State of the blog

Since I’ve now been running this blog for four years, I thought it might be an opportunity to consider if I should make any changes. Things have certainly got a little quieter, which might simply be because I’m writing less, but it does seem as though blogging overall has got quieter; many of the other blogs seem rather quiet. It’s possible that this is indicative of some kind of overall change, which might be a positive, but there does still seem to be quite a substantial amount of misinformation being presented in the media, so it’s not clear that there is some kind of overall improvement in the quality of the available information.

Since I am sometimes criticised for my moderation, I had considered relaxing some of my bans, but I suspect it wouldn’t stop the criticism (I think it’s mainly looking for something to criticise, rather than a serious issue with my moderation) and the comment threads might simply then degenerate and I’d just have to re-instate the bans, or start moderating more heavily again.

Another possibility would be to have more guest posts, but I’m not even sure if there is any demand; there are plenty of venues for people to write posts if they wish to. If, however, anyone is looking to write something and would like a guest post, feel free to get in touch; I will, however, still retain some amount of editorial control.

Alternatively, I can just leave things as they are. I certainly don’t have time for any major increase in activity on the blog, so it might just be best to not change things too much. However, if anyone does have any ideas, or thoughts, let me know through the comments and I will certainly consider any suggestions that might be made. Be also interesting to hear other people’s views as to the general state of climage blogging; has it really changed quite a lot over the last few years and, if so, what could have caused it to change?

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65 Responses to State of the blog

  1. Brigitte says:

    “writing less”… that made me smile

  2. Brigitte,
    I can’t tell uf you’re suggesting that I’m suitably verbose, or have made some kind of grammatical error 😉

  3. I think with the recent spike in global temperature rise, and the consequential increase in global ice loss, fake ‘skeptics’ have tended to keep quiet. That leaves those who accept the science with less to discuss: the take-home messages are settled.

    Trump & Co are so extreme that they’re on their own; I mean what is there to debate? And most fake ‘skeptics’ probably also think he’s unhinged, so they’re hardly going to come out and agree with him. They’re happy to sit back and watch for the time being.

  4. john,
    Yes, I did wonder that. It does seems as though it might have divided into those who broadly accept the scientific position, and those who are promoting such utter nonsense that they’re mostly best ignored.

  5. I have written less the last few months, that was just being busy. Even if I see blogging as a hobby, it feels strange to write a blog post while colleagues are waiting for data, corrections or feedback. I am also more active on twitter and with Climate Feedback the last year.

    The American climate “debate” has changed now that the climate “sceptics” and corporations control the White House. There is more media attention and it seems to be, on average, more accurate. At least in the normal media, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent Breitbart from publishing WUWT post as long as the Mercher billionaires are paying for that.

    Citizens have become more active. Below every twitter lie on climate of a Republican politician you can see the responses of people fed up with the lies. That takes some pressure of scientists, no longer having to fight zombie lies that much.

    It is good that the public sees what climate scientists have had to put up with the last decades. Most of the nonsense of the mitigation sceptical movement is just as absurd to a scientist as Trump’s claim that his inauguration was the biggest, but it is easier to check for average Joe. People now see that there are people willing to blatantly tell the most obvious lies and the real live consequences of the denial of reality as it is. This may have saved The Netherlands from the brown mob. I hope it shows in future American elections as well.

  6. leonretief says:

    Leave it as it is.

  7. Brigitte says:

    Oh sorry, I just wanted to say that I don’t have the feeling that you are ‘writing less’! I am always impressed to see that you have written yet another post, while I am scratching my head as to what to write about next. And I can only admire your writing style, which is short, readable and to the point.

  8. Chris says:

    Don’t think there’s any need to change – this blog has a lot going for it!

    The blog title is particularly good – captures the fact that the natural world conforms to physical laws that are entirely indifferent to any attempts to misrepresent these and their effects. That captures what the blog is about. So the focus on addressing the science honestly, robustly and with scientific competence especially in arenas in which vested misrepresentation is rife, is great – there’s a market for that as judged by the strong participation here.

    Also like the focus on science communication – a focus that very much needs to be sustained these days. Do keep it going!

    And if things are a bit quieter that’s OK – anyway it’s Easter and perhaps that’s got something to do with the quietness!

  9. I really like this blog and the way it operates, so I hope you continue the work. I blogged for several years in a couple of places, then just ran out of energy for it. I think my idea was that people could understand if the science and technology was wrapped in folksy commentary, but I don’t know if that was ever really possible.

    The Obama years took the wind out of my sails. I was so discouraged when he did not break up the banks and create a green energy jobs program in 2009 that I pretty much threw in the towel. Eight years of missed opportunities and stalled progress gave us a republican congress, a republican judiciary and a trump white house. I would not have believed that the american people could live in this amazing warming period and choose a political course that would not address this existential problem.

    Anyway… I appreciate that you stick with blogging and do such a great job with this problem.

    Here is the weather report:

    April 15: 409.05 ppm
    April 14: 409.11 ppm
    April 13: 407.80 ppm
    April 12: 409.17 ppm
    April 11: 409.14 ppm

    Cheers,

    Mike

  10. Willard says:

    Quiet is the new frenzy.

