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Unforced variations: June 2018

Filed under: — group @ 2 June 2018

This month’s open thread. We know people like to go off on tangents, but last month’s thread went too far. There aren’t many places to discuss climate science topics intelligently, so please stay focused on those.

297 Responses to “Unforced variations: June 2018”

  1. 1
    MA Rodger says:

    And to round off the month, HadCRUT is reporting April 2018 with an anomaly of +0.63ºC making it the warmest anomaly in HadCRUT since last August, but only just as it was only a tiny increase on March’s +0.62ºC. (GISS & NOAA both recorded a slight fall for the April anomaly, BEST a slight rise.)
    It is the 7th warmest April in HadCRUT (GISS had it 4th, NOAA 3rd, BEST 4th), sitting below 2016, 2017, 2010, 2015, 2014 & 1998. April 2018 is 45th in HadCRUT’s all-month rankings (GISS was =25th, NOAA =27st, BEST 16th).
    With a third of the year complete, 2018 sits 8th in the HadCRUT year-so-far table below (4th in GISS, 5th NOAA, 4h BEST). It is possible that the full calendar year will see 2018 jump above 2010, 2002, 2005 & 1998 as these years were boosted in their early months by EL Nino.
    …….. Jan-Apr Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +1.02ºC … … … +0.80ºC … … … 1st
    2017 .. +0.80ºC … … … +0.68ºC … … … 3rd
    2015 .. +0.69ºC … … … +0.76ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 .. +0.63ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … … 5th
    2002 .. +0.63ºC … … … +0.50ºC … … … 12th
    2007 .. +0.62ºC … … … +0.49ºC … … … 13th
    1998 .. +0.61ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … … 7th
    2018 .. +0.58ºC
    2004 .. +0.53ºC … … … +0.45ºC … … … 15th
    2005 .. +0.53ºC … … … +0.55ºC … … … 6th
    2014 .. +0.53ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … 4th

  2. 2
    Alf says:

    @ 229 JRClark
    ASI – Arctic sea ice concentration on May 09:

    Visit the North Pole NOW and HAVE a slush!
    Beware of diminishing contingents.

  3. 3
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH is reporting May 2018 TLT with an anomaly of +0.18ºC, a little down on April’s +0.21ºC. It is the 10th warmest May in UAH TLT after 1998, 2016, 2017, 2010, 2002, 2001, 2003 & 2014. April 2018 is the =118th warmest month on the full all-month UAH TLT record.
    In the UAH TLT year-to-date table below, 2018 sits =6th. .
    …….. Jan-May Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.68ºC … … … +0.51ºC … … … 1st
    1998 .. +0.60ºC … … … +0.48ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 .. +0.44ºC … … … +0.33ºC … … … 4th
    2017 .. +0.33ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … … 3rd
    2002 .. +0.25ºC … … … +0.22ºC … … … 6th
    2007 .. +0.23ºC … … … +0.16ºC … … … 10th
    2005 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.20ºC … … … 7th
    2003 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.19ºC … … … 8th
    2018 .. +0.22ºC
    2015 .. +0.21ºC … … … +0.27ºC … … … 5th
    2004 .. +0.21ºC … … … +0.08ºC … … … 15th

  4. 4
    MA Rodger says:

    Re Alf @2,
    Your comment has been migrated fron the May UV thread and although not posing an explicit question, it did recieve a follow-on comment (@237) or two in that UV thread.

  5. 5
    MA Rodger says:

    Judith Curry continues her outreach work amongst the denialists with an attempt to encapsuate “the fundamental disagreement about the causes of climate change” on a single powerpoint slide. In her “first crack” at this task, her description of denialism appears to be based on a very simplistic descriptive analogy of climate variability and climate change provided by Tim Palmer – (see this video 11:40-16:30).

    The source of her denialist model may be seen as a little odd as Palmer in that same video states (58:30) that portraying AGW as having two sides, Believer-&-Denier, is not what he considers a good way to consider the problem. He effectively dodges the Believer-&-Denier issue.

    “I’d like to suggest that this is not a really good way to think about the problem. Fundamentally, as I said at the beginning, climate change is a problem in theoretical physics. There for sure are uncertainties and as a result of that we have to express our results in probablistic ways which means we are talking about risk. So the fundamental question is not whether you believe or don’t believe. It’s whether you feel these estimated risks of dangerous climate change are large enough that its worth taking some sort of mitigating action, ie cutting our emissions.”

