How the Media Help to Destroy Rational Climate Debate

August 25th, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

An old mantra of the news business is, “if it bleeds, it leads”. If someone was murdered, it is news. That virtually no one gets murdered is not news. That, by itself, should tell you that the mainstream media cannot be relied upon as an unbiased source of climate change information.

There are lots of self-proclaimed climate experts now. They don’t need a degree in physics or atmospheric science. For credentials, they only need to care and tell others they care. They believe the Earth is being murdered by humans and want the media to spread the word.

Most people do not have the time or educational background to understand the global warming debate, and so defer to the consensus of experts on the subject. The trouble is that no one ever says exactly what the experts agree upon.

When you dig into the details, what the experts agree upon in their official pronouncements is rather unremarkable. The Earth has warmed a little since the 1950s, a date chosen because before that humans had not produced enough CO2 to really matter. Not enough warming for most people to actually feel, but enough for thermometers to pick up the signal buried in the noise of natural weather swings of many tens of degrees and spurious warming from urbanization effects. The UN consensus is that most of that warming is probably due to increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel use (but we really don’t know for sure).

For now, I tend to agree with this consensus.

And still I am widely considered a climate denier.

Why? Because I am not willing to exaggerate and make claims that cannot be supported by data.

Take researcher Roger Pielke, Jr. as another example. Roger considers himself an environmentalist. He generally agrees with the predictions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding future warming. But as an expert in severe weather damages, he isn’t willing to support the lie that severe weather has gotten worse. Yes, storm damages have increased, but that’s because we keep building more infrastructure to get damaged.

So, he, too is considered a climate denier.

What gets reported by the media about global warming (aka climate change, the climate crisis, and now the climate emergency) is usually greatly exaggerated, half-truths, or just plain nonsense. Just like the economy and economists, it is not difficult to find an expert willing to provide a prediction of gloom and doom. That makes interesting news. But it distorts the public perception of the dangers of climate change. And because it is reported as “science”, it is equated with truth.

In the case of climate change news, the predicted effects are almost universally biased toward Armageddon-like outcomes. Severe weather events that have always occurred (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts) are now reported with at least some blame placed on your SUV.

The major media outlets have so convinced themselves of the justness, righteousness, and truthfulness of their cause that they have banded together to make sure the climate emergency is not ignored. As reported by The Guardian, “More than 60 news outlets worldwide have signed on to Covering Climate Now, a project to improve coverage of the emergency”.

The exaggerations are not limited to just science. The reporting on engineering related to proposed alternative sources of energy (e.g. wind and solar) is also biased. The reported economics are biased. Unlimited “free” energy is claimed to be all around us, just waiting to be plucked from the unicorn tree.

And for most of America (and the world), the reporting is not making us smarter, but dumber.

Why does it matter? Who cares if the science (or engineering or economics) is exaggerated, if the result is that we stop polluting?

Besides the fact that there is no such thing as a non-polluting energy source, it matters because humanity depends upon abundant, affordable energy to prosper. Just Google life expectancy and per capita energy use. Prosperous societies are healthier and enjoy longer lives. Expensive sources of energy forced upon the masses by governmental fiat kill poor people simply because expensive energy exacerbates poverty, and poverty leads to premature death. As philosopher Alex Epstein writes in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, if you believe humans have a right to thrive, then you should be supportive of fossil fuels.

We don’t use wind and solar energy because it is economically competitive. We use it because governments have decided to force taxpayers to pay the extra costs involved and allowed utilities to pass on the higher costs to consumers. Wind and solar use continue to grow, but global energy demand grows even faster. Barring some new energy technology (or a renewed embrace of nuclear power), wind and solar are unlikely to supply more than 10% of global energy demand in the coming decades. And as some European countries have learned, mandated use of solar and wind comes at a high cost to society.

Not only the media, but the public education system is complicit in this era of sloppy science reporting. I suppose most teachers and journalists believe what they are teaching and reporting on. But they still bear some responsibility for making sure what they report is relatively unbiased and factual.

I would much rather have teachers spending more time teaching students how to think and less time teaching them what to think.

Climate scientists are not without blame. They, like everyone else, are biased. Virtually all Earth scientists I know view the Earth as “fragile”. Their biases affect their analysis of uncertain data that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Most are relatively clueless about engineering and economics. I’ve had discussions with climate scientists who tell me, “Well, we need to get away from fossil fuels, anyway”.

And maybe we do, eventually. But exaggerating the threat can do more harm than good. The late Stephen Schneider infamously admitted to biased reporting by scientists. You can read his entire quote and decide for yourself whether scientists like Dr. Schneider let their worldview, politics, etc., color how they present their science to the public. The unauthorized release of the ‘ClimateGate’ emails between IPCC scientists showed how the alarmist narrative was maintained by undermining alternative views and even pressuring the editors of scientific journals. Even The Guardian seemed shocked by the misbehavior.

It’s fine to present the possibility that human-caused global warming could be very damaging, which is indeed theoretically possible. But to claim that large and damaging changes have already occurred due to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is shoddy journalism. Some reporters get around the problem by saying that the latest hurricane might not be blamed on global warming directly, but it represents what we can expect more of in a warming world. Except that, even the UN IPCC is equivocal on the subject.

Sea level rise stories in the media, as far as I can tell, never mention that sea level has been rising naturally for as long as we have had global tide gage measurements (since the 1850s). Maybe humans are responsible for a portion of the recent rise, but as is the case for essentially all climate reporting, the role of nature is seldom mentioned, and the size of the problem is almost always exaggerated. That worsening periodic tidal flooding in Miami Beach is about 50% due to sinking of reclaimed swampland is never mentioned.

There are no human fingerprints of global warming. None. Climate change is simply assumed to be mostly human-caused (which is indeed possible), while our knowledge of natural climate change is almost non-existent.

Computerized climate models are programmed based upon the assumption of human causation. The models produce human-caused climate change because they are forced to produce no warming (be in a state of ‘energy balance’) unless CO2 is added to them.

As far as we know, no one has ever been killed by human-caused climate change. Weather-related deaths have fallen dramatically — by over 90% — in the last 100 years.

Whose child has been taught that in school? What journalist has been brave enough to report that good news?

In recent years I’ve had more and more people tell me that their children, grandchildren, or young acquaintances are now thoroughly convinced we are destroying the planet with our carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels. They’ve had this message drilled into their brains through news reporting, movies, their teachers and professors, their favorite celebrities, and a handful of outspoken scientists and politicians whose knowledge of the subject is a mile wide but only inches deep.

In contrast, few people are aware of the science papers showing satellite observations that reveal a global greening phenomenon is occurring as a result of more atmospheric CO2.

Again I ask, whose child has been taught this in school? What journalist dares to report any positive benefits of CO2, without which life on Earth would not exist?

No, if it’s climate news, it’s all bad news, all the time.

More Examples of Media Bias

Here are just a few recent (and not-so-recent) examples of media reporting which only make matters worse and degrade the public debate on the subject of climate change. Very often what is reported is actually weather-related events that have always occurred with no good evidence that they have worsened or become more frequent in the last 60+ years that humans could be at least partly blamed.

The Amazon is burning

A few days ago, The Guardian announced Large swathes of the Amazon rainforest are burning. I don’t know how this has suddenly entered the public’s consciousness, but for those of us who keep track of such things, farmland and some rainforest in Amazonia and adjacent lands has been burned by farmers for many decades during this time of year so they can plant crops. This year is not exceptional in this regard, yet someone decided to make an issue of it this year. In fact, it looks like 2019 might be one of the lowest years for biomass burning. Deforestation there has gone down dramatically in the last 20 years.

