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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Cooling off the heated climate change rhetoric

By Andrew Freedman

The scene: A crowded room at the American Meteorological Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Seattle last week, where the theme was "communicating weather and climate." Climate scientists and weather experts from the U.S. and around the world, along with a sizable contingent of communications specialists from various media outlets, government agencies and academic institutions, are listening to a presentation by Kevin Trenberth, a climate researcher who heads up the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

Trenberth, whose accent betrays hints of his New Zealand heritage, is delivering a presentation in memory of his friend and colleague, Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climate scientist who died suddenly last year. Schneider was a passionate advocate of communicating climate science to the public and policymakers.

The question: Will Trenberth refer to those who disagree with the scientific consensus - that human activities are very likely warming the climate system - as "climate deniers," which he did in an earlier version of his talk, thereby raising an outcry and a fusillade of emails from the climate skeptic blogosphere?

The answer: Yes, he most certainly will.

Perhaps it's just human nature to dig in your heels when under attack for holding a particular viewpoint, or maybe Trenberth really believes that it's useful to use the term "denier" when discussing certain people who disagree with him. Whatever the reason or reasons, Trenberth does indeed show a slide entitled "The Deniers" during his wide-ranging talk, which touches upon the changing nature of extreme weather and climate events in a warming climate.

Defending his use of a term that many climate change skeptics say they find offensive due to its association with those who deny the Holocaust, Trenberth defiantly tells the audience: "My reaction to some of them is, 'well, if the shoe fits, wear it.'"

Trenberth continues, "Indeed they are deniers. They deny rather basic information about climate science." Without going into specifics, he says he does distinguish between "climate skeptics" and "climate deniers."

Trenberth notes that, leading up to the AMS meeting, he received hundreds of angry, and occasionally even threatening emails regarding his presentation. These emails arrived in his inbox after two popular climate skeptic websites - Climate Depot, which is the climate skeptic equivalent of the Drudge Report, and Watts Up With That - harshly criticized him for his use of the term (among other things).

Both sites published his email address and encouraged readers to contact him regarding the upcoming presentation.

The Background: The Trenberth dustup is only the latest skirmish in an increasingly heated climate of confrontation between mainstream climate scientists and climate skeptics. Ever since the so-called "climategate" emails in 2009, the intensity of the climate debate has reached new levels, with climate scientists receiving not only insulting emails, but even threats of bodily harm, with some threats referred to the FBI.

Climate researchers have found their work under attack by skeptic bloggers who, unlike them, do not need to be published in peer reviewed scientific journals in order to have their work taken seriously by their readers and the media. Drawing large audiences, these bloggers wield significant influence, and the rhetoric they use can be alarming, particularly in light of the national conversation on civility in public affairs spawned in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earlier this month in Tuscon. In general, there is a strong undercurrent of conspiracy theory present on many climate skeptic blogs, which tend to portray climate scientists as cooking the books to prove that manmade climate change is occurring, in order to justify certain government policies or obtain more research funding.

Blogs like Watts Up With That (known in climate circles as WUWT), which is run by former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts, helped propel the climategate story onto front pages in late 2009 and early 2010.

A brief search of the comments section below one WUWT post regarding Trenberth's AMS presentation turned up several comments that raise some concerns - a couple of them border on making direct threats of physical violence against Trenberth.

For example, reader John Kehr wrote in to say, "Trenberth is a bad guy. No one should be surprised by anything that this consummate liar does or says. He keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper. He will be buried when it all collapses. I look forward to that day."

Trenberth laments the hate-filled emails directed his way, but says they aren't going to change the focus of his climate research. "There are some threats and obvious attempts to bully me into various actions, most don't work. But some do have side effects. Mostly I recognize that this is 'politics' and is not me personally - although it has been getting a lot more personal with some name calling and abuse," he says.

No climate researcher has more experience dealing with harsh criticism and threats than Ben Santer, a climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Santer was a lead author of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Second Assessment Report in 1995, which concluded for the first time that human activities were having a "discernible influence on the climate system." Several years ago, he experienced an alarming incident at his home.

"In my case someone did cross the line between email threats and actually doing something," he says. Santer says someone knocked on his door late one evening, and when he answered it, there was a dead rat on his doorstep, with "some fellow driving off at high speed in a yellow hummer shouting curses at me." The experience was jarring, and left Santer convinced that he and his loved ones are at risk of violence and intimidation due to his climate science work.

Like Trenberth, Santer has been on the receiving end of more recent criticisms from Morano's Climate Depot website. "[Morano] attacked me in a very unjust way on his website and posted my email address, and in my view such behavior is basically an incitement to hatred," Santer says.

"Those [emails] are of concern," Santer says, "particularly when you have loved ones and it's clear that some of these people out there are not very rational."

Santer points to Morano's work as a major source of worry. "If something were to happen I would hold people like Mr. Morano personally responsible." As a general practice, Morano prominently posts the email addresses of those he takes issue with, as if to incite the masses into writing hate mail. He even copies his opponents on blast emails he sends out criticizing them, as if to taunt and intimidate them.

"There is this incredible asymmetry here in what is occurring," Santer notes. "[Climate scientists] are being subject to really intolerable nonscientific interference in their work simply because of what they're doing and what they've learned."

"If you do certain research and come up with results unpalatable to these forces of unreason they are sending the message that they will come down on you like a ton of bricks," Santer says.

Morano, for his part, says his criticisms of mainstream climate scientists are within bounds.

"I am amused about how the insane actions of a lone nut gunman in Arizona is generating so much flowery pabulum from many quarters about the sudden need to tone down language," Morano told me in an email message. "When climate con men like Michael Oppenheimer, James Hansen, Ben Santer, Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Kevin Trenberth squelch debate and use the media to promote their insular views on climate, responding in toned down language should not be a top concern. We have scientists claiming the 'debate is over' and actively promoting regulations on every aspect of our lives to fight the phantom menace of man-made global warming. Public outcry against these scientists and their tactics is a very healthy and welcome development."
Watts, who, unlike Morano, has a background in atmospheric science and writes long and detailed posts discussing various climate science concepts or debunking certain climate science studies, defends his work as well. In an email conversation, he noted several times that Trenberth had ample opportunities to alter his AMS presentation and take out the term "denier," but he chose not to.

"I did ask Dr. Trenberth, who is at the top of the climate food chain, to stop using a derisive term. He clearly refused. I also sent him an email offering my forum for rebuttal should he wish. No answer. This speaks poorly for his leadership, it speaks equally poorly for the rest of the climate science community that they haven't asked for him to publicly stop using a term," Watts wrote. "In the climate science debate, the scientists are the leaders, yet they have embraced this word, 'denier' with all of its holocaust connotations. Dr. Trenberth's AMS address using that word six times is the pinnacle of abuse of that word so far."

Aside from the small, but very real, possibility that someone will cross the line and physically harm a climate scientist, excessive criticism of mainstream climate scientists may also have other detrimental impacts by jeopardizing scientific recruitment and research funding.

As Trenberth says: "The side effects come from when I submit a proposal and it has multiple anonymous reviews that are polarized with several excellents and very goods and then 2 poors. There are several emails to me about people working to make sure I can't get funding and to go back to New Zealand. The funding issue is a delicate one because it means that my organization, NCAR, may be reluctant to step up and defend scientists if they feel it will jeopardize funding from NSF [the National Science Foundation] or elsewhere to the whole organization."

Of course, the skeptics aren't the only ones who are crossing, or at least blurring, the line. Blogs like Climate Progress harshly criticize the skeptics, using over-the-top language. For example, in criticizing AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi, Climate Progress's Joe Romm called him, "probably the worst professional long-range forecaster on Earth" noting that this judgement was "based purely on the objective evidence."

Simply put, the rhetoric on all sides has been out of hand for far too long, and it needs to be reined in, not only to avoid something horrific - a climate science equivalent to the Arizona shootings - but also because of the damage it's doing to the public dialogue on climate change. At the end of the day, when climate scientists are fearful of engaging with the media or the public, it's the American public that loses out on potentially critical insights into what is happening to the climate system and what would best be done about it.

As Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, explained to a House committee last year: "I worry about this type of intimidation," particularly concerning its potential to stifle recruitment of talented scientists. "An atmosphere of civility and of encouraging scientists to seek the truth and to share their findings is always needed."

Fortunately, there are some efforts springing up to foster a more civil dialogue on climate science, as exemplified by a recent conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which may be the start of an ongoing effort towards nonviolent conflict resolution in the climate arena.

The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Andrew Freedman  | February 2, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, Latest  
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Of course violent language must be avoided and must be dealt with directly when it does occur. But there is nothing wrong with sharp language if it is accurate. The real problem is when people spread disinformation. As a journalist, Andrew, truth should be your first concern.

Posted by: imback | February 2, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Mother Gaia is punishing us for electing Republicans. Repent! Bow down to high priestess Algore! Worship the god-child Barry!

