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  1. Leland Palmer at 01:25 AM on 23 July 2014
    Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate

    I do hope that Skeptical Science will revisit this issue.  Flood basalt erruptions and release of methane from the methane hydrates seems to be intimately connected, according to the carbon isotope excursions that coincide with a long list of extinction events. This list of flood basalt erruptions, many with coincident carbon isotope excursions corresponding to trillions of tons of methane hydrate dissociation, is from the authors' reply to a more recent article Rapid climate change more deadly in Earth's past than asteroid impacts, study shows. Note that ma= millions of years ago.

    Yes we see a pattern of such events. Here's a list grabbed from a couple of papers - note that the dating of some of the events is better than others. The coincidence of LIP and Mass Extinction/Climate event is strongest where the latest high-precision dating has been applied (Permian, Triassic, Mid-Cambrian).

    LIP event /extinction or climate event:

    Columba River 17ma (Mid Miocene Climate Optimum)
    Yemen/Afar 31ma (none?)
    North Atlantic 62/56ma ?PETM/Hyperthermals?
    Deccan Traps 66ma (Cretaceous extinction precursor)
    Sierra Leone 70ma (?)
    Caribbean 90ma (Cenomanian/Turonian Anoxic Event);
    Madagascar 90Ma (ditto)
    Hess Rise 100ma (?)
    SE Africa/Maud/Georgia 100ma (?)
    Kerguelen 120ma (?Aptian)
    Ontong Java 122ma (Aptian Anoxic Event);
    High Arctic LIP 130ma
    Parana-Etendeka 132ma
    Shatsky Rise 145ma
    Karoo-Ferrar-Dronning Maud Land 183ma (Toarcian OAE)
    Central Atlantic 201 (Triassic Mass Extinction)
    Angayucham 210ma (?)
    Siberian Traps 252ma (Permian Mass Extinction)
    Emeishan traps 260ma (end Guadaloupian extinction)
    Tarim 280ma (none?)
    Skagerrak- Barguzin–Vitim - Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (Moscovian and Kasimovian stages);
    Viluy - End Tournasian;
    Pripyat–Dniepr–Donets - End Famennian–end Frasnian;
    Kola/Kontogero - End Frasnian;
    Altay–Sayan - End Silurian (?);
    Ogcheon S Korea - End Ordovician?;
    Central Asian intraplate magmatism - End Late Cambrian;
    Kalkarindji - End Early Cambrian;
    Volyn - End Ediacaran;


  2. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Let me make a couple of my points "crystal clear".

    1. Cherry picking.  The authors took an ensemble of 38 models, and selected a narrow subset (~4) for analysis, excluding the other models.  Anytime someone wilfully excludes data, it ought to immediate raise a yellow flag.  What selection criteria did they use for inclusion?  Ex-post Nino 3.4 index data, which is itself positively correlated with the surface temperature data and predictions they're evaluating.  I'd call that retrospective or hindsight selection bias (a.k.a. cherry picking).  That's a red flag.  Worse than that, instead of just picking the best four models and running them over the entire time span, they used a different selection of models for every single 15 year period. They've advanced the art of cherry-picking to a whole new level.
    2. Predictive Skill.  Leaving aside the first issue, Figure 5 accidently shoots a gaping hole in the authors' conclusion.  They claim that the "4 best" models (i.e. those which were selected as being "in-phase" with ENSO over the 15 year period from 1998-2012) accurately predicted warming.  Which is true on average but they make an even bolder claim in the abstract... that "climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns." .  CMIP5 models have spatial resolution of 1-2 degrees, and Figure 5 shows the SST spatial trends of the "best", "in-phase" models predictions against observation.  And in virtually every region, Pacific included, the trend predictions are not just wrong in magnitude... they're totally backwards.   Clearly this was not what the authors intended to show in Figure 5... they meant to show the difference between the "best" and "worst" models as the basis for their selection, but since they presented predictions and observations, comparing their "best" models to reality is a perfectly legitimate comparison (In fact, what would be the point of comparing the "worst" models to reality?).

    So, back to my original question...  in what region of the world did these best 4 "in-phase" models show any predictive skill over the 1998-2012 time period that the authors presented?

  3. Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet

    Hold the press!

    "New research suggests that Antarctic sea ice may not be expanding as fast as previously thought. A team of scientists say much of the increase measured for Southern Hemisphere sea ice could be due to a processing error in the satellite data. The findings are published today in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)."

    Read more at:

  4. edward hurst at 20:56 PM on 22 July 2014
    Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

    Thank you all for your useful comments.


    Edward Hurst

  5. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    This is the study I had in mind here.

  6. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    GHGeous, it seems plain that you don't care to address the magnitude of the problem (ergo the magnitude of the necessary remedy) or what the man acutally said.

  7. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Charlie A @17, there are a number of reasons for differences between the models projections and the observed values.  One such reason, for example, is the fact that the models only use historical Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) up to 2008, and then repeat solar cycle 23 (April 1996 to June 2008) thereafter.  As the start of cycle 23 had a higher TSI than the start of cycle 24, and as the TSI rose faster at the start of cylce 23 than in cycle 24, this means CMIP5 models overestimate TSI for the last part of the trend period.  This will lead to their warming trends being overestimated by some small amount.  Similar problems apply to volcanic forcings, and anthropogenic forcings.

    These are not issues addressed by Risbey et al.  They are confounding factors in the study.  The proper way to address that is to show the SST trends in the models with the same ENSO phase and those with the opposite ENSO phase.  Both will include the confounding factors.  Consequently the effect of the difference in the ENSO phase will be found in the difference in trends between the two.  It is that difference that needs to be compared to observed trends to see if they have the same spatial pattern.

