Friday, July 31, 2015

Surface temperature is not so different from models

Sou | 2:19 PM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment
There's a new paper out in Geophysical Research Letters, which looks at global surface temperature. This time the purpose is to compare the observations with climate models. What's interesting is that the authors picked up something that I didn't know about, though scientists probably did. The surface temperature reported from climate models isn't the same as the surface temperature reported as observations. Almost, but not quite.

When an apples to apples comparison is made between climate models and observations, then one third of the discrepancy disappears. Here is a chart from Kevin Cowtan that illustrates this. (Read on below for further explanation).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Irony alert: The Open Atmospheric Society, Openness and Transparency

Sou | 5:14 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
Earlier this month, the Open Atmospheric Society, after months of secrecy about itself, finally called for nominations to its board. Investigations by a HotWhopper reader, FLWolverine, revealed who is formally behind the organisation. As most of us guessed,  it's the creation of Anthony Watts who runs a conspiracy theory and climate science denial blog WUWT. His co-founder is Joe D'Aleo. They registered the OAS in Nevada back in July 2012.

Seems that the OAS enjoys irony. Today Anthony announced (archived here) that the OAS has joined with organisations like the AAAS, AGU, AMS and others to become a signatory to the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines of the Centre for Open Science. As stated on the COS website, organization signatories are:
  • Expressing their support of the principles of openness, transparency, and reproducibility
  • If relevant, encouraging associated journals to conduct a review of the standards and levels for potential adoption.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How David Middleton mixes up his lizards at WUWT: hot vs cold climates, eggs vs live birth

Sou | 9:51 AM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment
David Middleton thinks he's hit gold at Australia's ABC (archived here). What he's hit is amber. He should have heeded the warning. David wrote about an article that describes how a team of scientists, led by Dr Emma Sherratt of UNE, looked at lizards fossilised  in amber, from the Caribbean.
Amber means "stop"
(and think)
The ABC article (not the WUWT article, so much!) is about a paper in PNAS, which has this to say:
An unresolved question in ecology is whether the structure of ecological communities can be stable over very long timescales. Here we describe a wealth of new amber fossils for an ancient radiation of Hispaniolan lizards that, until now, has had a very poor fossil record. These fossils provide an important and previously unavailable perspective on an ecologically well-studied group and indicate that anole lizard communities occurring on Hispaniola 20 Mya were made up of the same types of habitat specialists present in this group today. These data indicate that the ecological processes important in extant anole communities have been operative over long periods of time.

This video is from Emma Sherratt, showing her amber-fossilized lizards - beautiful. Something you won't see at WUWT:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scary Movie

Sou | 11:43 PM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment
Here's something to entertain. I don't live in the USA so am completely impartial on this score. Not quite. What I mean is, I have no say in the matter. However I'll make a pact ...

...if you do live in the USA, ple..e..e..ase don't vote for any of the GOP's not a scientists (or any "not a scientist" for that matter), and I promise I won't vote for any Australian denier politician.

More here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hansen discussion paper is online

Sou | 5:12 AM Go to the first of 169 comments. Add a comment
In case you missed it, there's a new paper by James Hansen and lots of other people which is generating quite a bit of interest. It's not been reviewed - it's in the "for discussion" category at EGU's inter-active open access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. That is, it's not had the final peer review. (See comment from Xavier Onassis below.) That's an interesting model for scientific publication in itself. There are not many journals that do this.

I haven't read the paper yet, and even if I had, the paper is quite long at 32 pages not including references and figures (61 pages in total). My articles are long enough as it is. Plus I'd like to wait and see what comments it attracts in the journal itself. Maybe over time I'll write about some aspects of it as shorter articles, rather than attempting to give a view of the whole. From what I've heard, it's a paper that will challenge people - scientists and policy makers and the general public, with lots of food for thought.

Bob Tisdale's latest conspiracy theory about ocean heat

Sou | 3:30 AM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
Today Bob Tisdale has found a new conspiracy theory that he's promoting (archived here). It's much the same as all the others. From his ergonomic computer chair in his basement (is he that advanced?) Bob decided that another group of scientists must be fudging the data. Problem is, Bob doesn't understand the data or how to use it, let alone how the scientists analysed it.

A warning that this article is long. I enjoyed writing and researching it. The paper this article is based on is a great example of the sort of effort and thinking required to scope out and quantify the changes we're bringing about. Which is of critical importance IMO.

