John Abraham Slams Matt Ridley for Climate Denial Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal

Read time: 3 mins

This is a guest post by Dr. John Abraham, in response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by British House of Lords member Matt Ridley.

How many climate errors in one article?

A recent error-filled opinion piece by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal was so egregious that readers deserve a correction.  The article, “Dialing back the alarm on climate change”, was written by someone who has never researched anything in the field of climate change (literature search on September 14, 2013).  So what did Mr. Ridley have to say that makes a real scientist cringe? 

First, Mr. Ridley states that a forthcoming major climate change report (for which I was an expert reviewer) will lower the expected temperature rise we will experience in the future.  He also claims that the temperature rises will be beneficial. Since the report hasn’t been released yet, and reviewers promise confidentiality, my answer is based on available literature.  I can inform the readers that this isn’t necessarily the case.  What Mr. Ridley is focusing on is the lower bound of warming (the best case scenario for human society). What he doesn’t tell the readers is that regardless of which estimate of warming is correct, human society will be severely stressed.  Basically, he is arguing that the Earth may undergo a slow simmer whereas most scientists think it will be a faster boil.  Either way, the consequences are enormous.

Second, Mr. Ridley makes the unsubstantiated claim that warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will result in “no net or ecological damage”. 

This claim could only be made by someone who is unfamiliar with climate science.  With a fraction of that warming, we are already seeing economic and ecological damage.  Among them are increased precipitation in some regions with consequent flooding, more severe drought in other regions, increased storms, heat waves, rising sea levels. 

In the U.S. we have seen incredible weather costs over the past three years, including heat waves and droughts in 2011, 2012, and 2013; Superstorm Sandy, incredible flooding just this week in Colorado and elsewhere including my home state of Minnesota. Around the world we’ve seen similar impacts.  Alternating flooding and heat waves in Europe, China, India, and Australia, to name a few examples.  With these impacts being seen already, it makes a real scientist shudder about what will occur when we reach 3.6 degrees of warming. 

Where did Matt Ridley get his information? Hard to say because he cited no studies that support his claim.

Mr. Ridley made other irresponsible and unsupported claims – for instance stating that the benefits of rising sea levels will outweigh the consequences.  That just doesn’t pass the smell test.  It certainly isn’t consolation for regions like Southern Florida, which are severely threatened by rising seas.

The basic facts are clear: humans are causing climate change and there are already economic costs.  We scientists have known this for over one hundred years.  But there is good news; we can do something about it.  We don’t need futuristic technology - we can solve it today.  By using energy more efficiently, we save money and the planet at the same time.  By investing in smart, renewable energy, we can create the economy of the future. That is the message that should be heard, not non-science nonsense from persons like Mr. Ridley.

Dr. John Abraham

University of St. Thomas

Get DeSmog News and Alerts


It's a good meme, the only problem is you are just as dishonest as the person you are attempting to pillory. In your story, 

In the U.S. we have seen incredible weather costs over the past three years, including heat waves and droughts in 2011, 2012, and 2013; Superstorm Sandy, incredible flooding just this week in Colorado and elsewhere including my home state of Minnesota. “

The problem is not ONE of those events can be, without significant doubt, attributed to climate change.    Your call out of SuperStorm Sandy is simply channeling of populist hearsay.  The vast extent of damage caused by Sandy was due primarily to extremely poor infrastructure.  Sandy was a category I hurricane on the saffir-simpson scale.  Which, according to NOAA has the following effect

“No real damage to building structures. Damage primarly to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage” (See

In other words, whole neighborhoods should not have been destroyed because of a cat I hurricane. They were destroyed because man built at and below sea level. 

I tire, as do other scientists from other professions, of the overstatement and over-politization of climate “debate” (also known as angry children screaming).   Your side of the aisle is as guilty of “playing with facts” as those who attempt to completely deny the measured temperature record.  You talk about convenient weather events as if they are climate, but would dismiss other weather events as not being climate when those events “don't fit the story”.   As a scientist, I would not deem the partial rebound of Arctic sea ice as sure sign of global cooling, just as I don't take drought or Sandy as sure signs of the effects of global warming. 

