Climate Science / Climate Change / Current Global Warming

CO2 measurments
Executive Summary: The following material demonstrates yet again that the broad outlines of the climate change story have been understood for decades (more than a century if you include Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall, James Croll, and Svante Arrhenius) by intelligent people who are guided by science. Climate change science was essentially complete long before Al Gore, long before the IPCC, and long before the Hockey Stick. Here are some additional points:
  1. Venus receives 70% more solar energy than Earth but the average surface temperature is 30 times higher on the Celsius scale (462 °C) and 14 times higher on the Fahrenheit scale (864 °F). In fact, Venus is hotter than Mercury (200-330 °C) which is much closer to the Sun. So why his Venus so hot? Answer: Its atmosphere is composed of 95% CO2 and this has caused a runaway greenhouse effect. Notice that the planet is doing just fine but is of no value in supporting life. Click here to see the details below.
  2. Meanwhile, here on Earth, atmospheric CO2 levels are rising while Oxygen levels are falling. If plant-life in the biosphere was able to adapt to higher CO2 levels as many climate change deniers claim, then we would expect reduced (or zero) levels of change. Put another way: our biosphere is loosing the battle with human-produced changes starting with the industrial revolution. Click here to see the details below.
  3. A secondary school chemical analysis proves that burning one pound of gasoline produces three pounds of carbon dioxide. Click here to see the details below.
    Comment: burning other fossil fuels, including natural gas, diesel or coal are not much different.
  4. On the one-hundredth anniversary of the oil industry in 1959, Edward Teller (the father of the hydrogen bomb) warned about the dangers associated with rising levels of CO2

Climate Warming concerns from Isaac Asimov (Ph.D. Biochemistry)

Isaac Asimov on PBS
Isaac Asimov PhD

Between 1940 and 1990 there existed a cadre of "great American explainers" who were able to inform the public about topics involving science. Examples include people like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and Richard Feynman to only name three of many. But since their deaths I have noticed the public slowly shift from the pragma of science toward the dogma of politics. Meanwhile it would seem that intelligent conversation is on the decline.

Title Time Notes
Isaac Asimov - 1977-05-21
 The Greenhouse Effect 
CBC Radio
Quirks and Quarks
David Suzuki
Isaac Asimov - 1989-01-14
10:04 Part 1 - The Threats to Humanity
Isaac Asimov - 1989-01-14
10:19 Part 2 - The Answer for Humanity
Why is it called the greenhouse effect?
CBC Radio Broadcast Date: May 21, 1977

What does the greenhouse effect have to do with a greenhouse? And how does it work? In this 1977 clip from the CBC Radio program Quirks and Quarks, popular science author Isaac Asimov tells us all about the greenhouse effect and how it could be warming up the Earth. He also explains why we should care. "This greenhouse effect can be very serious," says Asimov, "and it's something that we have to take into account."

