A Very Ridiculous Comment by the Author of a Recent SkepticalScience Post

I returned to a recent post at SkepticalScience to examine what the author had to say about two papers: Meehl et al (2011) and Meehl et al (2013). [We discussed Meehl et al (2013) here.] I am now convinced SkepticalScience should be renamed UtterNonsense or TheCluelessLeadingTheClueless. The SkepticalScience post I’m referring to is A Looming Climate Shift: Will Ocean Heat Come Back to Haunt Us?, and the author is Rob Painting.

The first comment on the thread reads:

Can you say how strong the empirical evidence is for rapid warming to start in the near future? As a non-scientist climate change communicator I’d like to let people know what the balance of evidence is without being too alarmist.

The resident expert on coupled ocean-atmosphere circulation at SkepticalScience, the author of the post Rob Painting, replied (my boldface):

Individuals will make their own decision as to whether they find this information alarming or not. The consequences of a shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation could be very profound. As for previous behavior of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, given that many readers will not be familiar with this index – I’m writing a follow-up to this post.

“The consequences of a shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation could be very profound”????? He has got to be kidding.

The tragedy: The “climate change communicator” who asked the question, someone who by their own admission does not have a scientific background, actually thanked Rob Painting for the answer. Will the “climate change communicator” now broadcast that nonsense through his communication channels?

The most telling part: No one else commenting on the thread questioned Rob Painting’s statement.

How strange is the phrase “shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation”? A Google search with that phrase in quotes presented results only from SkepticalScience. (And now results appear in response to this post.)

Anyone who proposes a shutdown of wind-driven ocean circulation has no clue whatsoever about what causes it.

Wind-driven ocean circulation results from the temperature differences between the tropics and the mid-latitudes, and those temperature differences are caused by the sun heating the tropics more than it heats the mid-latitudes. Since the surface of the ocean is warmer in the tropics than at mid-latitudes, more convection occurs in the tropics. In other words, the air is rising in the tropics. Surface winds blow from the mid-latitudes to the tropics to replace the rising air. The other component is the rotation of the Earth. It causes a phenomenon called the Coriolis effect, which deflects the equatorward traveling winds to the west. Those trade winds, as they’re known, blow across the surface of the tropical oceans and cause the currents north and south of the equator to flow from east to west.

Note: To reduce the number of components, I excluded surface pressures from the preceding discussion. But we all know that surface winds blow from areas of higher pressure to those with lower pressures. And I also excluded El Niño- and La Niña-related discussions.

For wind-driven ocean circulation to shut down, is Rob Painting suggesting the waters in the tropics will no longer be warmer than they are in the mid-latitudes? And is he also suggesting the Earth will stop rotating? Those things would have to occur for his proposed shutdown to occur. Considering that SkepticalScience is an alarmist website, is he suggesting that all this will be caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gases?

Oy vey!

For those who’d like a more detailed introduction to what causes the trade winds to blow and for the surface currents to flow, here’s a chapter from my book Who Turned on the Heat? Sometimes a few illustrations help.

3.2 Pacific Trade Winds and Ocean Currents

Trade winds are the prevailing surface winds in the tropics. They’re called easterlies because they blow primarily from east to west. In the Northern Hemisphere, the trade winds travel from the northeast to the southwest, and they travel from southeast to northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The trade winds blow because the surface temperature is warmer near the equator than it is at higher latitudes. Refer to Figure 3-2 for the annual 2011 zonal-mean sea surface temperatures for the Pacific Ocean.

Figure 3-2

Warm, moist air rises near the equator. This upward motion draws replacement surface air from the north in the Northern Hemisphere and from the south in the Southern Hemisphere. In other words, the air at the surface is being drawn toward the equator due to the updraft there. In turn, the equatorward surface winds need to be replaced, and that cool, dry air is drawn down from higher altitudes at about 30N and 30S. Upper winds traveling poleward from the equator complete the circuit. That circuit is called a Hadley Cell. See Figure 3-3. Because the Earth is rotating, the equatorward surface winds are deflected toward the west by the Coriolis force.

Figure 3-3

We can explain the Hadley Circulation another way, if you prefer. We’ll start again near the equator where warm, moist air rises. It travels poleward at an altitude of 10 to 15 kilometers (32,800 to 45,800 feet) losing heat and moisture along the way. The cooler, dryer air then drops back toward the surface in the subtropics at about 30N and 30S. The surface winds then complete the circulation pattern. If the Earth was not rotating, the tropical surface winds would be out of the north in the Northern Hemisphere and out of the south in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the Earth is rotating, however, the tropical surface winds—the trade winds—are deflected toward the west.

