Bill McKibben Talks Up the Alleged Climate Change Extreme Weather Link

Storm intensity vs year (from Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Bill McKibben sees climate change every day, and he wants you to see climate change as well. But his dramatic description of “Hiroshimas” worth of energy leaves out some important context.

How Fast Is the Climate Changing?: It’s a New World, Each and Every Day

By Bill McKibben
September 3, 2020

The struggle over climate change is necessarily political and economic and noisy—if we’re going to get anything done, we’ll have to do it in parliaments and stock exchanges, and quickly.

But, every once in a while, it’s worth stepping back and reminding ourselves what’s actually going on, silently, every hour of every day. And what’s going on is that we’re radically remaking our planet, in the course of a human lifetime. Hell, in the course of a human adolescence.

The sun, our star, pours out energy, which falls on this planet, where the atmosphere traps some of it. Because we’ve thickened that atmosphere by burning coal and gas and oil—in particular, because we’ve increased the amount of carbon dioxide and methane it contains—more of that sun’s energy is trapped around the Earth: about three-fourths of a watt of extra energy per square meter, or slightly less than, say, one of those tiny white Christmas-tree lights. But there are a lot of square meters on our planet—roughly five hundred and ten trillion of them, which is a lot of Christmas-tree lights. It’s the heat equivalent, to switch units rather dramatically, of exploding four Hiroshima-sized bombs each second.

We get a sense of what that feels like when we have a week like the one we just came through. Hurricane Laura detonated in intensity in a few hours before it made landfall—that escalation was one of the most rapid that has ever been observed in the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s because of the extra heat that’s available. …

Read more:

Back in the real world, there is a weak correlation between warming and wind speed, but the correlation is not statistically significant (see the graph at the top of the page).

Bill McKibben’s talk of Hiroshima’s worth of energy is very dramatic. But that 3/4 of a watt per square meter Bill talks about has to be seen in the context of other climate phenomena, such as changes to insolation caused by Earth’s not quite circular orbit around the Sun.

In January the Earth is only 0.9833 AU from the Sun, in June the Earth is 1.017 AU from the sun (AU – astronomical unit = 93 million miles). This results in a variation of solar intensity of 1413 w/m2 in early January, when the Earth is closest to the sun, which drops to 1321 w/m2 in June.

Obviously there are other numbers you could use, such as total sunlight striking the Earth’s surface, but my point is natural annual variations in total solar intensity are at least an order of magnitude larger than any anthropogenic CO2 signal.

In the context of this and other large climate shifts such as seasons, variations in snow cover, or random changes in ocean currents and cloudiness, Bill McKibben’s 3/4 of a watt / square meter of anthropogenic warming could best be described as “noise”.

There is no substantial evidence anthropogenic CO2 is adding enough energy to the climate system to make a significant difference to storm intensity.

Correction (EW): 1.017 AU, not 1017AU (h/t Dave Yaussy)

148 thoughts on “Bill McKibben Talks Up the Alleged Climate Change Extreme Weather Link

    • 1017 AU is correct. The Earth’s orbit has become somewhat more elliptical due to the excess CO2 in the atmosphere. What happened is that as the CO2 absorbed the extra photons, the atmosphere was subjected to, and absorbed the photon pressure. This extra momentum has added a significant boost to the Earth’s orbit.
      As we slide away from the sun, I predict next winter will be on the chilly side.

        • The orbit of Jupiter is ~5 AU. 1000 AU puts you *waaay* out there, about half the distance to the Oort cloud. This would effectively make the Earth a big comet. I did say next winter would be a bit chilly. This would be most noticeable as the atmosphere condenses to liquid nitrogen and oxygen, then freezes solid.

          Many things have been ascribed to CO2. As far as I know, nobody has claimed that anthropogenic CO2 has knocked the earth out of it’s orbit. (Remember, you read it here first)
          Anyway, any post featuring Bill McKibben deserves the very finest in hysterical nonsense that we can provide.

    • In January the Earth is only 0.9833 AU from the Sun, in June the Earth is 1017 AU. That is 1084 times the distance between January to June. decimal point wrong some where?

    • They are getting payback for their ridiculous energy policies.

      So how do you explain all of the cold and early snow currently invading the northwest? Global warming?

      • Wildfire in the western USA are about 84% caused by something humans have done, or do. The reasons are many and include deliberate actions that should have and could have been avoided. A few are arson.
        About 10% are lighting.

      • The increasing concentration of CO2 in the air is resulting in an increase in human stupidity, due to which people increasingly hold gender reveal parties involving large amounts of explosives that are set off in dry, grassy areas. For the skeptics out there, try plotting atmospheric CO2 concentrations vs. gender reveal party explosions starting from 1850, and try telling me that this is not clearly true.