Program Transcript (by NSR)
David Suzuki Isaac, we've been talking about a lot of words this year that most of our listeners may never have heard before. Do you have one that has become common in our everyday language?
Isaac Asimov Well, how about "Greenhouse Effect"? We know what a greenhouse is. Its a very common thing. Now, as you know, a greenhouse is made almost entirely of glass. And you figure, why glass? And the answer to that is that glass is transparent to visible light but not so transparent to infrared light. Infrared light is like visible light but has got longer waves. The longer the waves, the less energy it has. Now here's what happens; the high energy visible light from the sun goes through, and it heats up whatever is inside the greenhouse. Whatever is inside the greenhouse reradiates energy but at a lower energy intensity. So it doesn't reradiate visible light, it reradiates infrared. And that wont go through the glass very well so the heat is trapped inside the glass. The sunshine comes down, gets inside, stays there so to speak, so that the temperature inside the greenhouse is always higher than it is outside. And you manage to keep the plants growing even when, outside, it would be too cold for them to grow. Well then, anything which has this effect of allowing visible light to pass and being a barrier to infrared is said to have "a greenhouse effect" 
David Suzuki Um..hmm...
Isaac Asimov Now, one of the substances that has a greenhouse effect is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is transparent to visible light but it absorbs infrared; it acts as a heat shroud. Now in our atmosphere there are 3 hundredths of a percent of carbon dioxide. This isn't much but it is enough to trap some heat and make the surface of the Earth warmer by a little bit then would otherwise be. Now when we are burning fuel at all times, coal and oil, we are always pouring carbon dioxide into the air. Some of the carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans, some of it reacts with certain chemicals in the soil, but there's enough that gets into the atmosphere so that its going up slightly. And possibly by the time, um, say, another 50 years or so, it might, instead of 3 hundreds of a percent, it might be 5 hundreds of a percent. Well we'll never know the difference; carbon dioxide isn't particularly bad for us in that small quantity, we'll just breathe. But, its going to stop enough extra heat so that the surface of the Earth might be just a degree, or so, warmer on the average than it is now. Well this, too, isn't too bad. We can manage. The summers will be a little warmer and the winters a little milder. But, the peculiar thing is that perhaps this little additional heat on the Earth, generally, might suffice to start melting the ice caps. In other words, right now they melt a little in the summer and they freeze a little in the winter, and there's a balance. But if the Earth gets even a little warmer, maybe a little more will melt in the summer and a little bit less will freeze in the winter, and little by little they'll start melting. And all that water will run into the ocean and raise the level 200 feet (~ 51 m) and drown all the coasts, so that this greenhouse effect can be very serious and is something we have to take into account as we're working along. Now the planet Venus has a thick atmosphere which is 95 percent carbon dioxide. It has a runaway greenhouse effect and the temperature on the planet Venus is something like 500 degrees Centigrade (932 F) [which is] hot enough to melt lead. Entirely because of the heat trap of the atmosphere.
David Suzuki That really worries me because my wife and I live right on the ocean, in the ah, Pacific Ocean.
Isaac Asimov Well, I need not say that New York is right on the Atlantic Ocean.
David Suzuki Right. What was the, ah, concern, a while back, with the SST; that it might increase the greenhouse effect. What was the argument there? Do you know?
Isaac Asimov Well, the SST would release... see, carbon dioxide isn't the only molecule, uh, that acts as a greenhouse effect, there are other complicated molecules that do so, also. Ah, nitrous oxide, methane, and so on. Uh, but they are present in the atmosphere is far smaller quantities. But, the SST can release these molecules in the upper atmosphere, and uh, even small quantities can trap a little more heat. Also, they can react with the ozone layer...
David Suzuki Um..hmm...
Isaac Asimov that it also might threaten the ozone layer. This is not something which is absolutely certain but some scientists thought we oughtn't to have taken chances like that either
David Suzuki Thanks a lot Isaac.

Three really good 'Climate Science' information sites for citizens

Site name URL
NASA Climate
Skeptical Science
Climate Denial 'Crock of the Week'

It all begins in 1827 with the work of Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier

An introduction to climate change science for the citizen/layperson.

The "truth" about the email thefts from the University of East Anglia known as Climategate.

Shocking Revelations about American Climate Denial

Despite data being collected for over half a century, despite a President (Lyndon Johnson) being warned about the looming threat of a changing climate in the mid 1960s, and despite plants and animals now changing their behavior to fast altering conditions, a few scientists continue to raise doubts regarding climate science and its findings. Naomi Oreskes sees a pattern. The pattern repeats itself in a string of issues including controversy over tobacco smoke, the dangers of acid rain, and DDT.

UCSD (University of California at San Diego) Professor of History and Science Studies Naomi Oreskes Ph.D. presented this 58 minute lecture on the History of Global Warming Science titled The American Denial of Global Warming
39-second extract from the December-2014 movie MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
quote: Asbestos, Global Warming, DDT, Acid Rain, Tobacco, Ozone. There is a bit of a mystery [as] to what all these things have in common. All these issues are issues that involve the need for government action. That's when the penny dropped {euphemism} because then I began to realize that none of this is about the science. All of this is a political debate about the roll of government. So in a number of places we actually found these people saying: they see environmentalists as creeping communists, they see them as reds under the bed, they call them watermelons; green on the outside and red on the inside. And they worry that environmental regulation will be a slippery slope to socialism.
NSR Comment: Just as a non-trivial fraction of 1950's North America willfully fell under the spell of McCarthyism, the same thing has been happening over the past 30-years with the environment. Carl Sagan was correct when he said "Science is a way of thinking" so let me add this: "Politics is a way of not thinking" and adding religion to the mix only makes things worse. I wonder how much permanent damage will occur before the majority wakes up from "this madness"

