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« Scientific heresy | Main | Memo: don't mess with JC - Josh 126 »

Curry express

The Daily Express picks up on the tiff between Judith Curry and Richard Muller.

IT IS well to point out that Prof Curry is not disputing the one degree Celsius increase. She is disputing Prof Muller’s suggestion that temperatures haven’t levelled off in the last decade.

Indeed she says this global warming standstill since the end of the Nineties – which has been completely unexpected – has wide-reaching consequences for the causes of climate change and has already led many climate scientists to start looking at alternative factors that may have contributed to global warming, other than carbon gas emissions. In particular she has mentioned the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation.

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Reader Comments (92)

BBD, while (if) is still have your attention, another issue that's been bugging me is the positivie feedback meme. I have studied feedbacks, positive and negative, and negative is good, while positive, generally speaking is not. In fact positive is destructive and won't stop until the system is has exhausted its resources or destroyed itself. I would bet my pension that the climate science community has no real expertise in understanding positivie feedback, but may be wrong, but what's intriguing me is why the temperatures would stop rising if the globe slips into positive feedback. What are the limiting factors that will hold temperature at a maximum of 3.5C or whatever? Do you know where this is dealt with in the literature?

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I was hoping at least ZedbeDead would pick up on my thought that as Africa's temp stats are balls/non-existent/useless, then the concept of historical global temperature is invalid, so then too is the notion of global warming. But narry a word from old Zed

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

It's noticeable that in typic ltroll fashion ZDB has completely failed to answer the question previosuly posed higher up the thread, i.e. precisely which part of the report referred to could be categorised a rubbish.

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Off topic 28, on topic 19, accidental 1.

I'll come back next week, maybe.

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterian

Following on from Zed's classic strawman of attacking the (wo)man, not the ball -:

"Papers that actually seem to have some journalistic principles, and assume their readers have at least some minimal level of inteligence.

Oh, the irony.

Back to the point. No matter the pedigree of the carrier, surely the quality and accuracy of the of the message is what counts?

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAntony

Having just returned from the weekend in Cornwall it is fully understandable why the troll from Truro acts as they do.

The whole county has been demonised by wind turbines, stretching across the moors as far as the eye can see. A once beautifull landscape devastated by great white towers, all of them stationary I might add on my arrival.

Even if that wasn't enough the local radio "Cornwalls No1 music station" repeats adverts for turbines and solar panels all day long, the locals "Gert orf mar land", are literally brainwashed into submission.

Many, close, friends that we have made over the past few years have also reached the same conclusion that we have, and that is, it is time to sell up and move on.
So I fear that Cornwalls beauty as in reality, is moving into the realms of memory for my family, pity really that such idiocracy can spoil natural beauty in such a huge way. Perhaps the Duke will see the error of his convictions once the drop in tourism starts to hit the coffers.

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

there's always a few articles [in The Times] that genuinely grab me and seem on the button and honest.

True. Much like The Mail and The Express.

Nov 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Mike Jackson

And what looks like another hefty La Nina in the offing.

The intensification of ENSO should worry you. As the scale of energy transfers into and out of the equatorial Pacific increases, it causes global weather nasties. You may have noticed them in the news over the last couple of years. Keep it up long enough and weather becomes climate.

The reason the orthodoxy finds it necessary to defend itself so vigorously is that it is under constant attack by sceptics. Who have no evidence of anything much, but do make a deal of noise. In the US, they appear to have taken over the Republican party. The US emits lots of CO2. Large sums of money are involved. The vested interests are titanic and genuinely powerful etc. This has serious thinkers worried. As well it should.

because the 30-year cycle which we know exists over-rides other effects. Note: not "masks", which is the warmist claim, bit "overrides".

For any natural effect to over-ride CO2 forcing (as oppose to suppress or mask it) there would have to be a climatically significant cooling. At the absolute minium, this means a decade with a cooling trend. Mid-century was the last time CO2 forcing was weak enough for 'something' to over-ride it. Since then, there has been no decade-long cooling.

Nov 1, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Lord B: Having saturated Cornwall with wind farms (it needs an unpopulated area to have a wind farm), farmers are now being persuaded to put up individual turbines to harvest the huge subsidies. The individual turbines are "small", where small is now a piddly 60m tall with 20m diameter blades. It will get far worse in Cornwall before sense prevails; and they will be left with derelict white elephants. Of course it's getting to be the same everywhere you go. Our green and pleasant land is slowly being ruined by the industrialisation desired by the greenies.

