Re-evaluating the manufacture of the climate consensus

by Judith Curry, August 21, 2019 in ClimateEtc.

A new book by Oppenheimer, Oreskes et al. entitled ‘Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy‘ makes a case against consensus seeking in climate science assessments.

I have long railed against the consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC (see my previous blog posts on this topic).  And particularly, my paper:

Oppenheimer has long voiced concerns about consensus (e.g. his 2007 paper).  However, Oreskes has been consensus enforcer in chief, originating the 97% thingy.

I haven’t read their new book, but authors Oreskes, Oppenheimer and Jamison have written an essay on their book in Scientific American, entitled Scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change.

You can see where this is going from the title of this article; most of this is an attempt to justify alarmism. But they make some interesting points.  Excerpts:

Lets stop manufacturing consensus about climate change.  Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science.  The whole consensus thing has done little to reduce global CO2 emissions, which was the point of the whole exercise.  It’s time for new approaches to both science and policy.

Listen to the Trees!

by Jim Steele, August 22, 2019 in WUWT

What’s Natural?

Published in Pacifica. Tribune August 20,2019

This summer I taught a class on the Natural History of the Sierra Nevada for San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus. The first day we taught students how to identify the trees. Once students know their trees, they can easily see how tree species vary with elevation, temperature, moisture, and snow pack. They can see which species colonize open sunny areas and which trees need shade before they can invade. Old time naturalists used trees to identify “life-zones” where different species of mammals, birds, insects and other plants can be found. Furthermore, when you listen to the trees, you can see change.


Tree rings indicate the warmest decades of the 20th century were the 1930s and 40s, and temperatures have yet to surpass those decades. This divergence between thermometers and trees is best explained by the fact that instrumental temperatures are biased upwards when taken at hot airports or in areas recently suffering from growing urban heat island effects. In contrast, trees measure temperatures in natural habitat.

Why CO2 is Not the Control Knob of Global Temperature and Observational Proof it is Not Causing Dangerous Warming

by Institute for the Human Environment,   August 2019

There is no debate as to whether or not atmospheric carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a so-called greenhouse gas. When present in the atmosphere, this one-carbon and two-oxygen molecule indeed has the capacity to absorb infrared radiation and warm the planet. There is also no debate as to whether or not the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is rising; over the past two centuries it has increased from a meager 0.028% of the atmosphere by volume to a still-meager 0.041% today. Furthermore, there is no argument that global temperatures are warmer today than they were 50, 100 or even 200 years ago. However, there is much debate on whether or not the modern increase in atmospheric CO2 has caused, or is presently causing, dangerous global warming, warming so severe that it is threatening life all across the planet.

But how accurate is this narrative?

In answering this question, one need only examine the historic temperature and CO2 records illustrated in Figure 1 more critically. Certainly, these two variables experience a fairly high degree of correlation over the time period shown. However, it doesn’t take a Ph.D. scientist to recognize and understand the fact that correlation among two variables does not prove causation. Every textbook on statistics teaches as much, and they also teach that a hypothesis of causation among two variables can be rejected if there is no statistically significant correlation between them, or if the correlation fails to be maintained in a consistent and expected manner across time.

By applying such principles to the case being considered here, it can confidently be argued that if carbon dioxide is indeed the all-important control knob of temperature that climate alarmists claim it to be, then changes in atmospheric CO2 should always precede changes in temperature. And, because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, to prove causation those changes must always be such that a rise in CO2 induces a corresponding rise in temperature, whereas a decline in CO2 must always induce a corresponding drop in temperature. Consistent observations to the contrary, if present in the historic record, would therefore serve to invalidate a causation claim, as well as demonstrate that atmospheric CO2 is nothing more than a bit player among the many factors that drive climate change.

Figure 1. 400,000 years of historic temperature and CO2 from the Vostok Ice Core, Antarctica. Source: Petit et al. (1999) Nature 399: 429-436.


by Hannay Osborne, 21 August 2019 in Newsweek from PNAS

A huge source of methane has been discovered deep beneath the surface of Earth, sitting between the upper mantle and lower oceanic crust. The discovery is important as it could provide an insight into the hydrothermal vents that may have helped the planet’s first life emerge. Researchers also argue it could be a source of hydrogen and methane on other planets in the solar system—”even those where liquid water is no longer present.”

