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Climate Change Predictions - How Accurate Are They?

Updated on April 21, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

I am a retired engineer and scientist who has expertise in digital image processing and are engaged in other disciplines like climate change

Introduction

This hub is in response to a challenge from another distinguished hubber who disagree with me on Climate Change. He is Doc Snow and his recent hub Climate Change: How much Time Do We Have? was the start of this debate. To proof each of our positions, we decided to each create a hub detailing the accuracy of recent predictions made by Climate Scientists. We will select a few highlights to make our points and leave it to the readers to decide. We have agreed on a time frame of about one month to complete. I hope you will keep an open mind and wait till you had a chance to read both hubs. Here is the hub by Doc Snow opposing opinion. Let's have a robust discussion with respect. Please take the poll at the end after reading both hubs.

-September 2015

Background

I am an engineer by training and I am also a skeptic when it comes to AGW (man-caused global warming or climate change). I've written several hubs related to this topic and they are linked below. As an engineer, I am pragmatic and I look for solutions that produce results. The reason we are at this point is very simple. The vast extreme claims made by climate scientists over the last 20 years have not panned out. If they were accurate, I would not be a skeptic today.

I have been following this topic with great interest for many years. At first, I bought into the scientific theory that CO2 emissions were causing our planet to heat up. The theory seem simple enough and made some sense. However, after looking into it deeper and reading some related writings available, I began to realize that climate is a very complex issue. No one factor can determine the total effect. That's the genesis of the debate. How much of the warming is due to man-made events and how much of it is due to natural cycles and events.

A Side Bar

Let me give an example where I have been convinced by Science theories just to show I am not anti-Science or an ideolog. In the 1970's, a scientist discovered that our ozone layer was eroding. An ozone hole was becoming apparent in the antarctic pole region. This was alarming because the ozone layer in our upper atmosphere was protecting us from the harmful UV from the sun. The scientific community got together and determined that CFC was primarily responsible for the depletion. The is the chemical Chlorofluorocarbons that are in spray cans and air conditioners. The International community worked with nations to remove and replace CFC usage. Recently, we have seem a reduction of the ozone hole. In fact NASA is reporting the hole is reducing in size and may be closed in a few years. This is a success story I welcome. Just to summary this experience.

  • A problem was identified - Ozone Hole
  • A theory was proposed on the cause by scientists
  • A man-made chemical was identified as the culprit - CFC
  • Policies was adopted to fix the problem by replacing the chemicals
  • The problem seem to be reversing

Progression of Ozone Hole

AGW Climate Change

Getting back on topic, in the case of climate change, this is a very different scenario. Even though it may share some of the attributes of Ozone Holes, there is one important distinction. The projections made on global temperature and climate due to increased CO2 concentrations did not come to fruition. There is something else going on and we don't have a good understanding at the moment.

If the theory say "A" causes "B", and we see "A" causes "?", then we need to revisit the theory. That is why I'm a skeptic in 2015.

Let's example three predictions that were made about AGW and increase CO2 levels.

Here are three bullet points taken from the list published on the EPA main site.

  1. Earth will get warmer
  2. The Ocean level will rise
  3. The annual hurricanes will increase in intensity and frequency

FACT: CO2 Crosses Above 400 ppm 2013

Increase Temperature (Predictions vs. Actual Reality)

As seen from the above chart, CO2 concentration have been increasing steadily and have crossed the 400 ppm level.

Prediction: from Michael Mann, the creator of the "hockey stick" chart and Dr James Hansen of NASA in 1988. Here is a snippet from the NYT article 1988 - (read link below)

"Mathematical models have predicted for some years now that a buildup of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil and other gases emitted by human activities into the atmosphere would cause the earth's surface to warm by trapping infrared radiation from the sun, turning the entire earth into a kind of greenhouse.

If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes, reaching as much as 20 degrees, and lower at the Equator."

Results: It is 2015, and 27 years since the dire prediction. Does it seem like we are anywhere near the temperature rise predicted by Dr. Hansen? In fact, even a former IPCC lead author Dr. Philip Lloyd recently admitted that global warming is within natural variability.

Rising Oceans

Another dire prediction is the rising sea levels and the impact that will have on all parts of the world especially coastlines. Here is a technical paper on this topic from 1988.

What is the reality?

Increase Hurricanes in Frequency and Intensity

Another projection is that global warming will lead to drastic increases in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. On the face of this, it seems logical. If the temperature of the oceans are warming, it will create more cloud activity and lead to storms in the summer months.

What is the reality?

In the last 10 years, there has not been a category 3 or greater hurricane making land fall in the US. How is this possible?

Here is the list of major storms in the last 100 years or so…

Scroll down to the listing for the 20th century. You will note that 1938 was the biggest of them all, called the "Long Island Express." Also, 1960 had Hurricane Donna and both were category 5 storms. This happened before any global warming awareness.

I rest my case.

What's The Harm?

Environmentalist have co-opted the climate change movement. They have tied the environment protection to reducing fossil fuel as if the two are one and the same. They are not.

I have heard smart people such as Tom Friedman of the New York Times make the following argument. Suppose the theory of global warming are wrong. What's the harm? the worst is we will end up with cleaner air...They say think of it as an insurance policy.

The answer is lots.

  • destroying jobs in the energy sector.
  • increase cost of electric utility.
  • subsidizing alternative energy production that are not cost efficient.
  • reduced quality of life.
  • Wasted resources and missed opportunities.


What If?

Here is a mental exercise to ponder. If reducing CO2 is the proposed solution to global warming, what if sometimes down the road the earth enters a cooling phase? Would these same scientists propose that we increase CO2 to counter global cooling? Bring back the coal power plants... I tend to doubt it.


Items For Thought...

For all who are concerned about climate change, here are some items to think about going forward.

  • The past dire predictions have not come to fruition. Remember the boy who cried wolf...
  • Climate change is not the same as environment protection. I disagree with the Pope on this even though I am a catholic. I believe we should be good steward of the earth but climate change is not in our power to affect.
  • The hypocrisies of the climate change proponents such as Al Gore and some of the Hollywood crowd. They want us to curtail our energy consumption while they live in mansions and fly in private jets. Who's carbon footprint is larger?
  • Consider the harm that was done and ongoing with large amount of resources put into energy tax credits and renewable development...solar, wind, electric cars
  • Consider the increased cost of basic necessity of electric power for everyone and the lost of coal power plants.
  • Consider the increase of standard of living and improvements for 3rd world nations due to cheap and efficient fossil fuel.
  • Consider the lost of good jobs in the construction of the XL pipeline and the coal industry.
  • How does scientist explain the climate change occurring in the rest of the plants in our solar system?
  • Consider the false prediction of "peak oil" and the high cost of crude oil. Last I check, it is around $45 a barrel.
  • Notice that many predictions are for 25 years or 50 years into the future. Why is that? Could it be that they will not be around when the predictions don't come true. They will be retired and collecting their pensions.

Some Sign Of Desperation

Recently, a group of 20 climate scientists sent a letter to President Obama asking him to use the RICO law to prosecute climate change deniers. Is that a sign of desperation? Now we learned that one of the leader of the group, Jagdish Shukla, is under investigation for corruption.

The Sun

Here is an important quote I discovered from a workshop discussing the Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate - (page 28)

"The basic question in understanding the Sun’s role in climate change is a compelling one: How well is past and present total solar irradiance known and understood? As Haigh pointed out, it is certainly an issue of concern that the existing TSI database has been derived from measurements that could not be intercalibrated to the degree of accuracy necessary for climate studies."

Summary

In this hub and others, I tried to make the case that the science of climate change is still a work in progress. The current models are incomplete and have a poor record of predicting future climate effects. We are about to reached a tipping point in a few short years. The projected rise in global temperature plotted against actual data is about to cross into a zone below that of the variance. If that trend continues, the whole model's credibility will be put to the test.

Let the reader decide. Please take the poll at the end.

The Changing Climate Models

Update 11/23/2015 (Hard Data Nugget)

Recently, I attended a Colloquium at the Lamont Observatory, Columbia University (Palisades, NY). It was a talk by Dr. Neil Pederson of Harvard University.

His specialty is the study of tree forests. The title of the talk was “Did the climate of the late 20th Century mask mechanisms for rapid, large-scale change in eastern US forests?”

It was a very interesting talk because it gave me a real data point that is peripheral to the general climate change environment. What I mean is that his work is related to climate science and how it affects the tree population over long periods of time but it is not a study of climate change per se. In the course of his presentation, he put up a chart showing the average temperature of four regions of forests in the US over a period of last 100 years. His focus was on droughts but it surprised me because the temperature were even over that period and in fact one region even show a slight decline of temperature.

At the Q/A session at the end, I posed the question to Dr. Pederson and ask for his comment with regard to the claim of climate change scientists that the earth is warming. His response shocked me a bit. He didn't see any issue with that and ended his response that we are not seeing warming "yet." I was also struck by the lack of curiosity on his part. Why are we not seeing the predicted warming?

His talk ended with the conclusion that we are in the best time of environment for trees. The last 15 or 20 years are wet and not too warm and ideal for tree life. This was not always the case going back 300 years. his study have found periods of severe drought and frost that have had negative effects on forests in the US.

This incident relates to my assertion that most scientists are just doing their narrow study on the effects of climate change on some specific item. They "assume" that CO2 causes global warming almost religiously and don't even question that fact even when their own data fail to agree with that assertion. Instead of questioning it, they just move along and continue with their study and getting the grants.

Chart by Dr. Neil Pederson (Harvard University)

Update Nov. 18, 2016 (on rising sea level)

I attended a talk at the Lamont Dogherty campus today. It was given by professor Andrea Dutton of the University of Florida. Her topic was polar ice sheet retreat during past warming periods...and their effects on sea level rise. I was particularly interested in this topic because of recent discussions here on this hub and elsewhere on the potential dangers of sea rise due to climate change. She spent a good part of 45 minutes describing the details of her teams work. She went on to expain the difficulty of measuring sea level averages and that they vary from location to location and even places where sea level will go down due to other factors such as topography and gravitational effects. She also mention the recent estimates of a rise of 3mm per year of oceans as accepted range. Going back over the past 3 million years, there have been multiple periods of warming and cooling. Her study focused on how high oceans have risen due to these natural warming cycles. The numbers they came up with using carbon dating and instrumentation were between 6-13 meters for a corresponding 2 degrees C rise in temperature. The implications is that a modern day warming of 2 degrees will possibly cause the same among of sea rise which will be devastating. She ended the talk with the projected chart of the IPCC of rise of 20 feet over the next 100 years.(2000-2100 time frame)

During the Q/A session, I asked the question of how fast the rise will come based on her studies. She was brutally honest and said she doesn't know. Her studies and experiments using coral reefs and radioactive dating does not indicate the timeframe but only the rise and fall of sea level. I found this astounding. When I followed up and ask about her last chart, she said they were based on combining the various work done by her colleagues and various climate models. Again, she does not know how accurate these projections are since they were made by other groups.

Here is the bottom line for me. If these scientists cannot answer the basic question of how fast, then we can't trust any projections. From a birdseye view of an outsider, I can accept the theory that a warming earth will lead to melting polar caps and rising oceans. I just can't agree on the dire nature of their projections. Let me pose the following hypothetical. Assuming a worse case scenario, that our earth will experience an average warming of 2 degrees C. Assuming we know from past history that the ocean will rise as high as 13 meters as a result. How fast will that rise take place? If it is decades, we are in definite trouble. If it is hundreds of years, we have time to mitigate by relocating to higher grounds. If it is thousands of years, then I say we can just forget about it. It is a non issue because other factors will become much more significant. Our civilization has only been here 5 or 6 thousand years.


Update April 21, 2018; A talk by Peter Kelemen - Columbia University

The title of the talk is too long but I will just summarize it. He is a geologist who is the expert on mantle rock formation. His talk which is a summary of works done by over 30 scientists in this field. His idea is to use the natural process that exist today in areas of the world where the tectonic plate shifts is taking place, and accelerate this process of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere. He estimate the venture will cost 40 billion dollars per year to mitigate and remove a significant amount of the manmade CO2 emissions. Sound like a viable solution if it can proven to work.

This is exciting since it is a different approach to fighting climate change. I am wondering how many billionaires will sign up and donate some of their fortunes to save the planet. How about it, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and Al Gore?

Unscientific Poll

What should we do in 2015 about Climate Change?

See results

Final Poll After Reading Both Hubs (Started 11/18/2015)

Have your opinion on climate change science moved one way or another?

See results

Projected US Energy Sources by the EIA

Flooding in Paris- Then and Now

An Inconvenient Truth - 10 years later 2016

One of the chart that struck me is the one Al Gore presented in the documentary film released in 2006. It depicts the projection of temperature rise due to man-made global warming. As you can see, it is a complete fabrication to scare people. Here is the official website. The prediction of increased number of hurricanes, rising oceans, disappearing glaciers, polar bears going extinct...all have not come to pass. What happened Al Gore? Please explain the discrepancy...Is the science of climate change really settled? Does 100% of scientists agree with you?

Truth or Distortion?

Latest Temperature Records ...2016

Mann Hockey Stick graph

Al Gore and the IPCC have bought into this. Now, they will have to live with the implications going forward...In particular, the steep rise in just the last 50 years. What will the actual temperature be in the next 25 years?

Projected for 2100...up up and away!!!

Glacier National Park 2017

A New Question About Models? 2/2/2018

I attended a talk today on the intricacies of volcanic crystals. The speaker‘s research was on the makeup of magna in the depth of volcanos...and how to deternine their ages and their composition to help with future predictions of eruptions.

This gave me an inspiration and a philosophical question.

Why is it so hard for scientists to predict volcano erruptions and earthquakes in localized regions and yet they are so confident in their models to predict global climate years into the future?

