Watts Up With That? Tour hits an obstacle: the truth.

I have just returned from a series of off-campus meetings to find that there has been little excitement in my absence.  Apparently, I have been portrayed as some sort of hothead who tried to interfere with the “Watts up with that?” tour by denialists Anthony Watts, David Archibald and Bob Carter.

“Unprofessional and arrogant academic interrupts poor old denialist weatherman.”  Goodness– that does sound believable.  That is until one examines the complete audio record, which my trusty ‘photographer’ (Dr. John Bruno) and I were able to obtain.

What transpired was triggered by some inconvenient questions John and I that I asked during question time.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Judge for yourself – here are my responses to the following outlandish claims:

a.    Bob Carter: “billions of dollars had been spent and the scientific community has not come to a consensus”  Have a listen.  How hostile do I sound?  Persistent yes, but that is something else.


b.    David Archibald: “Ocean acidification is the last resort of the global warming  scoundrel”. Yep – he said it.  Have a listen (yes, I do get a little hot under the collar – but who wouldn’t.  After all, Oilman Dave had essentially called me corrupt.)


By the way, I tried to say hello to Anthony when I arrived, but he turned his back on me.  So much for a friendly discussion.  Who are these people?

56 thoughts on “Watts Up With That? Tour hits an obstacle: the truth.

  1. Nice selective audio, Ove. I was there and can say that I agree with everyone else who saw your performance – totally unprofessional for a scientist. You tried to hijack the Q & A session, and while your selective audio says otherwise, I’m sure there are plenty of mobile phone videos to provide evidence to your unprofessional behaviour.

  2. Good on you for taking them on. I imagine that the audience was hostile to you.

    IMO Watts is a bit of wimp as this story shows:

    It’s only if you read the comments and find out what the lady actually did that you realise what a cry baby he is… especially when he is so abusive and threatening to visitors to his blog who point our his basic errors.

  3. totally unprofessional for a scientist

    How dare they ask questions & take Carter & Archibald to task on their many falsehoods. Both these guys have close ties to the mining & or oil industries, as well as right wing front groups. Couldnt be just a we bit of bias there Tim? Sounded ok to me.

    Deniers never stop to ask themselves why the majority or people on the world stage acting on behalf of the deniers.

    1) Also happen to have close ties to fossil fuel & mining industries.
    2) Have ties to right wing lobby groups.
    3) Have only a handful of scientists who back the denier side, of whom few have published or conducted research in any relevant climate science field, much less publish any papers in reputable journals debunking AGW.
    4) Have not a single scientific instituion backing them.
    5) Why Anthony Watts doesnt take on his own AMS who disagrees with him.
    6) Why Carter cant take on the CSIRO or Academy of sciences about their position here in Australia? Or rally the other scientists at his James Cook Uni behind his cause? But instead does speaking tours & radio interviews. Is that how science is done?

    The deniers can stage their own protest at a pro AGW conference if they wish, hey I’ll even help with the placards. Here is some ideas.

    1) “You must be joking Mann”
    2) “Dont listen to Hansen”
    3) “Keep up with the Jones’s decline”
    4) “The bible says they are wrong”
    5) “We cant trust models…except for the ones used in medicine,aeronautics, astronomy,physics, genetics, architecture,engineering & well, everything else really but climate science…because…well.. just because!”
    6) “Dont listen to the experts, amateurs have the answers!”
    7) “profit before people ya hippies”
    8) “scientists make way more $$ than oil CEO’s, its the truth!”
    9) “Bolt & Watts make cents”
    10) “Get Carter……another oil $ponsor$hip”

  4. Well done Ove.

    Funny isn’t it. We have the Moncktons and Watts of this world pleading for scientists to discuss the issues with them.

    But then when you do, they ask you to find your own hall!

    If they are so confident, I’m not sure why they would have a problem with you. In fact why didn’t they ask you up on stage for a proper debate?

  5. Tim – I have the entire audio … the outrageous claims and accusations certainly provoked a response from me. I won’t deny that. But my response was not rude and arrogant. Rather, it was incredulous yet persistent in challenging the misinformation that was presented the other night.

    After all who wouldn’t have responded to claims that they and their field of study was corrupt? That is the really offensive part. I don’t think anyone has the right to sit up on a stage and slander other scientists as corrupt without being challenged. Sorry.

    You asked about papers to back up my claims the other night – here are a few references I think that you should read to get across the issue. I note that David Archibald doesn’t have any papers to offer up as evidence. What does that say about his position and his slander?

    Hoegh-Guldberg O, Mumby PJ, Hooten AJ, Steneck RS, Greenfield P, Gomez E, Harvell CD, Sale PF, Edwards AJ, Caldeira K, Knowlton N, Eakin CM, Iglesias-Prieto R, Muthiga N, Bradbury RH, Dubi A, Hatziolos ME. 2007. Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science 318:1737-1742.

    Anthony KRN, Kline DI, Diaz-Pulido G, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2008) Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105:17442-17446

    Pelejero, C, Calvo, E and Hoegh-Guldberg, O (2010) Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 332-344.

    Veron JEN, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Lenton TM, et al. (2009) The coral reef crisis: The critical importance of < 350 ppm CO2. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58: 1428-1436

  6. Hi, I think you said you have the whole audio available. Can it be posted or emailed? You should consider going to other lectures in this series. Could you, at a minimum, tell me about how many people were even in attendance? Mabe your supporters in other cities could do that for their cities,assuming they go or hear. It sounds like it is not attracting much attention from anyone.

  7. Ove

    You’re never going to win an argument in that sort of venue. You’re dealing with people who seriously think that there is a conspiracy around climate change science – ranging from straight evil through world energy regulation to more benign noble cause corruption. http://www.e-elgar-environment.com/bookentry_main.lasso?id=12839 ” The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science”

    They are convinced mainstream science is subservient to a funding model that has already assumed the answer. Dissent is impossible.

    In defence of Watts ignoring you – remember he is quite deaf and he simply may not have heard you.

