California’s drought situation in pictures – what a difference one year makes

“California’s drought situation in pictures – what a difference one year makes” (2014-01-18). Anthony Watts is in anguish over the California droughts (there’s been plenty of wild fires too). Click through to see Anthony rue the delay in government intervention and put his faith in climate models! No, this is not Bizarro Earth.

Why won’t someone do something! We needed government intervention last year!

Yesterday, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency, which is probably a bit too late.

But don’t worry, climate models show that everything will be A-Ok next year.

if the Nino 3.4 model ensemble is to be believed, then California will likely see a strong precipitation rebound in 2014/2015.

Naturally Anthony maintains his confidence that every instance of cold weather, anywhere, is proof of no global warming ever while every instance of hot weather or drought is just a sticky patch. But it’s getting hard to do it with a straight face.

HotWhopper takes Anthony to task nicely: Finally, if a “bit too late” – Anthony Watts talks about the drought in California.

Species Extinction is Nothing New

Species Extinction is Nothing New (2012-06-04). Anthony Watts thinks that Australian denialist Viv Forbes’ reviewed scientific paper unposted Letter to (no particular) Editor deserves a wide audience, so he makes it a “Top Post”. “Steam engines” didn’t kill the mammoths, so why would a few puffing coal plants? This is pure stupidity being given a gold star.

DId you know that them “professional alarmists” are trying to replace the “deflating” “global warming bubble” with a crazy new scam called “species extinction”? Anything to force us back into caves with the commies, I guess.

Humans (well a few of them at least) will be able to use their “freedom” to innovate out of any theoretical environmental crisis, so them animals should stop complaining and start innovating too. Otherwise tough luck and rightly so.

Anthony with his usual acumen uses a Dodo (unequivocally hunted to extinction by humans) to mis-illustrate Viv’s deep environmental insight, but I think he just forgot about the Ostrich.

Anthony’s proudly ignorant commenters are near universal in espousing libertarian tough love for the critters…

NASA notes sea level is falling in press release – but calls it a “Pothole on Road to Higher Seas”

NASA notes sea level is falling in press release – but calls it a “Pothole on Road to Higher Seas” (2011-08-24). Anthony Watts reminds his readers that if an increase doesn’t happen every single year then it’s not happening. And a NASA press release admits that sea-level didn’t rise in 2010! You’d think after all the denialist accusations them gubmint scientists would be better at falsifying observations to prove whatever they wanted.

So the slight reversal of sea-level increase (which was not happening anyway) means that sea-level rise has stopped (even though it wasn’t happening anyway). Therefore humanity’s CO2 emissions, which don’t cause warming, are not causing climate change (which isn’t happening anyway). Got it?

So we have years of Anthony and his pals claiming that rising temperatures and sea-level are all down to various vague and supposedly cyclic natural causes and definitely not man-made causes. Of course actual scientists have always factored in natural influences and have studied them in great depth to determine their contributions. But here the natural causes are suddenly discounted by the denialist arm-chair critics.

Willis Eschenbach adds a deep scientific insight by noting that Greenland received more precipitation than usual in 2010, so it’s glaciers are apparently not in danger after-all, thus disproving global warming once and for all. Willis somehow didn’t notice that the satellite precipitation data is considered incorrect for that region… And his analysis of NASA’s discussion of the causes of the dip in sea-level dispenses with even a cocktail napkin this time around. Sounds like he’s talking about himself when he pontificates:

When people make claims like that, with no numbers attached, my Urban Legend Detector™ goes off like crazy … and in this case, it was right.

Pielke Sr. on new Spencer and Braswell paper

Pielke Sr. on new Spencer and Braswell paper” (2011/07/26). Who’d ‘a thunk that Roger Pielke (the dad who’s a grumpy scientist, not the son who’s just a grumpy economist) would, again, sing the praises of Dr. Roy Spencer’s latest paper proving, again, sort of, that there is no global warming? Anthony Watts is excited enough by this startling development to copy and paste Pielke Sr.’s insights.

Dr. Pielke Sr. intones that Dr. Spencer’s paper, On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance in Remote Sensing, “raises further questions on the robustness of multi-decadal global climate predictions”. Yes, it’s the final nail in the coffin of global warming alarmism! Again! This time, for real! Oh, they have to be smart questions? Oops. Remote Sensing, for their part, is a new journal that seems more interested in publication fees than ensuring the scientific credibility of their papers.

