Skeptical discussion

This is a wide open thread, discuss whatever you like here.  I am starting this new thread in an effort to keep the threads on greenhouse effect and skeptics make your best case on topic.   Please keep your comments that are not directly relevant to these two topics off those threads, and post them over here.  I will start deleting extraneous comments from the other two threads.  Thanks for your cooperation in this.

p.s.  I am really pleased to see the discussion interest transitioning from climategate to the actual science :)

357 responses to “Skeptical discussion

  1. Louise, I am answering here in response to Judith’s request. The models do include natural variations. They do not require 30 to 50 years to falisify but only 15. So if you claim that 30 years is the minimum amount of time to disclude the natural variations in the models this is obviously not correct.

    • steven – as your skeptical argument appears to be ‘it is possible to falsify the models’ does that mean that you conclude that the models have been falsified?

      I am not a climate scientist. I think that climate trends should be looked at for periods of at least 30 years and that as much natural variability as is known should be taken into account when looking at why trends might be apparent.

      I’m really not sure what your issue is with this view.

      • I think he’s trying to say that out of the 30 year predictions, 15 is sufficient to show that the climate is not progressing as the models state it should.

        Makes sense to me- though this is of course assuming that the differences are significant.

      • Hi labmunkey
        If you are the same person that shares the debate at Richard Black’s Earthwatch with me…. Drop me an email on the contact page
        http://www.realclimategate.org

      • Am indeed.

        Just sent a message as requested.

        Interesting blog btw.

      • And actually it isn’t my skeptical argument. I gave a reference. It is the skeptical argument of the NOAA

        “Near-zero and even negative trends are commonfor intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

        They also state ” The trend in the ENSO-related component for 1999–2008 is +0.08±0.07°C decade–1, fully accounting for the overall observed trend. The trend after removing ENSO (the “ENSO-adjusted” trend) is 0.00°±0.05°C decade–1, implying much greater disagreementwith anticipated global temperature
        rise.”

        Hope this helps to clear it up for you.

      • They [NOAA] also state ” The trend in the ENSO-related component for 1999–2008 is +0.08±0.07°C decade–1, fully accounting for the overall observed trend. The trend after removing ENSO (the “ENSO-adjusted” trend) is 0.00°±0.05°C decade–1, implying much greater disagreement with anticipated global temperature rise.”

        But ENSO is a high-frequency (period 2-7 years) phenomenon which disappears with a moving average temperature window of 10 years. Look at theglobal HADCRUT temperature with that smoothing. Despite the wild swings throughout the 160 years, if you draw a line at −0.23 °C you cut the curve into two pieces, namely before and after 1930. Furthermore we are now at almost 0.65 °C above where we were at any time prior to 1930 in recent centuries if not millennia. Even the whole Medieval Warm Period was completely below that −.22 °C line.

        The ENSO cycle is irrelevant to this picture, not only because it is cycling too fast to be relevant to global warming per se, which is advancing more slowly than that yet more relentlessly, but also because ENSO swings by less than 0.1 ° C, which is down in the noise compared to this 0.65 °C rise since 1930.

        However skeptical NOAA might profess themselves to be, ENSO is completely irrelevant to CO2-induced global warming.

      • “However skeptical NOAA might profess themselves to be, ENSO is completely irrelevant to CO2-induced global warming.”

        I expect they agree with you and thus factored it out.

  2. No, you should have read in my previous comment that it requires 15 years and so far there have only been 12. Since 12 < 15 this can't possibly be my claim.

    The issue is fairly simple. Does it require only 15 years or does it require 30 years to determine if the climate trend matches the model trend. This shouldn't be a personal opinion poll but a scientific evaluation.

  3. Latimer Alder

    Reply to Louise from the earlier thread.

    Thanks. I think that I can handle some of the science reasonably well – you can read plenty of scientific musings from me on this blog and others.

    But I do not fall for the ‘poor little climate scientists toiling away to save the planet from Big Oil deniers crap’ that seems to be their prevailing view of themselves. The evidence pf their own words and actions disproves it And its worth pointing that out too.

    Lest anybody starts to be fooled by it.

    • I’d also point out that

      ‘The climate is changing slowly and looking over 30-50 year periods is more appropriate’ from your earlier comments is just an assertion with no backup evidence.

      Not very scientific either. Why not 15 or 100 years?

  4. I’m writing here because Judith indicated that this is NOT a technical thread.
    One of my main issues with whole sceptic/warmer argument is that the AGW proponents seem to think that all sceptics:
    – are intelligent design believers
    – fundamentalist christians
    – believe fluoridation is a government plot
    – have no appreciation of physical science other than how to open a can of Skoal
    – are Tea Party Republicans

    I fully respect AGW scientists and educated proponents. When I say I’m sceptical, I’m not saying that your part of a huge plot to rule the world or that you are trying to deceive (unless your also a politician or an actor).

    I saw the same disagreements between physicists on other issues when I worked as a technician in a research laboratory. IMHO, there are very few theories where room for disagreemnt doesn’t exist. However, that doesn’t mean the debate has to be acrimonius.

    That’s why I USUALLY appreciate the tone of this blog; there are plenty of other sites where the main focus is just one upmanship, trolling and divisive. I don’t think this is unique to the global warming arena but is a function of the media and the electronic world where reality shows emphasize winner takes all and talk shows think of nothing but self esteem.

    Bottom line for me is that society has lost the ability to calmly, politely and logically evaluate issues.

    • In so far as it matters here’s where I stand on those things

      a. Evolutionist.
      b. Convinced atheist
      c. Fluoride is good for teeth.
      d. Teetotal
      e. Only drink coffee. Can’t stand tea.

      Sceptical? Very.

      • a. Check
        b. Check
        c. Check
        d. Mmmmm, Beer.
        e. Fine with Either, as long as it’s good coffee and tea. Drink more tea than coffee.

        Sceptical? Yes.
        Optimistic for the future of science? Yes.

      • a- Evolution is the way it is
        b-a believer
        c-I like my teeth too
        d-the occasional adult beverage
        e-missed the party, but I do like tea. And coffee. Not so much soda.
        Skeptical? You betcha.

      • More than happy to participate in this survey.

        a. Check
        b. Atheist? Good grief, I don’t even know whether I’m agnostic. Those who define God as the universe would claim I believe God exists, and they’d be right. The only tenet of my religion is that the number of gods is a perfect square. I lean towards having 49 gods, kind of like half the Senate, but 0 and 1 are also fine by me. 0 and 1 need to learn to get along better, 49 and 64 get along just fine thank you.
        c. Check.
        d. Beer, wine, single malt, no Pimms No. 1 cup please
        e. Recently switched from coffee to green tea in the (probably misguided) hope of getting more antioxidants that way. The idea of rusting to death has recently become repugnant to me, I imagine I’ll get over it one way or the other.

        Skeptical? Absolutely. Every claim about global warming, on either side, gets my undivided attention. That said, I’m currently writing up what Lewis Carroll would have called a knock-down argument demonstrating global warming. (Hey, I’m a logician, I could have been a contender for the denialist team if the energy industry had just mailed me the check they promised. That’s what logicians are for, they’re science’s lawyers.) Everyone taking the question in earnest claims to have an argument either demonstrating or refuting it. So far however I haven’t seen a knock-down argument for either side, all the arguments tend to be reminiscent of St. Augustine’s proof of the existence of God. Everyone with strong opinions on global warming seems to either a theist or an atheist, the agnostics don’t seem to have much to say.

      • Latimer Alder

        Just to point out that

        ‘Everyone with strong opinions on global warming seems to either a theist or an atheist, the agnostics don’t seem to have much to say.’

        would be equally true if you left out the words ‘on global warming’. :-)

      • The agnostics might have have much to say about AGW, but when they are science lawyers, they gotta do what they gotta do.

        PS: I’m still waiting for my check too.

    • I don’t believe this at all. Each person has their on reasons for being skeptical, and some or many do fit into the categories above. The main problem arises out of differences in understanding of risks, differences of understandings of uncertainties, and how those balance in a mathematical sense.

      • gryposaurus,

        I’m not saying I believe that; I’m basically sceptical and I don’t fall into any of the groups I mentioned. I’m saying that’s how AGW proponents portray sceptics.

      • Portrayals of the opponent are meaningless and happen on both sides. Eventually everyone gets past these and the only thing left to argue about is the science and the risks. The reason these negative portrayals of skeptics remain is likely due to the quality of scientific argument and people have difficulty understanding how people continue to blame conspiracies instead of discussing relevant material. Conspiratorial thinking is a quality you find in the groups you’ve listed above.

      • You guys are really plotting to discredit and suppress the conspiracy theorists, aren’t you?

      • “Discredit”? Conspiracies aren’t credible by their nature, but the suppression would end when you have evidence that a number of people agree makes a case to remove the ‘conspiracy’ label.

      • My post was an IQ test. You failed.

      • You guys are really plotting to discredit and suppress the conspiracy theorists, aren’t you?

        Au contraire, mon ami. I believe in shining the spotlight on the conspiracy theorists so that everyone can make up their own minds. And I support Sarah Palin as the Republican party’s nominee for 2012 for the same reason. (I am not a registered Democrat if that’s relevant.)

        My post was an IQ test. You failed.

        Either that or the designer of the test failed. ;)

    • “One of my main issues with whole sceptic/warmer argument is that the AGW proponents seem to think that all sceptics:”

      The irony of presenting a viewpoint advanced by all AGW proponents in order to show they paint a broad brush across all skeptics notwithstanding, I’ve rarely seen these kinds of accusations fly. The people you describe are present. for example Dr Roy Spencer is a proponent of creation/intelligent design, and no doubt some gets falsely associated with these topics but it doesn’t seem to come up very much.

      “Bottom line for me is that society has lost the ability to calmly, politely and logically evaluate issues.”

      While there certainly some in the “Climate change is going to kill us all!!” camp the “Massive fraud/hoax/conspiracy” camp seems much much larger and more pervasive to me.

      • Agreed on your first point; I shouldn’t have lumped all proponents in the same pot.

        On the second point, I was going to a broader scope without telescoping; I didn’t mean to limit the discussion top AGW, but the ability of our society to analyze any problem and come up with a solution due to hyperbole and ego.

      • “While there certainly some in the “Climate change is going to kill us all!!” camp the “Massive fraud/hoax/conspiracy” camp seems much much larger and more pervasive to me.”

        Respectfully, I am going to have to (at least partly) disagree with you on this point. While your statement may hold true in the blogosphere it is clearly the reverse in both traditional media (particularly the government sponsored) and in the educational system from kindergarten to universities.

        As an example, my children have endured years of global warming/climate change studies (under the guise of science, geography and even history), all of which have aimed for the “we’re all gonna die if we don’t do something now!!” end of the spectrum. They have learned that to challenge the authoritative position – even to stating that the science is not absolutely certain – requires evidence and angers teachers, while parroting the official line ensures good grades, even without evidence or understanding.

        This extends to the university nearby, where I’ve been told that the pro-AGW position is the assumed one, and any shred of dissent from the orthodoxy can get you ostracized.

        As well, this extends to the groups in the streets – I see lots of coverage of demonstrations of CAGW activists but have yet to see coverage of any group marching to declare it all a fraud.

      • “traditional media “

        Traditional media provides sensational coverage of all topics. You may notice that when people point to the “scare” over global cooling in the 70s they end up pointing to media publications, not scientific ones.

        I’ve also seen a lot of sensational articles about freezes in Europe and other cooling related catastrophes. I don’t see their coverage of warming as being any different/better/worse.

      • I think this makes my point. The traditional media might be locked in sensationalist mode, but for the last 12 years or more has mostly directed that in aid of the alarmist camp -doom and gloom makes a better story. Even now, I can’t think of any weather phenomena that has been presented as a refutation of AGW.

        Climatology would be better off if it could lose the defensive, conspiracist mentality.

      • “I think this makes my point.”

        No, it doesn’t. The media is sensationalist concerning everything including global warming, global cooling, asteroid flybys and new diseases. You’re perceiving the media as “helping” global warming when in fact it’s reporting it the way it reports everything.

        This is counter-pointed against people who believe climate change is all a fraud and a conspiracy. These people actually believe that.

      • “This is counter-pointed against people who believe climate change is all a fraud and a conspiracy. These people actually believe that.”

        I personally know no one – outside of the blogosphere – who believes this. I know many who believe that AGW will kill us all we don’t act, and soon. They believe this because they have been regaled with doomday scenarios by the media, with little or no countering sensationalism about fraud or scientific conspiracies. I agree that this type of sensational reporting is just due to the media’s standard approach, but it is real, and it has an effect (that’s why PR flacks get paid). Please note that I do not think that scientists are at fault – reporters will go hunting for the one guy who gives good copy, not the dozen who are more measured.

        So yes, I think the media does help drive the ‘we’re all gonna die’ theme (at least at present) – I also think the blogosphere does help drive the belief in AGW as fraud. That there are conspiracy believers on both sides, and that they are uniformly wrong, is fairly clear to me.

        Personally, I cry “a pox on both their houses!”. It would be better for all who want to “calmly, politely and logically evaluate issues” if we could squelch the conspiracists, starting with ourselves if need be. In the end, neither counting heads nor one-upping victimhood will help.

      • I personally know no one – outside of the blogosphere – who believes this.

        Whom you personally know is not relevant. You have elected senators saying global warming is a hoax on a fairly regularly basis, where are the “Global warming is going to kill us all!” people in congress?

        “That there are conspiracy believers on both sides, and that they are uniformly wrong, is fairly clear to me.”

        This is a false equivocation. You’re balancing the widespread belief that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by scientists and governments against the belief by some that energy companies pay for misinformation to lesser or greater degrees. That energy companies do pay for misinformation is well documented, the issue is whether specific individuals are or are not motivated by such money.

      • As is the issue that individuals may be swayed by the SIGNIFICANT funding, kudos and fame on the cAGW side.

        You cannot cast dispersions on one side without the other. AS such this line of reasoning ‘cancels’ itself out and should be ignored- unless of course you have a particular axe to grind.

      • by the SIGNIFICANT funding

        The funding on the “other” side goes for actual scientific work. The funding on the energy company side goes for publicity of views beneficial to energy companies.

        The circle goes round and round and you build assumption upon assumption on top of the fact you just don’t accept the published science. It’s not just wrong, it’s fraud and conspiracy without any actual evidence of scientific fraud or conspiracy. Then when it turns out energy companies pay people to say what they want you claim that’s just the same as what the “other side” do based purely on the fact you’ve accused them of this which itself is based purely on the fact you don’t like what’s being said.

        “You cannot cast dispersions on one side without the other. “

        Of course you can. I don’t subscribe to the ridiculous notion that two sides of an issue are equivalent or mirror images of each other. That’s what people do when they’re either being lazy and can’t be bothered to understand both sides or when they want to justify the behaviour of one side.

      • Replying here as there’s no reply button for shaperoo’s reply. If you follow.

        Look. I am not saying that the skeptic side is whiter than white, i know that energry companies HAVE spent money trying to debunk cAGW, but it is a tiny fraction of the money spent on their OWN ‘green’ research programs, let alone the rest of the funding. For a direct example- look at one of the main funders of the CRU.

        My point is that people who try to address the issue in terms of who pays who and what motivation drives who has already lost the discussion. You claim to be pointing out that the skeptics do this all the time, despite doing it yourself in the very next breath.

        Discuss the science, the issue and the uncertainties- stay away from the character assasinations.

        Skeptic ‘A’ could be paid by big oil to deliberatley sabotage cAGW. He could be an evil- anti-environmental nut whos burns car tyres for fun. THAT doens’t mean he’s wrong, just as the trappings of fame and fortune don’t make the cAGW theory wrong.

        The merits of his/their ideas is what makes them right/wrong. You are doing nothing here (in this instance) but character assasination and are adding nothing to the debate- i’m sure you actually already know this. So please stop.

      • “My point is that people who try to address the issue in terms of who pays who and what motivation drives who has already lost the discussion. “

        Generally I agree. If person A says “X” and then someone else says “That guy is paid by B!” it does little to refute “X”. If “X” is already understood to be not just mistaken but really outrageously incorrect (e.g. the greenhouse effect is impossible) then the source funding might help understand the persistence of claim “X” but doesn’t refute it directly.

        “You claim to be pointing out that the skeptics do this all the time, despite doing it yourself in the very next breath.”

        No, I’m not refuting anything on the basis of who funds what. I’m pointing out the publicity of opinion by energy companies is a real thing which actually happens. The global conspiracy of scientists and governments is not a real thing which actually happens. These claims are very different both in terms of their scale and their relationship with reality so it’s disingenuous to say “both sides do it”

        “Discuss the science, the issue and the uncertainties- stay away from the character assasinations.”

        Again I very much agree but debates have a tendency to evolve and become confused. Consider the way people try to refute published science on the basis of a fairly imaginary connection to Al Gore or George Soros and the way people try to find a funding link for Steve McIntyre and others.

        “THAT doens’t mean he’s wrong, just as the trappings of fame and fortune don’t make the cAGW theory wrong.”

        Absolutely. It’s necessary to show he’s wrong AND (possibly) explain his behaviour via funding by special interests.

        “You are doing nothing here (in this instance) but character assasination and are adding nothing to the debate”

        I’m not assassinating anyone’s character and I’m not sure you’re listening to what I’m saying. I’m talking about the general properties of AGW proponents and skeptics with regard to conspiracy theories. Some here have suggested “both sides do it” and that both sides are just as bad as each other. I don’t believe this is a correct assessment.

      • In that case i was perhaps too harsh in my response, for which i apologise.

        However, do not be too quick to discount the evidence of group think and the allures of fame and fortune (so to speak).

        The only thing i’d change in your approch is the need to ‘understand’ the motives. Once a theories or idea is debunked i’d just stop there and move on- otherwise you risk getting dragged into a he-said, she-said debate.

      • “However, do not be too quick to discount the evidence of group think and the allures of fame and fortune (so to speak).”

        Group think and allures of fame are a different thing again but are also far more dangerous than actual fraud because people can subscribe to group think without realising it. People can also become allured by fame or even their own heroic efforts to save the world (from doom or fraud) also without realising it.

        “The only thing i’d change in your approch is the need to ‘understand’ the motives. Once a theories or idea is debunked i’d just stop there and move on- otherwise you risk getting dragged into a he-said, she-said debate.”

        It depends what’s being understood. Motives are not relevant to understanding the science but they are relevant to understanding how the debate manifests itself. Unfortunately people tend to mix everything together and get it all confused (see for example Latimer’s response below to my post about the differences between the actual scientific work, the media and people concerned purely with the debate surrounding it) so they apply arguments from area to arguments from another (“your paper is invalid because it was paid for by Al Gore/Exxon”)

      • i think my point still stands- just as ‘we’ should discount any ‘argument’ that revolves around ad hom/character assasination- so should ‘you’.

        To take your al-gore example- it again doesn’t matter a jot if he paid for it- it’s the content that matters.

        Incidentally, i also see group think as far more dangerous than a ‘paid’ ideal.

      • “i think my point still stands- just as ‘we’ should discount any ‘argument’ that revolves around ad hom/character assasination- so should ‘you’.”

        My point is that it depends on what someone is talking about. I don’t think the funding history of someone like Fred Singer should be off limits. It doesn’t mean what he’s saying is wrong but the fact that he has a long history of funding links to special interests in debates he participates in is certainly relevant.

        I don’t consider Al Gore particularly relevant (I’ve never even watched his documentary) but his status as a non-scientist and his financial interests are also relevant when evaluating what he says.

        A published paper merits more serious interest and a proper critique of the content. There are also blogs (e.g. climateaudit) where people would do a lot better to focus on the content than the person.

      • i think we’re probably talking at cross purposes here.

        We largely agree- so let’s just leave it at that.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sharper00 accuses me of ‘being all confused’ about something.

        Let me affirm that I was not at all confused but felt it was time to prick his pompous pronouncements on just how hard climatologists work, and what tough lives they had…as if that somehow gave them a special dispensation from doing the job properly – and their arguments being subject to scrutiny.

        That I chose good old-fashioned sarcasm to do so is just a consequence of my being a Brit. The problem (if indeed there is one at all…which is seeming increasingly doubtful as the pitiful lack of reliable evidence becomes more apparent) is agreed to be a global one, so has to be solved in a way that is acceptable to people of all cultural norms….not just those of Main Street USA – delightful place though that is in many ways.

      • “Let me affirm that I was not at all confused “

        This is the root of the problem. I wrote the words you’re referring to and I’m telling you interpretation of them are not correct. Rather than re-examine what’s being said you prefer to simply reiterate your incorrect interpretation and continue as if your chosen one is a better match to what I was thinking than what I say I was thinking.

        Dialogue in such an environment is impossible. You’re picking what you’d like to be responding to instead of what you are responding to.

      • Latimer Alder

        I can only read the words that are written. I cannot see inside the head of the person who wrote them. If those words are ambiguous or do not faithfully reflect what the writer meant, the fault lies with the writer, not the reader.