Think about it. Does it seem reasonable or odd that this is the case?

Can someone explain this contradiction or dilemma?

Rising Oceans Projections...

© 2015 Jack Lee

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    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 hours ago from Yorktown NY

      doc,

      I see you are studying up on these new developments. If there is an economical way to reduce CO2 from the atmosphere, I would prefer that method than reducing our fossil fuel usage.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 6 hours ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Interesting, Jack, thank you.

      I think the proposal is potentially valuable. As we discussed previously, increasingly the proposed pathways to avoid 1.5 C warming--the aspirational goal of the Paris Accord, and a much safer number than the formal target to avoid, 2 C--involve the artificial drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The problem has been that while there are experiments and pilot projects, there really isn't a technology that we know can work and also be economically feasible. There's a few plants doing CO2 reclamation from flue gases and sequestering the CO2, as the Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan is currently doing at industrial scale, but the economics there are not encouraging. And there are more experimental approaches being piloted on smaller scales, like this Canadian synfuel startup, Carbon Engineering:

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/car...

      http://carbonengineering.com/technical-updates/

      "...this equipment will give us the ability to produce gasoline and diesel fuel, using only air, water, and renewable electricity as inputs.

      "We call this concept “air to fuels” (or A2F). It allows us to use clean renewable electricity – which is quickly becoming the lowest cost source of energy in the world – to remove CO2 from the air, split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and then combine the CO2 and hydrogen to produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel."

      The first technology can be carbon-negative if combined with biomass burning: the carbon in biomass comes from the atmosphere, so if burnt for energy with a significant fraction of the resulting CO2 sequestered, you create a flow from atmosphere to sequestration *and* produce energy. This is usually termed BECCS, but the economics aren't encouraging.

      The second is attractive in that it untethers carbon capture from thermal power plants, and gives us a carbon-neutral liquid fuel option to supplement electric drive transportation. (And of course it should be possible to use direct air capture and couple it to sequestration rather than synfuel manufacture--but that is currently uneconomic.) But it's early days in the commercialization process yet even for the syfuel option, and the time is short to mitigate.

      So if rapid drawdown could be accomplished via the professor's approach, it could be a valuable tool. But it sounds like there is a lot of development ahead to find out if it is practical.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 42 hours ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I just updated this hub with a new entry. It is a summary of a talk I attended yesterday at the Lamont Dogherty Earth Observatory by Peter Keleman. I would be curious in your reaction to his proposal.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      LIkewise.

      "What if after all that, very little effect results?"

      I think the odds of that are very small. It would be nice to know 'beyond a reasonable doubt', but in life one must often make decisions with incomplete information, if they are to be effective in the required time frame. No use complaining about it!

      (Actually, I think the case *has* been proven to that standard, but clearly not everyone agrees with me.)

      "The earth is huge and climate science is still a work in progress..."

      There is no doubt that not only the Earth, but the problem of understanding its many systems and their interactions, is huge. Nor is there any doubt that climate science--like all science--is a work in progress. But that's not to say that what we do know is unhelpful in guiding our decision-making.

      "...what if the earth will do what it always does..."

      I'm really not sure what you mean by that in detail and specificity. If you mean 'what if the temperature trend we observe just goes away randomly', then I think that what we do know is more than enough to assure us that that will not happen without drastic changes in our carbon emissions to the atmosphere. While we can't say whether climate sensitivity is 1.5 C per doubling of CO2, or 3, or 4.5, we are very sure it is not 0.

      "...just go back in history for a few hundred years and you will have to admit that nature has the upper hand."

      Nature, writ large, *always* has the upper hand. That's what should scare us the most: she doesn't care about our hopes, aspirations, or even basic needs. She will respond to atmospheric CO2 concentrations just as she always has--whether the emissions come from volcanoes (as in the end-Permian warming), gradual solar-induced warming (as in recent interglacial cycles), or human industry.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      I respect your opinion and that is why I ask of it in the first place. What if after all that, very little effect results? The earth is huge and climate science is still a work in progress... what if the earth will do what it always does... just go back in history for a few hundred years and you will have to admit that nature has the upper hand. If stopping all this is within our powers, I would support it. It will have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I am more pragmatic and tends to go with the simplest solutions. If the results are small, I would conclude it is not worth it.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      What would I *like* to have happen? I'd certainly like to see the deceptive and untruthful PR campaign of which Exxon, at least, is guilty penalized with a hefty fine, which I'd be quite happy to see go into the city coffers of SF and Oakland. (They are certainly going to have to be spending money on flood control and recovery measures, and Oakland in particular needs all the financial help it can get.) I don't think that a corporation should be allowed to willfully mislead the public on a matter of vital importance. However, as I said already, that may be a tough case to make, since speech is (rightly, IMO) protected under the Bill of Rights.

      Nobody is suggesting that oil production be shut down tomorrow--though we are going to have to drastically cut oil consumption as soon as we practically can if we wish to limit the damage we suffer to our health, wealth and security. In the US, transportation is now the biggest CO2 emitter. We have just a couple of decades to complete the transition, which means we need to 'get cracking.' (A saying replete with irony in this context, as it would seem to derive from horse-and-buggy days.)

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      You guessed right. This suit is going to have major problems. The oil companies serve a purpose. They are producing needed products that we all use. What do you want to see as outcome? They can't shut down or stop production. They can only penalize them with large fines... At the end of the day, it will have zero impact on climate.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Which one? There's the 'children's suit', in which a group of young Americans are suing the Administration:

      https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/11/kids-lawsui...

      Then there's the suit by San Francisco and Oakland against oil companies:

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/2...

      I'd guess the latter, as you've probably--based on past bibliography--been seeing stories like this one from James Dellingpole:

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/31...

      What do I think? I think Dellingpole is either meretricious or deluded, for starters. He thinks that somehow mainstream science is going to be refuted; the reality is that the lawyer for Chevron cited the IPCC as his main source, and *praised* the mainstream science, while pointing out that the carbon problem is much bigger than oil companies. Those amicus briefs from faux 'skeptics' have now been heard all that that they are going to be heard in the context of this trial, and will now sink without a trace.

      On the merits of the suit, I think that the harm is real and that Exxon, at least, has indeed behaved deceptively. (A point that is not treated honestly in the Dellingpole piece, which conflates that claim with the claim of conspiracy.)

      However, the suit is probably a pretty long shot for the plaintiffs. While the harm of sea level rise is real enough, the causes are many and the chain of causes and effects long--and tort law doesn't like that. It introduces too much possibility for doubt. The joker in the deck is the now-documented deceptive behavior of saying in public that 'we don't understand the link between carbon emissions and climate change' and in private that that link is sufficiently clear to become a danger to the business.

      I really have no idea what Judge Alsop is going to make of that, in a legal sense.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, what is your opinion of the trial starting in San Francisco on climate change?

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 3 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Yes, that's the 'cash flows' piece. The crash is relevant because by affecting 'image' it affects stock price--down 5%, reportedly--which of course also affects valuation, if there's no rebound, and eventually credit rating.

      The worst case is a death spiral of mutually-reinforcing negative feedbacks. I hope it doesn't come to that, but it could, IMO.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      I was referring to the downgrade of their credit rating and the potential for a bankruptcy.

      https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/moodys-downgrades-...

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 3 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      I've been concerned about Tesla's cash flows for a while. There've been some reports that Model 3 production is improving, but still...

      If you are referring to the crash involving the Model X, I'm a bit at a loss as to why it's being pushed as a story--single car crashes happen all the time, even spectacular ones involving massive damage and fires. Maybe it's just because Tesla is so media-genic; but at this point we don't even know whether autonomous mode was engaged at all.

      But I don't think that Tesla's woes will be the making or breaking of electric cars in general, no matter how they play out. There's too much investment from too many manufacturers, and too much governmental 'push' in Europe and (above all) in China. If Tesla goes down, though, I think it would be to the detriment of electric car development *in the US.*

      It would also be a shame if Tesla didn't get to make and deliver all those Semis for which they've signed up buyers. That would be a cash infusion of close to $100 million, which wouldn't solve all their problems, but sure wouldn't hurt.

      https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2018/03/2...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      I am glad to hear you are not against fusion technology. It is interesting going forward the future of solar and wind power. Recent news about Tesla is not promissing for electric cars....

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 3 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, I don't think much of the article; it is predominantly unsupported assertions about what the author *thinks* "environmentalists"--AKA "eco-saints", "environmental radicals", "liberal environmentalists" and "leftist environmentalists"--want, think, and do.

      His claims in the second-last paragraph about wind and solar are both bogus and outdated.

      Addressing your question, I have to differentiate a bit. First, I have no objection to fusion power, in principle at least. (In practice, it is pretty much undefined at present--while we may anticipate a better-than-breakeven EROI for fusion in 'as little as 15 years', we strictly speaking still don't know either when or even if that will occur--so we certainly don't know yet what the costs will be, or whether there may be unforeseen practical obstacles.)

      However, should the author's expectations come to pass, I think that would be quite wonderful in many respects. It wouldn't solve all our ecological problems, but it would provide a big economic boon to humanity.

      On the other hand, if you are referring to the carbon crisis when you write 'our energy use', then 15 years to 'commercial rollout' is too late. So fusion, even under this optimistic scenario, can't solve the crucial part of the carbon problem, as we'd already be committed to 2 C or greater warming with 15 more years of BAU.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, just read this article and wonder what your opinion is on this...

      https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/03/w...

      Would you support a nuclear fusion solution to our energy use?

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, the essence of the problem is that the old data was not intended to be used for climatological study; it was meant for operational meteorological use. In that application, it didn't matter too much if you changed the instrument out, or moved the station down the street (or across town), or made observations at 10 AM instead of 8 AM.

      But for climatological purposes, such changes introduce serious and systematic biases--ones that there's really no option but to try to correct as best as possible.

      As to 'who gets to decide the algorithm', it is the research community, essentially; individuals or teams come up with them, and report results accordingly. They are assessed by their peers, and practices that improve results--and that means, 'lead to more accurate data,' not, as in Goddard/Heller's fantasy world, 'match a preconceived result'--will be adopted. Usually, that won't lead to a single dominant algorithm, which is good, as different schemes can be used to cross-check results.

      As to 'on what basis' are changes made, there are specific answers to that in each case--and each is reported and fully documented in the literature. Sometimes the structure of the data itself is the driver--sudden step changes in mean anomaly at a particular station, for example, are likely to invite scrutiny. It's unlikely that the climate changed instantaneously, so did the methodology or instrumentation change in a way that could account for the shift? In other cases, there may be a documented change in methodology that then leads to a quest for the best way to compensate for it in the data. An example of that might be the change from buckets to engine room water intakes for measuring sea surface temperatures, which was a big factor in Karl et al (2015), which sparked a round of conspiracist ideation in the same vein that we are discussing now.

      The best account of this that I know of is "A Vast Machine", which deals not only with the need for 'homogenous' data, but also the development, structure and nature of numerical modeling in general. It's a big book, but you might well enjoy it, given your background. It would certainly advance your understanding of these sorts of issues. And I thought it was well-written and engaging.

      https://www.amazon.com/Vast-Machine-Computer-Polit...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, that is a huge problem for me. The data collected in our past are just that, data given all the inaccuracies of the time. To come up with a scheme to revise the raw data is problematic because who gets to decide the algorithm and on what basis?

      Who is to say the revised number is any more valid or invalid as the original data?

      We don’t have a time machine to go back in time to verify. We just have to accept what is collected and perhaps change the weighting factor if we suspect the data is tainted somehow.

      The changes made by NOAA are significant. If the motive is to show a warming in modern days, then it is highly suspicious.

      Why not go back and revise all the past data?

      Here is one scenario...suppose a scientist came up with a climate model that he thinks is reflective of current environment. He projects going forward 30 years and see what will happen. Then he regress back 1000 years and found the model digress from the collected data. He scratches his head and say what happened? Maybe the old data is wrong. Let’s find a way to modify the data to agree with the model...

      Do you see how this can be destructive and not real science?

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      That's Steven Goddard, AKA Tony Heller. He's been saying this stuff for years, and it's no more right than it used to be.

      It is true that data are adjusted, but it's not to match CO2; it's to compensate for known biases in the data, due to such things as changing times of observation, or other changes in methodology, or changes in station environment.

      If NOAA were fabricating the warming, their data would not show consilience with everybody else compiling datasets--but they do. You may remember this graph from 2016, which illustrates the correspondance, not just of the instrumental data, but also of the satellite data.

      http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/brassdoc/...

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, what do you make of this story about NOAA?

      https://realclimatescience.com/2018/03/noaa-data-t...

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for your comments. We will see... I have a very good track records on technology, having worked intimately in this area, I have a good sense what is likely and what is far off...

      The proof is in the pudding. We will know one way or another in a few years.

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      I think that there is already too much money being made by drone applications for your prediction #4 to be realized. It may well be that increased controls are implemented, but I would predict that commercial application continue to increase.

      I think, as you do, that the Web will continue to grow dramatically.

      I have no opinion on the probability of SETI finding signs of aliens eventually, though if forced to guess the probability within the 10 year prediction window, I wouldn't put it very high.

      As to the rest, I think you underestimate the potential for change, and in some cases the drivers behind change operating now. There will be greater takeup of renewable energy than you think simply because it is economical; more takeup of electric vehicles, for the basically same reason (albeit they aren't yet at the same stage as RE is in the cost curve); and I also strongly suspect you are too conservative on autonomous vehicles (though enthusiasm for the latter will be dampened in the short term by the tragic death in Arizona which has idled all Uber test AVs for now.)

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Fair enouth...we will see.

      What did you think of my other 9 predictions?

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Oh, I think you yourself are going to be looking at prediction #1 rather differently by then.

