Climate Change Hot News

El Niño and sunspots return, sea ice doesn’t

The two main reasons why 2008 was the coolest year since 2000 was that the Pacific ocean was in its La Niña phase, and the sun was remarkably inactive and showed us a blank face for essentially the whole year. Both of these factors (oceanic and solar) exert a mild to strong influence on year-to-year climate variability. The forcing effect of additional greenhouse gases is more subtle in the short term, but ultimately dominates because it is inexorable (until we mitigate our emissions) and accumulative (due to long residence times).

In the first half of 2009, La Niña conditions persisted, despite a brief excursion to a more neutral phase. Now, however, the relevant signs — such as the southern oscillation index (SOI) and Pacific sea surface temperatures — point to the return of El Niño in the second half of 2009 (and perhaps continuing through 2010). There are also clear signs that the sunspots are returning in 2009, after the particularly extended period of quienscence, which recently had some speculating that we may be entering a new Maunder-Mininum-like period (more here).

The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia runs an excellent webpage on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation , updated weekly, called ENSO Wrap-Up. They have concluded the following:

More evidence of a developing El Niño event has emerged during the past fortnight, and computer forecasts show there’s very little chance of the development stalling or reversing…

Another adverse sign for southeastern Australian rainfall is the recent trend to positive values in the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), as measured by the Dipole Mode Index (DMI)…

The sub-surface of the equatorial Pacific has also continued to steadily warm through June. A large volume of warmer than normal sub-surface water is evident across the entire tropical Pacific…

All international climate models predict the tropical Pacific to continue to warm and to be above El Niño thresholds throughout most of the second half of 2009.”

Both the oncoming El Niño, and the positive values of the IOD, is bad news for the rainfall outlook in eastern Australia. As reported in The Age, “Such an event could send Melbourne’s water storages, already at a record low level of 26 per cent, plummeting well below 20 per cent by next year and force stage 4 restrictions. Rivers — especially the Yarra — farmlands and crops look set to be stressed further. The prediction comes as the bureau confirmed that Melbourne had a record dry start to the year, with just 126.2 millimetres of rain falling from January to June — eight millimetres below the previous record set in 1967 and less than half the long-term average of 307 millimetres.”

Look out for the next update of ENSO Wrap-Up in 3 days time (as of this post).

In related news, a recent paper published in Science has demonstrated that there are at least two distinct types of El Niño with different relative influences on hurricane formation in the Atlantic, with one type (El Niño Modoki) being more inherently predictable. Forming in the central, rather than eastern Pacific, it is associated with a higher storm frequency and a greater potential for making landfall along the Gulf coast and the coast of Central America. Read more here and here.

The return of El Nino suggests that 2009 and 2010 will be considerably warmer than 2008. An additional +0.01 to 0.05C boost in global mean temperature may also come from increasing activity in the sun over this period. Current predictions are for a smaller than usual peak in sunspot activity (the lowest since 1928) during cycle 24, maxing out in mid-2013. What’s particularly interesting is the proposition from solar physicists that they have uncovered a new mechanism which may be influencing the progress of sunspot activity — a migrating jet stream from deep within the sun.  To quote from the NASA press release:

Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, used a technique called helioseismology to detect and track the jet stream down to depths of 7,000 km below the surface of the sun. The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years, they explained to a room full of reporters and fellow scientists. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear…  Howe and Hill found that the stream associated with the next solar cycle has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to only two years for the previous solar cycle. The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead.”

There is still not likely to be much activity in 2009, but as the report notes with regard to those Maunder Minimum fears, “The sun’s internal magnetic dynamo is still operating, and the sunspot cycle is not ‘broken’.“.

In other news, the Arctic sea ice is now well on its way to its summer minimum for 2009. A lot of people are interested to see whether the record low of 2007 will be beaten this year (we’ll know by late September), or whether there is some recovery due to the persistent effect of the cooler 2008. Current conditions are tracking about the same as 2008, and still fairly close to the 2007 level, so it’s really anybody’s guess as to what’ll happen next.

The rapid loss of old, thicker multi-year sea ice over the last few years is one major reason to be concerned that a tipping point in this system has already been crossed. My suspicion is that we’ll just miss the 2007 record this year due to the lingering cooler conditions of 2008, but that it’ll be broken in 2010. But such year-to-year records are really besides the point — the long-term decline in Arctic summer sea ice is beyond dispute, and the projections of total summer sea ice loss within the next 40 years now seem absurdly optimistic.

