Brace for the tipping point

Climate ‘Tipping Points’ May Arrive Without Warning, Says Top Forecaster

From a UC Davis press release

Caltrans is already mobilizing for this threat.

A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth’s natural systems will occur — a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.

“Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. “Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning — systems can ‘tip’ precipitously.

“This means that some effects of global climate change on ecosystems can be seen only once the effects are dramatic. By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.”

The current study focuses on models from ecology, but its findings may be applicable to other complex systems, especially ones involving human dynamics such as harvesting of fish stocks or financial markets.

Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is one of the world’s top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.

In 2006, Hastings received the Robert H. MacArthur Award, the highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America.

Hastings’ collaborator and co-author on the new study, Derin Wysham, was previously a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis and is now a research scientist in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Center in Norwich, England.

Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.

And they fear that worse is in store. As U.S. presidential science adviser John Holdren (not an author of the new UC Davis study) recently told a congressional committee: “Climate scientists worry about ‘tipping points’ … thresholds beyond which a small additional increase in average temperature or some associated climate variable results in major changes to the affected system.”

Among the tipping points Holdren listed were: the complete disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summer, leading to drastic changes in ocean circulation and climate patterns across the whole Northern Hemisphere; acceleration of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, driving rates of sea-level increase to 6 feet or more per century; and ocean acidification from carbon dioxide absorption, causing massive disruption in ocean food webs.

The new UC Davis study, “Regime shifts in ecological systems can occur with no warning,” was supported by the Advancing Theory in Biology program at the U.S. National Science Foundation and was published online today by the journal Ecology Letters, in its Early View feature: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123276879/abstract.

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FYI The image is by Anthony, and of course, it’s a spoof.

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290 thoughts on “Brace for the tipping point

  1. I love it. It’s impossible to predict tipping points, and they can occur without warning, so their conclusion is … EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

    Here’s the thing. Any human action could be pushing us either closer to or further from a “tipping point”. Since we can’t predict tipping points, the odds of either one are about equal.

    As a result, there is no reason to think that man’s effect on the climate (whatever that might be) is moving us toward a tipping point. It is just as likely to be moving us away from a tipping point.

    Don’t these “scientists” understand statistics? Never mind, I see that question has already been answered …

  2. This is a joke, right.

    What is an “ecological forecaster”?
    What is a “theoretical ecologist”?
    If they work together do they become a “theoretical forecaster” or an “ecological ecologist”?

    “highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America”
    That has got to be more exciting then the Nobel Prize for Physics!

    “Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.”

    Isn’t this the same stuff from the IPCC report?

    Did these guys not get the memo, or is this just a really old ‘report’?

  3. Obviously the AGW movement needs a mascot – is the bogeyman available?

    Perhaps some kind artist can draw up a preliminary sketch of him.

  4. I get it. As public interest in AGW wanes, scientists need to release ever more hysterical and dire dooms day predictions. Like a two old demanding attention.

  5. Tipping point alert in Minnesota:

    Eleven green-energy wind turbines in Minnesota, which are supposed to provide environmentally safe electricity and fight global warming, cannot operate because they are frozen stiff.

    The Star-Tribune reports the machines were supposed to be spinning by Christmas, but so far have been motionless. The state’s power agency says cold hydraulic fluid has turned to gel and oil lubricants are getting sluggish.

    North St. Paul City Manager Wally Wysopal says, “it’s been a little embarrassing to have it not turning on the windiest of days.”

    The company that installed the turbines, which came from California, says it was not consulted on “climate compatibility.”

    The last sentence is so funny that it deserves a QOTD IMHO.

    LinkText Here

    Bye,
    TMTisFree

  6. I think we should have a “Lay Down like Gandhi World Day”. Everyone on the planet lays down for Five Minutes at the same time all over the world no matter what time zone. We can expect during those five minutes, no person on the planet will be hurting another person. So what if a bombing occurs during those 5 minutes. I’ll take my chances. My chances of dyeing during those 5 minutes are less than being struck by lighting twice in the same year.

    What do you think?

  7. The apocalyptic train has already hit the buffers of reality and public skepticism, but there are still idiots trying to board the train.

    It’s also rare to see such academic puffery over someone’s supposed “expertise”. I hope that there are University of California, Davis alums who are suitably embarassed.

  8. I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people.

    I think we should have a “Lay Down like Gandhi World Day”. Everyone on the planet lays down for Five Minutes at the same time all over the world no matter what time zone. We can expect during those five minutes, no person on the planet will be hurting another person. So what if a bombing occurs during those 5 minutes. I’ll take my chances. My chances of dyeing during those 5 minutes are less than being struck by lighting twice in the same year.

    What do you think?

    Gandhi – His Triumph changed the World Forever

  9. Michael: I think posting once would be just enough.

    Dkap: I was chatting with a stranger tonight and he said they were in the middle of a hellacious blizzard. I asked if it was global warming and he just laughed. It’s becoming more and more risible, the more the warmist pseudoscientists spout their drivel.

    thegoodlocust: the bogeyman is available. He looks like a cross between __ ____ and ________ ________. (fill in the blanks.)

  10. To quote the Australian federal parlimentary opposition leader, Tony Abbott, who experienced a now famous “Road to Damascus” moment on a tour of rural electorates, talking to farmers, stating that: “climate change is crap.”

    I am sure he was referring to apocalyptic claims like this of “tipping points”. In due course, this lead to the rejection of previous opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, because of his subservience to the AGW/ETS push. A “tipping point”
    in Oz politics perhaps, but one giant leap for the sanity of politics.

  11. And, of course, it goes without saying that the only way to avert this severe decree is to plead with our respective governments to let us fill the coffers of the carbon traders …. NOW!

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

  12. thegoodlocust (00:15:26) : wrote

    “Obviously the AGW movement needs a mascot – is the bogeyman available?”

    The bogeyman is already taken, and it’s a lot cheaper than a global carbon tax.

    It goes by the name of Terrorism. Terrorism is an intangible tactic and qualifies as the bogeyman because you cant touch it, and you can’t put your finger on it.

    It only cost $1 trillion over the past 9 years. It is why the US has wars going on in two countries.

  13. Willis Eschenbach (00:08:44) :

    What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past so I can understand your comment.

  14. Andrew30 (00:12:38) : What is an “ecological forecaster”?
    What is a “theoretical ecologist”?

    Sorry, I can’t help you.

    I’m still working on: What is a “computational biologist”… as in:

    “Department of Computational and Systems Biology ”

    I know you can multiply numbers but didn’t know they could do it on their own… I think I’ll go ask my spouse if she would like me to whisper sweet infinities in her ear or if we can try integrating our derivatives…

  15. OMG, this is obviously “post”-science, not the real one.
    These sorts of post-scientists are an growing problem.
    The first blog entry says it all.
    Ridiculous, but not funny anymore.

  16. Given the lack of any evidence of a disasterous and precipitous shift in climate over th elast 4 billion years, I am not too worried about this likelihood.

  17. I have a question.

    Assume for a moment that there are tipping points when some kind of strong positive feedback kicks in and sends the climate spiralling off into much higher temperatures.

    My question is this: If that were so, wouldn’t it have likely happened already in recorded or recent geological history, just because of normal random variations?

    For example, if there’s a 1 in 100 chance of a very hot year, just because of random variations or cycles in the sun or whatever. Then the chance of 2 very hot years in succession would be 1 in 10,000. And 3 very hot years in succession would be 1 in 1,000,000. (Of course this probably vastly understates the probability because the sun goes through cycles, so very hot years are more likely to be closer to each other than occur at random intervals).

    So if we look over the history of the past few million years, do we any suggestion for runaway global warming being triggered in this way? If we don’t, why not – why should tipping points only be possible now, but not in the geological recent past?

    (or is there a flaw in the above reasoning?)

  18. Andy Scrase (01:06:00)

    Speaking of backing the wrong horse Gandhi hoped the Japanese army would ‘liberate’ India during WW2. Luckily for us (and him) Field Marshal Viscount Slim had a better idea.

  19. Really it would be laughable were it not so serious. If these people really believe in such things as tipping points caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions they have lost the war anyway. China, India and other large developing countries will not reduce their CO2 emissions regardless of any future UN conference. If the doomsayers are half right we had better just enjoy the time we have left. Pass the Scotch!

  20. Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.

    And they fear that worse is in store.

    Locusts?

  21. Scientists are looking for warning signs … much like Hans Blick was told to go look for Weapons of Mass Destruction. And even thought they don’t find any, there will still be the dodgy dossier from the IPCC telling us of the real imminent threat of WMD Weather of Mass Destruction.

    What was it Bush said? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice … I’m an American? (Obvious Joke … cause we Brits were taken in as well! )

    …. No, Bush’s rendition is much worse than I remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ux3DKxxFoM

  22. I started reading this article and then STOP !
    I see the following;
    Hastings collaborator Derin Wysham, John Innes Center in Norwich England.
    Did not need to read any more, Norwich, ‘University of East Anglia’ of UEA fame, Google…. Derin Wysham, Phil Jones.

  23. Let me try to summarise – ecologists are warning of something very bad that could happen. Their study tells them that the bad thing might happen at any time, although it has not happened before. They don’t know exactly when this bad thing might happen or what form it will take. They think that it could happen without any warning whatsoever, though. They think that a small “increase” of something or other will cause it, although exactly what they aren’t sure; they think it could be one of a number of different things. But they think they will know it has happened once it has actually happened, although by then it might be impossible to stop it happening or reverse it. Once the bad thing has happened, they think it possible we won’t be able to return to a “desirable state”, although they do not explain what sort of desirable state they would want to return to, other than that it would be a state where the bad thing isn’t happening.

    Has that helped?

  24. So what these two genius forecasters from U.C. Davis have forecast is that the future is unpredictable.

    Who would have thought that?

  25. “Willis Eschenbach (00:08:44) :

    What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past so I can understand your comment.

    Exactly! That article is nothing more than scaremongering. Let’s take a step back from this. In an eco-theoretical perspective, the Cod and Salmon species have survived millions of years of climate change- often much more dramatic than the mild changes we have seen ove the last 150 years. Ice ages and interglacials with dramatic swings in temperature between the two states.

    What makes the researchers think that “tipping points” occur now, when they clearly have not done so for these species in the geological past??

  26. Willis, I laughed a lot reading this. “By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.” You WHAT?

  27. Great, US climate scientists and Hollywood blockbusters are great at inventing catastrophic tipping points. What a bunch of spineless scaremongerers the climate scientists in the West turned out to be. The global warming hoax has them imagining every kind of scenario, they use fiction & fact mixed with computer models to create imaginary tipping points that become real in their heads.

    The panic exhibited by these primitive climate scientists are reminiscent of tribes that pay homage to the lightning God’s and other climatic deities. Climate scientists can no longer tell the difference between reality and fiction produced at the movies.

    Meanwhile countries like China, Russia and India watch on in disbelief and glee, as the “sky is falling” climate scientists destroy manufacturing and the economy’s in the West. What a bunch of cowards.

  28. I wonder if the above would be defended in an Australian Court where the penalty for perjury is up to 14 years jail.

    It’s time we got serious folks.

  29. “His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.”

    Neither of these areas are even remotely related to the mathematics of climate change, but only with the consequences of climate change IF it happens. This has been a feature of the scam from nearly the beginning. Developing computer models that can’t be tested, based on almost no information. So when they draw the conclusion “we just don’t know” all they are telling us is that they are doing crap science.

  30. Alan Hastings, a modern day soothsayer. About as accurate too!

    Yes, Hastings is a genius!

    I’m with Geckko (01:22:35) :
    “Given the lack of any evidence of a disasterous and precipitous shift in climate over the last 4 billion years, I am not too worried about this likelihood.”

  31. The only “Tipping Points” I’ve seen in my life are my kettle poised over my coffee cup, and my daughter on her horse as it jumps a barrell.

    Now more importantly, from someone who can forecast reasonably, Piers Corbyn, says Feb 14-17 will bring worse still storms to Nth America and Nth Europe.

    Central East Australia (I guess that’s Sydney to Brisbane)will get very large hail. Hot conditions for most of Oz.

  32. “scienceofdoom (00:52:32) :

    This is the big gap between the two current elements in climate science:

    – the climate is predicatable
    – tipping points somewhere ahead with unpredictable consequences

    Some parts are sure, and these are sometimes the surprising ones:

    Find out how CO2 compares with water vapor in the greenhouse effect

    Or start at the beginning and find out the CO2 basics”

    Some really interesting reading at your site. Has anyone read the material there?

  33. Even a badly aimed shotgun will hit something, just be sure to have plenty ammo and that the target is big, really big.

    To bad for them that they are running out of ammo and that the target is moving out of range.

  34. Let’s go back to first principles.

    What is ecology?
    When did it become “science”?
    Who set the parameters?
    Who defined the rules?
    What is an ecological model?
    How is it calibrated?
    How is it verified?

    How is “tipping point” defined?

    Without a definition, how do we know that one hasn’t already occurred?
    How would we evaluate anthropological influence on the occurrence?

    Given that global population is claimed by warmenists to be a major contributor to “tipping points” and that they also claim that “tipping points” would decimate world population. Why would they not support the possibility?

    So many questions. So few answers

  35. scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.

    The avalanche of ‘-gates’ seem to be doing a fairly good job of that right now.

    one of the world’s top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems.

    At which point I nodded off. (counting “coulds” and “mights” (replaced sheep for me some ago))

    An entire press release without the word “robust” – I knew it could be done.

