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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Finally - another WUWT article on the drought in California

Sou | 10:58 AM 1 Comment so far

Maybe the niggling from here has paid off. Anthony Watts has finally posted another article on the California drought. Well, WUWT has mentioned it a couple of times before already, in an article about Daniel Swain's recent research paper, and back in January this year, when he proclaimed it had nothing to do with global warming.

Today he's wanting to downplay it again in an article by Robert Moore (archived here).  He's not downplaying it quite so much this time. The top lot of images he's used don't help his argument much. It shows how the drought emerged over the past 3 years. Here's what it looks like now - a very small improvement from the worst of it three months ago (click to enlarge):

Source: US Drought Monitor

Here's an image of what makes all this worse - the depletion of ground water - in an image I snagged from a recent paper by JS Famiglietti in Nature Climate Change:

Instead of writing about the drop in water tables, like was demonstrated in that paper, and by NASA recently, he seems to be more concerned about not creating public panic. Which is a very worthy aim. Robert wrote about how this:
is not even the 2nd driest water year for California in the last 120 years.
Well, well, well. It's only been the third driest year. Nothing to be concerned about after all. Or is it? What Robert found was that back in the 1920's and again in the 1950's there was a year in which there was less precipitation in California. Do those times ring a bell?

Fortunately Robert is not completely dismissing the severity of the current drought. He wrote:
Do these facts mean that we are in good shape re California’s water supply? No!
But we shouldn’t be framing the search for a stable California water supply by starting from a wildly incorrect statement that seems focused on creating public panic.
If we begin our search for a solution from reality, it is more likely that we can achieve a realistic long term solution.

Robert doesn't say who made any wildly incorrect statement. No links. Nothing. I'm guessing from the post title "Worst drought in California history? Not really…" that he read or heard someone somewhere at some time or another say that this current drought is the worst drought in the history of California - and that Robert disagrees. [Added for clarification, muddiness, by Sou]

Nor does Robert have any suggestions to make regarding water security. He's just making a point that California has had droughts before, which is true. And that decisions need to be made for the long term, which I expect the planners in California have already figured out, while they try to cope with the immediate short term demands for water.

From the WUWT comments

I'm flat out on other things at the moment so I don't have time to write more about this. I'll just post a few of the well-meaning comments of sympathy and support for Californians from the WUWT readers.

Proud Skeptic points out that these days there are more people making more demands on the water supply and maybe Californians should stop whining and send some of their residents packing:
November 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm
I guess it is a much bigger deal now. Back in 1920, California wasn’t nearly as populated as it is now. Maybe the answer is that fewer people should live there. Or maybe they can stop whining about climate change and go find some water.

MCourtney agrees with Proud Skeptic, and adds some suggestions for powering desal plants:
November 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm
Oh, you said exactly what I was going to say.
But I was going to add something about desalination plants.
Maybe divert all the windfarms to running new desalination plants and building coal, gas or nuclear to replace them?
When it stops blowing you will have stored the electricity in the form of potable water.
I think I’ve just solved the unreliability problem of wind and solar.

Bolshevictim says to outlaw lawns, which is sensible, and get rid of undocumented immigrants - a completely different issue but one that's clearly a concern to him.
November 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Well, my solution is to outlaw green lawns, not only would it reduce water consumption, but demand for cheap lawn service, aka.undocumented immigrants, would be almost completely eliminated.

David R hints at the the problems that arise when heat and drought combine:
November 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm
Is 2014 going to be the warmest year on record for California?

Bloke down the pub adds his two bob's worth and says:
November 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
There are of course different ways of defining drought. If you measure it by the moisture content of the soil, then the amount of water taken out to supply the growing population will mean that droughts will get more severe, whatever the short term variability of weather.

Dawtgtomis decides that Californians need to adapt to a hotter world, not bother making California less hot and dry, and says:
November 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm
Clean water for all IS worth spending money on. CO2 abatement IS NOT worth any spending.