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

71 replies on “El Niño and sunspots return, sea ice doesn’t”

Ah, that September NSIDC extent graphic is on the page at RC, but taken from the Copenhagen Synthesis report. I’ve been trying to find the original.


It’s hard to know what preparations to make. The outskirts of Melbourne hit 48C under La Nina conditions. Perhaps they will break 50C (122F) under El Nino. That aside last year’s otherwise abnormally cool summer badly affected horticulture crops. Farmers will have to make each way bets eg grow some pumpkins outside and some in a glasshouse.

A string of hot and dry summers will sap the Murray-Darling of even more of its reduced water flow. As desal plants spring up and air conditioners are set to max more fossil fuels will be burned. That could be Rudd’s new excuse for no coal cutbacks; last year it was the GFC this year it will be to keep the aircons running.


Think of the poor buggers in Chicago !

Chicago has its coolest July 8 in 118 years,0,786739.story

For the 12th time this meteorological summer (since June 1), daytime highs failed to reach 70 degrees Wednesday. Only one other year in the past half century has hosted so many sub-70-degree days up to this point in a summer season — 1969, when 14 such days occurred.

i’m sure it’s nothing….


Well, I was actually visiting Chicago in late June, and it was 33C for two days in a row. So “Chicago warming” must be true after all. Or maybe not. Dunno. I’m sure it’s nothing.


Something not relised by many is that Black Friday also occurred during a La Nina….. so the two hottest days in Victoria’s history occurred during La Nina. My “hunch” is that the release of massive amounts of latent heat is necessary for achieving the baking heat in days like Black Saturday (though you can also put down 1C of extra heat to the enhanced greenhouse effect).


The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead.”

That’s a great prediction if we knew what happened in 1600 when the last Maunder Minimum occurred.

The link to Gore’s article about sea level rising 20 feet, do you now think 20 ft is going to be closer than 2 feet by 2100?


Barry, it seems that the “possibly related posts” feature (just below main post body) is pulling up stuff from other blogs, not just BNC, and catching crank nonsense. There might be a button to press somewhere?


Right, thanks Gareth, I see now. I checked and there doesn’t seem to be any way for me to turn it off or restrict it to my site only (without CSS editing, which I don’t do), so I’ll have to live with the occasional pain :)

Edit: I tell a l lie — I was able to disable it under “extras”


It appears there are three major climate related trends to watch. The melting Arctic sea-ice, of course, especially its actual thinning as well as shrinkage. Then the powerful influence of an El Nino, especially a prolonged one. And now there’s the volume of fresh water in the Arctic, which is increasing dramatically:
I have Brave New Climate up on my iGoogle list now, and will definitely be checking in regularly for news on El Nino.
Thank you for your good job with this blog


Warm currents are primarliy responsible for the melting Artic ice and it is accepted that similar flows drive El Nino. What role does undersea volcanic activity play in this warming ?. Given the wild swings that we have seen in this “energy transfer” (1998 as an example) blaming CO2 as the medium of exchange does not stack up with these kinds of shifts.

Also, I was always led to believe that the Sun did not play a role in GW/CC! Does the comment in the summary of the NASA article confirm or deny this view ?

“Solar irradiance has a non-negligible effect on global temperature”

….sounds rather Orwellian :-)


Gordon: which NASA article? I can’t find your “Solar irradiance …” quote in
any of the NASA articles linked from Barry’s post. Did I miss one?


Hi Geoff,

It is the first link “2008 was the coolest year….” then scroll down to the summary which is just above “Further Reading”.




Thanks, got it. I don’t think there is any contradiction. Hansen is happy to say that the sun is a significant forcing.

Click to access 2000_Hansen.pdf

The problem is the slide from the sensible
“the sun is a significant forcing” to the ridiculous
“GW is just a natural solar phenomenon”. There is always
a problem when anything has multiple contributing causes but
when our brains and mathematical education
have a strong univariate bias.


Minor nit:
“the projections of total summer sea ice loss within the next 40 years now seem absurdly optimistic.”

That might be confusing to the unwary reader.

I think you meant that it was optimistic to have predicted that summer sea ice would last as long as 40 years.

But this raises an idea for a useful post:

discuss kinds of forecasts, and why some are easier / more predictable than others, and why different timescales are relevant in considering signal versus noise.

In particular, there are clear cycles of various sorts.

There are long-term trends that are relatively smooth.

