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« Fade to grey | Main | Unpresidential address »

Out of tune & out of time - Josh 249


Ed Davey's performance yesterday at the Energy and Climate Change Committee, posted here, was a mix of horror and farce. DECC seem to live in a make believe world where increases in costs cost less and policies which increase carbon emissions will somehow magically decrease them, one day, somehow, somewhere.

What a pantomime. 

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (46)

Bish - as I looked at that cartoon I noticed that there is advert for "Alice in Wonderland" underneath it.

Must have been planed - yes?

Dec 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Good one! But where it shows 'Carbon emissions increase', it should perhaps have also mentioned the 17 year hiatus/normalcy.

Dec 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Happy Christmas Josh!....Thanks for illustrating this farce for us all year yet again. And the usual suspects are still mostly still in place. 2012 was the retreat for Napolehuhne and political exile in 2013, a year of fierce battles and signs of alarmist defeat. Hopefully their Waterloo will come in 2015. You have a busy year ahead still in 2014.

......Keep those pencils sharp.

Dec 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagleblog

Oh that's brilliant!

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

On the first day of crimbo Ed Davey gave to me: carnage in the party

On the second day of crimbo Ed Davey gave to me: two carbon credits and carnage in the party

On the third day of crimbo.........

all together now

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

No other word will do - brilliant - clever and funny.
15 mins ago, radio 5 Live had a greenpeace chap on claiming renewables are able to supply 100% electricity once all European grids are connected and integrated because the wind is always blowing somewhere and the sun is always shining somewhere in Europe !?!
No challenge from interviewer of course.

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

Thank you Josh - another superb cartoon

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave


There is a minor problem with the "hiatus". The land/ocean surface temperature record shows a slower rate of temperature rise since 2002. The other dozen primary climate parameters show that the Earth continues to accumulate energy at the same long-term rate as before.

Try not to get too focusd on the one aspect of the data which can be interpreted as propping up your belief, while ignoring all the rest, which contradicts your belief.

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Now children, did anybody see my career?


Dec 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat


Funny how we never heard of these other twelve parameters when the sea/surface temperature was rising. But now its stopped, they are suddenly important.

And you can estimate 'accumulating energy' as much as you like.. But if you can't show any actual temperature increase of something somewhere you ain't shown no global warming.

Can you show any? Where?

Dec 4, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder


Just grow up - you know those 'dozen primary climate parameters' have such wide error bars and such minuscule time series that reading anything meaningful into them is no more scientific than divination with sheep entrails. It's drivel, borne of utter panic amongst the lying vermin whose predictions have failed so catastrophically.

Surely you've been around long enough to realise that claiming to measure the temperature of the world's oceans to within hundredths of degrees is grade one drivel? If not, defend the whole 'dozen' and describe how their measurements are robust, reliable and not a complete tissue of lies - go right ahead.


Thought not.

Dec 4, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Stroppy man: "Try not to get too focusd (sic) on the one aspect of the data which can be interpreted as propping up your belief, while ignoring all the rest, which contradicts your belief."

Bwahahah! You are obviously talking to yourself. It's a sign....

Dec 4, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

It's a terrific cartoon. One thing struck me though. Both the committee but especially Davey's DECC officials looked miserable as sin. And they had a bad time trying to conceal the high DECC staff attrition rate. It suggests that everyone is starting to realise what a monumental train crash their gravy train is heading for, and wishing they never personally got sucked in.

In fact, the only one looking as happy as the pig in Josh 245 was Chairman Yeo.

Dec 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Brilliant again. Thank you Josh for the seasonal entertainment

Dec 4, 2013 at 8:46 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Well, EM (Dec 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM), as all energy ends up as heat, please tell us what forms this energy is taking if not heat? If it is heat, then why is it not registering as heat – i.e. measurable on a temperature scale?

And don’t hide behind the “deep ocean” heat – even if it was reliably measurable, the temperature differences quoted are in the single-digit hundredths of degrees C; as there are NO long-term records of this mythical heat, and no field thermometer I have ever encountered has been considered more accurate than +/- 0.2°C (20/100°C), you would be delving into the realms of fantasy. Or is this data too much in contradiction of your belief?

