Sea ice globally is at a shocking low extent, thanks to record declines in both the Arctic and Antarctic

By Tom Yulsman | December 6, 2016 10:13 pm

Arctic sea extent in the Arctic during November is shown on the left, and in the Antarctic on the right. The blue lines show the average extents for the month. (Source:, University of Maine)

Dramatic losses in both the Arctic and Antarctic drove sea ice extent to record lows in both regions during November, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has announced.

In the Arctic, sea ice extent averaged 753,000 square miles below the long-term average for November. This set a new record low for the month, which extends back 38 years to 1979.

That makes it seven record lows in the Arctic this year. And we’ve still got one more month left.

Meanwhile, the deficit in Antarctica stood at 699,000 square miles. This completely blew away the previous record low for the month, set in 1986.

Put the numbers from the two hemispheres together and you get a total sea ice deficit for the month equivalent in extent to nearly half of the land area of the lower 48 states of the United States.

 time series of daily global sea ice extent (Arctic plus Antarctic, month and first day of month on the x axis) shows global extent tracking below the 1981 to 2010 average. (Source: W. Meier, NASA Cryospheric Sciences, GSFC)

The red line in the time series above shows the the daily global sea ice extent for the Arctic and Antarctic compared to the long-term average, indicated by the blue line. (Source: W. Meier, NASA Cryospheric Sciences, GSFC)

For a couple of reasons, I hesitated including that aggregated figure. First, the factors that influence sea ice in the two hemispheres are different. Moreover, the Arctic is in winter now, whereas the Antarctic is experiencing summer. With this in mind, an NSIDC press release today cautions that “it is unlikely that record low conditions in the two hemispheres are connected.”

But I decided to go with it anyway because there is one background factor that is undeniably common to both hemispheres: Humankind’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing more and more energy to build up in the climate system, resulting in a long-term rise in temperatures around the world.

The specific factors affecting sea ice in the Arctic included an unusual jet stream pattern during the month, according to the NSIDC report. This resulted in southerly winds that brought warmer air than normal into the Arctic. These winds also pushed ice northward, helping to reduce ice extent in the Barents Sea. In addition, warm water from the Atlantic managed to circulate onto Arctic continental shelf areas.

“It looks like a triple whammy—a warm ocean, a warm atmosphere, and a wind pattern all working against the ice in the Arctic,” says NSIDC director Mark Serreze.

The result: Exceptionally warm sea surface and air temperatures in the Arctic that retarded the growth of sea ice in key areas.

“The October freeze-up was very slow and that continued through much of November,” says Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, quoted in a story today at NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Sea ice actually retreated in the Barents Sea during November — a startling occurrence given that the wintertime polar night has settled over the region, and frigid temperatures should be encouraging rapid growth of ice.

This animation shows the daily extent of Arctic sea ice in 2016 and every year since 1979. (Source: NASA Earth Observatory)

Daily extent of Arctic sea ice in 2016, and every other year since 1979. (Source: NASA Earth Observatory)

The animation above illustrates the long-term decline in Arctic sea since the start of the satellite observation era in 1979. It also dramatizes just how much sea ice extent has plunged in both October and November of this year.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, a rapid and dramatic decline in sea ice extent occurred in November, as this graph illustrates:

Monthly November Antarctic sea ice extent for 1979 to 2016. Until recently, extent had been growing slowly. Now it has plunged. (Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center)

Monthly November Antarctic sea ice extent for 1979 to 2016.  (Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center)

With some obvious ups and downs, ice extent around Antarctica had been growing slowly since 1979. But look at that plunging line showing what happened in November. I can’t think of any word to describe this other than shocking.

Temperatures were 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal around much of Antarctica during November, according to the NSIDC. In addition, winds circling the Antarctic continent shifted rapidly, bringing winds from the north. These compressed areas of low-concentration sea ice, reducing the overall extent.

“The Arctic has typically been where the most interest lies, but this month, the Antarctic has flipped the script and it is southern sea ice that is surprising us,” says Walt Meier.

  • OWilson

    In other news, the record Polar Vortex continues across Eurasia, records are being broken in China, India, Russia, and Scandinavia.

    U.S tornados and hurricane are down, and record cold weather is forecast across the U.S.

    All combining to keep the gradual global warming to less than a degree per century.

    And our beautiful Blue Marble, continues to keep on truckin’; (pardon the pun!)

    This is a Public Service message.

    I am posting this to reassure the poor snowflakes who might get the idea that the “End Is Nigh”, and contemplate suicide, or worse, “going postal!” and endangering the lives of their fellow citizens. :)

    • Nosmokewithout

      So the obvious question seems to evade you.

      • OWilson

        To paraphrase Boy George today, “‘We’re all clinging to a rock, and (why do) some people have a better grip than others?”

        • Nosmokewithout

          And still you evade the obvious question! Keep averting your eyes!

          • OWilson

            With all this rapid melting they have been talking about all these years, how come we still have polar ice, and the Northwest Passage is presently blocked?

          • Nosmokewithout

            No scientist ever said there would be no polar ice. If you don’t know that you have not read carefully around this subject. If you did know that, and I suspect you do, you are not debating in an honest manner.

            The Arctic can demonstrably be shown to be losing ice volume year on year. The graphs of the decline show a rapidity of ice loss not part of any natural cycle. I see no respite in that trend and more and more the arctic ocean is being exposed to sunlight each summer the ocean heat content increases with the temperature differential between polar and temperate latitudes decreasing. Yes Asia is suffering record cold, yes Chicago suffers severe cold weather. This will allow some to trun their eyes from the truth that the polar regions are in trouble. We risk unleashing far worse than already has been seen. None of us, you, I, polar scientists, Donald Trump or the Mufti of Timbuktu can predict what will occur if that ice disappears of larger areas of the Arctic. I doubt the wisdom those (like yourself) who prophesy benign outcomes and dismiss the risk. You seem far too concerned to make any changes to your lifestyle for the sake of the natural world. Selfishness id rife in the world, and it saddens me to see humans excusing their behaviour by denying the damage we are doing to this planet. You are just one of many, using the prediction of some to deride the warnings we are being given by the vast majority of scientists.

          • OWilson

            I believe that polar ice will grow and shrink like it has done for the past 400,000 years during at least 6 “Ice Ages”.

            Whether I ride a bike, or use my car!

            You have a choice. Adapt to the planet’s variable climate, or borrow more of your grandchildren’s legacy to send to the U.N. to distribute to such tin pot genocidal dictators as Robert Mugabe, who is one of the first in line, for “climate reparations”.

            I am pro choice! :)

          • Nosmokewithout

            Earths temperature rises and falls by approximately 7 degrees over the cycle between ice ages. Since we came out of the last ice age, were the rate of temperature rise to match the rise over the last century, global temperature would be 70 degrees C warmer now than they are.

            I would suggest your argument is complete and utter hogwash!

            What is happening now is more that “variability”. Your obsession with Robert Mugabe bizarre, and your relationship with your wallet unhealthy!

            But you keep looking the other way! Perhaps you should read some Edward O Wilson and learn something about life on our planet and humanity’s relationship with it!

          • OWilson

            No big deal! :)

            Where I live the temperature can vary in one day 50 F and we manage to adapt :)

            And yes Virginia, I do like to keep my wallet away from thieves.

            And yes, Mugabe is actually a genocidal dictator who the U.N. (the thieves) want to give $1,500,000,000 per year of your borrowed National Debt, because he’s been told that my SUV is the cause of all his troubles.

            He also thinks some of us are stupid enough to sign up our grandchlidrens legacy, borrow money, add it to the National Debt and give it to him, so they can feel good about themselves.

            The sad part he he is right!

            He’s smarter than the lot of you warmers put together!

            Sell you car if you have one, and send your money to the U.N.

            It’s OK with me! :)

    • Mark R Horne

      Your point of sarcasm is noted. You might enjoy Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”. I can respect that we might all draw different conclusions from evidence. This article discusses sea ice melt. Are you suggesting that the measurements are wrong? Why do you feel that way? Are you suggesting polar ice is not in retreat over the past few decades? What evidence can you present that contradicts the findings shared in this article? Look into the reasons for the record polar vortex and high snowfall in the US, you’ll find they are related to N. Polar ice melt and to increased H2O carrying capacity of warmer air. Also, I want to caution both climate change deniers and those who need no further convincing about climate change, that isolated weather events are not evidence of climate change. Climate and weather are related but very different.

