Saturday, January 31, 2015

An uncanny ability: Anthony Watts goes to Iceland and figures 2+2=5 or 7

Sou | 2:12 PM Go to the first of 71 comments. Add a comment

You can try to anticipate deniers, but...

In an article in Time about Icelandic ice melt, rising land and volcanic activity, Jeffrey Kluger wrote (my emphasis):
Perhaps anticipating the climate change deniers’ uncanny ability to put two and two together and come up with five, the researchers took pains to point out that no, it’s not the very fact that Icelandic ice sits above hot magma deposits that’s causing the glacial melting. The magma’s always been there; it’s the rising global temperature that’s new. At best, only 5% of the accelerated melting is geological in origin.

Could he or the scientists have anticipated the "five" that Anthony Watts came up with? I don't know. They didn't in this case. Would you?

Here is Anthony's headline, supporting RationalWiki's notion that "almost all the claims from the anti-science movement revolve around some form of personal incredulity or argument from ignorance":
Time Magazine’s Jeffrey Kluger writes what might possibly be the stupidest article about climate ever – climate change causes volcanoes

Land uplift in Iceland

I'll take a step back. The Time article was about a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters. The paper, by Kathleen Compton, Richard A. Bennett and Sigrun Hreinsdóttir was about land uplift in Iceland. According to their measurements, the land is rising in the central highlands of Iceland and down in the south and east. It's not rising around the coastline to the north and west. Their findings are consistent with and extends previous research.

According to the study, the rising land is because of melting on the surface. Around 95% of the snow and ice melt is down to climate warming. Less than 5% can be attributed to subglacial volcanic eruptions and geothermal heat flow.  Taking the pressure off the surface can lead to more volcanic activity. Hence the headline and article in Time to which Anthony Watts took such exception. The headline read:

How Climate Change Leads to Volcanoes (Really)

Anthony Watts mysteriously selected the following passage from the Time article as what he figured was the part where he could yell "gotcha". Anthony has been "gotcha'd" himself as you will see. He wrote:
Here’s the money quote:
“As the glaciers melt, the pressure on the underlying rocks decreases,” Compton said in an e-mail to TIME. “Rocks at very high temperatures may stay in their solid phase if the pressure is high enough. As you reduce the pressure, you effectively lower the melting temperature.” The result is a softer, more molten subsurface, which increases the amount of eruptive material lying around and makes it easier for more deeply buried magma chambers to escape their confinement and blow the whole mess through the surface.
“High heat content at lower pressure creates an environment prone to melting these rising mantle rocks, which provides magma to the volcanic systems,” says Arizona geoscientist Richard Bennett, another co-author.
Perhaps anticipating the climate change deniers’ uncanny ability to put two and two together and come up with five, the researchers took pains to point out that no, it’s not the very fact that Icelandic ice sits above hot magma deposits that’s causing the glacial melting. The magma’s always been there; it’s the rising global temperature that’s new. At best, only 5% of the accelerated melting is geological in origin.
So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world, and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in the tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma fields, yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to to the entire world..

Jeffrey Kluger extrapolates to the whole world? No he didn't.

Did anyone talk about Iceland being the world? No-one except Anthony Watts.

Did anyone mention tropical volcanoes? No-one except Anthony Watts.

Did Jeffrey Kluger extrapolate Iceland's "glacier melt to volcano link up to to the entire world" (sic)? Nope. That was all in the head of Anthony Watts.

Getting inside the mind of a wacky denier

Even when scientists try, they can't always guess where the mental contortions of the denialati will lead. The scientists didn't anticipate that Anthony Watts would come up with that particular result when he tried to put two and two together.

Anthony even went to the trouble of finding a chart of volcanic activity and wrote:
Gosh, it sure looks like another slam dunk for carbon dioxide driven climate hell in a handbasket, doesn’t it? The VEI starts increasing right about the time of the industrial revolution.
For those unfamiliar: The volcanic explosivity index (VEI) was devised by Chris Newhall of the US Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions. (Wikipedia)
But, there’s a hitch, according to NOAA data, volcanic activity worldwide actually went DOWN in the 2000’s while the climate changing carbon dioxide went UP in global concentration:

Anthony's article is full of "gosh's" and "gee's" and other exclamations. Someone better tell him - the paper is about Iceland, not the whole world, you dummy denier you, thinking 2+2=5 :)

Anthony tried for the "tropical volcanoes" and then threw in the AMO for good measure, writing:
Gee, do you think maybe, possibly, that Iceland might have more glacier melt when the AMO is warmer? The authors don’t seem to be cognizant of it, preferring instead to cite the universal bogeyman “climate change”.

It looks as if the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is the denier's latest "rebuttal" to global warming. You'll be waiting forever if you're hopeful of them figuring out how it can cause record hot surface temperatures now, when it's never caused such high temperatures before. Just as you'll be waiting a long time for deniers to figure out that the "O" in AMO stands for "oscillation". (What goes up must come down.)