But then, there are noisy trends where some inflection point is encountered due to some important underlying mechanism, or there is some nonlinear response with positive feedback, and those can be very hard to forecast well.
In particular, around the inflection, it’s hard to tell whether some big change is:

a) Random noise
b) A real change of state/rate
c) Some mix

In doing computer systems design, we used to worry about this all the time. One could confidently predict that Moore’s Law would keep giving us more transistors/chip at a regular rate. At one point, the cost/bit of DRAM was going down fast enough compared to the cost/bit of disk, that one could predict when disks would be replaced. Then (around 1990) the disk folks created an inflection in their growth rate.

Likewise, for many decades, Moore’s Law gave us not only more transistors/chip, but higher clock rate. Then, that ended, which is why we have all these ~2GHz multi-core chips around, not 10-20GHz ones.

It is always difficult for people to understand that some long-term trend with ~constant growth increment (or rate) can cross some boundary into a different domain.

Anyway, I think many discussions around sea ice in particular confuse people, because it seems likely that we are indeed around some inflection point caused by multi-year sea ice falling below somecritical amount, perhaps.


The sun spot activity and influence on GW is a *major* point by Deniers. The argument is that none of the computer models and specifically the NASA ones take into account the influence this has on the overall trend of GW.


The idea does have some merit. The thought that the amount of energy entering our atmosphere has no effect on the temperature of the planet seems asinine. As does the though that the increased concentration of a long wave reflecting agent like carbon dioxide will have no warming effect on the planet. The simple answer to this debate is that all models are wrong, however some can be useful. It would seem wise to include both the concentration of co2 and the level of sunspot activity in models predicting the planets temperature. Until this is achieved it would be prudent to limit emissions of co2.
The most likely outcome of this will be a finding that yes increased solar activity increases global temperatures and that global warming is caused by an increased capture of this radiaton in our atmosphere. It also appears likely that as solar activity increases in the coming decade the world will see record high temperatures and a massive increase in natural disasters, crop failures ect. If this happens let us hope that the global warming deniers are in in the front line when the natural disasters and food shortages ect. hit.


I’m only repeating what the Deniers have stated. I don’t know enough of this science, but I trust people like Barry and others who do know.

I did read that sunspot activity may be due to increase, but in fact hasn’t and that is, or could be, an issue.




Question: If the promoters of man-made climate fears truly believed the “debate is over” and the science is “settled”, why is there such a strong impulse to shut down debate and threaten those who disagree?

Small sampling of threats, intimidation and censorship:

NASA’s James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for “high crimes against humanity.” Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors” In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies “criminal enterprises” and declared CEO’s ‘should be in jail… for all of eternity.”

In June 2009, former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm defended a comment on his Climate Progress website warning skeptics would be strangled in their beds. “An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,” stated the remarks, which Romm defended by calling them “not a threat, but a prediction.”

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown “into jail.” In 2007, The Weather Channel’s climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.

A 2008 report found that ‘climate blasphemy’ is replacing traditional religious blasphemy. In addition, a July 2007 Senate report detailed how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation.

In 2007, then EPA Chief Vowed to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic and dissenters of warming fears have been called ‘Climate Criminals’ who are committing ‘Terracide’ (killing of Planet Earth) (July 25, 2007) In addition, in May 2009, Climate Depot Was Banned in Louisiana! See: State official sought to ‘shut down’ climate skeptic’s testimony at hearing.

Below are many more examples of the threats, name calling and intimidation skeptics have faced in recent times.

November 12, 2007: UN official warns ignoring warming would be ‘criminally irresponsible’ Excerpt: The U.N.’s top climate official warned policymakers and scientists trying to hammer out a landmark report on climate change that ignoring the urgency of global warming would be “criminally irresponsible.” Yvo de Boer’s comments came at the opening of a weeklong conference that will complete a concise guide on the state of global warming and what can be done to stop the Earth from overheating.

September 29. 2007: VA State Climatologist skeptical of global warming loses job after clash with Governor: ‘I was told that I could not speak in public’ Excerpt: Michaels has argued that the climate is becoming warmer but that the consequences will not be as dire as others have predicted. Gov. Kaine had warned. Michaels not to use his official title in discussing his views. “I resigned as Virginia state climatologist because I was told that I could not speak in public on my area of expertise, global warming, as state climatologist,” Michaels said in a statement this week provided by the libertarian Cato Institute, where he has been a fellow since 1992. “It was impossible to maintain academic freedom with this speech restriction.” (LINK)

Skeptical State Climatologist in Oregon has title threatened by Governor (February 8, 2007) Excerpt: “[State Climatologist George Taylor] does not believe human activities are the main cause of global climate change…So the [Oregon] governor wants to take that title from Taylor and make it a position that he would appoint. In an exclusive interview with KGW-TV, Governor Ted Kulongoski confirmed he wants to take that title from Taylor.

