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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle

    I was reading this the other day:

    It was published in 1938, written in 1937. In the discussion chapter I found this citation:

    "Dr. C. E. P. BROOKS said that he had no doubt that there had been a real climatic change during the past thirty or forty years. This was shown not only by the rise of temperature at land stations, but also by the decrease in the amount of ice in arctic and probably also in antarctic regions and by the rise of sea temperatures."


    "In reply to Dr. Brooks, the author agreed that the recent rise in arctic temperatures was far too large to be attributed to change of CO he thought that the latter might act as a promotor to start a series of imminent changes in the northern ice conditions. On account of their large rise he had not included the arctic stations in the world temperature curve "

    There seems to have been a large melting during possibly up to 40 years where there was a local warming of both land and sea, melting large amounts of ice. The strange thing is that there seems to have been a 10-fold increase in temperature in the polar area compared to lower latitudes.

    I thought this was a cool period and I don´t find anything in the graphs for temperature in the 19th century representing that increase which should have started 1900-1910. I´ve never seen it mentioned anywhere but in this article and old newspaper. I thought that the warming started later.

    Bu the most interesting detail is that there was such a large difference between the polar region and lower latitudes. We don´t see that now as the ice is melting.

    It indicates that we are missing something about polar ice melting. Are there any similar differences today? Are there any areas experiencing 10-fold temperature increase compared to other areas?

    I guess that there is no way of investigating the extent of melting back then, but the small bits of information i have found indicates that it was much larger than today. Even if it was smaller or the same extent, it is confusing that there was such large melting during so many years during a period where data says the global mean was low.

    Since the polar region doesn´t show a larger increase in temperature than other areas, and certainly not a 10-fold increase, maybe we don´t have that much to worry about, at least when it comes to polar ice?

  2. Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

    On that point, it's worth asking the question, is the anthropogenic forcing now greater than the sum of all cyclical natural forcings over a 10 year interval?

    In other words, are we now beyond the point of being able to experience a 10 year pause in the surface temperature datasets? 

  3. Climate scientists published a paper debunking Ted Cruz

    Well not all politicians.  There are a few, like Vermont's Bernie Sanders who haven't changed their story in 40 years.  However, they clearly are not the norm. 

  4. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #41

    I had read an article on converting Co2 into valuable products. I would Like to share few lines about it. "A research team from Ghent University, led by Dr. Vladimir Galvita, developed an innovative concept to convert CO2 into valuable products. The new process, coined "super-dry" methane reforming, intensifies CO2 conversion, so the scientific journal Science reports.The new concept uses two important greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and CO2, and aims at maximizing CO2 conversion. Compared to existing technologies, three times more CO2 can be converted into carbon monoxide (CO), an interesting building block for fuels and chemicals.Moreover, it offers high flexibility, both in gas feed as in process conditions, while using earth abundant and cheap materials such as iron, calcium, and nickel. With this novel concept, the Ghent scientists have delivered a true champion in CO2 conversion."

  5. Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

    Prepare for a new argument on the SkS list: Global warming stopped in 2016.

    It never stops stopping...

  6. Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

    Shows that surface temperature data is a remarkably good proxy for global warming, in spite of the many factors that act to contaminate the data. Weather stations were never designed to measure long term climate changes of course. Not mentioned but interesting to note is that 2016 is also on course to break the 1998 UAH / RSS satellite records for the LT.  

    2016 is definitely above the model mean but it's also true that 2015 was below the model mean by a larger amount, so in spite of the records the surface trend remains at the lower end of projections. 

  7. Welcome to Skeptical Science

    Thank you Tom Curtis for the helpful response. I used to know how to post graphs here and can learn that again.  In the meantime:

    1. The equivalent width of a Lorentz line in the strong approximation is given by W = 2 x square root of (Smass gamma Ls) .  Gamma is the width of the line at surface pressure. Ls is the "strong path" and is plotted on the horizontal axis in P-H Fig. 4:13.  Smass is the intensity one obtains by converting from the moles per cm squared (wn) in HITRAN to kg per meter squared (wn). Since the plot is in terms of Ls the expression used  to obtain Ls is not part of the present discussion.

