“Tesla is not a car, battery, or tech company; it is an experimental financial services company and should be regulated as such.”

October 3, 2017



Thousands USD
Tesla Amazon
 Operating Cash Flow Long Term Debt Operating Cash Flow Long Term Debt
2014 ($57,337) $1,818,785 $6,842,000 $8,265,000
2015 ($524,499) $2,021,093 $11,920,000 $8,227,000
2016 ($123,829) $5,969,500 $16,443,000 $7,694,000

Great Barrier Reef: 2016 Coral Cover Loss and Local Sea Level Fall

October 2, 2017



Climate change is internationally-recognised as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef. For the last three years, coral bleaching, due to ocean warming associated with climate change, has impacted coral reefs worldwide. Mass coral bleaching events occur during extended periods of elevated sea surface temperatures and have the potential to result in significant and widespread loss of coral.

The current mass coral bleaching occurring in tropical regions across the world since 2014 is the longest mass bleaching event ever recorded. This is a global event triggered by record-breaking sea surface temperatures caused by climate change and amplified in 2016 by a strong El Niño. The ocean is warmer than at any time since the instrumental record began. For Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this resulted in the worst ever coral bleaching in 2016.


Final report: 2016 coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef

There’s no doubt that the 2016 coral bleaching event and associated coral mortality was the worst in recorded history since at least 1980.  However, no one was really paying much attention to coral bleaching before the early 1980’s.

Insufficient sea temperature data exist from the Great Barrier Reef to indicate changes in the long-term means over recent times. However, an analysis of air temperature records from Townsville shows that mean January February air temperatures above 29°C occurred 6 times between 1980 and 1995, 5 of which coincided with bleaching events at nearby Magnetic Island. Prior to 1980 however, these conditions had occurred only 4 times in the 53 years since 1927, all occurring in the 1930s (Jones 1995; Jones et al. in press).

Guldberg et al., 1999

“This is a global event triggered by record-breaking sea surface temperatures caused by climate change and amplified in 2016 by a strong El Niño.”

Was it “triggered by record-breaking sea surface temperatures caused by climate change and amplified in 2016 by a strong El Niño”?  Or was it caused by a strong El Niño and amplified by a sharp local fall in sea level from 2014-2016?

2016 was the GBR’s second warmest year “on record”…


Figure 1. Annual sea surface temperature anomaly Great Barrier Reef (1900-2016). Australian Bureau of Meteorology/NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature Version 4 (ERSST v4). LINK

The SST data for the GBR are derived from NOAA’s ERSST v4… (for whatever that’s worth).

2016 was the second hottest “year on record” for the GBR… However, bleaching occurs in summer.


Figure 2. Summer SST for the GBR… About 0.5°C above average. LINK

At this point, I asked myself: “Self?  Why are they using NOAA’s ERSST v4?  Aren’t there any weather stations in or around the Great Barrier Reef?”

There are actually quite a few weather stations.


Figure 3. AIMS Weather Stations. LINK

Agincourt Reef #3 has fairly complete weather records going back to 1991 and it experienced “high” mortality rates… But it hasn’t participated in Gorebal Warming since at least 1993.


Figure 4. Agincourt Reef #3.


Figure 5. Agincourt Reef #3 air and water temperature record  Spurious data points removed by author. LINK

Original data…

Figure 6.  Agincourt Reef #3 with spurious data points included.

Figure 6.  Agincourt Reef #3, with spurious data points included.

Air temperature only…


Figure 7. Agincourt Reef #3, air temperature, spurious data points removed by author.

I have only looked at Agincourt Reef #3 in detail.  However, my cursory review of Thursday Island, Lizard Island, Cape Bowling Green and Square Rocks didn’t support any significant warming over recent years in the GBR.

So… What is anomalous about 2014-2016?  A really strong El Niño and a sudden, rather sharp local fall in sea level.

Sea level fall and reef mortality

It’s a well-known fact that coral reefs react poorly to falling sea level… Subaerial exposure of the reef is generally fatal.  However sea level fall on the order of 0.5 meter can literally shut reefs down.

A re-examination of 46 recently published U/Th reef flat ages from Heron and One Tree reefs in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) identified several distinct Holocene reef growth phases with a clear 2.3-kyr hiatus in lateral reef accretion from 3.9 ka to 1.5 ka. An analysis of all available published radiocarbon reef flat ages (165) from 27 other mid-outer platform reefs revealed a similar hiatus between 3.6 ka and 1.6 ka for the northern, south-central and southern GBR. However, no hiatus in reef flat growth was observed in reefs from the central GBR with ages ranging from 7.6 ka to 0.9 ka. Increased upwelling, turbidity and cyclone activity in response to increased sea-surface temperature (SST’s), precipitation and El-Nino Southern Oscillation variability have been ruled out as possible mechanisms of reef turn-off for the mid-outer platform reefs. Rather, a fall (~ 0.5 m) in relative sea level at 4–3.5 ka is the most likely explanation for why reefs in the northern and southern regions turned off during this time.