      I struggle with why so many are easily willing to dismiss facts, findings, and conclusions drawn from scientific method. The only thing that makes sense to me is that those who do dismiss science on climate change are generally the same people who have been judging others harshly for what they perceive to be a lack of personal responsibility. If these climate deniers did, in fact, admit they believed the science, they would be forced to, themselves, take personal responsibility. Climate change denial is a smoke screen to avoid taking personal responsibility.

      OWilson, I welcome your respectful dialogue and look forward to the results of your research on the current position of the polar vortex and recent snows in Chicago, as well as the polar ice cap disappearance. What are you thoughts on personal responsibility with respect to Climate Change?

      • OWilson

        I have no problem with he few hundredths of a degree of warming recorded by the satellite record.

        I am saddened that our climate has become one of the main proxies in the war between left and right political movements.

        I am skeptical that politicians and their appointed heads of the Depts (of both sides) that collect, record, interpret and adjust the raw data, are human, and, as we have seen, government agencies can exaggerate, lie, routinely destroy records, crash hard drives, and even Plead the Fifth.

        The few hundredth of a degree, 0.44 over the satellite era of 37 years is given with no margin of error, and even without that projecting to 2100, still only gives less that 1 degree of warming. And that is if we ignore variablity.

        We are also asked to ignore the fact that in open chaotic systems like weather, and climate, it is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty, a specific temperature much less politically plan one.

        We should be familiar with the scientific and meteorological rule that the further out the prediction, the less reliable it becomes.

        The gross exaggeration and alarmism by its proponents, is a sure sign to all thoughtful people, that borrowing further trillions of dollars for the U.N. to distribute as they see fit, to third world tin pot dictators, is not a scientific way to control our climate.

        The fact that they ignore science and data which tell us that Co2 is literally greening the earth, and that world food production is setting all time records, tells me we are not getting the full story.

        But hey, its only my opinion. I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade, or convert anybody.

      • RealOldOne2

        “I can respect that we might all draw different conclusions from evidence.”
        Can you really? Then why do you use such offensive and false name calling as“I want to caution both climate change deniers … If these climate deniers” ?

        That’s not respectful. And it’s not an accurate description of those of us who don’t believe that humans are the primary cause of climate change or don’t believe that we are not facing a planetary climate crisis or emergency. We don’t deny that the climate changes or that there is a climate? We just draw a different conclusion from the evidence. Your tarring us with Holocaust denial label is totally inappropriate and not respectful.

        The graph of Antarctic sea ice in this article looks more like a failing instrument, similar to a few years ago when the ENVISat sea level satellite failed. Look at the first graph in this article:

        Looking at the entire satellite datasets of sea ice, there is certainly no “death spiral” as often claimed by alarmists, nor any cause for alarm. There is not empirical evidence that anything other than natural variation is going on here:

        Polar sea ice has had similar natural variations before: “The huge warming in the Arctic which started in the 1920s and lasted for almost two decades is one of the most spectacular climate events of the twentieth century.” – Bengtsson(2004) ‘The Early Twentieth-Century Warming in the Arctic – A Possible Mechanism’.

        Antarctic ice began retreating at the end of the Little Ice Age centuries ago: “Some great world change is taking place on the Antarctic continent. … the Great Ice Barrier which fronts the continent with a wall of ice for 250 miles has receded at least 30 miles since it was first seen and surveyed. … it appears to be continuing its century-long process of shrinking; and that process may have been going on for centuries.” – 1932,

        “I struggle with why so many are easily willing to dismiss facts, findings, an conclusions drawn from scientific method.”

        The problem is that many of those “findings” are not facts nor drawn from the “scientific method” of empirical data. They are conclusions drawn from improper use of statistics, such as the Mann hockey stick, or from improper adjustment of actual data, which is no longer data, or from climate models which is not empirical science, it is output based on what was programmed into the models, and that programming was based more on ignorance of climate forcings, rather than a high level of scientific understanding of those forcings. The IPCC admitted in AR4 that they had a “Very Low” or “Low” or “Medium to Low” Level Of Scientific Understanding(LOSU) of 13 of the 16 radiative forcings they discussed, .

        In fact, the case for climate alarmism is based on these flawed, faulty climate models, which are unable to accurately project future global temperatues, “we find that the continued warming stagnation of fifteen years, 1998-2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level.” – vonStorch(2013)

        In fact, the empirical data shows that over 95% of the climate models predict too much warming:

        So as a climate realist, I don’t deny or dismiss facts, findings, and conclusions from the scientific method. It is exactly those things that causes me to come to the opposite conclusion than you do.

        The fundamental premise of your CO2 hypothesis is that more CO2 in the atmosphere causes more DownWelling IR, which causes less LongWelling IR and higher global temperatues. Well the empirical data shows that this is not happening.

        No one questions the fact that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere. Humans have added ~500 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in the 21st century, which is ~1/3 of all the human CO2 ever produced on the planet. But this additional CO2 has not caused more DWIR. The DWIR has actually decreased!</b:

        And this additional CO2 has not caused less LWIR from the surface. The LWIR has actually increased:

        And this additional CO2 has not caused the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to increase, until the natural 2015-2016 El Nino. Before that natural climate phenomenon, the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere had slightly declined over the 21st century:

        So it’s not a “lack of responsibility” that causes us climate realists to disagree with your alarmist views. It’s the facts, empirical data and the scientific method.

        And my objection to your climate alarmism is that your so-called solution of reducing use of fossil fuels is really a non-solution because even using your own flawed faulty climate models, they will have an insignificant impact on global temperatures. If every country meets their commitments to the Paris Accord, it will only reduce global temperature in 2100 by 0.05C:

        And my objection to your climate alarmism is that it will harm the poor of the world the most, by making energy unnecessarily more expensive for everyone, and by unnecessarily shackling the poor undeveloped countries in their current energy poverty, which will prevent them from improved life expectancy and the positive benefits that fossil fuels have provided the developed world. Read ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’ to see the documentation of these benefits:

        So my questions to you are:
        Why do you continue to make your false alarmist statements such as “the polar ice cap disappearance” when the graphs of the empirical data I posted clearly show that the polar ice caps are not “disappearing”?

        Why do you continue to believe that humans are the primary cause of climate warming when the empirical data shows that it is not.

        Why do you continue to base your climate beliefs on flawed, faulty climate models when the empirical data shows they can’t accurately predict future global temperatures?

        So you see, we climate realists are not deniers at all. We are intelligent humans who have not been swept away into gullibly accepting the popular groupthink of CatastrophicAGW-by-CO2, because the real world empirical data does not support such alarmist claims. Scientific truth is not based on a majority opinion of individual scientists or scientific associations. It is based on empirical data.

        I welcome your respectful dialogue and look forward to any questions you have on specific aspects of the climate change issue. I have empirical data to support my understanding that I will be glad to share with you.

        And I would close in thanking Tom Yulsman and the Discover magazine & website for allowing discussion from all perspectives, for this is how the scientifically curious can come to an informed conclusion and position, evaluating all sides of an issue. My curiosity in understanding our world let me to become a scientist ~5 decades ago, and it continues to drive my understanding of the complex climate system of our planet. It is certainly not as simple as believing that CO2 is the “thermostat” that controls global temperature, as the empirical data has shown that false notion not to be true.

        • OWilson

          Let me second that!

          We have different views on climate change and the politics surrounding it, and I usually try to present it in a respectful way.

          But it becomes impossible for a “denier” to get through a couple posts without the insults.

          If you follow these threads, you can readily see that they attract trolls and low info true believers, who accuse us of being everything from ignorant liars, criminals, traitors, to “celebrating the rise of fascism”.

          I regret I am so easily drawn into these troll fests :)

          But as long as free expression wins the day all is well.

          In the spirit of the season, thanks Tom.


          • RealOldOne2

            Yes, once they see that they can’t refute the science we present, their insults and ridiculous nonsense begins. It’s really pathetic.
            Peace & best wishes for the Christmas & New Year holidays.

        • Mark R Horne

          Dear RealOldOne2,
          I agree with you that I should not insult anyone. I had not considered the word denier to be an insult. I appreciate your pointing that perception out to me. I will reconsider my use of labels and hope that you will reconsider the label of “alarmist” that you attach to me. I find the self-label of “Realist” to be a stretch for me, too. I see the use of that term as an attempt to label me as unrealistic and asking me to use the “realist” term would be a tacit admission of agreement with you on the science of global warming. I’m not there yet.

