The Next Great Global Warming 'Hiatus' Is Coming!

A strange argument from astrophysicist Ethan Siegel below.  He admits the recent influence of El Nino and says that recent temperaure upticks therefore prove nothing by themselves.  But he adds that the long term trend measured over a century or more is upwards and that THAT is what we should worry about.

He says "But the fact that the global average temperature is rising — and that it continues to rise — is a real long-term problem facing the entire world".

But how does he know that?  There has been NO steady rise in temperature in C20.  All we can factually say about the 20th century temperature record is that there were some periods of warming and other periods of cooling or stasis.  Whether we will have more periods of warming is completely unknown.  We could have more periods of cooling that will undo past warming.  Nobody knows.  He has a sort of paranoid certainty about him that is supported by no data

UPDATE:  I must say that I found Siegel's reasoning fascinating -- fascinating in a psychiatric sort of way.  I suspect that he may be manic. The file picture of himself that he puts up would be unusual in a well person.

But I will do him the courtesy of taking him seriously and will add a few more comments.

You can certainly put a rising trend line through the C20 temperature record and it appears that Siegel has taken that for reality. It isn't.  It is a statistical artifact only.  And it does not describe the data well.  Perhaps the most striking feature in the data is the long stasis between 1945 and 1975 -- 30 years, almost a third of the record.  That totally busts any tale of continually rising temperatures.  It makes the C21 "hiatus" of nearly 20 years look ephemeral in comparison.

Warmists of course dismiss the C21 stasis as in some way not meaningful.  But how long does it have to be for it to be meaningful?  Warmists don't say these days but when the C21 stasis was young, they  said it would have to be 15 to 17 years long to represent anything.  Now that it has exceeded that mark they no longer put a number on the matter, which reveals their argument as unscientific.  If they had any basis for accepting or rejecting meaningfulness, they would be able to put a number on it.

So in that context the 30 year stasis tells us nothing either.  But it does.  It tells us that the temperatures are unpredictable.  It tells us that we do NOT know what the future may bring.  But since we are at the end of a warm interglacial, my bet would be on future cooling

Global warming has been occurring at a steady rate for many decades now — possibly for over a century, depending on how you interpret the temperature records — with the past few years setting unprecedented temperature records around the globe. If you go back to 1948-49, the earliest time we’ve had global temperature maps for the entire world, you’ll find that over the vast majority of the Earth, there are more locations seeing the warmest temperatures right now than at any other time. But in terms of “cause for alarm,” what does this actually mean?

The first thing we have to realize is that there are two things at play here: long-term trends, which is the gradual warming we’re seeing over generational timescales, and short-term variations, which are due to things like the seasons, volcanic eruptions, and weather events like El Niño and La Niña. The record-breaking temperatures we’re seeing across the globe are due to a combination of all the short-term and long-term variations superimposed atop one another, and so although last month — February of 2016 — was the hottest month ever recorded, that isn’t necessarily a reason to freak out.

You see, we’re currently experiencing an El Niño event. If you take a look back through the temperature record, many of the largest upward “spikes” you see are due to El Niño years, such as the famous one in 1998. In fact, if you take a look at global average temperatures throughout Februaries, we haven’t had one warmer than the one in 1998 until now.

This peak in temperatures that we’re seeing now, the one that spans from 2015-2016, isn’t due to global warming. That is to say, most of the anomalously high temperatures we’re seeing are due to these short-term variations. But what should be far more concerning to anyone who wants to know the truth about climate change is this: the long-term rise in temperatures is continuing at a steady rate. The fact that temperatures appear to be rising at a rate of between  0.40-0.80 °C (0.72-1.44 °F) per century, unabated, is the real cause for concern. That’s what global warming really is, the slow, long-term rise in temperatures. That’s also the component that humans — through emissions reduction, energy efficiency, renewable power, policy changes and (possibly) geoengineering — can do something about.

But there’s an insidious argument that’s going to come up over the coming years (and possibly the next decade or two), once the current spike in temperature subsides: the idea that global warming will have stopped. Global warming doesn’t just stop. It won’t stop unless there’s a causative reason for it to stop, and — at present — there isn’t one. But because the long-term rise (i.e., the “global warming” component) is gradual, and the short-term variations (i.e., the fluctuations above an below the trend-line) are large, it’s going to appear, over 13-to-17 year timescales, that global warming has ceased.

This is because the long-term rise can be easily masked by short-term variations, and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study — the one conducted by global warming skeptics that reached the same conclusions as the rest of the climate science community — reached the following conclusion:

"Some people draw a line segment covering the period 1998 to 2010 and argue that we confirm no temperature change in that period. However, if you did that same exercise back in 1995, and drew a horizontal line through the data for 1980 to 1995, you might have falsely concluded that global warming had stopped back then. This exercise simply shows that the decadal fluctuations are too large to allow us to make decisive conclusions about long term trends based on close examination of periods as short as 13 to 15 years"

There are prominent climatologists who have made these arguments before (who will likely make these arguments again), and they will be quoted in a great many news outlets and by numerous science writers. If you see an article that cites one of them claiming global warming has stopped and it isn’t yet 2033, the 17 years from now that we’re required to wait to see if the rise continues, please refer them back to this article.

Temperature spikes, like the one we’re experiencing now, are temporary, and in all honestly are part of the normal variations we experience over the short term. But the fact that the global average temperature is rising — and that it continues to rise — is a real long-term problem facing the entire world. Don’t let dishonest arguments that gloss over the actual issue dissuade you from the scientific facts. We can fool ourselves into believing that there isn’t a problem until it’s too late to do anything about it, or we can own up to what the science tells us, and face this problem with the full force of human ingenuity. The choice is ours.


Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching at 95 per cent in northern section -- attributed to global warming

What bulldust!  For a start, coral bleaching is NOT coral death.  It is a stress response that leads to the expulsion of symbiotic algae.  There are about half a dozen things that can cause it.  And the ONE thing that can be excluded as a cause is anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because there has been none of that for nearly 19 years.  Things that don't exist don't cause anything.

The ocean waters MAY have warmed but that will be due to natural factors such as El Nino.  The 2015 and early 2016 temperature upticks were DEMONSTRABLY due to El Nino and other natural factors, as CO2 levels were plateaued at the relevant time.

And it is not at all certain that a small temperature rise causes bleaching.  An ancient coral reef specimen now on display at the Natural History Museum in London is instructive.  It goes back to  160 million years ago.  The exhibit is proof that ancestors of modern corals somehow thrived during the Late Jurassic period when temperatures were warmer and atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide higher than they are today.

And if that's ancient history, how come corals survive in the Persian Gulf today at temperatures up to 8 degrees hotter that what we see in the tropical Pacific?

Bleaching may even be a positive thing. In recent years, scientists have discovered that some corals resist bleaching by hosting types of algae that can handle the heat, while others swap out the heat-stressed algae for tougher, heat-resistant strains.

And a recent study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science showed that warming in Australian waters actually INCREASED coral growth over the 20th century.

I could go on but I think I have said enough

All the points I have made above could have been made by any competent marine biologist -- and I can provide references for them all. But I am not a marine biologist. I am a psychologist. What a crazy world we live in where a psychologist has to give the basic information that marine biologists dare not give.

An aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef has shown that 95 per cent of the reefs are now severely bleached — far worse than previously thought.

Professor Terry Hughes, a coral reef expert based at James Cook University in Townsville who led the survey team, said the situation is now critical.

"This will change the Great Barrier Reef forever," Professor Hughes told 7.30.

"We're seeing huge levels of bleaching in the northern thousand-kilometre stretch of the Great Barrier Reef."

Of the 520 reefs he surveyed, only four showed no evidence of bleaching.  From Cairns to the Torres Strait, the once colourful ribbons of reef are a ghostly white.

"It's too early to tell precisely how many of the bleached coral will die, but judging from the extreme level even the most robust corals are snow white, I'd expect to see about half of those corals die in the coming month or so," Professor Hughes said.

This is the third global coral bleaching since 1998, and scientists have found no evidence of these disasters before the late 20th century.

"We have coral cores that provide 400 years of annual growth," explains Dr Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

"We don't see the signatures of bleaching in reduced growth following a bleaching event until the recent 1998/2000 events."

Environment Minister Greg Hunt flew over the reef just eight days ago, before Professor Hughes' aerial survey, and announced some additional resources for monitoring the reef.

"There's good and bad news — the bottom three quarters of the reef is in strong condition," he said at the time.

