Peter Wadhams On Ice

It’s coming to the end of the silly season, here in the UK—once again, that time of year when we’re supposed to shun the frivolities of summer and turn our minds (such as they are) to serious and weighty topics.

To mark this occasion, I give you the transcript of a conversation this Tuesday morning, between Mishal Husain of the BBC and Professor Peter Wadhams of climate science. What more serious a topic could there be, after all, than the urgent need to remove vast amounts of oxygen from the world’s atmosphere?*

*(Sorry, just remembered it was carbon dioxide and not oxygen he was talking about. People are trying to suck the oxygen out of the climate debate, but that’s something else entirely—seems like I’m confusing the two.)

Without more ado:

Mishal Husain: Over the summer, we’ve been following the progress of Northabout, the polar exploration yacht that is trying to circumnavigate the North Pole. It’s already made it through the Northeast Passage but it has encountered more ice than it bargained for. The crew is led by explorer David Hempleman-Adams, who’s been recording an audio diary for us—here’s his latest despatch.

David Hempleman-Adams: We’ve gone through several seas, on this trip—firstly the Barents, then we went into the Kara Sea, which was much easier than expected, then we went into the Laptev Sea, which caused us our delays with all the ice, and we were very lucky to actually get through, this year. And oddly enough, looking at the ice charts, it’s closed behind us, now. Then we went into the East Siberian Sea, and we’ve just left it, today. We’ve just passed the 180-degree mark, which is a really high point for the whole crew, because we’re the other side of the world from Greenwich, of course. And now we’re in the western hemisphere, and for me it feels as if we’re coming home. Slowly, slowly, we’re coming home. I think we’ve gone through all the difficult parts of ice, coming down—we’ve still got a little bit to our north, we’ve come down quite a sizeable distance to skirt around it, and hopefully we’ll miss that, this evening. And now we’re on a straight line to Point Barrow, and if it’s good winds, we should be there in a few days’ time.

Mishal Husain: Well, Northabout’s journey is scheduled to end in October. This year, sea ice in the Arctic has been melting at one of the highest rates on record. It’s something that Professor Peter Wadhams monitors very closely—he’s Professor of Ocean Physics at the University of Cambridge, and his book A Farewell to Ice is published this week. He’s in our Salford studio—good morning, professor.

Peter Wadhams: Good morning.

Mishal Husain: What is your assessment of where we stand, at the moment, with Arctic sea ice?

Peter Wadhams: Well, it’s retreating quite fast—it’s thinning—the main thing is that the structure is changing. Most ice is much younger than it used to be, it’s only less than a year old, and so it’s much thinner and it’s shrinking in area, so that we can expect that within a few years, before very long, there will be a period in the late summer where it will be essentially ice-free. We can [?] reach that.

Mishal Husain: And when you say “ice-free”, just explain—it does not mean that there’s, you know, that there is no ice.

Peter Wadhams: No, it means that the basic central part of the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free—it will be possible to navigate to the North Pole. I mean, already, as we’ve just seen, it’s possible in summer to navigate around the outside edge of the Arctic Ocean, which is ice-free and allows you to sail small ships around. But it will be that the central part of the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free, as well. There will be some remaining ice around different—different passages and coastal regions.

Mishal Husain: I note that you said “within a few years” we’ll be ice-free in the Arctic. It’s a bit different from what what—from some of your earlier assessments. For example, the press release surrounding your book says that by the time it comes out, the Arctic might be—might be ice-free. Do you look back and think that perhaps you’ve been a little too alarmist, in the past?

Peter Wadhams: No, I don’t think so, not at all, because there’s—in the world of nature, there are trends and there are fluctuations, the sorts that we have with weather, and the trend has been enormously downwards, the trend towards the reducing area, reducing thickness of ice has been a very strong downward trend, which will inevitably lead to the loss of summer ice within a short time, but we can’t specify exactly which year that will be, because we have, from year to year, you have fluctuations due to weather conditions during the springtime, for instance.

