Why I Don’t Deny: Confessions of a Climate Skeptic — Part 2

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen


Note:  Please read Part 1 before reading this — this is a continuation of that essay (a rather long continuation….)

The last point I made in Part 1 of this essay was this:

The IPCC in their synthesis report for policy makers says that human emissions of greenhouse gases [“atmo­spheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide”]  and “other anthropogenic drivers,” are  “extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

So far, I agree with all the facts [the facts being basically:  Global Warming is happening and  Human activity causes [some of] it.]  but don’t agree with the assertion that  CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions  arethe dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” — I agree neither with the attribution or the effect size.

Why?  For the simple reason that real scientific evidence for this view is very weak.  The IPCC in AR5 SPM offers only this:

“The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.” — AR5 SPM 1.1

That’s the sum total of the evidence, though the IPCC AR5 is hundreds of pages in four booklets, they are just additional verbiage on these basic points.

Readers will have heard the line “multiple lines of evidence” attached to the attribution of anthropogenic causes.  However, that phrase is used only once in AR5 SPM as “Multiple lines of evidence indicate a strong, consistent, almost linear relationship between cumulative CO2 emissions and projected global temperature change to the year 2100….”  I’m sure I don’t need to point out that there is never ever evidence about the future…..They do not claim in the Summary for Policy Makers that there are multiple lines of evidence for the attribution statement that apply to the past-to-present.

That it has warmed is not in question, we covered this in Part 1.    As for sea level, not yet touched on,  we will look first at typical visuals offered, one from the IPCC AR5 SPM and then turn to the well-accepted  Grinstead et al. 2009 paper:  “Reconstructing sea level from paleo and projected temperatures 200 to 2100AD” which serves up the visual depiction on the left, IPCC on the right:


On the left is from Grinstead 2009 starting in 1850, and on the left right,  from the IPCC’s AR5, incongruously starting abruptly in 1900 (I have not modified that image — that is how it is printed).

However, sea level does not begin its inexorable rise in 1850-1900, the beginning of the Modern Industrial Era as depicted in so many of the sea level graphs like those offered above.  To see this we need to take a closer, deeper look at the data available in the literature:


Ignoring the projections of future sea level rise, let’s just look to see when sea levels started rising in these two “Modeled past sea level” reconstructions.  The “Thick black line: recon­structed GSL [Global Sea Level] (Jevrejeva et al., 2006) extended to 1700 using Amsterdam sea level (van Veen, 1945).”  All three data sets agree:  Jones and Mann (2004), Moberg et al. (2005) and Jevrejeva et al. 2006.  Sea level bottoms out at the depth of the Little Ice Age around 1650-1700 and begins a rise that continues to the present.  PSMSL Reconsructions page has plenty of data sources.

That sea level has risen is not in question.    The primary factor of both Temperature and Sea Level is that they have both been rising much longer than the IPCC’s posited cause — rising greenhouse gases —  has existed.  Let me put both temperature and sea level side-by-side:


Loehle’s temperature reconstruction on the left, a segment from Moberg’s 2005 sea level reconstruction from Grinstead 2009, and from the IPCC’s AR5, Chapter 13 on the right.  Sea level bottoms out at a millennial low around 1650-1800.  That’s 200-300 years of temperature and sea level rise — neither starts in 1850, 1880, 1890, or 1900.

So far, I have freely agreed that the Earth’s climate has warmed, that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen, and that sea level has risen.  I will even let the Consensus have “the oceans have warmed” — even though I have extreme doubts that we have any real idea of the past temperatures of “the oceans”.

[ We have some clue about the skin temperature of the seas from satellite data and a tiny bit of data about the rest from free floating ARGO buoys — but nothing anywhere near enough to estimate the average temperature of the oceans or any changes to that average — in my opinion, that claim is not scientifically supportable at this time.]

I don’t have any special expertise on snow cover levels, glaciers, Arctic or Antarctic ice.  But here is what Rutger’s Snow Lab has to say about Northern Hemisphere snow cover since 1967 (satellite era):




Surprisingly, Northern Hemisphere snow cover is increasing in the Fall and Winter seasons and decreasing only in the Spring, with the last couple of Springs being about normal. There seems to be more variation in the Fall and Spring seasons, with Winters being less variable.

Why Northern Hemisphere snow cover? Most of the planets snow is in the Northern Hemisphere with the majority of the rest being in Antarctica: [Arctic ice cap not represented.]


Glaciers, extent and growth/shrinkage of, is even more controversial than the rest of climate change — and I am happy to leave that others.  Glacier growth is not primarily driven by temperature, but rather by precipitation at the high end of a glacier: “A glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight; it forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries.”  So, even if glaciers are generally shrinking (some are shrinking and some are growing), it has no particular bearing on warming.  Regionally, changes in glacier size and movement can be considered due to changes in regional climate, changes in precipitation being the main factor.

As for Antarctica?  Again, too much controversy to say.  On 10 July 2017, a NASA study done in 2015 by Jay Zwally was published online in the Journal of Glaciology and was highlighted in this press release:  “NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses”,   It says “A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.”  Scientific American beat the original study to press by four days, running a rebuttal on 6 July 2017, written by Shannon Hall, a news report, not a scientific study.  Just in  case anyone might misconstrue the purpose of the article, they subtly titled it “What to Believe in Antarctica’s Great Ice Debate”.  Four days before the original study is published — now that is what I call Rapid Response!

There is no doubt about Arctic sea ice extent — it has been declining:



The left graph shows the last eight years against 1979-2017 mean — the right graph shows those same eight years (plus 2018) as daily values. The red trace with + marks is 2018 through July.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center offers this:


So, it is obvious (from satellite data) that Winter NH Sea Ice Extent is down about ½ million miles2 (roughly a million km2)  and Summer Extent is down, on average, about a million mi2 Changes in Arctic sea ice conditions can affect weather  and climate elsewhere.  These graphs start in 1976 or so because that is the start of the satellite era.

Again, as with almost all climate issues, there is a controversy.  Arctic Sea Ice has been declining — sorry for the lack of originality here — 300 years.  Many historical records show that there was a similar decline in the 1930s.

Polyak et al., 2010 shows this controversy in action:


In the Nordic Seas we see in the black boxes low sea ice extents which last just two or three years in the mid-1600s and mid-1700s, and, as expected,  in the very warm 1920-1940 period, as per Macias-Fauria et al., 2009  (black trace).  The red trace is Arctic max sea ice per Kinnard et al., 2008 which shows the effect of Nordic ice on overall Arctic ice with a dip in the same 1920-1940 period.

Polyakov et al.  says “The discrepancy between the two records in the early 20th century corresponds to an increase in the Atlantic inflow to the Nordic Seas,”  which I would translate as “Nordic sea ice was low during the 1920-1940 period due to a change in Atlantic circulation.”   Previous historic low extents in the 1600s and 1700s are not associated with known warm periods.  Using Nordic Sea Ice as a proxy (the Danes have kept very good records, being responsible for Iceland and Greenland and points north), we see that Arctic Sea Ice decline can reasonably be said to start in the early 1700s or the late-1700s — definitely not the late 1800s — not 1850-1880-1890 — not the beginning of the Industrial Era.

We should note that Arctic Sea Ice has only been tracked with any scientific accuracy since the beginning of the satellite era, like many other global metrics.

But, still, no denial here, Artic Sea Ice is at historic lows, having reached a high point at the depth of the Little Ice Age and falling since then coincident with subsequent warming.

In Part 1 and the above, I have agreed with all the posited physical facts and the evidence presented by the IPCC for its global warming/climate change position.

There remains one issue that has yet to be addressed, as we can’t assess the IPCC’s position without it.

Is CO2 a greenhouse gas?  Can, and does,  increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other anthropogenic greenhouse gases cause warming?

Of course it is and of course it can and of course it may have. 

Some readers will find this admission offensive, but again there is no reason to deny the physical facts — the Australians explain it like this:

“Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of it is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

The absorbed energy warms the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. This process maintains the Earth’s temperature at around 33 degrees Celsius warmer than it would otherwise be, allowing life on Earth to exist.”

Why would anyone deny that?  It is simply a fact of chemical and energy physics.

I acknowledge that the name “Greenhouse Effect” is a misnomer — Alistair B. Fraser, Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University gives a thorough explanation as to why and how it is a misnomer on his Bad Greenhouse page  and has a very interesting discussion at Bad Greenhouse FAQ.

The mis-naming of the effect doesn’t change its reality and doesn’t change the absorption of outgoing energy by water vapor, CO2 and the other greenhouse gases.   Because energy is absorbed by these gases,  the atmospheric temperature is raised.  The atmosphere radiates energy, like all physical material, based on its temperature.  Some of that radiated energy is absorbed by the Earth itself, the oceans, the plants, the animals — well, everything that it touches.  That’s how the system works.  It is not correct to say that everything that absorbs this radiation of energy from the atmosphere “heats up”.  It is correct to say that it has absorbed energy.

But many insist that we are talking about heat — that is not physically correct — we are really speaking about the conservation of energy.   Energy absorbed by the Earth as a “system” takes many forms.  Plants absorb energy from the Sun and thorough  through chemical processing store it as chemical energy in sugars and as chemical energy stored in the tissues of the plant itself.  Water molecules absorb energy from the sun and atmosphere and store it as kinetic and potential energy in the water vapor moved higher into the atmosphere which we experience as the energy of water high in the atmosphere falling to Earth: hydroelectric power is derived from that stored energy, flash floods and mudslides are caused by the release of this potential energy.  Through life processes, energy is both stored and used by all animals (and humans) to keep their bodies warm and perform work (both internal and external).  And, as we are all aware, fossil fuels are fuels because they are that energy stored over geological time spans.

My point in all the above is that not all energy retained in the Earth system is retained as heat measurable by thermometers.  The general consensus view sweeps all this energy storing into the statement “the missing heat goes into the oceans”.  The energy is not missing, it is being stored in myriad ways.  How much energy stored in what forms?  We have no idea really. We did recently find out that photosynthesis has increased by >30% due to atmospheric CO2 enhancement — which means >30% more energy being converted by plants

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth about this, I’m sure.  Some will point to the experiments that “prove” that the atmosphere is radiating more energy back to Earth than some time earlier — this is not in question. Yes, of course they do.  That is the physical science of so-called “greenhouse gases” and this phenomena is responsible for the Earth being a livable planet.

So what is left?

Now, I have accepted the two basic premises of the Global Warming movement — the two points on which the so-called “97% agree” (so count me among them) — that “Global Warming is happening” and “Human activity causes [some of] it.”

I have accepted the  lines of evidence that the IPCC offers in support of their hypothesis:  “The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”  I have even agreed that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it is at an historic high.

Why am I still a skeptic?

I am still a skeptic because all of those things, freely accepted more-or-less as claimed, do not add up to anything even near a “proof” of the IPCC hypothesis:

CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions arethe dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

I would even go as far as to say that the evidence offered up by the IPCC, in their hundreds of pages of painstakingly reviewed and re-reviewed reports does nothing more than present a case for the possibility that the hypothesis could be true. 

The IPCC and the Climate Science community have, so far, failed to rule out the CO2 driven global warming hypothesis —  nothing more.    They have, however, shown in their historical reconstructions that the main bodies of evidence their hypothesis relies on — surface air temperature, sea level rise, snow and ice cover —  all started changing long before CO2 concentrations could possibly [have] had any appreciable effect.