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      My advice for your brother in law is to wait till 2026, when my predictions will have matured. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to move at all?

      https://hubpages.com/technology/My-Top-10-Predicti...

      Haha...

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "These groups, political, environmental and scientific are all there for the money."

      An easy accusation to make, given that every group needs money to some extent. But what about Heartland, API, and the like? The accusation is just as valid when leveled at them, and perhaps more so, given that the corporate interests who have historically donated to them have very deep pockets indeed in many instances.

      I think it's more useful to do one's own analysis, to the best of one's ability, and paying as close attention as one can to what the various spokespersons are actually saying. (And it doesn't hurt to have an interlocutor like you (or, correspondingly, me) to keep bringing to one's attention the points made on the 'other side', just to keep one honest.)

      Gotta run for now--there's some carpentry awaiting my close attention.

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      As usual, a second thought--really, my brother-in-law shouldn't be considering GMSL; he should be considering probably regional values of relative sea level rise valid for where he lives. The NOAA report gives that (and most of the steps along the way, too.)

      The relevant figure for his purposes would be Figure 13, on page 31. It shows that for south Florida, SLR is amplified by various factors. In the low scenario, the lower bound is increased by up to a tenth of a meter, while the upper bound increases by up to 0.7 meters.

      So the uncertainty, unfortunately, widens to 0.3-3.2 meters.

      Also, unfortunately, his 'safety window' shrinks:

      82/10.5 = 7.8 (years to 1 foot SLR)

      Again, that's going to be conservative due to the overestimation yielded by the linear fit. But maybe he should move by, say, 2020 or at latest 2022, just to be safe.

      (Hopefully they'll be lured away first by the desire to be near their grandkids.)

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I see your point. I respect your opinion and your persistence. I just have to disagree on our approach to this whole problem or crisis if you will.

      I read a book a long time ago called State of Fear and even though it was a fiction, it puts in perspective what this climate change debate is about. It is about money at the end of the day. These groups, political, environmental and scientific are all there for the money. From funding research to carbon tax to mitigation... and the UN are all in it for the dollars... they are not stupid. They are able to ride on this global warming phenonmenon and convince a whole lot of people the dire consequences many years down the road... and if it does not happen as predicted, so what? They can always tell themselves, we saved the environment from those greedy oil and gad and coal companies...

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "if you were to send this to any scientific organization, they will laugh at it and say what the hell?

      ....It is the kind of predictions that fortune tellers make...not real scientists."

      Well, clearly not, since it came from scientists, and was based on published reports in the scientific literature. One of the roles of science is to quantify the extent of uncertainty, and to report that accurately. Sometimes the uncertainties can be narrowed to margins that satisfy almost everybody; sometimes that is, unfortunately, not possible. I'm sure we'd all like it if these projections could be tighter, but 'you can't always get what you want.'

      And, since you mention 'fortune tellers', if you've got any samples of soothsaying that come with properly determined 'error bars', I'd be very interested to see them! ;-)

      "It is totally useless. It covers from almost nothing to extreme as time progress..."

      No, I don't think so.

      First, it narrows considerably what is possible. So the lower end estimate of 0.3 meters gives helpful guidance for folks such as the good people of UCN, whom I referenced above: knowing that they can confidently expect their flooding problem to become steadily worse over the coming decades surely gave them useful guidance in making the undoubtedly wrenching decision to sell their beloved historic property--they've been in the former Presbyterian church building since 1972--and do the hard (though, I'm also sure, exciting) work of renovating a new and safer property to meet their needs.

      Second, the upper end estimates give us some confidence as to where one may reasonably consider safe ground for the longer term to be. For instance, my brother- and sister-in-law live in Southeast Miami, and they can plug numbers into this interactive map:

      https://ss2.climatecentral.org/#13/25.6575/-80.4131?show=satellite&projections=0-K14_RCP85-SLR&level=3&unit=feet&pois=hide

      (Presuming the map 'centers' in the same way when linked, their home should be fairly close to the center of the image, in the general vicinity of SW 104th street.)

      They would be able to see that their house is not at direct risk under a 3-foot SLR--though it's not clear to me how the risk for storm surge would be modified by such levels. In fact, they wouldn't be a enormous direct risk until 6 or 7 feet. (At 8 feet, the area would be more or less obliterated.)

      I won't comment on their exact ages, but I will say that for them, they can rest easy as far as the direct risk goes; they won't be in that home any time close to 2100.

      On the other hand, they'll probably want to consider their selling strategy. Even at +1 foot, the Keys are severely compromised, and the famous beaches greatly reduced, and should the trend follow the upper bound more closely than lower ones, then such levels could be reached in (calculating naively with a linear trend):

      82/8 = 12.5 years.

      You'd think that would be too low since the accelerating trend will yield lower values than the linear one in the early years of the projection, but even by eyeball, based on the curve you linked (which is the older, more conservative one), it looks that that isn't too far off.

      If it were me, I'd 'guesstimate' that I don't need to worry about selling *right now*, but that to best safeguard my property's sales value, I'd probably be well-advised to think about selling well before 2025. I don't know what my brother-in-law is thinking on the topic, but I do know it's on his radar--for which I'm thankful. He's a good guy.

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I read the paper you cited... here is the chart that I have a problem with...the projection of future rise...look at the vast disparity from high to low... if you were to send this to any scientific organization, they will laugh at it and say what the hell? It is totally useless. It covers from almost nothing to extreme as time progress...

      It is the kind of predictions that fortune tellers make...not real scientists.

      I captured a screen shot of the plot and added it above.

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "With regard to rising oceans, it does matter the time scale. If that was not considered or ignored, then the prediction has less meaning or impact."

      It wasn't given in AIT, but it certainly hasn't been ignored by research, which has been and still is working to improve estimates of SLR. And while those estimates remain necessarily somewhat uncertain, given that future SLR still can be strongly affected by choices we make in the next few years, it's inevitable that the lives of children that I know now, whether through family connections, church, or my teaching practice, will be strongly affected by SLR. That's because, God willing, they will be alive in 2100, and by then SLR will have significantly reshaped the maps of Earth's coastlines.

      This NOAA technical report from last year gives revised estimates of the range of possible global mean sea level rise of 0.3-2.5 meters, up from the range in the 2012 report (0.1-2.0 meters).

      https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/tec...

      And while those sorts of numbers imply multibillion dollar results for coastal real estate, it's not just a matter for our children.

      As just an example, the UU congregation of Norfolk (VA) has tide tables on their website--but that's soon going to be pretty much an historical vestige, because nuisance flooding due to SLR (affecting many properties in the Norfolk area, as we've previously discussed) became so bad at UCN that they sold their beautiful historic downtown building to a developer and are about to move to higher ground, where they are now busily renovating a new building:

      https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=...

      IMO, they were shrewd to bite the bullet and salvage value from their old property while they still could. They've gone from being a 'poster child' for SLR-related nuisance flooding to being a poster child for climate change adaptation.

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "...what is glaring for me is the fact that CO2 has risen past 400ppm and yet the corresponding greenhouse effect, as predicted did not happen. How come?"

      Don't be so sure it hasn't. First, recall all the times I've linked the model-observation comparison graph updates, which have modeled temperatures and observed ones in good agreement. There's a fairly recent one at the bottom of my 'challenge Hub', as you may recall but new readers here may not:

      https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Climate-Change...

      (By the way, Jack, I've posted a couple of links for you there recently which you may not have seen.)

      So, temps are following the models pretty well.

      Second, a naive 'sanity check' on that is to look at the correlation between CO2 and temperature. There are several reasons why it's 'naive'--most notably, perhaps, that there are quite a number of factors that influence global surface temperature besides CO2, especially in terms of short-term variations--but it's not necessarily completely valueless. One way of doing that was Barton Paul Levenson's correlation exercise, which I linked in the comment below.

      Another way is graphically, and I've done that here:

      http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:13/fr...

      What I've done there is to use the interactive tools at woodfortrees to place atmospheric CO2 (green line) and global surface temperature (red line) in a corresponding relationship. The data is straight from the relevant agencies; all I had to do was select the same time frame for both (since 1959); offset the CO2 numbers by -325 to bring them down to a similar numerical baseline as the temps, and scale the temperature data by 100x. (Though I also smoothed it with a 13-month running mean, just to make it look prettier and easier to follow.)

      As you can see if you click, while the scaled temps show a lot of short-term 'wiggles' that have nothing to do with CO2, and there's a temperature *decline* at the beginning of the period--generally agreed to be due to cooling aerosols from particulate air pollution--overall the temperature curve follows CO2 surprisingly well.

      Now, this isn't intended to 'prove' anything, except that there's a closer relationship between the raw temp and CO2 curves than you might have thought. The real relationships are a lot more complex. A couple of things about that:

      1) GHG effects are logarithmic, not linear, so over time (or a wider range of values) you'd want to reflect that.

      2) Temperature response is complex and evolves over time, because it involves a number of feedback mechanisms, some of which are very slow.

      Quickly:

      A) The radiative forcing is essentially instantaneous; that's the part that would be reflected in the correlation graphed above.

      B) Then there are 'fast' feedbacks, such as the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, cloud coverage, ice coverage, and (sometimes included in this rubric) aerosols. They contribute to what is called "Charney sensitivity." These feedbacks may not evolve over identical time scales, but broadly speaking, my understanding is that the Charney sensitivity should apply, roughly, over decadal and multidecadal timescales.

      C) Finally, there are 'slow feedbacks', most notably involving changes to the carbon cycle--things such as permafrost melting, which releases CO2 and CH4, and vegetative changes which can affect both albedo and atmospheric GHG levels. When all this has shaken out, which may take centuries, you get what is sometimes called "Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity" (though since the system never completely equilibrates, that's kind of a theoretical construct.)

      There's some more discussion of feedbacks here, if you're interested:

      https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=967

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      Jack Lee 4 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Very interesting...but what is glaring for me is the fact that CO2 has risen past 400ppm and yet the corresponding greenhouse effect, as predicted did not happen. How come? There were all kinds of excuses made and it matters little. If a scientist can’t explain the correlation, then, there is something wrong with the model.

      With regard to rising oceans, it does matter the time scale. If that was not considered or ignored, then the prediction has less meaning or impact.

      In the extreme example case, we all know the earth will warm to an extraordinary amount in a billion years when the Sun expands and eventually consume the inner planets. If I told you this and left out the billion years, would you be frightened? And worry that the end of humanity is at hand?

      If I told you it will happen in our lifetime, then it makes a whole lot of difference. Since it is billions of years, we really don’t care. The same goes for rising oceans...

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      Doc Snow 4 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Well even if that was the case, the corresponding rise in temperature...has not correlated with this rise in CO2..."

      Based on what? See, for instance, this illustration:

      https://xkcd.com/1732/

      Or this analysis:

      http://bartonlevenson.com/Correlation.html

      "The other problem is the time scale. If you extend the time scale to the past 100,000 years, you will see that CO2 has been much higher in our distant past due to natural events. It will also show we had periodic ice ages approx. every 100k years..."

      I'm afraid you are a tad confused here. The latter statement is correct, but the former is not. We have indeed had periodic glaciations (often popularly termed 'ice ages', although technically we've been in one long Ice Age since roughly the beginning of the Pleistocene, 2.5 million years ago.

      However, even during the warm 'interglacials' during that 2.5 million years CO2 concentrations barely reached pre-Industrial levels of 280 ppm, and during the glaciations, they were typically below 230 ppm, and usually bottoming out somewhere near 190 ppm. Here's a graph:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene#/media/File:Co2_glacial_cycles_800k.png

      That's from this:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene

      Here are the previous known 'ice ages':

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huronian_glaciation

      (Thought to be due to decreased GHGs, especially methane, but evidence is, AFAIK, pretty scanty.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryogenian

      (Mean CO2 thought to be 1300 ppm, but with many other features of the planet significantly different, including lower solar forcing and very different topography of the continents.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andean-Saharan_glaci...

      (Relatively minor glaciation, with CO2 levels dropping, though from much higher levels than at present; Sun still 4.5% cooler than at present.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karoo_Ice_Age

      (CO2 below 300 ppm)

      So only in the very deep past--before the end of the Andean-Saharan glaciation, ~400 million years ago--have higher levels of CO2 been associated with relatively cool temperatures. It should be born in mind that evidence for conditions in the deep past is relatively thin compared with evidence for the causes of contemporary climate, so it would be wrong-headed to try to falsify the latter on the basis of the former.

      "In both time and severity, Al Gore was wrong. The only thing he predicted that was on mark was the rise of CO2. The extreme weather and flooding of nyc and florida... was just exaggerations."

      No, the flooding wasn't an exaggeration at all; it was a pretty simple illustration of what would happen if the precondition--complete melting of the Greenlandic ice sheet, if I recall correctly--came to pass. (And if we continue business as usual, that becomes "what *will* happen *when*. It's a relatively simple matter of arithmetic--of how much water is contained in that ice sheet.)

      If you pay close attention to that bit in the film, you find that no timeline for that inundation is given. Some argue that failing to given it is itself deceptive, but I think that's a stretch. Making a simple and clear narrative of all that fact is not an easy task, and no effort at it is ever likely to be perfectly executed.

      As to the extreme weather--again, I refer you to the list of such events we've experienced lately. You can claim that they have nothing to do with climate change, and some have done just that, but I don't think that has actually been demonstrated (as opposed to simply asserted).

      What we do know for sure is that such things were predicted, and they have subsequently happened. It's worth looking at causation, and making all the properly nuanced conclusions about that, of course. None of it is simple when you get down to nitty-gritty detail. But the big picture is pretty clear.

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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, no need to go to details to explain each one...

      Here is the bottom line with regard to An Inconvenient Truth...

      See the photo of Al Gore standing on top of the lift and showing the plot of CO2 rising to astronomical heights...(above)...

