Killer Greenhouse Effect (or Pardon my Anoxia): A Note from Luke

Luke Walker reminds us that geological history includes evidence of mass extinctions from “killer greenhouse conditions”:

“Readers of this blog are often witness to accusations of alarmism by those opposed to scenario projections using contemporary anthropogenic global warming theory.

Comfort is often taken in the world having survived substantial climate swings in geological time and that some species such as reef building corals have come through that turmoil.

So it is with some irony that the October 2006 issue of Scientific American has a major article by Professor Peter Ward at the University of Washington suggests that extinction events in geological history have been caused by killer greenhouse conditions. What’s this – geological alarmism? Is nothing sacred?

“More than half life on the earth has been wiped out, repeatedly, in mass extinctions over the past 500 million years. One such disaster, which includes disappearance of the dinosaurs, is widely attributed to an asteroid impact, but others remain inadequately explained.

New fossil and geochemical evidence points to a shocking environmental mechanism for the largest of the ancient mass extinctions and possibly several more: an oxygen depleted ocean spewing poisonous gas as a result of global warming”

Apparently five times over the last 500 million years most of the world’s life forms have ceased to exist. End of the Ordovician 443 My ago; close of the Devonian 374 My; the Great Dying at the end of the Permian 251 My where 90% of ocean dwellers and 70% of land dwellers were obliterated; the end of the Triassic 201 My; and the end of the Cretaceous at 65 My with a likely asteroid impact.

However, new analyses are showing that some sudden extinctions were not that sudden lasting several hundred thousands of years.

It theoretically works something like this:

1. Volcanic activity releases carbon dioxide and methane

2. Rapid global warming occurs

3. Warm ocean absorbs less oxygen

4. Anoxia destabilises the chemocline where oxygenated surface waters meet H2S permeated waters in the ocean, anaerobic bacteria flourish

5. Hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S) gas upwells through the ocean as the chemocline rises to the ocean surface

6. Green and purple sulphur bacteria in the surface ocean thrive while oxygen breathers suffocate

7. H2S gas kills land animals and plants.

8. H2S destroys the ozone shield

9. Ultra violet radiation from the sun kills remaining life.

“A minor extinction at the end of the Palaeocene 54My ago was already – presciently – attributed to an interval of oceanic anoxia somehow triggered by short-term global warming.” Evidence is also present at the end of Triassic, middle Cretaceous, and late Devonian.

So are these extreme greenhouse effect extinctions possibly a recurring phenomenon in the earth’s history. Atmospheric CO2 was 1000ppm when extinctions began in the Palaeocene. “

So if the modern earth got close to 1000ppm this might represent something for our children to deal with. But maybe that’s just geological alarmism for you.

I’m getting a Lotto syndicate going called “Killer Greenhouse”.

More reading:

Climate simulation of the latest Permian: Implications for mass extinction by Jeffrey T. Kiehl & Christine A. Shields Climate Change Research Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA

Abrupt and Gradual Extinction Among Late Permian Land Vertebrates in the Karoo Basin, South Africa
Science 4 February 2005:Vol. 307. no. 5710, pp. 709 – 714 by Peter D. Ward,1* Jennifer Botha,3 Roger Buick,2 Michiel O. De Kock,5 Douglas H. Erwin,6 Geoffrey H. Garrison,2 Joseph L. Kirschvink,4 Roger Smith3

Photic Zone Euxinia During the Permian-Triassic Superanoxic Event, Science 4 February 2005:
Vol. 307. no. 5710, pp. 706 – 709 by Kliti Grice, Changqun Cao, Gordon D. Love, Michael E. Böttcher, Richard J. Twitchett, Emmanuelle Grosjean, Roger E. Summons, Steven C. Turgeon, William Dunning,Yugan Jin

Massive Release of Hydrogen Sulphide to the Surface Ocean and Atmosphere during intervals of Oceanic Anoxia. Kump, L.R., Pavlov, A., Arthur, M.A. Geology: 33:5:397-400. May 2005.”

Thanks Luke. And I’m going to add to your reading list: The Past is the Key to the Present: Greenhouse and Icehouse Over Time by Prof Ian Plimer, IPA Review, Vol 55, No. 1. March 2003, pgs. 9-12.

87 Responses to Killer Greenhouse Effect (or Pardon my Anoxia): A Note from Luke

  1. Davey Gam Esq. October 4, 2006 at 6:35 pm #

    Thanks Luke and Jen,
    I love historical perspectives. I suspect that ecology is really natural history in fancy dress.

  2. Hans Erren October 4, 2006 at 6:50 pm #

    This mechanism only works when there is no cold ocean bottom water, which is fed by the antactic ice cap. So you need to melt complete antartica first, which takes several thousand years.

    Not the timescale: IPCC is concidering only one century, and on this (relatively short) timescela the projection diverge already tremendously..

  3. Hans Erren October 4, 2006 at 6:52 pm #

    sory foor teh bed speling 😉

  4. rog October 4, 2006 at 7:34 pm #

    I have to say, these glow ball characters do make me laugh.

  5. Gavin October 4, 2006 at 8:10 pm #

    Jennifer: without reading any reference given up front I’m going to offer a personal observation re points 4,5 & 7. In several places where I worked on various processes H2S had a habit of suddenly appearing in large volumes. One was a low ph turbulent fluid rich in sulphurous waste; the other strangely enough was much sweeter but stagnant fluid rich in cellulose.

    Both cases baffled the plant management in each place every time but it was my job to quickly fix it before workers either abandoned the works or passed out. The particular lesson for me was the trigger point was unpredictable and this was most probably due to the considerable number of plant variables. Natural H2S occurs likewise and I suggest there are no scientific models yet developed to suit the global conditions.

  6. Louis Hissink October 4, 2006 at 9:38 pm #

    As a geoscientist I can categorically state that geology still has no satisfactory explanation for mass extinctions of the biosphere.

    This is probably because we understand so little about the earth, its tectonics and of course its relationship with the rest of the solar system.

    The most recent extinction event, that of the Pleistocene remains the most disputatious to this day. No one seems to have come up with a satisfactory explanation for the mega-fauna extinctions.

    One thing is certain, while some species become extinct new ones take their place – life does not disappear during an extinction event, it just changes form to adapt to new environmental conditions.

  7. Luke October 4, 2006 at 10:01 pm #

    Well Louis I’m sure you’ve perused the techniques in the 2005 work. What was your opinion on their carbon techniques?

    And like Plimer who says life keeps going regardless – well what’s a few hundred thousand years between friends and most of the biosphere going bye-byes.

  8. Gary Cox October 5, 2006 at 12:56 am #

    Interesting ressutation, but can you catagorically refute that this so called global warming cycle can in no way be attributed to humankind’s ever increasing footprint on the earth’s biosystem?

  9. Luke October 5, 2006 at 7:35 am #

    Gary – well we know the origin of the CO2 from isotopic studies. It is, in the main, from burning fossil fuels.

  10. Neil Hewett October 5, 2006 at 8:10 am #

    A disquisition resplendent of the presumed extinct Phil Done. Perhaps we can take some comfort from the possibility of reincarnation. May the force be with you … Luke (Sky) Walker.

  11. Louis Hissink October 5, 2006 at 8:31 am #


    What was my opinion on their carbon techniques? I was not aware I had one since you write it as past tense.

    Geologically the bulk of CO2 is produced from the earth’s mantle from a deep-biosphere as suggested by the late Tommy Gold, and others.

    I might point out that the K-T extinction was associated with a global eruption of kimberlites which are CO2 supersaturated upper mantle magmas that reach the surface from 250km down in about 8 hours. As kimberlites also erupt from the stable cratonic areas of the earth, well away from the subduction zones inferred from plate tectonic theory, one wonders what caused partial mantle-melting under the cooler cratonic areas. Whatever caused the eruption of these kimberlites also must also have been a major factor in the species extinction. The Alverez Impact was insufficient to do that, incidentally.

    I also see you have no problem violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics when you assert CO2 comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

    The only hydrocarbon which can be produced from organic matter at the depths encountered in sedimentary basins is methane – petroleum is essentially a product of mantle processes and is impossible to create at those temperatures and pressures. I have asked your fellow idiot savants to cite scientific papers in which it is shown that organic matter including vegetation can produce petroleum experimentally. None has been forthcoming, mainly because no one has succeeded. The Fischer-Tropsche process is the only known means of producing petroleum.

