Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category


………….A good attempt to try and see through the fog of the ‘climate wars.’

Originally posted on Climate Etc.:

by Judith Curry

This past week, there have been several essays and one debate that provide some good perspectives on what we don’t know about climate change, and whether we should be alarmed.

View original 1,043 more words

Fossil fuels puzzle

Posted: April 12, 2014 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Carbon cycle, Energy, Geology, Uncertainty

Do all so-called fossil fuels originate from fossils or not?
It’s a puzzle, sometimes called the abiotic (non-biological) argument.

Dinosaur fossil  [image credit: wikipedia]

Dinosaur fossil
[image credit: wikipedia]

We know there’s methane elsewhere in the solar system:

‘The presence of methane on Saturn’s moon Titan and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is cited as evidence of the formation of hydrocarbons without biology, for example by Thomas Gold. (Terrestrial natural gas is composed primarily of methane). Some comets contain “massive amounts of an organic material almost identical to high grade oil shale (kerogen),” the equivalent of cubic kilometers of such mixed with other material; for instance, corresponding hydrocarbons were detected during a probe fly-by through the tail of Comet Halley in 1986.’


From the ‘you couldn’t make this sh1t up… oh, they did’ dept. via Reuters:

Sea level rise has been one of the clearest signs of climate change – water expands as it warms and parts of Greenland and Antarctica are thawing, along with glaciers from the Himalayas to the Alps.

But in a puzzle to climate scientists, the rate slowed to 2.4 millimeters (0.09 inch) a year from 2003 to 2011 from 3.4 mm from 1994-2002, heartening skeptics who doubt that deep cuts are needed in mankind’s rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, experts said the rate from 2003-2011 would have been 3.3 mm a year when excluding natural shifts led by an unusually high number of La Nina weather events that cool the surface of the Pacific Ocean and cause more rain over land.

“There is no slowing in the rate of sea level rise” after accounting for the natural variations, lead author Anny Cazenave of the Laboratory for Studies in Geophysics and Spatial Oceanography in Toulouse, France, told Reuters.

In La Nina years, more rain fell away from oceans, including over the Amazon, the Congo basin and Australia, she said. It is unclear if climate change itself affects the frequency of La Ninas.

Rainfall over land only temporarily brakes sea level rise.

“Eventually water that falls as rain on land comes back into the sea,” said Anders Levermann, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was not involved in the study. “Some of it goes into ground water but most of it will drain into rivers, or evaporate.”


The apparent slowing of sea level rise coincided with what the U.N. panel of climate experts calls a hiatus in global warming at the Earth’s surface, when temperatures have risen less sharply despite record emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The slowdown in sea level rise … is due to natural variability in the climate and is not indicative of a slowdown in the effects of global warming,” Nature Climate Change said.

Many scientists suspect that the “missing heat” from a build-up greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is going into the deep oceans as part of natural variations in the climate.

But, because water expands as it warms, that theory had been hard to reconcile with the apparent slowdown in sea level rise.

Read the full story

facelessFrom Arstechnica:

Over the past several years, a number of states have worked with organizations including the National Research Council, National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science to develop new standards for teaching science in public schools. The result, termed the Next Generation Science Standards, provides states with a chance to update their science education goals to focus more on the scientific process. So far, nine states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards.

But the process hasn’t always been smooth. In Kentucky, the Governor adopted them over the objections of state legislators. In Kansas, the adoption resulted in a lawsuit that sought to block their adoption. Now, in the latest wrinkle, the Wyoming legislature has preemptively blocked their use in that state.


Nicola Scafetta and Richard Willson have a new paper in press which contains the most thorough analysis yet of the intercomparison of the empirical ACRIM and modeled PMOD TSI series. It’s a comprehensive yet readable paper of high interest to all diligent climate researchers interested in determining the relative strengths of various climate drivers. It is also an important historical document for philosophers of science investigating the shift from observation based empirical solar science to model based  dogma underpinning preconceptions of the power of trace gases to control Earth’s surface temperature. The IPCC and Team Wassup’s Leif Svalgaard are not going to like it, and will therefore try to ignore it, thus further underminng their credibility.