Figure 3-4

The prevailing tropical winds are, therefore, from east to west. They blow across the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean, dragging the surface waters along with them. There are two surface currents as a result, traveling from east to west, one per hemisphere. They are logically called the North and South Pacific Equatorial Currents. There is a smaller surface current flowing between them that returns some of the water back to the east and it’s called the Equatorial Countercurrent. See Figure 3-4.

Figure 3-5

The Equatorial Currents carry the waters across the tropical Pacific. Then they encounter Indonesia, which restricts continued flow to the west. Some of the water is carried through all of the islands to the Indian Ocean by a surface current called the Indonesian Throughflow. As noted above, a little of the water is carried east by the Equatorial Countercurrent. The rest of the water is carried poleward. The overall systems of rotating ocean currents in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are known as gyres. Gyres exist in all ocean basins. The ones in Figure 3-5 are called the North Pacific Gyre and the South Pacific Gyre.

The NASA Ocean Motion website is a great resource for entry-level discussions of ocean currents. Refer to their Home and Wind Driven Surface Currents: Equatorial Currents Background web pages. Take a tour; there’s lots of interesting information there.

[End of Chapter 3.2 of Who Turned on the Heat?]

Who Turned on the Heat? is a detailed presentation of the coupled ocean-atmosphere processes most persons refer to as El Niño and La Niña. Known collectively as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), they are the second strongest of the natural phenomena that have annual and multiyear effects on global climate—the strongest are explosive volcanic eruptions, which can overwhelm the effects of even the strongest El Niño. The recent example of that is the eruption of El Chichon—it counteracted the very strong 1982/83 El Niño.

The ocean heat content records and the satellite-era sea surface temperature records indicate that the processes of El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for much of the warming of the global oceans. That’s right—the instrument temperature record indicates the oceans warmed naturally. If this topic is new to you, refer to my illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB].

Who Turned on the Heat? begins with entry-level discussions, like Chapter 3.2 above. A preview is available here [4MB]. Who Turned on the Heat? is only available in pdf form here, for a price of US$8.00.

I’m working on a new introductory post to Who Turned on the Heat?, because I’m no longer pleased with the original Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About El Niño and La Niña.

CLOSING

In the past, I’ve tried to ignore what SkepticalScience’s resident expert, Rob Painting, has had to say about ENSO and its related coupled ocean-atmosphere processes. Try as I may, I do wind up talking about them occasionally. But I couldn’t overlook his statement, “The consequences of a shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation could be very profound.” And I find it quite remarkable that the denizens of SkepticalScience bought it—or just as likely, they elected to ignore it.

Rob Painting ended that comment with:

As for previous behavior of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, given that many readers will not be familiar with this index – I’m writing a follow-up to this post.

We discussed at length what the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation was, and what it wasn’t, in the post Meehl et al (2013) Are Also Looking for Trenberth’s Missing Heat. I’m patiently waiting for Painting’s follow-up post. It should be entertaining.

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81 thoughts on “A Very Ridiculous Comment by the Author of a Recent SkepticalScience Post

  1. I suspect there were plenty of comments challenging this idiocy, but as usual the SkS boys bit bucketed them as they do all truly skeptical comments.

  2. WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN THINK OF COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE IF THEY HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND!!

    Imagine having a roomful of China experts none of whom speaks Chinese.

    Oh well the Vietnam wars started just like that…

  3. ” The consequences of a shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation could be very profound”
    Yeah, as you pointed out, it would mean that the earth has stopped rotating.

    It reminds me of “Alice in Wonderland” .

    “…Really they’ll be more like bundles of old clothes than anything else, by the time they’re ready!’ she said to herself, as she arranged a bolster round the neck of Tweedledee, ‘to keep his head from being cut off,’ as he said.

    ‘You know,’ he added very gravely, ‘it’s one of the most serious things that can possibly happen to one in a battle—to get one’s head cut off.’ “

  4. His answer to the “communicator’s” question is a standard change-the-subject answer. Of course the consequences of shutting down wind driven ocean circulation would be profound. The fact that it has nothing to do with global warming is irrelevant. The first lesson of advocacy communication is to make sure you get your information out even if the question is not relevant to the answer you give. (The most skilled “communicators” reframe (that is, change) the question so the answer doesn’t look so odd.)