      Well even if that was the case, the corresponding rise in temperature...has not correlated with this rise in CO2...

      The other problem is the time scale. If you extend the time scale to the past 100,000 years, you will see that CO2 has been much higher in our distant past due to natural events. It will also show we had periodic ice ages approx. every 100k years...

      In both time and severity, Al Gore was wrong. The only thing he predicted that was on mark was the rise of CO2. The extreme weather and flooding of nyc and florida... was just exaggerations.

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      OK, #1 is wrong already. "Gore says that a sea-level rise of up to 6 m (20 ft) will be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland."

      That's accurate. What Monckton says is irrelevant to the posited case.

      #2 is almost certainly wrong, too. His source appears to be Bjorn Lomborg, who has said a number of those things (notably the bit about the alleged tree removal.)

      Here's the current status in the Carteret Islands:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-07/carteret-cli...

      #3 is not completely wrong, but it's not fair IMO to call it a Gore error, either. The thermohaline shutdown hypothesis was (and to an extent still is) a respectable idea, associated first and foremost with Wallace Broecker, lond associated with Lamont-Doherty. I believe the study Monckton cites is real, but it is not, as he suggested, the last word on the topic even now.

      #4 is completely wrong on several counts: first, when AIT came out they were still working on the chronology of CO2 and temperature during interglacials. Second, he's got the climate sensitivity argument all bolloxed up. Third, Mann's 'Hockey Stick' was not discredited, though it has certainly been smeared repeatedly. Fourth, I have no idea how a graph can be expected to have "validation skill", so I flatly don't believe Monckton got the NAS quote right.

      #5--Monckton is partially, if rather ironically, right on this--it turned out, as I wrote in my Hub in this challenge pair, that the probable cause of ice loss on Kilimanjaro is more related to precipitation than temperature. The irony comes in because a) there are numerous other montane glaciers that are shrinking away because of warming; b) long-term, warming probably *will* do in 'the snows of Kilimanjaro,' and c) Monckton's claim that because the temperature is below freezing that therefore there can be no ice loss is laughably wrong--I bet you know about sublimation, but apparently he doesn't.

      #6--I searched but did not find anything definitive on whether Lake Chad's drying up is related to climate change or not. This modeling study suggests that it may be:

      https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/1...

      But in the study, observed sea surface temps in the Indian Ocean, which seemed in the study to drive the marked warming and drying observed at Lake Chad, were *prescribed*--that is, they were an input to the model. That leaves the question of whether the obserbed warming of SSTs in the Indian Ocean was related to AGW? It's certainly conceivable, wouldn't you say? So why is Monckton so definitive?

      #7--Monckton's point is specious. While it is true that manmade problems relevant to the disaster exist--and they run far deeper than the levees, which by the way fall under the jurisdiction of the Army Corp of Engineers, not the City of New Orleans, as Monckton seems to think---it's also true that the rapid intensification Katrina was observed to undergo would not have happened without the warm SSTs in the Gulf--again, very relevant to AGW, pretty much by definition. And it is conspicuously a recurring theme with these very damaging storms: we saw that same pattern with Harvey and with Sandy, to name just two.

      Well, I have to go to bed now, so I'm not going to address the next 28 alleged errors. But I don't think much of Monckton's attempts, based on the first 7 examples.

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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Here are 35 errors of Inconvenient Truth...

      http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/35-inconve...

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Yes...and in the article, he specifically said it was this movie that convinced him to pursue a career to save the planet..."

      Indeed. But that was, for me at least, a little, er, "indirect".

      So, given that saving the planet is a noble goal, and the the scientist says he/she is quite happy with how their life and career are now going, what is the basis for complaint? On the face of it, AIT seems to have led this person to a satisfying and useful career.

      "It shows the distortion and extreme claims made that is totally off the mark."

      Most of what was in the movie was accurate and correct, or in some cases (such as the fine chronology of the correlation of the CO2 and temperature curves in the Vostok ice cores) was believed to be correct at the time--obviously, science does evolve as better data and analysis come about.

      Here's a fact-check from 2006, just to supplement the link I already sent:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

      And of course, Judge Burton, who ruled on AIT's accuracy in the UK "Dimmock case", concluded that:

      "I have no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant's expert, is right when he says that: 'Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.'"

      "Millions of children watched this and believed it."

      I think it was over the heads of 'children' as we usually mean the word, and I sure don't recall seeing any in the theatre where I watched it. Of course, the Dimmock case was about its use in British secondary schools, so many teens saw it in that context.

      But it doesn't really matter what the mean age of the 'believers' was, or is; what matters is the accuracy, fairness and intent of the film. You see it through your lens; I see it through mine.

      And as to the accuracy, see point #1. If the film was even "broadly accurate", as the Judge said, then "believers" were not harmed, but educated.

      "This is like what communists did to brain wash their people to belief in the evils of capitalism..."

      Only in the most generic sense that both efforts involve an effort to persuade--in which case both efforts are also 'like' Allied efforts to rally their populations to resist Nazism, public health campaigns to get vaccinated or quit smoking, and every ad either of us has ever experienced.

      In other respects:

      AIT was a one-off film, made for just $1.5 million, while 'Communist propaganda' encompassed every aspect of media in the 'second world' for decades;

      AIT was intentionally avoided by political elites such as then-President Bush, while Soviet officials (including educators at all levels) presided over a vast bureaucracy dedicated to pushing the 'line';

      AIT drew upon actual science, and did so with considerable care, while the Communist establishment lionized such a quack as Lysenko, and in general showed little interest in the issue of 'truth'.

      AIT was received with widespread debate, freely carried out on all sides (a tradition which you are continuing), while Communist media, education, and public opinion were all carefully controlled, without regard to truth.

      I know that isn't how you see it. But I would respectfully suggest that that is because you allow yourself to be influenced by folks whose only true agenda is to oppose, by any means necessary, any effective action on climate change.

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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Yes...and in the article, he specifically said it was this movie that convinced him to pursue a career to save the planet...

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Oh, wait, you said "the Al Gore documentary." So you mean "An Inconvenient Truth"?

      https://www.skepticalscience.com/al-gore-inconveni...

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      OK, but what is it called? Or who made it? I can't look for a video I have zero information about!

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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, sorry for the confusion. I was not suggesting the link as the documentary. The link was a story by a millennial student who was influenced by the Al Gore documentary he saw years ago growing up and it affected his thinking about saving the planet and picking a career that was not for him...

      The documentary is accessible online and from netflix...and you can watch it again with new eyes. Which is exactly what I did on a recent flight and the movie was available. It shows the distortion and extreme claims made that is totally off the mark. Millions of children watched this and believed it. This is like what communists did to brain wash their people to belief in the evils of capitalism...

      Again, I am not claiming there is no human effect on climate but I disagree on the amount and the severity of these effects and I also believe in a larger natural component like our sun having an effect.

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Just go back and watch the documentary..."

      I think your link is bad, as what I saw when I clicked on it was a nice but rather innocuous article about a young PhD student and his/her response to the climate change crisis. I wondered at the time why you were posting it, as it seemed not to dovetail very well with your concerns, and now that you refer to a documentary that I don't see, the conclusion seems clear.

      "Take any 20 year period going back 200 years and you can find all kinds of environmental disasters and natural weather disasters."

      Most of the ones I mentioned are unique in the record (#10 is, I think, the only exception to that.)

      Obviously I can't comment on the documentary, but a question that comes to mind right now is "Why focus on the claims of a particular filmmaker (presumably) 20 years ago, rather than on a broad cross-section of well-observed and well-documented realities, if our aim is to assess whether or not concerns about 'AGW' are well-founded? Particularly when those 'realities' (or many of them) were *also* the subject of predictions made 20 years ago, or more?"

      If one wishes to discredit 'AGW' one will naturally focus on the lowest-quality claims and predictions as 'low-hanging fruit'; if one wishes to assess the validity of the issue, however, one should, contrariwise, focus on the highest-quality ones, as that is where true credibility rests.

      (If you find the right link for me, I will take a look, though.)

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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Very impressive list but I stand by my statement. Just go back and watch the documentary and tell me honestly if the projections made has come true.

      Take any 20 year period going back 200 years and you can find all kinds of environmental disasters and natural weather disasters. That does not necessarily mean causation.

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      By the way, Jack, as I was posting the last comment, quasi-random screen roll landed me at the update item you posted in 2015 about the "RICO 20" climate activists, where it was mentioned that Jagadish Shuklah was 'being investigated for corruption' by Congressman Lamar Smith. As it's now 2018 and nothing further has come of this 'investigation', do you think it's time to conclude that there was no wrongdoing? Or even that the investigation was really a form of political harassment by Chairman Smith?

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      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Now, 20 years later, it has not materialized."

      I really struggle to understand how you can say that.

      In the last 20 years:

      1) Global mean surface temperature has risen about a third of a Celsius degree;

      2) Atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about 45 ppm (more than 10%);

      3) Arctic sea ice volume has decreased about 50%;

      4) Mean global sea level has increased by about 55 millimeters;

      5) Widespread mass wasting of glaciers has accelerated on a worldwide basis;

      6) Widespread changes to plant and animal phenology consistent with expected trends under global warming have occurred on a worldwide basis;

      7) Extreme precipitation events have become more common, definitely in North America (where baseline data is most comprehensive) but probably also on a worldwide basis, consistent with predicted trends under climate warming;

      8) Absolute humidity has increased, consistent with predicted trends under warming;

      9) Widespread coral bleaching episodes have become increasingly common and intense, threatening reef survival on a near-global scale, with serious adverse consequences for both marine biodiversity and productivity, and the economic and social health of affected human communities;

      10) Intense and prolonged droughts have occurred in areas climate modeling had predicted to be susceptible, notably the Mediterranean basin and the North American Southwest, in which areas expensive and (in the case of Syria) socially devastating impacts resulted;

      11) Wildfire has become increasingly problematic in many nations, consistent with predictions from models, including the US, which experienced the worst fire year ever by acreage burnt in 2015 and probably the worst fire year by damage in 2017 (which also came close to the acreage burnt in 2015);

      12) US cities have been repeatedly ravaged by hurricanes in ways not seen during my lifetime: Harvey ($125 bn, 2017), Katrina ($125 bn, 2005), Maria ($91.6 bn, 2017), Sandy ($68.7 bn, 2012), and Irma ($64.8 bn, 2017) head the list at a total cost of $350.1 bn, but 16 of the 20 most expensive Atlantic storms have occurred during the last 20 years (the exceptions being Andrew ($27.3 bn, 1992, 8th costliest), ($9.47 bn, 1989, 15th), Georges ($9.37 bn, 1998, 16th), and Floyd ($6.5 bn, 1999, 20th). And all that despite the famous US 'hurricane drought,' of which we have previously spoken.

      I could go on, but why? I fail to see how 'it has failed to materialize.' Consequently, it makes no sense to me to suggest that there's some sort of 'doubling down' in response to the putative 'failure'.

      "It is a sign of the complexity of climate change on a global scale."

      Yes, and also of the complexity of science; in a healthy scientific system, there will be frequent incorrect predictions, which will be productive of increased understanding.

      And nice little article. I certainly wish the young student good luck in his/her studies and future career.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      I may surprise you with this but I am not a critic of scientists who predicts opposite scenarios. It is a sign of the complexity of climate change on a global scale. For example, even though the expectations is for the ocean to rise due to global warming on average, it is not wrong to predict a certain amount of rise in say NYC, and even a drop in Australia... due to the shape of the continents, it is possible for both to occur and for the overall average to rise... the debate is how much rise and how fast the rise.

      The same can be said for temperature rises...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      My impression is a whole generations of students have been brain washed into thinking climate change is a huge crisis by Al Gore and his alarmists. Now, 20 years later, it has not materialized. Now, they have to make excuses and double down to justify their original claims... At some point, they have to come clean and admit they just don’t know and they over blown the whole thing to get their way...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Sorry to respond at such length, especially based on such a short and simple question! But you did say you were curious--!

      Reply, Part II:

      Let's consider Morano's evidence next. Really, the only evidence he gives for the 'impression' that today is snowier than the past is this:

      "The current decade, from 2010 forward, is now the snowiest decade ever recorded for the U.S. East Coast, according to meteorologist Joe D’Aleo." If you follow the Google trail back to the original comment you find it was made in 2015, and that the metric used by Mr. D'Aleo was actually the number of major impact winter storms, which is not the same thing as either snow cover or snow fall (especially when and where the winter precip turns out to be rain!) I'm tempted to see what TAR had to say about storm tracks in the Eastern US, but I'm already 'in overtime' commenting, so I'll resist.

      But note: the metric is cherry-picked. It's not global, it's 'the US east coast'; it's a timeframe of convenience; and it's a metric that's tangentially related to the normal parameters of snow research. It would be naive or disingenuous to think that such a delimited filter is going to tell us much about the effects of 'global warming.'

      So, if we can't really tell from Morano's article whether or not the impression that recent years have been globally snowier or not, can we tell what the IPCC has to say about it? Well, probably. I haven't looked yet, but I'm pretty sure that the most recent report, AR5, will have something on it. So, let me go Google...

      OK, in AR5 snow *extent* is discussed in Chapter 4, "Cryosphere." The link--unfortunately for the entire chapter--is here:

      https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/...

      The section on snow extent starts on page 358, so some recreational scrolling is called for!

      "By blending in situ and satellite records, Brown and Robinson (2011) have updated a key indicator of climate change, namely the time series of NH SCE [Snow Cover Extent] (Figure 4.19). This time series shows significant reductions over the past 90 years with most of the reductions occurring in the 1980s, and is an improvement over that presented in AR4 in several ways..."

