Archive for January, 2016


The new ‘decadal’ forecast, for the next four years, has been put out by the MET-O.


A new paper shows how a recently re-discovered 50 year old photo of a clay tablet holds the key to a geometrical method used by the Babylonians to calculate the position of Jupiter.

babylon-jupiterAncient Babylonian astronomers developed many important concepts that are still in use, including the division of the sky into 360 degrees. They could also predict the positions of the planets using arithmetic. Ossendrijver translated several Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE and found that they contain a sophisticated calculation of the position of Jupiter. The method relies on determining the area of a trapezium under a graph. This technique was previously thought to have been invented at least 1400 years later in 14th-century Oxford. This surprising discovery changes our ideas about how Babylonian astronomers worked and may have influenced Western science.

Science, this issue p. 482




J. D. Anderson1,5, G. Schubert2, V. Trimble3 and M. R. Feldman4

Published 9 April 2015Copyright © EPLA, 2015 EPL (Europhysics Letters), Volume 110, Number 1

About a dozen measurements of Newton’s gravitational constant, G, since 1962 have yielded values that differ by far more than their reported random plus systematic errors. We find that these values for G are oscillatory in nature, with a period of $P = 5.899 \pm 0.062\ \text{yr}$ , an amplitude of $(1.619 \pm 0.103) \times 10^{-14}\ \text{m}^3\ \text{kg}^{-1}\ \text{s}^{-2}$ , and mean-value crossings in 1994 and 1997. However, we do not suggest that G is actually varying by this much, this quickly, but instead that something in the measurement process varies. Of other recently reported results, to the best of our knowledge, the only measurement with the same period and phase is the Length of Day (LOD —defined as a frequency measurement such that a positive increase in LOD values means slower Earth rotation rates and therefore longer days).


A very readable paper by NASA scientist Renu Malhotra giving an introduction to the study of orbital resonance as applied to the understanding of the organisation of the solar system. This background validates the study we are undertaking here at the talkshop to understand not only the links between planetary motion, but those links and the variation of the Sun, which correlates strongly with many solar system planetary timings. Many cycles found in paleoproxies also correlate with these periods, implying an effect of solar system timing on variation in Earth’s climate too.

Orbital resonances are ubiquitous in the Solar system. They play a decisive role in the long term dynamics, and in some cases the physical evolution, of the planets and of their natural satellites, as well as the evolution of small bodies (including dust) in the planetary system. The few-body gravitational problem of hierarchical planetary-type systems allows for a complex range of dynamical timescales, from the fast orbital periods to the very slow orbit precession rates. The interaction of fast and slow degrees of freedom produces a rich diversity of resonance phenomena. Weak dissipative eects | such as tides or radiation drag forces | also produce unexpectedly rich dynamical behaviors. This paper provides a mostly qualitative discussion of simple dynamical models for the commonly encountered orbital resonance phenomena in the Solar system.




The fracking disinfo campaign waged by FOE continues…

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

For a time I was an active member of Friends of the Earth and supported all they did.  I then moved house and job and my membership lapsed. That is something I regretted as I felt I should be do more for the environment and that Friends of the Earth was one of the best organisations doing that.

That remained the case until March 2014 when I went to a meeting organised by RAFF (Residents against Fracking; Fylde) at Inskip (10 miles from Preston). I was unimpressed with the low level of accuracy in the presentation. i challenged some of this and to my surprise the local FoE activist supported the speaker in the inaccuracies. In two minutes my respect for FoE evaporated. RAFF also handed out a leaflet Shale Gas; the Facts  which they withdrew after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Over the next 15 months…

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Chapter-9-Cartoon-CaptionH/T to Josh for this story from the Calcutta Telegraph.

New Delhi, Jan. 26:
India’s monsoon is in no danger of catastrophic collapse in response to global warming and air pollution, two atmospheric scientists said today, refuting earlier predictions that the monsoon could shut down within 100 years.

The scientists at Yale University in the US who used computers to model the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans have found that the expected changes in the monsoon will not abruptly alter their strength or their water volume.

Their results contradict earlier forecasts by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany portending frequent and severe failures and even a breakdown of the monsoon, which is critical to India’s food, water resources and economy.