  36. Professor Hastings, please what can I do? I already live in the dark and am managing to be at work on time if I walk briskly at 4:30AM. Sadly my three pets are no longer with us (had to do it – methane) and old uncle Roger is on shaky ground as well. I do still have a stash of dollars under my reed mattress, so could you please let me have your account number in order to deposit my life’s work in order to save the planet – just in case.
    P.S. I am typing this on a pedal driven dynamo computer thingy, so can only check for your reply once my wife Bertha gets back from work at 2 AM. She will then take over.

    Yours truly,
    Dennis Dunderhead

  37. The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling! Oh wait, we’ve already been there, done that. I know – It’s a Wolf! It’s a Wolf! Damn, another repeat. Ummm, let’s see – AGW! AGW! Crap – another one down the tubes. How about Swine Flu Pandemic!! Uh-oh, that doesn’t work either. I Got it! I Got It! Tipping Points!!!!!!

  38. “FYI The image is by Anthony, and of course, it’s a spoof.”

    While reading this article I was thinking that the image was real and the article is a spoof.

  39. “In 2006, Hastings received the Robert H. MacArthur Award, the highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America.”

    Must have been a thankyou for him furthering the common goal of the Ecological Society of America: Saving more funding.

  40. There will be no AGW tipping point, but maybe we should be concerned about a natural cooling tipping point. Temperatures can drop a couple of degrees in a decade.

    Now that’s what I call climate change.

  41. Our carbon, which art in the heavens,
    damned be thy name,
    Thy power be gone,
    Emissions none,
    On earth as it is in heaven,
    Give us this day our daily rations,
    And forgive us our emissions.
    as we forgive those who emissions are greater,
    For their need is more,
    his name is Al Gore,
    For his is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Carbon.

  42. E.M.Smith (01:17:42) :

    Andrew30 (00:12:38) : What is an “ecological forecaster”?
    What is a “theoretical ecologist”?

    Sorry, I can’t help you.

    I’m still working on: What is a “computational biologist”… as in:

    “Department of Computational and Systems Biology ”

    I know you can multiply numbers but didn’t know they could do it on their own… I think I’ll go ask my spouse if she would like me to whisper sweet infinities in her ear or if we can try integrating our derivatives…
    ——————
    Reply:
    It’s sextuple integrals you want.

  43. For a Planet that for the last 4.5 billion years has been growing steadily colder, they manage to have picked the least likely tipping point direction.
    Now, if the Sun were to suddenly go flying up the HR diagram and start roasting Earth, that’s external, and we would have no chance of intervening.
    Since space travel is prohibitively expensive in soon-to-be economically shut-down economies, it won’t be the West that gets off the Planet.
    Nice guy that Holdren, as must-read, provided one is not squeamish.

  44. let me see if I can follow this…
    1. Scientists say that tipping points can’t be predicted.
    2. Scientists predict a tipping point ahead.
    3. Scientists say tipping points are due to AGW.
    4. Scientists can provide no evidence for tipping points or AGW.
    5. Scientists need more funding to research the above.
    6. If we don’t give Scientists massive funding to research the above we will all die and our grandchildren will hate us forever.

    Hmm… no wonder MSM is alerting the population. This is indeed dire.

  45. “A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth’s natural systems will occur — a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.”

    Climatology has become a playground for statisticians, who without really understanding our complex interlinked non-linear climate, try to find correlations which fail to separate cause and effect. They use a variety of computer models, none of which have good predictive power.

    Ecological forecasters have turned the science of understanding how nature works into a game of computer modelling (mainly based on variants of the logistics difference equation) which, because of deterministic chaos, have little useful predictive power.

    It is amazing that it has taken so long for these scientist’s to smell the coffee regarding rapid climate change. One look at the Vostok ice core data shows that rapid climate change is normal and there is only one way it will tip the next time this happens.

    Bogeyman? What bogeyman :-(((((

  46. Predict tipping points? Yeah right. Predicting the next stock market crash is easier yet no one is willing to bet their house on it as they are never sure. So, why are we betting the whole country on a scam?

  47. The study of people who think this way, and the people who make policy based on this type of thinking, deserves to have its own taxonomy. I propose that it be called “crimatology.”

  48. OK, so here’s how it goes.
    The effects on ecosystems cannot be seen until you reach a tipping point.
    Such a tipping point cannot be predicted, but will arrive without warning.
    The argument for a tipping point is therefore simultaneously unverifiable and unfalsifiable.
    No evidence can be produced to show a crisis is developing, and its non-arrival never disproves any prediction.
    In what possible sense is this argument scientific ?

  49. BBC Headline from last night,
    ‘Spring is coming earlier every year’ and ‘ Global warming could be the cause’
    As the BBC has tens of millions of pounds worth of pension funds sunk into Green Ponzi schemes are they trying to ‘Pump and dump’ their shares?

  50. Mike McMillan (01:41:22) :

    Yes, Locusts. That is what an old-timer told me the 30’s were like out here in NW California. It was incredibly hot and arid, and what the locusts didn’t eat the caterpillars that came out of nowhere polished off. The fields were bare.
    What was saved of the herds perished in ’37 & ’38, when the snows hit and trapped the cattle where they stood.
    But that was well before Global Warming, C02 and oceanic acidification/rise/fishing failures and computer simulations of AGW.

  51. This snip is getting so ridiculous I would laugh out loud… IF they weren’t engaging in their money drunken pronouncements with OUR money… Someone said they need a mascot… I propose Mel Gibson… in Mel’s defense, His drunken pronouncements are funded with money he earned.

    As for tipping points, many believe credibility in climate science is past the tipping point. How many sharks are these numbskulls going to jump?
    Enough is enough, time to turn off the money spigot. We’re not afraid anymore, wake up pols and scis the free ride is almost over.

  52. WE said:

    I love it. It’s impossible to predict tipping points, and they can occur without warning, so their conclusion is … EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

    Here’s the thing. Any human action could be pushing us either closer to or further from a “tipping point”. Since we can’t predict tipping points, the odds of either one are about equal.

    As a result, there is no reason to think that man’s effect on the climate (whatever that might be) is moving us toward a tipping point. It is just as likely to be moving us away from a tipping point.

    Don’t these “scientists” understand statistics? Never mind, I see that question has already been answered …”

    Don’t you know? Since humans = bad and nature = good, any change caused by humans is a priori bad! It’s the green version of Original Sin.

    Honestly, this is getting like watching a child try to weasel out of getting caught lying. The lies just get bigger and more creative and less and less connected with reality. Suddenly accidentally breaking a vase playing ball inside the house turns into black suited ninja’s battling the dog men and they broke the vase. In our case no matter how badly the data is fudged, how many lies and distortions and mistakes are discovered, it’s always WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT! and it’s still happening even if all our data is bunk.

    Depressing but hardly surprising unfortunately.

  53. It is interesting to ask which will come first – the tipping point in the climate or the tipping point in the political interests of those selling AGW?

    I definitely think that there is one round the corner…maybe.

  54. Let me get this right:

    If the Yellowstone Supervolcano goes off we’re doomed, doomed!

    If another asteroid like the one that killed the dinosaurs hits we’re doomed, doomed!

    If the flu virus mutates into something ghastly we’re doomed, doomed!

    If the wrong people get hold of nuclear technology then we’re doomed, doomed!

    If a climate tipping point tips then we’re doomed, doomed!

    Or maybe not.

    This is like those endless food/cancer scares. Over the years we have been told that just about everything causes cancer and not to eat it. We have now got to the ‘water off a duck’s back’ stage with the general public.

    It the same for tabloid science like this. Great fun in a hollywood movie but don’t take it too seriously. I think this is like UFO’s and Nuclear Holocast in the 1950’s or the ‘Yellow Peril’ from before that. A little science and a lot of BS fills up the column inches.

  55. “Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. “Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning — systems can ‘tip’ precipitously.

    Hmmm….. can’t see the tipping point for the warning trees.
    can’t see the warning trees for the natural systems.
    can’t find the forestalling preparations for the tangles mess of predictions.
    Unfortunately it’s a travesty without warning of an explanation.

    Translation – We’re stumped.
    Murphy can’t be far behind.
    Run for it.

  56. It seems Holdren forgot to include record snowfall on his list of “major environmental effects.”

    Oh, wait, never mind, snow is just weather, and it’s cold stuff. No biggie.

  57. Mike J (03:46:25) :

    6. If we don’t give Scientists massive funding to research the above we will all die and our grandchildren will hate us forever.

    Logical error, cannot compute…

    If we ALL die, no one will be left to hate us, no need to worry, rest in peace :)

  58. Actually, the curious thing is that most of what the press release says is fairly true-to-the-evidence. This is mostly because it leaves logical gaps that go unnoticable by its intended audience: it does not say what is causing the ‘climate change,’ nor whether its warming, cooling or whatever.
    Consider these claims:

    1. Sudden changes in climate are hard to predict.
    AGREE – that’s the problem, we dont know enough yet.

    2. Some effects of global climate change on ecosystems can be seen only once the effects are dramatic.
    AGREE

    3.Once a dramatic change has occurred then returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.
    AGREE – we havent found the thermostat control dial just yet.

    4.’Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing…[changes in climate]’
    Let’s change this to: Climate change means long-term changes in weather, and climate change is happening now – it always happens.
    AGREE

    5.Climate scientists worry about ‘tipping points’
    AGREE!

    This is a clever marketing double game where the gaps in the logic are filled by the reader as visually with a gestalt. The more common gap is between a.) that there is climate change and b.) that we are causing it. David King’s op-ed in a previous post stuffed this up by making the gap too obvious when he said

    “Given all this evidence [of climate change], it’s ridiculous to say that human-induced climate change isn’t happening, absurd to say we don’t understand why…”

    I seem to recall a similar double game in the successful association of twin-towers-terror with Iraq, that is, perhaps no one could ever be accused of actually saying that there was a link, but the polls soon did.

  59. Our society is not so different from the ancients. They had their augers who predicted most dire outcomes if you didn’t give them money, and they were right, there were disasters and they were predicted, and if only the augers had been believed and given more money to placate the weather gods, …

    In the 1960s, the climate community augured the ice and divined the Camp Century Cycles and foretold “ooooh …. there shall be a period of cooling”.

    And when in the 1970s the climate started warming, they said: “ooooohhh, there is a greater god than the Camp Century Cycle God, it’s name is CO2 warming, and we foretell warming, and unless you give us money to placate the weather god there shall be more warming and you shall all be damned”.

    And when it starts cooling, they will look at the auguries again and divine that the CO2 god is surpassed by one even greater god, who has even worse retribution, and demands even more sacrifice to placate that god.

  60. Dave UK (03:50:30) : BBC Headline from last night,
    ‘Spring is coming earlier every year’ and ‘ Global warming could be the cause’

    What the BBC fail to mention is that the research behind that announcement was apparently for the period 1976 – 2005 (h/t EU Referendum) – which makes it climate news from half a decade ago.

  61. Nobody seems to have noticed the following line under the Abstract:

    Editor, John Fryxell Manuscript received 21 December 2009 Manuscript accepted 22 December 2009

    Does this set a new record for the fastest peer review ever?

  62. Adapt and survive. Adapt to what nature throws our way instead of trying to change it to suit us.
    We will always lose to superior forces, especially those of such magnitudes that drive this planets systems.

    The enviromentalcases think that the louder and more hysterically they scream the more receptive we will become.
    Wrong on all counts.

  63. Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is one of the world’s top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.

    This guy is as far away from being an ecologist as one can get. Ecology was so heavily co-opted in the ’60s right out of the gate as a legitimate biological pursuit that the use of the term should be banned entirely. “Top ecological forecaster”? What the hell is that? Fancy term for “soothsayer”? The fact the department is called the “Dept of Environmental Science and Policy” should sound the gong right there. Spin, 1; credibility, 0; authenticity, not even being measured.

  64. Computer models being used to determine that tipping points can happen at any time and cause dramatic changes? Could just be bugs in their software.

  65. Anything that can go wrong already has, you’re just not aware of it yet!
    – The tipping point they were worried about…it’s already too late, they were too busy playing with models.

    If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe or pregnancy, then someone will do it.
    – The tipping point has been reached, we don’t know which one for it leaves no discernible traces, and some damn fool has already figured out how to do exactly the opposite, resulting in a catastrophe of pregnant climate.

  66. I agree with “newposter” and others. It’s unlikely in the extreme that

    (1) the climate has been walking the razor’s edge for millions of years;

    (2) meteor strikes; super-volcanos; and heaven knows what else have not pushed it over the edge; AND

    (3) Putting CO2 into the atmosphere which CO2 was there previously will push the climate over the edge.

  67. “North St. Paul City Manager Wally Wysopal says, “it’s been a little embarrassing to have it not turning on the windiest of days.”

    I drive by the N. St. Paul windmill about once a week, and I have never seen it turn, even when its around the freezing point. I think a political tipping point may have been reached where this large stationary statue is now seen every day as a monument to government incompetence. EPIC FAIL

    Would the climategate emails be considered a political tipping point?

  68. “His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod …”

    He is therefore eminently qualified to produce this

    piece of codswallop that passeth all understanding

  69. To: Michael (00:30:49) :

    Re: I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people.

    The horses were poorly trained. In the Medieval era, or even during the Norman conquest, the people would have been hoof pies.

  70. Now…..if we can only find some way to get people to start buying “tipping insurance,” we’ll live like kings!

  71. My son is convinced there are crocodiles under his bed.

    Although we have no evidence for them (and I can promise you, we do continue to keep an eye out for them), the harsh reality is that nobody can rule out crocodiles under his bed as a real physical possibility.

    If he puts his foot out of the bed through the night and gets bitten by a crocodlle, it’s gonna be painful.

  72. “Doctor of Philosophy” aka PhD means nothing anymore. I’m sorry to be the umteenth million repeater of this little trite fact, but it is true; especially if you live on a planet named Earth in what is there referred to as the beginning of the 21st Century Anno Domini or The Common Era.