  5. The first comment on the thread reads:

    Can you say how strong the empirical evidence is for rapid warming to start in the near future? As a non-scientist climate change communicator I’d like to let people know what the balance of evidence is without being too alarmist.
    ————————————-
    What’s a non-scientist climate change communicator?
    I don’t recall that being a career path from my guidance counselor in high school.
    Wonder what the starting salary is?
    Can it lead to a job in the public sector?
    cn

  6. Their point of view is not science or even risk – they comment for GEOPOLITICAL reasons – simply put they want to reduce the human populations and they want a new tax [broad base] to redistribute wealth from rich nations to poor nations. They want to purchase political power with your money. Same method used to Fund Grant Science Studies. All bunk.

  7. Nice explanation to a laughable “what if”. Who is Rob Painting that he should have such recognition and credibility? If I use a couple of search engines all I get is a couple of links to his Skeptical Science posts. His straw man of the wind stopping is laughable and as aptly pointed out seriously lacking in scientific rigor. Trade winds were the stuff of elementary school history and geography back when Ike was president.

  8. “A Very Ridiculous Comment ” at SkS!

    I’m shocked.

    On the other hand, I am impressed with Bob’s ability to find the very ridiculous at that ridiculous website. Finding a needle in a needle stack doesn’t provide such a great challenge though.

  9. An example for a professional Climate Change Communicator. Don’t know if it pretends to be a scientist.

    “Susan Hassol is a climate change communicator, analyst, and author known for her ability to translate science into English and make complex issues accessible to policymakers and the public. She served as Senior Editor of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s report Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate, and was a lead author of Climate Change Impacts on the United States. Susan Hassol wrote HBO’s global warming documentary, Too Hot Not To Handle, has appeared on national television shows including 20/20, Frontline and NOW on PBS, and has testified about the impacts of Arctic warming before the U.S. Senate. She was honored by the Climate Institute with its first ever award for excellence in climate science communication. After a recent visit to JPL, Susan Hassol spoke with the Center for Climate Science’s Sharon Ray.”

    http://climatesciences.jpl.nasa.gov/news-release/2011-05-communicating-climate

    The interview goes on to explain the job of a Climate Change Communicator.
    I kid you not.

  10. The consequences of a return of unicorns could be very profound (or Godzilla for that matter).

    I guess a person can make up any disaster scenario they want which is what global warming science is primarily based on now.

    Wake me up when something unusual actually happens.

  11. How dare you deniers challenge Rob Painting vast knowledge and experience with climate science. (sarc)

    From Sks’ team page.

    Rob Painting
    Rob is an environmentalist, scuba diver, spearfisherman, kayaker and former police officer. Has researched climate science, in an amateur capacity, for 4 years. A long-time reader of Skeptical Science and now contributor.

  12. Is “climate change communicator” a similar “job” as “community organizer”?

  13. And I find it quite remarkable that the denizens of SkepticalScience bought it—or just as likely, they elected to ignore it.

    I suspect most did not even understand what it was, but assumed, that whatever it was, something disastrous would result. After all, that’s their religion.

    Anyway, nice post, Bob. Even I understood it all!

  14. Yeah, as you pointed out, it would mean that the earth has stopped rotating…..

    AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.

  15. Chuck Nolan asks “What’s a non-scientist climate change communicator? I don’t recall that being a career path from my guidance counselor in high school. Wonder what the starting salary is? Can it lead to a job in the public sector?”

    Well, if you don’t mind ‘non-scientist’ including those with little or no studies as a meteorologist, a climatologist, an archeologist, or geologist, or any of the other disciplines related to climate, present and past, here is an example – quote from Wikipaedia:

    “Timothy Fridtjof Flannery, (born 28 January 1956) is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist. He is the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission, a Federal Government body providing information on climate change to the Australian public.”

    “On 10 February 2011, Flannery was appointed as the Chief Commissioner of the Climate Commission by the Australian Government. The Commission is a panel of leading scientists and business experts who provide an authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians.[citation needed] The Commission is an independent body which does not comment on government policy.”

    Your guidance counsellor would not have thought such a position existed, or if it did, was worth anything. But it does, and presumably it pays well.

    Incidentally, the Climate Commission’s website does not respond – could it have been shut down as a result of the recent government turmoil and the new Cabinet sworn in today? On is it just the staff making changes and have shut it temporarily? We shall see.

