How Guy McPherson gets it wrong

Recently, a few Ars Technica commenters have been posting references to the work of Guy McPherson on climate articles. McPherson is a retired professor of ecology at the University of Arizona, and he runs a blog called Nature Bats Last. In recent years, he has turned his energies to dire warnings of impending climate catastrophe. Those warnings go far beyond what you’ll find anywhere else: McPherson believes humans will go extinct in as little as two decades.

Now, lots of people run blogs that make wild claims, so why am I spending time on this one? McPherson claims to simply be passing along scientific data to the public— data that most scientists are unwilling to talk about and governments are trying to keep secret. As a result, his followers (I mean to use that term more in the Twitter sense than a religious one) seem confident that they have the weight of science behind them. It takes careful examination of McPherson’s references, and a familiarity with the present state of climate science, to uncover that his claims aren’t scientific at all. I also get the feeling that his internet following might not be insignificant (as noted by climate scientist Michael Tobis) and could be growing, yet I couldn’t find any direct challenges with a web search. This makes one.

Bizarro denial

First, I want to go over general problems with McPherson’s claims and talk about what climate science is really telling us. For those wanting specifics, I’ll post a list of point-by-point corrections of McPherson’s main “Climate Change Summary and Update” post in the third section.

In many ways, McPherson is a photo-negative of the self-proclaimed “climate skeptics” who reject the conclusions of climate science. He may be advocating the opposite conclusion, but he argues his case in the same way. The skeptics often quote snippets of science that, on full examination, doesn’t actually support their claims, and this is McPherson’s modus operandi. The skeptics dismiss science they don’t like by saying that climate researchers lie to keep the grant money coming; McPherson dismisses inconvenient science by claiming that scientists are downplaying risks because they’re too cowardly to speak the truth and flout our corporate overlords. Both malign the IPCC as “political” and therefore not objective. And both will cite nearly any claim that supports their views, regardless of source— putting evidence-free opinions on par with scientific research. (In one example I can’t help but highlight, McPherson cites a survivalist blog warning that Earth’s atmosphere is running out of oxygen.)

McPherson bills himself as a scientist simply passing along the science (even as he dismisses climate scientists and their work), but he cites nearly as many blog posts and newspaper columns as published studies. When he does cite a study, it’s often clear that he hasn’t taken the time to actually read it, depending instead on a news story about it. He frequently gets the information from the study completely wrong, which is a difficult thing for most readers to check given that most papers are behind paywalls (not to mention that scientific papers aren’t easy to understand).

McPherson leans heavily on claims from people associated with the “Arctic News” blog about a catastrophic, runaway release of methane that supposedly is already underway in the Arctic. Unfortunately (or, rather, fortunately), the data don’t match their assertions. The latest IPCC and NAS assessment reports, in fact, deemed such a release “very unlikely” this century. One reason for that is that the Arctic has been this warm or warmer a couple times in the last 200,000 years, yet that methane stayed in the ground. Another reason is that scientists actually bother to study and model the processes involved. One thing McPherson and others like to point to is the recent work by Natalia Shakhova’s group observing bubbling plumes of methane coming up from the seafloor on the Siberian Shelf. Since we’ve only been sampling these plumes for a few years, we have no idea whether that release of methane is increasing or if these are long-term features. Similar plumes off Svalbard, for example, appear to be thousands of years old. (More to put this methane in context here.)

That’s exactly the kind of detail and  nuance that’s absent from McPherson’s claims. Instead, he’s content to link to YouTube videos or blog posts (some ludicrously unscientific— see below) and run with the idea that catastrophic warming is guaranteed as a result. He just latches onto anything that sounds scary. McPherson is especially fast and loose with timeframes. He likes to point to the magnitude of past climate changes (which took thousands of years or more) as proof that we are about to undergo similar changes in the next couple decades. That’s quite clearly a fallacious argument, but McPherson never concerns himself with the details. All the casual reader learns it that there was a huge change in the past analogous to the present that shows just how screwed we really are.

And that’s McPherson’s thing— despair. We’re absolutely doomed, he tells us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Everything is lost. He derides any sort of optimism or action as “hopium”. He notes in one recent post that “With an eye to improving my ‘bedside manner’ when I deliver presentations, I’ve recently become a certified grief-recovery counselor.” With such an extraordinary view, you would expect him to make the scientific case for extinction very clearly. But he does not. His argument fundamentally reduces to “positive feedbacks exist, ergo extinction”. That is, he lists examples of positive feedbacks (things that amplify change, like the added sunlight absorption of ocean water that has lost its sea ice cover) for a while, intending to overwhelm you with the number of processes that could add to global warming. And that’s it. There are no numbers explaining how big an effect each could have, no analysis of likely warming impacts, nothing. The fact is that climate scientists know about all these processes. But instead of throwing their hands up and saying “Oh, shit”, they actually do science.

Again, specific examples of these things are given in the last section of this post. If you take a look at some of his mistakes and demonstrably false claims, you’ll have a hard time thinking of him as a credible source of information.

[Update 3-13-14: Michael Tobis has covered some of the points I skipped over—namely, McPherson’s discussion of feedbacks— in a new post.]

Just the facts

So let’s briefly lay out the central claims of McPherson’s position, and review what the science really says. I think those are 1) positive feedbacks imply runaway global warming, 2) we will experience at least 3 to 4 degrees C warming in the next couple decades, and 3) on a 4C warmer planet, humans are dead.

Numero uno. While the concept of a positive feedback (a little change triggers an addition that makes the change bigger, triggering another addition that…) sounds like snowballing without end, that’s not actually the case here. These positive climate feedbacks (and there are negative feedbacks, by the way) amplify warming, but only to a certain extent. After all, these same processes were in play when the Earth warmed out of the last glaciation (over the last ~18,000 years), which obviously didn’t scorch the planet. Without any of these feedbacks, the glacial/interglacial differences would be much smaller, but they do not cause runaway warming.

There is such a thing as a runaway greenhouse effect– just ask the planet Venus. However, a recent study looking at what it would take to trigger such an event on Earth ballparked the requirements at around 75 times the amount of CO2 currently in the atmosphere, 5.5 times the methane, and some other greenhouse gases. The “business-as-usual” scenario in the latest IPCC report, where we do nothing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, ends the century at about 2.3 times today’s CO2 and 2 times the methane. We have a lot of things to worry about, but a runaway greenhouse isn’t one of them. (McPherson, by the way, cites this same paper as if it shows that we’re about to trigger a runaway greenhouse.)

So what are we facing if Arctic methane releases increase? Climate scientist David Archer shows some back-of-the-envelope math here. If the release increased by a factor of 100 and lasted for a century, it would be the equivalent of increasing today’s CO2 by 25-90%. Bad? Yes. Extinction? No.

Nummer zwei. The latest IPCC report projects roughly 0.3 to 0.7C of warming by 2035. (The exact numbers are a little complicated, but I explained it here.) Farther into the future, the different emissions scenarios diverge. The “business-as-usual” scenario results in about 2.6 to 4.8C warming by 2100. Rosier scenarios involving moderate efforts to stabilize greenhouse gases yield warming of about 1.1 to 3.1C by 2100. There are precisely zero scientific studies projecting several degrees of warming by 2035, as McPherson predicts. (In fact, he cites one blogger’s childish prediction of a whopping 20C increase by 2050.)

Numéro trois. So what are the impacts of 4C warming? Here’s a handy summary of the many impacts described in the 2007 IPCC report (this section of the newest report isn’t out yet). They include increased droughts, more extreme rainfall, rising sea levels, serious problems for many ocean organisms, real problems for many terrestrial species, lowered agricultural yields… It’s not pretty, and we very much want to avoid it, but it’s not human extinction.

If you think the IPCC reports are lying about the state of the science, feel free to do a Google Scholar search for “climate change projections” in published studies.

[Note 4-7-14: A comment from Paul Beckwith has revealed that I incorrectly attributed some statements and materials to the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, either due to Guy McPherson’s attribution or misunderstandings of my own. I considered preserving these statements for transparency, but don’t want to make the post too hard to read, so I will simply make the appropriate edits. I am grateful to Paul for bringing it to my attention.]

Errata

Okay. These corrections and notes apply to this post on McPherson’s blog, which I took to be the most complete explication of his views available for fact-checking. The point of this tedious list is to back up the points I raised above and illustrate the untrustworthy and unscientific nature of McPherson’s claims.

As his post appears to be updated over time, I’ll note that I accessed it on 2-13-2014. I’ll just go top to bottom.

–Guy McPherson (I’ll abbreviate as “GM”) cites the Brysse et al “side of least drama” paper to support his claim that climate scientists are simply unwilling to speak out about the imminent and existential threat of climate change. The paper absolutely does state that “scientists are biased not toward alarmism but rather the reverse: toward cautious estimates”. However, it’s more than a stretch to extend this to the idea that civilization is collapsing and we’re going extinct but climate scientists are saying everything is fine.

–GM writes, “Ever late to the party, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits global warming is irreversible without geoengineering in a report released 27 September 2013.” This can only be seen as a new “admission” if you know nothing about the carbon cycle. Warming is irreversible because CO2 remains in the atmosphere for centuries to millennia— this has always been known. Irreversible does not mean unstoppable, however, as GM seems to be implying. Reducing emissions stabilizes greenhouse gas concentrations, limiting warming. In order to lower temperatures, CO2 will have to be removed from the atmosphere— geoengineering. Old news.

–Now we get to “On a planet 4 C hotter than baseline, all we can prepare for is human extinction.” The reference for this pretty important statement? An opinion piece in the Guardian.

–GM references the paper I mentioned above about a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth being easier to trigger than previously thought. Of course, we saw that it requires far, far more warming than any realistic scenario of anthropogenic climate change— a point that is explicitly made in that paper.

–GM notes the discovery of a recent greenhouse gas (perfluorotributylamine) that is 7,100 more potent than CO2, molecule-for-molecule. This seems to be included only for the scary number. How much of it is in the atmosphere? At about 0.18 parts per trillion (in Toronto), it’s completely irrelevant to questions about the climate change we’re currently undergoing.

–GM cites a Geological Society of London release about climate sensitivity— the amount of warming we get from a given increase in CO2. GM describes it by saying that “Earth’s climate could be twice as sensitive  to atmospheric carbon as previously believed.” But that’s not what the release says. The climate sensitivity values that are usually discussed (around 3C for a doubling of CO2) are specific measures over specific timeframes, developed to create a standardized comparison between models. The release describes an analysis of longer-term change, as the climate system comes into equilibrium over millennia. It’s that long-term change that the release says could be double the shorter-term sensitivity . If we’re discussing what we’re facing over the next few decades, that is completely irrelevant.

–Here’s where the Arctic methane stuff gets hot and heavy, as one person is quoted as saying, “The world is probably at the start of a runaway Greenhouse Event which will end most human life on Earth before 2040.” There’s simply no evidence for this. You won’t find any published studies to support it. GM goes a step further, citing an “analysis” on the “Arctic News” blog, predicting a 20C warming by 2050. What is this prediction based on? Curves drawn on a chart. If you fit the right polynomial (a dangerous activity) to the Arctic temperature data that shows roughly 2C warming from 1980 to 2010, you can get it to skyrocket to 20C by 2050. (Well, actually you can’t quite, so a steeper line is simply drawn on.) No climate model. No physics. Just a line. This isn’t science. This is the kind of thing that lazy climate “skeptics” do (the smarter ones won’t).

–GM includes a graph from the same “Arctic News” blog showing methane data. First, it claims that methane is 1,000 times more potent than CO2 (it isn’t) and thus responsible for the vast majority of global warming (it isn’t). Beyond that, it plots a single measurement of atmospheric methane from a single spot in the Arctic (>2,600 parts per billion) on a chart of global average atmospheric methane (currently about 1,800 ppb).  This sudden “increase” is assumed to represent a catastrophic release. Unfortunately, this is simply ignorant. Methane concentration varies quite a bit around the world— highest in the Arctic, lowest in the Antarctic. Absolutely no effort was made to create an apples-to-apples comparison like, at the very least, calculating an average concentration for the Arctic for that week.

–GM reports that the US Navy “predicts an ice-free Arctic by summer 2016”. What does the linked post actually say? The lower bound of the predicted decline in a sea ice model run by Navy researchers was 2016. The researcher calls this “an aggressive interpretation”. What was the central date in the projection? Or the upper bound? We aren’t told. How does this sea ice model compare to others? GM isn’t interested in helping us find out. I would guess this means he hasn’t looked.

–GM quotes climate scientist Jason Box from a newspaper story, saying, “In 2012 Greenland crossed a threshold where for the first time we saw complete surface melting at the highest elevations in what we used to call the dry snow zone.” He uses this to support his contention that the climate system reached a tipping point— a threshold to runaway change—  in 2007. But what Box was actually talking about was a freak event several days long in which melting conditions existed across the entire ice sheet. This was viewed as a weather event, not a significant climate event.

–In a note dismissing biofuels, GM describes them as “the nonsensical notion that industrial civilization can be used to overcome a predicament created by industrial civilization”. This is obviously an axiomatic assertion that makes you worry about GM’s objectivity.

–GM provides a timeline of climate “predictions”, ostensibly showing that they have become more and more alarming over the past few years. (We’ll leave aside, for the moment, that he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between projections— predictions contingent on scenarios of future emissions— and actual predictions.) An updated version of this list can be found here. [Update: I’ve been told that version is actually not the most recent.] The list is flat-out wrong. I dug up the actual numbers on several of them for an Ars commenter. GM claims the IPCC predict 1C of warming by 2100 in their 2007 report. It actually projected roughly 1.8 to 4C, depending on the emissions scenario. These numbers were equivalent to the projections from the previous report in 2001. Next, GM claims the Hadley Centre predicted 2C by 2100 in 2008. The document he links to provides no projections of global temperature of any kind. At the other end of the list, GM claims that the International Energy Agency predicted 3.5C warming by 2035 in 2013. The link goes to a poorly re-written press story from 2010. What did the IEA really say? Their 2010 report described a scenario in which the trajectory of growing emissions by 2035 was such that we would eventually hit 3.5C warming before greenhouse gases were stabilized. [Update: GM had already removed the IEA “prediction” from his post.] So does this list show climate projections becoming rapidly more dire? That’s a big, fat no.

–GM writes, “These assessments fail to account for significant self-reinforcing feedback loops (i.e., positive feedbacks, the term that implies the opposite of its meaning). The IPCC’s vaunted Fifth Assessment will continue the trend as it, too, ignores important feedbacks.” It’s not true that these assessments ignore positive feedbacks. It is true that not all processes are included in climate models, which continue to be developed. The link GM provides is to a story relates to the fact that the generation of models used for the latest IPCC report do not simulate thawing permafrost. For reference, one model that does simulate this process now projects that it would add an additional 0.1 to 0.7C warming by 2100 due to a release of CO2 that would raise the global concentration by 40 to 100 ppm. My guess is that those numbers aren’t scary enough for GM to want to mention them. (To be fair, that’s probably a conservative estimate, but it’s nowhere near the kind of thing GM is talking about.)

–GM cites a paper showing that Earth may have lost its moderate climate to a runaway greenhouse if it were more than 1% closer to the Sun (though it also notes that their analysis doesn’t account for clouds, which might broaden the range). He believes this supports a claim that “A minor change in Earth’s atmosphere removes human habitat. Unfortunately, we’ve invoked major changes.” How does one square this with warmer climates in Earth’s history, none of which triggered that runaway greenhouse? The Cretaceous period, notably, was far warmer than the present day. It wasn’t until an asteroid impact wreaked havoc on the climate system that a mass extinction took place. GM’s definitions of “minor change” and “major change” are fuzzy.

–GM brings up a temperature record from Concord, Massachusetts, in a very interesting parallel to climate “skeptics”. Individual records that show cooling over some period are often cited as proof that all this global warming stuff is hooey. Or the accuracy of a particular record is called into question in some way, as if climate science is a house of cards that can be brought down by the exposure of a single flaw. In this case, GM claims that while the instrumental temperature record indicates about 1C warming there since 1840, an analysis of the flowering dates from Henry David Thoreau’s journals indicates a warming of 2.4C. First off, it’s interesting to note GM implying that instrumental records are woefully inaccurate, when it’s this very information that helped climate science work out the anthropogenic nature of climate change. Second, if GM had bothered to read the paper, he would have discovered that the 2.4C number comes from the local instrumental record, not the flowering dates. The instrumental record was used to study how the flowering dates changed with temperature. I have no idea where he got the 1C number from.

–GM claims that the Next Generation Science Standards (for public schools) “buries the relationship between combustion of fossil fuels and planetary warming”. “The misadventures of the corporate government continue”, he complains. In a post about evolution and climate change in those science standards by the National Center for Science Education, they quote from the standards: “Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming).” Why did GM make this up?

–GM cites a briefing from the UN talks in Copenhagen saying that the past shows sea level should be 23 meters higher at today’s CO2 concentration. What does this briefing, from a Jamaican reef biochemist, note about this? “IPCC projections are based on modes for a time period of 20, 50, or 100 years, when the response of the climate system to increased CO2 takes thousands of years, so models miss more than 90% of the long term response…” Again, we’re up against timeframe details. GM equates long-term equilibrium changes with short term, decadal ones. Here’s a study looking at the same thing: they estimate the long term sea level rise at today’s CO2 at 9-31 meters, noting that would take 500 to 2,500 years. The reason for this is that these studies are based on estimating past sea levels and CO2 concentrations (which is complicated). These records are necessarily at long term equilibrium, because that’s what the geologic record preserves for us that far back in time.

–I don’t think I need to comment on this claim: “In other words, near-term extinction of humans was already guaranteed, to the knowledge of Obama and his administration  (i.e., the Central Intelligence Agency, which runs the United States and controls presidential power). Even before the dire feedbacks were reported by the scientific community, the administration abandoned climate change as a significant issue because it knew we were done as early as 2009. Rather than shoulder the unenviable task of truth-teller, Obama did as his imperial higher-ups demanded: He lied about collapse, and he lied about climate change. And he still does.”

–“Arctic News” returns, along with a YouTube video, to claim that “Arctic methane release and rapid global temperature rise are interlinked — including a temperature rise up to about 1 C per year over a decade,according to data from ice cores“. The “analysis” is someone looking at data from a Greenland ice core, deciding that methane looks more important than CO2 (physics need not apply), and noting the abrupt warming at the end of the Younger Dryas, an interesting period about 12,000 years ago and is thought to have been brought about by a disruption of ocean circulation. (Questions remain.) First, temperatures calculated from Greenland ice cores are local temperatures, not the global average, and the change during the remarkable event was less elsewhere. Second, the methane increase in the ice cores they point to as the cause of the warming is from about 450 to 750 ppb— a difference of 300 ppb. Remember that the global average today is about 1,800 ppb. Methane has increased about 150 ppb since 1985. Has that had a similar effect to what they’re proposing? The first link in GM’s statement contains this ludicrous extrapolation: “The atmospheric temperature increase in Australia this year (0.22C) indicates that in 10 years it will exceed 2.2C and in 30 to 40 years, 6.6C to 8.8C.” I’m not sure you can get more unscientific than that. Australia, by the way, has warmed about 1C since 1950.

–For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to skip over the list of positive feedbacks. Suffice to say, some of them are just more “Arctic News” claims and several others are mis-reported. Others are fine. [Michael Tobis took a look at this list in this post.]

–GM finally comes right out and says “the scientists writing official reports on climate change are lying”.

–GM writes “And never mind that warming in the interior of large continents in the northern hemisphere has outstripped model predictions in racing to 6-7 C already, according to a paper that tallies temperature rise in China’s interior in the 15 May 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” What does that study really say? “Here, we show central China is a region that experienced a much larger temperature change since the Last Glacial Maximum than typically simulated by climate models… We find a summertime temperature change of 6–7 °C that is reproduced by climate model simulations presented here.” The Last Glacial Maximum, remember, is the peak of the last “ice age” around 20,000 years ago. Why is GM pretending that parts of China have experienced 6-7C of anthropogenic warming, and that this shows projections of future warming to be too conservative?

–GM writes “Through late March 2013, global oceans have risen approximately ten millimeters per year during the last two years. This rate of rise is over three times the rate of sea level rise during the time of satellite-based observations from 1993 to the present.” Sounds like it’s accelerating rapidly, doesn’t it? Even his link is to a post showing why this is not a sign of acceleration. The tremendous La Nina of 2011 dumped tons of rain on Australia and the Amazon, adding so much water to continental storage that sea level fell over 5 mm. As that water drained back to the oceans, sea level rise increased. You can see the most up-to-date data here. This is cherry picking. This is what climate “skeptics” do.

–GM writes “On a particularly dire note for humanity, climate change causes early death of five million people peach year.” This links to a story about an NGO report. The summary from the actual report states, “This report estimates that climate change causes 400,000 deaths on average each year today, mainly due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries. Our present carbon-intensive energy system and related activities cause an estimated 4.5 million deaths each year linked to air pollution, hazardous occupations and cancer.”

–GM writes, “The Guardian‘s headline from 13 November 2013 announces, ‘Global warming since 1997 more than twice as fast as previously estimated, new study shows.'” Sounds like global warming is accelerating beyond scientist’s projections! The story refers to a study (which I covered here) showing that one particular global temperature dataset (there are several) was underestimating recent temperatures, primarily due to a lack of measurements in the Arctic. That bias (by which I mean measurement bias, not bias in the political sense) made the recent slowdown in atmospheric warming (related to some action in the Pacific) seem a little larger than it really was. Other datasets had less of this bias. Accounting for this still leaves the last decade of atmospheric warming slower than the previous one. (Again, this is natural variability— warming of the ocean hasn’t slowed.)

–GM writes, “Global loss of sea ice matches the trend in the Arctic. It’s down, down, and down some more, with the five lowest values on record all happening in the last seven years (through 2012).” This may seem like a nit-pick, but this is a pointless statement. The global sea ice trend depends on two places- Antarctica and the Arctic. In Antarctica, there’s been a slight increase recently, while the Arctic has seen a large decrease. Therefore, the reason that global sea ice is down is that Arctic sea ice is down.

–GM writes, “[T]he 13 September 2013 issue of Science contains another surprise for mainstream scientists : The Pine Island Glacier is melting from below as a result of warming seawater.” It’s well known (and bloody obvious) that warming seawater melts marine-terminating glaciers. Calling this “another surprise for mainstream scientists” is just a mindless pot-shot.

–GM writes, “The climate situation is much worse than I’ve led you to believe, and is accelerating far more rapidly than accounted for by models.” The link goes to a YouTube video from David Wasdell of the “Apollo-Gaia Project” telling a parable. He’s not a scientist, but his videos are used as evidence several other times, as well.

–GM cites a Peter Wadhams prediction of ice-free Arctic summers by 2015 or 2016 (more than once, I think). Apart from Wieslaw Maslowski, you won’t find other sea ice researchers making such a dire prediction. As you can see, it would take a truly incredible change in the next couple years for this prediction to come true.

–Back to the pointless pejoratives, we get “In a turn surprising only to mainstream climate scientists, Greenland ice is melting rapidly.” First, this link just refers to the freak surface melting weather from July 2012 I mentioned above. Second, the rate that Greenland ice is melting is no surprise to climate scientists, who have been the ones documenting it year in and year out. GM uses the phrase “mainstream climate scientists” like Sarah Palin says “lamestream media”.

–Here’s a hum-dinger I mentioned way up above. “As one little-discussed example, atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping to levels considered dangerous for humans, particularly in cities.” Yes, that link goes to a survivalist blog. No, we’re not going to suffocate because burning fossil fuels is using up all the oxygen in the atmosphere. It’s true that fossil fuel combustion has sightly lowered the concentration— this is one way we know humans are responsible for rising CO2— but it’s not even remotely close to a significant decrease. Between 1990 and 2005, the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere decreased about 0.02%.

–GM writes, “An increasing number of scientists agree that warming of 4 to 6 C causes a dead planet. And, they go on to say, we’ll be there by 2060.” The link goes to a blog post by writer David Spratt, who was used as a reference before. Spratt gets the 4-6C comment from a reference to warming in 2100. He invents the “as early as 2060” himself. The “dead planet” part of the statement refers to this World Bank release about the dangerous impacts of 4C warming. Spratt describes this as ending “the world as we know it”, which GM flips into “a dead planet”. You won’t find any such description from World Bank.

–GM cites a video of a PhD student talking about the possibility of 6C warming in a decade and uses this graph to support it, presumably because the spike at the end looks scary. Apart from the fact that the graph doesn’t actually come from the paper he cites, but rather data from two papers (one of which he cites) combined with a business-as-usual projection for the next century (which he does not explain), the scary spike at the end is just the same ~3C warming by 2100 IPCC projection he was discounting earlier. To tidy up the math here, 3C/90yrs =/= 6C/10yrs.

–The end of the post claims that the Pentagon is surveilling us online in case finding out that we’re going extinct turns us into ecoterrorists. Just sayin’…

–Lastly a quote from another post of GM’s, which he explains why he thinks the collapse of human civilization can’t get here quickly enough. “Yet, seemingly contrary to these simple, easy-to-reach conclusions, I work toward collapse. Largely unafflicted by the arrogance of humanism, I work on behalf of non-human species. Industrial civilization is destroying every aspect of the living planet, and I know virtually nobody who wants to stop the runaway train. Yes, collapse will kill us. But our deaths are guaranteed regardless, unless I missed a memo.”

Update: I’ve discovered some interesting comments on GM’s post. A poster named Eric took issue with some of GM’s claims, and pointed out a few of the same errors I’ve outlined above (like reports not saying what GM claims they say). To make sure his criticism came across correctly, Eric noted, “I’m not saying climate change is a non issue- In fact I happen to think that it is humanities BIGGEST issue. However hyperbole and exaggerated threats serve no purpose but too slow down the response and make people lose hope. I appreciate your time and I hope I have contributed to the discussion in a meaningful way.”

After another poster asked if GM was going to respond, he wrote, “I will not take time to deal with Eric the denier. No amount of evidence will convince deniers of anything, so I’ll not waste my time. If you’re interested in evidence, there’s plenty in this post to support all I’ve written and said.” This appears to be a representative exchange.

2,294 thoughts on “How Guy McPherson gets it wrong

  1. Just read the following news: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/carbon-dioxide-accumulates-as-seas-and-forests-struggle-to-absorb-it-9722224.html
    I cannot find it in WMO page or Dave Reay’s own page, but I guess it’s me.
    I cannot grasp the biological/physical mechanism of this – simply the amount of plant cover that is insufficient, I suppose? So plant more (grass in sundrop farm style desert regions, t be sequestered later :) ?) and absorb a similar amount? Or are we entering a period of doom a la GM?

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      • If I can jump in here – the Independent article mentions a worst-case scenario where “the carbon sink ceased to function at all,” and one of the scientists expresses concern that the biosphere has “reached its limit,” but I’m not entirely sure what this means. Plants breathe CO2, after all, and I can’t imagine this guy is claiming that all the plants everywhere will soon die. Does “biosphere reaching its limit” mean that trees, grasses, flowers, etc. still function normally, but that they no longer remove the additional CO2 we put into the atmosphere year by year due to the sheer amount released?

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        • Well, “the carbon sink ceases to function” really means that vegetation stops taking in more carbon than it puts out. Plants only reduce atmospheric CO2 when their mass increases. If you hold everything else constant, shrinking a forest raises CO2, keeping the forest the same size doesn’t affect CO2 (even though the forest is cycling CO2), and expanding the forest decreases CO2. Bank accounts make a simper analogy. Lots of money can move through an account, but the balance stays the same if deposits=debits. (Just in case I wasn’t making sense.)

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        • I took this limit to mean that the land and oceans will be absorbing a smaller proportion of our CO2 emissions as we continue to increase them, but that doesn’t mean those sinks will be absorbing less in absolute terms. However, I seem to recall some research, a few years ago, that showed some plants/trees take in less CO2 as the temperature increases, above a certain limit.

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        • I agree with Mikeroberts2013. Plants growth limit is related not only to available CO2, but also water and several nutrients. Most plants have a mechanism to save water: if they have more CO2 than what they are adapted to, they close partially their leave stomata … And over long periods in that scenario, even number of stomata decreases.

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    • You mentioned in the interview that you had nothing personal against McPherson; after reading the comments section of that podcast, I’m amazed you can still say that, given his attitude.

      In clicking some of the links in the comments, I ended up here:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0889.2011.00527.x/abstract

      I think I asked about this when it came up in a ThinkProgress article a few pages back, but I hadn’t noticed this before: “[the permafrost carbon feedback] is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink.” No access to the paper, but the abstract indicates that they’re dealing with timescales from now to 2200. If you’ve access to the paper, do they discuss how fast the feedback is estimated to grow up to that 42-88% figure?

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      • The 42-88% number is cumulative through 2200- so, comparing the total permafrost carbon number to the total land sink number. This paragraph from the conclusion should describes timing:

        “Finally, the release of permafrost carbon will continue for
        many years even if atmospheric warming stops. Permafrost has
        huge thermal inertia, resulting in a lag between when warming
        starts and thaw begins. The start of permafrost thaw typically
        occurred 25 or more years after warming started and 20% of
        the total thawing occurred after warming stopped in 2100. The
        models driven by the A1B scenario, none of which included the
        PCF, all stabilize at a new, warmer climate after 2100 when CO2
        concentrations level out at 700 ppm. However, our simulations
        indicate that the global carbon cycle will not stabilize until at
        least 2200. Nearly all thawing of permafrost carbon occurred
        before 2100, but 46% of permafrost carbon flux occurred after
        2100. Once thawed, the permafrost carbon can take 70 years
        or more to decay due to cold soil temperatures and periodic
        refreezing. This slow response means that once the PCF starts,
        it will continue for a long time.”

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      • It is kelvins, and that’s not unusual. I don’t think there’s an advantage in that specific instance, so it’s probably habit/consistency or something. I mean, anytime you’re working with equations you’re probably going to be plugging in kelvins rather that degrees C (no negative numbers), and I feel like I see kelvins in many modeling papers…

        Like

    • Thanks for the link. Interesting. I see Guy added responses in the comments but they didn’t seem to be serious comments and no attempt to really explore the criticisms. He seems to have gone overboard. So sad.

      Like

        • Ah, okay — thank you. Was somewhat concerned that I was missing the “obvious”. Listened to Alex’s podcast interview with you, and (later) Kevin O’Connor while looking for McPherson’s comments [here]. I ran in to a nest of vitriol on the “Doomer Party 2016” facebook (public) group page by asking Guy where I might find his response to your criticisms (link to thread – below). From Guy: an initial blanket dismissal of my question and your work, as well as this lovely offing — “Unlike Johnson, I don’t get paid for my work. I’ll continue to do the work I enjoy, rather than dealing with idiots.” Unfortunate stance. Sad, really. http://is.gd/GTg3sy

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          • Oh man, I appreciate the knee-slapper. I can’t even guess how that accusation has evolved in his mind. Obviously, I haven’t made a single dime spending what has added up to quite a large amount of time on this McPherson business. (Does he think I’m selling t-shirts out back or something?)

            I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t be charitable with Guy anymore. Take a look at this comment from that thread: null

            He’s either seriously delusional or lying. There’s no other option left.
            But people don’t read it, or take issue with my sources.” Uhhh… I have this 5,000 word post around here somewhere…
            Does anybody take issue with Paul Beckwith’s science, which points to 5-6 C global-average temperature rise (and perhaps up to 16 C) within a decade or two?” Yeah. It’s in my post, and I spelled it out for him very clearly in the comments on that podcast, including a link back to the original paper. Although, Beckwith doesn’t seem to get this either, though I’ve been trying to talk through this with him.
            Does anybody take issue with atmospheric methane and its ongoing, exponential release? Of course not! ” Uhh… well, you get the idea.

            I don’t think he’s honestly engaged with my criticism for even a moment, even after all this time. It’s just “that was just a personal attack” which it wasn’t, and then “you haven’t dealt with my cited science at all” which was precisely what I did, and then “he’s in it for the money” which is just laughable. It’s hard not to be irritated by that. I don’t expect him to change his mind, but it would be nice if he would stop lying.

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          • I just don’t understand his dismissal of all serious criticism as not worth his time. He often claims to wanting to be convinced that he’s wrong but he never (never) engages critics seriously. He claims that people are shooting the messenger but that’s exactly what he does to others (as Scott has shown). Hypocrite. The misrepresentation of what Beckwith is saying is also reprehensible.