"[But] as we head north of Lizard Island it becomes increasingly prone to bleaching."

The northern part of the Great Barrier Reef is the most pristine part of the marine park — and that is one possible glimmer of hope.

"On the bright side, it's more likely that these pristine reefs in the northern section will be better able to bounce back afterwards," Professor Hughes said.

"Nonetheless we're looking at 10-year recovery period, so this is a very severe blow."
'We're seeing climate change play out across our reefs'

Professor Justin Marshall, a reef scientist from the University of Queensland, said the reason for these bleaching events was clear.

"What we're seeing now is unequivocally to do with climate change," he told 7.30.

"The world has agreed, this is climate change, we're seeing climate change play out across our reefs."

Professor Hughes said he is frustrated about the whole climate change debate.

"The government has not been listening to us for the past 20 years," he said.

"It has been inevitable that this bleaching event would happen, and now it has.

"We need to join the global community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


The BPA scare again

This has been rumbling on for decades now.  It's part of the aversion some people have for "chemicals".  That all foods are full of chemicals just cannot get into certain heads.  BPA is used to make sturdy, clear plastic, as in babies' bottles.  It is very weakly soluble in water and has estrogen-like effects in the human body.  So you can imagine all the twitching over that.  

What the twitchy ones are probably incapable of recognizing is the old truth that the toxicity is in the dose.  Depending on the amount absorbed, a thing can be good for you, bad for you or neither.  Even drinking too much water can kill you, for instance.  It can bring on hyponatremia. And the low levels (typically only a few molecules) of BPA found in food and drink kept in BPA containers has repeatedly been found by all sorts of research and official enquiries to be harmless

But every now and again you get some finding that gives encouragement to the paranoid ones.  One such is below

The original acdemic journal article is "High bisphenol A (BPA) concentration in the maternal, but not fetal, compartment increases the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery".  So just from the title we know that BPA had no effect on the baby. And from the Results section we learn that three quarters of the women showed no effects from the BPA in their blood. It was only women with very high levls of BPA who were slightly more likely to deliver pre-term.

And given those very marginal findings, we may well be looking here at one of the many unreplicable findings that infest the social and biological research literature.  Such weak effects are exactly those which do normally fail to replicate.  And an unreplicable finding is a non-finding

A chemical commonly found in plastic wrapping is linked to preterm births, scientists have warned. Preterm birth occurs when an infant is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

It is the greatest contributor to infant death – and one of the leading causes of long-term neurological disabilities in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pregnant women with high concentrations of the chemical Bisphenol A – or BPA – are more likely to deliver their babies early, revealed experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Study author Dr Ramkumar Menon said: ‘Women are continuously exposed to BPA because it's used in the construction and coatings of food containers and its release into food is increased by microwave or other heat sources.  ‘In fact, BPA is so widely used that nearly all women have some level of exposure.’

For the study, Texas scientists analysed blood samples from pregnant women admitted to the hospital for labor and delivery.

They also tested the amniotic fluid of the fetus collected during labor. They found that pregnant women with higher levels of BPA in their blood had a higher chance of delivering a baby preterm.

The samples were obtained by the Nashville Birth Cohort Biobank, according to the study, which was published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

BPA is structurally similar to the female hormone estrogen. The chemical binds estrogen receptors within the body – including those responsible for inflammation.

The study was the first to investigate the role of BPA levels on preterm birth.


Fracking, methane and Bill McKibben

Well-known Warmist preacher Bill McKibben has an article out under the heading: "Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry".  He is easily terrified in the hope that we will be too. Like a lot of articles in Leftist publications, it is VERY long-winded.  I sometimes wonder about that.  If they had purely factual statements to make there would surely be no more than a few paragraphs needed.  Readers will note that my posts are very short.  If you know what you are talking about, it doesn't take long to say it.

Anyway, I will not attempt to reproduce any of the huge rant concerned.  The point of the article can indeed be presented with great brevity.  McKibben says that fracking releases methane into the atmosphere and that methane there will soon fry us with global warming.  So he want to stop fracking!

Such a simple story and so wrong.  It's probably true that atmospheric methane levels have increased as a result of leaks from fracking but does that matter?

No.  It is true that methane can absorb some heat from the electromagnetic radiation that we get from the sun.  And molecule for molecule, it absorbs a lot more heat than does CO2.

Warmists normally stop the discussion there.  But the atmosphere is a complex thing and we have to look at methane in the context of what normally goes on in the whole atmosphere. And it so happens that water vapour absorbs the same wavelengths that methane does.  And there is a heck of a lot more water vapour in the atmosphere than methane.  So the water vapour will already have intercepted most or all of the wavelengths that methane might -- leaving no heating effect due to methane. The effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O.  So methane is a POTENTIAL warming gas but not an ACTUAL one.  No foreseeable increase in methane would generate any increase in warming.

Isn't it strange that in his long article Bill McKibben found no space to discuss that matter?  Just another climate crook.

Some fun with the brain-dead Left

I don't get a lot of emails or blog comments from Leftists but those I do get are invariably abusive.  Most conservative bloggers have that experience, I gather.  But sometimes the abuse is unintentionally amusing.

I recently got an email from an apparently Australian person named Leigh Williams ( who gave his mobile phone no. as 0405205252.  He started his first email with something I certainly believe: "I don't know anything about the specifics of climate change science".  But there was no rational argument or presentation of facts after that.  It was just abuse. So it was solid "ad hominem" abuse.

But here's the funny bit:  What did he accuse me of?  He accused me of "ad hominem abuse"!  That good old Leftist projection cut in good and hard!

He appeared to be upset that I had spoken ill of someone but did not say whom.  Since he mentioned climate however, I imagine he might be referring to my comments on writings by climate fraudster Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick.  I put up her university picture and called her "gorgeous" in a subtitle to it.  That is abuse? Calling someone "gorgeous" is abuse?  Leigh Williams is certainly in a mental fog.  But most of the Green/Left seem to be in a permanent mental fog.

In any case, there is no reason why Leftists should have any monopoly of criticizing others.  If you offer facts and arguments to justify a poor opinion of someone else's words and doings, anybody is entitled to do that.  When you offer no facts and arguments but proceed straight to abuse that is what is called "ad hominem abuse". And I did offer facts and figures in support of my disagreement with Ms. Perkins-Kirkpatrick.

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick (‏@sarahinscience) makes a brave attempt to prove that  February heat was caused by CO2

There she is.  Isn't she gorgeous?  She looks fairly young -- which may be why she has stepped in where wiser heads have not

Old campaigners like James Hansen and Michael Mann have claimed the February temperature uptick as a sign of anthropogenic global warming.  They admit that El Nino had something to do with it but just dismiss the El Nino contribution as "minimal" with a wave of the hand.  They don't argue for a particular number, as a real scientist would.

But Sarah has risen to the challenge.  She has attempted to give a figure for the El Nino influence!  And the way she does that is fine in principle.  She takes the rise due to El Nino in 1998 and uses that to reduce the 2016 figure.  So she gives a quarter of one degree as the El Nino contribution -- which still leaves a fair bit of warming available for explanation as caused by a CO2 rise.

Just how your derive the 1998 figure for the influence of El Nino is not totally clearcut.  It depends on what you compare the 1998 figure with.  But I will not cavil about that.  I just want to point out the observed warming COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise.  Why?  Because CO2 did not rise in the relevant period.  Cape Grim shows CO2 levels stuck on 398 ppm for the whole period of late 2015 and early 2016.  Sorry, Sarah!  You should have looked that up.

Now it may not be El Nino only that caused the temperature rise.  There are other possible natural factors that could have had an effect. And Sarah points to one:  The Arctic.  She is enough of a scientist to know that melting sea ice does not raise the water level but she points out that less ice may lead to more heat absorption from the sun.  Fair enough.

But what caused the Arctic melt?  In the absence of a CO2 rise we know it cannot be that.  It was partly El Nino and partly subsurface vulcanism, probably.  A few years back it was  discovered that there was furious underwater volcanic activity in the Arctic, particularly along the Gakkel ridge.  But volcanoes are uneven in their eruptions so they should give rise in random ways to melting in the ice above them.  And that accounts for the uneven pattern of Arctic melting and its lack of synchrony with temperatures elsewhere.  But Warmists act as if the volcanoes cause NO melting.  They need to be that crooked.

