Monthly Archives: February 2015

Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!

Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!: A Story for Children and their Adults” is a new children’s book by Gregg Kleiner about global warming. The idea is simple. Imagine if you could see CO2? In the book, it is imagined to be pink. The imagining takes the form of a quirky father, one imagines him to be an inventor of some sort, coming up with the idea of making goggles that would allow you to see CO2 as a pink gas. This is all described by the man’s patient but clearly all suffering son, who eventually dons the prototype goggles and sees for himself.

I read this to Huxley, age 5, and he loved it. He kept asking questions, and saying things like, “Is that true? Really?” I knew he would enjoy the book for its witty chatter and excellent illustrations, but frankly I did not expect him to be enthralled. He is fairly laid back when it comes to matters of science, nature, and for that matter, mathematics. He tends to absorb, then, later makes up song about it or comes up with difficult questions. His reaction was unique.

Bill McKibben’s reaction was pretty strong too. He is quoted as saying, “I’ve often wondered what would happen if CO2 were visible. Now I know!” … except he already knew. There would be pink everywhere. At the density of about 400ppm. More than the 350 value that gives his organization its name!

I had only one small problem with the book, and that is the description of what fossil fuels are. The majority of oil probably formed in aquatic, mainly marine, environments as the detritus of mostly small organisms and invertebrates, not dinosaurs and old trees like the book says. Coal is probably most plant matter, but boggy plants and detritus formed in low spots. And so on. Had I edited the book, I would have asked for a sentence or two to broaden the concept of where fossil fuels come from, and maybe a sentence or two to underscore the fact that the fossil fuels we use today were deposited in fits and starts of many tens of millions of years. The process of painting our planet pink over just several decades has released a huge percentage of that Carbon, mainly as CO2. It is like taking five years to fill up a glass of milk then spilling half of it on the sofa in one second. (A proper analogy for the targeted reading age for this great book.)

People often ask me for a recommendation on a book about climate change for kids. This book is great for that purpose. It fits a wide range of ages, but primarily little kids and elementary school. This is not an explainer on global warming, but rather, a great story that gives a sense of the importance of climate change without totally freaking out the audience. The illustrations by Laurel Thomson are excellent.

Of you want to do something about climate change, buy a few copies and give them to your local school’s library (they probably call it a media center) or your local preschool. And your kid, of course. Or to your annoying climate denying cousin’s kids. That would be good.

Gregg Kleiner also wrote Where River Turns to Sky.

You can believe NASA or you can believe the Senator with the snowball

“You can believe the United States Navy or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“You can believe the Pope or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“We can believe [great American corporations] or we can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“You can believe every single major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!

Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!: A Story for Children and their Adults” is a new children’s book by Gregg Kleiner about global warming. The idea is simple. Imagine if you could see CO2? In the book, it is imagined to be pink. The imagining takes the form of a quirky father, one imagines him to be an inventor of some sort, coming up with the idea of making goggles that would allow you to see CO2 as a pink gas. This is all described by the man’s patient but clearly all suffering son, who eventually dons the prototype goggles and sees for himself.

I read this to Huxley, age 5, and he loved it. He kept asking questions, and saying things like, “Is that true? Really?” I knew he would enjoy the book for its witty chatter and excellent illustrations, but frankly I did not expect him to be enthralled. He is fairly laid back when it comes to matters of science, nature, and for that matter, mathematics. He tends to absorb, then, later makes up song about it or comes up with difficult questions. His reaction was unique.

Bill McKibben’s reaction was pretty strong too. He is quoted as saying, “I’ve often wondered what would happen if CO2 were visible. Now I know!” … except he already knew. There would be pink everywhere. At the density of about 400ppm. More than the 350 value that gives his organization its name!