Skeptical State Climatologist in Delaware silenced by Governor (May 2, 2007) Excerpt: Legates is a state climatologist in Delaware, and he teaches at the university. He`s not part of the mythical climate consensus. In fact, Legates believes that we oversimplify climate by just blaming greenhouse gases. One day he received a letter from the governor, saying his views do not concur with those of the administration, so if he wants to speak out, it must be as an individual, not as a state climatologist. So essentially, you can have the title of state climatologist unless he`s talking about his views on climate?

October 28, 2008: License to dissent: ‘Internet should be nationalized as a public utility’ to combat global warming skepticism – Australian Herald Sun – Excerpt: British journalism lecturer and warming alarmist Alex Lockwood says my blog is a menace to the planet. Skeptical bloggers like me need bringing into line, and Lockwood tells a journalism seminar of some options: There is clearly a need for research into the ways in which climate skepticism online is free to contest scientific fact. But there is enough here already to put forward some of the ideas in circulation. One of the founders of the Internet Vint Cerf, and lead for Google’s Internet for Everyone project, made a recent suggestion that the Internet should be nationalized as a public utility. As tech policy blogger Jim Harper argues, “giving power over the Internet to well-heeled interests and self-interested politicians” is, and I quote, “a bad idea.” Or in the UK every new online publication could be required to register with the recently announced Internet watchdog…

November 5, 2008: UK Scientist: ‘BBC SHUNNED ME FOR DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE’ – UK Daily Express

Excerpt: FOR YEARS David Bellamy was one of the best known faces on TV. A respected botanist and the author of 35 books, he had presented around 400 programmes over the years and was appreciated by audiences for his boundless enthusiasm. Yet for more than 10 years he has been out of the limelight, shunned by bosses at the BBC where he made his name, as well as fellow scientists and environmentalists. His crime? Bellamy says he doesn’t believe in man-made global warming. Here he reveals why – and the price he has paid for not toeing the orthodox line on climate change.

U.N. official says it’s ‘completely immoral’ to doubt global warming fears (May 10, 2007)

Excerpt: UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland declared “it’s completely immoral, even, to question” the UN’s scientific “consensus.”

Former US Vice President Al Gore compared global warming skeptics to people who ‘believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona’ (June 20, 2006)

Gore Refuses to Hear Skeptical Global Warming Views (Video)

UK environment secretary David Miliband said ‘those who deny [climate change] are the flat-Earthers of the twenty-first century’ (October 6, 2006)

Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics (January 17, 2007) Excerpt: The Weather Channel’s most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming. This latest call to silence skeptics follows a year (2006) in which skeptics were compared to “Holocaust Deniers” and Nuremberg-style war crimes trials were advocated by several climate alarmists.

Barone: Warmists have ‘a desire to kill heretics’ — Calls for capital punishment for ‘global warming deniers’ – DC Examiner – June 9, 2009

Strangle Skeptics in Bed! ‘An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds’ – June 5, 2009

Related Links:

Skeptic Responds: ‘Bring it on…yer nothin but a bunch of Ivory Tower Cowards!’

‘Hate sport’: ‘Simply lone fanatic?’

Global warmists’ ‘worse than the vigilante actions of the Freemans…and have following bigger than Jim Jones!’

‘Is it worth taking another’s life?’

Democrats Refuse to Allow Skeptic to Testify Alongside Gore At Congressional Hearing – April 23, 2009

S. African UN Scientist: ‘The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart — Heads will roll!’ – April 2009

Climate Depot Editorial: We would all be doomed if we actually faced climate ‘crisis’ – Cap-and-trade equals all economic pain for no climate gain

Warming theory ‘dying the death of a thousand cuts’ – Ocean Conveyor Belt Model Broken: ‘Models are significantly wrong’ – May 2009

Climate Fears RIP…for 30 years!? – Global Warming could stop ‘for up to 30 years! Warming ‘On Hold?…’Could go into hiding for decades’ study finds – – March 2, 2009

Japanese Scientist compares global warming to ‘astrology’

U.S. Senate Report: 700 Plus Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Warming Claims

Taken from the Blog “Execute Skeptics”–Shouldnt-we-start-punishing-them-now


Hmm…even though I’m not a Denier/Skeptic, I do defend, indeed *encourage* them to continue as scientific inquiry shouldn’t stop for political discourse. I know in the US there has been an unfortunate witch-hunt as American labs that receive university or gov’t money to ‘shut up or get cut’. This has to be stopped.

