Lindzen, Soon and Spencer debunked?

By Andy May

On Bret Stephens facebook page, I complimented Mr. Stephens on what I thought was a very good column. I also noted that the eminent climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen had said similar things. To this a George Smith replied, in part, as follows:

“Few “skeptics” have been debunked as much as Lindzen and Spencer.”

Link to comment here.

If you follow the link you will see it is followed with a google search for “Lindzen debunked.” No support, no data, no peer reviewed references, just anything that says “Lindzen debunked.” This is “internet slime” at its worst. We see a lot of this sort of reprehensible behavior around climate science, often by people who have no scientific background at all. But, I am a scientist with 42 years’ experience and have been studying and writing about climate science for years, so I do want to address some of the scurrilous attacks found in this google search.

The first reference in my search led to desmogblog, here. This post is by an anonymous author who calls himself “climate nexus.” The climate nexus group, including Jeff Nesbit and Robert Tanner, does not include anyone with scientific training that I could find. They seem to be a team of professional writers and political hacks.

Their arguments appear to be as vacuous as their resumes. First they claim that climate models are accurate. This has been disproven by Dr. John Christy for the recent past and by Liu, et al. for the entire Holocene epoch. In the figure below (source Javier, here) proxy global average temperatures for the whole Holocene (last 11,500 years) are shown in black. Computer model temperatures calculated by Liu, et al. (2014) are shown in green, carbon dioxide and methane concentrations from ice cores are also shown. For the Neoglacial Period, temperatures go down, but the computer model temperatures go up, so does the carbon dioxide level. Quite obviously, for the Holocene, neither CO2 nor the computer models are predictive of temperature. This has been called the Holocene Temperature Conundrum.

Figure 1 (source here)

Below we see Dr. Christy’s graph comparing computer model temperatures with satellite and weather balloon measurements. I should mention that the satellite and weather balloon measurements are completely independent of one another and support each other:

Figure 2 (source here)

All of this “hottest year on record” nonsense is absurd, we are talking about very small changes in the average temperature. The surface temperature records are only accurate to +-0.2°C at best and almost all of the last 35 years of satellite and weather balloon data fit between -.2°C and +.2°C. The exceptions are the 1998 and 2015 El Ninos and a few other anomalies. Also, see the discussion of temperature accuracy by Lindzen here and especially his figure 1. See below:

Figure 3 (Data sources here and here)

There is a secular warming trend that has persisted since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century. But the Little Ice Age was a very cold period where multiple solar and ocean cycles hit their lows all at once. This is a period of cold that is unlikely to occur again for a very long time, except in a major glacial episode. We should be grateful we are coming out of it. In the Little Ice Age the cold was devastating, glaciers advanced and destroyed villages. The Little Ice Age cold was blamed, in part, for plagues. The public at the time often blamed the cold on Jews and witches and murdered supposed witches by the tens of thousands because they thought the witches were controlling the climate and causing the cold, see the story here. The figure below is a 1486 woodcut of a supposed sorceress conjuring up a hailstorm. It is from Professor Wolfgang Behringer’s excellent book A Cultural History of Climate.

Figure 4, “Anthropogenic Climate Change” (source here)

Then, as now, the public chose to blame people for climate change without proof. We really have not advanced very far in the last 500 years.

For more details about the cause of the Little Ice Age, see the post by Javier here, especially the top frame of figure 6. We can easily see the minimums of the Eddy cycle and the Bray cycle occurring in the Little Ice Age, along with the Wolf, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton solar minima. Coming out of such a cold period we would expect dramatic natural warming.

Desmogblog posts the following comparison of supposed projections by Lindzen and Hansen to an unnamed observation record of global temperatures. Their reference is a blog post at Skeptical Science. Below is the graphic, showing the supposed “comparison.”

Figure 5, the misleading graph in Desmogblog here.

When we go to the source article at skepticalscience here, we find that Dr. Lindzen did not make any temperature predictions in 1989 or in any other year. The line shown above is the author’s (Dana Nuccitelli’s) interpretation of someone’s (Eugene Mallove’s) notes of a lecture given by Dr. Lindzen in 1989. We do not even have Dr. Lindzen’s own notes of the lecture! Below is the actual comparison of Hansen’s 1988 projections to the GISTEMP dataset of surface temperatures.

Figure 6 (source)

Ignore the Lindzen lines, they are made up. Hansen et al., 1988 provided three scenarios. His scenario A is way off, scenario B isn’t bad until the pause (see here) begins about 2000, then it overshoots actual temperatures by quite a bit. They stop the GISTEMP graph in 2008, so we don’t see how bad it actually gets. See figure 2 for a better picture against more accurate measurements. Scenario C is probably the best, but it is not a problem for mankind. Either way, the graph in DeSmogblog is misleading. I would accuse the team of scientific malpractice if they were scientists, but they are not.

They go on to say Lindzen’s Iris effect from tropical clouds has been debunked, which is nonsense. Lindzen’s idea (see here) is alive and well and the subject of vigorous debate, as are all good ideas in science. No one knows whether clouds are a net positive feedback or a net negative feedback on global temperatures, evidence goes both ways. For interesting discussions of clouds and their effects on climate see here and here. I favor Lindzen’s idea personally, as do many scientists, but others disagree. Only time will tell.

Then they go on to my friend Dr. Willie Soon, who was viciously attacked in the New York Times by a Greenpeace written slander piece published on the front page of the paper, disguised as reporting by Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, for more details see here and here.

As for Dr. Roy Spencer, one of the inventors of satellite atmospheric temperature measurements, the idea that he has been debunked is absurd. He is the team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for NASA’s Aqua satellite. His landmark original algorithm for measuring temperature, in the early 1990’s, did not properly take into account satellite orbital decay for sure. But, this was fixed 20 years ago! Why beat a 20-year-old drum! Dr. Spencer is an evangelical Christian, but in the United States we are not supposed to discriminate based on religion, one is free to have their own beliefs. So far as I know, and I’ve read most of what Dr. Spencer has written on climate, his views are very mainstream. None have been debunked, although not everyone agrees with him on all issues.

I write for blogs, including my own, but I try and document what I do and keep it as accurate as possible. Doing google searches for a phrase like “Lindzen debunked” and then picking out headlines that agree with your preconceived ideas and posting them without checking them is disgusting.  Just my opinion.


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Peter Morris

It’s more than disgusting, it’s lazy and dishonest. It should immediately disqualify one from even being acknowledged as an adult in the room.
Of course, there’s always the Jon Stewart defense, in which claiming to be a stand-up philosopher shields one from all criticism because “Hey, I was only joking around.”


Doing google searches for a phrase like “Lindzen debunked” and then picking out headlines that agree with your preconceived ideas and posting them without checking them is disgusting. Just my opinion.

No, you are wrong, it is not just your opinion 😉
Scientists do not “debunk” so every time you see that term you know that you are not dealing with a scientific argument but political opinion and slurs.
Since there are far more idiot alarmists with minimal to zero science training who think it is the divine duty to “debunk” anything that looks like may challenge their pagan belief system, it is obvious that doing a google search for “Lindzen debunked” will turn up a metric ton of uninformed trash and handful of disingenuous crap like desmegblog or Nazi cross-dressers youth movement at SkS.

debunked‘ means alarmists made two grammar mistakes in ‘defunded


Hey now…

Great post Andy! Desmog and SkepSci are truly despicable.
I plotted GISTEMP on top of Hansen’s model as it was published…comment image
The recent El Niño pushed it up to Scenario B last year. Otherwise, it mostly tracks C, the scenario in which CO2 stopped rising.

Mary Brown

And GIS temp data is the hottest of the hot and most adjusted. UAH is the coldest and is still down at Scenario C

GISTEMP is the closest current temperature series to the observed temperatures Hansen used in 1988.


No surprise, since, until he retired recently to go into activism full time (as if he wasn’t already), Hansen was responsible for cooking up GISTEMP, which is a pack of lies.


Where does Hansen pull the estimated temperatures for the Eemian out of? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that. All the estimates for Eemian temperature, I’ve seen, have it maxing about 2 degrees above the current global average, and is backed by other evidence, like ice-free Arctic summers. But he is saying that the entire temperature range was slightly less than 0.5 degrees, and all between 0.5-1.0 degree above the average temp during 1960. No science is safe from Warmist revisions.

I don’t know where he got that estimate. It’s definitely low for the Eemian and looks low for the Altithermal (Holocene Climatic Optimum) too.


In Figure 1, the Holocene CO2 appears to be inversely related to the Proxy Temperatures. Has someone investigated the statistics on that?


Desmegblog were, of course, the co-conspirators in the Peter Gleick fraud, being the original publishers of his falsified “Heartland” dossier.

GISTEMP has more makeup on it, than you would need to turn Miss Piggy into something like this

richard verney

And I always thought that you cannot put lipstick on a pig.


There is a whole galaxy of lovely models here:
PCMDI’s CMIP effort is funded by the Regional and Global Climate Modeling (RGCM) Program of the Climate and Environmental Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program.
Coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models allow the simulated climate to adjust to changes in climate forcing, such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. CMIP began in 1995 by collecting output from model “control runs” in which climate forcing is held constant. Later versions of CMIP have collected output from an idealized scenario of global warming, with atmospheric CO2 increasing at the rate of 1% per year until it doubles at about Year 70. CMIP output is available for study by approved diagnostic sub-projects.
Phase three of CMIP (CMIP3) included “realistic” scenarios for both past and present climate forcing. The research based on this dataset provided much of the new material underlying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
CMIP5 is meant to provide a framework for coordinated climate change experiments for the next five years and thus includes simulations for assessment in the AR5 as well as others that extend beyond the AR5. CMIP5 is not, however, meant to be comprehensive; it cannot possibly include all the different model intercomparison activities that might be of value, and it is expected that various groups and interested parties will develop additional experiments that might build on and augment the experiments described here.

Good post. Share your opinion about internet slime.
Over at Climate Etc, Judith and I posted back to back on Lindzen’s adaptive iris on May 26, 2015. Go to Climate Etc and type adaptive iris into the search box. Both posts are first listed. Judith wrote about her dialog with Lindzen on adaptive iris-a behind the scenes look. Has never been debunked. I wrote about the then new Mauritsen and Stevens paper showing that when included in a GCM, adaptive iris lowered sensitivity strongly. One of the pieces of missing physics.

Curious George

Rud, you have lived in the backwards U.S. for too long. You are not qualified to tell whether anything has been debunked. You have to take Mr. Smith’s word for it, just like progressives did in Germany and the Soviet Union – and do here now.

CG, I lived 2 years in Japan and 6 in Germany, plus speak passable French and fluent German. Plus 3 Harvard degrees (which might be a negative given they hired Oreskes). Just an overeducated stoopid ‘Murican Deplorable. To some, anyway, like apparently the GS character Andy May links to.

David J Wendt

From the Urban Dictionary
A word used by people unable to see reality from a point of view other than the one they were indoctrinated into from childhood. It represents the be-all and end-all arguments that close the case once-and-for-all on further discussion of the issue and makes tin-foil hat wearing buffoons of anyone who refuses to see the logic of their disinformation.


