Dimmock v Secretary of State

The decision in Dimmock v Secretary of State – the Inconvenient Truth case in the U.K. – is online here. The realclimate commentary is here.

The government commentary issued in supposed compliance with the decision is here.


  1. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    RE 116. I’m not criticizing AIT. I am criticizing the DEFENSE of AIT by G&M.

    Subtle difference. Honestly, I wish that G&M would just leave Gore stuff alone. They dont know
    film. they dont know rhetoric. they dont know grammar. when I see them characterize
    Gore’s error as a “possible error” in TENSE. MY FRICKIN HACKLES GO UP. That is not accurate.

    In my world that is like saying 2+2 =5. It shows gross and utter ignorance.

    GORE said nations. There was ONE country.
    GORE said they HAD EVACUATED. They had asked NZ to Prepare for evacuation ( ask yourself why?)

    JohnV you would not speak so imprecisely. Don’t countenance this.

    let me draw a distinction. a while back Kristen posted a botched chart. ELI descended on her mistake
    ( you can see the fight on CA somewhere). I looked at the chart and asked her to correct her mistake.
    Dr. Curry did the same thing. Guess what? the 15 year old corrected her mistake.

    Will Gore correct his mistake?

    My sense is we have come to this point where people cant make mistakes.
    That bothers me deeply. because discovery involves making mistakes.
    Kristin screwed up. She fixed her mistake. Gore screwed up. Just fix the
    mistake. If he were the Pope I’d get the resistence.

    ? raises the question ?

    gore made a mistake. He said NATIONS have evacuted. Truth is, a nation asked NZ to prepare for
    evacution. truth is they dont see an issue for another 40 years, truth is they are being used to
    create publicity.

    So, simple question. JOSH HALPERN ( eli rabbit) called out Kristen for her mistake. Demanding she
    change it. I concurred. DR. Curry concurred and suggested she change it. The change was made.

    Now. Gore made a mistake. He said NATIONS. Wrong. One country. He said they HAD evacuated.
    Wrong. they asked NZ to prepare. His defenders ( G&M) call this error an error of TENSE?

    So. You want to defend Gore on this? as a engineer? as a human being? as an english
    speaking person? You dont. But you are stuck.

    He was wrong. He made a boo boo. He effed up. the ONLY reason people defend a spokesperson
    when he makes a mistake is they believe the cause is more important than the truth.

    Homie dont play that game.

    NOW, I am not done with this gore thing. One Delectable DISH at a time.

  2. TonyN
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    Teachers Guidance Notes on AIT amended in accordance with the High Court judgment are here . They make pretty dismal reading.

    This quote refers to the scene in which our hero struts and gloats in front of the vast – but unreliable – temp/CO2 charts. It starts well but …..

    Note: Pupils watching this segment might get the impression that the graph plotting CO2 against temperature over 650,000 years proves that recent rises in temperature are caused by CO2. The latter conclusion is accepted by the great majority of the world’s climate scientists, but cannot be proved by reference to this graph. Closer examination shows that, for most of the last 650,000 years, temperature increases precede CO2 increases by several hundred years. Some sceptics have used this to support their claim that recent temperature rises may not be caused by CO2. But it is generally accepted that the causative relationship between CO2 and temperature over the last 650,000 years goes both ways and that, now, it is CO2 which is driving temperature. The relationship between increases in CO2 and increases in temperature is not linear, it is logarithmic. The IPCC estimates that the equilibrium warming if CO2 concentrations were doubled is likely to be in the range of 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of 3°C.

    [IPCC AR4 WG1 TS p24-27 and SPM 1-10]

    The government certainly doesn’t seem to have entered into the spirit of the judges ruling, but has done their best to subvert it.

    The last sentence (my emphasis) is interesting in the light of the CA quest to find published research that supports this assertion. What a pity that sceptics do not have a Soros-like figure lurking in the background who might be willing to risk £300k on an application for judicial revue. This really looks like a really tempting target.

  3. Larry
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    171, back to court? That looks like contempt to me.

  4. Larry
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    We’ve been discussing this on unthreaded. It might be helpful if it’s not too much work to move the relevant comments here.

    You really need a lawyer to explain why they did certain things the way they did. It’s not as simple as meets the eye.

  5. Severian
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    I can’t believe that RealClimate is still hanging onto the Kilimanjaro as evidence of global warming thing. Despite papers and substantial evidence to the contrary, they are petulantly still claiming the contrary evidence is not proof of anything, and even it it was the mountain is still illustrative of what they just know is happening elsewhere. The massive arrogance and intellectual dishonesty in that alone should be enough to discredit anything else they have to say about global warming. That reeks of the same “fake but accurate” meme we’ve seen elsewhere.

  6. woodentop
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    #5 Severian: “fake but accurate” is the pithiest description of post-normal science that I’ve seen. I suppose it’s like “truthiness” in that respect.

  7. sergei
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    What bothers me about the comments at RC is the referal to AIT as a film. It was not a film, but yet a documentary. Documentary lends itself to a higher standard of fact, truth, debate, etc… AIT is clearly distinctly alarmist and exaggerated.

  8. aeronathan
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    From my engineering coursework in heat transfer, it seems incredible to me that the RC guys still defend the 20ft sea level rise due to ice melt from Greenland. Just off the top of my head, even using assumptions very favorable to heat transfer and thus melting, given the sheer mass of ice in place it would be far into the future (1000 years + in my guesstimate) before there was any appreciable rise in sea level. If humanity is unable to adapt to a few feet of sea level rise over a 1000 years, we deserve our fate.

  9. Sylvain
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink


    Why am I not surprise about Realclimate comment. Realclimate is not a science site, it is a politically driven site that try to hide its true face behind scientific mumbo jumbo.

  10. James Erlandson
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    From Best of the Web (Wall Strert Jounal OpinionJournal)

    Gore is using global warming to advocate “changes” that he thinks “we should be making for other reasons anyway,” and even those who generally agree with him acknowledge that he exaggerates. This isn’t science; it’s a moralistic crusade.

  11. Larry
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    7, The apologists at RC differ. They say that it was a flic for the masses, and not a serious scientific work (thus the fast-and-looseness is no big deal). I suppose it depends on what “is’ is.

  12. Larry
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    8, That’s actually not what RC is arguing. Their argument is even more dishonest (and IMO disingenuous) than that. They’re saying that Gore never gave a timeframe in the movie, so it’s all fine to scare the kids that Florida is going to be underwater in the near future.

  13. Roger Dueck
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:12 PM | Permalink


    That reeks of the same “fake but accurate” meme we’ve seen elsewhere.

    The same thought occured to me, reading the teacher’s guide. Some big spin doctoring on that one. Sort of like Gore’s comment that the judge’s ruling was a “victory”.

  14. Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve M

    Thank you for setting up a separate thread on this important (to us in the UK at least) topic.

    here is my post again from Unthreaded #22

    “#12 and 13 TonyN

    Thnks for the link to the judgement. It does eg the uestion what would have happened if a concerned parent and school governor had not brought this case to court. For example

    “Mr Milliband said:
    ‘The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over, as demonstrated by the publication of today’s report by the IPCC’ [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]. ‘Our energies should now be channelled into how we respond in an innovative and positive way in moving to a low carbon future. I was struck by the visual evidence the film provides, making clear that the changing climate is already having an impact on our world today, from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Himalayan mountains. As the film shows, there is no reason to feel helpless in the face of this challenge. Everyone can play a part along with government and business in making a positive contribution and helping to prevent climate change.’

    Mr Johnson added:
    ‘With rising sea temperatures, melting icecaps and frequent reminders about our own ‘carbon footprints’, we should all be thinking about what we can do to preserve the planet for future generations. Children are the key to changing society’s long term attitude to the environment. Not only are they passionate about saving the planet but children also have a big influence over their own family’s lifestyles and behaviour. Al Gore’s film is a powerful message about the fragility of our planet and I am delighted that we are able to make sure that every secondary school in the country has a copy to stimulate children into discussing climate change and global warming in school classes.’”

    In particular Alan Johnson’s quote of

    “Children are the key to changing society’s long term attitude to the environment. Not only are they passionate about saving the planet but children also have a big in fluence over their own family’s lifestyles and behaviour.”

