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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Anthony Watts' Russian steampipes move around the world - amazing!

Sou | 5:51 PM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment
Every three or four years Anthony Watts (who owns a conspiracy blog called Watts Up with That, or WUWT) claims steam pipes in vast empty spaces in remote and largely unpopulated areas of Russia are what's causing global warming. This year he's at it again (archived here).

I don't need to write much about this, you can see it in pictures. In fact, Anthony himself put up a photo of steam pipes in a small town called Omyakon (population ~500), one of the coldest permanently inhabited places on earth.

The map below shows where the tiny settlement of Omyakon is located on the GISTEMP January temperature map . It's not in the middle of where the highest temperature anomalies were recorded.

Figure 1 | Temperature anomalies for January 2020 from the 1951-1980 mean, showing the location of Omyakon and its steampipes that conspiracy nutters blame for global warming. Data source: NASA GISTEMP

In fact, most of the huge hot area over Russia and parts of Europe has very low population density as you can see when you move the arrow to the right over the images below. (I've lined up the maps but it's a bit rough.)

May 18
April 18


Figure 2 | Maps showing mean surface temperature anomalies for January 2020 from the 1951-1980 mean; and population density. Data sources: GISS NASA and SEDAC, NASA


Anthony Watts decided there's a Russian conspiracy at NOAA, and wrote:
In a report generating substantial media attention this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) claimed January 2020 was the hottest January on record. In reality, the claim relies on substantial speculation, dubious reporting methods, and a large, very suspicious, extremely warm reported heat patch covering most of Russia.




How (and why) does Russia keep moving its steampipes?


Anthony doesn't explain how or why Russia moves its steampipes around the world each January - from sparsely populated regions of Russia to North America and further, then back again. I'll let you try to figure out for yourself how and why they do this.


In January 2019 Russia turned its steampipes down a bit and shifted their Russian steampipes they'd installed in the USA and Canada a bit west. (Move the arrow to the right to compare January 2020 with January 2019).

May 18
April 18


Figure 3 | Maps showing mean surface temperature anomalies for January 2020 and January 2019 from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA


In 2018, Russia turned of quite a few of its steampipes, leaving any residents to suffer the freeziing cold. There were quite a few more Russian steampipes in North America in 2018.

May 18
April 18


Figure 4 | Maps showing mean surface temperature anomalies for January 2020 and January 2018 from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA


In 2017 Russia had cut down its steampipe operations, but it didn't turn them off altogether. That was probably so it could vastly expand its steampipes in North America.

May 18
April 18


Figure 5 | Maps showing mean surface temperature anomalies for January 2020 and January 2017 from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA


In 2016, when there was a big El Nino and the temperature anomaly was just a smidgen below that of this January (with no El Nino), Russia got rid of most of its steampipes, moving them from Russia to North America.

May 18
April 18


Figure 6 | Maps showing mean surface temperature anomalies for January 2020 and January 2016 from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA


The WUWT waste heat conspiracy


Anthony finished his article with this, and no, he didn't tag it as satire:
It appears that the “warmest ever” January might simply have been influenced by Russian temperature data warmed up by waste heat. Maybe the U.S. House of Representatives will start an inquiry into Russian collusion to interfere with global temperature data and climate change legislation – but don’t hold your breath.
That reminds me of his "waste heat from the little warm pockets of humanity" he found in a tent in a remote and isolated part of the remote continent of Antarctica.


Warmest winter in Moscow


I meant to add a comment about some news items remarking that this past winter has been the warmest ever recorded in Moscow. I don't know if that was because of something going wrong with the steampipes or not /s.

In Moscow, people adjust to a winter without snow: 'It's like we're at a resort'




From the HotWhopper archives







43 comments:

  1. We in Canada have been having all sorts of disputes about pipelines. Could it be a dastardly Russian plot? The Russians plan to convert them from oil or gas to hot water?


    That ABC link about Moscow weather is fun but perhaps a bit hyperbolic.

    Typically buried in several feet each winter, Russia’s capital this year has remained mostly snow free as temperatures have barely dipped below zero.

    Several feet? How about maybe 30 cm on a (formerly) normal winter? Mabe written by someone from Florida?

    Still, having to truck in snow for Xmas was just a bit weird though we had green grass the day before Xmas.

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    1. Good catch. I should have picked that up. ABC (US) has a tendency to hyperbole, I've noticed.

