Responses to 10 failed climate myths

Hat-tip to Phil Plait for first drawing my attention this this very good (and short) video that discusses 10 failed climate myths. As Phil points out, the best is probably the response to it’s the Sun.

The video is by Hank Green.

This entry was posted in Climate change, Global warming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

165 Responses to Responses to 10 failed climate myths

  1. Best line: “Scientists are not stupid.”

    If your argument depends on scientists being stupid, better search for a new one.

  2. [Mod : unneccessary ad hom]. He says the “earth is not cooling” and quotes surface data. The surface data do show cooling.

  3. Victor, hello, Scienctsts are human beings right. Have we been wrong in the past? Yes. So, scientists have been ‘stupid’ before.

    It is not unusual to think that only the scientists in the past have been wrong.

  4. Sure scientists make mistakes, but they are not stupid, especially as a group.

  5. Would this comment be a good one for the new moderation policy?

  6. Louise says:

    [Mod : Louise, since I’ve criticised Shub for his use of certain terms, I at least have to be consistent and ask that others don’t retaliate with equivalent comments.]

  7. Marco says:

    Reference needed.

  8. Indeed, if Shub wants to continue with this line of reasoning some fairly convincing evidence will be required.

  9. I guess that the fundamental point is that in the past when scientists as a group were shown to be wrong, it wasn’t because another, different, group had assumed that scientists were stupid. It was essentially the same group who worked out, through further research, that their earlier ideas were wrong – and, no, I don’t mean precisely the same scientists, but people who would be part of the collective scientists.

  10. Bobby says:

    I don’t see why Shub’s entire comment hasn’t already been snipped. “Moron” comment plus false claim of cooling

  11. Having given this some thought, the first part of Shub’s comment is unnecessary and so has been duly moderated.

  12. RichArd says:

    Thought I would take a look at Antarctic ice on land,

    According to findings come from the Europe’s Space Administration ESA’s ice-measuring satellite, CryoSat, over the last two years Antarctica’s ice sheet has increased in height. this is in the blue region which is quite a large area.

  13. Well, two years doesn’t doesn’t really make a trend. Can you provide some link to where you found this information?

  14. Rachel says:

    Have you got a link RichArd? It’s my understanding that Antarctica is losing ice and this loss of ice is accelerating.

    Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2


  15. RichArd says:

    The cryost info is from 2012, I believe they only covered this region, the eastern part of antartica is gaining with the west losing ice, who monitors this I do not know as the cryosat has been praised for being able to give a definitive view of what is happening in the blue ice region regards depth of the ice.

  16. RichArd says:

    Checking CryoSat reveals rising Antarctic blue ice / CryoSat … – ESA…/CryoSat/Checking_CryoSat_reveals_rising_Antarctic_blue_i...
    29 Mar 2012 – Checking CryoSat reveals rising Antarctic blue ice … mission, but have also shown that this part of the ice sheet has increased in height.

  17. Paul says:

    Other than the factual question of whether Antarctic land ice is decreasing, I am not sure I see a simple relationship between land ice mass and global warming. Perhaps it would be useful to clarify this point. I thought the entire continent was pretty much below freezing all the time anyway. So, it could warm up quite a bit and still be below freezing. Therefore, I had thought the ice depth was more related to precipitation and glacial movement than melting in the interior per se. And precipitation is of course more variable year to year than is overall climate, so a 2 year change would be uninformative anyway. I could even envision scenarios where warming would increase water in the atmosphere and thus precipitation and ice depth, but of course, the wind patterns around antarctica are also temperature sensitive and might have an opposite effect on precipitation. So, is there a clear model that makes it obvious how Antarctic land ice will respond to a few degrees of global warming. Finally, I understand that warming has been clearly documented by direct measurements in Antarctica so in some ways it is besides the point whether the ice is getting thicker or not, unless you are discussing the possible effects of global warming on sea levels.

  18. RichArd, that link doesn’t seem to work.

  19. BBD says:

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet misdirection. Again. Like the majority of contrarian misdirection, it relies on over-focus and exclusions.

    Here’s the bigger picture. Pay attention, RichArd:

    The results of the IMBIE 2012 experiments showed that the agreement between mass balance estimates from radar and laser altimetry, gravimetry and the input-output method is good in all ice sheet regions.

    In combining the datasets we generated a 19 year time series of ice sheet mass balance from 1992 to 2011. Over this period, we found that the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets together lost mass that equated to a global rise in sea level of 11.1 +/- 3.8 millimetres.

    Examining the ice sheet regions individually we show that the Greenland, West Antarctic and Antarctic ice sheets have all lost mass over the past two decades, whilst the East Antarctic ice sheet has undergone a slight snowfall-driven growth. The Greenland ice sheet has lost the largest mass and accounts for about two-thirds of the combined ice sheet loss over the study period. In Antarctica, the largest mass losses have occurred in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, despite occupying just 4% of the total ice sheet area, the Antarctic Peninsula has accounted for around 25% of the Antarctic mass losses.

    We created charts of mass change (see figure below) for each geographical region, and these confirm known signals of imbalance. Mass loss from the Greenland, West Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheets has increase over time. In Greenland, rates of mass loss were modest during the 1990’s but have sharply accelerated since then due to episodes of ice acceleration (Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006; Joughin et al.,2004) and decreased surface mass balance (van den Broeke et al.,2009; Ettema et al., 2009). The rate of mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet increased substantially over the study period, with losses occurring mainly due to glacier acceleration in the Amundsen Sea Sector. The Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet was close to balance in the 1990’s, but since then significant mass losses have occurred as a result of ice shelf collapse (Rott et al., 1996;De Angelis and Skvarca, 2003) and calving front retreat (Cook et al., 2005; Pritchard et al.,2009). Overall our time series of mass change show that the combined losses from Greenland and Antarctica have increased over time and the ice sheets are now losing almost three times as much ice as they were in the early 1990’s.

  20. BBD says:

    What do you mean by “what happens” and what physical mechanism are you proposing to link subglacial drainage to whatever it is that happens… ?

  21. RichArd says:

    Just checked, you will have to type it into google , it opened when I copy and pasted off google.

  22. Yes, that was my first thought when I saw RichArd’s comment.

  23. verytallguy says:

    On Antarctic ice sheet losses, I am no expert but I believe the definitive study is the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE)

    47 researchers from 26 laboratories report the combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica has increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year (equivalent to sea level rise of 0.04 inches or 0.95 millimeters) as they were in the 1990s (equivalent to 0.01 inches or 0.27 millimeters). About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica.

    Richard seems to be referring to this:
    which appears to my quick read to refer to a very small area of Antarctica used to calibrate the accuracy of the instrument, and is not intended in any way as an assessment of the overall ice sheet mass balance.

    Interested if others can comment if this is really a correct understanding.

    Also +1 on what Paul said.

  24. RichArd says:

    I guess if it pops the effect would be more on the sea ice.

  25. BBD says:

    Come on, RichArd.

    This isn’t terribly impressive.

    ESA link.

  26. BBD says:

    That’s what the ESA link appears to say… No real idea why RichArd thinks this is relevant.

