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Comments 51 to 100:

  1. Climate's changed before

    The "science" statement here seems incredibly overly bold and lacking in sufficient supporting scientific corroberation.

    "GHGs, principally CO2 have controlled most major climate changes"?

    That seems like quite a leap of faith. It seems like changes in solar behavior, volcanism, impacting comets and meteors, seismic activity, and who knows what else would be tough to rule out.

    The accompanying video appears to address a strawman argument in that skeptical references to prior climate change, specifically warming are not to argue that "therefore current warming must also be natural" but rather that it may be natural, or at least mostly natural.

    On the skeptics' side an opposing science versus myth scenario plays out, where an AGW argument is offered that "it must be anthropogenic since the current/recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude and/or rate." Well, that just isn't true, is it?

    The claim appears to assume high confidence in our understanding of all the various ocean systems' natural heat cycles with periods ranging in scale from decadal, to multidecadal, to century scale, and millennia scale. But aren't we now just beginning to learn about the various systems and cycles of ocean heat transport?

    The science claim appears to also assume high confidence in our understanding of various natural albedo cycles and feedbacks, and also of multiple cyclic and random solar behavior, and also geomagnetic influences.

    If Earth's natural climate response includes a combination of various natural cycles of various periods, then shouldn't we be having a very careful comprehensive look to identify ALL of such cycles, and then very thoroughly analyze ALL of them jointly rather than just dismiss each in turn for failing to fully cause recent observed behavior?

    How do we know that what we've recently witnessed in the observed temperature record isn't mostly just the result of a so-called perfect storm scenario, a coincidence of multiple cyclic peaks? If we cannot know that, then how can we know that equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 isn't a benign or even beneficial 1.5°C, not the claimed 3°C?

    That is the point of referring to proxy temperature records that indicate greater magnitudes of temperature and greater rates of temperature change. It is to say, hold on amigo, maybe we best not jump to such a bold conclusion prematurely; cause there's likely a lot we still don't know concerning climate, and so shouldn't we take some more time to be sure we comprehensively understand nature before calling the international 911 climate change SWAT team?

    It appears to me that this particular myth-busting is premature.

    The next 20-30 years of observations may prove highly informative, one way or the other.  If needed, we can pretty easily pump aerosols into the atmosphere while we ramp up nuclear power plants and renewables.  No?  

    Party on and be excellent to each other my brothers! And sisters, if there be any of the finer gender here. :)

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Please look at articles under the "arguments" to understand why the statement is soundly based in scientific observation and not a leap of faith. Better still, try reading the IPCC WG1 report to understand what the science actually says. Uninformed statements about what you presume science assumes do not helpful to any discourse. You would see that the science has actually carefully examined all known influences on climate and quantified these with error bars.

  2. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    Looking at the chart of wildfires in the article, there appears to have been a step change in 1999. I wonder why? It does roughly coincide with the huge 1998 el nino, although that was just one year.

  3. Like health care, climate policy could tip elections

    Some polling of interest: : "Around 4 in 10 approve of the way the president (Trump) is handling immigration (39 per cent approve), foreign trade (39 per cent approve) and foreign affairs (36 per cent approve)." Interestingly, the president's climate-change denialism is especially unpopular; only 31 per cent approve of his handling of environmental policy."


  4. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    In the last summary list, shouldn't the "MW" be "GW"?

  5. Corals are resilient to bleaching

    Ps can anyone help me with an argument related to the above article in #33? I quoted Hughes as saying the following:

    La Niña periods today are actually warmer than El Niño periods were 40 years ago.

    The fellow with whom I’m arguing says in response to this:

    BS. Here you can see the ENSO data going back seventy years and the zero degree anomaly line hasn’t changed at all. For your “expert” to be right, it would’ve had to have gone up by two degrees Celsius.

    He also says:

    Your problem is that ocean warming is far less than amospheric warming - and it is mostly at high altitudes. But yet somehow it is responsible for bleaching at mid altitudes.

    I‘m in over my head as usual, but this guys *rules* the climate discussions in an FB group of over 30,000 people. If he is wrong - and I’m guessing he is - I’d really like to prove it.







  6. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Humanity's fatal flaw may be greed. If we do not gain control of that basic flaw, I fear we are a dead end species. This flaw is most visible in our constant references to "economic growth" as the reason for not taking effective action on climate change. Should humanity not survive as a species, life on this planet will suffer cataclysmic consequences such as the meltdown of over 400 nuclear reactors as well as the release of all stored nuclear material. The climate will continue to deteriorate beyond our demise. The surviving life forms, if any, are beyond my ability to describe.

  7. Corals are resilient to bleaching

    NYT has a hard-hitting report, linking to a new study from Hughes et al:

    Global Warming’s Toll on Coral Reefs: As if They’re ‘Ravaged by War’

  8. Like health care, climate policy could tip elections

    The results would have likely been much greater if there had been an even playing field in many US states.

    Due to GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression Democrat candidates oftern start with a -8 point deficit in many districts. This can really been seen at the state level in the popular vote compared to the election results.

    I think it was Wisconsin where 53% of voters cast their ballots for Democrat candidates and only 45% for GOP candidates. Yet the Democrats only won 34% of the state senate seats and the GOP won 64% with independents making up the balance.

