Tipping points in Earths geophysical and biological systems

From Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

by Robert Ellison

I don’t raise the alarm at all, but there are tipping points in the Earth system.   Megafloods and megadroughts. Abrupt warming or cooling of many degrees C in years or decades.  Glacials and interglacials.  Solar energy driving patterns of planetary turbulence and an ice, cloud and biology response.   These have always been with us.  Our limited geophysical instrumental series reveal a variability that can’t be distinguished from anthropogenic warming effects (Koutsoyiannis 2020 ).    So it’s happening but perhaps not quite the end of the world yet.

A tipping point is ‘the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place’. (Merriam-Webster) Earth system state space is multi-dimensional.  Not as many worlds or string theory dimensions but as fractionally dimensioned strange attractors in the state space.  When a threshold is crossed the physical system responds with positive and negative feedbacks until settling into a new climate state as the perturbation damps out.  In oceans and atmosphere hydrodynamics the rule is that big whirls have little whirls and little whirls have littler whirls and so on to viscosity.  Friction turns kinetic energy to heat.  But turbulent hydrodynamics says that the next tipping point – big or small – is not far away.  Ice, cloud, hydrology and biology respond – occasionally dramatically.  Perpetual perturbations are seen at scales of planetary waves to littler whirls.

From an important report by the U.S. National Academies (2013) Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

‘As recently as the 1980s, the typical view of major climate change was one of slow shifts, paced by the changes in solar energy that accompany predictable variations in Earth’s orbit around the sun over thousands to tens of thousands of years (Hays et al., 1976). While some early studies of rates of climate change, particularly during the last glacial period and the transition from glacial to interglacial climates, found large changes in apparently short periods of time (e.g., Coope et al., 1971), most of the paleoclimate records reaching back tens of thousands of years lacked the temporal resolution to resolve yearly to decadal changes. This situation began to change in the late 1980s as scientists began to examine events such as the climate transition that occurred at the end of the Younger Dryas about 12,000 years ago (e.g., Dansgaard et al., 1989) and the large swings in climate during the glacial period that have come to be termed “Dansgaard-Oescher events” (“D-O events;” named after two of the ice core scientists who first studied these phenomena using ice cores). At first these variations seemed to many to be too large and fast to be climatic changes, and it was only after they were found in several ice cores (e.g., Anklin et al., 1993; Grootes et al., 1993), and in many properties (e.g., Alley et al., 1993), including greenhouse gases (e.g., Severinghaus and Brook, 1999) that they became widely accepted as real.’

More recently, Tim Lenton et al. (2020) have written a paper: ‘The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action on emissions.’ – 

Oceans and the hydrological cycle

A 1990 geography coursework reading list included ‘Fluvial geomorphology of Australia’.  More particularly, a paper by Wayne Erskine and Robin Warner on flood and drought dominated regimes (FDR and DDR) set me wondering.  Why for God’s sake are there multidecadal regimes and sudden shifts in eastern Australian rainfall?   ENSO was clearly involved – but the PDO wasn’t described for nearly another decade.

Source:  The impacts of alternating flood- and drought-dominated regimes on channel morphology at Penrith, New South Wales, Australia

The multi-decadal rainfall-runoff variability is the result of Pacific Ocean periodicity. Positive phases of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) are drought years in Australia – negative phases bring cyclones, storms and flooding rains.  And there is a flow threshold where streams change from a meandering to a braided form.  Streams slowly revert to the meandering form in IPO positive regimes.  Compare DDR and FDR??? with the IPO (Fig. 5) of Henley et al 2015.    Note transition years.  The pattern involves both the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in the north – and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) – in the south.  Warm or cool sea surfaces persist for a while and then shift.  ENSO has a beat that shifted from 6-7 years to 2 to 5 years at the turn of the 1900’s – with more intense and frequent El Niño (Vance et 2012) – and has 20 to 30 year phases of persistent El Niño or La Niña states coherent with the PDO (e.g. Franks and Verdon 2006).   With driving winds and currents split at the equator by the Coriolis force of a spinning planet.   More flow in the Peru and California Currents shoals the thermocline and surging cold deep-water surfaces.  Trade winds intensify pushing sun warmed water against Australia and Indonesia.  More cold – and nutrient rich water surfaces in the east.  Wind and current feedbacks kick up a notch.  At some stage trade winds falter and water piled in the west surges east.  The latest Pacific Ocean climate shift in 1998/2001 is linked to increased flow in the north (Di Lorenzo et al, 2008) and the south (Roemmich et al, 2007Qiu, Bo et al 2006) Pacific Ocean gyres. Roemmich et al (2007) suggest that mid-latitude gyres in all of the oceans are influenced by decadal variability in the Southern and Northern Annular Modes (SAM and NAM respectively) as wind driven currents in baroclinic oceans (Sverdrup, 1947).

Is the beat of solar origin an effect on polar vortices?  Are the 20 to 30 year Pacific state shifts an echo of the ~22 year Hale cycle?  Will cold winters return with a less active sun?  Gyre velocities are driven by the polar annular mode footprint.  In theory solar magnetism or ultraviolet may trigger shifts in hydrodynamic state space.  State space being the sum of physical states the planet can occupy within the laws of physics.  It would explain synchronous north and south Pacific flows.   There are climate limits that are found in paleo data.  States persist while small changes in the system build instabilities that at last push the system past a threshold.  That and/or a black swan event.  Perturbations in ice, cloud and biology damp out until the next tipping point.  States recur because the limits are physical – and hence the state space is ergodic.  Limits of the past 2.6 million years seem most relevant – and I take no comfort from that.


Screen Shot 2022-03-03 at 2.58.14 PM

Source:  NASA

Source: Unknown

Low level marine boundary layer stratocumulus are seen off Peru.  ‘The decks of low clouds 1000’s of km in scale reflect back to space a significant portion of the direct solar radiation and therefore dramatically increase the local albedo of areas otherwise characterized by dark oceans below.2,3 This cloud system has been shown to have two stable states: open and closed cells.’ (Koren et al 2017)  It is an example of Rayleigh – Bénard convection in which cloud cells some 20 km in diameter form in the lower troposphere.  Inside the cell water vapour condenses, droplets collide with condensation nuclei and it rains out from the centre.  Faster over warmer oceans leaving a reduced domain albedo and a positive ocean heat feedback to multidecadal – and presumably longer – eastern Pacific SST change.  Heat is gained or lost from the oceans as a subsystem shifts between warm and cool SST in the eastern Pacific.  The Pacific has been – since the early 1900’s – in a millennially warm state (Vance et al 2013) warming the planet.

For this period, the observations show a trend in net downward radiation of 0.41 ± 0.22 W m−2 decade−1 that is the result of the sum of a 0.65 ± 0.17 W m−2 decade−1 trend in absorbed solar radiation (ASR) and a −0.24 ± 0.13 W m−2 decade−1 trend in downward radiation due to an increase in OLR…  Most of the ASR trend is associated with cloud and surface albedo changes (Figure 2d), which account for 62% and 27% of the ASR trend, respectively.’  (Loeb et al 2021)  Low level cloud is some 10% in the 70% odd total planetary cloud cover – according to a New Scientist reader.   That changes dramatically in the tropical and subtropical eastern Pacific.  My favorite future tipping point is in this cloud type at levels of CO2 in the atmosphere possible by the end of the century (Schneider et al 2018).  If we burn all the fossil fuels.  The last time CO2 was at such levels there were crocodiles in the Arctic circle.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

The Moy et al 2002 ENSO proxy is based on the presence of more or less red sediment in a lake core. More sedimentation is associated with higher rainfall in El Niño conditions. It has continuous high-resolution coverage over 11,500 years. It shows periods of high and low El Niña intensity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years.  There is the shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance a little over 5,000 years ago that was a tipping point – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. Note the bifurcation in the millennial band at that period.  There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high El Niño intensity associated with the demise of Minoan civilisation (Tsonis 2010).

The time “series and wavelet power spectrum documenting changes in ENSO variability during the Holocene (a). Event time series created using the event model (see Methods), illustrating the number of events in 100-yr overlapping windows. The solid line denotes the minimum number of events in a 100-yr window needed to produce ENSO and variance.  (b) Most recent 11,500 yr of the time series of red colour intensity. The absolute red colour intensity and the width of the individual laminae do not correspond to the intensity of the ENSO event. (c) Wavelet power spectrum calculated using the Morlet wavelet on the time series of red colour intensity (b). Variance in the wavelet power spectrum (colour scale) is plotted as a function of both time and period. Yellow and red regions indicate higher degrees of variance, and the black line surrounds regions of variance that exceed the 99.98% confidence level for a red noise process (at 4–8-yr period, the regions of significant variance are shown black rather than outlined). Variance below the dashed line has been reduced owing to the wavelet approaching the end of the finite time series. Horizontal lines indicate average timescale for the ENSO and millennial bands.”  Christopher Moy et al, 2002, Variability of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the Holocene epoch

Is there an equilibrium up to 20,000 years before 1993 and then a shift to a cooler state punctuated by Dansgaard–Oeschger events that get more frequent and bigger as we go back through the last glacial interlude?  It is followed by the Younger Dryas.  Not slow insolation changes – but an ice dam bursting and freshening the Arctic.  Slow changes build to a threshold and then feedbacks in a globally coupled system pop up.  There is a pulse of solar activity somehow seemingly translating into large spikes of heat.  Sea ice breaks off from the margins and drifts south.  Thus there is high resolution data from sediment cores and a discovery of tipping points.