Land uplift and volcanic activity in Iceland

Forget about Anthony Watts and his tropical volcanoes in Iceland. Let's see what the scientists found. Here's Figure 1 from their paper, showing how the land is rising in different regions of Iceland. Click the image to enlarge it:

Figure 1: Velocity and acceleration measurements from 62 CGPS stations in Iceland and the location of major ice caps. a) Velocity as of 2014.5. b) Time-averaged acceleration. Color bars indicate magnitude while the size of the symbol is inversely proportional to the certainty of the measurement. V=Vatnajökull, H=Hofsjökull, L=Langjökull, ME=Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, D=Drangajökull.
Source: Compton15

The paper states that the rate of uplift will increase:
Uplift is likely to continue to increase at accelerating rates. In central Iceland, continued acceleration, if maintained at the values we have estimated, would result in uplift rates over 40 mm/yr in central Iceland within the next decade.
For the geologists among you, the authors write about altered "estimates of lithospheric and upper asthenospheric rheology" and "impacts of uplift on volcanic processes [Schmidt et al., 2013] and estimates of plate spreading rates".

ScienceDaily.com reports that in times past, 12,000 years ago, volcanic activity in some parts of Iceland increased thirty-fold. Here's an excerpt (my emphasis):
Geologists have long known that as glaciers melt and become lighter, Earth rebounds as the weight of the ice decreases.
Whether the current rebound geologists detect is related to past deglaciation or modern ice loss has been an open question until now, said co-author Richard Bennett, a UA associate professor of geosciences.
"Iceland is the first place we can say accelerated uplift means accelerated ice mass loss," Bennett said.
To figure out how fast the crust was moving upward, the team used a network of 62 global positioning satellite receivers fastened to rocks throughout Iceland. By tracking the position of the GPS receivers year after year, the scientists "watch" the rocks move and can calculate how far they have traveled -- a technique called geodesy.
The new work shows that, at least for Iceland, the land's current accelerating uplift is directly related to the thinning of glaciers and to global warming.
"What we're observing is a climatically induced change in Earth's surface," Bennett said.
He added there is geological evidence that during the past deglaciation roughly 12,000 years ago, volcanic activity in some regions of Iceland increased thirtyfold....
...The team began systematically analyzing years of signals from the entire network and found the fastest uplift was the region between several large ice caps. The rate of uplift slowed the farther the receiver was from the ice cap region. 

What this recent work all boils down to is a probable increase in volcanic eruptions as global warming intensifies. From the paper (my emphasis):
For example, recent findings indicate that decompression melting due to deglaciation could result in an increase in the volume of erupted volcanics as much as one 2010 Eyjafjallajökull-sized eruption every seven years. It follows that accelerated ice loss could lead to more rapid decompression melting and higher volumes of erupted material, which could have global economic impacts.

As they say, this would have implications well beyond the borders of Iceland. Volcanoes in that part of the world affect air travel for one thing. Remember the headlines in May 2010:
  • Eyjafjallajökull Strikes Again: Volcanic Ash Shuts Major European Air Traffic Hubs - Der Spiegel
  • Volcanic ash shuts major UK, Dutch airports - IBN
  • Eyjafjallajokull volcano ash cloud impedes air traffic - USA Today

Not to be an alarmist, however warnings like these are not to be ignored.  The final sentences in the paper relate to plate tectonics:
Furthermore, there is likely to be a horizontal signal associated with the melt-related rapid uplift and uplift acceleration. Though these horizontal motions will much smaller than the observed vertical motion [e.g.Wahr et al., 2013], they could provide a small correction to current plate spreading rate estimates.

From the WUWT comments

Now Anthony Watts has boasted that he's a "full member of AGU in good standing". I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean that he subscribes to any AGU journals, much less reads the papers he writes about, much much less understands them.  That's only part of the reason his readers are so misinformed. The other reason is that they want to be misinformed. They don't want to accept or understand anything relating to climate science. Here are some examples of what I mean:

ferdberple is a fake sceptic who believes what his idol, Anthony Watts, writes at WUWT:
January 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm
Looking at the graph in the original article, volcanoes started ramping up around 1800. Perhaps someone can explain how that was caused by human CO2 from fossil fuels?

masInt branch 4 C3I in is  is a bit of a nutter himself:
January 30, 2015 at 11:01 am
A true Nut Job and Time Mag. as well as the “Authors” and GRL Editors; psycho-ward escapees!
Did the intrepid GRL Editors even notice the word, Geophysical, in their rags title, or for the Nut Jobs to read that Iceland is built on the Mid-Atlantic Spreading Ridge separating two lithosphere plates above the Iceland Hotspot! 
Idiots all.

Not only did the authors just happen to know that Iceland is on a ridge, they wrote about how the melting ice could affect plate spreading.

Jay Hope doesn't cite the "other experts" he mentions, which is no surprise. Nor is his cry about "the pause" that isn't a surprise.
January 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm
But some other experts have suggested that global cooling is causing more volcanic eruptions! And I thought the warming had stopped 18 years ago?

Bubba Cow mentions the video embedded in the Time article. I think Bubba is a fan of Senator Inhofe:
January 30, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Read that too. In middle of article is video of Jeffrey Kluger taking on Sen. James Inhofe using the 97% fudge. We know that attack. Shut it off, waste of bandwidth.