      "...In a new development since AR4, both absolute and relative losses in June SCE now exceed the losses in March–April SCE: 11.7% [8.8 to 14.6%] per decade or 53% [40 to 66%] total over the 1967–2012 period and 14.8% [10.3 to 19.3%] per decade over the 1979–2012 period (all ranges very likely)... The loss rate of June SCE exceeds the loss rate for Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model projections of June SCE and also exceeds the well-known loss of September sea ice extent (Derksen and Brown, 2012). Viewed another way, the NOAA SCE data indicate that, owing to earlier spring snowmelt, the duration of the snow season averaged over NH grid points declined by 5.3 days per decade since winter 1972–1973 (Choi et al., 2010)."

      So spring snow cover loss continues, and for June (the convention first month of summer) has been very rapid.

      "The correlation between spring temperature and SCE (Figure 4.20) demonstrates that trends in spring SCE are linked to rising temperature..."

      Still the case since TAR. Here are annual and monthly SCE trends (1967-2012) according to Table 4.7:

      Increasing cover: Nov, Dec, Jan

      Decreasing cover: Feb, *Mar, *Apr, *May, *Jun, *Annual

      N/A: Jul-Oct

      (Asterisks denote those trends reaching the conventional 95% benchmark for statistical significance.)

      So, snow extent is not, in general, increasing--in fact, just the opposite. Someone should tell Mr. Morano.

      Again, there's much more to consider, if you are interested. But I'll press on to the question of snow *fall*, which is dealt with under the heading of precipitation, which in AR5 is in Chapter 2. Here's the chapter link:

      https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/...

      The discussion on snowfall begins on page 204, so again there is exercise for your scrolling finger indicated.

      The discussion begins by summarizing the findings of AR4 (2007):

      "AR4 draws no conclusion on global changes in snowfall. Changes in snowfall are discussed on a region-by-region basis, but focussed mainly on North America and Eurasia. Statistically significant increases were found in most of Canada, parts of northern Europe and Russia. A number of areas showed a decline in the number of snowfall events, especially those where climatological averaged temperatures were close to 0°C and where warming led to earlier onset of spring. Also, an increase in lake-effect snowfall was found for areas near the North American Great Lakes."

      It notes that further work reinforces some of those observations:

      "Since AR4, most published literature has considered again changes in snowfall in North America. These studies have confirmed that more winter-time precipitation is falling as rain rather than snow in the western USA (Knowles et al., 2006), the Pacific Northwest and Central USA (Feng and Hu, 2007)."

      It then describes the findings of another new study by Kunkel et al, which however since it was published in 2009 would not include most of D'Aleo's 'snowiest decade.' To summarize, findings then included decreases in "the western USA, northeastern USA and southern margins of the seasonal snow region..." but increases in "the western Great Plains and Great Lakes regions."

      The abstract for that paper is here:

      https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009J...

      "During the latter portion of the period, from 1950–51 to 2006–07, trends are much more consistent, with the United States as a whole and the central and northwest U.S. regions in particular showing significant declines in high-extreme snowfall years, and four regions showing significant increases in the frequency of low-extreme snowfall years (i.e., Northeast, Southeast, south, and Northwest)."

      I don't think Mr. Morano would like that quote.

      I looked to see if there was yet a follow-up bringing Kunkel et al more up to date, but I didn't spot such a paper with a quick search (it may well be out there somewhere, though.) That lead me to take a quick look at the Rutgers snow lab, as I know that they maintain current data updates on snow cover, at least.

      12-month means graph:

      https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.p...

      I don't understand "plotted on the 7th month" exactly, though I guess they mean that the value is centered on the 7th month--but the graph shows an uptick in extent over the last couple of years, a fall since the beginning of the data in the mid-60s, a huge drop in the 80s, and a flattish trend since about 1995. Not very indicative either of a future without snow, or a claim that the present is particularly snowy by historical standards.

      We can also look at the monthly area rankings, here:

      https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/table_rankin...

      For the NH as a whole, the last 12 months don't appear very exceptional, though September was 10th of 49 years of record, and both November and December were 9th. Last month came in at 19th of 52, which is snowy but not remarkably so.

      (By the way, I'm not sure why different months have different numbers of years in their respective records.)

      Given Mr. D'Aleo's claim was for the eastern US (albeit dating from 2015), I wondered if the North American data would look very different from the NH data. But not so much; while November and December ranked higher (7/50 and 7/52, respectively) and February came in at the same #19 ranking as in the hemispheric data, many of the other months were lower-ranked.

      So, to sum it up, I don't find much evidence that, in fact, the world is getting snowier on average. Yes, winter extent appears to be growing a bit, probably because of increased precipitation due to warming.

      But the declines in spring and earlier summer are much more significant. On the matter of snow *fall*, the record is very much mixed geographically.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 5 weeks ago from Camden, South Carolina

      What, me read Climate Depot? Of course I haven't seen it--though I've heard similar claims a thousand times. It's become a standard meme for some.

      As to the merits, it's fundamentally specious, I would say. While there have certainly been 'predictions' made (usually casual ones in media interviews) that have been wild, poorly phrased, ill-considered or just wrong, it's absurd in my opinion to think that so-called 'climate activists' predict both sides of a qualitative question in order not to be wrong. After all, while it would ensure a correct 'prediction' in each case--assuming there was a clean binary situation--it would also ensure a *wrong* prediction, which you can just bet Climate Depot would trumpet loudly. So it would be, on the face of it, a self-defeating behavior.

      And in fact, the framing of the question itself is a sly misdirection: 'climate activists' are people like me, who try to persuade people that we have a terrible crisis on our hands, and that it is a matter of great urgency to respond to it. (And for the record, I do so not out of hatred or disdain for fossil fuels, America, capitalism or anyone at all, but out of concern for all of us, and all that I love.) Activists aren't in the prediction business at all. Researchers *are* in the prediction business, and while some, like James Hansen, have become activists *also*, most have not.

      Let's think about the matter of predictions for a minute. The story cites several specific comments: David Viner, in 2000; David Parker at some unspecified, but from context probably similar, time; and Michael Oppenheimer, also in 2000. While all three are apparently researchers, none of those comments represent a scientific prediction. They were all interpretive comments made to media. As such, none of them are sufficiently specific to be falsifiable. Let's walk through them to illustrate.

      Oppenheimer said:

      “‘I bought a sled in ’96 for my daughter,’ said Michael Oppenheimer, a scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. ‘It’s been sitting in the stairwell and hasn’t been used. I used to go sledding all the time. It’s one of my most vivid and pleasant memories as a kid, hauling the sled out to Cunningham Park in Queens.’… Dr. Oppenheimer, among other ecologists, points to global warming as perhaps the most significant long-term factor...”

      Actually, there's no prediction there. Oppenheimer noted a then-current observation, and implied that the trend would continue. Did it? Morano would have us believe that it did not, but he actually presents very little evidence one way or another. We'll come back to that point. But there is literally no statement about the future made by Oppenheimer, let alone one specific enough to be "falsifiable".

      Dr. Parker did predict something: that "British children would have only “virtual” experience of snow via films and the Internet." Clearly that is not yet the case. But is it a falsifiable prediction? Not without some sort of timeframe attached--and actually it needs geographic specificity as well. (Was Parker thinking about Scottish children living on the slopes of the Cairngorms? Somehow I doubt it.)

      Matters are only slightly better for the 'prediction' of Dr. Viner, who said "“a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” There is no timeframe given within the quote itself, but the original story specified 'a few years,' which may or may not be reflective of what Dr. Viner intended.

      Now, that's not to say that these statements are immune from all criticism. Morano and many, many others have been doing just that for years--see, for instance, all the denialist ragging on Viner over the years illustrated in this search of his quote:

      https://tinyurl.com/VinerQuote

      But such quotes can and have been criticized from the standpoint of mainstream science as well. For instance, the late Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC and a seminal researcher, always insisted on measured, well-supported, language precisely because he knew that, given the social importance of the issue and the vested interests at stake, there would be much scrutiny and rhetorical manipulation of anything presented to the public.

      But Morano invokes something more than the charge of mere sensationalism when he utters the word "falsifiability." As you probably know (but some readers here may not), that's a key word in the modern scientific paradigm as articulated decades ago by Karl Popper. The idea is that scientific results can never, in principle, be proven correct; they can only definitively be *dis*proved. Further, to be a scientific idea, an idea *must be falsifiable*--it must be stated in such a way that one can test it by experiment.

      It was on those grounds that I excluded the statements quoted above as scientific 'predictions'. But what Morano is saying is that his putative 'activists' are not doing science, because, allegedly, they are subverting the paradigm of falsifiability.

      That would be a troubling charge, if true, but the fact is that what even the most august researcher says to a newspaper is not science. Science in the reportorial phase exists (with very, very few exceptions for unpublished work) *only in the scientific literature.* That's because science is essentially conversational, in that the work of each researcher must be subject to testing, revision and extension by any other researcher. And that is specifically what the professional literature is designed to facilitate.

      So, what was the professional literature saying around 2000? Well, let's look at the IPCC Third Assessment Report--TAR-- which, conveniently, came out in 2001. (As you know, but again readers may not, the Assessment Reports exists to summarize relevant research in the professional literature, so they provide very good 'snapshots' of the state of the art in climate research at particular times.)

      Here's the relevant link:

      https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/061.htm#22...

      I recommend the whole section to you, if you're seriously interested in the topic. But I'll comment on a couple of excerpts. First, on snow cover:

      "Satellite records indicate that the Northern Hemisphere annual snow-cover extent (SCE) has decreased by about 10% since 1966 largely due to decreases in spring and summer since the mid-1980s over both the Eurasian and American continents (Figure 2.13a; Robinson, 1997, 1999). Winter and autumn SCE show no statistically significant change. Reduction in snow cover during the mid- to late 1980s was strongly related to temperature increases in snow covered areas (Figure 2.13b)."

      So, *spring* snow cover was observed to be decreasing, but winter snow cover was not. These are also not predictions, of course; they are observations. But insofar as one might extrapolate, the IPCC's summary of the data as of 2001 would not lead one to predict that winter snow was going to disappear on a global basis any time soon.

      Now let me turn to the issue of snow *fall* in the TAR, which is a separate (though related) issue from snow *cover*. (Morano fails to make any noticeable distinction between the two.)

      "There have been relatively few studies of snowfall trends across the globe. Statistically significant increases in seasonal snowfall have been observed over the central USA in the 20th century (Hughes and Robinson, 1996). In recent decades, snowfall has also been heavier to the lee of the North American Great Lakes than earlier in the century (Leathers and Ellis, 1996). These findings are in line with observations from Canada and the former Soviet Union, reflecting a trend towards increased precipitation over the mid-latitude lands in the Northern Hemisphere (Groisman and Easterling, 1994; Brown and Goodison, 1996; Ye et al., 1998)."

      In other words, back in 2001, the IPPC was presenting observational evidence that snow falls were increasing in some regions. That's pretty much the opposite of the impression Morano tries to convey, based on a few media comments.

      (Continued)

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, have you seen this?

      http://www.climatedepot.com/2018/03/14/climate-act...

      Just curious about your reaction...

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, it is of course true that 'models are human creations.' However, they are basically the only 'creation' that we have that allows us to predict the course of future events.

      I'm not talking only about computational models as we usually use the term. When, for instance, a batter hits a home run, he (or she) has successfully used a mental/physical model in order to predict the ball's trajectory and subsequently to modify it by the correct application of force via the bat. The fact that it exists as a complex set of intuitions, memories and physical responses makes it no less a model than the software and hardware used to forecast tomorrow's weather.

      So, when you say that "[Models] have very little connection to what happens in reality," you are only describing *bad* models. Good ones have a useful connections to what happens in reality, by definition. Remember the George Box dictum: "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

      You ask about climate models "where is the proof?" Well, one place it exists is in current observations. In 1958 Roger Revelle pointed out that our effect on the composition of the atmosphere amounted to a 'vast experiment.' Since then, every decade except the 1960s has been warmer than the preceding one, just as predicted by the theory of greenhouse warming. Note Revelle didn't have an agenda one way or the other; he just noted that if the theory were correct, the Earth would warm. As it has.

      Another 'proof' can be found in the daily efficacy of numerical modeling of weather. As I already pointed out, it shows that the data collection and assimilation and mathematical representation of physical process are sufficiently correct to achieve very useful degrees of predictive skill. And those parts are the same as in the models used to model climate. (Including greenhouse warming of the atmosphere, which *must* be included in weather models for them to work.) I am not, of course, claiming perfection: "All models are wrong." But as a user, I do find forecasts to be highly useful. For example, I'm on a six-day trip right now, and I trusted 10-day forecasts of temperature enough to leave our water system full of water when we left.

      A final set of proofs can be found in the professional literature, where the ingenuity and diligence of a great many scientists has been expended over decades now to investigate how well climate modeling works. As I've said before, you will nowhere find as much specific criticism of the shortcomings of climate models as in the discussion of model validation in an IPCC report such as AR5. But you will also find that models have numerous successes as well.

      Look it up.

      You say: "As difficult as sampling points inside a volcano and below ground...the sampling data of our atmosphere is much worse, not better. We have few sensors that can cover the whole earth and all elevation levels."

      I can't agree. We'd always like to have more data, of course, but in fact we do cover most of the Earth, at essentially all elevation levels--and we do so with partial redundancy as well. You can't say the same for points *inside* the Earth.

      You continue: "The data points we gathered are a small small amount of what is needed for a better model."

      Jack, I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but that is both meaningless and false, which is a remarkable combination. It's meaningless because "a better model" is not defined, and false because self-evidently any increase in available data would be likely to make for 'a better model' by some definition thereof.

      "Thus, I have little confidence in these current models. The butterfly effect is just too great."

      Sounds great, but how do you know how 'great' the Butterfly effect is? What study have you read or conducted that shows that? What support can you produce to make it more than pure assertion? *I* believe that the Butterfly effect is much less relevant to climate than weather, as discussed last time. Who is to adjudge whose 'belief' is valid--and how do they judge?