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  2. I’ve been slowly working my way through all the information here and had just landed on May’s 4/10/2014 comment about the travails of blogger Survival Acres, who had given up all hope. I was so pleased to see his comment on Radio Ecoshock (Scott’s interview) and to read his latest post about the harm McPherson perpetuates.

    http://survivalacres.com/blog/2014/09/

    John (“janus”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The instinct for survival is strong. According to statistics, there are approximately 20 million suicides per year out of a population of 7+ billion. If doomsayers were at all persuasive, humans would have voluntarily gone extinct ages ago.
      That blogger has been drinking his own version of kool-aid, but to each his own.

      Like

  3. Is this what they call reblogging?
    http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/climate-catastrophe-too-late-for-action-or-just-trapped-by-a-dangerous-ideology/

    “Is it any wonder that collections of severely depressed persons crop up with greater and greater frequency? That blogs and whole web communities are dedicated to the notion of coping with what many see to be an inevitable near term human extinction?”

    Maybe he’s sane after all.

    The word “revolt” is starting to be heard.

    But it won’t happen here until people are hungry. Hungry people have nothing to lose.

    I read in Chomsky that the bad economy of the 30’s was not saved by WWII, but rather, before that, by a humungous worker’s revolt, led mainly by the Communist party. They forced government to do something, or else. My history is lousy, if anyone has more particulars.

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    • Yeah, when FDR did his New Deal programs, there were machine gun nests on top of The White House to protect the President from possible “terror” attacks from the general public, but especially veterans who had not gotten paid, or something like that.

      Needless to say, we need a people’s revolt on climate change, no doubt – and will in time if there isn’t sufficient change.

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    • FDR and the new deal is recognizable, but when I read Chomsky’s version—I don’t know, maybe he didn’t mention FDR. But it sounded like something different. Maybe the difference is that they didn’t teach us about the revolt part in high school. Hard to say, because I could never wait to get out of social studies class.

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      • Hi Bill,

        Noam Chomsky is an ideolog (describing himself as a libertarian socialist, basically an anarchist who thinks that in a society without hierarchy people will choose to cooperate), and as such presents his interpretation of history to support his views. He does not reveal his bias, or that he is more an advocate than historian. His presentation of facts often relies on assumed motivations, those motivations supporting (of course) his view of history. He discounts or ignores evidence that doesn’t support his views.

        A long winded preface to this: many more historians show, with much more evidence than Chomsky ever shows, that there was no humungous’ workers revolt in the 30s that ended the bad economy.

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        • Hi, Eric.

          I disagree with you label of Chomsky as an “ideolog”, having read him for years and being very familiar with him as a character, linguist, foreign policy analyst, and social critic. I agree with Bill that you can’t just attack someone without giving a source and evidence for your belief, otherwise it comes off to me as unprofessional and just plain poor sportsmanship. If you have anything intelligent to say, include citations, quotes, and references that support what you are saying, otherwise it’s next to meaningless.

          Good luck.

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        • I’ve read most of the articles on chomsky.info, a lot of the other material , and watched uncountable videos on the internet, and you rarely see Chomsky talking political theory unless that is the explicit subject. Mostly it’s analysis of events based on facts that are for the most part unreported by the media and concealed by the government. You can start where Chomsky started, with the genocidal war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to which he traveled to report the reality of what was happening, and for which he risked his freedom by speaking out and leading protests. Since then he has doggedly chronicled the vicious exportation of terror by the U.S. government, conducted for the sole purpose of gaining access to and/or control of the world’s resources, the latest example of which is the failed mission in Iraq, leaving in its wake the chaos and destruction now ongoing and growing in the middle east.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Eric B.
        “A long winded preface…”

        You call that long-winded?! Ha.

        If you emailed Chomsky (and I’m begging that you don’t because I’d hate to think of
        him wasting his precious little time on something so trivial and so easily reconcilable under our own two powers), I guarantee that you would get a genuinely long wind of verifiable, convincing fact. He is known to answer all his emails. An interview is not the place where you would necessarily see the full, concluded argument. A book is. I suspect it’s either in one of his books or in one of Howard Zinn’s books. Probably the latter, since “alternate” American History was his forte and the basis of his reputation and popularity.

        Eric B. wrote:
        “Noam Chomsky is an ideolog (describing himself as a libertarian socialist, basically an anarchist who thinks that in a society without hierarchy people will choose to cooperate), and as such presents his interpretation of history to support his views. He does not reveal his bias, or that he is more an advocate than historian. His presentation of facts often relies on assumed motivations, those motivations supporting (of course) his view of history. He discounts or ignores evidence that doesn’t support his views.”

        This is the typical format for Chomsky criticism. Claims made with no specific reference or citation of actual written or spoken words. Pretty hard to defend against and therefore not something I take seriously (beside the fact that I know it not to be true).

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  4. Thanks so much for posting this , I have been watching GM’s YouTube video and was equally astonished by his outrageous statements I’ve left replies on most of his vis debunking his statements GM not only mistakes the science he doesn’t even get basic things right , he got the planet Mars mixed up with Venus saying Venus has lost its atmosphere , and said that penguins were endangered in the Arctic , lol , yea GM is walking fruitcake any creditable scientist would put as much distance from GM as possible

    Like

    • GM avoids credible scientists anyway.

      Do you have links to where he got Mars confused with Venus and said penguins were endangered in the Arctic? Or were they just slips of the tongue?

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      • The penguin goof statement was made by GM in reference to loss of habitat from arctic sea ice loss. Later GM states in one his presentations ” we all know what happened to Venus’s atmosphere , it got stripped away”. Now for someone that’s supposed to be knowledgeable on atmosphere and how it affects climate to (1) be under the mistaken belief that Venus doesn’t have an atmosphere and (2) that actually the fact is that Venus’s atmosphere is what makes Venus’s climate so bad is … incredibly ridiculous. In another discussion GM makes an analogy of a positive feedback system as being like pushing a ball over a hill and he says that it is “friction” that determines if the ball rolls down hill faster and faster , instead of gravity, how anyone can confuse gravity with friction is beyond me.
        GM seems like one of those people that has a lot of numbers in their head but doesn’t understand how to interpret them, he only seems to be able read something that someone else has written and then spits it back out in some random order.

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        • From some comments over at Radio Ecoshock under the podcast, ‘Human extinction? Not so much.’:

          ” ‘After all, the shallow coastal areas that people are worried about are ice-free in the summer. Why should that have no significant effect, but removing the last ~4 million km^2 of sea ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean suddenly flip a switch?’ ~ SJ, (Select ‘older entries’)

          ‘One would think that additional warming of the arctic and its water and reduction of the albedo of the sea ice would affect things rather unpredictably/dynamically, such as water salinity, density, flow, height, temperature (and affect the column of water above your methane) and the land, local climate and weather patterns and sea-life in the areas.’ ~ Glomerol

          ‘…I also know something about what I’m saying.’ ~ Scott Johnson

          ‘I feel better already. ;) …

          Seriously though, specialization (such as in, say, hydrogeology), seems rather deliberately myopic and/or unholistic and is yet another concern I and many others have about how we’ve configured out culture. It is like monoculture in the face of so-called superweeds; built-in vulnerability and lack of redundancy; or lack of genetic variability/diversity.

          Speaking of which, and from what is understood, Guy has a background in Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, which seems a little less myopic and more multidisciplinary where specialization is concerned. ‘ ~ Glomerol

          See also PMB’s ‘concerns’ regarding Scott Johnson

          Like

          • Please try to post substantive comments without engaging in pointless snark and quote-mining, or don’t post here.

            Like

        • “Please try to post substantive comments without engaging in pointless snark and quote-mining, or don’t post here.” ~ SJ

          Sounds good. Now that we have that out of the way, how about cherry-picking the important points in that post, especially given recent news?

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          • If I could see important points, it would have been substantive. Surely you know that when you pluck a fragment of a quote from me (“…I also know something about what I’m saying.”), which was spoken about a specific point (d18O of Greenland ice cores reflecting local temperatures rather than the global average), simply so you can hyuk hyuk about what a dummy you think I am, you’re being an ass. You didn’t ask any questions or say anything I obviously needed to respond to. I’m happy to let people post their comments here, within certain guidelines of civil and productive dialog. (Which you were pushing, hence the warning.) I don’t always need to respond, nor do I even necessarily always think that something I could respond to is worth taking up more of my time.

            And what “recent news”? I can’t read minds, you know.

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        • “If I could see important points…” ~ SJ

          Try this:

          “One would think that additional warming of the arctic and its water and reduction of the albedo of the sea ice would affect things rather unpredictably/dynamically, such as water salinity, density, flow, height, temperature (and affect the column of water above your methane) and the land, local climate and weather patterns and sea-life in the areas.” ~ Glomerol

          The news is the warmer ocean.

          BTW, my style is more eye-rolling than ‘hyuk hyuk’ :D perhaps especially given the above, your apparent specialization and your ‘I also know something about what I’m saying’ bit.
          I think that might have caused an eye-roll, but I forget.

          “…you’re being an ass…” ~ SJ

          While I am happy to eye-roll, I draw the line with name-calling even though I can take it. But I did suggest hypocrisy, along with the bit off campus from PMB.

          I am interested in truth, reality and how it all fits together, and stuff like that as opposed to winning any pissing matches. When we go for truth, we always win, yes?

          Lastly, I would respectfully suggest you ease off on the uppity morality schlock and stick to ‘the science’ as it were. This isn’t kindergarten. You can take it, big boy. ;)

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          • Lastly, I would respectfully suggest you ease off on the uppity morality schlock and stick to ‘the science’ as it were. This isn’t kindergarten. You can take it, big boy. ;)

            You can be civil and mature, or you can comment elsewhere. House rules.

            While I am happy to eye-roll, I draw the line with name-calling even though I can take it.

            “When you do this, you are being an ass.” = “When you do this, you are being a specific kind of rude.”
            “When you do this, you are being an ass.” =/= “You are an ass.”

            “One would think that additional warming of the arctic and its water and reduction of the albedo of the sea ice would affect things rather unpredictably/dynamically, such as water salinity, density, flow, height, temperature (and affect the column of water above your methane) and the land, local climate and weather patterns and sea-life in the areas.” ~ Glomerol

            The news is the warmer ocean.

            I presume you’re referring to this? http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/10/the-oceans-got-hotter-than-we-thought-but-the-heat-stayed-shallow/
            That is, an upward revision of estimated ocean warming in the Southern Hemisphere between 1970 and 2004? You’ll have to explain how that relates to you challenging my point that the Arctic sea ice minimum going from 1.3 million km^2 to 0.9 million km^2 (thereby crossing the “ice-free” line) at some date won’t suddenly produce an immediate and large feedback that had not been felt over the decline of the preceding decades.

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        • “…though I’ll note for the record that I don’t much appreciate Connolley’s overly snarky style.” ~ SJ

          Yes, it looks like I’m not the only one to come under your apparent self-righteous propensity.

          For the record, I would rather, to put it mildly, uphold people’s freedom-of-expression than make self-righteous ‘social engineering’ quips. And as you likely– and maybe should– know, many really vile people in history took the ‘social engineering’ tack.

          Here are some very relevant quotes:

          “In democratic countries, freedom of speech… generally includes:
          * the right to criticize the political system and political leaders, including those in power;
          * the right to criticize public and corporate policies;
          * the right to criticize religious and political ideas.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Speech_%28International%29

          “As a director of the U.S. government’s ministry of propaganda during World War II, Archibald MacLeish knew that dissent seldom walks onstage to the sound of warm and welcoming applause. As a poet and later the librarian of Congress, he also knew that liberty has ambitious enemies, and that the survival of the American democracy depends less on the size of its armies than on the capacity of its individual citizens to rely, if only momentarily, on the strength of their own thought. We can’t know what we’re about, or whether we’re telling ourselves too many lies, unless we can see or hear one another think out loud. Tyranny never has much trouble drumming up the smiles of prompt agreement, but a democracy stands in need of as many questions as its citizens can ask of their own stupidity and fear. Unpopular during even the happiest of stock market booms, in time of war dissent attracts the attention of the police. The parade marshals regard any wandering away from the line of march as unpatriotic and disloyal; unlicensed forms of speech come to be confused with treason and registered as crimes.”
          ~ ‘Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and Stifling of Democracy’, by Lewis Lapham

          “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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        • “That is, an upward revision of estimated ocean warming in the Southern Hemisphere between 1970 and 2004?”

          I apparently caught two news items, one of which seemed to suggest that it was not just in the Southern Hemisphere. In any case, I am unsure how warming and/or its effects over time would occur only in one area.

          “You’ll have to explain how that relates to you challenging my point that the Arctic sea ice minimum going from 1.3 million km^2 to 0.9 million km^2 (thereby crossing the ‘ice-free’ line) at some date won’t suddenly produce an immediate and large feedback that had not been felt over the decline of the preceding decades.”

          Are you suggesting there will Not be an immediate/large feedback? If you are, then I am questioning it, as opposed to outright challenging it.

          In any case, suddenly is relative and I also mentioned tipping points and other dynamics, etc..

          And you also wrote this figure which differs (why’s that?) from the above:
          “…but removing the last ~4 million km^2 of sea ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean…”

          Like

          • In any case, I am unsure how warming and/or its effects over time would occur only in one area.

            This isn’t about the Southern Hemisphere warming without the Northern Hemisphere. It’s about our estimates of warming 1970-2004 being off in the Southern Hemisphere oceans because measurements were fewer there.

            Are you suggesting there will Not be an immediate/large feedback? If you are, then I am questioning it, as opposed to outright challenging it.

            Again, my point is that there is nothing magic about the “ice-free” threshold that “flips a switch”. The feedbacks operate as sea ice declines, and continue to operate while one milestone or another is crossed.

            In any case, suddenly is relative and I also mentioned tipping points and other dynamics, etc..

            Absolutely, it’s relative. This discussion has been about the claims that once summer sea ice crosses a threshold, the Arctic starts burping up huge amounts of methane within a few years.

            And you also wrote this figure which differs (why’s that?) from the above:
            “…but removing the last ~4 million km^2 of sea ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean…”

            In what I initially wrote, I was specifically making the point that the ESAS is already ice free in the summer, even though we have 4-5 million km^2 of sea ice at the minimum. I was asking why losing the rest of the ice would suddenly do something that hasn’t already by going on. I tried to restate the larger point in another way for you, that there is nothing magical about the 1 million km^2 milestone.

            Like

        • sj wrote:
          “In what I initially wrote, I was specifically making the point that the ESAS is already ice free in the summer, even though we have 4-5 million km^2 of sea ice at the minimum. I was asking why losing the rest of the ice would suddenly do something that hasn’t already by going on. I tried to restate the larger point in another way for you, that there is nothing magical about the 1 million km^2 milestone.”

          It’s been stated in this forum before, but I suppose it’s easy to forget. It’s not merely the fact of the ESAS being ice free at some point in the summer, but also how long it is ice free for. That determines how extreme the heating is at the see floor and how long the heating goes on.

          Wadhams/Shakhova have predicted that once the entire Arctic is ice free in the summer, the warming of the ESAS see floor will be sufficient to begin releasing significant amounts of methane on the order of 50Gt over a period of 10 – 50 years.

          After the first ice-free summer, during which most of the Arctic Ocean will be ice free for a week or a few weeks, in subsequent years, this period will grow to a month and then to two months, etc.

          If there is no slow down in the exponential trend of sea ice volume loss, this will happen within a few years, and it will include an abrupt collapse of sea ice area, because of the divergence in rates of loss between area and volume.

          If there IS a slowdown in volume loss, the trend will nevertheless stay negative, and will lead to the same consequence of ice free summers, but without the dramatic single-year crash of ice area, and it will take a few to several more years than in the no-negative-feedback scenario.

          Like

        • Without the context, the friction/gravity ussue is not clear … Perhaps you are right, but keep in mind that though gravity is clearly the main player, friction is very important in rolling mouvements …

          Like

        • On last 21st I replied Allaric 09/30/2014 comment, but I don´t know why it appears after Bill Shockley´s on 10/09/2014. It was:

          Without the context, the friction/gravity ussue is not clear … Perhaps you are right, but keep in mind that though gravity is clearly the main player, friction is very important in rolling mouvements …

          Like

  5. Your comment seems to smack of a particular style that others have accused Guy M. of. ;)
    By this, your response here; by some of the comments on here about Guy you may have let fly without a word; and by your ostensibly-selective and intriguing lack of responses here and at RES, I would encourage you to consider your own advice, hypocrisy notwithstanding.
    It’s important to get to the bottom of things, to share and cross-reference, and attempt to cut through the crap. That’s in part what science and logic are in part about– you know– peer-review, publishing, argument, transparency and all that?
    Of course you can’t eat your cake and have it too. It’s not logically valid. ;)
    If you want to, then you fall into the same kind of trip-ups some feel about Guy’s footwork.
    ‘Bizarro denial’? How about denial-of-omission for you? Just a hypothesis, mind you, but the evidence may be mounting. ;)

    Like

    • Glomerol, I don’t know how you can compare Scott’s fairly prompt replies, addressing the points in comments, with Guy’s rare and usually curt responses on his blog. You can champion Guy’s message but don’t make up stories about his critics. Scott has done far more of addressing and analysing the science than Guy has. Guy simply assumes that referencing enough science (as well as copious other blog posts) is enough to make the case, without actually making the case. He doesn’t really have a strong argument.

      Like

      • mikeroberts2013,
        Neither Guy nor Scott nor any other scientist, human or human enterprise for that matter ‘has it all together’ so to speak. But it is impossible anyway.
        So then, an important question/concern is, what might be the best bet for survival and relative comfort for us as a species?
        And my sense of that is it would be the one that would involve the most control/democracy, and so less complexity, since, with increasing complexity comes decreasing control/democracy.
        And this, incidentally, is in large part what my comments under Scott’s article began with.

        Like

      • BTW, as we engage in debates over such things as NTHE, global climate dynamics and human inaccuracies, etcetera, we engage in communicational complexity, convolution, and an increasing risk of confusion and loss of adequate control.

        Like

      • Glomerol wrote:
        “what might be the best bet for survival and relative comfort for us as a species?”

        To make the best of our tropical Antarctica Garden of Eden, i.e., don’t eat the proffered apple and do remember where we came from!

        Seriously, I think we’ll have a long time to think about the mistakes we made as we wait through the millions of years it will take for Earth to recover to a semblance of its old self. You might want to bring a deck of cards.

        Like

  6. Deck of cards and beeswax candles, yes…

    This just in:
    Quote:
    “It turns out that ocean warming in the Southern Hemisphere may have been underestimated. After using satellite observations and a suite of climate models, scientists have discovered that ocean temperatures may be rising far higher than expected.”

    And this:
    Quote:
    “The ocean is getting warmer at a rate that far outpaces previous estimates, a new study published Sunday has discovered.”

    While I don’t have time at the moment to see if they’re about exactly the same story, they might as well be, and it does give me pause to mull over this kind of passage:
    ” ‘The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.
    ‘But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.’ ”
    ~ The Australian

    While the state is a religion, science probably falls under its definition as well.

    Like

    • That story was covered also by robertscribbler:
      http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/new-study-finds-3-4-meter-sea-level-rise-from-antarctica-may-be-imminent/

      Seems like every time you turn around…

      “” ‘The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.
      ‘But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.’ ”
      ~ The Australian”

      Yep. Richard Heinberg says EVERY civilization has failed. They’ve eventually depleted the soil.

      A timely carbon tax could have changed all that by governing how fast economies and population can grow.

      Like

      • House-of-cards too…

        Here’s a recent quote/retweet from Scott’s own blog no less (upper-left):

        “Scientists, we love to hear about your cool papers, but I implore you to tell us before publication. (And yes, online publication counts).” ~ Ed Yong

        Tragically amusing… and it is doubtful that even this would help all that much.

        By the way, science also relies on hunches and hypotheses. Intuition. Good intuition/hunches are much faster than publications and peer reviews. Those kinds of things, along with experience, wisdom, word of mouth and meaningful existences seem to be what helped keep our ancestors safe, secure and thriving…

        Science? Not so much.

        Like

        • What in the world are you even talking about?

          (In case anyone actually cares, Ed Yong is a science writer- I retweeted his comment for the scientists that follow me on Twitter. We sometimes get researchers sending us a new paper of theirs– Ed much moreso than me because he’s well-known– but it’s often a week or two after it came out. Outlets want news stories to be timely, and if something has already gotten coverage elsewhere, they’ll pass. A heads-up that a neat paper is about to come out makes it much more likely we can prepare a story on it.)

          Like

        • “What in the world are you even talking about?” ~ SJ

          I am, and have been, talking essentially about pure democracy and complexity and how ‘the (scientific, etc.) establishments’ in those and other contexts are fundamentally flawed and/or corrupt.

          “Ed Yong is a science writer” ~ SJ

          Ed Yong is a human. ‘Science writer’ is a cog in the machine.

          “According to him, the dystopia of the Wachowski Brothers’ Matrix trilogy is already here: the technological-industrial ‘machine’ is already running the world, a world where individual humans are but insignificant little cogs with barely any autonomy. No single human being – neither the most powerful politician, nor the most powerful businessman – has the power to rein in the system. They necessarily have to follow the inexorable logic of what has been unleashed.” ~ G Sampath on John Zerzan

          Like

          • If you want to communicate with me, you’ll have to be clearer. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say with these disconnected snippets. Maybe I’m dumb, but I think you could help me out here.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You’re not dumb, Scott. The Glomerols of this world think they have cottoned on to some higher level of understanding and seem to think that posting disconnected quotes, without comment, somehow explains that understanding. It doesn’t. It’s a non-contribution to the discussion. It’s clear to me that they have no idea how to explain themselves (perhaps reflecting Guy himself).

            Like

        • What I am in part talking about I have already mentioned here and here, for examples– both, along with PMB’s points at Radio Ecoshock at last look, to no reply from Scott.
          It is interesting that, with regard especially to one of my unanswered linked replies-in-question, we would find, shortly thereafter, recent news about how the warming has ostensibly been underestimated.
          (I will try to avoid the temptation to add a sarcastic quip along the lines of, ‘Yes, but the heat stayed shallow!’ so as not to trip the nanny filter.)

          In a sense– perhaps a larger sense than even I realize– and as I have may have already also mentioned hereon in different words, the niggles Scott and others have with Guy are irrelevant, in large part because the current ‘crony capitalist oligarchy’ model that underscores how we operate is fundamentally flawed, unethical, corrupt and dangerous to humans and animals alike.

          That said, here’s yet another utterly disconnected quote for everyone, especially mikeroberts2013:

          “Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.” ~ Wikipedia, from the book, End Game, by Derrick Jensen

          (There are some good premises, but this one is one of my favorites. ^u^)

          Oh yes, almost forgot:
          “In case anyone actually cares, Ed Yong is a science writer- I retweeted his comment for…” ~ SJ

          Gotcha. And thanks for the clarification. That complexity, ay? It can get the better of us sometimes. ;)

          Like

          • If you think you were talking about “capitalist oligarchy” etc. with me, then I can see why you’d be frustrated– I’ve never said a single thing about that. The only reason I’m here with a blog post and nearly 2,000 comments is to talk about accurately understanding what climate science research tells us about Earth’s climate system. I’m not arguing societal stuff with anyone. Folks who don’t like what I’ve said about Guy McPherson’s claims about climate science seem to want to paint me into a box of things they hate so they can comfortably dismiss what I’ve said.

            What is it I’m supposed to have replied to? I stopped following the Radio Ecoshock comments a long time ago.

            (I will try to avoid the temptation to add a sarcastic quip along the lines of, ‘Yes, but the heat stayed shallow!’ so as not to trip the nanny filter.)

            I don’t even know where to begin with this…

            Like

  7. “Please try to post substantive comments without engaging in pointless snark and quote-mining, or don’t post here.” ~ SJ

    Consider my post-in-question a ‘retweet’ if it makes you feel better.

    Like

    • Pointless drive-by snark is not welcome here. Thoughtful, civil comments always are. If you just want to come here, throw mud at the wall, and giggle, please don’t. We’ve all got better things to do.

      Like

  8. GM posted on Climate Chaos, October 7th, 2014, in the introductory part of his essay, the following (see my questions at bottom):

    “[Gavin] Schmidt increased his efforts to discredit the work of other scientists in early October 2014 with unfounded, unprofessional behavior.”

    Here is the hyperlink included:
    http://envisionation.co.uk/index.php/blogs/99-russian-scientists-excluded-from-presenting-important-research-as-nasa-goddard-director-tries-to-discredit-observational-scientific-research

    Letter From Dr Shakhova & Dr Semiletov to Sir Paul Nurse:

    October 4th, 2014
    By mail and email

    Dear Sir Paul Nurse,

    We are pleased that the Royal Society recognizes the value of Arctic science and hosted an important scientific meeting last week, organised by Dr D. Feltham, Dr S. Bacon, Dr M. Brandon, and Professor Emeritus J. Hunt (https://royalsociety.org/events/2014/arctic-sea-ice/).

    Our colleagues and we have been studying the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) for >20 years and have detailed observational knowledge of changes occurring in this region, as documented by publications in leading journals such as Science, Nature, and Nature Geosciences. During these years, we performed >20 all-seasonal expeditions that allowed us to accumulate a large and comprehensive data set consisting of hydrological, biogeochemical, and geophysical data and providing a quality of coverage that is hard to achieve, even in more accessible areas of the World Ocean.

    To date, we are the only scientists to have long-term observational data on methane in the ESAS. Despite peculiarities in regulation that limit access of foreign scientists to the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone, where the ESAS is located, over the years we have welcomed scientists from Sweden, the USA, The Netherlands, the UK, and other countries to work alongside us. A large international expedition performed in 2008 (ISSS-2008) was recognized as the best biogeochemical study of the IPY (2007-2008). The knowledge and experience we accumulated throughout these years of work laid the basis for an extensive Russian-Swedish expedition onboard I/B ODEN (SWERUS-3) that allowed > 80 scientists from all over the world to collect more data from this unique area. The expedition was successfully concluded just a few days ago.

    To our dismay, we were not invited to present our data at the Royal Society meeting. Furthermore, this week we discovered, via a twitter Storify summary (circulated by Dr. Brandon), that Dr. G. Schmidt was instead invited to discuss the methane issue and explicitly attacked our work using the model of another scholar, whose modelling effort is based on theoretical, untested assumptions having nothing to do with observations in the ESAS. While Dr. Schmidt has expertise in climate modelling, he is an expert neither on methane, nor on this region of the Arctic. Both scientists therefore have no observational knowledge on methane and associated processes in this area. Let us recall that your motto “Nullus in verba” was chosen by the founders of the Royal Society to express their resistance to the domination of authority; the principle so expressed requires all claims to be supported by facts that have been established by experiment. In our opinion, not only the words but also the actions of the organizers deliberately betrayed the principles of the Royal Society as expressed by the words “Nullus in verba”.

    In addition, we would like to highlight the Anglo-American bias in the speaker list. It is worrisome that Russian scientific knowledge was missing, and therefore marginalized, despite a long history of outstanding Russian contributions to Arctic science. Being Russian scientists, we
    believe that prejudice against Russian science is currently growing due to political disagreements with the actions of the Russian government. This restricts our access to international scientific journals, which have become exceptionally demanding when it comes to publication of our work compared to the work of others on similar topics. We realize that the results of our work may interfere with the crucial interests of some powerful agencies and institutions; however, we believe that it was not the intent of the Royal Society to allow political considerations to override scientific integrity.

    We understand that there can be scientific debate on this crucial topic as it relates to climate. However, it is biased to present only one side of the debate, the side based on theoretical assumptions and modelling. In our opinion, it was unfair to prevent us from presenting our more-than-decadal data, given that >200 scientists were invited to participate in debates. Furthermore, we are concerned that the Royal Society proceedings from this scientific meeting will be unbalanced to an unacceptable degree (which is what has happened on social media).
    Consequently, we formally request the equal opportunity to present our data before you and other participants of this Royal Society meeting on the Arctic and that you as organizers refrain from producing any official proceedings before we are allowed to speak.

    Sincerely,
    On behalf of >30 scientists,

    Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov

    Personal questions: I’m wondering why Schmidt is reportedly criticizing the work of S&S when neither he or Archer have much experience working in the arctic or with methane. Also, I wonder why Schmidt wouldn’t invite S&S to at least present their findings, but instead criticized their work without S&S even having a chance to defend themselves. On the surface at least, it seems like a really creepy thing to do. Your thoughts?

    In appreciation,

    Balan

    Like

    • I wondered how long it would take this to surface here ;)
      A very, very strange episode. Schmidt did not denigrate their work, he spent some time talking about why he doesn’t see any evidential support for their posited “methane bomb”, which they just sort of threw out there in one of their papers. It’s just scientists at work, discussing hypotheses. It kind of seems like Shakhova and Semiletov were looking to take offense, and so interpreted the tweets from the talk in such a way to do so. This is the talk I posted yesterday, which S & S didn’t wait to listen to before sending this weird letter. Schmidt is a climate modeler. He gave a talk about Arctic feedbacks. David Archer is a carbon cycle modeler, and his work appeared in the form of a about-to-be-published model of the ESAS hydrates. First, Schmidt wasn’t in a position to invite anybody. Second, it was a small workshop on Arctic sea ice with not many invited talks. I think Gavin’s was the only that touched on methane. It shouldn’t be considered scandalous that any of the many, many researchers who weren’t invited to give talks there weren’t invited.

      Peter Wadhams got into the stew of strange, as well, taking great offense to tweets written during his talk, which he apparently did not understand. You can read all about it here, though I’ll note for the record that I don’t much appreciate Connolley’s overly snarky style.

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      • I’m not sure how much time Wadhams devoted to methane at that workshop, but given that he relies almost entirely on Shakhova et al for his predictions there, it does seem like some of their work made it into the workshop anyway.

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      • After reading your comments, I can still understand how Wadhams would have interpreted GS’s twits as somewhat underhanded, even if there were a child crying in the audience – and who wouldn’t cry when the possible results of their research is the 50 GT burp that threatens our entire species. I think it does not bode well for GS’s professionalism in such a context and his judgment in interacting collegially. His actions certainly don’t endear me to him. Having said this, I think the research that The Oden research team are doing in the arctic should be given an opportunity to present their research findings, for better or worse – especially in light of its possible implications. I guess that they will have other forums in which to do this other than the Royal Society, in the event the RS refuses them?

        What bothers me is the attack on Wadhams for not having any physical basis for his prediction, and that he admitted it so, when he’s using the physical observations of arctic sea ice melt over the past years and simply measuring its trend line. I don’t understand how critics can say this when I know that Wadhams is using physical observations. Scott, your thoughts?

        On another point, I really appreciated you offering that collection of tweets on how many other scientists disagree with Wadham’s 2015 prediction, saying more like 2020-2030s.

        Like

        • I don’t see anything untoward at all. There’s obviously nothing wrong or unusual about scientists disagreeing with each other’s hypotheses. (And they don’t have to talk like robots.) I don’t think Gavin or Mark wrote anything nasty. I’ve seen many climate scientists on twitter support the maligned tweeters.

          Having said this, I think the research that The Oden research team are doing in the arctic should be given an opportunity to present their research findings, for better or worse – especially in light of its possible implications. I guess that they will have other forums in which to do this other than the Royal Society, in the event the RS refuses them?

          The royal society had this one small conference where talks were invited. Most conferences don’t work that way. You can see from Shakhova’s CV that she presents at conferences (“published abstracts”).

          What bothers me is the attack on Wadhams for not having any physical basis for his prediction, and that he admitted it so, when he’s using the physical observations of arctic sea ice melt over the past years and simply measuring its trend line. I don’t understand how critics can say this when I know that Wadhams is using physical observations. Scott, your thoughts?

          What they asked is whether there are physics determining the shape of the extrapolation. That is, is it purely a best fit line on some points or is the shape of the line determined by equations accounting for what’s going on. I haven’t heard a single researcher defend that use of extrapolation for the purposes of prediction. Take a look at the last few years of PIOMAS data (which Wadhams has apparently not taken into account as he was still showing a three-year old graph someone else had made), and consider how differently things might look if the series extended back through the 1970s. It’s possible that fitting an exponential curve to the period between 1982 and 2007 would end up looking pretty stupid, isn’t it? That’s why you don’t want to extrapolate short time periods with no accounting for the factors driving the wiggles. You run high risks of fitting to the noise rather than the signal. What would happen if you extrapolated a curve fit to global average surface temperature for the last 20 years?

          Like

        • sj wrote:
          “Take a look at the last few years of PIOMAS data (which Wadhams has apparently not taken into account as he was still showing a three-year old graph someone else had made)”

          Your link points to this anomaly graph which is not the same as a volume chart.

