Thursday, May 28, 2015

California Initiative Has Polluters Pay For Low-Income Solar

California's cap-and-trade system on polluters has raised over $1.6 billion. Now, the Grid Alternatives initiative will use $14.6 million of that to put solar power systems on homes of qualifying low-income families.There will be no cost to the family and it is estimated it will save each family up to $1000 a year in electricity costs. That's a lot of money for some of these families.

This is a great idea. The ones creating the pollution will be the ones paying for it and the people suffering the most from the pollution will be the ones benefiting the most from this program. And, at the same time, it is working to reduce fossil fuel emissions. They hope to install the system on 1600 homes by the end of next year. Oh, and job training is being used to help install them, which means a lot of people are getting valuable training for good jobs.

I don't know how the deniers are going to complain about this, but I am sure they will. After all, it hurts their billionaire fossil fuel buddies, so there has to be something wrong with it. Right?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

1100 Dead Prove Tom Harris is Wrong



India's earth sciences minister has blamed climate change for a heatwave that has killed 2,500 people and for deficient monsoon rains, after the government said on Tuesday the country was headed for its first drought in six years.

"Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon," Harsh Vardhan said. "It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change," he said.

Paid shill Tom Harris recently wrote a repulsive letter to the Jordan Independent lamenting how money is going to "climate finance" (???) instead of to those in need. (See a response to Harris' letter here.) This is very strange because Mr. Harris is on record (see DeSmogBlog) as saying there is no damage due to manmade emissions:
More importantly, the hypothesis that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is damaging the climate has been thoroughly debunked by reports such as those of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.
He also stated,
... real-world observations show that the climate change of the past century falls well within natural variability.
 In fact, Mr. Harris says, instead of global warming,
 “Prepare for global cooling.”
But, while Mr. Harris is telling all of these falsehoods, the climate continues to change and the very same "people in need" Mr. Harris spoke of are dieing from the effects caused by his employers.

There is a massive heat wave going on in India. To date (May 27, 2015), over 1100 people have died in this heat wave and the death toll continues to rise. Tell us again, Mr. Harris, how there is no damage from human emissions. Tell us again how we need to prepare for global cooling. Tell us again how the climate change is all within natural variability.

Better yet, tell it to your victims.

And, while your at it, get your friend at the heartland institute, John Coleman, to once again explain how there haven't been any deadly heat waves since the 1950s. That is the claim he made in the video "How it started."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Arctic Ice Recovery Lie

I read an article providing eye-witness accounts of the thinning Arctic sea ice and it inspired me to write another in a series of posts I've written recently.

I have made a series of posts in recent weeks addressing denier lies. One on Tom Harris, claims the world is actually cooling, one discussing how Andrew Watts and Christopher Monckton doctored their data to get no warming, and another on the 'no warming pause.' Since the denier claims are all deliberate attempts to deceive using known falsehoods, they are lies. In the spirit of discussing these lies, I thought I'd address another one - the lie that claims Arctic sea ice is recovering (see the article here for one example). This was such a common claim in submissions to the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge I made a response to address all of them. You can read it here.

What the deniers do is to cherry pick the data. They want to take a specific, selected data set and use it to try and show the ice is recovering. We've seen this tactic before. In fact, it is one of the most common tactics deniers use. And, it is a false one every time and they know it, hence it is a lie.

The fact is, Arctic sea ice is declining. Take a look at the data and decide for yourself. Unlike the deniers, I'm not afraid to show you ALL the data. Here is the plot of March ice since before 1980:

Source: NSIDC
The downward trend is very clear. This is a very disturbing plot because it comes at the end of winter when the ice is at its maximum extent. Global warming is not going to get rid of long, cold, winter nights - especially at the poles. Temperatures will still get into the large negative degrees (average temperatures of -40 C and colder). The Arctic Ocean is going to freeze over.

But, we are seeing less and less ice extent at the end of winter every year. Why? Because, the amount of ice at the end of summer is getting less every year and that is allowing the Arctic Ocean to store an increasing amount of heat. Instead of being reflected by ice, sunlight is now being absorbed by the dark water. This means it will be increasingly difficult to freeze the water in the winter and it will be thinner when it does freeze, meaning it will melt more easily the following summer.

Here is a plot of the ice extent in September when it is at its minimum:

Source: NSIDC
Clearly, the minimum ice extent is getting smaller every year. And, this year is not looking good. In fact, 2015 had the smallest and earliest maximum extent ever recorded. Now, the ice extent is the lowest ever recorded for this date. Here is a plot of the springtime Arctic sea ice extent for 2004-2015:

Source: NSIDC
The ice extent for this year is the unfinished medium-blue line towards the bottom right-side of the plots. You can clearly see it is less than anything ever recorded (nothing prior to 2004 comes anywhere close - see for yourself at the source link).

Clearly, there is no recovery. But, don't take my word for it. In the National Geographic article I referenced above (read it here), the author addresses the question, 'has the last human trekked to the North Pole?' The thinning ice is making it tougher, and more dangerous, every year. Two Arctic scientists recently died on the thin ice. Air support is getting to be too difficult to obtain. Human treks are being canceled as a result.

Citing the thinning ice, polar explorer Eric Larsen stated,
Thinning ice has a multitude of consequences. "Historically, you would have ice that was five, six feet thick and that's relatively stable," says Larsen. "Now, the ice is thinner [and] breaks up more often and much more irregularly. As a result, you have a more rough surface area, which is more difficult to cross."
Another polar explorer, Richard Weber, stated,
"If you don't have multiyear ice to camp on, you're camping on thin ice and to me that's dangerous. It's thin, and it moves in the middle of the night. Nothing's going to stop it from cracking under your tent."
The article comments on the open water,
Also, there's more open water now. Weber didn't start bringing dry suits on his expeditions until 2000.
Addressing the issue of drifting ice, the article states,

Furthermore, the melting of multiyear ice has affected the Arctic drift—the general direction that the ice floats in the Arctic Ocean. Ice tends to move southward toward Canada. But because the ice is thinner and more broken up now, it's more affected by the wind, which means a floating field of ice on which an explorer is traveling can drift miles in any direction, throwing him off course, adding significant distance to an already difficult journey that is constrained by time.

There has always been drift, but now it is now more irregular and dramatic. Says Ron Kwok, a senior research scientist from NASA, "Ice is moving faster compared to 20, 30 years ago. Because it's thinner, it's moving faster and it's more responsive to the wind."

During a 2007 expedition, Weber walked for 10 to 12 hours a day, but because the ice he was on was drifting south, he stayed in virtually the same spot. That's "way worse" than it was in previous years, he says.

