See below for update.
Andrew Revkin has a new kind of fan. These are fans that agree with much of what Revkin says, or at least feel comfortable in his community of commenters. These fans feel their views are substantiated by what they read in Revkin's New York Times column, Dot Earth. They seem to be Libertarian, anti-environment, anti-science, pro-fossil fuel, and frankly, anti-green. Not just one or two of Andrew Revkin's fans, but a bunch -- with numbers possibly growing -- are of this mind, and this is very disturbing. If we had the technology to transport these fans back in time and put them in a small room with Andy Revkin back in the days of the Bush administration, the room would melt down. They would not be his fans, and he would be shocked to be told that some day they will be.
Revkin still has his old fans, people who are actively and intentionally green, concerned about the environment, not willing to accept a world run by fossil fuel or other major environment-harming industrial interests. These are often activists, people who take seriously their individual responsibly to be good to the only planet we have, the Earth. And I'm sure there are many ways in which these more traditional Revkin-readers still fit with and relate to the folk singer and former New York Times journalist.
I've been noticing this for months. I speak with a green activist about climate change. The activist is very concerned about climate change due to human produced greenhouse gas pollution, can see the effects of it, worries about future generations that will be unspeakably harmed by it. Annoyed, the activist is, with deniers of climate change, deniers of the science, those who incorrectly say that even if it is real we can't do anything about it, or should not, falsely claiming that curtailing fossil fuel use will be worse than using the Sun's energy to fuel our lifestyle, or perniciously saying this simply can't be done.
And right there in the middle of the conversation about how global warming is real, human caused, important, and fixable, and about how deniers of these things are truely some kind of bad guy, I'll hear something about how Any Revkin is great. Writes great stuff. Says great stuff. And I'm sure that to a certain extent, taking a life long career into account, considering it all, this is true.
But then I look at Dot Earth, and I see two things. First is Andy Revkin's tendency to occupy that space between serious concern about climate change and acceptance of consensus science on one hand, and questioning of the reality and importance of climate change, on the other. In other words, Andy likes to write, often, in the space between what deniers call "warmists" and what warmists call "deniers."
There was a time, perhaps, one could argue, and many did, that there was a valid intersection between these space, an overlap, a place where an honest broker could be effective in shepherding those who might be antagonistic towards better solutions to our existential problems in a better direction. But that ship has sailed. There is plenty of room for variation in policy approaches to climate change. But there is absolutely zero room for considering the reality of climate change or its severity. We can honestly argue about thresholds, and which decade will see what severe effects, but we can no longer argue about the existence or overall seriousness of the problem. Within climate science, scientists argue over the relative importance of Arctic Warming vs. Pacific surface warm anomalies in relation to quasi-resonant Rossby waves, about the complex dynamics of transient climate sensitivity vis-a-vis positive feedbacks, or about the order in which to load variables into climate models running on supercomputers. But nobody, really, in climate science is arguing about any of the things that are being discussed in that space between consensus science and denial.
Except Andy and a few other people, and many who call themselves green, because they are honestly and honorably green or at least want to be green, see Andy in that space and think, well, if he's there, maybe I should be there.
As the gaping maw between good climate science on one hand and pro-fossil fuel activism on the other has grown, almost everybody has moved to one side or another, most moving towards the science unless they have some motive to be on the side that we now understand is clearly wrong. Most green people have moved to the side that prefers to save the Earth and has little interest in saving the Koch Brothers. And as this tectonic event, this rifting, in perspective has happened, Andy Revkin's Dot Earth blog has stayed in the widening valley, initially I assume because it seemed like the right place to be, and eventually remained there for reasons I would feel uncomfortable guessing at.
And today, I took a look into that rift to see what was in there and what I saw was disturbing.
Tony Dokoupil of MSNBC produced some commentary about how Dot Earth has degraded to little more than Andy Revkin's hobby blog. He makes a number of points you can agree with or not, and Andy, much to his credit -- he could have ignored this but chose not to -- addresses those points. I have opinions and observations I could express about Dokoupil's commentary and about Revkin's response, but that is neither here nor there. What I would prefer to focus on is the nature and character of the supportive commentary, a subset of the folks who jumped in to say Andy's doing it right. The new fans.
Following is a sampling of comments on this most recent post which give a flavor for what I'm talking about. Much of what is repeated below is discredited by current science or misrepresents science. For the most part it isn't even very skilled denialism. The denialism part is not what bothers me. Well, science denialism bothers me, but that is not what I'm talking about here. What concerns me is the apparent comfort level found among those who really want us to do nothing to address climate change with the middle ground, the honest broker. What might have once been a true middle ground is now a place where the anti-science troops hunker down and from which they snipe, like the various demilitarized zones of past meatspace wars throughout the 20th century. It is a place that should not be groomed for use in the national paper of record, and especially on a green blog.
Laird Wilcox Kansas City is comfortable at Dot Earth and appreciates Andy's approach:
What may bother some global warmists is that Dot Earth actually opens issues up to comment in an honest way. For ideologues, and especially dogmatic AGW warmists, this is anathema -- it's giving the hated demonic "other" a voice and allowing him a voice to undermine the group consensus that drives dogmatic causes and crusades to greater and greater levels of intolerance of opposition.
To allow skeptics and others who see issues with global warmist dogma that require reconsideration of basic premises, additional testing of claims and declarations, reanalysis of date and perhaps honest and unsparing consideration of what it is that they really fear from open and vigorous debate in the public domain. Why is it necessary that "denialists" are driven from web pages, comments sections of journals and newspapers as well as warmist meetings and conventions? I don't this this happens because everybody is assured they are full of c**p but rather that they have cogent arguments worth considering.
This tendency to reject the hated "other" with broad campaigns of marginalization, vilification, stigmatization, stereotyping and name-calling is allowing public awareness of what the AGW warmist movement harbors in its ranks – deeply insecure believers drawn to the apocalyptic catastrophizing their movement demands and a deeply dark paranoia toward all who question the dogma, writ and scripture that supports it.
It's own intolerance and extremism should give it away in normal times.
Trusted Commenter Kip Hansen implies a link between the Dot Earth approach and a well known scientist turned (sadly) denialist:
Dr. Judith Curry, in her opening remarks at the " Circling the square: universities, the media, citizens and politics." conference in Nottingham, England, concluded with this:
"In conclusion, my concern is that the scientific community is extremely confused about the policy process and too many climate scientists are irresponsibly shooting from the hip as issue advocates. Apart from the damage that this is doing at the interface between science and policy, the neglect and perversion of uncertainty is doing irreparable damage to the science and to the public trust of scientists."
I would support the same statement, with the subject being Environmental Journalists, transmogrified to: (this is a paraphrased quote, with substitutions):
"....my (Kip Hansen's) concern is that the environmental journalist community is extremely confused about the policy process and too many environmental journalists are irresponsibly shooting from the hip as issue advocates. Apart from the damage that this is doing at the interface between journalism and policy, the neglect and perversion of uncertainty is doing irreparable damage to journalism and to the public trust of environmental journalists."
When journalists no longer question the pronouncements of advocates -- political or scientific -- then they fail at their sacred trust.
Has Andrew Revkin become *that* kind of journalist here at Dot Earth? Is he "just another advocate"?
If I understand correctly, part of the criticism from "Climate Hawks" is that YOU don't take a strong stand. (For the record, NOT my criticism; im Gegenteil: a good journalist, like a good scientist, should not let his ideology cloud facts or data!). Nevertheless, they probably wonder why you're not fighting in the trenches like Joe Romm or Susan Goldenberg.
Keep your balance, your open mind and vor allem: keep playing music!
and, in support of Andy Revkin,
it was Revkin himself who posted the criticism on his own blog. Revkin doesn't make the silly statement that Dokoupil lacks a scientific background; indeed, none of Dokoupils' arguments are remotely scientific - they are about Revkin's attention being split between competing interests, his blog style, his interaction with commenters and hosted writers, and regaining his former gravitas: “... quite simply one of the very best reporters to ever push a green noun against a green verb in newsprint.”
Robert disagreed, but wmar has a response to that:
You forgot the most important part of the list:
The Data -
for that is what is primarily on Kip and Kurt's 'side'. When Andy notes this it is indeed refreshing and valuable.
Adrian O has a nice example of denial in response to Portia's quip "Man walks into a bar in the Kirabati Islands.
precisely mapped how Tarawa, the main atoll and the capital of Kiribati, has GROWN CONSIDERABLY in surface since 1940.
The study and a dozen others are quoted by the IPCC which mentions that out of ALL Pacific small islands measured, a large majority, 86%, are GROWING IN SURFACE or are stable.
IPCC concludes, in section 29.3.1. OBSERVED impacts on Island Coasts (2014)
Sea-level rise did not appear to be the primary control on
shoreline processes on these islands
So now that you see in detail that when measured the islands are NOT sinking, you have two alternatives
1) You are relieved. You were worried that islands are sinking, but now you know that careful maps and the IPCC show that that is not the case.
2) (sadly much more likely) You feel ambushed by right wing deniers, and you know better than to look at measurements, even official: you always choose propaganda, and think that measured reality is Satan. You want Andy's blog closed.
This can happen in two cases.
a) You are totally uninterested in those islands, but you NEED to feel desperate in order to feel good about yourself, or
b) You are totally uninterested in those islands, but you have considerable gain if you seed despair, e.g. you have green investments, you are a green CEO, etc.
Denver and Kirbati are submerged.
I'm going to include a comment by Robert to address some of the issues above lest I be repeating a bad message:
i see we're still not reading the material, AO. well, I'm here to help, though I do think that the masters of science generally do try and do their homework before spouting off.
1. Both the IPCC appendix and the unpublished study you cited agree on two things: a) sea levels generally continue to rise in the Pacific (and have risen approx. 200 mm. over the last 130 years).
2. The rises, together with other natural and "anthropogenic," events, continue to change islands, reefs and atolls in ways that are not clearly understood.
3. Very generally speaking, Kiribati's bigger islands have gained in area, while the smaller have lost area.
4. Some of this is wholly natural, in the sense that this sort of geography tends to move, shift, and change a fair amount.
5. However--and your authors are explicit about this--a large part of the reason that the larger islands have tended to grow is that more people live on them, and they've been building sea walls, retainers, dredges, etc. like crazy.
In brief, no, these islands don't just sink. (Actually they don't really sink at all; they get eroded away, the sea level rises, etc.) The processes involved are complex, just as they are with global warming.
However, the overall pattern is clear.
So read your own material, willya? And grow a sense of humor.
That there are denialist comments on Andy Revkin's blog is not an issue at all. What he or his editors allow is entirely up to them. My position on blogging comments will be well known to my own readers. There can't be hard and fast rules. It is entirely appropriate to exclude any and all trolls and at the same time it is entirely appropriate to allow their discussions. There is no free speech issue here (anyone who feels excluded from a given outlet can go get their own outlet). The problem, to reiterate but it probably needs to be said a couple of times, is that Andy Revkin's approach to many of the climate related issues is to give service to positions that are simply untenable and, very likely, damaging.
Andrew Revkin is not a climate science denialist. But he is occupying a space where, given the evolution of this issue in recent years, few who understand the severity of the problem occupy any more, for good reason. So, as long as people are lining up to advise Andrew Revkin as to what he should do, I'll add this. Take one of your feet off the dock or the boat, before you fall in!
Update Added June 25
In a response to my post, regarding my assertion that there is zero room for debate about the reality of climate change, Andy Revkin wrote, at Dot Earth:
“Zero room.” That’s scientific.
Yes, it is. There is zero room for debate when an issue has been pretty much settled. In science debate can come up anywhere, you never know, but for all practical purposes we do not debate if the Earth is hollow or solid or flat or round, or that germs cause many diseases, or that frogs reproduce as most other tetrapods do rather then spontaneously emerging from mud.
The Earth is warming. No room for debate there. Many factors affect global surface temperatures. Some are natural, some are human-caused. The sum of the natural effects does not produce the warming we see. The human effects have caused, over the last several decades, a certain amount of cooling (from aerosol pollutants) and a certain amount of warming (from greenhouse gas emissions and related positive feedbacks, and damage to Carbon sinks). So the warming trend is human caused. No room for debate there. Climate change is causing loss of life, damage to property, and threats to food production through drought and excessive rain. Sea levels can not possibly fail to rise over coming decades, wiping out coastal properties including human settlements, harbors, agricultural lands, etc. No room for debate on these effects. Killer heat waves have become more common and this will get much worse. No debate about that. Ocean acidification is happening and will get worse. This is not debated. There is some debate about how much we can adapt to some of these effects, but adaptation will be costly and there are limits. So, yes, there is some debate there. There is no debate that we need to keep the Carbon in the ground. There is some debate (but it is highly questionable) about the idea that we can get energy by releasing Carbon but at the same time use energy to un-release the Carbon. There are serious physical limitations to such an approach. There is a vibrant and real debate about which non-fossil-Carbon technologies we should use to produce energy, given the possible mix of technologies such as wind, PV solar, thermal solar, passive geothermal, tidal, hydro, and nuclear. That’s a real debate. There is real debate about pricing carbon or regulating energy production, about subsidies and incentives, etc.
So to repeat my original post, I said “… there is absolutely zero room for considering the reality of climate change or its severity.” Andy Revkin claimed that this is not true, that there is a debate. Until he said that I had not realized that Revkin was on the fence about the reality of climate change. I wrote “Andrew Revkin is not a climate science denialist,” but I have now been corrected. Apparently that is not true. This comes as an utter surprise to me.
And, in fact, I don’t believe it. I think his “that’s not scientific” argument was not well thought out, something of a knee-jerk reaction, in which you tell the person who seems to be disagreeing with you that they don’t know how to think rationally. (In fact, in his comments, he did that twice. Wrong both times.)
In the comments section (below) Andy wrote:
If you’d asked me about my comment policy and your concerns about my “fans” in that space I might have reminded you that comment contributors — as at most blogs — are a tiny subset of the overall readership. I find it puzzling that someone with scientific training would claim to detect significant trends in such a small and skewed sample (commenters tend to have lots of free time and strong opinions) and then use those “findings” to demean the work of someone whose second National Academy of Sciences Communication Award was for Dot Earth. It’s always imperfect. I don’t have enough time to vet all comments for factual content. Folks can feel free to dive into the conversations there or ignore them. They don’t even appear unless you click.
