The Truth System Fail

It used to be that “Pravda” was a joke in the US. (Not Prada, you airhead). Pravda means “Truth” in Russian, and everyone knew whatever you read in that rag, the opposite was more likely to be true. Now, the tables have turned: You can’t trust most of what the traditionally reputable US media publishes.

Lee Smith writes at the Tablet System Fail The Mueller Report is an unmitigated disaster for the American press and the ‘expert’ class that it promotes

First, after nearly two years, the special counsel found no credible evidence of collusion. It found no credible evidence of a plot to obstruct justice, to hide evidence of collusion. The entire collusion theory, which has formed the center of elite political discourse for over two years now, has been publicly and definitely proclaimed to be a hoax by the very person on whom news organizations and their chosen “experts” and “high-level sources” had so loudly and insistently pinned their daily, even hourly, hopes of redemption.

Mueller should have filed his report on May 18, 2017—the day after the special counsel started and he learned the FBI had opened an investigation on the sitting president of the United States because senior officials at the world’s premier law enforcement agency thought Trump was a Russian spy. Based on what evidence? A dossier compiled by a former British spy, relying on second- and third-hand sources, paid for by the Clinton campaign.

Instead, the special counsel lasted 674 days, during which millions of people who believed Mueller was going to turn up conclusive evidence of Trump’s devious conspiracies with the Kremlin have become wrapped up in a collective hallucination that has destroyed the remaining credibility of the American press and the D.C. expert class whose authority they promote.

Mueller knew that he wasn’t ever going to find “collusion” or anything like it because all the intercepts were right there on his desk. As it turned out, two of his prosecutors, including Mueller’s so-called “pit bull,” Andrew Weissman, had been briefed on the Steele dossier prior to the 2016 election and were told that it came from the Clintons, and was likely a biased political document.

And now, after all the Saturday Night Live skits, the obscenity-riddled Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert routines, the half a million news stories and tens of millions of tweets all foretelling the end of Trump, the comedians and the adult authority figures are exposed as hoaxsters, or worse, based on evidence that was always transparently phony.

The Mueller report is in. But the abuse of power that the special counsel embodied is a deadly cancer on American democracy. Two years of investigations have left families in ruins, stripping them of their savings, their homes, threatening their liberty, and dragging their names through the mud. The investigation of the century was partly based on the possibility that Michael Flynn, a combat veteran who served his country for more than three decades, might be a Russian spy—because of a dinner he once attended in Moscow, and because as incoming national security adviser he spoke to the Russian ambassador to Washington. What rot.

While the length of Mueller’s investigative process may have protected the FBI from the president’s immediate rage, the release of the report has exposed the deep corruption and personal narcissism of the press and its professional networks of “experts” and “sources.” Instead of providing medicine, the press chose instead to spread the disease through a body that was already badly weakened by the advent of “free” digital media. Only, it wasn’t free.

The media criticism of the media’s performance covering Russiagate is misleadingly anodyne—OK, sure the press did a bad job, but to be fair there really was a lot of suspicious stuff going on and now let’s all get back to doing our important work. But two years of false and misleading Russiagate coverage was not a mistake, or a symptom of lax fact-checking.

Russiagate was an information operation from the beginning, in which dozens of individual reporters and institutions actively partnered with paid political operatives like Glenn Simpson and corrupt law enforcement and intelligence officials like former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr to smear Trump and his circle, and then to topple him. None of what went on the last two years would have been possible without the press, an indispensable partner in the biggest political scandal in a generation.

The campaign was waged not in hidden corners of the internet, but rather by the country’s most prestigious news organizations—including, but not only, The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC. The farce that has passed for public discourse the last two years was fueled by a concerted effort of the media and the pundit class to obscure gaping holes in logic as well as law. And yet, they all appeared to be credible because the institutions sustaining them are credible.

Michael McFaul was U.S. ambassador to Moscow—he knows everything about Russia. He wouldn’t invent stuff about national security matters out of thin air. Jane Mayer is a national treasure, one of America’s greatest living journalists who penned a long profile of Christopher Steele in the pages of the New Yorker. Susan Hennessy is a former intelligence community lawyer, who appears as an expert on TV. And how about her colleague at the Lawfare blog, Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution fellow and a personal friend of James Comey? You think he didn’t have the inside dope, every time he posted a “Boom” GIF on Twitter predicting the final nail just about to be hammered in Trump’s coffin?

Many more jumped on the dog pile along with them, validating each other’s tweets and breathless insider sourcing. The point was to thicken the echo chamber, with voices from the right as well as the left in order to make it seem real. Hey, if this many experts are saying so, there must be something to it.

Except, there wasn’t—ever.

American democracy is premised on a free press that does its best to provide the public with information. Misinforming the public is like dumping toxic waste in the rivers. It poisoned our democracy—and it continues to do so. In fact, the most important thing for the public to understand is that Russiagate is not unique. It’s the way that the expert class opines on everything now, from immigration to foreign policy.