Tear your house down, abandon your car, and move into an off-the-grid yurt while you await the rising oceans.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | February 2, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Snow levels mean we MUST ACT NOW!!


As far as calling people "deniers", I say keep doing it! You are so overwhelming alienating a vast swath of the public, why would I encourage you to stop? Heck no! Keep it up. Do it more! Ramp up the rhetoric! Alienate even more people.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

You can't get too upset with the politicians. They were simply regurgitating what the scientists were telling them back then.

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

--begin quote--
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.


However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
--end quote--


Keep calling people "deniers". It's awesome.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Denial is defined as: the act of asserting that something alleged is not true. One who does this can be said to be a denier. The use of the tern Global Warming Denier is no more offensive than those who use AGW (anthropogenic global warming) as a derogatory term in referring to someone who knows that Climate Change is happening.

The idea that only those who believe in climate change are using heated rhetoric is simplistic. It would be the same as saying only the Republican Party is responsible for the divisive political dialog that we are having today, when we all know that both sides are responsible.

We need to have a real discussion on what to do, not worry about who is to blame. If you don't believe man is responsible, fine. Do you like paying $4 or $5 per gallon of gas, because it is only going to get more expensive. Rolling blackouts in Texas, those are going to be commonplace. We an energy plan that has a future, not a short term band-aid.

Drilling is ok, but what does it get us. Why should we use up everything we have now, as fast as we can. Let's use foreign oil for as long as we need to, while getting off oil. Keep our oil reserves as reserves, we may need them some day long after we are gone. We should start the shift to solar and other technologies now, while gas is cheap, otherwise it will be painful while we are transitioning.

Posted by: join350org | February 2, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm hearing reports in the energy industry this morning that the sharp cold in Texas is preventing the west Texas wind farms from working. Too cold.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 2, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Alas, once Al Gore became the face of Climate Change, it ensured that the debate would be politically polarized and the actual science put to the side. Note how when this subject arises, the message boards are filled with personal references to politicians and parties, rather than to the science. This is a scientific question, not a political one. And that scientists are smeared and attacked personally is a shameful tactic that harkens back to McCarthyism, i.e., use personal fear and intimidation to silence adversaries.

It's clear that the planet is getting warmer; it's a matter of compiling temperature readings over number of years and it's not hard to prove. Can we cease with that "debate"? Anybody who does an anti-Climate Change happy dance every time there's a blizzard is simply a troll with no credibility.

I can, however, respect disagreements about whether people are causing Climate Change, and whether the proposed remedies to address the problem are commensurate with the cost imposed by Climate Change. Those issues are harder to prove, though ice core samples indicate that recent increases in CO2 in the atmosphere are likely caused by human activity (unlike past increases in CO2). The real debate lies with the solution to the problem.

Posted by: terminator_x | February 2, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

That's not the worst part Matt. In the cold, they can actually CONSUME MORE ENERGY than they produce!

--begin quote--
This is the season for quizzes. So ­fingers on buzzers, here’s your starter for ten. In percentage terms, how much electricity do Britain’s 3,150 wind ­turbines supply to the ­National Grid?

Is it: a) five per cent; b) ten per cent; or c) 20 per cent? Come on, I’m going to have to hurry you. No conferring.

Time’s up. The correct answer is: none of the above. Yesterday afternoon, the figure was just 1.6 per cent, according to the official website of the wholesale electricity market.

Over the past three weeks, with demand for power at record levels because of the freezing weather, there have been days when the contribution of our forests of wind turbines has been precisely nothing.

It gets better. As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be heated to prevent them seizing up. Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate.

Even on a good day they rarely work above a quarter of their theoretical capacity. And in high winds they have to be switched off altogether to prevent damage.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

Wind and solar will never be anything more than supplemental energy. The wind doesn't blow 24 hours a day, and we have this silly thing we call night. If the people who claim to believe in catastrophic, man made, global warming really believed in it, they would support nuclear energy. It is the only existing technology that can make a significant reduction in CO2.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, how can you have written this post and have failed to mention the millions and millions of dollars that have been spent every year for three decades by the KOCHS, SCAIFES, MELLONS, EXXONMOBIL, CHEVRON, SHELL, HALLIBURTON, BP, and many other fossil fuel interests to suppress the real science, to do all they can to destroy the careers and livelihoods of honest scientists, to manipulate public opinion, to sway our congressmen and supreme court judges, to halt any attempt to save this planet from certain destruction from unlivable temperatures?

How can you fail to mention this???

It is the infamous names of the KOCHS, MELLONS, and SCAIFES who will be remembered forever as deniers who did all they could to bring a holocaust that will make the Nazi Holocaust look like child's play.

Are we supposed to play pattycake with them like Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler?

Posted by: TenneyNaumer | February 2, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I believe it is very hard to deny that something is changing in the climate. My grandfather and his farmer friends, who all depend on proper weather at the proper time, will tell you how things have changed in the last few decades, from how late in the season bees stay active to when things ripen to the start of the safe planting season to when the trees loose their leaves. Some would like to bury their heads and pretend nothing is happening, but when we are arguing about shipping rights across the top of Canada for the first time in known human history, their ignorance is looking more and more willful.

Posted by: ksu499 | February 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

UPDATE: Further Evidence of Low Climate Sensitivity from NASA’s Aqua Satellite

--begin quote--
The “best fit” I got after about an hour of fiddling around with the inputs is represented by the blue curve in the above chart. Importantly, the assumed feedback parameter (5.5) is solidly in “negative feedback” territory. IF this was the true feedback operating in the real climate system on the long time scales of ‘global warming’, it would mean that our worries over anthropogenic global warming have been, for all practical purposes, a false alarm.

The Simple Model Run With the IPCC’s Average Feedback

At this point, a natural question is, How does the simple model behave if I run it with a feedback typical of the IPCC climate models? The average net feedback parameter across the IPCC models is about 1.4 Watts per sq. meter per degree, and the following plot shows the simple model’s response to that feedback value compared to the satellite observations.

A comparison between the 2 charts above would seems to indicate that the satellite data are more consistent with negative feedback (which, if you are wondering, is a net feedback parameter greater than 3.2 W m-2 K-1) than they are with positive feedback. But it could be that feedbacks diagnosed from the IPCC models only over the global oceans will be necessary to provide a more apples-to-apples comparison on this point.

Important Caveat
While it would be tempting to think that the IPCC models are potentially invalidated by this comparison, Dessler (2010) has correctly pointed out that the short-term feedback behavior of the IPCC models appear to have little or no relationship to their long-term climate sensitivity.

In other words, even if short-term feedbacks in the real climate system are strongly negative, this doesn’t prove the long-term global warming in the models is wrong.

In fact, NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A WAY WITH OBSERVATIONAL DATA TO TEST CLIMATE MODEL SENSITIVITY. This means we have no idea which of the climate models projections are more likely to come true.

This dirty little secret of the climate modeling community is seldom mentioned outside the community. Don’t tell anyone I told you.

This is why climate researchers talk about probable ranges of climate sensitivity. Whatever that means!…there is no statistical probability involved with one-of-a-kind events like global warming!

There is HUGE uncertainty on this issue. And I will continue to contend that this uncertainty is a DIRECT RESULT of researchers not distinguishing between cause and effect when analyzing data.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

Keep calling people deniers! Perhaps it would be better to also include some colorful expletives as well. Like "those $#@*&!% deniers!" ;)

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@Mr Q:

Reminder: No bold text please. We try to reserve that for CWG authors. Thanks.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Trenberth's problem -- of his own making -- lies squarely in this paragraph:

Trenberth laments the hate-filled emails directed his way, but says they aren't going to change the focus of his climate research. "There are some threats and obvious attempts to bully me into various actions, most don't work. But some do have side effects. Mostly I recognize that this is 'politics' and is not me personally - although it has been getting a lot more personal with some name calling and abuse," he says.

Does he not intend, by calling those who disagree "deniers," to do exactly this? Does he not intend to ridicule or bully them into dropping their positions?

Whether he's ultimately right or wrong about the science, he's fostering the discordant dialogue. He's part of the problem.

Sadly, this is an issue that requires heavy attention, analysis, and debate, but the flippant attitudes of those--on BOTH sides of the topic--does little to foster such debate.

Posted by: EricinReston | February 2, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse



Perhaps you can answer a question that I have repeatedly posed to Mr. Freedman with no response.

If, God forbid, there were some terrible plague that wiped out every human being on the face of the planet, what would the temperature of the Earth be in the year 2100?

I am curious about two particular points -
1. How much natural warming is built into the current climate models?
2. What percentage of the predicted warming is *assumed* to be the direct result of man's influence/input?

I would genuinely appreciate an answer to that question.