    His criticism of the US climate network is a fair cop. However what is left out of the presentation is the trend of the remaining good stations, the trend of the 2 satellite series, the trend in the 2 ocean temperature series, and the many records of changes in species behaviour and phenology.

    The criticism of acidification research is strident – many complaints about research methodology and recent papers. e.g. http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid2.htm#CO2_vents

    I have been told point blank that dissolution is chemothermodynamically impossible.

    “Aragonite (the form of calcium carbonate secreted by corals) and calcite (the form of calcium carbonate secreted by calcareous forams – phytoplankton known as cocolithophores) cannot dissolve unless they are thermodynamically permitted to do so i.e. their Saturation Indices (SIs) must be zero or less than zero.

    For an ocean fully equilibrated with the atmosphere, it would require an increase in the partial pressure (concentration) of CO2 in the atmosphere 6.4 times level of 2455 ppmv (presently 384 ppmv) to drive the SI of aragonite down from its present +0.61 to zero.

    pH of the seawater would then be 7.52.

    For an ocean fully equilibrated with the atmosphere, it would require an 8.8 times increase in the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere to a level of 3388 ppmv ppm (presently 384 ppmv) to drive the SI of calcite down from its present +0.73 to zero.

    pH of the seawater would then be 7.39.

    These values are easily obtained using any standard geochemical model such as USGS PHREEQC.

    The established literature shows clearly that the occurrences of corals and calcareous phytoplankton in the geological record over the last several hundreds of million years are fully consistent with the above thermodynamic facts.

    Thus the modern level of CO2 in the atmosphere of 384 ppmv would have to double 2 – 3 times before corals and calcareous plankton would begin to disappear. Until we approached such a condition any field observations are highly likely to be instances of natural, complex ‘noise’ restricted to specific species or other local factors.” {Steve Short}

    So mainstream science has to engage. Bluster will only polarise the positions further. Ignoring sceptics or total derision no longer works.

  8. A bit unfair Toby – Watts has more real data on US climate stations than anyone else ! You’d have to give him that. He’s built his following from grass roots activism. And he’s shown that the US network is dreadful in terms of siting standards. Fair cop.

    Still have not heard anything to say whether dissolution is possible?

    The reef calcifation paper based on a few sites?

    Is HCl used in acidification experiments?

    Appeals to authority won’t cut it with these guys. You have to argue the detail !

  9. Thank you Pinkie. The whole audio is several hundred megabytes and hence probably impractical in terms of putting on the Web. I have posted be interesting bits (see video as well). The talk by Watt’s droned on about the positioning of the sensors within the US network, which could have been summarised in less than 15 minutes but took almost 2 hours. Bob Carter did his usual routine, appearing academic while pedalling misinformation about the state of the science. And David Archibald was aggressive – similarly peddling misinformation through a bunch of slides which he quickly went through.

    John and I estimated that the total audience size was about 60 people … at least 10 of those were climate scientists like myself who were interested in trying to understand how these individuals could be saying what they’re saying. There were about 10 people involved in organising the session … which left about 30 to 40 people who had paid 20 of their hard earned dollars to listen to the talks.

  10. Thanks Luke. I agree with you on the fact that you can’t win an argument in that sort of venue and with that sort of ideological audience. John and I had come to listen and try to understand the collective positions of Watts, Carter and Archibald. I was quite willing to sit there quietly until I heard such preposterous and provocative statements against science and scientists (some which are outlined above). Perhaps Anthony Watts didn’t realise who he had paired up with on the podium. Maybe he didn’t realise how aggressive and unprincipled David Archibald actually was. And maybe he didn’t realise that robust debate is good for a truly skeptical meeting.

    A few comments on ocean acidification, I can add a few things. After having performed some experiments (e.g. Anthony KRN, Kline DI, Diaz-Pulido G, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2008) Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105:17442-17446) and having reviewed the ocean acidification literature (various reviews published in Science and other high-ranking journals), I am pretty well convinced that ocean acidification has a major impact on marine calcifiers like reef building corals. It may not affect all marine organisms equally – but it does affect key organisms such as reef building corals. Let alone have serious ramifications.

    One of the important points it needs to be understood is that the biology of marine calcifiers is tuned to the chemistry of seawater with pH of about 8.2 … it is important part of their response. That is, the actual precipitation of aragonite is not simply controlled by the physical chemistry of the surrounding seawater (and hence thermodynamics in its simplest form is only part of the issue here). If you decrease the pH of seawater by 0.1 pH units (as has happened over the past 150 years) you decrease carbonate ion availability by about 15%. If you double the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, pH will drop even further, and carbonate ion availability will drop by around 30%. These decreases in the carbonate ion concentration have been shown to have a series of direct effects on the ability of calcifiers to form their skeletons. These seemingly small changes ultimately add up to have major implications for the framework and structure of coral reefs.

    It is important to realise that this is also not about decreasing the seawater pH below 7 as has sometimes featured in denialist discussions … as if that were some threshold. Rather, it is about the steady acidification of seawater from the alkaline pH of 8.2 and the associated loss of carbonate ions from the water column. This is why David Archibald, Matt Ridley and others have failed to realise. Of course, this comes from careful reading and understanding the scientific literature as opposed to a belief in one’s own rhetoric and back of the envelope calculations!

  11. Well said ‘The Ville’. Personally, while it was difficult the other night, I think it is extremely important that we take these ideas and their perpetrators to task through robust discussion. I personally find it very difficult to sit through such nonsense and misrepresentation without flinching.

  12. Great comment Phil M. I suppose Tim thought that I and the other scientists in the audience should just sit there listening obediently while we were told that we have made no progress on understanding climate change and its impacts, and that we were essentially unethical individuals on the take. Apart from insulting our intelligence, such unproven claims of unethical and criminal behaviour border on the slander of an entire community of professionals.

  13. Ove – invite them for round two !!!

    I have emailed Leon Ashby suggesting that if the sceptics were any good they’d present to BoM and CSIRO instead of the faithful. Also have posted the same on Watts blog.

    Won’t happen I suspect.

    Given the Watts tour finishes in Coff Harbour – you could perhaps offer them a last venue at U of Q?

