Ava is very cute

It was Ava’s birthday yesterday (she’s one year old). There is a party tonight at Diana’s place. Afterwards some of us – probably not including Ava – will watch the Super Rugby 14 final.

Go the Chiefs!

I’ll see you tomorrow some time.

UPDATE: Some time tomorrow today

How were you to know that Ava is alleged to be my grand-daughter, one of an alleged six such lucky children. It was great to be hosted so well at our daughter Diana’s place in Pakuranga, with her fiance Carl, and staying overnight let me imbibe an extra glass of wine and tankard of ale while watching the climax of the Super Rugby competition.

And it was of course terrific to celebrate Ava’s birthday – go the Chiefs!

To prove beyond doubt Ava’s extremely high cuteness factor, here’s one of the pics I clicked yesterday.

Ava's first birthday party

19 Thoughts on “Ava is very cute

  1. Happy Birthday Ava. Your father is a good man.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm said:

    Amy’s birth was a “terminating event” in terms of positive feedback from the hormone oxytocin,.

    I strongly urge everyone to read the following paper because Carl Brehmer explains in exceptional clarity, positive and negative feedback including in-phase and out-of-phase negative feedback and some non-climate cases to relate to the climate issues:-

    The Greenhouse Effect . . . Explored Is “Water Vapor Feedback” Positive or Negative?

    Carl Brehmer, © February 21, 2012


    Re the positive feedback of Amy’s birth, Carl says:-

    Let’s turn our focus to positive feedback for a minute. As you can see in this graph [page 5 pdf], examples of positive feedback have a distinctly different look. They have a signature exponential curve that usually ends abruptly because of a “terminating event.”

    An example of positive feedback in nature can be seen in the labor pains of childbirth. Known as the “Ferguson Reflex” each contraction stimulates a higher release of the hormone oxytocin, which increases the strength and frequency of the contractions. The “terminating event” is the birth of the child at which time contractions abruptly stop.

    The scientific definition of “feedback”:

    “When the result of an initial process triggers changes in a second process that in turn influences the initial one. A positive feedback intensifies the original process, and a negative feedback reduces it.”

    In-phase and out-of-phase negative feedback:

    To better understand this scientific definition of “feedback” let’s look at some well known examples of positive and negative feedback. The first example that we will look at is the body’s regulation of blood sugar levels through the negative feedbacks exerted by the hormones insulin and glucagon.

    This graph [page 4 pdf] is a simulated curve of blood sugar levels for about five hours after a meal. Shortly after a meal is eaten blood sugar begins to rise and in response the body releases insulin whose effect is to lower blood sugar. Insulin’s effect is called a negative feedback because it counteracts the rise in blood sugar seen after a meal. When the blood sugar begins to drop the insulin level drops as well.

    To keep the blood sugar from falling too far too fast and to maintain a basal level of blood sugar between meals the body releases a second hormone called glucagon and its effect is opposite that of insulin in that it works to slow falling blood sugar. Insulin slows rising blood sugars and glucagon slows falling blood sugars. So even though the action of glucagon is opposite that of insulin they are both negative feedbacks because they counteract changes in blood sugars rather than amplify them. Again, if blood sugars are increasing insulin kicks in to slow that increase and if blood sugars are decreasing glucagon kicks in to slow that decrease. As you can see this graph [page 4 pdf], a “second process” that creates a negative feedback can either be in phase or out of phase with the “initial process.”

    What makes feedback positive or negative then is not the direction of its force but whether or not it inhibits or amplifies the change that triggered it. In nature negative feedbacks create stability while positive feedbacks create instability.

    Carl carries out an experiment that discovers that:

    1) the addition of water to a climate system exerts a significant negative feedback against temperature changes night and day,

    2) water vapor has the same graphical relationship to temperature that insulin has to blood sugar and insulin is known to exert a strong negative feedback against blood sugar levels and

    3) over the course of time the addition of water to a climate system causes a perceptible drop in the yearly mean temperature

    I emphasize “against” for reasons below.