It also states the weather window is getting shorter every year. Explorers have between the end of winter and the onset of the heaviest part of the melt season. That period of time is getting smaller every year.

So, the people who have been up there, trekked across it and have witnessed it for decades tell of how the ice is thinning. Real world data and real world eye witnesses. Deniers simply ignore this reality because that is what deniers do. They don't want to be bothered by real science, even though they know better.

And, that is what makes them liars.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Great "Warming Pause" Lie Revealed

One of the greatest lies (and there are lots of them) the denier lobbyists make is how there has been no warming for [insert your time period of choice] years. Here is an example of one of these lies:

Source: WUWT

Why is this a lie? For the very simple reason any data base, unless it is perfectly vertical, will have periods where the average is constant (zero slope) for some period of time. All you have to do is pick your period of time and your end points. Of course, that is exactly what Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton have done and this topic has already been discussed. The interesting thing is how they have to keep changing their endpoints to make their lie seem plausible. Take a look:

Source: WUWT
Their time period here is from August 1996 to March 2014. Now compare:

Source: WUWT
Their endpoints are now October 1996 to December 2014! What's up with that? And, compare that to the first plot above with the time period of September 1996 to September 2014. Lie exposed! They are cherry picking their endpoints to get the desired result - something you can get out of ANY database. Allowing for the possibility the non-existant 'pause' could continue, the right endpoint would change. But, if their claim was real, there would be no need to EVER change the starting point. The ONLY reason you would ever need to change the starting point is because it doesn't work out the way you want. If they continued to use the same starting point, they would not be able to get a constant average.

That makes their plots lies.

Furthermore, the claim there has been no warming is simply not true. First, the surface data clearly shows a warming trend. I addressed that topic here. Also, the record of increasingly hot years keeps getting longer and it is statistically impossible to explain this record as being random.

They are liars. We already knew that, so this isn't really news. But, the interesting thing is how they have actually PROVEN GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL! Yes, you read that correctly. Take a look at this plot made by cunudiun (click on the image for a larger version):

Source: cunudiun

What he did here was to take a larger time period and plotted the trend line, meshing the Watts plot in precisely. It is easy to see the Watts plot is actually offset IN THE POSITIVE direction from the trend line. [Note the offset labeled 'surge' in the plot.] And, notice how the trend line is actually closing in with 'no warming' average as you go from left to right.

What this means is they were able to find an flat-line average, which is a simple math exercise, but they could ONLY do it with an average that is GREATER than the trend line. If there were no warming, as they claim, if there was a 'hiatus,' their average line would have dissected the trend line, not been offset. The offset PROVES, without question, the temperature is increasing during their cherry picked period.

Watts and Monckton have succeeded in proving, without doubt, that there has absolutely been warming over the period they indicated.

So, not only is this a huge lie on the part of the deniers, but it is a monumentally stupid one at that. And, anyone that falls for this has to be massively naive. 

What's up with that?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

WUWT? and Monckton Caught Lying

Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton, two of the most notoriously deceitful deniers, have been caught lying - and it was their own work that did it.

Anthony Watts is a TV weatherman (not even a meteorologist) who runs the anti-science blog Watts Up With That? and has been famous for a considerable time for the way he uses false arguments and false data to deceive people about global warming and climate change. He receives funds from the Heartland Institute, which means he is funded by the fossil fuel industry. Here is what I said about Watts in a submission to the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge:

Watts is one of the people that I automatically reject as a source of information - and for very good reason. First, he receives funds from The Heartland Institute. This is an organization whose very own internal documents show they fund people for the directed purpose of undermining climate science. That is enough for me to reject him and I use that standard on a routine basis. Anyone associated or affiliated with Heartland in any way is not a credible source. 

But, there is more. My take of the evidence is he fabricates his results. That would be consistent with being affiliated with Heartland. Take a look at a review of some of his work here.

Finally, consider this: When Richard Muller questioned the global average temperature results from the international teams, he set up his own team to examine the question using completely different data. Watts said this:

"I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. The method isn't the madness that we’ve seen from NOAA, NCDC, GISS, and CRU. That lack of strings attached to funding, plus the broad mix of people involved especially those who have previous experience in handling large data sets gives me greater confidence in the result being closer to a bona fide ground truth than anything we’ve seen yet."
But, when the Berkeley Earth team confirmed the results of the international teams, Watts rejected those results and was quoted by the NY Times:
"Mr. Watts ... contended that the study's methodology was flawed because it examined data over a 60-year period instead of the 30-year-one that was the basis for his research and some other peer-reviewed studies. He also noted that the report had not yet been peer-reviewed and cited spelling errors as proof of sloppiness."
Really!!?? Global warming isn't real because there were some spelling errors???!!!!
For a very revealing video on Watts, I recommend The video that Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial “Crock of the Week.” It is an amazing video and article on Watts. It truly shows just how anti-science he is.

The other well know anti-science denier, Christopher Monckton, is the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a hereditary title established in 1957 for the current Lord's grandfather. That part is true, many (if not all) of his other claims are false. He has made claims to being a member of the House of Lords, but he isn't. He has claimed to have been a science adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but he was actually an economics adviser. At one time, he claimed to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, but when he was quickly caught in this lie he claimed it was all a joke. He has made claims to having discovered the cure for many diseases, including Graves' disease, AIDS, MS, the flu and the common cold. His education consists of a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism, so he has no scientific qualifications, but he continues to present himself as an expert on the subject. Here is a video of a real scientist responding to some of Monckton's claims. It is a narrated PowerPoint presentation and is about 73 minutes long. Here are some very well made videos about Monckton and his claims:

What we have established is Watts and Monckton are two people who have no climate science qualifications, but have managed to promote themselves as being smarter than all of the climate scientists in the world combined. How did they do this? Through lies, false data, false arguments and with the help of fossil fuel money. Is it any wonder that they would get tangled up in their own lies?
Well, it's happened. 
Monckton and Watts have teamed up for years to produce graphics showing there has been no global warming. See here for one example. This particular lie consists of the ever popular claim that there has been no warming for [insert number here] years. Of course, this is a total falsehood and I have addressed it many times. Here's one example. Certainly, one of the reasons this claim is false is because it selectively picks the pertinent years to use. I showed examples in the referenced link of how even a small change in the selected years makes a huge difference.
But now, they have really been caught in the lie. OutOnALimb of the Daily Kos has published an excellent piece revealing how they cherry pick their data. It turns out they have published numerous versions of this plot and they have changed the start and end dates to get the desired results! What's up with that?

Monckton has been forced to change his end points to keep getting the desired results. The reality is, if his claim of no warming was true, there would be no need to change the end points.

