Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Confessions of deniers at Judith Curry's blog

Sou | 3:38 AM Go to the first of 174 comments. Add a comment

Note: This thread is closed for comments. The discussion that was taking place can be continued here at Rob's Gallop.

Addendum: see below for Judith trying to defend her denier fans, and her own conspiracy ideation.

You may remember when Anthony Watts at WUWT posted a self-portrait of a denier, which brought out a whole host of other self portraits - predominately from engineers. Now Judith Curry has invited deniers to write about why they reject climate science (archived here). I think it was an open invitation to all, but since her blog is denier paradise, most of the comments are from - you guessed it, climate science deniers.

There were several people who wrote more than one of the 133 comments (as archived). I counted only eight people who accept the science. The rest rejected science (a couple were non-committal). Some described themselves as lukewarmers or fence-sitters. Others were more hard-core.

I read the comments and categorised them in different ways. Here is some of what I found from the 133 archived comments. Once again, engineers dominate:
  • 21 deniers say they are engineers
  • 1 historian
  • 1 forester
  • 3 studied physics, including one who is also an engineer
  • 1 retired doctor
  • 1 meteorologist
  • 1 BS in chemistry
  • 1 retired geneticist

Some of the stated reasons for rejecting climate science:
  • Climategate
  • Money
  • Suspect "motives of the UN/IPCC"
  • "attempts to scare the public re. extreme weather events being linked to climate change" (here
  • "mightily impressed" by disinformation
  • "attempts by the UN and the Progressive Green Mafia to reshape the entire world economy" (here)
  • "Really Cold in lots and lots of places yesterday and today" (here)
  • Money ("billions of dollars")
  • Has "serious doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the global historic temperature records" (here)
  • "Many of the people pushing the danger are radical extremists" (here)
  • Found a denier article on a denier blog and was converted
  • Rarely read any climate articles except those on denier blogs (here and here)
  • Has "always reacted against conventional wisdom" (here)
  • Couldn't find AGW in the temperature record (really)
  • "the entire basis for the movement rested upon cherry-picking and lies of omission" (here)
  • "got dragged to a lecture by Chris Essex" (here)
  • Personal incredulity (and strawmen) "the whole idea that some scientists have the global climate system accurately modelled just pegged my BS meter" (here)
  • "finally had access to the tremendous body of skepticism about AGW" (here)
  • "read a friend’s copy of Andrew Montford’s book, ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’" (here)
  • Has "the feeling that I’m being hustled" (here)
  • "It struck me as very odd that the ground thermometer readings would continue to be preferred when the satellite measurements became available" (here)
  • Felt cheated because he sold his house based on his reading of an article in the NY Times (here)
  • Willingly fell for disinformation from McIntyre and McKitrick (here)
  • Climate science "was being promoted with a very left wing slant which made me suspicious" (here)
  • "Not worried about global warming because there is an enormous cold reservoir in the deep oceans that could be employed to cool if it doesn’t deliver the next ice age already on its own." (here)
  • "Global warming always struck me as stupid because everything that was said to be ‘unprecedented’ was so obviously not." (here)
  • "It seemed to me that we were, possibly, being manipulated." (here)
  • Read a Michael Crichton novel "Got into this after reading State of Fear. Before that didn’t realize there were non-crazy people who were actually skeptical." (here
  • "the effort to “disappear” the MWP was a watershed moment for me" (here)
  • "I lean toward the view that the effect on temperature of the large increase in anthropogenic CO2 is small, barely if at all detectable " and in the same comment "reminded us that Mt. Pinatubo was a big event affecting the atmosphere" (here)
  • "I am a skeptic perhaps mostly because of the work of Dr (sic) Tony Brown" (here)
  • "I am unable to understand how replacing one out of 10000 molecules in the atmosphere with another one of a meager “greenhouse gas” could possibly disrupt the planet’s entire climatic system to such an extent" (here)
  • "It seemed like a lot of hype, and darn little in the way of good arguments. " (here)
  • "After Florida had two severe hurricane seasons in a row, home insurance rates skyrocketed" (here)
  • "Any warming since 1979 is offset by cooling in 1958-1978" (Yes, really! here)
  • Judith's blog - how she must swell with pride: "I have only been visiting Judith’s blog since September 2011 but even this shorter period has been enough to make me less open-minded and more convinced that the AGW hypothesis is generally based on sloppy science and even sloppier reasoning when it relates climate change to the advocacy of carbon reduction policies." (here)
  • "I noticed a lot of people were making huge money from it" (here)
  • Writes like he really believes this nonsense: "The scientists really were fiddling to get the right results, ruining the careers of people who had different scientific views and refusing to show where the data and workings for the papers used by the IPCC came from." (here)
  • "I suspect that this government-born new virgin birth of “global warming” is not a scientific issue, now, any longer, but will be a justification for global fascism, in the name of good.. ….as always. ….smile." (here)

It's threads like those that would make for some interesting research on what motivates people to reject science, and to see the lengths some people will go to rationalise their denial. Most of the comments struck me as coming from people looking for a reason to reject it. Some latched onto a paper, like the deeply flawed McIntyre and McKitrick paper. Or they were drawn to like minds on fake sceptic and pseudo-science blogs. Some people tried to justify their denial by claiming to have found something in the temperature record. Others demonstrated personal incredulity. Some claimed they rejected science because they felt that someone was rude to them once, on a blog somewhere or the other. I'd say the level of education was higher than at WUWT, but the cognitive dysfunction was similar to that seen on any denier blog.

One thing is obvious. Judith Curry's blog is mainly for climate science deniers. There are very few normal people who comment there these days. And if the comments are any indication, Judith's blog is not taken seriously by anyone who matters.

Addendum - Judith Curry's conspiracy ideation

I just checked Twitter and see that this article generated quite a bit of chat. (I had 99+ notifications - I guess that's as high as Twitter can count. I don't recall any HW article generating that much noise on Twitter before.)

I'm guessing it was Judith who probably started the ball rolling. She got all twitterish and decided to defend her denier fans, tweeting that many of them have higher degrees. Well, we know that already (see the list above - mostly engineers). Bob Carter has a degree and he rejects science. Ian Plimer has a degree and he rejects science. Judith Curry has a degree, too. 'Nuff said!. Cognitive defects relating to world view are not restricted to people who haven't been to university. (Dan Kahan did some work suggesting that the more highly educated are more, not less, likely to be polarised based on their ideology. He wrote of "conflict between two levels of rationality". Nothing to do with science or facts. It may come down to the brain's ability to distinguish reason from emotion, and the heightened sensitivity to fear of the right wing brain.)

What will tickle you more was Judith going all conspiratorial and paranoid, and claiming that she knows a lot of people who won't "come out" as science deniers because they are too scared of the big bad wolf (guvmint).

That supports "fear" as a driver with the right wing ideologues. (I don't see Michael Mann or Stephan Lewandowsky or Ben Santer or James Hansen or a myriad others "quitting" or being afraid to speak out, despite all the flak they get.)

Judith doesn't refer to any scientific findings that disprove science. She doesn't talk about people finding evidence that they'd like to publish but are too scared to do so. I'm guessing that's because it's got nothing to do with science and all to do with world view and ideology. In fact, Victor Venema said he knows people who would like to reject science. But it's got nought to do with science:

If Judith's ideological mates, who happen to also be scientists, have a tendency to science denial then it makes sense for them to stick to facts and not broadcast the fact that they find it hard to "believe" what they observe. Judith has tried that on her blog. She doesn't publish denier papers though she skirts around it adding her name to borderline papers by others (Nic Lewis and Marcia Wyatt). She mostly saves her denial for her blog and the US government committees.
There's one more thing. I only write about it because deniers are so impressed and tweeted it to and fro. It feeds all their tendencies for conspiracy ideation. I almost, but didn't include the reply by Judith Curry to a comment by one David Small, who said he couldn't hack it when his work was questioned by others, and ended up leaving science altogether in a fit of pique. He's okay. The financial sector would provide him with much better remuneration than a life in academia. His 'sour grapes' comment got this response from Judith:

curryja | February 15, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Reply
David, thanks for posting, that is a stunning story

She is easily impressed.

Added by Sou 7:00 pm AEDT 17 February 2015


  1. And I am willing to bet that most (if not all) from the US are on the right side of the political spectrum. It's pretty common to see opposition to most government actions and many are also deeply suspicious of the UN or any type of global treaties. So it's natural for them to deny AGW is happening because it's incompatible with their deological policy preferences. And I think there may also be a psychological component for some that leads them to buy into these somewhat crazy conspiracies.

  2. Considering the situation in the US and possibly Canada, I'd estimate the breakdown of deniers as follows, from most to least abundant (there's overlap between subtypes):

    1. Ideologues, mostly right-wing or libertarian (in the US)
    2. Cranks and contrarians
    3. Engineers who think their areas of expertise extend more broadly than they do
    4. Engineers and geologists working in the fossil fuel production chain
    5. Paid disseminators of misinformation
    6. Those attempting to argue in good faith or on technical grounds for a low climate sensitivity (these should not be lumped in with 1 through 5)

    I don't know what the makeup in the UK or Australia would be. Possibly more cranks and contrarians in the former and more engineers and fossil fuel employees in the latter?

    1. I think the political component is the most important component and is the only reliable predictor for the population as a whole and this population of posters (although not as reliable in this case). You do make an interesting point that bias related to one's job can lead to "skepticism," I thought the same thing. But when I looked through the last Denizens list and through keywords it was difficult to find many instances where that was true (although I did find some).

    2. Your #1 was my first choice. I think if you asked each one of those people where they fell on a scale related to free market ideology nearly all of them would fall in that camp. Probably Curry as well.

    3. Judith has made a number of statements that profess distrust of government and libertarian positions

  3. David Brin wrote a very good analysis relevant to this discussion.

    After a couple of years debating on sceptics sites I have encountered a number of engineers.

    They tend to have worked in technologies based on mature sciences. Their equations and physical constants are set in stone. Their instruments measure to the limits of precision they require. By training and experience they have little experience with the uncertainties of observational science.

    This makes them suckers for the uncertainty meme pushed by propagandists such as Judith Curry.

    1. Ah yes, the old Salem Hypothesis, which is close to becoming a Theory...

  4. Creationism and fundamentalist christianity runs deep in denial in Australia, they just cover it up,

  5. This is very odd conduct for a scientist.

    1. And perfectly normal for Judith Curry.

    2. I can't work her out. Scientists and academics (and Judith is both) always seek to cement their legacy when they near retirement.

      Curry is desperately cementing her legacy by standing in a bucket of wet cement.