The American Meteorological Association leadership voted to pull the broadcast licenses of any on-air weather person who questions man-made climate change (Meteorologists tend to be the largest hard-science repository of climate change skeptics).

I think they need to be *debated* not shunned.



David Walters, that’s a big claim you’ve made that “The American Meteorological Association leadership voted to pull the broadcast licenses of any on-air weather person who questions man-made climate change”.

Forget about the vote, maybe you’d like to provide some evidence that there’s such a thing as a broadcast license over which the American Meteorological Association has any control.

Actually, come to think of it, perhaps you’d like to provide some evidence that there is in fact such an organistion as “The American Meteorological Association”.

Then after you’ve done that we can figure out whether this alleged vote ever occurred.


Bear in mind that models/model runs/ensembles are not necessarily aimed at “crystal ball” prognostication of the future. Mostly, they are intended to further understanding of how the Earth climate system works: for example, what happens if variable x (say, the albedo of the high Arctic) changes.

Of course, some studies do seek to predict what the future will hold. The problem is, I think, that we don’t have much predictive ability about the solar cycles: AFAIK, no-one predicted the prolonged minimum we’ve just experienced–though some in the blogosphere have been merrily predicting a Maunder- or Dalton-type minimum anyway.

We can’t input future sunspot activity until we learn how to predict it. Perhaps the “helioseismological” studies referenced above will prove to be a step in that direction.


Sun spots are not included in climate models directly as they do not directly affect our climate.

However, modern climate models do in fact include the effect of variation in the energy output of the sun, which is correlated with sun spot cycles (although it is small compared to the total output of the sun).

Another mechanism that has been proposed that is correlated with sun-sot cycles is the influence of the sun on the amount of high energy galactic cosmic rays reaching the earth. It has been proposed that an increase in the solar wind shields the earth from cosmic rays, and that cosmic rays play a role in formation of clounds, which influence both incoming and outgoing radiation to/from the earth.

However, the cosmic ray influence on clouds is not proven or quantified, so it can’t be included in models, whereas the fluctuations on solar output are understood relatively well, have been quantified and are relatively easy to integrate into models.

If the cosmic ray influence on clouds is proven, is quantified, and is found to have a significant effect on climate, then no doubt it will be put into the models.


As I’ve said a few times before … what was the response of the
scientific community to criticisms of the 1995 Mann hockey stick graph? The main
response was for about a dozen groups to repeat the work using different
methods and different stats. “repeat the work” isn’t like rewriting a paragraph
for a nazi sub-editor, this is months and months of work by quite a few people.
Does that sound like the response of people who want to stifle debate and who
don’t take criticisms seriously? It isn’t because they don’t. What they
like to stiffle is mind numbingly ignorant drivel like “climate change stopped
in 1998” which can fool the statistically naive, which includes more than
a few politicians and even the odd geologist.

Likewise I’m all in favour of
stiffling people who say cigarettes are safe because my grandad smoked till
he was 97. By “stifle” I mean that if I was a newspaper letter editor, I wouldn’t
publish such a letter because it is not just wrong, but could fool people into
poor health decisions. Would I refuse to accept such a comment on
a blog? Probably not, because I blogs comments can be responded to so that
people can understand why a comment is wrong.


You give away your ignorance with phrases like “the 1995 Mann hockey stick graph.”
The first in the long line of papers was Mann, Bradley & Hughes in 1998. What do you mean by “repeat the work?” If you mean use the same proxies, more reasonable statistical techniques, and less inflamatory graphs, then I suppose you could say scientists “repreated the work.” Note that this doesn’t make the proxies correct. Nor does it make reconstruction correct. Bristlecone and foxtail pines, along with other problematic datasets, were still used in later reconstructions, leading to relatively the same shape. Since then, Craig Loehle has lead the charge against using tree rings at all as a temperature proxy.
In a 2008 paper on non-linearity in tree ring growth, Loehle wrote “In conclusion, the nonlinear response of trees to temperature explains the divergence problem, including cases where divergence was not found. The analysis here also shows why non-tree ring proxies often show the Medieval Warm Period but tree ring-based reconstructions more often do not. While Fritts (1976) notes the parabolic growth response to temperature, recent discussions of the divergence problem have not focused on this mechanism and climate reconstructions continue to be done using a linear response model. When the divergence problem clearly indicates that the linearity assumption is questionable, it is not good practice to carry on as if linearity is an established fact.”
And of course, there is his 2007 reconstruction.