It is an accepted tenet of modern science that an Effect cannot precede its Cause. So here I find myself accepting the major offered data as more-or-less valid (close enough for my purposes) and the evidences offered as more-or-less true, yet I find that proposed CO2-driven Global Warming Hypothesis, in order to be  true, would require retrocausality, or, in other words, that the Effects have preceded the Cause.

I am a firm proponent of the idea that time flows in one direction only and that the arrow of cause always points forward (past-to-present, present-to-future).  That leaves me to reject the CO2-driven Global Warming Hypothesis as generally presented.

I am not the first to notice this, of course.  The IPCC has thus been forced to alter its original hypothesis and modify it to read that CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions arethe dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” 

That means that CO2 as a driver of climate only became dominate over Factor X since 1950.

“Factor X?” you may ask.   Yes, Factor X is just a place-marker for whatever was causing Global Temperature to rise since the mid-1600s, Global Sea Level to rise since 1650-1700,  Arctic Sea Ice to start declining in either the early 1700s, or in 1800 (your choice, either could be supported by the data).

If this sounds fanciful to you, then your critical thinking skills are working properly.  There is simply no evidence whatever that the unknown Factor X was responsible for 250 years of rising temperature, rising seas, and declining Arctic ice — only to be superseded by CO2-driven Global Warming in 1950.

The IPCC Consensus view is that Factor X is “natural variability” — which can be translated into “things that change the climate that we do not recognize as causative and do not understand”.   The IPCC modified CO2-driven Global Warming Hypothesis thus depends on unknown/not-understood climate forcings (lumped into a basket called “natural variability”) which are then, for unknown reasons,  overshadowed by CO2 induced warming (the effect size of which is still unknown and controversial) around 1950.

As for me and mine, we will wait in the bleachers for evidence to be produced that supports such as an hypothesis — something stronger than that offered by so many CAGW apologists in the form “well, what else could it be?”

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Author’s Comment Policy:

Please, try and stay on topic and discuss this essay  — it is certainly broad enough to satisfy most readers.  Oh, and please, pretty please, Don’t Feed The Trolls — like feral cats, feeding just encourages them to breed there under the bridge and become real pests.

I hope that I have not trounced your favorite talking points — remember, this is just my view of a very complex, very young and immature science field.  I am patiently waiting for it to grow up.

While I am perfectly willing to explain my viewpoint — I do not argue with others.

If speaking to me, please begin you comment with “Kip…”  and I’ll be sure to see it.  I do read every single comment that appear under essays I write, but in the wild west world of blog comment threads, it is often difficult to figure out who is speaking to who about exactly what.  Leading your comments with the name of the person you are speaking to makes this easier for all.

Keep the conversation collegial and try to understand the other person’s point before replying.

Thanks for contributing.

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August 27, 2018 10:17 pm

Thank you. Very well said.

David Borth
August 27, 2018 10:42 pm

Kip, This is truly excellent analysis – critical thinking using the available data. The warmists just spout data – much of it contrived and derived from models designed and modified to produce the desired outcome that CO2 is the control knob for climate. It just ain’t so.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 11:25 am

Climate science is a corrupt dangerous discipline practiced by evil people such as Michael Mann , Gavin Schmidt, Ben Santer, James Hansen, …. etc and directed by invalid computer model projections that is invading many other scientific disciplines and slowly corrupting them. Since mankind cannot change the climate without endangering himself and since increasing CO2 has so little effect on anything except a positive one; mankind doesnt need to worry about future climate. If we cant change it and it wont be catastrophic, why does the world need climate scientists? IT DOESNT. Climate science should be disbanded as a profession and we should stick to trying to forecast the weather NOT CLIMATE.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 8:09 pm


“Climate science is a … discipline practiced by … people” both evil (Mann, Schmidt, etc.) and good (Curry, Christie, etc.). Because increasing our understanding of our world is a laudable goal, humans should seek to increase our knowledge about the Earth’s climate, and organize the young, imperfect field of Climate Science into a proper scientific discipline; one which is aligned with the requirements of the Scientific Method, and adherent to traditional scientific goals of neutrality and objectivity, rather than the agenda-driven social policy incubator its most vocal members portray it as.

Short version: Because a few awful people call themselves Climate Scientists doesn’t mean the field shouldn’t develop naturally despite them.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  takebackthegreen
August 28, 2018 9:08 pm

When we finally overturn the CO2 hoax and if we then continue to put money into climate computer models which will never be correct we will always run the risk of the climate scientists (who can never hope to be correct) inventing another scare story about the future to keep the funding coming.

AGW is not Sceince
Reply to  takebackthegreen
August 30, 2018 10:59 am

The reason we should endeavor to learn about climate and what causes it to change is so that we can prepare for coming changes so as to reduce their potentially catastrophic effects (glaciation, anyone?!). Not so that we can attempt to “control” the climate, which is nothing more than the height of arrogance and a ploy for control of the masses.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  takebackthegreen
August 30, 2018 10:49 pm

So “evil” and “good” are determined by what side of the debate one’s on? Are Mann and Schmidt going to he11 and Christie and Curry to heaven?

“…rather than the agenda-driven social policy incubator its most vocal members portray it as.” Seems to me that it is skeptics who portray it that way.

August 27, 2018 10:48 pm

the unknown Factor X shows that the greenhouse discussion is
stuck in rehearsing the same old arguments, without getting to
the bottom of climate change forcings and causes……
There are fundamental aspects, fundamental drivers not included in the
discussion…. this is the meaning of the unknown Factor X……please see
http://www.knowledgeminer.eu/climate-papers.html … and the
PART 8 deals with your mentioned time period 1600 AD to 2050 AD.
The calculated drivers in this paper explain the missing factor X.

Reply to  J.Seifert
August 28, 2018 4:36 am

No part 8 in your reference. To what do you refer?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 7:59 am

Kip, please go ahead….. all calculations of PART 8 are based on empirical facts starting
8,500 BC. ….. Important is to read PART 1, where the Holocene starts and the cold-warm-time sequence emerges …leading since as the 30. sequence period into the cold LIA and coming out of it, moving into the present warm CWP and even continuing beyond…. JS.
Any questions… by Email anytime.

Toby Nixon
August 27, 2018 11:11 pm

Thanks — great work. It would be interesting to me to see a similar analysis of the effectiveness of the measures proposed to “stop” global warming. As far as I can tell, there’s no proof whatsoever that any of the things on which it is proposed to spend trillions of dollars, or any of the carbon taxes and regulations that will drive up the cost of energy thereby impoverishing millions of people, will make any difference at all in addressing “the problem”. We are being asked to accept these things entirely on faith, in the name of “doing something”. We’re told that we can’t just wait and see what happens and then adapt because of the risk of harm, but we’re asked to accept assured harm in many forms with no promise that anything will be accomplished.

Reply to  Toby Nixon
August 28, 2018 12:16 am

Yes indeed. There have been, for instance, enough attempts to reduce emissions by installing renewable generation. Have any of them actually produced demonstrable reductions? Holding economic activity constant of course?

Indeed, its not clear, if the conventional account of CO2 driven warming is correct, that CO2 emission reduction would in fact lower temperatures.

The corollary of the argument that CO2 rises followed and did not precede warming in the past is that there is no case where CO2 falls have preceded falls in temperature.

Yet, raise this question on any warmist forum and be met by a chorus of abuse.

The problem with the alarmist case is that it is some correct observations which are misconstrued into a logically defective case.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  michel
August 28, 2018 11:37 am

Mankind uses 1.5% to 2% more energy every year . If all of that extra energy was produced by new wind mill farms, you would need a new land area every year the size of Great Britain. After 50 years you would need an area the size of Russia. Solar farms would only halve this land requirement. Green intermittent energy dreams are a farce.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 1:44 pm

Even more, as many of the best wind and solar sites are already being utilized.

Reply to  Toby Nixon
August 28, 2018 4:09 am

Toby: the analysis has in fact been done by Bjorn Lonberg. The impact of full application of the Paris agreement would be so small as to be unmeasurable. That is based on the IPCC climate models themselves.

Reply to  Trebla
August 28, 2018 5:00 am

“CO2 is a leading cause of genital warts.” – UN IPCC

[We’re fairly confident this is NOT one of the actual claims of the IPCC… -mod]

John Endicott
Reply to  WXcycle
August 28, 2018 9:41 am

The poster may have misattributed it to the IPCC (and/or was just trying to be funny), but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that some alarmist has said or implied it at some point, after all just about everything else gets attributed to global warming and that magic molecule CO2.

Mark Pawelek
August 27, 2018 11:42 pm

Oceans (mainly) drive earth’s climate. Why? Because oceans cover 70% of the surface. Daily solar heat warms the oceans. The mass of oceans is 270 times that of atmosphere and the heat capacity of water is 4 times that of air. Giving oceans a heat capacity 1080 times atmosphere. That makes oceans warm slowly; at a rate of about 1 K per 500 years. Air temperature, generally stays in equilibrium with oceans. Climate scientists had atmosphere driving warming. So came up with daft models showing surface temperature increases of 3K, 4½K, 6K, … Impossibilities.

Any greenhouse gas effect is felt at night and winter. The greenhouse gas effect does nothing to peak mid-day temperatures. Surface temperatures can’t spiral out-of-control. So, neither Greenland nor Antarctica can melt-down.

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
August 28, 2018 12:21 am

Mark: “The greenhouse gas effect does nothing to peak mid-day temperatures.” Sorry, it does. Radiation measurements clearly show IR increasing during the day, peaking in mid afternoon in clear conditions. IR + direct + diffuse solar radiation affects Tmax with very good correlation. I will post about this using data for Alice Springs (Australia) in a couple of weeks. You can check the data for yourself with the one-minute radiation files at

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Ken Stewart
August 28, 2018 1:56 am

How much? and how much is caused by water vapour?

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 1:26 pm

Almost all of it is caused by water vapour. CO2 obviously has little to do with it, as IR changes up and down as clouds pass overhead, or with extra moisture in the air. On an overcast day IR is very high while direct irradiance can be zero.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Ken Stewart
August 28, 2018 2:18 am

Measurements of Greenland show no change in summer day temperatures. All warming is at night and at winter. I expect the same for Antarctica. So the notion that global warming will melt the poles within centuries was just a lie. The media panic has been all about melting poles. All to sell neo-Malthusian austerity to the masses.

Alice springs is already too hot because it’s too dry there. There’s no evaporative cooling to moderate it. Same with Sahara and Arabian deserts.

Oceans dominate earth’s climate. Only oceans retain heat over long periods. GCMs have atmospheric surfaces warming by many degrees over decades; they are clearly wrong. Because atmospheric surface heat is not retained. We see that in the aftermath of El Nino events. Climate modelers have been idiots. They ruined climate science for 3 decades.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Ken Stewart
August 28, 2018 11:46 am

IR doesnt warm air. Take a 3 sided structure without a roof. On a cloudless night or day, point the most powerful infrared heater you can buy , to the sky from the ground surface inside that structure. Measure the air temperature continuously inside the structure for days at a time if need be until clouds show up. You will find no difference in the air temperature inside of that structure.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 12:34 pm

Nonsense; your thought experiment only proves that hot air, being more buoyant, will rise. If you insert something above your heat source to measure air movement, you will find a continuously rising column of air. This is specifically because it is slightly less dense than the air around it because of the energy it has absorbed from the IR – IOW, it is warmer. Also, if IR could not heat air, then a hot stove could not warm a room, but centuries of practical experience proves they do.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Paul Penrose
August 28, 2018 2:29 pm

A hot stove heats a room by conduction/convection. If you are in a freezing room that is only heated by IR heaters, you will freeze long before the walls and floor will have heat enough to provide heat to the room. As long as the IR heaters are not aimed at you, you will freeze until the surrounding structures heat enough to provide conduction heating. Since O2 and N2 do not absorb photons directly and there is no water vapour the only thing left is CO2. 408 ppm is not enough to heat the air. If you insert your thermometers above the IR heater but not directly in the path you will find that there is no rising hot air.