And here's some other pesky news 2015 was only the SECOND hottest year on record for Europe.  They must not have got much effect from El Nino -- which is as you expect.  Europe is a long way from the Pacific, where El Nino reigns.  Give up, Sarah!  What you have been taught is WRONG.  You are living off a lie!

Most people know by now that last month was the hottest February since modern records began. It was also the hottest overall month on record, and by the largest margin.

The global average temperature anomaly was 1.35ºC above the 1951–80 average and 1.21ºC above the entire twentieth-century average. For temperatures over land, the deviation almost doubles to a whopping 2.31ºC above the twentieth-century average. Other records broken by February 2016 include the fact that it was the tenth consecutive month in which the global average monthly record was broken and that it completed the hottest three-month period on record (December 2015 to February 2016).

Normally, climate scientists don’t get too anxious over a single month; our blood pressure tends to rise a bit more when record-breaking temperature anomalies are consistently smashed. But February is a special case – not only did it set a new record in an increasingly concerning upwards trend, but the magnitude of the record is terrifying.

So what led to this monster of a month?

First, let’s take a look at the possible influence of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. The 2015–16 El Niño was one of the earliest and strongest on record, easily comparable to its brother in 1997–98. At the global level, El Niños can cause measurable increases in temperature. We saw this in 1998, in our hottest year on record at the time: thanks to climate change, 1998 would have been a warm year without the El Niño, but the record set would have been smaller.

While the latest El Niño is weakening, its legacy is likely to have had a similar effect on our most recent hottest year on record (2015) and the monster February – increasing the anomaly by just a little bit more than what climate change could achieve on its on. But there is no possible way that an observed El Niño, however strong, could solely explain such a huge monthly temperature deviation. Past El Niños have only intensified global average temperatures by up to 0.25ºC, though the measured influence is usually smaller.

The second factor is the state of the Arctic, where the sea ice extent was more than 7 per cent below the 1981–2010 average, and the ice coverage the smallest since records began in 1979. Over relatively short timescales (monthly-seasonal) a lack of sea ice drives up temperatures. Ocean water is much darker than ice, so radiation from the sun that is normally reflected by the sea ice is absorbed, thus increasing temperatures.

Over longer timescales (years and decades), this sea ice/temperature interaction drives itself – increasing temperatures melt more ice, driving further increases in temperature – through a process known as a positive feedback. Record-low Arctic sea ice during February 2016 and the associated extreme temperatures are consistent with the positive feedback interaction triggered by anthropogenic climate change.

This basic physical interaction drove regional temperatures to well over 11.5ºC warmer than the 1951–80 average. These alarmingly warm conditions were not just confined to the Arctic waters. Because of the influence of sea ice (or the lack of it) on atmospheric circulation, similar temperature extremes were measured well south of the Arctic Circle – over Northern Europe, Russia, Alaska and western Canada.


Are you an atheist?  Non-believers 'lack empathy' while religious people are less intelligent, claims study

I have done a great deal of survey research (by doorknocking) in which religious belief was asked and the results reported below seemed wrong to me.  So in my usual pesky way I looked up the underlying academic journal article ("Why Do You Believe in God? Relationships between Religious Belief, Analytic Thinking, Mentalizing and Moral Concern").  I was pretty sure what I would find and I did find it:  No attempt at sampling.

The research is just a product of laziness.  They used Mechanical Turk to get their test subjects. It's a great way to avoid getting out of your armchair but it gives you no generalizable data.  The population accessed via MT is unknown but is probably of above average IQ and more introverted.  So the data gained from MT responders enables no generalization to any known population.  A representative sample could give quite different results.

There is therefore no reason to conclude that the results below accurately reflect the real world. In my experience with surveys, I have had a strong positive correlation among a non-sample turn into a zero correlation with a representative sample.

I note also that most of the correlations between belief and ability  were so low as to be effectively zero for all intents and purposes -- e.g. -0.15 and -0.13.  This comports with previous findings of only trivial (and possibly artifactual) ability differences between believers and unbelievers.  See here and here

If you don't believe in God or a universal spirit, you're more likely to be callous and manipulative, according to a controversial new study.

Atheists exhibit more traits commonly seen among psychopaths than people who consider themselves to be religious.

However, believers aren't spared criticism - the study also found that religious people are less intelligent than their non-believing counterparts.

Religious people were found to be more caring towards their fellow humans and the researchers believe their findings may help explain why women - who tend to be more empathetic - are also likely to be more religious.

Researchers at Cape Western Reserve University in Ohio and Babson College in Massachusetts, argue that the conflict between science and religion may have its origins in the structure of our brains.

Brain scans, and experiments, demonstrate the brain has two 'networks' that are activated when we think - one analytical and critical, the other social and emotional.

To believe in a supernatural god or universal spirit, people appear to suppress the brain network used for analytical thinking and engage the empathetic network, the scientists said.

In a series of eight experiments, each involving between 159 and 527 adults, the researchers examined the relationship between a belief in God or a spirit, with measures of analytic thinking and moral concern.

In all eight, they consistently found the more religious the person, the more moral concern they showed.

Scientists have yet to discover a 'God gene' but said differences at a genetic level appeared to play a big role.

The results were part of a report called 'The Gender Gap in Religion' from Pew, a respected US-based research institute.

They discovered that both spiritual belief and empathetic concern were positively associated with frequency of prayer, meditations and other spiritual or religious practices.

The main finding offers a new explanation for past research showing women tend to hold more religious or spiritual worldviews than men, so this gap may arise because women tend to be more empathetic than men.

In contrast, the researchers said there are some similarities between atheists and psychopaths in that they both lack empathy for others.

The typical psychopath demonstrates 'an absence of emotional response to pain and suffering in others' the authors said, who also found this to be the case among people in a series of personality tests.

The research is based on the hypothesis that the human brain has two opposing domains in constant tension.

In earlier research, Dr Tony Jack, associate professor of philosophy at Cape Western used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain has an analytical network of neurons that enables us to think critically and a social network that enables us to empathise.

When presented with a physics problem or ethical dilemma, a healthy brain fires up the appropriate network while suppressing the other.

'Because of the tension between networks, pushing aside a naturalistic world view enables you to delve deeper into the social or emotional side,' he explained.

'And that may be the key to why beliefs in the supernatural exist throughout the history of cultures. 'It appeals to an essentially non-material way of understanding the world and our place in it.'

He continued: 'When there's a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd.

'But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical or analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight.'

His colleague Professor Richard Boyatzis added: 'A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown that people who have faith (who are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. 'They actually might claim they are less intelligent.'

'Our studies confirmed that statistical relationship, but at the same time showed that people with faith are more prosocial and empathic.'

The new study is published in the online journal PLOS ONE.

The researchers said that while having empathy does not necessarily mean a person has anti-scientific beliefs, it may 'compromise' an individual's ability to cultivate social and moral insight.

However, they point out research that shows between 1901 and 2000, 90 per cent of Nobel Prize winners in science were religious, while the rest were atheists, agnostics or freethinkers.


Human religions

There is a site of the above name maintained by Englishman Vexen Crabtree, who says he is a Satanist.  He has slender academic qualifications but he seems to have read widely.   Curiously enough, however, he seems dismissive of religion generally.  Only the small band of Satanists have the truth, apparently.

As an atheist myself I find his Satanism amusing but I was interested to see what he has up about religion and IQ.  It is commonly asserted that religious people are a bit dim and he accepts that uncritically.  The only actual evidence he quotes, however is as follows:

[Paul Bell in Mensa Magazine, 2002, reviewed all studies taken of religion and IQ. He concluded:]

"Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one's intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold "beliefs" of any kind."

As I have pointed out previously, however, such studies are usually poorly sampled and usually report only slight effects.  Religious people are less frequent among high IQ people but not by much.  And the whole effect could be artifactual:  High IQ people get on better within higher education so almost certainly get more of it.  But universities are places where religion is skeptically viewed so  high IQ people will get more exposure to anti-religious messages.  And greater exposure to anti-religious messages would be very likely to undermine religious belief to some extent.  So it could be that the level of university exposure accounts wholly for the slightly smaller number of religious people in a high IQ population.

That could be tested fairly easily by assessing  religion and IQ BEFORE the people got into university.

In short, I doubt that IQ has any influence on whether you are religious or not.  It is probably a surprise to most of my fellow atheists but religious people think THEY are stupid.  You have to be pretty dim to think creation was a spontaneous, uncaused event, according to religious people.

There is what I think is good evidence for no association between religion and IQ here

Will plants' response to increased CO2 make heatwaves more intense than thought?