      Finally, let me say that I think your conclusions are based more in emotion than logic. I don't mean that as accusation, or as dismissal. But obviously, the fact that one problem has not been solved does *not* mean that all problems have not been solved. For example, we can't (yet) create a fusion reaction that results in a net gain of energy. That doesn't mean that we can't build a fission reactor. We can't (yet) drive an electric car 500 miles on a single charge. That doesn't mean we can't build a car that can go 500 miles.

      You know that; you are no fool. Yet you argue in all apparent seriousness that because we can't model volcanic and seismic events, therefore we can't model *any* events. (Yes, "any," because while you only apply the argument to climate models, the logic as stated is not limited to them.) Sorry, but that is simply not credible.

      You say "I hope you see my dilemma." I believe I do, though you are, I fear, not going to welcome my perception. I believe your dilemma is that on the one hand you can't quite dismiss the possibility that the mainstream science could be correct, but on the other, you really don't want that to be true. (Not that I blame you on that score; as I've said before, who *would* want it to be true?)

      Otherwise, I find it hard to account for your grasping at what seem to me to be logical straws, such as the General Theory of the Impossibility of Modeling.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, nice try but I don’t buy it. These model are human creations. They have very little connection to what happens in reality. The fact that vulcanologists can’t create an accurate model to predict erruptions of a single volcano let along the whole earth, should give everyone pause.

      It shows how difficult the problem is.

      By the same token, the models of climate scientists mirrors what is going on in the other fields.

      Yet, we are told by these scientists that their model is accurate in predicting events that will materialize in 30 years or so time frame.

      Where is the proof?

      I hope you see my dilemma.

      I am not confusing weather and climate. You are absolutely right about their differences.

      I am still cautious about models that claim to predict climate change on a global scale. The immensity of this just boggles my mind.

      The data sampling problem you sighted is exactly why I have doubts about all models. As difficult as sampling points inside a volcano and below ground...the sampling data of our atmosphere is much worse, not better. We have few sensors that can cover the whole earth and all elevation levels. The data points we gathered are a small small amount of what is needed for a better model. Thus, I have little confidence in these current models. The butterfly effect is just too great.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      In the module you ask:

      "Why is it so hard for scientists to predict volcano erruptions and earthquakes in localized regions and yet they are so confident in their models to predict global climate years into the future?"

      I think I can at least comment sensibly on this. There are 2 separate factors at play. One is that, clearly, predicting seismic and volcanic events has a data problem that we don't have to the same degree with the atmosphere.

      We are able to sample the atmosphere at many points and from many perspectives to measure critical parameters, and from those measurements we are able to build a near-real time model of that atmosphere. It allows us to make very useful predictions, which many if not most of us use on a daily basis to make decisions about aspects of our lives--what to wear, whether or not to undertake certain trips, whether or not to move outdoor plants to shelter, whether we can safely undertake certain construction projects, and how much power we may expect to receive from wind and solar farms in the near future, to name just a few common applications.

      For seismic and volcanic events, we do not have nearly the kind of data availability, and the models we can build are so far much less useful than the 'numerical weather analyses' that we use to predict weather. Hurricane Sandy's trajectory change that took it into New York was, I well recall, predicted several days in advance, with the result that many lives were saved and much damage was prevented. That's why we pay for weather services. But that kind of predictive reach and accuracy is not yet a reality for seismic or volcanic events--although many people (and nations!) would pay dearly to have it.

      The second piece is the climate vs. weather piece. I've written about this repeatedly before, so I won't go over all that ground in detail again. But the short version is that predicting climate is a different problem from predicting weather. In predicting weather, you have to get right not only the general conditions, you have to get right every detail of when and where and how much and how long, or you are apt to have unhappy users. For instance, if you see rain moving in, but forecast it for 12 hours later than it actually arrives, the roofers who didn't have time to finish their job will be pretty mad (though perhaps not as mad as the homeowner!)

      By contrast, if you are predicting *climate*, then what you are trying to predict is precisely 'average conditions'. It's much less susceptible to the effects of mathematical 'chaos'. That doesn't mean it's either easy or infallible. But it's not the same as predicting weather. Or earthquakes, for that matter.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I added a new module to this hub. It appears right above. My question is a simple one. Can you explain it?

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      An afterthought--I was looking at another of my Hubs on the topic in connection with an unrelated manner, and it reminded me that one of the first scientists to propose wide variations in CO2 content over geological time was a Swedish researcher named Arvid Högbom.

      He was a friend of Svante Arrhenius (the main subject of my Hub), who won one of the first Nobel prizes for revolutionizing chemistry, and who hand-calculated (!) the first mathematical model of CO2-driven global warming, back in 1896.

      https://hubpages.com/education/Global-Warming-Scie...

      (The Hub also has quite a bit about Samuel Langley, a remarkable scientist in his own right, because Arrhenius based his analysis on data Langley had gathered and published.)

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Yes, they have--were that not the case, there would be much less to be learned from the paleoclimate record, and Michael Mann would have had a very different career. Such questions have been investigated for quite a while now. For instance, one now-obscure but remarkable researcher who looked at paleoclimate, solar radiation and CO2 was Nils Ekholm, whom I wrote about here:

      https://hubpages.com/education/Global-warming-scie...

      Returning to your comment about CO2 and temperature rise, it does appear that in recent natural deglaciations, the temperature rises are driven initially by insolation changes consequent to cyclical orbital changes ('Milankovitch cycles'). However, these changes are far too small to explain the observed temperature changes. It seems that after several centuries of warming, the oceans begin to outgas CO2, which then drives further warming. So in such cases, as the jargon has it, "CO2 is not a forcing, but a feedback."

      However, that is not what is happening today, as is easily shown by several independent lines of evidence. I've got lots of details if you are interested, or you can search it on, say, Skeptical Science.

      On the other hand, there are paleoclimatic events that appear from the evidence to have been driven by CO2 rises--the pre-eminent example being the End-Permian event, sometimes called 'the Great Dying.' In that catastrophe, an enormous volcanic outburst called the Siberian Traps released an estimated 8.5 × 10e7 Tg--if I've done the math right, that's about 250 years worth of 2015-level human emissions. (Additionally, smaller but still massive amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide were emitted. That's vulcanism several orders of magnitude beyond anything we see today--contrary to the claims of Ian Plimer, who certainly should know better.) Biological recovery took millions of years.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Tria...

      There's also a chapter on the Permian event in 'The Sixth Extinction,' which I discuss in my review/summary:

      https://letterpile.com/books/Elizabeth-Kolberts-Th...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      And this chart that shows the CO2 lags temperature...

      https://www.google.com/search?dcr=0&biw=1024&a...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      But CO2 levels have gone up and down many times over the history of the earth...

      https://www.google.com/search?dcr=0&biw=1024&a...

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      For instance: while we've been having this extended conversation (that is, since sometime in mid-2015) atmospheric CO2 has increased from 401 ppm to 406... well over a 1% increase in just two years.

      Unless you believe that the entire greenhouse theory is wrong, you can see that something, at some point, *will* 'give'. Will it be in 2026, when CO2 may reasonably be expected to be approaching 430 ppm? Later? Earlier?

      Now remember that since pre-Industrial times, CO2 has already increased by over 40%--actually, now about 45%. What would happen if solar output increased 45%?

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "The argument presented always stress the human contribution being the largest, where in reality, it may not be."

      Ah, but the evidence is pretty darn strong that, yes, it is. For one thing, it's the only driver that is currently exhibiting a long-term linear trend. Everything is fluctuates about a stationary mean. Not so greenhouse gas concentrations, which just keep on increasing, year after year after year after year... unless we do something differently.

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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for that long explanation. I just want to emphasize - for the rest of the population, who does not follow all the details that goes on, the contribution from the Sun is lost in the debate. The natural variations due to the sun, the volcanos, various cycles of planets...contribute to the climate change. The argument presented always stress the human contribution being the largest, where in reality, it may not be.

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      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Thanks, that's an interesting discussion note--it's not a research paper, and I don't think it's peer-reviewed--from NASA. Direct link:

      http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/201801...

      The WUWT author, however, seems not to understand it at all. He imputes to the NASA authors the intent to obfuscate the falsifiability of their 'predictions'--although he doesn't actually cite any predictions that would have been falsifiable previous to the paper that are now somehow affected. I have to regard his idea as pure fantasy, influenced perhaps by the fact that the last several years have been record-warm and that he finds this fact a tad 'inconvenient.' Certainly he avoids any discussion of the first portion of the discussion, which deals with the observations documenting that fact.

      It's very clear to me that what the NASA authors are saying is that there are contradictory indicators about what the next ten years may hold, but that they do not believe that there is any reason to think that the long-term trend is changing, or soon will do so:

      "Therefore, temperature change during even the next few years is of interest, to determine whether a significant excursion *above the trend line* is underway." (My emphasis.)

      So they regard short-term variability as just that. It's scientifically interesting, but not necessarily indicative of what will happen over the longer term.

      As such, this is not out of line with our recent discussion about what the next ten years may hold. If the first case should be realized, and the rate of warming over the coming decade should be relatively low due to a super-Nino and relatively high solar output at the beginning of the period, I would still expect that the decade as a whole will be warmer than the previous decade. (That was the case during the last 'pause' years, taken as a whole, as my calculations and graph showed.)

      I do hope, though, that you'll take note of the discussion of solar irradiance as a relevant factor? It's historically been hard to get you to accept that mainstream climate science does indeed take this aspect into account. But here you see Hansen/Sato/Ruedy/Schmidt/Lo/Persin discussing it at some length.

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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc,

      here is latest article on the coming possible pause in temperature...according to Hansen/gavin/schmidt -

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/24/nasa-james-...

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      Doc Snow 2 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      I don't think it's a good idea. Obviously, I'm a big fan of solar panels in general, but I think the idea of the wall is misguided, and a vertical orientation for solar panels is highly sub-optimal. If you're into the wall, by all means use properly-oriented panels with battery storage to power the monitoring and other equipment. If you're into solar power, put it where it's most effective.

      I'd further note the negative impacts on wildlife enumerated in the story you link, and the 2014 study they cite that found such impacts relative to existing border fencing in Arizona--though the impact on human movement was 'zero'.

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      Jack Lee 2 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, what do you think the idea of building a wall on our southern border with solar panels?

      https://www.popsci.com/border-wall-solar-panels

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      No, I didn't. The point is precisely that the study does *not* show that it is less dire in any practical sense. *If* we take as gospel truth this study's best estimate being 2.8 C as opposed to 3 C, that really makes no practical difference whatever. A really bad emissions scenario could still take us above 6 C.

      I think we're running the risk of confusing bystanders here, because this discussion actually originated at the thread on my Hub, not this one, but for convenience here's a bit quoted over there. The new paper (Cox et al., 2018):

      "...refines this estimate to 2.8C, with a corresponding range of 2.2 to 3.4C. If correct, the new estimates could reduce the uncertainty surrounding climate sensitivity by 60%."

      That's as opposed to 1.5-4.5 C. So, yes, it's nice that we have one line of analysis suggesting that ECS isn't 4.5 C. But follow the logic. You want the problem 'not to be too bad.' But if Cox et al is gospel--and it probably isn't, even if it is an improved estimate--then you've just lost as 'possible' the range from 1.5-2.2 C. And note that the 'least bad' case of 2.2 C implies that we would be committed to well in excess of 2 C warming under the scenario I outlined above.

      As to your second point, that we 'just don't know enough' to take action, may I just point out that that's basically the inverse of how we usually manage risk? If we know that planes crash, but not how often, then we will be less likely to take planes. If we know that smoking can cause cancer, but not precisely how much so, then we will at least recommend that people do not smoke. Heck, recently it was recommended that we not eat romaine lettuce because there was an outbreak of e. coli infections linked to that particular variety, and it couldn't be shown to be safe at that time.

      Yet in the context of climate change, some--including you, clearly--want to invert this logic. And this despite the fact that not only do we have solid understanding of the essential physical mechanisms underlying the expectation of harm, we actually observe some of these harms occurring in the world. We see Middle Eastern droughts increasing in frequency and intensity. We see heat wave doing the same. We see extreme rain events increasing, where we have statistically adequate baseline data to compare. We see wildfires increasing in climatically susceptible areas.

      And we know, that as with smoking, the damage is done significantly before it becomes evident.

      It's understandable to *want* the problem not to be real, or at least, not for it to be too bad. But that is not what the evidence is pointing to--including the results of Cox et al.

      Certainly, we need to keep improving our knowledge base--for one thing, it would be extremely useful indeed to be able to better predict impacts on regional scales. That's the level at which much policy is and can be made, so it would be great if we were able to say, for instance, just how much warming and just which precipitation changes New York State (or at least the Northeast generally) might expect over, say, the next 20 years.

      But that is not what the present Administration has been proposing. They propose pretty drastic cuts, in fact--though this time around, at least, Congress didn't fully comply.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Yes, but you kissed the point of both stories... climate change is not as dire as projected.. and we just don’t know enough at this point thus we need more studies to improve our climate models...which is what I’ve been proposeing for the longest time.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, the last link is just to another newspaper's version of the same Agence France Presse story you linked to in the first place, and is substantially the same. The only difference is the subheading, which says this:

      "Earth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study released Wednesday which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions."

      That is, however, completely incorrect. The writer was perhaps assuming that there was something limiting human GHG emissions to the doubling level, but that is not true. As we previously discussed, at present emissions rates, we'd hit "double CO2" well before the end of the present century--2072, was it?--so by the end of the century we'd be something like 70 ppm *past* 'double CO2.' Moreover, until recently at least, emissions have actually been accelerating; there are hints that natural sinks which absorb CO2 may be slowing; and so far in the discussion we've also ignored other GHGs. (The current value of what's referred to as "CO2e"--ie., the forcing value of all GHGs stated in terms of CO2 equivalency, roughly--is approaching, IIRC, 480 ppm.)

