Some first impressions from #AGU14

Mann, Cook, Nuccitelli get put off-site for their presentations

I spent Monday looking around at the sights on the opening day of AGU 2014. Before I get to that I want to give some thanks to some people. First of all I want to give thanks to my readers for their gracious assistance in getting me here via help with expenses, secondly I’d like to thank Joan Buhrman and Peter Weiss of AGU for their assistance in getting me set up with media passes and hearing assistance. They have been quite gracious.

wpid-img_20141215_160351.jpgThat said, here are some of my first impressions of the conference. Number one it’s very large; thousands of people milling about going to different sessions and breakouts and halls it can be quite overwhelming just simply getting from point A to point B due to the volume of people. Along way I did spot some things of interest and I’ve taken some photographs which I’ll share below.

One thing that did strike me as different this year was this seems to be less emphasis on climate alarmism than their wares in years past. I’ve noted there’s less advertising for things like this session last year….

IMG_20131209_131354[1]….in fact it seems to have been muted a bit….no mention of “attacks”:


….and there doesn’t seem to be any special session with the usual suspects on being “attacked” like last year:


Perhaps my report on it last year had something to do with it, once people saw how ridiculous and egomaniacal the entire session was. But then again, there was this item from Dr. Mann this year:  so I’m not completely convinced that AGU has dialed back, but there are encouraging signs.

For example, the whole John Cook/Dana Nuccitell Skeptical science social media attack dog universe seems to have been moved off-site to the Marriot Marquis hotel rather than be in the main buildings at Moscone Center:


The same thing seems to have happened to Chris Mooney, who is also presenting off-site…Mooney_AGU_2014

Even Michael Mann has been relegated to the back forty:


So, there is encouraging signs that maybe the rhetoric is being put on the back shelf a bit, we shall see. I haven’t decided if I’ll even bother to go to any of these, as there’s nothing new. Maybe I’ll just show up to get a head count.

One other thing that struck me as different this year was the fact that the poster sessions seemed to have doubled in size over AGU 2013. There are now two halls, Moscone West, and Moscone main that have poster sessions. They were quite popular and well attended yesterday.

Though…it might have been due to the free beer provided by AGU:

wpid-img_20141215_162310.jpgImagine the wailing if Heartland provided free alcohol at their ICCC conferences at sessions.

I looked at a number of posters yesterday many of which were dealing with carbon in the Arctic something that seemed is been missing last year released not as prominent. This year there were at least a half-dozen of not more posters just on Monday alone dealing with carbon soot in the Arctic one of the posters struck me as being quite profound because of the mapping of carbon deposition in southern Greenland as you can see in this photo below.

wpid-img_20141215_162434.jpgA close up showing the deposition pattern:


What was most interesting was that the author of this poster had no idea about the actual carbon set being seen at collecting in meltwater ponds on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. I showed her this photo from one of my earlier blog posts, and she and another person standing there were just flabbergasted.

Of course images like this one at left showing water tumbling down a huge moulin are being held up with gloom and doom scenarios that say Greenland’s Ice is melting “faster than expected” and we’ll get six feet of sea level rise from it along with a 10-15°F temperature rise by the year 2100.

Perhaps. But, moulins have existed since Greenland had ice, they are just part of the natural landscape and processes. They aren’t “new” to our time.

One of the photos we don’t often get to see was also circulated in the email, by somebody who lives in Greenland and knows what this is really all about.

It’s a real eye opener:

Image from National Geographic online slide show – Photo: James Balog – click for more

I saw quite a bit of good science being presented at this conference I was especially impressed with this poster that had a caveat at the end, seen in the closeup.

wpid-img_20141215_161345.jpg wpid-img_20141215_161350.jpg“correlation does not equal causation” Hmmm, where have we heard that before?

I’ll have more reports later tonight or tomorrow from what I learn today.


71 thoughts on “Some first impressions from #AGU14

  1. Glad to see you’re having fun. Don’t overdo the free beer, though I know you can handle it ok.

    • You should consider that geologist are one of the few academic professions that still uphold the original meaning of “symposium” which was “to drink together.” Back in the ’70s, before the rising tide of neo-Puritanism, I attended more than one quiet geology symposium where the department provided the beer.

  2. Thanks for the informative report, An-thony.
    Glad all is going well for you.
    Re: LARGER POSTERS — When con-artists’ B.S. isn’t having the desired effect…. they tend to


    AGW is SO over!
    Praying for you and cheering our hero on,
    Go, Anth-ony!

  3. Thanks Anthony, Great report from the coal-face, or should that be soot-face… Keep up the good work. Here in the UK we are as interested in what you observe as everyone else.