Mishal Husain: But in the past, the fact that you have put a year on it—for example, in 2013 saying that it might be gone by 2015—some of your colleagues in the climate science world have been a bit worried about that sort of thing. Ed Hawkins, for example, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, who says, you know, if predictions turn out to be incorrect, then we must acknowledge that, because otherwise we won’t be serving the public properly.

Peter Wadhams: No, it’s actually—I believe it’s the opposite of what he said, because serving the public means telling the public what the data is showing about what is happening to Arctic sea ice. Not serving the public means giving out the results of computer models, which in this case are very, very wrong—they predict that Arctic sea ice in summer will last until almost the end of the century, and if we use that as the basis for our predictions, we’re not going to take any of the urgent action that’s needed to deal with climate change, and especially to deal with the consequences of Arctic change.

Mishal Husain: And when you say “urgent action”, is anything that has already been agreed enough? Can we, for example, on the basis of what was agreed in Paris, reduce our carbon emissions enough to, if not reverse this trend, at least stem it?

Peter Wadhams: No, I think what we’re doing is not enough. The agreement in Paris was a tremendous step forward but—in that all of the nations of the world are agreeing to do their best—but the best we can do, which is to reduce carbon emissions more rapidly than we’re reducing them now, is still not going to be enough, because there’s already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it has a long persistence time. So my view is: we have to do something else if we’re going to really save the world from very catastrophic climate change, and one thing we can do is to put a sticking plaster on it, by adopting geo-engineering methods, which means trying to brighten up clouds, for instance, by putting water vapour into them and making them brighter so they reflect more radiation.

But in the long run, we have to design a way to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, because we’ve got too much in there, already. And that means inventing methods that will absorb carbon dioxide and—out of the atmosphere, directly. There are methods, but they’re too expensive, so a big research project will enable us to find methods that are acceptable, in terms of cost. And that, in the end, will save us, because it’s really the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is actually causing the warming, so if we take that away, we’ve solved the warming problem.

Mishal Husain: Professor Peter Wadhams, thank you very much.

40 thoughts on “Peter Wadhams On Ice

  1. “So my view is: we have to do something else if we’re going to really save the world from very catastrophic climate change, and one thing we can do is to put a sticking plaster on it, by adopting geo-engineering methods, which means trying to brighten up clouds, for instance, by putting water vapour into them and making them brighter so they reflect more radiation.

    But in the long run, we have to design a way to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, because we’ve got too much in there, already. And that means inventing methods that will absorb carbon dioxide and – out of the atmosphere, directly. There are methods, but they’re too expensive, so a big research project will enable us to find methods that are acceptable, in terms of cost. And that, in the end, will save us, because it’s really the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is actually causing the warming, so if we take that away, we’ve solved the warming problem.”

    Certifiable. But cunning too. What happened to his methane time bomb I wonder?

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  2. Ta Alex .. A Biased-BBC commenter @Thoughtful did a pretty good summary :

    According to a report on the Today program this morning there is a second ship of fools monitoring sea ice in the Arctic, and yes you guessed it, finding there is much more than these idiots thought there was.

    It was followed by a professor who was plainly mentally ill as he was presented with all of his past doom & gloom predictions which had failed to materialise. They did treat him gently but it is difficult when someone whose entire set of previous predictions had not come to pass, tells the interviewer that there will be no Arctic ice by a certain date (for the umpteenth time) and that all the computer models which contradict him are wrong !
    He finished up wittering on about CO2 being a problem and that he needed more money for research – which will no doubt be forthcoming !

    A sad shame that anyone rational with a counter argument would not receive any money at all and would not be invited onto the BBC to put their points either.

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  3. I think this pretty much gives us the measure of Wadhams.

    Three scientists investigating melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated, professor claims

    The three scientists he identified – Seymour Laxon and Katherine Giles, both climate change scientists at University College London, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for marine Science – all died within the space of a few months in early 2013.

    Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London. Dr Boyd is thought to have been struck by lightning while walking in Scotland.

    Prof Wadhams said that in the weeks after Prof Laxon’s death he believed he was targeted by a lorry which tried to force him off the road. He reported the incident to the police.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11762680/Three-scientists-investigating-melting-Arctic-ice-may-have-been-assassinated-professor-claims.html

    As mad as an ISO shipping container full of frogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “… Not serving the public means giving out the results of computer models, which in this case are very, very wrong – they predict that Arctic sea ice in summer will last until almost the end of the century, ..”

