Jim Steele's Climate Change Presentation to the IEEE Life Members

Climate Sensitivity and Droughts: Landscape Changes and Ocean Oscillations vs CO2

On October 15, 2014 in Berkeley CA, I was invited to speak to the LIfe Members of the International Electrical and Electronic Engineers and speak about my insights to climate change as presented in my book Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.

Here, the first 2 parts of a 4 part presentation can be viewed via Youtube. I’d greatly appreciate all feedback, good and bad, as I prepare for a few future talks.

Part 1: Climate Sensitivity and Drought: Landscape Changes vs CO2

This segment discusses my personal work with local climate change, landscapes changes and wildlife, plus climate sensitivity and the attempts by advocates of CO2 theory to shut down sincere and much needed debate.

Part 2: Droughts and Heatwaves: Ocean Oscillations vs CO2

In response to claims that CO2 had driven the recent California droughts, this segment compares CO2 driven models vs the effects of La Nina and the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation

51 thoughts on “Jim Steele's Climate Change Presentation to the IEEE Life Members

  1. I’m in Palm Springs at this moment. Nobody is concerned about the summer heat. They are concerned about the winter snows.
    The eco-green of New York see CO2 as a big heat wave. So they project that on California. Get them to explain the lack of winter snows, the real cause of the drought, and they will be at a loss, though they can always use the “CO2 causes weird weather”, getl-out-of-jail-free card.

  2. Great work on the reclamation sites. Between you, Geoff Lawton & Bill Mollison environmentalism could get a good reputation!

  3. Dear Jim Steele, I want you in Senate and House hearings. After election day I will start petitioning my Senators & congressman(VT) along with the rest of the committee chairs.. I would really like to see you & Roger Pielke Sr. together. Wow, chock full of info and I’m not even done watching all four of your videos! Most Excellent! Thank You Jim! -Paul In Sweden

  4. I haven’t seen anyone argue that weather is stronger than climate, so it feels like Steele is raising a straw man argument to shoot down. Obviously, local landscape changes can be far more powerful (especially locally) than CO2’s effects. But no one argued otherwise.

    • Unfortunately, your above statement is wrong. The IPCC has consistently said that overall, land use changes do not significantly affect climate. Jim Steele, however, asserted that the heat wave we saw in the ’30s (and the dust bowl) was due to massive land use changes induced by government policies which in turn was compounded by the PDO/solar variability towards warmth/drought in the US.
      Or in other words, LOTS of people have argued otherwise against landscape changes being a factor.

    • Agreed, landscape changes only affect the immediate area. But it’s the area where all the climate sensors are also located.
      BTW, each CO2 molecule only affects the area in it’s immediate vicinity.

  5. Killing penguins with banding, the French dynamiting penguin habitats to build runways so they can study penguins. This is like the Clinton burning Waco to save the children… O_o

  6. Part 1, Peter Andrews in Australia is saying the same thing. Today he makes a living renovating farms and areas by doing the same thing. At first he was openly ridiculed, but his results spoke for themselves. So CSIRO decided they had better understand what he was saying and doing. It completely revolutionised their training and thinking.

  7. Your two stalkers on YouTube, citizenschallengeYT and Sou Bundanga, are quite the show. Typical alarmist BS.
    Just one except from the comments on your first video:
    “Oh yea I’m angry as hell at all the liars who are guaranteeing that my and your children’s life will devolve into a living hell of trying to learn how to cope with a rapidly degrading environment and increasingly extreme weather events – like humanity has never experienced. I’m also angry at the utter contempt for our planet’s natural systems of people who believe maximizing profits and political power is the only meaning of life.”
    There’s no facepalm big enough.

  8. Thank you Jim.
    Your presentation is wonderful, dont change it, if we concentrated more on land management we could eliminate many of the problems we have today.

  9. Thanks Jim. Two minor suggestions. A quick comment on past California droughts would be pertinent. Sorry no link right now, but Calif has had two hundred plus year droughts in the past 1200 years, far more severe then anything currently, and CO2 was not causative.
    Also a quick comment on the known benefits of CO2 is always helpful. Currently every crop on the planet gets an approximate 15 % boost in production, with no additional land or water required for that boost, simply due to the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 280 to 400 PPM. In short summary, the benefits are known, the disastrous harms (accelerated S rise, increase in hurricanes, droughts fires, tornadoes, etc.) are predicted but failing to materialize, The climate models are wrong.
    Oh do not forget to mention that there are at least 15 peer reviewed papers that show a lower C.S. then the IPCC.

  10. Recent studies of the past 7,000 in California show that we Californians are living in a fool’s paradise. The past 100 years have been unusually wet for California. More common are 200-year megadroughts. I did a an eyeball check and the California drought pattern seems to roughly match the previous global warm periods, of which the present is the fifth and coolest since the end of the Ice Age. The first (and by far wormiest) following the Ice Age, the Holocene Climatic Optimum 8,000 to 4,000 years ago, corresponded closely to a very long dry period in California. The following warm periods chronologically – Minoan, Roman, and Medieval – are each less warm than their predecessor and match decreasing drought periods in California. It will be interesting to see if more studies of California drought match global warming periods in terms of time periods and intensities. So far my rough eyeballing says they may.