Dec 4, 2013 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Remember Hansen's "heat in the pipeline"? EM's mythical list is just an attempt to try and rationalise HitP and is borne of circular logic, as much of CAGW is viz.

CO2 causes warming and CO2 is rising => heat energy must be increasing (somewhere, even if it can't be detected).

Dec 4, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Ah, I like your logic, woodentop. It explains it all – we say it is happening, therefore it must be happening, it is just happening where no-one can see it.


Dec 4, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Where's the energy?

Latent heat of fusion as icesheets and glaciers melt, also the 70% reduction in Arctic sea ice volume over the last 30 years; increasing ocean heat content as the deep ocean warms; thawing permafrost; La Nina Pacific warming; increased albedo. Between them they account for the excess 10^23 joules/year that's coming into the system, even ignoring the ongoing, but slower atmospheric and sea surface warming.

The atmosphere, even at 20th century warming rates only accounts for ~5% of the total energy absorbed into the system.

You are way behind the curve. Land and sea surface temperatures were all that could be measured for much of the 20th century. Lots more instrumentation available now, and many more parameters being monitored. Try a literature search for each of the parameters I've mentioned and you will find considerable information on each of them, complete with confidence limits.

Dec 5, 2013 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Go on EM, tell us what that scary model-number is in hydrogen-bombs per second. You know you want to.

Dec 5, 2013 at 2:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The CO2 CAGW theory is clear and elementary, the resultant increase in the land and sea surface temperatures of the planet will be detrimental to the health and well being of homo sapiens.

The theory makes no other predictions or claims. It quite simply proclaims that increases in the % of CO2 in the atmosphere will invoke a "feedback" that would ensure an ever increasing rise in land and sea surface temperatures

Quite obviously the proclamation has not come to pass.


Dec 5, 2013 at 3:36 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

also the 70% reduction in Arctic sea ice volume EM

You forgot the record HIGH Antarctic sea ice volume

Well you did remember but it was going the wrong way for your Cherry Picker.

Dec 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air


Dec 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

EM (Dec 5, 2013 at 1:46 AM): you are aware that the Arctic had more open water in the 1930s than today? And that was about 10 years after a meteorologist of the time had warned of glaciation to the equator. Perhaps the degree of Arctic ice that we have come to accept as “normal” was actually an anomaly? And, about 30 years ago, the scare then was of an oncoming ice-age. Never happy, some people.

What evidence of deep ocean temperatures? I did ask you not to hide behind that, and gave reasons. If you can give us verifiable evidence of widespread and reasonably accurate (within 0.5°C) measurements of the deep ocean temperatures from more than about 10 years ago, and subsequent measurements showing an increase in excess of the allowable error, it would help your case.

Even the jet-stream is a relatively recent discovery, and I suspect that we do not have sufficient data yet to be able to make anything other than wild guesses as to its nature and behaviour. You are, I suspect, a person who would state quite categorically that all the swans in the world are white, as all the swans that you had seen were white.

Finally, as the whole scam of CAGW is premised upon increasing levels of CO2 caused by human activity being the SINGLE DRIVING FACTOR for global warming and the subsequent climate change, why are these other factors suddenly so important now, when they were of little consideration before? What law of thermodynamics caused the energy to drastically change its direction of heat input?

Dec 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Not kind, Don Keiller. While Entropic Man can be quite intransigent at times, he can make some positive contributions to the debate.

Dec 5, 2013 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent


Agreed. I often learn something useful from the replies!

Dec 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Excellent. From what you say it should be pretty easy for you present a heat budget that shows all these numbers and demonstrate how they account for the 10^23 joules you claim is being absorbed.

Needn't be over complex..a simple spreadsheet of ins and outs by type over, say, the last 30 years will be fine.

In fact, now I think of it, a first approximation to this should be well within the scope of an 'extended essay' project for any undergraduate in 'climate studies' or similar. Why is the web not jam full of such?

Anyway - look forward to seeing your effort.

Just a couple of questions tho'.

1. As the total ice is increasing not decreasing, the latent heat term is positive (heat is being emitted not absorbed).

So where is it going?


2. What do you mean by 'increased albedo'? Albedo is a measure of how much incident radiation is reflected. Your heat budget surely deals with what happens later on?