    Palmer then continues using the ‘insurance of your home’ as an analogy. We may not believe we will be burgled but we are happy to mitigate the unlikely risk by paying an insurance premium. Of course, this is not a very good analogy as it is redolent with the idea that AGW may not happen in a do-nothing-to-prevent-it world (and there are some other parts of the video that would surely raise a few eyebrows here). However, in another videoed talk a few months later Tim Palmer uses Fred the Ice-cream Seller as an anaolgy which is I think a far better analogy. Indeed it suggests to Palmer that the world should be planning for ECS=3.6. That was enough to upset one of the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy and that’s always a good sign.

  6. 6
    Pete W says:

    My city of Salem Oregon is under a drinking water restriction right now. Our primary water source sits behind a dam in the hills that is growing toxic algae.

    This water source has always grown algae this time of year, but it has been getting worse each year as water temperatures rise. This is the first time it ever resulted in drinking restrictions.

    The explanation staff have offered is climate change, but some politicians are unhappy with such a response, and are asking for funds to have the issue thoroughly investigated.

  7. 7
    Al Bundy says:

    Folks, Carrie’s right. The IPCc report is NOT “shouting from the rooftops”. It’s sticking yet another huge stack of paper on a shelf in the library’s basement.

    Here’s an idea: climate scientists (and other prominent realists) should refuse to go on shows or contribute in other venues IF the show has deniers AND the ratio of realists to deniers doesn’t approximate 97:3 (or at least something within a factor of five)

    And for God’s sake, get emotional. Debating like a stump is neither entertaining nor effective.

    “SHOUT it from the rooftops”
    Solar Jim,
    Einstein works whether you’re nuking s city or growing a plant. Burn some fossil fuel and the end products will have the teensiest bit less mass.

  8. 8
    Al Bundy says:

    And then there are those “We’re gonna get arrested” protests. 97 climate scientists should get themselves arrested at each one. There’s lots of you. One arrest each goes a long way while giving each of you a microphone.

    “Shout it from the rooftops” by giving Joe Sixpack a visual. Never the same scientists, just never ending platoons.

  9. 9
    Andyph says:

    I was extremely interested by Gavin’s tweets recently about modelling the Younger Dryas. If you haven’t read it you should!

    It brings up so many things but the obvious one to me is that if you tweak the model
    (I assume slightly) something very different can happen.

    I am not a scientist but I am familiar with stability of weather forecast – run the model many times with slight different start variables and results can converge or diverge.

    I feel I have been lulled into a assumption that we have a good handle on ‘we put out X amount of carbon and will get Y amount of temp increase’ But Gavin has just shaken my confidence with this.

    Any comments?

  10. 10
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @7

    “Folks, Carrie’s right. The IPCc report is NOT “shouting from the rooftops”. It’s sticking yet another huge stack of paper on a shelf in the library’s basement.”

    Yes sadly the IPCC reports are not read enough. But you don’t define what you really mean by ‘shouty’, but lets say it has an alarmist introduction full of dire warnings and imploring people to do more. I think it would start to become emotive, the very antithesis of science and may be just the excuse politicians need to ignore the IPCC more than they already do, and so it will gather dust even more than it does currently.

    I think the ‘shouting’ is better done by individual scientists, in less formal settings. You are obviously smart enough to see the subtle difference.

    I may be wrong but this is all my instinctive and considered reaction.

    The way the media give 50 / 50 time for warmists and a few eccentric crank denialists is a total misrepresentation of the issue. The media should hang their heads in shame because they are creating a false picture of the true state of the consensus. Its at best lies by omission.

  11. 11
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, regarding your question about my conversion from agw climate sceptic to agw climate believer and my coming over from “the dark side of the force”. In fact I started out as a believer in the 1990’s, having some introductory background in weather and climate from a couple of physical geography papers at university. AGW all looked compelling to me, and instinctively serious. Then I went over to “the dark side” as you correctly put it, having read a couple of seductive sceptical articles and seen some movie called “the great global warming scam” or something, that seemed to raise at least a couple of good points. This is the period of temporary insanity.

    However I was never entirely at ease with the sceptical arguments, (despite having a somewhat sceptical personality in general, and not a bad way to be) and was off sick from work for a lengthy period, so I did some more detailed reading on both sides of the debates and looked at rebutals on websites, and concluded the denialist position was 1) a collection of lies, deceits and misrepresentations 2) way too much influenced by obvious political ideology and vested business interests to be objective 3)often simply moronic. The warmist position comprised wider forms of evidence than I originally realised, for example the various greenhouse fingerprints, and the science had a longer history than I first realised, going way back the the 19th century.

