs of change.
    Where you roped me in on this subject was in November last year, when my comments about the impact of ENSO on atmospheric CO2 being the continuing reason for the high annual CO2 increases prompted you to ask:-

    “Is there any confirmation by climate scientists that El Nino has not, can not be, boosted (made more extreme/pushed up) by the existing global warming and the already higher temps in the pacific ocean? It sounds to me that some people are presenting El Nino as if it is totally disconnected from the whole climate system. That doesn’t sound logical – or is it?”

    By way of reply, I referred you to Latif & Keenlyside (2008) ‘El Niño/Southern Oscillation response to global warming’ who had found “The ENSO response to global warming differs strongly from model to model and is thus highly uncertain.” (And note that, as I made plain at the time, studies continue and while understanding of the reasons for the ‘high uncertainty’ improves (eg Chin et al 2017), the uncertainty still remains.) Mind, it seemed plain to me in Nov 2016 that you were as usual looking for more catastrophe than I was prepared to describe, and that is probably why I suggested there was ‘no evidence found’ and also why I didn’t respond to your follow-on question about the mechanisms which link ENSO to elevated CO2 increases.
    But, Thomas, do refresh your memory by revisiting the Nov 2016 Unforced Variations. While you are yet again being critical of me for allegedly failing to address your Nov 2016 AGW/ENSO-linkage question (the first instance of criticism being Jan 2017), at the time of the original question/response in Nov 2016 you were heaping thanks on me for my responses. Today you accuse me of ridiculing your enquiry.
    Of course, where we fell out big-time was in my pointing that you were responsible for vast quantities of non-climatey verbage that for months had drowned out the actual climatey topic of these UV threads. Sadly, the drowning continues although you are no longer entirely the leading culprit.
    And concerning the impact of the recent El Nino on annual CO2 increases, the graphic here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) is being maintained up-to-date. The annual rise continues its dipping with the latest weekly reading (8-14 Oct) something like +2.0ppm. (I should perhaps add the warning that the seemingly stable levels of annual CO2 increase at the end of 1999 is not usual. The annual CO2 increase is very noisy even without an El Nino.)