Dec 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Normally, the clinically insane who insist on harming their fellow human beings are placed in secure mental hospitals under guard.

Now they are recruited by DECC to run energy policy.

Dec 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Brilliant cartoon. Josh has given us some marvellous drawings, but I think this could be his best yet.

I don't comment often, so, although it's very early December, I'd like to wish a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to Josh, the Bishop and all other readers here (including the ones who disagree with me).

Dec 5, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

Latimer Alder
"the total ice is increasing" -- I'd take issue with this. Although the total sea ice area (extent?) has increased of late, in this context it would be the total volume of ice, both land and sea, which would be relevant. The last numbers of which I'm aware show a considerable rate of loss of land ice, mainly in Greenland, but some in Antarctica as well. [Going by memory, which is definitely unreliable.] Last I remember, I believe the volume of Arctic sea ice was still believed to be decreasing year-on-year, but that may be out of date. And I don't recall ever seeing an assessment of Antarctic sea ice volume.

As for albedo, surely Entropic Man intended to write that Arctic albedo has *decreased* as a result of reduced sea ice area. Hudson published an assessment of the change in the energy budget to sea-ice-related albedo change. In the paper, he converts the annual change in energy to a global forcing value (that is, expresses it in W m-2), but it is easily converted back into Joules per year. I'm not aware of an analogous study of Antarctic sea-ice, though.

Dec 5, 2013 at 9:59 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Radical Rodent

I dont know where the information about low ice extents in the 1930s comes from.

Consider the sample chart for August 1932 at this link.

Compare it with the equivalent for August 2013.

The earlier chart shows ice almost filling the Pacific side of the Arctic and extending out to Svalbard and Novaya Zemla(Have I spelled that right?) on the Atlantic side.

The modern ice edges are well away from the coast in all three areas, and still shrinking

Dec 6, 2013 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Paul Homewood calls him Mr Davey Dopey. Perfect!

Dec 6, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer Adler

I'm far too busy to write spreadsheets at the moment. Fortunately the matter is discusssed in an article in this week's New Scientist.

I can give you some basic annual rates of energy uptake for the main absorbers, unfortunately without confidence limits.

Upper ocean(above 700m) 4.3*10^21 joules

Deep ocean (below 700m) 2.2*10^21 joules

Ice 0.1*10^21 joules

Land 0.1*10^21 joules

Atmosphere 0.025*10^21 joules

Total 6.7*10^21 joules

PS. I spotted a decimal error in my total imbalance calculation. As you will have noticed, it should have been 10^22, not 10^23.

Dec 7, 2013 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


Albedo is complex.

More open water decreases albedo, as does increasing black carbon and increasing high cloud.

More ice, sulphur pollution and low cloud increase albedo.

Best estimate at present is that overall albedo is increasing, mainly due to pollution effects.

Dec 7, 2013 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic Man:

Our generation is living in a period when remarkable changes are taking place. Certainly these widely distributed phenomena cannot be due to the action of the Gulf Stream, which however naturally, receives its share of the greater general warmth.
Written by Professor L. Berg of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in the 1930s. During those years Soviet ice-breakers were in Arctic waters never reached by other vessels. The Soviet ship Sadko sailed in ice free waters to within 500 miles of the North Pole in 1935.

The evidence of a warmer Arctic in the 1930s is abundant. Changes in the climate at Spitsbergen, Norway in the waters far to the north are a good indicator of the magnitude of the warming in the Arctic.

“The effect (warming) was indeed remarkable. The salty Atlantic water penetrated farther into the Arctic to such a degree that, for example, the average length of the coal shipping season at Spitsbergen almost doubled in length, from 95 days from 1909-1912 to 175 days from 1930 to 1938”...Manley (1941).
Another author wrote this: “The warming got a phenomenal increase in the 1930s of 9 degrees (Celsius). The culmination of this development is not yet foreseen. The winter of 1936/37 (at Spitsbergen) was warmer than all previous records, and the winter of 1937/38 broke this (those) records as well and was, in average 16 (Celsius!) degrees warmer than the winter of 1916/17. There can be no doubt that the temperature increase in the Arctic represents the largest climatic change since regular meteorological records are recorded”...Scherhag, February 1939. Now doesn’t that sound familiar!