The story of the “hockey stick” is not one of open scientific dialogue as you suggest. Mann mined for the shape he wanted, tested for robustness without Bristlecones, and claimed it was robust. The famous r2 value and the fact that without Bristlecones, the shape completely changed (as Mann well knew, BACKTO_1400-CENSORED) made the claim of robustness false.


“Craig Loehle has lead the charge against using tree rings at all as a temperature proxy.
In a 2008 paper on non-linearity in tree ring growth”

Would that be the incompetent
Loehle, C. 2007. A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies.Energy & Environment 18

or the debotched

Loehle, C., and J.H. McCulloch. 2008. Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies. Energy & Environment?

Craig Loehle, Principal Scientist with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), an industry front group and so beloved of ClimateFraudit, Heartland and numerous other denialist websites with an anti-science bias?

Why would anyone be interested in an article published in the same allegedly peer-reviewed journal that published Ernst-Georg Beck’s masterpiece of pseudoscience?

Could it be that this so called analysis wasn’t anywhere good enough to survive the undoubted mauling it would have received during a genuine peer-review for a genuine scientific journal?


Dazed and Confused, Not a single actual criticism of the arguments. Pure ad hom. Pathetic.
Geoff, you’ve made a claim about the history of the “hockey stick.” Defend it.



I don’t need to! It’s already been eviscerated!

google Loehle


AR4 WG1, Chapter 6. If I thought AGW stood or fell on the
hockey stick, I’d bother with the detail, but it
doesn’t. The hockey stick is just one of a number of
lines of evidence. Chapter 6 gives 12 reconstructions
of the past 1000 years for the northern hemisphere.
wo-c, you are stuck with the job
of explaining how 12 teams managed to all be wrong, along
with all the reviewers in all the journals which published


Have a look at the work done by Andren and Sohlenius into tropical and subtropical marine plankton species taken from the Medieval layer of Baltic Sea sediment cores. Those species cannot be found today because the Baltic is just too cold. There is also evidence from studies conducted on Stalagmites in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres that concur that the Medieval Warm Period was global event. The IPCC should just accept they are wrong and ditch the stick.


Replying to Gordon, we know it was warmer in Europe, the single core described in their one article fits facts.

But you don’t cite the “studies conducted on Stalagmites” — you think there’s something out there? Where did you read about this?

Google finds the PR marshall and junkscience asserting something of the sort.

Google Scholar finds a “reappraisal” paper, just one:
W Soon, S Baliunas, C Idso, S Idso, DR … – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT-BRENTWOOD-, 2003

Look them up.


If you’re looking at primary sources you can point to them. IF you’re taking these from a secondary source, what’s your source?

One of these? Wilson 1979 was one speleothem, apparently.

Nobody’s argued there aren’t warm periods in the past, but I haven’t seen anything saying there was a global warm period –worldwide at the same time.
Have you? Cite please if so?

Your ‘more recent’ is a thesis article covering a huge time span.


“Your ‘more recent’ is a thesis article covering a huge time span”

except the results say:

The last oscillation displays enriched isotope ratios lasting from 1.2 to 0.8 kyr B.P. succeeded by depleted ratios lasting until 0.15 kyr B.P., mirroring the Medieval Climate Optimum and Little Ice Age, respectively, of European palaeoclimate records.

More specifically:

The GT05-5 record from Guillotine Cave at high elevation in the Southern Alps demonstrates that the same relationship between wet and cool climate and glacier advance continued throughout the Holocene to the present day. A negative shift in δ18O at 4.6 kyr B.P. closely matches the onset of a period of more frequent and prolonged intervals of ice advance recorded by moraines in the Mt Cook region, South Island. The δ18O record displays four illennial-scale oscillations between more negative values (wet-cool) and less negative values (dry-warm climate) during the mid-to-late Holocene. The last oscillation shows a warm-dry climate persisting between 1.6 and 0.9 kyr B.P. followed by a return to wet, cool conditions from 0.8-0.15 kyr B.P. Significantly, these events are synchronous with the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age respectively, demonstrating an interhemispheric climate teleconnection with the North Atlantic during the late Holocene.

