2011-09-28 04:17:56Massive Takedown of Monckton at Lucia's
Robert Way



2011-09-28 04:27:51
Dana Nuccitelli

Nice to see lucia doing something constructive for a change ;-)

2011-09-28 07:10:36
Mark Richardson

Oh God, another Energy & Environment thing with Kimoto... And a reference to Don Easterbrook's shitrag of a book.

Can anyone get E&E papers, I'd be interesting in seeing Kimoto's steps for myself.

2011-09-28 09:32:32comment
Robert Way


Steven Mosher says he wants the credit for naming the creature

"Monckton is spurting ink again"

Moncktopus it is

Shall we do a cartoon?

2011-09-28 09:52:12


Where do you find Mosher's comments?

Unless we're participating in the discussion, I don't see why we should do a cartoon. Might be in poor taste anyway, from our point of view.

But maybe if we could encourage them to do one ...

2011-09-28 10:17:22
Brian Purdue


Looks like my Monckton comment on SkS was good timing!

2011-09-28 10:43:37Moncktopus - that's gold!
John Cook


Would certainly explain his aversion to shrimps.

Not a big fan of SkS doing a cartoon mocking Monckton though.

2011-09-28 11:10:04
Brian Purdue


Why not Mocktopussy to give it a James Bond flavour.

2011-09-28 12:20:24


Now, now!  Let's not sink to his level.  No matter how cathartic it might be!


On the other hand:

not a Monckton cartoon - well not totally


and then there is this:

Serfs and other lower orders: "A comet!  We are doomed!"

Person drawn taller to show that he is very important: "It's only a pretty little dove."

Serfs and other lower orders: "A dove! We are saved!"

2011-09-28 13:10:32
Brian Purdue


Should SkS get involved in Lucia - WUWT - Monckton fight seeing Monckton is at it again on WUWT?

2011-09-28 13:17:04
Brian Purdue


Sorry, should have sent this also http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/27/monckton-on-pulling-planck-out-of-a-hat/

2011-09-28 16:43:10Reply to Monckton on Neoproterozoic
John Mason


Watts may not pass my post in response to Monckton's arm-waving over Cryogenic dolomites, but another reader questioned it too. It's not half as simple as Monckton suggests. Here's my comment, in case Watts bins it, bristling with mainstream climate science applied to geology, for posterity! It's a fascinating area of geology and deserves more than the potty peer allows....  Cheers - John


“In the Neoproterozoic, 750 Ma BP, CO2 concentration (today <0.04%) was ~30%: otherwise the ocean’s magnesium ions could not have united with the abundance of calcium ions and with CO2 itself to precipitate the dolomitic rocks laid down in that era"

I would be very cautious in making that statement. It is very common for carbonates to be diagenetically altered to dolomite long after deposition. Even with much younger, unaltered rocks, it is difficult to ascertain when the dolomite was formed–at time of deposition or later. There are numerous papers on the subject and the determination of early vs late dolomite is the subject of many days of discussion in a typical graduate level carbonate petrology course. I would look for a more robust proxy.
Doug, and Chris,

Doug, diagenesis in a rapidly-deposited carbonate sequence like that in the Cryogenian would likely occur reasonably quickly simply due to burial-depth increasing quickly. From what I have read, at least some of the dolomite of that age is a primary feature, pointing to some unusual seawater chemistry at the time.

One mechanism for development of an "aragonite-dolomite sea" would be enhanced weathering episodes. These may, for example, occur after large-scale volcanism, orogenesis or major eustatic sea-level falls - the latter an expected occurrence in glacials, of course. Weathering is a major carbon dioxide sink and a enhanced weathering can lead to a major CO2 drawdown: carbonic acid (i.e. carbon dioxide dissolved in rainwater/groundwater) attacks minerals, the most unstable of which dissolve readily and release cations to the aqueous system. The last major weathering episode likely brought about the end of the Cenozoic "hothouse" climate and led to the onset of Milankovitch-driven glaciations in the Quaternary.

Older glacial episodes such as the Cryogenian may well have been influenced in their fluctuations by Milankovitch cycles: do not forget either that solar output was several percent below that of the present day, too: in essence we had a different planet back then.

Chris, this paper published a couple of years ago in the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences:


is of interest because it details the stratigraphy of one of these Neoproterozoic sequences, in the Flinders ranges. It suggests that the thick carbonate sequences lie in between glaciogenic sequences - diamictites etc - and raises the possibility that they were deposited during interglacials: it does not appear that said interglacials were as short as those of the Quaternary. During glacial retreat, sea-levels rose and flooded low-lying areas where carbonate reefs developed: these were subsequently destroyed during reglaciation and sea-level falls. Abstract:

A detailed sedimentological and chronostratigraphic analysis of the Umberatana Group in the northern Adelaide Geosyncline has uncovered a depositional history involving the rapid progradation (at least 20 km) of a giant reef complex (up to 1.1 km relief) during mid-Cryogenian interglacial times. The reef complex, which occurs in the Balcanoona Formation, displays facies similar to Phanerozoic reefs. These include a basal forereef (slope) facies, overlain by a reef-margin facies (consisting of both stromatolitic and non-stromatolitic frameworks), and an upper backreef (platform) facies consisting of shallow-water peloidal and oolitic carbonate. The thickening of the reef complex in a basinward direction, and the distribution of the key facies are consistent with the progradation of the platform into deep water. Progradation was contemporaneous with deposition of the upper Tapley Hill Formation and had largely ceased after a major margin failure event. Following this event, reef growth continued for a short time before becoming extinct, possibly as a result of global climatic cooling and/or eustatic sea-level fall.

