How Wrong Can One Article Be?

Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen


featured_imageIs it possible for a single newspaper article to be greater-than 100% wrong?  I think that it is certainly possible that Henry Fountain, of the New York Times Climate team, has managed the near-impossible with his latest contribution to the NY Times’ Climate section titled:  “Climate Change Is Accelerating: ‘Things Are Getting Worse’”.  Accompanied by marvelous photographs — mostly stock images from other news agencies with only one being credited to a Times photographer — Mr. Fountain manages to get nearly every “fact” in his article factually wrong, which I consider a major [negative] accomplishment for a long-term science journalist.

The title and lede offered is this:

Climate Change Is Accelerating: ‘Things Are Getting Worse’”.

“More devastating fires in California. Persistent drought in the Southwest. Record flooding in Europe and Africa. A heat wave, of all things, in Greenland.”

There have been devastating fires, and “more” would be correct, in California.  And while weather does play a part in California wildfires, general dryness along with  Diablo and Santa Ana winds, wildfire is part and parcel of the climate of California and both CalFire and the California Public Utilities Commission have freely admitted that most of the blame belongs to California’s electrical utilities for lack of maintenance of power transmission lines.  [ examples:  herehere  , here ].

Stephen Pyne, a fire researcher at Arizona State University, is quoted explaining:

“California is built to burn, and it’s built to burn explosively.  If people left tomorrow you’d still have fires that are going to blow to the Pacific Ocean. That’s just a reality.”

Climate change is not to blame for California’s wildfires — and there are other factors:  besides bad utility powerline management:   ”One is forest mismanagement—California simply hasn’t been clearing enough brush, which builds up year after year until it burns spectacularly. In recent decades, cities have been encroaching more onto the wilderness, putting them literally in the line of fire. This is particularly true in corridors where autumn winds accumulate, fanning flames.” [source] .   California’s climate is a factor — it is a dry Mediterranean climate and subject to repeated, sometimes prolonged, droughts.  California is currently “dry” again, but not in drought:


But the long term drought has been eliminated by adequate rains which have also filled California’s reservoirs.  Drought and mega-droughts are the norm for the American Southwest:


As Woodhouse et al. documented in 2009, a  1,200-year perspective shows  that streamflow has remain virtually flat, with excursions up and down while Area under Drought has been far worse, and for longer periods, in the past — drought is not a climate change for the American Southwest — it is just the climate.

I had to laugh when I went to fact-check this next line in the lede: “Record flooding in Europe and Africa.”  The “flooding in Europe” link goes to this story:


Of course, we are all sorry that Venice is flooding again (and again, and again and again and again….”) but even the sub-headline makes it clear that the flooding is not due to climate, but to “acqua alta — an exceptionally high tide”.  As for the claim “highest in 50 years”….well, maybe:


“The water reached 1.87 meters (6.14 feet) above average sea level Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city and just 7 centimeters (2½ inches) lower than the historic 1966 flood.”  [ source ]  And there’s your hint — when a journalists claims something is “worst in 50 years” they are avoiding telling your that it was worse sometime more than 50  years ago — in this case, 1966,  before there was much discernible effect of Anthropogenic Global Warming (according to the IPCC).    It is always possible that the official 4 to 10 inches of sea level rise since the 1890s, if it had arrived in Venice, might have pushed this year’s tidal flooding over that of 1966….   Jim Steele covered the Venice story for this blog in  “Venice and Unenlightened Climate Fear-mongering”.

And flooding in Africa? — Mr. Fountain makes the same sort of sorry error in reporting on the floods in Somalia — an ever-present focus on the present.  There are floods in Somalia.  It is a mostly dry country, usually suffering from drought.  When it rains, it pours.    The country is prone to flash floods during the Gu rains (Somalian monsoon).

The UN’s FAO reports:  “Somalia experiences two types of flooding: river floods and flash floods. River floods occur along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Southern Somalia, whereas flash floods are common along the intermittent streams in the northern part of the country.  In the recent past, the country has experienced an increasing severity and frequency of floods. The historically most recent severe floods were those of the Deyr in 1961, 1977, 1997, and 2006, and the floods of the Gu in 1981 and 2005. These floods resulted in human casualties and major economic damage.”  — with heavy flooding also in 2007, 2013.

somalia_floodAs we see in this photo by Action Against Hunger, flooding is in low laying areas — in this area at least, there are no houses sticking up out of the water. 

 Flooding is nearly normal for Somalia  — but so are droughts.  “The 2011 drought was particularly bad.   “In 2016 and 2017 the “long rains” in areas of East Africa failed and plunged parts of Kenya into a food crisis as cattle starved and crops withered.”  [ source ]   The Indian Ocean Dipole, a feature of the climate puzzle first identified in 1999, may be responsible for the shifts of rainfall in East Africa and droughts in Australia.   Flooding in Somalia is part of its climate — it does not require climate change.

Greenland Heat Wave?

In support of his claim of a Greenland heatwave, Mr. Fountain links to himself — a story from 2 August 2019, “Europe’s Heat Wave, Fueled by Climate Change, Moves to Greenland”.  There was a four-day heat wave in Europe at the end of July which contributed to loss of life.    Many press outlets went on to tie the heat wave in Europe to reports of “record” surface ice melt in Greenland — none offering any weather data as to any hot days in Greenland.  The reports seem to have been  “heat wave mania” —  each repeating the idea that “The hot air, which was trapped over Europe after traveling from northern Africa, lingered for about four days. It has since moved north over Greenland, causing the surface of the island’s vast ice sheet to melt at near-record levels.”

The last time I looked at a map of Europe,  north from France and Belgium took one to the North Sea (between the UK and Scandinavia).  Longitude of Belgium is about 4°E, UK is 0°, and Greenland at 42° West. 

There is surface ice melt in Greenland every summer, without fail.   There was a lot of surface ice melt in Greenland this last summer :


But not the most ever, for sure — we only have records back to 1978, the start of the satellite monitoring era for Greenland surface ice melt — early years in the data set are “spotty” at best.


The heavy red line is Surface Ice Melt Area for 2019.  Orange is 2002.  The shaded area is the Mean +/- 2SD (since 1978).  There is a spike for the first part of August — but see NSIDC attribution below.

To what does the National Snow and Ice Data Center attribute this higher melt season?

“The summer months were only moderately warmer than average relative to 1981 to 2010, roughly 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher along the western coast. This confirms that the main driver of surface melt in 2019 was above average cloud-free days, not warm air temperatures as in the 2012 summer melt. This also explains the exceptional dry and sunny conditions at the south.”  …  “The key factors for surface mass loss and melting for Greenland in 2019 included: 1) exceptional persistence of anticyclonic conditions (high pressure) during the 2019 summer, promoting dry and sunny weather that enhanced the surface melt thanks to the melt-albedo feedback, and 2) low snowfall in the preceding fall-winter-spring, particularly in the high-melt areas of western Greenland.”  [ source — see section “Conditions in context” ]

Oh, and no mention of the “heat wave” traveling “north”  from Europe — only the high pressure system which brought clear skies and sunny days (which was also partly responsible for Europe’s  4-day heat wave).

One more line from Mr. Fountain, then I literally give up:

“Climate change and its effects are accelerating, with climate related disasters piling up, season after season.”