    Petroleum seeping upwards from the mantle into sedimentary basins already contianing remnant organic material will dissolve such organic material. Hence the argument that petroleum contains organic material proves that it is derived from organic material is the same as stating that elephants have ivory tusks from eating piano-keys.

  12. detribe October 5, 2006 at 9:28 am #

    As a bit local historical colour, can I mention that the famous 1960s Gilbert Chandler/ Mrs Bogle in Sydney, New South Wales alleged but unsolved double murder?

    This was recently interpreted as being caused by H2S emissions from a nearby river.

    And if we are interested going a bit further back in time (well a big bit), to the hydrogen suphide rich oceans of the Proterozoic era 1.8 to 1.2 billion years before the present, we can read a wonderful story about anoxic oceans written by Andre H Knoll in his book Life on a Young Planet: The first Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth, Chapter 9.

  13. Luke October 5, 2006 at 9:31 am #

    Louis – a few more things might have happened since you were at school. I note you haven’t kept up with your reading.

    The abiogenic theory is another one of you nitwit indulgences – you’ll have to do better than a bucket of sludge from some hole in Scandinavia – evidence for your hypothesis = zero We’ve been through before with you. What’s new?

    So where are all the abiogenic fields. And why does coal keep turning up in sedimentary basins with all those fossils. I mean how long are you going to push it uphill with this discredited theory.

    How do all those geologists keep finding oil in biogenic places?

    As Heinberg 1997 says:

    Geologists trace the source of the carbon in hydrocarbons through analysis of its isotopic balance. Natural carbon is nearly all isotope 12, with 1.11 percent being isotope 13. Organic material, however, usually contains less C-13, because photosynthesis in plants preferentially selects C-12 over C-13. Oil and natural gas typically show a C-12 to C-13 ratio similar to that of the biological materials from which they are assumed to have originated. The C-12 to C-13 ratio is a generally observed property of petroleum and is predicted by the biotic theory; it is not merely an occasional aberration.

    In addition, oil typically contains biomarkers—porphyrins, isoprenoids, pristane, phytane, cholestane, terpines, and clorins—which are related to biochemicals such as chlorophyll and hemoglobin. The chemical fingerprint of oil assumed to have been formed from, for example, algae is different from that of oil formed from plankton. Thus geochemists can (and routinely do) use biomarkers to trace oil samples to specific source rocks.

    As for origin of the CO2 – hmmm – maybe something to do with isotope ratios (as we’ve been through before).

    “The C12/C13 ratio of CO2 from fossil fuels is significantly different from CO2 from the biosphere and the atmosphere is very clearly changing due to fossil fuels. The record from Cape Grim clearly shows the recent record and Ice core data from Antartica clearly shows a stable patern before human intervention.” R. Darksun.

  14. Toby October 5, 2006 at 11:55 am #

    I saw an interesting documentary on national geographic last night on ‘super volcanoes’ and lake Toba where the last super volcano apparently errupted. They actually suggest that the massive eruption (more than 1000 cubic km to be considered super….Mt St Helens emmitted about 20 cubic KM)spewed sulphur into the atmosphere which created sulphuric acid which floated around in the atmosphere for several years and reflected back the suns radiation causing an ice age.
    Sounds like the opposite of the scenario painted in Luke’s example’.

    In relation to CO2, my reading indicates that most of co2 greenhouse effect occurs in the first 50ppm, by the time we get to current levels any increases create a minor heating effect, and that it is likely that the methane component would be far more significant than the co2 effect.
    I qualify this by saying I am not a scientist, just an interested layman trying to form an opinion so please excuse me if i say “stupid things” I can only say what i conclude from others.regards Toby

  15. Pinxi October 5, 2006 at 12:49 pm #

    Louis will categorically state as a geoscientist that geology lacks some satisfactory explanations and understands so little about the earth, its relationships etc.

    Yet he has previously categorically stated that human activities cannot possibly affect the climate. What makes him so sure? He hasn’t put up any convincing case for this belief.

    How much of so-called ‘AGW scepticism’ is genuine evidence-based scepticism and how much is opinionated denial?
    (In considering the answer, note that few sceptics were prepared to clarify the nature of their scepticism or their view on what if anything we should do to adapt or mitigate).
    IMHO a genuine AGW sceptic will openly admit the possibility that AGW *might* be occurring ie won’t claim to rule it out with any certainty because no-one can based on the evidence.

  16. Luke October 5, 2006 at 1:08 pm #

    Pinx – there seems to be a cavalier attitude to climate change if it’s geological – “natural”.

    Hey – we’re all still here and I have a plasma TV so what’s your beef. But the geological extinction events seem to have been not that pleasant and lasted a long time. Imagine the Queensland tourism industry waiting a few thousand years for the Reef to rebuild (hypothetically). “Where the bloody hell are ya !” with a very long fading echo.

    So IMHO dead is dead – whether it be from a volcano, tsunami, asteroid, global warming, supernova radiation burst or an enormous H2S cloud. Any of them can really spoil your day.

    And life didn’t exactly flourish during extinction events – yes it restarted – but evolution does not have to select homo sapiens as an ultimate answer – cockroaches with Ipods are just as good if that’s all that’s needed.

    Do you think Louis is up for an argument?

  17. Luke October 5, 2006 at 1:18 pm #

    Toby – CO2 is the most important – check the relative forcings in table on :

  18. varp October 5, 2006 at 1:43 pm #

    A question for Luke which should be probably asked in private. Do you think that this blog, funded as it is by The Institute for Public Affairs (pro-industry right wing think tank funded by they-won’t-say-who) pays some of these AGW naysayers? This deliberate muddying of the waters just seems to me to be too strident, too shrill to be the product of ignorance.

  19. Toby October 5, 2006 at 2:02 pm #

    Given that we do know for sure that climate changes dramatically I would say the onus is not on the sceptics but on the proponents of human induced global warming. I admit I am a layman….but I am certainly not convinced and I started out believing in it.
    But when you look at the supposed ‘proof’ there are many scientists who refute this proof with their own proof. “Rosenthals rats revisited?”

    The evidence provided once refuted by GW enthusiasts is then refuted by the sceptics.

    There clearly is not a consensus and yet we read daily and hear daily that there is!

    The potential dangers appear to me to be clearly wildly exagerated by many including downright lies and distortion.(Greenpeace being the worst culprit I can think of, but even the IPCC based many of their scenarios on ridiculous levels of growth in the third world that have not been achieved in the past…let alone by everybody!!)

    Nobody knows for certain what will happen or is happening….so anybody that does not premise their opinion on GW with the possibility the opposite could be occuring is surely a fool.
    I am not saying it is foolish to believe in AGW…BUT IT IS FOOLISH NOT TO ACCEPT THERE IS DOUBT!

    If a million people say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing (Anatole France)
    or perhaps more aptly….doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd (Voltaire)….
    or to be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it (Olin Miller)
    or the important thing is never to stop questioning (Albert Einstein)

    It is not opinion that around a thousand years ago greenland was green and iceland was not. It is not opinion that a few hundred years ago there was a mini ice age. It is not opinion that we have had many ice ages in the last few million years.
    It was opinion that some 30 years ago some were saying we were entering a new ice age ( they used science to support this see,9171,944914-1,00.html
    It seems to me the onus is not on the sceptics!

    This does not mean do nothing, we all want to live in a clean healthy world with an abundance of ways to live happy lives…this almost certainly requires energy. We know fossil fuels are finite… so we know we have to find alternatives. Let the market place find these….it is the market place that is the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources…not governments who we know have a record of stuffing things up!

    regards Toby

  20. Luke October 5, 2006 at 2:54 pm #

    Varp – the site is Jen’s private site and is funded by herself personally as she has often said. You might say that given she works for the IPA and not Greenpeace it’s likely that she may have a certain philosophical viewpoint (lest she fail the job interview 🙂 ). However, she indulges many diverse viewpoints here, accepts guest posts, and she indulges many of us giving her a hard time and getting into a fair bit of invective in the clinches.

    But of course we are discussing issues of some economic and environmental moment here – so opinions are likely to be feisty.

    Overall though I am happy to accept her word as to her motives and debate on the points at hand.

  21. Luke October 5, 2006 at 3:06 pm #

    Toby – all your questions are long debated in the climate archives here this blog and urls below. Pls read.

    But if you don’t- a precis of the refutation.

    IPCC ain’t Greenpeace.