  6. Jeez, don't tell Lewandowsky or he'll be writing papers about this forever ....

  7. The latest on this thread

    Hours of amusement can be found in the perusal of climate ball

    In my experience most vocal climate change contrarians came be placed into the category Wingnut
    Being a wingnut requires a particularly paranoid worldview, teetering on the edge of or falling wholesale into tinfoil hat territory, as wingnuttery causes the victim to refuse to accept any source of information that doesn't back up their prejudices (essentially, wingnuts are almost always authoritarian as well as being politically right-wing). Constant gibbering about the "liberal media" as well as a slavish devotion to cognitive dissonance, conspiracy theories, global warming denialism, psychological projection, and crackpot theories of economics (i.e. Austrian school) are also, if not required, at the very least nearly universal symptoms.

    1. I run into left wing wingnuts periodically. I have had a few arguments about the pacific dean being poisoned by Fukushima, so all the seafood is radioactive, and some climate change alarmists who are convinced the earth will be uninhabitable in 30 years. A few other issues as well. but, as I point out none of these people have an impact on policy, not even on local levels

    2. And here's some other urban slang that falls directly into climate science lap http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=arse+licker

  8. So Judy comes out as an Ice Age Cometh type in this Tweet: "nope gearing up for big freeze when AMO flips cold :)"

    BTW, this came out after a whiny series of tweets where she basically claimed to be one of the few among many willing to voice their opposition to the IPCC. The "silent anti-IPCC concensus." Must be a small echo chamber. Anyway, she claimed that the "anti" people were leaving the field because of the abuse...really...this coming from the one who joins in to disparage Michael Mann every chance she gets. So, in her mind, Judy is the victim. Can't make this shit up.

    1. Curry is wrong; the silent majority is on my side. Well, they haven't said they're not, and that's good enough for me.

    2. Well, if that Twitter exchange is anything to go by, she doesn't know the difference between data and anecdote...even her anecdotes barely work. In short, of course she's wrong. She hasn't been right for years :)

    3. The Rabett highlights another great twitter exchange. Apparently it is *our* fault that we cannot convince these science deniers on her blog, and it is *our* fault that she cannot convince us...

      My 5-year old nephew argues better than that.

    4. The lady has talent, it's hard to dumb twitter down. She does it without even trying

    5. There does seem likely to be cooler NH temps emerging.



      It may be related to a solar downturn - http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001

      If it safer to assume that Judy knows what she is talking about here - and that you don't have a freakin' clue.

    6. From the abstract at the iopscience link:

      "We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect."

    7. I have read it. These are NH effects driven by top down solar UV modulation of the Northern Annular Mode on decadal to centennial scales. This is what Judy was referring to and not some nebulous new global glacial.

      But you'd get more respect from me if you read past the abstract and thought about the content in context instead of grabbing a phase you imagine has some relevance.

    8. Sorry, but the boiler-plate Joe Bastard (sic) schtick speaks for itself.

    9. Less flippant response:


      "Some researchers have in the past attributed a portion of Northern Hemispheric warming to a warm phase of the AMO," said Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology. "The true AMO signal, instead, appears likely to have been in a cooling phase in recent decades, offsetting some of the anthropogenic warming temporarily."

    10. 'The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) has been observed continuously at 26◦ N since April 2004. The AMOC and its component parts are monitored by combining a transatlantic array of moored instruments with submarine-cable-based measurements of the Gulf Stream and satellite derived Ekman transport. The time series has recently been extended to October 2012 and the results show a downward trend since 2004. From April 2008 to March 2012, the AMOC was an average of 2.7 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3/s) weaker than in the first four years of observation (95 % confidence that the reduction is 0.3 Sv or more). Ekman transport reduced by about 0.2 Sv and the Gulf Stream by 0.5 Sv but most of the change (2.0 Sv) is due to the mid-ocean geostrophic flow. The change of the mid-ocean geostrophic flow represents a strengthening of the southward flow above the thermocline. The increased southward flow of warm waters is balanced by a decrease in the southward flow of lower North Atlantic deep water below 3000 m. The transport of lower North Atlantic deep water slowed by 7 % per year (95 % confidence that the rate of slowing is greater than 2.5 % per year).' http://www.ocean-sci.net/10/29/2014/os-10-29-2014.pdf

      So we have a turn down in AMOC - in a short but data rich series - that is related to AMO and AO variability. And more frequent southern excursions of storm tracks in northern climes that has been associated with top down solar UV modulation of the NAM. .

      In contrast - we have a paper from Mann et al that uses little known sulphate dynamics to modify the AMO index to suggest it had turned cold earlier? In general - little weight should be given to a single paper that depends on inadequate data and a novel statistical approach.

      You're point is?

    11. " And more frequent southern excursions of storm tracks in northern climes that has been associated with top down solar UV modulation of the NAM."

      "We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters..."

    12. The Arctic Oscillation also has big impacts on weather in the Arctic and beyond. Serreze said, “When the Arctic Oscillation is in its positive phase, the jet stream, which brings us much of our weather in middle latitudes, tends to shift to the north.” That means that in the positive phase of the AO, winter storms also shift north, leaving most of the U.S. warmer and drier than average. The positive AO helps explain why there were fewer snowstorms than usual in the first part of this winter. Serreze said, “The weather that we’ve had this winter, at least out here in Colorado, has been very consistent with a positive Arctic Oscillation.”

      When the AO is negative, the jet stream moves south, bringing winter weather with it. Last winter, for example, the strong winter storms that hit the Eastern United States and Europe were influenced in part by a strongly negative phase of the AO. NSIDC scientist Walt Meier noted that the AO is not a sole actor—it works in concert with other large-scale patterns to influence the weather. He said, “The heavy snows the last couple years were related to the AO as well as La Niña.”


      It is a NH phenomenon as I said.

    13. Rob, you're digging yourself further, but first let's go back to this - "If it safer to assume that Judy knows what she is talking about here"...So you can read Judy's mind and know she's talking about Europe?

      OK now, even if you could read her mind in order to get her off the hook of another stupid statement (remember she thinks Salby has a point), looking at this http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/HadCRUT4.png
      and this data:

      I'm just not seeing that ice age coming. Can you give me a prediction as to when temps will be going down? and by how much?

    14. You think I should repeat myself?

      I have read it. These are NH effects driven by top down solar UV modulation of the Northern Annular Mode on decadal to centennial scales. This is what Judy was referring to and not some nebulous new global glacial.

      So the NH has more ultra cool episodes over decades and no - I don't need to read mind minds - just the written word including some of Judy's articles.

      I had an idea that Salby's point was that natural carbon flux increased in warmer temps? It certainly does. There are several references here
      - http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/07/soil-carbon-permanent-pasture-as-an-approach-to-co2-sequestration/ - and here - http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Tropical-ecosystems-regulate-variations-in-Earths-carbon-dioxide-levels.aspx

      The question is how much of 20th warming was quite natural, how long temperature will continue to fail to increase - or even decrease - and where to after the next climate shift in a decade or two? There are many references here.


      Now I have been quite clearly saying that the best responses involve building societal resilience to climate impacts - regardless of the cause - in ways that are not merely compatible with emissions mitigation – but absolutely essential in a broad strategy involving multiple gases, aerosols, population and conservation.

      But I am a hydrologist and environmental scientist - and I may be wrong on 'the science' although the odds of that are vanishingly small. Brace for climate surprises.

    15. Rob, I appreciate that you think you can interpret the humourous tweet from Judith. However, since she specified the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) it does not appear likely that she was referring to the Northern Annular Mode (NAM) (or the AO (Arctic Oscillation)).

      And Rob, this is the last warning about linking to disinformation sites directly, by the way. As I requested earlier, please comply with the comment policy.


    16. It is all quite directly linked. As you might understand if you had an inkling of what the 'stadium wave' was about and did not simply indulge in tweet interpretation.

      e.g. https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/smeed-fig-71.png

      I linked to a post of mine on CE - Soil carbon: permanent pasture as an approach to CO2 sequestration. Insane denier territory naturally. The other was to a review article -- with 40 odd references - on my MDG post 2015 blog. The site contains other such insane denier scribbles as - Reinvent the Toilet - and - Food for People: Conserving and Restoring Soils.

    17. Lots of things happening in one part of the world can affect what is happening elsewhere. I guessed you were probably stadium waving.

      However the NAM is *not* the AMO. It was the AMO that Judith referred to specifically in regard to her "gearing up" for the cold.



    18. Just another climate revisionist. This one is on the Henk Tennekes wagon.

    19. Rob believes in Salby, why am I not surprised. Rob, take a class on conservation of mass. When you're done with that, take a class to understand the difference in the different cycles, or at least understand the difference in the acronyms. When you're done with that...oh forget it, you're hopeless, lol.

  9. > "I am unable to understand how replacing one out of 10000 molecules in the atmosphere with another one of a meager “greenhouse gas” could possibly disrupt the planet’s entire climatic system to such an extent"

    I love this. Usually deniers invoke some handwavy equivocation. Not here though. This is pure unreconstructed 1+1 = 437. ("Spectroscopy? Nope. Never heard of it.")

    1. "I have been fascinated by weather as long as I can remember. as a dentist, I understand the scientific method, and recognize that most of these studies which support AGW would not fly in the medical community as proof of anything. I am amazed someone is actually providing the funds for these studies.
      While not at all objective, I am unable to understand how replacing one out of 10000 molecules in the atmosphere with another one of a meager “greenhouse gas” could possibly disrupt the planet’s entire climatic system to such an extent. Nothing I have seen has changed that perception."

      Yes, these type of admissions are hilarious aren't they. The full comment is even more mirthful. I wonder if they have any awareness when they type this self-centred rubbish that all it shows is that they are not very bright, aware or informed. The person admits to not being objective. Tries to claim he understands the scientific method. Implies medical research is at higher pinnacle of expertise. And apparently is incapable of further investigation.

      It always seems like a case of arrested development - I cannot understand it so it does not exist and no-one else could possibly understand it if I can't.

      Sou has missed dentist off her list of professions.

    2. I wonder what that dentist thinks of fluoridation conspiracists?

      "Since 1962, the U.S. had specified the optimal level of fluoride to range from 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L (milligrams per liter, equivalent to parts per million)"

      Hard to see how that could make a difference to anything ...

    3. One wonders how Curry's deniers might respond to the following challenges:

      "Explain how you can possibly cure diseases by eating little capsules filled with mold. If this were the case, couldn't we all be perfectly healthy just by letting our fruit sit in a closet for a week before we eat it?"

      "Explain how you can possibly float just by heating up the air in a balloon. If this were the case, couldn't our tea kettles levitate?"

