FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC

Latif told me: “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.” NSIDC Director Serreze says it is “completely false.”

30 Years of Global Cooling Are Coming, Leading Scientist Says

Latif … says we’re in for 30 years of cooler temperatures

Memo to media and anti-science disinformers (again):  If your “global cooling” piece revolves around Dr. Latif, you probably have the entire story backwards. But, at least for the disinformers, that is the goal.  And that goes double if the piece involves the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

In an interview back on October 1, Dr. Latif told me “we don’t trust our forecast beyond 2015″³ and “it is just as likely you’ll see accelerated warming” after then. Indeed, in his published research, rapid warming is all-but-inevitable over the next two decades. He told me, “you can’t miss the long-term warming trend” in the temperature record, which is “driven by the evolution of greenhouse gases.”  Finally, he pointed out “Our work does not allow one to make any inferences about global warming.”

In an interview today, he confirmed that he accepts the IPCC’s finding that most of the warming in the past century was very likely due to human causes — “definitely,” he said.

UPDATE:  Latif spoke to the UK’s Guardian, apparently after we chatted and I emailed him the piece, see “Leading climate scientist challenges Mail on Sunday’s use of his research:  Mojib Latif denies his research supports theory that current cold weather undermines scientific consensus on global warming.”

Latif remains puzzled and dismayed by articles like those in the Daily Mail, “Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?” that purport to be based on his work, that supposedly quote him directly, but in fact just make stuff up.   Of course, the Daily Mail made up a lot stuff for this article, like this whopper about the NSIDC’s work:

Daily Mail

As NSIDC Director wrote me,  “This is completely false.  NSIDC has never made such a statement and we were never contacted by anyone from the Daily Mail.  We hope that this is simply a case of very lazy journalism and nothing more.”

Now the DM has changed the story to read:

According to some scientists, the warming of the Earth since 1900 is due to natural oceanic cycles, and not man-made greenhouse gases.

It occurred because the world was in a ‘warm mode’, and would have happened regardless of mankind’s rising carbon dioxide production.

Except, of course, those unnamed “some scientists” don’t exist, certainly Latif isn’t one of them.

But that doesn’t stop the anti-science crowd, led by Anthony Watts, from turning those falsehoods into unadulterated disinformation such as this gem today, “IPCC scientist: Global cooling headed our way for the next 30 years?”  Writing of the recent cold snap that was limited to a small portion of the global, Watts falsely assets:

According to IPCC scientist Mojab Latif in an article for the Daily Mail, it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze. Latif is known as one of the world’s leading climate modelers.

Not even close, as I and Latif have said many times (see “interview with Dr. Mojib Latif, the man who confused the NY Times and New Scientist, the man who moved George Will and math-challenged Morano to extreme disinformation“).  That’s isn’t what Latif said and not what he believes.

And that leads to the FoxNews story quoted up top, “30 Years of Global Cooling Are Coming, Leading Scientist Says,” based solely on this game of telephone with Latif’s work.   And of course The Swift Boat smearer and would-be Climate Killer excerpts this mangled and/or made up quote by the Daily Mail:

Shock Admission: UN IPCC’s Prof. Latif: ‘The warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles (ocean) – perhaps as much as 50%”

Not.  Call Dr. Latif up and ask him if accepts the IPCC’s finding that, as he put it, most of the warming in the past century was very likely due to human causes.  He had me reread the quotes attributed to him a number of times, asking twice, “those are direct quotes?” After I did, he said to me:  “I don’t know what to do.  They just make these things up.”  I suggested asking reporters to read quotes back to him.

According to Latif, over a short time span, say, two decades, it’s hard to determine exactly what fraction of the temperature change is due to what cause, but Latif does not believe nor ever said what the Daily Mail suggests, which is that you can add those periods together and somehow negate the IPCC’s finding.  His work simply “does not allow one to make any inferences about global warming.”

Latif has NOT predicted a cooling trend — or a “decades-long deep freeze” —  but rather a short-time span where human-caused warming might be partly offset by ocean cycles, staying at current record levels, but then followed by “accelerated” warming where you catch up to the long-term human-caused trend.  He does NOT forecast 2 or 3 decades of cooling.

Certainly Latif’s work can be baffling, but I mostly deciphered it on this blog in 2008 (see “Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming“).   Latif’s Nature study is consistent with the following statements:

  • The “coming decade” (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally.
  • The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors’ calculations began in 1960.

Here is his Nature “forecast” in green (“Each point represents a ten-year centred mean” “” more discussion at the end):

Now, with the caveat that Latif claims no “skill” in any forecast after 2015 “” a caveat the media and deniers never print “” as you can see, their model suggests we’ll see pretty damn rapid warming in the coming decade, just as the Hadley Center did in a 2007 Science piece and just as the US Naval Research Lab and NASA recently predicted (see “Another major study predicts rapid warming over next few years “” nearly 0.3°F by 2014“).

How badly have the media and disinformers botched this reporting unintentionally [and intentionally]?   Here’s the Daily Mail:

The world has entered a ‘cold mode’ which is likely to bring a global dip in temperatures which will last for 20 to 30 years, they say.