    Life on this out of the way speck of dust is not too bad, the climate is generally OK, but the carbon units infesting planet Earth are having far too good a time and, as a result, their educations are suffering severely.

    Clarence! Clarence! Where is he?

    Yes Sir!

    Clarence, since we sent you to Earth to help poor George Bailey things have gotten much worse down there and we need to send you back.

    Yes Sir.

    Now this is what we want you to do….

  73. OT

    It’s worse than we thought …

    If the BBC can’t frighten us by telling us about temperature anomalies or sea level changes then perhaps they can do it by telling us that our satnav systems will be going on the blink during the next solar maximum. [Of course we don’t know when that will be, but isn’t it best to be prepared?]

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8494225.stm

  74. “So what these two genius forecasters from U.C. Davis have forecast is that the future is unpredictable.

    Who would have thought that? ”
    ———————

    Who is stupid enough to pay people for that sort of information? “We predict that the future is unpredictable, BUT we know enough to claim that something MIGHT happen!”

    Yeah, even I could do that job, but would be far too embarrassed to ask for a fee for such utterly ridiculous and meaningless information.

  75. There’s one aspect of this article which is absolutely correct and I would like to congratulate the authors on this point:

    “returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.”

  76. This Top Ecological forecaster has reached his tipping point.
    His report just has been flushed and his career is hanging by a threat.
    It’s not looking good.

  77. Tipping point, of course, but which way?

    The ice age is coming. Glaciers are already forming in my local parking lots.

  78. I actually think we may have reached a tipping point, but it’s not the one reported by UC….

    I’ve been searching the web and found STACKS of MSM stuff covering the various ‘gates’ the MSM are actually starting to look at this in a slightly less biased way.

    I think that the ‘tipping point’ headline will turn out to be ill timed. They’re spitting out propaganda like this on the very same day Jim’s mate at the GISS is dropping neutron bombs over at DOT Earth. Oh the irony!

    Look up Al Gore on You Tube, sort by date….. there are PAGES pissed off Americans shoveling snow and cussing his name….. They’re asking where the Global Warming went…..

    We all know that weather is not climate, but you can bet that the mood of the people is getting through to the powers that be…. so the ‘tipping point’ propaganda shows up on cue…… I think that the timing of all this may just spell ‘check mate’….. Again…. Oh the Irony!!

    Time will tell, but it seems to me like this maybe the perfect storm…. remember how they turned off all the air con and chose the hottest day to begin all this?….. It’s got ‘falling apart’ written all over it….hence my Dad’s Army link above.

    Karma anyone?

  79. The only “Tipping Point” coming our way will be “temperatures” heading south for a very long period of time.
    I’m tried of shoveling snow.

  80. 50 years from now the survivors will be amazed at our failure to see and prepare for the coming ice-age.

    Fools.

  81. By sleight of hand, these pseudo-scientists conflate sudden shifts in climate which have occurred, either from ice age conditions to warm or the reverse with their idiotic, mythical Alarmist idea of a C02-induced “tipping point”. Since we are already warm, the only logical thing to worry about is a shift back to ice age conditions.
    They have seemingly imbued C02 with magical powers, so I suppose they believe it is not only capable of frying the earth, but freezing it as well?

  82. The story that the Earth’s climate can change – both cooling down and heating up – dramatically and suddenly is very, very old news.

    I don’t know how many times I have read about frozen mammoths found with temperate climate vegetation in their stomachs.

    Do we know what causes these sudden dramatic changes in temperature? The answer is “Not a clue”.

    Can we do anything about it? The answer is “Absolutely not.”

    Typical scare story, its motivation is obvious: “This needs investigation, therefore – please can we have a very big grant for many years.”

  83. To paraphrase one of their closing conclusions:

    “Regime shifts in (The US Government) can occur with no warning.”

    Now there’s a prediction for ya.

  84. Let’s go back to first principles.

    What is ecology?
    When did it become “science”?
    Who set the parameters?
    Who defined the rules?
    What is an ecological model?
    How is it calibrated?
    How is it verified?

    Answers, or at least partial answers, to these questions may be found in Alston Chase’s “In a Dark Wood” (1995). Chase writes about the web of spurious science, environmental extremism, and big government politics involved in the northern spotted owl controversy in the forests of the Pacific northwest during the 80s and 90s. The spotted owl “science” was based on bad data, flawed theoretical models, faulty assumptions, and outrageously exaggerated claims of disaster if the environmentalists were not obeyed. IMHO, the spotted owl issue was the operational model for the AGW scam.

  85. In the UK a “tipping point” is a place where people fly tip, throwing out rubbish and trash.

    If the science is so bad you can’t even get it through using the “it’s right unless you prove otherwise” – precautionary principle, then the back stop is to bring out the “it’s right – unless you can prove it isn’t – but there isn’t anything to disprove so yah boo sucks I’ll get my bogus science peer reviewed” – “tipping point”.

    What next? Politicians arguing: “The economy is at a tipping point which means we have to pay a lot more tax to stop us going over the tipping point”.

    Or drug companies: “We are all about to get ill from a virus, whose effects could ‘tip’ over into a new strain of bogus … bird brained flu”?

    Or software compannies: “THe world is at a tipping point and you must buy our anti-tipping point software to prevent you going over the tipping point” – buy our 2000 bug prevention software now.

  86. “Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning — systems can ‘tip’ precipitously.”

    Is Davis anywhere near the San Andreas fault?

    I find that mathematical models can be made to work perfectly. It’s just reality that lets you down.

  87. “Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings.”

    Hey, just one peer-reviewed, published paper would flush everything concerning AGW to where it belongs. We need a ‘scientist’, I propose a ‘botany respiratory therapist’, to postulate an impending tipping point that is about to destroy all plant life. The only way to avoid the tipping point is to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be true just as long as there is a model that ‘proves’ it.

    That should do the trick.

  88. I now see the tipping point.
    If California does not stop wasting taxpayers money with funding these folks, it will go bankrupt.

  89. Perhaps an asteroid will strike the Yellowstone supervolcano fair and square in the jughole, instantaneously presenting an already tipped brand spanking new tipping point and none of it will matter any more.
    Geoff Alder

  90. Is it just me or does the picture inserted by Anthony remind anyone of the Audi green police commercial? This guy has a degree in ridiculae. Model based as well.

  91. I consider myself a “lukewarmist”. I don’t dismiss this stuff entirely. I think it likely us humans have had some impact on climate –I just am not convinced yet that the climatologists have made their case convincingly just how much, and rather firmly suspect they’ve overstated it considerably in their models so far.

    But the two things that just drive me batty are the dismissal of the MWP as “anecdotal” and “imminent tipping points”. This study may in fact be correct –tipping points may only be recognized in the rear-view mirror. But the way it will be used is to argue that even the tiniest changes may be disastrous. That is a recipe for cowering under the covers.

    It is no different than saying I must stay in bed today, because I might be hit by a bus crossing the street. Well, yes. . . I might be –but I can’t live my life on that basis, and neither can the human race.

  92. So why are these faster/worse than previously imagined types still jumping up & down with such vigor?

    Let me take a Murphy Approach to this enigma:

    Somebody already tried to alter the climate, it backfired, and now they fear it’s too late.
    They’re jumping up & down vigorously because they are truly frightened, and they are hoping the skeptics will have an answer to fix thier boo-boo.

    Here’s the answer: Leave it alone. The Climate will settle down all on it’s own, but not until the damage has been done, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

  93. Somewhat OT.

    @Michael (00:30:49) :
    “I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people. ”

    I’m not sure I go along with the idea that horses know these things spiritually and we could no doubt have a very interesting discussion on these points.
    The truth about cavalry though, and thus its fundamental limitation, is that it’s no good against solid/unbroken blocks of people who won’t budge. Horses just don’t like to charge into things that might damage them and that they can’t see through or easily jump over and are sensible enough (I use this term a little wildly perhaps) not to risk hurting themselves. They will stop short of the line.
    Elephants (so I understand) can be taught to charge into and trample people but horses can’t. Once a line is broken, horses can be used to knock over and run people down – pursuit is the thing that cavalry is best at – but they won’t charge home against steady unbroken infantry lines, especially if the infantry are making a great deal of noise and have long pointy things sticking out as well. Hastings, Agincourt, any number of other battles all prove this point. So, perhaps the horses were behaving perfectly normally not spiritually. :)

  94. Let’s see: Climate Change (formerly known as AGW) can cause both floods and droughts; heatwaves and frigid outbreaks; wildfires, tropical storms, melting glaciers, and changes in the earth’s weather oscillations. In short, Climate Change can be niether verified nor can it be unproven. Therefore, from a strictly scientific point of view, Climate Change is not a scientific phenomenon. Also, these people appear to be breaking RC’s first rule: do not conflate climate with weather.

    The narrative is narrowing a bit. For the last several months, the meme seems to be shifting to rising sea levels and not Artic ice melt.

  95. E.M.Smith (01:17:42) : As long as you do not have too many alcoholic beverages while engaging in mathematics. Everyone knows you shouldn’t drink and derive. Mathematicians against drinking and deriving (MADD).

  96. “returning the system to a desirable state”

    Desirable state according to whom? Mine would be daily high temps around 88 F, low temps 75 F with Gulf of Mexico water temps 86 F every day, every year. A polar bear, on the other hand, might want it a tad bit cooler; as does my brother in Connecticut.

  97. This is scaremongering nonsense, the act of desperate men trying to regain their esteemed position.

    The earth has lower C02 and lower temperature levels now than at virtually any point in the past 500 million years, and 500 million years ago C02 was 3000ppm or higher.

    So its been steadily, slowly cooling and the current temperature rise and C02 rise is miniscule in comparision.

  98. Bruce Cobb “They have seemingly imbued C02 with magical powers, so I suppose they believe it is not only capable of frying the earth, but freezing it as well?”

    Oh did you not know? CO2 is a COOLING GAS. That is because it has a higher emissivity (i.e. it emits IR in the IR windows in the spectra), and when present high in the atmosphere this higher emissivity allows it to emit more CO2 increasing the rate of cooling. The result is that higher levels of CO2 are resulting in lowering global temperatures and this manmade global cooling is getting near the tipping point where is will be the preferred way to get grant money.

  99. Skeptical Jim (05:35:57) :
    Answers, or at least partial answers, to these questions may be found in Alston Chase’s “In a Dark Wood” (1995).

    Just had a very brief glance at that on Google Books where it mentions Deep Ecology and the notion that “everything is interdependent” and “everything is created equal”.

    That right there is a subtle but fundamental flaw in Deep Ecology—it only looks at the network of things, it doesn’t look at the depth of the interiors of the individual beings. In other words, viewed from space, humans are part of a network of ecosystems, and nothing looks more important than anything else. But viewed from the point of view of an individual as a human being, and what it means to be human, a human is concerned with science and poetry and love and all those things which are higher, more intricate, more conscious, and more important, than an ant colony. Ants outnumber us and they may even be fundamental entities in the web of life, but they are not deeper conscious beings than us. “Deep” ecology misses this point entirely.

  100. In academia, “climate science” or “climatology” is generally grouped with the discipline of geography. I’m not aware of any reputable institution of higher education that offers a masters or a doctorate in either “climate science” or “climatology”. So my take is there’s nothing exquisitely cerebral about the field.

    Furthermore, this would indicate that none of the supposed “experts” in climate science has even a masters in the field. Now I could be wrong, but that’s what my research into the subject has found.

  101. If the Dust Bowl event were to occur today instead of 80 years ago, think of the panic it would cause in the AGW community. Human psychology really is the controlling factor in mankind’s destiny.

  102. Reading between the lines, the author is saying that he can’t see any solid evidence of global warming.

  103. @Tom in Florida (05:56:47) :
    ‘“returning the system to a desirable state”
    Desirable state according to whom? Mine would be daily high temps around 88 F, low temps 75 F with Gulf of Mexico water temps 86 F every day, every year. A polar bear, on the other hand, might want it a tad bit cooler; as does my brother in Connecticut.’

    I think “desirable state” is probably one where nobody disagrees or asks serious questions about the evidence.

  104. Don’t you understand? The fact that the world has, thus far, escaped an endogenously created tipping point just makes it more likely that one is around the corner. Our good luck just can’t last -especially as mankind doesn’t deserve that it should. (I jest).

  105. When did “tipping points” transform from new-age pop sociology to science?

    Is Malcom Gladwell now a “scientist?”

    Does UC Davis allow pop sociology research to be promulgated in its classrooms?

    What the heck is a “theoretical ecologist?”

  106. It’s amazing how cynical people have become — they dismiss a scholarly article when “the proof of the pudding” is well documented in British Literature. I wish I had time to read the article myself as I am certain that I could add to my knowledge of mathematics and learn about tipping points — however I must shovel more snow and it takes time to dress for the bitter cold that exists here in the backwaters north of Toronto.

    However, more to the point, there is well documented evidence of tipping points all around you — I remind you that “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” Think on that– next time you want to push a climate sooth-sayer over the wall! Hah!

  107. Looks like doom and gloom global warming fever has morphed into the tipping point syndrome . It really is unhealthy to be a climate scientists.

  108. Nigel S (01:28:48) : says: “Speaking of backing the wrong horse Gandhi hoped the Japanese army would ‘liberate’ India during WW2. Luckily for us (and him) Field Marshal Viscount Slim had a better idea.”

    Quite a few decades back when daily cartoon shows still aired some of the WWII cartoons that contained nationalist propaganda, I had a childhood “Ah ha!” moment. I was watching a cartoon that included caricatures of three enemies of America. They were of Hitler, Tojo, and… (drum roll)…(No. Not Mussolini.)…. GANDHI! Yes, poor skinny, loin clothed Gandhi, that dangerous viper who dared to stir up trouble for our valiant British allies!

