Green Thinking – is it science?

I first coined the term Wrong Thinking a few years ago and upon realising the derogatory connotations I re-christened it as Green Thinking. Greens appear not to mind being identified as Greens and so I hope I am on solid and respectable ground.

I have struggled with Green Thinking for many years, and in particular the repeated claims that it is embodied in science. This post explores the scientific credentials of Green Thinkers.

My post last week on Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover attracted what I thought was an unusual large number of comments from Green Thinking commenters. These comments provide the opportunity to analyse the essence of Green Thinking and to decide if it is scientific or not.

First let’s take a look at some the key observations I made from the global snow cover data shown above.

So what does the data have to say? At first glance remarkably little (see chart above). The mid-winter peaks and late summer troughs have been remarkably stable for a planet rumoured to be melting under the burden of atmospheric CO2 and it is necessary to interrogate the data in some fine detail to tease out the interesting story that the data have to tell.

and

In summary, for the six months September to February snow area has actually been increasing 1967 to 2014! That has to be a surprise. And for the six months March to August snow area has been decreasing. The trends are generally very gradual and barely significant. But what the data show is that the northern hemisphere is getting snowier winters accompanied by more rapid melt in spring and summer. The latter is not surprising since we know that the lower troposphere is warming (at least we think we know that to be the case).

and

A look at the January chart above (actually below) shows that January snow cover has been consistently between 45 and 50 million square kms since 1967, though a regression shows a gradual increase with time.

and

Perhaps the most significant aspect about the trends in global snow cover since 1967 is how little it has actually changed. Even though the January maximum shows a positive gradient, it is effectively a flat line. The January anomaly distribution is effectively down to “random weather”.

I feel these are very balanced, measured and accurate observations. But Green Thinking commenters for some reason begged to differ. Kit Carruthers got the ball rolling with this comment:

Warmer climate = more atmospheric moisture = more snow in winter

Warmer climate = faster snow melt in spring = more time without snow…

…which leads to lower albedo = more warming in the future

Seems pretty straightforward science (except working out magnitudes of change, of course), and observations match what is expected.

So what is wrong with this? For a start there is scant evidence of more winter snow. The maximum January snow extent is basically a flat line (see below). How on Earth can anyone seek to explain this flat line by global warming and have the audacity to claim it is straightforward science?

In addition to that we have no data for snow depth. Lesser depth may actually be put forward as an explanation for the more rapid spring melt (see below) in which case we would have less snow fall not more snow fall. The positive gradient through the data for September to December means that snows come earlier, not that there is necessarily more of it.

The suggestion that a warmer climate will lead to more atmospheric moisture is embodied in the Clausius–Clapeyron theory. There is little evidence for increased snow fall but Kit still wants to explain it using Clausius-Clapeyron that becomes a focus for Green  commenters. Kit thinks that observations match what is expected. Now if this were science what is expected to happen should not change with time. Paul Matthews (not Green) points out a quote from UAE climate scientist Dr David Viner who said in the year 2000:

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

So what is the prediction? Does warming lead to more snow or less snow? The reality is that N hemisphere mid-winter snow extent is virtually unchanged from 1967.

Alexander then joined in with:

Euan, this is quite a weak analysis, unfortunately.

He doesn’t say why. I get the feeling that he is disagreeing with what I have to say out of principle. Alexander then joins in the discussion about temperature and water vapour content of the atmosphere saying:

Winters are much drier than summers. Simply because cold temperatures means small water vapor content

To which I reply:

I’m pretty sure where I stay this is utter rubbish. Will take me a while to muster the plots, but I’m pretty sure its rubbish for NW Europe.

The Mediterranean countries get virtually all their rain in winter. I think that’s probably true for the deserts as well. I suspect also for the Arctic where they get shed loads of summer sunshine and loads of snow in winter.

So where does this leave Alexander? While I had a good recollection of rainfall patterns in and around Europe, further afield my perceptions were much less accurate and it is just as easy to find examples where summer rainfall is higher.

So was Alexander right or was he wrong? Alexander actually links to a good presentation from The University of Washington that touches on some of the controversy surrounding water vapour feedback which I find quite insightful and helpful.

How did we get to this point? It boils down to the Green Thinkers wanting to explain an imagined increase in snow fall by global warming and in particular the pretext that a warmer world will lead to greater precipitation. So lets take a look at what satellite measurements of atmospheric water vapour have to tell us.

The chart is borrowed from Clive Best and shows us a number of things.

  • Annual cycles in atmospheric water vapour with peaks centred on the N Hemisphere summer. This is counterintuitive for me since most of the ocean is in the south.
  • A gradual but significant rise in water vapour from 1988 to 1998 followed by a small drop and then levelling of the trend.

Clive compares water vapour with CO2 and shows that the apparent relationship up to 1998 breaks down afterwards. What would be more interesting to see is a comparison with temperature. The data appear to be consistent with rising temperatures to 1998 and flat temperatures thereafter as recorded by the satellite temperature record. I would judge this to lend support to Clausius-Clapeyron. However, elsewhere Green Thinkers are trying to discredit the satellite temperature record in favour of the ground based thermometer record where there is extensive evidence of data tampering.

Alexander goes on:

Over the long-term (decades/centuries) of course there *IS* (or if you like, will be) a significant correlation between less snow cover and warming of the atmosphere.

Which I find intriguing. Alexander actually agrees with me that warming should lead to less snow but in the interim is happy to argue that warming will lead to more snow even though there is no evidence for more snow. And he considers my analysis to be weak.

Also warmer = wetter is simplification – it is better said – warmer = more extreme (i.e. wetter and drier at the same time).

And so here we drift into every variation in climate conceivable being explained by global warming. What about the glaciations which were much colder and much more extreme climate than we have today?

Early in the discussion thread Willem Post (non-Green Thinking) introduces an interesting point:

Your article mentioned snow cover, but what about snow cover thickness, which would indicate a measure of snow fall; there is melting between snow fall events during a season.

Any quicker uncovering of the ground due to snow cover melting would occur sooner, if covers were not thick.

In the US Rocky Mountains, snow cover thickness has been less, which means existing drinking reservoirs do not fill enough to satisfy increasing demands. More reservoirs are being built to capture more water that would otherwise be “lost”.

In New England, during some winters, when in the middle of April the snow cover was about 1 meter thick on the meadows, April and May are colder than usual, crops are planted later, harvests are less due to the shorter growing season, farmers are complaining, prices of local foods are higher.

This comment actually links to observations since the Rocky Mountains are one area that had more spring and summer snow cover back in 1967 and less spring snow cover in 2014. Willem’s comment conflates two processes 1) intra seasonal melting and 2) reduced precipitation which based on the need to build more reservoirs seems the more likely option. New commenter A. Webster joined in:

I would be interested in knowing how this data relates to total or accumulative snow fall. I ask because, growing up in the Sierra Nevadas and having spent much of my adult life in the Rockies and now living in northern Alberta, I find that it doesn’t snow nearly as much as it used to (in all of these places). I’m talking about several feet accumulative compared to snowing only a few times each season. There is definitely less total snowfall (without any charts to prove this, just ask all the locals), so I’m wondering if it’s possible to explain why the surface area of snowfall is increasing while experiencing a reduction in accumulative snowfall?

So, while we cannot admit the anecdotal information from Willem Post and A. Webster as evidence it certainly seems to be a plausible theory that the earlier spring melt comes about by lesser snow depth in a few very specific areas as detailed in my original post 1) the Rocky Mountains and 2) the Himalayas and 3) Baffin Island.

So where does this leave the Green Thinking theory as expressed by Kit. Is it Science?

Warmer climate = more atmospheric moisture = more snow in winter

Warmer climate = faster snow melt in spring = more time without snow…

…which leads to lower albedo = more warming in the future

Seems pretty straightforward science (except working out magnitudes of change, of course), and observations match what is expected.

This example clearly has nothing to do with science at all. It begins with the inaccurate observation that northern hemisphere snow fall is increasing and then seeks to explain this incorrect observation by global warming using Clausius-Clapeyron theory that is lifted from the handbook of Green thinking. In the Rocky Mountains it seems equally plausible that lesser amounts of snow fall explains the earlier spring melt and this of course is the exact opposite of the non-scientific explanation offered by the Green Thinkers. But rest assured if lesser snow fall was proven it would be explained by global warming.

A few months ago via email Roger confided that the one issue that climate science could not handle would be no change at all. Infinitely flexible rules are being abused and bent to explain all climate change by increasing CO2; warming and cooling; more rain and less rain; more ice and less ice; more snow and less snow. It should be patently obvious to anyone that this is all simply rubbish. That is not to say that increasing CO2 and other activities of mankind are not changing the climate, it is just that the changes are very subtle and not at all easy to identify against a backdrop of continual, cyclical natural change. Readers may think it is unfair to tar the official IPCC line with a brush coloured by a few unguarded comments made by bloggers. Well I assure you it is equally straightforward to expose the non-scientific line in official IPCC thinking.

