What Bob Carter and Andrew Bolt fail to grasp

Increasing ocean heat content - where most of global warming is going

Increasing ocean heat content - where most of 'global warming' is going

Perhaps the most pervasive meme in the climate crank blogosphere is that the Earth hasn’t warmed for the last 10 years (or since 1998). You’ve not doubt heard this many times, or variants thereof (e.g. that the world has cooled since 2002, etc.). Flourishes on this theme include claims that the last century of global warming was wiped out in January 2008, or that we are in dire risk of plunging into a new ice age. There has been more refutations of this silly notion than I could possibly cite, but some good ones can be found here, here, here and here. I’ve even devoted a whole lecture to it in my Climate Change Q&A series and written a brief about it for AusSMC.

Despite these many careful and logical explanations as to why this meme is fatally flawed, it persists, and indeed remains a favourite recycled talking point among the sceptical elements of the mass media (I guess because it something so simple to throw out there, and yet requires some science or stats to show why it is unscientific tosh).  But say we, being generous folks or simply for the sake of argument, decide to give people like Bob Carter and Andrew Bolt the benefit of the doubt and accept that they really do believe that the Earth’s air temperatures haven’t warmed for a decade (or so). What would this mean for global warming?

Well, not a lot, as it turns out.

The exponentially increasing activities of modern civilisation is causing a build-up in the atmosphere of long-lived greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide produced by industrial emissions from coal and oil burning, methane belched out from livestock, and nitrous oxide emitted from soils after fertiliser application. (This simple fact is disputed only by the most weird fringe of denialism). Furthermore, fundamental atmospheric physics tells us that this will cause a planetary energy imbalance, which can only be ‘corrected’ (brought back into radiative equilibrium) by a raising of the global temperature.

Now, following this expectation, air temperatures have risen by about 0.5C over the last few decades. But that is not where the real action is. You see, most of the extra solar energy trapped by the Earth’s slightly thicker blanket of greenhouse gases has not gone into raising air temperatures. It’s poured into the vast oceans (which contain about hundreds of times the volume of the atmosphere), and been ‘used up’ in causing the phase change required to turn polar and mountain ice into water. This has lead to rising sea levels from thermal expansion of the water as it gains heat, as well as contributions from melting glaciers and mountain ice caps, sea ice albedo changes, and mass loss from major ice sheets (Greenland and West Antarctica).

Indeed, it has been shown that about 90% of this additional energy has be used to heat water and about 7% to melt ice. Only about 3% is left over to warm the air. So we shouldn’t be at all surprised if air temperatures show the weakest response to the enhanced greenhouse effect – at least in the short term.

Fred Pearce explains it very nicely in a New Scientist article:

Tricky oceans
Water stores an immense amount of heat compared with air. It takes more than 1000 times as much energy to heat a cubic metre of water by 1 degree Centigrade as it does the same volume of air. Since the 1960s, over 90% of the excess heat due to higher greenhouse gas levels has gone into the oceans, and just 3% into warming the atmosphere (see figure 5.4 in the IPCC report (PDF)).

Globally, this means that if the oceans soak up a bit more heat energy than normal, surface air temperatures can fall even though the total heat content of the planet is rising. Conversely, if the oceans soak up less heat than usual, surface temperatures will rise rapidly.

This is why surface temperatures do not necessarily rise steadily year after year, even though the planet as a whole is heating up a bit more every year. Most of the year-to-year variability in surface temperatures is due to heat sloshing back and forth between the oceans and atmosphere, rather than to the planet as a whole gaining or losing heat.

The record warmth of 1998 was not due to a sudden spurt in global warming but to a very strong El Niño (see figure, right). In normal years, trade winds keep hot water piled up on the western side of the tropical Pacific.

During an El Niño, the winds weaken and the hot water spreads out across the Pacific in a shallow layer, which increases heat transfer to the atmosphere. (During a La Niña, by contrast, as occurred during the early part of 2008, the process is reversed and upwelling cold water in the eastern Pacific soaks up heat from the atmosphere.)

A temporary fall in the heat content of the oceans at this time may have been due to the extra strong El Niño.

What next?

Since 1999, however, the heat content of the oceans has steadily increased again (despite claims to the contrary). Global warming has certainly not stopped, even if average surface temperatures really have fallen slightly as the Hadley figures suggest.

In the long term, some of the heat being soaked up by the oceans will inevitably spill back into the atmosphere, raising surface temperatures. Warmer oceans also mean rising sea levels, due to both thermal expansion and the melting of the floating ice shelves that slow down glaciers sliding off land into the sea. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which rests on the seabed rather than on land, is also highly vulnerable to rising sea temperatures.

So, next time a climate sceptic turns to you and says ‘Global warming is nonsense ’cause the Earth hasn’t warmed in the last 10 years’, you can simply reply ‘Errr – why are you ignoring 97% of the problem?’.

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  1. Welcome back to the blog Barry! We have missed your input, but China probably needed you more:-)

    Surely, if I can understand the heated ocean effect, as explained above, the giant brains of Carter and Bolt should also be able to do so.I guess they prefer to ignore this inconvenient fact.However,it is great that I now have more information to demonstrate the fallacious nature of the denialist arguments.


  2. Now it just appears a little simplistic and disingenuous to use the late 1950s as a starting position, cherry picking i would argue and bordering on scientific fraud. The reality is that the global temperature has increased about .6C per century for 300 years and I don’t see anything to suggest that he ocean thermal capacity having any effect what so ever and just because you say so doesn’t make it so. Has the global air temperature decreased in the last 10 years who knows as the data records are so manipulated know reasonable position can be drawn just as nothing can be drawn for the last 100 years the error margin exceeds the assumed increase. One thing is certain its cold in the north east of the USA, Tibet and Sth Australia this November where I have visited in the last 4 weeks and I know a weather event doesn’t make a climate but eventually it does.


  3. You are sooooo right. The oceans are the great heat sink.

    The Argo monitoring system has been measuring the delta T for a while now.

    The oceans are getting colder as well.

    Must be that trace gas CO2 that Al Gore is always on about.

    Buy long underwear because the planet is cooling.


  4. This is a fascinating comment in so many ways. First, the ARGO buoys deny this warming by direct measurement over vast areas of ocean and at multiple depths. Then, there is the question of the absorption of energy (principally Infra Red) by the actual water on the Earth surface. By his own admission, the ocean will absorb 1000 times more energy from the sun than the atmosphere. This would lead one to question the role the Sun’s energy and the formation of reflective clouds as the principal agent in adding energy to the oceans.


  5. Some academics have legitimately questioned aspects of CC theory like magnitude of radiative forcing etc. But Carter is one of the few academics in the world to have used such easily disproven falsehoods like “no warming since 1998”.

    So here is a question: has it done him any harm (with respect to respect and career)? (Should it have?)

    For example, he is a member of several scientific societies that claim to have a code of ethical conduct. What is the value of a scientific society that accepts this behaviour as meeting their ethical standards? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


  6. TrueBlue @2: Cherry-picking 1950? Don’t make me laugh. Most of the industrial activity of the history of the Earth has occurred since this date. I suggest you try reading this, for starters.
    The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature?
    (the full PDF of the review can be got here for free download)

    Fred @3 and Bill MacLean @4, you are disingenuous. As the Fred Pearce quote noted, the ‘cooling’ was an error in the Argo buoy measurements – the sinking time was underestimated. This was later corrected, in print, by the authors. There is in fact a great new story about this published on 5 Nov, which gives the full details:

    Also @4: But the Sun’s extrinsic contribution has not changed – only the amount of solar energy being trapped by the atmosphere.


  7. Barry, the XBTs had the sinking rate error. The Argos had a different problem.

    Actually I was surprised to learn at the end of that great article (I hope they do more like that) that they think there’s a remaining problem with the Argos (apparently since the conflict with measured SLR can’t be otherwise resolved).


  8. The only explanation that I can see for events such as Arctic  sea ice and non polar glacier melt, the undermining and break up of the West Antartic ice shelves (now starting to occur in the East Antarctic as well), high water temperatures in the tropics causing widespread coral bleaching and significant changes to rainfall patterns across the globe is global warming. If you accept the globe is warming you have to be a bit thick, given the science and measurements of solar irradiation to deny it is anthropogenic.Denialist nonsense is on a par with those who believe that the 20th centuary ended at midnight 31/12/1999 probably by inventing a ‘year Zero’.The pushers of ‘no warming of the atmosphere since 1998’ show extreme stupidity in selecting a base year with a very strong El Nino as well as a very poor grasp of statistics. They could have at least shown some originality and nominated increases in  the size of asian brown cloud and jet contrails as the reason for the fall in global surface atmospheric temperatures.


  9. If denialism is on a par with having a great party when everyone else did, rather than wait a year to have a quiet beer with some smug associates knowing at least we had the right year… well maybe I’ll switch camps!!


  10. Pingback: The Current Climate» Peter Lilley MP: physicist, sceptic, petrolhead

  11. Barry

    Does this mean that were the heat content of the oceans truly to stop increasing, you would agree with the statement “the Earth has stopped warming up”? A hypothetical question, of course.

    I am asking this because even when Willis was working with the wrong (“cooling”) data, he still was convinced that warming was taking place nevertheless. Or does the “not warming” need to be experienced for a certain length of time?


  12. Good stuff, a better explanation of the issue I raised here and here in Sept. [Barry: I’m still playing with slides you kindly sent, got interrupted with a few trips.]

    It is always fascinating to watch people desperately try to disavow conservation of energy… [~same in, less out, more stored, mostly in oceans]. Energy is conserved, even if surface temperature isn’t.


  13. Do you people believe that the glacials and interglacials actually happened? If so how do you explain them? Do you accept that the interglacial fauna in Britain included crocodiles and hippopotami? If so what do you infer from that?


  14. As a coastal oceanographer, I use infra-red back-scatter sensors in the marine environment to measure suspended sediment. I use them because infra-red energy at the wavelengths associated with the greenhouse effect do not penetrate the ocean to any significant depth (in the order of microns). I cannot use sensors in the visible light range because there is too much uncontrollable external energy from the sun (penetration of 10s-100s of metres).
    This means that heating of the ocean is due to short wavelength solar energy, and the contribution of long wavelength re-emitted earth-sourced infra-red energy is insignificant. Therefore it is interesting that the warming of the oceans does not lag the atmospheric warming, but is contemporaneous or precedes it. There is also a clear decadal variability in ocean warming that matches the decadal variability in atmospheric warming, but not the concentration of Kyoto Protocol defined greenhouse gases (although it does correlate with variations in the rate of accumulation of the natural greenhouse gases).
    The findings summarised in this blog reinforces the importance of the oceans in storing and releasing solar-derived energy, and hence influencing atmospheric conditions. Finally, despite the adjustments, the oceans are still cooling this century (perhaps this is why the ARGO data requires further adjustment?).


