Saturday, August 30, 2014

Patrick Moore's PhD - Is it In Chutzpah?.

Dr Patrick Moore, who is not a co-founder of Greenpeace, is back with his expertise in climate modeling to ensure us that
which reminds me: After Moore testified before the U.S. Congress earlier this year, I ripped into an odorous statement he made there:
"Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today."
as if that proved CO2 wasn't a greenhouse gas. That's absurd for a several reasons, but one of the most obvious is that the Sun was about 4% less radiant back then (and also because the worldwide scientific community would have ground to a halt until they understood it).

I emailed Moore later and asked his why he didn't mention this in his testimony. Here's what he told me, on March 25th:
"If you had 5 minutes in the Senate I’m sure you would leave a few things out too."
That's right -- Dr. Moore's excuse is that while he had time to present a misleading statement, he didn't have time to mention it was bunk.

What can you say about that? Nothing, really -- you almost want to simply stand back and applaud the chutzpah.

Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Reversed (Yet Again)

In the Daily Mail, David Rose quotes the always reliable Judith Curry saying "the Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed."

By my count, there's been 7 reversals of the death spiral since 1979, including the famous reversal of the mid-90s and the huge reversal in 2008. So many reversals that Arctic sea ice extent has spiraled up by average of -44,000 square kilometers a year since 1979.

That's some fancy spiraling. Any more spiraling like this and we're going to have a great abundance of negative ice in a few more decades. Where will we put it all?

Arctic Sea Ice Extent (JAXA), 1-year moving average, in standard deviations from the mean

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mark Steyn and the Expert Climatologist

A while back Mark Steyn said he's been out talking to people about the hockey stick. But it doens't appear to have made him any smarter.

On his blog yesterday, Steyn wrote that he knows what the scientific community thinks (wonder what journals he reads, and which conferences he attends), even if they won't admit it:
Actually, no. In public,"climate experts" rejected the notion. But in private - in fact - they well knew that "global warming has slowed or stopped".
which is nothing but Inhofeian conspiracy mongering. (Inhofe to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, 2012:  “I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that [Senate Environment] committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.”

But back to Steyn. His notion that global warming has stopped originates in this smug 2009 Washington Times essay:
I don't know how Mr. Friedman defines "young," but let's be generous: If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None.
Let us count the problems with this:
  1. Nine years is not a climateology relevant time period, and the statistical error bars are huge. With just rank-1 autocorrelation, 9-year trends are statistically significant only about 25% of the time
  2. So Steyn is drawing conclusions about the noise in the climate system. That's his right according to the First Amendment (except insofar as it constitutes libel). Except climate scientists study the signal, not the noise. 
  3. But let's play along with his obtuse 9-year period....and see what else was going on.
  4. The top 700 meters of the ocean gained 54 zettajoules in the first nine years of the 21st century. That's 54,000,000.000,000,000,000,000 Joules. (I wonder how Steyn thinks that happened.)
  5. That's an average of 210 trillion Watts. That's about 13 times the entire energy consumption of humanity
  6. It's 0.40 Watts per square meter of the Earth's surface, just in the top 1/4th of the ocean. (Argo's 0-2000 m data had only come out in 2005, but had already gained a 31 ZJ in four years, but not statistically significant, though.
  7. Average daily sea ice extent in the Arctic fell by 8% from 2000 to 2009. The yearly minimum was 31% smaller. Global sea ice extent dropped 4,000 km2. The daily Antarctic average gained 3%, and the yearly minimum gained all of 3%. 
  8. Arctic sea ice (3-dimensional) declined by 4,400 cubic kilometers, or nearly the volume of Lake Michigan. 
  9. The footprint of Greenland's ice area decreased by 355 square miles. Its volume of ice decreased by about 1.8 trillion tons, a number that then was already accelerating
  10. Sea level magically raised almost an inch (24 mm), even though global warming had "stopped."
None of this sounds like a world where global warming had stopped. Yes, the average global surface temperature was essentially unchanged in that time (though not on land, where we live and farm, where it was up by 0.09 C), and down in the lower troposphere (UAH: -0.06 C; RSS: -0.18 C, already a big difference that, until it's sorted out, suggests skepticism about both).

But then, short-term intervals are for suckers, and the thin surface sliver of the atmosphere is just about the worst place to diagnose the planetary energy balance created by AGW.

Steyn thinks this statement by Phil Jones supports his claim
The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant.
which is fine until you ignore the last two words of the second sentence. Otherwise, not so much.

