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Discussion > Greening?

Radical Rodent & ACK, clearly you are both right, as Climate Science is not "Normal" science, as Phil Clarke has proved yet again

President Bill Clinton uttered 11 words that would go down in history: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”

Mandy Rice-Davies "Well he would say that wouldn't he?"

Oct 29, 2016 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

So, Minty, in a weird sort of way, we have proved me right – it is difficult to prove a theory right, but it is easy to prove it wrong… as you have just demonstrated, by pointing out the flaws in my logic. Perhaps I am putting my point across in a rather heavy-handed way, as I do not mean to say that every theory has to be ripped apart for progress to be made – as you rightly say, an utterly destructive exercise. While I have not taken part in scientific meetings, I would suspect that they take much the same form as any other meeting: ideas are shared in discussion, and each individual’s perceptions and opinions are altered in some way, hopefully for the better. With the more radical alteration happening when accepting an idea contrary to any previously-held idea, it is these changes that have the greatest impact.

A slight amendment, though, GC: climate “science” is not any kind of science.

Oct 29, 2016 at 10:24 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent

You have a good point there. It is in theory about studying the climate, and why CO2 is the cause of everything. This involves Climate Change, the art of changing the climate of the past, to match the current theory of politics, because without changing the past climate, the political theory does not work.

Ever since Mann redefined historical climate change as being non existent, climate scientists have been desperately rewriting history,, geology, archaeology, biology and the laws of incredulity, to save Mann's Bank Account(s) and reputation.

As we are now assured the Hockey Stick was never intended for predictive purposes, the only purpose for saving it, is because it underpins 97% of climate science, and 97% of that, has been trying to restabilise the Hockey Stick.

Oct 29, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Thanks for the helpful advice. I haven't been ignoring you; rather, I have just been very busy (and I still am). I will take up your advice when I have a good window in my currently busy schedule.

Oct 30, 2016 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Ravishing Rattie.
"it is difficult to prove a theory right, but it is easy to prove it wrong… as you have just demonstrated, by pointing out the flaws in my logic".

But I haven't. When trying to prove a theory wrong, you use counter evidence or argument. But who can prove those to be true. That's the problem with the "theory of science". The good news therefore is that no one can ever have proved you wrong. The bad news is that by holding onto unfashionable interpretations you would get a reputation for a certain degree of weirdness.

That's how both sides of the climate debate can claim scientific "correctness".

Oct 30, 2016 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK & Radical Rodent,

so is the climate "weirdness" promoted by the weirdy beardies of the Hockey Team, normal climate science or post normal climate science?

"Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Climate Change Predictions" was a great success in the ancient Egyptian era, saving civilisation in the known world, and we need a return to that level of accuracy. The "Greening" caused by the annual flooding and fertilisation of the Nile Valley and Delta had/has nothing to do with local local rainfall or sea level rise, but by retelling the story with modern "pop" culture, fortunes have been made with endless repeats.

"Mann, and the Amazing Fantasy Hockey Stick" is fast falling out of popular fashion and culture, as it is based on a fairy story devoid of factual evidence.

The observed modern "Greening" just doesn't fit the plot at all, so some find it easier to pretend it isn't real.

Oct 30, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM, thanks for starting this interesting thread, and for attempting to answer my queries.

Oct 30, 2016 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo


My pleasure. Afraid I'll be off site for a few days.

Oct 31, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

osseo, I don't know what your queries were, or whether "osseo" has a link to your interest.

Back in the 1990s when I did trust Climate Scientists and their dire warnings of doom and gloom, I was trying to help a friend develop a bit of a garden. The house was built on gravel soils in an area where gravel pits were a major part of the landscape. 1997 was hot and dry, due to nino/nina, and BBC Gardeners World etc was full of stories about planting for a more Mediterranean type garden with plants native to those conditions. Buying water butts to catch rain (if it ever rained again) was very much the "thing to do". Increased desertification, and memories of the drought leading to famine in Ethiopia/Sudan and LiveAid, were easy to prey on. This was Global Warming, it was real, it was happening, NOW!