    There is actually far more support for socially and environmentally sustainable policy in the US that is marginalized by GOP tactics at multiple levels.

  9. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    "All State Governments need to consider appropriate legislation to provide for orderly recovery and disposal of many millions of solar panels in an eco-friendly manner. Who will be responsible for paying for retrieval and recycling of this material – or that used for wind turbines made obsolete by advances in technology? There are going to be a lot solar panels, possibly over 100 million spread over the countryside by 2025."

    This is a really important point, solar and other renewable energy production shouldn't just be as low carbon as possible, it should have the least waste stream possible.

    Solar panels can be designed to be recycled at the end of their decades long lifespan and perhaps having a deposit attached to each panel would encourage as many people as possible to turn them in for recycling at the end of their useful life.

    Recycling solar panels in 2018

    The issues we now all face go far beyond fossil fuels forced climate change, it is now essential that all our activities be sustainable on a long term basis.

  10. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    nigelj @7

    I think that sums it up well.

    When you look at how much money, time and innovation has gone into developing the capability by the fossil fuel sector to go after increasingly hard to access hyrocarbons like tar sands bitumen, gas and oil in rock formations that need to be fractured and oil in reserves thousands of feet under the ocean, it would have been far more efficient, sustainable and ethical to put all of that into energy resources that do not present the harzards of fossil fuels.

    It has been a conscious decision by those at the top of the coal, oil and gas corporate hierarchy to maintain their dominance in energy production no matter the externaized costs.

  11. A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream: what it is, how it works and how it is responding to enhanced Arctic warming

    The flash (.swf) movies in this article do not work (for me). My browser refuses to load them as this website uses the HTTPS protocol and the .swf files are to be loaded over the HTTP protocol; their URL starts with "http://". For safety the browser refuses to embed not-secured obects in a secured page. I hope this helps.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Try it now.

  12. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Also see this article in Renew Economy

    => Australia in midst of $20 billion wind and solar investment boom

  13. Like health care, climate policy could tip elections

    The way I see it you have a core group of Republicans who basically reject the whole idea of universal healthcare in principle, they reject publicly funded social security and they are deeply opposed to taxation and government regulation of business and environment. All the evidence points this way because they undermine all these things as much as they can get away with . It's the unfortunate Ayn Randian underbelly, and it mixes ideology and greed together.

    Whats more it was not always this way, not to this degree: Article on how the GOP has come to reject environmentalism and a rules based approach to environmental concerns.

    This group wield power. Republicans have gerrymandered election districts, and used scaremongering to get their way, and then there is the influence of corporate money in politics. They have ignored the views of the public, where the majority want some form of universal healthcare, a carbon tax etc. Polling clearly shows this, so to me the Republicans are being utterly undemocratic.

    So you have the republicans holding the country as a hostage. What makes it particularly galling is the lack of logic of many of the Republican ideas and their dismissal of evidence and science based policy.

    Like you say the Democrats have tried compromise and have tried being nice and have been walked over. One cannot blame them for taking a stronger position and it will force the Republicans hand.

    However governments can't fix every problem in society so pick your causes logically, and the Republicans are not wrong on every issue, for example it doesn't make sense to let just any immigrants into the country, or uncontrolled numbers (although I personally favour immigration for all the usual reasons). Democrats need to avoid the temptation to oppose every Republican idea, just for the sake of payback. But good article.

  14. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Doug C @6, yes the main reason for lack of action on climate change is an underhanded, irresponsible denialist campaign on unprecedented scale. This has clearly worn people down.

    Not only was the ozone issue based on scientific evidence like the climate issue,  it has an international agreement (The Montreal Protocol) and used similar regulatory and cap and trade mechanisms as recommended for the climate problem but the scheme for ozone was robust. Therefore what sets things apart is the size of the denial campaign.

    The refrigeration industry is small and has limited lobbying power. Governments stood up to the ozone industry with a robust cap and trade scheme but not the fossil fuel industry and its hard to escape the conclusion its their lobbying power and campaign donations.

    But there are other significant differences. Developing alternative products was easier with the ozone industry. However the fossil fuel industry like the oil producers could have developed alternatives but have refused to, apart from some window dressing. They have not really even tried and have effectively said the whole thing is someone elses problem.

  15. One Planet Only Forever at 02:17 AM on 12 December 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    nigelj @10,

    Self-Interest is not a problem. Everything that happens is the collective result of everyone's 'self interest', the result of what everyone perceives and chooses to believe and do.

    Greed is the problem. Greed is the pursuit of self-interest in ways that are potentially harmful to others (from the perspective of developing a sustainable better future for humanity). Pursuers of greed act in understandably harmful incorrect ways, self-interested ways that are contrary to achieving collectively understood good objectives like the Sustainable Development Goals (and they will rationalize their self-interested justifications).

    And one the the things the greediest have learned to do is to attract the support of people who have other incorrect self-interests that are not in conflict with their own self-interests.

    Greedy people can often be relied upon to support each others greedy pursuits as long as they do not infringe on each other's potential for benefit (the honour among thieves thing, and the horse-trading that can happen in places like the USA Senate and House to get things that have a fundamentally understood incorrectness about them passed with bizarre and understandably unjustifiable additional requirements as part of the original incorrect thing).

