Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole.

Summary:  Americans’ gullibility, our receptiveness to pleasing propaganda, dominates the politics of both Left and Right (although to different degrees). Of course, since both factions draw from the same population. The election showcased the Right’s (often quite irrational) propaganda. Today we look at similar tactics on the Left, using exaggerated fears to stampede us in the desired direction.



  1. Introduction
  2. Starting with theory as certainty: polar bears
  3. Greenland surface melting
  4. Polar sea ice shrinking
  5. The Greenland Ice Sheet Grows Darker
  6. See these articles for more about polar ice
  7. Other posts about today’s climate science
  8. Other Posts about Climate Change Propaganda

(1)  Introduction

Today we look at “Yikes! Government Details 6 Most Terrifying Arctic Trends“, Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, 7 December 2012.  It’s based on the NOAA’s 2012 Arctic Report Card (see the graphics here).  Let’s compare the two.

Mother Jones uses  or paraphrases the text from the NOAA report, except when they edit it for greater impact as propaganda (red emphasis added).

  • NOAA:  “Wind patterns, clouds, ocean currents, and ecosystems are being transformed.”
  • Mother Jones:  “Consequently wind patterns, clouds, ocean currents, and ecosystems are undergoing rapid transformations.”

The net effect is to conflate natural and anthropogenic warming, and exaggerate the warming’s effects so far.

More broadly, both Mother Jones and the NOAA report omit two important facts.  First, that after two centuries of warming, the rise in temperature has paused during the past 15 years or so. Second, that anthropogenic CO2 was the dominate cause of warming only during the past (roughly) 60 years.  This relatively short-term history (as climate trends go) accounts for the difficulty scientists have attributing current weather to changes  in CO2.  For details see:

Both these facts are uncontroversial among climate scientists, yet many (most?) Liberals deny them as heresy. This shows their contempt for science — except when it’s useful for them, as does their disdain for scientists whose research challenges their views (ie, they regard scientists are authorities, unless they disagree with Leftist views — then they’re charlatans and fools).

Now let’s take a more detailed look at the Mother Jones article.

By Ansgar Walk from Wikimedia Commons
By Ansgar Walk from Wikimedia Commons

(2)  Starting with theory as certainty: polar bears, the icon of global warming

Are polar bears endangered by global warming, as shown by the article’s opening graphic? Perhaps, although flames exaggerate the +2ºC rise since 1920.

Polar bears survived previous warm spells, but today are threatened by a wide range of human activities (eg, pollution, habitat loss, hunting) in addition to loss of sea ice from warming. To see how are they doing we turn to the most recent population data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), in the report of 15th meeting in 2009 (detailed data here). Red emphasis added.

The PBSG reevaluated the status of the 19 recognized subpopulations of polar bears distributed over vast and relatively inaccessible areas of the Arctic. Despite the fact that much new information has been made available since the last meeting, knowledge of some populations is still poor.

Reviewing the latest information available the PBSG concluded that 1 of 19 subpopulations is currently increasing, 3 are stable and 8 are declining. For the remaining 7 subpopulations available data were insufficient to provide an assessment of current trend. The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000. However, the mixed quality of information on the different subpopulations means there is much room for error in establishing that range. That potential for error, given the ongoing and projected changes in habitats and other potential stressors is cause for concern.

They’re in better shape than most large predators.  Mother Jones superimposes a polar bear on NOAA’s images, confirming the fake message of on-going polar bear die-off.

Update: Research by the Norwegian Polar Institute about the health of the polar bear population in the Barents Sea.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) parameters

… Conclusion

There is no significant trend over time. However, a major part of the interannual variation can be explained by variation in the Arctic Oscillation (AO). High values of AO (milder weather) at the time of capture correlate with a lower body condition index (leaner animals).

(3)  The melting of the surface of Greenland’s ice

NOAA, ARC 2012

Mother Jones, about their second (of eight) graphic:

Virtually the entire length and width of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melted for the first time in 2012. This year was also the longest melt season ever witnessed. Plus Greenland’s ice lost some of its glitter as exposed soot, dust, and other particles blew onto the snow, darkening it and making it even more susceptible to melt.

The NOAA report correctly states what happened, including vital details omitted by Mother Jones (in red).

A rare, nearly ice-sheet-wide melt was recorded by satellites for the first time in 2012. The melt season was the longest it has been since satellite observations began in 1979.

(4)  Polar sea ice shrinking

NOAA, ARC 2012

Mother Jones, about their 4th (of eight) graphic:

Arctic sea ice used to persist for many years, getting older and thicker with each passing year. Nowadays, not only is the area or extent of sea ice dwindling, but its volume too. The loss of old, thick, melt-resistant ice can easily become a self-reinforcing process. When old ice melts awa y —or when young ice fails to survive melt seasons — the ice that remains in the Arctic is predisposed to melt quickly the following summer. And that’s what’s happening in the 21st century, as you can see in the animation showing ice volume from 1987 to 2012.

These kind of articles give the assumption that these effects result purely from global warming. While the world has been warming (melting polar ice) for two centuries (only in the last 60 years do human emissions dominate), there are other powerful anthropogenic (human-caused) forces.  Such as wind, which is the major force affecting polar sea ice over short periods of several years — and is the major force producing the rapid loss of sea ice shown here.  See the articles below for more evidence.

(5)  The Greenland Ice Sheet Grows Darker

Mother Jones omitted this graphic from the NOAA report, as it would ruin the narrative. The world burns aprox 8 billion short tons of coal per year; all that soot falls to earth (especially from China’s plants).  It drastically increases melting after landing on ice.  Section six has links to some of the large literature about this problem.  NOAA’s text:

The darkening of the ice sheet caused by warming is a self-reinforcing process. Darker ice reflects less sunlight, which accelerates warming and melting.