      • sharper00 –

        Your whole argument seems directed at establishing a preeminence of victimhood. I think you’re wrong, but in the end it truly doesn’t matter – getting away from such a mentality is what is needed to further the debate. As long as vocal elements on both sides keep focusing on why they feel they have been wronged the science will continue to suffer, at least in the public eye. I don’t care which side is/was worse, I just want them both to stop.

        So guess I’m with Labmunkey on this – we seem to be talking at cross purposes on this. Let’s leave it at that.

      • Even though media publications aren’t peer reviewed, they frequently quote scientists of various stripes. Maybe the scientists should stop talking to the media.

      • That’s not realistic Jim, they just go to the closest thing they can find to a scientist.

        The real irony here is you’re asking scientists to conspire together and act collectively towards a particular goal, something they’re often accused of but are as incapable of doing as any other large group of people.

      • Well, you can’t have it both ways. There is a long list of things, usually bad, that in many cases real scientists, not always climate scientists but does include them also, have conveyed to the media. Scientists have to own what they say to the press whether it’s peer reviewed or not. If the media get it wrong, scientists are responsible for speaking out against it. Do scientists not have any responsibility here?

      • “Do scientists not have any responsibility here?”

        There are at least two issues here.

        Firstly you want scientists to assume collective responsibility for everything any scientist (or ultimately anyone presented to you as a “scientist” in the media) says.

        Secondly you want this to be a binary state where either scientists have “no responsibility” or are completely responsible for everything you happened to pick up from reading an article and are then also responsible for making sure your perception is created.

        Speaking of responsibility, where is yours? When you read things in a newspaper you’re responsible for forming a sensible judgement about it. When you see something on cable news about how the latest disease X is going to kill us all you’re responsible for knowing the medium you’re using is sensationalist. When a magazine says something like “Some scientists say vaccines are safe but other people say they’re not, nobody really knows” you’re responsible for knowing journalists haven’t a clue as to how to balance that option.

        For the most part scientists are careful about what to say to the media but they’re scientists not media experts. People in the blogosphere and elsewhere tend to get so caught up in the debate around issues they forget scientists are the people spending 8+ hours in a lab or months up in the Arctic figuring out how things actually work. Scientists are expected to simultaneously be as much a part of the media debate as media experts while at the same time equal credibility is lent to those who do no actual work on the figuring out part.

      • Latimer Alder

        Cease the violins please, there is a pool of tears beneath my desk and thanks to the unseasonable cooling that AGW has brought to UK, it is about to freeze.

        I am crying so much as I think of the Climategate cast, tireless seekers after objective truth that they so obviously are, huddled around their radiators in their centrally heated laboratories in Norfolk and Pennsylvanai and elsewhere. Lit only by the light of a guttering 100w light bulb or several and nourished only by the electrically powered coffee machine and the staff restaurant hot cooked meals.

        What privations they endure in the name of their craft! And what gratitude do the lumpen proletariat give for their efforts?

        Pull the other one, matey, its got bells on. The last bunch of jerks who went to the Arctic had to be rescued because of incompetence.

        In your next uplifting homily, you might like to try ‘Will nobody think of the children?’ That usually gets a round of applause on Jerry Springer and other dumbed down TV shows.

      • Latimer I’ll generously assume you replied to the wrong post because what you just wrote bears no relationship to my comments.

      • Latimer Alder

        Fine. I’ll just generously assume your last paragraph slipped in there by accident then. And we’ll both be happy.

      • My last paragraph is in reference to the fact that you’re expecting scientists to be experts in their field, to advance the state of knowledge in that field and to out-media the media experts. This is an entirely unrealistic and unreasonable expectation particularly since the skillset for competency in both spheres is only rarely found in one individual and of course scientists would be roundly criticised if they were involved in a media campaign anyway.

        Tails you win, heads they lose.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘they forget scientists are the people spending 8+ hours in a lab or months up in the Arctic figuring out how things actually work’

        your own words…..

        And 8+ hours in a lab doesn’t sound too onerous to me. Nor to many ‘non-scientists’ like ambulancemen, doctors, policemen, lorry drivers , nurses and a host of other people. Even I have been known to do 16 hour shifts – and I am no spring chicken any more.

      • “For the most part scientists are careful about what to say to the media but they’re scientists not media experts.”

        Really?! I guess that must be why we’ve seen the likes of Michael Mann making outlandish claims in Washington Post OpEds. Or Canada’s “best-known climate scientist” and IPCC lead author declaring that AR4 would reveal climate change to be “a barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles.”

        http://hro001.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/andrew-weavers-intergalactic-ballistic-boomerang/

        Perhaps it’s time to remove your green-tinted glasses, sharperoo.

      • Hilary, just out of curiosity: what do you think “for the most part” means?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Enough with the “Press Releases” every time an alarmist publishes a paper. That would help a lot!

  5. The Basic Problem Is This:.

    [I am not a climatologist. That is not an impediment to understanding the disgrace to science of data manipulation in the Climategate scandal*.]

    Skeptics have fallen into useless arguments about relatively unimportant climate drivers identified by government scientists working for Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC. The debate has become like children arguing about the fate of a twig in a rapidly flowing stream of water.

    Trying to predict weather or long-term climate change is like trying to predict the eventual position of such a twig in a rapidly moving stream.

    Imagine a group of government scientists and world leaders saying that they can accurately predict the eventual position of a twig in a fast flowing stream without regard to the rate of water output from the spring upstream or the direction of water flow! Absurd? Yes, indeed.

    That is like the government scientist who claimed to have complicated computer models that can predict the eventual position of the twig by the influence of each eddy current, whirlpool and surge acting on the twig.

    The zig-zag path of the twig is irregular, changing directions with each surge or eddy current encountered as it twirls downstream. But the eventual fate of the twig depends far more on the direction of the stream’s flow than on detailed information about each whirlpool, eddy current and surge – even if those could be estimated by computer models.

    Climate skeptics found errors in “consensus” government estimates of each force, but the more important error is the failure of government-funded “consensus” climatologists to consider the overall direction of stream flow!

    It has long been known that the heat source “upstream” that drives the climate of planet Earth – the Sun – is a variable star. However, Nobel Laureate William A. Fowler identified two serious problems [1] in our understanding of the Sun in 1988 that had to be solved [2, 3] before we could finally see which variations in Earth’s climate might be caused by our variable Sun [4-12].

    The two problems that Professor Fowler identified in 1988:

    “Indeed there are details to be attended to, but they are overshadowed by serious difficulties in the most basic concepts of nuclear astrophysics. On square one, the solar neutrino puzzle is still with us (chapt. 10), indicating that we do not even understand how our own star really works. On square two we still cannot show in the laboratory and in theoretical calculations why the ratio of oxygen to carbon in the sun and similar stars is close to two-to-one (see chapt. 7). We humans are mostly (90%) oxygen and carbon. We understand in a general way the chemistry and biology involved, but we certainly do not understand the nuclear astrophysics which produced the oxygen and carbon in our bodies.”

    The two puzzles were solved with nuclear rest mass data that show neutron repulsion generates most of the Sun’s energy [2] and with neutron-capture cross sections that show O/C ~10 inside the Sun, as expected from laboratory and theoretical calculations, and O/C ~ 2 at the top of the Sun ‘s atmosphere as expected from solar mass fractionation [3].

    Only after the dense, highly compact nuclear core had been identified inside the layered Sun did it become possible to understand why cyclic changes in solar inertial motion (SIM) are the primary driver of climate change [4-12].

    Orbital motion of planets cause the Sun to be jerked, like a yo–yo on a string, about the constantly changing centre-of-mass (barycentre) of the solar system [12].

    Thus, differing planetary masses and distances from the center-of-mass of the solar system (the barycenter) cause the barycenter to change position relative to the compact center of the Sun; just as differences in the masses and positions of wet laundry from the center of a spinning washing machine, cause it to be ‘out-of-balance’ by differing amounts [4-12].

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    References:

    1. W. A. Fowler, “We do not even understand how our own star really works”, in Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics by Claus E. Rolf and William S. Rodney (David N. Schramm, series editor, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA, 1988) pp. xi-xii. http://www.omatumr.com/Fowler1988/CaldronsCosmos.pdf

    2. O. Manuel, E. Miller, and A. Katragada, “Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source”, Journal of Fusion Energy 20 (2003) 197-201.

    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2003/jfe-neutronrep.pdf

    3. O. Manuel, W. A. Myers, Y. Singh and M. Pleess, “The oxygen to carbon ratio in the solar interior”, Journal of Fusion Energy 23 (2005) 55-62.

    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2005/Oxygen_to_Carbon_Ratio.pdf

    4. J. D. Jose, “Sun’s motion and sunspots”, Astron. J. 70 (1965) 193-200.

    5. R. W. Fairbridge and J. H. Shirley, “Prolonged minima and the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion,” Solar Physics 110 (1987) 191-220.

    6. O .K. Manuel, B. W. Ninham, and S. E. Friberg, “Superfluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate,” Journal of Fusion Energy 21 (2002) 193-198.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0501441

    7. Theodor Landscheidt, ”New Little Ice Age instead of Global Warming”, Energy & Environment 114 (2003) 327-350.

    8. S. Yousef, “80-120 yr long-term solar induced effects on the Earth: Past and predictions,” Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 31 (2006) 113-122.

    9. J. Shirley, “Axial rotation, orbital revolution and solar spin-orbit coupling,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 368 (2006) 280-282.

    10. W. J. R. Alexander, F. Bailey, D. B. Bredenkamp, A. vander Merwe, and N. Willemse, “Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development,” J. South African Institut. Civil Eng. 49 (2007) 32-44.

    11. Richard Mackey, “Rhodes Fairbridge and the idea that the solar system regulates the Earth’s climate,” Journal of Coastal Research SI 50 (2007, Proceedings of the Ninth International Coastal Symposium, Gold Coast, Australia) 955-968.

    http://www.griffith.edu.au/conference/ics2007/pdf/ICS176.pdf

    12. O. K. Manuel, “Earth’s heat source – the Sun”, Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

    *With a PhD in nuclear chemistry, postdoctoral studies in space physics, and well over 100 peer-reviewed articles published in highly regarded research journals and conference proceedings, Oliver’s research involved measurements of variations in the abundances of stable isotopes in meteorites, the Moon, the Sun, the Earth and other planets with the equipment shown here:

    http://www.omatumr.com/Data/MassSpec.htm

    • Oliver – You behin by saying “Skeptics have fallen into useless arguments about relatively unimportant climate drivers identified by government scientists working for Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC. ”

      I stopped reading at this point.

      How many climate scientists does Al Gore employ (or the UN’s IPCC for that matter)?

      By somehow implying that it’s ‘all a conspiracy’ you taint the rest of your post so that it is less likely that your view will be taken seriously.

      • ‘working for’ does not necessarily imply ‘employed by’.

        A whole lot of ‘climate scientists’ ‘work for’ the IPCC.

        The pity is that nobody from other fields does.

      • Let’s see, if I was reading a medical report, I’d expect a plumber’s view of how the fluid in the body was regulated too.

        If all you have is cheap digs, I’m not interested.

      • But if you are reading a report written by doctors claiming to have authority about how houses should be built and wired and plumbed, you would.
        Climate science is claiming that not only does CO2 run the climate, but that they know the effects inthe environment, agriculture, civil engineering, and the economy of CO2 and alos have the cure for CO2.

      • No – of course not. Don’t be silly.

        But if I am doing a bit of climatology that is primarily statistics and where the data just happens to be temperature data, then I’d expect to get some professional statistical advice…not to make up my own statistical processes. And hide them from scrutiny.

        If I was writing some data analysis programs for the ‘most critical data in the history of the world’, I’d expect to go and get some professional IT advice from an established world-class institution. I wouldn’t rely on a self-taught programmer working at weekends to do it.

        If I had to look after oodles and oodles of raw data with an idea of ever knowing what I’d got and how to look after it in a systematic way, I might go to an institution that has done such a thing before and use their best practice. CERN might have been a good start where thousands of different experiments are done generating lots and lots of different data. Or any of the radio telescope institutions. Or NASA. Or Google. Or almost anything other than locking it away in a cupboard and losing it in an office move.

        In all of these areas climatology as a field has exactly the same requirements as many others. And the problems they face have often been solved many tomes before. That they choose to be so insular as to remain in their own little world of insularity from best practice is their own fault. And that is why the IPCC process being restricted to climatologists only is a Very Bad Idea.

      • Louise,
        It’s not enough to prove a conspiracy, but the relationship between George Soros, Maurice Strong and Al Gore is pretty darn close and there’s a lot of influence and power in just those three.

      • Djozar – and all of those other independant scientists from places like Malasia or Denmark just went along with the whole scam so they could keep their cushy jobs?

        I’m sorry to be blunt about this, as soon as someone starts to claim that there is an international conspiracy involving thousands of individuals, I tune them out.

      • Group think makes for strange bedfellows.

      • Ooops.
        And, of course there is the warmist version of this, where ‘big oil’ has managed to fund wicked denialists into blocking the heroic efforts of good holy cliamte scientists and mislead the public.

      • “…as soon as someone starts to claim that there is an international conspiracy involving thousands of individuals, I tune them out.”

        I couldn’t agree more, having always followed the creed: ‘never ascribe to conspiracy what can more easily be laid at the feet of human folly, arrogance and greed’. The notion that scientists all over the world are involved in some great hoax handily fails that test.

        Of course, this applies to both sides in this fight. Mann’s shrill cries of ‘big oil’ at anyone that has the temerity to question his methodology is (imho) far more likely to be related to an innate dislike of having his brilliance challenged than to really be the result of some great ‘big oil’ monolith.

      • I’m with you 100% on this. the sooner people dump the conspiracy lark, the better.

      • C.M. Carmichael

        Last week the IPCC admitted that climate policy is not about the enviorment, but redistribution of wealth. They have conspired to do one thing under the guise of another. Not really a conspiracy theory anymore more like conspiracy policy.

      • No, one individual with the IPCC said that in an interview, as his personal views.

        Is he trying to hijack the IPCC to further his own views? Probably, but to say that the entire IPCC is involved in a ‘conspiracy policy’ is ludicrous. I suspect that many other members of the IPCC will reject his thinking.

        In that direction lies the crime of ‘guilt by association’ – a road none of us should ever want to travel. I recall that not very long ago a poster dismissed Ross McKittrick because he had published with a creationist. I categorically reject both arguments.

      • C.M. Carmichael

        His personal views as an economist, while serving the IPCC are public policy fodder.

      • His views are certainly grounds for scrutinizing his input (if possible), but they aren’t grounds for condemning the entire IPCC. At least not without a lot more evidence.

        I also don’t like the direction the IPCC seems to be going, but I think of it as a natural extension of being a governmental body, not a result of conspiracy. Think folly, not ill-will.

      • And yet and yet, the organisational structures that Climatology works within would be an ideal breeding ground for very tight thinking and Groupthink. Here’s some observations – happy to be shown that they are wrong.

        1. A collective view that they are being conspired against by Big Oil, creationists, sceptics, deniers and other sundry bogeymen.

        2. A tightly controlled process for admittance into the Club…peer-review by the leaders of climatology, control of the leading journals and then admission into the IPCC process.

        3. Strong sanction and social ostracism for dissenters. One has only to look at the treatment of Judith since she chose to engage with sceptics to illustrate.

        4. Paranoia about any hint of outside scrutiny of their work.

        etc etc.

        I think I agree with you about there being no overt conspiracy, but the conditions for insularity and conformity to ‘tribal’ norms are there in spades.

        Sceptics, however are far too diverse in view and geography – and by natural inclination – to mount a conspiracy. Nobody tells me what to do or think, and I imagine that is true of most of us posting here.

      • Exactly.
        People help their friends. And climate science is very much run by friends.

      • “…the conditions for insularity and conformity to ‘tribal’ norms are there in spades.”

        Absolutely, and for the reasons you gave above. However, I think that all four points fall under the heading ‘human folly, arrogance and greed’ far more likely than that they fall under the heading of conspiracy. I’ve long since learned to rely on Ockham’s Razor to explain human actions.

        As for the sceptics, you are entirely right that their very diversity on everything else makes it far less likely to be able to carry off a conspiracy.

        In general, I just wish that all sides of this fight would can both the broad accusations of wrongdoing as well as eschew the use of guilt by association. I’m personally learning a whole lot more on the threads uncontaminated by such.

      • I think we agree.

        BTW – I am located about 4 miles from Ockham, where he of the Razor came from. Just a little historical fact to brighten your day.

      • I agree with Latimer because that is what he told me to say at the Sceptic Central Conspiracy Sub-commitee meeting held in Ockam last night.

        did I get that right Latimer?

      • Does it pay as well as Big Oil? Maybe I should join…

      • Garyboy – You done good!

        Please bring clean socks to the next gathering since it will be time to induct you into the sixth inner circle of the Lodge of Sceptic Conspirators and it’ll be trouser leg rolling time. Your normal bib and ceremonial pruning shears are, of course, essential. Ritual chanting permitted. Payment by the usual ‘shadowy’ means. Be there to be on the square!

      • Your Grand Brotherliness is too kind.

      • No, they went along because they were given a problem which became a cause. I believe the intent of most scientists work towards the good of humanity, the quest for knowledge and/or personal acknowledgement of their work. But the whole communication and marketing process corrupts their work.
        As an example if I start working on focusing mirrors to produce solar energy, I might not be able to see problems of miror manufacture, impurities in the material, time of day, heat dissipation etc. My goals would be “noble”, but my focus would be narrow. I would be producing reams of information on solar flux, heat transfer and it probably would be correct as far as the heuristic physics go.
        If I then have backers, political or financial, they may start to market my product before it’s complete. They might produce exaggerated claims of it’s effectives, life and life cycle cost. Interested but uneducated groups may notice that there is no “burining” and conclude that it’s good. We then have the scientist working on a pure mathematical level, promoters working on a political level and proponents working on an emotional level.
        Once problems are noted, the promoters and proponents react with inadequate communication with the scientist, and the scientist ends up not only having to defend his work, but try to explain that the shortcomings and possible errors are inherent in the basic research.
        I remain a sceptic, but I agree with many of the basic principles that the SCIENTISTs have produced. But listening to Cameron, Gore, et. al. I can’t take the AGW program as a whole as beneficial.
        I

      • Latimer Alder

        Well up to a point Lord Copper.

        But you can’t discount the significant number of scientists who are at least complicit in the communication and marketing you show to be ‘corrupting’ of their ideals. There may be some shy retiring peeps behind the scenes, but there are plenty happy to bask in the glow that the spotlight bestows.

      • Louise –

        “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

        Herbert Spencer

    • Dr. Manuel,
      With all due respect, your obsessive behavior is pretty creepy.

      • Or to put it another way Hunter, with all due respect..

        “Dr Manuel, your PASSIONATE behaviour is an inspiration.”

    • Say, I remember you. Aren’t you the guy that thinks the sun is a big ball of iron? Given its radius it must weigh a heck of a lot more than we thought it did. (“Weigh” in the sense of “mass” of course.) What do you reckon it weighs, and does that gibe with the 93 million mile radius of Earth’s orbit and its 365 day year?

  6. C.M. Carmichael

    I don’t want to stunt this thread on models, and their validity, but would like to hear thoughts about ” error’s”. I am not a statistician, but I understand the concept of errors in data collection, transcription errors etc. They are typically expressed in terms of plus or minus some percentage or units. You therefore expect errors to go both ways. It seems climate science is exempt from this trend, it appears whenever we discover an error in their data or predictions from data, the errors are always in the same direction. They always point to calamity. When climate science’s errors always point in the same direction, they are not errors, and perhaps it is not a science.

    • C.M.Carmichael – what errors are you thinking of when you say climate science’s errors always point in the same direction? A few examples would help.

      • CM will correct me if I’m wrong but I think (s)he means “error bars” or “margins of error”

      • No, he means that when distortions are uncovered, and falsifications exposed, and data abuse revealed, they have always been such as to further the meme of Anthropogenic Global Warming. For some reason, none of the “scientists” seem to make errors that would undermine that hypothesis.

        Which means they’re not actually “errors”.

  7. Data ‘adjustments’ are always done to apparently reduce the historic temperatures and boost more ecent ones. Giving the impression of greater ‘warming than has been recorded in the base data.. You can see this explicitly happening in Harry_Read_Me. The entire New Zealand temperature record has been so ‘adjusted’ by a warmist and it (and he) is now totally discredited.

  8. C.M. Carmichael

    Would data adjustment cover misquoting a pamphelet based on a magazine, where 2350 was replaced with 2035?

    • No – typos are not data errors

      • In the most important peer-reviewed scrutinised ever document setting the Gold Standard for science? That took five years in gestation? That made a typo likely to affect about a quarter of the world’s population? That was based on a non peer-reviewed New Scientist article?

        And would that cover the guy who pointed it out as being condemned as ‘practicing voodoo science’ by the Chairman of IPCC himself?

        H’mmmm. I like gullible people. Perhaps I can interest them in these Enron shares. Newly printed today! Very reasonable price.

