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Unforced variations: Nov 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 November 2018

This month’s open thread on climate science issues.

A lot of interest in the new Resplandy et al paper (WaPo), with some exploration of the implications on twitter i.e.


Meanwhile, the CMIP6 model output is starting to come out…

232 Responses to “Unforced variations: Nov 2018”

  1. 51

    Nic said:
    “The Resplandy et al. paper’s results are wrong.”

    No, you are wrong. Look at land-only temperature change and the ECS is on track for 3C per doubling of CO2.

  2. 52
    zebra says:

    #39 MA Rodger,

    “The [2017] daily max SEI was (and is) the lowest on record”

    “if that is what you were expecting for the 2016/17 freeze season maximum, I would ask why?”

    Because, duh, we can observe a clear downward trend in that variable over a statistically very significant run of data?

    Record lows are exactly what I expect, absent some dramatic physical intervention. But, perhaps you use a different kind of reasoning.

  3. 53
    Killian says:

    Re #’s 34 and 35:

    Hank, you seem to think I am surprised that this occurs. No. I am well aware the oceans have turned to goo before. It is expected. It seems a bit early in the game to be getting bottom gooeyness, however.

    I do not need to look it up; I understood the information I posted… which is why I was willing to post it.

    But, thanks, gents.

  4. 54
    Killian says:

    Re #46 Adam Lea said Another problem is the inability of a lot of people to look at individuals in isolation, instead they pick a group with certain qualities or opinions they don’t like, cherry pick the extremists, then claim or imply EVERYONE IN THAT GROUP IS LIKE THAT in order to try and turn people against them. We haven’t really evolved that much mentally from the hunter-gatherer days.

    Please educate yourself on this: That’s not a H-G way of thinking. Ask any of the existing H-G’s.

    Start here, perhaps. Gray’s Play Makes Us Human, Work is Play, and other series have much to enlighten folks who think as you do.

  5. 55
    Hank Roberts says:

    Measure R passed after receiving 82.86 percent of the votes as of press time. The measure advises the mayor and City Council to create a 30-year plan, called “Vision 2050,” to update Berkeley infrastructure in an environmentally sustainable way.

    “I think infrastructure is extremely important but not talked about as much,” said City Councilmember Kriss Worthington in a previous interview with The Daily Californian. “It’s combining the nuts and bolts of infrastructure with being a greener city.”

    So, how many feet of sea level/storm surge rise would you build into a new infrastructure plan? I’d argue for 100 feet above current level, planning longterm.

    That’s acres and acres of new oyster beds, if we clean up all the lead and petroleum and other toxic crap before the salt water rises over the area.

  6. 56
    MA Rodger says:

    And RSS have posted its October TLT anomaly at +0.53ºC, up on September’s +0.49ºC, the zones recording a rise in anomaly since Sept being the North Pole & the Tropics. The RSS monthly anomalies for the-year-so-far sit within the range +0.64C to +0.42ºC.

    It is 5th warmest October in RSS TLT (=9th for UAH) behind previous warm Octobers 2017 (+0.83ºC), 2015 (+0.76ºC), 2016 (+0.63ºC) & 2003 (+0.54ºC).
    October 2018 is 60th warmest monthly anomaly on the full all-month RSS TLT record (=89th for UAH).

    In the RSS TLT year-to-date table below, 2018 still sits 6th (in UAH 7th) and (unlike in UAH) the RSS 2018 final annual ranking is almost certainly now resolved as the average for Nov-Dec woud have to exceed +0.86ºC to climb up to 5th or drop below +0.12ºC to slip down to 7th.
    …….. Jan-Sept Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.82ºC … … … +0.77ºC … … … 1st
    2017 .. +0.67ºC … … … +0.65ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 .. +0.65ºC … … … +0.60ºC … … … 3rd
    1998 .. +0.64ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … 4th
    2015 .. +0.55ºC … … … +0.57ºC … … … 5th
    2018 .. +0.52ºC
    2005 .. +0.46ºC … … … +0.44ºC … … … 7th
    2014 .. +0.45ºC … … … +0.45ºC … … … 6th
    2007 .. +0.43ºC … … … +0.40ºC … … … 10th
    2013 .. +0.41ºC … … … +0.40ºC … … … 8th
    2002 .. +0.40ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … … 11th