        Of course, there is a minority of “skeptics” out there who would laughably claim that the correlation between atmospheric CO2 and human stupidity is in fact revealed in the modern propensity for ignoring obvious natural and manmade causes of phenomena in favor of vaguely blaming everything on a change to 1/10,000th of the atmosphere. However, there is now a consensus that those people are wrong, and there is nothing that is more scientifically sound than a consensus, as demonstrated by the fact that not one has never been found incorrect, apparently. Why is Griff the only person on this site who is able to comprehend this?

        • {sarc}
          It’s not human stupidity that CO2 concentration correlates with, it’s Bill McKibben’s stupidity! Take a closer look, and you’ll see that the rise of McKibben’s foolishness and the rise of CO2 concentration are very nearly a perfect correlation. The explosive gender reveal party revelers are merely McKibben acolytes… don’t mis-attribute to the coat-tail riders what properly lies at the feet of King Clown himself.

          Wow, Clownie McKibbenface certainly brings out the sarcasm here… perhaps if he’d not beclown himself on a semi-regular basis, he’d be taken more seriously. Of course, his mental illness of liberalism precludes him doing any such thing.

    • They are having hot dry weather as happens from time to time and many forest fires due to poor forest management and perhaps in part, lots of arson. California may even be approaching a drought similar to the medieval mega drought that lasted about 200 years and killed off southwest native American tribes. No SUVs were in sight at the time.

      • “Anthropogenic excess fuel.”

        That’s the real cause. 🙂

        California ought to get smart and build themselves lots of wood-fired powerplants. They can justify them environmenatlly using the same excuses the Europeans use for theirs.

        Californians might as well use all that deadwood that is laying around their State to produce electricity. It’s going to burn anyway, and it’s going to release CO2 anyway, so they might as well get something useful out of it like electricity and a much lower risk of wildfires.

    • In California, they’ve run out of reliable electricity.

      In Washington, they’ve run out of reliable law enforcement.

      Anything else you need to be updated about Griff?

        • I’ve always marveled at their ability to use the Chinese n-word, like auctioneers just rolling it off the tips of their tongues. I never attempted to use it.

          I would say, hao, hao…hao though and always got an A for effort from my Chinese colleagues.

          One can learn basic Mandarin quite easily as grammar is simple, but what makes Chinese so difficult is dialects, colloquialisms and the symbolic written language and the fact so much of meaning is contextual.

        • Do you think any of those snowflakes are smart enough to be in any university if they’re that stupid to take offence at being educated?

      • “California has found itself strapped for electricity this summer during heat waves in the later hours of the day. In seeking to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, the state has almost eliminated coal-fired generation and reduced its reliance on natural-gas power in favor of renewable energy.”

        California closed 15 of its 19 shore-line, gas-fired plants, efficiency about 55 to 60 percent, that were using the enormous Pacific Ocean for cooling water!!
        That shut-down process had been on auto-pilot

        All the various RE idiots were praising each other how well they were doing.
        Hi fives all around
        California, a roll model for Vermont and Maine, etc.

        All RE dreamers lost sight of the BIG PICTURE.
        No one considered: 1) outages, 2) a southwest heat wave, 3) no wind, and 4) no sun DURING PEAK HOURS

        The incompetent dreamers of the Cal Environmental Board said: “The Pacific Ocean was heating up.”!
        Wow, you just cannot be make this up.…

        Calizuela, Vermont’s RE role-model, has shut-down 15 of its 19 shoreline gas power plants, because they were warming the vast PACIFIC OCEAN.

        This is beyond absurd, but, hey, this Calizuela.
        That Andreas Fault should widen to about 100 miles, so it could declare itself an independent nation.

        The shut-downs greatly contributed to having not enough power plants to avoid rolling blackouts, DURING A MULTI-DAY, HEAT WAVE WITH 110+ temps!!!!


        Vermont would do the same, if Vermont would have gas power plants.
        Never mind McNeal and Ryegate wood burners being far worse regarding CO2 than any gas plant, much worse even than coal.
        Vermont already hounded VY out-of-business, for purely POLITICAL REASONS.

    • “what on earth do you think is happening in California and Washington State?”

      Summertime + stupid government policies?

    • You can always count on griff to embarrass itself.
      If you can demonstrate that anything happening in CA or WA is due to climate change, I will be greatly surprised.

      All you can do is claim that everything that is different from last year must have been caused by CO2.

    • Ah Griff, always adding a dash of humour at you r own expense! If only you could see you as others do.

