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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts is working through SkepticalScience denier memes

Sou | 5:50 AM Go to the first of 52 comments. Add a comment


Anthony Watts is running out of material again.  He's been working his way through the denier memes at SkepticalScience.com.

His latest is "the climate's always changing" or, as is currently Number One on the SkepticalScience.com list of "Most Used Climate Myths" - "Climate's changed before".

What he wrote was (archived here):

Last night in the SOTU address, Obama made this pronouncement about climate change:
But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.
To that, I say this:
There’s never been any assertion that climate didn’t change, the idea that somehow this is something new to the 21st century is absurd. For example, this graph illustrates just that fact:

Anthony thinks he's on a winner because he knows one thing about his unruly mob of science deniers, they don't just reject the science, most of them are also extreme right-wingers who really don't like President Obama.  Anthony's argument is that because, more than a century ago, Lord Kelvin underestimated how much more there was to learn about particle physics, then there's a big chance that the greenhouse effect isn't real today - or some such silliness.

Anthony Watts has an Asperger-like tendency to take things literally, when it suits him to do so.  In this case it does suit him to do so.  You'll notice that his literal intepretations don't apply when he describes his own blog as "The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change".  Most people would initially think that meant his blog was about global warming and the associated changes to climate that we're starting to experience already.  (Once a person starts reading the articles they soon realise that WUWT is just another anti-science blog.)

In his blog article Anthony included a whole heap of charts showing past temperatures from ice cores in Central Greenland and in Antarctica.  Since he's being so literal we can assume that he thinks Earth has an average surface temperature around minus 30 degrees and more.  His deniers really are a gullible lot to fall for that old denier trick.  (Way down the bottom of his multiple charts is the only reference to the current rapid warming.  It doesn't look as if any of his readers noticed.)

I've already written about his recent blog article on the denier meme "it's not bad", which Wondering Willis wrote (currently No. 3); and the recent blog article on the denier meme "it's just a trace gas" which Ryan Scott Welch wrote (currenly No. 75) - both in just the last couple of days.

Recycling denier memes from the SkepticalScience.com list.  Given how much Anthony dislikes SkepticalScience.com, he must be really hard up!


From the WUWT comments


As you can imagine, the comments are just as dumb as Anthony's article.  (Archived here.)


Rud Istvan, in a surprising display of self-awareness says (excerpt):
January 29, 2014 at 9:55 am
It is very difficult for POTUS right now. He is bright and knows he is right. We are all just dumb unwashed for not getting it and agreeing with him.

Then there is this one from Tim Obrien  who doesn't seem to know about hot air balloons in the 1700s or dirigibles in the 1800s or all the other achievements right up to the Wright Brothers. Nor that "academics" in 1491 knew well that Earth isn't flat.  He says:
January 29, 2014 at 9:59 am
Science is never settled; only dogma is settled. Reference the consensus of scholars in 1902 who insisted Man would never fly or the academics in 1491 who maintained the world was flat…

cnxtim says:
January 29, 2014 at 10:04 am
Allow me to put this in religious context, since that is the most logical description of the warmist brethren, “Anyone, or any organisation that prophesies with faith and certainty, is by their very nature – FRAUDULENT”.


TRG says:
January 29, 2014 at 10:09 am
I think Obama can be forgiven for his position on this. I’ll bet that if you polled the CEO’s of the Fortune 500 the majority would tell you AGW is a fact, and a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. Why do you think we are having a Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in NJ. It’s because people thought winter was history.

52 comments :

  1. how does a skeptic reconcile the idea that the climate always changes with the claim that nothing is happening with the climate?

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    Replies
    1. The brains of fake sceptics seem to be wired differently to those of normal people. Fake sceptics have no difficulty in entertaining two contradictory ideas simultaneously. There has been a bit of research on this phenomenon - like Bob Altemeyer's right wing authoritarians and how conspiracy theorists can believe the impossible.

      Delete
  2. Yes, the fake sceptics are totally unable to see the contradiction, as holding two contradictory ideas is a almost a prerequisite.

    They are quite happy to accept that 'the climate has always changed' is settled science, 'look, here are the graphs to prove it', but to accept that 'anthropogenic greenhouse gases are changing the climate', well that's not settled science, 'look the other times that science has been wrong and changed, like Lord Kelvins statements, miasma theory, cold fusion, caloric theory, stomach ulcers caused solely by stress, etc, etc, etc.

    Ok, well lets take their twisted logic further. The current rate of temperature change is at least 10x the rate that has occurred during the last million years. The previous climate change was caused by cycles in the earth's orbit and tilt, changing the insolation from the sun, amplified by greenhouse gases and by changes in albedo and vegetation as glaciers waxed and waned. These changes normally take many hundreds of years to take effect, and so by deduction, cannot be the cause of the recent rapid temperature change. Out of all the causes, it's only greenhouse gases that has recently changed rapidily. But you deny all the evidence and observations that it's anthropogenic greenhouse gases. So what has 'naturally' caused the recent sudden change in the rate of temperature change?

    I have yet to see a fake sceptic answer that question with conclusive evidence to substantiate it. It is normally answered with ad hominems or conspiracy ideation.