The rainforest itself does not burn in response to global warming, and in fact warming in the tropics has been so slow that it is unlikely that any tropical resident would perceive it in their lifetime. This is not a climate change issue; it’s a farming and land use issue.

Greenland Is rapidly melting

The Greenland ice sheet gains new snow every year, and gravity causes the sheet to slowly flow to the sea where ice is lost by calving of icebergs. How much ice resides in the sheet at any given time is based upon the balance between gains and losses.

During the summer months of June, July, and August there is more melting of the surface than snow accumulation. The recent (weather-related) episode of a Saharan air mass traveling through western Europe and reaching Greenland led to a few days of exceptional melt. This was widely reported as having grave consequences.

Forbes decided to push the limits of responsible journalism with a story title, Greenland’s Massive Ice Melt Wasn’t Supposed to Happen Until 2070. But the actual data show that after this very brief period (a few days) of strong melt, conditions then returned to normal.

The widely reported Greenland surface melt event around 1 August 2019 (green oval) was then followed by a recovery to normal in the following weeks (purple oval), which was not reported by the media.

Of course, only the brief period of melt was reported by the media, further feeding the steady diet of biased climate information we have all become accustomed to.

Furthermore, after all of the reports of record warmth at the summit of the ice cap, it was found that the temperature sensor readings were biased too warm, and the temperature never actually went above freezing.

Was this reported with the same fanfare as the original story? Of course not. The damage has been done, and the thousands of alarmist news stories will live on in perpetuity.

This isn’t to say that Greenland isn’t losing more ice than it is gaining, but most of that loss is due to calving of icebergs around the edge of the sheet being fed by ice flowing downhill. Not from blast-furnace heating of the surface. It could be the loss in recent decades is a delayed response to excess snow accumulation tens or hundreds of years ago (I took glaciology as a minor while working on my Ph.D. in meteorology). No one really knows because ice sheet dynamics is complicated with much uncertainty.

My point is that the public only hears about these brief weather events which are almost always used to promote an alarmist narrative.

July 2019 was the hottest month on record

The yearly, area-averaged surface temperature of the Earth is about 60 deg. F. It has been slowly and irregularly rising in recent decades at a rate of about 0.3 or 0.4 deg. F per decade.

So, let’s say the average temperature reaches 60.4 deg. F rather than a more normal 60 deg. F. Is “hottest” really the best adjective to use to inform the public about what is going on?

Here’s a geographic plot of the July 2019 departures from normal from NOAA’s Climate Forecast System model.

July 2019 surface temperature departures from normal. The global average is only 0.3 deg. C (0.5 deg. F) above the 1981-2010 average, and many areas were below normal in temperature. (Graphic courtesy

Some areas were above normal, some below, yet the headlines of “hottest month ever” would make you think the whole Earth had become an oven of unbearable heat.

Of course, the temperature changes involved in new record warm months is so small it is usually less than the uncertainty level of the measurements. And, different global datasets give different results. Monitoring global warming is like searching for a climate needle in a haystack of weather variability.

Bait and Switch: Models replacing observations

There is an increasing trend toward passing off climate model projections as actual observations in news reports. This came up just a few days ago when I was alerted to a news story that claimed Tuscaloosa, Alabama is experiencing twice as many 100+ deg. F days as it used to. To his credit, the reporter corrected the story when it was pointed out to him that no such thing has happened, and it was a climate model projection that (erroneously) made such a “prediction”.

Another example happened last year with a news report that the 100th Meridian climate boundary in the U.S. was moving east, with gradual drying starting to invade the U.S. Midwest agricultural belt. But, once again, the truth is that no such thing has happened. It was a climate model projection, being passed off as reality. Having worked with grain-growing interests for nearly 10 years, I addressed this bit of fake climate news with actual precipitation measurements here.

Al Gore and Bill Nye’s global warming in a jar experiment

This is one of my favorites.

As part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, Bill Nye produced a Climate 101 video of an experiment where two glass jars with thermometers in them were illuminated by lamps. One jar had air in it, the other had pure CO2. The video allegedly shows the jar with CO2 in it experiencing a larger temperature rise than the jar with just air in it.

Of course, this was meant to demonstrate how easy it is to show more CO2 causes warming. I’m sure it has inspired many school science experiments. The video has had over 500,000 views.

The problem is that this experiment cannot show such an effect. Any expert in atmospheric radiative transfer can tell you this. The jars are totally opaque to infrared radiation anyway, the amount of CO2 involved is far too small, the thermometers were cheap and inaccurate, the lamps cannot be exactly identical, the jars are not identical, and the “cold” of outer space was not included the experiment. TV meteorologist Anthony Watts demonstrated that Bill Nye had to fake the results through post-production video editing.

The warming effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 is surprisingly difficult to demonstrate. The demonstration is largely a theoretical exercise involving radiative absorption calculations and a radiative transfer model. I believe the effect exists; I’m just saying that there is no easy way to demonstrate it.

The trouble is that this fraudulent video still exists, and many thousands of people are being misled into believing that the experiment is evidence of how obvious it is to

Greta Thunberg’s sailboat trip

The new spokesperson for the world’s youth regarding concerns over global warming is 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg. Greta is travelling across the Atlantic on what CNN describes as a “zero-emissions yacht” to attend the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23 in New York City.

To begin with, there is no such thing as a zero-emissions yacht. A huge amount of energy was required to manufacture the yacht, and it transports so few people so few miles over its lifetime the yacht is a wonderful example of the energy waste typical of the lifestyles of the wealthy elite. Four (!) people will need to fly from Europe to the U.S. to support the return of the yacht to Europe after Greta is delivered there.

The trip is nothing more than a publicity stunt, and it leads to further disinformation regarding global energy use. In fact, it works much better as satire. Imagine if everyone who traveled across the ocean used yachts rather than jet airplanes. More energy would be required, not less, due to the manufacture of tens of thousands of extra yachts which inefficiently carry few passengers on relatively few, very slow trips. In contrast, the average jet aircraft will travel 50 million miles in its lifetime. Most people don’t realize that travel by jet is now more fuel efficient than travel by car.

The Greta boat trip story is in so many ways the absolute worst way to raise awareness of climate issues, unless you know nothing of science, engineering, or economics. It’s like someone who is against eating meat consuming three McDonalds cheeseburgers to show how we should change our diets. It makes zero sense.

I could give many more examples of the media helping to destroy the public’s ability to have a rational discussion about climate change, how much is caused by humans, and what can or should be done about it.

Instead, the media chooses to publish only the most headline-grabbing stories, and the climate change issue is then cast as two extremes: either you believe the “real scientists” who all agree we are destroying the planet, or you are a knuckle-dragging 8th-grade educated climate denier with guns and racist tendencies.

More fake five-alarm crises from the IPCC

Please note: This article is time sensitive – because it highlights a Heartland Institute program that will take place Monday, August 26, at 11 am to 3 pm ET (9 am to 1 pm MT). But any time you can post it would be great.

UN-affiliated “experts” recently claimed July 2019 was the “hottest month ever recorded on Earth.” (It wasn’t.) A few days later, they issued dire warnings that global agriculture is on the brink of disaster. Not only is  our “dangerously warming” planet damaging lands and forests, and imperiling mankind’s ability to produce food, the IPCC asserts. But now modern farming also causes climate chaos and must thus be part of “the solution” to the “planetary crisis.” Part of that solution is regular folks eating less meat and more vegetables … and insects.