Here's an attempt at a clever switch of time periods, from 9 years to 30 years:
Steyn in 2009: I don't know how [New York Times climate alarmist Thomas] Friedman defines "young" but let's be generous: If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you're stuck living in.

Steyn yesterday: Consider, for example, the context in which I made my 30-year-hot-30-year-cool observation half-a-decade back. I'd written a column in which I remarked en passant.
and the dopey (and dishonest) implication that 9 years with no (global surface) warming represents the entire 21st century. (It's hard to believe any editor would let him get away with that, except at the Washington Times.)

And this statement:
In the mid-nineties, which climatologist and which model predicted the cooling trend of the turn of the century and the oughts? And, if they didn't, on what basis do you trust their claims for 2050 or 2100?
which shows yet again (see Barry Bickmore, who noted that Steyn called the hockey stick a "climate model") {snort}, that Steyn doesn't know what a climate model is, what they aren't (magical foreseer of future ENSOs, volcanoes, changes in solar irradiance and shifts in the big ocean cycles) or how they work.

And finally, Steyn again quoted what he wrote in 2009 (since blogger lacks puke green, I'll put the mindless parts in pink):
For the last century, we’ve had ever-so-slight warming trends and ever-so-slight cooling trends every 30 years or so, and I don’t think either are anything worth collapsing the global economy over.

Things warmed up a bit in the decades before the late Thirties. Why? I dunno. The Versailles Treaty? The Charleston?

Then from 1940 to 1970 there was a slight cooling trend. In its wake, Lowell Ponte (who I believe is an expert climatologist and, therefore, should have been heeded) wrote his bestseller, The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

From 1970 to 1998 there was a slight warming trend, and now there’s a slight cooling trend again. And I’m not fussed about it either way.
The part in red is especially inane; Ponte was a gadfly, not a scientist. Here is what Reid Bryson: (one of the first notable contrarians about manmade global warming) wrote in the preface of Ponte's book:
"...There are very few pages that, as a scientist, I could accept without questions of accuracy, of precision, or of balance..."
In the freaking preface! Regarding the "expert climatologist" Ponte:
Lowell Ponte's diverse background includes being a reporter in Washington, D.C., a legislative aide in the California Assembly, one of two co-owners of a successful Hollywood public relations firm, a consultant and speaker for various corporations and trade associations, and dean of a distance-learning university.
Ponte even asserted that the strength of the gravitational force was weakening, because the Moon moves 4 cm/yr away from the Earth. What an "expert!"

Did Steyn intentionally misrepresent Ponte's credentials in order to give his own writing the appearance of authority? If so, is that fraudulent?

Luckily, Steyn has the privilege of writing for conservative rags that aren't exactly known for their fact checking; they're happy as long as he ladels out reddish, half-spoiled meat with a side of Islamophobia for readers who mainly want affirmation for their selfishness, no questions asked and no facts expected.

Steyn should stick to the rags, because he's clearly not going to make it as a science writer. (He doesn't have much going as a defendant, either.)

P.S.: In the preface!

Quote of the Day

“Terri believes we need to keep an eye on it; but she doesn’t believe we should put a meter on the business end of a cow, like the EPA does.”

- Heather Swift, spokeswoman for Republican Terri Lynn Land, who is running for a Senate seat in Michigan, when asked how much of climate change is caused by humans
Her opponent, Democrat Gary Peters, is making climate change an issue in their race, says Politico.

Note: It's really the burping that is the problem with cows, not the flatulence. Gizmodo: "According to researchers at New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute, AGResearch, up to 95 percent of the emissions comes from the cow's mouth rather than its behind."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NEW DATA: Ocean Continues Above Average Warming

The April-June 2014 numbers are up for Ocean Heat Content: 0-700 meter and 0-2000 meters.

Compared to a year ago, the 0-700 m region has gained 8.6 zettajoules, and the 0-2000 m region has gained 23 ZJ.

In more comfortable units, those are 0.53 W/m2, and 1.43 W/m2.

Compared to the averages of the last 8.5 years (because that's one year after the 0-2000 m data begins), these are 160% and 210% higher, respectively.

NOAA's graphs aren't updated yet, so here's my plot:

Someday I will do this right and turn these into anomalies.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Isn't Going to Help

Oh, Geez. I don't think this was a good idea. At all.

Tim Flannery
What follows are several portraits, all seemingly taken in a studio under controlled lighting, of scientists who are concerned about climate change -- one especially because of species extinction, another about an increase in extreme weather events, or, in the case of Tim Flannery, "DISRUPTION OF GLOBAL CIVILIATION."