Take for instance last week’s big news that President Trump had decided to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The decision was universally praised in Israel, by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by opponents like Yair Lapid. Yet Obama’s former ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, insisted that the decision was politically motivated, telling the Washington Post that “the timing seems pretty transparent.” Surely, like his ambassadorial colleague, McFaul, Shapiro knew exactly what he’s talking about when he tweeted that the decision was made without “any policy planning process to consider potential reactions by Russia, Assad regime, Hezbollah, Arab states, Europe, etc., some of which may not be immediate. A decision like this should factor in such questions. No evidence it has.”

Shapiro was dead wrong. As the Atlantic noted in a detailed reported piece posted hours after Shapiro’s tweet, “the push for Trump to make such a move has been going on for more than a year, due to parallel efforts by Israeli officials and members of Congress.”


But whatever. Experts can say anything they like—the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos’ emails and photos of him and his girlfriend; Jamal Khashoggi was an American journalist; Jussie Smollett was nearly lynched by Trump supporters; Brett Kavanaugh was part of a rape gang, etc., etc. And reporters will print it, and editors will shrug, because that’s what the press is now—a pass-through mechanism mostly used for manipulative, ill-informed and often nonsensical propaganda.

Americans still want and need accurate information on which to base their decisions about their own lives and the path that the country should take. But neither the legacy media nor the expert class it sustains is likely to survive the post-dossier era in any recognizable form. For them, Russiagate is an extinction level event.

Lee Smith is the author of The Consequences of Syria.


On Thermodynamic Climate Modelling

Earth climate systems functions as a massive heat engine.

Some years ago I wrote a post called Climate Thinking Out of the Box (reprinted later on) which was prompted by a conclusion from Lucarini et al. 2014:

“In particular, it is not obvious, as of today, whether it is more efficient to approach the problem of constructing a theory of climate dynamics starting from the framework of hamiltonian mechanics and quasi-equilibrium statistical mechanics or taking the point of view of dissipative chaotic dynamical systems, and of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and even the authors of this review disagree. The former approach can rely on much more powerful mathematical tools, while the latter is more realistic and epistemologically more correct, because, obviously, the climate is, indeed, a non-equilibrium system.”

Now we have a publication discussing progress in applying the latter approach using thermodynamic concepts in the effort to model climate processes.. The article is A new diagnostic tool for water, energy and entropy budgets in climate models by Valerio Lembo, Frank Lunkeit, and Valerio Lucarini February 14, 2019.  Overview in italics with my bolds.

Abstract: This work presents a novel diagnostic tool for studying the thermodynamics of the climate systems with a wide range of applications,from sensitivity studies to model tuning. It includes a number of modules for assessing the internal energy budget, the hydrological cycle,the Lorenz Energy Cycle and the material entropy production, respectively.

The routine receives as inputs energy fluxes at surface and at the Top-of-Atmosphere (TOA), for the computation of energy budgets at Top-of-Atmosphere (TOA), at the surface, and in the atmosphere as a residual. Meridional enthalpy transports are also computed from the divergence of the zonal mean energy budget fluxes; location and intensity of peaks in the two hemispheres are then provided as outputs. Rainfall, snowfall and latent heat fluxes are received as inputs for computing the water mass and latent energy budgets. If a land-sea mask is provided, the required quantities are separately computed over continents and oceans. The diagnostic tool also computes the Lorenz Energy Cycle (LEC) and its storage/conversion terms as annual mean global and hemispheric values.

In order to achieve this, one needs to provide as input three-dimensional daily fields of horizontal wind velocity and temperature in the troposphere. Two methods have been implemented for the computation of the material entropy production, one relying on the convergence of radiative heat fluxes in the atmosphere (indirect method), one combining the irreversible processes occurring in the climate system, particularly heat fluxes in the boundary layer, the hydrological cycle and the kinetic energy dissipation as retrieved from the residuals of the LEC.

A version of the diagnostic tool is included in the Earth System Model eValuation Tool (ESMValTool) community diagnostics, in order to assess the performances of soon available CMIP6 model simulations. The aim of this software is to provide a comprehensive picture of the thermodynamics of the climate system as reproduced in the state-of-the-art coupled general circulation models. This can prove useful for better understanding anthropogenic and natural climate change, paleoclimatic climate variability, and climatic tipping points.

Energy: Rather than a proxy of a changing climate, surface temperatures and precipitation changes should be better viewed as a consequence of a non-equilibrium steady state system which is responding to a radiative energy imbalance through a complex interaction of feedbacks. A changing climate, under the effect of an external transient forcing, can only be properly addressed if the energy imbalance, and the way it is transported within the system and converted into different forms is taken into account. The models’ skill to represent the history of energy and heat exchanges in the climate system has been assessed by comparing numerical simulations against available observations, where available, including the fundamental problem of ocean heat uptake.