          I so appreciate the fact that you are discussing this head on, most encounters do devolve into name calling, I do not wish this conversation to do so. I also agree whole-heatedly with OWilson that none of the points around climate change science are (or should be) political. For the first twenty years that I followed the science. Climate Change, there was no political divide on the issue [See George H.W. Bush]. Climate science is no more political than the evening weather report. Politics comes into play when we talk about the response, but again, for years, the response was not political either. I will consider your siting and scientific points over the next few days and come back to this post.

          My hope is that we can avoid having to be right or being driven by the need to win an argument and join together in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

          OWilson, are you with me (us)?


          • OWilson

            Absolutely, with deep respect, but I’m am not only skeptical, I am also cynical. Over the years I have shown an open mind, but been taken down into the weeds, or the swamp where the AGW advocates get their daily sustenance.

            For example, the last time I allowed myself to be taken away from IPCC and NASA, I was taken to “Ed’s Update”

            True! :)

            But If we can come together without the name calling, here is an excellent opportunity for us all to learn.

            Yeah, count me in, but I have a low tolerance for dissembling.

            You could be a hero!

            (or just another warmer who thinks that he can delegitimize us.) :)

          • Mark R Horne

            No need for dissembling on my part. I’ve been aware of climate change for decades, don’t consider myself even an amateur scientist. I have taken basic science in college and in the past have subscribed to a number of science magazines and read a few books. I love science and the possibility it holds for us. I have political leanings but with respect to climate change generally have focused on what my individual responsibility. Politics is where we must act collectively — both are necessary if we are to prevent the worst and prepare for the likely. More to come…

          • OWilson

            You are aware of course, that to avoid taking the discussion off track, it is necessary to agree on language. We don’t want to be parsing what “IS” is

            You are uncomfortable with the term “alarmist”, and then their is “denier”.

            Then there is “climate denier”., then their is “climate change”.

            It we could quantity these terms to start we could build on what we agree upon, and deal with real differences as we confront them, one brick at a time.

            I would suggest use vof the terms”AGW skeptic” and “AGW believer”, shortened to skeptic and believer.

            Since nobody is denying there is a climate and since nobody is denying that the climate changes, we should eschew the term “climate change” as a completely non scientific descriptor of the subject at hand.

            That would be a start! :)

            I would then suggest we agree on the sources for our data.

            I would limit it to IPCC, NOA, NASA and NSIDC as they are the main players. There are a thousand advocacy/rebuttal sites on the web and we shouldn’t send each other to these partisan websites, out of respect for each other.

            We should define the problem (if there is one)

            We should define the solution (if there needs to be one).


          • Mark R Horne

            I really do appreciate your willingness to engage. I have no children and would love to relieve myself of responsibility for climate change. I am open to being convinced that climate change is either not happening or not due to my actions. I cannot abdicate my responsibility until I am convinced I have had faulty information for 30 years. I admit there’s a stretch for me to change my mind, but I am open. I do not want to get into name calling or an emotional exchange. I start from a point of respect and request that we all find a similar place. I will look into your points as the week unfolds and look forward to further engagements on the subject. Take care my friend.

          • RealOldOne2

            “I am open to being convinced that climate change is either not happening or not due to my actions.”
            First, I don’t think anyone is claiming that climate change is not happening, so that is a strawman. What is at issue is what is the primary cause of climate change, which is the second part of your statement.

            But you are reversing how science is done. The accepted null climate hypothesis is that natural climate variability is the primary cause of climate change. It is accepted because everyone acknowledges that the climate has changed throughout the Earth’s history, and it was natural, not human-induced.

            The way science works is that if you have a new climate hypothesis, that humans are not the primary cause of climate change, you must first empirically falsify the null climate hypothesis. That has never been done.
            Then you must empirically validate your new alternative CO2 hypothesis. That has never been done either.

            So when you say you are “open to be convinced” that climate change is “not due to my actions”, you are assuming something to be true for which there is no empirical evidence, or as a lawyer would say, you are assuming facts that are not in evidence.

            Science is based on empirical evidence. I previously presented 3 pieces of empirical evidence that shows your CO2 hypothesis is not happening. Specifically this empirical evidence:

            The fundamental premise of your CO2 hypothesis is that more CO2 in the atmosphere causes more DownWelling IR, which causes less LongWelling IR and higher global temperatures. The empirical data shows that this is not happening.

            No one questions the fact that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere. Humans have added ~500 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in the 21st century, which is ~1/3 of all the human CO2 ever produced on the planet.

            1) But this additional CO2 has not caused more DWIR. The DWIR has actually decreased!:

            2) And this additional CO2 has not caused less LWIR from the surface. The LWIR has actually increased:

            3) And this additional CO2 has not caused the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to increase, until the natural 2015-2016 El Nino. Before that natural climate phenomenon, the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere had slightly declined over the 21st century:

            How do you reconcile those 3 empirical facts your CO2 hypothesis? They are exactly contrary to your hypothesis.

          • Mark R Horne

            RealOldOne2 and OWilson,
            I appreciate your clarifying a point of agreement, it helps me understand where we diverge. We seem to agree that climate change is happening. I’ll address your IR question later in my response.

            First, I am not clear whether or not you believe climate change is trending toward warmer. Can you clarify?

            I THINK we diverge at a key point as follows:

            I conclude from evidence available today that global temperatures are rising and that we are only on the very leading edge of temperature rise (due to thermal inertia) at the level of carbon recently (past 100 years) introduced into the atmosphere. From many points of evidence taken as a whole, I draw, what appears to me, a reasonable conclusion that we see an upward trend in global temperature. For starters, though, can we take one data point, earth surface temperature records, to understand what we agree on and where we diverge?

            I gather from what I can find that Earth-wide temperature records exist since 1880. From observing these empirical records, I conclude the global temperature to be rising. (I am not making a statement of causality here).

            I also recognize there is fluctuation due to El Nino and La Nina events. Short term cycles and individual weather events are not by themselves proof of anything related to climate change. I strongly agree with you both on this point.. However, I believe a wise practice to retain the two most recent years of data for consideration; so that, we can see them in longer-term context. If we look to El Nino and La Nina periods back to 1880, we see the global temperatures in those years relative to their surrounding years and to our current temperature levels during the La Nina/El Nino cycles. This graph includes the past two years:

            (Forgive me, I couldn’t find graphs that depict 2015 and 2016 as part of whole-year trends since 1880, yet).

            I conclude from global temperature records since 1880 that we have captured empirical evidence of an upward trend. I concede that 135 years is a very short prism to use as a measure of global climate (temperature) trends. It’s the best we have. A step-wise progression seems to be unfolding. Data seldom takes a straight line, as I’m sure you are aware. We’ll know in a few years if 2015 and 2016 mark a breaking out of the most recent “Run” period into a new “Rise” period.

            For our divergence on this point, I believe you conclude that there is little or no evidence to suggest that the global temperature changes (since either 2000 or 1880) extend outside the range of naturally occurring fluctuation. Yes?

            I absolutely agree with you that more studies of this type are warranted.

            I presume we agree H2O is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. From the study you site (4. Conclusion, second paragraph): “…clear-sky radiance is decreasing in all four seasons, which we hypothesize is due to a decrease in the precipitable water vapor in all seasons.” From the “Highlights ( ” The negative trend in the clear-sky classification is due to the decease in the precipitable water vapor over this period; this was seen in all four seasons.” The authors further point out that this localized, short-term study cannot be used to draw conclusions on a wider scale. I presume the authors would include Global and Long-term as well as CO2 to be among the areas in which conclusions should not be drawn. I was unable to confirm. This study appears to have focused more on water vapor influence on IR factors than CO2. I have been unable to find humidity records for the area, but suspect if we could uncover them, they would correlate with the IR results of the study. Please correct me if you feel I have mis-read the author’s conclusions from this study.

            Again, I don’t discount the results of the study and agree with you that more studies of this kind, with a sharper focus on CO2 and CH4 across a global range of sites, would be helpful. Given that we don’t have either, I do hold back a level of certainty about climate change. I always have (as I grow older, I become less certain about anything). But reasonableness still applies for me. I am not willing to throw out all the other empirical data and modeling based upon this one area that has not been studied.