Percent sunlight reflected by Greenland Ice Sheet from June-August 2012, compared to 2001-2010:

Percent sunlight reflected by Greenland Ice Sheet from June-August 2012, compared to 2001-2010.

(6)  See these articles for more information

(a)  Effect of wind on polar ice:

  1. Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice“, S. V. Nghiem, Geophysical Research Letters, 4 October 2007 — Free copy here.
  2. Summer retreat of Arctic sea ice: Role of summer winds“, Masayo Ogi, Geophysical Research Letters, 18 December 2008 — Free copy here.
  3. Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent“, Masayo Ogi et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 2 April 2010 — Free copy here.

(b)  Effect of soot on surface ice:

  1. Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols“, Mark Z. Jacobson, Nature, 8 February 2001
  2. Soot More Culpable in Climate Warming Than Expected“, Scientific American, 23 December 2003
  3. Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos“, James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 January 2004
  4. Climate response of direct radiative forcing of anthropogenic black carbon“, Serena H. Chung and John H. Seinfeld, Journal of Geophysical Research, 1 June 2005 — Free copy here.
  5. Aerosol organic carbon to black carbon ratios: Analysis of published data and implications for climate forcing“, T. Novakov, Journal of Geophysical Research, 8 November 2005 — Free copy here.
  6. Present-day climate forcing and response from black carbon in snow“, Mark G. Flanner at al, Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2007 — Free copy here.
  7. Impure as the Driven Snow“, Scientific American, 8 June 2007 — “Soot is a bigger problem than greenhouse gases in polar meltdown.”  This discusses Flanner et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2007
  8. Climate change: Aerosols heat up“, Peter Pilewskie1, Nature, 2 August 2007 — Absract only.
  9. Increasing solar heating of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, 1979–2005: Attribution and role in the ice-albedo feedback“, Donald K. Perovich et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 11 October 2007 – Free copy here.
  10. Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan and G. Carmichae, Nature Geoscience, April 2008 — Free copy here.
  11. “Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century”, Drew Shindell and Greg Faluvegi, Nature Geoscience, March 2009 — Abstract, NASA’s summary.
  12. Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap“, Menon et al, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11 December 2009
  13. Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers“, Baiqing Xu et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 29 December 2009
  14. Black Carbon’s Grey Areas: Key Messages from a Yale Workshop”, Bidisha Banerjee, Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, 13 July 2010

(7)  A series about the current state of climate science

  1. When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer (it’s not what you’ve been told)
  2. The IPCC sees the pause in global warming!
  3. The IPCC gets better. Climate alarmists freak-out.
  4. IPCC says “It is likely that the sea level rise has accelerated”. The evidence is flimsy, showing a larger problem
  5. The seas are rising, and have been over ten thousand years. What comes next?

(8)  For More Information about climate change propaganda

For more information see the other FM Reference Pages:

Posts about Climate change propaganda:

  1. An example of important climate change research hidden, lest it spoil the media’s narrative, 22 May 2009
  2. An army of Davids storm the walls of the scientific establishment, 19 June 2009
  3. About those headlines of the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 200
  4. Quote of the day – hidden history for people who rely on the mainstream media for information, 12 February 2010
  5. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
  6. Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
  7. Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010
  8. Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010
  9. More about the forecast for flooded cities in the late 21st century, 16 October 2010
  10. Looking into the past for guidance about warnings of future climate apocalypses, 17 October 2010
  11. Kevin Drum talks about global warming, shows why the Left’s credibility has collapsed, 17 October 2012
  12. Hurricane Sandy asks when did weather become exceptional?, 28 October 2012

37 thoughts on “Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole.


    Above is a fairly informative site on “climate change”. Most scientists don’t argue whether or not the planet is heating up. The question is why; anthropogenic or natural earth weather cycle or combination of both? It is a fairly complex science, and one cannot rely on extremist views from either end of the debate for solid understanding of the issue.

    What causes alarm is that our current ecological system functions with in intricate measurements of all the combined systems. How much change can occur before one or more of those systems fail causing a positive feedback loop?


    • Um, I think any change at all can cause failure and a positive feedback loop. Has happened billions of times in the past all over the earth, happens today, will continue to happen in the future.

      Because the terms are interchangeable.


    • Yes Klem, and people who study climate change are aware of this. It is the time frame they look at. Systems change but within what span of time? If change occurs quickly does it allow for adaptation of that which exists within that particular system? If the parts of the system cannot adapt to the change of their environment within the span of time it is given, it dies out. For example Polar bears did not over a few weeks time decide to turn white and grow in size to live in polar conditions; this adaptation occurred over an extended period of time.


    • gaisrequite,

      Nicely said. Also, much of the propaganda about global warmings (not the professional literature) assumes that the Earth’s climate has been stable in the past. That’s totally false. It’s varied greatly even during the brief moment of humanity’s recorded history, and far more wildly during the past 10 thousand years. Paleoclimatology is just starting to paint a reliable picture of Earth’s past climate, and it’s one of large swings — for reasons not yet well understood.

      Polar Bears have survived as a species during previous warmings. We don’t know what lies ahead, but current data suggests that we can best help them by fighting pollution, habitat loss, and illegal hunting.


  • FM, I have no problem with the argument that Mother Jones sensationalizes. This is almost not worth pointing out. Find me a niche rag that doesn’t.

    I do have a problem with your two claims: “More broadly, both Mother Jones and the NOAA report omit two important facts. That global warming has paused for the past 15 years or so. Anthropogenic CO2 became the dominate cause of warming only for the past (roughly) 60 years. This relatively short-term history (as climate trends go) accounts for the difficulty scientists have attributing current weather to changes in CO2.”