Nice work Andy,
One point worth noting is, is I’m not sure is reasonable to use the Marcott reconstruction in fig. 1 as representative of an accurate measure of historic climate.
All post hoc proxy selections aside, is it safe to say Marcott was selected for it’s gross divergence from models?

Marcott (Science 2013) is OK up to MWP. Resolution is a few hundred years. Marcott 20th century hockey stick not ok because he fiddled coretop dates. Essay A high stick foul in ebook Blowing Smoke. See essentially the same essay at Climate Etc posted as Playing Hockey, Blowing the Whistle.

Yep. Marcott is a decent reconstruction for most of the Holocene. The maddening thing is that they very well knew that the 20th century Hockey Stick was inconsistent with the resolution of their reconstruction and included it anyway.

DM, a clear case of academic misconduct concerning the ‘modern’ era. I laid out the forensic evidence in the essay. Marcott gutted his Ph.D thesis in order to join the warmunist club.


The Marcott curve in my plot has the coretop dates as published by the original authors. The reconstruction still has issues as it is very heavy on alkenone records that are problematic and tend to low the overall temperature range. But so far that’s everything we have got. It is the only Holocene global reconstruction published.

I have no faith in Marcott 2013 as an accurate representation of the past 20K years. He was on thin ice is redating his proxies. Furthermore, if you look at the individual proxies, the anomalies are all over the map. His result might be attractive, it might even be near the truth, but how he got there…..
Marcott 2013 should never be shown without the error bars in Temperature AND Time.


DeSmog is a PR site. They even admit it in the about us section, or used to. They are admitted shills and it is not worth wasting much time on them.




Do you have any evidence, or are you just trying to be mendacious.

RS, I guest post science critiques here, albeit not as often as at Climate Etc. WE posts original science here.Moreover, moderation allows critique here (post pub review) unlike desmog blog, SKS, and RealClimate. And you know it, and hate it, but cannot stop it. Even your handle is a lie.


WUWT is written by a meteorologist.


You say

WUWT is written by a meteorologist.

No, WUWT is published by a meteorologist. For example, the above WUWT article was not written by the WUWT publisher.
More importantly, climate is ‘average’ weather so a meteorologist is an expert in it and, therefore, is very appropriate to choose what to publish on WUWT.
However, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was Chaired by a railroad engineer.
Please explain whatever point it was you were trying to make.


Who is paying the supposed shills on WUWT?
And even if WUWT is the same, that simply means Desmog is as cbone claims, so you agree with that?

At least when WUWT publishes a PR article it is blatantly obvious, “A public service announcement on temperature” is a good example.

Of the two co-founders of Desmogblog, one is a person who openly admitted that when he started the place, he knew nothing about climate science and yet also declared that skeptic climate scientists were liars, which he based essentially on the writings of a person who turns out to be the other unnamed Desmog co-founder (self-admitted 8 seconds into this audio interview ), a person who is part of what I term the epicenter of the smear of skeptic climate scientists. Please see: “James Hoggan’s Monster Journalistic Due Diligence Lapse”

Mary Brown

Hansen’s Scenario A is what has verified. Actually, emissions have been much higher than “business as usual”, so I give Hansen an A+ … not for skill but for Scenario.
Sometimes, Hansen apologists will claim that Scenario B is what actually happened. But that is only because the earth’s CO2 uptake has been much higher than expected. So, emissions were higher than expected, uptake was higher than expected so CO2 remaining in the atmosphere is about what was expected. Two wrongs, in this case, make a right. And two Wrights make an airplane.
Anyway, estimating atmospheric concentration of CO2 in the future is a major source of forecast error that is rarely, if ever, discussed. So even if the models are good (they aren’t), then the forecast can be way off anyway.
BTW… the temp trend has been just 40% of the Hansen Scenario A in 29 years. That’s a 2.5 to one over-forecast. I don’t recommend wagering a few trillion dollars on forecasts with that track record and a sample size of one.

Don K

I assume we’re talking Hansen’s 1988 congressional presentation here. IIRC, the lines had labels. Scenario A was Business as usual. Scenario B was some emissions reductions. Scenario C was holding emissions at some early 21st level forever. I assume there’s something somewhere that describes the assumptions in more detail, but I’ve never encountered it.
Anyway, it seems to me we should be tracking between A and B. We’re actually tracking way below B.
Bottom line. Hansen was probably sincere. But he was wrong.

Eugene WR Gallun

Don K
If Hansen was sincere — it was an ego driven sincerity. He always had to lead his own parade — which always lead him to marching off cliffs
Eugene WR Gallun


Apparently we’re winning, bigly, because the only thing I’ve seen coming out of the Warmist camp lately is slime and slander. When all your opponent has is logical fallacy, it’s time to just smile and nod, then ignore them.

Yup. My conclusion also. Bigly.

george e. smith

Well Andy May; I am going to presume that YOU DO know how to cut an paste text from items on the web, including posts here at WUWT.
Why don’t you take a few moments to teach yourself HOW to do that.
Then see if you can use that new skill to cut and paste the ENTIRE sentence or paragraph from which you cherry picked the fake news item that you have just posted here.
Willis E. is constantly telling (his) critics to cite THE EXACT WORDS ; all of them that are being criticized. The reason Willis does that is he is tired of being taken to task for things he did not say; and justifiably so.
Same goes for me. Use the exact words; all of them in the context.
I never ask any one for an apology; they have already amply demonstrated just how much I would consider their opinion to be worth.

george e. smith

PS If I was not the ” a George Smith ” you are writing about; I usually go by ” george e. smith”; not ” a George smith “, then good luck to whomever it was.
[The mods want to know what metal a George Smith uses on his anvil … .mod]

george e. smith

I have no idea who is Bret Stephens nor have I any knowledge of his facebook page; nor have I ever visited or posted anything there about anything or anything else, nor have I ever visited or posted anything on any other social network.
So I have no idea just what quotation Andy May is bitching about.

george e smith,
Perhaps you need to consider how common the name George Smith is…with or without any other initials involved. Then maybe consider how personal and illogical assumptions often bias our ability to respond with reason and intellect.
Or maybe just how clicking on the author’s provided link would have easily helped you realize, just like the rest of us, that Andy wasn’t talking about something YOU posted elsewhere. (Your 2nd and 3rd responses indicate that it did occur to you after your first post that he COULD be talking about someone else, but you are still being “bitchy” about it)
If anyone here deserves an apology, it’s Andy, but to paraphrase, you’ve “already amply demonstrated how much he should consider your apology to be worth”.

george e. smith

Well Aphan you just struck out.
As it happens, I did click on the link that was supposed to take me to the exact item being referenced; I was curious to see what someone would post under my name.
It took me to nothing of the kind; just a home page; that said nothing about anything but invited me to log in; which I didn’t do. I expect a link to go where it says it will. There was no information about anything on the page that the link went to.
Yes I know how common the name George Smith is. I am registered at every motel on the planet; maybe only for an hour or so.
That’s why I use my middle E (Effiiciency).
And sometimes I add a legal disclaimer, that I am Not George Elwood Smith who was the 2009 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, for his invention of Charge-Coupled devices; while he was at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Our careers crossed paths for around 40 years, but we never actually met. But I was often mistaken for him; at conferences, even before he became a Nobellist. (No when I tried to register for the conference).
And as for posting elsewhere; there is precisely one web site on the entire internet, ; that is NOT WUWT, where a post by me could be read. And If I posted anything related to climate or physics or other science, the readers there would wonder what the hell I was talking about and wasting their time.
So no I posted nothing anywhere else. If I posted anything about any of those realist scientists; it would have to have been somewhere here at WUWT, in which case Andy could have found and linked to that. (if it exists).
Willie Soon has been defending himself from the CAGW “debunkers” since before I first became aquainted with his work. His well known review paper with Sallie Baliunas of hundreds of peer reviewed papers from every corner of the globe, demonstrating the the mediaeval warm period and the little ice age were indeed global phenomena, and not local weather events was savagely attacked.
At the time Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick paper which apparently first aired in the first IPCC report was clearly labeled as a NORTHERN HEMISPHERE phenomenon.
After the Soon / Baliunas review paper, the “Northern Hemisphere” title magically evaporated from Mann’s already peer reviewed paper, and he has tried to palm it off as a global happenstance ever since.
So if you can find anything I might have posted at WUWT relating to CAGW “debunkers ” that would still have exactly whatever I actually wrote; that is if I ever wrote anything bout that subject.
But I certainly have posted nothing like that anywhere else, and if I had it would have fully identified me by my real name; not ” a george smith “.
I’m not ashamed to own anything I post as G, nor for that matter as g . Some of the stuff we read here is just too funny to leave uncommented; it keeps me awake from glancing at some of the donnybrooks that plague a lot of the threads here.
G & g

george e. smith

Andrew Burnette
May 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm
Andy May, You have nothing to apologize for. george e. smith lost his marbles over nothing. …..”””””
Well Andrew I did click on that link ( ….. here …..).
And it took me to NO citation of any kind. Somebody’s facebook page maybe but with nothing readable on it.
So I still don’t know exactly what it is that the parallel universe ‘ a George smith ‘ wrote.
Nor do I care.

Holy Moly. That was embarrassing. Does anybody know if that was OUR ‘george e. smith’ or is somebody punking him?
FYI: The website was Facebook. If you’re not a member, Facebook requires you to register/sign in. It happens. People keep linking to websites that require membership or a subscription to view an article. (WSJ comes to mind.) Annoying. ‘George Smith’ was obviously a different George Smith, and nobody here gave you a thought … until you started this … whatever this was.

Oh. And here is the comment from Facebook, if you’re still interested (and if I do this right) …

George Smith Few “skeptics” have been debunked as much as Lindzen and Spencer.… And who cares if 97% of publised/ing climatologist do so in full support of agw or 90% or more of climate scientsits period…/consensus-confirmed-over…/ it’s not really about “opinions” anyway…/18/science-isnt-a-matter-of-opinion/ and particularly those of relative knownothings like Stephens whose answers sucked to anyone with the knowledge base to know why that you clearly lack.
Lindzen debunked – Google Search
Like · Reply · Yesterday at 2:33pm

He doesn’t even spell very well.


george e. smith:
You say

So I still don’t know exactly what it is that the parallel universe ‘ a George smith ‘ wrote.
Nor do I care.

For somebody who does not care you have written many words in a lot of posts which contain much ranting.
Perhaps you would benefit from you making an apology for your misunderstanding?


Richard, george has at least as much seniority here at the wuwt comment page as you do. What would you be thinking if andy had attributed what was said not to a “george smith” but, rather, to a “richard courtney”?

afonzarelli … “attributed?” Andy May did not make up the name … and he linked directly to the comment and the commenter’s name. It’s not Andy May’s fault that george e. smith is not a member of Facebook and that he couldn’t see the comment.
This is one big screw up … and not by Andy May. I’m assuming that george e. smith is going to wake up in the morning and realize he had a temporary “brain malfunction” … and will apologize to Andy May. I hope.