    1- Yes, computer models are wrong and it’s nice of him to admit it.
    2- When he makes predictions about the climate (particularly Arctic) what does he use as a .. err..for .. cough/mumble .. a thingy like a model.
    3.- If he doesn’t use a model of the climate what is his excuse for being wrong so often.

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  5. Pretty straight forward.

    Lets take two problems: Predicting Sea Level Rise and Predicting Arctic Ice loss

    There are basically three methods: Data Model Driven, or statistical. Physics Model Driven, and
    Semi empirical. I’ll just use the first two

    Lets say you want to predict Sea level rise. you can use statistical or physical
    A statistical approach would simply take the historical data and extrapolate it.
    And we would see there is not much to worry about.
    A physical model, like GCM, will predict something far worse because it will include events
    that havent happened in our past records..like enhanced melt from greenland.
    This rise will be more like exponential.

    Which to use?

    Well. skeptics Like this. Use a statistics based approach.!!!

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/06/legislating-sea-level-rise

    A smarter approach considers various sources of information, here modelling and semi empirical

    http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/880915/12046602/1304462454723/TI+sea+level+rise+report+FINAL.pdf?token=XFdFEtpgIaHfSIumsc8jrQ0TLfk%3D

    Turn to the ARCTIC

    Wadhams used the SKEPTICS approach.. just look at the past data and draw a straight line.
    Ice disappears very quickly.

    That’s not the consensus postion… which uses models.. and the ice melts much later on..

    So.. the skeptics on SLR share one thing with Wadhams, both reject models.
    In the case of SLR that means nothing to worry about.. in the case of the arctic.. sound the alarm

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  6. So in Wadham’s world, it appears that “catastrophic” just doesn’t seem to, well, cut the ice. We must now deal with the “very catastrophic”. Makes one wonder what the “tipping point” might be between mere “catastrophic” and super-scary “very catastrophic”.

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Just what we need. More innovations to the English language courtesy of that most innovative of sciences, clisci:

    So ice-free doesn’t mean free of ice.

    It’s like that Simpsons episode where some foodstuff was advertised as “Fat free! Twenty-seven percent fat-free!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good to see Mosh on CliScep, to use the shortened forms. I was also struck that the models are less alarming in this case than more simplistic extrapolation. But how alarming is that? How harmful would an ‘ice-free’ Arctic for a few weeks a year be? Cue Matt Ridley:

    Meanwhile, theory predicts, and data confirms, that today’s carbon-dioxide-induced man-made warming is happening more at night than during the day, more during winter than summer and more in the far north than near the equator. An Arctic winter night is affected much more than a tropical summer day. If it were the other way around, it would be more harmful.

    Some time in the next few decades, we may well see the Arctic Ocean without ice in August or September for at least a few weeks, just as it was in the time of our ancestors. The effect on human welfare, and on animal and plant life, will be small. For all the attention it gets, the reduction in Arctic ice is the most visible, but least harmful, effect of global warming.

    That’s based on looking back to the balmy days of the “early Holocene insolation maximum” 8,500 years ago:

    … the period during which agriculture was invented in about seven different parts of the globe at once. Copper smelting began; cattle and sheep were domesticated; wine and cheese were developed; the first towns appeared. The seas being warmer, the climate was generally wet so the Sahara had rivers and forests, hippos and people.

    Sounds less than catastrophic to me.

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  9. “It’s coming to the end of the silly season, here in the UK”

    Wait, does that mean you’re approaching peak silly? How does silliness work in Old Blighty: does it gradually crescendo to an orgasmic sea-cliff? Or does it follow a Gaussian distribution about a sort of Silly Solstice?

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  10. Steven Mosher:

    “So.. the skeptics on SLR share one thing with Wadhams, both reject models. In the case of SLR that means nothing to worry about.. in the case of the arctic.. sound the alarm.”