But I had written in my post “that there are denialist comments on Andy Revkin’s blog is not an issue at all. What he or his editors allow is entirely up to them. My position on blogging comments will be well known to my own readers. There can’t be hard and fast rules. It is entirely appropriate to exclude any and all trolls and at the same time it is entirely appropriate to allow their discussions.
I’m not talking about comments. As Andy and others have pointed out, denialist comments on Dot Earth get addressed by those who disagree. I often do the same thing on my blog.
The point I made in this (original) blog post is that Andy Revkin operates a forum that caters to a middle ground that has disappeared, and that feeding activity in this middle ground is counter-productive, demanding a cost we can’t afford to pay. That is my criticism. I further noted that this is important because of Andy’s cachet with the green community.
Susan Anderson (below) says:
Andy’s promotion of voices from the so-called middle has become a reliable indicator prompting people like me to, for example, look up the credentials and work of Martin Hoerling, Roger Pielke Jr., and a variety of others. I don’t remember if he promotes Lomborg.
Meanwhile, it is very sad, Andy is a fine writer, an excellent researcher, has a reputation deep and wide from his history (he turned around 2008), and is an attractive speaker who gets invited everywhere.
His less popular articles on local ecology and initiatives are more than fine, and it is sad that they are not given top billing by his audience, while the fight goes on … and on … and on … getting nowhere and encouraging apathy.
Well put, Susan.
Metzomagic (below) notes that Revkin brought some standard “middle of the road” questions to bear in his interview with Jeremy Shakun. Yes, he did, but if I was interviewing him I would have asked similar questions to give him an opportunity to address them, which he did. Indeed, Andy points out that the current change in surface temperatures is not so much as hockey stick but rather something much more serious and severe. (In thinking about an alternative to hockey stick to represent the shape of the time serious I keep coming back to various dentistry tools.) This makes me believe that Andy is is on board with the reality of and seriousness of climate change.
And that, really, is the problem as I see it. Andy has one foot on the dock, one foot on the boat, but he really wants to be on the dock. Questioning of the reality and importance of climate change, that boat won’t float. I think it is time for Any to just get himself fully and squarely on the dock.
Another update: This discussion continues with Andy Revkin's new post: In Weighing Responses to Climate Change, Severity and Uncertainty Matter More than ‘Reality’
The thing that bugs me about deniers and lukewarmers and so called AGW 'Skeptics", is that they have switched to a strategy that focuses less on the facts and data of AGW (on which they cannot win), and are now complaining about tone arguments and policy proposals of the so called 'warmists' ,who are portrayed as dogmatic and ideologues (who wants to be that...am i right).
This is a classic bullying tactic that can sway the sparsely informed observer (who is already usually politically motivated). It is also intellectually dishonest, as a question of science should be decided on...oh, I don't know...maybe science? Not what Al Gore's carbon footprint might be, or how butt hurt a person feels after a pro AGW blogger and their commenters smacks them down with a snarky post or comment that shows what a lot of hypocrites and or liars they are.
Contrast what they complain about, with the calm, factual, measured, and sober presentations of the climate scientists themselves (except when they are nastily attacked, sued, or backed into a corner). Those professionals conduct themselves in a manner that belies the claim that they are part of some monstrous cabal of cynical thieves who are out to bilk the public of those sweet , sweet research windfalls.
The people who honestly believe that what the vast majority of climate scientists have agreed on so far is not correct, need to do the hard work of proving their case in the court room of science, not the potboiler of politics, news outlets, pundits, opinions, or outrage machines.
At least Tony got in touch with me first before he wrote his piece.
If you'd asked me about my comment policy and your concerns about my "fans" in that space I might have reminded you that comment contributors -- as at most blogs -- are a tiny subset of the overall readership. I find it puzzling that someone with scientific training would claim to detect significant trends in such a small and skewed sample (commenters tend to have lots of free time and strong opinions) and then use those "findings" to demean the work of someone whose second National Academy of Sciences Communication Award was for Dot Earth. It's always imperfect. I don't have enough time to vet all comments for factual content. Folks can feel free to dive into the conversations there or ignore them. They don't even appear unless you click.
I maintain an open comment policy (with the usual rules for civility etc.) because every once in awhile I learn something that helps shape my reporting. I'm quite sure, for example, that it was the comment string that led me years ago to the brilliant sociological work of Robert Brulle at Drexel - just as one example.
p.s. Kip's "Trusted" status (also conferred on a heap of other commenters whose climate change concerns are more like yours) comes from a Times algorithm and is not within my control.
> a Times algorithm ... not within my control.
Could you list which of your regular commenters are in fact trustworthy? That is, do you have the time to weigh their contributions against what you can check? Apart from whether or not you'd share such opinion. I can't tell if you just blink mildly at some of the stuff regularly appearing there, or curse your fate for having to host them and grit your teeth.
I used to visit and try to focus on sources that can be cited; I gave up long ago because of frequent commenters were rebunking opinions, dominating the discussion.
Not my kind of place. Needs a good reference librarian, badly, I'd say. Someone to help people find facts.
I expect less and less from the Gray Lady, but I'd say that sort of fan is fairly common across the spectrum of green issues. Being in the middle enables you to make token instead of substantive changes. Making those big changes can cost you your career and your marriage, so it isn't surprising when people buy a bike but keep driving the car, or buy a ceiling fan but still run the air conditioning, and hope that something comes along to make everything better.
Several years ago, Jeffery St Clair did a series of Counterpunch articles on how leading environmental groups made their peace with industry. Those article links seem to be dead, but I quoted the first one here:
More recently, other writers at Counterpunch challenged the idea that we can fight climate change by switching to a green economy.
I hereby apologize for any negative comment I've ever made about you allowing denialist memes to drive the discussion....
Not really, since eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and all that, but... yeah. This is what I worry about; "teach the (non-existent) controversy."
But seriously, I think the real problem surfaced immediately:
> I don’t have enough time to vet all comments for
> factual content. ....“Trusted” status .... comes from
> a Times algorithm and is not within my control.
I didn' t know that. It's a brain-twister to find I've been fooled all this time by that "Trusted" label.
So what does this algorithm do? That in itself is a big, newsworthy story.
How do people become "Trusted" by the NYT -- who wouldn't be considered trustworthy by a competent reference librarian?
What criteria does the NYT use, since facts aren't in it?
Mr. Laden, I need some help in understanding your comment.
YOU SAY:Adrian O has a nice example of denial
My comment, which you reproduced, consisted of the following parts.
Part 1) A literal quote from the latest IPCC report, with the link to that report, referring to full section on observed effects, and stating that 86% of Pacific islands have grown in surface in the last 40 years.
Part 2) A literal quote from one of the many peer reviewed papers selected by the IPCC for that report, showing, together with the exact maps, how all islands in Kiribati, without exception, have grown in surface in the last 40 years (thus proving the comment of Robert, following mine, factually wrong,) and
Part 3) A comment on how someone who thought the opposite was true could be relieved that the islands are growing in surface or refuse to look at the data.
Here is where I need your help.
1) Is quoting the IPCC report in full, on observed effects on Pacific islands, in your view, an antiscientific denial? That is,
a) Is the IPCC report itself antiscientific denial, or
b) is quoting a section of it, in full, antiscientific denial?
2) Is quoting a peer reviewed paper provided by the IPCC as evidence, showing overlapping maps, in time, detailing exactly what happened to Kiribati, the subject at hand, in your view, an antiscientific denial?
a) Is the peer reviewed study antiscientific denial, or
b) are the maps of Kiribati antiscientific denial, individually, or
c) is the comparison of the maps, 40 years apart, antiscientific denial or
d) is my quoting it all, with a link, antiscientific denial?
The last and the least important of my comment referred to people being willing to look at measured data or not, and the reasons for that.
As a mathematical physicist, I am used, from the history of my discipline, to ask such precise questions.
Your answer detailing what part of my comment is scientific denial would be highly appreciated.
Following that, what do you suggest that Andrew Revkin should do.
1) Ban any reference to the IPCC
2) Ban any quote from the IPCC reports
3) Ban any reference to papers used in the IPCC
4) Ban any quotes from papers used in the IPCC
5) Ban any mention of, and links to, maps.
6) Ban any comments on how people face measured data.
I am sure that Andrew Revkin would appreciate your precise input as much as I do.
I'm occupied with other matters today and won't be able to address comments here as fully as I would like, but for now I just want to refer readers back to the post where they will find that this comment is not about comment policy, banning/not banning, or fee speech. I could not have been more clear about that. That is all for now, thank you very much. Carry on.
That series by Jeffrey St. Clair is still on Counterpunch, in the archives for 2011. It appears to have been revised and given new URLs.
You can start here and follow the links at the bottom to the parts — except that Part 4 is missing. Perhaps St. Clair never excerpted that part from his book Greenscare.
It seems to me as though Andy Revkin's comment here shows that he totally missed the point of this article.
Adrian O, of course, neglects to deal with Robert's main point:
5. However–and your authors are explicit about this–a large part of the reason that the larger islands have tended to grow is that more people live on them, and they’ve been building sea walls, retainers, dredges, etc. like crazy.
Literally quoting selected bits of the IPCC reports has little value if you don't also include the caveats. It's just quote mining. And it's disingenuous.
Christopher, thanks, I found a link to eleven of the articles. There are two part four links, only one is broken:
There was a kickstarter page, but I couldn't find evidence the Green Scare book was ever completed.
Readers of DotEarth comments will be familiar with me; I recently left because the bullying and distortions aimed at me in particular were, I felt, not only nasty but voided to some extent my usefulness in employing my voice to point past the nonsense. The comment section is a partly-owned subsidiary of WattsUpWithThat ("the world's most popular science blog"). I am the "susan" who has been added to all of Marc Morano doppelganger wmar's responses to Robert Out West. ROW is terrific, humorous, knowledgeable, and apparently willing to steer clear of the personal nastinesses and stick to the point. wmar is the cleverest at the sciencey look, and has also promoted WUWT world's appropriation of Richard Feynman, who would make very short work of them if he were alive. Kurt has been evolving in the dark art of making material look like real science to the layperson.
Adrian O is relatively harmless, because outside his fans he is demonstrably weird, carpetbombs comments, and uses childish insults so regularly that he undermines his points. He uses his authority as a scientist (Penn State, "Research Interests: Higher representation theory, combinatorics, operator algebras") to claim his biased work is real science and the large majority of climate science and related disciplines, and worldwide evidence, are a "scam". I contacted Andy Revkin to complain that a post including a video of Hitler and insults such as "slime" directly naming me was over the top. As far as I can tell, Andy supported AO, not me, in that effort. I'm guessing the idea is that if we respond at all, we are feeding trolls, and the cause rather than the victims of the bullying.
The comment above from Adrian O shows an evolution towards making his material look more plausible; unfortunately it is hard work and requires some expertise to identify each misleading pointer that distorts or changes the original, though if you don't mind contributing clicks to WUWT some of it will come from there.
Those of us over the years who have made an effort to reply to this nonsense have been subjected to such a variety of attacks and distortions that a wide range of excellent voices have left.
The comment section is now largely owned by WUWT fans who feed each other.
Andy's promotion of voices from the so-called middle has become a reliable indicator prompting people like me to, for example, look up the credentials and work of Martin Hoerling, Roger Pielke Jr., and a variety of others. I don't remember if he promotes Lomborg.
Meanwhile, it is very sad, Andy is a fine writer, an excellent researcher, has a reputation deep and wide from his history (he turned around 2008), and is an attractive speaker who gets invited everywhere.
His less popular articles on local ecology and initiatives are more than fine, and it is sad that they are not given top billing by his audience, while the fight goes on ... and on ... and on ... getting nowhere and encouraging apathy.
I have some hope that the Pope's beautifully written and constructed encyclical will get a critical mass to begin to realize that morality and ethics are important and we have a lot of work to do to survive the ongoing sixth extinction.
Yes, I know, that was all about what Greg Laden expressly suggests is beside the point, and I hope my "friends" here will forgive me for venting from a heavy and desperately worried heart and mind. To return to topic, this is more appropriate and bears repeating yet again:
The problem, to reiterate but it probably needs to be said a couple of times, is that Andy Revkin’s approach to many of the climate related issues is to give service to positions that are simply untenable and, very likely, damaging.
Andrew Revkin is not a climate science denialist. But he is occupying a space where, given the evolution of this issue in recent years, few who understand the severity of the problem occupy any more, for good reason.
metzomagic YOU SAY Literally quoting selected bits of the IPCC reports
The IPCC report which I quoted does not attribute surface growth to "sea walls, retainers, dredges" as Robert says.
On the contrary it mentions that
"In many locations changing patterns of human settlement and direct impacts on shoreline processes present immediate EROSION CHALLENGES in populated islands and coastal zones and mask attribution to sea-level rise"
that is, humans CAUSE erosion rather than PREVENT it through "sea walls, retainers, dredges" as Robert says.
The 86% of all islands which grew in surface contain islands from big to almost uninhabited small ones. In particular ALL islands of Kiribati, big and small, expanded in surface.
Robert's comment was factually wrong in its entirety, but you are right that I should have addressed him on all points, rather than only on some. I shall answer him right away.
Here is the relevant IPCC conclusion.
[On Kiribati] "sealevel rise was not likely to be the main influencing factor in these shoreline changes"
"Sea-level rise did not appear to be the primary control on
shoreline processes on these islands. On uninhabited Raine Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Dawson and Smithers
(2010) also found that shoreline processes were dynamic but that island area and volume increased 6 per cent and 4
per cent respectively between 1967 and 2007. Overall, these studies of observed shoreline change on reef islands
conclude that for rates of change experienced over recent decades normal seasonal erosion and accretion processes
appear to predominate over any long-term morphological trend or signal at this time"
I completely agree with you that quote mining is disingenuous.
How many people have referred to Pacific islands without mentioning the IPCC conclusion that "Sea level rise did not appear to be the primary control on shoreline processes on these islands"?
That would most certainly qualify for your concern.
I used to look at comments sections for additional information, but your story is reminiscent of so many comment sections I have frequented, and even administered. I quit reading one site because I worried that the misinformation in the comments would worm its way into my memory like all those cigarette jingles I'll never forget.
Hank Roberts, about "verified". I was one of the earliest invitees, delayed almost two years accepting because I wouldn't join Facebook. (They then removed the qualification and also allowed anonymity.) AFAIK, it is some combination of lots of comments, lots of votes, "editor's pick(s)", literacy, and politeness. They appear not to evaluate content at all, and are reluctant to remove a commenter (in fact my hissy fit mentioned above was because I refuse to deal with wmar, who had lost his standing and regained it and continues to target me personally even after I left).