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)  maintains the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) created in 1988.  Here’s the view od the data for natural disasters usually presented — this one from OurWorldInData:


One can see immediately that as soon as Global Warming got a foothold in the 1970s, disasters really took off!    Of did they?  I queried Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) on this very point, asking:


“The data shown does not align well with my understanding of Global Natural Disasters, in that it shows a HUGE increase from 1970 to about 1998.  My guess would be that 1970 to 1998 represents an increase in REPORTING and not in actual Natural Disasters.

Can you confirm this please — or correct me if I am wrong.”


Dear Mr Hansen,

Thank for your e-mail.  You are right, it is an increase in the reporting.  I share your e-mail with your director, Prof. D. Guha-Sapir, who may want to add her input.
Best regards,

[source:  personal communication — available on request.  –  kh ]

So, here’s the portion of the chart that is considered to accurately correspond to reality:


You can view this data for yourself on EM-DATs  interactive database tool (albeit, not quite so pretty) available here.

It is simply not true that “Things Are Getting Worse” or that “climate related disasters piling up, season after season” — climate related disasters (erroneously considered to be almost everything on the chart) are not increasing — quite to the contrary, they are steadily decreasing.

So, having gotten nearly everything wrong in his title and lede, we might ask what has led  him astray?


He is simply touting the IPCC-solution mandate as echoed by the WMO:

““Things are getting worse,” said Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, which on Tuesday issued its annual state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. “It’s more urgent than ever to proceed with mitigation.”

But reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change will require drastic measures, Dr. Taalas said. “The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation,” he said.  [ from the featured NY Times article ]

It is a mystery to me how anyone with any science background at all — above the miserable American high school levelcan quote the line “The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation” without commenting on how absurd such an idea is in today’s  real world.   “Getting rid of fossil fuels” would simply bring civilization to a near stand-still — no air transport, no oceanic shipping, no gasoline or diesel automobiles, no tractors (thus almost no food), no wind turbines, no solar panels,  and, of course, almost no manufactured goods — none of the 6,000 product types  directly manufactured from petroleum (unattributed list).

OK, just one more item:  Mr. Fountain goes on to parrot the usual suspects of the Climate Alarm Cabal — particularly the latest single study fantasy on [shudder] Sea Level Rise.  First into the breach in defense of scary sea level rise is Nerem et al. (2018) which manages to transmogrify satellite altimetry data from  the TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3 missions into a claimed annual SLR of “4.5 millimeters a year”.  NOAA apparently failed to get the message:


Trend in Global Ocean Mean Sea Level?   2.9 (+/- 0.4) mm/year which they represent, quite correctly, as a perfectly straight line since 1993.   If any readers are in doubt about this data, NOAA STAR NESDIS makes all the data available starting from this page.   Note that 2.9 mm/yr is the same figure given in Oct 2015 — so much for acceleration.   (The NOAA SLR trend figure does fluctuate between 2.8 and 2.9 mm/yr).

Doubling down on Sea Level Rise, Fountain quotes yet another of the NY Times’ most far-fetched storiesRising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows”.  This article reports the wildly alarming study produced by the climate propaganda group Climate Central that projects the inundation of the entirety of South Viet Nam by 2050 among other unlikely disasters.  Note that no cities have yet been “erased” as of today’s date — but we are assured that “more” will be erased by 2050.

Is this study based on new sea level rise data?  No, they decided that the world’s databases on elevation of coastal areas is probably wrong by “3.7 m in the US and 2.5 m in Australia”.  Note that an error of this magnitude, over 12 feet,  would mean, if elevations are recorded as too positive — too  high —  that  almost all of Miami, Florida would be under water today, in the present moment.  Since I happen to know that Miami is NOT under water today, the error estimate must be wrong, at least there in southern Florida.

To be perfectly fair, the researchers, Scott A. Kulp & Benjamin H. Strauss, did include  two caveats:  1) “Due to the error always present in wide-area elevation datasets, as well as the other limitations described here, this map should be regarded as a screening tool to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk.”  And 2)  “Elevation data errors may lead to areas being misclassified as safe or at risk. As is generally best practice, local detail should be verified with a site visit and more precise elevation measurements.”

I suggest that our ever-striving NY Times journalist, Henry Fountain, might have been well-served by applying this little bit of critical thinking, this logic, to his paper’s hometown, NY City — if the NY City elevation data was off by 12 feet, mistakenly recorded as being  “3.7 meters too high”, then the West Side Highway and most of Battery Park would be under water as I write — he could have ridden the subway down to the Battery  and taken a look for himself.  Here’s Climate Central’s  Risk Zone Map for NY City with just 10 feet of water (not the full 3.7 meters):


Now, I sailed past lower Manhattan Island just three weeks ago, and I have my personal experience to share:  Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty State Park, Battery Park and the West Side Highway, along with Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City:   I can report all securely high and dry.

I think that something must be wrong with Climate Central’s error estimate of 3.7 meters, there in New York City too.  And there is something wrong with uncritically reporting such nonsense. 

I have exhausted my available time doing a simple fact-checking just a bit more than the title and lede of of Henry Fountain’s in-support-of-COP25 “mostly wrong” NY Times article.  Being mostly wrong does not make it, in the Douglas Adams sense,  “mostly harmless”.  Spreading such false and misleading information is harmful to human society.

I invite readers to check the rest — against real data,  any real original data, even against IPCC data in its latest massive report,  it is not hard to do.  News outlets are intentionally pumping out climate propaganda, climate porn, to boost the public acceptance of the flood of climate alarm from COP25  — at the NY Times by editorial decree and with the Columbia Journalism Review’s organized massive international effort.

There is real Climate Science News — you can find links to the best of it at Judith Curry’s site, Climate Etc  in her Week in Review series.

# # # # #

Author’s comment:

Every time a person takes in something that is not true and accepts it, they become  effectively stupider.  Promulgating false information, intentionally, through failure to thoroughly check its validity or through failure to label something properly as opinion,  is a crime against the collective human mind.

My essay above  is labeled, from the start, as OPINION.  It is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the owners and editors of this blog.  However, the data presented as factual has been carefully sourced and linked to the original sources — these facts are NOT opinions.    There can be differing opinions about the truth value of different facts — climate science is filled with differing data sets that disagree with one another and yet are each offered as fact.  I try to use data sets that are considered acceptable to all sides of the Climate Wars.

Readers should feel free to disagree with me — I do not, however, argue in comments here.   Address your comment to “Kip…” is speaking specifically to me.

# # # # #

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Dodgy Geezer
December 6, 2019 6:18 am

“….It is a mystery to me how anyone with any science background at all — above the miserable American high school level — can quote the line “The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation” without commenting on how absurd such an idea is in today’s real world…….”

He has a job. He wants to keep it.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
December 6, 2019 6:39 am

Geezer ==> I suspect that he is a “true believer” — blinded by his own biases and the group think that surrounds him at work and in his social group of elite NY City progressives. Were he to step outside of that environment, and take the same look that many other senior scientists have taken upon their retirement (and subsequent freedom from the pressures of their peers) he might well come to his senses.

navy bob
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 7:11 am

Excellent post, but I disagree with your comment here. Fountain and others like him will never come to their senses. They’re no longer journalists, assuming they ever were. They’re Democrats – or worse – and their job is to pump out Democratic Party propaganda that ensures the election of Democrats and the defeat of Republicans, especially our president. Facts, truth, accuracy are counterproductive.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  navy bob
December 6, 2019 8:03 am

“Democratic Party propaganda”

Should be “Democrat Party” not “Democratic”.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 9:52 am

A subtle, but powerful point.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 11:10 am

the legal name of that political party is Democratic Party. substituting “Democrat’ is not cute, just ignorant.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 11:40 am

This is incorrect.
They are Democrats, but the party is called the Democratic Party, the governing body is the DNC…the Democratic National Committee.
As Kip says, when we see something we believe to be untrue, mistaken, in error…we oughta say so.
They are not the Democrat Party.
Democrat is correct when speaking about a particular individual…Pocahontas AKA Speaking Bull, is a Democrat, running in the Democratic Party primary.
Here are some references:

“We are the Democratic Party – Democrats”

“Democratic National Committee – Wikipedia”

“Democratic Party (@DNC) | Twitter”

“2020 Democratic National Convention – Wikipedia”

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 12:22 pm
Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 1:26 pm

Chris: There ain’t nothing Democratic about it. It is the party of Marxist Socialism and incipient dictatorship.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 1:26 pm

“legal name of that political party is Democratic Party”

Despite the fact that there every action is the antithesis of democracy.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 2:36 pm

Any country that has the word ‘Democratic’ in its name is almost certainly not democratic.