I can understand their concerns. But the scientists obviously posed for the pictures, "OK, Dr. Flannery" said the photographer, "let's see you look worried.... Maybe a little more scrunch in your forehead?... A little more squint... There, that's perfect (CLICK).

It looks as fake as it is, and it also comes across as emotional manipulation. Probably we should be emotional about climate change, but come on, no one sits around all day looking worried, as if their checking account is low and the rent's past due.

Look for this to be widely mocked. I can't honestly blame anyone if they do.

Study: Cutting Emissions Pays for Itself

A study just published in Nature Climate Change finds that cutting carbon emissions has significant health and economic benefits. From an MIT press release:
“Carbon-reduction policies significantly improve air quality,” says Noelle Selin, an assistant professor of engineering systems and atmospheric chemistry at MIT, and co-author of a study published today in Nature Climate Change. “In fact, policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions improve air quality by a similar amount as policies specifically targeting air pollution.”
"The researchers found that savings from avoided health problems could recoup 26 percent of the cost to implement a transportation policy, but up to 10.5 times the cost of implementing a cap-and-trade program. The difference depended largely on the costs of the policies, as the savings—in the form of avoided medical care and saved sick days—remained roughly constant: Policies aimed at specific sources of air pollution, such as power plants and vehicles, did not lead to substantially larger benefits than cheaper policies, such as a cap-and-trade approach."
The numbers:
CAT = Cap-and-Trade
TRN = transportation sector
CES = Clean Energy Standard (electricity generation)
"Savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. At the other end of the spectrum, a transportation policy with rigid fuel-economy requirements is the most expensive policy, costing more than $1 trillion in 2006 dollars, with health benefits recouping only a quarter of those costs. The price tag of a clean energy standard fell between the costs of the two other policies, with associated health benefits just edging out costs, at $247 billion versus $208 billion."
Including the benefits of better health makes a big difference:
“If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don’t include the significant health benefits from healthier air, they dramatically underestimate the benefits of these policies,” says lead author Tammy Thompson.
Of course, most U.S. Republicans don't care enough to help their constituents get health insurance, so why would they do anything about potential health benefits for them? Watch for the "I'm not a doctor" replies.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Solar Parity is Here Already

From an article in The Independent: "Oil industry on borrowed time as switch to gas and solar accelerates":
Citigroup said solar already competes in the growing regions of the world on "pure economics" without subsidies. It has reached grid parity with residential electricity prices in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia and the US southwest. Japan will cross this year, Korea in 2018. It forecast that even Britain will achieve grid parity by 2020, a remarkable thought for this wet isle at 51 or 52 degrees latitude....

Roughly 29pc [%] of all electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar. The story is by now well-known. A McKinsey study found that installed solar power in the US across all sectors has dropped from $6 a watt to $2.59 in four years, largely due to the collapse in the cost of solar cells.
It's starting to look obvious that those regions of the world where electricity is scarce, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, will get electricty via distributed solar energy, instead of building up an entire infrastructure of roads and pipelines to deliver fossil fuels. Which will obviate the "we can't stop using fossil fuels because the poor need cheap energy" argument. (That argument also does not prove that the wealthy OECD countries should get a pass on fossil fuels. They're rich enough now to switch to cleaner energy, and subsidize it for their country's poor if need be.)

And as fossil fuels are pushed out of the marketplace, their (cooling) aerosol pollution and the -1.9 W/m2 of cooling will go too.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Deep Atlantic Has Stored More Heat that the Rest of Oceans Combined

From Science magazine, on the Chen and Tung paper that finds the missing heat is in the deep Atlantic:
Covering 24 depths from the sea surface down to 1500 meters, the data suggest that over the last decade or so the Atlantic has been absorbing heat (red in the graphic above) that would have otherwise warmed the surface. Over the past 14 years, the authors write, water below 300 meters in the North and South Atlantic oceans has stored more energy than the rest of the global oceans combined. “We found the missing heat,” says one of the authors, oceanographer Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China in Qingdao. He and co-author Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, Seattle, postulate that the mechanism is the “conveyor belt” current that moves salty tropical water to the North Atlantic, where it sinks, carrying heat with it.