Heat Transport: In order to understand how the heat is transported by the geophysical fluids, one should clarify what sets them into motion. We focus here on the atmosphere. A comprehensive view of the energetics fuelling the general circulation is given by the Lorenz Energy Cycle (LEC) framework. This provides a picture of the various processes responsible for conversion of available potential energy (APE), i.e. the excess of potential energy with respect to a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, into kinetic energy and dissipative heating. Under stationary conditions, the dissipative heating exactly equals the mechanical work performed by the atmosphere. In other words, the LEC formulation allows to constrain the atmosphere to the first law of thermodynamics, and the system as a whole can be seen as a pure thermodynamic heat engine under dissipative non-equilibrium conditions.

Water: On one hand the energy budget is relevantly affected by semi-empirical formulations of the water vapor spectrum, on the other hand the energy budget influences the moisture budget by means of uncertainties in aerosol-cloud interactions and mechanisms of tropical deep convection. A global scale evaluation of the hydrological cycle, both from a moisture and energetic perspective, is thus considered an integral part of an overall diagnostics for the thermodynamics of climate system.

Entropy: From a macroscopic point of view, one usually refers to “material entropy production” as the entropy produced by the geophysical fluids in the climate system, which are not related to the properties of the radiative fields, but rather to the irreversible processes related to the motion of these fluids. Mainly, this has to do with phase changes and water vapor diffusion. Lucarini (2009) underlined the link between entropy production and efficiency of the climate engine, which were then used to understand climatic tipping points, and, in particular, the snowball/warm Earth critical transition, to define a wider class of climate response metrics, and to study planetary circulation regimes. A constraint has also been proposed to the entropy production of the atmospheric heat engine, given by the emerging importance of non-viscous processes in a warming climate.

The goal here is to look at models through the lens of their dynamics and thermodynamics, in the view of enunciated above ideas about complex non-equilibrium systems. The metrics that we here propose are based on the analysis of the energy and water budgets and transports, of the energy transformations, and of the entropy production.

Previous Post: Climate Thinking Out of the Box 


It seems that climate modelers are dealing with a quandary: How can we improve on the unsatisfactory results from climate modeling?

Shall we:
A.Continue tweaking models using classical maths though they depend on climate being in quasi-equilibrium; or,
B.Start over from scratch applying non-equilibrium maths to the turbulent climate, though this branch of math is immature with limited expertise.

In other words, we are confident in classical maths, but does climate have features that disqualify it from their application? We are confident that non-equilibrium maths were developed for systems such as the climate, but are these maths robust enough to deal with such a complex reality?

It appears that some modelers are coming to grips with the turbulent quality of climate due to convection dominating heat transfer in the lower troposphere. Heretofore, models put in a parameter for energy loss through convection, and proceeded to model the system as a purely radiative dissipative system. Recently, it seems that some modelers are striking out in a new, possibly more fruitful direction. Herbert et al 2013 is one example exploring the paradigm of non-equilibrium steady states (NESS). Such attempts are open to criticism from a classical position, but may lead to a breakthrough for climate modeling.

That is my layman’s POV. Here is the issue stated by practitioners, more elegantly with bigger words:

“In particular, it is not obvious, as of today, whether it is more efficient to approach the problem of constructing a theory of climate dynamics starting from the framework of hamiltonian mechanics and quasi-equilibrium statistical mechanics or taking the point of view of dissipative chaotic dynamical systems, and of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and even the authors of this review disagree. The former approach can rely on much more powerful mathematical tools, while the latter is more realistic and epistemologically more correct, because, obviously, the climate is, indeed, a non-equilibrium system.”

Lucarini et al 2014

Here’s how Herbert et al address the issue of a turbulent, non-equilibrium atmosphere. Their results show that convection rules in the lower troposphere and direct warming from CO2 is quite modest, much less than current models project.

“Like any fluid heated from below, the atmosphere is subject to vertical instability which triggers convection. Convection occurs on small time and space scales, which makes it a challenging feature to include in climate models. Usually sub-grid parameterizations are required. Here, we develop an alternative view based on a global thermodynamic variational principle. We compute convective flux profiles and temperature profiles at steady-state in an implicit way, by maximizing the associated entropy production rate. Two settings are examined, corresponding respectively to the idealized case of a gray atmosphere, and a realistic case based on a Net Exchange Formulation radiative scheme. In the second case, we are also able to discuss the effect of variations of the atmospheric composition, like a doubling of the carbon dioxide concentration.

The response of the surface temperature to the variation of the carbon dioxide concentration — usually called climate sensitivity — ranges from 0.24 K (for the sub-arctic winter profile) to 0.66 K (for the tropical profile), as shown in table 3. To compare these values with the literature, we need to be careful about the feedbacks included in the model we wish to compare to. Indeed, if the overall climate sensitivity is still a subject of debate, this is mainly due to poorly understood feedbacks, like the cloud feedback (Stephens 2005), which are not accounted for in the present study.”

Abstract from:
Vertical Temperature Profiles at Maximum Entropy Production with a Net Exchange Radiative Formulation
Herbert et al 2013

In this modeling paradigm, we have to move from a linear radiative Energy Budget to a dynamic steady state Entropy Budget. As Ozawa et al explains, this is a shift from current modeling practices, but is based on concepts going back to Carnot.