    By not including the middle panel, Russ (and Tisdale) prevent us from making that comparison.  They have included two pieces of relevant information, but deliberately excluded the third piece which is germaine to the analysis.  That is cherry picking.  (They also make detailed comparison of the panels they included difficult be alternating them in a GIF so that they cannot be compared at the same time - something I consider to be a bad practise). 

  8. Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet

    Hi Ken,

    Antarctic sea ice has been receiving more interest as a relatively flat trend has grown to a (statistically significant) rising trend for ice cover. NSIDC has been featuring it more of late in their sea ce page. Eg -

    Antarctica’s positive trend in sea ice extent (halfway down the page)

    Global sea ice for the full period (1979 - 2014) has declined. The Arctic has lost a lot more than the Antarctic has gained.

  9. greenhousegaseous at 13:49 PM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    @Larry E:

    So far as Prof Anderson’s “differences with the analysis of others”:

    1. a straw man sort of difference. I have zero confidence in the many “official” rates, and choose to waste no time on them. We will see much higher emissions, period. I am therefore concerned with when and where these might peak. All I am prepared to say now is that it will be far too late. Excuse me: in UN-speak, “I am 95% certain it will too late to prevent much worse feedbacks and hence, disaster.”

    2. “Realistic Emissions Rates” is a matter of dispute, so why bother disputing it? See above.

    3. The argument is “We cannot develop/deploy alternative energy sources fast enough to prevent us exceeding the 2 degrees C carbon budget. Therefore we must cut by 10% per year etc.” I know of no one (outside the bureaucracies) who is spending any time on strategies to keep us under 2 degrees C. That discussion has been superceded by inaction. As will be the 4 degree level by, oh, say 2025. My judgment, of course, unprovable. As to why Prof Anderson thinks he is “different”, you will need to ask him.

    4. Even Dr Pacala is now admitting the wedges concept is dead, at least as far as 2 degrees C is concerned.

    I confess to a bias here: I am writing about the carbon budget mainly to dispense with it as a pointless distraction from action. The issue is not staying under budget, but how to enforce *any* agreement, and how to implement the carbon taxation regime Rob and I see as necessary.

    ‘Nuff said for now.

    You would be mighty prescient if you *were* “familiar with my work”, Larry E, seeing as the first volume in the projected series of all-platform ebooks will not be published until late this year. :-)

    Suffice to say that I am no scientist, just the messenger, and my “work” is not “science”, rather a hopefully accessible quantitative assessment of the coming crisis, and a bridge for “normal” folks back here and the other science sites to the great people who have taught me so much these past 5 years.

    Please feel free to contact me if you wish more info, although it beats me why you would:

    gg screen name at yahoo dot etc.

  10. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Charlie A - read more carefully. Russ accused Risbey of cherry-picking but the second line of paper explains why that interval was chosen. No other interval makes sense to the purpose of the exploration.

    A and B are similar in that they have more red than observed, but the spatial pattern in ENSO area is what is being discussed and best has cold  east just like observed and completely different to B. Jumping to conclusions without reading the paper is pointless.

  11. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    @15 Tom Curtis says "Further, I note your exclusion of the middle panel of the figure showing regional trends. As a comparison is being made between the performance of two groups of models, excluding the data for one group of models suggests cherry picking."

    The middle panel that Russ R omitted was the one showing regional trends of the worst models.   Cherry picking would be selecting the worst models to compare against observations.  The correct, scientific procedure is to pick the best 4 of 18 models to compare against observations.

    I do find it interesting though, that there is a better match between panels A and B (the best and the worst models) than there is between A and C (best models and observations).

    I note that other posters have accused Russ R of cherrypicking by selecting the 1998 to 2012 period.   That period was chosen by Risbey et al.

  12. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    The paper is demonstrating that models that by chace had a cooling La Nina trend for the last 15 years similiar to what just happened, tend to be at the low end of the range of model predictions just where observations are, meaning that observations are in keeping with a continued high rate of global warming and that during the next El Nino predominent period the earth's temperature should catch up again. Also imply that when a EL Nino trend occurs rate temperature rise accelerates and when La Nina occurs it decelerates.

    The rate of temperature change in the observations graph is interesting though?

    Seems the NH hemisphere has increased its rate of temperature increases quite a lot whilst the southern ocean rate seems to have slowed down.

    Can see the LA Nina cooling off Americas.

    Not sure why the of rest of Southern Ocean is cooling, in marked contrast to the NH, presuming something to do with ocean currents or the winds or both?

    Any thoughts?

  13. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ R @6:

    1)  The 15 year trends mentioned in the abstract are for the GMST as I have already mentioned, and as is stated in the OP, and illustrated in the OP with figures from the paper.  Your failure to acknowledge this point makes your comments look like a calculated excercise in distraction.

    2)  Without reading the paper (which is behind a paywall), I cannot say which Pacific spatial trend patterns they are drawing attention to.  However, I can see that the spatial trend patern in the eastern and central, tropical and southern Pacific are a reasonable match.  Further, I note your exclusion of the middle panel of the figure showing regional trends.  As a comparison is being made between the performance of two groups of models, excluding the data for one group of models suggests cherry picking.

    3)  I note from the abstract that comparison was made between models that were merely in phase with observed ENSO changes.  That is, if they went from El Nino to neutral or La Nina; or from neutral to La Nina over the period, they counted.  That was a very weak hurdle, and one which will clearly not match the observed, very sizable ENSO trend - and hence effect on GMST, or regional Pacific trend patterns.  Indeed, the strong ENSO trend observed is far more likely to overwhelm the overall GW trend, resulting in negative rather than weakly positive trends.  Given this, the contrast in trend strength between two model sets is likely crucial to understanding the claims made regarding Pacific spatial trend patterns.