The report by Peter Hannam below seemed like a possible real concern if ever we do get global warming. But I somehow knew that they would have ignored something important so I looked up the underlying journal article -- abstract thereof also reproduced below. It is all just modelling rubbish. When Warmist models show predictive skill will be the time to take notice of them. It hasn't happened yet.

But there is something amusing in the article nonetheless. They seem to base their claims on how an individual leaf stoma reacts to higher CO2 but forget to look at the whole plant. That higher CO2 levels will produce bigger plants and hence more stomata seems to be overlooked. With more stomata the overall water release may remain unchanged.

Warmists are such a laugh! Junk science all the way. It's such junk that even a humble social scientist like me can see through it. And shifty old Peter Hannam swallows it all hook, line and sinker. He must never ask any questions

Peter Hannam

Heatwaves in the northern hemisphere may become as much as 5 degrees warmer than previously estimated by mid-century because plants' response to higher carbon dioxide levels has been miscalculated, according to new research by Australian scientists.

As atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas increase, plant stomata – the tiny pores on leaves that open to take in CO2 and let out water vapour – won't need to open as much.

"There's less water vapour being lost so you have a net warming effect," said Jatin Kala, a lecturer from Murdoch University and lead author of the paper that was published Monday in Nature Scientific Reports.

The researchers used data from 314 plant species across 56 field sites to examine how plants responded. Existing climate models had assumed all plants would trade water for carbon in exactly the same way.

Needle-leaf forests, tundra and agricultural land used for crops would likely suffer the biggest temperature increases. Heatwaves from Europe to China were likely to become 3-5 degrees hotter than the already higher base expected from global warming, Dr Kala said.

"These more detailed results are confronting but they help explain why many climate models have consistently underestimated the increase in the intensity of heatwaves and the rise in maximum temperatures when compared to observations."

The results do not necessarily apply to southern hemisphere regions to the same extent. "We don't have an observation of how Australian vegetation will respond to rising CO2," he said.

CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science developed the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) model used in this study.


Impact of the representation of stomatal conductance on model projections of heatwave intensity

Jatin Kala et al.


Stomatal conductance links plant water use and carbon uptake, and is a critical process for the land surface component of climate models. However, stomatal conductance schemes commonly assume that all vegetation with the same photosynthetic pathway use identical plant water use strategies whereas observations indicate otherwise. Here, we implement a new stomatal scheme derived from optimal stomatal theory and constrained by a recent global synthesis of stomatal conductance measurements from 314 species, across 56 field sites. Using this new stomatal scheme, within a global climate model, subtantially increases the intensity of future heatwaves across Northern Eurasia. This indicates that our climate model has previously been under-predicting heatwave intensity. Our results have widespread implications for other climate models, many of which do not account for differences in stomatal water-use across different plant functional types, and hence, are also likely under projecting heatwave intensity in the future.


Two analyses of educational testing (NAPLAN) data:  An intelligent one and a dumb one

The first analysis below is misreported.  The original report from the Grattan institute is here.  It said nothing much about "disadvantaged" schools.  What it focused on was educational performance after year 3. It found that the gap between low achieving and high achieving schoolkids gets greater with every year after level 3.  But the authors have no idea why and offer policy recommendations that are therefore useless.  The Grattan Institute is a Left-leaning outfit.

Any student of IQ, however, knows what is going on.  As Charles Murray showed 20 years ago, the genetic influence on IQ increases steadily with age -- up to about age 30.  Genetics steadily overcomes environmental influences.  And then there is the related  Chimpanzee effect, the general rule that final IQ will be reached more slowly the higher is the final level. So dumb and bright individuals may start out at a similar intellectual level but the bright individual will steadily pull ahead of the dumb one.  And school performance is heavily influenced by IQ.

So the findings of the first analysis are fully explained by IQ.  Both smart and dumb kids get brighter up to a point but the high IQ kids get MUCH brighter.  And no-one has ever found a way to change that.  As Jesus said, "For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath" (Mark 4:25).

The second analysis below is also explained as an effect of IQ.  Maths and reading skills are central to IQ so that they were found to be highly genetic in origin is yet another one of thousands of findings that have shown IQ to be highly genetic in origin.

1).  Bright kids fall behind at disadvantaged schools

Bright students at disadvantaged schools lag at least two years behind their peers from wealthier schools and struggling students from poor backgrounds continue to fall behind with each year of school, a new analysis of NAPLAN data reveals.

The analysis, in a report by public policy think-tank the Grattan Institute, found that the learning gaps between Australian students of different backgrounds are "alarmingly wide" and worsen as students move through school.

Even if students were doing as well in Year 3, those from a disadvantaged background make one to two years less progress than students whose parents have higher levels of education, the report says.

Bright kids in disadvantaged schools suffer the biggest losses, the report says, making 2½ years less progress than students with similar capabilities in more advantaged schools.

"When kids are performing at the same level from the same starting point, it is pretty shocking that they can then fall behind 2½ years depending on what school they are at," the director of the institute's school education program, Peter Goss, said.

The spread of student achievement more than doubles as students move through school, the report says.

The middle 60 per cent of students in Year 3 are working within a 2½-year range, the report says. By Year 9, the spread for these students has grown to 5½ years.

"The report also shows that in a typical Year 9 class, the top students can be more than seven years ahead of the bottom students," the report says.


2). Maths and reading skills found to be 75 per cent genetic

Australian research into the academic performance of twins in NAPLAN tests has revealed that skills in maths, reading and spelling are up to 75 per cent genetic.  Genetics also had a 50 per cent impact on writing skills.

In stark contrast, the influence of teachers and schools on students was only found to be around 5 per cent, when looking at why children performed better or worse than their peers.

The research has been conducted by Emeritus Professor Brian Byrne and colleagues at the Centre of Excellence for Cognition and its Disorders, and the University of New England.

Byrne is a guest on this week's episode of Insight, sharing his views on how research into twins can deepen our understanding of the general population.

The research will shortly be published in full, with much of the peer review process complete. Some parts of the study have already been published.

Byrne and his colleagues were allowed access to around 3000 sets of twins and were able to look at their academic performance in literacy and numeracy NAPLAN tests in years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

The results were surprising.

Families, teachers and schools had a much more modest contribution when explaining the difference in academic performance of children in the same grade or class.

The majority of difference between students’ abilities in literacy and numeracy were instead attributable to their genetic make-up.

Writing skills were the least influenced by genetics – only about 50 per cent.  Genetic influences on reading, spelling and mathematics abilities were found to be between 50-75 per cent.

The findings back up earlier research done in the UK.

“Genes are the things that are, for the most part, driving differences among children, and not different teachers or even different schools,” Byrne told Insight’s Jenny Brockie, during filming of the show’s feature on twins.

Byrne says his findings “undermine the idea that a really, really big player in how well children are doing is teacher qualifications and a teacher's education.”

He stresses that the research does not show teachers’ influence is negligible; rather, it shows they are uniformly well-trained and high-performing, keeping students’ academic performance at national standards regardless of which teacher children are given or which school they go to.

“Teachers really matter,” he reiterates.

“The reason why a child knows more at the end of a school day than they did at the beginning is because of the work the teachers do.”

“I think it's good news for teachers that within this country the quality of training is similar enough and good enough to produce rather even-handed effects on the children who are your charges.”

Byrne says the findings are important “for the education system to understand that genes matter”, but cautions against being pessimistic about genetic predisposition.

Chris Watt, Federal Secretary of the Independent Teachers Union, says this kind of research confirms what teachers have known for a long time: that some children are born with advantages, when others are not, and there needs to be greater resources that allow them to factor those differences into their teaching.

"At the end of the day, a school can only do so much," he says.  "There's a whole of lot things that need to be right for kids to be learning properly. We have to pay attention to those issues before they step foot inside a school."

He's confident educators will be able to adapt their practice to these sorts of results, however. "Teachers are always changing the way they go about teaching, picking up new skills and strategies," he says.

Byrne agrees. "My guess is experienced teachers have developed good ways to adjust the curriculum for students who start out weaker in a subject."  "But my guess, too, is that most feel that if they had more time and back-up they could accomplish this even more convincingly."

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and the Australian Education Union (AEU) were also contacted for comment.

Byrne says the involvement of twins in his research has been incredibly important.

“They are the perfect natural experiment. We use their data to extrapolate across the wider population.”

Because twins almost always share the same environment going up, and a large portion of their genes, comparing their differences and similarities can tell us much about whether certain behaviours and abilities are the product of nature or nurture.