Not yet referenced by Anthony, there’s also an enthusiastic “so there!” article in Forbes magazine. Right-wing climate change denying Heartland Institute lobbyist James Taylor sings the praises of right-wing climate change denying scientist Dr. Spencer, also tightly associated with Heartland Institute, in a right-wing climate change denying magazine! It stirs the soul to see all the pistons firing together so smoothly but using “alarmist” in 15 times, in practically every sentence, shines the spotlight in a presumably unintended direction.

So, what about Dr. Spencer’s science? Do clouds really cause climate like Spencer keeps saying? Is the Earth really failing to warm up quite as much as alarmist scientists say it is?  This is just a laugh-at-Anthony-Watts’-lies blog, so today I’ll simply point out some of the criticisms from around the web.

Synchronized shouting seems the only tactic left to the denialists.

2011-08-01 Update: Climate Progress weighs in on Spencer’s science that Pielke Sr. likes so much. Climate Scientists Debunk Latest Bunk by Denier Roy Spencer.

2011-08-10 Update: John Timmer covers Spencer’s paper in the larger context at Ars Technica - Climate change: cloudy, with a chance of competing realities.

2011-09-02 Update: More embarrassing fallout for Spencer covered at Ars Technica - Editor who published controversial climate paper resigns, blasts media.

2011-09-07 Update: Well this hasn’t taken long. Spencer’s ‘final nail in the coffin of AGW’  has completely unravelled. Turns out his crayon version of atmospheric physics has in fact proven the validity of current “alarmist” climate theories and models! Thanks Roy. That’s what happens when you work backwards from a baseless conclusion and ignore logic. Thanks for wading through the stupid, Dr. Dessler (preprint here, watch a video summary here).




Earth’s Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial

Earth’s Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial (June 30th, 2011). I’m waaay behind commenting on Anthony Watts’ anti-science, but this post recently came to my attention. Gosh, if the Earth’s climate is so “ridiculously complex” how could we possibly really know anything? We might hurt our thinkin’ muscles trying to figger it out.

The Earth rotates! It orbits the Sun! There’s gravity! The Sun shines! Volcanoes and hot springs are hot! Cosmic rays rain down, as do comets! Funny, I didn’t notice any references to the much-discussed greenhouse effect.

Most importantly; even though the Earth’s climate is “ridiculously complex” it is absolutely clear that all changes are completely natural.

WUWT reader and obsessive googler “Just The Facts” has assembled a collection of mainly Wikipedia entries to prove this point, but it seems to me that he’s unintentionally shown the exact opposite. Climate scientists are well aware of our climate’s complexity, and are able to integrate the processes quite well. Thanks, Facts.

Of course denialists are waging a fighting retreat using the “complexity” and “imperfection” arguments, so a huge list of anything is useful for waving in the air. I think Winnie-the-Pooh said it best:

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Climate scientist Michael Tobis tries to inject a little reality to the comments, but faces a determined onslaught of ignorance as well as the usual  passive-aggressive moderation by Anthony and his staff. Eventually solar scientist Leif Svalgaard gets chokes on the ignorance and starts correcting them.

The comment by “Thomas S”, third one in, wins today’s booby prize: “Holy….!! This post will go down in history as the post that killed the AGW debate once in for all.” I wouldn’t put money on that, Thomas.

Alarmists refuse to take on skeptical geologists

Alarmists refuse to take on skeptical geologists” (June 8th, 2011). Anthony Watts agrees with the assertions of Canadian right-wing lobbyist Tom Harris in the reliably denialist Financial Post newspaper (No Climate Debate). Funny how fast Anthony was to copy-and-paste this one. Harris says that if “alarmists” won’t be caught dead presenting at the same symposium last month in Ottawa, “Earth climate: past, present, future“, as debunked denialists (make that “leading geoscientists”) like Bob CarterIan PlimerHenrik Svensmark and “Friends of Science” director Norm Kalmanovitch, they’re chicken. (They couldn’t squeeze Lord Monckton in there?) Friends of Gin and Tonic ask some interesting questions about this.

Unlike medical researchers, who are rushing to embrace discredited and debunked anti-vax fraud Andrew Wakefield in debate.