The ‘abiotic’ methane—methane that is not formed with organic matter—was found locked inside rocks. Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Massachusetts, took 160 samples from hydrothermal sites across the globe, including the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Guaymas Basin, the East Pacific Rise and the Mid-Cayman Rise. After analyzing them with a laser-based microscope, they found that almost all contained pockets of methane.

In their study, published in the journal PNAS, the team says this could be the biggest source of abiotic methane in the world. This reservoir, they say, could account for more methane than was in Earth’s atmosphere before the onset of the industrial era.

The methane appears to have formed by reactions between trapped water and olivine, a group of rock-forming minerals found in the planet’s subsurface. When seawater moves through the deep ocean crust, it mixes with magma-hot olivine. When the mineral cools, the water is trapped inside and a chemical reaction takes place, leading to the formation of hydrogen and methane.

Traditionally, we think of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—as forming when organic material breaks down. When it is emitted into the atmosphere, it has a warming effect far greater than carbon dioxide, although it is far shorter-lived than the latter, disappearing after about a decade.

However, methane is also known to exist on the seafloor. It is released through deep-sea vents—geothermally heated fissures on Earth’s crust. In 2016, scientists with the Ocean Exploration Trust discovered over 500 methane spewing vents off the west coast of the U.S.

However, the source of the seafloor methane has remained something of a mystery. “Identifying an abiotic source of deep-sea methane has been a problem that we’ve been wrestling with for many years,” study author Jeffrey Seewald, a senior scientist at WHOI, said in a statement.

Lead author Frieder Klein added: “We were totally surprised to find this massive pool of abiotic methane in the oceanic crust and mantle. Here’s a source of chemical energy that’s being created by geology.”

Media Ignore Vast Summer Cold Across Northern Hemisphere; Southern USA, Russia See “Record Lows” In July

by P. Gosselin, August 3, 2019 in NoTricksZone

While the headlines naturally focused on an intense heat wave over a region centered over France and Germany last week, the global warming ambulance chasers worked overtime avoiding and ignoring the real story: vast, continent-wide cold spreading across Russia.

Heat and cold zero-sum

First at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Klaus Öllerer reported how the Sahara heat ended up being a “zero-sum” event for the northern hemisphere region of Europe and Asia.

Öllerer wrote last week that despite the heat that took place in large parts of Europe, it was cooler than usual in other neighboring parts. Only a certain area in Central Europe (purple area) was particularly hot. Around it, it was less warm (yellow) and cooler than usual (blue):


“Even large parts of the Sahara are cooler than usual (blue). This is no wonder, as the heat is now in Europe and cooler air flows into the Sahara,” Öllerer wrote.

“The above-average warm areas balance out with the above-average cold areas,” he concluded. “The current warming is a zero-sum game! Historically, such events have occurred again and again.”

“It is even the case that in cooler times – such as the Little Ice Age – warm summer extremes were more frequent than in the last one hundred years and more,” Öllerer added.

Severe cold across Russia

Northern Europe July Temperature Sees NO WARMING Over Past Decades. Global July Not A Record High!

by P. Gosselin, August 20, 2019 in NoTricksZone

Parts of Europe have seen a couple of brief but intense heat waves this summer, and so some of the public got brainwashed by the media into thinking the continent’s summer climate is rapidly getting hotter and that all this is the new normal.

Yet, when we examine the unaltered data from the Japan Meteorology Agency (JMA) for locations in northern Europe that have long-term datasets available, we see there has been no July warming trend over the past decades. Media reports suggesting otherwise are nonsense.


Looking at 6 stations in Ireland, we have the following for July:


Data source: JMA.

Overall, Ireland’s mean July temperatures have been cooling off modestly over the past 3 decades and more, even though three stations are located at airports.


The latest travesty in ‘consensus enforcement’

by Judith Curry, August 14, 2019 in ClimateEtc.