“Entropy of a system is defined as a summation of “heat supplied” divided by its “temperature” [Clausius, 1865].. Heat can be supplied by conduction, by convection, or by radiation. The entropy of the system will increase by equation (1) no matter which way we may choose. When we extract the heat from the system, the entropy of the system will decrease by the same amount. Thus the entropy of a diabatic system, which exchanges heat with its surrounding system, can either increase or decrease, depending on the direction of the heat exchange. This is not a violation of the second law of thermodynamics since the entropy increase in the surrounding system is larger.

Carnot regarded the Earth as a sort of heat engine, in which a fluid like the atmosphere acts as working substance transporting heat from hot to cold places, thereby producing the kinetic energy of the fluid itself. His general conclusion about heat engines is that there is a certain limit for the conversion rate of the heat energy into the kinetic energy and that this limit is inevitable for any natural systems including, among others, the Earth’s atmosphere.

Thus there is a flow of energy from the hot Sun to cold space through the Earth. In the Earth’s system the energy is transported from the warm equatorial region to the cool polar regions by the atmosphere and oceans. Then, according to Carnot, a part of the heat energy is converted into the potential energy which is the source of the kinetic energy of the atmosphere and oceans.

Thus it is likely that the global climate system is regulated at a state with a maximum rate of entropy production by the turbulent heat transport, regardless of the entropy production by the absorption of solar radiation This result is also consistent with a conjecture that entropy of a whole system connected through a nonlinear system will increase along a path of evolution, with a maximum rate of entropy production among a manifold of possible paths [Sawada, 1981]. We shall resolve this radiation problem in this paper by providing a complete view of dissipation processes in the climate system in the framework of an entropy budget for the globe.

The hypothesis of the maximum entropy production (MEP) thus far seems to have been dismissed by some as coincidence. The fact that the Earths climate system transports heat to the same extent as a system in a MEP state does not prove that the Earths climate system is necessarily seeking such a state. However, the coincidence argument has become harder to sustain now that Lorenz et al. [2001] have shown that the same condition can reproduce the observed distributions of temperatures and meridional heat fluxes in the atmospheres of Mars and Titan, two celestial bodies with atmospheric conditions and radiative settings very different from those of the Earth.”

Hisashi Ozawa et al 2003

Best of Bizarro

Social Science?

Wonder Drugs?

Not Enough Texting?

A Test? Or Aversion Therapy?

Don’t you trust in science?

Climate Adaptation?

Brexit Anyone?

What?  Have you no respect for diversity?

Not only Polar Bears are flourishing.

Are you listening IPCC?

Don’t take the Green New Deal without Helium!

Your Spell checker Knows Best.

Gender Confusion Abounds

Who’s afraid of witches?

Wait! How about probiotics?

The Reinvention of Chess

Doesn’t Anyone Like My Green New Deal?




Nudging a Climate Illiterate

Mark Hendrickson writes at The Epoch Times March 28, 2019 Open Letter to a Journalist About His Paper’s Position on Climate Change Mark patiently lays out information and context for someone to think more deeply about superficial opinions on global warming/climate change. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.


Mark Trumbull, Staff Reporter
The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, MA 02115

Dear Mr. Trumbull,

Last month, in your introductory remarks to The Christian Science Monitor Daily online news stories, you addressed the issue of the Monitor’s coverage of climate change. Your challenge is how to report when you and your Monitor colleagues believe that “human emissions of CO2 are triggering dangerous climatic conditions” while some of your readers do not.

You wrote, “Part of good journalism is to seek out a range of viewpoints rather than just present a story through one lens. But a corollary journalistic responsibility is to weigh the credibility and relevance of viewpoints.” I agree wholeheartedly, and I hope you will follow through in fairly reporting opinions with which you may personally disagree.

Climate change science does not lend itself to facile conclusions. The science itself is complex, many relationships are imperfectly understood, and then there is the daunting challenge of predicting the future. As I have written elsewhere, in fields like economics and climate change, there is no such thing as expertise about the future. In the words of a report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which your paper accepts as arguably the most credible authority that espouses the catastrophist position—“The climate system is a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Your statement that there is a “strong consensus within the climate science profession that human emissions are now the leading factor affecting changes in Earth’s climate” is almost correct, but not quite. Some climate skeptics object to the use of the word “consensus.” They state (correctly, I believe) that “consensus” is more appropriate in politics, where majorities shape reality, than in science, where what a majority may believe to be true today may be disproven tomorrow. You, however, used the word “consensus” correctly, because your supporting hyperlink takes the reader to a story about the political consensus that has been forged at the U.N. through the reports of the IPCC.

It is important to understand that the IPCC is a political organization (after all, it is the Inter-governmental Panel), not a scientific body. I can cite a number of quotes from scientists who have done work for the IPCC, but disagreed with the published “consensus.” The political nature of the IPCC and its reports is underscored by Appendix A of the Principles Governing IPCC work. It authorizes the few dozen political appointees who actually write the Summary for Policymakers to alter what scientists have written in order to conform to what the Summary states.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed articles every year differ from the official pronouncements of the IPCC. There is not so much a “strong consensus within the climate science profession” in general that human activity is causing a dangerous climate as there is a “strong consensus” within the extensive but not all-encompassing government-employed climate science clique.