Progress in determining changes in ocean heat content

The paper Bob doesn't like this time is by Dr. Lijing Cheng  from the International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences in China, and co-authors Jiang Zhu and John Abraham. They have been looking to improve the record of heat content of the top 700 m of the ocean. The paper is called: "Global upper ocean heat content estimation: recent progress and the remaining challenges". As the title suggests, the paper describes recent progress in this regard, and the challenges that remain.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A mammoth "oops" moment at WUWT

Sou | 7:23 PM One comment so far. Add a comment
In another rather silly article at WUWT, Eric "eugenics" Worrall (archived here) misrepresents a paper just published in Science Express. Thing is that Eric agrees with at least some of what the paper says, so in order to claim that "scientists don't know nuffin'", he makes out the authors say something different.

The paper was by a team of scientists led by Professor Alan Cooper from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide. It was a study of megafauna, using ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating and geological records. What the researchers found was that it wasn't so much cooling that was behind the extinction or reduced populations of large animals, it was periods of rapid warming. After humans populated more of the world, their hunting, combined with rapid warming, were most likely the main contributing factors to the extinction of these large animal species (such as mammoths).

Model at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stop the presses! Anthony Watts has mentioned the Californian drought - then does a Tisdale

Sou | 2:19 PM Go to the first of 49 comments. Add a comment
OMG! Anthony Watts has mentioned the Californian drought (archived here). You know, the one plaguing his home state. True, the mention was buried in an article he wrote about El Niño. Still, it's worth celebrating. So what I've done is put together an animation of California drought status, starting in July 2006. I've put in the charts from US Drought Monitor for July and December - that is, two per year in July and December, from 2006 through to the latest chart in July 2015:

To put this momentous event (Anthony mentioning the drought) into perspective, here are some facts and figures from the animation and the US Drought Monitor archives:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Denier Weirdness Plus: How stolen comments stoke a huge outbreak of paranoia at WUWT

Sou | 7:32 PM Go to the first of 88 comments. Add a comment
Today the deniosphere has provided yet another example of the crazy and paranoid conspiracy thinking that underpins all of climate science denial. WUWT deniers have wrapped up their paranoia together with one of the other constants of denial - defaming people.  The criteria for conspiracist ideation includes assuming people have "questionable motives" at best if not "nefarious intent".  That is consistent with the incessant defamation you'll find on denier blogs. It doesn't take much for conspiracy theorising deniers to jump from assuming nefarious intent to assigning nefarious intent and screeching "fraud" and "fakery".

This little episode also comes with a less constant but occasional feature you'll see from deniers - that of wishing people dead.

Update: See below for a comment by John Cook on the Skeptical Science facebook page.

Fake experts

One of the five telltale signs of science denial is calling on fake experts. Anthony Watts at WUWT keeps very strange company and looks to some very odd people as his fake experts. For example:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Latest ENSO report - El Niño is getting stronger

Sou | 11:24 AM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
The latest ENSO wrap up from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the El Niño is likely to continue to strengthen, with trade winds weakened or reversing.

The 2015 El Niño continues to develop. Weakened (or reversed) trade winds have resulted in further warming over much of the tropical Pacific Ocean. All key ENSO ocean monitoring areas have been more than 1°C above average for 10 successive weeks—two weeks longer than the record in 1997. The eastern tropical Pacific is now at or exceeding +2°C. In the atmosphere, the past week has seen the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) drop to around -20, the lowest values of the event so far.

Warning to the bandwidth challenged - one of the files below the fold is rather large (just under 1 MB).

Biased Bob Tisdale is all at sea

Sou | 7:33 AM Go to the first of 40 comments. Add a comment
Bob Tisdale is one of the pseudo-scientists who frequently writes articles for Anthony Watts' climate conspiracy blog, WUWT. His articles are often overly long, overly tedious and overly wrong. He is also a greenhouse effect denier. He thinks that it's the sun that's causing global warming through El Ninos and blobs. He's wrong.

Bob's what you'd might regard as a plodder. Not a quick-witted chap. He's not a research scientist and has never boasted of any educational qualifications. Where his expertise lies, if you can call it that, is in regurgitating the same mix of pseudo-science tinged now and again with real science - over and over and over again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Anthony Watts, persecuted victim and hero, valiantly thwarts imaginary roadblock throwers

Sou | 12:37 PM Go to the first of 49 comments. Add a comment
Anthony Watts has finally called for nominations to the board of his Open Atmospheric Society (archived here). His article is an excellent example of the Persecuted Victim turned Hero, as described in Recurrent Fury. The Persecuted Victim is one who self-identifies as the victim of an organised persecution. That allows them to present themselves as heroes.

