First impressions from #AGU16 – A Manntastic Madhouse

As many of you know especially those of you who contributed to help get me here, I offer my sincere thanks. I’m covering the AGU Fall convention in San Francisco. The day dawned gray, it’s not an uncommon sight in the city

But it soon turned sunny and bright

Registration was light this morning. This may have been due to many people being delayed getting here due to the weather east of the Mississippi. I saw a news report that over 1900 flights out of Chicago were affected.

Along the way, I spotted this sponsorship sign, similar to ones I’ve seen in years past. Notably missing was Exxon-Mobil, though Chevron was there. This is odd, because there was a big AGU stinkeroo with #ExxonKnew earlier this year from climate activists about getting AGU to drop the Exxon-Mobil sponsorship. The board decided they’d keep it, and they were the subject of much derision from the leftists that make up the vocal climate wing of AGU.

So, apparently, AGU either caved quietly, or they were too stung with the derision to dare posting the Exxon-Mobil name as a sponsor on a big poster in registration., or on the 2016 Fall meeting website. Seems pretty hypocritical to me…unless, Exxon-Mobil decided to yank the sponsorship because they just got tired of putting up with a bunch of crybabies. Hopefully I can find out more. SEE UPDATE BELOW.

In other news, some familiar faces were seen being honored this year. Shaun Lovejoy, who has written a number of questionable climate papers gets a nod.

Naomi Oreskes gets the “Ambassador Award” which to me seems laughable, because all of my experiences with her reveal her to be closed minded, hateful, and intolerant. She tries to link climate skepticism with the Tobacco industry tactics, which I find highly objectionable, not just for the sheer stupidity of the argument, but for the fact that both of my parents died from smoking related illnesses. I think AGU erred grossly. In my opinion she doesn’t deserve the title.

And then there’s Richard Alley, who at AGU13, convinced governor Jerry Brown that sea level rise was a huge problem for California. Brown then proceeded to make all sorts of crazy claims, including that LAX would be underwater soon. He got a rude awakening on that one.

This was the scene in 2013:

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley just feet away from me.

Gov. Jerry Brown talks with Richard Alley just feet away from me.

One of Alley’s slides from 2013 shows a whole new level of imagination:


This billboard suggests that the “shifting landscape” may be a reaction to the election of Trump, especially since Katharine Hayhoe is speaking.

I attended this session this morning, with particular interest to the third presentation. I wondered how they might link climate variability in the southern hemisphere to ice sheet change in the northern hemisphere. Turns out it was just some proxies and models, and the magic word: teleconnection. I think that’s about as valid a word as “ESP”. In other words, no real evidence, just conjecture. I counted several question marks in the conclusion slide, which suggested the authors were reaching. Unfortunately, AGU still has the policy against photos in sessions, so I can’t demonstrate the slim evidence and conjecture they presented. Eric Steig was involved in the paper, ’nuff said.

Today and Tuesday, Michael Mann will give another Manntastic pitch over “attacks” on science while pitching his book. That should be entertaining.

agu16-mann-book-tweet2 agu16-mann-book-tweet

He’s got several sessions. The one on Tuesday says he intends to rally the press.


At least there is free beer again this year.

P.S. Willis and I will be presenting at 1:15 on Wednesday. More on that later.


UPDATE: It seems Exxon-Mobil told AGU they weren’t interested any more. I missed this news from last week. Via Inside Climate News (h/t to Roger Knights)

Energy giant ExxonMobil won’t be a sponsor of the largest earth and space science conference for the first time since at least 2001.

It was Exxon’s decision not to provide any funding for the annual conference, which will be held next week in San Francisco, according to a blog post last week from the conference organizers, the American Geophysical Union.

This news follows a nearly year-long campaign, in which more than 60,000 scientists, activists and others urged AGU to not accept Exxon’s money because they say the company has contributed to the spread of misinformation about climate change. They argued that’s inconsistent with AGU’s mission, position statement on climate change and funding policies.

AGU’s board considered this issue twice this year, voting in April and again in September to keep Exxon as a sponsor.