ACRIM total solar irradiance satellite composite validation versus TSI proxy models
Nicola Scafetta & Richard C. Willson

From the paper:

PMOD TSI composite (Fröhlich and Lean 1998; Fröhlich 2004, 2006, 2012) is essentially a theoretical model originally designed to agree with Lean’s TSI proxy model (Fröhlich and Lean 1998). It relies on postulated but experimentally unverified drifts in the ERB record during the ACRIM Gap,and other alterations of the published ERB and ACRIM results, that are not recognized by their original experimental teams and have not been verified by the PMOD by original computations using ERB or ACRIM1 data.


Reposted from Notes on a Scandal Excellent analysis on Julia Slingo’s reframing of the relationship between ‘climate change’ and ‘weather’ by guest blogger Jaime Jessop.

floodsIt’s happened. The battle lines have finally been re-drawn. Global surface temperature rises (which have been inconveniently static for 17+ years) have been ditched by the warmists in favour of the new CAGW meme – extreme weather. The opportunities for making unfalsifiable claims are endlessly more expansive and the sheer headline-grabbing power of ‘big weather’ far exceeds that of mere ‘global warming’.

The remarkable UK Cyclonic Winter of 2013/14 – still ongoing as we speak – has afforded the warmist politicos an eagerly awaited unique opportunity to climb firmly aboard the extreme weather bandwagon and claim that it’s all down to CAGW branded ‘climate change’ (patent pending). Hence Dame Slingo of the UK Met Office now claiming definitively that ” “all the evidence” supported the theory that climate change had played a role” in the devastating West Country floods.


John Christy has been interviewed by ‘Talking about the weather‘:

christyJohn Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.John Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Along with Roy Spencer, he developed the first satellite temperature record of the Earth. Skeptical about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, he has been invited to speak before Congress several times. He is the director of the Earth System Science Center at UAH.

TATW: What would be the single piece of information that you would convey to people who have strong opinions about climate and little knowledge?

CHRISTY: A fundamental aspect of science is that when we scientifically understand a system, we are able to predict how the system evolves in time. The comparison of model output with observations indicates we have much less understanding than what is needed to predict it with any confidence. I certainly don’t see the predictive skill necessary for policy determination.


I had high hopes when Sir Mark took over as chief scientist from Sir John wet-the-Beddington. I even billed him as having a sensible outlook on the climate debate. But it looks like he’s been assimilated by the Civil Borg. See Bishop Hill for this piece of Hubris:

walportClimate sceptics should stop attacking the science of global warming and have a “grown-up” debate, the Government’s most senior scientist has said. Sir Mark Walport accused climate sceptics of questioning the scientific evidence in order to dodge the more challenging question of what to do about it.
-The Times-

Sir Mark needs to listen to his own scientists, even if he won’t debate ‘the science’ with us sceptics. Because finally, the MET-O’s Julia Slingo gets it. I’ve been asking this question for  four years:

If the negative phase of natural oscillations can nix global warming for a decade while co2 rises 15%, how much did its positive phase add to ‘global warming’?

H/T to Barry Woods for this gem

“I wonder if Dame Julia Slingo – The Met Office’s Chief Scientist, has told Sir Mark yet, that the ‘pause’ might last 30 years?#innocentface”



A conclusion and its implication in the summary paper was: because our scientific investigation leads us to the prediction that the Sun is headed into a protracted minimum, the warming forecast by the IPCC might not happen.

This has led to the journal being axed by the parent Publishing house Copernicus. The papers are still available at this link
Please download and disseminate them widely.

Heres the letter sent to Coordinating editor Nils Axel Mörner and chief editor Sid Ali Ouadfeul:


Deadman’s curve

Posted: January 6, 2014 by tchannon in Uncertainty

This post is about helicopters and aerodynamics, the latter a subject where I have had an interest since childhood (include hydrodynamics). Some knowledge of the subject is needed if you design things, is involved across lots of fields, even inside heat engines or passive cooling just to name two.


Head image, height velocity diagram, is from a US military training publication about aerodynamics for rotary wing, details vary slightly with type. Included in this is the autorotation problem.

Straying into the black areas where the helicopter has neither forward speed nor height (kinetic energy), entering autorotation is not possible, you are probably going to die if the engine fails. An autogyro operates with rotor airflow reversed relative to powered rotor; this has to reverse before “gliding” on a rotary wing is possible. And without stalling and within permissible (safe) rotor speed and…