    When the collective of greedy people is not able to win their ways, as was the case that has been developing in the USA, the greedy have sought out other Allies.

    The tribally intolerant are an easy fit with the greedy. It can cost a greedy person very little to get the support of a tribally intolerant person (just costs them their humanity - which they may not value anyway). And a tribally intolerant person can be easily impressed into supporting any influence on leadership that appears to get them the harmful understandably incorrect (from the perspective of developing a sustainable better future for humanity) leadership decisions they want.

    That marriage of incorrectly developed self-interests (a United diversity of greed and intolerance supporting each other's understandably harmful and incorrect claims), can be understood to be the most damaging types of developments humanity has ever allowed (it is what the authors of the USA Constitution were trying to govern and limit). And it is the result of humanity collectively failing to limit or govern what happens, allowing each individual harmfully incorrect self-interested belief or action to be gotten away with.

    What can be seen then, is that a diversity of socioeconomic political systems can develop leadership that is influenced or controlled by people who have understandably incorrectly pursued wealth and influence and who incorrectly act to protect their undeserved damaging perceptions of superiority relative to others.

    Socioeconomic-political systems that allow understandably incorrect self-interests to participate in competitions for superiority can then be understood to be the root of the problem. Accepting the Sovereignty of those type of people when they gain control of a nation, and negotiating with those type of people has a history of allowing greater harm to occur before effective corrective actions are taken.

    Will collective humanity let the collective of the current understandably incorrect leadership in the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait (and apparently also Australia) get away with an incorrect global declaration regarding the corrections that climate science has exposed are required? Or will collective humanity more aggressively push for improved awareness and understanding to rule contrary to incorrectly developed self-interests?

    Those questions need to be asked by everyone and be answered by every wealthy powerful person.

  16. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    The title of the topic includes Trump, so it in fact is political.  In simple terms, US politics is driven by lobbying, less by voters. If we end up with public figures saying these things, their lobbyists paid more and their party manipulated votes more than the corresponding environmental lobbies in the Democrat camp. You have to play the politcs to get investment in environment restarted. This will be post 2020. Perhaps not till 2022.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] I agree that topic does lend itself to politics, but the post was about what the science says in sharp disagreement with what politicians are saying. It should not be treated as an open invitation to discuss USA partisan politics unless it is about the science discussed in article. Moderating these topics is difficult but the aim here is keep the discussion about climate science and on topic.

  17. Why does CO2 cause the Greenhouse Effect?! | Climate Chemistry

    Missing link within #23.

    (which can be more readily calculated)

  18. Why does CO2 cause the Greenhouse Effect?! | Climate Chemistry

    dkeierleber @22,
    (Sorry that this is a bit backwards in replying to your comment from the bottom paragraph up.)
    I would agree with your final paragraph except to add that it concerns "the" greenhouse effect, thus it is talking about the Earth. Thus the major "physical processes" warming "the air" are Surface Radiation (396), Latent heat from Evapo-Transpiration (80), Incoming Solar Radiation (78) and Thermals ie heated by conduction fron the surface rather than "convection" which is how it is transmitted through the air (17).

    So in this context, the quote in the second-last paragraph from pp15-16 of Randall (2012) is saying that the vast majority (86%) of the heating experienced by the atmosphere originates from the surface. Most of this (70%) is due to radiation absorbed by GHGs.

    The p25 quote in your 6th paragraph is only making explicit that the largest non-radiative part of atmospheric warming/cooling is evaporation which thus provides a balance (14%) to the net radiative flux. (The presence of the Trenberth Global Energy Flows diagram on p24 makes plain this meaning.)
    trenberth energy balance

    The second quote from p25 is trying to say that there will be small amounts of this energy-transferred-that-result-in-a-local-heating-of-th-air which is then transfered away as warmth within air movements, its movement thus cooling some locations (that lose warmed air) and heat other locations (that recieve warmed air), "like the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in a building." The point made is that such processes are small relative to the radiative fluxes.

    Moving up to your 5th pargraph, the numbers you present are seen in the Trenberth diagram. But when @14 I called the absorption/emission of photons "rare," this was in slightly different terms, not energy as in Trenberth but as number-of-events. Consider that the energy held by a photon is inversely proportional to its wavelength. Thus a photon from the sun will be 30-time more energetic than a photon from the atmosphere. So the ratio of photons will not be 333/160 = 2 but 333*30/160 = 60.
    And it was this sort of number I am describing when I say "the emitting/absorption of photons are a rare events and most absorbed photons will become added to the energy in the gas rather than being immediately emitted as another photon." This is because the average time taken to re-emit a photon is very long relative to the time a CO2 molecule has before it collides with another air molecule. We are talking parts of a seconds to emit a photon from a vibrating CO2 molecule at 15 microns (see Blauer et al (1973) p48) relative to parts of a microsecond between collsions (which can be more readily calculated).