  15. Great post. Its a great pity that transient problems, like the Great Financial
    Meltdown, have pushed bigger issues to one side. On the other hand, a
    friend remarked that the GFM would do more to reduce climate
    forcings than all the reports from all the experts over the past year!


  16. Steve @8: Thanks for that.

    Maurizio @12: It depends where the energy goes. It will transfer both up (to the atmosphere) and down (deep ocean) – neither makes it go away or changes the fundamental laws of physics, as John @13 notes – the extra energy cannot just vanish.

    Roger @14: Yes. Milankovitch solar trigger, GHG feedback. Past interglacials such as the Eemian have been 1-2C warmer than present – when there was no human society or agriculture, sea levels were 4-6m above present, world was a different place. And still much cooler than where we are heading.

    Willem @15: Absorption of heat occurs at the ocean surface. The oceans are not cooling. Look at this figure.

    Geoff @16 – It is likely the reverse will be the case – at least in terms of adaptation and avoidance of tipping points. Any industrial slowdown, especially if it cascades to China and India, could result in an immediate reduction (within weeks) in atmospheric brown clouds (aerosols++), the net effect of which (black carbon +ve, sulphates+nitrates+cloud_condensation_nuclei etc –ve) produces a RF of ~-1.4 w/m2, sufficient magnitude to offset ~50% (90%CI = 20-80%) of current GHG warming.

    So the financial crisis, if deep and sustained as a new depression, would, on the balance of probabilities, have the net effect of unmasking more committed warming. This could nevertheless be a ‘good thing’, in that the confluence of an energy crisis and a rapid burst of warming spouting out of the pipeline, could be the catalyst for a real, concerted global effort to switch on a massive scale to renewables and energy efficiency.


  17. Willem @15
    I am of course not an oceanographer, but the answer is taught to environmental sciences undergraduates with minimal prerequisites (like high school algebra & physics):

    To warm the ocean, GHGs need not increase the ocean heat income, just lessen the outgo, by lessening the temperature difference. that heat transfer ~ temperature differential is no more than undergraduate physics.

    Google: air ocean heat transfer
    The first hit is undergrad class at Columbia, which says:

    “Solar heating of the ocean on a global average is 168 watts per square meter.

    Net Back Radiation: The ocean transmits electromagnetic radiation into the atmosphere in proportion to the fourth power of the sea surface temperature (black-body radiation). This radiation is at much longer wavelengths than that of the solar radiation (greater than 10 micros, in the infrared range), because the ocean surface is far cooler that the sun’s surface. The infrared radiation emitted from the ocean is quickly absorbed and re-emitted by water vapor and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases residing in the lower atmosphere. Much of the radiation from the atmospheric gases, also in the infrared range, is transmitted back to the ocean, reducing the net long wave radiation heat loss of the ocean. The warmer the ocean the warmer and more humid is the air, increasing its greenhouse abilities. Thus it is very difficult for the ocean to transmit heat by long wave radiation into the atmosphere; the greenhouse gases just kick it back, notably water vapor whose concentration is proportional to the air temperature. Net back radiation cools the ocean, on a global average by 66 watts per square meter.”


  18. My word, you are honoured: two of the NZ C”S”C’s luminaries (Dewhurst, de Lange) in one thread! Nice to see that, as a coastal oceanographer, Willem demonstrates the same opacity to physics as the atmosphere does to radiation.


  19. Chris @20

    Bellamy offered similar comments at Oct 22, 2007, TimesOnline, UK, getting similar reactions. I think the comments I posted then still seem applicable, at least in part:

    “John Cook’s http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php lists 47 long-debunked, oft-recycled skeptical arguments, with names, phrases to click on for a web page apiece, with plenty of good charts and references.

    Bellamy manages to use 12-13 of them. It’s always easier to cause confusion than to create clarity, so here are the current positions (they change) and codes of these standard arguments, in the same order as used by Bellamy. People who actually want real information can look them up.

    20 1998

    38 empirical
    06 model

    12 1934

    08 ice70s

    22 hockey

    18 greenland

    29 glacier ?
    01 sun
    46 solarcycle
    41 scl
    07 cosmic

    34 schulte

    “President Bush announced today that the United States has agreed with other industrialized nations that stabilization of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should be achieved as soon as possible.”

    That was 1989, before science got so politicized:


  20. Barry

    You say: “It depends where the energy goes

    I understand your point. However I am more interested in what kind of observation would convince you that “Earth has stopped warming” (i.e. without assuming that the energy content is going up, otherwise the question doesn’t make sense).

    If you have covered that in previous blogs, feel free to point me in their direction, as I have been reading your site for a relatively short time.


  21. Omnologos @22

    I’m not quite sure I understand your question about “assuming”…
    but here are some that would be convincing.

    a) A 30-year regression trend of OHC has a significant negative or zero slope, assuming the Argo buoy calibration issues are worked out.

    b) If NASA puts up the DSCOVR satellite, *with* the original instrumentation, like they should have years ago, we’d have more direct measurements of the Earth’s energy balance. A certain administration made sure we wouldn’t already have that data. A 30-year average of the energy balance is negative or zero.

    The a) and c) measurements will occur, and maybe b). If they disagree, then I’d worry about measurement problems, akin to the earlier satellite issues. If both happen, and agree there is no warming, then I’d consider that strong evidence.

    This of course is quite possible, for example, if we got an adequate series of Pinataubo-like volcanoes, since that actually reduces the incoming radiation.

    The real issue is the confusion over what “the Earth” means.

    As important as the surface temperature is to us, it’s not where (most of) the variable heat energy is.


  22. Pingback: Bytes and Blogs « Greenfyre’s

  23. The earth’s energy is never “balanced”. Energy is absorbed by day and emitted by night. There is no reason to suppose that the two are equal, and there is evidence that there are cycles of net abasorption and net emission which may be short or long. We are now into the cooling phase of the last cycle

    The oceans tend to emit the same energy day and night. The land does not, as the surface cools and heats quite quickly. There is immense complicatiom from ocean circulation and oscillations, atmospheric convection, aerosols and evaporation and condensation of water. The over-simplified IPCC model does not begin to deal with this complication, and that is why the models do not work, and are unable to forecast the future.


  24. Vincent @28
    But the “system” does tend to flow in the direction of an equilibrium state through various feedbacks. Of course it is complicated (as too are the models) and the more we learn, the more robust the models will become.

    The models can not forecast the future, they can only project a future given certain scenarios. This is where debate could be focused (and on attribution and climate sensitivity), rather than on whether global warming or climate change is actually occurring, which people like Carter, Bolt and so called “deniers” (not “contrarians”) spruik that it is not.


  25. What subliterate nonsense. The claim that the lack of an increase in air temperature doesn’t affect the theory because there is more CO2 in water is rubbish. The theory is that the CO2 in AIR is absorbing extra solar energy & therefore heating up. If the air isn’t heating the theory is wrong. End of.

    The theory does not claim that CO2 in deep water is absorbing much of the sunlight on Earth because that is not where the sunlight is.


  26. Neil Craig @30: I think you ought to re-read the post. I am talking about the extra energy that is going into the oceans, not the extra CO2.

    Think about it like this – if you have an insulated container of hot air, and you pour into the container a pool of cold water that partially fills it, what happens? The air cools down and the water heats up – the water has absorbed the energy from the air. Of course the rise in temperature of the water is small compared to the drop in temperature of the air, because of the amount of energy required to heat the water compared to cooling the air. That is what the above post is, in essence, about.


  27. Besides missing the point that Surface air temps except with longer term averages aren’t a good measure of the Earth’s radiative imbalance, another thing that the “it’s been cooling since 1998” crowd get wrong is counting any subsequent years that aren’t as hot as a hot spike (1998) in a longer term warming trend as cooling. Sorry guys, but adding extra hot to longer term warming doesn’t mean it’s cooling.
    John M. – I have wondered if satellites could be used to get more direct measurement of how much energy Earth absorbs, reflects and radiates. Anyone know if this is likely to occur?


  28. Ken
    George dubya & Co were going to cut funding to NASA for satellites carrying instruments that would measure things like that. While it is early days, Obama (and his Administration) is certainly more proactive on climate change issues and ‘flags’ increased budgets for science and technology. It will be interesting to see if governments around the globe will remain as proactive leading up to Copenhagen next year, given the (relatively short term) global financial crisis adding pressures to all economies.


  29. So Barry 31 a whole bunch of colder ocean was poured into our planetary sysrem in 1999 thus accounting for the global temperature drop. How did we survive before we had oceans & why did nobody notice?

    It should be possible to calculate from your measurement of sea level rise in the last 10 years how much cold water the space aliens poured into the system & from the fact that temperature is back down to where it was 20 years ago when Hansen first promised it would be a degree warmer by now, exactly how cold it was.


  30. I’m sure you would. “Environmentalists” don’t tend to appreciate opposition.

    To be fair few of us really like opposition but the eco fraternity do have a particularly bad record on censoring fact based debate.


  31. Well Barry it was your theory that a vast amount of cold water had suddenly appeared on Earth destabilising the system in 1999. Aliens seemed to be the only semi-credible cause but if you have another I would love to hear it.

    If the very strongest evidence of anti-alarmist bias you can find was that somebody, once, said they would like to publish enough sceptical stuff to slightly restore the balance it isn’t quite like Stephen McIntyre being prevented from publishing his critique of the Hockey Stick by the entire dead tree medoa is it? It isn’t even like me being censored by Deltoid (through which I got here) for tying the alrmists in such knots that the former editor of Nature accused Dir david king of being cpable of only a “kindergarten analysis”.
    I suppose if they didn’t censor they would show what rubbish they were saying.


  32. Neil, when scientists talk about changes in the global temperature as a measure of global warming they generally include the sea surface temperature as well as the temperature of air in the lower level of the atmosphere (which is itself influenced by sea-surface temperatures). They don’t include the temperature of the entire body of water in the oceans in the measurement.

    Accordingly, the temperature of the surface of the oceans (and therefore also the lower atmosphere) can vary due to changing patterns of circulation within the oceans without the average temperature of the entire body of water in the ocean varying by the same amount or even in the same direction.