Bringing Peace to the Hiatus War

A letter in Nature Geoscience says the hiatus and climate models can be reconciled by looking carefully at what changes in forcings have taken place in the last 15 years and running models with those changes:
Natural variability, radiative forcing and climate response in the recent hiatus reconciled, Markus Huber & Reto Knutti, Nature Geoscience (2014) doi:10.1038/ngeo2228, Published online 17 August 2014.
I'm at a conference and don't have a lot of time to blog today, so I'll just give their abstract and nut graph; their numbered references can be found here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Greenland -- On Its Way to being Green Again

A new paper in The Cryosphere finds some big numbers for ice melt.

Using satellite measurements of ice elevation in Greenland and Antarctica for 3 years -- January 2011 to January 2014 -- they found a combined melt rate for the two ice sheets of 503 ± 103 km3/yr. That's the fastest rate ever recorded.

75% of this comes from Greenland.

That's in line with the earlier results I wrote about a month ago (the number there was 537 km3/yr). And Greenland's melt is accelerating fast; from the numbers here and here I find the acceleration is roughly 30 km3/yr2, or a speedup in the melt rate of about 8% per year. That's a doubling in less than 10 years.

Why does it matter? Ask these people.

Today's YCC Radio Feature ... El Nino

Yale Climate Connections - August 21 2014

Yale CC graphic
Photo El Niño. Scientists are concerned that the next strong El Niño -- when it occurs and not if it occurs -- may pack a greater wallop and more widespread and costly damages across North America.


Other Recent Postings


Today's Solar Power 'Revolution': Powerful Insights from Energy Experts (VIDEO)

Neighbors Helping Neighbors to Pay Costs for Solar (Sara Peach)


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why Now is a Good Time to Buy a New Pair of Waders

A NOAA report shows the large increase in "nuisance" flooding in the last 50 years.

"Nuisance flooding" means "public inconveniences as frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and compromised infrastructure." Like that time you couldn't get to your grandma's for Easter dinner, so you returned home and made do with a Spam sandwich.
This nuisance flooding, caused by rising sea levels, has increased on all three U.S. coasts, between 300 and 925 percent since the 1960s.
The chart gives the top ten areas where such flooding has increased. Increased not just a little bit, but by 4 to 10 times. Most are near the Atlantic hot spot, but Port Isabel, Texas and San Francisco made the list. (The misery must be spread around a little bit.)

Of course, it will only get worse:
“As relative sea level increases, it no longer takes a strong storm or a hurricane to cause flooding,” said William Sweet, Ph.D., oceanographer at NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) and the report’s lead author. “Flooding now occurs with high tides in many locations due to climate-related sea level rise, land subsidence and the loss of natural barriers. The effects of rising sea levels along most of the continental U.S. coastline are only going to become more noticeable and much more severe in the coming decades, probably more so than any other climate-change related factor.”  
This might be a good time to buy a new pair of waders, while supplies last.

Or at least put another round of waterproofing on your boots.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Someone Call Isaac Newton

Today's feature in the category of bad headlines is from the UK's The Independent:

So now it looks like we have gravity deniers to deal with....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Carbon Footprint of the Ferguson Riots

How will what's going on in Ferguson affect the climate?

That's a dumb question, obviously.

But what is going on there is a real crackdown on freedom and First Amendment rights. The police are militarized and they look ready for war. Rand Paul wrote yesterday:
Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.
I'd just like to point out to American climate contrarians that this is the real threat to your freedoms, as is NSA spying on its own citizens, racism (in Ferguson the guns are pointing at the protesters; at Clive Bundy's ranch it was the protestors pointing the guns, without consequence), donors making unknown and unlimted payoffs contributions to politicans, attempts to suppress voting, and the press doing less and less investigative reporting because no one will buy a subscription.

It's not how the electricity that comes into your wall socket is generated. It's not the expectation that you should pay the damage costs of your choice of energy, or leave the planet in the shape you found it (if not better). These are just common sense.

So get your head in the game, and keep your eye on the ball.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