So, if there is no need to change their endpoints, why did they? The reason is because the data does not support their claims. In other words, they have been lying about it.

What's up with that?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Religion and Climate Change Denial

I have long suspected there was a link between religion and climate change denial, but I have never been able to find detailed evidence of it. The way I figured it, religion is the cause for people to reject science when it comes to evolution. I frequently find people who reject evolution also reject climate change. Ergo, there is a link between religious beliefs and climate change denial.

Well, someone finally did the work to establish exactly how religion factors in to beliefs on both evolution and climate change. Here is a plot of his work:

Source: Josh Rosenau
The lower area on the chart represents less support for climate change. Likewise, the left side represents less support for evolution. What strikes me very quickly is the way this makes a horizontal band from lower left to upper right (with a few exceptions). In other words, for the majority of people, their acceptance of evolution correlates well with their acceptance of climate change.

Now, the author makes a very important point, one that I share. This chart is addressing religions in general and not specific people. How an individual feels about evolution and climate change is unique to them and they shouldn't be judged by something like this chart. In fact, I remember one of the most knowledgeable individuals I ever had discussions with on evolution was a friend who also happened to be a Baptist minister. He was very supportive of it and saw no conflict between the science and his religious beliefs. But, if you look at the chart, Baptist is way down towards the lower left (I never asked him how his congregation felt about his beliefs).

This is a nice piece of work and one more tool in our fight to overcome the work of the denier lobbyists.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Voodude: The World Is Cooling

I have been having a lively debate with a commenter on one of my recent postings. You can read it all here. This particular commenter, Voodude, claims the world is cooling, not warming. He gives all sorts of arguments to support his claim, including graphs. Let me present some of his arguments and address them for scientific accuracy.

As a note, Voodude has all of the traits of a troll, probably even a paid troll. It is the job of a troll to tie up bloggers and disseminate massive amounts of contrary misinformation, particularly cartoons and bad graphs. Voodude fits the profile precisely.

UPDATE: If someone prefers to remain anonymous, that's their business. But, I really don't like people being anonymous trolls and going around engaged in denial tactics. That is why I went to the trouble to find out who Voodude is. He is Brian Marple Mulder of Alberta, Canada. There is a lot more on him, but I just wanted to prevent him from being a coward hiding behind a computer screen.

The world is cooling, not warming.

This was Voodude's claim and some of the graphs he supplied. I will provide my response below.

Voodude "that they try to gloss over the significance of very real data," This is VERY REAL DATA: COOLING since 1997. Data from NOAA satellites. Are you gong to gloss over this? This is not "short term" it is 17 years and it is not "regional weather," but GLOBAL...

Voodude There is no sense denying that the earth had warmed up, just as there is no sense denying that it is cooling. What is significantly different about my point is that it is currently cooling and that your point is old news.

The blackish areas have no anomalous temperature, they are normal. The blue-ish or purple areas are COOLER THAN NORMAL.


There are more black areas than red areas... and if one adds COOL to NORMAL, it eclipses the warm areas...

The white areas have no anomalous temperature, they are normal. The blue-ish areas are COOLER THAN NORMAL.

There are more normal+cool areas, than there are, hot areas.

My Response

Let's start with the easiest ones first, the last two graphs he provided. His line of reasoning is that the combined area of the cool areas and the neutral areas are greater than the warming areas, therefore the planet is experiencing global cooling, not global warming.

First, let me say this is so ridiculous a claim that this is where I first suspected he was a paid troll. Why would someone make a claim this obviously fraudulent? Why do I call it fraudulent? Just consider the meaning of 'neutral.' It means it falls in neither group. So, you cannot group the neutral areas as being part of the cooling trend. As a counter argument, I would be equally justified in claiming, "The total of the neutral areas plus the warming areas is much greater than the cooling areas; therefore, global warming is real." That would be equally false. The correct interpretation of these two graphs is that the warming areas in both graphs is greater than the cooling areas in total extent.

Did Voodude really believe that horrible claim he made? I sure hope not. His profile on Disqus states he is an engineer. Since he remains anonymous, it is impossible to verify, but I seriously doubt it. By the way, why is Voodude so anonymous?

Let's look at his first two graphs, now. They are equally easy to debunk, but it is a little bit more involved. This issue here is the name at the top of the graph - Mr. Roy Spencer. If you ever use anything from Roy Spencer, it is an automatic given you're going to be wrong. One of his papers was submitted last summer for the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. You can read about it, and him, here. There is an interesting article about his work in The Guardian.

Voodude tried to justify his graphs with this statement:


If you don't trust me with the math, here's a good web site:

The fact is, I don't trust him (and neither should you). So, let's go to the website and see for ourselves. This is a really nice website built by Dr. Kevin Cowtan in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York. Thank you, Professor, for this excellent site. 

Once you go there, you can select the data you want and the time period. Let's try to replicate Voodude's claims and compare them to Spencer's graphs above. He said there was a cooling trend over the last 17 years and he only used the land data. This is what I get using the Berkeley land data for the period of 1999 to 2015:

Source: Kevin Cowtan

Oops! The graph shows a warming trend of .168 degrees Celsius per decade. No cooling trend here. Maybe he meant to use the NOAA data:

Source: Kevin Cowtan

Still oops! There's a warming trend of .14 degrees Celsius per decade.

Okay, we've already busted this claim all to heck and Roy Spencer's claims along with it, but why stop there? There is a major false argument deniers always go for, even though they know they are lying by doing so - they fail to include ocean warming which accounts for 93% of the planetary warming. This is what we get if we include the oceans in our calculations:

Source: Kevin Cowtan
Including the oceans, we find there has been a warming trend of .144 degrees Celsius per decade over the selected time span.

We can safely say the Earth is not cooling and this claim is completely busted. But, there's more.

Cherry Picking

This is one of the most common false arguments used by deniers - picking the data that best produces the results desired. As scientists, it is our duty to examine all of the data and obtain the most correct result. As deniers, it is their job to manipulate the data to best obtain the predetermined result. Admittedly, they are pretty good at their job. Way too many people have fallen for this false argument. Certainly, Voodude has engaged in this very thing. Let's examine, again, his claim - the data from the last 17 years shows a cooling trend.

First question - Why did he go with 17 years? Normal cycles takes decades (manmade) or millennia (naturally occurring). Voodude never actually said this was a naturally occurring cooling trend, so we will consider both. In either case, 17 years is not enough to produce any valid conclusion. I can measure the global temperature in the Northern Hemisphere for the period of August through January and I'll get a cooling trend. That is an example of cherry picking. I selected August through January because I knew the seasonal change would show a cooling trend.