    In respect to two generic graphs [page 5 pdf] of positive and negative feedbacks, one ascending and one descending, Carl says:

    If these graphs were of temperature curves then a positive feedback could either cause greater warming or greater cooling depending upon the time of day. For example, it is said that “water vapor feedback” is positive because it is believed to amplify warming. If an increase in humidity were shown to amplify nighttime cooling that would be a positive feedback as well, because that would amplify the temperature change already occurring–cooling. I only bring this up because ironically the most common example offered as proof that water vapor feedback is positive is the fact that humid nights cool more slowly than arid nights and this is actually a negative feedback against nighttime cooling. This is more than just a matter of semantics, because remember in nature negative feedbacks bring stability while positive feedbacks bring instability. If we mislabel a negative feedback and call it positive feedback, we might be led to believe that the addition of humidity to a climate system will destabilize it!

    That last sentence is the point of my taking the opportunity to present this topic on RT’s post on Amy’s birthday and to emphasize the word “against” above.

    Andrew Dessler has published another paper that I’m sure will carry on the ructions documented in ‘IPCC Science’ starting about here:


    Dessler’s paper is paywalled but The Hockeyschick carries it thus:-

    New paper finds climate stabilized from 2000-2010 due to net negative feedbacks

    A paper published this week in the Journal of Climate finds from observations that the global climate stabilized from 2000-2010 due to net negative feedbacks. The IPCC erroneously assumes net feedbacks are positive resulting in a ‘runaway greenhouse effect’. The net negative feedback of -1.15 W/m2/K found by this paper is almost the same as the positive forcing alleged to occur from a doubling of CO2 levels [1.3 W/m2/K], which would take over 200 years to occur at the present rate.

    Observations of climate feedbacks over 2000-2010 and comparisons to climate models

    A. E. Dessler (2012)
    Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 979-862-1427


    Carl Brehmer’s paper is hotlinked to ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ and I think the Supplementary paper to D12 is here:-


    Curiously, the time frame of the study is 2000 – 2010 but on page 7 (pdf) of the Supplementary paper we see:-

    Figure S7. The spatial distribution of the thermal damping rate. Red (blue) indicates a local decrease (increase) in radiation to space as the global-average temperature increases.

    Odd, as the GAT has not increased over 2000 – 2010.

    D12 Abstract

    Feedbacks in response to climate variations during the period 2000-2010 have been calculated using reanalysis meteorological fields and top-of-atmosphere flux measurements. Over this period, the climate was stabilized by a strongly negative temperature feedback (~ −3 W/m2/K); climate variations were also amplified by a strong positive water vapor feedback (~ +1.2 W/m2/K) and smaller positive albedo and cloud feedbacks (~ +0.3 and +0.5 W/m2/K, respectively). These observations are compared to two climate model ensembles, one dominated by internal variability (the control ensemble) and the other dominated by long-term global warming (the A1B ensemble). The control ensemble produces global average feedbacks that agree within uncertainties with the observations, as well as producing similar spatial patterns. The most significant discrepancy was in the spatial pattern for the total (shortwave + longwave) cloud feedback. Feedbacks calculated from the A1B ensemble show a stronger negative temperature feedback (due to a stronger lapse-rate feedback), but that is cancelled by a stronger positive water vapor feedback. The feedbacks in the A1B ensemble tend to be more smoothly distributed in space, which is consistent with the differences between ENSO climate variations and long-term global warming. The sum of all of the feedbacks, sometimes referred to as the thermal damping rate, is −1.15±0.88 W/m2/K in the observations, −0.60±0.37 W/m2/K in the control ensemble. Within the control ensemble, models that more accurately simulate ENSO tend to produce thermal damping rates closer to the observations. The A1B ensemble average thermal damping rate is −1.26±0.45 W/m2/K.

    I’m struggling to relate Desslers feedback system to Brehmers explanations and definitions, for example: Dessler states “a strongly negative temperature feedback” – feedback against what?

    Maybe it’s against some very vague and undefined “climate variations” because the abstract goes on: “climate variations were also amplified by a strong positive water vapor feedback … and smaller positive albedo and cloud feedbacks”.

    This implies that the positive water vapour, albedo and cloud feedbacks are against “climate variations” (whatever they are) as is the negative temperature feedback. I find this implication rather bizarre.