    ClimateBall got quiet before teh Donald, I believe. Even Judy’s. Her shark jumping is getting tired. Only her MikeM’s red meat works these days.

    The best way to win a winning position is to make it quiet.

  11. The blog is great. I would not change.

    On “the quiet”: On Friday I attended an installment of a series by the Environmental Business Council of New England on climate change titled “Part Three – Adaptation and Resiliency Programs at the Federal Level“. Speakers included: Congressman Stephen Lynch; Cynthia Greene, Manager of Climate and Energy Unit, Office of Ecosystem Protection, U.S. EPA New England; Cate Fox-Lent, Research Civil Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and Ellen Mecray, Regional Climate Services Director, NOAA.

    Congressman Lynch emphasized the importance of keeping the wonderful apparatus at NOAA and EPA intact, and its criticality to his Commonwealth, and to its many municipalities, especially the databases and tools they provide. He echoed that the President’s budget was “dead on arrival.” He commented on the difficulty of dealing with this, a global problem, particularly in countries like India who simply cannot see how they can do anything other than burn coal to provide electricity for a vast part of their population, not without financial help from wealthy countries who, by the way, bear most of the responsibility for cumulative emissions. He remarked that national security estimates place the number of migrants in Africa at 60 million people, mostly displaced by intrusion of Sahara on Sahel. In a sobering summary he said “The serious challenges posed by global climate change cannot be effectively addressed by using a piecemeal approach, but rather require a full spectrum response which grapples with the near-term challenges anticipated in the next 30 years while re-engineering the way we live so that we actually shift the sustainability curve over the next century, buying time, so to speak, for future generations to undo the damage sustained during previous generations. While there may be partisan debates over climate change in Washington, D.C., we cannot stand by while our local communities face the devastating impacts of severe weather and rising sea levels.” When asked how many members of the House were climate and science deniers, he estimated about 30, most very young members of the House, with little or no governing experience, and with unrealistic world views. Many of the others get in line behind their President, although he had guarded praise for Speaker Ryan, who had taken draft legislation away from the Chair of one committee and given it to another when it was heading along the Path of the Ridiculous.

    Drs Cynthia Greene and Ellen Mecray had a number of points.

    * The Wetlands Protection Act is having an unusual wrinkle to it. In many places in New England, wetlands are increasing in area, especially along the coast. There are properties and structures which were in compliance at time of filing and approval which no longer are (EPA).
    * Because of central distribution of food from distant sources, a new vulnerability in eastern Massachusetts has been identified in the food distribution warehouses of Chelsea, MA. Basically, for all the major grocery store chains, food is trucked or shipped to Chelsea before being reloaded for delivery to local stores in Chelsea. That distribution center is highly vulnerable due to sea level rise, and from storms. There is the possibility that it could be neutralized, and, so, eastern Massachusetts could be turned into a “food desert” (EPA).
    * The long term plan for the city of Springfield, MA, in the Pioneer Valley (EPA), expects to be receiving refugees from coastal sea level rise in Massachusetts by 2050, and they are developing to take advantage of that.
    * EPA has a database, RAINE, which documents what cities and towns in New England are doing on resiliency and adaptation.

    The group attending was small, but influential, and when Dr Mecray offered to go through the science on climate change, the group waved her off, saying to save time, skip it: We get it they said. And we get that it’s probably much worse than IPCC. Dr Mecray reported that another version of the U.S. National Climate Assessment was due out.

    The point of this is that, at least in some states, there are a large set of state and municipal leaders, business owners, and members of the public who “get it” and that these states will have an advantage in comparison with states which do not, simply because they’ll be ready. Whether or not they have much influence on mitigation is an open question. They can lead.

    So, I think it may be “quiet” because there’s a growing acceptance — and perhaps resignation —
    that, not just because of a President, the Republicans, or the fossil fuel companies, but the mostly comfortable and economically flush American public, mitigation to the degree we need to, that is, +2C, is a lost cause. It does not mean we oughtn’t try: We definitely should, and in Massachusetts there is a growing restiveness to set up and shoot for a zero net Carbon by 2050 goal. But the emphasis is turning, I think, to (1) How bad is it going to be? and (2) How does a future generation get out of this huge mess?

  12. verytallguy says:

    Climate blogging definitely seems to be in the doldrums compared to what it was a few years back.

    On the science it may not be possible to make a huge amount more progress without more time for observations and is the nature of the beast that “more time” means decades to make a significant difference to our understanding of the system.

    It feels to me like “sceptics” may have been ground down by the volume of work rejecting their position, but also its persistence. It’s very, very hard to maintain a credible contrarian position over decades when all the experts in the field continue to churn out material spelling out the opposite in tedious dense volume after volume after volume. The recent congress hearing showed just how little credibility they can muster.

    On the blog; I still enjoy it but feel little need to comment any more. My only suggestion might be to move on from physical science to policy response. ie WGIII.

    “Basic Physics is settled, but then there’s the policy response”. You might even find more room for agreement with “sceptics” on this ground – the contrarian critique of policy is far more cogent than their science perspective, whereas the opposite is true of many environmentalists. IMHO, you understand.