Successive phases of Holocene reef flat development: Evidence from the mid- to outer Great Barrier Reef (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Oct 2, 2017].  LINK

Jim Steele has written about the effects of sea level fall on coral reefs in two excellent articles here and here.

Correlation of 2016 GBR coral cover loss to 2014-2016 sea level fall


Figure 8. Change in GBR coral cover from early to late 2016.

The coral cover loss was most severe in the Lizard Island Transect Area, just north of Agincourt Reef #3.  Using the color bar scale in Figure 8, I assigned a numerical value  to each color, ranging from 1 (very low) to 8 (high).  I then calculated the change in the rating from early to late 2016.  I then posted sea level profiles from University of Colorado’s Interactive Sea Level Time Series Wizard along a north-south transect.


Figure 9. Coral cover loss and local sea surface height.  Note that the areas with most severe coral cover loss in 2016 experienced a sharp (~0.2 m) drop in sea surface height from 2014-2016.

To enumerate the severity of the 2014-2016 sea level fall, I calculated the slope since 2012.

2016  Change in Coral Cover Rating
Lat, Long Slope Since 2012 Lagoon Reef Front Average
-11, 144 -0.8114 -5 -1 -3
-12, 144 -0.6106 -5 -1 -3
-13, 144 -1.6792 -3 -3 -3
-14, 145 -1.747 -5 -3 -4
-15, 146 -1.2204 -2 -4 -3 Lizard Island
-16, 146 -0.6637 0 -2 -1 Agincourt Reef #3
-17, 147 0.0762 0 -2 -1
-18, 147 0.5102 -1 -3 -2
-19, 148 0.5055 -1 -3 -2
-19, 149 0.4738 -1 0 -0.5
-20, 150 0.136 0 0 0
-21, 152 0.0594 0 0 0
-22, 152 0.4375 0 0 0
-23, 152 0.6094 0 0 0

Figure 10.  Average, 2016 Δ Coral Cover vs SSH Slope.


Figure 11. Reef front, 2016 Δ Coral Cover vs SSH Slope.

Figure 11


Figure 12. Lagoon, 2016 Δ Coral Cover vs SSH Slope.


It is highly likely that a localized sea level fall played a greater role in the severity of the 2016 coral bleaching and mortality than Gorebal Warming did.

Gavin’s Twitter Trick

September 25, 2017

goreThis is the nucleus of an upcoming post for WUWT.

Last week, Larry Kummer posted a very thoughtful article:

A climate science milestone: a successful 10-year forecast!

At first glance, this did look like “a successful 10-year forecast:


Figure 1. A successful 10-year forecast?

The observations track closer to the model ensemble mean (P50) than most other models and the 2016 El Niño spikes at least a little bit above P50.  Noticing that this was CMIP3 model, Larry and others asked if CMIP5 (the current Climate Model Intercomparison Project) yielded the same results, to which Dr. Schmidt replied:

Figure 2. A failed 10-year forecast.

The CMIP5 model looks a lot like the CMIP3 model… But the observations bounce between the bottom of the 95% band (P97.5) and just below P50… Then spike to P50 during the 2016 El Niño.  When asked about the “estimate of effect of misspecified forcings, Dr. Schmidt replied:

Basically, the model would look better if it was adjusted to match what actually happened.

The only major difference between the CMIP3 and CMIP5 model outputs was the lower boundary of the 95% band (P97.5).

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Figure 3. Improving accuracy by increasing imprecision.

CMIP-5 yielded a range of 0.4° to 1.0° C in 2016, with a P50 of about 0.7° C. CMIP-3 yielded a range of 0.2° to 1.0° C in 2016, with a P50 of about 0.6° C.

They essentially went from 0.7 +/-0.3 to 0.6 +/-04.

Progress shouldn’t consist of expanding the uncertainty… unless they are admitting that the uncertainty of the models has increased.

Larry then asked Dr. Schmidt about this:

Dr. Schmidt’s answer:

“Not sure”?  That instills confidence.  He seems to be saying that the CMIP5 model (the one that failed) may have had “more coherent forcing across the ensemble, more realistic ENSO variability, greater # of simulations.”