110 thoughts on “First impressions from #AGU16 – A Manntastic Madhouse

  1. What is your basic response when people tell you, “the science is settled. rising CO2 levels are and will continue to lead to dramatic rises in global temps” and all the severe consequences that will ensue?

      • American Geophysical Union meeting.
        What a political zoo!
        In 1950, the year 1957 was declared “International Geophysical Year”. It was well-publicized. Even the popular comic strip cartoonist Walt Kelly published “G. O. Fizzickle Pogo” in 1958.
        I completed a degree in geophysics in 1962. Still have the book.
        Then, some lecturers supported the idea that ice ages were caused by an open arctic ocean and a cold land surface. Others favoured Malenkovitch. There was not enough evidence to decide.
        Then the data began to build and over the last decade the theory about cosmic rays an clouds has become convincing. Climate change is periodic and has little to do with CO2.
        The AGU meeting should be celebrating evidence, not the notion that the climate needs to be controlled by a “smart” government.

      • In that first Mann-ifesto this afternoon, is the features ME, meaning thee or he ??
        One would tend to think that the author is often featured in presentations, so no need to say so.

    • I learned something important myself this morning while having breakfast at McDonalds.
      There was this chap dressed in a spivy top tier overalls, sporting a prominent TESLA logo, and a badge labelling him as TESLA Service Dept. A few blocks further down El Camino Real.
      So I asked him (inquisitively) what was the battery voltage, for the battery in a TESLA Model S sedan. I would want to know if I was servicing a model S TESLA.
      “Well we don’t rate it that way he said; we rate it by KW-hours; and it is 60-100”. “Voltage would be much higher than that. ”
      No what I mean is if I put a voltmeter across the terminals what would I get ??
      “A huge explosion he replied.”
      Well what voltage is it. “Oh it is extremely high; 100,000 volts; no it’s a million volts. ”
      So there you have it folks; straight from the expert’s mouth. A whole million volts hiding in your Tesla battery.
      I guess they get their charging juice from the one million degree C interior of the earth.

  2. Thanks for a first report from the front lines. The Oreskes ‘ambassadorship’ sort of clinches the AGU political bent, as she was the main perp behind the ‘Exxon knew’ brouhaha that started with the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ meeting in 2012 at Scripps in La Jolla. And ExxonMobil conspicuously absent from sponsorship in consequence.

    • Speaking of Ambassadors, Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a Texas Aggie civil enginneer to boot, might be the Kerry-Replacement-Unit (KRU).
      That announcement (if it does happen) should pop the heads of a few more Watermelons in SanFran (and everywhere).

      • Sven, “Tvanty-sex years ago I could not even say ‘Enjinneer’ and now i are one.”
        The old jokes are the best.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s Trump running something up the flag pole to see who salutes. I’m sure Tillerson knows more than anyone about the political and economic climates in each of the countries where Exxon does business, but Trump is smarter than to throw a name into the ring that has the potential to slow down his progress in the first 100 days.

      • FYI ExxonMobil is a company run by Engineers of varying degrees who typically came up through the ranks and know the complications of the business. No room for jobs for the wall street financial crowd who know little about the technical side of the business.

  3. Anthony…you have to remember that the “green machine” is relentless they are not shamed by being caught manipulating data, they do not concede one iota of their argument with respect to the policy that we must follow to avert “catastrophe”. They wear folks down! Until people who shouldn’t be recognized for anything but their shrill political outlook become “ambassadors” for a scientific society. They certainly don’t care if you consider yourself a “responsible environmentalist” as far as they are concerned you are mucking up the narrative and need to be pushed in front of the bus.

    • After reading your comment I could not help but be reminded of this movie quote:
      “Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead! “

  4. Ambassador Award to completely laughable and shameful. I’m glad I donated to Anthony in place of attending the rot. When is the alt-AGU conference with higher standards of professional conduct?