    Global warming has not paused. Keep in mind that the “global warming stopped fifteen years ago” is a re-hash (by David Rose of the DM) of the tired meme “global warming stopped in 1998.” Here’s why the claim is uncritical:

    1. The surface/troposphere accounts for all of 4-5% of the thermal capacity of the climate system. If you’re going to claim that global warming stopped, at least use a significant portion of the climate system as a basis. The oceans make up 92-3% of the climate system’s thermal capacity. They are, as Levitus et al. (2012) points out, continuing to warm, and there has been no parallel ‘hiatus period’.

    2. Global ice mass loss actually accelerated during the HadCRU surface temp ‘hiatus period’. Was it due to black carbon? I’m sure black carbon was a factor, and more so regionally. However, Arctic sea ice volume has declined 33% at winter maximum in just 34 years. Not a lot of sun-black carbon action going on during the winter months. Funder et al. (2011) and Kinnard et al. (2011) find the current 30-year trend in Arctic sea ice extent to be highly unusual. For Kinnard, it is unprecedented in the last 1450 years. For Funder, the rapidity of the decline is unprecedented in the last 10k years, even if the extent has been lower (during the Holocene’s natural climatic optimum around 8-10k years ago). Funder finds sea ice gently trending upward, matching the Arctic temp record of Kaufmann et al. (2009). Black carbon is also not going to contribute much to Arctic surface temp. And, of course, the rapid demise of Arctic sea ice is the major failure of GCMs. It shouldn’t have reached this state for another 60 years. To point out the action of black carbon is in no way to point out a weakened enhanced greenhouse effect.

    3. Global warming has not stopped, if one chooses to look at 95% of the system. Even one does choose just to use a surface/lower trop analysis, why choose Hadley? It has the worst coverage. It does not cover the poles, where polar amplification brings the strongest warming. Even GISTemp doesn’t do a great job at the poles, and it adds about .02C above Hadley for what it does cover.

    4. And, of course, the 15 year claim is a cherry-pick, and yet it serves to highlight something that self-described “climate skeptics” choose to ignore. The 15 years starts around 1997 or late 1996, depending on whose claim it is. Rose, as I recall, went from August 1996 to August 2012. That appears not to be the classic 1998 cherry pick. However, the massive El Nino of 1998 actually started developing in spring of 1997. Move the start date back just one year, and the linear trend almost doubles (1.7x) (play around with it yourself at What’s more interesting about this claim is that measuring from the massive El Nino spike does not produce a negative trend, as one might expect. Instead, the trend is slightly, but not significantly, positive. Temperature has risen from that El Nino spike. The decade of the 2000s was the warmest in the instrumental period, and it occurred while solar was dropping toward the lowest 11-year cycle trough in the instrumental record.

    Now for the second claim: “This relatively short-term history (as climate trends go) accounts for the difficulty scientists have attributing current weather to changes in CO2.”

    Scientists are not having trouble attributing any weather event to global warming. By definition, all weather events and all elements of the climate are dynamically integrated in a variety of ways. If global energy storage changes, all parts of the system will eventually be altered. In other words, if the enhanced greenhouse effect was never enhanced, Sandy would not have occurred in the time and place it did. It may never have formed as the S storm for this year. It may have been the W storm or the F storm. It would be stretching the definition of miraculous for Sandy to have occurred at the same time and place in with- and without-AGW conditions.

    What scientists have trouble with is attributing levels of change with AGW. How much of Sandy’s tremendous strength was due to AGW? An early estimate using the integrated kinetic energy method put Sandy at 222 terajoules as of the morning of Sunday the 28th. That would make it the most powerful tropical cyclone in the modern instrumental period, even if the core winds were not that impressive. Would the unprecedented left turn have occurred? AGW has clearly altered global weather patterns. Weather has a hard time staying the same when the Hadley circulation begins shrinking poleward, and when the jets begin to weaken. And there’s more available water vapor aloft. Those are just a few of the large-scale changes taking place as the globe warms. The question is not “is global warming affecting weather?” The question is “to what degree is global warming affecting weather, and what changes are in store?”


    • dsl350,

      Re: pause in global warming

      I see that you didn’t bother to read the article I cite. If you do so you’ll see this is well-accepted fact in the climate science literature. You are illustrating the very fact I refer to, that good greens consider scientists as AUTHORITY, but only when convenient.

      I suggest that you publish some peer-reviewed literature explaining why they are all wrong. Fame awaits you!


    • (1) One interesting aspect of DSL350’s comment: its structure is exactly that of many by anti-AGW laypeople. They patiently explain why scientists are wrong when they disagree with their dogma. Only science that agrees with them is valid.

      (2) “Scientists are not having trouble attributing any weather event to global warming. ”

      My statement is based on explicit quotes from IPCC reports about the difficulty of attribution, in a post still in draft form. Also, notes about the difficulty of attribution are a commonplace in the relevant peer-reviewed literature.

      DSL350 is of the “make stuff up” school of climate warmist cheerleading.


    • Fabius, I read the post you linked to. I’m assuming that’s what you mean when you say ” If you do so you’ll see this is well-accepted fact in the climate science literature.” Let’s review that claim in light of your linked post.

      1. The Globe & Mail breaks the story!
      I’ve addressed this. The Met Office never released a report that claimed that “global warming has stopped.” Perhaps you’re missing my point about separating surface temp from the trend in total stored energy. You also failed to address the weaknesses of using Had4 to determine anything. And you attribute the story to the Globe and Mail but David Rose of the Daily Mail wrote the story. I addressed Rose’s claims in my post. I went to the data and ran the numbers. I did not just make stuff up.

      A qoute: “The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures. This means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996.”

      That “no discernible” is just making stuff up. Using the ole eyecrometer. And again, claiming that there is a pause in global warming using just CruTem4 is ridiculous.