    I was also persuaded by solar trends, which have been flat to falling in recent decades. Obviously the most plausible alternative, and only really compelling alternative explanation for the warming trend would be significantly increasing solar irradiance, but it has been going in the opposite direction to the warming trend. Here endeth my rant.

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    run the model many times with slight different start variables and results can converge or diverge.

    Not just start variables as I understand it — any value that can vary somewhere within a defined range during the run can change the outcome.
    We need a lot more computer time to do multiple runs.

    Or wait and see how Earth comes out on the single reality being run this once.

  13. 13
    Mal Adapted says:

    MA Rodger, quoting Tim Palmer:

    Fundamentally, as I said at the beginning, climate change is a problem in theoretical physics.

    Nope. Fundamentally, climate change is a problem in economics, and therefore in politics. These things we know:

    We know GMST will rise as long as it’s cost-effective for individual economic agents to transfer fossil carbon to the atmosphere. That is, AGW is a Drama of the Commons.

    We know, too, that the ‘free’ global market for energy has socialized the marginal warming costs of fossil fuels for three centuries, and the accumulated cost is now being paid in random installments of money and tragedy by people around the world, involuntarily and out of proportion to their own fossil carbon emissions. And we know the globally aggregate cost will increase non-linearly with GMST.

    We know as well that because the ‘free’ market socializes all private transaction costs it can get away with, common pool resources must managed collectively, to internalize social costs of their exploitation.

    Therefore, we know that capping the aggregate social cost of AGW requires collective (i.e. political) action to ‘decarbonize’ the global economy.

    Now: we know that random residents of developed nations are individually paying out of proportion for AGW also, but in aggregate enjoy more benefit from cheap energy, and more buffering from risk, than the world’s poor do; and that consequently, the aggregate social cost of AGW falls disproportionately on the latter.

    We further know that profit accrues to fossil fuel producers and investors with each tonne of fossil carbon transferred to the atmosphere, motivating them to oppose collective intervention to decarbonize national economies. And we know that concentrated fossil fuel wealth confers proportionate national political power on its possessors.

    How, then, will global decarbonization take place? Clearly not by physics foremost.

  14. 14
    drfog says:

    This past month of May heat records in Scandinavian countries were completely obliterated, in Sweden by almost 2 C, where the time series goes back more than two and half centuries:

    Of course, this would not be a big issue if there were also negative anomaly records, but it just happens that all records are now just for the relentless positive anomalies, there is a strong positive bias, humans are causing it.

  15. 15
    Carrie says:

    9 Andyph says: Any comments?

    Here? Very unlikely, extremely even. So don’t hold your breath. :)

    14 drfog; Yep. Was always going to be so. Different regions pop up each year each season as the latest example of the obvious. Then the few who hear about it carry on regardless the rest never knew.

  16. 16
    Al Bundy says:

    Naw,climate change is more like someone without health insurance finding out they have cancer. Should they buy insurance?

  17. 17
    Al Bundy says:

    This is a community (that you’ve developed). Perhaps police the comments on threads you initiate fiercely while rolling your eyes while we play in UV and FR?

  18. 18
    Killian says:

    So some of our hosts think hurricanes/typhoons are getting a bit too big for their britches, so to speak.

    He’s/She’s a ten! No, a 6!

  19. 19

    Gavin et al.,

    Have you seen this bit of idiocy which managed to get into J. Phys. D?

  20. 20
    MA Rodger says:

    Mal Adapted @13,
    I did quote Tim Palmer’s May 2016 talk but was not using it to support an argument of my own but rather to set out his argument. The part of the quote you repeat includes “…as I said at the beginning…” and what he said “at the beginning” was that he had been asked a question by a journalist about his talk which he wasn’t expecting.

    “At the Perimiter Institute for Theoretical Physics, they have lectures on quarks and on cosmology and on string theory. Why would they have a lecture on climate change?”

    And his answer –

    “I realised the answer provides a very good one-line summary of my talk tonight. The answer is ‘Because climate change is a problem in theoretical physics.’

    Having watched the full talk, I think it is a bit long of a stretch to make such a statement. Then, as I said @5, there are parts of that video that would raise eyebrows here, and that Q&A is one of them.

  21. 21
    Hank Roberts says:

    Does anyone have contacts at National Public Radio? This morning they had a book review about mass extinctions, and both the author and the NPR interviewer said volcanos emit massive amounts of CO2 which caused four of the five great extinctions of the past. That would easily be heard as endorsing one of the common denier talking points, unfortunately.