From Recurrent Fury:
At least tacitly, people who hold conspiratorial views also perceive themselves as brave antagonists of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, they are victims but also potential heros.

The timeline of the Open Atmospheric Society

This is a timeline of the Open Atmospheric Society:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Galileo, fake authorities and adhominous cowards

Sou | 12:39 PM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment
Sorry for the pun. This is about an article at WUWT (archived here) which provides another lesson from Denial 101.

His article illustrates:
  • double standards
  • absence of fact checking (or ignorance of science and history)
  • calling on fake experts and
  • other logical fallacies.
There's some retired chap (from what I can gather) called Martin Fricke. Ph.D. (nuclear physics) who's now taken up a career as a climate science denier. He can't get published in the scientific literature so he does the next best thing. He writes for a climate conspiracy blog, wattsupwiththat.com.

Watching the global thermometer - year to date GISTemp with June 2015 with corrections

Sou | 4:49 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment
Note: This includes the corrections just announced by GISS and replaces the previous article - see comments here. (h/t David Sanger)

Every month since March, I've posted a chart of the progressive year-to-date global average surface temperature, from GISS. This is the update with June included. I'll repeat the explanation with each update and add what seem to be things to watch.

I've added a chart of annual temps for GISTemp, comparing the version put out in June with the (corrected) version put out in July. That's so that you can see what difference the shift to ERSST v4 makes.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Out in time. Anthony Watts thinks it's 2050!

Sou | 7:30 PM Go to the first of 29 comments. Add a comment
I don't know what's got into Anthony Watts. Yesterday he thought it was June instead of July, and wrote about an upcoming release of May data from NOAA, when that report had already been released a month ago.

Today Anthony seems to think that 2050 is behind us (archived here). That it's been and gone. That we're already past the middle of this century. He wrote about a "failed prediction" from Joe Romm of Climate Progress, quoting him as writing (my emphasis):
In 2007, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” — levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California.  Last year, a comprehensive literature review, “Drought under global warming: a review,” by NCAR found that we risk multiple, devastating global droughts worse than the Dust Bowl even on moderate emissions path.  Another study found the U.S. southwest could see a 60-year drought this century.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Watching the global thermometer - year to date GISTemp with June 2015

Sou | 8:27 AM Go to the first of 30 comments. Add a comment
NOTE: GISS has announced corrections and thanked Nick Stokes (see comments below). Refer to the updated version of this article.

Every month since March, I've posted a chart of the progressive year-to-date global average surface temperature, from GISS. This is the update with June included. I'll repeat the explanation with each update and add what seem to be things to watch.

Note: I made a mistake with the June YTD in the original, which I've now fixed. (Sou 9:00 am)

Update: I've added a chart of annual temps for GISTemp, comparing the version put out in June with the version put out in July. That's so that you can see what difference the shift to ERSST v4 makes.
Sou 12:18 pm Thursday 16 July 2015

A mixed up month behind the times and anomalous anomalies @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 5:36 AM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment
There's distinctly odd article at WUWT right now (archived here). Anthony Watts is showing off. He's saying how he knows what the NOAA will be releasing tomorrow. He wrote:
Thanks partly to NOAA’s new adjusted dataset, tommorrow (sic) they’ll claim to reporters that May was the ‘hottest ever’

May? Well that isn't likely to be what the NOAA will announce tomorrow (US time). If they announce anything it will be what the June data shows. The NOAA announced the report for May 2015 a month ago, it was published on 18 June. (The next global report is due on 20 July, with a press briefing on 16 July. Here is a link to the briefing held in June.)

Actually, Anonymous points out that Anthony's big announcement will be the climate report for 2014. His note even says as much:

This is what is being sent out today:

NOAA to Announce Key Climate Findings: Learn more about the temperature, precipitation and weather events experienced around the world in 2014, tomorrow at 11 am EDT. Dial 1-888-989-9791 with the password “Climate” to join the call and view the slides here (available at 10:30 am EDT).

The really weird part about all of this, is that in the very same article, Anthony copied one of his headlines from back in June. His headline and the first few lines were:

NOAA Releases New Pause-Buster Global Surface Temperature Data and Immediately Claims Record-High Temps for May 2015 – What a Surprise!
NOAA recently published their State of the Climate Report for May 2015. Under the heading of Global Summary Information, they note:

His main headline can't have been a misprint, because Anthony goes on and on about what the May 2015 report is going to show and how he bets that "AP’s Seth Borenstein (and others) will eat that right up and that global image they are pushing will be seen in news world-wide". (He didn't report it.) Reading Anthony's article is a surreal experience. Is it just me, or do you agree?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A conversation of substance? Nope, it's about 'ecomodernism"

Sou | 11:11 PM Go to the first of 39 comments. Add a comment
One of the pluses of having a blog is that you can be self-indulgent from time to time, and use it to let off a little steam.

