The WUWT Hot Sheet for August 23rd, 2013


While NASA says sea ice probably won’t set any records this year, we have this horrible news: Sea ice decline spurs the greening of the Arctic

Sea ice decline and warming trends are changing the vegetation in nearby arctic coastal areas, according to two University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists.

A surprise and puzzling finding shows that despite a general warming and greening of Arctic lands in North America, some areas in northern Russia and along the Bering Sea coast of Alaska are showing recent cooling trends and declines in vegetation productivity.

“We don’t know why,” Bhatt said. More:


Biologist Susan Crockford on polar bears and sea ice (elevated from a WUWT comment)

It doesn’t matter how low the ice gets in September, it does not negatively affect polar bears. 

As far as polar bears and sea ice are concerned, September is the least important month of the year. They can wring their hands all they like over the next few weeks but the evidence is in.

The attempted correlation between ice levels in September and harm to polar bears has proven to be false – by the work of polar bear biologists themselves.

See my summary of the evidence:


Poking the “Slayers” again, Dr Roy Spencer writes via email:

I just posted Part I of my own setup, along with Wood’s original article.  It appears he put a glass plate IN FRONT OF the salt plate, which would totally invalidate his whole experiment.

Revisiting Wood’s 1909 Greenhouse Box Experiment: Part I

Much is made in some circles of R.W. Wood’s 1909 experiment which supposedly “disproved” the “greenhouse effect”. As we shall see (below) the experiment reported on in the literature has only cursory detail. It also raises questions over the ability of the setup to demonstrate anything of use to the issue of whether downward IR emission from the sky raises the average surface temperature of the Earth.

I’m finally putting together my own experimental setup, which could be easily replicated by others. We now have widely available materials which are better suited to performing the experiment, and it should be an ideal candidate for High School science experiments.

Part of my interest is the fact that at least two attempts at replicating Wood’s experiment (Pratt’s and Nahle’s) came to totally opposite conclusions(!)


Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger on the new IPCC report:

‘We can’t say we are surprised. But neither can we say that that the IPCC’s new results will be published without a huge groundswell of pushback from those who won’t be fooled by the IPCC’s misassessment of the current state of climate science. Stay tuned for the fallout from this mushroom.’


That Methane thing again. 

Beetles modify emissions of greenhouse gases from cow pats
Cattle contribute to global warming by burping and farting large amounts of greenhouse gases. Some of the same gases are also emitted from cow pats on pastures. But now researchers from the University of Helsinki have found that beetles living in cow pats may reduce emissions of the key greenhouse gas — methane.


Up to our ears in snake oil

Al Gore and his traveling medicine show is back in town with his new, improved snake oil, guaranteed to grow hair, improve digestion, promote regularity and kill roaches, rats and bedbugs. Al and his wagon rumbled into town on the eve of “a major forthcoming report” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a panel of scientists affiliated with the United Nations. Their report is expected to buck up the spirits of the tycoons of the snake-oil industry.

A snake-oil salesman’s lot, like a policeman’s, is not a happy one. There’s always a skeptic or two (or three) standing at the back of the wagon, eager to scoff and jeer. The global-warming scam would have been right up Gilbert and Sullivan’s street. Would Al and the U.N. deceive us? No! Never! What! Never? Weeeell, hardly ever.


Pointmans: The great global warming con:

The whole scam will be gone in a decade or so but in the meantime, and with one eye nervously on the exit door, the scammers are now putting their best efforts into a blow off phase. Listen carefully around you now, and for the next few years, and you’ll hear the inch wise retractions which somehow don’t count as full-blooded recantations.

The first excuses were changing the nature of the story slightly. Global Warming subtly mutated into Climate Change, which is now being rebadged as Global Climate Disruption. It’s similar to catching a liar out; the lie mutates to cover whatever hole you’ve pointed out to them.