So, if 17 years is invalid, why did Voodude pick it? I'm at a bit of a loss because we already saw above there was no cooling trend during this time period - unless you use Roy Spencer data!

Ah, hah! He not only specifically selected his period, he specifically selected his source of data.

And, all the while, he rejected the use of ocean warming.

This is the very definition of cherry picking. What did Voodude have to say about this?

I don't consider cherry picking to be applicable when the end of the data is current. If one picks a period, like, 1966-1968, both end-points "picked” ... then, that is cherry picking. But specifying one point, as in, a temperature series, while the other point is "now” ... that's a bit different. What, then, are the alternatives? If the end-point is “now”, either I pick the starting point, or you do... somebody has to pick the starting point... So, then, what is the point in labelling a data series (that has the current point at one end) "Cherry Picking”? The current month is taken as the starting point -no cherry picking- and the root-mean-square, linear regression analysis is computed, going back in time, as far as possible, such that the trend is COOLING. The slope, as returned by the linear regression analysis, is negative. Some temperature time-series do not support any cooling at all. If the data supports the conclusion, then IT IS COOLING. You may argue about the length of the trend, as many are short; or about the statistical significance, because temperature series tend not to be significant, but if the data support the conclusion, IT IS COOLING.

His argument is, if he uses today as his end point, he can use any point he wishes and it isn't cherry picking. But, isn't cherry picking defined as using the period you want? Even if he is using today as one endpoint, he is still selecting the period so it will fit his desired results. So, he has sidestepped the very question and issue and fails to address how he used a very specifically selected time period, data set and ignored the ocean warming. 

But, there's more.

Straw Man Argument

When challenged on the science, Voodude threw out these two gems:

Christopher said, of the IPCC, "However, it's evaluations and decisions are based on peer-reviewed science"
Where's the Science in this?
IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute, de facto, the world's wealth by climate policy. … one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth…” "This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy, anymore.”

Christopher said, of the IPCC, "However, it's evaluations and decisions are based on peer-reviewed science"
Where's the Science in this?
”At a news conference [22Jan2015] in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity, but to destroy capitalism.
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.
Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history."
Investor's Business Daily:

The answer to Voodude's question in both cases is the same - there is no science in these quotes. So, why was he bringing them up? Simple, they are straw man arguments.

A straw man argument is when a new topic is inserted into a discussion to divert attention from the original argument. This allows the person inserting this argument an opportunity to attack the straw man and make it appear as if they dissected the original argument.

Voodude was making an argument that the world is cooling. What does either of these two quotes above have to do with that topic? If you can't find anything then we are in agreement. The fact is, Voodude threw these out in an attempt to divert attention to the fact he had no science to support his claims. This is a very common strategy among deniers - they have no science to support them, so they distract the audience with something else.

By the way, both of those quotes were taken out of context in an attempt to make them sound different than they were spoken. Of course, that is another false argument, but we'll leave that for another day. Here is a link to a site showing the full quotes.


There is little doubt in my mind Voodude is a paid hack for the denier lobby, probably the Heartland Institute. The reason I specifically mentioned that group of deniers is because we were engaged in a series of exchanges exposing Heartland, Tom Harris, and Russell Cook for the paid deniers they are when Mr. Voodude suddenly shows up.  The timing is especially suspicious with the appearance of Russell Cook who is known to attack climate scientists and climate science bloggers in attempts to intimidate them. Both Harris and Cook were getting beaten up rather badly and ran away, only to suddenly be replaced by Voodude. I can easily imagine Cook calling up Voodude and telling him he needed to tie up my blog.

So, if you come across Voodude, be warned about what he is. But, then again, since he refuses to reveal who he is, all he has to do is change his handle and appear as someone else.

But, isn't that what you would expect from someone who is afraid of the science?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Impossible Odds of Warming Being Random

In my post yesterday on the April State of the Climate report from NOAA, there was a statement that caught my attention. They said, "nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods have occurred within the past two years."

Whoa! What are the odds of that? Well, it turns out, we can figure that out and have actually done so before. I wrote a post in January about how some mathematicians calculated the probability that every year since 2000 has been one of the 20 hottest ever recorded. They calculated the odds of that to be one in 1.5 trillion. That is correct - one in 1.5 trillion!

In the post, I showed how this calculation was done.  Since we know how to do the calculation, let's do the calculation for "nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods" occurring within the last two years.

First, they said the record was 136 years long. Let's assume the record started in December of that year - 1879. They don't specify and that gives us the most conservative value. That would give us the first 12-month period ending in December 1880. There would be 12 12-month periods ending every year after that, all the way to December 2014. Then there would be an additional 4 12-month periods from 2015. That gives us a total of 1624 12-month periods since the record began.

Now, in the last two years, there have been 24 12-month periods, one ending each of the 24 months of the last two years. So, the odds of one of those months randomly being in the top 10 is 24 in 1624. We have taken care of one of the top ten and one of the 24 12-month periods, that means the chances of a second top-ten 12-month period occurring in the last two years would be 23 in 1623. After that, the chances would be 22 in 1622. For a fourth period, the odds would be 21 in 1621. And, so forth.

Now, for the chances of nine of the top ten happening in the last two years would be (24/1624) * (23/1623) * (22/1622) * (21/1621) * (20/1620) * (19/1619) * (18/1618) * (17/1617) * (16/1616) = 6.174 x 10^-18. That comes out to one chance in about 1.6 x 10^17 times, or 1 chance in about 160 quadrillion times.


If we rolled the dice 160 quadrillion times, we would get these results only ONCE! In case you're wondering, if we rolled the dice one time every second, it would take us 5,070,094,050 years (including leap years). (Don't wait up, Honey. The craps game is gonna run late tonight!)


For the sake of comparison, the chances of the nine of the top ten hottest 12-month periods occurring within the last two years is about 10,000 times as unlikely as the probability of every year since 2000 being in the top 20.

Oh, by the way, global warming has stopped. Didn't you hear the deniers saying so?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

April 2015 Fourth Hottest April Ever

The NOAA State of the Climate Report for April 2015 was released today. While the news is bad, at least it isn't as bad as it has been. April was the fourth hottest April ever recorded, but the temperature anomaly for April was the smallest since last November. And, if you STILL doubt the reality of global warming, consider this from the report:
Examining the data beyond the traditional calendar year, the latest 12-month period (May 2014–April 2015) ties with the record set last month (April 2014–March 2015) as the warmest 12-month period among all months in the 136-year period of record, as shown in the table below. In fact, this record was set several times over the past year, and nine of the ten warmest 12-month periods have occurred within the past two years (September 1997–August 1998 ties as eighth warmest). Nine of these ten 12-month periods also comprise months in two overlapping years. Only the full calendar year of 2014 is among the ten warmest 12-month periods (ties for sixth warmest). 