    Despite the provocation, I think these guys do need to be listened seriously and given some respect. So if you do arrange such a thing – no cat calls or abuse. You’d need to chair it well.

    Scepticism and denialism isn’t going to go away. The traditional strategy of remaining aloof and denying the other side oxygen is not working.

    The old way is to have it out on every major point of objection. And unlike the sceptics we probably need to say “we don’t know” when we don’t.

    Archibald is a robust bloke – instead of being offended – embrace the opportunity for engagement.

    Back on acidification – if I’m right we’re not talking about dissolution of shells – we’re talking calcification rate. A separate issue. And the De’ath paper is beaten up on Seafriends (URL last post) for the small number of sample sites. A Yamal tree type issue?

    Of course sceptics also love to post pics of coral growing next to CO2 vents – e.g. http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/07/ocean-acidification-photographs-from-bob-halstead-and-a-note-from-floor-anthoni/ pics there

    They will also cite the survival of corals over geographic time – different ocean conditions and sea level rise.

    You need to meet all these claims full on. Full metal jacket.

  14. Thanks Luke. I am ready to combat … Bolt-hardened and ready for anything. No, seriously, I think you’re right, we need to meet these people head-on but in a polite but firm manner. I do believe in asking the inconvenient question, no matter how some may take it. Unfortunately, many of the best scientists have tended not to be heard because they expect good science to be picked up over time. They expect that a gentle publication of the evidence will be picked up. Unfortunately, that is not given.

    By the way one of the fascinating things about the picture of corals growing in acidified water is that the coral is shown are among the toughest – sort of a picture of ‘Custer’s last stand a’la coral’. A group called Porites. Unfortunately, they don’t make the complex high diversity reef systems that are typified by populations of branching corals. They are long gone from these coral vent areas.

    I think the claim by denialists that 328 coral cause across the entire Great Barrier Reef (this is what was sampled in the De’ath et al. study) as being too small a sample is a joke. Each of those corals represents a separate several hundred-year-old record. The amount of time and energy that goes into getting the record of each of those sites is impressive. I guess this is just another silly denialist reply to otherwise solid science. It is a pity that people like Archibald who spend their time thinking up outlandish excuses don’t just get with the evidence and move on to the solutions.

  15. If you’re worried about ocean alkalinity dropping, and considering you have a particular obsession with Anthony Watts at the moment, have a look at this from Anthony’s site – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/19/the-electric-oceanic-acid-test/#more-20792

    And it becomes less-alkaline. The scare-monger’s term of acidification cannot start until the pH drops below 7. Which will never happend because of the natural buffering in sea water.

    I especially liked the measurements from the aquarium inlet, but no sudden deaths.

    BTW, I do not ‘deny’ that the climate has changed. The climate has changed, always will, I just do not agree that we’re causing it. We are being brainwashed into focussing on a single issue, when there are many more environmental and humanitarian issues the resources on climate change could be directed at, and have a far bigger influence on our fragile world.

    Can someone tell me one very simple thing, please? What is the single biggest influence on our climate?

  16. regarding Timdot’s link, from the first paragraph.

    Watts: “… So I’m concerned that the new poster-boy of alarmism these days is sea-water “acidification” from CO2 dissolving into the ocean. Heck, even the name “acidification” is alarmist, because sea water is not acid, nor will it every be. What we are seeing is a slight reduction in how alkaline the sea water is.”
    Listen to the way the guy lays out the entire argument and the red-herring about “acidification” while ignoring the actual % concentration change recorded. It’s all rhetoric and misdirection to smooth over ignoring huge chunks of the data. And such is woven into pretty near every post I’ve read at WUWT. That’s political theater not clean honest science.

    However, cherry picked and political as it may be, Watts surely presents more science than other “skeptical” sites and his critiques deserve, hell need!, to be examined, explained, exposed.

    It would be wonderful to have a website “Skeptical Eye on Watts Up With That” dedicated to examining WUWT claims and data assessment technics. Having scientists explaining these incomprehensible statistics and graph plotting details and such – in words a laymen can distill into learning and understanding.

    Then, of course, we need concerned – proactive – laymen who have to step up and get that information out. We got no million$ for ad campaigns, but we do have thousands (i hope) of regular people who have watched this long enough and are frustrated and want to do something.

    We need some team work here – Scientist dissecting and explaining ~ grassroots concerned knowledgeable citizens getting that more comprehensible information out to the public, you know our neighbors, friends and family.

  17. Along those lines.
    Professor John Abraham recent 83 presentation:
    “A Scientist Replies to Lord Christopher Monckton: Abraham v. Monckton.”

    This is a first rate example of the public face climate science needs to get out there. Considered rational presentation of the arguments from both side, followed by the viewers being called on to draw their own conclusions. Besides, learning a lot, one is left with a stark contrast in styles and approaches from which we can draw some more conclusions regarding each sides credibility.

    We need more efforts like Prof. Abraham’s.

  18. Tim, lowering the pH is increasing the acidity whether a solution is alkaline or acid. Calling it acidification has nothing to do with some grand conspiracy and everything to do with convenience. Acidification= 1 word that describes the process entirely accurately. “Becoming less basic”= 3 words to describe the same process no more accurately. It’s the same reason people “sweeten” their coffee with sugar rather than “make it a bit less bitter” or the weatherman says it’s “getting warmer” when it goes from 0 to 4 rather than “getting slightly less cold.”

    Your link fails to impress. The north/south pH gradient is well-known to anyone with even a basic education in marine chemistry. I think I first learned about it as a sophomore in college. The concern over acidification is NOT low pH itself. It’s the impact that lowering that pH over geologically short timescales has on the carbonate/bicarbonate system. Simply showing a spatial pH gradient without also showing aragonite/calcite saturation doesn’t tell you what’s relevant to calcifiers like corals. It’s hand-waving.

    The author’s absolute ignorance on the topic is displayed perfectly by the conclusion- “By geological standards, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is currently quite low. It has been several times higher in the past, with the inevitable changes in the oceanic pH … and despite that, the life in the ocean continued to flourish.” That statement is beyond moronic. Changes in the ocean’s carbonate chemistry due to high atmospheric CO2 in the geologic past have had HUGE impacts on marine life including multi-million year periods where reef-builders completely disappeared, and likely the extinction of several previous groups of reef-builders. That’s hardly flourishing by any definition.