    I’m sure anyone reading this will appreciate Carl Brehmer’s feedback primer in view of D12 and will probably agree with me that there will be a continuation of previous hostilities and possibly more learned questioning of Desslers feedback system.

    This is interesting, RC, and thanks for the links, but at 1400 words it’s too long. Worse, it’s mostly copied from other sources (although I love the imaginative link to Ava’s birthday). We all have busy lives. We look for a conclusion and are strongly disinclined to wade through screeds of quoted text or listen to a lecture in the hope we’ll find a nugget of information, unless of course we visit the links. What you have to say about the topic is far more interesting than what anyone else might say. But bullet points or short extracts from your sources is informative and exactly what we’re looking for. You might shorten the extracts in future? Thanks. If you want to write 1400 words on a topic, you know I’ll be only too happy to publish it – but comments shouldn’t normally be this long. You provide so much here that informs and challenges us, that I don’t want to discourage you, just make your contribution more useful. Cheers.

  3. That’s a really nice thing to say, Mike, thanks. Though I’m one step removed from the fatherhood of this one, generation-wise.

  4. val majkus on August 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm said:

    Putting this here in hope it will be read:

    does anyone know if the parties received running transcripts during the hearing
    if so could the transcript be posted?

    My cat is cute too!

  5. Hi Val, sorry for the delay. I’ve replied in the “Permission granted” thread, saying I hope transcripts will appear in the Court file. But I want to add here that the cuteness factor of your darling wee cat cannot compete with that of Ava, who surely carries additional world-beating scores worthy of Panda cub, week-old fluffy yellow chicken and baby Emperor penguin. It’s a clean sweep, I’m afraid, a complete triumph! There’s nothing you can do and no appeal is possible.

    As soon as my computer stops battling my camera and agrees to accept the several hundred pics, I’ll post one of Ava that will render the claim to your cat’s cuteness forever null and void.

  6. val majkus on August 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm said:

    Richard, can’t possibly compete with that… and who better than I to understand those words ‘null and void’; have I heard them at all since I did contracts at UTS in 1982 (or thereabouts) … not that I recall

    but from your superlatives, you left out puppies, polar bear cubs, kittens, foals, lambs, small gold fish – there’s still space for my darling wee cat who on her day can outplay roger federer, outrun bolt, out research hansen, outspend our current treasurer … there’s room for buzz

  7. Buzz? That’s an outstanding name for a cat.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on August 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm said:

    “If you want to write 1400 words on a topic, you know I’ll be only too happy to publish it”

    That possibility has been broached at JoNova where I started a thread where people are now addressing the issue:-

    Author: Baa Humbug
    Also, a preliminary accepted version of D12 is HERE

    I found the Brehmer paper fascinating. It’s HERE.

    I think you should email Jo to see if she’ll do a post on this with you.
    I’m sure it’ll get the warmists hopping.


    I did think that the comment would be better as a post when it got long but I though it would be useful to lay out the issue in a comment under a post that is unlikely to see a lot of traffic and besides, what is the difference between a 1400 ward comment and a 1400 word post?. That and the fact that people are unclear of climate feedback systems, in fact Mike Jowsey was asking about it here:-


    That probably generated more than 1400 words by the time I’d worked it out.and Mike responded with:-

    Mike Jowsey says:
    July 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Richard – many thanks for taking the time to fill in the blanks for me. This is really interesting stuff. In fact I would like to nominate your post as a guest article here – I think many other Climate Conversation readers would appreciate the insights and links you share.

    Problem is, I’m not a systems expert which was why I asked in the first instance at JoNova “Is there a feedback expert here?”, partly hoping that it would catch the attention of Jo and thence David Evens who is by far the more qualified to analyze Dessler’s feedback system (and climate feedbacks generally). So no, I’m not the one to put it into a post because I’m struggling to get to grips with it as much as anyone.

    I very much doubt that readers will gain any depth of understanding of systems feedbacks by way of “bullet points or short extracts” as I’ve done at JoNova because all that does is generate replies to which I’ve had to elaborate in response as much as my one comment here . Why not just lay it out clearly in the first place for others to address?