I fell for it.

The fact that the Planet IS Greening, and this can be seen from satellite imagery, is mightily inconvenient for the Global Warming message. Attempts to blame war in Syria and the refugee crisis on Global Warming, Desrtification, Crop Failures etc have been another outstanding Climate Science fail.

Greening is not allowed by Climate Science Laws of Physics and Maths, and Climate Science never admits mistakes.

Where is the problem? Couldn't possibly be Climate Science.

Oct 31, 2016 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Perhaps less tarnished by Climate Scientists than the Wikipedia entry. The contemporary questions about why, and what are in the article.

The climate cooled a bit, because sunlight was partially blocked. Crop failures were primarily due to sunlight reduction, not the drop in temperature.

I have no idea whether this temporary loss of Greening was reflected in sea ice extents in winter 1816/17. Anyone?

The Arctic sea ice was reducing sufficiently to arouse interest in a North West Passage opening up, hence the Franklin Expedition of 1845, but how did they know there was a North West Passage, unless someone had been through it before?

If Global Warming is caused by CO2 starting in the Industrial Revolution, this would tie in with the NWP opening, but not with it closing again.

If modern Greening continues, the north coast of Africa could be returned to agricultural prosperity as it was in Carthaginian/Roman times. Perhaps Israel will again become the Land of Milk and Honey without irrigation, and how did Islam develop around Mecca if it was desert?

Oct 31, 2016 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GolfCharlie. I do believe the northern (Mediterranean) African coast is still an area of agricultural prosperity. It is an area of major, but inferior, olive oil production which is exported to Spain and Italy and blended. If you visit at the right season you will find markets heaving with superb local vegetables and fruits - much better than we get.
What has changed is the size of the populations and the overall level of poverty. What is produced has to be spread further.

Oct 31, 2016 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Martin A. You may be correct, however did you prove your bona fides in the manner I suggested Mark do? If you did and were still unsuccessful then I am very saddened. It would mean that climate science has moved even further away from the norms of scientific norms. I would feel ashamed on behalf of my "scientific" brethren.
Oct 29, 2016 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Alan, It should not be necessary to prove one's 'bona fides' in simply requesting a copy of a paper.

However, my memory was incorrect. Now back home, on a quick search of my emails I find that I have received (in addition to Richard Betts) requested papers from at least one other climate scientist (Dr David Archer, University of Chicago). So it's possible I have received others also which I have forgotten. Nonetheless, the majority of my requests to climate scientists have resulted in no reply.

Here is a typical request email I have sent - in this case outside the field of climate science but similar wording. I aim to say politely:
- what paper I am requesting
- where I obtained the reference
- to give my name, address, and academic qualification (so it is not an anonymous request)
- to thank them in advance.

01/02/08 12:03
Dear Professor Pagel,

I would be very grateful to receive an electronic copy of your paper on the evolution of languages that is described in a report in yesterday's "Nature News".
( Atkinson, Q. D., Meade, A., Venditti, C., Greenhill, S. J. & Pagel, M. Science 319, 588 (2008))
Thank you, in advance, for your help.
Yours sincerely,

Martin A*******, PhD

Oct 31, 2016 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

ACK copied from Wikipedia "Carthage"

Accordingly, the Greek author and compiler Diodorus Siculus (fl. 1st century BCE), who enjoyed access to ancient writings later lost, and on which he based most of his writings, described agricultural land near the city of Carthage circa 310 BC:

"It was divided into market gardens and orchards of all sorts of fruit trees, with many streams of water flowing in channels irrigating every part. There were country homes everywhere, lavishly built and covered with stucco. ... Part of the land was planted with vines, part with olives and other productive trees. Beyond these, cattle and sheep were pastured on the plains, and there were meadows with grazing horses."[25][26]

I have not been to Tunisia, but the description above does not match modern descriptions. Ancient Rome was pleased to acquire the agricultural breadbasket so close across the sea from Sicily.

For historical/religious accuracy, it is where "Life of Brian" was filmed.