  4. Good stuff Anthony.
    Anthony any info on Volcanic BC or the current on going eruption in Iceland? The eruption in Iceland is spewing S02 at the daily rate of 40,000 to 60,000 tons a day and it equals to about 1,300 coal fired power plants running a Day, China has about 690. About 6,000,000 tons of S02 have been released so far.That does not include C02 or other gasses.

  5. First: I note the ‘Invited’ note in the header for Mann’s presentation. Does this mean that admittance is by invitation only? Or does it mean that Dr. Mann is an invited speaker?
    Second: Do they even realize just how much carbon dioxide is in a keg of beer? The humanity!!!

  6. and we’ll get six feet of sea level rise from it along with a 10-15°F temperature rise by the year 2100……
    guess that old thermometer better get to moving then

  7. Anthony, if you’re interested in solar physics observations, check out the XCOR booth at #2723. We’re promoting the unique capabilities that the Lynx suborbital spacecraft will have. (I’m in Mojave working on details, not part of the marketing crew).
    Also, congratulations on your new hearing aids! When I got mine three+ years ago they changed my life for the better, so I know a bit of how you feel.

  8. Im a little surprised there is not a photo ban in the poster rooms. Esp stuff going on blog. I hope you asked the author’s permission.
    And how could anyone survive the poster session without beer & wine…

  9. It’s nice to see the good ole Mediaeval Warm Period and Little Ice Age being mentioned, since various climate academics had been trying to get rid of them and show a nice stable climate until a hockey stick in the late 20th century.

  10. Thank you for the report Anthony, it was a pleasure to help in a small way to get you there.
    Hope you have a good time, and if you bump into Micky you could save on postage for his calender.
    James Bull

    • Having attended various conferences at Moscone over the years, it doesn’t look very full to me. Reminiscent of the Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference in 95 I think it was. Business had gone in half and they partitioned off more than half of the main hall to make it look full.

      • Also, an underground tunnel with conference rooms along the side runs from Moscone to the Mariott. I’ve always been unsure of where Moscone stops and the Marriott starts. Interesting that they were moved though..

  11. free beer provided by AGU
    Of course there’s beer, there are geologists there. (note – 2009) says in small part:

    The talks, workshops and poster sessions go from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but at 3:30 p.m. every day, for five days, kegs of beer are rolled out into the meeting. The beer flows nonstop for an hour and a half at around 10 different stations, and AGU organizers tell me they go through about 175 kegs during the week.
    “Every other convention assumes that if you have a beer, your brain goes soft,” said Kathy Sullivan, who has been serving beer at the AGU meeting for 26 years. “But not the geophysicists. They think if you have a beer, you can still learn things. So they do.”
    At the Thirsty Bear, the closest brewpub to the Moscone Convention Center where the annual meeting is held every December, the waitstaff claims this is the busiest week of the year for them. I heard from the Borehole Research Group at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory that one server at the Thirsty Bear said the staff can’t take vacation days during the AGU meeting “because the geologists are coming.”

  12. Free beer? Just think of all that all that beer-based CO2 being released into the atmosphere! The horror!

  13. “correlation does not equal causation” Hmmm, where have we heard that before?

    First physics lessons when we were 11 years old, maybe?
    Anyhow, I’m intrigued by the AGW team being hived off to a separate building. That seems like an interesting choice by the AGU.
    Perhaps they are expecting you to go over there too and thus keep the most watched climate site on the net out of their jollytime?

      • Perhaps that’s why the BBC sends their “science” correspondents.
        Imagine all the different possible scientific conferences that they could report on. A few others they do, but they make sure they get the global warming stories in. Especially the important ones such as this, showing that it is now caused by Arctic ground-squirrels:

      • My bet is that it came from Earth bugs on the drilling mechanism.
        Little did Mars-kind know that in the latter part of the 20th Century they were being watched by intelligences far stupider than their own.

    • I think the ‘burst’ nature or the methane release validates the detection made in the ’70’s that was so strongly challenged because it was not repeated.
      If the deep crust was at one time hot and active like Earth’s manufacturing natural gas from minerals and water, then it could still be escaping into the atmosphere. It doesn’t (yet) indicate life. But I expect life forms to be found anyway.

  14. Oh, please go to Mann’s presentation and file a report. It might be old hat to you, but I guarantee you that at least three readers of your blog (me, myself, and I) are interested in what that buffoon spews out this time.

  15. Considering the outrageousness of what comes out of the Church of Climatology, I marvel at the relative level-headedness of what I read on this site. True, there’s some fire-breathing wingnuttery here, but a whole lot less than I expected when I became a regular here last spring.