Thank you,
Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

i think there are (at least) two categories of "skeptics".

deniers: global warming is not happening

rationalizers: global warming is happening, but it won't be bad. it's so slight. it's happened before on it's own and life on earth survived. etc..

i think most people who really look into the data are no longer deniers. it's pretty clear that the earth is warming and that human emissions of co2 are largely the cause. the real discussion is now "how much will it warm?" and "what, if anything, should we do about it?"

nuclear energy probably is a good way to bridge the gap from oil to renewables. as for those who mock the efficiency of wind turbines and solar cells, that's a bit like criticizing early tvs for having crappy pictures... or early cell phones for being too big.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@walter and EricinReston

The no bold text applies to you guys too. Use italics for emphasis if you must. Thanks for understanding.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, I was just wondering what you though of Bastardi's article today that said that three of the next 5 winters could be colder and that he predicts a long term shift to colder wheather in the next 25-30 years. I know that is not what many peopel beleive, but is he just being a denier, or is there some science behind his conclusions?

Posted by: tangleword | February 2, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

walter, perhaps you can/will answer this simple question -

If, God forbid, there were some terrible plague that wiped out every human being on the face of the planet, what would the temperature of the Earth be in the year 2100?

Please cite your source with the answer. And if possible, please include what the predicted temperature would be if we luck out, and we don't die.

Thanks in advance,
Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q. still seems to continue touting internal-combustion vehicles over electric options...

Unfortunately that won't help the future supply of liquid fuels. Thanks to the events in the Middle East along with competition from China and India for available supplies of a dwindling resource, the price of these fuels, chiefly gasoline and kerosene, will continue to rise...impacting heavily all sectors of the economy.

It's possible that gasoline rationing will have to be implemented at some time in the not-too-distant future in order to allocate available supply to the most efficient uses. The available options...coal liquefaction per SASOL in South Africa, tar-sands development, oil shale...tend to be environmentally "dirty".

Another option...a national high-speed rail network [to relieve pressure on fuel-consuming aviation]...seems to be stalled by folks such as the new Republican governor of Wisconsin.

The future for internal-combustion vehicles could be rather bleak, especially if radical Islamist regimes gain power in the Arab world as a result of the current turbulence. We seem to be in or close to a "peak oil" situation at this time and the best available current solution [rationing] is unlikely to prove very popular. The climate crisis won't make this situation any easier.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 2, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@ Jason

Sorry about that. Forgot I was in the CWG board for a moment.

@ Walter

I think there's solid evidence that the earth is warming, and that humans have caused some of it to an unknown but perhaps determinable degree. Ideally, we'd want to know the extent of human influence before we set off on a solution, to "bound the problem," but that's not realistic. Still, we have to search for that understanding as well as the understanding of the extent to which we can mitigate or reverse climate change. We need better models here. We need to know if the answer is a "billions of dollars" or a "trillions of dollars" one, and the appropriate time frame for implementation will drive some of those solutions.

Posted by: EricinReston | February 2, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

TenneyNaumer, by comparing the Koch brothers with Hitler, are you trying to prove how over-the-top your side can be? Simply put, the Koch brothers have provided millions of people with cheap energy. Your attack on them is an attack on the free market in energy which has served us well.

Walter, the cell phone analogy is ok in that there are improvements we could barely dream of 15 years ago. But the analogy also shows that the technology can only go so far. Thousands of people were able to use their cell phones to tell people that they would be stuck in traffic for hours, but the cell phone, GPS, and car gadgets like traction control could not get them unstuck. Similarly we simply need lots of energy to get around, not just a trickle. With the power failure we found out how much energy many of us need to keep warm. Wind and sun can't cut the mustard in winter. Even passive solar which captures far more energy than active solar is borderline for home heating and won't give you a hot shower.

My take on the rhetoric is that political battles will always have over-the-top rhetoric. It is a mistake to think of Morano as anything other than a politician. But academic battles have also been over-the-top, RealClimate was a perfect example a few years ago when I posted there. They would allow pure personal insult as an "answer" to scientific arguments while censoring other legitimate material. If they are going to censor, then they need to censor all nonscientific arguments. It would have been a whole lot easier not to have to argue there at all, but I was forced to because of the one-sided nature of what is presented (i.e. the catastrophic warming theory). Now I go to skepticalscience instead where they are much more strict about not allowing personal insults or political rhetoric.

Posted by: eric654 | February 2, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I too was at Kevin Trenberth's presentation at the AMS Annual meeting. I suggest that anyone really interested in issue Andrew focuses upon (use of the term denier), that you actually read Kevin's presentation to appreciate the full breadth and basis of his positions and follow up recommendations.

In my opinion Kevin makes a solid case for not caving in to the invectives and threats aimed in his direction before the meeting. To be noted is that Kevin was not challenged in the question period following his presentation, nor any other time at the meeting (as far as I know from Kevin).

I have little doubt the slings and arrows aimed at Kevin by his critics are simply a symptom of targeting the individual when you can't make a scientifically sound case disputing the evidence for climate change based on science, including acknowledgment of the level and sources for uncertainties inherent in climate science.

An alternative to use of the terms skeptic and denier at the AMS meeting was offered by someone (might actually have been me - sorry, senior moment), namely the unconvinced (honest skeptics) and unconvincible (deniers). But, changing the terminology is not likely to change minds, since the essence of the unconvincible is not science, but the political and policy implications of the science.

Posted by: ensemblemean | February 2, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

In regards to gas prices going up, that is very true, but the flip side is that the rare-earth materials needed for electric cars are rising just as rapidly, have less price controls than gas, and are almost compeltely controlled by china. I agree with the need to find alternative energies, but gasoline, for all of its problems, is a much more openly traded, we have much of it, (and reserves for much more) and is in most ways a much more reliable and stable future energy supply than electric vehicles which rely on rare earth materials that China has already started using as a bargaining chip/threat. Currently OPEC controls about 40%of oil, China controls 97% of rare earth materials. So while we do need other options, we really dont have any other options that are much better

Posted by: tangleword | February 2, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

And the recent warm and fuzzy let's tone down the rhetoric love fest in Lisboa???

A gathering of deniers supported by fossil-fuel interests -- go figure:

From Eli Rabett:

"Eli finds that the workshop was supported by the Gulbenkian Foundation. Most people who know of the Gulbenkian associate it with the world class museum in Lisboa (go, sell the bunnies and by all means go), but those of us old enough know Calouste Gulbenkian as Mr. Five Percent, an Armenian, born in Istanbul, trained as a petroleum engineer, who organized and took 5% (better 5% of a large company than 100% of a small one) of many of the biggest oil companies on earth, especially in the middle east.

Dig a bit deeper and you find that today, the principal support of the Gulbenkian Foundation is ownership of a large share of Partex, Gulbenkian's worldwide oil and gas company."

Posted by: TenneyNaumer | February 2, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea wrote, "Mr. Q. still seems to continue touting internal-combustion vehicles over electric options..."

What is your source for this assertion? Are you referring to my highlighting the dangers of electric vehicles in extreme cold? If so, how do you go from highlighting their shortcoming and danger in extreme cold to a blanket statement like "Mr. Q. still seems to continue touting internal-combustion vehicles over electric options..."?

I won't apologize for not wanting to see anyone freeze to death. But that doesn't equate to a blanket "touting of the internal-combustion vehicles".

Also, by using the word "continue", you are implying that have touted the internal-combustion vehicle in the past.

Please cite your source for your assertion or retract it.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The world is round, smoking is strongly linked to lung cancer, and humans are causing the planet to warm. To insist otherwise is to be in denial. Trenberth is dealing with reality.

For the record, Watts along with McIntyre attempted to trash Dr. Keith Briffa's reputation while Briffa was seriously ill in the hospital during the Yamal non-conspiracy.

Watts also claims that scientists are rigging the thermometer record to promote false warming.

Watts has no place to complain when he calls scientists frauds. BTW, Watts is not a meteorologist. He does not hold that degree. He is a weatherman.

Why would you give Marc Morano any space? Worse, you allowed him to segue from the Arizona shooting to calling scientists "con men".

Andrew, this is just a bad piece and I think you will look back on this as one of your low moments.

Posted by: ProfMandia | February 2, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse


Oh, let us have the Kochs supply us with cheap energy while they are the biggest polluters in the U.S.

Who is paying for the destroyed lands and streams?

Are they? Are we?

Posted by: TenneyNaumer | February 2, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

First of all the big oil companies are never going to be left out in the cold, one way or another. They stand to get billions of R & D dollars (our dollars) for developing alternative energy. So to say that the "deniers" are somehow conspiring with big oil is a total falsehood.

Secondly, the "alarmists", who pretty much have their way with the mainstream media have been repeatedly saying the science is settled. In reality, their track record over the past 20 years has been abysmal. Their so called "hockey stick" has not materialized, nor have most of their gloom and doom scenarios.