      As for Jones, remember that he’s being paraphrased. What’s not said is that without an El Nino, the oceans just keep on storing energy and never push it to the atmosphere. El Ninos warm the troposphere but cool the oceans. ENSO is not, however, a source of energy. That is the glaring weakness in Tisdale’s argument, despite his making an interesting case for ENSO acting as a step-release. Jones does point out that 15 years is not significant, and there are several other 5-10 year periods within the last forty years where the trend is actually negative (and strongly so), unlike the 15-year insignificantly positive period in question here.

      Oh, and sea surface temps are a poor indicator of ocean heat content.

      Jones gives a prediction: “I still think that the current decade which began in 2010 will be warmer by about 0.17 degrees than the previous one, which was warmer than the Nineties.” The average anomaly for the 2000s was .453C. For the first 3 years of the 2010s (assuming the last two months stay the same as October for Had4, and assuming that December stays the same as November for GISTemp), the average anomaly is .465, a difference of .012. The numbers for GISTemp are .528 and .57, for a difference of .042. According to the Hadley numbers, Jones will be worried by 2020. According to the GISTemp numbers, Jones will be right on target (and that’s assuming that the warming doesn’t accelerate). The difference? GISTemp includes the poles, where the strongest warming has occurred. You don’t want me to be all unscientific and ignore a significant portion of the data, do you?

      2. The new UK Met Office dataset

      “Most studies date substantial anthropogenic effects after WWII: 1950 for the BEST project, 1960 for the IPCC.”

      Yep. Pasini et al. (2012) (among others) claims detection of the GW signal in the 1940s, but solar isn’t decoupled from surface temp until 1960. There’s nothing controversial about this. Given the nature of the transient climate response and the conditions of the first half of the 20th century, the GW signal should not have been detectable until at least the late 1950s. I’m not sure why you mention this information.

      Update: A prominent climate scientists comments
      I just can’t listen to Curry anymore. She’s only interested in creating an atmosphere of doubt. Note how many times she expresses the idea of uncertainty. And note that she has a book for sale on the very subject of uncertainty. She’s been confronted endlessly about her fence-riding, and she rarely responds. She fails to note that AMO lags global temp by at least a month, which means it’s a fairly rapid responder and it doesn’t initiate warming. It’s also an oscillation, not a source of energy.

      Update: the Met Office replies
      Saying just what I said, and nowhere saying that global warming has stopped.

      “Repeat: “during the past 140 years the global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC” (1.4ºF).” Not yet the disaster commonly described in the news media; as yet not an unusual temperature variation in terms of the past few thousand years of history. Also, it’s difficult to assess the seriousness of this without know the precision of the estimates. Measuring global temperature (especially sea surfaces) for 140 must have quite large error bars.”

      Who can account for mainstream media and the crap they spew? However, the next claim is false. It is unusual because of the mechanism producing the trend, and the current temp is arguably higher than at any point during the Holocene: (yes, it’s Wiki, but Wiki is just the messenger in this case — read the summary). It’s unusual to warm when both solar output and orbital forcing are trying to cool us.

      Yes, there are error bars, and the error bars are quite large when we get back into the 1800s. That’s why the theory of global warming is not based on the surface temp record. It helps confirm, but it does not form the basis of the theory. It’s not “it’s warming; it must be CO2” but instead “increasing CO2 will increase energy storage, as confirmed in lab and field; let’s see how it plays out on the surface.”

      Global Sea Surface temperatures
      I’m not sure what dataset Bob is using. As I said above, SST is not OHC, so let’s not confuse the two. According to Had_SST3, the trend for 1980-2012 is .168C per decade, and for 1998-2012, .137C per decade. you can play with the data yourself with the recently released and quite excellent tool at SkS:

      The satellite temperature record
      Not sure what you’re trying to point out here. The TMT (mid-troposphere) analysis is going to be quite a bit cooler than surface/lower trop. RSS is actually cooler than that now — .079K per decade. Lower trop is .132K per decade. The lower stratosphere continues to cool as well, partially the result of the enhanced GHG effect.

      Roy’s graph is a bit of rhetoric. Why include the sinusoidal when he knows there’s no physical mechanism to account for it? Roy playing games.

      Early articles about the warming pause
      Again, why call it a “global warming pause”? It’s only a decrease in the rate of warming. The trend is not flat, and it’s only insignificant if the start date is carefully chosen. Even where the trend is .008C per year, that’s about twice the rate of PETM event warming. Insignificant!

      Jones was very careful and honest in that interview, yet no one in the blogosphere felt any sort of resistance to taking him out of context. I don’t think Latif is saying what you think he is saying. Piers Corbyn has claimed that CO2 does not absorb/emit in the thermal infrared range. He has been proven wrong by tens of thousands of experiments and instrumental measurements in the field. He has no credibility.

      Is this cherry-picking the historical data?
      Uhhh . . . read what Curry says very carefully. She is a master fence-rider. What she actually says is that, yes, it is cherry-picking if you’re willing to use an insignificant period of time to make a claim about global warming.

      Update: For more information: other studies
      I note you left out Foster & Rahmstorf (2011), which does not fit either category.

      a. a zero trend has not been observed.
      b. Yep. Does it mean “global warming has stopped”? Nope.
      c. Note that Cane’s piece is an opinion letter and has not been peer-reviewed. Had it been, someone would have pointed out the trends in OHC, and Cane would have re-written “pause in global warming.” The rest of the comment is useful.
      d. Apparently, Kaufmann hadn’t yet read Foster & Rahmstorf (2011). However, F&R still doesn’t explain the discrepancy between OHC/ice mass loss and surface temp.
      e. Ahhh, Meehl offers a mechanism — consistent with AGW by the way.
      f. Useless: “geez, the climate is complex. It needs to be studied more.”
      f(2). Yep. Again, significant for GISTemp and not quite for Had4.
      g. Still with the AMO. See Foster on AMO — Foster of Foster & Rahmstorf (2011). Oh, and he’s a statistician.