‘Climate Connections’ Radio Series to Begin Airing on August 18


'Climate Connections' Radio Series to Begin Airing on August 18

A 'solutions' based approach to climate change and its impacts, with a focus on actions being taken by individuals and entities to help reduce associated risks.
Yale Climate Connections — formerly The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media — in mid-August begins radio and online distribution of a new daily 90-second radio series, "Climate Connections." The broadcasts will be provided at no cost to public, university, community, and alternative radio stations and others interested in regularly airing it.
Initial broadcasts and website access to the individual stories are to begin August 18.
"Climate Connections" aims to help radio listeners understand how climate change is impacting our lives and what diverse people and organizations are doing to reduce the associated risks. The series "connects the dots" between climate change and energy, extreme weather, public health, food and water, jobs and the economy, national security, the creative arts, and religious and moral values, among other themes.
Many of the broadcasts will include the voice of an individual affected by or helping to solve the challenges posed by a changing climate: the voice of a farmer or rancher describing the impacts of the Great Plains drought on their livelihood; a homeowner describing the benefits of rooftop solar; or a rabbi explaining how the concept of tikkun olam ("repairing the world") applies to climate change. Consistent with the scientific evidence, each of these and many other voices will help translate climate change from an abstract and psychologically distant problem into a concrete story about how climate change is affecting our lives.
Two sample "Climate Connections" broadcasts are available here and here.
The new radio series and the written news stories will continue to be reported by the same team of freelance reporters who have been writing for the Yale Forum over the past several years, along with several new reporters who bring specific broadcast experience to the effort.
This companion website — — will be updated over the next several months to highlight the radio broadcasts and our continuing original features on climate change. Some written news stories will derive from the radio broadcasts, while others will be stand-alone features.
As the individual radio stories are distributed and aired, radio listeners and others will be able to access podcasts and transcripts of each story, along with additional resource materials, through this website.
Yale Climate Connections is edited by veteran environmental journalist and educator Bud Ward, and the "Climate Connections" radio broadcasts are hosted by Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D., Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Communication.
Financial support is provided by The Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment and the Yale Center for Environmental Communication. The radio series is produced by ChavoBart Digital Media of Ithaca, N.Y., whose staff have more than two decades of short-form environmental media experience for the general public.
Radio news directors and programmers wanting to learn more about accessing the daily broadcasts can click here for further information and can direct questions to Erika Street Hopman at (607-269-5062) or Bridgett Ennis at (847-261-4593).

Monday, August 11, 2014

July SST Highest Ever, Excepting Only Last Month

Last month the Hadley global sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly for June was at its highest ever for the entire dataset, which goes back to 1850.

This month, Hadley's July SST anomaly was second-highest, warmer than all months except last month. (Seems like the start of a cooling trend).

Map of sea-surface temperature anomalies from HadSST3 for latest month

Sunday, August 10, 2014


"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

- Aldo Leopold

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pac Northwest's Impact from AGW to be Relatively Mild?

University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass was on Oregon Public Radio a little while ago, talking about what models say about the impact of climate change on the Pacific Northwest. (Audio to appear here.)

His message was that the Pacific Northwest looks to come out relatively well during this century's climate change: No significant threat from sea level rise, perhaps some impact on the atmospheric river ("the Pineapple Express" that brings storms to this region, probably some impact on snow levels and hence water supplies, and ocean acidification (which is already affecting this region):
Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, says that whether you look at temperature, sea rise, drought dangers, or likelihood of severe storms, the Northwest seems like an oasis of relative stability compared to the rest of the U.S.

Does that mean that we can expect a big in-migration of climate change refugees, as some studies have explored?
If true, that means most of what we have to worry about is the (already overdue) M9 earthquake lurking somewhere in our future.

Speaking of impacts here, this week the federal government cut off water to about "one-third of the farms on a federal irrigation project" in the Klamath river basin in southern Oregon. And it's going to hurt:
Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association said Tuesday that the most recent cutoff means no more water for 50,000 acres of the project. Most of those farms produce hay, and losing irrigation will mean they lose up to half their crop for the year, he said.

Addington expects there will be enough water for the remaining farms on the project to finish the season.

Rain and snowfall over the winter was the lowest in 20 years and the third lowest on record, he said. The drought is worse than in 2001, when irrigation was shut off to nearly all of the project to maintain water for endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake and threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River.
(Emphasis mine.)

Gordon Fulks, Harassing Yet Again

Also lying -- his response was moderated, not blocked, and appears here. (He does, after all, have a history of being "uncivil.") Seems he didn't like this. And this. Which I didn't at all mean to be sarcastic.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Appell
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 20:15:51 +0000
From: Gordon Fulks <>
To: <>, <>, Jim Karlock <>
CC: <>, Jim Diamond, Thomas Hellie

Hello Everyone,

David Appell replied with his characteristic sarcasm and then blocked this response from me on his blog:

Hi David,

It is amazing to see all of the excuses you can dredge up for NOT discussing the science.  But the "you offended us" excuse is probably the most absurd.

Please tell us how the well-known professor of physics at Princeton University (Will Happer) offended you or Jim Diamond or Thomas Hellie?