  27. Yes, it appears to be about as local as it is possible to get. It really is just the little red box in the figure, right?

  28. RichArd says:

    Oh just mulling over the guy in the vid talking about antartic ice melt. I was amused to read that the weather stations have to be dug out every so often before they dissapear.

  29. RichArd says:

    They only checked that area.

  30. RichArd says:

    I think you have to accept that in areas ice grows and in others it melts, take Greenland,

    New study explains surprising acceleration of Greenland’s inland ice
    Jul 17, 2013

  31. But it’s not magic. It melts for a reason, normally (always?) associated with energy. If it’s melting more today than it has in the past (i.e., if there is a trend) then that implies that, for some reason, there is more energy entering that part of the climate than there was in the past. Now it could simply be natural. The problem with this interpretation is that it appears as though the energy in virtually all parts of the climate system is increasing. That’s difficult to explain other than through anthropogenic influences.

  32. RichArd says:

    It would also be good to compare to the 250,000 Ariel photographs taken in Greenland in the 1930s , I have heard that compared to today they show very little difference in areas of lack of ice.

  33. RichArd says:

    Let us hope they extend their coverage.

  34. BBD says:

    I think you have to accept that in areas ice grows and in others it melts

    No RichArd, it is the *total* mass loss that matters for MSL/SLR, which is why people are paying attention to the major land ice sheets. *Total* mass loss is increasing over time. The slight mass gain on the EAIS doesn’t offset total mass loss when all three ice sheets are considered together.

    Please read the quote again rather than repeat a watered-down version of the Antarctic misdirection.

  35. verytallguy says:


    I’m interested in where you’re coming from.

    My general experience with climate blogs is that someone, like yourself, will make a claim which sounds convincing and significant.

    Here’s yours

    According to findings come from the Europe’s Space Administration ESA’s ice-measuring satellite, CryoSat, over the last two years Antarctica’s ice sheet has increased in height. this is in the blue region which is quite a large area.

    I then spend a little time researching the claim. In the course of doing so I learn something new, which is always interesting. In this case it was the synthesis of data in the IMBIE project, and the existence of the blue ice region of Antarctica, both of which are fascinating and neither of which I was previously aware of.

    During this research, it rapidly becomes apparent that the original claim was wrong or misleading. As is the case this time, when you incorrectly imply that an instrumental calibration exercise is significant for the overall ice sheet mass balance.

    At this point the originator *never* retracts or acknowledges the mistake, but either ignores the correction or moves on to other unrelated matters.

    Here’s your opportunity to prove me wrong and acknowledge that the latest data does in fact show increasing mass loss from Antarctica.

    Note that as Paul states, this is not necessarily attributing that change to increased temperatures.

  36. BBD says:

    I have heard that compared to today they show very little difference in areas of lack of ice.

    1/ Back this up with some evidence please

    2/ So what? It’s the future melt we are concerned with, not what may – or may not – have occurred early in the C20th.

  37. RichArd says:

    It melts for a reason and grows for a reason. We really should get hold of those Ariel photos from the 1930s.

  38. BBD says:

    + 1

    Getting fed up with R.

  39. BBD says:

    That’s it. You are trolling.

  40. RichArd says:

    I have not seen the photos so can make no comparison so can only go by this info,

    Rediscovered photos reveal Greenland’s glacier history : Nature ……/rediscovered-photos-reveal-greenland-s-glacier-history...
    28 May 2012 – Ice retreat was as drastic in the 1930s as it is today. … Long-forgotten aerial photographs of Greenland from the 1930s, rediscovered in a castle …

  41. RichArd, yes it melts for a reason but that reason is not magic. In some sense, the 1930s are irrelevant. The total mass of land ice is decreasing with time. The ocean heat content is increasing. Surface/troposphere temperatures continue to rise (albeit slowly). Ergo, we are warming and it’s not natural (the Solar flux is currently dropping). Furthermore, do you not think that Greenland researchers have maybe considered aerial photos of the 1930s. I don’t know if they have or haven’t, but I’d be surprised if someone hadn’t at least considered that.

    Maybe you could also have a look at Verytallguy’s comment below. He makes a very valid point. You popped up with a statement about increasing ice thickness that turned out to refer to a tiny patch of the Antarctic and have yet to confirm that you recognise that what you were implying by your first comment was not consistent with the evidence that was eventually presented.

  42. Brad Keyes says:

    “It’s the sun.”

    Why is it that when warmists attempt to put non-warmist arguments in their own words, it always comes out as a string of monosyllables?

  43. BBD says:

    I object to your framing: use of the term “warmist”. Implies the pushing of an agenda, and essentially reveals conspiracist ideation on the part of the user.

  44. RichArd says:

    The 1930’sare not irrelevant as that is a comparison with today, we do not know what it was like before, how long the glaciers had been melting . So now we know the interior is gaining ice . What happens next.

  45. Brad, although I don’t formally object to using particular terms, maybe you could avoid using terms that are intended to be pejorative.

  46. > At this point the originator *never* retracts or acknowledges the mistake, but either ignores the correction or moves on to other unrelated matters.

    This is called a Gish Gallop:

    The best remedy is to keep a tab of the committed claims and ask the commenters to honor their debt before moving on.

  47. BBD says:

    Eventually we get a re-run of the Eemian. The WAIS collapses and MSL rises by a minimum of 5m. Global average temperatures during the Eemian were only 1 – 2C above the present.

    Ice mass loss on Greenland in the 1930s has not been quantified by your handwaving, nor is it relevant to current and future mass loss with anthropogenic drivers. This has already been pointed out once, so this is one repetition too many.

  48. BBD says:

    Because that would be trolling, wouldn’t it?

  49. RichArd says:

    Very tall guy makes a comment about ice loss from the 1990s, do we have an idea of ice loss say from the 1920s through to the 1930s, as it is only the discovery of the Ariel photos gives us an ideas of ice loss in greenland at that time.

  50. verytallguy says:


    as you’re still here, I would really appreciate a response to my 2:29 above.

    Although “the 1930s” and “interior gaining ice” are doubtless also fascinating subjects, I
    went to the trouble of researching your claims, and, at least to my thinking, that’s worthy of resolving before we move on?

    thank you!

  51. BBD says:

    Why are you ignoring every single comment I make in response to you?

  52. RichArd, let’s be clear here. You started with this comment

    According to findings come from the Europe’s Space Administration ESA’s ice-measuring satellite, CryoSat, over the last two years Antarctica’s ice sheet has increased in height. this is in the blue region which is quite a large area.

    You provided no link as to what the “blue area” is and so the only conclusion one can draw from your comment was that the Antarctic ice sheet has increased in height in the last two years. It turns out, after others investigated, that the blue region was actually tiny and that, overall, Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass for the last few decades. That is the problem. You can’t come here and make some, supposedly, significant comment, not back it up with any evidence, and then ignore it when it turns out to be wrong or irrelevant.

  53. Marco says:

    Large area? That little red box with the star in it? It’s not even a few percent of the total ice area!

  54. verytallguy says:

    Again, Richard before moving on, a response to 2:29 would be appreciated

    thank you

  55. You should consider removing nested comments, Wotts. For long comment threads, we lose the time line of the comments. Nesting does not prevent Gish gallops either.