Your side hardly ever makes clear to the average citizen that climate alarm is based exclusively on model prediction and that those models have proven to be less than accurate.   In other words, you only tell part of the story and hope that nobody asks about other possibilities.  That's the real “inconvenient truth”

Selective use of facts, doesn't bolster your scientific case. It weakens it, substantially.

  You might be right, we (humans) might be having this terrible effect on climate. You might be wrong, too. It could be substantially cyclical and your proposed remedies have significant (negative) effect on functioning society and economy.   Your remedies might be worse than the malady.

You never once question whether cheap energy (which to your way of thinking absolutely causes climate change) for the poor lifts more people out of poverty than rising temperatures (and seas) impacts people on the Jersey shore.  A little warming might be the price of vastly improving the human condition. And make no mistake, improving the human condition takes energy.

 It is your arrogant assuredness that even when the models are wrong you declare them to be right that should give every free thinker significant pause. 

I'm not a “denier” in any sense of the word. I can read temperature graphs and the 0.8C increase in global surface temperature since 1890.    I can read trends of sea-surface height increasing at about 3mm/year (11.7 inches per century) and have little reason to doubt these measurements.  I can also see absolute abuse of these facts with animations that try to scare the hell out of people by showing what happens to Manhattan with 5,10 or 15M ocean rises (16,32,48 times the current rate of sea rise!). I can also see that for 1.5 decades, the global temperatures have NOT risen (contrary to those infallible models). 

I can see scientists who say “it's the CO2 stupid” also have no solutions that significantly reduce our rate of excess CO2 emission.    If your models are right, then limiting CO2 growth by 10% means that climactic Armageddon arrives just a few years later. After all, doubling of CO2 is doubling, no matter how you get there. According to your models, the final effect will be the same.   In simple terms, if everybody drives a Prius, you still have CO2 emissions, CO2 doubles in only a slightly longer timeframe (within the space of our current “pause”), and you therefore still “cook the planet”.


You know… your language marks you as an utter rank denier, hands down.

Umm… You are correct.. Exact ties between weather and climate are not there.  I certainly haven't seen anything other than informed opinions.  We do know that some weather patterns are fundamentally changing, and we know that we we can expect more extreme weather events and damage.   All of this was predicted and is now being seen.

Here's Bob Sandford talking about the Calgary floods.

It is entertaining to see you lament people who built at ocean level and yet had their properties damaged.  I would remind you to look at ocean rise studies again.  By any count those people built a foot higher out of the water.  In short… sea level rise, with higher storm surge, with winds driven harder by climate change, whipped up a lot more force than the original builders would have designed for.

That's when your uneducated language really kicks in.  Hitting on standard Al Gore buzzwords and denier tactics.  Its just a bunch of FUD… Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.  I'm betting you spend more time on Watts Up With That than with a text book.

Mixing economics and science… What did you claim you were again?  I can't keep it straight.  Solar with batteries costs $0.35 per kwh installed, ergo…  Solar is clearly and obviously affordable, don't take my word for that, take the utilities;

As for rising seas causing damage… Talk to your navy.  (Rumor has it they build close to the shore.)  These are not low cost facilities.  Where oh where will I go for my vacation?  My parents have two beach front condos in Hawaii.  Another foot and one of them will be gone.

Your attribution that scare tactics by greenpeace and what not are somehow science or even desmogblog, or even John Abraham, are just patently retarded.  Got a link showing desmogblog or John Abraham did that?  Didn't think so, but I'm sure you're googling it now.

Can you tell me which paper by which scientist in which country has proved to you that climate modeling is incorrect?  You're now avoiding observations (which match even the earliest models) and claiming the models are wrong.  So, which one?  There's a healthy 40 models, and each has quite a few papers on them.  They all have different methods and methodologies, and they are all correlating with our current climate.

or can they…  The compound/aggregate/average (or whatever other measure you want) estimated that the worldwide surface temperature in 2013 would be about 0.3C above actual measurements.   That's what the vast majority of models tell us.

Please show me your favorite 10 models that don't have that estimate.   Nobody really knows why, but there are many posited reasons. 