    Wrong, as I understand it. Didn’t the CO2 spike come from vulcanism burning through coal beds?

    Here an older (1990) Caldeira calculation:
    More recent
    references in the sidebar and citing studies info

  22. 22
    generic commenter says:

    Why is Pluto’s atmosphere relatively so much thicker than ours? See:

    Why does RealClimate’s ‘earth’ banner image not show our atmosphere?

    [Response: Pluto’s atmospheric layers look to be be about ~50 km above the surface and are visible because the haze is backlit and scattering light from the sun. Similar images from the Earth show similar features eg. . Depending on exactly when and where you are looking you can see noctilucent clouds at similar heights. The Earth image in our banner though is showing reflected light from the sun, and there you are seeing the cloud tops at ~15 km, and everything higher up is too faint. – gavin]

  23. 23
    Victor says:

    19 Barton Paul Levenson says:

    “Have you seen this bit of idiocy which managed to get into J. Phys. D?

    Gosh. A paper on the physics of CO2 emission written by a real physicist — in a peer reviewed physics journal no less. How idiotic can you get?

    [Response: Pretty idiotic. The paper is terrible. Not least it does not even appear to have been edited for typos and spelling mistakes, but the discussion of climate sensitivity is patently wrong (it assumes fixed water vapor/lapse rate/clouds), applies the fluxes at the surface, not the tropopause, and the author appears to think that the warming due to CO2 is because of the exothermic reaction of CO2 and CaO! Not an impressive contribution. – gavin]

  24. 24
    MA Rodger says:

    And RSS is reporting May 2018 TLT with an anomaly of +0.41ºC, a little down on April’s +0.45ºC. It is the 7th warmest May (in UAH 10th) after 1998, 2016, 2017, 2010, 2015, & 2014. April 2018 is the 104th warmest month on the full all-month RSS TLT record (=118th in UAH).
    The cooling relative to April was found in Southern mid-latitudes plus both poles also adding significantly cooling to the global average
    In the UAH TLT year-to-date table below, 2018 Jan-May sits 5th (in UAH =6th).
    …….. Jan-May Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. + 0.94ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … …1st
    1998 .. + 0.71ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … …4th
    2010 .. + 0.65ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … …3rd
    2017 .. + 0.61ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … …2nd
    2018 .. + 0.49ºC
    2015 .. + 0.47ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … …5th
    2005 .. + 0.46ºC … … … +0.44ºC … … …6th
    2007 .. + 0.46ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … …11th
    2002 .. + 0.42ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … …9th
    2014 .. + 0.40ºC … … … +0.43ºC … … …7th
    2003 .. + 0.39ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … …8th

  25. 25
    Omega Centauri says:

    Hank @21.
    It is true that Large Igneous Province creation events, do release enough CO2 to seriously effect the climate. What fortuitous timing, sciencedaily had an article on that very issue just today:

    Now, it in interesting, that the resultant LIPs as they weather reabsorb the CO2, and they make a point that the climate zone that they are in matters as to the rate of absorption, and in some cases can lead to epochs of low atmospheric CO2.

    But, the important point is that the timescales of these events are on the order of a million years. A LIP is not created in a year, but by a
    cubic kilometer or so, of lava erupted per year over hundreds of thousands of years maybe up to a couple million years. The emission and drawdown rates are thus small compared to the current situation, even if the end result may be similar.

  26. 26
    Al Bundy says:

    And folks, anybody who makes a decision or poo poos another based on Justice is a fool. The courts don’t exist even slightly to determine Justice. Their purpose is to enforce law. And billions of dollars have been spent to ensure that in any dispute, according to the law, you lose.

    Keep your promise, dude. Send the nondisclosures.

  27. 27
    MA Rodger says:

    Andyph @9,
    Concerning the Schmidt modelling of Younger-Dryas-type events under a warming climate and your “shaken confidence”, there is a previous example of a hypothesis that shows AGW with a little ‘w’, the full ‘W’ being delayed by decades due to climatic processes.
    I speak of Hansen et al (2016) ‘Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2ºC global warming could be dangerous’. The Hansen et al hypothesis sets out modelled & observational evidence to propose an AGw with the ‘W’ being diverted to ice-melt which in turn may switch off the AMOC and stall warming SAT for perhaps half a century.
    The Schmidt-tweeted AGw proposes a potential non-melty switch-off of the AMOC, perhaps for much longer than half a century, a switch-off which in certain circumstances can result from an imbalance in the hemspheric temperatures caused by differential NH/SH warming.
    Given all that, I would have to qualify your “shaken confidence” in ‘we put out X amount of carbon and will get Y amount of temp increase’. Depending on ECS, there is still no reason to doubt that eventually we will get Y from X. But, as any climatologist worth his salt will tell you, we are conducting a big big experiment with all this man-made climate forcing, so the journey to Y may be by an unexpected route. (And that assumes that Y isn’t too far such that it could kick off worrying levels of X++.)