Question: Why Do Americans Continue to Deny Climate Change? Answer: ... well, I'm so glad that you emphasized that it is really only in the United States that this is happening. And its not even happening in most of the Unites States [and parts of western Canada]. The deniers have a large megaphone and its called FOX NEWS and the rest of the right-wing media machine. But if you look at the numbers, really look at the numbers, its just a minority of people who believe this [stuff]. Now. Why. Its a sizeable minority so I don't mean to say its not, so why in the United States and not elsewhere. I think two basic reasons. One. Is that the United States historically, and today, has had a much stronger fossil fuel industry than any other advanced industrial nation. Look at Europe. They don't have, and haven't had, historically major oil companies. In Britain there was British Petroleum. That was their company. In the Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell. But the big oil companies historically have been US based, and, most of their money originally came from here, in the United States. Drilling in Texas, Oklahoma and here in California. And they became, the oil industry in particular, became the single richest business enterprise in human history. Let me emphasize that "the single richest business enterprise EVER". They know perfectly well that if we take climate science seriously that they will have to sell less product. And so, they have, as has been well reported and I talk a bit in the book, they've spent literally millions of dollars on a very calculated disinformation campaign for twenty years that is torn out of the playbook by the tobacco industry. And in fact, used the very same scientist, [physicist] Fredrick Seitz [founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a tobacco industry consultant and a prominent skeptic on the issue of global warming] as their top guy to basically say, in the immortal words of the tobacco industry P.R. memo in 1970, "doubt is our product". Not to prove, the point has not been, and is not today, to prove that climate science is wrong. The point is to simply raise enough doubt in the minds of journalists, politicians, the business class, and the general public. To raise enough doubt so that you can blunt the urge and the calls for political reform.

Climate Change 1 - Global Warming Food-for-Thought

Climate Change 2 - It Is All About the Ice (polar as well as glacial)

Climate Change 3 - Global Dimming (a temporary reprieve?)

Many non-scientists think global warming has stopped but this temporary trend seems to be related to something called "global dimming".

Oversimplifying the global warming equation to just two terms:

 Resultant environmental temperature  =  Global warming (via greenhouse gases)  -  Global dimming (via cloud formation) 

With "global dimming", certain kinds of visible pollution (smoke-stack and tail-pipe emissions, volcanoes, etc.) stimulate white-cloud formation which reflects incoming solar energy back into space before it can be converted to trapped heat. This "Global dimming" theory gained unexpected real-world proof when the 9/11 attacks on New York resulted in the grounding of American aircraft for three days. During this time, scientists measured a very noticeable increase in surface temperature.

Climate Change 4 - A closer look at CO2 (Earth vs. Venus)

caveat-1: what follows are a set of calculations which take numerous liberties in order to do back-of-the-envelope comparisons (assuming 100% absorption with "apparent 2-d area" is not the same as including albedo (reflectivity) when doing absorption calculations from the Sun-side of a 3-d sphere; and what of radioactivity?). But I believe these ball-park results prove my general point.
caveat-2: This article had been online for more than 5-years before I learned (2019-10-10) that what I have named "apparent 2-d area" is sometimes referred to by professional scientists as "capture cross section". If doing actual heat capture calculations it might be wise to first multiply "apparent 2-d area" by 0.8 although my intuition tells me the 0.7071 might be a better choice. We can skip this concern when doing comparisons (please redo the my calculations below if you do not believe me)

An optimal CO2 level is required for complex life but too much may be as dangerous as too little

To see what I mean, consider the Wikipedia-sourced data (highlighted in yellow) in the following table:
Object Temperature
must only be
done in Kelvin)
from Sun
Notes Mean
2-d Area
Min Mean Max
100 K
-46 C
220 K

390 K
150 million ~ 10-7 Same distance from the Sun as Earth
Atmospheric pressure is almost zero
Temperature extremes would kill animal life
1,737 9.48 0.12
Earth -89 C
184 K
15 C
287 K
57 C
331 K
150 million 101 Same distance from the Sun as our moon
Percentage of CO2 is: 0.041 (410 ppm)
6,371 127.52 0.30
Venus    462 C
735 K
   108 million 9,200 Hotter than Mercury while further from the sun
Percentage of CO2 is: 95
6,051 115.03 0.70
100 K
67 C
340 K

700 K
46 million
70 million
0 Cooler than Venus while closer to the sun
No atmosphere to speak of
2,439 18.69 0.12

Initial Observations:

We can see CO2 in action (as a warming blanket) by comparing Earth to Venus:

 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000011111111111111111111111111 }
 0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    0    1    2    3    4    5 } - million km
 0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0 }
 |                        |                           |                     |
Sun                    Mercury                      Venus                 Earth
                       50 M-km                    108 M-km              150 M-km
  1. If we were being very simplistic then we would just compare the solar distances of Venus to Earth (notice that the first three planets are almost at one-third points from the sun). Since the ratio of 108/150 would indicate relative coolness, then the inverse ratio of 150/108 would indicate relative hotness; and that value is 1.39 (Venus should be 1.39 times hotter than Earth)
  2. However, everyone familiar with radiation knows that simple inverse ratios must be replaced with the inverse-square law. This calculation then becomes (1502 / 1082) = (22500 / 11664) = 1.93 (Venus should be 1.93 times hotter than Earth).
  3. But this comparison is still a bit too simplistic since Venus is ~ 5% smaller than Earth so would intercept a little less solar radiation at the closer position. Here it makes sense to use the radius of the (almost) spherical body to compute the area of an apparent two-dimensional disk as viewed from the sun. Repeating our relative calculations using "squared distances" multiplied by "apparent areas" yields a slightly lower solar collection factor of 1.74 (Venus should be 1.74 times hotter than Earth).
Planet Mean
2-d Area
(for solar
M sq-km
M km
(E x H)
Earth 287 K 1.000 6,371 127.516 150 22,500 4.44e-5 0.0056673 1.0000
Venus 735 K 2.606 6,051 115.028 108 11,664 8.57e-5 0.0098618 1.7401

Additional Solar References:

Climate Change 5 - Global Warming is an observational fact

"Global Warming" is an observational fact. In this controversy, evidence falls into two categories: direct measurements (which started with the invention and distribution of inexpensive, yet accurate, thermometers in the mid 1860s) and proxy measurements.
  1. Proxy measurements require quite a bit of interpretation (because they cross many scientific disciplines -and- are spotty so do not necessarily represent world wide events) and so should only be left to the experts in the court of peer reviewed science.
  2. Direct measurements require very little interpretation provided you understand a very small amount of science.
CO2 vs O2So here are observational facts from reputable science organizations (updated for 2019):
  1. Average global temperatures have risen 1.05 C (1.9 F) degrees since measurements began in 1880
    Direct Measurement: and
  2. CO2 levels have risen 27% since annual measurements began in 1958
    Direct Measurement: (most recent CO2 data)
    Computed Rate of Increase: ((412-315) / (2019-1958)) = (97 / 61) = 1.59 ppm per year
  3. Oxygen levels have fallen (695-103) = 592 per meg since annual measurements began in 1990
    Direct Measurement: (data sets are freely available for download )
    Analysis: Comment: Since O2 production by non-animal life is not able to compensate for all the "unnatural" fossil fuel burning by humanity, it appears that our biosphere is slowly dying.
  4. Ocean levels have been rising at a rate of 1.7 mm per year between 1870 and 2004 for a total of 22.7 cm (9 in). However new RADAR data from orbital satellites now show the new rate of increase to be 3.4 mm which is double the old rate
    Direct Measurements: This is primarily due to:

Climate Change 6 - Incontrovertible Facts

Climate Change 7 - Improving atmospheric CO2 extraction of trees
(a temporary solution which is better than nothing)

First, a few basic facts about photosynthesis

Chemical formula for photosynthesis
  1. A primary grade-school explanation of photosynthesis tells the young student that "CO2 is converted into O2". Sometimes a very simplified chemical formula is provided like this one:

        CO2 + H20 + energy = (CH2O) + O2

  2. Secondary-school biology classes introduce more details including a properly balanced chemical formula similar to this one:

         6CO2 + 6H2O + photons = C6H12O6 + 6O2

  3. College courses in molecular biology fill in the missing intermediate steps which show that O2 is only liberated by the photolysis of water (the original research was done by scientists using radioactive tagging). So it is more accurate to say "H2O is split by photolysis into O2 and H with the O2 immediately discarded to the atmosphere. Later in the process, H is combined with atmospheric CO2 to produce glucose"
simplified diagram of photosynthesis

A few more details 
  • The left-hand side of the diagram was previously known as The Light Reactions but most publications this side of Y2K refer to it as Light-dependent Reactions
    • Light induces photolysis (splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen) which liberates an electron along with a small amount of energy to power other chemical reactions (see: electron transport chain for details)
      • one liberated electron is used to bind phosphorous (+P) with ADP yielding ATP (the power transfer molecule of most biological systems including humans)
      • energy is used to bind atomic hydrogen (H) to NADP+ yielding NADPH (to transport hydrogen to the other side of the diagram)
      • some energy is used to bind atomic oxygen (O) into molecular oxygen (O2) which is released to the atmosphere
    • observation: You might wonder why Photosystem II is before Photosystem I. These labels relate to the order in which they were discovered and were not changed because this would conflict with previously published literature. 
  • The right-hand side of the diagram was previously known as The Dark Reactions but most publications this side of Y2K refer to it as Light-independent Reactions  
    • hydrogen (from NADPH) is combined with atmospheric CO2 to produce glucose
    • the whole thing is powered by converting ATP back into ADP (which frees a +P to be used in the next turn if the cycle)
diagram of photosynthesis

So we now know that sunlight (input 1) and H20 (input 2) are more important than CO2 (input 3) because the photolysis of water in Photosystem II (on the left-hand side of the diagram) powers the Calvin Cycle (on the right-hand side of this diagram). We already know that too much sunlight, or too much water, will kill a plant so pushing in additional carbon-dioxide makes little sense (but each ingredient is considered a limiting factor to maximum productivity). But because increasing atmospheric CO2 is driving up atmospheric temperatures, we can expect increased evaporation. This will result in less bio-available water to plants.

