Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thom Hartmann Does It Too

The other day I was driving somewhere -- actually, I think, driving back from somewhere -- and was listening to Thom Hartmann on the local community radio station here.

I mostly like Thom Hartmann, because he seems thoughtful. At least, more thoughtful than the right-wing commenters, by far. But he also seems very biased towards the left, sometimes reflexively so.

Some caller to his show was asking about solar energy, and Hartmann's response was that solar was cheaper than all other sources and he didn't know why the media wasn't reporting this, but it was probably because Big Oil/Gas/Coal had bought the media with ads and other payoffs.

And that was disappointing, because I had just happened to read a very good article about this, and it made a solid impression on me, so I knew immediately that Hartmann was wrong. What's worse is that he immediately dived to a token extreme left position -- media bought off by corporate America -- when he had no evidence of that and, worse, no understanding of the real situation at all (which is always more complex that can fit into their small thoughtless catch phrases).

Simply because I read this one article, and understood it, Hartmann looked very small and very stereotypical, and not in a good way. Those kind of instances come along from time to time -- for you too I'm sure -- and they color what you hear/read afterward. It's kinda of a quantum change.

Hartmann was just flat out wrong. As was his excuse. As this Bloomberg Technology article covers in good detail, solar is now cheaper where electricity demand is growing and where the capitalization costs of its plants (or farms) competes directly with capitalization costs of coal/gas plants.

That's the case in many nations, in Africa, in Asia, and the like -- but not the case in the US. Here coal plants, and many gas plants, have already been built and are either paid off or are being paid off. They have a big jump on capitalization costs, and, I don't know for sure, but suspect, on writing off those capitalition costs.

Solar farms are new right out off start. The Ivanpah solar farm in Nevada cost $2.2 B to construct before any electricity was ever delivered. That's a lot of headway.

My purpose here isn't to compare prices per kWh to the nearest tenth of a penny and do a full life-cycle cost projection. It's just to point out how eager Thom Hartmann was to blame Big Corp when he really had no understanding of the issue at all.

I found that disappointing.

I sent an email to Hartmann about this, but of course never heard back.

And isn't that the world we live in these days? The bigger their audience, the bigger their lies -- oops, their misspeakings -- and all the less interest they have in trying to be right, admist all the complexity.

Hartmann, Limbaugh, Hannity, all of them -- they don't care about the truth. They just want to spout, and get to the next commercial.

Hell, if they ever wavered, or said they just didn't know, we're probably all punch the button for the next channel we have stored in our console.

The next many years are looking to be a lousy time for anyone who cares about the truth and thinks it isn't all that simple at all. Perhaps.

You really can't ever ask enough questions. Don't trust anyone, as far as possible.

Dead Island trailer

John Fleck on the Radio, Friday

John Fleck, author of Water is for Fighting Over*, will be on KQED on Friday talking about Colorado River water.

I hope it's archived, because lately I'm up very late at night and so down in the morning. I'll try to let you know.

PS: I reviewed his book here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Updates and Various Things I'm Thinking

We've all heard that the warming for a CO2 doubling, absent feedbacks, is 1.2 K. What calculation does this number come from? Does it come from a logarithmic dependence on CO2/CO2_initial? I'm asking, because if it does, then clearly, since the change in temperature with CO2 just 1.45*CO2_initial is 0.8-1.0 K, feedbacks have already started to kick in.  

John Fasullo et al wrote a paper published in August saying that an accelerating sea level rise is imminent. That's what my calculations show, fitting AVISO and CU sea level to a quadratic. 

acceleration of AVISO SLR = 0.052 ± 0.009 mm/yr2
acceleration of CU SLR = 0.034 ± 0.015 mm/yr2

where the error bars are 2-sigma, without autocorrelation.

Jo Nova has deleted this odious comment. As well she should have. Thanks.

And this trash from "Phil Jourdan"

I'll take this as a victory.

Still working on suyts, who thinks I "cyber stalked" him when his real name was, in fact, available months beforehand on this document. And he had already written he lived in Topeka, Kansas.

Suyts likes to insult everyone, while using a fake name himself. I resolved to show him how that felt. Clearly I made that clear to him, and it stung.

The December issue of Scientific American has an very interesting article on the climate impacts of permafrost melt, by Ted Schur of Northern Arizona University.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

John Fleck's "Water is for Fighting Over"

I've just finished reading John Fleck's new book.