      "Explain how you can possibly stay healthy by washing your hands with water. If this were the case, wouldn't people who drank out of rivers never get sick?"

      (Source = http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-win-arguments-by-pretending-to.html )

      PS +1 to Cugel for the fluoride observation.

    4. Those folk who struggle with "small" quantities and significant effects might like to consider the numbers in this post and the several that follow.

      Or consider popping 1/10,000 their weight in cyanide...

    5. One out of ten thousand would mean 100 ppm of the gas. Oddly enough if you breath air containing 100ppm of Chlorine gas, in a few minutes you'll need hospital treatment, a few minutes longer and you'll die horribly.

    6. Here in Britain dentists aren't allowed to administer general anesthesia without the presence of an anesthestist, because small changes in quantity can result in large changes in effect. Consequently, when someone claiming to be a dentist says they can't understand how small changes in quantity can result in a large change in effect I question if that person really is a dentist.

      Over the years I have encountered a large number of "Sketpics" claiming expertise in fields - usually engineering and physics - despite the fact their knowledge of it is even poorer than mine, a layman and secondary school drop out. I don't think all, or even most of these claims are false, but always exercise extreme circumspection when someone is relying on an appeal to personal authority.

    7. I read Climate Etc. all the time and the dentist is the most interesting skeptic there. He is very intelligent. I tease him about the AMO being light in the loafers, and he reminds me it is about to go negative. Then I come back with he would be an idiot to believe in Michael E. Mann, the "discoverer" of the AMO. His knowledge on OHT and albedo is pretty good. I think he's tricked himself, but that is hardly a crime.

  10. From an interview with the Australian right wing Quadrant Magazine (How right wing is it? Well in the 60' and 70's it was funded by the CIA ).

    TONY THOMAS: If the skeptic/orthodox spectrum is a range from 1 (intense skeptic) to 10 (intensely IPCC orthodox), where on the scale would you put yourself

    (a) as at 2009

    (b) as at 2014,

    and why has there been a shift (if any)?

    JUDITH CURRY: In early 2009, I would have rated myself as 7; at this point I would rate myself as a 3. Climategate and the weak response of the IPCC and other scientists triggered a massive re-examination of my support of the IPCC, and made me look at the science much more skeptically

    OK so the CRU hack - which achieved nothing to fault the quality of the science - was responsible for changing a scientist’s view about the quality of science because you know….it was about climate . and somebody hung a gate on it, I 'spose.

    1. I'm adopting this:

    2. Curry probably thinks claims that CRU was hacked are overblown - lots of people believe it was a leak, so all is uncertainty and doubt.

    3. That and her own super-secret GCM says everything will turn out fine.

      Oh, I should be so cynical. She must be looking at some of the other GCMs which accurately account for observations over the past 100+ years and predict that everything will be fine. Lindzen's Adaptive Iris will save us, no?

    4. Lindzen has his fans at the Curry's place I see with Mark Silbert coming near the top in DenizensII - warning takes you to the Curry house.

      "I have been mightily impressed by the highly technical work and persistence of the likes of Steve McIntyre, Ross M, Nic Lewis and others. I also admire the work and perspective of Nigel Lawson, Rupert Darwall, Matt Ridley and Benny Peiser.

      I continue to follow and admire the work and musings of Richard Lindzen, who is IMHO the clearest thinker and best communicator on this subject.

      I want to thank Judith Curry for her efforts and for speaking out with courage when necessary. She has introduced me to aspects of this subject that I never would have fund [sic] on my own."

      I see from that Mark does not pay for his own statements.

      I wonder if Mark realises that he is putting a target over some heads for when litigation rolls in earnest.

      BTW Left click in the blank space at right of comments and see what pops up. Why do they always invoke this one, one of the brightest stars of science?

      Whenever I think Curry has hit bottom she swings that spade again.

  11. The people who flock to Judith's place would, remarkably, probably regard themselves and each other as sane and rational.

    Anyone normal would wonder at their ability to latch onto a tidbit of silly pseudo-science they read on a denier blog and grasp it tightly as if it was the answer to life, the universe and everything. Or unquestioningly regard as gospel a single paper by a disinformer, which they probably haven't even read (much less understood) but only read about, and take it as "proof" that all the tens of thousands of climate and earth system scientists in the world for the past several decades are wrong.

    The comments show that deniers will pick out one bit of rubbish and treat it like gold, while ignoring or dismissing outright the hundreds of thousands of scientific studies available to them.

    If that's not being irrational, what is rational?

    1. As someone once said, we are not rational beings we are rationalising beings. The process works backwards from a non-rational response to provide a "justification", however specious, for that response. Unless, of course, we're alert to the possibility and realise we're all vulnerable to some extent and must take care if we're not to fall victim. Well, not too often, anyway; nobody's perfect, but we can all aspire :)

    2. Cugel, your comment is worthy of being quoted at the beginning of a chapter in a book discussing denialism.



    3. "The people who flock to Judith's place would, remarkably, probably regard themselves and each other as sane and rational."

      Welcome to the monkey house.

  12. The human nature of Curry, Watts and others is as old as the hill. I see a military analogy with Robert E. Lee and the US Civil War. Lee fought in the Mexican War as a young man and was fully vested into the Union existence when his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union after the war had already started. The US was not just the North and South, but a third entity, Virginia. Most of the Founding Fathers were from Virginia, including Lee's wife's grandfather, George Washington. If all of the South except for Virginia had seceded from the Union, Lee would probably have fought for the Union instead of the South.
    Lee knew the odds of beating the North were long. He fought valiantly until the end. The fact of losing became apparent to Lee well before the end, but he stayed committed to the effort. Lee's reason for continuing the fight well after he knew the cause was lost was that his men wanted to keep fighting and Lee's first and foremost loyalty was to his men. Though Lee knew the cause was lost, his men desperately hung on to the prayer that a miracle would save the day for them. Hindsight makes it obvious they never had a chance. Most wars go on too long not because the glorious goal is still thought to be in sight, but because the warriors have so much invested in the fight and can't bear the thought that such investment was all for naught.

    1. You could be right but I think it's less complex than that.
      She was a small fish (limited by skill) in the big science pool, so she morphed into a big fish in the denier pond where were elevated scientific skills were not required.
      She has however left a route back to the big science pool by predicating her small pond shift not on science but on the shenanigans of Climategate and some sort of disapproval of the IPCC and Michael Mann because..you know.. Michael Mann and the IPCC..

      The second that climate sensitivity is shown to be solidly in the IPCC range she'll be back in the big pool pretending she'd never left it.

    2. I don't think she will ever be able to go back. From hero status in the deniosphere to a big zero even less than nothing in the science world? I don't think her ego could handle that. She'll just become another Pat Michaels.

  13. I missed all the fun on Twitter. No hope of catching up with it all now. This article generated more tweets than any other HW article in history :)

    Anyway, I've written an addendum, picking up on some of the choice tweets that I did happen to find.

    1. "... to a comment by one David Small, who said he couldn't hack it when his work was questioned by others ..."

      That post got my skeptical antennae quivering and I was surprised Curry accepted it so hook line and sinker.. I wondered why someone who was so passionate about their work and who loved it would leave because of a publication setback. That would surely be a spur to put more effort into proving your point. Most passionate scientists would redouble their efforts if they thought their thesis was correct and especially if it toppled some dogma. That is how it works in science.

      I suspect he was more passionate about taking a better paid job in the financial industry and was leaving a position that he was struggling in.

    2. There can be many reasons for leaving a field mid-career, and for justifying to oneself and others why one is doing that. Dr. Small's career path was not optimal for obtaining a tenured position in academia (assuming that was his objective).

    3. Magma

      I do not know what an optimal path for tenure is. Can you elaborate why you think this career trajectory is not so good?

    4. I predict

      1) Anthony Watts will 'elevate' Small's comment to a head post at WUWT as an example of victimisation of a highly-qualified climate matyr, bullying and hounding by the climate orthodoxy, etc etc... It will attract much sympathy and backslapping from the Wattbots. Shades of Salby.

      2) Small's colleagues, faculty and reviewers will emerge and give their side of the story.

      3) Small's thesis, and Small himself will sink without trace from the scientific arena. Maybe he will make a fortune as a hedge fund manager, who knows?

      4) Curry, Watts & will look incrementally more foolish.

      To be clear, I'm not qualified to assess Small's work; this is just a gut feel fun prediction of how it will play out, based on previous episodes and the balance of probabilities. I've a suspicion Small may come to regret his choice of bedfellows....

    5. You're welcome. It was my response to Judy's whinge at your tweet that set the ball rolling. A couple more nudges recorded at the Rabett's and it was off to the races.

    6. @Anonymous - a B.Sc. degree, a gap, seven years for a Ph.D., an M.Sc. degree, and another five years for a second Ph.D. with a half-dozen coauthored papers over a decade on two narrow topics are unlikely to impress a hiring committee in the hypercompetitive North American academic market. Not that any of that necessarily casts aspersions on Small's abilities, it just reflects the reality of that particular job market.

    7. I'd say that there must be more to David Small's story than his post. Gaining a PhD, then an MSc and then another PhD - he sounds like a perennial student who's been told its time to get a job. Having a manuscript rejected by an editor without review is par for the course with high impact journals, the simple solution is to send it off to another journal.

    8. Magma
      I see what you mean. Thanks.

    9. I've pushed her pretty hard on CE on this nonsense a couple of times. The other side of Small would be interesting.

    10. I agree with Magma and also with Mike based on my experience in academia - that is no star resume. We all could be wrong, though, so it'd be good to learn more.

    11. An editor at Sage recently told me that, these days, an academic can expect over a dozen rejections before they publish their first paper. She said a rejection letter with required changes is something to celebrate.

      Academia is a difficult domain in which to make progress, even if you don't think you're being persecuted for holding a view that makes you an instant hero to nearly everyone in one of the major political parties in your country, the owner of the largest media empire in the world, and the darling of opinion columnists...

  14. A couple of years ago Brian Angliss wrote a series entitled Libertarians, engineers, and climate disruption denial. It's worth reading. Angliss, who is an engineer himself, notes that many engineers are libertarians and climate septics.

    http://scholarsandrogues.com/2012/12/13/libertarians-engineers-and-climate- disruption-denial-part-1-libertarians/

    His analysis of libertarians is largely based on Iyer et al: Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians.

    As was mentioned by others, denialism has nothing to do with facts, and the rationality can remind one of the sometimes elaborate alternative worlds of schizophrenics. It's a strange mixture of Don't Tread on Me individualism combined with opposition to threats against established (preferably hazardous – tobacco, chemical, fossil fuel) corporate interests. In accord with an ideology that focuses on individual rights and largely belittles community welfare, they don't see science as a collective enterprise, but as the work of a few dedicated loners who break with tradition. It's no coincidence that the ranks of the septics are speckled with groundbreaking wannabes.