If you're interested, here's the video Bubba mentioned:

It's not clear whether highflight56433 is referring to Anthony Watts or to the scientists. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say it's Anthony who is "so off the chart stupid", and that highflight56433 isn't so dull after all.
January 30, 2015 at 11:07 am
Here I have been blaming increased taxation for global change everything inclusive natural and unnatural… ufda!
We’ll have more on this later, readers are encouraged to add comments regarding this inanity (insanity).
I can’t imagine living with a mind that is so off the chart stupid…and I am not exactly anything bright. lol

David M commits a logical fallacy, writing:
January 30, 2015 at 11:14 am
Gee..here in new Mexico we had volcanoes erupting millions of yrs ago…must have climate change

norah4you posts an irrelevant thought, just because it flew into her head while her fingers were on her keyboard:
January 30, 2015 at 11:26 am
Some people never learn to understand tectonic plates…. that’s one thing. Stupid as it might be…. 

Mac the Knife is a denier of the "I don't understand what you wrote, but it's brilliant" kind:
January 30, 2015 at 11:27 am
Excellent rebuttal analysis, Anthony!

hunter gets his pseudo-science from various denier blogs and his comment suggests he is a right wing authoritarian follower, distrustful of normal authorities:
January 30, 2015 at 11:35 am
Over at Bishop Hill, poster Michael Hart stated:
“The BBC aspire to educate the world, yet they cannot educate themselves.”
Reading this article from Time, it seems clear that the deliberate ignorance of the BBC extends to other media outlets.
It is fair to state that Time Magazine aspires to inform its readers, but declines to educate itself.

ecoGuy is just another run-of-the-mill fake sceptic:
January 30, 2015 at 11:40 am
I blame it on the schools, people are often taught how to write good English at the expense of never been taught basic logic. Common sense and actual fact checking are indeed a rare commodity to most in Journalism. This could have simply been blown out the water by just passing the paper under the noses of a few academics from true sciences first – the BS reaction would have been almost instant.

I've not even got half way down the page at WUWT. They are celebrating the return of their idol, Anthony Watts, and his aspirations to better his "Russian steampipes" article. How many dumb deniers can you fit on a page at WUWT? (I haven't counted, but there were 169 comments at the time of archiving. So it's probably more than 100/7,000,000,000 people on the planet.)

You can read more here if you're feeling really, really bored - or are researching science denial.

Kathleen Compton, Richard A. Bennett, Sigrun Hreinsdóttir. "Climate driven vertical acceleration of Icelandic crust measured by CGPS geodesy." Geophysical Research Letters, 2015; DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062446


  1. Putting aside the wackiness for a moment...

    Please don't miss the amazing fact that glacial ice can count in developing that mysterious condition of "deep and under pressure" that seems to explain so many things in geology.

    I was trying to get a handle on how tar sands form. I figured I wanted to know that in some detail, realizing that I really didn't. As I went looking into the lit, I had a fairly simplistic model in my mind, and wanted to expand on that. Boy, does it turn out to be complex! In any event, part of the formation process has to do with added weight from glaciers, causing very important effects. Another part of the process has to do with uplift and related tectonic effects caused by the glaciers melting. Then, there are the groundwater intrusions and related effects which are turned on and off by ... wait for it ... glaciers (forming or disappearing).

    The glaciers had as much to do with making the tar sands as any other factor. And, to be clear, that is still an oversimplification.

    1. Greg, now you've gone and given me still more work, as if I've not got enough still to learn :D

      More fascinating things about the world to try to get my head around.

      Thanks - really :)

    2. "Jeffrey Kluger extrapolates to the whole world? No he didn't."

      OK then. Here is what Kluger said:

      "Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere."

      What part of "not just" and "everywhere" don't you understand?

    3. Greg Laden,

      Comprehensive geologic links and geologic peer reviewed literature on this 'conjectured' linkage between glaciers and said oil tar sands?

      Like geological origins (Cretaceous), formation (plate tectonics), accretion (deposition of overburden), erosion (loss of overburden that brings deep deposits to the surface, but to date only account for 20% of total known (proven) oil sands reserves (e. g. the shallow reserves are in the low lying areas, those areas are the result of runoff (glacial), but are not the primary cause of the original creation of said oil tar sands)).

      I've only just spent a few minutes on this particular subject area, so any information that you might have on the glacier connection to the direct formation of these oil tar sands would be very much greatly appreciated.


    4. Anonymous - context is key. Anthony Watts was claiming that Jeffrey Kluger was extending the Iceland research to volcanoes everywhere (or in the tropics at least). Instead, Jeffrey's comment related to what he wrote further down:

      Contemporary humans got a nasty taste of what that’s like back in 2010 when the volcanic caldera under the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap in southern Iceland blew its top, erupting for three weeks from late March to mid-April and spreading ash across vast swaths of Europe. The continent was socked in for a week, shutting down most commercial flights.

      If you'd read the entire Time article that should have been quite obvious. It was all about Iceland. The article wasn't very long so I don't know why you missed that.

      If you'd read the WUWT article it also should have been quite obvious that Anthony Watts was, once again, way off base with his worldwide/tropical volcanoes and AMO.

    5. For lurkers: What Anonymous indulged in is called quote-mining, or so I'm told. It's a form of misrepresentation.

      Why do disinformers and science deniers quote mine? Because that's all they have, I suppose. Sometimes I get the feeling they aren't even aware of it - in which case it could be an example of confirmation bias/warped mental models (have I got that right?)