I want to conclude with this comment from Retired Dave that sums things up pretty well:

The problem I see with most settled science advocates is the ability to ignore anything that doesn’t fit with the AGW theory. It seems that anything unfortunate like “the pause” gets repudiated for a decade, (in fact even 4 years ago the UKMO said it didn’t exist) then it gets admitted to, when it can’t be blocked out any longer. Then even though it is the opposite of what was predicted they say that it was what we predicted OR it is due to natural variability, which it might be. BUT natural variability didn’t exist when temps were rising, it was all due to CO2. Then we get 60+ excuses for the pause which if all were true we would be in the next glacial.

We have seen it with Antarctic sea Ice – 13 months ago “scientists” who went to prove how it was all melting like their model said, got stuck in it miles from where it was a century ago. Then it dawned and so we now have – well increasing Antarctic sea ice is what we would have expected.

We have seen it with NH winters – H/T to Paul Matthews for David Viner’s March 2000 prediction above – now the polar vortex and cold NH winters are due to global warming.

It is all just epicycles and phlogiston.

The next thing will be Arctic sea ice, which was predicted to have gone in Summer by now, but somehow it is still there and going back towards the satellite era mean – it is being ignored at the moment and the credulous MSM are, as always, still printing catastrophic melting stories usually showing a polar bear – how long before we are told that increasing Arctic sea ice and increasing polar bear numbers are signs of Global Warming.

I am not suggesting that AGW theory is completely wrong, but a scientist should always be sceptical and there is no proof yet that CO2 is a Major driver of our climate. It remains a theory and some clever computer models which have not been right yet. The constant fiddling with the temperature record, always in the same slant, leads one to further scepticism.

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84 Responses to Green Thinking – is it science?

  1. Leo Smith says:

    Green thinking isn’t about taking an unbiased look at te data and coming up with a best-fit hypothesis. Green thinking is about already knowing that a given problem exists and ‘explaining’ the data in terms of this model that highlights the ‘problem’.

    Green thinking is therefore ‘given that climate change of the man made variety is an, unassailable fact how do you explain the winter snowfall (or lack of it, whatever)?

    Remember where Green thinking comes from. Its a useful offshoot of cultural Marxism that holds that the worlds evils are essentially encapsulated in Capitalism, and its chief exponents, White educated Men from the developed world. In the case of GreenThink the technologists and the technology have also become scary and out of control, and that reached its epitome in the whole nuclear weapon thing. Actually nuclear weapons when looked at in detail are not that scary, and neither is radiation. I’d be far more scared of ricin or Ebola myself…

    So what we find is that the whole Green/CND/Anti-science/Anti-capitalism thing is in the end a carefully constricted cold war black propaganda emotional narrative that has been adapted to suit modern commercial and political needs.

    What is implicit in it, is that technology is dangerous, capitalism is immoral, and mostly to be white and male and ‘European’ in the ethnic sense is an immediate guilty verdict on just about anything and everything.

    This emotional narrative isn’t based on rational facts, it is a priori in the minds of those who espouse the mythology of Marxism, Socialism and Greenism. That is, it doesn’t appear as an object in their perception, it is the colour of the glasses through which their perception takes place.

    And that is why they simply cannot see it as the monumental bias and monstrous bigotry that it is…

    Its kept alive by those who should know better, simply because it is profitable. It suits the totalitarian book, to make energy and science subject to political control, and indeed everything subject to totalitarian political control. And it suits the capitalists, because they can work with government to roll out de facto monopolies and subsidise rent-seeking organisations ad nauseam. If there is an excuse to ‘make it green’ rather than ‘make it cheap’

    A large part of why this is possible, hinged on the fact that the Left no longer has to account for a working class that supports anything. The old working class largely no longer works. The real work is done by machines and technicians, but the political class have bought the allegiance of a whole new class – the useless time serving public sector related bureaucrat. And that allows a whole new morality based on cultural Marxism to become the de jure precondition for that class: We call it political correctness, and it too encompasses climate change and the new green on-message emperor and his clothes.

    And we have arrived at this point because we were too kind, too compassionate to stupid people, and the madmen are now running the asylum, and too late, we realise why we had strict rules, and why the inmates were there to start with.

    • Ed says:

      Right wing nonsense, Leo. Marxism and Socialism are no better than Capitalism or any other ‘ism’ in dealing with the fact the we live on a finite planet with finite fossil fuels resources. They have nothing to say about energy supply. Instead they assume enough energy will always be available to drive growth in output and population without limits.

      It is about you faced up to reality, Leo. We are totally trashing and over populating the planet and using our one off legacy of 500 million years of stored sun light energy in a mere 400 years or so with no thought at all about the mess we are leaving for future generations.

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    “It is all just epicycles and phlogiston”.

    Reminds me that the phlogiston theory explained rusting of iron as a loss of phlogiston. When it became obvious that this involved a gain in weight, the theory was changed to phlogiston having negative weight. This was defended vigorously and sceptics were given a very hard time until Lavoisier destroyed the theory.

    The believers in AGW see everything explained by their theory.
    More snow = AGW
    Less snow = AGW
    Are the temperature figures not what was expected? Change the figures & voila! Proof of AGW.

    See also the N Rays debacle, although that was merely wishful thinking without political motives.
    Unlike the Piltdown Hoax where many of the advocates wanted to show the superiority of British science by the finding of a primitive human with a large brain but little evidence of intelligence.
    Euan, I just had a thought….

  3. Doug Brodie says:

    Spot on Leo!

    For years I’ve been fighting the carpeting of our landscapes and seascapes here in Scotland with useless wind farms. I’ve written umpteen letters to politicians giving “unassailable” technical arguments on why wind power is useless as a source of national electricity supply, but of course they have always ignored me.

    I’ve recently taken a different approach, namely to try to persuade my local planning councillors (who decide on wind farm planning applications) to collectively stand up against the politicians. I’ve done this by sending them my provocatively named paper “The Climate Change Act is Based on Junk Science”, see http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/Junk-Science.pdf

    My paper synthesises publicly available evidence which exposes the UN IPCC’s deliberate manipulation and misrepresentation of climate science. Unfortunately the response so far has been a deafening silence!

    When I started writing my paper I was a climate “lukewarmer” but by the time I finished it I had become a convinced total sceptic. I find it interesting that many of the words and phrases used by Leo Smith in his comment above echo my own, e.g. “totalitarian political control” and “political correctness”.

    AGW is not about science, it is all about political ideology. The Postscript of my paper reproduces the responses from politicians to an earlier version which I sent to them. You can see from these responses that those on the left are much more dogmatic and ideological in their stance than those on the centre or right – not that there are many of the latter in Scotland.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Doug, thanks for posting link. I hadn’t forgotten about this, I guess I’m still a luke warmer and haven’t made my mind up yet.

      • Leo Smith says:

        Lukewarmer is to ‘denier’ as agnostic is to atheist. Let’s face it, you cant prove that some sort of god does not exist, its just an unlikely and relatively useless concept except in an emotional way.

        It is staggeringly unlikely that the net effect of CO2 increase in the atmosphere is precisely and unambiguously and exactly zero.

        It is also stageri8ngly unlikely that, since temperature rises in deep ocens cause outgassing of CO2 that there can be any positive feedback of the type described by the IPCC – to admit that would be to condemn the earth to runaway global warming under ANY perturbation.

        The accurate statement is most likley that CO2 does a little bit to global temperatures but not enough to affect the main feedback loops that control climate, that have to be overwhelmingly negative overall.

        That leaves one thing to be dealt with: The cause of the rapid rise in temperatures in the early and late 20th century, (but not in the middle).

        To the simple and badly educated scientist – and there are plenty about – something happening=a cause of it.

        To a more sophisticated scientists who has modelled or played with models of chaotic phenomena, random wild and seemingly meaningful fluctuations in the solution to non linear partial differential equations describing systems with overall negative (but delayed in time) feedback are not only expected, but are normal behaviour for such systems, that really are ill described by the word ‘average’

        In short, I will bore you once again with the statement:

        There are two sorts of people in climate science, those that understand non linear dynamic systems and chaos mathematics, and those that believe in AGW

    • Ed says:

      Building out our renewable energy infrastructure has nothing to do with climate change, Doug. Renewable energy infrastructure requires fossil fuels to be burnt at every stage of their manufacture and deployment.

      The real reason why we are building out our renewable and nuclear energy infrastructure is to extend the fossil fuel age. The climate change argument is red herring on both sides of the debate.

  4. bobski2014 says:

    Euan,
    Your fortitude amazes. Keep it up, we need you. How you sustain your dedication in the face of stuff like the following (heard on BBC R4 Farming Today or some such) is beyond me. This is what I heard –
    Some university research project has decided that all sheep could be tagged so that their exact locations at any given moment could be established. (A shepherd averred that this was no use; you need to LOOK at them!)
    However, the “scientist” concerned stated that sheep are known to flock together when sleeping at night. (Some folk may be unsurprised at the idea of sheep flocking together.) The value of this is that when they do, they poo – all in one location.
    Guess what? This means – said our scientist – that greenhouse gases will be being released in small localised areas, so appropriate action (unspecified) could be taken to help “tackle climate change” !!
    You may think that I have made this up. You would be excused for so thinking. Regrettably, I have not. You may be less surprised that the BBC chose to actually broadcast it.
    Give me strength.!

