Archive for January, 2013

Important post

Climate Etc.

by Anastassia Makarieva, Victor Gorshkov, Douglas Sheil, Antonio Nobre, Larry Li

It’s official: our controversial paper has been published. After a burst of intense attention (some of you may remember discussions at Climate Etc., the Air Vent and the Blackboard), followed by nearly two years of waiting, our paper describing a new mechanism driving atmospheric motion has been published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

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University of Montreal physicist Paul Charbonneau has written a short review of the Abreu et al paper published by ‘Astronomy and Astrophysics’, and featured on the talkshop last October. This is a good step forward for the hypothesis we have been working on here for the last three years, with important contributions from published scientists including Ian Wilson, Nicola Scafetta P.A. Semi and many other contributors. Although Abreu et al were not the first in modern times to publish in this area, the prominence they have achieved through publication of a review piece by Paul Charbonneau in Nature is helping to turn the spotlight onto an idea whose time has come. Hopefully the authors with prior publications in this exciting  area of investigation will now receive more of the recognition they deserve for their pioneering work in the field, bravely withstanding the unscientific criticism and ridicule of certain members of the mainstream solar physics community. As Charbonneau observes at the end of his article:

To sum up, what we have here is a fit to observations unmatched by any other exploratory framework, buttressed by a conjectural explanatory scenario that is testable at least at some level. It may all turn out to be wrong in the end, but this is definitely not Astrology. This is science.



Letter to the Climate Shrinks
Posted by Ben Pile on January 25, 2013

bbc_logo1BBC Radio 4 show, Thinking Allowed had a feature on the psychoanalysts perspective on climate change this week. Bishop Hill picked up the story. Thinking Allowed is one of my favourite programmes, so I was a tad disappointed to hear that thinking isn’t allowed if it’s thinking that contradicts climate orthodoxy. Here’s my letter to the programme.

Dear Laurie,

I refer to your section on climate change and psychoanalysis in your most recent programme.

Your feature frames the problem as a failure to recognise what one of your guests called ‘the reality of climate change’, which moved on to a discussion about ‘types of denial’. However, if psychoanalysis has anything to say in the climate debate, it must speak to climate sceptics as much as their counterparts.

Sally Weintrobe lets the cat out of the bag when she claims that we are ‘increasingly aware’ of ‘weird weather’, citing hurricane Sandy and the UK’s recent wet weather. Yet there was nothing remarkable about the weather last year. The IPCC’s recent special report on extreme weather found that there is no evidence of increased frequency or intensity of storms, floods or droughts, or losses caused by them attributable to anthropogenic climate change.

So psychoanalysis must have something to say about Sally Weintrobe’s misconception of the ‘reality’ of climate change represented by the IPCC. Her views on climate seem to be as far out of kilter with the scientific consensus as any “denier’s”.


This Map tells us pretty clearly where economies are going to be expanding:



Posted: January 30, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I think it’s worth putting this up for discussion. It probably makes access to what Makarieva et al’s work is all about easier for some.

Stormy Science

Full text with editorial summary:
Jeremy Hance (February 01, 2012).
New meteorological theory argues that the world’s forests are rainmakers. 

1.>> Will you tell us how the biotic pump works?
2.>> Why do you associate the biotic pump with natural forests rather than with individual tree species? Cannot a tree plantation act as biotic pump?
3.>> Have there been any significant changes to your biotic pump theory over the last couple of years?
4.>> Have you seen wider acceptance in the scientific community for your theory?
5.>> Can you give an example of why the current understanding of condensation and precipitation is wrong?
6.>> Recent evidence has linked the decline and fall of the Maya civilization to deforestation leading to less precipitation. How could the biotic pump theory connect to this?
7.>> How do you see deforestation in the Amazon as impacting regional precipitation?
8.>> How do…

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From the Grauniad:

rain_forest_clearing_cameroonWorld Bank spending on forests fails to curb poverty, auditors claim

Report by World Bank’s own evaluators say its investments support logging and do little to help rural poor people

The World Bank‘s $4.1bn (£2.6bn) investments in forestry over the past 10 years have done little to reduce poverty, improve conservation, tackle climate change or benefit local communities in developing countries, a study by its own inspectors has found.