Journalists often ask those who dissent from the official position of the IPCC if they receive or have received remuneration from fossil fuel companies. The ugly insinuation, of course, is that a person receiving compensation from a conventional energy company is automatically suspected of being a paid propagandist. Is it not equally as plausible that a scientist funded by government grants might tailor his findings so as not to risk losing a valuable source of income? There should be symmetry here, treating people on both sides of the issue with equal respect, instead of proceeding from the unfounded assumption that those receiving money from nongovernmental sources are not trustworthy while those receiving government funds are.

Regarding your assertion that “human emissions are now the leading factor affecting changes in Earth’s climate.” That assertion would have more credibility if it were proven that carbon dioxide is, in fact, the principal driver of global temperatures. However, when one looks at the historical record, one encounters a couple of inconvenient facts: 1) over hundreds of millions of years, graphs plotting global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 show no fixed relation or meaningful correlation; 2) the Vostok ice core graph shows the two variables following similar paths over the past several hundred thousand years, but with changes in CO2 lagging behind changes in temperature by 800 to 1,000 years, and effect cannot precede cause in a temporal universe.

Space prevents me from discussing other unresolved issues—the numerous measuring limitations and errors; the logarithmic scale of how much heat CO2 can “trap”; the fact that CO2 concentrations before the modern increase were dangerously low (plant life would cease to exist if the concentration fell much below 150–170 ppm, whereas it will flourish optimally nearer 1,000 ppm); whether warmer temperatures, on the whole, are better or worse for humans than cold.

I would urge the Monitor’s reporters to not rely so heavily on the scientists employed by the IPCC. Very subtly, the dangerous perception has set in that these are “the best scientists in the world.” I am not saying that there aren’t many fine scientists employed by Uncle Sam and contracted for by the IPCC, but to assume that if the government employs them, that stamps them as the best is unfounded. Politicians have no special power to identify which scientists’ output comes closest to the truth, but they are shrewd enough to pick scientists whose work can be used in support of pre-determined political agendas.

I hope none of your reporters is allied with the Society of Environmental Journalists—a group dedicated to censoring dissent. It does appear that your principal environmental reporter has become over-reliant on the eminently quotable Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and a lead author for the IPCC.

Dr. Hayhoe is very, very skilled at verbal manipulation. Take, for example, this cleverly constructed straw man: “[Climate] science is so old and so basic that to deny that science, we would have to be denying basic thermodynamics … and basic fluid dynamics that explains how airplanes fly. And there’s not a lot of politicians and pundits claiming that airplanes don’t fly.”

Brilliant! Unfortunately, it is also disingenuous. Skeptics about the catastrophist scenario aren’t rejecting the basic laws of physics; they don’t deny that Earth’s climate is volatile; they don’t deny that CO2 is a greenhouse gas or that human consumption of fossil fuels is increasing its concentration in the atmosphere.

There remain important disagreements about the degree of climate change, the impact those changes will have, whether any benefits that can be gained by retooling our lives would exceed the costs of making those changes, and other issues with public policy implications that need to be studied and discussed. I hope that the Monitor will contribute to these needed discussions by reporting today’s minority positions as well as the most popular ones.

Mark Hendrickson is an adjunct professor of economics and sociology at Grove City College. He is the author of several books, including “The Big Picture: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Climate Change.”

See Also:  Climate Reductionism

De Nada Ocean SSTs in February

The best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.  More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through February 2019. For some reason, it took almost a whole month to publish the updated dataset.

A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH cycling downward since 2016.  2018 started with slow warming after the low point of December 2017, led by steadily rising NH, which peaked in September and cooled since.  The Tropics rose steadily until November, and are now cooling as well.  With a little warming in SH, the Global anomaly is virtually unchanged last month.

All regions are about the same as 02/2017 and 02/2015, but much cooler than 02/2016.  The February Global anomaly is 0.09 lower than 2016;  NH is 0.06 lower, SH is 0.09 lower and the Tropics  are down 0.43, or 50% from 02/2016. The rise in the Tropics had suggested a possible El Nino, but is now cooling down and better described as De Nada.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back below its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added three bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year.  A fourth NH bump was lower and peaked in September 2018.  Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

The annual SSTs for the last five years are as follows:

Annual SSTs Global NH SH  Tropics
2014 0.477 0.617 0.335 0.451
2015 0.592 0.737 0.425 0.717
2016 0.613 0.746 0.486 0.708
2017 0.505 0.650 0.385 0.424
2018 0.480 0.620 0.362 0.369

2018 annual average SSTs across the regions are close to 2014, slightly higher in SH and much lower in the Tropics.  The SST rise from the global ocean was remarkable, peaking in 2016, higher than 2011 by 0.32C.