I had only one small problem with the book, and that is the description of what fossil fuels are. The majority of oil probably formed in aquatic, mainly marine, environments as the detritus of mostly small organisms and invertebrates, not dinosaurs and old trees like the book says. Coal is probably most plant matter, but boggy plants and detritus formed in low spots. And so on. Had I edited the book, I would have asked for a sentence or two to broaden the concept of where fossil fuels come from, and maybe a sentence or two to underscore the fact that the fossil fuels we use today were deposited in fits and starts of many tens of millions of years. The process of painting our planet pink over just several decades has released a huge percentage of that Carbon, mainly as CO2. It is like taking five years to fill up a glass of milk then spilling half of it on the sofa in one second. (A proper analogy for the targeted reading age for this great book.)

People often ask me for a recommendation on a book about climate change for kids. This book is great for that purpose. It fits a wide range of ages, but primarily little kids and elementary school. This is not an explainer on global warming, but rather, a great story that gives a sense of the importance of climate change without totally freaking out the audience. The illustrations by Laurel Thomson are excellent.

Of you want to do something about climate change, buy a few copies and give them to your local school’s library (they probably call it a media center) or your local preschool. And your kid, of course. Or to your annoying climate denying cousin’s kids. That would be good.

Gregg Kleiner also wrote Where River Turns to Sky.

New Research Suggests Global Warming Is About To Heat Up

A paper just published in Science Magazine helps explain variation we see in the long term Carbon-pollution caused upward trend Earth’s surface temperatures. The research also, and rather ominously, suggests that a recent slowdown in that trend is likely to reverse direction in the near future, causing the Earth’s surface temperature to rise dramatically.

The graph shown above represents the ongoing warming of the Earth’s surface owing to the increased atmospheric concentration of human generated greenhouse gas pollution, mainly CO2. But, have a look at the following graph of changes in concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere:

global-co2-levels-since-1700

As you can see, the increase in CO2 is very steady, while the changes in Earth’s surface temperature is very squiggly. Why? In particular, the Earth’s surface temperatures seem to undergo a series of rapid increases or decreases, and now and then, seem to squiggle up and down along a slowly ascending plateau, as has been happening recently. Climate science deniers have taken this recent slowing in the increase of temperature as a signal that the link between CO2 concentrations and global surface temperatures is a hoax. But real climate scientists focus instead on actually explaining, rather than making up stories about, this variation.

There are several different factors that may cause the shorter term squiggles that we see superimposed on the longer term warming trend. The sun’s energy varies over decades, and this contributes a small amount to the variation. Aerosols (dust), either from human activities or volcanic activity, can produce a cooling effect, and this effect varies across time. If you look at the graph of temperatures, you’ll see a strong downward trend associated with the vast eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, for example. A third source of variation in the upward march of the Earth’s temperature is not really a source of cooling or heating at all, but rather, a shift in where the heat goes. The graph on the top of this post is of “surface temperature,” which is a combination of land-based thermometers at roughly head-height, located at weather stations around the world, and sea surface temperatures. But well over 90% of the heat added to the Earth’s system by the human-caused greenhouse effect actually ends up in the ocean. A small percentage of variation in how much heat goes into, or comes out of, the ocean can cause a large variation in the “surface temperature.” You can think of the surface temperature measurements as a relatively small tail attached to a rather large dog, where the dog is the ocean and the tail is the land based thermometers and the sea surface. (I’ve developed this analogy here.)

That the behavior of the ocean is important can be understood by noting that while surface temperature increase has slowed in recent years, the temperature in the top couple of kilometers of the world’s oceans has continued to increase apace. You can also look at the relationship between the squiggle of the surface temperature curve and El Niño and La Niña events. The former are periods of time when the Pacific ocean is sending heat out into the atmosphere, and the latter are periods of time when the Pacific is sucking more heat in. The following graphic from Skeptical Science illustrates this nicely.

AllENSOwtrends

“ENSO” refers to the El Niño-La Niña cycling. The top line, in red, represents the change over time in surface temperature just during El Niño periods, while the blue line, along the bottom, represents change over time in surface temperature just using La Niña years. As you can see, many of the ups and downs in the long term surface temperature trend seem to represent ENSO variation.