      My view of the climate science debate
      Did you read the actual studies I linked? You claim “One interesting aspect of DSL350′s comment: its structure is exactly that of many by anti-AGW laypeople. They patiently explain why scientists are wrong when they disagree with their dogma. Only science that agrees with them is valid.” You realize, don’t you, that you’re doing this exact thing. So it comes down to whose science is better. You’ve quoted from very few actual studies. In my comment, I link to more published, peer-reviewed studies than you quote.

      As for attribution of weather, show me “explicit quotes from IPCC reports about the difficulty of attribution, in a post still in draft form.” Show me that the IPCC makes a distinction between GW-caused events and non-GW-caused events. There is no distinction. Add energy, and the entire system changes.


    • dsl30,

      I don’t know who you are, or why you believe you should be considered a greater authority than the many leading climate scientists cited. All you have shown is one of the great rules of climate propaganda: Scientists are authorities, until they disagree with green dogma. Then they are clowns. You provide much evidence, but this sums it up:

      “I just can’t listen to Curry anymore.”

      How sad for you. Let’s look at her CV.


      • 1982 Ph.D., The University of Chicago, Geophysical Sciences

      Work History

      • 2002-now – Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
      • 1992-2002 – Professor, U of Colorado-Boulder, Dept of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Program in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Environmental Studies Program
      • 1989-1992 – Associate Professor, Dept of Meteorology, Penn State
      • 1986-1989 – Assistant Professor, Dept of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue U
      • 1982-1986 – Assistant Scientist, Dept of Meteorology, Uof Wisconsin-Madison


      • 2004 – Fellow, American Geophysical Union
      • 2002 – NASA Group Achievement Award for CAMEX-4
      • 1997 – Elected Councilor, American Meteorological Society
      • 1995 – Fellow, American Meteorological Society”
      • 1992 – Henry G. Houghton Award, the American Meteorological Society
      • 1988 – Presidential Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation Councillor

      Professional Activities (last five years)

      World Meteorological Organization / International Council of Scientific Unions / International Ocean Commission / World Climate Research Programme

      • Global Energy and Water Experiment (GEWEX) Radiation Panel (1994-2004)
      • GEWEX Cloud System Studies (GCSS) Science Steering Group (1998-2004)
      • Chair, GCSS Working Group on Polar Clouds (1998-2004)
      • Chair, GEWEX Radiation Panel SEAFLUX Project (1999-2004)
      • Science Steering Group, Arctic Climate System (ACSYS) Programme (1994-2000)
      • Steering Committee, IGAC/SOLAS Air-Ice Chemical Interactions (2003- )

      American Meteorological Society

      • Executive Committee of the Council (1998-2000)
      • Councillor (1997-2000)
      • Awards Committee (1995-1997)
      • Editor, Journal of Applied Meteorology (1993-1996)

      National Science Foundation

      • Panel to review National Center for Atmospheric Research (2002)
      • Co-Chair, Science Working Group, Surface Heat Balance of the Arctic (SHEBA) (1993-1996)
      • Atmospheric Sciences Observing Facilities Advisory Panel (1994-1997)
      • Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Steering Committee (1993-1995)

      Department of Energy

      • Executive Committee, Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program (93-96) Chair (1997-2000) and Member (1993-2000), Science Steering Committee, ARM Alaska site

      National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

      • Lead Mission Scientist, FIRE Arctic Cloud Experiment (1996-1999)
      • Technology Subcommittee of the Earth System Science and Applications Advisory Committee (1997-2003)
      • Review Team, Earth System Science Pathfinder Missions (1998-1999)

      And so forth. More honors and responsible positions, long list of publications in major peer-reviewed journals, etc.

      Come back when you’ve published your work in a peer-reviewed publication.


    • dsl30,

      “I note you left out Foster & Rahmstorf (2011), which does not fit either category. a. a zero trend has not been observed.”

      False. They analyze the data, attempting to determine the underlying warming trend after adjusting for other influences. In other words, they explain what caused the pause — and show what temperatures would be without the other factors. Perhaps they are right; it’s a subject of active research. Time will eventually provide a certain answer.

      Excerpts from “Global temperature evolution 1979–2010“, Grant Foster and Stefan Rahmstorf, Environmental Research Letters, 6 December 2011. Bold emphasis added.


      … The adjusted data show warming at very similar rates to the unadjusted data, with smaller probable errors, and the warming rate is steady over the whole time interval. In all adjusted series, the two hottest years are 2009 and 2010. …


      … When the fluctuations in temperature over the last 32 years (which tend to obscure the continuation of the global warming trend) are accounted for, it becomes obvious that there has not been any cessation, or even any slowing, of global warming over the last decade (or at any time during this time span). In other words, any deviations from an unchanging linear warming trend are explained by the influence of ENSO, volcanoes and solar variability.

      … To look for changes in the warming rates over time, we computed the rate in adjusted data sets for different time intervals, for all start years from 1979 to 2005 and ending with the present. The results (figure 6) show no sign of a change in the warming rate during the period of common coverage. …


      …This analysis confirms the strong influence of known factors on short-term variations in global temperature, including ENSO, volcanic aerosols and to a lesser degree solar variation. It also emphasizes that LT temperature is affected by these factors much more strongly than surface temperature. …


    • I see. So you get to post publicly in an area for which you have no expertise, yet you wish to deny me the same opportunity.

      You say: “I don’t know who you are, or why you believe you should be considered a greater authority than the many leading climate scientists cited.”

      Apparently, you misread my comments. I am no authority. I am guided by the science. What I repeated here is simply a representation of the science. I gave links to the science. You said scientists have said that “global warming has stopped.” Only one of your cited sources has made such a claim, and it was in an opinion piece.