Models all the way down…

Why are they useless? For one thing, the “modeler has a great deal of freedom in choosing [his inputs]. Thus these models can be used to obtain almost any result one desires.” To highlight the absurdity of this freedom, Pindyck mentions that a “colleague of mine once said ‘I can make a model tie my shoe laces.’”
Heaping ridicule on the methodology of the modelers, Pindyck refers to an IPCC survey of 22 peer-reviewed published studies of climate sensitivities that was summarized into a meaningless graph. The modelers then used this IPCC graph in their subsequent models. “But where did the IPCC get those numbers? From its own survey of several IAMs. Yes, it’s a bit circular.”

Because the models all provide sham estimates, Pindyck advocates throwing them out and taking our best shots at answers. “Perhaps the best we can do is come up with rough, subjective estimates of the probability of a climate change sufficiently large to have a catastrophic impact … Of course this approach does not carry the perceived precision that comes from an IAM-based analysis, but that perceived precision is illusory.”

Lawrence Solomon: Model mockery at the Financial Post


Bishop Hill says: In a post at Klimazwiebel, Von Storch and Zorita have expanded onf the views they put forward in the discusion paper I mentioned the other day.

We want here to set straight some misinterpretations that may have arisen in the blogosphere, e.g. Bishophill, and may also have been present in the review processes by Nature as well.

The main result is that climate models run under realistic scenarios (for the recent past) have some difficulty in simulating the observed trends of the last 15 years, and that are not able to simulate a continuing trend of the observed magnitude for a total of 20 years or more.This main result does not imply that the anthropogenic greenhouse gases have not been the most important cause for the warming observed during the second half of the 20th century. That greenhouse gases have been responsible for, at least, part or even most of the observed warming, is not only based on the results of climate simulations, but can be derived from basic physical principles, and thus it is not really debated. It is important to stress that there is to date no realistic alternative explanation for the warming observed in the last 50 years. The effect of greenhouse gases is not only in the trend in global mean near-surface temperature, but has been also identified in the spatial pattern of the observed warming and in other variables, such as stratospheric temperature, sea-level pressure and others.


Fracktards get routed at Balcombe, give up and go home (or just to the next encampment):


Police have begun to scale down their operation at an anti-fracking protest site in west Sussex after four weeks of demonstrations.

Many of the activists who descended on Balcombe to protest against an exploratory drilling site recently opened by energy company Cuadrilla have now left the area, Sussex police said.

Meanwhile Bishop Hill reports that one of the locals says his water is discolored:

There’s a lot of Twitter noise this morning about Balcombe residents experiencing discoloured water. Many tweets are pointing to a video by “local resident Carl Lee”.

But there’s a glitch, he’s an activist without an understanding of where his water comes from. The water company says:

Balcombe is not supplied by local groundwater but by water taken from the River Ouse near Lewes and treated. South East Water was first contacted by a small number of customers in relation to Balcombe residents experiencing discoloured tap water on Friday 9th August.

Another Balcombe resident tweets:

I live very close to Me Lee, within a 100yd radius he is only person with GREEN WATER! Strange INNIT !

Josh makes merry with #3 of his fracking series, it is, ahem, “well” done. See:



It’s da BOMB, that Methane thing again part 2:

Readers may recall this WUWT story: An alarmist prediction so bad, even Gavin Schmidt thinks it is implausible

Via Andrew Revkin’s twitter feed:

Eight scientists post strong critique of Whiteman & Wadhams Arctic methane bomb piece:

They write:

However, the analysis by Whiteman et al. (2013) cannot be supported, as it is based on a hypothetical release of 50 Gt of hydrate-sourced methane, at a flux of 5 Gt per year over a period of a decade from 2015-2025. A methane release on this scale is orders of magnitude greater than found in the geological record, is much larger than suggested by hydrate modelling, and is not seen to date in atmospheric measurements (either locally in the Arctic or globally)

The climate debate is complex: to be credible, risk scenarios need to be factually based and rooted on ongoing observations.