Now, to the recently published study. The paper is “Atlantic and Pacific multidecadal oscillations and Northern Hemisphere temperatures” by Byron Steinmann, Michael Mann, and Sonya Miller, and is published in tomorrow’s Science. (Yes, I have a time machine.) From the abstract:

The recent slowdown in global warming has brought into question the reliability of climate model projections of future temperature change and has led to a vigorous debate over whether this slowdown is the result of naturally occurring, internal variability or forcing external to Earth’s climate system. To address these issues, we applied a semi-empirical approach that combines climate observations and model simulations to estimate Atlantic- and Pacific-based internal multidecadal variability (termed “AMO” and “PMO,” respectively). Using this method, the AMO and PMO are found to explain a large proportion of internal variability in Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures. Competition between a modest positive peak in the AMO and a substantially negative-trending PMO are seen to produce a slowdown or “false pause” in warming of the past decade.

The research (also reviewed here by Chris Mooney) combines observational data (temperature records and the indices for the AMO and PMO) with sophisticated modeling techniques to parse out the contributions of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the big dogs of climate change (the Pacific being the much bigger dogs) on surface temperature variability. Essentially, they are trying to determine how much of the squiggling, specially the recent slowing down of temperature increase, is accounted for by “internal variability” as opposed to “forcings.” The former includes the interactions of the surface and the ocean. “Forced” variation is, according to Michael Mann, means “… governed by drivers, be they human (increased greenhouse gas concentrations, sulphate pollutants) or natural (volcanoes, solar output changes). The internal variability is what’s left, it is the purely natural oscillations in the system that have no particular cause, just as weather variations on daily timescales have no particular cause, they just happen.”

One of the findings of this paper, important in climate research but perhaps a bit esoteric, is that the Pacific and Atlantic have mostly independent effects as sources of internal variation. This is not really new, but confirmed by this work. More exactly, treating them as independent provided good results.

But the most important finding is summarized in the following figure, taken from Figure 3 and also reproduced in a writeup by author Mann at Real Climate:

2015-02-12-Sci15FigHuffPost

This shows the AMO, PMO, and the derived (combining the two) NMO values over time. Assume that the highest and lowest values are close to the maximum and minimum that these measures normally reach. Note that there is something of a periodicity in these values. That there would be makes sense. These values represent the way in which the oceans interact with the air, and we know that although there is not perfect periodicity (regularity) in that relationship, historically, every year the ocean is in a phase of removing heat from the atmosphere there is an increased chance of a reversal in that relationship. Now, step back from the contentious issue of climate change for a moment, and imagine that these are values of a blue chip stock you are thinking of investing in. Remember the cardinal rule of getting rich on the stock market: Buy low, sell high! Now, decide if you want to put your hard earned money ito the AMO or the PMO. Clearly, the PMO is at a minimum. Buy now because it is going to go up soon!

Remembering that the PMO was found to be a much bigger source of internal variability than the AMO, and that it is a major player in determining surface temperatures, this can only mean one thing. Things are going to heat up soon. Study author Michael Mann told me, “The PMO appears to be very close to a turning point, based on the historical pattern. So we don’t expect it to continue to plunge downward. We expect a turning point soon.” In his summary of the work in Real Climate, Mann notes that “the most worrying implication of our study [is] that the “false pause” may simply have been a cause for false complacency, when it comes to averting dangerous climate change”

We just had the warmest calendar year on record. Last month, January 2015, was probably the second warmest January on record. Using a 12 month moving average (like in the graph at the top of this post), the last 12 months were the warmest 12 months on record. I hear rumors that February, the month we are in, is relatively warm. We have been seeing signs of the Pacific belching out more heat lately, with El Niño threatening. This could all be a very short term trend, as we expect to happen frequently with the general upward march of surface temperatures owing to greenhouse gas pollution. But this latest paper indicates that it might not be; it could be the beginning of a longer upward trend. Whatever effects of surface warming you might be concerned with — increased storms, drought, more rapid melting of glacial ice, killer heat waves — expect more over the next decade than we have over the last decade. And we had quite a bit of that over the last decade.

