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Comments 851 to 900:

  1. There Will Be Consequences

    Riduna, great interview particularly the staged press conference. I think America has at least 3 issues flowing from this.

    1) Climate models don't fully include all possible feedbacks and tipping points and are likely to be conservative, that is the message I got.

    Imho probabilities of extremely rapid sea level rise may be small, but given the repercussions are so severe, you have to elevate this low level of risk to something of high level of concern. People in government who don't understand this need to get out of the way.

    2) Who regulates the environment, federal or state agencies? This appears to be at the core of the Trump and Republicans concerns about the issue. I acknowledge its a difficult one, and we have to avoid too much centralised power if possible, however environmental problems do not recognise borders, and this strongly suggests it has to be largely at federal level. This is just the reality of the situation, regardless of ideology.

    3) The election cycle means 4 years of climate progress, 4 years going backwards, rinse and repeat. The problem is these political systems are no longer adequate to deal with large scale, long term multi generational environmental problems. The UK has recognised this, and given over climate mitigation to an independent body, and its probably no coincidence that they have cut emissions significantly, without economic problems. Instead of attacking the EPA in America, it should be strengthened.

    4) The Republcans are very rigid on the climate issue. Sure try to convince them through explaining the Bible would promote conservation, and the security threats posed by climate change, but I don't know if this will do that much. Everyone in the country needs to be telling the Republican leadership that they are simply wrong about environmental issues. Nothing will change until they are under real pressure and are totally isolated.

  2. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    From the Climate Feedback Reviews section of the 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9:

    Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the opinion piece, Polar bears keep thriving even as global warming alarmists keep pretending they’re dying by Susan Crockford, Financial Post, Feb 27, 2018

    Three scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'very low'.

    A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Biased, Cherry-picking, Misleading.

    Review Summary

    This article in the opinion section of Financial Post, written by Susan Crockford, claims that rather than being threatened by declining Arctic sea ice, polar bears are “thriving”.

    Three scientists who reviewed the article explained that this article fundamentally misrepresents research on the topic. The author exhibits poor reasoning in arguing that polar bear population loss projected for 2050 should have occurred already if that science was accurate. Researchers do not ignore the evidence Crockford claims they do, but instead incorporate all published research on polar bear populations. Despite the article’s statements to the contrary, research shows that polar bear populations will struggle as ice-free periods (during which they cannot hunt for food) grow longer.

    Financial Post publishes misleading opinion that misrepresents science of polar bears’ plight, Climate Feedback, Mar 2, 2018

  3. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice


    As has already pointed out to you, Crockford's psuedo-science poppycock has been thoroughly refuted by Dr Shaye Wolf* in:

    Polar Bears at Ground Zero for Climate Change and Climate Science Deniers, Opinion by Shaye Wolf, DeSmog UK, Mar 5, 2018

    Wolf draws from a number of peer-reviewed scieintific studies to rebute Crockford's propaganda.

    *Shaye Wolf, PhD, is the climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. She graduated with a bachelor's in biology from Yale University and received a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology and a master's in ocean sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she examined the effects of ocean climate change on seabird populations.

  4. ImaginaryNumber at 09:25 AM on 11 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    Daniel and Bob, thank you for your comments. I'm no friend of the Heartland Institute, nor generally of those they support. But the skeptics I'm discussing the polar bear issue with don't take kindly to ad hominem attacks. So I was hoping that you at Skeptical Science could help me understand any possible flaws in Susan Crockford's arguments, as they pertain to the paper I linked to.
    Apparently Pagano found that polar bears were sometimes not capturing enough ringed seals to maintain weight. (I haven't read the Pagano study because it is behind a paywall) Crockford wondered why Pagano didn't mention that typically Southern Beaufort Sea polars bears would have an abundant supply of ringed seal pups to eat during the spring of the year, and thus not have to depend on capturing adults. (Crockford provides references for her claim, which I can't verify.)

    Crockford then provides maps showing sea ice thickness for the years under study. These maps seem to show that sea ice thickness just offshore of the Beaufort seas was up to 5 meters thick. I don't know if this ice thickness is typical or atypical for this area? She then suggests that the thick ice played a significant role in forcing the seals to go elsewhere to give birth to their pups, thus creating a local shortage of prey for the polar bears.

    Crockford then goes on to quote other reseachers (Stirling) who found that when they studied polar bears in the 1970s, during years of severe ice the number of ringed and bearded seals fell, and as a result so did the number of polar bears.

    So my questions to you good folk of Skeptical Science are:

    Is Susan Crockford missing critical information that would otherwise explain why some, but not all, polar bears lost weight?

    And, did Pagano overlook any important factors in their study, such as ice thickness?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "I haven't read the Pagano study because it is behind a paywall"

    A full copy of the Pagano paper can be found here.  See for yourself.

  5. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @26

    Yes the enlightenment was very important, and numerous books have been written about it. Sad that America now seems to be going in the other direction. 

    Pinker is indeed more historical in prespective, and I do think it's good to acknowledge the positive achievements of humanity, and that many things have indeed improved. The media does give the opposite impression of course. As long as we have some healthy scepticism on some claims, like eclectics point about how povery is measured, something I have looked into myself. Things have improved overall in this regard, but not quite as much as some people like to claim.

    I do give Pinker top marks for trying to be logical and balanced and avoiding taking a left or right perspective. It gives value and credibility to his work.