… it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze.

No and no.  More like, it’s likely to be just the beginning of a decades-long accelerated warming.  But, again, as Latif will happily tell anyone who asks, my only forecast is to 2015.”  He insists he told the Daily Mail that you can’t draw any inferences from the recent cold snap, and he told me “I can’t really predict two decades in the future.”

Their model has nothing whatsoever to do with anthropogenic global warming, and so it has no bearing whatsoever on the long-term temperature trend.  They do model internal ocean-driven fluctuations around that trend, but if the temperature rise stalls for any length of time, the major impact is that subsequently, the temperature rise accelerates.

Second, there is another source of confusion.  Let’s look in more detail at the paper’s key figure, the one that looks at past and (forecast) future global temperatures, “Hindcast/forecast decadal variations in global mean temperature, as compared with observations and standard climate model projections” (click to enlarge)


Since the media keeps screwing this up, let me once again try to explain this complicated figure — apologies to regular readers.

The first thing to know about the figure “” indeed, one major source of confusion “” is that “each point represents a ten-year centred mean.” That is, each point represents the average temperature of the decade starting 5 years before that point and ending 5 years after that point.

Second, the red line is the actual global temperature data from the UK’s Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research. Why does the red line stop in 1998 and not 2007? Again, it is a running 10-year mean, and the authors use data from a Hadley paper that ends around 2003 (I believe), so they can’t do a ten-year centered mean after 1998.

Third, the black line is one of the IPCC scenarios, A1B. It is a relatively high-CO2-growth model “” but actual carbon emissions since 2000 have wildly outpaced it (see here).

Fourth, the solid green line is the “hindcast” of the authors “” how well their model compares to actual data (and the A1B scenario). It is then extended (in dashes) through 2010 and finally to 2025, where it meets up with A1B, since their model only imposes decadal variability on the inexorable climb of human-caused global warming.

[Fifth, the short purple line is with radiative forcing (i.e greenhouse gas concentrations) frozen at 2000 levels, which, of course, didn’t happen.]

So you can clearly see that the green line rises and then plateaus, repeatedly, until it really starts to take off in the decade of the 2010s. Perhaps the source of much of the media’s confusion is that the authors describe their results in the final line of the abstract this way:

Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.

But what they mean by that statement is not what a simple reading of that sentence would suggest: They do not mean that “the global surface temperature may not increase over the next ten years starting now.” What they mean is what the lead author, Dr. Noel Keenlyside, wrote me [in 2008] when I asked for a clarification:

Thus, based on our results we don’t expect an increase in the mean temperature of the next decade (2005-2015).

They are predicting no increase in average temperature of the “next decade” (2005 to 2015) over the previous decade, which, for them, is 2000 to 2010! And that’s in fact precisely what the figure shows “” that the 10-year mean global temperature centered around 2010 is the roughly the same as the mean global temperature centered around 2005.

The authors have not predicted the next 10 years won’t see any warming. They have, however, offered an explanation for why temperatures have not risen very much in recent years, and, perhaps, why ocean temperatures have also not risen very much in the past few years (see here). Dr. Keenlyside continues:

However, as you correctly point out, our results show a pick up in global mean temperature for the following decade (2010-2020). Assuming a smooth transition in temperature, our results would indicate the warming picks up earlier than 2015.

Again, at that point, Dr. Keenlyside reiterates the disclaimer that this analysis can’t be used for year-by year predictions. Indeed, he notes that his main conclusion is not really quantitative, but qualitative:

Given the uncertainties that exist in such kinds of preliminary studies, I believe it is more useful to point out that climate on decadal timescales may be quite different from that expected only considering external radiative forcing (as in the IPCC). This is actually an obvious, but I believe mostly overlooked fact. Our results highlight this.

I would add two points. First, as you can clearly see in the figure “” the actual observed runnning average temperatures from the Hadley Center since 1995 have been between the IPCC scenario projection and Dr. Keenlyside’s forecast, which does suggest that his model may be underestimating warming. Indeed, the lack of agreement between the model’s “hindcast” and actual temperatures since 1995 should remind us again to view this only as a very preliminary analysis with predictive ability that is much more qualitative than quantitative.

Second, this general prediction “” internal variability leading to slower than expected warming in recent years through 2010, followed by accelerated warming “” is almost exactly the same prediction that the Hadley Center made last summer in Science (see here). They concluded:

“¦ at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.

“¦ [2014 will] “be 0.30° ± 0.2°C warmer than the observed value for 2004.”

Similarly, the US Naval Research Lab and NASA just predicted in a new Geophysical Research Letters study (see “here“):

From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ±0.03 °C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC.

So I take all three of these admittedly preliminary short-term forecasts to suggest that warming is going to be a roller coaster ride, with much short-term variation, but we are probably going to get quite hot quite fast early in the 2010s.

One final caveat: After reading my first draft of the 2008 post (which I subsequently revised), Dr. Keenlyside wrote me, “All our figures are decadal means, and it is hard to say (due to high frequency internal variability) at which point [after 2010] a rapid increase will occur.” That is, his study does not necessarily predict the rapid warming will actually start, in say, 2011, though his results are not inconsistent with that possibility. He reiterates that his paper is not designed to make such detailed year-by-year predictions. Indeed, the paper was designed to show that any such predictions are complicated by decadal-scale climate factors.

So I think it is quite safe to say that:

  1. The work of Dr. Latif and Dr. Keenlyside in Nature “does not allow one to make any inferences about anthropogenic global warming,” as Dr. Latif put it to me.
  2. Their work has no forecasting skill after 2015.  Indeed, Latif told me “we don’t trust our forecast beyond 2015.”
  3. Dr. Latif is not making any predictions about what will happen after 2015 “” other than that the long-term temperature warming trend driven by anthropogenic GHGs will continue and that the near-term temperature trend must catch up with the long-term trend, likely during a period of rapid warming.
  4. Reporters are going to keep getting this wrong.
  5. Anti-science disinformers are going to keep getting pretty much everything wrong.

I’m hoping to run something from Latif this week that will clear things up once and for all.  Or not.

As a great sage once said, “Anyone who isn’t confused here doesn’t really know what’s going on.”

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49 Responses to FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC

  1. Dano says:

    Oh, look – an idea for a new keyboard macro:

    FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled _____ article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of _____ and _____. In an exclusive interview, _____ stated: “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.”

    This open-source time-saver brought to you gratis by Dano.



  2. espiritwater says:

    Why doesn’t he sue them?!

  3. dhogaza says:

    After I did, he said to me: “I don’t know what to do. They just make these things up.” I suggested asking reporters to read quotes back to him.

    Doesn’t go far enough. Just as real journalists have sources they trust, scientists need to learn the differences between trustworthy, and non-trustworthy journalists.

    First, they should *refuse to interview with outlets like the Daily Mail and FOX*, and be clear as to why they won’t.

    Secondly, with those they feel to be trustworthy journalists, they should, as you suggest, have quotes be read back, and also make sure – perhaps by asking the journalist to explain the take-home message in their own words – that the journalist understands before terminating the interview.

    This is really serious stuff … they really are moving beyond mere misunderstanding into making stuff up and blatant, intentional, misrepresentation of researchers results.

  4. Hazel Fleming says:

    And as for the cold weather?

    “This is just the roll of the dice, the natural variability inherent to the system,” explained Serreze.

    Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that the NSIDC reports concluded that the warming of the Earth since 1900 is due to natural oceanic cycles.

    So Fox made a correction? I see that this cold snap was not predicted. It should hve been. October 1 the Met Office said it would remain mild this winter. We need more accuracy.

  5. Hazel Fleming says:

    Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.“It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade,” Rogers said.

    Latif also predicted the coming of snowless winters and 50 less days per year of frost.

  6. Jeff Huggins says:

    This Is Not a Game, Folks, and Unless Super-Bright Trained Scientists Can Also Understand the Problems and Pitfalls Associated With Their Communications, and Exercise Some Clarity and Wisdom, We May As Well Go Fishin’

    In my view, some of the people who understand climate change, or who understand central parts of it, had also better commit themselves to understanding other stuff too — like how to record interviews they give, how to sue people when they are seriously misquoted, how to speak clearly, how to “put a cork in it” if they aren’t good with reporters and know that they will likely be misquoted, and so forth.

    Many people are trying to put time and effort into addressing the climate problem, not just scientists. If, on a weekly basis, some scientist somewhere is so subtle in his remarks, or so confusing, or so confused, and provides the media with fuel for all this nonsense, … well, let me put it this way … that is VERY damaging and, at some point, will prompt many people to say “forget it”.

    If the Dr. was badly misquoted, he should sue. If he didn’t keep a record of precisely what he said, he should record every interview he gives in the future, or else not give interviews. If he doesn’t have the wisdom to mention caveats up front, repeatedly, clearly, and redundantly, before he makes his subtle remarks, i.e., those that the media might well misinterpret if they aren’t TOLD not to, then he should simply not give interviews, period. Period.

    This sort of thing flat-out frustrates me — Big Time. I have a chemical engineering degree from Berkeley, where I got over a dozen A-pluses and gave the commencement address, and I was a Baker Scholar at Harvard, and I can’t even begin to have the patience (or skill, I guess?) to follow all this mixed-up stuff, complex explanations, and complex after-the-fact retractions. Give me a break. If you think that the general public is going to understand all these explanations and retractions and after-the-fact clarifications, well, think again.

    So, to the Dr.: Make sure you can be clear before you give an interview. Make sure you cover the caveats and qualifications, clearly. Make sure you tell them what the conclusions AREN’T and what they CAN’T say, based on your research. Make sure you record the entire interview, and let the reporter know you are doing so. Make sure you ask and tell them not to misquote you. Then, if they do, make sure you or your institution files suit. Or else, don’t give interviews. PLEASE.

    Quite seriously, scientists DO need to speak up, BUT CLEARLY and WISELY. If a scientist can’t do it clearly and wisely, then he/she probably shouldn’t speak up. I’m sorry to have to say that, but it needs to be said.

    Joe, if you can get the Fox News audience to understand something that I don’t even have the patience to understand, after they’ve already misquoted someone and made a mess, then you deserve some sort of major communications prize, beyond the other prizes you deserve already. But, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.



  7. mike roddy says:

    This blog is the best at being a media watchdog, among other things, and pointing out climate science disinformation for the record, in detail.

    The ongoing distortion of scientists’ statements and papers continues to effectively confuse the public. Corrections are rarely communicated to the average media consumer. There is a limit to our faith in policymakers’ inclination to act against the lies that continue to be implanted in the public’s consciousness.

    Statements by leading scientific organizations don’t even make it into the New York Times, never mind the typical local newspaper or TV station. The time is ripe for climate scientists to work in concert to see that their work is fairly communicated in the media. This will have to include proactive and sometimes belligerent statements. Scientists’ critical work should drive policy, but in a democracy this effort is sidetracked when corrupt media organs continue to not only distort, but tell lies, as in this latest incident.

    I have some ideas about how to get this accomplished. As Jeff pointed out, scientists are interested in seeing the truth as they have best discovered it stand on its own. That is no longer the real world. People like Anthony Watts, Roger Pielke Jr., and Steve McIntyre are considered experts- Watts has even won media awards, for Christ’s sake.

    It’s time for scientists to take more responsibility to see that the truth reaches the public. That means that they will have to become a lot more proactive, and go on offense at times. It’ll be messy and stressful. These are not ordinary times, though: the threat is way beyond serious, and climate scientists know this. Time to act accordingly in the public realm.

  8. espiritwater says:

    Yep! This is War: between big, greedy corporations who don’t give a hoot about anything except money– and Humanity! And we can’t afford to loose!

  9. Richard Brenne says:

    In addition to Joe’s usual excellent posting, these comments from Jeff, Mike and the rest of you are outstanding.

    I’m working with the American Meteorological Society (on the key committee designed to do this) and others to improve the communication of climate change.

    I agree with each of your comments that scientists need to be trained in media and communication. How would this best be done? Should NOAA, NASA, NCAR and major research universities train their own scientists in-house, or could an outside organization like Climate Progress take this on? Working quite closely with NASA and NOAA directors I see how conservative federal agencies need to be (among many other things, they never know when an administration like the last one or even worse could return).

    NCAR/UCAR scientists which are funded through the NSF have an easier time with candor.

    I would love to work with Joe, others of you and many others I have in mind to develop just the kind of training you suggest, and I’d love to get any further opinions about this.

  10. WAG says:

    This shouldn’t be a surprise. Back in October, as I pointed out at the time, Fox News admitted it wasn’t even a real news organization:

    “An increasing number of viewers are relying on Fox News for both news and opinion,” Fox News Senior VP Michael Clemente said in the statement, “and the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents.”

    Interestingly, this admission by Fox came just a few days after a previous incident in which several Fox hosts took Dr. Latif’s quotes out of context to say the exact opposite of what he said.

  11. MarkB says:

    …and as the Earth’s climate continues to warm, 30 years from now global warming deniers will point back to the Daily Mail and Fox News articles and say “What do scientists know? They predicted an ice age…”.

  12. Ron Broberg says:

    Bravo to Dr Latif for speaking up.
    Bravo to the Guardian for publishing it.
    Bravo to those who hold forth the Lamp of Science.

    Shame on the Mail.
    Shame on FoxNews.
    Shame on Watts.
    Shame and scorn and derision.

  13. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Richard (Comment 9),

    Thanks for your comment.

    You raise some good ideas and good questions.

    Just a few quick thoughts …

    It might be the case that both would be helpful: internal training AND external training, covering different aspects of the task. In other words, any large organization might do well to have some basic internal training; BUT much of the communications and media-oriented training should probably be done externally, for a number of reasons.

    Also, on such vital and controversial matters (such as climate change), some of the training and counseling involved — probably of the external type — should help individual scientists, one-on-one, to clarify specific ways to communicate their own specific work, placing it into the larger context, providing necessary caveats, making key statements that clarify what the research can’t be interpreted to suggest, and so forth. Such one-on-one services could help key scientists create outlines for interviews, clarify key points, practice, write scripts that can be provided in concert with interviews (to avoid misunderstanding), and so forth. When it comes to key scientists giving key interviews, such services might want to offer to “sit in” with the scientist as she/he gives an interview. We need ways to help scientists be clear AND to keep reporters honest, all at the same time.

    And, there is not only the matter of clarity, but also the matter of conveying genuine understanding. A scientist might (if she/he is careful) convey something accurately, with appropriate caveats, but still in a way that is not easy for most people to “grasp” or “see”. So, that’s only a small part of the battle. It’s also important, on vital matters such as climate change, to convey genuine understanding and so forth. So, for example, some valid use of metaphors might be helpful. And/or, some examples. And/or, some simple thought-experiments that a reader could do in order to better understand the point being made. In other words, it’s not enough, in many cases, just to avoid inaccuracy or misinterpretation. The real aim is to convey genuine understanding, in context. Usually, the media FAIL (miserably) to do this. An excellent communications service could help key scientists do this.