  13. Phil says:

    RE: “writing less”

    A(n imperfect) measure of how much ATTP writes is found in the “Archive” menu on the right of the blog. In the first ten months (to Jan 2014), there were always more than 20 articles a month, indeed the second month there were 49 ! The last time there were over 20 articles in a month was Nov 2015 and the last time there were over 15 was 2 months later in Jan 2016.

    The first time there were fewer than 10 articles a month was July 2015 and there have been two subsequent months – Oct and Dec 2016 (not counting this, as yet incomplete, month)

    So there are definitely fewer articles on the blog; ATTP doesn’t author them all and its also possible that each post is getting longer, or that he’s writing more responses in comments, but this measure suggests ATTP is indeed “writing less”.

    I do think there has been a lull in mainstream Climate blogs (I couldn’t comment on the contrarian sites). Apart from John’s suggestion above, I wonder whether this is related to Paris, or Trump, or that simply the evidence coming out of the primary literature has slowed or is simply re-confirming what we already know.

    Like many above, I enjoy reading your blog and it has undoubtedly helped me clarify some points on the science. Most of the commentators are civil, helpful and on occasion illuminating (Victor, PaulS, Steve Mosher and Dikran spring to mind)

  14. Joshua says:

    =={ I think with the recent spike in global temperature rise, and the consequential increase in global ice loss, fake ‘skeptics’ have tended to keep quiet. }==

    And

    =={ It feels to me like “sceptics” may have been ground down by the volume of work rejecting their position, but also its persistence. It’s very, very hard to maintain a credible contrarian position over decades when all the experts in the field continue to churn out material spelling out the opposite in tedious dense volume after volume after volume. The recent congress hearing showed just how little credibility they can muster. }==

    I don’t agree with either opinion, as I understand them. I see no loss in confidence among “skeptics” in general. In my observation, in the reasons that you suggest they should be discouraged, they see reasons to be that much more confident in their views.

    And if you go to “skeptic” blogs, you will see many occasions where they describe trends they see in how “realists” are less active and, or more frantic and desperate out of a realization that the facts are against them. It is always interesting to me to see such symmetry, where both sides see diametric trends, and theorize symmetrical reasons behind those trends that they see. And this has been the case ever since I started reading climate blogs, where each side explains the reasons why the other side is getting desperate or frantic.

    Seems to me that general public opinion on climate change is pretty stable over time, and among the subset that are active on climate blogs there is also seems to me to be little change in the nature of manner of the arguments being presented. Seems to me to all be pretty much sameosameo.

    However, there does seem to me to be a notable trend of fewer comments on a couple of blogs. I’m not sure if there might be some deeper meaning to be devined there, other than people are somewhat less inclined to engage in the same futile behaviors to the same extent as they used to be?

    One notable change, however, is how Judith has gone deeper and deeper into the heart of “skepticism” – which I think might help explain why comments at her site are down markedly (my guess is in the area of 50% or more). My sense is that as she has gotten more extreme, there are fewer middle-of-the-roaders who comment there, and there is some attrition from “realists” due to exhaustion. If you go back a number of years, there were far more highly active technical exchanges at her site. Now it’s pretty much politics all the time.

  15. Brigitte says:

    Counting has never been my forte 🙂

  16. Joshua says:

    johnrussell –

    =={ Trump & Co are so extreme that they’re on their own; I mean what is there to debate? And most fake ‘skeptics’ probably also think he’s unhinged, so they’re hardly going to come out and agree with him. }==

    I get that logically one might think that, but I haven’t seen much evidence that many “skeptics” think that Trump is unhinged. Go to CE or WUWT and you will see steadfast support for the idea that Trump is great and getting good things done.

    Of course, that group isn’t representative of “skeptics” more generally; at least some data seem to show that there is a parallel association between rightwinginess and strength of “skeptical” views on climate change (i.e., “tea partiers” are more “skeptical” than mainstream Republicans). As such, I would guess that the 40% or so of the public who haven’t moved in their support for Trump would likely overlap pretty closely with hardcore “skeptics.”

  17. Joshua says:

    Note that Lucia’s is pretty much all politics all the time now also. Lucia mostly stopped writing top posts related to climate change and political discussion has filled the vacuum, (predominated by comments from hard rightwingers – shocker, I know). Not sure if the comment rate there has gone down or not as a result…my sense was always that the ideological struggle was a bit closer to the surface at Lucia’s, which might help to explain why the comment rate might not have gone down as dramatically as at CE as the overtly political topics became more prevalent.

    But anyway, it all just goes to show, IMO, what happens when you scrape the surface of the climate wars: what lies beneath is a proxy ideological, political identity-related struggle.

  18. I think WUWT is moving increasingly towards the lunatic fringe and few now take it seriously. It would seems to me their support for Trump is evidence for this. Even Sou at Hotwhopper is tending towards responding to other, more ‘serious’, examples of denial.

  19. BBD says:

    ATTP

    It’s great. Just carry on. The moderation policy has kept the nonsense to a minimum and fostered sensible discussion (well, mostly; I do pop up from time to time, as someone will doubtless point out, so I will get in there first).

