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Unforced variations: Apr 2014

Filed under: — group @ 6 April 2014

More open thread. Unusually, we are keeping the UV Mar 2014 thread open for more Diogenetic conversation and to keep this thread open for more varied fare.

296 Responses to “Unforced variations: Apr 2014”

  1. 1
    Walter says:

    More Monckton Monkey Business:

    RSS … collaborating with Ben Santer at LLNL (along with numerous other investigators) ….

    quoting Monckton about the above:
    “Note the use of one of the usual suspects’ favorite weasel-phrases, “consistent with”: the spatial pattern of warming is also “consistent with” natural variability, and an honest scientist would have said so.”

    To whit, the referenced RSS author, Ben Santer at LLNL, and others are DISHONEST.

    Isn’t that just more “defamation and libel” and Untruthfulness, yet again?

    [edit – discussion not appropriate]

    If ‘god’ didn’t want people to use the Legal system, then he would never have created Lawyers, or the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, would he?

    A valid form of ‘defense’ has always been ‘attack’, yes? [ smile ]

  2. 2
    Walter says:

    RE : [edit – discussion not appropriate]

    Hey, I agree, it’s totally inappropriate (made me think of the recent retracted paper Recursive Fury) and so extreme, which is why I mentioned it here, and not to offend anyone.

    However it is part of the same pub by M. re his RSS comments, and here’s the link which was also deleted (accidentally, I am not sure, leave it up to you Mod.)

  3. 3
    Walter says:

    “As a research scientist myself, I feel compelled to try to promote and defend both science and scientists, though arguably neither should really need such support. I simply cannot let allegations, such as those mentioned above, pass with only a whimper of a response or, worse still, no response at all, especially as they are all untrue and unfounded, and reflect the self-interests of those making them. They clearly need to be confronted head-on.”
    By Graham H. Pyke Apr 1, 2014

    and please see personal endorsement opportunity at

  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
    Buck Smith says:

    As a lukewarmer, I want to ask if realclimate community agrees that this statement is true. Whatever the magnitude of forcing due to CO2 and associated feedbacks, it is no match for other forcings which have repeatedly driven the earth into ice ages after periods of high CO2 and warmer temperatures

    [Response: It’s mostly misleading nonsense. Orbital forcing is a big deal, but it is very slow (tens of thousands of years). Tectonic changes have enormous impacts over geological time (very likely via CO2 changes in any case). But on a century time scale, they are tiny, and the impact of human effects (CO2, CH4, aerosols, ozone deforestation etc.) are much larger. – gavin]

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Yvan Dutil says:

    You have made a type in the title «varaitions»

    [Response: That’s an unforced variation right there! thanks! – gavin]

  9. 9
    barry says:

    Gavin, will you be posting a model/obs update?

    [Response: Trying to find the time! – gavin]

  10. 10
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    World Bank agrees with some commenters here abouts.

    Keep in mind, if you want to rant on this there is another thread for that, kept open from last month.

  11. 11
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Oops it looks like that other thread is closed. You had better read what the World bank president has to say.

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    Looks like this guy has patented the way whale poop fertilizes oceans!

    the nutrients and iron are “encapsulated in buoyant, chemically protective containers that keep the nutrients in the “photic zone” longer and release them over time.”

  13. 13
    pete best says:

    Excellent viewing guys seriously! James Cameron on Climate Science documentary in 9 parts. First one free to watch here

  14. 14
    wili says:

    From Pete’s link at #9:

    “[Jim Young Kim] the [World] Bank’s president – a doctor active in the campaign to develop drugs to treat HIV – said he had asked the climate change community:

    “Do we have a plan that’s as good as the plan we had for HIV?” The answer, unfortunately, was no.

    “Is there enough basic science research going into renewable energy? Not even close. Are there ways of taking discoveries made in universities and quickly moving them into industry? No. Are there ways of testing those innovations? Are there people thinking about scaling [up] those innovations?”

    Interviewed ahead of next week’s biannual World Bank meeting, Kim added: “They [the climate change community] kept saying, ‘What do you mean a plan?’ I said a plan that’s equal to the challenge. A plan that will convince anyone who asks us that we’re really serious about climate change, and that we have a plan that can actually keep us at less than 2°C warming. We still don’t have one.

    “We’re trying to help and we find ourselves being more involved then I think anyone at the bank had predicted even a couple of years ago. We’ve got to put the plan together.””

    So is Diogenes really Jim Young Kim???!!!