  14. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Well fig 4 (c,d) from the paper is also reproduced above and I think it is likewise telling, but it doesnt tell you about spatial patterns especially in ENSO affected regions. (ie without Fig 5, you couldn't be sure the results in fig 4 were for the stated reasons). (a and b from Fig 4 show essentially the same information but are compared to GISS instead of C&W). Apologies for tone Russ, I didnt realise you didnt have access to the whole paper.

  15. Rob Honeycutt at 11:25 AM on 22 July 2014
    Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ...  Previously you stated that, "All I would like to know is where might I find some of these 'good estimates' of 'spatial trend patterns' because they're certainly absent in the Pacific over the 15 years the authors presented."

    Perhaps, if you're not getting the answers you want from the abstract and illustrations, you might see if you can track down the full paper.

    I would suggest that you (and Tisdale) are reading something into Fig 5 that is not of consequence for the purposes of the study. No one is expecting the models to create a perfect match image. What they were looking for were models that were in phase with the ENSO cycle.

  16. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    Rob and greenhousegaseous, I am interested in your takes on Prof. Anderson's reasons that his (and colleagues) analysis is different than those of others, as summarized in point 1-4 in comment #40, above. 

    Greenhousegaseous, I am unfamiliar with your work. Can you provide a few links?

  17. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Rob Honeycutt,

    I've read everything made available outside the paywall.

    Does that mean I'm not allowed to ask questions?

  18. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Rob, it looks to me like someone (Tisdale?) has jumped on the paper, misrepresented one figure to feed the meme "models are not reliable" and Russ has fixated on that. It remains to be seen whether Russ is only looking for confirmation bias or is going to read the paper for understanding instead.

  19. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    As per text, I see the cool east Pacific pattern of the observed in the inphase models whereas out-of-phase has the warming over this region. The text is about the ENSO-affected areas, so that is where I look.

    Let's get a couple of things crystal clear. Models have no skill at decadal level prediction and dont claim to. Part of this is because especially ENSO (but also other modes of internal variability) is not predictable and not a single model run will have reproduced the actual ocean modes observed. Since ENSO is the perhaps the biggest contributor to internal variability in surface temperature, you would expect model runs that were in-phase to be better predictors than out-of-phase. This is more than adequately demonstrated in the paper, especially when taken as a whole.

    In terms of model reliability, internal variability averages to climate of long enough period (30 years) and so model ensemble mean should be a reliable indicator of climate.

  20. Rob Honeycutt at 10:55 AM on 22 July 2014
    Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ... Have you read the paper yet?

  21. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles


    Thanks for joining the discussion.  Perhaps you can answer my question. 

    In reference to Figure 5(a) and Figure 5(c) (shown above @ 1.), for which part of the world did these carefully selected "in-phase" models even manage to predict the correct sign of the observed warming trend, let alone its magnitude?

    The authors are the ones making the explicit claim that "climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns."

    All I would like to know is where might I find some of these "good estimates" of "spatial trend patterns", because they're certainly absent in the Pacific over the 15 years the authors presented.

  22. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ, I am frankly having some difficulty believing you have read that paper rather than other people's slant on it. You claim "cherry-picked" subset, but the second sentence is:"Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution"

    If that is the postulate they are studying, then why would study of any other interval matter? Secondly, look at what they are testing for: The ensemble mean is composed from runs with ENSO in many different phases whereas what is observed is one particular instance of ENSO. Ergo, models in phase should be better predictors than models without.

    Third, look at the legend. The numbers are trends (K/decade), (and NOT temperature) so range from -1.0-1.0 is rather small. The colouring the of trends is emphasise the spatial pattern difference between in-phase and out-of-phase ENSO models compared to observed. 

    Looks to me like you have extremely unrealistic expectations of model skill and certainly no modeller claims greater skill.

  23. greenhousegaseous at 10:08 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    wili, I have watched Kevin Anderson’s tape. When I decided to write about the horrific world my generation is bequeathing to yours, this and other Tyndall Centre material was covered in my research.

    My own assessment as of 2011 was that we will most probably go well over the 4 degree Centigrade level, and stand a good chance of hitting or exceeding 6 degrees. By when? Mr. Anderson’s guess is as good as mine. Or would be if he was using my numbers. :-)

    I have no idea how you concluded that there is *any* contest or conflict between what Kevin Anderson is saying and what I or Rob wrote. As will be seen at some point, my analysis is far harsher and far tougher on the citizens of the major carbon-burning countries than he is.

    As it happens, his statement about population not being part of the problem going forward is wrong, but I am not going to get into that here or now.

    The issue is one of implementation, not awareness of the problem. And even before we can figure out implementation, we need to have a program for folks to understand and agree on. A 10% reduction per annum isn’t a program; it is a target. Professor Anderson doesn’t give us a clue as to the weaponry needed to hit it. Nor, even when we have a feasible plan and a consensus mobilized behind it does Prof Anderson suggest how the vested ownership class will be persuaded to allow the rest of us to radically cut FF emissions.

    This has nothing to do with who is the smartest Ape in the room. It has to do with how we get all the other Apes to stop their greedy and self-defeating behavior.

  24. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles


    The paper's authors make the claim in the abstract that their cherry-picked subset of  climate models "have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns."  (

    The comparative image I uploaded was the authors' own depiction of recent 15-year spatial trends, both modeled and observed.  (Image credit: Bob Tisdale)

    I have a hard time seeing how their composite of the "best" models provides a good estimate of the actual warming trends seen anywhere in the world, Pacific or otherwise.

  25. Rob Honeycutt at 09:25 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    greenhousegaseous...  I think we're saying much the same thing.

    In terms of the stock market, 1%ers, etc. I think this transition to a new clean energy economy actually holds exactly that opportunity to flatten income inquality back out. Certainly having more domestic jobs helps that out a lot. But I also think the mindsets of the people who want to solve these problems are different than those of the people who have created the problem. Supply-side economics has greatly enriched a very very few people. Everything I hear from new economy folks is demand side, and demand side economics flattens out wealth distribution.