            I state the following not intending to insult your intelligence, but just to calibrate our dialogue…

            The idea that C02, CH4, etc create a Greenhouse Effect (GE) is pretty much settled science. I presume from your statements that you both agree with this point. The greenhouse gases reflect heat away from the earth and reflect heat back to the earth, depending upon the direction from which the heat approaches the atmospheric greenhouse gases. Increasing CO2 and CH4 increase the rate at which IR is reflected both away from earth and back to earth. The GE occurs because the heat bouncing up from the earth is reflected between the ground and the atmosphere multiple times, whereas the reflection on the upper side from the sun only reflects out once and is never felt again. This exact effect is more dramatically demonstrated in a ‘real’ plant-growing greenhouse or in an automobile with clear windows parked in sunlight.

            The evidence of satellite-gathered records of IR being sent away from earth is available. I am not certain that you accept this data as empirical or factual. It’s also short-term. If you dismiss the satellite data, can you provide evidence they produce false positives?

            Thermal Inertia makes historical evidence alone problematic when looking for meaningful modeling of future climate trends. I can cite much empirical evidence from ice core samples and rock samples that go back many millennia that reflect a significant, unprecedented rapid increase in greenhouse gases during the industrial period, and especially over the past few decades. Industrial civilizations are putting carbon in the atmosphere faster than the oceans can absorb carbon from the atmosphere and downwell to the earth’s crust. Carbon last for centuries in the atmosphere, thus the effect of recently released carbon is only just beginning to be picked up through temperature records.

            I also understand that, in addition to carbon density fluctuation records, there are records on ice ages and inter-glacial periods (I agree with OWilson). Our current levels of carbon density are suddenly and dramatically higher than anything on record. The effect on glacial fluctuation is unknowable.

            Earth has a carbon cycle. Humans are adding to the current atmospheric carbon with new carbon releases from what had been stored in the earth’s crust over millions of years. The increased concentration of earth’s carbon in the atmosphere by humans is clear to me. The level of increase and speed of increase in atmospheric carbon density are unprecedented. No one expects the science to have a hindsight view.

            We do have this question: under what scenario where sunlight reaches the earth’s atmosphere does a dramatic increase in carbon density in the atmosphere over a very short period of time NOT create a surface air temperature rise?

            I can see you are thinking people. Point out where you see my conclusions as faulty and share what you agree with.

            On a side note: I did not intend in an earlier post to state “Climate Deniers”… In haste, I left out the word “Change”. Forgive me, I did not mean to be insulting. I will work to refrain from applying labels and address you as individual human beings with inherent worth and dignity.

            I look forward to our continued quest of a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

            Peace to you both,

          • RealOldOne2

            Thanks for your reply. I’ll address your comment section by section.
            Your first graph is not actual measured temperatures. They are made up, adjusted numbers, in which the adjustments are backwards, urban areas are overrepresented, and the adjustments for UHI are backwards. The 2nd NASA GISS graph is really unrepresentative because of the excessive adjustments that NASA makes, and exaggerated by a factor of about 2, over what the satellite records since 1979 show.

            That said, regarding GLOBAL TEMPERATURE:
            Yes, there has been about ~0.8-1.0 C increase over the last century. There is no empirical evidence that it is human induced. Akasofu(2010) states:

            “we learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner from 1800-1850 to the present… the Earth is still in the recovery process from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the end of the recovery prior to 1900. … These changes are natural changes.” – Akasofu(2010) ‘On the recovery from the Little Ice Age’

            This is the critical failure of those claiming human-induced global warming. No empirical evidence of human causation. Even the IPCC doesn’t claim human-induced climate change before 1950, because the human influence on climate was too small. And proponents of human-induced global warming admit that the late 20th century warming rate wasn’t significantly different than that of 1910-1940 or 1860-1880. – Phil Jones in BBC interview:

            Your whole argument is flawed because:
            1) you cite a study of “U.S. Southern Great Plains”. My graphs were global.
            2) Your argument boils down to claiming that CO2 DWIR did increase (but admittedly have no evidence) but was offset by reduced water vapor DWIR. That in itself falsifies your claim, because your CO2 hypothesis is that more CO2 causes more H2O which amplifies warming. Clearly there was more CO2, and clearly there wasn’t more H2O because TOTAL DWIR (CO2+H2O) decreased!

            I see you as just dodging the clear empirical data when you say we need to study it further. 15 years while adding ~1/3 of all the human CO2 ever produced is plenty of time to determine if your hypothesis is true. The empirical evidence says it’s not.

            — CAUSAULITY — GHE —

            In summary, all you really do is repeat your claimed CO2 hypothesis. You present no empirical evidence that it is true.

            I accept that there is a greenhouse “effect”. But that “effect” is merely that the surface is warmer because the Earth has an atmosphere. And I’ll accept the analogy that it acts as a “blanket”.

            But where you go wrong is your explanation of how that ghe works, ie, when you say things like <blockquote"The greenhouse gases reflect heat away from the earth and reflect heat back to the earth, depending upon the direction from which the heat approaches the atmospheric greenhouse gases. Increasing CO2 and CH4 increase the rate at which IR is reflected both away from earth and back to earth. The GE occurs because the heat bouncing up from the earth is reflected between the ground and the atmosphere multiple times."

            The heat that leaves the Earth via radiation, conduction or convection can NOT cycle back an heat (transfer thermal energy) back upon the source that it comes from. That is pseudoscience. All that atmosphere (blanket) does is reduce the rate of heat being transferred away from the surface. It transfers no thermal energy back to the surface.

            That is seen from the S-B derived equation of thermal energy transfer between two objects that are at different temperatures. q=ϵσ(Th⁴-Tc⁴) The thermal energy flow is in only one direction, from the warmer object to the colder object. The surface of the Earth is warmer than the cold atmosphere, so the thermal energy flow is in only one direction, from the surface to the atmosphere.

            That is fundamental thermodynamics and heat transfer. I hope accept that.

            Which brings us to the critical point that it is not the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere that controls how rapidly heat leaves the surface. It is ONLY the temperature of the atmosphere. If Tc increases, that reduces q. It’s a simple thermodynamics problem.

            That brings us to a 2nd flaw in your ghe explanation, ie., you proponents of human-induced global warming make it all about radiative heat transfer, when in fact that is secondary, because the primary mechanism of heat leaving the Earth’s surface is convective (latent and sensible) heat transfer of ~102W/m², whereas the total radiative heat transfer from the surface is ~40W/m².

            Here is the real Earth energy budget which shows all the real energy fluxes/flows/transfers which occur:

            That comes from a paper, Ozawa(2003) ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Global Climate System’, which was written expressly from the perspective of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

            You say:

            “The evidence of satellite-gathered records of IR being sent away from earth is available. I am not certain that you accept this data as empirical or factual.”

            I don’t know why you would not be certain if I accept that data, because I showed you a plot of it! Did you even read my first comment??? That data shows that LWIR from the surface increased, not decreased like your CO2 hypothesis says it should have.

            You say:

            “Thermal Inertia makes historical evidence alone problematic when looking for meaningful modeling of future climate trends.”
            Thermal inertia is a factor in the oceans, but not on land. But the key point is that the only ocean-atmosphere heat exchange process that adds heat to the ocean is solar radiation. CO2 & ghgs do not transfer any significant heat into the oceans. Thermodynamics and physics prohibits it, because the atmosphere is colder than the ocean surface, and because the ocean is essentially impervious to 15µm wavelength radiation.

            The takeaway point is that the thermal inertia of the oceans is solely a natural climate factor. This also has been known for a long time:

            “One can believe that the some excess of the computed temperature changes as compared to observational data reflects the thermal inertia effect of oceans the heating or cooling of which smooths the Earth’s temperature variations in comparison with the computed values for stationary conditions.” – Budyko(1969) ‘The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the earth’

            And the abstract of that paper states:

            “It follows from the analysis of observation data that the secular variation of the mean temperature of the Earth can be explained by the variation of short-wave radiation, arriving at the surface of the Earth.” – Budyko(1969)

            That brings us to the real cause of the climate warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, the Sun. The LIA occurred during and shortly after a period of very low solar activity, the Maunder Minimum. In the few hundred years since then solar activity has risen, and during the last half of the 20th century, the mean level of solar activity and TSI was the highest in the past 4 centuries, . Yes, that is TSI at the TOA, but peer reviewed science has found an implied amplification factor: “We find that the total radiative forcing associated with solar cycle variations is about 5 to 7 times larger than just those associated with the TSI variations, thus implying the necessary existence of an amplification mechanism, although without pointing to which one.” – Shaviv(2008) ‘Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing’

            Looking at the TSI graph you can see that TSI at TOA increased from 1363.5W/m² during the 1600s Maunder Minimum to 1366.1W/m in the last half of the 20th century. That is an increase of 2.6W/m², which is larger than the claimed 2.3W/m² increase in anthropogenic forcing since 1750.