Derailing a conversation of substance

A short while ago I was informed on Twitter that I'd derailed a "conversation of substance". I thought I'd merely commented on a tweet from Roger Pielke Jr, which wasn't a reply to anything that I could see. Though looking again now, Roger was talking to quite a few people, so it's quite possible he was engaged in a conversation. Therefore I suppose my comment could be considered a rude intrusion on a cosy chat (oddly enough, by @MichaelBTI who, as far as I could tell, was never a part of that conversation either).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Silhouettes of climate science deniers by Potholer54

Sou | 3:00 AM Go to the first of 40 comments. Add a comment
Potholer54 is back with another excellent video, this time about fake experts. He starts with Australia's own Galileo Movement and Bob "not a climate scientist" Carter. The video features a seminal work of Bob's in the International Journal of Feelings:) Watch out for one of WUWT's favourite conspiracy theorists, who fears for his life so much that he contributes several posts a month under his own name at WUWT.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Poll: which is the ugliest:- a coal mine or farmland or Tony Abbott?

Sou | 2:17 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
Tony Abbott is trying to prevent Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) from investing in renewable energy projects related to solar and wind energy.  At the same time his government has given the green light to a coal mine in prime agricultural land.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

There's only a two year reprieve if the sun gets cold - though northern countries might feel it

Sou | 9:48 PM Go to the first of 45 comments. Add a comment
Surprisingly, WUWT has foregone the temptation to tell the people who live in the denier bubble that we're heading for an ice age and the Thames is about to freeze up. Then again, Anthony hasn't mentioned any of the extreme weather of the past few weeks either. He might be busy attending to his big announcement that he promised would arrive this last week, but didn't.

About the sun - others haven't been so reticent. The Royal Astronomical Society (not to be confused with the Royal Society) put out a press release about a conference paper that was apparently presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales earlier this week. It looks as if it's part of a long time project of Prof Valentina Zharkova, of the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences at Northumbria University.

UPDATE:  See below. I've just listened to a NZ Radio National interview with Valentina Zharkova (h/t Hot Topic NZ). She comes across as another "it's the sun" person who doesn't understand climate. So she isn't to be taken seriously when it comes to climate. That doesn't mean that she's wrong about her magnetic harmonic dynamo theory. It does mean she is way out in her estimate of what it will mean for climate. It's probably wise to wait for her published paper and see if it stands scrutiny. Meanwhile anything she says about climate is to be ignored.
Sou - 11:03 am 13 July 2015

Reflections from surface and clouds - is there an albedo expert in the house?

Sou | 4:36 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
Wondering Willis Eschenbach is a mite upset (archived here, latest here) because scientists aren't telling him he's right. In fact, they aren't telling him anything at all. And few of the readers at WUWT are helping him out, though a number are encouraging him with "scientists don't know nuffin'" comments.

Warnings - This article is long and meanders a bit - I have to call a halt at some point. This is just a blog article after all :) If you are looking for definitive answers about albedo, you won't find them. What you will get are some of the interesting bits and pieces I discovered as I went looking. There's no guarantee I've got it all right, either. This is something I've not explored in depth before now. So feel free to quibble in the comments.

Back to Willis Eschenbach. He thinks he's found a problem with a chart in a paper by Graeme Stephens of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (and elsewhere), and colleagues. The paper is about planetary albedo, which is the the fraction of the incoming solar energy scattered by Earth back to space. It's not a bad introduction to the subject, with some caveats as you'll see. The authors make two main points, as described in the abstract:
  1. the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (NH, SH) reflect the same amount of sunlight within ~ 0.2Wm 2. This symmetry is achieved by increased reflection from SH clouds offsetting precisely the greater reflection from the NH land masses. 
  2. The albedo of Earth appears to be highly buffered on hemispheric and global scales as highlighted by both the hemispheric symmetry and a remarkably small interannual variability of reflected solar flux (~0.2% of the annual mean flux).

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Important review paper on sea level and ice melt

Sou | 7:34 AM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment
Today there's a new review article in Science, by a team of researchers led by Andrea Dutton from the University of Florida, Gainesville. It's a huge review, looking thirty years of research on the effects of melting polar ice sheets in past warm periods.

