Tag Archives: global warming

Troll training

You may have seen this before – but it’s worth repeating. We need reminding from time to time of the tactics used by those who seek to discredit science. Particularly, at the moment, climate science.

It’s a short video – but you get the picture. These people are carrying out a political campaign – they are not interested in truth or science. Their whole approach is to smear and attempt to discredit.

Remind you of anyone?

Thanks to: Americans Against the Tea Party who offer this description:

This video was filmed in Nashville TN. A group tied to the Koch Brothers associate Howie Rich trains Tea Partiers in “guerilla internet tactics.” The presenter instructs his audience to put up false book reviews, as well as give “bad ratings” to documentary films that are embarrassing to the Tea Party. This clip shows us just how twisted, and pathologically dishonest the Tea Party really is.

Training Tea Party Activists In Guerilla Internet Tactics – BUSTED!.

See also: (Astro) Turf Wars

Is your region warming?

New Scientist has produced a little tool which enables you to access regional temperature data illustrating how the world has warmed. Just enter your city and you get an indication of current temperature change from the 1951-1980 average. Together with a plot of that difference over time.

Go to Climate Change or click on the image below to check out your city.


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No cause for alarm – if you cherry pick

This cartoon from The Australian (17 January 2013) seems quite topical (thanks to  No cause for alarm | Kudelka Cartoons).


The issue of global warming and its possible role in the increase in numbers of fires has been debated of late on the internet. President Obama mentioned the problem in his inaugural address and the climate change deniers mobilised to discredit him. They even dragged out their “scientific evidence.”

Cherry pickingFor example, George Wills in a Washington Post opinion piece ( see Recipe for conservative revival) argued that the number of fires has not increased. He said specifically:

“There were a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012 than in 2006.”

His link doesn’t seem to go directly to anywhere meaningful – but persistence pays. Search around the site linked to (the National Interagency Fire Center) and you find  the annual data for U.S. acreage burned.

Quark Soup by David Appell plotted the data (see below). As David Appell says:

Notice any trend?

Notice why George Will might have picked 2006 at his year for comparison??


I guess that 2006 has the same mantra status regarding fires in the US as does 1998 for global temperature.

And here’s Christopher Monckton again, saying silly things about 1998.

Christopher Monckton and the Summer of 98

Thanks to New Anthropocene: Christopher Monckton and the Summer of 98

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The political alarmism behind climate change denial

They are quick to accuse scientists of alarmism but I have always maintained that those who are most actively denying climate change are the real alarmists. It’s just that their motivations are political –  and their political beliefs alarmist (see Alarmist con).

This short video illustrates this for the case of Christopher Monckton –  an idol of the militant climate change denial movement.

The Terrifying World From Monckton’s Mind – YouTube.

Thanks to New AnthropoceneThe Terrifying World From Monckton’s Mind

Meanwhile, the remaining militant climate change denialists in New Zealand are eagerly awaiting the next local visit from Christopher Monckton. It starts (appropriately) on April 1st.

I understand some of the local media people are also vying for the opportunity to interview the guy. Last time his visit produced some rather entertaining videos. As you can see from the video above, he is good for a laugh.

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Deconstructing climate change, and its deniers

I presented these IPCC graphs some time back in Climate change is complex. They underline the fact that climate changes are caused by a number of factors (natural and human-caused) so any successful modelling of global temperature changes needs to take all the factors into account. The graphs show how omission of human caused factors produces model results inconsistent with measured values.

Figure a included all the natural and anthropogenic influences. The black line is the actual measured global temperature anomaly (obtained by subtracting the average temperature for 1901 to 1950). The individual simulations are shown as thin yellow curves. The red line is the multi-model ensemble mean (see Figure 9.5 – AR4 WGI Chapter 9: Understanding and Attributing Climate Change).
Figure b is a similar plot using simulations which consider only the natural influences on climate. The individual simulations are shown as thin blue curves. The thick blue line is the multi-model ensemble mean.