For example, he found that twins – whether identical or fraternal - performed equally as similar to one another even when they were in different classes and schools.

Insight guest and school principal Jennifer Lawrence – herself a twin – said she found this to be the case when looking at her twin daughters’ academic results.

“When Abbie and Emily were in Year 3 they were separated for the first time,” she says.

“I had this terrible feeling that I would be disadvantaging one over the other because maybe one would get a better teacher than the other, but their NAPLAN results were almost identical in that year.”


Do we need a civilizational regress to deal with militant Islam?

"At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for our feith at Tramissene"

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote that about 600 years ago in the English of his day.  Even then the enemy was Muslim.  Tramissene was a Moorish kingdom in North Africa

The modern Western world, however, is in no mood to fight for its faith, mainly because it doesn't have one, or, more precisely, it has a multiplicity of faiths, including Leftism.  But we are surely keen to fight to ensure the safety of ourselves and our families.  But the recent atrocities in Brussels suggest that we are losing the fight.  Any of us could get struck down at any time by Islamic hate.

And the reason we are losing is clear.  We have only recently gained peace and civility in the Western world and we want to hang on to that.  If a group of people attack us, we no longer strike back in kind but attempt to deal with the harassment using police methods only.  We have reached the highest level of civilization the world has ever seen and we don't want to depart from the high levels of civility and tolerance that go with that.

But from the Vikings to Nazi Germany to the Bosnian Serbs our ancestors and relatives have been just as bloodthirsty as ISIS.  Take a look at the guy below.  He could be the grandfather of any of us, could he not?

He is Radovan Karadzic, former leader of the Bosnian Serbs who in the '90s committed atrocities just as bad as any done by ISIS.  And his Slavic genes are undoubtedly widespread in America.  And his wobbly Christianity is familiar enough too.  There is a lot of wobbly Christianity in America.

So there is no doubt that it would take only a small civilizational regress for us to be as merciless to the Muslims as they are to us.  And once we decided to abandon our present peaceful ways, it would take very little to squash Muslim aggression for a very long time.  A nuclear device detonated over Raqqa or Mecca or both would probably be enough to convince Muslims to pull their heads in.  And if not, there are plenty of other Muslim cities .....  The main reason we do not do that is that innocent, non-combatant people would die in such blasts.  But the Jihadis show absolute disregard for our innocent men, women and children so they certainly provoke tit for tat.

Our attachment to the high level of peace and civilization that we have only recently attained is strong -- as is shown by the huge amount of Muslim aggression that we have so far tolerated.  But I think that our tolerance is not limitless so we may have to take a temporary step down to an earlier level of civilization to deal with the Muslim menace effectively.  Winston Churchill killed tens of thousands of German non-combatant men, women and children in his fire bombings of Dresden and Hamburg -- and the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mostly civilian.  So the step back would be only a small one -- and hopefully very temporary.

A SMALL CLARIFICATION: A good Serbian friend, Rich Kozlovich, was disturbed that I was disrespecting Serbs above.  My intention was quite different.  I see Karadzic as just a normal European person in a particular situation, not unlike President Truman, who burnt hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians to death with nuclear weapons.  I should have mentioned that it was Muslims whom the Serbs were savaging.  And in what they did to the Muslims they were only doing what Muslims had in the past done to them.  What the Muslims did in the past can, I think, be readily deduced from what they are doing in Syria right now.

Open access to research data

Warmist "scientists" regularly disgrace themselves by refusing to make publicly available their raw research data.  What was once a routine courtesy has been destroyed by Warmist crookedness.  But the recent uproar in the social and biological sciences about unreplicable findings makes the issue more critical than ever.  It is clear that researchers regularly sift through their data and report only the bits that they like for whatever reason.  And from a statistician's viewpoint the regular practice in the medical literature of reporting only extreme quintiles is simply laughable.  Who knows what relaationships are obscured by throwing away three fifths of your data?  So there is clearly much to be gained by having the analysis of a dataset open to all comers.

And the medical literature is coming onboard with that.  Below are two scans from the latest issue of JAMA.  The point of the second scan is that even those evil old drug companies are making their raw research data generally available.  So Warmists are less ethical than drug companies.  Drug companies are a favorite hate-object of the Green/Left so  that contrast would embarrass them if they were real scientists.

Philosophers on U.S. Presidential Politics

Below is a blurb from a publisher of philosophy books.  Philosophers are overwhelmingly Leftist.  What it reports is an amusing example of how Leftists live in a little self-created bubble that has no connection with reality.  According to the authors, conservatives "place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power".  Whaat!  No conservative would recognize that description of himself.  It's just a fantasy dreamt up to justifty Leftism.  Leftists can't handle reality so construct straw men to burn. They are damaged people.

But they get some things right.  I and many other conservatives would agree that Trump "strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals".

And there is some truth in their statement that Trump "has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners".  The spineless nature of the GOP establishment has indeed brought us to that.

But it is very one-eyed in completely ignoring what Trump actually says.  Their closed minds probably make it impossible for them even to hear what he says. Trump opposes illegal immigration when everybody else seems to have given up on that.  Americans don't want their country messed up by throngs of troublesome immigrants and Trump alone speaks for such concerned Americans

Routledge authors, Robert Talisse, Scott Aikin, and Jason Brennan provide a philosophical insight on the state of the Republican Party, and the establishment of the Trump brand.

With the U.S. presidential race imminent, Routledge authors have been weighing in on the state of U.S. politics over on the Daily Nous, as possibly the most principled, and possibly the least principled politicians in the U.S. are currently going head to head for the American presidency.

Robert Talisse (author of Engaging Political Philosophy, and co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should) and Scott Aikin (co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should), have weighed in on the debate with an exploration of the trouble with political conservatism in America today, and how such concerns have presented a challenge to the Republican Party.

According to Talisse and Aikin, the central ideas of political conservatism are becoming increasingly unpopular, as they place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power, all of which are social forces that dissolve tradition and foster divisions. Such unpopularity has therefore led the Republican Party to build a political coalition among people who ultimately have little in common, which requires a strategy by which divisions are overshadowed by some unifying purpose.

Comparatively, Jason Brennan (author of Why Not Capitalism? and co-author of Markets without Limits) adds that democracy works because it doesn’t work. Brennan qualifies this by explaining that Trump has become a populist candidate in the presidential race as he has played to misinformation, anger, and prejudice, as the mean, median, and modal amounts of basic political knowledge among voters is generally quite low. Therefore, Trump is doing well because democracy is working, because there has been a break down in various checks parties place on voter ignorance.

Moreover, he is rising as the likely Republican nominee despite widespread opposition, because he strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals, of which Talisse and Aikin speak of.

In this way, Trump has consequently become the manufactured unifying purpose that is needed to overshadow the divisions that have arisen. He has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners - all this in the service of selling what is promoted as a brand. As, Talisse and Aikin remark that conservatism was supposed to be the idea that values were more than brands, but branding is now all the Republican Party has at its core as a political faction.

For more information, visit Daily Nous for the full debate.

The BS never stops:  "New York and London could be underwater within DECADES"

And pigs might fly. It's all just theory -- and all Warmist prophecy has been wrong to date so this will be too.  Note that even Michael Mann does not believe this one

And the theory is extreme.  It starts out: "Researchers claim the initial melting of the great ice sheets will put a cap of relatively fresh water on the ocean surfaces near Antarctica and Greenland"

Maybe so but where is there any evidence of "melting of the great ice sheets"?  It hasn't happened and Antarctic ice is in fact growing

And what's this business about fresh water putting a "cap" on salt water?  Salt diffuses very rapidly in water so any cap would be very temporary -- lasting only a few days at most.  I would like to see any argument or evidence to the contrary.  It's just another implausible theory as far as I can tell but I am open to enlightenment

Most scientists agree that sea levels will rise, but some say it won't happen for centuries.  Now, a new study suggests sea levels will increase several feet over the next 50 years.  It claims the world's coastal cities, including New York and London, could be underwater by the end of the century.

'We're in danger of handing young people a situation that's out of their control,' James E. Hansen, a retired Nasa climate scientist who led the new research, told The New York Times.

The paper was released this morning by a European science journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

'Current assessments place emphasis on practical effects such as increasing extremes of heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall, floods and encroaching seas,' reads the study.

The consequences would include killer storms, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets and a rise in sea levels that would exceed that worlds coastal cities before the end of this century, claim researchers.