The first thing to realize is that the title is intentionally misleading, even a little risky. It's full title is, "Water is for Fighting Over: And Other Myths About Water in the West."

The subtitle makes all the difference.

Because Fleck took a different, refreshing turn on the subject.

Disclosure: I know John and have had dinner with him a time (or two?) when I was back in Albuquerque on family business. (My mother, now deceased, lived there, and my dad still does. I went to the University of New Mexico after we moved there in the late 1970s,after the steel industry fell apart in southwestern Pennsylvania. I was an undergraduate there for three years, and graduated with a BA in math and physics.) John is a really great guy, and maybe that influences my review here a little bit. Frankly, it should.

It's easy to look at the Colorado River, which not long ago didn't release a cubic centimeter of water into the Gulf of California. Seven US southwestern states all wanted a share of the river's water. State-by-state quotas were established in the 1920s, the worse time of all because the river was then at long-term highs, not at all typical of the present decades, or of today's droughts.

There were arguments and lawsuits. Every state struggled to get as much water as it could with the 1922 Law of the River, an edict that sounds like something happy out of Middle Earth. Issues went to the Supreme Court, some cases lasting more than a decade.

The glory of Fleck's book is that he saw through all these struggles between one state's agency's position, Mexico's interests (often ignored), California's seemingly inexhaustible thirst (kind of a bully), thirsty Arizona and Las Vegas, and the ever-forgotten Native Americans.

He recognized that these had, in recent years, been superceded by a network, a network of people from state agencies, tribes, environmental groups and more, who came to realize that working together, quietly in the background, hashing out their differences at conferences of specialists and friends, at happy hours afterward, at small gatherings at hotels in the region -- that this approach worked better, more smoothly, more fruitfully in overcoming differences and finding a way to real agreements. Person-to-person. And to this day.

That's not easy for a writer to recognize. It would have been much easier to write a book about all the looming shortages of Colorado River water, how (it's claimed) it simply cannot meet all the water needs of the big southwestern cities, and southern California as well. But Fleck drove all over the southwest, watching dams open and talking quietly to the state and national officials who made those happen. The water kept flowing.

That's Fleck's second significant realization -- that, when water is scarce, regions and cities and states learn how to make due with less. It isn't a mano-to-mano struggle over every last drop of water -- water managers have learned that there is no hope for one if there isn't hope for all. Albuquerque, Las Vegas, LA -- all have made major strides in water conservation. And John had the foresight to recognize that, and write about it.

So this book isn't an update to Marc Reisner's 1986 Cadillac Desert. Fleck's book looks deeper, for the real story, the human story of how people are making it work, and it finds optimism. And that isn't a message a writer finds every day, or, either, that the reader hears every day.

John blogs here.

Legal Action Against Joanne Codling (Jo Nova)

I am proceeding with a law suit against Joanne Codling (, whose stage name is "Jo Nova."

Every bit of her post here is a lie, and libelous, and she hasn't any proof at all except hearsay and the lies of others:

This lie comes from "Phil Jourdan" (who I've heard might be "mpainter" who was banned from Roy Spencer's blog). You'll notice he accused me of "stalking and threatening children," which in no way does his citation support. He's on the list too.

This also is full of lies, which he said came from the fake name "Suyts" at Wordpress, real name "James Sexton":

BTW, James Sexton wrote this over three years ago, but I pay so little attention to him I didn't see it until now.

I have already been in touch with Wordpress about Sexton's libelous post.

-- David

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jo Nova Update

About this: Jo Nova said she took the offending post down -- but she won't publish her words saying so, or my words complaining, thus leaving her readers to think no action was taken at all.


Friday, December 09, 2016

Climate change escalating so fast it is 'beyond point of no return' | The Independent

Tweet by Pew Research Center on Twitter

Pew Research Center (@pewresearch)
Trump's personal favorability far lower than that of past president-elects

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Yes, Antarctic sea ice extent is at record lows right now for it's date, but its trend is still very much upward. Which lately some people (ie. Chris Mooney, who has been an exaggerating hyper-alarmist his entire career -- here for November -- while being utterly ignorant of basic physics) wants to overlook the long-term trend for short-term results. Don't we castigate deniers for the same every day of the year(?):

Maybe there is some tipping point. I haven't seen anyone explain that -- have you?