Ocean rise studies? How about going with actual measurements. Since 1900, worldwide sea level rise is estimated at 8” and since 1950 - 4.5”.   The Storm surge from Sandy (a Category I Hurricane) was measured at 4.8 (56”) feet in Atlantic City and over 9 feet (108”) at the Battery.   Coupled with high-tides (which added approximately 4' (48”) at both places, you have storm surge + normal tide that is at least 20X the rise in sea level.   Do you really think believe that if the ocean was 8” lower that there would be any significant difference. 

In case you have trouble following the grade school math above.  NJ, the battery, and that part of the coast were banged with the double whammy a category I hurricane and high tide.   You -might- be able to argue that the Hurricane was “more intense” because of global warming. But you cannot argue that a   hurricane in NY is “unprecedented”.   (1976 Hurricane Belle, Category I, 1985 Hurricane Gloria Category II,

1972 Hurricane Agnes, 1960 Hurricane Donna Cat 2, 1954 Hurricane Carol Cat 2).

But apparently, according to you we know storms are getting stronger.  Somehow I always thought 1 was less than 2. 

The correct term you're looking for is statistically significant.

As you have neither provided a measurement model OR a projection model, the rest is hot air.  I have neither apples nor oranges to compare.  I refuse to guess.

The board walk on the US East coast would have been planned out long long before 1950.  First construction was 1870, and rebuilt after an 1889 hurricane.  My numbers stand correct.  You are in error. Furthermore, 12.5” more water will deliver a huge amount more force.  Just do the math.

Double checking your numbers, you neglect to subtract the elevation for the land hit by waves.  7 feet for Atlantic City.. and, the waves were by your math 104” there, leaving 20”.  12.5” extra of which was from ocean rise from when the town was founded and built.  So that accounts for the vast majority of the wave energy that battered the homes and businesses on the shore as well as the flooding that followed.  Ocean rise accounts for the majority of the flooding and damage caused.

Which paper are you quoting for hurricane seasons?  My understanding at this time is that there has been no statisically noticable shift on hurricane behaviour, and that there are no papers stating it has changed.  I don't know when precisely we will see more signal than noise in the the atlantic multidecadal oscillation.  Its also so long I kinda think we'll have to wait a long time.  All we do know is that hurricanes should be less frequent but stronger.

He is also not very truthful:

“I'm not a “denier” in any sense of the word”.

Unfortunately, just about everything he says is straight from the deniers' handbook. I doubt very much if he is s scientist but if he actually is he is a dishonest one who probably works for, or gets money from, the fossil fuel industry since they are about the only scientists who fall into the denier camp.

A denier would be somebody who calls into question the measured temperature record.

Here's what I doubt (as a scientist) – the correctness of climate models and their ability to have a reasonable forecast of climate 87 years (Year 2100) into the future. 

Here's what it comes down to

If they are right – then the current set of solutions don't hope to address excess CO2 emission (I can read the Mauna Loa charts, too). 

If they are wrong – there's a huge economic risk.  I'm not talking economic risk to corporate America (transnationals, etc). I'm talking about economic risk to you, me, working people and poor people the world over.   

Ask yourself a very basic economic question:   who gains from more expensive energy?

(somebody posted that Solar energy at $.35/KwH was “cheap”, apparently they don't actually look at their electric bill. That's not cheap. It's more than 4X the baseline rate in California and nearly 10X the industrial rate in the TVA). 

He asks this ridiculous question:

“Ask yourself a very basic economic question:   who gains from more expensive energy?”

That is a strawman argument. Anyone who has studied the economics of Climate Change should know that the economic cost of continuing with business as usual in terms of burning fossil fuels is far more costly than switching to renewable energy, where the cots are getting less and less every year.

Of course, fossil fuel shills refuse to include externalized costs in their economic assessments. That is just dishonest.

I wonder what will be the next profession that JaS chooses to show how ignorant of the field he is.

You somehow assume that “I'm all for fossil” and must be a “shill” of the oil industry. 