            Now focusing on the last half of the 20th century when the IPCC claims that the warming was very likely human-induced. The empirical data does not show this to be true.

            In summary, during the period of warming during the late 20th century, peer reviewed science shows that there was in increase in natural radiative forcing (more solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface) of 2.7W/m² to 6.8W/m² , while the increase in CO2 forcing was only ~0.5W/m².

            Now for the details. Most of the warming occurred from 1984-2000,

            During that time frame, Hatzianastassiou found that increased surface solar heating from 1984-2000 was 4.1W/m². – “Significant increasing trends in DSR [DownwardSurface Radiation] and net DSR fluxes were found, equal to 4.1 and 3.7 Wm⁻², respectively, over the 1984-2000 period (equivalent to 2.4 and 2.2Wm⁻² per decade), indicating an increasing surface solar radiative heating. This surface SW radiative heating is primarily attributed to clouds” – Hatzianastassiou(2005), ‘Global distribution of Earth’s surface shortwave radiation budget’

            This increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface was confirmed by Goode(2007). “The decrease in the Earth’s reflectance from 1984 to 2000 suggested by Fig. 4, translates into a Bond albedo decrease of 0.02 (out of a nominal value of about 0.30) or an additional global shortwave forcing of 6.8W/m².” – Goode(2007) ‘Shortwave forcing of the Earth’s climate: Modern and historical variations in the Sun’s irradiance and the Earth’s reflectance’

            This increase in surface solar radiation is confirmed by Pinker(2005) – “Long term variations in solar radiation at the Earth’s surface (S) can affect our climate … We observed an overall increase in S from 1983 to 2001 at a rate of 0.16 W per square meter (0.10%) per year … the observed changes in radiation budget are caused by changes in mean tropical cloudiness, which is detected in the satellite observations but fails to be predicted by several current climate models.” – Pinker(2005) ‘Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation’ 0.16*18 years = 2.9 W/m² over the 1983-2001 timeframe.

            This increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is also confirmed by Herman(2013) – “Applying a 3.6% cloud reflectivity perturbation to the shortwave energy balance partitioning given by Trenberth et al. (2009) corresponds to an increase of 2.7 Wm⁻² of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface and an increase of 2.4 Wm⁻² absorbed by the surface.” – Herman(2013) ‘A net decrease in Earth’s cloud, aerosol, and surface 340 nm reflectivity during the past 33 yrs (1979-2011)’

            This increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is also confirmed by McLean(2014)- “The temperature pattern for the period 1988-1997 appears to be generally consistent with the 7% reduction in total cloud cover that occurred across the period 1987-1999. Applying that reduction to the influence of clouds in the energy budget described by Trenberth et al. [34] results in an increased average solar forcing at the Earth’s surface of about 5 Wm⁻². This increase is more than double the IPCC’s estimated radiative forcing from all anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. … Conclusions Since 1950, global average temperature anomalies have been driven firstly, from 1950 to 1987, by a sustained shift in ENSO conditions, by reductions in total cloud cover (1987 to late 1990s) and then a shift from low cloud to mid and high-level cloud, with both changes in cloud cover being very widespread. According to the energy balance described by Trenberth et al. (2009) [34], the reduction in total cloud cover accounts for the increase in temperature since 1987, leaving little, if any, of the temperature change to be attributed to other forcings.” – McLean (2014), ‘Late Twentieth Century Warming and Variations in Cloud Cover’

            The reduction in global mean cloud amount that caused the higher level of solar radiation to reach the Earth’s surface during the late 20th century is documented in this NASA data:

            3) The IPCC ghg forcing formula (exaggerated by nonexistent positive water vapor feedback) shows only a 0.4 W/m² forcing over the 1984-2000 timeframe of Hatzianastassiou(2005). (5.35 x ln (370/345) = 0.4) – Source for radiative forcing equation: IPCC TAR, WG1, Table 6.2, p.358

            This empirical data shows that there was 6 to 12 times more natural solar forcing contributing to warming during that late 20th century time frame when most of the warming occurred than there was from ghg forcing. Clearly the empirical evidence shows that natural climate forcing was the primary cause of the late 20th century warming. Specifically, it’s the Sun. Yes, that big ball of fire in the sky is the primary driver of climate, just as it has been throughout the entire history of the planet. While the increase in solarradiation reaching the Earth’s surface was the primary factor, it is also true that the mean level of solar activity over the last half of the 20th century was higher than the previous 7 consecutive 50 year periods, contributing to the late 20th century warming.

            “The period of high solar activity during the past 60 years is unique in the past 1150 years.” – Usoskin(2003), ‘A Millennium Scale Sunspot Reconstruction: Evidence For an Unusually Active Sun Since 1940’

            The high level of recent solar activity is confirmed in:
            • Tapping(2007), Fig.10, ‘Solar Magnetic Activity and Total Irradiance Since the Maunder Minimum’
            • Scafetta(2009), Figs. 13 & 14, “…shown in Figure 14. The figure shows that during the last decades the TSI has been at its highest values since the 17th century.”, ‘Total solar irradiance satellite composites and their phenomenological effect on climate’
            • Krivova(2010), Fig.6, ‘Reconstruction of spectral solar irradiance since the Maunder Minimum’
            • Krivova(2011), Fig.8, ‘Towards a long-term record of solar total and spectral irradiance’
            This is graphically shown here:
            Other natural contributors to the late 20th century warming were:
            • Warm phase of the PDO :
            • Warm phase of the AMO :
            • Predominance of El Ninos:
   (Fig. 6)

            In addition, you can study the cites and quotes from 200 peer reviewed papers published since 2010 which demonstrate solar control of the climate here:

            That summarizes my direct empirical evidence for natural causation. You presented no direct evidence for anthropogenic causation.

            Now to address the rest of your comment, you say

            “Humans are adding to the current atmospheric carbon with new carbon releases”

            That is a misrepresentation. Humans are adding an insignificant amount of carbon to the atmosphere. They are adding carbon dioxide, which is an entirely different thing. Proponents of human-induced global warming, use “carbon” alone in order to misrepresent CO2 as “carbon pollution”. It’s not. If that game is played, and we should stop adding CO2 because it is “carbon pollution”, then we should also stop food production, for that is also “carbon pollution” that we are eating, for wheat is C₆H₅O₁₀ , so wheat is 6 times the “carbon pollution” than CO2 is, and corn starch is C₂₇H₄₈O₂₀
            , so corn is 26 times the “carbon pollution” than CO2 is. So let’s talk carbon dioxide, CO2, and not confuse things by talking about “carbon” when we really mean CO2.

            You say,

            The level of increase and speed of increase in atmospheric carbon density are unprecedented.”
            That is unsubstantiated, because you are mixing measuring methods, ice core data to direct atmospheric measurements. We have no direct atmospheric measurements going back before the last couple hundred years.
            All we have is proxies, and ice cores are not finely resolved because the process of turning the firn into glacial ice is a decadal process, and the CO2 can migrate and average during that time.

            You say:

            “We do have this question: under what scenario where sunlight reaches the earth’s atmosphere does a dramatic increase in carbon density in the atmosphere over a very short period of time NOT create a surface air temperature rise?”
            Answer: the last ~two decades. The only increase since 1997 has been due to the 2015-2016 natural El Nino. Prior to that El Nino, the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere had been flat:

            OK. That covered a lot of ground, and it is getting unwieldy to discuss so many subjects in a single comment. I expect that you disagree with some of the things I have written. I would suggest that you select one particular point that you would like to discuss, and then we can go back and forth on that single issue until we reach a point that we can agree to disagree, and then move on to another point. OK?

          • Mark R Horne

            Merry Christmas RealOldOne2,

            I agree. Before causation, may we focus on Global Temperature Records first?

            I agree with you to cite the RSS records. May we use both satellite-based records, RSS and UAH? I agree they show less increase in temperature rise than the surface-based measures.

            The RSS records begin in 1979 and extend until almost 2017. Let’s view all of them to observe temperature increase as viewed from above the atmosphere:

            Observing both satellite records, we see nearly identical patterns:

            I agree the 2015-2016 temperature peak reflects an El Nino effect. Note the earlier El Nino years and observe a temperature-increase trend line when we only look at El Nino years and include all available years of data.