Otherwise Antarctic sea ice is going to have a statistically signifant positive trend for a very long time.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Every US State Had a Top 10 Hottest Year

Well, at least up through November:


Personally, there's no reason to base a year on the 12th month that ends a so-called messiah's birth. All the major temperature indices, I think, have reached highest-in-record 12 months moving averages, this year.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Volume Now Down 45%

Using my nifty-difty equation for the fractional loss of a quantity that has a linear trend, Arctic sea ice volume is now down 45% since the record started in January 1979.

(Have I said yet how crappy Windows 10 is? And Excel 365? They are barely worth a beta release; I will never buy anything made by Microsoft ever again. Same with Hewlett Packard -- I bought an HP ENVY in late June for $700, and so much doesn't work on it that I'd like to throw it across my fence and be done with it. Extremely disappointing. I've bought HP products before -- a laptop and more than one printer -- but this product is a complete piece of junk. And, no, I'm not willing to spend endless hours on a phone with a technician trying to make all the mistakes better.)

 Anyway, Arctic SIV is declining steadily and scarily. In less than just 40 years.

Fred Singer's Nobel Prize

"John Christy, my fellow skeptic and fellow co-recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize (by virtue of having our names listed in IPCC reports) in the WSJ [ITEM #4]"


Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Sticking Point About the Movie "Alliance"

I saw the movie Alliance a couple of weeks ago. It's pretty good, especially if you like good, mostly hard science fiction. But somethings still bothers me about it.

This isn't giving anything away that's not in the trailers, until I warn you. In the picture to the right is symbol containing a sentence (or some complicated thought) of the alien's language. The plot evolves around a linguist's (Amy Adams) ability to translate such symbols and so try to communicate with the aliens. Before this she approached them with a whiteboard on which she'd write her name or a word from English, but that didn't work.

Instead she works on translating their language. The way they show her doing this is good stuff -- she tries to break down parts of the loop (and they're always loops) into individual "words" or "thoughts" or "feelings" or the equivalent. Eventually she succeeds somewhat, but it's too late and the politicans of the world take to aggressively dealing with what they see as a massive threat to the and to Earth. (There are about 12 of these ships at various points around the globe.) Of course that ruins everything.

Now you should stop here if you don't want to risk any spoilers.

Slate had a interesting interview with a real linquist who gave some insight into how different language structure words or thoughts. And a summary of what the plot means.

Apparently the aliens experience "nonlinear time." (I didn't get this this until I read about the movie afterward.) Their loops contains subsymbols that aren't necessary in a linear time order -- the aliens think about time cyclically instead of in a straight line. Slate: "As Louise [the lingust] learns the language, she also begins gradually experiencing visions of her future, a sign that she too is beginning to experience time differently."

I don't know what nonlinear time is. I don't see how it wouldn't violate causality. I don't see how the speed of light could be a constant in all reference frames, as we know it is. (Einstein assumed that as a postulate of special relativity, and by the accuracy of its predictions we take it now as a fundamental property of the universe.) If time is cyclic, couldn't you, in particular, travel from where you are today and when and come back to the same place and time? Or at least the same time? What then if you didn't do the same thing you did the first time? How can these aliens be just a few feet from humans and experience time so radically different?

That's just one thing that bothered me. The other is that, here are these aliens who managed to come here, en masse, from who knows where in the universe. They also know something about antigravity, or altering the direction of gravity, as the early parts of the show make clear; also their spaceships hang silently several meters above the ground.

So these beings know how to do all this, and we have to translate their language?? They can't translate ours? Nonlinear time presumably has linear time as its zeroth-order leading term, and but they don't understan that? They are clearly very intelligent compare to us, but they can't translate a simple linear language?

I didn't find that convincing. Of course, the plot hangs on the struggle to understand their language before Earth's countries try to bomb them to hell out of them (trivial for them to handle). Without that struggle, the plot would collapse into much less than it is, and probably not enough.

So in these senses the movie isn't exactly hard scifi -- it alters reality for the sake of its plot. Just when they started getting to the good stuff, they pull a deus ex machina. The fact that a lot of people needed the plot explained to them afterward shows this didn't really work.

Still, it's a movie well worth seeing.