  28. 28
    Hank Roberts says:

    OC, thanks for the pointer

    sciencedaily had an article on that very issue just today:

    The distinction between a “large igneous province” (broad area, long time spam) and a “volcano” (point source, short time events) is what was lacking in the NPR interview, that I worry bolsters the argument from deniers that “volcanos” are the source for the current CO2 spike.

    Yup. We’re fiddling with fast events at the edges compared to Earth’s geological rates of change.

  29. 29

    Hmm, slower hurricanes in a warming world, and it’s *bad* news?

    Yes, because we are not talking about windspeed, but of the tracking speed of the storm as a whole. (A slower storm will take longer to pass any given location along its track, and consequently will tend to do more damage.)

    Says here observed tracking speeds have declined by up to 30% for some locations.

    “Houston, we have a problem–oh, I’m sorry, you were already aware?”

  30. 30
    Victor says:

    #23 [Response: Pretty idiotic. The paper is terrible. Not least it does not even appear to have been edited for typos and spelling mistakes, but the discussion of climate sensitivity is patently wrong (it assumes fixed water vapor/lapse rate/clouds), applies the fluxes at the surface, not the tropopause, and the author appears to think that the warming due to CO2 is because of the exothermic reaction of CO2 and CaO! Not an impressive contribution. – gavin]

    Thanks Gavin. Can you be more specific?

  31. 31
    Harmen says:

    @ 14 Interesting but the map shows in the article shows Germany an the Netherlands in Green. This is strange because May 2018 also broke heat records there.

    May and April 2018 hottest in Germany since 1881

    Germany has experienced its hottest May and April since the late 1800s. The German Weather Service said the blazing temperatures could only be understood in relation to climate change.

    No low temperature records since 1956

    DWD said the fact that two new temperature records had been set for two months in a row in Germany was a rare event that had only occurred once before in the past hundred years — in November and December 2015.

    Climate change has resulted in new maximum records for rising average monthly temperatures occurring more and more in recent decades. From 2001-2010 there were 10 new monthly records.

    In previous decades there were only two to four new maximum records per decade.

    New minimum temperature records are extremely rare now, with the last one being recorded more than 60 years ago in February 1956.

    “May 2018 at De Bilt, will be about 16,5C to 16,8C. If this average temperature is indeed reached, the previous record of May 1889, which reached temperatures of 16,0 on average, will be broken. May 2018 would thus be the hottest in more than 300 years.”

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Hank Roberts says:

    Vicctor: “Thanks Gavin. Can you be more specific?”

    Troll becoming desperate for attention?

    Please, more posts from scientists, fewer boring attention-grabs from Victor et al.

  34. 34
    Hank Roberts says:

    a sharp slump in fossil fuel price could cause a huge “carbon bubble” built on long-term investments to burst. According to the study, the equivalent of between one and four trillion US dollars could be wiped off the global economy in fossil fuel assets alone. A loss of US$0.25 trillion triggered the crash of 2008 by comparison.

    Publishing their findings today in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers from Cambridge University (UK), Radboud University (NL), the Open University (UK), Macau University, and Cambridge Econometrics, argue that there will be clear economic winners and losers as a consequence.

    Read more at:

  35. 35
    All Bundy says:

    I’m one of those whom you feel sorry for as I see an incredibly irrefutable relationship between CO2 and temperature in the graph you posted.

    It’s like walking a dog. If you zoom in then there’s no correlation between the position of Mr CO2 and his dog Temppy.Temppy’s position is determined by trees, hydrants, other animals, whatnot. Mr CO2 is irrelevant.

    But if you pan back then you’d notice that Temppy never strays further from Mr CO2 than the length of Mr CO2’s leash.

    So, climate science is seriously interested in what is going through Temppy’s mind as Temppy works diligently to avoid Mr CO2’s path.

    You know this. Yet you INSIST that since Mr CO2 doesn’t keep Temppy on heel throughout their walk, Mr CO2 and Temppy have no relationship.