August 27, 2018 11:54 pm

Eyeballing the sea level reconstructions a fall of around 0.5m is thought to have occurred between 1000-900 yr BP and 200 yr BP.
A paper from JCU (2015) suggests “… a distinct and rapid relative ~ 1 m sea-level fall between 1200 and 800 cal. yr BP …” on the relatively geologically stable N-E coast of Australia based on radiocarbon-dated oyster fossil beds.
The authors acknowledge that numerous other sea-level reconstructions of “lower reliability” at distant locations suggest sea-levels of >+0.5 m 1000 yr BP.
My comment is a bit tangential to the main thrust of the essay but may be of interest to some.

Peter Lewis Hannan
August 28, 2018 12:43 am

Kip, simply thank you. What you’ve written is very close to my position, based on reading roughly 1,000 scientific articles on various sides of the debate (this is a scientific, not political, question, though many people adopt an uncritical position based on their leftist or rightist opinions). I’ve posted Part 1 on FB, and in about 1 minute I’ll do so with Part 2. Thanks again.

Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 12:45 am

Molecules and photons are extremely small.
First we start by finding the mass of the atmosphere

Pressure = Force / Area

Pressure = 101,325 Pascals

Area = Area of Earth

The earth is a near sphere. A sphere has an area of 4*PI*radius^2. Earth has a radius of 6,371 km = 6,371,000 meters. Area of Earth = 4*PI*6,371,000^2 meters^2 = 5.1 * 10^14 m^2

Force = Pressure * Area

Force = (101,325 Pascals * 5.1 * 10^14 m^2) = 5.17 * 10^19 Newtons

Force = mass * gravity

mass = Force / gravity

mass = 5.17 * 10^19 Newtons / 9.8 ms^-2 = 5.27 * 10^18 kilograms

Now that we have a mass in kilograms, we need to convert this number into grams

(5.27 * 10^18 kilograms) * (1000 g / 1 kg) = 5.27 * 10^21 grams

The molar mass of air is around 29 grams / mole

(5.27 * 10^21 grams) * (1 mole / 29 grams) = 1.81 * 10^20 moles

Finally, multiply by Avogadro ’s number to convert moles to molecules

(1.81 * 10^20 moles) * (6.02214179*10^23 molecules/mole) = 1.09 * 10^44 molecules

For number of photons
Multiply the the Planck constant, 6.63 x 10^-34, by the wave’s speed. Assuming the wave’s speed to be the speed of light in a vacuum, which is 3 x 10^8 meters per second: 6.63 x 10^-34 x 3 x 10^8 = 1.99 x 10^-25.

Divide the result by the wave’s wavelength. If you’re calculating, for instance, for a wave with wavelength of 650 x 10^-9 meters: (1.99 x 10^-25) / (650 x 10^-9) = 3.06 x 10^-19

Divide the power of the wave by this answer. If, for instance, you are calculating all the photons emitted by a 100-watt bulb: 100 / (3.06 x 10^-19) = 3.27 x 10^20. This is the number of photons that the 100 watt light bulb transmits each second or 3.27 x 10^18 photons per watt.

Now disregarding the NASA energy budget diagram and any back radiation( argue that on another thread please) we have 163.W/m^2 hitting the surface but 40 W/m^2 leaving the surface directly and 86.4 W/m^2 by evapotranspiration and another 18.4 by convection that leaves 18.5 W/m^ leaving the earth surface in long wave IR.
So because the earth surface transmits on average 18.5 watts /m^2 or (see above for photons per watt) 6 x10 ^19 photons per second/m^2

and because the earth surface area = 5.1 x 10^14 m^2 that leaves 3.06 x 10^ 34 number of photons per second leaving earth surface.

As per the above Avogadro’s number = 6.0221415 x 10^23 of CO2 molecules in 1 mole
One ton of CO2 = 22730 moles of CO2
One ton of CO2 = 1.36883 x 10^28 molecules
1000 tons of CO2 = 1.36883 x 10^31 molecules

Since mankind is releasing more than ~ 1000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every second

We are putting 1.36883 x 10^31 molecules of CO2 into the air every second. However 3.06 x 10^ 34 of photons are leaving the earth surface every second. This means that there are 2235 photons leaving the earth surface for every man made CO2 molecule leaving the surface.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 30, 2018 7:35 pm

So?? Co2 molecules don’t get “used up” when they absorb a photon and need to be replaced by “fresh CO2 molecules. There are roughly 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. Each year man releases enough CO2 to increase the concentration by 4 ppm, but about 2 ppm is disappearing into sinks. To the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere interfering with radiative cooling to space is increasing at 0.5% year.

August 28, 2018 12:49 am

What amazes is the speed and apparent eagerness of many to swallow the most extreme prophecies holos-bolus, mainly on the Left in Western countries, not altogether coincident with the rapid disintegration of the Eastern Bloc.
CAGW does share Marxism’s historical determinism, CAGW enthusiasts will often say sceptics are ‘on the wrong side of history’ and stress theory over evidence.
Historian Robert Conquest in Reflections on a Ravaged Century makes the point:
“… Marx was seen, and saw himself, as ‘the Darwin of society’ …
… referring rather patronisingly to Darwin’s ‘crude English empiricism’. By this he meant no more than the perfectly true circumstance that Darwin accumulated facts before developing his theory, as against the supposedly superior method Marx derived from his German academic background, of inventing the theory first and then finding the facts to support it”.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  manalive
August 28, 2018 5:34 am

Marx actually thought his theory was grounded in fact. Instead of empiricism he called it materialism. These were the facts of history and economics. So his followers fooled themselves into doing “scientific socialism”. However they used facts qualitatively, applied bias (as we all do) and had no way to falsify Marxian theories. So the “science” was wrong.

Climate scientists make many of the same mistakes today. They, especially, lack proper methods of validation and falsification.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
August 28, 2018 2:05 pm

Climate scientists do not do the null hypothesis. If you think or guess that something contravenes the known physical laws or is out of the ordinary you take that as the hypothesis. Then you have to test for the null hypothesis and all you can do is collect data that will attempt to reject the null hypothesis. You can never completely accept or reject the null hypothesis because you can never be 100% certain that a hypothesis is right or wrong. The data can never prove the null hypothesis. However your data can reject the null hypothesis within confidence intervals. However you have to choose the confidence intervals. The wider the confidence interval, the larger the error bar is. The error that most researchers make is that they attach probability to the claim that the null hypothesis is rejected. The error with that, is the confidence interval was chosen by the researcher. That confidence interval has probabilities that the data represent a true description of the underlying process. The confidence interval does not represent the probability that the null hypothesis is false because again it is the researcher that chose the confidence interval.

However climate science is even worse than the above false common interpretation . Most climate science skipped the null hypothesis and just assumed that it was false and that CO2 affected temperature.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
September 1, 2018 11:56 pm


The null hypothesis is that climate varies randomly. The evidence is pretty darn clear that is not the case.

August 28, 2018 1:02 am

KIp, even at near 92 years of age that article m ade perfect sense.I recall thinking 40 years ago when this green myth was just getting going, that as the sea is 70 % of the globe, and that evaporation creatts cloud, that its the worlds giaant thermastat. Thanks for two execelent articles.


DW Rice
August 28, 2018 1:20 am


“Surprisingly, Northern Hemisphere snow cover is increasing in the Fall and Winter seasons and decreasing only in the Spring, with the last couple of Springs being about normal. ”

The Rutgers charts don’t supply summer (JJA) extent data for some reason. As far as North America is concerned at least, summer data are available in tabulated form in the annual data published on their site: https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/files/moncov.namgnld.txt

There’s quite a bit of missing data in the early years, especially in summer, but from 1972 there are data for all months in each year. Since 1972 the trends in seasonal snow cover extent in North America per season are (all in millions of km^2 per decade):

Winter: +0.14
Spring: -0.14
Summer: -0.34
Fall: +0.14

The winter and spring figures run to 2018, so take in the increases seen this year; the summer and fall figures only run to 2017, obviously. In terms of the annual trend, 1972-2017, there has been a net *reduction* in North American snow cover of 0.07 million km^2 per decade – about 310,000 km^2 loss in total. (That may fall slightly this year if summer melt doesn’t offset the gains put on last winter and spring; however it would be nowhere near enough to reverse the long term diminishing trend.)

DW Rice
Reply to  DW Rice
August 28, 2018 2:04 am

Just did the same calculation with the Rutgers Northern Hemisphere snow extent data from here: https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/table_area.php?ui_set=1&ui_sort=0

The annual trend in Northern Hemisphere from 1972 to 2017 is -0.17 million km^2 per decade, or a total reduction of 790,000 million km^2 in NH snow extent. Winter and fall extent has increased in that time, but this increase is more than offset by reductions in the spring and summer.

DW Rice
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 8:42 am

Kip, the graphs below are my own produced from the data at the two links provided. (I think the link in the second post, which I found later than the first, covers both North America and Northern Hemisphere.)

North America Annual snow cover extent, 1972-2017:

comment image

Northern Hemisphere annual snow cover extent, 1972-2017:

comment image

DW Rice
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 11:57 pm


Yes, that is the case.

DW Rice
Reply to  DW Rice
August 28, 2018 8:55 am

Clearly it’s the addition of the summer data that shifts the direction of the annual trend most strongly.

North America summer snow cover extent, 1972-2017:

comment image

Northern hemisphere summer snow cover extent, 1972-2017:

comment image

Source: https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/table_area.php?ui_set=1&ui_sort=0

Richard M
Reply to  DW Rice
August 28, 2018 9:25 am

Now think about the fact that the planet has warmed very little in the NH Spring and Summer. The majority of the warming is in the fall and winter. So, why more snow where it is warming the most?

August 28, 2018 2:02 am

The Article quotes from the SYNTHESIS report for policy makers.

Readers may not be familiar with the significance of this particular report being the “Synthesis” report. Or that it is not produced by any scientists.

In the IPCC, scientists are restricted to Working Group 1.

There are two other working groups of what I call “evidence free believers” such as economists.

None of these workin groups directly produce the SYNTHESIS report which is a kind of summary of the summaries of the reports from the three working groups. It is a synthesis of three other sumaries.l

The synthesis report is written by politicians not scientists, as are the three summaries from which the synthesis report is synthesised

see my article:-

Roger Knights
Reply to  Dan Donnachie
August 28, 2018 9:04 am

“The synthesis report is written by politicians not scientists”

More accurately, it’s written by bureaucrats sent to the gathering by governments’ Environmental departments. As might be expected, these are raging greenies.

August 28, 2018 2:08 am

could sea level changes have anything to do with things swimming in it displacing the water or would that be negligible ?
ps I think I should have put a LOL or sarc after previous posting.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 6:41 am

On the other hand, both males and females have been getting larger over that time.

Mark Pawelek
August 28, 2018 2:41 am

Thanks Kip. This is a keeper I’ll read again. If I reblog this it’ll be for reference. I hope that’s OK?

Goran Lindholm
August 28, 2018 2:42 am

A detail : first line below the two first graphs ”left” —- ”left” !!!