"You're sitting in a CHAIR in the SKY"

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Krugman Does It Again

From today's New York Times:

And he has an almost school-boyish, smartest-kid-in-the-class aversion to ever being called wrong:

Trump was elected on 11/8. That night the Dow futures tanked, as did the Nikkei Index. But on 11/9 the S&P 500 went up 1.1% from its previous close. The next day it was up another 0.2%. At that point Krugman cried "uncle." Not very impressive.

But he's sure in the long run Trump will be a disaster. I'd like to think so too, but it's not clear to me at this point. Already he is showing signs of compromising his campaign promises -- on the wall, on the Affordable Care Act, on a Muslim ban, and on same-sex marriage.

Anyway, Krugman says Trump will bring "runaway climate change." If he means "runaway" in the scientific sense, a la Venus, he's wrong -- the Earth isn't close enough to the Sun to undergo such a runaway (but only by a few million km). Even if we burn all the fossil fuels available -- about 12,500 Pg carbon, according to Swart and Weaver 2012 -- we'd get 9 to 33 C of warming. Serious shit, but not runaway.

Maybe Krugman thinks Trump will keep us on RCP 8.5. Probably, but the world is on that anyway. Nothing the US can do individually to stop it, and I don't see the US killing the Paris agreement alone. If anything there might be some retaliation. I hope there is -- that's the best way to enforce a global carbon tax.

Passing the Torch

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


"We fear," remarked an Eskimo shaman responding to a religious question from the explorer Knud Rasmussen some fifty years ago. "We fear the cold and the things we do not understand. But most of all we fear the doings of the heedless ones among ourselves."

-- Loren Eiseley, "The Winter of Man" from A Star Thrower (1969)

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Krugman's Climate Hyperbole

Amidst all the other nutbaggery about this election, it's also made me lose some respect for Paul Krugman.

Sure, he's a Nobel Laureaute in economics, so he doesn't need my opinion. But I used to respect him for, especially, backing up his claims with data -- often from the FRED database. He had a great way of supplying a tidy graph that clearly supported his claims and easily refuted others, and of using toy models to make his points. 

That actually had a real influence on me, several years ago. I started trying to keep close track of the data -- not so much economic, but climate -- in order to know what I though I understood, and being able to back it up. 

But I can't say the same about Krugman anymore. For one thing, he has all but abandoned writing about economics in the last year, instead writing as a clear shill for Hillary. He dismissed Bernie, the clear progressive choice, from the very get-go.
My suspicion, with no supporting evidence, is that Krugman has been promised a place in Hillary's administration, either formally or (more likely) informally, as a deep consultant. He won't admit that, it seems, either way, which to me raises concerns about his objectivity. Even the NY Times doesn't seem to care about his relationships. 'Course, they have been heavily biased for Hillary all along. 

The other day, Krugman said on Bloomberg TV:
“If the Democrats take the Senate, we probably save the planet,” said Krugman, who recently bemoaned the absence of climate-related questions during the president debates. “Climate change has turned out to be an easier issue economically, and an easier issue politically than we thought.”
This is such hyperbolic crap. The U.S. could disappear tomorrow and the world would still have a very serious climate problem from its 35 gigatons of carbon emitted. (The US takes this up to about 40 GtC.)

Obama's Clean Power Plan 

US 2005 CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels were 5.99 Gt CO2. 32% off that leaves emissions of 4.07 Gt CO2 in 2030 -- still huge. 

That reduction of 1.9 Gt CO2 by 2030 is hardly -- hardly -- enough to "save the planet," as Krugman thinks. It's nowhere close. Saving the planet still relies on immense cuts in the future, and ideally before 2030. Maybe it leads to Kumbaya reductions. I doubt it. Actually it's probably too late now anyhow.

Everyone in this presidential campaign is lying, has lied, will lie a again. At this point I just wish to avoid the destruction of America, and even of the world. But I don't see the big picture changing. I am sorry to see Krugman become part of the hyperbole and giving up on being part of the solution. 

Who cares at this point? 


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Ocean Heat Content Continues to Drop, But the Drop is Slowing

Third quarter numbers for ocean heat content (OHC) were just published (0-700 m; 0-2000 m), and they show it continuing to drop, though the rate is slowing considerably.

Quarterly changes were:

0-700 m: -0.06 W/m2
0-2000 m: -0.16 W/m2

both less than 10% of last quarter's changes. Year-over-year changes are

0-700 m: -0.92 W/m2
0-2000 m: -1.10 W/m2

May be why lower tropospheric temperatures are still (UAH) at record highs.