    Poor Temppy won’t get fed after his walk in Victor world.

    Quit throwing airballs on purpose.

  36. 36
    All Bundy says:

    Since you claim that GHGs don’t significantly affect climate, then you surely have an idea what does. Perhaps it’s that 60 year lag between solar (peaked in 1957 or so) and temperature?

    Naw, you have zero idea why 2018 is so incredibly warmer than 1880 except that it isn’t GHGs.

    Since you have no positive contribution, you’re airballing.

    Quit throwing airballs on purpose.

    And your insistence that math an calculations are worthless because scientists are scum who cook the books is pathetic. A scientist who cooks his books is painting a target on his chest because all those other scientists are scum, too. They’d love to shred the cook.

    So, give us your best idea why 2018 is friggin hot as compared to 1880. Specific drivers, please.

  37. 37
    S.B. Ripman says:


    “ … the weight of the evidence suggests that the thirty-year-old prediction of more intense and wetter tropical cyclones is coming to pass … ”

    “The average location where the storms are reaching their peak intensity is also slowly migrating poleward … “

    “ .. the coming decades are likely to bring hurricanes that intensify more rapidly … Rapid intensification, especially in the last 24 hours before landfall, leaves people less time to prepare for a hurricane’s impacts. And even people who know a storm is coming may not be ready for how much more intense the storm is when it arrives.”

    “ … slower-moving hurricanes (those with a slower tracking speed as a whole) are being observed. (A slower storm will take longer to pass any given location along its track, and consequently will tend to do more damage.)

    “Real Climate” article of 30 May 2018.

  38. 38
    MA Rodger says:

    Difficult to see why a website called “BEST SCHOOLS” who usually present lists rating different types of centres for learning would turn its hand to listing The Top 15 Climate-Change Scientists other than them being a bunch of AGW denialists. This then gives them the opportunity to present 2 different (alphabetic) lists, one of ten “consensus” climate scientists (Wallace Broecker, James Hansen, Phil Jones, Syukuro Manabe, Michael Mann, John Mitchell, Ram Ramanathan, Bill Ruddiman, Susan Solomon & Tom Wigley) and one for five denialists (Lennart Bengtsson, John Christy, Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen & Nir Shaviv).
    So is Bengtsson notable (notorious) for anything more than failing to get a paper published and shortly after bowing to opinion and resigning as a Gentleman Who Prefers Fantasy?
    And is Christy a worthy top denialist? Apart from helping Roy Spencer screw up the calibration of the UAH satellite temperature series and being the called-for denialist at Congressional Hearings, has he actually done anything usefully scientific?
    The trio at the foot of the denialist list have at least denialist work, although their respective theories don’t exactly present a coherent body of work or even seperate bodies of developing work – Lindzen & his cloudy negative feedbacks (along with denial that a few degrees of global climate change are worthy of climatological study), Curry with her giant natural climate wobbles that don’t become any clearer with time, indeed become less clear, and Shaviv who blames it on cosmic rays amplified by on the solar output.
    Then, the denialists at Best Schools didn’t have much of a choice for their top denialist climatologists listing. So well done them!!

  39. 39
    Al Bundy says:


    Tweaking initial conditions certainly make WEATHER forecasts drastically change because initial conditions are 100% the issue when forecasting weather.

    Climate is completely different. With climate initial conditions (of the magnitude that informs weather forcasting) are yawningly unimportant. Spike temperatures by a full degree and the climate run will quickly scrub the anomaly. After all, it only takes 12 hours to scrub 20F worth of temperature “anomaly” during most days.

    Nigelj, I was WAY specific. 97 scientists getting arrested in repeated protests with no individual scientist being arrested twice. Insisting that participation in media “he said she saids” be structured to reflect the 97% v 3% ratio.

    Of course, those were off the cuff. If you want to develop a real plan, give me a “shout” :-)

  40. 40


    YMMV, but:

    1) “the discussion of climate sensitivity is patently wrong (it assumes fixed water vapor/lapse rate/clouds” seems pretty specific to me;

    2) “[it] applies the fluxes at the surface, not the tropopause…” seems pretty specific to me; and

    3) “the author appears to think that the warming due to CO2 is because of the exothermic reaction of CO2 and CaO…” likewise seems pretty specific.

    I wonder how many ‘specific’ criticisms Gavin is expected to make of a paper that is apparently already dead in the water anyway? Stravinsky’s comment about the merits of “criticizing an unresisting imbecility” would seem to apply.