This of course is catnip to professionals, who have all the time in the world, the discipline and training to not cross lines and be literate, and dedicated to spreading falsehood.
As to Andy, I'm pretty sure I'm one of his least favorites as I explained above, and I think "gritting his teeth" is about right. Perhaps the fact that I am answering a question addressed to him is part of the problem ;)
I think the NYT is now paying more attention to complaints, which Andy had previously said he ignored. So a rude comment can pass under the radar if nobody complains..
"I completely agree with you that quote mining is disingenuous."
So is drawing false conclusions. i.e. the quotes from the IPCC report that you're so fond of are discussing the currently measurable effects of sea level rise on certain islands.
You, of course, twist this into a claim that sea levels aren't rising.
I quit reading Revkin's blog some years ago. He is, as Greg suggests, trying to walk a middle ground where no middle ground really exists. He's a sucker for RPJr, among other things.
dhogaza "You, of course, twist this into a claim that sea levels aren’t rising."
Did you see any such thing in any of my comments? Are you perhaps mistaking me for someone else? I have always studied the sea rise very carefully, and seas definitely rise.
Look, you can take for instance the NOAA gauge at The Battery, in NYC,
and check that the sea levels ARE rising.
At EXACTLY the same rate since Abraham Lincoln's time, since when they are measured.
The sea gauges with more than 100 years on the same NOAA site, ALL show sea rise. ALL at EXACTLY the same rate for more than 100 years.
Which makes the sea rise, as you can imagine, very hard to slow down or stop, what with 80% of all historic industrial emissions being AFTER 1950 and not accelerating the sea rise at all at any given gauge.
In the comments above I only referred to the IPCC conclusion, which they repeated twice in the 4th report, that
"Sea-level rise did not appear to be the primary control on shoreline processes on [Pacific] islands"
I am glad that you fully agree with it (since you had no objections to it), and hope that you will mention it every time you speak about climate and the Pacific islands.
Anyway, the fact that 86% have their surface constant or growing is not a bad thing, I hope you agree.
That is what such forums are about.
"nulla in verbiam" as the Royal Society took for its motto,
Don't take anyone's word for it, and always check everything by yourself.
You'll be surprised!
Susan A "if you don’t mind contributing clicks to WUWT some of it will come from there"
Not at all. I wouldn't trust them more than anyone else. I ALWAYS check the data for EVERY aspect of the climate change by myself.
If you follow the thread on Dot Earth, the link to the IPCC report on Pacific islands which I discussed came from Robert OW himself.
He unfortunately completely misunderstood what it said, so I tried to be of help by reading it carefully.
As to WUWT, please feel free to check - I did not take anything from there or from anywhere else.
I would not be too concerned about changing the statistics at WUWT with your clicks. At their current more than 100000 clicks a day, or 240 million in total, your click or mine wouldn't tip the scales...
It seems as though some people here are too preoccupied with a burned-out landing gear light, allowing Planet Earth to crash and burn while they keep everyone distracted over minor incidentals...
I'm another early divester of Dot.earth, for exactly the reasons that others cite - a penchant for the false middle and the dog-whistling of those who are predisposed to logically-fallacious ideology over substance.
It's a sad reflection on society that there's an appetite for such fence-sitting nonsense.
Dot.earth's penchant, that is - not mine!
I gave up on Andy when he attacked Jeremy Shaken in this interview, shortly after the publication of Marcott et. al. 2013:
Andy is regurgitating arguments straight from McIntyre, about how the temporal resolution of the proxies might not have been good enough to detect, say, a 1C spike in temps that occurred so fast the proxies missed it. Yeah, pull the other one. What would be the physical basis for such a spike? Just because you can theorise something doesn't mean it's physically possible. That's where McIntyre falls down every time, and uncritical souls like Andy just seem to lap this sort of thing up.
Nah, Andy's always been a 'luckwarmer'. And Dot Earth has become a haven for the mitigation skeptics, as Victor Venema so appropriately tags them.
re Shaken, I think it's Jeremy Shakun.
Thanks. Time to let go, but not before I point at this egregious mess. In reader's picks, and aslo Andy's flirtation with McIntyre. It was a true low point. It opened my eyes to the dedicated efforts to discredit the climate record by the McIntyre nasties; I had previously thought it couldn't get worse, then it did. I am the top non-denier if you scroll down, well below McIntyre and Mosher.
There have also been hints of "I'm not a scientist" in the clinging to the false middle, and I think since his stroke he really is persuaded by the sciencey looking stuff that there is more of a question than there is. I have the advantage in that I can't do the calculus and therefore do my (not so) old lady kicking the tires thing, instead of appointing myself the adjudicator.
The way this changed DotEarth for the worse is etched in my memory, as it also represented an escalation in the personal bullying. We started out as a band of friends that included Andy.
Andy, congratulations on your awards, but... Let's face it, it probably doesn't mean what you think it means. For instance, also at the NYT, didn't Judith Miller have a Pulitzer? It didn't stop her from gleefully and righteously endorsing scam monkey claptrap on Iraq.
IMO, you triangulating insiders are all just a little too self-satisfied to move outside your comfort zones. Thanks for providing a safe sandbox where cherry pickers can perfect and spread their rhetorical perfidy.
By pinpointing the “zero room” comment, Andy got right to the heart of the problem, and even cued a more specific elaboration from Greg of “zero room for debate.”
There’s your problem. In just two words you’ve captured much of the core of the failed climate movement of the past decade. And it is failed, given that there was once climate legislation in the works and bipartisan support for action, but today there’s nothing.
In 2006 Gore’s movie gave rise to the misguided “there is no debate” communication strategy. It took Climategate and Jon Stewart ridiculing the climate science community to show that actually there very much is a debate if you use the broader public’s definition of the word “debate” (that half the public does not support climate action) rather than the academic community definition (all the data point one way).
“Zero room” captures the self-defeating arrogance and tone deafness that has characterized the American environmental community for decades. Thank you, Greg, for distilling it down to just two words.
Though I doubt Adrian O fools a single person here, for the record ...
"Sea Level" does not characterize the AGW issue, even though some here may wish to elevate it to encompass (and decide) AGW legitimacy.
Don't let it become a red herring to distract from the major issues regarding AGW and the pressing need for policy!
Randy, there is zero debate among scientists that global warming is happening, is important and dangerous, and is caused by humans.
Among the science deniers, there is these days almost zero debate as well. Most deniers will admit that the surface of the planet is warmed. Very few will stick with the position that it is not humans doing it. Some will even say that we should do something about it.
I know you know this: The approach to "debating" climate change is to debate whatever points are plausible in the given context, giving up on those points when the context shifts and switching to other points.
The point here is not that there is or is not global warming. That is simply settled. The point is that many of those engaging int he public conversation are claiming that there is a debate. We expect out-and-out science denialists to do this. But the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, most of the other outlets give allow the idea that there is a debate space in the form of a false debate.
Now, we don't differ that much, you and me, on communication issues, as you know. But here we may. Over the last 2 years or less (really, mostly over the last year) tireless and intentional work has gone into getting the major outlets to change what they do, to not allow a false debate, to shift from "skeptic" to "denier" in their rhetoric, to not randomly and thoughtlessly print insane yammering anti-climate change science letters in their papers or on their sites. This is having an effect. It is observable and measurable.
You are absolutely correct that the public understanding of "debate" is not the same as in mainstream science, where the debate shifts away from questions that are as resolved as they get in science. But that is precisely because the false balance has been maintained by reporters and editors of major news outlets who themselves have usually known nothing at all about the issue they are reporting on. They are not even trying to do something. They are, instead, getting away without actually doing their jobs.
That is changing, and changing fairly rapidly. And, again, it is changing because of targeted efforts to make it change in combination with the simple fact that when it comes to those issues outlined above, there is in fact zero debate.
There isn't a way to frame climate change that can't be reframed to undermine efforts to address climate change. Even excellent efforts to frame climate change effectively will be outspent by the hundreds of millions of dollars that are earmarked to undo that work. But the media is a way to affect the public conversation despite that.
Half the people in this country would use the "n-word" if they could. But they can't any more. That did not happen because academics who study race and racism convinced them, or because among those who study race, there is "zero debate" about this or that aspect. It happened because a media-drive shift in society happened and they learned to STFU. That, in turn, works at the edges of public conversation. It does not help in the homes where racism is regularly part of the conversation, but it works in the schools, public places, down the block, where the ascending generation is not simply SingTFU, but also, simply not learning the racist rhetoric.
Similarly, it has become normal for people who identify with certain political movements (ie the GOP) to assume that climate change is a left wing liberal plot hatched by Al Gore. Maybe Al Gore's book and speeches on the issue caused all of that to happen, but there is a LOT more written and spoken rhetoric on the other side that people right of center actually listen to that is much more likely the cause of this. Maybe if instead of An Inconvenient Truth, Sizzle got the same amount of air time, this would all be fixed. But I don't think so. Sizzle times ten plus Al Gore times ten, and all of that squared, is one fifth of a Rush Limbaugh and one third of a GOP that decided at some point to get totally in bed with the Koch brothers.
I was long puzzled about how one person could write such good articles and such bad articles and come away as confused as Revkin does.
I eventually came to realize that Revkin is the Larry King of the environment. He tries to portray everyone he encounters in the best possible light. Seen that way, what he does is forgivable; even commendable. The reader simply is looking in the wrong place for a coherent worldview.
Revkin is not really a scientist. So he has no basis for deciding which opinions are beyond the pale scientifically, and is naturally averse to anyone saying anything is entirely off the table.
Unfortunately, he is a good representative of how the policy sector and the commentariat is processing the information they are getting. It's not false balance; it's just uninformed balance.
You'd think being an intelligent person having talked to so many intelligent people would give Revkin a leg up on actually forming a realistic worldview. His gravitation to the BTI muddle instead is not surprising, though. MOST INTELLIGENT PEOPLE who don't have scientific training gravitate to the BTI muddle.
Their posture satisfies inexpert people's heuristic for reliability more successfully than core climate science does.
Unfortunately, reality cares little for our priors.
The Times should and could do better in choosing science reporters who understand science. But it isn't easy, and it isn't a core service for their business. (To be fair, the current work by Justin Gillis is much better than Revkin's insofar as it shows some understanding of the actual outlines of the problems we face.)
But in general, good reporting on policy-relevant science will have to emerge from the science community rather than the journalism community. The press just doesn't seem to have the capacity to do it.
Regarding the sea level topic, we are seeing here yet another example of the minimizer's strategy of looking at a sufficiently small subset of the data as to avoid telling any compelling story.
This graph is rather more interesting:
That's lukewarmism for you - look at a small enough set of data and all you see is noise. Victory!
It's a peculiar sort of science that combs through signal in search of noise.
" the minimizer’s strategy of looking at a sufficiently small subset of the data as to avoid telling any compelling story."
right, I'd noticed his restriction to a subset of tidal gauges with records going back at least a century, and decided to ignore and just post a link to a graph. The choice of dataset is quite obviously carefully chosen.
Greg seems to argue that any climate change is infinitely bad. If the world would warm by 0.01C per century than catastrophe would strike. How odd.
The only reason you need to oppose any "solution" to CAGW is the vile nature of it's proponents. Alarmists are the new American Taliban.
"Greg seems to argue that any climate change is infinitely bad. If the world would warm by 0.01C per century than catastrophe would strike. How odd."
As is typical, Tol left his reading comprehension at the door.
Policy analysis deands a clear distinction between present dangers presented by existing things, and future fears arising from beliefs.
As Oreskes presciently pointed out in Science in 1994,;"models are not things.
dhogaza What I said is certainly correct, that all sea gauges with >100 years records show no acceleration whatsoever.
See for instance a very careful study, with tables, of ALL such gauges, here
Houston and Dean
In the graph you brought up, they changed the gauges mid way. That is like starting a weight study with ants, and changing mid way to elephants.
It doesn't mean that ants grew, only that elephants are different.
If you switch mid way to satellites which measure something different all together, it's even more so.
But if you keep for 150 years to THE SAME gauge, wherever that gauge is, you see that sea level rise was the same in the age of horses and carriages as in the age of automobiles.
Susan, in the link which you brought
Jeremy Shakun, a main author of the paper says
"Thus, the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions. "
Unfortunately the skepticalscience site got confused, and is using that paper PRECISELY for the 20th century of it, which is there marked in red, as being statistically robust, representative of global temperature changes, and they make it the basis of THEIR conclusions.
That is exactly opposite to what the paper authors said.
That is why you have to read such papers by yourself, rather than rely on various websites to do it for you.
mt The reconstruction that you brought
shows indeed that during the civil war something changed the slope of sea rise (in the reconstruction)
(the last notch is 500 years, so the big change is 150 years ago)
which then stayed about the same for the last century, just as emissions increased by a factor of 10.
That thing, which happened in Lincoln's time (in the reconstruction,) that is what we need to find and change.
"nearly all policy-relevant questions are dependent on understanding the pace of sea-level rise or warming"
Greg, you have done a great job here. I just want to emphasize the point I often make; this quote is another example of the tactic of denial-by-implication.
The settled science gives us a pretty solid value for the energy anomaly caused by CO2. If we accept that value, then what exactly is the question that must be answered in order to undertake immediate measures to reduce FF burning? What number for what metric?
Of course, there is no such question or answer. The goalposts will move on and on, exactly like the tobacco campaign and others. And subtly, there will always be that implied challenge to the underlying, yes, settled, physics.
The pace of sea level rise is certainly important but its relevance to policy is probably not as often assumed. Also, when we see the estimates of a given out come change almost always in the same direction, we might want to guess that there are as yet not fully understood factors at play, either in bias in how prior estimates were made or in a changing underlying dynamic.
Transforming uncertainty about sea level rise into a suggestion of it being less important is exactly the opposite of one normally does with increasing uncertainty, especially given that much of the impact will be on real estate values, major infrastructure, and food production. It is like saying "I know less than ever about how likely my house will be still standing at some point in the future, therefore I will charge more for it when I sell it." Good luck with that strategy.
" But there is absolutely zero room for considering the reality of climate change or its severity."
Well, it seems all this kerfuffle is about this one sentence.
I propose that there's a matter of interpretation at issue.
Certainly there is plenty of room for questioning HOW severe various aspects of climate change will be. But it is clear that it is sufficiently severe that action is overdue. In that sense questioning its "severity" makes no sense, and entertaining that question is not advancing the conversation.
So I'd have to say that it should be phrased differently. Bloggers rarely have editors. And I might have missed that on review because I know what he means.