N.b. Since 1955, the 0-700 m region of the ocean has absorbed 11.0 W/m2 of heat. That's like a permanent 100 Watt light bulb distributed over an area only 10 ft x 10 ft.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Global Sea Ice Extent Is Plunging

Arctic sea ice extent is at a record low for this date of the year, and Antarctic sea ice extent is second-lowest. The results is that global SIE's anomaly is in completely new territory. (NSIDC data; anomaly relative to 1981-2010.)

And here's the global SIE for October 29th of each year since 1979:

Friday, October 28, 2016

70% of US CO2 Reduction Due Simply to Cheaper Natural Gas

US annualized CO2 emissions peaked in January 2008, at 6.01 gigatons of CO2 per year.

The latest US EIA data shows that July 2016 had annualized emissions of 5.12 Gt CO2/yr. 

("Annualized" just means the moving sum of the latest 12 months.)

That's a 15% decrease, and it's not trivial, especially in just 8+ years. Per capita emissions are down an impressive 29% from their peak.

How much of this decline is due to fracking, versus deliberate efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions? 

I estimate about 70% of this decline is due to exchanging coal power for power from natural gas, for electricity generation. Some of this is due to fracking, some due to simple economics of power plants, if indeed there's any difference. 

Oil emissions are up in recent months because oil prices are down. 

The result is

where the energy delivered from coal + natural gas hasn't changed much for about 15 years

indicating the difference in emissions isn't due much to reduced energy usage, but from switching from coal-genereated power to natural gas-generated power.

(The units energy engineers use suck. 1 Quad = 1015 BTU = 1.055 exajoules. 1 BTU = 1,055 Joules.)

The latest numbers say that the total change in CO2 emissions is down 896 Mt CO2 from its peak, whereas the change in CO2 emissions from coal + NG is down 634 Mt CO2 from its peak. 

So coal + NG makes up 71% of the decline. What remains -- less than 1/3rd -- is due to slightly more efficient cars, perhaps more efficient lighting, etc. 

But the bulk of the decline has come without individuals, or Obama, doing much in the way of CO2 reductions. Instead it's mostly from the switch of generating power via coal to generating power from natural gas. Because natural gas is now cheaper. 

So that reduction could well not hold if the relative prices of natural gas and coal, per BTU generated, stop holding or reverse.

So we, or Obama, don't really deserve a lot of credit. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


"Nostalgia locates desire in the past where it suffers no 
active conflict and can be yearned toward pleasantly."

- Robert Hass

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Callendar's 1938 Figure

And via Ed Hawkins on Twitter, here's an interesting figure from Guy Callendar's 1938 scientific paper:

It's from "The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Temperature," G. S. Callendar, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society v64 Issue 275 pp 223-240 (April 1938). [PDF]

Callendar also mentions the "well known" heat island effect, on page 235.

Note Callendar didn't attribute all the temperature rise to CO2. I don't see in his paper (though I haven't read it carefully) where he considered possible changes in solar irradiance (or, for that matter, a reduction in volcanic cooling that was part of the Little Ice Age). But those would be small, perhaps just a few hundreths of a degree (climate sensitivity to changes in solar radiance is small, about 0.1°C/(W/m2), for solar radiance measured at the top of the atmosphere; see the  IPCC 5AR).

1912 Newspaper Article on CO2 and Climate

Here's an interesting 1912 newspaper article from New Zealand:

The reference is: “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate,” Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, August 14, 1912.

Andrew Revkin has more here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fwd: New offering of Climate1x coming up soon! Starts Nov 1st.

-------- Forwarded Message --------

Subject: New offering of Climate1x coming up soon! Starts Nov 1st.
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:06:33 +0000
From: Climate Change: The Science Course Staff <>

edX Course Update for Climate Change: The Science
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Course Update from:
Climate Change: The Science

Go to Course

Dear David Appell,

Know anyone who wants to learn more about climate science? We have a new offering of Climate Change: The Science open for registration at!  The course will start Nov 1st.  

If you have friends, colleagues, students, teachers, family, neighbors or anyone you think might enjoy this course, please feel free to pass along the link above.  Or maybe you would like to join us again, if you didn't have time to finish, or you're interested in earning a verified certificate.  We'd love to see you!

