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Unforced Variations: Jan 2021

Filed under: — gavin @ 1 January 2021

According to the somewhat* arbitrary customs of our age, the 1st of January marks the beginning of a new year, a new decade and, by analogy, a new start in human affairs. So shall it be at RealClimate too**.

This month’s topics will no doubt include the summaries of the 2020 climate (due Jan 14th or so), ongoing efforts to understand and predict extreme weather in a climate context, and the shift by the weather organizations (WMO, NWS) to a new set of climate normals (i.e. moving from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020).

In the spirit of this new year, please make a renewed effort to stay vaguely on climate science topics, try to stay constructive even when you disagree, refrain from posting abuse, and don’t bother with cut-and-paste climate denial (that stuff was tedious enough when it was originally wrong, and is simply boring now). Thanks!


**Seriously, we are thinking about how to update/re-position this blog, and would welcome constructive suggestions from readers.

258 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2021”

  1. 1
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Texas got what W woulda called a “Thumpin”:

    Space travelers, that storm is headed toward north and east. Use caution and be ready for winter travel conditions if you are in it’s path. Lots of ice and snow on the move:

  2. 2
    Susan Anderson says:

    I was a little startled to see the Wunderground videos, useful. I’ve been a regular in the continuing comment section that has come adrift since the closing of Wunderground’s Category6 as Jeff Masters and Bob Henson have found a new home at Yale Climate Connections –

    Here’s the second to last at Wunderground (49 of 50); I can’t find a date but it’s fairly recent:

    With regard to weather and climate, Masters/Henson occasional colleague Stu Ostro has a superb rundown of gorgeous materials from the past year. He is a long-time archivist of worldwide extreme weather, maintaining useful compendiums of the detail and reality which confirms the theory developed in science. I have become wary of saying “the science” though it’s a useful term; one must always remember that language is a shortcut or approximation of meaning.
    Meteorological images of 2020

    ps. I was unaware of the Crank Shaft, and relieved to find it properly labeled. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that people actually believe that stuff, thanks to inadequate education in discerning truth and facts from propaganda and conspiracy.

  3. 3

    Has anyone got an answer to my question about the Clausius-Clapeyron question on other terrestrial questions? Does the local gravity change the answer? Does total pressure?

  4. 4
    mike says:

    MRKIA should follow his instincts and put all the money he can gather into coal and other fossil fuel sources. He obviously has insider knowledge and instincts for what is true and what is not. We are lucky to have him here. Happy new year to all

    some CO2 data thoughts from

    Confirmed Proposals
    As of March 1, 2011 4.0°C 800 ppm CO2 1060 ppm CO2e 103.40 Gt

    INDCs Strict
    As of December 14, 2015 3.5°C 670 ppm CO2 855 ppm CO2e 81.33 Gt

    2°C Pathway
    As of October 27, 2015 2.0°C 475 ppm CO2 485 ppm CO2e 6.01 Gt

    1.8°C Pathway
    As of December 14, 2015 1.8°C 450 ppm CO2 455 ppm CO2e 2.93 Gt

    1.5°C Pathway
    As of December 14, 2015 1.5°C 425 ppm CO2 420 ppm CO2e 0.92 Gt

    2014 ‘Actuals’

    0.9°C 397 ppm CO2 481 ppm CO2e* 54.96 Gt


  5. 5
    mike says:

    per suggestions on improving the blog in 2021, I would suggest giving a couple of trusted commenters the ability to moderate the comments and take some of that load off the scientists who post here. You don’t need very many trusted commenters to do the job imo. It seems like we currently get the worst of both worlds with slow moderation and endless ad hominem back and forth. I was pleased to see JDS dispatched to the crankshaft. He was begging for that assignment, as are some others here.

    To be clear, I am not volunteering or offering to function as a moderator. I think Kevin M and Susan A would do well in the role.



  6. 6
    nigelj says:

    MAR on last months UV: “The question for the troll is ‘What is responsible for the big bite out of the outward radiation at Wave Number 666 shown in the graph?…All the scientific literature gives the same answer to that question. It is our old friend CO₂.”

    I don’t think he will understand your comments! Very informative though. But I had to seriously chuckle at the irony of the number 666. Clearly climate science is the work of the devil!

  7. 7
    sidd says:

    Re: a couple of trusted commenters the ability to moderate the comments

    If that is done i would ask that the “trusted” commenters be allowed to see the names and the (optional) websites submitted with each comment but not the email addresses. I trust Gavin et al. at realclimate with my email address, i do not necessarily trust whoever may be appointed to oversee my comments with that information.


  8. 8
    Alex von Fintel says:


    I’m an interested layman and skip half your posts, because I don’t understand them – which is fine, by the way.

    I have a question/issue for you:
    By my – possibly wrong, although I have checked it – c. 500 000 000 000 tonnes of CO2 would need to be removed to go back to 320ppm from 420ppm. I assume that we would need to do this to stay at (or go back to) our current sea level. Does this sound about right? Is removing so much CO2 in any way realistic?

