Saturday, May 11, 2019

Steele: What's Natural about the LIA? CC: Allow me to Explain.

Okay, time for some catch up - Pacifica Tribune’s ‘What’s Natural?” April 9th.
So what, who cares, you may ask?  Well, since it’s such a text book example of “libertarian” and GOP’s disingenuous climate education debate strategies - that is, distract, confuse, conjure up a false narrative, call it a victory, then slam the door on dialogue and thinking - I believe it’s important to familiarize rationalists with the tactics. 
Although this time I’m going to change up my approach and treat Steele's LIA story as though it were the homework assignment of a school boy, with me being challenged to tutor the recalcitrant fibber into appreciating the contrasts between the LIA and current human impacts on Earth’s climate.
I’ve reproduced his column then simply reference the paragraphs as I go through it for my hostile student.  Please skim all the way to the end, since I wait until after my dialogue with Steele for my usual cornucopia of further reading sources, re. LIA, who is Dr.Mann, what is the hockey stick, scientific consensus, etc.  

The Little Ice Age - Back to the Future
What’s Natural?  Pacifica Tribune,  April 9, 2019, by Jim Steele
My intention is a review of 'libertarian' deception in action.
Click on image for better viewing and comparing.

What’s with this “extreme scientists?”  Who are you calling extreme?  
Think about it, I know you often disparage the consensus understanding and the scientific community that put it together.  But those aren’t extremists, they are conservative, thoughtful, cautious, even establishment people.  Besides individuals go into Earth sciences for the learning about Earth, always seeking a more thorough understanding of the world that surrounds us.  Even if money grubbers can’t wrap their heads around the notion.  
Published on Aug 24, 2015

Want to discuss “extremists”?
It's usually the overly self-certain, ironically though, they seem to produce work that colleagues and experienced experts and clients find inadequate.  When confronted with their errors and short comings, rather than owning the problem, they feel rage and anger towards the messengers.

Not the stuff that dissipates after a good night sleep, when the pain from the slings and arrows of honest critique have faded.  When critiques evolve into intellectual challenges that spur the serious ones onto new insights.  That’s the stuff science is made of. 
On the other hand, the extreme scientist is the one who sees every critique as a personal attack and who refuses to listen to colleagues.  Case in point Dr. Curry, who has evolved  blaming others into a PR campaign that’s worthy of being turned into an opera.  Now that’s an extremist scientist.
What’s with the 2.7°F above LIA average?  We’re already moving past that today.  
Be serious.  Scientists are very worried about the next 2.7°F, you know, the additional temp rise that is coming to Earth.  Ignoring that geophysical reality won’t do. 
No Jim, temperature record has nothing to do with it.  
It’s the physics of our atmospheric insulation regulator known as CO2 and other “greenhouse gases.”
Consider, during real Ice Ages CO2 is about ~180 ppm; during the LIA it was around 275~285 ppm; in the past 170 years we’ve cranked that insulation regulator up past 411 ppm, and continuing to rise and projected to hit 500 ppm within 50 years.  
Get it?  That’s why scientists are alarmed!
Here’s some homework, read this:
Climate fear comes about when there is a deliberate effort to stupefy and confuse people.  
Although, now that we’ve allowed things to go this far, it’s true there is a new and very real climate fear developing among many people throughout the world.  
Extreme Weather Roulette Fear: where will the next killer event form; when will it form; how well will the various forces sync; where will it hit; how destructive will it turn out.  
Yes, it's a difficult reality to face, still these events promise to keep getting more intense and our children will have tough days ahead.  Shouldn't they at least understand what's coming at them?  The less prepared we and they are, the more it will hurt.
It's simple geophysics, all the deception, fancy talk, Hollywood dreaming and politically/financially motivated character assassination and slanders can’t change that.
Politicians and whacky schemes have nothing to do with the fundamental science that tells us what we need to understand.  
Besides if anything, that failure is the result of the manufactured cynicism and crazy-making, and breakdown in fair-play and civility, and build up of faith-blinded stupefaction.
If everyone is on a different page, and warring with opponents, how can substantive success happen? 
Jim, you finish this paragraph of discombobulated sentences with this zinger,
But the cooling Little Ice Age endured a much more disastrous climate.
More disastrous than what?  The weather we experience today, or in 1850, or what?  You’re not making sense again.
¶ 2
Your rough summary of the LIA is okay, best part, 
“but the exact timing varies.”  
Yes it did because the causes were varied and compounded each other, then dissipated.  Something fundamentally difference from today's inexorable GHG injections into our insulating atmosphere.
There’s another key reality to remember, the 'LittleIceAge' is a catchy label no one can resist.   But it was decidedly nothing like a real Ice Age, when atmospheric CO2 is down towards 180 ppm and temps remain 4°F to 6°F lower and were globally sustained over many centuries and millennia.
The LIA was barely a blip driven by volcanoes, global circulation patterns and oscillations and some ever so puny CO2 fluctuations. 
You start this paragraph with a nod to Dr. Mann’s warnings regarding future warming, then you jump to LIA cooling causing hardship and death.  Then another bizarre jump,
“In contrast to current models suggesting global warming will cause wild weather swings, Mann concluded, “The LIA may have been more significant in terms of increased variability of the climate.” “
Besides splicing his words onto your words this whole thing sounded so fishy that I emailed the column to Dr. Mann and asked if he knew where the quote came from.  I figured reading the context would help me better understand what was going on here.
Turns out, it’s more fabrication, here’s the response I received from Dr. Mann and that he gave me permission to share.
Hi Peter,
I have no idea what the source is, but I’m sure it is being taken out of context and misrepresented if its being quoted by climate change deniers.
I was probably simply referring to the fact that there was more interannual variability (due for example to the large number of volcanic eruptions) during that time frame.
I have no idea how that could be spun to support contrarian views about climate change.
Only if they don’t understand the point.
Which is almost certain.