Why do you have such a problem with the idea that the planet has been warmer in the past? If you want an example – how about the Cretaceous era ?


The G8 announced that the target is to keep the global temperature at less than 2 degrees above the pre-industrial level. The way the air and sea temps have been trending in recent years it looks like we are on track to achieve that goal!


I think the point is that those that say it’s been about solar cycles, if they were honest, would say expect lots of warming as the sunspot number goes up. Most won’t, because they mostly aren’t honest. Meanwhile climate scientist will still look at all influences, including solar. The recent years have given us the least summer arctic ice on record, the hottest year on record, the loss of ice shelves and glaciers, the highest sea level on record, the greatest ocean heat content on record. And the hottest year on record. Is that a trend? All those records aren’t very consistent with warming stopped. But, hey, since when can someone in denial recognise the inconsistencies?


……and not a mention of undersea volcanic activity

Could undersea volcanic activity be affecting the arctic ?–even-under-pressure.html

Could a thousand undersea volcanoes in the Pacific influence El Nino ?

The CO2 concentration continues to climb but air and sea temperatures do not. We now have a disconnect and the models simply don’t work.


Let’s not overlook the fact that there are active volcanoes on the Arctic ocean seabed. Nor that there are around 1,000 undersea volcanoes in the Pacific which have been credited with influencing El Nino. As the disconnect between CO2 and air and sea temperatures becomes clearer we can all breath a sign of relief and get used to the fact that the Climate will always change.


Undersea vents do just that – vent. Just because there is no seismic activity doesnt mean that there is a massive transfer of energy occuring.


Unfortunately for promoters of artic sea ice extent as an indicator of AGW ,artic sea ice extent is also cyclical just like temperature.

“As the ice cap melts, the earth warms, until the Arctic Ocean opens again. Once enough water is available by evaporation from the ocean into the atmosphere, snows can begin to replenish the ice cap. At that point, the Arctic ice begins to expand, the global temperature can then start to reverse, and the earth can start re-entry to a new ice age”

quote is from following link.

Check this article from 2001


Whats wrong with that theory is that the arctic “ice cap” is not created from snowfall but from ocean freezing. Snow would actually reduce the ice thickness as occurs on Canadian rivers in low snowfall years a thicker ice develops even if the temperature is warmer.


Gordon, arctic surface air temps have risen more than anywhere on Earth. The warming is from above, not below. More open water, more absorbtion of heat. If people thought you actually want to find out what real studies show about these matters they would probably supply links to sources, although nothing is stopping you using google for yourself. Unfortunately you come across as someone who is not open to looking beyond sources of “information” that agree with your AGW isn’t real biases. Anyway, such opinions are becoming irrelevent and not too soon – there are major, planet changing processes under way and informed decisions need to be made. Everyone who really studies climate insists it’s serious and urgent and I trust the world’s scientists much more than I trust your opinion that they are wrong.



The air temperature in the Arctic has not gone over 0C this year so I am not sure, based on your theory, how the ice is melting !

Not “everyone” who “really” studies the climate believes in AGW. I believe that what Barry is doing is admirable but the fact that Nuclear power is not getting the serious debate it should speaks volumes of the real agenda.


Gordon, I’m sorry but I can’t take your “The air temperature in the Arctic has not gone over 0C this year ” comment seriously – we’re only just getting into the serious melt season of the year! Wait until the melt is over – which is already on track to be well below average.

Meanwhile Zero evidence that volcanic activity is a significant factor. You prefer to accept as true something for which there is no scientific basis rather than the well established science of climate? A bit biased I think. When multiple independent lines of study indicate and confirm that AGW is happening you still prefer to believe arctic summer ice minimums are a result of anything else, no evidence required? I should take what you say seriously? Sorry but I will continue to trust the world’s leading science institutions – and opinion based on their work – over speculative opinion based on the unfounded belief that climate is immune from human influence.

You are entitled to your opinions or to choose who’s opinions you want to believe but don’t expect to be taken seriously except by fellow denialist. You haven’t said anything that deserves to be taken seriously.



The 0C comment is based on the NOAA data and is not something I just made up !

“Meanwhile Zero evidence that volcanic activity is a significant factor”

sure but vents spewing 570F water must play some role.
“Scientists break record by finding northernmost hydrothermal vent field”
and it is only early day’s in the discovery process, science still has a lot of (literal) ground to cover.