    Now if this isn’t blatent abuse of poltical office, I don’t know what is. Essentially, as with smoking since we can’t get the parents to pay attention, we will indoctrinate their childeren instead in the full knowledge of the power of ‘pester power’.

    Having read the judgement now in full (thanks to TonyN’s link), I am now disappointed. The only changes intoduced as a result of the judgement are fairly minor changes to the Guidence Notes which now must acomply the film and which must explicit mention the ‘errors’ within the film. As a regular vsitor to this blog I’m also disppointed in the following content from the judgement.

    “The Film advances four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC:
    (1) global average temperatures have been rising significantly over the past half century and are likely to continue to rise (”climate change”);
    (2) climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (”greenhouse gases”);
    (3) climate change will, if unchecked, have significant adverse effects on the world and its populations; and
    (4) there are measures which individuals and governments can take which will help to reduce climate change or mitigate its effects.”
    These propositions, Mr Chamberlain submits (and I accept), are supported by a vast quantity of research published in peer-reviewed journals worldwide and by the great majority of the world’s climate scientists.”

    I like many who visit this blog would disagree with all the four points above and in particular the refence to scientific consensus (’great majority’) and the claim that ‘the science is settled’. As I’m learning more and more each day as Steve M, Anthony Watts and MrPete continu eto audit the so called ‘peer reviewed’ work, the science is far from being settled.

  15. Buddenbrook
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Going through that RC joke of a post for the second time, it strikes me how weak it is argumentatively, logically, scientifically, intellectually (…)

    And it is frightening how blindly the RC droids praise the post.

    It’s like a joke. An impersonator would write something like that to insult Mann and Gavin, but they do it on their own. I can’t fathom it.

    Let’s take lake Chad for an example. There are two known major reasons for this environmental disaster. 1. Overusage of irrigation water from the lake and the major rivers that feed the lake (Aral sea anyone?) and 2. Decreased regional rainfall (no evidence that this would have been caused by “global warming”). In fact I did saw a documentary that blamed it on global dimming, but it’s all speculation really. Anyway Gore leads an unsuspecting spectator to think that Global warming has caused the lake, once the 4th largest in Africa, to shrink to 1/20 of it’s original size. Realclimate don’t see any problem with this obvious falsehood. They justify it by saying that global warming MIGHT have played a part in it, and anyway global warming can play a part in something liket his in the future per the models (nevermind this one: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/environment/2007-05-31-climate-models_N.htm ), so Gore is justified in his assessment.

    Complete propaganda nonsense, and weak at that.

    They don’t debate Pielke, they don’t debate climateaudit, they don’t debate any sensibls skeptics in fact, just the crackpots they can take cheap shots at, and they use the crackpots to make politically motivated generalisations about ALL skeptics and denialists, including those they have no answer to.
    And then they waste their time on stuff like this.

    And their chorus of a following applaud them, take turns at calling the denialista names and then RC censor constructive criticism, censor attempts at scientific falsification. Try to convince me this is science.

    It looks madness to me, entirely calculative and if I am honest, corrupted

  16. Larry
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    14, I’m not going to repeat my whole spiel from #22, but suffice it to say that was the best outcome possible given the limited legal budget that Mr. Dimmock had to work with, and the judge had to say those things to inoculate himself against an appeal. It just wasn’t possible to get a more emphatic ruling without a trial going on for years and costing millions.

  17. Sylvain
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink


    Were they as much forgiving of the movie Global warming swindle or was it a scientific paper that they “debunked” or should I say “bunked”

  18. Yorick
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Lets see, Gavin says:

    125k years ago sea levels were 20ft higher than today, and temps were 1 to two degrees warmer.
    Polar bears canot survive an ice melt of the Arctic.

    Per the wikipedia, polar bears evolved 200k years ago. Yet here they are still, having survived the last interglacial.

  19. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    RE: #19 – Polar bears are essentially grizzly like bears which, when overtaken by rapid cooling, adapted rather than migrating south. Adapting to warming, assuming that any notable warming ever really takes hold in the Arctic, would be far easier than their past adaptation.

  20. Yorick
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    My point was that Gavin’s argument is demonstrably illogical. The “scientific consensus” is that polar bears evolved 200k years ago. I peronally have my doubts about genetic dating, which is probably how they came up with the 200k figure, but I am not a scientist, and the scientist say that polar bears survived warmer temps than today, and a melted arctic.

  21. Rob Huber
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    “The government of Tuvalu has asked New Zealand to be ready to evacuate islanders if needed, and while currently only 75 people per year can potentially be resettled, this could change if the situation worsened.”

    They sure are in a rush to get off that island!

  22. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    “They sure are in a rush to get off that island!”

    Don’t blame them. Probably nice folks. Got scared when “climate scientists” on tropical vacation junkets scared them with rising sea water tales.

    Other tropical island blather has been out of fashion for a while. Such as sinking island story or the salt water intrusion story. The latter is probably foisted on the locals by multinational ag industries secretly over-exploiting local fresh water resources.

  23. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    What Gore said: nations have been evacuated.
    The fact: The nation of Tuvula, population 12,000, asked New Zeeland to prepare for an eventual
    evacuation. In 2006, they estimated this might happen 40 years in the furure.
    The Realclimate SPIN: Gore possibly got the tense of the verb wrong.

    Now, if that is the intellectual rigor you get from top climate scientists about something as simple
    and elementary as the meaning of english and 5th grade grammar,
    can you realy trust them with ordinary differential equations?

  24. Steve Moore
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    RE #8, Melting Greenland:

    Area of Greenland Ice: 1,710,000 square kilometers
    Thickness: 1.666 kilometers (average)
    Volume: 2,848,000 cubic kilometers
    Mass: 2,848,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms
    Heat of Fusion for ice at 0 degrees: 334 kiloJoules/kilogram
    Heat of Fusion Required for melting Greenland: 951,519,000,000,000,000,000 kiloJoules

    That’s a lot of energy and it must all come from somewhere. The sun is really the only source available.

    Assume average solar radiation of 2 kwh/square-meter/day:
    Greenland Solar Radiation: 3,420,000,000,000 kwh/day

    So if all the solar radiation that hits Greenland is devoted to melting ice (no reflection, no heating of air), the time required is 4,637,000 days.

    That is a little over 12,700 years.

    Assuming the math is near correct.

  25. Harry Eagar
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    It’s really amazing what RC will say. For example, that only 75 Tuvaluans could be evacuated to N.Z. per year.

    N.Z. takes in tens of thousands of Pacific islanders each year.

    And for those of us who know Tuvaluans and their history, we know that almost the entire population of Tuvalu was evacuated in about 8 weeks (as slaves of Peru) on sailboats in the mid-19th century.

    The story is well known to us in the Pacific though probably unknown to the RC crowd. A more detailed version is available in my review of H.M. Maude’s ‘Slavers in Paradise,’ which you could find at Amazon.

    It’s very, very hard to credit RC as an honest expression of opinion about a contentious issue. To me, it looks like plain ol’ lies.

  26. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink


    1. The US legal system is derived from the UK system, and as such, the two are very similar. There are some subtle differences, however, such as loser pays in UK (which definately affected the strategy in this case).

    2. The aggrieved party is the plaintiff, or petitioner. The plaintiff files a suit. Nothing happens until the plaintiff files suit. In the suit, the plaintiff has to make specific allegations. He then has to prove his allegation with a preponderance of evidence in a civil case (“beyond reasonable doubt” applies only in criminal cases).

    3. Having filed suit, the defense (or respondent) files a response to the allegations. The response can include evidence (i.e. film transcripts, scientific papers, expert opinions, etc.), and attempts to answer the written allegations as well as possible.

    4. The judge should have read the written pleadings prior to the trial, but at the trial, verbal argumants are made, and witnesses can be brought to the stand by either side, examined, and then cross-examined by the other side.

    5. When the trial is over, the judge has to render a decision based on the written and oral pleadings. He can’t use anything that wasn’t presented to him. The judge also has to be extra careful not to even appear that he’s considering anything that wasn’t presented in the pleadings.