You say to me

Richard, george has at least as much seniority here at the wuwt comment page as you do. What would you be thinking if andy had attributed what was said not to a “george smith” but, rather, to a “richard courtney”?

Your point about “seniority” could be debated but I choose to ignore it because it has no relevance: the issues would be the same if a person had never made a comment on WUWT.
When people – usually trolls – claim stuff on the web was about me then I am “thinking” I need to state that the person mentioned was not me. Indeed, that is what I have done on the occasions when such assertions about me have been made on WUWT.
Importantly, my points were that the behaviour of george e. smith indicates he does “care”, and I suggested he may benefit from making an apology for his misunderstanding that the above article from Andy May is a personal attack on him.


“… the issues would be the same if a person had never made a comment on WUWT.”
Richard, seniority is THE issue here. Think for a moment if the name had been a “richard courtney”. You’ve been around here a long, long time. (you a ROCK STAR!) So if andy had done that, it might have been nice if he’d shown some deference and specified that it was another “richard courtney”. i can’t say whether or not you personally would have expected that, but i think readers here at wuwt, certainly myself, would expect that. (and had it been a problem for you, as it was for george, i think that would certainly have been understandable) It’s no different here in the case of george. He’s no less endearing to long time readers at wuwt than you are. A little deference here would have been appropriate. NOW, that that didn’t happen is certainly no big deal and andy owes no apology. By the same token, george owes no apology for taking umbrage. (kind of a freak thing here really, like walking down the street and getting hit by a meteor… ☺)


Tea Party, me being “the fonz”, i’m not exactly the most articulate person in the world (i think richard got my drift)…


Got a point in amongst all those caps? And not accepting an apology is just arrogant childishness – who exactly do you think you are?

Joel Snider

Well, most of what’s printed in the mainstream press is just there to provide a headline to be repeated (the rule of journalism is that most people don’t read beyond the headline, and those that do rarely read beyond the lead). Climategate was ‘debunked’ in multiple headlines. Doesn’t matter what’s real – just what you can get the bobble heads to go around repeating.
Sort of like the 97% ‘consensus’.

The only ‘dubious’ Spencer paper I am aware of was Spencer and Braswell in Remote Sensing 2010, which caused such a kerfuffle the editor resigned.
The only ‘dubious’ Lindzen paper I am aware of was Lindzen and Choi (revised) 2011.
Both reported observational sensitivity below 1. Both have suspect time lag assumptions about cloud feedback. Neither comports with several more recent observational ECS estimates such as Otto 2013 or Lewis and Curry 2014.

“Neither comports with several more recent observational ECS estimates such as Otto 2013 or Lewis and Curry 2014.”
Otto 2013, Lewis and Curry 2014 and most other observation studies assume ALL the HadCRUT warming is AGW. Do you disagree with Andy’s post above in part,”There is a secular warming trend that has persisted since the end of the Little Ice Age…” or do you agree if even half the warming since 1850 is natural then observational studies need to be chopped in half? If so, wouldn’t that put them directly in line with Lindzen and Choi?
BTW, I believe HadCRUT makes zero adjustment for UHI and cooled the past significantly with changing assumptions about SST measurement methods. Where am I going wrong?

Gunga Din

IF Drs Lindzen, Soon, Christy and Spencer (+) had ever actually been “debunked” then, I think, their own personal integrity and desire to understand would welcome the corrections. They are genuine scientist. They would not continue to endorse or promote “what they got wrong”.
Climate Seancetist such as Mann (et al) on the other hand….

george e. smith

Shazaaam !!!


There’s a typo in the first sentence; “complemented” shoud be “complimented”
[Updated, thank you. .mod]

Tom Halla

Good review of what passes for commentary by the green blob.

On figure 1, why did you plot Marcott’s temperatures and Liu’s model predictions on a different scale? It makes it difficult to compare the two graphs.


I was more concerned that all the curves could be seen well. The first version of the graph had all the curves at different levels, but it was too tall and not friendly for internet display.


“Dr. Spencer is an evangelical Christian, but in the United States we are not supposed to discriminate based on religion, one is free to have their own beliefs.”
I don’t understand why this mentioned. Did Nutella or someone make a comment about it?

Latitude, Roy has been criticized for supporting intelligent design as ‘scientific’. That ‘scientific’ support is why Beisner’s Cornwll Alliance gave Roy a special award at last year’s Heartland conference.
ID isn’t scientific. It is creationism dressed up in fancy misunderstandings. See my example discussing the ‘Irreducible complexity’ of the eye in ebook The Arts of Truth. The eye evolved. Three separate times. And if God is an intelligent desiner, whyndidmhe give cephalopods the best eye design?
Spencer supporting ID has nothing to do with his excellent physics work on the UAH temp product. But it can and has been used to question his larger scientific judgement. Hence Andy May’s comment.

Gunga Din

I suspect that more than one of those who figured out and engineered and built the Saturn rocket that sent the first man to the Moon were Christians who believed what is now called “ID”. Maybe a few of other “Faiths” and even agnostics could be thrown in. ( )
What mattered, as far as “science” is concerned, is not what they believed about how the Moon got there but how honest and accurate they were with dealing with the observable facts.


sent the first man to the Moon were Christians
the Founding Fathers definitely believed in ID. Does that mean the US Constitution is debunked?


For perspective on the Spencer smear jobs, it’s good to bear in mind that e.g. Newton was deeply religious and saw God as the master Creator. Not only that, he was a convinced practitioner of alchemy. [Based on evidence, Spencer’s sideline is high level photography].
Crucially, neither one of those “non-scientific” persuasions prevented Newton from providing mankind with some of the most insightful and pertinent science of the past 500 years. And there is no evidence that whatever Roy Spencer believes in, has any bearing on his work as a bona fides atmospheric scientist.
In that sense, both gentlemen fundamentally and very positively differ from the many ideologically motivated scientivists, who continue to provide us with their environmentalist religion served up as [pseudo] climate science.


ferdberple, according to most liberals, it does.


Any time you want to know what ID is about go to their website to investigate for yourself. But here’s a
“heads up”, when a critic equates ID with creationism you can be sure that they are ignorant of the facts
or our deliberately trying to mislead you. Quite often its deliberate ignorance because they can’t accept
the the implication of ID as opposed to science of it.

Lal, nope. I understand ID’s arguements completely. And they are wrong. Wrote it up simply in The Arts of Truth. The long version is a highly recommended book, Parker’s In th Blink of an Eye (2003). The creationist mistake is in the definition of evolutionary fitness. Fitness is always in the context of ‘at the time’. The eye is only irreducibly complex if you assume the whole thing had to emerge at once with present functionality as we now know it, whichnwould require an intelligent designer. That misunderstands the essence of evolution.
In fact, the eye evolved three times in three different ways, but interestingly all at about the same time driven by the ‘arms race’ just after the Cambrian explosion (of animal species). 1. Arthropods (insects, now extinct trilobites, and crustaceans) have compound eyes. Vertibrates have eyes with cones and rods behind the retina (and its blood supply), which is why humans are prone to macular degeneration. Cephalopods (squid, octopi) have rods and cones in front of the retina facing the lens, making them more robust and more sensitive. All three eye types sense light using the molecular descendents of the opsin proteins found in planarium flatworm ‘eyespots’ regulating planarian circadian rhythms. A nice example of evolutionary conservation (one of many involving the eye, such as the misnamed eyeless gene).


Several of Nutella’s fellow travelers have over the years used Spencer’s religion to smear him – tar and feathers insinuating that his faith makes his [demonstrably bona fides] science suspect.

The Badger

I will be getting my ordination from ULC shortly and therefore the correct title will be The Reverend Badger. Perhaps we can get a bulk discount and all take the title, that should confuse them.

Climate Heretic

Everytime an article like this one appears. I feel sick to the stomach and again I wonder what can be done about these ‘situations’. To me there is a three pronged attack, first these ‘warmers’ should be castigated to their faces wherever they are, that they are liars and document the process.
Secondly improve the education of our children with (English, maths, science, history, logic and politics) and finally do nothing, why? because the solution is occurring albeit slowly and unrelenting and that is the emergence of MSR which can provide unlimited power using the right type of reactor.
Two of these attacks are basically occurring, but the education of our children, remains the weak link.
Climate Heretic
PS /endrant. Got it off my chest. Going to have my morning coffee.

The Badger

Like you I initially was attracted to the idea of Molten Salt Reactors however the chemical soup has many many reactions going on with something like about 80 compounds which are not desirable from the point of engineering the containment,pipework,pumps,etc. Change any parameter even slightly and the composition of the soup can become much worse. The theoretical idea of pumping it through a facility to extract the nasties as an ongoing process looks tricky. Scaling up the small scale experimental units is not easy.
Hanging your hopes on Molten “Soup” Reactor may turn out to be a bit of a CLANGER.
It’s all explained in my book “Slaying the Soup Dragon”.

Super critical CO2 in a passively regulated (pebble bed?) reactor might solve most design issues. the lower pressure and temperature of SCCO2 yields better efficiency than pressure water, and the passive design uses thermal expansion to shut down the reactor in case of loss of coolant.
CO2 has so many unrecognized benefits.

Gregory White

Is this true for the simple once through proposals of Thorcon Power and Terrestrial energy?


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Climate Heretic

Or use Palemoon browser based on Firefox and then use ad block latitude.
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Climate Heretic
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David S

Irrelevant of whether the depiction of Lindsen or Hansens 1988-9 predictions are correct or not I am fascinated by the inability of climate historians and commentators inability to agree on what the climate has done in the past. The inclination for warmist fanatics to rewrite and alter historical data and circumstances to justify their position doesn’t give me much confidence of them being able to predict the future. If you can’t be certain of the past you definitely can’t be certain enough of the future to justify spending trillions of dollars and reducing global GDPs in pursuit of changing a future that no one can be certain is going to occur. Furthermore, are humans so arrogant to think that these sacrifices will actually make a difference. The only difference it will make will be that the diversion of funds from welfare programs to climate fraudsters hurts people now.

Bill Illis

The worst word usage in this whole climate science debate is the use of the word “debunked”.

The Badger

For some reason your comment made me think about the names of racehorses and I suddenly came up with this great idea for us to all club together and buy one and give it a suitable name to promote our cause.
We could then make money to fund our activities by placing bets on whether it gets shot before, during or after the first race.


I will pony up my share of the cash for a race horse…with a few conditions.
One is, that the horse’s mother has to be a mudder.


Well, Mann was debunked.

multiple solar and ocean cycles hit their lows all at once
No cyclomania, please. There is no evidence that any of those ‘cycle’ are the cause of anything. Curve and Cycle fitting are not substitutes for knowledge.


There is plenty of evidence that solar minima cause lower temperatures. Depending upon which dates you choose, the LIA suffered three or four solar minima. The longest and deepest, the Maunder, c. 1645 to 1715, coincides with the coldest decades of the LIA.comment image
Plausible mechanisms explaining this correlation have been proposed.