I think the same applies to political parties.

George Lawson
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 3:50 pm

Wye do sum people have to point owt miner inacurasies in other peeples copy? Such a waist of thyme and space on this important sight. Lets keep to the subject mater and allow blogers the freedom to make copy misteaks provided the point thay are makin are understud.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 7, 2019 9:02 am

Dumbocrat, not Democrat.

William A Befort
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 13, 2019 3:48 pm

Could be worse. Back in the 19th century they called themselves “the Democracy.” We don’t have to put up with that nowadays.

Bill Powers
Reply to  navy bob
December 6, 2019 10:09 am

So I tuned into GMFB on cable TV this AM to check on this weekends NFL matchups and see that the NY Times has started advertising for subscribers on TV (subscriptions must have hit an all time low over there) and here is the best part.

The NYT positioned the ticking time bomb of Global Warming as the reason to subscribe in order to stay on top of their doom and gloom reporting. They declare they are watching the Galapagos and compiling ecosystem research. Here is the best part Research scientists are showing, start the screen crawl:

“Shows Sea Lions are Dying”, “Shows Fish are Disappearing”, “Shows Birds Infertile”, “Shows Global Test”, “As Seas Warm a Giant Evolutionary Test”, “As Seas Warm, Galapagos Islands Face a Giant Evolutionary Test”, “The truth takes witnessing” “The truth is worth it”, “The New York Times – subscribe now” These crawls are flashed in rapid succession which suggests subliminal implantation”

I guess the NYTimes doesn’t think their audience is smart enough to hit pause in order to evaluate their misinformation. No wonder they are hemorrhaging subscribers. Bad enough their paper is filled with lies, if you are going to print false information you should at least make an attempt at hopeful optimism, if you want people to subscribe long term that is. Maybe the reason the NYT is losing subscribers is because they are all committing suicide.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 2:30 pm

The Founding Fathers didn’t envision a 2 party system.
Originally individuals ran for President. The individual who can in second became the Vice President. They saw fairly quickly that wasn’t going to work so amended the Constitution themselves to have a “ticket” run for President and Vice President. That was a good change. (Can you imagine what would be happening now if Hillary was Trump’s Vice President?)

But I think a step in the right direction away from 2 party politics would be to have an election a month before the traditional election date. Then the “real” election would be only between the top two vote getters. (When it comes to the President/Vice President tickets, these are the results the The Electoral College would be based on.)

How might that help? People that would have voted for the 3rd, 4th, 5th … party candidates that they’d prefer often don’t because they know their vote would be wasted.
So they vote for “the lesser of two evils”. At least, in the first election, they could vote for who they really want. And, in the “real” election, the previous results would let the runners know where they REALLY stand.

Just a thought.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 7, 2019 8:23 pm

Instead of waffling about politics you might want to issue a clarification to Tamino’s merciless smackdown here
Good luck with that.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 8, 2019 10:54 am

Loydo ==> I am always flattered when someone else takes notice of my work. It means I am making an impact — a discernible difference. If I were not, such ardent activists would not bother to write such pieces.

Obviously, my simple comments regarding Nerem’s (yet another) paper touting “SLR acceleration” were not intended to be a comprehensive review of his work. Nerem and his team at CSU are entitled to their opinions — their opinions do not seem to influence NOAA’s perception of the long-term global sea level trend.

NOAA’s satellite sea level data is NOT errorless — the best guess error range of Jason 3 measurements is greater than 2.5 cm. No amount of statistical tom-foolery can turn such measurements into millimetric precision.

The long-term satellite SLR trend is DOWN to 2.9 mm/yr from the older 3.2 mm/yr figure that was commonly used a decade ago.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 12, 2019 2:13 am

Loydo December 7, 2019 at 8:23

and the death penalty for “Catastrophic Climate Change deniers”.

Richard Parncutt: Climate denial and the death penalty

Richard Parncutt:

Born 24 October 1957 Melbourne

Residence Graz, Austria

Nationality Australia

Known for research on music psychology

Political views:

Climate denial and the death penalty

In an internet text entitled “Death penalty for global warming deniers? An objective argument…a conservative conclusion”

dated 25 October 2012, Parncutt, [ ] proposed restricting the death penalty to individuals who cause more than one million deaths, and

– claimed that influential “global warming deniers” could fall into that category if they slow progress toward reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and thereby cause the deaths of millions of future people. […]

– Parncutt suggested that a panel of scientists should decide whether a given individual had caused more than one million deaths. […] Convicts should also have the chance to reprieve to life imprisonment, if they withdraw, publicly repent and commit themselves to “participate significantly and positively over a long period in programs to reduce the effects of global warming (from jail) – using much the same means that were previously used to spread the message of denial”. [] “At the end of that process, some global warming deniers would never admit their mistake and as a result they would be executed. Perhaps that would be the only way to stop the rest of them. The death penalty would have been justified in terms of the enormous numbers of saved future lives.”

– He then doubted his argument, saying “People will be saying that Parncutt has finally lost it” – but in the year 2050 “perhaps the Pope would even turn me into a saint”.

– Parncutt continued that if the death penalty were limited to individuals causing more than one million deaths it might also apply to popes since the 1980s, whom he claimed to be responsible for millions of AIDS deaths for their failure to change the church’s position on contraception in the 1980s and subsequently. The paper remained on the website of the University of Graz until 24 December 2012.

After several people [ ] cited the text in their blogs, and some of them threatened to take legal action against Parncutt and the university administration, Parncutt replaced the text by a shorter explanation and then by an unconditional retraction and apology.

– University officials ordered the removal of all political texts and issued a statement saying:

“The University of Graz is shocked and appalled by the article and rejects its arguments entirely. The University places considerable importance on respecting all human rights and does not accept inhuman statements. Furthermore, the University of Graz points out clearly that a personal and individual opinion which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.”

Subsequently, a disciplinary process against him was initiated by the university.

Parncutt later responded to criticism on his private homepage.”

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 7:18 am

“Journalists” aren’t hired or required to think critically. They’re required to pump out words. Doesn’t matter if the words make sense. Newspapers would be smart to develop article-writing programs to pump out the same recycled memes. Throw in routines to cull the latest “research” from press releases to keep it current and it will be a lot cheaper than paying humans.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary
December 6, 2019 9:58 am

Yes, a “journalist” is a know-nothing wordsmith who adheres to the management’s editorial policy or he/she/it will have to look for another job.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2019 11:12 am

so you’ve watched FoxNews as well! well la di da.
Suggest you broaden your scan angle. If nothing else, worth getting a sample of what your opposition is saying.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2019 1:27 pm

I hear the sound of a troll trying to change the subject.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2019 4:10 pm

isn’t “opposition” (as a noun) a trigger word?

we should be very careful that we don’t interfere with the comfort of the beings that we come into contact with.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 7, 2019 8:20 pm

My “scan angle” is quite broad as almost all the MSM provides me with the viewpoint of the “opposition.” Would it were that there was more balance!