          Please explain what we are supposed to be seeing here.

          The differences between the cases are obvious. Would you still stand on principle (“no simple extrapolations!”) if sea ice was 90% gone? In 2012 it was 80% gone by volume.

          The climate models are not off on their global temperature predictions by more than 2 standard deviations.

          As I explained earlier, in complex systems there is a correlation between how much you know and how well you can model. Obviously we didn’t have sufficient understanding to be able to model the sea ice effectively.

          Also, do not forget that the precautionary principle never becomes invalid. It inverts the meaning of what is customarily considered risky and what is conservative. If that principle had been applied as it should have been 20 or 30 years ago we wouldn’t be in the possibly hopeless bind we are in today.

          Like

        • sj wrote:
          ” I haven’t heard a single researcher defend that use of extrapolation for the purposes of prediction.”

          This is an odd thing to say. What was it you were doing indicating a graph with a line drawn on it representing the decline of sea ice and claiming it “showed” something (that the trend was many decades from reaching near-zero)?

          “–GM cites a Peter Wadhams prediction of ice-free Arctic summers by 2015 or 2016 (more than once, I think). Apart from Wieslaw Maslowski, you won’t find other sea ice researchers making such a dire prediction. As you can see, it would take a truly incredible change in the next couple years for this prediction to come true.”
          The embedded link points to this chart from NSIDC:

          whom you must not consider researchers.

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          • You’ve already tried this argument and I’ve already explained why it doesn’t go. The NSIDC extent and PIOMAS charts include linear trendlines, which express the average rate of change over that time period. It is quite obviously not an extrapolation, as it does not continue beyond the last data point, which also means it is not a prediction.

            Like

        • sj wrote:
          “I’ve seen many climate scientists on twitter support the maligned tweeters.”

          Hey Beavis, he said “maligned”. Huh huh. Huh huh.

          Like

    • Wadhams got up and asked a couple very mild questions after Gavin’s talk, that didn’t seem to go anywhere. He asked what is the concentration of methane in the permafrost that you model and one other question. I have to listen again.

      The obvious questions, to me, would have been
      1) why do you assume the heating dynamics in the arctic during an orbital-cycle-induced warming period are going to be adequately representative of what we have now in a CO2-dominated environment? This critique has been out there for a while now and you have not addressed it.
      2) Have you seen the work of Benton and others who have postulated a Permian (among other eras) methane take-off point of 2-3C? And if so, why do you not mention it, at least to explain why it is not important? Your analysis lacks rigor and credibility without this.
      3) The subsea permafrost model you reference estimates a thousand years required to thaw to a depth of 100 meters, yet Shakhova, et al have new direct of evidence of AT LEAST 67 meters of thawing in only 150 years—the amount of time the near-shore ESAS has been submerged. Their core only goes down that far, so the thawing may be much deeper. Have you not seen or heard of this new evidence? It’s on Youtube.

      Being overlooked like this is not new to Shakhova. She remarked on it in her last Breeze interview, and in this new, short one, posted Oct. 6, she is cool, angry and blunt. “We do have observational data which most of those people—very opinionated, very strict, and very direct, sometimes, assessing our achievements—they do not have it, they never worked in this region, know nothing sometimes, they talking about things they know nothing about. Very often. But, unfortunately, this affects our work; this affects our situation”. This quote is the tail end of her statement, so there’s a little more context where she speculates about who and what the forces might be that are impeding her work and its dissemination. She feels it. She knows it. Feminine intuition.
      And, of course, she’s right.
      Youtube: Dr Natalia Shakhova East Siberian Arctic Shelf ESAS Researcher

      Gavin’s talk reeks of denial and his personality is flip and shallow. Perfect person to kowtow to a government’s corrupt wishes. How/where do they make them like this?

      Like

      • Gavin’s talk reeks of denial and his personality is flip and shallow. Perfect person to kowtow to a government’s corrupt wishes. How/where do they make them like this?

        And that’s why there’s no point talking to you. Anyone who doesn’t already agree with you is a scoundrel and a conspirator. I’m tired of it.

        why do you assume the heating dynamics in the arctic during an orbital-cycle-induced warming period are going to be adequately representative of what we have now in a CO2-dominated environment?

        We’ve been through it. Temperature is temperature. We know it was warmer (and for longer), and in the case of the early Holocene at least, that sea ice cover was low.

        yet Shakhova, et al have new direct of evidence of AT LEAST 67 meters of thawing in only 150 years—the amount of time the near-shore ESAS has been submerged.

        Bullshit. Where in the world did you get the idea that sea level has risen 40+ meters in the last 150 years??

        Like

      • bill shockley wrote:
        “why do you assume the heating dynamics in the arctic during an orbital-cycle-induced warming period are going to be adequately representative of what we have now in a CO2-dominated environment?”

        sj wrote:
        “We’ve been through it. Temperature is temperature. We know it was warmer (and for longer), and in the case of the early Holocene at least, that sea ice cover was low.”

        Please show me where we’ve been through this before. This is the part of the Beckwith argument that’s been out there for a while and hasn’t been refuted. It’s been brought up several times, if that’s what you mean.

        Gavin referenced the idea that sea ice was lower in the early Holocene but was not at all quantitative about it and offered evidence of boreal forests that were further north than what we have now, but it all seemed tentative and definitely not conclusive.

        Beckwith posited that air would cool much faster at night in the absence of elevated CO2. That is the greenhouse effect. So, he thinks the argument is not good for low sea ice in the early Holocene.

        sj wrote:
        “Temperature is temperature”.

        Does this come after “No simple extrapolations” in the sj book of rules? Or can we just do regular science?

        bill shockley wrote
        “yet Shakhova, et al have new direct of evidence of AT LEAST 67 meters of thawing in only 150 years—the amount of time the near-shore ESAS has been submerged.”

        sj wrote:
        “Bullshit. Where in the world did you get the idea that sea level has risen 40+ meters in the last 150 years?? ”

        Good point. I will have to check whether it is me misinterpreting what Shakhova said in her Breeze interview or whether Shakhova has got this wrong (i.e., “making things up”).

        sj wrote:
        “And that’s why there’s no point talking to you. Anyone who doesn’t already agree with you is a scoundrel and a conspirator. I’m tired of it.”

        This begs the question whether you and I are living in the same world. I suspect one of us inhabits a bizzaro world where everything is as it seems, the mainstream media is not “owned”, and there has not been a campaign of massive proportions, spanning crucial decades, to misrepresent and deny the facts of climate change.

        Like

        • https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-2/#comment-510
          https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-3/#comment-1101
          https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-5/#comment-1753

          For some reason, you want me to believe that even though our records show it was warmer during these two periods, it wasn’t warmer.

          I think you’ve disparaged the knowledge or integrity of every climate scientist in the world except one PhD student and Peter Wadhams, at this point. You’re obviously set in your opinions. Why are you still here trying to argue with me?

          Like

        • sj wrote:
          “For some reason, you want me to believe that even though our records show it was warmer during these two periods, it wasn’t warmer.”

          No, I want you to stop with the platitudes and discuss details of warming, temperature, etc. Are we talking global average temperature? Arctic average temperature? And are there differences in ice reaction to a particular temperature depending on the greenhouse gas environment.

          Regarding the three links to your comments regarding the paleo-record (mostly ice core) of previous sea-ice declines, the overall upshot is we don’t know for sure, and mostly what is posited is partial sea-ice disappearance in the summer. This is a poor argument for what you are trying to prove, since it was warmer (globally or arctically?) and yet there was the same or less ice loss as compared to today. This actually weakens your argument, since it shows that the greenhouse effect, which is much stronger today than in the comparison periods, is a decisive factor in sea-ice loss. This means that when we do get to 2C, (early Holocene), sea ice loss will be much greater and the buried methane at hugely greater risk. This is why the Shakhova hypothesis dovetails so well with the new thinking regarding the Permian and some other major methane episodes. With the caveat that we could get there sooner because there is evidence that some of the slow feedbacks are showing up already.

          You are also cherry-picking your arguments, since you don’t respond to (what I believe to be) the fairly new research which suggests there have been one or more periods of major methane release which were triggered by modest warming in the 2-3C range. I don’t have the references for these, but Michael Benton mentions this, both in his book, (When Life Nearly Died) and in an on-line interview with Nick Breeze. Dr. Benton is a professor at the University of Bristol, School of Earth Sciences. Tracking down the supporting science for this claim is on my to-do list. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/people/mike-j-benton/

          sj wrote:
          “I think you’ve disparaged the knowledge or integrity of every climate scientist in the world except one PhD student and Peter Wadhams”

          Tobis, who accused Shakhova of making stuff up.
          Schmidt, who mischievously maligned a man whom I greatly admire. I can’t think of any others.

          sj wrote:
          “You’re obviously set in your opinions.”

          I think I’ve shown on multiple occasions I’m amenable to facts. I conceded on the Beckwith ice bubble question. I conceded on the general question of GM misrepresenting facts and citations. I ask questions and accept answers when they seem reasonable. I can provide links if you like, and probably more examples. You may mid-identify my dogged pursuit of a final answer with dogmatism.

          Moreover, I don’t find it hard to concede when I’m wrong, and I will acknowledge a fact when it’s proven. The reason for this is I love to learn and I don’t have an agenda. I have a bias (because I’m alive) but no agenda.

          sj wrote:
          “Why are you still here trying to argue with me?”

          I find you intelligent and informed, with a good quality of knowledge in a broad variety of areas. Balanced, unfortunately, by the rhetorical ploys of neo-denial, lukewarmer footdragging.

          Like

          • Tobis, who accused Shakhova of making stuff up.
            Schmidt, who mischievously maligned a man whom I greatly admire. I can’t think of any others.

            Linked above, you threw Hansen under the bus when you didn’t like something he said. You’ve put down the rest of the sea ice research community, along with Schmidt I believe, as “deniers”. I can’t think of a scientist who said something contra a point of yours that you haven’t discarded as bias/ignorance/integrity. You are way, way too quick to do this or cry conspiracy. When you do that, it’s very difficult to have your mind changed, even if you feel you’re being open-minded. You regard anything short of the most extreme views you’ve found as “rhetorical ploys of neo-denial, lukewarmer footdragging”.

            You’re going to have a hard time finding scientists taking Wadhams’ side of the Twitter dust-up. Personally, I lost some respect for the man.

            https://twitter.com/icey_mark (string of posts Oct-13)

            I’ll give your first point a more detailed, separate response.

            Like

          • Are we talking global average temperature? Arctic average temperature?

            We have been talking about proxy records of Arctic temperature. Some of those may representative of summer temps more than winter temps. We’ve also been talking about indicators of Arctic sea ice extent.

            And are there differences in ice reaction to a particular temperature depending on the greenhouse gas environment.

            No, but of course atmospheric and oceanic circulation are very important to sea ice.

            the overall upshot is we don’t know for sure

            This can be a fair description of all records of paleoclimate, including the periods with possible methane releases that you often refer to. Misused,”we don’t know for sure” is a lousy way to discount inconvenient evidence.

            This actually weakens your argument, since it shows that the greenhouse effect, which is much stronger today than in the comparison periods, is a decisive factor in sea-ice loss.

            That’s a conclusion you jump to with no detailed knowledge to base it on. Again, sea ice is a very difficult thing to reconstruct so uncertainty is significant, and temperature is not the only factor to consider.

            This means that when we do get to 2C, (early Holocene), sea ice loss will be much greater and the buried methane at hugely greater risk.

            You’re inflating the connection between sea ice and methane. What matters to the sunken permafrost is water temperature. Yes, sea ice behavior influences water temperature, but we also have proxy records of things like water temperature.

            You are also cherry-picking your arguments, since you don’t respond to (what I believe to be) the fairly new research which suggests there have been one or more periods of major methane release which were triggered by modest warming in the 2-3C range.

            The Permian Earth might as well be a different planet- you can’t pretend that some estimate of +2-3C then maps to +2-3C above modern preindustrial. There was a supercontinent named Pangaea at the time, the baseline climate doesn’t resemble ours in any detail, there was a lot going on at the end of the Permian, and we’re not entirely sure what happened in that deadly mess.

            Like

        • About the thawed samples – if you’re referring to their 2013 paper, then I recall that their own abstract qualifies this finding by noting that the areas they took the samples from were thawed due to large concentrations of salt.

          Like

        • sj wrote:
          “Linked above, you threw Hansen under the bus when you didn’t like something he said.”

          This is what I said:
          “I’m going to argue that Hansen demonstrated his ignorance of the known facts in this special area of climate science or related science, and therefore a recognized authority isn’t always right outside his specialized field. The ultimate authority is facts and logic, not who brings them to bear.”

          How is this throwing Hansen under the bus? Or, maybe I should ask, if this is throwing Hansen under the bus, why is it bad? It’s a simple criticism, illustrating a point about specialization in science. It may not even have been a fair criticism, since the methane question is still controversial. I believe I was already a fan of Hansen’s then but I know I am a fan of his now. What I said about his “ignorance” is common among professionals when commenting about a related field that is outside their specialty. Jennifer Francis is another example of someone I greatly admire, who did the same sort of thing wrt warming of the water column in the shallow ESAS. Great respect for the man who threw down his government job to sue the government (on behalf of future generations)! Not so much for the man who stepped into his spot.

          Like

          • You aren’t consistent in simply discounting opinions outside someone’s specialty. What you are consistent in is discounting the expertise of people who disagree with a previous belief of yours, and inflating the expertise of people who agree with that belief.

            Like

        • will wrote:
          “About the thawed samples – if you’re referring to their 2013 paper, then I recall that their own abstract qualifies this finding by noting that the areas they took the samples from were thawed due to large concentrations of salt.”

          This was from her Spring trip to the ESAS this year. The samples were thawed or semi-thawed, all right around 0C. Not a salt issue. 50-60 meters into the seabed.

          “Shakhova:
          It’s not stable, but I should note that it’s not stable within that depth of permafrost to which we drilled the permafrost, and we drilled all the way deep to about 50 meters, 60 meters. We don’t know what is below. But, it should have been stable within this depth, because near shore area, it’s very close to the coast, and duration of inundation is very short. It’s not thousands of years, it’s just 150, 200 years. The permafrost — the hydrates and permafrost is related in the arctic. The permafrost, the hydrates could be included within the permafrost layer, or below the permafrost layer. Two different types of hydrates. Usually the temperature and pressure conditions creates so-called gas hydrates stability zone, which is usually close to the bottom of the permafrost. But the top of this area might change its position, it depends on the climate cycle. In the cold climate epoch, the top of the hydrate stability zone comes a little higher and in the warmer epoch a little lower. So this top position of this hydrate stability zone fluctuates. It is subject to alteration from the climate cycle. The stability of hydrate deposits is determined by stability of permafrost. Permafrost loses its stability when it gets warmer. And especially when the permafrost —reaches the thaw point 9:02— literally means that the gas migration pathways builds up within the permafrost. And this is what allows this gas emerging from hydrates or free gas to pass through this migration process and release to the water and because the water is shallow it releases all the way to the atmosphere. Maybe this would be the shorter.”
          https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-5/#comment-2022

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        • bill shockley wrote:
          “Perhaps she has some other idea for how the near-shore band of ESAS coast became inundated in the last 200 hundred years, and maybe she even is aware of evidence for it.”

          It’s possible it’s common knowledge in the ESAS shore area. From part II of the same Shakhova interview, she reports talking to the locals about how sea ice conditions have changed:

          “Yeah, sure. The ice cover was much greater and the ice was thicker and the ice —- was different. Because we talked to —- people and we were shown, the last 3 years, we were on a —- expedition. —- means we worked on the fast ice, and we needed to be sure that this fast ice was stable. and what happened in this —- expedition in 2011, we were not able to reach the area —- we did because the ice was broken, it was real strange, and there was open water and we talked to local people and they said it had never happened before, they had never seen something like that. So this means that the situation —-”

          A community would remember something like this–the loss of miles(?) of land (I really don’t know what scale of former land size we’re talking about)– going back only a couple hundred years. Of course, she would want confirming paleo and geologic evidence that the area was dry for thousands of years. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the community memory goes back even that far.

          I haven’t posted my parts II and III transcriptions because they’re not quite done yet.

          Like

          • “Loss of land”? Fast ice is just sea ice that’s connected to the coast. She’s saying the ice broke in some place. I don’t understand how you’re relating these two things…

            Like

        • sj wrote:
          “You’re going to have a hard time finding scientists taking Wadhams’ side of the Twitter dust-up. Personally, I lost some respect for the man”

          Sounds more like politics than science to me. I didn’t see a single critique of the scientific merits/demerits of the extrapolation method. But, then, consensus is what is important, right?

          If they cared to twit, I’ll bet I could find 80 scientists real quick who would support him. Just give me the list of the Swerus-C3 scientific crew (Wadhams was on board, btw). I’ll BET they’d have something to say about Gavin’s model. IF they cared…

          It’ll be on Youtube soon enough, anyway. My guess is November.

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          • Sounds more like politics than science to me.

            I’m not even sure what this is supposed to imply, but it’s a nice dodge of the facts. I’ve seen a lot of climate scientists on Twitter talk about this episode, and I have seen precisely zero who felt Wadhams’ complaint was valid. But once again, you know better than the scientists what is appropriate, reasonable, commonplace behavior in the scientific community, and you know that they’re being dishonest and conniving. Not a winning argument. At least have the courtesy of recognizing their informed opinions but insisting you disagree for whatever reason.

            I didn’t see a single critique of the scientific merits/demerits of the extrapolation method.

            A, I didn’t link you every tweet ever written. B, if some scientists tweeted that some person wouldn’t take a bet about their claim that the moon is made of cheese, would you cite their lack of analysis of the moon-cheese hypothesis in those tweets as evidence that they don’t have good reasons to discount it?

            It’ll be on Youtube soon enough, anyway. My guess is November.

            What will be? Wadhams’ talk? I don’t think they were filmed, but the audio is available, as I’ve pointed out.

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        • sj wrote:
          ““Loss of land”? Fast ice is just sea ice that’s connected to the coast. She’s saying the ice broke in some place. I don’t understand how you’re relating these two things…”

          The relationship is that she talked to the locals about changes in the near-shore ice in recent years. She talked to them about ice, so she may have talked to them also about changes in the location of the shore-line. If she had a theory that the shore-line moved significantly a couple hundred years ago she would likely ask villagers along the coast whether their community had any memory of such a shift.

          Like

        • sj wrote:
          “You aren’t consistent in simply discounting opinions outside someone’s specialty. What you are consistent in is discounting the expertise of people who disagree with a previous belief of yours, and inflating the expertise of people who agree with that belief.”

          Tell me then, in the example YOU CHOSE, which of these is not true:

          1) Methane production is Shakhova’s specialty.
          2) Methane production is not Hansen’s specialty.
          3) I stated in my original post that I prefer Shakhova’s estimate because it is her specialty whereas it is not Hansen’s.

          Where have I “inflated” Shakhova’s expertise? She devotes 100% of her time to studying every aspect of methane production from one part of the world where there is the potential for a catastrophic methane event, making one, sometimes two trips per year to the actual location, where there is little or no relevant ground-based data or work being done by anyone else. Does Hansen have this expertise?

          As I have acknowledged, you might take exception to my use of the word “fact” in saying Hansen is ignorant of some facts. But then, you might not. But it seems this is not what you are objecting to. Maybe you need a better example from my postings to prove your point.

          Like

          • Yes, I’m sure that if Hansen was out campaigning on imminent methane releases from the Arctic and Shakhova was talking about that being very unlikely, you would feel just the same way. You don’t seem too curious to investigate the reasons behind what Hansen (or the IPCC reports, or its references, or David Archer) says about Arctic methane, or what the sea ice community says about Wadhams’ predictions.

            Like

      • bill shockley wrote:
        “yet Shakhova, et al have new direct of evidence of AT LEAST 67 meters of thawing in only 150 years—the amount of time the near-shore ESAS has been submerged.”

        sj wrote:
        “Bullshit. Where in the world did you get the idea that sea level has risen 40+ meters in the last 150 years?”

        In addition to the excerpt I just posted in response to Will’s question, there is this from the same interview:

        “Shakhova:
        The latest expedition, that was a —— expedition was devoted to studying the subsea permafrost. We drilled the subsea permafrost and obtained the sediment cores so that we could explore and investigate the sediment cores which helps us understand how this process of permafrost destabilization occurs in nature. And especially important in this very-near-shore area which is close to the coast, which was submerged by seawater the latest, the shortest period of time. And this area was long thought to be the most stable. And we expected to find out the permafrost, we reached — the permafrost table is right on top, very close to the sea floor — and we didn’t find this. So what we observed actually was partially or completely thawed sediment cores. Which was very interesting because knowing this is very important. This gives us less and less reason to think that permafrost is experiencing some kind of —4:30— after submergence. This means that it takes some long time, like for example, some scientists suggest that it requires thousands of years before the permafrost starts to degrade from the top of it . This is what we didn’t observe, because the sites which we explored in this latest expedition are very near shore, very close to the coast; they’ve been submerged just a couple hundred years ago. This means they should be absolutely stable. They should be continuous permafrost; very close in its current state to the coastal permafrost, to the land permafrost, which stays at about -8 degrees celsius or -10. But our sediment cores exhibited a temperature from slightly above zero to slightly below zero degrees celsius which is very close to the thaw point or right at the thaw point. So this is very important findings. And beside this we found methane releases from this area, near shore, very near shore area, which is comparable to fluxes observed in the outer shelf. The outer shelf is considered to be the most destabilized because it was submerged the longest, it’s been submerged for tens of thousands of years, at least 10 years or 15 years and most of the scientists agree that it should have been destabilized all the way up to total disappearance of permafrost or at least it should be discontinuous or —6:20— permafrost. And the fluxes that we measured in the very near shore area, on this —specific? 6:25— site were comparable to that that we measured and observed in the outer shelf. This is very important part of our knowledge.”
        https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-5/#comment-2022

        So, I don’t think it’s me mishearing or misinterpreting what Shakhova has said. I also don’t think she is of the belief that sea level has risen 40 meters in the last two hundred years. Perhaps she has some other idea for how the near-shore band of ESAS coast became inundated in the last 200 hundred years, and maybe she even is aware of evidence for it. Presumably the 80 scientists who joined her on her latest expedition didn’t think they were just being taken for a ride (cruise?).

        Like

  9. I just heard Guy give a talk to a bunch of students in California recently and I was disgusted. He was giving these “facts” to kids as though they were all irrefutable. He was even getting some stuff wrong. Some examples:

    He mentioned the 40 lag between emissions an warming. Very briefly, he mentioned that there was a 25-50 year period for 60% of the effect of emissions to be seen in the lower atmosphere. But for most of that piece he was saying that we haven’t seen any of the effect of emissions from the 70s on, yet. Just plain wrong as CO2 has a forcing effect immediately but the effects will play out over centuries with most coming within 50 years.

    He mentioned Paul Beckwith’s prediction of 6C warming within 10 years, which wasn’t a prediction in the way that Guy states it. This was brought up in the comments of Scott’s EcoShock interview. But he’s still lying.

    He talked about methane hydrates in shallow seas even though they haven’t yet been documented.

    He talked about the theorized rapid rise of 5-6C in 13 years, 55 million years ago but this isn’t a generally accepted truth, yet.

    He said we don’t know why or how the earth cooled in the past. Perhaps by some miracle, rather than orbital changes and weathering.

    He talked about phytoplankton loss, and it may all go soon, even though the most recent research modified the oft-quoted 50% loss of the last century.

    I’m rapidly losing the respect I once held for Guy McPherson, given his utter refusal to preach anything but his own, possibly distorted, view of reality. And preaching it to kids with virtually their whole life ahead of them. His handler rightly said that all responses to NTHE are valid but Guy doesn’t seem to see that. If all responses are valid, which seems about right, then Guy is encouraging those kids to “party like it’s 1999” just as much as encouraging them to live their remaining years as “a life of excellence”, whatever that means.

    Like

    • There’s absolutely no defense for repeating the Beckwith thing. He just had it explained to him, in great detail, including comments from Beckwith making it clear that it wasn’t a prediction. Inexcusable.

      Like

    • In a fight for our very survival, we may have to walk away from our jobs, refuse to pay taxes, refuse to pay our debts to the banksters, ethically lie, cheat, steal, bend the truth, civil-disobey, resist arrest, and risk our very own personal premature NTHE in the process. All of those and more are already happening if you follow world news events.
      So if all responses are valid, then Guy’s response is one of them, yes? Do you have to like/agree with it?
      Another’s might be to blow up some forms of fossil fuel energy infrastructure. There are many who don’t like that. lol
      Others might engage in protests or written pleads to members of their governpimps. Others think this is marginally effective if effective at all.
      Of course we will all differ in how we see things and in our responses.

      The scientific establishment is hooked, like most of us, into the crony-capitalist oligarchy. What kind of problems do you think you see with that? All science seems to be doing so far is charting, graphing and modeling our downfall.

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      • Of course Guy’s response to his own message is valid; I never said it wasn’t. What isn’t right is that Guy’s message is based on a misrepresentation of the science, on blog entries from non-scientists and on misquotes of people. The second is OK, if the blog writer can substantiate claims and arguments, the other two are not OK. Guy can say what he likes but when presenting, he should explain that what he presents is his interpretation of what information he’s gathered and that he might be wrong. However, he shouldn’t misrepresent others or misrepresent the science. I assume that you think that’s all right because you think the situation is as dire as Guy says it is, because you know everything also.

        Like

    • Dear Mike,

      I hear you! Yes, I think there’s a lot to question as SJ has certainly shown us. At the same time, after having seen Dr. Jeremy Jackson’s talk here, I see how GM has come to the place he has in his 30+ years of research and observations. Now, I’m not excusing his sloppiness or misleading statements whatsoever, but simply saying I understand why he’s so worried for the future of humanity. In the coming week I’ll be reviewing this video and looking more closely at your criticisms of GM, especially his Beckwith allegation that SJ has said is “inexcusable”.

      Thanks for posting this!

      Like

    • “But for most of that piece he was saying that we haven’t seen any of the effect of emissions from the 70s on, yet. Just plain wrong as CO2 has a forcing effect immediately but the effects will play out over centuries with most coming within 50 years”.
      You are right, but he isn´t completely wrong. The main problem of CO2 is that the GH effect of any given emission is accumulative, year after year . “Most coming witin 50 years” … and mainly at last part of that period.

      Like

      • The main problem of CO2 is that the GH effect of any given emission is accumulative, year after year . “Most coming witin 50 years” … and mainly at last part of that period.

        Rafael, why do you say that it is mainly the last part of that so called lag period when the effects are felt? As I understand it, the effect decreases over time (which is why the bulk comes in the first 25-50 year period but the effects are seen over centuries). That implies that the day to day effects start to decrease from moment the CO2 lodges in the atmosphere, though, as you say, the effects are cumulative as the atmosphere needs to warm to get back to an equilibrium in energy out and energy in. Your comment, though, seems to be saying that there isn’t much effect until the last part of the initial 25-50 years. I haven’t seen that suggestion before.

        Like

        • “Your comment, though, seems to be saying that there isn’t much effect until the last part of the initial 25-50 years. I haven’t seen that suggestion before”.
          It was not that my intention. But:
          CO2 emitted each year of, let us say, current decade, will have a slowly decreasing direct effect for many years, because slowly disappear from the atmosphere. If we compare its direct effects in 2020/2060, the later wiil be smaller as you say.
          But we can´t forget feedback effects of warming due to that same CO2 (apart from the accumulation of CO2 over the period). Keep i mind that only water vapour increase due to the warming due to direct effect of that CO2 is considered to multiply app. by 2 that warming …
          That effect accumulates in our example over an average of 40 years – don´t forget water vapour doesn´t partially disappear from the atmosphere as CO2 does.
          In previous parts of the 50 year period that feedback effect acummulation is smaller.
          That´s why I said ” “Most coming witin 50 years” … and mainly at last part of that period”.
          I consider that if you don´t understand my point perhaps the fact of not beeing English my mother tongue is to blame …

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          • I’m not sure if feedback amplification is taken into account with the “lag” but the direct effects occur immediately to warm the planet, including the atmosphere (a little bit – 2% or so of the trapped heat). Feedback effects vary and may themselves take centuries to play out. 60% of the effects of CO2 emissions occur in the first 25-50 years but I haven’t seen any research which states that most of that 60% occurs in the latter part of those 25-50 years. So we’re already seeing much of the impact of the emissions of the last few decades and some of the impact of the emissions of the last few years.

            Like

        • As a continuation of my yesterday comment:

          “… the warming brought about by increased carbon dioxide allows more water vapor to enter the atmosphere.
          … Increasing water vapor leads to warmer temperatures, which causes more water vapor to be absorbed into the air. Warming and water absorption increase in a spiraling cycle.
          … We now think the water vapor feedback is extraordinarily strong, capable of doubling the warming due to carbon dioxide alone”.
          http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/vapor_warming.html
          For a given amount of CO2 emitted in a certain period of a few years, that “increase in a spiraling cycle” will mean “the later the worse” …

          And there are other positive feedbacks such as albedo decrease …

          Like

  10. GM posted in Climate Chaos October 7th, 2014, the following in the introductory portion of his essay:

    “Canada no longer allows some climate-change information into the public realm.”

    Hyperlink attached:

    http://www.canada.com/Federal+government+puts+polar+briefings/10128511/story.html

    Balan Note: Seems pretty common knowledge these days that this is true and correct, that the conservative Canadian political government is repressing the science on climate change.

    Like

  11. GM posted in Climate Chaos under Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loops, October 7th, 2014, the following:

    “Further support for [the idea that surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster] was reported in the 29 September 2014 issue of Nature Communications.” (see context below)

    Hyperlink attached:
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140929/ncomms6052/full/ncomms6052.html

    1. Surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster, according to a study accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (July 2013). Further support for this idea was reported in the 29 September 2014 issue of Nature Communications. It appears a Heinrich Event has been triggered in Greenland. Consider the description of such an event as provided by Robert Scribbler on 8 August 2013:

    In a Heinrich Event, the melt forces eventually reach a tipping point. The warmer water has greatly softened the ice sheet. Floods of water flow out beneath the ice. Ice ponds grow into great lakes that may spill out both over top of the ice and underneath it. Large ice damns (sic) may or may not start to form. All through this time ice motion and melt is accelerating. Finally, a major tipping point is reached and in a single large event or ongoing series of such events, a massive surge of water and ice flush outward as the ice sheet enters an entirely chaotic state. Tsunamis of melt water rush out bearing their vast floatillas (sic) of ice burgs (sic), greatly contributing to sea level rise. And that’s when the weather really starts to get nasty. In the case of Greenland, the firing line for such events is the entire North Atlantic and, ultimately the Northern Hemisphere.

    Balan Note: this does not seem controversial, but instead well documented. Doesn’t seem to warrant further fact-checking. However, as to whether or not a Heinrich Event has been triggered in Greenland, I’m reminded of the triggering of GM continual claims that the Clathrate Gun has been fired, and how we don’t even have a way to quantify the Clathrate Gun itself, let alone decide if it’s been triggered. To GM’s defense, there was record melt washing away that bridge, but I’ve not seen anywhere “[t]sunamis of melt water” rushing out bearing their vast flotillas of icebergs, unless he means the destabilization of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, in which case, I could see a case for his comments, but it’s not in Greenland. Otherwise, I’m not convinced a Heinrich event has been reached in Greenland as GM surmises. Scott, your thoughts?

    Like

    • Yeah, you’re right. Heinrich events (which are Greenland only, not Antarctica) are centuries-long and not completely understood, but a “tsunami of melt water” they are not in any sense but a loose metaphorical one. I’ve never heard anyone describe modern times as being like a Heinrich event, as the mechanism behind them probably bore little resemblance to what we’re doing right now, and Heinrich events occurred during glacial periods. The paper Guy references had nothing to do with Heinrich events, at any rate. They were measuring how quickly and in what way ice flow responded to fluctuations in surface meltwater drainage to the bottom.

      Like

  12. GM posted in Climate Chaos under Self-reinforcing Feedback Loops, October 7th, 2014, the following (see below for context):

    “Ocean warming has been profoundly underestimated since the 1970s according to a paper published in the online version of Nature Climate Change on 5 October 2014.”

    Hyperlink attached:
    http://www.climatecentral.org/oceans

    and

    “Specifically, the upper 2,300 feet of the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans may have warmed twice as quickly after 1970 than had previously been thought.”