‘The temperature record from [3] and labelled D-O events 2 to 8 in blue from [4]. Low 10Be events 1 to 20 labelled in red. Note the 10Be scale is inverted. These low 10Be events would equate to an active solar magnetic field, shielding Earth from Galactic cosmic rays. It is possible that another 3 weak D-O events are present at 10Be events 7, 10 and 15.’  Source: Euan Mearns

A strong Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) brings warm, salty water to the Arctic where it cools and sinks.  Freshening of surface water changes the threshold at which water sinks.  Less north Atlantic water is funnelled north cutting salt transport and feeding back into Arctic freshening.  At low points in Milankovitch insolation ice sheets survive summer and self-feedback into monsters.   The Arctic is about as warm and fresh as it can get.  Milankovitch insolation is at a low point.  Do the hydrodynamic math.   ‘The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major ocean current system transporting warm surface waters toward the northern Atlantic, has been suggested to exhibit two distinct modes of operation. A collapse from the current strong mode to the weak mode would have severe impacts on the global climate system and further multi-stable Earth system components.  (Caesar et al, 2021)

‘Schematic of the major warm (red to yellow) and cold (blue to purple) water pathways in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. Acronyms not in the text: Denmark Strait (DS); Faroe Bank Channel (FBC); East and West Greenland Currents (EGC, WGC); North Atlantic Current (NAC); DSO (Denmark Straits Overflow); ISO (Iceland-Scotland Overflow). Figure courtesy of H. Furey (WHOI).


I fell into tipping points – pun intended.  I was rehabilitating a shallow coastal estuary – just salty enough to make a lake that smelled like rotten eggs.  The catchment is heavily urbanised and industrialised since convicts first hauled coal out of the ground.  I pulled on my waders and confidently stepped into Lake Illawarra to sink to my armpits in a morass of mud and slime.  The engineering student with me was laughing uncontrollably.  It is all parkland and water sports now.  Much as I loved my lake – I had other lakes to worry about.  All over the world shallow freshwater or brackish lakes were changing colour.

The culprit is phosphorus.  It settles slowly with fine particles and organic detritus.  With rainfall-runoff a pulse of organic and inorganic nutrients is delivered to waterways.  In the normal course of things – oxygen penetrates lake sediments some 20 mm.  In the oxic zone – most phosphorus is oxidised and insoluble.  Some 5-15% is in reduced, soluble, bioavailable forms.  There is a little phosphene gas entering the atmosphere.  Below the oxic zone it is anoxic – organisms use crystal lattice bound oxygen leaving soluble phosphorus.  Nitrogen is also stripped of oxygen and dissipates as N2 or NOx gases.  When a pulse of nutrients arrives in a lake algae blooms.  When that dies it settles on the bottom with the likewise dead herbivores that consumed it and their faeces.  Decomposition at the bottom depletes oxygen in sediment sending accumulated and now bioavailable phosphorus into the water column.  This favours nitrogen fixers like blue-green algae.  Benthic vegetation is shaded out freeing benthic sediment.  There is a state change that is difficult to reverse.   In my lake the channel was dug out increasing tidal exchange.  That will shoal in the nature of estuarine channels.  And by running catchment drainage through sediment traps, vegetated channels and artificial wetlands.

The biosphere is most obviously in trouble.  It needs massive efforts by billions of people to manage forests, fisheries, aquifers, rangelands and waterways.  And that takes peace, prosperity and a sense of humour.  Fauna populations are crashing globally.  The passenger pigeon’s survival strategy was sheer numbers.  As people shot them out they crossed a threshold between recruitment and mortality and crashed to extinction.  Nutrient exports from mines, farms and industrial and urban areas are land and water management fixes waiting to happen.  Land and water management is our entire future.  We have been losing carbon from agricultural soils and in traditional burning for 10,000 years.  It is time to tip the balance back by managing for positive carbon, nutrient and water budgets on 5 billion hectares of private cropping and grazing land – for more production and less inputs in everything from permaculture food forests to industrial agriculture.  To feed the world for another 10,000 years what we take from the Earth must be returned.  It is simple accounting.  Climate change means building massive factories churning out modular nuclear engines.  I want a purple one.  Land and water management include holding back water in sand dams, terraces and swales, replanting, changing grazing management, encouraging perennial vegetation cover, precise applications of chemicals and nutrients, cover crops…  We need it to feed the world in the next 50 years.

Source:  Stockholm Resilience Centre

By far the best thing to do is to better manage water and land.  On 5 billion hectares of private cropping and grazing land and in global commons on which our lives depend.  I am much encouraged by progress by small, medium and industrial farmers.  To use plants to mine carbon from the sky and sock it away as organic matter in deep, rich, living soils.  It reduces input costs – increases productivity – and feels socially good.  Triple bottom line win win win – oi oi oi.  Rattan Lal – doyen of soil science and 2021 winner of the World Food Prize – says that some 500 GtC (c.f. 350 GtC of modern anthropogenic emissions) has been lost from agricultural soils and in traditional burning over 10,000 years – a lot in the past 200.  We should at least try to see how much can be restored this century – for biodiversity and food security.  There is no plant carbon starvation at anywhere near today’s concentration.

The great global commons are best managed by local stakeholders with global information services.  Big data can monitor most things.  It is being used to predict the behaviour of complex ecological systems – e.g. Ye et al 2014.  Cooperative polycentric management needs transparent data. Energy needs a powerful low-cost low-carbon source to meet rapid growth in demand.  Modular nuclear engines rolling off assembly lines and onto trucks – or floating out of shipyards ready to connect – to meet an energy demand growth of 350% this century – is easily the frontrunner.  There will be an energy transition – and because of course there are always creative/destructive tipping points in markets – the transition away from messy and bulky coal and gas will be rapid.  I’d guess the lifetime of coal and gas plants being built now – if in future they can still find the parts.

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Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 2:22 pm


old mike
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 3:13 pm

Agreed, that is what happens when an individual goes past the tipping point of sanity. This irrational outpouring is going to become a very common occurrence over the next few weeks as Putins crazy war rips away the curtains that were covering the total scam of climate change and blows away the unicorn fart power illusions.

Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 3:23 pm

Indeed gobbledegook, but made to sound like science. More precisely it is chaos theory misused.

My favorite tipping point is sunrise, with sunset a close second. Also when the rain starts.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Wojick
March 6, 2022 3:56 pm

A ‘tipping point’ is generally presented as a state from which the system cannot recover. The sun always rises after setting and the rain always stops. ‘Tipping Point’ is an over-used scare tactic. Are there abrupt changes in weather or climate? Yes! However, they don’t fit the definition of a ‘Tipping Point’ because the system always recovers. The Great Oxygenation event qualifies as a ‘Tipping Point.’ IF the Earth were to warm to the point of being like Venus, then that would probably qualify as a ‘Tipping Point.’ However, as carelessly used by most alarmists, it would be more appropriate to refer to so-called ‘Tipping Point’ events as a rapid transition to a different state, which may be as long-lived as a glaciation. But recover, it almost certainly will.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 6, 2022 8:24 pm

The egg on the edge of a table is definitely the wrong analogy. A marble in a bowl better represents the nature of the universe, where everything is constantly moving towards balance.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 6, 2022 9:10 pm

The analogy is most definitely wrong.

comment image
Simple mechanical analogy (Source: NAS Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, 2002)

Many simple systems exhibit abrupt change. The balance above consists of a curved track on a fulcrum. The arms are curved so that there are two stable states where a ball may rest. ‘A ball is placed on the track and is free to roll until it reaches its point of rest. This system has three equilibria denoted (a), (b) and (c) in the top row of the figure. The middle equilibrium (b) is unstable: if the ball is displaced ever so slightly to one side or another, the displacement will accelerate until the system is in a state far from its original position. In contrast, if the ball in state (a) or (c) is displaced, the balance will merely rock a bit back and forth, and the ball will roll slightly within its cup until friction restores it to its original equilibrium.’(1)

In (a1) the arms are displaced but not sufficiently to cause the ball to cross the balance to the other side. In (a2) the balance is displaced with sufficient force to cause the ball to move to a new equilibrium state on the other arm. There is a third possibility in that the balance is hit with enough force to cause the ball to leave the track, roll off the table and under the sofa.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 3:47 pm

“500 GtC (c.f. 350 GtC of modern anthropogenic emissions) has been lost from agricultural soils and in traditional burning over 10,000 years – a lot in the past 200. We should at least try to see how much can be restored this century”

Surely you understand that all that burning is looking at half a cycle. In the last 40 years, because of all this burning, “leafing out” has expanded on the planet by 40% inluding increased forest cover -The Great Greening – and bumper crops have doubled and tripled grace largely of the burning.