In contrast to the obviously very careful work by this team of scientists, building on very careful, clever and at times dangerous work by many other scientists, Anthony Watts stands on the sidelines with a foolish smirk. He acts like the pimply-faced wanna-be delinquent trying to act smart in front of his mates, while the rest of the class rolls their eyes if they notice him at all. Anthony wrote above his copy and pasted press release, his usual "claim" dogwhistle, and more (archived here):
Claim: 20-foot sea-level rise in our future (except nature isn’t cooperating so far)
From the University of Florida and the “road to paris, we have to get it done this time department” comes this claim. You gotta love the “out of equilibrium” part, where nature isn’t conforming to their expectations. The cartoon like graphic seems to be designed for grade school consumption, and seems to be equally out of equilibrium with observations so far.

Anthony Watts doesn't believe that ice melts when it gets hot. He's denied it on more occasions than I can keep up with. Maybe because he has seen so little ice in drought-ridden California that he's forgotten what it is.

Deniers typically have no sense of time either. If something that will happen in coming decades or centuries hasn't already happened then that's proof that it never will - in deniersville.

Enough of that nonsense. What about the paper itself. It's really well presented, with a "box" or sidebar giving background information, and lots of figures illustrating important points. The Editors summary reads:
We know that the sea level will rise as climate warms. Nevertheless, accurate projections of how much sea-level rise will occur are difficult to make based solely on modern observations. Determining how ice sheets and sea level have varied in past warm periods can help us better understand how sensitive ice sheets are to higher temperatures. Dutton et al. review recent interdisciplinary progress in understanding this issue, based on data from four different warm intervals over the past 3 million years. Their synthesis provides a clear picture of the progress we have made and the hurdles that still exist.

There's a figure in the paper that will grab the attention of many people. It shows the peak global mean sea level now and in past warm periods, and the source of all the water. (Anthony Watts didn't like it. He said it looked as if it was "grade school consumption". Going by his comments that means it's too advanced for him to understand.) Click to enlarge.

Fig. 4 Peak global mean temperature, atmospheric CO2, maximum GMSL, and source(s) of meltwater. Light blue shading indicates uncertainty of sea-level maximum. Black vertical lines represent GMSL reconstructions from combined field observations and GIA modeling; gray dashed lines are δ18O-based reconstructions. Red pie charts over Greenland and Antarctica denote fraction (not location) of ice retreat. Although the peaks in temperature, CO2, and sea level within each time period may not be synchronous and ice sheets are sensitive to factors not depicted here, significantly higher sea levels were attained during MIS 5e and 11 when atmospheric CO2 forcing was significantly lower than present. See tables S3 and S4 for data and sources. Source: Dutton15

I don't have time to go into any more detail right now. The main message, as shown in the above image, is that ice is going to melt, the sea level is going to rise by several metres. One important thing that still has to be worked out is how soon that will happen.

References and further reading

A. Dutton, A. E. Carlson, A. J. Long, G. A. Milne, P. U. Clark, R. Deconto, B. P. Horton, S. Rahmstorf, M. E. Raymo. "Sea-level rise due to polar ice-sheet mass loss during past warm periods." Science, 2015 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4019 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4019

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Anthony Watts weakly protests Recurrent Fury

Sou | 12:17 PM Go to the first of 30 comments. Add a comment
The reaction from WUWT deniers to Recurrent Fury so far is fairly ordinary, though chock full of conspiracy ideation (archived here). It's not clear whether any denier has actually read the paper. Evidence suggests most haven't - they are too busy complaining about it. There is only one article at WUWT and it's dominated by Barry Woods. Barry has spent the past few years scouring the internet for any mention of Professor Lewandowsky and writing endless overly-long, over-hyped complaints mixed with general disinformation. That's because a comment from him was included (buried deep) in the data for the original paper, and Barry maybe regretted making his public comment publicly, and so he took it out on Professor Lewandowsky. (Barry found a paper written by a couple of deniers that he thinks refutes the moon-landing paper. It didn't.)