    In some ways, it really was an important thing for me to see. In elementary class we were being taught (early 1960s) that Gandhi was a hero, a pacifist supporter of human self-determination, and yet here was clear evidence that just not-so-very-long before he had been ranked with Hitler! It made me start to wonder how much of what I was being taught was not true.

    I still wonder about the same question.

  109. Steve Goddard (06:19:22) : “Reading between the lines, the author is saying that he can’t see any solid evidence of global warming.”

    Solid evidence as in … “what did the actress say to the global warmer who tried to hide their decline?”

    Better get it checked out at Climaxic Research Unit!

  110. the fact that we are still here after about 4.5 billion years and life on this planet of ours is flourishing strongly suggests that climate systems are generally insensitive and the system self regulatory. As such it is extremely doubtful that there are tipping points beyond which there is no return.

  111. Walt Stone (05:59:56) :

    If you can’t tell us if we’ve gone past a tipping point, then you obviously can’t tell us if we’ve pulled back from a tipping point.

    Brilliant!
    —————–
    Reply:
    Furthermore, wouldn’t that negate the very existence of “tipping points” in the general scheme of climate? Perhaps what we’re seeing isn’t the result of any particular tipping point, but the collective results of all forces acting on a very complex system.

  112. “irreparable global disaster.”

    Hmm, since life has been here the past 500+ million years seems to me such events have never happened. The planet has always recovered and repaired itself from punctutation events of the past.

  113. “And they fear that worse is in store. As U.S. presidential science adviser John Holdren (not an author of the new UC Davis study) recently told a congressional committee: “Climate scientists worry about ‘tipping points’ … thresholds beyond which a small additional increase in average temperature or some associated climate variable results in major changes to the affected system.”
    ___________

    Here the “affected system” is AGW. I believe these people are absolutely correct, and truly have very much to be worried about; especially their future employment and income, not to mention mortgage payments and medical insurance for their families. Life is full of tipping points. You win some, you lose some. The poor people on the Titanic likewise didn’t know they’d bought a half-way ticket to nowhere. Tip..

  114. The big question is … do these folks actually believe their own BS?

    If they do … what does that say about our education system.

  115. Seagull (01:10:53) :

    In due course, this lead to the rejection of previous opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, because of his subservience to the AGW/ETS push. A “tipping point”

    I wonder why a merchant banker would be so keen on an Emissions Trading Scheme?

    in Oz politics perhaps, but one giant leap for the sanity of politics.

    Whether Tony Abbott wins or loses, I think Turnbull will experience another tipping point. I don’t think any Liberal will want him in the party.

    Kevin Rudd (prime minister) is about to try and introduce a government controlled internet filter. It’s a very nasty piece of legislation. I’m sure when the younger folk get wind of what that control freak is up to he can wave bye bye to the yoof vote.

  116. I have sent my study of the ecological affects on climate change to Penthouse. After many hours dedicated to research and experimental design, it was deduced that climate change is already producing drastic behavioral changes in the lesser redheaded and greater bearded mattress thrashers. Such that it has been behaviorally modeled (I did that one and sure enough, it could do that) that a massive population explosion, detrimental to natural resources, is predicted for the East Coast.

    Bottoms up.

  117. Jason Calley (06:38:13),

    From your comment I see that Gandhi was no pacifist. He was merely content to let other do the fighting for him. Had he been a true pacifist he would have condemned the Japanese.

    So I guess you were doubly misinformed.

  118. Feel a little uncomfortable bringing this up but I’m an ecology graduate. Contrary to general belief, it’s not some pseudo-science, tree-hugging, pot-smoking discipline. It’s actually all about how members of a species interact with each other, with other species and their habitat. It’s about population dynamics, predator-prey interactions, sexual selection, in fact it’s about lots of things to do with biology, the mechanics of populations and mathematics. It has very little to do with all that hippy spiritual Gaia BS. The only thing it has in common with climate science is that modelling is very predominant. Unlike climate science however, models can easily be evaluated alongside ‘real’ observations and measurement.
    Feel much better now…

  119. “theoretical” is a fancy word for BS.

    I can do dat.

    I have “theoretical” proof I can fly by flapping my arms.
    But I propose others jump off the cliff while I get paid to further study the theory.

    Really this is an act of embellishment to inflate the importance and urgency of the “theoretical ecologist’s” work.

    Better give them more money and invite them to speak to congress? Right

  120. David Ball (05:53:35) :

    E.M.Smith (01:17:42) : As long as you do not have too many alcoholic beverages while engaging in mathematics. Everyone knows you shouldn’t drink and derive. Mathematicians against drinking and deriving (MADD).

    David and EM….thanks for the chuckle this morning

  121. The only remotely interesting aspect of this “study” is that it is not laden with the adjectival phrase, “worse than previously believed”

  122. oops, I meant “…of the affects of climate change on regional ecology…”

    or maybe I meant “…ecological affects of climate change…”

    Hell, I don’t know. Just trying to seriously add to the “tipping point” thread.

  123. “Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness”

    What scientists widely agree? I know. They are the ones who wrote the IPCC report with eight or nine major gates that opened into a quagmire of pseudoscience and misinformation. They should consider publishing in Hiking Today or one of the many other IPCC “refereed” publications. There is considerable evidence that whoever wrote the PR blurb the is not familiar with the critical reasoning; “ global climate change is causing major” climate change. Wow this logic is impeccable. Does that mean that global warming means that it is getting warmer?

  124. E.M.Smith (01:17:42) :

    I know you can multiply numbers but didn’t know they could do it on their own… I think I’ll go ask my spouse if she would like me to whisper sweet infinities in her ear or if we can try integrating our derivatives…

    To which she will reply “Yes dear”.

  125. Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning — systems can ‘tip’ precipitously.

    Considering the 19th November 2009 Climategate Remembering Day, one has to agree.

  126. Michael-Ghandi was not as great as all thinkhe was.He wanted to side with the Japanese-Nehru talked him out of it-as the Japanese woudl’ve simply lined up the members of the Indian independence movement and shot them. This was from a paper i read years ago, so I can’t get the attribution right…
    All that lying down does is exposes one;s neck to be cut. There are plenty of
    Bad men who will gladly kill US in the effort to destroy the modern world.
    I can think of several wamists who would do just that-and that includes Osama
    Bin lauden-who seems to have read Algore..
    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. ”
    George Orwell
    I have known a lot of those ‘rough men’ over the years.I can breathe free becuse of their efforts to stand against the Bad Men of this world.Including my late
    father-in-law-who was in on the liberation of Dachau….

  127. Brace for the tipping point,

    Flexi-fuel drivers left high and dry after Government subsidy U-turn.

    Drivers who took the Government’s advice and chose a low-emission car could be left with a white elephant after a U-turn by ministers.

    Britain’s biggest supplier of biofuels will announce today that it is closing its pumps because the Government is ending financial support from April.

    It is the second time in five years that the Government has changed its mind and cancelled subsidies after encouraging motorists to invest in a particular type of green car.

    Is it windmills next.

  128. ….and now for my Thesis on the behavioral probabilities of wild cat herds on the plains….. with foreword on ecologic impacts of overgrazing of sagebrush and cactus…..

  129. E.M.Smith (01:17:42) :

    Andrew30 (00:12:38) : What is an “ecological forecaster”?
    What is a “theoretical ecologist”?

    Sorry, I can’t help you.

    I’m still working on: What is a “computational biologist”… as in:

    “Department of Computational and Systems Biology ”

    They produce incomplete and highly simplified models, on computer of course, the consequences of which they publicize as real and not oversimplified.

  130. “Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is one of the world’s top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.”

    We see how well the “top experts” did in forecasting salmon and cod populations in the last 20 years – esp. last year, with the massive and unpredicted decline in Pacific salmon. This branch of science is a fiasco: the main power it has is in explaining what happened after the fact. As historian of fisheries science, my experience of the lack of success (read abject failure) of population modelers in forecasting fish led to my initial skepticism of climate alarmism, seeing that both rely on exactly the same mathematical tools.

  131. So if they don’t understand “tipping points”, they clearly can’t understand how the climate works and all of their predictions and pontifications are nothing more than unprovable theory or idealogical nonsense.

  132. I would say the “tipping point” is the threshold at Hooters.

    Here’s where we are at:

    A mathematician, an accountant and a climate scientist apply for the same job at the UN.

    The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

    Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

    Then the interviewer calls in the scientist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The scientist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to equal”?

  133. Jordan (05:05:41) :

    My son is convinced there are crocodiles under his bed.

    Although we have no evidence for them (and I can promise you, we do continue to keep an eye out for them), the harsh reality is that nobody can rule out crocodiles under his bed as a real physical possibility.

    If he puts his foot out of the bed through the night and gets bitten by a crocodlle, it’s gonna be painful.

    Ask him what color the crocodiles are. If he says green, then they are imaginary crocodiles, cartoon ones like found in Disney animated movies, thus may frighten him but won’t do any real harm. Real crocodiles are grey (Examples: one, two, three). It may be hard to tell sometimes (example), so have some grey color swatches handy, you’ll see they are far more grey than they are “Disney” green. The touches of green to me look like algae scum buildup. I doubt these crocodiles get a good bath time scrubbing.

    It surprised me to find out crocodiles are really grey, only had it brought to my attention some months ago. Crocodiles being green, well everyone says that, everyone accepts it since everyone says it, thus everyone knows it’s an accepted fact. You can go a lifetime without taking a good honest look at it yourself, and finding out what you’ve been told as absolute truth really isn’t true. The consensus has lied.

    Speaking of AGW…

  134. Steve Goddard (06:19:22) :

    Reading between the lines, the author is saying that he can’t see any solid evidence of global warming.

    Just when I’d been thinking he was totally bonkers.

  135. Newposter:

    Assume for a moment that there are tipping points when some kind of strong positive feedback kicks in and sends the climate spiralling off into much higher temperatures.

    My question is this: If that were so, wouldn’t it have likely happened already in recorded or recent geological history, just because of normal random variations?

    Why hasn’t water vapor alone or with CO2 done it’s full “forcing” thing over and over, or has it always “failed”, so to speak?

  136. I remember reading a story just like this… about a boy who cried “Wolf” repeatedly. A tipping point in public opinion is indeed coming.

  137. “since life has been here the past 500+ million years seems to me such events have never happened.”

    no, other than the End Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, End Triassic, and End Cretaceous, such events have never happened.

  138. It’s impossible to predict tipping points, and they can occur without warning, so their conclusion is … EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

    1. It says they admit they can’t predict anything
    2 He is warning us there won’t be a warning. (Nonsense)
    3 They can’t define what a tipping point is
    4 Most recent pictures of tipping points I saw include roofs on metal buildings that exceeded the snow weight limit and crashed down. Fallen tree branches that were over loaded are examples of tipping point. Snow is not exactly an example of warming. It is an example of cooling. Too much moisture in the atmosphere, too much cold and therefore too much condensation and freezing and it falls out of the sky.

    Snow and Ice are solid forms of both water and evidence of cooling.

  139. Bob Tisdale (03:18:34) : Bob, I’m new to this blog game, but you seem to be the most readily accesible fellow who knows what he’s talking about! Would you please advise me on the following:

    1. The main thrust of the climate change story seems to be based on ATMOSPHERIC “anomolies”; so why do NASA GISS, UAH, HADCRUT, RSS all include SST into the equations. Surely, the temperatures of these very different elements should be seperately monitored and compared, not homogenised?

    2. I have always believed that the oceans are the greatest force on Earth that can effect weather, climate change, coastal glaciers, sea ice growth and decline, hurricans, etc. Is this correct?

    3. The historic plots that I have seen of Ice Age/Interglacial periods to my mind indicate that, although the time spent in each phase is measured in millenia, the time to change back to an Ice Age is very short, perhaps measured in decades. This idea essentially fits in with the findings of the subject report in this blog. Is this feasible?

    Look forward to your reply (hopefully), Yours Aye Bob

  140. “The current study focuses on models from ecology, but its findings may be applicable to other complex systems, especially ones involving human dynamics such as harvesting of fish stocks or financial markets.”

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the harvesting of fish stocks remains an ecological problem, despite being grouped with other complex systems like financial markets. There is a word for an article like this. The word is tosh.

  141. “Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.”

    Really? What rising sea level? I live on a bay, and the water hasn’t risen in my entire lifetime. Do the people who make these claims ever go to the places they say are being inundated, dried up, burned out, or plagued? Do they have any historical perspective? Do they know anything about communicable disease statistics?

    The truth they ignore is that in most Western countries, especially in cities, air-quality is far better than it was a hundred years ago when people burned coal, peat, and wood for heating and cooking, and when forest fires were common and impossible to combat. People are healthier now than ever before in history. Human and pet lifespans have increased, not decreased. Insect-borne diseases have been nearly eradicated. Life is much easier. And we owe a lot of this to fossil fuels and coal-burning energy plants. Look what air-conditioning did for Florida.

    So what are the doomsayers practical alternatives? They don’t offer any. Electric cars? Where do they think the electricity comes from? Oh, those coal-burning electric plants. Oops. Wind mills? How are those working out, and does it matter that countless endangered birds are being slaughtered by them? Solar energy? Can it run a single commercial air-conditioning system let along an entire city?

    The authors of this new article clearly have been reading IPCC reports and WWF propaganda. I bet the publishers rushed it into print, hoping to beat the tipping point of revelations discrediting most, if not all, of it.

  142. *sigh*

    As a software engineer, I remember this stuff from the ’90s. Emergence, complexity, A-Life, genetic algorithms. Those were heady days that seemed so full of promise. Nothing became of any of it.

