A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper




The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Climate Change causes more snow and ice on Greenland

Right now, the hottest year ever appears to be causing an extra 4 billion tons a day or so of frozen stuff on Greenland.

Thanks to Patrick Moore, @EcoSenseNow, who tweeted: “Holy Shomoly, look what’s going down on Greenland. Ice World” after Richard Cowley posted the DMI link.

Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 24 years (in the period 1990-2013) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 24 years have been left out.

Source: Danish Climate Centre.

Over the last decade the Greenland Ice Sheet may have been losing 200Gt per year, but evidently, this winter it’s making some of that back. The Danish Climate Centre describes the graph:


Hot magma is melting Greenland ice – can windfarms save it?

Here on the ball of magma called Earth, there’s a hot plume of rocks under Iceland that stretches right across under Greenland. Those hot rocks are melting the ice from below in a band 1,200 km long and 400 km wide.[1]

I don’t think solar panels are going to stop Greenland melting.

The main part of the plume has been progressing eastward over the last 120 million years, right under Greenland and now lies under Iceland.

Will the media take a million years to catch on?

Presumably, being world class journalists, from now on all ABC/BBC/CBC stories will not mention melting Greenland ice-sheets without also noting that geothermal heat may be causing it instead of your long hot showers.

But a similar study published in Nature Geoscience 3 years ago was the forerunner to this one with similar conclusions and the mainstream media don’t seem to have noticed yet.[2]  No mention of magma, tectonics and hot rocks here: ABC — [...]

New paper shows solar activity is linked to the Greenland climate even 20,000 years ago

This new paper by Adophi et al uses beryllium, oxygen and carbon isotopes from Greenland ice cores right back as far as the depth of the last ice age, 22,500 years ago, and finds there is a link between solar activity and the climate. It follows these proxies of temperature and solar activity as the planet warmed to the start of the Holocene 10,000 years ago.

It is gaining attention in The Daily Mail, with the headline:

Is the SUN driving climate change? Solar activity – ‘and not just humans’ – could be increasing global warming, study claims

During the last glacial maximum, Sweden was covered in a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany and sea levels were more than 330ft (100m) lower than they are today, because the water was frozen in the extensive ice caps.

‘The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change,’ Dr Muscheler said in a press release.

‘It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. 

Dr Joanna Haigh, Professor [...]

Greenland ice cores show natural swings are large and warming means less storms

A new high resolution ice core in Greenland surprises even me with the wild swings and detail. The authors are discussing wind direction and storms that occurred in specific years 12,000 years ago, which is extraordinary information if accurate. They use elements like sodium (from sea salt) to figure out how many storms have dumped salt on the ice and take bands so thin they identify each summer so long ago*. The slices are so thin, they claim to have hundreds of samples per year.

The message here is that the cold younger dryas period ended abruptly (within one year) and so did the storms. Naturally, they warn that the abrupt changes mean the climate is unstable, “be afraid” type stuff. My take on this is that if natural factors cause abrupt climate change, we need to know what those natural factors are. The obsession with CO2 is hindering that. Also if warming brings less storms, that’s probably not such a bad thing. The caveats being that this is only one site, and less storms over the GISP site doesn’t tell us if less storms occurred elsewhere. It could be that jet streams shifted and moved the storms to another [...]

Climate helped drive Vikings from Greenland

Qassiarsuk: This is the site of the Viking settlement of 972 and unlike much of Greenland, offers relatively sheltered grazing land for sheep. Photo: John McLean. (Click to see more images of Greenland).

For the first time temperatures over the last 5,600 years have been reassembled from the inhabited area of Greenland. (Other estimates were from ice-cores that are far inland.)

William D’Andrea, the paper’s first author says: “.. we can say there is a definite cooling trend in the region right before the Norse disappear.”


News from the Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

A sample of recent scientific news from NIPCC * The Glaciers of Greenland were smaller 5000 years ago; * African savanna trees thrive with increases in CO2; * It was hotter in China a thousand years ago, and by a whole degree; * Marine-life-with-shells can’t agree on their favourite CO2 level and * Temperatures make no difference to the 5000 year record of hurricanes. [...]

The big picture: 65 million years of temperature swings

Greenland Interglacial Temperatures – last 10,000 years. Are we headed for an ice age? (See below for more detail.)

David Lappi is a geologist from Alaska who has sent in a set of beautiful graphs–including an especially prosaic one of the last 10,000 years in Greenland–that he put together himself (and which I’ve copied here at the top).

If you wonder where today’s temperature fits in with the grand scheme of time on Earth since the dinosaurs were wiped out, here’s the history. We start with the whole 65 million years, then zoom in, and zoom in again to the last 12,000 from both ends of the world. What’s obvious is that in terms of homo sapiens history, things are warm now (because we’re not in an ice age). But, in terms of homo sapiens civilization, things are cooler than usual, and appear to be cooling.

Then again, since T-rex & Co. vanished, it’s been one long slide down the thermometer, and our current “record heatwave” is far cooler than normal. The dinosaurs would have scoffed at us: “What? You think this is warm?”

With so much volatility in the graphs, anyone could play “pick a trend” and depending [...]