    Have a good year


  9. 9

    Sorry, that should have read “on other terrestrial planets,” not “on other terrestrial questions.” Early morning post…

  10. 10
    zebra says:

    re Improvements For RC,

    Perhaps trivial, but as a matter of convenience, the Recent Comments list should just tell us which threads have gotten a new comment. I don’t need to see that the usual suspects have “posted the nth comment in a very short period of time” as it says in the comment policy.

    I would like to know if the threads other than FR and UV that I’m interested in have any activity, without having to scroll down every time to check.

  11. 11
    Stephen Berg says:

    Hi all. Hope everyone has a better year in 2021 than last year.

    I have noticed something recently, i.e. over the last decade or so, that it seems like atmospheric and oceanic teleconnections, especially ENSO, have seemingly been neutralized, at least somewhat, by other climate signals including human-caused climate change. I live in the southern Prairies in Canada, which is typically greatly impacted by ENSO. Winters are usually warmer and less snowy during El Ninos and colder and snowier during La Nina events. However, in recent years, we have had very cold winters during El Nino events and during this La Nina winter so far we are experiencing quite a bit warmer and less snowy conditions. I think other locations have been seeing some topsy-turvy conditions during ENSO and other teleconnection events, too.

    Do any of the moderators have any explanations for this? Is this just some sort of improbable, albeit possible, outcome?

    Thanks and hope you are all staying well.

  12. 12
    David B. Benson says:

    Alex von Fintel @8 — I encourage reading
    and then David Archer’s book.

    Also, in the upper left hand corner of the Real Climate web page is a button labeled Start Here. Start there.

  13. 13
    Piotr says:

    Re: Alex von Fintel (8)

    For numbers and FAQ – see
    1ppm CO2 = 2.13 Gt of C = 7.8 Gt of CO2,
    so for your 100ppm decrease – 780 Gt of CO2

    I am not sure whether bringing the concentration (i.e. “pCO2”) to 320ppm would “ bring back (or go back to) our current sea level” – because of thermal inertia of the ocean/hysteresis of ice formation. But there are many other good reasons to reduce pCO2 besides the sea level.

    > Is removing so much CO2 in any way realistic?

    Beware of the old deniers fallacy: the “ALL OR NOTHING”. You DON’T have to remove ALL surplus CO2 to have an effect:

    – At the moment we are talking about stopping ADDING new CO2 – it would already make a difference because the world with your 420 ppm is likely to be very different from the one with 600 ppm.

    – Even if we did not remove a single Gt of CO2 from the air, after we stopped ADDING CO2, the atmospheric pCO2 will start to decline:
    about HALF of the CO2 we add to air does not stay there, but is taken down by the ocean and terrestrial biomass/soil. At least some of this ability to draw down CO2 from air into the ocean and biomass/soils, will be still there after we stop adding NEW CO2 to air, so the pCO2 should start slowly decrease. Assuming, of course, that by this time we haven’t already triggered a runway climate change.

    And the risk of the latter is another reason why you want to stop ADDING new CO2 to the atmosphere – the larger the CO2 increases, the bigger the probability of such runway change.

    Further, the longer we stay at higher CO2 levels, the bigger the risk of permanent damages and runaway climate change – so for this reason, just bringing emissions to 0, resting on our laurels and waiting for the nature to reduce CO2 for us – is not enough – we will need actively remove CO2 – e.g. by growing more living biomass and increasing the organic carbon storage in the soils, and perhaps artificially accelerating the rate of rock weathering (which absorbs CO2).

    But again – you don’t have to able to remove ALL surplus CO2 to make a difference.

  14. 14
    MA Rodger says:

    nigelj @6,
    Quite right.
    And a visit to the borehole/crankshaft will show this troll obviously is seriously infected with denial and, with such a malfunctioning intellect, is certainly a lost cause. (So sadly an explanation for the idea that atmospheric temperature is “due to” atmospheric pressure will not be forthcoming, ‘sadly’ because I always enjoy a good laugh and would love to hear how it could be so given the poles are so cold whilst having the same atmospheric pressure as the tropics.)

    Yet our experience with the trollish visitors we have met here at RealClimate over the years (and indeed elsewhere) would suggest this situation is the norm. They usually prove at some point completely unable to engage with an explanation of AGW set out for them, although that does not mean we should not try to disentangle their nonsense for them. As this last troll pointed out, did not Walter Lippmann say “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much”?

    Mind, the troll himself did misuse this quote. The troll failed to consider the excellent quote that Barton Paul Levenson cited @305 DecUV “Never trust a quote you read on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln and the troll was surely just searching for some authoritative-sounding quote to suit his purpose without learning the purpose of the quoted passage.
    In context, the 1915 Lippmann quote suggests we should be intolerant of trolls spreading bullshit. As the passage goes on to say “In places where men are used to differences they inevitably become tolerant,” and this “tolerant” of “political strife” is not meant in a good way when “clashes … are fought upon a different plane, … dogmatic and simple-minded.”

    But I think it is worth me completing the troll’s education even if he is playing truant and/or unable to pay enough attention to grasp the science and its implications for his barmy “different view of this subject.” After all, composing this education does involve more than a little thought and as Walter Lippmann (who amongst other achievements defined the term ‘stereotype’ for use in sociology) said “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

  15. 15
    Al Bundy says:

    mike: To be clear, I am not volunteering or offering to function as a moderator. I think Kevin M and Susan A would do well in the role.