The 202-page report – a copy of which has been seen by the Guardian – was compiled by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), which consists of senior bank staff and outside consultants. The document says the bank’s financial support helped to protect 24m hectares (59m acres) of forest around the world and to classify 45m ha of forest as being on indigenous people’s land. But it says the bank mostly failed to address critical social and environmental issues.


met office logoIt looks like a shake up to me:

  1. Job Vacancy: Head of Digital Communications 

  2. Job Vacancy: Observations Network Coordinator 

  3. Job Vacancy: UM Collaboration Scientist 

  4. Job Vacancy: UK Operations Key Account Manager


Worth another airing I think. Use this link to the Lean and Rind paper as is a link farm these days.

Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.

On July 22 2009 I posted on the new paper on solar forcing by Lean and Rind 2009 (see). In that post, I also referred to the Benestad and Schmidt 2009 paper on solar forcing which has a conclusion at variance to that in the Lean and Rind paper.

After the publication of my post, Nicole Scafetta asked if he could present a comment (as a guest weblog) on the Benestad and Schmidt paper on my website, since it will take several months for his comment  to make it through the review process. In the interests of presenting the perspectives on the issue of solar climate forcing, Nicola’s post appears below. I also invite Benestad and Schmidt to write responses to the Scaftta contribution which I would be glad to post on my website.


Benestad and Schmidt have recently published a paper in JGR. (Benestad, R. E., and G. A. Schmidt…

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Talkshop readers might have noticed a link to Luboš Motl’s blog, a physicist writing from Pilsen in English making it easy for Anglophones.

27th Jan he wrote an excellent personal view about the election of a new Czech president the successor to Klaus. According to Luboš the media pushed hard and the people obliged by voting the opposite. Notionally Zeman is communist yet… he sounds human and won’t stand for enviro nonsense. I note this was yet another city/outside fight; what is it with so many countries being divided?

Up front warning, sunglasses might be needed for Luboš’s site.

Blog item is here klaus-successor-milos-zeman-elected


Reblogged from the ever wakeful TomNelson’s site:
Delightfully stupid Daily Kos piece from warmist Greg Laden: He suggests that James Hansen is “a moron” for admitting that global temperature has been flat for the last decade; also “there is more money going into climate science denial than any political counter movement that has ever existed”

Daily Kos: Dollars for Deniers: Big Oil Funds Climate Science Denialism

To state, with a straight face, that the jury is still out, or that we can’t separate natural variation from human caused changes, or that the earth has stopped warming for the last decade, or any of the other things we constantly hear from climate change denialists isexactly the same thing as standing there with a big sign that reads “I am a moron.” 


In my opinion, this comment by Anastassia Makarieva on the interactive part of the ACS website, as well as being a strong defense of their paper, is a powerful indictment of the state of affairs in the peer review of climate science. Given the grief of rejection, the tone is remarkably restrained. Instead, there is a channelling of energy into a righteous intensity which makes this a bit of a classic.  Use the first link for the full version with all footnotes included.
anastassia_makarievaInteractive comment on “Where do winds come
from? A new theory on how water vapor
condensation influences atmospheric pressure
and dynamics” by A. M. Makarieva et al.
A. M. Makarieva et al.
Received and published: 26 April 2011

Aside from our technical response to Dr. Held1 we also wish to discuss the criteria he
uses to assess our manuscript. All theories should be subjected to similar standards
of scrutiny regardless of whether they conform to conventional thinking or not. We find
many examples to show that much of the argument against our theory and in favour
of conventional ideas appears based on misconceptions. We conclude with an appeal
concerning the wider practical importance of our ideas.

1 High bar for unconventional findings
Dr. Held starts his review with the recommendation to reject our manuscript. He explains
that a study that goes against the standard perspective or aims to overturn the
conventional wisdom has to pass a high bar.