    6. Sou,

      Just about 100% of WTFUWT? invokes literally hunderds of formal/informal logical fallacies.

      So in this case, start with moving the goalposts, construct a strawman, knock it down.

      In the WW (Wondering Willis) post on the Pew poll, it was essentially poisoning the well (WW even mentions 'well is poisoned' but in a different context to a particular poll question, while the sheer irony of missing the fact that WW is 'poisoning the well' goes completely unnoticed by the WTFUWT? crowd) or attack the message or ...

      Or the dog whistle of 'Claim:' attached to little to no additional dialog about the subject matter.

      So the 1st rule of WTFUWT? is to talk about anything except what the original research actually stated, that would be called science reporting, and WTFUWT? abjectly does not do science reporting, it's more like disreporting science via countless formal/informal logical fallacies.

    7. What Anonymous indulged in is called quote-mining ..."

      I think you are being a bit hard on Anonymous. I had to read the article a couple of times to understand the context you were referring to. Eventually I came down on your interpretation but there is some room for doubt there. I guess that is the idea of quote mining though - take an ambiguity and magnify it.

    8. Jammy Dodger there is no ambiguity in Time's Piece. Unequivocally it was about the effect of ICELAND's ice cap loss on volcanism in ICELAND. No other volcanic site was mentioned except by AW.

      Kluger's "The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere"

      assumed that we remember what happened in 2010. Spiegel ONLINE:

      Eyjafjallajökull's Economic Impact: Airlines Fear Losses Higher than 9/11

      The disruption to air traffic caused by Iceland's volcanic ash is not just affecting German airlines' bottom lines. The knock-on effect on the entire economy could be severe. The initial estimates are of losses amounting to 1 billion euros a day.

      Or this from financial magazine MORNING MONEY in April 2010

      "First, I learned today from some hedge-fund sources that scientists believe the real threat from the relatively small Eyjafjallajokull volcano is that it could trigger an eruption in its much larger neighbor, which is called Katla. I was told there's a better than even chance that this would happen.

      This would be troublesome. University of Iceland geologist Andy Hooper told Reuters that an eruption of Katla would make the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajokull look trivial. Hooper further declared that increased volcano action in Iceland might be inevitable if our planet continues to warm.

      "At the end of the last ice age, the rate of eruption in Iceland was some 30 times higher than historic rates. This is because the reduction in the ice load reduced the pressure in the mantle, leading to decompression melting there," he said. "Since the late 19th century the ice caps in Iceland have been shrinking yet further, due to changing climate. This will lead to additional magma generation, so we should expect more frequent and more voluminous eruptions in the future."

      Greg Neale, who edits BBC History magazine, reported that 200 years ago, an Icelandic volcano erupted with catastrophic consequences for weather, agriculture and transportation across the northern hemisphere, and helped trigger the French revolution and two famines.

      Neale said that the Laki volcanic fissure in southern Iceland erupted from June 1783 to February 1784, spewing lava and poisonous gases that devastated the island's crops and livestock and lead to the deaths of a quarter of the island's population through famine.

      The sky turned dark across Europe, and even cast a shadow over the United States that was recorded by Benjamin Franklin. The disruption to weather patterns led to an unusually harsh winter that further damaged crops worldwide, causing a fearsome famine in Egypt.

      Environmental historians have also pointed to the disruption caused to the economies of northern Europe, where food poverty was a major factor in the build-up to the French revolution of 1789.

      Neale ended with a quote from historian John Murray: "Volcanic eruptions can have significant effects on weather patterns for from two to four years, which in turn have social and economic consequences.

      We shouldn't discount their possible political impacts."
      Morning Money Magazine, April 2010.

      No ambiguity Jammy, just more misleading and deceptive conduct by AW.

    9. It would seem that Anthony - and our anonymous friend - have constructed a fantasy world in which crazy scientists think the planet is more or less entirely covered by ice. I don't think that was the reporter's intent.

    10. Environmental historians tend to see the environment in everything. There were bad harvests, as there had been before, but what brought about the French Revolution was the bankruptcy of the State and subsequent impoverishment of its bondholders - the petit bourgeoisie. The State was actually insolvent years before Laki erupted. Famines kill peasants but make money for grain traders.

    11. Everett, I read a report on the Tar Sands written by geologists involved in the work there, not peer reviewed lit, but a very good overview, not for general audiences. At the moment I can't lay my hands on it but when I find it I'll send it on. Remind me if you've not heard back by the end of the week.

    12. OK, got it. Check the first links especially on this search: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=%22geology%20of%20the%20oil%20sands%22%20fran%20hein

  2. This is wildly silly and a bit unusual. Historically AW employs headlines to convey incredulity, avoiding specific attacks on scientific research unless he's quoting a third party. He leaves the attacks on science to his utter Wutters. That's why Sou quotes from the comments.

    On this occasion he was somehow emboldened to go in hard on the specifics and he's made an absolute spectacle of himself.

    Anthony is a profoundly stupid and gutless specimen. A letter from the AGU is in order.

    1. Agree. Anthony has been away for a few weeks and left WUWT in the hands of pseudo-science quacks like Bob Tisdale and Willis Eschenbach.