    AB: Good choices. I’d add Ray L.

    sidd: If that is done i would ask that the “trusted” commenters be allowed to see the names and the (optional) websites submitted with each comment but not the email addresses.

    AB: good point.


    yes, lots of little stuff could improve the site. Cookies could let a user know/access everything not yet perused, for example.

  16. 16
    Al Bundy says:

    Piotr: At least some of this ability to draw down CO2 from air into the ocean and biomass/soils, will be still there after we stop adding NEW CO2 to air, so the pCO2 should start slowly decrease. Assuming, of course, that by this time we haven’t already triggered a runway climate change.

    AB: I believe the mods’ estimate is that a 70-80% reduction would accomplish your initial goal.

    And yes, things get way interesting if, for example, during an extremely rapid warming phase most current woody vegetation on the planet, being stationary, burns. New stuff replaces it, but burning is fast and paints snow and ice grey2black.

    Beetles and fire make great partners.

  17. 17
    Al Bundy says:

    Susan A,

    Thanks. I know I can be hard to read. My inventing, book writing, and explorations have all magnified my inner cryptic clown who often leaps off cliffs (makes for more interesting explorations – hmm, feedback loop?).

    Richard C

  18. 18
    Western Hiker says:

    Regarding the slow pace of moderation –
    I read most of the new comments, sometimes leave a reply, then look forward to the next posting in a day or two. Perfect! A faster pace and I would end up spending too much time.

    As for the contrarians here – Skeptical Science has a list of contrarian arguments, followed by the proper rebuttals. At RC, the list is provided by Mr. KIA, Doug Swallow and others. Their comments serve a purpose.

  19. 19
    nigelj says:

    MAR @14, I agree we don’t have to tolerate nonsense and bullshit. It should be exposed without mercy. I think the right idea is just to be tolerant of various forms of diversity in a general sense (race, beliefs, personal characteristics etcetera) but nobody has to tolerate bullshit, and people who would cause us real physical harm, or criminal behavior. But some people take tolerance and inclusivity just a little bit too far. Its peculiar, and I don’t get why they do that.

  20. 20
    Michael Sweet says:

    Regarding changes in Real Climate:
    I think your original objective of presenting actual science about climate change and countering false arguments (by deniers) has been substantially achieved. Occasional articles to bring us all up to date (as you currently do) are good.

    There is substantial discussion of solutions to climate change in the public arena now. While none of you are a specialist in this area, you are all well informed about the problems and have insight into proposed solutions. Perhaps you could get specialists in future energy systems (Like Jacobson et al, Abbott, Connelly or many others) to write articles on the solutions you think have the most promise. It is also helpful to have articles that show why certain paths are unlikely to work. The endless discussions of nuclear on the forced variations thread with no references to the peer reviewed literature are not helpful at all. Serious articles that point out the benefits and problems of different proposals would be very helpful to discussions.

    I would like to know if scientists think Jacobson et al 2018 or Connelly et all 2016 are realistic or have serious problems. The popular press puts out many proposals that are obviously too small to help. Are there any proposals to remove CO2 from the atmosphere that are economic and significant? Abbott 2012 demolishes the nuclear argument. His paper has not been addressed by nuclear proponents. What is the scientific consensus?

    Recent press reports describe huge wind and solar farms in Outback Australia that would provide all the energy to Singapore and/or manufacture huge amounts of hydrogen for export to Asia. Are these really economic and useful projects? Are they a model for future energy projects to reduce fossil fuel use? Is the fracking industry about to go bankrupt and what effect will that have on CO2 emissions?

    I always feel that if I read it at RealClimate that is the actual scientific word. Keep up the good work. I am sure that whatever you decide it will contribute to solving AGW as best as possible.

    [Response: Thanks for the comments! – gavin]

  21. 21
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH TLT has posted for December with an anomaly of +0.29ºC, the lowest anomaly of 2020 by some way (previous 2020 months ranging +0.38ºC to +0.76ºC) and the lowest UAH TLT monthly anomaly since December 2018.
    2020 still came in at 2nd warmest year on the UAH TLT record, this without the boost from an El Niño. So quite an impressive achievement for a TLT record and doubly so given the ‘trendless’ nature of the UAH data.

    The top ten years on UAH’s TLT record now runs:-
    2016 … … +0.53ºC
    2020 … … +0.50ºC
    1998 … … +0.48ºC
    2019 … … +0.44ºC
    2017 … … +0.40ºC
    2010 … … +0.33ºC
    2015 … … +0.27ºC
    2018 … … +0.23ºC
    2002 … … +0.22ºC
    2005 … … +0.20ºC

  22. 22
    Susan Anderson says:

    Hey, thanks guys, but I’m just a dilettante, an occasional visitor, and I don’t know enough to discern real science, though I have a good old lady kicking the tires instinct for bullpucky. But nobody should be calling anyone a “nazi” no matter how much they provoke you. I used to teach scientists to draw: now that I was good at! All the best for the new year.