      • There is a very interesting write up on how that mistake came into being. It’s titled “By the way, there will still be glaciers in the Himalayas in 2035″. I don’t think refering to it as a simple typo gives it justice.

      • Hi Steven

        Where could I find that piece please?

      • There is a link to the article under the wiki entry of John Neilsen-Gammon.

      • Tx.

      • A typo that was pointed out long before publication that was uncorrected? That made an absolutely ludicrous projection? That Pachauri defended loudly before the rug got pulled out from under him?

        You ask for way too much credulity. Or rather, you demand it. Buzz off.

  9. C.M. Carmichael

    Al Gore didn’t understate sea level change when he flooded New York, Mann’s errors all pointed to a colder yesterday, Hansen’s errors in prediction….I don’t know where to start! Urban heat effect, ground stations were never found where temperatures were likely to be lower than surrounding, always near heat source. No I am not referring to Al Gore as a scientist, but the group that shared the stage in Oslo were supposed to be.

  10. C.M. Carmichael

    My point is, when the direction is consistent, referring to them as error’s is an error.

  11. C.M. Carmichael

    As for typo errors, in university we learned that a finished document has no typos, if it does it is not finished.

  12. C.M. Carmichael

    In climate science, peer review could easily be replaced by spell-check. If they cannot catch typos in the title line, what is the point?

  13. REMINDER: Does not the following ALONE make one skeptical of their claim?

    1) Discussing to manipulate data:
    ‘It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. ‘

    http://bit.ly/9fSTsA

    2) Refusing to give data:
    “I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!”

    http://bit.ly/bn5Js8

    3) Instruction to delete data:
    “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise.”

    http://bit.ly/c2pR1p

    4) Skeptical in private:
    “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”

    http://bit.ly/ajuqdN

    5) Questioning IPCC process in private:
    “…the fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results”

    http://bit.ly/afSp5h

    6) Discussing to interfere in the peer-review process:
    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !”

    http://bit.ly/9Tp7jx

    • Spot On. And plenty more where that came from.

      I predict that one of our contributors will now try to claim the moral high ground and say ‘I do not read other people’s private mail. Especially when it was stolen’.

      Thereby missing the point Bigtime.

    • C.M. Carmichael

      Maybe they are confused, if they labeled their work fiction they could skip peer review instead of redefining it.

  14. Woohoo!!! A chance to blather on endlessly.

    It seems everyone is concerned about coal. Dirty, filthy, cheap coal that provides many of us power for wonderful things like lights, heat and hot water.

    Without coal man made climate change would be a discussion that only obscure academics would have.
    First the good news.
    There is so much coal in the ground humanity couldn’t burn it in a thousand years if it tried.
    Now the bad news.
    The really big piles of easily extractable coal left in the world are located a long,long way from the vast majority of the people who want things like lights , heat and hot water.
    Transporting coal is expensive because a ton of coal literally weighs a ton.

    Coal that can be mined in Wyoming at a cost of 70 cents/Million Btu’s ends up costing $4/Million Btu’s by the time it reaches people in New Jersey who prefer not to sit in the dark. It costs more then $5/million Btu’s by the time it reaches folks in China that would like to have a hot cup of tea.

    In economics there is a concept of that the boundary condition for price on a product is the cost of a substitute good. (I don’t think the folks at the IPCC who worked out emission projections are aware of this)

    In China, a brand new state of the art Westinghouse AP1000 1 GW nuclear reactor costs $1.9 billion to build. To fuel a 1 GW coal fired electricity plant for a year costs in excess of $300 million per year and of course there is a cost to build the coal fired plant. Coal for electricity generation in China has crossed the economic boundary condition threshold. A 7 year payback period in fuel cost savings is a no-brainer.

    On might then ask why the Chinese aren’t switching to nuclear since it’s cheaper. The answer is they are. At the current time there are industrial limitations as well as limitations to properly trained nuclear construction personnel and operators. One does not create an experienced nuclear plant manager overnight. It takes years. Doubling the number of trained personnel every 5 years would be pretty close to ‘as fast as humanly possible’.
    The Chinese plan on getting to at least 70 GW of nuclear power by 2020. Which means adding 20GW to their existing 10 by 2015. Then adding 40GW in the 2015 to 2020 time frame.
    Unfortunately the Chinese need 1,600 GW of electric generating capacity if all there citizens are going to be able to enjoy a things like lights and a hot cup of tea. With a 5 year doubling of nuclear build rate it will be somewhere around the 2025 time frame before the Chinese can even consider phasing out using expensive coal.

    In any case, those linear emission projections beyond 2025 are highly questionable. The Chinese aren’t burning coal because they like it or it’s cheap, they are burning coal because it’s going to take at least 10 years and more likely 15 years to scale their nuclear power industry up to size.

    In the US the math is a bit more complicated. That same Westinghouse AP1000 1GW nuclear reactor that can be built in China for less then $2 billion costs more then $6 billion in the US. A 20 year payback period in fuel savings isn’t all that financially interesting.

    In order for it to be interesting one would have to ‘need’ another electric generating facility and be located a long way from Wyoming. In the US a new 1 GW ‘clean coal’ without carbon capture electricity plant costs about $4 billion to build. Justifying an extra $2-$3 billion for a nuclear plant can be done given the costs for coal on much the Eastern Seaboard with an 8-12 year payback in fuel cost savings.
    Another problem is justifying a ‘need’ for a new 1GW plant at all. In the US we have 450 GW of natural gas generating capacity that is idle the majority of the time. Improved ‘demand management’ and various conservation measures negates the need to build anything in much of the US.

    • Instead of “blathering on endlessly” while the world economy collapses,

      And the “consensus science global warming” reluctantly yields to cold reality,

      You may want to take time to actually study the experimental data that reveals:

      1.) The origin of every atom in your body, and
      2.) The energy source that powers the Sun and sustains your life.

      a.) Origin of the Solar System:

      b.) Chemical composition of the Sun:

      c.) The energy source that sustains your life:

      d.) And finally, the “Earth’s heat source – the Sun”:

      http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      • Dr. Manuel,
        Please see my note above about how creepy it is when you simply act out on your obsessions.
        Certainly someone of your talent and accomplishment can do more than to fall into the rut you have put yourself in?

    • Interesting blather.

      Still, for the ‘D-student’ in the room (me) could you point to the answer to a question: why are cost for nuclear plants three times higher in the US than China? I can see (much) lower labour costs and probably large savings on environmental studies and remediation, but can that really triple the cost? What else is at work? More importantly, how much could the costs in the US be lowered by a government committed to nuclear power, not opposed to it?

      • It’s not an accurate cost comparison, you can in fact build a new nuclear power reactor in the US for little more than you can in China. The comparison made is between the cost of a complete nuclear power plant (cooling towers, storage ponds, switching station and so on) in the US with the cost of merely constructing the reactor in China. The US power plant will be more expensive than the Chinese one, but the true cost differential is not that high, and if the plants were built to the same standards the costs would be comparable (the US would be higher but not by a factor of 3, more like the 120% to 150% range).

      • Okay, I see the difference you are pointing out. Thanks, that makes sense now.

      • Areva SA puts the cost comparisons between Europe and China for apples to apples at 40% less in China.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-24/china-builds-french-designed-nuclear-reactor-for-40-less-areva-ceo-says.html

        $6billion – 40% = $3.6 billion
        $3.6 billion – $800 million for loan guarantees = $2.4 billion.

        The contingency fund for Plant Vogle isaround $400 million.

      • “why are cost for nuclear plants three times higher in the US than China?”

        US Labor costs add about $1 billion to the cost of a nuclear power plant.

        NRC approval isn’t free. The NRC charges $250/hour for every man hour expended on a license application. $500 million wouldn’t be an unreasonable estimate of the cost for NRC approval if one includes the cost of the Westinghouse engineers spending time answering NRC questions. The Chinese just accept the fact Westinghouse AP1000 had NRC approval prior to the 2009 Aircraft Impact Standard.

        Loan guarantee’s aren’t free. Constellation energy was offered loan guarantee’s for it’s nuclear project by DOE for the ‘small fee’ of $880 million. Not sure what plant Vogtle paid but I would be surprised if it was much different.

        Then there is the 2009 US aircraft impact safety standard. Instead of the standard being that the nuclear core has to survive an aircraft impact completely intact, the containment building has to be able to survive an aircraft impact intact, which requires building a containment building for the containment building.

        Then of course in the US one would be foolish not to budget for delays and legal fees due to the inevitable court challenges.

      • So the US (or in my case, Canadian) government could bring down the cost by a substantial amount if they would commit to nuclear as a policy. Too bad the cost is artificially high – it seems to me to be a much better approach than the current wind/solar/whatever approach. A successful case of scaremongering by the greens…helping to narrow the solution options for the current scare. What irony….

      • Then there is the 2009 US aircraft impact safety standard. Instead of the standard being that the nuclear core has to survive an aircraft impact completely intact, the containment building has to be able to survive an aircraft impact intact, which requires building a containment building for the containment building.

        Presumably that’s to guard against two planes one hitting the containment building and the second hitting the core.

        This would seem to add 50% to the cost of the attack, by requiring a third plane.

        To protect against n planes would presumably require n nested containment buildings.

        One imagines they’ve based the number of containment buildings on the likely number of planes a terrorist force could afford.

        Nuclear fusion power stations don’t have that problem because they aren’t based on a chain reaction process that requires neutron-absorbing rods to moderate it. Damaging a fission reactor runs the risk of a runaway chain reaction if the damage prevents the rods from being inserted.

      • Latimer Alder

        Does anybody apart from me think that even a half-witted terrorist would plan a plane strike on the older sort of reactor without the extra layer of protection? Or is that just too simplistic?

        Sorry if I’ve given Osama an idea………

      • The control surfaces on aircraft become pretty ‘mushy’ once you get into ‘ground effect’, which is roughly a distance off the ground equal to the length of the wing. The cooling towers would be a reasonable target to hit. The height of a containment building is below the height of ground effect.
        How close does a commercial airline pilot come to hitting the landing stripes at the airport? 100 yards on a good day?

        If a commercial airplane pilot can’t reliably get within 100 yards of the the landing stripes at an airport that he/she lands at on an almost daily basis the odds of a terrorist hitting a nuclear containment building on his ‘first try’ are pretty slim.

      • You ask a very reasonable question that I have also asked of people involved in building nuclear plants. A high percentage of the costs in the United States of building a nuclear plant is associated with the bureaucratic/administrative approval process that lengthens the design approval and building process.

        As a really simple explanation, say a company has 10 workers. When the project gets slowed by a month due to some bureaucratic delay, those workers still have to get paid.

        I was told the cost in to build in the US could be reduced by 50% if we were to adopt “standard approved designs” and approved building of several plants at multiple locations.

    • harrywr2,
      Your last point is most interesting.
      Until we get realistic about sources and costs of electricity, we are not going to get very far.
      I think we are barely in the wading pool of dealing with this. As long as we are stuck on mixing climate energy and climate, with climate(the least manageable and most poorly understood factor) taking the lead, we are not even really very serious.

    • This us an excellent review. I also noted with interest that although the review was written mainly in 2009, it included the recent report by Haigh et al documenting some degree of anticorrelation between TSI and solar irradiance at certain visible frequencies.

    • Thank you for the link.
      The graph on page 83 strikes me as very odd.
      Do you see anything problematic about its list of natural forcings?

    • Thanks, Professor Curry.

      I am pleased to see a renewed interest in Earth’s heat source – the Sun.

      The spring upstream determines the direction of stream flow and the eventual fate of the twig that it carries along – despite all of the eddy currents and whirlpools encountered on the journey.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

    • Sorry, Professor Curry, but a quick scan of the references reveal none to the discoveries that revealed:

      a.) The Sun’s formation (On a SN core).
      b.) The Sun’s composition (Mostly iron, Fe).
      c.) The Sun’s source of energy (Neutron repulsion).
      d.) The Sun’s control of climate change (Orbiting planetary-induced SIM).

      The paper appears to be an attempt by ~15 “consensus” scientists to deny the most damning criticism of the “consensus” dogma of anthropological global warming (AGW): Failure to consider Earth’s heat source – the Sun !

      For more details, see my note posted above at 12:48 pm today in response to harrywr2

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      • Does it really matter for climate concerns if the item providing an energy source that can be modeled as a 6700 Kelvin blackbody has an iron core and is a supernova remnant or is considered a main sequence star burning hydrogen?

      • Latimer Alder

        Nope. Fascinating stuff on a blog about solar astronomy and stuff, but irrelevant and frankly tedious after multiple repetitions here. I fear that Mr Manuel is an obsessive astrotroll in this context

    • An interesting paper. It rather pooh poohs the cosmic ray/cloud formation idea although it allows room for more research.

  15. Bishop Hill Blog (A J Montford author of – The Hockey Stick Illusion’ has replaced James Delingpole, as Campaign Against Climate Change’s number one blog to send their activists to play in the commenst section.

    http://www.realclimategate.org/2010/11/bishop-hill-targeted-sceptic-alerts/

    Bishop Hill:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/11/29/cacc-notices-bishop.html

    I wonder if their is an equivalent USA CAGW group doing the same thing here… It makes debate difficult, as they are effectively told to put in cut and paste responses to ‘sceptical agruments’

    http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384

    Shameless plug for my blog
    http://www.realclimategate.org

    I have taken up Judith’s good idea about drive by comments, much better to have your own blog..

    Early days (still learning wordpress), but is it too cheek to ask for a link in your blog roll? ;)

    • v. clever name for your new blog :) check back in a few weeks re adding this to my blogroll.

    • I read your blog Barry and I think it’s spot on. In mathematics theory trumps experiment, but in the natural sciences it’s always been the other way round.

      Designers of climate models seem to be operating in mathematics mode, secure in the belief that the reasoning carried out by their models is heir to the infallibility of mathematics.

      The fallacy is that this does not take into account the tremendous complexity of the planet. The models continue to improve as they cater for more and more of that complexity.

      What does not change is the unwavering belief of the modelers that the current state of their model at every stage in their development constitutes an adequate prediction engine.

      Well, ok, that’s a bit of a generalization, but you make the point on your blog that the UK meteorology office believes this, claiming “Computer models are the only reliable way to predict changes in climate.” That comes across to me as self-serving grandstanding. We are many years away from modeling software that can be trusted to make projections fifty years in the future.

      Instead we should be working on improving the methodology for extrapolating what we observe when we look around. This has two benefits: it is real, unlike climate models. And the mathematics is incredibly much simpler, so much one can do it by hand. Here, let me demonstrate. This is what I would call a knock-down argument, certainly relative to anything the Met Office can argue for their software, which would take years to vet whereas the following can be understood in minutes.

      Until 1930 the El Nino and Atlantic Multidecadal oscillations, along with the occasional dips due to the likes of Krakatoa and Mt. Pelee, dominated global temperature. After 1930 CO2 rose to a level where it now completely dwarfs these other effects.

      The transition at 1930 turned what was largely the AMO sinusoid into the law followed by CO2-induced warming, which curves up but unlike an exponential has bounded first derivative, in particular it approaches an asymptote representing a rise of 1 °C every 18 years or 0.55 °C per decade (but this is centuries into the future). This transition is clearly visible in the 10-year-averaged temperature record at Wood For Trees.

      The AMO has a plainly visible zero crossing at 1926, making this an ideal date to extrapolate CO2 warming from; doing so from a peak or trough of the AMO is obviously a bad idea. The AMO period is approximately 65 years which puts another zero crossing at 1991. Noticing that the HADCRUT3GL temperature record is bumpy we average the temperature anomalies for 1921-1931 and 1886-1996 as respectively -.269 °C and .156 °C, a rise of 0.42 °C. CO2 in 1926 was about 300, and in 1991 it can be read off the Keeling curve as 352.5, an increase of 352.5/300 = 1.175. 1/lb(1.175) = 4.3 which is the number of times we have to increase CO2 by 1.175 in order to double it. Multiplying that by the rise of 0.42 °C gives 1.81 °C per doubling.

      This quick back-of-the-envelope calculation is neither equilibrium climate sensitivity nor transient climate response as the IPCC understands those terms. Instead it is simply a naive projection of what we actually see going on under our noses. One could call it instantaneous observed climate response since it is based on observation and ignores delays.

      We can then forecast the temperature well into the future by using the Hofmann model of CO2 as 280 ppmv (the natural base) plus an exponential (anthropogenic CO2), which Hofmann gives as 280 + 2^((y-1790)/32.5) ppmv where y is the year. (Hofmann expressed exactly this function with a more complicated formula that I’ve simplified here.) By that formula CO2 will be 536 ppmv in 2050 and 1022 in 2100, increases of respectively 536/389 = 1.38 and 1022/389 = 2.63. Taking logs to the base 2 and multiplying by the above figure of 1.81 °C per doubling yields respective mid-century and end-century forecasts of 0.84 °C and 2.52 °C over today’s temperature.

      However I am nothing if not a skeptic, and Hofmann’s formula seems a tad aggressive to me, curving more sharply than the Keeling curve. I’ve found 260 + exp((y-1718.5)/60.0) to be a considerably better fit to the Keeling curve. That formula forecasts rises of only 0.71 °C and 2.00 °C for 2050 and 2100.

      So what’s new, you ask. Hadn’t the boffins already figured a 2 °C rise for 2100? Well, maybe, but did you check their math? I seriously doubt it.

      In contrast my math is self-contained. Absent any math anxiety you can check it yourself, it’s all there. I’ll be happy to field suggestions for changes yielding different predictions, e.g. you might happen to know where to find a more reliable estimate of CO2 in 1926.

      But whatever your suggestions they need to be grounded in the physics and the facts on the ground (and in the air).

      • note, the zero crossing for the AMO was 1995

      • Thanks, Judith. Are you ok with 1926 for the zero crossing one period earlier? If so, that and 1995 would make the AMO period 69 years, which is still within reason (but how do you know it’s 1995?)

        Given 1925 and 1995, let’s work out how a 1995 zero crossing changes things. The average HADCRUT3GL temperature for 1990-2000 was 0.244 °C and the Keeling curve shows 359 ppmv. So the temperature went up 0.244-(-0.269) = 0.513 °C while the CO2 went up by 359/300 = 1.197. That gives an instantaneous observed climate sensitivity of 0.513/lb(1.197) = 1.977 °C per doubling. That’s rather higher than when using 1991 as the zero crossing, which gave 1.81.

        That’s assuming no discarding of outliers. The 1998 temperature is a notorious outlier, as everyone keeps being reminded. When we discard that from the process used to get the average 1995 temperature it knocks 0.244 down to 0.214 for a rise of only 0.214-(-0.269) = 0.483 °C. We then get .483/lb(1.197) = 1.86 which is a bit closer to the 1.81 figure obtained with 1991 as the AMO zero crossing.

        One thing this points up is the sensitivity to fluctuations in the temperature, which are considerable, and hazardous when estimating this flavor of climate sensitivity from just two data points. (CO2 barely fluctuates at all as can bee seen from the Keeling curve.) My preference is to work with the whole 1,930 monthly datapoints using statistical methods: least squares, Gram-Schmidt, etc.

        Also the AMO is rising fastest at the zero crossing, namely at about 0.08 °C per decade, making this method sensitive to exact choice of zero crossing: advancing it four years should translate to a 0.03 °C increase due to AMO alone. CO2-induced warming is rising at about the same speed just then, adding a second 0.03 °C increase for a total of 0.06 °C. And in fact that’s what we observe provided we discard the 1998 outlier. If we leave in the outlier we record a rise of 0.09 °C, 50% larger! Just one year can make that much difference when it’s a crazy year like 1998.

      • Oops, “given 1925″ should have been “given 1926″ of course.

      • Here is how I have been doing it (see slides , the analysis is for hurricane activity, but its the same idea (the relevant plots are about 40% through the presentation, with AMO and PDO).

        Note, I use both AMO and PDO (the warm and cool phases of PDO tend to be an envelope for El Ninos and La Ninas, respectively). How you do the lowpass filtering on the time series makes a difference in terms of cross over year, but not so much in the length of the period, I think we did 11 year (month equiv) hamming filter on the monthly values.

        So I look at the average of the two yellow periods (1926 – 1946 ; 1995-2003) and the two green periods (1947-1964; 2003-2010). the lengths of the periods aren’t equal (that is just the way the indices go). By averaging the temperatures in the period, you get away from a single year like 1998 dominating it (you need to allow for some trend within each period, but i think that is pretty small).

        This is how I sort out was is natural internal variability vs forced. Subtract out the known permanent greenhouse gas forcing, then the residual is aerosols, solar.

        In terms of predicting forward, we can assume that we will stay in green for another decade or two (warm AMO, cool PDO), with a typical distribution of El Nino, La Nina and Modoki for the green period, and a trend from greenhouse gases.

        This is basically how i have done the projections for clients looking for 10-30 year projections. This kind of method is almost certainly better than the climate model projections out to say 2050 (the challenge is the change point in the regimes); after 2060, the climate models are probably better.