    2.  Let Wj be the equivalent width of line j.  Goody's random overlap approximation states that approximately the total averaged transmission is given by  T = e to the power ( - (Sum over j of Wj)/delta) where delta is the band width;  this is 25 wave numbers in this problem. Goody's random overlap approximation was subsequently improved by others, especially Malkmus. 

      On page 232 of P-H it states the following: "...the strong line transmission function in eq. 4.69 fits the calculated transmission in the 575 - 600 wn band almost exactly throughout the range of paths displayed, when used with the random overlap modification in equation 4.7."  If I include all the HITRAN lines in this interval and the associated line widths, I get transmittances that are too small. But there is a set of intense lines in the band that really stand out, and can be separated from the weaker lines without one being at all subjective.   These have magnitudes of ~ 10 to the minus 21 power as opposed to many more lines of magnitudes of 10 to the minus 23 or 24 power. If I remove all lines less that ten to the minus 21 the fit is really good; keeping also 10 to the minus 22 lines gives a pretty good fit, and there is no fit if all the lines are included. 

    This theory uses only surface pressures, and assumes a constant temperature equal to the surface temperature. HITRAN uses Voigt lines, but I believe these approach the Lorentz lines assumed by the theory as one approaches the full atmospheric pressure at the earth's surface.



  8. Welcome to Skeptical Science

    curiousd @20, that question is a tad too technical for me, and (I suspect), most regular commentors on SkS.  If we are to help at all, you will need to identify equations used by equation number in the text, and ideally show a plot of your result, with and without the the low intensity lines.  As an alternative, contacting Science of Doom or Real Climate, or Gavin Schmidt or Chris Colose, or Raymond Pierrehumbert himself mored directly is likely to be more fruitful. 

    For those who may want to have a crack at answering the question, the figure can be found in the Google books version of Pierrehumbert's text book (just scroll down), but unfortunately critical discussion from the preceding two pages is missing.

  9. Welcome to Skeptical Science


    I meant ten to the minus 22 not ten to the minus 2 for the cutoff intensity in the above comment.


  10. Welcome to Skeptical Science


    Its been a few years since I posted here.  I used to teach Physics of the Environment at the University of Connecticut, and upon retirement decided to learn the nuts and bolts of computing the CO2 no feedback climate sensitivity. I did this using Spectral Calc, combined with the Schwartzchild Equations  and got good agreement with the U. Chicago Modtran website.

      Now I am trying to compute my own transmittances, using the HCG approximationfor computing the transmittance of isolated lines, coupled with the random overlap approximation.  I get good agreement with the graph on page 233 of Pierrehumbert's Text on Principles of Planetary Climate for the 575 to 600 wn band but only if I remove the Hitran lines in that band with intensities less than 10 to the minus two molecules  per square centimeters.       It would seem reasonable to me that the intense bands are far enough apart in that band to allow the assumption that they are approximated by a random distribution, but that this might not hold if one included tha much larger number of weaker lines. But there is nothing about only using the more intense lines includeded in the text. 

    Can anyone help me with this?


  11. It's the sun

    pink's graph @1194 is Figure 2 from Usoskin et al (2014).  Although the abstacts teases about the potential impact of the paper's findings on climate, no actual inferences about climate are drawn.  Any inference drawn by pink, therefore, is from his/her own fervid imagination.

    The red plot on the graph is the group sunspot number from Hoyt and Schatten (1998).  It is shown here (in blue) agains the international sunspot number (red):

    Given the close correlation between group sunspot number, and the international sunspot number, it is reasonable to suppose that the group sunspot number would also have rapidly declined in the early 21st century (indeed, that it may be verging on a Grand Solar Minimum).  Regardless, it is clear that there is an increase in solar activity from the late 18th century to about 1950, which may have contributed the rapid increase in temperature in the early 20th century.  Since, circa 1950, however, it has been in decline, and since 2000 in rapid decline.  Therefore it can only have mitigated, not enhanced the rapid rise in temperature from about 1970 to present, although it may have contributed to the apparent reduction in the rate of increase in temperatures since 2007.  Direct observations of the Total Solar Irradiance, however, show the contribution to either must have been minimal.

    Pink merely trys to present old information without commentary in the hope that, absent that commentary the visual image may decieve, wheras actually understanding the graph shows it to in no way support the viewpoint pink has pushed in the past.