Mike Mann
This paragraph was a confused scattering of anecdotes.  But to what end?  You can find a much neater collection at, 
So your point is that colder temperatures made life difficult?  Okay, been there, I know cold is difficult and can kill.  
Now where do we go with that, Jim?  
Are you trying to imply that I shouldn’t worry about hotter temperatures because cold temps kill?  How’s that work Jim?  
Have you ever spent any time in a sauna?  How would you like to double your time in there?  I’m thinking too much heat, too much humidity, too much time - it’ll kill you just as dead as a night out in 40°F.
Is much of the same, though focusing on the historical upheavals that weather triggered droughts and famines caused, followed by mass migration, which spawned downstream upheaval including the spread and introduction of plague to Europe and the downfall of kingdoms.
I find it ironic that none of this gives you pause.  Sea level rising into cities, triggering mass migration.  Jim, you don’t think that’s a set up for some catastrophic situations?  
If the tiny bit of cooling during the LIA caused all that pain and upheaval, wouldn’t that be a clear warning that any climate change, in either direction ought be treated very very gingerly?  
Is about the woes of hypothermia.  It’s a killer.  No kidding.  
Jim can you be serious, will you really not acknowledge that your body requires a narrow temperature range for survival?  If your body goes outside of that, you get sick, then very sick, if doctors can’t get you back into that survival zone, you die.  
No matter if it’s hypothermia or hyperthermia.
Here you start with a discredited notion.  The sun did not cool much during that period and it played at best a very minor role.  You have to understand that scientists have discovered that heavy sunspot activity only reduces the amount of insolation Earth receives by a fraction.
The big problem was that solar insolation couldn't get through all the atmospheric gases and particulates that the volcanic eruptions ejected into the atmosphere.
It’s these eruptions that triggered the LIA cooling, then global ocean and atmospheric circulation and oscillation patterns created their own cascading consequences.   
Your last line,
However other scientists suggest it was rising CO2 that delivered the world from the Little Ice Age.
I wonder, are you aware of just how little CO2 change there was during that period?  Perhaps 10 ppm on a time scale of centuries.  Today we have added 35 ppm in less than the past 17 years.  
Tell me Jim, what was the “natural” CO2 rise since the last real ice age and medieval times?  (answer ~35 ppm CO2 rise every 1,000 years)
Jim please consider 17yrs vs 1,000yrs - Now explain why you aren’t alarmed?