If you're active on twitter, facebook, or other social media, or if you are connected with listserves that might reach interested people, it'd be great if you could help spread the word. #climate1x, #climatechange, #mooc, and #edx are all useful tags.  Thanks for helping us connect with others!

Good luck to you with all your future climate-change-related activities!

Sara Harris and your Climate Change: The Science course staff

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Dirt from Anthony Watts and His Blog

Warning: Don't invite Anthony Watts to your parties. He has a habit of leaving a lot of vomit on the floor. Or Eric Worrall, who has been nothing but wrong.

I predict Worrall's string of failures, shown below, won't change his inept and stubborn mind one bit.

"Everyone knows the Paris agreement was dead on arrival."
- Eric Worrall, WUWT 5/28/16

"It seems likely Lord Deben’s concerns about the Paris Climate Treaty are shared by other prominent green politicians."
- Eric Worrall, WUWT 3/9/16

"If the Paris Climate Agreement was already a joke, the Chinese electricity export plan is surely the punchline."
- Eric Worrall, WUWT 4/17/16

"Aussie academic David Holmes, of the University of Melbourne, suggests that Politicians are using the Paris Agreement to defuse climate concerns, by claiming Paris “solved” the climate crisis – and he’s not happy about it."
- Eric Worrall, WUWT 5/23/16

"The initial explosion of green Euphoria at the announcement of the COP21 climate agreement, is rapidly giving way to dismay, as various environmentalists and other expectant parties realise how feeble their climate “victory” really is."
- Eric Worrall, WUWT 12/15/15

"It’s been a few weeks since the U.N.’s Paris Climate Conference (COP21) ended. Mainstream media from around the globe praised the impotent agreement, as though anyone expects political promises to be kept. The COP21 agreement reminded me of the proverb A promise is a comfort for a fool."
- Bob Tisdale, WUWT 12/30/15

PS: Doesn't Anthony Watts ever contribute to his own blog anymore? Then what are his sponsors paying for?

DeSmogblog has more.

Hayhoe Response to a Climate Denier

From a comment by Layzej, here's an instance of Kathleen Hayhoe smoothly dealing with a Texas city counciler...maniac...about his (quite trivial) objections to AGW.

Note the city councilor has a self-proclaimed "visceral" reaction to climate change -- not a rational reaction:

Notes from Those Underground

Some of the emails received by Kathryn Hayhoe, who was recently profiled in the NY Times. More here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

When Bob Dylan Defended Zionism

Don't let the title, "Neighborhood Bully," fool you.


Neighborhood Bully

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully

Saturday, October 08, 2016


Steven Mosher, at Judith Curry's blog:
In short, there is PLENTY of ROOM within the climate science to hold extreme views, both about the science and policy. However, there is no room for the luncacies of unicorns, for sun nuts, fo folks who dont get chaos, for radiative physics deniers, because you cant hold those views and actually Do science. you can do blogs and blog comments.. but that is about it

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Again About the Word Denier

Some who are called climate "deniers" resent that word (a few embrace it) because, they claim, they're being compared to Holocaust deniers. But it can't be that simple, because even the Holocaust denier David Irving resented being called a denier.

I was lead to the quote below from a New York Review of Books article about the recently released movie Denial, which is about the David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books trial in the UK in 2000.

Lipstadt had published a book in 1993, Denying the Holocaust, in which she called the British amateur historian David Irving “one of the most dangerous spokesmen for Holocaust denial.” Irving actually confronted her in the middle of a class lecture at Emory University, and went on to sue her and her publisher. But instead of sueing them in the US where the book was published, he filed his suit in the UK, where those who make potentially libelous remarks must prove they are true. The trailer is a good introduction to the film, which came out about three weeks ago.

Lipstadt's lawyers attacked Irving hard, simply on the facts, and made Lipstadt stay quiet during the proceedings. She, being Jewish, was more emotional about all of it because she considered herself to be defending her people, but her lawyers opted, no doubt correctly, that the case would be won on the facts and not on emotions.

This is from Irving's opening statement:
"The book purports to be a scholarly investigation of the operations of an international network conspiracy of people whom the Second Defendant has dubbed "Holocaust deniers." It is not. The phrase itself, which the Second Defendant prides herself on having coined and crafted, appears repeatedly throughout the work, and it has subsequently become embedded in the vernacular of a certain kind of journalist who wishes to blacken the name of some person, where the more usual rhetoric of neo-Nazi, Nazi, racist, and other similar epithets is no longer deemed adequate. Indeed, the phrase appears over 300 times in just one of the Defendants' experts reports!