    However I see a blunt libertarianism creeping in that I dont entirely like, and which is political ultimately, and it reminds me of Ayn Rand. But Pinker still does better than most in terms of avoiding political bias. 

    There is generational doom mongering, reinforced by a media eager to get attention. An economist pointed out to me theres always an economic crisis somewhere, but the world still moves forwards. I think the truth is in the middle on this sort of thing. The 2008 gfc was still pretty serious, and came close to a catastrophic disaster. It always comes down to  detailed analysis of whats going on, and the best way forwards. Climate and economics are no different in this regard.

    Best book I have read in years: "Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, by N Hariri." Very wry humour and easy to read style. Good bits on the enlightenment, climate and environment.

  6. Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy

    An area of sugar plantation the size of France and Spain is about half the size of the Amazonian Rainforest. There just isn't spare unused land sitting around anymore for biofuels.

    You dont want to be cutting forests down or using arable land that is already cultivated, so sugar plantations will have to be on grasslands.  We end up with less meat consumption which may not be a bad thing. 

    But nobody seems to have a global master plan for best use of land. Market forces are not appropriate in an unusual situation like climate change, and will just lead to destruction of forests.

  7. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    nigelj and eclectic

    Looks like Goldin's book is another one to pick up.  Both articles are very interesting.  Will get back to Pinker.  I have read Shermer's earlier book and should also pick up his new one.

    Will probably summarize my thoughts on Pinker's discussion of climate change once I am finished the full book. 

    My sense is that Pinker is primarily looking back at where we have come from and Goldin is attempting to look at the future.  Obviously not all of man's developments can be attributed only to the Enlightenment but I think what Pinker is saying is that the Enlightenment changed the way we look at the world relying much more on science and reason rather than irrational beliefs (including  religion) and superstition but also a higher respect for human life.  I have not finished the book yet but if he does not credit Darwin's (Wallace) theory of evolution and natural selection with a major influence I would be very surprised. 

    But the facts presented by Pinker about our past are pretty encouraging that we can solve the ones in the future.  I think that every generation has felt that the world is coming to an end.  It is part of our apocalyptic nature I am afraid.  It does not mean that we do not have real problems to solve but I think they can and will be solved (with the only asterisk relating to avoiding nuclear destruction).   

  8. laurencerhunt at 03:49 AM on 11 March 2018
    Scientists have detected an acceleration in sea level rise

    Multiple factors are accelerating, and in some cases, interaction effects could increase the rate of acceleration (e.g., flows of warmer air and sea currents into the Arctic, combined with declining sea ice area, volume and quality, reduced albedo, sunlight penetration into open water, interactions with seabed carbon, etc.). One has to think systematically when making predictions for rate of sea level rise. 

  9. There Will Be Consequences

    If we are going to use the term Ice Age for the icy period between the previous interglacial (the Eemian) which occured about 125,000 years ago and the present interglacial (the holocene) then we must find another term for the two to three million year period in which there have been betwen 30 and 50 cycles of glacials and interglacials (or glacial periods and interglacial periods if you like).  If you want to see why this is important, look at the BBC production Ice Age Giants to see how not using the correct terms confuses the true situation.

  10. Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy

    The holy grail is a cost effective method to turn all the bagass as well into jet fuel.  Sugar cane is a C4 plant which means it can turn much more sin into biomass than C3 plants.

  11. There Will Be Consequences

    The Science Show, broadcast by the ABC on 10 March, includes a ‘must listen to’ segment on climate change – now occurring ten times faster than in nature. It is available here

  12. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @23 , thank you for the suggestion re the Pinker book.  If you are already well into devouring it, then I will first await your summation of the gist of his ideas.  Regardless of whether his ideas for solutions to current problems turn out to be conservative or revolutionary in method, I hope the warmth of your advocacy will provide a worthy distillation of Pinker's thoughts.  We certainly need all the intelligent analysis available.

    The analysis of solutions.  Toujours de les solutions.

  13. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    Norris @23, I had a really good quick read of Pinkers book (I know the owners of the shop) and overall its a good book. I have also read his wikipedia page. Like I said he makes lots of good points, and he is a quality writer. You are mistaking a criticism or two of pinkers book, for a total rejection.

    He is right that human nature is complex, however human nature is not totally genetically determined, and is more of a combination of nature and nurture. Some of his views are a little too libertarian for me, but he talks more sense than many people.

    I'm a supporter of humanism in some respects, and science and I was already familiar with many of his ideas and the history of declining violence.

    I did some psychology at university and I'm familar with ideas about language aquisition. I really like psychology, but a lot of it's still speculative and contentious. Remember this.

    Read this article  Norris, just for the alternative point of view "The limitations of Steven Pinker’s optimism. Ian Goldin questions an oversimplified model for our complex era."

    Pinker and climate change. This is an interesting article: He does indeed push nuclear power, but windpower and battery technology has improved and reduced in price since his article was written. 

    Pinker also says "New fourth-generation nuclear designs, a decade away from deployment, will burn waste from today’s plants and run more cheaply and safely." Now a decade is a long time in terms of the goals of the Paris accord, and you can probably double fourth generation nuclear power to two decades away at least. It's been promised for ages now, and still hasn't materialised.

    However I agree with pinker that linking the climate issue to problems of corporate greed etc (still very serious problems I might add) is probably not the right approach. 