    In addition, while he wrote a book “The Weather Makers” (see the Wikipaedia article on him, a gentleman has written a detailed response and rebuttal of most if not all of the stuff Flannery wrote – “The Weather Makers Revisited” if I remember correctly. Cannot check, I lave lent my copy.

  16. The consequences of a shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation could be very profound.

    I can’t see anything in this statement to disagree with, since he hasn’t claimed that it could actually happen.

    It’s interesting that this response doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the question asked.

  17. Cooks’ (An unfortunate name for Australia) cartoons are not funny, especially his Star Trek analogies! Even before I found out he was the “founder” of SkS, his cartoons were humourless IMO. What I find funnier is his blog, SkS. It’s a real rib tickler! If ever I visit SkS, rare these days since I was asked to prove inter-glacial periods were warmer than glacial periods, I go put on my Playtex 24hr girdle…because my sides would split otherwise!

  18. “omnologos says:
    July 1, 2013 at 5:23 am
    WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN THINK OF COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE IF THEY HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND!!

    Imagine having a roomful of China experts none of whom speaks Chinese.

    Oh well the Vietnam wars started just like that…”
    Except that’s not how the Vietnam War started- The North invaded the South always going to happen with Chinese support. A lack of Vietnamese experts made the American defence worse but mostly the failure to preemptively strike an obvious strike force was the biggest failure.

  19. Imo, he was referring to that part of wind-driven ocean circulation that is currently alleged to be causing the SAT pause by sequestering a fraction of energy entering the oceans in the deep ocean. If that wind-driven circulation were to end, then the sequestration of some energy in the deep oceans would presumably end, and the SAT would resume rising.

  20. Ken Hall says: “AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.”

    Speaking of flat-earthers. I’m sorry I missed that.

  21. “Climate change communicator” has all of the hallmarks of a government make-work job, and perfectly illustrates a society with too much time and money on its hands.

  22. steveta_uk says: “I can’t see anything in this statement to disagree with, since he hasn’t claimed that it could actually happen.”

    Why write it if he wasn’t suggesting that it could happen?

    steveta_uk says: “It’s interesting that this response doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the question asked.”

    Bingo. He answered an honest question with tangential nonsense.

  23. For a full job description of ‘climate change communicator’ please refer to the job of ‘weaver’ in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Anderson.

  24. Chuck Nolan says:
    July 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

    “What’s a non-scientist climate change communicator?”
    _______________
    Daryl Hannah?

  25. I may be wrong but the flat Earth that the …….Artist predicts would not be flat. It would be similar to a square piece of paper curved to the same curvature as the sun.

  26. My word. Figure 3-3, the Coriolis effect, indeed. Well established science. Orbit, axial tilt etc…

  27. Thanks Bob, good description of the wind circulations on planet earth.

    If I may suggest, would it be appropriate to explain the winds from a different perspective. Consider a perspective from a point in “space” looking at the earth and not from the surface of the earth itself.

    The earth (land mass and oceans) is rotating from left to right (in standard view with the north pole at the top, graphically speaking). The atmosphere may in a sense not rotate in the same direction at the same speed as the physical solid and liquid properties of the surface of the earth. It could therefore be viewed from “space” that actually (in a sense of perspective) that the easterlies are a result of the earth turning in a stationary atmosphere. From this perspective (space) it could be observed that the actual upper level flows are direct from the equator to the poles (which may be mostly true) but from a perspective on the ground there is a deflection in direction.

    I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but looking at things from a very simplified and different perspective that I convinced myself it was easier to understand. Hope this helps some others to understand some of the dynamics here. But in reality the atmosphere is far from simple.

    Anyone claiming the winds will cease is an idiot.

  28. Ken Hall says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:14 am
    Yeah, as you pointed out, it would mean that the earth has stopped rotating…..
    AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.

    I think you got it figured out. Painting is another member of the Flat Earth Society.

  29. Since Skeptical Science isn’t going to change its name to reflect who they really are, I suggest WUWT change their name to “Alarmist Nonsense” that way people who want to believe alarmist nonsense will have a place to go to learn the truth, even if they don’t want to hear the truth.

  30. Rob Painting
    Rob is an environmentalist, scuba diver, spearfisherman, kayaker and former police officer. Has researched climate science, in an amateur capacity, for 4 years. A long-time reader of Skeptical Science and now contributor
    —————————

    Spearfisherman => Non-scientist communicator => Children

  31. omnologos says:
    July 1, 2013 at 5:23 am

    WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN THINK OF COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE IF THEY HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND!!