  15. 15
    Hank Roberts says:

    Various plans have been proposed. I wonder if Kim of the World Bank has looked at _any_ of them, and if so, which ones. Someone has probably blogged a list of them somewhere. Pointers welcomed.

  16. 16
    Hank Roberts says:

    In case anyone doesn’t know about Another Week of Global Warming News, you’ll invariably find, each week, links relevant to the discussion there.

  17. 17

    Beginning to see ethical arguments.

    “Crimes against Humanity:The Genocidal Campaign of the Climate Change Contrarians”

  18. 18
    sidd says:



    PIG may keep melting even if (ha!) melting from warm ocean is reduced. An oddity is that they find grounding line is not so sensitive, in contrast to Favier(2014) DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2094 which they attribute to smaller rates of basal melt in their model.

    I am looking forward to coupled ocean ice models such as Goldberg(2012) doi:10.1029/2011JF002247 for detailed cases with PIG and Thwaites bathymetry and in situ validation.

    i fear that nature will outrun modelling


  19. 19
    Walter says:


    Anyone interested in the “real” China, may like to take an hour and have look at this Q&A program from last night direct from China. Insights galore for the astute, open minded, viewer.

    Monday, 7 April 2014 – China: Evolution not Revolution

    Includes a Downloadable podcast, or use Tor if not able to view in your country. Yes, pollution and climate change and energy is discussed at length.

  20. 20
    Walter says:

    Hank “Various plans have been proposed.”

    Excluding Diogenes’ plan, and all other one-offs like that by individual talking heads, be they known high powered individuals, I have seen NO PLANS.

    I have searched now for months and can not find any. Anderson’s isn’t a real Plan .. but an articulation as to the size of the problem with his personal “suggestions’ for targets and a few methods. Hansen’s “plan” mentioned in his opinion piece i quoted ref’d here is also NOT a genuine “plan” either.

    The IPCC have none, the UNFCCC have none, the UN has none, the USA none, the EU marginally a plan for the EU and that’s it, but nobody – as in no valid Institutional based of “experts” with Political clout has any serious “plans” for the future – bar BAU with a few dances around the margins on some aspects of the problem.

    So keep searching Hank for a “Globally Comprehensive” articulated science and economics reality based Plan. I gave up. Good luck! ( smile )

  21. 21
    Walter says:

    #15 W Manny, I’m with you. Speaking as someone who has been in situations where ethics were critical and where I stood up for them at some personal cost despite eventually being vindicated. However that could be a negative impost on your position by me saying so. ( sorry if that undermines your position )

  22. 22
    dhogaza says:

    Walter Manny:

    “If the rights of subjects were not protected (in the opinion of the Journal) can someone please explain to me how that is not an ethical problem?”

    Yes. Their official statement on the matter, which is still available, says there were no ethical problems. In negotations with the authors of the paper, the journal said there were no ethical problems.

    This flip-flopping of position doesn’t do the journal’s reputation any good, that’s the only thing certain here.

    Well, one of two certain things – the other is that the denialsphere is pretending that the first, official statement was never issued. Just as you’re doing.

  23. 23
    dhogaza says:

    Walter Manny:

    It is also true that UWA is still hosting the paper, has backed the paper, has said there are no issues with the paper, and has more or less gone “neener-neener” to the denialists who are making such a fuss over the fact that some people actually read their public comments and research them.

  24. 24
    Walter says:

    RC – it would be a plus, imho, if one day some Chinese Climate & Environmental Scientists et al were invited to present their Papers and pov here. Maybe it could flow on to others.

    imho the language and (entrenched ideological barriers by the Western public) precludes what otherwise would be very insightful information and perspectives by the Chinese and the Russians as well.

    I know, I’m dreaming!
    [edit – no personal attacks on commenters]

    wili, re who is Diogenes, you may be right! lol But he could also be James Hansen et al too. ( smile )

  25. 25
    Walter says:


  26. 26
    Walter says:

    #21 .. “the journal said there were no ethical problems.”

    People spin the whole truth every single day of the week… if they can get away with it. Or even when they cannot.

    They “said it” so it must be true? Oh please!

  27. 27
    Hank Roberts says:

    It’s weather, but once you have enough weather, then it’s climate:

    Is a Super El Nino Coming Next Winter?

    Cliff Maas on what we do and don’t know, including

    a well-known issue called the spring forecast barrier for El Nino/La Nina.

    Check back in a few months for better likelihood of successful forecast.

  28. 28
    Walter says:

    NEW Study
    “Melting permafrost in places like Sweden could result in even higher levels of carbon emissions than predicted, accelerating climate change.