So now some 20,000 activists, bureaucrats and politicians are flying and driving to Salt Lake City for yet another UN climate change and sustainability conference – where they will no doubt lecture the rest of humanity on how we must travel, eat, and heat and cool our homes.

My article this week explains why these assertions have no basis in reality – and why supposed biofuel, wind, solar and battery “alternatives” to fossil fuels are NOT clean, green, renewable or sustainable.

Thank you for posting it, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.

Best regards.


More fake five-alarm crises from the IPCC 

“Mainstream” news outlets dutifully feature climate cataclysm claims that have no basis in reality

Paul Driessen

Efforts to stampede the USA and world into forsaking fossil fuels and modern farming continue apace.

UN and other scientists recently sent out news releases claiming July 2019 was the “hottest month ever recorded on Earth” – nearly about 1.2 degrees C (2.2 degrees F) “above pre-industrial levels.” That era happens to coincide with the world’s emergence from the 500-year Little Ice Age. And “ever recorded” simply means measured; it does not include multiple earlier eras when Earth was much warmer than now.

Indeed, it is simply baseless to suppose that another few tenths of a degree (to 1.5 C above post-Little Ice Age levels) would somehow bring catastrophe to people, wildlife, agriculture and planet. It is equally ridiculous to assume all recent warming has been human-caused, with none of it natural or cyclical.

Moreover, as University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer has noted, this past July was most likely notthe warmest. The claim, he notes, is based on “a limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends.”

The measurements come primarily from airports and urban areas that are artificially warmed by cars, jets, asphalt, air conditioning exhausts and other human heat sources that warm the measuring sites as much as ten degrees F above temperatures in rural areas just 10 to 25 miles away. They do not reflect satellite data or “global reanalysis estimates” that would give a much more accurate picture.

The “hottest month” assertions also ignore major changes in measurement technologies, especially for ocean data, over the past 100-150 years. Perhaps most important, they ignore the paucity or absence of data for millions of square miles of oceanic, Siberian, Arctic and other regions, many of which have much cooler temperatures that would drive “average planetary temperature” figures downward. (And let’s not forget the record cold temperatures recorded for February 2019 in many parts of the world.)

The news media, however, dutifully repeated the spurious hottest-ever assertion as fact – and made no effort to seek out or quote skeptical experts like Spencer. Far worse, most of the experts who developed and propagated the “overheated planet” claims know all of this. But they have a narrative, an agenda, and are not going to let inconvenient facts get in the way. The “mainstream media” behaves similarly.

Then, a few days later, the same doom-saying “experts” issued dire warnings that global agriculture is on the brink of disaster. A “landmark report” by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said our dangerously warming planet is continuing to damage lands and forests, imperiling mankind’s ability to produce food. Climate change has become a growing danger to global food supplies, it intoned.

Prolonged rains well into the 2019 Midwestern US spring season certainly delayed planting and could affect 2019 corn and other harvests. However, bumper crops elsewhere in the world cast serious doubt on this latest round of IPCC and media fear-mongering.

India’s rabi (winter) wheat crop weighed in at an official record of 101.2 million tons. Near-record corn (maize) exports and sunflower seed harvests were forecast for Ukraine. In Argentina, wheat farmers expect a record harvest. In Crimea too. The Canadian National Railway logged all-time grain movement records. The USDA’s October 2018 Crop Report showed record northern USA canola production.

Better hybrid seeds, biotech seeds, and modern fertilizers, pesticides, tractors and farming practices all played a role, as did weather that cooperated with farmers, if not with climate alarmists. However, another major factor is more carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere – which helps crop, forest and grassland plants grow faster and better, and also withstand droughts better. In fact, Dr. Craig Idso has estimated, rising CO2 levels generated some $3.2 trillion in cumulative extra global crop yields between 1961 and 2011, and another $9.8 trillion in predicted CO2-enhanced global crop harvests by 2050.

And now, in a bout of schizophrenia, the IPCC has further muddled its climate chaos message. Now it claims modern agriculture is not just a “victim of climate change.” It also causes climate chaos and must thus be part of “the solution.” Agriculture is responsible for over a quarter of total global greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide and methane), and therefore must change its practices “to save the world.”

Plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide is 0.04% of the atmosphere, and methane represents 0.00017% – of which one-third is from natural sources (termites, swamps and bogs) and two-thirds from human activities: 39% of that from fossil fuels, 16% from landfills, 9% from waste management and 27% from farms.

In other words, agricultural methane could possibly be 27% of two-thirds of 0.00017% of atmospheric methane (CH4) – and that barely detectable 0.00003% (30¢ out of $1-million) of the atmosphere is supposedly driving dangerous manmade climate change. And based on that, we must change our farming and eating habits.

Instead of beef, humans must switch to “nutritious and environmentally sound” alternatives like green pepper, soy, asparagus and squash, says the IPCC. Instead of the full package of beef, pork and poultry, we should eat buckwheat, soy, pears and kidney beans – or other “globally optimal plant replacements.” Of course, locusts, grasshoppers, grubs and other insects are also excellent protein sources, it notes.

The 20,000-some activists, bureaucrats and politicians heading to Salt Lake City for the August 26-28 UN climate change and sustainability conference will no doubt be following that sage advice. (Perhaps they’ll share their menu and Bugs Not Beef recipes.) They could also have had a global teleconference, instead of flying and driving halfway around the world – instead of spending millions of dollars, consuming millions of gallons of aviation and vehicle fuel, and emitting prodigious quantities of CO2 and CH4.

But they’re much more comfortable lecturing the hoi polloi of humanity on how we must travel, eat, and heat and cool our homes (no cooler than a comfortable 82 F in summer, say EPA-Energy Star experts) in more sustainable and climate friendly ways. UN elites much prefer to tell the poorest people on the planet how much they will be “permitted” to develop and improve their living standards.

Dangerous manmade climate change “deniers” like me were of course not invited to participate in this taxpayer-financed UN event. We never are. So the Heartland Institute organized a separate August 26 program nearby, at which alternative evidence and perspectives will be presented and live-streamed.

Heartland speakers will explain why climate change is some 97% natural, not manmade (contrary to that phony 97% consensus that says otherwise); and why real-world evidence does not support IPCC claims about dangerously rising seas, increasingly violent storms or worsening droughts. My talk will focus on why biofuel, wind, solar and battery technologies are not clean, green, renewable or sustainable.

I will point out for example that replacing 100% of US gasoline with ethanol would require some 360 million acres of corn – seven times the land area of Utah. Replacing the more than 25 billion megawatt-hours of electricity the world consumed in 2018 would require some 100 million 400-foot-tall 1.8-MW bird and bat-butchering wind turbines that would actually generate electricity only about 20% of the time.

Assuming just 15 acres apiece, those monster turbines would require some 1.5 billion acres – nearly 80% of the entire Lower 48 United States! And those wind turbines would need some 200 times more raw materials per megawatt than combined-cycle gas turbine power plants. Building and installing them would require massive increases in mining and quarrying all across the globe.

The UN and IPCC delegations and Green New Dealers absolutely do not want to talk about any of this – much less about slave and child labor for cobalt, rare earth and other metals that are the foundation for their make-believe “renewable, sustainable, no-fossil-fuel” future. No wonder they don’t invite us.

These are vitally important issues. They demand robust, evidence-based debates – with all interested and affected parties participating – including the world’s poor and manmade climate chaos skeptics.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books, reports and articles on energy, climate change, sustainability and human rights.