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    2. Those steam pipes are getting worse and the perfidious Russians are blaming climate change.
      https://www.rt.com/russia/482106-moscow-warmest-winter-record/

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  2. What Watts doesn't comprehend is that any fuel used to heat will eventually all leak out into the environment. The insulation in a building is never perfect, and if you shut down the heating source, the temperature drops. So, whether the "steam pipes" leak, or the buildings they heat leak, all of that heat hits the environment in the end.

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    1. That's an interesting point. Given improvements in insulation over time, would that suggest a declining trend in this particular UHI effect?

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  3. Just another example of Watts climbing over a mountain of evidence, data and research to clutch at straws. WUWT: Still Blowin' Smoke After All These Years.

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  4. Splorf! After all the evidence around him, Watts still thinks temperature increase isnt real. I'll bet his idiot followers lap that up. Talk about arithmetically challenged as well.

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  5. Russian boiler technology must be astonishingly advanced to generate the energy equivalent of so many Hiroshima bombs per second.

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    Replies
    1. Clearly you have never been in a Russian banya.

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  6. It's like deniers don't even care any more. No need to given their base, I guess.

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  7. Though to be fair, the larger source of warming of the earth's atmosphere is heat from the surface, so anything that radiates more heat than natural sources must count for something. If our activity is sufficient to notably increase the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere it seems reasonable to assume that everything else we do should have a measurable effect as well.

    In line with my comments on the other post, my take is that even if GHGs had remained constant, human activities must raise local temperatures in some regions, perhaps in many regions when we look at how widespread is human influence. And given global land surface temperatures are really averages of air temperatures over land, any effect from human impacts must raise those averages.

    Wish I had more time to dig into this. I did contact a couple of researchers and now have a slew of papers to read but Lord knows if I will be able to find time to tackle them.

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    1. Increasing greenhouse gases totally swamps any other forcings.

      https://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/03/occams-razor-sez-eric-worral-is-science.html

      I wish you took more time to dig into this, too. Read the science. Your "take" doesn't count for anything.

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  8. I'm not sure how you can say radiative forcing from greenhouse gasses swamps anything else. Surface radiation has to be the main factor in determining atmospheric warmth, all that GHG forcings can do is set the rate of warming to equilibrium.

    Consider that without the GHE the earth's surface would be on average -18C. With the GHE, it should be about 14C. All things being equal, that's the GHE - a surface average of 14C. If a regional temperature exceeds that, it can only be because there is more surface radiation on average. Australia's long term average is about 21C. Where is the extra heat coming from?

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    1. Like you suggested, you really, really need to read up about climate. I'm not here to personally teach you everything or answer every question that pops into your head. If HW has helped you get interested in the topic that's great, but you've got to do some learning for yourself if you want to get rid of your misconceptions and replace them with an understanding of how things work.

      Read more articles here if you like. Follow the links to other articles and scientific papers. You're getting a lot of things wrong. (E.g. With the greenhouse effect earth should be about the temperature it is right now, not cooler.) I don't know where you get the idea that the surface heats up all by itself. (Maybe that's not your idea but it's basically what you're saying.) It heats up from the sun and loses heat to space. It is losing less heat as greenhouse gases increase, which is why it's getting hotter, since there's not more heat coming from the sun.

      BTW - the other article where you first commented explained why, when the earth is warming, the land warms faster than the sea. A bit more reading might help you understand why Australia is warmer than Antarctica (re your question about why Australia is warmer than the average temperature of the planet). It's because on average over the year Australia gets more solar radiation than Antarctica. I haven't checked if your average temperature of Australia is 21C. BoM works with anomalies. In any case, the last ten years was more than 1C hotter than it was over the period 1961-1990, which in turn was warmer than it was at the beginning of last century. Last year it was 1.52C hotter than the average of 1961-1990.

      I've previously explained various other things directly to you, or linked to explanations. I suggest you go back and try again to understand them and/or buy and read a book on the subject, then read it again.

      https://blog.hotwhopper.com/2020/02/hot-enough-for-you-faster-it-warms.html

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    2. "I'm not sure how you can say radiative forcing from greenhouse gasses swamps anything else."

      Is there any topic where mere science can be used to say anything then?

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    3. Re. "all that GHG forcings can do is set the rate of warming to equilibrium"

      Nope. GHG forcings are one parameter in defining the equilibrium value as well. It's what all the talk about ECS and TCS is all about.

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    4. Considering just the GHG forcing parameter, aren't we simply saying that rising GHG concentrations creates an imbalance which results in a warming atmosphere. As I understand it, rising temps are largely linearly related to cumulative emissions.