Moreover the fuel burning has taken carbon out of 300 million yrs of storage. Not only as this magic process created much more vegetation than we have seen on earth in millions of years, but the added CO2 has created drought resistance because plants’ leaves have correspondingly fewer stomata to harvest its CO2 needs and at the same time reduces water requirements otherwise lost in evapotranspiration from the leaves.

Did you know that in the last few decades the Bengal tiger has increased 28% in India along with creatures around the world. Ocean productivity is climbing …
Compare these upgrades with the paltry things you envision mankind laboring to do in 50yrs. Not only that we created prosperity and accomplished miracles through generating power and a grateful earth took our waste and made it into an even greater miracle.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 7, 2022 2:42 pm

No, a “tipping point” is where a chaotic system moves from one mode into another. But it can move back again. The onset of an ice age represents a tipping point (caused by volcanism as an example), into a generally colder and icier era. But Ice Ages END. Something, raises temperatures, melts ice caps and reduces glaciers, raising sea levels, and we “tip” into an “inter-glacial”. the full cycle has happened at least eight times in the past 2.2 million years. Hundreds of times since life has been on this planet.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
March 7, 2022 5:42 pm

If one considers the obvious origin of the word-pair, it is usually being used inappropriately. Clearly, it derives from an object leaning or tipping to where the center of gravity moves past the support base of the object. At that point, it will continue to tip, albeit not necessarily rapidly, as with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Look in any good thesaurus for synonyms. There is no shortage of them. ‘Tipping Point’ has been adopted by climate alarmists because it conjures up the image of an action that will be catastrophic and thus unrecoverable. Thus, it has become very over-used and deceptive.

In the case of a chaotic system, I think that “Transition Point” would be more descriptive and accurate because nothing is actually “tipping” in a dynamic system.

Last edited 2 months ago by Clyde Spencer
Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 4:08 pm

There is definitely a tipping point that flips the world back into a glacial stage.

There is also a tipping point that flips the world back into a favorable interglacial stage.

The climate alarmists keep telling us there is another tipping point where temperatures run away to unbearably hot. However, there is no evidence of that tipping point in the geologic record for the last 420,000 years.

We may be approaching a dangerous tipping point, but there is no proof in the geologic record that it exists. Extraordinary claims require at a bare minimum some pedestrian evidence. A hypothetical model IS NOT evidence. We are definitely very far away from extraordinary evidence!

Vostok Ice Core Data.jpg
Dave Fair
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 7:39 pm

Robert I. Ellison’s trademark. I’ve learned one cannot have a rational discussion with him.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 6, 2022 9:06 pm

Dave is as belligerent here as at CE. Here he seems to be able to get away with it.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 6:47 am

If that qualifies as belligerence, no wonder nobody can have a rational discussion with Ellison.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 8:18 am

“In oceans and atmosphere hydrodynamics the rule is that big whirls have little whirls and little whirls have littler whirls and so on to viscosity.”

“Big whirls have little whirls,
That feed on their velocity;
And little whirls have lesser whirls,
And so on to viscosity.”

― Lewis Fry Richardson

Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Seems like you could have mentioned that the words were not your own.

It’s an interesting piece of writing. A bit too much of a ramble for my tastes but still interesting. An energy transition to nuclear in the next forty to fifty years seems possible. Nothing you’ve written makes me think any differently about CAGW. That still seems highly unlikely.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 6, 2022 7:52 pm

“Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too.” ― Andrew Breitbart

Unintended irony in entrenched tribalism. As I emailed to Charles – <i>It is of course my copyright – but I did say I would go along with it. Your commenters are a bunch of belligerent old curmudgeons with little enough schooin’. Prove me wrong.</i> Predictably – the extent of pointless vitriol shows he cannot prove me wrong – and none of you attempt a refutation of the science cited. Simply whine about my exceptionally accomplished communication of it. After 30 years on the topic. I may come back here again in another couple of years but that seems unlikely. .

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 8:38 pm

my exceptionally accomplished communication of it

Hubris, or less frequently hybris, describes a personality quality of extreme or excessive pride or dangerous overconfidence, often in combination with arrogance. The term arrogance comes from the Latin adrogare, meaning “to feel that one has a right to demand certain attitudes and behaviors from other people”.Wikipedia

Robert Ellison
Reply to  asiaseen
March 6, 2022 10:24 pm

No – I am simply very good at writing for non-technical audiences. A sub-technical audience of zealots is a bit more challenging.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 2:49 am

No one contests your great ability “at writing for non-technical audiences”. For that, you deserve congratulations.

What is discussed, contested or refuted is WHAT you are so competently telling to “non-technical audiences”.

As a paraphrase: it is not the form, it is the contents, stupid!

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Joao Martins
March 7, 2022 6:04 am

You cannot refute science with what charitably might be called hypotheses. You need some real science for that. No one here has refuted anything in the empirical science cited.

Richard Page
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 7:12 am

Unfortunately, some of the science that you link to is also hypothesis. Your first paragraph is based on a discredited hypothesis and the rest of your discussion cites past papers but attempts to link them using that failed hypothesis and tenuous or false correlation. Is it any wonder that you are receiving such criticism when you have failed to produce anything that we could charitably call science?

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:40 am

I agree. And would say more: You cannot refute science with what charitably might be called speculations. “Speculations”, as many of your cited references.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 7:19 am

Dunning-Kruger I think that might be called.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 4:06 pm


Here I show that you are completely wrong, and childishly so regarding depleting the soils’ carbon. We are increasing it hugely. We are greening the planet, very notably arid lands, making them productive again. You chose only half the cycle and mistook it for the whole – a scandalous mistake if you are a scientist.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  asiaseen
March 7, 2022 7:18 am

Hubris for the Greeks was usually followed by Nemesis and then Catharsis.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 8:42 pm

The old “prove me wrong” bullbleep. The burden is on YOU to prove YOURSELF right!

And of course, since your position is unfalsifiable, it isn’t even possible to do that!!

Robert Ellison
Reply to  effinayright
March 6, 2022 8:52 pm

The science cited is empirical and can be falsified – but that would require some science. That’s how it works.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 12:54 am

The science cited is empirical”

You mean like the science that says one piece of ”evidence” of a tipping point is ”under way” is the ”large scale die-off of coral reefs”?

Empirical….. Great Barrier Reef is at record high levels since records began in 1985.

Face it. You have been had and you are trying to have other people who know better.
Meanwhile, you should read this empirical finding and stop with the nonsense…….(it’s getting really boring now)

……A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming
Download PDF

A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming

The European Physical Journal Plus volume
 137, Article number: 112 (2022) Cite this article

AbstractThis article reviews recent bibliography on time series of some extreme weather events and related response indicators in order to understand whether an increase in intensity and/or frequency is detectable. The most robust global changes in climate extremes are found in yearly values of heatwaves (number of days, maximum duration and cumulated heat), while global trends in heatwave intensity are not significant. Daily precipitation intensity and extreme precipitation frequency are stationary in the main part of the weather stations. Trend analysis of the time series of tropical cyclones show a substantial temporal invariance and the same is true for tornadoes in the USA. At the same time, the impact of warming on surface wind speed remains unclear. The analysis is then extended to some global response indicators of extreme meteorological events, namely natural disasters, floods, droughts, ecosystem productivity and yields of the four main crops (maize, rice, soybean and wheat). None of these response indicators show a clear positive trend of extreme events. In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 2:54 am

Yes, you are right!

So please describe HOW your assertions can be falsified! According to Karl Popper (some Popper; depends on the date), this is of necessity when you propose a theory that you claim is true: it MUST state HOW it would be falsified. The burden is on the author of the theory.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Joao Martins
March 7, 2022 6:08 am

It is a version of a review. The science is in the references. You would some real science to refute that.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:41 am

That answer shows that you did not understand what is proof and refutation…

Jere Krischel
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 6:11 am

Please state your necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement for “The biosphere is most obviously in trouble“.

Tell me what would change your mind.

Then tell me why if we don’t see the things that would change your mind, the only alternative left is “The biosphere is most obviously in trouble”.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 8:44 pm

So typical of cranks. Reacts to any criticism with anger and vitriol.
Another common characteristic of cranks, an overly inflated sense of their own competence, and a desire to tell everyone about it over and over again.

Last edited 2 months ago by MarkW
Robert Ellison
Reply to  MarkW
March 6, 2022 8:56 pm

Seems more like piling on.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:10 am

Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 9:22 pm

Clearly you’ve been miseducated very far beyond your capacity for common sense.

Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, you pompous twit!

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 6, 2022 10:21 pm

WUWT is clearly more politics than science. Two words send them into a frenzy of vituperation. WUWT is clearly not an echo chamber worth the candle.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 12:59 am

WUWT is clearly more politics than science.