            I am not ready to concede excluding the NASA/GISS records. To help us move forward on surface-based temperature measures, let’s use hadcrut4 and ncdc and remove nasa/giss. They show nearly identical trending since 1850 as giss records.

            Let’s compare satellite records with surface-based records (forgive my inclusion of NASA here) to see nearly the same pattern for the years we have both. I note the satellite data shows a lower rate of increase than the surface-based measures. If we average all the available data together, we observe the 30-year moving average mean trend line increases about .55 degree C over the 33 years from 1981 to end of 2014.

            2015 and 2016, the hottest two years, are not included in this 30-year moving average. I suggest the rate of increase over the past 40 years is about 1.3 -1.4 C / century.

            Are we in agreement so far?

          • RealOldOne2

            Ty, & Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you too. OK, let’s focus on temperature records first.

            “May we use both satellite records, RSS and UAH?”
            Yes we can, as the satellite records are the only temperature datasets that are close to representing a global average temperature, and therefore are the only temperature records that should be used from 1980 onwards.

            Here are the reasons that the satellite temperature record is vastly superior to land based temperature datasets:
            • “Satellites provide global coverage at much higher densities than attainable with in situ observations. In situ observations also suffer from non-uniform temporal coverage and undocumented changes in the instrumentation used that can lead to local biases and increased uncertainty.” – Carl Mears, rmss(dot)com/missions/amsu That is from the scientist responsible for the RSS satellite dataset.

            • According to NASA, the satellite temperature measurements have been verified as being accurate to 0.03C: “The temperature measurements from space are verified by two direct and independent methods. The first involves actual in-situ measurements of the lower atmosphere made by balloon-borne observations around the world. The second uses intercalibration and comparison between two identical experiments on different orbiting platforms. The result is that the satellite temperature measurements are accurate to within three one-hundredths of a degree Centigrade (0.03 C) when compared to ground-launched balloons taking measurements over the same region of the atmosphere at the same time.” NASA, science(dot)nasa(dot)gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1997/essd06oct97_1/

            • “thermometers cannot measure global averages – only satellites can. The satellite instruments measure nearly every cubic kilometer – … – of the lower atmosphere on a daily basis. You can travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers without finding a thermometer nearby. … The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never meant to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data. … Satellite microwave radiometers, however, are equipped with laboratory-calibrated platinum resistance thermometers, which have demonstrated stability to thousandths of a degree over many years, and which are used to continuously calibrate the satellite instruments every 8 seconds.” – drroyspencer(dot)com/2014/10/why-2014-wont-be-the-warmest-year-on-record/ That is from the scientist who is responsible for the UAH satellite temperature dataset.

            • Peer reviewed science says that satellites are better: “Satellite TLT data have near-global, time-invariant spatial coverage; in contrast global mean temperature trends estimated from surface temperature records can be biased by spatially and temporally non-random coverage changes.” – Santer(2015)

            • The land based datasets are much inferior because:
            1) they have very sparse coverage,

            2) they include only a few thousand locations which have been selectively reduced since ~1980 and can produce biased results,

            3) historical values in the NASA dataset change on a monthly basis, based on blanket-applied computerized algorithms, not on actual station-by-station documented changes in instrumentation or other factors. This essentially renders duplication of scientific conclusions meaningless, since a correct conclusion using the dataset a year ago may no longer be correct now, because the historical data has changed. This is a sham and corrupts science.

            4) the measurements are not temporally stable over time as the stations in the datasets constantly change over time periods you are comparing apples and oranges, as can be seen from the stations used in the GHCN dataset gif above, and the GHCN dataset is the basis of the other land-based datasets.

            5) the measured temperatures are contaminated by Urban Heat Island Effect which exaggerates the warming. Urbanization has caused many station moves to surrounding cooler areas as cities have grown. This exaggerates warming trends as has been shown by peer reviewed science, Zhang(2014) ‘The effect of data homogenization on estimate of temperature trend’. Figure 6 of this paper shows the exaggerated warming caused by station moves:

            6) the actual measured data are not included, only numbers which have been corrupted by improper adjustments for UHI, as those adjustments are backwards. For example, NASA has measured a recent UHI effect in Providence, RI of 12C. The “adjustments” in the temperature record have cooled the century-ago temperatures by over 2C. This is backwards for a proper UHI adjustment.

            7) The land based measuring stations measure the temperature a few m³ of the Earth’s atmosphere at each of those stations, a total of ~10,000 m³, while the satellites measure ~2,000,000,000,000,000,000 m³ of the Earth’s atmosphere, or 200 trillion (200,000,000,000,000) times more of the Earth’s atmosphere.

            So the only temperature datasets usable for global temperature discussion since 1980 are the satellite datasets. You should have no problem with this, since according to your CO2 hypothesis, the atmosphere is supposed to warm at a greater rate than the surface.

            Now, if you want to discuss century-scale temperature changes, the land-based datasets with all their shortcomings, are the only data available, but only the data prior to the political-driven global warming agenda should be used. I am willing to use the pre-1980s data, as documented in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature dataset:
            This standard data set shows 0.4C of warming in the 1880-1980 century.

            GISS had already began fiddling the temperature data by the late 1980s when the IPCC was created. Hansen(1987) ‘Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature’. Fig.6 from that paper gives those temperatures:

            Even that adjusted GISS figure shows ~0.7C warming in the century covering 1880-1980, prior to the satellite era. So in reality, there was only ~0.5C of warming in the century before 1980.
            Which means that the most recent century shows a warming of 0.7C to 0.8C.

            “over the past 40 years”
            That is meaningless, as it only includes the natural warming part of a natural 60 year climate cycle.
            Phil Jones, the scientist who was responsible for the HadCRUT dataset has admitted that the warming rates of the past natural cycles are no different than the warming rates of the late 20th century:

            Question: “Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical? …”
            Phil Jones: “So, in answer to your question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.”


            Now that we have established that there has been only ~0.7C to 0.8C of warming over the last century, we can move on to causation.

            In my previous comment, I’ve given the evidence for natural causation, Akasofu(2010) ‘On the recovery from the Little Ice Age’, and the evidence of increased TSI during the last half of the 20th century and increase in the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface during the last two decades of the 20th century, when most of the warming occurred, a period when the increase in solar radiative forcing at the Earth’s surface was ~10 times larger than the increase in CO2 radiative forcing.

            So it is time for you to refute that empirical data, (falsify the null climate hypothesis), and time for you to present empirical data to validate your claim of anthropogenic causation of the late 20th century warming.

            Time for you to refute

          • Mark R Horne

            Hi Tom, I hope you’re having a great new year. I wish you the best in 2017.

            I would like to stay on Temperature Records to clarify a couple of points.

            You have done a good job of pointing out areas where the surface temperature records are imperfect. I do want to note that there are ocean temperature records as well. Also, I think you make strong points for using satellite records.

            I totally agree that the satellite records provide better coverage. In the interest of a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, I am curious to know what you understand to be the problems with satellites in general attempting to gather temperature records and problems with the specific RSS satellite records. This is a big planet and difficult to get truly accurate temperature records of the entire surface area of the planet.

            I hesitate to completely dismiss records, even when they are not perfect. Grand Conspiracy theory is not a reason to reject data.

            In the interests of moving forward, I agree with you on two points, the results of surface temperature records from 1880 to 1980 and using satellite data from 1980 to present. I don’t yet agree to remove the other data. For our dialogue, I think we agree on these two points.

            The satellite data shows an estimated rise in temperature of about 0.5 C since 1980 in the lower atmosphere:

            …and a decrease in temperature in the upper atmosphere, the higher the altitude, the greater the downward trend:

            In order to move forward, are we in agreement?
            +use all surface records available from 1880 – 1980 where the rise in temperature is estimated to be 0.7 to 0.8 C.
            +use satellite data from 1980 to present day where the estimated lower troposphere temperature rise is estimated to be 0.5 C?

          • RealOldOne2

            To summarize, your comment refutes nothing that I have posted which shows that climate change is caused by natural, not anthropogenic influences. I had challenged you to refute the empirical data that I have presented which shows natural causation, and to provide empirical evidence of your claimed anthropogenic causation. You did neither. You merely obfuscated with irrelevant distractions and logical fallacies.