    The main reason I comment rather less than I used to is that somebody else has usually said it already and better. Shame on you for attracting such an convocation of smartarses 🙂

  20. Magma says:

    It will be critical to keep up production now that it’s been shown that blog posts are more important than peer-reviewed scientific journal articles!

    Seriously, though… I couldn’t even be bothered to slog through more than the very beginning of that shoddy argument, which will no doubt become another denier meme. Hopefully a short-lived one.

  21. Steven Mosher says:

    On the state of blogs and the quiet before the storm.

    Wuwt. Is full blown echo chamber crazy time. The comments are all back slapping snark. Commenters compete to be the most clever. If nick or I choose to go there and engage or debate.. of course comments increase and craziness is sorta curbed.. at least the discussion turns more towards the science. The best strategy is to leave it be and never comment. The better commenters migrate. They need the validation that comes from fighting. Willis now has his own blog..that should tell you something.

    Climate audit. I think steve has moved on to twitter. . And other topics.

    Lucia. Conversations only get interesting with Brandon or me involved. As Joshua notes it’s mostly political now.

    Judith. Took in some refugees from wuwt. It is now the last blog standing.. by that I mean the only place where you can go to have a cage match with a skeptic on their home turf. These matches can generate huge comment threads.. I think zeke and I had 2000 in one instance.
    Judiths place will end up like wuwt if a few key people stop commenting .. Basically if attp shows up.. one comment generates multiple responses. ..etc.. so
    Attp
    Joshua
    Jch
    Jim D
    Me
    Nick stokes.

    Are all responsible for the popularity of the destination.
    Yes people come to read judith but they stay and return to watch the fights.

    Last point. Winning the election took away 7/8th of their arguments and 100% of their motivation.
    Say what?
    Most skeptics found against the science for fear of the policy.
    Remove the fear of carbon taxes and stupid epa rules and they are no longer interested in temperature adjustments or ecs values. . What remains is those few skeptics who actually truely were interested in the science first and policy second. What remains are skeptics who actually did some work..
    They also lose the victim card. They run the federal budget.
    They lose the corruption card.. The pay for the science now.
    They lose the fioa card etc.

    To some extent they have to play defense now insofar as this has been a political war fought in proxy form as a science war.

  22. Willard says:

    > To some extent they have to play defense now […]

    I love playing with the White pieces. More so when ClimateBall opening books are full of good lines. For instance:

    > I have no idea how to interpret ‘half’

    Try NG:

    http://climatechangenationalforum.org/your-logic-escapes-me-by-john-nielsen-gammon/

    It’s not as if we’ve never been there before.

    Sometimes we can have (even shorter) ClimateBall miniatures, e.g.:

    > If Salby, Humlum, Harde, and Hertzberg are right […]

    That’s a big if.

    At least one part of this big if is Harde to believe.

    Contrarians have not much else than food fights nowadays. Being thankful for their concerns wins almost by itself.

  23. I never thought WUWT was anything BUT lunatic fringe, but that’s just me.

  24. It will be interesting to see how the Trumpistas and their Republican mionions respond when the first major storm crushes some state or region, especially if both a Trump-supporting state and a non-Trump-supporting state are affected. My sense is that aid will be nonuniformly distributed in the predictable way.

  25. Tim Roberts says:

    ATTP, I like your blog and have been a follower for a year or so. I suspect that the number of blogs has increased to a “saturation point” – good bad or indifferent blogs across many areas – and so people either don’t know where to turn for information or have “gone off” blogs in the hope that they can find something better somewhere. Good luck, and from a purely selfish point of view, keep going. I like your style. Tim R

  26. David B. Benson says:

    The only change I would like to see is moving the comment box to after the comments. You may have to press WordPress to accomplish this.

  27. Yes, Willard. Problem is I love Black..

    I should learn some good white Gambit’s . I like the Kings gambit but it was recently proven busted.

    Still, exciting as heck

  28. I think WUWT once had scientific pretensions while pandering to the lunatic fringe—now they’re left with just the lunatic fringe.

    I suddenly remembered that there was once a blog called ‘Bishop Hill’, where our beloved blog owner was oft drawn to comment. A quick look showed that today it’s an empty shell of its former self, mainly providing an outlet for the cartoonist, Josh—who I note applauded the arrival of Trump on no other grounds than a mutual denial of climate change.

    * * *
    As to this blog; please don’t change. I think you’re doing an excellent job, ATTP.

  29. JCH says:

    When this April’s temperature anomaly is announced, there will be a dead-cat bounce on skeptic blogs.

  30. Bob Loblaw says:

    Only an occasional commenter here, although I read fairly regularly. Skeptical Science is still my go-to place to start what the wife calls “climate blogging”. There is generally a lot more to read here, which helps satisfy my daily fix for climate discussion, but if I miss a few days I find it pretty easy to skip most of the comments to catch up – not enough said of importance by a few of the voluminous regulars (especially the ones that can’t bother formatting or editing their posts for readability – you should know who you are by now).