Your musings are more religion than science.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:10 am

We don’t suffer fools gladly.
Much to the chagrin of the fools.

Teddy Lee
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 12:33 am

Knickers in a twist comes to mind!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 4:05 am

“Your commenters are a bunch of belligerent old curmudgeons with little enough schooin’.”

Talk about “belligerent”! You seem to be doing your part. Do you think it is a good idea to come in and insult everyone right off the bat? Maybe ole Dave has a point.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 7, 2022 6:15 am

I was proven correct based on ancient observations. Has it gotten worse? I should put up with extreme incivility from the get go? What a bunch of bananas you are.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 6:50 am

Start off by insulting everyone on a site.
Get insults back.
Declare said insults are proof that everyone here is too belligerent to deal with.
Definitely a crank.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
March 8, 2022 3:53 am

That summed it up nicely, MarkW.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 7, 2022 12:41 am

No more frenzied aspersions? Spatiotemporal chaos and tipping points are a foundation of modern Earth system science. You can’t win. You haven’t won in 30 years. And then blame the media, academia, greens, corrupt business and politicians – anyone but yourselves for framing an inspiring political narrative. What a bunch of losers.

This thread started with extreme incivility not justified by either the science cited or the conclusions – and got worse. You do no service in your insularity to economically rational climate, environment and energy policy.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 2:59 am

You can’t win. You haven’t won in 30 years.

Science is not a game like poker or baseball!

If science is sound, everyone wins; if it is not, if it lets superstition contaminate it, everyone will lose!

Please don’t use dilletante arguments and speak seriously if you can, else shut up!

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Joao Martins
March 7, 2022 6:11 am

You cannot win a debate on tipping points because you have no empirical science at all.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:51 am

But, as I said, I am not in a competition to “win a debate”! My interest is not in “winning debates”! My interest is in science, knowledge! They are not buit by voting nor by “winning” debate or running or wrestling!

Don’t you understand English? (rhetoric question. And I did’t ask if you understood what is science because it is evident that you didn’t).

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 6:45 am


You were courageous to post about nonlinear dynamics and chaos here!
It’s definitely not in the hymnbook.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
March 7, 2022 8:21 am

You clearly haven’t spent much time here.

Reply to  Thomas
March 8, 2022 8:50 am

Guess again

Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 7, 2022 6:32 am


Enjoy the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, in La La Linearland.
Without a grasp of chaotic and nonlinear dynamics, even at qualitative level (no maths), you will never in the entire term of your natural life come close to understanding anything about climate.
But you’ll be in good company!

Last edited 2 months ago by Phil Salmon
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 7, 2022 10:07 am

The argument boils down to – The climate is variable, therefore I have proven that there are tipping points. As proof for this claim he points that other people have postulated the existence of tipping points.

The sad thing is he keeps going on and on about the inability of others to form cogent arguments.

Is he related to Zoe?

March 6, 2022 2:32 pm

My favorite future tipping point is in this cloud type at levels of CO2 in the atmosphere possible by the end of the century

Convective instability, that limits open ocean temperature to 30C in the present era, is unaffected by CO2 until the mass of CO2 causes a significant increase in surface pressure. It is entirely associated with physical properties of water; as explained here.

The Cretaceous period experienced significantly warmer tropical ocean surface temperature but that was due to significantly higher atmospheric mass when oxygen reached 35% of the atmosphere.

Decadal climate changes are tiny compared with the millennia scale where the orbital cycles kick in. The land mass movements are also not trivially slow when considering climate change.

Last edited 2 months ago by RickWill
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  RickWill
March 6, 2022 3:47 pm

You posted:
“The Cretaceous period experienced significantly warmer tropical ocean surface temperature but that was due to significantly higher atmospheric mass when oxygen reached 35% of the atmosphere.” (my underlining emphasis added)

The current composition of Earth’s dry atmosphere, by volume, is 78.1% nitrogen 21.0% oxygen and 0.9% argon (not accounting for the <0.01% various trace gases).

If the oxygen levels were indeed as high as 35% (by volume) during the Cretaceous Period—with the implication that nitrogen had correspondingly dropped down to 64.1%–that fact alone would only amount to the average mass of the atmosphere increasing by [(0.641)*(28)+(0.350)*(32)+(0.009)*(40)] / [(0.781)*(28)+(0.210)*(32)+(0.009)*(40)] = 1.019 over what it is today.

So, you really expect anyone to believe that a less than 2% increase in atmospheric mass caused “significantly warmer tropical ocean surface temperature”?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 4:37 pm

wrong calculation?
Looks like you did a *density* comparison, not a mass comparison.
Try This:
1) assume a fixed volume, any volume will do, pick a volume. Say 10 liters? good enough.
2) fill your container with the standard 21% Oxygen mixture. You now have everything you need to calculate the total mass of the container cotents, call it mass #1.
3) Now pump in additional Oxygen until the Oxygen level reaches 35%.
How much Oxygen did you need to add? that quantity is your additional mass. All other gasses mass remains unchanged. Add it in to mass #1. The sum is mass #2.
Compare Mass #2/mass #1…

We do not assume that Nitrogen went from 78.1% down to 64.1%. No need.
So where did all that extra Oxygen get off to since then???
Inquiring minds want to know.
Iron oxidation, rock and mineral weathering, algae sequestration, limestone formation and probably a host of other processes.
That Oxygen rich atmosphere was a powerful oxidizer and drove many chemical reactions planet-wide. Many of these processes are ongoing and can be observed today.

Reply to  TonyL
March 6, 2022 4:54 pm

TonyL \
Thank you for your knowledgable input. Indeed, organic and inorganic chemistry have both played enormous roles in the current climate on Earth. On the other hand, the distribution of surface water has been the prime factor in controlling and shaping those processes.

Can you imagine humans existing in a 35% oxygen rick atmosphere?

Reply to  RickWill
March 6, 2022 5:02 pm

Can you imagine humans existing in a 35% oxygen rick atmosphere?

Physiology class was a looonng time ago, but I am pretty sure that we are more than capable of 35%. To be sure, eventually we will get into trouble, but at levels well above 35%.

Reply to  TonyL
March 6, 2022 5:19 pm

My meaning was not physiological. Going on hyperbaric recovery, it would probably result in faster healing.

My comment was related to the fire risk and the intensity of wild fires. It may actually suppress plant growth. But any plants would burn with fierce intensity.

I am familiar with oxygen separation plants and they have suffered some catastrophic fires and explosions. Steel burns really well in a 100% oxygen atmosphere.

Reply to  RickWill
March 6, 2022 5:49 pm

Yes, indeed.
#1 people would be *much* more fire safety aware.
#2 see #1.
For sure forest fires would go like crazy. But consider this:
Your authentic wood fireplace would be *much* easier and faster to light and get going. Just be careful not to burn your house down.

Reply to  RickWill
March 6, 2022 5:59 pm

I would probably use a hyperbaric treatment if it was available in my area…pressure at 2 or more atmospheres and maybe double O2% for a few hours per week…it is anti aging according to some physiicians.

Reply to  RickWill
March 7, 2022 8:28 am

I think the forests world would burn uncontrollably at 35% atmospheric oxygen content.

Rich Davis
Reply to  TonyL
March 6, 2022 9:44 pm

Another way to clarify this is that unless there had been a way to fix a massive amount of nitrogen into soils or otherwise sequester it from the atmosphere, Gordon has made an unwarranted assumption that the total number of gas molecules stayed constant. But he is right, of course, that the relative number of nitrogen to oxygen molecules necessarily had to decrease. Oxygen + Nitrogen + Argon + sundry must sum to 100%. The extra oxygen has to reduce the other components by 21/35. Argon likewise decreased in relative proportion to oxygen.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 7, 2022 9:24 am

unwarranted assumption”?

See my reply above to TonyL, dated March 7, 2022 8:32 am.

Then get back to me.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 7, 2022 2:04 pm

I didn’t mean to imply that I agree (or disagree) with TonyL that there really was a more massive atmosphere than today. As you rightly comment we need some evidence to support that.

I only meant that he could phrase his objection to your comment in that way to emphasize that he claims that there was an additional mass of oxygen which subsequently came out of the atmosphere.

My point was that it is very unlikely to have gone from an earlier atmosphere that has 35% O2 but the same number of total molecules as today to the current 21% O2, as per your analysis. That would require both a sink for oxygen and a source for nitrogen. What would the nitrogen source be? The oxygen sink could be oxides of metals as TonyL hypothesized.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  TonyL
March 7, 2022 8:32 am

So, where did all that additional O2 mass (your claim) originate?

After all, you stated explicitly that the atmosphere had “higher atmospheric mass when oxygen reached 35% of the atmosphere” during the Cretaceous period. The Cretaceous period only lasted about 79 million years . . . that’s only 1.7% of the age of the Earth, a relative blink-of-the-eye in time for such an asserted major perturbation to occur.