Low atmospheric CO2 during the Little Ice Age due to cooling-induced terrestrial uptake – 
Supplementary Information
Jim, this is 2019.  There is no “If” about it - CO2 concentrations are driving today’s warming.  Wake up, YES - It’s certainly as certain as certain gets!  
It’s physics don’t you know?  
Only by willfully ignoring tons of deniable, but indisputable, evidence can one cling to such an idiotic notion in this day and age.
Now comes your CO2 is plant food diversion.  Yes, Jim CO2 is plant food.  
What the hell does that have to do with CO2 also being the driving regulator of our atmospheric insulation?  
CO2 is also acidifying our oceans and beginning to damage its food web, and in a closed room, too much CO2 will kill you.  So what’s your point about the plant food?  
And what does that have to do with CO2 being at the heart of our Earth’s atmospheric insulation?
Which in turn impacts average global temperature; which in turn has a profound impact on our global heat and moisture distribution engine; which of course dictates the type of biosphere Earth is experiencing.
You finish asking,
So why is it that now we face a crisis?
Because too much heat is every bit as destructive as too little.  Also because we are continuing to increase our atmospheric insulation regulator at alarming rates.
Of course we can be proud of how far we have come from those days of plagues.  Over the past couple centuries, thanks to modern marvels and benign weather patterns we are managing to feed most of 7.6 billion people.
But you sound rather hubristic, entitled even. 
You demonstrate little appreciation for the complexity or fragilities or interdependences of our global society and the infrastructure that makes it possible, but which needs constant upkeep.
Jim, you take much for granted, the Californian’s curse.
I find that one of the biggest tragedies of the day, how little people in general appreciate the fragility of what we’ve achieved.  But it’s impossible to teach that to people who simply don’t give a damned.
Jim do you listen to some of the things you write?
So, the notion that cooler times represent the “good old day’s” and we are now in a warmer climate crisis seems truly absurd.
You’re being absurd!  Who ever calls the medieval era the good old days?  We are now in the good old days or at least what’s left of them.  
A sober appraisal of what we have been doing to this biosphere we depend on for everything makes clear that continued warming will wind up putting us all into a world much more horrendous than the LIA’s blips and bumps.
It’s tragic and painful, but it’s only natural.


Further related reading:

Perhaps I’ve this obsession with sharing good information sources because I’m sick and tired of contrarians calling me an idiot.  I know, I know, that’s the only vocabulary they have, don’t let it ruffle my feathers. 
But that’s not the point, we need to oppose their deliberate lies with simple education, supported by what real experts have to explained to us, stuff others can learn from.  If the faith-blinded aren't listening at least it can help educate folks on our own side.

We The People of the United States have a moral, ethical right - along with a pragmatic need - to learn what scientists have learned about this planet's biosphere and climate engine without constant dishonest crossfire. 
We should not tolerate serious scientists always being drown out by amoral, ruthless and frankly ignorant arguments - that an astoundingly ruthless GOP PR factory repeats over and over again, without ever learning a damned thing from the evidence in front of us. 


Scientific Consensus isn’t 
a “Part” of the Scientific Method: 
it’s a Consequence of it
Published by Credible Hulk on August 9, 2017

“… a scientific consensus is, by definition, an evidence-based consensus. A convergence of the weight of existing evidence is a prerequisite which distinguishes a knowledge-based scientific consensus from mere agreement.  
This is critical, because the scientific enterprise is essentially a meritocracy. As a result, it doesn’t matter if a few contrarians on the fringe disagree with the conclusions unless they can marshal up evidential justification of comparable weight or explain the existing data better.  
The weight of the evidence is paramount.In a nutshell, a consensus in science refers to a convergence of many independent lines of high quality evidence all leading the majority of active scientists in a given field to arrive at the same conclusion and/or complimentary conclusions. …”


Scientific Consensus: Why Should We Accept It?
No, it's not just a bunch of nerds coming together.

Robert Sanders  |  September 25th 2016


How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters


Causes of the Little Ice Age research and modeling project

LME | Last Millennium Ensemble Project
The CESM Paleoclimate Working Group at NCAR conducted a series of Last Millennium community experiments, referred to as the Last Millennium Ensemble (LME). 
LME Projects

Jim Steele, who are you labeling “extreme”?  Based on what?  
Dr. Mann with his distinguished active career in paleoclimate computation related fields?  His published record is amazing   Yet contrarians must falsely demonized him for his ‘hockey stick graph’ - sure, it's a frightening thing, but it's true and we'd do well to recognize it.  It has stood the test of time, though the GOP won't admit it.
The past half century of observations have all been in line with early expectations, and they all point to very difficult days ahead.
But if one lies about those early expectations, then one can conjure whatever nonsense one wants no matter how intellectually criminal it is.  