“When everyone agrees, someone is not thinking.”
Gen. George S. Patton

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
December 12, 2019 2:22 am

chris December 6, 2019 at 11:12 am

so you’ve watched FoxNews as well! well la di da.

Suggest you broaden your scan angle. If nothing else, worth getting a sample of what your opposition is saying.

Chris, a sample of what “the opposition” is saying:


Reply to  Gary
December 7, 2019 9:06 am

How dare you ridicule journalists !

Mr Fountain has 102% confidence in his reporting, and among the reporters at the New York Times, there is a 105% consensus that Mr. Fountain is an “expert”.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 8:41 am

Confirmation Bias: When the data supports your beliefs, one tends not to second guess it and look for faults.

But ultimately, that is what makes a scientist, vs a cheerleader. Always questioning your findings.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
December 6, 2019 7:57 am

I also suspect he’s vying for the coveted Leni Riefenstahl Award For Journalism, which is all any media aspires to these days it seems. Or most of them anyway.

December 6, 2019 6:22 am

Climate porn purveyors can make this stuff up in a few minutes complete with impressive photos from other clim-porn articles, and reach an audience of tens of thousands….it is truly an abuse of media power. More and more, you find the “comments section” of these biased articles disabled, and you can’t even point out the article fallacies to the few percent of readers who peruse the comments section.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 6, 2019 6:43 am

DMacKenzie ==> The disappointment for me is that some of these journalists are experienced Science reporters. I mean, it is different for those like Kendra Pierre-Louis — i don’t expect any better. But Fountain is a long-term professional with science journalism experience. He should write good science — not propaganda.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 7:49 am

Thanks for the great work Kip.
Fountain works for the NYT and for me that that pretty much says it all. Is there any wonder what would happen if you tried to get them to print your post as an op-ed?

Reply to  rah
December 7, 2019 1:34 am

The more you know…

The NYT has printed several Op-Ed pieces that argue against climate hysteria.


are two examples.

Reply to  takebackthegreen
December 7, 2019 4:09 pm

Anyone that tries to claim the NYT covers the issue of “climate change” equitably is either delusional or a…….

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 3:48 pm

Is it possible that Fountain wrote some good science but could not get it published?

Reply to  boffin77
December 7, 2019 8:23 am

Kip Hansen, if you must know, I believe that Fountain is doing what he is told to do if he wants to keep his job. Choosing between the high life and morality is the same as the choice between lying about income on your tax forms and just paying the confounded taxes.

Eventually, he’ll get shown the door because he isn’t hysterical enough – something like that.

One can only hope that the NYT will eventually find its way to the dustbin where it belongs.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 6, 2019 7:11 am

It’s easy to come up with BS.

The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it. Brandolini’s Law

It feels like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble.

The good news (?) is that people no longer trust the media. link

My advice to Fountain is, quit making stuff up. It’s doing you out of a job.

Reply to  commieBob
December 6, 2019 11:12 am

That explains how Thunberg’s speech writers get away. They’re professional bullshauthors.

It takes far too much energy to shoot those lies down.

So, I’ll resort to sniggering when I hear from (government) news the Great Thunberg Has Given a Speech. Oh dear, that must be fun to listen. Luckily the people listening have either a private jet or a flight ticket back, so they can flee if things get intense. They say you can take up to four Manhattans of Greta the Great (about 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools), but no more, or your brain melts and heart stops. Lesser amount may cause diarrhea, blindness and hearing difficulties. Even low doses have been shown to be a cancer.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 6, 2019 11:09 am

“the few percent of readers who peruse the comments section.”

For any news article, when I don’t have the time, I only read… the comments.

No comment section? Not worth reading a news site.

December 6, 2019 6:23 am

You got to sell papers and clicks. How many people are going to read an article titled “Sea Levels Not Increasing” or “Natural Disasters Decreasing” or “It’s Still Raining in California”?

Great job Kip.

Reply to  rbabcock
December 6, 2019 6:45 am

rbabcock ==> Thanks. They could sell papers by exposing the nonsense — what’s wrong with “IPCC Lies Again” or “100 Lies You’ll Hear from COP25”?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 11:20 am

How about “Top 50 Failed Environmental Disaster Predictions?” That would sell some papers, but it might cost some of their most faithful subscribers.

As kind of an evangelical Christian, I’m embarrassed when a somewhat prominent person in my religion says Jesus is coming back on such and such date. They do this even though Jesus specifically told us not to. Fortunately that doesn’t happen all that often–maybe once or twice a decade.

It seems that the climate apocalypse people predict the end of the world a lot more often. The difference is that they usually identify a year (or occasionally an implicit month) instead of a specific date. Also they never seemed to be embarrassed by their inaccurate predictions.

They might have somewhat of an excuse for that, since they never hear about the failed predictions from the mainstream media.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 12, 2019 3:53 am
Tom Gelsthorpe
December 6, 2019 6:28 am

Yeah, yeah, yeah. . . facts, schmacts.

Chicken Littleism is a good career move in the doomsday press. Screeching, “AHHHH!!! Everything’s bad and getting worse, and we’re all going to die SOON!” can win you the Pulitzer Prize.

Writing, “We don’t have enough data to make sweeping pronouncements,” won’t even get you published.

I should know. I had a ten-year gig as a newspaper columnist, yet hinted at that second position every so often, and got fired.

Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
December 6, 2019 6:49 am

Tom Gelsthorpe ==> You tried and you you got fired….hthe same as happened to me in other realms.

You can always write for the Climate realists — nearly all skeptical sites are looking for well-written material.

And you are right — for almost all climate metrics — we don;t have enough good data to say one way or the other.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 7:03 am

hmmmm…happy fingers getting out of control there … should be “and you got fired….the same as happened”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 8:07 am

“You can always write for the Climate realists — nearly all skeptical sites are looking for well-written material.”

That might appease your conscience, but does it put food on the table?

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 8:45 am

Jeff ==> It does not put food on the table — at least not for me.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  KipHansen
December 6, 2019 10:06 am

You haven’t been getting your regular fossil fuel industry retainer checks? They must not have your correct address. Let them know where to send the checks. While you’re at it, would you please let them know that mine haven’t been showing up either. I’m sure that we are the only two in the world that haven’t been properly compensated for our faithful, might I say “slavish,” promotion of the party line.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  KipHansen
December 13, 2019 7:27 am

Kip, the Tooth Fairy is a better source of income. You can always find more teeth, especially it they’re not yours.

December 6, 2019 6:41 am

Well done Kip.

Reply to  David Middleton
December 6, 2019 6:52 am

Dave ==> Thanks, pal. I am in the middle of two other major essays — but Fountain just ticked me off! What nonsense he writes! Heat wave in Greenland (north of Europe — indeed.)

Greg Woods
December 6, 2019 6:48 am

It is still not yet Climate Armageddon, but wait until this time next year, when we will publish the same news…

Roger Tolson
December 6, 2019 6:48 am

Re Venice flooding.
It only takes a minute to discover that Venice is sinking, due mainly to groundwater extraction,faster than alleged sea level rise.

