Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Climate Hustle

Recent Comments

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Report helps scientists communicate how global warming is worsening natural disasters

    I've just come across someone touting this paper "Trends in Extreme Weather Events since 1900 An Enduring Conundrum for Wise Policy Advice" Kelly MJ*
    Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, 9 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FA, UK

    Any critiques or rebuttals?

  2. Report helps scientists communicate how global warming is worsening natural disasters

    Climate change does indeed have wide implications, and perhaps these are hard for some people to assimilate as they are complex and longer term. But we have to try, because climate change is an issue best addressed now and not left to some desperate and high risk geoengineering solution.

    Renewable energy is inevitable anyway because fossil fuels are a finite resource, so we might as well start making the transition now. We need to get people to see climate change is just bringing the inevitable forwards, and this transition is inevitable. We need to get people to see the change in a positive light, and then things will take off.

  3. Getting involved with Climate Science via crowdfunding and crowdsourcing

    I'm probably just a few days away from reaching the one million milestone for total computing credit with My total credit stands at 997,353 now. My recent average credit is a little over 1,000/day. So, maybe I'll get there in three days unless Trump finds a way to outlaw climate science before he takes office.

    Since sometimes runs out of tasks to distribute, I also donate computer time to World Community Grid, which always maintains a backlog of tasks. WCG supports a variety of volunteer computing projects, all of them socially useful in some way (disease prevention, developing renewable energy, etc.).

    I run BOINC on my little notebook computer, which consumes around 20W or less. In the cold months I harvest the waste heat by having the computer on a stand inside my homemade thermal shelter. (With the computer plus my ~100W of body heat, the inside temperature of the shelter reaches around 25°F-30°F above my surrounding house temperature, enabling me to comfortably get through most southern Ohio winters without heating my house much. I only have to run the heat briefly on occasion when we get cold enough weather to freeze my pipes. Thanks to global warming that seems to be happening less often. But we might get close next week.)


  4. The History of Climate Science

    I suggest adding the contribution of Eunice Foote to climate science.  On August 23, 1856, Eunice presented a paper at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science explaining her experiments that demonstrated the effects of the sun on various gases and theorized that those gases could lead to a gradual warming of the earth's atmosphere.  She found (surprise, surprise) that, of the gasses she tested, CO2 trapped the most heat.  See

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixex link

  5. Report helps scientists communicate how global warming is worsening natural disasters

    The communication suggestions at the end of the article cited are actually very good. (For those who want to skip the long read and get to the suggestions at the end.) The challenge, however, is immense: Explaining how uncommonly frigid air is linked to climate change; Explaining how a 0.2° C trend can be significant in locations where the weather jumps 24° from one day to the next; Explaining that effects that will happen hundreds of years into the future demand urgent attention now (I live below sea level!); And attribution studies that references probability — even with topics like public works it is hard to convince people not to spend $1 million on an intersection where an accident has in fact occurred and to rather spend it on general measures for the other 1000 intersections which are equally vulnerable. Action demanded by climate change by its nature conspires against the instinctual prejudices of the human mind.

    I remain nevertheless convinced that even well-intentioned conservatives can be turned into allies for action against climate change once one is able to trigger their loyalty instincts for the preservation of the things they care about.

  6. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Red Baron @13, thanks. I did think both processes were operating in tandem, hence my comment on which one you thought would be dominant. Looks like its carbon storage. Maybe you should write a  research paper or article on it, as you are passionate about it.

    Seems like soil carbon storage is proof at least a few negative feedbacks could be reinforced, but the problem is it would be a long term project and would require changes in farming techniques and I dont see that happening too fast. It seems hard enough persuading the world to reduce emissions. However I suppose every effort helps.

    Another negative feedback is the forces that ultimately generate ice age cycles by reducing solar irradiation patterns on the earth. However the only way of reinforcing that would be geoengineering, and it would be very high risk.

    We come back to carbon emissions as the main thing that can be realistically tackled in a practical sense. But the "politics" of the whole thing are the hard part.

  7. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    To all between 26 and 33 two corrections: I used UAH Mid Troposphere. I think channel 4 was down in 1912 when I sent this to Dan Lashof at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
    There is a typo I need corrected at line 16 for john warner @22 Change, did conform, to did not conform.
    My source for the earth’s average annual global surface air temperature of 281.92oK, is NASA 2010 CERES Earth Energy Budget. Notice absorbed by atmosphere is 358.2wpsm. The Stefan-Boltzmann Law Calculator yields an average annual global surface air temperature of 281.92oK.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] You have been responded to on the appropriate thread. Do as directed. No further offtopic comment is being permitted here.

  8. They changed the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change'

    Did the change in nomenclature occur when ice core samples were more closely looked at (50 years of scientific endevour hardly says mastery to me Why did climategate  get swept under the rug? The real reason you have skeptics is due to those emails regardless of how they were dismissed- which I'm sure is part of another topic and I'll be chastised for bringing it up here- scoff- guffaw- also there is the interesting bit about where the temperatures are being read from- as we all know, concrete creates and stores heat so placing a reading site in the city where thirty years ago temp readings were done atop grassy plains will skew the data- - just a skeptic of all things derived by humans- especially when the "solve" is taxation and doesn't focus on the real elephant in the room- toxic waste. Nuclear wastE. medical waste. We don't dare touch those as the united corps of greed would report less profit that quarter. And don't get me started on DU chemical weapons and the MIC-  I digress. Appogies for any errs as I typed this on my phone

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Sloganeering.

  9. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans


    Not negative per the Middlebrook email. I am not referring to Red Barron's very interesting possibility.

  10. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Eager Jim@11, me @7

    Thanks. So no negative feedback afterall.