      • Judith, are you a double agent or something? How were you able to worm your way into the denier camp by endearing yourself to them while giving slides like these? In my (admittedly totally uneducated) opinion your slides are cutting edge research that’s right on the money.

        Your premise must be that deniers can’t tell the difference. This only becomes a problem when the allies can’t either. It’s like Margaretha Zelle working as a double agent for French counter-espionage and being executed by the French authorities for it because they mistook her for a German spy. Mon Dieu, mein Gott! Whatever was Gavin Schmidt thinking?

        That said, I respectfully disagree with your (?) estimate of 1995 as the AMO crossing. You’re running into the same problem everyone else is, namely the huge CO2 signal that’s masking the AMO signal. I think you’ll find that once the CO2 signal is properly accounted for you’ll see the AMO zero crossing much closer to 1991 than 1995. There’s no way to reconcile a 1995 crossing with the bigger picture.

      • I practice what may not be exactly ‘conventional science’ ; hardly understand either the AMO’s or PDO’s causes or consequences, but that is no obstacle and occasionally could be an advantage .
        Found that the AMO’s big daddy is the Arctic temperature movement characterised by a strange magnetic attraction. On the other hand the PDO owes its existence to a totally different parentage.
        Here is a reminder for AMO:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

        and for its big cousin PDO:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PDOc.htm

        Plotting data (what I do) is entertaining, but science requires much more than that.

      • I practice what may not be exactly ‘conventional science’ ; hardly understand either the AMO’s or PDO’s causes or consequences, but that is no obstacle and occasionally could be an advantage .

        Join the club, Milivoje. Or are we joining yours? ;)

        Found that the AMO’s big daddy is the Arctic temperature movement characterised by a strange magnetic attraction.

        Right, your extensive investigations on that were fascinating. So what do you think? Is there some big occlusion up there that’s temporarily blocking the north pole of the dynamo as it swings back and forth? What might it be made of?

        On the other hand the PDO owes its existence to a totally different parentage.

        If the PDO is merely a Brownian artifact of ENSO, the current consensus, then it’s hard to see how to work it into a model other than on a data-driven basis. The AMO seems to be higher Q as the EE’s would say, less damping whence more reasonable to view it as a sinusoid, allowing Judith and me to talk meaningfully about zero crossings. There is nothing sinusoidal about ENSO. Do you see any magnetic influence on the PDO?

        Plotting data (what I do) is entertaining, but science requires much more than that.

        For starters, more data. Would Newton have accounted for gravity without the data he had?

      • Dr. Pratt
        Thanks for the note, I may not be exactly an ideal person to advise on the causes.
        For the current weather relevant factor :
        two major volcanoes currently active in the Kamchatka peninsula; Sheveluch and Klyuchevskoy.

        http://www.activolcans.info/eruption-volcanique-du-volcan-Klyuchevskoy-201010.html

        http://www.activolcans.info/eruption-volcanique-du-volcan-Shiveluch-201011.html

        Look up info for the last two months (Oct & Nov) for both.
        This is not your normal ‘common garden volcanic effect’, it is something I am trying to conjure up from the ‘thin air’, meant literally here. I am preparing a short note for Dr. Curry (nearly finished), which might have some relevance.
        Geomagnetic is an odd one (a big ? there too), but NASA is coming to my rescue about mechanics of it, which could explain high degree of the Arctic temps correlation.
        Re: ‘lines crossing’, it is a bit later (1996-7), it depends on the accuracy of the NOAA’s geomagnetic model. I don’t think there is much significance to it, as far as AMO is concerned; the variable ice drift time scale could be more relevant.
        Relating to my reflections on the subject of climate: high degree of caution is advisable with a large dose of scepticism.

      • Milivoje, your first figure has a very interesting pencil (the name geometers give the planar dual of a collineation, namely a bunch of lines going through the same point) at 1993 or 1994. If that can be correlated with the impact of the AMO on global temperature itself (a big if) then Judith’s estimate of where the AMO zero crossing is may be slightly more accurate than mine. According to your pencil, if we split the difference she’d get two thirds and I’d get one third.

        The advantage of zero crossings of the AMO signal is that anyone and their dog can work with them using only a pocket calculator. However it’s very sensitive to small variations in data. Much more robust is least squares fit (aka Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization), but that requires as many multiplications as there are data points, 160 if you use the 160 years of the HADCRUT annual averages, 1920 if you use the monthly numbers as I prefer to do.

        For that, anyone working in the computer age is insane to use anything but a computer. In the old days before computers the serious hackers like Gauss and Cole who did this sort of thing weren’t insane, just incredibly patient. Having neither TV nor blogs they had the time. Today they’d be blogging while their PC did all that work for them.

      • Well that is interesting.
        As I said in my previous post (above) GMF crossing is 1996-7. Just checked the annual AMO calculated from

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/amon.us.long.data

        the last negative value was 1996 and then >0 from 1997 (i.e. 1996= -0.035 ; 1997= 0.076).
        You think there is something to it ?
        According to info from NASA the GMFz average (red line) may be critical for balancing certain periodic event taking place in the area.

  16. Well, we’re still left with a problem.

    At some point someone is going to have to accept propositions that are unpalatable to them.

    The followingn seems clear to me:

    The IPCC and their proxies (The Hockey Team) behaved abominably with regards to dealing with outside requests for data. They have continued this pattern of behaviour since Climategate.

    Temperatures are, in fact, rising and there is good reason to suspect that human contributions, including but not limited to CO2 emissions, are a factor in that rise.

    There has been a considerable amount of cheap hysteria-mongering about possible impacts of global warming. However, as we do not have a good idea of atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, we really have no idea of how to quantify the effects of this warming.

    There are political cliques on both sides of the issue, highlighting data and opinions favoring their beliefs and denigrating the opposition. Some (but not a large percentage of the whole) scientists have allied with one or the other cliques.

    Some very large companies have invested heavily in adaptation and mitigation technologies, and they are actively working in support of regulation that will essentially grant them some rents.

    Environmental organisations have seized on the issue, both out of real concerns for the impacts of global warming and for the additional leverage it provides for other environmental concerns, and they have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into (only partially successful) attempts to sway public opinion.

    This tangle will not get untangled quickly.

    Is there anyone in this debate willing to show some flexibility?

    • Tom Fuller writes “Is there anyone in this debate willing to show some flexibility?”

      Not me. CAGW has absolutely ruined science. It needs to be completely obliterated. In a previous post, Judith referred to a war between the proponents of CAGW and the skeptics. I believe it is war, and the only thing we skeptiocs can accept, is unconditional surrender from the proponents of CAGW.

      • I believe it is war, and the only thing we skeptics can accept, is unconditional surrender from the proponents of CAGW.

        Whereas you believe it is war, they believe it is global warming. Wouldn’t surrender, unconditional or otherwise, require them to compromise their intellectual principles and their understanding of the science?

        I’ve thought long and hard about both sides and so far I have not seen one single argument against global warming that cannot instantly be shot down. The whole denialist machine is based on a fabric of misinformation, confusion, and outright dishonesty that did not even exist before the George C. Marshall Institute set it in motion. Prior to that there was 130 years of largely uncontroversial science that no one objected to. Now we have huge crowds of people repeating denialist propaganda without a full understanding of what they’re saying.

        It’s been said before but I’m happy to say it again. Global warming denial is a complete and utter crock.

        Who said it? The 9 Congressional panelists, arguing against the three skeptics, one per panel. I believe in democracy in science. The numbers make it prudent for deniers to deny democracy as well as science, one sees it all the time on denier blogs. Good choice, very understandable.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        There are three (count them) levels of possible issues. The first is global warming. You seem to think most skeptics disagree with this. You are totally wrong, almost all skeptics agree there has been warming the last 150 years or so. The second is human caused global warming (often called AGW). You seem to think most skeptics disagree with this. I agree some scientists that are skeptics disagree with this, but most scientists that are skeptics agree there is some AGW. It is the amount and result that is at issue here. Non scientists on both sides of the issue have to be taken as non players. The third item is CAGW. This is where most scientist skeptics say the evidence is not there and they doubt this. There are even some scientists skeptics that agree with CAGW, but say CO2 is not necessarily the main cause, or that the proof of the level of result is still inadequate to do anything radical at this time.

      • My experience of online skeptics is that they show much wider variation of opinion that you imply. I have no experience with those who are not online; on the other hand where do you get your information about them?

        I turn a blind eye to anyone who puts the C in CAGW, I’m interested solely in quantifying AGW, not in whether there is some pending “catastrophe.” I leave that sort of thing up to policy makers, who by your criterion are “non-players,” which is ridiculous. Policy makers have to be players, that’s independent of whether they’re scientists, which usually they’re not.

    • I think there is too much money involved…
      In theUK the massive Windfarm planned for the North Sea –
      Take a look at the companies lobbying at Cancun…They still want to get carbon trading off the ground and put a price on a tonne of CO2.

      In the UK we have had snow earlier than I can remember, and we are having record breaking temperature lows… (met office non predicted a mild winter again)

      Of course that is weather, not climate….

      But the UK public are used to the Met office and others, at every time there has been a hot spell or day, to proclaim it is the hottest on record, and all sorts of implied AGW pronouncements…

      yet, when we had the coldest August for 17 years, no mention at all.. everyone knows that if it had been the warmist, there would have been headlines and scare stories….

      Of course, the latest idea, is that the record cold for decades in the UK, is an example of ‘global climate disruption’ caused by AGW leading rise to extreme weather events…

      I do not think the general public in the UK will buy into this……

      A comment spotted at Climate Audit made me smile and would seem to reinforce this:

      http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/30/assange-on-climategate/#comment-246510

      Climate Audit Comment: “The top environment article (i.e the most-read) on the UK Independent newspaper’s website is one written 10 years ago. In it, snip David Viner of CRU solemnly informed us that the last few mild winters in eastern England proved that global warming was here.

      “Within a few years”, claimed some twit from CRU, “winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event’. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

      Weather is climate when it supports AGW, but when we’re freezing our asses off then it’s just weather.

      Click on the link:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

      Cry laughing, and embarrass the warmists by keeping this article at #1.

      End Climate Audit Comment…………

      As scientists predictions of years ago, are no longer lost in hardcopy, but available for all (ie Hansens, flooded streets of new yor 20 year prediction – 22 years ago) The general public and journalists (should they bother can come to their own conclusions on climate predictions…

      Which coincidentally just before Cancun- Cop 16, we have had a rash of warmest year on record staements (in Novemeber — not finished yet) and it is hotter than we thought, 4.0c not 2.0C, etc..

      The General Public, have had years of ‘wolf’ crying on all sorts of issues, and they recognise when things are going wrong, the cries of ‘wolf’ get louder and shriller…

      • Latimer Alder

        Anybody in UK will find the irony of the ‘warmest year’ predictions delicious.Our experience has been that the weather in 2010 has been some of the coldest and most depressing in a generation.

      • I disagree. We had clearer skies on more days in 2010 than in the three preceding summers. Cold I don’t mind too much, grey dull monotony is what gets me.

    • tom,
      The flexibility should be on the side that has been hyping the claims, distorting the science and profiting from fear mongering.
      IOW, let us see serious cliamte scientists disavow the apocalyptic clap trap of Hansen, Schmidt, etc. and admit the obvious, that they are not policy people, they are not agricultural experts, they are not civil engineers, and that they are offering us science in an area with very broad error bands.

    • Latimer Alder

      Difficult to know what ‘flexibility’ sceptics can show. We didn’t make a false case that we’re all going to hell in a handcart unless we change our evil energy using ways.

      I imagine many of us would have been quite happy never to have thought about weather/climate beyond deciding which shirt to wear if it hadn’t been for the shrill and strident voices of doom getting right up our collective nostrils, and sending our bullshit detectors up to 11/10.

      I can’t imagine a sort of treaty being hammered out where, for example. sceptics concede a 2 foot sea level rise, but in return alarmists embrace nuclear power . Or the alarmists demand catastrophic flooding but are prepared to be flexible on rain forest depletion. It ain’t going to be like taht.

      Demolishing all the AGW edifice will take a long time…twenty years is probably a good guess. But it has to be done…from politics to education and from energy policy to the EPA …and all points inbetween. There has to be a return from the Cloud Cuckoo Land of the alarmists imagination to a firm foundation in practical reality. Wishful thinking is not a policy option any more.

      Maybe there are ways in which the alarmist’s humiliation can be softened…a bottle of whisky and a revolver used to be the thing. But they can only be palliatives.

    • Tom Fuller,

      The response you seem to get on your question sadly seems to resemble the responses you got last time when you tried to bring both sides together (with your plea to sing kumbaya and settle for 2.5 deg C as the sensitivity as a starting point for discussion). I’m all for it btw.

    • Tom Fuller: I agree with much of what you say and appreciate your efforts to find common ground. However… what flexibility do you have in mind?

      The majority of skeptics on this blog, from what I can tell, accept the Greenhouse Effect and agree that humanity has contributed to some planetary warming.

      I’ll certainly make common cause with anyone who wants to build nuclear power plants, whether they wish to reduce carbon emissions, pollution or dependency on foreign oil.

      I’m willing to listen to and learn from climate change scientists and advocates who are willing to have a civil discussion without demanding that I have a degree in climate science or that I accept routine censorship, deletions, banning and ridicule should I venture to question or disagree.

      However, I’m not at all willing to accept scientists who act as though they are above the law or accountability or refuse to admit that there were genuine abuses in Climategate that ought to concern all scientists.

    • I think that’s a ‘no,’ Tom.

    • However, as we do not have a good idea of atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, we really have no idea of how to quantify the effects of this warming.

      You’re just taking this out of some part of your anatomy.

      Arrhenius wrote in 1896 that temperature increases logarithmically with CO2. In the intervening 114 years the only “scientists” who have said otherwise are polemicists intent on undermining the entire scientific enterprise for whatever reason.

      David Hofmann has accurately modeled increasing CO2 as the log of a constant (280 ppmv) plus an exponential function of time that was 1 ppmv in 1790 and which curve upwards for now but which approaches 0.55 °C per decade a few centuries from now. (That, btw, fully specifies Hofmann’s function, albeit obscurely.)

      Combine these and we know exactly how CO2 influences temperature.

      As I said, you’re just taking this out of some part of your anatomy.

  17. Unanswered Questions

    Yes, temperatures are plunging,
    The world economy is collapsing,
    People are unemployed, and
    There are many drug addicts!

    Was the war on climate change,
    Like the war against poverty, or
    The war against illegal drugs?

    Why are our world leaders really
    gathered now in Cancun Mexico?

    I do not have the answers, but I
    See many unanswered questions.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  18. As an attempt to include some of the more scientific/technical issues in this thread, I think it might be worthwhile to provide a link to a new study suggessting (but not proving) that cloud feedbacks may be more strongly positive than the values from many of the GCMs. This would tend to increase the estimated climate sensitivity to CO2 changes or other climate forcings beyond the current mid-range estimates. The link is Marine Boundary Layer Clouds

    In this study, a regional (iRAM) model output matched observational data better than the output of most GCMs and showed a reduction in low cloud cover in response to global warming that would be expected to reduce albedo and thereby enhance warming. Because the results are regional, accurate extrapolation to global climate change, while plausible, can’t be assumed certain.

    • That report is at best dubious.
      It reads like yet another chapter in the endless AGW story of ‘it is worse than we thought’ one of the greatest fictional stories of all time.

    • Studies like this and their results thereof infact make it more difficult to convince people that AGW is real.
      In my case, my thoughts immediately turn to the following points.

      *If climate sensitivity is higher than previously thought, then we’d have expected a higher rate of warming since industrialization.
      * This warming, not having manifested itself thus far, only leaves the assumption that some natural variation has dampened it.
      * What is this natural variation? is it a cycle or one off?
      * If it’s a cycle, how long will it last? (some cycles/oscillations last centuries)
      * If we don’t know the answers to the above (and it seems we don’t) then how can we presume/predict any effects from increased CO2?

      All that’s left is the precautionary principle

      • Climate sensitivity estimates generally range (with 90% confidence intervals) from 2 to 4.5 deg C per CO2 doubling. The reason for the broad range is that all values within that range are compatible with current and historical observations. The data I cited suggest (but do not prove) that the true value within that range may be slightly higher than previously thought most likely, but since it is still within the range, proof is unavailable. You refer to “dampening”, and this is known to account for some of the current observations – mainly it is anthropogenic rather than natural (i.e., industrial aerosols and well as aerosols from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning). The observations also reflect the time lag between changes in CO2-mediated forcing and temperature responses, and again, there is no inconsistency.

      • Climate sensitivity estimates generally range (with 90% confidence intervals) from 2 to 4.5 deg C per CO2 doubling. The reason for the broad range is that all values within that range are compatible with current and historical observations.

        I beg to differ. The reason for the broad range is the broad range of definitions of climate sensitivity. These are all over the shop.

        How can you expect to come up with a single number for a quantity whose meaning no one can agree on?

  19. BlueIce2HotSea

    Well up to a point Lord Copper.

    But you can’t discount the significant number of scientists who are at least complicit…

    Perhaps we can redefine the definition of scientist just a bit. Then those rascals can be referred as former scientists or poseurs or celebrity hounds…

    • C.M. Carmichael

      I think they are more accurately called climate activist’s with science degrees, or what passes as a degree these days.

    • Perhaps we can redefine the definition of scientist just a bit. Then those rascals can be referred as former scientists or poseurs or celebrity hounds…

      Wouldn’t that make the set of scientists the empty set?

      Or do you have your own rascals line up to fill that niche?

  20. Let me bring this discussion onto this thread, where it really belongs. I apologise when I refer to other participants as masculine, when I do not know their sex.

    The discussion started when Craig Loehle stated that the rise in global temperatures as a result of doubling CO2, with no feedbacks, produces a rise in global temperatures of 1 C. I challenged this number.

    Chris Colose took up the challenge, but rapidly retired from the discussion. PDA then took up the discussion. I got him to agree that it was impossible to ever mesaure this number. Once anyone agrees to this, it becomes difficult to defend any particular value. PDA did his best, but I challenged him to place an accuracy on the number, and also defend the estimations on the basis that if there is no measured number, Kelvin’s Fallacy may apply, and there may be unknown factors in the estimation which would render the number completely wrong. At this point PDA seems to have dropped out of the discussion; presumably because there is no response to my critique.

    Then Pekka Perila took up the challenge and painted the position that the proponents of CAGW had presented a purely hyypothetical situation. He tried to defend this idea. I agree that what has been presented is purely hypothetical, but the conclusion I draw is that the number of 1 C is, therefore, completely meaningless.

    Let me put out the challenge again. I assume we agree that the number of 1 C for a rise in global temperatures for a doubling of CO2, without feedbacks, can never be measured. I claim that this means that the number is purely hypothetical, and completely meaningless. The reasoning behind this is that one can never associate any sort of accurcay to the number, and the way it is estimated could always be rendered meaningless because of the Kelvin Fallacy. Does anyone wish to take up this challenge, and continue the debate?

    • I would say since the proposed effect can’t be measured that the proposition cannot be a scientific hypothesis. That does not mean the effect does not exist or that it is meaningless in general.

      • I dont understand. All I am saying is that if you cannot measure something, you dont know what the value is numerically, nor do you know what is the accuracy of the estimate. What is wrong with this claim?

    • What is the Kelvin fallacy? I’ve not heard of this before.

      • My interpretation of the Kelvin Fallacy. When it became clear that the earth was older than the Bible claimed, Lord Kelvin estimated it’s age was 10,000,o00 years. He claimed he was right because he had taken into account “all known factors”. This phrase is now infamous in physics. Ernest Rutherford was able to show that the earth was about 4.2 billion yers old. If you have no experimental data, it is always possible that there will be unknowns in you estimations which may make these completely wrong. In other words, it is the basis for what I had hammered into my head in Physics 101, Ìf you cannot measure it, it is not physics. Pleased note that this does not mean that theoretical physics has no meaning. Theoretical physics and experimental physics are opposite sides of the same coin. But theoretical physics has no ability to prove anything by itself. Its main role is to help design the next experiment.

      • actually i got a completely different meaning from the reference. The statement of the fallace is that “Unless a think can be measured quantitatively, it does not exist significantly. The fallacy is that just because we don’t know how, or we can’t measure it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      • Jim,

        I think you’ve misunderstood Thomson’s mistake.

      • There are only 74 hits on Google for “Kelvin Fallacy,” including links to this very page. So I don’t know that it’s a well-defined concept at all; in fact, the Other Jim’s link from Historians’ Fallacies, as Dr. Curry notes, characterizes Jim C’s position (“unless a thing can be measured quantitatively, it does not exist significantly”) as fallacious.

        Characterizing any calculated estimate of an immeasurable property as “meaningless” is a value judgment, and thus not something that can be proven or disproven. As I noted in the discussion on the other thread (which contrary to his assertion here, Jim C “dropped out of”), the age of the Earth is, like climate sensitivity, an estimated value, not a measured one. Using the proxy of radiometric dating to calculate the age of the Earth is not a direct measurement, and thus is “not physics” and “meaningless” in Jim C’s judgment.