      He's come back in style.

      In the style of his "Russian steampipes are causing global warming" and his much heralded sudden outbreak of "Airport UHI disease".

    2. Maybe he was busy the last weeks to finish his Watts et al. (2012) manuscript.

      miker613 says: "I don’t know that Anthony Watts recanted. But he did back quietly down with his paper and haven’t heard from it since. I guess that’s all I can expect, from either side of climate science.”

      Steven Mosher says: "His paper is now done. Lots of double checking is going on. Should be interesting, but not policy relevant in my mind."

      Rather than start writing blog posts you would have expected him to resurrect his Open Atmospheric Society. I would not be amused had I paid my membership fee, especially had I paid for a lifetime membership. Did you hear anyone complain at WUWT?

    3. If Anthony was working on his manuscript I'd guess his work entailed getting other people to write it for him. I wonder where he'll get it published.

      As for the secret open atmospheric society - I've not seen a peep from anyone. Not a complaint or a whisper. Maybe he's quietly refunded the subs - though I'm not sure that's Anthony's style. Or maybe he's sent out secret emails to the poor saps who gave him money, telling them to wait a bit longer.

    4. Sou,

      "I wonder where he'll get it published."

      (Chinese) Science Bulletin!

  3. I wonder what AW would write if he ever discovered that rising sea levels can have tectonic effects? That concept and many more are explained in 'Waking the Giant' by Bill McGuire..

  4. Sou,

    Please fix: AMO: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

    1. Oops, getting my circulations mixed up with my oscillations. Put it down to senility :(

  5. To summarise your article.
    You believe Anthony Watts’ interpretation of Kluger’s statement that “The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere." as meaning literally the whole planet, was wrong. You say in response to “anonymous” that the article “is only about Iceland”.
    So just what should Kruger have written? If “everywhere” was changed to “Iceland” then that would make no sense as the sentence would now read “The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for Iceland."
    Remember Kruger’s words were “not just for one comparatively remote part of the world……”. So it appears to me that the context of the sentence has to be more than Iceland or it makes no sense. If you disagree then what is your interpretation of “not just for one comparatively remote part of the world”?
    Also, why didn’t you mention Watt’s reason for thinking that Kruger meant the whole planet in your article? Watts’ article was entirely due to that sentence

    1. Oh, for God's sake, just read the Time article. Watts' interpretation - and, apparently, yours - of that to mean the author is claiming AGW leads to increased vulcanism in other parts of the world is either disingenuous or incompetent. Or both. Full stop.

    2. I reread Watt' article and the above quote from Kluger is in the first paragraph of his article.

      One paragraph down he says...
      "So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world..."

      Also.... "Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to to the entire world."

      It is pretty clear that Watts was ONLY commenting on Krugers sentence about "everywhere".

      If Kruger hadn't inserted that paragraph, Watts would have nothing to argue about.

      why do you think the words "..not for just one comparatively remote part of the world" means? Plain English would says it means what it says. But what would I know.

    3. Peter, take some time out. Go clear your head.

      Then go back and read the Time article, read the ScienceDaily article, read the paper itself, read my response to Anonymous, then read the silly misrepresentation at WUWT.

      Then if you still insist that you can't understand where Anthony Watts went wrong, take a lesson in comprehension. Take several.

    4. Peter,
      I think that you have parsed Watt's statement incorrectly, "So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world, and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in the tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma fields, yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to the entire world.” This has led you astray.

      (a) “So, Iceland has had melting glaciers.” [This statement is supported by known facts in geological record. Everyone can accept that.]
      (b) “OK we’ll accept that,” [Watts accepts the evidence supporting (a) as does just about everyone else.]
      (c) “but Iceland in not the entire world,” [True]
      (d) “and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma field,” [Although this statement is supported in facts, Kluger does NOT mention, imply or state that other volcanoes around the globe are undergoing (or will undergo) a similar process. The whole point is that Watts MADE THIS UP AND PUT WORDS IN KRUGER’S MOUTH. Therefore, this statement by Watts does not belong here and cannot be part of the logical argument.]
      (e) “yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to the entire world.” [ Kluger implies that the EFFECTS of volcanism in Iceland may extend to the rest of the world and may be important.]

      So the problem with Watts’ logic is this:
      (a) True
      (b) True
      (c ) True
      (d) A type of non sequitar -- A made-up statement NOT part of Kluger’s argument (Kluger did not say there would be increase volcanism around the world) therefore not valid in a logical argument about Kluger’s analysis of volcanoes, Iceland, etc.
      (e) Watts’ conclusion, which relies solely on (d), is invalid.

      So, if you parse Watts’ statement correctly, you will see that Watts made up (d), a true statement when taken out of context of Watts’ argument, but inserted into the argument so Watts could make a (specious) point. Watts was attempting to disparage someone else’s article by falsely attributing statements to Kluger, an attempt I mark as an unethical practice.

      If you cannot follow this logic and see that Watts put words in Kluger's mouth that were not said or implied, then the snide remarks by others are understandable.