    My difficulty with wili's position is, I think it's overly idealistic and unachievable. It's not that they are impossible ideals, but I think they're only achievable over the course of centuries, not decades. 

  26. Rob Honeycutt at 09:09 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    wili...  The problem is, the population 10,000 years ago was a tiny fraction that of today. A planet of 9 billion humans can not live the lifestyle of humans from 10,000 years ago. Are you somehow suggesting that we bring the population down to similar levels? 

    I'm not talking about infinite growth either. No one (rational) is talking about infinite growth, thus that puts that argument in the realm of strawmen. 

    What I keep saying is, we are in agreement that we need to get carbon emissions down to zero. But we have to do it in a way that is achievable. I've read some of Anderson's website and I need to better understand his position to know whether I agree with him or not.

    What I have read is the DDPP document and I agree with what is being proposed there. I don't see them stating that we need to cut by 10% every year starting next year.

    One thing, wili... I sense an increasing frustration that I'm not just flatly agreeing with everything you're saying, and you're becoming increasingly dismissive and angry. Look, not everyone is going to agree with Kevin Anderson. He's one voice among many voices. And he's not the only person with expertise in this area. is again incumbent on you, I'd say, to show how we have even a marginal chance of a marginally livable world under your scenario...

    I think this is exactly what the DDPP report is doing. You can certainly disagree with it but disagreeing doesn't make it incorrect. 

  27. greenhousegaseous at 09:04 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    Thanks for the response, Rob.

    We are not in disagreement re: the need for a functioning economy to be a constant through the “do it or else” transition to a carbon-limited global system. I was trying to explain in my wordy comment that, while in agreement with wili as to the rapacious nature of capitalism, the statement we either junk it, and junk it right now, in effect, or see the planet we love wither and die is not correct, IMO.

    Specifically, I argue that we *must* employ the market economy model to assist in the aggressive adoption of alternative energy technologies. The market economy is also the preferred avenue to develop CCS and the other technologies needed to enable us after a really aggressive emission cutting stage, to use fossil fuels on a limited, gradually declining basis. I further argue that only the market model can rapidly develop and deploy thorium-fueled reactors. And that we should use the market model to deploy mass transportation, to build the Grids that will be needed globally, to put cost-effective solar everywhere we have unused space.

    I further argue that in this process, many, many millions more jobs will be created than will be lost. And add that, off-topic, sorry, this all-in, all-out conversion effort will rapidly restore the lost Middle Class, will bring positive trade unionism back to full partnership with industry and the government, and will not simply ratchet up the development of the poor countries, but integrate them securely in the world economy. Did I mention the two chickens in every garage?

    All this ranting testifies that I see the market system as the only practical way of reaching the “viable earth” wili and millions of of others want for our grandchildren.


    I do not trust the big international corporations for one minute to surrender their lock on such a vast sea of black profits. Even if, as it well might be, the profits to be gained form greening industry aggressively were shown to be even greater than the earnings from criminal despoliation of the planet, they *will not change voluntarily*. NO board of directors will give up secure steady profits for risky bigger profits. Not one. Been there. Been done by several such boards.

    That is why the working consensus among the countries that right now consume over 85% of the fossil fuel is vital: we must first implement comprehensive carbon taxation, sure, but then we must *regulate* industries to ensure they do the right thing. And, we must be realistic: it may well require full or partial nationalization of some businesses before we can say we are over the fossil fuel hump. Hey, we did it to save Citibank from itself!

    The Germans and others have demonstrated that capitalism can be a partner in this sort of managed economy, and can make money doing their parts.

    In short, I argue for the market because it will get the long list of jobs done, with at least a hope of equity and efficiency. I do NOT care about the *stock* market, though. Nor does letting the market do its work mean we need to allow the 1 tenth of 1% to collect a toll on that work.

    I want *wili* and the folks he speaks for here to win, not the trust babies living off dirty money stashed in the Cayman Islands.

    I apologize for going so long here, on issues that may seem to be barely on-topic. Since the issue is not simply what we do, but how we do it, I want my qualified endorsement of the market system to be crystal clear.

    I apologize for a few “political” statements, and beg Mr. Cook’s indulgence. But the decarbonization agenda discussed in the DDPP Report *is* political, intensely so. We have science to thank for bravely identifying the Carbon Menace, but we will need brave political leaders to take on the Carbon Lobby.

  28. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    "Trade is an elemental aspect of human social structure that goes back 10's of thousands of year."

    Great! I'm perfectly happy to go back to levels of international trade that were around 10,000 years ago!

    Look, if you're for growing the economy, it is incumbent upon you to tell us how big exactly it should grow till it is the right size.

    If you think it should grow forever on a finite planet, I'm sorry, but you are insane, dangerously so, I would say, but an insanity that is, sadly, widely shared by most in the halls of power.

    I happen to think (and the evidence is so blindingly obvious I don't see why I have to even start) that the global economy has already grown larger than what the natural world can support--in no longer 'fits' on this earth that we all actually inhabit, and it is killing the host.

    Employment levels have essentially nothing to do with economic growth--for example, we could probably have full employment essentially tomorrow, just by reducing the length of the work week by a few hours.

    And this is just one of many ways that the economy is a nearly infinitely manipulable human construct.

    The earth on the other hand is not so easily manipulable.

    But if you guys think  you're smarter than Kevin Anderson (I get the feeling you haven't watched his video yet, so I give the link again here) and many others, well, it is again incumbent on you, I'd say, to show how we have even a marginal chance of a marginally livable world under your scenario.