Suggestions to maximize CO2 removal

Planting trees is just a Band-Aid solution

While I am a huge proponent of planting trees, and watering them properly to improve CO2 draw-down, this is a very temporary measure. I should not need to point out that trees can only sequester CO2 while they are in sunlight, in non-frozen soil, and are alive. As soon as a tree dies, microbes will break it down causing a massive release of carbon in the forms of CO2, methane, and other related gases. This means that a tree is just a stop-gap measure -AND- dead trees need to be replanted immediately. Also, it should be obvious to all that a newly planted young tree will not have the same CO2 draw-down capacity of a large mature tree.

The industrial revolution(s) caused this problem and I fear that an industrial revolution can only fix it with Direct Air Capture technology from companies like this one: ...but I also fear that the current fossil fuel industry will think that technology like this will allow them to continue to poltute.

Details about burning Gasoline ('petrol' for you Brits)

CO2 moleculeAt first glance it seems impossible (to a non-scientist) that:
burning one U.S. gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline (C8H18)
which weighs approximately 6 pounds (2.7 Kg)
will produce produce produce 18 pounds (8.16 Kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2)
However, most of the weight of CO2 does not come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air. When gasoline burns, the carbon and hydrogen separate. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water vapor (H2O) while the carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2). A carbon atom has an atomic weight of 12, and each oxygen atom has an atomic weight of 16, giving each single molecule of CO2 an atomic weight of 44 (12 + 2 x16 ). It now appears that that Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) technology will never be practical since the required amount of energy to compress-store this volume of gas would be too large.

Is 'too much' CO2 good or bad?

The guy in the office next to me is convinced that 405 ppm of CO2 is a tiny fraction of gas and is of no concern to life on Earth. Well, almost anyone with a basic knowledge of biology already knows that placing a plastic bag over your head will cause problems (headaches) due to a slightly elevated CO2 level long before the O2 level drops causing unconsciousness. This is the main reason why CO2 scrubbers are required technology on aircraft and submarines. Simply adding additional O2 is not enough, you must remove the CO2
Getting back to tiny numbers for a moment, doing the math shows that 405 ppm of CO2 is equivalent to an atmospheric concentration of 0.0405 percent. This doesn't sound like much until you recall that a blood alcohol level of anywhere between 0.05 and 0.08 percent (depending upon local laws) means that society considers you legally intoxicated. Point Zero Five is the colloquial phrase for 0.050 percent which is only 0.01 percent above 0.04 percent.

calculation result calculation description
     400 / 1,000,000 0.000405
405 ppm expressed as a decimal
405 ppm expressed as a decimal (alternate form)
0.000400 * 100 0.0405 %
0.04   %
405 ppm expressed as a percent
405 ppm expressed as a percent (alternate form)

I must point out that "atmospheric CO2 concentrations" and "blood alcohol ratios" do not have the same effect on the human body. Publications by the U.S. Navy indicate that atmospheric CO2 levels of 0.5% will induce physiological changes such as nausea and headaches. This ad-hoc comparison seems to indicate that humans tolerate CO2 approximately ten times better than alcohol (0.50 / 0.05 = 10). Nevertheless, you cannot dismiss numbers just because you consider them small. For example, compounds like the recreational drug LSD have their effect in parts per billion (denominator has nine zeros) while dioxins like agent-orange are dangerous in parts per trillion (denominator has twelve zeros).