            Now regarding your specific obfuscations and distractions in your comment:
            “surface temperature records are imperfect”
            Obfuscation. It’s not that they are “imperfect”, as all measurements are imperfect and have an uncertainty associated with them. It’s the fact that they are not representative of a true global mean temperature over any significant period of time, and corrupted with improper adjustments, such as the total lack of proper UHI adjustments.

            “there are ocean temperature records as well”
            Distraction. Yes there are, but if you are referring to OHC data, it is irrelevant to recent global mean temperature changes because:
            1) the change over the last several decades only represents ~0.06C of temperature change in the upper ~half of the oceans.
            2) OHC increases are caused by natural solar radiation, not ghgs
            If you are talking about Sea Surface Temperature, that data has similar problems of being spatially sparse, as it was confined to shipping lanes prior to the ARGO deployment.

            “In the interest of free and responsible search for truth and meaning…”
            Obfuscation and irrelevant.

            “difficult to get truly accurate temperature records of the entire surface …”
            Distraction. Yes, and confirms why they have little value of global meaningfulness. The only meaningful comparisons over time are in specific locations which haven’t changed over time.

            “Grand conspiracy theory is not a reason to reject data.”
            Strawman distraction. I pointed out factual observations. Your conspiracy ideation is revealing your confirmation bias and gullible acceptance of your climate cult’s propaganda talking points.

            “I don’t yet agree to remove the other data.”
            The only useful surface observations are changes in specific locations which haven’t changed over time. The Berkely Earth Surface Temperature project found that fully 1/3 of the long term records of specific locations showed cooling over their entire record, which points out that “global warming” is not global, it is regional and widely varying in different locations on the Earth’s surface. This supports that it is natural variability, not driven primarily by CO2, since CO2 has increased globally, not regionally.

            Regarding the satellite data, I see that you only show the RSS data. I would point out that Carl Mears who is responsible for that dataset is a biased CAGW-by-CO2 “believer” as evidenced by his use of “denialist” rhetoric. He has already began corrupting that dataset with undocumented changes which exaggerate warming and create warming where there was none. The graph I showed in my comment was the RSS v3.3 dataset downloaded from RSS as of the end of 2015 showed a slight cooling over the first 15 years of the 21 century of 0.03C/century. Now a year later, at the end of 2016, the same RSS v3.3 dataset downloaded from RSS shows a slight warming of 0.10C/century over the first 15 years of the 21st century.
            This is the behavior of a dishonest climate cult zealot, not a respectable honest scientist. His labeling people denialists of warming over the 21st century was false because the data showed no warming. His actions were to change the data to show warming where there was none. And if you look at the details of the changes, every datapoint prior to 1999 is exactly the same. Only the datapoints since the beginning of 1999 have changed. It just so happens that the data prior to 1999 shows warming, so there was no need to change it. The “pause”/”hiatus” happened from 1999 onward, so that was the only data that needed to be “fiddled”/”faked”, in order to fit the CAGW-by-CO2 climate cult narrative. There is no documented explanation for these changes. They were snuck into a dataset which had the same version number. A blatant corruption of science.

            This is why eminent scientists have recognized that “global warming” is no longer science, it has become a religion, a cult religion who is peddling pseudoscience.

            “a decrease in temperature of the upper atmosphere, the higher the altitude, the greater the downward trend:
            Interesting that while the RSS website says that the Channel 14 data is available from 1998-present, it only shows from ~2001-2012. Hmmm. Wonder what’s up with that? But anyway, what’s your point? This is not evidence or a ‘fingerprint’ of anthropogenic forcing. Stratospheric temps have not steadily decreased to correspond with the steady increase in atmospheric CO2. The cooling has occurred in two discrete steps tied to release of aerosols into the stratosphere due to major volcanic eruptions:

            “Observations reveal that the substantial cooing of the lower stratosphere over 1979 to 2003 occurred in two steplike transitions. Those arose in the aftermath of two major volcanic eruptions, each cooling transition being followed by a period of relatively stable temperatures.” – Ramaswamy(2006)

            I would note that since that paper, the “period of relatively stable temperatures” has continued for another 14 years, to a total of ~23 years.

            And during those 23 years, nearly 1/2 of all the human CO2 ever produced has been added to the atmosphere. And it hasn’t caused the temperature of the lower stratosphere to change at all, showing that stratospheric cooling is no ‘fingerprint’ of anthropogenic climate change as your climate alarmist dogma claims. You appear to be merely regurgitating your alarmist dogmas, not refuting the empirical science that I have presented, or presenting empirical data that supports your climate alarmism.

            There is no empirical evidence that shows that stratospheric cooling is not just natural climate variability. The constituents of the stratosphere differ from the stratosphere in two significant ways. There is essentially no water vapor in the stratosphere and the concentration of ozone is much higher in the stratosphere.

            Stratospheric temperature increases with altitude because the stratosphere is warmed by the ozone absorbing energy from UV light from the Sun.

            And unlike TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) which varies only ~0.1% over the solar cycle, the amount of UV light from the Sun varies significantly during the 11 year solar cycle.

            “the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. … Of particular importance is the sun’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. With the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a miniscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.” – NASA,

            “+use all surface records available from 1880-1980”
            Nope. The currently available NASA data is corrupted and unfit for scientific use, as it has monthly undocumented changes which makes replication impossible. We can use HadCRUT3 global unadjusted data, for whatever limited use it is for pre-1980 data. For individual station historical data, we can use GHCN v.3.
            And U.S. Climate Research Network stations are acceptable, as they are free of UHI effects, as are the Oklahoma MESONET stations.

            “use satellite data from 1980 to present day where the estimated lower troposphere temperature rise is estimated to be 0.5C?”
            Because of the undocumented changes and ‘fiddling’ to the RSS data, let’s use the latest UAHv6 data for post 1980 temperatures comparisons. And I would note that I have presented empirical science showing that the warming of the last two decades of the 20th century was natural, primarily caused by more solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, and that the 21st century warming was natural, caused by the 2015-2016 El Nino, without which there would have been no warming over the entire 21st century.

            So now rather than continuing with your strawmen, red herring distractions, how about
            1) refuting the empirical data that I have presented which shows that that the warming of the last several decades was natural, and
            2) presenting whatever empirical data you think shows that anthropogenic CO2 was the primary cause.

          • OWilson

            You say YOU have the “responsibility for climate change, and YOU “cannot abdicate YOUR responsibility”.

            YOU must be “convinced that YOU have had faulty information for 30 years”

            A rather anthropocentric view of the world, if I may say so.

            The climate has been warming and cooling in natural cycles for hundreds of thousands of years can we agree on that?

            Without humans, Ice Ages would continue to cycle. Can we agree on that?

            AGW is a hypothesis based on climate modelling. The models produce predictions. To be credible, those predictions must be validated by climate time scales (30 years, or it’s just weather)

            With me so far?

          • Mark R Horne

            yes, I find climate change and global warming (man-made) synonymous here. A point of confusion for some because not all global warming results in local warming. Europe, for example, is expected to experience unusually colder weather as the Greenland Ice Sheet melts and due to salt-water/fresh-water density differences, the Gulf Stream will be disrupted and thus be prevented from its current warming effect over Europe.

            I do mean Global Warming when I mention Climate Change.

          • OWilson

            That’s what I meant about language.

            How easily we can get off track if we don’t lay down some ground rules.

            I detect a little wiggling and waffling here. Please tell me I’m wrong!

            If we are not speaking the same language we cannot discuss anything.

            I though we were discussing AGW Athropcentic Global Warming, or Man Made Global Warming.

            Let’s call a spade a spade, OK?

          • Mark R Horne

            Yes, Global Warming it is. I agree.
            Also, I feel comfortable with the terms as they relate to scientific interpretation: AGW Skeptic and AGW Believer, these feel respectful from both sides. Your suggestions seem sound.

            I suggest we not consider each other to be on different sides, or even that there are sides for anyone to align on. “Sides” leaves us too vested in the concept of winning (making the dialogue seem as consequential as a sporting event).

            I hold there to be a good chance we each learn something from our exchanges. I have already. There is room for consensus and agreement around the basic facts.

          • Mark R Horne

            I use first person as I cannot speak for others. I often hear people speaking in second person when first person would be more appropriate. Example: “when you get hungry, you know, you just can’t help but eat whatever you crave in the moment.” What the person really means is: “When I get hungry, I eat whatever I crave in the moment.”

            I (Mark) use the term “I” so as not to assume to know what you (OWilson), or anyone other than me (Mark), should do or feel or believe.