I'll bet there is something that we can actually agree upon. Developing cost-effective non-fossil energy at scale is a win all the way around.  Right now, there is not a good candidate.  Solar and Wind are not energy dense enough to replace oil and gas. Also, if we went all electric tomorrow in our rolling fleet of cars, trains, etc, we do not have the power distribution infrastructure to handle it.  It would take decades simply to build it out. 

We, the US, consume about 135 Billion gallons of gasoline/year. At 33.4KWh/gallon, and 8760 hours/year this is an equivalent energy generation requirment of 

135,000,000,000gallons * 33400Wh/gallon/8760 hours/year ~ 515 GWatts of generation required. 

1 modern nuclear reactor is about 1 GWatt ==> 500 nuclear reactors

Sunlight energy/square meter as it hits the earth surface is about 60W/meter –> at 100% efficiency you need 8.5 Billion Square Meters of the Earth covered with 100% efficient Solar collection.  8.5 Billion Square Meters = 8500 Square Kilometers or 3300 Square miles.   (Since the sun shines only half the day, you need at least 6600 square miles of solar panel).  at 20% efficiency you need 33000 square miles. 

and we haven't talked about Diesel consumption.

Perhaps, we should make a real start on alternative energy? 


Solar costs $0.30 per kwh installed and usable right here in Canada, unsubsidized. That is what the local businesses i spoke to are spending anyways.   Utility grade batteries are a available now and production is ramping up. They cost $0.05 per kwh without any volume in sales.

But don't take my word for it… Read the the link I posted before.  American utilities are predicting a very disruptive shift in how they deliver power.

They predict a 22% per annum compounded rate of ingress into their market space from home PV solar alone.  Their new role will be that of back up power supply, and we should see our electricity rising.  They'll also stop building power stations since solar delivers during peak hours.

This process has already occurred in Hawaii and California, and is expected to spread.

That is nearly 4X the price of residential power (coal, gas) in Knoxville, TN, who purchases their power from TVA.  

Having said that, I'm all for developing cheap, alternative energy that really scales. It seems to me that bio-based is promising.  Solar has a role. maybe wind. But they really don't have the energy density as viable replacements for what our society consumes in energy.  That's physics (not models, not wishful thinking).   I don't have to “believe the models” to be convinced that non-fossil energy development is critical.     

And if you believe the models predictions, then you have to find an energy solution that will work in India and China.  If you think that the cost of energy doesn't matter, you probably should re-examine your assumptions. 


Pollution isn't free.  Flooding sea side towns isn't free.  Rebuilding from severe hurricanes isn't free.

Climate Change damage isn't free. I am also expected to pay more for my insurace because of flood damage. (guestimates at $10 a month)  I am paying more taxes to fix and repair damaged infrastructure. (guestimates at $25 a month)  All of this was predicted a long time ago.

My power would go from $60 a month to about $120.  (In Alberta we pay an interesting array of additional surcharges to the tune of $30.  Fossil fuels are subsidized down to about $0.07.)   I'm paying more taxes because of climate change .  I'm paying more for insurance because of climate change.  (I haven't gone solar yet, because I have two 50 year old spruces in my front yard.  It blocks the light.)

You persist measuring everying by the lowest common denominator.  When I went to university I drove a Hyundai Pony.  It was cheap, heck it was practically biodegradable. I don't drive a Hyundai Pony any more. If you look around you'll realize that not everyone is driving crappy student cars.  In fact you might say that they are willing to pay more.  But hey!  My Pony was cheaper AND more fuel efficient than my Mazda 5.

With zero evidence, you've defined pricing erroneously and simultaneously ignored demand.  (New to this economics thing are you?) You have not looked at any costs associated with your bills, and you have made no effort to understand what your future costs will be in the future.

So in light of what I just layed out, reread this; (the utilities are afraid)

If energy price is such a concern, why is Germany the economic power house of Europe?  They pay $0.35 for their fossil fuel electricity.  It doesn't sound like their economy was struggling with that.

