Saturday, December 20, 2014

Heartland Institute Badly Misunderstands CO2

The Heartland Institute tried to be cute on Twitter, but just proved how miserable their science is:

Breathing doesn't create CO2 -- it just recycles it. Breathing is carbon neutral, which is why atmospheric CO2 levels were essentially constant for millennia before the Industrial Revolution, despite lots of humans and other animals breathing --m and, as well, lots of animals breathing for a few hundred millions years before the Industrial Revolution.

In any case, I recall reading that humans exhale only 0.9 kg/day of CO2 -- just a few percent of what we Americanw emit by burning fossil fuels.

Sad thing is, I doubt @HeartlandInst care one iota that they got this wrong.

What I Learned Yesterday About the Word "Denier"

Some people who are called "climate deniers" take umbrage at the label -- they think they are being compared to Holocause deniers.

Some people who deny the evidence for AGW are happy to be called "deniers."

I don't have a problem with using the word, because "denier has a very relevant defintion before climate change happened, and before the Holocaust happened: "one who denies." It was first used in the 15th century, according to Merriam Webster.

And some don't have any problem complaining about the word while themselves throwing around the term "global warming Nazis."

So it's a useful word in the English language, applied to people who don't seem susceptible to reason anyway, and no one has the right to tell users of the language what certain words mean or how and when they can be used.

But get this -- the umbrage completely ignores some very relevant historical context.

Yesterday at the AGU meeting in San Francisco, Ben Santer spoke about his experiences following his Convening Lead Authorship of Chapter 8 of the the IPCC's Second Climate Assessment, on "Detection and Attribution."

As you may know, Santer was the subject of brutal and false accusations by (especially) Frederick Seitz, who was president of the National Academy of Sciences in the 1960's and who co-founded the George C. Marshall Institute in the 1990s. Wikipedia:
"A week after the report was released, The Wall Street Journal published a letter from the retired condensed matter physicist and former president of the US National Academy of Sciences, Frederick Seitz, chair of the George C. Marshall Institute and Science and Environmental Policy Project. In this letter, Seitz criticized the IPCC report, in particular the conclusions of Chapter 8. Seitz wrote that "key changes were made after the scientists had met and accepted what they thought was the final peer-reviewed version." He said that the deleted passages removed "hints of the skepticism" with which many scientists regard claims about global warming, and called this "a disturbing corruption of the peer-review process."
Seitz's letter to the WSJ can be found here. (Fred Singer also added his venom in a second letter.) Santer said he spent a year and a half of his career responding to these attacks, which included threats made against his family.

In fact, a few weeks before the Seitz letter, the oil industry front group Global Climate Coalition (GCC) had made the first accusations, as Paul N. Edwards and Stephen Schneider wrote in 1997:
The WSJ op-ed was not the first time charges of suppression of scientific uncertainty in Chapter 8 had been aired. On May 22 [1996], a few days before the Seitz op-ed appeared, the small journal Energy Daily reported the same allegations in considerably greater detail. The Energy Daily article also reported their source: a widely circulated press release of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC, an energy industry lobby group).

In its June 13 issue, the prestigious science magazine Nature also reported on the GCC allegations. The Nature report, unlike the Seitz and Energy Daily articles, included explanations of the revision and review process from Santer and the IPCC. Under the hot-button headline “Climate report ‘subject to scientific cleansing,’” an accompanying editorial argued that the GCC analysis was politically motivated and generally false. But the editorial also noted that the Chapter 8 changes may have resulted “in a subtle shift... that... tended to favour arguments that aligned with [the SAR’s] broad conclusions."
Note the deliberate phrase "scientific cleansing."

In 1996.

What else what going on in the mid-1990s? The Bosnian War. Which included the (true) accusations of "ethnic cleansing," a term that has been around since at least 1914 and the Balkan Wars.

And in fact the term "racial cleansing" was used in pre-War Hitler Germany. Wikipedia:
Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws. In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler's 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the "science of racial cleansing". Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the "common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics."
So you know what would immediately come to mind in the mid-90s when Santer and the IPCC were accused of "scientific cleansing."

This term continues to be used to this day (right). See also here.

So if you're a quote-unquote skeptic who doesn't like the word "denier" because you think it is an unfair reference to deniers of the Holocaust... well, how about first casting the speck out of thine own camp?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

NOAA Sea Surface Temperature Again Sets Monthly Record; 2014 Wins

For the 7th month in a row, NOAA's global average sea surface temperature (SST) was the highest for its month, and 2014 will easily have the warmest SST in their records, which start in 1880.