    1. That's an interesting series by Angliss (http://scholarsandrogues.com/tag/libertarian-engineer-denier/) and an interesting paper by Iyer et al. as well. I wasn't aware of either, thanks.

    2. You're welcome.

    3. I wonder how much of that line of thinking was prompted by his Open Letter to Burt Rutan, Angliss' interaction with Burt Rutan at the start of that year. Rutan had a fairly poor climate science powerpoint deck and signed on to some denialist nonsense in the WSJ and Angliss wrote an open letter which led to some interaction in comments (extracted out here).

      I (and others) had some interaction with Rutan on that thread which started out unconvincing and didn't get any better. At one point he was taken to task for not acknowledging errors and he said he was noting them and updating his slide deck because accuracy was important to him. At that point I started systematically taking apart the deck (and found some embarrassingly basic errors amongst the usual denialist sleight of hand and outright misrepresentation). I seem to recall I got about an eighth of the way through - it was quite long and packed absolutely full of dodginess, and as an example I only got through two whole slides the first evening - before I was informed that Angliss was working on a post doing much the same. Don't recall seeing one though.

      One of his big claims justifying his position was climate scientists engage in "data presentation fraud". Ironically, it was easy to find many (and quite obvious) instances of just that in his slide deck.

      Rutan at one point wheeled out an anonymous "brilliant observer" to pat him on the back for defending the scientific method(!), then assert confusingly that it could not be applied "in this case", and to allege that most of the pushback was ad hominem attacks. (I later pointed out that observer's logic undermined several of Burt's own slides.)

      When that failed to convince his co-denialist (with the benefit of an actual Ph.D. in Physics) turned up to try his hand at defence. He alleged that climate models were dodgy because too many arbitrary parameters meant they could be used to fit past climate without producing any predictive power. I challenged him to do just that with a model that implies that anthropogenic influences are responsible for only a distinct minority of observed warming.


      And after many many errors were pointed out to him, Rutan signed on to an attempted rebuttal to the critics of the original WSJ op-ed that repeated some of those errors.

      It really is a quite astonishing and fascinating case study, if you have time to read it.

    4. No, I never got out of the research phase. It was pretty clear just from my research that it was probably going to take either 20-30 blog posts or a solid hour-long videoed presentation to take it down, and I got overwhelmed by the prospect.

    5. Hi Brian! Thanks for the update. Wondered what happened.

      Yes, when I reviewed that thread today I was struck by just how much writing it took me (admittedly not the most concise commenter) to cover all the issues in the first 12 (of 98) slides. 20-30 blog posts sounds about right, although an hour long video sounds a bit tight to me.

      Just reading some of the libertarian/engineer series now. A lot of it seems to gel with my engineering experience, although in my case I don't fit the libertarian profile.

    6. BTW, I never got around to seeing whether Rutan published a much corrected powerpoint deck, and I never heard any news of him (or the WSJ) issuing corrections to the Op Eds in question.

    7. Burt Rutan's reply to Brian Angliss and his PowerPoint presentation on climate was so awesome it inspired me to build my own manned spacecraft. (It was pretty simple, really, just fuel, an oxidizer, a tank with a nozzle and some seats bolted on. I don't see why engineers make such a big fuss over building them.)

    8. I poked around a bit a few months ago and couldn't find a corrected slide deck.

      The engineer/libertarian series was something I'd been thinking about even before I wrote my open letter to Rutan, but my interactions with him and other engineers certainly helped focus me on the topic.

  15. Sou,

    The reason so many Engineers run counter to the academic view goes right back to their training and practice. I go into the subject at my blog. Essentially it comes down to an understanding of the difference between Type I and Type II error avoidance and the resultant costs associated with making such errors.



  16. What I find amusing is that Judith doesn't get that the whole "But some "skeptics" have advanced degrees" argument is basically the "appeal to authority" argument that she and other "skeptics" so often claim they find offensive.

    It reminds me of her adoption of the "consensus" argument when she say that people who don't accept the GHE should be dismissed because they are outliers - even as she argues that an appeal to consensus is antithetical to the scientific method.

    Logical consistency - at least when engaged in non-technical discussions - does not seem to be one of Judith's strong points.

  17. I spend little time on blogs other than Judy's. Judy is the most interesting of science bloggers and takes a broad perspective. Generally I thought that the comments in the Denizens post veered heavily towards post hoc justifications - simplistic narratives - about a system that can't possibly be understood in such simple terms. This approach is hardly constrained to the other however. There is little science and much pseudo physical narrative everywhere. From the same small group of activists usually.

    Here's my contribution - http://judithcurry.com/2015/02/15/denizens-ii/#comment-674978

    There is little that is known reliably - except that we are changing the climate system with little understanding of consequences. The best response involves building societal resilience in ways that are not merely compatible with emissions mitigation – but absolutely essential in a broad strategy involving multiple gases, aerosols, population and conservation. The oddness of the climate war is that there is a pervasive progressive politics that is horrendously misguided on both science and policy – but are utterly convinced of their righteousness and perspicacity. This seems the main barrier to development of rational policy.

    1. Pardon? You think the obstacle to a rational policy is 'progressives'? Yet it's right wingers that shout and lie about climate change and have in the USA been passing all sorts of laws to try to ignore it, and moaning whenever anyone attempts to suggest that maybe we should do something along the line of the successful CFC phase out, or maybe a market based solution or something.

    2. @Rob Ellison
      You are obviously led by the rationality of science and sensible policy. You do not let politics intrude on your thinking. Oh, let me read that again ...

    3. The contribution of electricity generation to greenhouse gas emissions are some 26%. Transport adds another 13%.


      To this we can add the important issues of black carbon and of population and development.

      The energy issues are well on the way to be solved by human creativity - and will be implemented rapidly in the creative destruction of capitalism.

      The other issues are far less less tractable. The best response involves building societal resilience in ways that are not merely compatible with emissions mitigation – but absolutely essential in a broad strategy involving multiple gases, aerosols, population and conservation. It needs a much broader, practical and pragmatic development and environmental policy framework.

      And yes - I find self confessed progressives intolerably stupid. My bad.

    4. Rob Ellison.

      "Societal resilience" is just pissing in the wind if we don't also stop warming at less than 2 C. Especially over the span of more than a century - that is, of course, if you think that future generations have a right to a tolerably functional biosphere...

      Keeping this in mind the "best response"is to stop net carbon emissions as quickly as possible. Oh, one can wail and gnash one's teeth and howl "who'll think of the poor Westerners and their standard of living?", but unless carbon is controlled in the atmosphere no amount of "human creativity", "pragamatic development", or any other magic juice is going to stop the implacable behemoth of ecosystem destruction that will inevitably accompany warming at even the lowest rate that is acheivable with current human response to our pollution of the planet.

      Just saying.

    5. Oh, and Rob Ellison, knowing a few of the AR5 lead authors I can tell you that many are in fact very conservative and not at all "progressive" in their politics. And yet they're greatly concerned about the lack of rational response to the global warming problem - a lack of response that is firmly the domain of the conservative side of politics and business.

    6. There are several errors here - but the first is the contribution to forcing from fossil fuels. Go back to the EPA pie chart - factor in black carbon - and we might have a rational starting point for a discussion about effective responses and social resilience.

      The solutions for fossil fuels are technological - and to a large part involve nuclear technology. But it is still a minor part of the forcing.

      e.g. http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2014/backtothefuture

      These decades old technologies solve all of the problems of conventional nuclear - including the waste. This and many other are being commercialized - and approval fast tracked - as we speak.

      Liquid fuel from high temp electrolysis - supplying bot carbon dioxide and hydrogen - is not a technical problem. But is probably best used in conjunction with hybrid EV's - just for the efficiency and cost reduction. Not to mention torque gains.

      e.g http://driftelectric.com/

      Technology is not the difficult bit and silly rants are pointless.

    7. Oh - and Bernard J - this is where I started.

      I am a climate catastrophist – in the sense of René Thom. Seriously folks. Climate shifts in more or less extreme ways every few decades. The societal imperative is to find ways to cope with these utterly unpredictable – not just uncertain – shifts. The best coping mechanisms involve building societal resilience in ways that are not merely compatible with emissions mitigation – but absolutely essential in a broad strategy involving multiple gases, aerosols, population and conservation. The oddness of the climate war is that there is a pervasive progressive politics that is horrendously misguided on both science and policy – but are utterly convinced of their righteousness and perspicacity. This seems the main barrier to development of rational policy.


      The responses thus far have been a hopeless and complete failure. Yet you compelled to repeat the same actions in the hope of a different outcome?

      I could be wrong on 'the science' of course - but frankly the chance of that seems vanishingly remote.


    8. Your last paragraph is just a pointless rehash of that species of lofty hand-waving but impenetrable bafflegab that anyone who has the misfortune to work in any large organization is routinely exposed to, and is, sadly, expected to subscribe to. Bah.

      Don't like the fact that doing something about the problem threatens your cherished institutions and privileges? Well, tough. Reality's well-known liberal bias bites you again.

      The response to the climate crisis, and, indeed, to the whole issue of managing to live on a finite planet, is the most blatantly obvious failure of reactionary politics. Projecting the blame across the aisle, as it were, is both absurd, and not-a-little distasteful...

    9. That reads like the sort of unsubstantiated fudge and gobbledegook one comes across every day at places like Curry's and WUWT. Starting with:

      Seriously folks. Climate shifts in more or less extreme ways every few decades

      Well there will quite probably be extreme shifts *every few decades* from here on in, but it wasn't that way for most of time since human civilisation. Not at the global level at any rate.

      Also Rob, you're new here so you've been given a bit of leeway in derailing, gish galloping etc. with your AMO, AMOC, AO, NAO, solar whatever in defence of Judith's 'AMO will cool me in Georgia' tweet (which she intended as a joke, going by her smilie).

      Please read the comment policy. Direct links to denier/disinformer websites are not permitted.


    10. @Rob Ellison

      " I find self confessed progressives intolerably stupid."

      "Seriously folks. Climate shifts in more or less extreme ways every few decades. "


      You want seriously? Your friends are probably reluctant to say this to you Rob but unfortunately it appears that you are a bit of a wanker. You are not related to Brad Keyes by any chance?

      bill's description "bafflegab" pretty much covers it.