    Ice Age – Time magazine ain’t the science literature

    On Greenland – well yes it’s debated a fair bit – ask Ann Novek; and is it local or global

    Pls read the IPCC reports – if you can stay awake.

    And check,, and for some contrarian snake-oil antidote. Breathe deep !

    As for the market – well yes it efficiently sells tobacco too.

    Some return philosophical advice: George Santayana: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

  22. Toby October 5, 2006 at 3:17 pm #

    Varp, to question is not a sign of ignorance, quite the opposite,
    “Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect (Einstein) and even more appropriate-” the important thing is to never stop questioning” (Einstein)

  23. Pinxi October 5, 2006 at 3:32 pm #

    so Luke what you’re saying is that Geologists and Greenies have a common philosophy:

    if it’s natural, then it’s OK

  24. Toby October 5, 2006 at 3:35 pm #

    Luke, the sulphuric acid is not a greenhouse gas, the opposite, it stops the sunlight from getting through according to this documentary. Which is why 75,000 years ago when it erupted we entered a new ice age. (so they stated)
    In other words the CO2 and greenhouse gases do not get the chance to do their good/bad deeds (good because we wouldn t be here without them..bad if have too many!).
    I enjoyed your link though thankyou, it was good to see they do count water vapour as a greenhouse gas.

    Has there been a discussion of Jen’s statement on counterpoint that historically data indicates that co2 goes up as a consequence of temp increase not temp going up as a consequence of co2 build up?
    cheers Toby

  25. Luke October 5, 2006 at 4:24 pm #

    Yes arsenic, anthrax, hessian bags, pitchblende and H2S anoxia are all natural. And therefore good for ya !

    Toby – yes on the CO2 following bizo – been discussed – sigh – see Jen’s archive (has its own Google!) and

    – we enter ice ages through orbital mechanisms

    Everything is a balance between solar, greenhouse, land surface and aerosol effects.

    I answered you on previous above but Jen’s software has most post prisoner !

  26. rog October 5, 2006 at 7:07 pm #

    Pixii, I have been thinking about this greenie conundrum, I wonder if it is not a reflex action by those who feel disenfranchised by the pace of modern life, those that missed the boat so to speak.

    I know many who are confounded by technology, by new management techniques, by shifting policies and look fondly back when things were far simpler. Greenies and organics promote a gentler more considerate community where feelings are given value.

    As for conflating greenies with geologists, I cant see any common ground as one lot are based on sediment and the other on sentiment.

  27. detribe October 5, 2006 at 9:19 pm #
    Something it is taboo to challenge, question, reject, much less criticize or mock. When the adjective ‘cherished’ is added, this effect is doubled.
    An explanation is what religion is considered able to provide in areas where science cannot. Religion is able to do this because it does not have to find evidence, subject its explanations to peer review, replicate its ‘findings,’ avoid contradiction or absurdity or an infinite regress, or in fact check its explanations against any form of reality at all.
    Forbidden with respect to religion, family values, ‘faith’.

  28. Toby October 5, 2006 at 10:00 pm #

    Luke I have looked at the link thankyou. It is logical to my mind that the earths orbit and distance from sun will impact on climate and cause cooling and heating. hence ice ages and warming periods. The sun spots and solar activity (or lack there of) are another very logical explanation for climate change. That does not however stop my statement in relation to Lake Toba volcano 75,000 years ago from having caused an ice age. A quick google will find you many links but for a couple (many rightly do not like wiki …but you gave me one so you obviously do place some faith in them. You also tell me that everything is a balance between solar, greenhouse, land surface and aerosol. I am sure you are right. That first one solar is probably a very important one…..I recall recent sunspot activity has been high and some scientists suggest that is the reason for warming. see or there are of course scientits who refute this as a reason…but as a layman the sun seems a pretty obvious place to start. I have been reading articles on GW for 3 years now and have read thousands of articles on both sides. I freely admit that when scientific terminology is used i can be easily bamboozled, I also know as an economist and financial market player that statistics and ‘research’ can be manipulated to prove just about anything…..doesnt make the predictions correct though!! I am not saying the data is deliberatly manipulated (although clearly this is done on both sides of the gw debate)but for every ‘fact’ that supports gw there seems to me to be an abundance of ways for them to be refuted. BUT I do rememeber as a boy being told we were heading for another ice age (as per the link in prior comment ) and some of those scientists are now strongly in the opposite camp. I have not had time to look at the co2 lag/lead effect yet, but I did see in the solar links above they are also mentioning that c02 follows a rise in temp. I will with great interest look at what has been said on this blog about it…..but I assume that Jen reached her own conclusions and as a scientist is yet another example of there not being a consensus on GW yet. Not mind you that I am a “consensus” follower, I much prefer to reach my own conclusion however ignorant it may be based on research and an attempt at an open mind.
    cheers toby

  29. Toby October 5, 2006 at 10:01 pm #

    This follows from a post that has not gone through as yet so it may appear out of order.

    It would be really nice to see evidence that can not be refuted…but the major points seem to be that- 1. temp have risen over the last 100 years by about 0.6 degrees celcius ( not really very much?) but they have not risen in the atmosphere (where I think we would expect to see some?!)…temp readings are adjusted for the urban heat effect ( for obvious reasons) but many say not by enough…which could mean temp has not changed at all?! 2. Ice caps are melting…but lots of research shows the ice caps expanding and getting thicker. 3. The sea level is rising…..yes but if the ice caps really are melting shouldnt we be seeing a greater rise ? { there seems to be a consensus that seas around Australia have risen by less than 20 cm in the last few hundred years} 4. It is all the fault of evil humans burning fossil fuels…creating c02…..which is a hypothesis that as a layman looking at a graph of temp and co2 shows some link..but falls down very badly between 1940 and 1975. 5. Then there are the scientists who tell us coral bleaching is a result of humans and gw and that the Great Barrier Reef will be gone shortly…and yet a recent CSIRO survey indicates that if Cook were to sail over the top of the reef today he would notice little difference from his Endeavour days. 6. Polar bears are becoming extinct… but they neglect to tell us that is in 1 or two of the dozen or so colonies in Canada…and that in the others their numbers are expanding. 7. Adelie penguins are dying in some areas…but actually in others they are growing rapidly. 8. Hurricanes and storm activity have risen..also very much debated and with the current interest in climate and doom and gloom stories every unusual event is reported as yet more proof…and yet I can hear another great long “sigh” from you Luke (if you havent given up on me yet!)
    Posted by Toby at October 5, 2006 09:57 PM

  30. varp October 5, 2006 at 10:21 pm #

    Thankyou Luke. You write well and ooze a quiet authority that I’m sure is appreciated by many.

  31. Toby October 5, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    The following links seem to refute that all ice ages have been caused by orbital mechanisms
    and support the documentary I saw last night on supervolcanoes.

    solar activity as you point out is ‘part of the balance’
    but as
    and show along with many others could well be responsible for the gw .
    Now I am sure you will be giving up on me Luke.
    But I stress I started out believing we were influencing the climate…but the more digging I have done the more it seems debatable and I conclude we should spend our money on other things like third world water probems (but as one greenie( and environmental science teacher {not sure if that counts as a real scientist!}) I know said to me “who cares about them there are too many people on the planet anyway…better that they die!”). I do not know many scientists other than my Mum ( and she is a doubter) and a different science teacher who has a great friend he drinks scotch with using ice from core samples his friend took himself in the antarctic (and the two of them don t believe either!) and when it comes to reading the complicated articles I admit to getting lost. So I honestly am all ears to being convinced but sadly you will need to keep it relatively simple.
    warm regards Toby

  32. Toby October 5, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    The following links seem to refute that all ice ages have been caused by orbital mechanisms
    and support the documentary I saw last night on supervolcanoes.

    solar activity as you point out is ‘part of the balance’
    but as
    and show along with many others could well be responsible for the gw .
    Now I am sure you will be giving up on me Luke.
    But I stress I started out believing we were influencing the climate…but the more digging I have done the more it seems debatable and I conclude we should spend our money on other things like third world water probems (but as one greenie( and environmental science teacher {not sure if that counts as a real scientist!}) I know said to me “who cares about them there are too many people on the planet anyway…better that they die!”). I do not know many scientists other than my Mum ( and she is a doubter) and a different science teacher who has a great friend he drinks scotch with using ice from core samples his friend took himself in the antarctic (and the two of them don t believe either!) and when it comes to reading the complicated articles I admit to getting lost. So I honestly am all ears to being convinced but sadly you will need to keep it relatively simple.
    warm regards Toby

  33. Luke October 6, 2006 at 12:18 am #

    Sigh .. .. Toby, Toby, Toby

    I’ll have to be careful – more than 2 web links sin-bins your post here.