Stephen Richards is more worried about what's in his hip pocket than the plight of Californians:
November 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm
The socialists are doing their bit increasing taxes and enrgy prices

That's all I've got time for right now. You can read more here, if you want to.

Famiglietti, J. S. "The global groundwater crisis." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 11 (2014): 945-948. doi:10.1038/nclimate2425

Friday, November 21, 2014

The back story

Sou | 2:53 PM 40 Comments - leave a comment

This is just a placeholder for any stray WUWT-ers who are not such fake sceptics that they'll not investigate denialist claims made at WUWT. What Dr Michael Singer actually wrote. In full. Without the quote-mining by Jim Steele.

Dr Singer's long comment is in the body of the article. He adds quite a bit more in the comments. I'm linking to this to put Jim's latest dummy spit into perspective.

(Didn't I once say that sexism and climate science denial are common to a certain demographic? I did? Yep, I was right, wasn't I.)

PS WUWT moderator Smokey aka dbstealey aka D Boehm aka  ~dbs is wrong again as usual. Here's why.

Deniers are weird at WUWT. ENSO is a BoM conspiracy!

Sou | 12:37 AM 204 Comments - leave a comment

Yeah, yeah. You knew already that deniers are WUWT are a weird mob. But did you know just how weird they are?

There's finally another WUWT article (archived here) by Bob Tisdale about the BoM alert for El Nino, which you might have read about here the other day. That isn't what I'm writing about. What I'm writing about is some of the comments in response.

This is the 21st article that Bob's written on the possibility of an El Nino this year (at least), but do you know what some of the riff raff are writing? Are they complaining that WUWT is obsessed by ENSO? Nope. Are they complaining that Bob Tisdale is trying to frighten the fake sceptics? Nope.

It's not WUWT or Bob Tisdale who they are complaining about. What the WUWT lot are claiming is that the BoM fortnightly ENSO updates are all a plot by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to frighten the pants off the dumb deniers at WUWT.

Hold on to your hats. Here comes the conspiracy brigade - over ENSO would you believe!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wondering Willis Eschenbach has gone nuts about volcanoes at WUWT

Sou | 8:19 PM 12 Comments - leave a comment

Wondering Willis Eschenbach has a new article at WUWT (archived here). It's not at all clear what he is wondering about this time. He's ostensibly writing about an icelandic volcano that began erupting on June 8, 1783 and continued until Feb. 1784. His article is full of contradictions and false claims. It's more evidence that Willis has gone around the twist. He says of the volcano:
It is claimed to have caused a very cold winter in 1783-1784

No, Willis - the scientists you cite say the complete opposite

The problem is that he doesn't say who claims that. The only scientific paper he cites is D’Arrigo et al (2011), which doesn't make any such claim. In fact, that team is arguing that the very cold winter of 1783-84 was not connected to the Laki eruption. From the abstract:
Data sources and model simulations support our hypothesis that a combined negative NAO‐ENSO warm phase was the dominant cause of the anomalous winter of 1783–1784, and that these events likely resulted from natural variability unconnected to Laki. 

"Unconnected to Laki" is what they wrote. So what is Willis going on about? It's a very mixed up article by Willis. He's been getting increasingly ratty (erratic) of late. Denialism isn't good for one's mental health is my guess. Cognitive dissonance causes brain farts.

More double standards at WUWT: Not one person asked to see the data from Pat'n Chip

Sou | 4:45 PM 21 Comments - leave a comment

It looks as if Anthony Watts is getting his marching orders from the CATO Institute this week. First there was Paul Driessen wanting to "bring back smog". Now we've got the disinformer duo, Patrick J. Michaels and his sidekick, Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger - affectionately known as Pat 'n Chip (archived here). What this pair is trying to tell us is that what the IPCC report said about a "hiatus" is reflected in science papers about the so-called "hiatus" in global surface temperatures. They are in essence claiming the IPCC was correct. (Actually, to sell their story to the deniers, Pat'n Chip made up stuff about what the IPCC report actually said, pretending it said something different so they could argue the point. It's called building a strawman.)