August 28, 2018 2:45 am

Kip, why do you believe that CO2 is at “historical” records ?
P.S. Love all your essays, no matter how long !! LOL

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 10:07 am

Could you have meant hysterical levels? After all it’s driven a lot of “environmentalists” hysterical.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 1:46 pm

It’s a Russian conspiracy.

August 28, 2018 2:46 am

Kip –

I live in western WI in the US; I am highly skeptical of warming in my area. I am not a scientist, but all the anecdotal evidence shows that it was warmer here, at least, during the 30s. Am I wrong?


August 28, 2018 2:57 am

Kip. Very good analysis.
I believe in Climate Change. I don’t believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.
The Null hypothesis has never been disproved.

Ian W
August 28, 2018 2:57 am

“The absorbed energy warms the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. “

“Why would anyone deny that? It is simply a fact of chemical and energy physics.”

I am sure people will correct me if I am wrong.

1. The surface of the Earth is ~70% water and 30% land. Of the land area possibly over half is covered with transpiring vegetation. None of NASA’s cartoons show this.

2. It has never been shown that incident infrared in the CO2 emission wavelengths can increase the temperature of water. On the contrary, it is probable that in fact by increasing evaporation and loss of latent heat that low level infra-red in CO2 emission wavelengths cools the surface.

Water will absorb the incident infrared in the first few microns – or more correctly when the infrared photon collides with a molecule of water it is absorbed increasing the energy level of the molecule. Water molecules with close to ‘escape’ heat energy will escape taking that energy and latent heat of evaporation with them.
Water vapor (humid air) being lighter than Nitrogen and Oxygen (dry air) will convect upward even if at the same temperature causing the replacement of the humid air by dry air to cause a continual transport of evaporating water vapor from the surface. This is the start of the hydrologic cycle. Water temperatures are raised by shorter wavelength energy from the Sun and of course warmer water will evaporate more readily.

It would be extremely simple to set up an experiment to falsify the hypothesis that infrared emissions in the CO2 emission bands incident on the surface of water cool the water by increasing evaporation and loss of latent heat.

Until it has been falsified I will continue to state that :
* “The absorbed energy warms the atmosphere and the downwelling infrared cools the sea surface and those land areas with transpiring vegetation – cooling approximately 75% of the Earth’s surface by increasing the activity of the hydrologic cycle”
* And that the cooling hypothesis is supported by “chemical and energy physics”

Itz Me
Reply to  Ian W
August 28, 2018 4:04 am

I am no scientist but I think you may be correct. I always wondered, if GHGs like water vapor warm the climate, then why are rainforests not 5 times warmer than deserts ?

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Itz Me
August 28, 2018 5:53 am

Water also cools. Surface water absorbs heat from its surroundings (called latent heat of vaporization). This turns it to water vapor. Gaseous water is lighter than normal air (Molecular Weight of H2O = 18, compared to 28 / 32 (for N2 / O2). So wet air is lighter (it has a low pressure), so is pushed up to the cloud layer by denser (high pressure) air; which, in turn, can moisturise in contact with the ground. This is a major mechanism for tropical cooling. It explains why dry deserts further from the equator get hotter in mid-afternoon. They cannot evaporatively cool.

Ian W
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 10:46 am

The short answer is that in the real world the presence of downwelling (sic) radiation from CO2 doesn’t cause warming in either the long or the short term and therefore CO2 has no measurable warming effect.

However, a more active Sun and changes in insolation and reductions in albedo can result in more heating of the oceans by shorter wave sunlight. This heating may affect the extended Thermo-Haline Circulation of the oceans. Looking at the pattern during the Holocene of: Holocene Optimum, Minoan Optimum, Roman Optimum, Medieval Warm Period, and now the current warming; each reaching successively less high atmospheric temperatures. These ‘optima’ are in a sequence that seems to follow a quasi 1200-1400 year period; it does not follow CO2 levels.

If someone would run the simple experiment I proposed above, to test whether water is warmed or cooled by incident infrared in the CO2 emission frequencies, then we have a categorical empirical result that could settle the AGW debate.

Reply to  Ian W
August 28, 2018 6:43 am

IR doesn’t warm water, short wave radiation does that.
What IR does is warm the air which slows the rate at which the energy added by short wave radiation can escape.

Before evaporation can increase, the water has to first warm up.

Ian W
Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2018 11:10 am

Mark W
You are aware of tropical thundershowers? They are not inhibited by the warmth, the humidity of the air and the lapse rates lead to an unstable atmosphere (one in which convection will rapidly increase as latent heat is released). The energy released by these storms and by larger tropical storms and hurricanes is far more than people realize. From latent heat of condensation alone a hurricane in a day can release the same energy as 200 times the total world electrical generation capacity ( http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html ). The hydrologic cycle is extremely powerful.

Water will warm up mainly from short wave radiation that penetrates. But infrared radiation in the CO2 emission range just provides energy to the top molecules of the water surface enhancing their evaporation and the loss of latent heat by the surface – cooling it.

Reply to  Ian W
August 28, 2018 1:49 pm

The existence of tropical storms neither refutes nor confirms my point. It has nothing to do with it.

If a photon of IR is enough to cause a molecule of water to evaporate, for the most part the molecule takes with it the energy from the IR photon.
To the extent that the molecule does take away more energy, then you are going to need even more IR photons to replace that energy.

Richard M
Reply to  Ian W
August 28, 2018 9:43 am

I believe that the greenhouse effect actually would produce 60 C of warming in and of itself (dry adiabatic lapse rate). The water cycle brings this down to the 33 C we usually see. Hence, we can already see the negative feedback.

About all we will see from adding more CO2 is a further strengthening of the water cycle. This is why nights, winters and arid areas such as deserts will see some warming. The water cycle is reduced there.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ian W
August 28, 2018 10:05 am

Ian W,
You aren’t the first to complain that IR can’t warm the surface of the water. However, I think that something you are overlooking is that if the boundary layer is saturated for the temperature, then more WV can’t be evaporated. So, I can imagine that under calm, low-wind conditions, it is possible to heat the surface of the water with IR. On the other hand, in the presence of wind, the saturated boundary will be removed, WV will be evaporated, and the surface cooled. But then, wind will cause evaporation and cooling even in the absence of IR.

Ian W
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 11:17 am

You forget that humid air is lighter than dry air [ H2O – 18, O2 – 32, N2 – 28]. So even at the same temperature there will be convection and drier air will be drawn in. The air being drawn in will of course increase the effect. The atmosphere above the ocean is not enclosed.
All this can be demonstrated with simple experiment within the budgets of most high schools. I wonder why these experiments have not been done.

AGW is not Sceince
Reply to  Ian W
August 30, 2018 12:04 pm

Because the answers wouldn’t support the AGW nonsense, and the associated grants, rent seeker payments, and related political agendas.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 2:34 pm

I remember once as a young boy going swimming in Lake Oroville (CA) on a 100 deg F July day. The surface was comfortable, probably about 70 deg F. I decided to dive under the surface and hit a thermocline at about 5′ under the surface; the water below was probably about 50 deg F — quite a shock! Clearly, the surface of water bodies is heated more strongly than the deeper water and the change is often characterized by sharp boundaries. There is no visible water vapor leaving the surface, unlike when a warm lake has cold air over the surface and one can see swirls of condensing WV. This is another situation where I’m not sure we have a firm grasp of what is happening.

August 28, 2018 3:13 am

“That means that CO2 as a driver of climate only became dominate over Factor X since 1950.”

Modern climate science has been built over the assumption that the warming measured and experimented from about 1976 to 2000 was caused by the increase in CO2. Many scientists were expecting the warming from Physics first principles since the 60’s when the CO2 increase started to be measured and found to be so large. It had been speculated that something was preventing the warming from taking place, and the general agreement was that it was the atmospheric pollution. The warming came to most scientists as a confirmation of the Greenhouse Gas theory of climate. It was so large that it had overcome the forces that were causing the cooling. For three decades it became such a cornerstone that none trained in climate science was exposed to any doubt about it. Those are the climate scientists that dominate the field today.

Our knowledge was extended towards the past and the future on the assumption that the 1976-2000 warming was primarily due to CO2. As we can explain almost anything, explanations were found to assign past climate variations to other factors. So past warming was due to lack of aerosols, lack of volcanic eruptions, increasing solar forcing, increasing CO2. Explanations would not be accepted unless they left the central assumption intact. Conflicting evidence, like the Pause, lead to a circling of the wagons, as a dominant hypothesis always has to defend from challenges.

But the challenges are feeble, because there is a lack of strong contender. This is like having an usurper on the throne and no legal claimant to whose banner the unsatisfied can rally. The usurper will continue ruling with the help of his supporters.

No doubt the lack of a strong contender is due to our poor knowledge of how the climate changes. But the dominant hypothesis can reduce research into alternative explanations delaying the advancement of knowledge by decades.

The present situation is that the hypothesis that CO2 is the main climate controller, will not be dethroned from its dominant position until sufficiently strong new evidence contradicting it is produced, and the search for an alternative hypothesis starts in earnest. And that might take decades.

Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 6:38 am

…we can explain almost anything…” Such an astute insight!

Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 8:47 am

The alternative hypothesis is already in existence…. but you refuse to read it…..
It is not yet published in warmist gatekeeper-controlled journals. The gatekeepers
inmediately would cut it out, in order, your quote: “not to be dethroned from their
dominant position…” ….therefore please check, PART 8:
Your recent paper on the Little Ice Age clearly resumes that low temperatures
in the 17 cty CANNOT be explained by solar minima and volcano eruptions….
….. There must be, as Kip says, a FACTOR X (X stands for not yet publically known).
Something major, overlooked, the reason, why models do not match and remain
in low quality and the CO2 proof was not delivered since the Charney Report in the
Furthermore: To “natural variability”… this talk came up since
the ice cores from Greenland (GISP/GRIP etc) were evaluated and they
discovered the D-O-events (sequence of warm and cold spikes): “Natural
variability in glacial times” …. as a visible effect, not as cause ….
and now “natural variability” serves as a cause and climate driver!
You can put a donkey in front of a grandmothers wall clock and ask him
why the pendulum swings…and he will reply: For “natural variability”!
Again, the above link shows you the alternative factor X, the “missing link”
for climate science discussion…..

Reply to  J.Seifert
August 28, 2018 10:17 am

Joachim, I’ve been around long enough to have read some of your previous papers. I think you overdo your frequency analysis and overuse GISP2, which is just a proxy from a single location. I seem to remember that you proposed regular cosmic impacts to explain the cycles, and I did not find that convincing. Fell free to correct me if I have misrepresented your position, as I am talking from memory.

Reply to  J.Seifert
August 28, 2018 10:55 am

Low solar activity surely looks like the best explanation of the “Dark Age” cool intervals between warm phases of the Holocene. Certainly for the Little Ice Age, the cool period between the Medieval and Modern Warm Periods.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 9:13 am

“The present situation is that the hypothesis that CO2 is the main climate controller, will not be dethroned from its dominant position until sufficiently strong new evidence contradicting it is produced, and the search for an alternative hypothesis starts in earnest. And that might take decades.”

A resumption of the Pause would do it too. Or a red team / blue team debate, especially in conjunction with a science court. Aided by a series of really good brief debunking YouTube videos.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 28, 2018 9:36 am

“A resumption of the Pause would do it too.”

No, it won’t. They are not stupid and are prepared for that eventuality.