  7. 57
    Jeremy Grimm says:

    The Resplandy paper got me thinking about how the ongoing Climate Disruption affects weather. At the same time I was troubled reading about the fragility of our electric power grid and how utterly we depend on a continuous supply of electric power. As greater amounts of heat gather in our climate systems and I suppose greater differentials to energize weather — will lightning be affected? Will the discharges carry greater energy? Will there be more frequent discharges? Are there implications for the towers and transformers of our electrical grid?

  8. 58
    MA Rodger says:

    zebra @52,
    With your use of the word “duh,” you appear to be implying that we have someone here with no brain.. You say “Record lows are exactly what I expect” and this for the 2016/17 freeze season. Yet you give no reason other than “a clear downward trend” which does not explain why 2016/17 and not 2015/16 or 2017/18.
    The daily SEI record has occurred in only 3 years in the last decade while the monthly SEI record has occurred only twice in the last decade. The SIV record has also only occurred three time in the last decade (the 2016/17 record the most emphatic new record over the whole 40 years of PIOMAS) and as I pointed out @39 the 2016/17 freeze season was my far the most feeble since 2007. Thus your stated expectation of such occurances in 2016/17 cannot be explained away by a simple “clear downward trend.”
    Do you want yet another chance at explaining yourself?

  9. 59
    Killian says:

    I’d be interested in the owners’ response to the likely tripe posted by denier Lewis on Curry’s blog.

  10. 60
    scott nudds says:

    Re 40 – A more applicable list.

  11. 61
    scott says:

    re:40 – For a more applicable list, use the filter Domestic.

  12. 62
    scott nudds says:

    Sometime during the night of Oct. 16, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminated more than 80 climate change web pages — many of the last vestiges to the agency’s online recognition of climate change.

    The deletions — caught by the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) — show a growing disparity between how the regulation-focused EPA increasingly masks globally-agreed upon climate science from the public, while agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to promote reliable climate research.

  13. 63
    S.B. Ripman says:

    This is a thought experiment based on an existing situation. For ease of calculation round numbers are used.
    Let’s say a family group (the “ownership”) owns 1,000 acres of rural land used for timber harvesting. The land is in the U.S., in a county with low median incomes and substantial poverty. Every couple of years a section of the land is thinned or clear-cut, with the clear-cut land replanted with saplings. Thus a sort of crop rotation is maintained, with the land having trees in various stages of growth. The trees are loblolly pines.
    The timber is sold to local companies who in turn sell it to buyers who mill it in local mills. The end product primarily consists of paper products. The chain of production generates jobs.
    In the immediate surrounding area has other agricultural operations, including other timber growers, cattle ranches, dairies, hog farms, and farms that grow crops.
    The ownership has no other source of income and the pay-out from the timber operation is not great. Some of the family members are under financial stress and highly dependent on proceeds of the timber operation. They care about the environment and the welfare of future generations, while also needing to maintain a basic standard of living.
    In an ideal world the land would be purchased by a land trust or other environmental organization and converted over time into an old-growth forest. This is not an ideal world and such purchasers do not exist for rural timber land in this part of the U.S.
    The story would end here and the ownership would continue on with the timber business if it were not for the advent of a new industry in the area: solar farms.
    The ownership has been approached by companies offering to lease or purchase the land for the development of a solar farm. The price offered is well above the market for timber land. One of the factors involved in the land’s valuation is its proximity to an electrical substation and power lines. Power from the new facility would be sold to a major electric utility. According to ownership’s calculations, approximately 150-200 MW would be produced by the proposed solar farm.
    The use of the land as a timber farm obviously sequesters a measurable amount of carbon and is thus relatively beneficial in dealing with the global warming crisis. Not as beneficial as an old-growth forest, obviously, but certainly a lot better than a hog farm.
    The use of the land as a solar farm is also beneficial in dealing with global warming, as our country transitions away from power generation from coal, oil and gas. But from an aesthetic viewpoint one cringes imagining acres and acres of solar panels in the place and stead of verdant forests.
    The question is this, assuming the foregoing facts exist in a vacuum: which property use is better for the environment: timber production or solar farm? And why?