JaS makes this ridiculous statement:

“if we went all electric tomorrow in our rolling fleet of cars, trains, etc”

No one except deniers bring up this ridiculous argument. Most rational people are suggesting a slowdown  and reduction in our use of fossil fuels at a pace which will allow CO2 concentrations to stabilize at first then to come down when more and more renewable energy sources are brought on stream

Just admit it JaS, you are nothing but an anti-science AGW denier with your head in the sand.

The hurricanes listed made actual landfall in the New Jersey, New York, Long Island Area.

The cover the range of category 2 and category 1.

“We KNOW they will be less frequent and MORE intensive”.  I'm really trying to understand the statistics behind that statement. Really. I don't understand. Sandy was a Cat 1 (not stronger),  accumulated cyclonic energy appears to have no trend (up, down, cyclical). $ damage is higher, but so is population density.


You've not read any material on this and you're not familiar with basic statistics.

First we understand the physics of a hurricane including what causes them and what amplifies their strength. (Bare with me I'm going by wrote memory here.) Lower troposphere temperatures in the upper atmosphere sheers off or kills hurricanes. I can't remember what increases wind speeds, but the damage increase is exponential.

So, less likely to happen but when it does its more damaging.

There is no clear evidence that this is happening yet. I think you are operating on the belief that this is happening now or that it must be happening now.  The consensus is that there is a lag of the real forces required, which is further hampered by the fact that there is a 60-80 year cycle to the storm season.

Basic statistics imply that even with climate change enhanced storms you will see some storms that are weaker. That's why Hansen prefers his standard deviation temperature graphs.   Even a not so hot year has a lot of hotter days.

An attempt at quantifying storm activity;

Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment

Predicting Fewer Storms;
Increased tropical Atlantic wind shear in model projections of global warming

More Damaging storms;
Increasing Destructiveness of Tropical Cyclones Over the Past 30 Years

 While I see Ridley's piece for the hand-waving misdirection it is, I think Dr Abraham's response needs refining.

For instance,this piece of mispeaking: “[Ridley stated] that the benefits of rising sea-levels outweighs the consequences”. Ridley did not class SLR as a 'benefit', but it is clear that he thinks that the cost of rising sea-levels would be outweighed by the possibility of the benefits of rising temperature. This is of course laughable over-reach, but as I've expressed it, it actually reflects Ridley's claim better than Dr. A's.

This correction aside, Ridley's reframing of a leaked draft, simplistic assertions about enhanced CO2 benefits, and his unsupported assertions about the IPCC position yet to be released, is seen to be typically audacious clap-trap.

I was referring to the 'just a scientist' points.

cant dismiss those with rhetoric.

Alarmism is based on model predictions, not observations. 

I'm certainly not alarmed.

I haven't looked at any models in a while.  The observations clearly indicate past models are correct.

If you are referring to the the current 'pause' in global surface temperatures then I'd suggest you are deluded as to their meaning. Look closely at your leaked IPCC graphs again. The hind casts also show unforeseen (preseen?) discrepancies. This does not mean the models are incorrect.

Clearly indicate? Clearly? But you haven't looked at the models recently. 

And yes I'm referring to the “pause”  — I'm not cherry picking a particular start date, everyone agrees that there is no statistical warming for at least 10 years.  (Some have 15 years, others argue 17 years …). The point is, right now models and measurements are divergent. For how long?  It hasn't been long enough to either declare models are crud or models are the models are correct. It does leave room for significant doubt. 

Anybody who doesn't have doubt about model projections isn't really being honest with themselves. 

If JaS was a real scientist (and an honest one) he would know that you don't need fancy and expensive computers or models to show that increasing greenhouse gases will result in a warming of the Earth. Good grief, Svante Arrhenius was able to calculate the effects of increasing CO2 back in 1896, long before computers were invented.

Green house gas warming is defined by simple physics. Just what kind of a scientist are you, you don't seem to understand simple chemistry and physics? I first learned about IR absorption by CO2 and C=O as an undergraduate studying chemistry many years ago. I doubt if physics and chemistry have changed since then but as a denier you must think so.

In fact you personally argued that it isn't possible to tie weather to climate change.  Yet turn around and demand it.  It sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about.  Would you like some Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme for the road?