Baked Alaska – the real cause and how 2012 was forgotten

Alaska’s average temperature in July was 58.1 degrees (14.5 Celsius). That’s 5.4 degrees F (3 Celsius) above average and 0.8 degrees (0.4 Celsius) higher than the previous warmest month of July 2004, NOAA said. Here is a plot of Anchorage July temperatures. Note the spike and warming starting in 2013.

Alaska was above normal but warmer southeast near Anchorage.

It has been above normal the first 7 months of the year.

The warm northern Pacific that has dominated since 2013/14 certainly is playing a role.

What was never really covered except here on Weatherbell was the incredible cold in January 2012, when it was warm in the lower 48. Note how Anchorage was more the 14F below normal in January 2012!

January average more than 14F below normal in Anchorage but it was even colder to the west!

10 months in 2012 were colder than normal in 2012 in Anchorage.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 6.50.51 AM
Anchorage Monthly Temperatures Departure from Normal 2012


The first 7 months average in 2012.

What was different was the cold water in the North Pacific (negative PDO).

Anchorage set an all-time snow record of 134.5″, topping the old record of 132.6″ set in 1954-1955. In nearby Valdez, an amazing 437.9 inches fell, 114 inches (35%) above normal.

With the cold came deep sea ice – a record for the Bering Sea. Note this past winter saw a dip below normal as strong north Pacific storms drove the ice out to sea. the lack of sea ice helped sea temperatures warm and favor the warmth – reaching 90F in July in Anchorage.

See the Bering Sea in 2012.

Watch it decrease when the water warmed – PDO rose.

Alaska temperatures track very nicely with flips in the PDO state.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 6.05.04 PM.png

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The latest travesty in ‘consensus enforcement’

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on August 14, 2019 by curryja

The latest travesty in consensus ‘enforcement’, published by Nature.

There is a new paper published in Nature, entitled Discrepancies in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians.

Abstract. We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists by tracking their digital footprints across ∼200,000 research publications and ∼100,000 English-language digital and print media articles on climate change. Projecting these individuals across the same backdrop facilitates quantifying disparities in media visibility and scientific authority, and identifying organization patterns within their association networks. Here we show via direct comparison that contrarians are featured in 49% more media articles than scientists. Yet when comparing visibility in mainstream media sources only, we observe just a 1% excess visibility, which objectively demonstrates the crowding out of professional mainstream sources by the proliferation of new media sources, many of which contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation at scale. These results demonstrate why climate scientists should increasingly exert their authority in scientific and public discourse, and why professional journalists and editors should adjust the disproportionate attention given to contrarians.

This ranks as the worst paper I have ever seen published in a reputable journal.  The major methodological problems and dubious assumptions:

  • Category error to sort into contrarians and climate scientists, with contrarians including scientists, journalists and politicians.
  • Apart from the category error, the two groups are incorrectly specified, with some climate scientists incorrectly designated as contrarians.
  • Cherry picking the citation data of top 386 cited scientists to delete Curry, Pielke Jr, Tol, among others (p 12 of Supplemental Information)
  • Acceptance of the partisan, activist, non-scientist group DeSmog as a legitimate basis for categorizing scientists as ‘contrarian’
  • Assumption that scientific expertise on the causes of climate change relates directly to the number of scientific citations.
  • Assumption that it would be beneficial for the public debate on climate change  for the ‘unheard’ but highly cited climate scientists to enter into the media fray.
  • Assumption that scientists have special authority in policy debates on climate change

The real travesty is this press release issued by UC Merced:

“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” Professor Alex Petersen said. “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate-change-denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.”


Here is the list of ‘contrarians’ identified in the paper [link]

I am included prominently on the list, presumably arising from the DeSmog hit piece on me.

From the press release: “Most of the contrarians are not scientists, and the ones who are have very thin credentials. They are not in the same league with top scientists. They aren’t even in the league of the average career climate scientist.” “giving them legitimacy they haven’t earned.”  Some of the prominent, currently active climate scientists on the list whose work I have learned from:

  • Roy Spencer
  • Richard Lindzen
  • John Christy
  • Roger Pielke Jr
  • Roger Pielke Sr
  • Richard Tol
  • Ross McKitrick
  • Nir Shaviv
  • Garth Paltridge
  • Nicola Scafetta
  • Craig Loehle
  • Scott Denning
  • Nils Axel Morner
  • William Cotton
  • Vincent Courtillot
  • Hendrik Tennekes

Note that this list of climate science ‘contrarians’ is heavily populated by experts in climate dynamics, i.e. how the climate system actually works.

The most comical categorization on this list is arguably Scott Denning, who strongly supports the IPCC Consensus, and gave a talk to this effect at an early Heartland Conference.  Ironically, Scott Denning tweeted this article, apparently before he realized he was on the list of contrarians.

The list also includes others (academic or not) with expertise on at at least one aspect of climate science (broadly defined), from whom I have learned something from either their publications or blog posts or other public presentations:

  • Sebastian Luning
  • Michael Kelly
  • Bjorn Lomborg
  • Christopher Essex
  • Alex Epstein
  • Fritz Vahrenholt
  • Scott Armstrong
  • Willie Soon
  • Steve McIntyre
  • Anthony Watts
  • Patrick Michaels
  • Edward Wegman
  • Matt Ridley
  • Patrick Moore
  • David Legates
  • Craig Idso
  • Chip Knappenberger
  • William Happer
  • Henrik Svensmark
  • Steven Goddard
  • Madhav Kandekhar
  • Jennifer Marohasy
  • William Briggs
  • Hal Doiron
  • Freeman Dyson
  • Iver Giaver
  • JoAnn Nova

I would not seek to defend everything that each of these individuals  has written or spoken on the topic of climate change, but they have added to our knowledge base and provide interesting perspectives.  Why shouldn’t they get media coverage if something that they write about is of general interest and stands up to scrutiny?

The ‘real’ scientists on their list with heaviest media impact include:

  • Donald Wuebbles
  • Ramanathan
  • Stephen Schneider
  • Thomas Stocker
  • Noah Diffenbaugh
  • Miles Allen
  • Kerry Emanuel
  • Phil Jones
  • Chris Jones
  • Stefan Rahmstorf
  • Andrew Weaver
  • Kevin Trenberth
  • Michael Mann

Does anyone think these scientists don’t get enough publicity in the MSM?

Katherine Hayhoe (with HUGE MSM presence) doesn’t make this list; is anyone concerned about her outsized Kardashian Index?

Comparing elephants and peanuts

The most ridiculous thing that this article does is compare the media hits of contrarians that are politicians or journalists with that of ‘consensus scientists’.  In the list of contrarians, the following are politicians and journalists that I regard as being generally knowledgable of climate science:

  • Marc Morano
  • Rex Tillerson
  • David Rose
  • Mark Steyn
  • Matt Ridley
  • Nigel Lawson
  • Christopher Booker
  • Ronald Bailey
  • Andrew Montford
  • Rupert Darwall

Lets face it, these individuals are relatively small potatoes in terms of climate change main stream media. Compare the media impact of the above list with

  • Al Gore
  • Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez
  • Greta Thunberg
  • Etc.

The ignorance of climate change of AOC and Greta is rather shocking.   Why isn’t anyone concerned about this?

JC reflections

Apart from the rank stupidity of this article and the irresponsibility of Nature in publishing this, this paper does substantial harm to climate science.