What pause? There is no pause in global warming!

Remember, a "slow down" (or even the poorly named "hiatus") in global surface temperature does not in any way signify a pause in global warming. The earth continues to warm up. This year even the global surface temperatures are setting new records.

Data source: NASA GISS - including average year to date to October 2014.

ENSO Wrap up - El Niño Alert

Sou | 2:55 AM 12 Comments - leave a comment

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has shifted its ENSO status to alert, meaning there's a 70% chance or greater of an El Niño. I've updated the sidebar with the latest announcement (pdf version) from BoM.
The Pacific Ocean has shown some renewed signs of El Niño development in recent weeks. Above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have warmed further in the past fortnight, while the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has generally been in excess of El Niño thresholds for the past three months. Climate models suggest current conditions will either persist or strengthen. These factors mean the Bureau's ENSO Tracker Status has been upgraded from WATCH to ALERT level, indicating at least a 70% chance of El Niño occurring.
Not all indicators have shifted towards El Niño. Tropical cloudiness near the Date Line and trade wind strength are close to average, suggesting the atmosphere is still not firmly linked with the warmer ocean below. However, trade winds have weakened several times over the past few months and SOI values have remained generally negative, suggesting at least some atmospheric response to the underlying ocean conditions.
International climate models expect the warm tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures to persist, with most models predicting values will remain near or beyond El Niño thresholds for the next two to three months. Regardless of whether or not El Niño fully develops, warmer-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, combined with cooler waters currently to the north of Australia increase the chance of some El Niño-like impacts. For many parts of Australia, this suggests below average rainfall and above average temperatures in the months ahead (as shown by the November–January Climate Outlook).

Here are the POAMA model projections - it doesn't look as if it will be earth shattering if it does eventuate. As always, click the image to enlarge it:

Source: BoM

This is what the monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for October looked like:

Source: BoM

And here's a comparison of sub-sea surface temperatures with earlier in the year:

Source: BoM

The updates come out every fortnight. Here is a link to pdf files of the current and past updates.

If you want to learn more about ENSO, this is probably the most extensive article I've written, and it has lots of links so you can explore further.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paul Driessen and CFACT want to send Americans back to the Smog Age

Sou | 8:30 PM 15 Comments - leave a comment

After an article about the Bronze Age, now Anthony Watts is touting the delights and health benefits of the smog age (archived here). Many Americans probably don't remember that golden era (dirty pink-yellow haze era?) all that well. When I was in primary school, we learnt about the smog in Los Angeles, where the topography collided with the vehicle exhausts and factory emissions and made the air downright dangerous to human health and well-being.

Anyway, Paul Driessen wants the USA to get rid of clean air regs and allow factories and cars to smother his fellow citizens in smog and pollutants. He wrote about:
...concerns about the effects the tsunami of regulations is having on the livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare of millions of American families.

Bring back SMOG - Yay!

Yep. Get rid of that tsunami of regulations. Bring back smog. 

Smog - Credit: Reuters, I think. It's all over the Internet.

What's getting him all irate now is that the EPA is looking to tighten controls to reduce ground-level ozone in the USA. He's rolled this gripe into an article about environmental regulations all up. It's Paul's job to complain about clean air. He works for CFACT, which AFAIK is an anti-environment lobby group for polluters in the USA.

So if you want unhealthy air, go over to WUWT and pledge your support for Paul Driessen and his dirty air pro-smog campaign.

Paul is complaining that the EPA is wanting to reduce the permissible ozone levels to "70 or 60 ppb", Well, this is old news. There's a paper from 2010 with the proposed changes:
The EPA is proposing to strengthen the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard, designed to protect public health, to a level within the range of 0.060-0.070 parts per million (ppm). 