“Global Temperature in 2017
18 January 2018
James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy, Gavin A. Schmidt, Ken Lo, Avi Persin

The amplitude of the solar irradiance variation is smaller than the planetary energy imbalance, which has grown to about +0.75 ± 0.25 W/m2 over the past several decades due to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. However, the solar variability is not negligible in comparison with the energy imbalance that drives global temperature change. Therefore, because of the combination of the strong 2016 El Niño and the phase of the solar cycle, it is plausible, if not likely, that the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus’.”

And political confrontations are never resolved by political debates. And skeptic YouTube videos are already being labelled as untrustworthy. If necessary they’ll be removed.

Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 10:09 am

In other words it will never be dethroned because they will never accept any evidence that doesn’t support what they have already concluded.

Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2018 10:20 am

They’ll die of old age. Young scientists tend to be less prejudiced because they are less invested. That’s how science advances according to Max Planck.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 2:38 pm

Then let’s hope that the second generation doesn’t also teach! There will be no end to it! 🙂

Roger Knights
Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 12:46 pm

“They are not stupid and are prepared for that eventuality.”

But how many of their “subjects” will buy their special pleading? Before the 2016 El Niño, the length of the Pause was doing a nice job of undermining their credibility, and causing transparent straw-grasping and back-pedaling, and a cooling of the fervor of activists and politicians. A resumption of the Pause would have the same effect—especially since the gap between the low-line of IGPOCC’s prediciton and observed temperatures would be twice as great in the event.

And only a minority of warmist climatologists would go along with the Hansenite special pleading, because doing so would expose them to general ridicule—and a fear of sneers is the main moktivation of the professoriate, as Mencken observed.

Falsified predictions would tend to embarrass the emperor, especially if accompanied by other falsifications, such as a recovery of arctic ice, etc. And it is not really a monarch we are looking to dethrone—a better analogy would be a a false prophet we are looking to expose. There’s no need to have a replacement candidate lined up. As Mencken said, “Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed. In whole departments of human inquiry it seems to me quite unlikely that the truth ever will be discovered. ”

Actually, we already have a replacement candidate with a good pedigree for kingship: chaos theory.

I wrote, ” Or a red team / blue team debate, especially in conjunction with a science court. Aided by a series of really good brief debunking YouTube videos.”

If a science court had been established back in the 70s, when there was a lot of enthusiasm for it, a skeptic-supporting ruling, or even a neutral-ish ruling somewhat similar to the outcome of the Koonin klatsch for the APS, would dis-empower the alarmist ascendency in the eyes of politicians and the public, which is what counts, even if climatoly continues to enforce its absurdities intramurally.

In the light of such a ruling, the labeling of climate contrarian YouTube videos would be unsupportable. Rather they would stand on all fours with orthodoxy.

Richard M
Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 9:49 am

Javier, it might take decades, or … it might already exist.


Reply to  Richard M
August 28, 2018 10:13 am

Yes, I had already read Bill Gray’s posthumous work. It is interesting but he fails to explain why the changes in the Meridional Overturning Circulation are resulting in the warming of the surface at this time. He is more successful at explaining why CO2 is not resulting in as much warming as predicted.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 10:45 am


The abbots, deacons, and warlocks of the Gaia religion that regularly post their dogma here seem not to understand how scientific experiments are to be conducted. They claim that because it was long ago shown that CO2 can absorb IR radiation, it must therefore cause heating of the atmosphere.

What they don’t seem to realize is that when dealing with dynamic systems with complex interactions between multiple variables, it is a requirement to hold all variables constant except for the one whose behavior is being recorded. That then has to be done for each and EVERY variable! While one can put a simple gas in a glass tube and observe the spectra of electromagnetic energy passing through, Earth is not such a simple system. One can’t put clouds or plants in that tube. Therein lies the problem. The multivariable dynamic system cannot be replicated in the laboratory and therefore one cannot obtain relationships between all the variables and see how the individual variables interact with the others. That is, the feedbacks that might well be counteracting the small potential heating are not able to be measured directly.

In the absence of the ability to experiment directly, computer models were developed to simulate how experts think the system works. Unfortunately, some of the relationships are not well characterized. For example, arguments have been made that water vapor can contribute positive or negative forcing. The truth may be that both claims are true for certain ranges of other variables. But, we don’t know! What makes things even worse is that the energy exchanges that are known to occur in clouds cannot be modeled at the same spatial resolution as most of the other measured atmospheric properties. Thus, assumptions have to be made to simplify the cloud energy interactions. This is called parameterization. However, what it really is, is the introduction of subjective opinion into what is otherwise “First Principals” physics calculations. If the parameterization has negligible effect, then it really isn’t needed. If the parameterization has a significant effect, then it nullifies the physics-based calculations. The model becomes the ‘Fudge Factor!”

Computer models should only be used to help understand how a dynamic system works by testing sub-hypotheses of things like the parameterizations. Their current use as predictors of future climate are unwarranted and could be considered a perversion of the purpose of research modeling. Until such time as there is ‘consensus’ on the correct form of the models and their feedbacks, and everyone agrees to settle on a single model, it is irresponsible to be making claims about future warming or precipitation. Imagine what it would be like if every flight simulator gave the student pilot different responses to changes in the controls. That is, there needs to be validation of the models and agreement that the output of future conditions are reliable.

Just quoting Arrhenius won’t cut it for real science!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 11:09 am

I couldn’t agree more, Clyde. To make successful predictions a thorough knowledge of all the variables involved is required. In the early days of artillery they couldn’t predict where the ball was going to hit. They had to shoot and then correct. The accuracy of artillery improved as the variables and the math and physics involved were better known.

We are in the early days of climate science. Predictions can’t be trusted. Shouldn’t be trusted.

Our only tool for exploring the future is projecting the past. This only works for things that change slowly and for a limited time until enough changes accumulate. As surprising as it seems the Pause could have been predicted by simple extrapolation. The problem is that scientists assumed the introduction of CO2 had changed the game so much as to make extrapolations useless.

If sufficient extrapolations work (temperature, sea level, sea-ice, ENSO, …) that would be evidence that CO2 has not changed the game significantly and therefore it cannot be a first-order factor.

August 28, 2018 3:14 am

Kip… there’s an old saying that “the best defense is a good offense”. The best angle of attack may be to go after climate change denial by the CAGW crowd. No. I’m not joking. The 5 points are as follows…

* I do not deny climate change
* Earth’s climate has been changing for thr past 4 billion years
* Earth’s climate is changing now
* Earth’s climate will continue to change for the next 4 billion years
* Deal with it

If climate naturally changes, regardless of what we do/don’t do, then there is no justification for carbon taxes, “carbon neutral” deindustrialization, bureaucratrats controlling every aspect of our lives, etc, that would drive us back into the stone age. To combat this, the CAGW crowd have gone into “past-climate-change-denial”, e.g. Michael Mann’s efforts to erase the Medieval Climate Optimum.

Actually the Roman Optimum was warmer than the Medieval Optimum, and the Minoan optimum even more so. These are only a few of the most recent warm periods, and of course there were intervening cool periods. On a larger scale there were ice ages and inter-glacials. On even larger time scales, there was the Carboniferous Era, “Snowball Earth”, and Earth’s beginning as a molten slag heap billions of years ago.

This leads to “The Snapshot Fallacy”. In an environment of constantly changing climate, the CAGW crowd has set an arbitrary “2-degree-limit” against 1800. I.e. they’ve picked the situation at one point in time and they want to freeze conditions there, just because. Stopping rising temperatures is on par with King Canute stopping the rising tide.

One more item; 20,000 years ago…
* the earth was several degrees cooler than today
* 2 kilometres (2,000 metres) of ice covered cities like Toronto and Chicago
* CO2 was approx half of today’s levels (i.e. 200 ppm)
* the total planetary population of Homo Sapiens Sapiens was estimated at approximately 1 million
* despite the 2 preceeding points, temperatures suddenly rose sharply and 2,000 metres of ice covering Chicago and Toronto melted
* but today the CAGW crowd is freaking out about 2 metres of Arctic ice pack possibly melting during the summer… Hello!?!?

If you can make a longer essay out of these ideas please feel free to do so. I’ve always wanted to, but while I can write concisely, I can’t expand stuff into long form very well.

August 28, 2018 3:24 am

On the left is from Grinstead 2009 starting in 1850, and on the left, from

However, sea level does not begin is inexorable rise 1850-1900


August 28, 2018 3:32 am

comment image

Solving Global Warming is easy

I have written a fictional story, which explains how we can solve the problem of global warming.

The story is meant to be funny, and a bit silly (like Monty Python).

Although it is written in a light-hearted way, there is a serious message hidden in the story. Is global warming really going to be as bad as the merchants of doom, claim?


Please tell me what you think.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 3:21 pm


I hope that you realise that I am serious about my solution to global warming.

Why should the people in Minneapolis worry about global warming, when it will only make their average temperature the same as Denver’s average temperature is, now.

The last time that I checked, all of the people in Denver were alive and kicking.

I am going to publish an article soon, which will show that quite a lot of the countries in Region 1 (from 90N to 48N, the northern most 1/8 of the earth) may have already exceeded to +2.0 degrees Celsius temperature limit.

This includes countries like, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, most of Kazakhstan, some of Mongolia, and most of Russia.

Because nobody told them that had exceeded the +2.0 degrees Celsius temperature limit, they are under the impression that they are leading normal happy lives. We can’t let this continue.

If one Region of the earth is allowed to lead normal happy lives, while over the +2.0 degrees Celsius temperature limit, then all of the other Regions will want to do the same.

Urgent action is required!!!

August 28, 2018 3:33 am

So, what is it, Kip? What is factor x to you?

Jim Clarke
Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2018 5:07 am

I am not speaking for Kip, but it seems obvious to me that Factor X is the complex interaction of the Earth, Sun and Universe. This interaction, as a whole or in part, is not understood, and its effects are not remotely quantified, but denying its presences (as some warmists have attempted to do) is every bit as crazy as denying that humans are having any impact. Whatever it is, it did not stop functioning at the start of the industrial revolution, and certainly continuous unabated today.

In other words, modern climate change is most assuredly the product of human induced changes and Factor X. It is impossible to quantify the human impact without quantifying Factor X, yet that is precisely what modern climate science has attempted to do for the last 30 years.

The notion that humans are currently swamping Factor X, without any knowledge of the magnitude of Factor X, is simply ignorant. The recent pause in global warming is proof that Factor X is at least as significant as the human influence, and may very well be more significant. A prolonged cooling trend, which I believe started with the end of the 2015 Super El Nino, would prove that Factor X is more significant than the human influence, and prove that the amount of denial is greatest on the side of the warmists.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Jim Clarke
August 28, 2018 8:48 am

Jim Clarke==> I agree completely, but I’d expand to say that “Factor-X” is really the net effect of many factors (Factors A – W?) which interact with each other in a myriad of ways. These undoubtedly include ocean cycles, solar cycles, orbital effects, GCRs, volcanoes, aerosols, hydrology, and on and on. We’ve seen many papers and articles on these, but I think it is clear that no one understands how these factors produced the many changes in climate that are apparent in the historical climate record.

If we do not understand the causes of past changes, there is no way to predict future changes. Factor-X, whatever it is, could just as well flip climate change to cooling in 10, 50, 100 or 1000 years as it could continue to produce warming. To think that given our present lack of understanding we have any way to control or effect the earth’s climate seems to me to be the height of hubris.

Q: If the climate had been showing unequivocal cooling since the 1970s, would the alarmists be calling for greater use of fossil fuels to counter act the cooling and stave off catastrophe? I suspect not.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rick C PE
August 28, 2018 10:58 am

Rick C PE,
You left out factors Y and Z. 🙂

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 8:30 am

I was hoping for an opinion, not a solution.