    And here's a shorter version, for the impatient among us:

  29. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ R @1&3, first, as the article makes quite clear, it is not claimed that any particular model is better at predicting ocean osscilations.  It is claimed that models that better match the observed trends in ocean temperatures in the El Nino 3.4 region also better match global surface temperature trends.  The El Nino 3.4 region is approximately on the equator (ie, in line with Papua New Guinea) and in the middle of the Pacific (approximately directly below the Berring Strait on the map you show).  As you can see, the trends in those areas are similar between the best five models and observations (if nowhere else).

    Second, the maps you osscilate between are 15 year trends, starting with a very warm year in 1998.  Short trends are strongly dominated by outliers near the extremities.  As it happens, 1998 was arguable the strongest El Nino on record (and second strongest on my preffered index).  2011 was arguably the strongest La Nina on record, a La Nina that continued into 2012.  The strong cooling trend, therefore, shown in the observed map therefore represents the presense of these extreme values.  That the average of five model runs does not show such extreme values is hardly a surprise.  Clearly the models to not reproduce the exact observed ENSO behaviour, but still reproduce observed GMST trends very well with a far milder reproduced ENSO oscillation.  As noted in Kosaka and Xie, when a model is contrained to reproduce the observed ENSO fluctuation, it gets an even better match on the trends.

    Finally, here are the SST anomalies for 2012:

    You will notice that the "observed trends" from your GIF are very poor predictors of SST anomalies.  That is because, as noted, they show a short term trend and are dominated by the extreme values in 1998:

    And for comparison, here is the 1998-2012 trend using the same dataset:

  30. Rob Honeycutt at 08:08 AM on 22 July 2014
    Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ... Your post barely passes the "no link only posts" rule in the comments policy. If you're going to "ask a question" I would suggest you be able to discuss the point rather that just post a rhetorical driveby.

  31. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles


    I'm not making a statement; I'm asking a question.

    In reference to "Figure 5: Composite sea surface temperature (SST) spatial trends", where specifically did the selected models show any predictive skill whatsoever?

  32. Rob Honeycutt at 04:00 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    greenhousegaseous...  Just to clarify, my position is merely that, as you also state, 10% reductions next year and 10% each year after, are not even close to achievable. And even if there were a massive political shift that enabled that, it would be economically disastrous.

    Deep decarbonization is absolutely necessary, but we need a functioning economy to achieve it. And, also as you state, the way to achieve this is through a politically achievable revenue neutral carbon tax. Such a tax would also have to be slowly implemented and ratcheted up over the coming decades. 

    As the DDPP states, in order to stay below the 2C target, we can burn no more than the same amount of carbon burned since the begining of the industrial revolution. That assumes we are going to continue to burn carbon for a while longer, but we need to be emissions free by 2060. 

    Ultimately, we're all talking about the same thing. Our differences are a matter of how we get to the goal of eliminating carbon emissions completely. 

    I have grave concerns when people suggest the path to that goal is to kill the world economy (and wili, please correct me if I'm misinterpreting your position on that specific point). Trade is an elemental aspect of human social structure that goes back 10's of thousands of year. Rather than deny a fundamental fact of humanity I think it is better to address the actual problem. The problem is not the world economy. The problem is that our economic systems are not pricing externalities. Like with SO2 and CFC's, when we do manage to price externalities, the solutions happen faster and cost far less than we expect.

    I believe the same will happen with CO2.

  33. greenhousegaseous at 03:19 AM on 22 July 2014
    Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

    wili, Rob and others commenting on this thread - - sorry I’m a few days late to your party. My excuse is I’m totally buried in a new book on, umm, *honest* global carbon profiling, and decarbonization :-))

    My background is economic modeling and forecasting and operations research, with a deep interest in environmentalism and over-population since Earth Day One - - that’s right, I was one of the naively optimistic activists standing with a million others in Manhattan in 1970; talk about an old fool...

    To business: wili, speaking from an environmentalist and climate analyst point of view, I am in 95% agreement with you on the *causality* of our dilemma, namely an economy founded on unceasing growth based upon a set of essentially rapacious business models.

    Speaking from an economic analysis point of view, I have to add that I *also* agree with you 95%. Economics is not some religious dogma or immutable political truth: it is simply the quantitative description of the survival mechanisms we as humans choose to employ, and the accounting of those decisions in terms of resource and labor and operational and opportunity costs.

    Not to say or suggest that Rob is wrong, mind. The implementation of an effective global carbon tax regimen is, really, our highest single priority.

    And that regime must include a truly punishing tax on air travel, enough to force all business (and international government and UN and academic conference and faux-symposia and Heartland attendees) to think short and hard about video and web-based meetings.

    The only really worthy exceptions to this regime would be my wife and I, who “need” to travel to her home in Japan and our numerous favorite spots in Europe. :-)

    The global tax regime needs to be an *environmental* scheme, not simply an energy industry transformational mechanism. If we fail to address waste, industrial pollution and water usage, whether related to energy use or not, we can never expect to earn the support of voters.

    It must also include severe taxes on individual usage of fossil fuels for transportation in general. Along with steep public license fees for extractors for taking finite resources and polluting and emitting and all the rest. Along with rich tax credits for developing and deploying CCS technology. Along with, well, the list goes on and on....

    Now, as to your main issue, at least as defined by wili:

    “We can have a robust modern industrial global capitalist constantly-growing economy, or we can have a viable earth. Not both...”

    I have to take issue with this (commonly held, I think) either-or notion. *If and when* we can build a decisive political consensus among the dominating industrialized countries, we can then, through tax and regulatory policy, institute a massive, aggressive shift to a non-carbon economy. For every job “lost” in the fossil fuel industries, we would see probably 1.5 to 2 jobs created in the alternative energy and related industries. These jobs would result in solid, steady growth in the present carbon-addicted countries, as well as in China and India and the other aggressively growing industries.

    Just think of the jobs we in the US will create by re-fitting our buildings and infrastructure for clean energy. For building the Grid. For developing and manufacturing the CCS technologies. For the new global de-salinization industry. For the massive necessary investment in thorium-based nuclear power. For the conversion of coal and petro power stations to bio-mass burning + CCS. For the new rail public transport systems.