  56. I hadn’t considered that. I assumed that an element of nesting was helpful, but I can see how it becomes problematic if there are lots of comments in a sub-nest. What do others think?

  57. RichArd says:

    How large is the blue ice region and why is it gaining ice. Is the eastern part of antRtica gaining ice., the sMe goes for greenland where the interior is gaining, sure we know costal regions it has been melting. Not sure twenty years of satellite monitoring is sufficient to give us a clear picture ,as we are pretty clueless as to what happened before, I repeat , the finding of the pics in greenland gave a clue as to the glaciers had melted before,

  58. RichArd says:

    I took it from the cryo sat webpage

  59. Brad Keyes says:


    “maybe you could avoid using terms that are intended to be pejorative.”

    That’s what I did. There’s no more anodyne or less offensive word than “warmist” in the entire English lexicon. Would “snugglist” get past the New Rules? Is that what you’d like us ignorati (h/t Sou) to call you? Just say the word. As you know, I’m nothing if not obliging.

    You probably don’t need me to explain that, contrary to BBD’s overly-defensive reply, the suffix “-ism” merely denotes a stance or belief. No conspiracy or agenda is implied! Good grief.

    “Because that would be trolling, wouldn’t it?”

    BBD, maybe you could avoid using terms that are intended to be pejorative.

  60. RichArd says:

    My link did not work so suggest cryo sat blue ice region increase on google, or variations of.

  61. RichArd, that really doesn’t respond to either Verytallguy’s comment or mine. I’m going to delete any further comments you make on this thread until you actually directly address those comments.

  62. BBD says:

    You argue that mass balance change on the GRIS is a proxy for what happens on the WAIS and EAIS?

    That’s novel.

    But wait… you still have not quantified the mass loss on the GRIS to which you incessantly now refer.

    And others are awaiting answers to their questions…

  63. KR says:

    Richard – You should review the description of the Cherry-Picking fallacy:

    “…the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention…”

    This is exactly what you are doing here – looking at a tiny region of Antarctica that matches your confirmation biases and ignoring the fact that the data _as a whole_ contradicts your premise.

    I would only expect a reply from you if you are actually basing your opinions on evidence – such as the evidence that so many in this thread have pointed you to. I’m not optimistic.

  64. The point is that you referred to people (myself I guess) as warmists. Pejorative means “expressing contempt or disapproval”. I suspect that was the intent.

    Here’s the problem I’m having Brad. Your contributions have been largely negative. You haven’t really made a constructive comment and most of your interventions have largely damaged the comment threads. You’ve got a small amount of time left to convince me that I shouldn’t just ban you. Not because you specifically said anything that I object to. Simply because it isn’t worth putting up with one individual who regularly disrupts comment streams.

  65. BBD says:

    Willard has a point. However, if you remove nesting, be sure to enable comment numbering and linkable comments, so we can be very clear about what we are responding to.

  66. That’s an idea. Maybe I’ll try that. I’ll see how to set that up.

  67. verytallguy says:


    “I took it from the cryo sat webpage”

    Which clearly states that it was a calibration exercise, NOT an attempt to gauge the mass balance of the continent:

    It is precisely this lack of snow and unusual icy surface that makes the region very useful for determining the accuracy of CryoSat’s radar altimeter.

    So, again, do you accept that this was a calibration exercise, and the latest data (IMBIE) does in fact show increasing mass loss from Antarctica?

    If you do not accept these two facts, could you provide a reference to back up why not?


  68. RichArd says:

    [Mod : I did warn you. If you wish to continue commenting on this thread you need to directly address the comment made by Verytallguy at 2.29pm]

  69. verytallguy says:

    Richard, a reply to 2:29 would still be appreciated

  70. RichArd says:

    [Mod : I said I would delete everyone comment until Verytallguy’s 2.29pm comment was addressed. This was, however, RichArd saying goodbye for now, so am not hopeful.]

  71. KR says:

    Based on your interactions here, RichArd (and your lack of attention to others comments), here’s my response:

    [Mod : As much as I may sympathise with your views, I’m going to try and maintain some consistency and hence edit those comments that introduce a level of incivilty that I’m trying to discourage.]

  72. verytallguy says:


    again, 2:29 repsonse please before moving on

  73. Click on the date to have the linked comment, e.g.:

    Numbering has a problem: if you move your blog or use another theme, you lose the numbers. It’s better to use quotes or time stamps, e.g:

    > BBD at 2013-11-01 at 2:56 pm


    Paging comments might not be necessary too. I’d rather close down comments with a link to follow up discussions.

    This would have the added bonus of interlinking posts, which is good practice.

  74. Jhan Deth says:

    Agree with Willard. Nested comments also make it very hard to come back later and find the new ones.

  75. Okay, I will give it a try and see how it goes.

  76. KR says:

    Fair enough.

    It is, however, my opinion that RichArd has demonstrated a clear unwillingness to engage, and is instead Gish Galloping a sequence of nonsense. He does not appear interested in actually discussing the evidence.

    I would suggest this behavior as something to be ‘moderated’. Furthermore, I would suggest putting up an explicit statement of your posting criteria, whatever it may be.

  77. An added bonus to linear threads is that the discussion looks more like a plenary than a garden party.

  78. I cannot help but agree, RichArd is just another troll. He is hopping utterly clueless from one talking point to the next without any noticeable sign of willingness to learn. He has neither read the Nature paper he linked to, nor did he understand its implications. It’s only the land-terminating glaciers which retreated more rapidly in the 1930s, while ice-sheet and marine-terminating glaciers are retreating more than twice as fast now. And the reason for the 1930s retreat is indeed everything but magic. As McConnell et al. 2007 convincingly showed, industrial black carbon is the main culprit (directly via ice albedo effect and indirectly via atmospheric warming).

    Btw, vlogbrothers Youtube-Channel is well worth being followed. This way, came across Hanks video a few weeks ago already 😉

  79. RichArd says:

    Probably my response would be this vid ,

    ► 9:17► 9:17
    26 Jul 2012
    Mass Balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet 1992-2008 from ERS and ICESat: Gains exceed losses …

  80. Brad Keyes says:

    “Pejorative means “expressing contempt or disapproval”. I suspect that was the intent.”

    Then you suspect wrong. As wrong as possible. I was, if you’d like to know the truth, going out of my way not to insult you or any other adherent of hugglebunnyism in the vicinity.

    If you don’t mind a bit of unsolicited advice:

    As a general principle, it’s not a good idea to have rules that depend on suspected intent, particularly when (with all due respect) the non-cuddlewuddlist mind is largely a mystery to people on the cuddlewuddlist “side” of the debate. For example, this is not the first time you’ve made a spectacularly bad guess about my motives.

    It would be far better to have clear and objective rules, by which I mean rules about what we can and cannot say, regardless of the [im]purity of our hearts at the moment of utterance. And these rules should be spelled out on the Moderation Policy page, not entrusted secretly to Rachel. What if her plane had taken off an hour earlier? Then nobody would have been here to alert me to my infraction.

    “Your contributions have been largely negative.”