Reaping What We Sow :: WE ARE undoubtedly pumping ever more carbon dioxide into the air. But did you know that this also silently adds unwanted carbs to bread, cereals and salad and cuts vital protein and mineral content? This nutritional blow is now worrying the world's most powerful nation. For the first time it forms a key finding in an official report on the health impacts of climate change in the US, drawn up by the Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and unveiled by the White House this week. Why would more CO2 mean poorer food? Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants, are the carbohydrate factories of the world. They convert CO2 and water into gigatonnes of starch and sugars every year. And every year since the industrial age began, we have steadily fed them more CO2. Plants respond by building more carbohydrates but less protein into tissues. This means a higher ratio of carbs to protein in plants, including key crops such as wheat, rice and potato. This is a double whammy: protein deficiency afflicts the developing world, while excess carbohydrate consumption is a worry in the obesity-riven developed world. This is not the only nutritional impact. To capture CO2, plants open pores in their leaves. These stomata let in CO2 but allow water out: plants compensate by sucking moisture from the soil. Transpiration, as this process is called, is a major hydrological force. It moves minerals essential for life closer to the roots, nourishing plants and ultimately us. But plants respond to high CO2 by partially closing stomata and losing less water. This reduces the flow of nutrients to roots and into plants. Less minerals but more carbs creates a higher carbs-to-minerals ratio in crops and food. In an elevated CO2 world, every serving of bread, pasta, fruits and vegetables delivers more starch and sugar but less calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, protein and other vital nutrients. Over a lifetime, this change can contribute to weight gain. Hidden hunger, the result of diets rich in calories but poor in vital nutrients, was mainly a developing world problem. But in 2002, New Scientist predicted that "elevated CO2 levels threaten to bring the problem to Europe and North America". Skepticism made it difficult to secure funding for testing this prediction and slowed progress by a decade. However, the conclusion is now unequivocal: rising CO2 depletes protein and minerals in most food that underpins human nutrition across the world. Sceptics {Skeptics} like to claim that rising CO2 is a boon because it boosts crop yields. But as US Department of Agriculture scientist Lewis Ziska put it "elevated CO2 could be junk food" for some plant species. There really is no such thing as a free lunch with climate change. -- New Scientist April 9-15, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance (or, "How We Fool Ourselves")

An alternative explanation for the bizarre claims of "science deniers" involves a "creative injection" solution to the problem of "Cognitive Dissonance". What is "CD"? Briefly, it is the sensation of a "potential difference" between conflicting ideas which, under normal circumstances, compels you to change your behavior.
Consider this example:

Citizens who have spent large amounts of money on Hummers, SUVs or "multiple family vehicles" will create a dissonance if they "accept climate change" so will find it easier to pick from a cornucopia of creative alternatives like: "the Earth's climate is not changing", "The Earth's climate has warmed before", "7 billion humans can not change Earth's climate", "the science is uncertain", "god will intervene before things get too bad", etc. Introducing other unknowns like a carbon-tax only increases dissonance. But in the end they are just like the people who think they can continue smoking with no consequences.

Literary (fictional) Observation: two technicians discuss "the conflict of positronic potentials" in chapter 2 of the book "I, Robot". Since this story was written in the 1940's, is it possible it was the germ idea for Cognitive Dissonance which first appears in the literature in 1956?

A possible reinforcing effect to Cognitive Dissonance is something known as the Dunning-Kruger effect after the publication of their 1999 paper titled: "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments"

Does Political Conservatism produce Stupidity?

Not only is North America's slow 30-year (starting in 1981 with Reagan and Thatcher) shift toward conservatism destroying the middle class, it has resulted in a shift toward ignorance and stupidity. Don't believe me? Peruse the excerpts from these publications:

Art Imitates Life?

Quotes from the 1973 movie "Soylent Green"

Ancient Information from 2009 (preserved but not deleted)

Do the Climategate Emails Cut Both Ways? (yes)

Two scientists (Roy Spencer and John Christy) at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) where getting a lot of attention from the denier community which prompted me to investigate further. While in the middle of reading some of their publications I received an email containing this URL ( ) which will allow any visitor to search through the stolen emails at the heart of the November 2009 controversy known as Climatgate. I pulled up the main web page then entered the phrase "spencer christy" into the search box which brought up 34 hits. One of them presented this 2005 email:
From: Phil Jones <>
To: "Michael E. Mann" <>
Subject: Empire Strikes Back - return of proper science !
Date: Fri May 20 13:45:26 2005


Just reviewed Caspar's paper with Wahl for Climatic Change. Looks pretty good.
Almost reproduced your series and shows where MM have gone wrong. Should keep
them quiet for a while. Also they release all the data and the R software. Presume
you know all about this. Should make Keith's life in Ch 6 easy !
Also, confidentially for a few weeks, Christy and Spencer have admitted
at the Chicago CCSP meeting that their 2LT record is wrong !! They used the wrong
sign for the diurnal correction ! Series now warms - not quite as much as the surface
but within error bands. Between you and me, we'll be going with RSS in Ch 3
and there will be no discrepancy with the surface and the models. Should make Ch 3
a doddle now ! Keep quiet about this until Bern at least. Can tell you more then.
RSS (Carl Mears and Frank Wentz) found the mistake !
The skeptic pillars are tumbling !

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email
This was the first time I knew of this issue which prompted me to look elsewhere.