    These days, I have to give Dr. Hastings credit for even managing to get funding for that kind of stuff.

  143. They cannot predict them, but we need to tax CO2 and wreck economies and kill millions of people in the process.
    I would suggest that they have no idea what they are talking about and should be ignored.
    Paul Daniel Ash,
    Were any of the great events you listed
    1- rapid?
    2- caused by CO2 in the atmosphere?

  144. If this report were more honest, it would cite “The Day After Tommorrow” seventeen times in the endnotes.

  145. Is climate tipping anything like cow tipping? Does it help to drink lots of beer before you go out and tip the climate?

  146. Willis, personally I’m a climate fatalist. The tipping point is coming like a thief in the night. Can’t say when and cant guess its direction. Best of all there is nothing you can do about it. So, party like its 1999.

    It’s funny on the other side of alarmism is fatalism.

  147. @Bob (Sceptical Redcoat)

    “Surely, the temperatures of these very different elements should be seperately monitored and compared, not homogenised?”

    The identifying hallmark process of climate science is to reprocess, homogenise and forecast. You might argue (and I could not possibly comment) that averaging the temperatures of different elements or materials with very different energy contents and specific heats might possibly be a tad misleading … but of course they don’t actually do that, they measure temperature anomalies which are entirely different!

  148. “Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings.

    “Theoretical ecologist?”

    It’s worse than we thought.

  149. This just in:

    1. A massive proliferation in rain forest tree growth has been discovered.
    2. Oxygen upticks in the atmosphere are increasing life spans, this abundance of oxygen may be linked to extensive plankton, algae and plant growth.
    3. Huge surpluses of food have flooded the global market, driving down prices and confusing the third world with abundant grain stores and food profits.
    4. Home gardening has exploded around the nation as, for some unknown reason, plants have become extremely easy to grow and very hard for the novice to kill.
    5. General goodwill among men seems to be increasing at a horrifying rate. Lifespans increase while living standards increase, turning people to more noble pursuits and decreasing procreation rates. World population is SHRINKING due to increased oxygen and food stores. People are relaxing…

  150. Off topic, but hilarious, is this quip about Sarah Palin and climate from the Joy Behar show on Feb 8.

    Newsbusters

    ENSLER: Well, I just think the idea that she doesn’t believe in global warming is bizarre.
    BEHAR: Every scientist at every note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.
    ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.
    BEHAR: Right.
    ENSLER: And weather changes to just feel it. But I think that idea that she doesn’t believe in global warming and she could actually run for vice president, and we have a country where that is possible, it seems insane.

    Earthquakes and tsunamis are caused by global warming. Hrm…

  151. John “that averaging the temperatures of different elements or materials with very different energy contents and specific heats might possibly be a tad misleading …”

    And of course there is no real meaning to “average” in temperature, because it is not a strict unit in the way others like mass, length are. E.g. if you are considering the “average” temperature of a blackbody emitter of radiation, the appropriate way to average the “blackbody temperature” is to average the radiation emission which is T^4.

    So, obviously a scientists looking at the average “temperature” when considering radiation like e.g. …. the earth …. would abviously average the T1^4 + T2^4 etc. because this gives you the temperature of an “average” blackbody of the same surface area.

    But … that obviously requires a better calculator, than you need to apply for the average climate research grant.

  152. Ref – hunter (08:13:42) :
    “They cannot predict them, but we need to tax CO2 and wreck economies and kill millions of people in the process.
    I would suggest that they have no idea what they are talking about and should be ignored.”
    _________________
    But that’s precisely the point, they do know what they’re talking about and they so hope that you ignore them. Their goals are exactly as you have stated them, well almost, you were very very conservative in your “kill millions of people in the process” remark. Actually, they want to kill billions but won’t admit to that in public for fear that they will be misunderstood. ;-)

  153. Presumably the Arctic Ocean has currents moving under the ice year-round. Maybe velocity and direction would change if the ice melted every summer, but this just seems like another canard to me.
    Acidification of oceans due to great influx of CO2? Surely there are studies available in the geological literature comparing shellfish viability with higher CO2 concentration. From my recollection, no evidence for any significant stress on organisms due to acidic water in the open ocean has ever been found since the Cambrian.
    Stress from extremes of salinity in embayments is common (both high and low) in the fossil record. Lakes often are subject to high acidity (sometimes natural) which affects life forms and is an evolutionary forcing agent.

  154. Wait, wait: THEY were fatally wounded with “Climate Gate”, now they are trying to overcome that real “tipping point” by crying Climate Change, Climate Change! and blame all the snow fallen and to be falled down to it, then, inmediately after that, they will cry: We have to act inmediately!, then your EPA will enforce hard measures to “try to prevent futher catastrophes” and you will be really done.
    The trouble for the healthy and sane rest of the world is that everywere politicians will imitate your politicians, but with the big difference that we, happy inhabitants of the third world, don’t use to fulfill any law we don’t like it or find it bothersome or too complicated to obey, so our life will continue as usual while you will sacrifice for all your holy sainthood, from Al “Baby” to ‘Death trains” Hansen.

  155. Well it seems that Public Television stations (US) have embarked on a continuous stream of climate disaster programs disguised as science interest programs.
    Last night I watched a program about “Extreme Cave Diving”; now what could be sinister about that ? Seems like these idiots went scuba diving in “Blue Holes” in the Bahamas. Now in my view, anyone who goes swimming in water that has land above it, instead of atmosphere, is by definition an idiot. These folks were doubly drunk in that the dived using “rebreather” apparatus. Prior to the dive, one of the ladies gave a detailed technical description of why “rebreather” apparatus usage, is like putting agun to your head, and pulling the trigger to see how reliable the mechanism is. The equipment takes CO2 out of whatever is in the can, and feeds you whatever is left that you just keep inhaling; sometimes some of it is oxygen; and then sometimes it isn’t. She described how many of her friends she has buried after their most recent rebreather equipped dive.

    So into this hole under the Bahamas they go, and follow a string underneath a crumbling roof. They can tell that they are going the right direction, by observing the string of decaying scuba diver bodies strewn along the way; who evidently ran out of what ever it was they thought they were breathing.

    So the aim of this dive was to find crocodiles that don’t exist in the Bahamas; well at least above in the sane part of it.

    They did find a thin layer of Red soil embedded in the walls. They were actually looking for that, since they had smashed some stalagmites, and sectioned them, and found traces of iron there; and iron is one of the other things that doesn’t exist in the Bahamas.
    So this red earth layer, turns out to be iron ore, that actually is dust or sand that blows out of the sahara in Africa in big dust storms. Evidently so big that the storm that made this layer in the Bahamas, evidently tripped a tipping point and sent the climate into a tizzy, so that sea level rose 20 metres. And all this took place in about 50 years, some 10,000 years ago, if I remember correctly.

    So if you find some red dust on your windshield, time to batten down the hatches, and watch the sea rise.

    There was another sho on at the same time, all about the smart electric meter that is going to charge me for gas and electricity, according to when I use it. They just installed this wonderful gadget last week, and told me how much money it was going to make ; excuse me, that is save.
    Note they did not include a schedule of rates versus daily/weekly hours, so I know what times to throw the main breaker, snd shut down poer to my house.

    It’s just a scam dreamed up by some software tinkerer; who convinced PG&E that they could make lots of money by figuring out when people liked to use their power, and jacking up the price during those hours; meanwhile these overactive computer nerds, could sell lots of hardware to the power company.

    The whole evening on all the local PBS stations was just oozing with green propaganda, aimed at the kids to scare the hell out of them. They didn’t say how many tonnes of toxic chemicals were involved in the manufacture of a tonne of silicon for the free green clean renewable energy. Some poor farmer was conned in to letting them install a wind turbine on his farm, so they kept moving it around, and digging up the whole place to run cables to try and connect this piece of crap to the power grid, which for somereason doesn’t come close to his open farmland.

    Yes we have tipping points ahead; such as when they get to declaring all of these folks to be criminally insane.

    Well the reason I was watching PBS, is that they are about the only stations that my rabbit ears pickup; that actually speak English. There is another station that I can get the WWE wrestling on and the extreme fights; but they weren’t on last night. No I’m not going to pay for cable or satellite or any other 500 stations of shop-at-home; don’t have a cell phone or blackberry or raspberry either; and I’m not going to read books on line, or any other screen; I’ll stick with the dead tree books; that’s my idea of carbon sequestration.

  156. What about the tipping for going back to ice age temperature the Earth as seen more often then not in the last 500,000 years?

  157. To: Michael (00:30:49) :
    “I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people. ”
    You’re kidding, right? Right? Horses don’t have a spiritual connection with people.. they just don’t like to step on things they don’t understand. They don’t walk over cattle guards, either. I was thrown from a horse because she refused to step in a very small trickle of water. It wasn’t because she was spiritually connected to the oneness of the water… she was just dumb.
    You lay down in front of the horses, we’ll watch. :-)

    Joanie

  158. Here’s the shock. They are admitting they just don’t know. Congratulations guys! That is the first step!

  159. ??”Climate ‘Tipping Points’ May Arrive Without Warning, Says Top Forecaster”??

    I think it reads better as:
    Climate ‘Tipping Points’ May Arrive Without Warming, Says Top Forecaster

  160. So if you can’t predict it , why the worry? And why this assumption about warming? The one certainty we have about global climate change is that in about 3,000 years there will be another ice age. And it won’t be a mini.

  161. Steve McIntyre needs to let Joy Behar explain global warming

    ENSLER: Well, I just think the idea that she doesn’t believe in global warming is bizarre.
    BEHAR: Every scientist at every note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.
    ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.

    Every one knows all scientists believe earthquakes and tsunamis come from warming. Joy Behar can publish the next IPCC report.

    http://www.peekinthewell.net/blog/eve-enslers-take-on-it/

  162. Marc77: “tipping going back to ice age”.

    Really this bogus concept of the unseen, unpredictable, unscientific “tipping point” is an extension of the climate multiplier that we originally saw used to explain the greater increase/decrease in global temperature than the direct change in radiation from the Milankovitch cycles would allow.

    At that time, they introduced the idea of increasing snow having an effect on sunlight absorption, allowing them to say: “when it gets colder, there is a multiplier to that cooling ”

    Effectively, climate “science” accepted as “science” the idea that you can find a cause which partly explains something, and then magically make it fit the real results using a “multiplier”.

    Once you allow in such unscientific nonsense, it’s only a short step to the next phase of saying CO2 has a multiplier effect – with no idea what the multiplier mechanism is, and then extending that just a bit further removing the need for any physical stimulus and just leaving the mystical multiplier on its own (i.e. 100% of the effect is the multiplier … so no need for any physical cause and certainly no need for anything that could be subject to scientific testing)

    The “tipping point” is just playing around with this mystical multiplier which allows all climate measurements to fit whatever theory you like … just add in a multiplier, and why not suddenly have an accelerating multiplier which take you over the “tipping point”.

  163. This piece of work doesn’t pass the “science-like” test.

    For one thing, it isn’t littered with terminology from “chaos theory” and so forth, such as “region of bifurcation” and “strange attractors” and “self-organization.”

    How can anyone possibly have any confidence in some study that doesn’t pass the “it sounds like science” test?

  164. ” Captain Cosmic (06:54:05) :

    Feel a little uncomfortable bringing this up but I’m an ecology graduate. Contrary to general belief, it’s not some pseudo-science, tree-hugging, pot-smoking discipline. It’s actually all about how members of a species interact with each other, with other species and their habitat. It’s about population dynamics, predator-prey interactions, sexual selection, in fact it’s about lots of things to do with biology, the mechanics of populations and mathematics. It has very little to do with all that hippy spiritual Gaia BS. The only thing it has in common with climate science is that modelling is very predominant. Unlike climate science however, models can easily be evaluated alongside ‘real’ observations and measurement.
    Feel much better now…”

    How long ago was that? When I graduated in 1970, I considered myself an ecologist – in the broadest of terms (as in “blank slate”, give me a biological problem to solve). What I was, in the vernacular of the day, and based on what I actually studied and did, I was an epizootiologist, epizootiology being simply ecology on an applied basis, and without specific frames of reference being nothing.

    What I really was, was a classically and very well trained biologist working on very specific ecological problems, confined to very narrow hypotheticals. Ecology, like climatology, is not a specific discipline. but rather a holistic approach to a very narrow range of defined hypotheses or problems to be solved.

    The study of “ecology” on its own, might better be described as the study of the philosophy of Chaos. Great for grad student tutorials, of no real value in finding your, or indeed, anything’s, next meal. Being an “ecologist”, “climatologist”, or “futurist” is really nothing more than being a navel-gazing philosopher. Much ado about everything, signifying nothing.

  165. Hunter, what’s the support for your assertion that reducing CO2 emission will “wreck economies and kill millions of people?”

    My earlier response was to the assertion that there had been no “global disasters” in the past. There have of course, been extinctions related to warming, like the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, which were certainly disastrous to the 50% of so of benthic creatures that died during that warming.

    There aren’t any historical records of rapid CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, because it’s never happened before. It would be interesting to try and understand better what might happen, though you can never predict future climate with certainty.

    It’d probably be a good first step to come up with some hypotheses, then follow up with experiments to verify or invalidate those hypotheses. People could then come after and try and replicate those results to see if they hold water. Over time, you should be able to at least come up with a rough estimate of the likely results of a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Yeah, maybe someone should get on that.