    Most have been answered – have a good look through and

    Also climate archives in this blog have answered your list at least 2-3 times.

    0.6 globally averaged is massive ! Talk to a statistician.

    Even if you don’t believe the answers most sides by now will know what the other side will say in return.

    The heat island effect has been bitterly debated – the Australian reference stations aren’t in major cities. Have a look on the Bureau of met site on the issue. There are papers looking at windy nights discounting heat island issues too.

    And you have oceans warming too? Ocean heat islands ???? Most glaciers melting. Species moving range and behaviour world wide. A lot happening most places.

    Satellites now calibrated properly show the atmosphere (troposphere) is warming too.

    We’ve been over the sea level rise – read Church’s paper above – Australian author of note. The rise is what the IPCC broadly predicts.

    Some ice caps expanding ?? There is some consolidation of snow pack in places like inner Greenland which is what you’d expect with an intensification of the hydrological cycle. Edge melt is accelerating.

    The temp vs CO2 graph needs to be interpreted as a combination of CO2, solar and aerosols. (plus, plus and minus) The aerosols seem to have a dampening effect in the period you mention before the CO2 warming overwhelms the moderation in the last 30 years. In any case the IPCC models predict the rise nicely but only when all factors are included.

    Who says the Reef should be doomed by now. But bleaching events during El Nino events are a worry and a lot of the world’s reefs are in poor condition. Higher temperatures and ocean pH changes in the future are of concern. (that’s concern !)

    There is some work saying that Polar bears are now indeed finding conditions difficult. Maybe they’ll adapt – maybe they won’t.

    Don’t know about penguins.

    There is substantial new work saying peak hurricane intensities are up in all ocean basins and things like the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation do not explain it all.

    All well ventilated in Jen’s treasure trove of riches – called the climate archive with plenty of arguments for and against.

    You have to stay away from those evil contrarian sites and do some background reading Toby. Or you’ll go straight to hell.

    (You also forgot the Hockey Stick, alarmism, Hansen, Schneider, MER/PPP, cosmic radiation, planetary alignments, solar torque.. ..)

    Careful when you say “lots” – get a good base reference to start with ! And “who” exactly is saying what? If Greenpeace are saying it you might discount it without some science backup.

  34. Luke October 6, 2006 at 12:25 am #

    And Toby if you want some more biffo in your pro-case try,,, and

    Not for the faint hearted !

  35. Jennifer October 6, 2006 at 6:20 am #

    Sorry! There were a few posts blocked in this thread that have only justed been de-blocked because I’ve been travelling.

    Luke & Pinki, Louis politely introduced some ideas about oil that may not be mainstream, but they may one day. Certainly I would like to learn more about Thomas Gold (who was Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University) and his theories. He died in 2004 and the obituary in the Guarian commented that: Throughout his life he would dive into new territory to open up problems unseen by others – in biophysics, astrophysics, space engineering, or geophysics.

    Anyway, by coincidence i’ve been reading Lance Endersbee’s (former Dean of Engineering and Pro-Vice Cancellor at Monash University) new book which is full of information about our planet and oil, water and methane at depths.

  36. Luke October 6, 2006 at 7:05 am #

    Ah Toby did find the solar stuff. Well you can try to fit it if you want. There’s no consensus there in the mainstream. Even if you find other drivers you’d still have to work out why greenhouse is “wrong”.

    And strangely all discussed HERE in recent posts.

    On the volcanoes – you are here talking about single events – and maybe fair enough – but have a look at periodicities in the Ice Age patterns – cyclical volcanoes??

    I think you’re at the stage where you should be making the arguments pro and con for us.

    If you can find the anti-stuff – you can also find the pro-arguments – you tell us what makes more sense or has the most evidence.

    P.S. Jen – put the Thomas Gold stuff with Beck and CO2 – certainly not mainstream – perhaps err .. .. um .. junk ! Not everyone gets to play Galileo for the day.

    Don’t forget to investigate the boring practical side of the issue as much as the indulgent fun new theories. Evidence based – remember your motto. It’s Louis remember – what was “polite” about “idiot savants” ?

    But I do have one web link you all don’t have – did you know the Moon is a hoax – there are other explanations !

    Why didn’t Louis tell us?

  37. Pinxi October 6, 2006 at 9:18 am #

    Well to remember that if it’s contrarian, despite being believed fervently by a few, you’d do well to be open if you like, but highly sceptical of it. Particularly when it’s weakly substantiated at best.

    I’ve previously asked Louis, politely, to explain his alternative theories and other than some links about the earth-space relationship bit, nothing. He hasn’t explained the oil theory (or why he’s adamant that humans cannot effect climate). I’d like to know more of it if he gets the urge to explain.

  38. Toby October 6, 2006 at 9:43 am #

    Thankyou once again Luke, I will try to redeem myself by finding all of the previous discussions on these blogs.
    I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.
    My apologies to others if I have frustrated them with my commenting on things you have all already discussed.
    Can I please part with one observation for you though Luke. Yes o.6 globally averaged is huge….but why have the oceans risen by so little, where is the physical evidence for this? I have been diving, snorkelling, and fishing along the Australian coast for many years…i can assure you from my own observations i can not see a change…..or is it that its only happened for a couple of years so far?

    I am well aware the IPCC is not Greenpeace…but it has not stopped them making outlandish claims based on riduliculous scenarios just like Greenpeace. For instance basing their temp and sea level predictions on the third world achieving continous growth levels that the west has not even achieved. The latest report is more realistic I believe…but I have not read it yet.
    The IPCC has I am sure good intentions. Greenpeace I am not so sure about at all!
    Thanks again
    and regards Toby

  39. detribe October 6, 2006 at 10:47 am #

    A bit of friendly advice about Luke.
    In an early comment thread he stated detribes pretty nasty or something similar and I finally realised it was his sense of humour and larfed out load with enjoyment.

    His Toby Toby Toby rhetorical is actually slightly self-mocking (yes I know its a bit annoying, but a lot better than some stuff on blogs and my jokes especially). He’s really much nicer privately than these flourishes might suggest. It’s his sense of hummour and he’s really not trying to mock you.

    As far as global warming is concerned he’s driven by sincere worry for our farmers and rural welfare here and overseas. Any misjudgements he makes are not simple PR flim flam IMHO

  40. Luke October 6, 2006 at 11:36 am #

    Toby – for most of your comments (and with respect) – says who ?? You’re going to have to stop reading contrarian b/s and read some serious material.

    Why do you expect a huge rise in sea level – is anyone saying you will have seen metres of rise by now ?have you done the maths yourself ? What number would you personally expect and why? It’s very well researched. Please !!

    A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise (2006), Church, John A; White, Neil J, Geophysical Research Letters [Geophys. Res. Lett.]. Vol. 33, no. 1


    “Multi-century sea-level records and climate models indicate an acceleration of sea-level rise, but no 20th century acceleration has previously been detected. A reconstruction of global sea level using tide- gauge data from 1950 to 2000 indicates a larger rate of rise after 1993 and other periods of rapid sea-level rise but no significant acceleration over this period. Here, we extend the reconstruction of global mean sea level back to 1870 and find a sea-level rise from January 1870 to December 2004 of 195 mm, a 20th century rate of sea-level rise of 1.7 +/- 0.3 mm yr super(-1) and a significant acceleration of sea-level rise of 0.013 +/- 0.006 mm yr super(-2). This acceleration is an important confirmation of climate change simulations which show an acceleration not previously observed. If this acceleration remained constant then the 1990 to 2100 rise would range from 280 to 340 mm, consistent with projections in the IPCC TAR.”

    Hop over to John Quiggin – you’ll see a current debate ( on Australian rainfall where Roger Jones is defending the emission scenarios as being an acceptable range.

    Have a look at the last serious Australian conference on climate change – that should keep you busy (see some serious science!):

    In particular see how much CO2 is able to be liberated from biosphere feedbacks not yet factored in.

    Here’s the reef presentation:

    The IPCC aren’t paid to be nice – they’re paid (or more often voluntarily coopted) to provide a dispassionate assessment of the state of science knowledge on climate change. “well meaning” doesn’t come into it.

