Monthly Archives: February 2016


Start at the 1:55 mark:

Amazing Optimism from Al Gore

This TED talk is amazingly good. It’s a beacon of realistic optimism in the struggle to fix the climate crisis. Watch it on youtube, or watch it here:

No Slowdown

A new paper by Fyfe et al. speaks with apparent certainty of a “slowdown” in the rise of global mean surface temperature (GMST). What it doesn’t give is any real evidence of it.

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Hottest Monthly Temperature Anomaly Yet

NASA has released their temperature data for January of 2016, and this month came in as the hottest monthly temperature anomaly on record


Here’s what it looks like since 1970:


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Global Warming Basics: Greenhouse Gas

Heat is a form of energy, but it’s certainly not the only one; there are so many I won’t bother you with a list. In any complex system — an automobile engine, the human body, planet Earth — energy is constantly changing from one form into another, so if some object has energy (and it always does), sooner or later that energy will distribute itself among the various available forms. Since one of those is heat, in general terms when you gain energy you’ll end up with more heat, when you lose energy, there’s less of it to go around and that means less can be heat.

Another important form of energy is electromagnetic waves. It’s a fancy science term but in at least one form it’s something we’re all familiar with: light. More generically we can call it radiation.

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Why Deny Global Warming?

Ted Cruz has recently been asked, by voters no less, why he denies global warming. His response has been to double down — nay, triple and quadruple down — on denial. His standard answer is a litany of idiotic denier memes, moronic talking points that are so easily refuted they can’t possibly appeal to anyone with half a brain and a smidgen of actual knowledge. If you’re in denial yourself, Ted Cruz sounds great; confident, fast-talking, all the right buzzwords, insults for your most reviled targets. But if you know the least bit of the truth about global warming, it’s far too obvious how full of baloney he is.

It raises a fascinating question: why is Ted Cruz (like so many others) in such extreme denial, and more to the point, why does he not only admit it, but flaunt it? Why not do like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, play the “I’m not a scientist” card and fall back on that other zombie lie — the “ruin the economy” lie, the one that isn’t just false, it’s the opposite of true?

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Adjusting U.S. Temperature Data

One of the loudest and longest criticisms of U.S. (and other) temperature data is that the raw data are adjusted to compensate for non-climate factors, so we can better identify the changes due to climate factors (which is, after all, what we really want to know).

All the adjustment procedures are well documented, programs, raw and adjusted data are publicly available, but deniers continue to imply either total incompetence or, far too often, outright fraud — that adjustments only exist to exaggerate warming trends. In truth, adjustments exist to make the data better.

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Global Warming Basics: Signal and Noise — and Trend

Even when climate is constant, unchanging, the weather is not.

Temperature is one aspect of weather (and therefore of climate), so it’s in constant flux, whether we’re looking at a single location or an average over the whole globe. The changes we observe, whether of ever-changing temperature or any other weather variable, can be divided into two broad categories: signal and noise.

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Question for the computer-savvy

It’s easy to get an “rss feed” for this (or just about any) blog. But I recently had a question, and I don’t know the answer. Is there a way to get an rss feed for *only* the posts here about basics?

I have so far (and will continue) titled all such posts beginning with “Global Warming Basics.” If you know of a way to limit an rss feed to those posts, please let us all know.


How to Destroy a Megalopolis

Many years ago (more than I care to admit), I went to spend a month at my mother’s house in Florida. She had a nice big back yard but didn’t tend to it very much, so nature had taken over. Part of that included a species common in Florida: fire ants.

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