According to Harris, “climate skepticism was widespread” at the recent industrial GAC-MAC conference (Joint Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geologists and the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits), but we’ll have to take his word on that. It doesn’t seem to show up in any of the 26 other Symposia or Special Sessions though.

Here’s Professor Andrew Miall’s Symposium preface, with a few editorial remarks:

Earth climate: past, present, future
Andrew Miall
The scientific debate about climate change is far from over [not contested]. Some of the projections of climate change and its consequences contained in the 2007 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been called into question [successfully?].. This symposium will address some of these issues and present a geological perspective on the scientific debate. For example, what is the relative importance of water vapour versus carbon dioxide as a medium of heat retention in the atmosphere? How important have variations in solar output and in sunspot levels been in determining energy input to the Earth’s atmosphere? Is the current global temperature regime now warmer than the Medieval Warm Period or the Holocene Hypsithermal? [Gosh, no-one's ever thought of studying those things before! Someone should get on that.] This is a significant question, given that many damaging ecological, faunal and weather changes have been predicted based on such warming. Yet Earth and its assemblage of life forms clearly survived these and even earlier exceptionally warm periods [not so good for some species of course, but perhaps we should roll the dice anyway]. Is it possibile [sp] that other causes, such as the density and ubiquity of the human presence on Earth, rather than climate change, may be the cause of the observed deterioration in many environmental indicators? [Of course they are factors! This is not an either/or situation.]

“The scientific debate about climate change is far from over.” Ooh, that stings. Could this prove that the alleged alarmist chorus of “the science is settled” is a despicable alarmist tactic? No, that evergreen denialist straw-man argument that has never been true. Climate scientists don’t make that claim. Just like plate tectonics, we’re continually refining our understanding. This doesn’t mean the core principles are teetering on the brink of rejection. Funny how often questions like “is it possible that” show up in these ‘criticisms’. Plenty of things are possible, but showing them to be more likely is the tricky part.

To repeat the words of  George Bernard Shaw; “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.” Credible scientists apparently understand this and stay out of the pig pen.

On a personal note, I once studied under Dr. Miall. It’s sad to see him in his late sixties endorsing such sloppy discredited arguments. While geologists know that huge environmental changes have affected the Earth in the past, some of them seem incapable of connecting the dots that the extinctions that resulted from those changes could have any bearing on this species, or that the evidence shows that these environmental changes are occurring at rates never recorded before.

“Snowball Earth” ended by methane – now an impossible theory

“Snowball Earth” ended by methane – now an impossible theory (May 26, 2011). It seems that, like the White Queen in Through the Looking-Glass, Anthony Watts tries to believe six impossible things before breakfast. We see how hard he tries pretty much daily, but his apparent copy and paste delight here over a Caltech paper in Nature is just routine self-delusional over-interpretation.

“A hydrothermal origin for isotopically anomalous cap dolostone cements from south China” is about cap dolostone sediments overlying 600 million year-old glacial deposits and controversially thought to be associated with microbial consumption of abundant methane. The paper concludes that the cap dolostone was deposited after the abrupt end of a prolonged glacial period (aka Snowball Earth), not as it ended. Also, those rocks seem to have been formed under abiotic high-temperature hydrothermal conditions.

Thus, in Anthony’s fixated mind, it is impossible for greenhouse gases to cause abrupt ancient warming. Some other unspecified thing did.

Strangely the primary theory of how Snowball Earth ended doesn’t revolve around ocean sediment methane discharge, which this research seems to disprove. The primary theory is based on evidence of increased volcanic CO2 and methane emissions (greenhouse gases!) which this research can be inferred to support. Hydrothermal environments are associated with volcanism.

Note to Anthony: arguing over “abrupt” ancient natural climate change, taking place over millions of years, is a weak criticism of evidence for man-made climate change taking place thousands of times faster.

New solar reconstruction paper suggests 6x greater solar forcing change than cited by the IPCC

New solar reconstruction paper suggests 6x greater solar forcing change than cited by the IPCC (May 10, 2011). Could a paper brought to Anthony Watts’ attention by a hockey stick-obsessed denialist be right? Has it really all just been the Sun’s natural variation? We’re making such a fuss over nothing! Damn those stupid lying climate scientists.

Unfortunately, no. Anthony and his eager associates are conflating, either willfully or through ignorance, amounts of change with rates of change.