    Actually, ANY scientist is a KEY scientist when it comes to the area of her/his own valid work. And, scientists usually don’t go from one subject to another, to another, and then to another, in quick sequence: They usually focus a long time on their researches. So, it would make great sense for these services to help support all scientists who need to communicate (to reporters, to the public, to their university audiences, and so forth) their work in ways that are clearly understandable and that “come to life”, using plain English, appropriate metaphors, appropriate examples, clearly-written statements, and so forth.

    Society can’t afford to be ignorant on these matters (i.e., on science) any longer. And, in reality, we can’t expect all scientists to become polished, careful, and clear public speakers. Somehow, services should be made available to scientists to help them convey clear UNDERSTANDING and, at the same time, to keep the media honest.



  14. Richard Brenne says:

    Jeff –

    Beautifully put. I agree with every word, even the Cheers (okay, especially).

    I’ve been talking with many people about this, including the Eco-Psychologists who wrote the American Psychological Association’s Climate Change Task Force 250-page (or so) report.

    We’ll incorporate all your excellent points – and you as well if you’d like!

    How do you see this working institutionally? Are we creating a consulting firm here that NASA, NOAA, NCAR/UCAR, NSF, AMS, AGU, GSA, major research universities and others hire to do this? Where could we get grants to do this?

    You or anyone else who’s interested in this can e-mail me at about this or anything related, including why Joe Sakic stuck his hand down a revving snowblower.
    – Richard Brenne

  15. Jeff Huggins says:

    Something Like This (A New Service) Is Needed, To Help Scientists …

    Do you have something really important to convey?

    Would you like your audience to actually understand it?

    (And do you want to do your best to make sure that the media don’t screw it up?)

    Then call us!

    (Fees reasonable. If your message involves the Fountain of Youth or Keys to the Kingdom, we’ll work free.)

    Or something like this …

    Want to make sure that the answers you have aren’t left blowin’ in the wind?

    Then give us a whistle!

  16. severn says:

    I don’t know what you can do about people who just make things up. They will just go on making things up whatever anyone says.

    It’s everywhere. For example, just to pick out something from the comments above: “Hazel Fleming says:
    … ‘October 1 the Met Office said it would remain mild this winter. We need more accuracy.’ No it didn’t, it gave a likelihood of a mild winter, as meteorologists do.
    All meteorologists are aware of the intrinsic limitations of weather forecasting (and weather is not the same as climate).

    We need more accuracy in what people write.

  17. fftf says:

    It should be noted that despite the “cold spell” over much of the US, the planet surface average is 0.6F warmer than the last year.

  18. DavidF says:

    Gee, I would have thought they’d work on their computer modelling after their ‘hindcast’ was so wrong.

    If you have a theory and the experiment doesn’t work you should try again with a new theory. Change the forcings in the model I’d say.

    But, I’m only the person paying for this. So I suppose my opinion isn’t worth too much nowadays.

  19. Dan-in-PA says:

    Did you read the same article I read David? If so, then how in the world can you say what you did?

    The graphs ALL SHOW that they DO continue to work on their models.
    Each graph IS an updated continuation of the modeling. hey continue to update their data as they continue to collect more. In the instances above, greater data on oceanic cycles and their impact on global temperature variations has been included.

    And while the hindcast may be off in it’s specific target. The TREND is actually shown to be GREATER than the hindcast!!!

    Yes Jeff, a very small percentage of your tax dollars are going to this, so…indeed, you should expect that the best and most recent data collected be included. And these graphs now include MORE of the most up to data information available.

    And guess what? The trend is even greater than previously predicted.


  20. I note that the Daily Mail are not even willing to put a name to that piece of trash.

    When it comes to quotes, and I don’t know how the interview process is governed and monitored, could not any quotes be checked and signed by all parties with conditions set, e.g. threats of litigation, if unauthorised changes are made. Such documents could be made legally watertight and numerous copies made to file at appropriate locations.

    Time to stop letting them piss us about.

  21. Icarus says:

    I think one important source of confusion is that it’s not sufficiently clear what is meant by ‘warming’ and ‘cooling’ in these articles. The graph above only records global mean surface temperature – presumably land surface – but of course the vast majority of the energy in the climate system is in the oceans.

    It seems to me perfectly possible to have several years of static or even slightly declining global land surface temperatures whilst the *total* energy of the system climbs inexorably upwards as a result of the continuing radiative imbalance caused mainly by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. If this is the case then it’s highly misleading to talk about static or declining temperatures just because the *land* might not be warming monotonically, year on year. The land on its own might have temperature fluctuations which simply don’t reflect (and cannot be used to infer) the total heat in the system.

    On the other hand, if the planet is truly not gaining any net energy in these ‘plateau’ years, perhaps because of increased radiation to space from the oceans, increasing cloud cover or whatever, then we need to know that too. I don’t think it’s sufficient just to talk about ocean currents warming or cooling the planet. Ocean currents only move heat around, they don’t add or subtract it unless something else – some other factor resulting from these currents – results in a net change in the energy of the system.

    If the scientists publishing about the effects of ocean currents have any confidence at all in the output of their models then they must be able to say what mechanisms are involved – whether there is constant net warming, or not. We need to hear about this, otherwise it’s not much better than the “It’s all just natural cycles” cry from the deniers. People are much more likely to understand and accept the results of these studies if the natural variability is explained rather than just asserted.

  22. andrew adams says:

    Lionel, the Daily Mail piece is basically a re-write of a piece which appeared in the Sunday edition which was written by David Rose. he has form for this kind of thing –

  23. Liberal AND Proud says:

    Screw it. Hopefully there will be a human mass extinction and the surviving species will do a better job on the next go round.

  24. TrueSceptic says:

    Latif remains puzzled and dismayed by articles like those in the Daily Mail

    I remain puzzled and dismayed by the apparent naivety of some climate scientists. How can they be unaware of what is going on? ‘The Daily Mail’ is an anti-science right-wing rag. As such, it supports any AGW denialist claim, no matter how dubious or obviously false, and misrepresents the real science to the point of blatant mendacity.

    Dr Latif should demand that he be given space in the ‘Mail’ to correct this misrepresentation. If that is not given, he should write an open letter, which would certainly be carried by some other papers such as ‘The Guardian’ in the UK, making that correction. The ‘Mail’ needs to be exposed for its disgraceful behaviour.

  25. A. Bakker says:

    The Daily Mail article of David Ross mentioned also Professor Anastasios Tsonis, who specialises in MDO’s, like Professor Mojab Latif. Professor Tsonis and Professor Kyle Swanson wrote a paper titled “Has the climate recently shifted?”. The peer-reviewed paper is said to conclude that global warming due to anthropogenic causes is on hold.
    This means that Professor Tsonis agrees with the article.

    David Ross went too far with his conclusions about Professor Latif’s view, but everybody agrees that presently the temperature is stabilising and nobody knows if it is going to be cooler or warmer the next decade. Especially Professor Latif, because he can not forecast further than 2015, which is an honest statement.

    One thing is clear for me after the “Hacked” (leaked) emails. All information given to us is untrustworthy, so let us reconsider first what is true and start all over the Climate Change discussion.

    The link:

  26. Jeff says:

    My dear old grandfather once told me, “Son, just follow the money!” Man Made Global warming will one day be known as the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the people of Earth. This modern assembly of opiated masses will one day find a new religion and man made global warming will be looked at like Scientology……Obscure freaks…..

  27. Mac G says:

    Yes, Jeff, follow the money indeed. The few scientists that deny that man is putting unsustainable and harmful levels of Carbon into the air are employed by polluters. Hmmmmm, wonder why?

    I am a big fan of clean air and water.

  28. Ron Broberg says:

    #25, A. Bakker says: so let us reconsider first what is true and start all over the Climate Change discussion.

    How about starting in 1956?
    Carbon Dioxide and the Climate
    Plass, 1956

    “If at the end of this century [20th] the average temperature has continued to rise and in addition measurement also shows that the atmospheric carbon dioxide amount has also increased, then it will be firmly established that carbon dioxide is a determining factor in causing climatic change.”

    Hint: The article is easier to read in the “Printer Friendly” version.

  29. George B says:

    Follow the money, indeed, that goes from Exxon, big coal and right wing organizations to faux news outfits like Fox to deny, delay and disinform.

    Scientists wreck their careers if they do bad science because the data don’t lie. Scientists can’t make up melting glaciers and warming oceans. The facts are the facts.

    However, faux journalists can make stuff up and a few retired and over the hill scientists can get paid well to be deniers by big money interests.

    Yes, follow the money and look at the facts.

  30. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe wrote: “Anti-science disinformers are going to keep getting pretty much everything wrong.”

    “Getting pretty much everything wrong” is a funny euphemism for “deliberately lying about pretty much everything”.

    [JR: I try to inject some levity into this subject whenever I can.]

  31. neo says:

    I agree that the climate of the world is changing but come on + .3 degrees Fahrenheit in the mean — that is hardly rapid. Especially since where I live its been getting colder and colder it was -10 a few days ago. I think the climate change is a lot more complex than warming or cooling.

    Someone mentioned the cold spell is .6 degrees warmer than last year. Its not here. Maybe the problem is we are using the mean and ignoring the median and the low and high? I don’t know.

    I think the worst thing we can do is be chicken little about this. I’m 34 years old if I listened to the chicken little’s New York would have been flooded 3 times now. My whole life has been hearing how there will be a great catastrophe in 10 years. It doesn’t help our credibility to go with this mentality and it oversimplifies the problem.

    Personally I’d like to know why the mean temp for December is apparently greater than last year, but the all time low hit a new record. Is it possible that some parts of the Earth will just have very quickly changing weather rather than just warming? Its just as bad and even harder to solve but I think its more accurate.