      Anyway on topic, can you think of a list of reasons why ‘intensity at landfall’ is a completely unreliable ‘metric’ and why it would obviously be biased towards higher values later in the record? Go on, try it, you might learn something about dishonest vacuous unscientific alarmism.

    • griff September 8, 2020 at 10:13 am


      what on earth do you think is happening in California and Washington State?

      What is happening? I’ll tell you what is happening. The results of decades of bad forest management are happening in a slow-motion catastrophe. Here are your choices:


      Unfortunately, decades of pseudo-green politicians have gradually reduced the amount of logging and grazing … leading to a slow build-up to an incredible fuel load in the forest.

      And when you have a forest full of fuel, griff … guess what will happen REGARDLESS of the temperature?

      Yep. You guessed it. Big, hot fires just waiting for ignition.

      The biggest fire in California right now was set off, not by the climate, but by some idiots with a smoke bomb for a gender reveal party … don’t think we can blame that on CO2.


    • Griff, you need to do better than that. Even with all the free stuff you’re not making much with that post at $1.00 per word.

    • There are allegations that the fires in In California and Washington State (and Oregon) are related to “extreme weather”; and further allegations that the “extreme weather” is related to atmospheric CO2 changes; and further allegations that the atmospheric CO2 changes are solely due to the use of carbon based fuels. Allegations based on other allegations, based on other allegations.

      Alledged: Said or thought by some people to be the stated bad or illegal thing, although you have no proof.

    • WEATHER !! griff.

      please learn to understand the difference

      Don’t be a WEATHER denier as well as a CLIMATE denier.

    • Pretty sure there were some bad dust storms in the 1930s. Perhaps the evil CO2 molecule tunnelled backwards in time.

    • Calif & Wash have governors that haven’t a clue about climate nor viruses. Thus, the states suffer bigly.
      If you are thinking along the CO2/global warming positions then you ought to know that Carbon Dioxide is the most important plant food, and its increase has allowed better growth. That means more fuel and massive fires.
      Immediate thing is to reduce ignitions, and next is to remove fuel where possible.
      In the years to come, there will be megafires.

    • I thought both Loydo had some secret plan B (she won’t tell us) and Griff and the UK were going to save us from Climate Change?

    • Griff: “‘alleged’?”

      Griff, you seem to imply that you know how much warmth CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere, with the further implication that the warmth is enough to affect the Earth’s weather.

      What’s that number, Griff? The amount of warmth CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere, I mean. Surely, you know the number if you are making such bold assertions.

      Tell me the number and then I will tell Bill McKibben.

      What’s the number, Griff?

      Your silence will tell us the true story, which is that you don’t know what you are talking about.

      You have to know the number before you can apply it to the Earth’s atmosphere. Nobody, including Griff, knows this number. Unfortunately, lots of people, including Griff, pretend they know this number. But we won’t hear anything out of them when they are called out on it like I’m doing here. We won’t hear a word out of Bill McKibben or Griff when we ask for the number they are basing their wild speculation on. It’s a pathetic situation.

      • All we get are “crickets” when we ask the alarmists for “the number”.

        That ought to say something to those who are still trying to make up their minds as to whether CO2 is harmful or not.

        It’s “not”, so far. There’s no evidence CO2 is harmful to the Earth’s atmosphere. The alarmists say it is, but when you ask them for evidence of such, the alarmists go silent. That would be because they don’t have any evidence to offer.

        “What’s the number?” ought to be the skeptic’s mantra. It’s my mantra.

        One should be able to point out and confirm the basic fundamentals of climate science before making accurate predictions. But the alarmists can’t point out the most basic of fundamentals to the CO2/Earth’s climate discussion, which is how much does CO2 warm or cool the Earth’s atmosphere. Noone knows this number, including the alarmists, yet they make one prediction after another about the Earth’s climate based on nothing but speculation.

        What’s the number? Making predictions without knowing the number is just guessing.

  1. we’ve thickened that atmosphere by burning coal and gas and oil—in particular, because we’ve increased the amount of carbon dioxide and methane it contains

    That’s a new approach – the atmosphere as a casserole that can be thickened with a dash of CO2 and CH4.

    It might not be science or cooking, but it is thick.

  2. McKibben, an English major, is a poorly educated, full-on crackpot and a demonstrable liar.

    It astounds me that such a flat-out nutcase is employable by (and therefore carries the imprimatur of) an otherwise reputable college (Middlebury should be ashamed). NESCAC obviously isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    I am continuously gobsmacked that his obvious charlatanry isn’t obvious to all. Every time I see him speak to an audience, I am depressed by the realization that there are other equally deluded, gullible and stupid people taken in by his nonsense.