    As a result, there are variations around the rising trend that so delight those who like to pick one year or another as evidence that warming has stopped or cooling has started or whatever baloney is the fad of the month among the denialist crowd.

    Consider this passage you can find on the Bureau of Meteorolgy’s web site at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/glossary/elnino/elnino.shtml :

    “El Niño affects traditional fisheries in Peru and Ecuador, In most years, colder
    nutrient-rich water from the deeper ocean is drawn to the surface near the coast
    (upwelling), producing abundant plankton, food source of the anchovy. However, when
    upwelling weakens in El Niño years, and warmer low-nutrient water spreads along the
    coast, the anchovy harvest plummets.”

    Notice the reference to colder water being “drawn to the surface” and “upwelling” rather than, say, being teleported there from the planet Zarkon VII.


  33. So the entire cooling effect is caused by the cooler seawater which for some reason (space aliens or is there a beter one) have come to the surface 7 are actually warmer than they used to be – at least according to this article;

    “You see, most of the extra solar energy trapped by the Earth’s slightly thicker blanket of greenhouse gases has not gone into raising air temperatures. It’s poured into the vast oceans”

    Actually if this were true it would make it even more difficult for colder deep waters to rise (hot materials rising to the top according to sceptical physics) hence, if anything, the appearance of El Nino would be evidence that cooling was already happening if it weren’t for the fact that for most of the years following 1998 the alarmists said that the warming trend was continuing it is just that there was apparent cooling because 1998 was an outlier, being artificially warmer because of el Nino. What a convenient effect that can explain both warmth & cold. Presumably the alarmists can also use el Nino to explain why it only appears the Earth orbits the Sun.


  34. So the entire cooling effect is caused by the cooler seawater which for some reason (space aliens or is there a beter one) have come to the surface 7 are actually warmer than they used to be

    Neal, either you have abysmal reading comprehension or you are wilfully missing the point.

    Water has greater thermal inertia than air – this means that for a given flux of heat energy the ocean will heat up (or indeed cool down) far slower than the atmosphere. So you can have a parcel of water that is ‘warmer than it used to be’ whilst still being much cooler than the corresponding parcel of air even if the water has absorbed a larger fraction of the available solar heat energy.

    In any case, even if we see the ocean surface heating up significantly we hardly do any measurement of the deep ocean (which is very cold and very massive in comparison to the bits that we do measure) – so the possibility remains that there could be an uptick in heat fluxes between the shallow ocean and the deep ocean which would have the effect of causing the surface temperature record to decline even though the heat in the overall system is still rising.

    I would like to respond to your second para, but it is so poorly written that I cannot piece together what your argument is. Ironic given that your first contribution to this thread was a rant about how the OP was ‘subliterate nonsense’.



  35. Neil: Gaz is partially correct. Changes in the pressure differential between Darwin and Tahiti (refered to as the Southern Oscillation) trigger Kelvin waves of warm water from the Pacific Warm Pool that travel East through the equatorial Pacific, disruping the upwelling of cold water from the Peru/Humboldt Current.

    Gaz: I agree with you that temperatures of the lower troposphere vary with SST variation. And SST variation has been dominated by the long-term effects of El Ninos, specifically the 86/87 and 97/98 El Ninos and the global climate shift (triggered by a step change in equatorial SST) of 1976. This is clear in the N & S Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and to some extent the N Atlantic. See my post here: climatechange1.wordpress.com


  36. Bishop Hill @ 43:
    Because GMST eliminates the regional variability that indicates the true nature and causes of the warming. The more they can obscure the natural signal of warming with global averages, the easier it is to blame on a global forcing.


  37. Carl, thanks for your “Gaz is partially correct” comment. Perhaps you could explain what I am, by implication, partially incorrect about.

    By the way, I’ve had a look at your link and have two comments.

    1) I can’t see anything in your argument that specifies a mechanism by which El Nino events can “cause” what you call “step changes” in sea surface temperatures. There may be such a mechanism, but it’s not apparent in what you have to say. From my position as an interested amateur on the sidelines, the standard AGW hypothesis looks pretty solid and not challenged by the arguments on your link.

    2) There is a danger of being seduced by things we think we see in graphs but which aren’t really there.
    In this regard I suspect that what you see as “step changes” may be no more than the pattern you could see in any graph showing a rising trend with variations around it.


  38. Gaz @ 46
    My “partially correct” comment refered to the assumption that the effects of ENSO variation are separable from global temperature variation.

    1 – I did not describe the mechanism because I would like to comprehensively understand it and be able to demonstrate it before I speculate. I will post on the mechanism once I understand and can demonstrate it.

    2 – I suggest you read through my post again. The timing of the rises in each ocean is very important. Look especially at the un-smoothed data. In addition, I’ve broken up the S Pacific into lat and long segments, and it appears that the 95 step change is actually just the realization of post 86/7 El Nino warming that was masked by the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. I’ll post on that soon.



  39. Carl Wolk
    Seems Gaz has answered your point. When will you concede? Or are you, in fact, disingenuous? Your comment @ 45, in response to Bishop Hill seems to indicate that this is the case. Who exactly are the “they” you refer to?


  40. Perps @ 49
    I don’t quite understand or appreciate your accusatory tone. I spent dozens of hours working on the post that I have been referencing and if a few sentences could strike down my post, I wouldn’t have posted it. I’ve responded to his criticism, and debate is never done after one response to an argument; I don’t understand why you want such a quick concession.

    My response to Bishop Hill was not disingenuous, nor do I see why it would be. He brought up something that seemed not to make sense – why has the focus been on GMST (global mean surface temperature) and not SST if SST is the origin of it all? I implied that some had bad motives. Not anyone on this blog, that crosses the line. But let’s not get hooked on this.


  41. Carl, if you are spending dozens of hours on a post you should submit some work to a journal of repute…

    I’d wager that the climate debate revolves around people whose entire research careers form the basis of their comments, which are undermined time and time again by 5 minute sceptics with a hunch like your mate Happ (with whom I have an interesting connection I’ll not reveal here – just funny how planets align).

    In fact it is the whole essence of the debate… real science being contradicted by loud noisy and ill-informed opinion designed to confuse the issue and muddy the waters.

    So at least you know how fellahs like Barry feel now:)


  42. MattB,
    5 minute skeptic? Have you read his papers? If he was looking to simply confuse people, he wouldn’t have picked such a complex theory. I came to this blog hoping to debate the science – especially my work because I was curious what the response would be, but since no one is interested in doing anything besides expressing their attitudes, name-calling, and suggesting google search terms, it’d be a waste of my time to stay here.


  43. Luke you didn’t explain why you thought vast amounts of cold water had suddenly appeared to change the paradigm. Regert you couldn’t understand what I wrote – I would have thought that pointing out that el Nino being blamed for the cooling now & the warming in 1998 being questionable was fairly obvious.

    It is said that the worth of a science is shown by its ability to correctly predict. On that basis engineering scores close to 100, astrologers just over 50%, a roomful of monkeys drawing lots 50%. On that basis can anybody name 15 global warming alarmists (out of the 31 million if claims that 99.9% of scientists accept catastrophic warming are truthful) who predicted, in 1998, that the next 10 years would, by the measures then being used, be colder.


  44. One more time:

    1) Energy is conserved, i.e., change in Earth’s heat content = Inflow – Outgo
    Most of the variable heat energy is in the oceans (OHC = Ocean Heat Content), which means that most of the variable heat energy is below the surface.

    A lot of basic physics depends on conservation laws…

    2) *Surface temperature* is not conserved. The same Earth total energy content can yield noticably different average surface temperatures. We may care directly about surface temperatures, but they easily jiggle around in response to ocean-atmospheric oscillations (like El Nino, PDO, etc). As far as I know, nobody is able to predict El Nino’s very far ahead of time, although they certainly can model the distribution of effects.

    3) People keep focusing on the surface temperature record, and getting confused, in part because:

    a) Human visual systems tend to be drawn to jiggles, rather than underlying trends.

    b) If looking for a trend in a noisy time-series, many people will draw a straight-line from start to end, essentially ignoring the rest of the data points. Few people easily do accurate least-squares regressions in their heads.

    c) There is enough noise, including the oceanic oscillations, that one needs 20-30 years to really see signal amidst the noise. No one with even the slightest statistical competence would predict a specific temperature record for the next 10 years – that’s the nature of climate scientists’ predictions. Many people want to think in terms of concrete means, not probability distributions, with uncertainty ranges. Unfortunately, that’s statistical illiteracy.

    d) Finally, to first order, one could almost (not quite) ignore the surface temperatures, and all their little jiggles, if one just looks at:

    – OHC (as I mentioned in #23)
    – Sea level change (~ determined by OHC + glacier melt)

    e) In American football, in high school, they teach defensive players:

    “Ignore the runner’s head-fakes, watch the belt-buckle”, because the head can jiggle around a lot quicker than the body, even though the two can’t move in opposite directions very long :-)


  45. Neil Craig @ 55
    You are mistaken. EL NINO is blamed for excessively HOT temperatures (as in 1998) but LA NINA for cooler temperatures (as now in 2008). No scientist would blame EL NINO for both hot and cold temperatures, therefore your statement was not coherent and ergo could not be understood. I think you need to do some more reading!


  46. If La Nina is genuinely responsible for cooling & Nino for warming then since “The most recent occurrence of El Niño started in September 2006[2] and lasted until early 2007.[3] From June 2007 on, data indicated a weak La Niña event, strengthening in early 2008” (wikipedia) then its current influence on cooling must, by definition, be weak & less than Nino’s spectacular warming effect so unnoticed in 2007. Alternately all this stuff about Els is merely desoperately looking for some excuse for why warming alarmists predictions are so spectacularly failing to come true.

    An alternate solution would be to take John #56’s
    “c) There is enough noise, including the oceanic oscillations, that one needs 20-30 years to really see signal amidst the noise. No one with even the slightest statistical competence would predict a specific temperature record for the next 10 years -”
    and assume that Hansen, in 20 years ago predicting a 1 C rise by now on the basis of about 10 years warming (& 30 years cooling before it) was demonstrating less statistical competence than the roomful of monkeys mentioned before. As obnviously are his followers.


  47. Luke you didn’t explain why you thought vast amounts of cold water had suddenly appeared to change the paradigm.

    The cold water is in the deep ocean. Per John Mashey’s comment @56, if the heat flux from the shallows to the deeper layers of the ocean increases, then you can get a noticeable and prolonged fall in what we measure (the sea surface and lowest part of the atmosphere) even while total heat energy in the earth system is increasing.