The trouble is that journalists and political actors live in the gotcha world. And there certainly is a gotcha here.
I'm disappointed that David Roberts gets on the bandwagon here of critiquing Greg here. I continue to believe that David is our star player. But usually when David is wrong (okay, usually when I disagree with David) it's because he has a journalist's/pundit's hat on.
” But there is absolutely zero room for considering the reality of climate change or its severity that it is already severe and will be more severe in the future.”
"Transforming uncertainty about sea level rise into a suggestion of it being less important is exactly the opposite of one normally does with increasing uncertainty"
Yes, but the point is that that is not what these people are doing. If we can't yet predict local effects with great specificity, we may hesitate in choosing a strategy for adaptation, like whether to build a seawall or plan a retreat. Of course.
But that uncertainty is being used as an argument against mitigation, not against adaptation-- they are saying "CO2 is not such a problem, because this metric or that shows some variation".
Ask Revkin (or any of these people) to describe the scientific "best case scenario" if we fail to start reducing CO2 now. Ask them what the odds are of that scenario v "pretty bad case".
You will not get an answer.
MT: It is not much of a gotcha.
Zebra, I think we can in fact predict what the local effects are. There is a number we can say with high confidence is associated with the 400-500ppm CO2 range in the past, below which it is highly unlikely that SLR will not reach. It is a fairly large number given the proximity of so much infrastructure, real estate, and food production to the coast. The uncertainty is about when, which translates exactly into uncertainty as to which future generation will experience the full effects. For this to affect policy of keeping the Carbon in the ground, one has to decide which future generation is worth less to us. That is not really an option. Or at least, not a moral option.
"MT: It is not much of a gotcha."
I agree, really it's not. It's a cherry-pick (a rotten cherry pick). Which can be blown up into a big deal by stripping context.
That's what makes it a gotcha. There's nothing real here.
There may be a real issue in how to communicate this issue, and you or I or others may have made mistakes. But among such mistakes this one is a trivial one, and it's a very poor representative to be making a big deal out of. A "charitable" reading (i.e., one which presumes good faith) would have picked up the intended meaning.
Adrian O @44
"Unfortunately the skepticalscience site got confused, and is using that paper PRECISELY for the 20th century of it, which is there marked in red, as being statistically robust, representative of global temperature changes, and they make it the basis of THEIR conclusions."
This is a serious distortion of what the Skeptical Science piece says and shows. That red part is the HADCRUT record, NOT the Marcott et al reconstruction. The latter is blue throughout.
Regarding Houston & Dean:
"...good articles and such bad articles..."
Well, it's the good form and questionable content thing. What seems to be leaking into DotEarth is teaching the controversy, which is pretty well understood by now to be not a good communications strategy by people who have to deal with its consequences.
However controversy sells eyeballs to advertisers. It's expected now, part of the zeitgeist, inaccurately considered Socratic, and BAU for journalists. That's not to say that Revkin doesn't come by it honestly. If he's a recovering denialist, the controversy may be what gets his juices flowing.
That doesn't make it responsible, IMO. There are resources where any potential Huxley can easily go and, by rubbing shoulders with actual scientists, pick up reliable nuanced views and attitudes toward the science. RealClimate is one of those, and I know Revkin reads there. He just doesn't quite seem to get the message.
Greg --Thanks for quoting me in your column. Always good to see my opinions getting out to a wider audience. By the way, I am not always a Revkin fan myself -- see mine at :
BTW -- The NY Times no longer has "Trusted Commenters".
If one mouses over the little green check next to my name, for example, ones see this tool tip:
"Verified Commenters can leave comments on NYTimes.com without initial moderation. Verified status is earned based on a history of quality comments."
The Verified Commenter program is a newspaper-wide feature and is not under the control of journalists or bloggers there.
Being a Verified Commenter means that you are who you say you are in that you respond to the email address you've used to open your account, that you have been posting for some length of time without being bin-bucketed by the auto-magic comment checker, and that your comments are not reported as violating NY Times commenting policy in general. I have no idea if the program inviting commenters to be verified is still running.
It also means that it is hard to bring something to the attention of the journalist or blogger whose writing you are commenting on. He never sees your comment as it by-passes moderation.
I sometimes also email my comments to Revkin, for instance, if I particularly want him to see it.
Marco The Rahmstorf & Vermeer note you cited in no way contradicts the fact that the >100 year old gauges, like the 150 year old in NYC, show no acceleration whatsoever.
They say that if you take some Pacific island with a new gauge, and give that gauge the weight of the Pacific, then you may see some acceleration. In fact, you NEED long term gauges for acceleration to make sense.
But long term gauges, and there are many of them, show no acceleration whatsoever.
If you look at satellites, since they were started they show no acceleration either, unless that is put in by hand.
That excludes the possibility that "missing heat" would hide into the oceans, since that would produce extra dilation.
President Obama promised in 2008 that sea level rise will slow during his administration, and he has another 1 1/2 years to make it happen.
Marco The authors of the Marcott paper said clearly that their paper should NOT be used for comparisons within the 20th century.
Switching to another way of measuring AND using Marcott's paper to make statements about the 20th century, which is what skepticalscience did, is doubly wrong.
As a last thought about sea levels, the EPA CAFE regulations state that the hoped for effect of $1000 billion spent on mitigation,
the hoped for effect is sea levels 1mm lower, a century from now, than they would otherwise be
Instead of sea rise by 1 ft, $1000 billion might result in a 1 ft minus 1 mm rise.
As they thought that the figure might not be impressive, in the new power plants regulations the EPA stated that the hoped for effects of climate regulations on climate will henceforth no longer be computed.
Instead, a secret procedure produces directly cash benefits, using a secret formula.
I just went outside and banged my head against a brick wall for about a half hour or so, and I feel a lot better now. I even forgot what I was going to say to Adrian O. Oh well.
"There is a number we can say with high confidence is associated with the 400-500ppm CO2 range in the past, below which it is highly unlikely that SLR will not reach."
How do you know that?
If you have somehow acquired the stratigraphic, isostasic and palaeotectonic data needed to integrate the volume and average depth of ocean basins in past epochs, please do publish the result .
I used to lurk and occasionally comment at Revkin's, but as Ms. Anderson says, "The comment section is now largely owned by WUWT fans who feed each other", so that lately one comes away from Dot Earth knowing less than one did before. It was the likes of Adrian O, Mike Mangan and another acutely DK-afflicted party calling itself wmar who convinced me it was no longer a forum worth frequenting.
Determined AGW-deniers who think the "debate" can be won with rhetoric, and who gleefully persist in their counter-factual or simply irrational arguments rather than acknowledge the actual evidence, are nothing more than a vexation to the spirit. Yet Andy welcomes them as long as they're "civil". Sorry, Andy, life's just too short, and AGW too important, to indulge deliberate obstructionism however civil.
Here is some food for thought:
There is a huge misunderstanding in the role of SO2 aerosols in climate change.
Yes, they do cause some dimming when present, and as such are included in the IPCC graph of radiative forcing, as a negative forcing.
However, when they are removed from the atmosphere via Clean Air efforts, warming will naturally occur, a positive forcing which the IPCC ignores.
In fact, this forcing is so large that there can never have been any warming due to greenhouse gasses (approx. 02 deg. C. of warming for each Megatonne of net decrease in global SO2 emissions).
I have posted an extensive discussion of the above at:
(This is shameless self-promotion, but I am convinced that I am correct and the implications are so grave that this topic needs to be carefully reviewed. Valid criticisms welcomed)
Post CAA reduction does not explain this warning. In case anybody took that comment seriously. Now you know.
Adrian, that is now the second time you misrepresent the Skeptical Science piece and Marcott et al. Both discuss the 20th century warming with respect to the temperature record. That's right, BOTH do. The proxy reconstruction is not robust in the 20th century, but there we have another excellent data set: the temperature record from surface stations and ocean measurements.
And to follow up on that sea level rise thing: >100 year tide gauges *do* show acceleration. You may want to read the realclimate article again (and Rahmstorf & Vermeer's comment to Houston & Dean), and you will once again note that Houson & Dean had to cherry pick a period of less(!) than 100 years and starting around 1930 to find no acceleration. They also ignored a known important correction of water storage changes. With that correction the acceleration since 1930 is statistically not significant, rather than any supposed deceleration.
You then also manage to ignore that sea level rise is not solely a matter of increasing temperature. Thus, your claim that a supposed lack of acceleration is indicative there is no extra heat stored in the oceans is not substantiated by just that parameter.
Most of you are to intelligent to pay attention to Mangan. But since I said:
dedicated efforts to discredit the climate record by the McIntyre nasties; I had previously thought it couldn’t get worse, then it did.
Mike Mangan, who was prominent in the McIntyre insult fest, replied:
The only reason you need to oppose any “solution” to CAGW is the vile nature of it’s proponents. Alarmists are the new American Taliban.
I rest my case. (Thanks for leaving this stellar bonkers.)
Further to that, please note that reason will not work with this belief system, which is entirely closed. People who believe this stuff (although they rely on scientific progress in health care, computers, and other mod cons, even advanced weaponry) are acquiring vast armories.
Anything that improves and explains the temperature record is top priority on their attack list.
WRT Adrian O, he is making an effort to suppress his displays of hatred in the form of insult, and is therefore more dangerous to the scientifically illiterate who are impressed by the "look" and phony verbiage.
Answering only encourages him.
I am convinced that I am correct and the implications are so grave that this topic needs to be carefully reviewed. Valid criticisms welcomed
It isn't necessary to give Watts clicks in order to criticize you. Sorry, Burl, it isn't science unless it's published in a more formally refereed venue than WUWT. Of course you're convinced you're right, but that doesn't mean you are. "The first rule [of science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool." (Feynman). That's why scientists submit their ideas to peer review. And not just by other Watties: your scientific peers are the trained and disciplined scientists whose own research on your subject has been published after passing formal peer review.
In science, "peer review" is a formal process, conducted under rules that scientists learn during their training. The goal of formal peer review is publication of your research in a journal (print or electronic) that experts in the field consider credible based on its history. Again, those experts are identified by their own record of successful publication in peer-reviewed venues. It's up to them to judge how correct you are.
So go for it, Burl. Write your theory that "there can never have been any warming due to greenhouse gasses" up for publication, and submit it to, say, Climatic Change. Let us know its date of publication, and I for one will read it. And once you're published, you'll be a peer yourself 8^)!
Thank you for your comments. I'll follow up by submitting a paper.
I have been hesitatng to do so because there are dozens (hundreds?) of peer-reviewed papers
confirming greenhouse gas scenarios which will be proven to be wrong, if I am correct.
So far, I have been attempting to have others consider my data and use their own intellect to decide the merits of my thesis, rather than rely only upon a peer-reviewed consensus.
But I have to concede that it has not
Greg Laden, please correct spelling to Jeremy Shakun in your article. I know it's a quibble, but we are trying to stick up for the truth here.
Burl, what are the top three papers in peer reviewed journals that your paper will obviate?
Sorry, I can't answer that. I don't have a library of such papers at hand to choose from.
But any paper maintaining warming due to greenhouse gasses would be a candidate.
Burl, you got plenty of input at ATTP. You then just went in circles, not understanding (I am being kind here) the contrary data provided to you by several commenters. One was people showing *global* aerosols have increased since the 1930s (no drop required for your hypothesis) and leveling off since 1975 (again not the fall required for your hypotesis), where you just kept on focusing on the US data alone. You also did not understand the huge difference in stratospheric and (lower) tropospheric aerosol lifetime, despite people pointing it out to you several times.
I thus urge others here (and Greg in particular) to be careful in responding to Burl, as you can expect to go around in circles over and over with someone who does not understand some very, very, very basic concepts (US =/ global, and amounts =/ lifetime).
My thesis has admittedly been a "work in progress" but I believe that I have now countered all of the objections raised in ATTP and my conclusions remain the same, and are firmed up with more data.
Please read my essay at: httpwattsupwiththat.com/the-role-of-sulfur-dioxide-aerosols-in-climate-change/ and respond with any other objections.
Of special note is my conclusion that there is no climatic difference between stratospheric and tropospheric aerosols, except that tropospheric aerosols have a much longer effective lifetime
If there's no debate, why in the name of semantic agression won't climate sensititv do what it's told, and converge on a single value ?
As much as some would like to browbeat their way to victory in the Climate Wars, redefining terms to prevail in scientific controversies is not the same as winning them by experiment., and we remain shockingly ignorant of how to accurately estimate the partition of energy in cmplex dynamic systems of large and varied thermal mass:
The debate won't be over until variables like CO2 doubling sensitivity are as un-controversial as the gravitstional constant
All too many climate activists remain in denial as to the moral hazards of semantic agression, including political triumphalism.
There's debate and then there's debate. Are you trying to give the debating club FUD artists a pass by playing on verbal ambiguity à la, well, debating club FUD artists? Not that you don't have a point, I'm just not sure you're helping.
And just for the record "the debate" will never be over in the minds of some. After all, you can win the war, and 150 years later you might be even be able to take down the flag of sedition, bigotry, and ignorance, but they'll still think that the old ways will rise again... And again.
Just like, you know, any day now Noah's ark will be found in the mountains of Turkey, and god's a gonna rapture the righteous straight outta their pajamas.
We need to get going on dialing back the pollution, and stop pretending obstructionists aren't just being ideologic jerks.
"we remain shockingly ignorant of how to accurately estimate the partition of energy in cmplex dynamic systems of large and varied thermal mass:
The debate won’t be over until variables like CO2 doubling sensitivity are as un-controversial as the gravitstional constant"
Or, is this some kind of circular reasoning-- "the debate is the question of CO2 doubling sensitivity"?
It is exactly because the energy anomaly caused by CO2 is not uniformly partitioned in our complex climate system that we must act.
There is no good outcome to continuing to force an increase in the energy anomaly; if you think there is, let's hear it.
I (like every person in congress) am not a climate scientists, so I have to rely on people much smarter and educated than me to evaluate risks regarding AGW.
Those climate scientists do wrestle with constraining the upper and lower boundaries of climate sensitivity (a normal part of scientific inquiry), and what they have proposed so far generally show a range of about 2C to 4.5C with 3C being the most likely.
There are wider estimates that go as low as 1C to about 5C, and even higher. The point is that the lower boundary is pretty tightly constrained, whereas the upper boundary has a much longer tail of uncertainty. So for me, if you are selling the notion of uncertainty, then you have me much more worried than reassured.