  11. Justin Trudeau approves two big oil sands pipeline expansions

    Saxifrage does breakdown the emissions from the projects as upstream (in Canada) and downstream (overseas in the case of export projects). So you can easily factor out the downstream emissions if you are just trying to calculate the Canadian emissions.

    Promoters of LNG projects like to refer to incremental downstream emissions, because if gas replaces coal, the incremental emissions would be net negative. The implication is that net negative downstream emissions can be credited to Canada, whereas net positive emissions in export markets should not be.

    A quibble with Saxifrage's calculation is that he basically assumes that all of the upstream emissions made to fill the pipeline will be new emissions that wouldn't have happened had the pipeline not been built. That could be true, but is not necessarily so. The counterfactual assumptions are not straightforward and are debatable.

    I heard Premier Notley in a radio interview the other day claiming that no pipeline would increase emissions because the growth in oil sands production will happen, pipelines or not. This strains credulity, particularly because she also claims that pipelines will add thousands of new long term jobs. You just can't claim both. I'm planning a post on my blog covering this and other stretchings of reality.

    In other news, Notley has agreed to debate Andrew Weaver on television. That should be interesting. Weaver has been very scathing lately about Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan. If I find out when this debate will happen, I will comment here.

  12. Justin Trudeau approves two big oil sands pipeline expansions

    I have a quible with analyses like Saxifrage's: he counts the cost of burning Oil Sands oil, when most is destined for the export market.  Gasoline imported from the middle east and burned in Canadian cars counts towards Canadian emissions.  Nature doesn't care where the CO2 comes from, but counting fuel burned in export markets leads to double counting.  

    I echo Magma's sentiment, particularly with respect to  the Pacific NW LNG project.
    The analysis also doesn't relate the pipelines to each other; if all were to be approved, it would effect the capacity used of other pipelines.  I cannot tell if these estimates account for the displacement of oil that would not be shipped via rail or truck if the pipelines were not built.

    It should also be noted that Alberta government has also pledged a (admittedly ludicrously high) "legislated emissions limit on the oil sands of a maximum of 100Mt in any year with provisions for cogeneration and new upgrading capacity."

    Tombe has stated that a ~$130/tonne price will be necessary; $50 is the Trudeau goverment's 2020 target.

  13. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Nigelj @ 28 I appreciate the opportunity to explain the design of my linear regression.There are scientific concerns and statistical concerns. When there are known laws of physics you don’t have to use statistical analysis to generate coefficients for calculating the effect of carbon dioxide on air temperature. But in order to calculate the effect that air temperature has on the quantity of carbon dioxide in the air we do. We know that colder water absorbs carbon dioxide at a faster rate than hotter water. Assuming that water temperature and air temperature annually globally vary together we can model that if air temperature goes down the water temperature will go down also and absorb more carbon dioxide. If that assumption is wrong the regression coefficient will tell us with a change of sign. I assume that all of the gross increase in carbon dioxide emissions each year comes from humans burning fossil fuels and other organic material. Since more than average carbon dioxide is being absorbed we think the net growth in carbon dioxide left in the air will be decreased. On the other hand if the air temperature is higher than normal we assume that the water temperature will be higher and that less carbon dioxide will be absorbed. Then the annual growth in carbon dioxide in the air will be larger. To be scientifically correct we have to model changes in the magnitude of the annual increase of carbon dioxide as a function of the air temperature. This makes carbon dioxide the dependent variable and air temperature the independent variable. If we use anomalies as the measure of temperature around the 1981 to 2010 baseline, on the graph of the regression results 0.0 on the x axis will also represent when the anomaly is 0.0. The statistical consideration is that when dealing with time series data and the quantities are autocorrelated the scatter of plots is not a random sample. This problem was avoided by modeling dC for carbon dioxide and anomalies for temperature. Also when it is obvious the variables are correlated with a third variable time you have a multicolinearity problem. Modeling dC and T anomalies avoids this problem also. If you graph the regression, the sloping line wii intersect the y axis at 1.7. This means when the anomaly is 0.0oK the carbon dioxide growth is 1.7ppm/yr. If the temperature anomaly is higher the carbon dioxide growth rate is higher. If the temperature is lower the growth rate is lower. 58% of the variation in the growth rate per year of carbon dioxide is explained by the earth’s air temperature. Between 1979 and 2011 the mean growth was 1.7ppm per year. The regression coefficient says if the air temperature goes up 1.0oK the growth rate of carbon dioxide will go up 1.94ppm/yr for a total of 3.64ppm/yr.

    I took time away from my mission because I wanted to prove that I know my science by evaluating Tom Curtis’s carbon dioxide sensitivity coefficient linear regression. I want to tie things up on this subject. Tom Curtis said the GMST is a proxy for air temperature. 70% of GMST temperatures are ship log sea surface temperature. We already know ocean temperature is the primary determinant of carbon dioxide absorption. From a practical point the variation in the data for Tom’s dependent variable comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures. On the independent variable, carbon dioxide radiative forcing is a close derivative of the change in carbon dioxide per year. In essence, regardless of the labels he put on the variables he was regressing sea surface temperatures against the change in carbon dioxide per year. The order of causation is wrong but the attained R2 is the same.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Copy your substantive points, and make comment in appropriate thread. This will be deleted as offtopic tomorrow.

  14. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    For completeness, I have analysed the relationship between CO2 forcing and the UAH TLT v6 beta5 elsewhere.

    Further, with the moderators indulgence, I will respond to john warner's request that, "You might also tell the moderatorer you have never received a more thoughtful, intelligent, knowledgeable, insightful response."