To break the record, December has only to have an anomaly above -0.05°C. The last time it was that low was May 1976, when "Rocky" was the most popular movie and Abba's "Fernando" was atop the UK charts.

If you were alive then and you didn't want to be Rocky Balboa, man you didn't want to be anything. (Abba, not so much.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Creature of Desperate Impulse

"Suddenly from speed I turned to lethargy. I dropped the train. I dawdled about. I slept in an abandoned freight car on a siding and made friends with a stray mongrel I knew I would be forced to abandon. Once never should do this, but I found him a little food and shared it for a day or so. I still feel the pain....

"Still, I dawdled. I moved, yes; one has to move to live. I hit the little bakeries. I lived, but in a wilderness of slow freights and sunflowers. Sometime, I knew, winter would come. In the meantime I was content to bob about in the shallows. If there is any truth about these deceptive shallows, which I doubt, I was finally among them. I was as lost as the mongrel pup I had been forced to abandon.

"If anyone taught me anything about love, it was that dog. It is almost fifty years since I last saw him running desperately beside the freight to which I clung. I didn't even have a name for him. I wish we might meet somewhere. I hope...that he survived. But I know better. I am almost seventy. I have lived a rough life.... I know that I will never see that dog again. I may have given him his last meal.

"Let men beat men, if they will, but why do they have to beat and starve small things? Why?--why? I will never forget that dog's eyes, nor the eyes of every starved mongrel I have fed from Curacao to Cuernavaca. Not the drowning one I once fished out of an irrigation ditch in California, only to see him limp away with his ribs showing as mine once showed in the cabin long ago in Manitou. This is why I am a wanderer forever in the streets of men, a wanderer in mind, and, in these matters, a creature of desperate impulse."

-- Loren Eiseley, All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life (1975)

Should Greenpeace Disband?

Greg Laden is calling for Greenpeace to disband after their defilement of the desert at the Nazca lines, the remarkable geoglyphs in Peru that are 1,500 to 2,500 years old.

It was indeed a exceptionally boneheaded move -- right up there with "New Coke," if all they were about was selling crappy sugary liquid. Imagine spending your whole life trying to sell ever more and more crappy sugary liquid.

I hope some of the Greenpeace people go to jail.

Had any corporation in the world done something similar -- maybe laid out a message there that said "Fossil Fuels Saves Lives" or some such, they would rightly be the scorn of the world -- environments, certainly including Greenpeace, would be livid. So you can't treat Greenpeace any differently here. But such a corporation probably wouldn't get the business like Greenpeace is now. After all, we expect corporations to defile the world in pursuit of profits. But not environmentalal organizations.

Of course, Greenpeace won't disband. Last year their income (yes,they call it "income") was €288 million ($356 million at the current exchange rate), and have a staff of 2,400.

But, at least in this case, they do seem to have forgotten what their mission is. I have real idea what their influence is in D.C. or London or elsewhere. How are they supposed to compete against massive corporate bribery of our politicians? I don't know. They almost can't. They, like PETA, are dependent on stunts in this shitty world where only money matters.

Greenpeace has probably done permanent damage to their rep, but perhaps they can recover much of it with some very grand gesture action, something no one has ever done before. Submitting their leaders to authorities for these actions -- all the way up to their Board if that's where this idea came from -- would be a start. Walk into the relevant authority's office and accept whatever punishment is appropriate in the eyes of Peruvian officials.

It would be far more than any corporation has ever done. But none of them should get a pass as outrage is directed at Greenpeace. I'm sure that's just what they're hoping for. It's Shell and BP and Exxon Mobile who need to disband, no less than Greenpeace. But it's like we can't even say that, let alone dream it. That's how fucked up the world is.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Volcanoes Have Caused 0.05 - 0.12°C Cooling Since 2000

A paper in GRL by Rindley et al finds that since 2000, volcanoes are responsible for 0.05 to 0.12°C of cooling.
"...we determine the global volcanic aerosol forcing since 2000 to be −0.19 ± 0.09 W/m2. This translates into an estimated global cooling of 0.05 to 0.12°C. We conclude that recent volcanic events are responsible for more post-2000 cooling than is implied by satellite databases that neglect volcanic aerosol effects below 15 km."
The study examined the years 2000-2013, so the reduction in the trend would be 0.04 to 0.09°C/decade of cooling. That's could be up tonearly half the expected (from models, with no natural variability) 0.2°C/decade.