    In your 4th paragraph, your reasons for "not buying" do not appear sensible. The first quote you make from p125 Siegel & Howell (1971) concerns photon absorption/emission and so do not concern the transfer of vibrational energy to/from other molecules. The three modes of gain/loss listed are 'spontaneous' (a photon emitted from an excited state) 'induced' (ditto but caused by a passing photon) and 'absorbed' (the capture of a photon causing an excited state or as on p128, "The absorption of a photon can cause a transition of some state of the atom or molecule to a state of higher energy.") The second quote in paragraph 4 is stating that only descrete wavelengths can excite a molecule, "bound-bound" meaning that the energy involved is not enough to rip electrons from the molecule.

    In paragraphs 2 & 3, I see descriptions of doubt rather than reasons for doubt.

    The first paragraph considers the GH-effect of Venus and is probaly best answered by this SKS post.

  19. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

    I suspect the informal article with the jacket analogy, the intermediate article and the video all help resolve any confusion for most people. Actually seeing pyrgeometers measuring downward infra-red radiation adds to the knowledge of how we know. Intuition can be more important to non-experts than logic. On which subject, the intermediate page is very good, but my intuition tells me that a big atmospheric window from 10 to 13 µm should allow more than 40 Wm¯² of surface radiation (about 10% of it) to directly escape to space. What's the best way of doing that calculation?

    Maybe rather than starting with the overall behaviour, it is good to show that each component in the system is behaving according to physical laws. Would presenting the simple equations for conduction and for radiation help, as it would clarify that heat transfer is proportional to temperature difference in the case of conduction, but not in the case of radiation? Some people seem to disbelieve Stefan-Boltzmann, asserting that an object somehow knows it should cease to radiate towards a warmer object.

    Anyway, I wanted to mention to more 'grey literature' online resources helping to clarify the confusion, rather than textbooks. Science of Doom provides basics (mentioned in response to 1494) for those willing to go through them, but goes beyond them: here's a 2017 challenge to anyone arguing against the greenhouse effect on thermodynamic grounds: explain your own view numerically.

    More simple, intuitive understanding of the principles is provided by Eli Rabbett's Green Plate Effect. In particular, here's a video by izen.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Thank you. Those are all good resources.

  20. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    nigelj @4

    The main reason that nothing real has been done for decades in many juridictions as I see it is pure corruption. The fossil fuel lobby pays millions to fund a massive disinformation campaign that is then used as a wedge by politicians they also pay huge amounts of money to who keep implementing policies that prolong fossil fuel use well past the danger zone of catastrophic impacts.

    In some ways the CFC issue was simpler, but it was still based on the evidence presented by scientists of the necessity to phase out CFCs for the protection of humans and natural ecosystems. Scientists have been making the same case with close to the same amount of certainty with fossil fuels and climate change for decades and we get international agreements to limit carbon dioxide pollution based on this science that are essentially meaningless. The same didn't happen with CFCs, we had an international agreement and it was a followed.

    We have alternatives to fossil fuels and every year they become more and more viable. And still far too many policy makers are pretending the existential threat posed by fossil fuel use doesn't even exist. And there seems to be no professional and personal cost to them in doing so.

  21. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    And of course the ozone and tobacco issues didn't become so politicised as the climate issue. Once things become politicised and tribal this slows down progress but this appears to be strongest in America and Australia (ironically). 

  22. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Doug C @3

    Good points. Efforts to fix the climate problem are painfully slow while we have generally done better with things like the ozone hole and tobacco. The question is why? Here are a few ideas:

    The ozone issue raises the big scary cancer word that gets people attention, and it affects them directly while the climate problem is just perceived to be that little bit further in the future and so easier to ignore. This is frustrating because climate change is so obviously a much greater problem.

    The science for the ozone hole was simpler, and so less easy to cast doubt on that the climate issue. There was a denial campaign from industry but not on anything like the scale of fossil fuels. There were alternative products easily enough available, and the whole thing only affected refrigeration.

    The tobacco issue is a different sort of thing. They are absolutely life threating while the climate problem is more nuanced and complex to grasp, although ultimately a much greater problem because of the range of issues and it affects everyone. However it actually took years before people realised the problems of tobacco and there were years of industry denial before anything was really done and years more before numbers of smokers really fell.

    Tobacco taxes were not exactly popular. And the tobacco issue only affects smokers where fossil fuel use basically affects everyone thus the greater resistance to change.

    None of this  excuses for our poor response to climate change, but it does suggest we might get there eventually, haltingly. I don't see anything fundamentally different with the climate issue and the other issues, it just seems a matter of degree of differences between the factors involved.

  23. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    I also think what's going on with these emissions targets is largely a dodge or an outright scam and has been for decades. There's been talk about the need to control carbon dioxide emissions with growing force since the late 1980s when the first Earth Summit took place. In Rio in 1993 I think this was reiterated and 4 years later in Kyoto there was a firm agreement by most nations that it was critical to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to stave off significant impacts. That was over 20 years ago.

    And emissions have kept going up, few nations honored their Kyoto commitments and this is still going on. New Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau made a firm commitment in 2015 to reduce our emissions here and they still remain some of the worst in the world per capita and the uproar in Canada at the moment isn't the existential crisis presented by unmitigated climate change caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels. It's how we're not building enough pipelines to get millions of barrels of tar sands bitumen to market each and every day. And creating the necessary infrastructure to keep the bitumen flowing for decades essentially ensuring that the worst case scenarios of catastrophic climate change really do happen.