The paper talks about a specific mechanism that will provoke this abrupt climate shift.

Researchers claim the initial melting of the great ice sheets will put a cap of relatively fresh water on the ocean surfaces near Antarctica and Greenland.

This will slow down or even close the system of the ocean currents that provides heat throughout the planet, allowing some of it to escape into space.

The deeper areas of the ocean will experience warming, which will ultimately accelerate the melting of the part of the ice sheet that sits above sea level.

And the extreme temperature difference between the tropics and the poles will produce powerful storms, which will mirror those that happened 120,000 years ago when Earth experienced a natural warming, according to the paper.

Some experts see this paper as a step in the right direction to understanding when the climate experienced sudden, drastic shifts.

But others still remain hesitant about the claims made in the draft paper, released last year, and are still on the fence with the final version. 'Some of the claims in this paper are indeed extraordinary,' said Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University.  'They conflict with the mainstream understanding of climate change to the point where the standard of proof is quite high.'


Dear Naomi revisited

I had a very nice Naomi in my early life -- Naomi Holbeck. I sometimes wonder where she is now.  But the Naomi I want to talk about here is a much less pleasant Naomi:  Naomi Oreskes, one of the many climate frauds.

Something that often gives liars away is that they exaggerate.  They seem to believe Dr. Goebbels' dictum that big lies are more credible than small ones.  The classic example of that is the many elections that various Communist dictators ran in the 20th century.  They would always claim that  they won 98% or thereabouts of the vote.  Nobody believed them of course.

So when Warmists claim that 97% of scientists believe in global warming, historically aware people know how to view that.   It's not even a sophisticated lie.  Some industrious person has put together a list of 97 published rebuttals to John Cook's 97% claim but it was hardly necessary. One wonders how Cook feels to have his work so swingeingly attacked. I suppose he just wears the usual Leftist carapace of Freudian denial.

But the biggest liar of all was Naomi Oreskes. What she claimed in 2004 was TOTALLY unbelievable. In an article in "Science" magazine she claimed to have done a study of the scientific literature on climate change and found that "none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position".  In other words she claimed 100% agreement.  She was less truthful than even a Communist dictator.  There were already known in 2004 some prominent scientists who were vocal climate skeptics such as Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer.  So Oreskes was plainly wrong in claiming that she could find none of them.

The reason I am raking over such old history now is that her work falls neatly into a modern area of scientific concern.  In both the social and biological sciences there has been lately a lot of heartburn about unreplicable results.  Replication is the test of a scientific claim and it is the central reason why academic articles are so turgid.  A believable scientific claim has to go into great detail about how it reached its conclusion so that others can do exactly the same thing to test those conclusions.  If someone repeats exactly what an author did and gets DIFFERENT conclusions, a great lightning bolt falls from the heavens and incinerates the original author.  Just joking!  But the effect is not much less than that.  Nobody believes the original claim any more.

And in recent times there have been many attempts to do such exact replications.  And the results have been terrible.  Around two thirds of established scientific findings in the social and biological sciences have been found to fail replication.  Much of what we thought we knew is false.

And the Oreskes claim failed replication.  Benny Peiser was one of many who found the Oreskes claim laughable but he was the one who put his money where his mouth was and actually made an attempt to replicate the Oreskes procedures.  He got vastly different results.  So by modern scientific standards, the Oreskes findings are wrong and should not be quoted as support for anything.

So if anybody now quotes the Oreskes finding without attaching the word "unreplicable" to it, they thereby show that they are out of step with modern scientific standards.

But Warmists abandoned science long ago, of course.  In their major papers they withheld details that would allow replications of their work.  And when other scientists asked for the withheld details, the Warmists refused point blank to assist.  They branded such reqeusts as "harassment".  Their response actually made replication unnecessary.  It revealed that they themselves knew their work to be fraudulent.

But Naomi has won great honor and glory for her work. Far from being discredited, she has risen greatly in the world. She is now a professor at Harvard. With almost total Leftist control of the media, the bureaucracy and the educational system, the modern world floats on a sea of lies and Naomi is just one of many frauds -- which is why you get Donald Trump, the only prominent figure bold enough to trash completely the Left-led consensus.

Humans are releasing carbon 10 TIMES faster than ever before

They may be but so what?  All the evidence is that CO2 is NOT linked to warming.  In fact the PETM (discussed below) seems to be a good example of that.   Global temperatures in the PETM increased by 5–8°C. But the findings below are that CO2 release rates then were much LESS than what we see today.  So LOW CO2 levels apparently went with high temperatures.  No wonder the author below made the rather despairing comment I have highlighted below

The Earth's climate is entering 'uncharted territory' and the rate at which carbon is being released is said to be to blame.

By studying deep sea sediments, researchers have discovered humans are releasing carbon 10 times faster than during any event in the past 66 million years.

And in 2014, carbon release rates from human sources reached a record high in 2014 of about 37 billion metric tons of CO2.

The earliest instrumental records of Earth's climate, as measured by thermometers and other tools, start in the 1850s.

To look further back in time, scientists investigate air bubbles trapped in ice cores, which expands the window to less than a million years.

But to study Earth's history over tens to hundreds of millions of years, researchers examine the chemical and biological signatures of deep sea sediment archives.

New research published today in Nature Geoscience by Richard Zeebe, professor at the University of Hawai'i Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), and colleagues looks at changes of Earth's temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) since the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

The research team developed a new approach and was able to determine the duration of the onset of an important past climate event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, PETM for short, 56 million years ago.

Their new method allows them to extract rates of change from a sediment record without the need for an actual sediment age model.

Applied to the PETM, they calculated how fast the carbon was released, how fast Earth's surface warmed, and constrained the time scale of the onset, which was at least 4,000 years.

The rate of carbon release during the PETM was determined to be much smaller than the current input of carbon to the atmosphere from human activities.

Carbon release rates from human sources reached a record high in 2014 of about 37 billion metric tons of CO2.

Whereas large climate transitions in the past may have been relatively smooth, there is no guarantee for the future.

The climate system is non-linear, which means its response to a forcing (such as our CO2 emissions) is a complex process involving a whole suite of components.

The research team developed a new approach to determine the duration of the onset of an important past climate event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, PETM for short, 56 million years ago.

'As far as we know, the PETM has the largest carbon release during the past 66 million years,' said Zeebe.

Zeebe and his team combined analyses of chemical properties of PETM sediment cores with numerical simulations of Earth's climate and carbon cycle.

Their new method allows them to extract rates of change from a sediment record without the need for an actual sediment age model.

Applied to the PETM, they calculated how fast the carbon was released, how fast Earth's surface warmed, and constrained the time scale of the onset, which was at least 4,000 years.

The rate of carbon release during the PETM was determined to be much smaller than the current input of carbon to the atmosphere from human activities.

Carbon release rates from human sources reached a record high in 2014 of about 37 billion metric tons of CO2.

The researchers estimated the maximum sustained carbon release rate during the PETM had to be less than 4 billion metric tons of CO2 per year - about one-tenth the current rate.

'Because our carbon release rate is unprecedented over such a long time period in Earth's history, it also means that we have effectively entered a 'no-analogue' state.

'This represents a big challenge for projecting future climate changes because we have no good comparison from the past,' said Zeebe.

Whereas large climate transitions in the past may have been relatively smooth, there is no guarantee the same will happen in the future.

The climate system is non-linear, which means its response to a 'forcing' - such as our CO2 emissions - is a complex process involving a variety of components.

'If you kick a system very fast, it usually responds differently than if you nudge it slowly but steadily', said Zeebe.

'Also, it is rather likely that future disruptions of ecosystems will exceed the relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM,' Zeebe added.

'In studying one of the most dramatic episodes of global change since the end of the age of the dinosaurs, these scientists show that we are currently in uncharted territory in the rate carbon is being released into the atmosphere and oceans,' says Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.

Scientists like Zeebe also study the PETM to better understand long-term changes in Earth's future climate.

Most of the current climate debate concentrates only on this century but the PETM suggests that the consequences of our massive fossil fuel burning will have a much, much longer tail.

'Everyone is focused on what happens by 2100. But that's only two generations from today. It's like: If the world ends in 2100 we're probably OK!' said Zeebe.

'But it's very clear that over a longer timescale there will be much bigger changes.'

Zeebe and his colleagues continue their work on the PETM to study other aspects of the event - for example, determining how severe ocean acidification was during the PETM and what impact it had on calcifying organisms in the ocean.