  12. It's the sun

    Sorry Pink, but the Notrickszone .com has an abysmal level of accuracy.   They'll tell you that black is white, if that's the particular propaganda line they wish to push at the moment.

    That site is something like 97% garbage - you can find almost any sort of misleadingly massaged information there.   Basically you are wasting your own valuable time by going there.

    Please look elsewhere, if you seek more reliable information.   And please use your critical facilities.        And where better to start, than right here on the SkS website !   It is a very useful entry portal to climate science in general, and to more detailed information sources.

    Pink, as a small point, e.g. with your Aanda. org link ( which you haven't yet motivated me to read ) , please show consideration for your readers' own valuable time, by (a) activating the link, and by (b) giving a short description or "thumbnail sketch" of what's in the link, and of why you think it is significant.    ( There's so much rubbish out there on the internet, that it's all too easy to waste 60 seconds of irrecoverable time, assessing something that just isn't worthy of attention. )

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Pink's Aanda. org link was deleted because it violated the SkS Comments Policy which prohibits naked urls

  13. It's the sun

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Please do not post a graphic without an explanation of what it represents and why it is relevant to either the OP or the commentary or both. Also describe where it came from and provide an appropriate url link. Posting naked graphics is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy

  14. It's the sun

    study shows above normal solar activity in the 1900-2000 period. 

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Please do not post a url without an explanation of what it links to and why it is relevant to either the OP or the commentary or both. Posting naked urls is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy

  15. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    OK. Lacrosse it is then.

  16. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Done -provided you dont mention the cricket, the league, the netball... :-)


    I think NZ is now the no.1 ranked RL team though too, so that leaves us with Cricket and Netball.

    Unfortunately, there's no equivalent to underarm bowling in Rugby.  

  17. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    "And on the subject of football, please don't mention the rugby. :)" Done -provided you dont mention the cricket, the league, the netball... :-)

  18. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    nigelj @16

    Here's another snippet:  I'm a regular reader of the weekly New Zealand Listener.  I notice that from time to time they publish articles on climate change that are, as far as I can tell, very accurate and informative.  Their letters to the editor include comments that generally support the science (including some from me).  Some years ago there were more letters denying the science but these have dwindled significantly since.  I find the Listener's coverage of climate change most encouraging.

  19. Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

    I’m at a loss for words. The graph kind of says it all. It’s just astonishing and concerning.

    I take your point that a reasonable estimate of 2016 puts things close to the middle of model estimates.

    In a way next years temperatures will be more revealing. A shallow la nina would suggest temperatures have jumped to a completely new level.

  20. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Art Vanderlay @ 13.

    Yes fair enough in the main. I would categorise myself as a political and economic centrist, or moderate. Mildly centre left / liberal by instinct, but I would emphasis mildly. I try to analyse things and see both points of view, rather than going purely with my gut. My philosophy is markets are good, but government is often needed in smaller countries, for what should be self evident reasons.

    The huge political division in America seems counterproductive to me, and rather alarming, but things are not that divided in NZ. I get the impression Australia is between the two somewhere.

    I think this big huge division on climate science is very clear in America and reflected in polls and a range of evidence. I dont think the division is so large in NZ, - but there is still a clear division.

    Regarding climate change and the media.

    I think it's well proven that the vast majority of climate scientists agree we are altering the climate. I get bored about arguing whether its 75% of scientists or 90% or 95%. It’s provably a big majority, therefore I would expect the media to give some dominance to mainstream warmist views, and less to sceptical views. I don’t consider this alarmist as such.

    However it’s very important to still report on sceptical views, providing they are not barking mad ones. The media can't report every arm chair sceptics views as there are millions, so should be doing their homework and reporting the good sceptical views (although I personally think there are few of these left).

    I do think it’s fair that the CO2 and plant growth issue should perhaps have got a mention, however the caveat is that this extra growth includes weeds, and there’s evidence it’s not the desirable sort of growth and is offset by less growth of important crops etc. So any article on it should responsibly include the pros and cons. Often sceptical articles are very one sided, more so than warmist articles in my view.

    This is really important to me personally, namely that articles on climate science fairly represent the full range of evidence. I get angry when I read articles that simplistically say "research says climate sensitivity is low" because only a minority of reasearch says this. It's misleading. But obviously theres a place to at least report on such research.