Smithsonian issues statement on Willie Soon

The following statement was issued this afternoon by the Smithsonian:

Smithsonian Statement on Willie Soon, researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory.

The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research.
The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue: Acting Secretary Albert Horvath has asked the Smithsonian Inspector General to review the matter. Horvath will also lead a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards.

Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon is a part-time researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. He was hired to conduct research on long-term stellar and solar variability. The Smithsonian does not fund Dr. Soon; he pursues external grants to fund his research.
The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.

Smithsonian Statement on Climate Change

Global Warming Changing Weather in the US Northeast

A newly published study has identified changes in precipitation patterns in the US Northeast, which are likely caused by human pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, which has resulted in global warming. According to the study, there has been an increase in extreme precipitation events, and an increase in the clumping across time of precipitation, with longer or more intense rainy periods, and longer dry periods.

Generally, climate and weather watchers have noticed that arid regions are drier, wetter regions are wetter, and many feel this is a consequence of global warming. Increased temperatures may increase the intensity of precipitation; this is a matter of physics. As air temperature increase, the air is able to hold more water, and this increase is not linear; a little more heat means a lot more moisture.

Also, the overall pattern of movement of air currents seems to be affecting the distribution of precipitation. For example, the main jet stream that influences weather in the Northern Hemisphere seems to be more often wavy and slower moving. This causes low pressure systems that bring precipitation to move more slowly, so a given area may have both more intense rainfall and rainfall over a longer period of time. Nonetheless, while an increasing number of climatologists are thinking that global warming is changing the weather, it has only been happening for a few years, and it is a system with a high level of natural variability. This means the basic observational data may be difficult to bring to bear on understanding what is going on. The physics predict these changes. Modeling of climate has demonstrated a high likelihood of these changes. Direct observations are beginning to show these changes.

In a recent paper, “Quasi-resonant circulation regimes and hemispheric synchronization of extreme weather in boreal summer,” Dim Coumou, Vladimir Petoukhov, Stefan Rahmstorf, Stefan Petri, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber noted the emergence of more frequent “Rossby Waves” in the jet stream, indicating that these waves have become more common and more persistent. They said, “We show that high-amplitude quasi- stationary Rossby waves, associated with resonance circulation regimes, lead to persistent surface weather conditions and therefore to midlatitude synchronization of extreme heat and rainfall events. Since the onset of rapid Arctic amplification around 2000, a cluster of resonance circulation regimes is observed involving wave numbers 7 and 8. This has resulted in a statistically significant increase in the frequency of high- amplitude quasi-stationary waves with these wave numbers. Our findings provide important new insights regarding the link between Arctic changes and midlatitude extremes.” (I elaborate on this finding here: More Research Linking Global Warming To Bad Weather Events.)

Climate Scientist Jennifer Francis, writing in Scientific American, notes,

One thing we do know is that the polar jet stream—a fast river of wind up where jets fly that circumnavigates the northern hemisphere—has been doing some odd things in recent years. Rather than circling in a relatively straight path, the jet stream has meandered more in north-south waves. In the west, it’s been bulging northward, arguably since December 2013—a pattern dubbed the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” by meteorologists. In the east, we’ve seen its southern-dipping counterpart, which I call the “Terribly Tenacious Trough.”