Nov 1, 2011 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

BBD, have you actually looked at the TAverage dataset that you have posted your "Trends" on?
If not then I suggest that you do so very quickly.
There are absolutely riddled with rubbish values, there are sites where minus signs have been incorrectly introduced giving odd summer temperatures 30 to 40 degrees lower than normal.
Other sites have Winter Months with higher averages than Summer months.
This is supposed to the "best" dataset available to man, you just have to be kidding.
On top of that the data has been homogenised, averaged, averaged again, weighted, extropolated etc just like GISS, say no more.

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:10 PM | A C Osborn

And your preferred dataset is?

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed


Nov 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn


Mid-century was the last time CO2 forcing was weak enough for 'something' to over-ride it.

I'm glad you mentioned that.

What was the 'something', what has it been doing lately, and what will it do in 100 years' time?

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

And while we're at it, what will be the most significant technology innovations over the next 100 years, and what will the price of oil be on November 1 2111?

Since we know what the global average temperature will be, both of the above must already be known.

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Positive feedbacks produce increasing series which either converge to a limit asymptotically (OK depending on the asymptote), or diverge without limit (hence the fear of tipping points).

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

"The reason the orthodoxy finds it necessary to defend itself so vigorously is that it is under constant attack by sceptics. Who have no evidence of anything much, but do make a deal of noise."

It's been interesting watching you "come out" BBD, but don't you understand that a sceptic wants evidence, and for sure, there is "no evidence of anything very much" that would convice a jury that CO2 has caused most of the warming since around 1800. Au contraire, given the BEST 10 year averaging they've managed to show a 1C rise in the nineteenth century, in my view any reasonable person presented with a theory that X causes Y, who then sees Y happening before the existence of X is bound to ask for more evidence that X causes Y, preferably in the form of X = kY so that it can be checked and observed.

Still pondering on the feedback theories of AGW, so if you can, I'd appreciate any help you can give me. If the ecosphere is that sensitive to small increases in temperature and the feedback is positive, none of us should be here, so I'd like to understand what the climate scientists think will be the limiting factor to run away positive feedback.

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Simon, I didn't put it as elegantly as you did but that's what I said in my post, they will continue until they use all the resources in the system or will destroy the system. I am probably making my point badly, but what are the limiting factors for AGW that will limit it to 3.5C, or 10C or whatever? What kicks in to dampen the positive feedbacks?

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Fortunately in real science, the effort is to understand by seeking to falsify particular claims and assumptions.
We are gradually seeing climate science inch, ever so unwillingly, back towards that normative standard.
The question is if the AGW movement will ever ween itself from the apocalyptic clap trap so many believers embrace.

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


Your comments about the Mail and the Telegraph amuse me.

You may be interested to know that they have both banned me from online comments that promote the epetition to repeal the climate change act:

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Yoiur claim that mid-century (presumably of the 20th) was the last time other climate variables masked the CO2 signature.
The data disagrees with you.
I hope you can get the data to see it your way.
Get back with us when you do.

Nov 1, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

New Zealand's "Science Media Centre" have been very quick off the blocks with a Press Release concerning BEST, quoting some of the country's most prominent IPCC insiders.

I suspect this may be partly due to the pressure that NIWA are under concerning their "Seven Station" temperature record (court case still pending as far as I know)

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

A C Osborn


Shout it as loud and as often as you can!

Interesting opening paragraph from Steve McIntyre's latest under the heading:-

"Closing Thoughts on BEST"

"In the 1980s, John Christy and Roy Spencer revolutionized the measurement of temperature data through satellite measurement of oxygen radiance in the atmosphere. This accomplishment sidestepped the intractable problems of creating (what I’ll call) a “temperature reconstruction” from surface data known to be systemically contaminated (in unknown amounts) by urbanization, land use changes, station location changes, measurement changes, station discontinuities etc etc."

Read it all:-

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand


On geological time-scales, CO2 is emitted by volcanism itself arising from plate tectonics. These emissions can eventually be substantial, but occur over tens of thousands of years. Not 150 years.

CO2 is removed removed by various geologic processes eg chemical weathering and organic sequestration (google 'carboniferous' and 'cretacious' to find out more). These processes take tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Not decades.