Out at the unfashionable end of the Asteroid Belt, lies a seldom seen squashed spud of rock known as Sylvia. NASA has this:


Composite image showing the two moons at several locations along their orbits (shown by red dots). Image Credit: NASA

Discovered in 1866, main belt asteroid 87 Sylvia lies 3.5 AU from the Sun, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Also shown in recent years to be one in a growing list of double asteroids, new observations during August and October 2004 made at the Paranal Observatory convincingly demonstrate that 87 Sylvia in fact has two moonlets – the first known triple asteroid system. At the center of this composite of the image data, potato-shaped 87 Sylvia itself is about 380 kilometers wide. The data show inner moon, Remus, orbiting Sylvia at a distance of about 710 kilometers once every 33 hours, while outer moon Romulus orbits at 1360 kilometers in 87.6 hours. Tiny Remus and Romulus are 7 and 18 kilometers across respectively. Because 87 Sylvia was named after Rhea Silvia, the mythical mother of the founders of Rome, the discoverers proposed Romulus and Remus as fitting names for the two moonlets. The triple system is thought to be the not uncommon result of collisions producing low density, rubble pile asteroids that are loose aggregations of debris.


What a power station really looks like - in normal daylight

What a power station really looks like – in normal daylight

Paul Homewood highlights a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the electricity supply black hole being created by successive UK governments.

Even the notoriously biased (towards unreliable wind and solar energy) Guardian has a story on it, complete with the usual back-lit sunset shot of a power station churning out ‘black steam’- the usual propagandist trick.

From the “We’ve Been Telling You This For Years” Dept:
The UK is heading for a severe electricity supply crisis by 2025, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning today.


H/T to Paul Vaughan for pointing to a series of comments by Bill Illis on wuwt, which describe and differentiate between the under-ice salt induced sinking which forms Arctic deep water and the Greenland-melt surface waters which flow into the Gulf Stream. These were in response to an alarmist paper which claims that increased freshwater flux could weaken the AMOC and thus global circulation.

Bill Illis responds:

And the salinity in the ocean in the area in question has changed by exactly ZERO. The paper doesn’t address this issue one iota.

The AMOC starts under the sea ice throughout the entire Arctic Ocean basin. Somehow climate scientists have convinced themselves that the deep water formation of the AMOC is next to Greenland. There is no way to correct them because they don’t actually care what the facts are, just what gets them published in the climate theology field.

The sea surface temperatures in the Norwegian Sea range from +2.0C to +10.0C.

The Arctic Bottom Water is -0.5C to -1.0C and is 3000 metres deeper. it has nothing to do with the Nowegian Sea.

The Arctic Bottom Water overflows the canyons and chokepoints out of the Arctic Ocean basin, particularly the Fram Strait canyon, the Denmark Strait and the Greenland-Scotland Ridge.


 Mammoth blizzard shuts New York City

Posted: January 23, 2016 by oldbrew in News, weather

NYC [credit: Sky News]

NYC [credit: Sky News]

Difficult times in some north-eastern US states as nature takes centre stage. White-out at the White House too, as the BBC reports.

All non-essential travel has been banned in New York, transport suspended and bridges shut as the city is hit by one of its worst snowstorms. Parts of the eastern United States have received 71cm (28in) of snowfall in a huge blizzard that is sweeping across the region.

Travel restrictions in New York came into place at 14:30 (19:30 GMT). Mayor Bill de Blasio said up to 25in snow may fall, making it one of the five worst winter storms in the city. Heavy snow began falling on Friday across more than 20 states, affecting some 85 million people.


Folks pop in, Michele dropped this one

Red here means dry, Italy according to this provisional data was the dryest since year 1800.


More general plots and information on this link

Would I be overstating to suggest there is a connection between this and northern England sploshing?


A very exceptional December

Posted: January 22, 2016 by tchannon in Analysis, weather

I don’t do fairy, December was exceptional, call it.
This article was prepared early January then was delayed by circumstances.

An automated system here on demand recomputes Met Office areal data in a unique way[1] with the intent of producing a statistical measure of variation. Data is approximately normalised. Does the same for the Hadley Centre data series.

The results tend to contradict Met Office assertions by their ordinary staff. Shortly before the month end an actual Met Office expert gave a different opinion (misquoted elsewhere afterwards by the BBC), essentially it is weather. Claiming El Nino is global after Scaife in a different BBC interview merely stated some kind of an effect in Europe can be unearthed. (paraphrasing what he meant)

The BBC were in full flood about the sloshing session in a few parts of the UK. The part I saw, part of a much longer section showed some figures, without a full explanation but then Scaife appeared. What he said is I think interesting.Image

Scaife did not claim unprecedented, merely not like this for a very long time, 100 years.

We are on course for the warmest December in more than 100 years of records and the wettest December for many parts of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and northwest England in more than 100 years…

[see 2] video extract of Scaife


Last 2 years of Met Office areal series from 1910 (or 1929 sun) for 15 UK regional mixes, rain, sun, Tmin, Tmean, Tmax. Processed to z-score by the author, annual cycle removed. PDF of above for zoom/pan here

Weather was warm everywhere. Was not wet in the south.

The primary work produces full time series, five PDF containing full time of all above together with various metrics.


Commenter ‘USteiner’ asks this question on suggestions 16 and explains the reason for asking.