I am convinced we have already sufficient evidence to answer that question, and we are just not looking the right way to it.

The example of the Clovis first consensus hypothesis of the population of the Americas is a good example. Its main evidence was the absence of contradictory evidence. I was re-reading it two days ago:

“Known as “Clovis First”, the predominant hypothesis among archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century had been that the people associated with the Clovis culture were the first inhabitants of the Americas. The primary support for this was that no solid evidence of pre-Clovis human habitation had been found. According to the standard accepted theory, the Clovis people crossed the Beringia land bridge over the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska during the period of lowered sea levels during the ice age, then made their way southward through an ice-free corridor east of the Rocky Mountains in present-day Western Canada as the glaciers retreated.

Recently, the scientific consensus has changed to acknowledge the presence of pre-Clovis cultures in the Americas, ending the “Clovis first” consensus.”

What Happens When an Archaeologist Challenges Mainstream Scientific Thinking?
The story of Jacques Cinq-Mars and the Bluefish Caves shows how toxic atmosphere can poison scientific progress

Jacques Cinq-Mars made public his discovery of human habitation of Alaska 24,000 years BP (11,000 years before Clovis) in the Bluefish cave in 1979. He received only contempt and incredulity. “Funding for his Bluefish work grew scarce: His fieldwork eventually sputtered and died.”

Eventually his work was vindicated in 2016.

“Clovis first will, I believe, go down as a classic example of a paradigm shift, in which the evidence for the collapse of an old model is present for many years before it actually collapses, producing a sort of zombie model that won’t die.”

I may be able to convince you that we do know what is warming the Earth, and that the evidence is present already. We just need to forget our assumptions and look at the evidence the right way.

I’ll write something about that in a few days.

steve case
August 28, 2018 3:40 am

Kip – two quotes and …

Now, I have accepted the two basic premises of the Global Warming movement — the two points on which the so-called “97% agree” (so count me among them) — that “Global Warming is happening” and “Human activity causes [some of] it.”

Yes, that’s about where I am. Those two points are right out of the Doran & Zimmerman study that started the 97% non-sense. But Doran & Zimmerman didn’t include a 3rd point to ask if the responders to their survey thought that we are headed for a climate catastrophe? And that’s the issue.

The IPCC has thus been forced to alter its original hypothesis and modify it to read that CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions are “the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

That means that CO2 as a driver of climate only became dominate over Factor X since 1950.

In other words, what is claimed as caused by “Climate Change” (Droughts, Storms, fires, etc.) has happened before. It’s not new or different.

Is there going to be a Part 3 that talks about the politics of Climate Science?

steve case
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 7:27 am

I am genuinely disappointed. The real fight is politics. The science battle has been won, if it wasn’t the Climate Science Community would be demanding a debate. The debate never happened. The opposite as you well know is what’s going on. Climate scientists and other groups are engaging in stonewalling tactics. It really is quite ugly.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 3:33 pm

Kip, A great job. Now how about a Part 3 in your area of expertise. Call it:

Part 3 “SO WHAT?

I am not qualified to do it,but you could.
*If climate sensitivity is 1.3 degrees (280 to 560ppm) to go to 2.6 degrees would need to double again to 1120 ppm which would take over a century with increased plant growth.

* We could adapt to that. Would it be better if we made huge sacrafices to make that 2.4 degrees.

*Great benefits of increased CO2. Plant/food growth increase, northwest passage open, warmer nights, warmer north, etc.

*Sea level rise at 9″ per centruy is manageable, is 7” with great sacrafice more manageable?
* You can flesh this out better than I.

jan rune Nordhagen
August 28, 2018 3:59 am

Thank you for good balanced articles. I do think this is the only way to win the battle against the almost religious alarmists. Facts, facts, facts.

August 28, 2018 4:05 am

Kip: an excellent, reasoned approach to the problem. I would suggest that AGW does not rank as a hypothesis, because it is not testable or falsifiable using the scientific method. Hence, it is merely a conjecture.

August 28, 2018 4:36 am

Actually, feeding trolls is like feeding gremlins after midnight—it spawns more and more angry, vulgar trolls which sadly are not shut down immediately in some venues (even those with “values”—methinks humans love nastiness nowadays….)

I do realize in reading this article (apologies to Kip for my concentrating on his graphs and not his writing) that all the fear could be taken out of global warming with a simple modification to numbering scheme used on the Y-axis of graphs.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 10:10 am

Kip: “Software can only pretend to make intelligent decisions — even advanced IA — it can only make decisions envisioned by the programmer that wrote the code.”

As a computer programmer for over 40 years, I concur with this observation. It reminds me of a SciFi novel (its name escapes me at the moment) that called their AI devices “Artificial Stupids”.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 2:43 pm

Kip: ” I fought this battle at IBM for years…”

IBM should have realized that your statement about computer programs is true as a result of their work on the “Deep Blue” chess playing computer and its associated software. Though it did eventually beat world champion Chess Master Garry Kasparov in a chess tournament in 1997, it did so partly because IBM programmers were allowed to “upgrade” the software after each game, so in a sense the computer software was optimized to play against Mr. Kasparov. Also, it really didn’t utilize AI but instead played Chess by brute force, and was able to evaluate 200 million positions per second.

August 28, 2018 5:01 am

Well, KIP, per the Nordic sea ice chart, if you look at the LOWEST levels indicated (in those boxes), it appears that the lowest sea ice level has been reached, which means that the process should reverse itself (according to that chart) and the extent of sea ice should show an increase from now on. The Nordic chart indicates that a reversal should be taking place, or will do so very soon.

Personally, I think it is already underway and only needs observations and records to show its progress.

If that is the case, then the trolls will have nothing, not a leg to stand on, and yet, they will still insist it ain’t gonna happen. You will still have to fight them off because they will be unwilling to admit that they might be wrong.

Oh – almost forgot: good morning, KIP!!! 🙂

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 7:04 pm

Kip, this is a link to a 2011 article in “Live Science” in which the author discusses the discovery of a previously unknown, and very deep, cold water current flowing between Iceland and Canada.

I would have brought this up earlier, but I couldn’t remember when I first saw it, and it was long before this whole business became a political football. You might want to take a good hard look at it, because if any measurements are being taken now, well. where are they?

There’s a good shot of some disc ice in that article. Disc ice is a separate form of pancake ice, both of which require specific temperature and current conditions to form.

Reply to  Sara
August 28, 2018 7:56 am

Maybe an analogy would be a very large glass (or pitcher) of iced tea. Pour the tea into the glass/pitcher leaving about an inch of room between the surface and the rim, then add as many ice cubes as you can crowd into that and watch them melt. They always melt from underneath – always – even with cold (fridge overnight) tea, and the ice always stays afloat, because it has some air in it. Warm air above the ice will make it melt faster, too. This occurred many, many times in July this year when my fridge’s freezer quit working properly and needed the repairman.

However – and I’ve done this many, many times, too – putting it back into the fridge will slow the melt rate but the ice will stay ice and the water, as it gets colder, will come close to freezing (depending on how low you have the fridge temp set).

So whether or not there is a heat source that affects the on/off switch in the Arctic isn’t clear, no, but the Gakkel Ridge formation became active a few years back, and was releasing warm water into the area that runs under the North Pole. It may have stopped. Don’t know yet. I keep checking for news on that. It may have had something to do with ice thinning up there, too. However, if the activity stopped, then maybe THAT should be looked into as a factor in Arctic ice fluctuations.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 3:01 pm


Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Sara
August 28, 2018 11:05 am

You said, ” it appears that the lowest sea ice level has been reached,…” Well, it is snowing in Europe right now. Time will tell if it is an aberration, or the start of something different.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 3:07 pm

Noted. And Accuweather has finally acknowledged the summer snows in the Western US states.

Normal Midwestern summer heat had been disrupted several times in Illinois and is about to be disrupted again by cold air. 50s at night here are not normal for even the end of August. More like late September. I have notebooks full of data, and photos with the files date stamped for time, day and month. Not sure if it is an anomaly, and snow in mid-October in northern Illinois is not unusual, but simply rare. Just keeping track, that’s all.

Consistent and repeated patterns are what I look for, rather than anomalies.

August 28, 2018 5:31 am

Absolutely, the suggestion that whatever caused the planet to go into, and out of, such large temperature swings in the past, suddenly stopped, around 1900 to 1940, is ridiculous! There is no physics, science, or evidence for such an arrest.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MattS
August 28, 2018 11:08 am

The first step will be for someone to whip out their calculator and determine the past average and standard deviation and see if we are outside the bounds of past behavior.

August 28, 2018 6:26 am

Kip…When you say “I Don’t Deny”, you are mistaken…let me explain…in today’s world, you and everyone else knows that when someone asks “Why do you deny climate change?” or “Do you believe in climate change?”, they are asking “Do you believe that C02 is a pollutant that is causing damage to the earth?” Everyone knows this is the main point of debate.

So when you say you “… don’t agree with the assertion that CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions are ‘the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.'” you are denying “climate change.” Please stop being a politician who purposely misunderstands what someone is asking and deflects or redefines the question so that you don’t have to directly say you disagree.

When someone asks you “Why do you deny climate change?” the correct response is “Because I don’t believe that C02 is pollution.” Make the real point crystal clear at the beginning and show them you know what they are really asking, and then if they want details, you can go into all the scientific details.

Reply to  Dan
August 28, 2018 8:19 am

Dan: “…you and everyone else knows that when someone asks ‘Why do you deny climate change?’ or ‘Do you believe in climate change?’, they are asking ‘Do you believe that C02 is a pollutant that is causing damage to the earth?'”.

I don’t disagree with the what you are saying but my take is that one should answer the question being asked, “Why do you deny climate change?” not the one that should have been asked “Do you believe that C02 is a pollutant that is causing damage to the earth?”. If someone is unable to say what they mean I don’t think I have an obligation to try to figure what they meant to say.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Dan
August 28, 2018 9:27 am

“they are asking “Do you believe that C02 is a pollutant that is causing damage to the earth?” Everyone knows this is the main point of debate.”

No, the real point of the debate is How Much damage. IOW, one can accept AGW and deny CAGW, if the How Much answer is low.

David M.
August 28, 2018 6:58 am

TY for enlightening and prompting people to think.

I write to suggest a future topic. What is anthropogenic CO2’s share of total atmospheric CO2? How has the share changed in recent decades? A Google search on the topic produced nada. When climate change advocates avoid an issue, the issue frequently challenges their cause.

Data for 20 or 30 years should be available. Anthropogenic CO2 supposedly differs from natural CO2. Instruments can detect the various forms of CO2, and such instruments have been sniffing the atmosphere for 30+ years.

Man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 should be revealed by the ratio between the forms of CO2 released by man and the forms released by natural processes. For example, burning fossil fuels releases isotopes that differ from those released by other CO2 sources. If climate change advocates are correct that man caused the entire increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1800 or so, then the isotopes linked to man should account for about 30% of atmospheric CO2. Such a large share should be easily detected by today’s instrumentation.

The arithmetic behind the 30% figure is:
(today’s atmospheric CO2 concentration – pre-Industrial concentration) / today’s concentration
(410 ppm – 280 ppm) / 410 ppm

Our understanding of man’s influence may be refined by studying how the ratio has changed (presumably increased) over the past 30+ years.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 11:15 am

You remarked, ” There are scientists that believe that this can all be determined by the isotopes of Carbon — I am not among them…” I agree with you. I haven’t quite got my head around the isotope arguments yet. However, I noted recently that apparently Ferdinand Englebeen believes that upwelling deep ocean water reflects the isotopic composition of water that sank in the polar regions a millennium ago. However, he overlooks the fact that organic detritus raining down through the water column for the last millennium has been adding 12C-enriched CO2 to the water, changing the ratio.