In Australia, the national air quality standards restrict ozone to 0.10 ppm of ozone measured over a one hour period and 0.08 ppm of ozone measured over a four hour period, which isn't too different from what's being proposed by the US EPA. I haven't heard of anyone complaining about them. We like our clean air in Australia.

For more on ozone, here's a handy guide for you if you've got an ozone detector.

From the WUWT comments

There aren't a lot, only four so far and none worth reporting.

The end of the Bronze Age at WUWT (not really!)

Sou | 7:23 PM 4 Comments - leave a comment

In a bit of a change from the norm of late at WUWT, Anthony Watts decides to copy and paste a press release about the end of the Bronze Age. No "claim" headline. Just a straight up press release (archived here).  I think he screwed up the title of his article talking about the "collapse of the Bronze Age", when he should have referred to the "collapse of the population", but other than that he made no comment. He hasn't done that in a while - posted a straight article without any dog-whistles. But don't get excited. I don't think it means that WUWT is about to convert to a science blog (or emerge from its metaphorical Bronze Age).

The paper talks about a population collapse toward the end of the Bronze Age, occurring around 800 BC. (Don't ask me, I'm not an historian - but that's what the paper says.) Apparently it was "widely thought" that it was climate change that caused the population to decline. Not so, say Professor Ian Armit and the other the authors of this new paper. The population started declining before the European climate became colder and wetter.

Here are some Wikipedia entries of relevance - the timeline of the Bronze Age in Europe; with more detail here; and the Iron Age which followed; with another article on the Iron Age in Europe - and a timeline.

You can read about the paper here at If you've a subscription, you can read the paper itself at PNAS. It looks as if it would make an interesting read. What the work of the research team showed was:
...that human activity starts to decline after 900BC, and falls rapidly after 800BC, indicating a population collapse. But the climate records show that colder, wetter conditions didn't occur until around two generations later.

The "two generations later" was around 750 BC. The press release goes on to describe the findings in more detail:
Fluctuations in levels of human activity through time are reflected by the numbers of radiocarbon dates for a given period. The team used new statistical techniques to analyse more than 2000 radiocarbon dates, taken from hundreds of archaeological sites in Ireland, to pinpoint the precise dates that Europe's Bronze Age population collapse occurred.
The team then analysed past climate records from peat bogs in Ireland and compared the archaeological data to these climate records to see if the dates tallied. That information was then compared with evidence of climate change across NW Europe between 1200 and 500 BC.
"Our evidence shows definitively that the population decline in this period cannot have been caused by climate change," says Ian Armit, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bradford, and lead author of the study.
Graeme Swindles, Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics at the University of Leeds, added, "We found clear evidence for a rapid change in climate to much wetter conditions, which we were able to precisely pinpoint to 750BC using statistical methods."
According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin. Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse. It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age.
According to Katharina Becker, Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at UCC, the Late Bronze Age is usually seen as a time of plenty, in contrast to an impoverished Early Iron Age. "Our results show that the rich Bronze Age artefact record does not provide the full picture and that crisis began earlier than previously thought," she says.
"Although climate change was not directly responsible for the collapse it is likely that the poor climatic conditions would have affected farming," adds Professor Armit. "This would have been particularly difficult for vulnerable communities, preventing population recovery for several centuries." 

There you have it. Another bit of knowledge to add to what you know (or don't know, or replace what you thought you knew) and raising probably as many questions as it answers. Don't look to me for any of the questions or answers though. What I know about the Bronze Age and the Iron Age wouldn't cover a postage stamp :)

From the WUWT comments

It looks as if some of the people at WUWT are even more ignorant than I am on the subject, if that's possible. At least, I think I understand what the research found and what it was about.

 There were quite a few people who got in a bit of a tizz over what was meant by "two generations". The paper itself suggests a time period of around 50 years or so, from 800 BC when things really started to go pear-shaped, to 750 BC when the regional climate changed.

