Climate Persuasion – or how to ignore data and influence people

One line summary of story: A critique of two typical articles on “dangerous” AGW – Kivalina, and the Southern Ocean

Guest essay by Peter Kemmis

Over the last few days, I received references for two different articles from a couple of quite different friends, one from Australia, the other New Zealand, one near retirement age, the other in the early thirties.  These two articles with their influence on many readers, typify much of what is happening in the “climate debate”, an actual but unacknowledged debate that so far runs most actively through the underground currents of the Internet.

The two friends whom I like and respect, are puzzled that I should challenge the currently orthodox explanations of climate change causes, because in turn they respect and like me also.  I’m writing this in response to my two friends, but thought I would also post my response online, as I’m sure that many thousands of those who are similarly sceptical of CAGW as I am, face exactly the same questions from friends and acquaintances, and may accordingly find this response useful.

The first is titled Kivalina: A Climate Change Story http://truth-out.org/news/item/2187-kivalina-a-climate-change-story#.UfzC7upzgWY.email .

This article cites official U.S. Government reports of 2000 and 2003 that climate change was affecting life in Alaskan native villages “due in part to rising temperatures that cause protective shore ice to form later in the year, leaving the villages vulnerable to storms”.  An Inuit petition of 2005 alleged violation of “the human rights of Arctic people by refusing to limit greenhouse gas emissions”.  As a lawyer involved in the case was to say later “No one asked the people of Kivalina, y’know, ‘Would you like to have your environment ruined?’ “  Underlying these first four paragraphs is the assumption (and no doubt conviction) that human caused emissions are primarily responsible for the reported effects of climate change that I’m sure are quite real for these Alaskan villages.

The article raises no question about natural variability in climate, about the natural warming that has been occurring at an approximate rate of 1.70C, nor of the clear pause in global warming since 1998 (officially acknowledged subsequently by the UK Meteorological Office in December 2012).  Nor is there any reference to our slowly rising sea levels, a rise certainly not accelerating, all despite the clearly increasing CO2 levels.

The assumption that the case for CAGW is quite proven is illustrated with later references to the promulgation of “junk science”, of “misinformation”, “efforts to deceive the public about global warming”.  These frequent and highly charged emotional statements will be familiar to many.  But they are assertions, they have everything to do with alleged intention, and nothing to do with evidence.  Yes, most of us are sympathetic with these Alaskan peoples, but our natural sympathy must not cloud objective science.  Solutions based on wrong reasons, may well become wrong solutions.

The emotional nature of the article carries through the rest of the account, which has a large banner at the bottom “email this story to a friend” – and so the CAGW call for action spreads photon-like through the ether of the internet.  Never mind that the implied call for action, while reporting  factual accounts of climate change effects, contains no more than the orthodox assumption about its causes.  But that’s okay, for it’s all about persuading by emotion, and not clouding the message with fact or analysis.

A careful reading between the lines, however, suggests there is a parallel universe which is more about money than climate.  In 2008, Kivalina filed a legal claim against 24 energy companies (oil, electricity and coal), for up to US$400million, presumably to cover relocation costs.  Secondary claims were included:  the defendants were “conspiring to create a false scientific debate about climate change to deceive the public”.  For your interest, the current Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kivalina_v._ExxonMobil_Corporation explains that despite two appeals against previous adverse judgments, the US Supreme Court decided not to hear the casse, effectively ending the claim.

There may be a real need, and a good case for the public purse to provide major relocation assistance, but if so, it should be for the right reasons.

There is a nice touch to this story, for the CAGW camp gained a recruit from “Big Tobacco” in lawyer Steve Susman, “notable both because he is a high-profile litigator who charges up to a thousand dollars an hour for his services, and because he was involved in the tobacco suits – on the side of tobacco”.  Granted , he has worked pro-bono for some Texan cities, but I can see the commercial opportunities  for both notable and less notable lawyers  But doesn’t it warm your heart, to find that even lawyers can be persuaded to come over from the Dark Side to fight for truth and justice?  And we all know that delightfully invalid syllogism:  all oranges are fruit; all apples are fruit; therefore all apples are oranges – or if you prefer, all pro-tobacconists are denialists; all sceptics are denialists; therefore all sceptics are pro-tobacconist denialists.  Sweet subliminalism here, but it’s all in a good cause!