    This scenario will create hundreds of millions or more jobs over time in the developing world, too, as they switch from carbon to alternate sources of power to fuel their economic growth. Not to mention the additional benefits for these countries, such as skipping the individual vehicle stage and going straight to public transportation.

    In the longer term, the level of economic growth will be sustained by productivity improvements largely driven by the gradual decrease in the worker population, as we belatedly turn from the (probable) peak of 12-13 billion humans and begin the long descent toward a sustainable level of 4-5 billion.

    I won’t belabor the point further. My point is that we need not and should not concede to the Carbon Lobby and their allies that aggressive decarbonization means the end of economic growth. Their position is not founded on any concern for their workers and dependents, but on the defense of the largely un-taxed, absurdly gross profits of an indefensible business model, sorry Rob, but wili and others are correct, a model that is in the process of driving CO2 levels probably above 600-700 PPM, and murdering hundreds of thousands of species, including the energy-addicted Ape.

    You, wili, and others are right: the *goal* of freedom from the yoke and pain and damage of carbon addiction *has* to be the objective.

    But, wili, Rob and others are correct that a ten or even twenty year decarbothon is a non-starter. Destroying the livelihood and hopes of three billion or more people while offering nothing substantive in return is simply not going to happen.

    Nor need it.

    An aggressive global energy and infrastructure refit along the lines outlined above can secure the active support of the voters in the world’s developed democracies, and open the path to green economic growth for all.

    As for the folks in the oil-producing and coal-extracting regions, let’s help them wean themselves from their dependency. As for the owners of the energy industries, well, let me tell you a story about the buggy-whip makers of 1895...

  34. Rob Honeycutt at 03:13 AM on 22 July 2014
    Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Russ... Instead of alluding to something, please make the statement you wish to make.

  35. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

    @ Edward Hurst


    As others have pointed out, summarily dismissing Neven's blog on the grounds that you don't like the "emotional values" ensconced therein just might be a tad premature.

    It's interesting to see that you are seeking the "unbiased truth" in order to make a comparison with a response you are expecting from the Minister with climate change responsibility at the Scottish parliament. I do not claim to have any personal knowledge of his perspective on the subject, but the fact that the MSP in question - Paul Wheelhouse - is basically an economist doesn't exactly set my mind at rest.

    Please be aware that I'm not for a moment suggesting he is anything like that bloody waste of space that has just been shown the door from the equivalent post in Westminster. In fact, in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Mr Wheelhouse told MSPs he believed that...

    There is no doubt in my mind that climate change poses one of the greatest threats to the world as we know it.”

    However, Mr Wheelhouse does appear to have a somewhat pronounced "green agenda", and whilst there's absolutely nothing wrong with that (at least in my book), when he comes out with comments along the lines of...

    It has been very emotive speaking to sub-Saharan states and the Philippines about the kind of challenges they face today and thinking how much worse it will be in a world in 2050 with a five degree or worse temperature rise. I can’t imagine how bad life will be for some of the citizens of these countries.”  [My underlining]

    Remarks like that not only make me cringe with vicarious embarrassment, but more importantly, they also serve to bolster the meme that climate change is merely some alarmist ploy.

    (NB The source of the above quotes is given here.)

    I obviously don't know the topic on which you are waiting a response from Mr Wheelhouse, but if it was in any way related to the Arctic, I think you'd be advised to seek confirmation from a source such as Neven's.

    (And yes, I do contribute there in a very small way from time to time.)

    slàinte mhath


  36. Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

    Dana, which parts of planet would you say that the models "accurately predicted"?

    Figure 5(a) vs. 5(c).

  37. greenhousegaseous at 01:09 AM on 22 July 2014
    2014 SkS Weekly Digest #28

    @ John Hartz

    FYI the link to the Bloomberg Heartland story is busted, and my search for the story simply dumped me back to the missing link :-((


    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The ink has been fixed. Thank you for bringing this glitch to our attention.  \

    BTW, Your comment properly belongs in the thread to the Weekly News Roundup #29.

  38. Himalayan Glaciers Retreating at Accelerated Rate in Some Regions but Not Others

    As a non-Kiwi, I was puzzled as to what a JAFA was.  It turns out it refers to residents of Auckland (New Zealand's major city).

  39. Joseph E. Postma and the Greenhouse Effect

    MA Rodger @146, I could never hope to point out all the crazy errors in Postma's opus.   For example, I missed the craziness in using just two days data from one location to benchmark global values; the coincidence that those two days happen to be in the month with the greatest average diurnal range at that location; that the observations measured "ground temperature" by placing a thermocouple on top of the ground, and ensuring it was in full sunlight;  that the location was temperate and arid, ensuring a high diurnal temperature range relative to global averages; that he neglects to mention that fully one third of the global surface area is in the tropics with minimal seasonal and diurnal temperature range (so the no variation turns out to be a good approximation); that the largest diurnal and seasonal temperature ranges are found in arid areas which also have the lowest surface emissivity for IR (and albedo for SW radiation), thereby minimizing the difference in radiated power at those locations...

    Having said that, I am glad you stepped in and filled one breach, and am happy for others to do the same.

    Just a parting point.  Using an 8 degree K diurnal temperature range (ie, excedig global averages from the graph above), and modern values for the TOA insolation of 1361 W/m^2, incorporating the diurnal temperature range into the zero dimensional energy balance model lowers the predicted global mean surface temperature from 254.582 K to 254.535 K, a difference of just 0.047 K.  As you point out, Postma ignores non-diurnal temperture range alterations in the predicted temperature (which would lower it further).  Therefore his entire schtick is to complain about an effect making a 0.05 K difference in the predicted GMST without the greenhouse effect, and inflating that figure by dodgy "experimental data", ignoring contrary information, and trashing the first law of thermodynamics as too inconvenient.