Different research teams differ somewhat in their explanation of this phenomenon, some seeking explanations in the warming Arctic, others in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific. Either way, the phenomenon seems to be real and important. I asked Justin Guilbert, lead author of the paper under consideration here, about this, and he noted, “The current very persistent atmospheric setup consists of a ridge in the west and a trough in the east. This setup is causing drought in the west and extreme cold and storminess in the east. All of which is consistent with recent studies suggesting that amplified planetary waves contribute to persistence. Such conditions tend to lead to persistent surface weather conditions because it is thought that high-amplitude waves do not move laterally as fast as lower-amplitude waves. The real weather story this year and last is the combination of persistent cold and repeated storms affecting the northeast. While we did not explore temperature persistence in the record, our analysis of the data shows that such setups may be on the rise concurrent with recent climate change.” So, the phenomenon of changes in precipitation patterns in the Northeastern US is yet another example, it seems, of warming induced changes in weather patterns. This applies as well to the cold many of us have been experiencing during our northern Winter.

So, now on to the details of the new paper just out in the American Geophysical Union addresses change in weather resulting from anthropogenic global warming. This study looks specifically at precipitation in the Northeastern United States. The paper is timely (though only by accident, the timing of peer reviewed publication and that of news cycles are entirely unconnected!) because of the recent heavy snows in New England. The study concludes that there is “… evidence of increasing persistence in daily precipitation in the Northeastern United States that suggests global circulation changes are affecting regional precipitation patterns… Precipitation in the northeastern United States is becoming more persistent; Precipitation in the northeastern United States is becoming more intense; [and these] Observed trends constitute an important hydrological impact of climate change.”

The paper is “?Characterization of increased persistence and intensity of precipitation in the Northeastern United States” by Justin Guilbert, Alan Betts, Donna Rizzo, Brian Beckage and Arne Bomblies.

The study used data from 222 weather stations in the US Northeast (defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, but in the end excluding DC and Maryland because the data did not meet the study criteria). They used data from stations that had over 50 years of measurements and ran to past January 1, 1990, and excluded station data missing too many years of observation. The various data sets go back in time to as far as 174 years, with a mean coverage of about 84 years.

How do you count rain?

It is hard to count rain. If it rains on Friday and Saturday, you will get two records in a weather database, one for each day. But isn’t that just one storm? Maybe. Maybe not. Say it starts raining. It stops. It is still cloudy. It starts raining again, the same day. Or the next day. Is that one or two precipitation events? Is the rain from one low pressure system all one storm? Probably. So, OK, go back to 1882 and look at the rain gauge data for a particular town. It rained Monday and Tuesday. Were those the same low pressure system? Well, just check the satellite data for those days. But wait, satellites were still science fiction then! This is why most climate scientists a) don’t like the Weather Channel naming storms; you often can not define the boundaries of a given weather event unless it is something very compact like a hurricane or tornado, and even then, it can be a problem; and b) often have little hair.

The method used in this study is complicated but appropriately so. To measure precipitation extremes, they took precipitation data and subjected it to two streams of processing. First, they looked at the lower 75th percentile of daily precipitation values, and second, they looked at the upper, remaining, tail. Various appropriate distributional statistical analysis were applied. The data were then looked at using a moving 30 year window, so any given representation would have plenty of data to dampen out variation caused by low sample sizes. (Remember, the station data varies in density across time and space.) This information was then characterized as a median trend (typical rainfall) and extreme (high rainfall events). Then time trends were tested for. The research team did not find large changes in average precipitation, but they did identify increases in extreme events.

More than … two-thirds … of the 222 stations show positive trends for [extreme precipitation events] in the months of October through May and at least half of the stations display significant (p<0.01) positive trends during every month except July and September. The strongest regional trend in the 95th percentile of daily precipitation was observed in April when the average trend was +0.7 mm per day per decade. ... these trends are not spatially uniform. The entire region experienced an average trend of +0.5mm per decade in annual 95th percentile daily precipitation while Connecticut was found to have the greatest increase with a trend of +1.1mm per day per decade in annual 95th percentile daily precipitation . No trend was found for West Virginia in annual 95th percentile daily precipitation.