    Regarding the NZ media, especially the Herald newspaper, which is dominant in NZ, news articles tend to give prominence to warmist reports on the science. For example "2015 was a hot year". However headlines generally lack too much hype. Sceptical research is not reported much in the news sections.

    However the opinion section of the Herald certainly contain a mix of warmist and sceptical views. But we still tend to get a fake balance of a 50 / 50 split of views, which is increasingly not justified given that most climate scientists think we are warming the climate. However I certainly have no problem with at least some sceptical views being published, provided they are in proportion to real opinion of climate scientists and not a fake balance.

    There is also a difference in numbers of articles and how headlines are reported and whether they scream out. I just think in NZ that warmist articles generally have more subdued titles these days.

    I won't mention the Rugby, but it’s really hard not to. Ha ha.

  21. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Glenn @14, I know southerners like to give themselves airs, but even they should recognize that Australia's northern border is not the Murray.  For what it is worth, Rugby League is by far the best of the three main winter codes in Australia; although I will readilly concede that arial ping pong slightly amuses.

  22. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Of course we wont mention 'the rugby'. As any 'true ozzie' knows, Australian Rules is the only true football code in the enrire Universe. :-)

  23. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Michael@ 11, 

    Yes, you're right. I live down under in Australia, not the USA, so my perceptions are obviously shaped by our media which is obviously more balanced, or at least more devoid of extremism. 

    Our ABC and Fairfax press don't push climate skepticism / denial, and I should add, my use of the word "alarmism" doesn't imply exaggeration. Climate change is obviously something to be alarmed about.

    In Australia, it's really only News Corp media that pushes climate skepticism, but in recent times not so much, probably because the global temperature is at an all time high and weather events are increasingly conspiring against the skeptical narrative.

    And Nigalj@12, thanks for the assessment of NZ media. I would have thought that NZ was similar to Aus, although the Green movement is probably stronger on this side of the ditch.

    Good points re opinion too. Opinion is fine but when it's an uninformed or politically biased opinion it counts for naught, and readers of mainstream media rightly expect and deserve a well researched and considered opinion, and that's often lacking. 

    Also, media bias is often expressed in what isn't reported as much as what is.  An explample of this is a recent news article on a peer reviewed study that showed how the world is getting greener due to CO2. The story was run in the News Corp papers, though not surprisingly they omit most news on important climate research as well as news stories on climate related disasters. Mind you, this can cut both ways too, and news of research that finds isolated benefits of  CO2 or temperature is often only to be found in the News Corp media.

    Austrralia is no different to other western countries though, exhibiting a growth in support at (both) extreme ends of the political spectrum, and as one who sits more to the centre, I'm increasingly frustrated by this battle of polar opposites, where climate change and many other important issues, including economic and social, are used as political footballs instead of being actually addressed. 

    And on the subject of football, please don't mention the rugby. :) 

  24. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    Andy Skuce @6, thanks for the reference.  I hadn't read that before, and I agree with the points made.

    One thing caught my eye and is worth a comment. Your article quotes Ridley “But what made the bubble of the 2000s so much worse than most was government housing and monetary policy, especially in the United States, which sluiced artificially cheap money towards bad risks as a matter of policy and thus also towards the middlemen of the capital markets. The crisis has at least as much political as economic causation, which is why I also mistrust too much government.”

    I have read plenty about causal factors in the GFC. Government housing policy probably didn’t help, but the government is not responsible for monetary policy! That is the privately owned Federal Reserve, which was run by Alan Greenspan. He is a libertarian like Ridley and implemented very low interest rates that caused the housing bubble, and convinced the government to reduce banking regulation, a major factor in the crash. Ridleys own ideology was instrumental in the crash, but he can’t or won’t see it.

    Of course business can benefit from “risk taking” and the creative destruction of capitalism. But it’s a fine line. Bank crashes can bring the entire global economy down. Some sections of the business sector benefit from regulation.

    Ridley is taking his penchant for risk taking, and concerns about freedom of the individual and applying this ideology to the management or conservation of the planet. In other words leave it to markets.

    Markets are brilliant at some things, however the record of markets and the environment is not good. Its a dysfunction that requires regulation of actvity that impacts on the environment, something that overall has a very successful history. Ridley refuses to acknowledge the obvious evidence so cannot call himself "rational" as he tends to do.