“There is no evidence that any of those ‘cycle’ are the cause of anything. Curve and Cycle fitting are not substitutes for knowledge.”
Those cycles as the likely cause of climate change are all over the scientific literature, and therefore they constitute knowledge. You are just trying to impose your opinion on others.

So is AGW, and they therefore constitute knowledge…
You are just trying to impose your opinion on others.
No, just trying to make them think instead of being gullible.


Mr Svalgaard,
I notice you didn’t respond to Javier on this part:
“Those cycles as the likely cause of climate change are all over the scientific literature, and therefore they constitute knowledge.”
You know it is there because you quoted the very next sentence:
“You are just trying to impose your opinion on others.”
I agree with Javier, it is published many times now as it is gaining traction, that there are indeed real cycles in play.

That something [like AGW] is all over does not make it true…
Like Lincoln’s dog.

As you said in another comment:
“Scientists should not have to stand to abuse for holding a scientific point of view, whatever it is. Usually it happens when they stand against a strong consensus.”
‘strong consensus’ = all over the scientific literature.


“So is AGW, and they therefore constitute knowledge…”
Of course AGW constitutes knowledge. Incomplete and partially incorrect knowledge also constitutes knowledge. Or do you support the view that Galen of Pergamon did not constitute medical knowledge at the time?
“That something [like AGW] is all over does not make it true…”
Doesn’t make it false either. You are trying to use the “guilt by association” fallacy. AGW and solar-climate cycles hypotheses are unrelated.
“As you said in another comment:
“Scientists should not have to stand to abuse for holding a scientific point of view, whatever it is. Usually it happens when they stand against a strong consensus.”
‘strong consensus’ = all over the scientific literature.”

And I respect your scientific position on this matter (even thinking you are wrong), while the opposite is not true.


Goes to the heart of something Willis pointed out here recently:
• Nobody knows why the globe was generally warmer in Roman times
• Nobody knows why the globe generally cooled after Roman times
• Nobody knows why the globe generally warmed up again in Medieval times
• Nobody knows why the globe greatly cooled after Medieval times, leading to the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600s/1700s.
• Nobody knows why the Little Ice Age didn’t descend into a real Ice Age.
• Nobody knows why the earth started generally warming at about 0.5°C per century since the Little Ice Age.
• Nobody knows why this warming continued through the 20th century.
• Nobody knows whether the ~ 0.5°C warming of the 21st century is 100% natural and just a continuance of the warming of previous two centuries, or whether some or all of of the warming is due to humans.
• Nobody knows why there has been a two-decade “hiatus” in the ongoing three centuries of warming.
“Cyclomania” being out – that would include Curry’s “stadium wave” – what’s the driver? Can’t be Roman SUVs.
Instead of sniping at anything/everything you disagree with, why not suggest a credible working hypothesis?
[No disrespect to Willis, I do hold a PhD in a relevant subject matter and am always up for a good scientifically coherent argument]

With nine ‘nobody knows’, credible working hypotheses are hard to come by. I’ll suggest simple stochastic, internal variations, which could even be quasi-cycles for a short time.
Can’t be Roman SUVs
Is not worthy of a “PhD in a relevant subject matter”, and thus places you in a category to be ignored.

I believe that I can offer a credible working hypothesis for all of the points listed in your post:
i have an essay posted on-line “Climate Change Deciphered” (Use the DuckDuckgo search engine and enter the Title), which has been empirically validated multiple times.
It simply states that the control knob for Earth’s climate is the amount of Sulfur Dioxide aerosols present in the atmosphere: reduce them, and it warms up. Increase them. and it cools down.
This has been true for the past 160 years, where the emissions have been largely anthropogenic in nature. However, most large volcanic eruptions eruptions inject sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, causing cooling until the emissions settle out.
All that is needed for the listed time periods is for little volcanic activity during the warm periods, and significant volcanic activity for the colder periods (already proven for the Little Ice Age)
This mechanism has been operating for millions of years, and has undoubtedly led to most, if not all, of our various Ice Ages.

Ron Williams

I did google your article Burl, which I read and I also see you wrote a guest essay here back in May 2015.
But your statement above leads me to believe that your premise for your hypothesis that SO2 is responsible for most ice ages for millions of years, well, is pretty far off the beaten track, if not over the cliff. “This mechanism has been operating for millions of years, and has undoubtedly led to most, if not all, of our various Ice Ages.” Sorry, but after a statement as outlandish as that, I can’t take anything you write seriously.

Ron Williams:
Just a simple extrapolation. If present day large volcanic eruptions cause cooling by injecting dimming Sulfur Dioxide aerosols into the stratosphere, any volcanic eruptions in the distant past would have had the same effect.
Volcanic activity in the past was far greater than now (consider the Deccan and Siberian traps, for example), so sufficient cooling to trigger an Ice Age is really unavoidable.

richard verney

I find myself in partial sympathy with the point raised by Leif, and correct to point the caveat out.
But then again, in ancient times, people knew that there were tides, that tides were a cyclical event and could be predicted with certainty even though they had no comprehension of why and how they occurred. They did not know or understand the driver behind tides, but this did not prevent the observation of what appears to be a cyclical event from being useful and one that could be used as a predictor of things to come.
The bottom line is that we only have a sketchy handle on the past, and do not well know or understand the processes involved in driving change. we have a lot of learning and understanding to do before we are in a position to reasonably predict the future.

Richard Verney:
Climate is really quite predictable, if the correct parameters are considered. If you have not done so, search for “Climate Change Deciphered” on DuckDuckgo.

old construction worker

“• Nobody knows why the globe…” Which leads me to believe it my take hundreds of years of date collection before climate change is understood. What we do know is there ain’t no “Hot Spot” and without water, water vapor and cloud formation our landscape would look like the Moon’s.

Ron Williams

Burl Henry May 4, 2017 at 5:38 am
If you had stated Burl, that the climate swings since 1850 to date were caused by natural and forced SO2, then I perhaps would have taken a keen interest in digging deeper into this. After all, you haven’t discovered anything new here with global dimming/brightening. Aerosol cooling is fairly well established, although my understanding is that it is a short lived phenomena after a major vulcanism event. If accreting from human sources, then might be a very small influence in the background over time, but probably not a driver of climate unless we had multiple vulcanism events that occurred on a much higher frequency. We already have a global consensus that CO2 is that new ‘control knob’ on weather/climate, so probably best if we unwrap that one before tackling your hypothesis.
What I take issue with is that you claim this has been the cause of most of the ice ages on earth. If you think your hypothesis for SO2 causing ice ages is better than well established century old theories on orbital forcing doing so, then I think you are a bit off your rocker. And I think most here would probably agree with that, as the comments from your guest essay here at WUWT a few years ago already point out.

Ron Williams:
You said “If you had stated Burl, that the climate swings since 1850 to date were caused by natural and forced SO2, then I perhaps would have taken a keen interest in digging deeper
into this”
But Ron, this is exactly what I had said. “Natural” decreases in tropospheric SO2 levels associated with business recessions, cause temperatures to temporarily increase. And “forced” decreases due to environmental concerns also cause temperatures to increase. These increases, however, are NOT temporary, although they can be temporarily off-set by net increases in global anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions, La Ninas, or a large volcanic eruption.
And here, the IPCC diagram of radiative is in error, since it has no component for warming due to the REMOVAL of cooling SO2 aerosols from the atmosphere (which peaked at approx. 131 Megatonnes in 1972-74). The expected warming from their reduction due to clean air efforts precisely matches the rise in average global temperatures 1975-2011, leaving NO possibility for any warming due to CO2, in spite of the global “consensus”.
And rather than CO2 being the “control knob on weather/climate”, I have shown that the control knob is actually SO2. Recognition of this fact can halt, or even reverse, climate change at very little expense. Failure to do so will subject the Earth to ever-increasing temperatures.
And, yes, I do believe that SO2 is most probably the cause of our Ice Ages. To believe otherwise would require that earlier massive volcanic eruptions would have injected no dimming SO2 aerosols into the stratosphere (where they can take years to settle out). Multiple eruptions, from the same or other volcanoes would quickly result in areas of un-melted snow that would change the albedo of the earth, and accelerate cooling (the Deccan eruptions reportedly lasted for 500,000 years).
Far from being “off my rocker”, those who believe in “well established century old “theories” of orbital forcing” causing Ice Ages are the ones who are misguided. The massive effects of volcanic eruption cooling simply cannot be ignored.
My SO2 theory has been empirically tested and validated. What more, in your mind, is needed for its acceptance?
One further comment: I have established that all El Ninos 1850 – 1970 have been associated with business recessions (that is, reduced SO2 levels). Since about 1970, there have been some which are not associated with a recession, but are caused by
intentional reductions in SO2 levels. All, therefore, are man made.


It was Willis who lined up the nine “nobody knows”, not me – I merely thought them interesting because he’s largely right.
I duly note that Leif’s engrained ivory tower arrogance is still present in full splendor – twinned with no sense of humour. The PhD is in an eminently CAGW/CACC relevant subject matter, backed up by some 25 years of science and technology related due diligence – something that teaches you to recognize Leifian “no cyclomania” type hand waving for what it is. Likewise to be ignored until Dr Svalgaard comes up with a constructive contribution.

Ron Williams

It is well known that the Milankovitch ‘Cycles’ are caused by the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn as well as Sun/Moon cycles over vast time scales. Why the mania about cycles, as I have heard you repeat here several times. Honest question? It is these orbital cycles that are causing long term climate fluctuation with our current interglacial in a glacial period.


In Dr Christy’s Fig 2, one of the CIMP5 model runs (just one!) seems to follow the observed temperatures reasonably well. Its hard to read the legend, but which model run is it, and what are its parameters?

Gilbert K. Arnold

Dave R: I believe it i the /Russian one.

Dave Fair

It’s obvious the Russian model hacks the climate to support President Trump’s position on the Paris Climate Accord. Russian/Trump collusion has been ongoing, and bends U.S. policy to Putin’s will.
Trust me; I know Susan Rice.

Wim Röst

Ron Clutz tells more about a model that fits: . His findings are interesting.
An excerpt:
” Above, I showed how one CMIP5 model produced historical temperature trends closely comparable to HADCRUT4. That same model, INMCM4, was also closest to Berkeley Earth and RSS series.
Curious about what makes this model different from the others, I consulted several comparative surveys of CMIP5 models. There appear to be 3 features of INMCM4 that differentiate it from the others.
1.INMCM4 has the lowest CO2 forcing response at 4.1K for 4XCO2. That is 37% lower than multi-model mean.
2.INMCM4 has by far the highest climate system inertia: Deep ocean heat capacity in INMCM4 is 317 W yr m^-2 K^-1, 200% of the mean (which excluded INMCM4 because it was such an outlier)
3.INMCM4 exactly matches observed atmospheric H2O content in lower troposphere (215 hPa), and is biased low above that. Most others are biased high.
So the model that most closely reproduces the temperature history has high inertia from ocean heat capacities, low forcing from CO2 and less water for feedback. Why aren’t the other models built like this one?”