          • OWilson

            Unlike the trolling, gang banging tag teams, on the other side , I will respectfully withdraw and sit on the sidelines, until you guys have completed your interesting arguments.

            Thanks for keeping it civilized :)

          • jonathanpulliam

            What a liar you are. LOL

          • Mark R Horne

            Back up your accusation. What statement(s) am I making that you know to be an intentional mis-represention on my part?

          • RealOldOne2

            “That perception”
            It’s not just a perception, it’s a reality, as I showed that you can’t support your claim that we are in denial of either that the climate exists or that the climate changes.

            “reconsider the label of “alarmist”
            That is an accurate description of your position, based on the evidence of your own words, “the polar ice cap disappearance”, because as I showed with empirical data, the polar ice caps are not disappearing. And “alarmism” is an accurate description of you individuals who claim that humans must take immediate action to reduce CO2, or we will face a planetary emergency or crisis. The real world empirical evidence does not support these warnings of a pending crisis/catastrophe/doom.

            The founders of the global warming movement recognized that they had to make alarming statements in order to capture people’s attention. Way back in 1975 when the consensus of the world’s leading scientists was that the globe was in the midst of a global cooling, founders of your present global warming movement laid out this strategy for alarmism:

            “What we need from scientists are estimates, presented with sufficient conservatism and plausibility but at the same time as free as possible from internal disagreements that can be exploited by political interests, that will allow us to start building a system of artificial but effective warnings, warnings which will parallel the instincts of animals who flee before the hurricane, pile up a larger store of nuts before a severe winter, or of
            caterpillars who respond to impending climatic changes by growing thicker coats [sic].” – Margaret Mead, keynote speaker at 1975 ‘Endangered Atmosphere’ Conference,

            One of the conference attenders, Stephen Schneider later re-iterated this strategy in an interview in Discover Magazine:

            “To capture the public imagination,
            we have to offer up some scary scenarios,
            make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.
            Each of us has to decide the right balance
            between being effective, and being honest.” – Stephen Schneider –

            Other examples documenting the “alarmist” nature of the global warming movement are documented in that article.

            Calling your global warming movement “alarmism” is probably one of the most charitable descriptions. Other eminent scientists have recognized that it is not science, it has become a religion to its believers, a cult religion. Here is the evidence to support my statement:

            “Global warming differs from the preceding two affairs [Eugenics & Lysenkoism]: Global warming has become a religion. … people with no other source of meaning will defend their religion with jihadist zeal.” – Dr. Richard Lindzen, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, MIT Source:

            And just as other eminent scientists have observed, they are not doing science, they are doing religion:

            “This is propaganda. This is really a religious cult. And it’s a complete falsehood to say that it’s science.” – Prof. William Happer, Physics Professor Emeritus, Princeton Univ. Source: ( )

            “global warming has become a religion” – Nobel Laureate PhD physicist Ivar Giaever,

            History will look back on you climate alarmists and shake their heads that people could be so gullible and ignorant as to swallow the pseudoscience of CatastrophicAGW-by-CO2:

            “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.” – Dr. Richard Lindzen – Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Atmospheric Science.

            But if you are now conceding that there is no need for warnings of alarm of any future pending climate crisis/catastrophe/doom, that’s fine. I guess we’re done, because based on the real world empirical data there certainly isn’t reason to curtail CO2 release into the atmosphere. The empirical evidence to support that statement is found in the fact that over the last ~2 decades humans have added ~600 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere and there has been no documented empirical evidence that it has been the cause of any detrimental effects on the planet.

            But I sense you disagree. What would you suggest as an accurate descriptor of your global warming movement?

          • OWilson

            I’d like to add one more quote to your well documented collection, this one from one of their their highest priests:

            ” For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.” Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman, U.N. IPCC.

            Then we have the loopy Hollywood crowd:

            “Harrison Ford: Ford warned that“if we don’t work together” to combat climate change, “The planet will be ok, there just won’t be any damn people on it.”

            There was more than a trace of hypocrisy in Ford’s remarks, since the actor is “passionate about flying,” owns “several aircraft” and told a magazine in 2010 he would “often fly up the coast for a cheeseburger.”

      • jonathanpulliam

        “…This article discusses sea ice melt. Are you suggesting that the measurements are wrong?”.
        Among other problems, yes, their measurements are wrong.

        • Mark R Horne

          Hi Jonathan, The measurements appear to be corroborated by visual images of the ice extent in peak summer seasons and measurements of ice thickness. Avoiding bringing in other problems you see, what actual/true evidence do you present that supports your claim?

  • jonathanpulliam

    Pine for the days of the clipper ships and the frozen water trade.
    Re-read your Mike Crichton’s “State of Fear”.
    Arrest and deport Legacy Traitor-Mole Sheikh Obama.
    Donna Brazile is a skanky lying no-account crack ho

    • Mark R Horne

      Hi Jonathan, Until we acknowledge and accept the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings, we are simply talking past each other. Insults and references to a Grand Conspiracy greatly diminish credibility that might otherwise exist for a scientific position skeptical of anthropocentric global (AGW) warming.

      I acknowledge Michael Crichton is an entertaining author, a fine writer in the fiction genre. He is unbound by scientific peer review and scrutiny.

      I am considering the citations made by other commentators in these threads skeptical of AGW. I have more research, followup, and replies to come. I find the citations and conclusions tempting. Accepting them would be a huge relief to my conscience. As of this moment, I accept that I bear a significant level of personal responsibility for global warming.

      Peace be with you.

      • OWilson

        You can easily assuage that guilt by not driving or using fossil fueled transportation, heating or cooling your house, or even living in a house.

        I see you have a computer, that is powered by the millions of miles of electrical services. Cable, water, sewers, telephone lines, roads, highways.

        As a supporter of Western Culture, I take “responsibility”, for the advance of civilization and technology that has produced space exploration, the greatest standard of living, the greatest longevity and health, and record food production the like of which has never been seen in history.

        Wonder drugs and medical techniques that were unthinkable a few years ago!

        You should stop dwelling only on the negative.

        That’s neither normal, nor healthy! :)

        • Mark R Horne

          Merry Christmas OWilson, I hope you’ve had a terrific day.

          I don’t use the word “Guilt”. “Personal responsibility” and “conscience” seem more appropriate. I can list several ways I have reduced my contributions to global warming.

          I am not yet doing enough and know there is room for me to grow on my quest to reduce my personal contribution to zero. To suggest that anyone in our current economy, government restrictions, and monopoly utilities must meet purist standards before expressing concern about global warming seems doctrinaire and reveals a weakness of argument skeptical of AGW.

          I celebrate the many positive points of western civilization with you. I presume also there are aspects of western civilization we would change.

          • OWilson

            To use an allegory from AGW, our present society is the result a very fine balance of self limiting resources, politics, democracy and authoritarianism.

            Pick at the wrong thread, and it could all unwind rapidly.

            The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all lost their civilizations and went back to the iron age, grazing their sheep over partially covered monuments, that they had no idea of what they were, who built them or why.

            If AGW awareness is designed to make the Earth a better place for future generations, we should try not to leave them with wars, nuclear proliferation, government corruption, and not saddle them with obscene unsustainable National Debts, that can not possibly be repaid without default, left to them by a selfish society who wanted THEIRS, NOW!

            Nice weather is an afterthought!

          • Mark R Horne

            We’re now talking about the social implications of human contribution to global warming, our lifestyle, and the choices we make among other choices. My confidence in AGW science continues to grow as I research this topic in more detail. I have my own thoughts about what could be done in light of this understanding, starting with my own behavior. You state my social action case perfectly with the idea of ‘a selfish society who wanted theirs now’.

          • OWilson

            Then you should be concerned with the human and financial costs of your desires, and balance them against the world’s needs.

            Your self professed guilt over AGW might be a fitting subject for discussion over a fine Chardonnay overlooking a a California beach, but irrelevant to a family unable to leave war torn Aleppo.

  • Ron Luckerman

    i am confused. I am not an expert, but as the Arctic Ice cap reaches the continental shelves, wouldn’t there be less arctic ice not because it is warmer, but because there is less open ocean to be termed sea ice – as you have to 15% or 20% to 80% or so, to have “sea ice’ as opposed to clear water or solid ice cap.

    As the newest hottest year is approximately .05% higher then the last warmest year, which besides being welll within the margin of error, isn’t statistically significant – that is, if true, isn’t it a distinction without a difference?



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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