Now to the second article sent by the other good friend:, “Making Waves” (New Scientist 23 July 2013). http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929262.200-storm-warning-the-winds-of-climate-change.html

It opens with a great photo , of a 300 foot ship on a research voyage, heeling well to starboard in some pretty good seas in the Southern Ocean.  The opening paragraphs take us straight under: “The Southern Ocean is the door to the deep, the place where stupendous amounts of heat and carbon dioxide can enter the oceans – or escape from them  . . .  the deep could soak up more heat, slowing surface warming – a bit like flinging the door open on a hot day  . . . If the door opens too wide, it could let carbon dioxide from the deep oceans escape.  If it slams shut instead, the surface – where we live – will warm faster and end up even hotter.”  Did you notice the caveats – “can”, “could”, and “if”?   Hard to register these little caveats, as now my heart is beating a little faster with the alarming message.  But the caveats matter to the scientists concerned;  they need a way out if it doesn’t turn out as suggested.

A discussion of changing wind patterns and Hadley circulation follows, and now we have a bald statement: “Human emissions have already made both Hadley cells expand by about 200 kilometres.”  This statement is immediately followed by “The evidence . . .  is patchy but persuasive. ‘Each observational data set gives us a different answer  . . . but they all . . . indicate that there is a widening of the Hadley cells.’”    Hmm . . . so are they 200 kms wider, or something less, and that we’re not sure about yet?  If so, don’t assert they are 200 kms wider, and don’t assert the cause without justification.

Here we have yet another article about an important area of science that does bear on climate, but there is no reference to actual sea temperatures.  Sure, the climate models “show the Hadley cells expanding as the climate warms” – but over the past 15 years, it hasn’t been warming, so we can’t rely on those models yet, and the models relied on by the IPCC for its previous four reports have been woefully wrong.  Nevertheless, the dire warnings persist.  After all, “the seas have soaked up more heat than ever.  This could be why the average global temperature has not risen over the past decade as it had previously.”  This is plainly misleading:  the uniformed reader may well assume that the temperature has still been rising, but not as fast.  Further, the ARGO floats are showing no acceleration of heating at the 1 km and 2 km depths, so there is no evidence for an increased absorption of heat.  Never mind – “there are consequences to ‘dumping’ heat in the oceans.”  Note the pejorative term “dumping”, with all of the implication of waste and carelessness.  Such is the nature of persuasion by emotion.  Let’s wind it up the worry a bit more:  for suddenly the oceans may cry they’ve had enough, and can absorb no more, and so “the door slams shut”, and we start to warm very fast.

Wait a minute!  “Between 1981 and 2004, the Southern Ocean has been soaking up as much CO2 as ever” (I think “as ever” means as it has been absorbing CO2 at a constant rate).  “more CO2 in the air should mean more CO2 entering the ocean.  ‘This did not happen . . .  the carbon sink was very stable’ ” (Team Leader Corinne Le Quéré  ).  This contrasts with the general  claim of a few paragraphs earlier:  “The oceans have been acting as giant sponges, soaking up half of the excess CO2 we are pumping out and 90% of the excess heat the planet is absorbing because of higher greenhouse levels.”

Then I read on: it’s shifting winds that have stirred up the CO2-laden deep waters of the Southern Oceans to be up near the surface, so that’s why the extra CO2 is not being absorbed – these waters can’t take any more. Further on,  “ ‘ there is relatively little excess carbon dioxide in the deep (Great Southern) ocean, so there isn’t as much to come out’ (Robbie Toggweiler)”.   What do I make of this?

The dismal tone continues, right to the end.  So what has been the method?  We might be readily bamboozled by the contradictions, not recognising them for what they are.  There is actually no resolution of any of the questions raised, except for bland statements assuming anthropogenic global warming to be the culprit.  The analysis is shallow, but the emotional tone is high.  It is an article not worthy of the New Scientist of former times.

That’s how to push your product, and influence people.  Ignore the wider facts, press the foreboding button, wind them up, and tell them what to think.  It works.

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37 thoughts on “Climate Persuasion – or how to ignore data and influence people

  1. The first article link goes to a blog that is commented on by truly extremist believers. Take look and see how AGW depends on religious circular thinking, and even kooks who claim that the nuclear power industry is the real culprit behind AGW.
    It is amazingly pitiful look into what is guiding much in the public square.