A longer view of SSTs

The graph below  is noisy, but the density is needed to see the seasonal patterns in the oceanic fluctuations.  Previous posts focused on the rise and fall of the last El Nino starting in 2015.  This post adds a longer view, encompassing the significant 1998 El Nino and since.  The color schemes are retained for Global, Tropics, NH and SH anomalies.  Despite the longer time frame, I have kept the monthly data (rather than yearly averages) because of interesting shifts between January and July.

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

1995 is a reasonable starting point prior to the first El Nino.  The sharp Tropical rise peaking in 1998 is dominant in the record, starting Jan. ’97 to pull up SSTs uniformly before returning to the same level Jan. ’99.  For the next 2 years, the Tropics stayed down, and the world’s oceans held steady around 0.2C above 1961 to 1990 average.

Then comes a steady rise over two years to a lesser peak Jan. 2003, but again uniformly pulling all oceans up around 0.4C.  Something changes at this point, with more hemispheric divergence than before. Over the 4 years until Jan 2007, the Tropics go through ups and downs, NH a series of ups and SH mostly downs.  As a result the Global average fluctuates around that same 0.4C, which also turns out to be the average for the entire record since 1995.

2007 stands out with a sharp drop in temperatures so that Jan.08 matches the low in Jan. ’99, but starting from a lower high. The oceans all decline as well, until temps build peaking in 2010.

Now again a different pattern appears.  The Tropics cool sharply to Jan 11, then rise steadily for 4 years to Jan 15, at which point the most recent major El Nino takes off.  But this time in contrast to ’97-’99, the Northern Hemisphere produces peaks every summer pulling up the Global average.  In fact, these NH peaks appear every July starting in 2003, growing stronger to produce 3 massive highs in 2014, 15 and 16.  NH July 2017 was only slightly lower, and a fifth NH peak still lower in Sept. 2018.  Note also that starting in 2014 SH plays a moderating role, offsetting the NH warming pulses. (Note: these are high anomalies on top of the highest absolute temps in the NH.)

What to make of all this? The patterns suggest that in addition to El Ninos in the Pacific driving the Tropic SSTs, something else is going on in the NH.  The obvious culprit is the North Atlantic, since I have seen this sort of pulsing before.  After reading some papers by David Dilley, I confirmed his observation of Atlantic pulses into the Arctic every 8 to 10 years.

But the peaks coming nearly every summer in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.
AMO August 2018

The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and not detrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N. The graph shows warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since. Because the N. Atlantic has partnered with the Pacific ENSO recently, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks. The short black line shows that 2019 began slightly cooler than January 2018,  and in February matched the low SST of the previous year.


The oceans are driving the warming this century.  SSTs took a step up with the 1998 El Nino and have stayed there with help from the North Atlantic, and more recently the Pacific northern “Blob.”  The ocean surfaces are releasing a lot of energy, warming the air, but eventually will have a cooling effect.  The decline after 1937 was rapid by comparison, so one wonders: How long can the oceans keep this up? If the pattern of recent years continues, NH SST anomalies will likely cool in coming months.  Once again, ENSO will probably determine the outcome.


In the most recent GWPF 2017 State of the Climate report, Dr. Humlum made this observation:

“It is instructive to consider the variation of the annual change rate of atmospheric CO2 together with the annual change rates for the global air temperature and global sea surface temperature (Figure 16). All three change rates clearly vary in concert, but with sea surface temperature rates leading the global temperature rates by a few months and atmospheric CO2 rates lagging 11–12 months behind the sea surface temperature rates.”

Footnote: Why Rely on HadSST3

HadSST3 is distinguished from other SST products because HadCRU (Hadley Climatic Research Unit) does not engage in SST interpolation, i.e. infilling estimated anomalies into grid cells lacking sufficient sampling in a given month. From reading the documentation and from queries to Met Office, this is their procedure.

HadSST3 imports data from gridcells containing ocean, excluding land cells. From past records, they have calculated daily and monthly average readings for each grid cell for the period 1961 to 1990. Those temperatures form the baseline from which anomalies are calculated.

In a given month, each gridcell with sufficient sampling is averaged for the month and then the baseline value for that cell and that month is subtracted, resulting in the monthly anomaly for that cell. All cells with monthly anomalies are averaged to produce global, hemispheric and tropical anomalies for the month, based on the cells in those locations. For example, Tropics averages include ocean grid cells lying between latitudes 20N and 20S.

Gridcells lacking sufficient sampling that month are left out of the averaging, and the uncertainty from such missing data is estimated. IMO that is more reasonable than inventing data to infill. And it seems that the Global Drifter Array displayed in the top image is providing more uniform coverage of the oceans than in the past.


USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean


Transferring Wealth to Tesla Owners

Why governments should not subsidize the purchase of electric cars.  Montreal Economic Institute explains at the Newswire  Over $220 million in subsidies… for very little impact on the environment. Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Since 2012, Quebec has spent more than $220 million in subsidies to “encourage” the purchase of electric vehicles. This spending will continue, since the government has extended this program for two more years. Yet as the MEI has been saying for some time, not only is such a public policy very expensive, it also has very little impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Indeed, even if Quebec were to achieve its objective of having a million fully electric vehicles on its roads by 2030—which is twenty times more than it has now—this would only reduce our GHG emissions by 3.6% compared to the current level.