    We didn't allow this kind of recklessness with CFCs, there was agreement for an international moratorium that was carried through on. We've limited then phased out things like asbestos mining and manufacturing, controlled access to tobacco products and have strict restrictions on advertizing in many places. Thalidimide isn't perscribed to expecting mothers and the list goes on and on.

    And yet we keep sitting back and allowing phony emissions targets and meaningless international agreements to dominate the production, sale and burning of substances that are rapidly making the entire Earth unlivable for ours and many ofhter species. When we've had alternatives for years like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, nuclear and more.

    We don't need emissions targets, we need need binding agreements to phase out fossil fuels on strict timetables that stop giving the sector all the room it needs to fudge the numbers and actually increase production at our expense.

    There needs to be zero investment in products that are more destructive conbined than all those other toxins like tobacco, DDT, thalidimide, abestos etc... Fossil fuels are poison for the entire planet, policy needs to reflect this.

    Anything that is going into fossil fuel development instead of renewables like solar and wind isn't just a waste, it is self destructive.

  24. But their Emails!

    This is JP66 just saying I can't discuss the issue because my login keeps getting deleted which, by the way, doesn't happen on the "anti" sites when you oppose their view point.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Because you were on multiple occasions unable to comport your comments with this venue's Comments Policy, and because you previously voluntarily ceded any claim to posting any further comments here, your wished were honored and your posting privileges were rescinded, Mr Peck:

    "I will never post here again because it is apparent this site is against discussion"

    The commenting privileges of your other sock puppet account were also removed, as was those of this one.

    Moderation complaints snipped.

  25. Skeptical Science Study Finds 97% Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming in the Peer-Reviewed Literature

    Where is the summary of the data by research category?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Everything should be summarized and linked to from here

  26. Why does CO2 cause the Greenhouse Effect?! | Climate Chemistry

    I think spectral broadening increases the warming. I mentioned it because focusing only on the lack of water vapor on Mars begs the question of Venus which also lacks appreciable water vapor.

    Thanks to everybody for the kind feedback. I think I owe a response. I’ve been working on an online course for engineers on the science of global warming. I think the A/E community is already being impacted by changes and, being a sometimes pretty conservative group, engineers could use some exposure to this material. I want to be explicitly correct in everything I write. So if it seems like I’m a troll running a gotcha game, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m trying to construct a narrative that informs an audience that may be more knowledgeable than I am in thermodynamics, energy transfer, and quantum mechanics. I’m a retired structural engineer and my one online course is Wood Connections for heavy Snow Loads so I’m well outside my career field.

    In my course material, I wrote, “When an emitted photon of long wave radiation (LWR) is intercepted by a molecule of a greenhouse gas (GHG) the molecule will absorb the photon and be raised to a more energetic state. The excited molecule may then bump into other molecules, thereby raising the temperature of the air, or it may re-emit a photon of LWR to return to its base state.” But, after reading the Pierrehumbert explanation of frequency bands and the quantum nature of excitation states in GHG molecules, I began to wonder if what I wrote was correct and how well I really understood the physics. By now I’m questioning the wisdom of venturing into the submicroscopic realm but, at least for my own edification, I’d like to understand the details of what really happens. Thus far I’m frustrated by easily understandable descriptions of what happens in the quantum mechanics constrained absorption of a photon while similarly detailed explanations of the other end of the process seem elusive. At the risk of sounding impertinent, any information given without a reference is taken with a grain of salt.

    I’m still not buying the transfer of energy residing in the vibration of chemical bonds to the kinetic energy associated with molecular collisions. From the 1971 NASA paper on thermal radiation heat transfer, Chapter 4, “Microscopic Basis for Gas Properties” we find, “Neglecting scattering, the gains or losses are due to spontaneous emission, induced emission, and absorption.” And, “…the discrete transitions result in absorption of photons of only very definite frequencies… Hence this process is termed line absorption. Because both the initial and final states of the atom or molecule are discrete bound states, these energy changes between states are called bound-bound transitions.”

    I’m also unsure about the statement that photon emission is a rare event. It accounts for 333 W/sq meter of energy absorbed by the surface of the Earth compared to 160 W/sq meter absorbed by the surface from incident solar radiation.

    At the macroscopic level, I recently found, “Overall, considering both solar and infrared radiation, the atmosphere is radiatively cooled. The radiative cooling is balanced by the latent heat released when the water evaporated from the ocean recondenses to form clouds.” And, “Atmospheric processes convert a small portion of the thermodynamic energy into the kinetic energy of atmospheric motion.” David Randall, Princeton Primers in Climate, Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate, p 25.

    From the same source, pp 15-16, “Roughly speaking, the atmosphere is ‘heated’ by contact with the boundary; the heat enters directly into the base of the troposphere. In response, the troposphere churns like a pot of water on a stove, as buoyant chunks of air break away from the lower boundary and float upward, carrying energy (and other things) with them. The upper-level air is cooled by emitting infrared radiation to space.”

    I’m waiting for delivery of another volume in the Princeton Primer Series but, so far in my mind, the picture that’s emerging is that the greenhouse effect is due to the back radiation of energy that raises the temperature of the Earth’s surface. The air is warmed by physical processes (convection and evapotranspiration). Global warming increases the back radiation from higher concentrations of GHGs.