    So yeah it's interesting. Like I said, I'm reading a similar book by Shermer so Pinker will have to wait!

  14. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    nigelj @ 21 and eclectic @ 22

    If you actually want to read a book that makes you feel good about where we have come from (based upon factual statistics and charts) I suggest that you both buy Pinker's book rather than just skimming it at a bookstore. 

    Pinker is ranked by Times and Foreign Policy as one of the world's most influential thinkers.  His book the "The Blank Slate" was a very interesting but challenging book to read on an entirely different topic. 

    Pinker is not a climate scientist (he is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard conducting research on cognition, language and social relations) but has been writing and conducting research for this book for the last three years (this according to Sam Harris).  He clearly has a significant research staff behind him.  If you want backup for statements made in the book, you will get the references in dividends.

    I have now got past Chapter 10 of "Enlightenment Now" where he deals with the environment.  There is not anything in that chapter that I disagree with.  I appreciate on this website that this might not be the strongest incentive to read the book but sKs gets a positive footnote reference in the book.  He clearly is a strong proponent of the future potential of nuclear power as well as other possible solutions.  I do not think any of the main contributors to this website would disagree with his analysis of the problem of AGW.  They may disagree with his suggested direction for solutions, especially nuclear power and the (last ditch) possible solution of climate engineering. 

    But anyone who wants some perspective on where we have come in 250 years thanks largely to the Enlightenment he or she will be in for a very enjoyable and educational read.

    eclectic, I challenge you to read something that is not from some conservative think tank but from a highly intelligent person (clearly left of centre) who is dealing with many issues in this book that affect our world and not just the climate.  I trust you agree there are other issues in this world that we have to consider.  See if your views are not at least modified somewhat after reading this book.  My guess is that you will not take me up on my challenge.  However, I suspect that nigelj will be so tempted.

    To escape the danger of living in an echo chamber we have to challenge ourselves to read things that we might not like but whose thoughts are from rational persons (with no axe to grind) who also backup their factual statements with references.  

    You can disagree with what you take from the facts that Pinker lays out (I challenge you to disagree with his analysis of the facts) but see if you do not somewhat agree with his analysis of where we go from here on both climate change and other areas of human endeavour.

    I personally think that this book will have a major influence on political discourse in America and elsewhere in the world.  You are cheating yourself if you just stand at a bookstore and read Chapter 10.

  15. Digby Scorgie at 10:55 AM on 10 March 2018
    Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy

    SirCharles @1

    I was wondering about that too.  One barrel equals 159 litres.

  16. There Will Be Consequences

    The drought in Syria has been linked to both climate change and their terrible civil war.

  17. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    What Daniel Bailey said.

    FYI, Desmog UK has published another polar bear post, including discussion of Crockford and her credentials.

  18. There Will Be Consequences

    The article claims that the effects of ‘business as usual’ could result in reduction of the human global population. It is likely that this will arise as a result of a combination of factors associated with climate change and SLR including:

    • Increased spread of vectors resulting in more rapid spread of diseases, exacerbated by the effects of heat-waves
    • Reduced capacity to produce and distribute food due to loss of arable land and infrastructure caused by SLR and climate severity.
    • An increase in the incidence of famine and growing inability of the international community to respond.
    • Hostilities and warfare as communities and nations compete for increasingly scare essentials of survival, particularly food and shelter.

    Very early stages of these developments are already in evidence in parts of Africa (S. Sudan warfare, Sahel drought) producing famine conditions. Reduced food crop production due to heat waves, drought and scarcity of water essential for irrigated agriculture is also evident.

  19. Daniel Bailey at 07:32 AM on 10 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    Probably because Crockford's "blog" isn't credible.  Nor, due to obvious entanglements with FF concerns, is she.

    If you care to bring research published in a peer-reviewed journal of some standing, doubtless your contributions would receive a bit more play.

  20. ImaginaryNumber at 06:55 AM on 10 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    As a new poster (I made my first post two days ago, right above this one) I'm wondering if the reason there is no discussion about the recent polar bear studies I linked to is because no one is following this particular blog anymore, or because the issues raised by Susan Crockford are not of interest to this group?

  21. Southern sea ice is increasing

    Argus, you commented that the antarctic has only had low sea ice last year in 2017, and this doesn't constitute  a trend. Fair enough, however the drop in sea ice last year was so dramatic it should count for something, and could be the start of a trend. Only time will confrm this of course.

    Have a look at this graph.

    As you can see in the article above, there are theories on why antarctic sea ice has increased that are compatible with a generally warming climate. Its a sort of anomaly.

    Another example. We also see a few glaciers advancing while most are retreating globally, according to the IPPC. Sceptics somehow bizarely claim this means the climate isn't warming. Surely the obvious rational conclusion is the climate is generally warming, but local weather conditions in a few countries cause some glaciers to advance for a few years. And this is exactly what the science also says.

    Most things point to global warming such as melting ice in the arctic and antarctic continent, global sea level rise, and global temperatures. There are localised exceptions, but there are good explanations for these things.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Please note that Argus has recused himself from further participation here, due to frequent violations of the Commenting Policy here and for running a sock puppet user here in addition to his own.

  22. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Argus @43, the moderator said the antarctic is off topic on this page. I will post a response on the page below.

  23. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    nigelj #39:

    I did not "claim" – I quoted an exact statement from an article, as is evident from both the quotation marks, and from the link.