Here's their time series of the stratospheric aerosol optical depth (SAOD) since shortly after the 1991 large eruption of Mount Pinatubo washed out of the atmosphere:

After putting this all together, they get the following impacts on total radiative forcing and on temperature:

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Bird is the Word

Someday I would like to understand this marvelous song:

which, like many people, I first heard in the movie Full Metal Jacket (which I just rewatched last night):

Except I think the line of soldiers in this particular scene, wisecraking right on cue while the camera crew films steadily along the line is badly written, unbelieveable, and facile. (Sorry Stanley K.)

Back a pretty good while now I became friends with someone over the Internet (it's been known to happen), and when I went to visit her and got off the plane in Philadelphia I saw her and her hair was short and spiky. I said the first thing that came to mind: "you look like a bird" and rubbed her head.

Despite that, we were together for 4-5 years, eventually (she first took a 10-month teaching job in Dubai), first in Tempe, Arizona, where I played around in a creative writing program and first started freelancing, then we did a lot of hiking together -- 350 miles on the Appalachian Trail in 1994 (NJ to Manchester Center, VT) and 1550 miles in 1996 (Georgia to Great Barrington, Mass.) -- then we moved to Winooski, Vermont. Because it was Vermont. It was cold. We broke up the summer after we hiked the AT -- we didn't make it all the way -- I developed a pain (that I still have today) in my left ankle after 550 miles, which mysteriusly flared up suddenly over the course of 3 steps, and after hiking another thousand on a bad foot it got to be too much, physically but especially mentally. By Massachusetts I could no longer lace up my boot for the swelling, and we stepped off the trail at some brewery in Great Barrington, where we drank a lot of beer then slept in our tents in their backyard. We couldn't find the energy to go back.)

On such hikes you talk a lot, often just to keep your mind off the pain (especially pain in the feet), and I still often called her Bird (though others knew us by our trail names: Puddin' and Bronco), but I thought the line in the song went "the bird is a winner," not "the bird is the word," so I was always telling her the Bird is a Winner especially near the end of the day to cheer her up, when both our spirits started to flag from the pain and our feet felt like we were walking on bloody stumps.

And still that's how I hear that song. I really miss hiking the AT, and very much regret I didn't make it all the way to Katahdin. Someday I will probably have to go back and try it again, again starting from the beginning on Springer Mountain in Georgia. That is going to be tough.

Somewhere atop one of the first southern balds, early April

Just before Blacksburg, Virginia (me in upper left; Bird third from left, in back)

With Download... somewhere on the AT, resting our feet

With our friends Joe, Lauren, and their daughter Rebecca, who came from Silver Springs, MD to  meet us in Shenandoah National Park. Lauren, bless her, brought a half-dozen rolls of sushi she made, which Bird and I quickly devoured in their motel room while Rebecca played in our set-up tent.

More Venom from Gordon Fulks, Pee-ach Dee

The Pacific Northwest's resident climate denier, Gordon Fulks, Pee-ach Dee, has been keeping busy harassing local authors and the people at Linfield College near Portland, including its president Thomas Hellie.

As if the president of a college like Linfield cares what Fulks thinks.

Below is a recent message from Fulks, passive-aggressive as always, demonstrating the complete absence of the personal skills needed to engage with an institution like Linfield College (or anybody, really) in order to communicate his thoughts and ideas.

Clearly, Fulkes is far more interested in spraying venom.... while looking for support from his googlegroups sycophants.

One question stays front and center: who is Fulks working for? He won't say, even when I've asked him directly -- yet his efforts are clearly beyond that of any possible hobbist or any personal extracurricular activities....

BTW, the speaker he's complaining about is Robert Musil, former CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the author of Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future. Musil was a resident at Linfield, and spoke there on November 10th. Fulks went venomous four days after.

Note that Fulks thinks he's qualified to deliver a rebuttal to Michael Mann's paleoclimate research. Ha. And he calls consensus scientists "non-scientists." Sheesh. This guy couldn't charm his own mother into cooking him dinner.