Using Search Engines to Learn More

  1. Dropping the next line into a Google text box will allow you restrict your search to the IPCC site: Mears Wentz Spencer Christy

    note: the "site:" parameter is used to restrict Google searches to any web site you specify; no need to include the "http://" or "https://" prefix
  2. Next you should Google these phrases (blogs will be less useful to you than scientific journals or pages from NASA or NOAA):

    Mears Wentz
    Mears Wentz Spencer Christy
  3. One interesting hit came from a 2005 article in Science ( which is run by the AAAS) titled: "The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature". Since I didn't have a subscription to read the full article, I dropped the quoted title into Google which yielded this hit:
    Abstract: "The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature" by Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz

    Satellite-based measurements of decadal-scale temperature change in the lower troposphere have indicated cooling relative to Earth's surface in the tropics. Such measurements need a diurnal correction to prevent drifts in the satellites' measurement time from causing spurious trends. We have derived a diurnal correction that, in the tropics, is of the opposite sign from that previously applied. When we use this correction in the calculation of lower tropospheric temperature from satellite microwave measurements, we find tropical warming consistent with that found at the surface and in our satellite-derived version of middle/upper tropospheric temperature. - original paper published in SCIENCE

The "Coles Notes" Summary of this Dispute

Introduction to Climate Measurements

Radiosonde weather probes are launched from balloons at eight hundred locations every day (and this has been going on since the late 1950s). Nearly all routine launches occur 45 minutes before the official observation times of 0000 UTC and 1200 UTC, so as to provide an instantaneous snapshot of the atmosphere. The measurements are sent to various groups like the World Meteorological Organization where they are made available to everyone in the whole world. Since error-prone humans were involved in collecting radiosonde data, many people believed more accurate and consistent measurements could be obtained using weather satellites.
But satellites can't measure temperature directly so how do they do it? Most people reading this will already possess some hands-on practical experience using microwave ovens where microwave radio waves are employed to induce water molecules to oscillate, thus producing kinetic energy in the form of heat. The reverse is also true in that atmospheric heat will induce atmospheric molecules to oscillate which, in turn, will release microwaves which can be detected by specially constructed radio receivers. The intensity and frequency of these microwaves enable satellites to infer, by proxy, the temperature and composition of the atmosphere below.
Two Groups, Two Results

It turned out that there had been previous disagreements between the two published interpretations of publically available raw satellite measurements.
  1. One interpretation came from RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) and indicated global warming. This agreed with radiosonde data.
  2. The other interpretation came from UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) and indicated global cooling. This disagreed with radiosonde data.
It wasn't until 2003 that the RSS researchers finally got access to the algorithms used by the UAH researchers. The RSS researchers noticed two critical errors: One of them was a sign error in the diurnal correction term, the other was an algebraic error. Mears and Wentz of RSS published their findings in the 2 September 2005 issue of Science which is a weekly publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In the letters area of the same issue, Roy Spencer and John Christy acknowledged the errors then added "that the UAH numbers now indicate a slight warming”. The letters go back and forth for a few months.

This is why this corrected chart titled Surface and Satellite Temperatures contains almost identical trend lines (slopes) for both RSS and UAH. Reading the description under the chart will throw more light onto the subject. The observant viewer will have noticed that the slope indicates a rise of 0.16C per decade. This translates into 0.29F per decade for those few countries not yet on the metric system.

Articles describing Satellite Temperature Measurement Science can be found here (listed in order of simplicity):
Satellite measurements of warming in the troposphere

Of Satellites and Air – A Primer on Tropospheric temperature measurement by Satellite

Climate Change & Tropospheric Temperature Trends

Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedback

The Political Controversy

No scientists have ever, or would ever, fault Roy Spencer and John Christy for making mistakes. All humans make mistakes; though scientists are trained to avoid the pit-falls which usually trip up non-scientists. This is why scientists value the peer-review publishing process so that errors don't escape into the wild where they would be picked up by the popular press.

However, while Spencer and Christy admitted their mistakes to the scientific community in 2005, they continued to tell the world that their interpretation of satellite data still proved there was no global warming. In fact, Spencer authored two books along this line: "Climate Confusion" (2008) and "The Great Global Warming Blunder" (2010)

When non-science people began searching through the Climatgate emails meant to discredit climate science as well as the climate scientists at the CRU they stumbled on the names of Spencer and Christy. Oops! Hey, aren't these two guys always on FOX News and conservative talk radio saying Earth is cooling? Once you learn that Roy Spencer is on the board of directors of George C Marshall Institute (an organization previously known for publishing misleading papers doubting the hazards of "smoking tobacco", "second hand smoke", etc.) then you realize that the invisible hand of big business is involved.