  2. @Kemmis. A very eloquent and well argued piece. However, without checking the data sources (or simply not having the knowledge to do so), your essay is ultimately as valuable as any other… or perhaps less since its level of emotional engagement is comparatively rather low. Good luck with your friends and thank you for sharing.

  3. It’s good to see that the people of Kivalina are doing their bit to keep the winter and spring snows pristine white. The image on this page appears to show fuel tanks galore! Why can’t they use windpower, solar and wave energy?

    Kivalina, AK Historical Type of Heating Fuel in a House Data
    …..
    ACS 2006-2010 data…
    Fuel Oil, Kerosene, etc. 71 95.95%…
    usa.com

    And

    Dr. James Hansen et. al. 4 November 2003
    “Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos”
    Abstract
    “Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ∼2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature. …..”

    You can only help people if they are willing to help themselves.

  4. “Human emissions have already made both Hadley cells expand by about 200 kilometres”
    If that is the case then the Ferrell cell in the Northern Hemisphere must be narrower. In the last few years we have had terrible summers in the UK, with wet, grey conditions prevailing. This suggests that the polar front is still over the southern UK.
    Typically through my 40-year lifetime the polar front, which marks the interface between Ferrell and polar cells has moved between the Iberian Peninsula in winter and the ocean to the north of Scotland in summer.
    Indeed with the following diagram, from which I teach climate on an official EU course, suggests that the mean position of the polar front at equinox is north of the UK.
    [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3710/9463241187_5573114f50.jpg[/img]
    Given that the surface warming predicted by global circulation models from CO2 was to be greatest at high latitudess and negligible in the tropics, and that the warming aloft was to reverse this pattern, surely if the Hadley cells and polar cells have expanded and the Ferrell cells contracted then the CO2 hypothesis is now dead. By comparison with the Ferrell cells the polar Cells are cold at the surface and warm above about 9-10km, the Hadley cells are warm at the surface and cold from about 12-13km. So these two both expanding means warming at low latitudes and cooling at high latitudes at the surface, and the revere aloft.

  5. I enjoyed the essay but this claim confused me:

    The article raises no question about natural variability in climate, about the natural warming that has been occurring at an approximate rate of 1.70C

    Natural warming is occurring at an approximate rate of 1.7C per what? I don’t understand. The current “consensus” is that the Earth has warmed by about 0.8C since the industrial revolution began. Some of that warming is natural variability (probably most) and some of it was caused by humans.

  6. I’m always amused by the amount of ‘global warming’ ‘news’ that involves ‘models’ and ‘studies’ with all of those could/if/might caveats as opposed to, you know, looking at actual data.

  7. I know it’s just the weather and not the climate but Alaska has been cooling since 2000, and 2012 was a cool bonanza.

    This just in: 2012 was the coldest year of the new century in Fairbanks, and the second coldest here in the last 40 years.
    Fairbanks isn’t the only chilly place in Alaska. Average temperatures at 19 of 20 long-term National Weather Service stations displayed a cooling trend from 2000 to 2010, according a recent study written up by Gerd Wendler, Blake Moore and Lian Chen of the Alaska Climate Research Center.
    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AlaskaScienceForum/article/alaska-bucks-global-temperature-trend

    Maybe this is the reason for the rush for compensation. They could see the writing on the wall. 😉
    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/sites/default/files/StateWide_Change_1949-2012_F.png

  8. This might help because the warmistas use this as the STANDARD GOLDEN ICON of AGW. Last year Arctic Ice minimum (September 12) was at a record low. This year it may go to a record high (or at least appears to be going in that direction).
    Ergo: Global Warming has nothing to do with melting NH or SH polar ice or vice versa.
    see here
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
    Also arctic polar temperatures are a record lows ergo: no global warming
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
    Just to push the point further:Also Antarctic ice area is at a record HIGH
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.antarctic.png
    and has been increasing every year for the PAST 4 YEARS!