    Hyperlink attached:
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2389.html

    1. Rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus, hence reducing plankton (Nature Climate Change, September 2013). [I did not include the two links here because they were posted a while ago.]** Ocean warming has been profoundly underestimated since the 1970s according to a paper published in the online version of Nature Climate Change on 5 October 2014. Specifically, the upper 2,300 feet of the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans may have warmed twice as quickly after 1970 than had previously been thought. **

    Balan Note: Nothing new, it would seem, and true. Yes, the oceans are absorbing 90% of emissions and thus, are warming. For me, it’s good to see GM linking to reputable sources to support his observations, and it seems reasonable what he says, as far as I can tell. Nothing worth debating or fact-checking further in what is said here for me.

    Like

  13. Just saw this posted on robertscribbler:

    Skip the first 5 minutes because it’s all introductions. I only watched a few minutes of the main portion because it’s too much like Guy and Nye and Shakhova, i.e., it’s all made up. The military telling this already eccentric scientist that it’s much worse than he knows, scientists stuck in silos, etc. LOL

    Like

    • Youtube: Evening Lecture | Jeremy Jackson: Ocean Apocalypse

      This is the same lecture delivered a year and a half earlier with some different filler material that makes it worth watching. I find the guy’s sarcastic attitude and exasperation refreshing. He is on the side of nature in the man vs nature conflict and hopes for a dramatic wake-up call that will tip the boat enough for the US to come to its senses. Katrina and Sandy were getting close, but apparently we need something bigger. He predicts that if the bigger thing happens in Florida, it will put the US into an economic depression. The insurance companies, since the recent mega-storms, and in light of the facts of global warming, have refused to take the money from Floridians in exchange for insuring their properties. The smart people in the Florida state government determined that they know the insurance business better than the insurance companies and decided to take on the risk themselves. So, when Florida goes under water, it will also go under economically and drag the country under with it.

      His sentiment of taking the side of nature over humans is not so uncommon and is only a less extreme version of GM. It is also humbler and in complete harmony with the facts. He has written 150 scientific papers and 8 books and is friends with Sylvia Earle, so he’s no slouch.

      I’m not aiming this as a knock on GM, whom I completely respect as a man who represents his feelings and intuitions–however awkwardly–not merely scientific fact. “Truth is better than proof”.

      Like

    • In a nutshell:
      Youtube: Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

      This one’s only 18 minutes. Jeremy Jackson gushes fact, anecdote and nuance from a lifetime of ocean science.

      Same ultimate message as GM.

      Like

    • Hi, Bill. Thanks for posting this.

      Before watching this I’d never even heard of Jeremy Jackson and his illustrious career, and he does come off seeming like GM, but I hasten to say, without the sloppiness. He carries much more credibility, 100+ paper published, many of them in Science, and being invited repeatedly to present at what I believe was the Naval War College (aside, seems like US Navy really gets climate change, including Richard Alley documentary Earth: An Operator’s Manual).

      What I found interesting, in addition to what you already shared, were two papers that JJ emphasized, by serious scientists doing serious science, as SJ will appreciate, unlike GM “climate scientist” but-really-Conservation-Biologist:

      Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections
      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Rahmstorf_etal_1.pdf

      Balan Note: As journalist Gwynne Dyer noted in his earlier talk posted here by you, this paper notes just how the IPCC is set up to be ultra-conservative because it works on consensus. Imagine if the US Congress worked this way; it would never accomplish anything. And yet, the IPCC has established a minimum and universally agreed upon baseline for what’s happening – a monumental achievement no doubt. And despite this, it’s clearly underestimating climate effects significantly for having done so, as much data is coming out to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Serious food for thought. From 1C, to 2C, to 4C. What’s next? I’m guessing/speculating in 2021 the 6th assessment will finally include ice and melting to dire effect, and we will be at 5.5C by 2100. I assume that this would put us on a WWII-like emergency footing in which policy makers will have much more pressure to act and we will see climate marches in the millions, not hundreds of thousands.

      The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future
      http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/DAED_a_00184

      Balan Note: Interestingly, Michael Tobis of Planet 3.0 and rip-GM-apart fame, really liked this piece. See his review here. As for me, I’d love it if anyone could give me their email and send me a copy of it as it’s behind a pay firewall now. I want to read it in full! :) FYI, in comments section in link above Tobis says, “I agree it is likely that we will see an essentially ice free Arctic this decade.”

      Like

      • Just one point, re: “I’m guessing/speculating in 2021 the 6th assessment will finally include ice and melting to dire effect, and we will be at 5.5C by 2100.”

        I would actually take that bet. There are legitimate points to make about consensus assessments and conservatism, but I think you’re painting a complex field with too broad a brush. It doesn’t imply that everything in the IPCC reports is underestimated. For the global temperature increase, specifically, you could note that those projections haven’t changed much over the 5 iterations of the report. http://www.skepticalscience.com/contary-to-contrarians-ipcc-temp-projections-accurate.html

        I tried to grab that Oreskes & Conway pdf for you, but don’t have access to Daedalus. Too bad the link in Tobis’ 2nd paragraph is dead… At any rate, it’s unclear to me how much appears in Daedalus, as this is (also?) a book… http://www.amazon.com/The-Collapse-Western-Civilization-Future/dp/023116954X

        Like

        • Thanks, Scott. I guess we’ll have to wait for six more years to find out who wins… :) I’ll check out that book, good idea. On another note, I noticed that Jeremy Jackson was quoting a scientist named (Sean Hufer/Huffer/Hoffer/Hofer) at The Postdam Institute (see 01:02:00) that we are already committed to 4C with current emissions, not including future emissions. I think this scientist is hinting at ESS, not ECS.

          Also, here is another version of previous paper criticizing IPCC reports continually revising ECS radiative forcing scenarios in Environmental Research Letters.

          Like

          • I’ll mark the calendar.

            Are you sure you linked the right paper? Or could you explain a little more what you mean?

            Like

          • Yep, that’s the right paper now. Jackson seems to be focused on the sea level rise projection, which is fair. We’ve talked plenty about how past sea level estimates were explicitly stated to be conservative because some processes couldn’t be quantified at the time. That specific problem has improved a lot, and the most recent projections look much better against observations.

            Like

        • Thanks, Scott. Interesting.

          I mistakenly thought he was talking about the ECS, not sea level rise.

          So, you’re saying with Skeptical Science article linked above, that the IPCC has accurately predicted ECS BAU estimates consistently over time? This post demonstrates that the first IPCC 1990 report shows that we’d be at 4C by 2100. Really?! Very interesting, indeed. Thank you SO much for sharing this post. Wow… This gives me more confidence in the IPCC reports, even if they are undershooting sea level rise, but I’m sure this will be in the AR6 in 2021.

          The question remaining in my own mind is how people are saying that the IPCC is under-estimating ECS report after report?

          Thanks again!

          Like

          • Yeah, it really hasn’t changed that much. Heck, the AR5 range for ECS is the same as the original 1979 Charney report, remarkably enough.

            You know, it’s funny. I hear from climate “skeptics” all the time about how the IPCC reports obviously exaggerate everything, and I hear from other corners about how the reports obviously underestimate everything…

            Like

  14. Dear Mike and Scott,

    Could either one of you guys teach me how to embed a link into text so that I don’t have to continue posting them separately, which to me is slightly annoying. I know you, Scott, showed me ages ago, but I can’t seem to find the original link. If you’d just post me that particular html I’d be grateful. Thanks in advance for your kindness and support. I’m a bit envious that both of you can do it and I can’t do it yet! ;) Cheers!

    Like

  15. Scott,

    Now that I can, apparently, post here again, do you know why I cannot post under my former handle of “Landbeyond”? It suddenly stopped working around the time Bud Nye was banned. I sent you a couple of messages but had no response. If it’s under your control I would like to use the old name again.

    Like

    • Weird- what happens when you try? I don’t see anything in the spam filter, and didn’t get any notifications of anything…
      (I don’t think I have the ability to automatically block anyone, so don’t look at me!)

      Like

      • Scott,

        Sorry to be so long getting back to you on this. What happens is that I type the comment under my old handle. All looks normal. When I hit “Post Comment” it looks as though it’s going through, but then freezes at a view of the top of the page. If I go back to the previous screen my comment is still there, as though I haven’t tried to post it.

        I set up a WordPress account, but it made no difference. (I did discover that WordPress accounts last for all eternity, like it or not, which they omit to mention when you’re creating one.)

        So, any advice, suggestions?

        Like

        • That is… strange. I don’t suppose you use that username on any other WordPress sites, do you? About the only thing I can suggest trying is clearing your browser’s cache and cookies (or trying it in a different browser you don’t normally use).

          Like

  16. Two James Hansen youtubes.
    James Hansen, Fesitival of Conscience October 9 2014
    James E. Hansen at Nobel Conference 43

    I watched them in this order. The first was published just the other day. It has a funny ending with some stragglers from the audience gathered around or passing by Mr. Hansen, interjecting comments into a discussion about various breeds of Republicans and Conservatives. Hansen has an old-timey man of the people feel about him. The surprising twist in this talk is his realization that the oil executives are ready now to make changes, they just need Congress to pass the laws for stringent carbon regulation. Primarily a fee and dividend rule that would let the market govern itself, progressively raising the fee as the economy is able to adjust. Without this, they are at the mercy of the laws of corporate governance to maximize profit, which means business as usual.

    The second video is from almost a year ago, and he hasn’t made this realization yet. He is tensely accusing special interests of obstructing the communication between science and the public, identifying the motivator as greed so grievous as to sacrifice the planet and future generations for the sake of short-term profit. So, here is another indication, in the progress from one video to the next, that some kind of tipping point has been reached in the industrial psyche.

    In both videos he says the gravest danger from climate change is the risk of catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. 14,000 years ago there was a period during which sea level rose at a rate of 1 meter every 20 years. I believe he said this was at 3C. I’ll have to watch it again. But he is clearly nervous whether we can begin to change soon enough.

    The second video, at the Nobel Conference, is a rapid walk through the entire history of climate change starting about 250M years ago, covering some basic concepts of the carbon cycle I wasn’t even aware of. How mountain building ends up putting CO2 into the air, for example. I think that’s what he said.

    He says the arctic ice cap is a reversible loss if we can implement atmospheric carbon mitigation, but not the ice sheets. Once they start to go, it’s all downhill.

    It’s a good idea to keep up with what the Doctor is saying.

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    • It must have been +2C, 14,000 years ago when sea level rose that fast, because I’m pretty sure that was the maximum temp during that period.

      At 3C in the middle Pliocene, sea levels were 20+ meters higher than they are now.

      He said once they start to go, ice sheet disintegration is a very fast, non-linear process. Rate of ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet has doubled in the last 15 years, and doubled once in the 100 years before that. “We can’t handle too many more doublings”.

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      • Again, to make sure this is clear, he would be talking about warming from the peak of the last ice age. So not +2C vs our preindustrial baseline.

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      • I’m mistaken about the shift in the “industrial psyche”. The Nobel lecture is from 2008 and was only posted Dec/2013. And, I hadn’t watched the Q&A portion when I posted the above and it turns out he made the same comments regarding energy company execs needing carbon emission regulation laws to shift the economics of the marketplace for energy. The Q&A section has some good comments from the panel, especially regarding the precautionary principle and how it’s been thrown out the window.

        Which is rapidly closing.

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      • Which is going to last longer: a small ice cube in a glass of hot water or a big ice cube in a glass of warm water?

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        • That’s really in no way a good analogy. Coming out of the last ice age, we had huge ice sheets that were likely past a critical threshold of vulnerability. (This is the best explanation for the 100,000 year duration of the last few ice ages, despite the 100,000 year orbital cycle being the weakest.) The orbital cycles brought a rise in Arctic summer sunlight which started melting the ice back, kicking up greenhouse gases to amplify the warming, along with the dropping albedo. To say that we’re going to have another “meltwater pulse” because ice extent is less way oversimplifies things- you’ve got to dig deeper to understand what was going on then. We don’t even have some of those ice sheets around anymore. And glaciers are much, much more complicated than ice cubes in a glass of water.

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        • I don’t wish to oversimplify, but let’s get things as simple as possible. From what I understand, the dominant factor in ice sheet collapse is the undercutting sea water where the sheet is dipping into the ocean. Pretty much the same thing as what is happening with the glaciers in Greenland. So, the main determinant is upper ocean water temperature, is it not?

          Second, you propose that the size of the ice sheet is a factor in how quickly sea level will rise. I would go along with this, depending which dimension of the ice sheet is significantly larger. If it is the width of the leading edge that is going into the ocean, I would say yes. If it is thickness, I would say that it would have the opposite effect, by cooling the waters into which it is submerging, slowing the rate of melt; and also a thicker piece of ice is going to require more heat to melt, and thus take longer because of that, too.

          Thus my ice cube analogy:

          1) hotter water for now and in the future vs then. I think this is a strong possiblility, since the greenhouse effect makes the forcing much greater than it was 14K years ago, and 90% of the heat generated goes into the ocean.

          2) smaller, i.e., thinner (don’t know if this is actually the case) and thus less negative feedback and less heat draw from the ocean.

          Hansen cites the accelerating rate of melt of the Greenland glaciers. The first doubling took 100 years. The next, 15 years. This is not an encouraging trend.

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          • From what I understand, the dominant factor in ice sheet collapse is the undercutting sea water where the sheet is dipping into the ocean. Pretty much the same thing as what is happening with the glaciers in Greenland. So, the main determinant is upper ocean water temperature, is it not?

            For glaciers that reach the ocean, yes, ocean temperature (which depends on warming and currents) is huge. As you mentioned, topography beneath those outlet glaciers is also huge. Air temperature and snowfall is also obviously quite important. The details of the ice shelves out in front, holding back the flow of ice, also make a big difference.

            Not all portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets reach the ocean, of course, and large amounts of the previous Northern Hemisphere ice sheets did not, either.

            Second, you propose that the size of the ice sheet is a factor in how quickly sea level will rise. I would go along with this, depending which dimension of the ice sheet is significantly larger. If it is the width of the leading edge that is going into the ocean, I would say yes. If it is thickness, I would say that it would have the opposite effect, by cooling the waters into which it is submerging, slowing the rate of melt; and also a thicker piece of ice is going to require more heat to melt, and thus take longer because of that, too.

            I’m talking about extent of the ice sheets and the local details of the areas they cover. Ice sheets have similar thicknesses, as the maximum is determined by the physical properties of ice. More important than the thickness of ice at an outlet glacier is changes in the rate of flow. No matter how thick the ice shelf, the grounding line is exposed to that warming water.

            1) hotter water for now and in the future vs then. I think this is a strong possiblility, since the greenhouse effect makes the forcing much greater than it was 14K years ago, and 90% of the heat generated goes into the ocean.
            There isn’t much of a difference here. In preindustrial times, ice sheets were basically at equilibrium with modern temperatures (setting aside wiggles like the Little Ice Age). As we warm from there we move out of equilibrium. The situation is the same as it was. The current warming is, of course, much more rapid, but ice sheets are still sluggish to respond because a whole shitload (scientific unit) of ice. The style of warming (big greenhouse now, moderate greenhouse plus sunlight then) isn’t that important- the warming itself is.

            2) smaller, i.e., thinner (don’t know if this is actually the case) and thus less negative feedback and less heat draw from the ocean.

            I know what you’re saying, but not really. Think of it the other way. Cover Canada with an ice sheet, and warm the planet a touch. How much ice suddenly finds itself in a place that’s too warm? Now repeat with just Greenland. Now, consider the changing albedo when a quarter of Canada is uncovered, vs a few bits of Greenland.

            You’d have to look at where ice sheets were at that time, how vulnerable their margins were where they sat, and a host of other things. “Ice cube in a glass of water” just isn’t going to get you very far.

            Hansen cites the accelerating rate of melt of the Greenland glaciers. The first doubling took 100 years. The next, 15 years. This is not an encouraging trend.

            It certainly is, but I’ll point out again that you need to use caution interpreting 15 years of satellite data, as natural variability is very real in Greenland. At any rate, pointing out acceleration doesn’t get you to demonstrating that 20 meters of sea level rise in the next couple centuries is plausible. The researchers know all this stuff, and they’re talking 1 meter this century with an outside chance of 2 meters, if business-as-usual.

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          • AR5 gives a figure of 98cm by 2100 (likely) but don’t include estimates that include the possible collapse of marine based Antarctic ice sheets. This RealClimate article includes a rough estimate that includes this: 1.2 to 1.5 metres with RCP 8.5. I think we’d do well to consider 1.5 metres as the upper bound, rather than 1 metre.

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        • SJ said…
          “The researchers know all this stuff, and they’re talking 1 meter this century [of sea level rise] with an outside chance of 2 meters, if business-as-usual.”

          Ah, I just read something from Jason Box that claimed a possible one meter rise just for Greenland by 2100…(maybe the other meter would be from Antarctica) I’ll keep an eye out for that source and post here once I find it. He’s noticing a lot of acceleration in melting, including the addition of the ashes from the massive fires in northern Alaska and Canada this year with increases in heat absorption and melting in those areas, of course. See his Dark Snow Project, though I’m sure you guys already know about and have studied it a bit. I suspect there is a good chance that it could go from 2 meters to 4 meters considering there’s still so much we don’t know about how feedbacks will engage, and new measurements haven’t yet been included in IPCC estimates, let alone ice at all.

          I hasten to add that Michael Mann is estimating 2 C by 2035 (Not sure if that includes aerosols or other feedbacks…) with BAU. That’s 1.1+ C of warming in just 21 years. If we are warming that rapidly, then what will ECS be at 40 years after that, or 2075? I’m guessing, 4 C, with BAU. And that’s not factoring in ESS. I still think the IPCC is way off because we are increasing CO2 emissions, not reducing them, yes? Hmmm.

          Frankly, I’d prefer not to think about it. Scott…?

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          • Not sure what you mean by “I still think the IPCC is way off because we are increasing CO2 emissions, not reducing them, yes?” The BAU scenario is to continue on our trajectory of increasing emissions.

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        • balan wrote:
          “I hasten to add that Michael Mann is estimating 2 C by 2035 (Not sure if that includes aerosols or other feedbacks…) with BAU. That’s 1.1+ C of warming in just 21 years. If we are warming that rapidly, then what will ECS be at 40 years after that, or 2075? I’m guessing, 4 C, with BAU. And that’s not factoring in ESS. I still think the IPCC is way off because we are increasing CO2 emissions, not reducing them, yes? Hmmm.”

          A change in the numbers does not matter too much. Not when you understand what they mean. This is one of the main failures of the IPCC. Policy makers don’t have the tools to understand the numbers and digest thousands of pages of science (Actually, they could if they wanted, by hiring scientists to interpret it for them, but then, that’s what the IPCC is supposed to be about, right?. That’s why there is a summary for policy makers.) But the summary is exactly where governments can put in their veto, so that they don’t have to hear what they don’t want to hear. They provide themselves with plausible deniability. This is also one of the areas where GM is strong—in pointing out what the changes in climate mean.

          I came across this quote the other day in a Hank Roberts comment:
          “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
          — Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

          https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/general-climate-discussion-1/comment-page-1/#comment-1364

          This is why GM comes across as true to a lot of people. It’s what motivates him.

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          • This is also one of the areas where GM is strong—in pointing out what the changes in climate mean.

            .
            Yes, but pointing out what he thinks the changes mean. Not quite the same thing.

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        • bill shockley wrote:
          “This is also one of the areas where GM is strong—in pointing out what the changes in climate mean.”

          mikeroberts2013 replied:
          “Yes, but pointing out what he thinks the changes mean. Not quite the same thing.”

          In the same vein of qualifying statements, I should say “what I think GM said”, because these are getting to be old memories—I haven’t followed what he is saying for a while now. I remember him saying humans can’t survive at +4C. And listing all the troubles with growing food in a warmer world and the problems with nuclear reactors when the government collapses, those kinds of things. Things you won’t find in the IPCC summary, from what I understand (haven’t looked at it myself).

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        • He’s part Jim Jones and part Unabomber. The megalomaniac/charismatic psycopath and the genius demonic prophet. For some he’s also that shy stray dog that won’t take the treat out of your hand and it just drives you crazy. Come ‘ere fella, it’s OK. Awww, come on…

          People who knew it was bad BEFORE they ran across GM don’t realize how important his message can be. The fact that some people completely buy in and drink the kool aid means no more than people drinking the Jonestown kool-aid. Birds of a feather will flock together.

          Most sane people have enough on the ball to consult second sources and will probably follow some of his links and become acquainted with the Hansens, McKibbens, Jeremy Jacksons, Gwynn Dyers, etc. Unless GM’s message is what they really WANT to hear, they will take what they need and leave the rest. GM’s message is more true than what you get from mainstream media. GM tells an insane truth—he tells the truth with lies, MSM tells mundane lies that are going to kill you surer than anything GM says. MSM very nearly IS the problem.

          I accept your objections to his lying, obstinacy, etc. He never did anything for you. To me he’s a mystery. A curiosity. And I owe him a debt of gratitude.

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          • That’s fair enough, Bill. For me, he never really offered any new information but he did gain a lot of my respect for giving up a comfortable life for an uncomfortable one (not sure about now as he seems to spend a large part of his life somewhere else). He also did point out the converging predicaments in a slightly different way. He started to lose me, though, when he insisted on seeking out the worst case scenarios (whether from raw research or blog entries) and presenting only those, as though they were written in stone, even though, we’ve seen some of them clearly were wrong (like the 50% phytoplankton loss) or preliminary requiring more research. He takes worst case projections and assumes they’re happening now. Despite some of his acolytes believing he responds to critics and in a civil way, he clearly does neither. So, for me, he has descended into the usual blogger stereotype – “I’ve figured this out and everyone else who doesn’t agree is an idiot and not worth talking to or responding to”.

            For me, he’s now largely an irrelevance because he doesn’t offer any fresh or considered insights into our predicament and doesn’t offer any reasons for trying to do anything about our predicament (except because he’s like us to). Due to the deterioration in his attitude and approach, I don’t feel any gratitude to him. And this from someone who used to devour anything that Guy wrote. It’s sad what he’s become.

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        • mikeroberts2013 wrote:
          “And this from someone who used to devour anything that Guy wrote”

          That’s hilarious—whoda thunk! So, when did you first come across GM and how did it happen?

          The phytoplankton thing gave me pause, but since then I find that the ocean condition and trajectory turns out to be a huge confirm for GM’s “vision”. He’s a little off-target on the particulars but he’s dead-on if you blur the picture a little. (And you pretty much have to throw out NTHE, but I feel like that’s an inconsequential detail).

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          • Well then, you have a different take on Guy’s message. If you don’t believe in NTHE (unless I misread you); don’t mention why to Guy as you’ll get an earful, if he replies at all. To me, that is the essence of his message – human extinction by mid century (at the latest). If you think the message is the mess we’ve made of this planet, then that message is available in multiple places, without the need to misrepresent the science, without the need to stick to old research that has been superseded, without the need to pick on all the worst case scenarios and assume they are bound to be true.

            NTHE isn’t an “inconsequential detail”; it’s Guy’s whole focus (as he’s said on his blog which now has no new posts that do not relate to NTHE in some way). Nor is it inconsequential to those to take that message on board. How should one react to that message? It doesn’t really matter. How does one react to a message that times will get very tough but there are perhaps certain responses that might not result in quite such a bad future (though I don’t see any scenario in which the environmental damage is not extremely dangerous)? Well, at least there may be some options in that scenario. Of course, wanting a mitigation path doesn’t affect the reality of the situation, but Guy doesn’t rationally explain why his message is the only one to take from the science (and the blog posts).

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        • mikeroberts13 wrote:
          “NTHE isn’t an “inconsequential detail””

          I think I’ve explained well enough what I mean by that, and at least one person got my meaning right (Lewis Gannett). If a viable pair survive, then it is not extinction. Or, if you prefer, for the robustness of the gene pool, 1 million or a hundred million. That still leaves 7+ billion to die a horrible, scary death. So, tell me, what is the difference between total annihilation and near-total annihilation?

          How do we react to it? That is totally up to the individual. Like I said, birds of a feather… Those who gather and mourn WANT it to be that way, since the only way you learn what can be done is by doing.

          mikeroberts wrote:
          “Well then, you have a different take on Guy’s message. If you don’t believe in NTHE (unless I misread you); don’t mention why to Guy as you’ll get an earful, if he replies at all.”

          No, I’m more of an end of civilization type. When Scott started pointing out the discrepancies I checked with Guy (by email) and he was contrite, but I still thought he was too consistently reckless with the facts to waste a lot of time on. To me it’s the journey more than the destination. Let’s do what we can so we have no regrets or doubts.

          mikeroberts wrote:
          “If you think the message is the mess we’ve made of this planet, then that message is available in multiple places, without the need to misrepresent the science, without the need to stick to old research that has been superseded, without the need to pick on all the worst case scenarios and assume they are bound to be true.”

          Undoubtedly so, but those places didn’t get through to me and Guy’s message did. So, why should I not be grateful? If it’s Guy vs MSM, give me Guy everyday.

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          • Fair enough, Bill. There might well be no essential difference between NTHE and NTNHE except that we don’t know if those are the only options. Guy sees NTHE as the only option but some of his most devoted followers admit to the possibility of NTNHE. But no-one can see the future in the detail that Guy claims.

            I don’t think it’s a choice between NBL and MSM, either. You won’t find much of interest in MSM, to be sure, you have to search for good information.

            I see you recognise that Guy is being sloppy with the science and don’t seem to mind that. I tend to differ. If one is trying to get people to wake up, I don’t think it can be done by spouting mistruths and misrepresenting others, because that allows people to say it is all bullshit, even though it isn’t. Sticking to the facts, as currently known, and adjusting for new information is a key part of getting the message across, I think. If deniers and truthers can both lie about the facts, then it’s just a shouting match.

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      • sj wrote:
        “Again, to make sure this is clear, he would be talking about warming from the peak of the last ice age. So not +2C vs our preindustrial baseline.”

        Do you have a picture that illustrates this?

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        • So, what was the early Holocene mean temperature and why do they use it as the reference point? Haven’t I seen graphs where, for example, 280ppm is the reference point for CO2 concentration, i.e., pre-industrial, ca. 1850? And thus, if there is a parallel graph for temp, the reference point, i.e., +0C, will be whatever was the global mean in 1850.

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          • Zero points for anomaly graphs like that are always arbitrary. The point is to show the magnitude of changes, not to tie into some absolute number (which is unknown).

            One crack at a global reconstruction from there to the present puts ~1850 around 0.5C cooler than the early Holocene, but there’s some debate about this work.

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  17. Jeremy Jackson said something about a “no new climate research” initiative, or something like that, in the context of activities in Congress. So, I did some googling and found this:


    House Directs Pentagon To Ignore Climate Change
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/23/pentagon-climate-change_n_5382067.html

    The bill passed on a party line vote. Do you vote Republican?

    I don’t vote.

    Unless Jesse Ventura runs for President!

    But, seriously, I would change my ways and vote for him. (Although his running mate, Howard Stern, is an idiot when it comes to politics). But if you gave Jesse one or two phone numbers, I think he’d be great. Noam Chomsky and James Hansen. I can see him knockin’ heads together on the floor of the Congress. LOL

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    • Lol! Dude, the Republicans are going to win because of people who don’t vote, and make climate change so much worse. Seriously, vote for the lessor of two evils once every 2-4 years, but in the in-between times, work like hell to change things. Voting once in a while has very minor impacts, but the work you do between elections has major ones. Please, vote!

      Thanks to you, Bill, for letting us know about these videos by Hansen. And Kudos to you, Scott, for clarifications. I learn so much from this! I’m especially happy to hear that the oil executives see the writing on the wall, so to speak, but horrified to see you saying, Bill, you don’t vote. Dude! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! Ouch! And it’s my foot, too, and everyone else’s, and the natural world’s. Go, vote – god dammit. :)

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    • balan wrote:
      “I’m especially happy to hear that the oil executives see the writing on the wall’

      I’m not so sure it’s like that. Hansen’s been saying this since at least 2008. It doesn’t mean anything if they are saying one thing and spending millions on lobbying to get the votes to do the opposite. Hansen may just be naiive.

      balan wrote:
      “Go, vote – god dammit”

      Screw voting—I’m running for office on the WWF ticket. If we don’t give good governance, at least we’ll give ’em REAL entertainment! LOL

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  18. GM posted October 11th in Climate Chaos in Self-reinforcing Feedback Loops the following:

    1. Rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus, hence reducing plankton (Nature Climate Change, September 2013). ** Ocean warming has been profoundly underestimated since the 1970s according to a paper published in the online version of Nature Climate Change on 5 October 2014. Specifically, the upper 2,300 feet of the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans may have warmed twice as quickly after 1970 than had previously been thought. **

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  19. Ok, calling all fact-checkers! Here’s your chance to prove your mettle.

    Dorsi Diaz at the SF Examiner wrote a piece titled, Royal Society snubs important Arctic scientists and their research.

    While shedding some light on Wadhams, et al. perceived slight by Schmidt at the recent conference title, Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models, and global impacts, organized by four professors, it looks like she’s deep into McPherson, Malcolm Light and Paul Beckwith. This immediately set off red flags for me, as I believe it should for those following this blog. Some errors I can readily identify is that the paper she quotes as being from Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL), is in fact actually published in Doklady Earth Sciences (a Russian journal), and I have no idea why Beckwith claims (though I’ve email him asking why he’s said so…), in addition to Diaz, that it was coming from LLNL. I did a search on LLNL library site, and found nothing. As well, I searched Google Scholar and found nothing indicating it was published via LLNL. The paper, while interesting in itself does warrant a separate thread unto itself, which I’ll post shortly. Another error is that Diaz is referring to Beckwith as a “Professor” with a capital “P”. Now, I know from my own personal correspondence with Beckwith that he is not a professor, but a part-time adjunct lecturer doing his PhD. There is no doubt in my mind of this fact, as he’s told me personally in email correspondence as much.

    One virtue for me of Diaz’s piece here is that she did seem to represent how Wadhams, et al. might be seeing things from their perspective better than anyone else I’ve seen so far. Eloquently, she expounds, “Imagine for a minute that you are Shakhova and her colleagues. You have been sent to view and report back on the broken air conditioner. You have observed rapid and almost unbelievable changes taking place on your expeditions. It is falling apart and leaking methane. You know that methane is many times more potent and powerful than carbon dioxide and can cause way more damage to the earth if lots of it are coming out. In fact, you have not seen such massive changes before on numerous previous expeditions. You are deeply concerned and really need to let others involved with the Arctic air conditioner know what you have seen.” As I’m in the dark about who sent them (didn’t they send themselves?), are the changes really that massive? Can they prove, if permitted to present, that there are massive changes? And if so, can’t they just publish it in peer-reviewed journal like Nature or Science, or organize their own arctic sea ice conference on methane hydrates and permafrost? Just asking.

    Additionally, she does make an interesting point, questioning why Wadhams was not able to present his very recent findings having just returned from the arctic, though he was able to present on “arctic sea ice thickness from submarines”. Here is the conference program website, as the link in the article itself is incorrect. Hmmm.

    Also, I wonder about how Schmidt was able to tweet remarks publicly that could be interpreted as disparaging, even if unintended, showing poor judgment, which heightens suspicions of unprofessional behavior and an agenda to snub Wadhams and his research team’s focus. While Wadhams was invited, Shakova and Semiltov were not invited, adding probably more to the air of suspicion and hostility. Then again, was Dr. Jason Box invited? He’s got a lot to offer, but I don’t see him complaining.

    I appreciated Diaz’s observation that “the only reporting scientists who were called upon to report on the problem [of methane] were those same who have been using those same types of conservative computer modeling methods that have traditionally proved to be seriously behind the time [sic] actual timeline followed by the Arctic ice.” Certainly, Wadhams, Shakova and Semiltov, et al., know much better about arctic methane than Schmidt and another scientist (perhaps Archer)? Do they? I suspect not.

    The most powerful comment for me came from Shakova & Semiltov themselves in the letter reproduced by Diaz:

    “To our dismay, we were not invited to present our data at the Royal Society meeting. Furthermore, this week we discovered, via a twitter Storify summary (circulated by Dr. Brandon), that Dr. G. Schmidt was instead invited to discuss the methane issue and explicitly attacked our work using the model of another scholar, whose modelling [sic] effort is based on theoretical, untested assumptions having nothing to do with observations in the ESAS.” Is this really true? If so, it totally smokes of a conspiracy to marginalize the work of Wadhams, Shakova and Semiltov, et al. Well?

    In the end, I’m conflicted. While I appreciate Diaz bringing certain aspects of the conflict to light in such an easy to read way, I wonder the implications of Diaz not being able to either tell that a paper isn’t from LLNL, or that Paul Beckwith isn’t a Professor but a part-time lecturer doing a PhD. Can she be trusted with other commentary on climate change? I’m still wondering.