Oct 31, 2016 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GolfCharlie. The Romans salted the fields around Carthage after the final Punic War. May still be having some effect. Markets in Tunis were cornucopian before the Arab Spring which is the last time I was there.

Nov 1, 2016 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

MartinA. "It should not be necessary to prove one's 'bona fides' in simply requesting a copy of a paper."

You are probably correct, but if you genuinely want a copy of a paper from someone who you suspect might be unhelpful, then do everything you can to facilitate success. For me recieving a request for a copy of one of my papers was ego-stroking enough, but clearly some need more elaborate ego boosting. Mention of why you believe their work will be interesting to you should normally do it.

Most of my experience with seeking or sending papers is within the period before PDFs, when copies were paper and had to be sent by mail. I always sent a copy (or my secretary did) except when I believed the requestor was simply a collector and hoarder of reprints. Now, most of my papers were co-written with graduate students who handled all the electronic stuff.

An author, who has written a paper with the intent of disseminating information to others, that does not honour genuine requests for access to their work, is acting counter productively.

Nov 1, 2016 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

An author, who has written a paper with the intent of disseminating information to others, that does not honour genuine requests for access to their work, is acting counter productively.
Nov 1, 2016 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Yes. But of course there are other motivations for publishing research papers than "disseminating information to others".

I'm a bit surprised that you regarded people you had categorised as mere collectors of reprints as not meriting being sent a copy of the paper they had requested.

In the pre-electronic publishing days, the number of reprint requests received was sometimes taken as a metric of the significance of a paper.

These days, to explain why I have not simply downloaded the paywalled paper myself, I generally include a line such as

Currently, I do not have access to library facilities nor do I have a budget for access to the publishing journal
I sometimes wonder if this is taken as meaning "Probable payback insufficient to justify investing 90 seconds to attach the pdf and hit return". Maybe I should set up an email address such as and sign myself "Director of Contract Placement".

Nov 1, 2016 at 10:19 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A. In the days of hard copy only reprints, they were relatively expensive coupled with the costs of packaging and posting. Commonly I could only afford 50 or at most 100 copies from my grant monies. So mere collectors, who had no real interest in the subject matter of my paper, were not sent a copy. If I requested a reprint from someone I didn't know, and so may not have known me, I always would attempt to justify my request, establishing why I considered the requested paper important to me. I still do this, making contact with researchers doing interesting work is important to a scientist - it's called networking. Even though I have stopped doing research myself, I cannot stop myself behaving as I always have. Look at what happened over the past 24 hours. I was made aware of Russell's identity, was sent by him a link to his seminal paper about the application of microbubbles and now I believe I have a contact that I could interact with at a higher level than just mere wordplay and humour. If he is willing.

Nov 1, 2016 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK 7:51 "Salting Fields"

This is a term frequently used by contemporary chroniclers throughout history. We now live in an era that states "we" should eat less salt, because we eat too much, however I have experienced dehydration living and working in hotter climates, due to not drinking enough water AND not eating enough salt.

Salt was/is a valued commodity, whether dug out of dried-up lake and sea beds, or from evaporation of seawater. Maldon Sea Salt really did come from Maldon in Essex.

Burning towns and crops was a common military tactic, and so was cutting down olive trees in ancient times. The amount of salt required to kill/poison an acre of land is substantial (though I have no idea of actual quantities) Somewhere like Carthage almost certainly had a sea salt industry, and stores of salt, but I doubt they had sufficient salt to wreck square miles of agricultural land for more than a few years.

For me it is something where the maths doesn't add up!

Nov 1, 2016 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golfCharlie. To the south of Tunisia there is a simply enormous salt lake and plain. Rome had been devastated by the invasion of the Carthiginians who were more than ready for revenge. They vowed that the Carthiginians would never, ever be in a position to threaten again. If you visit Carthage now their is virtually nothing left - a small burial stone perhaps. The ruins are all Roman. My son when a boy in Canada became fascinated by the Punic Wars. When we visited we found virtually nothing Carthiginian and he was most disappointed. At the time of the Punic Wars and later it was Egypt that was Rome's breadbasket.