      So it's very possible that we could end the century with more than 700 ppm (especially in terms of CO2e). An ECS of 2.8 applied to those kinds of forcing levels would certainly get us over 4C warming. So whoever wrote that subhead was just confused, or perhaps ignorant.

      As to your TED talk, I'm not a big fan of watching online videos; it's not, by and large, an efficient use of my time. But if I get a chance I'll give it a listen.

      However, I found an interview with Dr. Marvel here:

      http://news.columbia.edu/content/Scientist-Kate-Ma...

      She said this, which apparently is relevant to the TED talk:

      "We now have about 30 years of satellite observations of clouds, and we’re getting better at modeling them. If you take the observations and you take the models, what they are suggesting is that clouds will not only slow down global warming, they’re also likely to make it worse. The greenhouse effect of clouds is going to intensify in the future. That’s based on fairly solid physics. In this case it’s reinforcing feedback: it makes global warming worse. We now have a very good understanding of how that’s going to happen. There are still uncertainties about whether clouds are going to block more or less sunlight in the future. Clouds are not going to save us. It’s going to have to be us, I’m afraid."

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      Here is link to story of study -

      https://southcoastherald.co.za/afp/349698/worst-ca...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, just came across the TED talk on climate change by Kate Marvel.

      I love her and agree with her 100%.

      https://www.ted.com/talks/kate_marvel_can_clouds_b...

      She said exactly what I have been saying all these past few years...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Let me re-emphasize a quote from the story you linked, Jack:

      "“We will still see significant warming and impacts this century if we don’t INCREASE OUR AMBITION TO REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS,” said Forster.”

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, coincidentally I just posted a comment on my Hub about this. I won't replicate everything I said there, but I wonder if you've read the whole story yourself, as your link says:

      ""Very high sensitivity would have made it extremely hard to limit climate change according to the Paris targets..."

      "The findings should not been seen as taking pressure off the need to tackle climate change, the authors and other experts warned.

      ""We will still see significant warming and impacts this century if we don't increase our ambition to reduce CO2 emissions," said Forster.

      "Even a 1.5 C increase will have consequences... the Earth is already coping with a crescendo of climate impacts including deadly droughts, erratic rainfall, and storm surges engorged by rising seas.

      "A 3.5 C world, scientists say, could pull at the fabric of civilisation."

      Well, it's "would", not "could", but close enough, I suppose. Clearly, AGW is still a "problem", as you put it, under this estimate. (After all, the new 'best estimate' of 2.8 C isn't far off the old one of 3 C.)

      On the LAPD thing, I wouldn't say that they are 'out' $10 million. They just need to look at using what they've committed to a bit better. Quite possibly some internal departmental communication and clear policy could result in much better utilization of these vehicles. (Perhaps addressing the much-hyped 'range anxiety' issue? 80-100 miles of range could get you across LA a couple of times, after all! As we discussed, these are not patrol cars.)

      If so, they will be saving money that would be otherwise spent on fuel, which should offset some of the cost (CA has gas well north of $3 a gallon, remember), and making a [small] dent in LA's notorious smog problem.

      And while you are determined to blame the technology, I come back to my argument that responsible buyers look at their needs and make good decisions. As a commuter car, the i3 does a very good job by all accounts I've seen. If they needed something else, then that's on LAPD, not BMW.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, did you see this, maybe its just not a problem after all.

      https://www.afp.com/en/news/2265/worst-case-global...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      That’s all well and good but it doesn’t help city of LA who is out $10 million, which could have been better used else where... which bring me back to my argument that we should not push a technology until it is ready...for prime time.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      On EV acceleration--there's a lot of videos of folks 'pranking' their unsuspecting friends with the Tesla 85's 'ludicrous' acceleration. Warning--some adult language:

      https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-L...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Sure. A powerful e-car can out-accelerate any ICE vehicle due to the 'torqueiness' of electric motors. (Even not-so-powerful ones tend to excel in this respect.) That's one big advantage. And top speeds are more than adequate.

      Range was the (stated) issue for the LAPD users, but there are now several EVs on the market that are in the 200-300-miles per charge range, not only from Tesla, but now from GM, too. (The 2017 Bolt claims an EPA-estimated 238 miles per charge.)

      Cruisers are typically heavier than their civilian counterparts, due to extra equipment, and chew up more current, too, so that would translate to extra battery capacity. But it's incremental, not a huge quantitative difference.

      And after all, if we're talking about toting power, there are semis, delivery trucks, and buses using electric technology, already out there on the roads of various countries.

      So I don't think a 'e-cruiser' need be very far over the horizon, from a technological point of view. Cost may be an issue for some time, though. Still, battery costs should continue to fall as we see technological improvements, and especially as the expanding market allows increasing economies of scale.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, that raises the question which car or what green technology can fit the needs of law enforcement officers? Can a police cruiser be green? Ever?

      Consider what they have to do on a daily and hourly basis...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, that's not 'the cost of going green,' it's the cost of a poorly-planned effort. The i3--basically a high-end commuter car, sort of an upscale Nissan Leaf--was perhaps not a great choice for the application (though what do I know about the transportation needs of LAPD administrators?)

      And, as it says in the story:

      "...it seems the department was more interested in the image of using electric cars than the implementation."

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, check out this story -

      http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/01/16/goldstei...

      Here is what going green in one Agency cost...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Doc, here is someone trying to duplicate Al Gore’s experiment on CO2 greenhouse effect -"

      It's not Al Gore's, it's Bill Nye's--and it's not an 'experiment', it's a demonstration. I thought it was interesting to read about the difficulties in redoing it *as* an experiment, but really it has little to say on the merits of the larger question. See Anthony Watt's disclaimer at the bottom of the WUWT article:

      "I should make it clear that I’m not doubting that CO2 has a positive radiative heating effect in our atmosphere, due to LWIR re-radiation, that is well established by science. What I am saying is that Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project did a poor job of demonstrating an experiment..."

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Doc, you are making my case. The hurricane drought is just normal weather pattern."

      Jack, with respect, if you look back you'll find that it was *my* point that the 'drought' was normal (weather) variability. It was you who pointed to it as if it had something to say about climate trends.

      "We have years of no activity or little activity and years of disasters. This has been going on every since human history. It is more costly now because we have build up many of our coastal cities..."

      Sure it is. But that's not necessarily the only significant factor at play. For example, the rainfall totals and rates from Harvey were truly extraordinary, and that is directly related to warming.

      The good side of all this is of course that today we have numerical weather modeling--using the same basic equations and modeling techniques found in so-called 'climate models'--which, together with modern communication technologies, all but eliminates the surprise element which was so deadly in, for instance, the notorious Galvestone hurricane.

      "I point to the Old Farmers Almanac which recorded many past events that are much more devestating than Sandy or Harvey..."

      I question the 'more devestating' part a bit; in lives, sure, thanks to prediction and communication, but in cost, I doubt it. But it really doesn't matter. The question isn't whether or not disasters have happened; we know that they have. It's whether we are creating conditions where they are more likely.

      And the evidence is that we are--in part because we are not respecting nature, and (as you say) are building in places we shouldn't, and in part because we are not respecting nature, and are altering the fundamental properties of our atmosphere.

      "You are not recognizing the fact that our weather and climate in much more complex than scientists try to study..."

      Oh, come on. The complexity of weather and climate is not only fully appreciated by "scientists [who] try to study [it]", it is *best* appreciated by them. It's extremely arrogant of the WUWT crew and the like to fail to realize that, but time and again you see them pick up some crumb of knowledge--painfully gained by real scientists--and then act as if they were the ones to discover it, going on, inevitably, to try to construct a case opposed to what the mainstream is saying.

      "Oh, look! Atmospheric CO2 is saturated!" (State of the art science--in 1905.)

      "Oh, look! Some temperature stations might be affected by siting conditions!" (State of the art science--in 1938.)

      "Oh, look! Global temperature responds to the the Pacific Decadal Oscillation!" (State of the art science--when Mantua et al. first described it in 1997.)

      http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997BAMS...78.1069M

      "In fact, if you take the really long view, our civilization is just a blip of a few thousand years, in a planet history of 4 billion years of turmoil and change..."

      Sounds nice, but so what? We still have to decide our course based on the best information we have today.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      "Doc, you are making my case. The hurricane drought is just normal weather pattern."

      Jack, with respect, if you look back you'll find that it was *my* point that the 'drought' was normal (weather) variability. It was you who pointed to it as if it had something to say about climate trends.

      "We have years of no activity or little activity and years of disasters. This has been going on every since human history. It is more costly now because we have build up many of our coastal cities..."

      Sure it is. But that's not necessarily the only significant factor at play. For example, the rainfall totals and rates from Harvey were truly extraordinary, and that is directly related to warming.

      The good side of all this is of course that today we have numerical weather modeling--using the same basic equations and modeling techniques found in so-called 'climate models'--which, together with modern communication technologies, all but eliminates the surprise element which was so deadly in, for instance, the notorious Galvestone hurricane.

      "I point to the Old Farmers Almanac which recorded many past events that are much more devestating than Sandy or Harvey..."

      I question the 'more devestating' part a bit; in lives, sure, thanks to prediction and communication, but in cost, I doubt it. But it really doesn't matter. The question isn't whether or not disasters have happened; we know that they have. It's whether we are creating conditions where they are more likely.

      And the evidence is that we are--in part because we are not respecting nature, and (as you say) are building in places we shouldn't, and in part because we are not respecting nature, and are altering the fundamental properties of our atmosphere.

      "You are not recognizing the fact that our weather and climate in much more complex than scientists try to study..."

      Oh, come on. The complexity of weather and climate is not only fully appreciated by "scientists [who] try to study [it]", it is *best* appreciated by them. It's extremely arrogant of the WUWT crew and the like to fail to realize that, but time and again you see them pick up some crumb of knowledge--painfully gained by real scientists--and then act as if they were the ones to discover it, going on, inevitably, to try to construct a case opposed to what the mainstream is saying.

      "Oh, look! Atmospheric CO2 is saturated!" (State of the art science--in 1905.)

      "Oh, look! Some temperature stations might be affected by siting conditions!" (State of the art science--in 1938.)

      "Oh, look! Global temperature responds to the the Pacific Decadal Oscillation!" (State of the art science--when Mantua et al. first described it in 1997.)

      http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997BAMS...78.1069M

      "In fact, if you take the really long view, our civilization is just a blip of a few thousand years, in a planet history of 4 billion years of turmoil and change..."

      Sounds nice, but so what? We still have to decide our course based on the best information we have today.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, here is someone trying to duplicate Al Gore’s experiment on CO2 greenhouse effect -

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/climate-fail-files/gor...

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, you are making my case. The hurricane drought is just normal weather pattern. We have years of no activity or little activity and years of disasters. This has been going on every since human history. It is more costly now because we have build up many of our coastal cities...

      I point to the Old Farmers Almanac which recorded many past events that are much more devestating than Sandy or Harvey...

      You are not recognizing the fact that our weather and climate in much more complex than scientists try to study...

      In fact, if you take the really long view, our civilization is just a blip of a few thousand years, in a planet history of 4 billion years of turmoil and change...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      You're welcome, Jack.

      "At what point will you and your colleagues question the validity of the 97% consensus?"

      When evidence ceases to support it?

      "In light of numerous incidences of inaccuracies of published scientific papers."

      Such as?

      "Also, when will the climate science community realize the short comings of their work so far?"

      If you read the IPCC Assessment Reports, you will find lots of critical assessment, especially in terms of climate modeling. Science is, culturally, all about critiquing narratives and questioning ideas... in my experience, it can make some scientist (the ones who can't 'turn it off' when they get home from the lab) quite obnoxious to be around!

      "In light of missed projections and dire predictions of doom?"

      Again, that's not the dominant picture I found when I looked at short term predictions, if you recall.

      "However, if you take the long view of history, these are just a small blip in the long past of disasters with natural causes."

      It may be that 2017 was a 'blip', but I don't think I'd call it 'small':

      https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/new-record-cost-...

      Sometimes a 'blip' is incoming enemy planes:

      ""There were 16 disasters, mainly hurricanes and wildfires, that cost more than $1 billion, which tied a record set in 2011 for most number of disasters exceeding that amount. Last year's overall total of $306 billion set a new mark for overall cost.

      ""The damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria alone are responsible for approximately $265 billion of the $306.2 billion," NOAA economist Adam Smith wrote in a blog post. "Each of these destructive hurricanes now joins Katrina and Sandy, in the new top 5 costliest U.S. hurricanes on record.""

      And speaking of blips, you may recall that it was not so long ago that you were touting the 'hurricane drought.'

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, thanks for the long explanation. My question is this. At what point will you and your colleagues question the validity of the 97% consensus? In light of numerous incidences of inaccuracies of published scientific papers. Also, when will the climate science community realize the short comings of their work so far? In light of missed projections and dire predictions of doom? People have a short memory. It is so easy to exploit the latest storms and mudslides and forest fires...and blame them on climate change. However, if you take the long view of history, these are just a small blip in the long past of disasters with natural causes.

      The bottom line is, if natural causes are responsible for most of the disasters, then the whole climate change argument is moot.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Jack, have you attempted any skeptical examination of this story yourself? You know that Breitbart is not highly focussed in impartial truthtelling, right?

      I'm not going to look at 485 papers, and I am going to try to keep this relatively brief.

      But--off the top, much of this doesn't apply to the 'consensus' question. The questions asked by the various surveys demonstrating the expert consensus question varied a bit, but in summary came down to three basic points. I'd simplify them thus: 1) Is climate change happening? 2) Is humanity significantly contributing to it? 3) Is it likely to be bad, on balance?