  14. 64
    Sven says:

    Here is Resplandy’s response to “the likely tripe posted by denier Lewis on Curry’s blog”:
    “We are aware the way we handled the errors underestimated the uncertainties. We are working on an update that addresses this issue. We thank Nicholas Lewis for brining this to our attention.”

  15. 65
    Nemesis says:

    The weather/climate in Germany seems to be kaputt. We had high summer from the beginning of april until mid october (hottest april – october period ever) and the temperatures are still in the 15 – 20°C range. And we are still in the midst of a historical extreme drought. Still almost no rain in November so far?! Unheared of. If we don’t get sufficient rain until next spring, it will get ugly. We are one of the wettest countries in Europe, but we dried up during just a single year. Meanwhile the autoindustry in Germany plays BAU, no matter what fraud, no mater what insanity, they just drive on, selling SUV like crazy, like they give a f* their very own descendants. Over & out.

  16. 66
    sidd says:

    Ref. 9 in Resplandy(2018) is rather good too. I try to follow Ishii, but i seem to have slipped.



  17. 67
    David Appell says:

    Nic Lewis: I hope you plan to submit your findings in a letter to Nature, where they can be peer reviewed and Resplandy et al get an opportunity to reply. Until then no one who matters is going to pay any attention to it — blog posts are not science — nor are Resplandy et al likely to reply either.

  18. 68
    Carrie says:

    62 while agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to promote reliable climate research.

    Not for long. They won’t last.

    A pity Gavin didn’t follow my encouragement that Paris is really close to his family and old friends in the UK. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. It’s all over bar the shouting now.

  19. 69
    Carrie says:

    Reality star Kim Kardashian, actress Alyssa Milano, and director Guillermo del Toro were among the many celebrities forced to pack up and flee their upscale homes in Calabasas and Malibu with flames licking their heels.

    The entire city of Malibu, a well-known celebrity hotspot, has been put under a mandatory evacuation order, as multiple homes are reported to have been scorched in Westlake Village and Oak Park with the Woolsey fire now estimated to have spread to 35,000 acres.

    ome 250,000 residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been evacuated with firefighters still unable to contain the blaze. Some 150 homes have already been destroyed. Among the houses reported to have been devoured by the flames is Caitlyn Jenner’s mansion in Malibu hills.

    Yeeehaaaa, burn baby burn!

  20. 70
    zebra says:

    #58 MA Rodger,

    You really aren’t making sense here.

    “Thus your stated expectation of such occurances in 2016/17”

    ???…There’s only one daily minimum per year.

    It sounds to me like you are “firing off” responses without clearly thinking about what you are trying to say.

    You also keep repeating numbers that have no relevance to my point. The 16/17 slow freezing rate has a physical explanation, from actual experts, as I illustrated at #17– exactly consistent with my earlier statement.

    What we observed for that year is, to anyone with even a basic physics education, exactly as expected. If you disagree, please explain your physical reasoning.

  21. 71
  22. 72

    Which temperature series are correct?

    Which do you believe, GISTEMP, HadCRUT4, UAH, or RSS?

    This article compares these 4 “major” temperature series, to see how well they agree, or disagree, with each other.

    You may be surprised at the results.

  23. 73

    agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to promote reliable climate research.

    Not for long. They won’t last.

    More defeatism. So helpful!

    In case the poster missed it, the House and its budget-making powers are now in Democratic hands. And the Senate is very likely to be in 2020.

  24. 74
    zebra says:

    #63 S.B.Ripman,

    You spent a lot of time creating your scenario, but you left out telling us what you would consider “better for the environment”, so it is impossible to answer the question.

    Still, I’m sure there will be people who take the bait and respond, however pointless it might be.

  25. 75
    Hank Roberts says:

    Poor Sheldon Walker is promoting the “Victor’s Eyeball” statistical analysis method.