    Which implies that sceptics cherry-pick whether to accept physics models or not, depending upon the predicted outcome. I think you will find a good few sceptics question both the physical models predicting continued long term sea-ice decline in the Arctic Ocean and ice mass loss from Greenland and the statistical models forecasting an imminent ice -free Arctic. Why? Because the statistical models are based on just 38 years instrumental data, because the physical models are themselves imperfect and are driven primarily by AGW projected warming, whereas they poorly characterise highly uncertain natural variability. This is why Steven points out that a “physical model, like GCM, will predict something far worse because it will include events that haven’t happened in our past records..like enhanced melt from Greenland. This rise will be more like exponential.” ‘Something far worse’ will always be a feature of any physical model driven by AGW projected warming.

    Hence even the more ‘sane’ and scientifically credible projections of [eventual] ‘catastrophic’ Arctic ice loss and SLR involve a high degree of structural uncertainty – which is often conveniently ignored in press releases and MSM reports.

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  11. Thanks Alex. The Radio 4 presenter seems a bit more intelligent and informed than John Vidal, suggesting that Wadhams has been “a little too alarmist” and mentioning another climate scientist, Ed Hawkins.

    Steven Mosher, I think Wadhams’s methods don’t just use a straight line, they use a downwards turning exponential curve borrowed from Neven’s blog, see the picture of Wadhams speaking on page 11 of this document from Mark Brandon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks Paul.

    It’s page 11 of the second section of the PDF but page 13 of the PDF itself! On which Gavin Schmidt’s tweet verdict on the day (22nd Sep 2014) is recorded:

    Wadhams still using graphs with ridiculous projections with no basis in physics

    followed by the exponential curve of which you speak. For Wadhams to be this much of an outlier is really some achievement. Which consensus enforcer wishes to do battle with Gavin Schmidt (and Tom Nelson and Paul Matthews – see page 7) on this?

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  13. STEVEN MOSHER: “There are basically three methods: Data Model Driven, or statistical. Physics Model Driven, and Semi empirical. I’ll just use the first two”

    You forgot the fourth one Steven, the one most favoured by climate “scientists” and patronising second hand temperature database salesmen.

    It’s called “making stuff up”.

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  14. Page 24 of Mark Brandon’s PDF linked to by Paul deals with Wadhams’ hypothesis of an ‘imminent’ 50Gt Arctic methane pulse and how implausible Gavin Schmidt and other scientists think this scenario is. We do NOT stand on the threshold of a Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum (PETM) type event. The very idea is ridiculous, but Wadhams keeps plugging it – notably not in the interview above.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “Just what we need. More innovations to the English language courtesy of that most innovative of sciences, clisci:

    So ice-free doesn’t mean free of ice.

    It’s like that Simpsons episode where some foodstuff was advertised as “Fat free! Twenty-seven percent fat-free!”

    ##############

    Too funny. This is the level of “argument” I get over at Goddard’s place.
    I think I’ll go back there, better class of idiots to toy with.

    Quick, what does sugar free mean? how about fat free? technically.. what exactly

    If there was one molecule of ice in the arctic would it be ice free?

    What is the purpose of an operational definition?

    who gets to make them? why?

    When an idiot disagrees with an operational definition on semantic grounds how do you gently tell him he is an idiot ?

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  16. This is an account of a Peter Wadhams expedition in 1922:

    http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf

    THE CHANGING ARCTIC

    “October 10 1922 the American consul at Bergen Norway, submitted the followlng report to the State Department, Washington, D. C.

    The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.

    In August, 1922, the Norwegian Department of Commerce sent an expedition to Spitzbergen and Bear Island……. Its purpose was to survey and chart the lands adjacent to the Norwegian mines on those islands, take soundings of the adjacent waters, and make other oceanographic investigations.

    Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The expedition all but established a record, sailing as far north as 81deg 29′ in ice-free water.

    Dr. Hoel reports that he made a section of the Gulf Stream at 81′ north latitude and took soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters. These show the Gulf Stream very warm, and it could be traced as a surface current till beyond the 81st parallel. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that favourable ice conditions will continue for some time.

    Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, who has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past…says that he first noted wanner conditions in 1915, that since that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same region of 1865 to 1917. Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecognisable. Where formerly great masses of ice were found there are now often moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers extended far into the sea, they have now entirely disappeared.”