    • There is no greater liar than a government funded liar and there is no greater gathering of stupid then a College indoctrinated auditorium of students (with the help of government funding and student loans-now backed by the GovMint thanks to BOb)

      Bob just missed setting up Publicly funded Day Care centers to add to our 20 Trillion, at the time of his departure, debt. The goal is to thoroughly brainwash the Chillun, (much easier to do when you start on them at 3 and 4 years of age) and then lower the voting age to 16. SHite these kids will be changing their styles to brown shirts and jack boots by then and greta will lead them.

      They already have voter registration kiosks in most State drivers licensing facilities. They wanted to make sure that ‘undocumenteds’ (their terminology) didn’t miss the opportunity to vote. This all ties together into a slam dunk Central Authoritarian Socialist system of Government. Then we can all bend over and kiss our individual liberties goodbye.

      • Just forced myself this morning to listen to Jane Fonda on NPR — their today expert on climate matters. Fonda herself referred to two other “highly credentialed” gurus who’d educated her – Bill McKibber and Naomi Oreskes………She claimed her role as a protestor for the planet justified her continuing to use C02 guzzling planes between CA and Washington DC. Quite nauseating.

        • Jane Fonda is also a highly qualified nuclear engineer, or at least pretended to be one in the film The China Syndrome.

      • I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the mental agility of people who can in one breath, declare that judging people based solely on their skin color is racism.
        Then in their next breath declare that all white people are racist.

  3. Why use square meters when our atmosphere is three-dimensional? A square meter of surface area expands in area as it moves away from the surface of our near-sphere. Isn’t the real question, “how many watts per cubic meter of atmosphere?”

    • That’s why the measurement is formally Watts per square meter at top of Atmosphere (TOA), or explicitly at the surface. Bill did not bother to differentiate, which (IMO) means that he was in bamboozle mode.

    • They use models that assume the Earth is flat!
      As they said in “Big Bang Theory” – it only works for a spherical chicken in a vacuum.

    • The problem is that not all cubic meters are created equal.
      The cubic meters at the top of the atmosphere have a lot fewer molecules in them than do the cubic meters at the bottom of the atmopshere.

    • Steve Safigan posted “A square meter of surface area expands in area as it moves away from the surface of our near-sphere.”

      Congratulations Steve, you just solved the worlds energy and economic inequality problems at the same time with this idea!

      Case 1. Build a sphere of 5 m radius, with its surface tiled with 1 cm thick wood panels each approximately 1 m^2 in area. Then take each panel and move it radially outward 5 m from its original position. PRESTO, you now have four times the amount of wood (spherical surface area = 4 *pi*R^2). Use 1/4 of that wood to build a replacement sphere of 5 m radius, and burn the excess 3/4 of wood from the expanded sphere to produce heat/energy. Repeat a billion or so times. Enjoy life!

      Case 2. Same approach, but now construct the first 5 m radius sphere with 1 cm thick gold panels each approximately 1 m^2 in area. Follow the same recipe above in expanding the sphere’s ~1 m^2 panels outward. But instead of burning the excess gold, give it the poorer nations of the world. Enjoy life, and the attendant public admiration for this amazing invention!

      (Seriously, please just look up the definitions of the words “flux” and “steradian”).

  4. You could write numerous chapters on how not to analyze data and do projections from the climate extremist movement, i.e. climate communication consultants. Such discussions and examples were lacking before. Now you have a treasure trove to pick from. Call it the Irreverent Guide to Climate Extremism Claims.

  5. Wait a minute, hurricanes Laura and Mario were both tracking across the Caribbean toward Gulf Coast, and both had tracks over warm waters. Poor Mario. wind shears aloft sapped his energy, but Laura avoided the blow job and gained strength. There’s a lesson in their somewhere. Maybe Bill McKibben knows?

  6. Alarmist claims like Weepy Bill’s are always just data-free assertions to the gullible public. THey use anecdotal examples while ignoring the the things like no land-falling major US hurricanes for a dozen years. They claim to be following the science but nothing they do if actual science, just alarmist bunk.
    McKibben is exactly like some 19th Century snake oil salesman going from town-to-town with his wagon on trinkets and potions, barking his wonder remedies if people would just part with some of their money to buy bottle. Snake-oil sellers like McKibben have just gotten more sophisticated and learned how to use technology to reach more gullible to fleece with their carnival barking scare-stories.

  7. I live just a few miles North of Marco Island FL. The eye of Irma went over my house, which is probably the only reason that my house survived. Marco Island is not on the East coast of Florida. It is as far Southwest in FL as you can get. If that is the quality of their data, no wonder they can never get any predictions right.