Reply to  Roger Tolson
December 6, 2019 6:56 am

Roger Tolson ==> Not only is Venice sinking (it was built on a salt-water lagoon centuries ago) but very expensive engineering solutions meant to protect it from unusually high tides have been subject to corruption and mostly wasted — and the tidal barriers are still unfinished.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 8:58 am

I have read that the Mediterranean does not have tides. How is it that Venice gets flooded by unusually high tides?

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 6, 2019 11:30 am

I have read that the Mediterranean does not have tides. How is it that Venice gets flooded by unusually high tides?

Although almost an enclosed sea the Med has some tide, though much less than the open ocean. Venice is at the top of the Adriatic so what tidal movement there is is greater there as water moving up the Adriatic it is constricted and piles up with nowhere to go. Googling will get you further info.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  RobH
December 6, 2019 4:11 pm

Aren’t the “tides” affecting Venice due to winds pushing Mediterranean waters towards the city, rather than being caused by gravitational tides from the Sun and The Moon?


Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  RobH
December 12, 2019 7:27 am

Steve Reddish December 6, 2019 at 4:11 pm

Aren’t the “tides” affecting Venice due to winds pushing Mediterranean waters towards the city,


“Tides are amplified by a phenomenon such as seiche. A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. You can watch this phenomenon in your own bath. If you excite the water, then the wave begins to run back and forth.

Seiches have been observed in the Adriatic Sea.”

December 6, 2019 6:50 am

All this talk about how each heat wave is proof of global warming makes me think of our various trolls who always step up to remind us that record cold is just weather.

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 6, 2019 6:52 am

‘A crime against the human mind’. Now there’s an idea for a tribunal.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 6, 2019 7:01 am

Ed Zuiderwijk ==> I am entirely serious about the point though….I take it very seriously. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and entitled to be wrong about something. But teachers, professors, journalists are required by their professions to do their very utmost to stick to the truth or label their opinions as such. Spreading lies and half-truths is intellectually criminal.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 10:55 am

Kip Hansen —

I do not think you would like the world in which the spreading of “false” ideas becomes criminal. I suspect that it would be skeptics on the dock much more often than dishonest journalists and their friends in academia.

It is better to let everyone say what they want and to let people figure it out for themselves. That is one reason I read this site, to help me figure out what is truth about global warming.

December 6, 2019 7:08 am

And so I’ll add my latest underling attempt to counter such deception as follows:

… which aligns with everything Kip writes above, which I did last week, before reading the above.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Maybe someday, some inkling of rational thinking will make some tiny effect on some mind that has grown tired of the doomcasting.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
December 6, 2019 8:49 am

Robert ==> Every voice of reason adds to the effort in a positive way.

December 6, 2019 7:09 am

sea level rise….if they would cherry pick 2004 – 2012…they could show 8 years of no sea level rise at all
….that balances out their 8 years of acceleration

December 6, 2019 7:11 am

It would be so nice if POTUS would setup a Presidential Inquiry into the reported Climate Emergency which will cost, so it is reported, Trillions of everyone’s hard earned Dollars.

Scientists, from across the board , would appear in front of a selected panel and give evidence and be questioned as to their reported findings, on oath. We may possibly find out why they think we Earthlings should return to living in the Stone Age in order to reduce CO2 by a ‘pin prick’ in the overall naturally produced atmospheric total and that anthropogenic GHGs are totally responsible for what they declare as an Emergency.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  JoHo
December 6, 2019 8:10 am

“Scientists, from across the board , would appear in front of a selected panel and give evidence and be questioned as to their reported findings, on oath.”

Never happen. Alarmists don’t want to be asked difficult questions, only softballs that promote their alarm, and egos.

John in Oz
Reply to  JoHo
December 6, 2019 2:05 pm

With the right ‘selected panel’ one could get whichever answer one wished for.

This is the problem we have with the IPCC – regardless of the many thousands of inputs, the biases of the individuals who control the output is all that is heard and acted on with little analysis of the inputs.

We also see this in government ‘investigations’. How often do we see the likes of Judith Curry giving reasoned explanations of scientific knowledge, including caveats and ‘known unknowns’, only to receive a long rant by a true believer who states categorically that the World is burning?

December 6, 2019 7:14 am

Every time a person takes in something that is not true and accepts it, they become effectively stupider.

Vila greta has 185k likes on her last twitter picture, thus at least 185k people are “effectively stupid”, add in the news media, and the rest of the green crowd, you are left with a large amount of uneducated people

Dudley Horscroft
Reply to  Sunny
December 7, 2019 4:41 pm

Some wise person wrote: “It is not knowing something that makes a man ignorant, it is knowing things that aren’t so.” Can anyone point me to the source of this?

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
December 8, 2019 5:26 am

I believe that would be Ronald Reagan during a debate with Jimmy Carter.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
December 12, 2019 8:17 am
Murphy Slaw
December 6, 2019 7:23 am

If a person doesn’t live in the “environment” it’s hard not to be afraid of it.

Bruce Cobb
December 6, 2019 7:25 am

In other words, it is “not even wrong”.

December 6, 2019 7:33 am

Half of New South Wales on fire, a heatwave in Soth Australia, flooding in Easten Africa (after 2 typhoons further south and a severe drought earlier in the year), fires in California, floods in the UK and across Europe, floods in India etc etc etc.

y’know, the protestations of ‘nothings happening’ are beginning to sound a little desperate

Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 10:22 am

It appears you didn’t read the post, which is why your comment is stupid on arrival

Reply to  Sunsettommy
December 6, 2019 10:57 am

Half of New South Wales on fire…

OK doomer.

Alarmists are so very ignorant, becausethey refuse to read anything that contradicts their doomer fantasies.

Reply to  Gator
December 6, 2019 8:12 pm

Yes. The article is about facts and griff starts off with a very big porky. Area burned is large (~1.6 million hectares) but NSW is very large (~80 million hectares). Area burned about 2% so griff is only a factor of 25 out. Good enough for climate science hysteria.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
December 7, 2019 12:38 pm

griff is famous for not reading. Time and again he posts as proof of his position, articles that actually refute the point he is making.

Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 12:29 pm

Good thing those things have never happened before.

Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 12:52 pm

Did you know, griff, that Australia just had its COLDEST summer day… EVAH !!

Cold records broken in several places.

Snow in Tasmania and Victoria. You should keep up with actual news.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  fred250
December 6, 2019 7:06 pm

I am here south of Sydney and it has been a cool summer so far, today in fact is very cool for 7th Dec, that’s a full week in to the official summer season. Spring was cool too, but you won’t hear that in the media.

Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 4:18 pm

And if we immediately stopped burning fossil fuels all those problems would immediately go away 🙂

Patrick MJD
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 7:00 pm

“griff December 6, 2019 at 7:33 am”

Half of NSW on fire, where did you read that Griff, your fact tome The Guardian? NSW is about 810,000 square kilometres. You really don’t have a clue do you? I live in NSW, half of NSW would be about 2/3rds the size of Texas, USA. Sure, we have fires, not unusual for Australia. However, you deliberately omit some important facts. This year over 80% of fires were deliberately lit by arsonist members of the public. 7 fires were lit by a “Fireie”, a person, usually a volunteer, engaged to help put fires out. He has been charged. Another, budding arsonist, 9, was caught trying to start a fire. Many other fires are started from wind blown embers. It is a bit problem and a big part of that problem is land and forest management. Bush dwellers are forbidden from clearing their land, so fuel load builds up. People were once allowed to let their animals roam parks and forests, but that was banned decades ago. So, after 40 or so year of “do nothing ” forest and land management polices where fuel load builds up, we have these massive, uncontrolled fires that simply nothing can be done about other than cutting firebreaks and letting it burn out.