    I wonder if Wadhams ever googles “Arctic ice thickness” before he makes his statements?

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065704/full 25 September 2015

    “Recently, the feasibility of commercial shipping in the ice-prone Northwest Passage (NWP) has attracted a lot of attention. However, very little ice thickness information actually exists. We present results of the first ever airborne electromagnetic ice thickness surveys over the NWP carried out in April and May 2011 and 2015 over first-year and multiyear ice. These show modal thicknesses between 1.8 and 2.0 m in all regions. Mean thicknesses over 3 m and thick, deformed ice were observed over some multiyear ice regimes shown to originate from the Arctic Ocean. Thick ice features more than 100 m wide and thicker than 4 m occurred frequently. Results indicate that even in today’s climate, ice conditions must still be considered severe.”

    It was ever thus:

    James E.Overland,Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory/NOAA,Seattle,Wash.,and Kevin Wood Arctic Research Office/NOAA,Silver Spring,Md. Eos,Vol.84,No.40,7 October 2003

    “The widely perceived failure of 19th-century expeditions to find and transit the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic is often attributed to extraordinary cold climatic conditions associated with the “Little Ice Age”evident in proxy records.However,examination of 44 explorers’ logs for the western Arctic from 1818 to 1910 reveals that climate indicators such as navigability,the distribution and thickness of annual sea ice, monthly surface air temperature,and the onset of melt and freeze were within the present range of variability.”

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  17. “Steven Mosher, I think Wadhams’s methods don’t just use a straight line, they use a downwards turning exponential curve borrowed from Neven’s blog, see the picture of Wadhams speaking on page 11 of this document from Mark Brandon.”

    Yes, however his most alarmist comments come from the straight line projections

    You will note that folks don’t object to straight line projections when they result in no worries for SLR

    THAT is the key point.

    So a good analyst will look at the data driven estimates ( various forms of data generating models ) and physics driven estimates. Climate skeptics, I have found, have no ability whatsoever to consider alternatives outside those that give them answers they like.

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  18. “Which implies that sceptics cherry-pick whether to accept physics models or not, depending upon the predicted outcome. ”

    No.. the alarmist tend to cherry pick.

    Skeptics reject physics models altogether. They accept data approaches conditional on the outcome
    ( I can tell you from bitter experience) OR they deny that you can perform the analysis.

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  19. Brad “Wait, does that mean you’re approaching peak silly? How does silliness work in Old Blighty—does it sort of crescendo? Or is it Gaussianly distributed about a Silly Solstice?”

    LOL. Does that make Steven Mosher a sort of Santa figure with his sack of clementines and lumps of coal? Ah too bad, we’re on the naughty list again and further down than other sceptics. We must be doing something right.

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  20. Steven – we are better off avoiding being partisan and hostile (if only four our own good) and that it is a good idea to turn the other cheek occasionally.

    I’m sensing hostility from you and think you may be being somewhat partisan?

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  21. Speaking of “peak silly”, a milestone which Wadhams can almost invariably be relied on to over-reach …

    Not sure if anyone’s been following the Graun’s most recent glorification of the awesome wonders – and, needless to say, purported dreadful perils – of Crutzen’s baby, i.e. the Anthropocene. This is still an unrecognized geological “unit within the Geological Time Scale” by the international body empowered to do so.

    So when I saw a tweet from Graun honcho Damian Carrington – not particularly well-known for objectivity or for doing his homework, but always spectacular on the advocacy front, I agree – pointing to his latest masterpiece, I decided to remind him – via twitter – of the actual status of Crutzen’s baby. This was a tweet in which I had provided a link to the actual source of the actual status, i.e. an arm, elbow, hand or finger of the “Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy”:

    Hmmm … but Anthropocene has not yet made the cut as an official “geological age”. See: […]quaternary.stratigraphy.org/workinggroups/anthropocene/ …

    I was rewarded with a “response” from a dutiful self-proclaimed “Eco-worrier” who believes that “greed is a crime”; he kindly awarded me “missed the point tweet of the day”.