You stated that the claimed increase in oxygen mass eventually went to “Rust . . . Iron oxidation, rock and mineral weathering, algae sequestration, limestone formation and probably a host of other processes.” Hah . . . so why weren’t those same natural processes occurring in the billions of years leading up to the Cretaceous period? What “turned on the switch” to start these processes only during and following the Cretaceous Period oxygenation pulse . . . and equally importantly, what “turned off the switch” to decrease and stabilize the atmosphere at 21% oxygen (by volume) in the geologically short time of 66 million years since the end of the Cretaceous?

Your use of the term “35%” for oxygen mass level increase does not directly imply the total mass of Earth’s atmosphere increased relatively suddenly. I would like to see a credible scientific reference that establishes that such a thing happened, instead of the more logical assumption that it was just the oxygen:nitrogen ratio that changed (admittedly causing all of a 1.9% atmospheric mass increase, as I posted . . . and my calculations were NOT related to atmospheric density despite what you assert).

Until you can provide a scientifically credible explanation—or link to such—for the sudden creation of all that extra oxygen mass in Earth’s atmosphere during the Cretaceous Period, your theory is and remains UNBELIEVABLE and I stand by my calculations presented in my previous post.

Finally, Dr. Christopher Scotese has done extensive research in paleoclimatology and presents data that Earth’s average global temperature throughout the Cretaceous Period never exceeded +25 °C, whereas during the preceding Cambrian, Ordovician, Devonian Periods as well as the Permian Period/Triassic Period transition average global temperatures were above +25 °C. (see graph at http://scotese.com/climate.htm ) . . . therefore, you’ve got some additional explaining to do to account for “significantly warmer tropical ocean surface temperatures” during these times . . . or were they also due to oxygen mass creation out of thin air, pardon the pun?

March 6, 2022 2:35 pm

What a load of utter junk.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 6, 2022 3:26 pm

But artful in its way. It really sounds like science, or one of those deliberate nonsense articles the journals keep publishing. At root it is simply incoherent.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 6, 2022 7:33 pm

Sound like science? Are the sentence fragments, the phrases that maybe are somewhat descriptive but actually say nothing, related?

Last edited 2 months ago by AndyHce
Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
March 6, 2022 7:43 pm

Robert I. Ellison is famous for this stuff over at Dr. Curry’s Climate Etc.

Reply to  Dave Fair
March 7, 2022 5:03 am

Yes, it is why I go there a lot less than I used to. Often more than half the recent comments are from him, so worthless.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 7, 2022 8:36 am

Not incoherent but certainly a lot of frantic handwaving. There are climate tipping points, but a few degrees of warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect doesn’t seem to be one of them, if the greenhouse effect is even being noticeably enhanced by human CO2 emissions.

The article is sciencey but I don’t see any conclusions that could be refuted. Except that we should give more money to eco-engineers like Mr. Ellison.

Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 2:43 pm

I do not think highly of this tipping point post. There are 4 reasons.

  1. I get that the climate is a nonlinear dynamic system, and that all such have ‘strange attractors’ in N-1 Poincare space, and that flipping between attractors can be ‘sudden’ tipping points. The art is ‘sudden’ meaning with respect to climate. Heck, my peer reviewed 1990 paper in J. Strategic Mgt. gave a real world heavy truck assembly line example where the ‘tipping point’ (over a month) between good quality and massive bad quality ‘rework’ was about 40% special orders compared to 60% standard orders. We proved it after modeling the plant using a then new stocks/ flows software called Stella, by using a special low cost dealer truck standard only stocking order 4 month experiment.
  2. A truck assembly plant isn’t climate change (weather envelope over >30 years). Neither is passenger pigeon extinction from over hunting. Nor is GoM anoxia from over fertilization. Both latter are inapt post examples.
  3. No climate ‘sudden’ tipping points have been identified. For example, those mooted in essay ‘Tipping Points’ in ebook Blowing Smoke. The one that got the most attention was McCleary’s Eemian tipping point concerning WAIS. The actual data cause was an earthquake that he had actually noted, and thus his paper comprises academic misconduct, as shown in essay ‘By land or by sea’.
  4. ’Sudden’ in a climate context is still very slow in a human adaptation context—centuries to millennia, as the posts own examples show. One explicit additional example suffices to drive home this point. It is true the the Eemian highstand was about 6.5 meters higher than today’s sea level, and the Eemian per marine proxies was up to 3C warmer at the highstand peak than now. But it took about 3000 years to get there from here. That works out to about 2.2mm of sea level rise per year (6500mm/3000years), about what we have today. NOT SUDDEN. Details and references in essay ‘By land or by sea’ in ebook Blowing Smoke
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 3:38 pm

I would think it rare to have more than one strange attractor in a system’s state space, but if you did it would be very difficult for the system to go from one to another, because attractors are very attractive, hence the name. It would take a hell of a kick. This is why chaos is a powerful form of stability, the price of which is intrinsic unpredictability within the attractor.

But attractors like the Lorenz, which describes weather, have several “eyes” that the system jumps back and forth between. High pressure and low pressure at a given location in the Lorenz case, which tends to govern rain and not rain as well. Same for El Niño and La Niña. One is not jumping between attractors, the attractor is jumpy.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  David Wojick
March 6, 2022 5:03 pm

DW, the strange attractors aka Lorenzo butterfly effect was proven many decades ago at MIT. So true, but not useful practically.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 7, 2022 3:07 am

So, if they are true, how can there be conceived any form of practicality or usefulness?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 7, 2022 5:05 am

The practical use is to accept that seasonal and longer weather forecasting is impossible. Alas few accept this important use. No money in unpredictability.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 7, 2022 5:07 am

Also, long term averages will endlessly oscillate. We call these averages climate.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 7, 2022 8:48 am

Humans abhor unpredictability and will invent all sorts of gods, ghosts and goblins to try to make it go way.

Robert Austin
Reply to  David Wojick
March 7, 2022 9:07 am

There seems to be only two states in the cenozoic record where regimes alternate between cold and warm regimes. Whether these states are merely Milankovich cycle manifestations or flipped by deus ex machina “tipping points” is debateable but there is no evidence of “tipping points” from a warm regime to a substantially warmer one. Use of the term “tipping point” seems to be the boogie man evoked when the minor warming occurring since the little ice age does not trigger the plebes.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 4:01 pm

Earth has existed for a long time. Surface water and its distribution has been a significant stabilising factor.

Sea ice forms at -1.8C and limits heat loss from the oceans. If the sun went out, the ocean water would never fully solidify. It would reach a point where the radiative heat heat loss matched the geothermal heat input. Even if the nuclear reactors in both sun and Earth stopped, it would take 35,000 years for the top 2,000m of the oceans to form ice.

The cyclic persistence of atmospheric ice as a result of convective instability over tropical oceans limits the surface temperature to 30C. The clouds regulate the amount of insolation thermalised in the climate system.

So Earth has hard temperature limits that regulate the energy balance and puts limits on so-called tipping points.

The only significant “tipping point” that operates within these temperature constraints is the recovery from glaciation. My only plausible explanation is atmospheric dust that reduces ice albedo. Even then, the current glaciation is predominantly limited to NH land masses. I cannot imagine the circumstances that will result in Antarctica melting again.

ENSO is an oscillator but trivial in a climate sense unless you have land on flood planes or build structures amongst massive trees.

Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 2:46 pm

“Tipping points” in the context of “abrupt and irreversible changes”???

Paleoclimatology data demonstrates that life on Earth has survived, even flourished, under past atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 5,000 to 7,000 ppm, lasting for tens of millions of years (ref: the Cambrian Period “explosion”).

Average global surface temperatures then were around 26 °C, as compared to today’s average global temperature of around 15 °C.

It is obvious that Earth and its biosphere recovered quite well from these conditions without any human intervention.

Also, on the other end, Earth has cycled through at least four major Ice Ages prior to the current Quarternary Ice Age that we are currently in. The three Ice Ages prior to the current one each lasted between 40 and 100 million years.

Again, Earth and its biosphere recovered quite well from these conditions without any human intervention.

So, against this backdrop, we should be worried about any CO2-induced “tipping point” and such possibly causing “abrupt and irreversible changes”?

Not on my ship, not in my navy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 8:50 pm

When it comes to climate, there is no such thing as an irreversible change.
The planet has gone from hot house to ice house and back again many times.
That alone should be sufficient to put the lie to the author’s nonsense.
The fact that the planet has seen CO2 levels almost 20 times greater than what it is enjoying today, without any of these mythical tipping points occurring should be more evidence.
Unfortunately some people refuse to admit that they magnificent sky castles they have spent so much time building in their minds, can possibly be flawed.

Paul Blase
Reply to  MarkW
March 6, 2022 9:34 pm

Question: the response that I get when I mention this is “but we’re putting it in faster than nature did”. How to counter this?

Reply to  Paul Blase
March 7, 2022 6:52 am

Ask them to prove that we are putting it in faster than nature did, also point out the resolution of the various proxies.
Secondly point out that the existence of tipping points is independent of the speed at which they are approached. They either exist or they don’t. Speed just determines how fast one gets from the stable point to the mythical tipping point.

Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 2:53 pm

I’ll see where this goes – but I have no faith at all in the quality of commentary here. If you want and are capable of a real discussion – and not just fail to engage with substance – go to Climate Etc.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 3:38 pm

Robert, I have engaged with you at Judith’s several times already of record over the years. CR moved your newest same themed CE post here, so I engaged you this time here rather than there, hoping for wider enlightenment.

Kindly try to rebut my very specific new comment to you above here. It’s boring doing this over and over again at CE. At least this time you did not use your usual nonlinear dynamics ‘tipping point’ generic ‘map’ illustration. Just many inapt examples like passenger pigeon extinction. True, but all natural predator prey equations, whether done in calculus or via Markov chains, are oscillating stable without tipping points. Humans hunting passenger pigeons to extinction is NOT a true natural predictor/prey example like the classic foxes/rabbits or hawks/mice. Humans do not rely on wild passenger pigeons as a primary source of food, since we invented agriculture and domesticated plants and animals about 10 millennia ago. See my post on that and epigenetics over at Judith’s years ago. Now you even have her key word search clue—author and epigenetics.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 3:55 pm

A reply was posted just above.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 4:02 pm

The passenger pigeon is not a simple predator/prey dynamic. Where mortality exceeds recruitment populations decline. At some critical population that is species specific recruitment fails to keep pace with mortality and the population crashes to extinction.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 7:55 pm

So what?

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 1:03 am

 At some critical population that is species specific recruitment fails to keep pace with mortality and the population crashes to extinction.”

That’s right. It’s called nature and life would not exist without it.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 3:18 am

At some critical population that is species specific recruitment fails to keep pace with mortality and the population crashes to extinction.


There are NO such “critical points”!

Because there is NO single processes involved!

Recruitment can fail now because of the arrival of a new predator; then because of the fall of a meteorite; in other time or place because any random cause! “Random” with respect to the process of reproductive continuity.

As there is NO single process, there can be NO “critical points”!

All that argument is a cascade of fallacies with NO support in the reality of nature!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2022 7:54 pm

Rud, as you (and I) learned over at Climate Etc. Robert I. Ellison will continue to hammer people with irrelevant factoids, opinions and scientific speculations until they give up in frustration. It is just another form of bullying that gives one moral satisfaction, but pisses off normal people.

Reply to  Dave Fair
March 7, 2022 8:55 am

Far as I can see, he has made no concrete claim about climate that can be refuted. It’s just a lot of hand waiving, posturing, and a dash of plagiarism.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 3:53 pm

I remember we had a discussion on the closure of the TOA radiation budget. You were and are wrong and went off in a huff after insulting me. I don’t remember much else. I really don’t spend much time on your concerns.

This isn’t science it is simply communication. Instead of pulling refutations out of your arse try refuting the cited science.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 4:28 pm

Mr. Ellison,

As you yourself stated at the start of this thread: “If you want and are capable of a real discussion – and not just fail to engage with substance – go to Climate Etc.”

Please accept your own advice and leave us now.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 10:23 pm

Hear, hear!

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 10:15 am

The guy who starts off by insulting everyone on a site, sure clings to past insults.
It’s almost as if those outrageous slings and arrows are the only thing that gives his life meaning.

Bruce J Juhl
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 4:22 pm

??? Really? I’ve seen comments with substance addressed here. So who is insulting whom?

As a layman, even I can see problems with many of your arguments. For example the first figure which illustrates areas of the globe with “tipping points” labelled A through J. Let’s look at B, Loss of Arctic Ice. A casual look at ANY explorer’s maps of that area from either the 1940’s or the 1910’s show much LESS ice then, than we have today. So the fear porn panic mongering about ice loss, is not based on actual historical context. Arctic Ice is obviously cyclical, not an overall trend.

I’ve seen debate and questioning of many of those other points on that map also. Massive coral loss? Nope. Very controversial claims, that have not held up to closer scrutiny.

Sadly all one needs to do is look around them and observe just how politicized absolutely EVERYTHING both in our culture and in the sciences has become. Woke cancel culture run amok, and where I first noticed the first major signs of that politicization? Climate science in the 1990’s. Now that insanity is everywhere. In sports, in medicine (especially COVID), in government. When will we ever be truly able to speak our minds again, without worry of censorship, or suffering false smear’s for being on the “wrong side”?

As a Navy veteran, I truly grieve for my country and our loss of freedoms. It is getting bad out there.

God Bless you Sir, and God Bless America.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bruce J Juhl
March 6, 2022 10:25 pm

Yes, indeed! Bless his little heart.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bruce J Juhl
March 7, 2022 4:25 am

Good comment, Bruce.

Reply to  Bruce J Juhl
March 7, 2022 10:20 am

The claim that artic sea ice is a tipping point has been refuted by this real world, empirical evidence that Eliot claims to be enamored by.
The fallacy was the claim that the exposed oceans would start absorbing more solar energy than the ice did.

That is easily proven false merely by pointing to the fact that sea ice has fallen to lower levels in the past, and recovered.
It can also be refuted by pointing out that at the low angles of incidence of sunlight in the arctic, the difference in reflectivity between ice and water is practically non-existent.
It can also be refuted by pointing out that ice acts as an insulator, and that the loss of sea ice allows sea water to start losing a lot more heat than it does when their is sea ice.

Finally, Elliot shows himself to be a shallow thinker who never thinks through the claims he is making, and never bothers to examine the so called data that he uses to support his beliefs.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 4:36 pm

Cannot handle the close scrutiny. Words are not chopped sliced and minced here in the comments. BS is called out. The story is thick with that from a cow’s back end.

Something you may not know but should. There was a scientific trip up the east coast of Australia in 1871. That trip included taking surface temperature readings from bucket samples at hourly intervals from 6am to 6pm. There were up and down voyages each covering a week in December 1871.

I have compared their temperature readings with current satellite readings for correspondence weeks in 2019 – per attached.

The SST if the Coral Sea was cooler in 2019 than in 1871.

An interesting feature of the voyage was the temperature recorded in the Brisbane River. It gives an insight into why “mud” island in the middle of Moreton Bay has been such a rich source of coral for cement production in Brisbane. Also gives insight to the high convective potential that leads to cricket ball sized hail stones that occassionly occur in Brisbane.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 5:15 pm

I love this.
Y’all are stupid. If you want to prove you aren’t stupid, come over to my site and prove it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 6, 2022 9:31 pm

This seems to be a self-fulling prophecy. Your ‘score’ has declined since I first read your submission.

Reply to  Robert Ellison
March 7, 2022 9:05 am

If you have no faith in the quality of commentary here, why post here? Actually, you just don’t like disagreement with your conjectures.

March 6, 2022 2:56 pm

There are types of tipping points: Such as when bandwagons tip over due to the overload of BS shifting. When there is no more government money to be made from a scam. When the target audience goes deaf to the message.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  otsar
March 7, 2022 4:28 am

I like your examples. 🙂

March 6, 2022 2:59 pm

There are no “tipping points” evident at the present time. Satellite data shows that despite a 30% difference in land area between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, that Clausius-Clapeyron control of SST temperature and cloud cover compensates for this rather large difference in surface heat absorption to within 0.2% The planet’s thermal system has things well in hand, possibly short of Deccan traps/Yellowstone super eruption/Dinosaur Comet/nuclear winter scenarios.


Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 6, 2022 3:09 pm

Earth’s NH has much more land surface area compared to water surface area (a ratio of 0.39:0.61) compared to the SH ratio of 0.19:0.81. The ratio of land area between hemispheres is therefore about 0.39/0.19 or about 200%, not 30%.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 4:12 pm

Yes , I should have said “relative”, but thanks for pointing out that it is a HUGE difference in land area….for which the atmosphere adjusts the “hot sunny spots” quite nicely.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 6:16 pm

Well, there is more….the NH has some ice covered water that the SH lacks…and maybe there is significant average cloud cover difference….and more man made jet plumes ….ship plumes…industrial aerosols added…etc.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Anti-griff
March 7, 2022 8:49 am

The topic was land surface area . . . emphasis on land . . . which is not the same as floating ice.

March 6, 2022 3:10 pm

That was a lot to digest. I didn’t understand all of it but what I didn’t see is that man is choking the planet with CO2 and we are all doomed. I will take a stab at the big picture. Our planet is under the influence of many many natural cycles and events. We have a pretty fair idea how they work and interact but can’t know it all. Man’s activities are a mixed bag we can cause problems but we can also fix them. It is up to us. Wind and solar are not a substitute for dependable, accessible and affordable power generation such as fossil fuel and nuclear. Man can look forward to a long and happy future if we aren’t led down a dark path by thoughtless do gooders.

Ron Long
March 6, 2022 3:11 pm

For the last several million years the earth has gone into an Ice Age. The glacial dominated phase is around 100K years and the inter glacial around 10K years. Sea level has gone up and down with these cycles, at least 25 meters higher and 150 meters lower (restricted to last several million years). For us to think about an approaching “tipping point” events would have to appear that threaten to push the earth climate cycle out of those parameters. Not going to happen. The phrase “tipping point” in utilized by the CAGW crowd as a scare tactic. Forget about it.