  11. Compliment: Good! Always like to participate/listen in interdisciplinary talks. Would be neat to do the same talk, alternating btwn naturalist view of climate and a Southwest Anasazi-focused archeologist or a Revolutionary War Historian
    Action Taken: Reposted to FB and Twitter.
    Critique: Video #1 slide showing min max temperature was wee-bit confusing cause the two plots crossed, max less than min?!?!?! Oh, then I saw left & right y-axis scales. Strongly recommend not splitting same units across multiple scales. Easier to see the effect described verbally.

  12. It really doesn’t take an excursion down the path of CO2 warmists to see they have it all wrong. The weather is clearly driven by the same basic processes we have always known. The Sun provides the radiant energy to warm the Earth’s surface. Water covers 70% of it. Vast amounts of the sun’s infrared energy is ABSORBED by water as it evaporates to make water vapor. This making of water vapor is NOT greenhouse gas heat absorption. This heat is not re-radiated, but is only released when water vapor is condensed to form clouds. Once made by evaporation, water vapor DOES act as a greenhouse gas, absorbing and re-radiating heat from the warm surfaces of the Earth where the sun reaches it. In fact, water vapor is 97% of the Earth’s greenhouse gas. Almost all of us have experienced hot humid air that seems to radiate heat. Well, it does. It is not CO2 doing this because CO2 is less than 1% of Air. We measure water vapor as Humidity. At 70 degrees Farenheit, and 50% humidity, the air is xx% water vapor. As temperature falls, the air can hold less water vapor and water vapor radiates its stored energy EXCEPT for the energy absorbed to make it from water. Water vapor is lighter than air, do it rises to higher altitudes and cooler temperatures. The humidity % increases as temperature falls until it reaches 100% humidity and then water vapor CONDENSES into water droplets as a fog, mist, or clouds. When water vapor condenses, it releases the huge amount of heat energy absorbed when evaporated from water. Most of this heat is radiated into space, and must be replaced by Sunshine or the Earth cools. Clouds reflect 90% of the sun’s infrared heating radiation. Clouds make it harder for sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface to be absorbed and make heat. So, it is clouds that are the most powerful control of local and global temperature. The sun heats the seas during daylight, making water vapor, making clouds that release heat into space, blocking the sun, shading the Earth’s surface, cooling it, limiting how warm it can get to replace the lost heat. Clouds are the “Venetian Blinds” that control the Earth’s temperature. This is vastly more effective and important than Greenhouse gasses, especially CO2.

  13. Great presentation. If only we spent money on fixing local landscapes rather than wasting it on money making Carbon Dioxide scams. The environment should always be a local issue, never a global one!

    • Indeed “If only we spent money on fixing local landscapes rather than wasting it on money making Carbon Dioxide scams” There are a lot of non-political greens (Delingpole’s Watermelons) who just want to make a more resilient environment, and several colleagues and friends who previously blamed CO2 for everything have become skeptics when they climate change from a local landscape perspective.

  14. Anthony Watts, mods, Don, Bill, etc…. Jim Steele nails it with thinking locally and has an ability to touch on various hydrology issues. We have let down the gates to America and contrary to the CAGW mantra refugees are flocking not to the colder regions of America but the Pacific Southwest, the gulf and Florida. There is not enough water there and we know of historic dearth of water in these regions. This is a problem.
    There are however solutions. I am currently unaware of our status. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places. The EPA which has been spearheading this whole environment campaign doesn’t seem to have current information(seems to be 8-10 years out of date) on Aquifer Recharge (AR) and Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR). WATTSUPWITHTHAT?
    This seems to be a deceivingly complicated process. You take a big hose and fill the ground with water, right? Nope it is much more complicated than that and I have yet to have someone ‘splain me on the process.
    Anyone have something that I might understand on Aquifer Recharge and Aquifer Storage & Recovery?

    • Paul,by reconnecting streams to their flood plains and restoring streams that have been channelized the subsurface waters will naturally re-charge. Large aquifers like the Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains where deep wells extract the water, we need to develop managed recharge systems. I can send you some journal articles later today if you give me your email address. Send to jsteele@sfsu.edu

      • Thank you Jim, I will be contacting you via email and phone. Election week and all, it may take me until next week to formulate my questions and comments. I have now watched all four of your vids, I laughed so hard some times, some of the things done in the name of climate is ridiculous. You are a very good easy going speaker and perhaps we will see you at ICCC conferences in the coming years.