"It has become one of the most potent phrases in the arsenal of insult, replacing the N-word, the F-word, and a whole alphabet of other slurs. If an American politician, like Mr. Patrick Buchanan, is branded even briefly a "Holocaust denier," his career can well be said to be in ruins. If a writer, no matter how well reviewed and received until then, has that phrase stuck to him, then he too regard his career as rumbling off the edge of a precipice.

"As a phrase it is of itself quite meaningless. The word "Holocaust" is an artificial label commonly attached to one of the greatest and still most unexplained tragedies of this past century.

"The word "denier" is particularly evil: because no person in full command of his mental faculties, and with even the slightest understanding of what happened in World War II, can deny that the tragedy actually happened, however much we dissident historians may wish to quibble about the means, the scale, the dates and other minutiae.

"Yet meaningless though it is, the phrase has become a part of the English language. It is a poison to which there is virtually no antidote, less lethal than a hypodermic with nerve gas jabbed in the neck, but deadly all the same: for the chosen victim, it is like being called a wife beater or a pædophile. It is enough for the label to be attached, for the attachee to find himself designated as a pariah, an outcast from normal society. It is a verbal Yellow Star.

"In many countries now where it was considered that the mere verbal labelling was not enough, governments have been prevailed upon to pass the most questionable laws, including some which can only be considered a total infringement of the normal human rights of free speech, free opinion and freedom of assembly."
We Americans take free speech for granted, and it's easy for us to question German and French laws against denying the Holocaust. But I'm sure we have little idea of the paroxysms and spasms that shook German society, or Europe, after the war.

Irving's attack on the word "denier" appear pompous and bombastic (as he came across in person, too). I've never seen anyone hint that their use of it was akin to "being called a wife beater or a paedophile." I see it as a word, with a definition that predated the Holocaust, that has a certain meaning that conveniently and accurately describes the cruder blunt dismissals of anthropogenic climate change -- denying the greenhouse effect, the enhancing greenhouse effect, basic measurements, ridiculing and attacking scientists, always finding an excuse to dimiss the evidence one doesn't want to hear, etc. I suspect it comes more from a mindset than anything else -- some climate deniers seem to be conservatives who disagree with the general direction of the USA & World, a mindset that has infected the GOP in the age of the Internet, or just like being contrary.

Some people deny basic climate change; wilder ones deny the Sandy Hook shootings. A few crazies still deny the Holocaust. But if Irving was so upset about the word "denier," then clearly complaints about the word don't simply spring from a simaliarity to Holocaust denial but have an earlier origin, and those now using it aren't "global warming Nazi's," a rather ironic turn of phrase.

Irving, of course, played the victim, as you can read thoughout his opening statement. He lost the case, and, on appeal a year later, the case was dismissed.
After the trial, he was asked, "Will you stop denying the Holocaust on the basis of this judgment?" Irving replied, "Good Lord, no."

Monday, September 26, 2016

NASA: Hubble May Have Detected Water Plumes on Europa

NASA just held a press teleconference (images) where they announced the possiblity of the detection of water plumes spurting from the ice on Jupiter's moon Europa. (They did not announce the discovery of life, or anything close to it, as some media irresponsibly speculated after NASA's announcement of today's teleconference.)

It's not a definite discovery. They observed Europa transiting in front of Jupiter -- an idea from what's being done with exoplanets -- in the UV, and on 3 of 10 transits saw evidence of water vapor from water plumes off Europa's southwest limb:

It's the green flares at about five thirty to nine o'clock that represent the possible plumes. Seeing this evidence on three times out of ten means the plumes may be intermittent.

If true, this could be significant, because it means access to Europa's ocean -- which is global, saline and beneath miles of ice, and could potentially host life -- would be available near the surface, without having to drill through miles of ice (which, on a foreign moon, only looks easy in the movies).

Here's an artist's interpretation of one possible scenario:

I guess you could call these Europaean fistules. But plumes sounds better.

The surface tempeature of Europa is about -160 C (-260 F) at the equator and no higher than -220 C (-370 F) at the poles. So any water is going to instantly freeze. I guess the idea is to look for signs of life -- or at least organic compounds -- in the refrozen surface ice. Unless the plumes are huge and powerful, that's going to limit any detected life to microbes and not alien tuna.