    See, this is the problem I’m talking about. Who even knows what that means? I don’t, and I seem to be the most able linguist in the room.

  81. Brad Keyes says:

    Fun article there, Willard—thanks.

    “It’s not us” still manages to miss the Churchillian note though, don’t you think?

  82. KR says:

    RichArd, that was an interesting discussion of preliminary results. However:

    Four months later, in Shepard et al 2012 (including Zwally, the same scientist as in the video), A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance (multiple method fusion), it’s reported that:

    “Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by –142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, –65 ± 26, and –20 ± 14 gigatonnes year−1, respectively.”

    That adds up to a net mass loss for Antarctica of ~71 gigatonnes per year. Only East Antarctica gained mass, and that at a fraction of the rate Antarctica as a whole lost mass. Again, the data as a whole contradict your initial premise, which was based on limited data.

  83. BBD says:

    BBD, maybe you could avoid using terms that are intended to be pejorative.

    You are a troll, Brad. Describing what you are doing here accurately is not pejorative.

    You are either being disingenuous (as usual) or your understanding of the term “warmist” and its implications is stunted. Simply rejecting the facts when they go against you is not sufficient, although I notice it is a standard behaviour of yours.

  84. RichArd says:

    I am sure if there had been an increase I would have been told it was due to more precipitation due to global warming!!!

  85. Use “consensus” or “establishment”, Brad. You know, the opposite of “contrarians”, which do not imply any specific intent, contrary to what you suggested on the other thread in which you roped-a-dope.

  86. If you prefer, one might say that contrarians only add footnotes to Gorgias:

    Nothing exists;
    Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and
    Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.
    Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.

    Notice how Gorgias ropes-a-dope.

  87. KR says:

    Rather than change the subject, do you understand why your initial assertion was incorrect WRT total Antarctic mass balance?

  88. RichArd says:

    Still on the Antarctic , though it amused me to read a new paper suggesting that antartic ice will increase with more precipitation over the next century.

  89. BBD says:

    Here’s a massive clue Richard.

    For some reason you have been ignoring this ever since I first posted it. Once again, I suggest that you read the words.

  90. BBD says:


    Please stop conflating the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. It prevents you from saying anything sensible on this topic.

  91. RichArd says:

    It seems that with the gap of four months an ice gain was turned into an ice loss, so rather than me being wrong , new info came in, wether their estimations are bang on the nose , let’s hope the satellites are well calibrated.

  92. Brad Keyes says:

    “You are a troll, Brad. Describing what you are doing here accurately is not pejorative.”

    ROFL… this is too good, BBD! You’re telling us with a straight face that the noun “troll” and its derivatives are not pejorative? That they don’t “express contempt or disapproval?”

    Whereas the act of calling someone who believes in dangerous global warming—wait for it—a “warmist” is derogatory?

    LOL… OK, OK… I’ve heard it all!

    Wotts, this is why you should ban me. I make mincemeat out of unreason, and unreason appears to be a habit for your leading barrackers.

    I can’t help it. It’s what I do. Ban me before anyone else gets humbled.

  93. RichArd says:

    In the last few comments not sure I did confuse the east with the west. Mentioned a new paper if anyone is interested to read. Interesting, had I posted the video 4 months ago I would have been correct. Let’s see what happens over he next decade.

  94. Brad Keyes says:


    You fail to distinguish contrarianism (to which I don’t subscribe, by the way) from nihilism and radical agnosticism. Why?

  95. verytallguy says:


    posting a link to a video without even explaining it does not constitute a response.

    So, yet again, please respond to my 2:29 and specifically as in my 3:20:

    Do you accept that this [Cryosat blue ice study] was a calibration exercise, and the latest data (IMBIE) does in fact show increasing mass loss from Antarctica?

  96. BBD says:

    You are alone in your grotesquely inflated opinion of your brilliance, Brad.

    [Mod : Since I’ve been moderating others for this terminology, I should be consistent. However, point taken.]

  97. BBD says:

    And now we get into Brad’s pointless little word games, [Mod : consistency in moderation, so have removed the latter part of this sentence.]

    How much longer, Wotts? [It’s over for the moment at least]

  98. BBD says:

    Re WAIS/EAIS conflation – you are either disingenuous or clueless Richard. Go and read the big clue I keep directing you to.

  99. Brad Keyes says:


    I only know the rules to one ‘word game.’ It’s a little game I like to call “Let’s Use The Right Word.” No doubt the name alone screams “pointless” to you, but hey—diff’rent strokes.


    “Use “consensus” or “establishment”, Brad.”

    Why? Last I heard, there was no consensus among any relevant population as to the net-dangerousness of BAU emissions. Has Oreskes or one of her consensualist epigones come out with a new opinion survey I haven’t been told about?

  100. RichArd says:

    I agree a calibration that showed an increase in ice, now that is of the cryosAt website.

    The ice in antartica. I have to agree with the resitlts 4 months on from the initial findings.

    Oh keeping up with new inf, there is a new paper published yesterday on temps of the ocean over the last ten thousand years, very interning

  101. BBD says:

    I did use the right word, Brad. It is “troll”.

    And now you are off denying the existence of consensus that BAU emissions will ultimately result in significant and potentially dangerous climate change.

    You are boring, Brad.

  102. “Contrarian” is relational, Brad: it is defined by opposition to the orthodox standpoint. There’s no specific content involved in using the term. It can therefore be defined using behavioral descriptors alone.

    The comparison to Gorgias referred to the speech patterns, not his own set of beliefs. I doubt Gorgias would have tried to ropes-a-dope question-beggingly as you just did. He might not have liked Doritos either.

    And no, I have not forgotten what you said at Judy’s, Brad.

  103. Brad Keyes says:


    “For most of us, a troll is just a troll.”

    Nope, no pejoration there! No “contempt or disapproval” expressed by the phrase “just a troll”! (Certainly nothing in the same category of offensiveness as “warmist”!)

    You crack me up, BBD. God bless you.

  104. Also, do test what your changes will do on the old threads.

  105. BBD says:

    Do go away Brad. Your incessant trolling in comments here is tedious.

  106. I have been moderating RichArd’s later comments and have deleted some of his later ones.

    I will check my moderation page and see if things need to be made clearer.

  107. Brad Keyes says:


    “And now you are off denying the existence of consensus that BAU emissions will ultimately result in significant and potentially dangerous climate change.”

    What consensus? Among what group? How many were found to be of that opinion, and how many were not? You’ve made a positive claim. I remind you that the site’s moderation policy now devolves upon you the obligation to provide evidence therefor. Numbers. Data.

    Much obliged.

  108. I had an important visitor at work, so I’ve been away from my computer so have missed most of this. RichArd, I thought you were leaving. You still haven’t addressed the basic point of Verytallguy’s 2.29pm post. Your initial comment was essentially wrong and you have yet to confirm if you agree that Antarctic ice sheets are, overall, losing mass. Please address this or I will delete further comments.

  109. RichArd says:

    Sorry should write it clearly, I have to agree that the Antarctic ice loss is outweighing gain.