Note that these carbonates tend to display a conformable relationship to the glaciogenic sediments they overlie, but their tops are in unconformable contact with succeeding glaciogenic rocks, in some cases with karstification of the carbonate palaeosurface. This would all be consistent with sea-level rise and fall in a glacial-interglacial-glacial cycle, just as we have seen in more recent times, with the estimated 120m sea-level rise following the last glacial maximum and subsequent deglaciation. I would be interested to see if any detailed reconstruction of carbon dioxide levels across these Neoproterozoic cycles is possible - the further back in time one goes, of course, the more difficult that is.

Regards - John

2011-09-28 17:54:27PS
John Mason


PS - a bit more reading on that over the coming months and it could be worked into a rebuttal of that part of the Lord's ramblings. It is one he brings up frequently, and I think I've seen Plimer using it too.


I've done a piece on the late Ordovician ice-age already: http://www.geologywales.co.uk/storms/hirnantian.htm


Cheers - John

2011-09-29 00:55:38PS #2
John Mason


As if by magic, a denialist commentator on a Guardian thread has quoted Monckton on this verbatim, without attribution! It's sure been busy over there of late....

Cheers - John

2011-09-29 13:50:37
Glenn Tamblyn


I wouldn't touch this one. Lucia has done a good job on it but the topic is quite technical for the non mathematically inclined. And as part of a general policy of not commenting generally on things on other blogs unless there is a strong enough reason, this one doesn't have enough gravitas to merit it.

Interesting thought with things like the approach from Al Gore's people, Al Jazeera etc. They could provide a lens through which to look at what we post on and why. Do we want posts relating to the closed world of the AGW blogosphere being sent out to wider audiences. Do we cloud what could otherwise be a clean message by letting a broader audience become exposed, perhaps for the first time, to the trench warfare?

2011-09-29 18:07:14


I agree with Glenn: the topic quite complicated even if you are mathematically inclined: you should have much more subject-specific knowledge to deal with it. In fact, I doubt that Lucia knows enough. But it's more than plausible that Monckton is making it all up, since he is very UNknowledgeable. Nonetheless, there's no need to put our oar in.

wrt exposing the innocent to the world of AGW denial: I think we have to. We should always keep in mind the broader audience.

2011-09-29 23:10:23
John Mason


The bit I'm more interested in is this Cryogenian stuff. Monckton has since elaborated he got it from Plimer in a new post (where he answers "Doug" but not me.... surprise surprise!

"In the Neoproterozoic, 750 Ma BP, CO2 concentration (today <0.04%) was ~30%: otherwise the ocean’s magnesium ions could not have united with the abundance of calcium ions and with CO2 itself to precipitate the dolomitic rocks laid down in that era. Yet mile-high glaciers came and went twice at sea level at the equator."

In the new thread, I have asked him how atmospheric pCO2 can have any effect at all on underwater chemical processes, given that they were separated by a mile of ice? It's just another example of a Monckton Sweeping Statement that does not bear up to scrutiny.

Cheers - John

2011-09-30 01:47:04
Rob Honeycutt


Actually I disagree with Neal and Glenn on this one.  I think this is a perfect opportunity to take a very complex math issue and repackage it in a way that is decipherable for a more general audience. 

The problem here is that one of Monckton's gishgallop techniques is to wow the crowd with inpenetrable pedantic flourishes.  Often he's not saying anything at all, he's just blustering through his vocabulary.  Same with the latin and the math.  He knows this technique works.  People believe him even when they have absolutely no idea what he is saying.

I even find Lucia's decostruction of Monckton pretty impenetrable.  I don't know what they're talking about.  It would be great if someone who did have some math background could further deconstruct the deconstruction and make common sense out of it.

2011-09-30 01:58:58


Rob H,

The problem is finding someone in a good position to understand the original paper (not M's word-salad, but the paper he's relying on). From the excerpts Lucia has put out, my impression is that it would take considerable background in the subject matter to make sense of it. I do not think Lucia is well-grounded enough to really do it justice.

She might be clever enough to detect POSSIBLE weak points, but I wouldn't trust her understanding of the physics.

The danger, when you set out to refute something you barely understand, is that you may run into somebody who understands more about it than you do. Then, even if you're right and he's wrong, he can dance circles around you, so you have a very hard time to prove it. The threat wouldn't be from Monckton, who is blanketly incompetent: But if some champion emerges who understands just 50% of the paper and takes his side, it would be potentially very embarassing.

This is a situation where we are better off waiting until someone who really is authoritative has spoken on the matter; and then providing an interpretation. Otherwise, it is just too risky.

2011-09-30 02:28:15
Rob Honeycutt


I agree with that, Neal.  Once we are comfortable that someone has unwrapped this mess accurately then it would be a great piece to communicate for a broader audience.

2011-09-30 03:34:56
John Mason


John Abraham might be worth an approach - if he isn't already looking at this!

Cheers - John