2017: A year in review

I’ve now been writing this blog for almost 5 years and I still don’t quite know what I’m trying to achieve, if anything. Hopefully a blog that presents a reasonable representation of our current understanding of climate science, while also sometimes presenting my own views about this – and other – topics.

Anyway, I thought I would briefly highlight some of this year’s posts.

January saw an attempt to explain the residual airborne fraction and a guest post by Patrick Brown discussing Pat Frank’s ridiculous claims that propagation of error calculations invalidate climate model projections.

February included an expose about David Rose not understanding baselines, a post about William Happer not even giving physicists a bad name, and a guest post by Zeke Hausfather about baselines and buoys.

March saw posts about Matt Ridley’s response to Tim Palmer’s talk about hoax, catastrophe, or just lukewarm, and a post about a potential feedback paradox (partly motivated by Judith Curry’s continual claims that maybe a large fraction of the observed warming could be natural).

April included posts about David Whitehouse appearing to suggest that it’s okay to lie, a post about Roger Pielke Jr. metaphorically throwing his toys out the pram, and another post about reconciling ECS estimates.

May had a post about our new consensus paper, a suggestion that OMICS will publish anything, and what turned out to be a contentious one about deficit model thinking.

June was a reasonably quiet month with a post about the resurgence of Lukewarmers and a post about the Vostok ice core (motivated by a rather confused post by Eaun Mearns on Energy Matters).

July discussed David Whitehouse’s continued confusion, a guest post by Michael Tobis about the red team, blue team idea (suggesting that the only way not to lose is to play), and a discussion of Warren Pearce, Reiner Grundmann and colleagues’s paper on going beyond climate consensus.

August’s highlight was probably the post discussing Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller’s paper about pressure determining surface temperatures (it doesn’t), but also included a post about Kevin Anderson’s numbers (which turned out to be more contentious than expected) and a post about STS being all talk and no walk (which discussed a Steve Fuller paper which seemed to suggest that STS should be proud of their role in enabling post-truth).

September saw a retrospective about my time engaging online (motivated by something similar written by Philip Moriarty), a brief memorial to Andy Skuce (who passed away this year), a post about the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) playing climateball (badly), and a discussion about carbon budgets (motivated by the Millar et al. paper on achieving the 1.5o target).

October had another post about committed warming (one of my themes), a post about a comment we published in response to Hermann Harde’s incorrect paper about the carbon cycle, a post about cloud feedbacks and one I quite liked about the Virial Theorem (also intended as a reponse to Ned Nikolov’s incorrect assertion about how surface temperatures are enhanced).

November had some rather active posts. One of them discussing whether or not Jordan Peterson speaks the truth, a guest post by Karsten Haustein discussing their real time global warming index, a post about Roger Pielke Jr’s rather confused Mertonian norms inferences, and another highlighting Katharine Hayhoe’s presentation in Edinburgh.

December has seemed rather quiet. There has been an active post about Polar Bears and Arctic sea ice (discussing the Harvey et al. paper about some blogs focussing mainly on Susan Crockford’s work), a post discussing arguing about the greenhouse effect (again), and – most recently – a post about Judith Curry’s apparent ability to communicate publicly without advocating.

Well, that’s ended up slightly longer than intended. I don’t know what next year will bring, but probably something similar to this year – I don’t have any plans to make any changes, although I am finding more and more difficult to find things to write about. All I need to do now is wish everyone all the best for the new year.

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30 Responses to 2017: A year in review

  1. JCH says:

    Clouds. I think 2018 is going to see a lot of progress made on clouds, so I hope you can make some room to occasionally discuss them.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Thank you for all that you do.

  3. As can be seen at Climate etc, Judy seems anxious to redact rather more than she can remember-

    I hope ATTP will keep at it for another 3517 years.

  4. Congratulations on five years, AT; a worthy achievement in and of itself. Best New Year’s wishes to you and yours.

  5. Sou says:

    Happy new year, ATTP, and all.

  6. Appreciate your efforts. Will be good to hear more about clouds in 2018. I have looked at clouds from many sides and I still don’t really know what clouds are about at all. So maybe I get that cloud stuff sorted in the near future.