He was NOT invited to speak as a counterpoint to Michael Mann, yet has far better academic qualifications.  Were these what caused offense?  Does it anger you and Linfield College that a member of the US National Academy of Sciences is willing to speak out against climate hysteria?  Or was it the fact that he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society?  Or was it the fact that he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science?

Skeptics are forever bombarded with sarcasm and personal attacks to try to get them to cower.  Yet we keep coming back pointing out that science is not conducted by character assassination and urging you to discuss the scientific issues, if you can.

Perhaps you should consider a constructive approach?


CC:; Jim Diamond, Thomas Hellie
Subject: [GWR] RE: Appell
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 18:47:16 +0000

Dear Chuck,

We will have to admonish David Appell for forgetting to attack you too!  :-)

Better luck at getting his attention next time!  :-)

I left him this message:

Hi David,

Thanks for posting some of our emails that demonstrate our willingness to discuss climate issues from a scientific perspective, including the very basic issues of what constitutes science and what is merely storytelling.

As someone who long ago spent time in science, you know that real scientists love to discuss and argue the subjects where they are well-informed. Hence it should not seem strange to you that we try to engage Dr. Diamond and his college.

What is very strange is that they refuse all scientific dialogue. That certainly says that they feel unable to hold their own on this subject. Yet it is not a subject where one needs a PhD to realize that most of the lore is desperately wrong.

By the way, Roger Cohen (whose email you show above) is also a PhD physicist and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. That makes him one of the top physicists in the USA.


Subject: Re: appell
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 12:39:15 -0400

I am deeply hurt that I apparently didn't antagonize him enough to get some free press....:(

Chuck Wiese

PS; Congratulations, Gordon:D

Jim Diamond on "Carl in the Morning"

Jim Diamond, the professor of chemistry at Linfield College here in Oregon whose op-ed in the Oregonian got him harassed by some of the state's climate change deniers, was on yesterday's "Carl in the Morning" show, an online radio show here. He talked about what people can do individually to cut back on their carbon emissions, their impact on the environment in general, and what we need to do about climate change.

The 18-minute interview starts at about the 1:04:00 mark:

NOAA Still Predicting a Moderate El Niño

Even though much of the warm water that was in the equatorial Pacific has dissipated, NOAA still puts the chance of a moderate El Niño later this fall and early winter at 65%:
Over the last month, model forecasts have slightly delayed the El Niño onset, with most models now indicating the onset during July-September, with the event continuing into early 2015 (Fig. 6). A strong El Niño is not favored in any of the ensemble averages, and slightly more models call for a weak event rather than a moderate event. At this time, the consensus of forecasters expects El Niño to emerge during August-October and to peak at weak strength during the late fall and early winter (3-month values of the Niño-3.4 index between 0.5oC and 0.9oC). The chance of El Niño has decreased to about 65% during the Northern Hemisphere fall and early winter....
Their model projections for the Niño3.4 region are above. Except the latest Nino3.4 anomaly is already negative:

Why does it matter? Because an El Nino could bring lots of rain to California this winter, writes Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury News, who also quotes some pessimistic scientists, including this one:
"It takes big droughts to make big changes in water policy in California," Lund said. "It would cinch the deal if we have another dry year."

On Living in an Anti-Vax State

I sent Oregon's high vaccination exemption rate to my sister, and she sent me this:
Yes, I knew that about Oregon.  All these hippy, dippy organic, paranoid parents.  One time when [her son] was a wee infant, we were exposed to someone with whooping cough in our mom/baby yoga class and it was about a week before I was to fly to Albuquerque.  I rec'd a call from the health dept and it was a big deal.  He had been vaccinated, so he was OK, but I had to see the doctor since he had still only gotten one shot and it was a little frightening because he could have gotten really sick.  All due to a mother not vaccinating her child.  People see this as a personal decision but it's such a societal problem, particularly for infants and the elderly.  Measles rates are climbing at a rapid rate and these folks still believe that vaccinations are bad.  Makes me crazy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Political Ideology & Who Vaccinates (and Who Doesn't)

View image on TwitterKeith Kloor discusses this state-by-state data on nonmedical vaccine exemptions, in the context of a dumb message twittered by Mother Jones.

For me, it's more interesting that Oregon leads the nation in vaccine exemptions. Why would that be?

In the comments on Keith's blog, someone makes a good point:
Perhaps there are less "alternative" doctors in the bible belt. It may just be that bible belt doctors play it by the book. There would be nobody to give the parents bad advice even if they sought it out...
I think there might be something to that -- or that conservatives in conservative states play it by the book, and are less likely to fall for fashionable scientific ideas (anti-GMO comes to mind, and climate change, which, whatever the science, undoubtably has a 'fashionable' angle to it) than liberals. (Idaho and New Mexico would seem to be exceptions, though.)