  9. ABC News in the US had a similar scare-the-pants-off story yesterday about the Fukushima nuclear plant and about how it was dumping more than 30 tons of radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean every day! This led to a scare about bluefin tuna, which migrate from Japanese to American waters, and then finally a standup by the reporter noting that scientists have determined the bluefin are and will be safe to eat. Um, what? Clearly the amount of radiation in those 30 tons of water isn’t much, but the scare is there…

  10. … the uniformed reader may well assume that the temperature has still been rising, but not as fast.
    Civilians may be fooled, too.
    : > )

  11. @txmoxin at 4:50AM This reply is “ultimately as valuable as any other. . .”
    We’d all love to have a golden bullet response that would shake anybody out of their trance. But instead, it mainly seems to happen over time. And the starting point for the process seems to depend on the person. For one it is the realization that poor people are suffering for these crazy policies. For another it is the realization that models are just high tech drawings on the blackboard. And so on. For another it is the realization that some smart people aren’t buying the party line, and apparently there must be some reason why not.
    Give this approach a try, by all means, if it feels like a good approach to you. And stay at it, with patience, confidence, and respect. You never know.

  12. Chris Marrou says:
    August 8, 2013 at 6:36 am
    “… Clearly the amount of radiation in those 30 tons of water isn’t much, but the scare is there…”
    Yes, quick calculations show 30 tons is 60,000 lbs divided by 8.35 lbs/gal which gives us 7,186 gallons of water. It takes about 18,000 gallons to fill an average swimming pool, so yes, it isn’t much but 30 tons sure sounds dangerous.

  13. Tom in Florida:
    This is the kind of thinking I really appreciate. First rule in reporting should be to objectively size the problem.

  14. The real issue in the first story discussed is the forced relocation of this Inuit village to this location in the first place. This is not a traditional permanent settlement. The federal gov’t should the the one sued for their Northern policies.

  15. Problem is that these Kivalina dummies think Arctic warming is caused by carbon dioxide which it isn’t. My article on Arctic warming [1] that came out in 2011 proves two things. First, Arctic warming is not greenhouse warming because that would violate the laws of physics. And second, the cause of Arctic warming is warm Gulf Stream water carried into the Arctic Ocean by North Atlantic currents. It started suddenly at the turn of the twentieth century, after two thousand years of slow, linear cooling. It paused for thirty years in mid-century, then resumed, and is still going strong. Thanks to these currents the Arctic today is the only part of the world that is still warming. There has not been any greenhouse warming for fifteen years now and it looks like global warming by the greenhouse effect is just another fairy tale cooked up by incompetent pseudo-scientists associated with the IPCC.
    [1] Arno Arrak, “Arctic Warming Is not Greenhouse Warming” E&E 22(8):1069-1083 (2011)

  16. if 30 tons of radioactive water is a terror, the xxx tons of raw sewage less civilized dump each day (or animal waste running off from pristine wilderness, if you prefer) should turn the Pacific into a cesspool.

  17. “Nor is there any reference to our slowly rising sea levels, a rise certainly not accelerating, all despite the clearly increasing CO2 levels.”
    Sometimes it is useful to look at numbers from the Other way around. So, let’s look at CO2 and its increase for just a second in a reverse way:
    …Since the beginning of the Mona Loa CO2 data began in March 1958, non-CO2 in the atmosphere has fallen from from 99.968538% to 99.960%.
    If graphed with a zero Y-value, to all but a microscope this would appear a straight and horizontal line.
    Thus if non-CO2 is graphed vs the sea level rise, it is not surprising that sea level rise is not being affected by the CO2 increase.
    ***
    In high school journalism we learned to be alert to statistical shenannigans, how the presentation of statistics had everything to do with the propaganda being presented. “Propaganda” is not my word, but that of my teacher. We were first of all taught that one means of propagandizing with stats is to not graph with a zero Y-value. Another was to reverse the percentages, as is done with CO2.
    The latter is often done in medical studies, claiming that a certain finding is “significant” because the incidence of a disease has gone from, say, 1.25% to 1.85% – an almost 50% increased risk. However, that can also be read as an avoidance rate changing from 98.75% to 98.15%. Patients would feel much more positive if the latter percentages were presented – and especially if those were presented on a graph. But such a presentation isn’t convenient for garnering funding or approval for preventive drugs, so that isn’t done.
    In the case of CO2 the preventive drug is all things green – according to those framing the problem. A straight horizontal line isn’t convenient to raising alarms.