Let’s put aside the conclusion that CO2 makes the antarctic cool the earth. In the Schmithüsen paper ( they claim to have made the calculation, and it shows that. However, what is new? This had been measured with – gosh – real data some 45 years (!) ago. See here the Nimbus data from 1971 in Fig. 12d ( )

Further, look at Schmitthüsen’s Fig 2. You see the spike on the CO2 pimple at the South pole at a Spectral radiance of 2.5. And exactly at the same level for the US Standard atmosphere. This is at least consistent with an interpretation that CO2 radiates the same everywhere on earth, but becomes only visible, when the background black body radiation from the ground is low enough. And this requirement is fulfilled only at the very cold south pole. So, what is left as excitement?


Professor Bob Carter 1942-2016

Posted: January 20, 2016 by tallbloke in Obituary


It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Professor Bob Carter following a sudden heart attack at his home in Townsville Australia.

”One thing is for sure, Bob made the most of every minute he had and was a fighter to the very end”, said Bob’s wife Anne.

We surely understand this in view all the excellent things Bob has said and written through the years – and his great friendship.

The loss of Bob, is a very great loss for Science. Things will not be as they were before.

For his friends all over the world it is a tragedy.

But we have his excellent contributions to science to use as a well of knowledge and understanding – and our memories of a Great Friend.

The Talkshop sends its deepest sympathies to Anne and all Bob’s relatives and personal friends.



Tim Channon’s LOD model output, for the interest of R.J. Salvador. Hopefully Paul Vaughan might find a moment to weigh in too.

Deadal Earth

As a result of helping someone out with lunar effects in Earth length of day I wondered if a slightly more comprehensive version would work.

The result  is an interactive spreadsheet which might be useful.

I would not usually  produce such a monster, this is an xls >30Mbyte but it does include reconstruction of the lunar LoD signal, subtraction from the raw LoD and decimation for plotting. It is live, you can turn on or off individual terms/factors and see the effect.

This needs a great deal of explanation, codas, and so on.

For now here is the file lod-work

Do not try this unless you have a fairly large computer. Checked it works with gnumeric, openoffice/libreoffice. Excel should not have a problem but recursion is used.

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Posted: January 16, 2016 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics


In George Bernard Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion’ that gave rise to the Lerner and Loewe musical ‘My Fair Lady’, Henry Higgins declares that he can tell where a person comes according to the accent in their speech. Equally, it may be possible to detect the origin of temperature change, natural or otherwise, via a close study of the evolution of temperature over time.

Departures from the 1948-2015 average monthly air temperature are presented below.  The spread on the axes has been adjusted to a common interval of +4 to -4°C to facilitate  comparison.

We are looking for the month that shows the greatest variability over time. We are also interested in the course of temperature change over the entire sixty seven year period.

For economy of effort, we look at two months at a time starting with January and February in the Arctic.

Air T 60-90nAit T MAAir T MJAir T JAAir T SOAir T NDAir T 60-90n

We see that January and February are the months when…

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Some worthwhile thoughts on Ocean Heat Content.

Fabius Maximus website

Summary:  This might be one of the more important of our 3500 posts. It looks at an often asked question about climate science — how accurate are its findings, a key factor when we make decisions about trillions of dollars (and affecting billions of people). This looks at the ocean heat content, a vital metric with the oceans absorbing 90%+ of global warming. How accurate are those numbers? The error bars look oddly small, especially compared to those of sea surface temperatures. This also shows how work from the frontiers of climate science can provide problematic evidence for policy action. Different fields have different standards.

I have circulated this among some experts. I’ll post any answers received in the comments.

“The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.”
— Climate scientists Roger Pielke Sr. (source

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Oops, we’ve broken the ice age cycle

Posted: January 13, 2016 by Andrew in alarmism, Ice ages, modelling

credit: P.Schubert


That’s gone and done it, it should be freezing but it’s not and it’s all our fault, obviously.


No CCS please we're British [image credit: BBC]

No CCS please we’re British [image credit: BBC]

So the much-vaunted carbon capture idea for thermal power stations is an economic and technological dud – who knew? PEI reports from Westminster.

British Prime Minister David Cameron clarified the government’s position on carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) when appearing before a House of Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday evening.

He denied that the Treasury had tied his hands on climate policy and also took issue when questioned why the UK had slipped down the rankings in terms of renewable energy, calling it ‘total and utter nonsense.’


Sea ice optional [image credit: BBC]

Sea ice optional [image credit: BBC]

More global warming sales talk masquerading as science gets exposed.

Date: 11/01/16 Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation
Former Vice President Al Gore shocked Americans in “An Inconvenient Truth” when he said polar bears were drowning because global warming was melting Arctic sea ice, but now a new study shows that polar bears did just fine even when there was no ice covering the Arctic.