  5. William says:

    Is it science?

    You are talking about blog comments – how can they be “science”? Do you consider your blog posts to be “science”? Do they have any similarities with published science (original research, data collection and analysis, literature review to show a familiarity with the current state of knowledge, references to the literature etc.)?

    If your northern hemisphere post is science why does it discuss only snow extent and not snow area and depth? Why does it concentrate on virtually non-existent trends in winter and not on the clear trends in spring and summer? Why does it scale graphs in a way that makes those real trends barely visible. Why are many graph x-axes wrongly labelled? Why are the CO2 graphs presented with inappropriate scaling for snow extent.

    Your NVAP graph is subtly different from the sample TPW (total preciptable water) results at http://nvap.stcnet.com/Monthly_average_timeseries.png Is there a good reason for that? Plotting against CO2 levels makes no sense, as atmospheric water vapor content depends upon temperature – okay, so it is not your graph. But what do you expect a plot against temperature to show? A change in temperature of 1C leads to a 7% increase in water vapor content, so the change from 1990 to 2010 of, what 0.3C, should lead to an increase of just over 2%. The yearly variation on the graph seems to average around 4mm or about 16% (4mm relative to about 25mm average), so you are looking for a signal of 1/8th of the actual annual variation due to notional temperature change. And you or Clive conclude you’ve found it hidden in the roughly 10% TPW change up to 1998 and not since. Er, really?

    You might want to look at the “Trend Statement” in the FAQ at http://nvap.stcnet.com/ and to the doi:10.1029/2012GL052094 referenced in the References and Citations section.

    Do you think what you present is science? I’d call it comment, opinion or advocacy. But not science.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I have not been claiming my blog posts or comments to be science. Your Green cronies have been.

      Why does it concentrate on virtually non-existent trends in winter and not on the clear trends in spring and summer?

      It doesn’t. You seem to be totally incapable of objective commentary.

      • Jamie says:

        Hold on Euan, you’re criticising people for commenting on your blog with ‘Green Thinking’ which you appear to define to be wooly thinking,not based in science. The natural interpretation is that you think what you and Roger are producing is ‘Good Thinking’ which I would interpret to be scientific thinking, underpinned by evidence. Now you say it’s not that. So the point of this post is…?

      • Jamie says:

        Also William has come up with some concrete criticisms of your article that don’t rely on pointing you to the existing literature. He is doing the exact opposite of what you are criticising ‘Green Thinkers’ of doing and you respond by saying that he’s “totally incapable of objective commentary”.

        Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

    • clivebest says:

      There is no inherent reason why atmospheric water content should be correlated with CO2 content. However, models typically assume a constant relative humidity so that if surface temperatures rise (AGW) then so does the total H2O content in the atmosphere. This plot highlights the lack of correlation between the measured CO2 levels and the measured H2O levels in the atmosphere.

      It cannot be a coincidence that both water vapour(NVAP) and cloud cover (ISCCP) show a trend shift following the huge El Niño of 1998. This shift also marks the start of the 17 year long pause in global warming, despite ever rising CO2 levels.

    • clivebest says:

      I calculated the global TPW monthly values directly from the latest published NVAP-M netCDF file using my own area averaging algorithm. The result is almost identical with the sample plot you reference above calculated by NASA . The conclusion is the same whichever value you use.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      William says:

      If your northern hemisphere post is science why does it discuss only snow extent and not snow area and depth? Why does it concentrate on virtually non-existent trends in winter and not on the clear trends in spring and summer? Why does it scale graphs in a way that makes those real trends barely visible. Why are many graph x-axes wrongly labelled? Why are the CO2 graphs presented with inappropriate scaling for snow extent.

      http://euanmearns.com/northern-hemisphere-snow-cover-2/

      William, if I have made so many mistakes why did you not bring these to my attention in the comments to the post in a polite and professional way?

      The title of the post is “Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover”. Now, if you have link to data for annual snow depth and volume I’d like to see it. I wasn’t aware that data existed. If the data doesn’t exist, then you are asking me to do something here that is impossible.

      Why does it concentrate on virtually non-existent trends in winter and not on the clear trends in spring and summer?

      Well the post has a chart for every month and every chart has the same Y-axis scale. The post has a whole section on August. And I say this a couple of times:

      The data time series for each month are actually remarkably uniform and, as already has been mentioned for the six months September to February, snow area has been increasing 1967 to 2014. And for the six months March to August snow area has been decreasing with time.

      And I say this in the introduction:

      But what the data show is that the northern hemisphere is getting snowier winters accompanied by more rapid melt in spring and summer. The latter is not surprising since we know that the lower troposphere is warming (at least we think we know that to be the case).

      Why are many graph x-axes wrongly labelled?,

      Well each chart has time / date on the X-axis. I can’t see anything wrong, can you be more specific?

      Why are the CO2 graphs presented with inappropriate scaling for snow extent.

      What scale do you suggest I should have used?

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Ah ha, I see that the axis label says “square kilometers” and it should be million square kms. My first version of all these charts were actually in sq kms and then I went to the bother of tidying them up and forgot to change the label.

        William, the conventional and socially normative way of dealing with this would be to say something like this in comments:

        “Euan, the Y-axis on a number of charts are wrongly labelled. They should all say Million square kilometers”

        and I would have responded

        “Thanks for bringing that to my attention William, I will fix this straight away”

  6. The Green Thinkers first got on my case in a big way in last year’s Ocean Acidification post, in which I dared to suggest that OA wasn’t as serious a problem as it was made out to be.

    I was promptly told that I didn’t know what I was talking about and instructed to read the attached studies by people who did. I read the studies. They told me all about how OA threatened the existence of life on the planet but provided no observational evidence to justify this conclusion.

    So I presented some observational data that made OA look somewhat less than frightening and invited commenters to rebut them. I was given links to more studies that told me how OA threatened the existence of life on the planet but which again provided no backup evidence.

    So I presented more observational data and invited rebuttal. No one provided any. I put up yet more and begged for rebuttal. Silence.

    Since then I have been taken to task on other threads by Green Thinkers who provide links to studies that prove I don’t know what I’m talking about. I read the links and find more often than not that the only thing they prove is that the GTs didn’t understand – or didn’t want to understand – what I was saying. It usually finishes up with me inviting them to go through my work in detail and show me where I went wrong, but no one ever bites.

    There is, however, a common thread. All Green Thinkers base their arguments on studies done by others, and studies that always toe the company line. So to answer your question as to whether GreenThink is science, Euan, I would say it’s about as scientific as Bible class.

    • Jamie says:

      Not everyone has the time / resources / expertise / inclination to do primary research hence people rely on published, peer reviewed science. And it’s impossible to make an informed critique of your analyses from the posts on here because only scant methodological information is ever provided.

      If you think your analyses are robust, why don’t you get them put through peer review and published in a journal? You seem to be expending a lot of effort on this work so it makes sense to get it published formally. Then it can be properly assessed by scientists who know the subject well which will help you refine your work. Instead you’re publishing on a blog and then complaining that you’re not getting enough high quality feedback.

      Judging by your last few posts you seem confident that you’ve found a huge error in GISTEMP. If you’re right then it should be published and would be an important finding.

      • John Reid says:

        Jamie, I used to think like you. I used to think that if you have carried out some competent and relevant piece of research you should be able to send it off to a journal and, maybe after some editing and modification, get it published.

        No way. It doesn’t work like that. An author has to be someone of stature in the scientific community and preferably associated with a prestigious institution. The merit of the paper is irrelevant particularly if it breaks new ground. I know, I have been beating my head against this brick wall for years. An example is my paper proposing that ice ages are a bounded random walk, reproduced here:

        http://blackjay.net/?page_id=16

        This was dismissed by the editors of Global and Planetary Change without peer review. The chances of Roger’s work being published in a peer-reviewed journal are zero in my opinion. It treads on too many toes.

        Most of the scientific literature is really just “proof-reading the liturgy”.

        • John. I was just about to post a response to Jamie saying just that. Thanks for saving me the trouble. I will just add that exposés of temperature adjustments have been published on a fairly regular basis for at least the last 15 years but so far as I know not one of them ever found its way into a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

          However, Jamie’s comment does bring to mind the fact that as well as Green Thinking we have Green Science. Green Science tolerates no dissent and holds that when observations don’t match the theory the appropriate response is to tweak them until they do. How it works in the context of temperature adjustments was succinctly summed up by Tom Karl, Director of NOAA/NCDC, et al. in Temperature trends in the Lower Atmosphere, US Climate Change Assessment Program, April 2006.

          Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human-induced global warming. Specifically, surface data showed substantial global-average warming, while early versions of satellite and radiosonde data showed little or no warming above the surface. This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          I will be sending Roger’s work to Gavin Schmidt at GISS and to Lord Oxburgh who is normally responsive to my emails requesting clarification. To be clear, I am quite open to a clear and scientifically grounded explanation. But that explanation needs to be provided.