  23. 23
    J Doug Swallow says:

    #14 3 Jan 2021 at 7:44 AM MA Rodger says: “(So sadly an explanation for the idea that atmospheric temperature is “due to” atmospheric pressure will not be forthcoming, ‘sadly’ because I always enjoy a good laugh and would love to hear how it could be so given the poles are so cold whilst having the same atmospheric pressure as the tropics.)” Could it be that the totally uninformed and basically mistaken about all matters that have to do with the Earth and its climate has never heard about how the Earth has seasons? During one of those Antarctic winters, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was recorded.
    “New Record for Coldest Place on Earth, in Antarctica
    Scientists measure lowest temperature on Earth via satellites
    […]Using new satellite data, scientists have measured the most frigid temperature ever recorded on the continent’s eastern highlands: about -136°F (-93°C)—colder than dry ice.
    The temperature breaks the 30-year-old record of about -128.6°F (-89.2°C), measured by the Vostok weather station in a nearby location. Although they announced the new record this week, the temperature record was set on August 10, 2010.”

    It appears that due to MA Rodger’s limited knowledge about CO₂ and the Earth’s climate, that a quote of a statement made by Walter Lippmann is of the paramount importance to him. It shows that this site, and its monitors, also lack courage and honesty to not allow someone that has different views on this subject of anthropogenic climate change state their views, that are backed up with something that is what they fear, facts that demonstrate how mistaken that they are regarding this hoax about CO₂ being what causes something as complex as what the Earth’s climate does.

  24. 24

    MS 20,

    I think Jacobson’s proposals would work just fine, maybe with a little adjustment. The only person here violently opposed to Jacobson is E-P, because he’s a nuke freak who hates renewables.

  25. 25
    Ray Ladbury says:

    J. Doug Swallow, the reason your views have encountered opposition here at RC is because you are an idiot who is incapable of accepting established facts–and RC does not cater to that clientele.

    Absolutely nothing you have brought up here is new. All your arguments are simply the reanimated corpses of arguments denialists have been trotting out for nearly 2 decades. All your arguments have been eviscerated–you just aren’t smart enough to realize it.

  26. 26
    Mal Adapted says:

    Barton Paul Levenson:

    “Never trust a quote you read on the internet.”
    –Abraham Lincoln

    At least not until you run it past QI might be my favorite site on the Internet 8^D!

  27. 27
    Western Hiker says:

    MA Rodger, 21
    “… this without the boost from an El Niño.”

    Where’s the evidence that 2020 didn’t get at least a small boost? 1998, 2010 and 2016 were years where a La Niña formed, replacing a dying El Niño:

    Same thing in 2020, except the El Niño wasn’t as strong.

  28. 28

    #23, JDS–

    Shorn of insult and rhetoric, JDS said:

    “There was a new record low for the globe set in 2010.”

    This is true, but he doesn’t explain why he thinks it’s relevant to climate, or indeed anything else in particular–let alone to the various insults he levels.


    Interestingly, though, that story was updated in 2018, when Scambos et al. produced an analysis showing that on the strength of remote sensing (ie., satellite) data from 2004-2016.

    ~100 distinct sites (separate clusters of grid cells) in our 2004-2016 compilation show reported surface temperatures of -98°C or less. With our estimated error and analysis of the near-surface air temperature gradient, this implies a large number of sites have reached approximately -94 ±4°C air temperatures at 2 m above the surface, in some cases, more than ten times.

    I think a fair takeaway from this is that the 2010 record referred to is only valid for the satellite era, as there is no comparable previous data. And given the relatively numerous ~ -98C events found during the study period, it’s probable that there were many such previously, as well.

    The authors model the processes leading to such extremes, and conclude that:

    Cooling proceeds as long as clear atmospheric and low wind speed conditions remain, but cooling to ~-98°C requires light winds, clear skies and very low atmospheric water vapor (~0.1 mm precipitable water) to persist for several days. Surface snow cooling rates are near-zero (~0.02°C hour-1)as this limit is approached.

    In other words, they think that this is about as cold it is possible to get on Earth (at present.)

    The conclusion of the paper is worth quoting, too:

    The radiative processes that control record low surface and air temperatures, and the changing composition of the atmosphere,imply that in the future we may see fewer extreme low temperature events. This is due to the ongoing increase in gases such as CO2, and to increased water vapor in the Antarctic atmosphere as a secondary effect.

    News release:


  29. 29
    Russell says:

    Thank you for rminding us of how reflexive Walter Lippman’s aphorisms can be.

    “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”,

    Applies vividly in reverse to American and Australian websites where those indisposed to think about how little they think congregate to enjoy the weekly frission of new temperature anecdotes garnished from the ever growing plenum of satellite temperatures without having to deal with trends– and mistakes, in old ones .

  30. 30
    mike says:

    at SA at 22: I agree with your notion about civility expressed there. I encourage all posters to be accurate and factually-based for 2021 forward.

    I also encourage all posters to not post hearsay and shorthand ideas that are not supported by links to the sources.

    And, of course, civility. The taunting is not useful. Just keep stating things clearly and as politely as possible.