    WRT your La Nina point, see Perps@57. I will add that ENSO gets so much attention in part because it is a phenomenon of the ocean/atmosphere interface that operates on seasonal-to-annual timescales. As such it is both highly noticeable and readily comprehensible. Just because it features so strongly in the surface temperature record doesn’t necessarily make it very significant in the overall scheme of things.



  48. Neil Craig Says: 9 December 2008 at 3.26

    “I think the main reason for claiming it is enormously significant is the desperation to find SOMETHING
    which can be used as an excuse for the globe failing to warm.”

    Actually, Neil, the El Nino/La Nina phenomena were brought up as an answer to your breathtakingly ignorant proposition that “the space aliens” pouring cold water into the oceans “the only semi-credible cause” of fluctuations in sea surface temperature.

    And as for anyone looking for “an excuse for the globe failing to warm”, all I can say is that you are as wrong about the motivations behind comments posted here as you are about the facts of climate change, which in itself is an impressive acheivement. So, well done, I guess.


  49. I think the main reason for claiming it is enormously significant is the desperation to find SOMETHING which can be used as an excuse for the globe failing to warm.

    Except it isn’t the globe, it’s the global surface temperature record which is only a small part of the globe (as was the point of the OP) and it’s a funny sort of ‘failing to warm’ when the trend in the anomoly for the past decade remains in positive territory (+0.09C according to the Met Office).

    Is this an argument for more (and better) instrument networks? You betcha. And if NASA could get off their arses and launch DISCVR already, then this whole nonsensical argument could be nailed for the bollocks that it is. Not that this additional evidence would convince the denialist crackpots of course.



  50. Luke I have to admit I have no reason to believe the core of the planet has warmed more than normal. Of course if this is your honest answer to criticisms of “global warming” you will, of course, be on record as having written many thousands of times attacking the alarmists for using the term in the first place.

    I would be really interested in reading a handful of links where you said that & what the alarmists replied. Really ;-)

    As the rest of the world knows GW has only ever referred to the surface of the planet as the only proposed mechanism has been increased atmospheric temperature due to atmospheric absorbtion of sunlight which is even less successful at penetrating solid rock than deep ocean.

    I accept the claim that the globe is not presently cooling as representing the very highest standard of honesty to be expected by the Luddites. Itb is, of course, a total lie.

    Let us know Barry [deleted – warning to Neil Craig, no abusive personal attacks] running the Guardian give equal space to Bellamy to defnd himself & criticise Moonbat. I would consider that news, in the sense of it being unexpected, but you, since you complain that the alarmists get more censored than the sceptics, must consider it inevitable.

    Side bet on which of us turns out to be right?


  51. Neil Craig, you’ve shown all the expertise on climate science and basic physics I’d expect of a Comic Book Store owner – which, according to your blog, is precisely what you are. Given the swill you’ve written in these comments, I class your opinion as grossly uninformed.


  52. Well I guess thats me telt then.

    Since part of my previous post was censored for being a “personal attack” I’m sure Esteban, Bernard & more importantly Barry will be happy to explain exactly how the above 2 posts delineate the case for warming alarmism rather than being in any way a personal attack.

    Alternately we see, yet again, that the eco——– campaign boils down to evidence free propaganda, censorship & bullying.

    Ed: You accused the editor of the Guardian of being affiliated with an extremist political party responsible for genocide, and worse – something for which you had absolutely no evidence of. Esteban simply called you a comic book store owner – which is what you are, correct? Spot the difference?


  53. Luke I have to admit I have no reason to believe the core of the planet has warmed more than normal.

    Neil your poor reading comprehension is showing again. I am not talking about those parts of the globe whose temperature is dominated by radioactive decay in the core. I am discussing those parts of the globe whose temperature is dominated by infalling solar energy and the radiative properties of our atmosphere. There’s plenty of it to go around before you have to invoke any of the stuff below the crust and anywhere more than a few meters away from the land or sea surface of our planet does not get included in the surface temperature record (the fact that it is called the surface temperature record is a clue here).

    The temperatures of all these other bits of rock, ice, water etc etc are still ultimately determined by how much of the incoming solar radiation is trapped as heat energy by our atmosphere and they can all have an effect upon the global climate – although these effects may take many years, decades or even centuries to feed through and become noticeable. The energy is still in the system however and, unless there is something seriously amiss with our understanding of the laws of thermodynamics, it won’t just disappear.

    The surface temperature record is important, partly because it measures that part of the earth system where humans live and partly because it is the longest instrumental record and so is most useful for establishing long-term trends, but as the OP said and I have repeated several times in this comments thread it is by no means the whole story. Scientists have been doing various things to measure these other parts of the earth system (satellites, balloons and sounding rockets for the upper atmosphere, boreholes for the lithosphere, the ARGO network for the mid-ocean, GRACE for the mass balance of the cryosphere etc etc) and these different projects are intended to provide lines of evidence which will either support or undermine GW theory (they all support BTW, but you probably knew I was going to say that), but these networks are not as mature or extensive as the surface temperature network so they don’t get as much attention in the general discussion. They still exist however and they get plenty of attention in the specialist literature.

    Of course if this is your honest answer to criticisms of “global warming” you will, of course, be on record as having written many thousands of times attacking the alarmists for using the term in the first place.

    Well since it is not my answer (and I’ll thank you not to impugn my honesty) I don’t feel the need to upbraid anyone for using the term Global Warming (or indeed Climate Change for that matter). Global Warming is not the surface temperature record alone, it is all those other things I mentioned earlier in addition to the surface temperature record.

    If the surface temperature record is rising (which it continues to do, despite all of the assertions to the contrary of the various industry shills, crackpots and useful idiots who infest these discussion across the internet) then this is evidence in support of GW theory but it is not conclusive; combine it with all the other instrumental measurements, the paleo data, the modelling runs, the mechanism provided by the physical properties of GHGs however and you have an extremely sturdy theoretical edifice. If the surface temperature record were to stop rising (which it hasn’t, but still) then this would be interesting and, assuming it’s a robust measurement, it would be one piece of evidence against GW theory but again it would not be conclusive – if all of the other lines of evidence continued to indicate that warming is occurring then GW theory would still stand.



  54. Look Luke your poor writing comprehension is showing. It was you (post 63) not I who came up with the ridiculous point that it wasn’t really global warming if didn’t penetrate the whole globe.

    I did not impugn your honesty – I made the default assumption that you had been honest & criticised the alarmists for what you criticised me for. And by the way shame on the editor for censoring your criticism of Luke (post 63) for saying making that ridiculous point (same default assumption).

    The fact is that all the alleged warming must originate where the sunshine is, in the atmosphere & if it that isn’t increasingly hot, which it isn’t, the theory is, to a greater or lesser degree, wrong. Theoretically that doesn’t prove it is unfixable but the refusal of alarmists to acknowledge the facts suggests they don’t believe it can be credibly fixed.

    Ed – I accused the editor of the Guardian of having censored & lied to support a political movement dedicated to genocide – close to what you said but not the same. I have produced evidence of that regularly on my blog. One example would be when the Guardian stated anybody unsupportive of the Bosnian Moslems was “anti-semitic” when the editor was perfectly well aware that their leader was himself an anti-semite & former auxiliary in one of the less moderate units of the SS. This is a matter of record.

    Since it appears Esteban also found my work from my blog you will spot the similarity.

    Luke will, being honest, not have been including me in the list of “industry shills” but perhaps it would be best if all 3 of you made public your sources of income so that we could all be sure that it is as independent as mine & that thus none of you can be accused of being “shills” for the alarmist industry or benefiting financially from the scare.


  55. Duke@71
    Surely you must know (tongue in cheek) that “the alarmist industry” comprises thousands of scientists worldwide whose peer-reviewed research has provided the evidence for AGW/CC.
    Scientists, who were previously already active in research in other fields(and already in positions in academia and in receipt of funding), before it became apparent that we had a problem with the shifting climate conditions, which meant that any other scientific research would be irrelevant.
    Isn’t that right Neil @70?


  56. I would also include Al Gore who is making a very good living out of his film career, lectures & rock concerts & another very good one out of the money “earned” from selling CO2 certificates. Also all the other politicians & bureaucrats who are finding their ability to tax & regulate enhanced by this lie.

    Perps I would be interested to see your “evidence” that we are currently suffering from catastrophic global warming let alone that the damage is so overwhelming that the warming alarmist industry warrents more money on its “scientific” research than all the rest of science put together. My understanding is that catastrophic warming is a theory not a proven fact but you may be able to show different.

    I also note your & Duke’s & everybody elde here’s refusal to say where there income comes from to prove that you are not personally profiting as “industry shills” as Luke so delicately put it. The conclusion must be that all those who refuse to say are.

    That being the case could anybody here name any senior alarmist, anywhere in the world, who is not properly described as an “industry shill”?


  57. Neil Craig wanted to know:

    I’m sure Esteban, Bernard & more importantly Barry will be happy to explain exactly how the above 2 posts delineate the case for warming alarmism rather than being in any way a personal attack.

    Neil, I was not attempting to “delineate the case for warming alarmism”. You are ascribing actions to me that I have not claimed to be attempting. I was however simply reflecting an observation that you had not in any way delineated the case for non-warming denialism, and why this might be so.

    The fact is that all the alleged warming must originate where the sunshine is, in the atmosphere & if it that isn’t increasingly hot, which it isn’t, the theory is, to a greater or lesser degree, wrong.

    Why must the ‘origin’ of the ‘warming’ itself “increasingly h[ea]t”? How do you hypothesise that the heat capacities of, and the heat transfers between, various elements of the planet fit into your model?

    I also note your & Duke’s & everybody elde (sic) here’s (sic) refusal to say where there (sic) income comes from to prove that you are not personally profiting as “industry shills” as Luke so delicately put it.

    Neil, if you had any capacity for UTFSE you would know that I, at the least, have previously demonstrated my background. My income is derived from ecological work, and quite frankly climate change issues threaten to divert funding from the manifold non-AGW problems that I am involved with. Nevertheless I would welcome loss of potential future income if it could be used for mitigating the potential threats raised by the issue of AGW. Again, if you UTSE you’d know that I have already forfeited over $400k of income to do something positive for the biosphere.

    Not that the above is actually any of your business. The issue is the science, and a proper analysis of the science is all that is pertinent. If, in deconstructing the pseudoscience of the Denialists we follow the (now relevant) trail to industry shills, then that explains the non-science that we are rebuffing.