  40. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

    True, CBD, but picking a word or phrase out of context from a blog with millions (I'm guessing) of words and trying to claim you are doing anything worth even raising a question about is pretty darn daft, at best, imho. IIRC, some folks tried to do that kind of thing with some illegally procured emails back a ways with more clearly nefarious intent...

    My mom, when I was doing something dangerously stupid (not uncommon) like cutting toward myself with a sharp knife, would say things like, "That's a good way to put yourself in the hospital." Ash, listening to that, would no doubt conclude that my loving mother was actually hoping that I would give myself a grievous wound that would require hospitalization.

    And of course no one event will 'end the debate' since there is not an actual honest debate anyway. There will be _some_ ice in the Arctic Ocean for a long, long time, since as things warm up there, Greenland will calve more and more of its icesheet into the surrounding waters. So confirmed pseudo-skeptics will be able to point at those ice burgs and say, "See, there's still ice in the Arctic! All those alarmists and catastrophists are wrong and over reacting...[blah, blah, blah]..."

    Back on topic--As far as I can see, Francis's basic model (that Screen's work seems to be a refinement of) applies only to the Northern Hemisphere. If we start seeing a lot of unusually persistent 'stuck' weather patterns in the Southern Hemisphere (as seemed to have just happened in NZ), is there some similar dynamic that could explain it down there? My understanding is that, because of its radically different topography (continent surrounded by ocean rather than ocean surrounded by continents), Antarctica has not warmed anomalously the way the Arctic has. So I'm wondering if a completely different explanation would be needed there.

  41. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

    Ashton wrote: "Can anyone explain why a slowdown in the decline of Arctic sea ice volume warrants the concern indicated by the wording of these comments?"

    While the moderator is correct that the best (i.e. only) source for the thinking of another person is that person, I also think the reasoning is fairly straightforward;

    If you accept that the Arctic sea ice is going to disappear, as confirmed by all models and every scientist studying the matter that I am aware of, then the sooner this becomes impossible for all but the most delusional to deny the better the chance that we might start doing something about the causes.

    It seems likely the loss of the Arctic sea ice may be one of the earliest 'world changing' results of AGW. Sea level rise, loss of the Greenland and Arctic ice caps, breakdown of standard weather patterns, loss of croplands on a massive scale, et cetera are all gradual processes that will play out over a longer time period. The Arctic sea ice could go within this decade, and almost certainly will sometime in the next few. That's a very bad thing, but there are a lot of bad things coming. Many of them even worse.

    Many people are hoping that the loss of the Arctic sea ice will end the 'debate' between the facts and the lies. Personally, I'm not so optimistic. Anyone capable of saying in recent years that the Arctic sea ice "is recovering" is fully demented enough to insist that chunks of ice falling off Greenland into the ocean mean that the Arctic sea ice hasn't completely melted and it'll all come back any time now.

  42. foolonthehill at 19:34 PM on 21 July 2014
    Himalayan Glaciers Retreating at Accelerated Rate in Some Regions but Not Others

    Hey! Have we got a JAFA for a moderator? 

    It's Franz Josef!

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Blush! (and I am a southerner not a JAFA).

  43. Joseph E. Postma and the Greenhouse Effect

    Tom Curtis @144.
    Sorry to bash in again. Your point (1) I think misses some heavy nonsense by JPostma (which is also not addressed by the two SkS posts on his 2011 paper).

    One of the big complaints made by JPostma is that it is wrong to use the 1-D model to calculate the -18ºC average temperature for a non-GHG atmosphere. The -18ºC value is too low, he tells us.  Tellingly, he does not himself present a corrected value. And this is no surprise as the -18ºC from the simple 1-D model is not too low as he insists. It is an over-estimation of the average temperature in the model, something that you will always get from averaging forcings when calculating 4th-powered temperatures in such models. But as temperature lags and surface flues will also act to 'average out' temperatures, the value from the 1-D model becomes usefully accurate.
    Still JPostma complains that the -18ºC represents a linear average of a non-linear relationship which is entirely true. But then all he does towards developing a better estimate is to create what could be called an 'immediate' temperature model - the surface temperature T(t, θL) = (FI(t, θL).(1-α)/σ)¼.
    With α=30% as per the -18ºC figure, that gives a maximum T(t0, θ0) = +87.5ºC for noon on the equator. Mucho mucho scorchio !!

    But there JPostma seems to leave it. He presents a 30ºC figure resulting from the "continuous hemispherical input." This is simply the average temperature required to radiate the total global thermal budget from the bright hemisphere. Because of this, with such a bright-side temperature there is no energy leftfor any heat loss during the night, so the night temperature must therefore be -273ºC or, perhaps better, -238ºC if heat from the Earth's core is factored in. From that, the average over the globe would be -104ºC.
    Now because JPostma has averaged over the bright side - the same crime he accused the 1-D model of doing over the whole globe - the 'instantaneous' average temperature will actually be lower still. Indeed, if you calculate one degree 'instantaneous' temperatures for the bright-side to obtain an average (easier than using calculus as these days my calculus is a little rusty), the bright-side average drops to +16.7ºC and the global average down to -111ºC.

    Of course, this is all over JPostma's head. His 2012 paper revises the +30ºC figure. and provides "updates for the integrated average power of Sunlight (vs. the linearly averaged power in [34](ie in the 2011 paper)), and a modification to the cooling profile to reflect the hidden latent heat energy retention; see Figure 18 below." This bullshit provides him with a new higher figure of +49ºC. Now, for other parts of the nonsense JPostma presents in the 2012 paper, he provides the code he used to obtain his results, but not for this result. So how did he do it? How did he get an average temperature for the bright hemisphere which will radiate at least 28% more energy from that bright hemisphere alone, 28% more than the sun provides for the whole globe? I would guess he has but averaged (and thus still practises the crime he accuses others of perpetrating) - averaged the insolation flux for the daytime equator. It may yet be coincidence, but this average yields the same as JPostma's +49ºC. And being an averaged figure, it provides a temperature higher than otherwise. If you calculate the 'instantaneous' temperature in those one degree steps, the average is +38ºC for the bright-side equator and -100ºC for the global equator.