    Oh, JDS to the borehole? Why not? Has he added anything of value to the conversation in recent memory?

    Yes, let’s think hard about how to improve the comments section in 2021.



  31. 31
    mike says:

    Western Hiker at 18: Good points. Cheers Mike

  32. 32
    Piotr says:

    Piotr(13) At least some of this ability to draw down CO2 from air into the ocean and biomass/soils, will be still there after we stop adding NEW CO2 to air, so the pCO2 should start slowly decrease. Assuming, of course, that by this time we haven’t already triggered a runway climate change.

    AB(16): I believe the mods’ estimate is that a 70-80% reduction would accomplish your initial goal.

    Which would suggest that if we brought our emissions to 0, the natural sinks
    would be initially be able to remove from atmosphere CO2 at rate of 20-30% of the current CO2 emissions, say of 30 GT/yr, i.e. 6-9Gt yr.
    If we got to zero emissions at 450 ppm, at _this rate_ it would take
    about probably over 100 yrs to get to the 350 ppm Hansen argued for.

    The catch is that _this_ rate of natural uptake WON’T be sustained when pCO2 drops- the more we drop, the less C per year the natural sinks would take up – the AMOC long-term storage of CO2 in deep waters will be less effective in lower pCO2, the removal by weathering will be lower (less pCO2 in rain water – less dissolution of CaCO3 and other minerals), the CO2-fertilization of plants will be less effective in lower pCO2, I am not sure whether the soil sink, by my guess would be that it would be less effective so. And the surface waters of the ocean, having equilibrated with higher pCO2 in the past – would turn from a net sink into the net source thus slowing down the “natural cleanup” of the atmosphere even further. And the longer we stay about “safe levels” (350ppm?) the bigger the chance of long-term damage/runway feedbacks.

    That’s why the nature, while helping us by slowly bringing down CO2 once we stop adding it to the atmosphere, won’t do it fast enough and we need to get into active large-scale sequestration of atm. CO2 ASAP. And the longer we wait with bringing our _net_ emissions BELOW zero, the more difficult and expensive it would be, and the bigger the risk of permanent damage and runaway climate change.

  33. 33
    jgnfld says:

    @23…re. “fear” of bullshit.

    NO one around here is in “fear” from the likes of you. Trust me. But all of us–and probably even you–scrape our windshields clean after a flock of starlings craps all over them so we can see reality. This is not “fear”. It is common sense and it is a desire to see the truth clearly.

    You are a starling. On some days, you are more like a flock of them.

    Also, it would be interesting if you could inform us how a single cold day low at a single station in the Antarctic eastern highlands relates to global climate exactly how? How did the PLANET do this year? Coldest year ever? Even moderately cold compared to other years? (Hint: The answer is no.)

    MA: There is a group of deniers which grossly misunderstands how PV = nRT works and what it means. Haven’t seen JDZS pull that one, but I hardly study his stuff deeply!

  34. 34
    MA Rodger says:

    J Doug Swallow @23,
    Let us recap. You assert (in a comment so crazy it is consigned to the borehole) that:-

    “There is no greenhouse effect caused by CO₂. The Earth is warmed due to the pressure of the gases in its atmosphere,”

    this last backed by the evident increase in temperature at lower altitudes where the pressure is highest, coupled with the unsupported assertion that “there is no evidence that CO₂ has anything to do with the Earth’s temperature or its climate.”

    I respond to this comment @14 saying “I always enjoy a good laugh and would love to hear how it could be so [that atmospheric temperature is “due to” atmospheric pressure] given the poles are so cold whilst having the same atmospheric pressure as the tropics.”

    This results in you responding with the comment @23.

    Just to clear up the flimflam you set out @23 over the 2010 satellite measurements. The record official met measurement for coldest temperature for Earth remains the July 1983 −89.2°C at Vostok which is at 3,500m altitude.
    This very cold temperature occurred in winter. That is normal. It occurred in Antarctica. Again normal. And at high altitude so low pressure (although Antarctica does attract high pressure in the meteorological sense). Again normal.

    We have this coldest temperature recorded at Vostok that has recorded monthly average temperatures well below -70°C and no annual average above -53°C but which is at a lower altitude than, say Tingri, a station in Tibet which is at 4,300m (and thus with significantly lower atmospheric pressure than Vostok) that shows monthly average temperatures never dropping below -10°C, summer or winter, and no annual average below freezing. So how can any but a half-wit proclaim that “There is no greenhouse effect caused by CO₂. The Earth is warmed due to the pressure of the gases in its atmosphere” given such evidence to the contrary? Where is the correlation between high atmospheric pressure and high temperature? Or low pressure and low temperature?
    J Doug Swallow, do astound us with your explanation. I for one do enjoy a good laugh.

  35. 35
    nigelj says:

    J Doug Swallow @23,

    Its not censorship to require people to meet a basic standard of mental competence. One problem is you do not back up your statements with pertinent facts. You back them up with irrelevant rubbish. This is one reason why you get boreholed. I suggest read this on why there are cold temperatures sometimes in a warming world, which you could have easily googled and not wasted the websites time:

  36. 36
    Dan says:

    re:23. Once again, you show that you have no clue about the scientific method. The process by which science has followed for centuries, which you should have learned in grade school. And the process by which the research on global warming has followed. Peer-reviewed science as it has always been. The scientific debate is long over. It has been done (again, as always) through peer-review via scientific journals and conferences.