These figures show how simple plots of global temperate over time cannot identify causes – a more complex investigation involving modelling was required. This enabled contributions from non-natural and natural causes to be identified.

Now the blog Skeptical science has produced a video showing a similar deconstruction of the factors causing global temperature change. The purpose was to show the falseness of recent claims by climate change deniers/contrarians/sceptics of no human contribution to climate change because they have observed no warming in the last 16 years.

Short term temperature changes are the results of several natural and human caused factors. But only the human caused emissions of CO2 is causing a steady effect which becomes clear when long-term changes are considered (even if not clear in the short term).

(Thanks to Still warming after all these years (again) at Hot Topic).

Finally, here is another graph which has the climate change deniers/contrarians/sceptics buzzing. It’s from the UK Met Office (see Decadal forecast). The buzz arises from the Met Offices revisions of “near-term’ climate prediction because of improvements in the modelling.


Observed (black, from Hadley Centre, GISS and NCDC) and predicted global average annual surface temperature difference relative to 1971-2000. Previous predictions starting from June 1960, 1965, …, 2005 are shown as white curves, with red shading representing their probable range, such that the observations are expected to lie within the shading 90% of the time. The most recent forecast (thick blue curve with thin blue curves showing range) starts from November 2012. All data are rolling annual mean values. The gap between the black and blue curves arises because the last observed value represents the period November 2011 to October 2012 whereas the first forecast period is November 2012 to October 2013.

Actually, the denier/contrairan/sceptic buzz arises because the revised (improved) predictions are a “little lower” than the previous one. This has caused them (the deniers/contrarians/etc) to claim this proves global warming has stopped, and that human-caused climate change has consequently been proven wrong!
Of course this is wishful, and motivated, thinking on their part. The predictions produced by the Met Office rely on simulations using the best and most up to date models. The models incorporate all the factors known to influence global temperatures – including that caused by human burning of fossil fuels!

It’s a strange old world. The deniers/contrarians/sceptics who wish to deny human contributions to climate change have been sucked in by the Met Office sort term predictions of global temperatures. These deniers/contrarians/etc., are now touting models in support of their claims which in fact are based on the effects of such human contributions.

They are relying on the very thing they wish to deny!

See also:
Updates to our decadal forecast
Has global warming ground to a halt?

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Australia’s “New Normal?”

Sometimes the local climate change deniers/sceptics/contrarians behave as if they aren’t on the same planet as the rest of us. Well, perhaps that’s a bit extreme – but they do sometimes seem to at least be in a different hemisphere. While we are currently sweltering in New Zealand, and Australia is burning, they are scanning Northern Hemisphere newspapers trying to find headlines about local snow, record low temperatures, etc!

For  a while there they did start to discuss the Tasmanian fires – but what do you know? Temperatures were ignored – instead they were blaming the fires on the Australian Green Party (see Greens win, so Tasmania burns)! (Rather supports the idea that climate change denial is motivated by right wing politics).

Of course it’s easy to pontificate on local weather and temperature records (high and low) and cherry pick data to suite one’s prejudices. But as the New York Times recently pointed out the effect of climate change has been to increase the frequency of extreme weather and temperature, rather than cause specific examples (see Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide).

Anyway, just to underline the local extremes here’s a climate change infographic produced by the GetUp Action for Australia Campaign. (see GetUp! – Our New Normal).


Click on image to enlarge

Agreement polar ice sheets are melting

Many climate scientists felt the conclusions on effects of global warming in the 2007 IPCC review were too conservative. One reason was the estimation of likely melting of ice sheets and its effects.

Problem was that there was insufficient knowledge to draw definite conclusions. And the measurements of changes in ice sheets just wasn’t accurate enough.

That’s now changed and a large number of experts agree global warming has caused loss of ice from these ice sheets. And this has contributed to measured increases in sea level.