    So how about this dear reader. If you do not accept the settled science that increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gases are causing the rapid increase in global temperatures, provide an alternate model with documentary evidence to support your hypothesis and at least a couple of published papers from reputable sources. Or is ad hominems, myths and crack-pot conspiracy theories all you got!!!

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  3. Except for the fact that "its changed before" is not a myth, it is truth. This is how Skeptical Science lists their number one "myth:"

    "Climate's changed before
    Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. (Richard Lindzen)"

    How is that a myth?

    Of course, just because climate has changed before doesn't mean that we aren't causing harmful climate change. And, on the flip side, the fact that climate is changing now doesn't mean that we are causing harmful climate change.

    Dave, is it really true that the current rate of temperature change is "at least 10x the rate that has occurred during the last million years?" You are saying that in the last million years there has never been a temperature change equal to the rate that we are experiencing now?

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    Replies
    1. @anon
      No, I'm not the one who is saying it, it is those who research the subject.
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/todays-climate-change-proves-much-faster-than-changes-in-past-65-million-years/

      And 10x the rate is a conservative figure!! So Yes, it's true!!

      So, now that the fact's have been established, are you willing to give an alternate model that explains why the temperature increase rate has increased so dramatically over such a short period of time?

      Delete
    2. Dave,

      Did you read the actual paper? I just did. I suggest you do before claiming that the "facts have been established." Why cite a news article interpreting an actual science paper?

      Delete
    3. @anon

      Well if you read the original paper,
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6145/486.abstract

      It says,
      "Inertia toward continued emissions creates potential 21st-century global warming that is comparable in magnitude to that of the largest global changes in the past 65 million years but is orders of magnitude more rapid"

      And then there is a quote from one of the authors in the news article
      ""We find periods of Earth's history where the global temperature change was of similar magnitude, but the rate was an order of magnitude slower."

      The news article represented the findings accurately. Do you know what an order of magnitute is? It's 10x!! You seem to insinuatly some sort of misrepresentation in the news article when there is clearly none. It seems that I was right. Conspiracy ideation is the typical response of deniers.

      Instead of all this crazy conspiracy ideation, provide an alternate model for why there is such a dramatic increase in temperature over such a short period of time.

      Put up or shut up. Any further twisting, turning and avoidance will be frowned upon.

      Delete
    4. What did the actual paper (1.N. S. Diffenbaugh, C. B. Field. Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate Conditions. Science, 2013; 341 (6145): 486 DOI: 10.1126/science.1237123) state that was different from the "at least 10 times"?
      You should contact the lead author, Noah D., for clarification or to set him straight. And don't forget to fire off a letter to Stanford Uni PR people to set them straight over their public release (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/august/climate-change-speed-080113.html) entitled: "Climate change on pace to occur 10 times faster than any change recorded in past 65 million years, Stanford scientists say". After all, there is a question of ethics here and you've read the relevant paper and all.

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    5. "Inertia toward continued emissions creates potential 21st-century global warming that is comparable in magnitude to that of the largest global changes in the past 65 million years but is orders of magnitude more rapid".

      I think anonymous does not know that "an order of magnitude" is a factor 10. So "orders of magnitude" means more than a factor 10 faster. If anonymous *does* know that, one wonders how he could have missed that sentence.

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    6. Alligators in Spitzbergen? Now that would be the PETM hyperthermal; a consequence of GHG forcing.

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    7. "warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen." says Lindzen

      You see, what Lindzen doesn't seem to understand, is that it is actually evidence of a strong greenhouse effect!!

      But for a start, alligators were were never found in Spitzbergen, it was a Jurassic Period (201 Ma to 145 Ma) extinct pliosaur.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/science/17foss.html?_r=0

      And the climate of the Jurassic Period was dominated by a strong greenhouse effect, when CO2 levels were around 5x what they are today yet solar luminosity was much lower than today.
      http://paleobiology.si.edu/geotime/main/htmlversion/jurassic5.html
      http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf

      At yet anon quotes Lindzen wondering why it's a myth. You can't possibly be that clueless and naive.‎ Well, now is your chance to prove it's not a myth. Provide an alternate model for why the warming rate is now about 10 times greater than in the past million years.

      (Also do you realise that Lindzen is a Heartland expert. http://heartland.org/richard-lindzen

      But I suppose that being a denier you consider that Heartland is a respectable and trustworthy think-tank, and that being sponsored by tobacco companies and fossil fuel companies is not a conflict of interest.)