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    5. Oh look - a Dunning-Kruger hatchling!

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  9. Gordon,

    In order for the surface radiation to warm the atmosphere the atmosphere must contain gases that absorb this radiation: this is the "main factor". If it were purely nitrogen and oxygen, for instance, the infrared from the surface would just pass straight through the atmosphere at the speed of light without warming the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases of water vapour and CO2 are absolutely crucial for atmospheric warming.

    I am curious as to the meaning of "All GHG forcings can do is set the rate of warming to equilibrium" - a translation would help.

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    1. See my comment above to jgnfld. I'm not sure why my comments are being seen as controversial, I am not arguing against the GHE and the resulting warming atmosphere from increasing GHG emissions.

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    2. Your comments weren't seen as controversial, GordonACT, just wrong. E.g. While it's been known for decades that it's the increase in greenhouse gases that are causing global warming, you inexplicably wrote: "I'm not sure how you can say radiative forcing from greenhouse gasses swamps anything else."

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    3. I think we are talking about two different things. In the context of that comment, all I am saying is that the greenhouse effect is dominated *in total* by thermal IR from the face. The incoming solar energy warms the earth which radiates thermal IR. GHGs absorb this IR and in turn warm up. Everything derives from total outgoing IR from the surface.

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    4. Wrong again in that we are not talking about "two different things". It's just one thing: the increase in greenhouse gases is causing the world to warm up.

      (You're getting there, GordonACT, though I doubt you've got all the way yet since you can't seem to admit/figure out why your previous comments were wrong.)

      Try reading this article on the energy flows and the greenhouse effect again (the same link I offered you the other day). It should help. If it doesn't, look up articles (from reputable sites) on the greenhouse effect and climate change.

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    5. What an odd response. Now you have made me curious, what exactly am I saying that you think is wrong? You seem to have gotten completely confused with my comments, so clearly the way I phrase things is doing that. But as far as I can see all that I have said is consistent with the science and exactly the same as the linked reference you offer. Here's an example. You say "With the greenhouse effect earth should be about the temperature it is right now, not cooler. I don't know where you get the idea that the surface heats up all by itself." I didn't say that, I said the exact opposite.

      OK, it's your blog and I don't wish to waste your time, but it'd be helpful if you could point to something I DID say that is wrong, in your view. And hopefully, I have been polite and respectful in discussion and that counts for something (unlike Bernard J's efforts).

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    6. Already did that in the last two comments, for example - here and here.

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    7. Your main problem here, Gordon, is you throw out technically exact terms that mean something to an expert--e.g. "all that GHG forcings can do is set the rate of warming to equilibrium" without any apparent actual understanding given that you are wrong. (Hint: It doesn't matter how many blankets you put over a corpse, it still just doesn't get warmer at any rate whatsoever under the covers).

      Sou has suggested how you can get some. You appear more-than-a-bit-resistent to her quite good advice.

      Does Tom Brady listen to sports bar flies for their clear and relevant ideas? Or does he talk and LISTEN TO actual experts with long years of experience?

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    8. Oh look - a tone troll hatchling!

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    9. jgnfld, I've read a lot of stuff about how the earth/atmosphere system works. I have never claimed to be expert, but the overall concept is very simple, so I kinda felt I had a reasonable grasp of what's going on. In Sou's comments, she misrepresents what I've said and then claims that this interpretation is incorrect. The links she sends me to match my own understanding, so I am confused by the disagreement.

      Here in a nutshell is what I have said, please tell me specifically what is wrong. The earth is heated by the sun. The heated earth warms the atmosphere. The primary driver (first cause, if you will) of the warmed atmosphere is this surface radiation from the heated earth. All other things being stable, an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise. All other things being stable, an increase in surface radiation causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise. GH gasses, primarily CO2, "control" the rate of warming to equilibrium, providing that solar insolation remains relatively stable. Over time, the cumulative extra emissions are linearly related to the increase in atmospheric temperature at the surface.

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    10. Read up on downwelling radiation rather than atmospheric heating and don't use technical math terms like "linear" that in this case are wrong. Doubling of CO2 does not lead to a linear increase, for example. The relationship is a log function.

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    11. jgnfld, downwelling radiation adds to outgoing surface radiation, sure. But really, the actual principle is simply that the warmed surface warms the atmosphere. The concentration of GHGs (primarily CO2) sets the rate of warming. OK, the relationship is a log function of the increase in concentrations, but that is still a rate, isn't it?