So let me understand this – the IPCC model run with parameters way outside “normal” ranges – which resulted in it being excluded as an outlier in some cases – is the only run that most closely matches observed data?
What does that say about the parameters used for the other 101 model runs? Or for the averages of those parameters?

Wim Röst

“What does that say about the parameters used for the other 101 model runs? Or for the averages of those parameters?”
WR: What would be expected is that the other models would be adapted. But a lesser role for CO2 and H2O feedback and a much more important role for the oceans is probably meeting ‘principal problems’.
Like ‘money’?
If other principal problems exist, I would like to know which ones.


So this run, with low CO2 feedback, low H2O feedback, and higher (2x) ocean effect are the comparable model parameters. Isnt that the basis of the debate about why most of the IPCC models are off track?
Why not back calculate forcings from this model run, which seems to be fairly close to real world data in the first place?


In a Facebook debate once, an old School Friend (I’m 52) argued that Prof. Lindzen could not be given any credibility because he is a Christian and therefore unable to understand or accept or “do” Science.
I gave up trying to convince this B grade intellect what Science actually is. He was a very average intellect at school, and nothing has changed. Yet such people are allowed to vote. That disturbs me.

Roger Knights

“argued that Prof. Lindzen could not be given any credibility because he is a Christian . . . .”
He must have meant Spencer or Christie.

Then again, he might have meant Canadian born US “educated” evangelist Katherine Hayhoe. Oh, wait … that can’t be right ‘cuz Hayhoe, not unlike the Pope, faithfully adheres to the tenets of the climatically correct “bible” 😉


In their minds, Science has become a Religion and it is a jealous one. They follow their high priests, accept the dogma, and never question the appeals to authority. The precautionary principle, neo-Malthusian ideas (without actually reading Malthus), and self-loathing of western culture and accomplishments are their guidestars.
The rational methods and procedures that used to refer to science probably need a new name.

Lindzen is Jewish. I know because I spent a day with him reviewing the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth. We chatted about his impending retirement over lunch at the faculty club.


DeSmog is a joke but i have noticed that if i ignore all the insults and sneers and argue strictly along the terms of the scientific method the trolls run away.
I started a couple of days ago and all that I have had is sneers and insults. When I hold firm and insist that they state a hypothesis and define falsification criteria etc they get very upset and call me a troll.
The trick is not to let them divert the debate onto some random sea ice measurement etc. Just start at the basics and they cannot get past first base.
It shows how lame science teaching has become.


LewSkannen – I agree entirely. I’ve had quite a number of exchanges with ‘believers’ in the letter pages of local newpapers, and they never produce any figures or references to back up their comments in response to mine – nor do they never take any notice of the points made, simply repeating their belief in ‘the science’.


Whoops – I meant say ‘nor do they ever’ – my apologies!

High Treason

Claiming falsely that someone has been debunked is character assassination and thus libel. It is high time someone takes one of these liars to court. If it is good enough for Michael Mann to go to court over reputation attack, it is good enough for us. A successful attack might just make the lefties think twice, not they are actually capable of original thought.
For too long the left have been getting away with idle smears on reputations-it is time someone stands up to them and give them a taste of their own medicine. It might make them think twice before engaging in character assassination.


I googled “Andy May Debunked” — “No results found”. Just wanted to be sure 😉


Darn. You just provided a hit with your comment, and thus inadvertently debunked poor Andy.

Mods … where’d my comment go??????


It’s always hard to know where to start with the cacophony of catastrophists and their cackling climactic claims but Lindzen does a dutiful denouement of the dystopian dullards-


Lindzen, Soon, Haper, Spencer, Curry, Pielke Jr., Mockton, Christy, and several others, whether right or wrong, have had to take so much abuse just for maintaining their scientific position, that everybody, regardless of opinion on climate change, is deeply in debt with them. Scientists should not have to stand to abuse for holding a scientific point of view, whatever it is. Usually it happens when they stand against a strong consensus.
Over a century ago, these words were written:
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
– S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire
Our civilization might not be advancing as most people seem to believe.

Wim Röst

Very well said.

The warmist-alarmists invented fake news.

DeSmogBlog is infamous for its collaboration with Peter Gleick in the “FakeGate” scandal, in which they tried to smear Heartland Institute with a forged “strategy memo” document.
The (left-leaning) Atlantic had a pretty good article on Gleick’s crimes, though they didn’t mention DeSmogBlog’s role:
WUWT has a lot of good info:
(Google finds even more.)
Yet, despite proof that the “strategy memo” was forged (probably by Gleick, himself), DeSmogBlog, even to this day, stands by the lies. They still won’t admit that it was a forgery:
Nobody associated with DeSmogBlog is trustworthy.

Climate wars. Thanks!


‘Debunked’ is the idiotic term used by all the climate change zealots and activists – and there’s a very nasty reason for this, because it infers of course that the person being ‘debunked’ is stupid, making unfounded and incorrect claims, incompetent and so forth – and it’s usually aimed at well-qualified and experienced scientists.
It’s a propaganda tool, and nothing else – if an article or post claims to ‘debunk’ something, I don’t read it.
Scientific and technical people don’t ‘debunk’ another’s work. They may disagree, but ‘debunk’ isn’t in their vocabulary.


The so-called “climate crisis” is the biggest fake news in the world. That facebook hacks and rent seeking hustlers believe in it is no surprise.

Ray in SC

A [common] claim is that the [satellite] record is ‘biased’ on decadal time scales due to orbital drift. Will someone help me understand how climate satellites measure temperature, why ‘orbital drift’ or ‘orbital decay’ affects that reading, and how they compensate for this? Also, is it true that this was corrected 20 years ago?

Ray in SC

I do not know why the words common and satellite appear in brackets in my previous post. Please ignore the brackets, they have no significance.

Ray in SC: On this site, when the mods find a misspelled word, their practice is to correct the spelling, insert the entire correctly spelled word within square brackets, and leave the rest of the comment as-found. Obviously, not all spelling errors are identified, but it is easier to read a full word than a single letter. The brackets identify what was changed, as you found. In your case, apparently both “satellite” and “common” were misspelled. (Matters of grammar or clarity are occasionally questioned, but rarely changed.)

These are polar orbit satellites. Orbital drift/decay causes the time the equator is crossed to drift. So What the satellite geographically ‘sees’ at any instant varies over time and this has to be corrected for. And yes, UAH fixed this about two decades ago. All documented in the literature at the time.

Ray in SC

Thanks for the additional comments. AGW supporters still dismiss the satellite record as being flawed so it was a pleasant surprise to discover this is not the case. This led me to seek a a better understanding of the issue. You and Andy have been quite helpful. Thank you.


EXCELLENT article.


And Hansen is where now ?

In terms of both intellect and integrity, Richard Lindzen towers over his warmist peers to an almost unprecedented degree in the history of science. A lion surrounded by rats.

There is a problem with your figure 1, which shows (in black), a supposed proxy temperature graph labelled as if from S A Marcott (2013). But it is NOT from Marcott et al. It is a modification of their graph and was made by a blogger named Javier, who reported it (indeed the whole of your Figure 1) on the web site of Judith Curry. The graph suggests that rising modern temperatures have not (yet) reached those of the early Holocene. But, Miller et al., (2013) used radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants exposed from beneath melting Canadian ice caps to show that 5,000 years of summer cooling (by c.2.7°C) has now been reversed, and that average summer temperatures of the last 100 years are now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years, including the peak warmth of the early Holocene. See –
Miller, G.H., Lehman, S.J., Refsnider et al., 2013, Unprecedented recent summer warmth in Arctic Canada. Geophys. Res. Letts., 40, 5745–5751, doi:10.1002/2013GL057188.


There is a problem with your figure 1, which shows (in black), a supposed proxy temperature graph labelled as if from S A Marcott (2013). But it is NOT from Marcott et al. It is a modification of their graph and was made by a blogger named Javier, who reported it (indeed the whole of your Figure 1) on the web site of Judith Curry.

You are incorrect, polar scientist. The modification was not made by me, but by Tamino (aka Grant Foster). He showed how it was done here:
and in related posts. Tamino is a rabid warmist, but he can be trusted to get his statistic analysis correct, as he claims to be a trained statistician, and has a couple of publications with Stefan Rahmstorf.

The graph suggests that rising modern temperatures have not (yet) reached those of the early Holocene.

That is what Marcott et al., 2013 supports. And in fact that is what Marcott et al. say:
“Based on comparison of the instrumental record of global temperature change with the distribution of Holocene global average temperatures from our paleo-reconstruction, we find that the decade 2000-2009 has probably not exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene.”
You are welcome to interpret Marcott et al., 2013 in a different way to their authors.

Miller et al., (2013) … show that … average summer temperatures of the last 100 years are now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years, including the peak warmth of the early Holocene.

Perhaps that is true for the Canadian tundra where the work was done, or perhaps not. Many other proxies, and temperature reconstructions from many other places say otherwise. No proxy is going to give you the truth in isolation.

You can’t count on Tamino (aka Grant Foster) to get statistical analysis correct. What you can count on is that if you catch him in an error, and write about it on his blog, he will delete what you wrote. That’s the only way he can get away with the misinformation he posts.
Sadly, I write from personal experience. He made the mistake of conflating satellite data with tide gauge data, to create the illusion of acceleration where none exists; I pointed it out, and look what happened:


Hi Dave,
I also suffered Tamino heavy censorship to the point I stopped visiting, as nearly everybody except his fan base has done. Nevertheless I think that his statistical treatment of Marcott et al. proxies, which is rather simple, is correct. The result has been confirmed by Marcott et al. themselves in their Questions and Answers FAQ. I have read every article that Steve McIntyre wrote on Marcott et al., reconstruction. I believe Tamino’s remake has no issues except those derived from proxy selection. While waiting for a future better reconstruction, I think that this one is as good as it gets, and being the only one available, I will continue using it in the version corrected for average by Tamino, and for temperature scale by me.

I do not dispute your judgement on that, Javier. I was speaking of the general case, not that particular case.

Hi Javier,
After comparing your graph with Marcott’s it seems to me that what you plotted was not GLOBAL temperature (from Marcott’s figure 1(D)) but the northern hemisphere temperature from Marcott’s figure 2 (I) for 90 to 30 N. The maximum global temperature anomaly was around 0.5C, maybe just reaching 0.6C on occasion, whereas the northern hemisphere anomaly was closer to 0.8C. A significant difference. It would therefore appear (to me) that your adjustment exacerbates the global anomaly significantly.


it seems to me that what you plotted was not GLOBAL temperature (from Marcott’s figure 1(D)) but the northern hemisphere temperature from Marcott’s figure 2 (I) for 90 to 30 N.

No Polar scientist,
The reconstruction I presented uses the 73 global proxies of Marcott et al., 2013 (available in the supplemental information). As I said, Tamino explains how this is done in his article:
You can compare the reconstruction with Tamino’s black curve from his previous to last figure (differencing method, published dates).
I am afraid you will have to come to terms with current temperatures being lower than Holocene Hypsithermal temperatures. It is well supported by multiple lines of evidence in the bibliography.