I have no doubt about the models.  You certainly haven't raised any doubts by showing up here all ignorant and refusing outright to back anything you say with any facts or citations.

First… we are talking about global warming right?  I'm curious because you have chosen not to look at that or talk about it.  You want to dwell strictly and solely on surface temperatures for some undisclosed reason. I notice for instance that you are ignoring things like accelerated arctic melt.  Last I checked, ice melts when its warm and it takes a lot of energy, and this too is way out on the models.  Is that an inconvenient subject?

Overestimated Global Warming for the Last 20 Years;
Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal climate variability.
One possible explanation for the discrepancy is that forced and internal variation might combine differently in observations than in models. For example, the forced trends in models are modulated up and down by simulated sequences of ENSO events, which are not expected to coincide with the observed sequence of such events.

So its saying that models do not predict future weather events, such as El Nino, and La Nina which dramatically affect global surface temperature readings.  Here's Hansen 2012;

Since I know you won't read it, I'll leave you with this useful quote.

Indeed, the current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the fact that the first half of the past 10 years had predominately El Nino conditions, while the second half had predominately La Nina conditions (Nino index in Fig. 1).

I'm also curious to know who told you that climate models predict weather?  No one anywhere has said that to my knowledge.  I certainly haven't seen any articles stating that.   So what inbred bumpkin told you that?

1. Claim by catastrophic global warming community:  Excess CO2 is the predominant (extreme view is ONLY) cause of warming. 

    I'm not going to argue against that claim. I will simply accept it as fact. 

2. Implication: the only solution is -worldwide- reduction in excess CO2 emission.  It is a global problem after all. Since the claim is that CO2 is the dominant governor, that's what you have to control.

3. Primary emitters: China (29%), US (16%), India (5.6%), Russia (5.4%), Japan (3.5%). In that order.  These 5 countries account for about 60% of the total excess CO2.   The worldwide estimated total is about 33.4 Gigatons in 2011 (and 31.6 in 2009)

In 2009, estimated emissions: China (7.46 GTon), US (5.28 GT), India (1.89)

In 2011, estimated emissions: China (9.7GTon), US (5.42 GT), India (1.97)

 In two years, the increase in China's emissions is 41% of the US total emission. China's increase in CO2 emission was 2.24 GT, US: .14 GT.  You do the math.  If you want a solution (See Claim 1  and Implication 2), the solution MUST be viable in China.  Somehow, I believe that they will select the least expensive source energy. Call me crazy, but cost often trumps, well just about everything.  This is mostly the reason they are building a new coal power plant every week. 

Figure out the solution for China, the rest falls into place. Come up with a solution that is “only twice as expensive”, it's unlikely to be a viable solution.


1) There is no Catastrophic Global Warming community.  I'm no member.  You have not said or backed up a single thing you've ranted about.  Not a one.  But you have demonstrated that you don't know anything about global warming.  How you can meaningfully conclude anything about something you are clearly ignorant of, is quite beyond me.

2) Correct.. buts its way more complicated than that.  I'd just go with a carbon tax and be done with it.  Nothing else will work.

3) Answering your question is incredibly simple.  You are deciding to intentionally export jobs and money.  I mean, we all know its coming, right?  But who are we going to buy the electric cars from?  The solar panels?  Hmm?  (I think GE USA did wind.)

I guess I'll be giving my money to those nice Greens in Germany.

Maybe you can start buying some of those new fangled (expensive) zero emissions CCS coal plants from China?

Yeah, I'm sure your wish to run up a huge trade deficit will work out real well for America.

So here's another interesting factoid for you.  We've been exporting emissions monitoring and acid rain preventing gear hand over fist to China.  This is because in the 1970's we started worrying about that stuff, then later developed solutions, then later turned it into an industry worth billions;

Behold! Acid Rain for Sale, just $200 a ton.

This creates jobs in North America, and fights our trade deficit.

Solar does not cost double.  In many places, it was rolled out privately subsidized to save money, and that has nothing to do with the environment.   This trend of private roll out is expected to continue.