      And yes, the rise in temps is largely linear with respect to cumulative carbon emmissions, I am not talking actual concentration increase.

      Where am I wrong?

      https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/5/055006

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    12. There's an underlying problem, GordonACT, and that is you want someone to say your somewhat skewed ideas are "correct". That's difficult when you keep writing things like this:

      the actual principle is simply that the warmed surface warms the atmosphere. The concentration of GHGs (primarily CO2) sets the rate of warming.

      The "actual principle" is the greenhouse effect, whereby gases in the atmosphere absorb and emit radiation. The land, ocean and air are all at play in maintaining or changing the energy contained in the earth system but it's greenhouse gases in the air that are the "actual principle" (if that's what you want to call it).

      In terms of your "rate of warming", it's not the concentration of greenhouse gases that determine it. It's the change in concentration. A change in the amount of greenhouse gases means warming (an increase) or cooling (a decrease). The concentration doesn't "set the rate of warming", it's a the change in concentration that's the issue.

      How about taking up jgnfld's suggestion?

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    13. GordonACT, you asked "please tell me specifically what is wrong". Here is some of what was "wrong".

      This is incomplete: All other things being stable, an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise.

      It's not just the atmosphere and not in all the atmosphere. An increase in greenhouse gases causes less energy to be radiated to space and more to be retained on earth - in the atmosphere (the troposphere), on land, in the ocean, melting the cryosphere etc.

      This can't happen: All other things being stable, an increase in surface radiation causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise.

      An increase in surface radiation can't happen if all other things are unchanged. There can only be an increase in surface radiation if something else happens, for example, an increase in greenhouse gases or a substantial increase in solar radiation would warm the surface.

      GH gasses, primarily CO2, "control" the rate of warming to equilibrium, providing that solar insolation remains relatively stable.

      I don't know what you mean by "control" the rate of warming to equilibrium. If greenhouse gases are increasing, more energy is retained in the system than goes out and the earth warms up. If they are decreasing more energy is lost to space than retained. If neither increasing or decreasing, the amount of energy going out is around the same as the amount coming in.


      Over time, the cumulative extra emissions are linearly related to the increase in atmospheric temperature at the surface.

      This has been observed with rising emissions. It may not always hold. Research suggests it can initially be non-linear in the case of net negative emissions and long term isn't the same proportionality for rising and cooling.

      The fundamentals of climate change are fairly simple. The details are quite complicated.

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    14. OK, so generally speaking you agree with me. And yes, of course "this" can't happen, we are talking simplified unphysical models that illustrate the underlying concepts and factors. It's the same with the explanation about the 33C the GHE produces, it depends on cases that don't happen in reality. As for "controlling" the rate of warming, again that's a simplified abstraction that illustrates the fact that atmospheric temps change corresponding to changes in GHG (mainly CO2) concentrations (as long as the surface radiation remains within a relatively stable window):

      https://science.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356

      My original point is simply that IF surface radiation increases (ie the surface is hotter), then we increase atmospheric temperature. The only way that that surface radiation can increase is either a change in solar radiation received at the surface or if we change the surface properties.

      This is an example of that:

      https://www.businessinsider.com.au/nasa-apollo-astronauts-warmed-the-moon-2018-6

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    15. GordonACT, if you think you agree with me you're words do not reflect that. From what you keep writing I 'basically' disagree with you. (See responses from me and other people above and in the other thread.)

      I've no idea what you think you're saying in your first paragraph (anyone else?) In your second, you wrongly say:

      My original point is simply that IF surface radiation increases (ie the surface is hotter), then we increase atmospheric temperature. The only way that that surface radiation can increase is either a change in solar radiation received at the surface or if we change the surface properties.

      I know that's you're original point and you've still got the wrong end of the stick. You've got some bee in your bonnet that it's the surface that's causing global warming. It's not. It's the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Those two you mentioned are *not* the "only way that surface radiation can increase".

      Assuming when you say "surface radiation increases" you're just talking about infrared radiation and not reflected light, the surface gets hotter when there's more sunlight (more incoming from the sun, less air pollution, less volcanic emissions etc), or more greenhouse gases. At this time, it's emitting more radiation because it's receiving more radiation from the atmosphere because of the increase in greenhouse gases. (It's not because of a change in solar radiation or a change in surface properties.) Because of the increase in greenhouse gases, more energy is staying in the system (land, oceans, ice, atmosphere) than is going out to space.

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    16. I've kept the above simple to get the point across.