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    • Regarding LLNL on Abrupt Climate Change, I did manage to find a fascinating article link as a reference on the wiki page for the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis, reference 28, by a Paul Preuss, titled, IMPACTS: On the Threshold of Abrupt Climate Changes, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory News Center, 17 September 2008. Apparently, there is a consortium of six research centers collaborating in ACC research, including LLNL. Interesting!

      First paragraph reads…

      “Abrupt climate change is a potential menace that hasn’t received much attention. That’s about to change. Through its Climate Change Prediction Program, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) recently launched IMPACTS – Investigation of the Magnitudes and Probabilities of Abrupt Climate Transitions – a program led by William Collins of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division (ESD) that brings together six national laboratories to attack the problem of abrupt climate change, or ACC.”

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    • I feel like I’ve run into Diaz before, with similar results. (Note that the final paragraph bears little resemblance to the paper it supposedly describes…) That article is a mess, and surely flows from Nick Breeze’s similar mess.

      I agree with your points. I think the “questioning why Wadhams was not able to present his very recent findings having just returned from the arctic” bit refers to Shakhova, not Wadhams. (But I’m having a hard time forcing myself to read carefully, so medium confidence!)

      I respect your opinion about how Gavin Schmidt’s tweets come across, but I’ll reiterate that I just don’t see a problem. (And remember that Wadhams was equally upset about Mark Brandon’s play-by-play.) I certainly don’t see “an agenda to snub Wadhams”, but I do see exasperation with Wadhams, which I think is fair and to be expected.

      Jason Box doesn’t do sea ice, so there’s an ironclad reason. We shouldn’t forget that they could have invited a couple hundred qualified talks if they had wanted a conference of that size. I think the “who got invited?” thing has been way over-analyzed and overblown by some people. These small conferences aren’t uncommon, and it’s just not that big of a deal. Several people get put in charge of inviting talks they think will make for a good conference, and they go out and find a handful of people to fill the slots.

      “the only reporting scientists who were called upon to report on the problem [of methane] were those same who have been using those same types of conservative computer modeling methods that have traditionally proved to be seriously behind the time [sic] actual timeline followed by the Arctic ice.” is hopelessly confused. I don’t even know where to begin.

      Is this really true? If so, it totally smokes of a conspiracy to marginalize the work of Wadhams, Shakova and Semiltov, et al. Well?

      So, again, you can listen to Schmidt’s talk if you have the time (they hadn’t actually done so when they wrote that letter) and I posted a link to the slides. Saying that Schmidt “explicitly attacked their work” is hyperbolic- he challenged the “50 Gt imminent methane bomb” stuff that has been thoroughly hashed-through, which was simply posited by Shakhova’s group. It’s not central to their research. Part of that portion of the talk (the rest of the talk concerns other Arctic feedback processes) included a soon-to-be-published model result from David Archer illustrating a physical point. That would be a pretty low bar for conspiracy.

      Like

    • I think she gets the main points. Wadhams was hostile, if not disrespectful, to the modelers when they stubbornly disregarded the real-world data and stuck with their “made-up” stuff. LOL So this is payback.

      She left out that Wadhams has been saying 2015 for many years and they only choose now to skewer him when there is one year left and nature has chosen now to orchestrate a 2-year rebound after an 11-year almost continuous decline in sea ice volume. You couldn’t write a more fitting script for denier behavior.

      I have to say Wadhams was stupid to nail himself to the 2015 cross, which he did out of bravado, emboldened by the suicidal decline in sea ice through 2012. All he had to do was stick to what he had always avowed, namely the inherent unpredicatability of nature and the huge variability comprised in the sea ice data, of which he is arguably the father, especially when it comes to volume/thickness data. He has a very large contribution to the robustness of this data set.

      Maslowski’s model confirming the exponential curve is what initially set Wadhams on his present course of predicting a 2016 +- 3 years date for effective ice-free summers. At first he was skeptical, but then the data became so overpowering that he had to capitulate. He is a conservative scientist, but prudence, i.e., precautionaryism, and common sense dictated his decision.

      An irony of the situation is that the 20-30ers—those who predict an ice-free date between 2020 and 2030, can be right if it comes in 2020, and Wadhams/Maslowski will only be off by one year. Yet, when these same 20-30ers were saying 2030-2040, Wadhams and Maslowski were pioneering the more aggressive scenario and emphasized volume over area, which has changed the models and moved the consensus almost into agreement with themselves. No good deed goes unpunished.

      And Diaz makes the excellent and most pertinent point that it is happening again with the methane controversy. Models over data. Nothing has been learned. The work in the arctic would greatly benefit from better recognition, as it needs greater funding to provide real-time monitoring and broader research, but it’s OK because ego and reputation are what really matter—prudence and precaution be damned!

      “If you’d avoid the serenades of crows,
      Out of the steeple never stick your nose.”
      – JW von Goethe

      Like

      • You might want to sit down so I don’t shock you, but I’m going to pretty much wholly disagree with that characterization. Stop the presses.

        She left out that Wadhams has been saying 2015 for many years and they only choose now to skewer him when there is one year left and nature has chosen now to orchestrate a 2-year rebound after an 11-year almost continuous decline in sea ice volume. You couldn’t write a more fitting script for denier behavior.

        Apart from another example of you describing virtually all sea ice researchers as “deniers”, it’s absolutely false that no one challenged Wadhams’ extrapolation until now. And here’s Wadhams’ history of public predictions: https://twitter.com/ed_hawkins/status/519901511149948928

        And Diaz makes the excellent and most pertinent point that it is happening again with the methane controversy. Models over data. Nothing has been learned.

        Another contention that bears no resemblance to reality.

        Maslowski’s model confirming the exponential curve is what initially set Wadhams on his present course…

        On a broader point, I’ll post this again: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/12/could-arctic-summers-be-sea-ice-free-in-three-years%E2%80%99-time/
        Unless somebody can point me to some details that clarify, it seems Maslowski’s prediction didn’t come from the model Wadhams claims it did. I haven’t been able to find any projection simulations with that model.

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        • sj wrote:
          ” Apart from another example of you describing virtually all sea ice researchers as ‘deniers’,”

          Please point out to me where I said this.

          sj wrote:
          “it’s absolutely false that no one challenged Wadhams’ extrapolation until now.”

          Please point out to me where I made this claim.

          sj wrote:
          “And here’s Wadhams’ history of public predictions: https://twitter.com/ed_hawkins/status/519901511149948928

          Here’s a more detailed and nuanced version (I decline to say what this proves since you decline to do the same) :


          Wadhams is conservative and very careful.

          Looking through older articles I see it was not Wadhams, but Maslowski who originated the up tempo thesis for Arctic sea ice collapse.

          From 2007:
          “A few years ago, even I was thinking 2050, 2070, out beyond the year 2100, because that’s what our models were telling us. But as we’ve seen, the models aren’t fast enough right now; we are losing ice at a much more rapid rate.

          My thinking on this is that 2030 is not an unreasonable date to be thinking of.

          I think Wieslaw is probably a little aggressive in his projections, simply because the luck of the draw means natural variability can kick in to give you a few years in which the ice loss is a little less than you’ve had in previous years. But Wieslaw is a smart guy and it would not surprise me if his projections came out.”

          From 2011:
          While the IPCC suggests the ice will remain in place until the 2030s, Dr Maslowski’s study also takes into account the rate at which it is thinning and calculates that it will vanish much more quickly.
          Dr Maslowski’s model, along with his claim that the Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral”, were controversial but Prof Wadhams, a leading authority on the polar regions, said the calculations had him “pretty much persuaded.”
          Prof Wadhams said: “His [model] is the most extreme but he is also the best modeller around.
          “It is really showing the fall-off in ice volume is so fast that it is going to bring us to zero very quickly. 2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that that’s when it will happen.”

          https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/comment-page-3/#comment-804

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          • Do we inhabit parallel universes? What kind of internet connection facilitates this sorcery??

            She left out that Wadhams has been saying 2015 for many years and they only choose now to skewer him when there is one year left and nature has chosen now to orchestrate a 2-year rebound after an 11-year almost continuous decline in sea ice volume. You couldn’t write a more fitting script for denier behavior.

            Like

        • sj wrote:
          ” Apart from another example of you describing virtually all sea ice researchers as ‘deniers’,”

          bill shockley wrote:
          “Please point out to me where I said this.”

          sj wrote:
          “Do we inhabit parallel universes? What kind of internet connection facilitates this sorcery??

          and quoted bill shockley:
          “She left out that Wadhams has been saying 2015 for many years and they only choose now to skewer him when there is one year left and nature has chosen now to orchestrate a 2-year rebound after an 11-year almost continuous decline in sea ice volume. You couldn’t write a more fitting script for denier behavior.”

          Yes, I am ascribing denier behavior to a certain set of individuals. Those that tweeted disrespectful distortions of Wadhams’ scientific views. And, to a lesser extent, the peanut gallery that chimed in supporting their actions. Merely voting in favor, not making any effort at scientific argument.

          Tell me, now that we’re clear what you are referring to, how my statement equates to applying this to “nearly all sea ice researchers”. I count maybe a dozen or twenty.

          But do note, the number, even if it was unanimous, does not excuse the behavior. That’s like a justification for mob rule.

          Like

          • I’d be happy to revise “nearly all” down to “every one who voiced an opinion” for this case, but it’s hardly the first time that you’ve implied Wadhams’ colleagues who don’t agree with him are “deniers”, which is why I wrote it that way.

            I assume your “disrespectful distortions” comment refers to the “no physics in extrapolation” thing. Would you kindly listen to Wadhams’ talk and report back on his admission of that point, which was then quoted disrespectfully distorted?

            Like

        • sj wrote:
          “it’s hardly the first time that you’ve implied Wadhams’ colleagues who don’t agree with him are “deniers”, which is why I wrote it that way.”

          I really don’t think you can back this claim with a direct quote. I noted the first time you asked, that my denier accusation was based on the mode and tone of the attack. I came into this discussion after 2012, so I will admit that any sea ice estimate that exceeded 2030 looked pretty silly, seeing as the WELL ESTABLISHED straight trend line pointed right at 2030, and 80% of the ice was gone by volume. But even so, I don’t remember making any such blanket accusation or even close to that. But I do believe the IPCC is, in its fundamental design, a conspiracy of governments to kowtow to their owners.

          sj wrote:
          “I’d be happy to revise “nearly all” down to “every one who voiced an opinion” for this case, but…”

          I appreciate that!

          sj wrote:
          “I assume your “disrespectful distortions” comment refers to the “no physics in extrapolation” thing. Would you kindly listen to Wadhams’ talk and report back on his admission of that point, which was then disrespectfully distorted?”

          I did listen to the talk several days ago.

          The question, as put, took him by surprise and put him off balance. He did not even attempt a defense, which he could have easily mounted but would have been undignified seeing as the question was put rhetorically.

          The disrespectful distortion refers to the distortion of his reply and to his use of the trend chart in the overall context of sea-ice loss. The models were failing miserably, the trend was threatening summer ice extinction within a few summer’s time. It was mere common sense to choose the trend over the unproven models. He had explained this on numerous occasions in the press. Schmidt, especially, and the others, were standing on some imaginary principle that says “no simple extrapolations”.

          Like

        • I also really appreciate about both Bill and Scott, they reply really quickly, whereas GM and PB, hardly ever reply, and ML has never replied, and Wadhams hardly ever, either – making it really hard sometimes to keep up a conversation on all this. Thank you guys for your passion on a topic I totally share! I’m learning heeps! I dare say we’re going to tip the scales of 2,000+ posts. I hope wordpress can handle it. 10,000+ posts anyone? OMG!

          Like

      • Hi, Bill & Scott.

        I must say I really get a hoot from reading you both go back and forth, but want to just add a couple things only.

        First, it was interesting for me to read about what other sea ice researchers think of Wadhams projections, and I agree with Bill Wadhams shouldn’t have picked one year – 2015, but kept to natural variablity and a range of years. Secondly, I’d like to make a point about the danger of using evaluations, or moralistic static judgments, about any scientists, as people are not static, but change over time. Calling some a “denier” or other word, I believe, is counter-productive. Instead, I hope one would take ownership for their own opinion in making an observation of another scientist’s work, such as “I think Schmidt and Archer’s model denies the extent of the rapidity to which sea ice melt is happening”. For me, this is very different than calling the researchers, “deniers”.

        One thing that I really appreciate about how SJ has addressed GM’s work, is not by attacking his character, but specifically addressing his comments and research through careful observations. I recall in your recent EcoShock interview talking about how nice you found GM, but that you have real issues with his work. This, for me, demonstrates your ability to differentiate the humanity in a person versus their deeds. I’d like to hope that all of us on this string can avoid taring and feathering people with moralistic judgments, and instead stick to specific observations based on measurable, affirmative, repeatable, and time-bound events, instead of labeling someone as one way out into infinity. For me, this holds us to a standard that is more human, heart-connected, and inspired by what it we would like to be a part of in this world, no matter who turns out to be right or wrong.

        Thanks for listening…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, that would be a good strategy and I, personally, try to avoid personal insults. However, I get close to that with Guy, these days. After giving him a lot of respect for what he did when realising what empire was doing and that he was part of it, he’s descending rapidly in my estimation. When he lectures kids without checking his “facts” is almost unforgivable but not engaging with serious criticism of his work, when he’s spreading such a message really is unforgivable. So I can get very close to insults now. It’s a shame, as he has the capability to give a serious message that would stand up to scrutiny and perhaps get more people to think about the issues and adjust their lifestyles, at least.

          Like

        • balan wrote:
          “Calling some a “denier” or other word, I believe, is counter-productive. Instead, I hope one would take ownership for their own opinion”

          I’m fine with any kind of rules of moderation as long as they are applied evenly. sj made a point of outlawing snarkiness a month or two ago, but apparently that went by the wayside when he couldn’t resist posting Schmidt’s bad-talk or, for example, the idiot who was bashing on Nick Breeze with absolutely no substance of fact or logic.

          Did Schmidt’s remarks improve the discussion we were already having on the merits/demerits of simple extrapolations?

          Rules of moderation are to moderate discussion. Schmidt’s remarks and the anti-breeze guy’s were geared for inflamation. So, why were they posted here?

          Like

        • Guy McPherson told me yesterday in an email that the reason he doesn’t engage with SJ is, and I quote:

          “Johnson claims methane release from the Arctic is a problem for the grandchildren. That alone makes him not worth reading.”

          Scott, have you really said this? I don’t recall you having done so.

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          • I’ve never said those words, no, but given what I think he’s trying to say, I wouldn’t quibble with his wording. He dismissed me in the comments on the Radio Ecoshock interview by saying something like “Johnson doesn’t believe the clathrate gun has fired!” as if such (fact-based) lunacy automatically discredited me. So in that sense, when the IPCC/NAS reports say that a catastrophic release of clathrates is very unlikely this century, you could say it’s explaining that it’s not expected to be a problem for us or our children. I assume he means to make the same point here.

            Now, obviously, if you extend Guy’s comment to cover the gradual emission of methane (and CO2) as the Arctic warms, it would be unfair. And if you interpreted it to mean that I think we should do whatever we want, and to hell with future generations, it would clearly bear zero semblance to me. I don’t think that’s what he meant, though.

            Like

          • Even if Scott actually did say or write that, it is a pathetically weak excuse for not engaging a serious critic and I would hope you agree, Balan. If one critiques Guy’s position, it’s obvious that one won’t agree with every part of Guy’s position and is the whole point of engaging with that critique. It seems like Guy runs away from every opportunity to seriously debate what is an incredible claim; that humans and most life forms will become extinct by mid-century. The problems mount every year, to be sure, but the actual timelines involved are one of the issues in question and Guy relies on piling up his impressions of positive feedback loops for his hypothesis, which he presents as fact.

            What has Guy become? Possibly a laughing stock but one which still influences a great many people (though still a tiny fraction of the world, of course).

            Like

        • Scott and Mike, thanks so much for your replies.

          Scott, would you indulge us and share whatever you feel moved to about your feelings and regard for present and future generations. I guess that this might go some way in supporting connection with others who might not know more about you.

          In much appreciation, warmth, and care…

          Like

          • I think that, like most generations, ours and the next faces a veritable shitload of problems– some old, some new. On top of the usual wars, inequality, and suffering, we inherit a slew of environmental problems that have accumulated to troublesome levels. I think the human race has responded well to threats and challenges before, and it damn well better do so again. I think we need serious progress on carbon emissions now, because we needed them 20 years ago. I think the big picture challenge for society is building a system that operates within ecological constraints rather than despite them, and climate is one of those constraints. I think that to make predictions of what the world will be like in 80 years is to write science fiction. So many things will happen and change between now and then, and people living in the past have generally been pretty poor at predicting the present. All you can do is carefully study the natural world to create the most accurate roadmap possible, work to navigate society towards better routes, and care for people along the way.

            Like

          • I think the big picture challenge for society is building a system that operates within ecological constraints rather than despite them, and climate is one of those constraints.

            This goes to the heart of it. In essence, I think you’re talking about sustainability and I doubt whether (almost) anyone understands what that means. It certainly means a society that looks nothing like the western model or any capitalist model. Utterly different. Not successfully meeting that challenge (and I have no illusions that “we” will) means collapse, which is kind of a sustainable way of living, stretched out over tens of thousands of years (collapse, recovery, collapse, …). We’re hitting or nearing all sorts of limits now (remember the Safe Operating Space for Humanity research or the Limits to Growth). The problem with hoping that humans respond to this challenge is that I don’t think that there is much precedence for it but there is precedence for societal collapse due to environmental limits. We’ve known the bare facts about climate, oceans and other environmental deterioration for quite some time now and have done nothing, of significance, about it (CFCs phaseout notwithstanding) as evidence by study after study showing continued degradation. Humans will not rise to this challenge until there is no chance of significant mitigation or, if they do, will use panic measures that may make things worse. In this respect, I’m on the same page as Guy, except that I recognise that the exact future state is unknowable.

            “A veritable shitload of problems” is a gross understatement.

            [All of the above is simply my opinion, of course, informed by simple physics and maths.]

            Like

        • Well, that’s probably more reason to avoid using the Arctic News blog as an information source but, sadly, it will encourage some to quote it even more. She seems to be as convinced of the methane threat as much as any doomer, so her work, like the mysterious Carana’s will be tainted with that belief.

          Like

    • Here is more information about Dorsi Diaz at the SF Examiner in her own words, taken from her comments in this article, presently at 88 comments when this was taken. I’m only posting her replies, not the context in which they were written, and context is important, so if you want the context as I think you should, go here and read in the comments section. Apparently, too, she’s been notified of the mistake of posting the wrong link to Beckwith’s Lawrence Livermore Labs paper.

      Dorsi Lynn Diaz Will Daniels • 2 days ago
      I have been writing about climate change (on the web) for over 10 years. Methane (Arctic mostly) has always been the topic I have been most interested in. My background is in business and visual communications. All of the links I have posted in the above article are credible sources. I think we need the scientists and educators to speak for themselves and their research, and I can see that is not happening on a fair playing field. Climate change was not even recognized as a real “problem” until very recently, long after I started writing about it. So I have been through the peaks and valleys and watched the nightmare unfold before us. I have been following this trend closely, how journalists report on it, peoples reactions to it and I analyze the responses, both good and bad. My own personal belief is we are deep trouble and need a Hail Mary pass at this moment in time. I do believe methane is going to be the game changer here, and the fact that it’s not getting more attention based on the scientific observations and unknowns greatly concerns me. I am most concerned about my childrens and grandchildrens future. With the mounting evidence of anomalies concerning methane I believe we should be exercising the precautionary principle here: 
”The precautionary principle or precautionary approach to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.”
”The principle is used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.”

      Dorsi Lynn Diaz Dorsi Lynn Diaz • 2 days ago

      Yes Guy is a member of the methane group and there are many scientists/professors/educators who believe we have already fired the Clathrate gun. That group is to discuss just methane and news coming out about it. But I would venture to say many in that group believe we have already fired that gun too based on what we have read and studied (both science modelling and field observations from scientists)





      Dorsi Lynn Diaz Mark Flaming • 2 days ago
      You know as well as I that is incorrect data and not representative of the Arctic situation at all. Whoever made this “map graphic” up is a big part of the problem, and are obscuring the true threats, problems and challenges. I can’t believe some of the absolutely absurd comments deniers here are making. You deny reality and truth at you and your own childrens peril. We are not in the stone age people,. wake up and do your research and stop listening to the fossil fuel agenda. You would rather follow the status quo and listen to your fossil fuel driven denialist websites and propaganda instead of listening to what the scientists and science has to say, Google is your friend, if you haven’t noticed all the “record breaking” climate caused disasters the last few years try turning on your TV or reading the news. Knowledge is good.

      Like

      • I like someone who emphasizes the history of the debate. There is so much that can be learned from that. This lady makes good sense. Common sense > consensus.

        Like

        • Bill, could you be more specific about what precisely Diaz said that you think makes good sense. If you don’t specify, then it’s easy for others to think that you agree with everything Diaz says here. Cheers!

          Like

        • Balan wrote:
          “Bill, could you be more specific about what precisely Diaz said that you think makes good sense. If you don’t specify, then it’s easy for others to think that you agree with everything Diaz says here. Cheers!”

          I think it would be easier (for me, especially lol) if you pointed out what I should maybe not agree with. My first post has the things I really care about, i.e., the absurdity of the Wadhams persecution. Regarding whether the clathrate gun has been fired, it depends how it is defined. Are there elevated methane levels in the arctic and possibly around the world due to arctic shelf seeps? I’m pretty sure there are. Is it irreversible and self-sustaining? I don’t think it is, yet. Is it going to be, regardless of what we do, because of the baked-in warming. I think we are very close to the line—can’t say which side we’re on.

          Hansen thinks we can still turn it around, but I wonder what his views are on the sensitivity of the methane feedback. I think they are probably conservative (optimistic).

          But, really, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Goethe said, you never find out what you can do by meditating on it. You only find out through action. And I think that should be the way forward.

          Like

      • For those interested, here is Dorsi Diaz’s reply to a poster…

        Dorsi Lynn Diaz … • a day ago
        Thank you … for the comment and I will look into that link. I have looked at both Scott Johnsons and Michael Tobis’s opinions on the methane subject and find them to be very opposed to the idea that methane could prove to be a catastrophic problem. I disagree with this stance and believe the Precautionary Principle should be in play in regards to methane. The field scientists are observing huge anomalies in both the Arctic and in methane venting, yet their observations seem to be not only getting mocked in some cases (consider what happened at the Royal Society on Wadhams presentation) but also deliberately being downplayed in some instances. If you listen to the interview here, even Shakhova discusses her concerns about the lack of mainstream news this is getting. This is not her fault, she goes up there and does her job, it’s up to all of us (and MSM and the alternative news) to be helping spread the word about what scientists are up seeing up there.These discoveries should be a huge wake up call to every country in the world. I have also noticed that there are some very ominous headlines just this week :

        “A major study recently published in New Scientist found that “scientists may have hugely underestimated the extent of global warming because temperature readings from southern hemisphere seas were inaccurate,” and said that ACD is “worse than we thought” because it is happening “faster than we realized.”

        and here:

        ‘Our planet is on a hot streak’:

        “Over the weekend, NASA announced that last month was the warmest September since global records have been kept. What’s more, the last six months were collectively the warmest middle half of the year in NASA’s records—dating back to 1880.”

        and even the Pentagon is chiming in:

        ‘Climate Change an ‘Immediate Risk,’ Pentagon Says’:

        “The U.S. Department of Defense released a new report this week that says climate change poses an “immediate risk to national security.” The so-called road map is designed to help the military navigate and prepare for increasing global temperatures, changing rain patterns and rising sea levels”

        and here:

        “The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,” WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. “We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board. We are running out of time.”

        And again here:

        ‘Ice loss sends Alaskan temperatures soaring by 7C’:

        “Scientists analyzing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaskan outpost of Barrow have linked 7C rise to the decline in Arctic sea ice, reports Climate News Network. Gerd Wendler, the lead author of the study and a professor emeritus at the university’s International Arctic Research Center, said he was “astonished”. He told the Alaska Dispatch News: “I think I have never, anywhere, seen such a large increase in temperature over such a short period.”

        If we look at the bigger picture we can see that we have obviously triggered major changes in the Earths systems and we have no idea now how this is going to play out because we have never experienced such rapid changes in the climate (in “our” time as a species anway) Modelling methods obviously were way off the mark as these things were not supposed to happen for many years, yet look at how sensitive the climate systems are as we are now discovering! Look at how much is happening with just a relatively slight change in global temperatures… and after learning this, we should be wondering how sensitive the Arctic/methane systems are, since those systems going “kaput” pose a considerable risk to our life here as a species.

        So if you look at the overall assessment of how we are actually “doing” plus WHAT we are actually “doing”, what changes we are seeing, and take into effect how fast these changes are happening, I don’t think we can really in all honesty dismiss any ideas such as McPhersons. He may not get every single point exactly right to the exact “t”, but he is looking at the wealth of evidence which supports a very dire scenario, none that any of us want to see. And McPherson is one of thousands that see extinction as a very real possibility, it’s just that he happens to put a voice to what we all fear could happen. And for that we should be grateful that he is discussing these very real possibilities. I am sure he would love to be wrong on this. I think the time is long past due for us to be having these very real discussions about what is happening instead of things being swept under the carpet like they have been in the past.

        Myself, I don’t think we can stop this chain of dominoes from falling at this point in time, but I could be wrong, and I hope to God I am.

        Like

      • This all reads good to me, but I just saw from one of your earlier posts that she’s all into Guy and Malcolm. I guess she is a right-brain type. The urgency is real and immediate but the consequences are not quite as horrifyingly terrible if you don’t believe in Guy and Malcolm. Hansen’s body language says he feels things slipping away. Same as Dorsi.

        Like

  20. In 2012, a paper was published in the Russian academic journal Doklady Earth Sciences, by the title, The Degradation of Submarine Permafrost and the Destruction of Hydrates on the Shelf of East Arctic Seas as a Potential Cause of the “Methane Catastrophe”: Some Results of Integrated Studies in 2011.

    I’d like to hear comments on the implications of this paper, as Paul Beckwith asserts, that it confirms what AMEG has been saying about methane emissions, that indeed, methane is coming out in higher quantities than usual, and that a catastrophic release could overwhelm ECS within decades. Personally, I’m skeptical. No time to read it right now, though I will hopefully by tomorrow. Enjoy!

    Like

    • (That link wasn’t working for me, so I replaced it with another I found.)

      Well, I don’t see anything there to support Beckwith’s contention, as you’ve stated it.

      Like

    • A quick comment is that the paper doesn’t seem (I scanned for it) to show any history; it’s about studies in 2011 only, with hopes for future research in the ESS. Without a history, it’s impossible to know whether anything they find is new or whether the rate of outgassing is increasing.

      Like

    • Dear ALL,

      IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION!!!

      I just received an email today from Paul Beckwith that the paper in question, is not what Diaz posted, but here:

      Review of Methane Mitigation Technologies with Application to Rapid Release of Methane from the Arctic

      Scott, in your estimation, does this lend weight to Beckwith’s claim that LLNL is confirming what AMEG has been saying all this time.

      BalanNote: haven’t actually had time to read the paper myself, but you can be rest assured, I WILL. :)

      Like

      • Nope, although it’s more relevant than that other paper. Still nothing about Arctic emissions supposedly increasing catastrophically today. I’m guessing this is their money passage, a general comment in the conclusions section: “In our review of Arctic methane sources, we found that significant gaps in understanding remain of the mechanisms, magnitude, and likelihood of Arctic methane release. No authors stated that catastrophic release of methane–e.g., hundreds of Gt over years to decades–is the expected near-term outcome. But until the mechanisms are better-understood, such a catastrophe cannot be ruled out… Whereas most authors indicated that a catastrophic release is
        unlikely, a chronic, climatically significant release of Arctic methane appears plausible. Such a release could undermine or overwhelm gradual emissions reductions made elsewhere, and thus warrants technological intervention.”

        Pretty weak stuff to found an emergency group on.

        Like

    • Hi, pressedforcitations. Before posting a paper like this, would you be so kind as to explain its significance as you see it to this thread, as it helps me decide if I want to open and read it or not, saving me lots of time.

      Thanks!

      Like

        • Thanks Will, and sorry Balan, I was a little pressed for time when posting, I promise to be more conscientious should I find similar links in the future.
          Yes, it’s an unrecognised microbial methane sink that may have a significant impact. By posting this I wanted to, on the one hand, stress again that there are unknowns in both directions, but also, partly, ask, if anyone knows of paleo-reserach into similar sinks. And, on a more personal, human level, whether such info is cause for celebration and commercial interest…. :)

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    • “… microbially mediated sulphate-coupled methane oxidation, resulting in the precipitation of authigenic carbonates…. their role as active and unique microbial habitats capable of continued methane consumption has not been examined. Here we show that seep-associated carbonates harbour active microbial communities ….”

      So is this an example of ecopoiesis — life making a place for itself to live? Some of the organisms produce the carbonates, and they (or their descendants, or related organisms, or symbiotes?) can live in the carbonates, and — is this how the deep biosphere comes about, sedimentary layers produced by biological activity get buried and become the vast layers of limestone and dolomite? Just how big an addition is this to the biomass living on the planet?

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      • I think you’re right, it’s a good example of that. Small amount of biomass, though, I expect. Pretty limited in extent.

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  21. Apparently the “earlier” version of Maslowski’s model was based on the assumption of ocean heat flux being the dominant factor in sea-ice loss. Perhaps he began his modeling attempt by making this simplification and discovered that by so doing, the model results closely matched what was actually happening. Rob Dekker’s post closely matches the way I’ve framed the issue:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/09/unforced-variations-sep-2012/comment-page-9/#comment-250518

    For anyone interested, the linked thread from RealClimate looks to have a lot of good source material.


    In the comment that followed, Dekker refers to work by Julienne Stroeve, one of the presenters at the Royal Society conference:

    Stoeve’s assessment of how well CMIP5 models replicate ice volume distributions :
    http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/working_groups/Polar/presentations/2012/stroeve.pdf
    which is… not well at all.

    And that we may be aguing about the lower-end of the Bell curve, while Nature may be following the higher end :
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract


    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/09/unforced-variations-sep-2012/comment-page-9/#comment-250520

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    • No mention of Shakhova despite her having the only decadal data set for the region of the world’s oceans with by far the largest store of methane hydrates. Hard to take Sinclair seriously here.

      Sinclair seems to have his head better oriented wrt to Greenland ice loss where he says the water runoff this century will lead to minimum 1 meter sea level rise. Not counting Antarctica. Vs. IPCC 1 foot for the entire world. Sinclair seems to be in rough agreement with Hansen. This is based on how many times he thinks the rate of water loss could double this century.

      Sinclair’s Greenland video (thanks to Balan):
      Youtube: Greenland 2014: Follow the Water

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  22. Of course you know only Venus, Earth and Mars have any atmosphere over any sort of terra firma surface – citing Venus 470ºC atmosphere as an example of a “runaway greenhouse” is spurious – Mars’ atmosphere is also about 98% CO2 – of course you know the important difference (other than distance from the Sun) is that Venus’ surface air pressure is about 100 times greater than Earth’s, while it’s about 100 times less on Mars – main reason it’s so cold (−140 °C = 220 °F) – Hansen should be taken to task along with McPherson for proposing this sort of nonsense

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    • It’s uncontroversial that Venus’ atmosphere got to where it is as a result of a runaway greenhouse. You should do some reading. It should go without saying that a mostly-CO2 but tenuous atmosphere is not an equivalent greenhouse to a mostly-CO2 and thick atmosphere. We’re talking about molecules of CO2 (or any other greenhouse gas) absorbing specific wavelengths of infrared radiation. So you need molecules to do it.

      Air pressure does not explain Venus’ temperature. Radiative physics does.

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    • Hansen changed his mind about Earth potentially going Venus but, according to you, his reasons in the first place were wrong, and therefore his flip-flop must have been correcting a wrong for the wrong reason. Well, we all know those NASA moon-walking videos were staged and NASA really are bad at physics.

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          • I don’t think it was sarcasm, Balan. Guy’s blog has run a subthread on the veracity of the moon landings. Nothing would surprise me but I had thought all of the arguments for a hoax had been rebutted. However, I hope we don’t drag that up here. I think Bill used it because he thinks it’s obvious that it was a poor hoax thus showing NASA (where Hansen worked at the time of the Venus stuff) to be useless at physics. That’s nonsense, regardless of whether the moon landings were manufactured.