  26. 76
    MA Rodger says:

    zebra @70,
    You say of me “You really aren’t making sense here.”
    I would suggest the reason you are failing to find any sense in my responses to your continuing diatribe is because you fail to read my responses properly.

    Do pay attention!

    You say @70 “The 16/17 slow freezing rate has a physical explanation, from actual experts, as I illustrated at #17– exactly consistent with my earlier statement.” Yet, as I pointed out to you up-thread @21, your comment @17 was referencing discussion of the 2017/18 freeze season, not the 2016/17 freeze season. Note the difference!! 2017/18 and not 2016/17.

  27. 77
    Fred Magyar says:

    Nemesis @ 65 says:

    Meanwhile the autoindustry in Germany plays BAU, no matter what fraud, no mater what insanity, they just drive on, selling SUV like crazy, like they give a f* their very own descendants. Over & out.

    I’m posting from Göbrichen at the moment, here visiting family and also spent some time in Hungary near lake Balaton. What you say about the climate and the weather is absolutely true, today it was sunny and way too warm for this time of year! I’m normally a South Florida resident and there too it was like mid summer temps, since late March through the end of September, so my guess is that most of the Northern Hemisphere has been having strange weather these past few months!

    However, I do beg to differ on the point about the auto industry playing BAU, sure the Autobahn is still almost a solid parking lot at times packed with ICE vehicles but the Auto industry has seen the writing on the wall. Every major German and European auto manufacturer is currently investing massive sums in EV-tech and Lithium batteries. It may well be too little to late to save our sorry little rear ends, but BAU it is not!

    German Government Wants To Invest €2 Billion In Battery Cell Production

    And my brother who lives in Munich, just took delivery of his New Nissan Leaf yesterday…as far as I can tell, BAU’s days are numbered here!


  28. 78
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @70

    “\You also keep repeating numbers that have no relevance to my point. The 16/17 slow freezing rate has a physical explanation, from actual experts, as I illustrated at #17– exactly consistent with my earlier statement…What we observed for that year is, to anyone with even a basic physics education, exactly as expected.”

    I assume you are referring to the low sea ice late in 2016. This was NOT exactly what was expected. Nobody had predicted such a steep drop as a natural response to global warming. A drop yes, but not that steep.

    The reason is believed to be global warming causing a shift in the jet stream, but it was an emerging theory and not 100% certain. It was not “expected” to cause such a steep drop in arctic ice. Relevant article below.

  29. 79
    Omega Centauri says:

    SB Ripman @63.
    Some comments on your thought experiment.
    CO2: Its not just the obvious above ground carbon in the wood, its also
    the carbon in the ground, and changes in below ground are often larger
    than above ground. Most likely your managed forest is losing soil carbon
    as well, and is probably slowly moving towards a new quasi equilibrium.
    On net it is unlikely that that plot currently sequesters carbon. Now the panels
    are not going to block all the sunlight, there can be a praire-like ecosystem
    underneath and between them. Whether this is better or worse long term carbon
    wise is a matter for ecologists to discuss.

    Your owner could take the proceeds and buy more land, or invest the
    money in a long term income producing venture, so he/she/they can derive
    some steady income from those funds. The solar farm also requires some
    operations and maintenence, I would hope your former owners or local
    residents get first dibs on these. Most obviously panel cleaning is needed,
    and I suspect unless its done by robotic high tech will require more
    than a single full time equilivent. Keeping the undergrowth under control,
    is probably best done by allowing a local rancher free access for his goats.
    So the plot can continue to create income and jobs for the local economy.
    These benefits should be part of the negotiated sales contract.

  30. 80
    Killian says:

    Re #63 S. B. Ripman asked The question is this, assuming the foregoing facts exist in a vacuum: which property use is better for the environment: timber production or solar farm? And why?