      You say further: “All you have shown is one of the great rules of climate propaganda: Scientists are authorities, until they disagree with green dogma. Then they are clowns.”

      I see. Well, if you’re into clowns, you’re going to be disappointed. Apparently, there are only 32 clowns — the 32 authors of the 24 papers that explicitly deny anthropogenic global warming. These 32 are set against the 36,000+ that accept it. Now, I know what you might say next: “I didn’t deny anthropogenic global warming. All I said was that global warming had stopped.” You did reject the theory by implication, though. In arguing that global warming has stopped (for this is the only possible reason you’d combine such sources with such rhetoric), you’re arguing that ocean heat content has not rise steadily and significantly (see Levitus et al.2012), and you’re arguing that global ice mass loss has not accelerated during the hiatus period in question. None of the black carbon papers argue for black carbon as a replacement for enhanced GHG forcing. Had you taken those factors into account, you could not, in good conscience, argue that GW has stopped.

      I’ve spent a lot of time over the last four years studying the science to make sure that I have an opinion that stands on solid ground–or as solid as science gets, which is never absolute. I am professionally interested in the subject because it is a global issue, is an issue that requires a great deal of study to properly understand, is a good critical thinking test, and is an issue for which everyone has an opinion (both members of the general public and professional opinion shapers like yourself). When I started out studying the issue, I was wrong — a lot. I was fine with that. I kept asking questions of the people who were doing the research. I kept reading the science — not the interpretations of mainstream media. There are areas that I do not yet understand. There are areas that I once did not understand. I understand that you’ve invested a lot of a certain type of social capital in your publications. I hope that action hasn’t frozen your thought into ideology. My mind is open to change. In fact, I very much want to find a chink in the armor of the theory of AGW. Given the paleo analogues to the current situation, no sane person should want AGW to be true. Yet not wanting it to be true is a pretty crappy reason for painting over the science with crude graffiti.

      You complain about my characterization of Curry. I know Curry’s credentials. I also know that she’s pretty much useless for opinion, unless you want to hear, “well maybe. It depends on how you look at it.” She even tried to put her work on the BEST project–which was pretty straightforward in its results–on the fence. She deals in the commodity of doubt. Doubt is good, unless it becomes the driving interest. Curry, for example, is quite willing to use her blog to publish garbage from the likes of Nicola Scafetta, who specializes in curve-fitting exercises designed to look good to the public, even if they have no physical basis. Why she would do this is a good question for a critical thinking exercise.

      Finally, you call my comment about F&R “false.” You said, in the post in question, “Note the surge of articles about the pause in 2010 and especially 2011. They come in two kinds. Once assesses the statistical significance of the pause. The second attempt to explain the pause in terms of known climate models. While significant, these are exercises in fitting — matching the models to new data — and do not validate the models as would successful predictions.”

      F&R was performed as a response to claims about a “pause.” It does not assess the statistical significance of the “pause.” It does not attempt to explain the pause in terms of known climate models. It is a regression-based analysis using existing data. No GCM was used in the methodology. I believe there was some comparison of results to GCM-based projections.

      I’m not sure what your point was in providing the snippets and boldings from F&R. What it shows is simply that the enhanced greenhouse effect is as strong as expected, but that other forcings may have temporarily masked the warming signal in the surface/lower trop time series. The warming is still there. CO2 has not stopped doing what it does.


    • “So you get to post publicly in an area for which you have no expertise, yet you wish to deny me the same opportunity.”

      I said nothing like that. I was gently pointing out that you have no visible expertise in this area, let alone to critique the work of actual professionals.

      Most of your posts are assertions are about things which I doubt you understand. Mine are almost all direct quotes from the work of climate scientists (as in in this post). That you cannot tell the difference between the two is sad, but probably not treatable.

      Your disdain for Prof Curry (a highly respected climate scientist) tells me all I need to know about your “analysis”.

      As for F&R, I quoted from it to show that it does not (as you said) prove there is no pause, but instead attempts to explain the cause of the pause. That you do not understand this simple thing is more evidence IMO that there is no point to reading you. Others can draw their own conclusions.

      You do, however, have great self-esteem!


  • I would question about influence of weakening of magnetic field that deflects universe radiations on global warming. No doubt that some of global warming is anthropogenic, how much is the question.
    But how much the weakening magnetic field is contributing to it? I believe it can not be easily calculated but it should be atempted at least.


    • Jordan,

      Do you mean weakening of the solar magnetic field (perhaps you’re thinking of the Livingston – Penn theory)? Or of the Earth’s magnetic field?

      The most commonly suggested frontier (ie, on edge of known science) is the incidence of the solar magnetic field (heliospheric magnetic field): stronger means fewer galactic cosmic rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere — perhaps reducing the rate of cloud formation. This has long been discussed as a possibility, and has generated some interesting research in the past few years. But so far it remains a minority view among the relevant specialists.

      This is a sub-set of the large body of research about solar effects on Earth’s climate. An exciting frontier area of climate science, one of many!


    • Yes, i meant earth’s magnetic field. There is proof that is weaker today then average. It reflects galactic radiation and with it solar radiation, not reducing light strength, but sun’s other radiations.


  • Fabius,

    For a passionate, but more rational discussion of the Greenland ice melt, go to the Science Friday interview with {photographer} James Balog concerning his movie Chasing Ice. A description of the interview can be found at “The Ice Chasers“, Science Friday (broadcast on PBR), 29 November 2012 — and the interview itself is at “Photographer James Balog on Climate Change and ‘Chasing Ice’“, Science Friday, 30 November 2012.

    I found the photos of the three year melt at the Solheim Glacier to be particularly frightening. I’ve seen the impact of glacial melt with my own eyes and know that it is real. This interview and the related material have convinced me that the melt rate has accelerated dramatically. Without getting into issues of the causes, I am convinced that we are not acting fast enough to prepare for the consequences of predicable sea level rise. That is the real lesson of Sandy.