The latest travesty in consensus ‘enforcement’, published by Nature.
Abstract. We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists by tracking their digital footprints across 200,000 research publications and 100,000 English-language digital and print media articles on climate change. Projecting these individuals across the same backdrop facilitates quantifying disparities in media visibility and scientific authority, and identifying organization patterns within their association networks. Here we show via direct comparison that contrarians are featured in 49% more media articles than scientists. Yet when comparing visibility in mainstream media sources only, we observe just a 1% excess visibility, which objectively demonstrates the crowding out of professional mainstream sources by the proliferation of new media sources, many of which contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation at scale. These results demonstrate why climate scientists should increasingly exert their authority in scientific and public discourse, and why professional journalists and editors should adjust the disproportionate attention given to contrarians.
This ranks as the worst paper I have ever seen published in a reputable journal.  The major methodological problems and dubious assumptions:
  • Category error to sort into contrarians and climate scientists, with contrarians including scientists, journalists and politicians.
  • Apart from the category error, the two groups are incorrectly specified, with some climate scientists incorrectly designated as contrarians.
  • Cherry picking the citation data of top 386 cited scientists to delete Curry, Pielke Jr, Tol, among others (p 12 of Supplemental Information)
  • Acceptance of the partisan, activist, non-scientist group DeSmog as a legitimate basis for categorizing scientists as ‘contrarian’
  • Assumption that scientific expertise on the causes of climate change relates directly to the number of scientific citations.
  • Assumption that it would be beneficial for the public debate on climate change  for the ‘unheard’ but highly cited climate scientists to enter into the media fray.
  • Assumption that scientists have special authority in policy debates on climate change
The real travesty is this press release issued by UC Merced:

The harm that this paper does to climate science is an attempt to de-legitimize climate scientists (both academic and non academic), with the ancillary effects of making it more difficult to get their papers published in journals (stay tuned for my latest engagement with the journal peer review process, coming later this month) and the censorship of Nir Shaviv by Forbes (hopefully coming later this week).

Hurricane Camille Remembered

by P. Homewood, August 19, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopoleKnowThat

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the second most powerful to git the US coast. The strongest was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

The NWS has issued this press release:


Hurricane Camille
August 17, 1969

Late in the evening on August 17 in 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Waveland, MS. Camille is one of only FOUR Category 5 hurricanes ever to make landfall in the continental United States (Atlantic Basin) – the others being the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which impacted the Florida Keys; Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which impacted south Florida; and Hurricane Michael in 2018, which impacted the Florida panhandle. (Note: It is worth mentioning that the 1928 San Felipe Hurricane made landfall as a Category 5 Hurricane on Puerto Rico)

Camille ranks as the 2nd most intense hurricane to strike the continental US with 900 mb pressure and landfall intensity of 150 knots. Camille ranks just below the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane with 892 mb and 160 knots, while slightly stronger than Hurricane Andrew with 922 mb and 145 knots and Hurricane Michael with 919 mb and 140 knots. The actual maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Camille are not known as the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. Re-analysis data found peak winds of 150 knots (roughly 175 mph) along the coast. A devastating storm tide of 24.6 feet occurred west of our area in Pass Christian, MS.

Fire from Ice: A Case Study of Methane Hydrates in the Eastern Mediterranean

by E. Zogopoulos, August 13, 2019 in EnergyIndustryeView

Methane hydrates is a source of methane gas which is found in crystalline formation that look like ice and can be found in permafrost regions or under the sea in outer continental margins.

We are living in times of fundamental changes in the energy landscape, driven by uncertainty, unstable energy prices, disruptive technologies, geopolitical gambits and subsequent attempts for regulatory interventions. While governments and corporations are trying to adjust to the new landscape and guess the name of the game, they need reliable sources of power to make predictions and critical strategic decisions.

Historical & geopolitical context

The era of hydrocarbons does not seem to be over, but there might be some indications in the horizon. We like it or not, they will still account for the vast majority of the global energy mix by 2050, despite significant breakthroughs in renewables. Many new players come in the energy market with the elusive promise of additional and cheaper resources and the will to disrupt the game – and eventually make money out of it.