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22 Responses to The WUWT Hot Sheet for August 23rd, 2013

  1. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    “That greenhouse gases have been responsible for, at least, part or even most of the observed warming, is not only based on the results of climate simulations, but can be derived from basic physical principles, and thus it is not really debated. It is important to stress that there is to date no realistic alternative explanation for the warming observed in the last 50 years.”

    Excuse me? You say the damn models probably don’t work, but you base your conclusions on them anyway? But just in case the former is the case, you use “basic physical principles” to quash debate? But just in case, you excuse THAT egregious faux pas with a dismissive “besides there hasn’t been a realistic explanation anyway”. You’re damn right there hasn’t been! What the hell kind of show are you pompous asses running there, anyway?

  2. mark fraser says:

    But, but, but… aren’t said models supposedly based upon said physical principles? Self eating watermelon, here, or maybe something circular.

  3. rabbit says:

    Most environmental activists seem innocent of the most basic facts about what they are protesting over. They seem to get their “information” from environmental web sites that perpetuate and amplify outrageous nonsense in a giant game of Chinese Whispers. If some claim supports their beliefs, it is simply not questioned.

  4. Gary Pearse says:

    “The climate debate is complex: to be credible, risk scenarios need to be factually based and rooted on ongoing observations.”

    I always like to point out when I see such comments like these, the likes of which we never saw from the GACS (golden age climate scientists), before skeptics like Anthony Watts established a firm credible place on the scene. Indeed we can also attribute to WUWT, Climate Audit and a few others the concept of having a debate in the science (recall the science was settled – why would anyone have need of a debate). Now everyone is talking about debate and communication and even Gore is talking about “winning the conversation”.

    In fact desperate conversations seem to be all the “Consensus” can come up with these days. In the face of powerful science based criticism – a new idea in the science – the creative juices of the 97% have ceased to flow – they can’t produce their papers in such a harsh climate. Poor Kevin is reduced to searching for missing heat, first in the oceans where it leaps across several layers and now hot spots that dart here and there like pin balls, even across the general layers of climate – eg. from Russia to suddenly snap over to Australia except for a piece that got ripped off and stayed in the US southwest (he’s even suggested that the data has to be wrong). Did this Extinguised Senior Scientist put this jazz in a scientific paper? No, he phoned a sympathetic blogger who always publishes his stuff, no matter what it says. You know, if this were in another field of endeavor, such a person’s workplace human resources folks might kindly arrange an appointment with a professional and a rest holiday. Did his former stalwart team members leap to his support? No, they are keeping their head down. Climate hysteria is in the ‘sauve-qui-peut’ stage.

  5. Mickey Reno says:

    We know it’s going to be expensive , but you can’t afford NOT to buy this free renewable energy. It’s new, it’s improved, it’s old fashioned. Step right up!

  6. Mickey Reno says:

    If the salesman insists that you act right now, there’s no time to waste, no time for consideration, that’s an indicator that you’re being conned. Show me the 50 million climate refugees, Al.

  7. M Courtney says:

    Josh’s fract sheets are superb.

    They should be mace into adverts in newspapers where more than the usual suspects see them.

    They are brilliant because they are true.

  8. goldminor says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    August 23, 2013 at 11:39 am
    My new word for the day, thanks. The definition is appropriate “every mann for himself”.

  9. Theo Goodwin says:

    Von Storch writes:

    “It is important to stress that there is to date no realistic alternative explanation for the warming observed in the last 50 years.”

    How can a person write such a thing and not become a laughingstock? Von Storch will hold on to a theory even though it has been falsified or has proved unworkable for multiple reasons. His excuse is that the lack of a realistic alternative explanation requires him to stick with the falsified theory. But his excuse depends on his incorrect assessment of the alternatives. The correct alternative in this case is the one put forth so eloquently by Dr. Judith Curry, namely, that we do not know the explanation.

    Dr. Curry shares the humility of a Feynman. Von Storch, by contrast, seems to believe that his readers must grant that he has the explanation even though his existing version of it has a long record of failure. Now that is hubris.