    I notice a tendency that one or two threads will be very active, and when a new post comes out there is often a switch to the new discussion thread – but after a day or two it starts to look a lot like the old one. Although the topic is supposed to be different, it’s the same few regulars having the same arguments with a slightly different wrapper. As such, I think the signal-to-noise ratio would improve with a bit heavier moderation – but I know that increases the work load, too.

    Perhaps a bit of control over those that seem to take the approach “I would have made it shorter, but I didn’t have time” – tell them to take the time? (and force it by just moderating out some of their comments until they do take the time to edit and format)? To me, part of civility is is to make the effort to be precise and clear, to make it easier for the reader to know what one is trying to say – and there are a few here that I would consider to be rather uncivil in that regard.

  31. dikranmarsupial says:

    johnrussell40 wrote “As to this blog; please don’t change. I think you’re doing an excellent job, ATTP.”

    I’ll second that!

  32. russellseitz says:

    Some time before the invention of Climateball, a wise tactician reportedly observed:

    “N’interrompez jamais un ennemi qui est en train de faire une erreur.”

  33. verytallguy says at April 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm
    “On the science it may not be possible to make a huge amount more progress without more time for observations and is the nature of the beast that “more time” means decades to make a significant difference to our understanding of the system.” ~~~~~
    VTG writes: “science may not be able to make a huge amount more progress…”

    I’m curious, what are the remaining serious issues in climate science that need to be resolved?
    It seems to me that anymore, it’s pretty much all about ever finer details of the mechanics.

    Can someone list what the remaining significant questions might be?

  34. Steven Mosher at April 16, 2017, 7:20 pm: “… To some extent they have to play defense now insofar as this has been a political war fought in proxy form as a science war.” ~~~

    I believe that only makes sense if you assume “they” care about it.

    The Tea Party, the religious absolutists with heaven on their minds, the merchants of war and the oligarchs playing this pipe organ don’t care. They don’t want to know about it (it being climate science, the future, or this planet.). Now they don’t have to listen to anyone anymore and they will do all they can to dismantle as much science as possible, to insure they know as little as possible.

    Or course, warming continues and natural events will unfold with ever greater intensity. But, the politicians and their PR machine will manage to blame that on someone else too. Besides, by then, how much is it going to matter? . . . (tipping points are forever)

    …………………………………………………..
    ATTP, I join others in hoping you continue, though I imagine at this point your most valuable service is one of providing a social space, a virtual global salon of sorts. I have the feeling a little sense of “community” is going to become more and more important.

  35. Citizen: “Can someone list what the remaining significant questions might be?

    When it comes to how much warming we will see in future, the main questions are the size of the cloud and the surface (vegetation) feedbacks. Time helps because we do not know well how large the cooling effect of small airborne particles (aerosols), also mostly stemming from combustion, was in the past. That makes it hard to estimate the climate sensitivity from historical data. A new study out today suggests it is about 2.9°C for a doubling of CO2, which fits the average of all the other lines of evidence.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3278.epdf?author_access_token=iTHNUTjTl9ad1re2zIjHE9RgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0Oro9uT6LjYQd4TJtmay3BEfj_tdH1KtMjucqsMwNwevJCaGWvAt_zQ4HHn-g2-IPRowtTA5CQr3Mly8AGp0ITl

    When it comes to the long-term impacts of climate change and adapting to it, we also need to know the changes in the water cycle (locally) and circulation, changes in short-term events (showers, floods, storms) and local to regional changes. This is much harder than the global average temperature. If you do not know what to adapt to, adaptation is very expensive.

    When it comes to planning of economic and agricultural decisions and to the prioritization of adaptation measures also being able to predict changes in the next year to decade would help us. This needs predictions starting from the current state of the climate system, rather than the projections based on an emission scenario and for the long term, like we do now. This decadal climate prediction is especially useful if it gains local information, which requires high-quality observations and models that can model processes that produce short-term fluctuations better. It already works well enough to be useful in the tropics, but the rest of the world is hard.

  36. “A new study out today suggests it is about 2.9°C for a doubling of CO2, which fits the average of all the other lines of evidence.” Two points.

    First, ECS, however defined, is a function of temperature as well. That is, what works for +1°C above pre-industrial is unlikely to be the same at +4°C.

    Second, ECS is also conditional upon which support is used, whether whole Earth, or oceans, or land. ECS given over land is and has long been known to be much high than ECS over whole Earth, because of the moderating influence of oceans. Most people live on land.

  37. Susan Anderson says:

    @Steven Mosher:

    It sounds like you and some other people could improve matters significantly (a very small significance, I admit) by simply abandoning commenting on Lucia’s and Judith’s. I think the time has come for all good men to come to the aid of their party. “Party” being an elastic term these days; I’m talking about preventing further dilution of knowledge insofar as that is possible.

    Lucia. Conversations only get interesting with Brandon or me involved. As Joshua notes it’s mostly political now.

    Judith. Took in some refugees from wuwt. It is now the last blog standing.. by that I mean the only place where you can go to have a cage match with a skeptic on their home turf. These matches can generate huge comment threads.. I think zeke and I had 2000 in one instance.
    Judiths place will end up like wuwt if a few key people stop commenting .. Basically if attp shows up.. one comment generates multiple responses. ..etc.. so
    Attp
    Joshua
    Jch
    Jim D
    Me
    Nick stokes.