    Frankly, I would have used none of those adjectives in describing john warner's contribution to this debate.  Rather, his analysis has been poor, relied too heavilly on cherry picked sources; and his discussion has been non-responsive and marked mostly by failure to acknowledge contrary evidence.  Finally, his reasoning has been masked by his composition, which as previously remarked, resembles word salad.  I find it difficult to believe clear logical thought underlies such poorly expressed arguments.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Thank you for cooperation in putting your response to an appropriate thread.

  15. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    Elsewhere, I have noted that:

     "Using the Law Dome combined CO2 data plus the BEST Land Ocean Temperature Index over the period of their overlap (1850-2013), we find a correlation between CO2 forcing (calculated as 5.35 x ln(CO2current/CO2initial)) of 0.900, an R-squared of 0.811, with a linear regression of 0.58 +/- 0.044 C/(W/m^2).  ... Using just the raw Law Dome data (with no Cape Grim), however, we achieve a correlation of 0.711, and R-squared of 0.505, and a regression of 0.59 +/- 0.164 C/(W/m^2). Using forcings calculated from the Mauna Loa montly values from March 1958 to July 2016, the correlation is 0.854, the R-squared is 0.729, and the linear regression is 0.62 +/- 0.28 C/(W/m^2)."

    My respondent, like victorag above, refused to accept the mathematical results based on their eyeballing of the timeseries of the CO2 concentration data plotted alongside the temperature data.  They also insisted that the UAH TLT v6 was, despite being still in beta, the "gold standard of temperature records", a claim in stark contradiction to the evidence.  Despite this, I thought it would be instructive to run the regressions over the UAH TLT v6 beta 5 vs the Mauna Loa monthly data.  Before doing so, I converted the Mauna Loa data to anomaly values, both to eliminate the seasonal cycle and because the UAH data was also in anomaly values (and hence without a seasonal cycle).

    Regressing temperature against CO2 forcing, we obtain a result of 0.43 +/- 0.06 C/(W/m^2) with a correlation of 0.556 and an R-squared of 0.309.  That regressed value indicates a transient climate response of 1.59 +/- 0.22 C per doubling of CO2, a value well within error of the 2.29 +/- 1 C per doubling of CO2 from the Mauna Loa data (the highest value obtained).  The shorter time span and greater perturbation of the satellite record by ENSO fluctuations, however, does reduce the proportion of the variation explained by the change in CO2 concentration (as shown by the smaller R-squared).

    AGW deniers typically argue, in the face of this sort of data, that the correlation is a function of the temperature impact on the CO2 concentration, or growth in the CO2 concentration - ie, that the analysis has causation reversed.  However, regressing CO2 concentration against temperature gives results of 49 +/- 7 ppmv/oC (Correlation: 0.552; R-squared: 0.305).  On the surface, and given the trend increase of 0.41oC over the period analyzed, that would mean temperature accounts for just 19.9 ppmv of the trend 64.6 ppmv increase in CO2 concentration over that period.  In contrast, based on the regression, CO2 forcing accounts for 0.404 of the 0.405oC trend temperature increase.  In short, temperature explains CO2 concentration far worse than CO2 forcing explains temperature.  It is likely that apparent forcing of CO2 concentration by temperature shown by the regression is an artifact of CO2 forcing causing the increase in temperature, particularly given that it is at least twice the value shown in other situations where we know change in temperature drives the increase in CO2, such as durring the glacial/interglacial cycle.

    dCO2 concentration is even worse, showing a regression of 0.06 +/- 0.18 ppmv/oC (Correlation: 0.03; R-squared: 0.001).  That is, the values are neither correlated, nor stastically significant, although it is possible better results might be obtained with suitably lagged values.

    In summary, the evidence remains that there is a strong correlation between CO2 and/or CO2 forcing and temperature, and that correlation is primarilly driven by changes in CO2 concentration driving changes in the Earth's GMST.

  16. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Your confusion results from not clearly defining the carbon in the soils. Actually both are correct even though they may seem contradictory. The simple answer is this. There are two completely different biochemical pathways. The first we will call "labile carbon". This is the carbon resulting from the decay of organic plant and animal debris in the top O-horizon and the upper layers of the A-horizon of the soil. Bacteria, fungi, small arthropods, worms etc... do decay that material more rapidly as temperatures warm. This carbon mostly ends back into atmosphere as CO2, or CH4 in anaerobic conditions. The Roth C mathematical model is pretty effective at determining the tiny % that gets stored long term into the soil this way. It isn't much. This whole process therefore is considered a reinforcing feedback, rather than a stabilizing feedback.
    The newly discovered LCP feeds an entirely different soil carbon pool which we can call the "stable carbon" fraction of the soil carbon pool. Instead of a near zero net, this carbon has an overwhelming tendency, under the right conditions, to even increase as temp or CO2 increases. Here is why. The C4 photosynthesis pathway is primarily your warm season grasses, rather than cool season grasses or trees. It is far more efficient, all else equal. So more root exudates to feed AMF. Glomalin has properties similar to "super glue" and while it does decay slowly, that decay is deep in the soil profile rather than on the surface. A far greater % converts to humic polymers that tightly bind to the mineral substrate. If anything, as it gets hotter and drier, the roots go deeper seeking ground water and even a greater % of that carbon ends up stable. Same with CO2 fertilization. For these types of plants, CO2 increases the carbon that follows this pathway. So you start with more and sequester a higher % of that more deep in the soil long term. This is a very different outcome from the decay of debris on the surface. One is a stabilizing feedback, the other a reinforcing feedback.
    Remember, my premise was we should purposely trigger a stabilizing feedback, rather than the triggering of the reinforcing feedbacks we are accidentally triggering now. So obviously I do understand the reinforcing feedbacks are present now. It’s the main reason the “CO2 fertilization” effect isn’t really doing much for us. Whatever we gain is immediately offset by increased decay rate. But change the pathway to the LCP and CO2 fertilization actually helps to increase the rate of long term sequestration.