  15. Mr. Steele,
    Great material in your presentation.
    A couple of suggestions:
    1) You know your material extremely well – but in your haste to speak to it, you tend to lose your place temporarily. One way to fix that is to put in a line at the top or bottom of each slide prompting what the slide is intended to convey or the beginning of what you want to talk about. This also makes the slide set more comprehensible on its own.
    2) In a similar vein to above, I strongly suggest putting a summary slide at the end of each relevant section. Again, people who are less intimately familiar with the information you possess can easily forget or get lost with large masses of data.
    Again, kudos for your clear dedication towards study and reflection. Many thanks for sharing a large number of very interesting data points.

    • Your points are very well taken. Indeed I lost my place and garbled my speech several times and hesitated to post the presentation out of embarrassment and I am pondering how to fix that. Part of my problem was whenI did a dry run of all the slides I had pieced together I realized the talk would go on for 3+ hours. I was cutting out material the day before, so during the talk I was trying to remember what I had cut and what I had kept and started talking too fast. My remote also failed and the sound system would fade in and out. Additionally the talk was in a conference room of the Pyramid Alehouse during the SF Giants playoff game, and I would get periodically interrupted by the clamor of fans responding to a comeback. I’ll be better prepared for such a perfect storm next time and will indeed add your suggestions.

      • Mr. Steele, when you have amended your deck would you ask AW to either post it or to put up a link?
        Thank you for your work and thank you Anthony for bringing it to a larger audience.

  16. Heroic!
    It is a shame bravery is required to speak honestly on such a mundane subject as climate.
    Hero(s) each and every one! GK

  17. Thanks all for the feedback. It is all very helpful.
    Anyone have ideas on how to deal with the distortions from “Anthony’s Spawn”. CitizenChallenged from WhatsupwiththatWatts and Slandering Sou have been trying to denigrate the presentation in the youtube comments section. Citizenchallenge tried to suggest the 3 different slides of the meadow that was restored were fabricated because they looked different, despite the fact the pictures were taken from 3 different vantage points in a large complex meadow system. Those two stoop to the lowest of level to denigrate skeptics

    • Jim Steele,
      “citizenschallenge” was banned here a long time ago, IIRC. That’s why you don’t see him here. I used to have his real name, but I can’t find it at the moment. It’s ‘Peter’ something. He posts his hate and discontent everywhere, so pay him no mind. No doubt Anthony knows his identity.

    • The YouTube comments section is not a blog for intellectual discussion. I post many videos to my channel and get ridiculous comments. Easiest thing to do is just remove them and then block the poster. Don’t even attempt to respond to morons — just remove them and don’t permit their venom by blocking further comments.

    • Jim,
      The trolls will always be there. All I might suggest is to enlist some of the WUWT people to offset. The numbers of WUWT contributors easily can offset the trolls. In the meantime, you can continue delivering your message rather than waste time sparring with the trolls.
      Another strategy is simply to close off all comments, but that is a poor strategy for many reasons.

  18. Jim, is a transcript available online someplace, with the slides? This is an important summary of the basic arguments that we “deniers” keep making. I’m tired of having to refer to sources and have the sources being regarded as “nutcase” simply because they provide material at odds with the consensus. This is a useful, clearly unbiased piece that looks at aspects that the IPCC people refuse to even consider. Yet you make a much better case than the IPCC people do and frankly make some important points about land use and conservation. I frankly think that cutting down California, Florida and Georgia forests and shipping them to Europe for power plant fuel is about the stupidest thing we could be doing, followed shortly by palm oil, corn ethanol and sugar being converted to alcohol for fuel.

    • Sorry. Except for the places I had to dub due to sound system failure the talk was off the top of my head cued by the slides. Is there software that can transform a talk into a transcript and extract the slides?

      • In theory a tool like Camtasia Studio can do this, It has a feature for speaker-dependent (trained) speech-to-text that will produce a transcript of your presentation. My experience is that it doesn’t work well (at all) unless the speaker is very clear, has no accent, and the recording is good (near studio quality). Given your speech was pretty rapid-fire (I personally had no problem with it) and the room conditions you would probably be wasting your money and time.

  19. Jim – I reckon youre relatively new to internet interaction – there are some right pigs out there – but thats the way it is. You have to just personally filter it out and try to ignore it. Every now and again it goes too far and a response is needed, however it seldom has any effect other than giving them an opportunity to direct more bile.

    • mwh I am not new to the “internet wars” but I still battle with “when do you ignore and when do you push back”. It reminds of my time during my field studies delicately taking birds from nets while being covered in mosquitos. To remove the birds harmlessly I had toremains focused on my task and ignore irritations of the mosquitos. But afterwards, I found great pleasure in giving them a good swat, knowing full well that for every one I smashed ten more would appear. Likewise expect the same to be true for these “internet snipers” that swarm against ever bit of legitmate skeptical science. Although I realize retaliation is fruitless, I still enjoy giving them a good swat from time to time.

    • Thanks for the paper link. I was aware that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation also played a role in American droughts and this is an excellent addition to the undertanding. I wanted to include the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation but it added another layer that was less relevant for a Clifornia audience and added more time that I could not spare.

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