    Are all responsible for the popularity of the destination.
    Yes people come to read judith but they stay and return to watch the fights.

    I know I shouldn’t talk, having helped prop up DotEarth for years, but that was the New York Times and Revkin, and one might have assumed some people learned from the exchanged. WUWT not so much.

  38. JCH says:

    VV, others, from the Armour paper:

    Evolving sea-surface temperaturepatterns also appear to drive changes in tropical cloud feedbacksthat further cause λ to decrease over t ime10,14–16,26. As a result,ECSinferunder transient warming is generally smal ler than ECS.If nature behaves similarly, then global energy budget constraintson ECSinfer—based on observations of 1T, 1F and 1Q—will alsounderestimate ECS (ref. 12). But by how much?

    Reference 26. is to: Zhou et al, 2016 Impact of decadal cloud variations onthe Earth’s energy budget, which aTTP covered here.

    My intuition, hunch, has always been that ECS is closer to 4 than it is to 3, so I’m a bit disappointed here. There is a paper that suggests the anomalous, intensified winds that M. England identified as the cause of Eastern Pacific cooling and the “PAWS” were caused by mankind – the asian economies, which started slowing around 2008… wind dies down, GMST shoots through the roof. “IT”S THE EL NIÑO!” I just do not trust at all observation-based estimates of climate sensitivity when you have big bruiser winds and a portion of the earth, the Eastern Pacific, which obviously drags the GMST around like a little rag doll… for as far back as, possibly, 1980, which covers almost the entirety of the AGW warming trend.

  39. “by simply abandoning commenting”

    I would never suggest that others should do this. hehe.
    I merely observe. I do experiments ( doing one right now) where I dont comment at certain
    places and then I watch. I’m pretty sure that if the collected list of folks I mentioned also did
    concurrent experiments that the silence would be golden.

    Lets see, I’ll do an experiment for the next 30 days. No comments on any site except here.
    I wonder how many other folks ( JCH, ATTP, Jim D, etc ) would join me in that?

    I will make some predictions.

    A) the commentary ( comment count) will of course go down at the other sites
    B) The comments will get crazier.. You will see more an more skeptics trot out crazy theories
    C) Everyone who avoids commenting in a war zone will be happier than they would be otherwise.– with the exception of willard who manages somehow to engage in the war zone and hover above it at the same time.

  40. JCH says:

    Jim D is a machine. I can’t imagine him letting up on the spoon benders at CargoCult Etc.

    March PDO in at .74… 39 months positive… since 1900, I think unprecedented. April is crashing. Maybe that will drag it down… or not.

  41. verytallguy says:

    Citizen.

    1. What Victor said.
    2. Ice sheet dynamics.
    3. Change in extreme weather events especially location

    ie both magnitude of temperature change and impact on extreme events and sea level rise are currently not well understood.

  42. izen says:

    blogs are a feedback not a forcing of the climate of opinion. The main factors that they react to are the observed reality, three years of rising temps, sea level and ice-loss have inhibited outright denial. Economic and political disruption have dominated the public opinion concerns as climate has become less controversial. There is a large degree of acceptance globally that AGW is settled science and requires a policy response. Reading the media from the BICs (Russia excluded) and the public comments, shows very little dispute from any authority of in the general opinion.

    The GOP in the US seem almost unique in being a major political party that still disputed reality. Rqather like Young Earth Creationism I think it has become a counterfactual that is adhered to as dogma to declare loyalty to your tribal group. The guest post a while back on opinion made the point that it is authoratative opinion leaders that set the climate of opinion. Unfortunately society grants the status of lead opinion former on criteria other than evidence based logic. The problem with the GOP counterfactual dogma is that it requires that people reject a scientific evidence based position in favour of an ideological belief. Political opinion Trumps factual information.

    Mosher is correct that blog comments become more active with contrarians involved, as anyone who has been that contrarian can attest. They are the grit in the pearl that encourages the pearls. M2, TE and angtech play that role here. However I doubt that a boycott by the main posting contrarians at Lucia or CE would have much effect. New posters would emerge who would want to counter that attempt to push the Overton window in the GOP direction.

  43. Citizen,
    1. What Victor said.
    2. Ice sheet dynamics.
    3. Change in extreme weather events especially location
    ie both magnitude of temperature change and impact on extreme events and sea level rise are currently not well understood.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Am I being unreasonable if I categorize those as ‘mechanical details’ ?

  44. verytallguy says:

    Am I being unreasonable if I categorize those as ‘mechanical details’ ?

    Citizen,

    Climate sensitivity is not known to within a factor of +/-50%
    Ice sheet dynamics (AKA sea level rise) is not known to within much greater uncertainty for any given temperature rise.

    Whether or not major cities will be underwater by the end of this century depends on these.

    Mechanical details? I think not. Neither are they a positive rationale for inaction. IMV.

  45. For the question whether most GOP politicians are dangerous corrupt corporate tools you can call them “mechanical details”. The rest of the world is, however, also interested in other questions.