Mal, aftet 2.7 centuries of measuring G , its value is agreed upon to six decimal places.
After 119 years of hot pursuit, he first digit of CO2 doubling sensitivity remains at large.
Weighing the Earth is a lot easier than predicting its thermal equilibrium.
Zabra, while radiative climate forcing is scarcely more contoversial than the force of gravity, it is simply too feeble to sustain the rhetorical heat the subject commands.
A quarter century ago a certain former vice president decalred a "climate crisis" on the strength of a rate of change of ~1 microdegree an hour.
219,144 hours and as many microdegrees later , his cause is in hot water because, objectively speaking , few men or frogs can detect the delta T that radiative forcing has delivered, leaving many inidisposed to surrender power to anyone on the strength of climate channge as policy imperative.
As with inflation, the rate really is what matters.
#82 Russel Seitz,
Thanks for confirming my comments to Greg.
Are you getting this, Greg? Do you see how the discussion is always shifted from the settled science of radiative forcing to the vagaries of averaging temperature over a complex system?
Somehow, because some metric doesn't meet some (never specified) value with some (never specified) precision, CO2 has a "feeble" effect, so "feeble" as to be essentially nonexistent.
Power and privilege are never "surrendered", whatever the evidence. Dishonest to suggest otherwise.
It takes long campaigns and voting and legal efforts, as we see in the news lately.
It continues to baffle me that otherwise sensible people think lowering climate sensitivity solves anything. That only works if time stops sometime along the progression.
Seems to me uncertainty is not our friend, and focusing only on low values is pretty much meaningless.
Yo! Rusty! Who you calling' a hot head, huh? Huh? Why I oughtta... C'm on, put up yer dukes! Put 'em up!!!
Seriously vato, it's a jungle out there and the weather's not fit for man nor bow tie.
"Of special note is my conclusion that there is no climatic difference between stratospheric and tropospheric aerosols, except that tropospheric aerosols have a much longer effective lifetime"
If your data shows tropospheric aerosols have a longer lifetime than stratospheric aerosols, you have made a mistake in your analysis. Such basic stuff wrong means the rest is bound to be even more wrong.
If you would read my essay you would see why I came to the stated conclusion.
Actually, the "basic stuff" that you refer to is true of only intermittent sources. The bulk of anthropogenic SO2 emissions come from relatively constant sources, such as power plants, where their emissions are constantly being renewed, giving them an effective lifetime far longer than anything injected into the stratosphere, ending only when they are modified to reduce emissions, or are shut down.
If you want to check the effects of CO2 on temperatures by yourself, which is a good thing to do in science,
You can use the database MODTRAN the atmospheric data used by the US Air Force, which shows effects of CO2 in the atmosphere (as opposed to in the lab).
Play around with data at
LOOKING UP sensor altitude 0 humidity 50%
CO2 0, 400, 800, 1200 ppm: result SAME 365.81 W/m^2
Thus: No difference made by CO2
LOOKING DOWN sensor altitude 70km Standard Cirrus Model
1976 US standard atmosphere
co2 400 rel hum 50%: result Iout W/m^2 = 162.589 W/m^2
co2 1200 rel hum 49%: result Iout W/m^2 = 162.589 W/m^2
Thus: Tripling CO2 to 1200 ppm has the same effect as 1% change in relative humidity.
MT: "Revkin is the Larry King of the environment."
Hmm, too polite by half. I'd say he's the Tim Russert of the environment.
Russell, your affected ignorance is showing. Single-value sensitivity? That's so 2005.
Burl: ""Sorry, I can’t answer that. I don’t have a library of such papers at hand to choose from.
But any paper maintaining warming due to greenhouse gasses would be a candidate."
"I don't know about the published peer reviewed literature" (the meaning of what you said) is a very poor argument that your ideas must be right and would devastate existing peer reviewed literature.
Russell: "If there’s no debate, why in the name of semantic agression won’t climate sensititv do what it’s told, and converge on a single value ?"
As stated, there is debate over climate sensitivity, and no one expects the value to converge until it converges ... i.e., it is the surface response decades after a doubling. So we'd need the doubling then the surface response to actually have the value itself.
On the gravitational constant vs. climate sensitivity, they are two very very different beasts in both how they are attained and what they mean. Also, the gravitational constant is something that is assumed to exist where the assumption is very strong and empirically demonstrable, but there is no agreed on reason to predict it. Climate sensitivity is agreed to exist as a prediction, but with a currently large margin of uncertainty because the system is very complex.
The gravitational constant is a starting point a basic number. Climate sensitivity is nothing like that; it is the integration of multiple complex dynamic subsystems some of which can be very well understood but very variable anyway. If you ran the history of the universe over and over, the gravitational constant would be the same each time, but the Earth's 21st century climate sensitivity would never be the same twice, even in almost identical runs.
"If you have somehow acquired the stratigraphic, isostasic and palaeotectonic data needed to integrate the volume and average depth of ocean basins in past epochs, please do publish the result ."
As someone who's pretty familiar with the relevant literature, I can hardly begin to say how idiotic this challenge is. That literature is vast, and while there are many details yet to be filled in the basic picture is quite clear.
Russell "How do you know that?"
Good question. From the paleo record. The paleo record is interesting because it is like a very detailed climate model, including all variables that exist and run at the level of each molecule of matter and each micro-whatever of energy, and the model is absolutely perfect.
It turns out that the range of possible sea levels is pretty large, which is why I went for a low number above which the observed values fall. That range, by the way, reflects in part what I said just above about climate sensitivity, as well as other changes, and of course, inaccuracies in reading the record, which are constantly being narrowed down with more and more research.
So Adrian O is an out-and-out denier of the basic fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
Why am I not surprised?
Any particular reason why Adrian O is being allowed to flood this space with his drivel, Greg? He's a classic Gish Galloper as demonstrated above - having been thwarted in his misrepresentation of sea level rise, he's moved on to misprepresenting the physics of CO2 in the atmosphere. If anyone bothers to counter him on this, he has hundreds of cut-and-paste snippets, well-worn, all seen in the past at DotEarth and undoubtably other places, stored up and ready to go.
Yes, this is the point I keep trying to make:
They all are.
Some are more subtle than others, pretending to talk about this metric or that, but the implied message is the same. The settled science is wrong, no matter how right it is.
Well, for now, there are folks arguing back. I don't mind denialist driveling on certain posts, and this is a good one for that. In a sense, I proposed a hypothesis about Andy Revkin's work, that it supports and develops a community of deniers even though Andy himself is not anti-science and takes global warming seriously. Having various contrarians on twitter, here, on his blog, elsewhere, coming to his defense supports the hypothesis.
For instance, Adrian O has been flogging his sea level rise cut-and-paste analysis since at least 2010:
Adrian O isn't, however, coming to Andy's defense. He's discovered your blog and is simply cut-and-pasting the same climate science denialist crap he's been posting for years.
"for now, there are folks arguing back" - am I correct in assuming that if people ignore him, you'll make him go away?
Better yet, rather than assuming your readers will take on the burden of refuting what will turn out to be an endless stream of time-worn, oft-refuted, cut-and-paste drivel, why don't you do so? If you don't have the time or energy to track down refutations, why assume your readership does?
I might add that it is exactly this flooding of denialist crap by Adrian O and others that are why so many left DotEarth in the first place.
Yes, there is a range of denialist activity. But yes, he should probably be on the throttle list.
Re Adrian O & the brigades of deniers... Rather than allow their rhetorical schemes to derail & distract as designed, you could simply answer them by putting them to the question that keeps things on-topic:
But, but, but.. Adrian, what do your views on sea levels have to do with elevated global temperatures, increasing ocean acidity, widespread & longer droughts, loss of sea ice, longer & more intense heat waves, heavy downpours & flooding, destruction of infrastructure, damage to agriculture, impacts on fisheries, loss of ecosystems, disruption of oceanic thermohaline circulation, increase in wildfires, loss of Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets, more insect outbreaks, spread of tree diseases & die-offs, ocean hypoxia, declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, range migration of plants & animals, invasion of species, more frequent & more intense storms, coral bleaching, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity?
Steve Bloom :
So where's the animated plate tectonic map of changes in seafloor depth and shorelines , and the corresponding graphs of ocean volume changes over geological time ?
It's not as though the need for these and other tools has not been pointed out in the literature :
Please stop croaking long enough to calculate how many multiples of 0.219144 C it take to cook a frog .
King Arthur: "What do you mean? An African or European frog?"
"If you would read my essay you would see why I came to the stated conclusion"
WUWT does not deserve any hits from my side. And your argument below shows it will not be useful.
"Actually, the “basic stuff” that you refer to is true of only intermittent sources. The bulk of anthropogenic SO2 emissions come from relatively constant sources, such as power plants, where their emissions are constantly being renewed, giving them an effective lifetime far longer than anything injected into the stratosphere, ending only when they are modified to reduce emissions, or are shut down."
You ignore the different removal rate, Burl. A single stratospheric injection of a large amounts of particles that is slowly removed (over years) generates a completely different time-average than a continuous tropospheric injection of particles that is almost continuously removed, with the former giving a MUCH larger time-average than the latter per amount injected.
Try calculating the time-averaged excess money on one of your accounts when you add 3650 dollars at the beginning of the year and remove 10 dollars a day, versus the time-averaged excess on your account when you add 10 dollars a day and remove 30 every third day. Even though you 'inject' the same amount of money and remove the same amount of money combined, time-averaged there was a MUCH larger excess in the first case. I know the example is oversimplified, but no matter how complex you make it, the end result remains the same. And that is without taking into account that the effect of particulates in the stratosphere is remarkably different from those in the stratophere.
The fact that I posted on WUWT should not deter you from reading my essay (about 5 pages long). It answers, I believe, all of your objections.
For example, my conclusions re anthropogenic aerosols were not based solely upon SO2 removal rates, but also upon their climatic effects, the same as for stratospheric aerosols
The continuous SO2 sources do not have a removal rate--they are always there, acting as dimming aerosols, and causing warming when they are removed by clean air efforts.
dhogaza "this flooding of denialist crap by Adrian O and others"
Would those others be the whole IPCC or only the papers on Pacific islands which they quoted and I reproduced?
Brainstorms I am not denying anything.
I have just posted links to the IPCC report and to the papers it is based on, related to Pacific islands growing in surface, which should be a cause of joy for everyone.
Only two leading ecologists from Columbia University argue in today's WaPo that the above surface change in the Pacific islands needs to be reversed ASAP (presumably to shrinking) and in any as we are responsible for it all, we should take in the climate refugees from the Pacific islands which result.
As to the other many topics you mentioned, each deserves an analysis as careful and as document based as the shrinking of Pacific islands, but I certainly do not intend to go into that here.
Adrian O, I never said you did... "Denialism" takes many forms beyond just arguing "it isn't happening", which includes drawing attention to inconsequentials, arguing non sequiturs, and proffering half-truths designed to mislead. Which would you say you employ more often than the others?
y'sll seem to have missed that AO's specialties as Penn State Mathematics Professor are: Higher representation theory, combinatorics, operator algebras
The (probably well deserved) stellar accolades he's received in his own field have apparently deluded him that he can skip the hard work and declare himself an expert in climate science. He doesn't bother with Tamino, which would be an obvious place for him to go to get himself informed on maths and climate change.
Since I'm here, I'm going to sin above my station and share my Dad's take on Freeman Dyson:
Philip W Anderson, review "An Iconoclast's Career" of "Maverick Genius" for Physics World (now behind a paywall, sorry)
A more important question, though, is whether Dyson is the important world figure that Schewe makes him out to be. In his career, we can see traces of the mathematical physicist’s reluctance to tackle the ambiguous or deeply puzzling question, or to go out mathematically even a little bit on a limb – something that contrasts sharply with his joyful interest in bizarre futurology. Perhaps this is the source of Dyson’s dreadful misjudgment on the climate question: he sees that the possible errors are large, but does not factor in that they are likely to be large in the wrong direction, and does not credit obvious qualitative arguments from simple laws of physics."
#104 Russel Seitz
The goalposts will move on and on, exactly like the tobacco campaign and others.
Thanks again for confirming my comments to Greg.
Zebra asks : "what exactly is the question that must be answered in order to undertake immediate measures to reduce FF burning? "
The answer is that people with axiomatic policy imperatives often ask tendentious questions while dodging hard ones , like , Have you actually defined an existential threat ?
As a mathematical physicist, I am interested in, collect and analyse data on climate. The reason for which the content of the IPCC report is so surprising for you is the following.
A few years ago an international science committee, headed by one of my colleagues in QFT, Robert Dijkgraaf, the head of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences, wrote a long list of mandatory guidelines for the IPCC.
Following those guidelines the IPCC found, essentially, that nothing special is happening to the climate right now, except for some arctic melt. The IPCC reports are however not widely distributed, which is why most people do not know what is in them.
However, the scientific report said little about predictions of future happenings in models. It is those predictions which you read about in the press. Take for instance a very recent working document on sea levels in South Beach, FL
"Designing for High Tidal Tailwater"
used by the folks who install water pumps.
You can see on page 6 that up to now, the measured sea levels grew at the same unchanged 0.5 ft/century since they were measured, in Miami.
Note however that in the middle of 2015, that is, maybe today, maybe next week, the sea levels rise will be 12 times faster, 6ft/century, all of a sudden.
THOSE 6ft/century, starting next week, are the ones you hear about in the news, so no wonder you find it surprising that the measured rate is only 1/12 of that.
I see the skeptics are heeding the dictum 'Never interrupt your enemy while he is busy making a mistake.'
What you write is wrong. It is not only wrong, it is stupidly wrong.
It is not only stupidly wrong, it provides endless ammunition to those who oppose you--and Revkin. And me.
As The Man With No Name remarked to Tuco Juan Pacifico Maria Ramirez, 'God is on their side because he hates idiots.'
...and your point is that anyone who denies Science is an idiot who does not have God on their side.
Most here would agree with that.
#113 Russel Seitz:
"Have you actually defined an existential threat?"
I asked first. More than once.
How many Joules of energy anomaly would constitute an "existential threat"? How many Hiroshima bombs per second?
And why in the world would we need an "existential threat"--whatever that is, it sounds serious-- in order to decide on a policy (for example) to subsidize solar panels instead of subsidizing FF production?
Brainstorms, no, my point is that anyone who labels Revkin a denier has rented his only braincell out for the duration.
Brainstorms, on the other hand, we do live in a world where Bill McKibben has labeled Barack Obama a denier.