  5. Anthony,
    One of the “Fellows” you photographed is Lynn M Kistler, whom I know personally. She worked on the solar satellites (one of the lagrange point type) used to predict solar flare polarity and intensity. She was the project coordinator for the one that was destroyed in the late 90s when the launch vehicle blew up.
    She is the person who pointed me toward the Sun as a significant contributor toward terrestrial climate.
    I wonder what she has got to say at this gathering of leftists. Lynn is certainly left of center on a host of subjects but I did not think she was a CAGW advocate. Have you an up-to-date opinion on her opinion?

    • Joel Snider —
      I live in Portland. You are almost perfectly safe if you don’t make eye contact with liberals. Wear a propellor beanie and a Bernie T-shirt if you head into the arts district.
      Eugene WR Gallun

      • I don’t go to Frankencisco for any reason.
        To not attend the AGU love fest would be one of my better reasons for not going there.
        I’d be too damn scared to run into Naomi Orestes, and be recognized.
        You two behave yourselves up there now.

      • When did Portland acquire an arts district ? They didn’t have one when I lived there.
        But that was last century.

      • “When did Portland acquire an arts district?”
        When spray paint became popular.
        Ron Richey – Eugene

  6. Mann’s book signing is at Commonwealth Club of California where Michael Crichton was invited to speak a bit over 13 years ago –
    “And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief”.

  7. @Anthony Watts, a few years ago AGU had a Panel Q&A Session. You should make sure some real skeptics are in the audience to ask questions. I would assemble a group, each armed with their best smoking gun question, and scatter then throughout the audience so they can’t be avoided. I would hit them with one after another uncomfortable question, and get their squirming on film.

  8. Not enough beer in the world to get past the “train wreck” view you will be forced to look at over and over and over….my sympathies Anthony!

    • Aphan! I have missed seeing you for a long time! I hope all is well. I’ve been praying (well, when I get worried, I pray). Take care. Janice

  9. “At least there is free beer again this year.
    P.S. Willis and I will be presenting at 1:15 on Wednesday.”
    Got one of those chicken wire screens to put in front of you? Flying beer bottles and such…

  10. Maybe next year, we can crowdsource a WUWT booth at the conference themed around the real-life replication of a non-compliant weather station, complete with air conditioner venting and trash barrel. The poster session could remind conference attendees of the number of stations that are still not compliant.

    • So Janice are you just trying out a nasty streak to see if you can pull it off ? I’ll pray for your redemption.

      • Heh, heh. Well, Monna, I wish I could do just that. You and so many WUWTers would be such a pleasure to meet (and to do a good ol’ belly laugh for — my voice is too high for it to really “work,” though, lol — I’m better “on paper”).

  11. Anthony, did you receive a memory stick or otherwise have access to the abstracts of the talks that you could make more widely available?

    • Lance Wallace December 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm
      Anthony, did you receive a memory stick or otherwise have access to the abstracts of the talks that you could make more widely available?
      Sign up Lance. The abstracts are made publicly available.
      From the EPoster page select your area of interest, such as SPA-Solar and Heliospheric Physics. It opens a new link and displays a link to the talk and abstracts.
      Example, of a search for Dr. S., results.
      SH31B-2548 The Olsen Rotating Dipole, Revisited
      Leif Svalgaard
      Wednesday, 14 December 2016 08:00 – 12:20 Moscone South – Poster Hall
      Olsen (1948) and Wilcox & Gonzales (1971) reported evidence of a solar equatorial magnetic dipole with a stable (synodic) rotation period of 26 7/8 days maintaining its phase over 15 years (1926-1941, Olsen) and possibly to 1968 as well (1963-1968, Wilcox & Gonzales). Using a composite series of Interplanetary Magnetic Sector Polarities covering the interval 1844-2016 (derived from geomagnetic data before the space age and direct measurements during 1963-2016) we find that 1) the response of geomagnetic activity to passage (at Earth) of a sector boundary has been consistently the same in every solar cycle from 9 through 24, thus validating the inferred times of sector boudary passages over the past 173 years, and 2) the ‘Olsen’ dipole can be traced back the 16 cycles to the year 1844, albeit with a slightly different synodic rotation period of 26.86 days (431 nHz). Olsen ended his paper with “The persistence of a fixed period during 15 years points to the possibility that the origin of the effect is to be found in a layer on the Sun with a fixed rotation-period during a long time” and Wilcox & Gonzales noted that “A rotating magnetic dipole may be lurking within the sun”. We compare the Olsen-period with other evidence for rotation periods in the deep interior and for the existence of a relic magnetic field.