  18. Leaving warming and sea levels aside for a moment, who builds their “city” on a strip of sand next to the sea? Sand bars move around all the time, it’s what they do. It takes a lot of time and effort to stabilize them.
    The web pages about Kivalina are rather vague, but apparently the “city” used to be located at the north end of the lagoon and was moved to its current location “some time in the past”. There is no reason given for the move (or who paid for it), which suggests to me either a breakdown in their oral history or some embarassment about the move like: the northern access to the lagoon filled in and they needed easier access to the sea; or they wanted an airstrip and the new location was nice and flat; or the old site was piled high with refuse.
    The “city” is surrounded on three sides by seawater and is built on a sandbar so I doubt they have fresh water wells, so where do they get their fresh water from? Precipitation? Ice harvests?
    Not unlike “…a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
    But that’s OK now because there is someone else who will pay for the move.

  19. Richard, never mind runoff and sewage dump, just think of all the fish sh#t. The oceans are huge, animals, even collectivly are small.

  20. On this note: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Agency-finds-climate-change-taking-toll-on-4716422.php
    I actually think the scare mongers are going to win. There are too many of them in high places in both government and business. Of course none of this will ultimately matter. The relative good times, in the geopolitical and economic sense, are nearly over. And, as I always like to cite, many thanks to my youthful Earth First contacts, way back in the day – Nature Bats Last. And when she does, it is going to freeze our butts off.

  21. There is no one Silver Bullet argument but the question now is what can we say to reach the non scientific – how break the cult like mind hold on the gullible masses?
    I have condensed a simple short least technical and non confrontational argument that seems to work with the non technical crowd.
    See http://climateequilibrium.wordpress.com/
    The temperatures have stopped going up despite large rises in CO2.
    This means there is something wrong with the theories and the models.
    There is no scientific mechanism for CO2 to cause catastrophes without large warming.
    These simple messages are not new or profound and have been said many times and in many ways by more qualified people but phrased this way seems to place doubt in their minds. This is step one in breaking someone free of a cult. Most people are relieved to hear that the sky is not falling but true believers are shaken to the core and take a month or two to recover.
    Feel free to copy, modify, distribute or provide feedback.

  22. Pounding the drum and forecasting doom, doom upon the face of the water/world has sold(temporarily) for centuries.
    The best before date was missed by the CACA folk and now the long retreat has set in.
    Lots of , “I never said that” and ” You took me out of context” or that is so yesterday.. to come.
    I want retribution, the boots must be put to the charlatans who shamelessly profited from this stampede of the masses.
    Science, as an institution, is suffering and will suffer further scorn.
    Politicians and policy makers have failed the most basic of intelligence tests, no public policy without supporting data documented.They all claim “incontrovertible science” to support the policies currently imposed, yet this science is documented no where, within their policy papers.
    My version of justice, demands that the institutional watchdogs, who failed to prevent public hysteria over the weather, be reviewed and corrected or disbanded.
    I am offended by Environment Canada, citing “Environment Canada’s science”, as if it exists in a vacuum(definitely something other than ordinary science) on their website. By the weather channels shameful drooling about “extreme weather”, what is a storm?
    When those people collecting a paycheck from the public, in the interests of public order and civil society, turn on their employer and advocate public hysteria and mob rule, this is treason.
    In this case, CAGW, I feel the evidence shows that government has become the enemy of civil society, for this entire scam has been conceived, orchestrated and is currently protected from proper investigation, by our government bureaucracies.
    A deliberate plan to create an imaginary hobgoblin, to facilitate greater power of the bureaus over the taxpayer.
    Sadly, prior to Climate gate, I would have called the above summation, crackpot conspiracy nonsense. Propaganda destroys trust in governance, as truth needs no embellishment.

  23. John Robertson, it’s not just government. Large corporations are also part of the problem. Not only have they determined that Green is good PR material, also, anything that can result in red tape preventing small more nimble start ups from gaining ground is deemed a necessary evil. Green is the Mother of All Red Tape.

  24. “change that I’m sure are quite real for these Alaskan villages”
    henry says
    ehh..
    not true in fact
    A natural consequence of global cooling is that at the higher latitudes it will become both cooler and drier.
    As the people in Alaska have noted,
    http://www.adn.com/2012/07/13/2541345/its-the-coldest-july-on-record.html
    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130520/97-year-old-nenana-ice-classic-sets-record-latest-breakup-river-1
    the cold weather in 2012 was so bad there that they did not get much of any harvests. And it seems NOBODY is telling the farmers there that it is not going to get any better.
    Here is my story –
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/
    I find the climate is changing, but it is not our fault….