  41. Grandpa October 6, 2006 at 11:54 am #

    Luv y moon link Luke!

  42. Taz October 6, 2006 at 1:01 pm #

    Toby asks; “but why have the oceans risen by so little?” I could say; but how much do you expect?

    Let me be the resident expert on gaining a personal perspective for a moment. A measurement system of any sort requires some form of calibration. That can start for each of us as we use our feet. Since Toby is a practical man around the sea this next bit will be easy. However wait a mo and consider a hard one first like does the Moon exist and what’s its form up there in the sky.

    Reality about moons hit me big time as an adult student in technical retraining when the class went bush overnight in the mountains. Teacher had personally designed and built a powerful telescope at home and dragged it along for its first big test away from city lights. He was excited but I was ho hum having played with Tascos from Kmart. Believe me though this guy was good at many things including growing crystals for radios and computers. The optical precision knocked me over as I locked on a moon traveling behind Saturn. It was like I was there in 3D. Our moon was simply too close Damnit!

    If we say the sea level at Port Arthur has not changed by much in 200 years it means the sea has not changed or the rocks have moved in my book. This leaves us calibrating rocks amongst other things terrestrial and celestial. Also if there was a significant change in either the rocks or the sea which way would Toby run?

    Before any of this AGW stuff arrived I had a private lesson about sea levels on a farm back in the hills a few km from the coast. Although I uncovered soft fossil rocks there from which I sent samples to the Tasmanian Museum for my school studies the farmer had shown me his “beach” collection, stone tools and seashells from scattered middens on his property.

    I took some more photos of these “inland coastlines” several months ago to better recall the lesson. Its all part of my experience in guessing how long it takes for sea levels to have a direct impact on where we go.

    Cheers Toby

  43. Pinxi October 6, 2006 at 1:04 pm #

    balderdash and fiddlesticks, he’s reaping in big bikkies from consulting on these issues & laughin all the way to the bank, hence his plentiful sense of humour, or is it humor or hummer? Hit you over the head with shovel type jokes beat pomposity anyday of the week at least IMHO. And the dish ran away with the spoon.

  44. Taz October 6, 2006 at 1:37 pm #

    I have another question for those who are determined to flog the blogs with geo science on the question of time scales re our sea levels. This is not about efficiencies gained from living the simple lifestyle.

    How big were the old middens under the eucalypt forest compared to the younger ones we find along the coast in the same area today?

  45. Luke October 6, 2006 at 1:42 pm #

    Toby – answer to your post inbound – but Jen’s fascist IPA conspiracy big-end-of-town mining company logging company right-wing censorship software has grabbed it.


  46. Toby October 6, 2006 at 4:22 pm #

    Taz, thanks for your thoughts. From my rading I was under the impression Tasmania was very stable and therefore the rocks are not moving..or at least not by much…if we did the isle of dead test in parts of Scandinavia we would find the sea level had apparently fallen dramatically. But it hasnt…the sedimentary rock was compressed by ice and is rising.
    as for which way I d jump…initially into the water to see what the sea life was doing…its a passion!
    Detribe thx for the thoughts on Luke. If i was firmly of a position and an expert and others kept doubting, I’d be frustrated and ‘sigh’ as well.
    I do appreciate him taking the time to respond so a little condescension is not a problem…if that is what it is, if its Luke’s sense of humour …then all the better!

  47. Jennifer October 6, 2006 at 4:47 pm #

    Luke’s post was just de-blocked.

  48. Toby October 6, 2006 at 7:01 pm #

    Luke I will look at the links you have given…have just spent last 2 hours reading old material you have all been discussing.
    I must go and cook dinner for the family
    BUT in response to your :why do i expect a massive rise”…because you told me 0.6 (im presuming this refers to the 6.6 mm) globally averaged is massive! So where has this been seen?
    Yes at 0.66 mm p year it takes roughly 30 years to hit the 19 cm expected rise mentioned. But if as you suggest ‘globally averaged’ is massive I was assuming you mean that in some places it is much more than that and in others less? If so where is the physical evidence for this? If my ignorance has misinterpreted what you said then sorry…if not it seems to be still a very valid question?

    Secondly you rather condescendingly suggest i stop reading ‘contrarian bullshit’ and read something serious. Funny I thought the enormous amount of material i have read in the last few years that had scientists behind it gave it at least some degree of credibility.

    I notice interesting comment s from earlier links about sceptics was apt. On that point I started out as a believer, turned sceptical, decided I was right to be sceptical and not believe the doom sayers so I was no longer a sceptic but a firm non believer. But have since decided maybe I should be sceptical of my stance as a non believer. I am back in the sceptics camp.

    If I were a betting man…and I am in the sense that i speculate in the financial markets to make the majority of my income….I would be happy to have an evens bet at this stage that in 20- 30 years time this issue will be long forgotten (if we do not all blow ourselves up first…an even more depressing thought)
    Fancy a small wager (let Jen hold the money for us!

  49. Luke October 6, 2006 at 7:41 pm #

    My “massive” comment was about temperature ! Pls re-read sequence of discussion. 6.6mm was Tuvalu rise in sea level.

    Sea level rise physical evidence he says:

    Now where are your doomsayer references in the science literature ?

    On financial markets they now trade in weather derivatives and you’ll find the Chicago exchange is very interested in El Nino forecasts. And the insurance industry – Munich Re and Swiss Re and are interested in climate change.

    We can bet but your parameters are a tad vague. If you’re really serious about betting scientists will take your money:

  50. Luke October 6, 2006 at 7:51 pm #

    Hey Toby

    Try a check-list:

    Global surface temps up
    Ocean temps up
    Troposphere warming
    Arctic melting
    Greenland melting
    CO2 up
    Solar output constant in recent decades
    Peak hurricane intensity up all basins
    Species moving range and behaviour world-wide
    Frost declining
    Antarctic circumpolar vortex changing
    Australia warming
    More El Ninos since 1976
    SW WA and eastern Australia drier
    Most glaciers retreating
    Radiometers confirming greenhouse flux
    Satellites confirming greenhouse spectral windows changing

    Hmmmm.. .. seems to be stuff going on ?

  51. Toby October 6, 2006 at 8:20 pm #

    I have given Pinxi some reasons why we should all be at least a bit sceptical earlier. Pinxi I am sceptical about other things as well…ozone…how come nearly all teh pollution is created in teh northern hemisphere and yet their is little if any depletion of ozone above the Artic?( its not as cold as south …but its still cold and given all teh pollution is up there why isnt it happening?!)…DDT clearly banned for outrageous reaons. OZONE has been banned since the montreal protocol and whilst it takes many years for ozone to float up into the stratosphere it sseems at least interesting that the hole appears to be getting worse not better?
    Acid rain is certainly a problem….but according to many it was supposed to devastate Scandinavian forests. I recall reading that infact they have found that the forests are flourishing because of the acid rain!?

    I know Luke you will say “says who” but I can not recall who or where I read it, and for a truly scientific statement I should back it up with peer reviewed papers. Live is Full I only have so much time and acid rain and ozone seem a lot less pressing and a lot less topical…so the time I have left over from teaching, trading( I have to make a living!)looking after my wife and kids, playing cricket and spending time on the coast,and now god forbid on this damn blog! (go away I hear you all say!)I do not have enough tim yet to investigat many of teh other things I am sceptical about.

    I said in my previous post that I make most of my money in the financial markets.. that is true (up until last few weeks ..taking a caning in gold and Aud/Nzd at the moment), But I gave up a ridiculously paid job in the financial markets a few years ago to teach geography, business management and history because I was sick of hearing about teh left wing/ politically correct bias in education.(having taught for a couple of years I can assure you it isnt malicious rumour)
    I actually teach about GW to year 10 students in Geography. Their text books allow for no doubt about the evil humans that are destroying the planet…and they are particularly certain about AGW. BUT the evidence they site in the text books is very weak in its validity. For the last 3 years I have given them a 1500 word assignment “Global warming we must act now!” Do you concur….I then ask them to look at the evidence for both sides…unlike their biased text books( SOSE ALIVE old and new)..and all the other teachers in my school who teach history or geography or environmental science. Interestingly the science dept is far more sceptical (hence my comment about using ice cores from antarctic for the head of science and his CSIRO mate when they drink scotch).
    The students are aware I am sceptical and why I am sceptical. BUT students can get an A+ for arguing either side of the argument.( I doubt they could in other classes!)
    I would also note that having read 3 or 4 of the climate change blogs from top to bottom I would still appear to be right to be sceptical. (I havent yet found the one about co2 lagging/leading climate change…but will keep looking).