As science students we are taught about the sins of confirmation bias – that is the need
not to allow our preconceptions and judgements to cloud our objectivity. We should not
reject ideas, or data, that fail to conform to our expectations any more readily than
those we agree with. We all agree with that as an abstract idea though it can be hard
to achieve in practice. Biases are often hard to perceive for those who hold them
especially if they are pervasive. But we should strive for objectivity – when biases are
identified we must do what we can to remove or minimise them.


2013 Bloggies Nominations: Final Day

Posted: January 27, 2013 by tallbloke in Blog


UPDATE: Nominations are now closed. A big Thank You! to everyone who supported the talkshop by nominating us.
We’ll now await the decisions of the randomly chosen judges to see if we make it into the final round of voting starting on Feb 24th.


After last years success for climate-sceptical blogs across the globe, we hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes to put in a nomination for three or more blogs again this year. You can enter a blog in more than one approriate category. So for example, the Talkshop could go into Science, Politics or our regional category (we won ‘Best European Blog’ last year, thanks to your support).


“In view of a much-discussed global cooling trend since about 1940 (Mitchell 1961, Reitan 1971), and the recent energy shortages, a great  deal of interest centers about the severity of winter weather in North America. Snow cover is one indicator of severity. That no significant  deteriorating trend is discernible should be encouraging to energy conservationists; in fact, Northern Hemisphere global temperatures have risen slightly in the past 4 or 5 years (J. Murray Mitchell 1975, personal  communication ) .”

“No significant change in North American snow cover is indicated over the 9-year period of record. Because snow cover is an important, sensitive variable influencing climatic change, the lack of systematic increase in the Northern Hemisphere snow cover tends to contradict the evidence presented by proponents of climatic change, i.e., that the current trend in hemispheric climate is toward cooler temperatures.”

My bold. Nothing changes.


Discussion of this paper got quite heated on Lucia Liljegren’s blog and elsewhere a year or so ago. Now it has been published in a high impact journal. Hopefully Lucia might stop by to explain her objections, and tell us what if anything has changed in this final version. This is potentially an important paper. It remains to be seen if it will become accepted and built on by people working in the area of atmospheric thermodynamics. The authors website is interesting:

biotic-pumpAtmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 1039-1056, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapor condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics

A. M. Makarieva1,2, V. G. Gorshkov1,2, D. Sheil3,4,5, A. D. Nobre6,7, and B.-L. Li2
1Theoretical Physics Division, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, 188300, Gatchina, St. Petersburg, Russia
2XIEG-UCR International Center for Arid Land Ecology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
3School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, P.O. Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
4Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Kabale, Uganda
5Center for International Forestry Research, P.O. Box 0113 BOCBD, Bogor 16000, Indonesia
6Centro de Ciência do Sistema Terrestre INPE, São José dos Campos SP 12227-010, Brazil
7Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus AM 69060-001, Brazil

Abstract. Phase transitions of atmospheric water play a ubiquitous role in the Earth’s climate system, but their direct impact on atmospheric dynamics has escaped wide attention. Here we examine and advance a theory as to how condensation influences atmospheric pressure through the mass removal of water from the gas phase with a simultaneous account of the latent heat release. Building from fundamental physical principles we show that condensation is associated with a decline in air pressure in the lower atmosphere. This decline occurs up to a certain height, which ranges from 3 to 4 km for surface temperatures from 10 to 30 °C. We then estimate the horizontal pressure differences associated with water vapor condensation and find that these are comparable in magnitude with the pressure differences driving observed circulation patterns.


Talkshop Regular Michele Casati noted this event in comments yesterday, saying:

A sad example…. Yesterday very low solar wind (250 Km/s.) Today geomagnetic disturbance
rog, I’ve had great fear …earthquake near Lucca(Tuscany) Italy
Magnitude 5.0 – NORTHERN ITALY

Lucca_01It’s also worth noting that as well as the low solar windspeed, last night was a full Moon, four days after Lunar Apogee. The 5.8 Earthquake which hit Northern Italy on May 20 last year occurred one day after Lunar Apogee and one day before the New Moon. These are direct alignments of Sun, Earth and Moon when the Moon is near a distance turning point.