    11. The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth's climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change... Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation. Wally Broecker

      The researchers used a climate model, a so-called coupled ocean-atmosphere model, which they forced with the observed wind data of the last decades. For the abrupt changes during the 1970s and 1990s they calculated predictions which began a few months prior to the beginning of the observed climate shifts. The average of all predictions for both abrupt changes shows good agreement with the observed climate development in the Pacific. "The winds change the ocean currents which in turn affect the climate. In our study, we were able to identify and realistically reproduce the key processes for the two abrupt climate shifts," says Prof. Latif. "We have taken a major step forward in terms of short-term climate forecasting, especially with regard to the development of global warming. However, we are still miles away from any reliable answers to the question whether the coming winter in Germany will be rather warm or cold”. Prof. Latif cautions against too much optimism regarding short-term regional climate predictions: “Since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin". http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

      This paper provides an update to an earlier work that showed specific changes in the aggregate time evolution of major Northern Hemispheric atmospheric and oceanic modes of variability serve as a harbinger of climate shifts. Specifically, when the major modes of Northern Hemisphere climate variability are synchronized, or resonate, and the coupling between those modes simultaneously increases, the climate system appears to be thrown into a new state, marked by a break in the global mean temperature trend and in the character of El Niño/Southern Oscillation variability. Here, a new and improved means to quantify the coupling between climate modes confirms that another synchronization of these modes, followed by an increase in coupling occurred in 2001/02. This suggests that a break in the global mean temperature trend from the consistent warming over the 1976/77–2001/02 period may have occurred. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/abstract

      Climate shifts at multi-decadal intervals and has over the Holocence.
      I don't quote bogs - apart from my own part of the subject of this post. I don'y read blogs all that much. I did quote several bits of peer reviewed science.

      I may be new but it is getting old very quick. Gratuitous insults and quite mistaken and dogmatic assertions don't really do it for me.

    12. More?

      ENSO causes climate extremes across and beyond the Pacific basin; however, evidence of ENSO at high southern latitudes is generally restricted to the South Pacific and West Antarctica. Here, the authors report a statistically significant link between ENSO and sea salt deposition during summer from the Law Dome (LD) ice core in East Antarctica. ENSO-related atmospheric anomalies from the central-western equatorial Pacific (CWEP) propagate to the South Pacific and the circumpolar high latitudes. These anomalies modulate high-latitude zonal winds, with El Niño (La Niña) conditions causing reduced (enhanced) zonal wind speeds and subsequent reduced (enhanced) summer sea salt deposition at LD. Over the last 1010 yr, the LD summer sea salt (LDSSS) record has exhibited two below-average (El Niño–like) epochs, 1000–1260 ad and 1920–2009 ad, and a longer above-average (La Niña–like) epoch from 1260 to 1860 ad. Spectral analysis shows the below-average epochs are associated with enhanced ENSO-like variability around 2–5 yr, while the above-average epoch is associated more with variability around 6–7 yr. The LDSSS record is also significantly correlated with annual rainfall in eastern mainland Australia. While the correlation displays decadal-scale variability similar to changes in the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), the LDSSS record suggests rainfall in the modern instrumental era (1910–2009 ad) is below the long-term average. In addition, recent rainfall declines in some regions of eastern and southeastern Australia appear to be mirrored by a downward trend in the LDSSS record, suggesting current rainfall regimes are unusual though not unknown over the last millennium.

      Researchers first became intrigued by abrupt climate change when they discovered striking evidence of large, abrupt, and widespread changes preserved in paleoclimatic archives. Interpretation of such proxy records of climate—for example, using tree rings to judge occurrence of droughts or gas bubbles in ice cores to study the atmosphere at the time the bubbles were trapped—is a well-established science that has grown much in recent years. This chapter summarizes techniques for studying paleoclimate and highlights research results. The chapter concludes with examples of modern climate change and techniques for observing it. Modern climate records include abrupt changes that are smaller and briefer than in paleoclimate records but show that abrupt climate change is not restricted to the distant past. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=19

    13. Bong! Tone trolling from the person that gave us 'and yes - I find self confessed progressives intolerably stupid. My bad'.

      You could hardly describe the 2 responses that had occurred at that point as anything other than mild, mister self-important provocateur.


    14. Quickly google tone troll.

      This is just some actual science quotes on abrupt climate change on decadal to longer scales. Very real and widely accepted climate science.

      And yes - I find progressives to be intolerably stupid. There is no possible rapprochment. In the culture war it is winner take all. We could have this argument - but I doubt it's worthwhile.

    15. @Rob Ellison

      If you are trying to confirm my initial impression, you are succeeding magnificently with your resort to comment bombing.

      The Wally Broeker quote does not support your claim that the "Climate shifts in more or less extreme ways **every few decades**." Nor does the quote from Mojib Latif. ENSO is not a "climate shift". And the fact that there has been abrupt climate change in the past is *not* evidence for abrupt climate change in the past "every few decades".

      Trying reading those articles instead of copying and pasting them.

    16. The subject of decadal to inter-decadal climate variability is of intrinsic importance not only scientifically but also for society as a whole. Interpreting past variability and making informed projections about potential future variability requires (i) identifying the dynamical processes internal to the climate system that underlie such variability [see, e.g., Mantua et al., 1997; Zhang et al., 1997, 2007; Knight et al., 2005; Dima and Lohmann, 2007], and (ii) recognizing the chain of events that mark the onset of large amplitude variability events, i.e., shifts in the climate state. Such shifts mark changes in the qualitative behavior of climate modes of variability, as well as breaks in trends of hemispheric and global mean temperature. The most celebrated of these shifts in the instrumental record occurred in 1976/77. That particular winter ushered in an extended period in which the tropical Pacific Ocean was warmer than normal, with strong El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events occurring after that time, contrasting with the weaker ENSO variability in the decades before [Hoerling et al., 2004; Huang et al., 2005]. Global mean surface temperature also experienced a trend break, transitioning from cooling in the decades prior to 1976/77 to the strong warming that characterized the remainder of the century. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

      The Broecker quote gives it some longer term context. The Latif quote refers to abrupt shits in the Pacific climate state. The 'Great Pacific Climate Shift' of 1976/1977 and the 1998/2002 shift. These are complexities that emerge form interactions of simple components in the the climate system.

      In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

      Specious quibbles about just two of the many sources I cite notwithstanding - the climate shifts every 2 to 3 decades.

    17. Kyle Swanson discussed the paper that Rob Ellison quotes from here.

      "What do our results have to do with Global Warming, i.e., the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions? VERY LITTLE, contrary to claims that others have made on our behalf. Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. "


    18. Predict: fails to acknowledge author doesn't support tribal selective interpretations, attempts to change topic.

      As with our other recent arrival, it ain't 2009 anymore, either.

    19. Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

      Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

    20. Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

      You might perhaps have a look at the graph from Kyle Swanson on the RC site. The whole paper is about climate shifts at multi-decadal intervals.

    21. 'This paper provides an update to an earlier work that showed a foreshadowing of such climate shifts in the time evolution of major Northern Hemispheric atmospheric and oceanic modes of variability [Tsonis et al., 2007]. In that paper, it was hypothesized that certain aspects of the climate system behave in a manner analogous to that of synchronized chaotic dynamical systems [Boccaletti et al., 2002]. Specifically, it was shown that when these modes of climate variability are synchronized, and the coupling between those modes simultaneously increases, the climate system becomes unstable and appears to be thrown into a new state. This chain of events is identical to that found in regime transitions in synchronized chaotic dynamical systems [Pecora et al., 1997]. This new state is marked by a break in the global mean temperature trend and in the character of ENSO variability. Synchronization followed by an increase in coupling coincided with all the major climate shifts of the 20th century, and was also shown to mark climate shifts in coupled ocean-atmosphere simulations. While in the observations such breaks in temperature trend are clearly superimposed upon a century time-scale warming presumably due to anthropogenic forcing, those breaks result in significant departures from that warming over time periods spanning multiple decades.

      [5] Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.' op. cit.

      Nor are we guaranteed that the next shift will not be to yet cooler conditions. Sorry - there are 20 to 30 year regimes - they add to and counter rises to global surface temperature - the size and timing of shifts are unpredictable.

      Prediction - there will be tedious dissimulation that fails to acknowledge the reality of regimes and their effect on surface temperature - the nature of abrupt shift - the significance for climate forecasting - based on claims that a blog says something different - I haven't read the papers and anyway at 2009 they are climate science pre-history. Some specious reason - at any rate - not to consider the obvious scientific facts in favour of what? Defending a meme? Very odd indeed.

      I repeat the papers (2007 and 2009) use a network model to show sychronised chaos in the climate system - dynamical complexity as an explanation of shifts apparent in the 20th century instrument record. It shows climate shifts every few decades.

      You really need more than a passing comment from a blog to understand what the papers are about.

      I ran into the 4096 character barrier.

    22. "I ran into the 4096 character barrier. "

      Well not surprising since you appear to be trying to copy and paste an entire article. Why not simply provide a link? And how about indicating when you copy and paste.

      What happened to "We could have this argument - but I doubt it's worthwhile."?

      I see that you have also dropped the "extreme" claim and are now talking about "climate shifts at multi-decadal intervals". No doubt appropriate given that Swanson & Tsonis claim the "pause" as one of their "climate shifts" or "episodes". Leaving aside terminology, that would be a quite reasonable subject for discussion if it was on topic.

      Here is a radical thought.

      Instead of insulting the other 99% of the population who do not share **your** political world view and instead of copying and pasting huge slabs of tl;dr text , try engaging with the other commenters. When you behave like a troll, it is hardly surprising when people assume you are one.

    23. fails to acknowledge author doesn't support tribal selective interpretations : QED to me.

      But I was wrong: restates the same refuted point rather than changes the subject. Should have anticipated this from the similar recycling of the bafflegab passage above.

      It's all tl;dr - can you do pithy rather than prolix? What's so hard about comprehending that whatever decadal cycles there are will continue from an elevated base state - just like the tides will continue to fluctuate about a rising sea-level - and/or be reshaped by CO2 forcing?

      Should we just cut to the chase and do the Slayer check; do you simply deny that increased CO2 must trap heat in the climate system, then?

    24. Rob Ellison, you claim errors in my comment of February 18, 2015 at 11:59 AM, but you do nothing substantive to explain what they are.

      Oh, you wave a hand at “contribution to forcing” using an unexplained Excel pie chart, but that is a complete red herring. What actually matters is the absolute amount of extra CO2 that humans are adding to the atmosphere – the uncaveated percentage breakdown into sectorial sources for an unspecified small part of the planet is completely irrelevant. The two salient facts are:

      1) that humans are increasing CO2 by about 2 parts per million per annum, such that we are currently at 400 ppm from a pre-Industrial baseline of ~280 ppm,


      2) that despite the bleatings of the denialist industry, the best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 is about 3° C.