Charles Nelson decided that two generations is 70 to 80 years:
November 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm
Two generations…so what are we talking here…seventy/ eighty years?
Wow they are so wonderfully precise with their measurements!

Alan Robertson  disagreed with Charles Nelson and wrote:
November 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm
A generation is a lot closer to 20 yrs 

Dudley Horscroft figures this research lends support to the unorthodox writings of Velikovsky :)
November 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm (extract only)
We found clear evidence for a rapid change in climate to much wetter conditions, which we were able to precisely pinpoint to 750BC using statistical methods.”
This date is remarkably close to the dating of an earth mini-catastrophe as postulated by Immanuel Velikovsky. He dates this as -747 = 748 BC. (Being a very devout, perhaps even orthodox Jew, he refused to use AD or BC in his dating.) ...

You can read more of the comments here, if you're interested.

Ian Armit, Graeme T. Swindles, Katharina Becker, Gill Plunkett, and Maarten Blaauw. "Rapid climate change did not cause population collapse at the end of the European Bronze Age." PNAS, November 17, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408028111

Taunting the World: Anthony Watts brazenly boasts about climate disinformers getting away with theft and lies

Sou | 1:59 PM 13 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts at WUWT has decided to go back five years (archived here), and boast about how he and other deniers escaped the wrath of the law and got away with the crime of receiving stolen property, protecting thieves and worse. They've not got much else to boast about these days. But it's in character for him and his band of deniers to be proud of the fact that deniers managed to defeat the British constabulary, steal thousands of emails from a university, and then misrepresent the contents to the world at large.  How they hounded the world's leading climate scientists and tried to destroy their professional reputations, in their effort to put the entire world at risk.

What science disinformers like Anthony Watts won't admit to his dismal audience is that there was nothing, nothing at all in the emails. Zero. Zilch. Not one teeny tiny little bit of an email, that put the smallest dent in the vast body of climate science knowledge.  All the incident showed was how low science disinformers will sink to try to preserve the interests of those they are shielding. The crooked politicians. The greedy fossil fuel company owners.

That was a dark episode, and is probably the best example of the lengths to which these climate vandals will go in their ongoing efforts to make the next several generations suffer misery, drought, hunger, thirst, floods, dislocation, social upheaval and war. They will break the law. They will steal, lie and defame - and continue to do so. Some of them will get away with it. Others won't - or that's my climate prediction. Many of them will pay for their crimes eventually - either by being brought before a court of law, or by suffering the effects of climate change first hand themselves.

Some of these people are sociopaths who get a kick out of damaging humanity. Some are just petty criminals, lowlife scoundrels who are in it for the money. Their target audience is the wilfully ignorant. The dumb deniers. The uneducated ultra-conservative voter who is afraid of anything and everything outside their immediate tiny bigoted social circle.  The disenfranchised and fearful, who think they are powerless. It's the dumb deniers who make up the chorus and help spread the lies of the professional disinformers. It doesn't take much to play on the fears of the fearful. All it takes is to pretend to be anti-authority. To be against learning and knowledge and all the good things that humanity represents.

These people think they are above the law. They will libel, steal and lie and do whatever it takes to make sure the world gets hotter as quickly as possible. Oh, those same people will call on the law when it suits them. If someone stole from them they'd be the first to call the local police force. However they think they themselves are immune. Well, they are getting away with their criminal acts for a while, but it will backfire on them.

Look at Anthony Watts. His own home state has been burning up, suffering one of the worst droughts in recorded history. It's improved only a smidgen since the worst of three months ago. How is he coping? He doesn't say. Anthony Watts, supposed weather person, has barely mentioned what's happening in his own backyard. He doesn't have the courage to admit to his readers that he and they are part of the problem. That they are bringing this on themselves.

Source: US Drought Monitor

Yes, this is a bit different to the mild ridicule I normally heap on the denialati. Ridicule is good, but not all these people are simple buffoons and well-meaning idiots. Some of them are quite simply immoral and have shown they are willing to break the law to protect their own personal interests. Calling disinformers out for their crimes from time to time, is also good.