How does one access the bibliography?


How does one access the bibliography?

The evidence is discussed in my last article at Judith Curry’s blog. The bibliography is linked at the end of the article.


Got the bibliography, thank you.


Lindzen is consistently wrong on almost everything. He’s a silly little man that no one of importance takes seriously. Much like the readership here…

Juan Slayton

No doubt but ye are the people and wisdom shall die with you.
: > )

Dave Fair

Bruce, please list (including supporting evidence) any significant errors on the part of Dr. Lindzen.


Andy, I do have a further comment on your Figure 1, which was derived from Javier. It relates to the slight post- 6000 BP rise in CO2, which Javier calculated as one third of the glacial-interglacial span of CO2. But it quite clearly is NOT that much. The CO2 at the Last Glacial Maximum was down at 180 ppm. It rose to 265 ppm at the start of the Holocene, i.e. by 85 ppm or 47%. It then fell slightly to 260 ppm by about 6000 BP, after which it rose by 20 ppm to 280 ppm, a rise of just 7.7%. The total change from the Last Glacial Max to the Little Ice Age was 100 ppm, or 55%. Hence there is no way that we are looking at an increase of one third in CO2 within the Holocene. It is no wonder that the slight rise of 7.7% in CO2 from 6000 BP to the Little Ice Age did not significantly affect temperature. It was too small when counted against the substantial decline in northern hemisphere insolation. Like I said, one must take great care when looking at the data. Otherwise one may be led astray.

Wim Röst

polar scientist May 5, 2017 at 1:50 am: “….that average summer temperatures of the last 100 years are now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years”
WR: There is other literature that tells another story. In North Siberia you can still find the tree stumps in the tundra. Trees were growing there during the Holocene Optimum up to where now the Arctic Ocean is:
Holocene Treeline History and Climate Change Across Northern Eurasia (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed May 5, 2017].
Radiocarbon-dated macrofossils are used to document Holocene treeline history across northern Russia (including Siberia). Boreal forest development in this region commenced by 10,000 yr B.P. Over most of Russia, forest advanced to or near the current arctic coastline between 9000 and 7000 yr B.P. and retreated to its present position by between 4000 and 3000 yr B.P. Forest establishment and retreat was roughly synchronous across most of northern Russia. Treeline advance on the Kola Peninsula, however, appears to have occurred later than in other regions. During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern. The development of forest and expansion of treeline likely reflects a number of complimentary environmental conditions, including heightened summer insolation, the demise of Eurasian ice sheets, reduced sea-ice cover, greater continentality with eustatically lower sea level, and extreme Arctic penetration of warm North Atlantic waters. The late Holocene retreat of Eurasian treeline coincides with declining summer insolation, cooling arctic waters, and neoglaciation.


Please see my response in the post above, mentioning the paperboy Herzschuh, which explains why modern trees have not yet made it to the Siberian coast despite the warming. They are held up by the unmelted underlying permafrost. The lag in melting the permafrost cause there to be a vegetal lag. That means we can’t use the existence of tree stumps as a temperature indicator.


Polar scientist,
I believe my calculations on CO2 to be correct.
Glacial CO2 termination values according to Shakun et al. 2012:
190-265 ppm. Increase +75 ppm
Holocene CO2 changes between 6800 and 600 yr BP according to Monnin et al. 2004:
258-283 ppm. Increase +25 ppm
Two conclusions are evident:
1. 6800-600 yr BP Holocene increase in CO2 levels is not slight by pre-industrial standards. It is very significant.
2. The increase in CO2 levels during the Holocene between 6800-600 yr BP constitutes a third of the increase in CO2 levels that took place at glacial termination.
Now let’s convert that to temperature effect which is logarithmic:
Regarding climatic effect, the Holocene Neoglacial CO2 increase constitutes 27% of the interglacial increase. In one case we had a drastic warming that got the world out of a glacial state. In the other we have a very significant cooling that we call Neoglaciation. Not consistent at all. The only logical conclusion is that CO2 is at best a second order climate factor, that is trumped by orbital changes.
Can you show me where did I go wrong on this?

Can you show me where did I go wrong on this?

All things being equal, co2 has a logarithmic affect. But all things are not equal, water vapor controls cooling and min temp, and co2 have minimal affect since water vapor has 4 or 5 times the forcing, and control of outgoing radiation at night.


Of course, micro6500
But we are limiting ourselves to discuss CO2, because if we include every possible feedback factor, then the only honest answer is that we do not know the effect of CO2 on climate even by approximation. However this type of answer, while honest, is not conductive to the desired (by some) policy changes and is thus avoided.
However it can be demonstrated that temperatures on earth respond primarily to orbital changes, even if other factors are important for the final outcome.
As now and for the future 20,000 years orbital changes are conductive to a significant decrease in earth’s temperatures, any increase in global average temperature has to be considered a temporary diversion. Whether welcomed or not that is of course a matter of opinion.


Javier, according to Pedro et al 2012 (Climate of the Past) the post glacial rise in CO2 was 190 to 270 ppm, or +80. According to Ruddiman et al 2016 (Rev Geophys), from about 6000 years ago the rise in CO2 was 260 to 280 ppm, or +20. But note the overlap. This latest rise increased CO2 by merely 10ppm compared with the post glacial rise of +80ppm (i.e. by around 12%, not by a full third of the post-glacial rise).


Polar scientists,

According to Ruddiman et al 2016 (Rev Geophys), from about 6000 years ago the rise in CO2 was 260 to 280 ppm, or +20.

This is EPICA Dome C CO2 data:
1. High-resolution EDC CO2 data
Column 1: Depth (m)
Column 2: Age (Years before 1950 AD, EDC1 Timescale)
Column 3: CO2 mean (ppmv)
Column 4: CO2 sigma mean (ppmv) sigma mean is one sigma of the mean value
(of 6 neighboring samples)
Depth Age CO2 sigma
115.48 604 281.1 1.1
118.615 709 282.2 0.5
285.965 6713 258.1 1.4
288.165 6792 257.6 0.9
415.73 11099 265.2 0.8
526.295 16883 191 0.5
528.53 17073 188.5 0.7
531.245 17311 188.5 0.7
532.93 17463 189.2 0.4

282.2 – 257.6 = 24.6 ppm
265.2 – 188.5 = 76.7 ppm
Temperature changes and CO2 changes are inconsistent with CO2 being a first order effect. The simplest explanation is that CO2 is a second order factor in terms of temperature changes. This is supported also at deglaciations, when temperature changes and CO2 changes are uncoupled by almost a thousand years:
If it does not protect at all from abrupt cooling, why should it cause abrupt warming?


I agree that during the Pleistocene the main driver of climate change has been orbital insolation, modulated by solar change through the 208-year Suess Cycle. But the amounts of orbital change are not sufficient to provide the full extent of glacial to interglacial change. That change is enhanced by the greenhouse effect as warming forces CO2 out of the ocean (warm water holds less gas), and as warming provides the atmosphere with more water vapour. So, yes, at those times CO2 has a secondary effect. But in the deep geological past there were times when CO2 was much more abundant than during the Pleistocene, and at those times CO2 had a primary effect (see Foster et al, 2017, Nature Communications, April 2 issue). Right now, at the end of the Holocene, we have moved away from the natural CO2 envelope of the Pleistocene (180-280 ppm) and into CO2 territory last seen in the Pliocene (3.5 million years ago) or the Miocene (17 million years ago),and, wit 400 ppm now, are approaching values of the Eocene (50 million years ago). The underlying orbital insulation is flat or in slight decline, so it is not the orbit that is controlling change any longer in the way that it did during the earlier part of the holocene, when we went from a climatic optimum into a neoglacial. The paradigm has shifted back to what it was in warmer pre-Pleistocene epochs. We are heading from an icehouse climate towards a greenhouse climate. Geology is what tells us this (see Foster et al 2017). In icehouse periods CO2 is very low, and orbital and solar change dominate temperature change. In greenhouse climates orbital and solar change are weak and CO2 is abundant and dominates temperature change. This has been known since TC Chamberlin first proposed it in 1899.

Polar Scientist:
In your detailed reply to Javier, you state “I agree that during the Pleistocene the main driver of climate change has been orbital insolation, modulated by solar change through the 208-year Suess cycle” Etc.
No, the main driver of Climate Change throughout Earth’s history has simply been the amount of dimming Sulfur Dioxide aerosols spewed into the stratosphere due to volcanic activity. Periods of intense volcanism will create a frigid climate, and its cessation will create a warm climate.
As a scientist, you should not ignore this obvious fact.
Further, there is no evidence that CO2 has ever caused any warming. Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for an explanation.


Sorry, the lag indicated in the figure is almost 5000 years.


Polar scientist,

But in the deep geological past there were times when CO2 was much more abundant than during the Pleistocene, and at those times CO2 had a primary effect.

Indeed as far as we now, CO2 levels have never been as low as in the late Pleistocene. However earth’s temperature has been lower than current multiple times in the past 600 million years. We must then conclude that the earth has been both colder and warmer with more CO2, and therefore, unlike what you say, CO2 cannot be a first order factor in the determination of temperatures.

The underlying orbital insulation is flat or in slight decline, so it is not the orbit that is controlling change any longer in the way that it did during the earlier part of the holocene, when we went from a climatic optimum into a neoglacial.

Orbital changes are still controlling change in the same way they have done for at least millions of years. Obliquity is still decreasing and this is the common factor to absolutely all interglacial terminations (glaciations) regardless of insulation (see figure 14 in the first Nature Unbound article, and figure 35 in the last). Multi-centennial trends against orbital forcing are common. They don’t mean that orbital changes are not in control. For the past 7000 years every millennium has been colder than the previous one, and that includes the past millennium when ALL current global warming took place. I see no indication that the next millennium is going to break the orbital rule.

The paradigm has shifted back to what it was in warmer pre-Pleistocene epochs.

Unsupported by evidence, and therefore a conjecture at best.

We are heading from an icehouse climate towards a greenhouse climate.

Last time I checked nobody was able to predict climate 20 years in advance. The safest bet is that we are headed for a new glacial period in a few thousand years.

In icehouse periods CO2 is very low, and orbital and solar change dominate temperature change. In greenhouse climates orbital and solar change are weak and CO2 is abundant and dominates temperature change. This has been known since TC Chamberlin first proposed it in 1899.

Not known. Hypothesized. There is a fundamental contradiction in that hypothesis. CO2 changes have a lot more effect when there is little CO2. When there is a lot of CO2 it saturates. Greenhouse climates are very humid. As water vapor absorption spectrum overlaps with CO2 and it is so much more abundant, it leaves the CO2 with no role whatsoever. In a warm humid greenhouse climate CO2 has no role to play. The main role of CO2 nowadays is in the Arctic, where it is very cold and the air has very low water vapor content. Just the opposite conditions of a greenhouse world.