      This is the anthropogenic forcing that matters. Oh, and the forcings from non-CO2 gases, and the negative forcings from particulate pollution which will disappear much more quickly from the atmosphere than CO2, and which are thus a forcing debt to be repaid…

      You Gish Gallop about natural climate shifts as if these are the reason for climate change, but no natural forcing has more than a small effect on the current global warming. Orbital forcings are largely inconsequential on any practical time scale. Further, it is another red herring to focus on past natural shifts: the fact is that we are responsible for the contemporary warming, and whether or not climate change has occurred in the past is irrelevant – if we want our grandchildren and their grandchildren to have the opportunity for the same benign climate and functioning global ecosystem that we have enjoyed, we have to address the thing that threatens it. And that thing is human-caused global warming.

      The solution to stopping the use of fossil carbon is partly technological, but not completely. There must also be a suite of cultural/social changes, without which there will never be the capacity to sustainably energise a future increasing world population to the level of comfort that Westerners currently demand. And this is completely ignoring the non-climatic environmental costs of perpetuated energy consumption… It’s a numbers thing: we can’t grow indefinitely, and eventually even thorium will run out, and all the while the limits of the ecosphere are being more closely approached. Still confused? Start here:


      Oh, and your technophilic fantasy ignores the fact that that unfettered progress is not limitless, and that the appearance of such a notion arises in large part from the fact that we are simply living in the linear part of a trajectory that commenced with access to extraordinary energy density. Cornucopians seem to ignore (or are ignorant of) the laws of thermodynamics, which won’t in fact ever accept being ignored…

      Apart from these observations all I will say is that your own efforts here involve a lot of pointing at squirrels, but nothing that is succinct, analytical, or that actually refutes anything that the scientific consensus has being telling us for over half a century. Dumping truckloads of your misinterpretations of other people’s work isn’t actually the way to make a case.

      And Judith Curry as a credible voice in the scientific discussion? Look up the words “derisive” and “snort”.

    25. "Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. "

      LOLWUT - surface temperatures declining since 1998? Really? I look forward to Rob Ellison backing that claim up with data. Statistical significance would be a bonus, but I'm not hopeful...

      I find people who base their opinions on non-existant facts to be intolerably stupid. My bad.

    26. "I ran into the 4096 character barrier." Don't know why, should've run into the zero character barrier.

    27. Good catch, Frank. Sorry about the wait. Google playing up again.

    28. Thanx to everyone!

    29. dhogaza,

      so you are in denial of the MSU data and the RadioSonde data?

      They look like this compared to the not spot:

    30. Lucifer.

      You do realise that your efforts to claim that there's no hotspot is an explicit denial of uncontroversial fundamental physics, and in particular of lapse rate physics?

      Do you also deny evolution, or the efficacy of vaccines?

  18. The problem with the denier reference is how many believe it applies to others and not themselves.

    Don't accept the failure of the modeled 'hot spot'?
    You may be a science denier.

    Don't speak of satellite era temperature trends being less than low end model projections ?
    You may be a science denier.

    Persist in claims of drought being somehow related to global warming?
    You may be a science denier.

    Don't know the temperature patterns of the Holocene Climatic Optimum?
    You may be a science denier.

    Don't wanna talk about enhanced photosynthesis?
    You may be a science denier.

    Don't know that annual growth rate of radiative forcing peaked some twenty years ago?
    You may be a science denier.

    Fret about global warming but like to wear short sleeves on fine February days?
    You may be a science denier.

    1. Deny that it's summer in February? You might be a global denier :(

    2. OK Lucifer, pick any one of your points and let's pull the wings off the fly. Go on - which do you think is the best defensible refutation of the seriousness of global warming?

    3. C'mon then, Oh Infernal One; you've given us your catechism, now what's your point?

    4. And I guess we owe Bob Grubmine a hat tip.

      He's right that he himself could be a science denier - it's based on emotion, not education.

      And of course we don't even need to bring up Mann and those in service to "the cause".

    5. Bernard "seriousness" doesn't sound like an objective falsifiable measure.

      Is there anything else your worried about besides being too serious?

    6. I gather, Oh Angel of Light, that 'Grubmine' is an attempt to be hilarious? You little Cicero, you!

      And gee, it's still 2009 in Hades? Climategate is over. You lost.

    7. Bill,

      the point, of course, is that those exaggerating climate change, are science deniers.

      It does happen all the time.

      It's worth reading about the lipid hypothesis promulgated by certainly well educated Ancel Keys who was none the less in complete denial about all the contradictory evidence. It became a crusade ( for him and the industry within heart associations, US agriculture, and 'common sense', and yes, even Congress who 'didn't have time to wait for all the science' ).

    8. There are many more people downplaying the impacts of global warming than exaggerating them, Lucifer.

      You may be thinking of Guy McPherson and his crowd who are as wacky as the mob at Curry's place and WUWT, but smaller in number as far as I can tell. They also have substantially less influence on policy compared to the Inhofe's and Abbott's and other denier politicians in the USA and elsewhere.

      The denial of climate science in evidence at Judith Curry's blog is the subject here. Her invitation provided an opportunity to view her audience for what it is.

      Is that what she hoped for when "building bridges"? Or is it an unintended consequence of her downplaying climate change and exaggerating uncertainty?

    9. @-Lucifer
      Don't accept the failure of the modeled 'hot spot'?
      You may be a science denier.
      Or aware that while some models have a strong hotspot, it is a variable feature in models depending on how ocean-air interactions are modeled. And that the hotspot has been detected under certain conditions, but present instrumental measurements are insufficiently accurate to measure the longterm change seen in some models.

      Don't speak of satellite era temperature trends being less than low end model projections ?
      You may be a science denier.
      Or know that model predictions are ensemble averages which remove shorterm variation like ENSO from surface temps, while statellite data is lower troposphere and is highly affected by such variations.

      Persist in claims of drought being somehow related to global warming?
      You may be a science denier.
      Or grasp that higher temperatures cause increased evaporation making droughts worse than the low rainfall alone.

      Don't know the temperature patterns of the Holocene Climatic Optimum?
      You may be a science denier.
      I think this is the first time since the Holocene optimum when even the warmest years of the first half of a century were colder every year than every year in the second half.
      For someone 64 years old there is no overlap between global mean temps in the first and second parts of their lifetime. Do you know of any other period since Holocene optimum when that might have been true?

      Don't wanna talk about enhanced photosynthesis?
      You may be a science denier.
      Or worry that enhanced photosynthesis will favor non-crop plants, especially if you are aware that most weeds that threaten agricultural production ar C4 types so will benefit more from a warmer CO2 rich atmosphere.

      Don't know that annual growth rate of radiative forcing peaked some twenty years ago?
      You may be a science denier.
      But probably know that the growth rate is close to constant, the small changes in the rate of growth of the growth -a second derivative- have very little impact on the rate of temperature rise.

      Fret about global warming but like to wear short sleeves on fine February days?
      You may be a science denier.
      Or a realist.


    10. What Izen said.

      Especially the part about second derivatives - even if the "annual growth rate of radiative forcing" goes back to zero, the rate itself of forcing has been raised over the pre-Industrial equilibrium, and that's the bastard that's biting the planet on its arse.

      It's telling when someone doesn't grok this.

    11. izen,

      You may be in denial regarding measurements:

      And here is what noted climate modeler Isaac Held says about the hot spot:
      "Models continue to approximately follow this profile as they warm., so they invariably produce larger warming in the upper troposphere than at the surface in the tropics — simply because the water vapor in the parcel increases with warming, ... All models do this, from global models to idealized “cloud resolving” models with much finer resolution"


    12. izen,

      You may be in denial that temperature trends are greater than zero but less than the low end projections:

      MODEL: IPCC5 (RCP8.5): 4.2C/century
      MODEL: IPCC4 Warming High: 3.2C/century
      MODEL: Hansen A: 3.2C/century ( since 1979 )
      MODEL: Hansen B: 2.8C/century ( since 1979 )
      MODEL: IPCC4 next few decades: 2.0C/century
      MODEL: Hansen C: 1.9C/century ( since 1979 )
      MODEL: IPCC4 Warming Low: 1.8C/century
      Observed: NASA GISS: ~1.6C/century ( since 1979 )
      Observed: NCDC: ~1.5C/century ( since 1979 )
      Observed: UAH MSU LT: ~1.4C/century (since 1979 )
      Observed: RSS MSU LT: ~1.3C/century (since 1979 )
      MODEL: IPCC5 (RCP2.6): 1.0C/century
      Observed: RSS MSU MT: ~0.8C/century (since 1979 )
      Observed: UAH MSU MT: ~0.5C/century (since 1979 )
      No Sale: 0.0C/century

    13. Hmm, seems my earlier reply got lost.
      Lucifer cropped up at ATTP earlier, demonstrating that their aim us to play calvinball of the "But you are all tribal too!" sort, and certainly not to pay any attention to the science.

    14. izen,

      regarding drought,
      you may be in denial of the research published in Nature recently which
      shows a slight decrease in global drought:

      You may also be in denial that the summer hemisphere experience more rain than the winter hemisphere and that the winter hemisphere experiences more evaporation than the summer hemisphere.

    15. guthrie,

      Are you in denial about your tribalism?

      I'm here to help, just as I'm sure you would do for me.

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

    17. In case there is anyone taking any notice of Lucifer (hopefully HW readers are more sensible), and wants to find out about near term projections, Chapter 11 of AR5 WG1 from the IPCC is a great resource:


    18. Lucifer's deleted comment has been reposted, by Sou, at the the HotWhoppery

    19. Sou,

      the chart above includes the GISS models than Hansen's testified to in 1988, the IPCC AR4 projections and the RCP scenarios.

      To be sure, the AR4 high and low, and the RCP scenarios are century trends to 2100.

      The IPCC AR5 did not include near term predictions because the AR4 claim of 2C/century rate for the next few decades failed.

      But given that observations are of trends less than the century scale projections, I'm asking why, and why one would believe an acceleration to the modeled rates, particularly when forcing rates have declined.

    20. Thanks Sou.

      The lipid hypothesis became dogma when it reached the American Heart Association, Congress, the USDA, and the masses.

      Ta-ta for now, or whatever it is one says down unda'

      I believe there are parallels.

    21. What parallels? That there are 'saturated fat can contribute to heart disease' deniers like there are climate science deniers? I guess so.

      In regard to saturated vs non-saturated fats:


    22. given that observations are of trends less than the century scale projections, I'm asking why

      The short answer is:

      1. climate trends are long term not short term. Surface temperature has never gone up in a straight line. Internal variability comes into play, especially variability in the oceans.