  12. I see no reason to “go along to get along”. One should still ask pointed questions ie Why after decades of research and billions in treasure, we have not narrowed CO2 sensitivity. One does not have to make waves but anything “real” will make ripples and ripples are all we need. My1.5 cents worth. GK

  13. Good luck to you and Willis in your presentation. I admire your persistence and thick hides in attending such a meeting. It must be a bit like wandering around a Nineteenth Century Insane Asylum. I am looking forward to more reports from the Inside.

    • “It must be a bit like wandering around a Nineteenth Century Insane Asylum.”
      Lol! Good one nicholas. I’m thinking “zombies”.

  14. Speaking of Michael Mann, I was just at Penn State last week. Nice place, lots of students…. Their basket ball team lost the game I went to see. Their hockey team wasn’t playing while I was there.

  15. Anthony, has Trump offered you the top job at NOAA yet? Or are you not allowed to comment on that yet?

  16. We can only wish Micky Mann would stop his decades-long attack on science. He has certainly done it grave harm.

    • What is 1/20th of a year? On, no wait, that’s the first day of the 20th month, right?
      Please don’t use American date formats, it is just stupid and confusing. Either January 20, or 2017-01-20 (it sorts correctly in a list).

      • Wow… talk about picky. Wally didn’t provide a list of dates – no sorting required.
        Even this was too much of a response to pedant.

      • Mike, there is a much more rational calendar. It contains 4 identical quarters, of 30-31-30 days each. That’s 364 days. Then there is “New Year Day”, which comes on New Year’s Day, and isn’t in any month. And then there’s “Leap Year Day” that comes every fourth year between the second quarter, and the third quarter, and also isn’t in any month.
        Neither NYD or LD, or LYD if you prefer, is a day of the week. Both are National holidays.
        So it’s a perpetual calendar and there are NO Friday 13 s.

  17. All the best to you and Wiillis Anthony. Are any of the presentations on live feeds? I would like to peek in on some and yours of course.

  18. Thanks for doing this, Anthony. I know it’s a lot of effort but it really shows in the quality of the info we get here.

  19. You may have noticed that there was an anti-Exxon-Mobil letter recently in the AGU’s publication EOS by Mann, Orekes and Emanuel.

  20. Mann and his cabal were to speak at the Commonwealth Club today. The topic was something like “Is Denialism Destroying the Earth?”
    Saw it in yesterday’s Examiner.

  21. Naomi Oreskes gets the “Ambassador Award” which to me seems laughable, because all of my experiences with her reveal her to be closed minded, hateful, and intolerant.

    For some reason I was reminded of Foghorn Leghorn. To be fair, Oreskes does have some of the characteristics of a diplomat. On the other hand, I have never heard an actual ambassador described as closed minded, hateful and intolerant.

  22. How much longer is Chevron going to donate to this function? As they employ lots of geophysicists I can understand their desire to sponsor a major event to support the troops, but there gets to be a point where you draw the line. Also, I tried to find presentations of interest to petroleum exploration-ists, and found very few. Is this a forum for that slice of the geophysics spectra or do these occur in other venues?

    • The Deepwater Horizon incident ruined BP’s reputation with gullible greenies. Maybe Chevron is trying to fill that void. Lots of business to be had being the gentle oil giant.