So if all denier means is 'you won't do what I want' then maybe Revkin qualifies too. But then, so would I.
Eric Blair's a turnin', a turnin' in his grave.
#118 Thomas Fuller,
The original point of Greg's post is that there are actually things that are settled. To be equivocal about them is indistinguishable from denying them.
This also is the point I make-- almost all the various denial memes, by implication, call the settled physics into question.
And then there is the issue of what exactly an "opinion" column about science is supposed to be like. That I find most puzzling of all. Why would it not also report on the supposed "controversy" with respect to evolution, for example?
Oh, there was a point to this post? I thought it was therapy.
What Greg actually wrote (with my bold added to help the febrile):
I wrote “Andrew Revkin is not a climate science denialist,” but I have now been corrected. Apparently that is not true. This comes as an utter surprise to me.
And, in fact, I don’t believe it.
Learn to read and it just may cut down on the lies you spread.
I agree that the term 'denier' sometimes gets thrown around with abandon, but pointing that fact out doesn't help much with whatever point you're trying to make, unless it's that you're upset.
As for this:
"...we do live in a world where Bill McKibben has labeled Barack Obama a denier..."
Since you've already demonstrated your rhetorical sloppiness, you might at least provide a cite for that statement.
dhogaza You brought back my 2010 comment
It was shortly after I got interested in climate in November 2009, when I analysed the data from GHNC weather stations and failed to find the hockey stick.
That was when I found out, with Google, that anyone can check, with a single click, the NOAA sea gauge data at
As you see there, Gavin Schmidt, from NASA-GISS, running realclimate, kindly answered my question.
Gavin confirmed implicitly that if you look at any sea level gauge at the shore, where people live, there is no acceleration whatsoever; sea level rise is the same as in Lincoln's time, so it cannot be human emissions caused.
He pointed out though that if in the middle of the comparison you switch to altimetry satellites, which measure something else, sea level with respect to an imaginary gravity level, and are calibrated at 3 times the average sea gauge,
if you switch to altimetry satellites calibrated 3 times faster then you will find that, with the new measure, sea levels grow 3 times faster,
and you can attribute confidently this tripling of sea level rise to human activity.
That post was very important for me in order to understand how CO2 emissions are influencing sea level rise.
I will leave it, unchallenged, to you, who obviously have a deeper knowledge than me in this matter, whether such understanding amounts to what you call "denialism." We do not have such a term in mathematical physics.
I do not understand what you mean by "cut-and-paste analysis." In this day and age that should be easy to check and prove. I certainly typed (slowly, 2 fingers, sadly) everything I wrote.
Do not worry, I do not intend to comment here on anything other than this post, as this post commented on me and I felt I should explain my data based reasoning.
Of course, as Brainstorms observantly pointed out, climate change has many aspects, and each should be approached carefully and logically, starting from measured data, like sea level rise here. The results will be very similar.
But that is best done by everyone really interested on his or her own.
PS In the 5 years since that realclimate post you brought back, it appeared that sea level satellites ALSO showed no acceleration so far. See the official data at
It is only the switch from gauges to satellites which shows a change, just like a weight study switching from horse jockeys to linebackers midway.
PPS As to Andrew Revkin, around 2010, right after I asked and was answered a few questions on realclimate, I went to Dot Earth. Andrew wrote a book on anthropogenic global warming and is still convinced that we need to reduce our CO2 footprint. He always allowed all opinions, but gave us a crash course on how to avoid libel, by referring to someone's actions rather than person.
In recent years Andrew has posted climatic events, such as the recent Texas floods, in full historic context, a very scientific and welcome approach. Unfortunately that reduces the number of comments, since by being careful he does not leave much else to be said.
#124: "... climate change has many aspects, and each should be approached carefully and logically, starting from measured data, like sea level rise here. The results will be very similar."
Then please post these results that show similarity... Include citations so that we can also check. Thx.
"Then please post these results that show similarity… Include citations so that we can also check. Thx."
Oh, lord, he'll just start flooding his misleading crap as a response. He misrepresented Gavin's response above and misrepresents how sea level rise recontructions are computed.
He's a serial liar who depends on people not having, or taking, the time to refute him in detail.
He's just another person from outside the field convinced that he's smarter than all those working in the field put together, and that he's right, and the entire field wrong. When people hold that opinion of themselves, nothing will sway you, and Adrian O has a long history of showing himself unswayable by the research results of others.
But here's a cite:
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/sea-level-rise-late-19th-early-21s…, Church and White 2011.
Shows statistically significant acceleration.
Or you could just characterize him with "Dunning-Kruger Syndrome".
Poor Adrian O... I don't think medical science has developed a cure for you yet.
(Odd thing about his condition: He contracts it, but it's those around him who suffer.)
This article demonstrates how clearly political tribalism has corrupted the very flesh of climatology. I don't know how this will all play out over the coming decades, but it is not science's proudest moment.
How does an article about a journalist demonstrate the corruption of science?
Perhaps you don't know what science is.
Rabbit: This article demonstrates how clearly political tribalism has corrupted the very flesh of climatology. I don’t know how this will all play out over the coming decades, but it is not science’s proudest moment.
Should we infer from these words that you think it (the present) is not-science's (read: denialism's) proudest moment?
Re #104: That's pretty funny, Russell, a commentary you try to pass off as part of the scientific literature. It isn't , no more than Dot Earth is.
Re the existential crisis bit, we are indeed in one (risking "unraveling the fabric of history" indeed, to quote you) and making it worse by the day, notwithstanding that the magnitude, timing and distribution of the effects need more work. The latter doesn't obviate the former.
Richard Tol said:
Greg seems to argue that any climate change is infinitely bad. If the world would warm by 0.01C per century than catastrophe would strike. How odd.
You're not good with numbers are you Tol? Warming at that rate would see a significant chunk of biodiversity become extinct in 20-30 thousand years, and many mammal species especially peter out in 40-50 thousand years.
A hundred thousand years of warming at that rate would see the greatest extinction of life on earth since the first cells evolved.
I'd call that catastrophic.
It's lucky that numbers aren't your day job...
dhogaza The paper you brought up, Church and White 2011
is very interesting indeed.
As you can see in fig 7 on page 599, the authors make a correction (in blue) to the actual measured sea levels (in gray)
They attribute their correction to water in dam lakes, something that is of their own invention, since nobody before them did anything remotely similar.
The correction is easily readable on the graph. It is 0 in 1955 and 22 mm in 2005, that is, 50 years later.
A parabola which is 0 in 1955 and 22mm 50 years later is
22 (x/50)^2 = 20/2500x^2 = 0.009 x^2 with acceleration (=second derivative) 0.018 mm/yr^2.
Up to 1955 they don't add anything, so on the average their correction to acceleration is half of that, 0.009mm/yr^2.
So Church and White added an acceleration adjustment which they invented, due to dams, of 0.009mm/yr^2.
And AMAZINGLY what they find is that the adjusted sea levels have a significant acceleration indeed, as you said.
Of 0.009mm/yr^2 (see the abstract)
Which is precisely the adjustment which they made. Entirely of anthropogenic origin, of course.
PS My analysis above seems to be entirely new. Dean and Houston find a completely different, statistics problem with it in
PPS That is where a science training reading papers comes handy. Their paper is a full 17 pages dense with formulae and references, but one can figure out the gist of it in 10 minutes.
They made an adjustment, you find the reason for the adjustment and the magnitude of it.
So in fact Church and White also confirms that the unadjusted sea levels measured at the shore, where they matter, show no acceleration whatsoever.
Jevrejeva et al
in fact find a slight DEceleration since 1970.
Since they show no acceleration, one figures, it is impossible for the ocean to accumulate the extra missing heat that you heard about in recent years,
Since that extra heat would give an extra dilation and thus an acceleration.
And indeed, that is exactly what NASA found in 2014
(3 years after Church and White)
QUOTE The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. END QUOTE
See also the very recent
Sea level budget over 2005–2013: missing
contributions and data errors
QUOTE The deep ocean heat uptake is currently the favored explanation of the hiatus considering that greenhouse gases continue to accumulate at an increasing rate.
but they find that the only changes are due to measurement errors
To summarize the findings of this study, the main source of residual trend differences appears to be related to altimetry-based sea level data processing.
This answers Brainstorms too, as he wanted more aspects of anthropogenic global warming included into the analysis. As sea levels are a natural giant liquid thermometer, they inevitably provide information on the missing warming as well.
Namely that it is missing.
PPPS See, I am not a denier. I simply love data and graphs. My work is on symmetry, very precise, and looking at measured data is relaxing, by contrast.
Bernard J. As you can see here, in the paper of R.Alley (NOAA has the measured data now)
you can see that most existing species survived, during the Younger Dryas 12000 years ago, warming-cooling-warming of 20C each way, at rates of 10C/century, 10 times higher than last century and 1000 times bigger than the figure 0.01C/century of Tol.
So they would make it...
I didn't expect a paper by climatologist Richard Alley to say anything about species survival. Nevertheless, I took a look. I found nothing in that paper about species survival. Even if it were there, it would not apply directly to the present day, since conditions are vastly different now.
Did you assume that since all those species made it through an abrupt change 12,000 years ago, most species would survive the current BAU warming? Sure it's possible, but by all indications that's not the way to bet.
If you really want to convince people, you should link to sources that actually support you.
Richard Tol: Greg seems to argue that any climate change is infinitely bad. If the world would warm by 0.01C per century than (sic) catastrophe would strike. How odd.
Sure, he seems to do that. And various "authorities" say the Supreme Court seems to legislate from the bench because the majority's decision focuses on the intent of the PPACA instead of paying attention to those four crucial words in the Act.
But there's a more sensible interpretation in each case.
"They attribute their correction to water in dam lakes, something that is of their own invention, since nobody before them did anything remotely similar."
Innovation is how science moves forward.
"Which is precisely the adjustment which they made. Entirely of anthropogenic origin, of course."
You seem to be arguing two things:
1. Dams aren't of anthropogenic origin
2. Water stored behind dams contribute to sea level, despite not being in the ocean, therefore the correction is bogus.
OK, after much reluctance, I'm going with D-K as suggested by Brainstorms above.
"PS My analysis above seems to be entirely new."
I'm sure it is, since it is obvious that water behind storage dams isn't flowing to the ocean and therefore, to create a meaningful time-series of sea level data you must take the change in dam capacity into account. Along with changes in the amount of water diverted from rivers for irrigation and all sorts of stuff. We know that changes in world-wide average precipitation adds measurable natural variation to the sea level data, so it is no big surprise that anthropogenic causes in the amount of water that flows to the sea has a measurable effect as well.
Since the need to make such adjustments is obvious (though not necessarily easy to do) it is no surprise that you're the only person complaining about it.
You've pretty much outed yourself here as a raw data nazi, which of course is wrongheaded, as alluded to by Gavin's response to your 2010 RealClimate post.
"And indeed, that is exactly what NASA found in 2014
(3 years after Church and White)
QUOTE The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. END QUOTE"
I suggest everyone take a close read of the PR quote-mined by Adrian O and then ponder his conclusion:
"As sea levels are a natural giant liquid thermometer, they inevitably provide information on the missing warming as well.
Namely that it is missing."
I can quote-mine, too, if I care to live in Adrian O's unethical space. From the same PR:
"Landerer also is a coauthor of another paper in the same journal issue on 1970-2005 ocean warming in the Southern Hemisphere. Before Argo floats were deployed, temperature measurements in the Southern Ocean were spotty, at best. Using satellite measurements and climate simulations of sea level changes around the world, the new study found the global ocean absorbed far more heat in those 35 years than previously thought -- a whopping 24 to 58 percent more than early estimates."
Wow, look at all that found heat!
The subject is, of course, much more complex than Adrian O's quote mine-based simplistic dismissal would leave those unwilling to check, in detail, what he's quoting, to believe.
Which is why I suggested Greg Laden just trash Adrian O's posts. I could spend an hour or so picking them apart in detail, exposing his quote-mining, cherry-picking, misrepresentation-based lies, but I don't have time. Especially since correcting him simply leads to a flood of Gish-galloping repeats of cut-and-paste drivel.
You cannot "win" by responding to Adrian O. He is convinced he is right, and the more anyone responds, the more he will post; he seems to have time on his hands. It's a wasted effort and helps him to polish his technique.
I was tempted to repeat PWA's comment about Dyson (#111), but on reflection I see it won't get through the miasma of self-deception.
The simple mechanics of how accumulating heat-trapping greenhouse gases are increasing the energy (heat) in the system (global warming) and disrupting our planetary circulation (climate change) will be attacked as a political construct even as the floods, drought, fires, sea level rise, melting glaciers and poles, blocked patterns and other increases in chaotic and extreme weather are dismissed as local phenomena rather than part of an all too obvious and dangerous trend.
As for DotEarth, personal attacks and distortions continue to be used as evidence of science.
It is a puzzle. Response to unscientific and delusional posts are attacked by using the same language turned on its head. It works quite well, witness that it continues here pretty much unobstructed by reality. It's much easier to twist meaning than to do the work.
This is another article that destroys much of what Adrian O is claiming:
Note also how it destroys several of the claims of Houston & Dean.
"you can see that most existing species survived, during the Younger Dryas 12000 years ago, warming-cooling-warming of 20C each way, at rates of 10C/century, 10 times higher than last century and 1000 times bigger than the figure 0.01C/century of Tol.
So they would make it…"
With a straight face implies that global temperatures changed 20C during the Younger Dryas ...
Adrian O writes condescendingly:
"PPS That is where a science training reading papers comes handy. Their paper is a full 17 pages dense with formulae and references, but one can figure out the gist of it in 10 minutes."
Your superior reading comprehension skills, along with your history of misrepresentation and lies, makes me certain that you realize that Alley's paper refers to one ice-core sampling site in Greenland, not "the world", and that your statement that global temps swung 20C was made knowing that the paper says no such thing.
dhogaza "With a straight face implies that global temperatures changed 20C during the Younger Dryas "
You can see in the GISP2 ice record
the temps are on the left side in C, they change from -50 to -27, a total of 23C. Most species are older than 14k years, so they made it through that change.
More graphs showing the 20C change are here
together with data for download.
QUOTE In Greenland, temperatures rose 10° C (18° F) in a decade END QUOTE
Yeah, I vote lower the ban hammer.
Not being too squeamish to quote mine for illustrative purposes:
"But if the seeds of disrespecting truth were planted so long ago, why are they now growing with such force?