    Lazily regurgitating the blatant lie that global warming is a hoax speaks volumes about your lack of basic knowledge of things such as the Laws of Thermodynamics. Please do explain to us why the stratosphere is cooling now. We wait with great anticipation. Hint: The stratosphere ought to warming if global warming was due to natural causes. Again, please do so without violating those pesky thermodynamic laws. Oh, what’s that? You can’t? Well, there you go. That is because you have not read or understand the peer-reviewed science which it at your fingertips on the internet. Such as IPCC reports, just for starters. (News articles, magazine articles, and web blogs without scientific references are non-starters.)

    Another clue for you: A measured temperature of -136 F is a weather event. Learn the fundamental difference between weather and climate. Hint: This site is run by actual peer-reviewed climate scientists. (Even if you wanted to play that silly, erroneous game, you conveniently ignore the staggeringly high temperatures recorded in Siberia last summer. And record shattering temperatures in Greenland and throughout the Artic. So even with weak attempt, failing to understand weather versus climate, you failed. What you are doing is the textbook climate change denier’s cherry-picking of numbers when they do not have science to support their agenda. You should learn what cherry-picking is all about too. Because you are abusing statistics as well. In short, it is all about getting educated about a subjects which you apparently know little about: science, how it is conducted thoroughly through the scientific method, statistics, and specifically thermodynamics.)

    The idea that somehow you know something that literally every major professional climate science organization in the world does not is the absolute height of arrogance and scientific ignorance. Please do present your Nobel Prize winning “hoax proof” (note “proof” is a mathematical concept, as opposed to science) which does not violate the conservation of energy.

    The views you wish to espouse as “fact” have long been debunked. Thoroughly and completely through numerous papers, journals and conferences. By actual climate scientists world-wide.

    Finally, learn the difference between “fact” and “opinion”. Clearly you do not know the difference as you abuse the word “fact”. And fact>>opinion. Every single day.

    Fact, not opinion: Warming in recent decades can not be explained without the addition forcings from man-made greenhouse gases.

  37. 37
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Ad “…the shift by the weather organizations (WMO, NWS) to a new set of climate normals (i.e. moving from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020)”.

    I fear that since these new normals will make somewhat of a jump to the very hotter level (because we are living in an exceptional age of fast rising temperatures), this will only be used by the usual manipulators among politicians and other leading lights to make and force upon all the false impression that the global “warming” (ought to be named hotting) has suddenly become less alarming.

    Exactly no facts point to any slowing down of the relentlessly rise in tropospheric CO2 level, not even the smallest, on the contrary – we are now back to levels not seen on earth since millions of years before the quaternary began – but still the usual media illusionists are busy spreading the myth that the lockdowns should have achieved that slowing down. They never let the facts get in the way of their mythologies. The same can be said concerning the likewise relentlessly rising temperatures around the globe. The media never misses any opportunity to create and recreate the mythology of huge successes in the fullfilling of the two-degree “goal” (! As if it is a goal to achieve two degrees of warming, and not a temperature limit to be avoided crossing at any cost). The reality is that we are racing towards three to four degrees as nothing in the statistics about energy use shows anything but business as extremely usual.

  38. 38
    J Doug Swallow says:

    #8 2 Jan 2021 at 5:58 AM Alex von Fintel says: “Hi
    I’m an interested layman and skip half your posts, because I don’t understand them – which is fine, by the way.
    I have a question/issue for you:
    By my – possibly wrong, although I have checked it – c. 500 000 000 000 tonnes of CO2 would need to be removed to go back to 320ppm from 420ppm”.

    Alex von Fintel & I will have to get the expert opinions of the people on here about this proven period of the Earth’s past when what came to be called the Carboniferous period existed because that was when the CO₂ that was in the atmosphere was, through photosynthesis utilizing sunshine and water, converted into plant life that then became the coal seams that are mined today. Just imagine all of the CO₂ that was “sequestered” to produce this coal deposit in WY.
    “The thickest known coal seam in the world Is the Wyoming, near Twin Creek, in the Green river coal basin, Wyoming. It Is eighty feet thick, and upward of 300 feet of solid coal underlie 4000 acres”.——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1

    “The early Carboniferous saw lush jungles and swamps span vast stretches of the world, and the average global temperature was some 6 °C warmer than it is today. The atmospheric CO2 content was also three times higher than preindustrial levels, making for a far stronger greenhouse effect than that which concerns us today. However, from the middle of the period, the glaciers started to advance from the poles, and global temperatures decreased to bring about a severe ice age”.

  39. 39

    MAR, #34–


    One might also compare the Arctic Ocean’s mean temperature anomaly to any comparable area of ocean around the equator. No pressure difference to speak of there! Yet huge temperature anomalies (though, “strangely”, smaller than they used to be, and again without any change in relative pressure.)