  32. Dano says:

    One thing is clear for me after the “Hacked” (leaked) emails. All information given to us is untrustworthy, so let us reconsider first what is true and start all over the Climate Change discussion.

    I call BS.



  33. Mysticdog says:

    I really think people need to point out that the artic is always going to be cold; it gets no sunlight this time of year. this “cold snap” is occuring because stronger weather systems are dragging more of that cold air out of the artic, further and faster than “normal”. More importantly, wherever that cold air is pulled out, there is also a warm front moving into the artic, which is why northern canada is getting very high temperatures for this time of year. Its just that US weathermen don’t really care if a warm front moves into the artic, because almost no one lives there.

    Global warming is going to produce stronger cold fronts. More energy in the atmosphere means there will be greater differences between high and low pressure systems to move large air masses around. More artic air is going to get pushed southwards. Correspondingly large amounts of warm air will get pushed northwards. That is why our ice pack is melting faster each year, and glaciers are retreating, and greenland is going to eventually be green again…

  34. Mike#22 says:

    “I agree that the climate of the world is changing but come on + .3 degrees Fahrenheit in the mean — that is hardly rapid.”

    Neo, please read the article above? The whole point is that irresponsible people are making things up, like the 0.3 deg F figure you give, just to confuse people. My advice is don’t listen to liars.

  35. JasonW says:

    26: After that amusing argumentum ex culo, we return to reality…

  36. Leif says:

    neo, #31: I posted this on another thread but it looks like you could benefit from reading it as well.
    Computations received valuable assistance from Mike#22 above. Thank you Mike. Leif

    In my view the current CO2 problem is more about “energy imbalance” than the minimal ~0.5 C world average temperature increase and easier to visualize as such.

    The current Energy imbalance is measured at ~ 0.5 W/m2 average. Some of the CP commentators attempted to grasp that number and we produced numbers with wide “error bars” but not without merit as it is understanding rather than numerical accuracy we are looking for. (More peer review, we like that around here, will no doubt change the numbers but it is clear that we are talking a LOT of energy here.) How much? Our numbers reveal about 35,000 to 60,000+ standard US type W87 NUCLEAR warheads a DAY popping off without radioactive waste to muck the works! or, melting ~ 11 Nimitz class aircraft carriers per second. Every single second of every day. Just as it takes a lot of energy to heat a large pot of water one degree F, it takes a LOT of energy to raise the worlds oceans the measured amount noted by science. And clearly we have a lot at our disposal. (~ 11 melted carriers a second dropped into the ocean!) Think of the oceans as a large battery that we are “charging.” Just as a charged battery can provide an impressive spark, the stored energy in the oceans can give added energy to storms, or hurricanes. Evaporate more water to fall as rain, floods, even SNOW in the winter. Bend or intensify jet streams to bring “arctic outflow” a bit further south, (Florida, I am talking to you). Shift established weather patterns. And since most of the warming is happening at the poles, Andy, we have perhaps the energy of ~20,000 nukes a day to intensify a seasonal wind to break up long established multi-year ice! And 20,001 tomorrow, 20,002 the next…

    Think Global Climatic Disruption!

    Oh, today’s Seattle 50+ temperature is warmer than Florida freeze of the last week+!

  37. dhogaza says:

    JR: I try to inject some levity into this subject whenever I can.

    Ahh, that’s why you approved a couple of those silly denialist posts above. Mission accomplished, dude!

  38. Peter Principle says:

    There’s a reason why the Beatles picked the Daily Mail as a symbol for lower middle-class stupidity and mind-numbing boredom:

    “His son is working for the Daily Mail; it’s a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer. Paperback writer.

    Its basic claim to respectability — vs. the gutter tabs like the Sun — used to be that it didn’t show topless women on page 3. But even that isn’t quite true any more:

    Even middle-class tabloid The Daily Mail has twice done double-page spreads on naked female student calendars, and several other tenuous reasons such as a drop in the share price of a clothes retailer. It also did a spread on boots with the model wearing just boots. Nothing was exposed, and the Daily Mail is ‘lower middle class’ at best, but still…

    The ignorant misleading the ignorant, in other words. The template for our brave new world of modern journalism.

  39. Matt says:

    The graphs are extremely confusing or possibly plain wrong

    The graphs shows a red line [OBSERVATIONS or GLOBAL MEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURES ] to be around 15.1 C by late 1998. The actual was 14.52 C.The best forecast for 2010 is only 14.58 C.[ not even possible to show these on the graph, since it would be below 14.6 C]

    [JR: Comes from the original paper — click here (subs. req’d).]

  40. Matt says:

    I wonder if Professor Latif may have short memory lapse . In MAY 2008, he co-authored a PAPER for NATURE called, Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector and I qoute part only from the ABSTRACT

    “Skill is improved significantly relative to predictions made with incomplete knowledge of the ocean state10, particularly in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific oceans. Thus these results point towards the possibility of routine decadal climate predictions. Using this method, and by considering both internal natural climate variations and projected future anthropogenic forcing, we make the following forecast: over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged.
    Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.”