And their great ad;

The argument of global warming IS and HAS BEEN surface temperature. More to the point, estimates of global surface temperature were estimated to be about 0.3C higher today than actual measurements.   The fundamental issue of doubt in the predictive capability of climate models is that while they did a damn fine job of predicting measured temps in the 80's and 90's, the record is spotty for 00's and early 10's.  Just when the models predict an acceleration of surface temps, mother earth is responding differently. 

Ice: Arctic Sea Ice is reducing. Antarctic Sea Ice is increasing. Somehow you don't seem to mention that.   Please web on over to cryosphere today. Arctic Ice has a notable trend downwards, Antarctic a noticeable trend up. They almost balance (Not quite), but we only have measurements since 1979. 

You say: “This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal climate variability.”

and which is more likely: errors in external forcing, model response, or internal climate variability? 

Model response could also be a incorrect estimate of sensitivity to CO2 in the models.   

Finally, I'm not asking climate simulations to predict weather. I would also expect people to refrain from attempting to correlate every weather event as being made worse/caused by global warming and pointing to a strong storm of “this is just the type of weather than climate scientists have warned us about”  So was hurricane Carla, and Camille and all the other destructive Category 5 storms that have hit over the centuries. 

Until “conclusively” shown otherwise, many modern events do not seem to be unprecedented (Dust Bowl of the 1930s, a long string of Hurricanes hitting NYC area over many decades, etc.).     What was unprecedented in Sandy? It hit at high tide. 



Here is more typical denier nonsense and ignorance of the subject:

“The argument of global warming IS and HAS BEEN surface temperature”.

Only in the deluded minds of an AGW denier. The science behind global warming is that there is an energy imbalance occurring at TOA meaning that less energy is being emitted than is being absorbed thus causing an increase of energy in the system. JaS, although he pretends to be a scientist probably doesn't understand the difference between energy and temperature. This positive energy imbalance can show up in a number of different ways; ice melting on Greenland and the Antarctic, warming of the lower atmosphere and warming of the oceans, especially at depth.

Depending on other factors, the energy imbalance will be distributed in different ways at different times. This of course is something that AGW deniers such as JaS refuse to accept.

Just what sort of a scientist are you, JaS? I don't believe for one minute you really are one.

Global Warming was never just about surface temperatures.  Ever. Read.  Learn. You can't even look at global warming without considering oceans and their effects.  Here's the First report, chapter 8 gets a little into oceans and their effects on global warming models;

So I guess they decided they needed to know more and get better observations underwater;

And now we have a better idea about ocean heat content.  You'd almost think they knew what they would find.  Now we have a clear understanding of ocean heat content in AR5 (Ch3_Obs-oceans_WG1AR5_SOD_Ch03_All_Final).

Your claims that they did a good job early on and do not now, are patently absurd.  I recommend you read some more.  I'll go with the AR5 report (Ch1-Introduction_WG1AR5_SOD_Ch01_All_Final) hyped by a high schooler named Tony Watts.  Page 39, Figure 1.4 is the graph most pointed at;

Read section 1.3.1;

Even though the projections from the models were never intended to be predictions over such a short time scale, the observations through 2010 generally fall well within the projections made in all of the past assessments.”

“There are several additional points to consider about Figure 1.4: (1) the model projections account for different emissions scenarios but do not fully account for natural variability; (2) the AR4 results for 1990–2000 account for the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption, while the earlier assessments do not; (3) the TAR and AR4 results are based on MAGICC, a simple climate model that attempts to represent the results from more complex models, rather than the actual results from the full three-dimensional climate models; and (4) the bars on the side represent the range of results for the scenarios at the end of the time period and are not error bars.”


Analyses by Rahmstorf et al. show that accounting for ENSO events and solar cycle changes would enhance the comparison with the AR4 and earlier projections.”

They do not include ENSO weather events like La Nina and El Nino, as I already informed you.

“In summary, the globally-averaged surface temperatures are well within the uncertainty range of all previous IPCC projections, and generally are in the middle of the scenario ranges. However, natural variability is likely the dominating effect in evaluating these early times in the scenario evaluations as noted by Hawkins and Sutton (2009).”