    I care very little for Al Gore’s publicity machine. My business is the science, and how Gore promotes it to the laiety has no bearing upon the validity of the science. Where bureaucratic/political corruption enters the system, I would suggest that it is human nature that is responsible, and not the imperative implied by the seriousness of AGW.

    Nice collection of strawmen though.


  58. 1 – Well Bernie good to confirm that your post #67 wasn’t a well thought out delineation of yourcase but just what it appeared to be – a juvenile “me too” to personal attack. Which tends to support my thought that whatever Barry’s reason for censoring me ot wasn’t because he believes in censoring personal attacks per se.

    2 – Well ok your theory of warming isn’t anything to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. nolo contendere.

    3 – So the extent of your independence from the warming alarmist industry is that yopu make your money from the “ecological” industry. I taske it that is the “ecological” industry which has been using false scare stories to deprive the world of trillions of $. The “ecological” industry that has been pushing warmong as one of the very many global catastrophe stories they have used to get money – right from the time they stopped pushing the global ice age story for the same purpose them.

    Perhaps as a well rewarded expert in the field you could name a single one of the many “ecological” scare stories pushed by the movement (warming, cooling, mass starvation, death of insects, death of all sea life, death due to pollution of most people at 42, death of most species, overpopulation, underpopulation due to sex change, acid rain, nuclear radiation, mass death due to ozone depletion, peakm oil in 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000, 2005, 2007, perak copper, nickel, aluminium etc etc) which have actually turned out to be true?

    Since nobody else has anything further to say I take it you are indeed the furthest, among any alarmist spokemen, from making your living in the alarmist industry?

    4 – Since you disapprove of Gore you will, as a matter of scientific integrity, have publicly dissociated yourself from his lies. Perhaps you could say when & how many other alarmists have shown equal integrity?


  59. The fact is that all the alleged warming must originate where the sunshine is, in the atmosphere & if it that isn’t increasingly hot, which it isn’t, the theory is, to a greater or lesser degree, wrong.

    I’m sorry, but that doesn’t necessarily follow. It is quite feasible for the atmosphere to lose more heat energy via the heat flux across the ocean/air interface faster than it is absorbing heat energy from the infalling solar energy (and subsequent re-radiation of upwelling IR). Eventually of course the ocean will heat up sufficiently for this air/ocean flux to weaken such that the air will start to start warming again, but the thermal inertia of the ocean is much larger than the thermal inertia of the atmosphere, so the ‘air being cooled by the water’ situation could continue for quite a long time.

    Luke will, being honest, not have been including me in the list of “industry shills”

    Rest assured Neil, I do not think that you are an industry shill.



  60. Neil Craig@73
    I am a retired reference librarian – if that is of any bearing on the matter. The majority of people I know, who beleve the scientists on AGW, are everyday people in a variety of jobs, who are seriously worried for the future of their children and grandchildren.
    Of course I can’t provide you with detailed scientific analysis because I am not a scientist, and am not arrogant enough to believe I know better than highly qualified professional researchers. BTW what are your qualifications and where do you get your funding? Oh – I forgot – footy! So that is how you are so knowlegeable about this complex science is it?
    However, I am a whizz at research – I know where to find the scientific information – at sites such as these – and where to get the the non-scientific rantings of the denialist camp. All of the questions you have posed have been dealt with ad infinitum here and at other such blogs. If you choose not to believe the answers I suggest you take yourself off to one of the many denialist blogs and allow people who are genuinely interested in the subject, without an agenda, to ask their intelligent questions and get peer reviewed scientific answers.


  61. Neil @73
    I’m a lawyer with a science degree. My salary comes from traditional private industry sources. And by the way, I think this is only my second post here so I’m kind of pleased to be accused of being a shill for the ‘alarmist industry’. (And I still don’t get the logic of how that ‘industry’ makes its money) But thanks for the interest anyway.


  62. I must admit I’m a shill. The money is great and there are plenty of other perks too:) I get paid to be the “non science middle man voice of reason”. I give the science wriggle room, while also makeing deniers think that there is an opportunity for someone to listed to their reasons in a non-threatening non-hardcore science language.


  63. Fair enough Perps. It looks like, as with me, your qualifications are from online research though evidently you are less keen on reading both sides.

    Duke would that be a lawyer paid by private industry exclusively in traditional roles rather than “environmentalist” business? If you have ever dealt with an “environmentalist” business you will know that they make their money from government subsidy or regulation. Apparently govenment is quite a wealthy customer.


  64. Neil Craig.

    Since you appear to have suffered one or two too many tackles…

    1) Sometimes the uninformed twaddle of armchair ‘experts’ such as yourself warrants no more comment than to acknowledge the observations, made others, that said ‘expert’ is speaking out of his or her rectum. And if my response appeared juvenile, well, quite frankly, your ignorance patently required no more than this level of response.

    If this hurts you, get over it.

    2) As was already noted by Luke, I said nothing about the relationship between warming and carbon dioxide. Your clumsy confabulation and illogical inference simply reinforces in my view your incapacity to engage in a scientific discussion.

    3) You obviously have no clue at all about the ecological ‘industry’.

    The overwhelming majority of ecological science has nothing to do with climate change. The litany of completely irrelevant and non-science-based strawmen that you quoted is merely a FUD tool used by duplicitous anti-science stooges, such as you are demonstrating yourself to be. Where you refer to ecological matters that are ‘claimed’, and are not actually just FUD memes, you would find, with the most basic of literature searches, that they are based in uncontested fact. You should venture into a university library one day – you might learn something useful for once in your life.

    Given your complete misapprehension of the state of ecological science though, you will probably need a librarian to give you a few hours of instruction on how to do a firstyear-level search in any scientific field.

    Contrary to your apparent worldview, ecology is not the scam that you claim it to be, and any claim that it is, is more than a bit rich coming from a person who apparently has connections to the bizarrely hyped-up sport that you seem to have.

    As to being “well rewarded” – get your hand out of your trousers matey. When I took my current job, I was offered $30/hr to work as a professional postgraduate-level scientist.

    But I was clever – I talked them down to $20/hr.

    You see, there was a limited budget for the project, and I was so convinced of its importance in the protection of endangered species that I was willing to organise things so that I could contribute 50% more hours to it than the committee overseeing it had expected.

    I know cleaners who earn more than than I do per hour. Most footballers earn more in a weekend than I earn in a year.

    Science, for me, is far more important than mere money, so don’t you give me your scientists-are-in-it-for-the-money crap: you simply have no idea.

    4) I did not say that I ‘disapproved’ of Gore. I said that I cared little for his publicity machine, and that’s all I meant: I really don’t give a stuff what he is producing, because my business is science. Yet again you are misinterpreting a very simple statement, and you are putting words into my mouth in a feeble attempt at wedge debating blatant manipulation.

    And if Gore has made any errors in his film productions, I do not ‘need’ to ‘dissociate’ myself from them. Such errors are not mine in the first place, and anyway errors in production are commonplace in communication – all publications, even scientific ones, require ‘errata’. And errors are corrected in the appropriate fora – public dissociations by individuals are not the norm.

    Your bizarre demand is another feeble wedge device, and I suggest that you crawl back under your rock and hone your capacity for even kindergarten-level exchange before you try to rebuff the science of centuries and of countless millions of better-informed men and women than yourself.

    Note: at any point where you perceive a personal attack upon your character in this post, such only occur in the context of illustrating your incapacity to partake of informed and educated scientific discourse. I believe that in this context any perceived slights are in fact relevant to the subject at hand.

    Seriously, get an education, and get over yourself.

    And seriously, again – consider sticking to kicking a bladder of air around a paddock. Your current efforts in science-denial are no better than this anyway.


  65. What a very long post to merely state your refusal “to engage in a scientific discussion.”

    “And if Gore has made any errors in his film productions”


    If you know any science you know his film was full of lies. The fact that neither you nor the overwhelming bulk of alarmists has been willing to say so shows, at its kindest, a lack of integrity right across the alarmist field.


  66. Neil Craig.

    Get this through your thick skull: I have no interest in Gore’s machine, and I am one of rather a lot of people I know who has not seen AIT. I am therefore not in a position to comment on his documentary.

    And before you start about “a lack of integrity right across the alarmist field”, you might consider the many examples of such a lack that you have already demonstrated in your misrepresentations above.

    As to engaging in a scientific discussion – you have demonstrated quite convincingly that you are incapable of participating in even a rudimentary-level consideration of science, and I see no reason to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

    And besides, I learned a long time ago that it is pretty pointless trying to explain science to trolls.


  67. Neil Craig@ 81
    You are wrong again. Unlike you I don’t get all my information from the internet. Being a librarian I tend, by preference, to read books written by well qualified commentators. I have certainly checked out the contrary view of the science and found it disingenuous and wanting in scholarship and veracity.
    I agree with Bernard @ 82 – you really should get off the computer and go to a University or State Library and ask for help with your research skills from a librarian.
    If, as a non-scientist you need guidance to select a couple of good books aimed at the lay level of scientific expertise I can help you.
    HENSON, Robert
    “The rough guide to climate change”
    SPRATT,David and SUTTON, Philip
    “Climate Code Red”
    and of course
    FLANNERY, Tim “The weather makers”
    If these excellent texts are too scientific, may I suggest a simpler illustrated book which I found so easy to follow and understand.
    MANN, Michael E and KUMP, Lee R
    “Dire Predictions: understanding global warming – the illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC
    Good luck with your research.


  68. Perps I take it the Mann whose book you recommend last is the same one who invented the fraudulent Hockey Stick theory on which the IPCC relied so heavily. Professor Waxman not only proved it was fraudulent but that its producers had little understanding of statistics & less interest in finding out. If that is your idea of an informed & impartial source it is not mine.

    In turn I would suggest you check out SEPP or CCNet whose authors are not proven fraudsters.

    Bernard what a good thing it is that our editor is censoring any personal insults here or readers might think that in calling me thick you were refering to something other than the breadth of my integrity. Fortunately Barry has made it clear that such insults are never allowed.

    In that spirit may I say that while, if you were unable to produce any examples of where I have unequivacally shown no integrity here then you would be a corrupt lying parasite with no trace whatsoever of scientific, or other, integrity but if you can produce some then you would be vindicated.

    I look forward to you trying to produce such instances. Indeed I look forward to anybody on the alarmist side trying to debate on facts (with the possible exception of Barry #31 & even there he merely asserted a theory without evidence or numbers) rather than treating personal rudeness as if it proved something.