  41. 41
    Al Bundy says:

    Oh yeah, the third specific thing U mentioned was to get theatrical. Assume the stance that your opponents just gang raped your daughter (because metaphorically it’s true) Yell, scream get PERSONAL. Attack your opponents’ credentials “you got an associates degree in accounting from podunk community college?! LOL!!! I went to Harvard. Hey guys, where did you get your doctorates?” And 31 scientists rattle off their qualifications.

    32 professionals against one shill and you guys are losing because you are holding onto the truly stupid stance that softly spoken stuff that flies over everyone’s head while putting them to sleep is a good strategy.

    Trump was able to steal the election because he was willing to attack while being entertaining. Victor is right. Nobody cares to listen to your calculations. Viewers want to enjoy the show.

  42. 42
    Tom Swartz says:

    A quick question from among the innumerate.

    Apropos of occasional opportunities to bend the ears of friends, family, or strangers, I’ve striven to keep in mind a small hoard of facts supporting the scientific consensus on climate change. (I’m not versed in this, but have read about twenty books on the topic in recent years.) Among these is, as I recall, that Earth’s, temperature would be approximately 0° C if no atmospheric CO2.

    Given the still-larger warming effect of water vapor plus clouds, I’m curious about the effect if those were removed as well—say, if there were no greenhouse gasses at all.

    As an approximation, I compare the insolations of Mercury and Earth (based on the square of the ratio of their respective distances from the sun), and get a ratio of 0.15. Multiplying that times Mercury’s average temperature gives 430° K * 0.15 = 105° K for Earth. That seems low.

    Of course, this question is hypothetical–and perhaps specious–because Earth’s albedo is affected by extent of surface water, which, in this exercise, it occurs to me, would need to be constrained not to evaporate. Of course, this as well leaves out plants and various carbon cycles, etc.

    Anyway, just curious. I’d welcome any comments. Details not necessary, but, of course, welcome. I’ve been a regular visitor to RealClimate since 2011.

  43. 43
    ab says:

    Nothing about the climatic effects of plastic and microplastic pollution in oceans in the IPCC reports.

    Just in the Mediterranean sea, WWF counted 1,25 millions of plastic fragments per km².

  44. 44
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hat tip to Soylent News:

    […] Agricultural data from 38,700 farms plus details of processing and retailing in 119 countries show [2]wide differences in environmental impacts — from greenhouse gas emissions to water used — even between producers of the same product, says environmental scientist Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford. The amount of climate-warming gases released in the making of a pint of beer, for example, can more than double under high-impact production scenarios. For dairy and beef cattle combined, high-impact providers released about 12 times as many greenhouse gases as low-impact producers, Poore and colleague Thomas Nemecek report in the June 1 Science.

    […] The greatest changes in the effect of a person’s diet on the planet, however, would still come from choosing certain kinds of food over others. On average, producing 100 grams of protein from beef leads to the release of 50 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, which the researchers calculated as a carbon-dioxide equivalent. By comparison, 100 grams of protein from cheese releases 11 kg in production, from poultry
    5.7 kg and from tofu 2 kg.

    […] Producing food overall accounts for 26 percent of global climate-warming emissions, and takes up about 43 percent of the land that’s not desert or covered in ice, the researchers found. Out of the total carbon footprint from food, 57 percent comes from field agriculture, livestock and farmed fish. Clearing land for agriculture accounts for 24 percent and transporting food accounts for another 6 percent.


    [3]Original Submission

    Discuss this story at:


  45. 45
  46. 46
    Tom Swartz says:

    Oops. One and all, please disregard my previous posting (#42). Shortly after I sent it off, I noticed dumb error. I’d meant to write -18° C (I’d been thinking in Fahrenheit). Also, an hour later I came across the answer as well: that that temperature reflects removing *all* greenhouse gasses, not just CO2, and is based Earth’s current albedo, and is strongly affected by the geomagnetic field. Sorry for the bother.

  47. 47
    Piotr says:

    Re: Tom Swartz:
    the effects of removal of different greenhouse gases have been discussed on this website in the past – e.g. one is a 2005 article:

    Updated data from this were published in Gavin’s 2010 paper:

    (I don’t know if there were any updates since)

  48. 48
    Piotr says:

    RE: Hank 28 and earlier – problems with NPR presenting volcanism as a “natural” source of atm. CO2 changes:

    I think burning through the coal (and shale) you mention – was not for Deccan Traps volcanism (the subject of your reference), but for Siberian Traps volcanism – at the the largest extinction of them all: the end of Permian.