  17. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Red Baron @6, soil absorption of carbon intuitively sounds plausible to me and clearly you have some genuine expertise. However I'm sure I read an article recently that a warming climate actually causes increased microbial activity that actually results in soils releasing CO2? You would need to prove which factor dominates.

  18. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    sailingfree asked

    Doesn't the evaporation - condensation - rain cycle transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere?

    Exactly right, sf, sensible heat at the surface is converted into latent heat through evaporation. That heat is then transported upward by convection and released as sensible heat higher up in the atmosphere by condensation, so that part of Jeffrey Middlebrook's question is based on an incorrect understanding of atmospheric heat transport.

  19. Justin Trudeau approves two big oil sands pipeline expansions

    Andy Skuce @18: "Let me say this, if Canada adopts a carbon price above $100, I promise to shut up about banning new pipelines for climate policy reasons."

    I can't see any political way forward to a $100 price on carbon without those pipelines. It's a trade-off.

    From John Ivison (

    "But a more interesting statistic emerged when Abacus asked how people would feel if a carbon pricing plan that encouraged a shift toward greater use of clean energy was accompanied by a new pipeline to get Canada’s oil and gas to new markets.

    The result is a potential game-changer: three out of four Canadians would support or accept this shift, including majorities in every region.

    In Alberta, 92 per cent of respondents bought into the idea; in Saskatchewan, the number was 83 per cent. A large majority of Conservative voters was supportive (87 per cent) and 62 per cent of NDP voters said they could go along with this decision.

    Even in Quebec, which has traditionally been hostile to pipelines, two out of three respondents said they would back a shift to renewables accompanied by a new pipeline."

  20. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    The HUGE fish-hook with industrial production models is that while they may have spectacular and essential yields now, they are rapidly destroying the globe's soils. The FAO were predicting only 60 more harvests before they have been wiped out and even that figure's impact is won't be a case of 60 years and 'click' the light goes out, it will be decades of declining output and increasing starvation with all the social disruption that will (and already is) entail.

  21. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    MA Rodger @31, the annual cycles for earlier verions of the UAH TLT were found in the "read me" files.  The average for the UAH v 6 beta5 has a mean of -9.2 C, or 263.9 K.  That is well below the 282.9 K (+8.77 C) quoted by the john warner.  john warner's values are also well above the appoximately -13.5 C mean for the AMSU chanel 4 data that he cites elsewhere for the seasonal cycle.  That makes it something of a mystery as to how he actually obtained the value.  Given that he seems only to have been making a rhetorical point "For all there knowledge global warming believers have they can never answer the simplest questions" - a point that has no basis; the issue seems moot with regard to this discussion. 

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] To all commentators responding to John Warne.

    This charade of a discussion is at an end. John Warner has unfortunately derailed this thread and offtopic discussion here stops now. John believes he can attack climate science with his superior science at any point.

    If this is so strong, then I suggest that he use the "arguments" menu to pick something he believes he has a strong case against and present the science that challenges it on the relevant thread. No sloganeering. Produce data and/or paper in support and leave the rhetoric at the door. I strongly recommend that he reads the science he is attacking first rather than just assuming he knows it based on statements so far. IPCC WG1 is your friend.

    Any discussion of surface versus satellite record goes here. Discussions about source of CO2 go here

  22. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Moderator @ 29,

    There are of course two UAH TLT records as well as RSS TLT.

    The v6.0beta5 (which is not yet released so shouldn't be in use) has an annual cycle with an average well below freezing so the annual averages will also be below freezing. I calculate Dec15 to Nov16 at -8.67ºC. (Note, the value presented by the commenter is only a couple of fat fingers away from this value.)

    RSS TLT would have similar anomaly values. UAH TLTv5.6 has a lower average altitude (about 2km lower) so should have an average above freezing but the +8.77ºC could be a bit high. I've never seen its absolute values quoted for UAHv5.6.

  23. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans


     If you use vertical stacking and polycultures you can almost guarantee increased yields per acre. Productivity is a different issue, that is yields per man hour. No we generally have not succeeded yet in beating the industrial production models there. I would point out that the problem it once was? Don't we have plenty of people capable and willing to work on this planet? It is not the old days where labor shortages were the main priority due to massive wars and famines and we were forced to import cheap labor just to keep up. (slaves from Africa, and Chinese laborers for the railroads...etc.... as examples from my country)

  24. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    Weather Channel Torpedoes Neo Nazi Breitbart’s Climate Lies

  25. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Well done, RedBaron, for bringing up the restoration of natural levels of carbon in the soil as a powerful mitigation measure. Awareness of this seems to be growing. So far, I have not seen enough peer reviewed evidence that we could replace coventional agriculture and still get the same productivity while increasing soil carbon percentages long term but there is plenty of exciting relatively woo-free anecdotal evidence from such as Drs Christine Jones, Elaine Ingham and David Johnson.

  26. Scientists can't even predict weather

    IMO a much more compelling arguments for laymen uses the example of tossing a coin. 

    Predicting the outcome of a single coin toss with better than fifty perc ent accuracy is impossible. However, predicting the outcome of a thousand coin tosses is trivially easy: very close to half of them will be heads.

    The weather forecast involves a lot of random elements and is therefore more like predicting a single coin toss. Predicting climate change is much more like predicting a thousand or a milion coin tosses and is therefore more accurate.