    1. Lower court decisions can generally be appealed by the losing side. An appeal is not a retrial! An appeal can only be successful if the party bringing the appeal can show that the judge made an error.

    2. Judges don’t like to be appealed, and thus will exercise great caution in making sure that the decision is technically correct, and based entirely on the record. The record is what’s introduced by the attorneys, and no more.



    If a party is ordered to do something by the court, and the opposing side feels that they’re not complying, they have to return to court and have the court rule on the compliance. If they’re out of compliance, the court may rule the party in contempt of court. That is a very, very bad thing. A party found in contempt of court can be arrested in the courtroom, and taken directly to jail.



    Putting all of this together, it’s evident that the attorney for Mr. Dimmock needed to make allegations sufficent to get the ruling that he wanted, but dodn’t want to have to prove anything more than was necessary to get the desired ruling. It wasn’t in his interest to contest the general thrust of the movie, or of AGW. That would have simply made his job a lot more difficult, and provided opportunities for the defendant’s lawyers to start introducing expert witnesses and all manner of confusing evidence and testimony. Mr. Dimmock’s lawyer needed to keep it crisp and simple.

    The judge also had to protect his backside by limiting his ruling to the allegations and evidence on record, and thus couldn’t opine on the general thrust of the movie, or on AGW. To do so, would have left him wide open to appeal. So he stated in this ruling that he didn’t contest the thrust of the move to ward off an appeals.

    The other element in this is the British “loser pays” rule. That makes it so that when a truck driver goes up against the government, the truck driver needs to be absolutely confident that he’s going to prevail. Any ambiguity at all puts him at risk of bankruptcy. That’s why they made such limited claims.

    Considering all, I think Mr. Dimmock’s lawyers played it brilliantly, and the judge did the only thing that he could have.

    Looking at the supplementary material produced by the schools, I believe Mr. Dimmock has a claim for contempt of court.

  27. aeronathan
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink


    My quick numberless guesstimate was in the ballpark. Only off by 1200% or so, hehe.

    I’m still a little uncertain as to how much effect you would get based on increased ambient air temperature and any changes in wind patterns not to mention any changes in sublimation that may occur. I don’t think it would amount to more than a millenia in either direction though.

  28. MarkW
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    If films for the masses are allowed to play fast and loose with the facts, why did the RC crowd get so upset about the relatively (at least compared to AIT) mistakes in The Great Warming Swindle?

  29. DavidE
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    What is amazing to me is that this subject should be brought up in primary school at all. If you have a science course, would you want to discuss “gobal warming” or the basics of physics, chemistry and biology. The whole notion of putting the supposed documentary in the classroom is to indoctrinate children. The science involved is far beyond the masses and beyond mere children. It’s a false choice to suggest that the documentary should be shown if it is factual and not shown if it is unfactual. It is a propaganda either way and has no place in a classroom.

  30. John F. Pittman
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I agree #27, except that a contempt would be unlikely. Your 1 and 2 paragraphs of Strategy would indicate that “little” may meet the minimum of such a conservative ruling this time and as likely or more likely a more conservative ruling by the judge for contempt. After reading the article, I concluded, you were right about “providing oppurtunities for the defense” would likely escalate, and make winning decidely dicey.

  31. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    30, of course contempt would be dicey. But if you read the order, and what the schools actually did, they didn’t comply. A more likely outcome would be a second order insisting that they used more neutral language. But ultimately contempt is the stick hanging over their heads.

    If a judge did find them in contempt, a more likely outcome would be a fine. The court has a whole range of options. I just said that arrest was possible to illustrate that you don’t want to give the judge the finger.

  32. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    #24 Steve Moore:
    I get 211 years to completely melt the Greenland ice sheet — I think you missed a division by 60 when converting from KWh to KJ.

    Don’t get me wrong. That’s still a very long time and I’m not arguing against the point of your argument. I just can’t resist pulling out my calculator when I see a bunch of big numbers. 🙂

  33. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Almost precisely the argument the judge rejected.

  34. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    33, as a point of law, not as a point of reality. #29 is right on the point of reality.

  35. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    And let me say one more thing that was implied but not stated above. A judicial opinion is NOT the same thing as a personal opinion. Sometimes they’re the same thing, but the judicial opinion has to be limited to addressing allegations and facts on the record. The judge can only let his own personal opinions enter the decision making process if the case allows it; that is if the allegations and facts entered into the record allow him that discretion.

    You can’t, in general, tell from a judicial opinion what the judge’s actual belief is.

  36. Steve Moore
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    RE #32 John V:


    I can’t blame my HP 15C: conversions have never been my bag.

    The site IS called “Climate Audit”…

  37. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Re: Tuvalu and sea levels in the Pacific Islands:
    The following image shows sea level graphs from the UK-based Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base. Unfortunatley there is limited historcal data in the Pacific Islands area. But it doesn’t look like they’ll need to be flocking to New Zealand soon.

  38. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    RE: #26 – The fact that such as narrowly limited suit won, means that the whole construct of AIT is faulty. Other challenges may also succeed. One key victory here for the plaintiff was that now there will be (completely justified) caveats injecting a bit of FUD into presentation of AIT in schools. That alone makes it worth it. Time to turn the tide of dumbing down in the schools.

  39. Vinny Burgoo
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #29, DavidE: “What is amazing to me is that this subject should be brought up in primary school at all.” The film is being shown in secondary schools, not primary schools. “The whole notion of putting the supposed documentary in the classroom is to indoctrinate children.” That was the govt’s original intention, the judge decided; hence his award to the claimant of two-thirds of his costs. “It’s a false choice to suggest that the documentary should be shown if it is factual and not shown if it is unfactual. It is a propaganda either way and has no place in a classroom.” What #33 said. (The judge indirectly compared AIT to Nazi propaganda – what more do you want?)

  40. Steve Moore
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Alright, I bit the bullet and looked at RC’s “commentary” (I avoid that place for the most part anymore because, just as I viewed Falwell, I find it hard to stomach smug, sanctimonious, self-satisfied sycophants).

    Anyway, I am amazed at the “logic” on display.
    What’s the word I want to describe my reaction?
    Yes, that applies.

    (that also can describe my reaction to realizing that I’ve forgotten basic math…)

  41. Tony Edwards
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #24 and 32. While going along with the numbers, please remember that this is the time for melting all of the ice using all of the incoming energy, which will certainly not be the case, for instance, most will be reflected from the ice, so if, say, 10% is used, we are up to 2,110 years. Plus, this calculation takes no account of the time and energy needed to get the ice from its current -30 or so (National Academies Press) up to zero, which, given the poor conductivity of ice, will probably take as long or longer.
    Methinks Mr. Gore must have used the first figure.

  42. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    RE: #41 – Imagine what would happen to the atmosphere and the Atlantic if even 10% of Greenland’s ice cap were melted. You want to talk about negative feedbacks! You got ’em!

  43. Stephen Richards
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:46 PM | Permalink


    Tony; Ice doesn’t have to reach 0C to disappear. It can sublimate, if there is enough sunlight, at (and this is from my fuddled memory) 4 C? Probably wrong but there you are. Having sublimated to H2O gas it could act as a forcing? 🙂

  44. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    43, you still need the BTUs, though. It isn’t a question of temperature, it’s a question of adding sufficient heat.

  45. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    Re #43, Stephen Richards
    I think 4C is the temperature at which water reaches its maximum density.
    Ice can sublime at any temperature so long as the air is dry enough; no sunlight needed.

  46. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #24, #32, #41
    As Steve points out, he is assuming a constant thickness. In reality, there will be some places where the thickness is much greater than this average, and will take correspondingly longer to melt.

  47. MarkW
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    did you mean -4C? At 4C ice should be melting on it’s own.

  48. Stephen Richards
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Larry et fFreddy

    Not BTUs larry, hu, energy(photons, etc). Plancs constant * frequency.

    Freddy, as I said, I’ve an addled brain, should have been -4C

  49. Larry
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    It has to become a BTU before it can melt the ice (or sublime).

    Isn’t one of the Bill Nye theories that it’s going to get wet and slippery, and the whole ice sheet is simply going to go sliding into the ocean in solid form? I thought that was the catastrophe theory. It wouldn’t even have to melt in that case to cause sea levels to rise abruptly.