For the record here's some information on Dr. Mann,

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, 
an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and 
a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. 

His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth's climate system.

Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 
and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. 
He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and 
selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. 
He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. 
He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 
and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. 
He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013. 
In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) 
and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. 
He received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate One in 2017, 
the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 
and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. 
In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. 

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, 
the American Meteorological Society, 
the Geological Society of America, 
the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and 
the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 
He is also a co-founder of the award-winning science website
Dr. Mann is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and four books including
Selected editorials and opinion articles

Okay I take it back.  
Dr. Mann is an extreme scientist.  
An extremely industrious, accomplished and respected scientist.  Oh, but the GOP must fabricate their demonic straw man, all for the sake of ignoring our Earth's geophysical reality.  Shame on them. 


Low atmospheric CO2 during the Little Ice Age due to cooling-induced terrestrial uptake – Supplementary Information
M. Rubino, et al


Winter amplification of the European Little Ice Age cooling by the subpolar gyre
  • Eduardo Moreno-Chamarro, Zanchettin, Lohmann, Luterbacher & Jungclaus 
Scientific Reports
 7, Article number: 9981 (2017)

We conclude that SPG-related internal climate feedbacks were responsible for the winter amplification of the European LIA cooling. Thus, characterization of SPG dynamics is essential for understanding multicentennial variations of the seasonal cycle in the European/North Atlantic sector.

The Little Ice Age signature in a 700-year high-resolution chironomid record of summer temperatures in the Central Eastern Alps
  • Elena A. Ilyashuk, Heiri, B.P. Ilyashuk, Koinig - December 1, 2018

The LIA temperature minimum about 1.5 °C below the long-term mean recorded in the mid-1780 s coincides with the strongest volcanic signal found in the Greenland ice cores over the past 700 years and may be, at least in part, a manifestation of cooling that followed the long-lasting AD 1783–1784 Laki eruption.

Amplified Inception of European Little Ice Age by Sea Ice–Ocean–Atmosphere Feedbacks
September 21, 2013

The inception of the Little Ice Age (~1400–1700 AD) is believed to have been driven by an interplay of external forcing and climate system internal variability. While the hemispheric signal seems to have been dominated by solar irradiance and volcanic eruptions, the understanding of mechanisms shaping the climate on a continental scale is less robust. 

Dagomar Degroot  |  2/29/2016

Back in 2003, palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman proposed that humans were to blame for preindustrial climate change, in a groundbreaking article that shocked the scientific community. Two years later, he thoroughly explained and defended his conclusions in book called Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate. Ruddiman argued that humanity had slowly but progressively altered Earth’s atmosphere since the widespread adoption of agriculture.

What caused the Little Ice Age?
Phil Plait, February 1, 2012


The Little Ice Age; was it big enough to be global?
This Weather topic submitted by Andrew Daley on 5/8/98.


Here is a collection of articles about “Mann’s Hockey Stick” spanning 2009 to 2018.  Valuable background information if you want to learn about what this “hockey stick” graph is all about.

A Review of Michael Mann's Exoneration
By Richard Littlemore • Friday, December 4, 2009

In the endless - and senseless - assault on Michael Mann and his famous hockey stick graph, it is generally overlooked that the graph has withstood all of the criticism and, still today, stands as a perfectly accurate picture of climate over the past millennia.
As well, however, Mann’s conclusions were vindicated in two independent reviews, the second of which, by Edward Wegman, was particularly hostile in it conception, but ultimately exculpatory. …

Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson
Has the WSJ’s vaunted ‘firewall’ between straight news and ideological-driven editorials been breached?
JOE ROMM  |  FEB 26, 2010

Yes, the WSJ piece wins the prize for the most unintentionally ironic headline since it is the media’s self-destructive push to oversimplify that has led to repeated libeling of Michael Mann and other climate scientists (see “Newsweek staff who play fast and loose with the facts are imperiling not just their profession but the planet” and “Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video “” while reporting his exoneration!
I am running a full response by Dr. Mann below. It seems the least I can do in response to the umpteenth false attack on his reputation. …