  110. Okay, that seems clear. Indeed, it currently is and has been for at least the last decade.

  111. BBD says:

    Oh Brad, don’t be an ass. Don’t deny that this consensus exists. Seriously – nobody can be bothered with silliness like this anymore.

  112. Brad, it’s Friday afternoon and I’d like a relaxing weekend. Given that your contributions tend to be disruptive rather than constructive, you’re going on automatic moderation, for the moment at least.

  113. KR says:

    RichArd – You have attempted to make sweeping statements based upon some calibration exercises for a new instrument (on a location chosen to not show large changes), and upon unpublished data (contradicting everything published). When in reality we’ve known that total mass balance for Antarctica is negative.

    You not only have not made your case, but your case was based on a poor choice of data on your part. And you presented it without evaluation, without applying the any filters of reasonable support, without fully reading the web page you referenced. The appropriate term for this is confirmation bias, which leads directly to error.

    Followed, I’ll note, with an attempt to change the subject, to dodge. You, RichArd, are clearly just trolling.

  114. RichArd says:

    Perhaps we should make a comparison to compare, what the Antarctic was like pre satellite data, obvioulsy it was a close run thing , the initial feeling was a gain, if it takes satellite data to establish a gain or loss , what are comparing with over the last 100 years.

  115. RichArd, you’re missing the fundamental point though. All parts of the climate system are gaining energy (Arctic sea ice loss, loss of land ice mass, oceans, surface, troposphere). Solar forcing has been dropping for the last few decades. It doesn’t really matter if we can find some previous period when something happened in the Antarctic (or Arctic, or Greenland) that was similar to what is happening there today. The fundamental point is that we can’t explain this continued increase in total energy if we ignore anthropogenic forcings. This is a fairly fundamental point and doesn’t really on GCMs or other complex models. It is basic physics.

  116. BBD says:


    Thanks for the link to McConnell et al (2007). That is a perspective on the evolution of black carbon surface forcing on the GRIS worth having.

    From the abstract:

    Black carbon (BC) from biomass and fossil fuel combustion alters chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and snow albedo, yet little is known about its emission or deposition histories. Measurements of BC, vanillic acid, and non–sea-salt sulfur in ice cores indicate that sources and concentrations of BC in Greenland precipitation varied greatly since 1788 as a result of boreal forest fires and industrial activities. Beginning about 1850, industrial emissions resulted in a sevenfold increase in ice-core BC concentrations, with most change occurring in winter. BC concentrations after about 1951 were lower but increasing. At its maximum from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface climate forcing in early summer from BC in Arctic snow was about 3 watts per square meter, which is eight times the typical preindustrial forcing value.

  117. Joshua says:

    Brad –

    Just as an FYI (I hope you won’t find it disruptive for me to add one more comment to this sub-thread, Wotts).

    As a staunch defender of “trolling” (and as someone who has mixed it up with BBD in the past), I do think you’ve stepped over some kind of a line.

    IMO, the operative and useful way to define pejorative in this case is if you persist in using it when you know that others believe it to be a negative characterization. It really is as simple as that. We might argue about whether the term is “objectively” pejorative (I could easily argue that it is), but it would miss the point. There is no particular reason, IMO, why you couldn’t find another term to use except that you are indifferent to, or perhaps even intent on cultivating, a negative reaction. To refer to some abstracted definition of “pejorative” seems needlessly combative. Do you think that you’re going to convince someone that you’re using the term to describe that they shouldn’t find it pejorative?

    That then becomes your choice. We all make our choices. I will not stop using the term “skeptic” (complete with quotation marks) even though I know that some find it pejorative. It is my choice. I won’t use the term “denier” because I think it is reductionist and as such, inaccurate and essentially meaningless. That it also is deemed “pejorative” by some is also a factor that is worth weighing in. If I were to continue to use the term, it would definitely indicate an indifference to or intent to cultivate a hostile reaction.

    Anyway, it’s kind of good that you can’t respond as my intent was not to engage in debate with you on this topic, only to give you my perspective. Use it as information to use or discard as you see fit.

  118. I’m coming to the conclusion that the main purpose of contrarians/sceptics/deniers posting voluminously is not to convince anyone that their anti-science nonsense has any merit. No. It is to maintain the fiction that there is still a debate on the basics to be had.

    To the casual observer, 120 comments, as so far on this thread, would appear to constitute “a debate”.

    That casual observer may neglect to notice the nuance that one “side” packs nearly two centuries of peer-reviewed science and the other the collected thoughts derived from the over-consumption of supermarket own brand cider behind the car park as the sun sets.

    Deniers appear to comment as per Stalin’s apocryphal “quantity has its own quality”. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same debunked nonsense. As long as it is allowed to appear – and as long as it appears to require a rebuttal – the semblance of a debate is maintained.

  119. John, that is essentially why this moderation is tricky. It would be nice to let the comments flow, but I can also see the frustration growing as some people refuse to address fairly basic points and quickly move onto something else. I could just let it evolve into a free-for-all, but then I think I would simply close the site down. I have no desire to host a site that degenerates into unpleasantness (even if some of the response are warranted) and so have to try and do something.

    By the way, I removed the comment threading. May make it trickier on some of the older posts, but we’ll see how it goes for a while at least.

  120. Doug Bostrom says:

    At the risk of introducing even more noise, there are some older threads on Wotts’ blog where people can slag one another without interrupting the flow of conversation around the particular topic of any given post. The topic here is not the definition of a troll.

    No, I will not reply here to any comments on this suggestion. 🙂

    Slightly more on-topic, it’s great to see some accountability brought to bear. Would that every blunder was accounted for in the way demanded of RichArd. Each person should be allowed credit for one blunder and only that; no further credit extended until the first blunder is paid for.

    There’s a chance to have a different kind of conversation here. Wotts has been fairly and conspicuously contrite about whatever mistakes have appeared in postings here. Not to pick on RichArd in particular but there’s an example of quid pro quo in action.

  121. > Why [use “the establishment” or “the consensus” and “the contrarians”]?

    Because it characterizes the roles without having to deal with content.


    > Last I heard, there was no consensus among [X].

    Then use “the establishment”. The point goes is independent from X anyway.

    If we accept that we should not use “the consensus” because there’s no consensus, then to use “warmist” is self-defeating, as those who accept AGW are not really in favor of warming.


    > Has Oreskes […]

    Look, a surveying squirrel!

  122. Doug, I shall have to acknowledge that the style here may continually evolve 🙂 If it seems like the moderation is stifling interesting and challenging exchanges then I may decide to relax it a little. As they say, moderation in everything, including moderation.

  123. richard says:

    John, that is essentially why this moderation is tricky. It would be nice to let the comments flow, but I can also see the frustration growing as some people refuse to address fairly basic points and quickly move onto something else. I could just let it evolve into a free-for-all

    I think the topic of this thread allowed a free for all, basically a vid of a guy ranting, I am sorry you
    feel I change subject all the time, its not intentional but its just random thoughts as I dip in and out of this site, for me its fun, I certainly enjoyed it and I believe I am polite, you should take it in good spirit ,this is a blog, not some accredited , medal winning, scientific research platform, likewise all the other blogs for and against, some enjoy the banter some don’t, I believe most just do not like abuse.