Meanwhile, in the dark red states of Oregon and Vermont, you can't swing a stethoscope without hitting a naturopath, alternative healer, vegan therapist or specialist in Chinese medicine.

When and where I grew up -- when the US was more of a conservative, white bread, Chevy-driving, baseball and apple pie nation -- before the hippies and Richard Nixon ruined everything -- it would have been unthinkable to question your doctor on what vaccines your child would receive. (I still remember, as a 6 or 7 or 8-year old, going to the VFW one evening and waiting in a line to get a sugar cube in a small white paper cup, which I think contained the vaccine for polio). Other than that, we all got measles, German measles, chickenpox and the mumps when they came around. But I'm sure my mother and my aunts didn't question other vacccines when we went to Dr. Spino in Greensburg -- he was the doctor and he knew best and you did what he said.

Aside: Everyone went to Dr. Spino -- all my siblings and cousins -- and when he was done he let you pick a lollipop out of a jar. I just googled him and found (!) that in 2011 he won a Congressional Medal of Honor
"for a lifetime's commitment to treating children, often not charging those who cannot afford health care and saving tens of thousands of lives."
He certainly deserved it.... Anyway, to the extent that conservatism reigns in a region, I'm not really surprised it would have high vaccination rates, and that the crunchy free-thinking liberals (mostly) don't. There are enough anti-scientific sentiments out there to spread evenly over the political spectrum.

Added 8/7: Although The Economist now ranks Portland as only the 12th-most liberal city in the US:
1. San Francisco
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Seattle
4. Oakland, California
5. Boston
6. Minneapolis
7. Detroit
8. New York
9. Buffalo, New York
10. Baltimore
11. Chicago
12. Portland, OR

Saturday, August 02, 2014

More Harassment from Deniers in Oregon

Writing an op-ed on how to lower your carbon footprint will now get you harassed in Oregon.

James Diamond, a chemistry professor at Linfield College (a great liberal arts college just south of Portland) had an op-ed in yesterday's Oregonian: "What you can do to cut your carbon footprint: Guest opinion," inspired by his recent trip to the American Chemical Society's national meeting.

Some people apparently think that such articles are not allowed. So they report you to to your boss and cc all their denier friends in their denier mailing group, who pile on and harass further with their personal emails (Those replies, there or here, are why comment sections exist).

Gordon Fulks is their ringleader, just as he was for the harassment I went through a week ago.

Fulks isn't content to merely comment on the article on the Oregonian's site (it's the second comment here) -- he sent it as an email to the president of Linfield College, as if he expected it would get Diamond reprimanded or fired.
From: Gordon Fulks <>
Date: August 2, 2014 at 3:49:57 PM EDT
To: "" <>
Cc: Jim Diamond, Thomas Hellie
Subject: Linfield College again displays ignorance
Hello everyone,

Linfield College Chemist Jim Diamond is promoting solutions to a 'problem' that he will not discuss and does not understand:

I wrote this response on Oregonlive:

Dear Dr. Diamond,

You and I have tried to discuss the science of climate on a number of occasions, but you refuse all substantive discussions.  I have challenged you to debate the issue in front of your students at Linfield College, but you refuse.

After Linfield College allowed the notorious meteorologist Dr. Michael Mann to speak, I asked Linfield President Thomas Hellie to allow someone to provide the skeptical perspective, but he would not even return my telephone calls.

I suggested to you that you invite Professor of Physics Will Happer from Princeton University.  Will is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.  When he gave a lecture to Nobel Laureates at UC Berkeley, they listened attentively and asked good questions.  When he gave the same lecture at a nearby junior college, the audience was disruptive.  Is the intellectual tradition at Linfield College still lower than a junior college?

Neither you nor apparently any of your faculty have ANY background in climate science, yet you profess complete devotion to "the cause."  Isn't that a bit outrageous for someone who considers himself a scientist?  You are supposed to be able to discuss the logic and evidence on whatever topic you profess competence.  Can you?

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

cc: Dr. Thomas Hellie, President of Linfield College
By now Fulks schtick is clear: pretend he's sciencer-than-thou, accuse another scientist of "ignorance," and whine that no one pays him any attention -- as if a president of a college would give more than a nanopicosecond about his emails and phone calls.