    And what of that coincidence? The words JPostma uses when trying to explain his +49ºC suggests he does indeed equate the equator with the whole hemisphere.

    "What does occur in one second, and in the square meters where sunlight actually impinges, is illumination of a hemisphere with an intensity projection factor that goes as the function of the cosine from the zenith. If you integrate to the average projection factor and combine this with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and terrestrial albedo, then the real-time instantaneous heat input is constantly +49ºC. At the zenith it has a maximum of +121ºC, constantly, when the albedo is zero." (His stress)

    This JPostma shows yielding a factor of 0.637 which equals 2/π, a most simplistic result recognisable from even schoolboy calculus as ∫(from -π to +π) cos(t) dt / π.

  44. Himalayan Glaciers Retreating at Accelerated Rate in Some Regions but Not Others

    As the temperature ramps up, higher and higher glaciers will be retreating. Here in New Zealand, two of our glaciers, Fox and Frans Yosef flow down into temperate zones.

    <snip of advertising link>

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Perhaps you were making a subtle point, but the provided link looks like spam to me. Spamming on this site results in instant and permanent ban. I am giving you benefit of doubt this time but you are not spelling Franz Joseph the way a local would so count me highly suspicious.

  45. Joseph E. Postma and the Greenhouse Effect

    Should point out that ScienceOfDoom has another article just out here dealing with the misunderstandings of Second Law illuminati. 

  46. What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate?

    I wonder if the comment that the reversal of the concentration of Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is irreversible is actually true.  We have degraded so many carbon sinks that allowing them to recover would just possibly suck a lot of Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  Read George Monbiot's book Feral with special attention to his comments on the aftermath of the incursion of the first Europeans into North America or his comments on the Soca valley on the border between Italy and Yugoslavia in the years following the first world war.  Also his comments on the conservation in Scotland which keeps wide tracks in a sheep blasted state so that absent T landlords can slaughter sage grouse.  I doubt if we will do 'the necessary' but we could.

  47. 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #29

    Regarding the Salon article (criticising a NYT article profiling climatologist John Christy): "NY Times’ climate skeptic debacle: How a new profile sets back science", Lindsay Abrams says "the profile plays into an image that Christy has been working to build — one not of an anti-science “denier,” but instead of a modern-day Galileo, one who dares to contradict mainstream opinion and who will be vindicated by history".  I thought the same in reading the NYT article: if they had set up a map of America and put a pin in that map for every PhD climatologist in the country, and had a blindfolded chimpanzee throw a dart at the map to select which one they would profile, not in a thousand years would they have come up with Christy's name.  Clearly, what makes Christy worth noting is his 'outlier status', and implicit in that: only rebels get their own profile!

    Tell you what.  Since Christy is from Fresno, CA, just drop him into a farmers meeting there this summer, tell them he thinks CC is 'no big deal', and lock the doors.  

  48. Leland Palmer at 02:13 AM on 21 July 2014
    Rapid climate changes more deadly than asteroid impacts in Earth’s past – study shows.

    Hi Howardlee-

    I had a crazy idea one time, and I dont think it's very likely, but I thought I would share it, and maybe other people can tell me why it's wrong. I do hope the idea is wrong. I don't really expect a reply on this old thread.

    The idea was that significant polar melting events might make flood basalt erruptions worse, by transfering mass from the poles to the equatorial regions (as the ice caps melt and the oceans rise) slowing the rotation rate of the earth by conservation of angular momentum. 

    The idea is that as the ice caps melt and the oceans suddenly rise, changes in isostatic balance enhance volcanic activity. Also, mass is transferred from the poles to the equatorial regions, slowing the rotation of the crust of the earth, by conservation of angular momentum (this effect is often seen in ice skaters, extending their arms to slow their rates of rotation while they are spinning). The crust of the earth wants to rotate slower, but the massive core of the earth wants to remain rotating at the original rate. This sets off massive stresses in the crust of the earth, changes the path of tectonic plates and can set off rifting events, such as the opening of the North Atlantic associated with the PETM, according to this idea.

    So, it's just an idea, and hopefully it's wrong. Becasue if it's right, our current round of icecap melting could set off rifting events and trigger massive flood basalt erruptions, similar to those associated with past mass extinctions.

    Here's a paper on a similar idea, involving mass transfers from the oceans to the poles following major impact events, and a possible link from such impacts to geomagnetic reversals:

    Muller - Geomagnetic Reversals Driven by Abrupt Sea Level Changes

    What set off this round of speculation is the observation that flood basalt erruptions sometimes seem to be dated slightly later than mass extinction and rapid warming events, rather than slightly before them.

  49. Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?

    edward, Neven's blog is what it is and absolutely does not collect information. However, there are multiple organisations involved in observing the arctic. Neven helpfully provides this link on the site which shows you data from all of them. Mind you, data on arctic and Antarctica is pretty unequivocal so you shouldn't have any problem working it out. 

    The definitive site for sea level data is here. The various agencies at NOAA are good for much of the weather, ocean data. Realclimate provides this helpful link to data sources for numerous climate data and there is another link here

    [edited to make sense. Thanks to Billthefrog for pointed to a sentence that needed shooting]

  50. Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet

    I'd like to see Antarctic ice reported a bit more comprehensively; sea ice by itself isn't very informative and can actually be misleading if it's ups  are dwarfed by downs from loss of land ice.

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