    You say my "reference is to old data". It is from 2016, and your reference is from 2017. So, in a year my reference is already too old? Is that really how fast the facts are changing? I thought it would take decades, before you could make completely different statements about climate.

  24. There Will Be Consequences

    Nigelj - you forgot the most compelling actual risk of all - unchecked population growty, which could fall under resource limits, but any biologist worth his salt will say then the collapes comes it will be very rapid.

    Still, that's no reason to ignore global warming, and other factors which surely make things worse.

  25. Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy

    A European perspective: According to Index Mundi the worldwide jet fuel consumption in 2012 was 5,381,000 barrels/day. When we believe that sugarcane could yield 2,500 liters of bio-jet fuel per acre of land, then we would need an area of arable land which is at least as large as the whole country Spain to plant enough crops for the annual supply. And when demand for air travel is projected to double in the next 20 years, as the author stresses, we would need an area of arable land which is as large as Spain and France together.

  26. There Will Be Consequences

    However "humanity" faces so many potential risks, I do sometimes wonder if it has a long term future. Climate change, asteroids, resource limits, mad politicians, dangerous cosmic particles, krakatoa size volcanos. Humanity exists on a knife edge.

  27. There Will Be Consequences

    Driving By, interesting theory but maybe, maybe not. I can't see a large drop in population anytime soon. I can't see a global religious war. People don't want global wars as much as in the past,  and even ISIS is hated by most moslems.

    Most population trends have global population peaking at 10 billion around 2100 and then either remaining static or falling but very slowly. It will only fall if family size drops below 2.1 children so this will take time to become accepted I think. Look up population growth on wikipedia.

    So it doesn't look like small population will solve the climate problem. However population growth still has to fall 'eventually', or humanity will simply run out of resources. Its about timing, and I dont think population will start falling until well into next century. That means a long time to live with climate change.

    However humaity faces so many potential risks, I do sometimes wonder if it has a long term future.

  28. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @19 , we should not be too quick to believe that the problem of "extreme poverty" has been almost abolished.

    What has happened in many so-called Developing Nations, is that a large slice of the rural population previously existing as subsistence farmers (and/or hunter-gatherers) is now living in urban slums, in abominable conditions of housing & work-scrounging, yet earning more than the $2 per day (which saves them from being classified as "extremely poor").

    As subsistence farmers, they had zero official income (plus or minus some bartering in the unofficial black economy).

    But, now living in the slums, they have elevated their income from the previously impoverished zero dollars to a much wealthier $2+ per day, and they enjoy the benefits of work-insecurity / unhygienic & polluted working-living conditions / higher crime / and a rather different level of self-esteem.

    They have been lifted out of extreme poverty — according to the economists who like to measure Gross Domestic Product.

    As a society, we don't deserve many pats on the back or other self-congratulations, when it comes to real measures of poverty.

  29. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @19

    Interesting  that you mention Pinker. I happened to have a look through Pinkers book "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" just yesterday in my local bookshop. I confess this is the first time I had heard of the guy.

    I think he "makes some good points" on the case for reason and the decrease of violence etc, and its good to remind ourselves its not all doom and gloom out there, but I was not impressed by the way he dismissed the problem of inequality. But then its a strange world where we agree on absolutely everything.

    And we have to be careful of not congratulating ourselves too much on human progress, and becoming in denial about various problems.  I see  people excuse problems with silly general statements about how things are good in some other area of life. 

    I'm currently reading a similar book called the Moral Arc by Michael Shermer, that also argues violence has decreased and morality has improved (on the whole, some specific aspects have not), and argues very convincingly. And it's more founded in empirical evidence, and is less preachy than Pinker.

    You keep repeating how our progress was fuelled by the cheap energy of fossil fuels. Yes it was but 1) you need to look forwards and recognise the problems with that fuel and 2) wind power is now cheaper than coal and solar power is close. So if you are concerned about cheap electricity, there is your answer.You should at least be supporting that element of progress.

    Finding cheap substitutes for aviation fuel is more challenging, but todays article on this website shows even that is getting closer.

    And regardless of the climate issue, oil and coal is not a sustainable resource. British Petroleum calculates we only have 50 years supplies left, at current rates of use, not allowing for population growth. Global coal reserves are estimated at 150 years.There may be more, but when an oil company starts saying these things it is significant and theres probably not much more left.

    Instead of burning oil and coal, we should conserve whats left for plastics, fertiliser perhaps, and essential and critical uses. 

    I have long been a futurist sort of enthusiast, and read books like limits to growth and future shock when a young teenager over 30 years ago. 

  30. One Planet Only Forever at 16:11 PM on 9 March 2018
    Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures


    Any perceived achievement that is not truly Sustainable is not a Real achievement, it is just a perception, an illusion, a delusion.

    Achiving all of the Sustainable Development Goals is what is required, even if a portion of humanity who temporarily unsustainably won by over-developing in the wrong direction loses their undeserved perceptions of superiority and prosperity when the corrections to sustainably benefit the future of humanity are rapidly implemented as required to minimize the harm done to the future of humanity.