H. D. Hoese
March 6, 2022 3:15 pm

‘Tipping points’ is in a long list (Humpty/ Dumpty) of environmentally misused words/phrases with rare but important real applications that have been around for decades. Probably a grammatical name for them, actually a variety that is hard to put in a specific classification. Some I have come across, chided students about, made conclusions about use–Sensitive, fragile, delicate are very common, others can’t offhand (should that be onhand?) recall. One of my favorite misused phrases is “anecdotal data” that maybe applies now?

Is there an Institute for the Study of Fragile Ecosystems? There is such use of ‘Sustainability,’ a process long dead ecologists took for granted, more interested in ‘Survivorship.’ Probably a social science, maybe even medical paper on these somewhere. There are on survivorship.

Recent American Scientist has a good article (Operational Oceanography) by Naomi Oreskes from her new book (How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean). It is a very interesting story about Henry Stommel and his contributions to ocean circulation. She should stick to history as ended up claiming that we are moving into a climatic regime that has not existed on earth for at least 100,000 years. She blames it (heightened-concern) on Stommel who suggested that the system produces possibilities for speculation about climate change because of possibility of two stable ocean regimes. Stommel was brilliant and had lots of good ideas, but knew the definition of speculation.

Salt water, even highly diluted, often stinks because it has a lot of sulphur in it.

March 6, 2022 3:16 pm

The only tipping point to be concerned with is the first snowflake that doesn’t melt. It inevitably leads to a mile of ice on top of Chicago. It has happened numerous times in the last 2.4 million years of the ice age we are still in and will happen again.

Rich Lambert
March 6, 2022 3:22 pm

If there are tipping points how did the world get up righted from being tipped over in the past?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Lambert
March 6, 2022 4:06 pm

On a more philosophical note, we are continuously experiencing so-called ‘Tipping Points,’

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” ― Heraclitus

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 6, 2022 7:29 pm

‘Since “panta rhei” was pronounced by Heraclitus, hydrology and the objects it studies, such as rivers and lakes, have offered grounds to observe and understand change and flux. Change occurs on all time scales, from minute to geological, but our limited senses and life span, as well as the short time window of instrumental observations, restrict our perception to the most apparent daily to yearly variations. As a result, our typical modelling practices assume that natural changes are just a short-term “noise” superimposed on the daily and annual cycles in a scene that is static and invariant in the long run.’ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02626667.2013.804626

Smart Rock
March 6, 2022 3:39 pm

Who is this person, and why does he think that he’s worth listening to? He uncritically parrots a lot of stuff, some of which doesn’t actually support what his thesis is, some of which is out of date, some of which is pure alarmist fabrication, and seems to think he’s done something clever.

He could start by grasping the essence of making effective written or verbal presentations:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to say
  2. Say it
  3. Tell them what you’ve said

I’m somewhat surprised that Dr. Curry posted this verbal torrent.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Smart Rock
March 6, 2022 5:09 pm

As posted above, this is NOT his first time.

Robert Ellison
Reply to  Smart Rock
March 6, 2022 7:33 pm

‘Thanks, some very good stuff here. See attached for proposed revisions. Minor edits, but some substantial reorganization.’ JC  

Dave Fair
Reply to  Smart Rock
March 6, 2022 8:03 pm

Dr. Curry appears to be a very kind and evenhanded blog moderator. Robert I. Ellison abuses her and her readers quite often. Then again, he thinks I’m an emotional Republican.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 6, 2022 9:19 pm

… he thinks I’m an emotional Republican.

Isn’t that an oxymoron? 🙂

March 6, 2022 3:43 pm

At low points in Milankovitch insolation ice sheets survive summer and self-feedback into monsters.  

This is incorrect. Glaciation is a consequence of boreal winter cooling. That causes increased precipitation falling as snow. It is the rate of snow accumulation that counts rather than the ability to melt it. Once formed, the high albedo of the snow limits the impact of sunlight to melt it. You need only look at Greenland and Antarctica to confirm that.

In the present era, the South Pole gets the highest single day solar input on the entire planet and yet it remains ice.

Once ice mountains form, they are not easily melted away. It requires high concentrations of atmospheric dust to reverse glaciation. That provides the tipping point. More of the planet looks like central Australia, Sahara and Mongolia to build up the dust load.

Glaciation is energy intensive because it relies on significant latent heat transfer from ocean to deposit permanently on land.

Earth is already 500 years into the current cycle of glaciation but the boreal winters are not cooling rapidly because the eccentricity is relatively low and the 10,000 year accumulation phase has not yet started. Earth is about 1000 years from the NH land masses accumulating ice again.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  RickWill
March 6, 2022 4:17 pm

You posted: “Glaciation is a consequence of boreal winter cooling.” followed by “Earth is about 1000 years from the NH land masses accumulating ice again.”

However that last remark is in direct conflict with the following quote, taken from the abstract of Arctic warming, increasing snow cover and widespread boreal winter cooling, Cohen, et.al.,Environmental Research Letters, January 2012 (free downloadable copy available at http://web.mit.edu/jlcohen/www/papers/Cohenetal_ERL12.pdf ):
For the last two decades, large-scale cooling trends have existed instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. We argue that this unforeseen trend is probably not due to internal variability alone. Instead, evidence suggests that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover, which dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling. Understanding this counterintuitive response to radiative warming of the climate system has the potential for improving climate predictions at seasonal and longer timescales.” (my bold emphasis added to quote)

It seems that we have a difference of opinion here,

Last edited 2 months ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2022 5:10 pm

The Cohen reference you give are decadal time scale. I am pointing out that the boreal winter sunlight is in a declining trend on millennia time scale and has a long way to go. Ultimately that leads to more snow accumulation but I doubt what is currently observed will be the first unmelted snowflake for the next 100,000 years or so.

The oceans get their maximum solar input in December and January irrespective of the precession cycle. Land has its lowest solar input during December and January irrespective of the precession cycle. However, right now, most of the latent heat transfer occurring in December and January falls as rain on the tropical land masses. That will continue but as the NH land masses get cooler in December and January they will get an increasing proportion of that latent heat transfer resulting in snowfall rather than rainfall.

Last edited 2 months ago by RickWill
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  RickWill
March 7, 2022 9:17 am

“The oceans get their maximum solar input in December and January . . . right now, most of the latent heat transfer occurring in December and January falls as rain on the tropical land masses.”

a) Latent heat transfer works both ways . . . latent heat is absorbed as water evaporates from the Earth’s oceans, and subsequently that latent heat is released when moisture in the air condenses into rain (or snow, sleet, hail etc.), with only a portion of the latent heat of condensation being returned directly to the surface via rainfall, the rest remaining in the air until convected or radiated away.

b) Earth’s NH has about 61% of its area covered oceans and its SH has about 81% covered by oceans. Therefore, I do believe that most of December-January rainfall on Earth occurs over oceans, not land. And this would be true in temperate zones as well as in tropical zones.

March 6, 2022 3:53 pm

What about the unknown variables? Unknown geothermal inputs? Ocean floor hydrocarbon sinks? Mantle subduction of the oceans? Solar variability? The small comet in-fall of hundreds of billions of tons annually of extraterrestrial water vapor into the atmosphere? We can pick up after ourselves when we pollute, but we can’t do anything about your tipping points. Nothing.

March 6, 2022 4:00 pm

The reason the Medieval Warm Period is so important is that it shows the world has been warmer than now without triggering a tripping point. That’s why Dr. Mann had to invent his fraudulent hockey stick.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  commieBob
March 6, 2022 7:20 pm

And the medieval, Roman, Minoan, etc etc

It’s why they adjust the thermometer record and then truthfully state they have adjusted some temps up in the more distant record, but along with cooling the 1930s and one period before that the purpose to manufacture that nice straight shaft of the hockey stick, so the recent upward blade adjustments look even more anomalous.
I know you know that.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pat from kerbob
Dave Fair
Reply to  commieBob
March 7, 2022 11:37 am

Mikey Mann invented his fraudulent Hockey Stick before he was a “Dr.” He was appointed UN IPCC CliSciFi AR3 Lead Author just after receiving his PhD.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 6, 2022 8:12 pm

Rud Istvan
I do not think highly of this tipping point post. There are 4 reasons.

  1. The art is ‘sudden’ meaning with respect to climate.
  2. passenger pigeon extinction from over hunting. GoM anoxia from over fertilization. Both latter are inapt post examples.
  3. No climate ‘sudden’ tipping points have been identified. For example, those mooted in essay ‘Tipping Points’ in ebook Blowing Smoke.’.
  4. ’Sudden’ in a climate context is still very slow in a human adaptation context

The problem is more a case of clashing heads in the past. Neither of you like contradiction.
That is your reason for not thinking highly of the post.
Your reasons are not well substantiated.
Climate is not uniquely immune to sudden change in either 2 or 4.
Aptness is in the eye of the beholder.
Climate sudden tipping points have been identified, both in your e book and in RIE’s article.
Proof is different.