    Researchers have found that as permafrost melts in polar regions, it changes the composition of vegetation in the area, resulting in the release of methane.

    They say they have known for some time that the permafrost is melting, but didn’t know it would result in even higher levels of methane being released, which will exacerbate the problem.

    The research is featured in the newest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”


    ( sigh )

  29. 29
    Walter says:

    Anyone can give practical help to climate scientists at no cost with little effort.

    The Weather@home project, launched in Australia and New Zealand today, is the latest stage of what has been dubbed “the world’s largest climate modelling experiment”.

    In the UK, that has enabled the equivalent of 20,000 years of simulations to be run in just three weeks, testing the likely contributing factors to this year’s devastating floods.

  30. 30
    mgardner says:

    Walter #19,

    I’m a great fan of plans, but there’s that old saying from some general…”no plan or strategy, however well thought out, survives the first encounter with the enemy”.

    The correct analogy here is not tackling HIV but rather the ACA (US health reform, Obamacare). That has been a remarkable success, not because of the number signing up or any other such metric, but because it has both *created a conversation* and *changed the framing* of the conversation. The public is actually engaged and debating real facts, (despite the barrage of falsehoods quite similar to what goes on in climate.) For the first time, people are getting a clue about how crazy the US healthcare system really is, and seeing that reform is not so scary after all.

    Looking for some ‘global’ solution like Diogenes (enforced by UN Black Helicopters?) is simply a type of Nirvana Fallacy. The US, with the size of its economy, could start things moving with a strong regulatory framework. Will that solve everything? Of course not, but it will get people’s attention. Markets work *if* they are properly regulated.

  31. 31
    Edward Greisch says:

    Buck Smith: Gavin is right. You are wrong. See

  32. 32
    prokaryotes says:

    Reduced plant nutrition under elevated CO2 depresses the immunocompetence of cotton bollworm against its endoparasite

    Our results showed that elevated CO2 decreases the nutritional quality of wheat, and reduces the total hemocyte counts and impairs the capacity of hemocyte spreading of hemolymph of cotton bollworm larvae, fed wheat grown in the elevated CO2, against its parasitoid; however, this effect was insufficient to change the development and parasitism traits of M. mediator. Our results suggested that lower plant nutritional quality under elevated CO2 could decrease the immune response of herbivorous insects against their parasitoid natural enemies.

  33. 33
    Walter Manny says:

    dhogaza, I recognize it may not the wisest course to attempt to engage with you, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. It is certainly a rational interpretation to say the Journal has flip-flopped and I suppose to imply a nefarious motive for so doing. Would you allow that it’s also a rational interpretation to see the first statement (which I obviously was not pretending was never issued — “Just as you’re doing” — else why would I reference it) as a polite way for the journal to retract a paper that it recognized was problematic? Would it also be rational to suppose that the second attempt was a recognition that the first attempt had failed?

  34. 34
    Russell says:


    I must for once agree with Dhogaza- what’s ‘problematic’ is the response of a publishing house exposed to litigation to being threatened with same – redaction is cheaper that fighting off the law firm of Sue, Grabbit & Runne, even if the plaintiffs face a six sigma probability of being laughed out of court.

  35. 35
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter Manny,
    Anonymity is precisely what is wrong with the Internet. Anonymity encourages trolls. If one are really ashamed of the opinions you profess, maybe one should rethink them.

    [Response: There are many reasons for anonymity and even people that use their real names can still be trolls. This is an irrelevance for the most part. – gavin]

  36. 36
    MARodger says:

    Is this a Gentleman Who Prefers Fantasy suffering a dose of reality catching up with him? The IPCC appear to be expecting Richard Tol to correct his contribution to WGII. And the spat between Tol & Bob Ward is throwing up some goings-on that perhaps need some explanation from Tol. The chapter in WGII co-co-ordinated by Tol suddenly was amended to feature Tol’s own erroneous work.
    As Ward describes it“A section had been inserted on ‘Aggregate impacts’ which was based almost entirely on Professor Tol’s 2013 paper. The Chapter also included a new table and graph which were based on Figure 1 and Table 1 from his 2013 paper. None of this material had been included in the Second Order Draft of the report (a copy of which was also leaked to a blog for climate change ‘sceptics’) that had been made available to reviewers, including me.”
    As Tol told David Ruse of the Rail on Sunday “It’s all about taking away my credibility as an expert.” I suppose, if he has acted like a Gentleman Who Prefers Fantasy, then his credibility will indeed be rather difficult to hold on to.