    • I expect they’ll keep going
      “Chevron shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change risks and recognizes that the use of fossil fuels to meet the world’s energy needs contributes to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Earth’s atmosphere. GHGs contribute to increases in global temperatures. We apply cost-effective technologies to improve the energy efficiency of our base business operations and capital projects. As we work to address climate risks, we must create solutions that achieve environmental objectives without undermining global economic growth and our aspirations for a better quality of life for all. “

  23. I’m not a scientist, so I’m not an AGU member. If I was both however and was attending the conference, I no doubt would be struggling with the notion of getting Mann to apply his signature to my copy of Mark Steyn’s book “A Disgrace To The Profession” at his book-signing session. I would probably be trying to concoct a way to get him to sign it somewhere on the inside without him actually seeing the title.
    I get such nasty thoughts sometimes.

  24. You should negotiate with McDonalds about a booth offering entry level jobs for out of work CAGW scientivists. Take a 5% first year salary commission and your financial future would be secure. On second thoughts maybe not, most would probably fail the entry exam, not able to count change without an adjustment.

  25. Not all of those whose travel plans were affected booked a flight connecting in Chicago, but I am sure there were many…funny to think that climate scientists were confident enough to book a flight through Chicago in December. They probably spent their delays and layover trying to link the snow to climate change.

  26. Ya gotta give it to Mann. He knows which side is bread is buttered on. Too bad the buttered side always hits the floor.

  27. Perhaps you could ask them to set up a collection bottle for those in Spain that can no longer afford the cost of energy and are now freezing to death or burning to death from using candles for heat.

  28. If the AGU really cared about AGW and CO2 emmissions, they would hold their meeting on the Internet instead of in SF.

  29. I noticed this story on the decline of polar bear populations is already hitting the press from the conference:
    given that sea ice has not yet reached Svalbard or Nova Zemlya or most of Hudson Bay yet, this year is evidence that the decline is a real possibility – the lack of ice will impact denning and/or feeding for the Hudson Bay and Svalbard populations this year (it has been raining not snowing on Svalbard)

    • Wow, apparently polar bears didn’t survive warmer periods, like the Holocene climate optimum (why do they call it “optimum” if warming is bad?), Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warm periods.
      Griff, do you think climate never changed until the Industrial Revolution??

      • Yes, anyone who wants a Griff-free opinion from a real polar bear expert, head to Susan’s Crockford’s site:
        I love this re-phrasing one needs to do to get to what they are actually saying:
        “After 10 years of ice conditions we didn’t expect would happen until mid-century (a worst-case scenario we said would cause more than 30% of the world’s polar bears to die – except they didn’t), we have now determined (using a new model and a brand new definition of sea ice specific to polar bears) that by mid-century, there is only a 70% chance that 30% of polar bears will die.”
        Follow the pea, folks. Warmunists use the fact that most people are happily innumerate to pound them with fake math.

      • I checked her site before posting Caligula…
        which is why I know there’s a problem if there’s no ice around Svalbard or in Hudson Bay this time of year for the bears…
        (and yes, maybe they survived before: it has to have been in low numbers… in the modern world is it guaranteed they survive this time?)

    • Griff has become so predictably disgusting that I now simply pass over his/her/its comments. It works and I recommend it to all.

    • Come’on guys. Don’t you feel at least a little bit sorry for someone that goes through life thinking that – not only is the glass not half full – there’s only a few drops of condensation left. I pity anyone that leads their entire life in such a state of hopelessness.

  30. Anthony, thanks for this report, which may be citable in my forthcoming grant-app.
    Could you give us an update on your impression of the numbers attending, and whether they are above or below ‘expectations’ of any passing management person?….
    You see, I conjecture that the climate of climate-change is now cooling, and your observation could provide me with enough ‘post-normal-proof’ to be able to cadge funding.
    Another indicator of ‘the tide’ going out, is the amount of detritus and weird junk that is left stranded. From your observations so far, there seems plenty of it.

  31. Didn’t Dr. Alley used to play shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates? I think he and Mazeroski set the record for the number of SS-2B double plays in a single season. Obviously he took a wrong turn after his playing career ended. Too bad.

  32. Free Beer??? Aren’t all those bubbles in beer CO2? It’s the mass production and consumption of carbonated beverages that is driving climate change. If these people were really dedicated to reducing human emissions of CO2 they would not be handing out free beer.

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