As for heatwave in SA, when was that and what was the temperature because it’s not being reported here? Never mind Griff, it’s SUMMER here in Australia.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 7:11 pm
Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 12, 2019 8:31 am
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
December 7, 2019 8:26 pm

Two typhoons? OMG, that’s 100% more than one typhoon! Haven’t you seen the bumper sticker, “Weather happens!”?

December 6, 2019 7:34 am

What we are witnessing is the acceleration of climate porn that captivates gullible souls enthralled by constant emotional excitation.

Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2019 8:53 am

Icisil ==> Much of this increase in an organized effort by CJR and others.

Mickey Reno
December 6, 2019 7:37 am

Here’s a correlation you can believe in. Leftist and Progressive media reports and NGO press releases about alleged climate disaster increase during times when the IPCC’s Conference of Parties (COP) meetings are being held.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Mickey Reno
December 6, 2019 9:03 am

Excellent point. Can you do an analysis complete with some graphs to demonstrate this?

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 6, 2019 9:45 am

Jeff ==> There are some rather good explanations online. This one is fair accurate — other than blaming Climate change for SLR.

December 6, 2019 7:40 am

Excellent analysis as usual. So much of our hysteria over most things is fueled by the misunderstanding that we have only recently begun to have high quality measurements of most natural phenomenon.

Jim G
December 6, 2019 7:41 am

How do you define “abnormally dry” when a place normally averages less than an inch of rain in a year?
Let alone, the other rankings of moderate through exceptional drought.

Reply to  Jim G
December 6, 2019 9:47 am

Jim ==> The drought index is pretty good — abnormally dry means drier than usual — and California is usually dry. Reservoirs are mostly full and I expect another good snowpack year this year.

December 6, 2019 7:48 am

When it becomes fashionable to attack the IPCC these shysters will be leading the pack

December 6, 2019 7:52 am

Kip, when I saw this article I thought: where is Kip Hansen when you need him?

Clearly you were at work producing this excellent piece.

How does one take anything in the NYTimes at face value when they publish garbage on Climate.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Mark Silbert
December 6, 2019 9:06 am

I’m sure you have noticed; whenever there is a news report about something you know something about, they ALWAYS get many of the facts wrong. Often coming to the wrong conclusion. In light of this, why would anybody EVERY believe anything the media tells them?

Reply to  Mark Silbert
December 6, 2019 9:48 am

Mark ==> Thanks for thinking of me — took me longer than usual to write about this — wanted to make especially sure I had supportable data.

December 6, 2019 7:53 am

It’s unprecedented story telling of the unprecedented in an age of coordinated unprecedented messaging.

James A Crandall
December 6, 2019 8:04 am

To quote W. Pauli, “It’s not even wrong”.

Steve Oregon
December 6, 2019 8:26 am

Too bad this can’t be added to the NYT Comments 214.

“The comments section is closed. To submit a letter to the editor for publication, write to”

December 6, 2019 8:29 am

I predict that CBC will interview Mr. Fountain within a few days. It has been quite a while since CBC stopped interviewing actual experts and switched to interviewing like minded propagandists.

December 6, 2019 8:35 am

Great job countering the lie after lie in that NYT article!! One tiny typo in your first graph, near the bottom… should be manages instead of “managers.” Other than that… excellent!! Thanks!

Reply to  Dave
December 6, 2019 9:52 am

Dave ==> Thanks — I love a careful reader! It’s that danged auto-spelling correction software that catches me out every time!

Jeff in Calgary
December 6, 2019 8:38 am

You are right, it is an increase in the reporting

I suspect data for flooding (which is most of the increase in the graph) was only reporting Europe and NA in the 1970s. By the 2000s, reporting was mostly global. It wasn’t until the 2000 that any natural disasters were reported from outside of the ‘West’. Even disasters with massive casualties weren’t reported.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 6, 2019 11:13 am

Jeff ==> The EM-DAT story is an important lesson. Data, even if from a well-recognized international organization may well be wrong, and for reasons as simple as in this example. Data that looks wrong or unlikely probably is wrong.

The second lesson is “If in doubt, ASK!” I have a pretty good record of getting responses from researchers and organizations.

CRED (EM-DAT) was very responsive — I am not sure why they have not added caveats to their database, especially in cases as obvious as the Natrual Disasters DB.

December 6, 2019 8:39 am

Kip, Great opinion and fact piece and thank you for getting a clarification on the Global Reported Natural Disasters by type. When I first saw this data on another site a few weeks back I immediately called BS on it and suspected the increase might have had something to do with an increase in reporting. I’m glad you took the time to find out what the reason was.

BTW, I wonder if you forwarded your essay to anyone on the NY Times Climate Team? I sure hope you did.

Reply to  Kevin
December 6, 2019 11:14 am

Kevin ==> Repeating my answer just above:
“The EM-DAT story is an important lesson. Data, even if from a well-recognized international organization may well be wrong, and for reasons as simple as in this example. Data that looks wrong or unlikely probably is wrong.

The second lesson is “If in doubt, ASK!” I have a pretty good record of getting responses from researchers and organizations.

CRED (EM-DAT) was very responsive — I am not sure why they have not added caveats to their database, especially in cases as obvious as the Natueal Disasters DB.”

December 6, 2019 8:42 am

Where are all the pictures of rising sea levels? It would seem to me there should thousands.

Reply to  DRoberts
December 6, 2019 2:24 pm

DRoberts ==> Nils-Alex Morner just published a paper full of photos showing lack of sea level rise — danged if I can find it.

Readers: can anyone point to the new Morner paper on SLR?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  DRoberts
December 12, 2019 9:47 am

Kip, wechstaben verbuxelt:

“Kip Hansen December 6, 2019 at 2:24 pm

DRoberts ==> Nils-Alex Morner just published a paper full of photos showing lack of sea level rise.”

Axel –> Alex,

wechstaben verbuxelt –> Buchstaben verwechselt: up-letter-mixed

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
December 13, 2019 8:30 am

Johann, I don’t see a recent paper in there. I do see “Skeptical” Science at the top of the list explaining why he’s wrong, though.

December 6, 2019 8:43 am

Re the Somali flooding:
The wife used to work in Saudi (Taif and sunny downtown Riyadh).
Death by drowning in the desert was not uncommon. There were infrequent intense rain storms followed by flash floods and those who sought shelter underneath highway overpasses got the wrong end of the stick. Including their camels…

Reply to  yirgach
December 6, 2019 2:53 pm

Right. The phenomena is also why wadis are a common geologic feature in many desert environments.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  yirgach
December 12, 2019 10:02 am
December 6, 2019 8:46 am

But reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change will require drastic measures, Dr. Taalas said. “The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation.” It would do us well to paint all the climate doomers as sharing that view.

Politically, the question of climate change should be framed as, “Do we destroy our society, AND go to war with those countries who refuse to abandon fossil fuels, or do we research ways of adapting to a potentially warming climate? It would be difficult to argue that getting rid of fossil fuels would not have a serious deleterious effect on our society, and without China and India joining in the effort the whole thing is futile.

No sense getting into long science discussions with an uninterested population. Just presenting the solutions available if the problem were real will result in the same policies advocated by those of us who believe there is no problem. There is absolutely no reason to object to contingency planning should there be a climate change, whether that change is hotter or colder. Most of us believe such changes are inevitable.