Furthermore, the growing tension between public policy and private initiatives has been boiling and has been more than just an understatement for decades. The under-investment that we observe now due to lower prices and risks could become chronic and the global output of energy resources could lead to secure supply deficit.

Gas is believed to gradually replace coal, which is a source of distress for some existing players. The world is facing a proliferation of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) supplies that are already impacting gas markets and competing with pipeline gas. Some of the largest and most significant consuming nations are contemplating reform or unbundling, which could mean some take or pay contracts become stranded and an increasing oil price is likely to reinforce the price arbitrage between long-term and spot pricing.

There is undeniably a constant call for further investments in renewables, but lower oil, gas and coal prices and increased efficiency (or very effective lobbying) might slow this down. The global players do take into consideration the call for renewables (like solar and wind energy), either for publicity purposes or even because they do believe that this could be the future.


Location of sampled and inferred methane hydrate occurrences in oceanic sediment of outer continental margins and permafrost regions. Most of the recovered methane hydrate samples have been obtained during deep coring projects or shallow seabed coring operations. Most of the inferred methane hydrate occurrences are sites at which bottom simulating reflectors (BSRs) have been observed on available seismic profiles. The methane hydrate research drilling projects and expeditions reviewed in this report have also been highlighted on this map. (Map courtesy of Timothy S. Collett, USGS)

Congo : la découverte des gisements d’Oyo change la donne pour le pays et le Continent

by La Tribune Afrique, 16 août 2019

Le Congo dispose de 2 milliards de barils de réserves de pétrole prouvées provenant d’une vingtaine de champs en cours d’exploitation. La récente découverte de pétrole onshore devrait redessiner le futur de l’industrie congolaise des hydrocarbures.

La récente découverte onshore faite dans le gisement du Delta de la Cuvette en République du Congo change la donne pour le Congo et l’Afrique. La découverte a été annoncée le 10 août par SARPD Oil et PEPA, un consortium congolais travaillant en tant qu’opérateurs du bloc.

Les premières projections indiqueraient que les gisements découverts pourraient produire jusqu’à 359 millions de barils de pétrole, soit 983 000 b/j. Cela pourrait quadrupler la production du Congo, qui se situe actuellement à plus de 330 000 barils/jour, selon les derniers chiffres de l’Opep. Le gouvernement lui s’est fixé comme objectif un volume de production de 400 000 barils/jour d’ici 2020.

«Il s’agit de notre première découverte onshore et elle nous laisse beaucoup d’espoir que nous ferons plus de découvertes, en particulier maintenant que nous allons attribuer plus de blocs pour l’exploration pétrolière dans le cycle de licences en cours», a expliqué Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, ministre congolais des Hydrocarbures dans une déclaration rapportée par la Chambre africaine de l’Energie.

Troisième producteur du Continent



by Peter Ridd, August 12, 2019 in GWPF

The scare stories about the Great Barrier Reef started in the 1960’s when scientist first started work on the reef. They have been crying wolf ever since.

Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures. It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking. To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks like carelessness, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.

It is a well-known phenomenon that corals can adapt very rapidly to high temperatures and that if you heat corals in one year, they tend to be less susceptible in future years to overheating. It is the reason why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or from human influence.


by Cap Allon, August 12, 2019 in Electroverse

Regions just 90 minutes from Sydney received extremely rare snow over the weekend, as an intense cold front released from the Antarctic pushed north past Tasmania.

Blackheath resident Erica Mann was ecstatic to find fresh white powder falling in her garden, saying it was the most snow she had ever seen there:

“I opened the curtains and I could see a huge amount of snow on top of the water tank — it was so exciting,” she said. “It’s amazing. I went up the street … and all the houses are completely covered in snow.”

Residents in the Riverina also received a dumping of snow, with some towns recording their first falls in decades. Cootamundra local Steve Theobald said the last time he remembered snow there was 1985(solar minimum of cycle 21), while residents in Tumut –just 300 metres above sea level– said it was their first fall since 2000.

Other towns in southern NSW which recorded rare snow include Adelong, Harden and Batlow.

The powder continued falling through Sunday and finally began abating on Monday.