The following info is reposted from Alex Roe’s excellent English language blog,  the ‘Italy Chronicles’

Earthquake near Lucca in Tuscany

JANUARY 25, 2013 BY  

The 4.8 magnitude tremor was felt in Florence and Milan

A few minutes ago via twitter I was told by one of my followers in Pistoia that Florence andPisa had been rattled by an earthquake. A quick search revealed that a magnitude 4.8 or so tremor hit at 15:48 Italian time.

The epicentre was some 13 miles (30 kilometres) north of seaside town Viareggio and not far from Lucca. A list of the places within the earthquake zone can be found on Il Post here: Terremoto tra Toscana ed Emilia


In a Bishop Hill discussion about some very dodgy stats methods the mainstream cli-sci community is using, this nice little factoid popped up from commenter ‘dearieme’:

The Jeffreys Prior: fine, but one must be careful not to follow Sir Harold in all his science.

From Wikipedia: Jeffreys was a strong opponent of continental drift. For him, continental drift was “out of the question” because no force even remotely strong enough to move the continents across the Earth’s surface was evident.

GPS measured global plate motion. Source: Wikipedia commons

GPS measured global plate motion. Source: Wikipedia commons

Which put me in mind of those solar scientists such as Leif Svalgaard who say that planetary effects on the Sun are “out of the question because no force from the planets even remotely strong enough to affect the Sun is evident”.

Which led me to wonder if consideration of the forces which move continents around might throw up any ideas about the planetary-solar connection. What I discovered on Wikipedia’s plate tectonics page is that the question of what the forces are, and how strong they are relative to each other is very much an open question and a hot subject of ongoing debate.


In the final part of his study on planetary-atmospheric co-rotation, Tim Cullen extends his heuristic formula to the inner planets, with surprising results.

Planetary Rotation – Mars, Earth and Venus
Tim Cullen – MalagaBay – January 2013


The second part of this post calculated a generalised view of the relationship between the “Corotational Radius” and the ”Corotational Period” of the planets in the Solar System.

This third [and final] instalment examines whether these generalised formulae have any predictive ability when applied to the Terrestrial Planets with atmospheres.


Precise measurement of the rotational periods of Mars, Earth and Venus allows the generalised formula to be used to predict an atmospheric “corotation radius” for each planet with an atmosphere.


East Midlands Euro M.E.P Roger Helmer speaks out

Roger Helmer MEP


Eija Riita Korhola is a Finnish MEP first elected, as I was, in 1999. She has taken a keen interest in energy issues, and I was particularly struck by her recent blog on climate.  I have to share it with you.

Is it true or not?

Probably I am not the only one who has been wondering about the apparent contradictions that arise from the various climate positions. Meteorologists claim that global warming has made a slow-down and describe the current epoch as cooler. Hence, temperatures do not seem to be in line with the predictions of the greenhouse theory. At the same time, others, like the World Bank in its November report, stress that the situation is worse than ever: emissions have increased and a temperature rise of four degrees is predicted for this century.

How should we interpret these contradictions? Measured temperatures have been commonly understood as…

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Early examination of IPCC AR5 shows lessons not learned on grey literature.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

I’ve had a bad experience with a FoxNews reporter in the past. Which was why Charles Couger apologized for an offense he had nothing to do with and promised to behave professionally.

His story appeared earlier today and is titled Leaked UN climate report slammed for citing WWF, Greenpeace. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a big, complicated bureaucracy. Anyone who hasn’t been studying it for a while has a difficult time making sense of things. Couger has done an admirable job.

The full text of our e-mail interview follows, with a typo corrected and links to my book inserted:

1. Is the WWF an “activist” group?

On its website, the WWF invites people to join its “environmental campaigning community” (see here, under the “Take action” subheading). It’s therefore accurate to describe the WWF as

  1. an activist group
  2. a pressure group (a term often used in…

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Figure zero

Above figure is the least important. I hope it will become clear the red trace is solar magnetics, the sun flips fairly regularly and so does the magnetic field coupled to earth. Evidence earth sees these magnetics is shown… (more…)