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    8. There were alligators in the Arctic during the PETM all the same. See eg. Eberle & Greenwood (2012):

      The most famous of the nonmammalian vertebrate fossils from the Eocene Arctic, the Paleogene alligator Allognathosuchus , is relatively abundant at Arctic localities, known from dozens of teeth and osteoscutes as well as jaws and an incomplete skull from Ellesmere Island. Allognathosuchus was a small-bodied alligator (the Arctic skull was estimated to have been no more than 15 cm long; Estes and Hutchison, (1980) that was also abundant in midlatitude faunas. Alligator fossils have long been used as paleo climate proxies based upon the assumption that fossil taxa occupied essentially the same
      climatic window as their extant relatives (Markwick, 1994). Recent oxygen isotope–based paleotemperature estimates for the early Eocene Arctic suggest that Allognathosuchus had a somewhat greater climatic window than that implied by today’s distribution of crocodilians, although their occurrence in the fossil record is a reliable proxy for above-freezing temperatures (Eberle et al., 2010). Incidentally, observational and experimental data from zoo animals indicate that alligators are hardier than other crocodilians and can survive short intervals of subfreezing temperatures by submerging themselves in water. Access to water is the most important element of an alligator’s habitat, acting as a buffer to cooler air temperatures (Asa et al., 1998). Abundance of alligator fossils at Eocene localities on Ellesmere Island, in the absence of other crocodilian taxa (which are known from early Eocene midlatitude localities), implies that ancient populations of alligators probably were hardier and inhabited seasonally cooler environments than other crocodilians. Its small body size also probably afforded Eocene Arctic Allognathosuchus more opportunities for protection from winter exposure than its larger bodied, midlatitude relatives.


      It was an utterly different world. Which begs the question, why has there been an over-arching cooling trend for the ~50Ma since the Eocene Climatic Optimum? Deniers of the profound influence of CO2 on climate trends at all timescales should ponder this. The key question is of course, which forcings have changed enough to explain the slow, generalised cooling trend. Interested readers will find the answer in Hansen & Sato (2012) section 2.

      Bad news for pseudo-sceptics.

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    9. "How is that a myth?" - the myth is the implication that because climate has changed before then the current warming is not caused by humans. The current number one denier meme at SkS!

      Sheesh. Talk about not seeing the obvious! Isn't this the very same article in which I observed the tendency of Anthony Watts to the literal, when it suits him? And here it pops up once again in only the fourth comment to the article!

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    10. Well is Lindzen making that implication in the quote? As I already said it would be false to say that the fact that climate has always been changing is proof that we are not causing it. But it is also false to say that since climate is changing, we must be causing it.

      Do you have some evidence that Lindzen has ever made the argument that since climate has always been changing, we are not causing it?

      Delete
    11. Well Dave, did it really? The news article said "The climate is changing at a pace that's far faster than anything seen in 65 million years, a report out of Stanford University says." Did the paper really say that? Your two quotes most certainly do not show that.

      "...potential 21st-century global warming..." potential is not the same as "anything seen" previously, now is it?

      "We find periods of Earth's history where the global temperature change was of similar magnitude, but the rate was an order of magnitude slower." What does this prove? That there have been slower rates of change in Earth's history proves that current change has never been seen?

      This is what you find to be "proof?"

      Delete
    12. That sick argument is actually Lindzen's main theme.
      To be found e.g. in "Science in the Public Square: Global
      Climate Alarmism and Historical Precedents", Lindzen 2013, which incidentally contains a number of remarks sueable for libel.
      Some background on this paid liar: http://www.desmogblog.com/richard-lindzen .

      Delete
    13. "What does this prove?" - it proves that the current climate change is like unique in 65 million years. It proves that the rate of change is at least ten times, likely dozens of times as large a any climate change of comparable magnitude in the past.
      It is a shock to the system. See: http://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/shakun_marcott_hadcrut4_a1b_eng.png

      Delete
    14. cRR,

      Lindzen is not making that argument in your cited article. Try again. BTW, which remarks are actionable for libel? Please be specific since you are publicly accusing a scientist of libel.

      And that cited article does not prove that current climate change is unprecedented in the last 65 million years.

      Delete
    15. Lindzen pushes it e.g. here: "While some scientists claim to be able to distinguish natural from human-caused changes, the reader is challenged to tell which of the records in Figure 7a and 7b is natural variation (1895-1946) and which is presumably anthropogenic (1957-2008)."
      How suggestive. Don't ever think of pink elephants.

      Then he dumbs down the reader with the following sekt talk: "So, is there any use for the global and annually averaged temperature anomaly? It is probably relevant to the response to global forcing like that due to increasing well-mixed greenhouse gases and solar variations. However, if there is a change in the global temperature anomaly, it is not possible to attribute it to global forcing. Thus, it is difficult to use the mean anomaly record to identify whether there is a problem."

      (cf Bob Carter, whose mission seems to be to have everyone forget about the concept of average, much like Singer wants last half century to be forgotten, and Curry who stopped living in 2002 or so re Arctic ice, ...).

      Libel 1: "Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions."

      Libel 2: "Despite official whitewashes, the Climategate scandal was a clear manifestation of pathology" or perhaps Lindzen does not know what he is actually saying here :)

      Note that Lindzen WAS a scientist. Today he is an old grey whiskey drinking white man lobbying for Big Coal and Max Polution.




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    16. Enough with dumb denier play-acting, Anonymous. And enough with the rhetorical questions. There are enough pointers in the comments for you to follow this up for yourself. I have a very low tolerance for your games.

      In regard to Lindzen, since you were able to follow my link to the SkS article, it shouldn't have been beyond your capability to follow the link SkS gave to the Lindzen article, where he wrote:

      The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is ....

      He's as woefully wrong there as in the article cRR Kampen referred to, in which Lindzen managed to weave multiple conpiracy ideations including references to Stalin, Nazis, Lysenko and eugenics. Plus his very dumb charts. You'd think he got Alec Rawls or David Icke to write that article for him. Not at all something you'd expect from a professor from MIT.