  50. AdrianS
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Nice post 26. Sometimes these things do need to be tested in court as barristers are very good at driving a coach and horses through flaky arguments.
    I read RC and Climate Audit to try and get a balance but I must say CA seems the more “honest” site. I do think that AIT at such a young age is akin to brainwashing and producing uneccessary fears in very young people. I just wish some people would tell the truth without spin or agenda. As far as I can see CA does this

  51. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    RE 48

    Stephan richards is having of fit of gorcicles. Brain freeze on global warming


    His calculations were not in ERROR, it was possibly
    a misplaced or out of context negative sign mismanagement problem
    and no one should expect a blog posting to have the accuracy of a peer reviewed
    scientific treatise.

    hehe. Sorry Stephan. I could not help myself

  52. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    If you guys keep nooodling these melting ice calculations you will eventualy
    prove that all the ice has already melted.

  53. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    I posted this on their blog and it disappeared,


    Theres that consensus I’m not listening to other opinions.

    heh heh heh,

    And now when I try to post it’s deleted.

    (note the quotation marks!)

    Sure like lying about the number of hurricanes to scare children is somehow like a misplaced quotation mark.

    So when there were 1/2 as many severe hurricanes in the 90’s as the 50’s how is Katrina caused by global warming?

  54. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    sorry guys, but could you please get slightly more specific in your critisism?

    point 22:
    # I have no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant’s expert, is right when he says that:

    “Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.”

    The facts of this case lie before me
    (knock, knock, knock)
    Case dismissed…
    This girl was in her working clothes…

  55. Stephen Richards
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:39 PM | Permalink


    Strangely enough ice can sublimate at any temperature as you say but the energy needed below about —–4 C is greater than is supplied by natural forces. Even high temperature CO². 🙂

  56. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    So when there were 1/2 as many severe hurricanes in the 90’s as the 50’s how is Katrina caused by global warming?

    look at what William M. Gray had to say on the subject of storm numbers:

    The Recent Increase in Atlantic Hurricane Activity: Causes and Implications

    Stanley B. Goldenberg,1* Christopher W. Landsea,1 Alberto M. Mestas-Nuñez,2 William M. Gray3

    The years 1995 to 2000 experienced the highest level of North Atlantic hurricane activity in the reliable record. Compared with the generally low activity of the previous 24 years (1971 to 1994), the past 6 years have seen a doubling of overall activity for the whole basin, a 2.5-fold increase in major hurricanes (>=50 meters per second), and a fivefold increase in hurricanes affecting the Caribbean. The greater activity results from simultaneous increases in North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and decreases in vertical wind shear. Because these changes exhibit a multidecadal time scale, the present high level of hurricane activity is likely to persist for an additional ~10 to 40 years. The shift in climate calls for a reevaluation of preparedness and mitigation strategies.

  57. Steve Moore
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 2:25 PM | Permalink


    Isn’t one of the Bill Nye theories that it’s going to get wet and slippery, and the whole ice sheet is simply going to go sliding into the ocean in solid form?

    It’s my understanding that the Greenland ice sheet is sitting in a bowl-like depression (probably caused by all the ice).
    So, Bill Nye’s theory would require the ice to slide uphill.

    (And I’m not going to take a stab at determining the required energy for that)

  58. aeronathan
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    The other thing that occurs to me, speaking of the melting ice is the fact you have to take into account much more than pure radiative energy transfer to the ice. The first obvious one that springs to mind now that I have more than my break at work to think about it, is the calculations assume no new ice formation, which I think is a bad assumption. It also assumes no convective heat transfer which becomes a very complex issue as the heat transfer coefficient is going to change spatially and temporally based on local conditions of temperature, wind, and terrain.

    Without some serious number crunching, which since heat transfer is outside my main interest areas I don’t really desire to do, I think the 1000+ year estimate for serious sea level change is pretty good.

  59. David
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    #57: The question that I have is whether or not they are counting more events as being hurricanes now days than they were just 10 years ago. I’ve noticed how more eager they are to call something a hurricane these days, whereas before they would call it a tropical storm/depression or “something to watch.”

  60. DavidE
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    re: 39

    Glad to see the judge and I agree! 🙂 Ultimately though it is a policy question.

  61. Steve C
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    re #60. the strengths and times of Atlantic hurricanes. There is a very good site run by Unisys which has a lot of detail, shows charts maps etc and for each year . Some in 2005 didnt last 24 hours !!

  62. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    An interesting part of the response to the UK judges ruling was that provided to the teachers. The government instructions under the title “The climate change film pack – Guidance for teaching staff” were for three different classroom situations – science, geography and citizenship. The problem I have is it should be taught in the science curriculum first and that should be a prerequisite for students learning about it or discussing it any other classroom. Without this approach you have what is happening in the world today, namely a discussion in ignorance.

  63. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    RE 61. Those are Hurry-canes

  64. Kiminori Itoh
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I guess people in UK (London, in particular) would feel uncomfortable about the story on the Thames Barrier shown in AIT. London City describes the reason why the barrier is closed so often recently as follows; gThe Barrier is now also being closed in response to high water levels in Thames tributaries rather than only when a tide is exceptionally high (www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/environment/flood_thamesg.pdf). It should be noted that rain fall did not increase during the period when the barrier was closed so often. This suggests there were some social reasons. Moreover, the sea level rise near London is largely due to the subsidence of the southern part of the Great Britain; this is, as is well known, mainly because of post-glacial rebound (the northern half is rising). Thus, the issue of the Thames Barrier is a misuse for explaining GW. The judge Burton had to have pointed out this as well to avoid misunderstanding of pupils in England. And I also feel curious why RC doesnft point out this.

  65. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    “Isn’t one of the Bill Nye theories that it’s going to get wet and slippery, and the whole ice sheet is simply going to go sliding into the ocean in solid form? I thought that was the catastrophe theory. It wouldn’t even have to melt in that case to cause sea levels to rise abruptly.”

    I can’t speak to “Nye” and catastrophism, but the “sliding” idea in some papers was driven not by science, but public relations. Some years back the knowledge that coastal Greenlandic glaciers were advancing became part of the public discourse. This seemingly contradicted GW, and threatened the coherence of television presentations, etc. which regularly opined that glaciers were supposedly retreating all over the world resulting from GW. This was the glacier divergence dilemma. Curiously soon thereafter came a study or two suggesting global warming was accelerating Greenlandic glaciers by increasing meltwater that seeped between the ice and earth.

    The NAS report avoided the GW/advancing glacier paper but used a retreating paper to validate the results of Mann’s HS.

  66. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Re: Sea level in the UK area: there aren’t very many long-term sea level measurements for the area, but the rate of increase seems pretty stable for the available long-term locations.

  67. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    #56 sod

    The years 1995 to 2000 experienced the highest level of North Atlantic hurricane activity in the reliable record. Compared with the generally low activity of the previous 24 years

    1950’s 10

    2 x str 4, 8 x str 3

    1990’s 5

    1x str5 4 x str 3

    I hope the pic comes through

    [can’t see it in preview. http://marginalizedactiondinosaur.net/wordp/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/hurricaine-chart.jpg%5D

    in the 50’s and earlier decades there were more in the str 3 plus than since, but that will not scare school children and get them on TV.

    The Most Intense Hurricanes in the United States 1900-2000

    I get Andrew #3, and then Opal # 16 then go way down to 37 to get Bret, doesn’t make the 90’s sound earth shattering. If they just said “were going to have weather today” like my uncle Wes used to say not a lot of ability to scare people, eh.

    PS sod I hate that song, others in my family don’t concur. 😉

    Still it’s better than being deleted.

    with a lick of Al’s lips, he undid all the ..

  68. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    alan #66
    Can you send me a link for that source or post it here.


  69. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Re: 68 – links for 66: The image I posted is a composite I created (it is in two halves – top and bottom) – they are http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/SeaLevel_UK_Top.gif and http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/SeaLevel_UK_Bottom.gif. The sea level data in the indivdual graphs are from the UK-based Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level web site.