    Notice clearly the words “will cool”. and “may not inrease” If the temperatures were predicted by IPCC to increase by 0.21 C per decade for next two decades. and the global temperature anomalies have been flat for already one decade and are supposed to be flat for another decade , where is all the warming from greenhouse gases for 20 years . Natural cycles are running the climate show and always have.

    [JR: Uhh, you can’t even read, dude. It doesn’t say global temps “will cool.” And as I’ve explained a dozen times, the “next decade” is 2005 to 2015. Also, global temps haven’t been flat for one decade in any of the temperature databases.]

  41. JasonW says:

    #40: Also, the even more worrying question is: The energy imbalance is there – where is all that heat going, the equivalent of several ten thousand nuclear bombs gping off every day (without the radioactive waste – kudos to Leif for calculating the analogy)? Is it melting the ice? Is it going into the ocean depths, possibly to come round and slap us in the face (hard) come 2030? What’s happening?

  42. Lou Grinzo says:

    Leif: And don’t forget all the energy it takes to melt the hundreds of gigatons of ice every year that are lost (net) from the poles and Greenland.

    (One calorie of heat energy raises one gram of water 1C, but to melt one gram of ice–go from ice at 0C to water at 0C–takes 79.7 calories. That adds up to a lot of heat that’s not warming the oceans or the atmosphere.)

  43. Lou Grinzo says:

    Richard Brenne: I’m a long-time tech writer who would love a chance to contribute to your project with the AMS. Please drop me an e-mail at lougrinzo [silly little at-sign] and I can forward my resume, do the necessary groveling, etc.

  44. JasonW says:

    “If you fail to predict, with any certainty what the weather does from season to season, it’s time to give the job to someone who is more deserving, and less persuaded by greed, to inform governments and society at large, what really is going on.”

    That statement is wrong, wrong, wrong. David, please don’t tell me you’re confusing weather with climate predictions.

    Which science is meing muddied? The one that’s agreeing with your viewpoint? That is pretty hard to come by, so I see little danger of “the science” being muddied, rather a clear and rational step-by-step progress.

    So far the IPCC predictions have been pretty good and well within margin of error. Except the ones that UNDERestimated, such as Arctic ice loss.

  45. Leif says:

    Lou Grinzo: Good morning. I have not forgot about the latent heat but I felt my post was approaching too long as is and did not want to get into the “second term” too soon. Beside I am still trying to pin down a peer review daily heat equivalent that we can hang our hat on. Then it is off to see where it goes. Another big one is the latent heat required, even bigger, to evaporate a calorie of water to vapor that is re-released as heat during condensation. A big driver of storm intensity. I would like to put a number on ~ how much extra water is evaporated by our “extra” heat, (thou most is absorbed in the ocean), to fall again as increased rain or snow if it is winter. That would be a fun number in my eyes. But first how much heat do we have to work with? 35k nukes a day, 66k nukes a day or some other number? Mike22 and I have error bars big enough to throw our hat thru. Although sufficient to impart understanding is not sufficient to plod ahead with. Feel free to add to the data base.

    This format is not the best to carry on continuing discussion but clicking my name will produce a trail.

  46. Leif says:

    JasonW, #41: Where is all that energy going? The way I understand it, most of it is going into the sea to raise the ocean temperature a tiny bit. (a quick GOOGLE search gives ~+0.4C in the last 50 years). That heat is largely the cause of rising sea levels as melted floating sea ice does not affect water level. Just run off from the land. (Measured and accounted for.) So I suppose that you could say the energy “lifted” everything in the world that is floating the amount of sea level rise over the last 50+years. Yes, that is “potential energy” that could come back and bite us. What goes up must come down! unless of course we just “blow” the whole mess to smithereens! At which point the Earth will reboot, presumable without us and a good portion of the other life forms, I would add.

  47. Leif says:

    One clarification for the above post please…

    A given amount of warm water occupies more volume than the same volume of cold water. Unless the water is in the form of ice. Then it takes more energy to make ice, (think frig) and that energy is then available to burst pipes or other forms of “work”!

    It is funny how science works.
    If I were a God fearing man I might say,” It is funny how God’s Creation, that operates under God’s laws, that have been observed to operate under scientific principles, and have been illuminated by God’s Gift to humanity, the human brain, works.
    Unless of course you happen to be of the Anti_Science Faction…
    Then NOT!

  48. GFW says:

    “I suggested asking reporters to read quotes back to him.”

    Heh, I suggest that Latif start any interview by saying “I accept the consensus climate science position that human emissions of CO2 are causing global warming generally as described in the latest IPCC report. Unless you promise to start with that quote, I will not give you any others, because my work is about subtle modifications to the consensus view, not opposition to the consensus view.”

  49. One of the strongest arguments for global warming believers is that the ice caps are melting. They believe the ice is melting because of man-made or anthropogenic global warming. How then did the icebergs melt after the ice age? I believe there is a very small amount of man-made global warming but it is very insignificant. Global freezing temperatures are still happening on a very large scale. We are also entering a global cooling period which further proves global warming is exaggerated.