      Shades of this.

      Any more silliness from you will be deleted. If you plan on being an apologist for Richard Lindzen's nonsense, you'll have to do it elsewhere.

      Delete
    17. Anon.

      You are trolling again:

      Well is Lindzen making that implication in the quote? As I already said it would be false to say that the fact that climate has always been changing is proof that we are not causing it. But it is also false to say that since climate is changing, we must be causing it.

      We can see that GHG forcing is capable of changing climate by looking at paleoclimate behaviour from the slow, overall cooling trend ~50Ma - Holocene to the major Cenozoic hyperthermals and even deglaciation under orbital forcing. Your claim is therefore false:

      But it is also false to say that since climate is changing, we must be causing it.

      We are very clearly causing it by rapidly increasing the atmospheric fraction of GHGs.

      * * *

      And that cited article does not prove that current climate change is unprecedented in the last 65 million years.

      Large and geologically instantaneous fluxes of GHGs result in hyperthermals. So you may be correct: we could look to the PETM, ETM-2, MECO etc as precedents for what is likely to happen if emissions continue to increase and CO2e reaches the 1000ppm range.

      Delete
    18. The point is that LIndzen did not say that the fact that climate has been changing is proof that it isn't our fault. He points to other reasons to suggest that it isn't our fault. His statement is not an example of what SKS is trying to state is their climate myth number one. Lindzen may very well be wrong, or he might be right. But he is not making the argument that past climate change proves that current climate change is not man's fault.

      Sou, you are just wrong in that assertion. Delete my comments if you want to, but that just proves how anti-science you really are. You do it by not quoting Lindzen's complete sentence:

      "Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is the fact that there is a distinct signature to greenhouse warming: surface warming should be accompanied by warming in the tropics around an altitude of about 9km that is about 2.5 times greater than at the surface."

      He is not saying that past climate change proves man is not at fault. He is saying that evidence that man is not at fault is the lack of the GHG signature. Again, maybe he is wrong, and maybe he is right. But he is CERTAINLY not making the argument of which you accuse him.






      Delete
    19. Anonymous is busy practicising Gish tactics.

      The article is about a general denier meme that the "climate has changed before" therefore [insert whatever denier conclusion you want - whether it be "it's not our fault" or "it won't be bad" or "we can't stop it" or whatever dumb "argument" they want to pursue - sometimes even "therefore the climate isn't changing now"].

      Meanwhile, Anonymous plays word games, tosses out herrings hoping one of them is a pretty colour and will distract an inattentive reader's attention from the main point, and tries to defend the indefensible. Ludicrously, in this case, where Lindzen is indeed trying to claim "it's not because of humans" [xyz].

      Anonymous is suffering a delusion that his or her comments reflect science and that disallowing comments of the nature "climate science is a fraud" means I am anti-science.

      I left Anonymous' comments just in case a teacher wants to use them in a clear thinking exercise. There are enough for that purpose now.

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    20. He is not saying that past climate change proves man is not at fault. He is saying that evidence that man is not at fault is the lack of the GHG signature.

      Basic error. The tropospheric "hot spot" is supposed to occur with any type of warming - GHG-forced or otherwise. You have got this completely wrong. Also note that the observational data is messy and incapable of unequivocally demonstrating either the presence or absence of said "hot spot".

      Delete
  4. Here is another reptuable source.

    "the paleoclimate record also reveals that the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events."

    "As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming."

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php

    So, now that the well known fact's have been established again, are you willing to give an alternate model that explains why the temperature increase rate has increased so dramatically over such a short period of time?

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    1. Ah, I see the the Anonymous is still at it...

      Not only is the contemporary rate of warming faster than that during the period coming out of the last glacial maximum, but it's now departing from the Holocene Optimum in which human civilisation and culture (including agricultural development) grew, and more generally it's departing from a mean that is optimally amenable to many flora and fauna species.

      It's worse than that though, because we’re rising above the maximum temperature seen during any of the interglacials of our ice age, and indeed in this century we’re about to shoot past not only the maximum since the beginning of the Pliocene (during much of which humans did not even exist as a species), but we’re going to rocket past the Miocene maximum and with business-as-usual fossil fuel burning, some time in the 22nd century we’ll probably orbit beyond the Eocene maximum – a time where primates were a twinkle in evolution’s eye – and possibly even above the maxima of the Devonian (when mammals had not yet evolved) and the Cambrian (when the terrestrial environment was the domain of plants, and teropods were thinking about climbing out of the water).

      Humans and many other species are not designed for this magnitude of mean global temperature, and the rate of warming precludes almost all vulnerable species from adapting, especially those in the higher taxa.

      It's pure psychopathology to be blithely conducting this experiment with life on Earth - the only known life in the universe. No ethics committee apart from Lucifer's would condone such action.