  The catastrophic argument of excess CO2 is that the earth's climate system is overly sensitive to CO2.  Arhennius experiment would indicate that a doubling of pre-industrial levels of CO2 (~280ppm –> 560ppm, currently we are at about 400ppm give or take) would raise temperature by about 1C.   The earth's climate is very very far away from the idealized experiment. 

Please don't peddle a “grade school” experiment (which all scientists can understand and have no reason to doubt) as the “obviousness” of increased sensitivity of Earth's climate system.  If we just went with just grade school experiments, temp increase would be 1C by about the year 2100. The “catastrophe” of global warming wouldn't be castrophic and fear would not be a motivator. 

JaS, what gives you the right to make an ad hominem attack on a celebrated scientist? Svante Arrhenius is a Nobel laureate (1903) in Chemistry, to refer to his ground breaking work as “grade school experiment” only shows what a despicable and ignorant person you really are. No wonder you hide behind a ridiculous name such as “Just a Scientist”, you are an anathema to real scientists who frequent this blog.

Stop peddling your lies and arrogant nonsense.

It also appears that you know nothing about simple chemistry such as Henry's Law and the Clausius Clapeyron relationship and other feed backs.

Oh sorry, Al gore calls it “high school physics”. My apologies if you find his characterization of Nobel-worthy research of circa 1900 to be non-deragatory and “grade school science” to be deragatory.   

I was calling out, properly, the mis-characterization of Arhennius' work being the rationale of climate models' sensitivity estimates for CO2.  If you used his results, without change or adjustment, then the earth would warm to a much lower degree than estimated by models.    There would be no reason to continue climate modeling experiments. And I don't believe that is rational, either.

You happily call me a “denier”. I'm not, but you've labeled me that way because I'm not a “believer”.    You probably think I'm anti-science. I'm not. I'd rather climate scientists be given the “political” room to adjust (if appropriate) estimates of warming over the next century and sensitivity to CO2.   Does that mean I support more research/study? You betcha.   At the same time, we should be investing a lot more in non-fossil energy research.

I don't have to agree with your basic rationale (Catastrophic global warming) to agree with you on the wisdom of moving to non-fossil energy.  In other words, I can be a “denier” and support your goals, but not your means. And if I read your goals correctly, it should be non-fossil-based energy independence.

JaS says:

“Al gore calls it “high school physics”“

If anyone Googles this (“high school physics” “al gore”) they will find loads and loads of links to denier sites.

You are so stupid or dishonest that you cannot see the difference between you describing research conducted over 100 years ago as “grade school experiment” with a very simple experiment which doesn't work too well even with today's much more sophisticated equipment. Your comment was a nasty ad hominem attack on the very basis of our understanding of the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

You are a despicable person with your nasty attacks on science and scientists.

I find this interesting.  Are you saying that the physics is wrong and the energy absorbtion by the atmosphere is incorrect?  And if you claim this, why, and what paper are you citing anyways?

And why are you only speaking of CO2 There's many mroe green houses gases.

Why are you talking only about CO2?

Because that is exactly what policymakers want to regulate.  That is what all the _political_ discussion is all about.   It's the policymakers who levy the taxes and provide the tax incentives and fund the basic research granting agencies.   To move the needle towards non-fossil energy, the right incentives and investments have to be made.

Does anybody here  believe our government is properly funding the basic and applied research to move us towards a predominantly non-fossil energy base?   

That is patently untrue and it never was. Carbon is merely the unit of measure for all green house gases;

Carbon carbon carbon… in terms of emissions refers to green house gases.  Check your fine print and you'll find that under the hood of any policy, like Kyoto for instance.

Now that you are enlightened, you know why the sheep are really nervous in New Zealand. (hint, methane)  :-)

No.  I don't think my government takes climate change seriously at all. Canada's current push is to develop better pipeline technology.  Which of course will not be available for Keystone at the rate their going.

The latest report addresses the issue of a “pause” in climbing temperatures, noting that at least part of it is due to oceans absorbing more heat.

If JaS were what he claims to be, he'd know that.

Of course, again, he's not.