By now, Manhatten was supposed to be underwater. Sea levels have not changed appreciably over the past ten years. Worldwide sea ice is about at its 30 year normal.

Two or three winters ago, the party line was that snow was going to be a thing of the past. Now that there has been a lot of snow the last couple years, the bait and switch has taken place and now the climate "experts" are saying the heavy snow is consistent with global warming.

Any rational person has every right to be skeptical.

Posted by: frontieradjust | February 2, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry,my comment above inadvertently went over the authorship of ensemblemean. It's me, SteveT

Posted by: ensemblemean | February 2, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Matt - Due to cold, or due to ice? I know there was frz rain yday in DFW, for ex.

Posted by: afreedma | February 2, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q., do you obtain all of your relevant scientific knowledge from right-wing op-ed columnists in England, or do you have some authoritative, peer-reviewed sources to quote from?

This is a pernicious problem amongst climate change deniers; first they search for data sympathetic to their opinion, then they either ignore, inflate, or completely misrepresent the background their favorite source might have or lack in the context of relevant knowledge.

Posted by: washpost18 | February 2, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, I'm told it was due to cold. They lost a lot of various generation sources today due to cold- hence the rolling blackouts. Also, a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Houston for tomorrow night and Friday morning for snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Tangleword, there are a lot of interesting pattern changes emerging that could argue the case for a colder Northern Hemispheric climate in the coming decades. Bastardi discusses the PDO change- to the cold Pacific phase- which tends to last for a few decades and triggers more La Nina vs. El Nino cases. La Nina events tend to cool the planet, while El Nino ones warm it.

Also the North Atlantic is shifting to a long-term negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which argues for colder European and North American winters as we are currently seeing.

And finally, NASA recently lowered their solar cycle forecast to match the start of the Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s. It is believed that reduction in solar irradiance is tied to increasing high latitude blocking patterns, which could partially explain the record blocking patterns and associated mid-latitude cold of the last two winters.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 2, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Scott - Quoting Morano, as well as Watts, was necessary here due to the fact that their explanations of their actions are vital to any discussion of the rhetoric emanating from their websites. The description of Watts' website was aimed at delineating him from Morano, as they are different actors in this space and their sites are dissimilar. I did not intend to equate Watts's research with the scholarship of climate scientists such as Kevin Trenberth, but can see how some may feel I did just that.

Thanks for your feedback, however I just don't see how calling attention to the out of control rhetoric and risk of violence is a "low point." It would be a "low point" not to speak out about this at all.

Best, Andrew

Tangleword: Bastardi's projection of future winters is based on different sources of natural climatic variability. Bastardi, in general, does not believe climate change is driven by manmade influences. As for whether his projections hold any water, so to speak, you'd have to ask long-range forecasters that question. My impression is that they are rather dubious.

Posted by: afreedma | February 2, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

As to the hockey stick, oh yes it has materialized over and over again and is currently morphing into a bottle rocket.

Posted by: TenneyNaumer | February 2, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

ProfMandia, you present the usual strawman that conflates denial of AGW with legitimate skepticism of CAGW. They are different, CAGW only comes from climate model projections which Mr Q points out are untested. Specifically, it requires 8 or 10C warming (on average) in Greenland to melt Greenland and flood the planet. That means every day, all year (on average), not just when negative AO happens to throw warm air up there. As we know Greenland is still cooler than much of the Holecene. Secondly, the catastrophic climate models all predict more positive AO and currently we are seeing more negative AO (not today, but the last two years on average). So until AO goes positive, climate models are not accurate.

TenneyNaumer is there any factual basis for "biggest polluters in the U.S." that you can point to? (Greenpeace screeds are not going to cut it).

Matt, specifically the lower UV radiance is tied to atmospheric blocking, sometimes manifested as negative NAO. I'm not as sure about any connection to negative AO, but it could be a factor in the severity. Ice loss could be another factor in AO severity or at least jet stream placement.

Posted by: eric654 | February 2, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

say we are wrong, and carbon emissions will not lead to catastrophic climate change. What is the downside? we keep our air clean and safer to breathe, we foster innovation, we reduce our dependence on foreign countries and limited unrenewable resources for energy, and in general make the world a better place. I'd rather we as a people over estimate the human impact on the environment than underestimate it.

On the other hand, while I think that global warming is very real, it is not the cause of all of man's problems and shouldn't always be the go to answer. and, beliefs on the subject should not be dogmatic and we ought to have a reasonable debate based on empirical evidence.

Posted by: timdgoff | February 2, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

timdgoff posed a good question with, "say we are wrong, and carbon emissions will not lead to catastrophic climate change. What is the downside? we keep our air clean and safer to breathe, we foster innovation, we reduce our dependence on foreign countries and limited unrenewable resources for energy, and in general make the world a better place.?

The short answer is finite resources. We do not have unlimited resources, particularly money. If we spend two trillion dollars on something that turns out to have been, as I believe, bad, incomplete, premature science, that is two trillion dollars that could have been spent on something else - education, hunger, homelessness, paying down the debt that we are leaving to our children and grandchildren, etc...

We only have so much money. We need to spend it wisely. I don't consider spending money on bad science wise.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Freeman's article made it sound as if all the climate scientists were being attacked by neanderthals, whereas the only climate "scientists" under fire are those who have been feeding from the constantly refilling money trough. Those, plus some others on the fringe, interested in getting in on that action.

There are no shortage of climate scientists on the other side, but you'll usually find that they are surviving quite well without government grants (almost all of which are only available to true believers).

Trenberth, with no evidence to back him up, is now claiming that society should accept as the null hypothesis that he (and his cabal) are right. (The real null hypothesis remains firmly in place: it has been warmer, for longer durations, numerous times during this current interglacial.) Trenberth needs to produce real evidence to the contrary, and he cannot.

Unbelievable! These guys have been living off the tax payers, are not competent enough to keep decent records of their escapades, denying access to what should be publicly available information (probably a criminal offense). That's reason enough not to believe anything they say, but .... as it turns out they don't have any evidence to prove their bogus theories.

"Denier" doesn't bother me, but it can't be coupled with "climate change" or "climate disruption" because those activities have been going on for the past 4 billion years. Howabout "IPCC deniers" ?

Trenberth likes the term skeptics. He would. As Lindzen (MIT) points out, "to be a skeptic the claim in question must be plausible, and it's not."

For those interested in some climate background, here's a google doc, prepared by your humble correspondent.

Posted by: gofigure | February 2, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

mr. q.,
looks like about +.4C at 2000 levels. of course that's not gonna happen. under actual scenerios, temps are expected to rise from 1-4C. what's your point?

if everybody

i don't know what would happen if co2 emissions dropped to 0.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 2, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey Andrew Freedman,

Why doesn't your side make a nice gesture of transparency and push UVA to release Michael Mann's emails to other climate scientists that have been requested via a FOIA request?

Note that UVA DID fulfill a similar request on a former climate professor for Greenpeace so it is possible. Plus, you're side would save UVA possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in trying to prevent them from being released vs the aprox. $8K cost to release them.

If not, then this looks like a coverup and many on our side aren't ever going to trust the science. Our trust is already low because of climategate. Opening up Mann's emails would reduce some of our mistrust.

Posted by: SoCal_Mark | February 2, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Aha, Tracton was in Seattle last week. No wonder we got thundersnow. :-)

Posted by: imback | February 2, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Denialist: "Sea levels have not changed appreciably over the past ten years."

Nope. Skeptical Science answer #63: "Observed sea levels are actually tracking at the upper range of the IPCC projections. When accelerating ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica are factored into sea level projections, the estimated sea level rise by 2100 is between 75cm to 2 metres."
See in particular this graph.

Posted by: imback | February 2, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It *appears* that UVA has already spent $500,000 in legal fees, attempting to not comply with Virginia's Attorney General.

They spent $500,000!!!

Those emails must be really, really, really damning.

--begin quote--
Blogger Tom Nelson noted this little tidbit from the Commonwealth Foundation: UVA has spent roughly half a million dollars to fight Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s attempt to get to the bottom of “Nature Trick” Michael Mann’s role in Climategate, and whether the taxpayers of Virginia were swindled.

Complying with Cuccinelli’s request (now mirrored by a FOIA request), by contrast, would have only cost $8,000.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr_Q, your response is valid, but as you say "The short answer is finite resources. We do not have unlimited resources". Yes, money is limited, but so is oil, natural gas, etc. In the end, I would argue that money is not the most important resource, life, safety, wellbeing are more important. I think we do need to have rational discussions about how to use our resources, both natural and monetary, but if we are smart, money spent on education will translate to a generation of americans who can make the innovations we need to reduce our impact. investing in more efficient technologies and becoming energy independant will also help us to reduce our debt and create jobs. I do not think that investing in reducing global warming and investing in the things you mention are mutually exclusive, if done smartly. I also think that regardless of whether our actions affect the climate it is hard to argue that our current use of resources is unsustainable and will leave our children without, and we all benefit from air and water that are cleaner. So, its not just an discussion about climate change

Posted by: timdgoff | February 2, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say anything the first time you wrote it, but again you mention air quality as somehow being negatively affected by CO2. Is my interpretation correct?

