January 30, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Own goal for climate change deniers

Here’s a conundrum for the climate change sceptics:

A report has just come out describing the affects of hot cities on the upper atmosphere. Since very large cities generate a lot of energy, and the energy gives off heat, and the hot air rises, and the winds carry it far, far away. This is not a fairy tale, correct me if any of the above embedded phrases contradicts your understanding of science, or constitutes, in your mind ‘an unsupported assumption’.

Thousands of kilometers away, places are warmer because of the heat generated by huge cities.

If you doubt the heat effect of urban places, you need to visit Las Vegas. That fairly small city generates way above the norm of energy, due to all those flashing neon lights and pseudo baroque fountains. Enough to keep the place warm at night. Down the road, smaller gambling’ villages’ with fewer lights are much colder at night, as one would expect in the dry desert. Is it a stretch to see that mega cities like Shanghai or Mexico City could generate enough heat to alter the air above them?

Now if you are a climate change sceptic AND you accept the above obvious connections, you are in a quandary, because then you have acknowledged that human activities can affect the atmosphere.


(just google ‘city heat effect and upper atmosphere’ and take your pick of the offerings)

Here’s a quote from the author of the study:

“The energy consumption in highly populated areas can cause changes in wind patterns, and that causes climate change far away from the heating source,” said meteorologist and study author Ming Cai of Florida State University.

The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Do you believe this, or is there some reason we should doubt this author?


Posted by Ronda Jambe at 12:05 pm | Comments (30) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. You haven’t explained the quandary, and you’re assumption that climate change skeptics don’t believe man can impact the climate is incorrect.

    Get back to the real debate.

    Do these “hot cities” put out civilisation at risk?

    And have they imposed a non-Greenhouse influence on the temperature record?

    Comment by DaveA — January 30, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

  2. Ah yes, the urban heat island effect. You’re a bit slow in recognising it. Everyone has known this for decades. Unfortunately NOAA and NASA GISS, have a habit of continually cooling the early part of the 20th century, in which there was little UHI effect. But for the most recent decades, instead of subtracting a greater UHI effect from the raw temperature record, they have actually adjusted the record to show more warming than the raw data shows.

    As recently as 1999, 1934 was the warmest year on record, with the top five being before 1955. Then after James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt waved their wands 10 years later, 1998 became the warmest year on record.

    The more heatsinks surrounding the monitoring stations, as time goes by, the more UHI effect is supposed to be subtracted. Not added.

    Comment by Chad — January 30, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

  3. Skeptics don’t disagree that humans can influence the environment or the climate. Indeed, it is pretty standard for skeptic speakers to start their talk by explicitly saying that humans always have and always will effect the environment & climate. It has been skeptics (not alarmists) who have been talking about UHI effects for decades now.

    That is a major misunderstanding right there… and hints at a problem about where you are getting your information.

    Indeed, the majority of skeptics also accept that humans are contributing to global warming through emissions of greenhouse gases — even Lord Monckton accepts the basics of this science.

    The issue in debate is (1) how much are we effecting the climate; (2) what are the consequences of these changes; and (3) is there anything we can do about it anyway?

    At the “very skeptical” end you have Monckton and friends who say that the link between man-made greenhouse gases and the climate is very weak.

    Some other… let’s call them “moderate skeptics” or perhaps “realists” or “luke-warmers”… actually take a position very similar to the low end of the IPCC, and then point out that the consequences of this aren’t too scary (we have 100 years to adapt and we’ll be richer in the future) and that there’s not much we can do about it at the moment anyway.

    This position is very much within the mainstream of science and public policy, but it is outside the mainstream of leftist chatterati self-appointed elites and various MSM activists.

    Comment by John Humphreys — January 30, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

  4. Don’t see why the UHI effect should be subtracted, since it all contributes to warming and all results from energy use.

    And as to whether the heat island effect imperils our civilisation, well, do emissions from cars that shorten life in China imperil their civilisation? I don’t think that question even deserves an answer. Will my next glass of wine kill me?

    Can’t work out what ‘MSM activists’ are, and I’m happy to be called whatever label you like, but the precautionary principle would indicate to me (and a few other sane people) that you don’t wait to find out if the consequences are catastrophic, when mitigating the cause would clearly lessen the impact.