Many deniers might be nutters, but that's not what Recurrent Fury is about

Anthony Watts himself insists that Recurrent Fury demonstrates that "“people who question the veracity of global warming/climate change are nutters”. It doesn't. That's just what Anthony Watts wants you to think but it's not what the paper shows. Recurrent Fury is about the way that conspiracy theories evolve when facts emerge that force changes to the original conspiracy theory. It isn't a psychological diagnosis of individuals and never was. In any case, as Dr. Katharine Blackwell wrote: "believing in a conspiracy theory is not a psychological disorder, any more than a religious belief is."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Curses! It's a conspiracy! The Fury is Back Thrice Over

Sou | 5:17 PM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment
I don't know if you saw the wonderful conspiracy theory from the sockpuppeting ex-mod at WUWT, dbstealey (who has also posted as Smokey, D Böehm, D Böehm Stealey, and 'dbs, mod').  Anthony's staunchest ally, fan and WUWT moderator and attack dog, dbstealey, wrote not long ago that the KGB inserted Pope Francis as the head of the Catholic Church:
June 15, 2015 at 7:23 pm
...After Pope John Paul II faced down the Soviet Union, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was targeted by the KGB/FSB. They have a lot of patience. The current Pope is the result. Now they have their puppet in the Vatican.
His notion that Pope Francis is a KGB sleeper agent is right up there with the best of the multitude of zany conspiracy theories that Anthony Watts promotes on his denier blog.

Willis Eschenbach turns on the charm for NOAA's coral watch crew

Sou | 5:14 PM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment
Wondering Willis Eschenbach is giving us all a lesson in how to win friends and influence people. The lesson came about because he was wondering why NOAA gave some rough estimates to the Guardian without asking his permission first. The numbers were about the global coral bleaching event that's on the cards. Willis wrote a courteous email to NOAA as follows (archived here):

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

ENSO update - El Niño continues to strengthen aided by tropical cyclones

Sou | 10:39 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
The latest ENSO wrap up from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the El Niño is likely to continue to strengthen, in part because of tropical cyclones.

The 2015 El Niño is likely to strengthen in the coming weeks, largely due to recent tropical cyclone activity. Several tropical cyclones, including a rare July cyclone in the southern hemisphere, have resulted in a strong reversal of trade winds near the equator. This is likely to increase temperatures below the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean, which may in turn raise sea surface temperatures further in the coming months.

Wildfires in North America

Sou | 9:01 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment
Global warming isn't just about heat waves, floods and drought. Combine heat with dry conditions and you'll get more fires. A lot of people in North America are complaining about smoke. Here are some maps showing the current wildfires in Alaska and Canada (h/t Greg Laden).

First Alaska, from Weather Underground, showing the active fires and the smoke:

Source: Wunderground

In deniersville, climate science is a pact with the devil

Sou | 5:45 PM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
Deniers are ramping up their protests about science. Anthony Watts claims that urging the world to mitigate global warming is a making pact with the devil (archived here). I suppose he would know all about that.

The beyond-two-degree inferno causes an inferno

The editor of Science has published an editorial "The beyond-two-degree inferno", in which she writes:
In the history of humankind, there is a dearth of examples of global threats so far-reaching in their impact, so dire in their consequences, and considered so likely to occur that they have engaged all nations in risk mitigation. But now with climate change, we face a slowly escalating but long-enduring global threat to food supplies, health, ecosystem services, and the general viability of the planet to support a population of more than 7 billion people. The projected costs of addressing the problem grow with every year that we delay confronting it. In recognition of the shared risks we face and the collective action that will be necessary, an international meeting of stakeholders will convene in Paris next week (www.commonfutureparis2015.org), ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December, to discuss solutions for both climate mitigation and adaptation.

Go to Science to read the full article.

When is a stormy "claim" not a claim @wattsupwiththat?

Sou | 3:44 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment
Things must be a bit hectic for Anthony Watts at WUWT. Today he's copied and pasted something from who knows where and added his own headline, prefaced by his usual "claim" dogwhistle (archived here):

Claim: British Isles getting “stormier”

I found a press release at PhysOrg, which is the same as the one Anthony filched from somewhere or other, and it states (my emphasis):

Alec Rawls uncovers an Eemian climate conspiracy @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 2:10 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment
An infrequent guest at Anthony Watts climate conspiracy blog is a bloke called Alec Rawls. He's a climate conspiracy theorist and, going by his articles, he's quite possibly a general conspiracy theorist too. He sees nefarious intent in every bit of science.

Muddled denier thinking

If you've ever visited a denier blog (like WUWT), one thing you may have noticed is that some science deniers call on science to prove that the science they call on is "wrong". Yes, if that's confusing so are deniers. Conspiracy theorising science deniers will often do the same thing. They'll say that the scientists are hiding something, then "prove" it by referring to science, showing that scientists do in fact say what they claim scientists do not say.

Still confused?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Communicating climate change risk

Sou | 7:02 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
You know how some deniers beat up uncertainty every time climate change is mentioned. Well, there's a new booklet that's just been published, which will give you a heap of good tips on how to deal with the subject.