  31. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures


    On another post I indicated that I lugged Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now down to Mexico instead of the Saposky book.  So it was interesting to see Steven Pinker referenced in the Guardian article.  Other than waiting for one final "instalment" on sea level rise from another website before I reply to michael sweet, the other reason for my lack of participation on this website has been reading Pinker's book which is very, very uplifting.   I have not yet reached his discussion of climate change but when I read his descriptions of what we have achieved as a human race over the last 250 years since the beginning of the Enlightenment, I am very interested to see how he will prescribe a solution to our issues presented by AGW which does not "throw the baby out with the bath water" to use an expression I have used on other posts on this website.  I highly recommend the book.  Much easier read than Karl Popper.

    Although I did not get it from this source, this book confirms my reference earlier that in the last 200 years we have reversed the 90/10 ratio when it comes to what percentage of the world now lives in extreme poverty.  He does not specifically reference cheap energy as one of the main reasons but his positive description of the industrial revolution leaves no doubt that he understands that much of our progress has been because of cheap energy delivered by fossil fuels.    

  32. There Will Be Consequences

    Letseee heere. 

    2m of SLR could well put a brake on world population, due to the disruptions involved. There's vast capacity to produce more food, but give the choice, humans will usually create conflict over resources rather than optimizing them.   If some event breaks out which humanity is rather prone to, such as a worldwide holy war which fragments into competing holy wars, the result could be a population decline of {pick a number} %. If that number is 75 or greater, problem solved. 

    If not, the population will continue to increase until it eventually leads to more intense, more destructive wars. Then, problem solved. 

    Earth will be just fine. Humanity will continue to multiply, but perhaps for a while by a factor of less than one.  

  33. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Alchemyst @40

    Thank's for the link on Britains weather trends.

    Firstly with respect its really hard understanding your points at times. Possibly english is your second language. 

    Secondly I want to clear one issue up. You said the article I quoted was misleading.  In hindsight, the title of the article "Arctic warming more than much of europe is a worrying sign of climate change" is not a great title, and is unclear. However that is typical of the media, as  they use clickbait deceptive, silly headlines all the time.

    More importantly, the body of the article was more nuanced and not misleading to me, because they said that the warming arctic was almost certainly a climate change process, and that this "could" be causing the cold weather in Europe. Please note they acknowledged it is simply a hypothesis, and we don't have enough time data yet on recent changes in the Jet stream and arctic oscillation to be sure. But personally I think its a good hypothesis.

    Thirdly regarding your link on Britains cold weather history. I dont dispute its possible that if anything cold snaps like the one in the early 1960's  have lessened over the last century. This is what is expected overall in a warming climate of course. Your linked article is however hard to follow and I'm just assuming its correct in its data.

    Its also entirely possible that sunspots have a relationship to winter weather.

    None of this is the real point. The phemomena in the arctic over the last decade appears to be a great deal of warming and changes to the jet stream and the behaviour of the polar vortex that is all quite recent. This may be now causing a new trend of colder weather periods to start in Europe, so is a recent thing. That was my understanding of the article. Clearly we need years more of data to be sure. It might not cause more cold periods either, and instead the effect may simply be longer ones that linger. 

    But one thing is for sure. The rate of warming in the arctic is very high any way you look at it, and we have seen a few individual years now with very high seasonal temps, and the consequences could be disastrous for the planet.

  34. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Moderator thank you for your comment
    The graph indicates cold weather arriving in Britain, not jetsteram events.
    The tile says "Central England Winter mean temperature 1660- 2013"
    It says nothing of jetsreams so why do you imagine jetstreams.
    Now what it does say is that the knock on from polar warming that is supposedly happening according to the molelers is not happening to the any extent as it did before global warming happened.
    This is what I have been saying all along but somehow you and the bloggers do not seem to have understood it.
    Ah well horses to water is what I say

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] I "imagine jet streams", because that is the topic of this article, the topic the paper referenced and the substance of nigelj newspaper article. As I keep suggesting, you seem to be tilting at another windmill. Similarly, modellers are not much involved. The variability of jetstream is directly observed in recent times and inferred from proxies in past. What modellers do is look at why jet stream variability appears to be increasing. If you do not want to discuss jet stream variability, then you are offtopic.

    Sorry, I think I will make a longer comment to explain my lengthy moderation. It seems to me that if someone made the claim "We are having some extreme weather, and this is a sign of climate change", then your comments would make more sense. But that is not what is claimed. Instead, what has been observed is that jetstream "loopiness" has become more frequent, and incidentally, that brings some kinds of extreme weather (but it is not the only cause). Is this unusual and how do you tell when jetstreams havent been observed for that long? Well someone figured out how to extend the record by using paired tree ring data, and yes, it turns out to be unusual. Modellers meanwhile notice arctic changes give more loopiness in the models. Is this the cause? Well that bit is still uncertain science but what we observe is consistant with it. Discovering that unusual to have loopiness over a 300 year record is reason for concern.

  35. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Nigelj  7:22 am 2 march 2011

    "The article I referenced took no liberties with the data. Climate scientists have apparently postulated that the current cold weather in Europe is related to current high arctic temperatures and jet stream changes thats all. Its quite a good theory. Are you saying they are not entitled to postulate a theory? Remember we have empirical evidence that the jet stream has changed.
    Nobody has claimed all storms in Europe are being caused by recent climate change. The recent warming trend in the artic is probably just making them more frequent or longer lasting, as the changed jet stream lets more cold air move south than normal. This may also have happened in the 1940s and 1960's, but its pretty obvious that higher temperatures in recent decades can only make it happen more frequently now."