    I am not an altogether bad bloke or I wouldnt have given up a fortune to get paid a few months tax bill to try and educate public school students!

  52. Toby October 6, 2006 at 9:17 pm #

    Just seen your post luke…off teh top of my head

    Temp up…yes but by 0.6 c in last 100 years and that after we were in a cooling phase (so i think maybe not significant)
    glaciers melting…well yes because they grew in the last mini ice age and its now warmer! Also very few glaciers have actually been studied so is it a fact? I note also I read recently that some glaciers are expanding again (new zealand i think and himalayas?)…Mt Kilimanjaro now if that isnt a classic example of local climate change caused by human activity then ntg is…..but it a furphy to use it as evidence for AGW.
    Troposhere warming….Last I heard/read this was not the case(I know you said they are now adjusting for micowaves or soemthing so they can now say it is….but sorry still sceptical….) Isnt it where we would expect to see the most change? logically to me it is.

    arctic melting…yes surface ice, slightly warmer temperatures have a greater effect than in teh south? But this is one of teh points that has made me turn from being a non beleiver back into a sceptic.

    CO2 up , yes but whislt you would probably bet your childrens lives on this being the driver I think this is one of teh biggest flaws in the argument from what I have read..Let me find the discussion on that to further my knowledge. But I thought Jen’s link to the IPA Ian Pilger (Plimer?) artcle quite relevant!( you would I suspect say what does he know!?)….I am concerned that the siberian tundra which is an enourmous carbon sink may thaw out (is!) and if co2 is such a problem then we have a real problem.
    How much do all teh bush fires add to this? Havent they always burned and with nobody able to influence them in any way they were probably worse in teh past (think of the damage teh aboriginals did when they set fire to the land…could they control it in any way?…we arent great but we can do soemthing!), what about those coal seams that burn out of control due to lightning strikes that emit enormous amonut of co2

    Solar output constant in recent decades….really? I am sure I have read loads of articles saying the opposite!

    Peak hurricane intensity up….how do we know? we have only been measuring for a relatively short time….and the number of hurricanes has not increased in America infact from 2000-2004 they were down i recall from an average of around 12-14 to only 7! ( …and the dire predictions for this year have been WRONG!) and that the hurricanes in the gulf early last century were as bad or worse than today….they were apparently more frequent and equally strong…but nobody had retired there yet so it didnt really matter.

    Fewer frosts…tell that to the farmers from Yea I met at teh supermarket yday who have gone from having 2-3 frosts in winter to that many a week( ah but thats climate change i hear you say…extremes!)

    Greenland melting….I have certainly read many articles supporting this …but many that do not… and wouldnt we expect at least some melting since its a bit warmer?

    Antarctic melting..didnt greenpeace try and sell us this a year or so ago from their boat that couldn t actually get to Mcmurdo Station due to uncomnonly heavy seasonal ice?!….(that was naughty i m sure we both agree they probably do the most to damage the credibility of AGW supporters) But once again I recall from reading scientific arcticles that some 2% of the antarctic pensinsular is melting…but wait ….the rest is expanding? also the ice is getting thicker….and i know you can explain this ( and have…but are you right?) but as a layman its no wonder its hard to convince us!

    Off the top of my head your other points i ll have to read/ reread.
    Yes of course stuff is going has always gone on.

    BUT I promise I will go and read your other links along with the other blogs and there links from climate change etc..and maybe i will change from being sceptical. Now here is probably my real bias…to actually believe it is bloody scary…I d rather not unless there is overwhelming evidence ( can you blame me?).

    This does not mean society should do nothing…but as i have said technology is a wonderful thing I am sure you great scientists and my mates and their capital will help finance this technology so that we can all go on getting wealthier and leading better lives. Lets face it even if it is not happening enourmous amounts of money are already being spent on clean energy sources because oil is running out..and there is lots more on the way! Oh and yes to an earlier comment the same big businesses sell tobacco ( to make a profit)….but we buy it!
    But only a fool I beleive would not say that the market place is the best way to allocate the scarce resources we have!…so leave governmnts out of it apart prom giving research and development incentives

  53. Toby October 6, 2006 at 9:20 pm #

    saw your other post ..must put kids to bed.
    re the 0.6 so i was stupid..becuase i misinterpreted what you were saying with your global average
    sleep well everybody, drink and tv time now

  54. Luke October 6, 2006 at 9:51 pm #

    Tobes – nope, no, nah and nope to all your protestations above. Sorry ! Happy researching and good luck with the cognitive dissonance.

  55. Hasbeen October 6, 2006 at 9:53 pm #

    Toby, you have just quoted, damn near verbatim, what I have been thinking. Thank you.

  56. Schiller Thurkettle October 6, 2006 at 11:46 pm #

    I have a question.

    Has someone proved that warmer is bad and colder is good?

    I have a related question.

    Has someone proved what the ideal planetary temperature is?

    I have yet another question.

    When the planetary temperature changes, some will benefit, while others will be harmed; all will not be harmed or benefitted equally. Have we decided whom should be most benefitted by adjusting the planet’s thermostat?

  57. Hill Billy October 7, 2006 at 7:34 am #


    Was the Plimer article peer reviewed?

    I ask this because lots of the material is at odds with widely avaliable scientific literature (plus also out of date). For example…

    page 12. quotes the faulty MSU data.
    page 10. The planet was not far warmer 120K years ago. The global temperature was at most marginally higher. The elevated sea level was not a result of globally high temperatures but because high latitude summers were much warmer owing to the orbital parameters at the time. This led to a loss of about half of Greenlands ice.
    Further, sea level was more likely 2-4 metres higher, not 6 metres higher.

    page 11. the feedback of temperature on CO2 and CO2 on temperature which is well understood is ignored.
    page 11. global temperatures were not some 10-15C colder at the peak of the last ice age. The figure was more like 5C.
    page 11. ocean currents were not responsible for the greening of north Africa. This was due to hightened seasonality at this time due to a greater inclination on the earth axis which caused the north African monsoon to penetrate further north.
    page 11. the suggestion that it was 5C warmer 500BC is inconsistent with the glacial records from central Europe which show the present to be about as warm as the present time.

    I would love to see evidence that proves me wrong.


  58. Pinxi October 7, 2006 at 8:29 am #

    Schiller didn’t the US govt commission a report on this exact topic – the likely effects of climate change – and focus on a politically expedient interpretation that the far east and sth would bear most of the brunt, not the US which might benefit from extended growing season etc; and even better, if events went well, europe might get a freezing. ie relatively speaking, the US might do ok and reinforce its position as global saviour, therefore screw the concerns of the others? A while since I read it but I’m sure you’ll turn up the report if you do a little scratching about.

    Recent intense storms might have delivered a wake call though, so while your federal govt still denies responsibility or the need to acknowledge or address climate change, your states and businesses are beavering away, implementing measures and investments to mitigate, adapt and develop alternative energy sources and GHG neutral technologies that must make european nations blush in shame. Surely you should be protesting all of these state, uni and private actions!? It’s un-American!! Meanwhile Aust has been lulled into a false sense of complacency under the govts misguided perception that the US is doin nothin about climate change or energy.

  59. Luke October 7, 2006 at 9:23 am #

    Schiller – sleep easy – I’m sure God is a WASP North American. Your ceral belt will enjoy extra warmth and better rainfall. And after you guys stop trying to prevent a transition to a fossil fuel economy, and after having wrung every dollar out of carbon, I’m sure you’ll be among the first to aloso sell us the new energy and transport technologies.

    This is why we sometimes say sepos go home !

  60. Schiller Thurkettle October 7, 2006 at 11:37 am #

    Well, there is an international treaty that forbids using weather control as a weapon.

    Since climate control imposes unequal burdens, that amounts to weaponizing the climate, therefore, parties attempting to control CO2 emissions are engaging in global warfare.

    That being the case, we only need to determine who are the winners and losers in global warming to determine who has declared war on whom.

    That will simplify the decisions about whom to bomb.

    Will the Greenies want to bomb the greatest CO2 emitters? That’s not guaranteed; parts of the planet with the greatest concentration of Greenies might want a different climate.

    Climate is war, and adjusting the climate is war.

    Who will be the winners and losers? AGW non-skeptics will now tell us conclusively. AGW non-skeptics will tell us who is most advantaged and burdened by adjusting CO2 emissions.