        Again, Jim C is welcome to his opinions, but I doubt they are ones that are widely shared among scientists.

      • That’s an ordering site for some books. Useless, thanks for nothing.

        Lord Kelvin declared, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” Extrapolation of extant knowledge and principles into areas beyond his ken.

    • Jim

      Sorry to disagree with you, but I think that you are mistaking two different things. There are some things that re just, in principle, incapable of being measured. And these are the ones o which your Kelvin fallacy might refer.

      But there are others, like the effect of a douboing of CO2 on average forcing that could indeed be measured. But we choose not to because of limitations in our ability to set up the experiment. Not because it couldn’t be done at all..it can’t be done with the technology available to us now at reasonable effort.

      We could go cruising the universe until we find a planet with an atmosphere just like ours, measure the temperatures, then pump in a load more CO2 and see what the difference is. There is nothing intrinsically impossible about it…it is just so far beyond our practical ability to be effectively impossible. Which is a different thing.

      • Latimer, I missed out one vital part in this message which I had before. Ant attempt to measure the effect of doubling CO2 on temperature, without feedbacks, would be confounded by the effect of the feedbacks. You can, in theory, measure climate sensitivity, but you cannot isolate the effect of CO2 on temperature without feedbacks.

      • Find a planet with no other GHGs apart from CO2, then do the experiment. That eliminates feedbacks.

      • Find a planet with no other GHGs apart from CO2, then do the experiment.

        There’s a materials problem with your experiment, Latimer. The atmospheres of Venus and Mars are largely CO2 (which is where Earth is headed in the next millennium or two if we don’t watch out). However whereas the Venusian atmosphere is 100 times ours in mass, that of Mars is only 1/10 of ours.

        Ok, so where should Martians look in order to double their CO2, as you suggest?

        Well, Earth’s atmosphere is only .0004 CO2. So even if you gave Mars the whole of our CO2, thereby killing all our plants which were depending on it, you’d only add 0.4% to the CO2 in Mars atmosphere.

        However if you gave Mars even just 0.1% of Venus’s atmosphere to Mars you would double its CO2.

        So while I like the idea of your experiment, don’t look to Earth’s atmosphere as the source of your CO2 for it. Venus is your nearest good source.

        Of course if you want to dig all that carbon out of the ground then it’s a different story. Venus’s carbon is all in the air, 99.99% of ours is in the rocks. This explains why there are no Venusians.

      • Latimer Alder

        I didn’t suggest that this would be an easy or practical experiment to carry out. Just that it would in principle be possible.

        And you;d need a very up to date version of H2G2 to find the right places. Perhaps the Vogons can help. Failing them, the Daleks – assuming no steps are involved.

      • Venus’s carbon is all in the air, 99.99% of ours is in the rocks. This explains why there are no Venusians.

        The absence of Venusians also explains the higher level of atmospheric carbon. eh Schwartzman and Volk

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v340/n6233/abs/340457a0.html

      • That’s a very interesting article, thanks for the pointer.

        So when we (including the nematodes) are all dead and gone, will Earth go the way of Venus? Fascinating thought.

        Even though Mars is further from the Sun than Earth its atmosphere is largely CO2. So one can’t argue that Earth is immune from Venus’s fate merely because it’s further from the Sun.

      • The faint sun paradox suggests otherwise,there are still a lot of cards nature has yet to play, eg Chernozem is the usual result.

      • The temperature on Venus is due entirely to the pressure of 100X the atmospheric density. Virtually no solar radiation reaches the atmosphere through the upper clouds, much less the surface. Since GH effects are the result of surface radiation resulting from solar heating, there is and can be no GH effects on Venus.

        The temperatures of day and night hemispheres are negligibly different; under 1°C. I.e.: no solar effects whatsoever.

    • I apologise when I refer to other participants as masculine, when I do not know their sex.

      For a great many centuries the masculine pronoun embraced the feminine. It remains a mystery to me why the 20th century was chosen as the agent of change in that. Future centuries will no doubt enlighten our descendants.

  21. I will start by saying the other thread is much more informative, but I believe this summary is more appropriate here as it is tries to summarize information into policy based decisions.

    The use of the term skeptic has been shown to have a wide range of definitions when it comes to climate science. At the end of the discussion, policy makers need to determine what actions will be implemented as a result of the scientific investigations. I am undoubtedly a skeptic in some people’s minds, but also believe the following forces me practically into that condition.

    Question
    1. Do additional GHG’s (CO2) contribute to global warming? There are those that disagree, but their scientific explanations seem much weaker than those supporting the position that, yes; they do contribute to global warming. It does seem that there are also secondary “natural” effects beyond the human released GHG’s that have also contributed to the total increase in atmospheric GHG’s. It also seems that there are potentially additional causes of global warming beyond just GHG’s. Do increased GHG’s cause 100% of the warming, almost certainly no, but it does appear be the cause of a significant portion of a warming planet For discussion purposes, I’ll say 50%.

    2. Assuming that GHG’s do contribute to a warming planet, is this a bad thing? I do not believe there is any data to demonstrate that a warmer planet is necessarily worse for humanity overall. There are definitely negative consequences for certain regions and positive ones for others. Generally, it would seem a warmer planet would be better for humanity, but if data could be developed that would demonstrate a warmer planet is worse for humanity overall in the long term, then we should discuss potential mitigation plans.

    3. Assuming that CO2 concentrations are currently at approximately 390 ppm; and that 70% of the world’s population is going to be significantly increasing their emissions over the next 25 years as they provide access to electricity and personal transportation to the populations, what can be practically be done about the situation if we think we want to effect change? Atmospheric CO2 levels will almost certainly increase by not less than 50% in the next 25 years and may well double. The United States is not driving the increase and is reducing CO2 emissions. What is the motivation of the USA to spend limited (nonexistent) resources to reduce its CO2 foot print when there is no information that can show that a US reduction will have any appreciable impact on the climate? If 25 years from now CO2 were at 900 ppm vs. 930 ppm does it matter at all, or is the change worth the expense???

    I simply do not currently see the expense as justified and believe the issue is how to adapt to a changing environment. I appreciate others thoughts/opinions as I am open to altering my position based on new data.

    • Rob – You raise provocative questions, but to address each completely would require many web pages. The net harm/benefit of future warming has been extensively investigated, with an assessment that although the results would be mixed for slight globally averaged temperature increases, more severe increases will mediate a severe net harm. That assessment by itself demands many pages, and I won’t pursue it here.

      The U.S. historical contribution to current atmospheric CO2 excess dwarfs that of all other societies, and our current emissions are only exceeded (slightly) by those of China, while China remains far below us on a per capita basis. In addition, our policies have substantial influence on those of other nations. In particular, our failure to act strongly discourages attempts at mitigation by societies that have contributed less to the problem than we have. Positive action on our part can’t be counted on to spur emulation by others, but would sustain the determination of other societies that have already expressed an intent to move forward.

      However, the above points aside, and in the interest of economy, I will focus this comment mainly on your following statement: “
      “What is the motivation of the USA to spend limited (nonexistent) resources to reduce its CO2 foot print when there is no information that can show that a US reduction will have any appreciable impact on the climate?”

      There are a variety of answers that can be given, in terms of our eventual self-interest as well as our eventual competitiveness, but I will leave that to others. Here, I only wish to call attention to a dimension that has both moral and practical implications, and which highlights the conflict between short term and long term interests. I’ll leave it to readers to find more information by visiting the following link: Tragedy Of The Commons

      I would only add that when long term consequences to others conflict with short term sacrifices for oneself, conscience enters into the equation.

      • Fred–with all due respect, the link you provided does not have any realistic answers to the question. Since we are not able to change the past and reduce prior GHG’s only the future matters. US investment in things such as carbon capture will have no impact on the climate. They will only make some people feel like they are doing something beneficial…..even though they probably aren’t. As a country with an enormous budget deficit, we have no money to spend on doing nothing productive. Poorer countries would like the US to subsidize their development, but that is simply to bad for them……we can not afford to do so, and need to do what is productive. I appreciate other thoughts though.

      • Fred–Also, the descriptions I have read regarding a warmer planet have always pointed out dramatic potential changes that may occur for a certain segment of society.
        I do not disagree that long term climate changes will result in changes that many people do not like/want. What I am suggesting is that there are also offsetting changes that will make other areas more habitable for humanity. These changes almost never seem to be highlighted by those requesting action. It is not as if (as some like to suggest) that the changes will happen in a matter of days, weeks , or months; but more likely over decades. Humanity will have time to adapt. As far I as I know, and I have researched the issue; their are no climate models that show a warmer planet to really be worse for humanity overall in the long term.

      • Rob – I disagree on two fronts. First, there is an enormous literature on the balance between net benefit and harm from future warming and its consequences in terms of sea level rise and coastal flooding, droughts, inland floods, forest fires, disease spread, increased frequency of intense hurricanes, and crop failures – as well as literature on improved crop yields, reduced cold-related deaths, and other benefits. The information is far too voluminous to address here adequately, but if Dr. Curry wants to devote an entire thread to it, it will be possible to refer you to the many existing sources.

        That said, my other area of disagreement relates to your claim that what the U.S. does will have no impact. In fact, I disagree profoundly. As is indicated by the “Tragedy of the Commons” article I linked to, climate change mitigation can only succeed if it is seen as a joint endeavor by all concerned societies, because even though the U.S. is the worst offender, fixing our own emissions will make little difference, and the same is true of any other single society. As a joint endeavor, however, mitigation will be enormously influenced by what we do. To put in bluntly, if we do little or nothing, it will be almost impossible politically for any other society to move forward, and so our inaction will translate into universal inaction. Conversely, if we act vigorously (as many nations were hoping would have preceded the Copenhagen summit), progress by other nations would be encouraged. Some would act vigorously in return, others would take only small measures, and some would offer only lip service, but over time, our continued influence could reasonably be expected to have a salutary effect, even if not guaranteed.

        The climate changes slowly, including future adverse impacts, but the same inertia tells us that mitigation also operates slowly, and actions we take or fail to take today will have consequences for centuries. In that sense, a conclusion that we can achieve the same results by waiting as we can by acting now is an illusion. The same is true for adaptation, and there is now almost universal recognition within the literature that both mitigation and adaptation will be needed to forestall the worst possible consequences of unabated climate change.

      • Fred–Please reference one or several of the “many” studies you referenced that demonstrate that a warmer world is worse for humanity overall in the long term. I have not found any such study.

        I have read multiple “studies” that point out potential dramatic negative consequences, but when looked at closer these studies have almost always exaggerated both the projected rate of the changes to the environment and they have not reasonably evaluated the positive effects to other areas.

        I am not suggesting the US do nothing however, I am simply suggesting the US not spend funds wastefully.

        Investing in carbon capture efforts or cap and trade schemes is wasteful.They will cost funds and not provide measurable benefits. I simply see no cost benefit analysis that shows these types of programs to potentially benefit the environment at anywhere near their cost. Another useful response is investment in infrastructure improvements to protect threatened areas from potential damage. Given that GHG emissions will rise, and that future US actions can not prevent that, is seems the prudent course of action.

      • Rob – I’m not sure which journals that you have read provided the studies you refer to, but if want to find many dozens of references in the scientific literature, you might start with the references in AR4 WG2.

        You have repeated a particular claim – e.g., “GHG emissions will rise, and that future US actions can not prevent that”. In my earlier comments, I explained why I believe that claim to be false. At this point, I’m content to leave it to other readers to look at what we have written to make their own judgments, and so I’ll probably refrain from commenting further in the absence of important new evidence.

      • Fred
        I really am not making this up. If you research the issue I think you will find that all credible projections show that worldwide GHG emissions will rise by 40% to over 100% over the next 25 years. Do a quick google search. The projections on the lower end of the scale assume significant reductions by developed nations and lower increases by developing countries.

        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/economics/international.html#global_anthropogenic

        http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_co2.html

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Fred –
        …the U.S. is the worst offender..

        And the US CO2 offenses have caused a dramatic increase in longevity, prosperity and quality of life since 1900. Worse, the developing nations are trying to commit copycat crimes! :)

        To better make your case, don’t forget to emphasize that you are open to a CO2 mitigation plan that doesn’t necessarily reverse a century of progress.

      • Latimer Alder

        I saw no evidence of other nations taking the blindest bit of notice of what the US do or doesn’t do. The world has changed.

        And quite a bit of evidence that they had decided that the US’s actions was totally irrelevant in their eyes. Mr Obama even had to gatecrash private discussions between Brazil, China, India and RSA.

        There’s an interesting radio documentary here

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00w6pp4/What_Happened_at_Copenhagen/

        which describes this episode in detail. (The recording may only be available until Sunday 5th because of BBC copyright restrictions)

        So I think that your stance of US taking the moral high ground and all nations following on behind is an outdated concept, now dead in the water.

        Rob’s remarks stand.

      • Rob’s remarks stand.

        Seconded.

        Besides, tragedy of the commons (I’m assuming that as everyone here is on the right hand side of the bell curve we’ve all read it) refers to a zero sum game where the concept of resources assumes stasis. This is also the underlying idea of the silly form of Pascal’s Wager euphemistically called the “precationary princple.” Resource stasis re many climate alarmism remedies is an assumption that man is unable to progress beyond fossil fuels.

        Resource stasis is a fallacy (and it’s tempting to spell the initial f as ‘ph’ in accordance with my respect of promoters of the concept.)

        As per my original reply to Mr Starkey (Ringo relative? Relative of David Starkey the eminent historian?) we already know the technolgical answers e.g. nuclear energy and solar power from space. There is no reason to roll back the western lifestyle. What’s required is the intestinal fortitude to accept some financial pain in short term expenditure which will then be paid back in multiples (worldwide, at that) later. This would be what Bill Gates refers to as an “Upward Spiral.” Provide enough cheap electricity and electrification of vehicles becomes feasible further reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and so on.

        The correct answer is to initiate the upward spiral. It is also the MORAL answer; unlike the false invoking of morals in the “commons” argument the correct moral thing to do is change the game such that everyone can benefit.

        Yes, I know, someone probably going to tell me that this is a provacative therefore worthless comment. Perhaps. Me, I see it as more of the “Kobyashi Maru” answer.

      • And all of this STILL ‘begs the question’ (assumes the conclusion) because it posits CO2 as the “forcing driver”, and assumes/asserts that current trends are outside the long-term warming pattern since the Ice Age, etc. And discounts the measured 15-30% improvements in agricultural yields resulting from CO2 availability, etc.

        In other words, CO2 increase and warming (which are not necessarily connected) are quite possibly beneficial and natural, respectively. Slamming the brakes on the world economy and fossil fuel use is then counterproductive and utterly ineffectual.

      • Brian,

        I reckon energy independence needs to be addressed solely from a political and jobs perspective, and if a broken climate gets fixed, so much the better. If the climate ain’t broken, that’s fine too.

        What I advocate here is to cynically use the climate argument as an excuse to create energy, jobs and new technologies without assuming that it’s correct. If the greenies want to presume we’re saving the planet, great. If the peak oil weirdos want to presume we’re solving their pet problem, great. If the political idealogues who pontificate about giving cash to places that hate us think we’re addressing their issue, great. And so on.

        If we *actually* save the planet or solve peak oil or solve a political problem or two, these are bonuses, not the primary goal.

        The equation that western civilisation figured out was simply that energy = wealth, and I advocate staying on that particular path.

        Re fusion are you refererring to Dr Bussard’s work? I’m given to understand thet the EMC2 people have reached breakeven on the latest wiffleball.

      • Resource stasis is a fallacy (and it’s tempting to spell the initial f as ‘ph’ in accordance with my respect of promoters of the concept.)

        “You’ll find I respect your Republican fallacies.” (Marco and Giuseppe, Finale, Act I, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Gondoliers.)

        I was singing in a performance of this in Sydney in 1962 when someone in the front row totally cracked up when we got to this bit. I had to have it explained to me. The innocence of youth. ;)

        Republican fallacies today? Sarah, say its not true!

      • There’s an interesting radio documentary here

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00w6pp4/What_Happened_at_Copenhagen/

        which describes this episode in detail. (The recording may only be available until Sunday 5th because of BBC copyright restrictions)

        After listening to 60 seconds of this rubbish I concluded that the BBC had decided it was rubbish too and was merely making “copyright restrictions” an excuse for removing this embarrassment on December 5. Harrabin is the UK’s Rush Limbaugh speaking with the High Church concept of received pronunciation.

      • Latimer Alder

        H’mm

        Well I listened to it and found it quite informative about the power politics and general atmosphere and tone of Copenhagen.

        What in particular did you find so objectionable? Who or what is Rush Limbough? What in particular did you find so objectionable about Harrabin’s accent? – it appears to be pretty standard educated Brit to me – with no RP overtones.

        Re copyright etc. This programme was treated no differently at all from hundreds of other BBC programmes each week that are rebroadcast via the iPlayer mechanism…they are available to ‘listen again’ for a week after the original broadcast.

        I am not a huge fan of the BBC in general (though it can do some things extremely well) and mostly find Harrabin too much of a climate alarmist for my taste. But I thought this was a good attempt to revisit the substance of ‘What Happened in Copenhagen’.

      • Latimer Alder

        And I would make a small wager that you spent longer than 60 seconds writing your ‘review’ of it. Time that could have been better spent listening to the programme rather than slagging it off unheard.

      • And I would make a small wager that you spent longer than 60 seconds writing your ‘review’ of it. Time that could have been better spent listening to the programme rather than slagging it off unheard.

        To be fair I did spend more than 60 seconds listening to it. However I spent much more time listening to Harrabin interviewing Jones back in February and found myself unable to distinguish Harrabin from Limbaugh other than by his accent. It was clear from the interview that Harrabin is BBC4’s agent of misinformation and doubt. I cannot imagine anything more calculated to undermine science.

        It would take Harrabin much more than 60 seconds to convince me that he’s anything other than that.

        I would be fascinated to understand your position and your rationale behind it.

        Who or what is Rush Limbough?

        I take it you’re not from the US.

      • Latimer Alder

        Correct. I am not from the US.I am from the UK. I have to pay large taxes to keep the BBC and its journos in its Politically Correct, wasteful and arrogant ways.

        And I hear Harrabin’s doom laden pro-AGW commentary most days on R4. Hence my earlier remarks.

        I’m amazed that you ‘heard’ Harrabin interview Phil Jones in February. Becasue the ‘intervoew’ was no more than a Q and A conducted by e-mail, and with suitable opportunities for censorship by the UEA press office. Not really an ‘interview’ in any true sense at all…merely an opportunity for Jones to pontificate.

        That Harrabin was obliged – via gritted keyboard I’m sure – one or two ‘sceptical’ questions is no big suprise, What was disappointing was how easily he accepted the answers.

        Here is the ‘transcript’ of the ‘interview’. I suggest that you refresh your memory about it.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8511670.stm

        Who or what ios Rush Limbough?

      • Latimer Alder

        I was under the impression that ‘False Memory Syndrome’ was now well-understood in US psychiatric circles.

        And yet you can even remember an accent in an interview that never took place.

        Wow! Seek urgent professional help.

      • Who or what is Rush Limbough?

        Use google, Latimer. Geez.

        Anyway.

        Limbaugh is a political commentator, has a radio show, claims to have upwards of 20 million regular listeners. He’s a polarising figure who is loved by his (mostly republican) fans and hated by his (mostly democrat) detractors.

      • And yet you can even remember an accent in an interview that never took place.

        This puzzled me too until I realized I must have been mixing it up in my mind with Stephen Sackur’s interview of Gerd Leipold, which also didn’t go well for the green side. (In that case deservedly so: how could Greenpeace’s executive director be so unaware of the distinction between the meters-thick Arctic sea ice and the kilometers-thick Greenland pack ice?)

        My standard disclaimer that I sometimes get things wrong would be a waste of time if I didn’t actually do so occasionally. Not that I do it deliberately.

        I watched Harrabin’s introduction of Tim Lang for penance, and to educate myself about his accent.

      • You sure are some linguist and student of accents! Harrabin spoke 15 words only in his intro to Tim Lang. Even I as a native Brit probably need that long to tune in to his background. For a Yank to do so is some great achievement.

        And for those who still wonder if I know who Limbaugh is – yes I do – I have even heard him on the radio on my visits to the US. But its occasionally worth pointing out that the ‘G’ in AGW is supposed to stand for ‘Global’, and that not everybody contributing here is American and shares the same cultural landmarks and signposts.

      • You sure are some linguist and student of accents! Harrabin spoke 15 words only in his intro to Tim Lang. Even I as a native Brit probably need that long to tune in to his background. For a Yank to do so is some great achievement.

        What are you talking about? I was able to rule out East London, Cockney, Yorkshire, Geordie, Scouse, Scottish, Irish, American, Canadian, broad Australian, middle Australian, educated Australian, Kiwi, and South African in the first five words. The remaining thirteen words (you can’t even count) might have served to pin down the street he was raised on were we Australians more familiar with UK streets.