    • John Slater,

      I am sure you are and educated and intelligent person, but that is one very strange comment.

      (1) “For a passionate, but more rational discussion of the Greenland ice melt, go to the Science Friday interview with {photographer} James Balog concerning his movie Chasing Ice.”

      I gives quotes and graphics from a major new report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You refer to an interview with a photographer. I think you’re unclear on the meaning of “more rational”.

      (2) “I found the photos of the three year melt at the Solheim Glacier to be particularly frightening.”

      Why? Do you know much about the historical range of Solheim Glacier during the past few thousand years? The climate has been unstable for the past several hundred thousand years. The rate of glacial retreat in Iceland is roughly similar to that of the 1930’s (eg, “Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century“, Nature Geoscience, January 2012).

      (3) “I’ve seen the impact of glacial melt with my own eyes and know that it is real.”

      Does anyone disagree? The world has been warming for two centuries. Anthropogenic CO2 has been a major driver for the past 60 years.

      (4) “This interview and the related material have convinced me that the melt rate has accelerated dramatically.”

      I suggest you find more reliable sources of information than a photographer. The degree of total melting of the world’s icecaps is a subject of active research. More accurate calibration of satellite sensors might be necessary to find an answer (The Geodetic Reference Antenna in Space (GRASP): A Mission to Enhance the Terrestrial Reference Frame). Time will answer this, eventually.

      (5) “Without getting into issues of the causes, I am convinced that we are not acting fast enough to prepare for the consequences of predicable sea level rise.”

      Without knowing the cause — the relative effect of the various factors — then reliable forecasts are not possible. The warming might reverse. We might slip into a new ice age (which will happen eventually).

      (6) “That is the real lesson of Sandy.”

      Agreed. It’s part of the large-scale systematic underinvestment by the US in its critical infrastructure.


    • Just a few quick notes:

      1. “We might slip into a new ice age”, we are already in an ice age, this is just a momentary warming that will last roughly 10 to 15 thousand years. Slip into a “glacial period” those last roughly 100 thousand years.

      2. ” the consequences of predicable sea level rise.” There is not that much ice left, the major consequences of ice melt happened thousands of years ago as is evident by the number of ancient civilizations now underwater ( no I am not referring to Atlantis) this is a fun site about that.

      Regardless of why the world is heating up, I think the crux of the issue is that it is heating up and that means the weather will naturally change (warmer temperatures IS the weather).

      Crop failure is probably a greater concern to us then ice melt. The ice melt simply allows us to see the rate at which our environment is changing.


    • Gaia,

      Your comment about and ongoing Ice Age is interesting in many ways. It appears that the development of agriculture and modern civilization are tied to the last major glacial retreat and some observers believe that continued success of our civilization depends on the tempature moderation the world has seen since then. I have taken to a flip observation when the subject of climate change comes us that we are actually in an Ice Age and engaged in a massive terraforming epoch, injection CO2 in the atmosphere to prevent a return to intolerably cold conditions. The purpose of the comment is to get people to open their mind to the complexity of the topic of climate. Sounds like you may feel that this is actually a serious possibility.


    • LOL, not to take your comment lightly, but a question that is on some minds and one I was considering asking. Weather or not the CO2 levels we produce can delay the inevitable. That being the next 100 thousand year winter (I call it that) or glaciation? I do not know the answer to that question but it seems logical in my mind?


  • Research continues to determine the rate of melting of the world’s icecaps.

    (1) NASA’s proposal for a new satellite to provide more accurate calibration of satellite data: The Geodetic Reference Antenna in Space (GRASP): A Mission to Enhance the Terrestrial Reference Frame

    (2) Here’s one of the many studies: “Mapping Greenland’s mass loss in space and time“, Christopher Harig1 and Frederik J. Simons, PNAS, 19 November 2012 — This article finds loss rates substantially lower than some other estimates, and no accelleration.

    The melting of polar ice sheets is a major contributor to global sea-level rise. Early estimates of the mass lost from the Greenland ice cap, based on satellite gravity data collected by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, have widely varied. Although the continentally and decadally averaged estimated trends have now more or less converged, to this date, there has been little clarity on the detailed spatial distribution of Greenland’s mass loss and how the geographical pattern has varied on relatively shorter time scales. Here, we present a spatially and temporally resolved estimation of the ice mass change over Greenland between April of 2002 and August of 2011. Although the total mass loss trend has remained linear, actively changing areas of mass loss were concentrated on the southeastern and northwestern coasts, with ice mass in the center of Greenland steadily increasing over the decade.


  • A good summary of one area on the cutting edge of climate research, showing some of the unknowns being investigated: “Stratospheric uncertainty” by Judith Curry, 9 December 2012.

    “The new data call into question our understanding of observed stratospheric temperature trends and our ability to test simulations of the stratospheric response to emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances.”


    • With the fundamental message here:

      “Although less widely discussed in either scientific or policy circles, stratospheric cooling is as fundamental as surface warming as evidence of the influence of anthropogenic emissions on the climate system.”

      In other words, there is no doubt for those scientists that
      a) the climate is changing;
      b) this is due to activities by mankind;
      c) climate is a complex dynamic system and the effects of all the CO2, O3 and other substances spewed by mankind’s activities are massive and wildly surprising.

      We are messing up with a complex, non-linear system, and are already seeing both expected consequences and completely unexpected ones. Which are fundamental evidence of the influence of anthropogenic emissions — not of some exogenous factor.


    • guest,

      That’s true, but the last pont deserves more attention. We emitting gases and particles, plus changing land use. Computing the net effect is difficult, esp overlaid on natural events of varying lengths and magnitudes: rhythmic cycles, non-rhythmic cycles (eg, ENSO), and events (eg, volcanoes). Many of these things off-set one another, in different ways to different degrees.