    But in the process of retracing my steps via Carrington’s tweet-feed, I must now confess that – particularly in light of a Carrington RT from the Graun’s @guardianeco – the little “Eco-worrier” may well have been correct. Here’s the text of Carrington’s RT (which actually points to his own Aug. 31 follow-up masterpiece.) Underneath a BIG pic of … wait for it … a flock of chickens, one finds:

    How the domestic chicken rose to define the Anthropocene

    Over the past 70 years, the bird has become a global staple, and could be the key fossil evidence for human-influenced epoch

    How unforgiveable of me not to have spotted and highlighted this in Carrington’s first piece, eh?! After all, who cares what the official status of Crutzen’s baby, aka The Anthropocene, might be if someone somewhere is counting chickens after they’ve hatched?!

    Perhaps we need a poll from the Mann/Cook/Lew crew to determine whether Wadhams or Carrington deserves the gold medal for achieving what some might consider to be above and beyond “peak silly” 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Hilary: Thanks for that official source on the Anthropocene – I also needed that in a tweet situation recently! (Can’t remember who but so silly. Oh yes, it was dear old @LibyaLiberty. I’m normally disagreeing with her on other things.)

    Tiny: I don’t really get your responses to Mosher. He can be a bit rude about sceptics but unlike ATTP and their ilk his critiques tend to be content-rich. To be consistent with what we demand from consensus folk we should, if we respond at all, surely deal with the substance? (I have no strong views, except what I’ve already expressed about how un-alarming even Wadhams-level ice melt would be.)

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  23. Richard Drake, the pop isn’t really at Mosher at all. You have to have read the We’ve hit the big time thread where dikranmarsupial writes that phrase about us. I just wanted to try it out on the other side and see if it went down well.

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  24. The santa comment was for Mosher but he did compare us unfavourably to Steve Goddard’s posters. In other words, the lump of coal.

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  25. Chicken bones and nuclear test fallout put paid to the Holocene then? KFC has a lot to answer for. Talking of the Anthropocene and ‘beyond peak silly’, there may be some dispute as to when it actually began because ‘scientists’ keep coming up with excuses to put back the date when the anthropogenic signal of climate change first emerged.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/global-warming-signal-can-be-traced-back-to-the-1830s-climate-scientists-say-20160823-gqz260.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_term=science,climate%20change&utm_campaign=Climate&__surl__=IgOCR&__ots__=1472715566524&__step__=1

    Now they tell us it emerged in the Northern Hemisphere in the 1830s, conveniently about the time when the Industrial Revolution took off. So obviously, it was fossil fuels that dunnit, even though CO2 levels rose by only 15ppm from their pre-industrial levels to 290ppm in 1900. Not nearly enough to have any measurable effect upon climate, certainly not enough to distinguish any anthropogenic signal from background climate variability, or indeed any natural long term warming post Little Ice Age. Basically, this is about substituting natural climate change for anthropogenic because the Profits of Climate Doom are not satisfied with laying claim (as per IPCC doctrine) to climate change for a paltry 70 years; they want a couple of hundred years at least, which gives more credibility of course to the efforts of the Anthropoholics to rewrite geological and climatic history.

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  26. They have a basic problem if CO2 was driving the temperature rise that far back. 85% of all man made CO2 has been released since 1950, 50% since 1985 and 30% since 2000. Either CO2 has very little effect or the additional effect is falling off very rapidly.

    You know, it’s almost as if one side of climate science doesn’t understand the other.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Nic Lewis over at Climate Audit has gone through this latest claim of an early onset anthropogenic warming with a fine toothcomb. His conclusions are:

    “It appears that the claim in Abrams et al. that the diagnosed early onset – about 180 years ago in some regions – of industrial-era warming is of anthropogenic origin is based on inappropriate evidence that does not substantiate that claim, which is very likely incorrect . . . . .
    Recovery from the heavy volcanism earlier in the century and an upswing in Atlantic multidecadal variability, superimposed on a slow trend of recovery in surface temperature from the LIA as the ocean interior warmed after the end of the particularly cold four hundred year period from AD 1400–1800, appears adequate to account for warming from the late 1830s to the final quarter of the 19th century.”

    https://climateaudit.org/2016/08/31/was-early-onset-industrial-era-warming-anthropogenic-as-abram-et-al-claim/

    I seriously doubt this will prevent the alarmist press picking up on the story with accompanying lurid headlines.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. The other point Nic makes, of course, which should modify any lurid headlines, is that if Abrams et al were right it would mean climate sensitivity (both ECS and TCR) was less again than the IPCC has estimated.