December 6, 2019 8:55 am

If their hypothesis is correct climate change can not “accelerate.” Nonetheless, acceleration is required of the narrative they have created.

Unfortunately, uneducated and mis-educated people are quick to believe that the climate should be stable. Every weather event is now presented as evidence of climate change.

December 6, 2019 9:06 am

Excellent factual post.

Pseudo-scientific journalists as Henry Fountain (and many others) are destroying Science Journalism, scientific popularization and defiling Sciences in general, not only in the Climate ‘Science” field.

How could one believe anymore any of the self accounted “scientific” authors’ papers, in any scientific field, that are published in the MSM, when they turn out to be so wrong and based on such faked data ?

This is indeed as you say, a crime against human mind.

Nick Werner
December 6, 2019 9:52 am

“I suggest that our ever-striving NY Times journalist, Henry Fountain, might have been well-served by applying this little bit of critical thinking…”

I suggest that Mr. Fountain’s critical thinking skills were learned while beta testing Cranky Uncle.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Nick Werner
December 6, 2019 7:20 pm

To a pedant like me, there’s a funny lyric that misunderstands a fundamental notion. In the famous song “Smooth” by Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas (from Matchbox Twenty) begins by singing “Man it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun.”

I mean, if you’re seven inches from the sun, “midday” has no coherent meaning, does it? At that location, temperature variations must be determined by totally different measures than the day/night variations due to the rotation of a planet orbiting approximately 93 million miles away. I like to think Santana and Thomas wrote that lyric for ironic purposes, but perhaps that’s just me wanting to think well of two of my favorite rock artists. Or else they learned their ideas about temperature variation from a climate modeler (ha ha that’s a little joke).

Either way, it’s a great song.

December 6, 2019 10:03 am

This article is a good example of WUWT at its best.

Reply to  Albert
December 6, 2019 11:32 am

Albert ==> Thank you. Anthony Watts, owner and editor, has changes planned to be rolled out in January 2020. It will be interesting to see what they are.

Ralph Gardner
December 6, 2019 10:04 am

Two new discoveries should fairly quickly lead to solar electricity at around 1/3rd the current cost of electricity if the government backs them with a couple of billion and a program like the Manhattan Project to build an Atomic bomb.

The average efficiency of a commercial solar panel is between 11 and 22 percent. One new device could boost that to 80 percent. That would make solar about one-third the cost of fossil fuels and the markets will switch to solar by themselves.

A new Device That Channels Heat Into Light Could Boost Solar Cell Efficiency to 80%

There is another lead that may produce 95% efficiency from solar.
Secrets of fluorescent microalgae could lead to super-efficient solar cells

Reply to  Ralph Gardner
December 6, 2019 11:43 am

Ralph ==> While improved solar cells would be a benefit to humanity — they will still only operate efficiently when the sun is shining for the middle part of any given day. That means they require massive energy storage to be of any real use — and we do not have a tech solution for that yet.

It is true that quadrupling the efficiency of solar paneks would be great — but it would not be magic. solar has its own other problems.

If you want to be the next billionaire, invent the next real massively scalable fast-in/fast-out lightweight battery.

ScienceDirect is the “Popular Science”/”Popular Mechanics” of our day — offering a lot of tantalizing stories about pie-in-the-sky technological breakthroughs, the vast majority of which will never make it out of the lab — and even fewer will be commercially viable. We would wish it to be otherwise — but there you have it.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 6, 2019 8:15 pm

Kip, you should read the article at the first link, it’s pure pie in the sky stuff.

Bengt Abelsson
December 6, 2019 10:18 am

There are three kind of news in the papers.

1. Sports. These are always correct.
2. Weather. These are often nearly spot on.
3. The rest. Can eventually be approximately near the mark.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bengt Abelsson
December 7, 2019 8:36 pm

I don’t know where you live, but I’d love it if the weather was “often nearly spot on.” I find that the different online weather forecasters usually differ, the 5-day forecasts are almost always different from the 24-hour forecast, and even the 24-hour forecasts have higher rates of error in the form of false-positives for precipitation, than they do false-negatives. However, false-negatives are not unknown. My sense is that places like Hawaii and Southern California have reliable forecasts, New England not so much.

December 6, 2019 10:24 am

“You can’t fix stupid” and it close cousin treachery. Both being very human.

One day it will collapse from the weight of the fabrications

Steve Z
December 6, 2019 11:04 am

Regarding the California wildfires, blamed on the Santa Ana and Diablo winds from the northeast, the last time those winds and wildfires made the news in late October, most of the northwestern US (Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Utah, Montana) was experiencing record COLD temperatures for the date. How do serious scientists try to blame cold fronts on global warming?

Reply to  Steve Z
December 6, 2019 11:55 am

Steve ==> Diablo and Santa Ana winds are two similar phenomena happening in different areas of California — often confused with one another.

Diablo winds usually refer to winds in the latitude of San Francisco — blowing downhil from the Northeast, across the Central and Diablo Valleys, towards San Francisco.

Santa Ana winds “are strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. They originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.”

Both of these are more localized, regional phenomena. And, you are correct, they are part of the California climate– and do not require the invocation of climate change to occur — they happen quite regularly and have always, at least during my lifetime (I grew up in Los Angeles).

December 6, 2019 12:10 pm

I don’t think the satellite altimetry results for sea level are credible. Measuring within a millimeter from over 100 miles up, with all the variations in satellite orbit, just makes no sense at all. And, tide gauges show far less sea level rise.

The satellites have never been calibrated. This is not scientific data just because NASA says it is. And, as usual, no error bars. These people are activists, not scientists…

Reply to  Michael Moon
December 6, 2019 12:18 pm

Michael ==> You are right — the latest Jason 3 satellite hopes to achieve a measurement accurate to +/- 2.5 cm — about an inch.

see my Sea Level Rise series here at WUWT (you can use this Google link to find them)

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael Moon
December 7, 2019 8:41 pm

You complained that “The satellites have never been calibrated.” That is not true. They can be and are calibrated with laser range finders over land. The problem is that over the oceans and Greenland they have to rely on gravity models to calculate the distance. The models are not perfect, and they can change over time. Even so, it is enlightening to read the engineering specifications for the uncertainty of the various components of the systems.

Joseph Zorzin
December 6, 2019 12:25 pm

When I see a climate related article in the NYT- I then read the comments, if they are allowed. Almost all are of the hysteric variety. Maybe it’s something in the water they drink- or the air pollution over the city.

Tom Abbott
December 6, 2019 12:47 pm

From the article: “Flooding is nearly normal for Somalia — but so are droughts. “The 2011 drought was particularly bad.”

I remember 2011. The drought was particularly bad in Oklahoma and Texas at that time, along with a tremedous heatwave, the worst I’ve ever experienced.

Then it rained like in the time of Noah, and washed all our drought troubles away!

Don K
December 6, 2019 3:11 pm

“The town [Santa Barbara] is finely situated, with a bay in front, and an amphitheatre of hills behind. The only thing which diminishes its beauty is, that the hills have no large trees upon them, they having been all burnt by a great fire which swept them off about a dozen years ago, [the fire would have been in the early 1820s] and they had not yet grown again. The fire was described to me by an inhabitant, as having been a very terrible and magnificent sight. The air of the whole valley was so heated that the people were obliged to leave the town and take up their quarters for several days upon the beach.”

Richard Henry Dana “Two Years Before The Mast”

Wildfires in California are indeed nothing new.

