Despite the warm end to the year, the annual CET ended up pretty close to the long term average. As I have pointed out before, the Met Office only like to show the CET since 1772. For some reason, they don’t like people to see the full picture, which just happens to include the much bigger and faster rise in temperatures in the early 18thC! If we focus in on the period since 1980, we can see more clearly the step change in the late 1980’s, but, just as significantly, the flatlining since. Indeed, the 10-Year average has actually been declining since 2007. –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 2 January 2016
Arctic ice declined in the decade prior to 2007, but has not declined since. What we have seen in the last decade is a plateau in Arctic ice extent, analogous to the plateau in surface temperatures. –Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 1 January 2016
You have been asked to review why Britain has yet again been hit by extremely damaging floods, as it was in Staines in 2014, Somerset in 2013, Cockermouth in 2009, Gloucester in 2007, Carlisle in 2005, Boscastle in 2004 and York in 2000. You will get a lot of advice, much of it delivered by hobby horse. You’ll need to decide how to allocate blame between four things: extreme weather, budget cuts, green priorities and land management. Please resist the cheap excuse of climate change. It was Britain’s second wettest December: the same month in 1929 was wetter, so this kind of saturation could easily have happened even if climate change was not occurring. Besides, if global warming does exacerbate flooding slightly, we still have to deal with it. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 4 January 2016
With an obstinate atmosphere failing to warm as predicted, another peril was needed to sustain the junk-science industry and keep lazy reporters supplied with bogus scoops. No problem! Conscript a Disney character, garnish with misrepresentations and there you have it: ocean acidification. “Ocean Acidification,” the evil twin of global warming, is scary because the chemistry is so simple. For example, the Australian Academy of Science in its curriculum for secondary schools, organizes an experiment for 16-year-olds where crushed ocean shells go into a test tube of sea water. You add acid or vinegar or something, and then watch the shells fizz and dissolve! –Tony Thomas, Quadrant Online, 1 January 2016
Dick Lindzen suggested to me recently that this might be a good time to address the general question, “what causes the global-average warmth during El Nino?” Some of you might say, “the sun, of course”. Yes, the sun’s energy is the ultimate source of energy for the climate system, but it really doesn’t explain why El Nino years are unusually warm…or why La Nina years are unusually cool. The answer lies in the circulation of the Pacific Ocean, more specifically the vertical circulation of that ocean basin. The short answer is that, during El Nino, there is an average decrease in the vertical overturning and mixing of cold, deep ocean waters with solar-heated warm surface waters. The result is that the surface waters become warmer than average, and deeper waters become colder than average. The opposite situation occurs during La Nina. —Roy W Spencer, 1 January 2015
An increasing number of climatologists are critics of democracy. Only autocratic governments could avert catastrophe, they believe. “We need an authoritarian form of government to implement the scientific consensus on greenhouse gas emissions,” the Australians David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith emphasise in their book The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. –Nico Stehr, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 1 December 2015
As the Obama era grinds to its denouement, grassroots democracy, once favored by liberals, is losing its historic appeal to the left. Important progressive voices like Matt Yglesias now suggest that “democracy is doomed.” Other prominent progressives, such as American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner, see the more authoritarian model of China as successful while the U.S. and European political systems seem tired. Increasingly the call is not so much for a benevolent and charismatic dictator, but for an impaneled committee of experts to rule over our lives. Former Obama budget adviser Peter Orszag and Thomas Friedman argue openly that power should shift from naturally contentious elected bodies—subject to pressure from the lower orders—to credentialed “experts” operating in Washington, Brussels, or the United Nations. –Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast, 3 January 2016
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