  10. Berényi Péter says:

    Hans von Storch says:
    “That greenhouse gases have been responsible for, at least, part or even most of the observed warming, is not only based on the results of climate simulations, but can be derived from basic physical principles, and thus it is not really debated.”

    Climate simulations we can dismiss, they are trying to fit a computational model of high Kolmogorov complexity to a single run of a unique physical instance. That’s not science, for science does just the opposite. It seeks a simple model (one with a short description) fitting to multiple runs of a wide class of physical instances.

    As for basic physical principles, there is no general theory of non reproducible non equilibrium quasi stationary thermodynamic systems. The terrestrial climate system belongs to this class, therefore its behavior can’t be predicted theoretically either.

    For reproducible systems we do have a nice theory. Unfortunately that does not fit here, the climate system being chaotic, i.e. non reproducible.

    Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General Volume 36 Number 3
    Roderick Dewar 2003 J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 36 631 doi:10.1088/0305-4470/36/3/303
    Information theory explanation of the fluctuation theorem, maximum entropy production and self-organized criticality in non-equilibrium stationary states

    note: A system is reproducible if for any pair of macrostates (A;B) A either always evolves to B or never.

    That’s pretty general reasoning so far, let’s be a bit more specific.

    It is not “greenhouse gases” that warm the planet, but average Planck weighted optical depth in the thermal IR frequency range. Of course, if everything else is kept constant, increasing the concentration of a well mixed greenhouse gas (one with absorption lines in a subband of thermal IR) also increases this optical depth. Unfortunately nothing is kept constant, and that’s where one would need an as yet non existent branch of non equilibrium thermodynamics.

    Let me note that we do not have data either concerning IR optical thickness. Or, at least, we do not have processed data. Or do we?

    by Ferenc M. Miskolczi

    Damn. This guy used to be a contractor of NASA working on that very job, fired as soon as he has stumbled upon this empirical result. Embarrassing, is it?

    Anyway, most of IR optical depth is provided by water vapor, a well known fact, not really debated. Water vapor is not a well mixed gas, its atmospheric distribution is fractal-like with huge concentration differences on all scales. Again, no doubt about it whatsoever. There is no straightforward relation between average concentration of a non uniform absorber and the optical thickness provided by it. The latter proposition is self evident, but for those who fail to see it, let me pose a puzzle. Which one is more transparent, a thin plate of metal or a wire fence, composed of the same amount of metal per unit area both?

    Let me add, a minuscule change in fractal dimension of water vapor distribution (not measured either) is sufficient to compensate for the measured increase of CO₂ concentration during the last half century. We may have data about history of average water vapor concentration, but higher moments of its distribution (needed to calculate optical thickness) are not measured properly.

    And, while we are at it, no fractal can be represented on a coarse grid (used by computational climate models). Wheee.

    Moreover. If no more than half of the warming observed during the last half century is attributed to GHGs, it is only consistent with a climate sensitivity of ~3°C (for CO₂ doubling), if the climate system has a huge effective heat capacity, with response time on century scale. That’s pretty much inconsistent with both OHC measurements and assumptions computational climate models are based on.

  11. Gary says:

    So… if the earth continues warming it might make parts of the earth uninhabitable? or at least barren and unfarmababable? But it will make previously ice-locked places thaw and green and arable? “SHUT UP! SHUT! UP! Stop talking! Hands on ears! BE SILENT!”

  12. Report on recently discovered ocean whirlpools. No explanation of what causes them.

    And I couldn’t find any further information.

  13. RACookPE1978 says:

    I’ve read hundreds of “critiques” and promotions of the various CO2-in-a-glass/test tube/bottle/thought experiment. No experiment and no debate – either way on either side- are credible at either proving the theory of CO2 as the most important greenhouse gas (after feedbacks), nor the most impotent greenhouse gas (before or after feedbacks).

    Thus, I wonder why there has never been a “scaled” credible trapped CO2 experiment.