All this was found on the internet, though I did not have the wit at the time to make a note of the sites. Then there is the famous photo of USS Skate surfacing at the North Pole in 1959(? - it might even have been in the winter!), so an ice-free Arctic is not really that unusual.

The real irony is that very, very few on here think that the world has not warmed; most are actually pleased it has (who wants the Thames frozen every year?). You seem to be one of the few who remains convince that this warming is the direct result of human activity, and humans can do something to affect it.

Dec 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent

Amundsen landed two seaplanes on a polynya 70 miles from the North Pole in 1924, but it says very little about the status of the entire Arctic at the time. Polynyas allowed access to the surface of the ocean in the high Arctic right through the century, witness the Skate photo and others. Unfortunately a polynya is a local phenomenon, with an area of a few square yards to a few square miles. It is not an indication that large areas were "ice-free", in the modern sense.

That's also the problem with your examples. It is difficult to extrapolate from local reports on Spitzbergen to the state of the Arctic as a whole. Neither of us knows the actual status of the Arctic in the 1930s to the standards of 21st century measurement. The Danish maps I referred you to are probably the best overall record for the Arctic pre-WW2 and they show ice extents well above modern levels right through the first half of the century. The US kept a close eye from the end of WW2 and their declassified records also show high extents, by recent standards, up to the late 1970s.

"The real irony is that very, very few on here think that the world has not warmed; most are actually pleased it has (who wants the Thames frozen every year?). You seem to be one of the few who remains convince that this warming is the direct result of human activity, and humans can do something to affect it."

If it were only the warming, I'd be happy too. Unfortunately I expect a lot more collateral damage than you do.

Opinion polling is not a measure of scientific correctness. The test is in the correctness of the evidence, not the number of people who believe or disbelieve. Among the scientists, those in the best position to judge the evidence, there is endless argument over the details, which is how scientists work. The AGW paradigm overall has become generally accepted because it matches reality better than any of the alternatives.

We were discussing the uncertainty of ocean heat content earlier. Try a quick calculation to cross-validate. Start with the thermal expansion component of the sea level rise, about 2.2mm/year. Back-calculate to the temperature rise/ ocean heat content change ncessary to produce that change. I did it a while back and found a good match with the rate-of-change figures derived from ARGO. I'll give you my figures later, if you like, but I feel you'd accept them better if you calculated them yourself. It took me 10 minutes to get ocean volumes, areas and coefficient of expansion together, then 10 minutes to do the arithmetic.

Dec 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM: thank you for your reasoned reply. Now it is my turn to be intransigent: I am sure that, to a seaman, “ice-free waters” means waters free of any ice; it does not mean a lead or a polynya, so I suspect that the Russian survey ship report was when it was in waters “ice-free” in the modern sense. As the term “polynya” is from Russian, it is probable that the Russians would have been able to identify a polynya from ice-free waters so, it would have been a term used had they been in a stretch of water surrounded by ice.

As the Arctic records as we now know them only began in the late 1970s, when polar-orbiting satellites were launched, the full extent of any ice prior to that will only speculation based upon isolated reports, reports from ships like the Sadko. As these ships could have travelled a few hundred miles in a day (though may have only been a few score – there is no indication of her general speed), the extent of these “localised” reports could be quite, erm, extensive.

What collateral damage worries you? The seas might be rising, but are rising at no greater rate than they were before the “A” part of AGW supposedly kicked in (BTW, I would challenge you to make an accurate measurement of 2.2mm rise in your bath, let alone the sea; 2.2mm is not a very large amount, so will moot that this figure is a calculation or, worse, estimation based on unknown (to me, at least) parameters). Remember the stories earlier this century? Farewell, Tuvalu, and similar tales of woe for island nations? Well, Tuvalu, the Maldives, Vanuatu are still extant; still thriving; still growing economies and populations; no-one seems too worried about the 2.2mm per year (less than 1 inch per decade) encroachment on their land. As for the thermal expansion of the sea: I do not have the VCF for water, only oil, and, depending on which ASTMI table used (6A, 6B, 54A, 54B, 24A) or the GOST tables, oils near the density of water have a VCF of between 0.06% and 0.09% per degree centigrade; it would be a fair assumption that water would not be too dissimilar in its expansion ratio… But then we come to the strange paradox of the heat suddenly ceasing to rise in the atmosphere, and suddenly rising in the oceans. Surely, the two are connected? A rise in atmosphere temperatures will cause a rise in sea temperatures, and vice versa? Unless you know of a new thermodynamic law which says that heat may enter whichever material that is in the environment that it wants to, without affecting any other material – thus it can go into the deep oceans, without affecting the temperatures of the surface layers or the atmosphere above. Damned clever, this heat.