    • Good catch Don.
      Not unlike the alarmist screeches about the demise of the Great Barrier Reef coral, in that most alarmist ‘studies’ are not conducted on the GBR proper at all, which mainly lies > 100 – 250 kms east of the Queensland coast in the Coral Sea, but rather on inshore shallow fringing reefs.

      (I suspect these sites are chosen because they provide “safe spaces” for the generous fee-paying students that James Cook University recruits from around the world to attend / assist study events. And get indoctrinated at the same time.)

        • Well Loydo, if flying at 1,000 feet or more over the choppy shallow sea surface at 100 mph and taking pics of coral plateaux to determine the extent & severity of cyclic coral bleaching (as JCU operatives do) is your idea of solid science, I guess we don’t have the basis for a rational discussion.

          How does this drive-by study method capture the status of the vast vertical walls of coral that range from surface to hundreds of feet deep?

          This is the very stuff that Peter Ridd was canceled for – outing this unmitigated fluff & nonsense that JCU is presenting as “Centre of Excellence” in coral reef science.

          When diving on the the vertical walls of inner GBR reefs (only ~ 110 kms from the coast), I was gobsmacked at the variety and colors down to 60 feet, the deepest I could go.

        • Its only the very surface coral that gets bleached when there are lower water levels due to El Ninos.

          Flying over and photographing only the surface is NOT a proper study, it is a propaganda study.

          Which of course, Loy falls for immediately ! DOH !!

        • From the Scott Adams topic

          “On top of our mass delusions, we also have junk science that is too often masquerading as the real thing.”

          This is where loy-doh and griff belong.

          They just “BELIEVE” and regurgitate, not having any real science or engineering background to check the lies and mal-information they are being fed.

        • It is correct most reef studies are done in labs and data analysis for aerial or space surveys. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority explains it’s updates

          These updates are based on forecasts, water temperature heat mapping, in-water surveys, citizen science and aerial surveys.

          Even the universities which have reef studies going like JCU do far more on campus than out in the field just because of access and the cost. Currently JCU has 14 reef project going only the first 6 are in field. Number 14 may move in field at a later stage

          1.) Quantifying the impacts of environmental stress on marine microorganisms
          2.) Characterising and monitoring oceanic microbial communities in a changing climate
          3.) Genome-wide assessments of thermal plasticity and threshold performance in corals across the Great Barrier Reef
          4.) Identifying environmental and biological drivers of the success and failure of coral recruits
          5.)Trophic transfer of microplastics in tropical marine environments
          6.) Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) in Great Barrier Reef catchments
          7.) Biogeochemical modelling of tropical marine ecosystems in the context of climate change
          8.) Development of Artificial Intelligence Methods for Hyperspectral Image Analysis in Coral Reef Science Applications
          9.) Deep learning assisted underwater robot navigation
          10.) Modelling plastic pollution in the Great Barrier Reef
          11.) Machine learning approach to restoration, prediction and quality control of oceanographic data from IMOS Moorings
          12.) Ecology of an important coral predator: eDNA as a novel tool to investigate different life-history stages of Crown of Thorns Seastars (Acanthaster cf. solaris)
          13.) Edge Artificial Intelligence for Marine Monitoring
          14.) Understanding coral reef thermal dynamics through innovative drone technology

  8. re. the graph

    I love the way scientists take a cloud of dots, plot a straight line and declare that they’ve found a trend. Such a trend is robust only until someone plots the next point on the graph. It has zero predictive value.

    • It’s all cherry picking.

      If the warmists wanted to use some of the data to get an opposite result, they would start the graph in 1935.

      • Though the attribution for the chart is ‘from Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog’, the chart was edited.
        The only things from the original which retained their text and location were the title, and the Y axis. The X axis in Dr. Roy’s graph is 2-month SST Anomaly, not date. Dr. Spencer was plotting hurricane intensity at landfall with Sea surface temperature anomaly.

        With the re-casting of the X-axis, all the dots are in different positions horizontally. However, by the eye, the slope of the calculated line is the same. Curious.

        The text around Dr. Spencer’s diagram indicate that the trend is not statistically significant.

  9. 1413 – 1321 = 92 w/M2
    3/4 = “presumably” 0.75 w/M2

    By my amateur mathematician’s eye, that’s more then 2 orders of magnitude.

    • but that is an irrelevant comparision. Try integrating f(x) = 1000*sin(x) and g(x)=1000*sin(x)+0.75
      and see which one grows over time. If there is an energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere the earth is getting warmer over time. Which is going to have measurable and dramatic consquenences.

      • … and the top of the atmosphere is where? and relative to what? and does it change with respect to anything?

        (are you pretending that x = time? … what is your point?)

      • “Which is going to have measurable and dramatic consquenences.

        Yet warming from atmospheric CO2 has never been actually measured.