But then John Christy lied to congress while helping to destroy the reputation of another scientist

I stumbled across this Record of U.S.A. Congressional Testimony where John Christy is caught lying (I do not know if he was under oath but this guy is a self-described Christian who still teaches the Bible classes at a Sunday school. Shame)

Academic Proof (from 2003)

Original Paper (from 2005)

Abstract: "The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature" by Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz

Satellite-based measurements of decadal-scale temperature change in the lower troposphere have indicated cooling relative to Earth's surface in the tropics. Such measurements need a diurnal correction to prevent drifts in the satellites' measurement time from causing spurious trends. We have derived a diurnal correction that, in the tropics, is of the opposite sign from that previously applied. When we use this correction in the calculation of lower tropospheric temperature from satellite microwave measurements, we find tropical warming consistent with that found at the surface and in our satellite-derived version of middle/upper tropospheric temperature. - original paper published in SCIENCE

Those questionable blogs

I decided to search a little further and came up with theses blog pages which do not contain the academic coolness of a published peer-reviewed science paper. Nevertheless, it throws a little more light on the bad science produced by some people (Caveat: beware, almost all blogs contain questionable material)
So, thank the deity for the Climategate hackers because I might have never found out about this HUGE mistake. My main questions now are:
  1. If Roy Spencer and John Christy knew about their mistake in 2003 why did they not come clean until 2005?
  2. Why do Roy Spencer and John Christy still claim that they are correct while the combined efforts of several thousand, actively publishing, peer reviewed scientists in this field are wrong? Are they just saving face? Did they think Joe Citizen wouldn't read the papers published in professional scientific journals?

Spencer and Christy "Fess Up" (sort of)

The truth about the Climategate Emails (what they contain, and what they do not)

Words and Phrases Taken Out of Context (what really happened)

  1. Most Christians are shocked to learn that the Bible actual says "There is no God" and it will be found between double quotes.
    Yep. The actual quote comes from Psalm 14-1 and you should all look it up.
    But the quote I just gave was take out of context. Here is the full quote:
    The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.
  2. This quote comes from Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)
    "If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him."
    (which reminds me of things written about Galileo by the church when the Roman Catholic church when they found him guilty of professing a world view different than that of the church)
What Really Happened
During Climategate 2009 many email phrases were taken out of context then presented to the public (by the mostly-American science-denial echo-chamber) as evidence of various conspiracy theories. So, in a nutshell, this is what really happened:

While creating a diagram for the cover of a WMO periodical, the phrase "Hide the decline" was used in emails and refers to the fact that tree-ring growth stopped following instrumental temperature measurements starting around 1960 (no one knows why but some believe this has something to do with industrial pollution). Since tree-ring growth represents proxy data, and this data was questionable since it conflicts with other proxies as well as instrumental temperature measurements, the authors "hid the decline of tree ring data" (done in one color) with the instrumental record (done in another color)

Would any of us want our ad-hoc informal email communications to be made public? Probably not. And if we knew that all communications would, some day, come under close scrutiny then I am certain we would all be a lot more careful. Anyway, this is the main reason why the dozen different investigations into this incident found zero evidence that scientists committed any crime. 

Bad Science - A decade later

I was unaware of this until I watch this video ( on 2016-12-27) published by potholer54 where non-scientist Lord Christopher Monkton makes the claim: "one climate model shows no warming from 1997 to 2014-5"

It turns out that he (Monkton) ignored all the other models which showed global warming (IIRC, there are now ~ 30 universities generating climate models in order to cross-check modeling techniques while looking for errors). The thing that interested me was this: "climate deniers were now using a data model published by RRS to support their claims" Whoa! Wasn't RSS the group that found errors in the UAH data set between 2003 and 2005?

So it turns out that Mears and Wentz of RSS had been using data from Satellite NOAA-15 which is in a decaying orbit for which RSS had used a bad diurnal cycle drift (yes, it would seem that Karma is a real thing). Other modelers had dropped data from NOAA-15 or replaced it with NASA Aqua AMSU as Roy Spencer correctly states here:

and Mears and Wentz state here in May-2016:

The Media (again)

Now that we know that all the climate models (including the one from UAH) except one (RSS) show warming, and that the lone outlier (RSS) is based upon suspect data gathered from an older satellite in a decaying orbit, why do politicians as well as the corporately controlled news rooms give any credence to climate change deniers?

Cult of ignorance (quote from 1980)

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

-- Isaac Asimov (Newsweek, 21 January 1980)

A cult of ignorance


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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.