    I certainly enjoyed your collected judgement of me. I felt you almost put your black cap on!!!!

    I am happy to admit the loss of ice , though you seemed to lack the knowledge of what proceeded
    satellite data when asked.

    Rachel and Gentleman, I look forward to the next topic that takes my fancy, well of course unless tthe black cap stays on your head.

  124. Richard, maybe I should clarify. The issue is more to do with not addressing initial comments, than with the topic drifting.

    Although we may not be able to make definitive statements with regards to what proceeded satellite data, there is some evidence that the Arctic sea ice is lower today than it’s been for more than a century (and there may well be evidence for Greenland and the Antarctic that I’m not aware of). The other issue is the relevance of this. Showing that one component of the climate system changed in a similar way through some natural process in the last century is not really all that relevant. What’s happening today is that virtually all components of the climate system are gaining energy. if you could show that something similar has happened through a natural process in the past, maybe that would be relevant. Showing that one component happens to have, possibly, gone through something similar in the recent past isn’t particularly relevant. It’s the overall picture that’s important, not – really – the individual components.

  125. chris says:

    Richard, you may have “enjoyed it” but it’s a little sad that your notion of enjoyment involves making obviously false assertions on a blog and then dodging and weaving to avoid addressing straightforward clarifications of the issues by others!

    And although you have defined this blog in terms that perhaps reflect your lack of interest in science, that certainly isn’t how others consider this blog. It would be unfortunate if a good blog with a decent reputation for honest and knowledgeable assessment of science was mucked about with because two or three blokes (it’s always always blokes!) find it enjoyable to play trolling games. This blog is one of those that aim to reflect pukka science on climate physics – if you have something interesting to say on those subjects why not do so? If you just fancy having some “enjoyment” at other’s expense there are plenty of other blogs out there :).

  126. richard says:

    you never know, something amazing may come out.

    Still trying to find out loss of ice in the Antarctic prior to satellite data, it might have been more than over the last 20 years. Though judging from MR Wotts this is not of importance only future events.

    “It doesn’t really matter if we can find some previous period when something happened in the Antarctic (or Arctic, or Greenland) that was similar( what about worse?) to what is happening there today”

    I guess I need a blog that makes comparisons of today with the past, my questions would not be answered here.

  127. You’re rather misinterpreting my comment. Would you like to read it again and have another go?

  128. richard says:

    hmm , not sure i can. But I would love to know what the ice was doing prior to Satellite data, did it speed up slow down , remain stable. Had a quick look at the following but that did not help. Of course they mention ten years is enough but what about prior. Through Greenland needs more thought, especially as the interior glacier is growing.

    Limits in detecting acceleration of ice sheet mass loss due to climate variability

    B. Wouters, J. L. Bamber, M. R. van den Broeke, J. T. M. Lenaerts & I. Sasgen

  129. richard says:

    “However, at present there is no scientific consensus on whether these reported accelerations result from variability inherent to the ice-sheet–climate system, or reflect long-term changes and thus permit extrapolation to the future3.”

    Hmmm food for thought. Unless a new paper has come out since July showing a Scientific consensus.

    Or are you guys jumping the gun a but.

  130. richard says:

    sorry ten years to establish an acceleration at an accuracy within ±10 Gt yr−2,

  131. BBD says:


    Still trying to find out loss of ice in the Antarctic prior to satellite data

    I mentioned the WAIS collapse during the Eemian upthread. Perhaps you would have more fun here if you actually read the comments and gave them some thought. Sometimes the past can tell us a fair bit about the future. Satellites not required.

    * * *

    Re Wouters et al.: misinterpreting proper scientific caution about disentangling trend from variability in ice mass loss over short periods isn’t going to get you anywhere. Especially not in the light of the IMBIE 2012 results which you have been directed to over and over again.

    * * *

    I’m not sure you even understand the processes at work here. Please summarise the major mechanisms of mass loss from the WAIS and EAIS. Give us a sense of your topic knowledge.

  132. richard says:

    “Please summarise the major mechanisms of mass loss from the WAIS and EAIS. Give us a sense of your topic knowledge”

    Not sure I can.

    But perhaps you could help me with ice loss in the Antarctic over the last 100 years or more, maybe see some patterns similar to today, after all at the moment no consensus on ice loss – at the moment.

    You may have missed this, it seems interior greenland glaciers are melting again after gainging ice a few years back. Though is there a consensus on why.

    Can you help me here as well, not being a scientist some light on the subject would help.

    Limits in detecting acceleration of ice sheet mass loss due to climate variability

    “Here we compare mass loss trends and accelerations in satellite data collected between January 2003 and September 2012 from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment to long-term mass balance time series from a regional surface mass balance model forced by re-analysis data. We find that the record length of spaceborne gravity observations is too short at present to meaningfully separate long-term accelerations from short-term ice sheet variability”

    Can you simplify this for me.

  133. chris says:


    1. The Antarctic polar ice sheet and its mass balance was largely inaccessible prior to the satellite era; there is no point in asking for what doesn’t exist.

    2. updated satellite measures of polar ice indicate that both Greenland and Antarctic polar ice sheets are losing mass during the last 20 years:

    Greenland by ~ 150 gigatonnes per year
    Antarctica by around ~ 70 gigatonnes per year

    see Shepard et al. (2012) A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance. Science 338, 1183-1189.

    3. The fact that the interior ice sheet Greenland may or may not be increasing in altitude is not relevant to the net mass loss.

    4. Although direct measures of Antarctic polar ice is not accessible pre-satellite, estimates of Antarctic surface mass balance (SMB) by analysis of ice cores suggest that SMB hasn’t changed much in nett terms in the last 800 years, although satellite measures show that during the last 20 years there has been substantial net mass loss.

    see M. Frezzotti et al. (2013) Antarctic surface mass balance during the last 800 yr The Cryosphere, 7, 303–319

    5. However we can make rather firmer statements about nett mass balance polar and glacial ice by analysis of the sea level record. Sea level rise was much slower (around 1/3d of current rate) around 100 years ago and from this we can infer that polar/glacial ice mass loss was very small compared to its rate of melt now.

    see e.g. Jevrejeva et al (2009) Anthropogenic forcing dominates sea level rise since 1850. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L20706

    6. In fact consistent with the ice core evidence for broadly stable nett mass balance in the Antarctic ice sheet over quite a long period before the present, 19th/early 20th century sea levels were rather similar to those around 2000 years ago. That’s not to say that there haven’t been fluctuations in Antarctic mass balance/sea levels during that period, but the nett change before anthropogenic contribution seems to have been small.

    see e.g. Lambeck and coauthors (2011) Sea level change and vertical land movements since the last two millennia along the coasts of southwestern Turkey and Israel. Quatern. Int. 232, 13-20. / (2004) Sea level in Roman time in the Central Mediterranean and implications for recent change. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 224, 563-575.


  134. Richard, I think you should explain the significance of what you’re asking us to provide. At the moment there is evidence (Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, ocean heat content, land and troposphere temperatures) that all parts of the climate system are gaining energy. Hence, we can conclude that, overall, global warming continues. Furthermore, there is no way (despite what you may have heard elsewhere) to explain this continued warming through natural processes only. In fact, the evidence is that anthropogenic influences dominate. Furthermore, it doesn’t actually matter what physical process is delivering that energy to the different parts of the climate system. That it continues to grow overall, is all we need to know that global warming continues.