        You are using you junior high maths to make a fool of yourself.

        And doing a great job.

      • Ok, so MarkW took some numbers from the story and did some simple arithmetic. The statement in the story was that McKibben’s energy imbalance figure is just noise compared with the natural variation in the Top Of Atmosphere radiation flux from the Sun. MarkW took it a step further and likened McKibben’s figure to a rounding error.

        The integral of a sine is zero so your equations describe energy fluxes of 0 vs 0 + 0.75. If you integrate between zero and infinity, the result will be infinite energy. How do you rationalise that?

        The idea of ‘forcing’, which is basically what McKibben is talking about, is just stupid. It’s similar to James Hansen’s bungled use of feedback analysis. Anyway, if you put an extra 0.75 watts per square meter into the system, sooner or later the system would radiate an extra 0.75 watts per square meter thereby achieving equilibrium (all other things being equal, which they aren’t).

    • I claimed “at least one order” because there are lots of other numbers you could use, such as taking the sphericity or albedo of the Earth into account, which yield different results. So I didn’t want someone to claim I was exaggerating on the basis of those other numbers.

  10. Looking closer to the graph: The Dry Tortugas are 70 miles West of Key West in the Gulf, which is also not the East coast of FL. Also Donna hit Naples, also on the Southwest coast. Those that hit the Keys first are questionable except for Key Largo. The Labor Day Hurricane hit the Keys coming from the South. It may also have gone through East FL but it did not landfall the East Coast.

  11. I expect Bill McKibben thinks an ‘Erg’ is an endangered species.
    Trouble is , if we take note of the rubbish he says it could be the case. Particularly when it refuses to pop out of our wall sockets when told. He doesn’t realise that it has to be fed regularly, consistently and without hiccups.

  12. The line on the graph does not reflect the points on the graph. There is no reason for the slope to be a constant increase. To me it looks like there were lots of storms up to 1965 and then a 55 year period when they were comparatively rare. That could have been “global cooling” but recent “global warming” hasn’t replicated the earlier storm frequency or intensity. Maybe these planetary systems are a bit too complicated to put straight lines on graphs.

    • Andy, I agree the line on the graph doesn’t follow how I was taught to draw the trend in a graph like that; too many points below the line and not enough above.

  13. Good grief1
    McKibbon writes that “we have thickened” the atmosphere through burning of coal and gas and oil.
    No wonder I can’t run as fast as I could 40 years ago.
    Air is just too thick.

    • An increase of less than 2 molecules per 10,000.
      Actually, since the atmosphere expands as more molecules are added, it would be less than that, even at sea level.

    • “No wonder I can’t run as fast as I could 40 years ago.”

      Maybe, just maybe… there was a change in aerodynamic shape involved 😉

    • Uhhhhh . . . the absolute viscosity of CO2 is about 81% that of air but the density of CO2 is about 153% that of air, all at STP conditions. So, theoretically, aerodynamic drag changes during running will largely depend on which drag factor is more important: “skin friction” or “profile drag” (pardon the double puns).

      As noted by others, increasing atmospheric CO2 from being .00028% (by volume) of Earth’s lower troposphere at the start of the Industrial revolution to .00041% (by volume) today would not result in any atmosphere “thickening” that is detectable by 99.9999% of humans, if it has occurred at all.

      This physics-based stuff is way beyond the comprehension level of Bill McKibben.

  14. Years ago I lived on a sand bar called “Willoughby Spit”.
    It is located just NE of Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia.
    The I-64 crosses the very end of it.

    Legend has it that in the 1660’s, the wife of Thomas Willoughby II looked out her door after a severe storm came through. She was surprised to find that there was now land where the sea was viewed previously.
    Time and tide along with other storms shaped it to the form it is today.

    The notion that the storms of today are unusual and unprecedented can only come form those who do not wish to know the past.

  15. This results in a variation of solar intensity of 1413 w/m2 in early January, when the Earth is closest to the sun, which drops to 1321 w/m2 in June.

    According to McKibben Math, shouldn’t that be:

    This results in a variation of solar intensity equivalent to 186 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every second!!!

    McKibben Math:
    Solar irradiance averaged over the surface of the earth is 1/4 of solar irradiance at top of atmosphere due to only half the earth illuminated and the difference in irradiance by latitude, so
    1413 – 1321 = 92 w/m²
    92 ÷ 4 = 23 w/m²
    Multiple 23 over surface of earth (510,072,000,000,000 m²), divide by 63,000,000,000,000 joules (Hiroshima bomb), you get 186 Hiroshimas per second (1 W = 1 Joule per second)

    • Except for the fact that McKibben’s argument (and Hiroshima bomb equivalent derivation) was based on 0.75 W/m^2 of excess heat being “trapped” in the atmosphere by the increase in greenhouse gases (he specifically mentions CO2 and methane); this is completely different from the variation in solar insolation over six months that you used in your calculation.