Richard A. Kerr reports in Science (see Experts Agree Global Warming Is Melting the World Rapidly):

“Forty-seven glaciologists have arrived at a community consensus over all the data on what the past century’s warming has done to the great ice sheets: a current annual loss of 344 billion tons of glacial ice, accounting for 20% of current sea level rise. Greenland’s share—about 263 billion tons—is roughly what most researchers expected, but Antarctica’s represents the first agreement on a rate that had ranged from a far larger loss to an actual gain. The new analysis, published on page 1183 of this week’s issue of Science, also makes it clear that losses from Greenland and West Antarctica have been accelerating, showing that some ice sheets are disconcertingly sensitive to warming.”

He’s referring to the major paper by Andrew Shepperd and others, A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance.

Over recent years climate change deniers/contrarians/sceptics have cherry picked data to counter any suggestion that the earth’s large ice sheets are melting. They have pointed to increased amounts of ice in Eastern Antarctica to balance reports of massive losses of ice in the Arctic. (Have a look at this animation to see how such data can be cherry picked). Similarly they have tried to hide concern of the loss of land ice by stressing reports of local increases in sea ice.

But the paper by Shepperd et al. combined data from satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry measurements. This provides more reliable estimates of changes in the ice sheets, and gives some detail of these changes. This figure from the paper gives an idea of the detail of their findings. It shows that all the major regions of the polar ice sheets except one (East Antarctica) have lost mass since 1992. The authors also estimate that mass loss from the polar ice sheets has contributed roughly 20 percent of the total global sea level rise during that period (at a rate of 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year−1 ).

Figure S1 from Shepperd et al.: Cumulative ice mass change of West Antarctica ((WAIS) East Antarctica (EAIS), Greenland (GrIS), and the Antarctic Peninsula (APIS).

And to underline the fact that denier claims of amounts of ice increasing in Antarctica are false, NASA recently displayed this figure showing data from Antarctica from their satellite measurements

Monthly changes in Antarctic ice mass, in gigatones, as measured by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites from 2003 to 2011. Image credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech; NASA GSFC; CU-Boulder; Technical University of Munich; Technical University of Denmark; Delft University of Technology, Aerospace Engineering, Netherlands; Durham University, UK; Leeds University, UK

Could those climate change deniers/contrarians/sceptics please stop hiding behind claims that gains by Antarctic ice sheets balance losses from ice sheets in Greenland and the Arctic.

They don’t.

See also:
Science: Major Regions of Polar Ice Have Been Shrinking Since 1992
Polar Ice Sheets Losing Mass, Several Methods Show
New Study Shows Global Warming Is Rapidly Melting Ice at Both Poles
Human-Caused Climate Change Signal Emerges from the Noise
Study: Polar ice sheets in Antarctica, Greenland melting 3 times faster than in ’90s
Ice Sheet Loss at Both Poles Increasing, Study Finds
Projections of sea level rise are vast underestimates
“Hard” “Authoritative” Evidence Of Climate Change Begins To Overwhelm Even Fox

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Climate change deniers don’t understand expertise

Expert report commission by World Bank

Many of you will have picked up that the World Bank has released a very important report on climate change. Its titled Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” and can be downloaded as a pdf.

The report mentions as highlights:

  • The world is on track to a “4°C world” marked by extreme heat-waves and life-threatening sea level rise.
  • Adverse effects of global warming are “tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions” and likely to undermine development efforts and goals.
  • Increased support is needed for adaptation, mitigation, inclusive green growth and climate-smart development.

You can get an overview at the World Bank’s press release (Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century), at Science daily (Four-Degrees Briefing for the World Bank: The Risks of a Future Without Climate Policy) or at New Zealand’s own Hot Topic (Turn down the heat: even bankers know a bad thing when they see it (sometimes)).

Or you could even download and read the report – its only 106 pages all in.

I won’t go into its content here – just comment on a typical climate change denial reaction to the report. But first – let’s get this straight. The world Bank does not describe this as its own report – they describe it as a World Bank-commissioned report.” An important point – but one that is obvious to anyone used to dealing with such reports. Organisations like the World Bank commission experts to produce up-to-date summaries of, and reports on, such matters when they need them.

It’s a no-brainer – want a reliable report – employ experts.

