Bali round up

Just to remind you, my prediction was that Bali was going to be a waste of time. But I’m open-minded, and happy to be persuaded otherwise. I rather suspect that any benefits are going to be hard-to-analyse-or-see, though possibly no less real for all that.

Its time to look through the usual suspects for their views. And then I’ll put up my initial reaction. I’m slightly heartened to hear Bush condemning the deal, which suggests it might be worth something.
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The official nutters list!

Yes, its now available (2017 update: the NP fails to pass the test of time, and the b*st*rds block the waybackmachine; this is an archive of what I believe to be substatntially the same content drivel): 100% self-certified. Mostly its the obvious suspects, lots of Emeritus, and the familiar trick of puffing up your CV with a reference to the IPCC gold standard; in many cases “IPCC expert reviewer” is a credential. Remember folks this doesn’t mean that the IPCC endorse you or accept your reviews.

There are some sad items in there too: Reid Bryson; Freeman Dyson. And then there are the funny ones: how did Louis Hissink get in there? Why is Lubos Motl a “former Harvard string theorist” – isn’t Charles University of Prague sufficiently prestigious? McK is in there, but McI wisely stays out.

Oh, and the supposedly (?) impartial “Edward J. Wegman” is there too. Ho ho.

[Update: from the rumours dept: and some fakery. Courtney does not have a PhD for instance, and Wegman is not a member of the NAS. -W]


Eli suggests I start hedging. Well no. Mostly because the sums people have been prepared to put up so far are trivial. But partly because getting over-exciting about one exceptional year would be really silly, and there does seem to be some danger of people getting carried away. Saying “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.” is either trivially true, because of the at-this-rate, or silly, if you assert that the rate is sure to continue.

Anyway, I need to put up a summary of the bets at some point and will do so, probably in the quiet period over christmas.

While I’m here, let me point you towards the veritable butterfly effect.

Convection in the Antarctic Ice Sheet Leading to a Surge of the Ice Sheet and Possibly to a New Ice Age?

“Convection in the Antarctic Ice Sheet Leading to a Surge of the Ice Sheet and Possibly to a New Ice Age” is a 1970’s Science paper by Hughes. Its all superceeded stuff now – the idea that the ice might (very very slowly) convect was current once, but no more (or else the cores wouldn’t work very well :-).

The abstract is: The Antarctic surge theory of Pleistocene glaciation is reexamined in the context of thermal convection theory applied to the Antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet surges when a water layer at the base of the ice sheet reaches the edge of the ice sheet over broad fronts and has a thickness sufficient to drown the projections from the bed that most strongly hinder basal ice flow. Frictional heat from convection flow promotes basal melting, and, as the ice sheet grows to the continental shelf of Antarctica, a surge of the ice sheet appears likely.

You can read it here as long as you don’t tell.

The reason for this posting is that it comes up as yet-another failed “ice age in the 1970’s” thingy, by someone who only read the title and abstract.


Everyone has their own spin on things, but its still not nice to be misrepresented, especially in support of someone elses agenda. RP Sr would like the 2003 heat wave to be unrelated to GW. It may well be; it was such an exceptional event that it would remain outside the stats even if you factor in GW. Rather than looking at sfc T, which seems to be the natural thing to do, Chase et al (inc RP) looked at 1000-500 hPa depth, which is a broad measure of temperature in this layer. They find that by this measure that 2003 in Europe wasn’t exceptional: similar anomalies have occurred elsewhere. I agree. But to say Recently, William Connelly [sic] tested our claim and confirmed our conclusions is wrong; I replicated their results but then found that if you looked at surface temperature you got a totally different picture: that 2003 is indeed exceptional. Once you’ve agreed that 2003 was indeed exceptional you can then look at why; sfc drying seems likely; which of course raises the obvious question as to why the sfc was dry.

You can read my preprint if you like.