  70. Lizi
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    I have not seen any mention of this : Antarctica and Greenland have several kms of ice on the surface. This weighs a lot – causing Antarctica and Greenland continental plates to “sink”. If you have a look at the rock surface image of Antca., most of it is actually below sea level :

    NOW….if that ice melts, doesn’t that mean that Antca & Grnlnd continents will rise up with the weight off the ice take off ? And doesnt that also mean that sea levels will drop ? I`m not saying that`s completely like the Archimedes Principal, but if you take all that weight off, then the land should rise up, and that intern MUST cause some sea level drop ??

  71. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    Re 68 – Sea Level info:
    See also my previous post #37 in this same thread showing Oceania.
    On my web site I have created a composite for Alaska (see Regional Summary for Alaska) where sea levels have been falling for the available history (since 1940s). And for Pacific North America where sea levels have been falling but at reduced rates as you move south to where they have been increasing in the southern part of North America.

  72. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    Re 70:
    See my link in 71 to Sea Level composites for Alaska and Pacific North America. Sea levels have been falling in the northern areas as the continent rebounds from the last ice age. Perhaps that contributes to sea level rise elsewhere – as the rebounding Alaska’s submerged continental shelf rises it becomes shallower and that water has to go somewhere else. (Straight to Tuvalu 🙂

  73. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 2:07 AM | Permalink

    The old fear: Iraq. The new fear: climate. As Hermann Goering already said: “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists (read skeptics) for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

  74. TonyN
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    Re: #64 Kiminori Itoh

    Anyone interested in the the Thames Barrier and the claim that increasing use is linked to AGW will find some useful background information here

    I know that this site is an advert for a blockbuster disaster novel but the author seems to believe in doing thorough research. Other links available on this subject if anyone is interested.

    Bear in mind that the judge did not rule on all the errors that the claimant identified in AIT. He selected only nine where there was common ground between Carter and Stott. See Section 22 of the judgment here .

  75. James Lane
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    Our old friend John Hunter, in a study sponsored by Greenpeace, found a sea level rise at Tuvalu of 0.8 ± 1.9 mm/year relative to the land (i.e. a rise smaller than the uncertainty).

    I posted this at Real Climate, but oddly it didn’t make it though moderation.


  76. Yorick
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    Tim Blair often cites this whopper in AIT

    AIT Transcript

    They say that we can’t protect the environment too much without threatening the economy and threatening the auto makers, because auto makers in China might come in and just steal all our market. Well, here is where China’s auto mileage standards are now. We can’t sell our cars in China today because we don’t meet China’s mileage standard.

    Blair then has a good time showing pictures of American cars in China, or statistics from US carmakers on their sales, etc.

    For the record, Gore never said “he invented the internet”, his actual words were “He took the initiative in creating the internet.” He was an exagerator then, he is an exagerator now.

    I won’t even bother trying to get the above past moderation at the RealClimate propaganda site.

  77. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    Lake Chad is a remnant lake from the last Ice Age. As the polar climates were expanding during the glacial period the sutropical deserts, generally in the latitudes from 15 to 30° (they are 20% of the land surface), were decreasing.* Some refer to the wet and dry conditions of this region properly as pluvials (from Latin for rain) and interpluvials. Large lakes such as Chad in Africa, Eyre in Australia and Bonneville in the western US were formed. Large aquifers were also formed and one of the largest is under the western Sahara. All lakes are temporary features formed by a change in precipitation or a change in the landscape. Notice the vast number of lakes formed from glacial meltwaters filling almost every hollow in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in a pattern called deranged drainage. Given time all lakes eventually drain as the river systems establish. There was a proposal in the 1970s to divert water through the Central African Republic from the Congo to replenish Lake Chad.
    *Ask yourself how the computer models deal with these changing dynamics in hindsight forecasting. How are the three cells that comprise the earth’s atmospheric system changed? What happens to the circumpolar vortex (Jet Stream)?

    It is very difficult to determine if a shoreline is changing because the land is rising or falling, isostasy, or the sea level is rising or falling, eustasy. Some claim the rising water along the Gulf of Mexico in the US is due to sea level rise. In fact, most of it is due to the land sinking. At the other end of the continent the sea level appears to be dropping but it is because the land is rising.

    The continents are made of different basic material than the crust undeneath them and the occeans. The continents are floating on this crust. Change the weight on the continent and it will rise and fall relative to sea level. However there are two processes at work. Imagine the continent as a piece of foam floating in water. Put a large steel ball at one end and the foam will be depressed (known as crustal deformation) and that end of the foam, will also float lower in the water. This is what happens when the glacier formed in Northern North America or Antarctica and Greenland. The thickest part of the ice was in southern Hudson Bay and the land was depressed by about 430 m (estimates vary with ice thickness estimates) So far the land has rebounded about 275 m in approximately 7000 years, with about 150 m to go.
    The crustal depression under Greenland and Antarctica is much greater. Even though the glaciers sit on the earth’s crust they are well below sea level. All that ice below sea level will not add to the ocean volume. In fact the meltwater will occupy less space than the ice because water expands by about 6% when it freezes. This volumetric change also applies to the ice above sea level. As the ice melts the crust will adjust here and in other regions as the amount and weight of seawater changes.

    What Gore did was take the original simplisitc thesis that if you melt both these glaciers how much water is created, then simply add that to current sea levels. Even the IPCC realize it is a lot more comlicated than that. Their mistake is assuming global warming due to humans will continue thus ignoring natural phenomena, but then they ignore most others anyway, especially in their models

  78. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    RE: #79 – a smaller one was located in the Northern Mojave Desert splilling a bit into the Owens Valley. Owens Lake was a remnent of that. Back in the late 1800s there were still steamers crossing it, but after the Owens Valley Aqueduct came on line, it dried up completely within a couple or three years.

  79. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    RE: #79 – Paradoxically, if you were to melt even 10% of the Greenland ice mass, there is actually a pretty good chance that the resulting side effects (especially the thermal effects on the atmosphere and the salinity impacts on the Atlantic) may actually end the interglacial!

  80. Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Unlike the LGM megalakes in North America, such as Lake Bonneville, Lake Chad was fairly dry in the LGM, and reached its greatest extent in the early Holocene. The data are in the Oxford Lake Level Data Bank ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/paleolimnology/lakelevels/oxford/

  81. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    How about this: Ice can melt at any temperature. Let’s say it’s -100 C outside.

    Step 1: Light blowtorch.
    Step 2: Apply flame to ice.


  82. gerard bono
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    #17 and #28 made reference to the Great Warming Swindle “movie”. I think that since Dimmock vs. Secretary of State ruled that AIT could be shown and also reading RC’s excuses/explanation of the errors, why not include The Swindle as a counterbalancing argument in fair and balanced presentation of the sides. After all RC seems to play this fast and loose so why not? I think most reasonable people would like to see the information presented in an unbiased way. The same with collecting, analyzing and presenting data. As Joe Friday used to say, “just the facts m’am jut the facts”.

  83. Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    tnx Alan, re # 71 # 69 et al,

  84. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    James Lane, thanks for your post. You say:

    Our old friend John Hunter, in a study sponsored by Greenpeace, found a sea level rise at Tuvalu of 0.8 ± 1.9 mm/year relative to the land (i.e. a rise smaller than the uncertainty).

    There is more modern information from the SEAFRAME project here. It indicates a rise of 5.7 (95% CI ± 5.0) mm/year. The new SEAFRAME gauge was installed in Tuvalu in 1993, and is automated. However, even with a 14 year record in hand, the rise is scarcely larger than the confidence interval. The cited text says:

    Sea level records of less than 25 years are thought to be too short for obtaining reliable sea level trend estimates. A confidence interval or precision of 1 mm/year should be obtainable at most stations with 50-60 years of data on average, providing there is no acceleration in sea level change, vertical motion of the tide gauge, or abrupt shifts in trend due to tectonic events.

    On the other hand, the 23-year JASL tide gauge record in Tuvalu gives a reading of 0.92 ± 2.3 mm/year. I’m not sure how John Hunter got his claimed accuracy.

    So … we won’t know for a while.


  85. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    How do you define early Holocene? I would place it at approximately 10,000 BC., which is coincident with the beginning of melting of the glaciers. It is not surprising the Lake was low in the middle Holocene coincident with the Holocene Optimum when temperatures were warmer than today.