I am not aware of anyone stating that the CO2 in our atmosphere increasing from 0.03 percent to 0.04 percent was harmful to breathe. CO2 is a trace gas. You expel it when you breathe.

Has someone linked an increase of 0.01 percent of CO2 to negatively affecting our health when we breathe it?

You state, "I do not think that investing in reducing global warming and investing in the things you mention are mutually exclusive, if done smartly." I emphatically disagree. Have you seen this? Check out the debt per citizen and debt per tax payer. You really think that is going to be paid? Soon we won't even be able to afford just the interest on it. We are going to be lucky to afford our military and current level of education spending if something isn't done soon.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 2, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

obviously debt is a problem. we need to find ways to reduce that, and I don't think it is necessarily mutually exclusive with using energy and resources more efficiently.

there are a lot of things other than Co2 that we put in the air and water. There are dead zones in the Chesapeake bay and the silt in parts of it is caustic due to agricultural and industrial runoff. Is that something we should just write off as the cost of progress? try driving on a gridlocked interstate with the windows open and tell me that car exhaust is not at the very least an irritant that you would rather not be breathing in.

Posted by: timdgoff | February 2, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyway, Im not trying to take over this forum with debate. I think there is room for common ground between rational people on both sides. hopefully those in positions to make change politically, scientifically, or by innovation, can find it

Posted by: timdgoff | February 2, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I guess you did not feel the need to report about the climate change (or whateever it is called now) chicken little's making video's of children's heads exploding. How about "scientists" talking about population culling (exempting themselves of course). Maybe talking about jailing skeptics? Not a peep. This "consensus" you speak of does not exist and you know it.

Posted by: j751 | February 2, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Deniers are those in media who deny there was a 95% correlation between sunspot peak frequency and global warming and cooling for the entire 20th Century. Deniers are those in the media who fail to inform the public that there has been no significant warming over the past ten years since the El Nino rolled off the ten-year average. Deniers are those who have never explained to the public the UN IPCC constructed the hockey stick with flawed data. Deniers are those who have never addressed the corrupt data from ground based weather stations used to create the temperature records that show that as cities grow, they warm; nothing at all related to CO2. Apparently, the earth warmed again when the Soviet Union collapsed, and their arctic weather stations shut down. That bogus data would not stand up to a master’s thesis review in Canada, much less merit publication in a scientific journal. Deniers are those who believe flawed atmospheric models over actual field data. The climate models take raw data and create positive feedback where none exists in nature.

The ball is now in the other court. Stand outside on clear winter night in Ontario and witness - not only is there no pollution, there is no warming blanket; your body heat leaves immediately for outer space.

You may claim the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle may now be the most dangerous principle known to man. If climate is cooling as the sun has gone into a cooling cycle, the media and the politicians in their thrall are clearly presenting a more dangerous story than anthropogenic 2% carbon. "Houston we have a problem..."

The solar hypothesis put forward by the Danish National Space Center is far more sophisticated than the CO2 hypothesis put forward by the anthropogenic global warming celebrities and their followers. There is no experimental support for the carbon story. Interview Dick Lindzen of MIT. The minute you take sides or believe your own hypothesis, you are a dead duck as a scientist or a journalist.

Posted by: artesian1 | February 2, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Morano who suggested that scientists be flogged? What is this strange attraction climate deniers have for the middle ages?

Posted by: greenman3610 | February 2, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

It usually takes about a half-year for an ENSO event to translate to the troposphere and it looks like La Nina is finally affecting global temperatures:

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 2, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Back in early 2000 - 2007 they (Politicians) warned us that Global Warming would = less snow fall. They gotta feel just a little dumb now with the snow fall on average we've had even since last year, nationwide.

I heard Al Gore was stuck in the 20+ inches of snow in Chicago!!!!

Posted by: KRUZ | February 2, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Matt, considering it is not a very strong La Nina measured by sea surface temperatures the temperature drop is fairly significant.

Steve, I read Trenberth's speech and didn't see anything other than the usual conflation of "climate change" and catastrophic warming based on model outputs. His ideas are 1) change the null hypothesis - see gofigure post above. 2) He wants to say that "pervasive" water vapor increases change all weather events - not pervasive, and most weather is unaffected or trivially affected (e.g. the latest snowstorm). 3) Talk about policies - I have no problem with that but most climate scientists are not economists. 4) he demonstrates willful ignorance of weather with his laundry list of weather events which he uses to counter the red herring of media reports that snowstorms and cold outbreaks disprove global warming.

My suggestion to Trenberth and people like him is pretty simple: stick to long term modeling and leave the weather attribution topic alone. It looks increasingly like rationalization as we suffer through a bout of negative AO. Here's a specific suggestion: figure out why the models predict positive AO and fix them if they are wrong or add the natural variability that allows the current negative AO.

Posted by: eric654 | February 2, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Its just silly to me that 10 years ago snow was scarce because of Global Warming. Now today, the below average temps and above average snowfall nation wide is also to blame for Global Warming.

I think its all about the Benjamin$.

Posted by: KRUZ | February 2, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Antarctic sea ice has been actually running well above normal, more than enough to offset some recent loss of Arctic Ice.

There are plenty of good reasons to promote clean energy. Global warming hysteria is not one of them.

Posted by: frontieradjust | February 2, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Trenberth's draft talk was so daft I twitted : Climategate's Trenberth's ill logic :

He was speaking in honor of the self-avowed liar who cause me to start using the term eco-leninist .

While these "climate scientists" may learn how to implement Navier-Stokes simulations in antique computer languages , I have yet to see evidence that they know how to calculate the temperature of a simple radiantly heated colored ball .

It's hard not to be derisive of this dangerous GSS ( Global Statist Stupidity ) .

Posted by: CoSyBob | February 2, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow. This article is exactly why when I tell people about this site, I warn them that occasionally there is an article like this.

I subscribe to the following hierarchy of beliefs:
1) Global climate change is not happening: we can't measure it on our time scale of decades and have that measurement be meaningful.
2) If it is happening, it is not anthropogenic.
3) If it is anthropogenic, there's nothing we can do to reverse it...except have 7 billion people quickly turn into 1 billion and live like its 1840, semi-pre-industrial.
4) If we can reverse it, China gets to start, along with the other developing economies. They spew out more pollution than we do per capita.
5) And finally, our economy is already teetering. Lets see how it would do with extra taxes for our energy and food and whatever else. And we all know where that money would go...not to some "solution" but to fund all the various unfunded and in-debt things we already have.

I must admit it would be tempting to climb on the climate bus. It runs to fun places like Europe and Acapulco for conferences, and dumps grant money in your lap - as long as your results tow the line.

Posted by: AndrewRockville | February 2, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"As Trenberth says: "The side effects come from when I submit a proposal and it has multiple anonymous reviews that are polarized with several excellents and very goods and then 2 poors. There are several emails to me about people working to make sure I can't get funding and to go back to New Zealand. The funding issue is a delicate one because it means that my organization, NCAR, may be reluctant to step up and defend scientists if they feel it will jeopardize funding from NSF [the National Science Foundation] or elsewhere to the whole organization."

Here is what he is really worried about. This hoax is about nothing but power, prestige and money, and that all you really need to know about it.

Posted by: mogar | February 2, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"As Trenberth says: "The side effects come from when I submit a proposal and it has multiple anonymous reviews that are polarized with several excellents and very goods and then 2 poors. There are several emails to me about people working to make sure I can't get funding and to go back to New Zealand. The funding issue is a delicate one because it means that my organization, NCAR, may be reluctant to step up and defend scientists if they feel it will jeopardize funding from NSF [the National Science Foundation] or elsewhere to the whole organization."

Here is what he is really worried about. This hoax is about nothing but power, prestige and money, and that all you really need to know about it.

Posted by: mogar | February 2, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Steve Tracton, your proposed terminology 'unconvinced' and 'inconvincible' has some advantages; there is a clear distinction between the two stances. However, 'inconvincible' lacks the feeling of the manic fervor they have in spurting their disinformation around (just witness this thread). How about 'aggressively ignorant'?

Posted by: imback | February 2, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

frontieradjust: "Antarctic sea ice has been actually running well above normal, more than enough to offset some recent loss of Arctic Ice. There are plenty of good reasons to promote clean energy. Global warming hysteria is not one of them."

Read here:

And here:

Posted by: DAK4Blizzard | February 3, 2011 3:31 AM | Report abuse

When someone incapable of reason tries to debate and starts losing he turns to insult, and ad hominems. This is why Trenberth uses the word 'denier'. Anyone capable of reason would not promote the AGW hoax to start with.