Climate science is a very broad and diffuse science, encompassing many subfields.  Each of these subfields is associated with substantial uncertainties, and when you integrate all these fields and attempt to project into the future, there are massive uncertainties and unknowns. There are a spectrum of perspectives, especially at the knowledge frontiers.  Trying to silence or delegitimize any of these voices is very bad for science.

Scientists who are effective in the public communication of climate change can speak about topics beyond their own personal expertise.  This requires a different set of skills from basic research: ability to synthesize and assess a broad body of research and communicate effectively.  Scientists on the ‘contrarian’ list bring something further to the table: fact checking alarming statements; concerns about research integrity; thinking outside the box and pushing the knowledge frontier of climate science beyond AGW – issues that are important to the MSM and public communication of climate science.

The harm that this paper does to climate science is an attempt to de-legitimize climate scientists (both academic and non academic), with the ancillary effects of making it more difficult to get their papers published in journals (stay tuned for my latest engagement with the journal peer review process, coming later this month) and the censorship of Nir Shaviv by Forbes (hopefully coming later this week).


  • Doron Levin

This is the story journalist Doron Levin wrote for Forbes about the scientific research by Professor Nir Shaviv and Professor Henrik Svensmark, two members of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council. The Forbes editor, however, doesn’t seem to like the piece and has therefore removed it from its website. We publish the censored story here for interested readers to make up their own minds about the research by Nir Shaviv and Henrik Svensmark.

Global Warming? An Israeli Astrophysicist Provides Alternative View That Is Not Easy To Reject

The U.S. auto industry and regulators in California and Washington appear deadlocked over stiff Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards that automakers oppose and the Trump administration have vowed to roll back – an initiative that has environmental activists up in arms.

California and four automakers favor compromise, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the president’s position that the federal standards are too strict. The EPA argues that forcing automakers to build more fuel efficient cars will make them less affordable, causing consumers to delay trading older, less efficient vehicles. Complicating matters is California’s authority to create its own air quality standards, which the White House vows to end.

However the impasse is resolved, the moment looks ripe to revisit the root of this multifactorial dustup: namely, the scientific “consensus” that CO2 emissions from vehicles and other sources are pushing the earth to the brink of climate catastrophe.

In a modest office on the campus of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, an Israeli astrophysicist patiently explains why he is convinced that the near-unanimous judgments of climatologists are misguided. Nir Shaviv, chairman of the university’s physics department, says that his research and that of colleagues, suggests that rising CO2 levels, while hardly insignificant, play only a minor role compared to the influence of the sun and cosmic radiation on the earth’s climate.

“Global warming clearly is a problem, though not in the catastrophic terms of Al Gore’s movies or environmental alarmists,” said Shaviv. “Climate change has existed forever and is unlikely to go away. But CO2 emissions don’t play the major role. Periodic solar activity does.”

Shaviv, 47, fully comprehends that his scientific conclusions constitute a glaring rebuttal to the widely-quoted surveys showing that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity – the combustion of fossil fuels – constitutes the principle reason for climate change.

“Only people who don’t understand science take the 97% statistic seriously,” he said. “Survey results depend on who you ask, who answers and how the questions are worded. In any case, science is not a democracy. Even if 100% of scientists believe something, one person with good evidence can still be right.”

History is replete with lone voices toppling scientific orthodoxies. Astronomers deemed Pluto the ninth planet – until they changed their minds. Geologists once regarded tectonic plate theory, the movement of continents, as nonsense. Medical science was 100% certain that stomach ulcers resulted from stress and spicy food, until an Australian researcher proved bacteria the culprit and won a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Lest anyone dismiss Shaviv on the basis of his scientific credentials or supposed political agenda, consider the following: He enrolled at Israel’s Technion University – the country’s equivalent of MIT – at the age of 13 and earned an MA while serving in the Israel Defense Force’s celebrated 8200 Intelligence unit. He returned to Technion, where he earned his doctorate, afterward completing post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. He also has been an Einstein Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In other words, he knows tons more about science than Donald Trump or Al Gore.

As for politics “in American terms, I would describe myself as liberal on most domestic issues, somewhat hawkish on security,” he said. Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s position on global climate change, he said, is correct insofar as it rejects the orthodoxy of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s findings and conclusions are updated every six years; the latest report, released this week, noted that deforestation and agribusiness are contributing to CO2 emissions and aggravating climate change.

In 2003, Shaviv and research partner Prof. Jan Veizer published a paper on the subject of climate sensitivity, namely how much the earth’s average temperature would be expected to change if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is doubled. Comparing geological records and temperature, the team came up with a projected change of 1.0 to 1.5 degrees Celsius – much less than the 1.5 to 4.5 degree change the IPCC has used since it began issuing its reports. The reason for the much wider variation used by the IPCC, he said, was that they relied almost entirely on simulations and no one knew how to quantify the effect of clouds – which affects how much radiant energy reaches the earth – and other factors.

“Since then, literally billions have been spent on climate research,” he said. Yet “the conventional wisdom hasn’t changed. The proponents of man-made climate change still ignore the effect of the sun on the earth’s climate, which overturns our understanding of twentieth-century climate change.”

He explained:

“Solar activity varies over time. A major variation is roughly eleven years or more, which clearly affects climate. This principle has been generally known – but in 2008 I was able to quantify it by using sea level data. When the sun is more active, there is a rise in sea level here on earth. Higher temperature makes water expand. When the sun is less active, temperature goes down and the sea level falls – the correlation is as clear as day.

“Based on the increase of solar activity during the twentieth century, it should account for between half to two-thirds of all climate change,” he said. “That, in turn, implies that climate sensitivity to CO2 should be about 1.0 degree when the amount of CO2 doubles.”

The link between solar activity and the heating and cooling of the earth is indirect, he explained. Cosmic rays entering the earth’s atmosphere from the explosive death of massive stars across the universe play a significant role in the formation of so-called cloud condensation nuclei needed for the formation of clouds. When the sun is more active, solar wind reduces the rate of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A more active solar wind leads to fewer cloud formation nuclei, producing clouds that are less white and less reflective, thus warming the earth.

“Today we can demonstrate and prove the sun’s effect on climate based on a wide range of evidence, from fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old to buoy readings to satellite altimetry data from the past few decades,” he said. “We also can reproduce and mimic atmospheric conditions in the laboratory to confirm the evidence.

“All of it shows the same thing, the bulk of climate change is caused by the sun via its impact on atmospheric charge,” he said. “Which means that most of the warming comes from nature, whereas a doubling of the amount of CO2 raises temperature by only 1.0 to 1.5 degrees. A freshman physics student can see this.”

Nevertheless, the world of climate science has “mostly ignored” his research findings. “Of course, I’m frustrated,” he said. “Our findings are very inconvenient for conventional wisdom” as summarized by the IPCC. “We know that there have been very large variations of climate in the past that have little to do with the burning of fossil fuels. A thousand years ago the earth was as warm as it is today. During the Little Ice Age three hundred years ago the River Thames froze more often. In the first and second IPCC reports these events were mentioned. In 2001 they disappeared. Suddenly no mention of natural warming, no Little Ice Age. The climate of the last millennium was presented as basically fixed until the twentieth century. This is a kind of Orwellian cherry-picking to fit a pre-determined narrative.”

Shaviv says that he has accepted no financial support for his research by the fossil fuel industry. Experiments in Denmark with Prof. Henrik Svensmark and others to demonstrate the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation were supported by the Carlsberg Foundation. In the U.S. the conservative Heartland Institute and the European Institute for Climate and Energy have invited him to speak, covering travel expenses.