  46. Joe Romm at Thinkprogress has a post up
    https://thinkprogress.org/methane-bubbles-arctic-769bf3f1b099
    about methane and thawing permafrost. Here is a quote from that:

    “most models of thawing permafrost assume only CO2 is created. If, as it appears, a lot of methane is being generated, then we’ll see even more extra warming than scientists have projected.

    Second, a recent study found global warming will defrost much more permafrost than we thought”

    The “recent study” is not easy to find, appears to have link error, but is Chadburn et. al. I think.
    As seems to be the case with these things, as scientists learn more and/or increase their understanding, our global situation seems more dire. I wonder about a couple of things here:

    first, is it true that most models of thawing permafrost assume only CO2 creation? If true, this is an epic fail of scientific imagination. It is not a huge leap to think about thawing permafrost and assume both methane and CO2 releases.

    I know it often creates a small, defensive uproar to point out that model construction has consistently been flawed in ways that minimize the danger of our situation, but really… if you are permafrost thaw modeler, can you defend that particular science if most models assume only CO2 release?

    Daily CO2

    April 16, 2017: 409.52 ppm
    April 16, 2016: 408.10 ppm

    I think we are seeing the 2016 EN CO2 bump in the current comparison now. I believe that underlying rate of increase continues at 2.5 to 3.0 ppm, but we will see something more like 1.5 ppm in a comparison of 2017 to 2016 unless we suddenly flip into a 2017 EN state and that seems unlikely (but not impossible) to me.

    Weekly CO2 number

    April 9 – 15, 2017 408.85 ppm
    April 9 – 15, 2016 408.81 ppm

    nice to see an almost flat number, but I think it’s a blip related to the 2016 EN CO2 runup. I would love to see inverted CO2 numbers develop with an actual drop in 2017 CO2 number when compared to 2016 CO2 number. Almost made that level with numbers this past week, but I am not excited about that because as I said, I think it’s a blip. Time will tell.

    How about a post about the models for permafrost thaw and ghg release question?

    Warm regards

    Mike

  47. Willard says:

    > However I doubt that a boycott by the main posting contrarians at Lucia or CE

    Yet Lucia’s has fallen into Freedom Fighter gossiping just a bit after I have been “disinvited” from there. As Junior would say: coincidence? You be the judge!

  48. Dr Stephen Chu likes to say in public appearances that present day CO2 concentrations are actually 490 ppm. The reason for this are the GHGs already emitted that will become CO2.

  49. izen says:

    @-“Yet Lucia’s has fallen into Freedom Fighter gossiping just a bit after I have been “disinvited” from there. ”

    They may prefer it that way.
    If not I expect the moderation will allow a Willard-a-like, or something easier to counter back into their game.

  50. Joshua says:

    izen –

    =={ The main factors that they react to are the observed reality, three years of rising temps, sea level and ice-loss have inhibited outright denial. }==

    Hmm. I’m dubious. First, in my observations (speaking U.S. here) there is still plenty o’ outright denial. Second, most of the “skeptics” that I see that don’t outright “deny” any meaningful impact from ACO2, don’t accept temp and sea level rise, and ice-loss, as attributable to ACO2 as established fact.

    =={ Reading the media from the BICs }==

    BICs?

  51. oarobin says:

    for my 2 cents i would advocate for a broading of topics. The blog “science” debate has been well disputed by multiple groups for a long time and the positions of the various groups have become well entrenched. for regular blog readers these repetitive discussions gets boring.

    i think you should start including topics on impacts & climate solutions whether adaptations or mitigations but especially risks surrounding energy transformation (or those with a strong physics focus 🙂 ).
    these topics have more acknowledge uncertainty and there are a good faith debate to had on all sides of these issues. it would be a logical progression given the discussion of the science/science communication discussed here.

    to orient ourselves i think you could start with a series of interviews with some relevant experts giving a broad overview of their field ala john baez format on azimuth and then start in on the literature or institutional reviews.

  52. BBD says:

    @ smallbluemike

    How about a post about the models for permafrost thaw and ghg release question?

    You’ve quite likely already come across this article in the Guardian by John Abraham but just in case…

  53. Willard says:

    > I should learn some good white Gambit’s

    You need to play closed games. Open gambits equalize.

    Good practical results may be obtained by blundering away pawns:

    Uh, SO2 aerosols are not feedbacks, Willard. They act independently by reducing solar input.

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/04/15/discussion-thread-reactions-to-house-hearing/#comment-846412

    That brain fart was well spotted by Charlie Contrarian. But then he switched to villainous monologue mode. Since my position remains sound, it may turn into an interesting ClimateBall episode.

  54. Susan Anderson says:

    chortle …

  55. @ VTG, VV, thanks for the response.
    I was coming at it from a societal awareness, hearts and minds perspective. As for climate sensitivity question, seems to me that the changes in the character of extreme weather events (and destruction) we have witnessed over the past four decades tells us plenty. (After all we are entering new territory and no can predict what difference plus or minus .5 or 1.0° ECS makes anyways.)