  166. ****************
    George E. Smith (08:52:10) :

    Well the reason I was watching PBS, is that they are about the only stations that my rabbit ears pickup; that actually speak English. There is another station that I can get the WWE wrestling on and the extreme fights; but they weren’t on last night. No I’m not going to pay for cable or satellite or any other 500 stations of shop-at-home; don’t have a cell phone or blackberry or raspberry either; and I’m not going to read books on line, or any other screen; I’ll stick with the dead tree books; that’s my idea of carbon sequestration.
    ****************
    OT: but here is an open source UHF antenna that works really well. I built one out of PVC, hardware cloth, and some house electric wire I had laying around.

    http://www.digitalhome.ca/ota/superantenna/

  167. The clear message I get from this is that Theoretical Ecology is extremely important and budgets and paychecks need to be larger. It’s examples like this from the University of California that help the State financial insolvency. Personally, I’m amazed that departments like this exist at all.

  168. steven mosher (08:21:53) :

    Willis, personally I’m a climate fatalist. The tipping point is coming like a thief in the night. Can’t say when and cant guess its direction. Best of all there is nothing you can do about it. So, party like its 1999.

    It’s funny on the other side of alarmism is fatalism.

    My father was a Navel aviator in WWII. He had this to say about worry, “If something is bothering you then try to think of something you can do to make it better. If you can think of something then spend all your time and energy doing it. If you can’t think of anything that will make it better then worrying will not help either.”

    I don’t think that there is a single thing that we can do about the weather in the short run nor the climate in the long run.  But there is something we can do about the scaming bums trying to “redistribute” our wealth. 

    November 11th in the USA cannot come soon enough.

    Anybody thinking of donating to UC Davis should write the University’s President a letter instead explaining why you chose not to.

    Mike Ramsey

  169. “Theoretical ecologists” such as Hastings seem to have a propensity for building large models that seem to correlate well with past events, but not so well with future events.

    They tweak the models when new data comes in, and then claim that the new predictions are even better than the last — after all, they correctly “predict” the present conditions now. And they point out areas where the model was “generally correct” before, ignoring areas where it was not.

    This is a variation of the “fortune-tellers” fallacy: Repeat things that are obviously true, speculate on things that are likely true, incorporate new information from the “mark”, craft statements that can be interpreted to be true regardless of what happens, and distract the “mark” from any statements that are wrong.

    Pretty soon, people start believing, and in many cases the fortune tellers themselves start to “buy their own con” and believe.

    With this level of belief, perhaps they should be called “theological ecologists”.

  170. I think I read a paper on tipping points before. Its an unseen, unpredictable force that can emerge without warning and cause extensive damage and the only prevention is to take action in accordance with those who know exactly what the unseen unpredicatable force is all about. I know I read something similar before. I think they called it smiting though, not tipping?

    Lightning Bolt. Thunder.
    Shaman – spirits angry. must be appeased. bring much gold. store in my tent.

  171. @George E. Smith

    Regardless of what you think about AGW, time-variable pricing for electricity (and to a lesser extent gas) is a good idea – it’s just not been practical to implement until the last few years.

    The reason it’s a good idea is that there are huge peaks and troughs in demand. The network needs to have enough capacity on stand by to meet the peaks, which means there is a lot of capacity sitting around unused most of time – capital tied up in equipment that is under-utilised (that ultimately the end-users are paying for) – as well as the costs such as efficiency losses of starting and stopping power generation or gas pumping (which end-users also ultimately pay for).

    Time-variable pricing can be used to create an economic incentive for individuals and business to vary their usage patterns (assuming the same or perhaps even more usage) so as to reduce the peaks and troughs.

  172. Just a pondering…what kind of record has this “expert” Hastings had so far?

    “Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings.

  173. What these “experts of nothing”, and therefore “experts of everything” have to worry about is “global drought” of taxpayer grants . . . the drying up part. Funding with taxpayer money those who would only make up boogieman stories to frighten the public into giving them more money to come up with more frightening tales is the ultimate stupidity. Best to leave the “end of the world” fiction up to the Hollywood types.

    Climate is no more than a succession of weather events over a local area, and there is no such thing as a “global” climate. There is also no way possible to accurately determine the “average” temperature of Planet Earth. At best, those temperature measuring stations measure local temperatures, and as Anthony has ably demonstrated, it is quite uncertain to even know what it is that is being measured, but it is quite certain that at many temperature measuring stations, it is not even the temperature of the air that is being measured. GIGO no longer applies. It has become Garbage In, Fantasy Out. GIFO is now a better acronym to describe the process.

  174. So we are near a tipping point we can’t predict? Lovely. The earth will enter a runaway greenhouse and end up like Venus at 700 degrees. Panic everyone, panic! Oh wait there is a breaking headline, the earth is entering a new ice age and we’ll be short of fresh water and billions of people will die from starvation! Panic everyone, panic!

    Of course we have no idea what to do so lets give buckets of tax money to Al Gore and the carbon traders and let them geo-engineer our way out of whatever comes along.

    Sad thing is most people will fall for it.

  175. Time magazine blaiming AGW for the DC blizzards, PBS still carrying on with National Geographic about Man-made global warming, other oblivious media (New York Times, ect., ect.)

    This guy is just a sign — they’re doubling down hard — pushing all their chips out onto the table — political chips.

  176. Gary (08:31:10) : Beautiful panorama. We need positive stories to oppose to all those apocalyptical ones. But too much oxygen increases oxidation and increased oxidation shortens life. BTW, we need oxygen to oxidize venous blood’s containing Fe+2 into Fe+3 and turn it into arterial blood hemoglobin, that is an oxidation process where, in the end, what we need it’s just electrons…an alternative to think it over☺

  177. There is now convincing scientific evidence that the increase in CO2 concentrations has caused significantly increases in the rate of green plant growth over the past half century or so. (And greenhouse operators enrich the CO2 levels to significantly increase all plant growth in greenhouses). Increased plant growth equates to increased food production. Lowering the rate of food production, which most certainly would occur with a reduction of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, would inevitably lead to significant increases in war and mayhem on a world wide basis.

    Those who call themselves “Greens” lie, through either design or ignorance. A reduction of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would cause the environment to be less green, and not more green. Flat out lies.

  178. In the sciences, when factors are well within their normal range, then they can be expected to behave normally – even law is practiced this way. To hypothesize that there might be some critical combination of normal values that triggers a tipping point is to create boogey men under the bed for little children.

    Beware the Precautionary Principle in sheep’s clothing. They will claim that, until we have experienced ever possible combination of normal conditions, then we cannot say with certainty that some apparently normal day might not be a catastrophic tipping point and the climate will implode. This begs rational thinking and should be rejected and repelled with great energy.

    Tipping points are evil when discussed under normal conditions. Since nothing is “runaway”, they can only speculate. To pretend that we will be burning fossil fuels for the next 100 years is to ignore technological progress and pretend status quo conditions for humanity and its development. Status quo does not exist in the human existence. We are also very good at adapting.

  179. Time-variable pricing can be used to create an economic incentive for individuals and business to vary their usage patterns (assuming the same or perhaps even more usage) so as to reduce the peaks and troughs.”

    As someone whose meter goes on this “scheme” in the next billing cycle, I can tell you the above statement is plain hogwash. Time-cycle schemes are concocted by brain-dead people who have no idea what the necessary usage cycles are for most folks below 100k a year annual income, and appear to be concocted by people who believe that the wife stays home all day, or the nanny is available anytime of the day to do the laundry or nobody needs any sleep. Really what these billing cycles do is subsidize the cost to industry, as my average homeowner’s cost will be several cents/kw-hr above what industry will pay, even though I’m a minor user. Meanwhile, the cities in which I live and work remain lit up with megawatts of frivolous architectural and high cut-off lighting.

  180. George E. Smith (08:52:10) :Like Discovery, History, etc. Do its owners share something in common with the ones behind global warming/climate change?
    Not the “scientist”puppets of course, but the real guys behind. Just to ponder not to tell.

  181. George E. Smith (08:52:10) :

    Watched the same show. The conclusion I got from the iron find was not that the dust storms created the warming but that they were the result of a very fast warming. Maybe fifty years or less! Kinda fits into this topic, as that would seem to be a tipping point. The main guy was saying that this speed of warming had never been observed in the past records before.

    But then if you think about it, if these dust storms are that large, able to cross the Atlantic, they would probably lead to some very fast cooling!

    Just gets more interesting with every day.

    The trailer –

  182. R Dunn (03:48:12) :

    The study of people who think this way, and the people who make policy based on this type of thinking, deserves to have its own taxonomy. I propose that it be called “crimatology.”

    Organised clime.

  183. My tipping point prediction: the money spent and jobs lost due to this giant climate change hoax has reached a tipping point. When the two years of unemployment compensation checks quit arriving and 10% of the workforce is still unemployed and hungry, I predict a sea change in the gullibility of the public regarding climate change disaster predictions. Watch for it.

    Can I have my title now? Tipping Point Forecaster is what I would prefer. ‘Ecological Forecaster’ has already been taken by some other charlatans.

  184. A depth-charge mentality has suddenly gripped DC.
    Rig for silent running.
    Maybe the storm will think nobody’s home and stop dropping SnowMageddon cans of white stuff.
    OMG it’s another blizzard. What’ll we do?
    Play possum, stop plowing snow, fools ’em every time.

  185. Somebody needs to tip that sign over.

    What? Can’t tip it over because it is a piece of official government equipment?

    Then what is it doing displaying that sort of message?

  186. Ah, poor Chicago. Cold, blizzards. No Olympics. And now an earthquake nearby, 3.8 magnitude.

    Dear President Obama, please have some concern for the town where you lived. Repent and turn away from the false AGW religion, before the fires and floods are sent as well.

  187. Tipping point = unseen, unpredictable force of uncertain cause which appears without warning and causes damage of unknown magnitude = smiting.

    I have conducted exhaustive search of 5000 years of historical records which show smiting decreases in frequency and magnitude over time and appears to have an inverse relationship with increases in technical knowledge. My work is opposed by such a O.Roberts, B.Graham, et al who claim I have wrongly attributed earthquakes and such to technical explanation when they are actually smiting data points. My conclusions are not yet final as smiting could well be cyclical in nature and simply at a current cyclical minimum unrelated to increases in technical knowledge. More study is required, though I believe that there has been a recent downward trend in quality of education levels, technical study in particular, and predictions of increased smiting or tipping points are a direct result.

    My initial experiments involved cow tipping for which my father thrashed me thoroughly and which I now understand to be opposed on principal by PETA and others, so will have to consider carefully my scientific method.

  188. “Scientists widely agree….” So what’s that mean? A few here and there ‘widely’ scattered throughout the world? Or does it mean ‘widely’ as in very broad and generally vague terms?

    I’d guess he wants his phrasing to be interpreted as ‘consensus’ and there we are again with the same old paintbrush trying to cover weak science.

  189. The real weather you are experiencing is due, like Piers Corbyn says to Solar Weather Impact Periods though the sun’s activity it is not as high as former cycles the lower magnetic field on earth does not protect us as usually does.
    Does anybody could supply more details?

  190. Captain Cosmic (06:54:05) :
    Feel a little uncomfortable bringing this up but I’m an ecology graduate. Contrary to general belief, it’s not some pseudo-science, tree-hugging, pot-smoking discipline. It’s actually all about how members of a species interact with each other, with other species and their habitat. It’s about population dynamics, predator-prey interactions, sexual selection, in fact it’s about lots of things to do with biology, the mechanics of populations and mathematics. It has very little to do with all that hippy spiritual Gaia BS. The only thing it has in common with climate science is that modelling is very predominant. Unlike climate science however, models can easily be evaluated alongside ‘real’ observations and measurement.
    Feel much better now…

    But inadvertently is does. See, by just looking at population dynamics and sexual selection and that sort of thing, you are leaving out entirely: why does any species exist, in the sense of, what is its purpose? Now, the purpose of an ant colony? How about the purpose of the human race? How about the the meaning of life, as thought about by an individual? How about poetry, and awe, and wonder? See, that is our relationship to the world. It is like, we work because we want meaningful productive lives, but all you’re doing is measuring the paycheck and the carbon footprint. The ecologist’s analysis is flat, lifeless, dead. It’s just stuff eating and copulating. It’s no more holistic because it involves “living” entities than my bank account is holistic because it involves both receipts and debits.

    By entirely ignoring why humanity lives, and desires, and dreams, whilst claiming that your field is “holistic”, you leave the door wide open for others to bring into the field their own dreams and ideals, their Gaia worship.

    Sorry if that’s a bit of a leap, but please have a ponder. Ecology is not holistic. It is about systems. Material biological systems. But it has nothing about the meaning of life, about spiritual aspirations, about what makes humans special, in a sense. It has no Zen, no Dharma, no Way, no Spirit. Ecology is not holistic. It is a systems analysis.

    Ecologists look at the material planetary systems and come to certain conclusions about population numbers and resources. They stick in their models numbers about human reproduction and land use and species extinction. But those models contain nothing about human dreams, progress, aspirations, poetry. They can’t be a guide for humanity when they ignore entirely what makes us human.

  191. I was doing some philosophical thinking while out for my daily 20 mile bike ride yesterday.

    “What”, I asked myself, “would motivate supposedly ‘objective’ people, trained in the ‘sciences’ to produce this continuous stream of ‘enviromental garbage’..”?

    Then I remembered being at a dinner, in the mid 1990’s at the University of Minnesota, a dinner with the Dean of the Institute of Technology, Dean Enfant (that was his name, French background..)

    The Dean lamented that the PEAK of the percentage of FEMALE engineering students occurred 15 years before, right around the time I graduated..(My Chemical Engineering class had 8 women among 45 men graduating)

    He asked “WHY?” had the numbers gone down. He got a set of answers that really shocked him. The assembled, REAL, working engineers there told him – Engineers are PEONS. We generally have no real POWER over circumstances in our jobs. We are, in a word “EMASCULATED”.