As water vapor absorption spectrum overlaps with CO2 and it is so much more abundant, it leaves the CO2 with no role whatsoever.

The water vapor at night has to go through a state change to produce dew, that energy released is far larger that just changing the molecular energy of gaseous co2 while changing temperature.


The work done by Berner over the years, and subsequently by Dana Royer (e.g. GSA Today, 2004) shows that the only time during the past 600 million years that CO2 was as low as it has been during the Pleistocene was during the Carboniferous, 300 million years ago.That was also when Earth had its last major glacial period. It was previously thought from oxygen isotope data that there had been other equally cold periods, but Royer was able to demonstrate that the oxygen isotopes need to b e subject to a correction for oceanic pH, which itself is affected by the abundance of CO2. When you make the correction to the oxygen isotopes, the apparent cold periods disappear, apart from the Carboniferous one and the Pleistocene one. The history of CO2 and climate is well spelled out in paleoclimate books that summarise the geological literature going back into deep time (e.g. Hay, 2013, Experimenting on a small planet; Ruddiman, 2014, Paleoclimates 3rd edition; Bender, 2013, Paleoclimates; Beerling, 2007 – The Emerald Planet; Summerhayes 2015 Earth’s Climate Evolution). All of these indicate as Foster et al 2017 noted, that CO2 is a first order control on climate. This goes back to T C Chamberlin, 1899, and is also well expressed by Harold Urey in his 1952 book on the planets. Plate tectonics is the ultimate modifier of the sun’s effects. Rapid spreading puts more CO2 into the atmosphere, mountain building episodes supply chemical weathering that takes CO2 out of the atmosphere.These two factors are not always in balance, which is why there are times when CO2 provides a significant climate driver.
As you say, obliquity is still decreasing, but absolute insolation is not. The data from Andre Berger would seem to indicate that we will not get any more ice in the immediate future because of that. We obviously disagree about what will happen next, but that is because I follow what the above mentioned geological literature has to say on the matter. Evidently, you do not, though it is not immediately apparent what evidence you have that would counter what has been published. The safest bet would seem to be to follow the geological record and expect continued warming.
Clearly you are keen to differentiate between what is “not known” and what is “hypothesised”. But most science works by taking data and developing hypotheses that explain it. So in that context you cannot treat ‘hypothesised’ as a detrimental term. Good scientists develop hypotheses, and then test them. The above mentioned literature does that. Where is your literature that tells you they are all wrong?
You say that in a greenhouse climate CO2 has no role to play – the warming is all done by water vapour. But water vapour rains out below the stratosphere, while CO2 permeates the entire atmosphere. One can of course calculate what will happen. I don’t believe you have done that.


There is a big uncertainty about CO2 levels of the distant past, manifested by huge error bars and very long periods without data. Most researchers use a model output, Geocarb III, from Berner, as a rough guide for past CO2 levels. When we compare this CO2 rough reconstruction, with temperature reconstructions from Veizer or Scotese they don’t show a good correlation. We can see clearly periods colder than now (currently ~ 14°C) and warmer than now, with more CO2 than now. Hardly what one would expect from a first order control on climate.
Some authors believe that CO2 levels have shaped temperatures on earth, but the evidence is clearly shaky. Others propose different hypotheses. See for example Eyles 2008 “Glacio-epochs and the supercontinent cycle after ∼3.0 Ga: Tectonic boundary conditions for glaciation.” The CO2 hypothesis is just the fashionable explanation that is easier to publish. It doesn’t fit the data particularly well.
André Berger is a follower of the hypothesis that the glacial cycle is ruled by 65°N summer insolation. He has clearly not reviewed the data in detail, because glaciations take place every time despite increasing 65°N summer insolation.
There you can see that insolation always increases during glaciations, and it makes little difference. Berger is clearly wrong. Tzedakis et al., 2017 have proposed in my opinion a better hypothesis where the glacial cycle is ruled by obliquity.
I do not use ‘hypothesised’ as a detrimental term. I know very well how science works. And I also know that the great majority of hypotheses that are published in the scientific literature end up being totally or partially wrong. This steams from the fact that there are unlimited explanations for every phenomenon, and only one of them is correct. Therefore the correct scientific position is one of skepticism if some of the available evidence is not properly explained by an hypothesis, which is often the case, and/or if there are alternative explanations that have not been properly discarded.
Last time I checked, the temperature of the stratosphere depended on ozone, not CO2.


The problem with Veizer is that he is using oxygen isotope data uncorrected for the pH effect imposed by the dissolution of CO2 in the ocean at times of high atmospheric CO2. The problem with Scotese is that he is merely copying Veizer. You really should catch up with Royer’s stuff on the effects of CO2 on oxygen isotopes (GSA Today 2004), and Zeebe, 1999, Geochim. Cosmochim. Act 63, p 2001-2007. They show why Veizer and Scotese were wrong. The science is moving along – you have to keep up with it.


Polar scientist,
I am familiar with competing Holocene temperature reconstructions. There is a clear trend by some scientists to review paleodata in terms of CO2, and one has to be cautious before accepting these propositions as the new truth. Paleodata, specially when talking about data so old and insecure, has to be taken with a grain of salt before jumping to conclusions. CO2 does not provide any explanation for why ice ages are separated by about 150 million years.


The Carboniferous glaciation was largely caused by two things: first the growth of land plants beginning in the Silurian about 450 million years ago then spreading and becoming more successful at extracting CO2 from the atmosphere – forming a new CO2 sink; second, the coming together of the southern and northern continental fragments, Laurasia and Gondwana, creating a swampy region along the equator about 300 million years ago, into which abundant tree remans fell and whose decomposition was thus prevented, hence taking yet more CO2 out of the air into a sink by the formation of what are now the worlds major coal deposits. Those processes led to massive CO2 drawdown and consequent cooling that led to the Carboniferous-Permian ice age. Things gradually recovered as volcanoes continued to put CO2 into the air, eventually raising the temperature enough to melt the ice even though the southern continents still lay over the pole. The rise in CO2 continued into the Cretaceous, driven by volcanic emissions from the mid ocean ridges between the spreading continents. However, the gradual build up of mountains and slowing of the spreading process after about 50 million years ago led to more chemical weathering of minerals in mountains by acid rain, which drew CO2 out of the atmosphere in a slow steady decline towards the present low CO2 glacial period, which in effect began with the formation of the first ice sheet on Antarctica 34 million years ago. All this is not new in the geological study of climate. See Beetling, The Emerald Plant, Ox Uni Press 2007.


Polar scientist,
We give everything an explanation, whether correct or not. When you say “The Carboniferous glaciation was largely caused by two things,” you display a lot of security on something that it is largely unknown. How could you know the causes of a glaciation that took place over 300 million years ago? You are surely making an educated guess. The evidence doesn’t give information about causes, it gives information about changes that took place at a certain time.
In any case you are in the wrong glaciation here. The Late Ordovician glaciation took place about 440 million years ago. According to all the bibliography on CO2 you have presented, CO2 levels then were 16X those of today. And according to the Royer’s article you have presented the temperatures then were the same as during the Eocene. It simply makes no sense.
Then we have Frakes ice-rafting reconstruction. This is completely independent evidence from CO2 or 18O. His reconstruction of ice-rafting activity agrees a lot better with Veizer’s temperature reconstruction than with Royer’s. See figure 3 of:
Frakes, L. A. & Francis, J. E. A guide to Phanerozoic cold polar climates from high-latitude ice-rafting in the Cretaceous. Nature 333, 547-549 (1988).
Things are not as clear as you and the Emerald Planet present it. You have failed to convince me.


In geology we cannot re-run the experiment that made the world what it was at any one time. Instead we have to proceed by deduction, combining facts and hypotheses to present a plausible narrative, but starting from the perspective of utilising multiple working hypothesis and selecting the one that best fits the available information based on what we understand of Earth System processes today (the maxim being that the present (what we do know) is the key to the past). If you wish to call those deductions educated guesses, you’re welcome. We are handicapped in geology by missing sequences, and by inadequate representation of the facts of how the world worked at the time. That is progressively more true of times older than the oldest marine magnetic anomalies on the seafloor, which date back into the Jurassic. Before that we have to use the paleomagnetism of the continents, and as we go back in time we lose more and more of the rock record containing its paleomagnetic history. The Carboniferous being ‘relatively’ young, we know more about it than we do of the older Ordovician/Silurian. The late Ordovician glaciation is not very well know. The latest evidence suggests that it lasted just about 1 million years during a short period when Northwest Africa lay over the south pole. This does coincide with a period of lowish CO2 (compared with times immediately before and after) according to Royer and Berner, though the evidence at present does not suggest that the CO2 then was a low as it got during the long Carboniferous or Late Cainozoic glaciations. Geological evidence is evidence of occurrence and of change and of correlation. Correlation is not causation, though of course, it may be due to causation. Lyell was always in search of primary causes, and so have all geologists been since his time. It is accepted, by Royer and others, that the coarse-grained picture of slowly rising or falling CO2 with time is not the best representation of changing conditions, and that the effects of orbital change were superimposed on that picture and may at times have led to brief alternating warm and cold periods. See for example Vaughan, A.P.M. (2007) Climate and geology – a Phanerozoic perspective. In: Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies (eds M. Williams, A.M. Haywood, F.J. Gregory and D.N. Schmidt). Micropalaeontological Society
Special Publication, The Geological Society, London, pp. 5–59. At times, those short cold periods may account for the existence of evidence for ice-rafting in the Cretaceous. It seems quite likely that with Antarctica at the south pole 100 million years ago it did develop ice caps on its Cretaceous mountains, accompanied by glaciers that locally reached the coast, forming icebergs that would account for the evidence for ice-rafting observed by Frakes and Francis. However the evidence for massive ice rafting did not come until later, having required the development of a continent-wide ice sheet. I am not an expert on the Late Ordovician to Silurian glaciation, but you can Google Wikipedia for a review of it.


Instead we have to proceed by deduction, combining facts and hypotheses to present a plausible narrative, but starting from the perspective of utilising multiple working hypothesis and selecting the one that best fits the available information based on what we understand of Earth System processes today

That is an incorrect understanding of the scientific method. You can obviously have your preferred hypothesis, but there is no hypothesis selection unless a hypothesis is falsified by incompatible evidence. No wonder that geologists sat on Wegener’s continental drift hypothesis for decades, as despite the evidence it must have not fit the “plausible narrative” of the time.
A serious problem with science these days is that it has become hypothesis-driven, instead of evidence-driven. Scientists appear to fall prey to their biases. You for example, are wedded to the CO2 hypothesis and unwilling to considerer that there is no clear evidence that the hypothesis is correct, and part of the evidence has to be fitted to the hypothesis so there is continuous rewriting of the evidence that doesn’t fit. I have finished reviewing the evidence on the ~ 1500 year cycle for a future post. So simple that even I can find out what is the hypothesis that best fits the evidence, and identify the dates when the cycle was acting. Yet paleoclimatologists have spent 20 years publishing dozens of papers without finding out. Do they not sit and read what has been published and analyze the evidence in an unbiased way to see what it says? Apparently not. Apparently the scientific method is old-fashioned, and scientists can display absolute certainty on their ignorance of the past, as you do. “Science is the believe in the ignorance of the experts” indeed.