There appears to be a natural balance. Climate can go from temperate to hot states (and cold ones), but obviously nothing so far has pushed it into a true 'runaway greenhouse'.

There are those who argue that the very rapid elevation of CO2 levels in the atmosphere (yes, it's 'unprecedented') will cause rapid warming which will in turn melt the NH permafrost, releasing enough CH4 to force temperatures even higher.

This in turn will destabilise the vast NH clathrate (methane/ice) deposits causing an abrupt release of massive amounts of CH4. By now, things are well out of hand, and we are truly stuffed.

There are various things to bear in mind. The sun was dimmer in the deep past, so the effect of CO2 forcing was less that at present. The rate of present release is a vital factor. It is the speed of change which may make it dangerous (hence talk of non-linear responses, aka 'tipping points').

Now you can laugh all this off, but if in your heart of hearts there isn't a certain admission that vast risks are being taken, then you've made your mind up and stopped thinking objectively.

What you say above about there not being enough evidence for CO2 being a major climate forcing makes me suspect the latter.

It is impossible to conduct an open-minded survey of even a small fraction of the literature on the subject without being convinced beyond reasonable doubt that CO2 is indeed warming the climate system.

I started out a lukewarmer because I'm not so stupid as to deny the physics of the greenhouse effect. I kept on reading and realised that there is no evidence at all for a low climate sensitivity, and lots for it being about 3C for a doubling of pre-industrial levels of CO2 (or the equivalent increase in RF).

So I ended up shifting to a mainstream position as that is where the evidence, considered objectively, requires me to be.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"what are the limiting factors for AGW that will limit it to 3.5C, or 10C or whatever?" Sorry, I don't know; you'd need to ask a climatologist (I suppose).
"What kicks in to dampen the positive feedbacks?" The positive feedbacks don't need dampening if they're already convergent. (Think 1 + 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.125 + ... = 2). It's like the warming effect of a fixed increase of CO2 being logarithmically decreasing. But not quite, ..
.. because it seems to be a given that every doubling of CO2 will produce a fixed increase in global temperature (the so-called sensitivity). Whether this sensitivity is 1degreeC or 6 degreesC, we'd still have runaway warming if it were possible to keep doubling CO2 emissions without limit. (Luckily this isn't a practical possibility).
geronimo, I'm sure you knew all this already. If so, my apologies.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

“Have you ever noticed how it's only nasty right-wing comics that carry this rubbish?”
Zed has a point. Yes, Guardian readers like me have noticed that our favourite paper has been utterly wrong about science, just as it has about Europe, while papers I’ve sneered at all my life are far more open minded on both subjects.
Zed’s refusal to believe anything written in the Mail is the corollary of his utter faith in anything announced by a consensus of scientists. He should try thinking for herself for once.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers


Yoiur claim that mid-century (presumably of the 20th) was the last time other climate variables masked the CO2 signature.
The data disagrees with you.
I hope you can get the data to see it your way.
Get back with us when you do.

Strawman - I said 'over-rode', not 'masked'. Please re-read the original comment. Where are the decade long cooling trends in the last few decades?

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

A C Osborn

Are you a conspiracy theorist?

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"So I ended up shifting to a mainstream position as that is where the evidence, considered objectively, requires me to be."

Surprisingly though, BBD, your comment is all assertions and no evidence. Not even any links. Discontinuity.


Nov 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

BBD asks

A C Osborn

Are you a conspiracy theorist?

BBD I hope this was a joke rather than serious question. If it was a serious question you have gone down in my estimation.

I would say he has a proper scientific approach to the problem, there doesn't need to be a conspiracy for the requirement to see the raw data and apply your own theories to it, and prove the original incorrect.

Something we used to learn it school when I was a lad.


Nov 1, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered Commentersandy

BBD: Pray tell us, what is "the physics of the greenhouse effect", outside of a greenhouse, that you are not so stupid as to deny.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Whether I am or am not or should be or should not be "worried" about ENSO is of no relevance to this thread whatsoever. I'm afraid that looks like just another of your current ploys to divert attention from what posters are actually saying.
I made no mention of any need for the climatologists to defend themselves; what I remarked on was their increasingly desperate thrashing around to debunk any and I mean any statement, suggestion, hypothesis from any source that plays down the effects of CO2.
If just one of them would say "that's an interesting idea; why don't we look at it?" there might be an opportunity for the science to move forward. (What contribution, for example, do the latest observations from the Japanese IBUKI satellite make to the debate? Given that CRU data show one-third of reporting stations showing a temperature decrease to what extent can warming legitimately be described as 'global'? And on that basis how reliable are the models which are, presumably, not programmed to deal with that sort of regional variation? Or are they?)
Along with several other posters on this site I am still waiting for a resolution of the debate between the positive feedbackers and the negative feedbackers. I know you believe that science is settled and you will no doubt throw several links at me to papers that purport to "prove" it. If I could be bothered I could almost certainly find an equal number that purport to "disprove" it.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