    As with so much about climate the focus is on temperature and what we need is better understanding of precipitation patterns and that goes to my point about climate reconstructions of past climates. How did the Hadley Cell change with the equatorward location of the Circumpolar Vortex?

    We don’t have enough data today for the models. In an article comparing the forecasts for summer monsoons in Africa (Science Vol 313, 4 August 2006) two computer models gave completely opposite results. Here are two quotes from the article: Headline, “No one can predict the heavy summer rains that bring the Sahel back to life each year. A new 10-year data research program aims to improve forecasting and model building.” and “One obvious problem is a lack of data. Africa’s network of 1152 weather watch stations, which provide real-time data and supply international climate archives, is just one-eighth the minimum density recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Furthermore, the stations that do exist often fail to report.”

  86. Saul on the road to Damascus
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Let me preface my question by stating I don’t know anything about anything.

    The specific gravity of water decreases ~ 0.025% for every °C increase at 1 ATM.

    Are the projections of catastrophic rise in ocean level projecting warming of the ocean water to substantial depths?
    Can anyone suggest a synopsis of this narrow aspect of oceanography?

    I’m guessing you guys are going to direct me to NOAA,
    I was hoping for something more along the lines of an epiphany.

  87. Yorick
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    #81, It would have to melt all at once. The event that alarmists point to when talking about slowing the gulf stream was the burst of a huge ice dam in Labrador which released an immense amount of glacial meltwater. A flood of Biblical proportions. No such resevoir of fresh wather exists today.

  88. Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    10000 BC is absolutely not early Holocene, it is in the middle of the Younger Dryas. The early Holocene is a slightly vague term, but the period between the start of the Holocene and perhaps 6000BP could be included.
    You are also wrong to suggest that the start of the Holocene is coincident with the beginning of the melting of glaciers. A cursory examination of the post-glacial global sea level curve shows that almost half of the ice had melted by the start of the Holocene (at 11500BP or 9500BC).

    It is not surprising the Lake was low in the middle Holocene coincident with the Holocene Optimum when temperatures were warmer than today.

    A third error: high lake levels in Africa coincide with the high-latitude Holocene Optimum.

  89. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

    Proposed international definition for Base Holocene is the end of the Younger Dryas: 11784 +/- 69 years before 2000, so 9785 BC. International acceptance anticipated in 2008

    Annual layer counting in ice core (“ka” is relative to AD2000); counting uncertainy is 69 years; End of the Younger Dryas cold spell, which is reflected in a shift in deuterium excess values, followed closely by changes in d18O, dust concentration, a range of chemical species, and by a change in annual layer thickness; NorthGRIP ice core, Greenland[/quote]


  90. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 3:54 AM | Permalink

    Re # 76 Alas Poor Yorick,

    Al Gore, “Earth in the Balance” page 327, (1992, Earthscan pub.) quote:

    “For a dozen years, I have been the principal author and advocate of a proposal to build a national network of ‘information superhighways’ that would link supercomputers, work stations, and ‘digital libraries’ to create ‘co-laboratories’ and make it possible for people to work together despite being in different locations”.

    “Principal author and advocate” reads to me like “inventor”.

    Unfortunately I can find no references in the book to this activity.

    I did find that some work had commenced a decade before Gore’s 12 years before:

    “In late 1971, Larry Roberts at DARPA decided that people needed serious motivation to get things going. In October 1972 there was to be an International Conference on Computer Communications, so Larry asked Bob Kahn at BBN to organize a public demonstration of the ARPANET.

    “It took Bob about a year to get everybody far enough along to demonstrate a bunch of applications on the ARPANET. The idea was that we would install a packet switch and a Terminal Interface Processor or TIP in the basement of the Washington Hilton Hotel, and actually let the public come in and use the ARPANET, running applications all over the U.S ….”


    Al Gore has chance to make a place in history. He can stay in a rehab home for the rest of his life, setting an inspirational target for Britney Spears (et Al.)

  91. BrianMcL
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    The most amusing part of the news story was when Jeremy Paxman on BBCs Newsnight interviewed a Friends of the Earth spokesman and got him to admit that they knew the film “contained 6 or 7 errors” before it was put into schools.

    I’ve tried to find the FoE interview on the Newsnight website – it was straight after the court – report but so far I’ve drawn a blank.

    Funny that.

  92. Phil
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    There are four central scientific hypotheses which underlie the film: global average temperatures have been rising significantly over the past half century … All of these hypotheses are regarded as valid by the great majority of scientific opinion worldwide.

    Er, do correct me if I’m wrong but surely for most of the first half of the past half century (i.e. between about 1950 and 1973) the global average temperature was falling?

    I wonder, should we ascribe this “error” to incompetence or malice?

  93. Craig Loehle
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    Re: #88 question about water density and sea level rise. Part of the current sea level rise is due to warming water which expands. The ocean however would take about 800-1000 years to completely come to equilibrium with a warmer atmosphere. The catastrophic sea level rise projections are mostly from melting the ice caps, which also would take about 1000 years if ever (rough guess) because they are so far below the freezing point and are so thick. Thus 20 ft of sea level rise in the next century is simply not possible.

  94. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    RE: #93 – Back before I knew better I was a member of FoE. What they are most remembered for is carping incessantly about (NATO) nuclear weapons during the period of the late 70s and 80s. I cannot comment further or I’ll get snipped.

  95. Eric Anderson
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    Steve Moore:

    I’ve seen John V’s update on the calculation, but I had a couple of basic questions on the assumptions used:

    “Assume average solar radiation of 2 kwh/square-meter/day:”

    Is this an average for sunlight reaching the surface? There are significant clouds at that latitude, much more so than at the equator on average. Does your average solar radiation number refer to solar radiation assuming no clouds (meaning that the rays reach the surface rather unobstructed), or is it a global average assuming typical cloud cover? In either case, it seems the average for Greenland would be much less.

    Also, I presume your calculation assumed that there would be no new buildup (whether from snowfall, frost or otherwise) during the period of the melting?

  96. yorick
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    I think “created” is funnier than “invented”. Goes with his image as an enviromental demigod. I think the “invented” barb is worn out and “created” will work better in the future. I am sticking with it. He exagerates. He has always exagerated. That is the main point to be gotten accross.

  97. Saul on the road to Damascus
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink


    Mr. Loehle:
    Thank you.

  98. tom
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    # 37

    Very interesting. In 3 locations, sea level are rising and in 4 locations they are falling. All within a relatively small area.

    How can anybody, then , make accurate predictions or general statements about general ‘ sea level’ rise??

  99. Derek
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Tim Ball says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    “As with so much about climate the focus is on temperature and what we need is better understanding of precipitation patterns and that goes to my point about climate reconstructions of past climates. How did the Hadley Cell change with the equatorward location of the Circumpolar Vortex?”

    This is something I have been thinking about. Now, I may be way out here, so I’d appreciate other views, but….

    Given the position of Lake Chad, could it not be affected by the equator-ward movement of the ITCZ as well as the factors mentioned? The axial tilt is decreasing at present, so we might expect the ITCZ to move southwards. As the rainfall shifts southwards, one of the sources for the lake water might decrease…. ITCZ positional info here. I know that the rates of change will be slow (complete axial tilt cycle 40 000 years), but with the precession over the top (c. 22 000 years) and the correct topography…?

  100. Gunnar
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    >> The ocean however would take about 800-1000 years to completely come to equilibrium with a warmer atmosphere.

    Since atmospheric mass is .378% of the oceans, it’s the atmosphere that would be cooled by the ocean, and not the atmosphere warming the ocean.

  101. Steve Moore
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    RE 97:

    “Assume average solar radiation of 2 kwh/square-meter/day:”

    Is this an average for sunlight reaching the surface?

    I didn’t have an estimated energy value for Greenland. 2kwh/square-meter/day is near the average for Point Barrow, Alaska, which is similar latitude. I’ll admit it might be high.

    You’re right that the calculation (which JohnV kindly pointed out contained an error) assumes no additional buid-up.