  69. Pingback: Climate change and your lying eyes « Greenfyre’s

  70. Neil @ 86
    You are simply regurgitating myths e.g. the Michael Mann Hockey stick graph, which have been comprehensively debunked here and at many other sites. Seek and you shall find – reference and research skills required.
    It appears that it is you who are not willing to acknowledge that your pre-conceived ideas are based on fraudulent, mischievious nonsense peddled by the denialists.
    There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see.
    There is no point in engaging with such a person – your reason for being on this site is obvious – you are indeed a troll.


  71. Perps I apologise for suggesting that you had behaved with some integrity.

    You are now saying that I am lying in saying that Mann’s Hockey Stick has been debunked (& indeed proven fraudulent).

    I accept that as representing the absolute pinnacle of honesty of which you personally & every alarmist who has not denounced you here is ever capable. It is a lie that could never ever under any circumstances be said by anybody with any honesty let alone any scientific integrity. I accept it represents the standard of honesty practiced by alarmists.


  72. Neil Craig said:

    In that spirit may I say that while, if you were unable to produce any examples of where I have unequivacally shown no integrity here then you would be a corrupt lying parasite with no trace whatsoever of scientific, or other, integrity but if you can produce some then you would be vindicated.

    I look forward to you trying to produce such instances.

    Let’s just stick with that single post at #86, shall we?

    I take it the Mann whose book you recommend last is the same one who invented the fraudulent Hockey Stick theory

    It seems to me that you are accusing a well-respected and internationally renowned scientist of fraud.

    Professor Waxman not only proved it was fraudulent but that its producers had little understanding of statistics & less interest in finding out.

    It seems to me that you are accusing the same well-respected and internationally renowned scientist of illiteracy in his own discipline, and negligence as well.

    These are hardly claims to make without the most stringently tested and minutely documented evidence. I see no such evidence, and I am thus forced to question your integrity.

    Of course, if I had offered no justification for my questioning of your integrity I would have been by your accusation a “corrupt lying parasite with no trace whatsoever of scientific, or other, integrity”, which in itself is a statement that proffers no evidence of corruption, of lying, of parasitism, nor of “no trace” of scientific or other integrity, and hence it would call into question your own integrity.

    If you are going to challenge the work of tens of thousands of scientists in several distinct disciplines, and make blanket claims as to their motivations and honesty, you need to have the most iron-clad body of evidence imaginable. Without doing so you should not be surprised when your integrity is challenged.

    So far the only things that you’ve offered are the baseless, conspiratorial ramblings of ignorants and ideologues.


  73. Aw heck, I’ve just realised which Neil Craig it is that I have taken a cudgel against.

    I apologise for any slight on the real Neil Craig, and strongly advise any and all who might feel the perverse desire to engage in the troll above to desist.

    I believe that it was either on another thread here, or on a thread at Deltoid, that I had the misfortune to engage this character on the matter of the sustainability of exponential growth. He has no understanding/appreciation of ecological limits, and it is much clearer now why he cast the aspersions upon the body of serious ecological science that he did above.

    When it comes to kooky science, Neil Craig and the Viscantcount Monckton are cast in very similar moulds.


  74. Seriously, the Neil Craig troll here is not to be engaged. We’re talking “totally, utterly barking” on the crackpot-o-meter.

    And if that is ad hominem, well, bite me. It doesn’t change the truth of it though.


  75. I’ll take the Monckton comparison with thanks Bernie. I was censored from Deltoid (as in fact I mentioned earlier here) for getting my facts right. Also for getting an ex-editor of Nature, Jeff Harvey, to accuse fellow eco-parasite Sir David King of not being capable of more than “kindergarten” science.

    I think we are all agreed here that the Global warming story is no more & no less true than the Hockey Stick (which says there was no Medieval Warm Period & global temperatures have been rising fast since 1998) or indeed the words of Al Gore & that they all represent the absolute peak of honesty & scientific competence of which any their supporters are capable.

    I don’t remember you personally Bernie but I do remember somebody saying long term growth was impossible. Anyone saying that is clearly as ignorant as any bone shaking shaman but with infinitely less imagination.


  76. Hi all
    I came to this site with skeptical leanings, but also with a desire to understand both sides of the argument. Whilst i have found the initial post (and other articles on this site) by Barry thought provoking, i have to say that i have found the posts by Barrys cheer squad to be particularly disappointing. The rapidity in which the responses generated into name calling and insults towards respondents who questioned any of science behind anthropogenic global warming is disappointing. I understand there is a lot of passion on both sides of this debate, and yes I understand that dealing with trolls is tiresome and frustrating; however; surely you realise that arrogant and insulting responses do nothing to help promote your cause.


  77. thanks for your response MattB@98
    in answer to your question, I am a geologist by training, with a strong interest in paleoclimate particularly in the tertiary & quaternary; and as such am aware that over geological time climate is anything but stable. So i guess that is where my sceptical leanings come from, however i am trying to keep and open mind and examine both sides of the argument. And i do agree that name calling and insults happen on both side of the fence and am in know way defending it from anyone. My point still stands that i found the descent into name calling and insults disappointing, and a “they did it first/more/too” argument is probably poor. How about taking the higher road, engage with those who are genuine, and don’t feed the trolls?


  78. Well I’m not a research scientist, but I do work at a University and some of these academic types don’t get out often and don’t have a lot of inter-personal skills;)

    But seriously it is just life in the blogosphere… fairly informal, good irreverent humour and slight lack of etiquette and respect all par for the course. Anyhows take me for example – I’m a total blow-in – the blog can hardly be judged on my manners:) (although they are of course exemplary – I don’t have the qualifications to be too much of a smart-ass on this blog).


  79. David @ 99
    I think you will agree if you check out the whole of this site that genuine sceptics are treated with civility and their questions are answered by the people on this blog who know the science. However, once “a troll” is identified, and this is usually after numerous attempts to provide answers are rebuffed using the same tired recycled myths, it is hard to remain sanguine at the waste of time and effort that goes into honestly trying to reply. Matt B is right – denialist blogs are apalling and these comments mild by comparison. However I agree that we should do better and refrain from the practice.


  80. “troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community”

    I will plead guilty to posting controversial comments. Perhaps even inflamatory to those who are inflamed by disagreement. I so not think those are bad things & if the author does he should disallow all comments as many alarmist blogs do.

    I have never seen sceptical blogs engaging in personal attacks on cemmenters in preference to debating factual comments that may have been put up (though I have seen alarmists putting up insulting rather scientific arguments there) though it is possible I have been on the right blogs.


  81. Why, oh why, do I bother…?

    Neil Craig.

    More than anything else, and ignoring the above slander of thousands of honest scientists, the things that you say are discredited pseudoscience, myths and paranoid ideologies that have circulated amongst the conservative picket-fencers and tin-foil hat brigade for many more years than their use-by dates should have permitted.

    It is as simple as that.

    As to the issue of personal attacks, I think that you will find that any such here are based upon the evidence that passing trolls provide, and as such they carry some justification. To repeat Perps’ comment, the tone of discourse here is mild compared with the Denialist side of matters.

    And if you “have never seen sceptical blogs engaging in personal attacks on cemmenters (sic) in preference to debating factual comments that may have been put up” then you have never visited Marohasy’s blog, or Andrew Bolt’s, or Graeme Bird’s, or any of countless others where the level of rabid conservative hysteria and name-calling defies description.

    I invite you to peruse such sites for yourself (if you have not in fact already done so); and if you can find no comments that pass for ‘personal attacks’, I am sure that readers here can help to improve your obviously lacking search skills, and link you to some entertaining examples.

    Or perhaps they’ll just think to themselves “troll: in internet slang, someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community”, and ignore you, as is no doubt the most appropriate strategy.


  82. So if what I say is “discredited” give the facts that discredits ot rather than accusing me of wearing a tinfoil hat.

    Put up the facts that “prove” we are currently feeling catastrophic warming, that the measurements that show it cooling since 1998 & cooling fast now don’t count, that McIntyre’s mathematical dissection of the Hockey Stick got its maths wrong, that there is a good scientific reason why arguments against warming are invalid if they can’t produce 30 years worth of downturn but an upturn of 10 years proves warming?

    Or let somebody at least attempt to answer my earlier questions like

    “It is said that the worth of a science is shown by its ability to correctly predict. On that basis engineering scores close to 100, astrologers just over 50%, a roomful of monkeys drawing lots 50%. On that basis can anybody name 15 global warming alarmists (out of the 31 million if claims that 99.9% of scientists accept catastrophic warming are truthful) who predicted, in 1998, that the next 10 years would, by the measures then being used, be colder.”

    Facts are what matter.


  83. Neil says;

    “I have never seen sceptical blogs engaging in personal attacks on cemmenters in preference to debating factual comments that may have been put up (though I have seen alarmists putting up insulting rather scientific arguments there) though it is possible I have been on the right blogs.”

    Neil, have you ever looked at or engaged at Marohasy’s site? A simple yes or no will suffice.


  84. The link to Nielsen still doesn’t work!

    I got it from Google “Ron Nielsen”+”Medieval Warm Period”
    Barry – is there another way of entering links without labouriously typing (mistyping) them each time?


  85. Barry – is there another way of entering links without labouriously typing (mistyping) them each time?

    Being able to preview a post would help.


    Ed: agreed – but it’s not a standard WordPress feature right now and I don’t have CSS access since I’m running this site on the smell of a oily (microalgal biodiesel) rag


  86. On that basis can anybody name 15 global warming alarmists (out of the 31 million if claims that 99.9% of scientists accept catastrophic warming are truthful) who predicted, in 1998, that the next 10 years would, by the measures then being used, be colder.

    Stop for a second…

    …let me see if I have this right – you choose to select the warmest year ever recorded, and you want to compare it with the next ten years? Or to put it another way, you cherry pick the most extreme peak recorded, and then attempt (emphasis: in a post hoc fashion) to compare it with the overall temperature of the following ten years?

    And there are still some who wonder why even the most phlegmatic of the educated posters here find it difficult to not lambast you…

    For so many reasons Neil Craig your question has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with distortion and misrepresentation. It is no wonder that folk here long ago abandoned the excuse of ignorance on your behald, and recognise your trolling for what it is.

    And if you seriously want to answer your own questions, follow the advice of the last few responses and do some study: track down the links provided, or go to Barry’s many instructive summaries of the science. Or wade through the countless threads on countless blogs such as this one, RealClimate, Deltoid, Rabbet Run, Tamino, and many others – the Denialist myths have been sliced, diced and barbequed ad nauseum many, many, many times before.

    If you are truly ignorant of this, then you are reflecting your ignorance of the science.