  19. Congratulations on your confrontation with the deniers.

    The spreading of confusion by all of these public relations types must be confronted by folks with subject matter experts with outstanding credentials. This is obviously an uncomfortable thing to do, but until the truth comes out about how wrong these folks are, and how wrong their understanding of what is happening to our precious blue marble really is, they will continue to prevent honest discussion of the policy needs.

    Please don’t stop meeting the Watts, the Singers, and the Mockton’s head to head at every opportunity.

  20. Tindot: if it’s -18°C outside and the temperature changes to -2°C do you say that it’s got warmer or would you say it’s got less cold?

    The use of the term acidification just denotes the direction of the change, you could also say that the oceans are becoming less basic/alkaline. It is not scaremongering to use the term acidification, as it is scientifically correct. What term would you prefer?

  21. Luke – I will come back with a better answer when I have a moment. The study did investigate 320 coral colonies across the Reef which did not show any similar decrease to that seen post-1990. That in itself is evidence that recent measurements (however small a number – and I am checking with the authors of the study) are statistically odd relative to the rest of the data.

  22. Ove,

    Good on you for standing up (literally!) and challenging these liars. It needs to be done as often as possible by as many real scientists as possible. Your polite insistence was perfectly measured – but, of course, that’s too much for people who are used to spouting their nonsense unchallenged.

    All the best.

  23. Timdot.

    Firstly, I don’t have an obsession with Anthony Watts. I am interested in responding to misleading public statements about the veracity of science however.

    Secondly, decreasing pH is a process referred to as acidification. There is no other way to get around that. And, as I pointed out in the last couple of postings, the issue was not about dropping below pH 7, it is about the chemical changes that occur as you move from 8.2 to 7.8. This causes a massive decline in the concentration of carbonate ions, which is the source of problem for reef calcifiers.

    Thirdly, you have a right to your opinion about what you think is happening. You can believe in fairies or that the earth is flat. no one can take that away from you. However, the majority of science summarised in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes “Most of the global average warming over the past 50 years is very likely due to anthropogenic GHG increases and it is likely that there is a discernible human-induced warming averaged over each continent (except Antarctica). {WGI 9.4, SPM}”. Very likely means with a certainty of greater than 90%.

    Lastly, you ask “What is the biggest single influence on climate?”. Here I refer you to the summary figure in the IPCC fourth assessment report (Synthesis Report – Figure 2.4. Global average radiative forcing). As you will see from that figure, the mountain of evidence concludes that CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases are the largest forcing factor driving climate change presently. Solar influences represent less than 10% of a climate forcing. Again, you can simply ignore this and say that you know better. At this point, however, I would repeat the question I asked the other night, and that is why do you think you know better. To be able to judge whether I should believe you, I would like to see your professional qualifications, peer-reviewed science publications and a long experience in the field of atmospheric science.

  24. Timdot says “Can someone tell me one very simple thing, please? What is the single biggest influence on our climate?”

    I guess you want someone to say the Sun. However – so do the ocean currents, the configuration of the land, the periodicities of orbit around the Sun. Land use change. And the levels of greenhouse gases. It all factors in.

    And couldn’t help but notice our Watt’s tour boys did mention high levels of CO2 in geological history but failed to also mention the configuration of the continents and the level of solar output. All good sleight of hand tricks.

    ” there are many more environmental and humanitarian issues the resources on climate change could be directed at” you commented – perhaps but do you think that humanity is already regularly impacted by droughts, floods, hurricanes and extremes of temperature. It’s not as if the current climate is benign.

  25. Ove

    – the issue with so-called “ocean acidification” (and yes we’re really talking alkalinity reduction)is from what Steve Short (ex-ANSTO, and professional geochemist, http://www.ecoengineers.com/ ) is saying

    – is not really about the often implied dissolution about about calcification rate. Dissolution having the image of limestone dissolving in acid.

    Different chemical kinetic issues. The issue is about precision in terminology and mechanism under effect. Steve cites the “standard geochemical model such as USGS PHREEQC” as evidence that dissolution if practically impossible at possible atmospheric CO2 levels. And I am not saying calcification rate isn’t an issue. Simply trying to get some clarity.

    If he’s right every under-grad should have this hammered in.

    Briefly returning to the Watt’s crew assertion 2,500 scientists not being an effective measure of support of the IPCC science. I have some sympathy with that – but no regrets – the core issue with the whole IPCC report is whether the enhanced greenhouse effect is the key rapid forcing of climate change. The 2,500 scientists other work in chapters on biological impact all hinge on that. Core assumption wrong – doesn’t matter what they said…

    So where in the IPCC report does it give a satisfactory explanation of the greenhouse effect. Do most of us really understand how this most basic of principles work. Tell me – what the relative importance of excitation, de-excitation and thermalisation?

    Most people can’t explain the basic physics.

    Where in the IPCC report does it explain where 3 degree C is the most likely warming outcome.

    Where is the core evidence of water vapour feedback? Is there an appropriate rebuttal (or explanation) of Spencer’s PUBLISHED cloud feedback paper http://blog.acton.org/uploads/Spencer_07GRL.pdf

    How many of the 2,500 scientists or all of us understand those points and can defend the basic greenhouse mechanism premise. You can’t just say read the IPCC reports – it’s not in there. In fact it’s hard to find.

    And so these are some of the points our sceptic “friends” are making.

  26. With respect to the comments by OveHG (author) on oceanic acidification I’d simply like to point out the following:

    (1) The whole body of mainstream (peer reviewed)literature on the biological implications of increasing atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 on a large and diverse range of aragonite and calcite-secreting marine species/taxa shows quite clearly and broadly that the effects of changes in pCO2 may be either positive or negative over quite large ranges of pCO2.

    2) Most continental shelf waters are periodically/regularly subject to quite wide pH swings due to variable runoff of minerals and organic matter from rivers etc and hence there is, as expected, a considerable degree of inbuilt adaptation already present in continental shelf marine species.