    Nigel, please read page 2 of the ref

    In it there is a red graph that shows the 1962 incedent in context with historical events of which there were many at about 12 year intervals.  It also shows that there has been no further similar events in the UK since 1963 date. the graph also show a slight hockey stick. Compared with the pre 1963 events, the 2011 event hardly registered in the graph.

    The argument has not been that the arctic is getting warmer but that this  is affecting western europe. The graph shows clearly that the so called more frequent events are not materialising. this is not computer modelling papers but real measurements. This is not surprising since as the arctic is warming, there is less difference in the temperature between the arctic and europe.

    Please read the document fully as it predates all this new stuff by 4 years, we have seen documentaries about it 

    If you notice a set of headlines is given in another paper on this topic 7 march

    None of the British Papers did the same mistake of DW and linking the Beast from the East to Climate Change, because all of the Brits know that these storms were worse and more frequent before climate change. they have either lived through them or had their grandad/dad tell them and every so often theBBC will have a documentory.

    We have empirical evidence that since global warming these storms are less frequent and milder.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS]" The graph shows clearly that the so called more frequent events are not materialising"

    It does no such thing. You cant make any statement about jetstream variability from one set of temperature measurement.

  36. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Argus  @38

    You claim theres been a steady increase in Antarctic sea ice. Your reference is to old data. The following national geographic article shows antarctic sea ice at record lows in 2017.

    Global temperatures and sea level rise have been incresing for decades, we have seen more heatwaves and heavy rainfall events and so on. The arctic has been warming now for decades, and its not guesswork or belief to suggest this has implications for regional weather.

    Scientists have a good explanation for the changes in agw climate change with over 12,000 scientific papers on the issue, but you  prefer to claim all this science is just a 'belief'. Do you not know the difference between a belief and massive scientific evidence?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] please put any further discussion of Antarctica on an appropriate thread.

  37. Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’

    I have a different take on the situation or rather a different way of thinking about it.  When most of the Arctic is ice covered, as has been often stated, most of the solar energy is reflected back into space. The air over the arctic radiates heat into space, becomes heavy and sinks.  As it hits the ground it spreads south and coriolis veers the moving air to the right resulting in the Polar Easterlies (moving toward the SW).  Air, sucked in to the poles at high altitude is also veered to the right resulting in the mentioned counter clockwise circulation at high altitude.  The air moving along the ground rises again at about 60 degrees north and heads back north at high altitude, completing the circulation of the Polar Hadley cell.  Jet streams occur at the junction between Hadley cells and the northern jet stream occurs at the top of this rising wall of air between the Polar Hadley cell and the Ferrel Cell.  It is this wall of rising air that separates polar air from temperate air and shepherds wether systems around the world.

    As the Arctic Ocean warms due to more and more open water, we should see episodes of rising air over the Arctic.  This should occur when the surrounding land is colder than the ocean.  This will suck surface air northward and with Coriolis, will result in SW winds (flowing toward the North East).  This will suck warm air into the Arctic.  The climate zones which at present are creeping northward at about a mile per year can be expected to lurch northward.  Two results, particularly are of concern.  One is the disruption of our delicately poised grain growing belts in the Northern hemisphere.  The other is the melting of Greenland.  Latent heat from water to water vapor is roughly 6 times as large as from water to ice.  If we have a coupling of rising moist air over the Arctic with density currents over Greenland, every liter of water that condenses on to the ice from this moist air can melt 6 liters of ice.  Add to that the heating of the air as it flows down as much as 3km of slope and we could see some spectacular melting of Greenland in the not too distant future.

  38. One Planet Only Forever at 03:47 AM on 9 March 2018
    Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    A correction of my comment @16 which is an understanding I am still developing:

    "... the math would say that not even one person could live that way through the many millions of years that humanity could potentially thrive on this amazing planet."

    Should be "... the math would say that a sustainable population of humans could not live that way through the many millions of years that humanity could potentially thrive on this amazing planet."

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 03:43 AM on 9 March 2018
    Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    A point of clarification in my comment @16.

    The 'refereeing' I refer to can best be done by Peers effectively responsibly professionally monitoring and correcting each other's behaviour, based on the constantly improved awareness and understanding of climate science (and other important helpful fields of learning). When that professional system breaks down, Harmful Winning Peers can Unite to the significant detriment of Others. And history has proven that those Harmful United Groups of Undeserving Winners can cause significant harm before humanity collectively Revolts against the Winners and the Systems they Exploit.

    It is far better to have Good Effective Refereeing than to let things Devolve into Fighting. Hopefully helpful people will prevail and effectively disappoint the developed harmful perceived Winners. The sooner the better for everyone except the undeserving Winners.

  40. One Planet Only Forever at 03:29 AM on 9 March 2018
    Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    I agree that it is not helpful to use terms and scales like Liberal-Conservative or Left-Right when discussing the type of people denying climate science or the corrections of developed human activity that climate science indicates are required to develop a sustainable better future for humanity.

    The labelling of actions of people should be based on the scale 'Helpful-Harmful to Others, especially to the future generations of Humanity'. And the Sustainability of actions claimed to be Helpful is the way to rank the value of an action (how many people can sustainably live that way).
    On the Help-Harm scale a neutral action would be Zero-Value, Useless (but at least Benign which is better than Harmful). And of course Harmful by that evaluation is simply unacceptable, no matter what attempted justification is developed (no matter how Helpful people who benefit from Harmful or Unsustainable behaviour claim they are). Any activity understandably producing net-harm to others, as the others perceive it, is unacceptable.