    Your thought experiment-not-a-thought-experiment perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with doing #regenerativesystems via voodoo. You can’t make it make sense because you have two different ends at work: The quest for survival and the quest to make a living. The system that wants to destroy woodland to build solar generators is one where profit has become the sole reason for the panels. It’s #greenwashing. No company would reasonably think destroying more of the ecosystem could in any way be beneficial, regardless the energy generated, because over time the ecological services of the woodland easily counterbalance any energy gained. But how do we count the trillions of lives affected in the woodland? How do we count the future cost of dead soils under those panels? Not to mention the poor fungibility of solar panels compared to FFs. That people think they can have the same lifestyle on less energy is amusingly uninformed.

    If we count the opportunity cost of losing badly needed ecological functions, can we ever think of this development as sane? But the family is going to chose/has chosen either sui-genocide or life, money or Nature.

    I wonder if they even for a moment considered simplifying their lives to a level the woodland supports them well? Do they do regenerative food production? Do they have their own “renewables?” Have they considered what life would be like by opting out of the insanity and into simplicity?

    We are crashing. The destruction of any bit of the ecosystem should now be considered a capital crime. The price is going to be so far beyond what they get from the solar company.

    One of the reasons I cite for limiting “renewables” to micro, home/community-based is exactly this: You cannot call renewable an industry that seeks on;y profit, as any corporation in the U.S. is legally bound to do. They do not, and cannot, truly make ecologically sound decisions because of their very nature.

    Corporations are inhumane and unconstitutional. I do not consider that an opinion, but a provable fact.

  31. 81
    S.B. Ripman says:

    Omega #79:
    Thanks! Hope you are right about minimal current sequestration. There is sentimental attachment to the land. If future generations will benefit from the change in use, the decision is made easier.

  32. 82
    nigelj says:

    SB Ripman @63, forests are very sustainable and a potential carbon sink, but are not a stand alone solution to climate change because we just dont have remotely enough spare land, and other problems, so some solar panels are required. Solar panels do have some obvious negative environmental impacts, but so does all modern energy technology.

    If the entire world was powered with solar farms and nothing else, it requires 496, 805 km2 land area. Forests cover 40,000,000 km2 of the planet. So solar farms just dont significantly compromise areas of forests, so you should consider solar farms. Its simple logic. Obviously put them on waste land where possible.

    Perhaps you define environmental values differently. In that case you would need to be more specific.

  33. 83
    jgnfld says:

    @75 Hank…

    Pretty amazing for sheldon to ask which series is “correct” without:

    1. ever defining in operational terms–or even basic grounded semantic terms–what “correct” even means,
    2. ever looking at the underlying data collection and homogenization processes,
    3. ever noting that surface temps and those several kilometers up constitute related, but DIFFERENT data sources AND regions of the atmosphere…that is, it is perfectly possible for “correct” to be somewhat different for surface vs. several km up.
    4. ever quantifying anything anywhere to help decide which differences are meaningful and which are not, or
    5. ever making a single calculation to quantify which is more “correct” on some ground or other (no grounds ever being defined).

    “Victor’s Eye” indeed. Reading that entry is time I’ll never get back in which to learn anything new or relevant about climate.

  34. 84
    Al Bundy says:

    SB Ripman,
    The best utility, solar farm or timber, is affected by rainfall.

    One solution is to go solar farm on the upper parts of south facing slopes. This creates a water supply for vegetation below via dry wells or intermittent ponds.

  35. 85
    Roy Banks says:

    Keep up realclimate. This Resplandy et al paper has been shown to have serious errors

    See a critique and discussion/review in :-

    Yet more hype shown to been erroneous

  36. 86
    jgnfld says:


    What makes you say that a paper that possibly has some statistical errors in it which are in the process of being looked at represents “hype” by anyone? Arguments over the best or most correct data analysis are about the most common arguments there are in science. That’s not “hype” that’s normal, everyday science.

    To my mind your post represents term “hype” much more closely.

  37. 87
    Nemesis says:

    @Fred Magyar, #77

    Yes, the northern hemisphere is heating up more than the rest of the globe, that’s a scientific fact (although the rich countries in the northern hemisphere always thought they would “profit” from global warming, haha), it is getting ugly and it will get uglier.