There are tipping points in the Earth system.
RIE has taken the time and effort to put up a thoughtful post on this subject.
Which should be appreciated.
Just as I respect your thoughtful posts including at Climate etc in the past.

Personally the concept that natural variation [which is what this post demurs to] can explain all of the warming to date is the most important takeaway of this post.
A position you and I agree on if not RIE.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  angech
March 6, 2022 9:25 pm

Sudden changes that revert back to their approximate former state are much more common than true ‘tipping points,’ which don’t recover.

However, the term as commonly used by alarmists is another example of either inventing or misappropriating a term for the purpose of scaring people, such as “ocean acidification,” “CAGW,” and “Anthropocene.”

Walter Sobchak
March 6, 2022 7:30 pm

We’re all gonna die!

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
March 7, 2022 9:14 am

This is the only irrefutably true fact in this long stream of comments. 🤣

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
March 7, 2022 2:13 pm

Would that be a tipping point?

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  MarkW
March 9, 2022 10:17 am

For me it would be.

March 6, 2022 7:53 pm

Specious sophistry with many bizarre claims.

“Raising the Alarm”

Uses a graphic with A through J alleged tipping points. Every one a fallacy, not reality.

This author, Robert Ellison, should immediately get rid of all synthetics, electronics, vehicles, including bicycles as they’re made with fossil fuels, not renewables.

After a few years living by using sticks to grub roots, berries and bugs for food and boiling their water before drinking, they may have a better appreciation for fossil fueled civilization.

Peta of Newark
March 6, 2022 7:58 pm

03:16GMT 7th Mar 22 and 48 comments so far and not a single one has ‘got it’

Not one. Boy-oh-boy is this place/world in some very deep shit

Quote:”And that takes peace, prosperity and a sense of humour
The English language spelling of the word is nice: “humour”

A sense of humour is not the ability to tell dirty jokes while drunk, in the pub and amongst all your mates. Quite the opposite in fact.

A Sense of Humour or a GSOH as all the girls of this world are looking for (don’t imagine I’m talking exclusively about human females either)..
….is about having a quick wit, an open mind, good memory, mental agility and the ability to see the unusual and make use of it before anyone else does.

So, what the guy writing this has done is to set a trap, a sort of honey trap for those of us endowed with Sputniks, Super-Computers and Willies to match.
48 comments so far have walked, raced/stampeded into it.

Why, what’s going on here:
A lot like intrepid folks who may venture into a place crowded with strangers and assert that ‘the world is flat
That is not meant as a statement of scientific fact, it is a test of who has or has not a GSOH and therefore thereafter might be worth striking acquaintance or friendship with.
Folks lacking humour are universally dull, boring and self-important. Often relying on recreational drugs and other crutches to get through their, self inflicted, dull & boring lives.

In that crowded stranger situation, many will instantly take it on themselves to demonstrate, forcibly via verbal violence that they are scientifically literate and the flat-earther is correspondingly stupid.

Fine. OK.
But in The Real World for 99.99999999% of everybody, it matters not one jot if the earth is flat or not.
You still don’t get it do ya?

The guy is saying that water (and other nutrients) controls climate – he is talking about Gaia.

That nobody saw that, nobody wanted to see that, everybody wanted to show off how clever they are – while actually demonstrating what a complete lack of a GSOH they have.

Q: How long would such dull & slow minds have lasted prior to 10,000 years ago?
At a time when quick wits, instant/automatic responses and the ability to ‘see the unusual’ were absolute essentials for survival. Hence why even today, modern girls desire such attributes that they might bestow them upon their offspring.

Is that where all the babies have gone?
If The Girls are asserting that a GSOH (quick wit, good memory, agile adaptable mind) is a requirement for making babies even to this very day, who is to argue with?

While 48 comments so far demonstrate that the GSOH has gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon
JoGo Brandon and BoJo Johnson being perfect exemplars of dead GSOHs
Also include Macron, Trudeau, Merkel, all inside NATO and the UN
NOT include Trump and Putin

Where did the (male) GSOH go?
Why are boys today all so boring, dull, forgetful, self-important and hypocritical – what caused that?
Wouldn’t be, by *any* chance, something they ate, drank or smoked?

Are there any other things/symptoms that might give a clue, such as heart disease, autoimmune disorder, obesity, Types 2 diabetes, autism and dementia?

What about trolls and cancel culture – are they indicative of agile minds?

Is having a dull mind, poor memory and a reliance on recreational drugs any sort of reliable long-term survival strategy?

Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
March 6, 2022 9:48 pm

From your ”very important” report by the U.S. National Academies (2013)……

”Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and patterns of rainfall will change.”

This is just more of the same old unproven, unquantified, religious bullshit.
You call this important? This shows you have been conditioned.
There is no evidence that climate is changing any more than there is for a piece of string being long.
If this is the basis upon which you base your thinking, it is clear you have nothing new to offer and that there is no need to waste time reading any further.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike
March 6, 2022 10:07 pm

“I don’t raise the alarm at all, but”

Mark Hansford
March 7, 2022 2:15 am

This is a well researched scientific report but with a personal opinion towards the end. The conclusions about mans involvement are pure conjecture. There is no reason that an alternative conclusion that these rapid shifts in nature are balancing out spikes in feedbacks. There is nowhere near enough accurate data to come to the conclusions here.
A nice read with rubbish, unfounded conclusions about mans part in it. Locally man can be a bit of a monster but globally I dont personally think (note the word personally – sadly lacking above) any tipping point is even close. This is planet normal – nothing to see, move on!

March 7, 2022 6:29 am

“Tipping points” are an over-simplification, what is needed is attractor landscape analysis.
But it’s a step in the right direction.
Flicker between two attractors occurs in Pleistocene glacial-interglacial alternation and at other times in earth’s history:

Flicker: an explanation for the “D-O events” – rapid climate fluctuations of the last glacial period | Odyssey (wordpress.com)

Some more thoughts about chaotic excitability and oscillations in ocean driven climate:

From chaos to pattern in ocean-driven climate | Odyssey (wordpress.com)

March 7, 2022 6:48 am

I fell into tipping points – pun intended. I was rehabilitating a shallow coastal estuary

Coastal estuaries with narrow necks can have extremely complex chaotic tidal dynamics, I once read.

Thanks for the nice article!

March 7, 2022 3:49 pm

Yes it’s an unstructured stream of consciousness – but I like it! A bit like the real world. Not made by a Swiss watchmaker, but self-assembled from chaos.

the large swings in climate during the glacial period that have come to be termed “Dansgaard-Oescher events” (“D-O events;” named after two of the ice core scientists who first studied these phenomena using ice cores)

In a room crowded with clichéd elephants and gorillas – the D-O events are the Argentinasaurus in the room. Alarmist science hilariously denies them, many here deny them, but not Robert. They’re a cast iron fact of history, earth’s climate (at least in the NH) literally warmed by 10-15 degrees C in a couple of centuries – then cooled right back down just as fast. These were micro-interglacials during the glacial interval – about 20 of them in the last one. All massively bigger climate changes than anything in recent years. If you’re tuned to the chaotic world it will be obvious that this is flicker – system jumping signifying the approach of a new attractor, but still too weak to permanently hold at the attractor. That had to wait till the Younger Dryas.

But if not, if you prefer, you can ignore completely internal dynamics of a system, and deny that any system can be more complex than the sewn on button eye of a favourite teddy bear 🧸. And then imagine a celestial visitor like a bolide or an angry god volcano to account for every single change in an otherwise passive and lifeless climate. Or maybe the climate just slavishly follows the sun or CO2 – take your pick.

“Was it for this that clay grew tall?”

Climate change means building massive factories churning out modular nuclear engines.

Amen to that. Go modular!

Got to love those antinuclear lace-curtain twitchers! Now they’ve been well and truly pwned by Russia. Even Germany’s re-opening nuclear power plants now. Das is dran, apparently.

Rattan Lal – doyen of soil science and 2021 winner of the World Food Prize – says that some 500 GtC (c.f. 350 GtC of modern anthropogenic emissions) has been lost from agricultural soils and in traditional burning over 10,000 years – a lot in the past 200.

I share your admiration of Rattan Lal. But there’s another side to this coin. The enriched CO2 in the atmosphere is actually returning carbon to soil. And even making soils where before was desert.

March 8, 2022 4:21 am

If CO2 is a tipping point risk then so are wind farms!

Do wind farms change the weather?

By David Wojick

The beginning: “The effect of lots of wind turbines on weather and climate is a small but active research area. Wind power converts wind energy into electricity, thereby removing that energy from the air. The research issue of how taking a lot of energy out might affect weather or climate seems to have emerged as early as 2004. Studies range from the global climate impact down to the local effects of a single large wind facility.”

I have not seen this discussed before.

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