I’m not a Twitterer, but I do have a rarely used Twitter account and I just couldn’t resist joining in on the conversation.  Within the thread, there was a discussion of Hansen et al., 1988.  And Dr. Schmidt seemed to be defending that model as being successful because the  2016 El Niño spiked the observations to “business-as-usual.”

Figure 4.  Hansen et al., 1988 is still an epic fail.  The monster El Niño of 2016 is not “business-as-usual.”

I asked the following question:

No answer.  Dr. Schmidt is a very busy person and probably doesn’t have much time for Twitter and blogging.  So, I don’t really expect an answer.

In his post, Larry Kummer also mentioned a model by Zeke Hausfather posted on Carbon Brief


Figure 5.  Another failed climate model.  The 2016 El Niño is not P50 weather.

El Niño events like 1998 and 2016 are not high probability events.  On the HadCRUT4 plot below, I have labeled several probability bands:

Standard Deviation Probability Band % Samples w/ Higher Values
+2σ P02.5 2.5%
+1σ P32 32.0%
Mean P50 50.0%
-1σ P68 68.0%
-2σ P97.5 97.5%

I am assuming that HadCRTU4 is reasonably accurate and not totally from the Adjustocene.  I removed the linear trend, calculated a mean (P50) and two standard deviations (1σ & 2σ).  Then I added the linear trend back in to get the following:



Figure 6.  HadCRUT4 (Wood for Trees) with probability bands.

The 1998 El Niño spiked to P02.5.  The 2016 El Niño spiked pretty close to P0.01.  A strong El Niño should spike from P50 toward P02.5.

All of the models fail in this regard.  Even the Mears-ized RSS satellite data exhibit the same relationship to the CMIP5 models as the surface data do.

The RSS comparison was initialized to 1979-1984.  The 1998 El Niño spiked above P02.5.  The 2016 El Niño only spiked to just above P50… Just like the Schmidt and Hausfather models.  The Schmidt model was initialized in 2000.

This flurry of claims that the models don’t “run hot” because the 2016  El Niño pushed the observations toward P50 are being driven by an inconvenient paper that was recently published in Nature Geoscience (discussed here, here and here).

21 September 2017 0:27

Factcheck: Climate models have not ‘exaggerated’ global warming


A new study published in the Nature Geosciences journal this week by largely UK-based climate scientists has led to claims in the media that climate models are “wrong” and have significantly overestimated the observed warming of the planet.

Here Carbon Brief shows why such claims are a misrepresentation of the paper’s main results.


Carbon Brief

All (95%) of the models run hot, including “Gavin’s Twitter Trick”.  From Hansen et al., 1988 to CMIP5 in 2017, the 2016 El Niño spikes toward the model ensemble mean (P50)… Despite the fact that it was an extremely low probability weather event (<2.5%).

Shrinking Climate Sensitivity

September 24, 2017



Updated climate sensitivity estimates

September 23, 2017

DKLepOlX0AA2Pm_DKM9wDkXkAARHtE-1output_O3Whvr.gifIf you download any of the Mann 2008 reconstructions, you get a tine series that does not differentiate the proxy from the instrumental data.

To see an example of “Mike’s Nature Trick,” go here… Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia

Click this… EIV Temperature Reconstructions

Open up any of the **cru_eiv_composite.csv or **had_eiv_composite.csv files. All of them splice the high frequency instrumental data into the low frequency proxy data. To Mann’s credit, unlike his previous “tricks,” he at least documents this one enough to sort it out in the SI.

This statement from their PNAS paper is totally unsupported by proxy reconstructions… “Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years.”

The anomalous nature of the “recent warmth” is entirely dependent on the “tricky” use of the instrumental data. He didn’t use any proxy data post-1855.

This image from Mann’s 2008 paper falsely implies that all of the reconstructions are in general agreement regarding the claim that the “recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years”…

By cluttering up the image with many reconstructions and plastering the instrumental record onto end of the graph, it’s impossible to see any details.

Here are Mann (Had_EIV), Moberg and Ljungqvist without the clutter…

Zoomed in on post-1800…

And Mike’s Nature Trick…

The Modern Warming appears anomalous because of the higher resolution of the instrumental record, it’s position at the tail-end of the time series and the negative deflection of the Little Ice Age trough (ca 1600 AD)…

If the Modern Warming is directly compared to the Medieval Warm Period, it appears to be far less anomalous, despite ithe better resolution of the instrumental record…

Particularly if you clutter the image with multiple reconstructions…

The Modern Warming might be 0.2-0.4°C warmer than the Medieval Warm Period. This would be consistent with a climate sensitivity of 0.5-1.0°C per doubling of the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level (as opposed to ~3.5°C). Although the difference between the modern warming and MWP is well within the margins of error of the proxy and instrumental reconstructions and could easily be explained by the higher resolution of the instrumental record



September 22, 2017


Musings On the Value of Old Textbooks

September 20, 2017

When I first started “debating” climate change on the Internet, I ran across this New York Times article:

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype


Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”


In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”


NY Times

Don J. Easterbrook… Funny thing… I remember the names of the authors of many of my college (1976-1980) textbooks.

  • The Oceans by Sverdrup, Johnson & Fleming
  • Principles of Geology by Press & Siever
  • Principles of Sedimentology by Friedman & Sanders
  • Structural Geology by Billings
  • Manual of Field Geology by Compton
  • Evolution of the Earth by Dott & Batten
  • Mineralogy by Berry & Mason
  • Petrology of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks by Hyndman
  • Meteorology by Donn
  • Principles of Geomorphology by Don J. Easterbrook

Who could have guessed that 30+ years later, I would be “fighting” alongside Dr. Easterbrook in the Internet climate change wars?

If that isn’t cool enough, my introduction to climatology occurred in my first semester of college, when I took a course in physical geography.


Physical Geography Today: A Portrait of a Planet by Muller & Oberlander

One day, I was curious as to what my physical geography textbook had to say about the greenhouse effect and global warming… So I dug it out of a box in the garage and opened it to find…


Reid Bryson was a contributor… How cool is that?

The late Reid Bryson was known as the “father of scientific climatology” and a prominent AGW skeptic.  This is what they had to say about the so-called greenhouse effect…


One mention of the greenhouse effect.


“Mostly harmless”… Douglas Adams

This was only 14 years before Al Gore and James Hansen “invented” Anthropogenic Gorebal Warming.

“As a planet, the Earth is not warming or cooling appreciably on average…”

The book was published in 1974, just before Earth was nearly plunged into an ice age.


The Ice Age Cometh? Science News, March 1, 1975


The rate of warming from 1975-2010 is almost identical to the rate of warming from 1910-1945 (smack in the middle of “not warming or cooling appreciably on average” climate).


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HadCRUT4 global temperature anomaly (° C). From Wood For Trees.

This leads to the following equation:

  • Green = “not warming or cooling appreciably on average”
  • Red = Gorebal Warming crisis.

Green ≈ Red

Therfore AGW is 


Irma v Maria

September 20, 2017

Maria_Irma_20_09_1100_aMaria_Irma_20_09_1100_bWebp.net-gifmaker (2)

LinkedIn “Debate”

September 20, 2017

LinkedIn posts…

How one can make the leap from:

David Middleton

The point is that the warming observed in the instrumental temperature record doesn’t significantly deviate from the pre-exiting Holocene pattern of climate change…

Over the past 2,000 years, the average temperature of the northern hemisphere has exceeded natural variability (+/-2 std dev) 3 times: The Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the modern warming. Humans didn’t cause at least two of the three and the current one only exceeds natural variability by about 0.2 C. And this is a maximum, because the instrumental data have much higher resolution than the proxy data.


Nigel Goodwin

David, what you have decided to ignore is basic physics and chemistry.

Defies any logical explanation… And it got worse from there:

David Middleton

No. I have not. All other things held equal, the radiative forcing effect of CO2 works out to about 1 C of warming per doubling of atmospheric CO2. In Earth Science, the “all other things” are never held equal.

The catastrophic global warming predictions invoke strong positive feedback mechanisms (e.g. increased water vapor content) to increase the climate sensitivity from 1 to 3-6 C per doubling. This is one of the reasons the climate models fail to demonstrate predictive skill 95-99% of the time. All of the recent observation-based estimates of climate sensitivity put the transient climate response at about 1.35 C per doubling (ranging from 0.5 to 2.4 C).

Updated climate sensitivity estimates

1.35 C per doubling won’t yield catastrophic warming. It will stay well below the so-called 2.0 C limit. It won’t even be significantly warmer than what would have happened if humans never discovered how to burn things.

Which yielded an appeal to emotion fallacy:

Nigel Goodwin

Are you willing to bet your future, your children’s’ future, and your grandchildren’s future, on your speculation that it will be within 1.35C? You have absolutely no certainty about that. Do a proper risk analysis.

At this point, I just stopped replying to his comments.

Africa Coal

September 13, 2017


NG        4,315 59%
Hydro        1,030 14%
Wind           810 11%
Solar           628 9%
Fuel Oil           196 3%
Geothermal           158 2%
Biomass             89 1%
Diesel             35 0%
Fossil Fuels        4,546 63%
Solar + Wind        1,438 20%
Hydro        1,030 14%
Geothermal           158 2%
Biomass             89 1%