    Imagine having a roomful of China experts none of whom speaks Chinese.

    Oh well the Vietnam wars started just like that…

    And even after all this time, people sill call it “Vietnam” instead of “Viet Nam”.

  32. ” I’d like to let people know what the balance of evidence is without being too alarmist.”
    _______________________________________________________________________________
    I would like to be alarmist, just not too alarmist. The stopping of wind driven ocean currents is just about the right amount of alarm.

  33. Look. This is no time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. The ocean currents are about to be shut down and we’re running out of time.

  34. I am now convinced SkepticalScience should be renamed UtterNonsense or TheCluelessLeadingTheClueless.

    Ooh burn! lmao

  35. Edohiguma says: July 1, 2013 at 6:09 am
    Is “climate change communicator” a similar “job” as “community organizer”?

    Hai, bear, and requires equal competence.

  36. “A non-scientist climate change communicator”?

    Is there some other sort of climate change communicator, then?

  37. It would appear that “a non-scientist climate change communicator” is a type of lay minister or priest, who has taken on the task of proselytizing the received litany to the public. This alone is a sure sign that “Climate Change” (née “Global Warming”) is an ideological movement, which bears no relation to actual scientific enquiry, and explains why real scientists who question the dogma are denounced as “deniers,” i.e. heretics.

    It is remarkable that the President of the United States has surrounded himself with high priests and acolytes of Climate Change, which he assures us is “Is real” and any doubters are equivalent to “Flat-earthers.” That the prescriptions and policies advocated by the Climate Change hierarchy would, if pursued to the ends its adherents desire, devastate the economies of the Western World, and condemn billions of people to an eternity of poverty and misery, means nothing to them. What is important is adhering to the tenets of the faith, and the entirely false global socialist utopia it seems to offer.

    It is time to turn this pernicious ideology on its head, to expose it for the insane cult that it really is, and to free our governmental and educational institutions from its suffocating grasp.

    /Mr Lynn

  38. Thanks, Bob.
    Maybe Mr. Painting thinks the Sun will stop shining and the Earth will stop rotating.
    Below are two dates regarding the development of this subject:

    1735 – –
    The year of publication for Hadley’s theory of tropical atmospheric circulation

    1835 – –
    The year the mathematical expression for the Coriolis force appeared

  39. Jim Ryan,

    Obama is likely sorry he used the “flat-earth-society” disparagement, as it includes a lot of respected scientists. Likely a speech-writer got demoted, and the teleprompter got the boot and a new one will need to be purchased.

    Even a layman like myself has been following links and studying the subject of Global Warming for over ten years now. You see, we were brought up to be what is called “an educated voter,” which involves more than regurgitating talking-points. If you want to regurgitate talking points you can go to Skeptical Science, and they have your answers all written out for you. You don’t have to think at all. However if you would like to be something besides wet behind the ears, you will need to study hard, asking many questions even if it makes you look less than knowledgeable, and ask follow-up questions as well, and make more than one narrow view be your source. Often you will not get a single answer, for there is no single answer to what controls the weather; it is a complex and chaotic system influenced by multiple factors, and there are multiple theories to think about.

    Shutting down the ocean’s currents is not likely, and would take an event so huge we’d likely have too many problems dealing with the event itself to spend time worrying about the currents.

    Our president was rude to refer to educated voters as “flat earthers,” and copying him makes you appear to be a rude parrot, rather than wise. If you would like to read how long I have been studying this subject, and why I feel Obama is unwise, I wrote a long rave:

    http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/history-revisited-ending-with-keith-briffa-reviewing-data-snapping-blade-from-manns-hockey-stick-yet-again/

    Bob,

    Thanks for taking complex things and making them understandable. Besides an excellent observer you are becoming an excellent communicator.

  40. dayday says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:55 am
    I may be wrong but the flat Earth that the …….Artist predicts would not be flat. It would be similar to a square piece of paper curved to the same curvature as the sun.

    Actually, wouldn’t it have to look more like my satellite dish?

  41. Someone with an account over at sKs should post that guys quote with Bill I’s response about unicorns and Godzilla ……… lol

  42. You’re being too hard on him. He only forgot to mention this would happen when the earth stops spinning. Come one, give the guy a break.

  43. John F. Hultquist says: July 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

    1735 – –
    The year of publication for Hadley’s theory of tropical atmospheric circulation
    1835 – –
    The year the mathematical expression for the Coriolis force appeared

    …………..
    Not much change in the CET from those years
    1734 —– 9.54 C
    1835 —– 9.55 C

    2012 —– 9.54 C

  44. Apologies to Coleridge…

    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon Rob Painting’s ocean.