Our 2015 count looks like this:

April was tied for the fourth hottest April on record;

March was the hottest March on record;

February was the second hottest February on record;

January was the second hottest January on record.

So far, 2015 has one hottest month, two second hottest months, and one fourth hottest month ever recorded.

For the last 12 months, the tally is:

April 2015 was tied for the fourth hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the second hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2014 was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October 2014 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2014 was the hottest September ever recorded;

August 2014 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2014 was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2014 was the hottest May ever recorded;

So, let's see what the score is for the last 12 months: one 7th hottest month, two 4th hottest months, two 2nd hottest months and seven hottest months ever.

Nine of the last twelve months were either the hottest or second hottest ever recorded.

The last 12 months ties the record for the hottest 12-month period ever recorded. Nine of the ten hottest 12-month periods have occurred in the last two years.

Monday, May 18, 2015

U.S. Warmer Than Average In April

Despite headlines about how cold it was in the east, the U.S. actually had mostly warmer than average temperatures in April. This is according to the National Climatic Data Center, which released its April State of the Climate for the U.S. today. Florida, in particular, had its warmest April on record. Take a look:

Source: NCDC
Once again, reality doesn't support the claims made by deniers.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blame the Heat on Global Warming

I can personally tell you there are more really hot days today than there were even a few decades ago. So can lots of other people. But, that is merely anecdotal evidence and we need something more rigorous than that. Of course, we have exactly that in the data, showing global warming has been getting worse since the 1970s. Nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2000. Last year was the hottest ever recorded and this year is already breaking last year's records. So, we have the hard data.

But, what does that mean? How does that affect the average person?

Well, research on this very question has shown that three out of four very hot days can be blamed on anthropogenic global warming. As things get worse during this century, that percentage will increase to 95%. Rain is a different matter. It is estimated we are responsible for only 18% of the very heavy downpours and this will increase to 39% by mid-century.

The researchers reached this conclusion by examining the hottest .1% of days and found they occurred only once every three years in a world without CO2 emissions. But, when they added manmade emissions into the equation, they found there were four of these very hot days every three years. If they continued to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to levels expected by the end of the century, they got 26 days every three years. That's something to look forward to - twenty-six times as many very hot days.

Equipped with figures like this, we can now make very strong arguments about the damage being done due to climate change. If 100,000 people die this year due to climate extremes, we can make a good estimate of how many would still be alive if not for fossil fuel emissions. We can discuss the dollar amount of damage done and present that as part of the argument to form public policy.

So, the next time you find it to be really hot, there's a 75% chance you can thank fossil fuel emissions for it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What if Climate Change is Real?

This video is a lecture given by a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. It is the kind of thing people like Tom Harris and Russell Cook would never watch because it shows, graphically, just how wrong they are. Everyone else should watch it. It is about 18 minutes long and worth it. I did not post this because it talks about Texas, but it didn't hurt, either.

What if Climate Change is Real?

Climate Change Deniers Can't Get Science Right II

One of the skill sets of deniers is the ability to twist scientific reports into something completely different. This is either done in as a deliberate attempt to lie and deceive, or it is done because they simply reject science and can't understand it. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on the people doing it.

Case in point, a recent report on research conducted by a team at Duke University. Their paper,

Comparing the model-simulated global warming signal to observations using empirical estimates of unforced noise, was printed in the Nature. All you need to do is read the last line of the paper,

We also find that recently observed GMT values, as well as trends, are near the lower bounds of the EUN for a forced signal corresponding to the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario but that observations are not inconsistent with a forced signal corresponding to the RCP 6.0 emissions scenario.
Let me explain the acronyms for you. GMT is the global mean average surface temperature. This is an observed value. EUN is the 'envelope of unforced noise.' As the authors explain, when a given model produces a result, there is a range of GMT values that represent to range of natural variability in the climate due to many different causes. RCP is the Representive Concentration Pathways. These are the different CO2 concentration scenarios used in estimates and there are four of them - RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5. The higher the number, the higher the CO2 concentration. 

So, what this team did was to independently determine what the GMT was the last 1000 years and compare them to model results. They found the natural variability (unforced signal) was NOT big enough to account for the warming. Instead, they found manmade emissions (forced signal) must be included and their findings come in at the lower end of RCP 8.5, but are consistent with the RCP 6.5 scenario. In other words, they found manmade forcing (manmade emissions) MUST be included in order to get results that are consistent with actual measurements. Natural variability is not enough by itself to result in the observed warming.

Once you understand the acronyms, the conclusion is pretty clear. If you need some additional clarification, you can read the explanation provided by the paper's authors here at Real Climate. A key sentence in the explanation is,

Therefore, our results confirm that positive radiative forcings (e.g., from human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations) are necessary in order for the Earth to have warmed as much as it did over the 20th century.
Therefore, our results confirm that positive radiative forcings (e.g., from human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations) are necessary in order for the Earth to have warmed as much as it did over the 20th century. - See more at:
So, what did the deniers say?

Our climate models are WRONG: Global warming has slowed - and recent changes are down to ‘natural variability’, says study – Daily Mail

Happy Earth Day! The Computer Models Are Wrong! – Rush Limbaugh

New evidence against global warming: Take your pick: It's not living up to hype or not happening at all - WND

When I look at these headlines - and their sources - I ask myself, is this a case of deliberately lying or is it a case of rejecting science? Unfortunately, I can reach only one conclusion - it's both.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ocean Acidification

A commenter (thanks, elfish) pointed out the latest episode of Nova on PBS is about ocean acidification. I don't watch TV, or even own a TV, but you can watch all episodes of Nova on line. You can see this particular episode, Lethal Seas, here.

Ocean acidification is caused when the oceans absorb CO2, creating carbonic acid. Contrary to arguments made by deniers, no one is saying the oceans are turning into an acid. That is not what acidification means. The oceans are base and will remain base, but adding CO2 to them will reduce the level of baseness and make them more acidic. A pH of 7 is neutral (plain water) and is neither acid nor base. A pH higher than 7 is base and a pH lower than 7 is acidic. The oceans have averaged about pH 8.2 for the last 300 million years. In the last fifty years they have dropped to an average of about 8.1. Still base, but more acidic than before. That is a truly dramatic change. By becoming more acidic, the chemistry of the oceans has been changed and the consequences are extreme and widespread.

This episode of Nova explores the chemistry and effects of ocean acidification. It is extremely well done, as is the norm for Nova episodes, and explains the issue very clearly. They also explain the cause and solution very clearly. This problem is being caused by manmade emissions of CO2 and the only way it can be addressed is to reduce our CO2 emissions. 