      There are also feedbacks, such as reduced ice meaning more radiation from the sun will be absorbed by the land and ocean - adding to the warming.

      A change in vegetation on land may increase or decrease solar radiation absorption, depending on what is being replaced and with what (more or less albedo). It may also increase or decrease carbon storage, again depending on what is being replaced with what.

      The main point is that far and away the effect having the greatest impact is the increase in greenhouse gases that are causing the earth (including its surface) to heat up. They can reduce outgoing radiation (though that won't last) and increase the amount of radiation going back to the surface. This will keep increasing above the amount of radiation going out to space until emissions stop/go negative.

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    17. It's a very long time since I was able to detect any purpose to this conversation other than testing Sou's patience. I'd have thought that if GordonACT genuinely wanted to understand climate science everything he needs to know is in IPCC publications.

      If, on the other hand, GordonACT thinks he has detected an error that has eluded the scientific community in a topic that has attracted the most hostile, critical scrutiny in the history of science then he needs to demonstrate extraordinary scientific genius - on the level of Einstein - before I will consider him as anything other than a victim of Dunning-Krueger.

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    18. You're probably right, Andy.

      BTW - excuse my distracting "you're/your" errors. I'd like to be more careful in future. No promises. Blame muscle memory :)

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    19. I'd say: "What she said", except that Sou has been far more supportive of your posts than I can be.

      Nothing sucks up the time of a professional--be they scientist or physician or athlete or comedian or whatever--like cranks and crank-like amateurs who think they know something telling them about their fields. Professionals interested in actually doing things learn to brush off such types pretty quickly as they suck up incredible amounts of time to no end.

      Simply witness how much time Sou has put into you for no visible gain in your understanding. That is time she will never recover.

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    20. jgnfld, I've only really kept commenting because I am flummoxed by the fact I keep saying what is a standard - if simplified - description of the science of climate change due to increasing GHG concentrations and yet people keep trying to correct what I am saying. I get sent to references that tell me exactly what I already generally understand to be the case. What isn't matching my understanding is what is being said here. That's odd. I don't particularly care I suppose but it's such a strange thing I haven't been able to work out why we are all talking past each other.
      There is NOTHING anyone has said here that isn't what I already understand to be the case, and nothing I have said that is at all at odds with the science. I've included references where necessary. Sou even threw one of my references right back at me as evidence that I was wrong, even though the reference clearly states exactly what I said. And you, jgnfld, happily twisted what I said about linear proportionality to cumulative emissions into something I had not said just to tell me that I was wrong. I suspect you were not previously aware of that particular finding in the science or maybe don't understand the idea behind carbon budgets. Or you are just being mischievous.

      Let me just close by saying yes, I do understand the basics of climate change. I do understand the baasics of energy flow and so on. I am not trying to prove climate science wrong. I had one small observation that I thought interesting to share, an observation backed by research here in Australia. I just haven't bothered to point to the various papers though I did share a couple in the other post. In good faith, I was merely noting that there may be another man-made influence adding to the broader problem of climate change, particularly in Australia, and that factor seems not to be getting the policy attention I think it deserves. That was it.

      This is a very strange blog.

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    21. "I keep saying what is a standard - if simplified - description of the science of climate change"

      OK, so what exactly is the point of your giving us a "simplified description of the science of climate change"?

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    22. I'd say there are two (maybe more) possibilities. GordonACT could be:

      1) unable to express in words what he knows about climate change, or

      2) unable to comprehend what people have written about climate change, including me and others here.

      He has yet to clearly acknowledge there are important differences between what he wrote and what the science says, including important differences between things he's written here and what the science he cites says (and the things he's written that are plainly wrong, that we've picked up on).

      If the "man-made influence" refers to land clearing and re-treeing (from his comments under another article), land clearing has long been acknowledged as an important matter in Australia. Initially (1980s) it was regulated for ecological reasons. More recently it has been recognised as important for climate change reasons as well. In the 1980s ACF and farmer organisations got together and agreed on changes. The resulting regulations and the spirit of them has not always been followed through everywhere in the country, depending on the government of the day. (Greening Australia and Landcare have been around for a few decades, too.)

      Let's leave it at that. I see no point in pursuing this since it will be no easier to tell if 1) or 2) above is correct than it has to now.

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    23. I have known some true experts who are so far into their own idiosyncratic jargon they are quite hard to interact with professionally. But what they said made sense eventually when untangled. Gordon's statements are just not correct using any normal technical parsing as Sou has clearly shown. So I go with #2.

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