The “left liberal slime” conspiracy

So how do the local climate change denial cabal over at Climate Conversations Group dismiss this report (and dismiss it they must – that’s how they pass their time. Dismissing science and slandering scientists).

Andy (familiar to many readers here for his sock-puppet behaviour) starts mildly with:

“based on current climate models -is all I need to take away from this “report” from the World Bank”

He obviously has no idea of the important role models can play in bringing understanding to complex situations. These guys just rely on anything they can use to discredit the science.

Then he continues:

“The last time I heard, banks were in the business of lending money. I didn’t think they had any expertise in determining the sensitivity of the atmosphere to carbon dioxide. Unless, of course, they have a financial interest in, say, carbon trading.”

No – he doesn’t understand the report commissioning process does he. He seems to think that bankers in pin-striped suits did the research and wrote the report.

But no – it’s more basic than that. Doesn’t matter if they were wearing pin-striped suits or white lab coats. They are all part of a world-wide conspiracy and he hates them:

“Yes I understand that the World Bank is yet another part of the left liberal slime that uses Climate Change to further its agenda. Do you think I have any respect fir these organisations at all?”

Poor Andy! How does he manage to get by in this complex world?

Who are the experts

I don’t think Andy really wants to know – but here’s some information on the people who actually produced the report.

The world bank commissioned the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and climate Analytics to prepare the report. The team of authors included:*

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber: has been Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) since he founded the institute in 1992. He is Professor for Theoretical Physics at the University of Potsdam and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, USA. Furthermore, he is Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).

Olivia Serdeczny: was born in 1982, has earned her MA Philosophy at the Freie Universität Berlin and currently works as a research analyst for Professors Schellnhuber and Rahmstorf at the German Advisory Council on Global Change to the Federal Government (WBGU). In summer 2011 Olivia spent two months with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research on board the research vessel Polarstern. She documented the cruise in several blog articles (all German)

Dr Dim Coumou: is a geophysicist by training, worked for a while as marine geophysicist in the offshore industry, before starting PhD research at ETH in Zurich. In Zurich, he worked on the development of efficient multiphase fluid flow transport schemes to study hydrothermal systems. More on hisPhD work can be found here and here.

In 2008, he joined PIK and is currently working on development of the atmospheric component of the next-generation Earth System model CLIMBER-3 (as part of PIK´s flagship project NEXT). This novel atmosphere model, Aeolus 1.0, treats the dynamical equations in a statistical way, which makes the model computationally very efficient compared to the more common general circulation type models. We can therefore study the sensitivity of atmospheric circulation to global mean temperature and other key parameters. Next, this newly developed model (a so-called Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity – EMIC) should pave the way to efficiently study tipping elements in the Earth climate system, of which some could potentially cross a tipping point in the coming century due to anthopogenic forcings.

His recent work focused on the link between extreme weather events and global warming, which got some popular-media attention in e.g.  WIRED and FOCUS (in german). And his scientific interests include climate dynamics, extreme events, global warming, complex earth system, hydrothermal and geothermal systems. Technical interests include parallel programming, C++, object-oriented design, etc, etc, etc…

Dr Katja Frieler: Her current research focus includesdevelopment of impact functions that allow for probabilistic projections of regional climate changes and changes in the occurrence of extreme events in terms of global mean temperature change (see PRIMAP).

Dr Maria Martin: Maria Martin’s research focuses on the Antarctic sheet-shelf system.With others she developed the Potsdam Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM-PIK), a derived class of PISM (UAF, Alaska). She took part in a scientific expedition to Antarctica Nov. 2010 – Feb. 2011. Maria Martin also is Research Analyst in the Director’s Office at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research from April to December 2012.

Dr Ilona M. Otto: specializes in institutional and political economy. She investigates coordination mechanisms for provision of public and common goods such as biodiversity and water. Currently she is working in the Project on Sustainable Water and Agricultural Land Use in the Guanting Watershed under Limited Water Resources (www.Guanting.de). Her research in the Project focuses on governance of water resources, socio-economic impacts of water scarcity, and evaluation of possible adaptation options that could lead to a more sustainable water use in the Guanting Watershed.