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    2. As far as maximum temperatures go, you do realize that it was warmer during the Holocene Optimum than now, but only in summer and only in the NH (and not uniformly so), don't you? You do realize that it was colder in winter during the Holocene Optimum than now, don't you? Overall, you do realize that there is no data that supports the contention that the average annual temperature during the Holocene Optimum was warmer than today's average temperatures, don't you?
      You do realize that the Milankovitch climate forcing mechanism that operated in the Holocene cannot be responsible for the warming over the last ten or more decades, don't you? I wonder what is?
      Similarly, you do realize that the Eemian interglacial/warm period, warmer than today, cannot be used to explain the warming seen over the last 100 years due to different oceanic circulation in the NH, don't you?.

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    3. Oh I see George, it turns out that the Holocene Optimum was really not the Holocene Optimum, it was merely a "regional" event. I guess we should now start calling it the Holocene Climate Anomaly because if we change its name, then it didn't happen. That is almost as good as saying that current warming is 10x that of any warming ever in the history of the Earth.

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    4. Anonymous, you're getting there, but not quite.

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    5. @Anon, maybe address George's comments and only then move on to your semantic sidetracks? Being an honest, science type, after all.

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    6. Anon.

      The Holocene Optimum was the result of orbital forcing. Boreal summer insolation (60N) peaked ~11ka; equatorial and austral (60S) insolation *increased* during the Holocene. The HCO has little bearing on the causes and probable consequences of GHG-forced modern warming. So arguing about its complex and heterogeneous spatial/temporal expression is an irrelevance here.

      Delete
    7. "As far as maximum temperatures go, you do realize it was warmer during the Holocene Optimum, don't you?"

      I realise that you are misinformed, and incorrect in your claim.

      If you couldn't figure it out from my graphic perhaps you need to have a closer look at the Holocene data, and NOAA's National Climatic Data Centre statement on the subject.

      Still, if you want to explain why you know better than the experts, have at it.

      "And even warmer than that during the Eemian"

      You really are inept at parsing aren't you? I said that "...we’re rising above the maximum temperature seen during any of the interglacials of our ice age", which means that on our current trajectory under business-as-usual we "will pass the current ice age maximum" (including the Eemian maximum), and not "have" passed the current ice age maximum.

      Not that this is any great shakes. Until recently the general consensus was that the Eemian global average temperature was somewhere between that of the Holocene to perhaps no more than a degree warmer than the current temperature (Hansen & Sato 2011, p12). More recently the NEEM paper from this time last year shows that the Greenland mean temperature was quite a deal warmer, but it is known that other areas were cooler for at least a part of the annual cycle so any global average increase over the Hansen and Sato conclusion is likely to be modest - at least, no-one has yet demonstrated otherwise.

      On top of this is the small matter of the fact that the Eemian rise did not occur at the rate at which contemporary warming is occurring, giving species and ecosystems time to adapt. Further, whilst a degree or two over current global mean might have occurred at this time I've not yet seen any indication that African temperatures where especially different, and humans were still coming to grips with the use of fire so they had no complex social/civilisation structures that would be affected by the Eemian maximum.

      You seem to have missed the two fundamental points that I made previously:

      1) human agriculture developed during, and is reliant upon, the benign conditions of the Holocene, and hence our current civilisation is similarly tied to such climatic conditions - above 2.5-3 ºC climatic effects will have significant and serious direct and indirect impact on our agriculture and other biospheric harvesting.

      2) above 5-6 ºC much of the planet will have extreme heat events beyond the endurance of humans which, together with the severe effects of such a temperature regime on our obtaining of food, will profoundly affect human life and the structure of our societies.

      Neither of your points are valid, and neither change the messages of my previous post.

      Better trolls please.

      Delete
    8. Hmmm, I see that Sou pinged you for your trolling. I hope that she'll leave my quotings of you intact, so that you and the rest of the readers of the thread can see how you erred yet again.

      That is all.

      Delete
  5. "Anthony Watts has an Asperger-like tendency to take things literally", the guy's a habitual liar and a bully, those people with little wings are never either.

    Bernard is on the mark: "It's pure psychopathology...".

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  6. As usual a so-called "denier meme" along the lines of the climate's always changing, it's changed before and the planet has survived, is answered by a converse "alarmist meme" which states Regardless of the past, warming now is bad, bad, bad and must be stopped".

    Before the flame-wars begin:

    A) Acknowledge that there is plenty of scientific evidence that warming is bad, and plenty to say its good. And there is plenty of evidence for past climate change, and plenty to say that it is irrelevant to the current situation.

    B) Ask yourself: How much have you given over to the meme, accepting without thought that science is most certainly on your side. Consider for a moment that the "denier" is equally convinced of that position, and that you are the one who is in denial of science.

    So in the war of memes, who is the winner? Is it any wonder this debate is so polarised?

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    1. Reality is the winner. It is CAGW and the competition is over.

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    2. Greig, I think you've interpreted the evidence incorrectly. For example, you say

      And there is plenty of evidence for past climate change, and plenty to say that it is irrelevant to the current situation.

      Yes, there's an abundance of scientific evidence for past climate change. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there isn't a single paper that claims the climate has never changed in the past. I would even go further. I doubt there is a single paper claiming that past changes to our climate are irrelevant to our current situation.