    (3)Clearly numerous marine species have adapted in a host of ways to past and present variations in seawater pH. It is misleading to quote specific examples of relatively subtle negative effects when it is so very easy to quote numerous verified examples of positive effects e.g. higher coccolithophore growth rates etc. We need to remember simple facts such as that corals have been around for about 450 My and have survived, adapted and increased in diversity over pCO2 ranges up to at least 1250 ppmv.

    (3) It is well known that quite large reductions in seawater pH (a logarithmic scale for alkalinity/acidity) are required for the (equilibrium thermodynamic) Saturation Indices of aragonite and calcite to reach zero and hence for this minerals to become thermodynamically unstable. It is disingenuous and misleading to suggest that the fundamental thermodynamic constraints are not of critical importance to this issue.

    (4)The degree and mean depths of surface water mixing with the atmosphere and hence the pCO2 equilibration depth over a wide range of present and future wind and current scenarios is still a subject of much study and debate.

    In summary, there is no coherent and substantive body of evidence in place as yet to justify any alarm over this matter.

    PhD geochemistry. 30+ years experience. >100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters.

  27. Peter wrote :

    “It would be wonderful to have a website ‘Skeptical Eye on Watts Up With That’ dedicated to examining WUWT claims and data assessment technics.”

    There is something along that lines here :

    Wott’s Up With That

  28. Ecoeng,

    1) The whole body of mainstream (peer-reviewed) literature on the effects of acidification on corals and coral reef accretion overwhelmingly suggests that the implications are negative. You’re attempting to confuse the issue by including papers about taxa that calcify internally or are fertilized by bicarbonate and have no relevance to reef building.

    2) Reefs don’t form on most of the continental shelf, or even most of those areas with suitable temperature, light, and calcium. In fact they preferentially form where runoff and terrestrial influences are low and oceanic influence mediates chemistry changes. That’s the reason Trinidad and Tobago don’t have reefs and there’s poor development in the middle FL Keys. Where there is significant runoff you often see a marked seasonal signal in the calcification rate as growth is depressed during periods of high rainfall. If that depressed growth became a persistent condition rather than a periodic one (especially with the periodic depression thrown on top) that would be a major issue for the survival of reefs.

    3) A 15-54% reduction in calcification as demonstrated in more than a dozen species of corals under 2xCO2 is hardly a relatively subtle negative effect, especially given synergistic impacts from disease, bleaching, etc. Coccolithophores use an entirely different mechanism for calcification, so while the fact that they calcify more under high CO2 is interesting, it’s not nearly as relevant as studies actually done on corals or reef communities.

    Also, your simple “fact” is presenting a discontinuous history of distinct taxa as if it were a continuous lineage. The corals of 450 MYA are extinct. They have been for about 300 million years, since the transition from a calcitic to aragonitic sea. They’re morphologically distinct from scleractinians and were gone for 50 million years or so before scleractinians started building reefs. When CO2 climbed in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, there was a transition back to calcitic seas, scleractinian nearly went extinct and all reef-building stopped for ~15 million years. Modern coral diversity and reef-building only goes back to about 45-50 million years when the seas made their most recent transition back from calcitic to aragonitic. CO2 has been below 500 ppmv for virtually that entire period.

    3.2) No one is worried about saturation levels reaching 0 or even <1. At aragonite saturation of <3 erosion of reefs outpaces accretion and reefs cannot persist. This is not a thermodynamic issue, but a biological one due to the resources it takes for corals to maintain the proper chemistry at the calicoblastic layer. It has almost nothing to do with the dissolution of CaCO3 and everything to do with the biochemistry that it takes to deposit it.

  29. JMurphy,
    Looks good… I was actually hoping for something like this.
    Don’t have time right now, but I have bookmarked it and will certain take a much closer look at it real soon.

    Thank you,

  30. I’ll only make the one following comments.

    The biological transition from a calcitic sea to an aragonitic sea in terms of types of dominant coral species occurred ~ 50 My ago – as Mike G noted.

    However, the only event which plausibly explains that shift is the opening of the Drake Channel between South America (Patagonia) and the Antarctic Peninsula 49 My ago (current best literature estimate).

    That event quite obviously resulted in the creation (for the first time) of the circum-polar circulation and the dispersal of key sulfur, iron and silica nutrients from the Andean volcanos and the Patagonian glacial moraines into the circum-polar winds and circum-polar current (noting this is the ‘Roaring 40s’) thus vastly increasing the primary productivity of the great Southern Ocean (SO) cyanobacterial biomass and hence magnitude of its rate of drawdown on the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2.

    Even today the entire SO pCO2 below 40 S still lags measurably behind the global mean:


    So what Mike G is talking about is actually a biological adaptation to a major prior (geological) global (natural) perturbation which reduced the rate of drawdown of pCO2.

    No humans involved then, no humans involved now (yet).

    Beyond this, I have no intention of get sucked into yet another pointless tit-for-tat exercise in what passes for (post-modernist world)’pop-scientific’ discussion.

    A good comment by a mature old-school physicist (aged 77) on the real world anthropogenic effect on pCO2 may be found here:


  31. WUWT has an interesting take on the event:


    Apparently there were only two protesters…..because thats what their photo shows.

    I had to laugh. This sort of thing makes it entertaining. Two whole protesters in Brisbane. David Archibald and Bob Carter went down to have a look. These folks were part of Dr. Ove’s en masse protest he fomented on his Climate Shifts blog.

    Yet Ove mentions he was there, as well as a few other scientists & someone was taking the video of Ove……so 2? No wonder they have issues with facts.

    For the record, the tour is funded by ticket, book, and DVD sales, with guarantors for expenses that are private individuals. There’s no corporations involved. It’s being done on a shoestring, just like my surfacestations project.

    “Private individuals”…ah yeah. Why not name them? So the conferences you go to at Heartland & Cato are funded by green groups?

    One of the deniers attempts to join conspiracies by drawing the line between Ove & Jewish bankers & investors.