  16. Has anyone published an elemental analysis of those dark streaks in the Greenland ice, or of that dark sediment at the bottom of the ice-lake? Do they know for a fact that it’s all elemental carbon, or industrial carbon soots?
    Could some of it be aeolian dust from the Sahara? Or the Gobi?

  17. When I lived in Lima, 1971 thru 1975, we too had our own generator. A big problem in the third world, although I don’t know if Lima still suffers it, is “Pegados”; literally “stuck on’s.”
    They connect to the grid via two rebar hooks placed over the transmission lines with a pole – wood poles are recommended. The hooks are connected to a light bulb and TV inside your dirt-floor shack. Obviosly unmetered use with no feedback to regulate balance demand with supply causes market distortions and unstable current to everyone.
    I often wonder how now power could be saved just by solving this problem.

    • “Obviosly unmetered use with no feedback to regulate balance demand with supply causes market distortions and unstable current to everyone.”
      Metered use does not feedback anything to regulate supply. It just meters.
      “I often wonder how now power could be saved just by solving this problem.”
      Actually, more power could be saved in the households that have meters, I suspect. Not only that, but think of the capital savings to the power company: they don’t need to buy meters.

    • I’ve seen that in the US… back in the 50’s when I watched a couple of men lift a wired hook on a wooden pole over the power line, with a rod attached to the other end, which they stuck into the ground and the fishin’ worms did come dancin’ right up out of the ground and the wet- shoed little boy who was collecting them did some tingly dancing, too while the men laughed and said, “it won’t hurt you, just get ’em quick.”

  18. Though…it might have been due to the free beer provided by AGU:
    Imagine the wailing if Heartland provided free alcohol at their ICCC conferences at sessions.

    Especially since the brewing of beer releases the – gasp – DREADED CO2 into the atmosphere!

    • Yes, but what percentage of that CO2 is first passed through the body, providing endless hours of belching, farting, and laughing about it; activities priceless when it comes to quality-of-life for those of us who still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up..

  19. @ Socrates —
    1. Funny. You assert your opinion with a high level of confidence in your own intellectual ability, and yet… cannot even see the obvious: that exposing an egomaniac does not require that one be one. One merely has to report what the egomaniac said or did.
    2. You also reveal a surprising ignorance of the definition of “attack dog.” Here’s a clue: attack dogs are not big on substance and attack the person, not the issue… sort of like you just did…..
    An-thony’s site is all about substance and issues …. and freedom of speech. While we commenters are free to speak our mind strongly about just about anyone or anything, An-thony restricts his exposes to proven l1ars such as Micky {LOVED that, James Bull — much more finely tuned connotation than the more typically American “Mikey”} Mann.

    • @ Socrates — … and you also reveal your ignorance of English… . Or, perhaps, in your haste to castigate An-thony, you missed the word, “perhaps.”

  20. ‘Socrates’ says:
    Funny how you don’t seem to be aware of your own egotism nicely displayed…
    No one I know is a more humble person than Anthony Watts. So that comment fits right in with all Socrates’ other comments: he simply doesn’ know what he’s talking about.

  21. Glad to be of small help, keep us informed.
    If you get the urge please attend the more rabid presentations, as your mere presence seems to provoke madness amongst the afflicted ones.
    Which produces ever more entertaining and occasionally informative outbursts on their part.

  22. Enjoy the conference, Anthony.
    As to methane on Mars, have those pesky oil & gas companies been fracking up there already? 😉

  23. “correlation does not equal causation” Hmmm, I am not so sure.
    Over the last few decades, mapping my rate of weight gain to rate of global temperature increase, it certainly looks like I am influencing the climate by eating too much and not exercising enough.
    This is a global matter that must be addressed. I recommend everyone eat well and exercise or a burdensome tax be placed upon them.
    But wait, causation is tricky. If it is the rising temperature itself that is causing my weight gain, then I am a victim and should receive a federal subsidy, paid for of course by those fortunate enough to be immune from climate influence and able to eat well and exercise.
    I am certain authorities will find the correct answer to this vexing causation issue.

  24. Any time I’m feeling depressed about this EPA and THIS Administration, all I have to do is to click on WUWT. BIG ANTHONY & HIS SCIENTISTS make be smile with their comments. :-))

  25. I think I can speak for any number of contributors who helped: Would do it again without hesitation!

  26. I like the comments by Mr Golden in the BBC Science Report mentioned by Michael Hart (17:0722)
    “The team found that this activity meant that their burrows were warmer than the surrounding ground.
    Mr Golden said: “We saw an increase in soil temperature in the soils where the arctic ground squirrels were occupying.”
    This is what is known as the “Urban Heat Island Effect”.

Comments are closed.