This may provide insight about what to expect in the future as Earth's climate continues to warm and oceans keep acidifying.


More evidence that the recent global temperature uptick is not the result of human activities

The Cape Grim figures show that CO2 levels have been static during the recent temperature uptick and these new figures below show the same thing.  But if CO2 figures have been static, they cannot have been driving a temperature uptick. These latest CO2 emission figures are probably a bit shaky, but no more so than other climate-related figures.  At least there seems to be no evidence that they are massaged, unlike temperature data from NOAA and GISS

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions held steady for the second year in a row while the economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency.

In a simple, two-column spreadsheet released yesterday, IEA showed that the world’s energy sector produced 32.14 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide in 2015, up slightly from 32.13 metric gigatons in 2014. Meanwhile, the global economy grew more than 3 percent.

Analysts credited the rise of renewables—clean energy made up more than 90 percent of new energy production in 2015—for keeping greenhouse gas emissions flat.

“The new figures confirm last year’s surprising but welcome news: we now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a press release. “Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change.”

IEA, an energy cooperative and research firm with 29 member countries, has tracked global greenhouse gas emissions for 40 years and in that time witnessed only three other periods when global emissions fell, each associated with an economic recession.

The findings challenge assumptions that billowing smokestacks are harbingers of growing economies. They also indicate that a similar report last year was not a fluke but part of a larger trend of decoupling emissions from growth.

Mixed reactions greeted the findings.

Doug Vine, a senior energy fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said IEA’s announcement echoes past trends within many developed nations in which gross domestic product grew much faster than greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is the first time it’s showed up at the global level,” he said.


The "pause" lives on!

An industrious graph-maker (Australian, Ken Stewart) has just turned the latest UAH (satellite) data into a series of graphs, with different graphs for various regions of the world.  That supposedly "global" warming was not showing up in his local area was what got him blogging.

So his latest graphs follow on neatly from something I pointed out yesterday:  That it is absurd to speak of "global" warming at a time when some parts of the globe are in fact cooling.  I offered only the authority of my Crepe Myrtle trees for that observation but our industrious blogger offers the satellite evidence on that.  He shows that the trend lines differ from one another in the 11 areas he singles out. Note the final squiggle on the graphs for the USA and Australia. Where the USA squiggles upward, Australia squiggles downwards

I reproduce below only three of his graphs but I think they are the ones of greatest interest:  Graphs for the globe, the USA and Australia. He shows that the pause has lasted 18 years and 10 months in the USA but in Australia it has lasted 20 years and 11 months.

UAH v6.0 data for February have been released. Here are updated graphs for various regions showing the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than +0.1C/ 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures.    Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978- now 37 years and 3 months long- 447 months.  12 month running means commence in November 1979.

Despite the record TLT for February, I am sorry to disappoint GWEs that The Pause has not disappeared.  In some regions it has lengthened, in others it has shortened, and in the Northern Extra-Tropics it has disappeared (by my criterion)- but mostly it has remained at the same length.


Cherrypicking is bad  -- except when I do it

That seems to be the Warmist idea.  The amusing Phil Plait has praised to the skies a long article by Tamino, an inveterate Warmist, which sets out incontrovertible evidence that global warming is real.  So I had a look at that article.  Tamino says:

"The satellite data for temperature in the troposphere is what senator Ted Cruz likes to use when he claims global warming isn’t happening. But he doesn’t show all of it — just the part after 1997. That way, he can start his graphs with that big fluctuation in 1997-1998, so that fluctuation will look like it’s part of the trend. It isn’t. But Ted Cruz wants you to think it is, so he won’t show you what happened before that — proper context would reveal how shallow his argument is."

So it's bad to choose  your starting points for a graph.  But Tamino himself does exactly that. His first graph starts from 1880 and his next one starts in 1970.  And so it goes.   He has many graphs and many different starting points for them.  They start wherever he needs them to start to make his case.  I won't reproduce anything further from his article but you can log on and see for yourself.

Tamino is very good at lying with statistics.  It would be amusing to see him start all his graphs from 1880.  In fact, if you look at his graph that does start from 1880, you can clearly see that warming levelled out from around the year 2000.  There was a rise last year but that was  due to the El Nino weather cycle. So there was some slight warming in C20 but none in the present century.  Will it resume?  Nobody knows.

Woe is me!

I forgot that it was Earth Hour in Australia yesterday.  You "save the planet" by turning off all your lights for one hour, allegedly.  In my evil planet-destroying way, I normally make a point of turning on every light in the house on Earth hour but missed doing that this time.  I had some lights on but not enough

Another personal gripe I have mentioned a few times concerns the fact that Warmists are having orgasms about the recent rise in average temperature in some places on earth.  This has been translated to give a global average that is higher than usual.  But that higher temperature is NOT global.  How do I know that?  My Crepe Myrtle (botanically "Lagerstroemia") trees tell me that.  Crepe Myrtles produce a great mass of blossom in various colors when they flower and Brisbane people really like flowering trees.  They are everywhere in Brisbane: Jacarandas, Poincianas and Crepe Myrtles, plus others.

The catch is that Crepe Myrtles originate in warm regions of India and are heat sensitive.  They blossom reliably only in the tropics.  When I lived in the tropics, we called them Christmas bushes because they came out just before Christmas in December.  In the subtropics where I now live, however, the warm weather is slower to arrive and they normally blossom in January.  And this year my eight trees did not blossom at all. So my locality experienced COOLING at the same time that global warming was being proclaimed.

So does that show anything?  It does.  It shows that the "smashing" temperature rise proclaimed by Jim Hansen was in fact so weak that it coincided  with cooling in some places.  It was not a "global" temperature rise at all.  It was only a rise in some places.  That is all one can accurately say about it

Below is part of what I saw when I looked out my backdoor in January, 2015:  17 metres of blossom right across my backyard

February global temperature rise proves nothing

The shrill article below is panicking over February temperatures so I suppose I should point out a few obvious things.  I have really dealt with this nonsense before but a few comments anyway.

For a start, hanging anything on the figures for one month is dumb.  You can have unusually hot months in a year where there is no overall change.  Even figures for one year are rubbery.  Figures for years can go up and down but still show no overall trend.  You need a trend over a period of years to conclude anything.  2015 was a touch warmer but 2016 could be a touch cooler overall.  If we get an early return of La Nina, the later months of 2016 could be cool in the same way that the early months were warm.  That's all elementary stuff -- even if it is conspicuously overlooked below.

It was a bit boring writing all that freshman-level stuff above but I was listening to some Stravinsky while I wrote it so that kept me alert and happy

But now to get onto the specifics about February 2016:  According to NOAA (See here) The February 2016 temperature was 5.69°F above the C20 average.  That seems a lot.  One can understand it being called "whopping".  But wait a minute.  2005 was 4.12°F above the same average.  Was that "whopping" too?  Did that presage climate catastrophe?  Ten years later we can say that it clearly didn't.  And February 2015 was -0.85°F -- BELOW average.  Did that warn of an oncoming ice age?  Clearly not.  Hanging your hat on one month is brick thick. I really shouldn't have to point out what excreta the article below is.  Temperatures fluctuate but there is no statistically significant long-term trend.

So Feb 2016 was a bit higher than 2005. Why?  Easy:  El Nino. Despite what is said below, it was in fact TOTALLY due to El Nino. How do I know that?  Because it was NOT due to a rise in CO2.  The recent temperature rises did not fit neatly into any one year.  They were concentrated in late 2015 and early 2016,  And that is PRECISELY a period over which CO2 levels plateaued.  From August 2015 to February 2016, CO2 levels have been stuck on 398 ppm, according to the Cape Grim data.  CO2 levels over that period only varied by less than one part per million.  Annual changes before that were around 2 parts per million.

The big Warmist story is that warming is due to CO2 levels.  If that were so, the recent rise in temperature would be a mirror of rising CO2 levels.  But the CO2 levels belie that. They didn't rise.  Once again temperature and CO2 are disconnected. So El Nino is the only explanation left for the recent temperature uptick.  It is an entirely natural fluctuation with nothing to do with human actions.  That's what the data tells us.  Do look up the Cape Grim data yourself to check it

February shattered climate records, scientists worried we could see 2C warming within months.

Does everybody still believe global warming is a hoax? Yet more data confirms what scientists have feared for a long time, the planet is warming, and it may have passed a tipping point. The latest data now reveals that February 2016 was the hottest February on record, and it blew that record by a wide margin.