  6. Sweet Jesus you Wutters a fucking dumb. This is what Kluger said re "everywhere" Go back and decode it for Anthony.

    "Icelandic history shows how bad things can get when the ice thins out. During the last deglaciation period 12,000 years ago—one that took much longer to unfold than the current warming phase turbocharged by humans—geologic records suggest that volcanic activity across the island increased as much as 30-fold. Contemporary humans got a nasty taste of what that’s like back in 2010 when the volcanic caldera under the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap in southern Iceland blew its top, erupting for three weeks from late March to mid-April and spreading ash across vast swaths of Europe. The continent was socked in for a week, shutting down most commercial flights.

    If you enjoyed that, there’s more of the same coming. At the current pace, the researchers predict, the uplift rate in parts of Iceland will rise to 1.57 in. (40 mm) per year by the middle of the next decade, liberating more calderas and leading to one Eyjafjallajökull-scale blow every seven years. The Earth, we are learning yet again, demands respect. Mess with it and there’s no end to the problems you create."

    1. PG,

      It's worse than you say. Willfully fucking moronic is the only way I can describe the following "thoughts" over at WTFUWT:


      Keith Willshaw
      February 1, 2015 at 5:12 am

      Actually the study was limited to blaming AGW for something else. The real reason for Iceland’s vulcanism is well known. It sits astride an active divergent tectonic plate where mother nature is pushing magma up and increasing the size of the Atlantic. Without this vulcanism which has been ongoing since the Triassic there would be no Iceland to be glaciated. The Iceland hot spot is believed by geologists to be the result of a magma plume over 100 km across. In comparison human endeavours are puny in the extreme.

      Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
      January 31, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      So are they contending that volcanos eruption all over the surface of the Earth, are covered with glaciers? Was Krakatoa in 1883 covered by glaciers? Pinatubo? El-Chicon?

      Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
      February 1, 2015 at 3:29 am

      brandon, way to miss my point. If deglaciation causes volcanoes to erupt, then what accounts for the millions of volcanic eruptions which took place over the eons without glaciers existing on said volcanoes? Why haven’t we seen Kilimanjaro erupt?

      These volcanoes are erupting because they exist on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. They’ve been erupting for tens of millions of years. This ‘study’ ia alarmist hype.


      Included in my responses, and perhaps should have been limited to, was: If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

      Damn it all, I'm not sure we've evolved much past the protozoan stage at this point, they're even ignoring the brighter bulbs among their own ranks:


      Les Johnson
      January 31, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      I hate to say it, but there may be some truth to the deglaciation/volcano linkage. I googled volcanoes and inter glacial, and a lot of hits suggested an increase in vulcanism after the ice starts melting.


      This paper says a 2 to 6 fold increase over background levels. They also reference a lot of papers that support this, at least on the regional level. This appears to be a meta-study.

      The good news is that most of the vulcanism occurs shortly after deglaciation starts, and occurs almost exclusively in the deglaciated areas.

      Rud Istvan
      January 31, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      That is almost certainly true. Geological evidence is found in Iceland, and long North America’s Pacific northwest. One a near Arctic rift, the other a subduction zone under the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. And the geological evidence ended about 10000 years ago. So cannot be projected to 2100 or whatever.


      There may be hope for ours species yet. But only just.

  7. Having more eruptions does lead to a possible negative feedback mechanism. More eruptions = more aerosols = cooling (or slower warming). So what we need to do is burn even more carbon to release the volcanoes so we can cool the planet. Save the earth: Buy a Hummer. And build a shrine to the Koch brothers who save us all. ;-) /sarc>

  8. Seems pretty clear to me. Dropping is mass in Iceland can increase volcanism there, a local effect, while as seen with recent eruptions the ash from such volcanic events can have global economic consequences.

    Yet another case of Watts et al (willfully? blindly) misinterpreting some quite clear language, of spending rather considerable effort looking for a misreading that matches their preconceptions.


    A related note:

    At one point in the distant past I assisted at some sessions of ECT, electro-convulsive therapy or shock treatment. The reason that treatment can be effective for recent delusions is that paranoid delusions (and associated conspiracy theories) require complex and extended chains of thought, with multiple ill supported steps. ECT induces confusion, shakes everything up, and it becomes possible to reintroduce topics while discussing less convoluted, more reasonable explanations.

    If you have recently decided that your dog is putting ground glass in your cereal, this can help. Unfortunately, if you've thought that for years (as with decadal and longer conspiracy ideation), those channels are deep, and there's little that can be done... such delusions are no longer amenable to reality checks. Which is a situation I see all the time in dealing with certain deniers.

  9. One last comment Sou....It's a bit disappointing that all the replies replied on derision, sarcasm and implied censorship from you. Not one directly addressed what I said. I think this is what swung me to the skeptic side a year or so ago because it's impossible to have an abuse free conversation with someone who believes in CAGW. Which begs the question, why have this site if it's only a cathedral for the faithful.

    1. Really? Really and truly? The constant parade of derision and lies told about science and scientists on the blogs of fake sceptics didn't deter you from embracing science denial, but a bit of ridicule of their pseudo-science quackery and some mild sarcasm made you a fake sceptic?

      I don't believe you.

      PS Have you asked Judith Curry or Anthony Watts the same question about their "cathedrals for the faithful"?