How dry I am

The other weather pattern the study looked at was, essentially, clumping of rain. We seem to see this a lot lately. Here in Minnesota, we experienced what Paul Douglas called a “Flash Drought” a few years ago. Not enough dry to make a full on drought, but the rain falling across the larger region seemed to be clumped in time and space such that there was very little in the Upper Midwest corn belt. Last summer, by contrast, it rained nearly every day in Minnesota from just before the start of June up through the end of June. We got totally clumped on by rain. (See: Minnesota’s Current Weather Disaster — Don’t worry we’ll be fine.)

The research team figured out a way to characterize this by looking at the relationship between two simple questions: Is it raining/not raining now? Is it raining/not raining the next day? That is an oversimplification of their methods, but I think it gets the point across. Imagine that today’s conditions with respect to precipitation is used to predict tomorrow’s, based on experience. If so, changes in the distribution across time of events would change the way that prediction would work out. The researchers found that “For daily precipitation events, the warmer months show the greatest increase in wet persistence, the colder months show larger increases in the magnitude of extremes, and dry persistence increases in early spring and decreases in early fall. … on an annual basis, it is likely that the study region will experience increasingly persistent and intense precipitation events.”

These findings confirm observations made by many people in the weather industry. They also may relate to patterns we see in things like snowfall in New England. Prior to the late 1970s, New England seemed to have the occasional large scale snow storm or blizzard (they are not exactly the same thing). Since then, the frequency of these events seems to have risen to about one every other year, at least in Southern New England. This year seems to be exceptionally snowy even by those standards. The concern here is that places like Boston have an infrastructure adapted to the occasional debilitating winter storm, but the storms may not remain occasional. One can imagine the T (that’s what they call the public transit system there) welding snow plows on to the front of the trollies.

I asked Guilbert if his team could put a time frame on these changes. Did alterations in precipitation patterns start at a certain point in time, or is there an acceleration in the rate at which these changes are happening? He told me, “Unfortunately the record is not long enough to robustly explore this question. I used a linear model to represent all the changes that were discussed so that a positive or negative symbol could be assigned to trends in persistence and intensity of precipitation. I looked back at the data on an annual level across the entire region to see if there was any evidence of non-linear behavior happening or if there appeared to be a ‘start time’ of which I found no evidence for either. However, this does not mean that there hasn’t been an acceleration in our metrics, it’s just that we haven’t been able to detect anything yet.”

A few days ago, using data from Jeff Master’s blog at Weather Underground, I plotted out the major snow storm events at four locations in the general vicinity of Boston, and got this graph:

Big_New_England_Snow_Storms

There certainly were major storms before the cluster you see here, but early enough, or located in the wrong place, so that they don’t show up at these weather stations. So even though the study being discussed here does not directly address the question of “start time” there is an indication of this being a relatively new phenomenon with timing suggestive of a global warming related cause. We also know that weather related natural disasters in the US have been on the increase in recent decades. This graph is of events, not costs of events (that would go up just with inflation):

NaturalDisastersInUS_1980-2011

Note that the snow event graph above ends before the last few large events in New England. Note also that the natural disaster graph is not fully up to date. Also note that the Guilbert et al study reported here does not run up to the present. One gets the impression that the changes we are observing in weather patterns are happening quickly, a bit too quickly for longer term, carefully done studies, to keep up with. That simply means that whatever you were thinking based on the peer reviewed research, changes are, global warming’s effects are coming on faster than previously thought.

More Willie Soon

The Willie Soon Story broke on Saturday night, having cloned off the front page of the Sunday New York Times into a few secondary sources. But we all saw it coming. Since then there has been quite a bit more written and there will be quite a bit more.

The main thing I want to add to the discussion is this. It is clear that Willie Soon was taking piles of Big Fossil money for his climate research. It is clear that his research was widely discredited in the mainstream scientific community. It should have been easy to check to see if he was using the money properly (mainly, with respect to disclosure on publication) and to discover that he was not. So, why did it take an article in the New York Times to alert the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics of a problem going on under their roof for over a decade? Was the administration of HSCA compliant? Ignorant? In short, what did they know and when did they know it? And, will there be any effort by the Smithsonian, or Harvard for that matter, to address this?