    In human terms, it means you eat your veggies and stop smoking even if it isn’t 100% rock solid certain (and what is?) that these are going to make you live longer or better.

    Can I hear anyone arguing for risk assessment and practical common sense here?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  5. Ronda, urban areas constitute a tiny portion of the Earth’s surface. A global average temperature which relies heavily on temperature stations located in urban areas will be warmly biased. Take the heat island into account by all means but its contribution to the global average should be proportional to its land coverage.

    Comment by DaveA — January 30, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

  6. Ronda, did you read this nonsense paper?

    Here is an extract:”According to the climate models, city-generated heat may be causing warming by 1 degree Celsius”

    No science, just a naive guess based on the always wrong climate models.

    Have some sense will you? This is worse than the Skeptical Science site.

    It is bad enough that you are fooled by the AGW fraud, but you are continuing to deteriorate.

    Comment by Leo Lane — January 30, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  7. DaveA, asserting that impact of cities should be proportional to their area rather than their population or heat generated is not sensible.

    I read science updates all the time, and overwhelmingly they point out health and economic burdens from climate change.

    Why is that so hard to understand?

    Every scientist can’t be a fool.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  8. Whaddya know? Here’s another one, have they all been duped?

    Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Coasts Threaten Public Health, Safety and Economy, Report Finds

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

  9. OK let me qualify futher: for the purpose of estimating CO2’s influence as a greenhouse amplifier the global average temperature should be area averaged.

    You’re conflating two different things now. Climate change science is all about CO2 and the greenhouse effect and the supposed future consequences. If cities are generating their own heat that can be dealt with at a local level.

    Comment by DaveA — January 30, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

  10. One reason why the media inquiry should be implemented so that climate deniers are silenced and their views are not heard. Hopefully the rabid right wing neocons should be silenced so that more sensible progressive policies can be heard.

    Hopefully when we get in our policies of reducing the polluting flesh producing farms can be closed and replaced with a sustainable herbicultural industry. We must think of the impacts of catastrophic climate change

    Comment by Sarah Bath — January 30, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  11. Sarah, grow up you fascist tool.
    Nice way to try and win an argument, make it illegal for anyone to disagree with you.
    Thought crimes anyone?

    Comment by Mike Hunt — January 30, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  12. Sarah, I agree with everything that you said. As long as it doesn’t affect my donut supply and that nice Mr McTernan says that it is OK.
    I think that Wong chap and Nanny Roxon would also agree with you, again, as long as Mr McTernan says so.

    Comment by m0nty — January 30, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

  13. Rhonda

    Do you have any cleaning or cooking to do? You’re thinking too hard and it must hurt.

    Comment by Steve from Brisbane — January 30, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  14. Ah, sustainable herbiculture.
    The reason I am gleefully delighted to be polluting the world into a catastrophic uninhabitable cinder is that it means that all the children of people who support sustainable herbiculture will be extinguished by my rampant consumerism and hedonistic waste.
    So exquisitely beautiful.
    Please tell me more about how bad it will be 50 years after I’m dead and don’t give a donkey’s plume.

    Comment by WhaleHunt Fun — January 30, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

  15. Rhonda this is an example of linear logic.Of course there is a heat island effect within our cities.This is where temps are compared over decades and are erroneous.No one has accounted for this anomaly in the stats.Satellite records are the most accurate and the IPCC don’t use them.

    There has been no warming for 16yrs even with massive imputs of CO2.Extreme weather does not = warming.

    True scientists always question the stats and we don’t have all that many in this realm of study.

    Comment by Ross — January 30, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

  16. Rhonda, I think you do not understand the AGW argument, which is not based on heat, but on the positive feedback effects of CO2 in the atmosphere causing large temperature rises.