  7. JCH says:

    aTTP – my spellchecker just switched aTTP to http! – had some very good posts about clouds in 2017, an example.

  8. angech says:

    All the best ATTP, a memorable years work covering a good range of topics.
    May be worth looking at which ones got the most hits, controversy or agreement and which ones were quiet and why.
    Suggest the quiet ones were settled science and the others are where more work needs to be done by the climate community to identify and distress the areas of concern.
    All the best everyone else,
    A special thanks to JCH both for help and stirring me up the most with his views.
    Very motivating.
    Moderation has also been excellent at keeping me on the straight and narrow, thanks Willard.
    Adversity, if survived, builds a stronger, better view of where we all are going and how to help each other on the way. Tough being a skeptic, this was a good year. Tougher for AGW this year, well should rebound next year!
    Who knows?

  9. Chris O'Neill says:

    Judith Curry’s continual claims that maybe a large fraction of the observed warming could be natural

    This is reflected in most people (58%) in the IPSOS survey in Australia having the opinion that humans are only causing a minority of climate change or none at all.

    This is not what climate science says of course (which is that human GHGs cause more than 100% of observed warming). This means most Australians are climate science denialists so the denial lobby have won in Australia.

  10. ceddersagw says:

    Well, I’ve been taught things and forced to think by your blog, so thank you. The review does make the year look very reactive to contrarians’ agenda, and I wonder if you are also able to focus on the physics and science most relevant to move policy discussions forward, maybe WG3 and carbon budgets…

    All the best for 2018.

  11. ceddersagw,

    I wonder if you are also able to focus on the physics and science most relevant to move policy discussions forward, maybe WG3 and carbon budgets…

    Have focused a bit on that, but getting policy to actually move forward seems to be the really difficult bit.

  12. Greg Robie says:

    While I continue to work on a reply to the previous [#MeToo related] post, here is a solstice +10 greeting and thought for this unfolding year. I’m in the early stage of a conversation with the director of my community’s library about it creating and publishing on its website an ‘information catalogue’ about how this US – not UK – Cornwall is doing concerning meeting both the 1.5 °C and 2°C commitments of the Paris Agreement, and as Kevin Anderson does, doing so within the context of the constraints of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and, both with and without the modeled impact of negative emission technologies. Beyond recording the progress, or lack thereof, concerning these tracks and our local municipality’s governmental institutions, the posting of other community entities’ emissions and progress concerning their reduction efforts would be, in the spirit of Paris, voluntary.

    I’m surprised this idea had not occurred to me earlier, but perhaps such is an example of my iteration of motivated reasoning. How this relates to this post and the rest of this year for ATTP, is that replicating this conversation with the libraries of the institutions represented by those of us who are subscribed to this blog could similarly initiated and become the subject of guest posts; be reports of an ‘activism’ that is consistent with our commitment to science and data collection.


    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself


    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart


  13. David B. Benson says:

    I find this to be a useful blog. Thank you for your effort.

  14. Magma says:

    Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2018 to you, Ken, and to most* contributors here (*I’m not sure if ‘less snark’ will make my New Year’s resolution list).

    I look forward to more years reading this blog, though I rather hope that the impending Republican and Brexit implosions damage climate change denial to the point that in future years your topics will be interesting new developments in climate research and climate change remediation rather than the impotent natterings of any remaining contrarians.

  15. JCH says:

    I do not see how being both the 2nd warmest year in the GISS record, and the warmest non-El Niño year ever is a bad year for AGW. By every observation that exists, AGW raised both hands: sea level rise; extreme weather; global mean surface temperature; science on clouds; ocean heat content; etc. If angech is talking about the US election, I rather doubt it will be anymore significant than climategate was. Physics buries that sort of nonsense.

  16. BBD says:

    I’ve now been writing this blog for almost 5 years and I still don’t quite know what I’m trying to achieve, if anything.

    Happy New Year, ATTP and thanks for another year of informative blogging.