    Individuals do not have the right to cause reckless harm to their community. This is virtually the basis of western law and order and is a fundamental values decision. Therefore the community as a whole also have rights to ensure business does not get carried away and undermine the foundations of the global environment, provided business has a decent level of freedom, so its a balancing act. Ridley has to accept there have to be boundaries of some sort.

  25. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Art Vandealy @10

    You said "Out of interest I recently sifted through the mainstream media looking for climate headlines and found that the ratio of alarmism to denial was in the order of nearly 50 to 1.”

    What media in what country? Seriously your sample would be unlikely to be representative of the world as a whole.

    However America certainly stands out because we all watch their media a bit. I agree with M Sweet. My own observation is Fox news and others is certainly saturated with climate denial, sometimes overt and highly provocative, sometimes subtle.

    I live in NZ and the mainstream, dominant media are restrained in their reporting on evidence of climate change, (more so these days, it was somewhat alarmist in the past) but their sceptical leaning articles are somewhat more provocatively worded.

    It also depends on what one means by "climate alarmism". Predictions of sea level rise of half to one metre by centuries end are not alarmism. This is just reporting on the mainstream scientific position.

    Screaming headlines about two metres might be alarmism, but so is screaming headlines “new study shows sea level rise likely to be insignificant”. I say this as I have seen headlines like this occasionally on both sides of the debate.

    I take your point about freedom of speech, which is always just so important and a truly worthwhile value. However with the media it’s complicated. They can’t report everyones opinions because theres not enough space and it would become incoherent. Their job is to select stuff that is fact based and opinions that are at least coherent, even if provocative (if you know what I mean).

    Of course it depends on where the information is in the media. If we are talking the news or environment sections, people like the guardian are expected to be fact based and balanced. Therefore if they are reporting on sea level rise they should in my view focus on middle level, sober, IPCC based estimates. On that basis the article above was right to criticise the guardian.

    However various media have opinion sections as well. There can be more leeway here for the views of the eccentrics, so more extreme views, as long as we have a “range of views” to give some balance. I agree with you, I personally do like to see a range of views.

    I believe the average reader differentiates between the news and opinion sections easily enough. Its very important these sections are kept quite separate!

    Sadly with Fox, The Wall St Journal,  and some other media theres not much balance and it is skewed somewhat towards climate denial. Any balance is somewhat tokenistic with this crowd.

  26. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage


    You cannot live in the USA if you see so much Climate Alarmism.  The Wall Street Journal, the largest selling newspaper in the USA, has a strong denialist editorial position.  Fox News is in complete denial of AGW.  You must cite a reference for your absurd claim that "Alarmism" outweighs "denial".  

    I just checked the news in the USA and I found that Denial outweighed Science 1000 to 1.  Why should your numbers count more than mine?

  27. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    nijelj@9 wrote "And it goes both ways. Some media over emphasise skeptical climate change stories with bold headlines like "new study proves climate change is not happening / over rated / is a scam (etc)."

    A few years ago perhaps but not so much now. Out of interest I recently sifted through the mainstream media looking for climate headlines and found that the ratio of alarmism to denial was in the order of nearly 50 to 1.   

    Actually, unless you really go looking it's very difficult to find news stories that contradict the message that climate change is real and demands urgent attention. 

    Even the Guardian's interview with Lovelock isn't intended to contradict the prevailing climate change hypothesis and the claim that " CO2 is going up, but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would" is not necessarily a direct quote, and in the context of what followed I suspect that the quote was actually about temperature, not CO2, because Lovelock goes on (supposedly) to say that Singapore is one of the world's most desirable cities, because of, rather than in spite of, the temperature. 

    Personally, I liked the interview, mostly because I'm interested to hear a diversity of perspectives from a diversity of fine minds, so I wouldn't want the media to remove components of the interview for publication just because it may not be entirely factually correct. And if you start going down that road then where do you stop? For example, should Lovelock be prevented from expressing his views on the consequences of climate change, or the urgency or immediacy of required mitigation or adaptation etc?  If what he says contradicts the IPCC or science agencies around the world, some might say yes.

    To an extent this is a freedom of speech argument.     