"One likely candidate is the Internet. It facilitates not only the spread of truth but also the proliferation of crackpots, ideologues, and those with an ax to grind. With the removal of editorial gatekeepers who can vet information, outright lies can survive on the Internet. Worse, those who embrace willful ignorance are now much more likely to find an electronic home where their marginal views are embraced.
An obvious solution might be to turn to journalists, who are supposed to embrace a standard of objectivity and source-checking that would be more likely to support true beliefs. Yet, at least in part as a result of the competition that has been enabled by the Internet, we now find that even some mainstream journalists and news media are dangerously complicit in the follies of those who seek to disrespect truth."
Actually, and I expect to take heat for this, I think a big share of this problem has its roots in Donahue. I can remember him structuring/manufacturing a controversy and the hopping around the audience with his microphone shouting, "A lot of wisdom out there! Lot of wisdom out there!"
But there wasn't. Any reasonably sentient person should have seen that. Mostly it was just righteous parroting of the set-up or gas-bagging. In some ways he's the father of everybody from Oprah (and cult) to Morton Downy Jr. to Jerry Springer and on and on. And dare I say I think he's left his mark on Andy Revkin.
So yeah, anyway, let's dump Adrian O.
dhogaza The problem with using dams as a correction which creates acceleration unmeasured at the sea edge (so a kind of imagined acceleration) is that while there were a lot of dams built in the 1950's the damming capacity is by and large exhausted now.
If you have the sequence of water in dams as say
0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2
then you will get
an ACCELERATION at 0 0 1 2 (which is the one C&W write about) and an equal
DECELERATION at 0 1 2 2 when the building of new dams slows down.
On the long run the two cancel, so a sequence like
0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2
has no long term aceeleration.
In any case, the acceleration/deceleration is imaginary, since it comes from adjustments which are NOT seen at the sea edge by gauges.
Of course, for people who live on a sea shore, only sea levels measured at that shore by a gauge (such as The Battery for NYC) matter. And those show no acceleration whatsoever.
dhogaza You say :You seem to be arguing two things:
1. Dams aren’t of anthropogenic origin
2. Water stored behind dams contribute to sea level, despite not being in the ocean, therefore the correction is bogus.
Not at all. What I say is that if you go to someone who lives by the sea, and tell him:
"Forget what you see. That's not important. I think that you should see that level as much higher, and frightening, as in my model, because of the Hoover dam"
he might not be convinced.
Adrian O continues to claim that one ice-core sampling site in Greenland is The World.
And with this: "In any case, the acceleration/deceleration is imaginary, since it comes from adjustments which are NOT seen at the sea edge by gauges."
Doubles down on the claim that all adjustments are wrong.
And if acceleration is imaginary, that means only one of two things:
A.) There's been no movement at all, which contradicts his presupposition,
B.) Being an imaginary acceleration (i.e., sqrt(-1)), it's spinning around in circles, like water going down a drain.
Folks, don't bother trying to argue with an idiot: He'll only take you down to his level, then beat you with experience.
"an ACCELERATION at 0 0 1 2 (which is the one C&W write about) and an equal DECELERATION at 0 1 2 2 when the building of new dams slows down."
I'd expect more-or-less equilibrium but since you obviously know more than anyone, including C&W, I'm sure you're right (pats Adrian O gently on the head)
I'm done with Adrian O. Greg, if you're going to let him continue to post his endless drivel here, step up to the plate and whack a few balls out of the park yourself, OK?
Marco Thank you for the link to the paper.
The long term data is in their figure 2, on which they say QUOTE
For the period 1930–2009, none of the 12 records has an acceleration significantly different from zero (except Brest), in general agreement with results from the controversial study of Houston and Dean END QUOTE
QUOTE Note that large accelerations observed over shorter timescales are real. However, they are mainly due to natural internal variability and mask any externally forced accelerations
QUOTE Houston and Dean argued that there is a lack of evidence for the accelerations that would be necessary to achieve the upper end of the IPCC projected range because the acceleration observed in the GMSL record and in long tide gauge records is an order of magnitude smaller than the required rates (~0.1 mm per year2).
Our results (Fig. 4) clearly demonstrate that accelerations are not expected to exceed 0.1 mm per year^2
UNTIL THE SECOND HALF OF THE 21ST CENTURY
for sea level rise pathways towards targets of 0.5–1 m (P1, P2), and
WILL ONLY EXCEED THIS THRESHOLD AROUND 2030–2050
for pathways towards targets of 1.5–2 m. Thus, our analysis implies that the argument presented by Houston and Dean is invalid.
So what they say is not that significant accelerations HAVE BEEN detected. They have not, confirming precisely what I was saying.
They say that there is STILL a chance that the IPCC prediction is not wrong, if accelerations WILL BE detected 2030-2050 and 2050-2100.
So, Houston and Dean said that there is not enough acceleration for the IPCC prediction.
This paper confirms that, but says that there could be acceleration later.
Kind of, you have shown no money talent so far. But you could STILL become the best investor and richest man in the world, should you accelerate fast.
I guess, we'll have to wait and see...
My point was that a species which made it through a change of 10C in a decade (according to NOAA), as most species around us did, since they are >14000 years old,
such a species may survive the 0.4C in a decade in an unlikely 4C warming by 2100.
The article didn't refer to biology, but using one's own mind to see what the data says was not explicitly forbidden by the author or by NOAA.
dhogaza "Adrian O continues to claim that one ice-core sampling site in Greenland is The World."
Not at all. There are over 300 published papers which find that various proxies around the world find the little ice period and the medieval high all around the world.
Thus confirming that the Greenland ice reflects correctly temps around the world.
"Climatic changes during the past 1300 years as deduced from the sediments of Lake Nakatsuna, central Japan". Limnology 2 (3): 157. doi:10.1007/s10201-001-8031-7
Keigwin, L. D. (1996). "The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea". Science 274 (5292): 1503. doi:10.1126/science.274.5292.1503
Khim, B.; Yoon, Ho Il; Kang, Cheon Yun; Bahk, Jang Jun (2002). "Unstable Climate Oscillations during the Late Holocene in the Eastern Bransfield Basin, Antarctic Peninsula". Quaternary Research 58 (3): 234. Bibcode:2002QuRes..58..234K. doi:10.1006/qres.2002.237
Ledru, M.-P.; Jomelli, V.; Samaniego, P.; Vuille, M.; Hidalgo, S.; Herrera, M.; Ceron, C. (2013). "The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age in the eastern Ecuadorian Andes". Climate of the Past 9 (1): 307-321. doi:10.5194/cp-9-307-2013
dhogaza You say
"I’d expect more-or-less equilibrium"
That's EXACTLY what I meant by
"has no long term acceleration"
Both of us state that the acceleration in C&H is temporary at best, while the building of massive new dams accelerates.
The building of massive new dams has indeed slowed down by now.
Thank you all, and especially Greg Laden. Keeping your blog open to comments documented by data is to be appreciated.
For me it was an experience to see how commenters understand climate data, and to look at and analyze new papers such as Church and White. I had heard a lot about isostatic adjustment, and now I know how it's done.
Should anyone want to take a break from data, the National Science Foundation
has put $3/4 million into a climate musical
in which, with song and dance, the Paris Climate Meeting is saved at the last moment.
Here's an excellent overview, h/t Sou.
dhogaza mentions something that also applies at DotEarth. "Crowdsourcing" answers to unskeptical "skeptics" is exhausting for the crowd, unrewarding and ultimately ineffective. Over the years, the noise from confusionists has only increased.
If I were in charge, I'd require all reporters to study something like this, and stop with enabling denial (aka falsehood):
I also think that Andy Revkin has been influenced by the mobbery to think there's something in it. Witness his responses to McIntyre (link @27 above).
"dhogaza You say
“I’d expect more-or-less equilibrium”
"That’s EXACTLY what I meant by has no long term acceleration”"
While I responded to:
DECELERATION at 0 1 2 2 when the building of new dams slows down"
You could try keeping your bullshit straight, you know. I might keep you from getting caught in your own contradictions.
Adrian O, after screaming that the raw tidal gauge data shows no accelerated rise, finally says:
"I had heard a lot about isostatic adjustment, and now I know how it’s done."
Gosh all this self-proclaimed authority and he had NO IDEA HOW ISOSTATIC ADJUSTMENT IS DONE.
Refutes science without bothering to study science. Big surprise!
I'm answering because he says he's leaving, and a good kick in the rear on his way out the door is mildly satisfying.
They attribute their correction to water in dam lakes, something that is of their own invention, since nobody before them did anything remotely similar.
I have personally been quoting Chao, Wu and Li (2008) since it was published seven years ago:
I checked Church and White, unable to believe that they didn't cite CWL08, and lo and behold they themselves do refer to it. It's there in the paragraph split across pages 597-598.
They also cite Fiedler and Conrad (2010) whose paper also considers this factor:
Indeed, looking at just Chao, Wu and Li (2008) on Scopus it's apparent that of the 119 citations it's had to date, ~50 were prior to Church and White 2011, so it is obvious that there were (at least) hundreds of researchers who knew of the contribution of impoundment to sea level changes before Church and White accounted for it in their paper.
Your due diligence isn't. Do you conduct all of your work in this manner?
ooooh good one. well, we already know Adrian O doesn't study the issue, just pontificates about it. nice to have more evidence.
I just came across this post. I don't know where you've been, Greg Laden, but this is no new thing. The examples of commenters you gave have been around Dot Earth for years - Adrian O, Kip Hansen, wmar - incessantly spouting pseudo-science. Once upon a time, in fact from its very beginning, I was a regular reader of and commenter on Dot Earth. Many many people who care about the climate, about moving away from a fossil-fueled economy went to Dot Earth with hopes of bringing this vision into the mainstream media, only to get tangled up in endless pointless arguments with the denier crowd. The reason the climate change deniers are so fond of Andy Revkin is that he rarely bothers to call them out or refute them or to acknowledge the high-powered propaganda machine funded by the fossil fuel industry and right-wing ideologues. Whether or not any commenter is or is not paid by this machine, they are channeling its pro-fossil fuel message. I can't tell you how many people, including me, have left Dot Earth over the years for the very reasons you spelled out. Andy Revkin went through the looking glass a long time ago and never looked back. (I've said as much and more on Dot Earth.)
Bernard J. As you can see here, in the paper of R.Alley (NOAA has the measured data now)
you can see that most existing species survived, during the Younger Dryas 12000 years ago, warming-cooling-warming of 20C each way, at rates of 10C/century, 10 times higher than last century and 1000 times bigger than the figure 0.01C/century of Tol.
So they would make it…
As others have already pointed out your 'interpretation' (I use the term advisedly) is a load of bollocks. If I have time I'll go into some of the details of the temperature changes of the Younger Dryas, but in the mean time there are several general points to be made:
1) The magnitude of the temperature changes over the Greenland ice sheet were damped considerably with distance away from the local region, and the South Atalntic and Antarctic appear to have warmed (Alley and Clark 1999).
2) The cooling event pushed species/ecosystems from the middle of their thermal envelopes as were establishing after the last glacial maximum (~20k years ago) back to the bottom of the range.
3) Species were able to respond by moving away from the pole, a pattern which is not partilcarly bottle-necked.
4) the contemporary warming event (or that posited by Tol) will push species and ecosystems away from the middle of their thermal tolerance ranges to the upper extreme, and at this pont there are less options for adaptation - physics places very strong limitations on (especially homeothermic) metabolism evolving to cope with the additional short- and long-term heat impacts that a mean increase in global temperature of 4-6 C would bring, and movement toward the poles and to higher altitudes are both very much topographically constrained.
Your comments are those of the bane of every tertiary institution - the clever fool who believes that his/her competence in one area confers expertise across the entire swathe of human knowledge, even in the face of the better understanding of the actual experts in those fields. There are always a few such fools no matter where one goes, and you seem to be hell-bent on proving yourself to be firmly in this category.
To clarify the meaning of ' existential threat ', try asking yourself whose existence is threatened by the present reality of a world warming at a rate of 1 microdregree per hour,
Russell, it might be important to distinguish if the self-interogator is a mayfly, a Galapagos tortise, a species, an ecosystem, or an icecap...
I think you were referring to my #117:
“Have you actually defined an existential threat?”
I asked first. More than once.
How many Joules of energy anomaly would constitute an “existential threat”? How many Hiroshima bombs per second?
And why in the world would we need an “existential threat”–whatever that is, it sounds serious– in order to decide on a policy (for example) to subsidize solar panels instead of subsidizing FF production?
So you aren't answering or clarifying anything. I think the current value is something like 4 Hiroshima bombs per second. Is that a threat to human well-being? Of course it is.
Is it a threat to the "existence" of some important local things in the near term? Sure; snowpack, glaciers, rainfall in dry areas, permafrost, a normal jet stream, normal ocean circulation, normal monsoon, on and on.
Again, you confirm my point to Greg: You pick an irrelevant metric and try to imply that the laws of physics are somehow wrong (or being supernaturally circumvented, perhaps?).
My point was that a species which made it through a change of 10C in a decade (according to NOAA), as most species around us did, since they are >14000 years old,
such a species may survive the 0.4C in a decade in an unlikely 4C warming by 2100.
The article didn’t refer to biology, but using one’s own mind to see what the data says was not explicitly forbidden by the author or by NOAA.
First of all, the fact that you consider a 4°C rise by 2100 unlikely is suspect, since that's a linear extrapolation of the current 0.4°C per decade under BAU (business as usual).
The more important point is that Earth today is immensely different than it was 14,000 years ago. Bernard J. has described one difference: the ability of wildlife then to move around restricted only by natural barriers. Human civilization today forms an artificial barrier, insurmountable in many places.
The mere existence of a globe-girdling, highly technical human civilization threatens biodiversity in many ways: expanding land use, resource extraction, pollution, warfare. Since privation tends to lead to conflict, that last one may be the clincher, possibly recapitulating on a planetary scale the result of local conflicts like the 16-year civil war in Mozambique (effects described in this book). Such an event cannot be ruled out. Nor can the chance that it would involve nuclear weapons.
Using one's own mind if fine. But seeing what the data really say is not always easy. You appear to be seeing what you want to believe — that climate change is not a problem. On that question I'll trust the minds of the world's scientists way above yours.
It takes time to assemble a coherent comment. This one took me an hour, and it's only half as extensive as I'd like it to me. Replying to people like Adrian O quickly becomes more trouble than it's worth. Adrian ignores what we've already told him. Perhaps wasting our time is what he intends.
Russell @ 164
A word problem! Hmm, first filter out the irrelevant info...