“The real problem is funding from funding agencies like the National Science Foundation because these proposals have to undergo review by people in a community that ostracizes us,” he said, because of his non-conventional viewpoint.

“Global warming is not a purely scientific issue any more,” he said. “It has repercussions for society. It has also taken on a moralistic, almost religious quality. If you believe what everyone believes, you are a good person. If you don’t, you are a bad person. Who wants to be a sinner?”

Any scientist who rejects the UN’s IPCC report, as he does, will have trouble finding work, receiving research grants or publishing, he said.

In Shaviv’s view, the worldwide crusade to limit and eventually ban the use of fossil fuels isn’t just misguided “it comes with real world social and economic consequences.” Switching to more costly energy sources, for example, will drive industry from more industrialized countries to poorer countries that can less afford wind turbines and solar panels.

“It may be a financial sacrifice the rich are willing to make,” he said. “Even in developed countries the pressure to forego fossil fuel puts poor people in danger of freezing during the winter for lack of affordable home heating. The economic growth of third world countries will be inhibited if they cannot borrow from the World Bank to develop cheap fossil-based power plants. These are serious human problems in the here and now, not in a theoretical future.”

For Shaviv, the rejection and closed-mindedness his minority view provoke may contain a silver lining. Just think of the acclaim that awaits if his research — and scientific reconsideration of the current orthodoxy — one day proves persuasive.

Forbes censored an interview with me

Note:  Here is another example of alarmist control over all the media (including BTW Wikipedia). I could tell you many stories where this has happened, where debates or presentations were blocked and real scientists following the scientific method are demonized or marginalized. They want to gave the readers and public believe there is a ‘consensus’ so don’t bother to look.  It is a little like the NYT changing headlines when the orthodoxy police often politically driven cry foul.

A few days ago I was interviewed by Doron Levin, for an article to appear online on After having seen a draft (to make sure that I am quoted correctly), I told him good luck with getting it published, as I doubted it will. Why? Because a year ago I was interviewed by a reporter working for Bloomberg, while the cities of San Francisco and Oakland were deliberating a climate change lawsuit against Exxon-Mobil (which the latter won!), only to find out that their editorial board decided that it is inappropriate to publish an interview with a heretic like me. Doron’s reply was to assure me that Forbes’ current model of the publication online allows relative freedom with “relatively little interference from editors”. Yeah Sure.

After the article went online yesterday and Doron e-mailed so, I saw how much relative exposure it received. It had already more than 40000 impressions in a matter of a couple of hours. Impressive. All that took place while I was relaxing with my family on a Tel-Aviv beach. But this didn’t last long. Although I continued to relax at the beach, the article was taken down for “failing to meet our editorial standards”, which apparently means conforming to whatever is considered politically correct about climate change.

The piece itself is (or was, or will be?) found here. A copy was posted here.

In any case, the main goal of this post is to provide the scientific backing for the main points I raised in the interview. Here it comes.

First and foremost, I claim that the sun has a large effect on climate and that the IPCC is ignoring this effect. This I showed when I studied the heat going into the oceans using 3 independent datasets – ocean heat content, sea surface temperature, and most impressively, tide gauge records (see reference #1 below), and found the same thing in a subsequent study based on another data set, that of satellite altimetry (see reference #2 below). Note that both are refereed publications in the journal of geophysical research, which is the bread and butter journal of geophysics. So no one can claim it was published in obscure journals, yet, even though the first paper has been published already in 2008, it has been totally ignored by the climate community. In fact, there is no paper (right or wrong) that tried to invalidate it. Clearly then, the community has to take it into consideration. Moreover, when one considers that the sun has a large effect on climate, the 20th century warming is much better explained (with a much smaller residual). See reference #3 below, again refereed).

I should add that there are a few claims that the sun cannot affect the climate because of various reasons, none holds water. Here is why:

  1. The first claims is that “the sun cannot have a large effect on climate because changes in the irradiance are too small to do so, and we don’t know of a mechanism that can”. This is irrelevant because given that the oceans prove that the sun has a large effect on climate, we must consider it even if we don’t know how it comes about. Often in science we are forced to accept a theory we don’t fully understand because the empirical evidence suggests so. Mendelian genetics explained reality pretty well (though we now know it is a bit more complicated) a century before Watson and Crick showed what the underlying mechanism is. Does it mean that we should have discarded Mendelian genetics for a century without knowing the mechanism? Pauli postulated the existence of the neutrino a quarter of a century before it was actually detected. Similarly, almost all cosmologists and particle physicists assume that dark matter exists, because an overwhelming amount of evidence suggests so, and because alternatives simply don’t work (mainly MOND, e.g., as a post-doc and I have shown in a paper as well as many others). However, we don’t really know what dark matter really is (there are many suggestions), but its existance has to be considered. Having said that, we actually do see very clear empirical evidence pointing to the link, as I describe below.
  2. The second claim is that “solar activity decreased from the 1990’s but the temperature continued to increase. So the sun cannot be the reason for the heating”. It is wrong at several levels. First, one has to realize that the temperature anomaly at a given time is not some fixed factor times the forcing at the time. This is because the system has a finite heat capacity and various interesting feedbacks. Without properly modeling it, erroneous conclusions can be reached. A simple example is ruling out the solar flux as the major source of heat because between noon time and say 2pm, the solar flux is decreasing but the temperature is increasing! (Similarly, the average solar flux is decreasing during the month of July in the northern hemisphere, but the temperature is increasing). Solar activity has been high over the latter half of the 20th century such that even after solar activity started to decreases, the temperature should continue increasing for a decade or so, albeit at a lower pace. Second, the above argument is extremely simplistic. Proper modeling has to consider that human have contributed as well to the net positive forcing. And indeed, when one considers both the large effect that the sun has, and the anthropogenic forcing, one can explain 20th century climate change  if climate sensitivity is on the low side, much better than the IPCC models that exclude the large effect that the sun has, but assume a large climate sensitivity instead. See reference #3 below, as well as Roy Spencer’s short talk showing that climate models generally give a much larger temperature increase than has been observed over the past 2 decades.
  3. The third claim is that when 20th temperature changes are compared with solar activity and anthropogenic forcing, one doesn’t see the 11 year solar cycle in the temperature data, which can be used to place an upper limit on the solar effect. This faulty argument is related to the previous one. It too assumes that the temperature should be proportional to the radiative forcing at any instant, and because the temperature variations over the 11 year solar cycle are only of order 0.1°C, the contribution to 20th century warming should be similar since the secular increase in the solar forcing is comparable to the variations over the 11 year solar cycle. However, the large heat capacity of the oceans damps any temperature variations on short time scales. Proper modeling reveals that an 0.1°C variation over the solar cycle should actually correspond to a variation much larger on the centennial time scale, in fact, about half to two thirds of the warming (see reference #3 below and my comments about the BEST analysis from Berkeley who “proved” that the sun cannot have a large climate effect based on the above argument).

As I said above, we now know from significant empirical data where the solar climate link comes from. It is through solar wind modulation of the galactic cosmic ray flux which governs the amount of atmospheric ionization, and which in turn affects the formation of cloud condensation nuclei and therefore cloud properties (e.g., lifetime and reflectivity). How do we know that?