See also here (in French)

Ten years of icy data show the flow of heat from the Arctic seafloor

by US Geological Survey, August 8, 2019 in ScienceDaily

Scientists have taken the temperature of a huge expanse of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean in new research by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Geological Survey of Canada. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, is accompanied by the release of a large marine heat flow dataset collected by the USGS from an ice island drifting in the Arctic Ocean between 1963 and 1973. These never-before-published data greatly expand the number of marine heat flow measurements in the high Arctic Ocean.

Marine heat flow data use temperatures in near-seafloor sediments as an indication of how hot Earth’s outer layer is. These data can be used to test plate tectonic theories, provide information on oil and gas reservoirs, determine the structure of rock layers and infer fluid circulation patterns through fractures in those rock layers.

Analysis: What’s Really Going On In Greenland

by C. Martz, August 12, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch

As I’m sure many of my readers are aware, Europe has been having an odd summer as far as temperatures are concerned. The continent has had two major heatwaves this summer; one was in June and the other was in July.

In addition, Greenland has also seen some exceptional “warmth” and lots of ice melt this summer as compared to more recent years.

So, what’s going on? Is climate change to blame? Or, is this a freak of nature?

As with most complicated things in science, the truth is somewhere in between and is not just one way or the other. I hate saying that as a “black and white” person, but it’s an unfortunate fact. One can not make a preconceived notion based on one weather event without looking at a.) the big picture, b.) mechanism, and c.) long-term trends.

The upper air pattern over Europe and Greenland is opposite of what’s been occurring in much of the United States. The U.S. has only had one major heatwave this year, and that in and of itself caused mass hysteria.

La hausse du niveau de la mer accélère-t-elle l’érosion des côtes? (1/3)

by Y. Battiau-Queney, 15 août 2019 in ScienceClimatEnergie

Il est courant de lire et d’entendre que la hausse du niveau de la mer, l’une des conséquences les plus manifestes du réchauffement climatique, va accélérer l’érosion de nos côtes, menacer de submersion marine de vastes zones littorales urbanisées et faire disparaître nombre d’îles basses habitées. Ces craintes sont-elles justifiées? Comme un consensus ne vaut pas vérité scientifique, on va essayer de démêler le vrai du faux en partant de l’état des connaissances scientifiques sur la hausse du niveau de la mer et analyser ses effets possibles sur les processus d’érosion des côtes.


1/ Que sait-on de la hausse du niveau de la mer ?

1.1. État des connaissances sur les variations passées et présentes du niveau de la mer à l’échelle mondiale

Une bonne synthèse récente sur les causes et l’ampleur de la hausse du niveau de la mer se trouve dans Cazenave et Le Cozannet (2014). On y trouvera une très abondante bibliographie antérieure à 2013. Les méthodes utilisées par les scientifiques pour évaluer la tendance moyenne de l’élévation du niveau de la mer dépendent de la période considérée. A l’échelle du Pléistocène (1 800 000 ans) et de l’Holocène (10 000 ans) on dispose d’archives sédimentologiques (repérage d’anciennes plages “soulevées”, analyse de niveaux tourbeux recouverts de sédiments marins, stratigraphie et datation de récifs coralliens …) et de données archéologiques, particulièrement riches sur les côtes méditerranéennes. On sait qu’à plusieurs reprises, pendant les phases interglaciaires du Pléistocène, le niveau de la mer a été supérieur à l’actuel de 5 à 10 m au moins (Planton et al., 2015). À partir du milieu du 19ème siècle, on utilise les données souvent précises des marégraphes installés principalement dans les ports de l’hémisphère nord. Elles fournissent les altitudes relatives du niveau de la mer par rapport aux terres émergées. Depuis 1993, les données satellitaires fournissent des altitudes absolues du niveau de la mer par rapport à l’ellipsoïde terrestre de référence et permettent d’avoir une vision beaucoup plus globale des variations du niveau des océans à toutes les latitudes et longitudes.

Tableau 1 : variations du niveau de la mer indiquées par les marégraphes (sources: SONEL et GLOSS; Wöppelmann et al., 2014 pour Marseille) (ND= non documenté). Les données dans les colonnes sont exprimées en mm/an.

La géologie, une science plus que passionnante … et diverse