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  29. Mosher,

    “When an idiot disagrees with an operational definition on semantic grounds how do you gently tell him he is an idiot ?”

    Uh, did you mean “pedantic”? Because there’s nothing wrong with quibbling with a definition on semantic grounds. You might even say that’s the ONLY basis on which to object to a definition.

    If, that is, you know what words mean.

    But I’m not going to rise to the bait and call you “an idiot,” gently or otherwise.

    Everybody makes mistakes. Goddard’s commenters have no monopoly on mistakenness.

    EDIT: Oh, and Steven, you don’t really deserve this concession after passively-aggressively calling someone (would that be me?) “an idiot,” but here goes: I have re-read Wadhams’ convoluted definition, and yes, it’s more defensible than I gave it credit for. I still think it would be preferable to say “the basic central part of the Arctic will be ice-free” if you mean the basic central part of the Arctic will be ice-free, but whatever.

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  30. Exactly Richard, but then you wouldn’t expect logic to intrude upon a good Graun climate change scare story would you.
    As an aside, this is exactly the type of ‘debate’ which Lew, Mann, Brown et al advocate shutting down by insisting upon peer review only. Nic did the computational/mathematical analysis of this paper’s claims and exposed the faulty logic of their conclusions – in a blog post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. Those who argue against such rebuttals merely wish to defer the immediacy of take-downs of peer reviewed ‘science’ papers which never should have appeared in prestigious journals in the first place. THAT is the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Jaime: It’s an important aside. It’s always worth remembering that in 2010 Nic had the educational experience of being a coauthor of Ryan O’Donnell’s rebuttal of Steig et al 2009:

    After an abusive peer review process in which the Team were evidently involved, an article has been accepted by Journal of Climate (O’Donnell [Ryan O], Lewis [Nic L], McIntyre and Condon [Jeff Id]) refuting the West Antarctic claims of Steig et al 2009.

    That’s a less than impressed Steve McIntyre reporting. Nic has used Steve and Judith Curry’s blogs whenever he has seen fit ever since. I wonder why.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Hilary Ostrov: “Over the past 70 years, the bird has become a global staple, and could be the key fossil evidence for human-influenced epoch”

    So now it appears to have become a reality, “a chicken in every pot” isn’t an ambition of Left-wing ideologists any more?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. STEVEN MOSHER: “Skeptics reject physics models altogether.”

    No Mosher, they do nothing of the sort.

    Many sceptics, especially engineers, use physics models daily in their normal occupations – my first introduction was for optimising bubble cap performance on distillation column plates – and in 1971 I worked on models to research subsonic heterodyne loci in automotive passenger spaces, using punched cards and FORTRAN that was incapable of generating anything other than unformatted numeric output.

    But those of who do are very well aware of their limitations – especially of ones of chaotic non-linear systems with an indefinite number of feedbacks, of which we don’t even know the sign of many – and know full well that basing crackpot schemes to divert trillions of dollars/pounds/euros of public money on the basis of them is utter insanity.

    So, little English Major student, stop slandering scientific and engineering professionals, all of whom are infinitely more competent in the relevant fields than you will ever be because they haven’t bought into your catastrophist religion, and have no respect whatsoever for your mendacious “homogenisations”, notwithstanding how many AlGoreithms you use to Mannipulate the data.

    In other words – GET STUFFED!

    Liked by 6 people

  34. Catweazle: I consider that deserved for “Skeptics reject physics models altogether.” That’s not true of me either – or of many of us. However your penultimate paragraph raises one question and the whole thing a second:

    1. Is Mosher a catastrophist?

    2. What does Climate Scepticism mean by climate scepticism?

    You say “they haven’t bought into your catastrophist religion” but Mosher styles himself as a lukewarmer and in my reading they tend not to be religious about climate catastrophe. Only the man himself can give more precision.