Posted by: jjdickson | February 3, 2011 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Q, you have a good point about the debt. It is important; few would disagree. Considering that it's such a serious problem, perhaps the government could reduce or eliminate the $4 billion annual subsidies given to an oil industry that seems to be doing just fine with profit and revenue.

Posted by: DAK4Blizzard | February 3, 2011 4:08 AM | Report abuse

Eric654, if ENSO is the variability and we still have background carbon-based warming, than the drop this time should in theory be less than the 2008 global temperature collapse. Q1 2011 will be interesting to watch this. One possible wrinkle- this La Niña is forecast to persist longer than the last one- so it may have a stronger, longer-term cooling impact than 2008. For that, I would blame the -PDO, perhaps. Whatever the case, I believe this will significantly challenge the model projections put forth in the IPCC 2007 report.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

that's quite a temperature plummet in your 6:41 post. the temp's got to stay down there for a loooong time to "balance out" that graph.

we'll see around the 20th or so of february what noaa reports as the global effects of la nina. maybe they'll have their fist "below average" recording since the 80s?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Walter, I know Andrew prefers the NASA GISS data over these satellite-based assessments. From Nov to Dec in that GISS data set, the global T dropped almost 50% to +0.4C. So yes, I'm curious to see what the Jan number looks like.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The only thing these chuckleheads have to fear is what is already happening; people are ignoring them. They will go the way of the global cooling, rainforest disappearing, oceans dying, light pollution, et al, alarmists. It was over when they started getting New Age spiritualists on their side and invoked 2012 scenarios.

Posted by: echosierra | February 3, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

My impression is that the last two winters had a lot to do with the Arctic oscillation. That is not very predictable since it has much shorter time scales that ENSO or the Pacific decadal oscillation. I also seem to remember some people forecasting that 2010 would be a cold year. It was one of the warmest on record.
I am not particularly impressed frankly by people predicting seasons or even years in advance by expecting patterns to persist or qualitatively extrapolating from past experience. Show me the math.

Hoax implies a deliberate falsehood and a very serious accusation. I have studied and worked in meteorology for 37 years. To the best of my knowledge, global warming is definitely not a hoax. To those who claim global warming is a hoax
I would merely refer to the Ten Commandments. "Thou shall not bear false witness."

If you do not like government support for research, throw away your GPS, computer, cell phone, and most if not all of your electronics. Government money developed most of the new technology that went into them.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the AO and NAO these last two winters have been at unprecedented levels.

Unfortunately, all long-lead predictions, including the ones that are used to fuel the climate models used in the IPCC report, are based on using relationships seen in the past and extrapolating them forward.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The point of using a model is that it is based on the laws of physics and is a fairly complete representation of the atmosphere. As science advances, it becomes quantitative and more accurate in the long term. Weather prediction is dominated by mathematical computer models that have become more and more accurate. Seasonal forecasting is also making more and more use of computer models, such as the NCEP CFS. Other techniques are still competitive on the seasonal time scale.

What I object to is forecasts for the next 5 years, based on the past behavior following La Nina and on expecting the Pacific decadal oscillation to persist and apparently nothing else to have any influence.

Where is the verification of such forecasts?

Concerning Kevin Trenberth: I know Kevin Trenberth, particularly his non-global warming work. He is a very good scientist
and in his work very honest and very diligent. He is not the most diplomatic person I have every met.

I avoid the use of the work of "deniers" out of politeness because people object to the term being applied to them.

I request that such people and politicians and commentators cease referring to "hoax", "con" or "fraud" because I vehemently object to my friends and colleagues being called such.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Matt - the Texas blackouts were actually caused by coal and natural gas plants shutting down - not wind turbine issues. See coverage here: and at Texas Tribune.

Re: my "preference" for GISS data, um, no, I don't have a preference for citing one dataset over another, instead I report on all the data as it comes in, noting any discrepancies between them. They each have their own advantages/disadvantages in terms of biases and methodology. I do tend to show the GISS graphics, but that's because they're more applicable and understandable to everyday readers than the satellite plots.

Posted by: afreedma | February 3, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I should apologize and clarify: I do not object to forecasts for the next 5 years any more than I object to groundhogs forecasting an early spring. I do object to any expectations that I take such forecasts seriously.

I may be bigoted about groundhogs. I grew up on a Vermont dairy farm where they were regarded as varmints with only one good use....

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Andrew, thanks for correcting me. There were apparently a lot of rumors flying yesterday before official reports came out about the coal and NG plants (50 of 550 utilities were down). The American Wind Energy Association even issued a statement later yesterday clarifying the situation:

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hoax does deliberately imply falsehood. But Trenberth's use of the phrase "climate change deniers" is similarly dubious. I'm not objecting to the word deniers, but the implication that anybody who doesn't buy into catastrophic AGW is a "climate change denier". Later he says that 'given that global warming is "unequivocal"... [the null hypothesis should be reversed]'; at that point he is purposely conflating "global warming" with CAGW. There is little doubt that AGW is real, but there is considerable scientific uncertainty about CAGW. Conflating AGW and CAGW is what I would call a hoax.

Although models are based on "laws of physics" they are not a "fairly complete representation" of the atmosphere because they do not model cloud microphysics such as the Bergeron process. Instead those are parametrized and the parameters are constant for grid cells that are too large to resolve mesoscale weather. When the climate is changed by CO2 warming, the parameters and relationships will change by weather and that is not in the model.

Posted by: eric654 | February 3, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse


I don't buy it. To the best of my knowledge, Catastrophic Anthorpogenic Global warming has not been ruled out, especially if one takes a longer viewpoint. Some models do predict it and they have not been proven wrong.

There is a huge difference between exaggeration and hoax. If I tell my children, "Texting when you drive will kill you", that is an exaggeration. Texting only substantially increases the chance of dying.

Regarding clouds, one study did look at a high resolution model of clouds. They found a decrease in clouds with warming, implying an enhanced warming. The problem with uncertainty is that it could lead to more warming as well as less warming.

The models are incomplete of course, but they are the main tools we have.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Matt Rogers, you appear not to understand how weather and climate modeling works. No past knowledge of the AO and NAO have been encoded in any climate models. The AO and NAO are the result of the basic physics in the models. That is, the AO and NAO are not inputs to weather and climate models but outputs from weather and climate models.

And eric654, your perception of climate models seems to be stuck in the 1970s. Comprehensive and detailed cloud microphysics has been directly modeled in climate models for quite a while now.

Posted by: imback | February 3, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The physics and physicals relationships in the models are to the best of our current understanding. I agree and definitely didn't say that AO/NAO is somehow "encoded" into the models.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea, you made an baseless, false assertion about me. I called you on it at 1:42 PM. Please cite your source or retract your comment.

CWG, I think assigning an incorrect and false statement to another user is outside the bounds of appropriate comments. Do you consider such comments acceptable? May I make up and attribute untrue comments at will? If I did, would you permit it? What if I claimed that Jason continues to tout the great virtues of pedophilic Catholic priests? Would you permit it?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 3, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Oops! Another clarification.

The five year forecast I referred also included a 20-year forecast based on this year's La Nina and the Pacific decadal oscillation.

If the PDO is 20-30 years long, how many realizations do we have of it in the well-observed climate record? How much confidence can we have in its structure, period and influence with only a few realizations? Is it all that matters?

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse


When you bum your rides, do you restrict yourself to people driving electric cars? Or do you go ahead and climb into cars with internal combustion engines?

Also, when you bum your rides, do you tell the people giving you a ride that if it were up to you, there fuel would be rationed?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 3, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Dadmeister, so-called "C"AGW is just a denialist meme and has no meaning in the scientific discussion. It is a denialist attempt to move the goalposts, so they can say "I don't doubt AGW, just CAGW, therefore we should do nothing, because Al Gore is fat" or some such nonsense. The term does have some use in that when people use it, it lets us know they are not really interested in the science but are principally here to make noise, and we can act accordingly.

Posted by: imback | February 3, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think that anthropogenic global warming might be a nuisance that we can adapt to or might be a catastrophe, raising sea level several meters in a few century and devastating food production. I don't know which and do not believe we can tell at this stage. One study a few years ago found that a few more people die during heat waves in this country than during cold waves, but not a lot more. Do cold waves enhance deaths from flu? Was that included? I don't know.

I do think some people, concerned about the environment, do emphasize the possible catastrophes and overstate the certainty. I regard that as hype and exaggeration.

The important thing to me is how global warming would affect food production. I don't think we have much of an idea now.

One climate scientist said that global warming might have contributed 4% to recent heavy rains. We don't know the rain itself within 4%. Roger Pielke, Jr., has published a study that the effect of global warming on hurricanes would take a very long time to be strong enough to detect with statistical certainty.

Last year Australia had severe drought. This year it has severe floods. Maybe global warming had something to do with it, but how do we prove it?