    So in that case it wasn’t the volcanism per se that emitted CO2, but burning fossil fuels (by the volcanic lava).
    Further – even that ancient fossil fuel emissions may not have caused the extinction – some point fingers at archaea, normally your benign microbes (I don’t think they figured out that they can get food by infecting other living things), and one group of them, just around the P-T extinction, apparently acquired, via horizontal gene transfer from other microbes, a genetic blueprint for enzymes that allowed them to break down anaerobically the huge amount of dead organic matter that without effective decomposition – accumulated in the ocean sediments at the time.

    So when they put these enzymes to work – they may have produced enough methane and CO2 – to kill 70% of land-based vertebrate organisms, 83% of insect genera, and 96% of marine species – by a combination of greenhouse effect from hell (CH4+CO2), ocean acidification (CO2) and massive anoxia (as hot water dissolves less O2 from air, and stratification prevents whatever litte O2 got there from moving in deeper ocean waters – and it was not enough – in anaerobic conditions sulphur reducing bacteria would produce toxic H2S …)
    So at least in the the greatest mass extinction – the volcanic-origin CO2 would have played negligible role. That said -volcanoes may not be entirely off the hook – they may have provided nickel the little buggers needed for coenzymes in their newly acquired methanogenic enzymes …;-))

  49. 49
    Victor says:

    35 All Bundy sez: I’m one of those whom you feel sorry for as I see an incredibly irrefutable relationship between CO2 and temperature in the graph you posted.

    It’s like walking a dog. . .

    Now I REALLY feel sorry for you, Al. But stick around, you amuse me. ;-)

    We’re talking about an assumption that a rise in CO2 levels is causing temperatures to rise. That’s very far from what happens when you walk a dog. Unless you want to argue that a steady rise in CO2 levels will sometimes cause temperatures to rise, sometimes to fall, and sometimes remain steady, as though Mr. CO2 were simply “walking a dog” that sometimes levitated and sometimes fell into a nearby ditch.

  50. 50
    Victor says:

    40 Kevin McKinney says:

    KM: 1) “the discussion of climate sensitivity is patently wrong (it assumes fixed water vapor/lapse rate/clouds” seems pretty specific to me;

    V: Not to me. I’d be interested in learning more about where those assumptions can be found in Smirnov’s paper, and also what it is that makes them wrong.

    [Response: Your inability to understand the simplest definition, or read the paper you think is such a challenge to the dominant paradigm, is not, I think, my problem. – gavin]

    KM: 2) “[it] applies the fluxes at the surface, not the tropopause…” seems pretty specific to me; and

    V: Sorry, but, idiot that I am, I’m totally in the dark about why this makes a difference as far as Smirnov’s conclusion is concerned. A detailed explanation would certainly be welcome.

    [Response: Good job this was sorted out in the 1960s then. – gavin]

    KM: 3) “the author appears to think that the warming due to CO2 is because of the exothermic reaction of CO2 and CaO…” likewise seems pretty specific.

    V: Once again, I’m sorry but I require an explanation of exactly what this means and why it’s relevant before forming a conclusion.

    [Response: You haven’t actually read the Smirnov paper, have you? – gavin]

    KM: I wonder how many ‘specific’ criticisms Gavin is expected to make of a paper that is apparently already dead in the water anyway?

    V: Actually, if the findings of this one paper were to be confirmed by a panel of UNBIASED physicists, it would be GAME OVER for the whole climate change enterprise — the whole house of cards would collapse over the heads of a great many (self) important people.

    Smirnov is a real physicist, with a long list of publications, including several books — and I see no sign that he has been an activist on either side of this issue. Gavin is a mathematician, not a physicist, and his activism in defense of the prevailing climate change paradigm is well known. In my experience, ANY paper, article, blog post, whatever, that presents evidence offering a challenge to the prevailing “consensus” position is routinely dismissed by activists such as Gavin, so anything emerging from that quarter needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

    If he can really find serious flaws in Smirnov’s physics, he should respond with a detailed critique of his own, because the issues raised by Smirnov are central to the climate change debate. I have a feeling, however, that Gavin and his pals would much prefer to simply dismiss this paper, then ignore it, in the hope that it will indeed go away and be forgotten. It’s not “dead in the water” yet, however. Nor should it be, until someone can convincingly refute it.

    [Response: You want us to refute in detail a paper you haven’t even read? Sorry – it’s a very pleasant weekend, and I have a thousand things more productive to do with my time. – gavin]