    Comment by don coyote — January 31, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  17. City dwellers on average produce 2.5 times the carbon of their country cousins!
    Whether we like it or not, we are going to have to deal with a new reality.
    That reality is a carbon constrained future.
    Now, we can try and do what we’ve always done, or shift our operations to Asia? And given current trends, neither choice is viable?
    Or, we could take a leaf out of the book of a small Tamworth abattoir and adopt change.
    They apparently spent a million on a commercial digester, and turned their waste into methane and energy, which has taken them off grid.
    They apparently accepted some $360, 000.00 from the clean energy fund, and therefore only had to find a further $720,000.00?
    They now save $360,000.00 PA, as energy cost savings; meaning, they will have recouped all self sufficient energy outlays in just 2 short years!
    And then be able to add the $360,000.00 saved, to the annual bottom line!
    Simply put, adapting to a climate changed future, could make very good commercial sense?
    And the world is virtually awash with low cost liquid capital, looking for safe ventures.
    We will never ever run out of oil!
    We can predict this, given the rising cost of fossil fuel and the emerging lists of viable lower cost alternatives!
    Like algae, which absorbs 2.5 times its weight in carbon emission; and under optimised conditions, can double that body weight and absorption capacity, every 24 hours.
    Some algae are up to 60% oil, and can be purpose grown in effluent or sea water, to produce ready to use, as is, diesel or jet fuel!
    Extracting the ready to use fuel, is as simple as sun drying the filtered algae, and then crushing the dry material to produce ready to use fuel!
    Moreover, algae only use a fraction of the water of conventional irrigation.
    [The ex-crush material might serve as feed stock for animals or methane production!]
    Simply put, climate change, whether we believe it is real, man-made or otherwise, presents those with imagination and an entrepreneurial flair, numerous opportunities to cash in!
    In any event, this endless never ever resolved debate, could go on until we are all mouldering in the grave!
    Long before we become the new Venus, all life will be exterminated.
    We all of us depend on plant life at the very head of the food chain, for the very air we breathe and all our food!
    Conditions like that which existed some 90 million years ago, when our world was just 5C hotter, meant that plant life, was all but wiped out.
    I mean, fair England, was a wind swept, salt laden desert, where winds regularly exceeded 300klms PH.
    The tropics were continually battered by cyclonic winds that have no current comparison.
    Ditto endless massive floods. interspersed with droughts, which were far hotter, drying and longer than anything in current living memory.
    Fire storms of unimaginable ferocity, would have repeatedly raced across the landscape!
    Factually and according to the palaeoecological record, a Mother Hubbard cupboard, tells us that nearly all life was wiped out.
    Plant eating Herbivorous first, opportunistic omnivorous next and all Carnivorous around a year later, when even their own surviving species, turned cannibalistic?
    Is the current phenomena or global warming man made and therefore reversible?
    We have to hope and pray that it’s so, given the almost unthinkable alternative, would likely condemn us all!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — January 31, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  18. Erghhh! Yes, my brain hurts. I can’t cope with so much denialism. I retreat to eat my home grown veg.

    The urban heat island is indeed well known, but the research I referred to is about its impacts on areas thousands of KM away. But the deniers probably think that is all just fine, nothing that might impinge on our wonderful civilisation.

    How many of the deniers have read Jared Diamond’s Collapse?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 31, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  19. “How many of the deniers have read Jared Diamond’s Collapse?”

    Rhonda, are you good looking? Real question.

    Comment by Steve from Brisbane — January 31, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  20. Rhonda,when will you reaslise that we are not denying that climate changes? Climate has always changed and the main influence is the Sun.The issue of debate is the effect of C02 and that in no way has been settled.

    We’ve had extreme weather in the past and far higher C02 levels with with lower temps than now.How do you explain that?

    The more pressing issues in my view are the toxins and radiation we are puting into the environment.

    Comment by Ross — February 1, 2013 @ 7:35 am

  21. Let’s not nit pick here; when I use the term ‘climate change denier’, like most people, it refers to the anthropogenic effects that come mostly from burning fossil fuels.

    And the effect of CO2 on warming air is one of the best documented of physical understandings. It’s in the same category as the earth turns on its axis.

    And when I talk about the urban heat island effect, in response to an earlier comment, I have also known about it for a long time, but not about its effects on the upper atmosphere, which is what the current study I refer to discusses.

    It is amazing that there are some clearly sexist comments showing up in these responses, like asking me if I am good looking (of course I am, by the way)or whether I have some cooking to do (always, but it can wait)

    My background also includes a 4 year degree in maths, the first two of which I was also majoring in physics, so I’m not without some scientific understanding.

    But I would never presume to second guess the scientists.