    Or, for a comparison really tilted in favor of JDS’ “heat=pressure difference” nonsense, one could compare the immediate vicinity of the North Pole to the summit zone of Kilimanjaro (~5800 meters, @ ~3S latitude).

    Kilimanjaro: “The average temperature in the summit area is approximately −7 °C (19 °F).”

    North Pole: “Winter temperatures at the northernmost weather station in Greenland… [average] around −31 °C (−24 °F), with the North Pole being slightly colder.”

  40. 40
    Mal Adapted says:

    An unforced variation, in a somewhat more positive vein: On a whim this morning, I searched for information about Phillip W. Anderson, our friend Susan Anderson’s late father; I knew only that he was a Nobel-laureate physicist. I came across this thought piece he published in Science in 1972: More Is Different: Broken symmetry and the hierarchical nature of science. I was filled with admiration for its logical clarity. I recall learning about the “hierarchical systems” methodological framework of science in my first MS program, a decade after the article appeared. It was mind-expanding. Organizing objective knowledge about the universe into a hierarchy of abstract systems, resolves conflict between reductionism and holism in science. AFAICT, it’s key to understanding all verifiable phenomena. Quoth Anderson père, with marvelous lucidity:

    the reductionist hypothesis does not by any means imply a “constructionist” one: The ability to reduce everything to simple fundamental laws does not imply the ability to start from those laws and reconstruct the universe…

    The constructionist hypothesis breaks down when confronted with the twin difficulties of scale and complexity. The behavior of large and complex aggregates of elementary particles, it turns out, is not to be understood in terms of a simple extrapolation of the properties of a few particles. Instead, at each level of complexity entirely new properties appear, and the understanding of the new behaviors requires research which I think is as fundamental in its nature as any other.

    As I learned so long ago, new properties appearing at each level of complexity are referred to as emergent. Climates and ecosystems are some of the best examples of emergent systems. Inability to grasp the concept of emergence, if nothing else, dooms many a DK-afflicted AGW or evolution denier to fool themselves forever.

    Susan, with that 1972 Science article as testament, IMO your father was a great man.

  41. 41
    nigelj says:

    Karsten V. Johansen @37 while I share your concerns about global warming our media in NZ all said that the covid 19 issue has reduced emissions (which is accurate) but they also all said that it would only be temporary. Perhaps you are referring to the great down players of climate change, and spin artists: Fox News.

  42. 42
    Stephen Berg says:

    I wish to edit slightly my comment in #11, in that “it seems like atmospheric and oceanic teleconnections … have seemingly been neutralized by other climate signals” should read “it seems like the effects of atmospheric and oceanic teleconnections … have seemingly been neutralized or counteracted by other climate signals”. The teleconnections themselves have continued to oscillate or cycle through, although with some changes to their patterns.

    Do you think this makes sense and is a verifiable observation in other regions too?

  43. 43
    Alastair McDonald says:

    Gavin, you wrote *Seriously, we are thinking about how to update/re-position this blog, and would welcome constructive suggestions from readers.”

    I would like to propose that you concentrate on the dangers we face from global warming, now that the greenhouse greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is generally accepted. Timothy Lenton et al. listed nine tipping elements in their paper Climate tipping points – too risky to bet against.

    It seems to me that the deniers have distracted the scientists from considering and warning of the major dangers we face even if we restrict temperature to less than +1.5K. We know weather is chaotic and so must be climate. In fact we have seen abrupt events at 8ka, 12ka, 13ka and 16ka ago. Could similar events happen in the future. Warming from a melting arctic sea ice could lead to accelerating melt of the Greenland ice sheet.

    Dare I suggest that a warming Arctic tundra could turn the peat there into a greater source of methane than the tropics.

    At the other extreme, the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching and when it dies it will no longer be a carbon sink, and may in fact become a source if ocean acidification continues.

    I am sure you can think of other catastrophes that are likely to occur.

  44. 44
    Piotr says:

    AMD (43): “ We know weather is chaotic and so must be climate.

    I am not sure about the 2nd part – yes, weather is determined by chaotic interactions that, for instance, can make the storm system can track over you or miss you – and the weather you experience would be very different – depending which of the two happened.
    Global climate are the long term averages – which “averages out” chaotic fluctuations over time (say over couple of decades 300 storms tracked over you and 700 missed you), and averages out the fluctuations over space (global). So what is left, is dependent primarily on the deterministic fundamentals of thermodynamic. BTW, this is also the answer to usual deniers talking point: “How can we predict global climate 100 yrs from now, when we can’t predict the local weather a few weeks ahead?

    AMD (43) the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching and when it dies it will no longer be a carbon sink, and may in fact become a source if ocean acidification continues

    That’s a common misconception (if I got a dollar each time I hears it I would, well have … many dollars). The CaCO3 formation makes the ocean a source, not a sink of atm. CO2. Here is why. Let’s have a look at the reaction:

    Ca^(2+) + 2HCO3^- => CaCO3(s) + CO2 +H20, so you have CO2 among the PRODUCTS of CaCO3 formation

    Alternatively, you can represent it as: Ca^(2+) + CO3^(2-) => CaCO3(s)
    – so for each mole of TC (=DIC, Dissolved Inorganic Carbon) you remove, you also remove also 2 moles of TA (Total Alkalinity). This in turn, INCREASES, not a decreases, seawater pCO2, i.e. makes the ocean a weaker sink/stronger source of CO2.