If you are interested in learning more about this issue, I highly recommend this episode as a good starting point. Even if you already know (or think you know) a lot about the subject, I still highly recommend this episode.

Climate Change Deniers Can't Get Science Right

Scripps Institute of Oceanography made a news release with the title, "Research Highlight: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Likely To Be Reversible," followed by the subtitle, "Scenarios of a sea ice tipping point leading to a permanently ice-free Arctic Ocean were based on oversimplified arguments." My first guess is who ever wrote this piece is unfamiliar with the ways of the climate change deniers. Give them any in to reject the science and they'll take it. And, they did. For instance, the article in The Daily Caller (a trash journal which is famous for its scientific illiteracy) which leads with the headline, "'Irreversible’ Arctic Ice Loss Seems To Be Reversing Itself" and concludes with this gem:
In fact, Arctic sea ice extent as a whole seems to be stabilizing despite this year’s record low maximum in February. NSIDC data shows Arctic sea ice extent is currently within the normal range based on the 1981 to 2010 average extent.

“Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted,” Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told the U.K. Express in January.

“Most people think the poles are melting… they’re not,” he said. “This is a huge inconvenience that reality is now catching up with climate alarmists, who were predicting that the poles would be melting fairly soon.”
How's this for an inconvenience, Dr. Peiser?:

Source: NSIDC

Tell us again how the sea ice is at a "record high"? And, would you care to discuss how Antarctica's land ice loss went from 30 gigatons per year to 147 gigatons per year in just one decade? Not to mention the disaster going on with the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Oh, and just what credentials does Peisner have to qualify him on such a subject? He has none. Peiser studied political science, English, and sports science at the University of Frankfurt. He is a past Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a “historian and anthropologist with particular research interest in neo-catastrophism and its implications for human and societal evolution.” The Daily Caller's credibility in science is so low they had to get a political science major to discuss the issue of arctic ice loss. Truly amazing!

Well, people like this are being called out. It won't make any difference to the deniers because they have firmly decided to reject science, but maybe someone that is interested in learning will hear. Here is a nice article about the Scripps news release, explaining what Scripps was really saying.

Now, I am not going to give the deniers the benefit of the doubt. I am not going to say this was just the case of someone misunderstanding the scientific paper because the news release clearly stated,
During the past several years, scientists using global climate models (GCMs) that are more complex than process models found sea ice loss in response to rising greenhouse gases in their computer simulations is actually reversible when greenhouse levels are reduced.

Read it again, sea ice loss is reversible "when greenhouse levels are reduced."

And, further,
“We found that two key physical processes, which were often overlooked in previous process models, were actually essential for accurately describing whether sea ice loss is reversible,” said Eisenman, a professor of climate dynamics at Scripps Oceanography. “One relates to how heat moves from the tropics to the poles and the other is associated with the seasonal cycle. None of the relevant previous process modeling studies had included both of these factors, which led them to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.”

“Our results show that the basis for a sea ice tipping point doesn’t hold up when these additional processes are considered,” said Wagner. “In other words, no tipping point is likely to devour what’s left of the Arctic summer sea ice. So if global warming does soon melt all the Arctic sea ice, at least we can expect to get it back if we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again.”
Again, the ice will return "if we somehow manage to cool the planet back down again."

This is very different than what the deniers are claiming. And, don't miss the qualifications of the person making this statement: Dr. Eisenman is a professor of climate dynamics at Scripps Oceanography. Okay, this is someone that is qualified to speak on the subject.

Here is a link to their actual paper, accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Florida and Sea Level Rise

Florida Governor Rick Scott has prohibited government employees from discussing climate change, global warming, and sea level rise. Too bad for Florida nature didn't bother listening. Many places along the Florida coast are facing problems due to that same sea level rise the government isn't allowed to discuss. Meanwhile, the state can only watch because Scott doesn't believe in sea level rise and has put off efforts to form a plan to deal with the problem.

Many coastal communities suffer from chronic flooding - streets are now routinely flooding during high tides. Sea water is intruding into ground water - Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, has been forced to abandon six of eight wells due to salt water intrusion. Flood control systems are being overburdened - higher sea levels translate into higher storm surges. Municipalities can't deal with the problem without state help, but the help isn't coming. In fact, Scott has downsized the state environmental agencies, making it even more difficult for the state to respond.

Insurance giant Swiss Re has estimated South Florida could suffer $33 billion in damages due to sea level rise and climate change by the year 2030. That would be a lot of lost taxes for the state, but they don't seem to care. Scott's office denies employees are being censored, despite the evidence of internal emails. At the same time, local leaders complained about the "poisonous political atmosphere."

Well, bad news is on the way. The rate of sea level rise is increasing. Researchers have combined tidal gauge data with GPS data for the land to find out sea level rise is due to two factors - the rise in the height of the oceans and the simultaneous movement of the land masses. What they found is the earlier calculations of sea level rise were too large. That means the more recent sea level rise has been even more than previously thought and is increasing at a rate of about 12% per year. They estimate this will increase sea level disasters from about $25 billion per year currently to as much as $100,000 billion ($100 trillion!) by 2100.

But, it keeps getting better.

The Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula is being melted by warm waters from beneath and warm air from above. Researchers have calculated the ice shelf could collapse within the century, possibly earlier. Larsen C is the largest ice shelf on the peninsula and fourth largest in the world (about twice the size of Belgium). Two smaller companions have collapsed in recent decades. Larsen A collapsed in 1995 and Larsen B collapsed in 2002. Larsen C has lost 4 meters of ice, resulting in the ice sheet being a full meter lower. (NOTE: Here is a timely NASA update, including a nice video, of the breakup of Larsen B.)

Melting of the ice would not in itself lead to higher sea levels because the ice is already in the water. Melting it would keep the sea level the same. But, the ice shelf acts as a stopper for the land ice behind it. Remove the ice shelf and that land ice would be free to move into the ocean at an accelerated rate - and that will lead to rising sea levels by adding more ice to the oceans even without melting it. The accelerated movement of the land ice was witnessed after the collapse of Larsen A and B.

The loss of land ice on Antarctica has increased from approximately 30 billion tons per year in 2001 to 147 billion tons per year a decade later. Add to that rate of increase the amount of ice being held back by Larsen C and the situation in Florida (and other coastal communities worldwide) is looking worse by the day.