      What we have are a large number of papers that have studied our past climate and have built up a picture (that is largely consistent) of how our climate has changed in the past. We also have a large number of papers that have studied recent changes to our climate. Together, all of this evidence suggests that what we are currently experiencing is predominantly due to anthropogenic influences and that it is largely unprecendented (certainly within human history, but likely within the last million years - see Bernard J's earlier comment).

      Of course, we don't understand everything about our past climate and we don't understanding everything about what we're currently experiencing. However, there is very little evidence to support the suggestion that what we're currently experiencing is simply a natural cycle. Much of what we understand about past climate changes would then need to be wrong and much of radiative physics would need to be wrong in order for this to be the case.

      So, although I don't like the war theme, I would argue that the scientific evidence supports - very strongly - that changes to our recent climate are predominantly anthropogenic. Just look through the literature and this should be evident. It may well be that the "denier" is equally convinced of their position. They would, however, be wrong to suggest that there is an abundance of scientific evidence to support their views.

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    3. Greig's wrong on many counts.

      There is no scientific debate of any consequence at the broad level. Debate occurs within science in the detail. There is no scientific debate about, for example, the greenhouse effect or that humans are causing global warming. There is debate about the minutae - eg is climate sensitivity 2 degrees or 3 or 4 (not, as deniers would like to think, about whether it is zero degrees or 1 degree.) And given there will never be a time when that can be accurately measured, humans may never know it precisely to less than one degree either way.

      Polarisation is not about the science it's mainly about ideology, politics and, with some people, religious belief (think young earthers).

      One of the big reasons funding is provided to study past climates is to apply those learnings to our present predicament. It's extremely relevant.

      The "bad" of rapid climate change outweighs any "good" by a very large margin. What was the main cause of most of the five previous major extinctions? Climate change is also one of the top five causes of the current sixth major extinction.

      "Deniers" by definition are bereft of scientific support for their position. (They deny the science.) Most of them don't have any consistent "position" other than "scientists don't know nuffin'".

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    4. "...there is plenty of scientific evidence that warming is bad, and plenty to say its good."

      References please.

      "And there is plenty of evidence for past climate change, and plenty to say that it is irrelevant to the current situation."

      References please.

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    5. And Then Theres Physics states:
      I would argue that the scientific evidence supports - very strongly - that changes to our recent climate are predominantly anthropogenic.

      Fair enough, and I am not sure why you should think that I am suggesting otherwise. I think that most of those that you call "denier" agree too ie those who argue "the climate has changed before" are not trying to shed doubt on whether AGW is real, but rather to identify that whether change occurs naturally or otherwise, it is still something the planet deals with. Or to put it another way: simply because humans are causing the change does not necessarily mean it is bad, and we are compelled to immediately stop.

      Sou says: There is no scientific debate of any consequence at the broad level.

      Ah the old "the science is settled" meme, gotta love that one. Meanwhile in the climate scientific community there is considerable debate about climate sensitivity and rate of warming as this is critical to policy, and plenty of room for "real scepticism" of alarmist claims and calls for panic.

      One of the big reasons funding is provided to study past climates is to apply those learnings to our present predicament. It's extremely relevant.

      Of course, but noting that most climate scientists acknowledge that the current circumstance of relatively large anthropogenic forcing doesn't occur in the paleoclimate record, therefore we are limited in our ability to confidently use that data meaningfully for our current situation.

      The "bad" of rapid climate change outweighs any "good" by a very large margin.

      Argument by assertion, and otherwise meaningless statement. The old alarmist "climate change is bad, bad, bad" meme, restated.

      Also this fails to take into account that any attempts to reduce emissions that results in higher energy costs has very bad implications for the world's poor. Avoiding climate change may be worse than adapting to it. At least that is what the developing countries seem to have decided.

      Bernard J says: References please.

      There are thousands of references to studies that demonstrate that climate has changed in the past, and not one of them is a study of human-induced GHG forcing (ie without an associated climatic trigger). If you think there is such a study, perhaps you can provide a link?

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    6. That's cute, Greig. In this thread alone there are numerous examples to illustrate the risks we are facing, while you'll gamble the future of human society on the slim chance that we'll all survive the next few decades and centuries relatively unscathed without lifting a finger to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change.

      Cute too is where you resort to an "argument by assertion" retort, ignoring the fact that all the evidence as cited in this thread and in the science, shows very clearly that if we do nothing there is going to be a swag of bad consequences. Then in the very same point you go and argue by assertion that developing nations would rather adapt to being inundated by rising seas, flash floods, droughts, famines, wildfires, and disappearance of their water supply - than have the world switch to clean energy.

      (I wonder if you've ever tried to argue that the relatively clean air we enjoy now would have happened without any action, such as the environmental regulations of the sixties and seventies and beyond? Or that CFCs would have stopped affecting ozone all by themselves with no action on the part of the world.)

      As for past climate change not being relevant - perhaps you are confusing the cause of climate change with the effect. If you were able to move beyond the cause of the rising CO2 and think - ok, what happened in the past when CO2 suddenly increased. What happened in the past when seas rose rapidly? What happened in the past when oceans suddenly had a pH drop? What happened in the past when glaciers dried up? What happened in the past when West Antarctic ice melted? True, there are probably very few if any times in the past when CO2 rose as rapidly or when temperatures rose as rapidly as they are now - but that doesn't mean there is nothing to learn from the past that will help us now. On the contrary, it makes it even more imperative that we learn whatever we can.