The tips are organised under 12 headings:
  1. Manage your audience’s expectations
  2. Start with what you know, not what you don’t know
  3. Be clear about the scientific consensus
  4. Shift from ‘uncertainty’ to ‘risk’
  5. Be clear about the type of uncertainty you are talking about
  6. Understand what is driving people’s views about climate change
  7. The most important question for climate impacts is ‘when’, not ‘if’
  8. Communicate through images and stories
  9. Highlight the ‘positives’ of uncertainty
  10. Communicate effectively about climate impacts
  11. Have a conversation, not an argument
  12. Tell a human story not a scientific one.

Managing expectations is about pointing out stuff like the fallacy that because something is not known for certain doesn't mean that nothing is known. For example, it is known that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and more of it heats up the planet.

Starting with what you know means starting out with facts like the world is warming and climates are changing. And that heat waves and deluges are getting worse. Rather than starting out with whether or not the planet will heat up by 4C or more or whether we'll act and keep it to 3C or less.

Being clear about the consensus is this:

Shift from ‘uncertainty’ to ‘risk’ because most people don't understand what is meant by uncertainty when used in science. Most people know a bit about risk, though. People typically pay hundreds of dollars a year on insurance against events that have a much lower risk than climate change.

You can read more examples in an article by one of the authors, Adam Corner, at Shaping Tomorrow's World. And the link to the handbook is below.


Adam Corner, Stephan Lewandowsky, Mary Phillips and Olga Roberts (2015) The Uncertainty Handbook. Bristol: University of Bristol - download here.

Why @wattsupwiththat has been so dull lately - it's the weather

Sou | 12:33 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment
At WUWT the mood is sombre and dull and boring. There has been nothing of note for a while. You'd never know that Anthony Watts claims he is a "former AMS certified (Seal 676 retired) television meteorologist who spent 25 years on the air". He doesn't blog about weather these days. Instead there's the usual from the resident conspiracy theorist, Tim Ball (of One World Guvmint/New World Order nonsense), and various articles about why the Pope is wrong to accept science. These latter are a bit mixed up, with some saying that the Catholic Church should do a Galileo and reject science, and others complaining that he wants to rob the poor, and others saying he is a marxist and wanting to make the poor people of the world better off (horrors of horrors!) and one comment even claiming Pope Francis is a KGB sleeper agent.

At one point recently, Anthony branched out into national security and went all alarmist. He warned his readers to watch out for terrorist attacks on the Independence Day weekend, so quite a few of them unholstered their guns. This was the result. (Only a couple of readers said his article was crap.)

I think I've figured out what the problem is. Every time Anthony puts on his weather announcer's hat he quickly takes it off again. This is some of what he doesn't want his readers to read:

Christopher Monckton mixes things up @wattsupwiththat - the carbon budget

Sou | 7:21 AM Go to the first of 78 comments. Add a comment
On WUWT there is an article by Christopher Monckton (archived here). It's a short article (for him), in which he fudges numbers and mixes up concepts. Anthony wrote what Roy Spencer excitedly thinks is a very clever headline: 2°C or not 2°C–that is the question. Is it the question or is the question something else? It turns out the question was something else - and the answer at WUWT was wrong as usual.

The article starts with a graphic from an old slideshare presentation from Jonathon Kooney. A slide which Mr Kooney dropped from his later presentations on climate change, possibly because it was hard to make sense of it. The slide was based on the 2009 paper by Malte Meinshausen and co: "Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2°C".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Oceans could not be more important, and time is running out

Sou | 1:33 PM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
The new paper that was published in Science this week will, hopefully, be a wake up call that it's not just global warming that is of great concern, it's the changes in the oceans. When people talk about the ocean and CO2, mostly it's in terms of ocean acidification. However the changes we are causing to the oceans go way beyond changes in pH. It's not just shellfish and other pH sensitive species that are affected by the changes we are bringing about. The oceans are crucial to climate (think ENSO), to our food supply, and to biodiversity.