    I note that no-one here has addressed the actual topic I raised, not even yourself, even with the detail supplied. This is a fundamental issue of the AGW debate and if the detail is too much to discuss in comments and people here are not even aware of it’s appearance except yourself then I don’t hold much hope for discussion of the same (slightly modified) comment in the form of a post but maybe I’m being presumptuous – why don’t you put a post together on the topic from what I’ve supplied above to find out?

  9. Well, you’ve done it again: you challenge us here, RC, and I think Jo could well be receptive to the idea of a guest post. You make some good points in rebuttal of my suggestion to shorten things. I’ll have a closer look at what you’ve said above and consider a posting on it. Sorry I didn’t respond to Mike’s suggestion about your comments becoming a post, although I did see it. I meant to have a closer look first at what you said and try to understand it…

  10. Mike Jowsey on August 6, 2012 at 9:26 am said:

    Well, her grandfather can’t be all that bad either! Something about that gene pool….

  11. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm said:

    Cross-commented JoNova – CCG

    Baa, I’ve emailed Jo, challenging David to define Dessler’s system as per what can be inferred from D12 Abstract and Intro, also asking if David finds that if Dessler departs from classical convention that a Nova/Evans post will eventuate.

    I see a two part sequence:

    1) derive Desslers system from D12 (not easy because you end up with two different configurations depending on Abstract or Intro).

    2) having done 1) to then assemble the system as it SHOULD be by classical convention with correct initial process and appropriate feedback attribution parameters with correct signs and compare to 1). This is best shown in system diagram form I think.

    Brehmers experiments show that water vapour is a negative feedback against temperature so that Dessler has a water vapour feedback sign opposite to classical convention. Brehmer explains this thus:-

    Departing from this classical scientific definition of “feedback” contemporary literature defines positive water vapor feedback one-dimensionally and implies that positive water vapor feedback always results in a warmer temperatures and when you see a counter argument that asserts that water vapor feedback is negative the term is also used one-dimensionally and implies that negative water vapor feedback always results in a
    cooler temperatures
    . Again, positive feedback will only result in a warmer temperatures and negative feedback will only result in a cooler temperatures if the basal temperature is already trending warmer as it does every day from sunrise to mid afternoon. If the basal temperature is trending cooler as it does predictably and repeatedly every night then positive feedback would make the temperature even cooler and a negative feedback would result in a warmer temperature at the end of the night.

    It seems to me that Dessler’s branch of science has designed for themselves a hybrid and very flexible feedback system unconstrained by classical convention, examples from physiology, electronics, or other non-climate nature etc that bends and morphs depending on what the message or bias is to be conveyed and written into contemporary literature as some kind of authority that can be cited.

    Until I’m proved wrong – I don’t buy it.

  12. val majkus on August 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm said:

    Richard gotta agree …. very cute ….

  13. Richard C (NZ) on August 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm said:

    I’m going to badger David Evans via Jo for as long as it takes. David has not picked up on the transition of climate science from classical feedback system to “contemporary”.

    In his Sydney Morning Herald and Stuff Opinion articles, there’s a system diagram absent that is shown in the same article reprinted at JoNova. The “contemporary” system diagram David presents (proven incorrect by Carl Brehmer) is here:-


    The JoNova post source of the diagram is here:-


    Of that diagram David says:-

    n the theory of manmade climate change, two thirds of the predicted warming comes from changes in humidity and clouds, and only one third comes directly from the extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    The theory assumes that humidity and clouds amplify the warming directly due to CO2 by a factor of three: extra CO2 warms the ocean surface, causing more evaporation and extra humidity. Water vapor, or humidity, is the main greenhouse gas, so this causes even more surface warming.

    Not many people know that. It is the most important feature of the debate, and goes a long way to explaining why warmists and skeptics both insist they are right.

    The warmists are correct that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it causes warming, that CO2 levels have been rising, and that it has been warming.

    Serious skeptics agree with all that, but point out that it does not prove that something else isn’t causing most of the warming.


    There is no observational evidence for this amplification, but it is nonetheless built into all the models. Skeptics point out that if the extra humidity simply forms extra clouds then there would be no amplification.