And actually there is a serious problem with Royer’s temperature reconstruction. At 440 million years ago it has the same temperatures as during the Eocene 50 million years ago. So what do we do with the Late Ordovician glaciation then? With 16x CO2 levels as today and the temperatures of the Eocene a glaciation is impossible as far as we know. With much less CO2 than that, during the Eocene, Antarctica was essentially free of ice sheets despite being at the South Pole.
This is what Eyles has to say:
“After the breakup of Rodinia, the North Africa craton edged northwards within the south polar circle (Scotese et al., 1999; Pharoah, 1999; Vercoli and Le Herisse, 2004; Fig. 5) but despite the high paleolatitude, only at the end of the Ordovician is there geologic evidence for ice over North Africa. This is the basis for the influential model of a single and short-lived (∼1 Ma) Late Ashgillian glacial event (see Brenchley et al., 1995). An apparent lack of long lasting ice covers could simply reflect the erosion or non-preservation of any older glacial strata. Indeed, some authors propose a 10 Ma long North African glaciation that started much earlier in the Ordovician (Ghienne, 2003) and lasted well into the Silurian (Grahn and Caputo, 1992; Caputo, 1998; Pope and Read, 1998; Crowell, 1999; Saltzman and Young, 2005). The last (and thus best known) Late Ordovician Saharan ice sheet formed during a time of high (16 × the modern value) atmospheric CO2 (Torsvik and Cocks, 2004; Fig. 2E). The ice sheet may have been comparable in size to the last North American Laurentide Ice Sheet (∼36×106 km3) and expanded eastward from North Africa onto the Arabian platform (Deynoux et al., 1985; Vaslet, 1990; Sutcliffe et al., 2000).”
Yeah, a Laurentide-sized ice sheet with 16x CO2 levels and the temperatures of the Eocene. Something doesn’t fit with Royer’s reconstruction. Obviously with the temperatures of today it would be perfectly possible, as Veizer claims, but then it is clear that CO2 cannot be a first order factor.


Royer et al 2004 (CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate) GSA Today; v. 14; no. 3, indeed does suggest that CO2 in the Ordovician-Silurian glaciation event was significantly higher that it was in the glaciations of the Carboniferous and Late Cainozoic (see their Figure 1B). But equally, their Figure 1C shows that they had far fewer samples way back then compared with later periods, which underscores my point that going back that far the geological record starts to work against getting a clear picture of what was going on. Similarly, aside from the sample collection being inadequate at that time, Berner’s GEOCARB model at that time worked only in 10 million year time steps, so could quite easily have missed a short lived glaciation. As Royer et al pointed out, independent geochemical evidence was consistent with CO2 drawdown at that time (Kump, L.R., Arthur, et al, 1999, A weathering hypothesis for glaciation at high atmospheric pCO2 during the Late Ordovician: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 152, p. 173–187). Indeed, temperatures did drop at that time as shown in Royer et al Fig 4A. As Royer says “Further work, however, is needed tomore clearly decipher this important period.” My point is that this is no time to gloat. The jury is still out. We need more data to be sure what was going on back then during that short-lived event.


Berner’s GEOCARB model at that time worked only in 10 million year time steps, so could quite easily have missed a short lived glaciation.

You have a serious problem when you start to believe that a model output correctly represents reality 440 million years ago. By now we should have it very clear that model outputs are in no way a substitute for evidence. GEOCARB can only show a CO2 drop if it has been programmed to do so.

The jury is still out. We need more data to be sure what was going on back then during that short-lived event.

Yes, exactly. The jury is still out for the rightness of the CO2 hypothesis. Not only for that glaciation, but for a lot of other problems, a fundamental one is that the hypothesis cannot distinguish between cause and effect. It is an imperfect correlation hypothesis. Not precisely solid ground. Science could falsify the CO2 hypothesis and that would be no problem at all. We still would not know why things happened, but in reality we do not know now, some people think we know, and in doing that they fool themselves.

Regarding the Ordovician-Silurian glaciation, I should have added that I am aware that the Iapetus Ocean closed with the Taconic orogeny (480-430 million years ago), when the volcanic island arc collided with Laurentia. Now, the general idea regarding CO2 (based on TC Chamberlin 1899, and expanded upon by Berner, Royer, Beerling et al between 1983 and now) is that CO2 is emitted when plates are spreading, and is soaked up through chemical weathering in rising mountains when ocean basins are closing, ending up as marine sediment in the deep sea. If that hypothesis is correct (and the evidence for that is strong – see Muller et al, 2013, GEOLOGY v41, seawater chemistry and plate tectonics), then one explanation for the glaciation might be rising mountains caused by the closure of the Iapetus Ocean, encouraging chemical weathering that pulled CO2 out of the atmosphere. If Berner failed to inject that tectonic event into his GEOCARB model, then he may have gotten CO2 artificially too high. Just a thought. But something worth considering. In any case there was not one glacial event, but a series, as documented by Page et al, 2007, in WILLIAMS, M., HAYWOOD, A. M., GREGORY, F. J. & SCHMIDT, D. N. (eds) Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate
Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies. The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications. The Geological Society, London, 123–156.

Javier wrote, “CO2 changes have a lot more effect when there is little CO2. When there is a lot of CO2 it saturates. Greenhouse climates are very humid. As water vapor absorption spectrum overlaps with CO2 and it is so much more abundant, it leaves the CO2 with no role whatsoever.”
Good point, but overstated. A warmer, wetter Earth leaves CO2 with a reduced role, not with “no role whatsoever.”
1. A warmer, wetter Earth is not warm and wet everywhere. It is still cold and dry at extreme latitudes.
2. As you say, the water vapor absorption spectrum overlaps with CO2’s. It doesn’t completely obscure it. Google image search for CO2 and H2O spectra finds many graphs, like this one:


What you’re missing here is the use of buzz words. It’s common in yellow journalism to use a vocabulary that A)- attracts attention and B)- exaggerates the real facts. You can find it in tabloid journals at the checkout line at grocery stores.
Examples for weather and/or climate reports include hottest, hottest EVER, permanent desert, lowest, lowest EVER, debunked (as opposed to discredited), mythological, overall, highest + EVER, alarming rate (or speed), etc. In short, anything that will quickly catch the reader’s attention, and anything that creates a sense of alarm in the reader is justified for this purpose.
Exaggeration is meant to alarm people. It is specifically used to rattle people’s nerves. The less informed they are, the more likely they are to fall for the hyperbole created. Telling the truth is not necessary when you’re trying to attract and audience, draw them in and subsequently scare them silly. The people who create these articles depend on both the fright factor and ignorance to get their audience to follow them.
Go back and look at every article that is written about the alarming warming trend. When someone refers to 0.5C as alarming, when you can’t even feel it on your skin, you know it’s baloney, but adding words like extreme rapidity, alarming rate, and/or hottest/lowest ever feed into the reader’s emotional state and scare him.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Go back and look at all those alarmist/Warmian headlines and articles, and look at the consistent use of exaggeration.


Sara, have to disagree with you here… If temps had dropped .5C (instead of rising), we would be in another little ice age. Based on what we know about the LIA, that would be quite an alarming thing. Gotta remember that globally it’s only 4C difference between the depth of the ice ages and the interglacials. So, small temperature changes can have big impacts…


Andy, i’m loath to knock any relationship between the supernatural and weather. i live in new orleans and by the time 2005 rolled around the city had finally become demographically shot. Comparisons were being made with the city of detroit. (we were in a race with our counterpart to becoming the nation’s first “ex city”) Some eery spiritual things accompanied the tragedy that was to unfold in ’05. The last christmas before the storm saw snow in new orleans. It was the first snow fall to hit the town in 16 YEARS(!) The storm itself hit on the feast of the martyrdom of saint john the baptist in this heavy catholic city. The church of st. john the baptist is one of the most visible churches in new orleans. It’s golden steeple and clock tower are readily seen from the interstate as one passes by the superdome. When the gale force winds hit in the wee hours of the morning, the power went out in the church stopping the clock at 3:00(!) (the clock would remain so for months on end as the city got back on it’s collective feet) And lastly, the name… “KATRINA” has it’s roots in the russian word meaning “to cleanse”. And that is exactly what we saw, an ethnic cleansing of sorts, but in a positive way. A hundred thousand or so african americans would eventually find themselves displaced to other parts of the country where they would find oppurtunity and a refuge from the grossly failed school system. (and like wise communities across the country would be graced with their southern charm, not to mention their southern cookin’ !) And here in the city, those who have remained found a city in rebirth, cleansed indeed. No longer being compared to detroit, the city now boasts a school system rebuilt with charter schools that are producing results. (and no longer are teachers wondering if they’re going to get paid from week to week) The demographics have stabilized since the storm. Not only are there fewer people living in the city, but the city which was quickly becoming all black now has a healthy diversity. (hispanics also being added to the mix with the rebuilding) So what was initially so devastating, has become a rebirth of sorts, giving new life and hope to many who were without. A blessing in disguise, one can’t rule out the relationship here in new orleans between the supernatural and weather…


Andy May (head post) on May 3, 2017
Thank you for this informative post I lacked time to digest in due time.
I have a little remark. Each time I see a Christy chart likecomment image
I run into the same problem. I try to summarise it.
1. According to Roy Spencer, the 2015 global average of the absolute temperatures calculated out of O2 microwave emissions in the lower troposphere is 264 K, see:
This means roughly -9 °C, i.e. about 24 °C less than at surface level.
2. According to ICAO‘s Standard Atmosphere description, this corresponds, with a LT lapse rate of 6.5 K / km, to an altitude of nearly 4 km above ground, what in turn corresponds to an atmospheric pressure of about 650 hPa. Thus a comparison with radiosonde datasets should in theory give a good match at this pressure level, by choosing either 700 or 500 hPa data.
4. But the reality looks quite different. Here is a chart showing, for 1979-2016, a comparison of various yearly balloon plot averages for the Globe (RATPAC A, RATPAC B, RAOBCORE, HadAT2) with UAH6.0:
UAH6.0‘s linear trend is below that of all radiondes, though their atmospheric pressure plots show data associated with 300 HPa instead of 700 or at least 500.
If you want to see radiosonde plots with a trend lower than UAH’s, you have to select their 250 hPa subrecord, i.e. at about 10 km altitude, just below the Tropopause!
The temperature at 300 hPa isn’t 264 K but 244 K.
Did I have missed or misunderstood something?
P.S. An interesting detail.
In Christy’s previous testimony dated 2016, Feb 6, I had the surprise to discover that “problems concerning the lower troposphere were solved 20 years ago”, but the testimony nevertheless was already centered around the mid troposphere.
In this new testimony, you can’t find even one reference to lower troposphere.
Inevitable question: why does then Roy Spencer present us all the time his TLT temperature series?