    • Is there anyone interested in doing interventions on those who have become trapped by the cult of the Sky Dragon?

      • Cite one piece of evidence that shows atmospheric CO2 causes surfaces warming.

        I’ll save you the trouble, my little stalker, there isn’t any. Yet you still BELIEVE.

        It seems I can make you pop up any time I want. Lol.

        Btw, what’s a Sky Dragon? Is this some kind of Harry Potter reference?

        • CO2 absorbs IR radiation.
          That’s all the proof that is needed.

          BTW, I’m here more than you are, and that makes me your stalker? You assign to yourself way more importance than you are entitled to. Are you related to Jane Fonda?

          • “That’s all the proof that is needed.”

            NO.. you need to know what happens AFTER that.

            And the “after” is controlled by the atmosphere as a whole.

            So … NO WARMING by atmospheric CO2. !

            That is why no-one has ever been able to measure any warming by atmospheric CO2.

            It doesn’t.

          • “CO2 absorbs IR radiation.
            That’s all the proof that is needed.”


            Listen to fred250 below you.

            MarkW, you are just a warmist who hasn’t quite made up his mind yet.

          • fred250.

            “That is why no-one has ever been able to measure any warming by atmospheric CO2.”

            Lukewarmers forget this when they plump for that middle ground.

          • What is it about cultists and their need to hate anyone who isn’t a member?
            I’ve corrected Fred’s error. What’s your excuse?

          • Not being able to tease a signal out of the noise is not proof that there is no signal.

            Many of Einstein’s predictions were untestable at the time his theory was published. This didn’t prove him wrong, it just took time for technology to develop enough.

          • MarkW has become so angry and irrational he has moved out of his mother’s basement.

            What’s the W for MarkW? Is it in honour of Willis? Are you the shell to Willis’s sphere? Lol!

            Or maybe it stands for Warmist? Or should we just call you Einstein?

          • “CO2 absorbs IR radiation. That’s all the proof this is needed.”

            Ah, if only life (and physics) was so simple!

            First, atmospheric CO2 absorbs radiation over only a limited portion of the LWIR spectrum in which Earth’s surface radiates. Water vapor is a far more significant absorber of LWIR across this spectrum.

            Second, the absorption of IR radiation theoretically follows an e-folding (inverse logarithmic) function, according the Beer-Lambert law. Ref: .
            So, as CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increases, it becomes less and less effective in absorbing more IR radiation on a % concentration basis. This effect can be translated to concept of optical depth and an absorption “saturation” limit whereby adding more of the absorbing substance beyond a certain concentration provides no significant increase in spectral absorption along the optical path from Earth’s surface to deep space.

            For the current level of 410 ppm CO2 in Earth’s lower troposphere, the spectral absorption bands for CO2 should theoretically become “saturated” at an optical path length (“depth”) of 1-10 km, depending on many factors and various calculations. So, adding more CO2 will theoretically only shorten this optical depth (but see below!).

            However, the actual situation is more complicated. It is not just a simple matter of looking at CO2 alone as it interacts with LWIR radiation. Being intimately distributed throughout the lower atmosphere, CO2 molecules continuously collide with other molecules (mostly with N2 and O2) in the lower troposphere . . . such collisions occur on 0.1 to 10 NANOSECOND timescale (they follow a Maxwell-Boltzmann speed distribution). The means that any CO2 molecule that becomes excited (stores energy in translation and vibration energy modes) by absorbing at LWIR photon will very rapidly transfer some or all of this energy to another molecule via physical collision. Relatively rarely, an excited CO2 molecule will emit a photon with the same energy as the one that it just absorbed.

            So, the CO2 molecule mostly transfers, rather quickly, the energy it receives from absorbing a LWIR photo to other gases in the atmosphere, mostly nitrogen and oxygen molecules. In turn, these gases are warmed more than they would otherwise be (neither nitrogen or oxygen absorbs LWIR) and some amount of this widely distributed heat energy is then radiated away isotropically, as well as being eventually convectively transported to the upper portions of the troposphere and into the stratosphere.

            And it is this continuous loss of energy from LWIR-excited CO2 molecules along the atmospheric column depth (as well as high probability for multiple excitations/relaxations of the same CO2 molecule in this manner on a continuous basis) that complicates the above-mentioned issues of CO2’s optical depth and optical path length/concentration “saturation”.

            Of course, the same physical processes are simultaneously occurring with other “greenhouse gases” (overwhelmingly with water vapor).