“It’s a pure waste!” argues Germain Belzile, Senior Associate Researcher at the MEI. “And that’s not including the $300 million in purchase subsidies that the federal government just announced, plus the hundreds of millions that Quebec and Ottawa are going to spend to develop the network of charging stations. All of this for a minimal result in terms of emission reductions.”

Up until now, the $8,600 subsidy granted by Quebec cost taxpayers a little under $300 per tonne of GHGs not emitted. With the new $5,000 federal subsidy, the cost per tonne of GHGs not emitted jumps to over $450, namely 23 times the carbon market price or the federal tax amount.

“The cost of the subsidy is very high when you consider that in Quebec, with the carbon market, the cost to avoid emitting one tonne of GHGs is actually around $20,” explains Mr. Belzile. “Think about it: You can choose between a cost of $450 or $20, for two policies that have the same objective.”

Moreover, it must be noted that these funds largely benefit people who would have bought an electric car even without subsidies, and that these same buyers are part of the richest one fifth of society. Also, a non-negligible portion of subsidies are captured by automobile manufacturers in the form of higher prices, as shown in the United States by Tesla’s recent price cut following the reduction of the federal credit.

All of these public expenditures are a pure loss: Studies predict that the prices of electric cars will be competitive with those of gas-powered cars as of 2024—without subsidies—and that they will then continue to decrease, achieving parity before the end of the decade, with the cost of batteries continuing to fall.

“Our governments should eliminate the subsidy programs without delay, since Quebec and Canada have already set a price for carbon. And as argued by the latest economist to win the Nobel Prize, William Nordhaus, such a price mechanism should replace all subsidies that have the same goal. It’s just common sense,” concludes Mr. Belize.

The MEI is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing reforms based on market principles and entrepreneurship.

SOURCE Montreal Economic Institute

Get a Second Opinion Before Climate Surgery


Myron Ebell writes March 28, 2019 in the Sacramento Bee PRO: Climate Science Needs a Critical Review by Skeptical Experts Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Is global warming a looming catastrophe? President Donald Trump has often said he doesn’t think so even while his administration continues to release official reports warning that it is.

The president will soon find out who is right by convening a high-level commission to do a critical review of the fourth National Climate Assessment issued last November and other government reports.

Surprisingly, most of the climate science funded by the federal government has never been subjected to the kind of rigorous and exhaustive review that is common practice for other important scientific issues and major engineering projects.

For example, when NASA was putting men on the moon, every piece of equipment and every calculation were scrutinized from every possible angle simply because if anything went wrong the mission would fail.

Serious problems and shortcomings with official climate science have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly qualified scientists such as Princeton’s brilliant physics professor William Happer only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing the reports.

Yet the conclusions and predictions made in these official climate science reports are the basis for proposed energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of trillions of dollars over several decades.

Given the magnitude of the potential costs involved, taking on trust the bureaucratic processes that have led to official consensus is simply foolish. Thus the review to be undertaken by the proposed President’s Commission on Climate Security is long overdue.

To mention only three major issues among many that need to be scrutinized:

First, the computer models used have predicted far more warming than has occurred over the past 40 years. Why have such models failed and why are they still used are important questions.

Second, predictions of the various negative impacts of warming, such as sea level rise, are derived from highly unrealistic scenarios; and positive impacts, such as less ferocious winter storms, are minimized or ignored. What would a more honest accounting of all the possible impacts of climate change look like?

Third, surface temperature data sets appear to have been manipulated to show more warming in the past century than has occurred. The new commission should insist that the debate be based on scrupulously reliable data.

Since news of the proposed review leaked out in February, a furious campaign to stop it has been mounted by the federal climate bureaucracy and their allies in the climate industrial complex.

On the surface, this seems puzzling. If the alarmists are confident that the science contained in the official reports is spot on, they should welcome a review that would finally put to rest the doubts that have been raised.

On the other hand, their opposition suggests that the science behind the climate consensus is highly suspect and cannot withstand critical review. In other words, they’ve been peddling junk and are about to be found out.

A press release from one alarmist pressure group was headlined: “58 Senior Military and National Security Leaders Denounce NSC Climate Panel.”

Denouncing an expert review seems a most inappropriate response, and especially to one that is designed to be open and subject to further review by other experts, such as the National Academies of Science.

I wonder if environmental pressure groups have ever denounced doing another environmental review of projects – for example, the Keystone XL pipeline – they are trying to stop.

Two prominent promoters of global warming alarmism recently published an op-ed in which they accused the Trump administration of using “Stalinist tactics” to try to discredit the climate science consensus.

Let’s hope that they’re not as ignorant about science as they are about history. It’s the enforcers of climate orthodoxy and opponents of open debate who are using Stalinist tactics.

Senator Lee Mocks GND

Sen. Mike Lee mocks Green New Deal in speech featuring tauntauns, giant sea horses and babies is an article at  A video clip is above to appreciate his standup delivery.  Text from the speech is reprinted below in italics with my bolds.