February is a cold month, especially in the northern hemisphere, so it's surprising to see that it was so hot. And hot is the right word to use. According to climate data, the entire northern hemisphere was 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than average, and a full  third of a degree hotter than the record.

Whens peaking of climate records, it is common to deal in tenths or even hundredths of a degree. To see a third of a degree, or, in this case, nearly two-and-a-half degrees, overall, is literally unprecedented. February 2016 is the first month in history that global average temperatures exceeded the 1.5 degree (Celsius) average.

Scientists also noted that the warmth was unusually concentrated in the Arctic, contributing to record ice melt and likely weather anomalies.

While El Nino can be blamed for some of the weather anomalies for 2015-2016, global warming also has a major role to play in both El Nino and overall temperature rise. Also, EL Nino, despite its hype, is  only responsible for a tenth of a degree Celsius rise in years when it occurs, which means the additional 1.2C degrees of warming cannot be attributed to the Pacific weather phenomenon.

The heart of the problem is simple thermodynamics. The planet is absorbing more radiation from the Sun than it is putting back out into space, resulting in a slow warming trend. The additional radiation is stored as heat, both in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Part of the reason for this imbalance appears to be rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, which traps heat. The increased heat increases evaporation, and water vapor is an even better store of heat energy, which causes yet more warming.

Scientists are alarmed because it has taken over a century to see the planet warm a full 1 degree Celsius. Now, in the past five months, the planet has warmed another half degree. Will we see 2 degrees before the summer is though? It's an alarming thought.

According to the most pessimistic global warming hypothesis, once the planet sees 2 degrees Celsius of average global warming, the climate trend will be virtually irreversible. The polar ice caps will melt, resulting in sea level rise and destroying cities. Shifts in weather patterns, as well as more extreme weather will destroy food crops and render some regions nearly uninhabitable. Mass extinctions of many species could occur.

These changes will impact humanity by forcing mass human migration, while also disrupting food and water supplies. This means more conflict and chaos overall.

Indeed, we have already seen the beginning of polar ice melts with Arctic ice now the lowest it has ever been recorded for a winter season. Animals, especially in the Arctic, are facing famine as food supplies run low. Polar bears are dying off in large numbers. And people are being impacted too. The warmer temperatures mean less snow and ice, which is hurting people whose lives depend on the snow and ice. As coastal villages thaw, erosion as well as a lack of food available for hunting is creating challenges all around the Arctic.

In the tropics, scientists are alarmed because around the world, they're observing the single greatest coral bleaching event in history.

Despite these well-documented changes, a hardcore of deniers continues to dispute that anything unnatural is happening, insisting that either humans are blameless, or that nothing unusual is happening at all. However, to believe this requires the denial of the nearly unanimous consensus of the scientific community.

Even climate skeptic Roy Spencer characterized the warming as "whopping."

Thousands of climate scientists around the world have no reason to lie about this basic truth: humans are pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere with predictable effect. If we are to survive the future without extreme climate disruption and mass extinctions, we need to curtail emissions. Scientists are not getting rich off these discoveries. However, the fossil fuel lobby, has been implicated in pushing climate change skepticism. The scandal is such that authorities in the U.S. have even discussed bringing suit against prominent deniers, much the same way the government sued those who claimed cigarette smoking wasn't harmful.

While few Americans would support such harsh action against climate deniers, their work is producing a discernible harm, as our nation fails to decisively tackle its own problems with CO2 emissions.

How hot does it have to get for us to see that the scientists are right? How many species need to go extinct before we start to care? How high does sea level need to rise before we act? How bad does global warming have to impact your life before you change your attitude?


Why Putin's sudden pullout from Syria?

There are several reasons offered here but nobody but Putin himself really knows.

It seems to me that the biggest mystery was its suddenness.  None of the proffered explanations really explain that.  I think it can be explained from a military perspective, however.  But to offer that explanation, I have to expound the concept of an  "industrial base".  And I think I can do that best by going back to WWII.  I think the concept explains the outcome of WWII, in fact.

When WWII started, Britain was a major industrial power.  Its innumerable factories churned out goods that were exported around the world.  The days when Britain was the workshop of the world were gone but it was still a pretty big workshop.  And of particular relevance, it manufactured and exported lots of motor vehicles.  It still does but the nameplates on them these days are Nissan, Honda and Toyota, not Austin, Morris and Leyland.

And the aircraft of the day and the motor vehicles of the day had a lot in common.  They both used piston engines, for instance.  So when the war broke out the production of civilian motor vehicles was stopped and the factories were converted to make military aircraft.  And the resultant productivity from all those factories was huge.

The experienced fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe sat in planes armed with cannon while the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF were armed with machine guns only.  Aircraft of the day could take quite a lot of damage from machine guns and still keep flying.  But a cannon hit was mostly curtains.  So the Luftwaffe pilots in their ME 109s made mincemeat of the poorly trained pilots of the RAF.  The kill ratio was vastly in favour of the Luftwaffe.

Yet whenever a fleet of German bombers came over Britain with their Messerschmitt escorts, a flight of RAF fighters rose up to oppose them.  How come?  How come there were any RAF planes still flying after so many had been shot down?  The answer:  Britain's industrial base.  Britain could build fighter aircraft as fast as the Luftwaffe could shoot them down.

The bombers still mostly got through -- witness the devastation of places like Coventry and London -- but there were of course some losses and it became clear to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht that they could use their planes to better effect elsewhere -- particularly in Russia, where it was in fact something of a turkey shoot for the Luftwaffe.  So they ceased their campaign against Britain.

Mr Putin is not in anything like the WWII British position. Russia has quite a small industrial base.  It is still mainly a primary-producing country.  The Soviets knew that of course so over many years they laboriously built up an economy within an economy. They built up a vast complex of factories and maintenance facilities that was permanently devoted to military production and maintenance.  So they could afford a war.  They could to some extent replace losses in battle.

Even so, however, they did not rely on that.  One of the interesting things revealed when West Germany took over East Germany was the very large stocks of all military materials that the East had built up.  They had in stock as much as ten times as many bullets, shells etc as the West did.  They were not confident that they could produce enough in a war to keep the troops supplied.  And since their military was closely integrated with Russia's, there is little doubt that Russia had adopted similar measures.

But when Gorbachev became President of the Soviet Union he was horrified by how much the military establishment was draining out of the overall Soviet economy -- and it seems likely that he immediately started to put the brakes on the military economy.  And when he fell in 1991,  the military economy was virtually abandoned.  Not only were Russia's ships, submarines and aircraft left to rust but the factories that produced them and the facilities used to maintain them were also left to rust.

So when Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin came to power in 2000, that decay had largely neutered Russia's armed forces.  And a lot of the decay remains unremedied to this day.  Most of the navy is still rusting in port and when Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov puts to sea it has to be accompanied by tugs in case it breaks down.

But Putin has slowly renovated enough of his forces to support limited interventions -- as in Georgia and Syria. But with the loss of the Soviet war economy he is up against Russia's limited industrial base.  He has used up a lot of the bombs and missiles that he had stockpiled and reached a point beyond which he dare not go.  He cannot soon replace the bombs and missiles he has used so runs the risk of Russia being unable to defend itself if he runs his stocks down any further.  He has hit a red line in his stocks of war materiel.  And when he saw that such a point had been reached, he immediately pulled the plug on his war in Syria.

So I think the suddenness of the pullout was motivated by a sudden realization of how far he had run down his stocks of war materiel.  I was actually waiting for that to happen because it was clear that Russia was using up a lot of bombs and missiles  that it could not rapidly replace.

UPDATE:  Two more thoughts about industrial bases.

With the vast U.S. industrial base and large population, both Germany and Japan were doomed as soon as the U.S. entered WWII.  That was most vivid when the allies started bombing Germany.  The heavily armed ME110 night-fighters and the skilled German anti-aircraft gunners were very good at knocking allied bombers down.  The average life of a bomber was about 4 sorties. An uncle of mine died in one.  But great waves of bombers just kept coming.  Civilian motor vehicle production had been converted into military aircraft production in the USA too.  Japan's Admiral Yamamoto actually foresaw that Japan could not compete with America's industrial base and large population when he opposed the strike on Pearl Harbour.

In the 21st century the world once again has a country that is the workshop of the world:  China. So combine that huge industrial base with China's almost limitless manpower and it becomes clear that China could not now be opposed in a conventional war.  The war would have to go nuclear almost immediately.