    If you want a serious discussion maybe you could explain the significance of some period in the past when some part of the climate system may have undergone a phase similar to what it’s undergoing today. Firstly there is no evidence that this happened in the last century, and secondly, I don’t really see the relevance. Maybe you could explain it.

  135. Well, I think Chris has pretty much nailed it there.

  136. richard says:

    well had a look and got to this,

    Mass balance of glaciers and ice caps: Consensus estimates
    for 1961–2004

    seems we only have records to mid 20th century. Though how accurate pre-satellite who knows, after all who would have thought Greenland glaciers had a massive melt in the 1930’s , they must have grown back rapidly if those ariel photos show similar ice loss to 1930’s.

  137. BBD says:

    This is pointless, and I have no confidence that richard is here in good faith. Somewhat the opposite, in fact.

  138. Richard, you’re still not addressing the basic issue. All the evidence points to the climate system as a whole continuing to gain energy. Finding some small region that might have undergone something similar 50 years ago doesn’t change the scientific fact that overall global warming continues and that it is almost certainly anthropogenic.

  139. richard says:

    “Richard, I think you should explain the significance of what you’re asking us to provide. At the moment there is evidence ”

    But is there a Consensus on why the ice loss, that paper above is from 2013 , you say without a doubt , they have a more measured response.

    “Firstly there is no evidence that this happened in the last century, and secondly, I don’t really see the relevance. Maybe you could explain it”

    I am guessing you mean on a global scale, Antarctic info is sketch though Greenland ariel photos are interesting and a great shame we do not have a global ariel view from the 1930’s. Of course we know that the US in the 1930’s was pretty damn hot. – looking at the EPA annual heat wave index the 1930’s was way hotter than today.

    “Heat waves were frequent and widespread in the 1930s, and these remain the most severe heat waves in the U.S. historical record”

    Do we have a complete global temp record of the 1930’s.

  140. richard says:

    “This is pointless, and I have no confidence that richard is here in good faith. Somewhat the opposite, in fact”

    You would be surprised!! after all did i know not make a donkey’s arse of myself on the antarctic,
    though not entirely.

  141. Richard, firstly Chris has given quite comprehensive response to your basic question. Secondly, you still aren’t addressing the question. What you seem to be implying is that we can’t be sure that something like this hasn’t happened before. Well, in a sense we can. We have all sorts of information about our past climate history. Nothing indicates that what we’re undergoing, globally, today has happened in the last 1000 years, probably longer. You’re basically cherry picking small bits of potentially apocryphal information to suggest that what’s happening today may have happened before. I’ve explained the relevance of what’s happening today (overall, global warming continues). Maybe you could have one more try at explaining the significance of what you’re suggesting. I’m not getting it and am heading towards agreeing with others that you’re not actually having a good faith discussion. Simply pointing out a few possibly interesting things from the past isn’t good enough.

  142. Richard, apologies but I thought you had rather made a rather embarrassing mistake when you introduced the topic of the Antractic ice sheets. You seem to disagree.

  143. richard says:

    I don’t really see the relevance. Maybe you could explain it”

    I need to see wether there are patterns, just my way of looking at things. it’s just that there is a 100 year drought that happens every 700- 800 years in the US , we are due another one, or is it already starting to happen. Or rather what causes the regularity of that drought every 700 years.

  144. richard says:

    Richard, apologies but I thought you had rather made a rather embarrassing mistake when you introduced the topic of the Antractic ice sheets. You seem to disagree.

    Yes i think I was embarrassed, but actually interesting to note your take on comments made on other sites. I will certainly read a little more carefully and note you yourself made an apology on a previous thread.

  145. richard says:


    1. The Antarctic polar ice sheet and its mass balance was largely inaccessible prior to the satellite era; there is no point in asking for what doesn’t exist.

    Hmmm, this I do not like!!!!! not your statement, just the fact we do not know. Greenland ice loss in the 1930’s yes.

  146. richard says:

    perhaps this article will help me,

    “The study of the weather in these early years is important because it can help students understand that some events in nature have a repeating pattern”

    1. The Antarctic polar ice sheet and its mass balance was largely inaccessible prior to the satellite era; there is no point in asking for what doesn’t exist.


  147. Richard, patterns isn’t physics. You need to explain the patterns, just finding them isn’t enough. That’s just another example of curve fitting.

  148. richard says:

    So we start with patterns.

    not much info on Antarctic but came across these on the Arctic,

    Arctic Sea ice data collected by DMI 1893-1961 – these are maps that were found recently, well i cannot make the comparisons but by all accounts they show a similar arctic to today from around 1900- 1930’s. If so what were the reasons.

  149. chris says:

    “…by all accounts…”

    How pathetic.

    A vast amount of observational data compiled and updated by Walsh and Chapman of Univ Illinois indicates that Arctic sea ice extent was largely stable right through the early part of the 20th century and through ’til the 1960’s/1970’s when the progressive massive attenuation of sea ice set in associated with the large late 20th century anthropogenic warming.

    So it’s rather unlikely that the “maps” you refer to show “a similar arctic to today from around 1900-1930’s”.

    see e.g. Walsh, J. E.; Chapman, W. L. (2001) 20th-century sea-ice variations from observational data. Annals of Glaciology 33, 444-448.

  150. chris says:

    Is there a point at which you call time on this sort of trolling Wotts?

    Richard has gone from finding obscure cherry picked snippets that seem to support a contrary view of the science on Antarctica, and when confronted with the evidence switches to even more obscure, and vague references to cherry-picked data on the Arctic. No doubt when he’s lost traction with this tack he’ll switch to another…

    If Richard is able to find these particularly obscure bits of mis-information, he should be able to lay his hands on the abundant scientific findings that would allow him to answer his coy questions without engaging in a trolling session here.

    One possibility that worked quite well on another blog (to keep Brad Keyes from destroying the discourse as it happens!), is to create a thread that is the only one that (say) Richard is allowed to post on. He can post his obscure snippets of misinformation and ask coy questions and anyone that wishes to engage with him can do so there… 🙂

  151. richard says:

    Walsh, J. E.; Chapman, W. L. (2001) 20th-century sea-ice variations from observational data. Annals of Glaciology 33, 444-448.

    [Mod: just removed a few words which were copied from a deleted comment ;-)]

    and yet here we are also with DMI maps showing a similar Arctic to today.

    observational data from Mr Chapman, did he use the DMI maps or what data did he use. Had a quick flick through.

    We know that the Russians were using the North East PAssage commercially from the 1930’s onwards.

  152. richard says:


    “So it’s rather unlikely that the “maps” you refer to show “a similar arctic to today from around 1900-1930′s”.”

    I am guessing you do not know for certain either,

  153. richard says:

    I note the chapman paper was 2001, the DMI maps were found in 2012 , perhaps if he had access to these maps?