      2. the forcings in the models from 2005 onwards were estimated, not observed, and some were overestimated (solar was overestimated, volcanic underestimated)

      Scientists have been looking at this and providing more nuanced answers. For example:




      There's more - but those are something to start with.

      The other thing is - wait for it. Last year was the hottest on record. Last month was the second hottest January on record. The world is heading for hotter.

    23. "The world is heading for hotter."

      Yes, at a rate less than the low end projections, something not to be denied.

    24. At a rate less than low end projections? Is that your prediction, Lazarus? I guess we'll find out in 2035.

      These are the IPCC projections for the near term:

      In the absence of major volcanic eruptions—which would cause significant but temporary cooling—and, assuming no significant future long term changes in solar irradiance, it is likely that the GMST anomaly for the period 2016–2035, relative to the reference period of 1986–2005 will be in the range 0.3°C to 0.7°C (medium confidence).

      TS.5.4.2 Projected Near-Term Changes in Temperature

    25. I am impressed at how this lucifer is living up to the pages and pages of warnings about the biblical one.
      But as for tribes, yes, I am aware of them, of the various sorts. And yet the earth warms due to increased CO2, a fact which you seem desperate to ignore.

    26. Lucifer:


      Read that blog post carefully ... it also says ...

      "I like this way of plotting the model profile and the MSU data together — it reminds us that the MSU weighting functions are too broad to catch the actual maximum in the model’s warming trend near 300mb, even though the maximum weight for TTT is near that level."

      Think about that ... and in the next blog post ...

      "The previous post summarizes the results from a recent paper, Flannaghan et al 2014, that uses atmosphere/land models running over observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) to look at the consistency between these models and observations of tropical tropospheric temperature trends. The idea of using this kind of uncoupled model is to try to put aside the issue of SST trends in the tropics and focus more sharply on the vertical structure of the temperature trends. Because models are so consistent in producing a warming trend that is top-heavy in the tropical troposphere, due to the strong tendency to follow a moist adiabatic profile, and because this pattern of change has numerous ramifications for tropical climate more generally, any possibility that this warming profile is wrong takes precedence over other issues in tropical climate change, in my view. I interpret the results in Flannaghan et al to say that microwave sounding data, at least, does not require us to reject the hypothesis provided by climate models for the vertical profile of the tropical temperature trends."

      Read that last sentence carefully, keeping in mind that Isaac Held is a co-author of the paper being referenced. He is not declaring the model results to be wrong.

      The entire abstract of the referenced paper is worth reading:


      It concludes:

      "trends, and the degree of agreement with observations, not only depend on SST data set and the particular atmospheric temperature data set but also on the period chosen for comparison. Due to the large impact on atmospheric temperatures, these systematic uncertainties in SSTs need to be resolved before the fidelity of climate models' tropical temperature trend profiles can be assessed."

      Systematic uncertainties in observed SSTs in the tropics, that is ... between that and the relatively poor resolution of MSU recontructions, there's not enough to declare that modeled [vertical] profiles, including the so-called tropical hot spot, are significantly wrong.

      Now, that's a bit different than Lucifer has led us to believe, isn't it?

      That's the problem with the likes of Lucifer and Rob, they quote-mine snippets from papers (actually, they cut-and-paste snippets quote-mined by others, which are continuously passed around the denialsphere), and to put them in perspective one has to do actual work.

      Admission: I don't have access to the full paper, and I only skimmed the two blog posts. Much of it describes the methodology and how changing SST inputs impact the results of atmospheric models, and details in how they went about exploring the problem which are fascinating, worth more of my time, but not relevant to pointing out that Lucifer essentially quote-mined Isaac Held's blog post. Yes, Held points out that models generate a tropical hot spot. Lucifer says "if you believe there is a tropical hot spot, you might be a denier" without pointing out that Held's work defends the plausibility of model results.

    27. guthrie,

      "But as for tribes, yes, I am aware of them, of the various sorts. And yet the earth warms due to increased CO2, a fact which you seem desperate to ignore."

      Which tribe do you belong to?

      And is it helping you focus on the fact that temperature trends are positive ( as I said above ) while denying the fact that these trends are at rates less the even the low end projections?

    28. dhogaza,

      so you are in denial of the MSU data and the RadioSonde data?

      They look like this compared to the not spot:

    29. If Lucifer could read, rather than simply cut-and-paste, I said no such thing, nor has Isaac Held, whose blog post I posted from in order to put Lucifer's quotemine in context.

      'Fess up, Lucifer, you've not read the full text of Isaac Held's two blog posts and the abstract from the paper he quotes. You've only read the snippet quotemined and posted on some denialist site.

  19. "Fret about global warming but like to wear short sleeves on fine February days?"

    In Australia, short sleeves should be combined with lots of sunscreen!

  20. The trolls are out today Sou :) Between the Twitter exchange and some of the commenters here, it looks like you pissed some utter nutters off. Keep it going!

  21. 'We develop the concept of ``dragon-kings'' corresponding to meaningful outliers, which are found to coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems. These dragon-kings reveal the existence of mechanisms of self-organization that are not apparent otherwise from the distribution of their smaller siblings... We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point.' http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290

    I introduced myself as a climate catastropist - in the sense of Rene Thom. I suggested that there were multi-gas, aerosol, populations, development and conservation strategies much more broadly effective in mitigating greenhouse.

    This hardly seems problematic - but drawing on science that is little understood seems to be. The science of abrupt climate change is well established - as the NAS said way back in 2002.

    'Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.' http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

    I hesitate to link to denier sites - but SoD's recent chaos series is simple but worth a go.

    In general - I found the Denizen post at CE to be full of post hoc simplistic narratives on things that that are not merely uncertain but unknowable - and much mutual back slapping.

    'Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist's expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel's theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.' http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

    Mind you - there seems little to distinguish the two camps.

    1. I was unaware that SoD was considered a "denier" site.

      I am rather confused by your use of the term "climate catastrophist"
      and talking about climate change in decadal scales.
      Certainly there has been extreme climate change in millennial scales. the last being the transition to the holocene. and the various ice age cycles during the pleistocene.
      Most climate scientists I follow are concerned that the next hundred years will see a climactic change of similar degree and qualitative change.
      that is completely different from the regional and relatively minor changes over any decadal time scale since Younger Dryas.
      I also don't understand your ad hominem attack on "progressives", as if the entire class is stupid. As I know quite a few that are extremely thoughtful, and have very sophisticated nuanced views on variety of subjects, I would be happy to introduce you to some.

    2. @-Rob Elison
      "Mind you - there seems little to distinguish the two camps."

      One side scorns the largely unpublished and unscientific claims of a few fringe and industry lobby types who claim that mainstream science is wrong. It points to the multiple lines of scientific evidence in its favor.

      The other camp rejects the last century of mainstream science just in this narrow field. An issue which has been acknowledged by every major scientific body and institution as a real and significant threat. It speculates on multiple lines of fraud or hoax to reject the observations and deductions. Then suggests dark, covert, political dogma is behind the consilience of the scientific evidence.

  22. Catastrophe is a term used by Rene Thom to describe tipping points. The usage comes from a paper by Didier Sornette - Dragon-Kings, Black Swans and the Prediction of Crises. http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290

    It is certainly not true that tipping points were confined to the distant past.

    'Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.' http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

    Below is a link to a Holocene spanning ENSO proxy. Moy et al (2002) present the record of sedimentation shown above which is strongly influenced by ENSO variability. It is based on the presence of greater and less red sediment in a lake core. More sedimentation is associated with El Niño. It has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of high and low ENSO activity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance 5,000 years ago that was identified by Tsonis 2009 as a chaotic bifurcation – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high ENSO activity associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation (Tsonis et al, 2010). It shows ENSO variability considerably in excess of that seen in the modern period. By comparison the red intensity of the 97/98 El Nino was 99.


    These hydrological changes have great impacts on people globally - and the regimes shift radically and unpredictably. Along with the surface temperature it seems.

    1. Rob Ellison, you persist in completely missing the point.

      Beyond the biological lessons contained therein, it's largely irrelevant how past climate changes occurred, because none of those mechanisms are currently in operation. The fact is that we are currently releasing vast amounts of a 'greenhouse' gas into the atmosphere, from a carbon source that was sequestered for hundreds of millions of years, and we're doing it over a span of time that is about 1 millionth of that during which the carbon was so sequestered.

      That's where the problem is, and that's the problem that we need to address.

      We're pushing the contemporary climate to a point that is incompatible with continuing global human civilisation, and we're doing it with awareness and by choice. The squirrels at which you are so fond of pointing don't absolve us of the fate we're choosing - all they do is reinforce the consequences for us once we've pushed past our bioclimatic envelope.

    2. Something about catastrophe: https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-two-epochs-of-marcott/

    3. cRR Kampen.

      This helps to put human-caused global warming into the context of the Earth's history:


  23. As for progressives.

    ”A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
    Paul Ehrlich,

    No one who matters is in favour of de-developing the US. It is an insane idea promulgated in a pervasive progressive politics.

    Mind you - there does need to be a massive program of ecological conservation and restoration and the rebuilding of agricultural soils. This requires massive resources that is only available with continued global economic growth.

    The science is intriguing - for a hydrologist and environmental scientist such as myself. 'If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the 20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system.' http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

    But I doubt that anything challenges the understanding on climate-ballers. The is little difference in the way of simplistic memes purporting to explain climate -each side claiming the imprimatur of science.

    'Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto
    Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical.
    Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about
    themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific
    language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not
    questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally
    potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to
    fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.49 Nor is that to
    be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not
    made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to
    pretend that they are.' http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/mackinder_Wrong%20Trousers.pdf

    1. The Ehrlich card then more tl;dr. This is exactly the 'fail to acknowledge error/change subject' tactic I referred to upthread (so I'm claiming a delayed QED on that one, too), a gish gallop, and a feeble and transparent attempt to bait-the-liberals to boot.

      You arrived with the sententious announcement that stupidity is a defining characteristic of other people. Those reading the exchanges above may disagree...

    2. An Ehrlich quote - and then concise analysis, Holocene spanning data, quotes from the NAS, peer reviewed science and the Hartwell Paper from the London School of Economics. That you didn't bother to read says more about you than me.

      I might choose another of the many loopy ideas from progressives.

      ”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
      Michael Oppenheimer

      You posited a blog quote above from Kyle Swanson which is meant to refute the idea of decadal climate shifts. But I quote from the paper again - a different section - just above. It is all about decadal shifts - and it suggests that the current plateau may persist for decades.