Sen. Mike Lee offered what he considers a serious solution to climate change Tuesday in an often flippant speech about the Green New Deal on the Senate floor: babies.

The Utah Republican mocked the Democratic proposal with images of a machine-gun wielding Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur, tauntauns from “Star Wars,” Gov. Gary Herbert fending off sharks with a tennis racket, and Hawaiians on giant sea horses — not to mention some bad puns.

“The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution that we’re considering this week in the Senate, but the serious business of human flourishing — the solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places, is to fall in love, get married and have some kids,” Lee said.

His speech came ahead of a failed vote in the Senate to begin debate on a sweeping resolution to combat climate change called the Green New Deal. Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,-D, N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the legislation.

Lee said problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, but by more humans.

“More babies will mean more forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems,” he said. “American babies, in particular, are likely going to be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still-industrializing countries.”

Lee said the plan essentially calls for the elimination of all airplanes and all cows.

Sen. Mike Lee speaks on Senate floor Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Photo: Sen. Mike Lee, YouTube)

Without airplanes, how would people get around the vast expanses of Alaska?  Tauntauns, Lee said, showing a picture of Luke Skywalker aboard one of the fictional snow lizards found roaming the wintry, windswept plains of Hoth.

“Not only are tauntauns carbon-neutral, but according to one report ‘a long time ago’ and ‘far, far away,’ they may even be fully recyclable for their warmth on especially cold nights,” Lee said, referencing a scene in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” where Han Solo slices open the beast with his lightsaber so a hypothermic Luke Skywalker can crawl inside.

Unable to fly, Hawaiians, Lee said, would have to ride giant sea horses to reach the mainland. “Under the Green New Deal, this is probably Hawaii’s best bet,” he said.

“But honestly, I think you’ve got to remember if they think the cows smell bad, just wait ’til they get a whiff of the sea horses,” he said.

Reducing the nation’s 94 million cows to zero means no more milk, cheese, steak or hamburgers, he said.

“Over the state work period last week, I visited some farms to find out for myself what Utah’s own bovine community thinks of the Green New Deal,” Lee said.

“Every cow I talked to said the same thing: ‘Boo.'”

Sen. Mike Lee speaks on the Senate floor Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Photo: Sen. Mike Lee, YouTube)

Climate change hit home in Utah when sharks crashed through the window in Herbert’s state Capitol office in the made-for-TV flick “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens,” Lee said.

Displaying a painting depicting the climactic battle of the Cold War with Reagan packing a machine gun and a rocket launcher while riding atop a dinosaur with the American flag in the background, Lee said there was no such fight. The Cold War, he said, was won without firing a shot.

The image has as much to do with overcoming Soviet communism in the 20th century as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st century, he said.

“The aspirations of the proposal have been called radical and extreme,” Lee said. “But mostly they are ridiculous.”

Straight Talk on CO2

The video above gives you in 20 minutes the viewpoint of William Happer, a key scientific advisor to the Trump Administration.  H/T Elephant’s Child and Tallbloke.

LEARNING A BIT ABOUT CO² AND MASS HYSTERIA by The Elephant’s Child March 25, 2019,

William Happer is one of our most renowned and esteemed physicists, a professor emeritus from Princeton University. He decidedly does not agree with the current panic about the horrors of “climate change.”He says, and explains why CO², carbon dioxide, doesn’t have much of anything to do with warming, and we really need more of it — not less. CO² is food for plants. The slight increase we have had is greening the earth. You can see it from space.

This conversation with Dr. Happer is completely fascinating and worth your time. Share it with your kids and friends and family.

You have surely heard the current crop of Democrat candidates hoping to run for the presidency against Donald Trump, speaking out on the notion that they will work to save us from the horrors of climate change and only disagreeing on how long we have left before it is all over. Green New Deal, they all signed right on.

Yes, I know that Nancy Pelosi wants sixteen year-olds to vote, but one would expect better from grownups who think they should be president. Yes, in the heat of a campaign and trying to raise money, they should have some responsibility for saying stupid things.

For those who are sure that 400 ppm represents the upper limits of what we can tolerate in the atmosphere, greenhouses pump in extra CO² to reach about 1,000 ppm to help their seedlings grow. The floors of greenhouses are not littered with the corpses of nurserymen.

We are in a CO² famine. We don’t have enough.

New Sheriff Still in Town

Sheriff Trump has survived and prevailed in this gunfight.  After 3 years, two of them under the relentless Mueller, and after spending more than 30 million dollars investigating, the accusation of treason falls for lack of evidence.

(H/T  Tony Heller for video) But of course, the reporters and newscasters who foisted the fictional rumor upon the public will now double down on their deceit.  They are banking on something Mark Twain said:

Those who are fair-minded will say, “Enough.  Get Real, and get on with the nation’s business.”  Never-Trumpers, unfortunately, will have to find the courage to admit they bought into a lie, or else descend further into unreality by continuing to fool themselves.

no crime