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        • mikeroberts2013 wrote:
          “I don’t think it was sarcasm, Balan. Guy’s blog has run a subthread on the veracity of the moon landings. Nothing would surprise me but I had thought all of the arguments for a hoax had been rebutted. However, I hope we don’t drag that up here. I think Bill used it because he thinks it’s obvious that it was a poor hoax thus showing NASA (where Hansen worked at the time of the Venus stuff) to be useless at physics. That’s nonsense, regardless of whether the moon landings were manufactured.”

          No, I’m a huge fan of Hansen AND his physics. He leaves me in the dust on a lot of stuff. And I DO BELIEVE IN MOON LANDINGS.

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          • No, I’m a huge fan of Hansen AND his physics. He leaves me in the dust on a lot of stuff. And I DO BELIEVE IN MOON LANDINGS.

            That’s good to hear, Bill. And a clear departure from what many of Guy’s followers believe. And Guy even regards Hansen as dishonest.

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      • Yes, Balan, I was being sarcastic, and I apologize to Jack Gabel who is only mistaken, (IMO), and deserves a better welcome to the board!

        Humbly, bill shockley

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  23. Youtube: Will Steger at Nobel Conference 43

    Adventure. Back to nature. Heinberg, Wadhams, Chomsky, Hillary + Nansen, London, Thoreau rolled into one with no dilution. Amazing perspective from the top (and the bottom) of the world. Good maps, too.

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    • Interesting talk! I found him really persuasive and heart-felt in his sharing. Also, noticed that he thinks all the arctic ice will have melted by 2020s. Finally, I found his comparison with the Inuit and modern people important, in that we must reduce our materialism in order to survive, such as entitlements to travel whenever we feel like it, etc. His admiration for Hansen is notable, as well. Didn’t even know these Nobel Conferences existed until now. They look interesting, and held annually.

      Bill, not sure how you could compare Steger to all the people above you do, as they are so different to me. Thanks for posting video, regardless. Interesting talk…

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    • Balan wrote:
      “Bill, not sure how you could compare Steger to all the people above you do, as they are so different to me.”

      I assure you, I felt it when I said it! lol Seriously, I can remember some of the associations I felt as I watched.

      Thoreau: back to nature, Steger’s intent in building the log cabin in the woods without even a road in was to simplify and to immerse in nature, very much like Thoreau’s.

      London: The husky pack and sleds, obviously, but also the meaningful and substantive interactions with the Inuits and the communication of his experience back to the public.

      Hillary + Nansen + Scott + Amundsen: Needs not be said—childhood heroes he went out and emulated and knew so well.

      Wadhams + Shakhova: He pretty much quoted them word for word in refuting criticisms of Scott’s bad trip where 5 men died, pointing out that people who have not been there do not know what they are talking about. Not to mention he is an arctic explorer who has hiked the arctic with scientists.

      Heinberg: There was one acute Heinberg-ism that I forget now but I’ll get it next time through.

      Chomsky: His moral logic. I forget what the particular was. It was near the end as he was summing up.

      Balan wrote:
      “Also, noticed that he thinks all the arctic ice will have melted by 2020s.”

      Actually, that was another Wadhams-ism. He chose one year: 2020. This was in October, 2007. Those big melt years seem to do things to people.

      Balan wrote:
      “I found his comparison with the Inuit and modern people important, in that we must reduce our materialism in order to survive, such as entitlements to travel whenever we feel like it, etc.”

      Yeah. Steger said the Inuit are tough, resilient, adapatable people. They will survive. But THEY want to know how WE will survive. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

      There’s your Heinberg. And Dmitri Orlov, too.

      Balan wrote:
      “His admiration for Hansen is notable, as well”

      Loved that.

      Balan wrote:
      “Didn’t even know these Nobel Conferences existed until now. They look interesting, and held annually.”

      Yeah, this one (2007) was about global warming, so it was kind of up our alley. I tend to get stuck on a subject. You may have noticed. Other topics fade away.

      Glad you liked it and thanks for the comments.

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  24. Bill Shockley wrote: “The phytoplankton thing gave me pause, but since then I find that the ocean condition and trajectory turns out to be a huge confirm for GM’s ‘vision’. He’s a little off-target on the particulars but he’s dead-on if you blur the picture a little. (And you pretty much have to throw out NTHE, but I feel like that’s an inconsequential detail).” This assessment seems to me pretty much right. That is, I agree with it.

    Scott, I gather that you do not agree with it. You made a comment just above on the 17th to the effect that humans have faced dire trouble before and have gotten through. It suggests that you don’t see the present as a uniquely dangerous period in our history (correct me if I’m wrong). But the fascinating thing in this discussion is that most of the participants, including the most vehemently anti-Guy, do in fact agree that things are looking very dicey indeed. Not as in curtains by 2035 perhaps, but down the road toward the end of the century. What’s remarkable in fact about this gigantic and disputatious but for-the-most-part good-natured debate is how much the participants not only agree, but also fit snugly in what we might call the doomsday camp. Except for you, Scott. But I have to say that I wonder about even you. Sometimes you betray a hint that you doubt the inevitability of climate solutions.

    Which makes me wonder. Why waste energy assaulting Guy McPherson? Who cares if he’s wrong about NTHE by 2040 or whatever it is? What the heck difference does it make if civilization ends up kaput by 2060 or 2100? What difference would it make if we’re on track for industrial collapse “as late as” 2140? That’s still just a nanosecond away!

    If I were Guy I’d be flattered, touched, and a little amused by the attention you all give him. It’s one shade removed from a semi-affectionate roast. The way you talk about him! It’s like a beloved uncle has gone mad and everybody’s hoping he’ll come to his senses. Look, as Shockley suggests, Guy does get credit for putting focus on the fact that this IS an emergency. How much in the end does it matter that the focus is a bit blurred?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do I really need to explain, yet again, why it’s not good to have someone telling people that all the climate scientists know we’re all about to die, and there’s nothing we can do about it, so you might as well retreat to a hut in the woods to buy a couple years time before the radioactive zombies (artistic license) get you? When that story is just bullshit? And we are instead at a critical point, needing to push for change? And a number of people are being sucked into whirlpools of panic and depression, believing the bullshit this person presents as common fact?

      He’s not “almost right”. He has painted a green sky with spiky, metal clouds. Blurring isn’t the problem. This argument is beyond ridiculous. It’s like defending someone proclaiming that an asteroid will destroy life on Earth next Tuesday by saying, “Hey, at least he’s reminding people that asteroids exist.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is in reply to SJ. You’ve refuted NTHE with astounding overkill. And in any case, the number of people who actually buy Guy McPherson’s timeline is extremely small. What is the crusade here? At this point it’s hard to believe that you’re motivated on behalf of credulous doomsday people. As you know, most of them aren’t listening to you anyway. The terrible fact of the matter is that once one gets beyond the false idea that NTHE MUST be three or so decades away–otherwise, it’s not “near term”–the case against McPherson rapidly loses steam. Who CARES if he’s wrong about the end of the world arriving on schedule at midnight New Year’s Eve, 2045? That’s not important! It’s an incredibly minor issue now that it’s been–thanks in no small measure to you, Scott–painstakingly refuted. This blog is a clockwork energizer bunny that just keeps going along two paths. One path takes us to the conclusion that GM is wrong about the End day after tomorrow, but is probably right about the End next month, figuratively speaking. Just about everybody speaking up here takes this view with small variations. The other path, Scott, is yours, which sends us to the conclusion that any predictions about what might happen 80 years from now is “science fiction” and therefore somehow not a mortal threat. Frankly, that’s irresponsible. We OBVIOUSLY face a mortal threat. To downplay the dangers with an obsessive focus on the wrongness of Guy McPherson’s near term strikes me as, frankly, weird. What on earth is the point of that?

        Liked by 1 person

        • What is the crusade here?

          Writing a blog post and then answering comments made on my blog is a crusade?

          I explained why I wrote this post in the post. I think it’s been successful, because I can tell that people who go googling after hearing Guy’s message (from radio and TV interviews) find my post. That’s what I wanted– for there to be something out there to help people judge what they’ve heard.

          There’s a community of people out there intensely interested in societal collapse, and signs of collapse, and predicting the timing of collapse. I understand and recognize the concerns but don’t really agree with the conclusions. But even if I thought BAU drove us to societal collapse by, say, 2100, that would be an entirely different kettle of fish than 2040. You can do a hell of a lot in 60 years- for better or for worse. The focus should be on the actions that make a different future. If you’re convinced that we won’t take the right actions, that’s fine, but don’t tell me that I’m “downplaying the dangers” just because I disagree, try to clarify what the scientific research does and doesn’t tell us right now, and argue for those right actions.

          I want people to be able to have rational discussions based on shared, accurate facts. That’s one way to describe the reason I teach and write about science. Is that alright with you?

          Liked by 1 person

          • “The focus should be on the actions that make a different future.” Yes! I couldn’t agree more. It’s not that this blog doesn’t perform a service: of course it does. People should understand that we’re not looking at a scheduled End Time that can’t be canceled. Absolutely. But Scott, your takedown of the McPherson timetable carries another theme that I don’t think I’m inventing: that longer-term worst-case concerns are also farfetched. You’re pooh-poohing doom worry in general. You don’t want to talk about 80 years from now on the grounds that it’s sci-fi. So, here’s a possibility. In the course of making a good argument against NTHE, are you also (perhaps unintentionally) reassuring your readers that dire talk ipso facto is wacky talk? If so, is that a good idea? Is it wise to make reassurance your priority at a time when the sense of emergency is essential?

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          • It depends on the timeframe of the dire talk. Because of 1) the timeframe over which the climate system responds and 2) the ever-expanding range of possible futures dictated by human actions. As long as #1 is accurate, there’s nothing wrong with people talking about “if we continue on x emissions trajectory, we could be looking at impact y by date z”. That’s different from “So we’re not dead in 20 years- we’re dead in 80 years so what’s the point of arguing?”

            If it seems like I’m “pooh-poohing doom worry in general”, it’s largely because the things brought to me here are typically the most extreme claims the internet has to offer. In (all) other venues, where climate “skeptics” dominate, I’m sure I’m called hyper-alarmist for constantly pooh-poohing the lousy arguments against anthropogenic climate change.

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        • SJ said…

          “The focus should be on the actions that make a different future.”

          “I want people to be able to have rational discussions based on shared, accurate facts.”

          Gotta say that I really respect SJ for this, and really hold dear to my heart acknowledging accurate facts, and my focus being on actions that make a different future. Though GM’s facts on methane hydrates might not be accurate, so much else of what he is saying is, and for me personally, GM’s false admission, for better or worse, has woken me up about climate change, me being actively involved in this blog, for example. And, yes, I found Scott’s blog here when trying to get a second opinion. Both GM and SJ have been really important in my developmental awareness around climate change, and I’m grateful to both of them. And I think it’s important to remember that both paths, a via positiva and negativa can have similar results, depending on who is listening. At the same time, I really value accurate facts, and anyone whose in error, I would like them to correct themselves just on principle alone – that how can we trust what someone is saying unless it is based on something measurable, repeatable, and time-bound. Here is to accuracy in everyone’s information, on on this string, fact-checking GM’s posts.

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          • But, Balan, it’s not just he methane question that Guy’s been wrong on, there are plenty of other areas also. He consistently misrepresents the science. He certainly could deliver a message that does have sound science behind it and still be able to impress on people that we need to seriously alter our behaviours. When he so often misrepresents the science, relies on discredited blogs and refuses to engage seriously with critics (preferring insults or nothing), then no message he pushes will be taken on board by many people. As an agent of change, he’s a dud, because a message of NTHE doesn’t demand change (though that’s not a reason, in itself, to challenge his message).

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    • Lewis,

      Do you understand what Guy’s message is? It’s that virtually all life (and he’s not totally sure about the thermophiles) will be gone by some time between 2030 and 2050 (and nearer the earlier time in the northern hemisphere). It’s not that civilisation will end by that time. There is a big difference. There is also a big difference between NTHE by 2050 and end of civilsation by 2140. This is, essentially, the crux of the disagreement. I think it’s pretty difficult to envisage a path where humans somehow see the light and perform miracles with extracting CO2 and methane from the atmosphere, just in time to avoid dangerous climate change across the planet. But that isn’t the same as saying that all of the evidence point to NTHE by 2030-2050. Guy doesn’t entertain any watering down of his message. Try it and see what response you get, if you get one at all.

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      • Thanks Mike. I’ve been reading this blog pretty much from the start. Yes, I do understand that Guy prophesies biosphere death within decades. “The End is near.” And actually for a time I wondered if Guy’s new version of this old idea might catch on. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s now clear that most of the public simply doesn’t want to hear about climate change. Worry about climate does not stalk the land. Which is a little odd, wouldn’t you say? It’s not as if climate news has been reassuring. Consider the announcement that the irreversible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is now underway. Climate headlines figure in American TV news almost every night, in fact. It’s a regular feature with Brian Williams on NBC. The public hears that atmospheric CO2 has gone through the roof, that respected scientists like James Hansen say that warming to 2C would be a serious problem, that other respected scientists like Michael Mann now talk about 2C by 2035, and nobody particularly cares. It doesn’t seem likely that NTHE will seize the national imagination anytime soon. So I don’t fret that Guy McPherson’s dark science will maim the minds of countless American children. It’s funny, though. What actually does worry me? The very fact that the public shows no sign of doomsday anxiety. The prevailing calm: it’s eerie. It’s Twilight Zone. To be blunt, I don’t get the menace of Guy McPherson. (Maybe it’s a “Guy thing.”) He’s not the problem.

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        • Lewis, indeed, Guy is a bit of a side show and will have no impact on how this plays out, except for the gullible few who see him as some kind of messiah who can speak no mistruth. For them, his message is extremely important because it can seriously affect their futures, regardless of how climate plays out. It can also affect how they get involved in any response to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Guy feels that people should be told the truth, however bad but, instead he peddles his version of the truth which is backed up mainly by his poor understanding of climate science and his beliefs in how only a single scenario is possible and what the impacts of that scenario will be.

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        • Hello, Lewis. Thanks for sharing your insights here about GM.

          For me, personally, it’s about honesty, integrity, and not trying to change others, but change my own life more completely, as hard as that is, in an attempt to change the world. At a certain point, one can change one’s own life radically, but changing the system politically is another one entirely. Certainly, on an ethical basis, there are times when lying is justifiable – especially when the motivation is to save a life, or many lives; presumably, in GM’s case, countless species on Earth. Perhaps those hyping the science showing dramatic negative impacts and feedbacks are justifying their often misleading analysis because they want to enact the precautionary principle and err on the side of caution when they see just what a terrifying trajectory we are on presently as a civilization. I can certainly understand this justification, however, I prefer to know the facts and act on those, like Scott. It’s enough for me, personally, to just know that we have less than ten years before the arctic ice is gone. To know that we don’t know enough about methane hydrate plumes yet to know if we are in a tragic emergency, and that though methane hydrates are “unlikely” to destabilize in the short-term to dangerous levels, we still don’t know enough and must learn more. For me, this information supports making significant and meaningful choices that will affect the outcome now and into the future. I believe in many ways that both GM and SJ care about future generations and righting this ship, but if I had to go with one, I’d prepare as if things were happening as fast as GM predicts, and expect the outcome to be more like what SJ is predicting based on his observations of the science. Plan for the worst, expect the science (“best”). I think right now I fall between GM and SJ. Funny…

          One thing for sure, having listened to GM way back in April of this year touched me to my own death and that of everything I’ve ever known, and no doubt, it has unlocked creative resilience within me that is inspiring, powerful, and radically transformative. This would not have happened if I had been unable to mourn and move through my own grief, but having done so tapped into amazing energies, the most notable being my participation in this blog! Really ironic, isn’t it? One of my favorite story tellers, Ken Burns, said the best stories aren’t when 1+1=2, the best stories are when 1+1=3. I just love that. There is a greater truth than the rational mind, undoubtably, that makes the mystery of life and love emerge – or a ground of being that is unquantifiable, ineffable, and infinitely complex. It can only be described with silence…

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          • Balan, thank you for your heartfelt message. I wholly agree with you about the importance of accuracy. I’d like to acknowledge something: a lot goes on in this blog that his nothing to do with GM, con or pro, and it’s often fascinating. For example, why is Greenland now melting at Eemian-like rates in air temps 8C cooler than the Eemian’s? (What a lovely & unnerving question: distilled by SJ.) My point is simple. In this era of climate crisis the main danger isn’t that alarmists are scaring the public with crazy science. It’s that optimists are reassuring the public with science that’s far too tame. I’m not accusing SJ of the latter trend. But I wonder how many read this blog and think: “Thank God! We’re not facing the worst human predicament after all!” Should this be a concern? What do you think, Balan?

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        • Lewis wrote,

          “I wonder how many read this blog and think: “Thank God! We’re not facing the worst human predicament after all!”

          Hi, Lewis. I think this is of great concern, especially when considering that the IPCC reports are focused yet enough on ECS (short-term, not including feedbacks) and not ESS (long-term, including feedbacks) warming… This has massive implications for so-called modern civilization, and is evidence for the limitations, despite all of its numerous benefits, of its myopic short-term thinking based on hedonistic desires of materialism, anthropocentrism, and more. Furthermore, as Michael Mann notes, what keeps him up at night are the “unknown unknowns” of climate change, which basically includes all we don’t know or understand about the feedbacks we are now triggering with a less than 1 C change in overall global temperature, and the resultant effect of losing our cooling system.

          At the same time, I understand SJ’s position between those who deny climate change is human caused, and those exaggerating climate change effects, and the challenges of finding balance and accuracy.

          For me, personally, I can see the immense challenge ahead, as can all of us on this blog I’m sure, and I think we are in for a great emergency if policy makers do not make GHG emissions reduction commitments at Paris next year. We need, more than anything, a full transition to renewable energy within less than 20 years. Do I think elites and policy makers have the political will to make this happen? Frankly, I’m in serious doubt. Thus, the idea of NTHE and NTNHE is a valid possibility, depending on how one defines “near”. It’s for us to choose.

          Realistically, we are already at 2 C now with past emissions still taking another half century to make themselves fully felt. Trying to keep emissions from blowing past 2 C would require all GHG emissions to stop today. Now. So what we are really talking about at this point is – can we prevent the globe from warming to 3 C or 4 C. Dramatic illustrative reference in point, Noam Chomsky’s article on Minerva being a sad owl.

          While I value Scott’s focus on the facts, I do worry at times about his belief in technology to fix things, as our “technology” is largely what has gotten us into this mess. Will more technology make things worse? It’s a reasonable possibility. Despite this, well, from having studied on this blog for almost half a year now, I am fairly confident that we must apply geo-engineering strategies for survival, as much as I don’t like it. Whether technology will hurt or harm us more is irrelevant, as we’ve chosen as a society, for better or worse, to double-down on our ability to manipulate our natural environment, and we are now called upon to use all our powers to turn things around.

          Geo-engineering aside, imagine for a moment, nearly every parking lot on the planet being turned into a solar powered charging station. Is this possible? It’s already happening… Imagine every home and office building being fully insulated and retrofitted with energy-saving features, and given energy creating solar and wind capability? It’s already happening, but certainly not fast enough. Where I cannot imagine yet, is how to remove CO2 from the atmosphere in a cost-effective and environmentally safe way. We need more imagination, research, and investment into this now, without it enabling us to spew more carbon into the air. But more than anything, we need a new economic system that puts a true price on carbon, and values labor over capital, or people and the environment before profits. I suspect that climate change will end the neoliberal economic order and support a transition to a post-Keynesian one, perhaps with a period of command and control as was done in WWII to defeat fascism. Adopting a new world view that valued the Earth wouldn’t hurt, either.

          Liked by 1 person

  25. Perhaps the best introduction I’ve ever seen on methane hydrates, and so, I wanted to share this lecture in 2008 by Dr. Miriam Kastner from Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Methane Hydrates: Natural Hazard or Natural Resource? – Perspectives on Ocean Science. With 135+ publications in peer-reviewed journals, and hugely accomplished resume, she is considered an expert on oceanography and geochemistry. Here is her wikipedia page. Here is her resume at Scripps. Enjoy! I’ll cross-post this in General Discussion on Climate Change, too.

    Like

    • It’s worth noting in this video, at the 41 minutes mark, that Dr. Kastner and her colleagues, measured a primary preliminary estimate of CH4 flux to the atmosphere up to 1.0 Tg CH4/year – and this was just one area in The Gulf of Mexico demonstrating that it was 25% of the current oceanic CH4 flux in the IPCC budget. In addition, other areas they measured were double the entire CH4 flux in the IPCC budget, meaning, that the IPCC Report was quite possibly way off in estimating CH4 flux contributions to emissions in 2008. I’m uncertain if the latest IPCC report deals with methane hydrate and seepage, and I guess not because it’s still not well understood by scientists. However, this lecture by Dr. Kastner indicates that CH4 is probably not well estimated by the IPCC.

      I’d enjoy hearing comments from anyone able to articulate anything worth sharing on this.

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      • The big global methane budget paper I’ve linked a couple times puts the ocean source at about 20 Tg/yr, plus or minus roughly 20. (That’s out of a global total around 600 Tg/yr, to put these giant numbers into perspective.) Their numbers appear to be used in AR5, but I didn’t spot the total ocean number being given. Hydrates are discussed there, as well, including the ESAS. It’s in 6.3.3.

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        • Awesome! Interesting… Thanks! Despite you having linked it a couple of times, sometimes my awareness hasn’t caught up yet and I need it to be repeated multiple times before it goes in…

          By the way, when you read the IPCC reports and search for things, you are doing it via a searchable OCR PDF, right? It would be really cool if you replied to this post with links to all the assessments in order of most recent (AR5), to oldest for those wanting to do their own research and get to the facts of global scientific consensus on climate change. Folks reading this blog can download them and keep them handy on their desktops, dropboxes, USBs, etc. Though I’m sure you’ve posted links many times before to the IPCC reports, I’ve never seen them all done in one place before in order of most recent to oldest. Cheers!

          Like

    • Another note, around 47 minute mark, she explores the importance of using submersible drones to measure CH4 levels, and that we need to develop new technologies to do this, as present technologies are insufficient. Adding, she says that these things cost money and require funding, and the US is not spending enough, while other nations are spending more. Very very interesting lecture, indeed.

      Like

    • I was going to say, wow, this lady is really dumb, because she doesn’t treat the ESAS subject, but the video is from 2008, so the ESAS wasn’t controversial like it is today.

      Not really too much that’s new, but nice up close shots of methane destabilizing. Good for getting a feel for what it’s really like. Only watched the first 33 minutes so far.

      I noted she mentioned thermokarst lakes as a large methane source. I hope Nick Breeze asks Shakhova about this in his upcoming interview (November) and why she thinks they are so young. Here’s an interesting essay about their life cycle with lots of pictograms and an animation: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic/permcycle.html

      Like

  26. Wow, international aviation and bunker fuels in all global militaries are apparently exempt from reporting its emissions under Kyoto Protocol and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which influences emission targets in IPCC report. I wonder if there is any possible way to estimate military emissions and how it would affect the latest IPCC report. It’s widely known that the US military is the largest single carbon emitter in the USA, if not the entire world. I imagine other nation’s militaries might have a similar impact. To not include international aviation and bunker fuels in IPCC reporting is very corrupt, in my opinion. This fact lends support to those critics of the IPCC assessments in general. Hmmm.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12525

    Like

    • Interesting, but I really doubt that that adds up to terribly much. It might well be within the error bars of those national inventories.

      Like

      • The U.S. Air Force buzzes Fenway Park in Boston on opening day. I live near Fenway. These days it’s a stealth fighter that makes the run. When it flies over, the whole area vibrates: it’s amazingly loud, with shock waves. Stealth fighters are sizable planes, but not big in the sense of a B-52 or a cargo jet. Guess what the fuel cost is? According to a newspaper report–needless to say the report could be wrong–the short flight from a nearby AF base to Boston and back carries a fuel price tag of $400,000. Evidently, fighter jets are guzzlers. It’s a good bet that military emissions are in fact a significant fraction of the world total.

        Like

        • …and military activities within US borders are apparently not exempt from reporting for that treaty. Maybe there are studies that estimate that fuel usage- I don’t know and neither do you. If there was some huge chunk of emissions being kept “hidden” from all the bottom-up emissions estimates, it would likely be apparent when they couldn’t reconcile those estimates with atmospheric CO2 concentrations… Unless you think the scientists who study emissions somehow don’t know about this, or choose to ignore it?

          Like

          • Wait a second. I’m not raising the possibility of some kind of cover-up. (Although now that I think about it, I’d be pleasantly surprised if the Pentagon provides comprehensive figures about fuel use; it seems likely that a lot of that information is classified.) I was just reacting to Balan, and to your point, which perhaps I misunderstood, that an emissions category doesn’t add “up to terribly much.” I thought you were referring to military emissions, saying it’s not a big chunk of world emissions. Sorry if I got that wrong.

            Like

          • I just meant that I highly doubt these unreported emissions add up to big enough chunk of world emissions that we’re missing something. It’s bookkeeping/political games more than a climate science question, I guess.

            Sorry, I may have misinterpreted your comment.

            Like

      • Nine active aircraft carriers. Each one has hundreds of planes all of which must be flown regularly to keep them in proper working condition. That’s over a thousand planes, for certain. Add to that, most of the US Navy’s hundreds of frigates that aren’t nuclear powered, running on massive diesel engines. In addition, C-130 cargo planes are massive gas guzzlers in the extreme, responsible for shuttling troops, supplies, and equipment to and fro around the globe. I think it’s not even worth speculating about as it’s classified, though with more digging I believe it might be possible to estimate, with a lot of variation depending on if we are “fighting a war” or not, though these days its permanent war (welcome to 1984). Investigative journalists like Nick Turse, and others, spend their lives investigating the US military’s operations, in say, Africa, counting troops, but it’s murky, to say the least.

        Like

  27. To begin, thank you Mikeroberts2013 for bringing these videos to our attention.

    Next, GM makes the claim in this video at the five minute mark (uploaded by Dorsi Diaz) that since the early 1970s [let’s say 1974] we’ve burned double the amount of CO2 than the amount burned before then.

    Here are three questions:

    1) First, are GM’s claims true, more or less, that we’ve emitted double the emissions from the early 1970s to present, compared with emissions since industrialization until the early 1970s?

    2) What is a rock-solid resource I can use for measuring past CO2 emissions from 1750 to present?

    3) How can we know how much CO2 was emitted since 1974?

    Like

    • Not double, no- the same amount again. From the latest IPCC report (WG3 SPM):
      About half of cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2010 have occurred in the last 40 years (high confidence). In 1970, cumulative CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, cement production and flaring since 1750 were 420±35 GtCO2; in 2010, that cumulative total had tripled to 1300 ±110 GtCO2 (Figure SPM.2). Cumulative CO2 emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU)9 since 1750 increased from 490±180 GtCO2 in 1970 to 680±300 GtCO2 in 2010. [5.2]”

      I’ve never looked into it, but there are presumably a number of ways people attack the question of historical emissions. Coal and oil production records were probably pretty good, for example.

      Like

      • GM says, and I quote, at 05:27 minutes, “…well, as it turns out, we’ve burned more than twice as many fossil fuels since the early 70s as we did in the entire time before that. For 260 years we emitted enough carbon dioxide to make temperatures rise .85 C, and in the last forty years we’ve burned more than twice that.” It seems clear to me that GM is saying that since 1970 we’ve “more than twice as many” – not the same – amount of CO2. Am I mistaking GM’s words in this example?

        Ok, when you quote the latest IPCC report (WG3 SPM), and quote in 1970 cumulative CO2 emissions combined being (420GT+490GT) 910GT, and in 2010 being (1300GT+680GT) 1980GT, it does appear to be the same amount (rounding errors excluded).

        Am I mistaking GM’s terminology? Is GM saying twice as many (double) or the same amount?

        Thanks for tips about coal and oil production records!

        Like

  28. sj, I think wisely, acknowledges that the science is not settled regarding sea ice loss during the holocene and the eemian. Sea ice loss, I think, is probably a good indicator of whether we should expect to see major methane emissions from the arctic shelves. Wadhams is basing his argument on that premise, saying the potential for a methane eruption increases greatly once the arctic ocean is mostly ice free during part of the summer.

    There have been some recent studies showing

    1) That the arctic ocean was cooler than what we might expect considering the much higher global temperatures during the Eemian, Scientists question Eemian period analogy

    2) That Greenland ice melt, at its fastest rate during the Eemian was only as fast as what we are experiencing now (as of 2013).Greenland ice core shows Antarctica vulnerable to warming

    So, the arctic ocean was cooler than what would be expected on the simple basis of much warmer global temperatures, and Greenland ice sheets, at the peak of their rate of melt during the Eemian, only lost mass at a rate equal to what we have today, even though Greenland temps were 8C higher than today’s temps.

    My tentative conclusion? Overall global FORCING is much greater today, inside the 400ppm CO2 blanket (and even higher equivalent concentration (CO2e) if you include the much higer methane content and other greenhouse gases) than it was in the Eemian, which has made the oceans warmer, where 90% of the heating goes. Seems like this should be verifiable by fairly simple calculations.

    Thus, warmer oceans = mass loss via calving in Greenland, and faster sea ice loss in the Arctic and greater potential for subsea permafrost thawing and methane release.

    Like

    • Note on post formatting: I did the embedded links using html tags, so html is indeed enabled. This is the html format for a link:

      [SJ: A couple attempts to display the HTML without the browser trying to use it followed- a commonly frustrating activity. Bill gave up and recommended this tutorial: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_basic.asp ]

      It’s confusing and hard to remember, so you can save it as a text document on your desktop and open/copy/paste it into your comment and just make the substitutions. Even easier is write a little DOS script to write it into the Windows clipboard, so you just hit one button and it’s ready to paste into your comment. I prefer just pasting the link on the next line but wordpress has screwed that up, so now the embedded link is the next best. It’s too flashy and techno for me, but what can you do…

      Also, images are great for conveying info, and now all you have to do is paste the link to the image and it gets displayed. Can’t be easier. And if you need a place to keep your images online, tinypic (sister to tinyurl) is free and is great because you can link right to the base image, making it displayable here. There’s a trick to doing that on the tinypic site. If anyone is interested, ask, and I’ll explain.

      Like

    • Oceanography is complicated. We know the Arctic was warmer (as we would expect given the orbital configuration). Broadly speaking, surface temperatures don’t get higher if ocean temperatures are lower. Sea level was higher. There’s lots of evidence that sea ice extent got very low. I can give you a pile of references, but you usually don’t care for that.

      Rate of Greenland mass loss doesn’t seem relevant, unless you have a salinity connection to draw? And faster warming doesn’t thaw more permafrost than slower warming of the same magnitude eventually does. I don’t have a forcing estimate handy, but you should keep in mind that the forcing held for a long period of time then.

      Like

    • sj wrote:
      “Rate of Greenland mass loss doesn’t seem relevant, unless you have a salinity connection to draw?”

      Explain why Greenland is losing mass as fast now as it was at its peak rate in the Eemian when “temperatures” were 8 degrees higher.

      Start with this one and I’ll get to the others afterwards.

      Like

      • We are obviously warming faster today than the orbital changes that drove the Eemian. Why do you think rate rather than magnitude affects sea ice extent or permafrost thaw?

        Like

      • sj wrote:
        “We are obviously warming faster today than the orbital changes that drove the Eemian.”

        That’s a different question (but equally relevant). Take a snapshot of, say, one summer in the Eemian and one summer now (2013). The air temperature in the Eemian Greenland is 8 degrees warmer than it is in the 2013 Greenland summer. All summer it is 8 degrees warmer. Why is 2013 Greenland losing ice at the same rate as the Eemian Greenland?

        Like

  29. Here’s how you can semi-automate the embedded link process.

    Open notepad and paste this text into the document:

    Save the document to your desktop as href.txt

    Now open a fresh notepad and paste this text into it

    cd \
    C:
    cd Users\na\Downloads
    type href.txt | clip

    The commands are saying
    cd \ … go to the root directory of the drive you are currnetly on
    C: … change to the C: drive (if you’re not already there)
    cd Users\na\Desktop … change to your desktop directory. You will need to change this to the appropriate path for your computer.
    type href.txt | clip … this pastes the text in the href.txt file onto the clipboard.

    I’m telling you this so that if your computer sends me all your cash and bitcoins and then explodes, it wasn’t this program that did it!