    Clearly a lack of editorial vision isn’t a problem 🙂

  17. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: If you want to cut back on your blog posts on this site, we could use your help in updating rebuttal articles on the SkS website. 🙂

    Ditto for any of the other regular followers of this site who accept the overwhelming and ever-growing body of scientific evidence about manmade climate change.

  18. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Recommend that your first OP of the New Year be based on the information presented in:

    Experts Say We Should Tax Meat Eaters the Same Way We Tax Smokers by Lou Del Bello, Earth & Energy, Futurie Society, Futurism, Dec 26, 2017

    The comment thread such a post would generate might just set a record for this site.

  19. Happy New Year everyone, and all the best for 2018.

  20. John Hartz says:

    A heads up…

    New report on January 10: Climate Change Web Content Under Trump, Press Release, Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI), Dec 31, 2017

    On January 10, 2018 the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) will release Changing the Digital Climate: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration, the third installment of EDGI’s series of reports evaluating the environmental impacts of the first year of the Trump administration.

    Changing the Digital Climate draws on the growing library of reports produced by EDGI’s website monitoring working group, which monitors changes to tens of thousands of federal webpages relating to environment, climate, and energy. We describe trends in the treatment of climate change across federal websites, including a clear pattern of censorship of climate change information and resources. While there is no evidence that any climate data have been removed, we document significant language shifts and loss of public access to information.

    Key Findings:

    > Removal of information and key documents downplaying US involvement in international climate change efforts.

    > Systematic changes to language about climate change, such as replacement of “climate change” and “greenhouse gases” with vaguer terms such as “sustainability” and “emissions,” and removal of terms such as “clean energy.”

    > Widespread shifts deemphasizing renewable fuels as replacements for fossil fuels, and prioritization of job creation and economic growth.

    > Removal or significant de-emphasis of climate change information from many agencies’ websites, most notably the EPA.

    These documented changes matter because they:

    > Make it harder for the public to access the results of years of scientific and policy research funded by their tax dollars.

    > Diminish our democratic institutions, such as notice-and-comment rulemaking, which depend on an informed public.

    > Can confuse the public if significant changes are not sufficiently justified.

    > Contribute to broader climate denialist efforts that obscure and cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, hampering critically-important efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

    The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) is an international network of academics and nonprofits addressing potential threats to federal environmental and energy policy, and to the scientific research infrastructure built to investigate, inform, and enforce them. EDGI documents, contextualizes, and analyzes current changes to environmental data and governance practices through multidisciplinary and cross-professional collaborative work. EDGI fosters the stewardship and expansion of public knowledge through building participatory civic technologies and infrastructures to make data and decision-making more accessible. EDGI creates new communities of practice to enable government and industry accountability.

  21. RickA says:

    Happy new year ATTP, and to all your readers!

  22. verytallguy says:

    Happy New Year all, and thanks to ATTP for the blog.

    Might be worth adding that the year apparently closed with an all time record low Arctic ice extent.


  23. Henrique C says:

    Love to follow your blog (aspiring Engineering Physicist here) ! Hope to get more in-depth readings on your previous posts. By the way, is there an introduction post on Climate Physics?

    Hope you have a good year!

  24. Happy new year to all, keep up the good work ATTP!

  25. torroslo says:

    Keep writing! As a lurker, I am inspired by your physics-based commentary on so many items that I think should not be controversial, yet somehow, they are. Politics, power, and commercial self-interest find remarkable ways to deny the hard-won human knowledge that we have gained. Whether you know what your purpose for the blog is or not, many of us are finding inspiration and purpose in reading it!

  26. Pingback: The worst physics blog is probably And Then There’s Physics. | context/Earth

  27. Paul P. (at least, I assume it is you),
    I can’t actually find your “The worst physics blog is probably And Then There’s Physics” post. Anyway, rather than wasting your time here, maybe it would be best if you found a site that was more suited to your considerable talents.

  28. I really don’t know what you are talking about.

  29. Paul,
    Really? I was referring to the pingback from context/Earth called “The worst physics blog is probably And Then There’s Physics”. Not you?

  30. I don’t know. I will have to ask my blog mod/admin to see what happened.

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