This is not an excuse to do nothing, but we need to somehow honestly state what we know, what we are fairly sure we know, what we may know, and what we have no idea about.

We need to allow for the possible castastrophe, but there are other catastrophes we need to plan for too.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Dadmeister, CAGW is very much in doubt. I didn't say it was ruled out, but there is lots of evidence against it (the paleo record with limited temperature rises in interglacials being the best example). Do not pay attention to imback and his meme accusation. He is simply trying to conflate AGW which is well supported with a small amount of debate, with CAGW with is speculative with a large amount of scientific debate. The goal of statements like imback's last one is to blur the distinction between the two to confuse ordinary people into thinking they are the same. His real goal is to imply: "look, scientist X denies CAGW, therefore he is a physics denier".

Imback: when you describe my posts as "noise", you are just proving that the rhetoric on your side has not changed. Perhaps you should be a better example for your side or perhaps you think you can get away with it here. As for your claim about microphysics in GCMs being comprehensive and detailed, read for example of a recent attempt to replace a crude parametrization with a less crude one. It is not modeled, it is parametrized within a model, a very different proposition.

Mr Q, your last post strayed from debate over the issue into personal insults.

Posted by: eric654 | February 3, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

eric654, who did I insult and how did I insult him/her?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 3, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

This post: "Posted by: Mr_Q | February 3, 2011 12:16 PM" a term like "bumming rides" is looked down upon. Some people are very organized and car pool a lot, and I don't think you should pass judgment on it.

Posted by: eric654 | February 3, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I wasn't looking down upon bumming a ride. And I wasn't passing judgement on bumming a ride. Apparently you do? I had no way of knowing that.

I do however frown upon people who bite the hand that feeds them. I don't think people should bad mouth the internal combustion engine while (insert your favorite politically correct term here!) rides from people driving a car with an internal combustion engine. If someone wants to bad mouth the internal combustion engine, they should at least be morally consistent and refuse to ride in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.

Do you find it morally consistent to -
1. Eschew the internal combustion engine
2. Believe that fuel should be rationed
3. (insert your favorite politically correct term here!) a ride in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine?

If he holds that fuel should be rationed, does he also favor rationing electrical use? If his belief that fuel should be rationed is founded in his belief in catastrophic, man made global warming, then would it not be logically and morally consistent to insist on rationing electrical consumption (especially if the electrical plant is coal fired)?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 3, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Matt - yeah, it was difficult for many Texas-based reporters to figure out what was going on. Part of the problem is that utilities were refusing to say which facilities were shut down.

Posted by: afreedma | February 3, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse


From what I've seen, the paleoclimate record is used by those who are more concerned about global warming and by those who are less concerned. I am confused about what we know about the past climate.

Several studies have produced results for the last two thousand years that show a "hockey stick", that the present is warmer than any other period in the last two thousand years.

One thing that concerns me is the acidification of the ocean as we increase carbon dioxide. We don't know the consequences.

If we are lucky, world population will stabilize at 9 billion. What will global warming do to food production for the 9 billion? we don't know.

I am also worried about bats, bees and amphibians. We have seen drastic declines in populations of all three, but from what I've seen global warming is not considered a major factor. We need to worry about the environment and sustainability as a whole. I do believe individual initiative and capitalism are important ways to cope with such problems, but not if people pretend the problems don't exist and bitterly attack anyone who points out the potential problems.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Won't somebody PLEASE Cry a River for poor Kevin Spencer I mean Trenberth for all the angry outbursts he has prompted and not, to be sure, unwittingly.

I used to get email that made criticism directed at Trenberth look like love letters.

I don't get this kind of "fan mail" any more. By and large, the public have turned skeptical (no, sour) on AGW.

Trenberth and his associates appreciate having people like you, Andrew, for being their apologists and cheerleaders. They don't get a lot of respect these days.

[Acrimony thrown at me signed "capital weather gang" to follow shortly, ladies and gentlemen. Follow this column closely for this entertaining and fun feature.]

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 3, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Spencer Trenberth still gets my respect because over 30 years or so that I have known him he has earned it. Do I agree with everything he has said? No. So what?

One poll recently said the public's top priority was funding alternative energy.

Even if the public is more skeptical about global warming, so what? Do we need to take a poll of the public to determine the law of physics?

I have seen little to lower my belief in global warming and its largely anthropogenic cause. I have seen much to lower my respect for the critics of global warming ideas.

By the way, I have my own long range forecast. In the late 70's we had two severe winters in the US. Some (by no means all) scientists thought it meant an era of global cooling. Since then we have had 30 plus years of global warming. The last two winters have been severe in the US. Therefore I predict another 30 years of global warming.

I only hope I last to see the whole 30 years.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Dadmeister, that is a nifty prediction and very true about the late 1970s global cooling scare. The big difference between now and the late 1970s are (1) PDO is going in the opposite direction, (2) NAO/AO are reaching levels not experienced in the late 1970s, and (3) the solar cycle was ramping up then rather than dying down now. I suspect if we get a third winter like these two, there may be some additional pivoting on research topics.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Matt Rogers, fair enough on the physics modeling. Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your earlier post.

Posted by: imback | February 3, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse


Sorry but I am skeptical about how important the PDO is and how well we know it, maybe because I was out of graduate school before I heard anything about it. Other teleconnections(NAO, ENSO, PNA) were the subject of active investigation then (the late 1970s). Do you have a good summary reference for the PDO?

I am also skeptical about the solar cycle. I remember a paper from NCAR (Meehl?) that said the solar cycle could produce a distinct regional variation based on a GCM. But my impression is that the solar cycle may not influence the global temperature very much. It is not clear that the output from the sun varies that much. That may be in part because solar-weather relationships have been largely a big bust in my humble opinion.

I have a great respect for more intuitive science based on extensive observation. We have largely moved beyond it for weather. For seasonal forecasting, it still plays an important role. For forecasts of a few years, I don't know if anything works. For longer forecasts, greenhouse gases should produce significant warming. Exactly how much and its regional impact are good questions.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

My so-called side is the side of science. I do not advocate for any policy prescriptions here, not cap and trade, not any proverbial green solutions, not any specific renewable strategy, not mass transit, not vegetarianism, not capitulation to the UN, not even communist totalitarianism. I actually do not follow environmental policy much. I am only here to defend the science. I am sick and tired of baseless attacks on science and scientists. This incessant science-bashing does a real disservice to our country, and it's all for what?

Posted by: imback | February 3, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse


Well said.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse


Well said.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 3, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Dadmeister, check out this paper and look at the authors too:

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

That paper is from 2001. So, then check this more recent NASA article out:

You and I agree that AO has driven the last two winters- could this be driving the AO?

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 3, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

i very much appreciate your perspective on this issue. please keep speaking up to defend the science.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 3, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Matt. The articles look very interesting.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 4, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

In the late 70's we had two severe winters in the US. Some (by no means all) scientists thought it meant an era of global cooling. Since then we have had 30 plus years of global warming. The last two winters have been severe in the US. Therefore I predict another 30 years of global warming.

Here in Blogworld people are identified by handles such as Dadmeister, for what reason I'm not sure, because people don't usually speak with anonymous callers or answer anonymous email.

Anyway Dadmeister, if this really is your forecast, then periodicity of these events might be questioned because, CO2 effects are assumed to be cumulative, aren't they. So you're left to explain some "cyclical" behavior which is probably difficult to do.

Although not impossible, given that the most specious, contorted logic is used to make AGW cover any and all weather related phenomena, and all we need is some "consensus" by some [not presumably disinterested] parties to make it "consensus" science that only "deniers" reject.

The plain old simple explanation, carbon dioxide in the air has nothing to do with it, is impossible for some people to contemplate.

Especially if the thought of AGW pleases their socialist leanings or provides an avenue for material gain.

Brian Gregory Valentine
Arlington, Virginia

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 4, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Talking Points Memo advocating the jailing and execution of global warming deniers

NASA's James Hansen saying, "The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters."

George Monbiot saying, "... we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg."

Calling people "climate criminals" who are "committing terracide".

Sending letters to people who disagree and threatening to ruin their career. Like this letter from Michael T. Eckhart -- "Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on."

Let's see - jailing and execution of skeptics, court jesters, bastards who deserve Nuremberg style war crimes, climate criminals committing terracide, threatening to brand skeptics as liars and ruin their careers.

I think you could have found much better examples of heated rhetoric, Andrew. I have more, if you want to write a better article detailing real heated rhetoric.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | February 4, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

My 30 year forecast was very much tongue in cheek, but I do expect it to verify.

The point, besides expressing my opinion of a certain 20 year forecast made recently, was that one or even two winters are not a long-term climate trend. I do not mean to imply periodicity, but a continued trend of long-term warming.

My only socialist leaning is that I like Bernie Sanders. I am actually hoping to have a more comfortable retirement thanks to my investment in capitalism through mutual funds.