    Take a large 50 meter x 100 meter flat-floored temperature-stable building. (Low-level buildings 10 to 20 meters high are readily available (empty warehouses, for example are common now that the CAGW dogma has destroyed shipping the economies.)) Higher-level buildings are more rare, but several USN blimp hangers are empty and frequently rented for commercial and science “exhibits and demonstrations. Determine today’s “standard atmosphere” temperature profile by Instrumenting it accurately at 5 x 5 meter intervals, at each 2 meters in height from 0 to 50 meters, or the highest elevation possible.

    Them introduce CO2 at various percentages from 0 ppm, 100 through 200 ppm through 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. Repeat the measurements of temperature for various radiation levels from above and ground levels.

  14. Gary Pearse says:

    What about introducing the LWR, water vapour etc.

  15. Justthinkin says:

    Philip Bradley says 2:56 PM….

    Bwaahahahahahaha…look at the source. And did you actually read the linked article? Whirlpools have never been seen before? And that pic certainly was NOT from a satellite.

  16. Yahoo, indulged in a bit of journalistic licence with that picture, which fooled me into thinking they are much smaller than they are. The Agulhas Eddies or Rings are 100 km to 320 km across, from this source.

  17. Bill Illis says:

    I would like to thank Susan Crockford very much for taking on the polar bear exaggeration community.

    Science is about facts and the search for truth. This is how human civilization became what it is and the reason you even know there is such a thing as a polar bear. The scientists that just make things up to suit their personal agenda will eventually have their research discredited although it takes a few Susan’s to get the truth out.

  18. Richard M says:

    “That greenhouse gases have been responsible for, at least, part or even most of the observed warming, is not only based on the results of climate simulations, but can be derived from basic physical principles, and thus it is not really debated.”

    Excuse me … aren’t those “basic physical principles” the exact thing they programmed into the models? If not, then what were they doing?

    If they programmed them into the models as one would think, then the fact the models cannot produce the current climate tells us that they don’t even understand the “basic physical principles”.

    I have feeling Von Storch got a lot of heat for his honest remarks in the interview and he is backtracking to preserve his job. The problem is his statement is complete nonsense when you apply a little logic.

  19. Roberto says:

    Indeed. If your theories aren’t working out, then it is time for some new theories.

    The theories may be about physical mechanisms, or they may be about how to apply them, but either way something in those models ain’t right. There is presumably one way to get this kind of thing right, and thousands of ways to get it wrong. It takes work to figure out the difference. So get working, already.

  20. higley7 says:

    I care not what IR the -17 deg C upper troposphere is sending down to the surface. The always warmer surface (at about 15 deg C) will not accept the IR and reflect it back. It is thermodynamically impossible for the colder upper troposphere to warm the warmer surface. The Slayers are correct.

    As our atmosphere is not a greenhouse, the greenhouse effect fails. Furthermore, the little bit of IR to heat conversion that CO2 or water vapor can accomplish pales in the reverse. On a cloudy day, it is quite apparent in the shadows of the clouds that the atmosphere sheds heat as IR incredibly rapidly, on the order of seconds and minutes; enough to cause local breezes as the shadows of the clouds move across the land. The ability of the atmosphere to rapidly cool by IR radiation is also very obvious when the sun goes down. During the day, IR to heat by “greenhouse gases” is a wash at the most, but at night the same gases shed heat like banshees.

    The whole greenhouse gas model is a total failure and at worst causes undetectable warming only during the day. At night, the same gases completely undo and more what they did during the day.

  21. angech says:

    Anthony the DMI 30 percent sea ice chart is still being published and you now have the 15 percent one instead which is very similar to all the other 15 per enters. I notice that since you have stopped showing it it has reversed it’s massive drop without explanation and now is a very high levels of sea ice for this time of year. Please bring it back if it is going to continue as it shows the thicker more resilient ice is building up this year.
    Perhaps you could also call them out (ask them why they felt obliged to conform rather than showing extra information on the state of the Arctic and why the dip)

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