        (My research in the early 70s was in natural language processing and my last three doctoral students wrote their theses in this millennium on automatic speech recognition and related acoustic issues.)

      • Latimer Alder

        Well – like I said earlier, that was some achievement. I meant that sincerely.

        By chance, I happen to have since found out Harrabin’s home town. Any insights there (no cheating please)? It is a place you will have heard of, I think.

        And I’m sorry if I confused you with an American. If its any consolation, I am frequently accused of being an Australian when I am in the States :-(

      • The only mitigation we can successfully implement on the scale required to limit CO2 emissions below 450ppm at this time is poverty.

        Poverty has 2 side effects
        1) It is a barrier to adaptation
        2) It drives excessive birth rates, which creates even more poverty.

      • How would you characterize the the standard of living of the Amish (the Hollywood version?)

      • As I don’t watch TV I can’t comment on the ‘Hollywood’ version of anything.

        A quick google search reveals the Amish woman have a fertility rate north of 5. Double the world average of 2.5.

        At a fertility rate of 2.5 Global Population will be 20 billion in 2100.

        I haven’t done the exact math but I think a fertility rate of 4.2 yields a doubling of population every 20 years or so. So if we all lived like the Amish we would be looking at a population of roughly 100 billion by 2100.

        ‘Blackout baby booms’ are a well documented phenomenon.

        Being without electricity for even a few hours leads to an increase in fertility rate even among otherwise affluent and well educated people.

      • I would say their standard of living is fairly high, and their birthrate is religious.

      • There are 2.02 acres per capita of arable(farmable) land in the US. A horse requires between 1/3rd and 1/2 of an acre.

        There is a reason my grandparents moved away from the farm. Every generation it was split into quarters until they became too small to be an economically viable farm.

      • It would be interesting to find out whether or not the Amish have baby booms after blackouts.

    • I will start by saying the other thread is much more informative.

      Which other thread,greenhouse or skeptics? Or are they both equally informative?

  22. Rob Starkey — What is the motivation of the USA to spend limited (nonexistent) resources to reduce its CO2 foot print when there is no information that can show that a US reduction will have any appreciable impact on the climate?

    Thank you. This is the $64,000 question.

    My answer: jobs.

    The climate debate ought to be used as the opportunity to finally finish the development of Spaceborne Solar Power, which we know how to do (but have yet to work out the engineering kinks.) My guess is that we could easily field a working 500 MW unit in less than 5 years.

    (Within the US we could and should build a number of later generation nuke plants and retire coal plants one and for all. Jobs. Energy = wealth.)

    The bonus here is that the developing countries you mention probably aren’t stable enough to build “green” nuclear reactors in and yes they want energy. The US could sell and park an SPS unit overhead that would do the job.

    Note that my answer does NOT in any way require US citizens to sacrifice or give up anything. Simply solving the energy problem solves most of the climate problem — assuming it exists — as a byproduct. Creating energy is the same thing as creating wealth, meaning we also create jobs.

    • Personally, I would agree with you generally about the investment in new energy development and expecially for energy that reduces the need to import oil. Our government could vastly simplify the process and reduce the cost of building modern nuclear plants by streamlining the approval processes.

      I do not understand the rationale to invest in cap and trade or carbon capture.

      • Carbon capture is a non-starter: hideously expensive, interacts with the geology in which the CO2 is injected, which leads to the CO2 bubbling back out.
        Now if carbon capture was to have its definition modified, like so many other things to do with climate, and redefined to include ocean fertilization, there might be some favorable outcomes.
        At the least it could tested at a relatively low cost.

      • Carbon capture is a non-starter: hideously expensive, interacts with the geology in which the CO2 is injected, which leads to the CO2 bubbling back out.

        Where do you get this rubbish from? CO2 sequestration has been thoroughly studied and is well known to have a stable outcome.

      • I do not understand the rationale to invest in cap and trade or carbon capture.

        I think the working assumption is that nuclear is off the table and fossil fuels are what we are constrained to work with.

      • Believe it or not, fusion is on the table. Scoff, and then remember my words a year from now.

      • If only that were true. If you are a person open to a wager…I will make one with you that fusion is not a year away

      • If only that were true. If you are a person open to a wager…I will make one with you that fusion is not a year away

        Can I join you on that wager? It’s at least 30 years away, maybe even 40.

      • I’m not so sure of that, Dr Pratt.

        The late Dr Bussard’s “polywell” device ought to be proven to work or be a bust within a year or two. It’s being funded by the Navy.

        You’re thinking tokomaks. They ain’t the only effort.

      • The late Dr Bussard’s “polywell” device ought to be proven to work or be a bust within a year or two. It’s being funded by the Navy.

        Fusion energy would be a huge deal. If the Navy were taking a fusion approach seriously they’d be putting a heck of a lot more money into it than $7,855,504. That’s not even proof-of-concept seed money.

        You’re thinking tokomaks. They ain’t the only effort.

        No, tokomaks use magnetic confinement, I was thinking inertial. While ITER and LIFE are both ambitious, from a physics standpoint it seems to me the latter is on more solid ground.

      • Given the simplicity of the device compared to inertial confinement or tokamak-type arrangements, that money might be just right.

      • The second half of Einstein’s words on simplicity may apply here: “…but no simpler.” The polywell device may be too simple.

      • If the Navy were taking a fusion approach seriously they’d be putting a heck of a lot more money into it than $7,855,504. That’s not even proof-of-concept seed money.

        And to think, the first wiffleball he/they made was funded for a lot less (1/5th?) than that!

        I don’t know, but given that Dr Bussard was very often the smartest cookie in the room, I wouldn’t be surprised if the thing proved useful.

        I’m a fan of using a percentage of available funding for that which is contrarian, on the off chance that it will prove useful, something is learned, or something actually works. To me proper policy needs to include the non-mainstream. And I’m thinking of recognised mental horepower like Bussard or Farnsworth, of course, not outright cranks.

        The polywell device is supposed to be based on electrostatic confinement, but I don’t have enough physics to know why this is felt to be inferior.

      • I’m a fan of using a percentage of available funding for that which is contrarian, on the off chance that it will prove useful, something is learned, or something actually works.

        Me too, and apparently the Navy. But in proportion to the odds, which the experts don’t seem that enthused about.

        I very much like the principle of betting against the experts: it’s great when you can prove them wrong. But if your losses exceed your gains in the long run then it doesn’t have much to recommend it as a betting strategy.

      • Here’s an even smaller, quicker project: Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPPhysics.com) is within months of going for “scientific break-even”. The follow-on would be a few (2-4) years of engineering. The end product would be a design to be licensed to all comers, world-wide, for a small 5MW generator. FOB factory door, ~$250K. Output at ~¼¢/kwh. Zero waste or radiation.

        It would change the world.
        (booster site is at focusfusion.org )

      • P.S. Something like $2 million has funded all work so far, all private money. Which is a good thing, IMO. Gubmint money comes with gubmint ‘crats, who are a killing plague.

  23. Judith

    “p.s. I am really pleased to see the discussion interest transitioning from climategate to the actual science ”

    We understood the contexts and meanings of the emails 12 months ago, so this transition is late in coming. Your website has some input from climate scientists that aren’t condescending, so it has value

    Still haven’t seen any really serious posts on feedback values, though, but a lot of arm waving

    • Still haven’t seen any really serious posts on feedback values, though, but a lot of arm waving.

      Predicting feedbacks is more like predicting weather than predicting climate. Suppose for example we raise the CO2 until the methane clathrates under the permafrost are released. Whee, really hot! Let’s see that effect again. Lower the CO2, then raise it again. Darn, what happened to that feedback, it was there last time.

      Ah, we should have waited longer before raising it. Ok, let’s try again. Ah, worked that time. Evidently the wait allowed the methane to accumulate again.

      (In case Arfur Bryant is still lurking, this is a gedankenexperiment, Arfur, not something one can actually do today.)

      The point is that the contributory factors in a feedback can vary wildly, making predictions of feedback values meaningless unless you can also predict values for the principal contributory factors.

  24. Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory

    “Even before publication, Slaying the Sky Dragon was destined to be the benchmark for future generations of climate researchers. This is the world’s first and only full volume refutation of the greenhouse gas theory of man-made global warming.

    Nine leading international experts methodically expose how willful fakery and outright incompetence were hidden within the politicized realm of government climatology. Applying a thoughtful and sympathetic writing style, the authors help even the untrained mind to navigate the maze of atmospheric thermodynamics. Step-by-step the reader is shown why the so-called greenhouse effect cannot possibly exist in nature.

    By deft statistical analysis the cornerstones of climate equations – incorrectly calculated by an incredible factor of three – are exposed then shattered.

    This volume is a scientific tour de force and the game-changer for international environmental policymakers as well as being a joy to read for hard-pressed taxpayers everywhere.”

    • If you post this on the other blog it will be addressed by a number of people.

    • I’ve read the book, I’m very underwhelmed. a substantial amount of the text is devoted to rants. The arguments related to the actual greenhouse effect are less sophisticated than what has been discussed on the greenhouse thread. The writing is very uneven and the editing is nonexistent. There are 2-3 things to debunk on most pages, it would take weeks. Not sure how to handle reviewing this, although I’ve committed myself to writing something about it.

      • Your Greenhouse thread has really brought out some excellent information. A few nuts perhaps, but certainly many well thought out summeries.

    • This volume [by Tim Ball et al] is a scientific tour de force and the game-changer for international environmental policymakers as well as being a joy to read for hard-pressed taxpayers everywhere.”

      With Tim Ball as the first author, if it had been anything else I would have been seriously disappointed.

  25. I hope I didn’t miss this if already posted, but a skeptic got a paper published after running a gauntlet, but published it was.

    “In a blow to the Real Climate “hockey team” one team members paper, Steig et al Nature, Jan 22, 2009 has been shown lacking. Once appropriate statistical procedures were applied, the real data spoke clearly, and it was done in a peer reviewed paper by skeptics. Jeff Condon of the Air Vent writes via email that he and co-authors, Ryan O’Donnell, Nicholas Lewis, and Steve McIntyre have succeeded in getting a paper accepted into the prestigious Journal of Climate and asked me to re-post the notice here.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/01/skeptic-paper-accepted-on-antarctica-rebuts-steig-et-al/

  26. Hi all,

    I remain interested in this idea and I hope you’ll bear with me, especially sharper00 who was helpful to me before. I have kept in my mind the idea that temperature goes up a certain amount (can be argued how much) for every doubling of CO2 concentration. This results in what I’ll call a response curve (maybe there is a better and more accepted name – please let me know if there is). It looks like Fig. 4 at this link http://brneurosci.org/co2.html. Please ignore the text of the article, I am only interested in the curve. Also, thank you sharper00, please ignore the scales on the two axes – I am not interested in where things start for this discussion. The simple curve itself is what I get when I plot the relationship listed above, whether temp increases 2′, 5′ or whatever for each doubling of CO2 concentration. It looks alike a transistor to me with a linear region and a saturated region. In computers, if you drive transistors high enough they are either on or off and this makes them ideally suited to binary operations.
    Depending on how hard you drive them they can move into and out of the linear region and/or the saturated region. Now, if you will, please imagine the curve reflected left to right, so that the vertical axis is on the right. In this view, the saturation region is on the left, the linear region on the right.
    With that in mind, please look at the graph at this link http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm. The temperature curve looks like a saturated effect to me. This would place us currently in the linear region of the curve. Before I try to draw any conclusions, I would appreciate your comments about whether I have used the curves appropriately or not. As before, sharper00, thanks for your inputs. I hope I have conveyed my concept clearly this time.
    It seems to me to work pretty well, with the linear region appearing in the Carboniferous and Permian periods and then saturation again between then and the tertiary. We are now in the linear portion again. Just looking at it (and I know I’ll be scolded by some for eyeballing something like this) I would say that saturation occurs between 500 and 1000ppm. Again, this assumes that CO2 drives the effect. I would appreciate your comments. Thanks.

    • Chip,

      I think the reason you’re focusing on the curve and where we might be on that curve is because you’re imagining a logarithmic curve and supposing where we might be is somewhere close to where it flattens out.

      Let’s remove all other constraints for a minute and imagine pre-industrial atmospheric C02 was 10,000 PPM with human activities being on track to put it at 20,000 PPM.

      Now if you plot 0-20,000 PPM in terms of radiative temperature response then it’s almost flat by the time you get to 10,000 PPM.

      Where we are on the curve is only relevant if we’re talking about a particular PPM increase e.g. how much of a temperature increase will we get if we put an extra 300PPM C02 into the atmosphere. At 10,000 PPM it’s “almost none” and at 300PPM it’s “quite a bit”.

      Since we’re talking about human emissions in relation to what’s already in the atmosphere (a doubling) and we know the increase that comes from that (1 degree C) then the saturation isn’t particularly relevant.

      If humans had a fixed output of C02 over time then the effect of each PPM would diminish however we tend to increase our C02 output much faster than that.

      “Just looking at it (and I know I’ll be scolded by some for eyeballing something like this) I would say that saturation occurs between 500 and 1000ppm. “

      The problem isn’t just that you’re eyeballing the graph but that you’re eyeballing a graph that considers only two variables across 600 millions years. You’re never going to reach sensible conclusions on the relationship between temperature and C02 in this way anymore than the guy who tried to fit a curve back 0 PPM/255K did.

      • Thanks for your reply, sharper00. I guess what I am heading toward in looking at the curve is – is there an upper bound on the temperature if CO2 is truly driving it? Based on the curves, I would say that the temperature is not going above 22’C no matter how much you add to the concentration of CO2. At that point, I can actually ask myself how much of a problem this would be. That’s sort of what I am grappling with. Do I care? Using 1.8*F + 32 to get to ‘C (thats the conversion I remember) I looked at 71’F here (http://www.cityrating.com/averagetemperature.asp) and I see cities like Orlando, FL and Phoenix, AZ (both very nice cities in my opinion and hardly inimical to life). If the whole world was like that and I can have air conditioning, would I prefer it to the way things are now and live with rationing and a reduced standard of living? With the climate in the Jurassic being actually nicer in many ways than today’s (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11798&page=159) I am unconvinced that climate change is the most pressing problem we face. I think a rational worst case is missing from the discussion and would be helpful to know. If CO2 is the boogeyman, then I think these curves are a good start. If its not, then I have to return to my earlier idea that the situation is simply not well understood enough to take serious and expensive action in any direction.

      • Orlando? Phoenix?

        Might as well be Sodom and Gomorrah! It is absolutely inconceivable that your reward for despoiling the planet by your evil ways and Gaia-destroying lifestyle shall be to go and live in places with agreeable climates and where you might even enjoy yourself.

        Do you not realise that your place in the Cosmic Purpose is to permanently abase yourself for the Sins of Your Fathers and by living a life of poverty, cold and disease, the Gods of the Earth may eventually be appeased?

        That is your fate…listen only unto the High Priests of Climate who have seen it in the stars and in the very models of the universe that they invent. Pay heed to their wise words..and your life will indeed by painful, brutish and short.

        But the Cosmic Purposes will be fulfilled. And the Gods will dance happily on a (very chilly) Mount Olympus once more.

        Or you could conclude that the whole edifice is extremely dodgy and ignore the high priests completely. Its your choice.

      • “is there an upper bound on the temperature if CO2 is truly driving it?”

        On a 600 million year timescale C02 is not the driving factor, it’s a feedback factor. As I mentioned on the last post numerous things change across that time period including the Earth’s orbit, solar output and the configuration of the continents.

        “Based on the curves,”

        Again I don’t know what else to tell you but that you can’t reach sensible conclusions analysing a graph of that type.

        “I see cities like Orlando, FL and Phoenix, AZ (both very nice cities in my opinion and hardly inimical to life).”

        The conditions are not inimical to the life that’s there already.

        “I am unconvinced that climate change is the most pressing problem we face”

        That really depends on who the “we” is and whether you’re concerned about things that will only impact you personally (in which case you probably don’t need to worry), your children/grandchildren (in which case you might need to worry) or other people and their children (in which case yes you’re quite likely to need to worry).

        I can’t tell you whether you should be worried or not, only that the reasoning you’re using to decide if you should be worried is deeply flawed. You can’t begin your analysis from simply graphs of this type, you need to go back and see what scientists say about how climate worked in the time periods you’re talking about and which factors are different now.

        Take a look at something like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene-Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

        It covers a period about 60 million years and well within the time period you’re looking at.

        You tend to conflate regional variability with global temperature increases. Global increases can have a significant impact on the way climate works.

      • Hi Sharper00. I don’t think I’m missing anything. Over a range of CO2 concentrations spanning 1000 ppm to 7000 ppm there is no temperature change. Only at very low levels of carbon dioxide do I see variability. As to what I care about, there are innumerable cities along the Mediterranean now sunk beneath the water and others buried in the sand. I do not think we get to choose. If the average temperature in the Jurassic was 22’C it seems quite liveable to me for my grandkids, even without ice at the poles. Much more so than one where we have household energy budgets and local councils going through our trash. I have students, including one of my brightest, who are terrified that the world is going to end. I am happy to say that this blog is clearing things up in my mind in a way that leads me to be more certain than ever that when I tell them it is not I can confidently enjoy their smiles of relief and send them back to recess. In the meantime, sharper00, I would like to wish wish you and your family a happy holiday season whatever your beliefs. I do appreciate the time you’ve spent with me.

      • “I don’t think I’m missing anything. Over a range of CO2 concentrations spanning 1000 ppm to 7000 ppm there is no temperature change.”

        You don’t think you’re missing anything because you’re ignoring the things missing from the graph you’re looking at.

      • Ooops clicked post too soon:

        “I have students, including one of my brightest, who are terrified that the world is going to end.”

        The world isn’t going to end. 20 years ago kids would have been worried the world was going to end through nuclear war and before that who knows what.

        In the meantime, sharper00, I would like to wish wish you and your family a happy holiday season whatever your beliefs. “

        And to you Chip!

      • At 300 ppm it’s not “quite a bit”, it’s about 1.2°C. Mitigated by the negative feedback effects of atmospheric water, such as clouds. Trivial.

    • Go team science indeed, you’re referencing a blog which consists almost entirely of fabricated quotes about an article about something a scientist said.

      No doubt it’s all the scientists fault for saying something about climate in the first place.

      • Latimer Alder

        Oh dear.

        Sarcasm/irony a la Brit really doesn’t work with you at all does it?

      • You have no idea where I’m from Latimer.

        I see no indication “Raving” was presenting the article sarcastically, do you?

        Is the article being presented sarcastically here? Or here?

        Of course we know how this goes, it’s sarcastic because you say it is :)

      • I made no assumptions about where you come from. You could come from Adelaide, Aldershot or Azerbaijan and it would make no difference to my comment about ‘sarcasm/irony a ls Brit’ which refers to a style of speaking and/or writing often associated with Great Britain.

        Think Monty Python or Peter Cook as prime exponents among a long line of humourists…who use that technique to make more serious points.

        Now go and read the article referred to again. It is by James Delingpole who writes for the amusement and edification of readers of the Daily Telegraph. His style is often to use exaggeration and ridicule to make his point. This essay is a prime example. Now if you still don’t understand, read it again. It is a spoof…but one with a point – and being Delingpole, the point is barbed.

        For further clarification, I am sure that James would not object to me sharing with you that it was not peer-reviewed (though the 802 comments received suggest that it has been well-read), he does not expect his conclusions to be referenced in the next IPCC report, and he is not expecting a Nobel nomination – at least not for this piece alone.

      • Did you bother to read the article?

      • The article that’s built around what “Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said today in a quote I’ve made up…?”

        Yeah, Hunter, I did. We all did. Did you?

      • Actually my former PhD supervisor and evolutionary/ecology/climatology/advocacy and retired scientific expert mentioned to me a few months back regarding how horrible the situation was. He bemoaned that there are far too many people on this planet.

        Perhaps “Freedom Colt 45″ is an inexpensive retirement plan fallback of last resort for independent libertarian minded Americans?

        The article might be full of satire and hyperbole. It doesn’t alter the fact that there are many greenies who get sucked into this sort of viewpoint

        :-(

      • This article might be full of satire and hyperbole. It doesn’t alter the fact that many deniers have herpes and pubic lice.

      • Latimer Alder

        Remind me not to accept any invitations to a Warmist Christmas Party.

        The good-natured bonhomie and love for their fellow man, the sparkling wit and wisdom, the Yule Log cheerily burning away in the grate and the uplifiting high spirits of the whole occasion would probably be all too much for my mild hypertension.

        Far better indeed to sit in my hovel gently freezing away, wondering if 12-12:30 is my allocated time to use the weak pulse of wind-powered electricty allowed by the Central Committee on Carbon Neutrality. And whether the pumps will work today to bring me fresh water and handle the local sanitation. No chance to cook a festive meal for the Midwinter Feast any more, as there simply isn’t enough power to go round, and what there is is allocated to the Scientists of the IPCC so that they can work still harder to foretell the future and keep us safe from the bogeymen. But I still have a few candles left.