  27. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    Ok....I learned my lesson: no more illustrating absurdity by being absurd.  Instead, a question: Why is this chart presented as factual when it is entirely hypothetical?  I would ask for the data, buit since it is hypothetical, it is, therefor, based on assumptions that I am not interested in.

    absurd chart

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] The source of the chart is stated beside it and methodology can be found there. An assessment of wildfire without climate change is self-evidently a model output. Please desist from strawman arguments. You can find more about how such assessments are made in the source or for instance here.

    [DB] Reduced image width.  There's no need to repeat the posting of a graphic found in the OP of this thread as we can all read.  When you do post images, please keep image widths to 450 pixels or less.

  28. Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    SkS prides itself in backing its debunking with published science. You could always post links to the science papers instead of the SkS post and ask for peer-reviewed research to back denier assertions. That said, someone who is vested in denial isnt capable of critical thought. However, demonstrating substance over flim-flam is helpful for curious enquirers.

  29. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    I found an interesting chart that also presents hypothetical data.  The analysis appears to be very similar to the chart for wildfire data in the post.  I am not certain that I believe either data set, since they are both hypothetical.


    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Completely offtopic, 100% political and without any science content at all

  30. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Australia seems idealy suited to a transition to low carbon renewable energy with plenty of sunlight and other energy resources. Grid scale electricity storage also has a number of different options which can be tailored to the required situation. Some like redox-flow batteries are only economical at the grid scale and can have a virtually unlimited lifespan.

    How three battery types work in grid-scale energy storage systems

    Australia also has vast geothermal potential at a relatively shallow depth in much of the central and nothern part of the nation.

    Geothermal power in Australia

    It's good to see that real change is taking place in Australia, but it also seems to be the case that like here in Canada there are still too many policy makers who are saying one thing and doing the opposite.

    The global priority is to phase out all fossil fuels as quickly as is feasable starting with the most polluting like coal and unconventional oils like tar sands bitumen. Then moving on to light crude and natural gas until all energy production is fossil fuel free.

    And yet there are still many who keep demanding we build more coal fired power plants or here in Canada who want to vastly increase the pipeline capacity from the tar sands to get significantly more bitumen to market where it will be burned creating an even more massive carbon dioxide plume than we are producing now.

    I found it a little ironic that a few weeks ago when Australian school kids walked out to protest government inaction on climate change a minister commented that they were wrecking their future.

    Australian kids walk out of school to protest climate inaction

    No one will have much of a future at all if we don't make these essential transitions and as soon as possible. This has been under debate for almost a half century now, the time for talk is long past we need real action that actually significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

  31. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    Only could be worse in US if the Koch bothers were president and vice president.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Pushing the limit.

  32. Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

    Australia is moving in the right direction


    There seems to be some sort of cognitive dissonance here, last year saw our emissions at the highest they've ever been and 2018 looks to be higher still.  Moving in the right direction ? I'd suggest moving more slowly in the wrong direction is a better representation of what's happening.

  33. Is Methane Worse than CO2?? | Climate Chemistry

    It’s not awful, but as there is just one molecule vibrating, it does not show any mechanisms of heat transfer from the molecule to the world outside of it. I’d like to see a Youtube video showing cartoon just that: molecules of CO2, H2O, CH4 and air (oxygen, nitrogen) doing all this interaction. 

  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    OPOF @8, The opposition of America, Russia and Saudi Arabia to the climate accord is no doubt partly to protect the interests of wealthy oligarchs, but also because they are big fossil fuel producers. Naked self interest.

  35. Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    I poked around the internet, and found few places where one could discuss climate issues. It is like Trump and anti-Trump but even more decisive. One site I registered at, but never left a post. I just wanted to use their internal search to find content with some grain of reality. If you post there and claim any of the facts one can find at etc. you are immediately labeled a "parrot." So this message is going to be difficult to spread, as those willing to discuss any actual detail (light, CO2, reflections, IR, etc) the layman convinced of climate change really does not want more detail and the denialist is impossible to engage.

  36. One Planet Only Forever at 01:40 AM on 11 December 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    Maybe the COP24 final statement can be done like the US Supreme court rulings. The majority position is presented as the ruling position (the determination of what is correct), and the minority get to present their alternative opinion (based on alternative facts) and attempt to justify why people should believe that they are Right (the alt-Right).

  37. One Planet Only Forever at 01:34 AM on 11 December 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    When I named the USA, Saudi Arabia and Russia in my comment at 7 my main motivation was that they appeared to be the strongest examples of the potential results of poorly regulated or poorly limited activity in the more developed/wealthy nations (incorrect power in the hands of incorrectly wealthy people). They had developed very powerful incorrect leadership (China can become just like them, or it can develop in a different direction - I am watching to see which way their leadeship development actually goes).

    Now I am reading about the refusal by the USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia to admit to the awareness and understanding presented in the recent IPCC climate change impact assessment.

    The Guardian report "US and Russia ally with Saudi Arabia to water down climate pledge"

    The current leadership of those nations truly stand alone in their divisive polarization away from improved awareness and understanding. They are acting for the benefit of incorrectly developed wealthy people.