    About the auto industry:

    It was planned to bring 1 million e-vehicles onto the streets of Germany by 2020, fact is, there are some 50 000 e-vehicles right now, haha. The auto industry (and the government) is making big palaver about e-vehicles for decades, but all I see are more and ever more 200kW SUV. Just go to google and type in “auto kaufen” in the image search… you will get 90% SUV advertisement. I see SUV advertisement on almost all websites I visit, even in climate related articles :’D I hear “the will to change” for decades from the auto industry, it’s all just blah blah blah, there’s no interest in climate mitigation, in capitalism there is only one interest:

    Profit, profit and more profit :) End of story.


  38. 88
    MA Rodger says:

    Roy Banks @85,
    I fear it is you who needs to “keep up.” We have already had Lewis insisting up-tread that “the Resplandy et al. paper’s results are wrong.” While he is calling for stuff to happen a.s.a.p. saying “Because of the wide dissemination of the paper’s results, it is extremely important that these errors are acknowledged by the authors without delay and then corrected,” it is worth noting the seriously dodgy folk Lewis rubs shoulders with (eg the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy) whose wanton ignorance and, no other words for it, bare-faced lies on important matters continue for many years to sit unacknowledged/uncorrected.
    On her website, Reslandy has responded to Lewis, as already reported here up-thread. Interestingly, the primary complaint made by Lewis (that the rate of rise in ∆APO[climate] is calculated wrongly) is not mentioned. Instead it is described soley that they have “underestimated the uncertainties.”

  39. 89
    S.B. Ripman says:

    Omega #79, Killian #80, Nigel #82 and Al #84:
    Thank you all.
    It’s true that publicly-held corporations are Frankenstein monsters; that they were created with good intentions but have broken loose and are now creating havoc. If they didn’t exist now, nobody would dare to invent them … nobody would think it smart to unleash on society such conscience-less creatures having but one money-making purpose. And society wrongly invests tremendous resources into training future managers of the monsters, training them how to maximize profits and wring the last nickel out of the consumer. And the managers wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t spend enormous sums manipulating public opinion and buying political capital through lobbyists and donations.
    With well-managed monsters roaming the landscape, is it wise to turn to purist principles? To adopt non-violence and passive resistance as Nazis are descending on your village? If a war is going on isn’t it smart to try to stay off the casualty list?
    At any rate, thanks for the feedback. It has helped put things in perspective. Has helped running across the following article on the potential ecological benefits of solar farms:

  40. 90
    Omega Centauri says:

    SB @81, thanks.
    Presumably it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal. Maybe they could keep a hundred or two hundred acres as their own family forest. Sure the solar farm wouldn’t be quite as big, but they could still get the satisfaction out of being private foresters too. And the proceeds from the PV farm should be enough that making a decent profit off the trees wouldn’t be so crucial.

  41. 91
    Carrie says:

    So going back to something Gavin explained about the 1.5C report in the beginning above:

    “At current rates, we’ll hit 1.5ºC on a decadal-average basis by ~2040. The first year above 1.5ºC will occur substantially earlier, likely associated with a big El Niño event in the late 2020s/early 2030s.

    Or in about 12 years from now.

    So now, putting all that together in a contextual whole, what does it mean?

    What is Gavin really saying here?

    If interested, Please read the full comment and respond here

  42. 92
    Killian says:

    Re #77 Fred Magyar:

    You do not describe BAU ending, you describe BAU Lite.

    Re #89 S.B. Ripman:

    If solar panels need to be built, and I stress need, and can provide two other benefits, so be it. If they help with a type of plant growth that has benefits, fine. However, I do not see many animals grazing solar installations.

    That said, I am against any and all utility-owned renewables.

  43. 93

    RB 85, Judith Curry’s blog can’t really show a peer-reviewed paper to be erroneous. Let Curry publish her own paper showing that. Until she can do that, I will continue to ignore her climate denial.