Reply to  Don K
December 7, 2019 8:45 am

Don K ==> I went to uni in Santa Barbara — the hills behind SB are chaparral — brush mostly, and have always been — that’s the type of vegetation there. The USGS says:”85. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA/NORTHERN BAJA COAST
This ecoregion includes coastal and alluvial plains, marine terraces, and some low hills in the coastal
area of Southern California, and it extends over 200 miles south into Baja California. Coastal sage
scrub and chaparral vegetation communities with many endemic species once were widespread
before overgrazing, clearance for agriculture, and massive urbanization occurred. Coastal sage scrub
includes chamise, white sage, black sage, California buckwheat, golden yarrow, and coastal cholla.
Small stands of the unique Torrey pine occur near San Diego and on one of the Channel Islands. The
chaparral-covered hills include ceanothus, manzanita, scrub oak, and mountain-mahogany. Coast
live oak, canyon live oak, poison oak, and California black walnut also occur.” [ source ]

The trees are mostly confined to well-watered creek bottoms.

December 6, 2019 4:04 pm

Ive got one more for you: the term ‘ever accelerating’ is physically impossible. It only ever appears when written by people who dont understand it.

December 6, 2019 4:05 pm

“California is built to burn, and it’s built to burn explosively. If people left tomorrow you’d still have fires that are going to blow to the Pacific Ocean. That’s just a reality”

The spanish had found california to be a desert and had little interest in the region but the later gold rush northern european settlers had turned it agricultural with irrigation. That didn’t change its desert climate however.

December 6, 2019 4:58 pm

Nice work Kip. Regarding sea level, as you know what really matters is coastal sea level. What happens in the middle of the oceans is all highly theoretical and subject to large errors that are rarely discussed in news media articles. So I decided to take a look at measured coastal sea levels at long-term sites in conjunction with collocated or nearby continuous GPS vertical land motion monitors. Most of the long-term sites had significant vertical land motion in recent years, making it more difficult to assess the absolute coastal sea level change. However there were a couple of sites with minimal ground motion in recent years and one, at Honolulu HI, has a collocated CGPS which shows minimal vertical motion in recent years. This site should provide a good estimate of absolute coastal sea level rise around the globe and it only shows a rise rate of 1.49 +/- 0.21 mm/year since 1905 with no acceleration. That corresponds to only 15 cm (6 inches) over 100 years. If accelerating CO2 levels were having an impact on absolute coastal sea level rise, we should expect to see at least a little noticeable acceleration in the last few decades. The implication is that the absolute coastal sea level rise has not been affected by rising CO2 so far and the present rise rate is not at all alarming.

More info here:

Ronald Bruce
December 6, 2019 5:42 pm

Never let the facts get in the way of a story you’re trying to promote.

December 6, 2019 7:42 pm

Every time I’ve been involved in a news “story” the media has reported it wrong.

None of these stories involved any political leanings…they were stories where science and life intersected.

The stories were wrong because of the stupidity and incompetence of the reporters and editors. Newsmen cannot report on science.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
December 7, 2019 12:16 pm

Science itself is also HARD, very, very hard, as well as usually counterintuitive. For this reason, it is completely beyond the vast majority of journalists.

December 7, 2019 6:32 pm

Did you actually examine the data at NOAA? The SLR graph that you reproduced simply has the best straight line fit to all the data, it says nothing about how that long term trend has changed over time (and that straight line is not likely to change much over the last few years). So it’s odd that you’d invoke the graph as though it endorses your belief. It does nothing of the sort.

Reply to  Mike Roberts
December 8, 2019 8:17 am

Mike ==> The NOAA graph includes what they consider the long term trend. The NOAA trend has not changed in many years. The satellite SLR trend according to NOAA used to be 3.2. But has been lowered to 2.8/2.9 in recent years.

Reply to  KipHansen
December 8, 2019 3:50 pm

But the graph has a simple best line fit. It doesn’t give any information on how that trend has changed over time or whether there has been recent acceleration but your opinion piece seemed to suggest that the graph supports your belief. The graph doesn’t do that which is why I wondered if you’d actually looked at the data and done any calculations to support your theory.

Regarding the change in long term trend numbers from NOAA, do you have a link to that, since that seems surprising, given that the graph appears to show a distinct uptick in recent years (yes, I know that doesn’t prove anything but it would suggest deeper investigation is needed).

Reply to  Mike Roberts
December 10, 2019 11:03 am

Mike ==> If you are still following this thread, see Judith Curry’s very detailed dive into all this, particularly “Sea level rise acceleration (or not): Part IV – Satellite era record“.

For even more, see her whole completed Special Report on Sea Level [ pdf ]

David S
December 8, 2019 8:51 am

More wrong than the Democrats in the House of Representatives. And that’s very wrong.

December 8, 2019 11:16 am

Readers ==> Those of you who are interested in what happens when one of the author’s here makes good points against alarmism should see what one of the Climate Team has to say regarding my failure to accept Nerem et al.’s latest SLR Acceleration paper. The Climate Team author goes to a great deal of trouble to show that if one uses enough statistical methods, one might be able to squeeze out an accelerated trend in SLR for the last few years — of course, to do so requires
1) Ignoring any measurement error 2) Ignoring any error range for the mean 3) Ignoring the shortness of the entire data set itself and its change points (it covers a long series of differing satellites) 4) Pretending that the satellite data set is accurate and precise to a single digit millimetric scale. and finally 5) believing that less-than-ten-year trends are scientifically significant.

None of those five steps is scientifically sound.

The effort to then “fit” the whole data set to some kind of acceleration curve is not sound and not supportable.

December 9, 2019 9:18 am


Pushing back against the rising tide of alarmism is not always a pleasant experience — this essay kicked up an attack response from one of the Climate Team who writes under the pseudonym of “Tamino” at the blog “Open Mind”. “Tamino” is really Grant Foster, of Portland, Maine. His highlighting my essay there resulted in several people stopping by to leave contentious comments here — oddly, at least two of those folks are still complaining about my comments on Andrew Revkin’s now-defunk NY Times Opinion Page blog, Dot Earth — comments made years ago. It seems they are still upset about them. The fact that Revkin published one of my essays there (with a single caveat) seems to still bother them — six years later.

The only way to deal with these types of attacks is to simply restate one’s opinion clearly, restate the logic path, repeat the references for underlying data — and to acknowledge that “opinions vary”. In Climate Science, even the “facts” vary — as attested to by the long-running disagreement between Nils-Alex Morner and Nerem’s team. I addressed Nerem et al.’s work twice, here and here.

Many of the data sets of Climate Science are at odds with one another — as this young field tries to get a handle on the climate of the past. This is to be expected.

Thanks for reading!

# # # # #

Johann Wundersamer
December 12, 2019 8:20 am

Ignorance wears arrogance –

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Johann Wundersamer
December 12, 2019 9:51 am

Kip, wechstaben verbuxelt:

“Kip Hansen December 6, 2019 at 2:24 pm

DRoberts ==> Nils-Alex Morner just published a paper full of photos showing lack of sea level rise.”

Axel –> Alex,

wechstaben verbuxelt –> Buchstaben verwechselt: up-letter-mixed, letters-mixed-up

Johann Wundersamer
December 12, 2019 10:11 am

Johann Wundersamer Your comment is awaiting moderation.

You’re free to moderate Reality. Just try.

Johann Wundersamer
December 12, 2019 10:15 am

Johann Wundersamer Your comment is awaiting moderation.

You’re free to moderate Reality. Just try.

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