    And if an activity is simply unsustainable, like the burning of fossil fuels, the math would say that not even one person could live that way through the many millions of years that humanity could potentially thrive on this amazing planet. Any activity like that is harmful to future generations because they cannot continue to live/benefit that way. And the ones attempting to benefit that unsustainable way owe the future generations the development of more sustainable ways of living and the rapid transition to those ways of living, especially the more fortunate, the ones perceived to be Winning more than others.

    The Sustainable Development Goals establish a robust framework for evaluating how valuable an activity truly is, how Helpful or Harmful the activity actually is.

    What can clearly be seen is that the competition to Win perceptions of superiority relative to others requires diligent refereeing to keep undeserving unsustainable or harmful activities from Winning power, popularity or profitability contests. People being freer to believe whatever they want to believe and doing as they please in pursuit of 'their happiness' can be seen to encourage the development of harmful Private Interest attitudes and desired actions.

    Those unacceptable actions include people with harmful Private Interests attempting to get people who simplistically identify themselves in the Left-Right or Liberal-Conservative scales to unjustifiably or unwittingly Unite in support of understandably harmful Private Interests, to the detriment of sustainably developing a better future for everyone.

  41. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    My summary as a layman of this whole post, with its attached discussion, is as follows:

    We have seen unusual winter weather in several areas this winter: in some places warmer, in other places colder. These variations in temperature, humidity, and wind used to be called weather, but are now increasingly blamed on climate change.

    I think Alchemyst summarized the topic post nicely in #13: "Warm air goes up Greenland - cold air comes through Europe - first law of thermodynamics". The recent cold winter weather is only interesting because it can be discussed in relation to global warming. Nobody writes reports about the unusually cold winters (in northern Europe) of 1867, 1871, 1881, 1888, and 1942, because those cannot be connected to global warming.

    The warmer Arctic is interesting because it rhymes with AGW theories. What about Antarctica then? Not interesting. Near the south pole it's now -45, and that is supposed to be their summer, with the sun up 24/7. "In stark contrast to the sharp decline in Arctic sea ice, there has been a steady increase in ice extent around Antarctica during the last three decades, especially in the Weddell and Ross seas." (

    I can sympathize with Alchemyst's reaction at the end of #37, but I think it is not that "no dissent is tolerated". More likely it is that most writers in this forum are so skilled in advocating the AGW theory that they immediately can jump on any aberrant opinion, fully equipped with diagrams and reports that support their belief.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Alchemyst could rightly argue that the headline in nigelj newpaper article could mislead someone how only read headlines. However, the blog post, the science paper and the substance of the newpaper article were all about the increasing frequency of jetstream variability (climate) and statements that amount to "its been cold/warm before" do not address trend. By all means present dissenting views, but argue against the real premise, not some strawman and present evidence. Ie a real counterpoint is some evidence that similar frequencies of jetstream variability occurred when artic basin had more ice.

    Also note that try to say Arctic seaice loss is okay because something different is happening in antarctica (and you may want to check most recent data) is a logical non-sequitor. Look at what is causing the changes in both places, but argue in an appropriate place.

  42. michael sweet at 21:53 PM on 8 March 2018
    There Will Be Consequences

    According to this science direct article, the interior of Antarcticia receives about 2 inches (5 cm) of precipitation a year.  I presume that is 2 inches of water equivalent of snow.  Although that is not very  much precipitation, since Antarctia is so big it adds up.  This might be from the stratosphere but that is not mentioned.

  43. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    It seems to me life is indeed about change. Society needs to experiment and put change first, because without this we stagnate, nothing really improves, and humanity can become overwhelmed by change that is forced upon us by external circumstances.

    But we need the wisdom to not discard tradition without plenty of thought, because traditional values are obviously not always inherently wrong, and served a purpose appropriate to their time. 

    Its also an aging thing. I have always been symapthetic to new ideas, but become a bit resistant to change as I have become older.

    Moderate conservatism values tradition. But I think the Republican Party hierarchy has sadly essentially become ultraconservative for whatever reason. Unfortunately radicals and authoritarians are ruling America, no doubt driven by a complex confluence of factors. But unless the general public say stop, it will continue. 

    "Only Six Percent Of Scientists Are Republicans: Pew Poll"

    Factotum says "And it is why conservatives really are anti science. By definition they are anti new."

    There might be something in this. It's sad if thats the case, but its hard to argue against the data.

  44. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    The Republican / Conservative party is the party of DEATH!!

    But first a definition: CONSERVATIVE:
    adjective 1. holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
    synonyms: traditionalist, traditional, conventional, orthodox, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, hidebound, unadventurous, set in one's ways;

    noun 1. a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.
    synonyms: right-winger, reactionary, rightist, diehard;

    LIBERAL: tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition

    I have found that, almost without exception, stupid is a word that has almost no meaning other than being a bit mentally slow. But this does not include those who destroyed the space shuttle in the same way as they did the Columbia, or Donald Rumseld who got us involved in the ongoing expensive mess that is Iraq, thus showing that they learned exactly nothing from our adventures in Viet Nam. So I define STUPID as being unwilling or unable to learn new stuff. Note how this fits with the definition of Conservative above.