            Because thermal radiation FROM any molecule in the atmosphere is isotropic, a significant portion (just slightly less than 50%) is directed back to earth surface. This “downwelling” radiation is what is commonly referred to as the “greenhouse effect”. It involves all gases comprising the atmosphere, not just the “greenhouse gases” water vapor, CO2, methane, etc. (a common misconception). It certainly is not as simple as CO2 absorbing LWIR and then directly radiating it back to Earth.

  16. Griff did not take my bet. A pity, because Arctic ice is now below 4million square kilometres for the second time since 2007. Taking bets for 2021 autumn equinox.

  17. “…Hurricane Laura detonated in intensity in a few hours before it made landfall—that escalation was one of the most rapid that has ever been observed in the Gulf of Mexico…”

    I love that he was struggling so hard to find a powerful synonym for “escalated” that he used “detonated.” Any reasonable person, particularly when comparing hurricanes to Hiroshima bombs, would use detonation to refer to the hurricane unleashed upon landfall, not the rate it formed.

  18. “Bill McKibben Talks Up the Alleged Climate Change Extreme Weather Link”

    I would urge those that agree with Mr Mckibbens view that “extreme” weather is linked in some way to an increase in atmospheric CO² to have a look at the website below, “National Water Summary 1988-89– Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts” from the US Geological Survey about the state of California.

    It looks at historic floods and droughts in California from more or less the 1930’s to the late eighties, when CO² in the atmosphere went from 310 ppm to about 350 ppm respectively.

    California DWR :
    “California is no stranger to drought; it is a recurring feature of our climate. Paleoclimate records going back more than 1,000 years show many more significant dry periods. The dry conditions of the 1920s-30s, however, were on a par with the largest 10-year droughts in the much longer paleoclimate record.”

    Quote from webinar, Professor Lynn Ingram, a professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley:
    “So to sum up, the paleoclimate record shows that past periods of warmth are associated with drier conditions in California, there were two dry periods that occurred between 19 and 1400 AD, during the medieval warm period; these were two century long droughts that had 60-70% average precipitation. We also see wet-dry cycles over the past 2000 years with periods of 30, 55, 90 and 200 years, so there is other variability in cycles that we see in the records.”

    How are you convinced that it’s CO² @ 415 ppm that’s causing the problem today, when the exact same things or worse were occurring with CO² @ 300 ppm and less?

  19. But if you factor in the frequency of storms in the past there is clearly a big fall in total yearly hurricane energy.

  20. Back in the real world, there is a weak correlation between warming and wind speed, but the correlation is not statistically significant (see the graph at the top of the page).

    Also in the real world we ”global stilling” caused by wind turbines sucking energy out off wind speed.
    How many ”papers” has there been on it recently….

    As usual they want it both ways.

  21. From the article: “But, every once in a while, it’s worth stepping back and reminding ourselves what’s actually going on, silently, every hour of every day. And what’s going on is that we’re radically remaking our planet, in the course of a human lifetime. Hell, in the course of a human adolescence.”

    Another Unsubstantiated assertion by a climate alarmist. Of course, McKibben has absolutely no evidence to back up this claim of his. He wants you to take his word for it. Not me. I need a little evidence.

  22. From the article: “Obviously there are other numbers you could use, such as total sunlight striking the Earth’s surface, but my point is natural annual variations in total solar intensity are at least an order of magnitude larger than any anthropogenic CO2 signal.”

    On top of which, we don’t know exactly what the “anthropogenic signal” amounts to, is it 1.5C per doubling or 4.5C, or is it lower? We don’t know this number.

    Bill McKibben pretends he knows the number. He pretends to know how much warmth CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere. But he does not know this number. Nobody knows this number. It’s all based on unsubstantiated speculation.

    Bill McKibben needs to establish just how much warmth is being added to the Earth’s atmosphere by CO2 before he can go speculating on what that portends. Or rather, I should say that is what he should do, but like always, alarmists assume they know more than they know and confuse speculation for facts and then make pronouncements that don’t reflect reality, like McKibben does here.

    Assumptions and assertions are all the alarmists have to offer. They have no evidence to offer, but that doesn’t stop them from pretending they do.

    What’s the number, Bill McKibben?

  23. From the article: “There is no substantial evidence anthropogenic CO2 is adding enough energy to the climate system to make a significant difference to storm intensity.”

    Actually, there is NO evidence that CO2 is causing any changes in the Earth’s weather.

    We still don’t know the effect CO2 has on our atmosphere. We don’t know if CO2 ultimately warms or cools the Earth’s atmosphere after all feedbacks are included. This is the real state of climate science at the present time. The rest is all speculation.

    Assumptions and Assertions be damned!

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