        There are still christmas cards. Old Fred, the postman, manages to get here about once a week (assuming his horse, Young Dobbin, doesn’t have the Colic again), and its good to hear from old friends again. I’d love to see some of them. but I can’t walk ten miles at my age since the trains and buses were withdrawn to save carbon. The few cars left are also allocated to the IPCC scientists. And its too dark to ride my bike outside at night now we don’t have streetlights any more.

        But I guess its good to know that we are saving the planet for future generations. I hope they’ll remember us and be grateful. That little thought will keep me warm tonight as the unseasonable snow and ice plies up against my little house. Good Night.

      • Nothing says “good-natured bonhomie” like “Jonestown-style ‘eco parties’ where kids can join in the fun by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.” I know, right? Like, what kind of a dork do you have to be not to find that hilarious?

      • “Jonestown-style ‘eco parties’

        Thats not very ambitious !

        I just had a flip thru my “Scientists Pocket Book Of Doomsday Scenarios ” and “Nuclear Winter” fair jumped of the page two birds withe on stone.

        From the appendix:
        phd = Pessimistic Humorless Depressive

        Sounds about right!!

      • Latimer Alder

        I have absolutely no idea what your remarks are supposed to convey. I have heard of Jonestown..some cult guys who topped themselves yonks ago. But what is Kool Aid? And who is holding eco-parties? Why should I find it hilarious?

      • Having had the rather unfortunate experience of being assigned to ‘Special Handling’ at Dover AFB shortly after the Jonestown Masssacre.

        The ‘victims’ regularly drank kool-aid, a sugary fruit flavored drink popular with children in the ’60’s and 70’s,
        as commanded by their glorious cult leader during ritualistic ceremonies. On their final day, the kool-aid was laced with poison.

        In contemporary slang people with blind faith in cults or leaders of various causes are referred to as ‘kool aid drinkers’.

      • Nullius in Verba

        I think the entire point of the joke is that killing kids to reduce pressure on the environment isn’t funny, but that extremist eco-supporters are the sort of people who think it is, and that’s what’s so scary about them. It’s a use of irony on Delingpole’s part – saying the opposite of what you mean for humorous effect.

        Admittedly, the eco-supporters themselves proposed pressing little red buttons that exploded the little darlings in a splatter of blood and gore, but the basic motif is the same.

      • sharper00 & PDA: However, if one follows the link to the real reportage,
        Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world
        , one finds serious claims of 4C temperature increase and associated catastrophes by 2060 that exceed the IPCC AR4 scenarios — unless the developing world renounces growth and undertakes stringent rationing.

        Do you believe this and support the recommended draconian measures? What are your economic forecasts if the developed world stops growing?

        Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration.

        ***

        Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

        ***

        Other papers published on ‘4C and beyond’ in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A warned of rising sea levels, droughts in river basins and mass migrations.

        ***

      • “Do you believe this and support the recommended draconian measures?”

        I don’t believe 4C warming by 2060 is particularly likely nor do I think “rationing” is either a sensible or workable solution.

        Do you want to explain how that justifies making up a story about suicide and others passing it along approvingly as if it was factual?

        According to his staff page Kevin Anderson is a marine engineer so I don’t find his views on either climate or economics notable. His work appears to focus on transport and energy.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Do you want to explain how that justifies making up a story about suicide and others passing it along approvingly as if it was factual?’

        More fool those who fell for it :-)

        Sceptics have a keen sense of the ridiculous – after all we get plenty of practice with the self-important outpourings of the humourless Climatologists.

      • sharper00: I assumed all involved understood it as satire, sarcasm, parody, exaggeration, etc.

        See Swift, Jonathan. A Modest Proposal. 1729.

      • “The article might be full of satire and hyperbole. It doesn’t alter the fact that there are many greenies who get sucked into this sort of viewpoint” – original poster

      • Latimer Alder

        And?

  27. 1. Current science is so badly damaged and corrupted that it is unsalvageable. Handouts from governments for a certain outcome has generated a “peer-reviewed” like minded class of scientists that will only follow the LAWS that they created.
    I have found so far 4 planetary changes that are fluffed off to AGW but makes absolutely no sense to be in that theory.
    1) Salinity changes only on the surface of the oceans.
    2) Growth up mountains takes a great deal of back pressure against the atmosphere to achieve as the rotating atmosphere generate a great deal of force downward.
    3)Winds diminishing Globally are generated from too many molecules accumulating in the atmosphere generating a great deal of frictional drag.
    4) Light density changes. I have not look into this area too much but a great deal of dust debris and soot is generated through out the globe.
    These points point out to a pressure build-up in the atmosphere rather than temperature measurements that are only fluctuating after or during occurring events. Temperature measurements do not forecast events.

  28. Would these papers all be model runs & simulations?
    Models that all appear to ignore the warmer world = a nicer world for humanity, as taught to us by history?
    The world warmed and modern humans spread northwards from Africa, through a now green corridor into the Levant, they died out when a cold spell caused desertification, humans again spread when the next warm period occured, thrived during the Minoan & Roman Warm Periods, when warmth enabled agriculture to support more people in towns and cities, our race has prospered.

    • Latimer Alder

      Don’t be daft.

      The ideal temperature for the planet was abc.de K. Fill in whatever numbers you like as long as it’s not today’s number. And disaster, pestilence and catastrophe will follow if that number ever gets to abc+2.de K.

      Warmer = worse under all circumstances. Warmer = Original Sin 2, and look where the first one got Adam & Eve..it didn’t have a happy outcome for them.

      Forget whatever the historical and archaeological record shows you. Whatever they recorded were purely local phenomena and should be conveniently discarded in a global discussion (but did you notice a hot place in the Arctic last week that Prooooooves global warming- and couldn’t possibly have been due to an observational error?).

      Those who wrote down contemporary history were obviously possessed by Satan and their words placed so that thousands of years later they could be used by the enemies of Mother Gaia to subvert her noble cause.

      And even considering such things suggests that you are a heretical denier.
      Back in the old days we would have burnt you at the stake….that is clearly no longer possible becasue of emission controls. But deep in the heart of Green Friends of Wildlife and the Peaceful Earth Fund, we know where you live and our buddies from 10:10 will be round to do the deed in a suitably public and unpleasant way.

      So away with you with your history and archaeology and other artefacts of the Devil. Keep quiet or we’ll have to eliminate you.

      No Pressure.

  29. Land use is an interesting topic. My understanding is that two of the most significant ways to change the albedo is to change forests into farmland and to change farmland into urban areas. Following the pattern of land use changes one would expect the greatest number of adjustments to land temperature readings prior to 1900 to be higher to represent increased albedo and the greatest number of adjustments after 1950 to be lower to represent decreased albedo. Can anyone address if the adjustments follow what I would consider to be the logical pattern and if not address why this is not a reasonable assumption to make?

    • I should specify that this is mostly true in temperate zones where the snow on open farmland makes the greatest difference.

      • Your partially correct but we have changed the course of a great deal of the evaporation patterns in the trillions of gallon of water a day we take out of the eco-system.

      • I would argue that we add water to the ecosystem as supported by the decreasing water levels in aquifers.

      • Eh? I’m not sure what you’re saying.

        In the vein of matter not being created nor destroyed, this water goes back. Maybe not directly where it came from, but it certainly goes back to the ecosystem.

        Can you please elaborate just a bit?

      • In the vein of matter not being created nor destroyed, this water goes back. Maybe not directly where it came from, but it certainly goes back to the ecosystem.

        Can you please elaborate just a bit?

        Three things can happen here. First, many chemical reactions consume water (and some produce it), so one cannot strictly speaking consider water to be perfectly conserved. Second, water can be moved between ecosystems, such as evaporation from the desert precipitating elsewhere and leaving the desert drier (and vice versa but long-term trends can cause desertification). Third, the “elsewhere” may be the ocean, which turns fresh water into sea water. Reversing that is achieved primarily by evaporation.

        Ideally these processes achieve in equilibrium in the long run. However equilibria often fluctuate in the short run. Furthermore they can shift in the long run in response to environmental changes, such as global temperature responding to changing greenhouse gases.

      • Most carbon based combustion processes generate more H2O vapor than CO2.

      • Most carbon based combustion processes generate more H2O vapor than CO2.

        Yes but that’s completely irrelevant to global warming. Here’s the relevant math.

        1. Temperature increases logarithmically with increasing quantity of any given greenhouse gas.

        2. Water vapor and CO2 are greenhouse gases.

        3. The atmosphere has 1-2% water vapor and .04% CO2.

        4. Suppose a process produces twice as much water vapor as CO2, and suppose it is enough to double atmospheric CO2. Then it will raise atmospheric water vapor by 8% (do the math).

        The impact of that process on global warming is therefore entirely due to the rise in CO2. The corresponding rise in water vapor is negligible by comparison, even though the process produced twice as much water vapor as CO2.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Do the math(s)’

        I did. I didn’t get 8% as you suggest. I got several places of decimals different. Please explain.

      • 0.04 = 4% of 1.0 and 8% of 2.0

      • Latimer Alder

        OK .

        8% of the existing 1 or 2%. Not 8% absolute. A tad ambiguous, but we agree.

  30. Michael Larkin

    As this is an open thread, I want to raise an issue that is dear to my heart, and would welcome any ideas or comments. I am a trained educator as well as one-time software developer. I’ve got my educator hat on for this post.

    First, we have to distinguish between educating and conveying information that is, to some degree or other, generally accepted. The latter really represents varying degrees of indoctrination, and that isn’t always completely bad, but it doesn’t have much to do with education, if you believe, as I do, that that is about finding ways of training people to think for themselves.

    To do that, one needs to be attuned to the state of mind of the trainee. The technical term sometimes used is “entry behaviour”. It’s not sufficient to be able to describe this; one needs to be able to empathise with it.

    I read one study where it turned out there were only a relatively few key misapprehensions that inhibited the development of basic maths skills, for example. If you want to really know how a learner with naïve entry behaviour thinks, it pays to focus on what the key misapprehensions are, why they are prevalent, and develop strategies that from the very start deal with those quickly.

    Education is, I believe, a key issue in the climate debate. A little over a year ago, I wasn’t much involved in it, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can see what my own entry behaviour was.

    Take climate models, for example. A few years back, when I just accepted what the media said, there was a programme on TV – probably the BBC – in which there was announced an initiative to roll out a distributed-processing climate model simulation. I, and doubtless thousands of others, downloaded and ran the software, which fed back generated data via the Internet.

    I didn’t have it loaded for long as I found it affected system performance, but it had a nice pretty picture of a globe with lots of swirly events going on. In my naiveté, I imagined that it was somehow creating a future prediction over some period or other – maybe centuries, and that that prediction could be reasonably accurately mapped spatio-temporally to the globe. So that – oh, I don’t know – maybe in thirty years, a specific location like Uruguay would be a certain temperature.

    I didn’t know then how surface temperatures were measured. I certainly didn’t know about satellites and Argo buoys, for example, but it didn’t cross my mind to think that in recent times, temperatures were still being measured by common-or-garden thermometers which even I knew wouldn’t be much more accurate than 0.5 deg. either way. I assumed it was all some vague super-accurate technology, and whilst I imagined there must be some kind of central organisation collating and analysing all this data, I had no idea about the existence of the IPCC and the different groups of climate scientists associated with places like the CRU. I had no notion that temperature data was processed, either.

    Then along came Climategate, and I started getting more interested in the nuts and bolts. I desperately needed to find a decent primer. But no one out there seemed to be clued in to my entry behaviour. They seemed primarily involved in one of two things. First, disseminating not things that would help me think for myself, but convince me one way or the other. Second, things which I could perceived had educative value, but which were presented at too demanding a level. I was often referred to scienceofdoom, and all sides seemed to think that site is worthy. But it started at too high a level, and from my viewpoint rapidly went stratospheric. I needed something to bridge the gap between entry behaviour and that.

    I haven’t even mentioned all the emotional influences in the debate. Partisanship, disdain, defensiveness… and all the rest, which, once perceived (from whatever side), cast doubts on reliability.

    Somehow, I had to negotiate my way through the morass. The only place I found that sometimes spoke to my ignorance was WUWT, and particularly a fellow by the name of Willis Eschenbach. Willis may not realise it, but he is a born educator; he has an instinct for how the naïve mind works, and does not speak down to it. Okay, sometimes he goes above my head, but there is no one else in quite the same league. Yes, he’s a sceptic, but in no ways a bigot, and he can be as harsh on misinformed sceptics as on proponents, and that impressed on me his likely integrity.

    Now and then, as in Nullius in verba’s recent post on the recent thread about the physics of the GHG effect, something will rise to the same educative level. And just occasionally, something a poster says – it may well be in passing and incidental to the main point of the posting, hits a sweet spot and lifts a veil or two.

    I hope climate cognoscenti are listening and that I am also lifting a veil or two for them. But I can’t really say at this point that I have a definitive point to make. It’s just something I wanted to express and put out there to see if it had any resonance and perhaps would lead to some constructive points, observations and suggestions, without getting into yet more pointless invective from any direction.

    Just adding one thing, Dr. Curry does not always hit a sweet spot for me with her own writings. But she has another characteristic of a born educator: tolerance and respect for the learner, be s/he ever so naïve and, from her point of view, perhaps even plain wrong. She lets things play out, even lets some of the steam get vented, and, inexorably, at least in my view, that is raising the debate to a higher level. I’ve learnt a great deal since she started the blog, if not always here, through investigations elsewhere prompted by it. I think she is doing something very right here.

    • This is a really good post, I am pondering this.

      • Warning: The background presumption is that the science is correct and purpose of the exercise is to educate the public as to the reality of the situation & rebuild trust in the methodologies of science.

        The science regarding such a complex problem is as best muddled.

        Placing of emphasis on ‘spin’ and educating the public as to what is good for them is excessively effective and fundamentally misleading.

        At this stage of things, overkill in effective message delivery is a detriment more than a benefit. YMMV

    • Yes, this is a good post. Michael Larkin describes very much where I am too. Early in my

      However, I am somewhat more cynical. I don’t think most climate change scientists and advocates are interested in educating so much as indoctrinating.

  31. You’re going to like this new post by Randy Olson entitled: A moment in climate history: when Al Gore tried to brush aside the entire climate skeptic movement

    http://thebenshi.com/2010/12/02/90-a-moment-in-climate-history-when-al-gore-tried-to-brush-aside-the-entire-climate-skeptic-movement/

    • Latimer Alder

      Can I be the first to say

      ‘Next time I see Al Gore at a meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
      the crap out of him. Very tempted’

      OK – I’ll admit it was (near) plagiarism. The original quote from Ben Santer
      is

      ‘Next time I see Pat Micheals at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
      the crap out of him. Very tempted’

      …which seems kinda relevant to earlier threads here.

      But Jeez, how did the jerk Gore ever get to within a heartbeat of the Big Red Nuclear Button? We had a puffed-up buffoon called John Prescott as Deputy PM, but he was just a joke – and treated as such. Gore is positively dangerous……..

      • But Jeez, how did the jerk Gore ever get to within a heartbeat of the Big Red Nuclear Button? We had a puffed-up buffoon called John Prescott as Deputy PM, but he was just a joke – and treated as such. Gore is positively dangerous……..

        Fortunately W had gone on the wagon before he was allowed near the Button. Otherwise one of those 1461 nights he was in office: Boom.

      • Didn’t have to worry about that with Clinton. He couldn’t have made anything go boom even if he wanted, having lost the launch codes.

    • Latimer Alder

      Olson makes a good point…pretending that the opposition isn’t there and will just fade away is not a good tactic under any circumstances….unless the opposition is only in your imagination.

      In UK politics, the General Election of 1992 was memorable for a rally of the Labour Party opposition faithful about four or five days before polling. It was entirely triumphant in tone assumed that their leader, Neil Kinnock, had won, and went down a treat with those in the hall in Sheffield. But it fell down like a lead zeppelin with the public watching at home on TV who very much disliked the idea that their votes were being taken for granted. Their opponents – led by the mild-mannered and ever modest Mr. Major – won an unexpected victory.

      Premature ejaculation is always a disappointment and a mistake.

      The other reason that it was a BIG mistake to ignore/marginalise/moderate/smear the sceptics is that the warmists got even sloppier and flabbier with their arguments. Talking only to themselves…like Neil Kinnock and the Labour Party rally has meant that they are out of condition.

      Their arguments have rarely been really challenged in debate…and on the few occasions when they have been (glory be to Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Anthony Montford, Douglas J Keenan and all the others.
      And of course to Judith) have been found to be wanting and/or just plain wrong.

      In sporting terms they are not match fit. Perhaps they have some quality players in their team – along with a lot of second and third raters – but they’ve only been playing kickaround stuff against each other for the last ten years.

      The sceptics meanwhile have been honing their game. Learning the tricks of the trade (Climategate gave a great lesson in such ‘tricks’). When its very hard to get onto the pitch, you make the most of your few minutes. and you never, ever give up probing the opposition. That’s how science is supposed to work.

      And, IMO, you can see the result in this most welcome blog. The warmist team first refused to turn up as it was beneath their dignity to do so. Then when some of them finally did put in appearance, they expected to roll over the other team with a few shouts of ‘denier’, ‘Big Oil’, ‘creationist’, and other such mindless blather that goes down so well on their home turf, but has no resonance outside their own little world.

      And now we are finally getting down to the real game, challenging the real basis for AGW, it is proving hard for them to come up with the goods. Claiming that the audience is just too stupid or unqualified too understand is really not a good tactic.

      Its an interesting game. Its great that Judith had the ‘cojones’ to set it up. But the sceptics ain’t going away any time soon. However much wishful thinking Big Stoopid Al may indulge in.

      Final sporting analogy. In 2005, Liverpool played Inter Milan in the European Cup Final (for NA readers, the soccer equivalent of the Super Bowl five times over).

      At half time, Milan were 3-0 up and cruising to an easy victory. Liverpool scored 3 goals in 6 minutes to level the scores and win the penalty shoot out 3-2. A truly amazing piece of sporting history.

      My guess is that if he had been a soccer fan Gore would have seen the half time score and got on his plane to be in Milan to welcome the winning team home…and to try to pretend that he had something to do with it. Big mistake Al. Premature ejaculation is always a disappointment and a mistake.

      • Latimer,

        You won’t be surprised to find that I’m not entirely in agreement with a lot of that ; )

        But just to pick up on a couple of points –

        Their arguments have rarely been really challenged in debate…and on the few occasions when they have been (glory be to Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Anthony Montford, Douglas J Keenan and all the others.
        And of course to Judith) have been found to be wanting and/or just plain wrong.

        Well that’s a rather subjective view – and people in general tend to believe that debates are won by the side they favour. From where I’m sitting it’s the sceptics’ arguments which seem to fall apart when subjected to close scrutiny. But my question is which arguments in favour of AGW do you consider to have been proved just plain wrong?

        When its very hard to get onto the pitch, you make the most of your few minutes. and you never, ever give up probing the opposition. That’s how science is supposed to work.

        It is really? I mean I’m not a scientist myself so I’m happy to admit I could be wrong on this but I thought that science was about pursuing the evidence wherever it leads and trying to reach the correct conclusions, not about taking sides and trying to defeat the opposition. I do understand that science can be competitive, that rivalries can and do occur and scientists, being human, may find their priorities slightly skewed by this, but I would hardly think we should hold that up as the ideal of how science should operate.

      • Latimer Alder

        In all these areas the ‘science’ has been found badly wanting. These are just the ones I’ve been concentrating on, other citizen scientists will know more about other areas.

        Basic temperature data collection and accuracy? compromised (eg UHI)
        Adjusted temperature data? flawed – and always in the direction of ‘more warming’ (NZ example)
        The Hockey Stick and therefore ‘unprecedented’ recent warming? utterly discredited
        Climate sensitivity? not even measured well enough even to say whether it is a positive or negative effect.
        Climate models? 30 different models. None has a half-decent track record of verifiable predictions.
        High professional standards and world class in IT and world class work? It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic. Amateur in the extreme

        ‘The Science is Settled’ : Pull the other one its got bells on it.

        Taken together there isn’t really a lot of CAW theory left. Wishful thinking and passionate commitment to a cause only get you so far. You actually have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

        And I think that my sporting analogy stands up very well in this case. It is a battle of ideas – with huge consequences for everybody now alive and for generations to come. It is not a Vicar’s Tea Party.

        Every point must be tested to destruction and/or until unequivocal evidence is available. Would you really rather have it any other way?

  32. Tere’s a new article, Lies, Damned Lies, andMedical Science, in The Atlantic on a medical professor, Dr. John Ioannidis, who claims that subtle errors creep into most medical research invalidating most of it.

    I suspect that his arguments apply equally as well to climate science and for basically the same reasons. Here’s a quote from the article that I’ve broken up and bolded a bit:

    In the paper, Ioannidis laid out a detailed mathematical proof that, assuming modest levels of researcher bias, typically imperfect research techniques, and the well-known tendency to focus on exciting rather than highly plausible theories, researchers will come up with wrong findings most of the time.

    Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right.

    [snip]

    The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views.

    “You can question some of the details of John’s calculations, but it’s hard to argue that the essential ideas aren’t absolutely correct,” says Doug Altman, an Oxford University researcher who directs the Centre for Statistics in Medicine.

    • Even the essence of what you provide feels flawed and misleads. Blame is placed on “tendency to focus on exciting rather than highly plausible theories”.

      It seems that many pharmaceutical companies prefer to re-invent preexisting drugs by providing them in new-and-improved re-patentable delivery vehicles or by demonstrating the worth of preexisting products to off-target situations. This allows the industry to extend their patent protection without creating fundamentally new tools.

      The medical researcher ends up lending credence to the successful marketing of ‘laundry detergent’. One brand of detergent is about the same as another. The trick is to make one’s own brand more desirable.

      Here, it is not the lack of a new product that is at fault, it’s the researcher’s failure to back up the advertiser’s claim.

      Nasty.

  33. PDA asks in #comment-17669

    Hilary, just out of curiosity: what do you think “for the most part” means?

    Considering the status of Mann & Weaver in the pantheon of “climate science” – and the noticeable absence of any indication that their colleagues have publicly taken them to task for their respective dives into the hyperbole pool – in this particular context, I would have to say that it probably does not mean what you would like it to mean.

    IOW, silence equals acquiescence. But you probably knew that.

    • “IOW, silence equals acquiescence”

      Also in other words you’re criticising one scientist for engaging the media while criticising all other scientists for NOT engaging the media.

      I think it’s pretty obvious that the issue isn’t scientists being in the media but whether they’re saying things you agree with.

      I also think it’s pretty sad that Dr Curry is now fostering an environment of collective responsibility on climate scientists such that they can now individuals will be criticised for one thing and all others will be criticised for not doing the exact same thing but with a different point of view. It’s clear climate scientists will now never be able to escape criticism because they’ll always be doing either too much or too little to advance a favoured point of view.

      • Latimer Alder

        Tough.

        That’s the price you pay for being in a highly controversial field.

        And associating collectively with those for whom total integrity appears to be less of a motivator than other drivers. Like the number of citations, ‘getting a paper out of it’, career advancement and ‘beating the crap’ out of people, to name just a few.

        Your bed. You lie in it.

      • Latimer Alder

        Ooops..just spotted.

        My last sentence was, of course, based on the old proverb ‘You made your bed, now you must lie in it’. Any ambiguity was entirely unconscious.

      • Oh, come on. “Associating collectively?” I’m sure there are any one of a number of RF engineers “for whom total integrity appears to be less of a motivator than other drivers.” Am I then to be pilloried for “associating collectively” with them? Really, is there any field of human endeavor where there’s not a significant number of peaople motivated by something less than “total integrity?”

        Demonize a whole class of people if you wish, but don’t blame those you demonize for it, or pretend to take any sort of a moral stance in so doing.

      • Latimer Alder

        I know for a fact that I associate with one or two individuals among my wide group of friends and acquaintances who would need at least a month long session in a confessional if they ever chose to convert to catholicism. And I make no claims whatsoever about my moral purity. Like most, there are a few skeletons in my cupboard.

        But neither I, nor they. go around loudly proclaiming with all the psuedo-authority of ‘The Consensus of 97% of All Climate Scientists’ that the rest of us must immediately change our evil ways and be saved from the Fires of Hell – and the damnation of generations yet to be born, by following their unequivocal advice that we must scrap our lifestyle for a more Gaia-friendly (= vocal greenie approved) one.

        Because if I did, or if they did, it would not be a surprise if one or two who objected to being hectored and lectured in such a way might quite reasonably ask to see some evidence for those views, and to wonder about the moral purity of the prophets. They would expect those questions to be answered seriously and thoroughly rather than to be arrogantly dismissed as the work of cranks and placemen of Satan.

        And if the leading prophets were also to be found wanting in some important and relevant ways (in this case in the matter of their scientific integrity), then they might expect the remainder of the 97% to at least say ‘tsk..we think that these guys are doing our righteous cause a lot of harm and we’ll ask them to mend their ways in future. Or to bite their tongues and let others take the lead’.

        But that is not what we see. Not a peep. Not one word of even the slightest criticism. 97% of all known climate scientists think that their behaviour and attitude to outsiders is fine, ok, dandy, top notch, tip top and tickety boo. Which I find to be very revealing about their approach too – anything goes in a rightful cause. And that is extremely distasteful.

        As GLA says below, you may not like it, I may not like it, but this whole field now has a political stance. It was the early climatologists – and their more recent eager acolytes – who let the genie out of the bottle. If you feel that this has perverted the cause of disinterested science, then I might very well agree with you.

        But the fables tell us that once the genie is released, he can’t be put back. Standing on a soapbox and hollering at the rest of us invites deep and ruthless scrutiny. I know for a fact that I associate with one or two individuals – among my wide group of friends and acquaintances – who would need a month long session in a confessional if they ever chose to convert to catholicism. And I make no claims whatsoever about my moral purity. Like most, there are a few skeletons in my cupboard too.

        But neither I, nor they. go around loudly proclaiming with all the psuedo-authority of ‘The Consensus of 97% of All Climate Scientists’ that the rest of us must immediately change our evil ways and be saved from the Fires of Hell – and the damnation of generations yet to be born, by following their unequivocal advice that we must scrap our lifestyle for a more Gaia-friendly (= vocal greenie approved) one.

        Because if I did, or if they did, it would not be a surprise if one or two who objected to being hectored and lectured in such a way might quite reasonably ask to see some evidence for those views, and to wonder about the moral purity of the prophets. They would expect those questions to be answered seriously and thoroughly rather than to be arrogantly dismissed as the work of cranks and placemen of Satan.

        And if the leading prophets were also to be found wanting in some important and relevant ways (in this case in the matter of their scientfic integrity), then they might expect the remainder of the 97% to at least say ‘tsk..we think that these guys are doing our righteous cause a lot of harm and we’ll ask them to mend their ways in future. Or to bite their tongues and let others take the lead’.

        But that is not what we see. Not a peep. Not one word of even the slightest criticism. 97% of all known climate scientists think that their behaviour and attitude to outsiders is fine, ok, dandy, top notch, tip top and tickety boo. Which I find to be very revealing about their approach too – anything goes in a rightful cause. And that is extremely distasteful.

        As GLA says below, you may not like it, I may not like it, but this whole field now has a political stance. It was the early climatologists – and their more recent eager acolytes – who let the genie out of the bottle. If you feel that this has perverted the cause of disinterested science, then I might very well agree with you.

        But the fables tell us that once the genie is released, he can’t be put back. If you stand on a soapbox and holler at the rest of us about our wicked ways, you invite deep and ruthless scrutiny. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

        Tough. Get over it.

      • Latimer Alder

        Apologies for the double article. The unseasonable snow seems to be affecting my broadband connection tonight. Hope you can understand my drift :-)

      • But neither I, nor they. go around loudly proclaiming with all the psuedo-authority of ‘The Consensus of 97% of All Climate Scientists’ that the rest of us must immediately change our evil ways and be saved from the Fires of Hell – and the damnation of generations yet to be born, by following their unequivocal advice that we must scrap our lifestyle for a more Gaia-friendly (= vocal greenie approved) one.

        Pray that no one lights a match. You’ve packed the thread with so many straw man that it’ll will burn like a Saturn V if it goes up…

      • Pray that no one lights a match. You’ve packed the thread with so many straw man that it’ll will burn like a Saturn V if it goes up…

        Spot on. This Latimer Adler character belongs in a Jane Austen novel.

      • Latimer Alder

        Alder, not Adler. The tree, not the formidable Irene from Sherlock Holmes.

        But thanks for the kind reference to the sainted Jane. I’m glad that you view my contributions as the epitome of ‘Sense and Sensibility’.

        And of ‘Persuasion’, of course :-)

      • Also in other words you’re criticising one scientist for engaging the media while criticising all other scientists for NOT engaging the media.

        I see this as facile.

        It’s in the best interests of “the climate science community” at large to distance itself from hyperbole. Mann et al are perceived, like it or not, as the collective voice and representative of all. This is the sort of stuff that creates highly motivated, die hard skeptics and deniers out of otherwise disinterested citizens, and if this goes on, what is turning out to be a cheesed off collection of voters (and growing every time such hyperbole kicks in) will see to it that a permanent end is put to it. At least in the US, anyway, where the voters are the government.

        You may not like this. I may not like this. But the bottom line is that the political perception of the citizens will be what decides policy, and action that may be distasteful and/or time wasting — i.e. not letting hyperbole rule — will have to be taken. If only this whole discussion wasn’t corrupted by politics. (sigh)

      • Also in other words you’re criticising one scientist for engaging the media while criticising all other scientists for NOT engaging the media.

        Wrong – on both counts. I’m criticizing two high-profile and influential “climate scientists” (by way of example … I could have added Pachauri and others) who have chosen to dive deep into the hyperbole pool – knowing full well McLuhan’s maxim that ‘the medium is the message’.

        And I’m criticizing their colleagues (which I’m sure is a far smaller group than your “all other scientists”) who failed to publicly take them to task – knowing full well that they were wrong.

        Furthermore, unless your reading comprehension skills are lower than I am giving you credit for, I’m inclined to think you already knew that.

  34. Robust debate is taking place at CA and WUWT over the ramifications of O’Donnell et al 2010 for Steig et al 2009 on the subject of Antarctic temperature trends. I suggest that it should be a topic for discussion on Climate Etc. Thank you for considering this request.

  35. Does anyone else have this slowly-growing perception:

    There is, it appears to me, a growing dichotomy between increasingly desperate policy manoeuvres together with the MSM reporting of these and the reasonably frequent shafts of analytical light seen on this and some other websites

    In Aus, we are being told, yelled at actually (through the MSM) that “we must act, renewables good, CO2 tax good, coal/nuclear bad, natural gas is the saviour, or geothermal or tidal, or … etc etc”, but there is almost no attempt at replacing adjectival hyperbole with actual numbers. This pointless and contradictory blancmange is crescendoing – the din is becoming deafening and definitely unintelligible. I am increasingly reminded of the comment made some time ago (sorry, no hope of remembering who) that our public discourse sounds like a rookery in full throat

    Compared to that, this website (and some others) is a repository of relative sanity. At least issues are discussed and analysed in some fashion

    The contrast between the increasing and ultimately pointless din and quieter but sharper threads here is genuinely beginning to unnerve me. Like Alice Through the Looking Glass, I can see no good coming out of it. Long experience tells me that whenever irreconcilable forces are at odds, the end results are destructive

    I find it worrying

    • Michael Larkin

      I suspect what you’re detecting may be more of a problem in Australia than elsewhere. The signs in Europe, at any rate, is that AGW is slowly receding into the background; that’s my take any way. Austerity measures in the UK mean that AGW is the least of people’s concerns at the moment, plus, of course, we are in the depths of a cold spell. Concerns over the Euro and massive bailouts for Ireland, Portugal, maybe Spain, etc, are in the forefront in the rest of Europe.

      • Latimer Alder

        Don’t forget that the Communications Director of the Met. Office appeared on national telly to tell us all that the cold snap, early snow, end of civilisation as we know it (this is England – we are awful at handling snow) etc was all due to Global Warming. To national hilarity and clutching of sides.

        Once ridicule and laughter walk through the door, credibility leaps out the window. I’m sure she cost the warmists another 10 points in the opinion polls. Which leaves them only the hardcore nutters. Sadly, quite a few of them are currently in the Government.

        But All Things Must Pass…..

    • Australia, sadly, has been high jacked by ideologue extremists in government positions devoted to climate crisis promotion and profiteering. Good luck with that.

  36. Crazy question:

    Could all of the wind generators have an effect on global average wind speed?

    How about if we put up, say 1000 times the number of wind generators – could that increased friction against the wind have the effect of slowing down global average wind speed?

    Or is the low height of wind generators, compared to the height of the atmosphere, simply to low to cause any perceptible change in wind speed.

    It just seems to be that the energy coming out of the wind (the energy turning the turbine blades) must result in lower average wind speed – but I have never seen anyone discuss this.

    I would think that if average wind speed were to drop, say one or two miles per hour, at some point in the near or far future, that this could have many unforeseen consequences, for weather, rainfall, etc.

    Not to mention that in that case wind may not be a renewable resource, but a diminishing resource like oil or natural gas.

    Just wondering if anybody has any thoughts on this issue – or if this is a crazy question.

  37. I don’t think it’s a crazy question: “The influence of large-scale wind power on global climate”
    David W. Keith et al
    PNAS Nov 2004

  38. Wind turbines are destined to become the raw material for a thriving scrap industry. The Rare Earth content of the motors alone …

  39. Here is a great essay on weather vs. cliamte:

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/whether-its-weather-or-climate-matters?nocache=1#comment-960

    To join in on windmill, bashing, one of my favorite things:
    The sooner governments stop wasting precious resources of money and time on windmills, the better.
    Windmills are terrible on the landscape, destroy habitat, kill birds, produce crappy power at high cost and require crazy amounts of maintenance.
    In Texas, the agency that manages the electrical grid allots less than 10% of windmill nameplate stated power potential to actual dependable deliverable power.

    • I windmills are funded by prrivate industry and not the government, why are you againest them? Do offshore windmills bother you less?

      • They are massively subsidised with green incentives.

        In the UK the energy companies are forced to by Green energy from them, massive subsidies, and it is not the governments money, it is the taxpayers…

        Energy Bills are soaring because of ‘wind farms’

        How many more will be in fuel poverty because of the climate Change act.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/02/who-are-the-climate-fools-climate-fools-day/

      • Latimer Alder

        In UK wind energy producers are paid 47p per KWh of electricity they sell to the grid. The average price for the same power generated conventionally is about 12p. The difference – about 35 p (300%) per KWh is a massive subsidy from the taxpayer/bill payer to the wind generating companies. Without, not a single new windmill would have been built in the last 30 years.

      • In the US, utility companies are **forced** to buy “renewables” whether they’re a good idea or not (it’s pure politics) and the utility customers end up paying more. I don’t have the actual figures off the top of my head, but I think windmill power is at least 3x-4x per kwh more expensive as a general rule. I’ve seen arguments to the contrary but invariably the arguers aren’t up close and personal; I tend to listen to my (close relative) who works for (biggest wind power turbine mfg in the world, comes from spain) and is in charge of putting in these *enforced purchase* wind farms in (his or her) territory. (He/she) is the first to admit that were the government not forcing utililties to buy, (he/she) would be out of a job.

        The notion that private industry buys windmills in any viable quantitty is inconsistent with the facts on the ground.

      • I was not aware that any US power companies were forced to buy “renewable” generated power. Where is that the case?

      • randomengineer

        Start with CA’s AB23 for starters, mandating n% (I forget what n actually is) renewables by 2020 or 2025, etc. Lots of states have similar statutes.

      • 2004-West Coast Governors Global Warming Initiative

        http://www.ef.org/westcoastclimate/

        “Set goals and implement strategies and incentives to increase retail energy sales from renewable resources by one percent or more annually in each state through 2015.”

  40. Hey, here you guys go: a Kickstart for “entrepreneurial” science:

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/st_sciencekickstart/

    One of the leading skeptic scientists could propose a project that’s not now being funded by the big guys, and you could raise money for it here and on WUWT, CA, and some of the other popular sites. You could probably improve the bang/buck ratio by using public data and crowdsourcing the grunt work on the internet.

    If you guys want to make an impact and force mainstream science to sit up and take notice, I think this would be an excellent way to do it.

  41. One hopes a team of anthropologists with field experience in studying the Yanamo Ayamara and Twi will launch an expedition into the climate blogosphere to explore and compare the strange tea-drinking and exotic snuff taking customs of the Fierce Commenting People.

    • Professor, I’m unconvinced that “average skeptic” is fungible with “tea partier.” Your data, sir?

  42. Does anyone know if temp data for the Arctic latitudes has ever been deleted from the global data base and a new result calculated? Is global warming still there?

    Most of the twentieth century warming seems to have taken place up north. Ocean data (70% of the earth) is suspect, the southern hemisphere shows little warming (Antarctica none) and even the continental US shows only insignificant warming since the thirties. Is it possible that this could be a regional rather than a global manifestation?

    As an empiricist, I have always been disturbed by the rationalist assumption that climate is best investigated by creating global models and then hitting them with external forcings. They pay little attention to internal forcings and blaze ahead with deductive reasoning leaving induction in the hands of Bacon and other of us old fossils.

    Could this whole concept of global warming be due to data being skewed by an exceptionally warm arctic? On the other hand do the models say that an exceptional warm arctic is the result of a general warming? Can anyone help here?

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Paul,
      The temperature for the Arctic region has been available at numerous locations around it for over 100 years. The temperature rose in that period up to 1941, then started down to about 1971. It then started back up and peaked about 2002. It has been flat to slightly down since. The peak near 1941 is almost as large as the peak in 2002, but the CO2 effect is considered to be mainly active only for the 2002 case. Thus no CO2 warming beyond previous case even in last 100 years. Prior to this the temperature and ice condition is not well known, however, there is a newspaper article in 1815 describing the possibility of a Northern passage due to melting sea ice in the polar region! It appears, claims of unusual Arctic temperatures are not supported. However, there is one new factor that may be having more effect that previous. That is black carbon from human activity (not CO2). This may be adding to the present melt level of summer sea ice compared to past cases.

  43. Being sceptical to meteroligists or climate researchers is entering a dead end street.
    It is the alarmism I am sceptical to.
    Alarms make us take the wrong decisions.
    The world is warming, humans are many, and it causes problems.
    Let’s solve them as we always did, with enginuitee and hard work.

  44. David L. Hagen

    From what is to what should we do. See:

    McKitrick, Ross R. (2010) Economic Analysis of Environmental Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 288 pp

    Opening with a discussion of contemporary pollution problems, institutional players and the main policy instruments at our disposal, Ross McKitrick develops core theories of environmental valuation and optimal control of pollution. Chapters that follow cover issues like tradable permits, regulatory standards, emission taxes, and polluter liability as well as advanced topics like trade and the environment, sustainability, risk, inequality, and self-monitoring. Throughout, McKitrick uses clear, intuitive, and coherent analytical tools, so that students, academics, and practitioners can develop their policy analysis skills while comprehending the debates and challenges at the frontier of this exciting and rapidly-developing field.

  45. Is there an index to all the Threads? I found the link to “Skeptics: make your best case” in another Thread and then I had a difficult time finding it again until I found the Thread that had the link.

    • Herman – Look near the top of the page on the right hand side. You will find a list of the recent comments and under that a list of recent threads.

    • this is one of my tasks for the holiday breaks, to get everything categorized correctly and provide a road map.

  46. Dr. Curry,
    I would like a fuller discussion of the highly annoying claim “We know the basic physics of climate change.”

    I am not sure what climate scientists are trying to convey when they make such a claim. In the business world, a claim such as that with the state of knowledge as low as it is would get you laughed out of the room. Let me give you some examples from accounting:

    Scenario #1 – Boss, we know basically where we stand. All the bank accounts have been reconciled. The Balance Sheet balances. Our revenue numbers are solid. The only thing is the company used the ATM to buy more than $10k of products from Costco and we can’t find the receipts. The auditors could claim company assets are being used for personal benefit (to buy food and clothes). It is only 1% of our annual revenue, but it’s enough to be a problem. So even though revenue is up, net profit is up, the quality of assets are good (mostly cash in the bank), we may not pass the audit. Do you know where those receipts are?

    Scenario #2- Boss, the auditors are here and they are pissed. They say someone has been posting to the Retained Earnings account (which is not postable). And the auditors claim they can’t find any evidence some of the bank accounts even exist. What are we going to do?

    Which of those scenarios is more like climate science? Obviously, the second. The claim is a radiative imbalance exists which is overheating the earth. Where is the heat going? Not in the atmosphere. 2010 was not as warm as 1998. Not in the oceans. According to satellite measurements, the sea surface temps are cooling. This is very like bank accounts that exist only on paper.

    If you cannot balance out your accounts, you don’t understand the basic physics. So what are climate scientists trying to say when they use that annoying phrase “We know the basic physics?” And how do we get them to understand if their accounts don’t balance, they don’t KNOW anything?

  47. Superb, Ron! I linked to your comment in WUWT Tips and Notes. And made a personal perm copy of the whole thing. Going to try to make it go “viral”. ;)

  48. Does “climate science” accept what the data says?

    Global warming of only 0.06 deg C per decade, not 0.2 deg C per decade of the IPCC:

    http://bit.ly/fYQA3C

    Oscillating Anomaly of zero long-term warming.

    http://bit.ly/emAwAu

  49. Judith
    I wasn’t sure where to write this, but would it be possible to have a technical post on GW signatures and in particular the equatorial tropospheric hot spot? I don’t recall that this has been discussed on the blog to date. Many thanks,
    Rob