      You might not be able to see parallels between the changes we are now facing and events of the past, but there are a lot of clever people in the world who can. You might not be able to learn from history and pre-history, but hopefully there are enough people of influence who are able to do so.

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    7. In this thread alone there are numerous examples to illustrate the risks we are facing,

      Of course we face numerous unquantified risks from AGW, and these are to be balanced against the benefits of warming and cheap energy. Policy will be set against cost/benefit analysis of all factors. Overriding all of this is the massive momentum building to raise the world’s population from poverty, the push for higher cost energy technology is standing in front of a freight train.

      while you'll gamble the future of human society on the slim chance that we'll all survive the next few decades and centuries relatively unscathed without lifting a finger to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change.

      Where have I suggested gambling anything – your argument is with the developing world and the scientists, economists and engineers who are advising the world’s governments. They are the target of your venom, you are shooting the messenger.

      the evidence as cited in this thread and in the science, shows very clearly that if we do nothing there is going to be a swag of bad consequences.

      Fair enough.

      Then in the very same point you go and argue by assertion that developing nations would rather adapt to being inundated by rising seas, flash floods, droughts, famines, wildfires, and disappearance of their water supply - than have the world switch to clean energy.

      I don’t have to argue by assertion about the energy policies of the developing world. You know that they are continuing to build coal and gas infrastructure at many times the rate of low emissions alternatives. And you know there are no substantive plans nor mechanisms (through international agreement) to avert that.

      (I wonder if you've ever tried to argue that the relatively clean air we enjoy now would have happened without any action, such as the environmental regulations of the sixties and seventies and beyond? Or that CFCs would have stopped affecting ozone all by themselves with no action on the part of the world.)

      All were based on sound economics and engineering capabilities, and on multilateral agreement – which in climate change we don’t have. Not because of sceptics or deniers, but because renewable energy is expensive, and the developing world will not be swayed in their pursuit of low cost energy. And even if the West went to zero emissions tomorrow, it would not change the policy of the developing world – they are not seeking leadership (or any such white middle-class anglo-saxon elitist notion).

      You might not be able to see parallels between the changes we are now facing and events of the past, but there are a lot of clever people in the world who can.

      You might not be able to see the lack of parallels between the changes we are now facing and events of the past, but there are a lot of clever people in the world who can.

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    8. Greig, you've dragged this way off topic. But I will say this.

      There is a very weird (and most unpleasant) tendency of science deniers to suddenly express concern for less developed and undeveloped nations suffering extreme poverty. Deniers act as if it's climate policies that prevent them from developing. It's not. The contrary is more likely to be the case.

      Climate policies of developed nations have no impact on the ability of any other nation to build coal plants. It doesn't affect the costs of doing so or the decisions to do so. It's a furphy and immensely hypocritical to suddenly feign concern as if climate policy had any impact when it doesn't.

      What does have an impact is the extent to which developed nations invest in clean energy technologies, which has brought about a very rapid reduction in the price of these technologies, thereby allowing undeveloped nations to go straight to them. This is happening in many parts of Africa and Bangladesh and elsewhere. People have access to electricity for the first time using clean tech, bypassing all the expense and other ills of going through the stage of dirty technology first.

      Coal isn't just bad from a climate perspective, it's bad from a health perspective and air quality in general.

      Oh I do detest this sort of hypocrisy and the false linkages that deniers make.

      The irony is that it's because China in particular invested so heavily in the manufacture of solar technology that it's become so cheap. Yes, some chinese manufacturers have done some environmental damage along the way. But no-one is squeaky clean in that regard. Look at my home state with its brown coal. Look at the USA and its coal mining obscenities of the past.

      The one thing that China, India and all nations agree on is that we've got to somehow reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. It's not easy, it won't be all smooth sailing. If we don't, though, there is almost universal agreement that climate change will hit the poorest nations, the most economically vulnerable nations, hardest of all. So hard that many couldn't recover - with wide repercussions throughout the world as a whole.

      (BTW I don't recall ever coming across anyone before who believes we cannot learn anything from history. Just goes to show there's still some new surprises, even at my age.)

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    9. Grieg says:

      "And there is plenty of evidence for past climate change, and plenty to say that it is irrelevant to the current situation."

      and I asked for:

      "References please."

      to which Grieg responds:

      "There are thousands of references to studies that demonstrate that climate has changed in the past, and not one of them is a study of human-induced GHG forcing (ie without an associated climatic trigger). If you think there is such a study, perhaps you can provide a link?"

      which is a complete straw man, typical of Grieg's modus operandi.

      You see, I did not say or imply that there were studies of human involvement in "past climate change". I did ask for evidence that occurrence of "past climate change" is "irrelevant to the current situation".

      See the difference?

      The thing is, there is much from the paleoclimatic record that informs current climatology and the impact of human fossil fuel conbustion. The forcings due to volcanoes, asteroids, CO2 fluctuations, changes in insolation, changes in vegetation cover, changes in ocean circulation - all of these leave evidence in the paleo-record and help to reconcile natural agencies' influences in the current climate trajectory, and to identify the signature of humans.