    If you want to know who is distorting the climate discussion, follow the money and the media. The fossil fuel industry has much more at stake (and much deeper pockers) than your average working atmospheric scientist.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 1, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  22. Yes Rhonda. Wow, a great looking cook who understands complicated maths and Physics. You must be awash with admirers!
    Seriously, the fossil fuel industry rakes in over four trillion annually; and quite obviously, I believe, has some important Leaders by the short and curlies?
    No other explanation seems to fit the facts?
    We could in a relatively short space of time, convert all of our energy to endlessly sustainable carbon neutral; and make lots of money doing it!
    What we need is the Chinese govt, or a pragmatic Lee Kwan Yu, who as you know, took a basically broke, dirt poor Singapore, without a natural resource to bless itself with, and turned it into an economic dynamo, and the envy of a larger near neighbour. Lee would not have twiddled his thumbs waiting for some debt laden multi national to come in and do it for him or us/them?
    Ripping out virtually all the substantial profits in the process, but would have cracked on with govt money, getting the show on the road! Singtele, [Optus,] Singapore air, Singapore energy etc, etc, have gone from strength to strength, with some examples even going global. Little wonder the top tax rate is just 15% or that processional salaries are around 2.5 times our average!
    Had he emulated our endless examples and simply waited for the carpet bagging exploiters to arrive, as we seem to, his tiny nation would now be in far worse straights, than that which they ended the war with!
    We do need a different economic model, cooperative capitalism powered up with social credit, in order to ring in the changes in a timely manner.
    Whether the fossil fuel industry are ready or not, or whether change impacts negatively on the industry’s averaged bottom line.
    Maximised profits are not as important as the planet! Nonetheless, there is plenty of money to be made by grasping change in a timely manner, while there remains a shrinking window of opportunity, to reverse man-made climate change
    . The only thing we can do about natural warming, is retreat from it.
    I guess that’s why the next frontier and expected mass migration point, is going to be the stars!
    And people just like you, with your talent and knowledge, will open the doors that make that next wave of human migration possible.
    We just need to take the lessons learned here with us, so as never to repeat the same mistakes or make the mighty dollar a virtual god.
    We need to finally learn or know, when enough really is enough!
    I mean, one can only live in just one house at any one time, drive just one car, wear just one pair of shoes etc, etc!
    Cheers, Alan B, Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — February 1, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  23. At last, Alan, some wise reflection on our situation. Of course we could solve our carbon problem and become a net exporter of energy. Julian Cribb has outlined the algal oil prospects, all positive, and says we could create electricity and export it via a line to Asia. Now that’s big thinking, not cringing.

    Yes, I am an uberfrau, and renowned for my modesty and organic cucumbers, too. Fight the admirers off with sticks sometimes.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 1, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  24. Rhonda have a look at the graph here.

    There is no real correlation between temps and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.During the Ordivician Period we havd CO2 level 4400ppm or 12 times our present CO2 levels and there was a serious ice age.Infact the graph shows that CO2 levels follow decreases in temps and do not instigate temp change.

    In the long history of our planet average temps have been much higher than now and life thrived.

    Would you care to explain these anomalies Rhonda?

    Comment by Ross — February 1, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

  25. Actually, Ross, there is a relation between temp and CO2, but also between CO2 and many other factors.

    Yes, there was an amazing level of CO2 during the carboniferous, with much lower temps.

    I refer you to this useful info from the science museum in the UK:


    The more detailed descriptions below the graphics show the complexity of the interractions very far back in Earth’s history. The planet was a very different place, and the changes were generally much slower than those we are now inducing.

    They show that after the ‘snowball earth’ period about 600 million years ago, CO2 then went very high, possibly due to volcanic erruptions. This CO2 couldn’t generate heat, only trap it, and most of the heat was reflected by the ice. Slowly, the evolution of carbon absorbing plants reduced the CO2.

    So there was a gradual ‘phase change’ as Earth shifted from a frozen wasteland to the lush green place covered in CO2 absorbing oceans and plants.

    In a way, saying there is no correlation is like observing an obese person who has been dieting and exercising for a few weeks and saying ‘see, there is no link between food intake, exercise, and weight.’

    Climate change over vast geologic periods is dependent on many factors, including solar intensity, which could have differed that long ago.

    The key element in talking about the ‘anthropocene’, or period of human influence on the planet, is that modification of all interconnected systems is many times more dramatic, particularly in relation to our own species vulnerabilities.