    The Dean then asked, what happened to the women? The answer was – They are very capable of communicating. Once they got into the “engineering workplace” they quickly advised their other women friends, “Don’t go into engineering, it’s a DEAD END..”

    So the women transfered their interest and their efforts to MEDICAL SCHOOL and to DENTAL SCHOOL and to PHARMACY.

    Now I began to think about a few of the “pure scientists” I’ve known. Guys who have STRUGGLED to maintain academic positions, positions in industry, and “employment” in general.

    And I realized, you work your tail off to get your Phd by the time you are 30, you get into some position, somewhere… and then you find YOU HAVE NO POWER, INFLUENCE OR PRESTIGE, in all means of assesment.

    THUS there is a MOTIVATION for these guys, in the “climate science” positions to SEEK attention and prestige and “power”, which they would not normally have in such positions.

  192. wayne (01:17:06) : … What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past …

    The shifts from Winter to Summer and back every year are “tipping points.” Of course, we all consider them perfectly normal. What these guys are really panicking about aren’t “tipping points” per se, but rather the potential shifting of those points so that summers and winters become drier or wetter, hotter or cooler, longer or shorter and that these state changes last longer than a generation or so. AGW “theorists” – I say that tongue in cheek – are also worried about “runaway” warming – once the point shifts it continues to do so, which I believe means they are really worried that we’ll make the north pole look like Florida, real estate developers will head for Antarctica, and the Winter Olympics will no longer be differentiated from the Summer Olympics.

    On a more serious note the only “tipping points” with dramatic global consequences that are known are major events in geological history such as the extinction that marked the end of the Cretaceous about 70 mya. The problem with those kinds of events is that while we can identify their consequences more or less, we do not know what really caused them. Temporal resolution in geological data is often problematic and while something may look “abrupt” geologically, it may actually have spanned centuries or millennia. Medieval Warm Periods and Little Ice Ages are not really dramatic in their consequences and would, after a period of adaptation, have little effect on our current society, were we to enter such a period.

    Fashion in explaining such events changes with social fads – the lesson here being that although scientists may hope to appear detached and objective, they are mostly creatures of fashion. Currently many “scientists” are offering “explanations” based upon changes in atmospheric CO2, methane discharges, etc. One social reality is that while science and scientists are putatively about a search for knowledge, politicians and society in general tend to behave toward them as shamans with magical powers of perception and knowledge of the future. In short politicians and society “demand” science, yet will accept neither its limitations or uncertainties, which in turn means that “successful” scientists tend to either present as authoritarian dogmatists, or to be precisely that. This dynamic is evident in the CRU emails. Jones and Mann tend to be “dogmatists,” others are “faithful” yet concerned about the short comings of their science, e.g. Trenberth.

  193. Marlene Anderson (10:39:10) :

    “Scientists widely agree….”
    Simply: That’s a typo, it should be written: WILDLY AGREE ☺

  194. How can Alan Hastings even consider tipping points on a global scale when I struggle with predicting my own tipping point when supping a favourite full bodied Cab Sauv.

  195. @ Paul Coppin:

    > As someone whose meter goes on this “scheme” in the next billing cycle, I can tell you the above statement is plain hogwash. Time-cycle schemes are concocted by brain-dead people who have no idea what the necessary usage cycles are for most folks below 100k a year annual income, and appear to be concocted by people who believe that the wife stays home all day, or the nanny is available anytime of the day to do the laundry or nobody needs any sleep

    It is basic economics that people (as in the large mass, average behavior, etc.) and business (not necessary each individual business, but industry and business as a whole) react and adapt to price incentives.

    I don’t disagree that some (many? most?) people will have a harder time adapting than others. And I don’t disagree that some people may be less able to adapt, or may even suffer because they are unable to adapt.

    I will even concede that there is a good argument, that as far as domestic users are concerned, that time-based price variations should be limited, so as to minimize the impact on those least able to adapt. But let’s at least be honest about what lack of time-based price variations are: a subsidy for those who would struggle to adapt.

    The reason it is a subsidy, is that the actual the cost to supply each unit of power to when demand is low, is lower.

  196. Tipping point has already occurred back in 1967.
    Many actual physical evidence covered over with floss( smoke and mirrors) so as to keep the scientists from looking like idiots poking in the dark and keep the funding rolling in.
    Econonic collapse would occur if it is known your factory or house would have a weather related event as who would be foolish enough to buy. Currency makes the world go around so don’t interfere say the politicians.

  197. These convenient super snow storms will demand real explanations, taking into account all the serious events happening not attributable to the nonsense of AGW.
    Waiting for that, here at the best science blog.

  198. I would recommend that everyone take a look at the full, unadulterated, temperature data for both urban and rural areas, preferably relatively close to one another, and compare the temperature data. You can find this data here…

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    For example the Boerne monitoring station in Texas has monitored temperature data for over 100 years. From 1980-2000 it shows a 3 degree increase in temperature. However, if you look at the data as a whole and determine the standard deviation you will see that there is a +- 1.5 degree deviation that is pretty well constant and from the first to the last temperature reading there has been a 1 degree increase.

    However, climatologists realize that a 1 degree increase over the course of 100 years is nothing to panic about while a 3 degree increase in the past 20 years is most definitely newsworthy…aren’t statistics fun.

  199. How does one tell something that is the consequence of global climate change from local influence – such a deforestation?
    How does one distinguish an event from being a tipping point from a unpredicted fluctuation?
    If tipping points may arrive without warning, does this mean that the scientists haven’t a clue if and when they will arrive? That is, they are admitting that understanding climate change is beyond them.
    This seems to be an “advance” on Lenton et al 2008 on Tipping Points to be found at http://www.pnas.org/content/105/6/1786.full. There the authours lowered the barrier to include opinions, especially where they could influence the political climate.
    Being a bit naive and dogmatic, I think science is about measurement, identification and classification. Any paper that increases the scope for opinion, dogma and bias is anti-science.

  200. OT to Max Hugoson (11:10:01) :
    I agree with what you say about the financial rewards for engineers who follow a technical career path. I’m also a Chem E (1990) and saw the writing on the wall within the first few years so I jumped over to business/project management and am now self-employed. I’ve not lost my love of technical problem-solving and the AGW issue has been one of intense personal interest. A rather pleasurable hobby of mine is engaging environmentalists in debate on the science of global warming. I’ve never had any repeat engagements with the same person though I run into them from time to time. The topic is studiously avoided.

  201. I’ve found the missing equation!: (encoded in a limerick!)
    A mathematician named Hall
    Had a hexahedronical ball.
    The cube of its weight, times his pecker plus eight
    Equaled four fifths of five eights of f—- all.

    That describes it all!

  202. @Chance N (11:14:44) :
    “Just when I thought I’d seen it all – Apparently we need to lower temps to 2C by 2017 (Assuming he meant by 2C) and half of the dry land will be flooded/water-covered by 2020. Wow!!!! Hope I have a beach house here in CO.
    http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=548421&publicationSubCategoryId=75

    17: And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
    18: But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
    (Genesis 6; King James Version.)

    Who’ll be Noah this time? Pachauri? Hansen? Ah well, better go find a couple of polar bears I suppose. Might get me in. Then I’ll be saved.

  203. What the heck is a “theoretical ecologist”?

    If something can’t be predicted and any combination of factors can cause it to happen, how can it be scientifically tested?

    What the heck is a Department of Environmental Science and Policy? Is it a science department? Or is it policy department?

    What the heck does the Advancing Theory in Biology program at the U.S. National Science Foundation have to do with climate science?

    This paper is just a bunch of psychobabble written by a couple of mathematicians with interests in biology and ecology.

  204. So we probably have, may have, could have, entered the next Ice Age beginning about 10 years ago and didn’t see the ‘tipping point’. Oh dear! What shall we do now? Who is left in Climate Science from the 1970’s that will be fully prepared to jump on this and ask for yet another grant?

  205. David Middleton (13:13:00) :

    What the heck is a “theoretical ecologist”?

    If something can’t be predicted and any combination of factors can cause it to happen, how can it be scientifically tested?
    Ideally if repeatably at the lab as electric and magnetic fields which can be reproduced cheaply and analogically exactly.

  206. @ Rob (07:27:52) :
    “Flexi-fuel drivers left high and dry after Government subsidy U-turn
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7021180.ece

    I thought this was an interesting little story. My immediate reaction to it was that it was a typical NuLiebour cynical promise-breach/dim, useless cockup, not, it must be said, either a unique or unusual event in oligarchic, post-modern Britain, as it struggles to attain full GDR status and a comparable economy. Then, though, I wondered whether this could be just a little signal that they’re going to start pulling back on some of the AGW barminess and gently ease themselves out without having to lose too much face. Hmm. Well, we can all dream.

    And then I read that MP’s early day motion climategatestuff posted earlier, signed by 400 of GB’s best and greatest.

    http://blackswhitewash.com/2010/02/10/uk-parliament-we-need-to-watch-the-back-door/

  207. “”” Paul Coppin (10:12:39) :

    Time-variable pricing can be used to create an economic incentive for individuals and business to vary their usage patterns (assuming the same or perhaps even more usage) so as to reduce the peaks and troughs.”

    As someone whose meter goes on this “scheme” in the next billing cycle, I can tell you the above statement is plain hogwash. Time-cycle schemes are concocted by brain-dead people who have no idea what the necessary usage cycles are for most folks below 100k a year annual income, and appear to be concocted by people who believe that the wife stays home all day, or the nanny is available anytime of the day to do the laundry or nobody needs any sleep. Really what these billing cycles do is subsidize the cost to industry, as my average homeowner’s cost will be several cents/kw-hr above what industry will pay, even though I’m a minor user. Meanwhile, the cities in which I live and work remain lit up with megawatts of frivolous architectural and high cut-off lighting. “””

    If that were true, and if energy conservation was the intended aim (which I would go along with), then the Utilities would have launched their program by sending each and every subscriber a complete catalog of their rates versus usage hours, so that everybody could plan to not use any energy during the most expensive hours.

    Big Surprise; so far; our local energy company (PG&E) have not even suggested that these “smart meters” are even capable of monitoring what hours the power is being used; they are just “smart meters” and we will love them; I have the literature that they sent me to announce that they sent someone to tresspass on my property to install their gadgets; without telling me when that would happen, so I could arrange to be there when this minimum wage person came to case the joint. There’
    s not a word in their literature, that they even monitor when power is being used, let alone that we will be billed by their state sectret pricing schedule.

    Wait till California’s State mandated 20% of Electric vehicles mandate kicks in; we already don’t have sufficient electric capacity to supply the State’s needs; so we buy it from out of State suppliers, who burn coal. Meanwhile the State sitsa on huge untapped reservoirs of natural gas and offshore oil; but we prefer to pollute somebody else’s place rather than use our own abundant resources.

    Meanwhile, our tax dollars are being wasted funding a $100,000 tinkerer’s toy car, being built by someone who just got bored with being rich and idle.

    And the biggest laugh of all, is that the most vocal opponents of free clean green renewable energy are the environmentalists, who don’t want any of that in their favorite hiking area.

    If renewable energy was practical, we would already have it; without any government bribery scheme with money stolen from earners.

  208. A letter sent to the President on the danger of climate change:

    Dear Mr. President:

    Aware of your deep concern with the future of the world, we feel obliged to inform you on the results of the scientific conference held here recently. The conference dealt with the past and future changes of climate and was attended by 42 top American and European investigators. We enclose the summary report published in Science and further publications are forthcoming in Quaternary Research.

    The main conclusion of the meeting was that a global deterioration of climate, by order of magnitude larger than any hitherto experience by civilized mankind, is a very real possibility and indeed may be due very soon.

    The cooling has natural cause and falls within the rank of processes which produced the last ice age. This is a surprising result based largely on recent studies of deep sea sediments.

    Existing data still do not allow forecast of the precise timing of the predicted development, nor the assessment of the man’s interference with the natural trends. It could not be excluded however that the cooling now under way in the Northern Hemisphere is the start of the expected shift. The present rate of the cooling seems fast enough to bring glacial temperatures in about a century, if continuing at the present pace.

    The practical consequences which might be brough by such developments to existing social institution are among others:

    (1) Substantially lowered food production due to the shorter growing seasons and changed rain distribution in the main grain producing belts of the world, with Eastern Europe and Central Asia to be first affected.

    (2) Increased frequency and amplitude of extreme weather anomalies such as those bringing floods, snowstorms, killing frosts, etc.

    With the efficient help of the world leaders, the research …

    With best regards,

    George J. Kukla (Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory)
    R. K. Matthews (Chairman, Dept of Geological Sciences, Brown U)

    2010? Nope. [source]

    Nothing new under the sun.

  209. This is what happens when children aren’t allowed to play with magnets and iron filings or feel mercury dribble through their fingers. All that red colouring in the “safe” play dough has produced highly energetic “scientists” ungrounded in reality.

  210. JWDougherty (11:14:53) :

    wayne (01:17:06) : … What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past …

    I just wanted an actual, scientifically verifyable example of earth going over a tipping point in the past and what that tipping point was.

  211. @ Jordan (05:05:41) :
    “My son is convinced there are crocodiles under his bed.
    Although we have no evidence for them (and I can promise you, we do continue to keep an eye out for them), the harsh reality is that nobody can rule out crocodiles under his bed as a real physical possibility.”

    Damned if I can find the link, but I have a distinct recollection of a relatively recent MSM article which suggested that the alligator population in subterranean New York would increase at an enormous rate as AGW took hold. So if you’re from NY, watch out, your son may be absolutely right.