Worth thinking about.

The image in the above meme is Senator Jim Inhofe referring to a list of some 58 “climate scientists” who oppose the global warming consensus. One of them is Soon. Many of the others are not climate scientists, or even scientists. Many are well known deniers. This list was provided by the discredited Heartland Institute. Expect new scrutiny into each of those individuals over the next few days, to see if there are any other Willie Soons on the list.

Anyway, here are a few more items of interest that came across my desk this morning.

The venerable journal Nature has weighed in on #WillieSoonGate: Documents spur investigation of climate sceptic: Questions raised about conflict-of-interest disclosures by Willie Soon.

Davies drew attention to Soon’s funding disclosures last month after Soon and three colleagues published a paper in the Chinese journal Science Bulletin2 that presented results from a simple climate model to argue that burning all recoverable fossil fuel reserves would result in little more than 2.2°C warming. By comparison, models assessed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on average project around 4° of warming with unabated fossil fuel use by 2100 and further warming beyond that time. The paper was appended with the statement: “The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.” Davies wrote to the journal insisting that Soon’s past funding sources do constitute a conflict of interest that should have been reported.

Science Bulletin’s conflict of interest policy states that authors must disclose “all relationships or interests that could influence or bias the work,” including “professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.” The policy also gives a series of example disclosures. The first reads, “Author A has received research grants from Company A.”

The Willie Soon-Ken Cuccinelli Link: Blue Virginia has Cooch Cited Fossil-Fuel-Funded Climate Science Denier Willie Soon in Witchhunt vs. Michael Mann

…as it turns out, our old pal Ken Cuccinelli, when he was (appallingly) Attorney General of Virginia and waging a witch-hunt against climate science (and specifically against leading climate scientist Michael Mann), was busy citing some of those fossil-fuel-funded climate science deniers. That includes, as you can see below (from Cooch’s “Civil Investigative Demand” against the University of Virginia, none other than…that’s right, Willie Soon, who was falsely smearing the meticulous research of Michael Mann and many other scientists on the famous “hockey stick” graph. Not that Cuccinelli acting like this comes as a big surprise, but still, it’s yet more evidence of how “in bed” with fossil fuel interests Cuccinelli was when he was Attorney General of Virginia. Now, can someone please explain to me why THAT is legal, even as Bob and Maureen McDonnell face possible jail time for their corrupt (but arguably, FAR less severe and damaging than Cooch’s) behavior?

The Daily Climate points out the high frequency with which climate deniers denounce the funding of climate science by legitimate means, and contrasts those staw arguments to what appears to be Willie Soon’s prostitution to Big Fossil: At last, proof of a climate scientist getting rich pedaling science.

Inside Climate News has “A Guide To Willie Soon’s Climate Research Funded by Fossil Fuel Companies

A watchdog group called the Climate Investigations Center alerted nine scientific journals Monday that studies they published most likely breached conflict-of-interest protocols. The studies in question were co-authored by Willlie Soon, a prominent climate-change skeptic whose work was funded by fossil fuel interests.

The letters grew out of the release Saturday of public records showing that Soon failed to disclose industry funding in 11 studies published by those journals.

More of that here.

Eli Rabett has two items on the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Hi-Jinks1

“…Much of the commentary on the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics hi-jinks has concerned how one of Dr Willie Soon’s sponsors the Southern Company had the right to examine and review any manuscripts that Dr. Willie Soon submitted for publication…”
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Hi-Jinks2
“…Amanda Preston was hip deep in the financials of Willie Soon’s support network. As the Advancement and External Affairs Officer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics she negotiated the terms for his support from Exxon Mobile among other things. Today she has moved on to be Executive Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard University, where, amongst other things she works works with faculty to squeeze out more dimes. …”