  44. 94

    Speaking, as some were, about forests, fires, and policy–and perhaps mods may want to move this to a new “Forced Variations” thread?–a (cross-posted) screed:

    What is on my mind this morning, FB wants to know? Well, the so-called president’s tweet blaming wildfires on poor forest management, and threatening to withhold Federal funds “if not addressed.” With the death toll over 30 and rising, an entire town erased, and record economic losses, that was not exactly the most sensitive thing one could have chosen to focus on.

    But then, we certainly know better than to expect any except fake empathy from this White House.

    It’s also a lie: while there are forest management issues in America–notably that Republican Congresses have been starving the responsible agencies for funds for a decade now–it is not true either that a) there is “no other reason” for what we are seeing, or b) that it’s primarily a state responsibility. (And note as an aside that the proposed Trump budget, which went nowhere, would have cut forest management budgets even further.)

    Point a) is pretty obvious: increasing wildfire risk as a result of climate change has been a longstanding projection of climate modelers and forest ecologists. Warmer temperatures mean increased evaporation rates (and secondarily, the fertilizing effects of increased CO2 mean increased undergrowth biomass.) Infestations of exotic pest species, such as the bark beetle epidemics don’t help, as they increase tree mortality, sometimes drastically. And sure enough, we’ve been seeing record fire seasons. Most researchers agree that climate change is a significant part of what we’re seeing in the West–and especially in regard to the extension of what used to be a relatively well-defined fire season. Now ‘fire season’ is just about anytime, it seems.

    Point b) is even more obvious: in the west, the big boys in charge of forests are not state governments, but Federal agencies like the BLM and the Forest Service. So Mr. Trump should look in the mirror before victim blaming. It’s interesting to observe that the House actually tried to do something about forest management this year, in the form of HR 2396, which passed on the 1st of this month.

    They hail the ‘Resilient Forests’ act as a ‘responsible, bipartisan’ solution to the ills of forest management . (Perhaps the so-called President was playing golf when it passed–he seems unaware of its existence.)

    The House issued an online puff piece about how wonderful this legislation is:…/

    In short, it’s a new wonder of the world and will prevent any more ‘catastrophic wildfires’ in the West.

    However, others have, er, differing views about the impact that it would have:…/house-logging-bill-hr-2936-g…

    In short, it’s a flagrant giveaway to the timber industry which guts environmental protections of all sorts in the service of private profit.

    One can assess these two views in a a variety of ways, of course. A simple one would be to start with just how “bipartisan” support for the Act really was; from the link given at the top of this comment, it’s just another click to find out that in this instance, “bi-partisan” meant passage with 222 Republican votes and 10 Democratic ones. (While the ‘nays’ split 179 Democrat to 9 Republican, with 12 members not voting.)

    Personally, in such an instance I would call the tag “bi-partisan” a lie–95% support from one side is clearly a near-Party line vote. And if they are going to gratuitously lie about that–there was no obvious need to insert that adjective into the text of their puff piece, after all–then there is every reason to think that there could be more substantive lies about the legislation itself.

    One may also think about some of the provisions in the Act–for instance, what management purpose is served by literally giving away public land to private owners? What management purpose is served by implementing arbitrary time limitations on environmental assessments, or by waiving them completely for all cuts under 10,000 acres? And what management purpose–this one’s pretty incredible!–could possibly be served by imposing high minimum harvest quotas?

    Personally, I conclude that this indeed a “wish list for the timber industry”, and hope that the Senate won’t take it up, knowing that any changes to it at all would mean protracted negotiations with the new Democratic House. There may well be–hell, there are–problems with the status quo: I don’t think anyone would or could argue that “fire borrowing” (using management funds for emergency fire suppression costs) is a good way to ‘run the railroad.’

    But neither would stepping away from a science-based, environmentally-focused approach to forest lands.

  45. 95
    nigelj says:

    I think if you want an ideal sort of answer to SB Ripmans interesting example, you would use solar roof panels as much as possible and utilise a solar farm for industry and things that cannot be supplied by roof panels. This minimises the size of a solar farm so minimises impacts on the forest.This is the best balance you will get.

    The solar farm could be community owned, or a not for profit as opposed to a corporate limited liability company structure. If it is a conventional company, it could be better regulated or required to report on its environmental impacts preferably an independent audit. Information starts to make a difference.