    The actions by the Trump led WH regarding Russia and the Saudi Arabia make a lot of sense in the context of their leaders having personal wealth motivations to do the undeniably incorrect things they are doing regarding climate chiange and many other issues that matter to the future of humanity.

    As a post script: Kuwait is just a nation in the Middle East the USA took explicit control of when Saddam's Army was pushed back all those years ago. It has been a puppet nation of the USA ever since the USA invaded and took over control under the excuse of Freeing the nation (like they later did to Iraq).

  38. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    RedBaron@19 Great point. I became vegetarian mostly for this reason, and will likely stay vegetarian mostly for this reason. I'm afraid that the economic and social pressures will keep cattle being raised in ways that are bad for the environment, but it is good to know that there is a method that can be encouraged and nurtured along the way to finding solutions to reduce our GHG burden. Thanks for your comment.

  39. Jerry Mitrovica: Current Sea Level Rise is Anomalous. We've Seen Nothing Like it for the Last 10,000 Years

    Thanks for reinstating the video. It's a very clear explanation.

    I'd also recommend the talk "Sea-Level Rise: Inconvenient, or Unmanageable?" by Richard Alley (2017), and the two researchers I was trying to remember as revising sea-level rise upwards are of course DeConto & Pollard (2016). They produced this downloadable guide to ice sheets.

  40. Humidity is falling

    DrBill @53,

    If you do want TPW as a proportion of total atmosphere, you'll need to stick with mass and you'll probably not get much improvement on Wikipedia for the mass of the atmosphere, giving 5.15 x 10^15 tonnes. And for the mass of global TPW, Trenberth et al (2007) gives a value of 12,700 cu km or 0.0127 x 10^15 tonnes. There are positive trends in global TPW but these are some 1%/decade so the upward trend is less than the uncertainty in the total.

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #49

    I feel Macron's carbon tax is the right general idea, but it is too blunt in its design. It's too harsh on lower income people, and so he has a basically annoyed everyone on all sides of politics and given a platform for extremists and opportunists. He should have compensated poor people with some sort of assistance package, or adopted tax and dividend and it's mystifying why he did neither.

    This short youtube video from the sums the situation up well.

  42. Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

    @6 BeezelyBillyBub,

    Not all meat production is a net emissions source. Properly managed it can be a large carbon sink. So this idea of taxing meat is doomed to failure as a AGW mitigation strategy before it even starts.

    Now if you instead taxed all CAFO meat production and used that money to subsidize verified carbon sequestration in the soils of properly managed farms. Then you might have something.

    Your ideas as they stand though, across the board, are far too simplistic to be effective at all on complex systems such as AGW. The meat comment being just the most obvious one.

    “The number one public enemy is the cow. But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound.” Allan Savory

  43. Humidity is falling

    Well TPW is the total of all water in the atmosphere. However, it is expressed in millimeters normally. Multiply by surface area of earth to get volume and by density to get mass. I am not sure you gain any new information from that that wouldnt get from just looking at TPW. Given the uncertainities in determining TPW, you now add uncertainities measurement of atmospheric mass.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 05:33 AM on 10 December 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    I agree with John Hartz. Al Gore did not politicize climate change. And there are not 'Fine people on all sides of the issue'.

    My sense of what has happened is:

    • The global community has 'continued to improve the awareness and understanding of what is really going on and what is required for the development of sustainable improvements for humanity into the distant future'.
    • The improved awareness and understanding is identifying that a lot of the developed socioeconomic-political systems are incorrectly producing perceptions of superiority relative to others that need significant correction to reduce (and ideally eliminate) the harm being done (are ultimately unsustainable).
    • People who have incorrectly developed perceptions of opportunity for prosperity or superiority relative to others are divisively polarizing themselves away from the improved awareness and understanding.

    The resistance to the improving awareness and understanding of climate science is just one of the biggest and most recent cases in the envelope of all the cases of 'developed popular and profitable activity that is discovered to be harmful after it has developed into an undeniably big enough problem that is harder to excused or ignore'.

    And I am bemused by people who claim there is 'another more important correction', like the plastic waste in the oceans or the cases of extreme poverty that still exist (in spite of global wealth growing much faster than the global population), because they are basically bringing up other cases in the same envelope that climate change is in 'the cases of incorrect development of perceptions of superiority relative to others any way that can be gotten away with, especially in ways that are unsustainable and understandably harmful to Others (and the future generations of humanity are the largest group of Others, and they are easy to negatively impact because they don't vote)'.

    What can be seen to be happening is that:

    • Leading up to and since the 1972 Stockholm Conference, there is evidence that many parties were investigating the potential unacceptability of aspects of developed human activity.
    • Global collective collaborative improvement of awareness and understanding has continued to progress to the current 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (and the Paris Agreement that is action to achieve the Climate Action Goal), and is likely to continue to progress in spite of efforts to stifle and discredit the efforts.
    • People who have become aware that the improving awareness and understanding threatens their developed perceptions of superiority have been trying to divisively polarize as many people as possible away from the improved awareness and understanding (they have been keeping people from learning how incorrect their developed beliefs and preferences are by harmfully applying the improved understanding of how to influence people.)
    • Many people have been easily motivated into liking harmful attitudes, like greed or intolerance, and divisively polarize themselves away from the improved awareness and understanding of the corrections required for the future of humanity. And people who have less interaction with a diversity of other people (and have developed a smaller worldview), can be more easily impressed that way - hence the divisive polarization of less urbanized, less globalized, populations against 'those Others, especially against those Others who try to tell them that they are incorrect to like (and dislike) what they have developed a liking (and disliking) for'.