  37. 37
    dhogaza says:

    Walter Manny:

    “People spin the whole truth every single day of the week… if they can get away with it. Or even when they cannot.

    They “said it” so it must be true? Oh please!”

    OK, you’re accusing the journal of lying when they issued their official statement, which you don’t care for, and telling the truth, now that they’ve written a blog post saying something you do care for.

    “It is certainly a rational interpretation to say the Journal has flip-flopped”

    Certainly a rational interpretation? Any other interpretation implies a serious reading comprehension problem, or the typical denialist approach of cherry-picking that which pleases them and ignoring that which doesn’t.

    “Would you allow that it’s also a rational interpretation to see the first statement as a polite way for the journal to retract a paper that it recognized was problematic?”

    No. Again, this is just another way of accusing them of lying in their official statement (out of some sense of “politeness”).

    “Would it also be rational to suppose that the second attempt was a recognition that the first attempt had failed?”

    The second attempt’s apparent contradiction of the original, official statement has simply further tarnished their reputation with the audience which a journal, in normal circumstances, cares most about: the academics who write for it, review submitted articles for it, and read and cite it.

    My rational explanation is that the journal hasn’t had a good handle on how to respond to the threatened legal attacks, and has muddled the process. The official statement did not placate those whose threats of legal action led to the retraction in the first place, and they’re bending over backwards trying to deal with the situtation.

    I’m somewhat sympathetic. Though the academic environment isn’t known for overwhelming politeness and civility, those in that environment, including journal publishers, aren’t used to the overwhelming, rabid, and uncompromising junkyard-dog attacks, including threats of legal action, that the journal has been facing since publishing “Recursive Fury”. They’re dealing with a situation for which there’s little precedence in that community.

    UWA deserves praise and credit for telling McIntyre (among others) to take a flying leap, and for standing behind its researchers.

  38. 38
    Phil L says:

    A new paper in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry demonstrates that forest management can mitigate the effects of climate change.

    Carbon, Fossil Fuel, and Biodiversity Mitigation With Wood and Forests (Oliver et al. 2014).

    “Life-cycle analyses, energy analyses, and a range of utilization efficiencies were developed to determine the carbon dioxide (CO2) and fossil fuel (FF) saved by various solid wood products, wood energy, and unharvested forests. Some products proved very efficient in CO2 and FF savings, while others did not. Not considering forest regrowth after harvest or burning if not harvested, efficient products save much more CO2 than the standing forest; but wood used only for energy generally saves slightly less. Avoided emissions (using wood in place of steel and concrete) contributes the most to CO2 and FF savings compared to the product and wood energy contributions. Burning parts of the harvested logs that are not used for products creates an additional CO2 and FF savings. Using wood substitutes could save 14 to 31% of global CO2 emissions and 12 to 19% of global FF consumption by using 34 to 100% of the world’s sustainable wood growth. Maximizing forest CO2 sequestration may not be compatible with biodiversity. More CO2 can be sequestered synergistically in the products or wood energy and landscape together than in the unharvested landscape. Harvesting sustainably at an optimum stand age will sequester more carbon in the combined products, wood energy, and forest than harvesting sustainably at other ages.”

  39. 39
    Walter Manny says:

    Walter and dhogaza, my original post (used to be #15) was moved to the Borehole for some reason after appearing here. As Eric once pointed out to me off line, the workings of the Borehole are sometimes mysterious, but on the off chance you were curious, there it is.

    As to your second observation, dhogaza, it is true that UWA is still backing the paper, which may bear watching especially since Dr. Lewandowsky has left for Bristol. I doubt very much that there is any “neener-neener” aspect to its response, though. I would think they back the paper because they think its valid and gave it the OK to begin with for that reason. And if the work is valid, it should find its way to a journal eventually.

  40. 40
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    The potential El Niño has not fizzled yet but there is still plenty of time.

  41. 41
    Hank Roberts says:

    Natural cycling can recover:

    The collapse of collective farming in Russia after 1990 and the subsequent economic crisis led to …. the most widespread and abrupt land use change in the 20th century in the northern hemisphere. The withdrawal of land area from cultivation led to several benefits including carbon (C) sequestration. Here, we provide a geographically complete and spatially detailed analysis …. The amount of C sequestered over the period 1990–2009 …. compensates all fire and postfire CO2 emissions in Russia and covers about 4% of the global CO2 release due to deforestation and other land use changes. Our assessment shows a significant mitigation of increasing atmospheric CO2 by prolonged C accumulation in Russian soils caused by collective farming collapse.

    Can we manage agriculture to sequester carbon?
    Can we be as smart as dirt?