    Enneagram says:
    June 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm
    You can’t compare with Gold funding (Ove – Gulberg= Gold-berg=Mountain of Gold)
    Curious isn’ it? Goldmann, Gulberg, Goldberg, gold, gold everywhere…will they turn carbon into gold?

    Then there is the inability to see that companies who’s profits stand to be affected by a carbon tax & competition in the energy sector could possibly think thats a great idea & welcome it with open embrace.

    eo says:
    June 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    The Australian AGW debate has been so brainwashed to believe Big oil, big energy company, big coal, and fossil fuel is against them. The CSIRO crowd still thinks they could attack crowds by starting their articles and discussion with — big oil, big fossil, big coal and big energy generators are funding the skeptics. They think people will just get brainwashed by repeating and repeating this mantra

    The Australian government are at present trying to introduce a mining super profits tax & just a few miners have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars in TV, print & radio ads trying to defeat it. Doesnt it stand to reason & logic that a carbon tax PLUS the encouragement of energy competitors into the market, would also not be in a fossil fuel energy providers interest? Apparently not.

    Big oil, big electricity generators and fossil companies are the one making money with the cap and trade.

    Oh yeah, they just love being penalised for their product. They also love the prospect of government subsidies going away from them & into the green sector. What business wouldnt want funds going to their competitor?

    They have the network to distribute new energy, they could ride one the green movement (just like BP).

    They would also have to retool, retrain & remodel virtually their entire business. Its cheaper to just lobby & stave off action for as long as possible. BP does have a green arm, but it makes up about 2% of their activities. They are green wash masters & award winners.

    Another shot at Ove from El Gordo. The guy that gets his own section over at Deltoid.


    Somehow uses this link to back his statement:

    el gordo says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm
    Ove is a self-interested numbskull, feathering his own nest.


    The warmists own the ABC now, but come the revolution…

    Truly bizarre. Tim Lambert was right to honour his stupidity.

  32. Ecoeng:

    Beyond this, I have no intention of get sucked into yet another pointless tit-for-tat exercise in what passes for (post-modernist world)’pop-scientific’ discussion

    Unless you can provide references, then everything you’ve stated above is nothing but pop-science discussion.

    A good comment by a mature old-school physicist (aged 77) on the real world anthropogenic effect on pCO2 may be found here:

    It’s hard not to be sarcastic here (77 years old! Wow!). Instead of relying on a single unpublished blog-page, try citing the primary scientific literature – the AR4 summary is available here (slightly more credible).

    Phil M:

    Watts is a hypocrite and a fool. Crying foul over ad hominem attacks is petty, considering he dedicated an entire post accusing both Tamino and Eli Rabbet as being unpatriotic (more here).

    As for mocking the protester turnout – it’s a little hard to do that without mocking the entire spectacle of this ‘tour’. Judging by the photographs of the Brisbane event, there must have been all of 40 retirees people there. Megan Evans estimates there was 36 people in the Noosa ‘lecture’. As Megan noted, it seems like word of mouth wasn’t enough to pull a sizeable crowd. You’ve got to wonder if this sort of turnout is what they expected…

  33. The two people photographed with David Archibald weren’t part of Ove’s group as Watts suggests – they came entirely on their own accord and did not come in to listen to the talks. Presumably if a hundred protesters turned up Watts would turn that into a positive too.

    I spent some time outside offering some factual information to people arriving before the event. David Archibald came to me and insisted to me that I was protesting, despite telling him a number of times that I wasn’t, and had paid to hear the talks. I felt that he tried his best to stir up the situation. I also had to politely decline to be photographed with Carter several times before Archibald listened to me.

    Watts is doing his best to shift the attention from the rather embarrassing number of people who have turned up his talks in Brisbane (~60, including a number of scientists) and Noosa (~36), but failing pretty spectacularly.

  34. Some important points, Luke. Not being an atmospheric physicist, I tend to go with the scientific conclusions of the IPCC and its aggregated expertise. I think you have to realise that the references listed in the IPCC are where the action is.

    The confusion over ocean acidification and the dissolution of carbonates largely stems from the fact that the process involves biological processes which depend on the geochemical backdrop. That is, biological calcification rates vary with the surrounding water chemistry. When the carbonate ion concentration decreases, so does calcification (in many important marine organisms). And biology is tuned through evolutionary adaptation to that background geochemistry such that accommodation of variability outside what marine organisms have experienced in recent evolutionary time is usually not possible. The latter has been the observation of many studies as outlined by Kleypas and Langdon (2006).

    To the last issue, about how many scientists came to a consensus through the IPCC process. There are a couple points that need to be made:

    a. The number of scientists that agreed on the final text of the fourth assessment report of the IPCC was around 2500 or so. Not all of these scientists are atmospheric physicists, true. However, the veracity of the evidence (in terms of its support by peer-reviewed publications) was an important part of the process. That is, trained scientists reading the text and work of others and being satisfied that the best science was being assessed and summarised. Actually, the number of atmospheric physicists that are reported within the IPCC process is much larger when you consider the peer-reviewed literature that has been included in those reports. The IPCC assessment reports are essentially reports on reports. Therefore, it is rather silly to debate the actual number involved in the actual IPCC when the literature being drawn on includes thousands of very credible scientists.

    b. Secondly, there are different types of attribution. Some are direct – involving a changing gas concentration in the atmosphere and a direct physical or chemical effect. Other types of attribution may be indirect. For example, the paper by (Parmesan and Yohe 2003) shows that organisms and their communities are responding in the direction expected by climate change. With no other parsimonious explanation, this in itself become support for the idea that we are changing the climate and the biology of the planet..

    Kleypas, J. A. and Langdon, C. 2006. Coral reefs and changing seawater chemistry, Chapter 5 In Coral Reefs and Climate Change: Science and Management. AGU Monograph Series, Coastal and Estuarine Studies, edited by J. Phinney, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, J. Kleypas, W. Skirving and A. E. Strong. Washington DC: Geophys. Union.

    Parmesan, C. and Yohe, G. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421 (6918):37-42.