    Now, save the notepad doc as href.bat

    So, what you’ve got is a way to create an embedded link in 3 steps:
    1) double-click href.bat and paste the tag template into your comment
    2) paste the link into the appropriate spot in the template (between the quotation marks)
    3) type or paste your title into the template, after the “>

    It’s just a way to get around having to remember and type a bunch of awkward characters. You can do this for any piece of text that you use frequently.

    When you double click on the .bat file you will see your command console flash briefly on the screen and that means the program has run and the <a href=… text is on the clipboard ready to be pasted. To test this, open another notepad doc and hit Ctrl/V or right click and choose "paste". If the text doesn't appear, then you have to debug. Open the href.bat file by right-clicking on it and choosing "edit". Now type the word pause on its own line after each command and save the file. It will look like this:

    cd \
    pause
    C:
    pause
    cd Users\na\Downloads
    pause
    type href.txt | clip
    pause

    Run the program as usual and the command console will appear and remain on the screen. Hit enter to advance from one command to the next and watch what the computer says in response. You should either be able to fix the problem based on the responses or, if not, I'd be glad to help. It's always something simple like a typing error or a wrong path.

    Like

  30. bill shockley wrote:
    “Here’s how you can semi-automate the embedded link process.

    Open notepad and paste this text into the document:”

    I’ve been tagged. Substitute } for > and { for <

    {a href=""}{/a}

    Should look like this:

    This is the tag template. Put the link between the quotes and the title before the /a

    Like

  31. I’m going to come at this from another angle, so maybe people can understand me.

    The far end of the consensus for the first ice-free summer is 2030, at which time, under the most optimistic assumption of all CO2 emissions stopping today, global temps will be approximately 1.1C.

    The chart below is my own rough idea of how the curves would be shaped for the BAU and ECS scenarios (ECS, meaning, emissions stop now, so all further warming is the system heading unimpeded towards equilibrium).

    Meanwhile, the Eemian is speculated to have been summer-ice-free at 3C, while even that has been recently contested.

    So, there you have the contrast between the two types of warming. Whether it is the result of stronger total forcing, or a different distribution of energy, possibly because of the way global ocean currents play out, the arctic is MUCH more vulnerable in a greenhouse environment.

    Like

    • I don’t think this tracks. First, I think you’ve been reading Eemian Arctic temperatures- don’t use them as global averages. Second, don’t assume that whatever warmth we estimate was the minimum for the required effect. (That is, if it was ice-free, you don’t know that it took +3C to get there.) Third, you’re way oversimplifying. You’d have to think about currents, winds, seasonality, etc. to dig into one time period being different from another.

      You don’t have any evidence on which to posit that greenhouse forcing produces a greater Arctic temperature (surface? bottom water?) change than orbital configuration forcing. I don’t actually know how they would manifest differently, though there are likely some model studies you could comb through that would yield edification.

      Here’s what we do know: the Arctic was warmer during the Eemian, yet we see no sign of a large, sudden methane release. That’s the point of this thought experiment, isn’t it?

      Like

    • sj wrote:
      “First, I think you’ve been reading Eemian Arctic temperatures- don’t use them as global averages.”

      Please show me where I’ve been doing this.

      sj wrote:
      “Second, don’t assume that whatever warmth we estimate was the minimum for the required effect. (That is, if it was ice-free, you don’t know that it took +3C to get there.)”

      Good point and very important.

      sj wrote:
      “Third, you’re way oversimplifying. You’d have to think about currents, winds, seasonality, etc. to dig into one time period being different from another.”

      Oversimplifying wrt what? You need to be more specific.

      sj wrote:
      “You don’t have any evidence on which to posit that greenhouse forcing produces a greater Arctic temperature (surface? bottom water?) change than orbital configuration forcing.”

      On the contrary, both papers I referenced support this view. One states that view explicitly.

      While the Atlantic-based samples showed typical Eemian temperature signals, topping those of the Holocene period, the Nordic Seas tests did not. ‘The found foraminifers of Eemian time indicate comparatively cold conditions,’ Dr Bauch points out. ‘Major contrasts emerged between the ocean surfaces of these two regions. Obviously, the warm Atlantic surface current was weaker in the high latitude during the Eemian than today.’

      The Greenland air temps were 8C higher than now while melting was at the same rate. The obvious explanation for the discrepancy is that sea temperature is warmer now to make up the difference in rate.

      sj wrote:
      “”Here’s what we do know: the Arctic was warmer during the Eemian”

      Please point me to a study which shows this.
      http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34734_en.html
      While the Atlantic-based samples showed typical Eemian temperature signals, topping those of the Holocene period, the Nordic Seas tests did not. ‘The found foraminifers of Eemian time indicate comparatively cold conditions,’ Dr Bauch points out. ‘Major contrasts emerged between the ocean surfaces of these two regions. Obviously, the warm Atlantic surface current was weaker in the high latitude during the Eemian than today.’

      Like

    • sj wrote:
      “You don’t have any evidence on which to posit that greenhouse forcing produces a greater Arctic temperature (surface? bottom water?) change than orbital configuration forcing.”

      bill shockley wrote:
      “On the contrary, both papers I referenced support this view. One states that view explicitly.

      While the Atlantic-based samples showed typical Eemian temperature signals, topping those of the Holocene period, the Nordic Seas tests did not. ‘The found foraminifers of Eemian time indicate comparatively cold conditions,’ Dr Bauch points out. ‘Major contrasts emerged between the ocean surfaces of these two regions. Obviously, the warm Atlantic surface current was weaker in the high latitude during the Eemian than today.’”


      I should modify my reply, since Bauch is not attributing the greater flow of heat to the north in today’s Ocean currents to the different type of forcing (CO2 vs orbital) but, rather, to the different preconditions created by the larger glaciation that preceded the Eemian period.

      Dr Bauch says the Saalian glaciations that preceded the Eemian time were of a much bigger extent in northern Europe than during the Weichselian, the ice age period before the present warm interval. ‘Therefore, more fresh water from the melting Saalian ice sheets poured into the Nordic Seas, and for a longer period of time. This situation had three consequences: the oceanic circulation in the north was reduced, and winter sea ice was more likely to form because of lower salinity. At the same time, this situation led to a kind of ‘overheating’ in the North Atlantic due to a continuing transfer of ocean heat from the south.’
      http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34734_en.htm

      Like

      • 1) You were just comparing +3C Eemian temperatures to current and projected global average temperatures. That’s a regional number.

        2) Re: oversimplifying. With respect to the things I listed. You’re taking a view from 30,000 feet of an uncertain value (sea ice extent), calling that the result of the temperature number you provide, comparing that to the modern condition, a declaring a big-picture difference in forcing impact from that. Winds, currents, seasonality, and other sea ice complications are all glossed over. You’re jumping from a fuzzy tid-bit to a large-scale conclusion.

        3) Re: both your papers. You started to catch this already, but you’re ascribing causes not ascribed by the papers, and over-interpreting single, local results to prove a large point you want to make. The other study you linked (the NEEM Greenland ice core) doesn’t even touch on your point, which I thought we cleared up when you asked about why the mass loss rate would be lower. The obvious explanation is not that “sea temperature is warmer now to make up the difference in rate”. Increasing the temperature around a glacier is not like turning on a burner on your stove underneath a block of ice. Glaciers exist at equilibrium with their environment (when that is constant). Turn up the temperature a degree, and the glacier is out of equilibrium. It retreats until it’s back in equilibrium. So warm 1 degree slowly and it retreats slowly to mass x. Warm quickly 1 degree and it retreats more quickly to mass x.

        4) Re: showing you a study that shows the Arctic was warmer during the Eemian. (In your edit of this post, that bit disappeared, but I assumed you meant to include it? If not, sorry.) You already showed me one- the Greenland ice core press release mentioned this. But here’s some more:
        First, the biggie: section 5.3.4 of AR5, and the references contained within. There’s a nice map in Figure 5.6 that shows tons of proxy records- http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/figures/WGI_AR5_Fig5-6.jpg
        http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/2001/20130097.short
        http://iopscience.iop.org/1755-1315/6/7/072002/pdf/1755-1315_6_7_072002.pdf
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006PA001283/full
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6832/abs/4101073a0.html
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092181810700118X
        http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:993791:1/component/escidoc:993790/cp-6-155-2010.pdf
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018206001349

        And again, sea level was higher. That had to come from somewhere, right?

        Like

        • sj wrote:
          “1) You were just comparing +3C Eemian temperatures to current and projected global average temperatures. That’s a regional number.”

          Eemian global average temperature at its peak was more than preindustrial + 3C.
          I compared this to 2030 projected global average temperature. For the purpose of comparing sea-ice loss.

          sj wrote:
          “Glaciers exist at equilibrium with their environment (when that is constant). Turn up the temperature a degree, and the glacier is out of equilibrium. It retreats until it’s back in equilibrium. So warm 1 degree slowly and it retreats slowly to mass x. Warm quickly 1 degree and it retreats more quickly to mass x.”

          From an annual standpoint:
          If a glacier is losing mass, is it at equilibrium with its environment?
          If a glacier is gaining mass, is it at equilibrium with its environment?
          I hope you agree the answer is “no” or we will have to talk about the concepts of glaciers and equilibrium.

          The rest of your point #3 depends on this conversation and also point #2.

          sj wrote:
          “4) Re: showing you a study that shows the Arctic was warmer during the Eemian.”

          I would have to look at the proxies, but my guess is they are not for sea surface temperature. The dispute is not land + air + ice arctic average temperature. The issue for the Arctic as a whole and for Greenland specifically is sea surface temperature. No one is disputing land + air temperature. Perhaps I haven’t been consistently clear about this—I would have to go back and look over my posts—but, certainly, the Bauch article speaks only of sea surface temperatures.

          sj wrote:
          “And again, sea level was higher. That had to come from somewhere, right?”

          Again, that doesn’t preclude sea surface temperatures having been colder in the Arctic during the Eemian.

          And there is also this from Bauch:
          the Saalian glaciations that preceded the Eemian time were of a much bigger extent in northern Europe than during the Weichselian, the ice age period before the present warm interval. ‘Therefore, more fresh water from the melting Saalian ice sheets poured into the Nordic Seas, and for a longer period of time.

          Would this not account for the higher sea level?

          Like

          • I should point out that there are two data sets in the section of the Wikipedia graph that includes the Eemian. One is EPICA Dome C, Antarctica (x 0.5) and the other is Lisiecki and Raymo (2005) & Hansen et al (2013). Not sure why there are two attributions from different years (2005 and 2013) for one set of data. And since Hansen is a modeler, my guess is these are modeled results. Anyway, if you reverse engineer the graph, the Eemian peak on the black line is only about 0.65C above present temps. So, perhaps Hansen (whom I happen to have a lot of confidence in) thinks the Eemian discrepancy is overrated.

            Like

          • Okay, you seriously need to stop thinking you can run around and overturn the IPCC summary in your freetime. It’s hard for me to keep up with the leaps you’re taking off into the weeds. More time spend trying to learn and less trying to build conjectures to defend your point would be helpful. The graph you’re talking about now is not global average temperature, nor is it plotted scientifically. (It’s more “illustrative”.) The ice core is obviously a local record, as we’ve been through before, and shows greater than +3C anyway. Lisiecki and Raymo is a major compilation of ocean sediment cores, certainly doesn’t map cleanly to global temperature, and doesn’t match Dome C without scaling one of the two, as was done. I can’t find a Hansen paper from 2013 that looks relevant, so I can’t say what that’s about.

            But, sheesh, saying that any given model result would be a reflection of what Hansen “thinks”? That’s not how modeling works.

            So, no, +3C is not the global average. From what I’ve seen, our best guess for the global average is +1-2C. Global average isn’t very useful here, anyway, because the poles were warmer and the equator was cooler.

            re: equilibrium. No, a changing glacier is not at equilibrium. That’s why I said “roughly”. It could not have been at equilibrium long-term, because insolation was constantly and slowly changing over many thousands of years. If you are not far from equilibrium, you don’t have much of a push to change- and you obviously can’t change so much that you overshoot equilibrium. You might get something out of buzzing through this presentation I made for classes: http://prezi.com/jkpjnn_cnqek/glaciers/

            re: the proxies. Please explain to me how the Siberian Arctic, Greenland, and Baffin Island were clearly warmer, summer insolation across the Arctic was up, and sea ice extent was small, while the Arctic Ocean wasn’t warmer. And don’t tell me that the Nordic Sea circulation study you found a press release for makes your case.

            re: sea level. What your quote says is that two ice ages ago, there were larger ice sheets in N Europe than in the last ice age. So moving into the Eemian, there could have been more meltwater in the area. If sea level was higher than today during the Eemian, that means there was less ice on land then than there is now. So no.

            Like

          • sj wrote:
            “Okay, you seriously need to stop thinking you can run around and overturn the IPCC summary in your freetime.”

            Please show me where I did anything like this. What you did was refer me to papers from the IPCC that are not relevant to the issue and then accuse me of saying they are no good. Well, a hacksaw is no good for cutting wood. You give me air and land temperature proxies when the issue is sea surface temperature. Stop with the strawmen.

            sj wrote:
            “But, sheesh, saying that any given model result would be a reflection of what Hansen “thinks”? That’s not how modeling works.”

            No, what he thinks is a reflection of the model results. Sheesh!

            sj wrote:
            “re: equilibrium. No, a changing glacier is not at equilibrium. That’s why I said “roughly”. It could not have been at equilibrium long-term, because insolation was constantly and slowly changing over many thousands of years. If you are not far from equilibrium, you don’t have much of a push to change- and you obviously can’t change so much that you overshoot equilibrium. You might get something out of buzzing through this presentation I made for classes: http://prezi.com/jkpjnn_cnqek/glaciers/

            Maybe you should take a refresher course. I wasn’t the one saying the Greenland glacier was at equilibrium when it was losing mass at the rate of Greenland today.

            sj wrote:
            “re: the proxies. Please explain to me how the Siberian Arctic, Greenland, and Baffin Island were clearly warmer”

            Please rephrase this into a coherent request. They were warmer on land, not on the sea surface.

            sj wrote:
            “summer insolation across the Arctic was up”

            We can agree on that.

            sj wrote:
            ” and sea ice extent was small”

            That is the disputed claim, so no, I don’t agree.

            sj wrote:
            “while the Arctic Ocean wasn’t warmer”

            But the Foraminifera…

            sj wrote:
            “And don’t tell me that the Nordic Sea circulation study you found a press release for makes your case.”

            Are you saying the article misrepresents the research, or that the research is no good. Because… ?
            Disparaging an article is not proof that it is no good.

            sj wrote:
            “re: sea level. What your quote says is that two ice ages ago, there were larger ice sheets in N Europe than in the last ice age. So moving into the Eemian, there could have been more meltwater in the area. If sea level was higher than today during the Eemian, that means there was less ice on land then than there is now. So no.”

            Tell me again how this relates to the arctic sea surface temperature/arctic sea-ice discussion. Sea level was higher at the thermal peak of the Eemian, therefore… ?

            Like

          • sj wrote:
            “re: the proxies. Please explain to me how the Siberian Arctic, Greenland, and Baffin Island were clearly warmer, summer insolation across the Arctic was up, and sea ice extent was small, while the Arctic Ocean wasn’t warmer. And don’t tell me that the Nordic Sea circulation study you found a press release for makes your case.”

            I broke this up too much in my reply above, so I will do over:

            Yes, the Foraminifera and the Greenland melt rate relative to today. 8C higher air temps, same rate of melt.

            Like

          • I’m done playing along until you do some homework. You haven’t dug into any of the references or explanations I’ve provided. You clearly haven’t read the IPCC section I pointed you to. I’ve tried to explain at least twice now the Greenland melt thing, and you’re saying the exact same thing you started with. You’re not listening, so it’s hard to convince myself to spend yet another hour speaking.

            I gave you references for sea ice extent. But you “dispute the claim”. I tried very hard to explain to you how glacier mass balance works, and you’ve restated it as gibberish. You don’t understand what you’re citing, but when I try to clarify it for you, you just stick to your guns, or drop it and assert that you’re still right, or accuse me of “disparaging” it. You’re wasting my time.

            Like

          • These are all lies, you can substantiate none of this. But I don’t expect you to try. The accusation is enough.

            Show me the references you gave for sea surface proxies in the arctic. That was the subject. You gave none. Or give them to me now. I want to know.

            Show me the references for arctic sea ice in the eemian. I’ll look at them. I didn’t look through your list of references because, as I told you, I assumed they were air-land proxies. Please give them to me now.

            Good form in debate is to paraphrase the content of a reference. Just saying here is my proof, go read it, is condescending and usually a rhetorical ruse. Lately your references have proved the opposite of what you would like.

            You accuse me of the things you are guilty of. This is your MO.

            You did disparage the Bauch article. “And don’t tell me that the Nordic Sea circulation study you found a press release for makes your case.” Why should I not tell you that. That is exactly what it does. Of course you didn’t even know what was in it half way through the debate. I had to tell you that the article explicitly states that the arctic ocean was colder then than it is now.

            The reason I asked you if I was asking bad questions was because your Greenland equilibrium statement made no sense. It was gibberish. And now, look, who is accusing who of making gibberish.

            The extrapolation debate ended the same way. “I’m sick of this”. Sick of what? Facts and logic.

            How hard is it to figure out what the debate is about, find the appropriate references that make your opposing point, paraphrase them, and provide the links? A lot less time than we just spent here, and you haven’t even accomplished that much. Wasted time, indeed!

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          • Hey SJ, John here. I thought you might find this interesting:

            NZ: Academics trade insults in critical debate over ‘abrupt climate change’

            http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/nz-academics-trade-insults-critical-debate-over-abrupt-climate-change-9024

            Guy McPherson had a ‘heated’ debate with another academic over abrupt climate change in NZ. A couple of things stated on both sides sounds a little wonky to me. For instance, the article quotes McPherson as saying,

            “There had been no humans in existence at 3.5 degrees above the baseline in the past and with the earth headed for a temperature increase of over 4 degrees in the near future, all we can prepare for is extinction, “he added.

            Humans may not have been on earth at temps over 3.5 degrees over ‘baseline’ but so what. They just happened to evolve at a time when the earth happened to be warmer than what it was at the beginning of industrial civilization, right? So what. Does that mean that man couldn’t have evolved when the earth was say 10 degrees warmer than what it was during the mid 1700’s? Baloney, my guess is that it was just a coincidence what the temperature was before and after people evolved. We’ve lived through an ice age, we can live through a warm spell. What’s the big deal?

            On the other hand, he scientist who disagreed with Mcpherson, Sebastian Leuzingerhad this to say,

            “The exponential damage was unlikely because in ecology there was rarely an exponential curve. The more diverse the disturbance, the smaller the response of an ecosystem, Dr Leuzinger added.

            Is that right? The greater the environmental disturbance, the smaller the response of the environment to that disturbance? I got to say, that sounds like more baloney to me. If you tap someone on the face, he or she may not even know you’re there. Give them a good belt in the back of the head and they’re going to hit the ground. Maybe that’s a simplistic analogy, but this guy is saying the harder we hit the earth, the smaller it’s response will be. Sure.

            What do you think SJ? I know you’re already kind of geared against McPherson, but I’d be interested in your opinion.

            Thanks.

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          • Humans may not have been on earth at temps over 3.5 degrees over ‘baseline’ but so what.

            Bingo, John. That’s no evidence that we go extinct at a certain point.
            McPherson trots out the same nonsense. The “one percent” comment in that story you linked caught my eye. He has twisted that concept so far from the place he took it, you can barely even recognize it.

            re: the Leuzinger comment.
            I don’t actually understand what he was trying to say there, and I suspect the context is needed. I don’t know what he was getting at with “the more diverse the disturbance”. I’m fairly sure he doesn’t mean “the bigger the disturbance”.

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          • That’s what I thought SJ.

            For instance, let’s say one day a ‘time machine’ is invented. Yes, I know that’ll probably never happen but for now, let’s just say it is. So some Paleontologist sets the machine for say 80 million years ago smack dab in the middle of the Cretaceous. He hits the ON button and after a few bumps the machine comes to a rest on a knoll somewhere surrounded by a healthy lush forest, a lake in the background, pterodactyls overhead and a temperature 10 degrees hotter than in 2014. He opens the door, says, “Whew, it’s hot”. Does the guy suddenly keel over and die because it’s 10 degrees hotter than when he left in 2014? He may sweat a bit, but temperature isn’t poison, it’s just warmer. He wipes the sweat from his brow and moves on. So our temperature slowly climbs by 10 degrees over the next few decades, so what. We wipe the sweat from our collective brows and move on.

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          • It is true that some places can reach temperatures physically dangerous for humans, but you’re right in that there’s no intrinsic reason a planet on average 4C warmer means humans disappear simply because we haven’t been in that climate state before.

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          • But 4C warmer over a short period will mess with agriculture and the capacity of various areas to support their current populations, no?

            Regarding the Auckland “debate”, Dr Leuzinger was a stand-in co-presenter. Perhaps he was asked to participate at the last moment, and didn’t have time to prepare to counter GM’s well-practiced patter. Perhaps GM had a lucky escape; he’s not ready for a serious debate with a serious scientist.

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          • There are all kinds of impacts of reaching +4C, certainly. It’s only that it’s nonsensical to make the stand-alone argument, “Humans have not lived at a time of +4C, therefore humans cannot live at a time of +4C.”

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          • The way I’ve always heard it, the world was healthier, more lush, more vibrant in the dim past under warmer skies than it is now. Thick, vibrant jungles spread around the world, animal life much larger and stronger than today and, for instance, dinosaurs were around more than 100 million years and were doing just fine until an asteroid changed that. Warmer planet and no methane hydrates dissolving into the skies. I can’t believe that a warmer planet today would be harmful to the environment when the earth was so much healthier in the past when it was warmer, sometimes much warmer.

            That just doesn’t make any sense.

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          • I don’t think that’s a good way to describe it. That was essentially a different Earth. The continents were in very different places– none near the poles, and a huge, sprawling sand desert in the middle (which is all that sandstone you see in the American West). It also warmed to that point very, very slowly. The change wasn’t drastic, and life had plenty of time to adapt. It’s not that one average temperature or another is intrinsically better or “healthier” (within a reasonable range), it’s that rapid change is bad. There’s absolutely no question that the rate of warming we’re pushing is bad news. When we look at rapid climatic changes in Earth’s history, we find mass extinctions.

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          • Would a warmer Earth result in greater biomass? If so, would that be a good thing in terms of diversity, healthy ecosystems, etc…

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          • Greater biomass doesn’t necessarily mean greater diversity. You could increase biomass, after all, but decrease habitat diversity.

            It’s possible that if you were able to choose the best temperature for life on Earth (to transition to over hundreds of thousands of years), you would choose a warmer one than today’s. There’s a good discussion of this in this book about James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis: http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/03/on-gaia-tests-whether-the-hypothesis-holds-up-to-scientific-scrutiny/ It’s a purely hypothetical question, though.

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          • I understand what you’re saying SJ.

            And I know climatic changes in the past occurred over relatively longer periods of time, but it seems like 20 – 40 YEARS are sufficently long enough for plants to adapt. I mean, think about it. There are places everywhere around the planet that have both freezing winters as well as torrid summers that last for months each and every year. Neither climate extreme seems to bother the plants too much. They always bounce back even after MONTHS of extreme heat and cold. To hear McPherson talk about it, a couple of days after “civilization collapses” life on earth is done. Seriously?

            Could it be that a hotter planet could be healthier, I mean, let’s say all the ice melts. For one thing, wouldn’t that mean a lot more fresh water available to people, except that which mixes with the ocean? And if the ice melts and the planet is more humid, wouldn’t that additional moisture in the atmosphere just water the earth better than our colder planet today? Look at how thick and lush our warmer places are today, like the Amazon forest. Maybe that’s why plant and animal life in the dim past was larger than it is now. Perhaps the earth needs the humidity that would come from a hotter planet. Am I missing something here?

            Anyway, I’m not trying to be a wrench in the works. Thanks for your time SJ.

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          • “…but it seems like 20 – 40 YEARS are sufficently long enough for plants to adapt. I mean, think about it.”

            So, this is one of those points where you need to take a step back, recognize that your intuition isn’t always a reliable guide, and listen to what science makes clear to us. (Here are a couple examples from the animal kingdom, which you might think would be more quickly adaptable: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/07/projected-climate-change-way-faster-than-land-vertebrates-have-evolved/ , http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/05/can-mammals-outrun-climate-change/ ) I understand that it’s hard to get your head around the fact that average temperature increases of just a couple degrees C are a big deal, given the daily and annual cycles, but they really are pretty profound.

            Melting ice doesn’t mean more freshwater for people. In many places, the seasonal melt of snow and ice sustains surface water resources throughout the dry season. And while a warmer planet does mean more water vapor, it does so because evaporation increases– in dry places as well as wet ones. And in places that are already reasonably wet, this may mean more extreme rainfall events, which aren’t helpful either. The details matter.

            It’s also not really true that “plant and animal life in the dim past was larger than it is now”. With the interesting exception of the big insects around in the Carboniferous, you’re mainly going to be talking about some of the big dinosaurs. Temperature is not the answer to the complicated question of why they got so big: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/25/dinosaur-reproduction-not-ancient-gravity-made-sauropods-super-sized/

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          • “In many places, the seasonal melt of snow and ice sustains surface water resources throughout the dry season”…
            I just want to emphasize this point. Just in the Himalayas:
            “Glaciers feed rivers at higher rates before and after the monsoon season, when rivers most need additional water. Without these frozen, freshwater “storage units,” there would be a severe drop in the water levels of major rivers like the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra and droughts would become common – particularly during the dryer, hotter seasons. This would be a devastating blow to the plants, animals, and more than a billion people who rely on glacier-fed, Himalayan water sources for their survival”.
            http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/the-himalayas/the-disappearing-glacier-climate-change-and-himalayan-ecology/6343/

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          • Hi SJ, just a thought on the idea of Climate Change. I hope you’ll allow me this short ‘rant’ and give me your opinions on it.

            If we look at the most ecologically healthy place on the planet, we’d have to go to the most bio-diverse place on earth, the ‘steaming jungles’ of the Amazon. Heat seems to have a positive effect not just on plant life but also with animal life there as well.

            To be fair, there are places hotter than that. The Sahara, for instance. Of course a place can be too hot or too dry for life to thrive, though we’ve found life in even the boiling waters around the fumaroles on the bottom of the Atlantic. But for McPherson to suggest that 1 degree is the difference between life and death on the earth, that 1 degree stands between us and “Going Venus”? Who is he talking too?

            I’ve watched a few of his lectures. I can see who he’s preaching too, the choir. To put it bluntly, hippies. I don’t mean to sound rude, but am I wrong? Aren’t these the same people who told us during the Gulf oil spill in 2010, that the floor of the ocean had ruptured and oil was going to fill the worlds oceans and kill us all (no peak oil there)? Aren’t they the same bunch who said that Fukushima was going to irradiate us in a matter of months and, need I say it, kill us all? The same bunch who declared Peak Oil in the 70’s then changed that to 2005 or thereabouts? The same who decry fracking or mountain top removal or deep ocean drilling or the timber industry or over population or so-called overfishing, or mining, or tar sands or air pollution or ocean acidification or methane release or species extinctions or whatever (you fill in the blank) as the death of us all? (Aren’t they the same ones who make us listen to the same old song, “Goodnight Saigon” every time there’s another military engagement somewhere in the world? It’s always the same thing, Doom. Where would the world be today if they had been around when Hitler was stretching his muscles? I shudder to think.)

            Could it be, just for discussions sake, that we’ve all been handed a bill of goods, so to speak? Is McPherson’s claims of doom in 20 years, or is it 30 years or 100 years, it keeps changing, any more believable that all their other predictions of doom? Are we being jerked around, time and again just to satisfy their nihilistic desires?

            When I realize that the same bunch have been behind all these other claims, it gives me pause.

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          • Sure, some hippies have said some dumb things, and some not-dumb things that turned out to be wrong. Some hippies have said smart things. Some hippies have probably even said dumb things that turned out to be right. I don’t think this gets you very far.

            I think you’re going to want to slow down with that list… I don’t want to get into a thirty-hour discussion of the fine points of such a wide variety of topics, but you’ve got a lot of very real problems in there, and it sounds like you’re dismissing them all as nonsense. Can you find someone who points to them and then incorrectly claims that they mean we’re all going to die next Tuesday? I certainly wouldn’t bet money against it, but that doesn’t mean those problems aren’t real and serious. (Let’s take over-fishing for one small example. I mean, just look at the biomass of table fish in 1900 and then in 2000. The impact we’ve had on fish populations is absolutely staggering, and there’s no denying it.)

            So yeah, I agree that a big portion of Guy’s supporters might be people who had already held pretty extreme opinions previously. (On the other hand, many of them might have been completely sensible, concerned folks who were suckered in by Guy’s claims of simply relaying scientific research.) But a few “out there” viewpoints don’t discredit the clear realities they’re misrepresenting.

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          • Good points SJ. On your first reply, you said,

            “And while a warmer planet does mean more water vapor, it does so because evaporation increases– in dry places as well as wet ones.”

            I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. Of course dry places would get drier under those circumstances. Evaporation. So, then it makes sense that a warmer planet will make dry places even drier. Like the U.S. midwest. I got that. Thanks SJ.

            On my second point, I suppose it could be that a few of those items I listed could become problems one day, but really, most of those are rather nutty. Remember, hippies are also the same bunch who say that chem trails are a conspiracy to kill us all, same with Wifi signals in the air and on our homes from the local power company, those who say that so called colony collapse disorder is real (I see plenty of bees around here), vaccines are a plot as is fluoride, a dusting of pesticides on our food are causing cancer, GMO’s are a plan to mutate us, X-ray machines at airports a trick to irradiate us. Not to mention the Gulf oil spill, and Fukushima. All of these are either callused corporations who only care about the almighty buck or cleverly disquised plans to ‘cull the herd’. That the ‘banksters’ are evil corporatists out to sucker money away from the poor. The Government wants to read our e-mail. We went to Iraq to steal their oil. The World Trade Center was felled by government insiders. The list goes on and on. Some, it seems, never saw a conspiracy theory they didn’t like. These people see evil everywhere they turn. Is it any wonder they also think our planet is dying as well? I guess we should ask that guy who invented the internet.

            I know it’s possible for us, for an intelligent species to harm the planet. I suppose if we really wanted to, we could do that. But this planet is bigger than any of us. It shows a remarkable ability to bounce back. Look what we did with lead in our gasoline in the 70’s. Look what we did with CFC’s in the ozone in the 80’s. Problems solved. And we’ll solve the climate change problem as well. Much ado about nothing.

            I really do appreciate your time SJ and I look at the links you offer. You’re a breath of fresh air.

            Still, when I think about the the many dire claims from some in the climate change industry, I just consider the source.

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          • I think you and I might have different definitions of “hippie”. ;)
            I’ve never thought the chemtrail conspiracy stuff to be a hippie thing, but I can see the “fear of secret government control” connection with some of the Vietnam-era stuff. Maybe you’re right about that, but I’d bet there’s a right-wing contingent there, too.

            But again, you’re rolling too far. The concern about bees is very real (though, fortunately, I think I’ve heard this year was better), and I’ve never listened to anyone but researchers talk about it. Anti-vaccine people are well-spread across the political spectrum, and as it’s mainly young parents, so I don’t think you can pin that on the baby boom generation. Opposition to GMOs isn’t just a left-wing thing, either.

            You’re right that “Some, it seems, never saw a conspiracy theory they didn’t like.” It’s been shown that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are much more likely to believe in others.

            I like to remind people of that successful action we took on CFCs, as well, but that doesn’t mean that the potential impacts of climate change aren’t very serious or that this will be as easy to solve. Unfortunately, CFCs were a little easier to replace than fossil fuels. And there was strong opposition to the Montreal Protocol that had to be overcome, just as there is strong opposition to climate action today that we’re struggling to overcome.

            On a separate point, I don’t know that “the climate change industry” could be. That doesn’t make much sense to me.

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          • “Look what we did with CFC’s in the ozone in the 80’s. Problems solved. And we’ll solve the climate change problem as well”
            a) Ozone layer problem is actually far from beeing completely solved.
            b) That problem affected only some industries and people. Energy is a “mono-crop” in our world. ALL our industries and ALL people´ activities need energy, mainly coming from fossil fuels so far … Climate change problem is far more difficult to solve!
            Apart from the enormous inertia of the system. When we try to put seriously into action your sentence “we´ll solve the c. c. problem …”, I am afraid it could be too late.
            I wish that turn into actions had happend 30 years ago …

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          • John, you are erroneously assuming that because some dire claims are made which turn out to be baseless or wrong then all claims of potential catastrophe must be wrong. They do not all come from the same group of people. Perhaps our leading climate scientist, James Hansen, is very concerned about the future of the planet due to climate change. Some of our marine scientists are very concerned about the future of our oceans due to warming and acidification. The recent Living Planet report estimates that the planet’s wildlife is down by a half in 40 years – not all due to climate change but that certainly doesn’t help. Only two years ago, that report estimated the decline at 30%, which is a major revision in 2 years.