    It is as simple as that.

    Ed: Hear, hear, Bernard, hear hear.


  87. [deleted]

    Ed: Sorry Neil, but the amount of mangled disinformation and recycled claptrap that was packed into that last post was the last straw. As such, I’ve decided not to torture my audience any further with your ravings.

    Feel free to continued reading on this site. There is just a small chance that you may yet learn something by doing so. But don’t bother to post here again unless you have something sensible to say. Commenting rights hereby revoked.


  88. Here is something good I stumbled on which is notable for two reasons:

    1. It is an excellent breakdown of the recent denialist conga line marching through the once-respectable Quadrant magazine.

    2. In the comments, some new poor souls bang their had against the curtain wall in trying to break down the excruciating illogic of ex-BNC commenter, Tim Curtin.

    Read and be amused – or perhaps glad that Tim no longer graces our threads.


  89. Ah – Tim – how we miss you.
    May we dare to hope that last effort over at Harry Clarke was his “curtain call”.
    Silly of me – he is probably related to Nellie Melba – didn’t she have numerous farewells and say, of her fans, “give them rubbish” Seems Tim took note. :)


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  91. OK, for the record, I would like to note that:

    1) I told Neil Craig at #84 that I have not seen An Inconvenient Truth

    2) at #82 I said that “if Gore has made any errors in his film productions, I do not ‘need’ to ‘dissociate’ myself from them.” Craig omitted the phrase in bold when he selectively quoted me at a later date in his blog.

    To couch it in a fashion that he might be able to comprehend, I said that I am not acquainted with Gore’s production, and therefore I am not in a position to comment upon, nor to repudiate, errors which I have not seen. I was making no statement as to the presence or otherwise of errors in Gore’s film – and Craig implies on his blog that I was.

    The fact that I noted at #84 that I hadn’t seen AIT, after my comment about errors, does not alter the meaning of my post. The comment is sufficient to validly stand alone as long as the emboldened phrase is not deleted, irrespective of the subsequent post at #84.

    Neil Craig has misrepresented me and, given my care in stating my case about Gore, it can be nothing other than a deliberate attempt to do so.

    In my eyes this makes the man a mendacious liar.

    But we all knew that already…


  92. Whereas I think that I agree with most of what MontyA says, I must point out that there is nothing scientific about taking any particular year as the beginning or end of a century. It is as arbitrary as the zero point of the Fahrenheit or Celsius scale. And Dionysius Exiguus got it wrong anyway, trying to establish the date of birth of Jesus of Nazareth. For genuinely scientific purposes, the Common Era, which is indeed arbitrary, should have both zero and negative numbers to designate years. BCE would then be unnecessary. So I take the year 2000 as indeed the convenient beginning of “the current millennium”.


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  95. If this site is still open I would recommend that everyone does actually see the short video made by Bob Carter and available on YouTube to set his comments in context. The criticism levelled at him on this site does not seem justified, even if you disagree with some or all of his eventual conclusions.


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  98. Mr. Brooke, As a confused layman already, after only a few minutes of reading your article I find I have many questions.

    1. You speak of “excess heat”. Precisely how much heat is EXCESS heat? What would be the presumed “right” amount?

    2.a. With a given amount of heat radiation trapped within the atmosphere, why does 90% of it get absorbed by the ocean rather than the land? Another one just came to mind – is not the Antarctic a land mass? And does that mean that it is subject to only 5% approximately of the available “excess” heat?

    2.b. When the IPCC or others maintain that “the globe has warmed by 0.7C” (0r whatever) and make comparison with a period, say prior to 1900 or 1850, why do they not separate the land and the sea as you appear to be doing? Is the stated temperature rise only the ocean, only the land, both added up, or some sort of mean or other average?

    3. Whereabouts is located the greenhouse gas blanket you refer to?

    4.You talk of “the oceans” having warmed (apparently a great deal). How is this measured? Is it the same all over all the oceans and to all depths (they are, after all three dimensional)? At how many points is the temperature measured?

    5. I read an oceanographic treatise by Nils-Axel Morner which maintained that the IPCC had rather manipulated a putative sea level rise, and told how, though none exists. How does your own thesis accommodate this?

    6. The answer to my next question may come later in your paper, but if not, what has been the proven effect of the putative global oceanic temperature rise?

    7. Finally, pro-tem, as a person on the sidelines, why is it that so many writers on this subject are so angry all the time: why are so many of you so insulting to anyone who does not agree? It seems to happen on both sides. I find it rather odd. I always imagined that scientific enquiry would be dispassionate.
    If yours is a serious scientific site (I am not saying that it is not, by the way) why is it suffused with emotional epithets like “denialist conga lines” etc? Where on earth did this “denial” stuff come from? It amazes me. Someone on the other side of a discussion from one, is surely entitled to their view, provided of course that both of your hypotheses are backed up by empirical evidence ( which in my view does not include computer model scenarios which are no better than fancy spread-sheets with too many opportunities for selection of something that supports a belief, rather than an agnostic approach that investigates hard evidence).

    8. One final point, if I may: whilst no amount of additional “evidence” improves a hypothesis, only one firm piece of counter evidence will completely undermine it. Again, as a layman, the exposure of the hockey stick graph as a clear and deliberate distortion intended to fudge the facts, was sufficient for this enquirer to question the motives of the “scientists” who knowingly employed it.

    If anyone out there is willing, respectfully, to answer any of my questions, then that would be appreciated. Thank you, in advance.


  99. Mr Brooke,
    Would you be kind enough to point me to the proof of your following assertion, I would like to review it for myself. Thank you.

    “Indeed, it has been shown that about 90% of this additional energy has be used to heat water and about 7% to melt ice. Only about 3% is left over to warm the air. So we shouldn’t be at all surprised if air temperatures show the weakest response to the enhanced greenhouse effect – at least in the short term.”


  100. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf

    Hansen, J., Nazarenko, L., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., Willis, J., Del Genio, A., Koch, D., Lacis, A., Lo, K., Menon, S., Novakov, T., Perlwitz, J., Russell, G., Schmidt, G.A., and Tausnev, N. (2005) Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications. Science (308) 1431-1435.

    Willis, J.K., Roemmich, D., and Cornuelle, B. (2004) Interannual Variability in Upper Ocean Heat Content, Temperature, and Thermostatic Expansion on Global Scales. Journal of Geophysical Research (109) C12036.


  101. Bobski: I’ll deal with 8. You talk about the
    hockey stick being exposed as a “deliberate distortion” and wonder
    why people get annoyed. After the hockey stick was published, there
    were indeed questions and doubts. Mann and others didn’t ignore these doubts or
    sweep them under and carpet. A bunch of
    researchers in countries all over the world
    went out with different methods and different proxies
    and repeated the work. The results of 11 are presented in
    the 2007 IPCC report,
    Chapter 6, page 468-9
    , 8 in the figure and 12 in the table over the page.
    The reason I call people denialists is because they just blindly believe
    what they read without checking and that’s annoying. I know that it isn’t
    possible to check everything, but before people throw mud — as you
    did — they should check. You have repeated an opinion, probably of somebody
    else who didn’t check, but who got their opinion from somebody else, and
    so it goes on. If you want to throw mud and Michael Mann then read his work,
    find yourself a “deliberate distortion” and go for it. Don’t just recycle rubbish. Have you ever read Mann’s paper?


  102. Mr Russell,

    Well, I regret that your reply leaves me with the feeling that I have been needlessly insulted, which is precisely what I was getting at. You now sound angry at me; why, I cannot imagine, all I am doing is asking questions to try to educate myself as fully as possible in this matter.

    I feel it not unfair to observe that I seem to have upset you not because I disagree with you ( I am as yet agnostic ) but because I have not volunteered to “believe”, but to keep questioning.

    I apologise for having apparently upset you, it was not my intention – indeed my questions were not addressed to you. So, as you may imagine, your own clear anger leaves me further puzzled.

    You yourself only offered a reply to # 8, and Mr Brooke to # 2b. Which leaves quite a bit unanswered.

    With respect, Mr Russell, is it not true that Macintyre et al exposed the Mann hockey stick as a deliberate corruption of the science? Is it not true that MBH attempted to hide key data in a separate computer file? If it is not true I would appreciate your alternative explanation if you would be kind enough to share it with me.

    Is it also not true that the same team Macintyre (and I think McKittrick) similarly exposed the attempted recovery embodied in the “spaghetti” graph? As I wrote earlier, I am not a scientist, so if you are a specialist climatologist yourself, or a qualified statistician I would much appreciate receipt of your own destruction of their work.

    Thank you in advance for your kind reply, should you be willing to provide one.


  103. Thank you Mr Brook, and my apologies for having inadvertently added an “e” to your name.

    Do you by any chance have any answers to my other questions.

    I have looked at the reference you suggested. It rather leaves unanswered how it is that some 3500 or so actual empirical ocean temperature gauges have shown an oceanic cooling over the five years they have been in place.

    Would you be kind enough to let me know the explanation for that?

    Thank you for the courtesy of your earlier reply.


  104. Dear Perps,

    Well, you see that is the difficulty isn’t it?

    One is constantly referred back to the IPCC, but the IPCC is not a scientific body, it is merely advised by other scientists and scientific bodies. Its selections are precisely that – selective.

    The IPCC has already been conclusively shown to be untrustworthy. As any decent barrister will tell you, once a person is caught out in a lie, their testimony is forever suspect. If they are then guilty of trying to cover up that lie, their situation is rendered even more perilous.

    For that reason I continue to read everything I possibly can on the subject. What matters is not whether or not a source is “pseudo-scientific”, but whether or not, any source of any kind offers a proof of empirical ( and I stress, empirical) dangerous global warming, outwith fluctuation amplitudes already seen over geological time, and which can show an anthropological signature the proof for which stands up to examination by anyone at all, and proves robust enough not to be knocked over.

    Not much in the IPCC’s publications seems to have withstood this test, from I can glean. If it had, there would not I think still be the amount of argument there is. If nothing else is crystal clear to a layman such as myself, the fact that “the science is not settled” certainly is.

    One fervently hopes that the discussion might be conducted a little less angrily than appears to be the norm – indeed already, just by having asked perfectly innocent questions I have myself been subject to (an admittedly mild) attack. This surprises me, and does not seem conducive to level headed sceptical, non-dogmatic, empirical scientific discovery.

    My own view, giving regard to the severity of the economic and social costs attendant upon making poor policy decisions, is that as much questioning as possible ought to be encouraged, rather than discouraged.