      What I said was neither in error - or avoiding the point. I simply ignored you earlier - It was not worthwhile to again address your nonsense - and addressed myself to someone else entirely on a different subject.

      Does it not challenge your understanding? Of course not - you are a great example of my progressive thesis.

    3. Now Ellison, you really aren't doing yourself any favours by not making it clear what you are quoting or not.
      As for Ehrlich, I don't know anyone who has read any of his works; he's so old that he's dead and buried.
      As for decadal climate shifts, that's irrelevant re. the warming we are guaranteeing with continued CO2 output. You can't get around that, so will sink to lying, incompetence and handwaving to try and cover it up.

    4. Rob, could you please cite the original sources for both Ehrlich's quote and Oppenheimer's quote? I can't find them anywhere. I also know that context matters - for example, creationists often quote mine Darwin (cf http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part2.html), where the actual quote within the context means almost the opposite from what the quote-miner makes his audience belief.

      I know Ehrlich has made some bold statements, so I would not be too surprised if that one is accurate to some degree, but I have seen Oppenheimer's quote already in multiple variations, which suggests it was quote mined.

      But before that, perhaps give us a definition of what you consider "progressives". So far it looks like "people from whom I can find crazy quotes".

    5. Ha ha. Rob Ellison gets his so-called "quotes" from "New World Order" conspiracy websites. Who'd a thunk it.



    6. Rob Ellison:

      "As for progressives." - Erlich.

      As for conservatives, I see you with Inhofe and win the hand with ISIS ...

      Because just as all progressives are like Erlich, all conservatives are like Inhofe and ISIS ...


    7. @Marco: the Ehrlich quote is from chapter 10 of Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions (1973), by Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren.

      A scanned copy can be found here: https://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Holdren-Human-Ecology-cover-title-and-copyright-pages-with-chapter-10.pdf

      Not sure of the relevance of a 42-year-old quote from Ehrlich et al., but I suppose Rob Ellison may need to take whatever he can find.

    8. Thanks Magma. At least it gives me a context.

  24. I've been reading Judith Curry's site for a year or so. It seems the posters have become angrier in that time . Expect them to become more frenzied and irrational as evidence mounts that we have a big problem.

  25. I've not read everything - been busy I'm afraid, or I wouldn't have let this discussion get derailed the way it has.

    I have noticed, though, that in among his gish galloping (which is getting ever rattier), Rob seems to have shifted from his "Climate shifts in more or less extreme ways every few decades" to saying that the shifts have only taken place in the past few decades - since global warming started to kick in.

    This will keep happening as global warming continues.

    1. The factors governing climate are largely geographic:

      * the fact that earth is a rotating, revolving spheroid establishes
      the seasons and
      the pole to equator gradient

      * the shape, size, orientation of oceans and contents establish other gradients

      * the much greater storage of heat in the oceans ( compared to the atmosphere ) establishes fluctuations in energy transfer over a range of timescales, some amplifying, some dampening other fluctuations

      To be sure, greenhouse gasses ( higher order molecules ) change the radiance properties of earth. But the preponderance of basic factor will not change significantly unless one moves the mountains or wobbles the earth.

    2. Slay them sky dragons, O Morning Star!

    3. @-Lucifer
      "To be sure, greenhouse gasses ( higher order molecules ) change the radiance properties of earth. But the preponderance of basic factor will not change significantly unless one moves the mountains or wobbles the earth."

      And yet the climate moves (changes)

      "Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)
      The PETM occurred at the boundary between the Palaeocene and Eocene time periods (55.8 million years ago) where a rapid change in climate took place. It lasted around two million years and it is thought that there was a massive release of carbon to the ocean and atmosphere causing a significant global warming.

    4. "You're not the Devil. You're the guy who goes into a 7-11 to get the Devil a pack of cigarettes."

    5. @ Lucifer

      'But the preponderance of basic factor will not change significantly unless one moves the mountains or wobbles the earth.'

      And the time scales over which they operate are ................ and ..............-.............-........... respectively. You fill in the blanks, a little Cloze exercise for you on the path to enlightenment.

      But then izen has already provided one big hint.

    6. '“The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” —Jeremy Rifkin, environmentalist, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 19, 1989

      Abrupt shifts in Pacific Ocean circulation involve changes in the PDO in the north-eastern Pacific and coincident changes in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events. Increased frequency and intensity of La Niña occur with a cool mode PDO and vice versa (Verdon and Franks, 2006). The change in ocean circulation is associated with changes in wind, currents and cloud that change the energy dynamic of the planet. Cool decadal modes cool the planetary surface and warm modes add to the surface temperatures.

      It is seen in ENSO proxies for 1000 years - but the latest shifts in 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 are of course the best studied.

      Yes these shifts will keep coming - and yes climate shifts occur when the system is being forced to change.

      'Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.' http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

      Let's just repeat that bit from the NAS. The science of complexity has significant implications for a new understanding of climate. But the implications include the likelihood of non-warming for a decade or so more and the unpredictability of future shifts.

      The responses for the 26% of greenhouse gases that come from electricity generation - and the 13% from transport - need technological solutions. Low cost - low carbon sources of energy.

      There are several fusion projects that are interesting - but next gen. fission reactors are likely to be commercialised first. The 4th gen. nuclear engines are technology that is 50 years old - with modern materials and fuel cycle twists. They solve all the conventional problems - including the waste stream. Existing waste can be burnt producing a hugely reduced volume and toxicity to power the US for 400 years.

      e.g. http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

      Liquid fuels can be manufactured from high temperature electrolysis - carbon dioxide and hydrogen stripped simultaneously from water and recombined in the presence of a catalyst. We have the technology - and the creative destruction of capitalism will yet again transform production.

      The bigger part of the forcing equation involves agriculture, land use and manufacturing that have population and development implications.

      Resilience, mitigation and conservation and restoration of agricultural soils and ecosystems require massive resources to achieve what we need to achieve this century. This requires continued economic growth primarily - although much can be done by leveraging $2.5 trillion in aid between now and 2030. The best strategies involve building societal resilience in ways that are not merely compatible with emissions mitigation – but absolutely essential in a broad strategy involving multiple gases, aerosols, population and conservation.

    7. Do long copy and pastes make you feel smarter?

    8. Wow...a more precise exposition of motivated reasoning and cognitive bias--clothed in what, at first, appears to be calm(ish) language--than Ellison's would be hard to find...except that Sou, in her unerring and saint-like patience, keeps documenting here on HW. Thanks, Sou, and I anxiously await to read Ellison's next obfuscation and avoidance of the 1000-kilo gorilla in the room---his own intransigence.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Think globally - from the US EPA.


      Add black carbon.

      ‘The best estimate of industrial-era climate forcing of black carbon through all forcing mechanisms, including clouds and cryosphere forcing, is +1.1 W/m 2 with 90% uncertainty bounds of +0.17 to +2.1 W/m 2. Thus, there is a very high probability that black carbon emissions, independent of co-emitted species, have a positive forcing and warm the climate. We estimate that black carbon, with a total climate forcing of +1.1 W/m 2, is the second most important human emission in terms of its climate forcing in the present-day atmosphere; only carbon dioxide is estimated to have a greater forcing…’ Bond, T. C. et al, 2013, Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH: ATMOSPHERES, VOL. 118, 5380–5552, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50171

      What I actually said was that the 26% from electricity generation was the easy bit. The rest - plus black carbon - requires broader social and development policies.

      Climate shifts - which are fairly obvious in the modern and paleo record - result in changes in means and variance. Here it is conceptually from Michael Ghil.


      We can't know what the size or direction of the next shift will be - or the extent that recent shifts n 1976/1977 ans 1998/2001 influenced surface temps. The shifts can be more or less extreme. Superimposing some notion of warming - which should exist - onto this is problematic.

      One of the things that Kyle Swanson did at realclimate was to calculate a residual linear trend that they hypothesized was the 'true forced warming signal'.


      It is some 0.07 degrees C/decade. Not all that significant in itself. But that's not really the point - these aren't cycles but abrupt shifts. Complexity theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

      Let me give you a fun quote from Kumaraswamy Velupillai : ECONOMICS AND THE COMPLEXITY VISION: CHIMERICAL PARTNERS OR

      Emergence, order, self-organisation, turbulence, induction, evolution, criticality, adaptive, non-linear, non-equilibrium are some of the words that characterise the conceptual underpinnings of the ‘new’ sciences of complexity that seem to pervade some of the frontiers in the natural, social and even the human sciences. Not since the heyday of Cybernetics and the more recent brief-lived ebullience of chaos applied to a theory of everything and by all and sundry, has a concept become so prevalent and pervasive in almost all fields, from Physics to Economics, from Biology to Sociology, from Computer Science to Philosophy as Complexity seems to have become.'

      Quoting it doesn't make me smarter - but reading it makes me less dumb.

    2. (I deleted the original comment to clarify certain things that I took out of context, and then saw Rob's response. The reference to EPA numbers:

      "The primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are:

      Electricity production (32% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions)
      Transportation (28% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions)
      Industry (20% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions)
      Commercial and Residential (10% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions)
      Agriculture (10% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions)
      Land Use and Forestry (offset of 15% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions) (In the United States, since 1990, managed forests and other lands have absorbed more CO2 from the atmosphere than they emit.)"


      Rob, thanks for the reasoned reply. I maintain that you are skirting the ultimate issue of warming due to GHG emissions, but I appreciate the civility.

  27. I really have little time for the so-called 'lukewarmers'. On a couple of visits to the Blackboard and Climate Etc. I was struck that they seemed to be nests of closet deniers and adherents of the golden mean fallacy, all puffed up in a way David Dunning would recognise because the true hallmark of genius is positioning yourself halfway between 'extremes', don'chaknow?

    Yep, if one side bloody-mindedly and inflexibly adheres to the notion that 2 + 2 = 4, but a small coterie of galileos effervescently insists on a thrilling new result of '5', well, it's obvious the smart money's on the One True Answer being 4.5, innit? (See 'Centrism: a history thereof')

    Except in this case it actually turns out these 'happy medians' almost always really think the answers more like 4.8, maybe .9. Or 5.1, when pressed. See above.

    And the level of pontifical self-congratulation is off the scale! When combined with the kind of content-free, high-falutin' jargonese waffling so well exemplified above, it's like being stuck in an eternal public meeting of mayoral candidates. Ugh.

    (I'll add that I rather like Eli's 'the proper description of this luckwarmers. They feel lucky and are betting the house on it. Unfortunately it is our house.)

    1. Replies to Bill have been moved to another thread. Feel free to continue the discussion at Rob's Gallop

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