  102. Mark T.
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Since atmospheric mass is .378% of the oceans,

    It’s that high even? Wow, I would have guessed an even lower number…


  103. Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink


    Since atmospheric mass is .378% of the oceans, it’s the atmosphere that would be cooled by the ocean, and not the atmosphere warming the ocean.

    I agree with Mark T — 0.378% sounds high.

    During warming (or cooling) the atmosphere will respond first because of its lower mass and relatively higher circulation (convective mixing). The atmospheric temperature is moderated by the ocean temperature. However, if the atmosphere is continously forced warmer or cooler then the atmosphere will cause the ocean to follow.

    For example, consider putting a bucket of water in a freezer. If the freezer was unplugged the equilibrium temperature would be close to the original water temperature. But if the freezer is working then it will cool the air which in turn cools the water. The equilibrium will be the closer to the original air temperature because of the forcing.

  104. Gunnar
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    >> It’s that high even? Wow, I would have guessed an even lower number…

    I’m smiling thinking of the ludicrous idea that the thin wispy atmospheric layer on this big blue marble could actually heat the oceans up. Even worse is the idea that changing a trace gas from .033% to .038% could cause this.

    The crust is only .374% of the earths’ mass.

    oceans = 1.4 x 10^21 kg..( only 6% of the mass of the crust )
    Atmos = 5.1 x 10^18 kg…( only .37% of the mass of the oceans )
    C02 = 2.4 x 10^15 kg…..( only .047% of the mass of the atmosphere )

    So if my math is right, C02 is only .000171 % of the mass of the oceans, and yet it has the magical power to store enough energy to heat the oceans.

  105. Stan Palmer
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    re 106 et al

    I thought that it was the ground that warmed the atmosphere.

  106. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    I made an error I meant to type BP not BC. Wikipedia defines the Holocene from 9600 BC (11550 BP). However, Natural Resources Canada says, ” The world’s largest ice sheet complex lost only

  107. Mark T.
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    So if my math is right, C02 is only .000171 % of the mass of the oceans, and yet it has the magical power to store enough energy to heat the oceans.

    Ummm… oof? 🙂

    Looks like you used an lt. or gt. symbol, Tim.


  108. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Sorry something went wrong
    I made an error I meant to type BP not BC. Wikipedia defines the Holocene as 9600 BC (11550 BP). However Natural Resources Canada says,
    “The world’s largest ice sheet complex lost only

  109. Tim Ball
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    I give up

  110. Gunnar
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    #105, yea, I know how heat transfer works. You should write out the differential equations and calculate how long it would take to reach steady state, with a very small delta T. Someone guessed 1000 years, but you claim that current warming is caused by C02. How do you reconcile this contradiction?

    >> cool the air which in turn cools the water.

    Considering the mass of the enclosure, refrigerant, and coils, the mass ratio is considerably more favorable. The delta T is also far greater, and they take considerable power.

    >> Ummm… oof?


  111. Stan Palmer
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    re 106 et al
    Sorry this gor away from me. The question I wanted to ask was:

    I thought that it was the ground that warmed the atmosphere. Is the ocean warmed by solar radiation in the same way and in turn, like eh ground’ warms the atmosphere?

  112. Bill
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    #84 I loved “Swindle”, too, and consider it a wonderful antidote to Him-that-shall-not-be-named. But I’d be hesitant to want to ram it down the gullets of secondary school students any more than inconvenient untruths, at least not as a requirement. It’s obvious that the two British central offices – what are they called – the DES and DEFRA? – have in mind that every British school child should watch the movie and fall into line behind the AGW banner, and the judge, a lover of “consensus”, strongly agrees.

    But the real caveat, the poison pill that neither courts nor central administration can pre-digest for the children, is its powerful somnolent effect. The warning label could well read, “Caution: Do not attempt to watch this movie while operating heavy machinery, or while attempting difficult feats like…reasoning…” the danger this movie poses has yet to be discovered that of putting every child in Britain soundly asleep. My 83-year-old mother had to be nudged awake at the conclusion (“Hm? Is it over?”), and my 13-year-old daughter complained, “Dad, that was really bo-r-r-ring!” When age and youth agree…

    In truth, I fear the U.S. is not far behind Britain. Union entities from city to state to the national level (NEA) all endorse Madame President, who promises a “science-friendly White House”, and who will “establish a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund to invest in technologies to promote conservation, combat global warming and reduce dependence on foreign oil,(and)ban political appointees from unduly interfering with scientific conclusions and publications.”

    Somewhere, even now, there is a school board hammering together a distribution scheme, along with a “guidance packet”, which may be accessed on PBS; willing superintendents will pass it down to area superintendents, who will hand it off to building principals, and one of these well-meaning individuals, with an environmantalist streak, will mandate it, and require some sort of “compliance” – why not? Absurdly, someone will be charged with insubordination for “non-compliance”. Somebody pinch me… ahh, it was all just a funny, strange dream.

  113. Larry
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    You guys keep this up, and all the threads will be shut down.

  114. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    #114 — David, no, because most of the radiant energy impinging the upper Earth atmosphere is shorter-wave radiation — visible and ultraviolet, mainly. However, most of the radiation leaving the surface of Earth is long wavelength — infrared. Infrared is what CO2 absorbs and re-radiates most efficiently (as does water vapor). CO2 is transparent to visible light, and, apart from IR, absorbs only in the far-ultraviolet. But oxygen and ozone scatter most of that in the stratosphere.

  115. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    I agree with Gunnar on this one. What percent is this material of the mass of the Earth?

    And I agree with Steve McIntyre, it’s pointless to talk about it, unless you can provide a mainstream explanation of how it can do what it supposedly can do. It’s not interesting. Go spend a few weeks over at RC debating it. 🙂

  116. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    When I shut down Unthreaded, it wasn’t an invitation for the protagonists to spill the same discussion over to threads, but an invitation for them to give the topic a rest until they were in a position to write a thread on mainstream texts or until I had the time to review the literature. From an editorial point of view, my sense is that the majority of readers want the protagonists to chill for a while.

  117. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

    Steve, noted your #118 – will be brief.

    Since Inconvenient truth was global, readers might be interested in the hot years in Melbourne Australia. Here is the last part of a set in prep. The sample site was consumed by maximum UHI years ago.

    YEAR Tmax Tmin
    1990 20.39 11.66 #8 in USA mean
    1991 20.12 11.07
    1992 19.50 11.05
    1993 20.40 11.35
    1994 20.17 10.86
    1995 19.38 10.80
    1996 19.55 10.76
    1997 20.70 11.53
    1998 20.58 11.23 #2 in USA mean
    1999 20.94 11.96 #6 in USA mean
    2000 20.99 11.99
    2001 20.55 11.96
    2002 20.91 11.53
    2003 20.73 11.55
    2004 20.36 11.53
    2005 21.40 11.85
    2006 20.80 11.22 $4 in USA mean

    HIGH MAX 21.40 in 2005
    LOW MIN 10.76 in 1996

    I am still working out if any adjustments were made.

  118. Stephen Richards
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

    Steve Mc

    Have you done something to worry the UK Met office? The hadcru figures are very late this month.:)

  119. Paul G M
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

    I am curious about this whole thread since it does not seem to pass the usual SM tests. Anyway, here goes.

    Whilst this decision was a minor victory it is as nothing against the tide of propaganda that now engulfs schools in the UK. Gore talks about raising awareness. This is fatuous, just like the man himself. I have recently visited four schools as we were looking at them for my ten year old daughter when she reaches 11. These were private schools where in theory science is still taught but even they are fully subscribed to the myths of global warming. All school text books (used in both the private and state sectors) state that GW is manmade, often they cite the same rubbish as Gore about Polar bears, SLR etc. One school had a poster that failed to mention to important role of water vapour and clouds. There was no mention of any doubts about models nor any of the other “science”. The only beacon of hope was the head of physics at Bishop’s Stortford College. Apart from running a very successful department that has achieved 25% of six formers taking physics A level (at age 17/18 in the UK) compared to a national average of 3%, he maintains a very rigorous and true science based approach, unlike the the school itself.

    The education of science in the UK has been corrupted to make it more “accessible” and “relevant” to the modern world. These are barely disguised code words for green propaganda and for exams that can’t be failed.