  35. The two people photographed with David Archibald weren’t part of Ove’s group as Watts suggests

    Megan, were they at the Brisbane or Noosa event?

    I also had to politely decline to be photographed with Carter several times

    You were smart to do so. Your photo would have appeared within days at either WUWT or Bolts blog with the obligatory lampooning & denigration.

    Watts is doing his best to shift the attention from the rather embarrassing number of people who have turned up his talks in Brisbane (~60, including a number of scientists) and Noosa (~36), but failing pretty spectacularly.

    The numbers are some what down compared to when Monckton was here. Does this mean that :

    a) Less people are believing their crap now than Watts would like to believe?
    b) Watts is less popular than he makes out?
    c) People are starting to discover the facts more?
    d) More people turned up to Moncktons presentations because people generaly like circus acts,illusionists & like being fooled? As opposed to your straight down the line conspiracy drone & partisan nut job like Watts & Carter?

  36. Excellent response to Ecoeng, Mike G. Here are a few additional comments:

    Ecoeng, using your numbering:

    1. The fact that not all organisms respond in the same way to ocean acidification is well known and largely immaterial to the arguments concerning its impacts. For example, as pointed out by Mike G and Kleypas and Langdon 2006, corals are one group of organisms that show a 15-54% reduction in calcification with a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Given that this group of organisms is the only one that can really build coral reefs and maintain structures, it is immaterial whether or not another group of marine calcifiers is impacted in a different way by ocean acidification.

    2. Ocean pH and carbonate ion concentrations do vary over time. The issue, however, here is whether or not the mean pH is varying over time. This is essentially the same distracting argument that denialists like to have about the weather (ie day-to-day variability in temperature) versus climate change (ie long-term trends). It can be hot and cold between days, but the important thing is whether the average temperature is changing.

    3. See above, arguments like this (ie some go up, some go down) are largely irrelevant. It depends on which marine calcifiers being affected. Also, discussions about organisms lasting over evolutionary time as proof there is no problem are erroneous. They give you no information about whether marine calcifiers like corals were rare or not at any particular time. The issue here is not extinction, it is whether or not corals are abundant enough to to build and maintain reefs – if they are rare this won’t happen. The literature on ocean acidification has concluded that there is a real risk of driving downward the calcifying activities of corals to such a point that they can no longer build and maintain reefs. That is the issue.

    By the way. most of the evidence, which can be gained in numerous paleological studies show that marine calcifiers like corals did not form reefs during periods of high CO2 in the past (Veron 2008 etc.).

    4. We are still trying to understand how the ocean is changing. That said, there is n now many studies showing a steady downward progression of ocean pH. See the excellent description of this work and discussion by Doney et al. (2009). You would have to ignore all of the science to try and claim that there is not a steady decreasing pH going on in the global ocean.

    Doney, S., Fabry, V., Feely, R., and Kleypas, J. 2009. Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem. Annual Review of Marine Science 1:169-192.

    Veron, J. 2008 Mass extinctions and ocean acidification: biological constraints on geological dilemmas. Coral Reefs 27:459-472.

  37. Blatantly biased warmist site.

    My last post (re Glassman’s bona fides) stayed up for about 2 hours then was censored entirely away. Clearly this little blog owner didn’t like to be told that:

    Jeff Glassman’s blog critique of AR4 used exclusively mainstream peer reviewed literature; and

    his (an everyone’s) mobile uses (or more precisely the transmission nodes use) a noisy signal clean up algorithm developed by Glassman decades ago.

    Jeff. Glassman. PhD. Fellow of the American Physical Society. Chief Scientist Hughes Aircraft Corporation 25 years.

  38. Just a quick note to anyone following this thread: No posts have or will be censored.

    Phooey/Ecoeng said: My last post (re Glassman’s bona fides) stayed up for about 2 hours then was censored entirely away.

    Isn’t true. The original comment supporting a non-peer reviewed blog post from a “mature old-school physicist (aged 77)” can be found here.

  39. Phooey, sadly, you are not reflecting the vast of the scientific opinion and literature (https://climateshifts.org/?p=5515).

    Your reference to authority is quite amusing … just because someone has been a chief scientist at an aircraft company doesn’t mean that he is an expert on atmospheric physics and so on.

    Given you talk about noisy signal cleanup algorithms, no doubt you’re across the errors perpetrated by Bob Carter in his infamous paper … https://climateshifts.org/?p=4911 … and here https://climateshifts.org/?p=4968. I haven’t heard you in uproar over that scandal!

  40. Admin’s response is deliberately disingenuous and misleading. I had also posted a followup to the post to which he/she/it refers which not only referred to Glassman’s bona fides but also made technical points. That post was visible for about 1.5 – 2.0 hours ‘awaiting moderation’ yesterday morning before ‘disappearing’. Whatever. Who cares – not me.

    Just for the fun of it I’d like to put up here a couple of propositions which I think merit discussion and are completely ignored by the cosy little band of warmists who dominate this blog . They are as follows.

    (1) There seem to be an implicit assumption/implication in most of the posts here that the body of scientific knowledge of the last 250 years or so has been almost exclusively produced by workers in universities or ‘pure science’ research organisations and any scientist or discovers of scientific knowledge located outside of that e.g. in industry, aviation, or (heaven forbid) the military or defense agencies just ‘don’t count’. The juvenile prejudice displayed against Glassman because he spent 25+ years in the Hughes Aircraft Corporation is an example. Well I’ve got news for the purveyors of these crass Gen X & Y post-modernist fantasies. As a working (well published) scientist of ~35 years who spent a total of 17 years in Federal Govt research agencies (for 2 nations) and an endowed pure research institute and another 18 years in heavy industry/mining, I can state with some experience that there is an enormous body of established scientific knowledge which was (a) never discovered in a university or a ‘pure’ research agency and (b) never appeared in the conventional peer reviewed literature, but is accepted as simple fact all the same. That type of hands on knowledge gave us most of modern aviation, modern solid state physics and electronics, modern radionics, mining and metallurgy, put men on the Moon etc., etc. In toto that mass of information may even outweigh the sum of the stuff that made it out through conventional journals and/or originated from university or ‘pure’ research agencies. To ignore or somehow denigrate this reality is just mental fascism – a tendency which seems to me to be in no short supply hereabouts.