  212. @TerrySkinner (04:11:59) :

    “If the Yellowstone Supervolcano goes off we’re doomed, doomed!…..
    I think this is like UFO’s and Nuclear Holocast in the 1950’s”

    Mmm, not so sanguine about that nuclear myth myself. I’m old enough to remember what I thought was my last night alive when I was a 14 year-old schoolboy in October 1962.

  213. @ Jordan (05:05:41) :
    “My son is convinced there are crocodiles under his bed.
    Although we have no evidence for them (and I can promise you, we do continue to keep an eye out for them), the harsh reality is that nobody can rule out crocodiles under his bed as a real physical possibility.”>

    When my sone was very young he had the exact same issue and couldn’t sleep because of it. We tried everything, but could not disprove the crocodiles. One day I changed strategies and accepted the existence of the crocodiles. I crawled under the bed, made a heck of a racket, and screamed gotcha! as I captured one croc after another. I then marched them to the front door, threw them outside, and shouted Don’t Ever Come Back! as I slammed the door. My wife put bandaids on me in a few places where the crocs bit me. The kid never had a problem with crocs under the bed again.

    Now if I can just figure out how to adapt this technique to AGW reports… after all, they’re crocs too…

  214. Bob (Sceptical Redcoat) (08:10:03) : You wrote, “The main thrust of the climate change story seems to be based on ATMOSPHERIC “anomolies”; so why do NASA GISS, UAH, HADCRUT, RSS all include SST into the equations.”

    Clarifications are required. GISS, Hadley Centre, and NCDC produce global SURFACE temperature products that consist of Land Surface Temperatures and Sea Surface Temperatures. UAH and RSS produce temperature products for different levels of the atmosphere based on satellite data, the most commonly referenced of those levels being Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT).

    You continued, “Surely, the temperatures of these very different elements should be seperately monitored and compared, not homogenised?”

    They are monitored and presented separately. The vast majority of the posts at my website are about Sea Surface Temperature (SST).

    You asked, “I have always believed that the oceans are the greatest force on Earth that can effect weather, climate change, coastal glaciers, sea ice growth and decline, hurricans, etc. Is this correct?”

    Coupled ocean-atmosphere processes (natural processes) such as El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) dominate annual, decadal, and multidecadal variations in global temperatures. The only other natural variable that is stronger than ENSO is a strong explosive volcanic eruption. The solar radiation-blocking aerosols they emit into the stratosphere can and do overwhelm the strongest of El Nino events and inhibit the recharge mode of ENSO, which is the La Nina phase.

    You asked, “The historic plots that I have seen of Ice Age/Interglacial periods to my mind indicate that, although the time spent in each phase is measured in millenia, the time to change back to an Ice Age is very short, perhaps measured in decades.”

    I haven’t looked at a plot Vostok (Antarctic) ice core data for a number of years, so I really cannot reply. My posts are more concerned with the errors in the belief that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for the warming over the past 30 years, about how climate scientists misrepresent the effects of ENSO, etc.

    Regards

  215. Someone above asked me for an example of a “tipping point”. The canonical events of this time are the Dansgaard Oeschger events. See the usual font of misinformation (Wikipedia) for a description.

  216. My considered comment on this made-up field of science, “Theoretical Ecology”, is — it’s crap-tastic !!

  217. Alan Hastings. A theoretical ecologist! What kind of wank is that? Has there ever been a proven “tipping point” in climate history? Well no, but they might exist and here is a computer model of some of the horrific results of “tipping point” I made up. Send more grant money so I can do some more.

  218. Willis Eschenbach (16:05:10) :
    Someone above asked me for an example of a “tipping point”. The canonical events of this time are the Dansgaard Oeschger events. See the usual font of misinformation (Wikipedia) for a description>

    So now I am seriously confused. The article says that before the last ice age during the last interglacial period:
    1. It was warmer than it is now.
    2. Global temperatures rose by as much as 5 degrees C over a few decades
    3. The causes were either changes in solar forcing or natural cycles in the earth system

    Clearly the above cannot be correct given all the climate science on the current interglacial which clearly proves that it was never warmer than it is now and that global temps are going up faster than ever before and they are because of, and ONLY because of human activity which the previous interglacial didn’t have. Oh wait. I get it. There were humans and their activity caused all those things and they went extinct because of it. Caused an ice age. By making it warmer. All making sense now. Bourbon. Need more bourbon. Can cure almost anything with bourbon.

  219. “all the climate science on the current interglacial which clearly proves that it was never warmer than it is now”

    When you have to JUST MAKE STUFF UP to make your point, doesn’t it suggest anything to you?

  220. LeoG, dust storms that large happen after the Earth gets very cold, thus very dry, whilst the wind blows, which started the whole thing. The wind begins to die down and even settle into a breeze in the opposite direction, but nothing to write home about. Once the dust completely settles, you know the wind has died down to a sticky windless condition and it has been warm and wet, because the dust has been washed out of the air by rain. Evidence of dust layers tells me that the oldest edge on the bottom is when the air was coldest and the top most edge of the layer tells me the air was warmest.

    Now about the phrase “tipping point”. It really gets my dander up when people take over a completely good word and turn it into something else. I will never consider that phrase to be anything other than my Friday night measure of when I have had enough. Which nearly always starts the rounds of free beers.

  221. Manipulation of the masses is quite an art form.

    George W. did it.
    Religion does it.
    So do scientists with vested interests such as the Global Warming and greenhouse gas craze.

    If you keep confusion and counter arguements going, they take up precious time that is in very short supply until the real weather annomalies hit.
    The current weather pattern is just a small prelude to what is about to really happen.

    A great deal of suppressed science is available. At times some data is hidden by what is shoved in your face. But the data certain people try to suppress is still there. Send in the junk science to further cloud the waters.

    It is sometimes truly scary how some people with power and education have no clue to all the science. Only what is manipulated in front of them.

  222. Pamela Gray (06:56:29) :

    oops, I meant “…of the affects of climate change on regional ecology…”

    or maybe I meant “…ecological affects of climate change…”

    Hell, I don’t know. Just trying to seriously add to the “tipping point” thread.

    —…—

    (Robt was already thoroughly and ecoillogically distracted by the previous images the red-headed research towards temporary numerical unions of dissimilar sets …)

    And now she discusses tipping multiple Friday night beers.

    (My pristine image of the divine M. P. Gray has been completely tipped.) 8<)

  223. Michael (00:30:49) :
    “I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people. ”

    I read a statement by a rodeo cowboy that bull-riding is more dangerous than bronco riding, because (he said) a horse will try to avoid stepping on a person, but a bull has on the contrary an inclination to trample on annoyances.

  224. THUS there is a MOTIVATION for these guys, in the “climate science” positions to SEEK attention and prestige and “power”, which they would not normally have in such positions.

    Without alarmism, the money would be going to Pauxsutawney Phil and the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and climatology would return to being the backwater it once was.

    JWDougherty (11:14:53) :

    Fashion in explaining such events changes with social fads – the lesson here being that although scientists may hope to appear detached and objective, they are mostly creatures of fashion.

    About 2/3 through a previous thread here I posted long extracts from Joel Best’s book, Flavor of the month: Why smart people fall for fads, that relate to what you are saying. Go here and search (Ctrl + F) for “flavor”:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/05/pielke-senior-arctic-temperature-reporting-in-the-news-needs-a-reality-check/

  225. Future Strategy

    There’s no doubt the warmers are in full retreat at the moment at the scientific sceptics are jumping for joy. But can I just add a sobering thought, whilst their position was clearly unsustainable, they will simply retreat to a position which isn’t so vulnerable and using their massive advantage of funding and insider-contacts to government, continue to plug the message: “It’s hotter now than 40 years ago QED mankind must have done it”.

    And given the nature of the climate, they will be able to plug that message irrespective of the actual temperature for another decade because it takes a decade for significant climate change – and there’s even the chance natural variation could make it even hotter.

    Somehow we have got to find an effective strategy against the ubiquitous empty column filler … the “Global warming could …. ” story, which every third rate researcher is using to plug their research on the lesser spotted goat-warbling rat-frog.

    How do we stop someone with some worthless research take a minuscule change in numbers and suggest a link to the natural warming and then plug the manmade warming by the cheap PR “global warming could … see the extinction/plague numbers of the lesser spotted goat-warbling rat-frog?

  226. Less we forget that Government does not want to know the truth.
    The headache would be all the committees started to discuss and use up massive amounts of time and money discussing what to do.
    By the time even one committee is finished, the 10 foot snow dumps would have started.

  227. Joe, the government and lets be honest in the UK, all the parties, and even a lot of other bodies who should know better, have nailed their reputation to the climategate mast, and if it sinks, then their reputation goes down with it.

    There is no “do not want”, it’s “cannot allow” the truth to get out.

    And the truth is pretty sordid, because the green lobby have been writing much of government policy for years ( 10 years to knowledge in the UK) and if the public knew that their committees were staffed by lobbyists A-spreg-ooo (sorry got a cold). Anyway, if the public knew just how much collusion there was, then they’d never trust the government or science community again. Then where would the drug companies get all their vaccine money? Think about it, if people didn’t believe the scientists telling them the next flu pandemic was around the corner how would you get the public to push government to give the drug companies all that money for a vaccine we don’t need?

    And what would the public think of the chief “scientists” if they found out they hadn’t a clue about half of what they were talking about and only got their jobs by being the only half-decent party-loyalist who did any science degree and only went along with climategate guys: “because the big boys told me to”.

    Too many reputations, too much at stake, too much money riding on it all to let the truth get in the way.

  228. Isotherm, science is so polluted with junk and theories that unless you could clear everything including religion and start over again with a clean mind to see clearly. Just start with simple known science and simple math (mostly measuring distances), the unknown becomes known. You do see where science went and crashed and burned itself as moral and values and family life was ingrained into our heads. Erogance of people who think they are intelligent when actually they are protecting science that is soulfully incorrect.

  229. Joe, there is a classic example of science trying to hold onto the orthodoxy despite the evidence in the early 20th century. Electricity and Magnetism were a well established “orthodoxy”, it worked superbly if the body concerned was stationary, but move it at all and phut..

    But the fact it didn’t work, didn’t immediately force people to adopt newer theories, the institutions had their reputations staked on the old explanations, and they simply could not admit they were wrong.

    It’s a while since I studied it, but from memory it was around a decade from the “concrete proof” it was wrong before it all imploded and we got acceptance for more modern theories heralding the end of the ether, and introduction of relatively, special relatively and pole vaulters running at the speed of light fitting into barns.

    The simple truth is that you don’t get to the top of science by being a good scientists – you get there by being a good politician with a science degree and the ability to find the right co-workers to propel you to the top. The good side is that these people can organise science, they can keep the money flowing because they have the people skills to interact with the political elite, the bad thing is that they really aren’t the best scientists, and even if they were, you can hardly know every subject inside out.

    So, it’s kind of inevitable, that you get people at the top of science that get there on the back of the latest trend in science, without much clue to the real science behind the trend. All they know is that their position in the science establishment relies of them maintaining the status of the fad that got them to their position.

    That is why the establishment will never admit manmade global warming is wrong for at least another decade or so until the people who need it to be true retire!

  230. This is what I understand that the scientist is saying,
    There are plenty of unknowns, we know that there are unknown and known data, the unknown and known data predicts that there may be an unknown or known event sometime in unknown future, although this is also unknown. Because there is so many unknown unknowns, this unknown event may, because it is not known, cause some kind of unknown or known damage to the environment.
    The damage may or may not be known damage, it could be unknown damage. Reversing unknown or known damage is, well unknown.

    I hope I summed up the theory correctly, is this peer reviewed?

  231. Gravitational waves and radiation, from the centre of our galaxy and even from higher regions in our universe, are pouring on our earth planet. The findings of Weber (1970, 1972) for the effect of gravitational radiation coming from the regions near the Galactic centre were termed as pseudodiscoveries. However, I think that Weber was right. Such radiation is the main cause of sudden shift in Earth’s natural system. I will come up with further details soon.

  232. I feel that time has come to consider synthesis of faith based predictions and scientific findings. Then only uncertainty over known and unknown data prediction will be removed to a great extent and they can be understood well. I am highly impressed with the high level philosophical views of ianpp. Thanks

  233. “Weber (1970) had demonstrated experimentally the reception of gravitational radiation. He reported that massive aluminium cylinders cylinders (1.5 tons each) spaced 1000 km apart start vibrating at a frequency of about 〖10〗^3 Hz under the effect of gravitational radiation coming from the regions near the Galactic centre. The power of this radiation, if it really originates near the Galactic centre (the distance of about 〖10〗^4 parsecs ≈ 3.〖10〗^22cm), must be as high 〖10〗^50 or 〖10〗^52erg s^(-1)and higher. The energy corresponding to the Sun’s rest mass is M⊙c^2 ~ 〖10〗^54 ergs and hence if there really occurs emission of radiation from the Galactic centre with the power of 〖10〗^52-〖10〗^52erg s^(-1), then the mass of this region must decrease by (〖10〗^3-3.〖10〗^5) M⊙ a year due to gravitational radiation alone. It is hard to believe that such a powerful gravitational radiation exists, although it is feasible energetically. [Source: Key Problems of Physics and Astrophysics by V.L.Ginzburg, Translated from the Russian by Oleg Glebov, Mir Publishers, Moscow, 1976].” Later this was termed as pseudo discovery. But these findings seem to be more relevant now in view of very uncertain and unpredictable behavior of Earth climate.

    If the effect of radiation from the region of Galactic centre is so immense, then what about the effect of emission of gravitational radiation coming from very far distant galaxy than the region of our own galactic region? And also think over the effect of Radiation coming from the Centre of our Universe. This is unimaginable. We should take these unknown factors under our consideration before making predictions.

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