    Enough. Steve your rigour is to be commended but I wonder if it is too late. One glimmer of hope is the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico and SE US. Although it has been described as a “normal” season, no storms have hit the mainland US and insurers will make a packet. This is contrary to the forecasts of doom at the beginning of the year, especially from modellers like RMS. Of course, we will see no reporting of this in the mainstream media!



  120. Bernie
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 6:21 AM | Permalink

    The next few years are going to be very dismal in terms of the dominance of normative science: Our schools will teach the equivalent of “Soviet Science”. Whether AGW proves right or wrong, the real casualty is a generation who are averse to real tests of their theories.

    Small world. My wife taught German at Bishop’s Stortford School in the early 70s: An American teaching German to English kids! It was a very good school then also. Our experience with some of the “best” schools here is very similar and equally troubling. Good luck.

  121. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    #122. Y’know, I don’t think that people should worry so much [about supposed problems with the young.]. Things do have a way of self-correcting. The people that were most interested in Hockey Stick-critical articles at AGU were younger people; it was the mid-life profs that were furious and closed-minded. There’s vastly more interest in these issues now than there was before. And just because some of the protagonists may have over-sold their evidence doesn’t mean that there’s not a problem. My challenge to see a good exposition is a serious one and not a rhetorical one.

  122. Larry
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    123, What happens in the scientific realm, I don’t think, is the biggest concern. This has taken on a life of its own outside of the scientific realm (and the K-12 teachers teaching this are a couple of steps removed from the college level scientists actually debating it), and they quite likely will keep on doing what they’ve been trained to do for a decade or two regardless of where the controversy goes in the scientific realm. I see a very real possibility that the scientific community (including the IPCC) retreats, and yet the teaching in the K-12 systems continues to become more strident.

  123. EP
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    This material shouldn’t be used in a science lesson; how can anyone justify sending out material that is known to have errors? Would it be acceptable to distribute maths texts for children with false multiplication tables? With the dismissive excuse that “Oh, some of the sums are right so it doesn’t matter”? Any material known to contain false material should either be corrected or removed from the syllabus. Since the source material is not amendable through new editions then the government should seek alternative material.

    The guidelines on “balance” are a joke.

  124. brent
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    #121 , #122

    Paul, Bernie,

    Rather than change course, I would expect the propaganda to intensify

    Defra new chief Boffin (former IPCC head)
    Defra appoints new top boffin

    New Defra Boffin Priorities

    Prof Robert Watson is taking up his post as the new chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He tells Natasha Gilbert what he wants to achieve

    Just retired Chief Boffin’s pilgrimage to the “New Jerusalem”(Antarctica)

    Scientist on ice – Howard Dalton’s blog from the Antarctic

    However, despite the supposed hallowed and sacred nature of the “New Jerusalem”, cannot help noting the following

    Scramble for Antarctica: Argentina hits back after Britain makes land grab

    All the best

  125. Bernie
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps you are right. However, my concern is that the “feedstock” for the hard sciences and engineering is being eroded and diluted. Having studied the output of engineers and hard scientists in the US, this is neither a small nor unrelated problem.

  126. Larry
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    128, a technical definition of that phrase has a purely religious meaning, but I think you’re right, it has to be broadened to include ideology. I’d like to elaborate, but we’re in snipping territory. Suffice to say I think you’re on to something there.

  127. Larry
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    OTOH, I’m noticing a tone of desperation over at RC. They’re definitely squirming. Steve may be right.

  128. windansea
    Posted Oct 20, 2007 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    Y’know, I don’t think that people should worry so much. Things do have a way of self-correcting.

    The God I know is a trickster. Infinite delight in making fools of mankind.

  129. Paul G M
    Posted Oct 21, 2007 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    [snip – this is just venting]

  130. Posted Oct 21, 2007 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    [snip – this is just a response to venting]

  131. Paul G M
    Posted Oct 21, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


    Strange. One moment it was there and then it was gone. Was it venting?

    Eh bien


  132. Nate
    Posted Oct 21, 2007 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    Is there any chance that when they show kids this “spooky” graph with two time series that seem to correlate fairly well, they give the kids a brief lesson in econometrics so they can understand that correlations does not prove causation?
    Or is the goal to keep the subjects stupid and ignorant, because it makes them more apt to obey everything the master says?

  133. Andrey Levin
    Posted Oct 22, 2007 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

    “35 Inconvenient truths” by Viscount Monckton:

    Click to access monckton-response-to-gore-errors.pdf

    Worth reading.

    Also, interesting twist. “Gore’s spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider”, in her publication in Washington Post, alleged that:

    “Stewart Dimmock, who brought this case, appears to have been funded by the very same fossil fuel interests who have sought to undermine the scientific consensus behind global warming in the past. The Observer has reported that he was funded by mining interests as well as the Scientific Alliance, an industry-backed non-profit with links to other groups in the U.S. like the U.S. based George C. Marshall Institute which has received funding from Exxon. This was also reported in the U.S. Our experience is that when the vested interests do not like the message, they tend to use diversionary tactics to create uncertainty or to fund individuals and groups to shoot the messenger. In this instance, it appears they are trying to do both. According to these reports, Mr. Dimmock will still not fully reveal who funded the case.”

    Which raises the question: does Mr. Gore imply that British judge, who made actual decision on the case, is also on payroll of Exxon-Mobil, or he is just plain dumb?

  134. MarkW
    Posted Oct 22, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    That’s not venting.

    This is venting.


  135. charles messina
    Posted Oct 22, 2007 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    On a recent tour of Alaska I made observations concerning glacial retreat that
    seem at odds with man made global warming theory. As someone relatively new to
    study of the topic my observations are posted here in the hope they will receive
    critique from those with subject matter understanding far deeper than mine.

    I am requesting comment on this proposition….the retreat of the Grand Pacific
    Glacier–located to the north of Glacier Bay–represents glacial retreat
    opposite of what anthropogenic warming requires for the theory to be valid and
    thus for this glacier and this glacier only the theory is contradicted by direct
    physical evidence.

    Here are the baseline facts upon which the proposition is based:

    > The Grand Pacific Glacier [hereafter the GP] is thought to have commenced
    retreating 300 years ago. At that time the length is thought to have been at
    least 100 miles, extending into the Pacific Ocean.

    > At its peak the GP was 4000 feet in hight proven by flat mountains below that
    elevation and striations on mountains exceeding that hight.

    > Glacier Bay [hereafter GB]–a fjord created by the GP–measures 67 miles at

    These are the observations central to the proposition:

    > GB was discover in 1794 by Capt. Vancouver who measured its length at 5 miles
    thus establishing that on that date 62 miles of GB was still ice covered by the
    GP to an elevation of under 4000 feet.. [and not likely affected by ocean

    > In 1879 while studying the area’s geology John Muir measured and recorded the
    length of GB at 40 miles, thus establishing additional retreat by the GPof 35
    miles over a period of 95 years, representing annual average recession
    of approximately 1/3 mile per year.

    > Given the present length of GB, 67 miles, further retreat of 27 miles has
    occurred in the past 128 years since Muir measured the length at 40 miles,
    representing average annual recession of approximately 1/5 mile per year.

    > Taken as a whole blended research on the present rate of glacial retreat in
    North America are in a range of 10 -120 feet per year.


    The retreat of the GP is decelerating [and doing so at significantly lower
    volumes of ice measured by depth of ice] in contradiction of both anthropogenic
    theory and predicted rate of glacial retreat.Thus, anthropogenic warming theory
    does not explain behavior of the GP and calls into question the theory itself.

    Where is my analysis wrong/ Kindly advise.

    Charlie Messina


  136. Posted Oct 22, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Re: 139 – Glacier Bay:
    You are right – the glacier has been receding since the LIA. See the glacier section in the Alaska regional summary

  137. EP
    Posted Oct 22, 2007 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Dimmock was a member of the New Party, a centre-right group, long before Gore brought out his film. He’s also a school governor, so although he may not be divulging where the funds are coming from exactly, it’s more likely that he found the problem, contacted his party and contacts therein helped him. There’s little proof that this was a case of some oil company seeking a stooge to take the government to court.

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