Alan the Brit
August 28, 2018 7:19 am

Deja vu! We do not understand what effect the power of the Sun has on Earth’s Climate, but whatever it is, it’s already been overtaken by Manmade Global Warming! = We don’t know the affect of element ‘ A’, on Element ‘B’, but whatever it is, it’s already been overpowered by Element ‘C’! Simples!

Reply to  Alan the Brit
August 28, 2018 1:57 pm

Or as I’ve been told by a number of alarmists:

We don’t know what caused the previous warm periods and it doesn’t matter. Because the current warming is caused by CO2, the models have proven it.

August 28, 2018 7:42 am

Good article. There are a fair number of examples of the “cut-off-graph” trick used by advocates, mostly due to the coincidence of record sets starting at about the same time as a trend started. If one uses less reliable data, mostly proxies or incomplete reports, many of the trends go away.

Ewin Barnett
August 28, 2018 7:42 am

When a person advocates that the climate is changing, I say, well, yes, the climate is always changing. Indeed something would be wrong if it didn’t stop changing. It is a dynamical system that by its very nature cannot be static, especially given variations in solar output. Why monitor the climate? At the very least because we all depend upon a healthy biosphere in order to grow our food, both livestock and grain crops. We also depend upon other plants for clothing like cotton. Having a healthy biosphere is a matter of life and death for humanity.

But I don’t hear these concerns from the advocates of “climate change”. They loudly fret about many things, but never about our corn crop. In fact, on a different day, in a different context, they demand that we devote even more millions of acres of farmland to growing corn. The US presently commits over 30% of it corn harvest to making ethanol to blend with gasoline.

More broadly, the main effect of the policy changes being advocated converge far more on socialistic government policy than to improve the biosphere.

When the meaning of words is malleable and plastic they become tools of dishonest ideology. Then those who see through this are hampered in making an effective response. If I say that I am a “climate denier”, while that is not literally, scientifically correct, it is ideologically true. I don’t deny that the climate was so cold about 25,000 years ago that where Chicago presently sits was covered by a mile of glacial ice. I don’t deny that many Mammoths have been pried out of the Siberian tundra. I don’t deny they were flash frozen with green plant matter still in their stomachs. I don’t deny that from 1408 to 1814 Londoners were able to hold large Frost Fairs on the frozen River Thames. Not during a few winters, but during 24 different winters.

But these things don’t count to the advocates of “climate change”, even as they are hard proof of climate change. I see though the ideological agenda. That makes me a “climate denier” as they define the phrase. I publicly admit it. Hang a sign around my neck and stand me on the street corner just like Mao’s Red Guards did during public shaming. That is what “climate change” really is. A public shame.

Coach Springer
August 28, 2018 7:49 am

(Partial) Proof that it might – under specific current conditions that always change.

John Garrett
August 28, 2018 7:51 am

Commendable and nicely done— though I am not willing to concede that the historic temperature record is accurate and reliable prior to the advent of satellite-based measurement in 1979.

I don’t think climate “science” really knows what global temperatures were previous to that time.

Do you really believe that Russian temperature records from, say, 1917-1950 are reliable? I’m not ready to believe that people were making accurate daily observations all over Russia during the Revolution or the Civil War or during the Sieges of Stalingrad and Leningrad.

I don’t believe that Chinese temperature records from, say, 1913-1980 are reliable. I don’t think that accurate daily temperatures were recorded during the upheaval and chaos of the warlord period or WWII or the Revolution or “The Great Leap Forward.”

Nor do I believe that Sub-Saharan African temperatures from, say, 1850-1975 or oceanic temperatures from prehistory ’til 1979 are accurate. Do I think daily temperature observations were made in the Bering Sea or the Weddell Sea or in the middle of the Pacific at any time before the advent of satellite observations in 1979? Of course not.

Michael 2
Reply to  John Garrett
August 28, 2018 8:32 am

For what its worth, the Bering sea *was* regularly monitored for temperature in the 1970’s and 1980’s, maybe earlier, as it impacts submarine detection (speed of sound in water depends partly on temperature). Not only surface temperature but bathythermal profiles pretty much daily. These surveys, conducted by US Navy P3’s, also included occasional ice edge reconnaissance flights.

But these bathy records were manually transcribed with a precision of about 1 degree F. Over a very large number of samples its probably reliable and useful.

August 28, 2018 8:02 am
The Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
August 28, 2018 8:32 am

This is directed to no one person in particular, but please do feel free to respond, critique, etc:

Whatever state of maturity CliSci might be in, it is still making the attempt to tie global climate change to a single cause; viz, the change in atmospheric CO2; carbon dioxide as a ‘control knob’ for climate, etc.

The skeptic side (which is what I consider myself) is, in a sense, equally guilty of seeking a singular cause. Obviously, it is possible, but not likely, that there is some singular cause, and we often see some work in the realm of ocean circulation, Milankovich cycles, solar influences, and the sort.

Which is fine, but I have a very hard time accepting that there is a “singular” cause for any climate change, regardless of the direction or magnitude. Geologists are now working with the idea that transitions (both directions) into-and-out-of glacial episodes are taking place within a time span measured in decades (some will even argue that it could be less than a decade). If this hypothesis proves to be valid, then we have established that the skeptical “causes” (above) are much too tardy to cause such a drastic change within such a short time span.

Mr. Hansen refers to this “Force X”, which, on the surface, I have no problem with. I think that some natural variation is more than adequate to explain any and all changes in global surface temperatures, since the 17th Century. If, as it appears, Nature is able to change average global temperatures more than five or six Celsius degrees (in a few decades), then it could also be changing whatever the present-day average global temperature is today.

But I also think that it is misguided to continue to think, or argue, or research, that global climate is modified by a single “factor” or “force”. It would be much more appropriate to seek, and understand “ForceS X” or “Force X’s”, which act on a continuum, and which, at times, act in concert to each other (constructive interference), and in opposition to each other (destructive interference).

That we do NOT know what “Force X’s” are, is the reason we have research in the first place. Our efforts should not be directed towards measuring or “proving” that one, single, all-encompassing factor changes global climates, but should be directed at finding what variables are interacting with each other, on what time-scales, with what magnitudes, and what durations. Climate ‘science” has been hijacked into a dead-end, is FAR from settled, and has a singular focus and purpose in the 21st Century. Please drop the idea that some innocuous trace-gas in the atmosphere has all these amazing properties, abilities, powers, and attributes, to change a complex, coupled, non-linear, dynamic system, all by itself. No system as complicated as the Earth’s global climate system ever has been, or ever will be, changed/modified/controlled by a single factor.

My half-pfennig,


Roger Knights
Reply to  The Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
August 28, 2018 9:32 am

Also, don’t forget that a chaotic system generates its own wobbles by chasing an ever-elusive attractor.

August 28, 2018 8:47 am

Count me in Denial until someone can locate/measure/describe ‘climate’ as something other than a subjective abstraction or purely statistical concoction.


August 28, 2018 8:50 am

Excellent article worth reading. Pretty much sums up my thoughts on this issue. I shared both part 1 and part 2 with my many non skeptical friends and relatives with the hope that at least some will read it, maybe even start the skeptical thinking process instead of the status quo.

August 28, 2018 10:55 am

Thanks Kip. A very good read.

One question I have had on the topic in general, is how reliable / accurate is the historical proxy temperature reconstructions with modern temperature readings. If I recall correctly (approximately), we have only had (somewhat) reliable thermometer readings for perhaps 100-150 years, during which one could overlap that data with proxy temperature methods. In some of those charts, the proxies have seen to diverge from thermometer readings within the last 100 years, so not perfect alignment, as one might expect given different factors other than temperature which might affect the proxy reading.

It seems that the charts the public often are provided, showing the very rapid rise in surface temperature over the last 50 years, is giving equal weight to the proxy reconstructions and very accurate modern readings. Is that the correct scientific approach? We are talking in many cases around decimals of 1’C, so is it not possible that temperatures, for example, in the medieval warming period could have been a bit higher (of course could be lower) than the proxy reconstructions?

I think it is great that people of science work to provide a view into the past, but I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around the confidence (degree of accuracy) that is often attributed to some ice core data as though it is as the same as the modern time with satellites and thousands of thermometers.

Appreciate your thoughts and those from others.

Alan Tomalty
August 28, 2018 11:15 am


As of yesterday Arctic sea ice extent is greater than the last 3 years for that date. The Arctic is not melting because


shows that ice volume is 5th highest in decades. Thank goodness the Danish government is not corrupt in global warming data like the American agencies are.

August 28, 2018 11:22 am

Kip says: These graphs start in 1976 or so because that is the start of the satellite era.

The first IPCC report in 1995 had a satellite graph going back to 1974. Below link shows ice is about the same as 1971.

comment image

Bob Weber
August 28, 2018 11:54 am

Our side is forced into a defensive posture by the other side’s ongoing lowest-common-denominator type argument currently being echo-chambered, that ‘skeptics deny climate change (warming)’.

They don’t have to answer to anything while they and the media parrot this brainwashing device.

Its simple school-yard level taunting and political messaging that appeals to the left, a device that is now used by the internet giants to censor our views. They have people reacting to their strawman arguments.

I’m not pessimistic. In time the solar influence will prevail over such nonsense.

August 28, 2018 12:00 pm

Typo: “However, sea level does not begin is inexorable rise in 1850-1900, …”
Need a t’

August 28, 2018 12:13 pm

Pardon my ignorance. Seems like we/re doing an energy balance on the earth, but temperature varies linearly with energy absorbed (forget phase change) while energy radiated away depends on T^4. So a 1% increase in temp, caused by a 1% increase in energy absorbed, (~3K) means a 4% increase in energy radiated away. Don’t we have an automatic negative feedback?

August 28, 2018 12:25 pm

Kip, While I agree that the climate is warming I agree with very little that the UN-IPCC , the government technocrats and supposed scientists preaching gloom and doom are saying. I have long believe the climate has been warming since the last glaciation but not a steady rate. Periods of substantial cooling have taken place besides the Little Ice Age and periods of warming to levels warmer than today, Medieval Warming Period. Most of what I read from the UN-IPCC and the “climatologists” appears to be based solely on computer model outputs. Back when I was reviewing models, assumptions, data, etc I saw significant problems in the climate models I reviewed. At the time it appeared that all the models started with the primary assumption that CO2 was THE primary driver, not just another greenhouse gas. They also did not model the ocean influence well at all. A few all but ignore the oceans. I understand they now have at least attempted to model the oceans better but since I no longer desired to review models any more I cannot say.

Then we have the data inputs. Gee, how the data has been twisted, spun, improperly re-arranged, etc, etc is in my book criminal. And the best data that hasn’t faced adulteration we have is proxy data from satellites.