    As nouns the difference between conservative and conservation is that conservative is a person who favors maintenance of the status quo or reversion to some earlier status while conservation is the act of preserving, guarding, or protecting; the keeping (of a thing) in a safe or entire state; preservation.

    Life is all about change. Systems and people that can change and adapt to a changing environment thrive. The only things that do not learn and change are dead. In order to live and thrive in fast changing environments, like the one in which we live, requires the ability to quickly learn new stuff about the environment, like Anthropological Global Warming, as opposed to living in denial.

    I hope this makes it clear why getting conservatives to learn new stuff is so hard.  And why less than 10% of scientists identify as conservative or republican.   Scientists are people who spend their entire lives working with new stuff.  That is anathama to almost all conservatives.  And it is why conservatives really are anti science.  By definition they are anti new.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Crossing the line.

  45. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    Point of clarification: we are allowing the misuse of the term "Conservative." Today's Republicans are anything but conservative, they are on the opposite end of the political spectrum- they are "radicals." (The opposite end of the spectrum for Liberalism is Authoritariansim. Republicans are working very hard to undo the gains achieved for fairness and equal treatment in our society. I think it just confuses the picture when discussing those who accept science vs. those who live by willful denial.

  46. What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    my initial comment was against a newspaper article that nigelj quoted. and as you would have read my comments. 

    It has had nothing against the main article. So please do not try and divert the point of my comment.

    The headline is what people remember and it is misleading.

    It is extraordinary that to raise a sinle error on a websit has raised so much opposition.

    It would bring one to the conclusion that no dissent is tolerated.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] And my second quote was also from the newspaper article that nigelj quoted which explained that it was about trend. My moderation though was about trying to get you to be more explicit about what point you were trying to make instead of having everyone guess because it appeared you were tilting at windmills.

    [JH] Moderation complaint snipped. 

  47. There Will Be Consequences

    Snowfall rates are low, but I think it reasonably likely that snow falls somewhere in Antarctica every day, especially on margins and especially on Antarctic Peninsula. Total ice discharge from Antarctica is well ahead of the estimates of mass loss so I think it is reasonable to assume the difference is snowfall.

  48. Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’

    Thank's for that explanation. While It probably needs more time to be 100% sure, I think it would be stupid to underestimate or dismiss the scale of changes we are seeing in the arctic, and the implications for weather events.

    A related thing is now happening in New Zealand but in reverse. NZ is currently experiencing what is likely to be its hottest summer on record. According to the article below this is due to a combination of climate change, a la nina weather event, and a positive phase of the SAM (southern annular mode) which is apparently a measure of the strength of the Antarctic polar vortex, and which tends to cause warm weather for NZ when in a positive phase.

    I'm not aware of the vortex splitting in two but the boundary winds are shifting and causing a warming effect.

    According to the article, climate scientists have singled out climate change as being a big driver of an increasingly positive SAM. I'm on a bit of a learning curve with the details of the SAM, but I thought it was worth mentioning as it mirrors events in the arctic in some ways. Like with the arctic it may need more time to be 100% sure, but it would be very foolish to be complacent or dismissive.

  49. There Will Be Consequences

    "It snows in Antarctica....every day...." Huh?? I was under the impression it rarely snows, Antarctica is the driest continent. Most of the 'snow' is supposedly ice crystals that drift down from the stratosphere. 

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  50. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    James Wight @11

    Thanks for the comment, and I agree with much of what you say now that you have clarified it. It initially has some mixed messages on where you were going.

    I still think its important acknowledge Obama tried to do the right thing in many respects and was clearly doing better than the current administration. Remember he was up against a republican congress that was extoradinarily hostile to him.

    However I agree Obama fell short of the ideal on many things, and you make a good point that the situation can create a false sense of security that enough is being done. This includes the climate issue because the only substantive federal policy was really the EPA legislation and this was more their doing than Obamas. I pretty much said so myself above in saying that only when the Democrats take a stronger stand on the climate issue will things move forwards, and they will start to give the Republicans a scare on the issue and force them to move.

    The TPPA is far from dead. Its been given a slightly different name and approved in principle, and it only remains for individual countries to make a final decision on whether they join.

    I live in New Zealand, and I support such agreements like the TPPA in principle. As a small nation we benefit massively from free trade and I think America would have as well.

    Having said that, I was a vocal critic of the agreement in respect of the details and the investor tribunals precisely because they hamstrung governments, however my country was able to modify this provision to some extent. I can live with the TPPA in its revised form.

    And its important to ensure the benefits of free trade are spread widely, and not captured by the top 10% in society. But that sort of corporate capture does not make free trade wrong in principle, and the last thing the world needs is bringing back tariffs and trade wars.

    You say "The difference between Democrats and Republicans is at best quantitative, and at worst good-cop-bad-cop. I don't particularly blame Obama as an individual any more than I blame Trump for the policies being implemented now. I'm saying that voting for the other party won't solve the climate problem, because both parties are controlled by the same corporate interests including the fossil fuel lobby."

    I hear where you are coming from. I think the democrats need to face some realities and deserve some robust criticism. Hilary Clintons policies were just barely "ok" overall, and certainly almost non existant on climate change. However if you put the boot into the Democrats too much, it could have the reverse affect of what you want.

    And I disagree about Trump. He is the author of many of the policies now being implimented. People need to fight this sort of policy every way they legally can.

    How do you suggest the excessive power of the corporates over politics gets changed?

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