The paper was from a large international team of scientists led by Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer. It concludes by summarising four critical messages - the main one being that we must immediately make substantial reductions to CO2 emissions (my emphasis):
  1. The ocean strongly influences the climate system and provides important services to humans. 
  2. Impacts on key marine and coastal organisms, ecosystems, and services from anthropogenic CO2 emissions are already detectable, and several will face high risk of impacts well before 2100, even with the stringent CO2 emissions scenario (RCP2.6). These impacts are occurring across all latitudes and have become a global concern that spans the traditional north/south divide. 
  3. The analysis shows that immediate and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions is required in order to prevent the massive and effectively irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their services that are projected with emissions scenarios more severe than RCP2.6. Limiting emissions to below this level is necessary to meet UNFCCC's stated objectives. Management options that overlook CO2, such as solar radiation management and control of methane emission, will only minimize impacts of ocean warming and not those of ocean acidification. 
  4. As CO2 increases, the protection, adaptation, and repair options for the ocean become fewer and less effective.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Judith Curry's solution to extreme heat

Sou | 2:23 AM Go to the first of 69 comments. Add a comment
Judith Curry has a solution to the extreme heat that lots of people are suffering right now. And the even more extreme heat that we'll be suffering as global warming gets worse.

Burn more fossil fuels and speed up global warming.

That's right. Judith wrote - let them buy air conditioners. Much as Pat'n Chip and Anthony Watts have advocated in the past. What she actually wrote was:
Does it make more sense to provide air conditioning or to limit CO2 emissions.  I vote for more air conditioning in these susceptible regions.

Good luck with that when the power gets rationed or quits completely from excess demand.

Good luck with finding an air-conditioner for your home that's rated for much above 43°C (110°F). You might get lucky and get one rated to 46°C (115°F). Or you might be out of luck.

Good luck with the even greater global warming as all that extra CO2 is spewed into the air making it even hotter.

And I agree with Greg Laden. If you're going to be utterly insensitive to people's suffering, the least you can do is wait a decent interval until the suffering is behind them.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Deluding the majority on denier blogs like @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 6:49 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment
You'll often see comments like these at WUWT, suggesting that people think that everyone just knows that climate science is a scam or a fraud or a hoax or global cooling is about to start. Many deniers are under the illusion that fake sceptics constitute the majority. They are wrong. There is a phenomenon that might go part way to explaining the delusions of deniers. (The comments below are all from just one article at WUWT):

Chris Marlowe says:
January 16, 2014 at 4:29 am
The smartest of these guys will be looking for an exit strategy and will eventually look the other way if anyone suggests they were once on the bandwagon beating the drum.

Stephen Richards says:
January 16, 2014 at 4:36 am
What I don’t want is for these guys to remain in place when this whole scam is exposed. Like Erlich they will just keep coming back with another scare for money scheme.
Henry Galt. says:
January 16, 2014 at 5:05 am
The Cl(imate/imatology)(P/C)ause.
My take on “The Clause”:
CS due to 2xCO² is ≤ 0.000°K à la Ferenc Miskolczi.
Back-pedalling grant seekers are barfing up lower and lower guesswork for CS as time passes, we get colder and the 0.000°K part becomes increasingly obvious.

How delusions spread

There's a new paper lodged at arXiv.org, which may help explain the apparent delusion of some climate science deniers. Those who wrongly think that they are in a majority, when the reality is that it's a minority of people who reject climate science. The paper is also discussed in the MIT Technology Review from a marketer's perspective.

Eric Worrall mistakes native cattle breeds for mutants @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 12:30 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment
Eric Worrall is someone who Anthony Watts uses to fill his daily quota of denier nonsense at WUWT. Mostly his "guest articles" are short and silly. Take today for example. Eric is equating two cattle breeds from India with deliberately bred featherless chickens (archived here). I expect cattle breeds is a topic dear to the heart of Eric "eugenics" Worrall.

Eric knows which buttons to press to get the WUWT-ers all a go - mix guvmint with money and CO2 and scientists and Paris and toss in a mutant and Bob's your uncle:

It's getting mighty hot in places, plus a rare tropical cyclone

Sou | 4:02 AM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment
Here's a short article about weather, the sort you won't read at denier blogs like WUWT.

London has just had it's hottest July day on record - with the Guardian reporting 36.7°C (98.1°F) at Heathrow. Wimbledon, where play more commonly stops because of rain, shut the centre court roof to keep out the heat instead. There was a warning that train lines may buckle because of the heat.

Western Europe is even hotter, with 39C in Paris and almost 44C  in Cordoba.

Closer to home there is a cyclone, TC Raquel, south of the equator - in July! That's never been recorded in that area at this time of the year since satellite monitoring began. Here's an image from Earth wind map, showing Tropical Cyclone Raquel and Tropical Storm Chan-Hom to the north of it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Elegant Terns move house when it gets too hot, and Bob Tisdale tries to cover it up @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 6:34 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
If you mention global warming in a press release, deniers will be all over you. If seas are sometimes getting much hotter much more often, don't think for a minute it might possibly be part of a world-wide trend. Not even in the context of this:

Data source: UK Met Office Hadley Centre