      Looking at the brief period in which our influences have become very strong (ie, roughly since WWII), it’s difficult to determine what is the net climate result of anthropogenic effects. The most recent IPCC pointed to temperature as the most certain, followed by change in precipitation patterns as somewhat certain (I don’t recall exactly how they expressed that).

      Here’s the money paragraphs from the most recent IPCC statement on this subject, their “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation“, approved on 18 November 2011:

      Confidence in projecting changes in the direction and magnitude of climate extremes depends on many factors, including the type of extreme, the region and season, the amount and quality of observational data, the level of understanding of the underlying processes, and the reliability of their simulation in models. Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain.

      For projected changes by the end of the 21st century, either model uncertainty or uncertainties associated with emissions scenarios used becomes dominant, depending on the extreme. Low-probability, high-impact changes associated with the crossing of poorly understood climate thresholds cannot be excluded, given the transient and complex nature of the climate system. Assigning ‘low confidence’ for projections of a specific extreme neither implies nor excludes the possibility of changes in this extreme.


  • Fabius,

    You remain in a war with the forces of public persuasion employed by the media. I understand your concern there. The public can certainly be manipulated. In the background tools are being developed for social media analysis and manipulation that are more powerful than Mr. Goebbels most outlandish dreams.

    That said, art can often get at the truth of an issue far more effectively than a library of scientific discourse and it can certainly reach a much broader audience. i raised the issue of glacial melt to learn more about its issues and i have. Thanks for the input.

    Certainly we could be experiencing an intermediate short term warming episode. I’ve been watching Dust Bowl. I’m sure that, in the 1930’s, many people were convinced that the plains had been irreparably destroyed, but in the end weather cycles, better farming methods and concerted soil conservation efforts turned the corner and restored the productivity of much of the land.

    Gaiasrequite’s comment on crop impact is certainly well taken. The Mississippi Delta is beginning to feel the impact of water table depletion, which could have profound impact on the agricultural productivity in the region in coming decades. Don’t know whether that applies to the corn regions to the north. Would be curious whether there is any research on that subject.


    • Slater,

      I agree on all points.

      As I have said so often, we face extremely serious environmental problems that are obscured by the wars over CO2. Chemical pollution (including effects of exotic chemicals, such as hormones). Destruction of the world’s fisheries from pollution and over-fishing (see this post). Exhaustion of aquifers (see this post). Exhaustion and pollution of farmlands (see this post).

      All of these problems can be fixed, or at least mitigated. But only if we try, or at least plan to try.


  • Having done research on climate in geological rather than human time frames, it seems based on what we know so far, that we are still in a relatively cool period in Earth’s history. Periods such as the cretaceous were substantially warmer than today, with absolutely no permanent ice near the poles and yet with an immense level of biodiversity. I think far too many climate change alarmists have this vague notion that the world will becomes some sort of blazing hot desert.

    The real problem comes with a very rapid climate change that results in substantial sea level rise over one or two human generations. This could see the major coastal cities be inundated and force massive relocation and disruptions to human civilization.

    Pursing more advanced and renewable forms of energy and trying to protect the environment are worthwhile and prudent goals in of themselves, we do not need to abandon reason and pursue sensationalism or a simplification of science in order to convince people to be “green”.


    • “The real problem comes with a very rapid climate change that results in substantial sea level rise over one or two human generations. This could see the major coastal cities be inundated and force massive relocation and disruptions to human civilization. ”

      That’s certainly possible, from melting of the ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica. It does not appear to have happened during other recent warming periods, if I recall the literature correctly. After all, the year-around temperature in Antartica (ignoring the margins exposed to the sea) will remain far below freezing. So increased global humidity => more snowfall => increased ice mass. But many scientists believe otherwise.

      The current data on sea level rise and ice cap mass remains uncertain due to limitations of satellite data. The caps’ margins are melting, for sure. There is debate about any detectable increase in the rate of sea level rise. Research continues.


  • Stop being a global warming denier. There’s no real point to your denialist articles here.

    You list a whole bunch of goofy quibbles, some of which are irrelevancies and others of which are simply untrue (the shrinkage of the Greenland ice sheets is *entirely* due to global warming, in fact), and then act as if this calls something into doubt.

    Which it doesn’t. The conclusions remain exactly the same — global warming is real, it’s caused by fossil fuel burning, and it’s causing effects which will be disastrous for humanity — but you’re trying to create confusion in people’s minds.

    It’s agitprop, and it’s beneath you to print this sort of agitprop.


    • “Stop being a global warming denier.”

      Poor baby! All that science too much for you? Perhaps you should go elsewhere where the reading is less difficult.


  • Research by the Norwegian Polar Institute about the health of the polar bear population in the Barents Sea.

    Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) Parameters:

    Polar bear dens and autumn sea ice coverage at Kongsøya
    Polar bear dens and autumn sea ice coverage at Hopen
    Sea ice cover around important denning areas
    Cub production pr adult female
    Proportion of females with cubs
    Litter size
    Body condition of adult males


    The lines in the middle of each box show the median value, and the box segments and lines above and below the median each cover ca 25% of the data points. Outliers are represented by small circles.

    There is no significant trend over time. However, a major part of the interannual variation can be explained by variation in the Arctic Oscillation (AO). High values of AO (milder weather) at the time of capture correlate with a lower body condition index (leaner animals).


  • If they make big freezers which can go in the effected areas that could create large icebergs charged by wind solar I think that it’s possible. I have ideas how it could work and it might not cost a lot to make. Also try and get light reflected shelter to reflect the sun rays especially on the melting areas to allow them to re freeze. If they can invent a rocket and all other technical things they should be able to invent what I can picture.


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