I am actually paid to improve weather forecasts. Climate funding has been known to compete with weather funding.

The evidence is that the Earth has warmed in the last few decades and at least of a few months ago continues to warm. That is fact. I continue to believe the best explanation for that is carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is possible that natural variability is more important than I think it is.

I really should learn more about what we know and don't know about past climate and about the PDO.

It would be nice if global warming proves to be no more than a minor nuisance, but so far the science suggest otherwise.

The laws of physics say that increased carbon dioxide should warm the atmosphere and warming the atmosphere will increase water vapor, which will warm the atmosphere more. The legitimate argument is about how much and the regional consequences.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 4, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The evidence is that the Earth has warmed in the last few decades

I'd take a hard look at that and how the "evidence" was gained and interpreted.

It is possible that natural variability is more important than I think it is.

Throughout geological epochs that has been the case, although a contortion of thought will make anything appear other than it is

The laws of physics say that increased carbon dioxide should warm the atmosphere and warming the atmosphere will increase water vapor, which will warm the atmosphere more

The laws of physics also preclude heat transferred from a cooler stratosphere to a warmer troposphere, which precludes the "greenhouse" effect, and by a well-known theorem, zero times a very large number is still zero, making "feedbacks" from the "greenhouse" effect quite silly to contemplate.

I put my faith in the second law of thermodynamics, no amount of hand waving or wishful thinking can make something a concern if it is impossible.

Go ahead and delude yourself from here to Eternity, I can't stop you. All I can do is to help prevent the needless misery people will definitely experience responding to the dangers their imaginations will not relinquish.

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 4, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The greenhouse effect makes the Earth several degrees warmer than it would be otherwise, making a much more livable planet than if the greenhouse effect did not exist.

The earth's atmosphere is not a closed system.

Posted by: Dadmeister | February 4, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Brian Valentine, you said "The laws of physics also preclude heat transferred from a cooler stratosphere to a warmer troposphere, which precludes the "greenhouse" effect,"

I'm not sure if Walter is asleep or what, but he would answer that very quickly with a link to skepticalscience. I'll answer it with my own understanding: The GH effect does not rely on heat transfer from the cooler stratosphere to the warmer troposphere, but rather on radiation from the troposphere to earth regardless of the temperature difference. Cooler objects can warm warmer objects by radiation, net, because the total radiation transfer also includes radiation to space and warming from the sun. The GHG blocks part of the energy flow from the sun-warmed earth to space.

IOW, if there were no sun, the earth and its atmosphere would reach an equal temperature by radiation and the second law. But the earth has extra energy provided by the sun, so the earth stays warmer than the atmosphere.

IOW, a photon that is re-emitted in the atmosphere from a GHG has a 50% chance of returning to earth regardless of the temperature difference of the GHG and what is below the GHG (earth). Even though the GHG above the earth are cooler than the earth on average, they make the earth warmer than they would otherwise be.

Posted by: eric654 | February 4, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The "greenhouse effect" is an old wives tale that provides an incorrect picture of the observed decrease of time and space averaged diurnal temperature differences that arise from evaporation of water into the atmosphere and distributed by convection through the atmosphere.

The earth certainly isn't a closed system and if it was the ocean would eventually equilibrate with the atmosphere making water evaporation impossible.

That's enough Blogworld discourse with anonymous blogging bloggers, go find solace amongst your countless other blogworld blogging bloggers who think exactly the same way you do.

Plan an "end of the world" party BIO for anonymous blogging bloggers.

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 4, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

oh, eric, you can't talk science w/brian. he's all about the clever sound bites and obfuscation of the month.

hi brian,
greenhouse effect an old wives tale... hahaha

you totally lost scientific credibility w/me last year (or was it the year before?) when you sought to at least partially blame global warming on the "crustal movements and/or the indonesian earthquake. omg that was funny/sad.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 4, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Walter. I'll respond to you because I know you to be Walter Crain of Falls Church.

I did not find a significant polar variation in Earthly spin about the axis but I did look at astronomical data of the measurements of true North,

something caused an apparent Northern Hemisphere temperature bias above the Southern for some years apparently unaccounted for by known oscillations of atmospheric pressure.

At least give me credit for not howling AGW at every anomaly that comes along, Walter, which, to all appearances, is something you are habituated to doing.

Please, by all means, correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 4, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Here's "funny/sad":

"Folks in Chicago, the snow you're contending with right at the moment is the direct result of all the "CO2 greenhouse gas pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels".

Sound preposterous? Well then, just listen up to some "science" from Walter in Falls Church!!

Posted by: BrianValentine | February 4, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

brian, you said,
"something caused an apparent Northern Hemisphere temperature bias above the Southern for some years apparently unaccounted for by known oscillations of atmospheric pressure."

and you thought it might be "crustal movements"?!?! interesting theory... any takers?

are you trying to insinuate that the quote about chicago and "greenhouse gas pollution" is something i said?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 5, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Walter, thanks for the link to that "debate". I can see why Mr. Valentine prefers the "debate" format rather than scientific papers that can be carefully analyzed and critiqued which takes time.

Brian Valentine, I'm not sure why it matters, but here's a publication with who I am and a small sampling of my views (by no means complete): There's even a nice picture of me (as good as you are going to get without resorting to Photoshop)

Your March 20, 2009 9:14 AM posting in Walter's link above contains some obfuscation (really just misinformation). The mass balance of CO2 from human sources (measured fossil fuel consumption) and in the atmosphere (also direct measurements) shows that we produce about twice the observed atmospheric increase each year. It is not true that "leaves sources of carbon dioxide open to issue". It is not open to issue, not ambiguous in any way.

On March 20, 2009 9:15 AM you said you had a paper on crustal movements that affect nutation that affect climate. Please provide a link so I can read it, otherwise I can only say that it is not a theory I have read before and I have read a lot.

On March 20, 2009 5:58 PM you said "in carbon dioxide's case, the strongest influence is near the stratosphere, where the re-radiation in turn influences water vapor. By the time that secondary radiation from carbon dioxide has reached the Earth's surface, most of that influence has already past, and we don't see a whole lot near the Earth's surface." LW absorption and re-emission takes place from the surface all the way up, your description is the "single layer" model which Spencer and Eschenbach show to be inaccurate at WUWT.

On March 21, 2009 1:27 AM you said "The world has cooled for some years, and even though industrial CO2 output continually increases, we don't see the same rate of increase in the Mauna Loa measurements." That's not true. The Mauna Loa measurements fluctuate a bit with El Nino and La Nina which does reflect SST and ocean absorption of CO2 to some extent. But the long term trend did not change. The ocean still absorbed about 1/2 of the man-made CO2 net.

Posted by: eric654 | February 5, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

In a link posted Brian Valentine on March 22, 2009 11:58 PM, I read that 97% of annual emissions are natural and 98% of annual emissions are absorbed by nature (both roughly true), therefore only 3% of the 103ppm increase since the Industrial Revolution is manmade (from

Brian Valentine is quite ignorant if he can't see the simple error. Let's say 100 units are created: 97 natural, 3 manmade. During that year 98.5 are reabsorbed naturally leaving 1.5 to accumulate. The next year 1.5 more accumulate. How is not obvious that over 100 years that 150 units would accumulate??

Brian Valentine, let me address you directly: You say Al Siddons is a friend of yours. Then please do us all a favor and correct him. You have provided a link to a completely naive and erroneous posting. Your own postings and theories are quite far fetched and unsupported by measurements (nutation changes) or full of obfuscation (CO2 re-radiation). My views in this "debate" have not changed much in over 10 years although I have learned a lot. My goals however have changed. I am determined to point out errors on both sides no matter what the consequences are. I am determined to shine light into obfuscations such as yours or Mike Mann's (e.g. his 2004 explanation of his incorrect normalization) or anyone else's.

On March 23, 2009 12:26 PM you said "My view is, the greenhouse effect from CO2 is real enough, but too small to be discerned amidst the real world chaos of events that come and go. In fact I believe this has always been the case." You just spent most of the thread obfuscating the GH effect. I also believe that CO2 warming is too small to be discerned in any place or time, but I also see a potential warming from CO2 from 0.2 to perhaps 0.5 degrees C based on line-by-line models done by such skeptics as Jack Barrett.

You ended that thread with pure obfuscation of energy and GHG warming when you said "That that sixteen thousand times as much solar energy has no influence on Earthly sources of carbon dioxide, Walter? " The 16k ratio is energy to energy. The GHG warming potential of manmade CO2 is about 3 W/m2. Sunlight is 342 W/m2, so about 1% which certainly has an effect over time. Using 1/16,000 is obfuscation and misinformation.

Posted by: eric654 | February 5, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

good to put a face w/the screen name. interesting stuff. thanks for discussing individual points from that debate.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 5, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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