    The root of the problem is the systems that develop people who have 'Won' by incorrectly developing ultimately unsustainable perceptions of superiority relative to others. A major part of that problem is the way that developed popular beliefs can be difficult to correct, especially if the beliefs develop and support incorrect but profitable activity.

    And that leads to the understanding that a diversity of places including the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are in need of significant correction, because they have all allowed people to develop significantly incorrect perceptions of superiority relative to others. And that understanding extends to recognizing that many other regions face the 'competitive pressure' to Win by more incorrectly promoting and excusing harmful unsustainable beliefs and actions - the classic “Why should we behave better when we think others are improving their chances of Winning by getting away with behaving less correctly” - which is undeniably a competitive spiral to behave as harmfully as can be gotten away with.

    So Al Gore did not politicize the issue. And 'alarmists' who try to raise awareness of the potential extreme results of reluctance to act to correct what is causing the climate changing impacts (extreme results that become increasingly likely results with every year of inadequate corrective action), are not polarizing the issue. People who do not like the improved awareness and understanding are politically divisively polarizing themselves (and as many others as they can get away with easily impressing) away from the improving awareness and understanding of the required corrections.

  45. One Planet Only Forever at 02:45 AM on 10 December 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    Here is a recent climate change impact story about a new potential impact issue.

    Climate change could wake up Canada's dormant volcanoes The National (video part of News Broadcast), CBC News, Dec 5, 2018 - Scientists at Simon Fraser University argue that climate change is destabilizing volcanoes around the world.

    This type of impact is not included in evaluations that try to claim that imposing climate change impacts on future generations is Just Fine (justified).  And many already anticipated impacts are excluded because they are 'not certain enough to negatively impact the richest enough to be included in the evaluation'. And even the negative impacts included in those evaluations get 'discounted', meaning they are evaluated speciofically from the perspective of the current day richest.

    Those evaluations incorrectly try to claim that the activity today that is creating the future problems will have develop sustainable wealth that grows into the future, gaining a value that exceeds the costs of climate change impacts. My MBA training helps me understand the fallacy of that type of evaluation. Perceptions (or measures) of wealth that are due to unsustainable or harmful activity will not continue to be wealth into the future.

    And, in addition to the understanding that current government leaders are being incorrectly influenced to make-up and promote poor excuses for continuing to allow more harm to be done to future generations (to protect incorrectly developed ultimately unsustainable perceptions of prosperity and superiority), winning Leadership is also failing to support added investigation into, and monitoring of, new potential climate change threats like this potential for climate change to result in a major volcanic event to occur near a heavily populated part of Canada far sooner than it would have otherwise occurred.

  46. Humidity is falling

    MA Rodger @52  Not sure how it can be cleared up.  There is a total atmosphere mass and volume.  There is a total of all water/water vapor in the atmosphere, also at least by mass, and thus convertable to volume.   Someone might have divided total water/water vapor by total atmosphere mass and I'd like to find that data.  

  47. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    It is very tricky to go from attribution of the climate change component of extreme weather to convincing skeptics. To begin with, skeptics are not skeptical, they are flogging excuses and long-debunked favorite "urban myths". There is no good faith, and hard physics about CO² absoption spectra are likely harder to ignore than aberrant weather. Moreover, on popular media people often list weather events which themselves (out of context) are not all that extreme. This only serves to muddy the thinking all the more. Attribution works with statistics and probabilities and ranges of certainty ... these are not good material for convincing stories. Pointing to local weather phenomena seems a dubious strategy, all things considered.

  48. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    John Hartz @3, I think the issue with Al Gores book is it was written by a well down prominent Democrat and so gave the Republicans an easy excuse to ignore the climate issue because they dont like Al Gore. It was an excellent book but unfortunately its created some of the division even although the content should count, not the writer. Maybe I could have been clearer.

    I was being general about fault on both sides of politics. Democrats don't get everything right, even on the climate issue, and I didn't want my comments being crossed out as excessively politically one sided. 

  49. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    nigelj: You wrote:

    Sure theres obviously some fault on both sides. Al Gores book politicised the issue within America, but it seems fault is skewed towards the conservatives I'm afraid.

    As a citizen who has followed US national poitics for more than sixty years, I take exception to your statement. The fossil fuel industry and their political allies "politicized" man-made climate change long before Al Gore's book came out. You should not state that there is "fault on both sides." 

  50. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    No doubt there will come a point where more extreme weather is so obvious and undeniable, that most sceptics will finally undersand, but that point will come too late. I think we have to hammer the message that more heat energy must lead to more intense and frequent heatwaves, stronger hurricanes and more intense rainfall, because its basic physics, and also generally supported by empirical evidence over recent decades.

    They say facts don't change peoples minds. Maybe with the most dogmatic and politically tribal, but I think its a nonsensical statement really. The article clearly shows once sceptical people accept weather is changing, ie it's a fact, it changes their minds.

    A lot of people really struggle with science, its a hard subject but persistence pays off.

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