    On setting up this website on 28th July 2015, initially as a private space for the poor blighters who had agreed to do it, I created a page called “What we mean by climate scepticism” in which I wrote:

    For the purposes of this blog a climate sceptic is someone who doubts the truth, wisdom or effectiveness of any part of climate science or proposed climate policy. This is of course designed so that 97% of humanity can properly be called sceptics. If George Monbiot is against biofuel subsidies he’s in. Certainly James Lovelock is.

    Climate scepticism in our sense includes lukewarmers, ecomodernists and many others. There isn’t a ‘true scepticism’ to be argued about. It’s a label only, following on naturally in the UK from Eurosceptic which was coined by The Times in 1985.

    There seemed to be general agreement on this but then I decided not to contribute publicly for some months and the page in question has remained private. But I hope the irony is apparent. By our definition Mosher the lukewarmer adheres to climate scepticism so presumably he rejects physics models altogether.

    The English Major may find something to quibble with there but anyway 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Steven Mosher does seem to harbour some some odd ideas about what sceptics believe or don’t believe. At ATTP he seems to think that the “consensus” is that CO2 is a GHG and that sceptics dispute this easily demonstrated physical fact. I don’t know about the rest of you on here, but I have no doubts at all that CO2 has moderate capacities to absorb and re-radiate infra red radiation emanating from the earth’s surface in discrete absorption bands. Some of that re-radiated IR will make its way back towards the surface, thus causing heating. Scepticism emerges when scientists tell us that this well-documented instantaneous ‘line by line forcing’ (mainly measured in the lab but supposedly observed ‘in the wild’ according to one or two recent studies) can be scaled up across the entire globe over many years, centuries even, to result in a long term rise in global mean temperature; furthermore, that via positive feedbacks from the much more powerful GHG water vapour, this modest heat trapping effect can become amplified and therefore much more ‘dangerous’.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. JAIME JESSOP: “Steven Mosher does seem to harbour some some odd ideas about what sceptics believe or don’t believe.”

    Mosher appears to be incapable of believing that anyone who is sceptical that atmospheric CO2 isn’t going to create a global catastrophe has never achieved even “O” level competence in science, his every other post is some sort of a slur or downright insult to “skeptics”.

    In his opinion there is no further value in continuing to explore the field of climate science because everything that needs to be known about it has already been discovered. There is only one TRUE PATH, and Mosher is the absolute custodian of it. If you don’t believe in the Gospel according to Mosher, then you can not even be described as human.

    Considering that AFAIK his only academic qualification is a degree in English literature and philosophy and he has no formal scientific or engineering qualifications whatsoever, this is hubris of a high order, although to be fair he has worked in various fields in industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Catweazle,

    wittily written, as always—but let’s try and avoid going down the C-word route. Credentialism has no place in scientific disputes… unless Mosher himself was careless enough to bring it up? (I haven’t read all his comments, sorry.) Then it’s fair game.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Mosher, you opine—”from bitter experience”, of course, not just by pulling stuff out of your arse-
    nal of private prejudices—that, and I quote,

    ” Skeptics reject physics models altogether. They accept data approaches conditional on the outcome
    ( I can tell you from bitter experience) OR they deny that you can perform the analysis”

    You really don’t like skeptics (a superset of scientists), do you?

    Oops, wait—I suppose you were just using some undisclosed “operational definition.”

    Never mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. The last comment on this thread appears to have coincidentally coincided with this year’s sea-ice minimum!

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/was-arctic-sea-ice-minimum-2016-on-the-2nd-sept/

    So we can chalk up 2016 as another Arctic year which failed to get anywhere near ice-free and which also failed to even set a new minimum sea-ice record. Additionally, the sea-ice minimum came very early.

    As we speak, sea-ice is building sharply. Pesky North Pole, eh, Wadhams old bean, it’s just not tennis, or maybe it is . . . . boing, boing, damned ball just keeps bouncing back when you want it to execute a death spiral after you’ve smashed a killer serve.

    Like

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