  42. 42
    Mal Adapted says:

    Good grief! At Pete Best’s link, Charles Moore, the reviewer of “The Age of Global Warming” says in his 2nd paragraph:

    The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction.

    That’s the kind of risible denier ignorance (currently number 60 in popularity at SkS) we’d expect from the Wall Street Journal or Forbes. Unsurprisingly, Moore’s review appears in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph. As the Stoat warns us: Do not trust the Torygraph, for it is Tory.

  43. 43
    Walter Manny says:

    dho, I am not accusing the journal of lying when they issued their first official statement. Nor am I accusing them of lying in their second official statement. It’s oh-so-satisfying television to hear, “Were you lying then or are you lying now? Mwa-ha-ha!” But I don’t automatically assume either statement is true — I assume it’s real people dealing with a real issue and doing their best in the circumstances. And I’ll put it out there as pure conjecture that one reason the journal could be fearing litigation is because they might lose in court, legitimately. Just as it’s conjecture to assume they fear litigation that is frivolous. I don’t find it as easy as you to leap to any firm conclusions yet. Perhaps the story is over, perhaps not.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Walter says:

    #37 Dhogaza, you’re actually conflating 2 different Walters here. Me and then W Manny.

    Whilst you’re entitled to analyse this situation hypothetically anyway you wish, please note that regarding this “including threats of legal action”, that Frontiers have specifically said there were NO such threats ever made to them by anyone. They also specifically have said that the “complaints and criticisms” were taken seriously by Frontiers .. I can’t recall their language now but the sense i got from that was that the small number of complaints they did receive were quite reasonable in every way.

    Any claims that the paper was withdrawn due to unfounded threats of litigation are in fact at this moment totally unfounded, if anyone wishes to accept Frontiers own statements in good faith.

    Idle opinions pronounced in the blogosphere and newspapers in general about this issue by those not actually inside the tent doesn’t equal accuracy.

    RE “OK, you’re accusing the journal of lying when they issued their official statemen” …. ( sigh ) no I am not accusing them of “lying”.

    I made a simple statement regarding ‘spin’ in relation to the WHOLE Truth. Every organisation/business/government treads a balancing act between what they really know and what can be said “publicly” – there are always competing “ethics” issues, as well as their public image (a good will asset) which any responsible org (and their lawyers) are required to protect.

    Nuance is important. Nothing is black and white, not with Frontiers and not with anything. You make it (falsely) a black and white issue when you accuse me of accusing someone else of “lying” when that never happened.

  46. 46
    dhogaza says:

    Walter Manny:

    “dho, I am not accusing the journal of lying when they issued their first official statement.”

    It’s dhogaza.

    earlier, you said:

    “People spin the whole truth every single day of the week… if they can get away with it. Or even when they cannot.

    They “said it” so it must be true? Oh please!”

    And you say you’re not accusing them of lying? Whatever.

  47. 47
    Walter says:

    #30 “Looking for some ‘global’ solution like Diogenes (enforced by UN Black Helicopters?) is simply a type of Nirvana Fallacy.”

    Science since 1988 onwards, every statement by the IPCC, every conversation about “mitigation” ever made has emphasized the fact that AGW, CC,and humanities future on this planet is a ‘global problem’ that requires a ‘global solution’. That’s why they created the UNFCCC and several other UN organisations / teams.

    Now, for some unknown reason to me, such an approach has morphed into a ‘Nirvana Fallacy’.

    I really do not understand why people insist on twisting not only people’s words but the accepted reality as well. It’s beyond frustrating.

    Well, actually, I do understand it and why it arises, i simply wish there was far less of it in the world. It would make it a nicer place to be.

    I repeat that there is NOT ONE credible comprehensive global plan (i am aware of) to solve the problem of increasing carbon pollution at this time. Why such a straightforward and realistic comment like that is a problem for anyone else, is simply too much to deal with honestly on a public discussion board.

  48. 48
    Walter says:

    dhogaza, the accuracy of the fine details matter. be it the frontiers issue, your name’s spelling, or this: ( smiling )

  49. 49
    Walter Manny says:

    dhogaza (sorry about the ‘dho’, lazy on my part):

    It’s an easy mistake to make, but it’s the other Walter who wrote what you quote me as writing. I didn’t catch it either the first time you mixed us up.

    But please have a go at what I have written, by all means.

  50. 50
    Hank Roberts says:

    > I repeat

    Yes, but:

    “Use “the UV Mar 2014 thread open for more Diogenetic conversation”

    It’s there for you.