    The alternatives are out there. It’s up to the public to choose.

    I’m as cynical about avaricious narrow profit focused corporate’s as anyone, but its up to the public to demand change or develop alternatives because corporates are unlikely to do enough on their own initiative. And something certainly has to change because the impacts of business on the environment well are in the danger zone.

  46. 96

    Nic Lewis stated in the Resplandy Nature paper comments section “that all of the paper’s findings are wrong”. Unfortunately, Lewis neglected to consider that the paper is describing an independent and perhaps novel means of estimating ocean heat uptake, and whatever its shortcomings, at least substantiates previous estimates. IOW, perhaps it’s overestimating the value of ECS, but that in no way makes it wrong, as it may instead be substantiating our best estimates of the consensus ECS.

  47. 97
    Omega Centauri says:

    Kevin @94.
    Unregulated commerial timber harvesting can be a recipe for catastrophic
    fires. The most proftable thing for the tiber company is to haul away the big
    logs, and leave the small stuff (slash) lying around. During the heyday
    of Wisconsin lumber harvesting we had the Peshtigo fire, which even to
    todays shell-shocked Californians was unimaginably worse:
    1.2 million acres. Twelve towns destroyed. At least 1500 deaths…

    Of course these areas in California suffering severe damage don’t even have much commercial lumber, its mostly brush. Now clearing of brush near towns
    might be a useful thing to do, but no lumber company is going to do it
    unless they get a ton of government money to make it pay. And it grows back
    within a few years.

  48. 98
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Good news: we’re making ice in the Arctic:

    As Chevy Chase would say: “It’s a bit nipply out.” :)

    92 – Killian
    “That said, I am against any and all utility-owned renewables.”

    Solar is too expensive for many folks to buy it for themselves. I recently checked on the cost of an off-grid system that would run a 300 Watt, 120V load in the sunny SW, for 5 hours every night. Guesstimate from the supplier was $7,000 and that did not include installation and may not have included batteries. For a lot of folks, even that is not affordable; but my example is for a cabin – a system for even an efficient home would be significantly larger and more expensive. Don’t know how long it would take to produce all the batteries, panels, inverters, etc to supply systems for every home.

    Thus, utility-owned is probably the best for a lot of people.

    94 – Kevin
    Blaming Trump for the Cal forest fires, eh? He’s been in office less than 2 years so that makes a lot of sense. Not. Are you working on the vote counting team in Broward County? And yes, 5% support from one side is considered bi-partisan so, no, it’s not a lie – but I’ll admit it is not telling the whole story either.

    I would be interested to know who owns the land that’s burning and if it is actually “forest”, or is some of the land in Southern Cal scrub brush, and not what most would even call a forest? I have not paid much attention to it, but we are getting smoke from Cal in the PNW.

  49. 99
    Fred Magyar says:

    Killian @ 92
    You say potatoe, I say pohtato.
    To me BAU is a continuation of all systems on fossil fuels. Such as automobile manufactures continuing to invest heavily in ICE power and all the supply chains that are needed including drilling for and refining oil. As an example VW just plopped down 50 billion for battery procurement. Call that what you will. In my book that is called paradigm change! Is it enough to make a difference? Dunno but it ain’t BAU..


  50. 100

    Perhaps Nic Lewis needs to clean up his own house first. His close colleague Willis Eschenbach is blogging about the California fires at WUWT claiming that the climate warming in California is only 0.012C per decade, while showing what appear to be carefully constructed graphs from the available data. Whoops! We point out that this can’t be right and several days later he corrects the graph with a warming trend that is 10× higher !

    Yet, the damage is already done as all the WUWT blog readers have since moved on to more recent posts, convinced that Willis found another problem with consensus science. So mission accomplished for fake science, and truly sad that Willis took advantage of the terrible situation in California just to score points for his political agenda.

    So I have to ask Nic Lewis why isn’t he doing the gatekeeping for his own wing-men first if he is so concerned about uncertainty? He could set up a peer-review service for all the posts emanating from WUWT and that will keep him more than busy.