      This was a part of my point in response to Grieg's orginal and now deleted post, and there was further purpose to my challenge but without the post the context is lost and the issue is not worth pursuing. This should be sufficient though to show that Grieg is still persisting with his thimble-rigging - which would hardly come as a surprise to the objective readers here...

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  7. Ah yes, back to the topic of memes, and here we see a whole swag of the old alarmist memes are wheeled out:

    “Developed countries must jump first, it’s all the fault of rich Westerners and we need to feel guilty”
    “Investment in (code for wasting money on) renewables makes them cheaper, we can save the world with ideologically-driven capitalism”
    “Deniers can’t be concerned for poor people, because deniers are evil”
    “Deniers love coal, even though it kills people, because deniers are evil”.
    “Developing countries are already using heaps of renewables” (less than a fraction of 1% of fossil fuel capacity, but never let quantification get in the way of an alarmist meme)
    “Australia and the USA are evil coal users, but the developing world aren’t”.
    “The developing world will suffer most from climate change, and it’s all the fault of deniers and rich Westerners, because they are evil.”
    “How can we save the world with so many evil deniers, we need to burn the heretical deniers at the stake, because deniers are evil”.

    BTW I don't recall ever coming across anyone before who believes we cannot learn anything from history.

    BTW, I don't recall ever coming across anyone before who is so utterly incapable of understanding plain English, or so determined to twist meaning to make a trap for fools. The simple and indisputable point being made is that learning from the paleoclimate record is fraught with challenges of interpretation, just ask Michael Mann, Al Gore (error#4), Rosenthal&Lindley … etc …

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    Replies
    1. It shouldn't surprise me (but it does) how a person could read so much nonsense into my straightforward post. Talk about extremist.

      But then that was coming from someone who doesn't believe we can learn anything from past climates.

      Given teachers might find this thread useful as a clear thinking exercise, I've published Greig's response. For one thing, it's a great example of confirmation bias (among other things). For another thing, this isn't the top article any more and in any case, the thread has already gone awry with denier nonsense of all sorts.

      PS Moderation is on again temporarily, while I'm otherwise occupied.

      Delete
    2. What a weird collection of "old alarmist memes"! I can't find any of these in the literature. Are they a distorted version of the position of "alarmists"? Are they a collection of conjectures on the opinion of "alarmists" that overuses the word "evil"? Are they original or are they taken from another source?
      On another issue relating to other comments along the lines of "Of course we face numerous unquantified risks from AGW, and these are to be balanced against the benefits of warming and cheap energy. Policy will be set against cost/benefit analysis of all factors." For me, there is an irony here. Arriving at the "benefits from warming" based on a cost benefit analysis involves using Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) which inform policy makers. I thought that skeptics abhorred models. Perhaps, skeptics are prepared to overlook the limitations of integrated assessment models of climate change in the cause of confirmation bias. Perhaps they overlook the parts of IAM reports that state that global warming will become a net cost to the world, justifying cost-effective climate action. Random, hey?

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    3. Greig

      Meanwhile in the climate scientific community there is considerable debate about climate sensitivity and rate of warming as this is critical to policy, and plenty of room for "real scepticism" of alarmist claims and calls for panic.

      No there isn't. You just made this up. And to prove that you are confablulating, I challenge you to produce some quotes from the scientific mainstream (not isolated, fringe contrarians) backing up your claims. Specifically that there is - within the scientific mainstream - a position that TCR may be so low that no policy response is necessary.

      In this context I also reject your use of the terms "alarmist" and "calls for panic" as dishonest framing.

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    5. I've created the HotWhoppery for dud comments. Duplicates will be deleted.

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    6. Anon wrote.

      "Do you have some evidence that Lindzen has ever made the argument that since climate has always been changing, we are not causing it?"

      What, apart from the quote which YOU provided? (Yes, he just gives all those examples of previous natural climate change to try and fool you )

      But what about this.

      "The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century."

      And this quote was just before the quote YOU provided on the 'hot-spot'.

      So what he is saying is that we are not causing it, it's all natural variation. Just the usual climate changing, just like it always has.

      But talk about being blind to the obvious!! Should be added to the HotWhopery for sure. We have all heard the 'climate has always changed' line hundreds of times to try and say that the recent rapid climate change is natural. That's why it's #1 on SkS. To try and say otherwise, as you did, is taking ludicrous to the extreme.

      Anon wrote.
      "That is almost as good as saying that current warming is 10x that of any warming ever in the history of the Earth."

      Classic straw man. If you actually read the posts, no one is claiming that. I said in the last million years, not 4.7 billion years.

      But if you actually do the math,10x is actually conservative.

      For the last million years, the natural climate change rate is about 1C per 1,000 years, or 0.01C per decade. (It takes about 5,000 years to go up or down about 5C). Natural climate change is normally very slow.

      http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/iscurrent.pdf

      http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam032/98037539.pdf

      Since 1951, the rate has been about 0.12 C per decade, which is 12x the natural rate.

      http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/news/2013/07/coastal-antarctic-permafrost-melting-faster-than-expected/

      Delete

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