  1. When the sun has gusts in the solar wind, it causes several day long reductions in the flux of cosmic rays reaching Earth, called Forbush decreases. We see as a response changes in the aerosols and in cloud properties, just as expected. See references 4 & 5 below.
  2. There are large cosmic ray flux variations over geological time scales that are not related to solar activity but instead to our location in the Milky Way and the changing galactic environment. You can reconstruct the cosmic ray flux using meteorites and find that the 7 ice-age epochs over the past 1 billion years all appeared when the cosmic ray flux was high (see references 6 & 7 below). On a bit shorter time scales, the vertical motion of the solar system clearly manifests itself as a 32 million year oscillations in the temperature (15 periods over the past half billion years! See reference 8 below). Namely, there are very clear indications that independent variations in the cosmic ray flux affect the climate.
  3. Cloud cover varies over the 11 year solar cycle (e.g., reference 9 below). This by itself is not proof that the link is through cosmic rays, since there are several things that change with the solar cycle. However, one particularly interesting aspect is that the cloud cover variation are asymmetrical between odd and even cycles, just as cosmic rays are, and unlike other solar related variables that are blind to the fact that the real cycle is 22 years (Polarity returns back to the same state after two switches, hence, 22 years. The asymmetry arises from the fact that cosmic rays are primarily positive particles, and the sun is rotating such that there is a clear helicity to the field configuration).
  4. There are several experimental results showing that ions increase the nucleation and formation of a few nm sized aerosols and increase the survival of those aerosols as they grow to become 50 nm sized cloud condensation nuclei. A few examples are given in references 10-13.

One should be aware that we are still missing the last piece of the puzzle, which is to take the various mechanisms, plug them into a global aerosol model and see that there is a sufficiently large variation in the cloud condensation nuclei. This takes time, but compared with the aforementioned examples of genetics, neutrinos or dark matter, it will definitely take us much less to provide this last piece, but in any case, the evidence should have forced the community to seriously consider it already.

Nonetheless, even with the above large body of empirical evidence, the link has been attacked left and right. A really small number has been valid and interesting, but not to the extent to invalidate the existence of a cosmic ray climate link, just to modify our understanding of it. The rest has been mostly bad science, as I exemplify below.

  1. One of the main critiques arises when people look for the cosmic ray climate link but find none. In all those cases were no effect is seen, the authors didn’t estimate the size of the effect they expected and compare it with the noise level in the data. For example, if one considers only a small patch of the atmosphere above oceans, then the day to day fluctuations in the cloud cover are large compared with the Forbush decrease signal. Similarly, not seeing an effect over 10’s of thousands of years because of Earth’s magnetic field changes, is not surprising because switching off Earth’s magnetic field altogether is expected to give rise to a 1°C effect, which is notably smaller than the climate variations seen over these time scales (presumably because of the Milankovich cycles).
  2. The cosmic ray climate link over geological time scales was attacked by several papers. Only one raised a valid scientific point, which is that the original analysis of Jan Veizer and I didn’t consider the effect that the ocean pH (affected by atmospheric CO2) has on the Oxygen 18 data. When that was taken into account, we modified our best estimate for climate sensitivity to be 1 to 1.5°C per CO2 doubling. Other analyses are blatantly wrong, such as faulty statistical analysis or data handling (see summaries here and here), or even simple arithmetic mistakes! (see here).
  3. The last set of critiques are actually part of a healthy scientific discourse about the mechanism that is responsible for linking atmospheric ionization with cloud condensation nuclei. Papers like thisdiscuss the possibility that ion induced nucleation could be the physical mechanism linking ionization changes with variations in the cloud condensation nuclei number density. However, even if we don’t fully understand the underlaying mechanism, ruling out a particular suggested mechanism doesn’t mean that other possibilities do not exist (in fact, they do, see ref #13 below). When Pauling and Corey suggested the triple helix model for DNA in 1953, they were off, but it wasn’t a reason to discard the whole idea of genetics.


  1. Shaviv, N. J. Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing. J. Geophys. Res. (Space Phys.) 113, 11101 (2008)  local version (not paywalled)
  2. Howard, D., Shaviv, N. J., Svensmark, H., The solar and Southern Oscillation components in the satellite altimetry data, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 3297–3306 (2015)
  3. Ziskin, S., Shaviv, N. J., Quantifying the role of solar radiative forcing over the 20th century, Advances in Space Research 50, 762–776, (2012). local version (not paywalled)
  4. Svensmark, H., Bondo, T. & Svensmark, J. Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and cloudsGeophys. Res. Lett. 36, 15101–1510 (2009)
  5. Svensmark, J., Enghoff, M. B., Shaviv, N. J. & Svensmark, H. The response of clouds and aerosols to cosmic ray decreasesJ. Geophys. Res.: Space Phys121, 8152–8181 (2016).
  6. Shaviv, N. J. Cosmic ray diffusion from the galactic spiral arms, iron meteorites, and a possible climatic connectionPhys. Rev. Lett. 89, 051102–05110 (2002)
  7. Shaviv, N. J. The spiral structure of the Milky Way, cosmic rays, and ice age epochs on EarthNew Astron. 8, 39–77 (2003)
  8. Shaviv, N. J., Prokoph, A., Veizer, J., Is the Solar System’s Galactic Motion Imprinted in the Phanerozoic Climate? Scientific Reports volume 4, Article number: 6150 (2014)
  9. Svensmark, H. & Friis-Christensen, E. Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage—a missing link in solar-climate relationshipsJ. Atmos. Sol. -Terr. Phys. 59, 1225–1232 (1997).
  10. Svensmark, H., Pedersen, J. O. P., Marsh, N. D., Enghoff, M. B. & Uggerhøj, U. I. Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditionsProc. R. Soc. A 463, 385–396 (2007)
  11. Kirkby, J. et al. Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleationNature 476, 429–433 (2011).
  12. Svensmark, H., Enghoff, M. B. & Pedersen, J. O. P. Response of cloud condensation nuclei (>50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation. Phys. Lett. A 377, 2343–2347 (2013).
  13. Svensmark, H., Enghoff, M. B., Shaviv, N. J., Svensmark J., Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei, Nature Communications 8, Article number: 2199 (2017)

Linslee’s Ludicrous Climate Plan Would Cost US Households $75,000

AUGUST 5, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee’s recently announced climate plan would come at a very steep price, putting the average U.S. household on the hook for $75,000 over the next 10 years. Even worse, despite the enormous cost, Inslee’s plan would have virtually no effect on global temperature.

Inslee’s Evergreen Economy Plan is similar to self-avowed democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) “Green New Deal,” as both call for eliminating conventional energy production. Inslee’s “plan catalyzes roughly $9 trillion in investment” over 10 years to accomplish that radical goal.

No doubt, Inslee is likely counting on the fact that most people’s eyes glaze over when billions and trillions of dollars are discussed. Moreover, most people have no idea what typical families would pay under these crazy plans.

However, $9 trillion divided by America’s 118 million householdsis approximately $75,000 per household. Is it really worth each household paying an additional $75,000 over the next 10 years, on top of all the other taxes people pay, to switch some or all of our power to wind and solar power from conventional power? Most Americans would likely answer with an emphatic, “No!”

Inslee attempts to justify the high cost of his plan by claiming that switching to wind and solar power will benefit the economy.

He writes, “The Evergreen Economy Plan is built on the model that has led Washington state to become the fastest-growing economy in America.” Inslee fails to mention, however, that wind and solar power sources generate just 7 percent of Washington state’s electricity.

Washington does have a growing economy, and affordable energy has much to do with that. But Washington state benefits from the third-lowest electricity prices in the country precisely because expensive and unreliable wind and solar power provide only a small percentage of Washington’s electricity, not as a result of these renewable energy sources.