  28. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    nigelj, we previously covered the debacle of the collapse of Northern Rock and how Ridley's catastrophic risk management was to blame. 

  29. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Art Vandelay @8, some media do indeed have rather alarmist titles on climate change, or get the facts wrong. No use pretending otherwise. 

    However The Guardian mostly do a pretty accurate job in my experience and without too much hype. The examples in the article tend to be the exception.

    And it goes both ways. Some media over emphasise skeptical climate change stories with bold headlines like "new study proves climate change is not happening / over rated / is a scam (etc)." The new study invariably either says nothing of the sort, or is just some think tanks ridiculous, opinion, as opposed to a peer reviewed study.

    The public most likely read between the lines, and know the truth is closer to the sober, measured reports by the IPCC. And this is more than concerning enough.

  30. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    A bit of alarmism might help to propagate a message, but when it amounts to misinformation there's no doubt that the cause is undermined. 

    Just as every cold snap isn't proof that the climate isn't warming, every tornado, flood and tropical storm isn't caused by climate change, and nor is a day, month or a year of record high temperature empirical evidence thereof. 

    Of course, the media wants a climate change story, but unlike most news, climate change is not a 24hr phenomenon.  This, I think, is what makes "climate change" difficult for news media to sell as a news story, without introducing misinformation, either deliberately or by unavoidable inference. 

    And even when climate related news is scientifically factual it's often presented under the banner of an alarmist headline, such as, "Arctic Cities Crumble as Climate Change Thaws Permafrost", and often with a distressing  photograph for added visual effect and impact. 

    What needs to be appreciated is that the media needs to sell stories to make money, and climate change is a very long and mostly boring story.  

  31. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    The Guardian does occasionally highlight worst case scenarios a bit much. The mainstream media can’t help themselves as they know this gets people buying newspapers.

    However overall in my experience, all praise for the Guardian for mostly getting it right with good, restrained, reliable, balanced coverage on climate change.

  32. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Denisaf @ 5, I dont find the article remotely confusing.

    You seem upset the article doesn't deal with how to build sea walls. This is because this particular  article is about climate science, if thats ok with you. Climate science is actually quite important, as is how it's reported in the media.

  33. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    Lionel @2, thanks for the review link. It was most interesting, I totally agree with it, and it confirms what I said. Ridley is an extreme libertarian and his book is on “evolution” is a sort of "trojan horse" for his libertarian views on completely unrelated matters.This is what annoyed me in particular. Some of his views are reasonable, but most aren't.

    I read somewhere in the mainstream, responsible part of the media that Ridleys company Northern Rock went bankrupt. The article noted Ridley had previously argued for minimal financial regulation and was quite successful at this goal. He also rubbished government bail outs of financial institutions. Then Northern Rock, (which he managed) went bankrupt and this was largely his own fault due to a high level of risk taking,  yet he blames everyone else, and asked for a big handout from the tax payer to bail his company out. The arrogance and hypocrisy is breath taking.

    Regarding Ridley and climate change, he subscribes to every sceptical argument imaginable including the truly silly ones, which just goes to show you can have an advanced degree in biology and still embrace ludicrous notions.

  34. Global warming theory isn't falsifiable

    kevanhashemi @73, considering the preindustrial condition in which there is close to equilibrium between CO2 fluxes into and out of the atmosphere, and assuming the relative ratio of C14 in the respective pools as specified by you @69, then a gross flux 28.25 petagrams of carbon per annum (PgC/yr) into the ocean from the atmosphere would carry 32.95 Kgs of C14 with it.  At the same time, a gross flux of 28.25 PgC/yr from ocean to atmosphere would carry 26.36 Kgs of C14 with it.  The net flux would be 6.59 Kgs of C14 from atmosphere to ocean, with zero net flux in CO2.

    This back of the envelope calculation ignores that C14 has a slight bias in its flow from atmosphere to ocean over its flow from ocean to atmosphere (due to its slower mean velocity at a given temperature due to its greater mass), radioactive decay and any net flux in C14 from the atmosphere/biosphere exchange.  It also ignores the fact that, in the prindustrial state, there is a slight bias of outgassing to dissolving of CO2 from the ocean (about 2%), which is compensated by (mostly) soil carbon eroded into the ocean.