  27. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Doesn't the evaporation - condensation - rain  cycle transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere?

    In his email, Middlebrook claims the opposite.   "...with greater precipitation due to more atmospheric water vapor more atmospheric heat will be transferred to the oceans and terrestrial landscapes."

  28. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    There are case studies, mostly from Australia and CSIRO and a few from USDA that indicate between 5–20 t COe /ha/year can be sequestered long term in the soil via the newly discovered “liquid carbon pathway”. Basically to simplify a very complex and exciting new line of research, the LCP goes like this: Photosynthesis to root exudates to mycorrhizal fungi to glomalin to humic polymers to mollic epipedon. This can apply to restoring both degraded grasslands/savannas and/or seasonally arid cropland, under the right conditions, management, and methods of course. If you do that math, conservatively one could sequester long term into the soil between 62% and 250% of current yearly emissions.

    So the answer is potentially possible with a relatively high uncertainty. Since 250% is more than emissions, this stabilizing feedback could draw down CO2. That means yes it could work and we now know how to trigger it. Certainly the soil sink is large enough to hold all that carbon long enough to give the oceans a break and chance to catch up. Since it is a biological feedback that evolved over millions of years, it is unlikely to have an unacceptable risk level. We are after all simply restoring the lost ecosystem services on almost 1/2 the planet land surface that WE naively degraded with agriculture. The biggest risk being we might do it too well and slip back into a glaciation phase. But I suspect we would be quite capable of preventing that.

    However, there are some nuances. Likely if we draw down CO2 too rapidly the oceans might become an emissions source too. Like a fizzing coke! That means while we probably can sequester that carbon from the atmosphere, it might not actually do as much to stop AGW as anticipated due to CO2 being replaced almost as fast as we draw it out. Another nuance is that the low end is 62%. That wouldn’t be enough. That means we must also drop emissions to at minimum 62% or less of what they are now by converting as much as possible to renewables like solar and wind etc…

    Methane is not a problem. This will actually help the methane problem significantly due to restored methanotrophic activity. Yes, it’s true. Raised properly and as part of a healthy grassland biome, cows actually help lower atmospheric methane. The problem with methane isn’t the cow. Not their fault. It’s the feedlots and the vast overproduction of corn and soy used to supply those feedlots, thawing permafrost, dead zones in the ocean, fossil fuel well leakage etc….

    Soil Microorganisms as Controllers of Atmospheric Trace Gases (H2, CO, CH4, OCS, N2O, and NO)

    Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

    Restoring the climate through capture and storage of soil carbon through holistic planned grazing-White Paper

  29. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    John warner, you seem to be unaware that UAH Lower Troposphere is not a measure of global surface temperatures.  It has a limited overlap, and a rather poor correlation with: GMST.

    Your computations are therefore not valid.

    Nor have you taken into account ocean surface temperatures and total ocean heat content - all of which also have a rather poor correlation with UAH Lower Troposphere temperatures.

    The end result is that you are wasting your time, and have produced GIGO.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] TLT has significant bleed from the stratosphere as well, and thus is biased low. If one is going to use satellite data TTT is a better product for the troposphere. But, as you note, none of the satellite data are representative of the surface temperature.

  30. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Tom Curtis @ 26 Scientific calculator, UAH Lower Troposphere, Mauna Loa CO2 annual

    Tell moderator my regression conformed to reality.

    Tom Curtis @ 27 No Problem.   Moderator said you can't measure average annual global surface air temperature.

    Tom I can talk to you. Tell moderator that I read and understood your regression at Tom Curtis 15. I have invested a lot of time convincing you that we can have a discussion. You might also tell the moderatorer you have never received a more thoughtful, intelligent, knowledgeable, insightful response.

    The average annual global surface air temperature is 281.92oK. [mod. - Nope. That might be TLT, but it sure isn't a surface temperature reading @ 8.77°C]

    Let's have a discussion. You choose the subject.

    While your thinking of a subject consider that dana 1981 wrote an article saying the climate change denier don't know science. I am here on your home field to prove that the global warming theory is shallow and not scientific. My preference is for you to defend what you think is the strongest scientific argument for global warming. Let's find out who has the science on their side. If you like the way I think let's see what we agree upon.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] The moderators are perfectly capable of reading your comments. You don't need to ask Tom to tell us anything. You're skating just along the edge of moderation complaints, and per our policies, those are deleted. But continue...

    [PS] Ok, the paper I pointed to (have you read it?) points to lack of practical usefulness in any measure of absolute surface temp given the error bars. (especially compared to anomaly methods). You would know that if you read resources people have provided you. So far you have only demonstrated you have an  extremely poor grasp of even the basics of climate theory, a reluctance to improve your knowledge,  and yet on that basis believe you know more than the experts. You have so far failed completely to overturn any of the science here. You have not stated as requested where you agree or disagree with Tom's response on your CO2 outgassing fantasy.

     "You might also tell the moderatorer you have never received a more thoughtful, intelligent, knowledgeable, insightful response." ROFLMAO!

  31. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    John Warner, I have read all your posts, and broadly I disagree with your reasoning and conclusions. Much of what you say is hard to follow, and looks wrong to me, and Tom Curtis has much more in depth climate knowledge than me and has picked holes in the same things. I also cant see anything incorrect in what Tom has said, and his notes on the ice age cycles were illuminating and clear.

     Tom has also shown you the respect to respond to specific issues you raised. Now its your turn to respond to his specific points especially in post 20, points 1-4.

    You appear to believe CO2 is coming from the oceans or some other natural source. The oceans are acidifying (getting less alkaline) so are absorbing CO2, not emitting it (in a net sense over decadal time periods).