  45. I have worked in the inland Pilbara in Western Australia during the southern winter, the time of the southeast trades. I can assure folks that the south easterlies blow and blow and blow. Strong wind warnings are common along the Pilbara coast due to strong offshore winds.People go mad [a bit strong perhaps, but certainly screws loosen] because of the wind.

    I’d suggest that a shut down of wind driven ocean currents is probably not imminent..

  46. philjourdan says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Chuck Nolan says:
    July 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

    What’s a non-scientist climate change communicator?

    A propaganda minister.
    =====================================
    I prefer:
    “useful idiot”

  47. Bob – I am now convinced SkepticalScience should be renamed UtterNonsense or TheCluelessLeadingTheClueless.

    Well, I for one completely agree but I’m afraid you probably won’t convince our host. Anthony still regards SS as merely “unreliable”. I completely accept that it’s his site and he makes the rules but I can’t help but think that, particularly after some of the things that have been said about him there, he is being way more accommodating about them than he should.

    On the other hand, he hosts the number one science blog and I don’t.

  48. “Ken Hall says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:14 am
    Yeah, as you pointed out, it would mean that the earth has stopped rotating…..

    AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.”

    In the 1970s, Larry Niven wrote a series of science fiction stories about a “ringworld”, an artificial
    created by superintelligent creatures. The world was an artificial ring about one million miles wide and approximately the diameter of Earth’s orbit (which makes it about 600 million miles in circumference), encircling a sunlike star. It rotates, providing artificial gravity that is 99.2% as strong as Earth’s gravity through the action of centripetal force. The ringworld has a habitable flat inner surface equivalent in area to approximately three million Earth-sized planets. Night is provided by an inner ring of shadow squares which are connected to each other by thin, ultra-strong wire (shadow square wire). What kind of weather would it have? It wouldn’t have hadley circulation, but there would be differential day/night heating and differential land/ocean effects on temperature.

  49. I think the word you’re all looking for is “apostle” – which means “useful idiot”.

  50. First of all, there is no such thing as “upwelling”. Cold deep water is dense, it would never go up on its own. There is vertical turbulent mixing though, which has a similar effect, as surface waters are always warmer than deeper layers, except in polar areas.

    This turbulent mixing is driven by tides and winds, their contribution is roughly fifty-fifty. Most of the wind driven part (~80%) happens over the southern ocean (Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties, Screaming Sixties), very far from the trade wind zone.

    Vertical turbulent mixing is the process that replenishes buoyancy to the abyss, making polar downwelling possible.

    One can clearly see that it is impossible to stop this process, because the Moon would not go away easily. Winds over the southern ocean may vary, but not noo much. It would be utterly foolish to expect them to stop blowing. Anyway, they have only a loose connection to what goes on over the tropics & subtropics.

    The most variable part of the system (of Meridional Overturning Circulation) is the ever changing set of spots where downwelling occurs. It always happens somewhere along the ice edge, because density of salt water (unlike that of fresh water) is highest just above freezing. But the exact location depends on a gazillion of factors, so, even if its global flux is set by mechanical energy input (tides & winds), its spatial distribution is not. That’s the way most of climate change is generated. Currently there are two regions where density of surface waters is highest, one around Antarctica and the other is in the North Atlantic. Their relative weight in global downwelling flux determines what trends we see in Europe & North America.

  51. Alan D McIntire says:

    July 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

    “Ken Hall says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:14 am
    Yeah, as you pointed out, it would mean that the earth has stopped rotating…..

    AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.”

    In the 1970s, Larry Niven wrote a series of science fiction stories about a “ringworld” [snip] What kind of weather would it have? It wouldn’t have hadley circulation, but there would be differential day/night heating and differential land/ocean effects on temperature.

    Actually Niven gave considerable thought to weather patterns on the Ringworld. For one, he realized that Coriolis effects would be vertical (up-down) instead of “east-west.” Hence the Eye Storm, which figures strongly in the story.

  52. Edohiguma says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:09 am
    A community organizer is what was called a ward heeler back in mayor Richard J Daley’s (pere) day.; probably in mayor Richard M Daley’s (fil) day, too.

  53. “AND that the planet became a flat square all facing the sun at once at the same angle.””

    gees,… have you been looking at Trenberth energy balances again ??