    The key point, however, is that the gross flux is approx. 35% of the true value as shown by the IPCC AR5 diagram.  Therefore, the back of the envelope calculation gives us no reason to think the fluxes shown by the IPCC AR5 diagram are underestimates.

    As it happens, the C14 concentration in the surface ocean is approx 95% of that in the atmosphere, not 80%.  Plugging in that value would result in an overestimate from the back of the envelope calculation, but not so large as to call the IPCC figures into question.  If you do want to call them into question you need to take account of the differential flux of C14 due to its increased mass, the influx of low C14 organic matter from soils, the fact that the C14 concentration of the surface ocean varies by location and therefore it matters crucially where the exchanges occur, and all the various complications that were taken into account in the scientific papers on which the AR5 depended in determining its fluxes.

  35. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    This is always the problem.  You need the disaster first so that the deniers can't make this argument.  The trouble is, that in this case we are likely to flip the climate to a new state and with no chance of moving it back to the present setting for eons.  Let's hope for some smaller but highly scary disasters to shake the world to its core before we reach the tipping point.  A new study from New Zealand suggests that at about 425ppm Carbon dioxide, the climate begins to change and doesn't revert even when Carbon dioxide concentrations go down.  There is absolutely no chance we will not pass this possible threshold by a large margin.

  36. Global warming theory isn't falsifiable

    Corection: "net transport of 5.65 kg of carbon-14", not Pg.

  37. Global warming theory isn't falsifiable

    Dear Tom,

    I missed this earlier. You say "Therefore, at equilibrium, and ignoring radioactive decay, 5.65 Petagrams of Carbon leave the atmosphere, which tells us nothing about the net flux." You are forgetting that a like amount of carbon replaces the 5.65 Pg at equilibrium, and it also contains carbon-14. You need a net transport of 5.65 Pg of carbon-14 out of the atmosphere every year. What is the concentration of carbon-14 in the place that this 5.65 Pg is going to? Suppose it's 0.96 ppt, then the transport is 25 * 5.65 Pg/yr = 140 Pg/yr.

    Yours, Kevan

  38. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Donald Trump Is the First Demagogue of the Anthropocene by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, Oct 19, 2016

  39. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    nigelj and others may be interested in a review by Jerry Coyne of what is at guess the Ridley book indicated above:

    My review of Matt Ridley’s new book, “The Evolution of Everything”

  40. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    This confusing discussion in a selected press contributes little to the debate amongst authorities about measures to cope with the impact of climate change. The action being instigated in New York, London and the Netherlands to cope as much as possible with sea level rise and storm surges are examples of what should be given more publicity.

  41. No longer taken seriously, we're seeing the last gasp of climate denial groups

    Good article. I recently bought Ridley’s book on evolution on impulse, never having heard of the guy. The back cover looked interesting and appeared to be about evolution as applied to organisations.

    The theory of evolution applied to organisations was actually rather weakly developed, but many of the chapters were nothing to do with evolution, and totally about climate change denialism and quite extreme neoliberal theories about the virtues of private education, deregulation, and neoliberal economics.There was nothing about this on the back cover, so the title and back cover was misleading.

    His ideas on climate make very selective use of evidence, and so do his ideas on economics and social issues. I know because I'm reasonably familar with some of these issues. So Ridley is true to form I guess.

    Most of what the book said on economics and social issues was utter nonsense. I put the book in the rubbish after a few chapters.

  42. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Good point Tom. Maybe a way to have an equitable climate and still be able to fly.

  43. Climate's changed before

    I really enjoyed that this article had scientific information to back up some of its claims even if some of the links were not the most concrete sources. I agree with the article saying that the climate has changed before; there is too much scientific evidence for anyone to claim that it has not. One example I can think of is ice cores. I believe this article could have gone more in depth when explaining its points. However, I also believe humans have some impact on increasing the rate of climate change. The anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are increasing at such a rapid rate, I have no choice but to believe they will influence. I have posted a paper that I think will help sway some people to believe that humans do have an effect on climate change. 

    Zhang XB (2007) "Detection of human influence on twentieth-century precipitation trends" Nature 448, 461-465. 