    That *is* a gauntlet there on the floor, I believe.

  61. Toby October 7, 2006 at 12:07 pm #

    “recent intense storms might have delivered a wake up call though”…is that why oil prices have come off…since the predicted storms by the experts did not come about in the gulf?
    Is that why Warren Buffets Berkshire Hathaway Inc has just hit 100,000 per share? ( because the predicted storms have not come and the “predicted\’payouts through insurance claims have not been made!)
    The “experts” were so sure these storms were coming…….
    Havent the USA and Australia actually exceeded the requested emmision reductions for Kyoto …despite not signing the protocol….and yet the instigators , those loony europeans are failing to meet their own!?
    Those massive fires I read about today burning through Indonesia…how are they contributing to the c02? Australia cuts our emmisions to zero…no impact….doesnt mean we should do nothing…but come on a country the sizeofaustralia with 20 million people…surely we shouldnt be focusing on the output per individual but the capacity of our country to absorb our emmisions. I bet that statement upsets a few …but its a pretty rasonable one isnt it? its not like we dont have great distances to travel, huge infrastructure commitments for such a small pop in such a huge country etc
    off to cricket cya

  62. Luke October 7, 2006 at 1:35 pm #

    Schills – jeez ! Greenies and bombing ??

    “That will simplify the decisions about whom to bomb. ”

    I think you war mongers in the GOP have worked that out already haven’t you? The people of Iraq and Lebanon salute you for your kind assistance.

    Meanwhile back at the thread.

  63. Luke October 7, 2006 at 1:50 pm #

    Toby – Australia has “pseudo complied” to its “Kyoto target” by a one-off bit of trickery of banning land clearing in Queensland. Well was actually the Qld govt did – the Commonwealth did zilch and has provided no financial support. The got effectively has nicked millions of dollars of carbon from farmers, Suburbia salutes them. The reality is that energy and transport emissions are still going up through the roof. And we’re probably the highest emitters per capita in the world. And moving to a fully air-conditioned electrical appliance society so it will get worse not betetr (in terms of emissions).

    And yep – we long distances to market and a big country and resource industries that emits. That’s why it’s a problem. And no we should not stuff our economy overnight to comply.

    But can’t you see a time when the rest of the world has modernised and we’ll be on the receiving end of trade ban for not extracting the digit and moving our technology. There might be some considerable efficiency gains (profits) from saving GHGs and technical export opportunities for new technology.

    Any “background” vegetation burning such happens yearly in savannas around the world is considered part of the natural system and have been so for 1000s of years. One-off major fires in Indonesia are a concern but what do you do about it if caused by drought etc? Perhaps a feedback result from global warming
    🙂 ??

  64. Luke October 7, 2006 at 3:20 pm #

    OK Toby – put up !!

    GLACIERS Worldwide Glacial Monitoring Service Kilimanjaro explicitly addressed

    SATELLITES & warming: Aug 2005

    Since the satellites now clearly show that the atmosphere is warming at around the rate predicted by the models, we will report on his no-doubt imminent proclamation of a new found faith in models as soon as we hear of it

    Nature advance online publication; published online 31 July 2005 | doi: 10.1038/nature03906
    Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years – Kerry Emanuel1

    Theory1 and modelling2 predict that hurricane intensity should increase with increasing global mean temperatures, but work on the detection of trends in hurricane activity has focused mostly on their frequency3, 4 and shows no trend. Here I define an index of the potential destructiveness of hurricanes based on the total dissipation of power, integrated over the lifetime of the cyclone, and show that this index has increased markedly since the mid-1970s. This trend is due to both longer storm lifetimes and greater storm intensities. I find that the record of net hurricane power dissipation is highly correlated with tropical sea surface temperature, reflecting well-documented climate signals, including multi-decadal oscillations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and global warming. My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and—taking into account an increasing coastal population—a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century. Hurricanes and global warming

    Overnight temperatures have increased more than daytime temperatures, resulting in a decrease in the diurnal temperature range (the difference between the daily maximum and minimum temperatures). For areas affected by frosts, Collins et al. (2000) found that the annual number of frost days declined by an average of 5.6 from 1957 to 1996 and the average length of the frost season shortened by around 40 days. The shortening of frost season has contributed to an increase in wheat yield in Australia between 1952 and 1990 (Nicholls 1997).



    Vol 443|14 September 2006|doi:10.1038/nature05072

    Variations in solar luminosity and their effect on the Earth’s climate

    P. Foukal1, C. Fro¨hlich2, H. Spruit3 & T. M. L. Wigley4
    Variations in the Sun’s total energy output (luminosity) are caused by changing dark (sunspot) and bright structures on the solar disk during the 11-year sunspot cycle. The variations measured from spacecraft since 1978 are too small to have contributed appreciably to accelerated global warming over the past 30 years. In this Review, we show that detailed analysis of these small output variations has greatly advanced our understanding of solar luminosity change, and this new understanding indicates that brightening of the Sun is unlikely to have had a significant influence on global warming since the seventeenth century. Additional climate forcing by changes in the Sun’s output of ultraviolet light, and of magnetized plasmas, cannot be ruled out. The suggested mechanisms are, however, too complex to evaluate meaningfully at present.

  65. rog October 7, 2006 at 5:18 pm #

    * SATELLITES & warming: Aug 2005

    Since the satellites now clearly show that the atmosphere is warming at around the rate predicted by the models, we will report on his no-doubt imminent proclamation of a new found faith in models as soon as we hear of it…*

    What are you on about Luke, the latest graph from Spencer and Christy 1980 to now shows sfa warming in the lower troposphere – the big year was 1998.

    I thought I told you to stay away from the cheap red.

  66. Luke October 7, 2006 at 5:35 pm #

    Given Christy & Spencer couldn’t sort the problematic MSU data out in the first place I think they are without credentials ! Thanks for playing.

  67. rog October 7, 2006 at 7:31 pm #

    Do you refute the satellite data from NASA or dont you?

    I cant see how you can, without resorting to yet another character assasination

  68. Luke October 7, 2006 at 8:09 pm #

    It’s like taking candy from a baby. Just messing with you Rog to how much rope you’ll take. And yes I do refute satellite data not cleaned up for sensor decay and orbital drift.

    But anyway – perusing the very interesting paper below undertaking an analysis of 1979 to 2005 and I refer to Figure S2. That’s “Figure S2” Rog boy. And I couldn’t stay off the red Rog. The massive red positive anomaly for that year – redder than anything else in the sequence. Hmmm a very big equatorial anomaly in an El Nino year. Oh dear. Nothing better than pooning nubes my son says. He also says eat my shorts.

    But anyway thanks for the motivation – what an interesting paper. Let me tell you the details. Almost enough for a special post it’s so interesting and because of you Rog.

    “Whether the observed trends in Fig. 1 are an
    integral part of the response to greenhouse
    warming remains to be seen. State-of-the-art coupled ocean-atmospheric models predict
    stronger warming in the tropical troposphere than in mid-latitudes and a poleward shift of the eddy-driven jets centered ~45 degrees latitude. A pattern like the recent trends, with strongest tropospheric warming centered ~30 degrees latitude, is not recovered in the simulations. Regardless of the cause, the poleward shift of the jet streams and the associated subtropical dry zone, if it continues, could have important societal implications.”

    How interesting is that Rog?

    Science 26 May 2006:
    Vol. 312. no. 5777, p. 1179
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1125566

    Enhanced Mid-Latitude Tropospheric Warming in Satellite Measurements
    Qiang Fu,1,2* Celeste M. Johanson,1 John M. Wallace,1 Thomas Reichler3

    The spatial distribution of tropospheric and stratospheric temperature trends for 1979 to 2005 was examined, based on radiances from satellite-borne microwave sounding units that were processed with state-of-the-art retrieval algorithms. We found that relative to the global-mean trends of the respective layers, both hemispheres have experienced enhanced tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling in the 15 to 45° latitude belt, which is a pattern indicative of a widening of the tropical circulation and a poleward shift of the tropospheric jet streams and their associated subtropical dry zones. This distinctive spatial pattern in the trends appears to be a robust feature of this 27-year record.

    1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
    2 College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, 730000, China.
    3 Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, 135 S 1460 E, Room 819 (WBB), Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0110, USA

  69. rog October 7, 2006 at 10:54 pm #

    Bang on cue.