  54. Berényi Péter: You’ve contradicted yourself. First you wrote, “…there is no such thing as ‘upwelling’”. But later you wrote, “The most variable part of the system (of Meridional Overturning Circulation) is the ever changing set of spots where downwelling occurs.”

    If there’s downwelling in one part of the ocean, there has to be upwelling somewhere else.

    Also decades of research indicates upwelling does occur, as part of ENSO and as part of normal coastal water dynamics:

    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/upwelling.html

  55. Well, in the random switching excuse model they can’t always blame a shift in the Gulf Stream and other contrivances.

  56. I gave up reading Skeptical whatever early on as it was readily apparent that a virulent case of Dunning-Kruger effect had infected the main contributors there.

    cloa5132013 says:
    July 1, 2013 at 6:23 am.
    There was no north and south Vietnam until a roomful of China experts none of whom speaks Chinese poked their noses in.

  57. Bill Illis [July 1, 2013 at 6:04 am] says:

    The consequences of a return of unicorns could be very profound (or Godzilla for that matter).

    I guess a person can make up any disaster scenario they want which is what global warming science is primarily based on now.

    Wake me up when something unusual actually happens.

    From the department of strange coincidences … as I type this ( Monday July 1st, 6:00pm EDT ) two out of three of those things I’ve seen aired on cable TV.

    Godzilla is playing on AMC. That’s the more recent one from 1998 where he tramples NYC and contains a few global warming quips.

    The Weather Channel ( never a more perfect oxymoron ) has spent a huge chunk of the day running disaster programs. Everything from Mega-Tsunamis to rogue planets passing through our solar system ( yes, TWC, not NatGeo! ), most with a huge emphasis on human influences and CO2 naturally. The few times they cut away from alarmist programming is when they cover something current that still gets a climate spin, like fires out west. I’m not sure if they have actually shown our local weather ( endless rain ) at all today. To know that I would have to leave it on full-time which I believe is the very point of that channel now, make you watch crap propaganda all day long to get 15 seconds of questionable weather forecasts.

    I don’t have time to flip through the rest of the channels, but if I did I could probably locate some unicorns somewhere, no doubt being exterminated by evil oil companies :-)

  58. I hadn’t been to the Skeptical Science page in quite awhile. My advice is, just ignore them. Reading that stuff will make you stupid. It’s just a load of cherry picking and propaganda masquerading as science. It’s irritating that they have the chutzpah to call themselves skeptical when they are clearly confirmed warmists. It makes skeptics look bad.

  59. Just to remind everyone where we are in this debate, if NBC news Brian Williams gets ahem wind of this statement he will report it as fact. More and more of their news reporting involves some aspect of global warming. Anyone else noticed this?

    Jim

  60. The consequences COULD be profound. But in an abstract and theoretical sense! Painting does himself no favours.

  61. Peak stupid is almost reached at SkS, but Will Steffen, Australian Climate Commissioner reaches velocity claiming the cosmos has stopped moving because of carbon (sic).

    “Prof Steffen said that this period of climate change caused by humans, known as the ‘anthropocene era’, could ultimately cause the whole system of ice ages followed by warm periods, that has allowed life on Earth to flourish, to be over.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9168055/Compost-bomb-is-latest-climate-change-tipping-point.htm

  62. @edohiguma –
    Now we know where der Fuehrer got his six Ph.D.’s in climate science, a la Idi Amin!

  63. @Alan D McIntire
    @Eustace Cranch

    The eye storm on Niven’s Ringworld was due to a slow leak (at the size of that artifact, it takes an enormous volume to even make it up to slow) caused by an asteroid puncture. Not a meteor, it hit the underside, didn’t go through the atmosphere, which is why the defense system missed it. Good thing it didn’t puncture one of the oceans – the jet reaction would’ve had it hitting its star long before the Puppeteers found the ringworld…

    As for Skeptical Science, I used to read (and usually laugh at) Cook’s SevTrek Star Trek parody webcomic. I hadn’t gone to the site for a few years, decided to see about catching up on the comic around the time he dropped it to put his efforts toward his warmista blog – and lost any desire to read any more of his webcomic.

  64. Bob Tisdale and Berényi Péter: This “upwelling/downwelling” issue intrigues me. Density differences have much to do with geologic processes, such as subduction, and salt diapirs, and volcanic intrusions and eruptions, and so on. In the ocean, I cannot envision dense cold deep water “upwelling”. I can however envision dense, salty, cooling water from the tropics subsiding or sinking or subducting if you will, into the surrounding, less dense ocean.