    2. So Peter decides questions of science on the basis of who has been nice or rude to him on the internet.

      Impressive. :-)

      " Not one directly addressed what I said". Nonsense Go back and read Sou's reply to Anonymous or read the last two paragraphs of the Time article.

    3. 'I would have been on your side but you've all been so rude' = Concern Troll 101. It's boring. And nobody reading this believes you, including you.

      Have rationalist opponents of Creationism and the anti-Vaxxers been rude to you, too, incidentally?

    4. Uh yes Peter, this really explains how you are on the side of people who use false allegations of fraud and the occasional death threat.

    5. This comment of Peter is over the top and classical tone trolling, but I do agree that the response to his first question could have been more factual. At least if he is a newcomer; the deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    6. Victor, I didn't expect you to come out as a tone monitor. He wasn't treated that roughly.

      In any case, Peter's comment had already been asked and answered. (Plus he alleged I didn't write about Anthony's "money quote", when I did.)

      Finally, who's to say Peter is a newcomer. (I don't know, but deniers have a habit of posting comments here using different names.)

    7. "Victor, I didn't expect you to come out as a tone monitor."

      :) That is why I had some hope that my words would make people step back a little. ;)

      The HotWhoppery has shown that Peter is beyond hope, but that was something one could not have known at the time of his first comment.

    8. Fair enough, Victor. Maybe I've just become a bit more attuned over the years. You get to pick them easily :)

      (Most people didn't reply till after Peter's second and third comments, when it became a lot more obvious where he was coming from.)

    9. @Victor

      Yes, there is no harm in giving them a little more rope. It makes it easier to discredit their points and possibly avoids interminable exchanges about irrelevant details, definitions and semantics.

      The denier types always run out of ideas and just descend into an incoherent gish-gallop. Peter's post (in the Hot Whoppery) was spectacularly predictable and unoriginal. They try to start out sounding sensible but then froth over like milk boiling on the stove.

    10. Agree with Victor: first comment from peter should have been treated as genuine.

      There *are* true skeptics whose ideologies encourage them to lean against the consensus, and so it isn't a shock to find that they read an article differently from, say, my own reading. For these readers (and maybe occasional posters), a respectful explanation of how they are misreading an article could be valuable.

      Once they go off the rails though, give 'em what they deserve.

    11. @PL

      And the first comment from Anonymous should have been treated as genuine also?

    12. Give it a rest, folk. And get used to it. HotWhopper has little tolerance for fools and some of us can sniff them out from a mile away.

      All comments here were treated as genuine, including the one that ended up in the HotWhoppery. What you mean, I expect, is that you want bend-over-backward polite to the first in a chain of denier comments. There's never a guarantee of that here. The responses to the first and subsequent denier comments may have been sharp, but they were not, in the main, impolite.

      I also have little tolerance for OT comments on tone. So watch it.

    13. Sou

      No, I do not expect bend-over-backward politeness. And the Anonymous comment was phrased in an aggressive and impolite tone from the start so it did not deserve much respect. And I appreciate your ability to detect a denier at ten paces. But I think it does no harm to ease off at first and give them an opportunity not to lose complete face. Those that don't want to discuss sensibly quickly start frothing at the mouth.

    14. Strange response, Sou. I won't say more about tone after this post; it's what you said in your New Year resolutions, and it's your blog. If you want to delete this, go ahead.

      Climate blog readers probably are overwhelmingly black and white. That's not where I'm comfortable. In contrast, people I are talk to face to face often are Republicans who genuinely believe what they hear from other poor sources, and read stuff that seems clear to me in a way that is surprising. Learning how they read it that way is useful in crafting the next way of writing it to be less ambiguous, even if ambiguity only arises because of their preconceptions.

    15. PL, Kluger's article could be deemed ambiguous but only if we deem all written communication to be so. Absent that PL, you have just unilaterally redefined ambiguity.

      I’m OK with you constructing your own language in front of your bathroom mirror but please don't drag it into public view without at least toweling it down first.

      Peter comments at WUWT including on this thread. Despite his apparent silliness, he is not as stupid as he seems. His role is to carve out some skerrick of doubt, some minute possibility that Anthony Watt’s spectacular brain fart could smell slightly sweeter if a bottle of Doubt was uncorked all over it. It’s been the deniers MO from the days of loving the effects of tobacco, acid rain and CFCs.

      Sou’s response was perfect.

    16. Going back to Peter's original post, his use of the term CAGW should have caused the thread to be shut down immediately. History shows that once someone uses that term no meaningful communication will result.

      Might I suggest that in future, as soon as someone writes "CAGW" you snip the remainder of their post and allow no followups?

    17. @Raymond. Peter's original post (February 1, 2015 at 1:23 PM) did *not* include "CAGW". I agree that any post that uses that term should be snipped. I also realize now (as of his second post) that he's clearly fringe. My comments only relate to the tone of response to his first post.

      @PG: I explained myself (again, it's about response to Peter's first post only, based on having no preconceptions about Peter). I even drew a distinction between face to face discussions with ordinary people who are biased against the consensus but genuinely unaware, and blog posters who are mostly on the two far ends of the spectrum and will never change their opinions.