Shapiro et. al. (2011) reconstructed “the total and spectral solar irradiance covering 130 nm–10 μm from 1610 to the present” and presented a new model that suggests that TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) may have been “substantially lower during the Maunder minimum than observed today.” But being an actual scientist he also acknowledged that “there is general agreement on how solar forcing varied during the last several hundred years“. Which, surprise, is when man-made global warming happened. Once again, Anthony has toppled the global warming house of cards (not).

Stepping out of Anthony’s narrative for a minute what do the scientists, including Dr. Shapiro, agree upon about Total Solar Irradiance? That global temperatures increased with TSI from 1880 until about 1950. After about 1975 TSI flattens while global temperatures resume their increase. This renewed  global warming (without any help from TSI) is what climate scientists attribute to greenhouse gases (see below, link to Skeptical Science).

Actual TSI vs global temperature. Not a great correlation once greenhouse gases kicked in, huh? Source: Skeptical Science.

Back to Anthony’s narrative: Funny how reconstructions, proxies, and computer models are A-OK with Anthony if he thinks they support the conclusion he wants. Otherwise, the anti-scientific howling is continuous. Hypocrisy much?

Funny how uncertain pre-instrumental records are A-OK with Anthony if he thinks they support the conclusion he wants. Otherwise, the anti-scientific howling is… you can fill in the blanks.

So, perhaps six times as much increase in TSI since 1850? Six times as much sounds huge. The historical TSI fluctuation is around 0.1%, which suggests that the fluctuation may have been up to about 0.6%. However this says nothing about the actual levels of TSI. Those values are neither changed or contested by the paper. If you compare the Figure 2 in Shapiro (2011) with that of  Solanki (2004), shown above, you’ll see that in 1900 Shapiro’s TSI value is 3.9 lower in 1900, and 1.4 higher in 1960. The post-1960 peaks on both the Shapiro (2011) graph and Solanki (2004) TSI graph are the same: 1366 W/m2.

The unfortunate paper authors seem to have done some good refining work on historical Total Solar Irradiance that has minimal impact on the climate change debate but now find themselves falsely held aloft by denialists. I suppose bad publicity is better than no publicity…

On “Trap-Speed”, ACC and the SNR

On “Trap-Speed”, ACC and the SNR. Anthony Watts gives us a guest post by William McClenney, a geologist and “environmental consultant”. He tells us, at tiresome length, that things have happened quickly in the past so who cares if they happen again? So what if they caused civilizations to collapse? We R smart now.

Skeptical or constipated?

Is there a signal in McClenney’s noise? I don’t think it’s worth the effort to find out. Arrogant geologists love to invoke poorly characterized ancient events to dismiss anything happening in the modern world. Whatever.

Bangladesh, the Poster Child

Bangladesh, the Poster Child. B.Quartero guest posts for Anthony Watts that Bangladesh’s ‘climate risk’ is simply about living on a massive river delta. The delta will magically stay balanced with changes in sea-level because of sediment deposition, “almost by definition”. So don’t worry about them!

This is classic past equals present don’t-worryism. Natural conditions have not been maintained. Reduced sediment volumes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta owing to climate change means that we have no clear idea if sediment deposition will keep pace with sea-level rise. But they’re all poor and brown, so it doesn’t really matter anyway. “Learn to swim!”

Geologically speaking, deltas “sink” if sediment intake doesn’t balance compaction + sea-level rise and “grow” laterally if sediment intake exceeds that balance. So can the 1 mm/year of flood deposition continue? Will it keep pace with sea-level rise and sediment compaction? B.Quartero is optimistic, but offers no evidence in support of this (even a single reference would be start).

Here’s something brought to my attention, from Nicholls & Goodbred (2004), Towards Integrated Assessment of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta:

This early-Holocene mangrove facies has been recognized across the entire delta front indicating that the coastal ecosystem was widespread, and radiocarbon dates and deposit thickness indicate the environment’s long-term stability (GOODBRED and KUEHL, 2000b). In terms of delta response, that the Ganges-Brahmaputra system was able to maintain coastal stability under 30 meters of sea-level rise at rates exceeding 1 cm/yr is not a result recognized by traditional deltaic models.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the future situation be stable enough to allow millions of people to live there and grow a crop a year.