          The peer reviewed literature on this subject matter is closed to those not working in groups towing the party line. Myself and Clive have documentary evidence of this that will one day see the light of day.

          • Why wait? You and Roger are clearly not shy at suggesting widespread and systematic corruption of the scientific process, so why not just get your evidence out there? Let others judge for themselves based on the evidence instead of just taking your word for it.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            I am not aware that in any of our posts we have levelled accusations of wrong doing and corruption. We’re careful not to. Can you please provide links to the posts you refer to.

          • Sam Taylor says:

            Euan,

            You have specific tags on the blog for “scientific fraud” and “fraud”. That’s hardly subtle.

        • Jamie says:

          OK so have any of you actually tried to team up with scientists who do work in the field (or a closely related field) so that you’re co-authoring rather than submitting as a single, unknown author? I think Euan’s idea to send the work to scientists working in the field is a very useful first step.

          You have to engage, however difficult you might find this. Otherwise this will perpetually remain in the realm of Blog Science and won’t add anything to the sum of human knowledge.

          If you are unsuccessful in going down this route then you should really be structuring these posts in a more scientific format so that others can scrutinise the methods properly. As I mentioned earlier you need to at least provide a detailed methodology because otherwise it’s impossible to say from these blog posts whether you’ve omitted something critical that has an impact on the results so it’s impossible to judge the quality of the work.

        • Sam Taylor says:

          John,

          You’ve constructed rather a perfect little circular argument to defend yourself there. Your arguments are of course right, but they’ll never get through peer review because of course the system is biased to only accept research which conforms to the present paradigm, so of course every rejection is just further proof that you’re right so you continue undaunted. It’s quite a remarkable little psychological feedback loop.

      • clivebest says:

        Is have submitted 3 papers to Nature and Climate Dynamics without success. It is a huge effort for an independent scientist to prepare a full paper without the backup of a university or research lab. Furthermore the cost of publication £800 has then to be covered privately.

        It is clear to me that the editors of such journals are biased against someone new in the field, especially if their paper questions standard AGW. The nearest I got to getting a paper accepted was eventually rejected because one reviewer basically misunderstood what the paper was actually about.

        It is so frustrating that blogging seems the only other avenue. But then this is then dismissed by the team as not being ‘peer reviewed’. This way the consensus goes on unchallenged. Those within the team risk destroying their career if they doubt or question the dogma. Of course the train will hit the buffers, but we will likely have to wait another 5-10 years. it is only once the science gets untangled from green political dogma that real progress can be made.

        AGW is real but overhyped and rather minor compared to other world problems.

  7. soarergtl says:

    There is something I struggle to understand. As quoted above as an example of Green Thinking:

    Also warmer = wetter is simplification – it is better said – warmer = more extreme (i.e. wetter and drier at the same time).

    I thought the AGW theory was that warming would be more pronounced at the poles than at the equator. This is supposed to lead to faster ice melting and higher sea levels. Indeed, without this sea level rise due to ice melt, actual catastrophes seem rather thin on the ground.

    Leaving aside the ice extents, and even the sea level (whose rise does not appear to be accelerating, and may even be moderating), but to me this doesn’t make sense.

    Surely the hemispheres’ weather systems are driven at least in part by the temperature gradient between hot tropical and cold polar areas – the absolute temperature being irrelevant, only the relative temperature being germane.

    That being so, if the AGW theory was correct, would it not predict less extreme weather in a warming world? Indeed, do we not have numerous reports of very extreme storms and floods around the time of the Little Ice Age?

    So, the best current argument for AGW – that storms, hurricanes etc are moderating as the globe warms, as the theory predicts – is one Green Thinkers can’t use as it doesn’t imply a catastrophe.

    Isn’t that ironic… don’t you think?

  8. JerryC says:

    Very thought-provoking post. My impression as a non-scientist is that when climate scientists try to measure these various physical parameters that are supposedly relevant to climate change (sea ice, ocean ph, snow cover, etc), they are measuring a whole lot of noise and very little signal. And when you’re measuring noise, you can kind of make of it what you will. It’s Rorsach blot data interpretation.

  9. Hi Euan,

    thanks for the post, I hope it is an honest attempt to have a fact-based and good discussion. Just to clarify my “position”. I am in the antropogennic climate change for more than a decade, and have written hundreds of blogs in this topic mostly in my native language (Slovakian). I always reference the blogs to a published scienfic literature. I am ecologist by training, with an interest in climatoogy. Then I became less ignorant about peak oil and resource depletion in general also thanks to your work (and many others, of course!), and even later I got some insights into finances, debt, economic growth, etc …

    All these things, i.e. climate change, resource depletion, debt/financial troubles are all interlinked and related to our collectively unsustainable lifestyles. No controversy here I think. Also I wouldn’t consider myself *green* in the hard-core sense of this word, but rather I consider myself as an academic (I work as a post-doc researcher now) with an interest in sustainability issues. That is bacisally all.

    Also I feel a kind of sense of responsibility also for future generations, who are not yet here, but definitely will be and will in a worlds shaped by our decisions etc. So I think to have a solid discussion is extremely useful. Accusation of ideologies is not helping anyone’s case, except maybe those who are happy with status quo (I am not).

    Lastly, I don’t think antropogennic theory of global warming is a weak theory, at the same time there are many thing we adjust our knowledge to. But the mainstream “big picture” is quite straightforward: climate change is realy, caused by us, and we definitely should do something signifant about it, if we are to avoid worst of consequences.

    So maybe instead of “green thinking” how about “sustainability thinking”? 😉

    Best,

    Alex

  10. concernclub says:

    to those who claim to follow scientific thinking and
    spreading knowledge (or our limited knowledge about the co2 problem)

    what do you do with such data for example:
    (no matter what your philosophical color is)

    http://www.realclimate.org/images//heat_content2000m.png

    • Corner Club,

      indeed, ocean heat content is where +90% of the global warming signal can be tracked! Atmosphere is useful for us, since we experience it daily, though is is only 2-3 % of the total heating, and with a considerable variability, of course!

      Alex

      • A C Osborn says:

        Oh yes that amazing heating down to 2000m which did not show up at 0-700m and you believe it.
        You also obviously believe that heat doesn’t rise as well.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Can anyone say where the data to compile this chart comes from? 2000 m of ocean water depth across the whole globe represents a formidable data acquisition task.

      • Euan,

        the original source of data is here at NOAA,

        with a links to PDFs there,

        Alex

        • Euan Mearns says:

          The global linear trend of OHC2000 is 0.43 1022 J yr␣1 for 1955–2010 which corresponds to a total increase in heat content of 24.0 ` 1.9 1022 J (`2S.E.), and a mean increase of temperature of 0.09C.

          Temperature increase of 0.09˚C in 55 years. And the word corrected or correction is used 10 times on p1 (Levitus et al) I will continue to be sceptical 😉 And I don’t get their figure 2 at all that appears to show World oceans have warmed about 3 times as much as the combined Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

      • A C Osborn says:

        Euan, it uses extropolation of the Argos bouy data.
        Although there is supposedely an increase at 2000m, but I think it is shorter than the 0-700m data, there is no similar rise in 0-700 to show how the heat got there.
        It is also not consistent, for really good analysis of all things oceanic see
        Bob Tisdale’s site
        https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/is-ocean-heat-content-data-all-its-stacked-up-to-be/
        Here one of his anylises
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/01/22/ocean-global-warming-is-not-actually-global-at-all/

        • Euan Mearns says:

          AC – tracking ocean heat has not been high on my radar, but its there. Some commenters have been pretty disparaging about WUWT. I far from read everything written there, but a large number of posts that I do read impress me, including this one by Willis:

          http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/02/argo-temperature-and-ohc/

          So invite the disparaging commenters to offer their critique of this post. On route I came across the Argo web page:

          http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/index.html

          Sea level is rising at an accelerating rate of 3 mm/year

          mm/year = velocity; the unit of acceleration is mm/year/year – well thats what I learned at skool.

          Arctic sea ice cover is shrinking and high latitude areas are warming rapidly.

          This is simple BS. High latitude southern areas are not warming at all, if anything cooling!

          and in others adverse (increased coastal flooding, severe droughts, more extreme and frequent heat waves and weather events such as severe tropical cyclones).

          This is all propaganda apparently designed to justify their existence. Its a tragedy really since the Argo project is incredibly worth while. It should be designed around gathering data to help us understand global change. Lets gather some data and find out what it shows.

          Having this BS on their web page automatically devalues their aims and objectivity.

          What’s more, it seems the Argo data begin in 2005 – brings me back to my original question about the chart someone posted – what is it based upon?

          • Sam Taylor says:

            Euan

            The rate of sea level rise has been increasing for about the last 50 years or so. See figure 4 in the following paper: http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature14093

          • soarergtl says:

            Isn’t that interesting.

            Another paper in Global and Planetary Change says something different:

            Quoting the five researchers, “the new reconstruction suggests a linear trend of 1.9 ± 0.3 mm/yr during the 20th century” and “1.8 ± 0.5 mm/yr for the period 1970-2008.”