But, of course, if we don't talk about it, it won't happen. Just ask Rick Scott.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guest Submission: Letter to Duluth News Tribune

To the Editors of the Duluth News Tribune,
RE: another misleading article on global warming in the Tribune;

Hello Chuck and other Tribune editors,

I have decided to share my criticisms of deniers, with long comments like this made for the Tribune. 300 words is not nearly enough to ensure an adequate rebuttal of those who try to deny the massive evidence that supports climate science. So by answering in more detail to you, I hope I can make you aware of all the lies and misconceptions currently, and often deliberately, being circulated by AGW deniers.

Just think back to the days when tobacco executives deliberately lied to Congress, and denied the dangers of tobacco just to preserve their profits. Then inject those lies on steroids into our present controversy, and you magnify the significance of climate denial much more. There is really far more material wealth at stake, for big oil CEO’s and executives who need to circulate lies and deceptions in order to maintain the status quo, than there is for those of us who try to tell the truth---no matter how poor we might be. Toss in unlimited campaign funds, tremendous amounts of dark money, and no real accountability, and one begins to discover what's going on!

Sadly the Tribune published another misleading Local View commentary, this time by Karl Spring, the former chief Meteorologist at KBJR/WDLH and Fox21—TV in Duluth, which was also accompanied by a misleading cartoon meant to portray the idea that the science establishing global warming as being caused primarily by man, is not settled and only has made correct projections erratically at best.

However, most meteorologists typically lack the same extensive academic background that climate scientists possess. While climate scientists focus on historical knowledge of world weather patterns, a meteorologist typically requires only a Bachelors degree to qualify for his job which often includes an emphasis on mathematics. But some meteorologists working today still lack any degree at all, and pick up the knack to forecast weather thorough their job experiences. Typically a meteorologist's forecasts may lack long term accuracy, due to the fact that local weather forecasts include many more short term variables than does climate science, which additionally concerns global worldwide trends that are more easily determined by a number of methods—including reports from weather stations all over the world, including satellite surveillance, plus a large number of other data gathering techniques. It is far more difficult to assure us that we will not have a rain storm three days from now, then to analyze the direct observational proof gathered by climate scientists and provided by worldwide monitoring. But still, climate scientists typically require much more extensive educational backgrounds because of the many technical aspects included in their fields, and usually Masters degrees or PhD’s are held by competent and peer-reviewed researchers. Here is a link describing some of the kinds of knowledge that might compliment the job of a climate scientist:

Another good link describing the many kinds of knowledge involved in obtaining graduate degrees in climate scientists is:

Actually, both the cartoons included in the Tribune, and the many of the ideas expressed by Mr. Spring, lack validity and represent common myths about the findings of climate scientists;

In the early days of the ecology movement in the 60s and 70s some climate scientists falsely believed that temperatures might drop during the coming decades and centuries. But even then, more than six out of 10 believed global warming would happen—along with a number of researchers who officially abstained from taking positions, and even fewer who outright denied climate warming. So actually, more than 60% correctly believed then, that climate change would include a gradual warming trend, while very few truly believed in global cooling. Part of the problem had to do with the widespread use of aerosols and their effects on the ozone layer, but aerosol sprays were regulated and the ozone layer was largely restored. Additionally the rapid development of better and more accurate technology quickly convinced many dissenters, that global warming was in fact taking place, despite the plot of a popular but fictitious Hollywood film which included a global cooling theme, and which left a false impression on many viewers.

About the rain forests. They really have been depleting rapidly and amount to millions upon millions of acres lost. What was observed by scientists originally, indicated a complete catastrophe in the making by the turn of the century. But here is a (paste) from a website that details some of the reason why deforestation has recently diminished in many South American countries:

“For most of human history, deforestation in the Amazon was primarily the product of subsistence farmers who cut down trees to produce crops for their families and local consumption. But in the later part of the 20th century, that began to change, with an increasing proportion of deforestation driven by industrial activities and large-scale agriculture. By the 2000s more than three-quarters of forest clearing in the Amazon was for cattle-ranching.”

The result of this shift is forests in the Amazon were cleared faster than ever before in the late 1970s through the mid 2000s. Vast areas of rainforest were felled for cattle pasture and soy farms, drowned for dams, dug up for minerals, and bulldozed for towns and colonization projects. At the same time, the proliferation of roads opened previously inaccessible forests to settlement by poor farmers, illegal logging, and land speculators.

But that trend began to reverse in Brazil in 2004. Since then, annual forest loss in the country that contains nearly two-thirds of the Amazon's forest cover has declined by roughly eighty percent. The drop has been fueled by a number of factors, including increased law enforcement, satellite monitoring, pressure from environmentalists, private and public sector initiatives, new protected areas, and macroeconomic trends. Nonetheless the trend in Brazil is not mirrored in other Amazon countries, some of which have experienced rising deforestation since 2000.”

In other words, environmentalists, conservationists and business interests, accomplished what they were supposed to—they used education to enable depletion levels to drop—because scientists had done their jobs—not because they were completely mistaken! However, the implications by deniers that there was never even a problem, are very wrong, and positive action to preserve the rainforests are still very much needed.

Misconceptions about the idea that Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2010, or that the Arctic's ice could be completely gone by 2014, are also partly the product of misquoting climate advocates like Al Gore, whose actual words did not support that idea. What he actually said was:

“Last September 21 (2007) as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported that with unprecedented distress that the north polar ice cap is “falling off of a cliff,” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by US Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.”

Note that there is a difference between the words “could” and “will.” And also a difference between the words “estimated,” and “without a doubt.” There is also a clear difference between saying, “in as little as 7 years and, “no more than 6 years.” The year 2007 plus 7 more, adds up to 2014, so critics jumped all over Mr. Gore for his error. But 2007 plus up to 22 years, adds up to the year 2029, which is still a lot more than 7 years away. Al Gore also said:

“Some of the models suggest that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months will be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”

So, again, a 75% chance is not the same thing as a certainty, and the fact is that the Arctic ice pack is now nearly free of ice during the summer. So many scientists are worried that the ice loss is progressing even faster than they had projected! And, the many ploys used by deniers include cherry picking short term variations in one spot (during the winter), which then falsely produced an inaccurate indication that a cooling process was evident, instead of (GLOBAL) warming as a (WORLDWIDE TREND)! Cherry picking is also among the usual culprits used to support many other unfounded ideas about global warming. Here are a couple of links that examine the mistaken ideas concerning Al Gores supposed errors;

And finally here is a link to the site which include links providing exact quotes of what Gore actually said:

About inconsistencies in the measurements of rising sea levels; Here's another a link to a website:

And here is a (paste) from a website explaining the issues involved with world ocean levels:

“Before the advent of satellite measurements in the 1990s, tide gauges were the main way scientists observed how sea levels changed. Tide gauges measure the height of the sea with reference to a fixed point, usually on land, meaning most measurements are taken along coastlines.