From: Gordon Fulks <>
Date: Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 2:11 PM
Subject: RE: [GWR] climate advocate at one of my alma maters ugh
To: Marcia Turnquist <>, "" <>
Cc: Thomas Hellie <>, Jim Diamond <>, "" <>, Therese Bottomly <>, "" <>

Dear Marcia,

I left this comment:

When I went to college and later graduate school, ALL of my teachers were PhDs in the fields they taught.  We did not have PhDs in Public Health lecturing us about Physics - or in this case "Climate Change."  Yes, smart people can talk a good line about many subjects, but in the physical sciences it is especially important that they have a sturdy background.  Robert Musil clearly does not.

Should Linfield College invite only ill-informed propagandists like Musil* or the well-informed but clearly less than honest scientists like Michael ("Hide the Decline") Mann to talk to them about Climate Change?  By doing so they cannot hope to provide a first-rate education.  All that they will turnout are automatons who have been brain-washed on climate.  Is that what they intend?

President Thomas Hellie SHOULD exercise some leadership and insist that students at his college get what was termed a 'Liberal Education' when I went to school.  That meant a well-rounded education.  Students need to be exposed to many ideas, not just those that non-scientists think are 'consensus science.'

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

* Musil's claim that "the earth is melting" is mocked by the evidence:

This graph from the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today shows that Antarctic sea ice has been running at or near record levels for most of this year.  It reached a peak more than 500,000 square kilometers greater than it ever has over the satellite record.

Worldwide sea ice has been running very close to normal over the last two years, as the Arctic sea ice has substantially recovered from its low in 2007.

As you well know, Linfield has been among the most backward of all Oregon colleges.  President Thomas Hellie will not return my emails or phone calls.  Chemistry teacher Jim Diamond responds but usually with political nonsense.  He is very sure he is right about climate change, but cannot and will not discuss it.  Neither Hellie nor Diamond will allow their students to hear ANY second opinions on Global Warming from real scientists with real knowledge of this subject.  The fact that I have the same background in Astrophysics as the Great Global Warming Guru James Hansen, PhD should suggest to them that I might have something intelligent to say.  Perhaps it does, and that is what worries them.

These academics live in a very dangerous Orwellian world, turning out little automatons who are programmed to spread the Gospel according to Gore, yet know nothing about this subject.


cc: Robert Musil, PhD, Linfield President Hellie, PhD, Chemistry teacher Diamond, PhD,  Oregonian journalist Kelly House

P.S. My reference to Michael Mann calls attention to his invited talk at Linfield years ago.  They would not permit any rebuttal.

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 08:25:28 -0700
Subject: [GWR] climate advocate at one of my alma maters ugh
From: Marcia Turnquist (

Linfield again.
I left a comment.
Marcia Coffey Turnquist
Author and Blogger

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another Sea Surface Record Temperature

Map of sea-surface temperature anomalies from HadSST3 for latest monthThe Hadley Centre's global average sea surface temperature for November breaks the previous November record high -- the sixth straight month that's happened.

It guarantees a record year for HadSST3 -- December's anomaly has only to be above -0.29°C. November's anomaly was 0.48°C, which is the same as the year-to-date average. Easy peasy.

And there's no hundredths-of-a-degree wiggle room with this one -- if December's anomaly is just the year-to-date average, 0.48°C, it will easily beat the second-warmest year, 1998, by 0.11 0.06°C.

It's the warmest 5 years (60 months) in the record, the warmest 10 years, and the warmest 30 years.

It's just warm no matter how you look at it. Record warmth.

PS: Notice the Hadley Centre now gives "Unadjusted SST data" (near bottom of their download page), with the caveat "Bear in mind that the unadjusted SST anomalies contain significant uncompensated biases and should not be used for climate trend analyses." A good idea, nicely worded.

Climate models compared to Observations: Updated

Remember this model-observation comparison in the 5AR? (Sure you do.)

Ed Hawkins recently tweeted (twote?) an update as of October 2014:

Now the observed temperatures are inside the 5-95% confidence band...barely.... But until the PDO changes its phase (which is currently negative), it's probably premature to rule out agreement at the 95% C.L.... (Of course, then people will argue about the influence of the PDO.) (And the surface stations, which have been good enough to show a hiatus, will again be claimed to be faulty, bet'cha.)

Besides, I never know what people think would happen if "the models are falsified," quote-unquote. Yeah -- so what is the alternative? There's lots of modeling to make better before the conclusion is that the GHG parts of the models are wrong. The GHG parts of the models are some of the best known science that is in the models -- it's the feedbacks (& aerosols) that are hard.

I don't see CO2 ever regaining its innocence -- which is what I think a lot of pseudo-skeptics think is going to happen...any day now....