@geoff chambers
Maybe you don't really think that ZDB is a member of the fairer sex since you seem to need to remind yourself to make reference to her in the feminine. (Notice the "his" and "he" in your last paragraph).
It's interesting. I can't help wondering why. (Perhaps you just meant it as lighthearted sexist humour).

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Mike Jackson

Whether I am or am not or should be or should not be "worried" about ENSO is of no relevance to this thread whatsoever. I'm afraid that looks like just another of your current ploys to divert attention from what posters are actually saying.

Sorry, but this won't do. You brought up the 'double-dip' LN and I responded. You do not get to twist that round and try and use it against me. What's all this about 'diverting attention from what posters are actually saying'?

I joined this thread with a trend analysis relevant to the topic.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


A C Osborn

Are you a conspiracy theorist?

I consider your remark supercilious. I too would like to see the actual data as collected. I say that after having read all four of the BEST preliminary papers and found their methodology seriously flawed from both a scientific and statistical viewpoint. Given that, I too have questions about what may have been done to the original data by others. I call your attention to the threads of a couple days ago, particularly with regard to William Briggs's comments.

Nov 1, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Remembering that without correlation there can be no inferred causation and taking into account all other known influences (ENSO etc), can any correlation between the minuscule 21st century global temperature change and the corresponding relentless worldwide rise of CO2 emissions be convincingly shown? If so,we're agog to have it demonstrated.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Don Pablo

Oh come on. What about the charming mode of address employed by AC Osborn?

This is getting farcical. Anyone can piss on me, but if I object, I am a very bad man indeed.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Mike Jackson what your describe is the normal way science works, and that's you mistake you need to think of the way religion works then you will understand why the 'climate science' reacts the way it does.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

simon abingdon

I thought you knew your onions. You do not make sweeping statements based on a sub-decadal trend. That's bad science.

Instead, you look at the big picture.

Unless of course you aren't really interested in the relation between increased RF from CO2 on a multi-decadal scale. Because what really interests you is making deeply misleading statements in an effort to 'refute AGW'.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

@Philip Bratby
Philip, you know perfectly well that some gases such as CO2 inhibit the cooling of the atmosphere at a sufficient rate to compensate for the 24-hr rotation of the night-side earth before the sun heats everything up again, so causing a higher atmospheric temperature equilibrium. Everybody understands this.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon


Earlier TheBigYinJames posted excellent advice for our beloved ZED. I strongly suggest that you read it and apply it to yourself.

Zed, you don't have to be obnoxious to make a point, we already mostly enjoy having you here, it would be boring to talk to ourselves all the time, but there is a limit to how much disruption people will bear. Please examine your motives for being here - are you trying to convince, convert, ridicule or disrupt? You're only managing the latter at the moment.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@BBD "Because what really interests you is making deeply misleading statements in an effort to 'refute AGW".
No, BBD, not at all. I have no agenda. I stand on the sidelines watching with fascination Man Utd and Arsenal battle it out, without cheering for either. (I'm old BTW).
You can say that this century's CO2 measured rise correlates with global warming if you push the error bars of temperature recording to the limits, but to me that doesn't quite convince.
I might say unkindly (forgive me) that because you recently "changed sides" you'd better have got it right this time and I understand that.
Just watch the unfolding of events BBD, and be amazed at the unexpected twists and turns that you'll see.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Don Pablo

Quoting TheBigYin:

Please examine your motives for being here - are you trying to convince, convert, ridicule or disrupt? You're only managing the latter at the moment.

Please seen my response to Mike Jackson at Nov 1, 2011 at 7:54 PM.

Whose questions I had previously been trying to answer. As I have tried to answer questions from geronimo.

I'm trying to get people to think about - and question - their assumptions.

I thought you knew this.

Nov 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD
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