    Actually “serious skeptics” go a step further. What David has not picked up is that not only is there no water vapour amplification but “contemporary” climate science reverses the sign of the classical negative water vapour feedback to make water vapour a positive feedback.

    Of the classical => contemporary feedback transition Carl Brehmer says:-

    If we mislabel a negative feedback and call it positive feedback, we might be led to believe that the addition of humidity to a climate system will destabilize it!

    We (I at least) have much to thank Carl Brehmer for. Back story at Tallblokes Talkshop:-

    Carl Brehmer: Fact trumps theory with the greenhouse effect: A case study


  14. Richard C (NZ) on August 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm said:

    Patrick Moore “gets it”, Jo Nova’s latest post is on water vapour feedback


    Perhaps the tide is turning.

  15. In response to Ruchard C’s comment on Patrick Moore (not sure how this got on the Ava is cute thread, but hey, Ava is still cute ..)

    Hilary Ostrov has a good post contrasting Patrick Moore with Richard Muller


  16. Richard C (NZ) on August 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm said:

    Stoush in comments re D12 at JoNova ‘Patrick Moore’ post. My latest contribution:-

    KR, if you had been paying attention you would have seen that the topic of Dessler 2012 had been broached at #30 but OK, let’s have a look at it here.

    Your D12 quote:-

    “….the climate was stabilized by a strongly negative temperature feedback

    So in this first instance of the D12 system, the initial process is “climate” and one of the feedbacks is temperature. What exactly is “climate”? We can infer from D12

    …..whose climate is also dominated by internal climate variability. These results will then compared to feedbacks in simulations of long-term warming in order to assess how these feedbacks differ from those in response to internal variability.

    In this first instance, the initial process is “internal variability” and temperature is a feedback against internal variability.

    Next from your quote:-

    climate variations were also amplified by a strong positive water vapor feedback

    So now in this second instance of the D12 system, the initial process is “climate variations” and one of the feedbacks is water vapour. What exactly are “climate variations” in the D12 system?

    …over this time, the dominant climate variations were from the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

    In this second instance, the initial process is dominantly “ENSO” and water vapour is a feedback against ENSO (dominantly)

    Those two quotes were from the D12 Abstract so now let’s move on to the Introduction:-

    Feedbacks change the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) net energy balance in response to a change in surface temperature,

    In this third instance of the D12 system, the initial process is “surface temperature” and the feedbacks are:-

    …the parameters of interest for feedbacks (particularly atmospheric water vapor, temperature, and clouds)

    Apparently, in this third instance of the D12 system, “temperature” is a feedback against the initial process “surface temperature”.

    The necessity for climate science to accommodate a bogus positive feedback from water vapour in their “contemporary” feedback system (contrary to the classical negative feedback – see Brehmer paper #30) has resulted in poor Dessler tying himself (and the unwary) in knots.

    Needless to say – in view of the three instances – Dessler does not define nor does he diagram his feedback system because it is internally inconsistent.


  17. Richard C (NZ) on August 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm said:

    “….not sure how this got on the Ava is cute thread”

    Thread header here Andy:-


    “Amy’s birth was a “terminating event” in terms of positive feedback from the hormone oxytocin”

    It’s all about feedbacks

  18. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm said:

    Jo’s on a roll:-

    Models get cloud feedback wrong, but *only* by 70W/m2 (that’s 19 times larger than the CO2 effect)


    Yet another paper shows that the climate models have flaws, described as “gross” “severe” and “disturbing”. The direct effect of doubling CO2 is theoretically 3.7W per square meter. The feedbacks supposedly are 2 -3 times as strong (according to the IPCC). But some scientists are trying to figure out those feedbacks with models which have flaws in the order of 70W per square meter. (How do we find that signal in noise that’s up to 19 times larger?)

    Remember climate science is settled: like gravity and a round earth. (Really?)

    Miller et al 2012 [abstract] [PDF] find that some models predict clouds to have a net shortwave radiative effect near zero, but observations show it is 70W per square meter.


    Miller, M., Ghate, V., Zahn, R., (2012)

    The Radiation Budget of the West African Sahel and its Controls: A Perspective from Observations and Global Climate Models.

    in press Journal of Climate [abstract] [PDF]

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