    Abstract: "Human influence on climate has been detected in surface air temperature(1-5), sea level pressure(6), free atmospheric temperature(7),tropopause height(8) and ocean heat content(9). Human-induced changes have not, however, previously been detected in precipitation at the global scale(10-12), partly because changes in precipitation in different regions cancel each other out and thereby reduce the strength of the global average signal(13-19). Models suggest that anthropogenic forcing should have caused a small increase in global mean precipitation and a latitudinal redistribution of precipitation, increasing precipitation at high latitudes, decreasing precipitation at sub-tropical latitudes(15,18,19), and possibly changing the distribution of precipitation within the tropics by shifting the position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone(20). Here we compare observed changes in land precipitation during the twentieth century averaged over latitudinal bands with changes simulated by fourteen climate models. We show that anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on observed changes in average precipitation within latitudinal bands, and that these changes cannot be explained by internal climate variability or natural forcing. We estimate that anthropogenic forcing contributed significantly to observed increases in precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, drying in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics and tropics, and moistening in the Southern Hemisphere subtropics and deep tropics. The observed changes, which are larger than estimated from model simulations, may have already had significant effects on ecosystems, agriculture and human health in regions that are sensitive to changes in precipitation, such as the Sahel."

  44. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42


    Sounds like there is still a way to go, but promising.

    "We report an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO2 with high selectivity for ethanol. The overpotential (which might be lowered with the proper electrolyte, and by separating the hydrogen production to another catalyst) probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst, but the high selectivity for a 12-electron reaction suggests that nanostructured surfaces with multiple reactive sites in close proximity can yield novel reaction mechanisms. This suggests that the synergistic effect from interactions between Cu and CNS presents a novel strategy for designing highly selective electrocatalysts. While the entire reaction mechanism has not yet been elucidated, further details would be revealed from conversion of potential intermediates (e. g. CO, formic acid and acetaldehyde) in future work."

  45. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    scaddenp @3, you are correct that no sequestration is involved, and I doubt pumping ethanol into subterainean caverns would be a suitable method of sequestration.

     The importance of this process is that it produces a liquid fuel.  Liquid fuels have the advantages of easy storage, and high energy intensity relative to renewables which make them very suitable for vehicles in a way that hydrogen (because of storage issues) and electricity (due to limited storage capacity in vehicles) are not.  Ease of storage is also a factor in back up generators.

    Further, in a way the energy efficiency has limited relevance.  If we are to build an all renewable system, then we will need to build a significant overcapacity so that when the renewable sources are not operating at full capacity (most of the time), they can still provide 100% of standing energy needs.  That means for much of the time excess energy will be generated with no standard use.  That energy is essentially free, and can be applied to any process that can operate intermittently to good effect; ie, generating hydrogen from water, and now ethanol from water.  Because the energy is essentially free, convenience of storage may be the determining factor as to which of the two fuels is best to use (and certainly is for transport).

  46. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Sorry Tom but I dont get it. There is no sequestration of CO2 - it gets released again the moment it is burnt. You have to use Carnot cycle to get useful work back so it doesnt seem to be even a particular efficient way to store energy. You lose 35% of the energy converting electricity to ethanol, and then will lose at least 35% more as waste heat converting the ethanol to work. Batteries are more like 90% efficient, pumped hydro around 70%.

  47. 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Popular Mechanics: Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol

    The title almost says it all.  The key points are that the process takes CO2 and H2O from the atmosphere, and coverts it to Ethanol at a claimed 65% energy efficiency.  The ethanol can then be used as a fuel for power plants and vehicles.  It is further claimed the process is cheap and scalable, which if true should mean large scale prototypes should be available in approx 5 years, and commercial variants in 10 or so.

    If this pans out, it is the best news I have seen for quite some time.

    The scientific paper discussing the discovery is also available.

  48. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    Thanks chriskoz.  Climate Feedback hasn't looked at any of ours yet.

  49. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    I'm happy to find out that both articles found to be unscientific in this review:

    False alarmism by Wadhams and Denialism by Lovelock were not written by our SkS authors dana1981 nor John Abraham. I don't know if their writing have been scrutiniesd here but for my part, I praise them because I always find them accurate and informative. Thank you Dana & John for your contribution to both TheGardian and SkS.

  50. Insight into the scientific credibility of The Guardian climate coverage

    I should mention the Callendar prediction was made in 1938.

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