    (2) Secondly, it is also a fact to those who have swum in that pool for many years that the conventional peer reviewed paper literature which does not appear transparently online from the outset is often a cesspool of incestuous and/or immature and/or vaguely homoerotic/male hormone backslapping cabals, aka silly little boys clubs etc. It is also often the province of little Napoleons who have no more interest than to perpetuate their own ephemeral paradigms which frequently don’t even outlast their own carefully cosseted careers. The paper-based ‘peer reviewed’ literature is a flawed dinosaur from an earlier age whose time is well up. Only when the scientific literature is fully online from the very outset, when peer review is fully transparent to the whole scientific community and the behavior of reviewers and editors is out in the light of day for all to see will we have a truly scientific literature that meets the highest ideals of honesty, transparency, truth and democracy. The wonderful tool of the Internet can (and will) deliver that. This is why, at present, ‘a thousand blogs bloom daily’, why the secretive and cozened paper stuff is utterly doomed to enter the dustbin of history, and why the warmists so fear and hate the flowering of sceptical scrutiny.

    I see very little evidence the warmist hordes get these realities. I do see lots of evidence of highly conservative persistence at denying/ignoring/repudiating (1) and denying/avoiding/delaying (2).

  41. Okay, so there were 36 attendees in Noosa, 60 in Brisbane, how many in Sydney, Townsville, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth. It could be amusing to see the totals…..

    At $20/$25 a pop, it is hard to see how the are breaking even.

    Can anyone tell me if they are handing out “Party literature” for the CLIMATE SCEPTICS PARTY who are sponsoring the show? The Climate Sceptics party is apparently a genuine AEC recognised party. Just wondering what it in in for them. They must be trying to recruit members. Any thoughts on this particular “conspiracy”???????

  42. Phil, the photo was taken at the Brisbane event – I’d say Watts would rather not think about his stopover in Noosa.

    I’d like to think that your suggestions a) and b) are correct, but I think more likely b) and d). Watts simply isn’t widely known – Monckton on the other hand sells newspapers. People seem to like Monckton for the showbiz element, and don’t really care much about the specifics of what he’s saying as long as it sounds like something that agrees with their general world view.

    It makes me wonder how to deal with the Monkton effect.

  43. A newer effect of the corrupt closed paper literature ‘peer-review’ process which I discussed in (2) above is that we now see the interesting new phenomenon which one could could call ‘author inflation’.

    People like Hansen, Mann, Santer, etc (including some who blog here) love to surround themselves with huge numbers of coauthors, sometimes two dozen — sort of like a cheer squad section!

    The contribution of most of these ‘authors’ is invariably highly obscure and simply the reflects the success of the core authors (read little Napoleons) in building up their acolyte numbers to further degrade the (possible) independence of any peer review.

    These largely male mutual backslapping networks (admittedly sometimes including the occasional token female), the existence and nature of which existence was brilliantly discussed by Wegman, further distort the already deeply flawed and hopelessly dated ‘peer-review’ process.

  44. You beat me to it Jerry ;). More on the Wegman hearings here:


    So Phooey, would this incestuous, corrupt backslapping occur in EVERY scientific discipline do you think, or just the one that you are ideologically opposed to?

    On the topic of lack of women, you dont think it would have anything to do with that fact that there are far more men who take on science as a profession than women? Here in Australia they have been actively campaigning in schools for years to halt the declining numbers of men AND women taking on science as a profession, let alone women.

    If the peer review process is deeply flawed and hopelessly dated. What do you suppose we replace it with? Set up a WUWT/Climate Audit website for every scientific discipline & let the amateurs have it? A dumbing down of scrutiny so that if it doesnt make sense to the layman, then its no good?

  45. Nice selective audio, Ove. I was there and can say that I agree with everyone else who saw your performance – totally unprofessional for a scientist. You tried to hijack the Q & A session, and while your selective audio says otherwise, I’m sure there are plenty of mobile phone videos to provide evidence to your unprofessional behaviour.

    Yeah, you’re sure there is evidence that supports you even though the evidence available does not. How typical of a “skeptic”.

  46. Monckton on the other hand sells newspapers. People seem to like Monckton for the showbiz element, and don’t really care much about the specifics of what he’s saying as long as it sounds like something that agrees with their general world view.

    He is is similar to Bjorn Lomborg. Quite enigmatic & entertaining. They draw people in like the Nuremburg rallies, Jonestown ( cool aid), Benny Hinn & John Edwards. People rarely ask questions & ignore that little voice that says so much here just isnt adding up.

    It makes me wonder how to deal with the Monkton effect

    I believe he is dealing with the Monckton circus himself far better than we ever could. With statements like this on the Alex Jones show.


    2:42 “They still intend to take freedom & democracy away forever & president Obama & the administration will do everything they can to make sure the UN re- the global government is cemented into place, so that your constitution will no longer matter & so that freedom, democracy & prosperity will be gone forever”

  47. Hi Phil M; I take it you are referring to John E of my my current town and state, Chapel Hill, NC. I agree completely; he took us left-wingers in almost to a Monkton-esque degree. I remember having a big fight with my right-wing parents defending poor John-boy was I a dope on that one. He has turned into the laughing stock of Chapel Hill and we all shudder to think of what would have happened had he been nominated or elected. We all have to be vigilant of such hucksters.

  48. Hi Phil M; I take it you are referring to John E of my my current town and state, Chapel Hill, NC.

    No, I was talking about this one, I mistakenly added the “s” on the end:


    I hadnt actually heard much of the John Edwards political campaign & any controversies except the extra marital affair.

  49. Somewhere I thought the term “denier” was a person who disregards the existence of the Holocaust. Not as a simple word but almost a phrase in itself to describe a person in denial one of most brutal genocides of the last century.
    I see this word used many times within the the above comments. What is the reason?

  50. Pingback: Lord Monckton Returns on Alex Jones Tv 1/5: Climate Policy Deception | FrontPageSearch

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