Here's another scenario that was presented, expanding on one section above, which looks more amenable to finding tuna:

A paper is coming out soon in the Astrophysical Journal -- I'll try to remember to link to it.

The scientists said they were stretching Hubble's capabilities to the limit, so this isn't a definite discovery, and they "remain cautious."

Finally, here's another image that was presented, with a self-explanatory caption:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

In Oregon Gubernatorial Debate, Now, Republican Governor Admits Climate Change

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Latest on the Not-Happening La Niña

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center say there is unlikely to be a La Niña event in late 2016.
We may be stuck with this El Nino warmth after all -- NOAA just posted the warmest August in their records, which go back to 1880. Warmer (more anomalous) than May 2016, or June '16 or July '16.

In fact, every month since May 2015 is the warmest in the record. 16 straight months now.

At this point we really have to start asking, not if AGW is true, but is it accelerating, and if so, by how much?

Deep Ocean Warming: How Much?

Since this blog likes big summed-up global results, it needs to mention the new paper by Damien G. Desbruyères et al, including Greg Johnson of NOAA, for the heating rate of the deep ocean (< 2000 m) for the period 1991-2010:

0.065  ±  0.040 W m−2 applied over the Earth's surface area.

You can read the abstract here, but deep ocean heating is only about 1/10th of total ocean heating. I guess we'll know more when deep Argo comes out, which I suspect will reduce the error bars significantly. Not sure when that will be, though.

Remember, it's only been since 2005 that Argo has been measuring the temperature and salinity of the top half (< 2000 m) of the ocean. If deep Argo happens by, say, 2020, that will be an amazing achievement -- because ocean heat content is by far the best way to measure the global energy imbalance that causes global warming.

Can 375 Great Scientists Correct Donald Trump on Climate Change?

Of course not.

But still, yesterday 375 members of the National Academy of Science published a letter saying
Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. Fossil fuels powered the Industrial Revolution. But the burning of oil, coal, and gas also caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This increase in greenhouse gases is changing Earth’s climate.
...During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality.
That's a good, strong phrase -- "inconsistent with reality."

The letter isn't addressed to anyone specific, but it's said to be directed at Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, Trump shows little interest in knowledge, and I doubt this is going to change his climate idiocy, even if he is elected.

I doubt Trump has the guts to do this, but a few of these scientists should get together and offer to go to Trump and, in one hour, present him the evidence behind manmade climate change. Like those brave scientists did for the governor of Florida. Publicize the hell out of the offer, and, if it happens, of the followup.

As it is, I wonder if a single debate moderator -- who think they are "journalists" -- is going to ask a single question of either presidential candidate about the most important topic of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, the moderators of the first debate have announced their topics, and it looks to be the usual network fluff that makes intelligent people want to vomit.

Anyway, so who do we know? Well, for me, a lot of scientists I know and/or have interviewed and/or recognize and respect a great deal. (I'm always surprised at how many great scientists I don't know, like when it comes to the Nobel Prize announcements or NAS inductions):

Benjamin D. Santer, Member, National Academy of Sciences^
Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology^
Phillip W. Anderson, Princeton University
Sir Michael Atiyah, University of Edinburgh
David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology
Wallace Broecker, Columbia University
Steven Chu, Stanford University
Ralph Cicerone, Professor Emeritus, University of California
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel
James Cronin, University of Chicago
Paul J. Crutzen, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
Howard Georgi, Harvard University
Sheldon Glashow, Boston University
Roy Glauber, Harvard University
Peter H. Gleick, Pacific Institute
David Gross, University of California Santa Barbara
Jim Hansen, Columbia University
Stephen Hawking, Cambridge University
Donald Kennedy, Stanford University
Wolfgang Ketterle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Margaret Kivelson, University of California Los Angeles
Daniel Kleppner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University
Mario Molina, University of California San Diego
Jim Peebles, Princeton University
Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden
Maureen E. Raymo, Columbia University
Martin Rees, Cambridge University
Adam Riess, Johns Hopkins University
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
James Simons, Chairman, Simons Foundation
Susan Solomon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kip Thorne, Member, National Academy of Sciences
Rainer Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
Robert W. Wilson, Member, National Academy of Sciences

Personally I think Adam Riess ought to run for President. He's young, well spoken, and really smart. Just what the American people are looking for, right?