Sure, I have no doubt that mankind has an influence on the climate but not to the degree that the IPCC would have you believe. If, as some scientists believe, the current cooling trend continues will you still attibute this Climate Change to AGW ?


So, Gordon, why would the heat from these volcanoes be undetectable? And do you think it is a curious coincidence that they’ve all started trending towards increased activity just at the same time as human-released GHG are rising? Why do you propose as the mechanism for this increase in subsea volcanic activity?

What is this ‘cooling trend’ to which you refer? Do you understand what a trend is?


Hi Barry

Scientists understand that about 75% of the world’s volcanic activity occurs underwater in the world’s deep oceanic basins, up to depths of 2.5 miles. At present the only group to be seriously studing them is the NOAA under their Vents Program and while they are making progress they have a lot of ground to cover.

As far as a curious coincidence goes, we all know volcanics release a large amount of CO2 (and hydrocarbons strangely enough) take another look at the Keeling Curve and you will notice how linear it is. Why can’t we see the variations that come about through changes due to economic cycles?

The IPCC relies on the Kaya Identity to calculate human sourced CO2, the main flaw in this calculation is the reliance on GDP as an indicator of carbon producing activity. You only need to at Australia’s GDP to know that the manufacturing base that once was has been replaced by the service and finance sectors. Essentially the faster the money flows the higher the GDP – which bears no direct relationship to the release of CO2. I digress..

The surface of the moon is more studied that that of earth. Science has little understanding of the forces at work in the earths core, in fact science does not even fully understand gravity (the most sophisticated device we have to measure it is a spring on a piece of string:-) nor where it goes (M theory, Unified String Theory etc). Yet, through the UN, we are told that science has all the answers – the debate is over. Unfortunately the climate models are flawed and I don’t believe that renewables are the future. If there was going to be serious debate about reducing CO2 then it would include Nuclear, you just need to ask yourself why it is not being considered.


Gordon, try applying some actual critical analysis of your preferred sources of information. When they consistently disagree with what comes out of every long standing institution that actually studies climate and don’t publish in peer reviewed science journals they certainly don’t deserve to get the attention and respect that comes with real contributions to science. That should be enough to make you reassess if your preferred sources are actually correct but it appears not. If their scientific arguments had merit they’d be taken seriously and, given the world changing seriousness of this issue, I find the constant unwarranted criticisms of honest and diligent real working scientists more than merely contemptible – when global warming really impacts the planet, the failure to act sensibly and promptly will be, in part, down to you.


This worries me a bit.

Sorry, just realised that link will be behind a paywall for most of you. An alternative version is visible here. Note I do not recommend scrolling down to the comments if you are of a sensitive or volatile disposition.

Of course, all of this can be rendered redundant by reality very quickly; for up-to-the-minute observations you can always go here.


That’s odd, the latest satellite images from the Arctic Region show the sea ice has returned to levels not seen in many years. Why is Barry Brook trying to spread false warnings? You can see for yourself, compare the 2009 photo images to the past and you can see the sea ice is returning.

Why hasn’t Barry Brook presented the latest satellite images available with his story?



Your claim is looking rather false!:

‘The summer melt showed that the arctic ice is recovering nicely from the low of 2007, which by the way was NOT caused by melting but by a rarely occuring wind pattern which simply blew away a lot of arctic ice.’

Re: ‘arctic ice is recovering nicely from the low of 2007’.
Around the 13th November, Arctic sea ice extent fell briefly to a new low for that time of year, below that of 2007. It is clear that since 2006 i.e. for 3 successive years, the majority of the time the Arctic sea ice extent has remained significantly below the mean minus 2 standard deviations. I’ll leave you to figure out why.

Essentially your claims are not borne-out when compared with the facts!


Ms Perps, Dazed and Confused,

Well, if you do not believe me perhaps you will believe NASA?
“Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.

“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said. ”

Link: .

And as can be seen from the Danish link I gave previously the ice extent is quite normal for this time of year, compared to all years since 2002. The link again: .


Ms Perps, Dazed and Confused,

I would like to add that considering the extensive loss of multi-year-ice due to abnormal wind patterns during the 2007 melt season it is rather remarkable that the recovery is going so well. Extrapolating the curve for 2009-2010 in your diagram it seems likely that the ice extent will soon be within 2 standard deviations from the 1979-2000 average. It will of course take another one or two years to build up really thick ice again, but the present cooling trend will help there.


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