I then became to look at the players. I asked myself why were supposed scientists acting as they were; what happened to Scientific Method? Why were environmental groups, like Audubon, a group in which I was once heavily involved, ignoring the environmental damage being done by the solutions put forth to “fix CAGW?” Why was the MSM running every gloom and doom story no matter how bizarre? Why were the international political Left so fully backing CAGW? Why were all the solutions being put forth have to do with the USA and western democracies paying for it? I have part of the answer. When AGW hit the mainstream the socioeconomic left and the environmental community finally had cause they both could rally behind. Before that while both were politically liberal they just couldn’t quite see eye to eye. There were those in Leftist organizations that went around to environmental groups in the late 1980s preaching the orthodoxy, the coming apocalypse if they didn’t join efforts. I know; I was there at the time. I never found out who was funding them.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 29, 2018 9:39 am

Kip, I love this website both the humor and the scientific debate. Yet most of the time I believe we are all in a bit of denial and not just about AGW. I have little doubt that the Earth’s climate has been generally warming since the last glaciation. While I have no real idea why it occasionally cooled, e.g., Little Ice Age, I believe that it would have continued warming at the same general rate and without such periods of cooling would be even warmer today. The question becomes why did a group of people decide that human use of fossil fuel, beginning at the end of LIA and coincidental to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, suddenly become the cause of warming? The best data over the past 30 years certainly doesn’t match the computer model predictions but is more inline with what we might have expected based on historical trends. We have read the statements of past UN-IPCC committee chairs which certainly indicates they see CAGW not so to much a danger to the Earth’s climate but far more of a tool to cause dramatic socioeconomic change in the world. I often compare it to radical Islamists. They declared war on the West we ignored them. Iran has rallies shouting death to America after Friday prayers and until recently our leaders continued to ignore them. So when people in positions of power tell you they want to use AGW as the reason to change the world’s economic system then they must be taken at their word.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 1, 2018 11:14 am

Kip, I most probably could write one. My perspective is knowing many of the leading players and organizations well that got on the CAGW bandwagon. While some of the whys are knowable, many are not. Still it all comes down to a “game” of power.

August 28, 2018 12:35 pm


did not read part 1
what is missing from you is your own particular measurements that convinced you that man made warming even does exist, [since you admit believing in it]

My measurements showed that there is no AGW – or it is so small that it falls into next to nothing compared to the natural factors at work.

Click on my name to read my final report on that.

And ask me if you want to try and figure out how I obtained my results, e.g. on global minimum T

Paul Penrose
August 28, 2018 1:00 pm

You nailed it, especially when you point out that one of their biggest arguments is “we don’t know what else it could be, so this must be right”. The dustbin of history is full of such arguments, all proven to be laughing wrong, as this one will be some day.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 28, 2018 2:54 pm

Unfortunately by then, the doomsters will be on to the next catastrophe.

August 28, 2018 1:06 pm

Some of the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could come from being degassed by the oceans as they warm, thus coming after warming not before.

August 28, 2018 1:20 pm

Kip: Very well done. As we discussed in Part I, it all comes down to ECS, although I prefer to think in terms of its reciprocal, the climate feedback parameter a property of our planet that applies to any external forcing (to a first approximation), not just CO2. 3 K/doubling is really 3 K/3.7 W/m2 of forcing or 0.81 K/(W/m2). Take the reciprocal: 1.23 W/m2 more radiation emitted or reflected back to space per K rise in surface temperature: 1.23 W/m2/K. 3K of warming provides 3.7 W/m2 of additional radiative cooling to space to counterbalance the forcing from 2XCO2 or any other forcing totaling 3.7 W/m2.

So, how much additional radiation to space does the planet emit when it warms 1K??? The planet warms 3.5 K seasonally due to the asymmetric distribution of land. We have watched that process from space and know (with a high degree of accuracy) that emission of LWR rises by 2.2 W/m2/K. This is somewhat less than the 3.2 W/m2/K expected for a gray body model, so net LWR feedback appears to be roughly 1 W/m2/K. This is somewhat smaller than IPCC models project because they get LWR emission from cloudy skies wrong. That implies a warming of 1.7 K will counterbalance the forcing from 2XCO2 – if there were no SWR feedback.

Unfortunately, reflection of SWR during seasonal warming does not vary linearly with surface temperature and surface albedo certainly lags surface temperature. And seasonal warming (warming in the NH and cooling in the SH) is not an ideal model for global warming. (It is, however, an ideal system for proving AOGCMs perform poorly at reproducing feedback.)

The closest answer I can suggest to the IPCC hypothesis is to start with 2.2 W/m2/K and ask how much reflection of SWR could change with surface temperature. About 100 W/m2 is reflected back to space by surface albedo, cloud albedo, and scattering (the scattering of visible light that makes the sky look blue). Only 50 W/m2 is reflected by clouds. So a 1%/K change in clouds is only worth 0.5 W/m2/K in feedback. And a 1%/K change is fairly large given that glacials were 6 K colder. Make some estimates and you will have a range of values for ECS independent of the IPCC’s and remarkably close to those from energy balance models (:)). Consider being a lukewarmer.

Reply to  Frank
August 28, 2018 1:21 pm

CERES data from seasonal warming:

August 28, 2018 2:18 pm

My scepticism started many years ago when I attended a Climate Course in Oxford. We were required to read the then AR4 IPCC publication. When I read the IPCC definition of Radiative Forcing I concluded that it did NOT comply with thermodynamic law.
Subsequent attempts to obtain an explanation were blandly and frustratingly patronising, with no answer given.
IMO The anomalies generated by this definition riddle the current debate and have infected most of not all the modelling programmes.

August 28, 2018 3:26 pm

“There is simply no evidence whatever that the unknown Factor X was responsible for 250 years of rising temperature, rising seas, and declining Arctic ice — only to be superseded by CO2-driven Global Warming in 1950”

Why stop at 250 years? I still don’t understand how CO2 can be separated out *at all* as affecting the climate, given that Factor X was also responsible for falling temperatures, falling seas, and increasing Arctic ice when CO2 was at far higher levels in the distant past.

I can’t see how a sensible hypothesis can even be formed, when there is no prior correlation of temperature with CO2 levels. It’s one thing to argue that adding CO2 into an already warming world could make it warmer, if the geological record showed that more CO2 always equals higher temperatures, but it doesn’t. I STILL haven’t heard a sensible explanation as to how the basic hypothesis makes any sense given Factor X’s preponderant influence on climate since the year dot.

Farmer Ch E retired
August 28, 2018 9:04 pm

Kip – I appreciate your discussion of the conservation of energy and its complexities and how this is not just about heat. My schooling is in Chemical Engineering, and as such, I’m well aware of how complex the energy system is, especially as related to earth’s climate with the multitude of variables and interactions. Thanks again.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 29, 2018 4:03 pm

The devil is always in the details. As example, if one understands adiabatic heat of compression as applied to the atmosphere, it becomes a no-brainier that increasing air temperature by 1 or even 8.5 C is not going to melt ice sheets near the poles where the elevations are 2000 to 4000 m above MSL (6500 to 13,000 ft). As you pointed out, precipitation patterns are a controlling factor at those elevations. This year, a significant portion of Greenland has had zero (0) melt days. (maybe up to 50% based on the graphic on the National Snow & Ice Data Center web site.

Steven Mosher
August 29, 2018 4:23 am

“[ We have some clue about the skin temperature of the seas from satellite data and a tiny bit of data about the rest from free floating ARGO buoys — but nothing anywhere near enough to estimate the average temperature of the oceans or any changes to that average — in my opinion, that claim is not scientifically supportable at this time.]”

Thanks for your opionion. Of course DEMONSTRATING the minumum number of measurements required to estimate the average temperature of the ocean with a given confidence interval would actually require you to , ya know, DO THE MATH.

you havent.

Steven Mosher
August 29, 2018 5:52 am

“That means that CO2 as a driver of climate only became dominate over Factor X since 1950.”


The rise in temperature up to ~1950 is a combination of several forcings:

1900 to 1940, atmospheric CO2 levels increased from approximately 295 to 310 parts That about .22C
in warming at equillibrium, and about .15C transiently. Solar changes: TSI increased about 1Watt, add in solar in direct effects and you have another .1 to .15C and AMO is the balance.

of course since ~1950 most of the warming is human cause. Prior to 1950 a good portion.
and PLEASE it is more than c02. it is GHG forcing ( all GHGs) and land use changes.



michael hart
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 29, 2018 6:05 am

If you are going to believe that, why stop there? Hasn’t Gavin the Schmidt previously said he thinks humans are responsible for more than 100% of recent warming?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 29, 2018 3:39 pm

Steven, could you please answer my question above. Why do CO2 molecules take on magically different properties when we emit them? And a philosophical one: if termites annually produce ten times the amount of CO2 as we do by burning fossil fuels, should we destroy termites to save the world? Given that we are ‘unsequestering’ carbon in exactly the same way that termites do, who gets to say what’s natural and what’s unnatural, and what time scale should apply to the carbon ‘inventory’?

August 29, 2018 6:30 am

Wow Kip,
Your argument is well constructed enough to be used as a basic deprogramming kit with our brainwashed friends that still retained some analytical skills. I will surely forward it a few times in the next decade.

August 29, 2018 11:31 am

Very nice summary.

I’ve never been able to get a good explanation of the analysis of global temperature measurements. Take the data for global temperature, assuming it has been averaged correctly, and plug it into a statistical program and one will find that, treated as a time series there is no significant trend in the data at all. It’s indistinguishable from random variation. How do the climatistas finesse that?

Kristi Silber
August 30, 2018 10:42 pm

Kip – I’m always a little skeptical when people say, “There is no evidence whatsoever that…” It seems more honest to say, “I have found no evidence that…”

Have you, for example, examined the evidence for what started and maintained the decreasing temps in the LIA, such as a few large volcanic eruptions? They are by nature time-restricted in their effects, so once those were gone, the climate could have trended back to a warming phase. Some suggest that the warming was augmented by an increase in solar radiation, with evidence in sunspot counts. There also is evidence that black soot from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution contributed to warming through effects on glacial retreat, which seem to have started before temperature increases.

This paper looks specifically at temperature in the 20th C. (Yes, it’s based on models – but virtually every examination of the factors affecting climate is necessarily based on models of some sort: graphs alone cannot determine causation.)

If I recall the paper correctly, the increase in snow extent in fall and winter is primarily due to greater precipitation. Given that increase, the decrease in spring is due to earlier onset of warm weather.

“So, even if glaciers are generally shrinking (some are shrinking and some are growing), it has no particular bearing on warming. ” Why not? If one can account for snowfall and still see a shrinking, wouldn’t that suggest warming plays a role? It’s also valuable to differentiate between volume and extent. (The great majority are shrinking in extent, apart from those in Antarctica, and doing so relatively rapidly.)

Just looking at graphs doesn’t tell you a lot. For you to provide a convincing argument that 20th C warming is simply an extension of the LIA – or say anything whatever about the LIA and natural variability – you should be able to explain causes. “Natural variability” is not a cause. Random variation is the null hypothesis.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
August 31, 2018 4:30 pm

Kip, that’s a great explanation. The models are hypotheses being used to to prove a hypothesis. My point is that there surely there was no logical basis for the hypothesis in the first place, given the historical record? Isn’t the point that it could be true, (it could also be true that Planet X is made of cheese because it is yellow), but there is no reason to assume that it SHOULD be true. Is it fair to say that even though the main hypothesis has not been falsified (because it is effectively unfalsifiable) many of the specific predictions made under the hypothesis have been falsified. So if that doesn’t suffice as overall falsification, surely at least it shows that observations do not support the hypothesis? The warmists don’t play fair. When observations don’t meet predictions, it’s because of ‘other factors’. When they do, those other factors seem to disappear!

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 1, 2018 4:51 pm

Kip, thanks, will do. (Harking and Jarking sounds either a bit rude, or like a quick trip in an ambulance is in order!) 🙂

Johann Wundersamer
August 31, 2018 4:27 am

I agree neither with the attribution or the effect size –>

I agree neither with the attribution nor the effect size