Making matters worse, Inslee’s plan would have no significant impact on climate. The United States emits only 13 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and is already leading the world in emissions reductions. Since 2000, the United States has reduced its emissions more than any other nation. America has reduced its emissions by 14 percent this century, even while the rest of the world has increased its emissions by 56 percent.

Further, even if the United States were to immediately eliminate all its emissions and even if the global climate is as sensitive to carbon dioxideemissions as claimed by U.N. models, the Environment Protection Agency’s climate sensitivity models show the immediate elimination of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would affect global temperature by merely 0.13 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Such a small amount can barely be measured and will have virtually no effect on global climate.

If Inslee believes in a climate crisis, he should focus his attention on China. China emits more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States. Moreover, China’s emissions continue to rise. China alone accounts for 63 percent of the total rise in global emissions this century. Unless Inslee’s plan imposes carbon dioxide reductions on China—which it doesn’t—its effect on global emissions would be meaningless.

Fortunately, objective scientific evidence strongly contradicts the assertion that humans are creating a climate crisis. The modest warming of recent decades has brought with it record crop productionretreating desertsrising plant concentrations, and a reduction in extreme weather events.

Also, objective data show cold temperatures kill far more people than moderate or higher temperatures. In the United States, the four months with the highest mortality rates are December, January, February, and March. The four months with the lowest mortality rates are June, July, August, and September.

Eight hundred more people die each day during December through March than die on an average day during the rest of the year. Globally, 4 million people die each year as a result of less than optimal temperatures, with nearly 20 times more people dying as a result of cold temperatures than of higher temperatures.

As hard it might be for some on the far left to believe, a rising global temperature would likely result in fewer temperature-related deaths.

Inslee’s climate plan may curry favor with the extreme left, but it would be an expensive, pointless train wreck for the U.S. economy.

July 2019 Was Not the Warmest on Record

August 2nd, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

July 2019 was probably the 4th warmest of the last 41 years. Global “reanalysis” datasets need to start being used for monitoring of global surface temperatures.

We are now seeing news reports (e.g. CNNBBCReuters) that July 2019 was the hottest month on record for global average surface air temperatures.

One would think that the very best data would be used to make this assessment. After all, it comes from official government sources (such as NOAA, and the World Meteorological Organization [WMO]).

But current official pronouncements of global temperature records come from a fairly limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends. The global surface thermometer network has three major problems when it comes to getting global-average temperatures:

(1) The urban heat island (UHI) effect has caused a gradual warming of most land thermometer sites due to encroachment of buildings, parking lots, air conditioning units, vehicles, etc. These effects are localized, not indicative of most of the global land surface (which remains most rural), and not caused by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because UHI warming “looks like” global warming, it is difficult to remove from the data. In fact, NOAA’s efforts to make UHI-contaminated data look like rural data seems to have had the opposite effect. The best strategy would be to simply use only the best (most rural) sited thermometers. This is currently not done.

(2) Ocean temperatures are notoriously uncertain due to changing temperature measurement technologies (canvas buckets thrown overboard to get a sea surface temperature sample long ago, ship engine water intake temperatures more recently, buoys, satellite measurements only since about 1983, etc.)

(3) Both land and ocean temperatures are notoriously incomplete geographically. How does one estimate temperatures in a 1 million square mile area where no measurements exist?

There’s a better way.

A more complete picture: Global Reanalysis datasets

(If you want to ignore my explanation of why reanalysis estimates of monthly global temperatures should be trusted over official government pronouncements, skip to the next section.)

Various weather forecast centers around the world have experts who take a wide variety of data from many sources and figure out which ones have information about the weather and which ones don’t.

But, how can they know the difference? Because good data produce good weather forecasts; bad data don’t.

The data sources include surface thermometers, buoys, and ships (as do the “official” global temperature calculations), but they also add in weather balloons, commercial aircraft data, and a wide variety of satellite data sources.

Why would one use non-surface data to get better surface temperature measurements? Since surface weather affects weather conditions higher in the atmosphere (and vice versa), one can get a better estimate of global average surface temperature if you have satellite measurements of upper air temperatures on a global basis and in regions where no surface data exist. Knowing whether there is a warm or cold airmass there from satellite data is better than knowing nothing at all.

Furthermore, weather systems move. And this is the beauty of reanalysis datasets: Because all of the various data sources have been thoroughly researched to see what mixture of them provide the best weather forecasts
(including adjustments for possible instrumental biases and drifts over time), we know that the physical consistency of the various data inputs was also optimized.

Part of this process is making forecasts to get “data” where no data exists. Because weather systems continuously move around the world, the equations of motion, thermodynamics, and moisture can be used to estimate temperatures where no data exists by doing a “physics extrapolation” using data observed on one day in one area, then watching how those atmospheric characteristics are carried into an area with no data on the next day. This is how we knew there were going to be some exceeding hot days in France recently: a hot Saharan air layer was forecast to move from the Sahara desert into western Europe.

This kind of physics-based extrapolation (which is what weather forecasting is) is much more realistic than (for example) using land surface temperatures in July around the Arctic Ocean to simply guess temperatures out over the cold ocean water and ice where summer temperatures seldom rise much above freezing. This is actually one of the questionable techniques used (by NASA GISS) to get temperature estimates where no data exists.

If you think the reanalysis technique sounds suspect, once again I point out it is used for your daily weather forecast. We like to make fun of how poor some weather forecasts can be, but the objective evidence is that forecasts out 2-3 days are pretty accurate, and continue to improve over time.

The Reanalysis picture for July 2019

The only reanalysis data I am aware of that is available in near real time to the public is from, and comes from NOAA’s Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2).

The plot of surface temperature departures from the 1981-2010 mean for July 2019 shows a global average warmth of just over 0.3 C (0.5 deg. F) above normal:


Note from that figure how distorted the news reporting was concerning the temporary hot spells in France, which the media reports said contributed to global-average warmth. Yes, it was unusually warm in France in July. But look at the cold in Eastern Europe and western Russia. Where was the reporting on that? How about the fact that the U.S. was, on average, below normal?

The CFSv2 reanalysis dataset goes back to only 1979, and from it we find that July 2019 was actually cooler than three other Julys: 2016, 2002, and 2017, and so was 4th warmest in 41 years. And being only 0.5 deg. F above average is not terribly alarming.

Our UAH lower tropospheric temperature measurements had July 2019 as the third warmest, behind 1998 and 2016, at +0.38 C above normal.

Why don’t the people who track global temperatures use the reanalysis datasets?

The main limitation with the reanalysis datasets is that most only go back to 1979, and I believe at least one goes back to the 1950s. Since people who monitor global temperature trends want data as far back as possible (at least 1900 or before) they can legitimately say they want to construct their own datasets from the longest record of data: from surface thermometers.

But most warming has (arguably) occurred in the last 50 years, and if one is trying to tie global temperature to greenhouse gas emissions, the period since 1979 (the last 40+ years) seems sufficient since that is the period with the greatest greenhouse gas emissions and so when the most warming should be observed.

So, I suggest that the global reanalysis datasets be used to give a more accurate estimate of changes in global temperature for the purposes of monitoring warming trends over the last 40 years, and going forward in time. They are clearly the most physically-based datasets, having been optimized to produce the best weather forecasts, and are less prone to ad hoc fiddling with adjustments to get what the dataset provider thinks should be the answer, rather than letting the physics of the atmosphere decide.