      If you don't find that a point worth making, fine. There's lots of stuff on blogs worth ignoring. If Sou thinks it is too OT, she can delete it, and this one. However, I know that there's a large group of people closer to the middle who just have a feeling that anthro climate change is not real and are inclined to find what they expect to see, and could be educated but will be turned off if the initial response to their question is derision. The target audience for politeness is not Peter; it's the lurkers.

    18. Apologies for the ambiguity. I meant the "original post" in the present thread.

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

    1. Peter's latest comment has been reposted by Sou at the the HotWhoppery

    2. The Kool-Aid is strong in that one.

    3. Ideology is indistinguishable from magic - it can seemingly turn this:

      Historical arctic sea ice decline, courtesy of tamino

      Into this:

      Arctic Sea Ice 96% back to normal (Sorry Al Gore but it didn’t disappear) -- Peter, speaking from the depths of the HotWhoppery

    4. @Peter

      "I was a CAGW adherent and believed everything ..."

      There is your problem Peter. You will not find any "adherents" here or anybody who "believes" everything. What you need to do is develop some real sceptical skills.

    5. "Cold summer in Australia." ???? Reference please.

      You cannot be serious!

    6. Jammy, the chart you showed is for last summer, not this one. (I expect you're picking up on Peter's comment in the HotWhoppery.)

      This summer so far where I live (SE Australia) has been mild by comparison with the past few years. There have been only a few nights without the doona. It's all relative of course,

      Elsewhere in Australia people aren't so lucky. There've been fires raging around Perth. South Australia had a devastating blaze. and from BoM:

      On Tuesday (21 January) the town of Carnarvon on Western Australia’s northwest coast recorded its equal hottest day, and hottest January day, with a maximum temperature of 47.8°C.

      From BoM

      Recent temperature charts here.

    7. SE Australia has been mild (meaning no heatwaves), but the average temps are still running several degrees above the old normal.

      I noticed on another blog a denier and their sock-puppets were pushing the idea of a cold summer in Australia, including a bunch of cherry-picked temperature graphs.

    8. Peter said:

      "I was a CAGW adherent and believed everything ...".

      I have noticed deniers usually suffer from a bad case of projection.

      "I won’t visit this site again."

      We can hope.

    9. @Harry

      All the reports I have read imply Australia is running hot this year. I was not sure what year was being referenced by Peter but as this year is only half way through the Australian summer it seems a bit premature to say it is cold. I guess there may be a rolling graph somewhere that shows it is colder than (something?). I notice no reference came back from Peter so I guess all he had were the usual denier cherry-picked misleading graphs that you refer to.

    10. Jammy, see the link to temperature maps in my comment above.

    11. Sou

      I have had a quick look but I could not find a clear anomaly type map. I will have a better search tomorrow ...


    12. Oh, is that what you were looking for. I'll see if I can find some. The temperature maps can still be used to compare temps from different years using the date boxes up the top. When it's hot it's pink, red and brown. When it's cool it's green and yellow :D

      Look particularly at 2014, 2013 and 2009 for very warm years. Most of the years since 2003 would have been warmer than this summer (just for the tiny bit in the SE of Australia - not the rest of the country).

      It has been cooler down here much more often this January.

    13. I found the anomaly maps. Same page - just click in the "map" box up top and select maximum, mean or minimum anomaly from the drop down list.

      I should have seen that from the outset - sorry.

    14. Here's a chart showing that this January, the temp was almost "normal". Compare it to the past few years when it was way, way hotter.

      You can also pick regions. SE was also much cooler than recent January's, but not as low as Australia as a whole.

    15. Jammy Dodger,

      do not worry about what Peter said, he was "Gish Galloping" which is a technique to switch the burden of proof onto your opponent and waste their time.

      My comment was that I had seen the "SE Australia is having a cool summer" hoax been put about on other blogs.

      SE Australia is not having a cool summer. It is having a mild summer due to a lack of heatwaves. But this is not the same as a cool summer, average temps are still well above the 20th century average.

      It weather anyway, not climate. If local weather is brought up in a discussion about climate it usually is an attempt at distraction.

      And the summer is not over yet, so the BOM will not have any anomaly temperature maps for it yet.

    16. What I suspect will happen with Australia is the hot weather will come a bit later this year - the BOM are forecasting this.

    17. I've just explored what's happened in January in a bit more detail, Harry and Jammy.


    18. It was good fodder for a post then.

    19. Harry
      I do not worry about Peter. I just thought his claim that Australia was experiencing a cold summer was curious. I wondered what his source was - but of course he never supplied one. From what you say it is one of those denier fabrications making the rounds. I guess it is slightly cooler than last year - what a surprise - so that is enough to prove we are entering a new ice age!

      Anyway, Sou has provide a whole new article on it so I will read that. :)

  11. It was only a matter of time, ladies and gents, we have a winner: https://archive.today/YFhhD#selection-3861.0-3903.332

    "Makes sense. Volcanoes produce magma. Magma is hot. Really hot. Really hot things melt glaciers. QED. The volcanoes in Iceland are causing deglaciation." ~ferdberple

    They managed to steer clear of it in the original post when the TIME magazine article text was there to remind them to not be so utterly predictable. But the dissonance of deniers looking for facile answers to avoid the obvious is as inexorable a force as convection in the mantle. Only much faster acting.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.