    Or in other words – when forming CaCO3(s) yes you remove some C, but it is MORE THAN compensated by the increased acidity of the surrounding water, which makes a bigger proportion of DIC to move into the CO2 form. And for pCO2 only the DIC in the form of CO2 is what matters.

    For the same reason among the plans for CO2 sequestration – people talk about the schemes to accelerate the DISSOLUTION of rocks containing CaCO3 (or other compounds which dissolution _consumes_ CO2).

    The misconception is so widespread, that I have made it in my biological or geological oceanography labs – I ask students to calculate the impacts of CaCO3 precipitation on the pH and on air-sea fluxes of CO2, by simulating precipitation of CaCO3 in:
    a) carbonate system calculator, e.g.:
    b) graphically, on ALK vs DIC graph, e.g.

  45. 45

    Of course, I would be happy if this site was nothing but the most difficult aspects of climate science, such as natural variability a la ENSO, MJO, etc.

    AGW-related climate science is no longer challenging, as it was mostly understood decades ago, excepting cloud feedbacks perhaps.

    The only way another breakthrough will occur is if the complexities of the dynamic climate are finally pinned down, whether it be by some machine learning finding or some other mathematical/computational discovery.

    That’s my 2¢ worth

  46. 46
    nigelj says:

    J Doug Swallow @38 responds to a comment about “500 000 000 000 tonnes of CO2 would need to be removed to go back to 320ppm from 420ppm” by going on about the carboniferous period, because vast quantities of carbon were ultimately sequestred to create coal, but without understanding the basic fact (he claims to be good with basic facts) that this took millions of years so such processes are of little use to us now. Its already well known its possible to sequester carbon in forests and soils (with the right agricultural systems)but finding enough land for forests becomes a limiting factor and sequestering soil carbon is a slow process, so it’s a useful wedge measure, but is not a simplistic answer to our climate problems.

    Sequestering carbon looks like it would need quite a wide combination of different approaches including forests, soils, rock weathering and perhaps high tech. approaches. Imho there is no practical, realistic alternative to new zero carbon energy as the main approach. It also seems to escape his attention that the high temperatures back then in that balmy tropical climate(which was only a part of the period) were assocaited with cyclical changes in seal level of around 100 metres. And he seems to be highlighting coal but I doubt anyone here is going to be remotely impressed. I mean how desperate is this guy?

  47. 47
    J Doug Swallow says:

    #36 4 Jan 2021 at 6:08 PM Dan says: “And the process by which the research on global warming has followed. Peer-reviewed science as it has always been. The scientific debate is long over. It has been done (again, as always) through peer-review via scientific journals and conferences”.

    Dan needs to present me with his view on the findings of this research paper that was mentioned by this site, Real Climate, by Stefan Rahmstorf and Martin Vermeer on 31 August, 2009.

    Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data
    […]According to our reconstruction, high temperatures—similar to those observed in the twentieth century before 1990—occurred around AD 1000 to 1100, and minimum temperatures that are about 0.7 K below the average of 1961–90 occurred around AD 1600. This large natural variability in the past suggests an important role of natural multicentennial variability that is likely to continue.

  48. 48
    J Doug Swallow says:

    #36 4 Jan 2021 at 6:08 PM Dan says: “And the process by which the research on global warming has followed. Peer-reviewed science as it has always been. The scientific debate is long over. It has been done (again, as always) through peer-review via scientific journals and conferences”.

    I am sure that Dan and I both agree that this IPCC graph from 1991 was constructed using the best peer reviewed science of the time.

    Figure 2 Variations in regional surface temperatures for the last 18,000 years, estimated from a variety of sources. Shown are changes in °C, from the value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991.

  49. 49

    The Clausius-Clapeyron relation for water vapor says the saturation vapor pressure at 288 K is 1,700 Pa.

    Proposition: On a 1.5 g planet, this would be 2,550 Pa.

    True or false?

  50. 50
    MA Rodger says:

    J Doug Swallow @38,
    I would imagine Alex von Fintel @8 would be displease to find you recruiting him into your trolling.

    Your request for “expert opinion” @38 is less than exact. The elevated CO2 levels in the early Carboniferous which is generally considered to have been c1500ppm and has been shown by Beerling (2002) to have fallen to c330ppm by the late Carboniferous. Through this period of falling CO2 levels, the climate was also cooling with the late Carboniferious and early Permian a period of ice age.
    The usual trollish nonsense about high atmospheric CO2 in earlier eras usually ignores the evolution of the sun. 300My bp the sun would have been some 3% weaker and thus delivering something like 7Wm^-2 less warming to planet earth. Thus, ignoring the tectonics, two doublings of CO2 (or equivalent) would be required to compensate for the weaker insolation of the early Carboniferous.

    And J Doug Swallow, I hope your present trolling has not stopped you from working in your answers to the straightforward questions I set you @34 up-thread and @297 on the Dec UV thread.