    This is the first time in our planet’s history that 7 billion people have needed food, clothing, water, and ipads.

    Our margins are small, and we are perturbing all the systems with all the vigor, violence and recklessness that characterises our questionable intelligence.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 2, 2013 @ 7:53 am

  26. Earlier coniferous period comparisons don’t add much to the debate; given other factors. Like say a sun that regularly waxes and wanes, and or is progressively warming with age.
    We also need to understand that planet earth follows an endlessly variable elliptical orbit, that from time to time moves us out of, the so-called safe zone.
    Hence the possibility of higher historical Co2 levels and a cooler climate.
    That is however of little comfort, given we seem to be warming, while our sun seems to be in another periodic waning phase?
    And our current orbit seems to be moving us away from the sun?
    That said, I just don’t understand the problem that deniers seem to have? Don’t any of them like money or the entrepreneurial opportunities that come hand in hand, with the necessary changes, scientist agree ought to be made!?
    No one needs to be worse off, unless of course, you are simply silly enough to build on coastal plains, and then try and wish away the expected inundation, caused not so much by climate change, but our refusal to face up to it, and or, the much more rapid ice melt than predicted.
    I mean, one needs “official permission” to build, and why it is still allowed on flood plains or virtual coastal wetlands, is beyond me!
    [Albeit, it may have something to do with a few city official’s bank balances? As reported not all that long ago, in Sydney?]
    Even the formerly frozen tundra is now melting decades before it was predicted to do so!
    Releasing trillions of tons of additional greenhouse gas, as it does so!
    I believe this is a race humanity is losing, due to inactivity, or greed, that turns carbon into the most valuable and tradeable commodity on the planet?
    [Given it’s endlessly increasing value, maybe we should make more of it and the money for nothing it creates for a privileged few!]
    Ponzi schemes? You ain’t seen nothing yet!?
    That the only hope now for humankind is to learn and adapt, to a future one never ever wish on a worst enemy.
    Self sufficient boam homes! Nuclear powered underground cities, all commercial traffic underground or underwater, stacked and racked food, grown under halide lights and a chance for our species to survive.
    Yes, we should be creating arks and ice bound seed repositories.
    So that when our planet finally returns to something equating to “normal”?
    We will be able to repopulate it, not just with ourselves, but all the symbiotic life forms we share with and or depend on! Or, alternatively, use to terraform suitable earth like new planets?
    It’s not simply hopeless, but the self serving deniers clearly are.
    I am minded of the song, “the times they are a changing”.
    If you can’t lend a hand, get out of the way”.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — February 2, 2013 @ 10:58 am

  27. Alan, what is a ‘boam home’?

    Debate about building permits and subsequent liabilities is happening all along the coast, watch out for the lawsuits.

    As for Ponzi schemes, anything with endless geometric growth built into the paradigm is by def a Ponzi-like construction, good luck to all of us.

    That was very apparent after reading a second book on the sub-prime shambles in the US.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 2, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

  28. So Rhonda you are admitting that there are many factors affecting temps not just CO2.This is what the sceptics have been syaing for years and you want to label us as being some sort of holocaust deniers.

    The facts remain that CO2 concentrations have nearly always in our history followed changes in temps and not instigated change themselves and at other times gone completely in the other direction.

    You have not explained how C02 levels during the Ordovician period can be 12 times present levels and we have an ice age.Also during the Carboniferous we had CO2 levels the same as today and we had a more serious ice age with average temps of 0 deg C.

    During the Jurassic/Cretaceous periods Average temps fell by 8 deg and CO2 levels went up from 1000ppm to 2000ppm.Today C02 levels are about 390 ppm

    During our Tertiary period average temps fell from 30 deg to 12 deg and C02 levels followed the fall in temps.

    A lot of scientists are applying the precautionary principle and they are being paid to not be sceptics, when science tells us we should be.The Earth according to the Satellite figures has not warmed for 16 yrs with C02 rates going up.

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  29. I have never compared cc deniers with holocaust deniers.

    Don’t know where you get your data from, when all the observations say temps are going up.



    Even this observation points to longer term increases:


    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 3, 2013 @ 8:45 am

  30. http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-higher-in-past.htm

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 10, 2013 @ 6:09 am

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