Well, it's a little like trying to say which weather event is directly attributable to AGW. If you accept that it's already a stressor in the Middle East, then individually people there are indeed, in part, being affected by it -- mortally, existentially... however you want to put it. This is ignoring cultural impacts/existence in different parts of the world.
It also doesn't address the attitude that, "I've got mine. It's working for me. Others don't matter, so carry on. BAU!" If someone's existence doesn't matter to you, then it won't even be an issue worthy of consideration in your eyes, near term or long term.
RE: my #168:
S/B "using one's own mind IS fine" and "as I'd like it to BE".
"It takes time to assemble a coherent comment. This one took me an hour, and it’s only half as extensive as I’d like it to me. "
And even then you missed the point that global temperatures didn't change 20C during the Younger Dryas, as Adrian O claims. That was one site on the ice cap in Greenland. UK might've changed 5C from what I've read, portions of South America perhaps 3C, and portions of the Southern Hemisphere may've warmed. A 2C rise globally implies close to a 4C rise in interior North America, for instance, and is within the realm of change in NA during the Younger Dryas.
So the 20C figure given by Adrian O is bogus in the first place.
I agree with the specific stuff you state, of course, regarding human change to the biosphere etc.
And, of course, the Younger Dryas was a time of a high rate of extinction.
"The age of the base of this black layer coincides with the abrupt onset of Younger Dryas (YD) cooling, after which there is no evidence for either in situ extinct megafaunal remains or Clovis artifacts. Increasing evidence suggests that the extinction of many mammalian and avian taxa occurred abruptly and perhaps catastrophically at the onset of the YD, and this extinction was pronounced in North America where at least 35 mammal genera disappeared (3), including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses, and camels, along with birds and smaller mammals."
At least 35 mammal genera disappeared ... hmmm ...
Adrian O's comments are worse than being bogus. They're half-truths -- which are easier to manipulate and easier to be used for manipulation.
Yeah, we're probably done with that.
"this extinction was pronounced in North America where at least 35 mammal genera disappeared (3), including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses, and camels, along with birds and smaller mammals.”
Let us prey.
167 & 169
Obstreperous is better than obtuse but neither of you seems willing to grapple with the implications of radiative forcing rates too slow to bother a mayfly-
BernardJ: literally 100 generations of mayflies have survived the microdegree /hr heating rates that have prevailed for the past century, As a snail could outrun the worst-case rates in AR5 ,by crawling uphill or poleward, what's with fast-forwarding the rhetoric of mass extinction ?
Nobody's arguing with E.O. Wiilson about human land use trashing species right and left, but , refugia excepted, an ecosystem that survived the homogenization of the biosphere by world trade and epic transplantation seems likier to change than collapse in the face of anthropogenic climate zone migration at rates of meters per day .
Zebra would do well to calculate the size of the bubble produced by detonating 4 hiroshima bombs at the bottom of an ocean trench.
Russell, for an intelligent man you seem to miss a lot of important points.
Or are you being ironic in this instance?
"Zebra would do well to calculate the size of the bubble produced by detonating 4 hiroshima bombs at the bottom of an ocean trench."
Exactly my point, Russel.
Perhaps you should calculate the effects of 4HB per second over the Greenland ice sheet?
All climate is local.
Energy is not homogeneously distributed, just as "mean temperature anomaly" doesn't mean "typical temperature anomaly".
If your argument were anything but weak, you wouldn't be waving your hands quite so vigorously.
Hello to Laurie D if she checks in. Trying to point past deniers and show where they erred may satisfy but I suspect I for one could be more usefully employed elsewhere.
Not sure why Russell wants to argue about how many angels fit on the heat of a pin (no, I know, it's a real and practical question and my comparison is invidious). The likelihood that sensitivity is small enough to have minimal impact is vanishingly small, and as I remarked, time does not stop when the first doubling eventuates.
However, I enjoy his delightfully snarky compositions (electronic collages) and it can't be easy being a Republican who is honest about climate these days.
The latest: "If you don't like the weather in Seattle, wait 134 years."
While he seems to be having a bit of a bash at some of the extremists on this side of things, in general he makes them look as stupid and silly as they are.
It is amusing listening to everyone at Wimbledon complain about the heat; as Serena Williams remarked, "it's hotter in Florida". OTOH, centre court has been an oven, as far as I'm concerned anything over 30C (86F) is hot enough for me.
I suspect that Russell is being professorial, but since I don't have the time or energy to do a proper Exegesis of Seitz, I'll leave it to others to figure out precisely vvatt he's up to. I doubt that it's a bad thing. I don't doubt that it's a potentially exhausting thing.
Since life is short, Russell, and and I'm in my golden years (heh) I'll pick and choose the topics that I get educated on for myself, thank you very much. Unless, that is, you want to cut to the chase an give us your best answer. I suspect it comes down to living with uncertainty and precautionary principles. But do tell!
Susan, some days I'm more obtuse than others. As for being silly, I'll simply direct you to my handle and remind you that 'applesauce' is an old vaudeville term for 'nonsense'. Make of it what you will.
dhogaza: And even then you missed the point that global temperatures didn’t change 20C during the Younger Dryas, as Adrian O claims.
Yes, mea culpa. I didn't take the time to research it. I just read the abstract of the Alley paper, which was all I could get to from the link Adrian O supplied.
"Do you conduct all of your work in this manner?"
I can shed some light on that, and the appropriateness of linear projections run since Abe Lincoln's administration for accelerating data:
In 2009, Velicogna showed "The combined contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to global sea level rise is accelerating at a rate of 56 ± 17 Gt/yr2 during April 2002–February 2009, which corresponds to an equivalent acceleration in sea level rise of 0.17 ± 0.05 mm/yr2 during this time" and "The F-test show that the improvement obtained with the quadratic fit is statistical significant at a very high confidence level." doi:10.1029/2009GL040222
"The team used radar observations captured between 1992 and 2011 by the European Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1 and -2) satellites to map the grounding lines' retreat inland. The satellites use a technique called radar interferometry, which enables scientists to measure very precisely -- within less than a quarter of an inch -- how much Earth's surface is moving. Glaciers move horizontally as they flow downstream, but their floating portions also rise and fall vertically with changes in the tides. Rignot and his team mapped how far inland these vertical motions extend to locate the grounding lines.
The accelerating flow speeds and retreating grounding lines reinforce each other. As glaciers flow faster, they stretch out and thin, which reduces their weight and lifts them farther off the bedrock. As the grounding line retreats and more of the glacier becomes waterborne, there's less resistance underneath, so the flow accelerates."
Later - An improved mass budget for the Greenland ice sheet; Ellyn M. Enderlin, Ian M. Howat, Seongsu Jeong, Myoung-Jong Noh, Jan H. van Angelen, and Michiel R. van den Broeke4; Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 866–872, doi:10.1002/2013GL059010
"The rate of loss increased from 153 ± 33 Gt/a over the period 2000–2005 to 265 ± 18 Gt/a from 2005 to 2009 and 378 ± 50 Gt/a between 2009 and 2012, giving a total acceleration of 27.0 ± 9.0 Gt/a2 since 2000. This acceleration is in good agreement with the 2003–2012 acceleration of 25 ± 9 Gt/a2 detected by GRACE [Wouters et al., 2013]"
And more recently, another accelerating region of ice loss - Dynamic thinning of glaciers on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula; B. Wouters1,*, A. Martin-Español1, V. Helm2, T. Flament3, J. M. van Wessem4, S. R. M. Ligtenberg4, M. R. van den Broeke4, J. L. Bamber1 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/899.full - "We use satellite altimetry and gravity observations to show that a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized. Ice mass loss of the marine-terminating glaciers has rapidly accelerated from close to balance in the 2000s to a sustained rate of –56 ± 8 gigatons per year, constituting a major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level. The widespread, simultaneous nature of the acceleration, in the absence of a persistent atmospheric forcing, points to an oceanic driving mechanism."
Plus there is http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n6/full/nclimate2635.html
"First, the GMSL rate (1993 to mid-2014) is systematically reduced to between +2.6 ± 0.4 mm yr−1 and +2.9 ± 0.4 mm yr−1, depending on the choice of VLM applied. These rates are in closer agreement with the rate derived from the sum of the observed contributions2, GMSL estimated from a comprehensive network of tide gauges with GPS-based VLM applied (updated from ref. 8) and reprocessed ERS-2/Envisat altimetry9. Second, in contrast to the previously reported slowing in the rate during the past two decades1, our corrected GMSL data set indicates an acceleration in sea-level rise (independent of the VLM used), which is of opposite sign to previous estimates and comparable to the accelerated loss of ice from Greenland and to recent projections2, 10, and larger than the twentieth-century acceleration2, 8, 10."
Perhaps Richard Tol & Adrian O. could collaborate in applying their math expertise to showing what the projected sea level rise would be at 2050. 2075, & 2100, incorporating the observed accelerations of ice melt.
Please show your work.
Unless the dog eats your spreadsheet.
Wonderful bit of light-shedding.
The description of grounding line retreat in particular had my "visualization circuits" overheating-- I had never thought about tidal (and SL in general) lift detaching an intact glacier from the land surface prior to the inevitable breakup of the thinning floating part.
Makes one think that even a quadratic fit downplays the potential.
Note, this is the kind of thing that quote at 111 is talking about:
...Perhaps this is the source of Dyson’s dreadful misjudgment on the climate question: he sees that the possible errors are large, but does not factor in that they are likely to be large in the wrong direction, and does not credit obvious qualitative arguments from simple laws of physics.
Being a physicist requires being mathematical, the obverse is not always the case.
Yes, obstreperous is a great moniker and has been applied to members of my family, me as well. And, well, "criss cross applesauce" is a comment made to mess with an opponent.
Thanks to Brian Dodge as well.
I hesitate to encourage the blending of Tol and Adrian O, but it's quite a thought. They do their best to distract and confuse separately, heaven forfend!
On PWA/Dyson, yes, I did have to ask what a mathematical physicist does and whether it qualifies the person as a judge on climate (not, was the answer, and the "discipline" covers a wide range, which is why I use Elliot Lieb as an examplar from the high end of the spectrum). Dr. Lieb has no trouble following the simple physics and copious evidence for our growing troubles with heating and climate disruption.
It might not be fair to AO to address him, as I believe he's been cut off. Might be time to move on.
Hey, Laurie! Long time no see!
Yes, so many have tried to talk to Andy about exactly what you wrote, but I have personally concluded that we were nothing more than a means to his ends.
Sad, and after over 7 years of mounting scientific evidence, reprehensible.
Ms. Anderson, if advanced physics isn't enough to qualify Mr. Dyson as capable of evaluating climate change, perhaps the 15 years he spent working in the field of... climate change might?
Depends on what you mean by "the field of... climate change". Look at where the rubber hits the road:
Peer-reviewed skeptic papers by Freeman Dyson: 0.
(affiliated with the Heartland Institute. Gah!)
"Dyson is not doing science, but he is deluding others under the guise of science."
Since you bring up Dyson, here's a good one:
and while you're at it, another gem from comments there:
"Ms. Anderson, if advanced physics isn’t enough to qualify Mr. Dyson as capable of evaluating climate change, perhaps the 15 years he spent working in the field of… climate change might?"
He hasn't worked in the field (using the standard definition of scientific work being defined by doing research that leads to the publication of scientific papers in scientific journals).
That goes over Tommy's head, of course.
Odd that Tommy, a self-declared "lukewarmer", would embrace an outright denialist like Dyson ... methinks Tommy lies about being a "lukewarmer" by any reasonable definition.
dhogaza, you are wasting your pixels. Most people don't understand that physics includes a lot of specialties (like most subjects), and physics is not the be-all and end-all of understanding. (ps. I rather like Tom Fuller, he just needs to open his mind a little wider. He's doing his best according to his lights, just missing the critical problem with business as usual. Won't be long now before it's so obvious nobody can ignore it.)
Perhaps the best analogy would be the panoply of medical specialists vs. GPs. In later life, we need quite a range.
Suggesting that weather is part of both trends and day-to-day reality is too much for most.
And most of all, they don't want to face the reality that is biting us all. We all have our tricks and techniques for getting through the day.
Scientists are problem solvers by nature, trained to cherish detachment as a moral ideal. Jeffrey Kiehl was a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research when he became so concerned about the way the brain resists climate science, he took a break and got a psychology degree. Ten years of research later, he's concluded that consumption and growth have become so central to our sense of personal identity and the fear of economic loss creates such numbing anxiety, we literally cannot imagine making the necessary changes. Worse, accepting the facts threatens us with a loss of faith in the fundamental order of the universe. Climate scientists are different only because they have a professional excuse for detachment, and usually it's not until they get older that they admit how much it's affecting them—which is also when they tend to get more outspoken, Kiehl says. "You reach a point where you feel—and that's the word, not think, feel—'I have to do something.'
"Won’t be long now before it’s so obvious nobody can ignore it." Which, unfortunately, equates to the point where nobody can do anything to mitigate it.
If "we literally cannot imagine making the necessary changes", then we will be relieved from having to imagine the consequences that follow, for they will be made real for us to experience. (I myself prefer to have only the imagining option available.)
Avoiding "loss of faith in the fundamental order of the universe" will lead to losing the fundamental order of our small part of it. And that's not going to be a matter of faith, but a matter of "touch and believe".
Scientists should not cherish detachment to the point where they become detached from reality. F.D. seems to have crossed that point. I'll be charitable and ponder the probability that it's due to commonplace age-related cerebral vascular mishaps.
Brainstorms, please go back over the material about Freeman Dyson. It's not so much about age as about the other things mentioned, and never mind the charity; as you point out, the time for prevarication should have been over a few decades ago. One example is his idea in the earlier days about powering early space flights with the equivalent of nuclear bombs over Florida. A faith in one's own ideas to the exclusion of other considerations is not an asset.
Susan, I'm obviously not familiar with Dyson's publications, having read very little of it. However, I'm ever more inspired to avoid wasting my time doing so.
"Prevarication" would put him squarely in the camp of other intentionally misleading anti-science fiends so often referred to here, which is fine by me. It is disappointing, though, to think that Dyson was educated to be an honest scientist (through his own motivation & interest), yet went over to the Dark Side at some point. (Apparently much earlier than I was aware of.)
I wasn't talking about Dyson's publications. I was talking about the quote in #111 and Tobis's "get" in 188. Dyson's "science" is way above my head and I believe he honestly thinks he's right (it's an open question whether lies or delusion are worse for us; the combination is pretty lethal).