As for “climate change”, well, see my post on the Green jobs: £1 million each thread on this site. As we do not have any “climatometers©™”, only thermometers, the only means of measuring “climate change” is by measuring – hey! – temperatures!

The reason why I quoted the apparent opinions of the majority on this site is that most do appear to be more scientifically-literate and knowledgeable than myself, and have presented many sources of evidence to support their opinions. While you do present evidence, it seems to my (admittedly not-science-trained) mind that it is more speculative, and from what is fast becoming a very unreliable source – the New Scientist.

Dec 8, 2013 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent

Are sure that "ice-free" translated from Russian means what we would consider ice free in this context?

My usual source for sea level information is here.

On a measured 3.2mm/year rising trend based on satellite data cross checked to tide guages, their own quoted confidence limits are +/-0.4mm. I presume they know their business.

Dont be misled by the average figure. The Philippines are seeing three times that. A few tide guages are seeing no rise at all. If the Greenland ice sheet melts completely its coastline will see a 100m drop in sea level as the reduced gravitational attraction of the ice sheet allows the water around the island to redistribute elsewhere and raise their sea lvels. There's a lot of complexity around this issue, which you need to read up on.

Similarly, stop thinking only about temperatures and start thinking of them as a way to study energy flows. My own mental model of the climate looks more like Trenberth's energy budget chart, than like a tempreature graph. Read up on how La Nina conditions encourage mixing of heat into deep water in the Pacific and on how salintity changes draw relatively warm water to the deep sea bed in the Greenland Sea at the start of the thermohaline circulation.

For your calculation

Total volume of oceans 1.3*10^9 cubic kilometres
Total surface area of oceans 3.61*10^8 square kilometres.
Coefficient of expansion of seawater varies with pressure. A good compromise value would be 1.25*10^-8 K^-1
Specific heat capacity of seawater 3.98*10^3 J kg^-1 K^-1

A useful shortcut; Adding 360 cubic kilometres to the ocean volume increases average sea level by 1mm

Dec 9, 2013 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Are sure that "ice-free" translated from Russian means what we would consider ice free in this context? [sic]
No. Are you sure it doesn’t? I do know that seamen tend to report what they see; if there was ice around, there would probably have been a reference to it. I am not inferring that there is anything other than what was reported, without evidence to support any reason for inference; to do so is not very scientific.

Once more, I ask you to consider the measuring of oceans in millimetres; if you feel it acceptable, within an error range of 0.4mm, then I suspect you are even more gullible than I. I have been involved in measuring liquid levels in tanks, and the final figure agreed between those measuring is an educated guess to within 1cm; only on the quietest of days will we hazard it to 0.5cm (5mm).

Another figure mentioned that makes me suspect your figures is the 100m drop in sea levels around Greenland. 100 METRES?! Over 300 feet?! ONE metre, I could accept, though with reservations; 100 metres is stretching credibility remarkably thinly.

Also, do not forget movement of the actual Earth; it is known that the various plates that comprise the Earth’s crust are in motion, albeit very slowly, and some are rising while others are sinking; this is why there are some Greek islands with ancient ports submerged on one side of the island, and inland on the other side – i.e. neither are because of rising or falling sea levels.

Dec 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Addendum: The only energy flow we are talking about here is heat, as all energy ends up as heat energy; the only way that we measure heat is in terms of temperature, so to continue referring to this as temperatures is realistic. You can clothe it in more arcane language, and hope that others may be impressed by your technical knowledge, but it is still heat, still measured in degrees (K or C, take your pick; they are identical – a change of 1°C is a change of 1K). Now, can you explain why the atmospheric temperatures have ceased to rise (in contradiction to the models), to be replaced by the claim that this heat is now going into the (basically, unmeasurable) deep oceans, helpfully by-passing the (measurable, within parameters) upper layers?

Dec 9, 2013 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent

When measuring tank levels, try bouncing microwaves or laser light off the surface and measuring travel time to a sensor as the satellites do. You'll do much better then the low resolution mechanical or electrical sensors you probably used.
You may also have neglected changes in the tilt of the liquid surface in the tank due to tidal effects and volume changes due to temperature variations..I would imagine that a large tank behaves like a miniature ocean. Measure your tanks with the attention to detail used by the CSU and you would get more accurate results.

You would be surprised how powerful gravity can be. A 3000 mile diameter lump of rock 250,000 miles away can raise and lower sea level up to 10 metres twice a day. A mile thick ice sheet can also have considerable effect. If you compare sea level on the Greenland coast, you will find it is, on average 100m further from the centre of the Earth than a corresponding spot in mid-ocean. It is not noticed because it is regarded as normal, and only becomes apparant when you have the technology to take such measurements. The other changes you mention affect tide guages, but not satellite measurements, which is why the latter are now the preferred measure of sea level.

Temperature is a measure the average kinetic energy of the atoms or molecules in a material. In solids this shows as vibration. In fluids it shows as the average velocity.

When doing calorimetry or studying energy flow you measure the temperature as an initial step in measuring the energy content or the energy flow. The unit of measurement of energy content is the joule, not the temperature.

Thus, when studying the behaviour of an ice sheet you calculate the energy flow using latent heat of fusion as your guide. Temperature tells you nothing as ice at 0C becomes liquid water at 0C or vica versa There is , however, considerable uptake or release of energy, which can be calculated best after following ice volume rather than extent or area.Unfortunately this is a bit subtle for journalists, propogandists and their targets.

Recent thinking among scientists regarding climate is becoming much less interested in the temperatures per se and much more interested in how the energy is moving around. Consider a typical path for a unit of energy.

It enters our atmosphere as quanta of visible light. It is absorbed by Arctic ice, becoming latent heat of fusion and then kinetic energy in water molecules. During exaporation from the surface it becomes latent heat of vapourisation and then kinetic energy of water vapour molecules or air molecules, even as winds, hurricanes or tornadoes, reversing the process when rain forms. Finally it is radiated from the surface as longwave radiation and after being absorbed and reradiated a couple of times by CO2 molecules, leaves the atmosphere. Very little of that can be considered just from temperatures.

I'm not interested in parading my technical knowledge. I'm a retired science teacher, in most areas an amateur like yourself. What I do have is decades of reading science. What I want is for people like yourself to learn enough to enable you to distinguish the science from the propoganda pouring out from both extremes. It is no accident that totalitarian governments are keen to limit access to knowledge. The climate sceptic equivalent is to discourage reading of science in the original by filtering it through propoganda sites such as WUWT, giving you the "debunked" version rather than the original. The greens try the same trick, by exaggerating the message.

Did you Google ENSO and entry of water into the thermohaline circulation? You'll find a partial answer to your ocean heat uptake question in that literature. In fact, answers to most of the rhetorical questions sceptics fire at me are to be found in the literature, if the askers would only look for themselves, rather than trying to score debating points.

From what you write, I suspect you have some engineering knowledge, and some physics, but not a lot of science beyond that. Never too late to learn. Particularly, try to get an idea of how complex climate is, rather than just regurgitating simplistic tropes from the propoganda sites.

Dec 10, 2013 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic Man: using microwaves or lasers for tank level measurements! Wow! Why hadn’t I thought of that?

/sarc off

After monitoring the levels by radar (or, occasionally, pressure differences; other methods include floats on a measuring tape, or Reid switches) as the tank is filled or emptied, the final levels HAVE to be measured by manual means, as that is the only accepted way to verify the quantity of the tank contents. The radar readings might show an accuracy of 3, or even 4, decimal places; however, the number of decimal places is not an true indication of accuracy. Having found the level, complex calculations then establish the quantities.

I am sceptical of every source of information, and will not be happy until I have cross-referenced with other, independent sources, or (perhaps you might find this odd) my own observations. My general view is that all information could just be propaganda. Thus, the general conclusions that I have reached are (very simplified): that there is global warming; that there is increasing CO2 levels; that the two are not connected; that neither are yet detrimental to life on this planet, nor will be, according to present data; that, while humans (and/or human activities) have had an effect on both those factors, neither are caused by humans, nor can any activity by humans affect the overall situation. King Canute gave us a salutary lesson, and one that many are now ignoring.

However, these views are not written in stone. I maintain an open mind, and most of my challenges are attempts to clarify what has been said or suggested; should verifiable information come to light that is utterly contrary to my present opinion, I am not afraid to admit it and amend. Regrettably, your argument does not meet those criteria – you seem unaware that the Sun has a greater influence on the tides than the Moon; that the tidal ranges you quote are limited to the Atlantic, as it is in a harmonic constant with the diurnal variations – the tides of the Pacific are negligible; those of the Indian Ocean are merely noticeable.

What does frighten me is how politicians of every shade have swallowed the warmista story without question, and are so eager to filch as much money as they can from the tax-payer to fund an industry that many of them have their own stakes in. Okay, wind is “free”, but so is coal, oil and gas; it is making it work for us that costs. Consider the expense of coal, oil and gas exploration and extraction, and wonder how they are sources of energy that remain so much cheaper than wind; it can only be that the use of wind is so inefficient that its use to maintain our present standards has to be questionable.

Dec 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent

Your problems with measuring tank contents reminds me of a persistent problem with light microscopes. In theory increased magnification should give increased detail (resolution). In practice, when the object is smaller than the wavelength of the light you reach a limit beyond which finer detail is blurred and further magnification just makes the blur bigger. You meet a similar limit when the uncertaintis inherent in the system are larger than the resolution of your measuring technique.

"I am sceptical of every source of information, and will not be happy until I have cross-referenced with other, independent sources, or (perhaps you might find this odd) my own observations. My general view is that all information could just be propaganda."

I dont find it odd at all. When teaching , my advice to pupils was to check what I said for themselves where possible and trust me more or less depending on what they found. This could be fun. I remember one occasion on which we resolved a discussion of whether the universe or the Earth rotated by building our own Foucault pendulum the full height of a 3 storey stairwell. The only times I encountered much distrust was among the creationists, whose cognitive dissonance outweighed anything else. "My mind is made up; dont confuse me with facts! " :-)

For years I have had the same habit. I did the calculation we discussed when the recent figures for deep ocean temperature rise and heat content rise came out. It gave me a personal check on their likely validity, and improved my confidence when I found that the ARGO data dependant on thermometers and the sea level rise method independant of temperature measurement gave similar results, I've done similar cross-validation elsewhere as opportunity allowed and found myself usually in agreement with the scientists. On climate change it is interesting that we have access to the same data and see different patterns.

Among sceptics I have met everything from your own rational doubt, up to outright denial. I dont know whether to pity or laugh at those who deny the existance of such effects as downwelling radiation from CO2 when even a £10 infrared thermometer can detect it.

"you seem unaware that the Sun has a greater influence on the tides than the Moon; that the tidal ranges you quote are limited to the Atlantic, as it is in a harmonic constant with the diurnal variations – the tides of the Pacific are negligible; those of the Indian Ocean are merely noticeable."

I think you may be mistaken about the relative effects of the Sun and Moon. The effect of the Moon shows in the average difference between low and high tide. The effect of the Sun shows in the difference between spring tides and neap tides, Is the latter not the smaller variation of the two?
The shape of the local topography makes a big difference too. The largest tidal ranges occur where tapering bays such as the Bristol Channel confine the rising tide. Ocean basins show less effect because the water is unconfined. I checked Hawai out of curiosity and found a tidal range of 60-90 centimetres. Avonmouth has a range around 10 metres at neap tides and 12 metres for spring tides.

I'll leave aside your last paragraph. I'm less interested in the politics than in the science.

Thank you.This has been a pleasant conversation, without the rancour so often encountered here. See you on other threads.

Dec 11, 2013 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - can you let me know where I can get the thermometer which can distinguish between the infra-red photons coming from CO2 and the infra-red photons coming from water vapour? Is there one which only detects infra-red photons from methane? And do you think they will soon be able to make one which can detect the infra-red photons from natural CO2 molecules, and one which only detects the photons from anthropogenic CO2?

Dec 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Oooh, that is catty, Lapogus!

Entropic Man: spring and neap tides are dependent upon the Moon; at present, the tides are neap, as there is only a half-Moon; next week, it will be spring tides, when the Moon is full – i.e. when the Moon and Sun are working together on the Earth.

As for your aversion to the political aspect of the argument, regrettably, it is politics that has poisoned this particular well, as there is little doubt that many are making serious political capital out of gross distortion of the science, aided and abetted by some of the scientists, themselves. To make matters worse, the poison is spreading to other scientific wells, and there is a real danger that all of science may result in being tainted.

Dec 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent


The £10 infra-red thermometer detects that there is downwelling IR from greenhouse gases. To distinguish which gases are involved you need an FTIR infra-red spectrometer. Try any scientific instrument supplier. You could also borrow one, as I once did, from your local university Physics Department.

It is easy to distinguish anthropogenic CO2 from natural CO2. The natural CO2 is painted green :-)

More seriously, If you have bulk samples, not yet mixed, the isotopic proportions are different. Fossil fuel CO2 has higher Carbon12, lower Carbon 13 and no Carbon 14. This is by comparison with a sample of pre-industrial CO2 from a 200 year old ice core. The reason is that the carbon in fossil fuels was originally captured by photosynthesis which preferentially captures carbon12. Since most of the capture in coal took place some 400 million years ago, the radiaactive carbon14 has long decayed.
Monitoring the ongoing changes in carbon isotope propoprtions in the atmosphere gives a cross-validation of the amount of fossil fuel derived CO2 being added.

Radical Rodent

We are agreed on the tidal mechanism, but are at cross purposes on the strength of the gravitational influnce of the two bodies.
Lets take Avonmouth as the example. Over each 12.5 hour cycle the tide rises and falls across a range averaging 11 metres. High and low tides are approximately synchronised with the position of the moon. When the moon is at its zenith over Avonmouth the tide is close to full. When it is on the opposite side of the world to Avonmouth the tide is close to full. These represent the points in the tidal cycle when the change in gravitational potential at Avonmouth piles the water up highest.

At Spring tide the range is 12metres. At neap tides it is 10 metres. The Spring tides occur when the Moon, Sun are Earth are aligned. The Sun amplifies the gravitational potential effect. This piles the water higher at high tide and amplifis the tidal range. Two weeks later the Sun and Moon are creating opposing gravitational potentials and the tidal range is correspondingly lower.

The effect of varying the Sun's position is to change the tidal range by 2 metres, while the effect of varying the Moon's position is to change the tidal range by 10 metres. We can induce that the influence of the Moon is about 5 times greater than that of the Sun

Dec 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I do hate to be picky, but you are bringing out the worst in me: you appear to be confusing Spring tides and Neap tides. A Spring tide occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in alignment; i.e. about twice a month, once when the Moon is “new” and once when full. Neap tides occur when the Moon’s influence is at 90° to the Sun’s, when there is a quarter-Moon, either waxing or waning; in other words, about one week before and after a Spring tide. The greater of the two Spring tides tends to occur when the Moon is new – i.e. it is between the Sun and the Earth, thereby amplifying the effect of the Sun. Thus, at Avonmouth on the 4th December (“new” Spring tide), the predicted tide range is 12.81 m; on the 17th (“full” Spring tide), the range is 9.56 m. The first quarter Neap, on the 9th, has a range of 9.27 m, while the last quarter Neap, on the 25th, has a range of 7.39 m. During November, the Spring ranges were 11.46 m (“new”) and 10.43 m (full), with the Neaps 8.12m and 5.58m. Of course, these are all predicted ranges; other factors come into play as well, which may influence both the timing of the tide and its heights and ranges.

I do hope that the Moon's influence on the Earth is not 5 times that of the Sun, as it could play merry hell with our orbit around the Sun.

Dec 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

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