    Volcanoes and the biosphere are ruled out as significant sources. Theres a ton of research on that and you havent even begun to falsify it. You would have to show in precise detail where its wrong, not just generalise or do your own alternative version..

    There are many things that show increased CO2 comes from fossil fuels rather than other sources. The population of the earth has gone from 1 billion to about 7.5 billion in just the last 150 years, which represents a huge increase in fossil fuel use correlating rather well with increases in atmospheric CO2.

    Sure warmer and warmer water absorbs less and less CO2 but so what? it has not reached saturation and when it does that would obviously present us with even more problems.

  32. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    RedBaron, nigelj,

    THere are no examples of such feedbacks. As you correctly asserted @2, the stabilising feedbacks act on a long timeframe of millenia. Ultimate known negative feedback of rock weathering acts on 100ky+ timeframe. Such timeframe is by definition irrelevant to humans and to human civilisations. Talking about "reinforcing" those feedbacks, while cranking the main control knob (CO2) to the overheat rate never seen in many milion years is just like joking. A sweet fairy tale, but the physics & the numbers tell you it's not a real tale.

  33. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    ELIofVA @7,

    I divided this net sequestration by nature by the world's population to come up with 2.57 tons/person/year to achieve net zero co2 emissions.

    You're rincorrect here. Nature (mainly oceans and biosphere) is currently sequestering human C from the atmosphere at the reate of about half of human's emission rate. If we lower the emmision by half, then the sequestration by nature will also adjust accordingly and will become about a half of new emission rate (1.3 tons/person/year accodring to your calculation): the situation we had ~40years ago. For the sequestering forces of nature to come "in ballance" with emitive forces og humans, thett human emissions must drop well below the current rate, below 5%, the lower the better. That's why scientists who know those number emphacise a complete (or at least ner complete) decarbonising of global economy is a must do to stabilise Earth's energy balance and climate.

    The above is what we know for sure. On top of that are positive feedback that we know have  happened in the past but we don't know enough to quantifi them, like e.g. warming ocean becoming carbon source in the long term. We know such feedback happened in glacial cyccle timeframe (ca 10ky) but we don't know why. In case of AGW timeframe presently, we just ignore the warming ocean CO2 feedback and hope that it does not happen in time the action be taken to bring emission rates to zero.

    Very few (if any) negative feedbacks are known that would allow a "breathing space" i.e. increased carbon budget for humans to burn without climatice consequences. Your back-envelope calculation allowance certainly cannot be sustained (if the goal is Earth climate stabilisation), although in short term is better than doing nothing and burning as much coal as possible, as current president-elect wants to do.

  34. Fires and drought cook Tennessee - a state represented by climate deniers

    Michael Sweet @9, I agree the IPCC are conservative, partly because their reports have to be signed off by governments, and some of these have interests in playing down climate change. This conservatism should certainly be pointed out to school students.

    I suppose the question is whether to teach about global warming in school, and also secondly whether to include both the mainstream and skeptical views. Whatever is done will have positives and also problems, as you point out some of the problems. However I believe ignorance is not bliss, and the basic mainstream science should be taught, and also some of the sceptical positions should be acknowledged.

    If students feel they are getting too brainwashed into just the mainstream position this could have the unintended effect of making them sceptical and they will read nonsense in their own time uncritically. Better to show them the sceptical arguments at school and their weaknesses.

    Of course I'm being idealistic. It would not be easy to get schools to do any of this correctly. But maybe it should be tried.

  35. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    Red Baron @3, that is a good thought but do you have any examples?

  36. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    john warner @24, the Global Mean Surface Temperature from Jan 1979-Dec 2015 was 15.1oC with a margin of error or about +/- 1oC (I would have to email a member of the BEST team to obtain a precise value).  The trend temperature increase over that period was 0.66oC.  The time period was chosen to approximately match that of the satellite record but to avoid any contamination from the seasonal cycle.  This is according to the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Land Ocean Temperature Index (BEST LOTI).

  37. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    john warner @23, how did you obtain that regression?  Specifically, what data did you use?  Was the data used in monthly or annual values?  Did you use an ordinary least squares linear regression as obtained from the linest function in Open Office and Excel?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] I rather doubt john warner has will or skill to engage in meaningful discussion of the science and so far has simply derailed this thread with offtopic "discussion". I have asked him to address specific points so that any further discussion to move to appropriate threads. Please dont chase after wild horses if/until john has more clearly identified his points of departure.

  38. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Tom Curtis at 20. Using my temperature data I say the earth's average annual global surface air temperature has increased .444oK since 1979. Can you make a statement like that from your data? The key to doing research is knowing what you are looking for. For all there knowledge global warming believers have they can never answer the simplest questions. What is the earth's average annual global air temperature? I am not going to give you the answer until you give yours.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Sloganeering.

    The impossibility of measuring global absolute surface temperature as been known for a long time and if you havent read Hansen and Lebedeff 1987 then it is time you did. Then you might actually understand why anomalies are used instead.

    At this point you are not engaging in any meaningful conversation and instead are rambling from topic to topic. I would request that answer Tom Curtis' point, stating clearly where you agree and where you disagree before jumping off at another tangent. If you not are interested in engaging with points raised, then your time commenting here is over.

    [RH] [edit] Here is a very good explanation of why it's better to use anomaly over absolute temperature. LINK  It's a sure sign of a rookie who insists on using absolute temps.

  39. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    @ nigelj

    "This is too long term to benefit humanity."

    Debatable. Obviously humans can effect the results. Rather than accidently triggering the reinforcing feedbacks (which is what we have done so far), there is always the option of purposely triggering the stabilizing feedbacks.