Posted on 28 July 2012 by dana1981

At Skeptical Science, we prefer to stick to discussions of the scientific literature and body of evidence.  However, for the long time there has been a systematic abuse of climate scientists from climate denialists, and from time to time this reprehensible behavior becomes so widespread that we feel the need to comment on it, for example in the cases of Katharine Hayhoe and Phil Jones.
Most recently, Michael Mann, who himself has a long history being on the receiving end of abusive letters and death threats, as he detailed in his book, has been rather viciously defamed by the Competetive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and National Review.  CEI is a right-wing think tank with a long history of denying the health effects of smoking and human-caused climate change, having received major funding from the tobacco and oil industries (i.e. over $2 million from ExxonMobil, and more recently funding from the Koch Brothers and other groups whose wealth is based in fossil fuels like the Scaife Foundations).
Recently, Ryan Simberg published a …

What evidence is there for the hockey stick?

The Hockey Stick: The Most Controversial Chart in Science, Explained
Climate deniers threw all their might at disproving the famous climate change graph. Here's why they failed.
MAY 10, 2013

Back in 1998, a little known climate scientist named Michael Mann and two colleagues published a paper that sought to reconstruct the planet's past temperatures going back half a millennium before the era of thermometers--thereby showing just how out of whack recent warming has been. The finding: Recent northern hemisphere temperatures had been "warmer than any other year since (at least) AD 1400." The graph depicting this result looked rather like a hockey stick: After a long period of relatively minor temperature variations (the "shaft"), it showed a sharp mercury upswing during the last century or so ("the blade”).
The report moved quickly through climate science circles. … the IPCC proclaimed that "the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years.”  And then all hell broke loose. …

Earth Day and the Hockey Stick: A Singular Message
On the 20th anniversary of the graph that galvanized climate action, it is time to speak out boldly
… Nothing in my training as a scientist could have prepared me for the very public battles I would soon face. The hockey stick told a simple story: There is something unprecedented about the warming we are experiencing today and, by implication, it has something to do with us and our profligate burning of fossil fuels. The story was a threat to companies that profited from fossil fuels, and government officials doing their bidding, all of whom opposed efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the vulnerable junior first author of the article (I was a postdoctoral researcher), I found myself in the crosshairs of industry-funded attack dogs looking to discredit the iconic symbol of the human impact on our climate…by discrediting me personally. …
In my 2013 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, I gave a name to this modus operandi of science critics: the Serengeti strategy.  …
Yet, in the 20 years since the original hockey stick publication, independent studies again and again have overwhelmingly reaffirmed our findings, including the key conclusion: recent warming is unprecedented over at least the past millennium. The highest scientific body in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences, affirmed our findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006. Dozens of groups of scientists have independently reproduced, confirmed and extended our findings, including a team of nearly 80 scientists from around the world who in 2013 published their finding in the premier journal Nature Geoscience that recent warmth is unprecedented in at least the past 1,400 years. …

… Of course, our understanding of millenial temperatures has improved greatly. The reconstructions extend further back than they did originally. The analysis methods have improved, so we have more confidence in the results. We can use many different proxies to reconstruct these temperatures, so have better spatial and temporal resolution. This allows for an improved understanding of variability and of the role of both internal and external perturbations. However, the big picture has changed little. A warm period about 1000 years ago, typically referred to as the Medieval Warm Period, a general cooling towards what is referred to as the Little Ice Age, and then the modern warm period, that appears unprecedented in the last 1000 years, or so.
I think it’s important to realise that all of this is part of the normal scientific process. Early work will have limited data and will often use methods that have not been tried before. With time, we collect more data, develop improved methods, and – consequently – improve our understanding. We might even conclude that some of the early work used methods that we’d no longer regard as suitable. This doesn’t suddenly invalidate the earlier work, or imply kind of some nefarious intent. It seems pretty clear that the big picture presented by the early millenial temperature reconstructions have stood the test of time. I hope I, one day, have a paper that is still relevant, and being discussed, 20 years after being published.

I’ve always quite liked this post by David Appell that points out that the broad shape of millenial temperature reconstructions (hockey stick like) isn’t surprising.


Keynote Address, Dr. Michael Mann: 
The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
AUGUST 20, 2018

Michael E Mann
Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science
The Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pennsylvania
Peter J Olson
Senior Copyediting Coordinator
Sheridan Journal Services
Waterbury, Vermont


Merchants of Doubt

In their book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. 
In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, 
Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.
“A well-documented, pulls-no-punches account of how science works and how political motives can hijack the process by which scientific information is disseminated to the public.”—Kirkus Review

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