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  106. Bobski

    ”IPCC is not a scientific body, it is merely advised by other scientists and scientific bodies. Its selections are precisely that – selective.”

    A peculiar non-scientific body, where the central people are the leading scientists, who peer review and synthesize the current peer reviewed literature. But I take your point, it also includes politicians.
    The odd thing is that this combination has led to the IPCC making conservative assumptions (e.g. sea level rise). Which I suppose is understandable, as there don’t seem to be a cue of governments lining up to do more than or even match the action called for at the COP.

    The IPCC has already been conclusively shown to be untrustworthy. I assume you wouldn’t slander the IPCC without evidence. What is your evidence for this?

    What matters is not whether or not a source is “pseudo-scientific”, but whether or not, any source of any kind offers a proof of empirical ( and I stress, empirical) dangerous global warming, outwith fluctuation amplitudes already seen over geological time, and which can show an anthropological signature the proof for which stands up to examination by anyone at all, and proves robust enough not to be knocked over.

    Now I assume you are demanding empirical proof as we would gain from a double blind placebo controlled trial? Or a post mortem perhaps? With one planet we will have to stick with the later, the results should be in around 2100.

    In the mean time we’ll have to work with all the available evidence, which predominantly stacks up in favour of the anthropogenic induced warming.


  107. Bobski: “I continue to read everything I possibly can on the subject.”

    You’ve claimed to be a lay person but without your real name, how can we know? If you are a lay person, then you won’t be
    able to follow the Mann V McIntyre debate anyway … unless
    lay people understand principle component analysis
    these days (it was at least 2nd year applied maths when
    I did it).

    My advice is to try a text book and forget reading all
    the polemic until you have some background. So


    Just download and read away. This isn’t easy reading by
    any means, but I’m guessing it will open your eyes on
    a few issues.


  108. As another climate scientist said to me recently:

    “This loopy claim is so easily dismissed as we only stand to lose funding by stating the science is done & dusted (European colleagues tell me, for example, that EU funds are being diverted from studying the problem [us] to solving it, as the perception there is that we have enough science and certainty to move on from the analysis of change and get squarely behind GHG reductions – unfortunately the public here think climate scientists also build solar cell panels!).”


  109. > scientists are not warning us NEEDLESSLY [so they] cannot be accused of being alarmist!

    > That very much remains to be seen. Mainstream climatology gets its funds from the state, which is itself the prime beneficiary of alarmist analyses. And alarmism is what keeps the research grants coming.

    > …the motives of those who benefit from pushing pseudo-scepticism

    The initial problem though is the pseudo-science climatology resulting from state funding. It is pseudo because it is funded from vested interest, exactly like tobacco-funded tobacco science was.
    Here though we have the added problem that state spending on climatology outranks all other spending on climatology by a factor of some thousands, so the chance of balance or objectivity emerging is very slim indeed.


  110. There is no pseudo-science climatology – do you honestly believe that the vast majority of scientists, Universities, National Scientific bodies, and Governments are colluding in some giant funding conspiracy? If so then there is nothing anyone can say to change your mind. We can, however, wonder about your state of mind, mired as it is in conspiracy theories. That is very sad and I feel sorry for you, but not so sorry that I won’t hold you, and other deniers, responsible for holding up action needed to avert climate catastrophe for our kids and grandkids and maybe even ourselves. I hope you can live with that on your conscience. That is all the interaction I intend to have with you!


  111. No conspiracy need be assumed, just a bit of realism.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune, and those government departments with funding authority would naturally give money to the scientists who most pleased them. Being government departments themselves, they would naturally favour science with findings that most justify an expansion of the state – more taxes, government departments, regulations, nationalisations. Which is of course exactly what the theory of AGW does.

    In addition, scientists looking for money are more likely to succeed if they say there is a problem that needs investigation, versus if they say all is ok.

    Given the common source of funding, it would surprising if an apparent consensus did not emerge.


  112. What a perverse worldview you have. I can just see John Howard telling his Cabinet, “To advance our plans to expand the State, we’ve decided to create fear about global warming so we can build a bigger bureaucracy. So I want Treasury and all Departments to find ways to get money to the climate scientists, and triple the csiro funding at once. And start a grassroots PR campaign to soften everyone up for closure of the coal industry.”

    Because thats the ludicrous process you’re suggesting. Here on planet Earth, show any government a study of climate change, and they’ll run as hard as they can in the direction of away. Try subjecting your “realism” to a bit of reality testing.


  113. Once again, it’s not about conspiracy. It’s about systemic bias, and the framework within which science is done.

    The issue is systemic bias, and the fact that the supposed consensus all emanates from the same paymaster. Today’s mainstream climatologists are in the same position as tobacco scientists who once argued that smoking didn’t cause cancer – they need not necessarily have been academic charlatans, but they certainly were originally selected by their paymasters for their approach.

    Governments get money to their climatologists already, via state-funded universities.

    And you are mistaken if you think governments and bureaucracies don’t look more favourably on ideas that justify their own expansion, or that scientists who present an apparent problem aren’t more likely to get funds than those who say all is well.


  114. The consensus doesn’t emerge from the same paymaster. There must be a hundred different countries each with their own possible spin on where their interests might vest. The idea that they’d all align in the same direction is ridiculous. The EU countries couldn’t even agree on what constitutes a sausage, let alone a coherent multidiscplinary scientific fabrication.

    Consensus emerges from hundreds of researchers in different societies around the world because they’re looking at an objective external reality, and it emerges in spite of the vested interests of their diverse and unconnected funding bodies.


  115. The consensus does emerge form the same paymaster, to the extent that all states have the same underlying nature (the monopoly on legal violence in their domain). And the vested interest of the state permeates all the scientists it has bought and paid for, which must limit the scope for objectivity.


  116. All western governments have an intimate relationship with the meat industry and
    that industry buys academics by funding research and can even buy incredible
    influence over official government level committees (E.g., Marion Nestle, “Safe
    Food” and “Food Politics”).

    Nevertheless, despite amazing pressures like these, the scientific research
    is absolutely clear and the equivalent of the IPCC in the cancer field — the
    World Cancer Research Fund — in 2007 came out with a report which
    said quite clearly (yes, 150 scientific authors) that red meat causes bowel
    cancer … no ifs, no buts, no caveats.

    I take this as a wonderful example that while you can buy committees and
    you can buy individuals, you can’t buy the entire scientific process. Not
    in large fields with plenty of players. It is just a silly idea.


  117. It’s not a question of buying it lock, stock and barrel, but rather a question of overall bias. There are some sceptics and some denialists in amoungst the alarmists in the state fold, but not many, and they are often under pressure to toe the line or face losing their positions.

    And it’s hardly surprising that government scientists produce reports that, rightly or wrongly, harm some industry sector’s prospects – governments delight in finding more reasons to control or lecture us. What would be interesting is if they said the opposite.

    The idea that government science, the IPCC included, is free of the vested interests of its paymasters is just naive. And bear in mind in climatology, the state outspends all private groups taken together by a factor of some thousands.


  118. BFJ Cricklewood,

    Have you determined which way the bias is directed? Or is this a pet theory with no data?

    My hypothesis is that the current bias is towards inquiry and advancement of understanding.

    I am concerned about a developing trend requiring universities to partner with commercial institution. However this bias would be in favour of established industries (like big coal).


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  120. Wow, you continue to make claims about how the Earth, on balance, is warmer yet offer no understanding or clarity on how oceans should or will transfer this heat to the surface temps that have recently decreased. It’s fascinating how you can continue to fill the public with fear over something so poorly understood.


  121. The real problem is pseudo-science, such as the IPCC practices (two thirds of whom are spin doctors rather than scientists).
    Political funding of science cannot but put a political angle on it, tending to
    * favour that science that boosts the state – such as climate alarmism, which provides excellent excuses for more taxes and bureaucracies
    * pass over science that does not boost the state


  122. The real problem is pseudo-science, such as the IPCC practices (two thirds of whom are spin doctors rather than scientists).

    This is just name calling and assertions. Everything the IPCC reports is peer reviewed, from leading journals. It represent a conservative summary of the evidence avaliable.

    The real incentive for profits is from the fossil fuel oligarchs who are trying to sell doubt. That is where you can find the pseudo-science, pushed by the pseudo-skeptics.


  123. So just how does climate alarmism boost $$ for research, as opposed to concern but uncertainty, requiring more research to be certain? How do scientists benefit from more taxes and bureaucracies? Do you suppose scientists don’t pay taxes? And do you imagine that scientists get the research $$ in their own hip pocket? Your alarmist conspiracy theories are laughable.


  124. BFJC, you say “Mainstream climatology gets its funds from the state, which is itself the prime beneficiary of alarmist analyses.”

    This is incorrect.

    The state ultimately derives its revenue from national income.

    If, as the deniorati claim, global warming is a myth, then efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will reduce potential gowth in national income, albeit slightly, for no offsetting benefit in future years.

    In that case the state would not, as you claim, be the main beneficiary of policies designed to mitigate emissions and it would therefore have no incentive to promote them by sponsoring so-called “alarmism”.

    Therefore the state only has an interest in pursuing mitigation policies if the scientists are right.

    Anyway, it’s not as if the state needs global warming to justify a new way of raising revenue.


  125. > So just how does climate alarmism boost $$ for research, as opposed to concern but uncertainty, requiring more research to be certain?

    Alarmism implies there’s a problem, and solving problems obviously needs money.

    > How do scientists benefit from more taxes and bureaucracies? Do you suppose scientists don’t pay taxes? And do you imagine that scientists get the research $$ in their own hip pocket?

    No, your regular scientists doesn’t stand to make millions like Gore and others high up in the green-industrial complex. They will though keep funds coming to bolster science jobs and research grants.

    > Your alarmist conspiracy theories are laughable.
    I claim no conspiracy, merely systemic bias.


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  131. An increased ocean temperature will result in an increased evaporation, which will result in increased snow fall and ice formation. It’s the homeostatic effect.

    If, as I believe, that man is not largely the cause of global warming, then our governments will waste an estimated 30 Trillion dollars on the fallacious crisis.

    The belief in the man-made cause is unbelievable political, obstinate and unscientific. Sure there is science supporting the contention, but it has become more of a religion than science.

    The established nature of scientific revolution is that it takes a long time for the mindset to change to the new consensus. So we will be stuck in this current mindset for sometime longer. I just hope we don’t waste 30 Trillion dollars before the world wakes up.


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  133. Pingback: The sun rose this morning–no budget cut on that apparently « Neil's final decade

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