  40. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    As far as I'm aware one of the few remaining uncertainties about climate change is the exact nature of some of the positive and negative feedbacks. It does appear on the best evidence available that positive feedbacks outweigh negative feedbacks. Given periods of warming in the past last a long time this is evidence positive feedbacks dominate over negative ones.

    It appears that positive feedbacks may be dominant in the short to medium term (we are already seeing positive feedbacks from the Arctic) but periods of warming do not seem to be permanent. Perhaps negative feedbacks like elements of the carbon cycle may kick in much longer term (over millenia). This is too long term to benefit humanity.

  41. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    john warner @23.

    If you wonderful regression was anything more than the result of a curve-fitting exercise, you could, say, use it with HadCRUT4 (suitably re-based) to calculate CO2 levels back into the 1800s. Alternatively, you could use it with CO2 data obtained from ice cores to back-calculate a temperature record.

    I have to say that the results of such calculations do suggest your regression is nothing but curve-fitting.

  42. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    ELIofVA @7, I think you are totally correct about Vietnam, The Sandinistas, and Iraqs so called weapons of mass destruction. However this was all politicians not getting things right or not being honest, or just indulging in a twisted ideology. The media can only report what they say.

    Fake news is different as it means the news itself becomes infiltrated with basic factual errors about routine news stories, and these are hard to spot. Its insidious and by the time its corrected nobody notices, and the fake news has spread like a virus and becomes accepted wisdom.

    It also becomes hard to know what are genuine news organisations with some sort of regulatory standards over them , and what are pretend organisations that are unaccountable. The internet means anyone can call themselves a news organisation, but they may be operating from a country that has no control over them or regulatory requirements, yet the organisation effectively has global reach. Of course people should check the credentials of the website they are looking at, but many people dont.

    Plus you get people like O'reiley on Fox news. Of course he isn't presenting the news as such, its his opinions and general commentary, so a different issue, however much of what he says seems totally unsupportable to me and very misleading. However this is the price we pay for free speech, so its a sort of paradox.

  43. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    I apologize.  This is a political comment and probably ad hominem but certainly not off topic.  But then, the whole problem with not mitigating our carbon output is political. Any year 12 science student could lay out what we need to do.  The politicians simply won't do it because they are in the pocket of vested fossil fuel interests. 

    Complaining about false news is all the flavor of the week but it is hardly surprising.  The neigh sayers (mis-spelling intended) have had an example from the best.  Would, for instance,  anyone except a dyed-in-the-wool bible belt thumper consider O'Riley of Fox news a journalist.  The America media has provided a constant diet of false news for decades.

    We, the rational few, can but try our best but  In the end it is economics that will carry the day.  When, for instance, a truly affordable electric car is produced and the public realizes that they can drive about 6 times as far on a dollar's worth of electricity than on a dollar's worth of petrol, the speed of the shift will rival the shift from horses to cars.  One hopes the economic factors will be in time to save us from ourselves.

    If this year is a harbinger of things to come, we don't have all that much time.

  44. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    KR @ 19  My regression was dCppm/yr = 1.70ppm/yr + 1.94ppm/oK * To

    T is the temperature anomaly around the 1981 to 2010 baseline. For example if T is 0 the carbon dioxide increases 1.7ppm/yr.   In 1998, an El Nino, year the temperature anomaly T is 0.5oK        dC = 1.7ppm/yr + 0.97ppm/yr = 2.67ppm/yr

  45. From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    How does the Ocean fight acidification? 

  46. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    The problem of repeated lies gaining credibility in the political discussion has been with us for a long time.  North Vietnam's attack on US Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin was a lie that resulted in an escalation of the war (Johnson).  Nixon has a secret plan to end the war.  Sandinista Nicaraugua has communist expansionist goals (Reagon).  These are only a few examples of lies that had political weight.  Suddahm Hussein had weapons of mass distruction and was involved with 911 attacks (GW Bush).  In the US, we are threatened, not by terrorist, but by our polorization and our retreat to communities that support our biases.  The internet has exasperated that trend.  Of course, I have learned a lot that I believe is objective such as on this web site.  If the human tendency is to avoid objective truths and their implications, then we will appropriately pass so the the world (never really threatened) can reevolve without us.  Our only hope with respect to climate change is for the culture at large to recognize that we must limit our emissions to what can be sequestered to avoid adding to the carbon concentration in the atmosphere.  This includes the recognition that that is the source of global warming.  With that recognition, we can build an economy that understands that limit.  We know every year exactly how much over net zero emissions we contribute to co2 buildup by comparing air samples, commonly measure in part per million.  I want people to think of this as a debt.  When we achieve net zero carbon emissions, we will no longer be adding to the debt.  However, the carbon already emitted will continue to cause global warming (reduced ice reflection, increased dark blue ocean heat absorption, melting tundra adding methane GHG, et).  To pay down the debt, we must emit less than can be sequestered by natural or other means.  To pay back this carbon in atmosphere debt, we need to imagine an economy the is net sequestration of carbon (humans emit less than can be sequestered).  Achieving the recognition that carbon buildup in the atmosphere is the source of the problem is a huge cultural we are looking for.  For those that do recognize this, we need to measure our carbon emissions to see how we need to change.  I used figures from IPCC 07 report, posted on this website to determine net sequestration by nature and divided by world population.  To share this fairly, I divided this net sequestration by nature by the world's population to come up with 2.57 tons/person/year to achieve net zero co2 emissions. With this understanding, we have a chance to structure support localling and globally to achieve this standard. Keeping it vauge works for the interest of procrastination and denial.  