      If you look at the criteria your boy uses, they are fourfold, simplified so: 1) natural mechanisms are non-negligible drivers of climate change; 2) change rates are not unprecedented; 3) climate models are not consistently reliable; 4) proposed mitigation efforts are ineffective or harmful.

      #4 can be ruled out immediately in terms of the 'consensus' question, as it wasn't part of that rubric in the first place.

      The other three all have considerable areas of overlap with mainstream science, raising questions about the author's interpretations of the significance of results. For example, if you read the relevant chapters of AR5, the most recent of the IPCC reports, you will find extensive discussions of the limitations of climate modeling; of cases in which current change in some aspect does not rise to, or exceed, natural variability; and of the role natural processes may play in observed climate change.

      My expectation would be that many of the authors cited among these 485 papers would tell you that their work is entirely within the mainstream 'consensus.' That's because that has historically been the pattern with these things: for example, the misrepresentation of Dr. Carl Wunsch's views in "The Great Warming Swindle," to cite just one example.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Global_War...

      I'm sure there are cases in which the researcher(s) are just as 'skeptical' or 'denialist', as the case may be, as the writer says. We went through this exercise quite recently--12 days ago, in fact--as you may remember, with another post from 'notrickszone'; at the time I spent a morning looking at a dozen or so of the papers cited.

      As you'll recall, they were a pretty motley lot, with conclusions that were not mutually compatible, and published in low-impact journals (and in a couple of case, not published at all in the formal sense, but just posted online.)

      I'd expect that many of the papers among the 485 follow such a pattern. In fact, I'd expect that the 120 listed are actually *included* in the larger set of 485; the 120 were all about solar influence, and so would fall under the author's category #1.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, it seems the 97% consensus is breaking down...

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/10...

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Thanks.

      We don't actually have global instrumental data going that far back, though--some regional data, and paleoclimate reconstructions, yes, but actual global instrumental data I think only starts with HadCRU. (BEST might have some earlier data in their reconstruction, but with enormous error bars.)

      So what I'll try to do is run the same analysis for HadCRU for 1850, their start year, to 1900 or maybe 1920. That should give us a reasonable picture of the natural variation you're looking for--there was probably already some anthropogenic influence back then, but relatively small compared to the 'unforced variability.'

      Not right away, though; I'm working on something else at the moment.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I actually have in mind the last 300 years. If you take a 10 years section over that period, you will find there are years when the earth cooled and other periods where they warmed. That was the natural variablilty that I was referring to.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Just for fun, I took the annual GISTEMP data from 1970-2016 (we'll see the 2017 number in a week or so) and imported it to a spreadsheet, then ran 10-year retrospective averages. So for every year from 1979 to 2016, I now had the mean temperature anomaly for the ten year span ending in that year.

      I then constructed a simple line graph of those averages. You can see it here:

      http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/brassdoc/...

      With the graph, it's easy to see that there have been only four years during that span when the 10-year mean declined: 1993, 2000, 2008, and 2009. The latter two are obviously the only back-to-back declines in the record; they reflect mostly the influence of the monster El Nino of 1998.

      (Note that there's a labeling error in the x-axis I didn't catch before uploading the graph; the label '14' got in there twice somehow, so the labels for 2015 and 2016 are off. Oh, well.)

      You can also see the flattened curve during the ensuing 'pause' years, as well as the recent record warmth. We already know enough to be sure that there will be another increase when this year's number comes in; the December anomaly will determine whether 2017 or 2015 will now take second-place in the record book, but we can tell that it will be a pretty close thing between the two, so a 2017 value close to 0.9 C will 'replace' the 2007 value of 0.64 C.

      So, given that of 34 of the last 38 years have seen in increase in the 10-year mean, how many do you think will see an increase during the next ten years? A naive reading of your words would lead one to expect that you expect about equal increases and decreases. Is that the case?

      Because clearly, if it is, you are expecting the next 10 years to be very different from the preceding 38.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      OK, fine. Note, though, that it would be a very bad idea to wait out our little challenge before starting to mitigate carbon emissions. (Not that our conversation is having any great influence on what society decides, of course!)

      However, what do you mean "vary up or down within natural limits, no more no less?" Who exactly decides who these 'natural limits' are?

      After all, since 1979 we've had warming of 0.13-0.17 C each decade. (That is, the linear trend from UAH version 6, currently the 'coolest' dataset is 0.13 C/decade, while the corresponding number from the 'warmest' dataset, GISS LOTI, is 0.17 C/decade.) Presumably you think that that is 'within natural limits,' or we wouldn't be having this conversation.

      My expectation would be that the coming 10 years will be at least 0.13 C warmer than the last 10. But given that that is pretty much what has happened for the last 4 decades of so, and you are not convinced yet, a fifth decade doing the same thing will probably not convince you, either--even though in comments below you said you expected *cooling* due to lower solar activity.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc,

      I will take on your challenge. Let’s see what happens next 10 years. You claim the next decades will be warmer than last decade though you don’t say by how much. I claim the temperature of the earth will vary up or down within natural limits, no more no less. That is as specific a prediction I can give. It will decide whether man has anything to do with our climate or not.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      No worries, Jack--you didn't 'rob' me of anything. It was my choice to have a look at those papers.

      However, I'm a little non-plussed by your statement that "It is not 97% consensus of all climate scientists ." After all, on several occasions, 97% of climate scientist *who responded to that particular set of questions* did indeed agree with 'the consensus position' as summarized in those particular question.

      Sure, that's not *all* climate scientists everywhere; some didn't respond, or may have accidentally been omitted from the survey, or whatever. And sure, it depends how you ask the question; it always does with surveys, whether you are asking about politics, science, or laundry soap. In fact, if you look at the link I posted to surveys of scientific opinion on climate change, you will find that there are different numbers in different surveys (though as it happens, 97% is the number that has come up a couple of different times.)

      What you won't find is a survey that fails to show a very strong preponderance of opinion that the mainstream science is correct. (That is why is *is* the mainstream science.)

      "A recent quiet of sun spots point to a cooler climate. How much and how soon can be debated but it will happen despite the claim of AGW theory."

      I think 'will happen' is a pure statement of faith on your part. At best, the evidence of those papers is pretty weak (being mutually contradictory). Not *one*, as I pointed out already, actually bothered to consider Earth's heat budget in making temperature predictions. Which is akin to trying to predict your car's temperature based on weather predictions, independently of whether you have turned the AC on or not.

      Let me expand. The first terrestrial heat budget was attempted by Fourier in the 1820s; he carefully considered heat inputs--solar and other extraterrestrial radiation from above, plus heat conducted upward from the planet's core--and heat outputs. (Of which there is essentially only one--upwelling radiation--if you consider the entire Earth system, rather than surface temperature. For surface temperature, though, you must consider convection, too, and the transfer of heat through phases changes of water is also quite important.)

      By the way, the very first Hub I wrote was on Fourier's work. You can read it here:

      https://hubpages.com/education/The-Science-Of-Glob...

      That brought the first hint we had of the existence of the greenhouse effect, as Fourier's result was that the Earth was about 18 Celsius degrees warmer than it 'should' have been. There have been a good many heat budget attempts since then, and we are much closer to a 'closed' budget than ever. (Kevin Trenberth is a prominent researcher who is very focussed on this question.)

      But the folks forecasting surface temperature based solely on solar input are completely neglecting the 'output' side of the coin. They are also, in many cases, tacitly assuming something we know to be untrue, in that they are basing predictions of future temperatures on the basis of the past behavior of *a planet whose atmosphere is markedly different than it was during the 'training period.'*

      Consider a car weighing 2000 pounds, including driver. You carefully test its performance through a series of manoeuvers. To what degree would you expect to be able to predict its handling if you increase its gross weight by 40% to 2800 pounds? Yet studies predicting temperature purely on projected insolation are entirely analogous to asserting that the 2800 pound car's handling is unaffected by the extra weight.

      Frankly, it's a bit silly.

      Am I saying that the solar input is negligible? No. But the folks who have actually done their sums on this question are in good agreement that it is not going to be the dominant factor.

      You expect cooling. OK, that's a prediction, albeit purely a qualitative one. Here's mine: the next 10 years will still be warmer on average than the preceding 10.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks for spending the time to research this. I did not intend to rob you two hours of your holiday time. I do want to pull back the curtain on the climate change debate. It is not 97% consensus of all climate scientists and they all don’t agree on the percent of human contribution. I think if the questions were posed differently, you might get different results. That said, the fact that our planet is reacting to the solar activities is undeniable. A recent quiet of sun spots point to a cooler climate. How much and how soon can be debated but it will happen despite the claim of AGW theory.

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      Doc Snow 3 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Thanks for an interesting couple of hours. Since I had some free time, I decided to dive in a bit. Following the links in your story, I went to the 'notrickszone' site and did two things.

      First, I looked at the list of 120 papers published in 2017 which 'link solar forcing to temperature.' I didn't try to vet the whole list, but scanning it showed that it appeared to fall into two basic categories. One was the 'contrarian' papers that were separately mentioned in a list of recent publications as predicting cooling temperatures in the near future. The other was mainstream climate papers looking at either regional or paleoclimatic trends.

      The latter I would summarize as constituting essentially a strawman argument on the part of 'ntz', in that whereas he presents this as some sort of new development which threatens (or promises) to overturn the consensus on global temperature, in fact the IPCC has always acknowledged the role of solar input as climate forcing--and properly so, since the IPCC reflects the scientific literature.

      Second, I took a deeper look at the 7 "recently published" papers that came out in 2017. I asked 2 questions, basically: what is the stature of the journal in which the article was published? and, what are the specific claims being made in each article and how do the 7 compare?

      As to the 'journal status' metric, I used Scopus to pull 3 statistics for each journal: a 'CiteScore', 'Highest % cited', and a 'CiteScore Rank.' Four of the papers were published in journals in the scopus data base, and I give the metrics for each:

      Sun et al: 1.75; 74%; 53/206

      Yndestad & Solheim: 0.90; 41%; 60/102

      Stozkhov et al: 0.35; 18%; 161/199

      Page: 0.37; 35%; 116/180

      (Of the other 3, 2--Nurtaev & Nurtaev and Ludeckii & Weiss--were in journals too obscure for Scopus, and Zharkova et al. appeared to be unpublished as of writing, although it is available online.)

      For context, the leading journal in the field is Nature Climate Change, as tabulated below:

      Nature Climate Change: 10.6; 99%; 1/56.

      Or, for a leading multi-disciplinary joural, consider PNAS:

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States: 8.56; 96%; 3/77.

      So we are looking at papers published in mediocre to bottom-tier journals. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't have merit; Mendel, famously, was published in an obscure regional journal.

      So let's look at what they say. Several purport to find cycles in the temperature record, which they correlated to some other variable:

      Sun et al: ~180 years

      Ludecke & Weiss: 190 years

      Zharkova et al: variable 'grand cycles' of ~350+ years

      Page: 60- and 1000-year cycles

      Not a lot of agreement there. Let's consider physical mechanisms proposed:

      Sun et al: planetary orbital dynamics forcing solar cycle

      Nurtaev: not really clear, but solar activity

      Yndestad & Solheim: no physical mechanism proposed, pure correlation exercise

      Ludecke & Weiss: ditto

      Zharkova et al: internal magnetic dynamics of sun

      Stozkhov et al: cosmic rays, which may be partially modulated by solar activity

      Page: unclear, by solar activity and/or cosmic rays suggested

      So we have 7 papers which collectively have only 2 things in common: Firstly, they all predict cooling over the coming years (though the precise spans vary). That appears to be the basis for selection by 'ntz'. Second, none of them (as far as I could tell, given that a couple of the papers were paywalled) actually give any real consideration to any factor affecting the output side of Earth's energy budget. (Page and Stozkhov did appear to take rhetorical swipes at it, but did not appear to really engage the idea in any meaningful way--but those were the paywalled papers, so I'm going on limited information.)

      So, although 'ntz' positions these papers as 'demonstrating' that we should expect terrestrial temperatures to show some sort of cooling trend over some relatively immediate period, in fact virtually all of them do in reverse what you have so often accused the mainstream science of doing: assuming what they set out to prove. They find correlations, then proceed on the assumption that everything else is equal, when in fact we know with certainty that that is not the case.

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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Camden, South Carolina

      Sorry, I think you are mistaken.

      "The fact is, there are natural cycles that affect our climate and it is being down played by the climate science community."

      No, they aren't. It is precisely the climate science community who discovered and quantified said 'natural cycles.'

      "Hence, when their models don't agree with what is happening..."

      Which is when, exactly? For years now I've been pointing out that the evolution of global mean surface temperature is following the model ensemble reasonably closely--even during the so-called 'pause years' it didn't depart meaningfully from the ensemble envelope. (Supporting links on request--I've given them in the past, repeatedly.)

      By contrast, the denialiati have repeatedly told us that warming had stopped--in '98, or 2000, or 2002, or 2009--or else was about to--"promise!"

      https://hubpages.com/politics/When-Did-Global-Warm...

      And all the while they were, in fact, 'making climate scientists out to be extremists.'

      Rush Limbaugh was calling for them to be tortured. James Delingpole was lying about them and saying that a quick death was too good for them.

      https://hubpages.com/politics/Green-Fascism-Let-Th...

      Jack, please, open your eyes. You are being lied to--and not by climate scientists.

      https://hubpages.com/politics/Climate-Cover-Up-A-R...

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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc, I don't think you are getting the big picture. The fact is, there are natural cycles that affect our climate and it is being down played by the climate science community. Hence, when their models don't agree with what is happening, it makes them out to be extremists... the scary tactics of Al Gore is not working when people realize there is a cycle and we are only a small part of this whole climate business.

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