    If you had taken more care, the date on your Science mag article is 26 May 2006 and the date on the Christy & Spencer data is September 2006.

  70. rog October 7, 2006 at 10:55 pm #

    I should say the last date is September 2006.

    Down the bottom

    Left hand corner.

  71. Luke October 8, 2006 at 12:41 am #

    Bang on cue.

    I did take care but you’re not. You’re an idiot – graph your web link’s data first nursery boy – I did !(if you trust them to have their data right which is always a big ask of Christy & Spencer). Thanks for playing again ! What a chump. 1998 stands out like doggies ! Should have stayed in school Rog. And if you stop being nasty and doing one-liners you might learn something.

  72. rog October 8, 2006 at 6:06 am #

    Personal abuse aside, we agree that the data indicates that 1998 was the hottest year.

    Try to have a better day Luke.

  73. Luke October 8, 2006 at 7:31 am #

    That’s not abuse. That’s mild ribbing and I’m having a great day. :-). Now I told you not to spend time over at Climate Audit didn’t I. A short visit to confirmed my hunch.

    If you look at the paper I quoted above you’ll see the spatial plots have warmed since 1998 but not as warm as 1998, but the trend is up. You’ll also notice major shifts in the stratosphere (cooling) and the warming troposphere which may lead to circulation shifts.

    If you plot their moving average data (not what CA have graphed) you’ll notice something strange though. The northern hemisphere is warming strongly but the southern hemisphere is not. And it almost looks like a different data series started in 2005 in the south. Does this tally with what else we know about 2005 – I don’t think so but willing to have some advice.

  74. Luke October 8, 2006 at 7:33 am #

    My last para refers to the Christy & Spencer data.

  75. rog October 8, 2006 at 8:28 am #

    The total warming is minimal.

  76. Pinxi October 8, 2006 at 8:32 am #

    get off his back luke yu mercenary, at least rog tried to put up something specific. Slaughtering him like that will only discourage his further effort and send him back to his usual 30 cheapshot 1-liners per day batting average.

    BTW, can you xplain to me the basis of the neo-liberal reasoning that gives proponents of any activity (eg GHG emitters) free license to do whatever they want regardless of the (potential/actual/direct/indirect) effects on others, but efforts to restrict such activities are likened to acts of war?! unbelievable. Individual rights without extended responsibility or any duty of care, is that all it’s about? As children, didn’t these people get told not to leave their toys out in the playground where other kids might trip over them?

  77. Luke October 8, 2006 at 9:18 am #

    Sorry Pinx I have not taken my medication yet – I just hope the board doesn’t put me back in this week – it’s just that not every day we get Rog so comprehensively on the ropes. He’s been Done like a dinner with a warming troposphere.

    Rog says the warming is minimal – the physics of all this heat business are well known perhaps he can inform us what he’d expect to be the right answer.

  78. rog October 8, 2006 at 9:35 am #

    Try and pay attention Luke, the ritalin has yet to kick in; pixie wants you to tell her about carbon credits and how they will cool the climate.

  79. Luke October 8, 2006 at 10:19 am #

    OK then – sick of physics. Weeeellll … IMHO basically your God-fearing hard-workers who have struggled their way up through society to get where they have got, are totally offended by the thought that going about their daily business could be causing a problem. It just sound preposterous doesn’t it – I mean we live peacefully (except for Schills with all guns and bombs) and we pay our taxes (well maybe small business people like Rog don’t and Toby probably has a Cayman’s account) so how could I going about my day-today existence be doing anything. I think the whole idea sounds “silly” so it’s cognitive dissonance to the max. And suitable doubt fueled by who knows what Astroturf organisations looking after what selfish interests.

    In their mind it’s their God-given right to leave the toys in the playground.

    The wealthier you are, the more you’re likely to be a big emitter (or responsible for causing for such indirectly).

  80. Schiller Thurkettle October 8, 2006 at 10:32 am #

    I find it alarming that nobody is answering the fundamental questions.

    Nobody is proving that warmer is bad and colder is good.

    Nobody is proving what the ideal planetary temperature is.

    Nobody is proving that climate control will not have differential effects which amount to warfare under international treaty.

    If we truly have the power to adjust the planet’s thermostat, we have a responsibility to stakeholders to say who will get desertification, and who will get a better growing season.

    If you are a neo-liberal, you recognize that power creates moral responsibility. And if you believe in AGW, where will be the deserts and swamps which must ensue to give the planet the perfect temperature?

  81. Luke October 8, 2006 at 11:32 am #

    Schiller –

    There’ no point in calculating colder as (a) we not facing it and (b) short of nuclear winter or asteroid impact I don’t think we could arrange it.

    Impact scenarios have been undertaken for many sectors especially agriculture. Read the literature. Then you’ll say but I don’t believe the outcomes – so why ask?

    “Warfare & climate control” – only a hypocritical neo-con astro-turfing yank would try that one. The most likely impact of continued emissions are beneficial to North America and not the rest of the world. Your emissions are likely turning my country into a desert – so go home yank ! And then you’ll ge flogging your carbon-free technology to us at a premium. The really clever thing is that you guys are throwing huge amounts of money at carbon-free energy and will sell it to the rest of the world at an exorbitant profit after you navigate us into the melting pot with your deliberate political inaction. Howard is being suckered right down the line with your smooth line on this one. Your administration that supposedly doesn’t believe in climate change action while going for broke on technological energy system transformation.

  82. Schiller Thurkettle October 8, 2006 at 11:50 am #


    I note with interest that your rant contains no positive claim about human abilities to change the climate, what the global temperature should be, or who justly ought to be the beneficiaries or casualties of temperature adjustment.

    People who don’t know what they want, how to achieve it, or whom their efforts might hurt have no business advocating anything in their back yard, much less on a planetary scale.

    In fact, people that supremely ignorant should be held as far away from public policy as is humanely possible.

  83. Schiller Thurkettle October 8, 2006 at 12:06 pm #


    What is more, us Yanks will probably do with energy technology what we did with biotechnology. We’ll invent it, we’ll deploy it, neophobes will deride it and protest against it, governments will legislate against it, and in the end, we’ll still be the most innovative, energy-efficient, wealthy nation on Earth. And that’s because we’re on balance neo-liberals, not neo-conservatives. We don’t view regress as progress. We’re pragmatists. Except, of course, for the whacko Greenie fringe who are here becoming increasingly marginalized.

    After the rest of the world ameliorates global warming by 0.00000658 Celsius through carbon initiatives, we’ll have technology that makes efforts to grow more trees look pretty neolithic.

  84. Luke October 8, 2006 at 12:22 pm #

    Re your second last post – extract the digit mate and inform us. You may make a research comment too.

    Re last comment: Yes I assume that. Bloody sepos ! We don’t mind you yanks – it’s just that you’re so bloody loud. {P.S. Can we come and shoot up somewhere new with you guys soon}

    Better still – why not annex us and make us the 51st state?

  85. Gavin October 8, 2006 at 5:10 pm #

    Jennifer: some of these pathetic little one liners are enough the put anyone off blogs for life.

    In the early days of internet exchanges in public forums it was called “flaming”. Back then a chat room moderator would also shut down immediately on repetition. As intense discussion develops; most adults should know the value of self moderation. It’s normally expected since there is no point in making a bad point, such as we get here with contributors continuously ranting on about stuff outside their own particular discipline.

    Another issue for consideration regarding readers just browsing a blog: if individuals insist on giving nothing more than mere opinion mostly based on their single handed review of someone else’s stuff then get them putting in something of themselves from time to time.

    If I want mere opinion perhaps based on some consideration of your average passer by on an issue like AGW it’s so easy. I just ask my customers or do a private survey of people I run into down the street. In fact I often ask one or two as I go. Today was no exception. Let me humbly suggest it’s the best moderator. However my partner says I talk too much on the job and the blog.

    Reckon she is biased hey.

  86. Jen October 8, 2006 at 5:33 pm #

    Some one liners are insightful and sometimes they are funny.
    But people tire of nasty personal comment.
    I particularly dislike comment that closes down discussion by suggesting a novel idea is somehow wrong because its not the consensus/accepted view.
    I would like this blog to be about encouraging discussion of the novel idea, however, ‘wrong’ it may appear at first.

  87. jim dykes October 14, 2006 at 6:27 am #

    Last time I checked an actual greenhouse, the off-gassing was oxygen. Plants absorb carbon dioxide. So, why the hysteria over oxygen?

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