  47. Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño

    I have a theory that natural evolution has stopped for mankind. Natural evolution makes sure that only the strongest and smartest individuals of a species survive, creating stronger and smarter offspring. Our civilization however makes it possible for everyone to survive, no matter how stupid they are. Take a primitive society. Any farmer who doesn’t observe the weather and the time of year will sow at the wrong moment and his crops will fail. Any hunter-gatherer who eats the wrong - poisonous - plants will die. Facts are rock-solid for such people. It is ironic that it is our scientifically advanced, highly technological society that allows people to blindly deny basic facts without being “punished” for it by nature.

  48. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Tom Curtis @ 15 I like to get to the heart of the matter and I don't feel like typing pages of notes to justifying my petty technical criticisms. I realize the incredible scientific inferences about reality from the summary statistics you report will easily survive my petty criticisms. I looked at how you calculated your independent variable and the scale on the x axis. Carbon dioxide concentration increased 1.7wpsm in 163 years. Carbon dioxide added 0.01 watt per square meter of radiative forcing every year and controlled 81.1% of the of the earth's air temperature variation for 163 years. And just one watt per square meter of infrared radiation absorbed by this gas can raise the earth's air temperature 0.58oK. None of these inferences conformed to reality. [mod. - Are you suggesting here that every PhD level researcher, every National Academies, and all the most prestigious scientific institutions around the world, all don't understand the basic science on climate change? It's a stunningly audacious statement!] My understanding of the global warming controversy is that the earth controls its own temperature [How? By what mechanism or process does this happen?] and there should not be a correlation between forcing factors and air temperature. That is why in comment 9 I showed how the earth mitigates a 23.5wpsm change in solar radiation power every year. In the comment at 17 I regressed change in carbon dioxide against air temperature and found that temperature explained 58% of the variation in carbon dioxide. But I also regressed air temperature against the change in carbon dioxide and also got an R2 of 58% but the regression results did conform to reality. Returning to your regression the challenge was to figure out how you could you get such a high correlation with annual air temperatures born of chaos with a de dimimus forcing factor and a carbon dioxide sensitivity coefficient 2.951 times higher than the theoretical scientific value. And the answer was obvious. A proxy measure for air temperature was being regressed against another proxy measure for air temperature. But since proxy measures are so bad, why the high correlation. When the ocean temperature is higher less atmospheric CO2 is sequestered from the CO2 created from burning fossil fuel and the parts per million increase for the year is higher than average. This would result in a higher annual increase in carbon dioxide radiative forcing for that year. If the ocean temperature is lower more atmospheric carbon dioxide is sequestered in the ocean and the parts per million increase in the air for the year is lower than average. The result is a decrease in radiative forcing for that year. The physical connection between the two variables could not be closer because the dependent variable is the Global Mean Surface Temperature and 70% of the GMST is sea surface temperatures measured by ship logs and recently by satellites. Finally, why is the sensitivity so high. In a linear regression if I enter the data for the independent variable by one decimal place to small the coefficient will be one decimal place to high. By entering a too low forcing factor for the independent variable you got a too high carbon dioxide sensitivity coefficient. As currently generated it has no scientific meaning. Whatever it is, it shows a relationship between carbon dioxide in the air and sea surface temperatures, which we already know. In order to have the moral force of science for public policy, a quantitative scientific study has to have a rigorous scientific explanation and the summary statistics have to conform to reality.

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] These last two posts read as little more than indecipherable ramblings. Maybe Tom can make sense of it but this activity is very much trying the patience of moderators.

    We encourage substantive discussion on climate matters. Perhaps you can endeavor to organize and present your thoughts in a more coherent manner so that people here can better understand the points you're trying to make.

  49. Trump and the GOP may be trying to kneecap climate research

    Tom be patient with me. I have been working hard on your regression. I have pages of notes to justify my petty criticism of your mistakes. I only sent you those two comments to let you know I was interested. I apologize for not telling you the first note was a comment I sent to an Economist post commenter November 24, and I was not being critical of him. I was just saying I can get the facts. Neither of us knew anything about the annual temperature effect. And it was not until I finished my comment that I realized the magnitude of the annual temperature effect made carbon dioxide less believable. In the comment at 17 using temperatures I calculated that carbon dioxide only accounted for 24.17% of the current temperature trend of 0.0120K per year. Converting to air temperature equivalent radiative forcing to heat both the air and the surface as you introduced adds up to 0.7612wpsm per year. 0.0148wpsm per year divided by 0.7612wpsm per year equals 1.94%. You were trying to augment the carbon dioxide sensitivity coefficient with the heat coming out of the surface that you forgot to put in. Maybe you can give up on this one and credit the other 199.7852watts per square meter attributable to the other forcing factors with heating the surface. The second was a comment I sent to Dan Lashof at the National Resource Defense Council in November of 2012.

  50. Oceans heating up faster now than in the past 10,000 years, says new study


    While the paper summary says the findings support the idea of a global MWP, this only means the data here is consistent with it. This isn't real evidence of a global anything because it is simply of one area. There are many valid studies in that list of "Studies supporting a MWP" on that other website of ill repute, which say their findings support the idea of a global MWP. However, those studies are not put together by anyone I'm aware of. When people do put all the data together (PAGES2K for example) there doesn't seem to be one. Even the MWP that seems to appear in the Northern Hemisphere studies is a pale shadow of what deniers want it to be.

    When I look at the graph of OHC this study presents, it seems to be quite analogous to the same period in Marcott. Although the beginning of the lang slow cool down begins earlier. Granted I'm no scientist but that seems to me to not really support a global MWP or LIA as described by denialists. There is no sudden or pronounced warming or cooling in either period there is just the long term trend (Milankovitch Cycles?) plus noise.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

The Consensus Project Website



(free to republish)



The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps


© Copyright 2016 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us