Fulks always cc's his buddies -- -- who in this case quickly piled on with their usual piffle:
From: Ken Schlichte <>
Date: August 1, 2014 at 8:03:17 PM EDT
To: 'global-warming-realists' <>
Cc: Jim Diamond
Subject: What You Can Do To Cut Your Carbon Footprint:  Guest Opinion    -    The Oregonian

What You Can Do To Cut Your Carbon Footprint:  Guest Opinion

What You Can Do To Cut Your Carbon Footprint:  Guest Opinion, by Dr. James J. Diamond, professor of chemistry at Linfield College, and in the August 1 The Oregonian link at, is copied at the bottom of the page and concludes with the following statements,

"Worldwide emissions now are 165 percent of those in 1988. If 1988 was the time to act to reduce CO2 emissions, what should we be doing now? It is up to us to act together to reduce our reliance on burning carbon."

Dr. Diamond states above that worldwide CO2 emissions are now 165 percent of those in 1988 and that it is up to us to act together to reduce our reliance on burning carbon, but he will be relieved to learn that the NOAA National Climatic Data Center Climate at a Glance site at reports the official Oregon climate data indicating that:

·         Annual temperatures in Oregon's Climate Division 2 (The Willamette Valley) have trended downward at a rate of 0.3 degrees F per decade since 1988.
·         Annual temperatures in Oregon's Climate Division 2 (The Willamette Valley) have trended downward at a rate of 0.5 degrees F per decade over the last 20 years.
·         Annual temperatures in Oregon's Climate Division 2 (The Willamette Valley) have trended downward at a rate of 1.4 degrees F per decade over the last 10 years.

Annual temperatures in Oregon's Climate Division 2 (The Willamette Valley) have trended downward at increasing downward rates since 1988, as indicated by the official NCDC data above, even while our worldwide CO2 emissions have continued to increase to 165 percent of those in 1988.
From: jim karlock <>
Date: August 1, 2014 at 8:32:39 PM EDT
To: Jim Diamond
Cc: gwr <>
Subject: A question
I saw you article in the Oregonian and have two questions:

1. Why do you believe that man?s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming?

2. What is the actual proof that man's CO2 is causing dangerous global warming?

Keep in mind that:

* Past warming periods such as the Minoen, Roman and Medieval were as warm or warmer than the present time.
* The ice core data used by Al Gore actually show CO2 following, not leading temperature.
* The historical temperature chart used by AL Gore showing a sudden recent increase in temperature is simply wrong and has been dropped from the latest IPCC report.
* Man emits around 5% of the annual CO2 emission, while natural sources emit about 95%.
* Water vapor causes more greenhouse effect than CO2.
* The rate of recent warming is within historical norms. (The late 1800s and early 1900s warming rates are statistically indistinguishable form the current according to CRU head Phil Jones in his BBC interview).
* Glaciers retreated faster in the 1930s (before most of man's CO2 emission) than recently.
* Climate warming slowed (or quit) 15 years ago (depending on data source and criteria) and the IPCC climate models did not predict this pause.
* Coincidence does not prove causation.
* Many, if not all, claimed extreme weather is actually not extreme when looking back a few hundred years, let alone compared to earlier times where no good records exist.

Thank You
Jim Karlock
Karlock -- who on the Oregonian's boards seems to go by both his real name and "Logical Thinker" -- has trailed me on comment boards for years, always asking if "man's CO2 is causing dangerous global warming." Of course, a thoughtful reply never works -- he just asks over and over, because apparently he thinks it's a killer question -- or, at least, the only trick he has. So anymore I ask him to please define the word "dangerous," because it's not a scientific term but one of human values, but never replies to that, not even once, I think.

So it seems now you can't even write a simple op-ed in the Oregonian about climate change without them coming after you. You can't suggest how to lower your carbon footprint. Apparently you can't even claim that climate change is anthropogenic. With the science getting ever stronger, the harassment gets ever nastier.

Added 4:43 pm PDT: And it continues:
> From:
> Date: August 2, 2014 at 6:47:52 PM EDT
> To: Gordon Fulks <>
> Cc:, Jim Diamond, Thomas Hellie
> Subject: Re: [GWR] Linfield College again displays ignorance
>  Frankly most chemists know very little about the processes that lead to climate and climate change, and Diamond is a perfect example of one ignorant of the science.   Why chemists and the ACS should feel the need to chime in on something they know so little about might be considered a mystery, unless they merely seek to cash in on the torrent of funding supporting continued alarmism.   In any event this piece is simply a silly embarrassment to chemists, and to Linfield College, whatever that is.