            Abstract report: http://www.co2science.org/articles/V17/N20/C1.php

          • A C Osborn says:

            soarergtl, adjustments.
            http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/what-glacial-isostatic-adjustment-gia-and-why-do-you-correct-it

            of course they make no adjustments for techtonic movement.

          • soarergtl says:

            Adjustments indeed. They’re everywhere.

            Settled science is so… unsettling, don’t you think?

          • sam Taylor says:

            Soaregtl, from the abstract of the paper in your reference:

            “There is a good agreement between the rate of sea level rise (3.2 ± 0.4 mm·yr− 1) calculated from satellite altimetry and the rate of 3.1 ± 0.6 mm·yr− 1 from tide gauge based reconstruction for the overlapping time period (1993–2009).”

            They also note “Acceleration of 0.02 mm·yr− 2 in global sea level (1807–2010)”

            Paper available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818113002750

            Hay et al compare their results with an earlier set from jevrejeva and they’re in fairly close agreement.

            Do please try to read primary sources, and not link to phases which seem to deliberately misrepresent their findings.

          • soarergtl says:

            Well, it was a direct quote, but thanks for that correction. I don’t have access to all primary sources despite the fact that, as a taxpayer, I probably helped fund them.

            It is of course generally accepted that sea levels are rising. How much of that is due to AGW (as opposed to simple GW) is arguable.

            The sea level rise for the next hundred years, at that rate, is 310mm, or just over 12 inches in old money. It hardly means that The Statue of Liberty is going to be underwater any time soon, does it?

            Even if the calculated rate of increase continues, like the average global temperature rise didn’t.

            Still, building flood defences in some places looks like a good idea. Let’s save the money we would have wasted on wind power, and do that instead, shall we?

  11. Hi again,

    here the latest on the record *snow* fall in Boston with a global warming perspective. Kevin Trenberth is one of the best atmospheric scientist we have:

    “Warmer oceans also increase the temperature contrasts that winter storms encounter when they hit the East Coast, notes Mann — and this ups their strength.

    “Heavy snows mean the temperature is just below freezing, any cooler and the amount would be a lot less,” adds Kevin Trenberth, a climate expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

    “Warmer waters off the coast help elevate winter temperatures and contribute to the greater snow amounts. This is how global warming plays a role.””

    What the massive snowfall in Boston tells us about global warming

    Alex

    • A C Osborn says:

      Which happens to be a Total Contradiction of all the IPCC and Climate Scientists predictions for Snow under Global Warming.
      They contrdict themselves at every turn, first global warming would show up most in the Atmosphere and especially the Troposperic Hotspot and when it didn’t it has now morphed in to the Heat is hiding in the Oceans.
      –snip–

    • I took a closer look at the Boston snowfall=global warming article.

      First I looked at the “simply insane” snowfall, as the Washington Post describes it. The table below gives details. It turns out that the insanity was confined to Boston and Worcester, adjacent cities which when you draw a box around them cover an area of about 5,000 sq km. So we are dealing with an event that affected only 0.001% of the Earth’s surface.

      And exactly how insane was the event? Of the 22 snowfall categories listed for Boston and Worcester it set new records in only six.

      Second I looked at the elevated sea surface temperatures that allegedly caused the event, which according to Michael Mann “off the coast of New England right now are at record levels, 11.5C (21F) warmer than normal in some locations.” Below is a blowup of the NOAA/NESDIS global SST map for February 9th, 2015. The star shows Boston. There was indeed a tongue of anomalously warm water up to maybe 4C above average some way off the coast, but next to the coast was a large pocket of anomalously cold water up to maybe 4C below average.

      Kevin Trenberth’s claim that “Warmer waters off the coast help elevate winter temperatures and contribute to the greater snow amounts. This is how global warming plays a role” is disputable, but given that the water immediately off Boston was colder than average I won’t bother to dispute it.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        “The Perfect Storm” – time to go fishing for swordfish with George 😉

        Hell that was Gloucester not Worcester 🙁

        But we need to keep an eye on the activity of that labrador current

      • Tom Moran says:

        i agree with Roger Andrews. Pielke Jr. also agrees….

        https://theclimatefix.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/what-does-the-peer-reviewed-literature-say-about-trends-in-east-coast-winter-storms/

        The image above comes from a 2001 paper by Hirsch et al. (here in PDF) titled, An East Coast Winter Storm Climatology. The top curve shows all East Coast winter storms, and the bottom shows the most intense storms. for the period 1948 to 1997.

        As the figure implies, they concluded in that analysis:

        the frequency of ECWS show a downward tendency over the study period but at insignificant levels. One test found a decreasing trend in strong ECWS significant for an alpha = 0.10.

        So there was no trend 1948 to 1997, or a slightly downward trend. This is interesting because over the latter half of that period one analysis (Willett et al. 2010) found an increase in the water content of the lower atmosphere over the US East Coast. So those who argue for a simple relationship between increasing water content of the atmosphere and storm strength, data do not support such a claim over this multi-decadal period, in this region.

        In 2010 Frankoski and DeGaetano published an update to Hirsh et al. 2001, extending data through 2006. They concluded:

        No significant time-dependent trends were identified for precipitation or snowfall from East Coast Winter Storms or for the percentage of precipitation or snowfall from East Coast Winter Storms.

        Such research is likely why the IPCC AR5 concluded in 2013:

        In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900 is low.

        What that means in climate-speak is that the detection of trends in winter storms has not been achieved. It also means that the IPCC has not attributed any trends to human influences. Detection and attribution are explained in some detail in my recent book.

  12. A C Osborn says:

    Re Kit Carruthers says:
    February 10, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Why wait? You and Roger are clearly not shy at suggesting widespread and systematic corruption of the scientific process, so why not just get your evidence out there? Let others judge for themselves based on the evidence instead of just taking your word for it.

    They don’t have to because others are already doing so.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11395516/The-fiddling-with-temperature-data-is-the-biggest-science-scandal-ever.html

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/02/07/breathtaking-adjustments-to-arctic-temperature-record-is-there-any-global-warming-we-can-trust/

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/how_much_of_the_warming_was_just_fiddling_the_figures

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report-bret-baier/videos#p/86927/v/4043900756001

    It has got so bad for the Establishment that they have a very unconvincing rebuttal based on BEST methodologies over at Climate etc. –snip–

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I sent a very polite email to Gavin Schmidt today with a copy of Roger’s post asking for clarification. The bits that get me are:

      1) Roger’s methodology reproduces GISS N hemisphere with some precision but not the S
      2) GISS have IDENTICAL temperature trends in N and S which I kind of consider to be a physical impossibility

      So we need to wait and see what happens. The allegations of fraud etc are a bit premature and unfortunate. The establishment could be right. Or they could have made a major error.

      Someone pointed out that I tag posts with “fraud” and “scientific fraud”. This has happened twice. Two posts. Readers need to decide for themselves if this was warranted or not.

      http://euanmearns.com/tag/scientific-fraud/
      http://euanmearns.com/tag/fraud/

      • Euan,

        I look forward to reply from Gavin, he is a nice guy. We should not forget that climate warming is most manifested in weather/climate extremes, as I wrote previously, wet areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier (roughly speaking). And we live in a dynamic and variable world.

        Snow/precipitation extremes on one hand, drought extremes on the other. If there are some statistically skillfull guys here, try to calculate, what is the probability, that Amazonia is hit by 3 “historic” droughts in 11 years (2005, 2010, and now).

        For now, lets ignore the fact the deforestation+climate change leads to less precipitation in this particular part of the world:

        Brazil drought: water rationing alone won’t save Sao Paulo

        Alex

  13. concernclub says:

    Euan,

    as you did not reply directly my question about the “measured” ocean heat content
    but as you wrote in the follow up that you doubt the data quality and just dismiss the data.
    Fine with me.

    Lets call this selective data acceptance and you accept data if they confirm your philosophical
    color.

    Lets thus agree that not all claimed scientific data stand for correct data and fraud is
    everywhere.

    So we are back to the basics of what we know from hundreds years of physics
    measurements to “judge somehow”.

    0) co2 is emitted into the atmosphere by burning biomass and forest destruction
    (about 20%) and fossil fuels (80%).
    the co2 content of the atmosphere increases roughly 2ppm every year.
    and has increased by about 1/3 since our great discoveries of limited fossil fuels and use
    started.
    1) Co2 (and methane) is a greenhouse gas (and measurable in the laboratory)
    2) co2 fallout into the oceans makes the sea more acid
    3) temperature in many areas of the planet where measured have increased
    significantly, glaciers disappear in front of the observers in the Alpes and other regions
    and yes, looking scientifically at the data in Switzerland for example ..
    snow periods have decreased significantly and low lying ski regions have disappeared.

    4) even if we do not know all the feedback loops etc scientifically minded people
    can use the precautionary principle and say further increase of co2 levels does probably
    do no good!
    5) well and scientifically looking at fossil fuel resource data is forbidden by
    the UN IPCC etc people as the consequences of limits would make their work
    less important and tell us what the real problem with our culture is.
    6) looking at our so called elected world leaders .. they neither care for
    the co2 problem nor for resource problems nor for the well being of future generations.
    7) what is called science today is payed by those governments who prefer to manipulate
    people and thus many scientists and their results today are hijacked as well.
    Still eventually the scientific method will bring the truth (perhaps when it is too late!).
    8) all what I forgot.

    • soarergtl says:

      Hi Concernclub,

      I agree with you that those are the arguments generally provided by those who want ‘to do something’ about climate change. They are not the whole story though.

      0) co2 is emitted into the atmosphere by burning biomass and forest destruction
      (about 20%) and fossil fuels (80%).

      Actually, most CO2 in the atmosphere is contributed by natural processes, not by humans.

      the co2 content of the atmosphere increases roughly 2ppm every year.

      Just under, but yes, that is currently the case.

      1) Co2 (and methane) is a greenhouse gas (and measurable in the laboratory)

      In a closed system, which the atmosphere is not. Many other processes affect the effect of CO2.

      2) co2 fallout into the oceans makes the sea more acid

      Less alkaline, maybe. But a warmer ocean can contain less CO2 than a colder one. So it is not immediately obvious that more CO2 will get dissolved, given the very small increase in CO2 partial pressure, and any warming of the ocean which may or may not be occurring, and may or may not be CO2 driven.

      3) temperature in many areas of the planet where measured have increased
      significantly, glaciers disappear in front of the observers in the Alpes and other regions

      Temperatures seem to be increasing ever since the Little Ice Age. How much of a contribution has been made by human-produced CO2 is arguable.

      4) even if we do not know all the feedback loops etc scientifically minded people
      can use the precautionary principle and say further increase of co2 levels does probably
      do no good!

      Rather than feedback loops, I prefer to think of the climate as a governed, or if you prefer, a buffered system. Feedbacks seem to operate to prevent large incursions from the norm. We have had CO2 levels many times higher than today in the past, but we didn’t have runaway global warming. We also had lower, but we didn’t freeze into an ice ball and stay there. Is there any reason to think that the climate is not sufficiently buffered to allow for what is a small change in a small constituent of the atmosphere?

      The precautionary principle is best expressed in the Hippocratic Oath – ‘First do no harm’. Denying fossil fuel energy to people which would increase their well-being is doing immediate harm.

      People in poor countries being forced to use wood and dung to heat their homes and cook, producing lung disease which could be averted by electricity from fossil fuels.

      Poor people in rich countries dying through being in fuel poverty. We get 20,000+ excess deaths in the winter over the summer here in the rich UK. Those, mostly old and/or poor people are not dying of heat stroke.

      5) well and scientifically looking at fossil fuel resource data is forbidden by
      the UN IPCC etc people as the consequences of limits would make their work
      less important and tell us what the real problem with our culture is.
      6) looking at our so called elected world leaders .. they neither care for
      the co2 problem nor for resource problems nor for the well being of future generations.

      Well, these are political points, not scientific ones. They are also arguable, at best.

      7) what is called science today is payed by those governments who prefer to manipulate
      people and thus many scientists and their results today are hijacked as well.
      Still eventually the scientific method will bring the truth (perhaps when it is too late!).

      Another political point, but I agree that science is tainted, in some areas, by the need to continue funding. Governments provide most funding, so they tend to get the results they want. This is what seems, to me, to drive the panic about AGW.

      8) all what I forgot.

      Me too 🙂

      • concernclub says:

        thanks for the reply.
        may be you could add on point 5 of my list because this is highly
        relevant .. also for the so called well being of people… and how it is sustainable or not.

        5) well and scientifically looking at fossil fuel resource data is forbidden by
        the UN IPCC etc people as the consequences of limits would make their work
        less important and tell us what the real problem with our culture is.

        and .. perhaps when you talk about past x million years of the climate
        changes and compare with todays changes add that
        time scale of changing from “ice ages” (periods of strong glaciation)
        to little glaciation and the well known effects from earth orbit changes
        around the sun. Just in order to not mix things too much.
        (and perhaps explain all the scientific evidence we have about the
        (global???) little ice age 400 years ago

        michael

        • soarergtl says:

          5) well and scientifically looking at fossil fuel resource data is forbidden by
          the UN IPCC etc people as the consequences of limits would make their work
          less important and tell us what the real problem with our culture is.

          I guess you are talking about ‘Peak Oil’ and so on.

          First, there is plenty of coal, enough for several hundred years. Probably the same is true for oil, since the advent of fracking. We have several thousand years supply of fissionable materials for nuclear reactors.

          When one of these becomes too expensive, another technology will be developed to replace it. There is no ‘Resource Crunch’ any time soon in any non-substitutable resource.

          I would prefer not to have to use coal for the pollution is engenders, not CO2 but all of the other compounds which determinately are harmful. Replace them with nuclear.

          I would be happy to have electric cars to avoid the pollution on our city streets. But they are many decades away from serious contention with the internal combustion engine.

          I also expect one day we will have completely renewable energy sources. Solar has a contribution to make, but only in places nearer the equator than the UK or most of Europe. Hydro and geo-thermal as well, though the latter mostly in tectonically active areas ,which would preclude the building of nuclear (like the Pacific Rim, for example).

          Nuclear though, initially fission but eventually fusion will probably make up most (80+%) of energy generation.

          In 1900 we did not have heavier than air flight. By 2000, we had been to the moon, and flying was an everyday reality for millions.

          No-one in 1900 would have predicted that. So none of the central planners so beloved of Green activists would have had any idea what technologies would dominate over the next 100 years. They would have probably invested taxpayers’ money in airships or semaphore companies.

          In the same way, yes there will be resource constraints in the future. No-one knows what they will be, or when, or what new technologies will come along to replace them. To give one example – if driverless cars are viable, why would anyone want to own a car? Just call for a driverless taxi when you need one.

          So, that single advance could change the way public transport works (who needs buses?), houses are designed (who needs a garage?), the way finance works (no more car leasing) and so on and so on. These advances were not predictable even a couple of decades ago.

          So, many of us don’t see any catastrophe in AGW, just a potential problem which may need to be managed. Poverty and especially energy poverty are real and immediate problems which are causing deaths now. The Green agenda seems to be to talk up the former whilst ignoring the latter, as you have done by ignoring my point about it in my previous reply.

          There are much bigger problems in the world than AGW. If tackling some potential future AGW problem means abandoning people to disease and death now through lack of electricity and fuel, then I think that those are warped priorities.

          • Dear Soarergtl,

            There are much bigger problems in the world than AGW.

            depends on where you are. AGW usualy makes other horrible problems even worse and hinders their solution. Solving climate change does NOT mean ignoring other problems.

            Also you seem to be much too optimistic about resource availability, given that in many parts of the world peak oil is already manifested, also EROI of coal is delining. Shale oil might be plentiful in the ground, however its extraction is environmentaly damaging (earthquakes, CO2 emissions, water pollution etc.), and shale oil has (still) low EROI etc…

            may need to be managed?

            I had a nice dinner yeasterday, so I don’t have to care about world hunger…

            Alex

          • soarergtl says:

            I had a nice dinner yeasterday, so I don’t have to care about world hunger…

            World hunger is declining, thank goodness, not increasing. Crop yields are rising according to the UN: http://faostat3.fao.org/browse/Q/*/E

            Perhaps the extra CO2 (also known as plant food) is actually increasing plant growth, which would be what actual science would predict (and which is why greenhouses introduce CO2 to increase tomato growth, for example).

            given that in many parts of the world peak oil is already manifested, also EROI of coal is delining.

            World oil production continues to rise: http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?product=oil&graph=production

            Peak Oil has been predicted since the 1970s. Ain’t happened yet, and looks further away than ever, however much you might long for it.

            EROI of coal is declining? How is that even possible, physically? The stuff is everywhere. Carbon taxes and OTTT regulations have made it uneconomic in some countries, that’s all. Green policies causing problems for poor people again.

            Coal use for electricity generation is increasing in the Green poster child – Germany.

            AGW usualy makes other horrible problems even worse and hinders their solution.

            Such as? We have, in the last 3 decades, lifted a billion people out of extreme poverty – more than any other time in our history. Hopefully the final billion will follow. Mostly this is due to globalisation, freer trade and slightly less controlling governments. All things Greens hate.

            It has certainly not been harmed by climate change – most likely it has been helped.

            I notice you don’t seem to have come up with any actual, Green solutions though.

            Solving climate change does NOT mean ignoring other problems.

            The climate is going to change whatever we do.

            Denying poor people the benefits of fossil fuels will keep them poor – indeed it is already doing so. Not building coal-fired plants with aid money is just one example. Trying to get India to reduce coal use and thereby deny their citizens the benefits of electricity is another. So ‘ignoring other problems’ is exactly what it means.

            Most of your assertions are provably inaccurate, but making up your own facts is what Greens do after all.

          • concernclub says:

            I think we live on different planets ..
            (that would be ok if it would be true)

            but please have a look at the BP claimed global
            resource data and especially for coal.

            and just explain how you conclude that
            we have coal for hundreds of years.

            if you have better data than BP summarises
            let us know

          • soarergtl says:

            Well, you haven’t provided a link, so how would I know what BP says, and why would I care? They are an oil company.

            So:

            According to BGR there are 1052 billion tonnes of coal reserves left, equivalent to 134.5 years of global coal output in 2013. Coal reserves reported by WEC are much lower – 892 billion tonnes, equivalent to 113 years of coal output.

            from http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/

            and

            By almost any standards there is a lot of coal beneath the surface of the earth. The highest estimates put it at as much as 14.5 trillion tons. At the current rate of use this much coal would last for well over 2000 years. However, most estimates of the reserves to production ratio, a simple calculation of how long we could use coal at the current rate, fall in the range of 100-250 years. Even more pessimistic are recent studies suggesting that we might only be sure of having enough coal until 2030, or that coal production will peak around 2025 and decline thereafter.

            Read more: http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/AlaskaCoal/CoalTerminology.html#ixzz3RY3kYjIn

            A lot of the confusion in Green minds about ‘Peak Whatever’ is the difference between ‘reserves’ and ‘resources’.

            Broadly defined the coal resource is how much coal is actually in the ground. The actual amount is of course unknown, but is estimated based on both direct measurements and inferences from geology. However the coal reserves of any particular place are defined as the amount of measured resource coal that could be expected to be economically mineable under the current economical and technological conditions. Therefore coal reserves represent a small and changeable percentage of coal resources, changing based on the price of coal, the technology used to extract it, and other factors.

            Read more: http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/AlaskaCoal/CoalTerminology.html#ixzz3RY47M7yz

            (my bold)

            So, as we have already seen with oil, if the price rises, or technology changes, more ‘resources’ are converted into ‘reserves’.

            And, as I said above, I would prefer nuclear was used instead of coal to reduce harmful emissions.

            In any case, it really doesn’t matter, since coal is completely substitutable for electricity generation by nuclear fission.

            I assume my other points are unanswerable, since you haven’t answered them.

            Different worlds indeed. Mine has facts in it.

          • Sam Taylor says:

            Soarergtl,

            While crop yields may be rising, the rate of yield increase appears to be decelerating. Indeed many renewable resources appear to have passed their peak-rate addition years: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/

            Given that population growth is not yet on a similar trend, this is a particularly disturbing finding.

            Secondly, per your comments about peak coal, peak coal (as with oil) refers to *rates*, not reserves. The remaining coal deposits are going to be harder to access then the earlier ones, and largely of lower quality. This will make sustaining or increasing rates that much more difficult each year, as higher quality resources are depleted. You might be interested in a paper on coal reserves from Dave Rutlidge here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166516210002144

            I think he’s also written an article on this blog somewhere.

          • soarergtl says:

            Of course, only time will tell, Not one ‘Peak Anything’ event has so far arrived on schedule.

            Still, you & he may well be right. And as I have already said, twice, I would prefer the developed world to use nuclear for electricity generation, rather than coal, as it is far less polluting.

            In developing countries, where the choice is coal-fired generation or dung heaths in homes, then I would prefer coal, as it kills fewer people

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Concernclub, I am not dismissing the data, simply questioning where it came from before accepting it. I am acutely aware of the difficulty of measuring minute differences in ocean temperature throughout a 2000 m water column everywhere.

      I will not dispute that oceans are warming since this is a primary factor behind rising sea levels. Just that data I’ve seen suggests that sea level rise began before we started to burn FF. And I’m skeptical that ocean heat, not on the menu before the pause, was suddenly on the menu to explain it. Do you for example believe that all increase in ocean heat is down to human CO2 or is a component a natural warming from the last glaciation and the Little Ice Age?

      I’m sure the Argo buoys will provide tremendous data but I’m already suspicious of it because of what is written on the home page – its unprofessional and unscientific IMO.

      And while you lay out a case for CO2 warming the atmosphere, which I won’t dispute, there is substantial disagreement about the amount of that warming which lies at the heart of this debate.

      • soarergtl says:

        I also think it is important to read what the Argo Project themselves say about their data:

        The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals. Seasonal and interannual variability dominate the present 10-year globally-averaged time series. Sparse global sampling during 2004-2005 can lead to substantial differences in statistical analyses of ocean temperature and trend (or steric sea level and its trend, e.g. Leuliette and Miller, 2009). Analyses of decadal changes presently focus on comparison of Argo to sparse and sometimes inaccurate historical data. Argo’s greatest contributions to observing the global oceans are still in the future, but its global span is clearly transforming the capability to observe climate-related changes.

        My bold.

        http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/Uses_of_Argo_data.html

      • concernclub says:

        Dear Euan,

        lets just look at the facts and all the facts.
        For the Alpes and low lying regions nearby snow cover period has decreased and glaciers are disappearing in an incredible speed for example.

        Your example is thus a little misleading, still impressive so.

        We can also agree that the climate models and how the global average
        temperature data are not 100% known precision science.

        We can call it perhaps “science in the making”
        of an important topic. It would have been nice to know things
        better before about 1/7 of humanity started to do the experiment

        What does this imply?
        Well, some data indicate stronger co2 effects on the global temperature
        than others, true.
        Sometimes stronger than the IPCC models sometimes weaker
        and still roughly within the large uncertainties given.

        ignoring uncertainties is unscientific I would argue.
        Trying to get better data is important and scientific

        the potential catastrophic outcome of the experiment is also
        important and we should use the precautionary principle
        before continuing this experiment (and similar experiments).

        Ignoring all this sounds silly at best.

        Finally, ignoring resource problems/shortages is even more unscientific
        and yes, lets try to understand why mainstream science ignores
        this (and even enforces people not to work on this problem).

        so yes many esoteric views exist and in essentially all political
        parties and most scientific inspired people.. (atheists included)
        I know about. So why cherry picking on greens?

        michael

        • A C Osborn says:

          Sorry Michael but using the precautionary principle to reverse the industrial Revolution is absolute madness. The money wasted on so called Climate Research and Green Energy is costing 1000s of lives every year.
          How you can live with the idea that this is a good thing I fail to understand.
          The research is not to try and understand how the climate “actually” works only to come up with ever more excuses why the CO2 CAGW theory and the GCMs are not working as described by the “Settled Science” and the “Consensus” and ever more scare stories of what will happen when it eventually kicks in.
          It was what the IPCC was set up to do and they actually say so and so do the UN.
          http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/unfccc-chief-our-aim-is-not-to-save.html

          • concernclub says:

            ????

            don’t understand your answer
            “reverse industrial revolution”
            ???
            it is a scientific fact that time moves only along the positive axis. (Entropy law if you want)

            if you ask the philosophical question
            what should have been done differently 10k years back
            or whatever time back is perhaps interesting

            the more on the point question is what should be done today (if humans would be intelligent as they claim)?

            should decisions be based on the scientific method and precautionary principle and take
            the rights of future generations into account for example.

            I would argue that this would be perhaps good,
            but this is a philosophical statement
            and I would argue that humans are not as intelligent
            as claimed.

            michael

  14. Owen says:

    This thread is a great example of green thinking – “Would this not be temporary?
    Climate change is making stormy/windy weather more frequent I thought?”

    No climate change is making climate less windy !

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2057303699

    • soarergtl says:

      CO2 is a magic compound. There isn’t anything it can’t do. It produces draughts and floods, wind and calm, record ice and no ice at all.

      All at the same time.

      Oddly, it doesn’t seem to affect the average global temperature at all.

  15. concernclub says:

    dear soarergtl,

    I didn’t reply to the other points you made because I didn’t think you want discuss seriously.

    Anyway, for the coal (etc) lets agree that the numbers of
    coal oil gas and uranium reserves indicate problems.
    (for sure you know the BP annual paper if not you figured out the similar numbers from
    other sources which copy and paste them anyway)

    we do not share the idea in hopes for magic technology and that it will get larger reserve numbers
    because science tells us something on EROEI numbers declining which you ignore.

    so lets try to define some numbers about different Energy and resource production numbers
    which can be checked during the next few years.

    co2 increase per year .. for example

    fraction from oil, gas and coal

    nuclear kwhel produced per year
    (and uranium produced per year)

    etc and
    perhaps especially for our beloved Europe OECD countries..

    or just UK if you want

    • soarergtl says:

      I do not intend to provide your working for you, especially as you haven’t provided a single link to any source, or any refutation of any point I have made.

      I do not believe Greens lie awake worrying about Peak Oil – they want it come, and quickly. So I believe your questions are disingenuous.

      I also believe there are irrelevant. Three times now I have said i preferred nuclear to coal. You are surely not going to tell me we will run our of fissionable material in the next few decades. Seriously? The sea is full of it, and we know how extract it, and we can easily do so if it ever becomes economically worthwhile. There is plenty of easier stuff to find elsewhere, so why would we?

      The fact that ‘Peak Oil’ hasn’t arrived, despite the fanfares, nor any of the peak anything else’s, just shows that Greens have absolutely no idea about the very basics of how the capitalist system works. Presumably, this is why so many of them want so much to remove it, and replace with centralised control of production and supply.

      Which, after all, works so well in oil-rich Venezuela. Not.

  16. Euan Mearns says:

    William is getting a bit irate at not now being able to exercise is privilege to post comments here. This from an unpublished comment from earlier today.

    Why didn’t I point it out earlier? I only skimmed it and took it as typical skeptic advocacy of a preferred view of the world, not a serious discussion.

    I’m afraid William you have probably posted your last comment on this blog. I dare say Kit Carruthers didn’t read the post either. You basically wade in blabbering crap, ruining the blog and the possibility of folks actually learning something from a civil exchange of informed opinion.

    It takes a LOT of time to prepare these posts. The post in question is this one

    http://euanmearns.com/northern-hemisphere-snow-cover-2/#more-6938

    Which I think was played pretty well straight down the middle of the fare way. The fact you see fit to come and shit all over it from a great height without even reading it speaks volumes about you and your creed.

    Bye

  17. I am not aware that in any of our posts we have levelled accusations of wrong doing and corruption. We’re careful not to. Can you please provide links to the posts you refer to.

    Not careful enough. Maybe you don’t realise the language you are using is damaging to any sensible discussion, or maybe you don’t realise that you use this language at all.

    I don’t expect you to respond to each of the following quotes, but what follows is a selection from Euan and Roger only (not your commentators), mostly just from the past week(!), where corruption, fraud, conspiracy by scientists to mislead, or accusations of subjective faith-driven research are implied or alleged by the author(s).

    If you guys want to conduct a proper discussion on the science, then ditch the rhetoric, and you’ll find that those with different opinions to you will engage in a much more constructive manner.

    Regards,
    Kit

    ———

    Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover

    The latter [rapid melt in spring and summer] is not surprising since we know that the lower troposphere is warming (at least we think we know that to be the case).

    http://euanmearns.com/northern-hemisphere-snow-cover-2/#comment-7106
    Roberto, It is quite simply clever prose and propaganda.
    It is nothing else than highly filtered pure propaganda masquerading as science.

    http://euanmearns.com/northern-hemisphere-snow-cover-2/#comment-7133
    You seem to think what you are involved in is science. It’s not. Until you realise that you and your whole creed are doomed to ultimately fail.

    ———

    The Horrors of Homogenization

    How does one justify adding warming to raw records over the entire Southern Hemisphere? One doesn’t. The warming is clearly manufactured, spurious, non-existent.

    As to the second and potentially more troublesome question of why such obviously flawed adjustments are being applied, I will leave that up to the judgment [sic] of the reader.

    http://euanmearns.com/the-horrors-of-homogenization/#comment-7150
    A completely flat temperature record gets cooked into warming.

    ———

    How Hemispheric Homogenization Hikes Global Warming

    http://euanmearns.com/how-hemispheric-homogenization-hikes-global-warming/#comment-7237
    [And why are they using an algorithm in the first place?]

    I think it’s because it delivers the “expected results ;)”” (the wink on this quote does nothing to convince me that Roger means anything other than exactly what he’s saying)

    ———

    Green Thinking – is it science?

    Infinitely flexible rules are being abused and bent to explain all climate change by increasing CO2…

    Endorsement of “Retired Dave”‘s comment including “The constant fiddling with the temperature record, always in the same slant, leads one to further scepticism.

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/#comment-7266
    All Green Thinkers base their arguments on studies done by others, and studies that always toe the company line.

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/#comment-7273
    Green Science tolerates no dissent and holds that when observations don’t match the theory the appropriate response is to tweak them until they do.

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/#comment-7274
    The peer reviewed literature on this subject matter is closed to those not working in groups towing the party line.

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/#comment-7321
    This is all propaganda apparently designed to justify their existence.

    http://euanmearns.com/green-thinking-is-it-science/#comment-7358
    The fact you see fit to come and shit all over it from a great height without even reading it speaks volumes about you and your creed

    ———

    The temperature forecasting record of the IPCC

    The wool has been pulled over the eyes of policy makers, governments and the public to the extent of total brain washing.

    ———

    Perception trumps reality – the IPCC report on the impacts of climate change

    http://euanmearns.com/perception-trumps-reality-the-ipcc-report-on-the-impacts-of-climate-change/#comment-5370
    “The acceleration in glacier loss over the last two decades” coincides with the beginning of the warming pause. Bill Butler has got it exactly backwards.

    He’s clearly qualified to be an IPCC lead author.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Kit, thanks for this that can form a good basis for a discussion about the ways different people think and view data. I’ll try and get back to it later today, got a lot to do. But as an opening shot:

      “The latter [rapid melt in spring and summer] is not surprising since we know that the lower troposphere is warming (at least we think we know that to be the case).”

      You see this does not look like lower troposphere warming to me but an upleg on an overall downward trend.

  18. Hello,

    i don’t want to spam this discussion, but I would welcome is someone brings an optimistic twist to the new study that appeared yesterday in Science magazine:

    The 1930s Dust Bowl created post-apocalyptic conditions for the Central Plains, but Lisa Graumlich, who heads the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, said that the severe drought that plagued the Southwest from 1100-1300, ”makes the Dust Bowl look like a picnic.” That drought occurred during what researchers have called the Medieval Climate Anomaly and contributed to widespread ecosystem shifts and the collapse of civilizations across the Southwest.

    Yet both those droughts pale in comparison to the severity of drought projected to befall those regions — which encompass all or part of 17 states from California to Louisiana to Minnesota — during the latter half of the 21st century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise according to a new study published in Science Advances.

    Southwest, Central Plains Face ‘Unprecedented’ Drought

    Alex

    • soarergtl says:

      Yet both those droughts pale in comparison to the severity of drought projected to befall those regions

      There is a bit of a giveaway word used there – projected.

      The iPCC, despite all the billions spent on climate research over the last few decades, doesn’t make any predictions. To many of us, it seems that they simply don’t have the courage of their convictions.

      They don’t say ‘at this level of CO2, the climate will be like this’. They instead, make ‘projections’.

      This tells you that those statements are made on the basis of models.

      As George E. P. Box says ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful’.

      We know the IPCC models are wrong – we don’t yet know if they are useful. They are certainly not proven to be so.

      Not even the IPP though, claims they are useful for projecting climate at anything other than the global scale.

      So, what that statement is is a projection of a projection.

      It may turn out to be useful or it may be completely wrong. Until the IPCC models are proven to have predictive power at a regional level, and at the moment they are proven to have predictive power at a global level, it is really just a guess.

      Do you think a guess should pass any reasonable system of peer review like this has?

      And is it really sensible to make billion dollar spending plans on the basis of ‘projections’?

      • soarergtl says:

        Sorry about the formatting – didn’t close the bold tag at the end of ‘projected’)

      • Thanks,

        I can sleep well, because models are certainly wrong 🙂

        Because model can OVERestimate, as well as UNDERestimate the extent of future changes…

        Alex

        • soarergtl says:

          Because model can OVERestimate, as well as UNDERestimate the extent of future changes…

          Of course they can – I would not dispute that for a moment.

          What we need to know is, do they?

          My views on AGW are somewhat similar to IPPC Lead Author Prof. Hans von Storch, as recorded in the famous article in Der Spiegel in 2013: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

          Quotes:

          Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth.

          Temperature increases are also very much dependent on clouds, which can both amplify and mitigate the greenhouse effect. For as long as I’ve been working in this field, for over 30 years, there has unfortunately been very little progress made in the simulation of clouds.

          Whether it ends up being one, two or three degrees, the exact figure is ultimately not the important thing. Quite apart from our climate simulations, there is a general societal consensus that we should be more conservative with fossil fuels. Also, the more serious effects of climate change won’t affect us for at least 30 years. We have enough time to prepare ourselves.

          So, I fully support all reasonable efforts to reduce pollution and CO2. I believe the developed countries should replace coal-fired generation with fracked gas and nuclear. I think the evidence is clear that wind subsidies have not reduced CO2 emissions, and are not scientifically supportable. Similarly with solar away from the equator. The subsidies should be discontinued.

          As should the stupid, stupid, stupid bio-diesel nonsense, which directly raises food prices, and the idiocy of the EU paying Drax (out of its ‘Green Fund’) to change from burning coal to trees felled in North America and transported across the Atlantic. Some ‘Green’ policies are simply idiotic.

          Developing countries have different problems, which may necessitate coal generation for some time. I think this is better for their populations if the alternative is no electricity. It is, I admit, a utilitarian argument.

          Summary: we cannot be sure, but there are sensible things we could do which can reduce CO2, which may be a problem in future. Instead, we do idiotic things because some Greens have disproportionate influence on western politicians, and understand neither the science nor the economics of their absurd proposals.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Alexander, firing from the hip. I thought that Climate Science and IPCC had written the Medieval Warm Period out of the historical records. So its good to see that it has been re-instated. Of course its imprint on global average temperature may be muted if some places got hotter and drier while others got colder and wetter at the same time. This should ring a bell for you.

      The response of all sceptics to this is that the desertification of southern USA has happened many times before in response to natural climate cycles. The onus must be on the Climate Science community to separate man made from natural causes. In my opinion there is nothing scientific about observing climate change today and automatically attributing it to Man.

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