Crimes against humanity by the fools and tools of climate denial

Sou | 11:59 AM 6 Comments - leave a comment

Sometimes I regard deniers as fools and tools. Other times I see the dark side of them. Their wilful crimes against humanity. You think I'm over-reacting? I don't. I'm just saying what should be said from time to time.

Deniers are hypocritical bigots

These same hypocrites will even claim that the "poor" need fossil fuels. This is when they know full well that the people who will suffer first and most from global warming are those living in less developed nations. They just want the world all for themselves. They think they don't need people in Africa and Asia. Given that most deniers are conservative, bigoted old white men, they are quite comfortable that it's people who live at a distance from them, and mostly people of a different race to them, people who they regard as "failures", as "unsuccessful" for not being as wealthy as they are - therefore "unworthy" of life, who will bear the brunt of global warming initially.

That WMO illustration was correctly labelled

I started to write a comment in reply to Phil Clarke, who was commenting on the appalling article by Christopher Monckton at WUWT (archived here). Christopher was doing his best to be added to a defamation lawsuit and to bring Anthony Watts along with him. Oh, I would like to see that happen. But I doubt it will. They are small fish who live in a fishbowl that's closed to most of the world. By their own choice I might add. Sane people don't go for conspiracy websites as a general rule.

(Anthony might think he can get away with defamation by describing the article as "opinion". He can't. He's the publisher and promoter of that filth.)

This is the gist of what I was going to put in my reply to Phil Clarke's comment. (Go read it. Phil made good points.)

Thanks, Phil. I've also written about this briefly on other occasions, here for example. The cover illustration was described adequately in the WMO report. I'll stress that again. The illustration was described properly for what it was in the WMO report. It's a crying shame that Muir Russell didn't acknowledge that. Maybe they felt obliged to give the fake sceptics a small bone. They were wrong.

First up, Michael Mann didn't prepare the illustration, he merely commented to the people who did. Secondly, the WMO report described the illustration properly:

WMO-No. 913
© 2000, World Meteorological Organization
ISBN 92-63-10913-3
Front cover: Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long instrumental records. The data are shown as 50-year smoothed differences from the 1961–1990 normal.
Uncertainties are greater in the early part of the millennium (see page 4 for further information). For more details, readers are referred to the PAGES newsletter (Vol. 7, No. 1: March 1999, also available at and the National Geophysical Data Center (
(Sources of data: P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa and T.J. Osborn, University of East Anglia, UK; M.E. Mann, University of Virginia, USA; R.S. Bradley, University of Massachusetts, USA; M.K. Hughes, University of Arizona, USA; and the Hadley Centre, The Met. Office).

Christopher Monckton is rehashing tired postings of that other miserable excuse for a human being, the auditor, who has nothing else to write about these days but is still doing his best to make sure the world suffers badly from global warming. Even Christopher Monckton, entertainer denier, can't come up with any new material of his own.

Defamation is a tool in the denier's arsenal

It's a pathetic that these despicable deniers resort to defamation of people of good character. They know they can't refute the science so they try to shoot the messengers. The people who are working their butts off to help save the world from itself.

Relegated to a footnote in the history of the climate wars

We know who some of these miserable creatures are, at least. The ones who come out of the shadows in public. We might not know all the people behind the various curtains who are pulling the strings of the denialati. However we do know who the puppets are. And someone will list their names in some footnote when writing the history of the climate wars (yet to occur). I hope that there is no excuse given them when it's written. No leeway. No mistake made that they were committing crimes against humanity. That they played a small role in the lead up to the climate wars.

The motley band of science deniers are making martyrs and heros of climate scientists like Phil Jones and Michael Mann - all because they know that in the long run, they can't beat science with science denial. (When NYC is under water again, will it be the Christopher Monckton's who'll be hailed as heroes or will people (grudgingly) acknowledge the James Hansen's who sounded the warnings.)