  25. Multiple authors here have written excellent articles on Kivalina that have repeatedly destroyed this story about Kivalina and how and why it will meet its end, and yet the story lives on. The story’s seeming extirpation comes about by exposing it as a barrier island, and then describing the life cycle of barrier islands. That the story continues to be raised despite the factual science of barrier island formation and destruction has assured it’s place on the growing list of AGW hysteria zombies. It won’t die.
    Things like villages are fixed in space – the shorelines of barrier islands are not. And for those who think no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time I suggest you build a house on a barrier island and watch the shoreline eventually occupy the same space as your house. The islands themselves are constantly destroyed and rebuilt. It is one of the characteristics that cause them to be called barrier islands.
    The people of Kivalina really need to find a place with bedrock above sea level to call home, and those pushing AGW hysteria and using this temporary silt pile as an example need to be exposed, sued for defrauding the public and the islanders of Kivalina. And their names should be added to the list of people Richard A. Muller of BEST fame won’t read.

  26. >> Daniel H says:
    >> The current “consensus” is that the Earth has warmed by about
    >> 0.8C since the industrial revolution began.
    It’s not the earth that’s warming: it’s the temperature measuring stations.

  27. >> Daniel H says:
    >> The current “consensus” is that the Earth has warmed by about
    >> 0.8C since the industrial revolution began.
    Henry says
    I found that from around the start of the new millennium, earth has started to cool globally. My own data set on maxima shows this very clearly.
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/02/21/henrys-pool-tables-on-global-warmingcooling/
    However, even without my own results (in case you do not trust them or me): the four major data sets measuring the average global air- and sea temperatures, also show that we have started cooling down for the past 11 years (this is the equivalent average time of one full solar cycle). Clearly you can see that the trend is negative from 2002:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2013/plot/rss/from:2002/to:2013/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2002/trend
    From the above simple compilation of linear trends in these 4 major global data sets, you can also see that before 2000 we were still warming and that after 2000 we started cooling….

  28. Steve Garcia, 8:55:
    I agree with you and many here that there is some very simplistic reasoning used to make CO2 the primary driver of climate. Here’s my problem with your reversing the percentages and describing the atmosphere in terms of the fraction of non-CO2: What fraction of that fraction absorbs infrared? Not dinitrogen, dioxygen, or argon, which together account for very close to 99.96 mol % of dry air, or roughly speaking, everything that isn’t CO2.
    (Now, the base I just stole is, “dry air.” Water is a heck of an IR-absorber, and there’s a lot more of it than of CO2 in most of the atmosphere. So if I really want to piss off a modeler, I say, Get back to me when you understand water vapor.)

  29. @Richard Ilfeld
    “if 30 tons of radioactive water is a terror, the xxx tons of raw sewage less civilized dump each day (or animal waste running off from pristine wilderness, if you prefer) should turn the Pacific into a cesspool.”
    You overlooked the “acidic cesspool” angle. Isn’t an acidic pool of cess worse and more alarming that an ordinary pool of cess?
    I am reminded of WC Fields and his explanation of why he never drank water: “Because of the filthy things fish do in it.”
    How about “an acidic cesspool of radioactive, unfossilized coprolites”? That’ll keep ’em busy looking up words.

  30. Jimbo says:August 8, 2013 at 5:25 am

    And, no sign of a residential village there … why is that industrial “village” built on a sand bar there in the first place ?

  31. Here is Willis’ brilliant takedown of the Kivalina myth. I tried to locate it for my earlier post but it didn’t pop up in multiple searches. He’s nailed it perfectly. This myth belongs on the wall of shame with the dead polar bear currently in the news, the upside-down Tiljander muck, the waterfront of New York City under water, and the image that started it all, the hockey stick graph.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/02/the-sixth-first-climate-refugees/
    Maybe Josh can come up with a picture of a penguin standing next to one of the climate refugee ambulatory asters buried in a snow drift.

  32. Not to belabor the point, and I was unaware of this until just now, but Kivalina is on an irreversible fast track to oblivion, having installed a sea wall on the storm-tossed coast of that fragile rubble heap. http://www.buffalopost.net/?p=3240
    And here’s what happens when sea walls are introduced:
    http://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/BNCCde/bahamas/conference/papers/sealey.html
    And for an example of that: http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/photo.htm
    They are so screwed.

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