Tide gauges have their limitations, Hay says, with a lack of readings in the early twentieth century and in the southern hemisphere:

'The incompleteness of these records makes obtaining estimates of global mean sea level very difficult.'

In their study, Hay and her colleagues found another way of using the tide gauge records, as she explains:

'Local sea level differs from global sea level due to a variety of factors, including ongoing effects due to the last ice age, heating and expansion of the ocean due to global warming, changes in ocean circulation, and present day melting of land ice. All of these processes produce unique patterns, or 'fingerprints', of sea level change that can be modeled.'

By looking for these fingerprints in the tide gauge records, the researchers can then estimate the contribution each one makes to sea level change. Then by adding them all together, they get a new estimate of the rate of global change.

Using this approach, the researchers estimate sea level rise for 1900 to 1990 of 1.2 mm per year. This is lower than the 1.5mm per year from the IPCC. But they found a much better match between two sets of figures for the more recent period of 1990 and 2010 which both show faster sea level rise of 3mm per year, (the underlining is for my emphasis that this fact is directly relevant to the cartoon's contention on the Tribunes opinion page, which implied that projected sea level increases were grossly inaccurate).

Slower sea level rise in the last century makes the increase in recent years appear even more rapid, Hay says. 'You can see this in the figure below.' etc.”

Although the seas are not going to suddenly engulf large amounts of land areas, the sea levels keep increasing, and by using better methods to calculate them, scientists often see an increasing rate due to factors like increased arctic ice melts etc. In some low elevation areas, sea levels have already disrupted the normal levels, so that many coastal areas are actually covered by greater amounts of water than before. Scientists never said this would happen all at once, or in a very short period of time—regardless of what many deniers might claim.

Recently climate scientists have also been convinced by data, that global warming is in fact, contributing to the severity of storms and extreme weather events. Again this is happening slowly, but global warming can lessen the temperatures differences between adjacent areas both north and south of the jet stream. This allows cold Arctic temperatures to penetrate further into southern latitudes, thus creating the “Polar Vortex” effect. And while some extreme events have not significantly increased, the severity and strength typical in these weather events, appears to result in many more record breaking events. Mr. Spring tries to deny all of this by claiming that as civilization populates more areas, locations which may previously have had only 20 record breaking events, may now have 200—thus he totally ignores the fact that many of these records specifically denote cities and areas of the country where records are based on data from exactly the same cites and geographical areas i.e we definitely know when New York city (for example) has broken a long standing temperature record! We also know that large snow storms, increased droughts, more intense heat waves and flooding, are happening more often. Though they cannot by themselves be directly linked to the effects of global warming, scientists have finally been able to verify definite associations between global warming and extreme weather patterns. And, although world wide temperature averages are definitely on an upward trend, that doesn't mean that different areas are not experiencing other kinds of weather extremes which may include new low temperature records. This is something climate scientists have always asserted. Remember that the weather in California may include droughts and heat waves, while Australia may be having colder temperatures than average—or visa verse. So, no one weather event can be used to definitely prove or disprove the process of global warming—although many different ones—(over time) may be used to affirm it!

In the cartoons above it, and in Mr. Springs commentary itself, the Tribune effectively succeeds in falsely discrediting many of the very real factors that are parts of climate change. Mr. Spring's mention of the fact that the amounts of water, gasses, and minerals on our planet remain basically the same, is really a pretty na├»ve argument. For one thing, carbon based fuels and the total amount of CO2 might be considered as remaining constant as part of the “oblate sphere” that is our Earth, but the oil and carbon based products we use now, have been extracted after millions of years, from areas deep beneath the surface, and are taken from deposits of decayed vegetation and various life forms that became our presently used petroleum. Because we are now extracting those deposits, which then influence our current atmosphere and environment, the rate of our world wide temperatures is now increasing more rapidly than it has in more than 600,000 years, and once it's in the atmosphere, CO2 causes world temperatures averages to rise more quickly than they previously have---even at all times during all those hundreds of thousands of years! Scientist have always acknowledged that during certain geological periods CO2 levels have been very high, but our present accumulations have happened over a much shorter period of time than was the case in eons past! So, it's not just about amounts. It’s about the incredible (rate) of temperature increases in our worldwide environment. But obviously, if we were to try to breath nothing but CO2, try to breath underwater, or try to hold our breath long enough to survive a tsunami, we obviously can not foolishly conclude, (as some deniers claim), that excessive amount of any naturally occurring greenhouse gas are only beneficial to human life?

Somewhat strangely, Mr. Spring also implies that climate science and our opinions about it, have become an exercise in religious debate. Personally I have no quarrel with people who believe being good stewards of the earth is a religious responsibility. However all that we really need to be motivated by is the desire to save our own behinds while recognizing that, what climate scientists are telling us, does not allow us to postpone taking actions in ways which truly might address the urgency of our global situation. 

Am I an alarmist—certainly! I really want the Earth to sustain human life as long as possible, and, I am all in favor of ensuring our ability to live without having to regularly face extreme climate disasters that may threaten to destroy or damage the vast and beautiful earthly garden we live in, and which sustains our lives.

Its really people like Mr. Spring who are part of well-funded attempts to deny the facts that have been revealed by climate scientists, and who consistently use numbers and facts to mean anything they wants them to mean. He implies that actually accepting the real facts denotes some sort of evil plot on the parts of those who accurately acknowledge what is happening to our environment now, or, is even some sort of sin against God? But, because of court decisions like Citizens United, we are making it much easier for plutocrats and wealthy manipulators, to use obscenely large amounts of money to control our political system, and, thanks to deniers, delaying the truth will absolutely ensure a climate change disaster. But it's strange how organizations like those of deniers, which claim to know the real truth, often think nothing about ignoring the many problems we will encounter in the future—just because they dare do nothing but hide their heads in the sand!

Many climate scientists are atheists and many are not. This is not a religious war, nor should it be about politically fueled ideological debates. But unfortunately, that's what AGW deniers seem to want us to think! Just like the tobacco industry, they only need to succeed in furthering unfounded doubts in order to ensure outrageous industry profits—even though allowing extremely harmful weather events to besiege the environment only ensures that their prodigious wealth may really help to destroy our environment! All the while, they think nothing about accusing thousand of scientist all around the world of promoting a hoax! 

All of us, (including deniers), are threatened by climate change. So, if deniers win, all of us will lose. Yet the cruelest the joke is on them—simply because all the money in the word is without worth, if we have no safe and livable world to spend it in. Life may continually go on, but we might very well, no longer be able to come along for the ride!

Sincerely, Peter W. Johnson