    It seems to me that “upwelling” is better described as “uncovering” or “exposure” as it appears that the upwelling along the western South American coast is in fact caused by warm, less dense surface waters being moved to the west by the trade winds. In no way however, is there some liquid force field that, given water subsiding in the north Atlantic because of its density, forces dense cold water in the eastern Pacific to rise to the surface. Bob sort of suggested something like this with this comment: “…If there’s downwelling in one part of the ocean, there has to be upwelling somewhere else….” @Bob Tisdale says: July 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  65. Surely none of this was lost on anyone here—from the “Key Points” (the numbering is mine):

    1. “A climate model-based study, Meehl (2011), predicted…”
    2. “…deep ocean warming in the model occurred during negative phases of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO)… …was most likely in response to intensification of the wind-driven ocean circulation.”
    3. “Meehl (2013) is an update to their previous work, and the authors show that…”
    4. “This modelling work, combined with current understanding of the wind-driven ocean circulation, implies that…”

    Point No. 1 says it all: this is all just so much fantasizing, not even really what you can call guess work, aided and abetted by a silicon-based Ouija Board.
    Point No. 2 is nonsensical discussion about the possible implications of a prediction by the Ouija Board, treated as if it actually has any relationship to reality at all (I’m reminded of a Peanuts cartoon, where Lucy has found a butterfly, and starts to go off on Linus about how it’s probably a Monarch Butterfly, and it migrated all the way from Brazil, to which Linus observes, “It’s not a butterfly at all. It’s a potato chip.” Lucy, undeterred—like our not-so-skeptical, alarmist friends—looks at it again and says, “Well what do you know! It IS a potato chip! How do you suppose a potato chip got all the way here from Brazil?!”).
    Point No. 3 says they’re using a new, improved Ouija Board or perhaps just an improved shuttle on the Ouija Board (perhaps so that many more “et al” can put fingers into the paper and increase the number of the consensus about the result).
    Point No. 4 actually implies that the author doesn’t know the difference between objective reality and video games, and as observed by Bob Tisdale, elsewhere in the article and in his posts, the author proves conclusively that he knows zip about wind circulation.

    Regarding the alarmists’ apparently total faith in the veracity of computer models—since they seem to model predictions interchangeably with reality—as a wise man once said to me, “Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with building castles in the clouds. The trouble starts when you try to move in…”

    Happy Monday, everyone…
    p@

  66. The shutdown of the wind-driven ocean circulation is happening because of macroscopic quantum tunneling in the hypothalmus-pitutary axis. Anyone on a vegan diet has experienced this wind-driven scenario.

  67. Climate alarmism meets “The day Earth Stood Still” – human CO2 is slowing down earth’s angular velocity, (film at 11).

  68. Looks like Rob Painting never even got his gun out of its holster.”

    [Steve of Rockwood at 5:45AM 7/1/13]

    LOL. But, he fired it off anyway.

    ************************
    ” *** As idle as a painted ship
    Upon Rob Painting’s ocean.” [Jason Coleridge Calley at 9:43AM]

    Nice!
    *********************************
    Hi, Patrick Dolan! Happy Monday to you, too. #[:)]

    — Loved the essay. “How do you suppose a potato chip got all the way here from Brazil?!”

    LAUGH-OUT-LOUD.
    **************************************
    Txomin (at 7:21PM) — So, that makes SkS folks air heads.

    “Airhead Science — come fly with us… you just never know what you’ll see!” [voice-over to video of Bill I.'s unicorns, Godzilla, and a few fairies]

    *******
    Mike M “film at 11″ — LOL.

  69. Of course you can also eliminate wind driven circulation by eliminating either (or both, more likely) the atmosphere or the hydrosphere. No fluid medium, no circulation. Technically, slightly more likely than stopping the planet’s rotation. [Giant solar flare(s), gamma ray burst, black hole]

  70. Rob Painting
    Rob is an environmentalist, scuba diver, spearfisherman, kayaker and former police officer. Has researched climate science, in an amateur capacity, for 4 years. A long-time reader of Skeptical Science and now contributor

    ================================
    Rob Painting will raise the standard of science on SkS.

  71. You do have to concede one thing in Rob’s favour.
    If the “wind driven ocean circulation” really did shutdown it would
    have extremely profound effects, indeed.

    However in the absence of a very massive and, relatively, high
    velocity impactor heading this planet’s way, it is not unreasonable
    to expect that circulation to continue unabated for several million
    more orbits.

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