            There really is no good news of significance on the environmental front and the future looks stark. This doesn’t mean that Guy is right but it does indicate that there is very little basis for optimism about our future.

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          • Your claim, Mike, that there is “very little basis for optimism about our future” sounds uncomfortably like something McPherson likes to toss about. He calls it ‘Hopium”. Now you tell me, even if there was absolutely no reason for people to hope whatsoever, even if it the matter was settled beyond question and we were doomed beyond question, should we travel the planet on someone else’s dime preaching that to sensitive minds? McPherson likes to say that if you knew someone who was dying of cancer, wouldn’t you feel impelled to tell her? By that reasoning, if we do know someone who is dying of a fatal disease, it would be a kindness to impress on them that they have no reason to hope. Curl up and die. Thanks McPherson. Everyone needs hope, well founded or not. And that’s what climate scientists should be preaching. Anything else is just cruel.

            SJ, I agree with you that the right wing bunch have dipped their hands into the Apocalypse thing as well, though I have to disagree that they’re even remotely equally to blame. It seems that since the Red Scare of the 50’s, which is probably what propelled the beatnik counter-culture generation of that era to morph into the hippie generation of the 60’s, all we’ve heard is doom. If it wasn’t one thing, by God something else was going to do us in. James Hansen is still a part of that generation. As is, I might add, Guy McPherson. Only now they’re writing laws, making pronouncements on an official level. Pick your poison, something’s going to get us in the end.

            I agree with a few of the causes. Of course I favor clean oceans, that’s where my food comes from, clean air, it’s what I breathe, or want to. I don’t like the thought that nuclear weapons are aimed at me and mine any more than the run of the mill barefoot dreadlocked rainbow colored shrieking protester does, but it is what it is. We should work to improve our world situation, of course. But these people have gone far beyond that. Climate Change is just another part of their nihilistic arsenal to create havoc and wipe civilization off the earth. Well sorry McPherson and the rest of your nail biting junkies, civilization isn’t going anywhere, though I wish you would.

            I won’t go into the countless reasons why I don’t buy into their doom. There’s just too much to cover in one decade. But who’s saying it would top my list. There’s one bit of wisdom laid down thousands of years ago that keeps springing to mind,

            “When a prophet speaks, if the word does not come to pass or come true, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
            Deuteronomy 18:22

            Now if all you good folk don’t mind, I think I’ll go and wait in my shelter for the collapse of industrial civilization. Oh wait, that was supposed to happen in 2008, right? Or was it 2009? 2010? 2011? 12, 13 14?

            Well hell, there’s always Yellowstone.

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          • “McPherson likes to say that if you knew someone who was dying of cancer, wouldn’t you feel impelled to tell her? ”
            I´ve read here several replies to you, saying you are right that McPherson exagerates too much … He says it´s 100% sure – and just in just a couple of decades (!!) – something that most scientists, without ruling it out but for much later, IT COULD BE AVOIDED if we made a U-turn in our continuosly increased emissions. The sooner the better. Otherwise, time could run out.
            I´ll change the cancer analogy: Imagine we know some relative is living in an ambient that, whatever the cause, after some years will induce a mortal cancer – to him or her, and to their descendants. Wouldn’t you feel impelled to tell them? “

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          • Absolutely Rafael. If I knew someone was making themselves sick, I would do everything I could to warn them to change their ways. That’s where we are now. That’s what scientists like SJ, Michael Mann, and dare I say it, James Hansen are trying to do. My grandmother died of lung cancer. She had one lung removed but continued to smoke. She told me a few years before she died, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that cigarette smoking isn’t addictive. I’ve tried to stop smoking many times but I always went through horrible withdraws. I thought I was going to die. Don’t ever smoke.” I begged her to stop but she just couldn’t. A small, frail woman. I miss her everyday. The kindest person I’ve ever known.

            Now we are collectively in the same place on the earth as she was. We can stop smoking if we wanted too, but the politicians fear our collective withdraw from fossil fuels. We’ve made ourselves good and sick but there’s hope if we stop poisoning ourselves. Are we going to stop? No chance. That’s were my hope(ium) stops. If we’re going to be completely honest with ourselves, we’re just way too heavily invested in all those yummy things that are killing us. Fat tastes good. We’re not going to stop, but we still could if we really wanted too.

            I suppose we could always blames it on the Aliens. They’re out there, zooming around in their UFO’s, watching over us or plotting against us, depending on who you talk too. I hear they’re directing an earthquake machine called HAARP up in Alaska to heat up our skies with microwaves. That’s probably where the warming is coming from. Probably got their instructions from the lizards, AKA the Illuminate. Hopefully the Mother Goddess will get off her fat ass soon and save us from ourselves. We sure aren’t going to do it for each other.

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          • More information relative to what I said “Ozone layer problem is actually far from beeing completely solved”.:
            “The Montreal Protocol agreement beginning in 1987 regulated ozone depleting substances, such as chlorine-containing chlorofluorocarbons and bromine-containing halons. The 2014 level of these substances over Antarctica has declined about 9 percent below the record maximum in 2000…
            “The ozone hole area is smaller than what we saw in the late-1990s and early 2000s, and we know that chlorine levels are decreasing. However, we are still uncertain about whether a long-term Antarctic stratospheric temperature warming might be reducing this ozone depletion.”
            http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/2014-antarctic-ozone-hole-holds-steady/#.VFOC7xwzcRw

            AND:

            The stratospheric ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), together with minor halogenated gases, contribute ~12%[5] to radiative forcing by LLGHGs. While CFCs and most halons are decreasing, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are also potent greenhouse gases, are increasing at relatively rapid rates, although they are still low in abundance (at ppt[8] levels, Figure 7 (a) and (b)).

            https://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/documents/1002_GHG_Bulletin.pdf

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          • I watched one of Guy McPherson’s latest videos yesterday. I think he’s somewhere in Oregon, sitting on a deck speaking with a fellow doomer. I need to say this, the man looks sincere. Perhaps he’s really convinced himself that ‘we’re done’. He looks sad, in pain internally. I’m no professional but if Guy were reading this right now, I would offer this,

            I think he can still turn things around in his own life were he too back off the doom stuff, stop the ‘hopium’ chatter and RUN from the hippy crowd. He’s an eloquent speaker with a strong resume. I don’t see why he couldn’t redirect his nihilistic ideas into healthier ones (Michael Mann), take on another professorship at another university and do real science once again. Why anchor your ship to the UFO crowd? It’s only been 5 years Guy. It’s not too late to ‘turn your ship around’.

            A thought.

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          • Thank you.
            It´s funny. You know, in Oregon there is also a site that is a extreme skeptic den … I found it after receiving a list of 450 sceptic papers, and went through part of them (more “scientific” ones not for me). Even not beeing a scientist myself, I can say I´ve never seen more absurd things together.
            Perhaps his extreme attitude was originated as a reaction against them …

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          • John,

            I don’t take the same line as Guy McPherson. I certainly think that we’ve put ourselves (and most of the species on this planet that we share with them) into a terrible position. Given human nature, I don’t see that any significant actions will be taken to improve that position until it’s too later to avoid very, very serious impacts (if it’s not too late already). That doesn’t mean that humans will become extinct soon but it does mean a hell of a lot (more) suffering in the sort of timescale that Guy is talking about.

            All civilisations and all complex societies collapse. I can’t see why ours will be any different, particularly as we seem intent on bringing them to an end ourselves. The signs are already here but exactly when our societies can generally be thought of as ended (as we know them) is unknown. Any dates you’ve read,concerning our demise are simply ill-advised estimates. Every year that goes by, though, brings the demise of our societies closer. It’s inevitable.

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          • ” … the ‘steaming jungles’ of the Amazon. Heat seems to have a positive effect not just on plant life but also with animal life there as well”.
            Perhaps, but not for humans. That ambient is unhealthy for us.
            Apart from more frequent droughts there, some years ago I read fighting dengue was getting more difficult in Mexico, because the transmiting mosquito was both advancing nortwards and beeing more aggresive with higher temperatures due to global warming.
            I see now:

            “Climatic conditions strongly affect water-borne diseases and diseases transmitted through insects, snails or other cold blooded animals.

            Changes in climate are likely to lengthen the transmission seasons of important vector-borne diseases and to alter their geographic range. For example, climate change is projected to widen significantly the area of China where the snail-borne disease schistosomiasis occurs.

            Malaria is strongly influenced by climate. Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria kills almost 800 000 people every year – mainly African children under 5 years old. The Aedes mosquito vector of dengue is also highly sensitive to climate conditions. Studies suggest that climate change could expose an additional 2 billion people to dengue transmission by the 2080s”.

            http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/

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          • “Aren’t they the same bunch who said that … The same who decry fracking …”
            As SJ says, “some hippies have said some dumb things, and …”, but with part of your list they were at least partially right.
            F.e.: fracking was going to be the solution of our problems. Burning shale gas instead of coal reduces emissions, and cheap energy is good for the economy …
            For the economy perhaps (for now …), but much more fuel is beeing burnt, and emissions are soaring! This WILL EVENTUALLY BE WORSE both for the climate and the economy!

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          • As Scott says, it was a different Earth. And humans weren’t part of it. Not only is the Earth warming much more rapidly than the past, we have a different mix of species to then. But, even though 4 degrees may not sound much, it is loading the dice in favour of deadly heat waves, droughts and floods. Such things will occur much more frequently, even if the average temperature “only” rises a few degrees. Not to mention sea level which will be much higher.

            Once it settles down (sort of), it might be a rich diverse planet but it’s going to cause a hell of a disruption before then, over a very long period of time. So it does make sense.

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          • It depends where you land and on what day of the year. If you’re in the Antarctic, yes there’s going to be palm trees and bikinis. If you’re in India in the summer you’ll be the only one there, it will be hotter and drier than Death Valley and my guess is you won’t stay long.

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          • I think GM’s point about the average temperature rise is that it will have such profound impacts that humans could never survive those combined effects. The effects include heat waves across all inhabited areas, which will increase in intensity. Remember that the heating will be greater on land, which may be 2C more than the average and this will greatly load the dice for heat waves that humans could not tolerate. Of course, they could nip into the nearest mall … if the electricity is on 9and increasingly, it won’t be). Crops will also fail, biodiversity will take even more of a dive than it has so far (which is large for both biodiversity and biomass – 50% loss of the latter in the last 50 years?). Humans can’t construct a bubble to survive in a world that is collapsing.

            But I agree that GM’s broad brush is too broad. It is impossible to see the future, so we really just don’t know what will happen, though it now seems likely to me that human population will plunge by billions and nowhere will be a great place to live, to put it mildly. It’s pretty obvious that humans can’t help themselves and will continue to pour GHGs into the atmosphere until catastrophe is upon is. E.g. I saw a BBC article recently about a new oil find in the central North Sea. It’s probably small but there is great excitement about it (including from politicians), despite the fact that we know that we cannot afford (environmentally) to extract and burn that oil. It’s just going to go on on on, until it can’t.

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    • Why do you call ’emission stop now’ ECS, when ECS can be confused with Earth Climate Sensitivity. Instead, why not call it ESN?

      Like

    • Balan wrote:
      “Why do you call ‘emission stop now’ ECS, when ECS can be confused with Earth Climate Sensitivity. Instead, why not call it ESN?”

      It’s kind of natural to call it that, don’t you think?

      I was rushing and I had already created the jpg image the way it is. If comments were editable and the tinypic site was editable I would change it.

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  32. SJ, regarding the comment Sebastian Leuzingerhad said,

    “The exponential damage was unlikely because in ecology there was rarely an exponential curve. The more diverse the disturbance, the smaller the response of an ecosystem, Dr Leuzinger added.

    Isn’t an extinction event an exponential curve. I mean, an asteroid hits the earth some 65 mya, I gotta think the environment reacted exponentially. If Leuzinger is right, the earth wouldn’t have reacted at all.

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    • “Exponentially” is a very specific mathematical concept that is different from “rapidly”. I’m not sure that it applies to an extinction event like that…

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  33. Guy McPherson is correct, so sorry his truthful observations are ‘bringing you down’. Being frightened and in denial, clinging to your ‘positive thoughts’ without confrontation and action, doesn’t change the reality of the course we are on. With the majority asleep, the core issue continues going unaddressed, and we are already past zero hour. http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org

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  34. @ John and Rafael… You’ve got me laughing my a@# off! Thanks… Seriously.

    You guys, just for fun, and I mean just for fun, really, watch Harvard Professor John E. Mack in the documentary titled, Experiencers, Part 2. I think you’ll find the conspiracy of UFO aliens really hard to deny in the group of sixty children in Zimbabwe that all witnessed the same event, all interviewed with eye-witness testimony, describing some kind of extra-terrestial encounter, documented by Mack, who had decades of psychiatric training. Just saying, hard to deny. I know having billions of galaxies out there beyond Earth isn’t enough to prove that there’s more so-called intelligent life out there other than us. Maybe we need to know there are trillions of galaxies…with billions of solar systems. Hmmm. I think there might just be… but, you know, it’s just a conspiracy theory. Yeah. And for even more fun, here’s what Mack believes to be the Dalai Lama’s views about why extra-terrestrials have come to Earth. Hope you laugh your a@#s off! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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  35. I’m asking about this in the McPherson thread, even though it concerns Malcolm Light and Sam Carana’s claims.

    A number of their “articles” (and I don’t have the links handy, nor the patience to dig through looking for them) make the claim that global warming increases earthquake activity. They specifically bring this up as support for their interpretation of the Shakhova scenario: that global warming will increase seismic activity in the Siberian shelf, causing a big enough earthquake that will release methane and set off the CH4 firestorm that will burn us all alive and blah blah blah. But they imply that this would be a global phenomenon, increased seismic activity.

    Of alll the climate projections I’ve read from reputable sources, not a single one mentions increased seismic activity. So what I’m wondering is – is there ANY validity to the idea of warming causing more earthquakes (and if so, what’s the mechanism), and if not, how does someone become convinced that it’s a real thing?

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    • None whatsoever. I mean, it’s absolutely possible for climate/weather stuff at the surface to have an effect on a fault: like this or this or this. But the idea that ice mass loss from Greenland is somehow causing earthquakes all over the Northern Hemisphere is just loony. I remember a post where they tried to claim that earthquakes on plate boundaries around the Pacific were proof of this— as if earthquakes don’t occur there constantly for actual reasons.

      This is the same guy who is claiming that earthquakes in the Arctic are breaking open conduits to some magical reservoir of methane in the mantle, so you can’t expect this to have any scientific basis.

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    • I actually just spotted that because I went to tweet at him to ask he stop slandering me.

      Once again, not a single piece of evidence is cited. I’m just insulted and falsely accused of some dark dishonesty.

      Isn’t it ironic that he’s repeatedly claimed that my post was a substance-free ad hominem (which it quite clearly isn’t), and yet that’s the only thing he can muster in response?

      Title: “How Scott Johnson Gets It Wrong”. [emphasis mine]
      Body: “He’s a big doo-doo head.”

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      • My response to his link post: ” That’s not a response to Johnson’s criticisms, it’s a list of your own assertions re “Johnson’s beliefs” — which is at least a couple layers of abstraction removed from prime: addressing his actual criticisms. Invite him to a debate “on the science” on your PRN.FM NBL podcast.”

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      • sj wrote:
        Once again, not a single piece of evidence is cited. I’m just insulted and falsely accused of some dark dishonesty.

        Such a concept…

        Isn’t it ironic

        Ironic indeed!

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  36. Yes, McPherson says he doesn’t work for money… he just begs for money instead:

    “PLEASE DONATE HERE

    I promote and practice an economy based on gifts. Humans exchanged gifts for about two million years before bartering and exchanging currency. I speak and write for no charge, although I accept gifts of fiat currency here. To donate, click on the blue heart instead of using the “Gift” button. Alternatively, you can donate via PayPal simply by using the subscription button below or by using my email address: guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com.

    My goal is donors who are sufficiently generous to provide an monthly income of $2,000. This modest base will allow me to continue my work. Thus far, I have five donors contributing a total of $35 monthly. These figures will be updated as they change.”

    http://guymcpherson.com/donate-here/

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    • Hey SJ,

      Just saw the post over at guymcpherson.com. I wonder why he decided to finally respond after all this time? I’m guessing you’ve been a bug in his crawl for awhile now. I gotta say, other than his main point, that you work for ‘The Man’, it was thin as such things go. You’re criticism above about Guy’s ‘work’ (quoting other scientists work) was rather more rotund. Well, you ‘started it’, eh? Just to clear things up, are you paid by industry to criticize McPherson?

      Hey, I hope everything else is going well for you.

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      • Beats me, but it’s pretty vintage Guy. I dared to leave a comment on his post, and that wasn’t very productive, either. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve had to defend myself and say, no, I haven’t been paid to criticize McPherson.

        Thanks.

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        • Hey SJ, how’s it going?

          I popped over to read some of the comments from people over at Nature Bats Last about how you get it wrong. You’re famous man. But yeah, it seems Guy and his fan boy Bud Nye don’t want to actually talk about your blog. Just you. Hey Scott, who cares what they think. This whole thing is going to blow up in their faces in say… 6 years. There’ve been doomsayers for thousands of years and EVERY SINGLE ONE has ended up with chicken yoke on their mugs. My guess, by 2030, climate fearmongers will be the last extinct species.

          Something Guy said: “Again, I’ve made the case, in great detail. That Johnson and his fan club disparage me and my work.” What work is that Guy? You mean others work that you misquote? What work have YOU actually done? Anthing? Anything at all? Just wondering.

          Guy says, “I doubt we need to wait two decades for that 5-16 C temperature rise. And when that happens, there will be few phytoplankton. Land plants will be rare.” Really? You mean when the Earth was 16 degrees hotter in the past, there were no land plants? Really?

          It’s embarrassingly obvious that Guy and the hippies he surrounds himself are desperate for apocalypse. Nothing new there.

          Question SJ, I noticed Guy said you appeared on Alex Jones. Is that right? My opinion if true (I doubt it), not cool. The guy is a freaking nut. Don’t want him in your corner.

          See ya.

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          • Alex Smith was the guy’s name. (Here’s his podcast: http://www.ecoshock.info) If Alex Jones had contacted me, I would have run for the border!

            The affair over at Nature Bats Last is eyeroll-worthy. I had a real laugh over friend-of-the-blog Bud Nye’s demand that I release my tax returns, though.

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          • John, yes McPherson’s piece on how Scott gets it wrong is devoid of any content that reflects the title. However, don’t think that all climate fearmongers are as off-base as McPherson. Human induced climate change is a real and serious predicament. The paleo record tells us that. And don’t imagine that plants could withstand a rapid rise to 16C over pre-industrial. Maybe some could (I suspect that some will) but such a rapid rise will put paid to most species on this planet. Fortunately, though temperature is rising rapidly by geological time scales there isn’t a lot of evidence that it will warm as quickly as that. So climate concern is a serious topic, not a nutty topic.

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    • Hey SJ,

      Yeah, I was thinking of Alex Jones. What a bag of hot air.

      I’ve noticed that McPherson has said that he doesn’t ‘do primary science anymore.’ He says now he’s just ‘connecting the dots.’ I guess that’s what he means when he says that people who disagree with his misquotes are disparaging ‘his work’. Well heck, I suppose I can read a few extracts from some of the astronauts who walked on the moon, quote a few interesting parts and now tell people that that was my work. Zero to scientist in 60 seconds.

      SJ, I’m wondering who this Sam Carana is who McPherson likes to refer to as though he were some well known authority we shoud be awed by. Same as someone else he refers to named Malcolm Light? Try as I might I can’t seem to find anything about them at all. Are they real people or just more figments of McPherson’s wild imagination?

      As for McPherson, I just have one word. Well actually three words, one acronym.

      BAU.

      Look it up. Get used to it. It’s going to be here long after you’re gone.

      Like

      • As I understand it, Sam Carana is a pseudonym and no one knows who is behind it. Malcolm Light is a retired petroleum geologist. More importantly, the stuff they write on that blog is completely unscientific and absurd.

        Like

  37. I have to say, I find talk of methane release from the arctic rather hilarious. We hear all this talk about boiling seas 150 k in diameter, all these probably faked videos of people exploding methane from chipped out holes in the ice and when p-eople ask to see proof, we get pictures like this,

    Now, if methane was venting into the air in the same way oil was venting into the sea in 2010, heck maybe that might be a problem someday (though the Gulf recovered just fine), but instead we see pictures like the one above. Call me when it’s a problem, say in a few million years.

    Like

    • Well, things don’t need to look impressive to be important. After all, we can’t see the increase of atmospheric CO2 with our eyes. The bubble plumes are real and exist in many places. The question is whether they’re increasing in flux and, if so, by how much.

      The videos of burning methane gushing through holes punched in lake ice aren’t fake, they’re mostly made by an Alaskan researcher who is studying the rate of methane production in those lakes as conditions change due to permafrost thaw. http://youtu.be/YegdEOSQotE

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      • The question is whether they’re increasing in flux

        That train has left. Permafrost is thawing. Stability zones are retreating.

        and, if so, by how much.

        When the next train arrives, it will be too late, so the question is, how close do you want to cut it?

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  38. This cartoon was used in a TED climate change talk. Should have had a third offering: Mesmerizing Horror Story with a small group in line, faces animated with excited anticipation, LOL although it’s sadder than it is funny—as GM points out, the things that may save us from the worst climate outcomes are massive, global, economic disruption or nuclear war/nuclear disaster (it would only be karmic justice if Russia dropped the bomb on us)

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    • Bill, did I read you right? “it would only be karmic justice if Russia dropped the bomb on us” Hey Bud, I’d cool that kind of talk if I were you. Skating rather close to the Terrorism side of the issue. Not that I haven’t hear McPherson openly encouraging Terrorism at one of his speechs. I believe he was somewhere in the Great Lakes region. Said something to the effect of there were only 2 or 3 main electrical stations (or whatever they are) that control the Grid for the entire US. He said something about it wouldn’t take much to bring the whole thing down and was encouraging his hysterical hippy buddies to consider it. At Least, it sure sounded like he was to me. If that doesn’t sound like advocating Terrorism, I don’t know what does.

      As for Sam Carana, why the heck would anyoine give a rats ass what ‘he’ says when we have no idea who ‘he’ is or if ‘he’ even exists at all? Likely a front for some bizarre end of the world cult leader like that Heaven’s Gate guy. Who the heck knows? Scratch one Sam Carana.

      As far as the couple dozen methane bubbles in the above picture, I’m guessing we’re going to find a bigger outlay in a hot tub with your average rich overweight white guy kicking back munching nachos.

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    • Well, maybe not Russia—probably would have to be Pakistan or India—of the countries that have the nuclear capability—for it to really be karmic justice.

      Gratuitous bombings of Japan at the end of WWII, followed by the genocidal wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and then the dozens of brutal/avaricious regimes we’ve installed/supported with terror methods across the globe, all the while believing we’re the good guys. Without even mentioning global warming which will make all those wars seem trivial and has our signature on it. Yes, there’s some karma due.

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      • If they’re coming to get me I hope they don’t shoot my dog. That would really piss me off. LOL :(

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  39. Another pseudoscientific interview with GM: http://truth-out.org/news/item/27714-are-humans-going-extinct

    This comment made me laugh concerning GM’s typical followers: ” For whatever reason, the most vocal fans seem to be housewives with no science background and a bunch of kids. Many of them severely denigrate white men and patriarchy, yet rely on their husbands’ or ex-husbands’ money to run their high-maintenance lifestyles. Many also have been lifelong conformists who are playing at their version of a safe, comfy rebellion now that they’re getting older and facing a rather formless future with a lot of time on their hands. Thinking of asking them to make a true sacrifice for our planet? HaHa! Forget it. Being part of McPherson’s club is much, much, much less demanding…so is writing blogs for years on end or ranting in comment sections.”

    And there is still no reputable scientist in GM’s court. Tim Garrett remains far, far away.

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    • Eh. I don’t see much reason to pick on people who mistakenly assume McPherson knows what he’s talking about. Whoever wrote that obviously doesn’t know them all, so making broad claims about their personal lives is a little greasy.

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      • I agree with you.

        My opinion, for whatever it’s worth (probably not much), most of McPherson’s followers have issues of their own (as do we all) and reasons why they’re hoping for The End. Certainly McPherson does. He’s said several times that the people who attend his lectures come away feeling free and uplifted! So there you go. It’s Zen for some. Honestly, I’m just being honest, most of these people come from the extreme left side of the political arena and have a zillion axes to grind, been carrying around a load of hate for The System. They’re hoping for payback, for downfall, even if it takes the earth with it. Not very environmentally conscious of them I should say. But yeah.

        Bill, I agree with you about war. I hate it just as much as you and the arrogance we shove down other people’s throats every single day at the point of a gun. I kind of doubt that anyone actually likes war though I’m just cynical enough to believe that there are some amongst the top brass in every country who do. That’s the way of man. For me, I roundly believe that old McCartney lyric that says,

        “We all know that people are the same wherever you go. There’s good and bad in EVERYONE.” Every single one.

        Truer words have never been spoken. We like to pretend that we’re good, special, better for whatever reason. But the sun doesn’t rise for us, it doesn’t circle the earth, the earth is at the farthest reaches of our galaxy, and if God or some friendly alien race doesn’t step up, we will do ourselves in one day. Dead certain. That’s just the nature of our species. Some other species, hopefully one far less malignant than we are will take over where we left off.

        Yeah, the Earth is under assault. And yes, we’re probably the primary cause. It may die one day, it may not. But let’s not get behind to push.

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      • john wrote:
        It may die one day, it may not. But let’s not get behind to push.

        That’s not the idea behind GM, I don’t think–and definitely not my idea. I would think it just if the US got wiped out and the rest of the world lived happily ever after. Could happen. Sure there’s plenty of good people in the US that don’t really deserve it, but ignorance may not be a good enough excuse.

        GM is in it for the other species. That was the whole thing with Bud Nye and human arrogance.

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        • Bill, I hate to break it to ya, but there has never been peace amongst people, American or not. We’ve been bashing and slicing and shooting each other for as long as we’ve been carrying tools. Probably used rocks before that.

          Reminds me of a line in a Twilight Zone episode, Elegy. After being poisoned by a caretaker on an asteroid, a dying astronaut asks,

          “But why? Why us?”

          The caretaker answered,

          “Because you are here, and you are men. And while there are men, there can be no peace.”

          That’s the long and the short of it. It isn’t the place, it’s the race.

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        • John wrote:
          Bill, I hate to break it to ya, but there has never been peace amongst people, American or not

          John, duh. People don’t like to have what they own taken from them. That was the reason for WWII, only we were, ostensibly, and for the most part, the good guys. Since then, we have been the bad guys, the bullies, taking everyone’s lunch money. Is that what you want? Do you know there have been times of relative peace in the world? I mean, DUH!.

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        • “GM is in it for the other species.”

          Asking GM to elaborate on and justify that was what got me banned from his FB page. At least I assume so, as he didn’t bother to explain.

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      • Scott, having been through the wars with these folks for the last few years and also having met more than a few personally (non-hippies all), I can’t help enjoying an accurate (albeit generalized), “greasy” assessment; however, point received.


        McPherson is labeling himself a “grief recovery counselor” after paying close to $2,000 for a few days’ attendance: https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/certification-training

        For a man who constantly claims freedom from the shackles of civilization, he certainly adores buyable authority, never comprehending the irony.

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        • SJ,

          Something occurred to me yesterday during a long drive in the country. But first, if you have time, can you tell me why the poles are colder than the rest of the earth? I mean, I can understand why the NP is colder during the winter months, the tilt of the earth at that time causes the NP to be further from the sun than the SP. So we in the northern hemisphere are enjoying winter while those in the southern hemisphere are enjoying summer. The SP is closer to the sun during that time of year. Makes sense. But I just wanted to ask you before I go any further if it’s that simple, which part of the earth is closer or farther from the sun as the main driver of the climate in those regions.

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          • The poles are colder because sunlight does not cover the Earth’s surface evenly. At the equator, sunlight is most direct, like a flashlight pointed directly at the ceiling to make a tight beam. At the poles, sunlight comes in at a low angle, like that flashlight pointed obliquely and spreading its light over a large area. Winter comes not because one hemisphere is farther from the Sun, but because it’s tilted away, making the sunlight hit at a lower angle (and shortening the length of the day).

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          • The big inclination of sun light beams at poles is clearly the reason of smaller warming there, not only because of the spreading of radiation over a higher surface, but also and very importantly because of sun beams have to go through much higher distance to cross the atmosphere.
            And we shouldn´t forget the other side of the coin: back radiation there, that COOLS earth, doesn´t differ in that respect from lower latitudes areas. I personally think this is also one of the reasons why poles are warming at higher pace with the increase of GHGs.

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  40. Bill,

    Of course I prefer peace. And I know that the US has been and continues to act as a bully as such in the world. My suggestion is this, it’s because they are men, not because they are Americans. They’re bullies because they can be. Americans have the money and the resources to force their way of life on other people. If say, Sierra Leone were in that position, I dare say they would be the bullies.

    Landbeyond, you quoted Bill as saying,

    “GM is in it for the other species.”

    Your response was, “Asking GM to elaborate on and justify that was what got me banned from his FB page. At least I assume so, as he didn’t bother to explain.

    In this regard I agree with GM. Why we can’t be in it not just for us but for the other species is beyond me. Why we’ve always believed that animals are less worthy of living than we are has always been an issue with me. We’re no better than they are, and considering the way we treat the earth and every other living thing on it, ourselves included, I’d suggest that we’re worse.

    Like

    • Thanks SJ and Rafael,

      What occurred to me a couple of days ago, and I’m sure I’m missing something here, is that while the poles are cold, the equator is relatively hot. Be patient. As you’ve explained, it’s because the poles are slanted away from the sun but the equator is faced directly at it. So the poles are colder and the equator is hotter. (Although when the North Pole is slanted away from the sun in our winter, isn’t the South Pole slanted towards the sun in their summer?)

      The distance between the equator (from Kenya) and the North Pole is about 7962.7 miles.

      It occurred to me that the distance between the poles and the equator is roughly the distance between very hot and very cold, or, to put it more directly, between near inhabitability and near inhabitability. Meaning that if the earth was moved further away from the sun so that Kenya was in the area of space the North Pole now occupies, it would freeze over more or less and the North Pole become that much colder.

      My point being, could it be that the area we refer to as the Goldilocks Zone, if I’m correct, is only half the diameter of the Earth, towards the sun and in the opposite direction or about 7962.7 miles away, twice the diameter of the earth on either side from the space the Earth occupies presently?

      I’ve noticed the illustrations that show the zone of habitability stretching all the way from Venus to well past Mars.

      Meaning, I believe, that the earth could sustain life at any place within that zone. Yet just the distance between the equator and the poles is the distance between intense heat and deep freeze.

      It would take a 747 traveling 600 mph about 13.5 hours to fly from the equator to the North pole. In just that short distance, the climate would turn from hot to frigid. It IS habitable meaning it is possible to survive there, but just. And yet if the habitable zone is as wide as claimed. the earth could sustain life at a distance of up to 225 million km further from the sun (on average) than it is now. It would take that same 747 traveling at the same speed, not 13 hours but 32 years to reach Mars. Why would the earth freeze at just 7962.7 miles in distance from the equator but be livable at 225 million km further away from the sun from it’s present orbit?

      My point being, if the distance between hot and freezing is just 8000 miles, the Goldilocks Zone might be extremely narrow indeed. Or is this the more accurate assessment of the habitable zone,


      If so, wow, it seems we really are in a ‘sweet spot’ in the universe. Meaning the earth may be far more sensitive to change than imagined. I’m sure one of you good folks will show me the error of my ways.

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      • Again, it’s not the difference in distance to the Sun, it’s the angle of the land surface with respect to the angle of the incoming sunlight (perpendicular at equator, low angle at poles). In fact, at the current time, the Earth is a few million miles closer to the Sun in January than in July. Check this out: http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/animations/seasons_ecliptic.swf

        So the habitable zone is indeed much broader than the radius of the Earth.

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