Mahé Perrette: Is a PhD student working on probabilistic sea-level projections, both a the global (with Stefan Rahmstorf) and regional (with Malte Meinshausen) scales. His current project consists in developing a model for the outlet glaciers / fjord system of the Greenland ice-sheet, for a better representation of ice/ocean interactions (with Reinhard Calov and Andrey Ganopolski). He is also generally interested in combining climate models with past and present-day observations to reduce uncertainty in future sea-level projections and works in the PRIMAP group, with Stefan Rahmstorf as main supervisor.

Dr Alexander Robinson: His main interest lies with studying the interactions between the Greenland Ice Sheet and the climate. He is now employed as a post-doctoral researcher in the Paleo Modeling and Analysis (PalMA) group at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in the Department of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Science. Alexander is a guest scientist at PIK, collaborating with Andrey Ganopolski, Reinhard Calov, Stefan Rahmstorf, Dim Coumou and Anders Levermann, among others. In his Ph. D. work he, working with Andrey Ganopolski and Reinhard Calov, developed a simple regional energy-moisture balance model (REMBO) to produce realistic climate forcing and feedbacks over Greenland, given that warming in the future could drastically change the regional distribution of temperature and precipitation. The work was funded by the Marie Curie 6th Framework Programme and was a part of the Network for Ice sheet and Climate Interactions (NICE).

Jacob Schewe: researches in the areas of stability of monsoon circulations, global oceanic overturning (with Prof. Dr. Anders Levermann), and climate impacts (within the ISI-MIP project).

Dr Lila Warszawski: works on climate impacts and vulnerabilities.

*Want to find out more about these scientists – click on the links to get CVs, publication lists, etc.

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More damage from megastorm Sandy

Here’s an appropriate cartoon from ThinkProgress (see Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week).

Denying Climate Change Is Putting Us in Danger

By Lee Judge of the Cartoonist Group


The elephant in the US elections

Hurricane Sandy and the Climate ConnectionThere seems to have been a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the issue of climate change be avoided in the US Presidential debates. The elephant in the room had become a non-issue. And then along came the super-storm Sandy.

This video from Climatesilence.org shows how Sandy has made Romney’s disparaging comments about the climate issue look silly.

Romney vs. Sandy

And it seems that while the candidates have kept mum on the issue the voters are raising it themselves. This video shows Romney and his supporters really do want to silence the people’s concern on this issue.

Mitt Romney vs. Climate Protester – YouTube.

However, the storm seems to have done something the politicians couldn’t do – make discussion of climate change acceptable. As the storm approached landfall news of it became more important than election news. Now, after the storm, there is a growing public awareness that these extreme events may actually already be occurring more often because of climate change. As the International Business Times wrote Sandy Pushes Climate Change To Forefront At Election Finish Line.

Of course, the climate change deniers are working hard to dig up historical example of extreme storms. They think these “prove” that climate change cannot be behind Sandy. But they are attempting to hide the real issue which is not about specific or direct causes – but about the frequency of extreme weather events. Those once a century disasters now seem to have become once a decade.

It seems that while climate scientists can’t prove direct links between climate change and Sandy a number of the factors which came together were amplified by climate change. Factors like the sea level rise, effects of melting ice in the Arctic and the increase in sea surface temperatures.

Have a look at the following articles for more information:
Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Connection
It’s Global Warming, Stupid
Bloomberg Businessweek: ‘It’s Global Warming, Stupid’
Weather or Climate: What Caused Hurricane Sandy?
Scientists: Global warming didn’t brew superstorm, but it might have heated up key ingredients
The Science behind Superstorm Sandy’s Crippling Storm Surge
US Media Covering Hurricane Sandy Mostly Ignore Whether Climate Change Fueled Storm’s Fury
Climate change, or crap shoot? Experts weigh Sandy’s causes
Scientists believe climate change may have given Sandy more punch
3 Ways Climate Change Made Hurricane Sandy Worse

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