    I would suggest we know enough about it to know that it’s not a question of:
    “Whether or not major cities will be underwater…”

    Coastal cities and their estuaries and coastal infrastructure WILL be underwater. The scientific argument is about might it be very bad or horrendously bad – and of course the timing thing, will it be one meter by 2100, or 2080, or 2120, or 2150, still we know the meter is coming in any event.

    “Neither are they a positive rationale for inaction.”

    This gets to my confusion or should I say increasing despair. Paying attention to the science I’ve, we’ve, known enough since the 70s, 80s about the science and our geophysical situation (even considering all the remaining details yet to be resolved or uncovered) to know that serious proactive changes were/are needed in how humanity and it’s life sustaining biosphere interacts. Nothing substantive has taken place except for ever more horrendous wars and greed based partisanship. Now we got the Trump Oligarchs and a tea party Supreme Court in America and an increasing anti-science peasantry.

    While scientists gather ever finer details, the public understanding gets ever more confused, apathetic and disconnected from our planet Earth.

    Time for a segue into a vintage Lifesavers commercial. ;- )

  56. anoilman says:

    Steven Mosher: Thanks for that post. It confirmed my preexisting bias that ‘they’ weren’t in it for the science, but rather motivated by fear of legislation.

    I feel that the elephant in the room should also be brought up, namely the paid trolls may have been cut loose. Fake news, and robo-media may be more effective at manipulating the public.

  57. anoilman says:

    Willard… If I recall, SO2 destroys the environment in other ways. Namely it reacts with (increased) H2O in the atmosphere to create H2SO4, which is bad.
    https://www.epa.gov/acidrain/what-acid-rain

    If I recall, there were deniers trying to prevent legislation to eliminate acid rain… They lost and were rewarded with billions of dollars in profit. Removing sulfur from the atmosphere results in sulfur sales for oil and gas companies. I don’t think they’ll ever thank scientists for their massive forced cash windfall.
    https://thinkprogress.org/timeline-from-promoting-acid-rain-to-climate-denial-over-20-years-of-david-kochs-polluter-front-7c416cb4b354

    In fact, sulfur scrubbers are the ‘clean coal’ tech that has been exported to China. We were selling those hand over fist while China was still building new coal power plants.

    As for your little adventure in aerosols, absent actual science. (Assuming David Fair is right…) Just ask anyone if they want to save slightly less money per month in a bank, or under their pillow. Compounding interest is a wonderful thing, but CO2 just compounds problems in these discussions….

  58. Willard says:

    Oily One,

    The main exchange is with BurlH who claims that AGW’s caused by SO2 reduction. I’ve tried to explain how the absence of a thing can’t be a source using accounting, hockey, informal predicate calculus. To no avail to him. Start here:

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/04/15/discussion-thread-reactions-to-house-hearing/#comment-846293

    Charlie (DavidF used that sock puppet for a while, in deference to Vietnamese fighters) was right, of course. I simply typed forcing vs feedback instead of negative vs positive forcing.

  59. Ironically the solar radiation management ideas of Harvard’s Keith and others involve in part seeing if spraying sulfuric acid droplets at altitude can manage incoming sunlight by scattering. Whether these survive to lower in atmosphere or to the surface in sufficient quantity to cause health effects is unknown.

    This is why the notion of using SRM, including the possibility it doesn’t work at all, and fails to stop ocean acidification, has been called by Prof Ray Pierrehumbert “Barking mad.” I’ve heard other atmospheric scientists voice similar sentiments.

    The major thing SRM has going for it, assuming it works at all, is that it is much cheaper than clear-air-capture of CO2, and probably no riskier than launching a program of initiating massive numbers of Urey reactions, as well as cheaper, although we don’t have constraints on these much. It’s still pretty expensive, as international programs go, and it asks the question Who Will Pony Up?

  60. JCH says:

    Willard… it has to explain the entirety of the instrument record, and I don’t believe it can. But in my early days on RealClimate it was discussed with little controversy that pollution controls put in place in the mid to late 1970s enhanced the amount of anthropogenic warming by reducing the amount of anthropogenic cooling… not forgetting, of course, and that a comment section is not science.

  61. Willard says:

    JCH,

    It’s worse than that: BurlH’s pet theory can’t directly explain any warming whatsoever. Aerosols such as SO2 are a negative forcing. They cool the Earth. Their absence does not warm the Earth. Something else does. So BurlH’s pet theory carries an implicit assumption that all the warming is somewhat natural.

    That’s just a small logical point. More important is what has been pushed under the rug:

  62. Willard says:

    Perhaps even more important is how Pirates vs Ninjas relates to ClimateBall:

  63. anoilman says:

    You know me… I can’t always keep up with the magical thinking ‘they’ use… or the BS du jour…

    I was aware that SO2 had a cooling effect, but I didn’t know what its GWP actually was. There are many many heating/cooling gasses, but they have short lives, and so, little GWP. Climate Science dwells on the ones that will affect the planet’s climate in the long term.

    The thing with SO2 is that we’re merely reducing the rate at which we add it to the atmosphere, but we are still adding it. Certainly if SO2 was a driver for global warming then we’d be at 1970’s temperatures now.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide#As_an_air_pollutant

    So much for ‘alternative facts’, they still need alternative physics from an alternative reality.

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