  154. Rachel says:

    I’ve released your comment from the pending approval folder, Chris. I’m not sure whether this was the right thing to do and Wotts may remove it again but he seems to be away from the computer at the moment. I’m not sure why it was collected in the first place nor why your subsequent comment, which you tried very hard to get caught, was not. WordPress does strange things.

    Richard, I think we are beginning to go around in circles here. Is there anything you can do about that?

  155. richard says:

    not sure asking questions is going around in circles, not sure I have had any adequate answers. But happy to finish.

  156. Rachel, thanks. I’ve been having a very pleasant dinner with the family, so have missed most of this. Chris, we’re looking into another thread for discussion that might be worth continuing but not in the main comments thread. Richard, I think we are going in circles, so if we could stop this it would be appreciated.

  157. Tom Curtis says:

    I’m going to jump in here, as shouldn’t, and note a couple of things.

    First, while new moderation rules are being tried out, I think it is a very good rule to require that:
    1) Claims of fact should be supported by citation, either with title of article, name and date of publication (at a minimum), or with a link (plus at least title and author, or author and date of publication); and
    2) Links or citations should always be supported by enough discussion to indicate the approximate content of the source, and its relevance to the discussion.

    You will notice that richard treats both principles (as of course, they are not currently rules on this site) as things to avoid.

    To supply for his lack, the aerial photos of Greenland are discussed in Bjork et al, 2012 (Supplementary information). Reading the article you soon discover, that:
    a) Glacier retreat rates were higher in the 2000s than in any prior decade covered by the photos plus satellite records;
    b) Although in all decades there are some glaciers which expand, and in particular this is true for the period 1965-1972, in all decades the regional average is for glacial retreat, and at no stage is expansion as great as the retreat of the 1930s, let alone the 2000s; so
    c) Therefore for the most part, the glacial retreat in the 2000s was from a frontage that had retreated relative to the final position in the 1930s.

    I suspect that I am not alone in gaining the opposite impression from Richard’s comments.

    The most important point here is that to the extent that glaciers retreat due to temperature, that retreat is governed by their difference from an equilibrium state. That is, all else being equal, a glacier given certain temperatures will be at an equilibrium state; and higher temperatures will result in retreat in proportion to how high the temperatures are relative to the temperature for that equilibrium state. Therefore, as the retreat in the 1930s almost (but not quite) resulted in equilibrium in the 1960s, it is unexpected that temperatures simply equivalent to that in the 1930s should lead to further very rapid retreats. Never-the-less, we are seeing those further rapid retreats, and at an average pace nearly 2.5 times greater than in the 1930s.

    Richard pretends that this is evidence that the current retreat is not unusual.

    Turning to the DMI maps, they are available from the NSIDC. They have also been published by Anthony Watts in a post I recommend for the purpose of examining the charts only.

    Most interesting of Watts’ figures is figure 16 which compares the three maps with the lowest sea ice extent to the mid August sea ice concentration in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2007. It is clear from the comparison that even 1938 (the lowest year in the 1930s) had considerably more ice than even 2006, and that most of them are equivalent (at best) to 1996-2000. Interestingly, no year since 2006 has failed to have a lower sea ice extent than the lowest in 2006, and only 2013 may have an August monthly average (just) higher than 2006. Ergo, every year from 2006 onwards, and probably since 2005 onwards, has had a lower sea ice extent than any year preceding 2005. Of course, most of those years, and especially 2007 and 2013 are absolutely unprecedented in the twentieth century record.

    In passing, I will note that Watts and Richard criticize the Walsh and Chapman’s reconstruction of twentieth century sea ice extents. Watts criticizes it because it shows more ice in 1935 than in 1996. He neglects the fact that Walsh and Chapman show three month averages, and hence are not directly comparable to a chart showing the individual monthly values. He further neglects the fact the charts were constructed from reports received by DMI, to which Walsh and Chapman referred in making their reconstruction. More importantly, Walsh and Chapman had additional sources of information to that available to DMI, so that their reconstruction is based on more observational information from the period than is used in making the DMI charts. Where they differ, therefore, Walsh and Chapman are to be preferred.

    In summary, Richard has referred to evidence that shows current glacial ice melt in Greenland, and loss of Arctic sea ice are in fact unprecedented in order to establish the opposite. In both occasions he neglected to find citations or links to allow people to follow up conveniently and check his claims. It seems highly dubious, given this record, that we should accept anything Richard says unless he provides a proper evidentiary chain, and we check for ourselves.

    I wonder, why did I get such a strong sense of deja vu when writing this comment?

  158. chris says:

    I suppose it’s worth pointing out that Richard is again being disingenuous, this time with his reference to the DMI maps.

    It’s unfortunate that these maps haven’t (so far as I’m aware) been analyzed as time series of apparent Arctic sea ice extent and published in the scientific literature.

    However even a cursory comparison of Arctic sea ice extents in the charts (archived here: ) with contemporary sea ice extent from satellite imagery, shows that even the deepest attenuation of sea ice extent in the 1930’s is nowhere near comparable to the contemporary attenuation. An example that compares (one of?) the greatest attenuation of Arctic ice in the DMI charts (August 1938) with contemporary Arctic sea ice is here:

    In addition, reconstruction of long, 5 year averaged, time series of Arctic sea ice extent supports the interpretation that contemporary attenuation of Arctic sea ice is way greater than during any time in the past 1450 years.

    see: Kinnard et al (2011) Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years. Nature 479, 509–512

    Again Richard is using the particular trolling strategy of referring coyly to data that he declines to link to and makes no pretence of addressing in terms of quantitative or explanatory details sufficent to make an objective assessment. Personally I find it rather strange that Richard knows about all this very obscure stuff that he refers to obliquely, but doesn’t seem to understand it on its scientific merits (or if he does tries to hide its real significance). It’s rather like he’s hunting around the web for snippets of information that he thinks support a pre-conceived view, without bothering to assess whether they actually do so. Not very scientific.

  159. Doug Bostrom says:

    John Havery Samuel reminds of us something important, above:

    To the casual observer, 120 comments, as so far on this thread, would appear to constitute “a debate”.

    Now it’s 160+ comments and while nothing has been achieved, the optics have become even more impressive.

    Most public discussion of climate isn’t about about science but rather is a kind of pointillism conveying only the general impression of a debate. As with actual impressionist pointillism, if we look too closely the image disappears and we see nothing recognizable as the putative subject, discussion with a conclusion. Missing the conclusion is key to the work.

  160. Tom and Chris, thanks. That’s very useful. Doug, yes I sometimes look and see that there are more than 100 comments and then realise, sadly, that there isn’t much substance.

  161. Pingback: No, David Stockwell, it’s not the Sun | Wotts Up With That Blog

  162. Brad Keyes says:

    Hi Wotts—
    sorry to bother you, but my comments have now been “in moderation” for more than a week. I’d be grateful if you would set them free, particularly the one that asks this long-overdue, fair and eminently reasonable question:

    I accept the high plausibility of AGW; I accept that this necessarily involves climate change as a result of continued emissions; and I realize that such change poses some risk of harm (or as BBD might say, it’s “potentially dangerous”).

    What I’d like to know is: in what population would these views place me in the minority? And what data do you have to back this up?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.