Nov 1, 2016 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, the Ancient Greeks and Romans were pretty spiteful when it came to scorched earth. The Roman ruins in Tunisia/Carthage date from after Roman vengeance and genocide was exacted, so there must have been restoration of sufficient agriculture by then.

The Romans were good and efficient Engineers, and this was a major part of their military strengths and achievements. The Roman armies were "engineers", even without armies of slave labour.

I do not doubt the records stating that the Romans salted the fields, but I do question the full extent, and how long it would have lasted.

I do doubt whether that has anything to do with the current ungreened landscape in modern Tunisia and elsewhere along the North African Coast, which I would put down to natural changes in the climate.

Nov 1, 2016 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golfCharlie. North Africa is not ungreen as you put it. Go to Morocco in the Spring and the place is verdant. Tunisia is the same as are the coastal fringes of Egypt and the delta. You would not be able to distinguish between southern Spain, Italy and Greece and the northern coasts of Africa.

I believe the Romans salted Carthiginian fields to the fullest extent possible because they wrote that they had but more because they devastated Carthage to the max. I don't believe any other conquering nation has devastated an enemy to the same extent as Rome did. They literally left not one stone standing upon another - even to the extent of digging up foundations.

Nov 1, 2016 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

golf charlie
Couple of other things to consider
Possibly deforestation by local inhabitants post Roman Empire as well as natural climatic changes?

A little while ago I read an article about irrigation causing problems by gradually increasing salt content of soil. I then checked out the Okavango Delta which has salt contamination problems in various parts. I don't know why it's not like the dead sea. Which leads to the question do today's North African fertility problems relate to Roman Irrigation as well?

Nov 1, 2016 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

ACK, I know the Romans did not mess about when they decided to trash Carthage, that is also why I mentioned the Roman buildings in Tunisia used for the filming of "Life of Brian". Whether they were built 100 years later in BC times or 500 years later in AD times, the agriculture must have recovered. Rome sought to eradicate Carthage and it's people. Recolonisation of the Carthage area may not have included anyone of Carthaginian ancestory.

SandyS, ACK is the geologist and can correct me, but salt in rocks occurs naturally when those rocks were the seabed, but are most concentrated where those rocks/sands/silts were estuarine or in pools or seas that progressively dried out or had high levels of evaporation ie Dead Sea and Bonneville Salt Flats etc.

Irrigation of soil with stream or river water containing trace amounts of salt will cause a build up of salt in the soil. This is more likely with water pumped up from underground, where salt concentrations may be higher. The word "pan", as in "formed a pan", may have different meanings in different parts of the English speaking world, but the fertility of some areas has definitely been destroyed by irrigation.

Chopping down trees or deforestation has been shown to be the cause of reduced snow on Kilimanjaro, rather than Global Warming. I know in previous threads, ACK uses a different (academic/technical) definition for an area with trees than you and me, and others on this blog. Scotland has more trees now, than anytime since the last Ice Age, but it is not natural. A wetter climate would produce more trees and carry more moisture into the air. Hannibal got his elephants from somewhere. For me, it is confirmation that the Northern coast of Africa was wetter and Greener.

As an aside ... The Dalmatian coast of the former Yugoslavia is lots of rocky lumps, and not a huge amount of soil or vegetation. I was told by a German lady, born post war, but in East Germany, that at school she was taught that the Dalmation coast had been heavily wooded and had rich soil. The trees were felled for shipbuilding and construction in the 16th -18th(?) centuries, the soil was eroded. It was told to East German schoolkids as a cautionary tale in the Communist era. I have no reason to believe or disbelieve! I did see trees 10 years ago, and not just olive groves, but I don't recall seeing "mature" and natural woodland.

All the above based on my experience and education, NOT on scientific research! (apart from bogus claims about Kilimanjaro)

Nov 2, 2016 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

ACK & SandyS

Al Gore, Phil Jones, ClimateGate and Lonnie Thompson in one WUWT Post Headline, plus Kilimanjaro too!

Nov 2, 2016 at 3:11 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Nov 2, 2016 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke