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Discussion > Zombie blog - what's the point?


My bullet list would read:

1. Little or no increase in C3 crops (maize, sugar cane, millet, and sorghum)

2. Insignificant increase in yields:

Of the four crops analyzed in this meta-analysis, only cotton, a woody crop, showed a significant yield enhancement with growth at elevated [CO2]. The stimulation in cotton yield with growth at elevated [CO2] was 42% on average. [...] Wheat and rice also showed trends towards increases in yield, but these increases were not statistically significant

3. Increase in tree Leaf Area Index (the 'greening') does not read across to an increase in crop LAI or yield.

Trees also showed a significant increase in LAI, while there was no change in LAI in crops and grasses grown under FACE.

4 Lastly

Data from 120 primary, peer-reviewed articles describing physiology and production in the 12 large-scale FACE experiments (475–600 ppm) were collected and summarized using meta-analytic techniques. The results confirm some results from previous chamber experiments: light-saturated carbon uptake, diurnal C assimilation, growth and above-ground production increased, while specific leaf area and stomatal conductance decreased in elevated [CO2]. There were differences in FACE. Trees were more responsive than herbaceous species to elevated [CO2]. Grain crop yields increased far less than anticipated from prior enclosure studies.

Sep 2, 2016 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Prince Charles is not the only gardener who believes in talking to his plants, and reckons they perk up as a result. Is it just possible they are not listening to the words of wisdom, but luxuriating in clouds of super concentrated CO2, by Royal Male Delivery Service?

Sep 2, 2016 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil. Each will read into that paper what they wish to find. I have since skim read one of the more important papers used in the analysis. Reading the methods section I found, as expected, the study was poorly controlled. CO2 was measured only occasionally (ie not continuously) within the plot, so the authors ignored possible fluctuations related to changing wind conditions or temperature changes. If this is typical, you can forget any conclusions.

Plants are incredibly sensitive. I have a stepdaughter who, for her PhD, studied a single tree deep in the Kinder Forest. She told me that simply by approaching the tree, her monitoring picked up her approach and the tree reacted. From.this I conclude 1)the experimenters did not account for such effects and 2) attention golfCharlie, Prince Charles may be right!

Sep 2, 2016 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Heh, warming less than expected, feeding more than expected. Scare me now.

Sep 2, 2016 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Thanks for your reply way back at page 2. Even in the Bishop's reign Discussion was the least frequented area.

With regard to measuring the influence of multiple variables the only way to experiment is by changing a single variable at a time. This was the only method used by us Test Engineers when trying to identify faults in electronic equipment, even then it could be very difficult without input from the guys who designed the thing. Growing stuff in fields is never going to give any really hard evidence because no variable can be fully controlled. Even "greenhouse" environments where in theory every variable can be controlled may give rise to debatable results.

Sep 2, 2016 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Whatever the benefit we might think GW brings, scientists find that it really is yet another developing catastrophe. How odd. Even odder is that one as rational as Phil cannot see this oddity.

Sep 2, 2016 at 5:56 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR, the catastrophism has been 'An Extraordinary Popular Delusion and a Madness of the Crowd'. It's a bubble and a godawfully expensive one. To add to the irony, our warming and greening is a net benefit and always will be.

Sep 2, 2016 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

You stated, "Even odder is that one as rational as Phil cannot see this oddity."
Check your assumptions.

Sep 2, 2016 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I've been busy for the last 24 hours, so am just catching up, and am enjoying the discussion about the fertlisation effect of CO2 on plants/crops and weeds. Thanks to all who have contributed.

As for temperature trends, I've just been having a look at Paul Homewood's site, and whilst I am sure he would describe himself as a sceptic, I believe he presents his findings fairly. He has the latest here on UAH readings and the divergence between land-based readings and the satellites:

If you take a look, you'll see that the satellites are (in my opinion) showing a gently warming trend. As Paul says:

"It is now looking increasingly likely that satellite temperatures this year will end up in a virtual tie with 1998.

Although temperatures peaked slightly higher early this year, they have now been below 1998 levels since April....

Since 1998, according to Woodfortrees, satellite temperature trends have only risen by a statistically insignificant 0.003C a year, (data is up to July). This figure will drop further, as temperatures return to more normal levels in coming months."

As I said before, in my opinion, that's nothing to worry about, but in the interests of balance and I hope new-found harmony, I thought I should throw it into the mix.

Sep 2, 2016 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Regarding talking to ones plants, one e of my pupils set up a project using three sets of grass trays.

She said nice things to one set, nasty things to the second set and neutral things to the third set. Their treatment was otherwise randomised to even out any other differences.

Rather to our mutual surprise the neutral and nasty treatments grew less than the nice treatment. Watching a video of one of the sessions showed a difference. Without realising it, she had been stroking the nice plants.

She then repeated the experiment twice more. The second experiment showed that without the stroking the emotional effect disappeared. The third experiment showed that the mechanical stimulus was causing the growth increase

Sep 2, 2016 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Since 1998, according to Woodfortrees, satellite temperature trends have only risen by a statistically insignificant 0.003C a year,

I wonder why he chose that year?



Sep 2, 2016 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

EM, but did it make your student calmer? What was the velocity of the CO2 enriched expired air? Did the the "stroking" also cause localised air disturbance across the leaf surfaces?

Some gardeners plant cuttings in a pot, place the pot in a polythene bag having watered it, blow up the polythene bag, and seal it to create a hermetically sealed mini greenhouse. It would be interesting to see what happens if "controls" are blown up with air from a bicycle pump.

Does a litre of soil, complete with natural micro-organisms, sealed in an air tight transparent bag, produce CO2 and deplete O2?

Even if extra CO2 is not introduced, modern commercial green houses are better sealed to conserve energy. Has anyone ever recorded how CO2 levels increase when people are working inside?

Sep 2, 2016 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


She was quite worried. Unknown. Probably.

Slower growth?

Yes. You can demonstrate this by putting your sealed bag of soil on a sunny window sill. After a week or so (depending on the amount of air) you start seeing purple anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria growing on the soil surface.

The problem with a sealed greenhouse is high humidity and the moulds that grow in high humidity.

Sep 2, 2016 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


I know, of course, why he chose 1998 - it was an El Nino year, as is 2016, so it seems reasonable to compare like with like. On re-reading, I don't think I expressed myself very well. I was trying to show that I accept that there is a trend of gentle warming, and it is a trend which continues.

I think, however, that comparing like with like is the only way to do it. It would be misleading, obviously to compare El Nino years with non-El Nino years, and so on. I'm trying to support a reasonable and accurate assessment of the trends. I'm sure we can agree that cherry-picking start and end dates to get the result you "want" is intellectually dishonest. :-)

Sep 3, 2016 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Let me pull you up a bit, there, Mr Hodgson:

…and whilst I am sure he would describe himself as a sceptic, I believe he presents his findings fairly.
Should that not be the default position of ALL scientific minds? Fair-minded yet sceptical? To put such a codicil in is to debase science itself; I am sure that Einstein was a sceptic, though he presented his findings fairly; the same could be said of almost all (though the human failing of conceit might be obvious in many) famous scientists, be they Galileo, Newton, Darwin or Feynman. The only reason a TRUE scientist presents a paper is that this is where the research has led, and these are the conclusions determined. This is then laid open for discussion, so that others may follow the logic, see if the logic does have value, and that the conclusions are feasible or realistic. THIS is why Climate “Science” is not TRUE science – witness the statement: “Why should I give you the data, you will only try to find something wrong with it!” Such petulance also exists with the methods and means to achieve the results – many of which appear quite blatantly to be pre-determined, which is why I view the papers that PC links to with a scepticism verging on derision, hence my earlier comment about “studies” which show all the benefits we see for warming and increasing CO2 are really masking the growing catastrophe. Yeah… riiiight.

Sep 3, 2016 at 9:30 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Thank you RR, I stand corrected. Perhaps in my efforts to reach out to Phil C (which I hope are bearing fruit in a constructive discussion based on mutual respect) I may have gone a little far. I was trying to suggest that even though Phil might be wary of a site like Paul Homewood's, because it challenges the basic climate change beliefs,he would presumably accept that Paul presents his information fairly. But you're right, I went to far by offering the qualification.

My word, it's difficult being nice to everybody!

Sep 3, 2016 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Starting There are a few things to bear in mind when considering linear trends in time series, an important one being the statistical significance. Trends are usually considered significant at the 95% level (which is why we got those claims of 'no significant warming since ….' from Chris Monckton et al, now ceased). The more data you have the more significant the trend tends to be.

Nick Stokes has a useful if a bit fiddly to use trend plotter at his Moyhu website[0,0,4,2,218.707]

For Apr 1998 to May 2016 in the RSS data he finds a trend of 0.385°C/Century; (0.0038C/yr) but as this is a fairly short trend the confidence interval is quite wide at -0.773 to 1.543C / century, which embraces cooling but also the warming projected by the IPCC models

More data is usually better and the trend using all the data is
0.884 to 1.710C / century.

Sep 3, 2016 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

RR. I have always felt that the criticism directed at Phil Jones for his comment "Why should I give you my data, you will only try to find something wrong with it" may not be totally deserved. Yes he was stupid to write what he wrote, but who amongst us hasn't done something similar - said or written something that we regret later because it did not convey what we really wanted and is "misinterpreted" by others because they do not seek to understand what the real intention was?

I suggest that what Phil Jones wanted to say is "why should I give you my data (which I have collated at great cost in terms of time, effort and money), only for you to.benefit from it. And by the way, I think you want to prove me wrong and if anyone's going to do that, it will be me or the colleagues I work with". Possibly with an additional "so you can get stuffed".
All research scientists I know (including myself) are very cagey about releasing data before publication, fearing being scooped.
Revisionist history perhaps, but think about it.

Sep 3, 2016 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Phil might be wary of a site like Paul Homewood's, because it challenges the basic climate change beliefs,he would presumably accept that Paul presents his information fairly.

Not always

Sep 3, 2016 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Personally, I find Jones's refusal to share his data for fear the requestor would find fault to be indefensible and anti-scientific. He did cite Intellectual Property concerns but I don't think these stand up. There are sometimes legitimate reasons to withhold data (e.g. some of the National Weather Services sell their Met data and don't like aggregators passing it on, and releasing data prior to publication is unwise) but none apply in this case.

But Jones' lapse in judgement is understandable, the guy making the request had a history of unsubstantiated fraud accusations against him launched from his website - an early example of the asymmetry of the scientist versus the blog-scientist.

I should warn you that some data we have we are not supposed topass on to others. We can pass on the gridded data – which we do. Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. There is IPR to consider.

The wider picture is that there is more than enough data in the public domain to support all the conclusions behind the concensus.

Sep 3, 2016 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The wider picture is that there is more than enough data in the public domain to support all the conclusions behind the concensus.

Sep 3, 2016 at 10:29 AM | Phil Clarke

And almost all of the data it is manmade, designed to fit the manmade consensus.

Sep 3, 2016 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil. You are using the quoted sentence at face value. I am suggested it might be viewed differently and the fuller quotation you give I believe makes my revisionism more plausible.

Over the years I have come to a different appeciation of the CRU personnel. I don't believe they engaged in deliberate (the emphsis is on "deliberate") scientific malfeasance. I think they believed in what they were doing, but because they were engaging in methodologies which (for them) had no parallel, and they failed to seek outside expertise, they fell into the trap of self confirmation. When "attacked" by outside non-academic amateurs, they closed ranks. In my opinion they also acted in bad faith. However, if you try to put yourselves into their shoes, what they did was thought by them to be both reasonable and justified. With the benefit of hindsight and outside the pressure cooker we can see that what they did was unreasonable and unjust. But should we judge them from our present viewpoint. I think we should but with more leniency.

No doubt many posting here will completely disagree and will let me know it.

Sep 3, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, I've long contended that we'll ultimately forgive many of these climate scientists. They have been trapped in something bigger than they are.

Sep 3, 2016 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

However, if these particular ones, and the investigations of them, had come clean at the time, then Great Britain would have been coming to its senses about climate and energy a lot sooner than it is doing now.

There are immense damages from the fright. I have no idea how to cure that.

Sep 3, 2016 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Heh, though Steve McIntyre never called it fraud, he substantiated it.

Sep 3, 2016 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim