Econbrowser Preservation of Government Records: Environmental Edition

As the Administration contemplates deep cuts to scientific data acquisition, and deleting or restricting public access data sets, I thought it useful to post the global temperature anomaly data, accessible as of today, before it disappears.

Figure 1: Global land and ocean temperature anomaly, 12 months through December. Source: NOAA, accessed 3/4/2017.

And if you thought it’d been warm this winter, well, here’s the first two months of 2017…

Figure 2: Global land and ocean temperature anomaly, 2 months through February. Source: NOAA, accessed 3/4/2017.

And, if you dislike statistics (there are quite a few Econbrowser readers who have such an aversion preferring stories as proof), here are some anecdotes regarding cherry blossom blooms in Washington, DC, and early maple syrup tapping in Minnesota.

Update: 2slugbaits notes I should save the Oklahoma earthquake data, before USGS gets decimated. Here is one graph:

Source: United States Geological Survey (data provided by the Oklahoma Geological Survey and USGS-NEIC ComCat) via Wikipedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35778753.

64 thoughts on “Econbrowser Preservation of Government Records: Environmental Edition

  1. 2slugbaits

    Better save the earthquake data maintained by the NGS. Can’t let any of that “fake science” show how Oklahoma is now as risky as San Francisco thanks to fracking. SAD!

    Reply
  2. Bruce Hall

    NOAA relies on raw data from thousands of small “weather stations” that are then adjusted using best estimates of how the data should be adjusted. There is a process that requires strict documentation, but doesn’t necessarily require site quality checking. That means that poorly sited stations can be used to adjust sites with accurate data. For example, a perfectly good rural station data may be adjusted to agree with a poorly sited station next to the runway of an airport. That’s one concern about the data.

    Another concern is that the 3D data from satellites has not agreed with the ground-based stations for quite awhile.

    But let’s assume that we should have faith in the data… for the most part… as long as the data is treated consistently, reviewed consistently, and archived consistently over long periods. That’s where the latest major study from NOAA fails. https://science.house.gov/news/press-releases/former-noaa-scientist-confirms-colleagues-manipulated-climate-records

    Now, you can say that you don’t trust Dr. Bates, but you do trust Dr. Karl. Okay. But on what basis?

    Reply
    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: See this regarding satellite data. You will excuse me if I don’t believe a press release from a committee headed by someone who has cites Breitbart articles on climate change, and cites the precedent of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as the bases for his committee’s activities. I can imagine you thought HUAC was doing just fine work, though.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Hall

        Well, actually Dr. Bates provided an interview to the UK Daily Mail. The issue was that the data was, ahem, not properly vetted. 😉

        I agree, however. Mixing politics with science is a dangerous combination whether being done by a Trump administration or an Obama administration. Declarations of “settled science” based on modeling and suspect data adjustments to establish policy is simply … wrong.

        Therefore, I’ll refer you to a scientist, Dr. Judith Curry https://judithcurry.com/about/ who writes about climate science matters. I hope you’ll consider a respected climate scientist more than Rep. Lamar.

        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/06/response-to-critiques-climate-scientists-versus-climate-data/#more-22812 Dr. Bates was responsible for data archival at NOAA.

        However, we could just stick to economic where you have the high ground.

        Reply
        1. Dave

          1) The climate is always changing.

          2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.

          3) Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century.

          4) Over this period (the past two centuries), the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius; but only since the 1960’s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role.

          5) Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

          Reply
          1. baffling

            dave, the global climate is indeed warming. and man is having an impact. those two items are no longer in dispute. how much of an impact? of course there is still work to be done on this issue. but given the fact we now know mankind can, and has, impacted the global climate, the denier arguments are falling apart. we finally have many deniers admitting to global warming, and even some man made impact, which is great progress compared to complete denial not long ago. it would be unethical and irresponsible to acknowledge you are a contributor, but deny any responsibility to understand what your impacts are and how to minimize them. which is the current denier position. that too will change with time. but the question is, how much damage will occur in the mean time? and are you willing to foot the bill for the damage done if you are wrong? doubtful. but out of the 2 of us, your mistake is far more costly than my mistake.

          2. CoRev

            Baffled, there you go with another strawman argument. Dave even said: “2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming. Then you go off on: “…the denier arguments are falling apart. we finally have many deniers admitting to global warming, and even some man made impact, which is great progress compared to complete denial not long ago.”

            As you well know this CC/GW/AGW one of my passions, and I have found very few who have actually totally denied man’s impact. Instead most skeptics have pointed out Urban Heat Island impacts a partial cause of the sensible warming. Indeed, the most popular GW blog site was based upon reporting early efforts to clarify the errors in the land-based collection sites.

            Your understanding of the arguments have and continue to be off point. Arguing what you think skeptics believe is ludicrous.

      2. Bruce Hall

        Well, actually Dr. Bates provided an interview to the UK Daily Mail. The issue was that the data was, ahem, not properly vetted. 😉

        I agree, however. Mixing politics with science is a dangerous combination whether being done by a Trump administration or an Obama administration. Declarations of “settled science” based on modeling and suspect data adjustments to establish policy is simply … wrong.

        Therefore, I’ll refer you to a scientist, Dr. Judith Curry https://judithcurry.com/about/ who writes about climate science matters. I hope you’ll consider a respected climate scientist more than Rep. Lamar.

        https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/06/response-to-critiques-climate-scientists-versus-climate-data/#more-22812 Dr. Bates was responsible for data archival at NOAA.

        However, we could just stick to economics where you have the high ground.

        Reply
        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: Instead of reading a UK tabloid, read this. Maybe the House could appropriate more funds (gasp) so that better more thorough analysis could be conducted. Somehow, I don’t see this House Chairman proposing that. Do you? If so, I have a bridge to sell you. See also this published in Science, a publication of the AAAS.

          But maybe you have the right idea — I could go get all my economics from the Heritage Foundation…

          Reply
          1. Bruce Hall

            Okay, so you didn’t read the material in Dr. Curry’s post. I guess we all have our confirmation biases.

            As I indicated, the House material was political and politics and science are never good bedfellows. Science magazine is a political arm of an association of scientists, but is not a scientific journal as such. They have their second-hand opinions as does Rep. Lamar.

            Arguments against Dr. Bates’ position is that he is being too rigorous in his approach to data and taking the necessary time to ensure accuracy is not politically expedient. Fine. I understand that. Funding is funding.

            I’m surprised that you support this sort of approach.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: Science Magazine is the political arm of an association of scientists. Really? Then Journal of Economic Perspectives is the political arm of a bunch of economists. Geez.

          3. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: Is it the tabulation of who’s in the “March for Science” that makes it “political”? If they were tabulating who was joining the “March against Science”, would it then be nonpolitical?

          4. Bruce Hall

            Menzie,

            While Science magazine certainly covers scientific topics, just as the AARP covers topics relevant to retirement in its magazine, Science is now joining AARP in coverage of political issues… one related to scientists and the other related to retirement. Now, that’s their right, but once you cross that line you cannot claim to be unbiased about the positions covered in your publication.

            http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/qa-female-paleontologists-protest-gender-stereotypes-beards may express political concerns by female paleontologists, but certainly doesn’t advance knowledge in the field of paleontology.

            http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/will-they-or-won-t-they-what-science-groups-are-saying-about-joining-march-science may express political concerns about government funding by scientists who seek such funding, but it doesn’t advance knowledge in the fields those scientists practice.

            I was merely pointing out that 2 of the top 5 articles on the Science homepage were political in nature, not scientific; hence, Science is not a purely scientific magazine… just as AARP is not a magazine focused purely on all retirees (just the ones who support AARP’s political agenda).

            This is an example of a scientific publication, unlike Science: https://www.omicsonline.org/organic-chemistry-current-research.php

          5. baffling

            “Science magazine is a political arm of an association of scientists, but is not a scientific journal as such. ”

            bruce hall, this simply shows your ignorance of science in general. and an amazing amount of ignorance when it comes to scientific research. the journal science is one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world. probably second only to nature in terms of respect and impact factor in the general world of science. only a few medical journals have higher impact factors.

            the fact that climate deniers cannot get published in such a journal is an indication of the quality of the data, analysis and interpretation that results from most deniers research-or lack thereof. denier research is of dubious scientific quality.

        2. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: Instead of reading a UK tabloid, read this. Maybe the House could appropriate more funds (gasp) so that better more thorough analysis could be conducted. Somehow, I don’t see this House Chairman proposing that. Do you? If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

          Reply
        3. Bruce Hall

          Baffling,

          The fact that ~90% of college professors have liberal political views http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2016/12/20/liberal-professors/
          may indicate that:
          1. only liberal professors are intelligent enough to teach at a university/college
          2. there is a bias in the selection process

          or

          3. the conservative Ph.Ds know the deck is stacked against them and don’t even attempt to seek employment at most universities/colleges.

          Attempting to publish in a magazine where certain views are not in alignment with the staff tends to lead to rejection. Rejection is not an indication of being incorrect. Many famous scientists had their ideas rejected by their peers. Group-think is powerful… even in science… and especially in journalism.

          But if you are willing to say that in the field of climate science, Drs. John Bates, Roy Spencer, and Judith Curry are stupid/cranks/crackpots, then I’ll understand.

          A magazine that publishes scientific articles doesn’t necessarily make it non-political. Address the issue that I raised that 2 of the top 5 articles on Science homepage were political in nature with some sort of convoluted thinking, then I’ll understand.
          _________________
          The point of all of this discussion began with a plea to preserve data (with climate data as the example) which I found ironic because Dr. John Bates was asking for the same thing: adherence to a rigorous data verification and preservation process which Dr. Karl chose to skip and then deny others access to the data he used in a contentious study.

          Certain persons then accused Dr. Bates of being a crank.

          Reply
          1. baffling

            “3. the conservative Ph.Ds know the deck is stacked against them and don’t even attempt to seek employment at most universities/colleges.”

            incorrect. at least in the science and engineering realm, there is not much in the way of liberal/conservative politics. you either produce good, repeatable science. or you do not. and you need to keep an open mind about the direction your research leads. why are there more liberals than conservatives at universities? i imagine it mostly has to do with a desire or quest for new knowledge, and the ability to embrace the new knowledge. that tends to be a more liberal way of thinking.

            “Attempting to publish in a magazine where certain views are not in alignment with the staff tends to lead to rejection. ”
            again i reference the fact you do not understand the research and publication process. peer review. when you review and reject, you must provide justification. most denier research work is simply not rigorous. if it were, you would have more folks in that corner. produce better research, you may get more scientific followers. but there is a reason very little sound research has emerged supporting the denier position. most of the “research” is simply a complaint about the other side.

          2. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            I’d suggest that scientists are bright people and like to find both answers and money. If the money is going to one side of a conversation and not the other, fewer will be enticed to try to research an idea without the funds.

            You might have noticed that link to Nature magazine where a lot of research by bright people cannot be replicated… even by the people who did it in the first place. That’s a bit disconcerting.

            As you know, most skeptics are not skeptical about gradual warming occurring since the cold period of the 1880s. They are skeptical about the projections and the dire warnings. Comically, Greenpeace which is one of the major activist organizations issuing dire warnings, has recently come out and admitted that it regularly uses hyperbole in its communications… as a defense against a Canadian firm it was slandering with its “hyperbole”. It is this tendency toward “hyperbole” that the so-called deniers are denying. It is grossly negligent manipulation and hiding of data that makes them skeptical of the results. Yet, if other scientists who are receiving the grants of a government that wants to “prove” that it is justified in advocating draconian and expensive policies to “fight” a natural process, it is unlikely that those scientists will derail the gravy train by pointing out the hyperbole and non-replicable results of much of the research. Furthermore, is it likely that those same scientists riding the gravy train are going to line up with those who question the basis of the largesse?

            I know, I know. Those are rhetorical questions. I already know your answers. Fear the warming and the environmental apocalypse. Or not.

            http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2017/03/06/Ice-age-not-warming-explains-Permian-Triassic-extinction-event/6871488815458/
            ________________

            Now, baffling, you’ve danced around the issue of was Dr. Bates a crank because he wanted Dr. Karl to actually follow good data verification, archiving, and sharing… so that Karl’s controversial report could be properly analyzed? After all, Dr. Karl took the opposite approach to data that Menzie is advocating.

            You can’t replicate an analysis if the data cannot be verified; you can’t refute an analysis if the data is unavailable. Does this become the norm for “peer reviewed” in the future?

          3. baffling

            “You might have noticed that link to Nature magazine where a lot of research by bright people cannot be replicated… even by the people who did it in the first place. That’s a bit disconcerting.”

            it may be a bit disconcerting, but it is not necessarily nefarious. especially in the life sciences. biological and medical studies are notoriously difficult to control. obviously we want replication, but that is much easier to do in the physical sciences than chemistry and biology. a physicist demands orders of magnitude less variability in the results than a biomedical researcher, but that is due to the nature of the science.

            with respect to earth and climate science, the solution would be to provide more resources for replicating the experiments, if one really wants an answer. that does not seem to be the approved path of the skeptics and deniers in congress. funding can go to skeptics, as far as i am concerned. that aspect should not even enter into the equation. the research proposal can be set up to collect and assess a segment of data related to climate change, and probably should not boast anything about what results it should obtain. a well documented path to collecting relevant data can be done by deniers, if they so choose. the fact they are not doing that research raises questions about their research agenda. its easier to complain about parts of somebody else’s work, than to conduct the work yourself.

          1. baffling

            i have no problem with data transparency and sharing. i embrace nature and other top journals, that require the data be made available online at the time of publication. and i do like nature. apparently you do as well. ever notice how few denier articles are printed in nature? not because of any bias of the journal. it’s because the denier studies are typically flawed, incomplete and weak.

          2. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            I’m glad there is minimal agreement on the need to properly review, archive, and share data although you didn’t directly address the question.

            As to why some publications favor some study-types over others, I can’t come to your conclusion that the studies that are not appearing in a specific publication are flawed… only that the reviewers don’t share a viewpoint proposed in a specific study. It may be because of academic weakness, or it may be that there is academic bias, or it may be that the study wasn’t submitted because the author(s) knew that their work would be rejected because it didn’t conform to the group-think. Impossible to know.

            Back in the 1990s, peer-reviewed studies were advancing the prospect of increasingly numerous and large landfall hurricanes and tornadoes. https://climate.dot.gov/documents/workshop1002/rossetti.pdf
            “Implications of Climate Change
            Climate models suggest a future warming of 0.2 – 0.3o C per decade.
            1 Sea levels are expected to
            rise at a rate of 4 to 10 cm per decade. Ancillary
            effects include changes in regional distributions
            of rainfall and soil moisture, and possibly more
            frequent and more intense storm systems
            .”

            And yet http://www.livescience.com/50704-hurricane-drought.html Okay, list the excuses.

            If you ask the members of the Detroit Lions if they have a competitive team, the group-think will answer “yes”. Their record will say otherwise.

            The point is that peers have a tendency to self-select and judge based on their biases rather than total objectivity (which is exceedingly rare). “This makes sense because it agrees with what we accept as making sense.” That’s different from, “the subsequent data verify the study.” Or, “the study appears to conform to good study practices.”

            If a study isn’t replicable or the subsequent real world observations can’t verify the conclusions, peer-review is of little importance. This tends to be more of a problem in climate studies and psychology than chemistry or physics. Hence, there is more reason for caution and, daresay, skepticism.
            _________________

            But we both agree with Menzie and John Bates that data should be independently verified, archived, and easily shared… and if it is not, perhaps the quality of the studies involved should be questioned?

          3. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            Here is an example of conflicting claims. How do you “peer review” them? Is it all right to be skeptical about one of them? Both of them? Neither of them? Is this a “yes, but” situation?

            Skeptics rarely discount verifiable observations, but may draw different conclusions from the observations because they include more observations or extend the timeline. Drawing conclusions based on an extreme or rare event is dangerous to credibility.

            https://phys.org/news/2016-03-global-world-driest-areas.html

            http://m.pnas.org/content/114/9/2283.abstract
            __________________
            http://www.salon.com/2014/02/19/it_could_last_decades_5_shocking_facts_about_californias_drought_partner/

            https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/us/california-drought-water-restrictions-permanent.html

            http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/01/09/california-storms-fill-drought-parched-reservoirs/

            http://principia-scientific.org/california-permanent-drought-update/

            “Hyperbole is the enemy of science.”
            — Bruce Hall, March 7, 2017

          4. baffling

            “It may be because of academic weakness, or it may be that there is academic bias, or it may be that the study wasn’t submitted because the author(s) knew that their work would be rejected because it didn’t conform to the group-think. Impossible to know.”

            if you don’t know, then probably best not to throw innuendo that makes it appear you have an answer.

            as i have said in the past, i have rarely seen a denier propose a well defensed study where the denier position is actually supported by the data. this is probably why you see few studies. most of them are complaints about somebody elses data or study. you create a well thought out and supported study, i would happily consider its results.

          5. Dave

            Hi Baffling,

            You may refer to me as a denier all you want. I appreciate your virtue signaling.

            Can you answer the following questions:

            1) has the earth experienced CO2 levels higher than 400 PPM in the past?
            2) has the earth experienced warmer weather in the past?
            3) does CO2 drive climate or does climate drive CO2?
            4) is the relationship between CO2 and temperature linear?
            5) is 150 years worth of sparse north american surface based thermometer data sufficient for estimating long term climate patterns?
            6) How much of the 1 degree C is man’s contribution?
            7) What proportion of warming can/will be attributed to man in the next 20 – 50 years?
            8) will the warming be catastrophic?
            9) if yes for [8], how so? be specific
            10) from [8] what are (will be) the economic costs?
            11) does the increase in CO2 concentration have any benefits to our planet (eg., earth greening, longer growing seasons, fewer weather related deaths)
            12) At this point, is there anything man can do to stop the warming?
            13) If so, what is the economic cost of [12]

          6. baffling

            12) At this point, is there anything man can do to stop the warming?
            13) If so, what is the economic cost of [12]

            Dave, Let me rephrase your question 13. If the answer to 12 is yes (and it is), what is the economic cost of not stopping the warming?

            1) has the earth experienced CO2 levels higher than 400 PPM in the past?
            2) has the earth experienced warmer weather in the past?

            questions like these are irrelevant. of course they have. but intelligent, human life exists under the current conditions. you should be concerned about keeping conditions at the levels humans have learned to survive and THRIVE with their environment. you cannot make the same claim about those other conditions. you are fighting history and the data.

          7. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            “as i have said in the past, i have rarely seen a denier propose a well defensed study where the denier position is actually supported by the data. this is probably why you see few studies. most of them are complaints about somebody elses data or study. you create a well thought out and supported study, i would happily consider its results.”

            Given all of the various links I have offered up, if that’s the best you can do … personal, anecdotal, opinion … then there is no basis for further discourse.

          8. baffling

            Given all of the various links I have offered up, if that’s the best you can do … personal, anecdotal, opinion … then there is no basis for further discourse.”

            bruce, you have offered up links to blogs, opinions and clickbait sites. please find me a strong, well defined study that actually does original research and publishes in a peer reviewed scientific journal. and that study produces results in support of deniers and against human climate change. and i repeat, this should be an original study with original data and results. you know, real science.

          9. Bruce Hall

            baffling

            All right. You want me to prove a negative: man-made CO2 is not the primary driver of climate change.

            First, let’s dispense with the obvious. There is a correlation for the past 1/2 century or so of increasing CO2 and increasing temperatures. But there were periods when CO2 didn’t increase and temperatures did.

            Secondly, changes in atmospheric CO2 are only minutely contributed to by human activity. Nature accounts for the vast preponderance of CO2.

            Third, there are few peer-reviewed papers that are written in the negative. Most are written in the positive. Here are some for you consideration… peer reviewed: http://chrono.qub.ac.uk/blaauw/cds.html Those are by researchers who view solar activity as the primary driver of earth’s climate variations.

            You can do the search for other lists yourself. And you can also find those who dispute these peer-reviewed papers with which, of course, you would agree because your particular bias is to argue that man is responsible for the present warming. Ironically, you would argue against those who find fault with or dispute the conclusions of peer-reviewed papers supporting CO2 as the driver of current warming… because CO2 research is peer reviewed.
            _________________

            So, I’ve provided you with an example list of peer-reviewed papers that support an alternative theory. Most of them are not from U.S. researchers and have not received climate study grants from the U.S. government (unlike so many who support the AGW CO2 theory).

            Thus, with your objections dispensed, we can all go back to agreeing that Dr. Karl should have had his data reviewed and verified, archived, and made available for other researchers to replicate his analysis… as Dr. Bates requested and was denied. Still, Dr. Karl’s analysis supported the AWG CO2 consortium and the past U.S. government’s political agendas… so we’ll give him a pass.

          10. baffling

            bruce
            “All right. You want me to prove a negative: man-made CO2 is not the primary driver of climate change.”
            just asking you to prove what you claim. not alot to ask.

            “Secondly, changes in atmospheric CO2 are only minutely contributed to by human activity. Nature accounts for the vast preponderance of CO2.”
            FALSE. changes due to humans are not minute.

            “So, I’ve provided you with an example list of peer-reviewed papers that support an alternative theory. ”
            you have pointed to not an alternative theory, but simply a component of climate change drivers. obviously the sun is an important component. i agree. nasa agrees. this does not take away from human induced global warming. in fact, the thoughts are that greenhouse gases can amplify the solar variation-make them worse. that is why we are studying climate change!
            http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SORCE/sorce_04.php

            look, this discussion is really simple. you want to argue that humans have no influence on global climate change, and are not interested in taking any action as a result. the data in support of a changing climate, and its change as a result of humans, is certainly stacked against your position. but you do not want to acknowledge this fact. SAD, really.

          11. Bruce Hall

            baffling
            I contend that the human produced CO2 is a minute portion of atmospheric CO2 and you say “FALSE”.

            Do you believe the EPA? https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eia.doe.gov%2Foiaf%2F1605%2Farchive%2Fgg04rpt%2Fpdf%2Ftbl3.pdf

            You say the solar theory of climate change is not an alternative, but simply another “driver” of climate change.

            But then you defend to the death that the minute amount of human-caused atmospheric CO2 is the primary driver of climate change with nothing much more than a short-term correlation and some models that have been notoriously poor at projecting climate change.
            _________

            But I’m glad that we agree that data used in scientific paper should be reviewed, verified, archived, and freely shared for other researchers to replicate or analyze. That’s science. Hyperbole is the enemy of science.

          12. baffling

            bruce, what you said was
            “Secondly, changes in atmospheric CO2 are only minutely contributed to by human activity. ”
            and i said
            “FALSE. changes due to humans are not minute.”
            my statement is correct. your statement is incorrect. you then changed your argument so that “changes” was not a part of the comment. dishonest. but that is what i would expect from you.

          13. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            If you had looked at the government data I provided, you might have noticed that human-generated CO2 amounts to about 3.5% of total atmospheric CO2. You must be presuming that naturally occurring CO2 is decreasing in order for that 3.5% to have any significant impact on total CO2.

            As I said the absolute amount of human-caused CO2 is minute and the change in the total CO2 caused by human activity is minute. Any way you want to cut it, blaming human-generated CO2 as the primary driver of climate change is pure hyperbole.

            Hyperbole is the enemy of science.

          14. baffling

            bruce, you said
            “Secondly, changes in atmospheric CO2 are only minutely contributed to by human activity. Nature accounts for the vast preponderance of CO2.”

            nobody disputes the “vast preponderance” of co2 is natural. we have a large carbon cycle in nature. now the key, is that carbon cycle is in equilibrium. changes to the carbon cycle then produce either a surplus or a deficit of carbon. this accumulates over time. this surplus is man made to a large degree. that is the issue at hand.

            so when you say CHANGES are “minutely contributed to by human activity” that is incorrect. there is a measurable increase in co2 in the atmosphere-go read the mauna loa data
            https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/full.html

            “You must be presuming that naturally occurring CO2 is decreasing in order for that 3.5% to have any significant impact on total CO2.”
            incorrect. accumulation is a problem. a slow drip in a faucet is not a problem until the drain is plugged. then accumulation is a problem. mauna loa data shows this is not a zero sum game.

            look bruce, the statements you made were inaccurate. you either sloppily responded to the discussion. or you intentionally used HYPERBOLE to emphasize your view, in the hopes no body would call you on it. i would imagine you have not given really good thought into the issue of equilibrium and accumulation from equilibrium. otherwise you could not in good conscious make some of the statements you make. or you are simply a hack.

          15. Bruce Hall

            baffling,

            Your characterization of anyone who disagrees about CO2 levels … annual or cumulative … from human activity as a “hack” again is hyperbole. While CO2 level may be increasing, there is scant evidence that it is due to human activity “dripping” into the atmosphere. That probably includes astronaut and physicist Walter Cunningham http://www.vonborks.org/walt.html. … in addition to the list of peer-reviewed studies I provided earlier. This cumulative theory presumes that human activity is the cause of greater measured levels for the past 50 years, but you simply cannot know.

            Volcanic activity has only been measured for about 50 years: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37569152

            A warming planet will release CO2 from oceans: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20413-warmer-oceans-release-co2-faster-than-thought/

            You keep asking for alternatives and I keep providing them and your response is that any disagreements come from hacks. Your presumption is that changes in earth’s temperature are caused by changes in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, but your position may be the opposite of what is actually occurring or may be occurring for reasons you refuse to consider.

            “The central tragedy of academia today is that you don’t have to have anything on which to base dismissals of people and ideas you disagree with.” This seems to be a prevalent phenomenon in both politics and climate science, which makes both a laughingstock.

            So, you continue to view only one of many possible answers as “the truth” when, in fact, “the truth” is still highly debatable.

            Beside, the whole apocalypse hyperbole is generally wrong-headed: http://web.stanford.edu/~moore/HealthBenefitsofWarmer.html

          16. baffling

            “Your characterization of anyone who disagrees about CO2 levels … annual or cumulative … from human activity as a “hack” again is hyperbole.”

            bruce, i characterize somebody whose arguments are incorrect, and who still doubles down on them, as a hack.

            “You keep asking for alternatives and I keep providing them and your response is that any disagreements come from hacks.”
            you keep providing alternatives with holes, and try to pawn them off as equal alternatives. your solar argument (although you simply linked to others and did not actually take a position on solar) is of this case. it is a possible cause. but the data does not seem to indicate it is the major contributor to the changes we have seen. that is why it takes a back seat. it has nothing to do with disagreement or ideology. it simply does not appear to be the most likely reason. the problem with deniers is they do not want to focus on the most likely reason, they want to give less likely reasons an equal probability in the name of science-to support their own position. that is being a hack, bruce.

        4. sherparick

          I am afraid Dr. Curry has also gone around the ideological and tribal bend on this issue. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101101/full/news.2010.577.html She played a key role in putting Dr. Bates in touch with the Daily Mail Climate Denier Rose and to spin the story as a “whistleblower” about NOAA. Later Bates himself said that was not a story about “tampering” with data, but on the archiving procedures. http://www.sciencealert.com/no-noaa-didn-t-fake-environmental-data?perpetual=yes&limitstart=1 As Gavin Schmidt commented, the NOAA data is consistent with the other global data from the UK’s MET Office, something the Daily Mail story did distort. https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/828082851585388544

          In the end, this is the type rabbit hole story the deniers love. Although we certainly making it likely worse and accelerating the trend with the new administration, I have come to the conclusion that we were probably screwed by the end of the 20th century as the Ocean warmed to a critical temperature to start melting the Arctic and the ice dams blocking the flow of the great Antarctic glaciers into the ocean. Ditto Greenland. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/crisis-in-the-cryosphere-part-2/

          Curry makes a big deal about the uncertainty of IPCC predictions, but of course uncertainty goes both ways. The IPCC predictions could be to conservative, something that Curry never mentions. The fact is until an evidence accumulated that that CO2 increase would cause to much warming, this idea, human caused increase of CO2 would warm the Earth’s climate, issue was not even controversial until 1989. http://history.aip.org/climate/summary.htm And it became controversial because a great industry, the fossil fuel industry, found it a fact that their income, profits, and investments made it impossible to accept. Libertarians ideologically also find this a fact that they cannot accept since they believe that the market is a deus ex machina that always produces a beneficial out come (at least a beneficial outcome to the elite who libertarians believe or the only important humans in society). Unfortunately, even the elites in Greenland, Maya, Easter Island, etc. found that they could not escape the consequences of an environmental collapse.

          Reply
    2. Dave

      Surface based thermometer data is highly problematic for the reasons you mentioned. I believe sparsity on the global scale is the biggest issue. Does NOAA even save the non adjusted data?

      Reply
      1. sherparick

        1998 was the outlier to the trend, an exceptionally warm year caused by an exceptionally strong El Nino. Further, if the monitoring stations were accurate and data adjusted in 1998 are acceptable, then why not the data for 2014, 2015, and 2016, each one surpassing the record for warmest year on record in both NOAA and MET Office Data. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2016/2016-likely-to-break-global-temperature-record

        One of the predictions of Anthrogenic Climate change caused by release of Greenhouse gases (CO2 and Methane) is that the lower atmosphere and ocean will warm, and the upper atmosphere, the Stratusphere, because the trapping of heat in the lower atmosphere, will cool. The data from satellites confirm the hypothesis. https://www.skepticalscience.com/satellite-measurements-warming-troposphere.htm

        But again, when a man’s salary depends on not accepting a fact, one usually cannot persuade him otherwise.

        Reply
  3. Steven Kopits

    And of course, earthquakes are log scale.

    I actually find the notion of precipitating earthquakes through water injection to be an interesting concept. Who would have thought? Apparently, the current thinking holds that water reinjection lubricates dormant faults and causes them to slip. Maybe.

    Reply
  4. joseph

    Steven Kopits: “I actually find the notion of precipitating earthquakes through water injection to be an interesting concept. Who would have thought?”

    Who would have thought? Well, geologists and geophysicists have been talking about water-lubricated faulting for what, at least the last 50 years or so, probably longer. Heck, it was well known enough in the popular literature to form the plot of a 1980s James Bond film.

    Who knew? Who didn’t. As with climate, the oil industry has been pushing strongly on denial, lying scum as always. Anything for a buck.

    Reply
    1. Dave

      It never ceases to amaze me that folks well versed in economics don’t understand that our wealth in the US is based on cheap, reliable and plentiful fossil fuel based energy. This cheap energy provides an enormous amount of work in our economy allow folks like us to study economics rather than work on a farm.

      Reply
      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Dave: Aren’t you the same guy who wrote:

        “Scientists balk at ‘hottest year’ claims: Ignores Satellites showing 18 Year ‘Pause’ – ‘We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree’ – The ‘Pause’ continues”

        I guess you’re upset because your “pause” was eliminated in the data.

        Well, you are sounding pretty much a broken record, citing the same suspect websites funded by the fossil fuel industry.

        Reply
        1. Dave

          Menzie,

          Indeed I am the same guy. Thanks for noticing.

          Claiming that my sources are funded by the oil industry is an interesting distraction. I’d much rather focus on facts.

          The pause was eliminated through suspicious data adjustments. The science is not settled. I encourage you to track the RSS satellite data. As I stated before, surface based thermometer data is highly problematic.

          There are many respected scientists that are skeptical about the impact of human produced CO2 and global temperatures. In fact, most of the IPCC models grossly overpredicted today’s climate. Additionally, both the frequency and strength of hurricanes​ and tornadoes have declined in the last 10 years.

          I cannot disprove global warming theory. I simply believe there is not sufficient evidence to support it. Again, the science is not settled. Not even close.

          Thanks!

          Reply
          1. sherparick

            First, you will have to disenthrall yourself from bias yourself. Because, contrary to your claim, the IPCC modesl have been very accurate to date in predicting the climate trends of the last 20 years and trend lines as weather does vary from year to year. Ihttps://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Climate-Change-Predictions-How-Accurate-Are-They-Really and https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-science-predictions-prove-too-conservative/

            I will say that the denial camp does pay better than the science camp.

        2. Steven Kopits

          Whether or not the pause has ended depends on where the UAH / RSS data settle. If the anomaly holds in the 0.3-0.35 deg C range–that is, at current temperatures–then we can say that warming has resumed.

          On the other hand, we are still coming down the back side of last year’s El Nino, so it’s early to say that the anomaly has permanently moved up. Give it another 6-8 months, and then we’ll be better positioned to make a more definitive ruling.

          Reply
          1. Dave

            Hi Menzie,

            Regarding Trumps economic team: Again, I’d rather discuss evidence.

            Thanks,
            Dave

    2. Ray LaPan-Love

      I’ve worked in the oilfields and I don’t see how a fault might get lubricated. The fresh-water that gets pumped in comes back out within a few days along with varying amounts of salt-water. Then, for as long as a well is in production salt-water continues to come up mixed with the gas and oil, and thus, vast amounts of salt-water is ultimately removed. This process then leaves far less water than what was there to begin with, so the immediate area from where gas and oil are extracted are left dry, not wet.

      The waste water is then put down into fissures and voids at disposal wells that are drilled specifically for this purpose. So, essentially, in an area being worked water of both types is being moved from one place to another, where voids are being created while others voids are being filled.

      Reply
      1. baffling

        “I’ve worked in the oilfields and I don’t see how a fault might get lubricated. ”

        but you have seen the data indicated more frequent earthquakes, although of low magnitude, in areas of fracking? you may not understand it. but that does not mean it is not happening.

        Reply
        1. Ray LaPan-Love

          I did not say anything about earthquakes not happening, and I explain further below, but I just doubt that any lubricating is necessary.

          Reply
          1. baffling

            slip along a fault is inhibited by friction between the fault surfaces. motion occurs when that friction is overcome. if fracking is indeed weakening the geological structure, as you seem to be arguing below, then that is of significant geological concern as well-it damages the geological structure. if fracking provides a mechanism to reduce the friction between surfaces, that is also of significant geological concern. its not like oklahoma is going to sever and drop off into the sea. but geological instability creates all kinds of economic costs, such as building foundation motion, road settlements, dam instability, aquifer contamination, etc. so whether you want to argue about lubricants, that distracts from the fact that higher seismic activity is associated with fracking activity. and there are also local geological repercussions as a result.

  5. Dave

    You ought to track tornado strength and frequency data as well. I think you’ll find it very interesting

    Reply
  6. joseph

    Ray LaPan-Love: “I’ve worked in the oilfields and I don’t see how a fault might get lubricated.”

    Most of the earthquakes, including the biggest, are associated with the wastewater injection wells, not the fracking wells. This is because for the wastewater wells they are injecting typically at greater depths and much greater volumes into virgin formations that never before had water lubrication. While a fracking injection might last a few days or weeks, wastewater injection can go on for years, even decades, sometimes hundreds of thousands of barrels of water a month.

    Look, the fracking wells have already been depleted of the easy fluid oil and water. That is why they later come back and resort to fracking. So the fracking operation is just temporarily, for a few days, putting back some of the fluid that was there previously. Not much change.

    No so for the wastewater injection wells. They are putting vast amounts of water in new, previously unlubricated formations for long periods of time — years in many cases.

    So you are right, they are taking water from one place and putting in somewhere else, and that is what makes all the difference.

    Reply
    1. Ray LaPan-Love

      joseph,

      Yea, it makes more sense that any lubricating would take place at the disposal sites. And yes those disposal sites do usually take on vast amounts of water which is deposited at deeper depths ( I’ve worked on disposal wells, and I’ve driven tankers and then used disposals).

      I don’t understand though what you are saying about “they later come back and resort to fracking”, most fracking, and I’ve worked on the Barnett, the Bakken, and the Eagle Ford plays, has nothing to do with coming back. There are vertical wells which are gone back to now that technology allows heavier crude to be extracted; but fracking is done where shale formations have oil and gas trapped in crevices and etc, and all of the hundreds of the fracked well sites I’ve been to were not drilled previously. The drilling operation occurs first, and the rig is dismantled and moved away before the fracking equipment is brought on site, and sometimes the fracking is done more than once, but there is no going back in the context that you are using, or at least not that I’m aware of.

      Anyway, as for the ‘lubrication theory’, it seems more likely to me that the removal of so much saltwater, from so many voids, is allowing for movement. Maybe though, the lubricating at disposals is a factor too, but for every disposal there are maybe hundreds of wells, and these are typically close enough together to make an area into something resembling Swiss cheese, and water can of course provide support when trapped between layers of rock. There is also pressure being released as the drilling occurs. In fact, the pressure sometimes pushes all of the drilling compounds out and into the tanks which comprise the drilling platform. I have actually been assigned the task of hauling the backflow away so as to avoid spills, because it does occasionally happen to such an extent that tens of thousands of barrels of mixed fluids can come gushing back as the bit releases existing pressure. As the drilling occurs this pressure is monitored and varying amounts of weighty compounds, usually including some type of a clay, which is mixed with water and other lubricants, and sometimes even ‘heavy-water’, is capped so as to hold down the pressure. My point being that it is obvious that the drilling is changing things down there, and at such a depth that the saltwater comes up in a state that ranges from warm to hot. So, it seems conceivable that fissures sucked dry could thereafter get lubrication from some re-configuring that surely takes place, but I doubt that the lubrication is necessary.

      Reply
  7. Dave

    Sherparic,

    Sorry, the AGW “science” pays much more than skeptics. Try to get funding if you are a known skeptic.

    Also, I hope the term “denier” gives you the moral superiority your looking for.

    Reply

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